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gospel. The church is precisely the same church, except the unsound members which were lopped off on account of their unbelief, that existed before the death of Christ. The believing Jews and their children constituted solely the first Christian church. And upon the same principles, and for the same reasons, the government must be the same radically, unless Christ authorized a change. But we have no evidence that he did authorize any change. The government therefore was to remain essentially the same.
One of our strongest arguments for infant church-membership, under the gospel, is derived from infant membership under the former dispensation. Parents and their infant children always had been members of the church of God; and since infants have not been ejected by any law of Christ, they must be considered, at present, as members with their parents. And no satisfactory reason can be assigned, why we may not draw an argument from the government of the ancient church, for a similar government of the church under the present dispensation of mercy. There are some changes. But these are acci. dental, or mere circumstantial alterations, and not radical and essential.
The public ordinances, as visible evidences of the church, were to be changed. Baptism and the Lord's supper were to succeed circumcision and the passover. But they are signs and seals of the same covenant on which the church is founded, and they are tokens which give visibility to her existence. There was to be a change in the priesthood. The office of high priest was to terminate upon the death of Christ his great antitype. The order of Levites was to cease. This was a necessary appendage to the ceremonial system, and only to be co-extensive in duration with it. But there is no law expressed or implied, nor any intimation, that the government of the church was to be transferred from the priests and elders to the whole body of the members, or to any other set of men.
One branch of the priestly office was to offer sacrifices. This has also been abolished. The sacrifice of “ Christ our passover” put an end to all the sacrifices which God appointed in the former ages of the church. But the priestly office of explaining the law, of teaching and ruling, remains unalterably the same. And as the priests had elders chosen to assist in the government, under the former dispensation; and as there is no intimation of any essential change to take place in the government of the church under the gospel, I conclude that elders should now be elected, and united with the ministers of Christ in governing the church.
I have proved, I think, that the church never was governed by all the male members. Females had nothing to do with
church-government. It is also evident that the public ministers of religion did not govern alone. My next appeal will be made to the New Testament Scriptures, to support the doctrine of lay ruling elders.
J. F. (To be continued.)
DRELINCOURT'S VISITS OF LOVE.
(Continued from p. 216.) Pastor. This intelligent and excellent daughter, without doubt, reflected that God chastises every child whom he loves ; nay, that he often chastises most seriously those whom he loves most tenderly. She was persuaded that the trial she then underwent was merely a human trial; and that with the trial God would give strength to support it. She doubtless meditated on those divine words of the apostle Paul, “ that he reckoned the sufferings of the present time were not to be compared with the glory that would be revealed in us; and that these light afflictions would produce an eternal weight of glory, while we look not at those things that are visible, but at those that are invisible.” In short, I see that God has displayed his power in the weakness of his handmaid, and that he has given her in this life the foretaste, and the first fruits of Paradise. So that I feel assured that a life so exemplary and holy, and a patience so extraordinary, has been crowned with the glory of those “ who die in the Lord.”
Mother. Truly, dear sir, one may say in this instance, " what a life! what a death!” her death surpassed what her life had promised. If angels could die, I cannot imagine that they would die a different death from that of my child; or rather that they could pass with greater joy from death to life. She closed her life like St. Stephen, the first martyr of our Lord. Before she left the world the peculiar joy of her soul, and the rays of that glory she was going to possess, lighted up her countenance. And when death was visible in her eyes, and her body cold as the marble, she joined her dying hands, which seemed already dead; she raised to heaven her eyes and her hands, and embracing her Saviour in the arms of faith and hope, she cried with a distinct voice, “Lord Jesus receive my spirit;” and on uttering these words, she closed a painful life to enter on one of perfect felicity that will never end.
P. After this, can you doubt the felicity and the glory which your daughter enjoys in heaven with Jesus Christ and his holy angels ?
M. I no more doubt it than if I had seen her ascend to hea. ven on a chariot of fire, as once the prophet Elijah ascended;
or borne, as Lazarus was, by angels to Abraham's bosom. In a word, I no more doubt it than if, with my own eyes, I now saw her before the throne of God, clothed with light and crowned with glory, and heard her singing the praises of God with angels, and the spirits of the just made perfect.
P. These are excellent words, my sister, but I fear they rise only from your lips. It does not appear that they spring from your heart, and that you firmly believe what you say. Be not offended, my sister, if I say, your actions do not correspond with your words.
M. I assure you, dear sir, that my words accord perfectly with my thoughts; I am perfectly satisfied of my daughter's glory and happiness; and, I repeat it, I am as firmly persuaded of it as if I saw her distinctly in the glorious company of the church triumphant.
P. If you are thus firmly persuaded, allow me, my sister, then to ask, where are the Christian principles ? Where is that reason illumined by the beams of grace? Where are the proofs and marks of that ardent love, of that maternal tenderness you profess to feel for your daughter? The tendency of sincere love is to make us prefer the happiness of those we love to our
Our blessed Saviour has himself taught us this. For when the apostles were afflicted at his approaching departure, that he might return to God, his father, and resume the glory he enjoyed before the world was created, he says to them, “If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced when I said, I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”
All your tears, all your sighs, all your bitter regrets, cannot change the condition of your daughter, nor darken one ray of her glory. But admitting it were in your power, would you be so cruel, so unnatural as to desire it? She has passed from death to life, would you have her return from life to death? from a life so glorious and triumphant, to a state where we are daily exposed to misery and pain?
Would you have the cruelty to divest her of her robes of light and immortality, to clothe her again in darkness and corruption? With what conscience would you draw her away from that ocean of delights, to replunge her in a sea of sadness and affliction ? Could you even endure the thought of tearing her from the arms of her Redeemer, and deprive her of that fulness of joy which flows from the contemplation of his glory? In a word, would you have the heart to make her quit the height of eternal felicity which she possesses, and return to an abyss of misery in the present world? Where would be your maternal love? Would this not be the extreme of cruelty ?
St. Paul urges us to “rejoice with those who rejoice;” but,
my sister, you would do exactly the reverse of this; your beloved child is at the height of her joy, and you would reduce her to the trials of this world; God has wiped away all tears from her eyes, while you incessantly are weeping; she is with an innumerable company of angels and blessed spirits, while you avoid the society of the wise and pious who would afford you relief and consolation; she is continually chaunting the praises of God with the church triumphant, and you cease not to sigh and to weep. This, dear sister, is neither consonant to the glory of God, nor to the profession you have made of Christianity. An ancient Greek bishop, who was distinguished for his eloquence, says in one of his homilies, “ that when a truly pious person is taken from this world, it is Satan who should mourn, and not believers, who must be assured that the deceased has passed from death to life; from misery to happiness.” Nevertheless, he allows a moderate grief, so long as it is restrained within the limits of reason, but he condemns a grief which runs to excess and has no termination. He is even incensed at those who reject all consolation, and who seem to take a pleasure in tearing open their wounds and in rendering their pains more excruciating.
M. My dear sir, it is not my daughter that I mourn for, I am satisfied that she is happy; but I mourn my own loss in being deprived of a companion so amiable and intelligent, and in finding no survivor on whom my affections can rest in an equal degree.
P. You say it is not your daughter whom you mourn. In this, perhaps, you deceive yourself. For were your daughter still alive and united to some highly distinguished personage, who loved her and made her truly happy—especially, were she married to a prince, or person of exalted merit and fortune, would you not endure the loss of her society with patience? If on some occasions you indulged a sigh or a tear, would you, as at present, reject all consolation ?
I make no doubt but you would often think with pleasure on her wealth and happiness, and often converse cheerfully with your friends on this subject.
But, I ask you, what is all the splendour of earthly honours or happiness compared with that which she enjoys from her union with the Prince of heaven, the Sovereign of the universe, and the King of kings?
You weep, you say, because you are separated from your daughter. But, tell me, were she still on earth, and you were together in a vessel driven by tempests and exposed to shipwreck, and some powerful protector were to take her from this vessel and safely land her at her destined port, although you yourself should remain exposed to the tempest and to the danVol, II.-Presb. Mag.
gers of the sea, would you not rejoice that your daughter was safe? Or were you in a house exposed to pestilence, would you not be glad that she was far from the danger to which yourself were exposed ?
M. What you say is very true. I should be delighted that my daughter had reached her destined port in safety, and had escaped from danger; but what would be my highest consolation would be the hope of soon finding myself at the same place with my child; again to behold her and embrace her with tears of joy.
(To be continued.)
BRIEF DISCOURSES.—NO. VIII.
Reasons for desiring Recovery from Sickness. “O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be ne more.”-PSALM xxxix. 13.
Few persons have ever been afflicted with distressing and dangerous sickness, who have not prayed for restoration to health. Thus David did, in the language of the text. And yet, his life was exposed to shares and enemies, so that often he held his peace, and kept silence even from good, while the wicked was before him. His sorrow was frequently stirred; his age seemed as nothing; and he judged that every man, in the present world, even in his best estate, is altogether vanity. “ Surely,” said he, “every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.” “ When thou with rebukes,” continues he, addressing God,“ dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity.”
Why, then, did the sweet Psalmist desire the Lord to spare him? Why did he wish to recover strength before he should go hence, and be no more in this world? Why does almost every sick person desire the prolongation of his earthly pilgrimage?
Some of the principal reasons why mankind desire recovery from sickness, it is my design to state, and consider.
1. Some sick persons desire restoration to health principally from their regard to the pleasures of this world. They have never experienced, and never anticipated, any other enjoyment, than such as is afforded by the things of the present life. Their minds have not been expanded to conceive of any delight, which does not spring from earthly connexions, honours, and other acquirements. Often have they been admonished not to love the world supremely; not to set their affections on things below the skies; not to expect from riches, power, friends, and