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at that time he gave in figures the following synopsis of his work for the past sixty years: 8,140 sermons, 2,110 accessions to the church, 1,210 baptisms of children, 840 marriages, 240 burials; 31 churches organized, and the erection of 28 church buildings superintended.” What a showing! He writes on his birthday: “I now enter my eighty-ninth year and am hale and healthy, and am able to do full work. I here record my profound gratitude and thankfulness to Almighty God for his love and goodness, and here devote my remaining strength and years to his service.” After his eighty-eighth birthday he preached, according to his diary, sixty sermons, held protracted meetings at several places and received a number of persons into the church.

His expressed wish was “to die in harness.” This was granted, for his last sermon was preached at Elysian Fields on the closing Sabbath of the year, just ten days before his death. In his last hours he was sustained by an unfaltering faith, for he was ready, having fought a good fight. He died on January 6, 1897, and was buried on the 8th, the funeral services being conducted by Rev. J. E. McLean, of Marshall, assisted by Rev. Dr. Riggs, of Dallas.

In Dr. Marshall the youth of our country, especially those considering the gospel ministry, have a most interesting character study. We are enabled, by a review of his life, to discover the constituent elements of a successful Christian character; a cultivated intellect, regularity of habit, the strictest punctuality, courage of conviction, inexhaustible energy, guided by an unwavering trust in an over-ruling Providence. The record is that “he missed but one ecclesiastical meeting during his sixty years and more of constant preaching, and then he had brain fever!” Being dead, he yet speaketh; and his works do follow him.

D. F. EAGLETON. Austin College.

VII. A PLEA FOR UNITY. A sect is a body of persons distinguished, by certain peculiarities of belief or practice, from other bodies adhering to the same general system; and sectarianism is an excessive zeal for a particular sect zeal overshadows the devotion due to the interests of the whole body of which the sect is a part.

Denominationalism may be perfectly justifiable, and often is, when the members of a denomination acknowledge that their denomination is but a part of the greater whole, and not the whole itself, and when it places the interests of the church catholic above those of any part, making its own life and work a means for the advancement of the great body of which Christ is the head. This kind of denominationalism can be justified before God, in most cases, but sectarianism never. Sectarianism is one of the greatest disappointments of Christian history, and is productive of very great injury to the progress and spiritual power as well as influence of the church of God.

The spectacle afforded by the sectarianism of Christians is one which must gratify the church's enemies, and be most humiliating to the church itself. We see sects claiming to be the whole church of Christ, unchurching all other sects, denying communion to their members, and refusing to acknowledge the validity of their sacraments and ordination.

The cause of this is the elevation of non-essentials to the high position of essentials in belief or practice, and making non-essentials tests of churchship. Many non-essentials are important to the most symmetrical development of the church and of individual character, but they are not necessary to the existence of the church, or any part of it. For example, some sects believe in divine predestination, and some deny it; but both classes are parts of the church of God, owned and blessed with the presence and power of his Spirit by the great Head of the church. Others differ as to the nature of the Lord's supper, a part holding that in the elements we have but symbols of the body and blood of Christ; another part, that they are this, and also seals of divine grace; another, that with the bread and wine is actually present the body of Christ. Some claim that water baptism can be only performed by immersion of the whole body in water, and others, that it is rightly done by affusion or sprinkling. A few hold that the praise of God may be sung only in the use of certain translations or paraphrases of the inspired psalms. There is a great denomination of Christians who stand for apostolical succession, teaching that a body can be a church only by actual succession of bishops running from apostolic bands, in unbroken line, to the present time.

These dogmas belong to the class of beliefs and practices called “non-essentials," and the acceptance of them is not claimed to be essential to the salvation of the soul. Now, if they be not necessary for admittance into the favor of God, and to heaven, why should they be made essential to membership or communion in the church of God on earth? Shall the visible church, imperfect by its own admission, set up a higher standard of membership than Christ has established for membership in the invisible church? Is it reasonable? Is it scriptural?

It is not reasonable, because it is manifestly impossible, with the diversities of human disposition and environment, to have absolute uniformity of belief or practice, in all particulars, in any organization of human beings. There are no two persons in the same sect who agree on everything. Men's minds are constituted differently, as are the trees of the wood, the flowers of the field, and the birds of the air. They must differ, because they are different. The attempt to establish uniformity in social customs, in business methods, in civic matters, in literature or art, has always failed; and now, after two thousands of years, Christianity has also failed to secure uniformity. It is impossible; it is undesirable. God did not make the world that way, and we cannot make it over again.

Nor is uniformity scriptural. The apostles differed about many things, as we know by the inspired record of their lives; and yet they acknowledged one another's apostleship. The teachings of the inspired record show most plainly that non-essentials cannot properly be made tests of membership in the church. Christ said, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; he that believeth not the Son of God cannot see life”; and on the cross he acknowledged as saved a poor malefactor, who had not been baptized, could not be, had not even seen the sacrament of the Lord's supper, and who was doubtless absolutely ignorant of all forms of Christian church worship or government. The Lord set up faith in himself as the one test of salvation, and, by inference, of membership in the church. So the Apostle Paul, when asked, “What must I do to be saved ?” replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” The same hour of the night, the inquirer and his household were baptized. It is incredible that, if there had been anything besides faith in Christ necessary to salvation, Paul could have omitted it, or that it should not have been put down in the inspired history, which was intended to be an infallible guide for the church of subsequent ages; and the argument is, that what was sufficient for the salvation of the soul is sufficient qualification for churchship in the visible church.

The elevation of non-essentials into the place of essentials has the effect of obscuring the one great truth, that the soul is saved by faith in Christ alone, and it places stumbling blocks in the way of sinners trying to find their way to God. It is also the cause of all sectarianism. Let us see what would be the effect of acting on the principle that faith in Christ is the only reasonable and scriptural test of churchship.

It would make evident what is true, that the real bond of unity among Christians is their common union with Christ. We are one, in any real and effective unity, only because we are united to him by a common faith. It is not an artificial unity, made by man, or the effect of certain rules of government, worship, or belief, external bonds, but a spiritual tie which connects each soul with its Saviour. It is the same difference which obtains between an ordinary organization among men, like a society, an association, or a corporation, and the family tie. The family is God's symbol of the church, and we read of "the whole family in heaven and earth.” One is a member of a family, not by any agreement,

compact, or set of rules, but by a common relation to one father. So we are one in Christ for the single reason that we are his children. This makes all Christians brothers, and this brotherhood cannot be destroyed. Its gracious consequences and privileges may be marred or obscured; brothers may refuse to acknowledge one another; but the fact of brotherhood remains.

Now, it may be objected that this is true of the invisible church, the body of those who are regenerated by the Holy Ghost, and that it cannot be made to apply to membership in the visible church. To this the reply is, that there is no hint in the Scriptures of such a difference between the principles of the invisible and the visible church, but the whole meaning of Scripture is the other way. The invisible church is invisible; we have no judgment to pronounce upon its membership. It is known only to God. The Bible is the constitution of the visible church, and its rules and examples are for the church which we see. If faith in Christ makes a man a member of the invisible church, a credible profession of such faith ought to entitle him to membership in the visible church. All Scripture example agrees with this. When Philip said to the Ethiopian treasurer who applied for membership by baptism, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest,” the applicant replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God," and Philip admitted him at once by baptism. It cannot be justly objected that Philip and other early preachers were inspired, could read human hearts, and, therefore, knew that applicants did truly believe, and were really members of the invisible church; for men were found, regularly admitted by the apostles, who were impenitent and unregenerate. The test of church membership was a profession of faith in Christ.

To accept this as the one test of churchship would have the effect of eliminating much of denominational rivalry and consequent scandal to Christianity. It would result in an enormous increase of spiritual power in the whole church, would bring about a condition infinitely more favorable to the work of the Holy Ghost, and it would be a means of saving a prodigious amount of money and labor which is largely wasted in keeping up more organizations than are needed in tens of thousands of communities.

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