« AnteriorContinua »
existence, as a council, ceases. directed. But the purer memThe church may then requestbers of these churches are not certain members of the late commanded to leave their min. council, or others, to ordain their isters, cr their brethren, and pastor. These, thus authorized, join the church in Philadelphia ; may form themselves into a new or to form themselves into sepacouncil, and proceed to ordain, rate churches in the places or not, as wisdom and duty shall where they were ; but on the direct.
contrary, to preserve their own QUESTION III.
purity in their present connexIf a number of the brethren ion, and by their example and inof the church, thinking the pas- fluence to reform those, who ter beretical, are dissatisfied with were corrupt. Christ had but a his ordination, ought they to few names in Sardis, which had withdraw from his ministry and not defiled their garments. from the communion of the These were not to retire, but to church, and attend on ordinances continue in their place, and elsewhere?
strengthen the things, which reANSWER.
mained. They are not to withdraw im.
QUESTION IV. mediately, but to remain in their What steps ought the dissatconnexion a reasonable time, un- isfied brethren to take in the til measures can be taken to in- case now supposeil ? vestigate and rectify what they
ANSWER. suppose to be amiss. They are When the church has deter. to seek not merely their own
mined to convene a second counprofit, but the profit of many.
cil for ordination, the opponents If the man ordained is unfit to may state to the church in the be their minister, he is no less form of a complaint all their obunfit to be a minister elsewhere. jections and allegations against If they think his ministry will the pastor elect, and serve him
, be dangerous to them, they must with a copy of it, and may enthink it will be more dangerous deavour to sustain it in the preto their less discerning breth- sence of the council when couren; and therefore they are vened. This is ordinarily the bound to take regular and order- most proper and regular course. ly measures for his correction or If, however, they think they deposition.
have not been allowed a just All the seven churches in Asia, share in choosing the council, except Philadelphia, were, in and consequently cannot place John's time, reprehensible for sufficient confidence in them, many corruptions both in man. they will probably decline to reners and doctrines. Several of fer an ultimate decision of the them had embraced the doc- matters in question to the judge trines of Balaam, of the Nicolai- ment of such council. But still tans, and of Jezebel. And these there is an after remedy. doctrines were countenanced, or If the pastor be ordained, the not opposed by the pastors. To opponents, as has been shewn, them therefore Christ's reproofs are not hastily to withdraw, but are primarily and immediately to attend on his ministry, and
commune with their brethren; judgment in the case now to be for to withdraw, is to renounce tried. and censure the minister and In our civil courts no man can church without a previous trial ; be a juror in a criminal prosit is to adopt the disorganizing ecution, who is known to have principles of separatists, and declared his opinion against the other enemies of ecclesiastical
person accused. In capital tri. order. But if they are still dis- als, the person to be tried may satisfied with the doctrines challenge peremptorily almost preached, or with the omission two whole juries, and remove of doctrines, which ought to be as many more jurors as, in the preached by their minister, they judgment of the court, are obare bound in common prudence, jectionable characters ; and after and by the plain direction of all there can be no conviction Christ, to confer with him in without unanimity in the jury. private. If they obtain no satis- Surely then in a Christian court faction, they are to request him no man should sit as a judge, and the church to join with them who has given an opinion in a in calling a council to try him council, or elsewhere, against on a complaint, which, or a copy the person to be tried. This of which, is now to be before would be a palpable contradichim and the church ; and this tion to the apostolic rule, that complaint must contain all mat- nothing be done by prejudice ters of grievance and dissatis- (previous judgment) or by parfaction that the controversy may tiality, (inclination to a person, be terminated.
or to either party.)* The proposal for a mutual When the mutual council is council should be made with a opened, the accuser will exhibit candid and pacific spirit, and with- his complaint ; the accused will out any such restrictions and make his plea; and the council limitations, as would tend to will judge. The accused, under clog and defeat it. The apos- the direction of truth and contle's direction in matters of dis- science, has his option of three cipline, particularly in the trial pleas. 1. He may plead that of an elder is, that nothing be he has never avowed the heresies done with prejudice or partiality. alleged. Then the accuser Each party ought to have a voice will produce his evidence, and in the nomination, and neither the council will judge of its should insist on a nomination, competence. Or, 2. He may which can be justly exceptiona- concede the facts or avow the ble to the other; for peace and doctrines stated, and endeavour truth should be the governing to justify them. It will then be object with both. The apostle's incumbent on the complainant to caution, to do nothing by preju- prove that they are criminal herdice or partiality, plainly shows, esies, and condemned as such in that no man ought to be made a scripture; and the council will member of this council, who is judge, whether they are such or under any known bias, or who, not. Or, he may confess, that in a former council, or in any manner whatever, has given his • Prokrime--Prosopolepsia.
he did once entertain and avow the best effect.
This council, the doctrines alleged as erro- being convened, will request a neous ; but plead that he has conference with the pastor, and since renounced them, and em- such others, as he shall choose braced the opposite sentiments. to bring with him ; or, (if tbere The council will then judge, be a church meeting existing) whether this retraction be suf- with such as the church shall ficient to satisfy themselves and depute. If this request be reothers. And their favourable jected, the council will obtain the judgment will depend on the best information they can, conhopeful appearance of sincerity cerning the state of the church, in the retractation. If be ap- and the grounds of uneasiness pears, on the whole, to be sound in the dissatisfied. If they find in faith, they will acquit him. If the uneasiness groundless, they he appears obstinately heretical will say so, and advise the disa they will admonish him ; and if, satisfied to remain in quiet comafter a second admonition given munion with the church. at a proper distance of time to they find just ground of unobserve the effect of the first, he easiness, they will advise to a still remains obstinate, they will mutual council.
This advice, reject him. In such a case it with the reasons of it, will be may be expedient for the coun- given in writing to both parties. cil to adjourn, either in a body, This is all that a council, called or by deputation, in order to see ex parte, have in the first intheir sentence of a second admo- stance a right to do. They may nition, &c. carried into effect. do nothing judicially, which QUESTION V.
shall affect the absent party, beIf the pastor and church re- cause nothing is by agreement ject the proposal of their dissato submitted to them. isfied brethren for a mutual coun
QUESTION VI. cil, what course can the latter If the pastor and church still take for redress ?
refuse to join with their dissat
isfied brethren in a mutual counAccording to the platform cil, what can further be done ? and the usage of churches, they
ANSWER. will call a council er parte, for If this refusal be known before advice. For any person or num
the ex fiarte council is dissolved, ber of persons have a natural (for it is not to keep the business right to ask advice when they in its own hands by adjournneed it. In the choice of this ment) then, according to the council, prudence and charity, platform, another council is to as well as the apostolic direction be nominated under the inspecbefore mentioned, will lead them tion and superintendency of the to seek advice from those who present council, who will act in have not interested themselves, behalf of the absent party, and or taken a decisive part in their prevent any improper choice. controversy. The advice of If the mind of the absent parsuch persons will usually be ty be unknown, then such a deemed the most judicious and council, as is above described, impartial, and will always have will be chosen provisionally, to
be superseded, if a niutual coun- rejected all measures of accomcil be afterward agreed on; modation with their brethren, otherwise to be convened. This and have refused the assistance council, if convened, is to have of sister churches, in a case all the power of a mutual coun- where such assistance appeared cil so far as respects the dissatis- strongly urgent and absolutely fied. They will, when conven- necessary;
necessary ; that consequently ed, first seek a conference with they have renounced the comthe absent party, who will be al munion of other churches, and lowed to make this a mutual put themselves in a state of noncouncil as it now is, or by adding communion, and that they ought a proper number of churches,
to be considered and treated, as or to join with their brethren in being in that state, in which they calling a council de novo ; and have voluntarily placed themthe present council will adjourn, selves, and pertinaciously conor dissolve, as the case requires. tinued. But if the pastor and church will This result of council ought accept no overtures for accom- to be respected by all other modation, then the council will churches. Thus will it have all proceed; and will judge, that the effect, that a sentence of exthe aggrieved have taken all rea- communication could have, if sonable measures to obtain peace pronounced by a mutual council. and reunion with their brethren;
Titus. have exercised due patience and forbearance ; have exhibited becoming charity and condescention ; and therefore ought to be considered as Christians in good
Continued from p. 463. standing, and ought to be admitted to the fellowship of other 2. We shall consider the churches. Or, if there be a character of the persons to competent number, and it be whom this name was originally their desire, they may be incor- applied. porated into a distinct church, This name was not applied to and recommended as a regular all indiscriminately, who lived in church of Christ.
the town of Antioch; but to a This council have no power particular description of persons, to dissolve the relation between distinguished from others, by the pastor and the people who their being followers of Jesus adhere to him, or to receive and Christ. Their badge of distincjudge upon any complaint tion did not consist merely in say-' against him for heresy or immo- ing, “ Lord, Lord;” but in dorality; for no such power is ing the things which he comcommitted to them, nor does the manded them. They were perpastor appear before them, or sons, who not only had a name acknowledge their jurisdiction to live, but were also living over him. But the council have epistles of Christ, known' and a right to judge on what they read of all men. By nature they see and know as a council ; viz. were like the rest of their townsthat the pastor and church bave men, living without God, without
ON THE NAME CHRISTIAN.
Christ, and without hope in the in perpetual fermentation, bring world. A very great and impor- it into puutic contempt, and tant change had been produced greatly to retard the progress in their minds, before they be- of others. came followers of Jesus Christ. The term disciple, or scholar, This change, the Saviour de- suggests the idea of something clares, must be experienced by to be learned. In the school of all, who enter his kingdom. Christ, the only book to be used John iii. 1-8. Concerning it is the Bible, 2 Tim. i. 13, and the prophet speaks, Isai. liv. 13, iv. 3, 4, 1 Tim. vi. 3-5, Isai.
4 “ All thy children shall be taught viii. 20, Mat. xv. 1-9. This of the Lord ;” and wherein it book, he assures us," is profita. consists Jesus explains, John vi. ble for doctrine, for reproof, for 45, “ Every one who hath heard, correction, for instruction in and hath learned of the Father, righteousness; that the inan of cometh unto me." How this God may be perfect, thoroughly change was effected may be furnished unto all good works.? learned from the following pas- All his disciples have not only sages of scripture. John i. 12, received an understanding to 13, James i. 18, 1 Pet. i. 22, 23, learn, 1 John v. 20, but also an 2 Cor. iv. 6, Eph. ii. 8, 9, 10, ardent love to the book to be Rom. x. 17. It was after this taught, Ps. cxix. 97. The truth change was produced, and in it contains is the joy and reconsequence of it, they were joicing of their hearts. All called disciples. This was the Christ's sheep hear his voice, name by which they were called, know it, and follow him. This is before they received the name one of the principal things by Christian. "The disciples were which his disciples are distincalled Christians first in An- guished froin others; for, saith tioch."
their Master; “ Every one who The term disciple signifies a is of the truth heareth my scholar, or learner, and supposes voice, John xviii. 37. And again a master from whom instruction it is written by an apostle, “ He is received. John Baptist had that knoweth God, heareth us; his disciples; and we read also he that is not of God, heareth of the disciples of the Pharisees, not us; by this we know the who followed them as their mas- spirit of truth, and the spirit of ters. When any were born of error," I Jolin iv. 6. At their the incorruptible seed of the entrance into this school, they word of God, and made the chil- are but children, knowing only dren of God, by faith in Christ the first principles of the oracles Jesus, they were added to the of God. But leaving these, they church. This was the school in go on unto perfection, growing which the disciples were taught, in grace, and in the knowledge and these were the persons over of their Lord and Saviour Jesus whom Jesus presided as master. Christ. The knowledge to be No progress can be made in his attained is important and extenschool without a change of sive. To be like their Master mind. To admit persons with- is the grand object proposed. out it, is only to keep the school To effect this, it may be observe