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Observer, July 1, '7).
weighty, and tenderly solemn, finding a response in every heart. Dr. Jeffery in a spirit at once solemn and joyful, and with admirable frankness and large-hearted sympathy, made every one feel the greatness and grandeur of the principles for which Baptists and Disciples alike contend, and the importance of rising to a comprehension of these, rather than to waste time and strength in disputes over minor differences. Bro. Colby followed in words of cheerful and wise counsel and earnest and affectionate prayer. There was not a word spoken by our Baptist brethren which any of us would wish unsaid. The remarks of brethren Pendleton, Shepard and Garfield were equally admirable in their thoughtfulness, discrimination, and catholicity of spirit; and sometimes rose into real eloquence. Brethren Walker, Goodwin and Griggsby offered fervent prayer to God for wisdom to direct us and grace to sustain us, in all we sought to do to overcome alienations and to foster · brotherly love, while Bro. Hayden led us at intervals in sweet and joyful songs of praise. We only regretted that time would not allow a score of other voices and hearts to find utterance on this peculiarly solemn occasion. Emmons, Watkins, Challen, Munnell, Sloan, the Moores, Robison, Hayden, Frazier, Dowling, Garvin, Hinsdale, Atwater, Moffett, Cooley, and many besides, could and would have added to the interest and profit of this peculiar occasion, had time permitted; but we hope that there will yet be occasions when all that is in their hearts on this question may be freely spoken. If there was any heart that could not say, at the close of this conference, Lord, it is good to be here,” we are glad we are not its possessor—but we have no reason to believe that there was any such Satan among the sons and daughters of God in that assembly.
In further response to the appeal from J. Adam, to consider the importance and modes of carrying on Sunday School work, we have several papers in addition to those already given. The suggestions are good, almost entirely so, but they relate so largely to ordinary arrangements, found in almost every well arranged school, that it would not be deemed a profitable appropriation of our pages to insert them. J: Adam did well in calling attention to the subject, and the churches will do well in promoting the work to the utmost possible extent compatible with the urgent demands for labour in other departments of Church work. In establishing a Sunday School it is not needful to call for suggestions from all quarters, as though the whole work were new. If the parties intending to establish a school have not experience, let them visit some of the best schools within reasonable distance; they will generally find themselves made welcome and put in possession of any information those schools can supply. Then there are the Manuals, Recommendations, Teachers' Guides, &c., published by the Sunday School Union, and many valuable books for scholars ; all of which can be had, not only by members of the Union, but by all. There is no need for us to set to work to provide what is already supplied better than we could supply it.
We have no doubt but that the Sunday Schools of the last and present generation will not at all furnish the model for the schools of the next. School boards and school rates, the country over, will release Churches from the A, B, C, business, and leave the Sunday School exclusively engaged in teaching, to young and old, the doctrine of Christ. To
Observer, July 1, 71.
this it will quickly come, because it must; and we are disposed to say, let it begin nou, teach not reading to children under eight years of age, teach the younger children the truths of Christianity, but leave the other business to the day school.
We may endeavour to present a sketch of a school, after our ideal, next issue.
J. ANGUS, D.D., ON PREACHING * " AND this Gospel we are to preach. The words that describe our duty in this respect are all of them suggestive. The first of them is the one used in this passage-We are to proclaim it as heralds; not making our message, but carrying it and announcing it with boldness and authority. Sixty times in the New Testament is this word found. Everywhere it desribes the bearing of men who feel that they are speaking in God's name. A second word, translated in the same way, means 'to talk.' It is applied to the easy conversational method adopted by Our Lord, and to the somewhat exaggerated sayings of the women of Samaria. It describes a gift of priceless value—the power of readily introducing and speaking of religious themes. A third word means 'to reason, to discuss.' It is the word used to describe Paul's discourse: and it was preaching of this kind that he continued at Troas till midnight: and it was under such preaching Felix trembled. The fourth, and one of the commonest words of all, translated preach,' means to announce 'glad tidings.' More than fifty times this word is used. It forms the glory of the new Dispensationthat the poor have the Gospel preached to them. This is the thought that justifies the outburst of the Prophet—How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace.' 'Blessed (happy] are the poor in spirit,' is the first word of our Saviour's longest discourse, and it is the word that is found oftenest there.
We are to be heralds, and talkers, and reasoners, and publishers of good things.
Constantly connected with these terms which are all translated 'preach,' are other three. One means 'to testify, or bear witness '--from scripture, and especially from our own experience; another means, “to teach ;' and a third to exhort , or entreat. Thus, at Pentecost, Peter testified and exhorted, saying, 'Save yourselves from this outward generation.' Thus, Christ sent His disciples to teach all nations : thus, the apostles ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ : the word suggesting that the truths which we announce, we are also to explain and apply. Thus also, whereever Paul went, he exhorted and entreated; his own summary of his ministry is, 'As we go we beseech men in Christ's stead, Be ye reconciled unto God.'
Here, then, we have in brief the inspired description of our calling. We are to proclaim the truth in God's name; we are to announce it in quiet talk ; we are to enforce it by argument, by explanations, by appeals to what we have ourselves felt, by earnest entreaty. There is a preaching that never speaks with authority, but questions and doubts on all things. There is a preaching that never reasons, but is always dogmatic or emotional. There is a preaching that never talks, but is ever stilted and formal. There is a preaching that is cold discussion, or bare announcement, and never entreats. Apostolic preaching was a combination of all these processes, saturated with prayers and tears.
* From a Sermon preached before the Baptist Missionary Society,
Observer, July 1, 71.
These statements of the work of Christian evangelists are, I hope, familiar to us all. It is part of their glory that they contain nothing new; and yet they rebuke theories and practices which are fouud on all sides. They tell us that it is the gospel we are to preach ; not science, or art, or ethical duties; not what we think on public questions, or even on subordinate points of theology, but what we know of essential truth. The gospel we are to preach, not to discover, or to manufacture, or to excogitate from our own consciousness. We are to preach the gospel ; not become pastors of the churches which our preaching may form ; not exhibit a gorgeous ritual, or repeat a solemn litany. We are simply to preach it, as men who feel its power, are convinced of its truth, and know that they have a divine authority for all they are saying. To this work we are to restrict ourselves when carrying out our Lord's commission. This is the command that is embalmed in the tenderest feelings of true disciples ; the one legacy which, besides His peace and the promise of His presence, He bequeathed to His Church until He comes again."
Biblical Criticism, Queries, &q.
FELLOWSHIP AND THE FELLOWSHIP.-No. IV. The first occurrence of the word fellowship in the New Testament is in Acts ii. 42, and there it is definitely " the fellowship.” We have already proved that the reference is not to that brotherly feeling for which the Church was proverbial ; also, that it does not include fellowship in apostolic doctrine, nor in prayers, nor in the breaking of bread; but that it refers solely to money or to the goods of this present life.
We have now to ascertain how far the Church is placed under law in the matter of putting together the fund, or common stock, out of which those in deserving need are to be supplied. As the ordinance first comes before us in Acts ii., let us endeavour to gather up all that can be learned from that chapter.
" And they attended steadfastly to the teaching of the Apostles, and the fellowship, and the breaking of the bread, and the prayers.” (Acts ii. 42.)
Some there are who tell us that this verse sets forth the acts of worship to be attended to every first day of the week, when the church assembles, in its church capacity, to worship God, and, also, that the order of occurrence must be that in which the several items are mentioned. But as the order of mention is, both in the New Testament and other writings, frequently not the order of occurrence, the latter part of this plea can never be demonstrated otherwise than by distinct apostolic testimony; which, we know, does not exist.
Others, who pay no regard to the order of mention, consider that the items specified are given as making up the church service to be observed every first day of the week, at some one meeting held for that purpose. If it be so, however, neither the verse nor the context gives information to that effect. As a statement of the worship of the church it is not complete ; there is no place found for singing, and the example of the Saviour connects the hymn of praise with the breaking of the bread, and Paul too finds a place for psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
It has been said that the word steadfastly applies to all the specified items, and, as we learn elsewhere, that the bread was broken every first day of the week, it follows that the rest were attended to at the same time. But
the argument is unsound. Steadfast attention to a number of specified duties or observances does not imply like frequency. A schoolboy steadfastly attends to English, French, writing and arithmetic, so long as he gives the requisite care to each, even though his English lessons come every day, his writing and arithmetic but twice in the week, and his French but once.
Every intelligent and able church “attends steadfastly" to preaching, baptism, the Lord's supper, and to discipline. But though the steadfastness applies to all and to each of the items specified, they are not engaged in with the same frequency. Every Lord's day we break the bread, but only once, and only on the Lord's day; preaching appertains to every day; baptism may be administered at any time; discipline only follows offences. But so long as the church attends to each in its proper place the whole are steadfastly attended to, though no two of the specified acts occur with the same frequency.
In Acts ii. we can find no catalogue of Lord's day observances, to be attended to at one and the same meeting of the church; nor can it ever be shown that the verse under consideration implies that those who were first in Christ Jesus in Jerusalem were instructed to observe its several particulars with the same frequency. On the first day of the week they attended, we doubt not, to the breaking of the bread, and at no other time, because weekly observance was intended. They would not meet to observe that ordinance in silence, but praise, prayer and teaching would come in to deepen the impression and elevate the soul. So, too, we find the apostles ordered, at least, at a subsequent period. But the Jerusalem Christians were daily with one accord in the temple, praising God.”
Praise, prayer and the teaching of the apostles (who were then with them) were not merely Lord's day blessings, but every day enjoyments. We cannot for one moment suppose that the intimation that they " attended steadfastly" to these duties and felicities strikes out all that appertains to the six days and embraces only the transactions of one meeting, held on the first day only. No! Their "attending steadfastly" to the prayers and the teaching of the apostles was no mere Lord's day business, and it would be well if ours were far less so than it is. And the like holds good in regard to the fellowship. It is of those first Christians in Jerusalem that we read that they steudfastly attended to the fellowship; which we have seen includes contribution for, and distribution to, the needing members of the church. Some say that “the fellowship is a Divine institution, to be observed on the first day of the week, and immediately associated with the breaking of the bread, and, therefore, only then to be attended to. But if so, as the distribution is as much the fellowship as the contribution, we must require that the disbursement be then, and only then, permitted. But was it so with the Jerusalem Christians ? There is no trace of anything of the sort. A multitude was distressed. Love moved to the selling of land and houses, that those who had might enable the church to meet the need of those who had not. Can anyone imagine the apostles, who acted as the first deacons of that vast church, saying “ You must contribute only on the first day, when we meet to break the bread. We shall hand round the bag, and if you cannot give then, or cannot be present then, you must not give in any other way nor at any other time, but you must reserve your several contributions till you can thus present them." No one can logically imagine anything of the sort, because the early chapters of the Acts clearly indicate a widely different state of things, and the liberty they had then is not now to be curtailed. Those who had estates sold them, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet. It is evident that
Observer, July 1, '71.
this was done when convenient and as needed, and that there were no arrangements requiring secret giving. The amount given by Ananias was known and announced. Nor was there any tax or fixed proportion; he was given to understand that he needed not to have given more than he pleased, and that the whole was under his own control. Their attending steadfastly to the fellowship, then, consisted not in a formal weekly contribution, but in continuing to supply and distribute when and as the existing circumstances required.
Let us not be understood as objecting to attending to the fellowship by means of a stated first of the week contribution. In favour of so doing we have much to say. As one method it is good, and in our time and circumstances, meeting as we do in many cases only once in the week, no other plan could take its place without loss. Our objection is to making that one contribution the only way, designating it “the fellowship, shutting out all other opportunities of contributing, and thus obstructing the flow of liberality. Evidently in Jerusalem it was not so restricted, and had it been the requirements of the people would either not have been met at all or not without considerable useless inconvenience. It may be asked, whether subsequently, at any rate, weekly contribution was not appointed ?
We thought to complete the investigation by this writing, but find space will not permit, and, therefore, the question must stand over till our next. Let us look fairly and fully at everything bearing upon the subject.
Some persons treat the Bible as if it were a collection of independent and unrelated fragments—an inspired album! That the context at all modifies or determines the sense of a passage is a thought that never occurs to them. People sometimes, in their prayers, thank God that He has made His word so plain " that he who runs may read.” This is professedly a quotation from Habakkuk ii. 2. There the words are: “ Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” What vision was this? It related to the captivity of the tribes of Judah and Bejamin by the Chaldeans. Why was it written? Because all the people were concerned in the burden of the vision: The prophet could reach but comparatively few with his voice, and he was commanded to write and publish his prophecy, that all might be instructed, and the warning be made permanent. Why was it made plain upon tables ?
6. That he may run that readeth it;" that when the appointed time for the fulfillment of the vision drew nigh, he who read what was written upon the tables so as to understand the meaning, might run and save his life. The object of the prophet in making the vision plain upon tables was not, that he that runs may read, but that he that reads may run. He was to read first, and then to run as the consequence of reading what was written. The reading and running were not to be going on at the same time ; but a man must first read very carefully, and then run very swiftly.
This text, then, correctly quoted, and looked at in the light of the context, does not favour a hasty and superficial treatment of the word of God : it does not justify the practice of those who run and read, and who expect in this
to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” God does not intend the careless and indolent to understand His word. He has commanded