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SUPPORT OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY-No. 1.
“Even so has the Lord ordained, that they who preach the gospel shall live' of the gospel.”—1 Cor. ix. 14.
It is more than a year since I felt the necessity of a new development and enforcement of this Christian ordinance. We have, at an early day in our editorial career, fully expressed ourselves on the subject of the “ Hireling Clergy.” It was a popular theme amongst the laity, but very unpopular amongst the clergy. But we have been on this, as on some other topics, misapplied, as well as misunderstood. We have been placed on the wrong side of another question, while placing ourselves on the right side on that of the hireling clergy. We have had sundry communications on this subject during the last seven years, but found so many other matters immediately pressing on our attention, that we have hitherto neglected this one.
Last year, while paying a visit to our much esteemed friend and brother, the venerable Ex.Consul Buchanan, he put into my hands the following tract, written by himself, on this subject. He is one of the most uncompromising Bible Christians I know; not in the sectarian and appropriated use of that designation, but in the sense we commonly use it, as indicating one who advocates the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, as the standard of Christian faith, duty and privilege. But the tract has more to do with one branch of the subject, rather than with the whole of it. Still, its spirit and import bears on the whole subject. I therefore now lay it before my readers, as a preface to the whole subject of Christian duty on the entire subject of the pecuniary support of the gospel and the gospel church, in all that the Lord has left us to do in the work of building up his kingdom in this world.
There is, first, the oral preaching of the gospel to the world. In the second place, there is the planting of churches by the labors of evangelists, and setting them in order. In the third place, there is the edification of the church by its eldership--the elders, pastors, and teachers. In the fourth place, there are the means of doing this in the way of translating, printing, and circulating of the Holy Oracles.
In the fifth place, there is the erection of church houses, usually called meeting houses, or Christian synagogues. In the sixth place, there are public conventional meetings, at certain times and places, for the consummation of these great works, requiring co-operation
and joint consultation. All these are enjoined upon us, either in the form of precepts, of precedents, or of suggestions by the authorized ambassadors of Christ. To all these we shall again call the attention of the Christian brotherhood, in harmony with the indica. tions of the Holy Spirit, and the indications of God's moral govern. ment and special providences, taught in the Inspired Oracles, our only acknowledged standard of faith, duty and privilege. We shall, therefore, at present, give as our preface the following suggestions.
NIAGARA FALLS, January 6, 1850. The first instruction on the subject of support, to those sent forth to preach the gospel, we find in Luke x. 3, 4, 7, from which a govern. ing rule is laid down, viz: “ The laborer is worthy of his hire,” which is ever to be kept in mind, as the teaching of the blessed Saviour, as it relates to all engaged to make known the gospel. We find two orders were to be ordained in every church, viz: Elders or Bishops, to be overseers; as each_term imports, as one order; and Deacons, as the other order.* The elders to attend to the spirtual, the deacons to the temporal wants of the members. The qualification of these and their wives, the apostle distinctly sets forth to Timothy and Titus. In the xxth of Acts we find Paul sends to Ephesus, and calls the elders, and tells them what was his course in “serving the Lord” (and in doing so, interests all who assume the office) " with all humility of mind, testifying repentance toward God, and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ;"" "take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the flock of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel; yea, yourselves know that these hands have min. istered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring, ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, “ It is more blessed to give than to receive."
The same apostle writes to Timothy, v. 17, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine, for the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn;" "and the laborer is worthy of his reward." Here we see Paul following the teaching of the Lord Jesus, referred to in Luke. The apostle, in 1 Peter v. 1, says, “ The elders who are among you I exhort (who am also an elder) feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the 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 ensamples to the flock; and when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."
* In the present day I find sixteen orders distinct from elders and deacons in the churches called evangelical, assuming titles alone applicable to Deity, SERIES IV.-VOL. 1.
I now turn to the duty of the church, as to their liberality, apart from those not belonging to the body, contributing to the support of elders, whose circumstances require it. From the Lord's teaching, followed up by the Apostle Paul as to the “ox treading out the corn," it evidently refers to those who Jabored in the word and doc. trine; dispensing the bread of life, even the gospel, in accordance with the teaching in 1 Cor. ix. 14, “even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel," rendere ing it the indispensable duty of all who attend on the ministering of the food for the soul, to supply abundantly the wants for the body, and personal comforts of those who so minister. Wherefore, those who attend and partake of the labors of the preacher, if such do not contribute, it is unjust, as between man and man; but how much more so towards those regarded as the servants of God. The support afforded by those waiting at the altar in the temple worship, (which was typical of the Christian) teaches that those who attend the gospel ministry, should, without referring to them, sustain the officiating elders, the church, like the temple worship, being attended by those professing to be of like faith, regarding obedience to Christ as their Head and King; avowing communion with his body the church, and subjection to his laws; wherefore, on them the privilege as well as the obligation rests, to support those whom the church select to preach the gospel, or dispense the bread of life. If the church is governed by the teaching of Christ and his Apostles, the members of the church are not only bound, but privileged to sustain, not only their elders, but such of the brethren as are in want. The fellowship, which is attended to after the breaking of bread, was designed for the support of the poor brethren, whom it is the bounden duty to aid if they are not able to work; but if they do not work, when able, they are to be treated as taught in 2 Thes. iii. 10. This duty belongs to the deacons; yet supplying the wants of the elders is not to interfere with the fellowship for the poor brethren. In like manner, the aid requisite to sustain the elders, should be in accordance with the support they require for themselves and fami. lies ; of which the deacons should judge, and such should be regu. larly supplied to them, so that nothing may interfere with their devoting their time and talents to the duties of their office; not only as to their pastoral duties with Christ, but sustaining them in going forth to preach the gospel, unless their circumstances do not require aid from the church.
There is no ground in the scriptures for a church of God referring to the world, or those not admitted as brethren, for aid for their poor brethren, or for support to their elders. It is the peculiar duty of deacons to be acquainted with the wants of the members of the church, as well as of their elders, and they are deficient in duty, if these objects are neglected. It is not necessary that all the members should know what each gives. It should be regarded as a mat. ter between the giver and God, while the deacons who must necessarily know the contributions for the elder, should enjoin liberality according to the necessity and the ability of the giver. The scriptures furnish ample instruction on the subject of liberality, with a promise of blessing; while it is to be lamented that the attaining
of money seems to justify any departure from scriptural rule. Yes, yes, the god of this world, by the obtaining of money, reconciles those who obtain it to shut their eyes to the course pursued; yet they profess to fear God, and forget that God worketh in those who act in the fear of the Lord, “according to his pleasure.” If we do any thing, however approved by man, in a way not enjoined in the scripture, such is not of God, "working in us of his good pleasure," but of the god of this world, who leads many to count gain godliness, which awful influence I denounce as the prominent sin of the pres. ent day, even among those preferring to be guided by the “ Bible, and nothing but the Bible.”
At all times, the god of this world has made money (called the mammon of unrighteousness) the great instrument of corrupting professing Christians, and new plans have been invented of late, to get up fairs, and attractive schemes to raise money, to carry into effect measures professedly connected with the worship of God, including even the garments for the officiating elders of the church. Such corrupt assemblies meet in places set apart for the worship of God, while to these abominations, Satan has set on foot a new begging system, termed “ Donative Meetings,” held forth as acting on the principle of alms giving or charity, yet standing opposed to the teaching of the Saviour in Matt. vi. 1, 2, as such is blazoned forth regardless of delicacy to their pastor; his house is selected where this sinful and awful display of begging is carried into effect. The pastor, though sensible of this want of delicacy, cannot object, as the members of the church organize the plan, enlist a number of those the scriptures call “ silly women,” who feel they are engaged in a good yet a sinful work, as all religious works are sinful, unless sanctioned by precept or example in the scriptures.
I deeply regret to find the system of counting gain godliness has come into Canada, and that lately in St. Catharines, the Presbyterian, the Baptist, and Methodist pastors, had their houses turned into begging establishments. Why was not delicacy observed to select other places ? “Oh, we would not get as much.” Oh mammon! mammon! thou accursed god; as long as you furnish money, you will have followers, even among those called Christians; there. fore, the greater will be their condemnation as giving a corrupt view of the gospel. May the Lord in mercy lead al who profess the name evangelical, to renounce every sinful course, and niay all such ungodly systems, like money changers, be scourged out of the house of God, prays one in the spirit of the publican.
DR. CHANNING says: “ The greatest man is he who chcoses the right with invincible resolution, who resists the sorest temptations from within and without, who bears the heaviest burdens cheerfully, who is calmest in storms, and most fearless under menace and frowns; whose reliance on truth, on virtue, on God, is most unfaltering."
THE HOPE OF IMMORTALITY THE TRUE PRINCIPLE
[Continued from p 372.] DEATH, it is said, is the negation of life. But what is life? Ani. mal life, say biologists, consists in the functions of sensibility and contractility; or, in the functions of sensibility and voluntary motion.
The former may define either organic or vegetable life-the latter, animal life, as distinguished from the former. Death, then, may properly be defined to be the negation of these properties, or the total and permanent cessation of these functions. This has been, and shall continue to be, the finale of all creatures, in whom has been the breath of life, as above defined. But such is not human life, or the life of man. When his earthy tenement was perfectly formed, his Maker breathed into it the breath of lives, and man, by the inspiration of the Almighty, became a living soul, possessing not only an animal life in common with the animals around him, but having superadded thereto, a spirit quickened by the Spirit of God.
We pause not, at present, to discuss the question with the atheis. tic philosopher, when he asserts that lise is the mere result of animal organization; nor can we now enter, at length, into the defence of the position of the Christian philɔsopher, affirming that life is a divine principle, inspired by the breath of the Alınighty, and not the necessary result of organization. Suffice it, for the present, with reference to this question, to say, that, while the atheistic materialist makes man a mere machine-an automaton that moves only when touched by the finger of the artist, if artist there be, and which is liable at any moment to stop and fall into decay and utter ruin, the Christian, or spiritual philosopher, sees a motive power--a spiritual principle-separate from, and indepen. dent of, organization and mere animal life. While, then, we affirm the proposition with which we set out, that physical death is the negation of physical life, we as positively deny that physical death is the total, permanent, and final cessation and utter extinction of man.
It, however, does not follow from the above premises, that man as to his spiritual nature, is incapable of death. There is, undoubt. edly, a spiritual death, as there is a spiritual life. But this death we cannot define by the terms used in the definition of natural death. It is not a total, permanent, final extinction of spiritual existence.