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appear, we may receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
God grant that each of us may be entitled to this reward of our labours, through his mercies in Jesus Christ our Lord!Amen.
TITUS, I. 5.
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.
WHEN our Lord first published his Gospel to the world, he did not peremptorily insist upon the immediate and unconditional assent of the multitude, but patiently proposed and proved the truth, to him that had ears to hear to him only who could divest himself of contrary prejudices, receive his doctrine with an unbiassed mind, and hold himself open to conviction. This being the description of those persons upon whom alone argument and evidence can duly operate, I would be understood to address myself to them, whilst I take occasion, from the words of St. Paul, to consider some objections which have been made to the condition of our national church. Men of
considerable information have asserted"that the establishing of one national church is a thing unauthorised by the word of God; that a mutual co-operation and support, between the civil state and such a church, is inconsistent with the spirit of the Gospel; and, that the acknowledgment of any ecclesiastical establishment at all, is detrimental to the general interests of religion." And these propósitions being assumed as indisputable truths, it has further been declared, "that no power can be exercised by man over man, in his relative situation towards his Maker; and that conscience is not within the scope of human authority.”
In order to appreciate the first of these objections, namely, "that the establishing of one national church is a thing unauthorised by the word of God," we must have immediate recourse to that divine word: and here it will be proper for us to consider the condition of the church of Israel, which, as every Christian must acknowledge, was constituted and established under the immediate direction of the Almighty.
In this church we find one high-priest, one tabernacle of the congregation for all the
tribes of Israel, one ark of the covenant, one temple; and all this, by the express ordinance of God, revealed from heaven. Here is, then, one undivided church, established for a whole nation. Let us view the situation of this church at a more recent period of its history. Some ages after ten tribes of the nation of Israel had been removed, for their transgression, out of their native land, the throne and the altar of the two remaining tribes were equally overturned by the king of Babylon. When the Lord brought back his people from the Babylonish captivity, he appointed the replacing of such things as were essentially requisite to the preservation of true religion throughout the community. We do not find, indeed, that he restored the throne: but he commanded and promoted the restoration of the one temple, for the whole Jewish nation; and reinstated the one highpriest in his sacred authority, as president over the subordinate gradations of the priesthood, who, under him, were compact ed into one harmonious body,
Thus it appears, that the establishment of one undivided church, for a whole nation,
under the authority of one hierarchy, is the express ordinance of Almighty God, declared in his sacred word.
But it will be asked, "What practical reference can we have, as Christians, to the church of Israel? Our rule is not contained in the Old Testament, but in the New." Such language we often hear. Since the time that men have assumed a right to teach and receive what doctrines they please, many bold opinions have been advanced relative to the Old Testament. Some have not been ashamed nor afraid to assert, that its authority has been entirely repealed by the Gospel. Let us beware of the delusion of spiritual pride. The Gospel has not annulled one jot or one tittle of the Old Testament. It is of this book that our Lord has pronounced-The Scripture cannot be broken. The ritual ordinances, indeed, which were only types and shadows of good things to come, have been discontinued under Christianity, because the substance has appeared. Even these, however, were not removed by the abrogation, but the fulfilment, of the law; they were of temporary appointment: but those general