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be carefully noted on the one hand, that this is an executive power; it decrees nothing, makes no laws, but only carries into effect the decrees and laws of Christ : and on the other hand, it is not an authority which excludes the agency, or forces the submission of the people. They as well as their ministers have a duty to perform in preservation among them of worship, order, and discipline. It is their care to obtain ministers who will faithfully administer the laws of Christ's kingdom, and to co-operate with, and sustain their pastors, in that important duty. It is by their act and concurrence that worship is established, order maintained, and discipline enforced. Even in execution of Christ's law, the pastors cannot act, and enforce their determinations, against or without the consent of the church.
It is the church itself, the whole community that receives its members and exeludes unworthy offenders. But in all that concerns order, worship, and discipline, it is the part of the ministers to lead, to preside, to originate, to execute. They are to take the oversight of the flock. They are to rule well. Had voluntary societies been formed and instructed to maintain assemblies for worship, and with sacred regard for character, to receive accessions to their numbers, and to exclude such as proved unworthy, common reason and the necessity of the case would soon have pointed out the necessity of appointing some to preside over, and to act in the name of the whole community. Christian ministers are placed by a divine appointment in that office and authority. What particular person shall be pastor of each separate church is left to the free choice of that people; but once chosen he is, by virtue of his office, their president, guide, counsellor, to conduct and execute all their spiritual affairs. But supposing the people, conscientiously, in any case, differing from their pastor's judgment, and therefore unable to comply with his proposal, has he any power to enforce his view and require their submission ? No. It is for his consideration, whether, under the circumstances, conscience and prudence will dictate his retaining or resigning his office. But if he has plain scripture to warrant, yea to require what he proposes, as, for instance, the expulsion of a disgraceful member, and the people from corrupt views and evil passions refuse concurrence, his duty is plain; he cannot force them, but he must leave them. In a word, a christian pastor is the ruling president, and acting authority over a voluntary community of christian people. He is so by the very same appointment, by which they are a church, that of Jesus Christ. He who authorized and required them to unite in godly fellowship, in like manner appointed to perform among them the shepherd's office, those whom the Holy Ghost should make overseers of the flock. Both pastors and people are equally required to maintain the order, worship, and diseipline he has appointed, but in different ways: the ministers as presiding, proposing, putting into execution; the people as complying, concurring, supporting
Once more, christian ministers have authority to receive maintenance of the people. Christ hath ordained that they who preach the gospel, should live of the gospel. From Christ, then, ministers
have authority to receive; from Christ their people are under charge and duty to give, temporal supplies. This might be established on grounds of common equity, and as productive of most evident and important advantage. But it is observable that we are not left in the church of Christ to the dictates of reason and propriety, even in those cases where their voice would be most unambiguous and forcible, or in which, as respecting temporal and ordinary affairs, it would be most natural that there, if anywhere, we should be left to their direction. On the contrary, we have, even in these plain cases, express precept, even in these temporal arrangements we rest on divine authority, not on reason, however plain, nor on equity however strong. But where this sacred authority is provided, the interference of other power is of course excluded. By means of it the church is separated from the world to be governed by its own king, and by its own laws. The provision for the temporal support of christian ministers is already made. Christ has given charge to his people to provide for them. There is no room for the state to come in and interfere. A higher authority has already arranged the temporal as well as the spiritual affairs of a kingdom not of this world. Ministers of Christ want not to be armed with the power of the state for the levy of a compulsory tax for their benefit, by process of law, by distraint of goods, by imprisonment of person. They open the Bible, the statute-book of the church, and there is the law of Christ binding on conscience, “let him that is taught in the word, communicate to him that teacheth in all good things.” There also is the sanction of the law, not consisting in temporal penalties inflicted by the secular power; but in retribution from Christ himself, the great .lawgiver and judge, “ He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he that soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” And there also is the efficacy of the law secured by him who makes his people willing in the day of his power, by a rule over hearts which opens them, as Lydia's and the jailer's, to acts of kindness for the ministers of Christ as soon as they feel the power of his gospel. In a word, the ministers of the gospel are in the most immediate connexion with the Lord Jesus, and dependence on him. They are his servants; their authority is from him ; their support he provides ; to him they give account. Every thing connected with their office is sacred, because of his appointment and authority. Therefore, as far as prudence and disinterestedness will allow, they can plead with their people that Christ has by one and the same law, made it the duty of ministers to communicate to the people their spiritual things, and of the people to communicate to their ministers of their carnal things. And when Jesús gives his grace to make ministers faithful, and their people bountiful; when the ministers labour for their people's souls, not for their money, seeking not theirs but them; and yet the people, enjoying great spiritual benefit and happiness by their pastor's faithful services, in their joy and gratitude feel constrained to willing bounty; then there is no money better earned, more freely given, or more happily enjoyed. It is equally given and received according to the will of Christ. We r
In conclusion it may be observed, that the authority conferred by Christ on his ministers is sufficient and adapted for the purposes of their work and object. That object is to promote the piety, virtue, and salvation of men. That object is to administer the laws of a kingdom purely spiritual, in which force and coercion can have no place ; in which all obedience to be acceptable must be willing; the obedience of the mind, the heart, the conscience. Those ministers who have found or thought their authority insufficient, have had other purposes than these to accomplish; the aggrandizement of their order, or some secular system of policy. As soon as the church is mingled with the world, and united with the state, other powers are indeed required by its ministers, and are obtained, not from Christ or the New Testament, but from the state, from human authority. But while christian churches continue separated from the world to promote the kingdom of heaven, and the salvation of men, so long it is enough that their ministers have power to preach the word, and to administer the ordinances of Christ, to preside over the discipline and worship of the faithful, and to receive for their support the voluntary offerings of those to whose spiritual welfare they minister. If we were to judge from the writings of the advocates of hierarchies and state religions, the greatest danger to be apprehended in the church is defect of power on the part of its ministers; and insubordination, incomplete subjection on the part of the people. Whereas, when we open the New Testament, and hear the discourses, bearing on this subject, of Christ and his apostles, the entire representation is reversed. There, though exhortations to obedience addressed to the people, are not wanting, yet as to dangers to be guarded against, the most frequent and emphatic warnings have respect to assumptions of power and dominion by the ministers of the word, and they are charged in a way significant enough of the tendencies foreseen and guarded against, “ not to be lords over God's heritage;" “not to be called Rabbi; not to resemble those who among the nations are called benefactors, because they exercise lordship over them; but that in this unearthly dispensation the least, the humblest, the most willing to serve, shall be accounted greatest. While, if there be a fact placed beyond dispute or doubt by the recorded experience of all pations and ages, it is, that of all forms of power that can be trusted to human hands, no one so surely tends to abuse and excess as authority spiritual or ecclesiastical. Its possessors are so prone to feel exalted by it; they find so ready a course to its augmentation in the superstition of mankind; they perceive it to be so effectual an instrument of their own wealth and greatness, that there is no safety for the interests of religion, the liberty of the people, and the purity of the ministry, but in strictly confining to its proper objects and proper limits, the power confided to his servants by the Great Master, Jesus Christ.
It is next observable, that the powers of the christian ministry can effect their proper purpose only through the blessing and influence of him from whom they are derived. In whatever instance or mode human forcc comes in to sustain them, it in fact defeats their proper
end of guiding and ruling for their own benefit, and their Master's honour, willing servants. If a minister obtains his appointment, exacts his dues, performs his duties, enforces his censures by power of law and secular penalty, all this may administer effectually the affairs of a worldly establishment, but has not the least tendency to promote spiritual communion and obedience to Christ, but the exact contrary. When a minister appears among his people resting all his claims on a divine appointment, armed with no human power or terror, he may seem feeble, helpless, and exposed. In reality he is depending on the unseen power of the Great Lord of the Church to give effect to the word he preaches; sweetness and grace with the ordinances he administers; acquiescence and submission to the discipline he maintains; willingness to contribute the support he needs. Grace from Christ, working on the consciences and affections of men, is his whole dependence. Apart from this his authority has no basis, his labour no success. If he depend not on this, he has nothing to rest upon, as for this there can be no substitute: but where this is vouchsafed, his weapons, which are not carnal,become mighty through God.
Lastly: it is strikingly observable how the constitution and arrangements of the christian church, the authority of ministers, and the duty of the people, are all adapted to exercise and promote the best graces and virtues of true piety. All these regulations, indeed, presuppose godliness in those who are to submit to them, or administer them. They are intended not for the lawless and disobedient, but for the government of willing, affectionate subjects. They cannot be sustained but by humility, forbearance, self-denial, peacefulness on the part both of ministers and people. The proud, the ambitious, the covetous will find nothing attractive in the ministry of the gospel, as instituted by Christ. If they usurp the office, it must be for the sake of the abuse of which it is susceptible. In itself it is intended not to gratify such passions as theirs, but to exercise self-denial, faith, and laborious zeal. And a church formed of such characters, and governed on those principles that the gospel requires, will be equally unattractive to the worldly and carnal mind. It is the beloved asylum and resort of the devout, the gracious, the heavenly-minded. To them its laws are welcome, its discipline liberty, its associations delightful. As these graces and virtues abound among ministers and people, the laws of Christ have their full authority, and their adaptation for holy, spiritual purposes is felt and seen. “My kingdom is not of this world,” is a declaration which, rightly understood, explains and vindicates the appointment of a ministry, “not according to the law of a carnal commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.”
FRIEND WHEELER'S RELIGIOUS VISIT TO SOME OF THE
ISLANDS OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN.
The ministers of the Society of Friends are allowed, by its regulations, to make religious visits throughout the United Kingdoms, and also to foreign parts.
When any of their preachers feel “a concern” to undertake a missionary tour in distant countries, they are required to communicate their wishes to the Quarterly Meeting to which they belong, and to “ lay their concern before the meeting of ministers and elders in London also.”
While it is a principle with the Friends that no minister ought to be paid for his religious labours, yet if the appropriate meetings respectively encourage "a speaking friend” to travel, they will defray the expenses of the outfit, voyage, &c. from a fund for miscellaneous purposes, called their “national stock."
Amongst the ministers of the society is a gentleman named Daniel Wheeler. He was brought up, we understand, to the sea service, but becoming "a convinced friend,” he settled in the neighbourhood of Sheffield, and gave himself to agricultural pursuits. The Emperor Alexander wishing to have some experiments made upon the bogs in the neighbourhood of St. Petersburg, on the recommendation of Mr. Wm. Allen, employed Friend Wheeler, who settled on a farm at Shoosharry, near that capital, where he continued to reside until he left his family for a season, under the circumstances we are about to explain.
“ Having, for a considerable time past, felt his mind strongly attracted in the love of the gospel towards the inhabitants of the islands in the Pacific Ocean," Friend Wheeler believed, about four years ago, “ that the time had arrived that he must surrender himself to the service," and therefore s spread his concern before Balby monthly meeting in Yorkshire, of which he is a member, the quarterly meeting of York, and the morning meeting of ministers and elders in London."
“ Much unity and sympathy were felt and expressed with their dear friend" in all these meetings, which was practically displayed by the generous efforts of those who united to purchase the “ Henry Freeling," lately a post-office packet, of 101 tons, and to equip it for the lengthened voyage. Friend Wheeler's son Charles, «believing it his duty to offer himself as a companion to his father," was, after due deliberation, accepted by the committee in that capacity.
The necessary arrangements having been completed, they sailed from the river Thames on the 13th day of the 11th month (November), 1833, but were detained in the Channel by a succession of contrary winds and boisterous weather for nearly four months, so that they were not clear of the Needle Rocks, and fairly out at sea until the 15th of the 3d month (March), 1834. The first fruits of this perilous enterprize are now before us in the form of two octavo pamphlets, of more than 100 pages, which have been printed for the