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Deity) presented at once the image and nucleus of the unearthly society.

II. The voice of prophecy had declared that such would be the spiritual character of his new kingdom. For while some monstrous type, of brute ferocity and power, was deemed an appropriate symbol of each preceding monarchy as seen by Daniel, the ensign of the Messiah's reign was distinguished by the likeness of the Son of man; aptly denoting, that while they prevailed by the ascendency of physical might, from his kingdom should be banished every carnal weapon, and instrument of coertion; and that to him should belong the honor of recognising and erecting the prostrate elements of humanity, of reigning by the spiritual action of mind on mind, the almighty influence of enlightened reason, of sanctified gratitude and love. It was distinctly predicted that his kingdom, instead of symbolizing with any of the governments of earth, should be to the world an image of his own sufficiency, surpassing and encompassing them all. At first, it would resemble an imperium in imperio, a dominion of principle and affection flourishing amidst the kingdoms of the world like the verdure of paradise set in the desert; but in the end, as Bacon describes the prevalence of a far different principle, it bringeth in a new primum mobile, that ravisheth all the spheres of government;' forming from first to last, in the eyes of the world, an anomaly of government. Accordingly, when Jesus came to erect it he appeared at a loss for suitable illustrations by which to explain it to the minds of his hearers. Whereunto,' saith he shall we liken the kingdom of God, and with what comparison shall we compare it ?' None of the governments of the world supplied an analogy: he who is the wisdom of God seemed embarrassed, as he looked around the world of civil society for a similitude, and saw that it contained none.

III. But though the constitution he designed to erect was a new creation, he constructed it in a manner the most unforced and simple. He who asked only the dust of the earth out of which to form a creature of divine lineaments :-he, who took the universal law of animal nature which seeks the propagation of its kind, and, by grafting on it the sacred institution of marriage, made it produce the choicest fruits of the earth; thus converting and consecrating an animal instinct, a principle which man possesses only in common with brutes, into a source of pure and purifying enjoyment, which more than any other natural means, raises and distinguishes man above the inferior creation : he asked only the elements of our social nature, with which to construct ‘his body,' the church. Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name,' said Christ, there am I in the midst of them.' He knew that in obedience to our social instincts, to the law which leads us to seek our kind, we should in all ages continue to associate : he saw that, in the kingdom of Satan, familiar intercourse is one of the principle means for extending the contagion of evil, one of the grand ordinances of sin, and he determined to give the same principle sanctified scope and activity, in a sphere where it might prove equally efficacious in the production and reciprocation of good.

IV. His church is the court of holy love, filled with offices and appointments of charity and grace. Bringing into it. pity, and kindness, and zeal, he baptizes them with the spirit of heaven, assigns them each appropriate duties, and commands them to find and fabricate their happiness out of the happiness of others. Here, we are to look on the faults of others, only to pray for, and assist in their improvement; and to contemplate their excellences, only to admire and imitate. By a law of our nature, like seeks to associate with like; and, in his church, he enables holiness to ally and reinforce itself with holiness; he essays to make the least portion of goodness feel, that it is identified with all the goodness in the universe. The fluid which is about to crystalize, does not more certainly assume the form of the crystal inserted into it, than believers modify and accelerate the formation of their character by associating in christian fellowship; and all assimulate to Christ their common type and centre; according to his prayer they become one in him.

V. Assimilation is a law of our nature, but the tendency of this principle in the world is to hasten its moral decomposition; whereas, in the church, it is intended to renovate and restore the moral health ; and thus render the church the salt of the earth. But, to secure this end, it is evident that the members of his church must possess a character essentially different from the rest of the world. And this radical change must take place prior to their admission; otherwise, there is no guarantee that the world will not modify and absorb the church ; rather, there is the strongest probability that the principle of assimilation will operate. To the triumph of the world, and the destruction of the church.

1. Previous to its formation, therefore, this was the mandate that rang through Judea, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;' peculiar elements were wanted to constitute this new society; subjects were called for to enrol under this new form of government; and repentance, transmentation, a change of mind, was the indispensable condition of enrolment. Its divine Founder followed, and intent on its purity, he not only echoed the same call, but inscribed over its great entrance-gate the memorable sentence, 'Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. He commanded his disciples to go through the world proclaiming repentance and the remission of sins in his name, baptizing them, (baptizing, that is, such as, being capable, obeyed the call to repentance, and accepted the offer of forgiveness); these specimens of regenerated humanity, already selected by the divine hand, and baptized with the Spirit, they were to collect, and admit by the door of visible baptism into the christian church.

2. That his church is to be composed only of spiritual elements, of such only as appear and profess to be the subjects of a divine change, is evident from the power with which he has armed it to expel offenders. • Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every


be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man publican. Verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.'

The whole of this paragraph evidently relates to the same subject; containing the rudiments of church government, forming the only authentic and divine platform of ecclesiastical discipline. We learn from it, first, that mere nominal christians have no room provided for them in his church; for it is obviously implied that all its members, have such habits, of charity and devotion to maintain, and such holy offices to fill as the representatives of Christ, and duties to discharge requiring his seal and fiat to give them validity; all of so spiritual and distinctive a character that they necessarily presuppose the possession of nothing less than vital godliness. Secondly, it implies that when instances arise in the church, calling for the exercise of discipline, the members of the church alone are sufficient to administer the discipline necessary, without the intervention of any civil authority from without. For, thirdly, it might oecur that were a civil arm a part of the organization of the church, that arm might be the very part of the body requiring excision; an hypothesis by no means extravagant, if the spirituality and purity of the church be an object; but unless the power of excision de lodged in the spiritual community itself, this necessary purification could not take place. And, fourthly, it instructs us, that a church though composed of only 'two or three,' is complete in itself; that, like the human body, it possesses a self-correcting principle, an expulsive power; and is competent to the discharge of all its peculiar duties.

The correction of incidental evils, and the expulsion of offenders, constitute the most delicate and difficult class of duties which a christian church has to perform. But the task is imperative, and the discharge of it vital to the health and purity of the society; our Lord, therefore, in legislating on this subject is unusually particular and encouraging. He exalts the duty of christian reproof into a standing ordinance; appoints the method, and specifies the several ascending degrees of its administration, till it has been brought to bear in its utmost force and

on the conscience of the offending subject. Should it prove ineffectual to his recovery, the only remaining step is his ex


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