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ness and a joyfulness, like to that which every young creature feeleth in the day of its youth. This is the way in which the church, through unity, spreads itself over the world, sows itself in every region, and takes possession of the earth. But observe, that it is not one great con. federation like the Papacy, which cannot live in parts; but because the root Christ is in every member of it, it is capable in all conditions and circumstances of its own sustenance and propagation. Chop it into pieces, and disperse it as you please, you can but sow it the more widely. For wherever we go, we go preaching the word.

Eleventhly. While these things are most surely to be concluded, from the vision concerning the individual authority of every angel, and of every church, it is at the same time ever to be remembered, that the churches, however many, are still but one, are bound together into one, by the sevenfold unity of “one body and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” This truth is expressed in the vision, by the choice of the number seven, rather than any other, whose property it is to express many in unity. And how then, it may be asked, is this unity manifested ? By God it is manifested in assigning to each its proper place in the field of battle, tempting them diversely; one by decline of first love, like Ephesus; another by fiery trials, like Smyrna; another by high dignity and learned error, like Pergamos; another by apostasy, like Thyatira; another by a hypocritical name, like Sardis; another by false brethren and feebleness, like Philadelphia ; and another by temporal abundance, like Laodicea. And with these several places in the field of battle, each hath its appropriate banner under which to fight;—these banners being the several parts of Christ's glorious and all-inclusive name, the several styles with which he presents himself, in the most appropriate manner to the several churches. And each also bath its word of consolation and encouragement, in the several promises of the Spirit. The unity, therefore, is a unity of spirit, and not a unity of form, a unity of end and design, not a unity of visible parts; a unity of service against the common enemy, and not a unity of constitution, like the Jewish Theocracy or the Roman hierarchy. Each church possesseth power of life and of propagation within itself, is competent to the sending out of missionaries to preach; to the issuing canons of right faith, as indeed did many of the primitive bishops, against any error which arose ; is competent to the continuation of its own ministry, as in the primitive church was sheun, by the election of the bishop or angel from amongst the presbyters; and in one word, is competent to all the functions of a body complete and perfect within itself. And yet, being so, is not separated from every other church, but acknowledgeth the one baptism, the one faith, the one 'hope, the one body, the one Head, the one Spirit, and the one God and Father; is engaged with the one work of resisting and overcoming the evil which is around it, which is aniong its hands, which is bred in its own bosom ; is not unwilling to entertain the questions of other churches when submitted to it, nor, if need be, to submit her own ; is not unwilling to meet in provincial, or in general councils, when need is, for the assertion of the one faith and hope and baptism; but is not dependent upon any of these occurrences, either for the feeling or the manifestation of the unity, which standeth not in negatives so much, as in positives,—not in the prevention of evil so much, as the propagation of good. The unity of the apostolical church stood not in the council of Jerusalem, which occurred only once; but in the common faith and love and service of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the reception of the apostolical and other missionary persons, in the recognition of each other's brotherhood, and in the continual interchange of all Christian offices. The unity of the primitive churches stood not in the provincial or æcumenical synods, which, upón emergencies at first, and afterwards, as worldliness grew, and spirituality abated, convened at stated and regulated intervals. As our parliament doth not make us freemen, but emanates from our freedom, so these synodical meetings and acts do not make the churches one, but come of their unity. They are expressions of unity, and testimonies to it, but no origin of it, nor yet necessary to its conservation. I am the more intent upon this great point, because I perceive that in the Church of Scotland there prevaileth great misconception upon this subject. That the power to convene in Presbyteries, Synods, and General Assemblies, is inherent in the church, all Christendom, in all times, with one consent hath declared. And that in their apostles and elders, those who minister the word, and those who rule, have a right to convene, is also of common consent in all the churches. But that they should be ever and anon convening, with or without cause, is no where sanctioned, either in the Scriptures of truth, or in the records of ecclesiastical history. That they do so in our church, ariseth, as it seems to me, from a false notion as to where the right of superintending is reposed; which is not in councils but in persons, not in confederations of the angels, but in the persons of the angels. While I admire the liberty of our ecclesiastical polity, I cannot but acknowledge, that it presseth hard upon the dignity of the angels or bishops of the churches, whom I cannot for an instant invest with prelatical dignity over many churches, but whose authority in their several churches I will not surrender for any consideration.

Twelfthly. Therefore the jus Divinum lies with the angels of the churches, and not with any courts or councils, compose them how you may. There is a Divine right of government in the church; and these epistles shew mė, that it lies in the persons of the angels, who are taken to be responsible for all the acts of the whole church, just as kings are for all the acts of the whole kingdom. Nothing

mind can so establish a Divine right to be in one person of each church, as the continual inclusion of the whole church in him. And how is this person to be found out? And how is he to be instituted in his office? There is no mention nor hint of any such plan or method, just as there is no mention of forms of government or methods of appointing the chief magistrate of a state. And wherefore this silence ? Because God would not implicate the great question of power and subjection, either in church or in state, with any such questionable matter. A staté cannot subsist without a governing head. Even Venice had its Doge, and America hath its President. No more can a church. And accordingly, from the Papal Empire, down to the last fragment of the Dissenting interest, you shall ever find some one who standeth to the rest in the place of a head. This is felt in our church to be a thing so essential, that though the moderators of the several courts be elected yearly, and some of them oftener, the courts themselves never cease to have such heads, in whom they stand represented, who sign and seal, and authenticate all their actings. I do not think that the jus Divinum resides in any of these courts, inferior or superior, great or small, but in the persons of the angels of the churches. Let every church therefore look to its angel, as to the messenger of God, in whose mouth God hath put his message, and upon whose shoulders God hath laid the government, and whom Christ looketh to as responsible. Let them give him reverence as the ambassador of God unto them for salvation, let them yield him obedience, as having the oversight over them, and watching for their souls. And if they be ill-conditioned, let them not seek redress by schism or separation, but by faith and prayer, and all dutifulness; remembering that no ordinance violates or subverts our union with the one great Head, kept up and maintained by the Holy Spirit. It is, after all, but a figure of the real thing within the veil. And as no one, by his having a bad father, thinks himself thereby prevented from the Fatherhood of God, or goes about to seek a better father; so, no one having a bad angel sent to them, ought to think himself thereby deprived of the one great Angel and High Priest of our profession, nor cast about how he may put himself under another. There is not one hint in all these epistles of the right or remedy of Dissent, now deemed so sacred, and on such slight occasions exercised. And I believe it was a thing never contemplated by the great Head of the church, and, when gone into out of a pure spirit of separating, is full of all evil consequences to the soul. As it is cherished in this kingdom at the present time, I believe it to be the worst and most violent form of insubordination and insurrection. As it arose, whether in England or in Scotland, it was indeed a very different thing from what it is now come to be. They were cast out; or at least the place was made too strait for them to dwell in. And their con sciences would not any longer permit them to cleave to the confederation of the churches, in so far forth as those points of uniformity were concerned, though in other respects they preserved the unity of the faith in the bond

to my

And if now again those prosecutions entered into, against the most excellent of the clergy of our church, should issue in their expulsion, what can they do but take joyfully the spoiling of their good name, and go forth without the camp bearing Christ's reproach ? Are they to cease to preach God's truth, because the authorised ambassadors of God within the land have betrayed their Master, and entered into a combination against the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. Never, oh! never should they cease to cry aloud and spare not, and only the more zealously and importunately, because the powers that be have betrayed their Lord and Master. But let them be careful of bearing malice against the powers, for that were indeed evil : let them denounce their evil inventions, and warn them of God's speedy vengeance; but let them beware of any schismatical or devisive courses, of any sectarian or hostile feelings. Because one king is evil, another king may not seek to overturn his throne; to his own master he standeth or falleth. So also because these ministers deny and persecute the truth, we may not on that account seek to shake or to subvert that authority which they have received from God. So thought our Lord, who desired his disciples to hear them who sat in Moses' seat, but not to do according to their deeds.

of peace.

Such are the conclusions concerning the church, which flow from this vision. We have drawn them out fearlessly, without

desire to favour or to offend


established system of ecclesiastical polity; in which, if there be any thing amiss, how is it to be corrected otherwise than by the holy Scriptures, which are the tests of all tradition? There is no error so fatal to truth, and so destructive to the church, as that her ministers and members should be entrammelled in their study or preaching of truth by what is written in the formularies of the church. He that consenteth to do so hath not a single eye, and his whole body cannot be full of light: and he will prove neither for an honour nor for a strength unto the church, which expecteth no such worship, but requireth it all to be given to her Head. The symbolical books of a church are not the church, but an utterance of the church for a particular end; and the same church which uttered them is capable at any time of uttering any thing to explain, to curtail, to add to, and even to contradict them. And this is exactly what the churches in Scotland and in England did at the time of the Reformation. It is the principle which, being acknowledged to be in the church, justifies

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