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render it criminal in any to neglect or despise his instructions. Nothing short of divine attestations or miracles can evince that any man is especially called of the Spirit of God to instruct us in the Christian religion. Can those who say they are moved by the Holy Spirit to teach the Christian religion, produce this sort of evidence? No, no. It is, then, in vain to say they are so moved. Who is called to believe any thing without evidence? Does God command any man to believe without evidence? When, then, I hear a modern preacher, either with or without his diploma in his pocket, saying that he is an ambassador of Christ, sent of God to preach the Gospel, moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon him the work of the ministry, I ask him to work a miracle, or afford some divine attestation of his being such a character. If he cannot do this, I mark him down as a knave or an enthusiast; consequently, an impostor, either intentionally or unintentionally.
No, most assuredly.
The Lord, we are told, called twelve men of the Jews during his life time, to be eye and ear witnesses of all that he said and did. These he afterwards called to be Apostles, or ambassadors, or ministers of the New Testament, as they are equally distinguished by any of these names or titles of office. These he called, by his own voice, and qualified them to preach and teach infallibly the whole scope of their commission. Their instructions always extended to their commission. In other words, their instructions or qualifications and their commission were co-extensive. In their first call and commission they were sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and were commanded to announce the approaching reign, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." And to despise or neglect their instruction was criminal in the highest degree. He that despised them, despised him that sent them. But this could not have been the case, had they had no means of convincing their hearers that they were so called and sent. For this purpose they healed the sick, they cast out demons, they cleansed the lepers, they raised the dead; and as they received these powers without money or price, they freely, without money or price, imparted their benefits. In their second commission, and in the special commission of Peter to open the door of faith to the Gentiles, as "the keys”
had been committed to him; and in the call of Saul of Tarsus to become an Apostle to, and a preacher and a teacher of the truth among, the Gentiles, the same circumstances accompanied their call. A voice was heard, the gift of wisdom, the gift of knowledge, the gift of utterance, and the gift of working miracles, were communicated and exhibited. It is evident that all that were called to the work of the ministry by God or by his Spirit, possessed every thing that has been contemplated as necessary in the antecedent remarks. When other persons called in question Paul's call to the work of the ministry, or to become an ambassador of Christ, how did he contend for it? By referring to the wonders he had wrought, as well as to the labours he had endured. See 2 Cor. xii. 12. 66 Truly," says he, "the signs of an Apostle were fully wrought among you with all patience; by signs, and wonders, and powers. Again he tells them, chap. xiii. 6. "But I trust when I make you a visit, that ye shall know that we are not without proof"-" of Christ's speaking by me."
From these premises we may conclude, that every one moved by the Holy Spirit, or specially called to the preaching or teaching of Christianity, is possessed of these three requisites 1st. He has heard the voice of God calling him. 2d. He is qualified to speak infallibly. 3d. He is capable of confirming his testimony by divine attestations, or by the working of miracles. Every ambassador of Christ, mentioned in the New Testament, possessed these three requisites. It is absurd, vain, and presumptuous for any now to call themselves ambassadors of Christ, or to say that they are specially called to the ministry of the New Testament who possess not these three essential attributes of the called ministers of the New Testament.
But some, unable to resist the evidence of the preceding facts and reasons, will exclaim, What! have we no men among us called and sent of God? Stop, my friend. What use have we for such men? Do we need any new message from the skies? No. Divine messages require divine messengers. If there be no need of a new message from God, or a new revelation of the Spirit, then there is no need of new ambassadors, of new revealers, or new prophets. If the message of the twelve Apostles, or if the
revelation of the New Testament is incomplete, is imperfect, is inadequate, then we have need of a new message and new messengers from the skies. But, until some bold genius undertakes to prove that there is need for a new revelation or a new message from God, we shall fearlessly declare, that, while we have the writings of the four Evangelists, the writings of Paul, of Peter, of James, of Jude, and John, we want no new message from the skies—no ambassadors from Christ. In short, there is no need to have men among us professing to be "called and sent of God." In the natural world we might as reasonably look for, and expect a new sun, a new moon, and new stars, as in the kingdom of Christ to expect new ambassadors, new messages from God, new revelations of the Spirit. On this subject we have much to say, but in the mean time we shall simply add, to prevent misapprehensions, that, as we have a revelation developing all the mysteries of the love and benevolence of God towards sinners through Christ, a revelation clear, simple, full, and complete, it is the duty of every one who acknowledges it to be such, to devote his mind to it and study it for himself.
Amongst those who believe and understand the Christian religion there are individuals called, in the subordinate sense of the phrase, to sundry good works, of much profit to men. Those that are rich in this world, professing the faith, are called by the word of God, written and read of all men, to communicate of their substance to the wants of the poor-to be ready to distribute to be willing to communicate to the wants of the brotherhood, and to the wants of others. When a brother in distress appears in the presence of a brother rich in this world, the brother of high degree is called by the word of God, and the providence of God, or the circumstances of the case call upon him to put his hand into his pocket and to communicate to his distress. Just in the same sense, a brother who is well instructed into the doctrine of the kingdom of Heaven, who has attained to the full assurance of understanding what Paul, and Peter, and James, and John, and the other writers of the New Testament have taught concerning the way of life and salvation; when he finds persons ignorant or unbelieving, either in public or private, is called by the
word of God, and the circumstances of the case, to teach and preach Christ, or to show the things that the ambassadors have taught and authenticated; these things he may urge on their authority who confirmed their testimony with signs and wonders. And as it would be absurd and vain for the rich man to say that he was specially called and sent of God, or moved by the Spirit of God to give alms, so it would be absurd and vain for the person possessed of the knowledge of the New Testament, to say that he was moved by the Holy Spirit, or specially called by its operations and sent of God to preach.
There is yet another fact to which we would advert, viz. that when there is a voluntary association of any number of disciples of Christ, met in any one place to attend to the duties and privileges of a church, should they call any one of their own number who possesses the qualifications belonging to the bishop or overseer laid down by the Holy Spirit in the written word, and should they appoint him to office, as the Holy Spirit has taught them in the same written word-then it may be said to such a person, "Take heed to yourself and to the flock over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseer." But this bishop, of whom we have now spoken, is neither priest, ambassador, minister of religion, clergyman, nor a reverend divine, but simply one that has the oversight of one voluntary society, who, when he leaves that society, has no office in any other in consequence of his being an officer in that. His discharge of the work of a bishop is limited by, and confined to, the particular congregation which appointed him to office. If he should travel abroad and visit another congregation, even of the same views with that of which he was or is bishop, he is then no bishop-he is then in the capacity of an unofficial disciple. To suppose the contrary is to constitute different orders of men, or to divide the Church into the common classes of clergy and laity, than which nothing is more essentially opposite to the genius and spirit of Christianity. We have seen some bishops, ignorant of the nature of the office, acting very much out of character, placing themselves in the bishop's office, in a church which they might occasionally visit, and assuming to act officially in an assembly over which they had no
bishopric. They acted as absurdly and as unconstitutionally as the President of the United States would do, if, when on a visit to London, he should enter the English Parliament and place himself on the throne, either solus, or in conjunction with his Majesty George IV., and that, forsooth, because he is or was President of the United States. But of this more afterwards. In the mean time we conclude that one of those means used to exalt the Clergy to dominion over the faith, over the consciences, and over the persons of men, by teaching the people to consider them as specially called and moved by the Holy Spirit, and sent to assume the office of ambassadors of Christ, or ministers of the Christian religion, is a scheme unwarranted of God, founded on pride, ignorance, ambition, and impiety, and, as such, ought to be opposed and exposed by all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. A. C.
AN EPISCOPALIAN WITNESS AGAINST CATECHISMS.
[From the Millennial Harbinger, Vol. I.]
It is remarkable that the most evangelical paper published in the city of Philadelphia, should be conducted and edited by an Episcopalian. I speak of the popular papers of that city. The Philadelphia Recorder, though an Episcopalian publication, and though much in the spirit of this age, is, nevertheless, not only distinguished by the ability of its editor, the Rev. B. B. Smith, but by a much clearer intelligence in the Christian Revelation than any other paper issued in that city which we are accustomed to peruse. It is true that the piece extracted below is an extract from a correspondent in that paper, but yet the editor essentially agrees with the following well written remarks upon catechisms, which, in our judgment, equally apply to creeds. The Church of England, although the least reformed from Popery in the pomp and pageantry of form, has produced as large a host, as powerful a host, as brilliant a host of erudite, pious, and evangelical men, as any sect in Christendom of the same age; and even now, although far degenerated from the spirit and power of Christianity, and far fallen from what she once was, still there appears in that community, once in a jubilee, a man who has more manly views of the Christian in