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called, or the right of binding and loosing, is not entrusted to him alone, Matt. xviii. 18, 19. whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven,' &c. John XX. 23. “whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them. Nor does the passage of John, xxi. 15, &c. imply that the office of feeding the flock of Christ was committed to Peter in any higher sense than to the others; the meaning of the repetition is, that he who had fallen by denying his master thrice, is here, by a confession as often repeated, restored to the place from whence he fell; and that he who in his overweening self-confidence had maintained that he loved Christ more than all the rest, is at once reminded of the event by which his weakness had been manifested, and admonished that if he really loved Christ more than the other disciples, he should show that love by a greater assiduity in feeding Christ's flock, and more particularly his lambs; being in effect a repetition of the charge he had shortly before received, Luke xxii. 32. "when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.' For to feed the sheep of Christ, that is, to teach all nations, was the common office of all the apostles. Matt. xxviii. 19.
Granting, however, to Peter all that is claimed for him, what proof bave we that the same privileges are
while en.bryos and idiots, eremites and friars, white, black and gray, with all their trumpery,' are ' blown transverse' into the paradise of fools.
And now Saint Peter at heaven's wicket seems
To wait them with his keys- Paradise Lost, III. 484. In Lycidas, however, the allusion to the keys is introduced more seriously.
Last came, and last did go
continued to his successors ? or that these successors are the Roman pontiffs ?
The visible church is either universal or particular.
The universal visible church is the whole multitude of those who are called in every part of the world, and who openly worship God the Father through Christ in any place whatever, either individually, or in conjunction with others.
In any place whatever. John iv. 21. the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.' 1 Cor. i. 2. with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.'
Either individually, &c. for although it is the duty of believers to join themselves, if possible, to a church duly constituted,* Heb. x. 25. 'not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another; yet such as cannot do this conveniently, or with full satisfaction of conscience, are not to be considered as excluded from the blessing bestowed by God on the churches. 1 Kings xix. 10, 14. I, even I only, am left.' v. 18. yet
* This is an important passage, because it discloses Milton's real views upon a point on which his opinions have been represented in a more unfavourable light than they seem to have deserved. Bishop Newton remarks that in the latter part of his life he was not a professed member of any particular sect of Christians, he frequented no public worship, nor used any religious rite in his family. Whether so many different forms of worship as he had seen had made him indifferent to all forms; or whether he thought that all Christians had in some things corrupted the purity and simplicity of the gospel; or whether he disliked their endless and uncharitable disputes, and that love of dominion and inclination to persecution which he said was a piece of popery inseparable from all churches; or whether he believed that a man might be a good Christian without joining in any communion ; or whether he did not look upon himself as inspired, as wrapt up in God, and above all forms and ceremonies, it is not easy to determine : to his own master he standeth or falleth : but if he was of any denomination, he was a sort of Quietist, and was full of the interior of religion, though he so little regarded the exterior.' The note of Mr. Hawkins on this passage, (Hawkins's Edition of Milton's Poetical Works, Vol. I. p. 101.) deserves to be mentioned as containing the most candid and judicious estimate of Milton's character which has ever been taken. Many parts of the present treatise bear a remarkable testimony to the acuteness with which Mr. Hawkins has detected some of the errors of Milton's re
I have left me seven thousand in Israel.' John iv. 23. the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 1 Cor. i. 2. unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's.' 2 Cor. i. 1. unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia.' The universal church consists of ministers and
people.* 1 Cor. iii. 9. • we are labourers together with God; ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. 2 Cor. iv. 5. ' ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.' Matt. xx. 25-23. even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.' Rom. x. 14. “how shall they hear without a preacher ?'
ligious system, by the unprejudiced spirit in which he has examined the imperfect materials afforded him in the printed works. He observes as follows on Milton's alleged disuse of public worship, which is asserted on the authority of Toland. • The reproach that has been thrown upon him of frequenting no place of public worship in his latter days, should be received, as Dr. Symmons observes, with some caution. His blindness and other infirmities might be in part his excuse ; and it is certain that liis daily employments were always ushered in by devout meditation and study of the Scriptures.'
* Let no man cavil, but take the church of God as meaning the whole consistence of orders and members, as St. Paul's epistles express.' Of Reformation in England. Prose Works, I. 11.
Ministers are persons appointed by divine commission to perform various offices in the church of Christ.
By divine commission. Jer. xxiii. 21. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran; I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.' Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.
go ye therefore, and teach all nations'Rom. x. 15. • how shall they preach, except they be sent ?' 1 Cor. ii. 1. 'I came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.' v. 4. my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power.' v. 13. “which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.' 1 Tim. iv. 6. · if thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.'
Various offices. 1 Cor. xii. 28. God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Acts xx. 20, 21. “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.' 2 Tim. iv. 2. preach the word, be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.' 2 Pet. i. 12. "I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.'
Ministerial labours are of no efficacy in themselves, independently of divine grace. 1 Cor. iii. 7. neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase. A reward, however, is laid up for such as are faithful in the ministry.' Isai. xlix. 4. then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain ; yet surely my judgment is with Jehovah, and my work with my God.' Dan. xii. 3. they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for everand ever.
The ministers of the universal church are either extraordinary or ordinary. 1 Cor. xii. 28. as above. Eph. iv. 11–13. " he gave some, apostles ; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers ; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God'-: where it is observable that pastors and teachers are used synonymously; for the apostle does not say, he gave some, pastors, some, teachers, but merely adds the second or proper title as an explanation of the figurative term ; whereby is evinced the futility of the modern academical title of doctor, as distinguishing its possessor from other ministers of the word.* For the
* Titles of honour are spoken of in the same slighting manner in the prophetic view which Michael unfolds to Adam of the corruptions which should prevail in the latter times of the church.
Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names,