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Observer, Jan. 15, '76.
DISCUSSION UPON PARDON OF SINS AND BAPTISM.
DISCUSSION UPON THE PARDON OF SINS AND BAPTISM.
"JESUS did it did it all." So Mr. M'Intosh tells us. But did He? The answer must be according to what "it" stands for. Pardon is a result not of one cause, but of several, including
1. THE LOVE OF GOD-Originating cause.
2. THE DEATH OF JESUS-Meritorious and Procuring cause.
3. FAITH AND REPENTANCE-Qualifying cause. 4. BAPTISM-Receiving cause.
If the words "Jesus did it all" mean that He did everything requisite to pardon, the assertion is incorrect. He did not do the Heavenly Father's part. He did not Believe and Repent for sinners, nor was He Baptized for them. If our friend merely means that Jesus, completely and for ever, did that which none of us could do; that all of merit and procurement was finished by Him, so that pardon is wholly of grace, without purchase, and irrespective of deserving act or work on our part, he only says what we firmly hold. Let it, then, be understood at the onset that we agree in giving to the Lord Jesus Christ ALL the honour and merit of our salvation. The ALL, then, that Jesus did does not include faith, repentance and baptism, and that He did all that He did leaves entirely untouched the question, whether God has ordained that pardon shall be received on believing or subsequently in the act of baptism.
To disbelieve God is a great wrong, and this wrong led to man's expulsion from the tree of life, and brought death upon all men. As man fell by unbelief he is restored by faith. But as he did not fall by unbelief alone, he is not restored by faith alone. Faith "alone" is named in the N. T. but once, and then is said to be dead, because alone. A dead faith will save no one. Note the steps in man's fall.
1. Falsehood Preached "Ye shall not surely die."
2. God Disbelieved-Falsehood accepted. 3. Change of Mind-As to God.
4. The Unbelief perfected by Violation of a positive command.
By retracing these steps the sinner comes back to God, to pardon, and to the hope of life eternal.
1. Truth Preached-Christ died for our sins. 2. Faith The Truth believed.
3. Repentance Change of mind Godward and Christward.
4. Baptism into Him, into His death, and into remission of sins.
As, then, in the one case Unbelief did not
result in exclusion from the tree of life till perfected by an act of disobedience, so in man's recovery God appoints the perfecting of faith by obedience; which is not a work of merit, but simply an act of faith, leaving the pardon then received purely unmerited and solely of grace. The faith, which is perfected by the baptism, is itself the cause of that baptism; and without it valid baptism could not be. When thus perfected, and not alone, the faith only, and not the act that perfected it, is counted for righteousness. Therefore, as friend M'Intosh puts it, "It is all salvation by grace through faith.' Were
it not that space forbids, it would be well to requote all his texts on faith (as "Thy faith has saved thee," He that hath the Son of God hath life") for the purpose of showing them. preciously true in view of the foregoing, and more applicable to the plan of salvation unfolded by the Apostles and reaffirmed by the Disciples (whom our friend is lovingly endeavouring to correct) than to the theory adopted and propounded by him. This being the case, his first proposition, "The pardon of sins is received by the repentant sinner whenever he believes in the Lord Jesus Christ," is without proof. Our friend must linger somewhat longer. We can stay a little here with profit, before he advances to "the place and purpose of baptism." It is not a little remarkable that so many of his proof texts were uttered under the old dispensation, and before the baptism embraced by this discussion was instituted. Consequently, were it certain that he rightly interprets such words as "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life," and that then, when the baptism now under consideration was not instituted, they were applicable in his sense, it would not follow that subsequently under a new dispensation, when a new baptism had been ordained, that faith was not to be perfected by baptism, nor that remission was not associated with the act that perfected the faith.
Our friend is struck, in reading the gospels, by the constant occurrence of the word faith. But why so? Do we not live by faith every day of our life? As an illustration-two men are stricken with disease for which no remedy has been discovered, and from which none have recovered. They expect to die. But a physician appears with a newly-found remedy and guarantees perfect cure. One patient has no faith in the doctor, refuses the remedy, and dies; the other has full conviction that the medicine will save if taken strictly according to the prescription, takes it and is saved. The one man is lost by unbelief, the other is saved by faith. But is he saved so soon as he believes in the doctor and in his cure? Certainly not! He
is saved by faith, when that faith impels him to apply the remedy, and not before, and not otherwise. No wonder, then, that so much is attributed to faith.
That our friend may come fairly up to the mark when next we hear from him, this question is submitted: Can he find in the Bible an instance in which God, having given testimony associated with a command, has counted faith as perfected so long as the act of obedience commanded and possible is unperformed? If he cannot produce such he should abandon that idea of saving faith which makes it to consist solely of assent, conviction or confidence, irrespective of obedience in any overt act associated with it by the word of God.
Mr. M'Intosh asks us to study Heb. xii. Presuming that he means the previous chapter it may be well to turn to it.
1. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain; by which he obtained witness that he was righteous." Not by faith alone, but by an act of faithby faith he offered the right kind of sacrifice.
2. "By faith Noah
prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." He became "heir of the righteousness," not by "faith alone," but by building an ark by faith.
3. "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should afterwards receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out not knowing whither he went." He "went out" by faith. Faith doing; perfecting itself by the act commanded. Had he not gone, however much he might have believed, he would have been condemned, not justified. He might have had faith enough to make him tremble; so had the devils, but such faith brought no righteousness. "By faith Abraham when he was tried offered up Isaac." "Was not Abraham, our father, justified by works, when he offered Isaac, his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was his faith made perfect. And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
Coming down to the days of the Saviour, as His words on believing have been cited, it is seen that salvation by believing on Him, even then, implied more than an act of the mind. "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees
Observer, Jan. 15, '76.
they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the Synagogue." (John xii. 42.) But the Saviour had said-" Fear not them that kill the body""Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." (Mat. x.) Add to this-"If thou shalt confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Rom. x. 9, 10.) Thus the rulers, who believed on Him, belong to the class whom He will deny, seeing that through fear of man they denied Him by witholding confession. They were then not saved the moment they believed, and our friend's first proposition is disproved.
In conclusion. "He came unto his own and His own received Him not; but as many as received Him to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them who believed on His name, which were born, not of the blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John i. 12.) This was written years after the power, or privilege, had been accepted by the many who had believed on Him, by completing the process, by a birth out of the water. His own people did not generally receive Him, but a remnant did. Receiving Him" is defined as believing on His name; and those who thus believed received " power to become sons of God." But what one already is he cannot receive power to become. Therefore, they were not children of God by faith alone, but believing on Jesus they had the privilege of becoming sons according to the commission given by the Saviour to His Apostles, and indicated in His instruction to Nicodemus. Embracing this privilege, they were born of God, from above, of water and the Spirit; thus entering into a new relationship to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; being also thereby translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son.
THE THRONE OF POWER.-No. II.
THERE was a sapphire throne in ancient time,
Observer, Jan. 15, '76
Shut out the world! unclose the inner eye,
In glories without measure-without end.
The ancient ladder by the Patriarch seen
From Him in whom all creatures live and move.
The Prophet's servant felt his spirit fail,
The legions and their chariots stood revealed,
'Twas in the year that King Uzziah died,
Saw the great temple and its shining Lord,
For hosts etherial find it life to sing
The holiness and glory of the King.
There is a power-an essence-veiled from sight
By splendour of insufferable light.
In that excess of spiritual fire
All finite creatures surely would expire.
Moses might only see the lingering trail
Of fading glory, lest his flesh should fail.
Hence He who sometimes showed His form and face
Is that same Lord who came from parted skies,
Kingdoms of force and fraud collapse and fly.
God builds His own eternity in walls,
Fair are the fields within the holy land,
In whose infinity of love and light
The discords and the shadows pass from sight,
No refuge from the terrors which are rife,
Slave markets still are open, war still blows
And worse than all in lands where light from heaven-
THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST A PICTURE.
THE hour spent in gazing into a painting (now on exhibition), by E. Goodwyn Lewis, has not been wasted. It is easy to look upon the canvas till the picture is forgotten and one is lost in contemplation of its wonderful reality.
The painting (eight feet by five) presents a deeply interesting group of spectators, over three hundred in number, affording ample room for study, and so placed as to obviate all appearance of crowding. The point selected for the scene is one of the fords of the Jordan; a small winding gorge, between rocks, the sterile mountains of Moab rising in the back ground and glistening, as in bright eastern sunlight, with the snow-capped peak of Hermon in the distance. The filling up of the outline and the combination of light and shade produce a rare and beautiful effect.
The chief feature of the picture is, of course, the baptism itself. The artist has studied the only authentic records of the scene, and he agrees with Dean Stanley, who writes, "There can be no question
that the original form of baptism, the very meaning of the word itself, was complete immersion in the deep baptismal waters." We were pleased to find a daily paper, devoted considerably to State Church interests, writing, "So realistic is the whole scene, so life-like do the principal actors appear, and so natural is the grouping of the many other figures, that it is difficult to imagine it not a faithful representation of what really took place. It is in fact a very striking illustration of one of the most interesting passages of New Testament history; for the artist has strictly adhered to the Scriptural account of the baptism."
The baptiser is in the act of raising the Saviour out of the water, the head and chest being above the surface. A glory, from the heavens, streams upon the upturned face, only partly extending over the head of John, as if intimating that it came solely on account of the baptized and only, in any measure, fell upon the immerser as he stood in contact with Him. The light is soft, yet bright. The countenances of the two central figures beautifully contrast. It occurred to us, whether that of John was not a little too old; but, perhaps not, as we have to deal with the kindly, stern and reverential prophet, whose work was in the waters, whose garments were rough, and who was as little like a fastidiously gotup clergyman as he was unlike almost anything we could name. The face of John is well described as "full of solemn awe, as if oppressed with the solemnity of the act he had just performed on One whose shoe latchet he was not worthy to unloose." But how different the expression of the Saviour! There is seen gentleness, calmness, something of the Divine; sorrow, too, is there; but not the deep outlines of deepest anguish, such as we behold when, in another painting, He is seen coming forth from the judgment hall.
We do thank Mr. Lewis for this painting. He has departed from the favourite line of painters, who have painted baptismal scenes, and (perhaps at the risk of popularity) been true to the facts. The picture is sold, with what advantage to the arstist we know not. It is to be engraved upon steel by W. H. Simmons, and we may, therefore, in that form soon adorn our homes. Those who can afford the outlay might certainly spend their money in a worse way than that of making their walls preach of the baptism of Him, who said, "Thus it behoveth us to fulfil all righteousness."
REVISION OF THE
VERSION OF THE BIBLE.
TO THE REVISERS.-Gentlemen,-I am much interested in your work, which is undertaken not before it was greatly needed. I do not, however, know very much as to what you have yet accomplished. Dr. Angus, it seems, has been telling tales out of school, perhaps not offensively nor improperly. It appears that you have not altogether a dull time, even bishops of your number do not err by excess of gravity, but rather enliven the party by occasional pleasantry; notwithstanding that reproducing the words of the Spirit, in our tongues, is a grave and serious business. Upon some of your sayings and
Observer, Jan. 15, '76.
doings I venture brief, but not unkindly, comment. Dr. Angus says:—
What were the views of our modern translators? How far might they confide in them, and how far might they trust them? It might illustrate the importance of those questions if he took an instance or two. There was the passage in Timothy which said, "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh." As corrected the text reads, "Great is the mystery of godliness, who was manifest in the flesh." There was another passage in John, "No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." If that text were corrected as it needed to be, it would read, "No man hath seen God at any time; God only begotten, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath revealed Him." In those two instances -in one case the word God went into the margin, and in the other came into the text. In Acts viii. 7 was a text they, as Baptists, were justly proud of. It was the question of the eunuch and Philip's reply. "What doth hinder me from being baptised ?" Philip said, "Dost thou believe?" and he replied, "I do believe." Now, as a matter of fact, there was not a single ancient manuscript that contained that verse. "That was a bad thing for the Baptists," some might say. He did not know about that. With respect to the verses about Philip and the eunuch, the explanation of how it came there was because it was the question put to the converts when they came to be baptized, and some copyist probably inserted a marginal reading into the text. They had lost a text but gained a confirmation of a piece of history. In illustration of the difficulties of finding suitable English words to represent the Greek and Hebrew, Dr. Angus said he believed that no translation could do perfect justice to the Greek or Hebrew. For instance, there was the word "publicans." The New Testament Revision Company spent more than two hours over it. It was said on one side it was dishonouring a respectable class of people to class them with sinners, and that it was extremely desirous to strike that out. What should they put in its place? A farmer of taxes said one; thereupon a bishop rose and said, "I must implore my brethren not to insert that, or we country clergymen shall never hear the last of it." "But it is farmer of revenues," said the suggestor. Ah, but the farmer is there," said the bishop, "he will never mind the revenues, but will say you have put him among the sinners." The fact was that they had not a word in English that would represent it. The Romans used to let out their taxes to be gathered the same as we did our tollbars, and they had to get what they could. These revenue gatherers were like our tollbar keepers would be without a table of tolls, and many would not pay what was legal, and these tax gatherers became very unpopular. He thought publican was the nearest word. Then the word "bishop" created a difficulty. The word meant one who took an oversight. No doubt oversight and overseer would be a good word if they could venture to use it. The Bishop of Gloucester said that whatever satisfied his Dissenting brethren would satisfy him. He said, "if Dr. Angus likes to be called Overseer Angus, I have no objection." Now in his district an overseer meant one who looked after the poor, and collected the poor-rate, and they rather objected. The difficulty was to get a word that would do justice to it. They had never been able to translate the word penny. The Roman word was denari. When we read," Agreed with them for a penny a day," we were apt to think it was very little, whereas it represented some 8s. or 10s. of our money. Twopence was as much as a good man could earn by two days' work. It was said they should put
Observer, Jan. 15, 76.
half-a-crown, but that would be inaccurate, as there were no half-crowns in those days. It was suggested they should do as their Anglo-American brethren had done, translate it "Agreed with them for a denari a day," and the Dean of Westminster said, after talking it over for a week, it might be read, " Agreed with them for a deanery a day," and they would think that was not very bad pay. There are certainly a few words in the Bible which
we cannot reproduce by any word in our language. Intelligence of Churches, etc.
For instance, the Roman word denari. As then we have no coin of that value let the original word be retained, and let us be rid of the misleading penny. But other difficulties cited by Dr. Angus seem more fanciful than real, and to arise out of the unscripturalness of the Established Church. That Dr. Angus leans to retaining publican as "the nearest word" is certainly extraordinary. True, some English dictionaries give as the meaning of the word publican An innkeeper; in Scripture language a toll collector." But when the Greek word was used by the inspired writers there was no new or Scriptural signification attached to it. It meant in their writings exactly what it did elsewhere. Publican and beerselling stand associated in the minds of ninety-nine out of the hundred of English people, and there has been quite enough of "Beer and the Bible" in School Board and State Church politics without being compelled to think of the prophane connection when reading the Gospels. Let us, then, have taxgatherer, or toll-collector; or if the idea of farming the toll or tax is really an essential of the word, then use the word farmer in connection with tax or toll. But a bishop implores that farmer may not be selected, because in country districts farmers will complain that you have put them among sinners. If this was intended merely as a joke, Dr. Angus should not have reported it in connection with a recommendation to retain publican. The innkeepers have been put with the sinners long enough; let the farmers take their place for a time. English dictionaries define farmer as "One who hires the collection of taxes." There we have the idea, and there is no difficulty in expressing it. If some half-awake man of the clod does not like it, tell him that, as when we read of baby-farming we do not think of him, so neither do we when speaking of a farmer of taxes.
"The word bishop' has created a difficulty." Why so? There is really no difficulty in the case. Dr. Angus says, "No doubt overseer would be a good word, if they could venture to use it? And why not? Clearly the bishop does not like it. But there is one thing in its favour-the translators of the authorised version have, in one instance so rendered it.
in that one instance it applies to a plurality of elders in one church, who are told to labour with their own hands that they may support themselves and aid others. Our Established Church translators were quite ready to give overseers in that one text, while elsewhere they gave bishops. The business of the present revisers is not that of patchers to suit the convenience of either church or chapel. Overseer is the proper term, and, therefore, gentlemen, I pray you, let us have it. I know that there are overseers of the poor and of prisons and factories. But the word given by the Holy Spirit was not made for purely church use, but is one of common usage, consequently that overseer is not exclusively an ecclesiastical term is in its favour. We have already too
NOTTINGHAM DISTRICT MEETING.-The tenth annual meeting of the Nottingham district was held at Bulwell, Dec. 27. A goodly number of delegates were present, Bro. Dawson presided. In several instances the reports were of a most cheering character, showing that where the church is alive to its responsibilities, and actively cooperates with the preaching brethren, the Gospel is still the power of God unto salvation. Arrangements were made calculated materially to facilitate the business of future meetings and advance the cause of the Redeemer. In the evening powerful addresses were delivered to a crowded meeting; and in one or two instances from speakers who have been won over during the year by the power of the truth. Thus terminated a meeting which we hope will be productive of much good to the churches, and bring glory to God. T. LANGTON.
NORTH SHIELDS.-I am happy to inform you of the union of the brethren in this immediate neighbourhood. Our meeting place on and after Feb. 6th will be the Free Gardeners' Hall, Prudhoe Street, a new and commodious building, where I hope the preaching of the Gospel may bring many to the enjoyment of the blessings of salvation. At present we have Secularism and Unitarianism in the town to contend against, but we have no fear as to the truth failing. R. G. SAUGHALL.-Last week, eight persons confessed the Lord, and were baptized into His name. Dec. 4. P. STEPHEN. BIRMINGHAM.-Several have been immersed and added to the church in Summer Lane.
A WEEK OF PRAYER.-Disciples of Christ in certain States of America, characterized the last months of the recently ended year by a week of prayer. A report from the church in Eureka, Ills., contains the following:"The Week of Prayer," appointed by general Convention, was observed by the Eureka church. Lord's day, Dec. 5th, was a day of fasting as well as a day of prayer. A discourse on fasting and prayer was given at the morning service. At night the exercises were those of a general prayer meeting. Confessing of sins before God occupied the attention of the large audience. Many men and women arose all over the house, confessed their shortcomings, and humbly asked God for assistance to do better in the future. Each evening during the week found our brotherhood at the house, and each meeting seemed to be an improvement on previous meetings. There were scripture readings, songs, exhortations, prayers, and tears. Each meeting had its particular theme. The duty of confessing our faults to each other, the necessity of taking up our cross daily; how shall we practice self-denial? how shall we attain to a higher spiritual life? were among the themes. Tongues which had been silent in the house of God for years, were heard again, in confession and thanksgiving. Many of the sisters, overcoming their natural timidity, had a word to say for Jesus. On the next Lord's day, instead of the usual sermon, the general prayer meeting was continued. The theme was, 66 what sacrifices should we make, and how shall we make them, that the Gospel may be preached everywhere." This was the grandest meeting of the series. Hearts were melted, and God's presence was