صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
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The Power of Christianity

153 Presbyteries' Proceedings



Legh Richmond...





Canton de Vaud.....



South Shields Meeting in favour of the Vaudois Free Church....

Seaton Delaval Soiree...................................... Editor's Own Column .........




Synod Fund


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Collections and Subscriptions National Scotch Church Contributions to the China Mission...



Presentation at Lowick


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Breakfast to Rev. Dr. Henderson..


College Collections




The Poor may do Good


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Collection for Woolwich Church


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As the time for making the appointed collections in behalf of the Home Mission-namely, the second Sabbath in February-is near at hand, the Committee desire to commend, with all earnestness and affection, the claims of this mission to the prayerful consideration of the ministers, elders, and congregations connected with the Synod.

of our churches. The names of some of the most prominent and promising of these new stations and congregations, may be stated. Without specifying those which having, for some time, been formed and organized, are self-supporting—we mention the following:Crewe, in Cheshire, where owing to the confluence of certain important Railways, and the establishment of their works, a handsome town and a population well disposed to receive the Gospel at our hands, have been The work, dear brethren, that has been formed:-Wolverhampton, in Staffordshire, assigned us is arduous. Many Churches and an old town, where the word of life is both congregations belonging to our communion, greatly needed and desired. Tweedmouth, in different parts of England, have been and Ancroft Moor, near Berwick, where probrought under our notice, whose circum-fitable exertions have been made, and much stances are such as to call for immediate and assistance is required:-Seaton Delaval, in material aid. The resources of some have Northumberland, where, among a coal workeither always been small, or have become ing population, ordinances have been most seriously diminished; so that the support of acceptably established:-Wark and Bog situthe Gospel ministry, and of ordinances in ated in a pastoral district of the same county: general, is next to impossible, unless a helping hand be extended. Others of them there are, whose present ministers are grown old and infirm in the service of their master. Assistants and successors require to be appointed, who may, in the exercise of fresh vigour, maintain and enlarge these spheres of duty. But it is clear that, on every principle of humanity and religion, these aged servants of Christ must receive some competent measure of support during what remains of their declining years. Who among us that are right hearted ones, could bear to see them left to pine in poverty, without seeking that their wants be supplied and their latter days comforted? Now there is, at present, no possible quarter whence this can come, but such a fund as that whose exigencies we plead.

-Hampstead, a thriving suburb of the metropolis, where a station has, for some time, been carefully cherished:-Brighton, the resort of so many visitors of various ranks in life.

For these places, dear brethren, and for others which, in the providence of God, may, ere long, claim our attention, the Committee of the Home Mission now earnestly plead. And our confident hope is that we shall not plead in vain; but that your generous feelings and ready zeal will second our endeavours to settle and support a Christian ministry in the land; that the bread of life may be permanently dispensed to souls perishing for lack of knowledge. It is a good work; it is a great work; the time is short; the emergency is pressing. Whatsoever, therefore, our hand findeth to do, let us do it with our might.


It is desirable for various reasons that the collections be made on the day specified

Manchester, Jan. 14, 1846.


But there is another class of places, which is daily and increasingly soliciting our notice. We mean those places where, recently, missionary stations and fresh congregations have been formed. It has pleased God to awaken by the Synod. in various towns and districts throughout the land-hitherto heedless-a lively desire after the word of grace. The relish for Christian ordinances in their Presbyterian form, is at present quickened. For this awakened spirit we are bound to give thanks. Now, this blessing on God's part, is to be met with increased exertion on ours. "While the oil continues to flow, we must bring more vessels." The proportionate number of such places, is already considerable. It is rapidly augmenting; and were sufficient means and ministers available, we might fairly anticipate, ere long, a very large accession indeed to the aggregate

[The following communication we have read with the liveliest and profoundest satisfaction and joy. We have such confidence in the perusal of God's most holy word, without note or comment, that we believe it is mighty through God to the pulling down of all the strongholds of sin and Satan, and to the rearing of the kingdom of Christ on their

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It is scarcely possible, especially under present circumstances, to lay hold of the first link in the chain of events which have led to what may well be called, adopting the language of the present day, the Manchester Movement. Let me, however, first state the simple facts of the case.

1. The Manchester and Salford Auxiliary was one of the earliest of our affiliated Insti

tutions, having been instituted in the year 1810. The population of that period did not much exceed 100,000; it is now estimated at more than 300,000, and is rapidly increasing.

The distribution of Bibles and Testaments in

the five years ending with 1815 were considerable, averaging about 7,000 annually. During the ensuing six years the sales gradually declined to about 2,500; but were again materially and rapidly increased by the establishment of the Ladies' Branch Society, and its connected Associations, by whose in

strumentality the annual sales were raised to about 8,000. They speedily, however, again declined, until they reached their former level of about 2,500. In the year 1838, the present depository was established, and its beneficial effects soon became perceptible. The sales in 1839 advanced to 4,837, and, with the exception of one year of severe privation and distress, have steadily and progressively increased, until, in 1844, they reached 12,577. The total issues of the Society during thirty-four years, ending September 30, 1844, amounted to 194,335, being an average annual issue of 5,712.

2. Such was the state of this Auxiliary at the end of its thirty-fourth year. To the casual or unreflecting observer this, when viewed in connexion with other means of supply, might have appeared an adequate provision for the population. The fallacy of such an opinion will, however, at once appear, when it is stated that, in the year ending Sept. 30, 1845, the sales exceeded 15,000, being nearly threefold that of the average of preceding years. And yet this was but the first indication of that extraordinary demand for

and so

the Holy Scriptures which has manifested itself among the working-classes, and is progressively and rapidly increasing. In the month of October the sales at the Depository amounted to 9,618; rapid has been the increase of demand, that, in the first eighteen days of the present month, 11,713 copies have been issued, the sales during the ten days averaging more than 1,000 a day; a fact unprecedented in the history of any similar Institution. But even this extensive circulation seems only to have stimulated the inquiry and demand: for on Monday last the orders received amounted to 2,600, and on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively they reached 4,000, thus making the number required within three days more than 10,000! The orders transmitted to Earl-street since the 1st of October amount to more than 38,000 copies.

3. It is not improbable that, in the contemplation of this vast distributiou of the Holy Scriptures within the limits of a single Auxiliary, a suspicion may be awakened that the demand was prompted, in degree at least, by interested motives, and that a portion of these purchases have been made with a view to a re-sale at advanced prices. Nor was my own mind free from this impression, when first witnessing the extraordinary scene at the Depository. All my inquiries, however and they have neither been few in number, nor limited in extent-have failed to discover a single instance in which Bibles or Testaments have been purchased for pecuniary gain.

4. The agency by which this work has been accomplished, and is still proceeding, is not the least remarkable feature of the case. The impulse to offer, and the desire to purchase, seem to have been alike spontaneous and simultaneous. Teachers and senior children in Sunday Schools—clerks in warehouses and factories-serious young persons employed in the numerous and extensive cotton-mills-and others, in various ranks of life, who had been graciously taught the Holy Scriptures as a revelation of infinite love and mercy-appeared to be animated by one spirit. After imploring a blessing from on high on their undertaking, they provided themselves with specimens of different editions of Bibles and Testaments, which they exhibited in schools and factories, where they appear to have met with open doors and willing minds in every quarter. Thus two young women, employed in one factory, disposed of 300 Bibles and Testaments within a few days. A youth of sixteen years of age, the junior clerk in another cotton-mill, sold 460 within a similar time; and, in a note now before me, writes" Our mill has been in a commotion to-day with the people coming to order books." Two young ladies, collectors of a Bible Association, who had considered their district supplied, furnished themselves with baskets of Bibles and Testaments; and going forth among the inhabitants of the same district, have, for several weeks, disposed of from twenty to twenty-five copies daily. Passing over many other interesting illustrations of the subject, I will only add, that the superintendent, teachers, and senior children of the Sunday Schools attached to one place of worship, have not only sold, within a fortnight, 600 Bibles and Testaments to the scholars, but have actually disposed of 4,000 copies in the various factories in which these children are employed. In almost every instance the sales have been made in single copies; the few exceptions being those made to individuals for other members of their respective families.

Such, my dear friend, is a hasty and very imperfect sketch of this mighty moral move

ment a scene surpassing any I have ever yet witnessed, or hoped to witness. I will not, at present, attempt to trace it in its origin and history; nor will I incur the risk of grieving one valued friend, who with the members of his family, has taken a prominent part in these proceedings, by mentioning his name; but I do not hesitate for a moment in expressing the deep and solemn conviction that this extraordinary manifestation is to be ascribed to the especial blessing of Almighty God. It is true, we shall find many co-operating accessories in helping forward this movement; and, among others, may be instanced the present commercial and manufacturing prosperity; the general employment of the labouring classes; the unprecedented low prices, and attractive appearance of the books; the scriptural instruction of more than 40,000 children in the Sunday Schools; the patient and persevering labours of the agents of the Town Mission; the re-action on, or rather the revulsion of, the public mind from the absurdities and degrading influence of miscalled "Socialism;" and last, though by no means least, the example and public and private instructions of numerous faithful ministers of the Gospel of Salvation;-all these have prepared the way, and accelerated the advance, but the impulse has come from above. It is, I firmly believe, an answer to the prayers of faith-faith in the word of God-in the promises of God-and in the atonement, merits, and intercession of that adorable Redeemer whom that word reveals, and in whom these promises centre.



[THE Synod has appointed certain of its members to draw up for publication a short sketch of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church. The members to whom that office was entrusted, having been hitherto prevented, by a pressure of business, from fulfilling the duty committed to their charge, the following hints are in the meanwhile given in this place.]

I. The Lord Jesus Christ as Mediator is the only King and Head of the Church, and as such the only source of ecclesiastical authority and power. (Confession of Faith c. xxv. s. 3, 6, there quoted at length.) c. xx. s. 2, 4, with the passages of Scripture

II. The Lord Jesus Christ as King and Head of his Church, hath therein appointed a Government in the hands of (or to be administered by) Church officers, distinct, on the one hand, from the civil magistrate, and on the other from the lay or ordinary members of the Church. (Confession of Faith xxx. s. 1, 2, 3, 4, and xxxi. 1, 3.)

That the civil magistrate has no commission from Christ Jesus to labour in the word and doctrine, to exercise spiritual discipline, administer the sacraments, usurp the functions of ministers, elders, or deacons; or prevent them from the due execution of their functions; or, in one word, that the civil magistrate, supreme or subordinate, has no authority from God to perform any spiritual function in the Church, or in any form or manner interfere in the internal economy of the Church, is so very clearly laid down in the word of God, has been so conclusively demonstrated by our fathers, and is besides, in words at least, so universally acknowledged on all hands, that it is altogether unnecessary in this sketch to do more than merely state the proposition. It does not, however, follow from this proposition, that the civil magistrate is not bound in his personal capacity to believe and obey the Gospel, and

in his official position to be subject to Christ, and in both to administer all the talents wherewith he has been intrusted for the glory of God and the good of the Church. (Confession of Faith, xxxiii.) The duty of the magistrate as laid down in the Confession we most firmly hold. That the Lord Jesus Christ has, however, appointed that the government of his spiritual kingdom on earth should be administered by Church officers, distinct from the lay or ordinary members of the Church, is denied by so large a body of professed Christians, that we must here prove it. Our proof, however, will consist only of hints and primary principles. Our proof is as follows:

Our Lord by commission invested the apostles with authority to exercise discipline and jurisdiction in and over the Church. (Matt. xxviii. 18-20; John xx. 21-23; Eph. iv. 8, 11-14; 1 Cor. xii., the whole chapter in connexion with vers. 27-30.) From these passages, which ought to be read at length and in their connexion with the context, it is manifest that the government of the Church was not at the outset placed in the hands of the people, as it never was at any time, but of officers commissioned by Christ himself. This is a strong point, which our readers ought to bear in mind.

But it may be alleged that this government over the Church was restricted to the apostles, and that at their death, it devolved upon the members of the Church in common, or as ordinarily assembled. We therefore remark, secondly, that even during their lifetime, the apostles were not the only rulers of the Church. Timothy and Titus exercised jurisdiction, the one in the Church of Ephesus, and the other in the Church of Crete. This need not be proved, as it is evident from the epistles addressed to them, that these officers exercised the fullest spiritual jurisdiction in the Churches to which they were respectively commissioned. The same point is as clearly established from the epistles addressed to the angels of the seven Churches in Asia, recorded in Revelations ii. and iii. From these instances it conclusively follows, that authority within the Church was not confined to the apostles, even during their life-time; that such authority was not an exclusively apostolic prerogative, but, on the contrary, a power which could be delegated, and consequently transmitted to others to remain permanently in the Church. And that it was transmitted and does remain, we shall hereafter conclusively establish.

But it may be objected that Timothy and Titus; and those angels, were but temporary officers, and that although they did exercise jurisdiction, it does not follow that there succeeded them any permanent order of officers commissioned from generation to generation to bear rule in the Church. We therefore observe, in the third place, that an order of officers was appointed in the Church, who should continue till Christ returned in glory, and that those officers were commissioned and invested by himself with authority to exercise jurisdiction in and over his Church; of course in subordination to himself, as was the case also with the apostles. When Christ ascended up on high leading captivity captive, he

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gave gifts unto men, to some apostles, to some prophets, to some evangelists, and to

some pastors and teachers." These were con

fessedly officers in the Church, which will the more clearly appear if we consider the end for which they were given, viz., " for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ;" that is, for confirming and strengthening the Church. But how long were they to continue in the Church? "Till we all come in the

unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." (Eph. iv. 8, 11-14.) Here then we find that Christ himself appointed officers whom he invested by commission with power to exercise jurisdiction, and that these officers are to continue in the Church till the end of time. But if this be true it must also necessarily be as true that the ordinary members of the Church are not authorized to perform the functions committed to these officers. There is not throughout the Word of God one single verse which empowers the people to administer discipline, or one single instance in which they did warrantably exercise it. The Sovereign and supreme Ruler of both has assigned to each, officers and people, their respective lots, and fixed the bounds of their habitations, and it is at the peril of both, if, on the one hand, they exceed or neglect the powers committed to them, or, on the other, usurp a power with which he has not invested them. Let each abound in the duties of their own sphere, and they will find they have full scope for the exercise of all the grace they have received, and ample opportunities for glorifying God, without intruding into another's office, to which they have received neither call nor commission.

III. But what were the functions assigned to those permanent officers in the Church?

watch for your souls." (Heb. xiii. 7—17.) And yet again, "And we beseech you, brethren, to know (i. e. to respect) them who labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake." (1 Thess. v. 12, 13.) These last passages are just the counterpart to the preceding, for as in the former, the elders were commanded to "take heed and act as shepherds" and superintendents, so in the latter the people are commanded to obey and submit themselves.

this unexplained proceeding that laymen may
now preach. But we go farther, and assert
that there is the strongest possible grounds
to believe that these men were prophets or
evangelists. This conclusion we found upon
the fact, that as all the believers were not
scattered abroad, it could be only the officers
who by their public preaching had excited
the hostility of the Jews. This will be con-
firmed into a certainty when we find that the
only individuals of them who are specified were
officers. Thus, for example, Philip was one
of them (Acts viii. 5), and Philip we know, The very titles that are given to the re-
was an evangelist. (xxi. 8.) Again, others of spective parties, prove what we contend for.
them are distinctly said to have been "pro- For if the elders are shepherds, the people are
phets." (xi. 27.) When thus, therefore, we the flock; if elders are stewards (Tit. i. 7),
find that such of those parties as are distinctly the people are the household; if elders are
specified are said to have been preaching overseers, bishops, or superintendents, the peo-
officers in the Church, we are, of very neces-ple are those placed under their charge. And
sity, compelled to believe that those who are what is the office, what the duties of a steward?
not specified were officers also. Besides, when, It is that of Eliezer in the household of
as we have already seen, we find that there Abraham (Gen. xv. 2; xxiv. 2); of Joseph in
were officers appointed to preach in the the establishment of Potiphar (xxxix. 4); of
Church, if we should suppose that yet men the steward of the rich man mentioned, Luke
who were no officers were allowed to preach, xvi. 1-8; of Erastus (Rom. xvi. 23; who are
it were just as much as to say that the apos- all designated by the same title); in other
tles founded an office and appointed men to words, the steward was the principal officer
fill it, but that yet any one that pleased might in the household or fiscal service of kings or
step in and perform its functions; or, which other great personages. But such also is the
amounts to the same thing, that although they elder and deacon in the Church, which is
were instructed by Christ to make a law, they the household, the kingdom of God. And
yet countenanced every man who chose to what is the office, what the duties of the shep-
violate it, which certainly we cannot credit. herd? Is it not to lead the flock by the still
waters and into the green pastures, to pro-
tect them from the wolf and the lion, and
to separate the clean from the unclean?
And what is the office, what the duties of the
overseer or superintendent? Is it not to admit
into the service, to superintend while em-
ployed, and to discharge from their places
those committed to his inspection? And are
not these the very functions which we find in
the Word of God committed to Church officers?
And are they not the duties assigned to minis-
ters, elders, and deacons, in the Presbyterian
Church? Is there not then in all these respects
the most perfect harmony between the Pres-
byterian and the Apostolic Churches?

It is, however, manifest from these Scripture instances, that although preaching in the Apostolic Church was confined to officers duly appointed, it was not yet restricted to Presbyters, and in conformity with the apostolic rule and practice, the Presbyterian Church possesses an order of evangelists, viz., licentiates, probationers, or preachers, men whose function, like their primitive prototypes, consists in preaching the Gospel, but who, before they are permitted to exercise it, must first be duly accredited by the constituted officers of the Church.

1. They were commissioned to preach the Gospel. (1 Tim. v. 17, iii. 2; Tit. i. 9.) There is not a single clear instance in the New Testament of any person not being an officer preaching in a congregation. Stephen manifestly did not preach. He only engaged in a discussion with the Jews, (Acts vi. 9, 10,) or defended himself according to the laws in a court of justice (vii.), which surely cannot be mistaken for preaching. But even suppose we should grant that Stephen did preach, it would not thence follow that laymen may preach, for Stephen was a deacon, and his having exercised the function would prove not that laymen may preach, but that deacons may per- 2d. Another function of those permanent form that function. The case of Apollos officers whom, as we have seen, Christ ap(Acts xviii. 24-28) will not prove that lay- pointed, is to rule, administer discipline, and men may preach. For Apollos was not a exercise jurisdiction over the ordinary memmember of the Church at all when we first bers of the Church. There is not a single meet with him in the sacred history. (Acts position in the constitution of the Apostolic xix. 1-6.) He was merely a zealous, forward, Church which can be more impregnably estabeloquent itinerant, who without any apostolic lished then this. Let us just adduce a few of commission, just took it upon himself to travel the passages which might be quoted in its supabout from place to place, holding discussions port. We need not refer to a passage already with the Jews, just as we have many excellent cited in another connexion (1 Tim. v. 17), laymen in the present day, who itinerate to "the elders that rule well," although it is very dispute, for example, with Roman Catholics, strong and very express; for if the elders' whenever they can find an opportunity, but duty was to rule, it was as clearly the people's who never fancied and of whom it was never duty to obey, as we shall find they are exfancied by others, that they were preaching pressly commanded to do. There is another the Gospel, and who would confess they had strong passage in 1 Peter v. 2, addressed to no right to do so. It is probable enough, the elders of the Churches of "Pontus, from the subsequent history, that Paul, finding Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,' Apollos "apt to teach," may have ordained viz., "Feed (that is act as shepherds over) him an evangelist, and sent him forth to the flock of God which is among you, taking preach the truth. But amid the obscurity the oversight thereof (that is acting as bithat envelops the whole subject, the only shops or superintendents over it).' There thing certain is, that the case of Apollos can- is a parallel passage in Paul's address to the not be allowed to prove that laymen preached elders of the Church of Ephesus (Acts xx. 29.) in the Apostolic Church. Indeed the distrac-"Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to tion he occasioned at Corinth are a strong argument against lay preaching.

And just as little will that conclusion follow from the case of those "who were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen, and went everywhere preaching the word." (Acts viii. 4, and xi. 19.) Who these parties were or what position they occupied in the Church we are not informed, and it would manifestly be most illogical in reasoning, and unsound in interpretation, to conclude from

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all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost
hath made you overscers, (that is bishops or
superintendents,) to feed (that is to act as
shepherds over) the Church of God which he
hath purchased with his own blood." And
as the elders are thus commanded to rule, so
the people are commanded to obey. "Re-
member them that have the rule over you,
who have spoken to you the word of God."
And again," obey them that have the rule
over you, and submit yourselves, for they

And what is the nature, what the extent of the governing power with which the elders are invested? We find these specified both negatively and positively in the Word of God. Negatively, for example, in 1 Peter v. 3, "Not as being lords over God's heritage," that is, not acting as autocrats, tyrants, or despots, as the word means in Matt. xx. 25, or like men possessed with a demon, as it signifies in Acts xix. 16. But we find the nature of their rule stated positively in 1 Tim. iii. 4, 5, where it is said of a bishop or elder (for the words are synonymous) that he must be "one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity, for (it is added,) if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God?" The government therefore which God has appointed in his Church is a grave, affectionate, patriarchal, paternal government, such as a pious loving father exercises over his family. Both passages prove that elders are commissioned to rule, but the former forbids tyranny, and the latter requires paternal affection.

3. A duty incumbent upon the collective body of the Presbyters or elders, and a right with which they were invested by commission from their Lord and Master was this: to maintain soundness of doctrine among the ministers as well as purity of morals among the people. The apostle reminds Timothy that among other reasons why he was left at Ephesus, this was specially one, that he might charge some that they should preach no other doctrine than they had heard from him.

(1 Tim. i. 3.) And he tells Titus (i. 9—11) | out the congregations of our Church. We
that a bishop or Presbyter must be one who find, therefore, in the Apostolic Church, in
holds fast the word of faith, and by sound actual operation, not only the principle of
doctrine is able both to exhort and convince representation, but the authoritative power of
gainsayers, and stop the mouths of those who synodical enactments over all the congrega-
teach things that they ought not. In his tions just as they exist in our Church. And
address to the elders of the Church at Ephesus, not only had they their general assemblies,
(Acts xx. 28-30,) the apostle expressly gives but they had their presbyteries also (1 Tim.
them the same charge over one another, iv. 14), smaller courts for individual congre- |
that Timothy, or Titus, or himself, possessed gations and districts, in which congregational
over Presbyters. Ministers, consequently, are and local matters might be discussed, and
specially bound, it is their imperative duty unless appealed from to the higher tribunals,
and their official right, to act as guardians of finally determined. Here, then, we find a
sound doctrine among their brethren, and no constitution, in principles and even details, of
other parties are recognised as invested with which our own is an exact counterpart or copy.
that power.
But was not this altogether an extraordinary
assembly in which the question was decided
through the inspiration of inspired men, and
consequently not a model for subsequent eccle-
siastical assemblies constituted of uninspired
members? We have already shown that the
question was referred to the judgment of un-
inspired elders; and that even the apostles
did not decide it by inspiration is evident,
because in that case Paul could have decided
it at Antioch, or Peter or James, at Jerusalem;
without summoning a council at all. Besides,
had the question been decided by inspiration,
there could not have been that "much dis-
puting" of which we read. The Lord Jesus
then saw it proper to leave the officers of his
Church, ordinary and extraordinary, on this oc-
casion to the ordinary guidance of his counsel
promised to all generations in order to make
this assembly a model for the future councils
of his Church when direct inspiration should
no longer be afforded. The council of Jeru-
salem therefore embodies a principle of univer-
sal application, and lays down a precedent
which the Church is bound in all ages to

4. In order to maintain soundness of faith, purity of morals, unity of spirit, and uniformity of rites throughout the Church, matters of discipline and questions of doctrine that arise in one congregation may, and, if they cannot be satisfactorily settled where they originated, ought to be brought for mutual deliberation and authoritative adjudication before a presbytery, a synod, or other assembly of the office-bearers of the Church at large. The very instincts of our nature prompt men to this course in temporal matters; and experience has so satisfied mankind both of its necessity and utility, that in every society, from the most rude and savage to the most polished and civilized, matters of general concern are discussed and disposed of in general assemblies. But then, even nature teaches and experience confirms the maxim that such assemblies neither can nor ought to consist of every single individual of the society. The rudest savage horde manage their public affairs and interests not personally or in meetings consisting of each individual of the tribe, but by representatives and in representative assemblies: and although civilization and experience may have improved upon the details of the primitive plan, they have not discovered a better than the primitive principle. This representative system of government also obtained in the Apostolic as it had previously done in the Old Testament Church. Let us give an instance in proof. A complicated question of doctrine and discipline arose in the Church of Antioch (Acts xv.), which it was found impossible to settle there. The parties engaged in the controversy taught by nature, instructed by grace, and following the plan which God had established in the Old Testament Church, carried the question for adjudication to a general assembly of "the apostles and elders," (ver. 2.) the representatives of the Church met at Jerusalem. The deputies having arrived with their appeal," the apostles and elders came together to consider of this matter" (6); and after "there had been much disputing" (7), they came to a unanimous resolution, which was embodied in a "decree (xvi. 4), canon, or law, and issued as binding upon all the Churches. This is the precise antitype of the mode of procedure in our Church, and in the Presbyterian Church

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Now, it is evident that this was a representative assembly. It did not consist of all the members of the Church of Antioch, nor of all the members of the Church of Jerusalem; not to speak of all the Churches then planted throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe. It consisted only of Apostles and elders, and yet its decrees were binding upon all the Churches throughout the world (Acts xv. 23, xvi. 4, xxi. 25) and upon each of their members; just as an Act of Parliament in this country, or of Congress in America, in civil matters, is binding upon every individual in those realms, or an Act of our Synod in spiritual things is through

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But had not the people a vote in the synod held at Jerusalem? it has been asked. And we answer, assuredly they had by their representatives, as they have in the British Parliament or in our Church courts, but as assuredly not in person. It is said expressly, that the question was carried for adjudication only before "the apostles and elders" (2); and as expressly, that it was only "the apostles and elders that came together to consult of this matter" (6): and when the decree then passed is afterwards spoken of (Acts xvi. 4), it is said distinctly to have been "ordained of the apostles and elders." It was only the apostles and elders, therefore, who were constituent members of court, and the decree was drawn up and issued by them just as is also the case in such matters in our presbyteries and synods. Besides, on what principle could the laymen of Jerusalem decide a question for both laymen and officers throughout the world? This were to make the laymen of Jerusalem universal Popes over the whole Church.

But is it not said (12), that "all the multitude kept silence and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them?" This means merely the "multitude" of apostles and elders who were members of court. The word "multitude" we find used in precisely the same sense in Acts xxiii. 7, where it is said of the Pharisees and Sadducees, who constituted the council that sat in judgment on Paul, that "the multitude was divided;" that is, (as the subsequent verses prove, and as we know from the constitution of the Jewish Sanhedrim, which consisted exclusively of officers) the multitude of members of council were divided. And such is also the meaning of the word in Acts xv. 12. Besides, although it should be granted that laymen were present,

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as they are, and listening in silence in our courts, that surely would not prove that they had votes.

But is it not expressly said (22), that it "pleased the apostles and elders with the whole Church, to send chosen men of their own Company," &c. The "whole Church" here cannot mean every individual believer. For can it be maintained for one moment, that the three thousand converted on the day of Pentecost (Acts ii. 4), and the five thousand men converted a few days afterwards (iv. 4); not to speak of the thousands more of men, women, and children, who were converted in the interval, were all assembled together with the apostles and elders in the council? But if they were not, every individual of them present, then the word "whole Church," cannot be understood in its widest sense. But just as little can it have been a part abstractedly considered, for then a part cannot have constituted the whole. We must understand the word then to have been used in its conventional and constitutional meaning, and then it was perfectly true that the whole Church was representatively present, and voting and acting; and the words, the whole Church, or congregation, were habitually so used among the Jews; thus, for example (Lev. viii. 3,) God commands Moses to "gather all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle," which would have been physically impossible. But then we learn from (ix. 1), that all the congregation meant only "the elders of Israel," and they were all the congregation, because they represented them. Again, what is called the "whole congrega tion," in Judges xxi. 13, is in the 16th v. called "the elders of the congregation. Once more, (Exodus xii. 3,) the Lord said unto Moses, "Speak unto all the congregation of Israel"--then Moses called for all the elders of Israel (twenty-one.) But it is unnecessary to multiply quotations, as every one knows that in addition to Moses the inspired servant of God, there were also uninspired elders appointed to rule over the Church along with him. (Numbers xi. 16, 17-24, 25.) That these elders represented the whole Church or congregation every one knows, and as representatives of the whole Church they laid their hands upon the head of the sacrifice which representatively took away the sins of the people. (Lev. iv. 15.) It is as well known that these elders constituted the Church courts of the Old Testament Church, which were appointed to decide all questions pertaining to the congregation. (Deut. xvi. 18; xxi. xxii. and xxv.) From the Old Testament Church, this institution was transferred into the New Testament Church. In no other sense could the Jews understand our Saviour, when he said, “Tell it to the Church,” (Matt. xviii. 17,) than "Tell it to the elders of the Church," who were the only recognised judges in all cases of discipline. And precisely in the same manner the whole Church" in the passage now before us means only the elders, or representative officers of the Church. In this sense, too, which is the scriptural sense, we are accustomed to speak of the whole Church acting, voting, and determining questions of general interest when it is done by our Church officers representatively in our Church courts.

But it has been finally asked, is not the epistle of the council written in the name of others as well as of the apostles and elders; thus," the apostles, and elders, and brethren, send greeting," &c.? To this various answers may be given. As, for example, 1, according to the view we have given, the epistle might with literal truth be written in the name of the whole Church, inasmuch as the whole Church

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We conclude then, that ministers and elders are the guardians of sound doctrine, and in order to superintend the Church, they have authority to meet in synods, whose decrees are binding upon the whole Church, and upon each of its members, lay and clerical.

representatively was actually present. But, single syllable in this passage which requires
2d, the parties here styled brethren were ma- that it should be administered by the ordinary
nifestly not the people, but officers. "Bar-members. The words are as general and in-
sabas and Silas" are specified as being of definite as possible. All that can be said of
those called "brethren who were present them is, that while they require that discipline
(v. 22). But Barsabas and Silas were prophets should be exercised, they do not specify by
(v. 32). The word brethren then will stand whom it was to be exercised. But, then, there
in as little stead against us as the words the were officers in the Corinthian Church as
whole Church, for both are manifestly in our everywhere else, and the apostle strictly en-
favour. The word was used constitutionally joins that the people should not usurp the
or technically, for members of court.
functions of these officers. Let us consider
the passage we have last alluded to. It is in
1 Cor. xii. 27–30. The apostle, in the pre-
ceding part of the chapter, had been showing
by the analogy of the human body, that there
are in the Church weaker and stronger mem-
bers, members more honourable, and members
less honourable, and, to make a direct applica-
tion of the analogy he had drawn, he puts the
following most pointed and pertinent ques-
tions, "And God hath set some in the
Church: first apostles, secondarily prophets,
thirdly teachers, after that miracles (or
workers of miracles), then (persons possessed
of the) gifts of healing, helps (or coadjutors,
see Numbers xi. 14-17), governments (or
rulers), diversities of tongues.
Are all apos-
tles? are all prophets? are all teachers, &c.,"
are all rulers, are all coadjutors to them that
rule, (like our ruling elders,) have all a
right to administer discipline, are all commis-
sioned to exercise jurisdiction? What answer
would the Corinthians make to these questions,
if they had (the ordinary members among
them) assumed to themselves the licence to
exercise discipline? There were disorders
enough among them, for which they are se-
verely censured by the apostle. And had
those who had no right presumed to step into
Moses' chair, it were but to add one sin to
another, and the apostle, instead of praising
them as he does for their obedience to his
command (2 Cor. vii.), would have censured
them still more severely for increasing the
evils he laboured to abate. We conclude,
then, that at Corinth, as every where else,
discipline was administered and jurisdiction
exercised by those officers who, by Divine
commission, were invested with the right to
rule. Indeed, laymen at Corinth would no
more fancy that the command to cast out the
incestuous person was addressed to them than
do our lay members now, when a case of dis-
cipline arises in our Church. In both cases
it is known and felt that that is the duty not
of the members, but of the officers.

IV. But if the people thus are excluded from exercising all spiritual rule, discipline, or jurisdiction, and if the government of the Church is placed in the hands of the elders, who, it may be asked, is to exercise jurisdiction over those officers? The apostle answers the question in Acts xx. 28-30, when he says to the elders of the Church of Ephesus, "Take heed unto yourselves; . . . . . for this I know, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in not sparing the flock; also of your ownselves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Wherefore watch." From this passage it is manifest that whatever power the collective body of the elders possess over the flock, that same power they possess over each individual of their own number; and as, in regard to the flock, they can admit or exclude, and superintend, while in the society, so precisely can they in regard to one another. This is essential to the very existence of human society, and arises from its very nature, and is the case in every body that is superintended by officers; nor can we see how, without an entire subversion of the very fundamental principles of all government, any other economy could be established in the Church. In the most anarchical democracies stern necessity has compelled men to act upon this principle, however inconsistent it may be with wild impracticable theories. It is only when society is reduced to its elements, and law and order are trampled in the dust, that men think of ruling their officers.

We see then, according to the constitution of a Christian Church, as laid down in the Word of God, the entire jurisdiction and discipline has, by Divine commission, been placed in the hands of Church officers. But it has been alleged from a certain passage in the Epistle to the Corinthians, that in the Apostolic Church, discipline over delinquent members was exercised, not by Church officers, but by the collective body of the members. The passage alluded to will be found in 1 Cor. v., which ought to be read throughout. Now, suppose we should concede that amid the manifold disorders and distractions of the Church of Corinth such a permission had been granted to the multitude of the members, yet inasmuch as we have proved that everywhere else the very reverse was the case, this concession to the Corinthians would come under the same sort of rule by which Moses conceded to the Jews a license to divorce their wives for the hardness of their hearts." (Mark x. 5.) But to come nearer the point, we would observe that it is a rule founded upon the best possible principles, and uniformly observed in the interpretation of Scripture, as of all other documents, that what is more obscure and indefinite is to be interpreted by what is more manifest and precise. Now then, let it be observed, that while we have seen that in other Churches, discipline is required to be administered by Church officers, there is not one

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Leaving to our readers the application of our observations, we conclude with re-stating the proposition we have now established upon an impregnable and immovable foundation, viz., the Lord Jesus Christ, as King and Head of the Church, hath therein appointed a government in the hands of Church officers, distinct on the one hand from the civil magistrate, and on the other from the ordinary or lay members of the Church.

(To be continued.)


[The following letter we submit to the consideration of the Church. The subject to which it relates is very important and we entreat for it the prayerful consideration of our readers. ED.]

English Presbyterian College, Dec. 13, 1845. MY DEAR SIR,-The first words that I read in your last number were the capitals concluding the Editorial remarks on Abbott's Sailor's Story. "WILL NO ONE OFFER HIMSELF AS A MISSIONARY TO CHINA?" There may appear little in this circumstance to war

rant any encroachment on your precious time, but to a mind in perplexity and doubt regarding the line of duty, and looking earnestly for direction from above, any circumstance however trivial in itself or seemingly accidental, if it only apply to the matter in hand, and be accepted as an intimation of the mind of the Spirit in answer to prayer, contributes not a little to make the scale which it favours preponderate. I may not be correct in laying this down as a general principle, but for myself, I can say, that so much did it weigh with me, that I determined to make it my apology in laying my thoughts and suggestions before you.

When the Lord in his infinite mercy and according to the riches of his grace plucked me as a brand from the burning, and brought me to the knowledge of an all-sufficient Saviour, I determined to know nothing but Christ and him crucified, to place myself entirely at his disposal, to take up my cross and to follow him. When I felt the load of guilt removed from my sin-burdened conscience, and such a happy peace as I had never known before; Oh, how I longed to see those dear to me participating in my joy. What a happy world, thought I, would this be if all felt as I now feel at peace with God and with all mankind; can I, trusting in God's strength, do anything to bring about such a consummation? To this end, dear Sir, did I give myself to the ministry, resolved to have no plans of my own, but standing still to wait with patience until the Lord should dispose of me as he might see fit; for I could not see that I was serving God at all, if I served him only when I could best serve myself-or further my own views. My mind has long been directed to the perishing myriads of China, and I do not remember any circumstance in the late history of our Church that gave me more sincere pleasure than the news of the Synod's having adopted China as a missionfield. I heard in the Synod's resolution, the voice of the Lord, saying, PREPARE THYSELF. Let me not, however, be misunderstood, I am not now offerring myself for the work, my studies are not sufficiently advanced for that; the object of this communication is to enlist your powerful influence with the Synod's Board of Missions, that some arrangement may be made to enable students, who like myself are looking forward to China, as a field of labour, to prosecute the study of the Chinese language during the summer recess. I understand there is a professorship and library in University College; if so, might we not obtain simultaneously with our other studies some knowledge of Chinese, so that when another appeal is made, WILL NO ONE OFFER HIMSELF AS MISSIONARY TO CHINA? the response may be ready, HERE AM I, SEND ME. I am, my dear Sir, Most sincerely yours, A STUDENT.



THE Young Men's Society in connexion with the Scotch Church, St. Peter's-square, Manchester, celebrated their twelfth anniversary on Monday evening, the 15th of December last. There were present on the occasion many of the leading members and friends of the Presbyterian Church, in and around Manchester; including the Rev. Alexander Munro, of the Scotch Church, St. Peter's-square, and

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