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Epistle to “the faithful (believers) in Christ Jesus' at Ephesus,” Paul says, “We are members of his body” and “members one of another.” Where, then, is denominational membership taught in the Word ? Is not every believer in Christ, of every sect and name, a member of His body, everlastingly united to Him, and to one another in Him? Why, then, should they not be united to one another in visible fellowship? Are believers fit to be members of Christ's body; but not fit to be members of “ our body?”—then Christ and we are not agreed. If he “ sets the members everyone of them in His body," but we will not suffer them to be set in our body, Christ and His servants cannot be of the same mind.
A church, then, confined to a single sect or party, cannot be in accordance with the Word of God, or in perfect harmony with the mind and Spirit of Christ.*
THE PASTORS OF THE CHURCH.—These were not made by man, but given by God, Christ“ gave some pastors and teachers." They were * set in the body" by God and not by man; “as it hath pleased Him," but not always as it pleased man.
“Pastor” and “Shepherd " is the same Greek word in Eph. iv. 11, and John x. 2. There were elders who were shepherds, or pastors. “ The elders which are among you I exhort.” “Feed (in Greek, shepherd, pastor), the flock of God which is among you. When Paul
sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church,” he said to them, “ Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost (not man) hath made you overseers to feed—(to shepherd
to act as pastors to) the Church of God.” The elders here are called “overseers ” —the same word which is translated “ bishops” in Phil. i. 1. “ To all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi with the bishops and deacons.” In the Word we find several bishops for one church ; now there are several churches for one bishop. Formerly there were several shepherds for one flock, now the almost universal rule is but one shepherd to one flock. Is this Scriptural ? Should not the churches seek to be conformed to the Divine order, remembering that it is not for them to create elders, pastors, or teachers, but simply to “know” and accept those, and those only, whom Christ has given and fitted for their office ? The government of the church was a gift from God.
“ He that ruleth,” and “
set” by Him in the Church. The Church of God is not subjected by Him, either to tyranny or anarchy. Elders were not to be “ Lords over God's heritage, but they were to “rule well,” and believers are commanded to obey them that have the rule over them, and submit themselves. An elder, “bishop,” (overseer,) must be one that ruleth well his own house; “for if a man knows not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God ?” and he must not be “ a novice,” (a new convert,) “ lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”
These passages of the Word are opposed : 1st, to elders which have not the scriptural qualifications (Titus i. 5-10); 2nd, to deacons (servants) taking the place of rulers ; 3rd, to recent converts assuming
* Sects are sinful whether single or united.
Observer, Nov. 1,275.
the place of elders or overseers, as in the case of many young men called pastors of Churches.
THE SUPPORT OF THE MINISTRY.—This is often unscriptural. In the Word, we are taught that "they which minister about holy things, live of the temple, and they which wait at the altar, are partakers with the altar, even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel, should live of the gospel.”. The early evangelists and ministers of the Word were not supported by assessments or donations solicited from unbelievers. The world was not their “altar; For His name's sake they went forth taking nothing of the Gentiles." (3 John 7.) The Lord proved that He could sustain His servants, when He sent out seventy evangelists without “purse or scrip," and they “ lacked nothing." The master Himself had not enough to pay the “tribute money,” yet He told His disciples,—“ Take no thought, saying, what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” Is God's care for His people not still the same? Has His promise failed ? Has Christ or His Churches changed ? Why then should His servants go down to Egypt for help, instead of trusting Him for all they need ?
THE WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH.-In Apostolic times—“ Upon the first day of the week, the disciples came together to break bread." (Acts xx. 7.) This was the principal object for which they met; and departure from this is rebuked. “When ye come together, therefore, into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper.” (1 Cor. xi. 12.)
In these days, Churches assemble chiefly to hear a sermon, or to engage in other “ religious exercises.” The Primitive disciples in their meetings had liberty to use whatever gifts God had bestowed on them for mutual edification--as " he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that
“ exhorteth, on exhortation,” (Rom. xii. 4,) and it is said of the Church, that “the whole body fitly jointed 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 unto the edifying of itself in love." . Hence, when the Church came together, the Apostle says, “Ye may all prophesy speak to edification, etc.) one by one that all may learn and all may be comforted.” (1 Cor. xiv. 31.) And in connexion with this, we are told, that “ the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal, for to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom,“ to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit ; to another"_" to another," repeated eight times, to show us that He does not bestow all gifts necessary for His Church on one individual ; but “divideth to every man severally as He will ;” and that the body is not one member, but many—each having its own office, so that “ the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of you, nor again, the head to the foot, I have no need of you." In accordance with these passages, how can the office of the Spirit be duly reecognized in the gifts or worship of the Church, where every part of the service is conducted” by a single individual—the prayers, praise, reading, preaching, teaching, exhortation, all by one and the same person, acting in the manifold capacity of evangelist, pastor, teacher, exhorter, elder, and ruler, to the partial if not total exclusion or suppression of those varied gifts which God has bestowed on the different members of His Church, for the good of the whole body?
Observer, Nov. 1, '75.
Are such meetings like those of the early Churches at Antioch, Acts xiii.; Jerusalem, Acts xv.: Corinth, 1 Cor. xiv.; or Rome, Rom. xii ?*
See, saith God, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount. (Heb. viii. 5.)
“Behold they had done it as the Lord commanded—even so had they done it, and Moses blessed them." (Ex. xxxix. 43.)
A FAITHFUL DEACON AND THE OLD RUT. “How do you like the preacher | you will not be offended when I to-day ?" said the Deacon to Mr. say that if he sticks to the old ruts Symonds, who was not a church in his preaching, it is because sinmember, but was a great stickler ners stick to the old ruts in their for morality of conduct, as being practice. He no doubt considers sufficient for any one's salvation. you in a most dangerous condition,
“I thought him, on first acquaint- and he did not dare to leave you ance, a sensible man, ready to meet in the fearfully deep rut you are the demands of the age, but I travelling in without effort to get confess to disappointment in his you out. You think if you can preaching, he don't get out of the appear upright outwardly, the state old ruts. Instead of aiming at of your heart towards God is of no something definite, like dishonesty, consequence. Now an outwardly drunkenness, profanity, or Sabbath wicked man might have his conbreaking, he is everlastingly talking science alarmed by his own evil about repentance and faith.” deeds, and so is more likely to be
The deacon looked aroused at saved. But though 'man looketh this, and straightened up his tall on the outward appearance, God form, as he replied with some looketh on the heart. With faith vigour: “Don't you approve of and repentance in your heart, your direct preaching, Mr. Symonds ?” outward morality would follow as “Most certainly, sir; and I
and I a matter of course. want to see sinners hit," was the “Don't waste your probation, reply.
Mr. Symonds, trying to put new “And those most in danger most cloth upon an old garment. Make faithfully preached to ?"
the tree good, and the fruit will “ Yes, of course.
be good.' “Well, sir," continued the deacon, The Deacon stopped rather you know I am in the habit of suddenly in his vehement preachsaying plainly what I mean, and ling, with a choke in his voice. He
* Truly good is his conclusion as to the mutual edification in the Church of Christ, which was clearly so at the first and is intended to be so to the end. But if we understand Mr. Henry's application of certain texts he has yet to learn their full meaning. He seems to define prophecy, as speaking to edification, and in so doing mistakes a stated result for a definition. We have no prophesying now. Neither have we the “manifestation of the Spirit given to every man, nor to any man. The manifestations were wholly and entirely miraculous gifts; all of which have answered their purpose and ceased. We rejoice in Mr. Henry's progress, and shall be glad to find him correcting the errors indicated. May the Lord use him to His own glory.
Observer, Nov. 1, "76.
had a warm heart, and his emotions | much have you cared about were apt to get the better of him. pleasing God all your life long ? He had that rare gift, that his God, who has placed you where feelings were easily and deeply you could hardly help being moral moved in view of old truths and and upright, also said : "Give me plain oft-told doctrines.
thine heart.' What is it to send a Mr. Symonds went his way, and load of wood to a poor widow, business absorbed him for some when all the trees of the forest are hours. In the twilight he sat in His to supply His poor saints with ? his office alone, and the conversa- You never gave a cup of cold water tion of the morning came back for Jesus' sake.” forcibly to his mind.
Mr. Symonds felt confounded by “Such sinners as you are in the his own reflections. “It is true," he most dangerous condition.” acknowledged, to himself, “my
He was not accustomed to being situation is dangerous.” He pontreated as a sinner. He felt a little dered the matter for several weeks. angry and disquieted.
He could not get back his old He began to review the day just complacent feeling. At last-it passed, and from that his whole was the hardest thing he ever did life. The strictest observer would -he went to the Deacon, and have called it an honest, upright said, “I am getting old, and I find life, in all outward showing, and that my good character and deeds, marked the frequent deeds of that I have always depended on benevolence that appeared in it. to justify me before God, do not But it did not satisfy Mr. S. as it seem sufficient as formerly. I am usually had.
vinced that although I have " It is no credit to you,” said his done well by my neighbour, I have conscience. 6. Your natural dis- not loved God with all
heartposition and favourable circum- in fact not at all—and there, I stances have made it easier for you feel, is the worst place to fail. to be an outwardly good man than How can I undo the past? How not. What temptation have you can I secure that, in the future, I ever had to drink, for instance ? shall place God first in my motives?” Many a poor wretch that has at The moralist had found himself last lain down in a drunkard's in the preacher's rut. Faith repentgrave, has struggled harder against ance and surrender to Christ were this vice than you ever did in your the only things to meet the case of life against any. Then how amply this calm, correct, moral man, who has
your benevolence been reward- worked out his salvation in such a ed by the praise of your fellowmen! business-like way, as they had also You have done your duty to your formerly been essential to the fellowmen," continued conscience, Deacon.
Selected. with startling emphasis, “ but how
HOUSEKEEPING A PROFESSION. AS REGARDS the subject itself, which we hear such loud complaints, hardly too much can be said of its is that neither men nor women importance. Indeed, one chief fully recognise it as a dignified and cause of the poor housekeeping of worthy profession. As a general
Observer, Nov. 1,''75.
thing, both its value and its lie at the foundation of her life difficulties are greatly underrated. work, and with only a human Those who have had no experience proportion of the high moral in the matter regard it as a simple, quality so needful for its success, straight-forward business, requiring fails in producing the manifold only moderate intelligence and delightful results of a carefully industry, and a fair share of good ordered household, where enjoynature. They imagine that some- ment and economy go hand in how or other the necessary qualifi- hand; where children are healthy, cations for successful housekeeping happy and intelligent; where will come of themselves, when they servants are well trained, faithful are needed. They are astonished and contented, and where everywhen they witness the many thing is so arranged that each failures of the housekeeper, whose member of the family regards his mind and hands have hitherto home as the happiest spot on earth, been absorbed by wholly different Surely the marvel would rather be matters. It is taken for granted if in a single instance such grand that to enter any other business, and extensive results could follow due preparation must be made, such meagre and feeble causes. aud responsibility must only be We have no desire to magnify the assumed gradually. Years of difficulties of this profession or to patient toil are often spent in discourage in any way those who acquiring the requisite knowledge are called to cope with them, but and skill to pursue some handicraft we do insist that the first step demanding not one-tenth of the towards successful housekeeping is ability, judgment and circumspec- for both men
and women to tion which is necessary to guide a appreciate its dignity and underhousehold. If those who make stand that its manifold duties light of this occupation would but demand at least as full and consider the great variety of talent thorough preparation as those of required to fulfil its duties well, any other profession. the numerous different offices it As to the means of obtaining includes, the multifarious know this preparation, we must confess ledge it 'demands, the continual that they are as yet quite inade occasions for the exercise of quate. There are all sorts of • patience, judgment, ingenuity and educational enterprises and systems, skill it offers, and the frequent but, hitherto, none that we know exercise of self-denial it calls for, of, to prepare students for the they would alter their opinions profession of housekeeping. There sufficiently, at least, to accord the are, doubtless, peculiar difficulties highest respect to those who do in the way of such an undertaking, succeed in this very complex pro- yet they are not insuperable; and fession.
when technical education in all its Let us not then be too severe branches is fully established, we upon the young wife and mother, trust that this profession will who, without any true recognition obtain something like its merited of the position she has assumed, consideration. Meantime much without any previous training or can be done by mothers, in the experience, without any knowledge family home, that is now thought even of the great principles which impossible.