« הקודםהמשך »
of divine love and sanctity. It is essentially personal. 5. The Church now is like the disciples in their little Its requirements cannot be met by deputy. "Do you vessel on the troubled sea of Galilee ; it is night, but the wish your religion to be "pure and undefiled before
“night is far spent, the day is at hand," that is to say, God and the Father ”?
“ The Lord is at hand.” When he is seen, he will be You must be personally a madly received into the ship, and immediately-calm, visitor of those who need the ministrations of love. You
day, and home. must also keep yourself in sanctification, separateness, “ unspotted from the world.” None but a faithful follower of Jesus can do this. Every other kind of COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL BY religion (so called) is vain-utterly worthless.
(Written expressly for this publication.) " TO YOU WHICH BELIEVE HE IS PRECIOUS.”
CIIAPTER I. " Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and
Ver. 24, 25.--"And they which were sent were of the not unto the world ?" John xiv.
Pharisees. And they asked him and said, why baptizeth thou The manifestation of Christ to the soul is glory revealed.
then, it thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that
prophet.” How sorely puzzled were these Pharisee Priests Between the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the
and Levites by the simple testimony and ministry of John! completion of the Written Word, he graciously gave many | Prophets told specifically of “the Christ,” and “ Elias," and special manifestations of himself, some of which were also spoke of “a prophet” without giving a name, as in
To the weeping Mary lingering at the tomb, to turn her Deut : xviii. 15,—this latter evidently, as we see, pointing to sorrow into joy, and send her to comfort others. John xx. the Messiah. But guided only by their carnal judginent,
To the penitent Simon. Over this interview the veil is these enquirers seem to have concluded that one might be drawn ; but it was doubtless to restore him. Luke xxiv. 34. neither the Christ nor his forerunner. They appear, however,
To the eleven, (locked indoors from fear of the Jews,) readily to have understood that an order of purification and said, “ Peace be unto you. ... Then were the disciples was to be introduced by the expected messenger from Godglad when they saw the Lord.” John xx.
and they no doubt thought baptism would purify them, Again, for the sake of poor, weak Thomas.
provided only the administrator were duly authenticated.
Hence their desire to know John's standing. “ If you cannot To the disciples gone a-fishing, to recal them to the
show your mission in the prophetic word, why baptisest thou"'? walk of faith. John xxi.
In Matthew's gospel we are told that " Many of the Pharisees To the apostles in Galilee, to commission them to preach
and Sadducees came to his baptism,” but “he said unto them, to all nations, baptize, and teach. Matt. xxviii.
O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the To encourage his lowly ones to wait in Jerusalem, as wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentsuring them that they should be endowed with power from ance;" we think that this proves they expected to find a viron high to fulfil the commission they had received. Acts i. tue in baptism itself---instead of seeing it to be, as it was, but To the first wartyr, falling asleep. Acts vii.
a siyn of repentance. In consequence of this error, John said, To the imprisoned preacher, cast down and sorrowful. -- First give some evidence of repentance before you take the "The night following, the Lord stood by him, and said, Be
sign of it. of good cheer, Paul, for as thou hast testified of me in Jeru
26, 27. “John answered them, saying, I baptise with water ; salem, so must thou also bear witness at Rome.” The
but there standeth one among you whom ye know pot; He it apostle to the Gentiles was probably mourning that he had
is who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoes'
latchet I am not worthy to unloose.” In other words, It is of loft his proper sphere of duty, and had persisted in going very little moment whether you are satisfied about me. Turn up to Jerusalem.
your eyes to the important One. The long promised Messiah To the last remaining apostle, rejected of the world, lin is in your midst ; let every other consideration wither in His gering in the solitude of a desert isle. Rev. i.
presence; He alone is worthy. I am not deserving of so If the heart be true to the Lord, and the believer walk in
menial a jask as that of unfastening his shoes. My Mission is faith and obedience, he who is with us always delights still
as weak as water-baptism, compared with his, whose ministry to spiritually manifest himself, and will do so until he come
will be sealed with the outpouring gift of the Holy Ghost. in person to take his Bride to the heavenly mansions. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Even so. “My
THE "PLYMOUTH BRETHREN."
(Concluded from our last.) 1. By the Holy Spirit through the Written Word :-"He Coming into spiritual liberty in the way
Coming into spiritual liberty in the way we have shown, it shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” At the
was not long before the question of baptism presented itself to time Christ spoke not a book of the New 'l'estament was
“the Brethren." Unhappily, many whose consciences were written. Tbis is a blessed promise, for us as well as the
exercised on this subject bowed to the dictum of one of their
leaders whose ministry in most things had been greatly blessed apostles. Oh, that we may value it more.
to them. Acting under the guidance of this brother, our Lord's 2. We may expect a spiritual manifestation of Christ in ordinance of baptism was practically ignored. It was, in fact, proportion to our love of, and obedience to the Word: “If a impossible for the Brethren,” as a body, to enjoin baptism maa love me he will keep my words, and my Father will upon those whom they had already brought into fellowship. love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode They had received Christians without raising any question as with him." John xiv.
to whether they were baptised or not; and they could not now 3. In the breaking of bread~"And it came to pass, as turn upon one another after having wrought together in he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed, and
fellowship life, and demand that those who had not passed brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and
through the waters of death should now do so. It was contended they knew him...... And they returned to Jerusalem...and
also that baptism was unimportant-that Paul has left on told what things were done in the way, and how he was
record, “he was not sent to baptise," &c. It became, too, a known of them in the breaking of bread.”
favourite dogma that baptism ought not to be made a door of Luke xxiv.
entrance to the Lord's Table. Moreover, the leader we havo 4. By the spiritually minded in all meetings held in alluded to (whose name and works generally are deservedly Christ's name—“ Where two or three are gathered together held in high honour) decided that any kind of baptism which in my name there am I in the midst of them." Matt. xviii. / satisfied a believer's conscience would do. These palliatives for the practical unfaithfulness of the association (“the clusively, of “breaking of bread.” Then, they have a theory Brothren) have, of course, proved inefficient to still the con- that they only possess the Lord's Table-that, in London, “the sciences of the members. With very few exceptions, we | Table" is one, and that each of their gatherings (exclusive, be believe, "the Brethren" individually, and simply as Christians, it understood, of those who were excommunicated) have, or do that which their leaders thonght it inconsistent to lay upon are (:) a corner of the Table! So that, unless a Christian be them. After walking for awhile in followship life, unbaptised, received into Brethrenism, he or she has no place at the Lord's they soon find the plain teaching of scripture too strong for all Table! And, of course, it follows that if one leaves this little sophistry, and voluntarily seck baptism. Obedience is the community, he or she is said to have withdrawn from the highest kind of wisdom for sons and servants. In a question of Lord's Table!! We are stating simple fact, incredible as it this kind much knowledge is apt to prove a hindrance. must appear to many. Alas! how far from the truth can dear “Knowledge puffeth up." Indeed, it will often be found that saints drift away when once they let go their hold upon “ It is the greatest darkness on the subject of Christian baptism pre- | written.” When other Christians meet to break bread and rails in the minds of those who, on many doctrinal questions, partake of the cup of blessing, they certainly do show forth manifest great spiritual intelligence. A child in grace, con- | the Lord's death. We doubt very much whether the most tent to be but a child, will say, “My Saviour certainly com- | bigoted among “the Brethren" would deny that. What, manded it, and therefore it cannot be wrong for me to obey;" then, becomes of the exclusive Table ? Any pretension to such and in that simple way cuts the knot which many wise () | is very silly, as well as sad. The tendency of all this is, of ones spend a life-time in endeavouring to untie. Indeed, the necessity, towards narrow-mindedness and degeneracy. “The matter is one which has to be dealt with practically (according | Brethren" groan under a spirit of worldly-mindedness,--not in to Scripture) immediately a soul has received the new birth any very gross form, but it is growing upon them. And they through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Such an one is not lack that Christ-like simplicity and devotedness which becompetent to grasp the question as one of doctrine, but bows to longed to them when they were little in their own eyes. As it instantly as a command. As such, it is expressly given by belonging to “a body," this is beyond remedy; but as memthe Son of God, and it would not be competent for evenbers of “THE BODY," the Church, “the Brethren ” have only apostolic authority to set it aside; much less should any in- i to quit the mistaken position they hold, abandon their traferential arguments be permitted to call in question either the ditions, and gather as Christians, without any human organiordinance itself, or its proper place as clearly given by “the sation. Let them be content to be faithful fews, and little ones, Lord.”
and follow the Lamb whithersoever he leadeth. The eye of We do not profess to be giving a history of “the Brethren." | faith must be fixed upon Christ, not upon human leaders. Our object is simply to point out wherein they have acted When will Christians learn that lesson ? But notwithstanding faithfully, and have been blessed ; and, for warning and profit, | all-the members of this community, whose failures, as such, to note in what respects they are manifestly wrong. Through we dare not screen (call them Brethren, or Plymouth Brethren, ignoring baptism, "the Brethren” were driven to invent some or what you will), are individually very dear, loving, and means of testing those who seek fellowship with them. The lovable Christians, generally well taught in “thé Word," and scripture order of procedure is (let the reader search and see) very sincere. They love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, declaration of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, water baptism, and joyfully wait for His appearing. The Lord bless them, and fellowship. That is to say, a believer who had submitted to lead them, and keep them, with all His dear saints everywhere, baptism is entitled to come into fellowship with assembled be in patience until He comes, for His own glorious name's sake. lievers without further question. “The Brethren" are not As respects Ministry, the way in which it is recognised satisfied with that divine rule. They say, “We do not consider and exercised among "the Brethren” is in entire baptism effectual to keep out all we wish to keep out.” This is accordance with Scripture. Such as have gift, labour it. They are not content with bare evidence of the new birth, without fee or reward. Bright, shining lights there are in and of faithfulness to the Lord's first requirement; they de- their midst, unknown to the world, and but little owned by mand an amount of Christian progress--in knowledge, at least. Christians beyond the limited circle of their own denomination. They, therefore, discard the Lord's ordinance of baptism, and | But the Lord owns and honours them, for they honour him. appoint visitors, or, rather, some among them take that office. Their influence has been and is felt far and wido, however little Persons are received into fellowship on the recommendation of they may be known by name. We believe it would not be too two or three known as such. In London, the visitors report much to say that most of the advanced truths of Scripture, now the result of their investigations to a central synod, which generally expounded by spiritual evangelists and teachers, have again communicates the names of candidates to the several
been unfolded afresh in these last days by the Holy Spirit, gatherings, in all of which they are read over as proposed on chiefly through the instrumentality of those who have ministhe following Lord's day.
tered among “ the Brethren.” We but glance at this matter. It is so wholly wanting in
But it has been apart from Brethrenism that these faithful faith, and contrasts so unfavourably with much which is bright
servants of the Lord have been so greatly used. It is their and valuable among “the Brethren," that we gladly avoid writings which have been so much blessed. These are in most further details.
cases published under initials only, and are (almost without In early days, “the Lord added to the Church daily such as
exception) free from sectarian bias. Many a preacher whose should be saved." In these times, “tho Brothren" undertake name is celebrated, and many thousands of Christians who are to do this! It is very solemn, very sad! And this rebuke in some degree enjoying spiritual liberty and rejoicing in the applies to nearly all denominations. Happily, the Lord is
hope of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, are indebted to again working in His own way. There are now many little
the writings of these faithful ones, who, though a little cramped bands of Christians who assemble themselves together in all but | perhaps, when dealing with their own party, have discarded primitive simplicity. Baptism before fellowship is not pressed
all narrowness when expounding the word of God, and have as it should be; but we believe this simple act of faithfulness
sought to embrace in their large-hearted love all who love the will. ere long. very generally prevail. We anticipate that the Saviour. Careless of name and fame, they have kept them. Lord, at His coming, will behold the Church upon earth mainly I selves in obscurity, and have done all to the Lord. content to in similar attitude to that which it had at tho beginning, only await from his gracious lips the much-prized words—Well in much weakness-His people in little companies, and despised
done, good and faithful servant!"
done cood by the world. Many, doubtless, may be found in the condi. tions which they obtained in the Churches of “Sardis” and
No House of God.-In the present dispensation, there is no " Laodicea,” (Rev. iii.) ; but the generality, we trust, will
Temple on earth. Persons foolishly talk about going to the House have the characteristics of “ Philadelphia.”
of God and the Sanctuary. It is quite a delusion. Buildings called There is one other subject respecting which “the Brethren"
churches are opened with a ceremony called consecration; but it is are faulty. Altogether slighting the ordinance of baptism, and
all in defiance of the spirit or letter of Scripture. See Acts xvii. 24. making it, by their traditions, of little or no effect, they, on The true worshipper must, even now, know his place in the heaven. the other hand, give undue prominence to the institution of the lies" within the veil ;" there only in spirit can the believer Lord's Supper. They make fellowship to consist, almost ex- worship. See Heb. . 19-22,
Wo consider sanctification to be isolation from ovil. Jesus was ever sanctified—set apart to holiness. Dcvotediiess and self-sacrifice seem also to ho implied in some applications of the word. The Lord said, "For their sokes I sanctify myself," &c. (John xvii. 19.) But separation from all that is opposed to the mind of God is the chief thought pressed upon us in Scripture. Thus it was with our blessed Saviour. He was separate from evil, isolated from it. A short time before his hour of agony, He said, "The prince of this world comcth and hath nothing in me." Satan could lay hold of nothing in him to fasten sin upon. The Lord Jesus was undoubtedly sanctified, i.e., in the condition of sanctity, even when "Bo bare our sins in his own body on the tree." For though our sins were, most incomprehensibly to us, yet actually, in his body, they could never commingle with his pure self.
Now, He is our sanctification. "He is of God made unto us sanctification," as well as wisdom, righteousness, and redemption. He is also our pattern as to sanctification. Our calling is to bo like him. Our standing and acceptability before God aro that we are identified with him. (Of course we aro speaking only of those who believe in him unto salvation.) "We are "Accepted in the beloved ;" "As • ho is so are we in this present world." This is in respect to the new life which he has given to us; the new nature which sinneth not. "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for His (God's; seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God." .Hut then, as to experience, (being not yet actually delivered from the old carnal nature, but in a "body of sin,") the believer is liable to commit sin. The new nature, however, never consents. It shrinks from and detests evil; such sin as a true Christian may be overtaken by, is committed in the power of the Old Adam nature. Through faith in Jesus Christ, the bebover is sanctified, i.e., set apart to holiness. He is not only forgiven and justified—a new life is also given to him which is a holy life, a sanctified life, identical with the Ufe of Christ, isolated from evil. Hut as sin came very near to Jesus when on the accursed tree, being in his body (most mysteriously so, beyond our comprehension); so also sin comes, so to speak, even nearer (perhaps) to the new nature in us, because of the carnality of our minds and permitted desires.
This brings us to the second order of thought which Scripture furnishes respecting sanctification : viz., the prayerful desire of Paul expressed in 1 Thess. v. 2',i; "The very God of peace sanctify you tv/wJy; and (or, that) your whole spirit, and soul, and body bo preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Now this, we think, is not, as is generally understood, progressive sanctification, or the completion of the work of sanctification. Surely it is more a renewal of that consciousness of sanctification and practice in sanctity which belong to us, and is akin to Eph. v. 25, 2G, 27. "Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and
cleanse it with washing of water by the word, that it should be holy and without blemish." The Lord first sanctifies (or sets apart to holiness the Church; then, because of earthly defilements, he brings in the washing' or purifying inlluence of '' the word ;" thus renewing. as it were, it> standing in sanctification, its spparutenoss from evil, its holiness. AVhile it is so with the Church, it is so also with the individual believer.
A simple illustration may be helpful to a true understanding of Scripture teaching. Suppose one of the golden vessels belonging to God's ancient sanctuaiy to have been abust d or used for souie vile purpose, such as the display of human pomp and pride at Belsha/zar's feast. The quality of the vessel is unaltered. It is of Pure Gold. But it has been handled by a vile sinner ; therefore it may have to be purged in some divine way before restoration to its sanctified uses. Its intrinsic fitness has never been changed- First and last it was a pure vessel made unto sanctification. So with the blood-washed sinner. He is henceforth a vessel formed (Heb. x. 10). unto sanctification: He is sanctified. Satan comes in and misuses the believer; but his standing in purity and sanctification is unalterable. Purging may bo needful, more or less frequently, according as he is walking circumspectly or otherwise; and the process will be proportionately painful. To be restored to sanctified uses is the believer's need. Hence the prayer, "The very God of peace sanctify you whollv," &c."
If any of our readers have other thoughts on this theme, wo invito them to search and see whether they can find any Scripture to bear them out. In that caso let us hear from them. "We are quite open to conviction.
THE CITY OF CONFUSION,
(Isaiah xxiv. 10.)
A FAITHFUL WOKD FOB CHRISTIANS.
(Continued from our last.)
r>. Tin: Written Word.—Surely enough has been said to induce the reader to 'Search the Scriptures' like the noble Ucreans (Acts xxii. 10—12), to see whether these things arc so. This searching must, however, be accompanied by prayer to God and faith in the Holy Ghost, as the one who is to 'lead us into all truth.' May we ask you, dear reader,—Is it a practice with you to pray to God in faith for enlightenment upon his Word? When you meet with difficulties in reading the Scriptures, do you take those very difficulties to the throne of grace, and pray the Lord to teach you .' • If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.' (James i. o.)
7. Kestoratiox Of Israel.—We just add a few words on this subject. Christians have in thought and teaching confused the Jewish Dispensation with the present Gentile Dispensation. For eighteen hundred years have believers (in unholy alliance with mere professors) tried to blend those utterly opposite things, Law and Grace. The Jewish Dispensation, which brought in the Law, was completely set aside (not abolished) when Israel refused to rc«eive the testimony of the Apostle.-, after the ascension of Christ. When the Church—a irorf<l-rrJer/erl Burly, following its v.orld-rejtcted Head—b.a=
An Evangelist is a person gifted to preach the Gospel of Salvation, and it is evident he should exercise his calling whenever and wherever he can get unconverted persons to hear him. He is appointed by the Lord, and to him only is ho answerable. He should never accept from man either an appointment or a stipend; by so doing he becomes the servant of man. Yet if he be given wholly to tho work of the Lord, those who have profited by his ministry are to take care to supply his temporal wants—'The Lord has ordained that they who preach the Gospel should live of tho Gospel.' All the Scriptures which speak of pecuniary aid in connection with Christian Ministry, apply to those who devote their lives to preaching the Gospel. It is for Evangelists, who travel far and wide, to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation, for whom the Lord provides by laying their needs upon believers. But for those who preach the Gospel near home, if they can follow their ordinary avocations, labouring with their hands, as did Paul, it is far happier to do so. In any case let thom never ask help of unbelievers.
Pastors or Elders are given by tho Lord to care for the Sheep and the Lambs of His flock. They were, in tho first days of the Church, ordained by Apostolic power. This power of ordaining was sometimes delegated to others, as Timothy and Titus; but this delegated power was conveyed by special gift, and was laid upon them for temporary purposes only. No power of ordaining is possessed now, for we nowhere road that it was to be perpetuated. If any pretend to it, we ask—Whence is it obtained'(
The Teacher's office is evidenced by tho name. His labouis are exercised i.i the assembly of believers. Neither the Pastor nor the Teacher should accept payment. "The Elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. 'Feed the flock ot God which is among you, taking tho oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being Lords over God's heritage, but being ensumplos to the flock.' (1 Pet. v. 1—3.)
This question of Ministry will, perhaps, be better understood by Christians who may not hitherto have given attention to the subject—by looking at the true construction of a Church.
In the highest sense of the term, there is but one church, the body of Christ, which will be revealed in the glory. But upon earth tho one church should be represented by assomblics, or churches of believers. In such assemblies the unconverted have no place as worshippers, nor can they have part in any matters for which Christians should assemble themselves together. They may, however, sit by as hearers. The basis upon which believers should come together is the word of the Lord in Matt, xviii. 20—' Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." In this we have not only a promise of the Lord's presence, but an assurance that irrespective of time and place the Head of the Church is present where two or three believers are gathered in his name. Of course faith only can realize the blessing of it. Christians generally do not gather in the name of Jesus simply, but in the names of sects — Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Independents, and so forth. What are called congregations are notoriously mixed assemblies of believers and unbelievers. The assurance of the Lord's presence is evidently not for such. His presence as Head of the Church is not owned, and of course is not reckoned upon, (oxcept.of course, in respect of the worship of God, who is everywhere present.) Yet we gladly acknowledge that the power of the name of Jesus is owned in such assemblies, and the Gospel of his salvation is preached. But this is no recognition of the very presence of the Head of the Church. On the contrary, man is exalted, to headship ; all worship, teaching, &c, being under the rule and guidance of a clergyman, who is in many cases appointed by secular authority, or at best elected by the congregation, in any case by some mere human arrangement.
We refrain from touching upon Pew Rents, Salaries, Livings, Lordships, &c. The whole system is thoroughly uitscripturiil. AU is summed up in that word.
[The development of this subject, viz., deliverance from the 'City of Confusion,' we purpose continuing from month to month.]
been gathered home to heavenly glory, the Jews will be restored, under the immediate reign of Israel's long-promised Messiah. The passage already quoted from Romans xi., and many other scriptures, clearly prove this. A remnant of the earthly Israel will be found faithful in and after the day of the great tribulation. These will be restored to the Promised Land, and through Israel will all the nations of the earth be blessed. 'His people shall be willing in the day of His power.'
One most important result of discerning the marked separation of, and contrast between the Jewish and Christian dispensations is, deliverance from the bondage of the law. 'Ye are not under the Law, but under Grace.' (Rom. vi. 14.) This is surely emphatic enough for all who own ' the Word' as rule and guide. But as long as Christians listen to preachers who uphold the anti-scriptural blending of Judaism with Christianity, they will be kept in comparative darkness, sorrow, and doubt. What else can result from disregard of the plain teachings of the Word of God? Alas, how many thousands of souls are kept under the bondage and terror of the Law, instead of rejoicing in ' the liberty of tho Sons of God'—the liberty 'with which Christ has made them free.' Of course it should be evident to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ, that the liberty he has given is not licence to sin. It was sin which killed the Lord of life and glory ! and it ought, therefore, to be intensely hateful to every believer. Rom. vi. fully settles the question as to hoic we are delivered from Law; we pray you to consider this Scripture prayerfully.
8. The Ministry. —We must now submit to the test of 'What saith the Scripture?' another most important subject. It is that of Ministry. In the Christian economy, according to Scripture, there is no division into classes. Clergy and Laity aro distinctions unknown in the New Testament. In Israel there was a distinct tribe set apart as priests. But, as already shown, we have no part in that dispensation. The Ministry given by our Lord Jesus Christ is expressly enumerated in Eph. iv.— viz. ' Apostles, Prophets, EvaugoUsts, Pastors, and Teachers.' These are distinctly stated to be gifts from Himself to his body, the Church. Apostles and Prophets (who had power to ordain and foretell things to come, by direct revelation from the Lord,) ceased as soon as the mind of God had been fully made known. Wo have now the Written Word instead.
The Lord still gives Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers; but he never calls upon his people to give themselves such, nor to appoint or ordain them. Neither does he set them to ordain one another. Men are foolish and unfaithful onough to accept ordinations and appointments from their fellows, and are unbelieving and perverse enough to go to colleges for wisdom instead of going to God as ho has expressly instructed them to do; but unless they have gifts from Christ they can neither evangelize, shepherdi/e, nor toach. 'My speech and my preaching (says Paul) was not with enticing words ol man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power; that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit wo speak wisdom among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of tho princes of this world, that como to nought, but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto,our glory.' (1 Cor. ii. 4—7.) 'Now we have received not the spirit of tho world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost t-jacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of tho Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.' (1 Cor. ii. 12— 14.) 'Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you secineth to bo wise in this world, let him become a fool that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He takcth the wise in their own craftiness. And again, the Lord knoweth tho thoughts of the wiso that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men.' (1 Cor. iii. 18—21.)
AU this is plain enough, if Christians will be taught of God. Tho entire institution of Clergy is a most grievous mistake. Ministry is thus set before us in Scripture :—
..--«-■ > .m <
subject of Sanctification is noticed in our present number.OUR CORRESPONDENTS AND OURSELVES.
FD.] J. L., Peckham,-informs us that “the origin of that which
J. P. Birmingham, orders some copies, and says, “ Pleaso has grown into Plymouth Brethrenism dates at least from 1824, and is consequently over 40 years old.” Our correspondent
explain Heb. vi. 4, 5, 6."-[We hope to comply in our next also corrects us on several points, and gives much information
number.--Ed.) about their doctrinal controversies, which would be important A. Z. says, “I have read your little paper from its commenceif we desired to give all the ramifications of the movements ment with interest; and am particularly pleased with the arand agitations which have occurred among the Brethren. | ticle entitled The Plymouth Brethren. By this movenent the That was not our object. All we wished, was to furnish | holiest, deepest truths of Scripture have been perverted and Christians generally with a truthful account of what the
made formative of a sect. Alas! what is man? To suppose Brethren really are. We sincerely thank J. L., however,
Paul when he by the Holy Ghost wrote his epistles had in his for the clear statements contained in his very kind letter.
mind the forming of Plymouth Brethrenism is manifestly C. P., East Moulsey,-has also written us a very able exposi
absurd. And yet to this his epistles are twisted. God has cer
tainly come in with a breach, but who as yet has learned the tion of the grievances and ruptures which have occurred among
lesson He would fain teach?"-[We believe the lesson is, that the Brethren. These matters we have purposely avoided, and
henceforth earnest and true-hearted Christians should be concannot touch them now. We give, however, two or three
tent with very small fellowships, in which the activities of divine extracts from C. P.'s letter, which are pertinent to the line of
love are kept in exercise-where brethren and sisters really things we desired to review. _“ Fifteen years ago I took the
love one another and prove it one to another in deed step I had long felt I must, or would come at last; I came
as well as in word. Above all we must walk in the out from the Church of England so-called. I had shrunk
consciousness of the deep humiliation which has come over the
Church. We deserve to be a despised people. Just as the world's from joining the Brethren ; still, having taken the one step,
Churches are arrogating to themselves more and more of pomp the next seemed to me, at that time, inevitable; and I found
and self-sufficiency, must the Church of God manifest humility myself worshipping with thoso called (by others) Plymouth
| and self-abasement : and this not only because we are so taught Brethren. Still, I never did, and do not now, recognise any
in “the Word,” but in consequence of our manifest failures other than the “one body, one Spirit," and thus was I kept,
as a chosen people. Indeed we have nothing to boast of but by God's grace, from falling into the snare laid by some of
the love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Our hope and constituting themselves The body, the one assembly of God.
expectancy must be the perfect deliverance which he will bring * * To my own mind, you exalt tho Plymouth Brethren, or
at his coming. We must really be "turned from idols to serve rather depreciate other Christians, by attributing to the
tho living and true God, and wait for his son from Heaven."'-. former that they became clearly convinced that our Lord Jesus
Ed.] Christ had sent the Holy Ghost to guide his followers into all truth. It was just such an assumption which often set me
W. L., Camden Town, takes us to task for saying “ The against the Brethren while in the Church of England, because
| word of God declares that the soul is saved through faith alone," while there I as fully acknowledged this truth as I may be
and asks us to point out the passage. We refer at once to Rom. supposed to do now. So I did the unity of the Body. * * * |
x. 9, 10; Acts xvi. 31 ; 1 John v. 13. We merely cite these I have reason for saying you exalt tho Brethren beyond their
passages. Our difficulty is not in finding Scripture evidence, due. As regards certain principles, I must thankfully own
but out of the abundance where to choose from; we are them, accept and act on them; and must therefore be content
amazed that any Christian (i.e. a believer) can have any diffito be called (by others) a Plymouth.' No doubt the fact of
culty about it. leaving Baptisn an open question did of necessity lead to con- | E., Islington, writes_“I have known dear Christians who fusion; many were afraid of insisting too much upon it lest have sought to gather believers in faithfulness to the Lord in they should lose Mr D— who still clings to 'infant | small fellowships, stigmatised robbers of churches !! This is sprinkling.'” [Your last letter in our next.--Ev.]
grievously harsh and ungenerous."'-[It is more; it is untrue.
| E. will see from our article in this number on "Separate FelW. H. H., Derby, writes as follows:-“Will you be kind I lowships included in Local Churches " that the ground taken enough to send me 26 copies of Precior'Truth? I enclose by those of whom he complains is quite un-Scriptural—that stamps. I like your paper much. and believe it will be made a |
there is no such thing in Scripture as "our church" from which blessing to the Lord's people. You will be glad to hear that I to rob. “One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are have been able to get nearly 30 regular subscribers, and live
brethren." Let us seek grace to approve ourselves to him, and in hopes that this number will soon be much increased.
to “feed his sheep," wherever we may find them. Kindly send me a few numbers (in accordance with your note in No. 3) to distribute gratis, and to send to friends at a Received." Lay-preaching," &c. Too late. distance. In this way I trust I could get many to take it up who do not know of its existence yet. I am a lover of To CORRESPONDENTS.-We invite enquiries tending to the eluciprecious truth, and desire to see it scattered far and wide. dation of scriptural truth, Controversial questions should be avoided About a fortnight ago a few Christians with myself commenced entirely, if possible. a meeting on Monday evenings for reading the Scriptures. I hope if the Lord will to let you know moro of this, and
NOTICES. how we progress by and bye. I have the privilege of gather
Letters for the Editor to be addressed to 335, Strand, W.C. ing with a few Christians, in the name of Jesus only, every
To facilitate the obtaining of PRECIOUS TRUTH, packets will be sent post free to any part of the United Kingdom, by remitting, in advance, as
follows:-Two copies for 2d., Five for 3d., Ten for 5d. Cash in advance. at present there are hindrances to our coming together on the first day of the week. Will you kindly give us a word on TO OUR READERS. We ask brethren and sisters in the Lord to order Sanctification-what is it ? Many Christians think of it as a few numbers inonthly, and take some pains to lend them about. If perfection in the flesh-absolute sinlessness of life in this world.
done to the Lord in faith, you will thus be di peasers of inuch ble: sing. Are not all believers sanctified ? Has the word only one or
HRISTIANS in the Neighbourhood of the Strand are invited to the several meanings ?" -- [We thank W. H. H. very heartily
U Scripture Reading Meeting at 335a, side-door, Monday, at Seren. for his exertions in spreading the knowledge of PRECIOUS TRUTH. May many other dear brethren and sisters be led to
THE SCRIPTURAL CONSTITUTION of a CHRISTLAX CHURCII.
1 Smail Tract. ld. Is 6d per 100. Job Caudwell, 335, Strand. do likewise; not for our advantago, for we have nothing to gain, but for the sake of the sheep and lambs of the flock. N OTICE.-Employment is wanted for a Christian man, a labourer. IIe We congratulate our correspondent upon the open door for
I wants a Porter's place, or other suitable employment. Any commu. searching the Scriptures and for fellowship in breaking of
nication will be gladly received by the Editor, 335a, Strand. bread. May the Lord send abundant blessing upon these
Printed by JOHN Erans, 33ja, Strand, W.C.; and published by Joe and all such manifestations of faithfulness. As requested, the CAUDWELI, 335, Strand, London, W.C. Tuesday, August I, 1865.