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Then they "grow up in their head even Christ, in all things; from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint suppliethaccording to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love" (16); this is the description of them in the power of the communion of saints, a power which is the greatest of all things under the sun, because in it is seen, and no where else, the covenanted strength of Jehovah-Zidkenu in the midst of the Israel of his promise. Then our next resting-place is the exaltation of Jesus and the distribution of his royalties to his people. "He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors, and teachers, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (11). Then above this, there is but the fountain head, one God and Father of all who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (6). Where then are we to expect love, and where an absence of wrath, clamour, and evil speaking? In the Church set forth according to the word of God-not elsewhere the precept is not given to congregationalism, and to the partitions of sect, but to the Church gathered in under the Spirit, and in the Spirit dwelling and abiding.
Vain then is it to write pathetic appeals against these evils amongst the Dissenters; the evils cannot be extirpated till the system itself is renounced, for as long as congregationalism is selected as land fit for the culture of Christian virtues, so long must the thorns and the thistles and the weeds superabound in that soil, to the dismay of the husbandmen whose task it is to work therein. There is another soil: it is in Emmanuel's land; to that let them hasten, and there they will discover that "instead of the thorn, comes up the fir tree; instead of the brier, the myrtle tree; and it is unto the Lord for a name, and for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off."
MR. M'NEILE; EFFICIENT MINISTERS AND DUTY OF GOVERNMENTS.-HON. B. W. NOEL, LORD MELBOURNE, AND TWO THOUSAND NEW
THE National Establishment in this country presents a singular spectacle; it claims to be the Church of God in these realms, and yet it acknowledges all the nominally baptised as being members of herself, whether they be saints or sinnerswhether they really belong to the Church which is of God, or to the world which lieth in the wicked one.
But although the Establishment thus claims to herself the exclusive " cure of souls," she finds that her means are insufficient to grasp the mighty object. She first recognises "the world" as being the sheep of Christ, and then finds that she is inefficient in her nominal pastorship over them, because her edifices cannot contain all the people.
It is natural for those who are of the world, whether they call themselves "established" or 66 dissenting," to look to the world for its aid, and to act simply on worldly principles. How can it be otherwise? They who are of the world speak of the world, even as was the case when Jesus our blessed Lord was upon earth, and met with the world's rejection.
In making any remarks on the Establishment, we would not have it to be supposed that we would make it a matter of boast for any to be able to say that they are not of the "Church of England:" he who glories in not belonging to this sect, or in belonging to that, is glorying in some fleshly distinction, instead of attending to the word, "Let him that glorieth, glory in the Lord."
And well may we glory in Him, whom we know as our Lord; well may we ascribe "to Him who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father!-to Him be glory and dominion for ever! Amen !" (Rev. i. 5, 6.) This is ever to be the saint's ground on which to glory; and if any thing else be gloried in, there is evidently to be traced the work, not of the Spirit of God, but of the flesh.
We think it needful to premise thus much; for we know that nothing can be easier than for one who has separated from a form of worldliness such as is the National Establishment, to look at this separation as being something done, and hence often arises a pride, sometimes secret, sometimes avowed, which leads the mind to suppose that it has separated from the world, even though, not only all the little pieces of worldliness with which the individual might happen to be in contact, are taken away with him, but also he himself may have settled down into some professing system, in which, perhaps, practically there may be less of the life of the Spirit (even though there may be much more nominal soundness) than in the Establishment itself.
These remarks will show, that in any observations which we may make upon the present position or constitution of the Establishment, we desire not in the least to puff up those who are not of it, as if this negative state with regard to it, were any thing positive in the sight of God. It is pitiful work to compare one system of man with another, and then try which is the best (i. e. which is the least bad), instead of bringing them all to that unerring testimony of truth-the word of God.
The question is not "Which is the best, Romanism, Anglicanism, or Congregationalism ?" but, "What saith the Scripture ?" and how, according to its testimony, ought the saints to walk in union? Our present object, however, is not to seek to bring out into plain light the testimony of the Holy Ghost as to the union on earth of those who are one in Christ in heaven, but to make a few remarks relative to "Church Extension," and the present efforts of the Establishment, as connected therewith: which subjects will, we believe, furnish food for profitable reflection.
It ought to be most obvious, that believers and unbelievers cannot possibly have any common interests in the things of God; "the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not," ought ever to be known by us as describing the children of God; as the Lord Jesus had new motives of conduct, such as men could not recognise at all, so if we are abiding in Him, shall we have likewise. "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God, thy law is within my heart," was the word of the Lord Jesus in coming into the world, and it expressed that which all his life manifested: and so ought Christians to take their stand, simply as being saved by the blood of the Son of God, and shew their love to Him by doing His commandments (John xiv. 15). This "service of love" is that which the world cannot recognise, for it knows nothing of "grace," and does not see the person of the Lord Jesus at the Father's right hand, and knows nothing of that Holy Ghost who dwells in believers, making their bodies the temples of God.
Whenever saints find that they are acting upon motives in which worldly men can have with them a common interest, then it is time for them to question whether they are acting as it becomes those who are the members of the body of Christ. It is not enough to say, that the end proposed is good, for this is a very common way which Satan uses to ensnare the children of God. We must care for the means likewise, for if there be any thing in this, into which the Holy Ghost cannot lead, or which He cannot sanction, then we can safely say that we can have nothing to do with the whole matter.
If the means be really of God, and be used for Him in the intelligence of the mind of His Spirit, we may safely leave the end to Him; we have far more to do with the means which are employed in any given design, than with the end which the promoters propose to themselves; for the former may be so plainly wrong, that no possible good which is proposed to be attained can give the slightest sanction to it. Co-operation with the world can never be right for the children of God; for it always comes practically to this-the world carrying on its own plans, and tolerating children of God amongst them, because in such circumstances they are practically denying their proper character, and are giving a semblance of holiness to that which is not of God, however good the end may at first sight seem to be. Until there be fellowship between Christ and Belial, it is virtually a compromise of discipleship, alike dishonouring the Lord Jesus, and injuring our own service and testimony.
The position which godly men in the Establishment are assuming with regard to "Church Extension," leads us to these remarks, and for this reason,—that we see in the schemes afloat on this subject, abundant evidence that in them there are those involved who look on objects around them with a merely political eye, interspersed with some few, who, although children of God themselves, have lent themselves to the carrying on of that which is merely of " the world."
We can well fancy the objection to be raised, "How can Church extension possibly be a worldly object?" Just for this very reason, that Satan has so confounded names and things, that the name of Church is used in a sense in which the Word does not and cannot recognise it. Would it be a worldly scheme if any were to propose to treble the number of the Romish chapels in this land? No saint could say that such a proposal was of God; and the two proposals resemble each other more closely than many think: each would be the extending of the machinery of a system, which might be done simply on worldly principles,-nay, we may speak more strongly, we have no doubt that it would be so done.
There are two classes to be considered among those Christians who are active in the promotion of what is called "Church Extension." The one consists of those who wish to increase the efficiency of the Establishment, and who would uphold it by building new "Churches." They look on all in this land as being (to use Mr. M'Neile's phrase) "born into the Church," and they would lean on the state, as that which can give pecuniary and legislative power in carrying out the scheme of national Christianity; the other class consists of those who mourn over the want which there is of the knowledge of Christ, and who advocate "Church Extension," as being that vhich would help in supplying the defect. They both agree in some important points, they both seek the aid of the world, as though those who are "in the wicked one" could really help in the cause of God; as though the bond slaves of Satan could help the Lord's freemen.
The first of these classes of Christians to whom we have referred, generally speaking, try actively to subserve what they call the cause of God, by fellowship with the great and powerful of the world; they speak of the Establishment as though it were faultless; and they try to lengthen its cords, and strengthen its stakes in such a way as if they deemed that nothing could really be done for God except within her pale; hence the high estimate in which they hold "Church Missions,' "Church Extension," "National Schools," and everything, in short, in which Anglicanism is dominant to the exclusion of every other form or name of Christianity.
We speak of the practical conduct of these men; with the inward feelings of their hearts we have nothing to do. We love them as being brethren in Christ, beloved for his sake; and we doubt not that many such, however little their conduct exhibits it, feel much love in the Spirit for the children of God at large, because they belong to Jesus.
It is not of the worldly supporters of "Church Extension" schemes that we speak, but merely of those whose blessing is that they are in Christ, who yet mingle themselves with these things.
We are not going to enter into a detailed account of the plans and operations of these two classes; but we will give a few statements of Mr. Hugh M'Neile, as shewing the views of the one, and the principles on which they are acting; and then refer briefly to Mr. B. W. Noel's letter to Lord Melbourne, as illustrating the plans of the second class.
In June last, there was held a large meeting of the advocates of" Church Extension," comprising those who take up the subject from almost every possible variety of motive. The principles of those who hold the views of the first class of whom we have spoken, are illustrated by the following extracts from Mr. Hugh M'Neile's Speech :I. "How is God's own machinery for the recovery of fallen man to be spread over the destitution of our population in this country? My Lord, there is no new method. If the right mode of propagating the Gospel had been a matter of man's invention at the first, it might, like other inventions of men, be subject to improvement by man; but it is a matter of Divine appointment, and incapable of improvement. "When in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased Gcd by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe?' 'But how shall they hear without a preacher ? And how shall they preach, except they be sent ?' And how shall men be sent to this work without support while they are working? And so we are come to the question, How is this support to be obtained? [Ilear]. Now, my Lord, referring as we do to the language of the Apostle for the mode in which the Gospel should be propagated, we are immediately referred to the apostolical model, as to the mode in which support for the ministers of the Gospel should be obtained. The apostolical model so referred to is gathered chiefly, if not exclusively, from the 3 P
history of St. Paul. Let this history be examined. It is most true, that St. Paul had no state endowment; it is equally true, that his personal income was not exclusively derived from the voluntary contributions of those amongst whom he administered. I have coveted,' he exclaims, no man's silver, or gold, or apparel; yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.' He had learned, and he practised, the handicraft of tent-making; and his own toil supplied his personal necessities. My Lord, if this branch of the apostolical model be applied, it would be very convenient at least to apply the neighbouring branch, of the plenary inspiration, which saved all the trouble of expensive education, pains-taking study, patient, accurate, and laborious investigation. Let us have the endowment that he had of plenary inspiration, and we will not ask for endowments from the State. [Hear, hear]. We will then betake ourselves to some honorable calling amongst our fellow-subjects; we will engage in some agricultural, or manufacturing, or commercial, or political occupation; and in the intervals of our work we will go and preach infallible truth, binding upon earth the things that are bound in heaven, and loosing upon earth the things that are loosed in heaven.' We will tell men that in hearing us they hear God-in despising us they despise him that sent us- -who has given us his Holy Spirit; and we will make good our words, by speaking languages we never learned, and healing diseases among the people. [Hear]. Surely in ministers of the Gospel (if they can be called such) who claim these powers, it would indeed be inconsistent to ask endowments from the State. But if it be enthusiasm not to be distinguished from insanity, for any man to claim for himself or others these miraculous powers, then, my Lord, I submit that one feature of the apostolical model fails, and that therefore the whole model is not to be appealed to in that broad and sweeping manner which we often hear; but that it is to be appealed to modestly and with discrimination, making due allowance for the change of the circumstances of the Church. Let it be then so appealed to. Common sense has in this point prevailed; and no man now claims these miraculous powers. I ought perhaps to except the priesthood of a church, who long since bade farewell to common sense. [Laughter]. I do not say, then, that this makes the apostolical example tell for our system entirely; but I do say, that it deprives our opponents of the undivided weight of that example. And suppose I were to suggest, that God, having supported his Church by miraculous endowments under the Pagan persecutions to which she was exposed, until in his wisdom he saw fit to change the Pagan emperor from a persecutor to a patron; he did then order, that his ministers should have an education which costs much, instead of an inspiration which costs nothing; that instead of toiling with their hands, like Paul, and like Paul preaching by impulse, they should toil with their understandings, with their hearts, in their study and on their knees; giving themselves to meditation and prayer, and reading, and that all this time they should have the endowment of the now friendly and fostering State. Here is a due regard to the change of circumstances. I have shown you, that there must be some regard to the change, because the model, taken as a whole, will not do. Now if there must be a regard to a change of circumstances, are the Dissenters at liberty to change to fit themselves, and are they at liberty to refuse it to us to suggest a change that fits ourselves?"
This statement brings before us many things to cause sorrow; for while we fully admit the fact that "the labourer is worthy of his hire," we here see very many perversions of Scripture; the aim of which is to shew that state endowment ought now to take that place with regard to the spread of the Gospel which once belonged to God the Holy Ghost. Where did Mr. M'Neile read in the New Testament that "expensive education, pains-taking study, patient, accurate, and laborious investigation" were destined of God to be the substitutes for the energy of the Holy Ghost? [We know that men have made them so, but this does not affect the question.] What is Mr. M'N.'s authority for making his remarkable suggestion? Where is it written that preachers in the Apostolic days spoke by "plenary inspiration"? and how comes it that Timothy and Archippus should be themselves charged to use the gifts which they had? Does not the Holy Ghost continue to "distribute to every man severally as he will"? and does not Mr. M'N.'s language seem to question this? Is it the wisdom of man or the wisdom of God that tells us that the Apostolic model is to be appealed to, making due allowance for the
change of circumstances"? What is the change, and who made it ? Was not the Church then not of the world? and is she not now of the world? and does not this occasion the change? Are the inconsistencies of Dissenters any ground for the defending of similar conduct in the Establishment? Is not the "friendship of the world enmity against God"? How then can any speak of " the friendly and fostering State"?
Why did Mr. M'Neile quote Acts xx. 33, 34, and not go on to verse 35, which states that the conduct of Paul is a model for Presbyters? Does not Mr. M'N. profess to be a Presbyter; and why does he counterargue in this the necessity of obedience to the Apostolic model?
Has the substitution of state endowment for the energy of the Spirit been productive of good or of evil ?*
These are some of the questions which arise to our minds in reading such sentences as these: if this be the way in which" Church Extension" is to be advocated, may God preserve his children free from its contamination!
II. "It is then the primary duty of every ruler to consider first the duty he owes to God, in the situation where it has pleased God to place him [Hear]. This is no Jewish peculiarity. It is true of all the nations. Egypt, Assyria, Chaldea, Greece, Rome-all were in the absolute disposal of God. And, what is to our purpose, the rulers of all those nations acknowledge themselves dependent upon the favour of their gods for the prosperity of their kingdoms. Whatever they might have thought of their gods: however various their peculiar views might have been concerning the gods, in one thing they all agreed that the victories of their armies and the wellbeing of their State depended entirely upon the favour of their gods. Of course it became their first duty to please the gods-that is, to use their influence to promulgate what they considered true religion, the worship of those gods. And they did so. They caused temples to be built to their gods. They endowed from the public funds a priesthood to perform the services in those temples to their gods. And if any of their subjects disapproved of that worship, they did not allow deference to the opinion of their fellow-creatures to interfere with their duty towards their gods. they required all their subjects, without exception, to pay tribute. They appear to have been sincere in this, in all those governments. And, my Lord, I would ask, is it too much to expect the same sincerity in rulers now? Is it too much to expect that a man will first look at his duty to God, and exert all his influence, in any station of life in which it has pleased God to place him, whether it be of personal character or of official station, to please that God, to propagate what he believes to be the truth of that God? Here I beg no question; I only ask for sincerity, that a man shall propagate what he believes to be the truth of God [Hear]. But the retort then is, "What is it the duty of a Mahomedan government to propagate, to establish, and to endow Mahomedanism? Is it the duty of a Popish government to propagate, to establish, and to endow Popery ?" My Lord, I am not afraid of this retort. I am not afraid of any of the consequences that are involved in a full acknowledgment that I THINK IT IS. I think it is plainly and undoubtedly the duty of such a government, to establish, and to endow whatever they believe to be the truth of God."
In a certain sense consistency is most desirable; if an advocate be consistent in his manner of maintaining error, he may be pressed into admissions which completely overturn all his arguments. But there is an awfulness about Mr. M'Neile's consistency for which we were not prepared. To whom can it be "a duty" for an idolatrous government to set up idolatry? Is it "a duty" to God, or is it "a duty" to Satan? Is God to be mocked by men doing what they think to be their duty? And are Christian men to help on the delusion? Alas! alas! this fearful consistency but too well shews the evil consequence of admitting a false principle.
* It came to pass that Thomas Aquinas (whom Rome calls a saint), paid a visit to the then Pope (Innocent III, we believe), and it happened to be at the very time when the Pope was receiving his bags of tribute money. "You see, brother," said the Pope, "that Peter has no longer to say, 'Silver and gold have I none.' "Alas!" exclaimed Thomas, striking his hands together, "and Peter can no longer say, 'Arise and walk.'"