« הקודםהמשך »
that the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth : yea, in the language of a distinguished poet, we may say, by grace divine,
“ His hand the good man fastens on the skies,
And bids Earth roll, nor feels her idle whirl.”
The church of the living God, in either its minute or its extensive departments; in its individual members as well as its congregated body, is a world within a world, that shall be preserved, strengthened, and supplied, whilst one of its members, however insignificant in the estimation of men, shall remain so to be preserved, strengthened, and supplied !
Whether, therefore, it will or will not be our privilege to address you at the close of another year; whether, by the fuller attainment of that power which Popery and Infidelity are now rapidly obtaining, the liberty of the press shall be inyaded; or whether the hand that now writes shall be paralyzed by the common visitant, we know not: still it is our privilege to rejoice in the blessed assurance, that the “foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that
Beloved, one word more! We thank you, as subscribers, for your support; we thank you, as correspondents, for your communications; and we thank the Lord for the encouraging testimonies that our poor labours, whilst travelling through a variety of extreme trials, have not been in vain in the Lord. We rejoice that, at the present time, we are better acquainted than at the close of the previous year. The circumstances under which we at first entered upon our sacred engagement were those of entire ignorance of the course which, for the five previous months, had been pursued by other hands, as we do not recollect that we had perused even a second page of the work. Had we then been aware of the manner in which the GOSPEL MAGAZINE had been conducted, after the adoption of its second title, we much question whether we should have ever appeared in its pages. To say the least, it was bigoted, censorious, and unchristian in the extreme; and our only regret is, that so much advanced against men of truth should of necessity be incorporated with what we desire to be “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Feeling, from several opinions which have lately, and only lately, reached our ears, this explanation to be necessary, we subscribe ourselves,
“ ENDEAVOURING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE.
"Jesus Christ, THE SAME YESTERDAY, TO-DAY, AND FOR EVER
JOSEPH, a servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the tribes
of Israel which are scattered abroad, greeting :-Brethren, beloved, the seed of a covenant Head, delivered from Egyptian bondage, and on the way to Canaan, grace, mercy, and peace to you all, of every
tribe. Having obtained help of God to persevere in our wilderness journey to this day, let us pause at the opening of another year, that we may adore the grace which hath brought us thus far, and contemplate our present position in the desert ; for we are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance which the Lord our God giveth us (Deut. xii. 9).
We are surrounded with a great multitude of Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, who have artfully assumed the name of Israelites, though they have no register of genealogy as the descendants of the covenant Head—no knowledge of the passover, or of the blood of sprinkling—no love or likeness to the Israel of God, nor to the God of Israel ; but are in fact the greatest enemies of the chosen race, and the most determined opposers of their march to the heavenly Canaan.
No. I. Vol. I.--New Series.
These disguised enemies make high professions of devotedness to God, and for a pretence make long prayers (Matt. xxiii. 14); but have always stigmatised the people of the God of Abraham as disaffected (Esth. iii. 8), rebellious (Neh. vi. 6), seditious (Acts, xxiv. 5): and by perverting a New Testament phrase, they are in modern times reviled as schismatics by the deadliest enemies of Jesus Christ, who have arrogantly assumed to themselves the exclusive title of the only church of God, though destitute of every genuine mark of that church. Suffer me, then, to invite your attention to the short sentence which is thus awfully perverted, to see what is its real meaning, and against whom it stands.
That there should be no schism in the body.—1 Cor. xii. 25. This is, I believe, the only place in the New Testament in which the word schism occurs ; though some modern zealots of the Romish school have been as prodigal in using it, as if it were the running title of the word of God, or the most prominent subject of inspiration. I would, however, give it all the importance which every word of Scripture demands ; for it is obvious that the unity of the church lay near the Redeemer's heart, when he prayed for it so earnestly before he suffered, as it is recorded in the seventeenth chapter of St. John. But what, I would ask, is the mind of the Spirit, who dictated and inspired the desire in Paul's heart, “That there should be no schism in the body ?": Was it that there should be no division between carnal and spiritual professors ? Was it that there should be no difference of opinion in matters of religion? Or was it that there must be no deviation from prescribed forms of worship? If so, then Paul himself was the most guilty of all schismatics, for he dissented from the strictest sect of the Pharisees; he withstood Peter to the face, because he was to be blamed, and he openly avowed that, after the manner which was then called heresy, so worshipped he the God of his fathers.
The perversion of words is one of Satan's prominent artifices. When he attempts to subvert all social order, he calls that attempt Socialism ; when he would set up rebellion, he calls it Chartism ; when he plots treason against
God and man, he alls it Liberalism; and when he would fortify superstition, he raises the hue and cry of Schism against those who refuse to bow down to Baal : yea, he is even daring enough to quote and pervert the word of God, to answer these diabolical purposes. It is, therefore, important to fortify the minds of the children of God with clear and distinct knowledge of the meaning of those passages of Scripture which Satan wrests to make stumbling-blocks in the path of the unwary traveller. Let, then, the whole church of the living God consider the real meaning of this Scripture, “That there should be no schism in the body."
What body is the apostle speaking of ? Surely not a body politic ! Surely not a body national ! Certainly not a body of carnal professors ! but a body spiritual and mystical, consisting of many members. The Holy Ghost has not left us to conjecture upon this subject, but has explicitly set it down in the twenty-seventh verse, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular :" and as the Head is a living Head, so all the members are living members ; nor can any be recognised as members of the body of Christ, but those whom he has quickened to newness of life. Names, titles, ceremonies, and patronage, may set up such counterfeits as Balaam, Judas, Simon Magus, and Demas, but vital godliness alone can prove a man to be a member of the body of Christ ; and all the election of grace are, in the fulness of time, made partakers of the divine nature by regeneration, which effects a vital union with the living Head, pursuant to the virtual covenant union which was formed in the councils of eternity, and can never be dissolved.
Now this is the body in which the apostle desired “ that there should be no schism.” What, then, are we to understand by the word schism as applicable to this elect, regenerated, spiritual family, but a departure from its vital principles, and substituting human inventions for divine enactments ? The grand essentials of the body of Christ are union with him as the Head-election in him-personal and eternal redemption by him, as Surety and Substitute for his body-justification in his merit alone—sanctification by his Spirit—and glorification with him, infallibly certain, and all of free and sovereign grace. These principles being the bones, sinews, and nerves of the body of Christ, the church, it must follow, that he who departs from these principles is really a schismatic in the scriptural sense of the word; for he separates himself from those things which are essential to the existence of the body, and to the honour of the Head : for, as there is but one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, whoever would separate what God hath joined together, is a schismatic. To reject a phylactery, or cast off a shoe-latchet, is not schism, because it affects not the body ; but to reject the doctrines of the apostles is schism. To withdraw from superstitious rites and human traditions is not schism ; but to reject a living member of the body of Christ, or cease to love him, is schism in the body. So that the very worst of schismatics is the man who professes to be a Christian, and yet separates himself from, and opposes, those who are most like Christ ; setting up Popish dogmas, and the traditions of fathers, in opposition to the word of God, and to the persecution of the people of God. Yet these, like the greatest thief, who is the first to cry “Stop thief,” are the first to brand, as schismatics, those who bear the most conspicuous marks of living members of the body of
But “ that there should be no schism in the body,” let every living member of that body hold fast the grand principles in which they are all agreed, and habitually consider the interests of every real child of God his own ; for “ every one that loveth him that hegat, loveth him also that is begotten of him” (1 John, v. 1); "and,” saith the apostle, “the members should have the same care one for another : and whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”
Genuine Christianity is a family interest ; and if that interest be divided, it becomes an easy prey to surrounding robbers : but if God