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For the perfecting or fitting of the sanctified Jews and Gentiles for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ, and for such a time were they bestowed (mechri) until we all (Jews and Gentiles who
compose the church) come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to a perfect man, (or manhood,) even 10 the measure of the stature (to the standard) of the fulness of Christ;": so that henceforth we might act as men of full vigor, and not as babes in Christ, &c.
All, then, that we learn from the letter to the Ephesians on the subject of the Christian ministry, is, the general design of that ministry immediately bestowed on the primitive church; but that very design clearly intimates that when that crisis which called for those gifts should be accomplished, all those supernatural offices or gifts should cease. This order was therefore temporary and introductory to an ordinary ministry of which we read in other epistles and portions of sacred literature. But as at present the church of Ephesus is before us, we shall now look into the 1st epistle to Timothy.
There is nothing in the first epistle to Timothy indicative of the precise state of things at Ephesus as respects organization. There are, indeed, in it some very important documents on the subject of organization, though nothing special concerning the church of Ephesus
The business commanded Timothy, involving his duties at Ephesus, comprehended the following items:
1. He was to charge some teaches in Ephesus to teach no other doctrine than Paul taught.
2. He was to supervise the appointment of bishops and deacons, and to participate in it by the imposition of hans.
3. He was to attend to public reading, exhortation, and teaching in the congregation, and to his own improvement, and to have prayers and thanksgivings offered according to the will of God.
4. He wes to preside in cases of discipline involving even the accusation of elders, and to have a general supervision of all the affairs of the church.
The second epistle to Timothy, if written to him at Ephesus, which is only probable, so far as church organization is concerned inculcates, indeed reiterates what is expressed in the former. It shows, moreover, that Timothy was not bishop of Ephesus, as the interpolated postscript in some copies would indicate; for Paul, his superior, commands him to leave for other ministries, and that in a short time after the date of his last letter.
It only remains to note the epistle addressed to this church by the Lord himself. To the seven Asiatic churches seven letters are indited, VOL VI-NS
and by the command of the Lord addressed to the seven angels of the seyen churches. The argument thence is, that the church of Ephesus had an angel, and that to the perfection of the Christian organization an angel is requisite in all cases. Concerning this angel of the church we shall not now speak particularly. I incline to the construction that places this personage (messenger we should call him) at the head of the presbytery--the president or bishop by election of the eldership of the congregation. But it is not conclusive in argument to draw upon a symbolic book for documents in support of a literary question, cr concerning the literary construction of an office or its incumbent.I know, indeed, that such a title was given in the synagogue to the senior elder, who was called emphatically the minister or angel of the synagogue; and such being the fact, it adds to the probability that by the angel of the church of Ephesus was denoted the prime minister de organ of the church. From all these premises several important deductions may be made on the subject of church organization. I have, however, time to deduce only the following:—that there is to be a responsible ministry in every Christian congregation, and that on this ministry devolves the offices of teaching and ruling, of exhorting, reproviny, rebuking, and judging in all cases of infraction or neglect of Christian law or principle. And here I must leave the subject for the present.
NOTES ON A LATE TOUR-N0. I. We spent the months of July and August in the field of action. It was as warm and as laborious a tour of duty as we ever performed.During that interval we delivered addresses at various points in KenTucky and Ohio. Beginning at Augusta, Kentucky,. we ended at Canfield, Ohio, having in some seven weeks swept a polygon whose sides equalled some 1400 miles.
At Augusta we were glad to learn that our address on the elementary principles of Christian doctrine disabused the minds of some leading citizens of various unfavorable prejudices to that system of truth and reformation for which we have so long plead with this community. A very deep rooted hostility to the whole cause of reformalion seemed to have possessed some leading minds and religious teachers in Augusta from a misconception of our real views and objects, attributable, as was alleged, to a love of paradox displayed on some occasions by the friends of primitive principles, who have advocated in unwarrantable terms sorme points, of doctrine greatly
subversive of that most vital influence without which the Christian profession is a cold and barren speculation. No gentleman with whom I have had the pleasure of forming an acquaintance during my recent tour, did himself more honor than the Rev. Mr. M.Cowen of the Methodist church, Professor of Languages in the College of Augusta. That gentleman, accustomed to oppose our views for some time past, from some ultraisms imposed upon his attention, did not only to myself, but, as I am since informed, on public occasions, before his ministering brethren and large assemblies, avow his approbation of the views which we inculcated in Augusta on those litigated points of doctrine; and in a very Christian-like manner cautioned his brethren in the ministry on the course they should pursue in opposing our real sentiments on those themes of frequent declamation and dehortation.
Few men are competent advantageously to manage public discussion on points of Christian doctrine Every thing in debate depends first upon the choice of appropriate and definite terms in the propositions to be discussed, and next in the phraseology affirmative and negative.-Unless we are select, judicious, and scriptural in this matter, public discussions are a real injury to the cause, and even when the terms are select, all depends upon the Christian spirit and demeanor of the parties, so far as success is to be expected or realized.
I witnensed a portion of a debate the other day in Warren, Trumbull county, Ohio, between our brother Jonas Hartsell, one of the elders in the church, and two preachers, named the Rev. Messrs. John J. Stedman, lately knighted Presiding Elder of some New York or Ohio district; and John Lucock, elect reviler of all who believe and teach primitive Christianity. Could a committee of ways and means have been selected to devise in what 'manner they could most insidiously dishonor the Christian profession, both theory and practice, before some six or eight hundred persons, they could not have made a inore judicious selection than by ordaining these two reverend gentlemen, to oppugn any proposition that affirms the necessity of the obedi. ence of faith in order to the enjoyment of the promises of Christ. If they are not workmen that need not to be ashamed,” they certainly are workmen that cannot be put to shame by any discredit which they can do to the Christian spirit or the Christian character. While I listened to the calm, clear, and forcible arguments of brother Hartsell, and while I admired his Christian candor, meekness, and suavity, I wondered why he could have consented to place himself and his cause as a target before such left-handed archers, who, instead of a quiver full of the arrows of reason and truth, had their pockets filled with the foul missiles of vulgar ribaldry and diminutive abuse. Duelists
generally fight with the same weapons. Why not Christian dispu. tants? Of what use is the sword of the Spirit to parry off the filth of the streets? I should never consent to appear in the Christian armor in the presence of a scavenger in Rome.
The proposition of Elder Hartsell was too broad and 100 strong for such artillery. The question was, “Does the canon of scripture teach that to the penitent believer baptism is indispensable to obtain remission of sins?" The burthen of proof lay upon Hartsell, while the liberty of denial was conceded to his opponents, who, not content with this right, seized also the privilege to besparter with the most common vułgarily the tenets and views of their too athletic opponent.
Our brother, prodigal of the strength of his cause, and of his ability to maintain it, gave too many and 100 great advantages to his calum. niators. I should not give even a sloth ninety paces of a start in a race of a hundred yards, if an item of divine truth rested upon the issue. I would, therefore, have preferred some one or even all of the nine propositions sketched by brother John Kirk, of Youngstown, to that conceded to these cautious disputanis:
1st. Was infant sprinkling ordained by Jesus Christ?
2d. Is baptism enjoined on the believing penitent because his sins are forgiven?
3d. Is faith enjoined by Jesus Christ for remission of sins, independent of repentance and baptism?
4th. Does the Holy Spirit enlighten men independent of the word of God?
5th Did ever an Apostle require a sinner to come forward to a b'mourner's bench” or an "anxious seat" to pray or be prayed for, for remission of sins?
6th. Is a creed necessary in company with the Bible to govern a Christian church?
7th. Are the Methodist Episcopal Discipline and Presbyterian Confession of Faith free from errors?
8th. Are the Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopal church governments such as were practised by the Apostles.
9th. Are Messrs. Boardman, Lucock, Stedman. &c. called and sent by the Holy Spirit, independent of the word of God, 10 preach the gospel?
Any one of the above propositions would be a more equitable division of labor. Fifty men can be found on the Western Reserve able and ready to form an issue on any one or all of these propositions whenever any one who preaches such docerines is prepared to appear on the arena to maintain them.
But to return to Kentucky. From Augusta, after a very agrceable interview with a few choice spirits there, mostly sisters, 1 hastened to Cincinnati, where I spent only three days. The church, as I
learned from my Christian host, brother Crane, has amicably agreed to form two societies in that growing city. The members in the city amount to some seven or eight hundred, and certainly ought to form some two or three churches, or scandlesticks,” in a population of some 50,000. Sister Garrard, in her Christian liberality, has tendered a lot to the new church on which to erect a new house, only on condition that when not used by the brethren for the purposes of their own edification and comfort, it shall be opened occasionally to any meeting of moral and benevolent persons who may desire to occupy it in plead. ing the cause of virtue, in opposing such popular vices, follies, and wrongs as may chance to be in favor with those in power amongst the people.
We next visited Louisville, and delivered a single address to the church in that place. Under the labors of brother Hall and others, the church in Louisville has grown in numbers, in intelligence, and, better still, in piety. It has been often named to me during my recent visit to Kentucky, that family training and family worship are in many cases generally neglected, and therefore social prayer meetings and public prayer in the weekly assemblies on the part of private members are very often dispensed with on the plea of incompetency, or because of the want of scriptural precedent. But such we learn is not the con. dition of things in Louisville. The demand for positive precept or by law established precedent for family worship, resembles a demur on the obligation of parental affection in the absence of a positive precept or an apostolic precedent. If any father can bring up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord without family worship and family instruction, he has made a discovery in human nature and in the philosophy of divine precepts and precedents as novel and original as could be the discovery of a sixth sense in man. If a man may love his children and provide for their growth and education without a written statute and an apostolic example, then may he presume that the Lord will not be angry at him should he spend an hour or two in the day in teaching and praying in the presence of his children for their present and eternal good.
From Louisvilla we proceeded to Brunorstown; thence to Frankfort, Versailles, New Union, Woodford, Lexington, Richmond, Winchester, Paris, North Middletown, Mount Sterling, Sharpsburg, Flemingsburg, May's Lick, and Maysville, in which places we addressed very large audiences. In Frankfort the brethren have erected a very neat and commodious meeting-house, in an excellent location, and the inost capacious in the city. The church is growing in numbers as well as in intelligence and good order. Brother Fall has never been VOL. VI.-N S.