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Observer, Nov. 1, 71.
or—third : if the gifts are revived by appointment to office (such as was the case with Timothy with setting churches in order), that this appointment will be found in the Scriptures, to enable disciples to recognise the gifts, as is done for the offices of elders and deacons.
Suppose that some of the gifts do now exist, whence do they derive their qualifications? We have seen that Timothy had qualifications for two classes of work, and that these were imparted in different manners ; the first, by direct inspiration ; the second, by apostolic instruction. Modern gifts do not derive theirs from inspiration, but by means open to every disciple. Were any now to preach or teach by inspiration, duty would require our subjection to their teaching, but proof would be necessary to establish the claim. If it is by instruction in the Divine record, this can be pointed out, so that disciples may learn what is the mind of the Spirit; for, if not found there the theory falls.
It has been contended that pastors and teachers continue in the ap. pointed office of elder, whose supposed duties are to teach and preach, but this requires proof. A writer, in the early part of this century, says,
A “ The work enjoined in the commission, however, was not to cease with the gifts of inspiration and miracles, but to devolve upon a succession of faithful men, who should be able to teach others—1 Tim. ii. 2." (? succession). “These are the standing and ordinary pastors and teachers whom Christ hath appointed stewards over His house, and who are en. gaged in executing this commission (?) until His second coming.”—Luke xii. 41. The writer of this extract does not believe in apostolic succession such as episcopacy teaches, but he appears to consider elders as derived through a succession, who have some tradition committed to them, and who are the standing preachers and teachers. Now his theory fails in this, that it is not required as a qualification for elders that they be apt to preach. Preaching forms no part of their official duties; indeed, there is no appointment for any office of preacher. Preaching seems to be devolved upon the broad basis of discipleship, and to be after the model of apostles. Preaching is only once named in connection with the elder, and that is an exceptional case. (1 Tim. v. 17.) The advice of Paul to the Thessalonian believers, prove all things,” must be the motto now, and nothing should be pleaded that will not stand the proof. To this test must be subjected the appearance of the gifts in modern times.
But to return to the starting point. Verse 13 presents the time of action—"Till we all come,” &c. Now if the unity of the faith is not established, then the gifts continue ; but if this is come, the gifts are done away. So that it is not the need for more evangelizing and teaching which establishes the need for the gifts, but, Have they fulfilled their mission ? If so, there is no further use for them; yet there is need that disciples both preach and teach.
The Scriptures containing the writings of apostles have in them all that is necessary to equip disciples for the Lord's service, into which they have entered. And seeing this work is put upon them, the one grand question for them is, How should they fulfil the Lord's purpose ?-best by exhibiting in their union a firm front to the enemy, and at the same time attract the attention of the world lying in the wicked one by an exhibition in themselves of the character of the God of love. In this they would help to realise the prayer of the great Mediator, " that they all may be one," " that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. This knowledge is to be imparted to the world by the proof which disciples give in their loving holy UNION. This is the grand miracle to gain mankind,
turning them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified through faith which is in Jesus the Christ. Let disciples proclaim the apostles' gospel ; let them show the witness of apostles, and in their union show the testimony of the Spirit, that those who were formerly “ living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another,” are now transformed into a compact band of loving hearts. Thus will the double witness-bearing continue which is to convert the world.-(John xv. 26.)
T. W. differs from our series of articles on Ministry, in so far as the relation of Evangelists to the church is concerned. He holds that “ their action is in the world not in the Church.” Now, there is a measure of truth in this assertion; but applied as he applies it, in the general, to all evangelists and to all churches, it is supported neither by fact nor precept—the Bible contains nothing to warrant it. If it were said, that in à fully organized and duly ordered church, elders and deacons are its only officers, that an evangelist, as such, has no place, work, or office therein, we consent. And further, if it be said that evangelists have not committed to them the oversight of those churches, generally, which are not fully set in order and have not yet an ordained eldership, we also concur. But, if it be intimated that evangelists have to do only with sinners; that going to a place where a church is not, preaching to the unconverted, baptizing those who believe, and forming them, on a given day, into a church, includes all that an evangelist, by virtue of the work covered by his designation, can do—if this be intimated, then we ask for proof from the New Testament, and, until it is produced, cannot admit that an arrangement which seems so faulty, injurious and unwise can have had, or can ever have, the Lord's approval. Take a case: an evangelist labours in a place where the truth is not known, and in a few weeks converts a dozen persons. Having iinmersed them into Christ, he brings them together on the next Lord's Day, spreads the table, declares them the church of God in that place, tells them as much as he can of their duties and privileges, and, at the close of the meeting declares that his work as an evangelist is done, so far as they are concerned. The thing is too absurd to admit of serious thought. That church cannot ordain deacons and elders, for the men must first be proved; some provisional oversight is needful; it may be to the continuance of the church, but, if not to its continuance, most certainly to its prosperity. And to whom shall the newly made converts look, but to the man who has begotten them by the Gospel and brought them into the church? He who has discipled them is certainly bound to teach them the "all things," whatsoever the Lord and His apostles have instituted, and to " set in order the things that are wanted," and to ordain elders, so soon as they, enlightened by the doctrine of the apostles, discern the qualifications in certain of their number.
Turning to the New Testament we discover the duties of the evan. gelists by learning what they did and what they were required to do.
But,” says T. W., “ Timothy had certain duties assigned to him in addition to the work of an evangelist.” Indeed! We would like proof rather than assertion. It is replied, " If setting in order churches had been part of his work, as an evangelist, he would have been qualified by inspiration." But this is only another assertion of which no shade of
Observer, Nov. 1, '71
proof can be given. Now it certainly will not do to make a baseless assertion and then prove it by another equally baseless. T. W. seems to think of the gift received by primitive evangelists as a fixed quantity, precisely the same in every case. Of this there is no proof. We have no reason to suppose that to any one there was gifted more than he needed. One man might require both tongues and prophecy, and the gift of healing superadded. In another locality an evangelist might need neither the gift of tongues nor that of healing. In one case an evangelist might receive instruction as to his work in the Church from an apostle or even from an ordinary prophet, while in another he would need immediate revelation. To assume the opposite of this and to build a conclusion upon that assumption, is like erecting a house on a foundation less substantial than sand. It is said that Timothy, in Ephesus, was not acting as an evangelist, but as the representative of an apostle. If so, then we cannot ordain elders, unless we have present the representative of an apostle ! But there is no evidence that an apostle, as an apostle, was ever represented by any one. So far as Timothy acted for Paul, it was in regard to Paul's work as an evangelist, and not at all in that which is peculiar to. the apostle. From what Timothy, Titus, Philip and other evangelists did we must learn what should now be done. See British Harbinger, May, 1870.
THE GREAT COMMISSION OF JESUS CHRIST TO HIS
TWELVE APOSTLES;. We have come to expect something good whenever President Milligan writes a book, and in this volume we are not disappointed. The only thing to complain of is the price, which is too high. The work consists of a little over 200 crown 8vo. pages. The following will indicate the style of the book
But in all our efforts to convert the world, let us beware that we depart not from the example and instructions of the inspired Apostles. So long as they sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, so long will the laws which they have given to the Church be of binding obligation on all the followers of Christ. If, then, we would labour successfully in our efforts to turn many to righteousness, we must, like the Apostles, demonstrate to the people 1. That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. 2. That He was buried. 3. That He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Cor. xv. 1, 4.)
4. That He has been exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour ; and that He has become the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him. (Heb. v. 9.)
And by this, I do not mean to say that the whole work of making disciples has now been committed to the Church. Certainly not. God has reserved to Himself much the greater part of the work, both in making disciples and in edifying the Church. So Paul clearly teaches in the third chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians. “ Paul,” he says, “may plant and Apollos may water : but it is God that giveth the increase.” And, to show his comparative estimate of the Divine and the human elements in this evan. gelical work, he adds: “So, then, neither is he that planteth, anything, neither he that watereth ; but God that giveth the increase.”
This testimony is clear and conclusive ; and it is, moreover, in beautiful harmony with the promise of Christ, that He would be with the Apostles and all their faithful converts and co-workers, even to the end of the world. (See, also, John xv. 5; 2 Cor. iii. 5 ; Phil. ii. 12, 13; Heb. ii. 4, xiii. 20, 21, etc.) But be it remembered “that God's ways are not as
our ways, nor are His thoughts as our thoughts.” Such matters are too high for us.
It is not, I think, assuming too much to say that we know none of God's works or operations perfectly.
* Jast published by the author, R. Milligan, President of the College of the Bible, Kentucky University.
Observer, Nov. 1, 71.
We understand many of them in part, but only in part. We see, for instance that He makes the herbs of the field grow and bring forth fruits and flowers, by furnishing to them in various ways the necessary amount of heat, moisture, and electricity, together with their constituent elements of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, etc. But is this all that He does ? Who can tell ? What botanist can define and describe for us all the springs and avenues of vegetable life ?
Or take, if you please, the animal economy? Is there any less mystery here? It is with very great pleasure and satisfaction that we trace the food taken into the stomach through the various processes of chymification, chylification, etc. But what physiologist has ever been able to explain satisfactorily the more recondite and ultimate processes of animal life?
And as we ascend still higher in the scale of being, is it not further manifest that mysteries multiply? What living philosopher can now fully explain even the phenomena of his own spirit, not to speak of the infinitely more profound and mysterious operations of that Spirit that garnished the heavens, and that brought again from the dead the body of the Lord Jesus ?
It seems to me that a being who does not know himself, who does not comprehend the essence of his own spirit, and who cannot perfectly explain even those ordinary operations by which it moves his body, and gives life, energy, and direction to all his members—such a being should, I think, be very cautious in his attempts to set limits to the power and operations of Jehovah. If God has created the universe, He of course knows how to govern it ; how to touch any spriug or cord that may be necessary to produce any desired effect. And if all created means, providentially directed and applied, are not sufficient to accomplish the given end or purpose, He has in that event but to speak and it is done, but to command and it stands fast.
We have, therefore, no controversy with any one touching the workings and opera. tions of the Spirit of God in the regeneration of man, provided that he does not, by his false theories and vain speculations, contradict the word of God or make void the means which God has Himself provided, in infinite wisdom and love for the salvation of mankind ; but this much we may and we do affirm :
1. That Gud is no respecter of persons. (acts x. 14; Rom. ii. 11, etc.) And, there, fore, whatever he does for the salvation of one man, He is willing and anxious to dounder like conditions and circumstances, for the salvation of all men.
2. That the word of God is the good seed of the kingdom, by means of which the Holy Spirit begets a new life in the soul. This is proved by the following passages :
(1.).“I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have many instructors in Christ, ye have not many fathers : for in Christ Jesus, I have begotten you through the Gospel.” (1 Cor. iv. 14, 15.) From this it is very evident that all the members of the Corinthian Church had been begotten by means of the Gospel. But the Holy Spirit is the author of the Gospel, and hence this passage serves to explain, at least in part, how it is that the Spirit begets a new life in the soul of every convert in Christ.
(2.)“ Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures." (James i. 18.) Here the Father is said to beget Christians by means of the word of truth. But He evidently does this by His Spirit: for, says Christ, “it is the Spirit that quickeneth.” (John vi. 63.)
(3.) “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth, through the Spirit, unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently, being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Pet. i. 22, 23.) From this we learn that all the Christians of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bythynia, were begotten by the Holy Spirit through the word of truth. And surely what was true of these, and of the Corinthian brethren, and of all the Hebrew converts who were scattered abroad, is true also of all Christiaus at all times, and under all circumstances. (But see, also, Luke viii. 4, 15; John vi. 44, 45, etc.)
3. That there is not in all the Bible a single instance of any one's being begotten or regenerated without the word of truth; nor is there given in the Holy Scriptures any evidence that an apostle or prophet ever prayed that any one might be baptized in the Holy Spirit in order to his conversion.
Why, then, should erring and fallible men attempt to be wise above that which is written? Why neutralize and set aside the power of the word of truth, as God's own appointed means of conversion ? Why not preach the word as did the apostles and prophets, and leave things that are not revealed to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ? Why leave undone that part of the work which God has assigned to us, and engage in the discussion of those profound and recondite matters which He has reserved to Him
Observer, Nov. 1, '71,
self? What would you think of the farmer who would cease to plough and sow, and still hope to reap an abundant harvest, by simply investigating the mysterious processes of vegetable life, which lie far away beyond the reach of all human philosophy ? Surely such a course of procedure would indicate on the part of any man a great want of praco tical wisdom. And yet this is just what a great many learned men have been long doing in their misguided zeal and efforts to reap a harvest of immortal souls. They have in a measure ceased to sow the good seed of the kingdom; and they have too often instructed inquiring souls to wait until the Spirit of God sees fit to renew them by its own direct operations. Thousands, it is to be feared, have followed their unauthorized instructions, who are to-day beyond the reach of hope and mercy. God said to them, believe the Gospel and obey Christ in all things which He has commanded. But their teachers and religious guides said to them, Wait, wait, wait! They did wait, until at length hell became their portion.
It is time, therefore, that all such speculations should cease, and that all who preach the Gospel should preach it in all its purity and simplicity, as did the apostles of Christ
. Let this be done by all in the name of the Lord Jesus, and times of refreshing will come again from the presence of the Lord.
5. Finally, we may learn from these premises that there is imposed on every one who hears the Gospel a very obligation to receive and to obey it. For if Christ has by the grace of God tasted death for every man, and if He has ent the Holy Spirit to convince all of sin, and of rigliteousness, and of judgment; then surely it is not a light matter to neglect
, or to treat with indifference the offers of pardon, and justification, and sanctification, and redemption through the infinite merits of His own atoning blood. The man who wilfully does this imperils his own salvation, and is in danger of eternal condemnation. " For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever, he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul who will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts iii. 22, 23).
It is an awful thing, then, for a poor, helpless, perishing sinner to reject, even fors day or an hour, the overtures of Him who has all authority in heaven and in earth, and who will certainly judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom, when He “ shall come in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel ; who shall be punished with an everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power, when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe,” (2 Thess. i. 7, 10.) Haste, then,
Haste, O sinner, to be wise;
All the paths of death to shun. The sections of the book are headed-Christ's Authority and His promised presence with His Apostles, and also with His Church, the end of the Christian Age- The Commission proper—Make disciples of all the Nations-Baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit- The proper Action of Baptism ; Christ intended to express by the word Baptize.—Who are to be Baptized ? - Meaning of the phrase, Into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit"_" Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you"-Rules relating to the proper use, application, and authority of the Holy Scriptures.--Conclusion.
Wisdom warns thee from the skies
THE TWELVE TRIBES* A PAMPHLET of thirty-two pages, price fourpence, can be easily obtained and soon read by those who desire to look into the subject of which it treats. In the present instance the author has a subject of considerable interest, and shows that he has largely canvassed the Holy Oracles before
* The Twelve Tribes. Their relations to each other, to Palestine, to the nations, and to the Christi containing proof that the Ten Tribes were not lost, but well known throughout the mosaic Age.—sy Edward