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their bodies and souls, because the law gives us the right? When people speak of their rights, they should not forget the rights of others. If you have a right to go to law with your brother, Christ has his right also, and that is, the right of commanding you to love your brother and not injure him, and forgive him when he has trespassed against you; and if you disregard this right of Christ, he will hold you re-ponsible. The Church has her right; and that is, that you should remain faithful to the covenant into which you have entered with her, and not turn against her and sting her like a viper after she has taken you to ber bosom. Your brethren have their rights. They stand connected with you by sacred ties. They are deeply concerned in your conduct. You cannot exercise the right which the law gives you to grieve and distress them, without violating their rights, the rights of religion, the rights of God; and God will not permit you to violate these rights with impunity. To exercise such a right is to sin, and like every other sin which God has condemned, it cannot be justified in any case, or under any circumstances.
3. It is an offense which the Church is bound to make a subject of discipline. We have shown that it is a violation of principles of religion, which must be regarded as essential in every church. It is a violation of the priuciple of love, which is indispensable as a bond of union among Christians. It severs this bond, it breaks up the fellowship of the church, and destroys that unity of the Spirit by which the members of Christ's body are to be strengthened, and edified, and comforted, and prepared for the communion of the saints in heaven. And it is the duty of the church to guard against these evils, by exercising the authority with which God has invested her, for these purposes. This authority, it is true, should be exercised with prudence and great forbearance; but yet cases do occur in which it must be exer
; cised with promptness and decision, to save the credit of the Church and the honor and interests of religion. “Mark them which cause divisions, and avoid them. We command
you, brethren, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you with draw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly." This is the law of God for the discipline of the church ; and in every church that would exercise proper discipline, this law must be enforced. When brother goeth to law with brother, and thus causes division and brings disunion and strife into the church, he must be regarded as walking disorderly, and be held subject to discipline; and if he refuses to yield to the counsel and admonitions of his brethren, the church is bound to withdraw herself from that disorderly member, lest she make herself a partaker of his sin, and share in the dishonor he has brought on religion.
This is a solemn duty which the church owes to herself and the interests of religion. No church can expect to prosper while she retains in her bosom disorderly and refractory members, who are exercising an influence to injure her character, and destroy her usefulness. God will not smile on a people who suffer religion to be thus openly dishonored. He will not bless them as long as they are conniving at wickedness, or tolerating it, or giving it their sanction in any sense. Christians must never think of entering into a compromise with those who set themselves up against the laws and institutions of religion. They must separate themselves from all iniquity, and come up to the high and holy standard which the church must assume if she would act worthy of herself and maintain the honor of her profession.
Let the church do her duty, that this evil, which has been so long a reproach to the Christian profession, may be wiped away; that it may no longer be said of the professed followers of Christ, “Brother goeth to law with brother;" that all strife, and malice, and evil speaking among professing Christians may cease, and the Church, which has been so long dishonored and cast down by these blots upon her character, may arise and come forth like the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.
BY REV. EDWIN F. HATFIELD, D. D.
THE MINISTRY OF THE GOSPEL,
“For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish : to the one we are the savor of death unto death ; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things ?”—2 Cor. 2 : 15, 16
It is related of an old Puritan divine, to whom it pleased God to grant abundant success in his holy vocation, that on the day of his ordination he made this record of the transaction : "I did this day receive as much honor and work as ever I shall be able to know what to do with.” Greater honor no man need, no man can, desire than is connected with the faithful discharge of the work of the ministry. Nor can a human being engage in any work more fitted to task the energies of his whole man, and fill up his whole probation. It affords as much honor and work as ever he shall be “able to know what to do with.”
Of the truth of these statements, the Apostle to the Gentiles appears to have had a most vivid and abiding sense. It was honor enough to him, whatever men might think of it, or whatever trials might come upon him in consequence, to be put in trust with the gospel as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. A greater honor he neither sought nor desired. He knew no greater. He conceived of none so great. The work, too, he loved no less than the honor. It was all his desire to fulfil it to the glory of his Lord. He engaged in it because he loved it. And the more he labored, the more he loved to labor, and the more God honored him. His work was one continued scene of glorious triumphs—not of human prowess, but of grace divine ; not of the servant, but of his Master. Wherever he went and he went no where but to make known the glorious gospel of the Son of God,-his Lord went with him, smiled upon bis exertions, and crowned them with his blessings, so that he could mark his journeyings by the lights which he had kindled in his progress, burning on, and burning ever, from living altars, and sending forth a sweet perfume, not less fragrant than the clouds of incense that ascended from the great altar of the sanctuary on Mount Zion. It was this that gladdened him in his toils,-- this evidence of the Divine approbation of his work, so many testimonials of which had been given him,--and that prompted his bursting heart to pour forth its gratitude in this glowing language, verse 14: “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place."
If Paul had not himself witnessed, he was yet not unacquainted vith the pomp and the splendor of the triumphal processions accorded to the returning conqueror, on his entrance into the imperial city. It was customary on such occasions to scatter in the path of the victorious general the most fragrant flowers, covering the street as with a bed of roses. The fires of numerous altars that lined the way were fed with frankincense and sweet smelling herbs, that sent forth clouds of the most grateful odor. Following in the train of the conqueror was a numerous band, bearing sweet perfumes, the savor of which was diffused through all the surrounding air. Such was the triumph from which the apostle borrows the beautiful imagery of the textverses 14–16. His language is peculiar. The word expressive of triumph is the very same that Plutarch and others use in reference to the military triumph of victorious generals.
Among the Gentiles, the smoking incense of the altar was thought to be peculiarly agreeable to the gods whom they worshipped, and the sacrifice was called evwoia, a good savor. These views appear to have been derived from the usages and opinions of the Hebrews. As early as the days of Noah, it is said of an offering made unto God by the grateful patriarch, " And the Lord smelled a sweet savor." The burnt sacrifice un. der the law is often spoken of as "a sweet savor unto the Lord.” Lev. i: 3. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and my bread for my sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savor unto me, shall ye observe to offer unto me in their due season : : continual burnt-offering, which was ordained in Mount Sinai for a sweet savor, a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord.” Num. 28 : 1, 2, 6. In conformity with this usage, the apostle speaks, (Eph. 5 : 2) of Christ as having "given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a street-swelling savor.” So also (Phil. 2: 18), he speaks of the token of remembrance sent him from the Philippians, as "an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice, acceptable, well-pleasing to God.” In the same manner, here in the text, he speaks of himself and of the brethren who labored with him in the ministry, as Christ's ev'woia to God, an offering made by Christ, sending forth a sweet savor, acceptable, well-pleasing to God; or, to drop the figure, he spoke of the ministry as instituted by Christ, with the Father's approbation, to spread the knowledge of the gospel through the world.
The theme suggested by the text, and to which I propose now to call your attention, is
THE MINISTRY OF THE GOSPEL_ITS WARRANT-WORK-RESULTS
1. Its Warrant. Whence is it? From heaven, or of man? Divine or human? Does the ministry derive its authority from the election and appointment of man, or from the calling and ordination of God ? It is of great importance, both to the ministry and to those to whom they minister, rightly to determine this point. If we come to you in our own name alone, or in the name of the church alone, you may hear us or not, receive us or not, at your pleasure. But if we come to you in the name of the great Head of the Church ; if we are appointed of God to the
1 ministry of the gospel ; if it is God who sends us to you with His message, then the case is vastly altered; then it is no light thing to make light of God's institution.
If, now, we refer to the epistles of Paul, we find a direct an. swer to these questions. As far as concerned his own ministry, he claimed for it the most ample Divine warrant. It was not a work into which he had thrust himself uncalled, of his own accord. It was not a work devised by man, to which he had devoted himself in obedience to the will of man, and in which he labored at the pleasure or bidding of any man or body of men whatever. Hear him, speaking to the Galatians (1:1), and calling himself “an apostle, not of men, neither by men, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead." He claims of the Philippians (1 : 1), and of the Colossians (1 : 2) to be regarded as "an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God." He introduces himself to Timothy (2 Tim. 1:1) in the same manner, on one occasion; and on another (1 Tim. 1 : 1) as “ an apostle of Jesus Christ, by commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ our hope.” In 1 Tim. 1: 12, he affirms that it was Christ who put him into the miuistry: "I think Christ Jesus, our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” In Gal. 1: 15, he claims to have been set apart to this work by the God who gave him birth : “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood."
And what he claimed for himself, he also claimed for his brethren. He refers the work of the ministry to the will or pleisure of God. 1 Cor. 1:21: "For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God; it pleased Gd by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” So (l Cor. 5: 18) he affirms the divine origin of thi: institution : "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to bimself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of re