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Observations on the constitution, unity, and discipline of the Church of Christ : addressed to the brethren of the Christian Church / by David Purviance. Purviance, David, 1766-1847. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-102-27766070 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Observations on the constitution, unity, and discipline of the Church of Christ : addressed to the brethren of the Christian Church / by David Purviance. Purviance, David, 1766-1847. J.W. Browne, Cincinnati : 1811. 24 p. ; 20 cm. Coleman Photocopy. Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1993. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN03021.01 KUK) Printing Master B92-102. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. Disciples of Christ Doctrines OBSERVATIONS ON TIlE CONSTITUTION, UNITY, AND DISCIPLINE OF THE C11URCH OF CUHRIS T. ADDRESSED TO THE BRETHREN OF TIHE CHRISTIAN CHURCH BY DAVID PURVIANCE. Is there no balm in Gilead Is there no physi- cian there [Why then is not the health of the daugh-. ter of my people recovered.-Jeremiah. CINCINNATI: PRINTED BY J. IW. BROWNE 6. Co. LIBERTY HALL OFFICE. 1811. This page in the original text is blank. OIB SERVATIONS,c. A PAMPHLET hag lately fallen into my hands, written by B. JMarshall +- J. Thompson, which I have read with attention, and (at least as far as I was capable) with impartialitl As their publication chiefly consists of a statement of Errors, in Doctrine and Discipline, which (as they apprehend) exist in the church, and among the peo- ple, with whom I stand connected; I have endea- vnred to realize that we are all liable to err; and often unwilling to see and acknowledge our errors Mty prayer has been-" Lord show me wherein I hare erre-l, vherin I am wrong. and lead me in the right way.", I confess I do not view the Christian (or as it is frequently called, the Newli-bt) church, in the light represented by the brethren above named. But l apprehend it would be useless for me to state the difference in my vieivs, as to matters of fact: and it is not my present design to enter iuto an investiga- tion of doctrines We all profess to hate taken the Holy Scriptures as the standard of doctrine and discipline; and ad- nitting that evils do exist among us, a question arises whether this is occasioned by any defect or insuffici- ency in the rales prescribed in the word of God; or, 4 6 from a defect in our knowledge of those rules-and a want of faithfulness in the observance and execu- tion of them We all admit that the Lord is our lawgiver; and that the doctrines taught, and rules for discipline, prescribed in the sacred scriptures, are perfect; being dictated by the unerring spirit of God. It appears to me, if more is necessary, the defect can. Only be supplied by the Fame spirit; or that men who make, ordain and establish other standards and forms for, the church of Christ, or any branch thereof; ought to be able to show from the word of God, that they possess a delegated power from the su- preme lawgiver so to ido; otherwise their acts are gtnauthorised, and may be violated with. inTpunity. I do not doubt the sincerity of those who adopt human standards: while I freely show myowvn opi- pion, and practise according to my.own views, I anm not disposed to censure those that differ from me. Their honest design may beto preserve purity and order in the church; but I fear they are like Unztz taking move pains than is pleasing to God. Nor do I believe that any ar.gument in theirfavor; can be fait v deduced from- eaperiment. It appears to me, that thoe only purpose answered by the creeds of sec- tarians, is, that they preserve their own peculiar tenets or.notions; which descend from generation to gentsiation. and serve to prevent mankind-from free pccerbs to the pure unmixed fountain of truth. It is the opinion of Marshall Thorppson, that some other forms of Doctrine and Discipline besides the Holy Scriptures, are necessary to remedy the liunierous evils, of vhichbtheveomplai. It appears to me that stey and I look thro' different glasses; I do not see, that dezree of corruption and disorder, which tbey represent to exist amoDg us. I see the 5 glorious tork of Gd advancing, sinners boUing to bis sceptre, -and christians growing stronger and stronger. And I believe all that is neessary to heal disorders, and to perfect the body of Christ, is --to attain a better understanding of the word of God, and practise accordingly. It is urged by many, that there, is such a diversity among christians, both as to doctrine and practice, that it is expedient they should be divided into sepa- rate societies, and each regulated according to their own views. This reasoning appears plausible, biM I dare not adopt the plan; because it leads to the establishment of divisions by human laws, which the laws of our supreme lawVgiver expressly counter. mand.-I. Cor. i, 1O. "Now I beseech you brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak thle same thing, and that there be no division among you." And moreover, it is contrary to the spirit which every believer receives, when he is adopted into the church of Christ. He loves God as his father, and all who are begotten of him, as his dear brethren. The spirit of Jesus, the living head, binds the members of his body to each other in love. In the same spirit we ought to abide. " As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him." If a person bad nota previous knowledge of different sects and names, in the church of Chriist he could scarcely form an idea of their enistenee. from reading thy 3New Testament. Impressed with a sense of the necessity of under- standing -the principles and constitution of lIe church of Christ. and the scr ptsral form of abureh government, I have paid some attention to the subject, and shall endeavor to communicate my ideas to the brethren, hoping that some profit may. arise to the church ; and thatwherein I may be incorrect or defective, such as are capable will be so kind as a to point out the errors, and supply the defects; so that we may be fellow helpers together, and mutu- ally aid in promoting the cause of trutW I shall proceed, 1. to- speak of the church: and 2. of church government. I. OF THE CHURCH, I. The church of Christ is one spiritual body, in; eluding all who believe in his name, and- are'quick- ened by his Spirit. Rom. xii, 4, 5. ' For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we being many, are one body in Christ. I. Cor. xii, 13-For by one spirit ve arm all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one spirit-John x, 16. Pet. ii, 5. Eph. iv, 16. Z. The church is one houshold, haring for its foundation the Holy Scriptures, Jesus Christ being the chief' corner stone. Eph. ii, 19,'20, 21-Now therefore, ye are no more strangers,.and foreigners' but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the hons- hold of God; and are built upon the foundation of of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone: in whom all the buil- ing fitly framed together, groweth into an holy temn ple in the Lord. 3. The general church is divided into particular churches: as the church at Corinth, Ephesus, Smyr.: na, c. Eaeh having the same Lord, the same faith, or creed, the same laws and ordinances.-Eph. iv, 5. One Lord, one faith, one-baptism. 1. Cor. vii, 17: And so ordain I in all the churches. 7' A particular church may be constituted of such number of believers as local situation will adnoit.- We read of churche, at particular houses-L Cor. FMi, 19. Col. iv, 15. A church may consist of persons exercising divers gifts: an elder or elders, deacons and private mnem- bers--Rom. xii, 6, 7, 8. Yet it does not appear that officers in a church, are essential to its constitution, or existence; but they may be appointed and or- dained, when circumstances require. Acts xiv. Paul and Barnabas visited the churches, and ordained them elders in every church. the qualifications of an elder are delineated-Tit. i, 6-9. and I conceive that when a person or persons are found in any church, possessing those qualifications, he or they ought tor be ordained. Also it appears from Acts vi, that in Jerusalem when the number of disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring, because the widows were neglected; on account of which, deacons were appointed. inlike manner, it appears to me, that when circumstances render it necessary, in any particular church, deacons, or proper persons ought to be chosen and ordained, to have the over- sight and management of such things as are neces- kury, for the welfare and good government of the church. There are various duties incumbent on a particu- lar church, for their mutual comfort and edification, assembling themselves together, uniting in social prayer, exhorting one another, c. LDeb. x, 25.- Mat. xviii, 19, 20.-Acts xii, 5. a 1I OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT That which comes under this head, may be included in the following particulars: 1. Receiving memhe'. 2 Chureh cennires, or removing offece 3. Sendhng out preachers of the gospei. 4. The aupport of the mniniary 1. Receiving_ members. This belongs to the church. Rom. xim, I. Him that is weak ip the faith, receive ye, but not to doubtful- disputations. Rom. xA, 7: Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. TIhe qualifications requisite to, chureh-member- ship appear to, be " repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts xxM 21 Those who are- united to Christ the living head, arn virtually members of his body; and consequently entitled to the privileges of his church; I do not find that those particular points of doctrine, which distinguish the different sects of Christians at the present day, were called in question by the Apostles. The main point was, evidence that the professed disciple was a partaker of the same spirit. Acts x, 47. Can any man forbid water, that these should. not be baptized who have received the Holy Ghost, as well tts we, Acts viii, 37. And Philip said, if thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the sonof God Acts ii, 41, 8,12. Rom. x, 9, 2. Chzurch censures, or removinggoffences. . Every transgression of the commandments of God, or holy precepts of the gospel, is an offence, and ought to be 9 removed. II. Thess. iii, 14, 15. "1 And if any man obey not our word, by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that lie may be ashamed. Yet count not him as an enemy, but ad- monish him as a brother." In dealing with orien- ders, the primary object should be to retain and restore. Gal. vi, 1. "d Brethren, if a man be over- taken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness ; considering thy- self, lest thou also be tempted." The rule of pro- ceeding prescribed, Mat. xviii, 1a, 16, 17, ought to be invariably pursued. "M Moreover if thy brother trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault, be- tween thee and him alone; if he shall hear tl.ee., then hast thou gained thy brother. but if hie -will not hear thee, take wdith thee one or two more; and if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church." This rule of proceeding is more especially applica- ble in case of personal offences; but no doubt will apply where one member is hurt with any improper conduct of another. And by thus acting in the spirit of meekness and love, every thing may be avoided which is calculated to aggravate the offen- der, or spread the scandal First, the person at grieved is to go alone. Second. He is to call the aid of one or two more. Third, tell it unto the church. If the offender is obstinately perverse, and cannot be reclaimed, he is to be excluded. But while there is hope of restoring him, the proceedings are to be within tOe elturch, separate from the world. Where a matter of scandal becomes notorinvs, and public censure is to be inflicted, the church is to act collectively: though it may be more particularly the duty of deacons to see that discipline is exercised, and such things removed as wound the body. I. Cor. v, I. It is commonly reported that there is formea- tion among you. v. 4-In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and A2 10 my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan. v. I I1-But now I have written to you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother, be a fornicator, or co- vetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such an one, no, not to eat. v. 13-Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. Surely here are sufficient rules, so far as relates to immorality, in practice. But the greatest cam- plaint is, that the scriptures do not furnish an ade- quate remedy for the prevalence of erroneous senti- ments. To which I answer- That the word of God, is the only standard, by twhich we can fairly try and condemn error. If ano- ther standard is made, as a test of orthodoxy, it is as liable to be. wrong as that which is to be tried by it. rhe church mnay err, with the perfect standard of divisle truth ill her hand; but if we give to imper- fect creatures an imperfect staundard of judgment, they aye surely more liable to err. It is said- "M'iany who profess to believe the scriptures, differ widely in opinion." This may be the case., with respect to a confession of faith, or any code of laws, human or divine. But a man's saving he believes, is not evidence of the fact. The Jews professed to. believe Moses, but Jesus says-" If ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed me." In matters oft opirdon, which do not directly tend to licentiousness, or to the subversion of christianity, charity and for- bearance are to be exercised. Rom. xiv, 4, 5. But the great question is-How far shall this forbear- ance extend Or to what point shall it be limited 1 answer, it must be limited by the word of God, the law which the great legislator has ordained for 11 thegovernment of his church. I see no more au- thority for the church to make a law to excommu- nicate a member, than the supreme court of the state of Ohio has to make alawto sentence a man to death or banishment. Whatever the private opinion of the judges may be, they are bound by the laws of the land; and if they transcend this, they are liable to impeachment. In like manner, if a member of the church is accused with heresy, we must have recourse to the word of God. For instance: suppose a man professes to believe the scriptures, and yet denies that Jesus Christ was literally born of the Virgin Mary; or that he was really crucified, and raised again from the dead; and argues (as I have -under- stood some do) that these things were figurative. HIosw shall we prove he is a heretic We may have recourse to the second Epistle of John, 7th verse: "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come -in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an anti-christ." Also. to Rom. x, 9. " That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved"-and many other passages I men- tion this as an example: and all such asacome under the characters described, Titus i, 2. Rev. ii, 14, 15 20. Or such as can be proven to be heretics, accord- ing to the scriptures. We know from Titus iii, 10, that if they cannot be reclaimed by admonition, they are to be rejected. In difficult or doubtful cases, the counsel and aid of the ministry or eldership oughtto be obtained. Acts xv, 2. I acknowledge it has been the ease, in the course of the-revival, both before and since the separation from the Presbvterians, that with many individuals, a thirst for novelty has been prevalent, and some have been charmed with enthusiastic notions; yet I believe there is no better correction for these tbiD-s thas the word of GQod 3. Sending oat preachers of the gospel. I do not find in the word ot' God, that any are authorised to exercise the functions of the gospel ministry, except such as are ordained and set apart to the sacred nwice, by the laying on of the hands of the presby- tz ! or eldership. Yet it is the privilege of the menmbers of the body of Christ to exercise their gifts, "differing according to thegracetlhatis given,'" and as shall be most for edification. Rom. xii, 6, 7, 8. If the spirit of Christ reigns in the body, every member (the eye, the ear, the foot, e.) will fill his own place. I. Cor. chap. 12. Thus their several gifts will be manifested. It appears to have been a practice in the primitive church, to give letters of commendation, to such As went out to exercise their gifts as public teachers. 11. Cor. iii, 1. Also Acts xviii, 24 to 28. We learn that Apollos, an eloquent man and fervent in spirit, taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. Ile was not, strictly speaking, a preacher of the gospel of Christ; but Aquilla and Priscilla having expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly; when he was dispo- sed to go into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him. So I conceive, in the present state of the ehurch, it is needful, that if any one believes he is called to labor in exhortation or preaching, the church from which he goes out be- ing satisfied as to his qualifications, should give him a letter of commendation. And from II. Tim. ii, 2, it appears to me that at least one ordained preacher ought to act in Concert with the church, in giving such letter. The form of the letter may be such as il the eye of the civil law may be called a licence. It may be objected, that by this means ignorant, unqualified men, will come into the ministry. If some should set out who are not duily qualified, it 13 will soon be manifest; and they ought to be dissua- ded. If they are good men, they vill distover they have stepped out of their sphere, If not, they are likely to sink for want of support and encourage- ment. And if any are found pernicious, and will not take counsel, or desist, they may be dealt with as offenders. Those who are found useful, having made sufficient proof of their ministry, may be or- dained. This is nearly the plan we have pursued. And though I hear of an ignorant or corrupt miniE- try, I know them not. Some have risen from pri- vate life to public usefulness; and the weakest within my knowledge, is (I believe) doing some good. ORDINAT.ION is to be performed by fasting and prayer, and laying on the hands of the Presbytery. Acts xiii 3, 1f, 23. I. Tim. iv, 14. II. Tim. i, 6 I cannot find that there are different offices apper- taining to ordained preachers. "' Elder," and - Bishop," are only different names fora person ex- ercising the same office. Tit. i, 5-7. It appears from Acts xiv, 23, and Titus i 5, that it was the primitive practice, to ordain elders in the churches; and no doubt with the approbation and consent of the church in which it was done. Yet from the direction given to Timothy-IL. Tim. ii, a, and the things thatlthou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others .also-and to Titus-Tit. i, 5-9.-It was requisite- that they should examine, and be satisfied as to the qualifiea- tions of those tb swhom they committed the impor- t.nt trust. The qualifications are plainly4delineated.-L. Tim. chap. iii, and Tit. chap. i. And ought to be particu- larly observed, both by the church, and by those who perform the ceremony of ordination. B 14 Complaints exist upon this subject; and even if they are groundlesss (wvhich I cannot certainly de- termine) they ought to teach us the necessity of strict attention to the rules prescribed in the holy scriptures. Elders are required to be subject one to another. I. Pet. v, 5. An Elder, chargeable with any thing contrary to truth and righteousness, ought to ble dealt with by such of his brethren as have opportu- nity, in order that the evil may be removed. If this measure fails of success, the matter ought to be re ferred to such a convention of the eldership, or preachers, as the nature of the case may require.- Acts xv, 2, " When therefore, Paul and Barnabas lad no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined, that Paul and Barnabas, and cetr- tain other of themn, should go up to Jerusalem, unto the apostles and elders, about this question. v. 6, " and the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter." The apostles and elders having decided the question, sent their decision, by letter, to the church; of which the following is a part: v. 24, " Forasmuch as -we have heard that certain which went out from us, have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, ye must be circumcised and keep the law; to whom we gave no such commandment." It may be said, that this was a question of doc. trine, and will not apply to immorality in practice. I can see no difference; because morality is as re- quisite a qualification in a bishop or elder, as sound- less in the faith or aptness to teach. I. Tim. chap. iii, Tit. chapter It may be objected fatrther, that an elder may re- fuse to be subject to his brethren, and yet continue to preach. I answer, the churches are not to receive 15 such an one. The church at Epbesus tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and found them liars. I do not apprehend they instituted a judicial process; but they tried them by the word of truth, and rejected them. Also, read II. John, x. It would be too tedious to answer every objection, which may be started; but I rest assured, that as long as the spirit of Jesus reigns in the church, and as long as his people trust in him, and follow his word; he will clear their way through every diffi. cultv. I think it dishonoring to the king and head of the church, to suppose that the laws he has given are insufficient for the government of his kingdom. 4. Support of Mflinistcrs.-Jtis required of the church to contribute for the support of those who labor in the gospel. I. Cor. ix, 14. " Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gos- pel, should live of the gospeL As complaints were made in former days, that the widows were neglected ; so complaints are noW made, that the preachers are neglected. And as seven men duly qualified, were chosen and set over that business; I think the example sufficient for the church, whenever it becomes niecessary, to choose a competent number of suitable persons, whvbo may be ordained, and attend to this and other exiencies. It is a matter of importance to keep the proper medium, between making the preaching of' the gos- pel a mercenary business, and robbing God of the free-will offerings, he requires for its support. Under the Mrosaic dispensation, tithes and offer- ings were required for the support of the priesthood. The people are charged with robbing God, by with- holdingthem. MaL iii, 8. In consequence of their 16 bringing them into the store-house; an abundant blessing is promised.-v. 10. Something similar is found in the New Testament. Gal. vi, 6, 7.. Let him that is taught in the word communicate to him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever A man soweth, -that shall he also reap. Paul commends the Philip- pian church for their bounty to him. Phil. iv, 17. " Not because I desire a gift, but I desire fruit that may abound to your account." And concerning collections for the saints, he gives order, that every one lay by him in store. I. Cor. xvi, 2 Upon this subject, the word of God, is sufficiently plain; and surely christians need no other rule to compel them to their duty. Bonds and callt have often been the cause of mur- muring between preachers and people; and appear to me contrary to the spirit of the gospel II. Cor. ix, 6, 7. "But this I say, he whvich soweth sparing- ly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart ;-so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." BELOVED BRETHREW, Having gone through what I proposed on the sub- ject of government, I shall conclude, by suggesting to you a few ideas, as they may occur to my minds From the short sketch I have given, I think we must ackr owledge, that if we are corrupt and dis- orderly, it is not owing to any defect in the rules, by which we profess to be governed. 17 We may see just cause of humiliation, when we take into view the course most of these men have taken, whom we have loved and esteemed as our fathers; who have been instrumental in bringing'us to the ground on which we now stand; and by whose hands,God has often givenmany of us the bread of life. Their report of us is evil; let us bear the stroke without resistance. Let us be alwvays willing to see our own errors, and endeavor to amend. Let us never fight for ourselves; but commit the cause to God. Let us "w walk worthy of the vocation where. with we are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." The work of the Lord will not sink. Acts v, 38, 39. And nowv I say unto you, refrain from these men, and let them alone; for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought; if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it. The Lord linows who is right, and he will fight the battle I have expected, for a considerable time, that some of our brethren would leave us. But I enter- tained a hope, we could part, like brethren;, and enjoy occasional fellowship. I mentioned to some of them to this effect-" If we must part, let us part in peace, and live as good neighbors." One of them replied-" That is my mind; let there be no up braidings." They complain of errors, and diversity of senti- ment. I have no doubt there is some'error and di- versity of sentiment among us. But I had no idea of as much as they have suggested. Some of the particulars they have mentioned concerning Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, I never recollect to have, heard, from any among us. I am sensible my knowledge of "the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent, is very imperfect. But I know I love the truth . yet I con- fess my mind has been sometimes too much on the stretch after things which were of little weights The knowledge all-important to us, is, to lave right views of the holy character and perfections of God; of his will concerning us, and our dutytowards him. The love of God is a glorious theme, but I think some of us in time past, have ran to an extreme on that sub- ject, by not keeping sufficiently in view, that altbo' " God is love," yet he is a being of tremendous ma-n jesty; that he will maintain his righteous govern- ment; and finally take vengeance on them, who know not God and obey not his gospeL They complain farther, that notwithstanding our profession to love christians of every name alike, there are no people more ready to speak hard of other societies, c. If this is true, with respect to any of us, let us do so no more. I have heard little of this lately, but I. can recollect the time when I think some of us did in public speak against certain: doctrines, in a manner that was rather offensive than edifying. And in private conversation, the errors we bupposed to be in others, were dwelt upon more than was profitable. He is commonly wrong. and actuated by an evil spirit, who is often expatia- ting on the wrongs of others. I think also that brother Marshal, and I, and per- haps some others, erred in speaking too severely against creeds and books of discipline, which other dear brethren think necessary and useful. I think the holy scriptures sufficient, and the only founda- tion, on which the spiritual houshold, or body of Christ can stand united and complete, all fitly com- pacted and joined together; but she is God's build- ing and God's husbandry, and 'ye must not attempt to pull down and build up with our own hands; but walk in love, cultivate the spirit of unity, and lek. Jesus mansage the affairs of his own kingdom.. Human standards of faith and discipline may have their use. But permit me to observe, that whentble fire of heaven is kindled and rises to a flame. in the church; when the love of God is shed abroad in the hearts of the people by the Holy Ghost, they cannot be confined to sect or party. They overleap all hu- man walls, crying, union, union, with all the lovers of Jesus. The unity of the church is nottobeeffect- ed by an outcry against human systems and party names; but by fervent charity and undissembled love. When the glorious revival took place in the Presbyterian church (and particularly in Tennessee) about ten years ago, those engaged in the work had littleuse for theirconfession of faith. Their hearts were enlarged to receive Christians without respect to sect or nlame. They united with one accord in calling sinners lo repentance, and in earnest prayer to God for their salvation. Young men were sent out on every direction, to exhort or pi-each the gos- pel: and though they could neither speak Latin nor Greek, and had but little knowledge of systematic divinity, their labors were owned of God, and at tended with a blessing to many precious souls;- Numerous cong-regations were assembled,.composed of people of various denominations. Nd doubt there was diversity of sentiment among them; but while they continued in love to one another, and zeal for the cause of God, and spake the simple truth, which they felt in their hearts; the Lord was with them in power and great glory. But as soon as they. became careful about their rules and standards; and began to contend for their peculiar tenets; a declension took place. I know truth is precious: yet. no doubt many who fear God and work righteousness, hold some errors:- yea, we are all very imperfect in knowledge ; and I suppose all believe some things that are not true. But if the Lord bears with our infirmities, shall we not bear with one another Do we not all believe, " that there is one God, and one mediator between God and mer", the man ChristJesus Thatthere is none othernameunder Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved Thatwemust believe in the LordJesus Christ, receive his holy spirit, and repent of our sins That without holiness no man shall see the Lord And that the finally impenitent shall be punished with an everlasting destruction, from his pretence " Shall we then reject from fellowship, on account of things not expressly revealed, and concerning which honest souls may differ in opinion Where this contracted, uncharitable spirit prevails, it is marked with deadness and barrenness, the tokens of divine displeasure. Whereas when Christians, even of dif- ferent sects, and different opinions, flowtogether in love, they are blessed with the smiles of Heaven, and the out-pouring of the spirit of God. The cause of Christ is deeply wounded, by the spirit of intole- rance, which often appears in the preachers of the gospel; respecting constructions or opinions, which many feel themselves incapable fully to investigate and understand. But that soul is safe, who trusts the Lord, who believes what is plainly revealed, and practises.what is plainly commanded. Prov. iii, 5, 6. I heard of a brother, of my acquaintance, lately; who had been confined for a considerable time, to a sick bed. I knotv he formerly had a talent for searching into things -which were intricate and abstruse. I was told that in his sickness he used such language as this " I find a few truths will do a dying man. It 21 is a faithful saying, and worthy of all aceeptAtion, that Jesus Christ came intQ the world to save sin- ners, of whom I am chief This is enough for mnte I will also mention a late remark of. a sister in the Lord. Some difficulties being suggested on the sub- ject of atonemnent, she observed -One thing I know, which satisfies me-He was delivered for our oWfen- ces, and raised again for our justification." When churches were constituted among us, havinDg no other form of discipline than the holy scriptures, we were not only inexperienced, but in a great do- gree ignorant of the scriptural mode of government; baving formerly been governed by other rules. On this account, some difficulties were to be eipected It appears to me, that to tLe present time, the sub- ject has been too much neglected. This is one prin. ciple cause which has centributed to produce the present publication. Arnd I hope that however in- perfect it may be, it will be of some use, and at least open the way for farther examination. I once thought of publishing in connection, with this, a summary of my viewvs on certain doc- trines; but I shall omit it at the prevent crisis. and exhort my brethren to ask help and dim ection from God. " His arm is not shortened that he cannot save, nor is his ear heavy that he cannot hear." Notwithstanding the gloomy represenitation made by our two brethren; upon a serious review, I must say, " the 'Lord has done great things for us." Anid I believe if we humbly wait on hi'm, we shall sep greater things than these. They say, 'our expect- ations were too high."' So far as our expectations were from God, they were not too higli. But I do believe some of us, if not all, were too high; and must be brought low. Let us humble onrselves now, under the mighty hand of God, and he Mhall lift us up. B2 22 I feel no disposition to engage in.controversy: I have therefore avoided taking particular notice of the statements made, by the brethren Marshal and Thompson. But the following paragraph, which is found in their pamphlet, page 21, 1 think requires some remarks. "But at present we hold our standing, and claim Our privilege in the connexion in which we have stood for these past years. We certainly have the privilege of preaching when and where we please; whenever there is an opening for it in the body; as others who differ from us in doctrine-and of com- muning wvith them,if we wish it. Those who belong to no particular seet, but to the general body of Christ, who give free invitations to christians of every denomination, cannot certainly refuse us this. If wev should enter some church, that excludes the members of this connexion, or if we should form a body of our owm, and exclude them, then we would be separated from this body, but not before. I will state a case for illustration :-J disarm fecte"d wife being deterninld to leare her husband, in order to justify herself in so doing, reports that her hzsband is a bad man; that she has lost all hopes of his reforynation; and thinks it unsafe to ifoinc writh hint int the conjugal relation. But Jfor tae present she holds her standing it his home, as wifv, mistrevs' and governess and will do so until she cane ind anzothcr hom0C and claims, the privilege if cohabiting with ler husband, if she wishes it. She pleads that fromn the. tenor of the 7narriage covenant, he cannot refuse her this. If she should marry anwther man, w1iche she fully intcendc, then they would be separated, but not before. 23 What they mean or intend by holding their stand- ing and claiming their privilege, I know not. There can be no union upon gospel principles, without the unity of the spirit. By their own showing, this bond is broken. In the next paragraph, the following words ' such a corrupt and shattered church," are used by them, and applied to the people with whom they just before claim the privilege of communion. They have commenced open hostility against us, and have represented us to the world- in the most opprobrious light, even beyond hope of reformation By their own public act, they have raised a bar in the way of fellowship; and until such concessions are made, on the one part or the other, that that bat ,can be removed and fellowship restored, we are separated. And whatever ideas they may have of external connexion, upon gospel principles, I see no foundation for their claim. It is true, as they state, we give free invitations to Christians of every denomination; but upon this very principle, that they are one in spirit, united in bonds of love. We do not shut the door which Christ has opened; but give opportunity to his dis. ciples to obey their Lord's command. We give such invitations, that those Christians in other reeular societies, who are desirous to have fellowship with us, may enjoy their privilege, be- cause we believe they are our fathers' children, and- we are all one in Christ Jesus. According to the position taken, as above stated, a person may villify and reproach a church, and then claim, as a matter of right, the privilege of communion. Upon read- ing thie pamphlet a oresaid, the idea was fully reF. ceived by me respecting the authors: they are sepa- rated from us. The paragraph I have cited, surpri- sed me; but in my ves, does not alter the case. Paul speaks of some who had forsaken him a M-e have no account that be followed them with deerces of suspension or excommunication. And had they returned in the spirit of meekness and love, accord- ing to the gospel, he would no doubt have gladly received them. Upon this principle, and no others, do I conceive those men can expect to be received by us. With their own hands, they have put the bai in the way, which virtually makes a separation; and we must so remain, until such a change takes place either in them or in us, that we can be united. I do not mean bv these remarks, to charge those men with impure motives. Let us not judge, but commit the matter to the judge of all the earth, who will do right. Whatever our opinion may be, as to their statements, let us not censure them. I believe they think themselves correct. "But, ye be- loved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Toly Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God." ALL KINDS OF PRINTING, Executed with neatness, accuracy and dispatch-4y 6isA. a)swa Q-0 6) OFlittC-; OF LIBURTv HALL, Near the (Jsaket-house, Cincinnati. WHO HAVE FOR SALE A LARGE ASSORTMENT OF BOOKS, STATIONERY, 'BLANK TIOOKS, Ac. LOW FA)R CA SHI. WIL R REFORMED rAST0R' 1IS EADY FOR DELIVIZRY.