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viction, that he is prompted to the discussion of the present question, equally with myself, by a love to our common faith, and a desire to have clear and determinate views of its principles. Being thus agreed in the most important points, I feel that our entire agreement is facilitated, and that nothing is wanted to effect that most desirable union of sentiment but the removal of some clouds of mystification which at present cover the mental vision of one or other of the disputants. Let me, however, suggest to my respected antagonist, in order to corroborate my above-mentioned charge, that I expected from any one who would undertake to be my answerer, that he should evince the weakness of my proofs from scripture that the word awy does sometimes mean a period less than proper eternity, and that in the cited text, Matt. xxviii. 20, it necessarily means that limited time, especially as I had appended to the statement of the view I entertained no less than six different absurdities, in one or other of which he must be involved, who conceives that the word awy, in that passage, must be taken for eternity. Not one of these absurdities is even attempted to be removed. I pointed out as clearly as I could the various senses in which this presence, in relation to human beings, could be understood ; namely, first, as the presence of God with all his works, in giving them existence. In this sense I contended the promised presence could not be taken, as the promise was addressed to ministers alone, but the providential presence of God is common to all beings; or secondly, as the gracious presence of Christ with his people, his church, but neither could this gracious sense be that intended by the promise, as that was addressed to ministers and not to the people of God generally; or finally, as the particular and supernatural presence of God peculiar to men inspired, and by which they were rendered capable of miraculous powers; but this sense was opposed to the facts of the case, according to both the evidence of sense and my antagonist's acknowledgment.
Now it behoved my answerer to show that there was some other sense in which Christ's presence with his ministers could be understood, and then that, in that sense, Christ is really present, and present with all his ministers. Till this be done, I venture to say that my principles are untouched. That method of answering an adversary, in which his arguments are altogether disregarded, will scarcely appear satisfactory to an inquiring mind. As, however, my opponent, D. E. F., prefers this method of combating my principles, I will meet him on the ground he prefers.
I presume the first paragraph of my antagonist is merely a graceful flourish of his dialectical weapon, to warn me by the terrible wounds he inflicts on some unknown adversary, of my impending tate. Certain it is that I have not advocated any of these opinions, and so feel myself quite absolved from the perilous task of defending myself from this attack.
D. E. F. next supposes that the views which I had presumed to advocate on a former occasion were the reaction of certain wellknown Oxford Tracts on my mind. Indeed these tracts would be well entitled to the epithet far-famed, with which he characterises
them in a former paragraph, if they had such, or indeed any kind of reaction on my mind, as I have never myself read or heard another read one line of these far-darting as well as far-famed missiles of destruction. If my views are the result of any reaction, they are the legitimate reaction of the acknowledged principles of certain dissenting ministers, who will claim for themselves, from the text in question, a presence of Christ, which I never found that any one of them could explain, and which, in truth, admits of no explanation, and would, if granted, utterly deprive all protestants, but especially dissenting protestants, not only of the promise as claimed, but of all other promises respecting them as ministers, and even as Christians. I am convinced that my brethren generally have that just hatred to the principles of popery, founded on its opposition to scripture, which would effectually prevent them from embracing that system ; but I assert that, holding my opponent's view of Matt. xxviii. 20, they could not defend themselves from the undeniable inference, that the Pope, being the undoubted successor of some Apostle, Christ is with him, and therefore, as Christ cannot be said, in any intelligible sense, to be equally present with two parties diametrically opposing each other on important points of scripture doctrine, it follows that he is with him alone, who is the true successor, which the dissenter does not even profess to be, and if he did profess, could not establish. The acknowledged successor is therefore justified in denying his opponent's claim, and in denying farther, that any one but himself, or those who agree with him, have any ministry at all. Having myself been, at one period, a professed papist, and having been brought from that delusion by the word of inspiration, I feel that we are only safe from the insidious poison of that system by a firm and simple adherence to God's word of revelation. It was a persuasion of the inconsistency of this view of T. K. and others with the word of testimony, which first led me to examine its evidence, and I now unhesitatingly avow my belief of its unscriptural nature and dangerous tendency.
In the same paragraph D. E. F. asserts, that according to my view, “ the world is now without a church, and man without religion." Does D. E. F. think that it follows from the principle that the promise of Matt. xxviii. 20, has no reference to ministers of the present day, that there is no church in the world ? Does the church include none but ministers? I had thought that the church included the whole of God's people, and that ministers were but a part of the church? Does the being of the church depend on the fact of Christ being with his ministers, in a sense which neither D. E. F. nor any one else can explain? The tenure of the church's existence is indeed very insecure if it depend on a presence of Christ with his ministers, which presence is utterly unintelligible, and which, on the confession of my adversaries, confers neither infallibility nor any imaginable privilege. I conceive the existence of a church in the world is grounded on the fact of there being a society of men who hold the truth of God as revealed in the Bible, and who worship God according to that revelation. D. E. F. further says, that, admitting my principles, “man is without religion.” I have ever thought that religion is utterly independent on man's authority; that the reception and avowal of the christian religion would be my clear and manifest dnty, were there no other professed Christian in the world to authenticate its claims. What authority the christian religion would lose in its claim upon my faith and obedience, were there no christian minister in the universe, I am utterly at a loss to conceive; still more do I wonder how the obliga. tions to believe could be lessened by the proof that none of that unintelligible presence of Christ, for which D. E. F. pleads, were now enjoyed. I thank God that my belief in Christianity is not of so weak a texture, and that my religion owes none of its reality or its vigour to my acquiescence in what is to me unintelligible, and is by all incapable of explanation. My belief in the religion of the Bible is stronger in proportion as I can abstract my view more entirely from men, and especially from priests, and seek its evidence and its doctrines in the only record I acknowledge, the volume of inspiration.
In the next paragraph, D. E. F. supposes that my restricting the promise of Matt. xxviii. 20, to the apostles alone, restricts also the duty commanded in the preceding verse to the apostles, and that, consequently, preaching the gospel is not now the duty of ministers generally. But does D. E. F. suppose that this duty is commanded only in the text to which we refer? Does it not occur in a hundred different places of scripture? Is it not distinctly referred to by the Apostle Paul, 1 Eph. iv. 11, 12, 13 ? and is it not there intimated that the administration of church officers is to continue “ till we all come to a perfect man, to the stature of the fulness of Christ ?" There is, therefore, no fear of losing our authority to preach the gospel, though we cease to claim the controverted promise as apa plying to us. Is D. E. F. ignorant that a command might be addressed to the apostles in their general capacity of ministers, whilst a promise applicable to them only as apostles is connected with it, especially as we perceive that the labours of the apostles were to be carried on at such times and under such circumstances as required the peculiar gifts included in that promise ; namely, the gifts of miraculous power and infallibility; and finally, when we have incontestible proof that the apostles did enjoy a very particular pre sence of their Master, in the ability of performing miracles in proof of the verity of their mission, and of an infallibility in delivering doctrine, though possessed of no written New Testament documents from which they could draw their instructions, or to which they could refer their hearers? Does D. E. F. mean to assert that ministers need the same powers now as the apostles possessed ? Is the church built on our foundation of infallibility ? Epb. ii. 20. If not, let him cease to quote Matt. xxviii. 20 as belonging to him, or let him take also the benefit of the promise, Matt. x. 20, “ It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." Here is direct full inspiration. Does Matt. xxviii. 20, belong to ministers! On the same principle so does this of Matt. x. 20. I am persuaded that the confounding of what is spoken to and of inspired men, the subjects of the special gifts of the Spirit, with that which relates to other servants of the Lord the subjects only of the ordinary graces of the Spirit in regeneration and sanctity, is the root of more evils than any other mistake into which our erring race has fallen. I need not attempt to prove that the follies of ancient mysticism and the early Quakers, the wicked pretences of the enthusiastics of popery, and the mad rhapsodies of the late Mr. Irving, and other misguided men, owe their existence to this besotted mode of interpreting the scriptures of God. There is abundant evidence in all cases of the limitation of such promises. We may be certain, in the case in point, that as we cannot, like the apostles, perform these miraculous works, the promise does not belong to us. Will D. E. F. say the promise giving the power to perform miracles is addressed to all ministers, but ministers cannot now perform such miraculous acts, therefore the promise has failed? Or ought he not rather to say, ministers cannot now exercise such powers, therefore the promise conferring the power to do so is not addressed to ministers of the present day?
Or will D. E. F. prefer saying the promise does not impart the power of performing miracles? In this case I leave him to argue with the evangelist Mark, who says, in the parallel passage to Matt. xxviii. 20, “ They shall cast out devils; they shall speak with tongues,” &c. Mark xvi. 17, 18. I shall farther leave him to a discussion with Paul, who, in his epistle to the church at Corinth, says that the testimony of Christ was confirmed in them by the gift of all utterance, and of all knowledge. I Cor. i. 5, 6. But certainly the gift of all utterance and of all knowledge could confirm only that testimony mentioned in Matt. xxviii. 20; for there is no other testimony of Christ on this subject, and, moreover, this being called the testimony intimates it to be some remarkable testimony. What testimony of Christ could be so remarkable as the very last one he delivered ? That the utterance and knowledge of the Corinthian brethren were strictly miraculous, appears from the account of them, and the directions for their use, given in the 12th and a great part of the 13th chapter of the same epistle. As the gifts of utterance and knowledge referred to in the epistle to the Corinthians were miraculous, so were the blessings promised by Christ in the text of Matt, xxviii. 20, for this promise or testimony was confirmed by the miraculous gifts attributed to some brethren at Corinth by the apostle Paul. The gifts then promised in the controverted text were miraculous.
My opponent, in his next paragraph, supposes that my denial of any reference to ministers in the controverted passage, denies also that it is the duty of ministers in the present day to preach the gospel. Is the passage in Matt. xxviii. 19, the only place in the Bible where this duty is commanded ? By what imaginable logic could my restriction of the promise so oft alluded to be made to annihilate more than a hundred places of Scripture where a certain duty is commanded ? Could any sound reasoner infer, from my denial of ministers' right to claim an unintelligible presence of Christ with them, a consequent denial of their duty to preach the gospel ? Supposing such a duty not to be commanded in this passage, is it therefore unscriptural? I before showed that the duty might be commanded to the apostles in their general character of
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ministers, and consequently to all other ministers, whilst yet the different circumstances in which the apostles and other ministers are placed, might require for the apostles the promise of a peculiar presence giving in addition to that infallibility which rendered them able, without the usual prelude of scholastic study to preach the truth, a supernatural power to attest the verity of their doctrines, without an appeal to the authority of confessed revelation. As their ministry was prosecuted principally among the gentiles who knew not the Old Testament Scriptures, and at a time when the New Testament was not yet penned, it is evident that such an infallible presence was needful to them, for by no other means, in the case of New Testament doctrines, could the apostles be secured from error; and it appears, from the history of that time, that the spirit of infallibility concurred with this promise, as, immediately before its reception, we find them doubting of the principal truths of Christianity. Mark xvi. 14; Luke xxiv. 11, 13-31, 37, 41, 45; John xx. 24, 29; Acts i. 6; though from the moment in which they received this promise, they became the infallible foundation ou which the church was to be built. Eph. ii. 20. The promise conveyed, therefore, some supernatural power; but as ministers now do not possess this power, the promise does not relate to them.
When D. E. F. somewhat sarcastically asks, in his next paragraph, in relation to my assertion that ministers cannot perform such miracles now, “ Can ministers perform miracles of any nature?" he surely forgets that the priests of the apostolic succession do plead for their ability to perform a miracle as great as any recorded in the New Testament, when they insist that the rite of baptism, administered by regularly ordained ministers on unconscious infants, confers the regeneration of the soul; and he must further forget, what he ought surely to have kept in view, that there are certain dissenting ministers, of no succession at all, who claim an equally miraculons privilege, in asserting that what is preached by them, however deficient it may be of truth and theological accuracy, is attended with some mystical presence of Christ higher in degree than that which is the common privilege of all saints; and further, that this presence is equally enjoyed by all ministers, though they may mutually oppose each other in many points of doctrine; and, finally, that this wonderful faculty is, I presume, conferred on them by the ceremony of ordination. Now I do unhesitatingly call this a claim of something very miraculous. Most assuredly I am not conscious of any other presence of my great Master, but of that which confers a sustaining power to preserve me in existence, and of that which imparts a gracious influence to maintain my soul in life. I thankfully acknowledge the power of his word in its adaptation to the moral condition of man: I rejoice to see that he blesses that word to the conversion and salvation of sinners, but I shudder at the thought of connecting any portion of the confused and inconsistent statements which I bring forward in my explications of his holy word, with any presence of my Master, except that of his gracious acceptance of and blessing on my unworthy labours, and of his pardon. of my errors. Let D. E. F. plead for the presence of God to bless His