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Observer, April 1, '71.
the question we are discussing. If we are to look to the genesis and antiquity of the people who shall be the recognized church of Christ, there will be some dark places in the line of descent by which the Baptists claim the inheritance. Brother Worrell must not so far forget the facts of history as to overlook the small circumstance, that under the name "Baptist Church," his own organization is not known in the New Testament, that before he can get back to the times of the apostles he must trace his lineage through many parties not recognized by this comparatively modern name, all of whom were denounced by the established orthodoxy of the times as heretics, and that it is not by any historic claim of descent that any church of any age is to be tried, but by its present living conformity to the requirements of the Scriptures. If the Baptists can lay any just claim to be of the church of Christ, it is not upon the principle of ecclesiastical inheritance, but because they hold the faith and the ordinances of the New Testament as they were delivered by Christ and his apostles. It would be easy to say, that we are not justly accused of heresy-that we do not now and never did hold heretical doctrines that whatever claims of antiquity the Baptist church may have, we also have, being originally of her, and bringing with us in our unjust exclusion, the pure doctrine and worship of the apostolic age,that her exclusion of us for the advocacy of the old and apostolic in Christianity did not make us new, neither heretical, any more than the exclusion, by the recognized orthodoxy, of the people through whom the Baptists claim connection with the apostolic times, made them new or heretical. Evidently the question we have before us is not to be settled in this way.
Suppose Bro. Worrell should be sent as a missionary to some obscure island of the sea, and were there to find a people possessed of the New Testament, and who, having embraced the faith in Christ, were "walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless," would he require these people to establish their historical connection with the Baptist church, before he would recognize them as Christians, or admit them to the privilege of his personal fellowship? Or would he settle the question by the evidences of their union with the Head of the church, such as were afforded by the faith and obedience of the people? So in this present question. I do not hold the Baptists of the present day to account for the deeds done by all or any of the variously designated organizations through which they claim ecclesiastical connection with the apostolic times. Surely there are many things connected with these organizations that Bro. Worrell would not be willing to subscribe to,— which he would not defend. The Baptists have always been Reformers, and consequently have frequently been divided among themselves. The errors of the past, as the errors of the present of any people, are a separable element, which they may throw off, and by which they are not to be judged afterwards. The same principle applies to us as to the Baptists. We and they must be judged as we are, and the question of union must be settled upon the basis of a Scripture, not a historic test. Our present vital union with Christ, not our ecclesiastic succession to other and antecedent organizations, this should be the criterion. To illustrate. In the case already supposed-what if Bro. Worrell should find another Island, and another worshipping assembly, and they were to say to him, We are ecclesiastically connected with the times of the apostles through the Waldenses and others, and were originally planted in this island by a missionary sent out by the Baptist church of England,-would that be
Observer, April 1, 71
enough?—would it be a test at all by which he would settle the question of union with them? Would he not rather inquire into their faith and practice, and if he found these defective and unscriptural, would not this single test outweigh all the ecclesiastic title set up through Waldenses, Albigenses, or any other human warrant of authority? The day is past, Bro. Worrell, when men can be deluded into the belief that they are to "read their title clear to mansions in the skies," through genealogical rolls of ecclesiastic descent. The true church does not make the true Christians, but the true Christians make the true church.
We are not hopeful of any immediate consummation of this movement for a union between the Baptists ard the Reformers. There are too many men of war yet alive for this. God would not allow David to build His house, because he was a man of blood; and this beautiful work of love can scarcely grow up under the hands of such men as Bro. Worrell. God must take these out of the way first-and the thousands of hearts who are praying for this blessed consummation of Christian union, must work and wait till the men of war are removed. Their idea of final perseverance is as firmly and even more actively directed against Christian union than it is toward salvation. Ecclesiastic inaction, or repugnance perhaps, will, for a season, withstand the growing feeling of the Christian heart in both organizations-and the best we can do is to cultivate the spirit of union, which will ultimately triumph over that of division. Let all disciples who love the Lord, realize that it is their duty also to love one another, and that no man, no organization of men calling itself the church, has any right to forbid this mutual recognition of brotherhood in Christ, and soon the keepers of the rolls of ecclesiastical inheritance will find their "occupation gone." Christianity is not a matter of entail, limited to ecclesiastic descendants of Baptists, or any other named or ganization of men, in the male nor female line, but it is the free gift of the great Head of the church to every one that believes in Him and lives in His Spirit. Wherever I find such an one he is my brother, through the blood of Christ-and we are kings and priests unto God, whether human criterions of legitimacy agree to it or not. I love every man that loves my Saviour, and am ready to join hand and heart with him in every proper effort to break down the sectarian barriers that now hinder our co-operation in the work which the great Master has committed to his people. The Saviour prayed for all such;-not for the apostles alone, but "for them also," says He, "who shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." (John xvii. 21.) In this spirit let us work in faith and hope and charity, and God will add the blessing. W. K. P.
THE BIBLE STAGE OF CHRISTIANITY.
As soon as the Roman Catholic power departed from the capital of Spain, in the person of Queen Isabella, a London Bible Society made an appropriation for three millions of Bibles to be scattered in Spain. Then, without delay, the cause was taken up by the American Bible Union, and now there has long been a printing press in Madrid, working day and night, printing Bibles, Bibles, only Bibles.
As soon as Pius the Ninth went out as chief mourner at the funeral of the Catholic power in Italy, colporteurs went with Bibles into Rome.
Observer, April 1, '71.
And wherever the Bibles go, Sunday Schools are opened, and faithful men and women, 66 beginning at the same Scriptures, preach unto them Jesus."
It is a very suggestive fact, that men do not think of pulpits and pulpit preaching, except in connection with somewhat educated and enlightened sinners. And when we see them very much educated and enlightened, the pulpit teaching gradually divorces itself from any element of Bible teaching, and, as a result, we have "magnificent sermons," sermons that with telling effect go straight to the mark and convert-the imagination of every hearer. But when, before the eyes of men, there opens a really great, untrodden field, where sin and ignorance have slept together for ages, they send only Bibles, and the simplest men and women to bring their great truths into contact with the masses.
In Italy there are some seventy Sunday Schools, and a Sunday School paper which has a large circulation.
On the Island of Madagascar a printing house, with its staff of twentyfive printers, is taxed to its utmost, and is unable to supply reading matter for the converts learning to read, Two thousand imported copies of the New Testament were sold at once, and ten times as many were in demand.
About twenty years ago, Mr. Snow, of the Micronesian Mission, went among savages with no written language. He civilized and educated them, caught and fixed the sounds of their words, and to-day is busy superintending the printing of his own translation of Matthew and Luke, in a dialect known to no other white person on the globe but himself and his wife.
The Sandwich Islanders are a Bible-reading people; Chinese Bibles are printed in Pekin; copies of the Holy Scriptures are now sold in Constantinople and in Rome; in the royal palace of Antananarivo, the Queen of Madagascar, like another Queen of Sheba, listens to the words of One greater than Solomon.
On the Island of Madagascar there are five millions of people who are so much interested in the new movement that in many places they are actually erecting church buildings in advance, to await the missionaries who are coming to tell them of the great "new God"; yet-with all the simplicity and strength of those two great men-no one wishes that Spurgeon or Beecher could be sent among them, we only think of Bibles, Bibles, battalions of Bibles. We learn that an "Englishbishop,' with a full staff," is to be sent out to this island, upon which the Independent observes: "Offences must come, but woe to him by whom the offence
Ah! why, when we have carried our Bibles to the end of the earth, must we follow them up with our theology? All primitive churches are a sort of Sunday Schools, or if we like the name better, Bible classes, and the missionaries are simply Bible readers and teachers. The Word of God is considered among Protestant people as the centre and circumference of all we are to know among the heathen. No dust gathers upon its leaves. But, this foundation once laid, "evangelical religion," orthodoxy," and theology in its hundred shapes come in to "perfect" the work; and, that the "man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good work," the Bible is overlaid with a prayer-book, a creed, a confession of faith, a discipline and all manner of codicils to the last "will and testament," until it is well nigh buried out of sight. Then, like the transformations of a dream the "little children" of all ages grow up out of the Bible
Observer, April 1, '71
class stage of Christianity, into the full stature man and woman in-theology, and the missionaries, the Bible readers, "decrease" like John the Baptist, having "made straight the ways for the "-great preachers who preach "magnificent sermons," and the bishops who muster in, according to the apostolic rite of confirmation," the troops of the "King Eternal that are led by the Prince of Peace." Then the good work enters upon another, but not a better, stage.
A SURVEY OF HISTORICAL SUPERNATURALISM-No. II.
THE new-made king was placed in his Paradise garden eastward in Eden, and a river went out from Eden to water the garden, from whence it was parted, branching into four divisions-Pison, compassing the land of Havilah, where the gravel was gold; Gihon, compassing the land of Ethiopia; Hiddekel, running eastward to Assyria; and the fourth, better known as Euphrates. Milton and Martin have each put forth wonderful strength in describing the place, and the colouring is superb in the poetry and in the painting. But their efforts after realization, how far beneath the reality, though resplendent in genius and in art. The realism was such as no imagination can reproduce; no speech may declare the glory, nor art cause it to live on the canvas. The simple account of the four rivers in Genesis, whose bright glad waters sweep away in different directions, gathering power and magnificence as they run, awakens an exaltation of mind which admits no adequate representation by the poet or painter.
How long Adam maintained his happy dominion it is impossible to say, but the presumptive evidence favours a considerable period. As a trial of his advancement in knowledge and a further step in his education, we find that the Lord brings before him the cattle, the beasts of the field, and the fowls of the air, to see what he would call them, and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. As names were not empty signs, not capriciously given, but represented the realities in each specific nature, his experience must have been wide and various, long and carefully gathered, however much helped by intuition and natural sagacity. Among the creatures which passed before him for discriminate nomenclature there was not found an helpmate for him, no one adapted to heart-fellowship. God suffers us to feel our need before He sends supply, and the solitary king, in the midst of all his wide glories and priceless possessions, wanted a kindred spirit, with whom he might have full communion in the joy of love, in the revelation of power, and in the solemnities of worship.
We learn from the same chapter (Genesis ii.), how the Lord caused a deep sleep to pass upon Adam, and from one of his ribs formed the woman, who likewise named her as he had done all the other creatures. "This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.' What interval of time we have between the consummation of wedded love and the transaction of chapter iii. it is impossible to say. The cloud no bigger than a hand begins to form in the azure, and very soon darkness and storm descend at mid-day. In the opening of chap. iii. it reads " Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" After hearing the reply of the woman he adds, "Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof then
Observer, April 1, 71.
your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." The tree seemed good for food, it was pleasant to the eyes, desirable for wisdom, so she partook and gave to her husband.
Doubtless, as stated, the serpent was subtle above all other beasts; but a reasoning serpent, with power of speech and hostility to God and man, comes not within the province of naturalism. Hence the broad, healthy common sense of Christian humanity rests in the conviction that the serpent was only a vehicle or instrumental force employed by a wicked spirit. A malignant foe to the glory of the Highest as well as to the happiness of man, seeks to make another being wicked and miserable as himself; such unrest, envy, and hatred belonging to the very nature of impiety. If the most profound and experienced of the human race were to construct a case of temptation, they could not suppose an account more probable or truth-like. First the weaker vessel is assailed, where there was a smaller nature and more limited experience, hence more impressionable to seductive influences. Then the sureness of the threatened penalty is denied, and an imputation artfully thrown out, as though the Lord were selfish in His treatment: curtailing their power and privilege, in fact. God knew that they would become like gods, in the knowledge of good and evil, by partaking of that tree. In this manner flesh and spirit are led out, panting and thirsting after the untried-the domain of knowledge, power, and glory, so rose-coloured. The reception of the satanic lie poisoned the springs of life; the moral ruin which was finished in positive transgression began by confusion, darkness, and disease within. The threatening might not mean what was said; the fruit was fair and tempting, the prospect of ambition enchanting and sublime, and so the plunge was made. Holy scripture informs us that Adam was not deceived, hence we can only account for his partnership in the sin by some heroic resolve (but not the less sinful on that account) to share the destinies of his partner in the evil as in the good. The new knowledge is found to be a new horror: in the room of soaring into a loftier region among the gods, they discover that they are naked, guilty, and miserable. Though respited from immediate death, the throne becomes desolate, the inheritance and lordship perish, they are driven out to fight with an intractable soil and wild elements, for the ground shares in the burden and the curse, and in the physical as in the moral atmosphere all is changed! A severe wind blows, not laden with aromatic perfume as by Paradise rivers, but with undertones of disease and death, and cries of labour and battle. Doubtless the chief poison lay in the disobedience, still it is more than probable that the tree itself contained physical qualities which were noxious and deadly. This conclusion will bring the two trees which were in the midst of the garden into the correspondence of proportion, into the harmony of co-relation as parts of one scheme; the tree of life containing the wine of immortality, whereas the tree of the knowledge of good and evil contained the poison of corruption and death.
The sentences pronounced upon the serpent, the woman, and the man, are significant. The curse upon the serpent combines the criminal instrument with the infernal person, who used it as the vehicle of temptation. The animal instrument is cursed above all cattle or beasts, as an object of loathing and abhorrence; how thoroughly this has been fulfilled. needs no proving. As regards the prime diabolical workman, there is ceaseless enmity decreed between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman; the serpent is to bruise the heel, and the seed of the woman to bruise the head of the serpent. That the heel of humanity has been