Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Observer, Oct. 1, '71.

before the time of Tertullian, who, while he testifies to the practice, was himself rather opposed to it. As an established order of the Church, therefore, it belongs to the third century, when its use, and the mode of its administration, and the whole theory of it as a Christian ceremony, were necessarily moulded by the baptismal theology of the time. A circumstance which ought to be distinctly kept in view in every consideration of the subject."

of

Here time compels us to conclude. So long as the Doctor keeps to the New Testament, in reference to baptism, he is right. Looking there he says it was immersion--it was preceded by faith-it consummated a process--it required no official administrator-it was into Christ and for the remission of sins. Infant baptism, he intimates, is not in the New Testament, neither in precept nor example; is not apostolic in its origin, there being no trace of it before the last part of the second century. Yet he agrees with the twenty-seventh Article, which says that "the baptism young children is in anywise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ." But why abandon the Apostles and depend upon the Fathers, whom he before entirely abandoned, telling us we are to follow them only so far as they followed Christ and the apostles? But the apostles did not deem the baptism of babes "most agreeable with the institution of Christ." Had they done so they must have practised and enjoined it; which, Dr. Jacob admits, they did not. Here, then, we find a considerable blot upon his fair pages, an inconsistency no doubt unperceived by himself. But that very defect gives additional strength to his testimony as to the entire absence of baby baptism from the New Testament and from apostolic practice. He desires to retain it; he even thinks that there is in Scripture the fundamental idea from which, in post-apostolic time, it was developed; yet has he to confess that "it is not mentioned in the New Testament; that "no instance of it is recorded there:" that "no allusion is made to its effects;" and that "no direction is given for its administration." Such testimony ought to weigh with every candid reader, and no doubt will tell upon such.

[ocr errors]

And now I have done, only adding that if we were believers in the possession of living bodies by the spirits of dead men (which we are not), and if asked whose spirit moved the hand of Dr. Jacob in writing the greater part of his book, the answer would be-that of Alexander Campbell. In certain passages one almost feels that we must be listening to our departed and much beloved brother. I have been asked whether the Doctor may not be indebted to us for light which shines in his pages. I cannot say there are far less likely things; and it may be that his book has been made possible by our previous advocacy of certain of its great truths. But be that as it may, this is certain, that God speaks by whom He selects, and that He will raise up voices in most unlikely quarters, and accomplish by other agencies what cannot be directly reached from our position. Herein is our hope. It is God's work; He is the great worker; He suffers delay, but cannot fail in the end.

"His purposes shall ripen fast."

Which may He hasten, and to His name be the glory! Amen.

Observer, Oct. 1, '71.

MODERN APOSTLES.*

"And thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars."-Rev. ii.

THE primitive churches were greatly troubled with men who claimed to be apostles without having received any divine commission-"false apostles, deceitful workers." These men laboured to undermine the authority of the Apostles of Christ and introduce the leaven of false doctrine among the disciples. They found their way to Ephesus. But the Church there refused to acknowledge their pretensions-unmasked them in the light of truth, proving their assumed apostolate to be an imposition and a lie.

Eighteen centuries have elapsed since then. But there are not wanting, even now, men who will palm themselves off as apostles upon all who are simple enough, or rather silly enough, to receive them. We have Mormon apostles, and also the apostles of the Catholic Apostolic Church. When in Newcastle-on-Tyne lately, I received a letter from the Catholic Apostolic evangelist there. It was written to show me the necessity of abandoning my present hold of truth, being sealed by living apostles and prepared for the coming of the Lord. I was, moreover, warned that I had no time to lose-for the remaining apostles were now far advanced in life: and that, consequently, the coming of the Lord must be near at hand. I called upon the gentleman, thanked him for his very benevolent intentions; but stated that I was far from satisfied with his remarks in reference to living apostles. It so happened that just at that time a meeting was advertised, to be addressed by an apostle from the Salt Lake City. I called his attention to this fact, and asked how I was to know whether his apostles or those from the Salt Lake were the true ones, or whether either party were true. Evidence clear and undeniable alone could suffice under these circumstances. Those Mormon apostles, I was told, were immoral men, of which he had ample evidence. But the apostles of the Catholic Apostolic Church were men of blameless morality: men who, through a long course of years, had diligently studied the Scriptures, and carefully compared them with the original. This, however, could not be accepted as proof of their apostleship. For it was pointed out that, upon his own shewing, all I had to do was simply to live a life of blameless morality before men, through a long course of years diligently to study the Scriptures, and compare them carefully with the original, to stand forth before the world a full fledged apostle. The gentleman became irritated-told me he had written, sincerely desiring to help me; but it was perfectly evident that I was not prepared to learn. Whereupon he summarily dismissed me with his benediction. He did not do this, however, until I had brought before him certain criteria which the New Testament furnishes, and by which the true apostle will ever be distinguished from the false.

An apostle must have SEEN THE LORD. Hence Paul's language when his apostleship was challenged, "Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?' (2 Cor. ix. 1.)

[ocr errors]

An apostle must be ABLE TO SUBSTANTIATE HIS CLAIMS BY MIRACLES. Hence the same Apostle, in vindication of his apostleship, could appeal to "the signs" by which his ministry was confirmed. (2 Cor. xii. 11, 12.) An apostle must possess THE POWER TO BESTOW THE HOLY SPIRIT BY THE This was a power which no evangelist possessed,

LAYING ON OF HANDS.

[ocr errors]

* From a recent address to the Church in Roxburgh Place, Edinburgh, by John Strang.

Observer, Oct. 1, 71.

which money could not buy, but vested in the apostles of Jesus Christ alone." (Gal. iii. 3-5, compare with Acts viii. 12-20; xix. 1-6.)

There is no man living to whom these criteria will apply. The Lord sent forth but twelve apostles. They are still in office. Though dead, they yet speak. And he that is of God heareth them; he that is not of God, heareth not them. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."

[ocr errors]

I may also say that when John saw in a vision the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, he informs us that “ the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb"-the best proof possible that the apostles of the nineteenth century had not entered into the divine plan, up to the time when the Apocalypse was sealed, and the canon of Holy Scripture closed.

I have dwelt at some length upon this question, because it is in keeping with the passage before us; because existing circumstances seem to require it; and that every disciple of Jesus may be able to dispose of the question of modern apostleship whenever it arises in his path.

"Nevertheless,"-nevertheless, NEVERTHELESS—"I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love."

The church at Ephesus had one serious defect. Their first love had waxed cold, and was fast dying out. O, how stands it with us? Ah, my brother, my sister, what about " thy first love?" We remember the time when we were pricked to the heart, and trembled under the burden of our sins. "The pains of hell gat hold upon us," as conviction wrought its terrible work in our souls. The past filled us with anguish—the future with dismay. And we will never forget our joy when the love of God broke in upon our souls: and when, by faith, we beheld "the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." Gratitude-pure, warm, fervent -came welling up from the deep fountains of our hearts, and our souls swelled high as we sang

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the pleasures of sin I resign:
My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour, art thou,
If ever I love thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

I love thee, because thou hast first loved me,

And purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow,
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.'

Even nature seemed to undergo a divine consecration. The fields seemed
adorned with a deeper and richer green.
The flowers sent forth a sweeter

fragrance. The chorus of birds in the early morning burst upon our ears like the melody of angels. The very stars seemed to speak to us so lovingly of "our Father who art in heaven." Old things had passed away, and behold, all things had become new. Formerly we never prayed. But prayer then became a delight. Formerly the very thought of being alone with God was irksome to us. But then we found our seasons of sweetest and purest enjoyment in communion with God. And in our zeal for the salvation of souls, we would gladly have carried all the world in our arms to the foot of the cross, had we been equal to the mighty work. All these blessed experiences the words " thy first love" will at once recall.

Brother, sister, what about " thy first love" now? kept the vows of thine espousals? O, let us be faithful here. It is a vital matter. Do our hearts condemn us?

How hast thou with ourselves Then, God is

Observer, Oet. 1, 71.

greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things. If our love be gone, our condition before God is sad indeed. Satan has triumphed. Our spiritual life has been poisoned at its very source. The Lord have mercy upon us.

We may put forth great efforts in the Lord's work: we may advertise lectures, and circulate Old Paths till the day of doom: we may practise the strictest morality: we may, in our zeal for truth, lead a crusade against Mormonism, Irvingism, and all Sectarianism: amid reproach and shame we may adhere till the hour of death to our Confession of Faith in the name of Jesus; but, if below all this there be not pure, simple, genuine love to Christ, it will all go for nothing. Love is the very life of the soul. It is the grand, distinguishing, differential principle of the Christian religion. Without it all we do for God will be dry, cold, formal, mechanical, and powerless, Though we should speak in all the languages of men, and with all the eloquence of angels: though we had the gift of prophecy, and understood all mysteries, and all knowledge: though we had all faith, so that we could remove mountains: though we should bestow all our goods to feed the poor: yea, although, in stubborn adherence to our convictions, we should give our bodies to be burned it would profit us nothing—

WITHOUT LOVE.

MR. GLADSTONE IN A FIX.

THE Government is clearly placed in a difficulty: it has pronounced itself to be in favour of religious equality in the colonies, and it has done something towards its promotion at home; but the misfortune is, that while it is willing to apply the principle, to the fullest extent abroad, it stops short of the application of it at home. The Premier himself is compelled to make this admission, when replying to Mr. Charley in the House of Commons on the 17th ult. Mr. Charley had been reading the West Indian despatches, from which we gave some extracts in our last number. He found therein the remarkable words of Earl Granville to Governor Rawson," that the principle of religious equality is inconsistent with, and opposed to, the principle of Establishment." Mr. Charley, very naturally, wanted to know which of these two inconsistent principles Mr. Gladstone intended to carry out. In his reply, Mr. Gladstone spoke as follows:

"The phrase 'religious equality' admits of different interpretations. You may say that religious equality prevails conditionally or unconditionally. In a country where there is an Established Church it cannot be said that absolute and abstract religious equality prevails. Notwithstanding that, it can and may be said that a substantial and practical religious equality, at any rate, to a very great extent prevails. Now I see plainly that when my noble friend wrote this despatch, he spoke of the principle of religious equality as applicable to the colonies, where really the principle of an Establishment has never had anything but a very partial and shadowy existence. Moreover, he had before him the great example set by the party to which the hon. and learned member belongs in the case of the island of Jamaica. In that case the principle of religious equality had been laid down in the most stringent manner in which it is capable of application. That became, I may say, the model case to which the policy of other colonies, and especially of the West Indian colonies, was to conform, and, therefore, adverting to the mode in which it was understood that the principle of religious equality had been applied to Jamaica, my

Observer, Oct. 1, 71.

noble friend said that the principle of religious equality is inconsistent with, and opposed to, the principle of Establishment.' That has nothing whatever to do with the principle of feligious equality as it subsists and is understood at home. If, therefore, the hon. and learned member wishes to know whether we adhere to the terms used by the Foreign Minister, for colonial purposes, I say we do adhere to them. If he wishes to know what principle I, for one, and, I believe, I may speak for my colleagues, intend to act upon with regard to this country, I say that those principles may be gathered from the speeches which we have had an opportunity of delivering in the present session on the motion of my hon. friend the member for Bradford."

The meaning of this is sufficiently plain it is that Englishmen abroad may have perfect equality, while Englishmen at home must put up with scandalous inequality. We wonder how long Mr. Gladstone thinks this state of things can last!

Liberator.

FACTS

ABOUT TITHES.

The following useful summary of tithe history is from a letter from Mr. George Tatham, of Leeds, in the British Friend :

-

At our last Yearly Meeting the subject of the payment of rent-charge in lieu of tithe was discussed, and deferred until next year.

The question is somewhat complicated, and worthy of efforts for its simplification, in order that it may be understood by our members generally. Tithe rent-charge being of a like origin and nature, and for the same purposes, differing only in mode of collection, is essentially the same thing as tithes, and may be treated as such.

The history of the system shows

1. That there is no scriptural authority for their imposition.

2. That the Jews at the present day have none.

3. That for the first 300 years nearly tithes or endowments of any were unknown in the Christian Church.

kind

4. That the first fund was for the use of the poor, and was distributed by deacons and elders.

5. That bishops then got the management, and began to devote a portion to the support of poor ministers.

6. That then all ministers were paid out of this poor's fund, and large amounts being needed, tenths of the income were recommended, mixed with promises and threats if less was given.

7. That about the year 1000 the poor's fund was determined in fixed proportions, namely:-One quarter to the poor; one quarter to the repairs and building of religious edifices; one quarter to the ministers; one quarter to the bishops, who at this time provided for the ministers.

8. That when the ministers no longer lived with the bishops in monasteries, &c., the division was made-One-third to the poor; one-third for repairs, &c., of buildings; one-third for the ministers.

9. That ministers were supported in ecclesiastical abbeys, &c., and the poor more generally in lay abbeys, &c., and to either of these classes the people contributed as they chose, generally preferring the lay abbeys.

10. That in 1180 Pope Alexander III. forbade the people to make appropriations without the consent of the bishops in whose diocese they lived, and in 1200 Pope Innocent III. enforced by censure that payment be made by each one in his own parish.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »