Remarks on the Church and the World.

J. N. Darby.

<15017E> 298 {file section a.}

1866. Third Edition. London: Longman and Co.

J. N. Darby.

No. 1.

And is it really come to this? All the boasted attractions of the English Liturgy, its adaptation to all wants, the ease with which it can be followed (as contrasted with extempore prayer), is found to be an unintelligible farrago for the masses, impossible for an uneducated mind to follow!

The Roman Catholics (where the writer of this paper has known them well) manage the matter better. The service is histrionic, no doubt. But it is in Latin, and the worshipper has nothing to follow. But he is furnished with prayers for himself in his own tongue, which he can say while the priest is saying his, and which are not what the priest is saying at all;* a curious form of public worship indeed, but the priestly distinction is fully carried out. But, taking the English Liturgy as it is, what is the remedy? A worship in spirit and in truth, such as the Lord God requires from spiritual worshippers, such as the Father seeks? Nothing of the kind. That must be sought for, if we believe the tractarians, neither at Rome nor Canterbury, neither at this mountain nor at Jerusalem. Spiritual worship is not sought, nor the object desired. In that they would have to do with God. This is not their object. They seek influence over the masses for themselves, to regain numbers, the many who have slipped away from their influence; and if the end do not justify the means, the means betray the end. Worship is to be histrionic, they tell us; that is, the acting of a play so as to attract the imagination by theatrical spectacles, and secure an unintelligent crowd, pleased with what is acted before them. Let it not be for a moment supposed that this is a harsh accusation. It is their own statement. (Page 37.)

{*In some places, where there are many protestants, there is a translation of what the priest says.}

"Hence a lesson may be learnt, by all who are not too proud to learn from the stage. For it is an axiom in liturgiology, that no public worship is really deserving of its name, unless it be histrionic."

299 Can Christians who know what spiritual worship is believe this?

"To adopt another principle, whether it be that of sermon-hearing or meditation, may be salutary enough in its proper time and place, but it is not worship, with which alone ritualism has to do."

Surely neither sermons nor meditation is worship; but neither is histrionic ritualism. The writer only proves that what is worship has never entered into his mind; but to proceed. The writer then speaks of gin palaces (p. 39), "so widely and so universally popular amongst the London poor;" these, he urges, are lighted, ornamented, &c., but —

"Many landlords have found even all this insufficient, without the additional attraction of music; and the low singing-hall is sure to indicate the most thriving drinking-shops in the worst quarters of the metropolis. If, then, painting, light, and music are found necessary adjuncts to a trade which has already enlisted on its side one of the strongest of human passions, it is the merest besotted folly to reject their assistance, when endeavouring to persuade men to accept and voluntarily seek an article for which they have never learnt to care, even if they are not actively hostile to it — to wit, religion."

"The fact is seized on by secular bodies, whose aim is to gather as many members as possible from the lower orders. Societies like the Odd Fellows and the Foresters" … have found this, "and consequently elaborate processions, with badges, music, and banners, are found needful appliances for attracting numbers, and keeping them together," &c.

"The tractarians alone, of all the schools in the Church of England, have recognized this truth, and appraised this truth, and appraised it at its true value," p. 40.

Is it possible? Is it possible to conceive anything more degraded, or more degrading, or more contrary to Christianity? In true Christianity we see the power of the divine word, through the Holy Ghost, bringing light and grace into the soul, revealing God to the heart and conscience, and so leading men through redemption to worship God in spirit and in truth, knowing the grace of the Father which has sought such to worship Him. Instead of this unutterably blessed and holy worship, fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, the aim of the tractarian is to substitute (what one is ashamed to mention in the same sentence) the attractions of a gin palace, and the singing-halls of the worst parts of London, the processions and banners of the Odd Fellows and Foresters, to win the masses by pleasing their tastes as they are. They have told their own tale. The persons they attract to worship, mark it well, not to Christ as a Saviour or to salvation, are persons who do not care for, or who hate, religion, and they are to be won, not to God or to eternal life, but to outward worship, by that which attracts the fleshly nature, as it would to a gin palace or a society of Odd Fellows! It is not the degradation of the thought in connection with such a subject which (offensive as it is) most strikes one here, but the evidence of the total absence of divine life, spirituality, or thought of spirituality, in those who can take such views. The masses are to be drawn by attractions like those of a gin palace, to see a histrionic spectacle; and that is worship!

300 But we must not therefore suppose that there is not a diligent and, for its own purposes, efficient system at work. By all human means — means calculated to act on men's wants and natural feelings, and the influences of priestcraft, which are very great — they would exercise universal influence. They would have their agents nurses at all hospitals; guilds of females, made respectable and religious by the patronage of "Sisters," to keep them from mischief in manufacturing towns; confraternities in parishes to get amongst men whom the parochial ministers cannot reach, deferring to influential classes, who might resist such as physicians, but getting their ear so as to be their instruments and carry on their own purposes, and carefully excluding only one thing from getting access as to all they can — the truth of God. The clergy and upper classes need some means to hold the poor under their influence. But the clergy must have the lead, as is natural if of God, yet by service to the poor, by which they may be gained, but the effect is priestly power. If it be a work of Satan (and likening worship to a gin palace and to the processions of the Odd Fellows is certainly not of God), we must not fancy that Satan does not know what suits and acts on human nature; he knows it well. He cannot stem the power of God, nor love the truth, nor give true spirituality or holiness; but he can, where these safeguards are not, gain human nature and take the form of godliness, and change himself into an angel of light, and thus gain masses of men, and in this form still more women; and that is what they want. Of the truth, or the power of the truth, they know nothing, and care nothing.

Priestly influence is the object. Take a statement from another paper in the same volume, in which there are many truths, as to the effect of various practices, and whose tone is not so offensive as the one I have quoted above as that from which my first quotation was taken. There I read: —

301 "And it must not be forgotten, that the godless in a parish have to be brought to a consciousness of the existence of a God, a heaven, a hell, and the value of their immortal souls, before they come to church. Their consciences must first be roused, and then they may be brought to the parish church to learn the details of their duty to God and their duty to man." (Page 96.)

Now it is a very striking thing that in the case of a godless man, who has to learn the existence* of a God, a heaven, a hell, and the value of his immortal soul, it never occurs to the writer to think of salvation, or a Saviour, of Christ, or the truth. Yet so it is. Let it not be said, "But it is assumed he will hear of it at church." No; there he is to learn the details of his duty to God and his duty to man. He will find histrionic spectacles to engage his imagination, but he is not to learn salvation or a Saviour; and in truth, with such teachers, he never will. But is not such a statement a striking display of the system? "Thy speech bewrayeth thee." One paper brings him to a theatrical display, the other to learn his duty; neither to God. What a contrast is apostolic simplicity! "Sirs, what must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." But let it be noted, this display is not to win to hear the truth, no catching with guile, as people have falsely applied the text, nor even what dissenters and presbyterians do or are anxious to do, namely, have organs and good singing to attract, and then present Christ (itself an unholy and evil practice, and savouring of priestcraft), but they are to he attracted thus to worship. It is the worship which is histrionic — to the worship they are to be brought.

{*The truth is, though they may not think of the value of their immortal souls, such ignorance does not exist. You may find plenty of infidels who deny it, but in the darkest places these subjects have been heard of.}

Now I will speak seriously of worship, and tractarian worship by-and-by. There are a great many points in which, as to form, though not as to substance, the tractarians are right, just as Romanists have kept up the name of the unity of the church. Worship is that for which Christians should meet, and, I add, the Lord's supper is the centre of worship. But to bring persons who do not care for religion or are hostile to it, to worship by histrionic displays, could never have entered into the mind of any but a tractarian; nor have been invented but by priestcraft and the seekers of priestly power. It is not Christianity. This (and we have the authority of the divine founder of it for saying so) looks for worship in spirit and in truth, and reveals the grace in which the Father seeks such to worship Him. IT IS NOT CHRISTIANITY. Christianity is the activity of God's love towards sinners, and the joying in and worship of God by those who have been reconciled to Him, with all the fruits which flow from it through the presence of the Spirit, and the display of the life of Christ which is imparted by it, wrought, all of it, by the Spirit of God, and the fruit of the accomplishment of redemption, eternal redemption, by Christ. If it is not Christianity, what is it?

302 Nor is this insensibility to divine truth or divine objects shewn in a casual passage, treating of some collateral subjects, or in view of some particular difficulty. There is no other thought presented to us. It is generally known that clergy and laity of all classes hired several of the lower classes of theatres to preach in, with the hope of reaching the masses who never go anywhere, and they were successful. The means may have been desirable or not: it is not needful to decide that question here. Speaking of the Liturgy, our tractarians say (p. 41): — "There is nothing to impress the eye, nothing to quicken the attention, nothing to make the breath come short, or the pulse beat quicker." … "It is all very sedate, very decorous, very good, no doubt, for those who like it; but it is not in the very least degree missionary."

One hardly is aware how worship in itself can be properly so; but (p. 42) —

"The evangelical school has practically admitted this truth by its adoption of theatre-preachings, thereby confessing, on the one hand, that it is hopeless of making the church service attractive to outsiders, and on the other that some fillip of excitement in the way of novelty is needful as a lure." A lure! Is that the object of worship, that which the Spirit of God can propose to itself in prayer and adoration? and a lure to what? That the zeal which sought the outcasts of London in their own haunts, and found a response because these outcasts were cared for, may have been mixed with excitement and the attraction of novelty, is possible. But they were allured to God, at least, to salvation, not to "our church," even if it were Anglican or catholic. A vast number of preachers, even not ordained by man, and, if they were, nobody knew to what denomination they belonged; and a service in a theatre was not, and could not be to win them to go there or to belong to any body of Christians. This is evident, be it an evil or a good. It was to win their souls to God, but of that, while declaring that people do not know the existence of a God, nor the value of a soul, a genuine tractarian has no idea. It does not enter his mind. He can only see a plan to win partisans by novelty and excitement. Again: —

303 "The Prayer Book, with its somewhat antique phraseology and high spiritual level, is, to the mass of uneducated worshippers, like the score of a piece of music, simply unintelligible. … Put the score into the hands of a band of musicians for execution, and all will benefit from the harmony. So too, let the dramatic aspect of common prayer be manifested, and every one can join, however uninstructed." (Page 42.) Join in what?

I close this part of my remarks with one more quotation, leaving the historical part for further consideration. "Take two street arabs, perfectly ignorant of Christianity. Read to one of them the Gospel narrative of the Passion, and comment on it as fully as may be. Shew the other a crucifix, and tell him simply what it means. Question each a week afterwards, and see which has the clearest notions about the history of Calvary." (Page 50.) Now to say nothing of the utter pelagianism of this, the total leaving out of preventive grace, as is the case indeed in the whole of the statements furnished by this article, and, to speak only of means used, I ask what is declared by the Lord and His apostles to be the means of quickening, saving, edifying? Is it the word of truth, or pictures and crucifixes? Let not the objector talk to me of sacraments; they are not in question here. In the alternative put by the writer, he has chosen what God has not chosen; and God has chosen (what he condemns) the word written and the word ministered by men. But still, though this article be low and degraded, the same fundamental principles characterize it which are insisted on in others.

"The constant appeal to antiquity, the tenets of the dignity of the human body, and of the superiority of prayer over preaching, the appreciation of symbolism, the magnifying the sacraments as spiritual agents, could not otherwise be practically brought within the observation of the mass of Christians, which has neither taste nor leisure for abstruse research, and this is one of the reasons why, as has been said before in this paper, simplicity, that is, bareness and poverty in the externals of worship, is unsuited for a national, much less for a universal, religion." (Page 36.)

304 Gathering for worship by a dramatic display which magnifies the sacraments (and is carried even to the adoration of the eucharist), so as to gather the whole nation or be even universal in its effect, such is the system. But it must be added: — all are not supposed to be communicants; there are to be "non-communicating attendance," or better "non-communicants," to be put indeed out of the choir, but stay in the nave and look on (p. 500-503); so that in this centre of christian worship (for such the Lord's supper is, as far as rites go), which ought to be accompanied with the holiest christian affections, we are to find a drama enacted within the rails, to win by stage effects; and spectators without, kept there by what is now intelligible to all, but not taking any part in it.

Such is tractarianism — not worship by saints, but religion for the nation, to keep them together! How totally contrary this is to antiquity, it is not needful for one who is the least acquainted with it to say. The word "mass" is simply the corruption of the words "Ite, missa est," by which all who did not communicate were sent away. Primitive antiquity had not such a thought as missionary dramas in worship. It did magnify the holy mysteries, as they were called, but it did so by removing all who were not about to communicate. To insist on the word "mass," as is done by these tractarians, and provide for a non-communicating attendance, is imposing on the ignorance or inattention of the reader.

No. 2.

In my present review I have to do with a more serious paper, written in a more earnest and serious tone, treating upon subjects of the deepest interest, detecting the false points in current evangelical views, and opposing to them forms of truth drawn from the word, but appropriating the value of these truths to that which is wholly unscriptural and even antichristian in its nature, so as to give, if received, the force of these truths to that which is itself such. Now when truth is used to detect error, and the defects of the erroneous scheme are seen by it, the human mind is apt to believe that what is associated by the detector of the error with these truths is part of the truth, and thus dangerous error is often introduced by the force of the truth.

It was thus with Irvingism. The church had lost the doctrines of the coming of the Lord and the presence of the Holy Ghost in the church, and the enemy used these truths to introduce deadly error. So it is with the tractarians. On nearly every point on which they attack the dissenters and evangelicals they can produce scripture to prove their defects; but they use this only to accredit more deadly error still, and to sanction views and practices which subvert Christianity. I will quote their statements as to dissenters and evangelicals:

305 "The theory of the latter requires a disbelief in the doctrine of the visible church; that is, in a divinely instituted body and an equally divinely appointed government of the visible body; it requires a denial of the fact that our Lord appointed a priesthood in His church, whose office is to celebrate those 'mysteries' which are the means and channels of grace and communion between CHRIST and His body. Nay it denies that the body itself is a visible community or kingdom, separated from the rest of mankind by the partaking of, or communicating in, these sacraments. On the contrary, the notion seems to be that the church is not strictly a body, but an aggregation of individuals who hold a certain theological or philosophical system, gathered out of the holy scriptures; that certain truths are revealed in the scriptures, which truths were systematized by certain learned men in the sixteenth century; and that a belief in these truths constitutes the membership of CHRIST, irrespective of the visible body of the sacraments. This is the objective aspect.

"Besides this, there is the subjective aspect: a certain consciousness of personal interest in these truths, and a sense of general unworthiness, and a further sense of the removal of that unworthiness, in the belief and apprehension of these truths — the whole matter of salvation being a personal one between the individual and CHRIST the SAVIOUR; and that, for purposes of mutual edification and advantage, it is expedient that individuals should unite into distinct bodies or communities, appoint their own teachers, frame their own terms of communion, and administer their own ordinances. Admitting for the most part — not universally — the divine authority of the two greater sacraments, a form of baptism is used, and a form of communion in bread and wine; but these are not really sacramental in the sense that the church holds them, as means of grace to the recipients; but rather as seals and pledges of grace already given, outward signs of GOD'S SPIRIT already bestowed on the part of GOD; and signs of faith in His promises, or rather the fulfilment of His promises, on the part of the recipient." (Pages 183, 184.)

306 The writer avows he is "not speaking of the formularies of the different protestant sects" (p. 184), but "of the views of protestants at the present time." He is wise; he would have to speak of himself and his own church; nor would it be true in some important statements. And further he takes no notice of national churches formed by the magistrate, of which his is one, although he may urge its having in a great measure escaped the hand of the spoiler: "the least deformed because reformed the least." Still, as describing the present state of protestants (dissenters and those associated with them in their general views), it is in the main just as to the principal charges. I continue my citation that we may fully have the views of the essayist:

"We repeat, then, that the idea held by protestants of the present day really amounts to this — That there is no such thing as a visible church; but there is in the world a body of elect members, known to God only, who shall finally be saved; and that these, and these only, form the church of Christ; that the union with CHRIST consists chiefly, if not wholly, in holding certain doctrines of justification by faith alone in the atonement of CHRIST, together with a belief in God's promises as set forth in scripture: and that, consequently, the whole matter is a private and personal one between each individual and CHRIST, quite independent of the belonging to the visible church, or any sect. In accordance with this, we hear everywhere proclaimed the doctrine of a universal priesthood — every man is his own priest, and, in some sects, every woman her own priestess — but that it tends to good order and mutual advantage that individuals thinking alike should unite in some one community or another, choose their own teachers, and frame rules for general government and conduct; that the gifts of grace are not attached to any outward form or ordinance, excepting perhaps that of preaching, but that they are a private concern between GOD and the individual; that the highest form in which grace manifests itself is in the knowledge of scripture and of protestant doctrine, and especially in the power of preaching.

"In direct opposition to this is the idea of the catholic church, the leading features of which may be stated in the following propositions: — First, that it is a spiritual system, not an intellectual one; a system whose purpose is a re-union of man with GOD, through the incarnation of the Second Person of the HOLY TRINITY. That this union is not effected by merely believing in a certain system of theology, or in the revelation of GOD in the Bible; but, being essentially spiritual, only effected through those means by which spiritual gifts are conveyed to man. That those means are the sacraments, which may be termed "extensions of the incarnation," or means whereby the benefits of the incarnation are applied to man. That such a union is, in most cases, and at first, independent and irrespective of any exercise of the intellect on the part of the person brought into union, but is by means of the gift of GOD in CHRIST'S own appointed way — Holy baptism. That that sacrament is the means of conferring on the recipient a new and spiritual life, similar and parallel to the natural life into which every infant enters at birth: so that it is called regeneration, or the new birth: and that one great effect of the Church is to feed, support, educate, this spiritual life till it comes to the 'measure of the fulness of the stature of Christ.' That the church is the body of persons possessing this life, and consequently wholly distinct from the 'world' without; it is, therefore, a visible body with an invisible life, and that the means of support for this invisible life is invisible grace conveyed through visible forms or signs, instituted and appointed of Christ for that purpose. That the whole being of the church rests on the incarnation, or rather, to speak properly, on the SON of GOD become man. CHRIST is 'the head of the body, the church.' (Col. 1:18.) That, in order to the extension and communication of this spiritual life and grace, our divine Lord appointed a ministry in His church, whose office is to administer the means of grace to its members; so that it is His work, though done by the hands of His ministers and ambassadors: consequently, no one can take this office on himself without a direct commission from CHRIST. That He appointed His disciples, in the first place, to be apostles, with a power to transmit their commission to others, as the need of the body required; and that without this commission no acts are valid, and no ordinances have any assurance of grace attached to them. That the episcopate and priesthood is not only a form of church government most nearly after the model of scripture; but it is the one only of divine appointment in the body, the one only which has the promise of grace attached to it, the one only which has the stamp of the divine commission." (Pages 184-186.)

308 "The protestant assertion that ministers are mere delegates of, and therefore are elected and commissioned by, the congregation, at once completely overturns the whole constitution of the church, reverses the divine order, and substitutes human authority for that of CHRIST." … "The body is dependent on the ministry, and the ministry is ordained for the body, mutual fellowship and communion being requisite for growth in grace. Thus the catholic idea is, that union and communion with the church is absolutely necessary for union and communion with CHRIST; and that persons are received into communion with the church in order to union with CHRIST; and, further, that this communion is effected by a communication of a spiritual gift, an actual bestowal of the grace of GOD to the person through this ministration of the church's ordinances; that thus communion with the Church implies and connotes union with CHRIST, as well as supplies the means of such union." (Page 187.)

"On the other hand, the protestant theory reverses this: making an intellectual process called faith, and a mental conviction, called apprehension of CHRIST by faith, to be the means — not the condition, but the means — of effecting this union with CHRIST; it puts out of sight the fact that a special gift of the Spirit is necessary to create a union; or, perhaps, we shall describe the theory more correctly if we say, that it supposes grace to be an intellectual process going on in the mind, whereby a certain effect called faith is produced; and that the production of this mental effect accomplishes the union between the individual and CHRIST; that any communion with fellow Christians is subsequent to this, not necessary in itself, but productive of good to the individual in a secondary and inferior way. Thus, according to this theory, the existence of the church is in no way necessary. It may be believed in as an abstract proposition, but its existence, and communion with it, are quite immaterial." (Page 187.)

The writer refers to Ephesians 4:4-5, 6, and adds (p. 187):

"A unity of faith and a unity of constitution are predicated here, both of which are essential to the idea of the oneness of the body.* The former is defined in the creeds and the decrees of the six general councils; the latter is found in the universal practice of the one body. We shall not attempt to prove either of these from holy scripture; for we must bear in mind, that both the faith of the church and her visible constitution were complete and in full force before a single word of the New Testament scriptures was written."

{*This is wholly without foundation; no constitution is predicated, but the unity of the body itself, not something else essential to it.}

309 Now there are very grave questions here. The assumptions are without end, and I shall notice them before I close, but the questions meantime are to be met seriously; but I beg my reader to mark the confession that the system is not found in scripture. There are, they say, allusions to it. But such a confession, when the word of God assures us that in the last days perilous times shall come, in which there will be a form of godliness with the denial of its power, referring to the scriptures as the safeguard in them and to nothing else; but those from who n Timothy had learned (had personally learned) the truths he held, that is, Paul himself, to which we may add the other inspired witnesses whose teaching, so as to know from whom we have learned them, we have now only in the scriptures — such a confession is of all importance. But, further, the scripture, if it does not teach these doctrines, may contradict and condemn them. All this must be seen into.

But they tell us the creeds and the six general councils have defined the faith. With what authority? Why the six? Are there no more than six? Why am I to believe six? Anglican authority speaks of four — why six? Romanists, though it be a sore subject with them for many reasons, and they declare some are to be said "to be and not to be" a council, as Pisa and Basel, yet make some nineteen. The Anglican articles say they are not infallible and have erred. How can I trust to them as defining faith?

And as to the creeds, the Nicene creed which we have now, contains an article — and an article which has divided the Greek, or most ancient, church system and the Roman — which was not in the ancient creed, and which was inserted contrary to the express decree of one of these councils and the decision of a very illustrious pope, who put up the creed without it on silver plates in a church at Rome that it might not be added. It was introduced by a small Spanish council, insisted on by Charlemagne; sanctioned by a council of three hundred prelates at Frankfort, who also condemned image-worship which had been sanctioned by what the Romanists hold for the seventh general council at Nice; and (if we are to believe modern Anglican catholics) an article forced upon the pope against his better judgment, and authority, and certainly in spite of the prohibition of a general council and the pope of the day. And this article is not on some immaterial point, but nothing less than the procession of the Holy Ghost, the third person in the Trinity, and the nature of His relationship with the Father and the Son. The Greeks hold procession from the Son to be error (nor do they nor the Anglicans believe in purgatory with the Romanists); the Anglicans and Romanists believe it to be truth, and recite it in the creed as essential truth. One of these general councils forbad any addition to the creed which did not contain it, and the pope forbad insertion of this particular clause. What can we say of the certainly defined faith?

310 But, further, "the universal practice of the one body" is the authority for the unity of the constitution. To say that one Spirit and one body proves the unity of the constitution of the body and its form on earth, is rather violent; but this we may take up on its own merits farther on. Only if this be a strict definition of the unity, it certainly defines nothing as to any constitution on earth, nor even alludes to it. They did well not to attempt to prove it from holy scripture; but then why say it defines it strictly? If it did, being scripture, it would prove it clearly; but it says nothing about any constitution, about the only point to be proved — a visibly constituted form on earth displayed in an episcopate and priesthood. But, in point of fact, about one-third of the universal professing church has not this form, say a quarter of it; universal practice does not prove it now. It will be said, "But they have separated from the unity as they have not the episcopate and priesthood;" but this is begging the question. Universal practice, they say, proves the unity of the constitution of the one body. I shew the practice is not universal, and I am told that they are therefore not of the body. This is a mere vicious circle.

I shall be told that this is a mere modern thing. Now in the dark ages it was universal, or nearly so; but so, with rare exceptions, was the grossest and most horrible corruption. Our Anglican catholic essayist will not receive the councils held in these days. Why not? Nor do the Greeks. Why not? But in earlier days it was not universal. We may inquire from scripture whether it existed anywhere in the earliest days. This is certain, that in the patriarchate next to Rome in dignity, till the council of Nice set up Constantinople, this constitution did not prevail, but what contradicts formally the whole theory of our Anglican of the necessity of episcopal ordination to the communication of grace. For this we have no less authority than Jerome, or, if they please, St. Jerome,* who declares moreover that there was no difference originally between bishops and presbyters, and that it was introduced as a matter of order to prevent disputes. A singular thing if it was a necessary channel of grace, and equally singular that he should not have known it if it was universal practice, he who was a correspondent of popes, translator of the Bible, and equally conversant with the East and West. He tells us there were not originally bishops, that it was only introduced to keep peace among the presbyters. But all this is by the bye.

{*The curious reader may see the proof and character of Jerome's sanctity in Tillemont.}

311 But before I treat the main subject I have a few not unimportant remarks to make. In the first place the statement that faith is a mere intellectual process, and alleging this to be the theory of Protestants is an unfounded one — and savours of infidelity in the objector. At least it is the view taken of faith by modern infidels, or at least of belief, for they make faith a sentiment, a feeling of the heart. But the soul may be acted on by the Spirit of God so as to produce a divine conviction of unseen things revealed by the word. When Paul says, "when it pleased God … to reveal his Son in me," it was not an intellectual process, and it was not a sacrament. It would seem that the essayist ignores this altogether — a very serious lack indeed in his religious system. The direct operation of the Spirit of God in bringing truth home to the soul is wholly ignored. His doctrine is practical Pelagianism. All he owns is a sacrament or an intellectual process. What then of the grace of the Spirit of God, as the Lord opened the heart of Lydia? I would further draw my reader's attention to the total absence of all reference to the truth, except to depreciate it and faith in it, in order to exalt the sacraments. "Grace is communicated, life is communicated, by sacraments, is only effected through these means," "irrespective of any exercise of the intellect on the part of the person brought into union."

But, according to our essayist, the truth has no place as an instrument in God's hands for quickening and converting souls. In the same way and for the same reason the action of the Holy Ghost is ignored. We have His gifts conferred in baptism, but no action of the Spirit of God Himself on the soul. Hence preaching is depreciated, and the truth so little material, that in the case of those who have, according to the essayist, been in heresy for centuries, and out of the pale of the Catholic church, denying the true faith, yet, because the episcopal form is there, their orders are all valid, effectual grace has been communicated, and they have only to return to a sound confession, and they are part of the Catholic visible church. Grace, union, life were all there. They denied the faith, left the visible church through this; but they have all that is essential. But in the case of presbyterians or Lutherans, who are not charged with any heresy but may hold the truth as such, all must be begun over again.

312 "They have cut themselves off from participation in the one Spirit as living in the church and flowing through the sacraments, which are the arteries and veins of the body."*

{*The way high-churchmen avoid and slip over the great facts of church history is very peculiar. Jerome's statement as to the episcopacy being a human arrangement for quiet is conveniently ignored, and here in a note our essayist tells us, "We do not intend to enter into the question as to how far the individual members of these communities receive grace. … For this reason we purposely avoid hazarding conjecture on the efficacy of schismatical and lay baptism." (Page 189.) But if people "have cut themselves off from the participation of the one Spirit as living in the church and flowing through the sacraments which are the arteries and veins of the body," what is the effect of the schismatical and lay baptizing? Yet by baptism alone life and the special gift of the Spirit is given, they tell us. They have not the gift which brings them into union. But it is very natural they should shirk it and leave it as a vague dread because the question was raised in the early church. The famous Cyprian in Africa, and Firmilian in Asia Minor, and by their influence Africa, and at any rate a large part of the East, denounced Pope Stephen, because he did not rebaptize heretics; inasmuch as, not being in the church where the Holy Ghost was, they could give nothing, and they remained firm and refused to give way. However mighty as the consent of the fathers, if to be found, may be, the contrary doctrine prevailed, and lay baptism is commonly practised in the Latin church (that is now the right word), and heretical baptism held to be valid — for the absence of the truth and the Spirit is immaterial where the form is; I suppose I should add the matter also in the case of a sacrament. It is really ludicrous to see the torture in which the truly excellent Augustine in his controversy with the Donatists is through the prevalence of this doctrine. It was held as by our essayist — which is a most fatal error — that the Spirit was given in baptism. Yet the Donatists had not the Spirit, he alleged, because this was only in the Catholic church. Yet, said the Donatist, you declare we have given and received it in baptism, and you condemn the contrary doctrine. Poor Augustine fumes, taken in the toils of his adversary.

Do you understand, reader, why our essayist avoids the question? Schismatical and lay baptism confers the Spirit, and the new life — I suppose, according to them, therefore union with Christ — but they have not the Spirit and cannot have union but by the church; for the catholic idea is, that union and communion with the church are absolutely necessary to union and communion with Christ; and that persons are received into communion with the church in order to union with Christ, and further, that this communion is effected by a communication of a spiritual gift, an actual bestowal of the grace of God to the person through this ministration of the church's ordinances. And such a union is — by the means of the gifts of God in Christ's own appointed way — holy baptism. So they come into the church in order to come into union with Christ; "that sacrament is the means of conferring on the recipient a new and spiritual life" and communication of a spiritual gift, and of the grace of God; and yet schismatics and laymen who cannot minister these holy mysteries confer all these things outside the church, and, instead of coming into the communion of the church to get union with Christ, they receive it all out of the communion of the church, and receive union with Christ without communion with the church at all. I must leave it to Anglicans to say if they are brought thus into the communion of the church by having union with Christ outside it. That they have the latter is, at any rate, the orthodox doctrine. No wonder they purposely avoided hazarding conjecture; but I can hardly suppose such learned men to be ignorant of the Donatist controversy or of the discussion of the question between Cyprian and Stephen and Firmilian, or of the every-day fact of lay baptism in the Roman system, or of the decision of the Arches' Court (to come nearer home), that a child baptized by dissenters had consequently a right to burial in consecrated ground.}

313 In a word, the truth as the instrument of God in the soul is wholly ignored by the essayist, the action of the Holy Ghost also, and hence also preaching, which surely is not worship, of the importance of which I shall speak. Further, individual salvation, and hence individual responsibility is slighted as much as possible. It is inconsistent with church authority. Hence we find, too, the Spirit in the church insisted on; but the Spirit in the individual, mocked at among Romanists as fanaticism, by Anglicans ignored. Now conscience must be individual, responsibility must be individual: no man can answer for another at the judgment-seat of Christ. He may pretend to secure him here, he must leave him to answer for himself if he gets there. The priest will be on the same ground or worse. Hence salvation must be individual, and responsibility. Everyone of us shall give an account of himself to God, and if he is saved, he is saved individually; if purged, purged individually. The saint does also become a member of Christ, of His body the church; but it is a second and distinct thing, though both are true of those who have now believed through grace. But this individual salvation and responsibility does not chime in with the asserted authority of the church; and they carefully set aside what they cannot secure anyone against, direct individual responsibility to God, and, what goes necessarily with it, individual salvation. If I have an individual soul, I must have individual salvation. They reproach protestants with their saying, "This is a private and personal matter between Christ and the individual." I answer, "It will surely be so for all in the day of judgment."

314 Even a Romish priest would admit that in the day of judgment each one must answer for himself, just as his conscience is individual now, his soul individual, his sin individual. Scripture is as plain as can be on the point. It teaches plainly the unity of the body and its union with Christ the head, most true and precious; but the Lord dealt always with individuals as such; and further our individual relationship as Christians takes the first place, because it is with His Father. We are individually His children, the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty; El Shaddai is our Father. We cry individually, Abba, Father, and Christ's relationship with us in this respect is of the first-born among many brethren. The reader will find in Ephesians 1, the Epistle where the unity of the body is most fully brought out, that the children's or individual's place with God and the Father is first brought out, and then the relationship to Christ, as the body to the head; but only at the end of the chapter. All John's writings speak exclusively of the individual and of divine life in him. He never refers to the church at all,* but to individual life from and in Christ, adding our individual perfection in Him before God. The truth is, the church is never mentioned in the Epistles but by Paul, nor the word even used, save in the case referred to in the note, and, similarly, in James. Paul declares he was a minister of the church (as well as of the gospel) to fulfil, or complete, the word of God'.

{*Once to a local church, where Diotrephes was; but this has nothing to do with our subject.}

This system, then, is characterized by leaving out the truth's action in testimony on the soul. The presence and action of the Holy Ghost, and individual responsibility and salvation, all are passed by or slighted. The church is trusted, God is not. Man gets union with Christ, life, and every blessing, unconsciously, without the smallest actual effect in conscience, heart, or anything, in any way in which he is brought to God with the sense of what he is, and of God's grace. The parable of the prodigal is all nothing to the purpose, the weeping lost one of the city, or the believing thief, the invitation of the labouring and heavy laden, is all, according to this horrible teaching, misleading instruction, for this was individual. This was (not an exercise of intellect indeed, but) individual consciousness of their own state, wrought by God, individual faith in the Son of God, individual salvation taught, if the Saviour is to be believed; divine action on the heart, the soul, the conscience, the affections; the eyes opened spiritually to see the Son and believe on Him: men brought to God and the state of their souls manifested, and a divine work wrought in them by the word of the Lord reaching them. I may ask my reader, Does the Saviour teach this on the bringing of a person unconsciously into union by holy baptism? Read the Gospels, and see if this unholy rejection of the grace and truth that came by Jesus Christ, and the divine operation on souls around Him by it, producing faith in His person, in order to substitute unconscious union in baptism, is to be found in them.

315 But if these great principles and truths be ignored by the Anglican catholic system, there are important truths on which it pronounces, and in which, while it can justly object to protestant evangelicism, it is far more deeply and fatally in error. It sets aside all that is vital in individual salvation, leading to carelessness of conscience and insensibility to personal responsibility. It makes the world not what scripture does, "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life," but simply the unbaptized heathen, so as to allow worldliness in Christians. It sets aside scripture authority; it ignores the Holy Ghost in individuals, on which the word of God insists; and it passes over or falsifies history, when it meddles with it; and, as I shall now shew, it is wholly false on the points as to which it has laid hold of certain truths which evangelical Christians have, by inefficient teaching, left in its hands.

It is not true that protestants or evangelicals make faith a mere intellectual process: no Christian does, unless it be the party of the essayist. But the unity of a visible body on earth has been ignored or denied by them. They have not generally held the real communication of a new, spiritual life. And they have (at least dissenters) held the meeting together of voluntary associations which they call churches, and which frame regulations and choose or dismiss their ministers. In all this scripture condemns them. On the last point the "Catholic," indeed, has not much to say; for it is held by them that everyone is at liberty to choose his own director or confessor, the most important of all their ministers in practice.

316 As regards the true body of Christ, it is become invisible, and scripture contemplates this without sanctioning it. "The Lord knoweth them that are his," though of course always true, is a state of things contemplated in the last days; but it was not the original state of things. On this, "the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." There is in scripture, as I shall fully shew, the doctrine of a visible body. But the object of the Anglican is, not to prove that the word of God teaches the doctrine of a visible body on earth, but to set up a human priesthood in the clergy, and shew that grace is communicated by their means only, that grace comes by sacraments, divine life and union with Christ by baptism; and that the visible body is to be found only where the priesthood or clergy is. The reformers taught the being born of God in baptism, and (at any rate, the Anglican body) becoming members of Christ by it. Evangelicals hold neither now, but they speak of union with Christ by faith, which scripture never does. When they speak of regeneration, they do not, generally speaking, mean a new life really communicated, but the effect produced by the operation of the Spirit of God on man as he is, not a really new life communicated. Now scripture does speak of the church as one body on the earth, and of only one, with particular churches in each locality, which in that place held that of the body so far, though not separated from other members of Christ. It has no idea of distinct churches in one place or of a national church.

It does speak of the church in the purpose of God, as finally one with Christ in glory; but it also speaks of a church and body of Christ on earth, responsible here below. It also speaks of the church as the dwelling-place of the Spirit on earth, as the house of God as well as the body of Christ. Scripture does speak of a life really communicated to man; it does speak of a ministry received directly from Christ so as to exclude man's choice and nomination. It speaks of union with Christ. I will take up these points in order, and the setting forth scriptural truth will, in a great measure, answer the erroneous statements on the subject, both of Evangelicals and Anglicans; but I will also take up, afterwards, the positive errors taught by the latter, which are very grave indeed.

As regards the general truth of a body on earth, the scriptures are plain. Thus, in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, "For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ." For by one Spirit we have all been baptized into one body, whether we be Jew or Gentile, whether we be bond or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit; and verse 27, "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular; and God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers; after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." From this it is evident that there is a body, the church, and that that body, the church, is on earth. There are no healings in heaven. "So if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it." (Ver. 26.) So in Romans 12:4-5, "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another;" and then they are exhorted to the present exercise of their gifts accordingly. So Ephesians 1:22-23; only here it is looked at in its completeness and perfection in the counsels of God as a whole, not yet attained, for "we see not yet all things put under him," though we own Jesus' title as exalted to the right hand of God. So Ephesians 3:10, 25, 32: all which shew the church set up on the earth as the body of Christ, though letting us understand that it will be presented to Christ a glorious church.

317 We have the church also in the character of a building, and, as we shall see, which is of great moment, in a two-fold way. First, Christ Himself says, Matthew 16:18, "And on this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Whom Peter follows, "Unto whom coming, as unto a living stone … ye, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house" (1 Peter 2:4-5); and so Paul (1 Tim. 3:15), "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." Here it is on earth too, for the question is of Timothy's conduct in it. So Ephesians 2:21, "In whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord." Here, as also in 1 Peter, it is only growing up to a future temple, not yet finished; but, in Ephesians 2:22, it is added, "In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Here it is a present thing; God's habitation in the person of the Spirit come down from heaven.

318 Now it is to be remarked that in the temple, as forming for its final perfectness and glory, in the Gospels the workman is Christ only. "I will build." In the Epistles there is no workman at all who builds. The building, see Ephesians 2:21, "fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple:" in 1 Peter the saints come "as living stones." Here it is growing to a house, and Christ carries on the work — against which the gates of hell cannot prevail — on earth but for glory. But when we come down to a present house or building on earth, the case is different: "as a wise master-builder," says the apostle (1 Corinthians 3:10), "I have laid the foundation. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon;" men may build with wood, hay, and stubble, and their work come to nothing; or with gold and silver, and their work abide. Nay more, a man may defile the temple of God and be destroyed himself. Here men are responsible for the way they build in this building of God on earth. So in the passage in 1 Timothy he was to learn how to behave himself in the house of God.

The doctrine therefore of the body of Christ, a body to be perfected in glory, and also that of a body existing on earth — of a house to become a perfect and holy temple in the Lord, and that of a present habitation of God through the Spirit, that which Christ builds infallibly and perfectly for the final result, and that in which, as a present thing, man is responsible by the way — are all clearly taught in scripture. One the Evangelicals and Dissenters admit, though obscurely, what Christ is building for final glory; but the body now formed on earth, by the Spirit, and the house now the habitation of the Spirit, they have wholly lost sight of; and of these scripture speaks.

I turn to the doctrine of communicating life. The common evangelical teaching is, that the operation of the Spirit changes a man's heart, takes the stony heart out of us, subdues the will, renews the affections, &c. Now this is practically true, but is in no way the whole truth. There is the reception of a new life. God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. Christ is that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us, and He through grace becomes our life, as it is written, "when Christ, who is our life." We are really born of God, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit, as that which is born of the flesh is flesh; as everything born partakes of the nature of that it is born of. He that is born of God sinneth not, the seed of God remains in him, he cannot sin because he is born of God. Hence the apostle sought that the life of Jesus might be manifested in his body. It is a new creation in Christ Jesus, a new man. And further, living in Christ risen, we are to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord, crucified with Christ, yet alive, but not we but Christ living in us. The flesh still lusts against the Spirit; but we have the life of the last Adam as we had the life of the first. On this scripture is clear. Christ is become the life of the Christian, but it is Christ who has died and who is risen, so that the Christian is accounted quickened together with Him and all trespasses forgiven — can reckon himself dead, is dead for faith, crucified with Christ, but Christ risen, His life. There is no condemnation thus for him. The word of God does speak of a new life communicated, a new man.

319 Lastly, the choice of a minister by man is not scriptural. Ministry is directly received from Christ. He, when He ascended up on high, gave gifts to men; apostles, prophets — who were, we are told, the foundation — pastors, teachers, evangelists. The Spirit distributed to every man severally as He would; and as every man has received the gift, he is to minister the same as a good steward of the manifold grace of Christ. He that teacheth is to wait on his teaching, and the various gifts are so many various members of the body, to be exercised in their place; as Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12:1, Peter 4:10, and all the history of the Acts shew us: only women are not to speak in the assembly. The received talent is to be traded with, or woe be to him who possesses it. In the assembly, order was to be kept; not more than two or three speak, and in succession. These are a summary of the statements as to gifts of ministry in scripture.

As regards offices, elders and deacons, the only ones spoken of, the elders were chosen by the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, among the Gentiles at least, or by Paul's delegate Titus. Those who served tables were chosen by the multitude, the apostles laying their hands on them when chosen. Choosing a minister or a pastor by the people is wholly unknown to scripture. Christ chose and endowed them. They were bound to serve; they were again members in the body, and what they were at Ephesus they were at Corinth, those specific members of the body, whose ministry was for the edification of the body everywhere. Elders, on the contrary, were chosen for each city by the apostles. But gifts were specific members of the body: men could not choose them. They were directly from Christ by the distribution of the Holy Ghost, and the possessors of them Christ's servants in them; diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit; differences of administrations, but the same Lord. Men cannot choose when Christ has chosen the vessel and conferred the gift, and when he is Christ's servant in it, wherever he is, that member in His body — its exercise being withal ordered, and that for edification, by scriptural rules. They are not ministers or pastors of a church, but in the church according to scripture. Nor would such an idea as a pastor and his flock have been tolerated in the apostles' days or have entered into anyone's mind; they had higher thoughts of service, lowlier of themselves; they were to shepherd the flock OF GOD. The truth is, a set of churches in a place is foreign to the whole teaching of scripture. If Paul or John were to write now an epistle to the church of God which is at  - , no one would get it. There is no such one recognized body to be found, not in the boasting Anglican, more than in the narrow Baptist; the Romanist would mock at the Anglican, and raise up his pretensions above all; and the rest would not in general dare to ascribe it to themselves. There is no church for the letter to reach; the church has ceased to be what it was — one, known, visible, and united body manifested in different places, but only one in all. Anglicans have pretensions enough; but Rome would not own them, if they own Rome; and no man's commendation of himself will do to give him a title: I know not whose commendation else the Anglican catholic has got; of his own he has plenty.

320 I admit, then, according to scripture, a new life is communicated. We have now to consider what communicates life. "Holy baptism," says the Anglican. I recognize that the church was, and ought to be, one visible body on the earth; but we have to consider what constitutes the body. I own a ministry direct from the Lord, but what makes the minister? This is the real question. If we bow to scripture we have no ground, and, if taught of God, can have no wish, to deny the manifestations and blessing of the unity of the body on earth, the communication of divine life, the direct gift of ministry from Christ, not of man. But the Anglican uses these truths to set up a humanly ordained priesthood and deny grace out of it; he attributes the communication of life and union with Christ to baptism. Priesthood and sacraments are the only divine means of grace and unity. The Evangelicals have foolishly denied or neglected the truths, which they have thus thrown into the hands of Anglicans to use as a weapon against themselves; but the Anglicans have taken these truths to set up a wholly anti-christian system of priesthood and sacraments of which these truths say nothing. They are wrong, even on their own ground, as to the sacraments, as I shall shew; but the main point is, they teach falsely as to the whole way and application of grace to the soul, and set up, not Christianity, but the deceit of Satan clothed with the form of neglected christian truths.

321 And first as to life. We have seen how they slight truth and faith, and drop the action of the Spirit of God. Now I shall shew from scripture that to these the communication of divine life is attributed by God. They slight preaching (and preaching, I repeat, is not worship); but to it scripture attributes salvation. Let us remember that in the beginning Christians had to deal with Jews or the heathen world, and this will much simplify the matter; for unquestionably preaching — it may be private communications as well as public ones, for publicly, says Paul, and from house to house, but the ministry of the word — was that which acted on souls, and that by which they were brought to baptism. As many as received the word gladly, we read, were baptized. So Philip went down to Samaria and preached Christ to them. But when they believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. They believed and were baptized. The time was not come for winning kings by processions, so delighted in by Anglicans, and those christianizing their subjects en masse; nor for driving the Saxons, by arms, into the Elbe to baptize and make Christians of them as, the famous Charlemagne. Faith came by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

Let us see the positive teaching of the apostles on this subject. Whoever called on the name of the Lord was to be saved. "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed; and how shall they believe on him of whom they have not heard; and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things … So then faith cometh by hearing [the report], and hearing by the word of God." Salvation is for faith, according to the apostle, and faith by hearing the word. And this is a moral dealing with souls. "Wherefore when I came was there no man; when I called was there none to answer," is the appeal of God to Israel.

322 No person can read the Gospels or Acts without seeing that the testimony of the word was the great means of divine dealing with souls. Whatever the miracles of goodness and the ineffable excellency of His person, the service of Christ was preaching, and so He declares, "And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also; for therefore am I sent." (Luke 4:43.) Accordingly, in describing His service in Matthew 4:23, "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching." "The poor have the gospel preached unto them" was one of the signs of His divine and blessed presence; — when He sent out His disciples, it was (Matt. 10:7), "And as ye go, preach, saying," &c. And after His ascension (Mark 16:20), "They went forth, and preached everywhere." They were to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature: he that believed and was baptized would be saved, and he that believed not would be damned. So in Luke 24:47, repentance and remission of sins were to be preached in his name, beginning at Jerusalem. In carrying it out, Peter's preaching in Acts 2 reaches the hearts of some three thousand and brings them, as gladly receiving the word, to baptism. They could not but speak the things they had seen and heard, and sought grace to speak God's word with boldness. If there were miracles, it was the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by signs following. (Mark 16:20.) So Hebrews 2:14. Philip went down to Samaria and preached Christ to them. It is needless to go through the whole history of the Acts, which, with abundant confirmatory signs, is the history of the preaching of Peter and Paul: indeed, while giving prayer the first place, it is to this Peter declares that, leaving the care of the poor, the apostles would give themselves. Peter to Cornelius calls the whole testimony of Christianity: "The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all): that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached." (Acts 10:36-37.)

Salvation, then, is for everyone that believes; faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God. What, then, shall we say of a system which depreciates preaching, calls faith an intellectual process, and puts a ceremony, be it a divinely instituted ceremony performed on an unconscious person, in the place of living faith and the power of the Spirit and the word? I shall now shew, as to the means of receiving life, the application of this grace of the gospel, that it is by the word through faith, faith as a means, not as a condition, but as a work wrought by God in the soul. James declares: "Of his own will begat he us by the word of truth that we might be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." (Chap. 1:18.) Peter tells us: "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 Peter 1:22-23.) And to shew that it is by the testimony of the gospel, it is added (ver. 25), "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." Thus the word of God, and the word preached, is that by which we are born of God.

323 But faith, which receives that word as of God (for he that receives this testimony has set to his seal that God is true), is that by which we are thus born. We are all, says the apostle, the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:26.) So 1 Thessalonians 2:13, 16: "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe" … "Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved," &c. So 2 Thessalonians 2:10-14: "Because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved … that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, whereunto he called you by our gospel." So the Lord: "Sanctify them by thy truth; thy word is truth." (John 17.) I might multiply quotations to the same purpose shewing that the saving quickening work of God is by the word, and hence by faith, and by faith as a means, not as a condition.

That we are justified by faith (the doctrine wickedly called Lutheran, and so hateful to Anglicans) is affirmed so repeatedly by the apostle, that is, by the word of God, that it is hardly needful to cite passages. It is the main subject of the whole Epistle to the Romans and of that to the Galatians. The whole christian system is designated by it in contrast with law, "after that faith came" (Gal. 3:25); but our present subject is eternal life and salvation rather than justification. Paul preached the faith, he tells us, which once he destroyed. But the Lord Himself tells us, "He that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live," and again, after stating that the Son quickeneth whom He will, He adds, as to knowing that we have it, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation [judgment], but is passed from death unto life." Thus, through hearing Christ's word and believing on Him that sent Him, a man has everlasting life. It is by the word, it is by faith.

324 The other element of the new birth and the power by which it is wrought is, according to scripture, the Holy Spirit. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit," as that which is born of the flesh is flesh. And "so is everyone that is born of the Spirit." That new nature or life given to us, which is contrasted with the flesh, is attributed to the Spirit, divinely and essentially so. Every life has its nature from that of which it is born. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. You cannot thus speak of water: it is not the communication of a nature, but cleansing power. As far as it represents anything, it represents unequivocally death, not life, for we are baptized into Christ's death. "That which is born of water is water" would be nonsense. It is not presented as the communicator of a nature; the Spirit is. It is a divine life-giving Spirit. So of Christ, who acts as well as the Father in it, He is a quickening Spirit. As the Father raises up the dead and quickens them, so the Son quickens whom He will. Christ becomes our life.

I do not doubt that John 3 refers to what baptism refers to, as John 6 refers to what the Lord's supper refers to; but John 3 does nor refer to baptism, nor John 6 to the Lord's supper. The passages speak of what baptism and the Lord's supper also figure. Christ incarnate was the true bread come down from heaven, and, having been crucified, His flesh and blood become the way of life and the food of the believer's soul. But as the bread was Christ incarnate, so the flesh and blood are Christ sacrificed on the cross. And hence the chapter speaks of His going up where He was before, shewing that it speaks of Christ personally, not of the Lord's supper. The chapter speaks, that is, of Christ, not of the Lord's supper, in the bread come down from heaven and the flesh and blood. And this is evident and certain upon the face of it, because the Lord's supper is for the church only; the bread He gives is His flesh, which He gives for the life of the world. If any man eats of it, he lives for ever; but this is not true of the sacrament. Whoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood has eternal life. This is not true of the sacrament; and this partaking of eternal life is effectual and eternal: Christ "will raise him up at the last day." This cannot be said of everyone that partakes of the sacrament. Every one of the passages proves the utter falseness of applying it to the sacrament.

325 The truth is, there is no such Christ now as is figured in the sacrament in existence. It is Christ's body broken in death, and His blood shed; but there is no such Christ now, any more than there is a self-humbled Christ come down from heaven. He is gone up glorified, and there is no dead Christ or shed blood to be found. Those united to a living glorified Christ celebrate, till He come, the blessed memorial of what is no longer, and which has given them a part in Him now, and with Him and like Him hereafter.*

{*It is curious how far the enemy has gone in deceiving those who are under his power. That by which the laity, so-called, are comforted under the privation of the cup is what is called the doctrine of concomitancy, that a whole Christ, body, soul, blood and divinity are in each of the species of bread and wine; but, if the blood be not shed, there is no redemption; the sign given to the flock of God is a sign that no redemption is completed! It is with a broken body and shed blood we have to do, that which, as I have said in the text, does not exist now; and the drinking of the cup as a distinct thing is essential to the nature and meaning of the sacrament. It declares, too, that death has come in, and necessarily, that there can be no participation in the blessing of incarnation, without the death of Christ also. "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink of his blood, ye have no life in you." Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone! The bread which He gives is His flesh, which He gives for the life of the world, which He gives in the shedding of His blood; and this must be drunk as a separate thing. All this, on which John especially insists, and which is of the essence of Christianity, Romanism and Ritualism deny.}

And it is equally false of John 3. The Lord speaks of the reality in the operation of divine power, the communication of a new life, of a spiritual life, by the Spirit — that which is analogous to the wind, which is seen in its effects, not in itself. Baptism is seen in itself, on the contrary, not in its effects, as every one knows. What, then, does water refer to? Scripture teaches us fully. It typifies the word. Christ sanctifies and cleanses the church, for which He gave Himself, by the washing of water by the word; as James tells us we are begotten by the word. Again John 15, "Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." It is an allusion more particularly to Ezekiel, where Israel's blessings are promised to be restored to them: "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you," &c. (Ezek. 36:25-26.) It is real cleansing within by the word. With this comes, in Ezekiel, the earthly promises to Israel. Hence the Lord says to Nicodemus, "Art thou a teacher of Israel and knowest not these things?" He ought to have known them, from His own prophets. "If I have told you of earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?" And the "ye" and the "every one" of John 3:7-8, refer, the first to Jews, the latter embracing the heathen.

326 The birth of the Spirit, or new life, the new man, is attributed to the Spirit. Cleansed in mind by the word we are, but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Baptism, we are expressly told, signifies our dying, our dying to sin, which is true inward cleansing, and in Colossians our resurrection is added, but communication of life never. The passage in Titus may be alleged, where the apostle uses the expression, "the washing of regeneration;" but regeneration is not used in scripture for the communication of life but for a change of state and condition. It is only used once elsewhere in scripture, for the new millennial world; where Christ shall sit on the throne of His glory: "In the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory." (Matt. 19:28.) Here it is evidently a change of state and condition, not communication of life. Hence, in Titus 3:5, we have the washing of regeneration. One, before a heathen or Jew, or at least born in sin, and outside the place of grace and God's dwelling, was admitted within it. His state was changed. He had been a heathen, a Jew, a sinner, away from promises and God and hope. He passed into that condition where all these were, translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son. Where being born of God is spoken of, it is another word, not παλιγγενεσία, but γεννηθῆ ἄνωθεν, or ἀαγεννάω, never παλιγγεννάω. And with the laver of παλιγγενεσίας we have, "and the renewing of the Holy Ghost" as a distinct thing. New life is attributed to Him who can give it — the Spirit of God, the Father, and the Son.

327 In result, quickening or communicating life is expressly attributed to the word, to faith, to the Spirit. It is never attributed to baptism. On the contrary, this signifies or figures death; it may be said resurrection, as coming up into a new state. For Christ being our life, this is in the power and status before God of His resurrection. Baptism signifies in fact the quitting an old state by death, that of the first Adam, and an entrance into a new, that of the second Adam risen from the dead. It does signify washing or cleansing, but in no place giving life. We read of being born of water, but it is not said of baptism; and where the possession of a new nature is spoken of in this very passage, it is referred exclusively to the Spirit: "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." We have too the expression the washing of regeneration; but regeneration is a change of state and condition, as Matthew 19 shews, not the communication of life. Baptism is of real importance and deep signification in its true place, but it is not in pretending that water can give spiritual life. This the Spirit, direct divine agency, alone can do; and we know, when manifested in this world, it is by the word through faith. But as an entrance into a new state, as death to the old, and, figuratively, washing and cleansing from what belonged to the old by death to it, it has its full scriptural signification. Hence we read: "Arise and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord;" not, Arise and receive life. Communication of life it was not. For, in the case of adult heathen and Jews, they believed and were baptized;* that is, they had life first, for he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. In a certain aspect, baptism signified more than giving life that is, the deliverance and salvation of those who had life. The centurion Cornelius had life, was devout, and we see evidently that he was renewed in heart. He was to send for Peter, and hear words whereby he would be saved.

{*I do not enter on the question of infant baptism here (which, for my own part, from other scriptures, I hold to be right), but discuss the place baptism holds. The Anglican church teaches, in the most express way possible, that faith is necessary to baptism: only it is faith in the promise of God made to them in that sacrament. Infants, they say, promise this by their sureties; but I suppose, if they believe the promises made there, they must believe in Him who made them, and in whose name they are baptized; they must believe, or others for them, that Jesus is the Son of God. That is, according to this system, faith goes before baptism. It is not my business to reconcile this with the doctrine of being born by baptism, for we are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. What is required of those of riper years is to be examined whether they be sufficiently instructed in the principles of the christian religion, and they are to prepare themselves with prayer and fasting. I suppose they are really to believe these principles, they are to have faith for it — must, unless they are hypocrites. Indeed without faith it is impossible to please God. It would be curious research, but too tedious, to examine the utter confusion in which the Anglican catholic is by his blunders as to baptism and false ideas of its place. Men are born of God in it, yet have faith in order to receive it. Indeed under the form of the Apostles' creed, the person to be baptized is called upon to profess his faith in all Christian doctrine, in Christ Himself. He is to be baptized in this faith. That is his desire, I suppose accounted genuine and sincere. Now it is certain we are the children of God by faith; and the catechism is not quite honest where it says "The promises of God made to them in this sacrament," because they are called on to be instructed in the principles of the Christian religion, and to profess their faith as set forth in the formula of the Apostles' creed, and they are baptized in that faith, not faith in the promises made to them in the sacrament. Nay, these promises are rehearsed, and they are required to believe in something else — "God's holy word." But I feel it better to inquire into the substance of the truth in scripture as contrasted with ritualistic doctrine, than to spell out the confusion introduced by the breaking of light into the popish system, and the mixture of doctrinal light and ancient traditions and forms, increased by the partial return to catholic sentiments in the time of Charles II.}

328 The doctrine of a real deliverance and actual salvation has been so lost that many a true Christian, knowing he must be born again, looks for the fruit of it to ascertain his state. But there is an actual deliverance and translation into the kingdom of God's dear Son, which belongs to every renewed soul, but has been acquired by the death and resurrection of Jesus, of which baptism is the sign, death as we have seen to the old (Rom. 6), and rising into the new condition, all trespasses being forgiven. (Col. 2.) So in external things: Israel, brought to God in heart and will in Egypt, was delivered out of Egypt at the Red Sea, by the "salvation of Jehovah," and baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea. Hence, Peter says, the antitype whereto now saves us, even baptism … by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The disposition of Noah through grace gave him a part by faith in deliverance, but he had his deliverance through the flood into a new world. By faith Noah prepared an ark to the saving of his house. This baptism figures, scripture declares; not the communication of life. We may be said, in a certain sense, to be figuratively born there, as coming out of the womb of death to the old Adam state into a new world (παλιγγενεσία), but not to have life communicated.

329 I admit baptism is not a sign of what we have already, as is commonly taught; but of getting, through death, into a new position, where we have what entitles us to it. With union it has nothing to do, good or bad. It is not by receiving the Holy Ghost we are born again, nor do we receive the Holy Ghost in baptism. It is not in any way a sign of union. On this scripture is as clear as can be. Baptism is baptism into Christ's death, at the utmost rising in coming up from it, when having figuratively passed under death. Union is with a Christ exalted at God's right hand, and only so, and by the Holy Ghost the Comforter, who could not come till Christ was exalted.* That is, baptism does not go beyond death, or, at the utmost, resurrection. Union is with an exalted Christ by the Spirit, where He is on high. The first proposition, I have already shewn from Romans 6 and Colossians 2. The reader has only to refer to these chapters. As many as have been baptized unto Christ have been baptized to His death. As a figure we are not baptized as a sign or seal that we are already dead and risen again; we are baptized to death, buried there wash away our sins there. As a figure it saves us, because we therein pass, by death, out of the old scene and Adam state, and so into the new or risen Christ state. But secondly, in no sense has baptism anything to do with union. We have seen, and scripture is express, that it is by one Spirit we are baptized into one body, and this is always distinguished from baptism; and the Lord's supper, not baptism, is the symbol of the unity of the body, though it may figure what implies it as a consequence.

{*The apostle Paul alone speaks of the church as Christ's body. He alone refers to this doctrine. He was not only a minister of the gospel, but a minister of the church, to fulfil (complete) the word of God. But he tells us he was not sent to baptize. Is not this strange, if baptism is that by which we are made members of that body, the means of union?}

But it does not itself even figure, in any way, introduction into Christ's body. In this Baptists are as wrong as Anglicans. We have seen that baptism signifies death, but having a part in Christ's death, and, hence, death that delivered from an old state and all transgressions connected with it. As Noah was freed by the flood entirely from the old world, which was now gone and had perished in the flood, and emerged out of the ark into a new world; yet that flood was judgment through which he was saved in the ark, so we are delivered by Christ through death and judgment, which He underwent for us, for it would have been our everlasting ruin — out of the old state and brought into a new condition, into which He is risen, if indeed we have a part in Him. Of this, baptism is the figure. We are baptized to* Christ's death, and we are to reckon ourselves dead; the judgment having been borne by Christ, it is death to sin, the world, and all that belongs to the old man. We have put off the old man and put on the new, and this is the profession by baptism of every Christian. Where it is said, "few, that is eight souls were saved by water," it is not simply saved, not ἐσώθησαν, but διεσώθησαν saved through danger or catastrophe, they were saved through the flood — not by it, though it was salvation as deliverance from an old and introduction into a new world; but it is saved, through a destroying judgment, through what would have been, but for the ark, and was, for others, destruction. Baptism is the antitype (such is the word figure) to this; it passes us through death, not literally of course, as is evident. But inasmuch as Christ, into whose death we are baptized, is risen, it is deliverance from an old and introduction into a new, even Christ's risen, state: really if we take outward standing here, figuratively if we speak of the condition of the soul before God. But it is death, not communication of life, which it figures in itself. It is the flood of which it is the antitype, death into which we are brought by it. But even, were it the communication of life, this is not union. By the reception of life we become children of God. Christ is, in this aspect, the firstborn among many brethren, not Head of the body, and the saints members of His body, that body of which He, exalted above every name, is the Head. It is by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, and of this the Lord's supper is the symbol, not baptism. Baptism is death, and leads to resurrection figuratively through grace, but does not go beyond the latter, does not point farther than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But in order to form the t body, Christ must be exalted as the Head. This is, in every way, evident from scripture. The Head, that is Christ exalted, must have been there to unite the body to.

{*It is not really into, it is the same word as to Moses, to John's baptism.}

330 But in detail, in the first place as the body is formed by the baptism of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 12), it could not be till Pentecost, for this was, we are expressly told, that baptism (Acts 1:5); but the Comforter could not come till Christ went away: then He would send Him, and we may add that Christ had not received the Holy Ghost to confer on His members as sent down from heaven until He went up. (Acts 2.) Further, there was no head to unite the body to, till He went up on high. We are members of His body, we are of His flesh and of His bones; but that it is of Christ exalted the end of Ephesians 1 makes as plain as language can make it. To make the incarnation the ground of it is a gross and heretical blunder. Without the incarnation, of course it could not have been, for it is to Christ as the glorified Man we are united. But there was no union with Christ incarnate. I will say more of this further on, for it is a very vital point and a capital and fatal false doctrine of Anglican catholics and even Irvingites.

331 For the present, I confine myself to the fact of union. Till redemption were accomplished, there could be none. A union of the Son of God with sinful corrupt man is an utter and mischievous error. We are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. It is not said He of ours. His real humanity, flesh and blood, is a fundamental doctrine, but this is not union. Union is by the Holy Ghost. He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit. But, further, as to the outward dispensation of unity, union before the cross was impossible, because it was by that the middle wall of partition was broken down, in order to make of twain (Jew and Gentile) one new man, making peace, and present both in one body to the Father. (Eph. 2.) Thus, whether we consider the position of Christ as Head of the body, or the power that forms us into one body, or the time and order of its administration on earth, it is clear that Christ's death and Christ's ascension, and the coming of the Holy Ghost, were all essential to union, to the existence of the church His body. With the last two, baptism has even figuratively nothing to do.

Another very grievous error connected with this, is the notion that the giving of the Holy Ghost is the same as being born again, or necessary to it. This error is common to Evangelicals and Anglicans. In the first place, as to prescribed order, it was received after baptism. (Acts 2.) But as to doctrine, no person receives the Holy Ghost till after he has been born again, and has even yet further grace given to him. In John 7 we read, "This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him should receive." Now, if they believed, they were born again. "In whom after ye believed ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise." (Eph. 1.) "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" (Acts 19.) "He that establisheth us together with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God, who also hath sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." (2 Cor. 1.) And Galatians 4 is very express: "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts."

332 The disciples were believers and clean through the word when the Holy Ghost came upon them. I might add proofs if needed. But it is evident that God cannot seal an unbeliever. He quickens or gives life to the unbeliever through faith by the word; He seals the believer. That, as to prescribed order, it is after baptism, is evident. "Repent and be baptized every one of you, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2.) So Paul, "Whereunto then were ye baptized?" and then after they were baptized, Paul laid his hands on them, and they received the gift of the Holy Ghost. So in Samaria the Holy Ghost was fallen on none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. The exceptional case of Cornelius is an additional proof of the distinction. The Jew demurred to receiving the Gentile. God shewed He would, and the apostle could not forbid water, the outward reception here below, since God had put His seal upon him. This is the apostle's own account. But the- seal of the Spirit even here was by itself, though first, and was not at or by baptism. The forming of the body, and its union with the Head, even with a glorified Christ, is by the Holy Ghost, by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven consequent upon that exaltation. It is in no sense or case by baptism, nor is baptism even a figure of it. The bread in the Lord's supper is used as a figure of the unity produced down here by it. (1 Cor. 10:17.)

Next, as to ministry, scripture does not own man's choice of ministers, any more than voluntary associations called churches. The Anglican catholic holds it to be a constituted order derived successionally from the apostles by ordination. Christians in general have gone more or less decidedly into the same system modified after their own thoughts; only the Anglican holds it to be an exclusive channel of grace in the episcopate and priesthood. He says it must be directly from Christ. How a successional system is directly from Christ it would be hard to tell. I understand a person saying God endows a person appointed by man, or even by the Lord, or endows him indirectly through a man. Both are found in scripture. Christ appointed apostles; they were endowed on the day of Pentecost. And the apostles conferred the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands, on (not the ministry, though the Holy Ghost might operate by them in ministry, but on) the whole company of the faithful, as at Samaria Peter and John did. But ministry was free to all and special gift directly from the Holy Ghost, and under the authority and, I may add, gift of Christ. This I shall now shew. This directness characterized the ministry of Paul, here, I admit, in its highest or apostolic character; "not of man," he says, "nor BY man." Those who called themselves Jews then insisted on derivation of ministry from the apostles. Paul gloried in its not being so; but it was not confined to him.

333 Let us see historically. All that were scattered abroad on the occasion of Stephen's death (that is, all except the apostles) went everywhere preaching the word. (Acts 8:4.) I suppose the whole church was not ordained; and in chapter 11:21, in Antioch, we read of them, "and the hand of the Lord was with them; and a great number believed and turned to the Lord." Stephen, using the office of a deacon well, purchases to himself a good degree, and great boldness in Christ Jesus; so Philip. So, in 2 John and 3 John, Gaius is commended for receiving those who went out, and a lady is directed to inquire, not for letters of orders, but what doctrine they brought. Diotrephes refused them: according to our modern Anglicans he did well. As to doctrine, the Lord in the parable of the talents makes the question of faithfulness in ministry turn on trading with a gift,* small or great, without other authorization than receiving it. This was faithfulness. Peter tells us: "as every one has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1 Peter 4:10-11); that is, as those who speak on God's behalf, that God may be glorified, as in ministry (service), of the ability which God giveth. The apostle, teaching how to discern what was of the Holy Ghost in 1 Corinthians 12, tells us, there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit … and then goes through a long list, wisdom, knowledge, prophecy, &c. "All these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." These are different members in the body which have need one of another, and these various gifts are not local or an office in a particular church; but God has set in the church apostles, prophets, teachers. All have not these different gifts, but all who have are responsible for their exercise, for trading with their talent; and they are in the church, (not in office, I repeat, in a church).

{*The talents were received on the Lord's departure to take the kingdom and return. They have nothing to do with wealth or natural gift however responsible we may be (as we are) for the use of these.}

334 Hence Apollos, if he taught at Ephesus, taught at Corinth if he went there. They were gifts in the church, members in the body. Hence the apostle, resisting the first beginning of sects, says, "all things are yours. Paul, Apollos, Cephas," &c., all are yours; the gifts belong to the church at large. So we read, there were in the church which was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers. We have limits and order set to their exercise, surely. But these shew and confirm the general principle. Not more than two, or at the most three, are allowed to speak in the assembly when come together, and women are to keep silence: a strange direction, if only an ordained priest or deacon, ay, or dissenting minister, could open his mouth, and they were the only channels of grace. Such a limit in that case could have no sense at all.

But again, in more ordinary and regular ministrations, as may be thought, is their conferring less direct? Christ ascended (we read in Eph. 4.) up on high, and gave gifts unto men, and He gave some apostles and prophets, and some pastors and teachers, and some evangelists for (πρός) the perfecting of the saints, for (εἰς) the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till all are come in the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. We read "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets," so that we may leave them aside; but pastors, and teachers, and evangelists, are directly given as gifts (talents) by Christ ascended on high. This is direct giving according to scripture, not of man, nor by man. And it is added, "from whom," the Head, Christ, "the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body for the edifying of itself in love." Our essayist was wise not to seek to prove his thesis from scripture.

In 1 Corinthians 14:29-31 we read, "let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge" … "for ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be comforted." James, indeed, warns the saints "not to be many masters [teachers] knowing that we shall receive greater condemnation." But why so, if they could not unless regularly ordained to it? Such a warning could have no place according to the system which knows only an ordained clergy. I shall be told there were extraordinary gifts. Some of them were, not all. Pastors, teachers, evangelists, are not, nor that which every joint supplies; nor does James's direction apply to such, nor 1 Peter 4, nor 2 and 3 John. But in any case this is nothing to the purpose. The theory I combat is that God originally instituted a system of episcopate and priesthood, the only channels of blessing and grace, a direct ministry which man could not choose.

335 I am told, indeed, that scripture is not to be referred to in order to prove it, as it was established before the scriptures were written, but that they allude to it often. But I find they speak very fully, not by allusion but historically and doctrinally, of another system which God did institute and appoint, and which proves, as to the original constitution of God, the Anglican system to be false; false historically, false doctrinally. If he tells me that his system supplanted what God originally instituted, I admit it. That is the truth, it did supplant it. The system they teach is incompatible with that taught in scripture, either for the world or the church. Do they mean to allege that, for some wise reason, God set aside His original system, and order, and power? For it was God, we are told, who worked all in all; Christ, who gave from on high pastors, teachers, evangelists; and every one who had received the gift was so to minister the same, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Did God and Christ withdraw all their gifts, ordinary and extraordinary, from the church, and substitute the clerical system insisted on by Anglicans? When did He do it? Not in times taught of in scripture. Or was it man, who, as power died down, so to speak, substituted his order for God's?

But the external order will be alleged; bishops and priests. Let us see what positive testimony the word furnishes. It does more than allude to these also. Nor does it recognize the church's choice even of these church officers, save as regards money and table serving. Then it is insisted on. In Acts 6 the apostles withdraw from table-serving, establishing needed order in the church, to give themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word, not to baptizing or administering the Lord's supper. One was generally entrusted to others, it is not said to whom — strange case of the exclusive character of grace! and the breaking of bread was daily from house to house (or at home in contrast with the temple). Where were the ordained ministers who communicated the grace? I know not; but the apostles withdrew from tables to give themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word, a matter so deplorable in the eyes of our modern catholics. And they have the table-carers, chosen by the people; and on these they lay hands, the only expressly ordained persons in scripture; and, we read, faithfulness in this is a way to higher service. So Paul would not take the money of the saints for Jerusalem unless the churches chose some to travel with him, providing things honest in the sight of men. The word used is χειροτονέω, election being made by stretching out the hand; but it has nothing to do with ordination. 2 Corinthians 8:19 shews it beyond controversy, and so indeed does Acts 10:41.

336 But there were elders chosen, and they were never chosen by the church, but by Paul and Barnabas; or Titus was sent to establish them.* There were overseers; that is, bishops, expressly so-called in Acts 20, nor is anyone else so called. And there were several in each locality, they chose (not "ordained:" the translation is ecclesiastical but false) elders in every city; some laboured in the word and doctrine; some, it appears from 1 Timothy 5:17, did not, but the same Epistle shews us it was desirable. But the difference between their office and gift is evident.

{*No appointment is found in the Jewish church. They rather seem to slip into the office by a natural order. "The apostles and elders came together to consider of this matter."}

The gifts were set in the church and exercised everywhere; the elders, though they might have gifts too, were local officers, city by city, or in every church. (Titus 1:5; Acts 14:23.) And these were not gifts, but offices appointed. They were bishops, I repeat, the only bishops spoken of in the scriptures, and Christ Himself directly and alone over them. These elders were to shepherd, not their flock, but the flock of God; and were responsible to the Chief Shepherd, who, when He should appear, would recompense them. (1 Peter 5. 1-4.) As we have seen in Acts 20., they are expressly called bishops. Nor has the apostle an idea of anyone over them here below, or of a successor to himself. He calls them solemnly together, declares the Holy Ghost had appointed them bishops, tells them he is going away, and they were to watch. Where is the room for the modern bishop here, now he forgot to remind them of Timothy, and their due subjection to his admonitions? He commends them to God, and the word of His grace which is able to build them up. They were to take heed to themselves and all the flock. Where was the bishop?

337 But, farther, the apostle was going away and expected never to see them again. Here, indeed, was the place to "allude" to the episcopate, and the successors of the apostles; but not a hint of such a thing escapes him. It has a strange and ominous silence about it, and, more than that, though he declares that things will go on badly as soon as he was gone, he has not an idea of appointing a vigilant successor to take his place; on the contrary, there will be none; grievous wolves would break in, and even among themselves perverse men would arise. Was there no bishop to consult, no successor in the see to watch? None. They, the elders, Paul's bishops, the only ones he knows, were to watch; and he commends them to God and the word of His grace. He treated his successor very slightingly, if he had one. But I shall be told Timothy was the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians. Not Paul's successor then, for Paul was alive. And the apostles as such (and even Bellarmine admits it) had no successors properly, for their charge was universal, not local. The notion of their having successors is indeed absurd. Paul, we have seen, knew nothing of it in Acts 20 — the very occasion to speak of it; and so Peter takes pains, that after his decease all the Jewish Christians should have his teaching in remembrance, having no idea of a successor.

Where is the "allusion" to this constitution of God? There is none. (I reserve the question of priesthood as a graver question.) But what then was Timothy? This alleged episcopate must have been either successors to the apostles, as if (which is false) the apostles had a local see, or persons whom the apostles appointed in places they had evangelized and established Christianity in. But Timothy and Titus were not the successors, for the history we have of them relates to the apostle's lifetime, and the apostles had no local see as such. And we have the account of what they established in the places they had laboured in successfully. They established elders in every city, that is, not a bishop but several elders or bishops. That is a certain fact, whether in the Acts or in the Epistles to Titus and Timothy, confirmed as it is in that to the Philippians also. Titus and Timothy were especial delegates of the apostle, who were certainly not located in sees, but accompanied the apostle or were sent on special missions by him, his confidential agents. He left Timothy for a time at Ephesus specially about doctrine; but he, after that, desires him to come to him speedily. Titus did not stay at Crete either: in 2 Timothy 4:10 we read of his being gone to Dalmatia.

338 The apostle, or his delegates by his direction, did establish bishops or elders in each city; that is, they did not establish an episcopate in the modern sense of the word, but something else which contradicts it: and if episcopacy is a necessary and exclusive channel of grace, the true primitive church had no channels of grace at all, and those who followed had no grace to communicate. There were officers, but they were of another kind. Nor is there a hint of communicating grace in the matter.

That the church fell early into a system of episcopacy is perfectly true; and Jerome tells us how and why, as we have seen: namely, to prevent the jealous ambition and disputes of the elders. But the church's decay was contemporaneous. All sought their own already, the apostle tells us, not the things of Jesus Christ; they were in the last times already, John assures us, in his day; and Peter, that the time was come for judgment to begin at the house of God. Episcopacy accompanied this, a human arrangement to meet decaying spirituality. Then some began to say, My Lord delayeth His coming, and began to beat the men-servants and maid-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken, so that, in some 140 years from the apostles' days, Cyprian assures us that one of the most terrible persecutions was only too light as a chastisement from God. The bishops, so-called, were running about as commercial travellers to make money. In a little more than another century the emperors had to make laws to prevent the avarice of priests around dying beds, who were not called for (as Jerome complains), with buffoons or actors, or any heathen priests.

For ministry there was no ordination by man. It was direct. The apostles laid their hands on those who served tables; laymen, so-called, laid their hands on an apostle. But no one can shew, in scripture, ordination for ministry. Whoever had a gift, for the world, or for the church, was bound to exercise it, order being maintained in the church by scriptural rules. I defy anyone to point out ordination for ministry in scripture, or to sustain it by scriptural authority. Elders and deacons, or servants, there were. I dare say hands were laid on them, as it was the universal custom; but it is only said of the table-servers in Acts 6. Timothy is told not to lay hands suddenly on anyone; and I dare say he did on elders or bishops; but God has taken care it never should be stated in scripture. As to conferring a gift, it was by the laying on of the apostles' hands exclusively.