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III. The remaining objection, namely, that ministers and missionaries must be interested in this passage, becanse there is none other from which they can derive encouragement for the discharge of their office, is, in like manner, doubly erroneous, both in premises, and in conclusion. That they have no special interest in this passage has al. ready, it is presumed, been proved. That they are abundantly supported by other passages may easily be shown. Long before the gospel was fully preached to the Gentiles, many Jewish churches, containing several thousands of members, flourished in Jerusalem, and in other parts of Palestine ; and from the whole tenour of the New Testament it is evident that, as might naturally have been expected, these churches, and subsequently those of the Gentiles, were constructed on the general model of the synagogue. That is, they were voluntary associations of professed Christians, who united for the purpose of mutnal edification and support, and whose ecclesiastical affairs were conducted, partly by themselves, partly by officers of their own appointment; namely, elders who directed, deacons who executed, and a bishop, or pastor, who presided over the whole body. During the apostolical age there were some other offices of an extraordinary nature, which ceased at the end of that period; but those above enumerated, being independent of time and circumstances, and essential to union and order, are permanent and universal. That they are recommended by reason and experience is manifest. That they are sanctioned by divine authority is plainly declared in several of the Epistles; whereof those to Timothy and Titus furnish minute and specific rules for their administration. Among passages of this kind it may be sufficient to quote the following. -- God hath placed some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then [members endowed with] miraculous powers, gifts of healing, [offices of] relief, [or] government, [or with the faculty of speaking) various languages. ... (Christ] hath appointed some [to be] apostles, and some [to be] prophets, and some [to be) evangelists, and some [to be) pastors and teachers; in order to qualify the saints for ministerial work, unto the edification of the body of Christ.”—The divine origin of the permanent, as well as of the temporary offices of the church, is therefore unquestionable. Both Peter and Paul represent them as honourable trusts, conferred on particular Christians by God himself, and the assurance given by the latter apostle to pastors and elders is equally applicable to others; namely, that, if they discharge their duties faithfully, they will receive from the chief-pastor, at his final coming, an immortal crown. 1 Corinth : xii, 27-30; xiii, 8; Ephes: iv, 7–13; James, ii, 2; 1 Peter, v, 1-7.
Missionary work, executed by the members of a church, requires no special command or qualification, being the common duty and privilege of all Christians, individually and collectively."God," -says the apostle Paul, -commands all men every where to repent,”-and—“ would have all men to be saved, and to come to an acknowledgment of the truth ;"—Now, as the truth is fully revealed in the Scriptures, especially in those of the New Testament, the humblest Christian may and ought to assist, both by conversation
and example, in diffusing and recommending it. By the evangelists and apostles, this practice is often mentioned with approbation; and, in the parables of the leaven, and the mustard-seed, as well as on other occasions, was inculcated by Christ himself. Immediately on becoming his disciples Andrew and Philip invited their friends to do the like. In consequence of the severe persecution which followed the martyrdom of Stephen, many private members of the church of Jerusalem fled from that city, and discharged the office of missionaries both in their own, and in other countries, particularly in Phenicia, and Cyprus. Having apparently heard of the recent conversion of Cornelius and his family by Peter, they promptly availed themselves of the liberty thereby afforded, and, while their less enlightened fellow-members at Jerusalem were questioning the propriety of the apostle's conduct, boldly preached the gospel to the Gentiles at Antioch ;* whereupon, says the sacred historian," the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed, and turned to the Lord.”—In a similar spirit, Paul exhorts the Philippian Christians to hold forth the word of life, and to shine among their idolatrous countrymen as lights in the world ;-directs the Colossians, to conduct themselves with wisdom towards those that were withont, employing for that purpose judicions and spiritual discourse ;-and commends the Thessalonians for their exemplary zeal and activity, by means of which the word of the Lord had sounded forth in Macedonia, Achaia, and many other places. Owing to the gradual encroachments of the clergy, and the indolence or servility of the laity, this salutary practice was in after times much restricted, an evil of which even the apostle John bad in his old age occasion to complain; but at the beginning it was nearly universal, and no doubt powerfully contributed to that rapid and extensive spread of the gospel which distinguished the first two centuries of the Christian dispensation. As soon as converts were made, they joined in the good work, women laboured in the cause as well as men; and thus, by the effective co-operation which every member supplied, the whole body of the church was daily edified and multiplied. Matt: xii, 31-33; John i, 40–46; Acts, viii, 1–8; xi, 1-3, 19-21; xvii, 30, 31; Philipp: ii, 14-16; Coloss: iv, 5, 6; 1 Thessal: i, 6-8; 1 Tim : ii, 1–6; 3 John, 5–11.
Such being the case, what ground is there for doubting the perpetual presence of Christ, not only with his ministers, but with all his people, not merely to the end of the world, but throughout eternity ? Promises to this effect are not wanting; but it has pleased God to graut what is if possible still better, namely, a clear exposition of the whole economy of grace, or plan of salvation. In every step of the process divine and human agency are conjoined, and in the person
* That the true reading is-pos ToùS "EXAnvas,-not – apòc TOUS 'EXInvisus, - to the Greeks, or Gentiles,- not to the Hellenistic Jews,-is proved by the authority of Griesbach, and Scholz, as well as by several circumstances in the narrative itself; especially by the fact, apparent from ch : xv, that the church at Antioch consisted chiefly, if not entirely, of Gentile members. The terms—Jew and Gentile,- Hebrew and Hellenist,—are respectively opposed. If, therefore, the word Hellenists had been used in ver:20, the corresponding word, with which it is contrasted in ver : 19, would have been, as in ch : vi, 1, not Jews, but Hebreus,
of Christ the two natures are united. The Scripures of truth, written by prophets and apostles, but dictated by the Holy Spirit, are the source of all religious instruction, as the Spirit himself is of all religious impression. By the joint operation of both, men are first regenerated, and afterwards sanctified. Christians are prompted to work out their own salvation, and to promote that of others, with fear and trembling, knowing that it is God who of his own good pleasure works in and by them. As the head of his church, Christ is more intimately connected with his members than the natural head is with its body. The medium of all communication is the Spirit; who, on the one hand, suggests prayer, praise, and service, on the other, dispenses love, joy, and energy. Although neither compulsory, nor invariable, this mutual intercourse is in perpetual operation, and regulates every office in the church, from the highest to the lowest. By the Holy Spirit, of whom he is a living temple, each member is directed to his proper work, and assisted in the performance of it. During the apostolical age there existed various extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, which ceased at its conclusion; but his ordinary influence, wherein the presence of Christ with his people chiefly consists, has been the same from the beginning, and will continue the same till the end. Passages of Scripture inculcating these momentous truths are numerous and familiar ; but, as their force and significancy seem often to be overlooked or forgotten, a few will be here adduced, after premising that, owing to the perfect union and concurrence of the sacred Three in the plan of salvation, the peculiar agency of the Spirit is sometimes ascribed, in a remote and general sense, to the other divine persons.
“By this we know that we dwell in (God,] and he in us, because he hath endued us with his Spirit. ... Whosoever confesseth that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. ... Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, for the Spirit of God dwelleth in you; but, if any one have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.... [There is) one body, and one Spirit, even as ye have been called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over, and through, and in us all. Now, to each of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ, ...... (who] hath appointed some [to be] apos. tles, and some [to be] prophets, and some [to be] evangelists, and some [to be] pastors and teachers, &c;.... [and] is the head, by whom the whole body [is] compacted and combined ; and,] through the effective aid of every member, according to the measure of each part, increaseth unto the edification of itself in love. ... No one speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed, and no one can call Jesus Lord, except by the Holy Spirit. Now, there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit, and there are diversities of ministrations, but the same Lord, and there are diversities of powers, but the same God, who worketh all in all. But the communication of the Spirit is given to every one for (the purpose of usefulness. To one is given by the Spirit [the power of] speaking with wisdom; to another, by the same Spirit, [the power of] speaking with knowledge &c. ..... All these powers are communio cated by one and the same Spirit, who distributeth [his gifts] to each one severally, as he pleaseth. For, as the body is one, and (yet) hath many members, and all the members of that one body, although many, are [but] one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we have all been baptized into one body, whether (we are] Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free persons, and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. . . . As in one body we have many members, and all the members have not the same office, so we, (although] many, are one body in Christ, and [all the) members individually [are connected] with each other. Having, then, various gifts, according to the grace given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy) in accordance with the faith, or ministry, (let us attends to our ministering. Let him that teacheth [devote himself] to teaching, him that exhortetb, to exhortation. Let him that distributeth [do it] with impartiality, him that ruleth, with diligence, him that administereth consolation, with cheerfulness. . . . As good stewards of the manifold grace of God, minister to each other the gift, according as each one hath received. If any one speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God, if any one minister, flet him do it] as of the ability which God supplieth, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and dominion for ever, Amen.”Romans, viii, 9; xii, 4-8; 1 Corinth: xii, 3--13; Ephes: iv, 47, 11, 15, 16; 1 Peter, iv, 10, 11; 1 John, iv, 13, 15.
Such, then, are the means appointed for conversion and sanctification till the end of time,-namely, the holy Scriptures, applied by human agency, and impressed by divine influence. The gracious plan is announced and explained with a fulness and clearness calculated to excite the highest confidence and satisfaction. If, therefore, it has been shown that the promise, --"Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,"--was exclusively addressed to the apostles, neither ministers nor missionaries have any need to wrest it from its true sense, in order that it may seem to include themselves; since, on other and better grounds, they are amply assured of the sympathy and support of their exalted head, and encouraged to be“ steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that their labour in the Lord is not in vain.”— Although differing in rank and talent, they are all compared to agricultural labourers, whose duty it is diligently to cultivate the field allotted to them, so that it may bring forth abundantly the fruits of piety and holiness to its heavenly proprietor. Besides various operations on the soil itself, their principal task consists in sowing the seed of the word, leaving the result to that invisible and spiritual agency which God has provided for its developement.-“ For so," says the Saviour,-" is the kingdom of God, as when a man casts seed into the earth, and sleeps and rises night and day, while the seed sprouts, and grows up, he knows not how. For the earth brings forth fruit of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear.” ...“ We are,”-says the apostle Paul,_" fellow labourers with God. Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So, then, neither is he that planteth any thing, nor he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.”- Missionary work is, according to his ability and opportunity, the work of every Christian, but particu. larly of select agents or evangelists appointed, and, if necessary, maintained by the churches.--"The Spirit and the bride say, Come, and let him that heareth say, Come, and let him that thirsteth come, and whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely."This work cannot be extensively performed by ministers, or pastors, because they have another, and equally important office to fulfil, which demands all their time and energy, - that of superintending the churches committed to their charge, promoting the edification and usefulness of each member, and the progressive advancement of the whole body in knowledge, holiness, and love. In discharging this office, they are assured of the perpetual presence and assistance, through the Spirit, of him who walks among the golden candlesticks, and holds the stars in his right hand. Let them, therefore, be satisfied with the authority and encouragement so largely afforded them in many parts of Scripture, without endeavouring to appropriate to themselves one particular passage of which they do not stand in need ; and which, appertaining to the apostles, as the founders and legislators of the church, cannot be directly applied to any other persons whatever. Mark, iv, 26–28; 1 Corinth : iii, 4-9; xv, 58; Revel: ii, 1; xxii, 17.
W. S. London, November, 1840.
A SERMON, BY THE REV. PHILIP HENRY.
COMMUNICATED BY SIR JOHN BICKERTON WILLIAMS, SUREWSBURY.
“ And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if
it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me; nevertheless,
not what I will, but what thou wilt."– Mark xiv. 35, 36. The first thing recorded in the story of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ is his agony in the garden. Of which before. Now, next we are to inquire what his carriage was, and what he did while he was in that agony. How he carried it towards God-he prayed. How he carried it towards his disciples— they were heavy with sleep, while his soul was heavy with sorrow and fear. They were like men unconcerned in his sufferings : it is well if none of us are so in hearing of them. But he was full of care for them, he came to them, and awoke them, and warned them of what was coming : he cautioned and counselled them what to do-" Watch and pray." This was an instance of his great love and tenderness towards them; it ceased not, no, not in his own agonies.
I. Notice his prayer—" Being in an agony he prayed.”—Luke xxii. 44.
This is for an example to us, what we should do in our agonies. Note. When either grief or sorrow under some evil present, or fear