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The 4th difficulty is removed in the preceding remarks. They are to meet together, as did all the churches, every first day of the week, in order to their communion in all the ordinances of the Lord's house-reading, teaching, exhorting, singing, praying, showing forth the Lord's death, attending to the discipline of the congregation, and to the fellowship for the poor, and for those who labor in the word and teaching.
Difficulty 5. “Breaking of bread," in our judgment, is not of the same signification in verse 42 and verse 46. It is "breaking the loaf” in connexion with the worship and practice of the congregation in verse 42. It is there associated with apostolic institutions belonging to the whole christian community; but in verse 46 it is simply “breaking bread,” without such association, and connected with social parties from house to house, and trophe, common food: In this breaking of bread they took their food: while in the breuking of the loaf they continued in the Apostles' teaching, praying, and praising So in Acts xx. 7. The brethren assembled on the first day of the week for “breaking the loaf;” and verse 10, after Paul had raised up Eutychus in the night, and had broken bread, i. e. taken a refreshment, he continued his discourse till the morning, and departed on his journey.
As to the daily communion in breaking the loaf, it is unprecedented in the New Testament; and whether it was in Eusebius' time a superstitious cbserv. ance or not, certain it is that we have no hint of the sort in the New Testament, We are not, however, prepared to censure them who meet during the week for this purpose; but, in the mean time, would rejoice to see all the disciples
meeting cordially and joyfully every weekly return of the day of the resurrecwtion of the Saviour to celebrate his death, and to keep all his social institutions..
Weekly assemblies certainly were appointed by the Apostles; but other than weekly consociations are rather free-will assemblies than divinely authorized convocations of the disciples. Space forbids a longer reply. In the mean time, should these hints prove satisfactory to the querist, they are, with all respect, though without much regard to arrangement, hastily tendered.
QUERY ON FASTING-[From Georgia.]
ON this subject the Scriptures are plain, and, we think, very satisfactory. The Saviour taught his disciples in his sermon on the mount how they should demean themselves in their private fastings. Farther on in his history, in answer to some questions concerning the apparent neglect of fasts among his disciples, he informed them that although it would then be inconsistent for his disciples to fast under the present circumstances, according to the current views of fasting among the Jews, yet a time should come, after his departure from them, when fasts would be every way seasonable, consistent, and commendable.
We discover that fasting was frequent amongst the primitive disciples. As the brethren in Antioch ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul,” &c. and when they had fusted and prayed, and laid their hands upon them, they commended them to the Lord. The church was fasting at the time this order was given. In the 14th chapter of the Acts, it reads, in the old English Bibles, 225 years ago, “And when they had ordained them elders by election in every church, and prayed and fasted, they commended them to the Lord in whom they believed ” Even fasting in its full import, is spoken of by Paul, not only in reference to churches and india viduals, but in reference to the connubial relation. 1 Cor. vi 5. “I'hat you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer.” ilies fasting is alluded to in re ference to the privacy of the closet, to the fainily relation, and to the wholt congregation. So hat not only did pious Jews, like Anna, "serve God with fastings and prayers,” but so did the primitive christians.
It was not positively enacted in the five books of Moses to the Jews; nor is it in the form of a positive command enjoined in the New Testament. Nor,
indeed, could it so be, in reference to that delicate propriety which character. izes all the divine institutions; but it is so commended and enjoined by the examples of Jesus and christians, and so approbated by God, as to leave no doubt that it contributes much to the sanctification of christians to deny even their natural and necessary appetites occasionally, that they may glorify God with their bodies and spirits which are God's, be more spiritually.minded, and be more consecrated to the Lord. Concerning the utility and necessity of fasting, more hereafter.
S. C. JENNINGS AND THE CHRISTIAN HERALD. · THIS gentleman boasted some ago that he was “a Presbyterian by descent as well as by profession. How far back he can trace his Presbyterian blood I am not able to say--whether he is of the border of Wandsworth” or of the order of 1648," I know not. I would presume, however, from the general character of the Christian Herald," that he is of the genuine blood of 1648, which is the true and best Presbyterian blood. What affection this order had for blood will appear from the following ordinance:- .
“All persons who shall willingly maintain, publish, or defend, by preaching or writing, that the Father is not God; that the Son is not God; that the Holy Ghost is not God; or that these three are not one eternal God, &c. shall, upon complaint or proof by oath of two wit. nesses, before two justices of the peace, be committed to prison without bail or mainprize till the next jail delivery; and in case the indictment shall then be found, and the party upon his trial shall not abjure the said error, he shall suffer the pains of death, as in case of felony, without benefit of clergy."
This decree was passed in May, 1648, by the true and best Presbyterian blood in Great Britain. The heresies which grew up in the Presbyterian church since that time, only 184 years, have drunk up most of this best Presbyterian blood; but now and then there is one like the aforesaid Mr. Jennings, who boasts of being a genuine Presbyterian by descent, or by flesh, blood, and bones.
I should not have complimented this fleshly Presbyterian Editor by noticing his illustrious ancestry, had he not taken great pains to obtain t. He has been telling his readers how heretical I have been, and many other good things concerning my fates; as for example, how his uncle Obadiah (!iscomfited me at Nashville, and how somebody else terrified me into silence. He now ranks me amongst the deceivers which were to precede the Millennium, &c. &c. Being a son of the Aesh, a Presbyterian by birth, and an Editor upon the same footing, (for he laims patronage as well as orthodoxy on the ground of descent) he is most denouncing against those who are for faith before baptism, and who put the spirit before the flesh. Coming into the church according to the flesh by virtue of both father and mother, it is not passing strange that he should denounce us, as well as claim subscribers from the same fleshly principle. Hagar's son was only half blood, and yet Paul said, "he that was born after the fiesh persecuted him
that was born after the Spirit." What mercy, then, can we expect from a full-blooded Presbyterian according to the flesh!
Tam happy to say that I have the honor of an acquaintance with many Presbyterians, who are not so pure in the blood as Mr. Jennings of Pittsburg, who are much more in accordance with the spirit of this age; and, although from a Presbyterian ancestry, neither so fleshly nor su bloody as he of the order of 1648.
As this gentleman has enough to do to keep things straight in his own Presbyterian family, I hope he will not so repeatedly call for a notice from us: if he do, we shall have to tell him some truths which, I fear, will not be so acceptable as this compliment to his lineage and pretensions,
THE TENDENCY OF THE PREACHING OF THE ANCIENT
GOSPEL. WHAT evil tendency has the teaching that the blood of Jesus is the only sacrifice which can take away sin; that faith in the person and mission of Jesus, or, in other words, faith in his sacrifice, is necessary to bring us to the blood of Jesus; and that immersion into this faith is necessary to our actually receiving the assurance, or the pledge, or, if any one prefers, the enjoyment of the remission of our sins. Will this doctrine depreciate the value of the blood of Jesus, of faith in that blood, or of christian immersion? Does not this view fix a just estimate upon the blood, the faith, and the water!
The hue and cry of damnable heresy is as unmerited in this case as it ever was in any case. We do not think any man is sincere in raising it. unless he is in the grossest ignorance of the whole matter. Our maxim is, “What God has joined together let no man put asunder.” The divine nature of Jesus, the unparalleled dignity of his person as the only begotten Son of God, must be believed before his blood can' be appreciated. His sacrifice must be regarded in its true value before faith in it can purify the heart, and immersion into his name must be regarded in connexion with his person, mission, death, burial, and resurrection, before it can bring us into the enjoyment of its benefits. What condemnable tendency has thus holding up to view the blood of Jesus, faith, and immersion, and urging mankind not to separate the things which God in his infinite wisdom and goodness has so intimately united! Will it lead mankind to disparage any one, or to regard any one of these as alone sufficient, and thus make all the others void? If blood alone will suffice, then faith and immersion are clouds without rain, empty and unmeaning. If faith alone will suffice, then blood and water are superfluous. If water alone is alone sufficient, then faith and blood are mere ceremonies.
We challenge the world to show any mischievous tendency, any condemnable bearing that the gospel which we preach can have upon the minds or morals, the persons or characters of mankind. Its tendency is, indeed, to induce all who have faith in the testimony of God immediately to be immersed. If this be more injurious than pro
crastination, then its tendency is condemnable. If the fixing of a just value upon iinmersion be more injurious than regarding it as a mere ceremony, then is the bearing of this doctrine to be denounced. If the resolving of the virtue of any christian institution into the blood of Jesus, and faith in that blood, be pernicious, then is the tendency of our preaching to be reprobated. If the making the value of the blood of Jesus to depend upon the divine excellency of his person, as the true and only Son of God, as having all the fulness of the Deity abiding substantially in him, be mischievous, then is the tendency of baptism for the remission of sins, through faith in the person, glory, majesty, and worth of the Divine Saviour, Emanuel, of destructive consequences to all who with this faith are buried in water and raised with Jesus for their adoption and translation into the kingdom of the Messiah. But I shall for the present leave it to our opponents to show the good tendency of their gospel, while we challenge them to show the pernicious tendency of the ancient gospel,
Communicated for the Millennial Harbinger.]
LEXINGTON, Ky. February, 1832. Brother Campbell,
YOU are informed before this of the four days' meeting held here during the Christmas holy days, in the Christian meeting-house, by brethren B. w. Stone, J. T. Johnson, J. Smith, Rogers, T. Smith, J. Craith, Sen. and others, for the purpose of effecting a union between the societies of Christians and disciples in this place. The subject having been agitated, they were called upon to dispose of it in some way. The brethren of both societies, be. lieving the subject of union of christians a lawful and noble enterprize, embark. ed in it.
After several friendly interviews by committees, it was finally agreed, on the 12th inst. by the brethren of both societies (nearly all being present) that they would unite upon the New Testament, and take that alone for their guide in matters of faith and practice. This agreement was solemnized by a pledge of shaking of hands, while we sang an appropriate song. The 26th inst. was agreed upon for the final consummation of the union, when we were publicly to come forward and have our names enrolled together as one new society. On the 19th we met for worship at the Christian brethren's meeting-house, at which time we attended to the breaking of the loaf, (Thomas Smith, their preacher, being absent notwithstanding ) But this is to inform you of our unfortunate blow up.
Being informed by the Christian brethren during the last week, that some of them, and all the sisters, were not prepared to go into the union, in consequence of a difference between some of the brethren on the subject of choosing an Elder after we should get together, which was expressed in a private conversation. In consequence of which the brethren were consulted, and a meeting held to dissolve the pledge; which was accordingly done on the 25th, as the Christian brethren expressed a wish not to unite under present existing circum.. . stances.
So we find ourselves on the same ground as we were, which we will endeavor, by the help of the Lord, to maintain-and not embark in a perilous voyage in a frail vessel again. We have, however, probed to the very bottom of the matter, and ascertained what the true difference between us is, and console our. selves by a fond recollection of having done our duty.
It is the Clergy-the hireling system-the called and sent—the rulers--that keep us apart. No, we cannot unite under present existing circumstances, The present existing circumstance is this: there is not a member in either society at present whom we could appoint Elder, according to divine direction; and some of the Christian friends wished to know if they could not hire one from a sister church, with her consent, to administer the ordinances? For they 'believe that no person but a preacher has a right to administer the ordinancese such as the breaking of the loaf &c. and become very much alarmed at the idea of us common folks receiving the name of kings and priests to the Lord; or, as it is in the common version, according to Griesbach's standard Greek text, by Nathan Hall, “a kingdom of priests.to God.” Yes, sir, it is this hireling system, this divine call and mission, which forbade our union; because our union forbids this state of thing's. This clerical authority, this thing of Elder here, and there, and yonder, at the same time, is what caused our blow up.
We are said to be reformers. It is true we have been endeavoring to reform, and are yet reforming; but one of two things is certain-in fleeing from mystic Babylon we have run past Jerusalem, or our Christian friends have not got out of the suburbs of the old city yet. Yours in the Lord, &c.
H.C.C. No room for comment on the above at this time.
· NOTICES. D AN attempt to fix the reproach of “a wicked attempt upon the reputation of some leading reformers, will, we hope, in the estimation of our readers, justify us in interrupting our regular series of essays to give pub. licity to the facts and documents relative to the obituary notice of Robert B. Semple. A desire to detract from the christian character of persons of the highest reputation for moral excellence, is too often apparent in them who fail to sustain the charge of heterodoxy in the arena of fair discus sion.
I HAVE not seen a word from the Universalists since my last notice of their proceedings in reference to the proposed discussion. What is tbe meaning of this, gentlemen?
Q A QUERY, and an answer prepared for it, on the application of the name Apostles to Silas and Timuthy, have been crowded out of this number, with a letter from the correspondent who furnished it. These will appear in our next.
O SIXTY-EIGHT persons have been compelled to withdraw from the First Baptist Church in Richmond, because they wished to submit to the government of the twelve Apostles rather than to the opinions of a clerical council.
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