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(Formerly th British Harbinger),
A FORTNIGHTLY JOURNAL AND REVIEW;
PUBLISHED ON THE FIRST & FIFTEENTH OF EVERY MONTH.
The Name of Christ's Bride
The Church-Planting and Development...
The New Jerusalem.......
ALL COMMUNICATIONS (Including those for the Committee of the Free Distribution Fund) to be addressed "Editor of the Ecclesiastical Observer, 30, Belgrave Road, Birmingham."
"THE Baser Sort." Hugh Stowell Brown,
the well-known pastor of the Baptist Church, Myrtle Street, Liverpool, has brought himself under rebuke by a recent sermon upon "Certain lewd fellows, of the baser sort," who set the city in an uproar to suppress the preaching of Paul. Mr. Brown intimated that lewd fellows of this sort had always existed in large towns, but that they would not generally act of their own accord, but were, as at Thessalonica, set on by others, and that, not uncommonly, they were set on by clergymen and pot-house politicians. The people, however, who complain of Mr. Brown for thus saying have not mended their case over-much. In another sermon he says "Well, what he said was an assertion without a single statement of facts, and the remarks that had been called forth by it had led him to think that it was his duty either to substantiate what he said or to withdraw it and make an apology for having said it. He would, therefore, endeavour to lay before them some proofs and illustrations of the assertion he made, which assertion was this: that 'lewd fellows of the baser sort' had not uncommonly been set on by the clergy.
If anyone was ignorant enough to understand by 'clergymen' only the ministers of one denomination,
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he could not help the ignorance of that one. He would wish the man to be better informed, and to understand the expression as it is commonly taken, as meaning all ministers of religion. He then proceeded to give in detail what he maintained were illustrations of clerical influence and priestly instigation in the case of the lewd fellows of the baser sort,' and in the course of a comprehensive historical review referred to the massacre of St. Bartholomew, the persecution of the Pilgrim Fathers, to the revolution of the seventeenth century, which he said overthrew both the Monarchy and the Church, and to various disturbances between the Catholics and Protestants in recent times. He quoted extracts from the diary of John Wesley to show the persecution he had been subjected to at the hands of the lewd fellows of the baser sort,' and referred to the history of Methodism generally to establish the charges he had made. The Gordon Riots were also amongst the disturbances he attributed to clerical influences, as well as those at Birmingham and other places, which are generally supposed to have arisen through political excitement, and the illustrations of clerical influence upon the 'lewd fellows of the baser sort' terminated with the Belfast Riots. He did not wish to
say more; but he thought that, if it was demanded, proof could be given of clerical influence which had been used for bad purposes in Liverpool within recent years-testimony might be given in rather unwelcome abundance.
He thought he had laid before them sufficient proof of the general statement he had made. He had shown that, beginning with the priests who had murdered Jesus Christ, from age to age it was the clergy who had instigated the 'fellows of the baser sort' to deeds of injustice and violence. His hope was this: that, through the progress of a liberal and non-sectarian education, the fellows of the baser sort' might in due time be raised to a higher level of intelliwhich gence, for it was only thus that the game had been played with such materials for 1800 years would be effectually played out."
We do not understand Mr. Brown to mean that all preachers and pastors do, or should, call themselves clergymen, but that in a general use of the term no one is entitled to apply it solely to the priests of the State Church. There can be no doubt but that he understands that the whole Church of Christ are the clergy of Christ, and that man-made clergymen and priests are, as Luther put it, masks and shams.
That clergymen of the Roman and Anglican Churches do largely use publicans and sinners of the baser sort in the interest of their own craft is undeniable; even the last few weeks give instances enough to cover them, as a class, with shame, notwithstanding that there are among them some honourable exceptions.
THE NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY, VOL. IX.— Epistle to the Hebrews. By R. Milligan, late President of the College of the Bible in Kentucky University.
Both on account of its intrinsic worth and of the fact that its lamented author died before his work was published, this volume of the New Testament Commentary possesses peculiar interest. No one among us, perhaps, was so well fitted by previous study and by fervent piety to write a Commentary on this wonderful book as Bro. Milligan. In the "Introduction" the author discusses the questions of Authorship, Canonicity, to whom written, for what purpose written, and when and where written, and in what language written, in a very thorough and satisfactory manner.
The book is divided into sections, without reference to chapters, and each section is preceded by a careful analysis. After this comes the text and comment. These are followed by "Reflections," designed, as the author expresses it, "to lead and incline the reader to reflect on the infinite riches, beauties, and perfections of the inspired word; to help him to look into it as a mirror, where he may see reflected in their true colours and proportions the
Observer, Mar. 1, '76.
wants of his own character, and also God's own appointed means of supplying them."
Pres. Milligan had given much attention to the subject of typology; and his treatment of the typical significance of the tabernacle furniture, with the excellent illustrations of the various articles of the same, forms a valuable part of the work.
On the whole, this volume is just such a book as every student of the Bible should have in his library. If the other volumes of the New Testament Commentary prove as good as the two already issued, we will have a Commeutary on the N. T. that will compare favourably with any ever produced.
The above is from "The Christian." The Ed. of the 2. O. has not yet seen the volume, but is expecting a number of copies shortly. Orders will be supplied, on the arrival of the books, in the order in which they come to hand.
A CLEAN HEART.
A SOLEMN Subject: the need of inward cleansing. Who does not feel it? Yet, who truly desires and adequately seeks it? This is the gospel offer: "I will write my law in their hearts." This is the gospel experience: "The law of the spirit in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Too few go deep enough. They never get to the heart. They are busy about the conduct. They judge justly the word and the act; but think not enough of the inward cleansing-that casting of the healing salt at "the spring of the waters," so that "there shall not be from thence any more death or barrenness," which alone secures, alone changes, alone transforms, and makes the creature of accident and of circumstance an independent or rather a divinely upheld being, whose life is clean and pure, because the heart is sanctified. If you would have a clean heart, pray much. One five minutes of heartdeep prayer is worth whole days and years of battling with manifestations of evil. C. J. V.
T. B.-The Serials were posted each month in 1875, to Mrs. N-'s. The address sent with the order was not so full as that now given in your letter. "Hawkes Bay" was not in the former. Perhaps that may be the cause of non-arrival. The Inquire of postal authorities. order has not been renewed for 1876, and therefore it is not sent.
J. HOULT.-On Discussions, as the result of considerable observation and experience, we have arrived at very clear and decided conclusions, which we desire to submit to our Christian readers so soon as pressing demands upon our space permit. In the case put all depends upon the special circumstances-neither Yes nor No could be given as a rule.
AMERICAN BOOKS will be advertised so soon as they arrive.
Observer, Mar. 1, '76.
THE NAME OF CHRIST'S BRIDE.* INTERESTING articles have recently appeared in the Union, upon the subject of the family name of Christians, and the propriety of surnames. I should also like to declare my opinion on this free platform of Baptist Union, for, as the discussion of Christian union advances, it becomes a very practical question. Just as when people are about to get married, if it were not universally understood that the bride should wear the husband's name, the subject of the name they should bear would be one of practical importance, and might interpose
obstacles to the union. While on the other
hand, to those who never intend to get married, the matter would be of no consequence what
1. The Holy Scriptures ought to govern and guide in this matter as in every other. Evangelical Christians all believe that the New Testament contains the inspired pattern for erecting churches. The only question, therefore, should be, What is the pattern shown us in the mount? What the Holy Spirit calls the churches in the New Testament, that he designed them to be called. To my mind this is an axiom, and all the reasoning in defence of any practice which does not find its basis in the example of Scripture does not weigh a feather.
When we turn to the New Testament, what do we find there? The church is called the "Church of God," or the "Church of Christ," (and this fact, let me say in passing, is a silent witness of the Deity of Christ,) and no other names but these are used to designate it. When local churches are alluded to, the designation is "churches of God," "churches of Christ," as we might expect, a fortiori. The word "Christian" is used to designate believers as individuals, but never used as an adjective to designate the church." We never read of "the Christian
Church." We shall not plead that this is a fact of any special significance, except to those who seem disposed to think that the "Christian Church" is to be used exclusively, rejecting the literal scriptural designations of "Church of God," "Churches of Christ."
2. But do we find that any names are em
ployed in the New Testament, designating churches as belonging to sectarian divisions of the general church? Never! except to be condemned. Paul says to the Corinthians (1st Epistle iii. 3, 4), "For ye are yet carnal; for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal; and walk as men for while one saith, I am of Paul, and another I am of Apollos, are ye not carnal?"
By Rev. T. L. MELISH, Baptist Minister.
And Jesus says to the church in Pergamos (Rev. ii. 15), "So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate?" Certainly not very encouraging Scriptures as to the use of party names.
In short we may look all through the New Testament, and we shall find that party names— names indicating that Christians belong to such but absolutely forbidden. or such parties are not only not countenanced,
3. But it may be said that the apostolic rebuke is only against the party feeling, the asperities that prevailed, and not against the parties per se, or the names that designated them. But look closely to the Scriptures I have just quoted, and see whether Paul does not condemn three things, viz: strife, division, and party names. "For ye are yet carnal; for whereas there is among you envying, and strife (party feelings), and divisions (the parties themselves nameed in the first chapter), are ye not carnal? ” Nor does he stop here, but says, "For while one saith, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, are ye not carnal?"
Yes, my brethren, look at this closely, and you will see there are three things the Apostle says are carnal :—
Envying and strife -carnal!
Party divisions—carnal !
And we may talk as we will about a higher sanctification; the carnal things must be put away before we can hope for it, for sanctification and carnality cannot be hitched up in the same team?
4. But mere local names which simply define the local habitation of a church, and do not savor of party, are of Scriptural use and, therefore innocent and proper. The Scriptural style is "the Church of Corinth," "the Church of Philippi," "the Church of Philadelphia," etc. We should therefore say that any designation which is intended simply to indicate a particular congregation-provided it is not a party name, are harmless, at least, and not in spirit or letter opposed to New Testament precept or example; and, in my humble judgment, this is really all we need. The church of which I have the
honour to be pastor, though in religious views and practice what is known as a "Baptist Church," yet for fifty years had no other title
than "The Church of Christ on the Little Miami." It had no sectarian title whatever, and yet it was, and is, a member of a Baptist Association.
For my part, I wish all our churches would do likewise, viz.: drop all party names, and uso only some local surname of a non-partizan
character. Depend upon it, we weaken our testimony on other matters of Bible teaching, by putting ourselves in disobedience to Scripture command and example in this. It is true many say, "But this is a small matter." Yes! and so say others about other departures from Scripture teaching. Union.
THE CHURCH-PLANTING AND
OUT of the many Disciples gathered by Jesus, soon after His baptism by John, He chose twelve, whom He called Apostles. Subsequently He sent forth seventy; but their mission was temporary while that of the Apostles was permanent, their work being mainly deferred till after His glorification at the right hand of God. These Apostles were not merely disciples and preachers. They were the ambassadors of their Lord and King. Hence, Paul wrote "Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ,; as though God did beseech by us; we pray in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." They were "IN CHRIST'S STEAD," not only for reconciliation but for the government of His church. Their office, like the dispensation to which it appertains, is unique. Of ambassadors Christ has none other. They have not, and cannot have successors. They were qualified for their high calling by His personal instruction, and by the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth, to show them things to come and to bring to their remembrance whatsoever He had said unto them. They were forbidden till thus equipped to enter upon their mission or even to make Him known as the Christ.
THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM.
At Cæsarea, Peter made the good confession, "Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God," to which Jesus replied, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jonah; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, That thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Thus the Saviour made known the foundation upon which His then future church should be founded, also that a dispensation of the Kingdom of Heaven, then approaching, would be so subject to Peter that his binding and loosing would be confirmed in heaven. This legislative authority, unlike the keys which were committed to Peter
Observer, Mar. 1, '76.
alone, was subsequently declared of all the Apostles. It is clear that with the commencement of the approaching dispensation Peter was closely and personally associated; as to him were given the keys for his own using, and certainly not for closing but for opening the kingdom to which they appertain. Accordingly, Peter was the honoured ambassador of the Lord in making known, on the Day of Pentecost, the way of life and translation. Thus he used the keys, and thereby rendered it possible for three thousand sin-convicted souls, of Israel and Judah, to come under the new covenant as loyal subjects of Jesus, whom God had made both Lord and Christ.
THE LITTLE FLOCK.
"Fear not little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom," (Luke xii.) When Jesus uttered these words He was surrounded by a multitude. But His Disciples were immediately near to Him, and now and again He turned from the people specially to address them. In this way the words now quoted were spoken to His own little band. That the Disciples were the Apostles, though not so designated by Luke, is plain from Matthew; who records distinctive features of the discourse though omitting the "Little Flock." There we read, " And when He had called unto Him His twelve Disciples He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out and to
heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve Apostles are these." Then, too, the promises and requirements of the occasion are mainly peculiar to the Apostles. They were commanded to sell whatever they possessed, and give alms. This call to complete poverty was certainly not laid upon all Disciples, and was appropriate only to such as were sent forth on extraordinary duties. They were commanded not to fear man, who can only kill the body, but to fear God who can destroy both body and soul. They were to take no care for food nor raiment. When before magistrates and rulers without thought they were to answer as the Spirit gave them utterance. To this trusting and to be tried and persecuted band there came from the lips of the Saviour as heavenly balm, "Fear not, Little Flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
Peter, however, not sure as to the persons covered by the consolatary promise, said, "Lord, speaketh Thou this parable unto us, or even unto all? And the Lord said, Who, then, is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household to give them their portion of meat in due season?" That the Apostles were, in a special sense,
"stewards of God," appears from Paul, "Let a man so account of us as ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of a steward that a man be found faithful." Again-" Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." But God hath revealed them unto us [Apostles] by His Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so, the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we [Apostles] have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God: that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth." Thus, then, the Apostles were specially, and as none others are, STEWARDS of God. They were placed at the head of the new dispensation, as ambassadors for Christ. They gave law to His church, and set in order all things according to His will. They were constituted rulers over the household of the Lord, and gave to the members thereof, their "portion of meat in due season." The kingdom was given to this "Little Flock," in another and higher sense than that of sharing its blessings as subjects thereof. It was theirs as to rule; for under Jesus, Who is Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, they have given Laws to His Church. They entered upon this estate of glory on the Pentecost, when they were immersed in the Outpoured Spirit of Promise.
Should, however, any prefer to see in the "Little Flock" the larger company of Disciples, let it be so. We are still brought to that same time; for those who were then first baptized were previously discipled, and, with the company already waiting in Jerusalem, were translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son and into the hope of another, more glorious and still future, dispensation thereof, when not merely as subjects and friends, but as the Bride of the Lamb they shall reign with Him.
THE TWELVE THRONES.
"Peter said unto Him, Behold we have left all and followed Thee; what shall we have, therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Matt. xix.) In this chapter also the Lord is seen surrounded by the multitude; His own little company being contra
distinguished by the words, "Then Jesus said unto His Disciples." The promise of thrones reveals the number of the Disciples spoken to ; not all who were then so called, but THE TWELVE, whose province it was to be specially near to Him; who were His chosen ambassadors for the then approaching age. Two or three phrases in this remarkable text invite attention.
tion may be used to express the process of creating 1. "In the Regeneration." The term Regeneraanew; the results of that process; and also the period, age, or dispensation, characterized by that process. The word only occurs in one other instance in the New Testament-" He saved us by the washing of regeneration and by the renewing of the Holy Spirit." (Titus iii. 5.) More exact translation gives, "The bath of unquestionably baptism is intended. But why is regeneration." Still, whether washing or bath, baptism designated the washing or bath of regeneration?
Because it is the concluding act in the process of regenerating men. To what period, age, or dispensation, does the process of creating men anew "by the bath of regeneration and by the renewing of the Holy Spirit," belong? Without doubt to that which commenced on the Day of Pentecost when the first proclamation of that process resulted in the new birth of three thousand.
2. "When the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory." When He took His seat at the right hand of the Father, all authority in heaven cipalities, and powers were made subject to Him. and in earth was given unto Him, angels, prinThen, too, was answered that prayer of HisGlorify Thou Me, with Thine Own Self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." Then He took possession of a and therefrom, as Lord and Christ, on Pentecost, throne, the glory of which can never be surpassed, He sent forth His coronation gifts.
3. "Ye shall sit upon Twelve Thrones, judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel." And, who, on the Day of Pentecost, as the judges and ambassadors of the King of Kings, pronounced judgment upon Israel, as guilty of the murder of the Messiah? Who made known to the guilty Nation the only way of escape from the just retribution of the risen and glorified Lord ? Who gave statutes and ordinances to the Israel of the new covenant? And, who now, under the Christ, are the only judges and lawgivers of His people? The APOSTLES!
We need not inquire, whether at the final judgment they shall, otherwise than by their statutes, take part in the condemnation of the rejectors of Christ. As judges and rulers they have already judged the cut-off Israel of the