Images de page
PDF
ePub

his commission of apostleship was not forfeited; -drew him to a folemn public vow of his love to the master whom he had lately denied ; yea, to a confirming his vow by swearing, as he had, on that occasion, denied him with CURSES and OATHS, “ Simeon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord! thou knowest that I love thee," &c. Here is both a formal public vow, and a formal public appeal to the omniscience of Christ, with regard to his sincerity in his vow. It is true, though it be a public vow it is not social: But the reason is obvious. The other apostles were not associates with him in the act of denying his Lord : But, had they been in the fame case with Peter, the same reason would have pleaded for extending the question to them all ; in order to their jointly professing their love to Christ, in a social as well as a pu. blic vow *."

* See Mr Granam's Discourses on Covenanting,

DISSER

ON

COVENAN TING

IN THE

APOSTOLIC

CHUR CHES.

2 Cor. viii. 5. Heb. iv. 14. and Xi 23.

THE Gospel Church, constituted by Christ

immediately after his resurrection, was propagated by his inspired Apostles, according to the model he shewed them by his Spirit ; and particular churches were formed according to that original pattern. The Church of Macedonia, was formed on that of Jerusalem, which last was the first particular church under the better economy.

These focieties, however, were not MOLES ABSQUE NERVIS; but firmly bound together by ligaments, flowing from the will of their original founder. Το ascertain the truth in this matter, we may, — 1. Consider the Terms on which persons were

Aaaa

admitted

admitted to special fellowship in these societies.-I. The Solemnities they used to testify their acceptance of these terms.- III. Theni enquire if these engagements, on particular occasions, were renewed by the members of the Apostolic Churches, and that with divine approbation.

FIRST, I Mall attend unto the TERMS On which persons were admitted into the Apostolic Churches; and, as far as we know, they were,

1. A PROFESSION of faith in the Apostolic doctrine. How many articles were explicitly professed is not easily ascertained ; yet we may easily form a judgment of them from such particular instances as are to be found in the facred history. The first time the Church exercised this power was on the day of Pentecoft ; but the terms of their affent are not recorded at length. The sacred historian only observes, in the general, that young converts received the word, and that they continued in the apostles DOCTRINE :” But it is probable they laid the foundation in doctrines concerning the perfon of Christ; faith in him; conversion to God through him; baptism with water, as the sign of internal baptism with the Holy Ghost: For the facred historian assures us, that Peter preached on these subjects unto the people ; “ and with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” When he TESTIFIED, he declared the extent of his creed; and left a testimony against the dreadful evils of that untoward generation : And that testimony was received by the multitude which was added to the Church. This was the basis of their communion; otherways, they could not be said to have “continued in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Another instance is, the erection of the Church of Samaria. When the Evangelist Philip preached Christ unto them, they believed concerning the kingdom of God, and in the name of Jesus Christ; and, upon their profession of this faith to him, they were bap tized by him. Though it is presumeable, that', many of them believed unto the saving of the foul ; yet it is plain, that the faith mentioned cannot be confined unto this species : For Simon Magus BELIEVED; but the sequel proved the insufficiency of his faith unto salvation. The truth is, neither the Apostles nor Evangelists, when admitting persons into the Gospel Church, acted according to their extraordinary gifts--discerning the fpirits; but they acted as ordinary officers-satisfying themselves with a judgment of charity, without a judgment of certainty as to the internal state of the persons received; and this part of their conduct affords a rule of procedure in every sucAaaa 2

ceeding

ceeding age.-The cafe of the Ethiopian Eunuch likeways, ought by no means to be omitted. Prior to his admission to the facrament of baptism, Philip demanded a confession of his faith: He complied with that demand,

he confeffed that special article for which Christ died a martyr; and this was no other than that of his Sonship. The Jewish Church accounted that doctrine blasphemy; and the high-priest rent his clothes, in token of detestation, when Jesus Christ made a confession of it, This opposition to that doctrine made it the WORD OF CHRIST'S PATIENCE, and the P R F.

TRUTH. Hence, the officers of the Church demanded an explicit confession of this, and other truths of the same kind ; and an implicit confession of all other truths included in them: For there is an inviolable connection between every part of the sacred fyftem,

SENT

2 THOSE who were stewards of the mysteries of God, required also a profession of Repentince, in order unto membership in the Gospel Church. While persons were in an outcast ftate, they were drenched in wickedness, as well as milled by error: Hence, it became them to renounce the former as well as the latter; as a pure heart and practice are of equal importance in facred fociety with a found mind. Thus, Peter exhorted the converts, on the day of Pentecost, to REPENT and be baptized ; and, on another occasion, to REPENT and be

converted,

« PrécédentContinuer »