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church, called and sent out men to preach the gospel. While he has committed to men the details of church government, he has reserved to himself, among other things, the right to call whomsoever he would to preach the gospel. This was the order when the Christian church was organized, and it must be allowed that, as Jesus Christ is the head of his own church, his authority is supreme. He may, if it please him, perform the whole work himself, "or he may delegate to others, whom he may call and qualify, the whole or any part of the work." He reigns, and has a right to reign, in his own church. It pleased him to call and send out men to preach the gospel. It is no part of our work to dictate, but we must accept Christ's own plans and most heartily coöperate with him in whatever way we can. If he wants a Mary to go quickly from the empty tomb and tell the disciples that he is risen, so be it. Let him send by whomsoever he will. Whatever he does is right- eternally right.
The question to be settled is the perpetuity of the ministerial office. It is hardly to be questioned but that it was ordained by divine authority-Jesus Christ did it himself. Any argument in favor of the perpetuity of the church, may with propriety be used in favor of the perpetuity of the living ministry. If the one is perpetual, the other is also. The commission is as broad as the world. "Teach all nations"; preach the gospel to every creature," was the divine injunction. The promise of the Savior connected with the commission indicates yes, proves the perpetuity of the ministerial office. "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Dr. Ralston remarks that "the divinely called and commissioned ministers of Christ in every age are the apostles of the Lord, not claiming the miraculous power and extraordinary prerogatives of the sacred 'twelve', but succeeding them as 'embassadors' for Christ, proclaiming his gospel, administering his ordinances and discipline, and feeding the church of God.'" As long as the gospel is to be preached, there must be preachers. As long as the ordinances are to be administered, there must of necessity be administrators.
In Romans 10: 14, 15, we read: "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent ?" Four direct questions are submitted, which imply several things: first, there must be a message-the gospel of salvation; second, there must be a messenger - the preacher; third, he must be sent, authorized, divinely commissioned; fourth, he must have an unction from on high- the enduement of the Holy Spirit. This was the order when the living. ministry was instituted, and we have no authority to say that it has been changed. We do well to abide by Christ's own order.
Among the marks and evidences of a divine call to the ministry may be noted the following: first, a holy, blameless life; second, an ardent and constant zeal for the salvation of souls; third, ability to perform the work. Dr. Clarke puts it in this order: "Gifts, grace, and fruit." Persons are divinely called to the ministry, not necessarily by dreams, visions, or an audible voice, but by the movings of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, who is the executive officer in the Holy Trinity, superintends this work. He calls, illuminates, quickens the word and makes it effective. Without his aid nothing can be accomplished. McCheyne says: "It is not great talents that God blesses, so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God."
THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE CHURCH WAS ORGANIZED.
The article under review says, "This divine institution is for the maintenance of worship, for the edification of believers, and the conversion of the world to Christ." To accomplish this grand result, there must be an organization, with some rules and regulations. Without an organization there could be no concert of action. While, as has been stated, there is no form of church government definitely laid down in the New Testament, there are general principles given; such as, first, a living ministry divinely commissioned; second, holding public meetings
for worship at stated times and places; third, the choosing of officers, and the prescribing of their duties; fourth, the administration of the ordinances in an orderly manner. These facts show that the church in the apostles' day was regularly organized, and had a form of govern
1. Public worship is to be maintained. This can only be accomplished by establishing some form of church government. There must be times and places for worship. This was the apostolic order. Mr. Watson says, "The scriptural obligation of public worship is partly founded upon precept, and partly upon example." Paul commanded that some of his Epistles be read in the churches (Colossians 4:16). In Hebrews 10:25 he exhorts them not to forsake the assembling of themselves together. The singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs is enjoined as an act of public worship. If organization and public worship were abandoned, the church would fade and die. How vastly important and necessary that every true Christian do his part in maintaining public worship. As to the manner of conducting public worship, it is only necessary to say that it should be solemn, sincere, simple, pure, and cheerful; above all, it should be spiritual. No form of worship, however orderly it may be conducted, will be pleasing to God unless it is offered "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23, 24).
2. The edification of believers. This is another purpose for which the church was organized, and a reason as well why public worship should be maintained. We are not to misconstrue the meaning of the word edification. It does not mean simply to please or entertain, but "to instruct and improve in knowledge generally, and particularly in moral and religious knowledge, in faith and holiness." The reading of the Holy Scriptures, the preaching of the word, the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and the offering of fervent prayer to God, are all edifying and helpful to sincere Christians. Many in the church are weak and sickly because they neglect to attend the public worship of God. One of old said, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the
house of the Lord." An aged woman who was quite deaf, was asked why she attended public worship, as she could not hear a word. She answered: "I come to the house of God because I love it. I am not satisfied with serving God in private; it is my duty and privilege to honor him regularly and constantly in public." Every true Christian, when at all practicable, will attend the public worship of God, not so much from a sense of duty, but because he loves to meet and worship with the people of God. Many a tempted, discouraged, and weak Christian has gone away from the place of public worship, strengthened, comforted, and edified.
3. The conversion of the world to Christ. Jesus died that all might be saved. "He gave himself a ransom for all." The church was organized to carry this glad news to the ends of the earth- to every creature. This, first, last, and all the time, is the real mission of the church; and Christ has not a true disciple on earth who does not feel the spirit of this great mission. "A genuine missionary spirit is deeply rooted in the constituent parts of Christian character." It is hardly a question whether or not a man can be a real Christian and not possess a missionary spirit. Can such a thing be? In Romans 8:9 Paul says, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Did Christ possess a missionary spirit? What kind of spirit moved his great heart when he bade his disciples to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," and when he said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world"?
The conversion of this world to Christ ought to be the supreme desire of every true Christian. We say it ought to be; yea, more, we say it is. A denomination that does not possess the spirit of missions has no right to exist; and a man or woman who does not possess such a spirit has no right to claim a place among the disciples of Christ. The church of Christ is a missionary church, and will be until every wanderer is brought within her fold. Every one can do something if he will. All cannot go to heathen lands, but all can help to sustain those who can and will go. A young clergyman once asked the Duke of Welling
ton if he did not think it was almost useless to preach the gospel to the Hindoos. The Duke immediately rejoined, "Look, sir, to your marching orders: 'Preach the gospel to every creature.'
The outlook for bringing this world to Christ, as compared with a hundred years ago, is most hopeful and encouraging. Missions have been planted in every great nation on the earth, and it would seem that "nothing is now wanted but a united and consecrated effort on the part of the whole church of Christ," and this sin-stricken world will be given to Him whose right it is to reign from sea to sea and from pole to pole. Let every one who names the name of Christ see to it quickly that he has some part in winning this world to him who bought it with a price-even his own precious blood.