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power of producing a revival where he goes, so that with his aid, it is anticipated as probable, and without it despaired of as impossible; so far as by anecdotes, histrionism, &c., no matter how elegant and polished, he creates a low esteem of pastoral labour and preaching; in due proportion all the fore-mentioned disastrous fruits inevitably ensue, on the principle of cause and effect. To whatever extent it is taught, and the belief is engendered, that man is competent to make himself a child of God, without renovating grace, to the same extent mischievous delusion is propagated, and will produce its appropriate results ; however its influence may be narrowed and impeded, and its disastrous effects softened and palliated by the absence of the grosser devices which have been depicted.
A few words as to the manner in which such principles and proceedings are commonly vindicated by their authors and abettors.
Although great evil confessedly attends them, yet it is deemed enough to silence all objections, that they accomplish great good, and are the occasion of many genuine conversions. But this plea renounces the only standard by which all controversies are to be tried, and appeals to results. We say “to the law and the testimony.” Moreover, appealing to results, they are non-suited, as the foregoing pages abundantly show. As to those who are truly converted at such times, could not and would not the grace of God bring them into his kingdom, in the due use of his appointed means, and in a manner far more promotive of the prosperity of their souls? Are not great numbers fatally deluded and otherwise injured, and are not all the interests of religion smitten with a withering blight? Is it said that the church can be purged by discipline? Under the purest administration, and the utmost vigilance, some false professors will find their way into the church, and there will be need of an occasional excommunication. But is it not unutterably cruel to beguile men into the church by a system of devices, which can only be defended on the ground that the mischiefs flowing from them, can be counteracted by inflicting on their victims the pains of ecclesiastical decapitation ? And is it not ruinous to their souls to use measures expressly designed to produce religious excitement in them, which shall stop short of true conversion? For do not scripture and experience prove that, in such cases, “ the last state is worse than the first ?" It is one
thing to be visited with such evils occasionally in spite of the best efforts to avoid them, and quite another to adopt a system directly adapted to engender them.
They are in the habit of replying to all objections with great assurance, by saying that in this age the world moves by steam, and unless we adopt some more improved, rapid method of converting it, it will run away from us. This idea is put forth in every variety of form, ad captandum, to catch the unreflecting crowd. Our readers, we fear, will think we are dealing with trifles, in giving it this distinct and formal notice. But we are impelled to do it, in view of the serious use which is made of this fancy. When those who profess to surpass all others as teachers and promoters of religion, offer it as a serious answer to the objections of the Old School" against their fierce and impetuous movements, and loose doctrines, that “ if any choose to travel in ox-carts or scows they can, but we prefer a steamboat or locomotive,” when things of this nature are seriously thrown out in “revival” sermons, as they have been freely by those who have figured most prominently in these things of late ; then we say it ought to be put in print; so that it may become the object of calm contemplation; and that those who presume to argue thus about God's truth, and the order of his house, may retain whatever credit they can as teachers of “ the religion of the Bible,” which is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.”
In conclusion, we think that ample cause has been shown why the orthodox Christians of this land look with greater or less distrust upon all religious excitements, which are produced under the influence either of the doctrines or measures which have been examined, or of both conjoined ; and still more why they cannot lo upon such excitements as evidential of the truth of the principles, the rectitude of the measures, of the men, that are instrumental in their production; and why they cannot confide in the authors and abettors of these doctrines and devices, no matter what wonders they may work, until they explicitly repudiate them.
And we think that in these things the course of duty is the course of safety; that the more entirely all ministers and churches avoid all participation in, all sanction or countenance of these extravagances, the more will they be in the way of receiving the divine blessing, and becoming ultimately sound and prosperous. Mark those which cause
divisions and offences among you and avoid them. Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them, is the course, not less of wise policy, than of gospel righteousness. And it behooves all concerned to see to it, that they so faithfully and prayerfully use the means of divine appointment for promoting the cause of religion, that they shall give no occasion to those who seek occasion, and wish a plausible pretext for thrusting upon them the contrary sort of proceedings, and thus kindling UNHALLOWED FIRE UPON THE ALTAR OF THE LORD.
ART. II.—The Kingdom of Christ Delineated, in two Es
says on our Lord's own Account of his Person and of the Nature of his Kingdom, and on the Constitution, Powers and Ministry of a Christian Church, as appointed by Himself. By Richard, Lord Archbishop of Dublin. London: Fellowes. 1841. 8vo.
This new work of Archbishop Whately would afford abundant matter of discussion on the general subject of the Constitution of the Christian Church. But we avail ourselves, at present, of his name, to introduce a few reflections of our own, upon one of the topics mentioned in his titlepage, the Ministry of the Church, “as appointed by our Lord himself.” We have wished, for some time, to suggest the inquiry, whether the members of our church do habitually join its unimposing and familiar institutions with proper views of the supreme authority of Christ. Perhaps our people, not the irreligious alone, but too frequently the professedly religious, are inclined to depose certain of the offices of the Christian church from their station of divine authority; and among these, the pastoral office, which is liable to be accounted only a human and voluntary modification of the Christian ministry. It seems to be presumed by some, that the pastoral functions do not belong of divine right to any portion of the Christian ministry; and that the claims of Christ in regard to the official administration of the gospel are met by sustaining only the more general forms of ministerial service. It cannot therefore be amiss to pass, in brief review, a portion of the argument for the divine authority of the office of the Christian pastor.
There is an evident distinction between the office of the
pastor and that of every other gospel functionary. There were diversities of gifts. The distribution of appointments by the Head of the Church was accommodated to the various circumstances in which, under the Christian dispensation, the people would be found. At first, the universal prepossession of Judaism and Heathenism would erect the opposition, both of conscience and of corruption, against the introduction of Christianity. To meet such an exigency, and also to establish an authority of last appeal, for all the coming ages of the church, there was appointed the office of apostle. The persons designated for this office were selected by the Saviour himself in person ; with the exception of one whose appointment was determined by a solemn appeal to the Saviour in the lot. Paul, though not of the original twelve, was nevertheless elected by the above general rule. No human agency intervened between Christ and him, either in his nomination or his election. These apostles received spiritual endowments entirely peculiar to their office. They were clothed, as ecclesiastical officers, with full authority, and as religious teachers, with the attribute of infallibility. Although sufficient in number for all the purposes of their appointment, they were few. It hence became convenient to distribute more extensively the inferior powers of these offices, that the Christian assemblies might have edifying exercises, although an apostle might not be present. To provide for this was the design of the office of prophet. The prophets had special gifts, fitted equally with those of the apostles, to arrest attention and present the sensible and miraculous proofs of the divine authority of their doctrine, and thus to produce a first impression in favour of Christianity. When these apostles and prophets should thus win the public ear for the gospel preacher, their extraordinary gifts might be spared. Other men without miraculous endowments could preach the doctrines of the gospel to persons willing to hear and prepared to receive them, collect and instruct the converts, organize churches, and establish the regular administration of divine service. Here was the field of the evangelist. Then the system of stated and regular religious instruction, and the ceaseless and peculiar demand for ministerial service was the occasion for the office of pastor. And so he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.
The apostleship was first in authority and first in time.
The apostles received truth directly from Christ for the people. They were next to Christ as original teachers of the Christian doctrine, and stood in this office between God and all other teachers. In authority no others were superior or equal to them. It belonged to them to determine what doctrines should be taught by all other teachers, and what forms of worship, government and discipline should prevail in the church.
Next the apostles stood the prophets, endowed with miraculous gifts of understanding and of speech. They, too, received certain revelations directly from God, yet were not, in their official exercises, equal in authority with the apostles. The knowledge of the mystery of Christ was revealed unto the holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. The prophets are so joined with the apostles in the Christian offices of authority and teaching as to form with them the foundation on which the church was built, and of which Jesus Christ was the chief corner-stone. In certain direct communications of spiritual knowledge, the prophets evidently shared with the apostles, while in the authority of their teaching and other ministrations, they were as evidently subordinate, and received directions from the apostles in the exercise of their office. This prophetic office, like the apostolic, was temporary, demanded for the introduction of a new and strange religion, supplying the requisite credentials for the ordinary and permanent teachers, intended to serve the infancy of the church, and furnishing intelligent teaching and exhortation for the people, until men could, by the ordinary methods of instruction, be prepared to take their places.
Next came the evangelist. His labours were desultory. He seems to have been a sort of irregular itinerant, holding himself ready like the apostles and prophets, to go from place to place at the call of circumstances, but differing from them in the nature and extent of his personal endowments and the rank of his authority. Since the evangelist might find, in every age of the world, as proper fields of labour as those presented in the early state of the Christian church, his office seems destined to be permanent. The authority of this officer does not appear to have been like that of the apostles, intended for a temporary purpose. Nor were any of his personal endowments conferred with special and exclusive reference to any state of the world peculiar to those days. How the authority of the evangelist differed from