What the Christian has amid the ruin of the Church;

being a reply to certain articles in the Jamaica Magazine

J. N. Darby.

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There is no harm done by the renewed attacks, made in various places, on those called Plymouth Brethren. It furnishes an occasion to bring scriptural truth before those who are honest enough to hear what they have to say. The questions stirred in the Jamaica Magazine have been discussed long ago in Switzerland, and quite recently in Canada. But Jamaica Christians know little of what passes in Switzerland, and not much of what passes in Canada. The papers in the Jamaica Magazine cannot be charged with being intemperate or abusive. They have taken their account of Brethren's principles at secondhand, and, save a few important elements, that account is quite false; but I have no reason to suppose any bad faith as to what they have borrowed.

It gives an occasion to state more correctly what the "Brethren" attacked do hold, or, rather, what scripture teaches on the subject, which is the only really important point, and, as to that, the principles of the Jamaica Magazine are (as those of the English ecclesiastical system) wholly at variance with scripture, as I shall shew. Colonial ecclesiastical polity is, however, in theory, and in many places in practice, different from English ecclesiastical polity. Where democracy prevails, it enters practically into the church system, and the ecclesiastical polity has to be made popular. It is not so in England.

Here are the Jamaica Magazine's views on the subject: "There are three conditions commended to us by apostolic precedent which are necessary to the proper adjustment of the respective relations of laity and clergy in the church. The first is that the lay element shall have a free share in the deliberative assemblies of the church; secondly, that ministers should not be placed over a church without the consent of the members; and thirdly, that the whole body (not the clerical element only) shall have the power of inflicting church censures. All history teaches that, where this has been exercised by the clergy exclusively and without control, the result has been an oppressive spiritual despotism."

273 Now I do not agree with all this; but where were our adversary's wits in writing it? Not one of these elements is found in the Establishment of England. They are wholly absent, wholly excluded, so that the system is not commended by apostolic precedent, and the result has been an oppressive spiritual despotism. Such is the Magazine's judgment of the English Establishment. It is contrary to apostolic precedent, and is a spiritual despotism. Now the question with me lies far, far deeper. I do not think it has resulted in England in a spiritual despotism, but in a total incapacity to act. It has not the spiritual despotism of popery, nor the popular democratic energy of dissent. It is governed, even in doctrinal points, by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, who have decided that no clergyman is bound to hold the inspiration of the scriptures, or eternal punishment: on which decision the clergy are freely acting, and no one can tell what they hold. One judge holds they may have lighted candles in the daytime; another, that they cannot; and the Privy Council has now to decide.* The truth is, being tied to the State, the episcopal body has no autonomy, no power of self-government whatever; and the popish clerical principle struggles against the government of the Church by the State, so as to threaten a separation within the ecclesiastical body, and nobody knows where it will end. The controversial articles were framed against popery. Other and vital questions, really infidel notions, have now sprung up; there is no power to deal with them, because the ecclesiastical body can do nothing The courts will decide, taking the Thirty-nine Articles as law. But questions vital to the Church of God are not touched on in the Thirty-nine Articles - many that are raised now are not, and the ecclesiastical courts have no law to go by, and everybody holds what he likes, is an open infidel if he pleases, and remains a prelate in the system, and defies them all; as Dr. Colenso, and plenty of the inferior clergy less generally known. It is not spiritual despotism, as the Puseyites perhaps might wish, but a tending to utter dissolution, from want of bands and self-controlling power; a state of things which may now perhaps soon cease by the progress of democratic principles abolishing the Establishment as such altogether. It will then split or become Puseyite, as now threatens the system in the United States. But this is for England a revolution, to which I have nothing to say, in which I have no pleasure; but which is in the hands of a wise and holy God, who will make all things work together for good to those who love Him. It will lead England into popery and infidelity, and, I have little doubt, lead to her losing practically her independence, and with it, in more ways than she is thinking of, what remains of her boasted national glory.

{*The candles have now been decided against.}

274 The Establishment is not a spiritual despotism, but, as every one sees, is inefficient for everything requiring self-judgment. But it is breaking up, such as it is, under the conflict of popish and protestant principles contained within it - a mixture once accounted its wisdom; pushed by infidelity it cannot meet, and the helpless object of a democratic revolution, which, as everyone sees, increases its force daily. It is strange that I should have to defend it against the charges of the Jamaica Magazine. But by the confession of the writer it is not commended by apostolic precedent; a serious thing when we speak of what is ecclesiastical. The principles would be despotic; but the control of the State has taken away the power, and with that made it inefficient for everything that is vital to a church. But the colonial or democratic theory of the lay and clerical element supposes the clergy, and this is the real point. But it depends on a more fundamental one: What is the Church?

These are the questions we have to solve: What is the Church? What is the ministry? And now to clear the way by correcting several mistakes. As far as I can answer for "Brethren's" views, and certainly I can state my own, I do not deny a human ministry. I hold to it as God's ordinance, as an essential part of Christianity. The word of reconciliation is committed to men, and if in the highest sense this were apostolic, still there are gifts, "evangelists, pastors and teachers, till we all come," etc. The question is as to the scriptural character of this. Again, I fully recognize that there was an organization in apostolic and scriptural times, but affirm that what exists now is not the scriptural organization at all, but mere human invention, each sect arranging itself according to its own convenience, so that, as an external body, the Church is ruined; and though much may be enjoyed of what belongs to the Church, I believe from scripture that the ruin is without remedy, that the professing church will be cut off I believe that there is an external professing Christendom, holding a most important and responsible place, and which will be judged and cut off for its unfaithfulness.

275 The true body of Christ is not this. It is composed of those who are united to Christ by the Holy Ghost, who, when the professing church is cut off, will have their place with Him in heaven. It is the Church Catechism, not the Plymouth Brethren so called, which confounds these two things when it says, "Baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven." But the Church, as we find it in scripture, was externally one united organized body; that is, Christians were one set of people, known as such on earth; and elders were locally appointed to guide and oversee - at any rate among the Gentile churches, for any formal appointment is not so clear among the Jews. But there was only one church, one assembly as a whole; and in each place one body with its elders, God's Church in the place; and only one really in the whole world, visibly, externally one. If Paul in his day had addressed an epistle to the assembly of God which is at Kingston, there would have been no question as to who would have received it; if he addressed one now, there is no such body to get it; it must go to the dead letter office. Membership of a church is a thing unknown to scripture; what scripture speaks of is a member of Christ, as of one body, a hand, an eye, etc.

It is not that there was no organization. There was, but it was not a number of voluntary self-constituted sects as now. God's organization is lost in the world, supplanted for centuries by popery. Men have escaped from the horrors of this, each in his own direction: first, in national churches formed by the civil magistrate - a thing unknown till the Reformation; and then, when this was judged unscriptural, diverging into countless sects, each organizing itself in its own way, and having its own members. This kind of organization, which is wholly contradictory of the scriptural one, is what we reject; and we do not pretend to begin and found the Church over again, but believe that scripture gives us full guidance in these last and perilous days for the position which the general ruin, fully prophesied of in the New Testament, has brought us into. There are saints scattered in all denominations holding the faith of God's elect. But Christ gave Himself to gather together in one the children of God which were scattered abroad. Why are they scattered now? They were to be one that the world might believe. Now they are the scorn of men for their divisions. The Church, as responsible on earth, is in ruins; its organizations, for they are many, are not God's. Paul could not anywhere call for the elders of the Church, and say to them, "The flock of God, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers." Where that exists, I will joyfully fly to submit myself to it.

276 I will not refer to Acts 2 and 4 to shew how fearfully we are departed from our first estate, solemn as the testimony is. When the Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost, He formed the Church into one body. That, we know from the Acts, was the promised baptism of the Holy Ghost. And we learn from 1 Corinthians 12 that by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body. Now that this body was a public, manifested, external, perfectly united body, is manifest from the chapter. One could not say to the other, I have no need of thee; if one member suffered, all did; if one was honoured, all rejoiced. The various gifts were various members of this body, the Holy Ghost distributing to every man severally as He would; and there were diversities of administrations, but one Lord. The gifts were set in the Church (the whole body). There were gifts of healing, and tongues, and interpreters of tongues. All this is on earth; it has no sense at all save as applied to the Church on earth. Individuals might pass out, as soldiers who had served their time, others be recruited into it; but it remained the army - the one Church on earth - by one uniting Spirit; the body of Christ as manifested on earth, with apostles, prophets, helps, governments, healings, tongues, in it as a whole, given as the Holy Ghost willed.

This is incontrovertible. Whatever may have become of it afterwards, this was God's institution, the one manifested body, with its various gifts or members. If I am told, It will be perfect as the body of Christ in heaven. Be it so. I bless God for it. I believe the end of Ephesians 1 shews that it is to be so. But this does not set aside 1 Corinthians 12, that it was established as one, known, visible body on earth. If I am told on the other hand, That did not last; it was but a momentary expression of power which passed away. Although, as to external unity, this is hardly true until the middle of the third century, when the Novatians sprang up through the dreadful corruptions of the professing body admitted and described by Cyprian, yet substantially I do not deny it. The apostle says, the mystery of iniquity did already work (2 Thess. 2); that all sought their own, not the things of Jesus Christ (Phil. 2); and he tells us (Acts 20) that after his decease grievous wolves would enter in, not sparing the flock; and that from within also perverse men would arise to draw away the disciples after them. As long as apostolic energy remained, though the evil was there, it was met and restrained; but after that was gone, after his decease, the evil would break out and in; for he knows no apostolic succession, but that his absence would open the door to the activity of evil. And he tells us prophetically that in the last days perilous times would come; there would be a form of godliness, denying the power thereof: from such he who had an ear to hear was to turn away.

277 But 1 Corinthians 12 fully describes the original constitution of the Church as the body of Christ on the earth, God's constitution. If that has passed away, then God's orderly constitution of the body of Christ on earth has passed away through the sin of man. The wolf has come and scattered the sheep, because the shepherds were hirelings. Let no saint fear because of this, for no man can pluck them out of the great Shepherd's hand; but the sheep have been scattered, viewed as a flock.* We forget that we have passed through the dark ages of popery, the corruptest and foulest evil, under the name of His Church, that ever God's holy eye rested on.

{*"One fold," in John 10:16, is a false translation; it is "One flock."}

But who can say that we are arrived at the last time? The Apostle John can. Already, he says, there are many antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time. So Peter: "The time is come that judgment should begin at the house of God." Jude tells us he was compelled to write of the evil already crept in, the very persons as a class that would be judged by Christ as corrupters and adversaries when He appeared. In the seven churches we find Christ judging the state into which the churches had got. Has the Church improved since? Let the dark ages tell the tale; and divided, infidel, bewildered Protestantism!

Nor let the Christian be astonished that the failure began so soon. It has been always so. God's patient love has borne and saved, yea known seven thousand, that one, who was faithful enough to go to heaven without death, could not find; but the external state of things was under the corruption of evil, and the time come for judgment. The first thing we read of man, after his being placed in paradise, is his fall; no child was born to an innocent Adam. The first thing we read after Noah's altar of thanksgiving is his being drunk; the reins of government entrusted to him were loosed, and scandal and shame and the curse came in. The first thing we have after God spoke out of the midst of the fire to Israel, before Moses came down, is that Israel made the golden calf. The written law never reached man in its own simple character: he had broken it already. The tables were smashed at the foot of the mountain and never came into the camp! How could they come beside a golden calf? The first day of service after their consecration the sons of Aaron offered strange fire, and Aaron never went into the holiest in his robes of glory and beauty! (See Lev. 16.) The first son of David turned to idolatry, and the kingdom was ruined. The Gentile king, to whom power was transferred, made his golden image, and got a beast's heart; and the whole times of the Gentiles were characterized by this.

278 I do not doubt that all pictured here - man, law, priesthood, son of David, rising to reign over the Gentiles - will be, or is in some measure accomplished in the second Adam, the Christ; but that is another matter, most interesting, but which I cannot follow here. As entrusted to man's responsibility, everything set up by God has failed; that is, man has failed in it and failed immediately. The Church as the body of Christ on earth is not an exception, and if in John's time there were many antichrists so that they knew it was the last time, and Peter declares that the time was come for judgment to begin at the house of God, and Paul that evil men and seducers would wax worse and worse, it was nothing new; it was the sad course of man with everything God had entrusted to him. The first man is the failing man. But this does not alter the fact that God made man upright, nor that the Church as the body of Christ was set up in unity, with all the gifts needed by it, and suited to its good and prosperity, as 1 Corinthians 12 bears witness, and that it has sunk down into popery, divisions, and infidelity. No so-called church can pretend to be the body of Christ now; the one universal Church as described in scripture was then. They have no pretensions to be an unfallen body.

279 My reader may remark, though we shall come to ministry just now, that in the very full list of gifts for the ministration of all blessing in the body, given in the chapter referred to, neither bishops nor deacons appear. Nor do they in Ephesians 4, where the gifts for the permanent edification of the body and perfecting of the saints are spoken of; but of this anon. The Church was established as the body of Christ, one in the earth: no such body or unity can be found now. It is in ruin.

But the Church thus formed by the Holy Ghost come down from heaven has another character in scripture - the house or temple of God. And this is presented in a twofold way, which I beg my reader to remark: one infallibly secure, Christ's own work not yet finished; the other connected with man's responsibility, a present thing on earth.

Let us see what the word of God says on the subject. "Thou art Peter [a stone], and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Here we have Christ building, and no power of Satan shall hinder His building it up to completion. In this building Christ is the Builder, and in the work no human instrumentality is ever spoken of Peter tells us, "Unto whom coming, as unto a living stone, ye also as living stones are built up." Men may minister the word, but the work is Christ's (man disappears) "unto whom coming ye are built up." The work of building is not man's, and the building is not finished yet. Living stones may be added from day to day till the topstone is laid on. This in a certain sense is invisible, an individual work to produce a temple at the end. So Paul: "In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord." It grows up by grace; it is not finished. The apostles and prophets of the New Testament were laid as the foundation, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. The apostles are stones, not workmen.

But in 1 Corinthians 3 we have another aspect of the house: "As a wise masterbuilder," says the apostle, "I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon; but let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon." Here man is builder, and man's responsibility immediately comes in. We have a visible external building "Ye are God's building"; but, though such, man was the builder; he might build in gold, silver, precious stones. All well. But he might build in wood, hay, stubble, and his work be good for nothing, and be all burnt up and destroyed. Three cases are supposed here. The first is where the builder and his work are good: both of course are owned. Secondly, where the workman is true, but the work bad: he is saved and his work destroyed. Thirdly, there is a corrupter: he is destroyed himself, by God, as evil. Here I have not all perfect, fitly framed together, growing to an holy temple, Christ being the Builder; but men the builders, a present building seen on earth, called God's building, but liable to have all sorts of stuff built in, yea, to be corrupted by those who intend evil. Has nothing of this happened?

280 I do not doubt Christ will have in the end His holy temple; that what He builds will never be thrown down, but grow to an holy temple; that it is in this character an invisible - not Church, indeed, as a present ordered thing, for it is not yet complete, but a work to form it such going on, the living stones added; growing up, in spite of the gates of hell, to be a holy temple, I do not deny. In that temple I trust I am, by grace, a stone; I trust our critics are too. But what we have to deal with responsibly - what occupies us now - is what man has built; not the invisible Church which Christ builds - this is sure to be perfect; but what men, since Paul the wise masterbuilder, have built or even corrupted; what you are building who call yourselves the Church of England, or the Presbyterians, or the Independents, or Wesleyans, or the Baptists, who are all very visible indeed. Is your building such as a responsible man down here can own? I do not doubt for a moment there are living stones in all of them, whom Christ will have in His temple, and has placed there already - beloved brethren, whom I own cordially and joyfully as such; members of that Church which Christ loved, and for which He gave Himself, and whom, as part of it, He will present to Himself glorious. I rejoice with all my heart to think so, and am assured it is so. But you see, Mr. Editor, I do distinguish between you and what Christ is building for final presentation to Himself; and my responsibility attaches, as to present church questions, not to my relationship to the invisible Church, but how far the word permits me to own you, and the various sects which have split off from you, who are not, and do not pretend to be, that invisible Church.

And here another part of scripture comes in. If corruption has set in, as we have seen it had in the apostles' days, and the state of the Church has to be judged, and every one that has an ear is to hear what the Spirit says to him, have we no scriptural directions for such a time? We have. 2 Timothy treats of this time of confusion and evil, as 1 Timothy of the order of the visible Church. In 2 Timothy 2 I read, "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his." This supposes, in a great measure, at any rate, that the true Church, the members of Christ, are invisible. The Lord knows them. It was not so originally. In the beginning, "the Lord added to the church [together] such as should be saved." They are publicly manifested as added to the Christian Church, the assembly at Jerusalem. Now we read, "The Lord knoweth them that are his." We admit then the invisibility, of, at any rate, many members of Christ. The Lord knows them. But is that all? No, we have to do with the visible profession, and the Spirit of God continues, "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ [the Lord] depart from iniquity." Whatever is iniquity I must depart from, and surely not least in the house of God. This is the responsible side of the seal. With the Lord's knowing them that are His I can no further meddle than to bow to it as a truth. But the second part directs me as to my path in the visible Church - those who name the name of Christ: I am to depart from iniquity. But there is, further, what I may call ecclesiastical direction. In a great house I am to expect vessels to dishonour, and I am to purge myself from them, that I may be a vessel to honour, fit for the Master's use. I am to make the difference in the great house between one vessel and another, and follow faith, charity, patience, with those who call upon the name of the Lord out of a pure heart. Thus, when the Church is become like a great house, I am to act individually, as to avoiding evil, and seek the pure in heart to walk with them. And, in the third chapter, where there is the form of piety, denying the power, I am told "from such turn away."

281 It is in vain to tell me I am not to judge. I am called on to hear what the Spirit says to the churches, bound to depart from iniquity, bound to purge myself from vessels to dishonour, bound to turn away from the evil vessels, bound to turn away from the form of piety in the professing body where the power is not. And though I admit that judging individual motives is condemned, yet I must judge evil for my own walk, or I cannot turn away from it. If popery be evil, I turn away; I do not judge all that are in it; I dare say some may go to heaven. I do not doubt many will from protestant sects; but if they are unscriptural, I turn away from them.

282 But it is really a very evil principle to say, in an absolute way, we cannot know who are Christians. Many we may not know from the darkness and confusion which exists, and we must leave it to the judgment of God who does; but to preclude knowing any as such is a disastrous principle, because I cannot love as my brethren those whom I do not recognize as such. "By this," says the Lord, "shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." And they tell me I cannot know who are to be thus loved! If so, the testing proof of being Christ's disciple is gone. Where would family affection be if we were to tell our children they could not tell who were their brothers and sisters?

But this in itself shews the total difference between the present state of things and the apostolic state sanctioned of God. There, love of the brethren as a distinct set of people, is given as a test of Christianity (see John's epistles), as much as practical obedience and righteousness. By this "we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren," 1 John 3:14; so 10 and 16. "He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." It was not all the world, but a known set of people. An epistle is commanded to "be read to all the holy brethren." They were to greet one another with a holy kiss. So "all the saints salute you." False brethren soon crept in unawares; but there were true ones among whom to creep unawares. Some apostatized and left also, that it might be made manifest they were not all of us. They were gathered in every place into an assembly, so that they could put a wicked person out from among them. No one can read the New Testament without seeing that these were a wellknown distinct class of persons, known to each other, known as brethren; and he who belonged to them in one place belonged to them in all, took a letter of commendation as such if he went where he was unknown. Among whom, as contrasted with the world, brotherly love was to continue. To say we cannot know each other, even if some are hidden, is to deny all the Christian affections to which we are bound, and to say that the whole condition of Christianity has entirely and fatally changed. There was a company of people, "their own company," who met as a united body in the whole world, believers in Christ, though false brethren might creep in. The internal power of their unity was the Holy Ghost. It was the unity of the Spirit - one Spirit and one body. The symbol and external centre of unity was the Lord's supper. We are all one body, for we are all partakers of that one bread; 1 Cor. 10.

283 Now what is the position of the English Establishment, Dissenters, and the so-called Plymouth Brethren as to this? The Magazine says the two former take people on their own profession, and that he does not know an instance where a discovered adulterer or fraudulent person has been permitted to go. But this is a very false representation of the theory of the English Establishment. They do what they accuse the Brethren of - confound the external professing body and the invisible Church in the worst way. They teach (and so does even the colonial system, though circumstances modify the state of things) that "in baptism I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven." These members of Christ, who have received, we are told, remission of sins by spiritual regeneration, are to be brought by their godfathers and godmothers to the bishop to be confirmed, so soon as they can say the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and have learned what is briefly set forth in the Church Catechism. That is, they are members of Christ and children of God by baptism, and, as such, being confirmed, they are to take the Lord's supper. They are members of Christ by baptism to start with, when they know nothing about it, and are carried on to the sacrament when they have had adequate instruction. And in theory all the population are supposed to belong to it, passed over to it at the Reformation from popery, for a long time were forced to be of it, and, if they are not, it is by their own act and they are reckoned to be in schism and dissent. The way of being a member of Christ is not by faith and the Holy Ghost, not by profession, but by a sacrament! To talk of discovered adulterers, feeble and delicate as to evil as such a precaution is, is nothing to the purpose. They are made members of Christ, children of God, members of what is called the Church of England, not by faith as scripture teaches as to being a child of God, not by the baptism of the Holy Ghost as scripture teaches as to members of Christ; but by a sacrament. Discovered or undiscovered they are members of Christ without any professed faith of their own. The truth is, all the reformers held baptismal regeneration, falsely so-called, for 'regeneration' is not so used in scripture - English, Lutherans, Presbyterians, much as the last kick against the proofs of it, which are perfectly clear both in Calvin and their own symbolical books. Scottish, Dutch, and others all have the doctrine in their documents. The only difference is that the Presbyterians hold that the invisible grace is not so absolutely tied to the sign as to be true of any but the elect. But this only proves the more that they do hold it to be so conferred where it is effectual. Luther insists on it for all in his Catechism, and the English one in the worst terms possible.

284 Further, as distinguished from this, the gathering of companies of believers is nothing new. This all Dissenters profess to do. They may have thrown themselves into the world and politics more rabidly than the Establishment, and in a large measure fallen into rationalism; but they profess to make churches of believers, unless we except the Wesleyans who have a peculiar polity of their own. But they make churches to be voluntary associations, of which so-called churches those who associate are members - a thing wholly unknown to scripture. A member of a church is a thing unknown to scripture. All Christians are members of Christ, and there can be no other membership. We, all who have the Spirit of Christ, are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. Baptism even as a figure has nothing to do with giving life, or membership. It is baptism to the death of Christ for one previously a child of sinful Adam. The Lord's supper is (besides other precious truths) the expression of the unity of the body of Christ. Every saint is a member of it; and this is the ground "Brethren" meet on, supposing of course that the person is not justly subject to discipline.

The Establishment makes all the nation (if it can) members of Christ by baptism when infants. Dissenters make members of churches by voluntary association, with various particular conditions. The so-called Plymouth Brethren recognize the one body of Christ formed by the Holy Ghost, and meet to break bread on that ground, owning no membership but that of Christ, believing that there are many in all sects who hold the doctrine of Christ, but that they meet, the national churches by a sacramental process for all the world, the dissenters as voluntary members of particular churches formed by themselves; neither of which systems is in scripture. "Brethren" do not confound the outward professing church and that which Christ will present to Himself: the former will be judged and cut off; the latter be with Christ in heaven. But they see in scripture one recognized body on the earth. They see all to be in ruins; that, on the principles of existing professing bodies, they must continue in the Establishment, which is false in all its principles, or join one sect and not be of another - be a member of it, which is not in scripture: that the state of things is a state of ruin, but that God has provided for it in His word; and that they can meet on the ground of the unity of the body of Christ, if only two or three, and find Christ in their midst according to His promise, glad to see any child of God who is walking godlily, who calls on the name of the Lord out of a pure heart. They cannot compel unity, but they can act on it. God alone, they well know, can, by making Christians unworldly and Christ precious and all to them, bring it about.

285 But what about ministry? They are as far from the Establishment and from the denominations on this ground as on that of the unity of the body, while owning that real ministers may be found, even if in a false position. Indeed the two subjects cannot be separated. For all ministry is the exercise of the gifts which are in the members of the one body. And now I must beg to say, that what the Magazine denies is, alas! (for I say it with unfeigned sorrow) true as to the English system. It has a mediatory absolving priesthood. The deacon cannot say the Absolution, the deacon cannot consecrate the sacramental elements; it must be a priest. In the Visitation of the Sick it says, "By his authority committed unto me I absolve thee from all thy sins." And in the Ordination of the priest it is said, "Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a priest … whose sins ye remit they are remitted unto them, and whose sins ye retain they are retained." Nor is this for orderly ministry; for the same man as deacon had received authority to preach the word when licensed by the bishop. Not only so: in the last Conference on the Liturgy, the Presbyterians asked that "priest" might be put out, and "minister" used throughout, and it was peremptorily refused. And where the question was of importance on the very point, it was changed from "minister" to "priest," that there might be no mistake. Where the people are to join, as in the Lord's Prayer, the "Amen" is printed as the prayer; but, as has been carefully noticed by liturgical authorities, in the other prayers it is printed differently that it may be understood that the priest is to say it for them as a mediator, and they are only to signify their assent by saying, "Amen"; and that it is quite out of place for them to accompany him. The English system makes an infant a member of Christ and a child of God by a sacrament, and has a priest on whom the ordaining prelate professes to confer the Holy Ghost that he may have the power to forgive sins, which accordingly, as the service reads, he does. What more could the most regular mediatorial priest do?* The English priest forgives sins: it is the distinctive point of his ordination. The English priest says the prayers alone for the people, who are only allowed to add, "Amen." Priesthood supposes the other worshippers cannot approach God in the sanctuary themselves; this belonged to Judaism. Ministry is the outgoing of God's love to others through the instrumentality, according to their gift, of those who know it; this belongs, I hold, distinctively to Christianity. So far I am from denying ministry. On the continent of Europe the liberty of exercising gifts is called universal priesthood, but the term is a blunder. Priests go to God for men, ministers to men from God. However, the principle of a universal title to minister is admitted; in theory the battle is won on this subject. Competence to do so is a question of gift.

{*The only additional act would be offering a sacrifice and that high churchmen insist is really done.}

286 But we have now to enquire what is the scriptural view of ministry and gifts, and whether ordination is required for their exercise. The Magazine makes the common confusion between gifts which are exercised in the whole Church, or in the world to call sinners, and local offices which might be without any gift at all, though one particular gift was perhaps desirable for one of these offices. A teacher was a teacher everywhere; an elder was an elder only in the city where he was appointed.

Let us first take the gifts. The Lord gave talents to his servants when He went away; the point of faithfulness - of being a good servant - was to use them without any further authorization. The mark of unfaithfulness was the not doing so through want of confidence in Him who gave them, and looking for some other security and warrant in doing it. Peter tells us, "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God," 1 Peter 4:10. If we do not minister the same one to another, we are bad stewards. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 12, gives us a full survey of the whole question. The Holy Ghost distributes to every man severally as He will, and the administration resulting from the gift is under the authority of the same Lord. Each member fills up its own place in the body - another very important truth. These gifts are set in the Church - are not local; but act as such or such a member in the whole body. He hath set in the Church, first, apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teachers; after that, miracles; and so on. Some have disappeared; but all are alike set in the Church, the body. A worker of miracles was not such in a particular church: he wrought them where God pleased he should, nor an apostle, nor a prophet, nor a teacher, a bit more. They were alike gifts which were set in the Church as a whole. If Apollos taught at Ephesus when there, he taught at Corinth when there; as a prophet was a prophet wherever he might be. Gifts and ministry were not localized; they were not in a church, but in the Church, and so set by God. In Ephesians 4 we have a list where, unless we except apostles and prophets (which the same epistle tells us were the foundation), the gifts are the ordinary gifts of ministry. Christ ascended up on high, and gave them (not as local offices, but) for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. In Romans 12 it is the same thing. "We, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching," etc. They differ according to the grace given, they are in the one body. He who has a gift is to labour in his own gift. There is nothing local, no hint of ordination, nor of anything but the gift. In none of these passages is there a hint of any other authorization than the possession of the gift or talent; in none is there an idea of their being local, or in a church. As a man has received it, he is to minister it, to wait upon it, to trade with his talent, not to go beyond his measure; and in none of them is there a question of elders or local offices. They are exercised in the whole Church. This is singular, if the later local system is the true, original, godly order.

288 But are there not elders and deacons in scripture? There are. In Acts 6 they are not called deacons, but they answer to that office, and the Anglican Services treat them as such. Now what are they? They serve tables in contrast with the ministry of the word. "It is not meet," say the apostles, "that we should leave the word of God to serve tables; wherefore look out from among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word." That is, they are appointed to quite another business, in contrast with the minister of the word. Two out of them, to use the language of Paul, purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in Christ Jesus, and set themselves of their own zeal to minister in the synagogues and elsewhere. Philip goes to Samaria, giving up consequently his office - "this business" - at Jerusalem (we afterwards find him as an evangelist); and the other five ordained to serve tables we never hear of ministering the word at all. That is, deacons were established over temporal matters that others might be free to minister the word. Two of them, gifted and earnest, set about preaching of their own movement: one certainly leaving his local office for it, and becoming an evangelist; the other, sent to heaven, the first and blessed martyr.

Ordination for the ministry of the word we have not found yet; but ordination to serve tables. The next chapter but one gives us the ministry of the word, so as to preclude all idea of ordination: "They that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word." Was the whole Church ordained? But would God sanction such proceeding? I read in Acts 11:21: "And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned to the Lord." The solitary case of Cornelius, as an all-important testimony to the principle (as to the admission of the Gentiles), excepted, the gospel to the Gentiles began and was established by the voluntary zeal of unordained men, who preached everywhere.

As to Paul, who soon appears on the scene, and stamps his character on gospel activity, he is careful to tell us that not only he was not of men, but that he was not by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father. But did not he ordain? For we have no hint of the twelve ordaining any but the seven to serve tables.* First, as to the ministry of the word within, for we have seen it was wholly free without. We have that ministry carefully regulated in 1 Corinthians. Every one had a psalm, an interpretation, a doctrine; there was disorder to be corrected. I think it is evident that sometimes two spoke at once. At any rate there was disorder - a disorder impossible if the apostle, who had been some two years at Corinth, had ordained a regular ministry. The disorder was corrected, but how? Not more than two or three at the utmost were to speak, and in succession; that they might all prophesy one by one, that all might learn and all be profited. The prophets were to speak two or three, and the others judge: if they had not the gifts, of course they were to be silent; but of an ordained ministry not a hint. The use of gifts is ordered for common edification; no symptom of an ordained ministry appears. If they tell us, All gifts (teachers, pastors, evangelists), have ceased, I answer, from Ephesians 4, Then all that was given for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, has ceased. But the apostle says there they were all given till we all come to a full grown man in Christ, not blown about by every wind of doctrine.

{*Nor were hands laid on Matthias. "The lot fell on Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles" a most lame induction to office on the ordination scheme. (See next note.)}

289 But the directions for the exercise of gifts exclude the idea of an ordained ministry. The passages I have quoted from 1 Peter 4 and Romans 12 confirm this same truth. But do these directions exclude elders? They do not. Elders were local officers appointed by authority; for whom indeed one gift was a desirable qualification, but not indispensable. In Acts 14 they returned to the cities where they had preached, and they "ordained [chose] them elders in every church," v. 23. Gifts, we have seen, are members in the whole body. A real teacher was a teacher everywhere. An elder was chosen for a particular church. I say "chosen," for the word "ordain" is false.* It is never said in scripture that hands were laid on them. I dare say they were, for it was the common sign of imploring and commending to blessing, or healing the sick, or conferring gifts (the last an apostolic privilege); the Holy Ghost was given by the laying on of the apostle's hands. But it is never said that hands were laid on elders. I think it is fairly judged to have been so; but scripture is silent as to any direct statement. God knew what the clergy would come to. But elders were chosen in every church. And the word "chosen" is of importance here; the false translation by "ordain" is a mischievous one. The people did not choose their elders. Barnabas and Paul chose them for them - cheirotonesantes autois. (Compare 2 Cor. 8:19; Acts 10:41, where "chosen" is the only possible sense.) Elders were local officers. In Acts 20 we find they were the same as bishops, where again the English translation has hidden the fact of bishops and elders being the same by translating it (which it has not done in Phil. 1) "overseers" an excellent word, for it tells us their office very clearly. They were overseers of God's flock, shepherds in this sense, not ministers of the word as such. It was desirable they should be apt to teach: such divinely given power in the word evidently increased their efficiency in oversight. But all did not. They were worthy of double honour, we read in Timothy, "specially such as labour in the word and doctrine." But this shews the ministry of the word and doctrine was a distinct thing from their office; very desirable, but not the elder's work. The addition of this made it more efficient. Hence we see that the main qualifications for elders in Timothy and Titus are gravity, a well-ordered family, children in subjection, self-government - qualities for ruling and guiding, and such already demonstrated in practice, so that they should be shewn to be fit to guide the church. Ministers of the word might be young or not; elders and deacons were to be grave, approved, fathers of families. Elders in one place were not elders in another. Titus was to establish such in every city. Gifts were gifts everywhere. God had set them in the Church.

{*In the end of Acts 1 it is a falsification of the text (there is no word at all in the Greek), which runs "must one be a witness." This is serious.}

290 A few collateral proofs may be cited of this scriptural character of the ministry of the word. "Let your women keep silence in the churches." What can such a direction as this mean if an appointed minister alone was there - "For I suffer not a woman to teach"? Here I have a limit, but not where modern theology has placed it. Again, John, in writing to the elect lady, tells her not to receive those who did not bring sound doctrine as to Christ. The only test of preachers going about was their doctrine. Gaius did well to receive them; Diotrephes did not like it. Ministry then was gift; there was no ordination for it at all. Whoever had the gift was bound to use it - "to profit withal." The word regulated the use of these gifts as to the orderly exercise of them in the assemblies, and he who possessed one exercised it according to these rules everywhere; for there was only one body, and he was that member in it wherever he was. Elders were local officers, overseers, who might, or might not, have gifts.

291 But was not Timothy ordained? What is the scriptural statement, "the gift that is in thee by the laying on of my hands"? Timothy was pointed out by prophecy, and Paul conferred a gift on him by the laying on of his hands, not an office, but a gift. He had no local office; he might be left at Ephesus, as Titus was in Crete, for special purposes, as the representative of the apostle; but both he and Titus were confidential companions of the apostle: one to leave Crete and come to Nicopolis; and the other seen, soon after, in the company of the apostle elsewhere (Acts 20:4; Titus 3:12). In Timothy's case the presbytery joined in laying on of hands, not to give, but associated with Paul's communicating the gift. I know that Roman and English prelates profess to give the Holy Ghost; and, as we have seen, not for the ministry of the word, which the deacon was already called to, but to forgive sins as a priest. Are we to believe they have this apostolic power? Did the apostles ever confer it with such an object in view?

If it be asked, Why then have you not elders, official elders, if there were such in the primitive Church, even if gifts be free? the answer is, To have true elders I must have what the apostle says, "The flock of God over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers." Where is the flock of God, the one flock, so as to have elders of the assembly? In the next place, we have seen, the assembly never chose them; the apostles chose for them; as he left Titus to establish them in every city. The churches could not do it; nor even do these churches exist now. If a body of Christians choose elders, it is very possible that not one of those the apostles would have chosen - the Holy Ghost would have made - there amongst them. No assembly can call itself the flock of God in a place, and of no elders chosen by them could it be rightly said, The Holy Ghost hath made you overseers. The state of things is different. The external church is in ruins, cut up into a hundred sects, or gorged with error and evil in popery.

292 Is there no order, no means of it? God has provided it. First, as to the exercise of gifts, if such there are, the rules are there where needed.

In the next place, I find in 1 Corinthians 16:15-16, those who had addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints; and they were to submit themselves to such, and to all who helped with the apostles and laboured. There is a moral action on the souls of those composing the assembly available when official rule does not exist; and it is remarkable, there are no elders alluded to in 1 Corinthians where such disorder was, nor directions to appoint any: the word of God meets the evil. Again, in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, "Now, we beseech you, brethren, know them which labour among you and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake." And in Hebrews 13:17, "Obey them that have the rule over you [egoumenoi, the same word as "chief men among the brethren" used of Silas] and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls as they that must give account." All this can be practised when there is no official appointment. For that, apostolic authority is needed, and does not exist, nor the one external body in which it was exercised. This rests on the action of the word in the conscience of those who have to submit. If one comes to me as an official elder, he has no scriptural authority to make good his claim. If I am unruly and unsubdued, those who labour, or indeed any Christian, can bring these passages, and I must submit to the word, or brethren can withdraw themselves from me - have no company with me, that I may be ashamed. This is moral power, not official.

In sum then ministry flows from gift, and is exercised in the whole Church of God; or, if an evangelist, in the world. If a man has the talent, woe be to him if he does not trade with it! What was the one Church in the apostles' time is sunk into corruption, or cut up into a multitude of sects - does not exist in its integrity and normal condition. There is no authority competent to choose and establish official elders, nor a flock of God existing to which such official appointment could apply. But there is provision in the word for this ruined state of things wherever two or three are gathered in Christ's name, or for the service of any saints, as one gifted to serve has opportunity in redeeming the time, or to poor sinners as an evangelist.

293 A clergy is a thing which has no foundation whatever in the word of God, still less a priesthood, save as all Christians are priests. A ministry still exists in definite permanent gifts as pastors, teachers, evangelists; but the increase of the body comes also from the ministration of that which every joint supplieth according to the measure of every part. A gift of wisdom - "the word of wisdom" - may keep peace and happiness among God's people, though perhaps in one who never exercises any public ministration of the word. We can ever count on the faithfulness of the Lord for present need, and bringing His people to glory.

It was not the details of the sacramental and priestly system which drove me from the Establishment, deadly as they are in their nature. It was that I was looking for the body of Christ (which was not there, but in all the parish perhaps not one converted person); and collaterally because I believed in a divinely appointed ministry. If Paul had come, he could not have preached, he had never been ordained; if a wicked ordained man, he had his title and must be recognized as a minister: the truest minister of Christ unordained could not. It was a system contrary to what I found in scripture. It was clear, a multitude of sects did not furnish the one body I looked for. At the beginning, when the Lord added to the Church such as should be saved, and during the whole scriptural period practically (though false brethren even crept in), the true body of Christ and the external sacramental body were the same - had the same limits. Soon they became very different, and perplexed good men, as Augustine on one side, who talked of an invisible Church, and Novatian and even Tertullian, who left it - the last for fanaticism. But scripture warns us that the external sacramental system would get into a state that would call for withdrawal - a form of godliness denying the power, from which we were to turn away. This external church fell into the grossest corruption, beat the menservants and maidservants, and ate and drank with the drunken, became the sure subject of judgment from the Master, whose return they said would be delayed. The Establishment in its formularies, and Papists and Puseyites in their doctrine, attribute all the blessing and security of the true body to the sacramental body, making all uncertain of salvation, and sacraments - and these only - certain grace. Dissenters have left on particular points of conscience, and framed (thinking they could) churches for themselves. The "Brethren" would own God's Church; but, while looking for true unity as of the one body, symbolized in the one loaf, distinguish (as forced and directed to do) the external form, from which, by the apostle's direction, they have turned away; but have not found in churches formed by man either true separation from the world, or what scripture presents as the path of the saint when the corruption had set in. The so-called churches do not own as a duty on earth one body and one Spirit; a body formed by the Holy Ghost come down from heaven, waiting for God's Son from heaven; and the ministry, as stated in scripture, is not more owned among them than in the Establishment. May all give heed to the solemn warning, "Upon thee goodness if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." Has the Christian system continued in the goodness of God or left its first works?

294 As to the three points in which the colonial churches claim superiority to the mother church, I cannot see that they have any scriptural ground for them. One is the introduction of the lay element into deliberative assemblies. The clerical element is unknown to scripture, and the establishment of a caste of the kind, existing as it does in every fleshly and unscriptural religion, is a mark of the Church's ruin. At any rate, in the only deliberative assembly we have, they determined that certain should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about the business. And, further on, the apostles and elders come together for to consider of this matter. Confidence was there; and they write in the name of the whole Church. But there is not a hint of any lay deputy or representative; apostles and elders only are mentioned; and Acts 16:4: "They delivered them the decrees for to keep that were ordained of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem."

The next is, that ministers should not be placed over a church without the consent of the members. Who ever heard in scripture a hint of a minister being placed over a church? Such an idea has no possible place in scriptural ministry, not even in a church. God set in the Church various ministries; but a minister over a church is utterly impossible in scriptural ministry. Think even of setting a servant (for that is the meaning of minister) over a church! The usage of centuries, acquired under popery, may have accustomed us to it, and the progress of democracy force a modification of it.

295 The third is, that the whole body shall have the power of inflicting church censures. I hardly know what church censures mean here, or whether it applies to personal discipline in a local assembly. A mass of unconverted persons doing this is only confusion twice confounded. If it be merely on officers, it is a human arrangement referable to the clerical system, which scripture wholly disowns.

I would add one all-important word in these days. People seek with affectation nowadays what is primitive. It is a gross blind, and perversion of a most important and definite scriptural principle: "That which was from the beginning." What we are certain is found in the word - in the word only. The mystery of iniquity began already to work, and the time was come for judgment to begin at the house of God. But what was from the beginning was set up of God; nothing else was or could be. Histories may come in afterwards, and, after all, they are very late, and there is nothing at all certain for the earliest times after the apostles, save that all already sought their own and the Church was in decay. All is confusion. What was from the beginning is as clear as it is certain. Let us hold - we may have lost much irreparably - to that which was from the beginning, its sole and exclusive authority.

Since writing the above a fourth number of the Jamaica Magazine has been put into my hands. It attacks the "Brethren" on the question of the law and sanctification - two very important points, on the latter of which, though the "Brethren" are perfectly sound in general in controverting the very imperfect and even false evangelical scheme, some writers among them have given a handle to their adversaries - have fallen into Scylla in avoiding Charybdis. In combating what is exclusive and wrong, what really upsets the full true gospel, they have fallen into what is exclusive and wrong on the other side. I recognize that these articles are not written with acrimony, and I feel the fairest and truest way is, not to defend what is one-sided and so far false, nor to excuse it, but to set the matter on its true scriptural ground, confessing that statements may be found which are thus one-sided.

The evangelical notion is, that a man is justified, and then sanctified and made meet for heaven. This throws his justification back into uncertainty and clouds; for, if he does not become meet, either he enters heaven unmeet, or he is justified and never gets there at all, but has to answer for his sins though justified by the blood of Christ. This is human confusion, not scripture, yet this is the evangelical doctrine. In denying this, and shewing that sanctification has another place in scripture, which it has, some (and many outside brethren) have denied progress in holiness, which scripture does speak of. Negatives are dangerous things. I state a truth. One passage suffices to prove I have reason. If I say there is no such thing in scripture, I must know every passage to be able to say it. The Holy Ghost teaches by positive truth. They are wise who hold fast to it.

296 But first as to law - too wide a subject to treat fully here - it has been fully treated in tracts expressly on the point: but it may be well to refer to some scriptures on the subject. The law is not the Christian's rule of life. He keeps it as walking in the Spirit and in love. But Christ is unquestionably the pattern and model of the Christian's life: "That the life of Jesus," says the apostle, "may be manifested in our mortal flesh." He has left us an example that we should follow His steps. He that says he abides in Him ought himself so to walk as He also walked. To say that the law was the measure of Christ's walk is to deny grace, to deny that He was God in goodness down here. But it may be urged, How can we follow His example in goodness? It is exactly what we are called to do. The sermon on the mount is not a spiritualizing of the law. Murder and adultery are spoken of; but what other commandments are? And even these are treated of, not as part of the ten commandments, or Christ could not put His will in contrast with them and say, "but I say unto you." But God's conduct in grace is expressly given as our pattern: "Be ye perfect as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." He sends rain on just and unjust; He is kind to the unthankful and to the evil; He loves those who do not love Him. The blessed Lord gives His view of what is called for if they would enter into the kingdom. The ten commandments are not referred to. But so far from what was said of the old being a rule of life, Christ gives His own views of morality in contrast with all said of old. But the Father's conduct in grace is expressly given as our rule, which certainly is not the law. It is a mere idle fancy, though so often repeated, that the sermon on the mount is a spiritualization of the law. Redemption is not spoken of in it, but the terms on which Jehovah was on the way with Israel to judgment; the character of the godly remnant, but not the law: if it is, let it be shewn.

297 But again, Ephesians 5, "Be ye therefore followers [mimetai] of God as dear children, and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrifice and an offering to God as a sweet smelling savour." We are to forgive one another as God in Christ has forgiven us (Eph. 4:32). This surely is not law, and we get a principle shewing how it goes, in the motive and measure of the heart, wholly beyond it. "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," says law; but we are to give ourselves wholly up for others, a sacrifice to God, as Christ did; to lay down our lives for the brethren. Again, Colossians 3:12-14, "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, … as Christ forgave you, so also ye." So Philippians 2. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus"; and then we have His making Himself, when in the form of God, of no reputation; and, again, humbling Himself to obedience to death. The manner or rule of the Christian's life is Christ, and Christ in forgiving lowliness and grace. It is monstrous to deny Christ to be our rule of life; monstrous to reduce the model to the keeping the law. "Forgive" and "Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect," make the declaration, that the law is the Christian's rule of life, a monstrous denial of practical Christianity.

Christ walking in grace is our pattern and model. The principle of the law is different. It exacts love from us, and really from the flesh; for it has power over a man only as long as he lives. The subjective principle of our life is the Second man with the Holy Ghost dwelling in us (Eph. 4). The doctrine of deliverance from sin, from the power of sin, is not by a law exacting what is contrary to it, but our having died with Christ and put off the old man. Thus, where the question is discussed (Rom. 6), "How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein? … knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed." The whole chapter is the discussion of this point. And the reason sin will not have dominion over the Christian is, that he is not under law; and we are shewn that obedience in a new nature to God takes the place of law. We are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that we might be to another, Christ raised from the dead. So in Galatians: "I through law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." The law, we read in 2 Corinthians 3, is a ministration of death and condemnation; in 1 Corinthians 15 it is the strength of sin; in Romans 7 the motions of sin are by the law. It entered (pareiselthe) that the offence might abound. It was added (Gal. 3) because of transgressions till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; but, faith being come, we are no longer under the schoolmaster. In a word, the diligent instruction of the apostle is to shew that we are not under law, and that the path of holiness is not that, but our being dead to sin, crucified with Christ, and His living in us (so Col. 3:9-10); that we cannot (Rom. 7) have the two husbands, the law and Christ risen. And, note, the question in chapters 6 and 7 is not justification, but deliverance from the power of sin. So Ephesians 4:22, 24. This is what the scripture calls learning Christ. The writer should shew us how it is we are not under law, yet it is our standard and rule of life. It is all very well to say "we have not space to prove, nor would our readers require to be convinced by proof." Quoting one or two texts would not require so much space: can we not have one?

298 It is not true that any hold that the whole of our blessed Saviour's life is disconnected from the process of redemption. But they say that Christ's keeping the law is not our righteousness. And this many of the godliest and most esteemed ministers of the Establishment hold. But what is the process of redemption? Scripture speaks of redemption through His blood, of being redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, not of any process; and that without shedding of blood there is no remission. To make living righteousness redemption is a fatal error. And, in spite of all assailants, it remains true that "if righteousness come by law, Christ is dead in vain." "When we were in the flesh the motions of sins, which were by the law wrought in us." "We are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be the Spirit of God dwell in us."

As regards sanctification a few words are needed. Progressive fitness is not scriptural. Growth and progress there is in scripture. But fitness is by the work of Christ. The thief was meet for paradise or he could not have gone there. All Christians are called on to give thanks to the Father, who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. We are called on to grow up to the Head in all things; to be transformed into the same image; to follow after holiness; and the prayer of the apostle is, that the God of peace might sanctify them wholly. We are called on to labour to enter into the rest of God. But for all this the evangelical system upsets the gospel.

299 Sanctification is spoken of in two ways in scripture. The person is set apart for God. And in this case it is simple and absolute; and, where connected, it habitually precedes justifying. Hence Christians are constantly called "saints," that is, "sanctified ones": "all the saints," and so on. They are sanctified, holy. So we are sanctified unto the blood of sprinkling, that is, brought by the separating power of the Spirit under the power of that precious blood: "ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified." "By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." They are set apart and brought under the efficacy of Christ's work, which perfects them for ever for God's presence. Hence there is no unsettling the justification. Set apart for God, they are perfected for Him by the work of Christ. They are accepted in the Beloved. Still, if left down here, they have a great deal to learn; a great deal in which their senses are to be exercised to discern good and evil; to grow more conformed to Christ; much in which the word forms their souls into His image; and here the diligent soul will be made fat. And in this they pursue, follow after, holiness; and God makes them partakers of His holiness. But the moment it is put as meetness for heaven consequent on justification, then justification is uncertain and incomplete, and salvation and the true gospel are set aside. We are in Christ, accepted, and yet unmeet for heaven; or else all is uncertain, and peace with God is unfounded at all times.

As far as I can see, the writer has no true or clear idea of the flesh, the old man and the new. He speaks of the moment of saving faith not being the moment of complete deliverance from the power and inbeing of sin - of the desperate tenacity with which it clings to life. Scripture tells of the old man, the flesh, and which is never in its nature any better" - is not subject to the law of God nor indeed can be"; "which lusteth against the Spirit." "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." But it speaks of that which is born of the Spirit, of a new man, of Christ being our life. And the Christian is called upon to reckon himself dead to sin. He has put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new (Col. 3). As to deliverance from the power of sin, the moment he has understood he is dead with Christ, sin has no title or power over him. Such is the doctrine of Romans 6. He may be careless and let it still exercise it. But he is delivered from it as to any claim or title or power it can exercise, if he be faithful and look to Christ. He is not a debtor to the flesh, but is made free from the law of sin and death. The nature of the flesh is unchanged, but in the power of the Spirit of God the Christian is to reckon himself dead, as having put off the old man and put on the new. As to the fact and nature of the flesh, the inbeing of sin, as our critic speaks, there is no change; but power is ours in Christ to mortify the deeds of the body and walk in the Spirit.

300 But in the result of this there is progress (Rom. 7:20-22). I am to grow up to Christ the Head by the growing knowledge of Him. Christ as life is a holy life; but as a child grows up to be a man, so the Christian by grace (Eph. 4:15; Phil. 1:10-11; Col. 1:9-11.) Compare Colossians 3:17. We are not under law then. The Christian who knows his position in Christ is delivered from the power of, and being a debtor to, the flesh, though he may carelessly yield to it, but he grows up to Christ the Head. The nature of the flesh never changes; but he is not in it but in Christ, and Christ is in him power to walk in godliness, and God is faithful not to suffer us to be tempted above that we are able to bear. In these things are the exercises of daily Christian life. He, if walking Christianly, cleanses himself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Having the hope of being like Christ when He appears, he purifies himself as He is pure.