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Full text of "What is to become of the churches? or A layman's response to a minister's inquiries"



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UNITED STATES OF AMEI7TCA. 







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WHAT IS TO BECOME OE 
THE CHURCHES? 



OR, 



A LAYMAN'S RESPONSE, TO A 
MINISTER'S INQUIRIES. 



" What is the reason that the country is shorn of its strength 
so extensively ? What is to become of the Church, if we are not 
to have a different set of Ministers from what we have had of 
late ? " — A Doctor of Divinity y at a late Meeting of a Missionary 
Board. 



BOSTON : 

HENRY V. DEGEN, 22, CORNHILL. 
CANADA : R. D. WADSWORTH, HAMILTON, C. W, 

1859. 



,v/sr 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the j'ear 1868, by 

HENRY V. DEGBN, 
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts. 



INTRODUCTION, 



The following letter was written before the 
present remarkable work of grace commenced ; 
and although there has been a change, to some 
extent, in the Churches and ministry; yet the 
work itself has confirmed the opinions expressed 
in the following pages. Perhaps, for the first 
time since the Day of Pentecost, a powerful and 
general w^ork of grace has commenced, and in a 
veiy great degree progressed, outside of Church 
organizations, and independent of ministerial 
instrumentality. The divine approval of human 
efforts, — the individual, rather than corporate 
testimony and faithfulness, — the marked favour 
bestowed on lay labours, and the universality 
of the work, prove the unadaptedness, if not the 
incapacity, of the instrumentalities which, here- 
tofore, have been regarded as essentially, if not 
absolutely, necessary to the progress of such a 
work of grace. It has not been so much " the 
foolishness of preaching," as " the effectual 
fervent prayer of a righteous man ; " offered up, 
not within sectarian walls, but from the open, 
united, common praying-ground of the Lord's 
choosing, that has prevailed to bring sinners to 
repentance. The costly superstructures, — the 
expensive Sabbath accommodations of the pos- 
sessors of money, have been less favoured in 
witnessing the return of prodigals, than the 
unpretending rooms, where mutual cries were 



IV INTRODUCTION. 

raised, and common entreaties made. Soids 
" have washed their robes, and made them 
v^^hite in the blood of the Lamb ; " but the 
*' fountain opened," has not so often been found 
in the sanctuary, as out of it : less frequently 
among the leaders of the hosts of the Lord, 
than among those who follow. The Church has 
been used; but more to "gather up," than to 
" sow " and " reap : " less to win souls to 
Christ, than to shelter those already won ; and 
the humbling fact stands recorded in numerous 
localities, that when the work began, and search 
was made for the sons of Levi, when found, 
they had " not separated themselves," and were 
not in a suitable condition to lead those whose 
prayers were being answered, and who were on 
their way to Jerusalem ; or to give a certain 
sound to their trumpets, in calling sinners to 
repentance : and a spectacle, strange, as it was 
unnatural, has been witnessed, of souls athirst 
for salvation, passing the Church and her 
officers, to beseech an interest in the prayers of 
individual Christians, or the union bands of 
praying disciples : and when the Spirit con- 
vinced "of sin," men instinctively, as well as 
by the Spirit's teaching, fled to those who had 
the power of godliness, rather than the form 
and knowledge of it ; and clung to those in 
whom the image of Jesus most clearly appeared, 
wherever they were found; regarding whence 
they came, less important, than whither they 
were going. 



CONTENTS. 



Importance of the questions, 1 — How the questions 
^re to be answered, 4 — What part of the Church is to 
"be examined ? 4 — The present condition of the Chm'ch 
and ministry, 5 — The character of the present ministry, 
7 — The present preaching is not a savour of life, 8 — The 
two pastors: a contrast, 9 — The learned pastor, ]0 — 
The popular minister and prosperous Church, 11 — A 
quarter of a century's fiTxitless labour, 11 — Preaching to 
the learned, 12 — The standai'd of piety in the Chmxh 
and ministry contrasted, 12 — Low standard of piety in 
the ministry, leads to an inefficient Church, 13 — Preach- 
ing fi*om experience, 14 — Responsibilities of the ministry, 
15 — Doctors of divinity, 16 — The present condition of 
the Chm'ches, 17 — Sabbath observance, and the power 
of money, 18 — Sad condition of the Chm-ches, 19 — What 
is the cause of the present low state of piety? 22 — There 
is a want of consecration, 23 — When we are on promised 
ground, 24 — Indifference to the duty of consecration, 25 
— Apathy on questions of moral reform : the Temperance 
■question, 26 — The power and influence of slavery, 27 — 
There is respect of persons, 27 — Money rules the 
Churches : or, the poor wise man, 29 — The poor rich 
man : or, the weak strong man, 30 — Up town churches, 
and down town destitution, 31 — Simplicity of faith, and 
-answers to prayer, 32 — Mammon w^orshippers, 33 — 
Hoarding to perpetuate a name, 33^ — There is want of 
discipline, 35 — There is but little personal labom- for 
Chi'ist, 36 — Witnessing for Jesus is discouraged, 37 — 
The character of a confession for Jesus, 38 — What good 
men have said about witnessing for Jesus, 40 — Substi- 
tution of doubts and fears, for faith and love, 41 — The 
present standard of Christian attainment is too low, 43 — 
The present standard of Christian attainment is not 
attractive to the world, 44 — Effects of denominational 
controversies, 44 — A sectarian spirit interferes with sal- 
vation, 46 — Whom God honom-s, we should be slow to 
disparage, 47 — The attainable standard of piety is placed 
too low, 47 — A low standard of piety insures an inef- 
ficient Chm'ch, 48 — What the advocates of a fuU salvation 
believe, 50 — Opinions are not always founded on God's 
word, fi-om a personal examination, 50 — Has the Church 



VI CONTENTS. 

erred on the subject of a full salvation? 52 — The Mis- 
sionary in an "upper room" prayer meeting:, 52 — The 
Missionai-y in disrepute with his brethren, 54 — Why the 
Missionary was in disrepute among his brethren, 55 — 
Caste, bigamy, and slavery, in Christ's honsehold, 57 — 
The tronbles of the simple minded, 57 — The views of the 
advocates of a full salvation, 58 — What the advocates of 
a full salvation do not teach, 59 — What the advocates 
of a full salvation do teach, 61 — Consequences of not 
repenting, and turning from sin, 66 — Where, and how, 
some of God's people die, 67 — The schools of the Pro- 
phets unfavourable to growth in grace, 68 — Tyranny of 
opinion, 68 — Unwilling offerings, 69 — The covetous man 
unrebuked, but not unhonoured, 70 — There is caste in 
Christ's household, 71 — The power of fashion, 73 — 
Liberal Christianity, and ecclesiastical " collations," 74 — 
Wearing of gold and costly array, 75 — Present labour 
and postponing faith, 76 — Christian feasts, 77 — Church 
Christians, 78 — There is trifling with the marriage rela- 
tion, and the commands of God, 79 — Christians pray for 
righteous, but vote for wicked rulers, 80 — A lazy ortho- 
doxy, 81 — Fighting Christ's enemies with their own 
weapons, 82 — The standing still policy, and my neigh- 
bour's soul, 83 — The Church is diseased, 84 — What 
unchecked evils will produce, 84 — The future seen from 
the present and past, 86 — The effect upon the Church 
of continued evils, 87 — The oxen, the farms, and the 
wives, 87 — Hope is found in returning unto God, 88 — 
How we are to return unto God, 89 — The simple process 
of returning unto God, 90 — The minister's consecration, 
90 — Judgment must begin at the House of God, 92 — 
A living Christianity, 92 — The responsibilities of the 
doubting, undecided Christian, 93 — The true condition 
of many Christians, 93 — The great want of undecided 
Christians, 95 — The consecration God requires, 96 — The 
results of consecration, 97 — In what sense Christ bore 
our sins and carried our sorrows, 98 — A life of union 
and oneness with Christ, 100 — The narrow way, and the 
angels' path, 100 — The amount of religion we may have, 
101— The way of faith, and its results, 102— What the 
life of faith involves, 103 — The glorious way of faith, 
105— Examining for fruit, 105— The Judgment, 106— 
The recognition, 107. 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE 
CHURCHES ? 



" What is the reason that the country is shorn of its 
strength so extensively ? What is to become of the 
Churches, if we are not to have a different set of 
ministers from what we have had of late?" — A 
Doctor of Divinity, at a late Meeting of a Mu» 
sionary Board, 

IMPORTANCE OF THE QUESTIONS. 

To THE Kev. Dr. . 

Dear Brother, — Many montlis have 
elapsed since I first noticed tlie above para- 
graph ; and when I did so, my heart was pained ; 
and I said, " Who ! who ! will answer these 
solemn and important questions ? Will not the 
honoured brother whose heart the Lord has 
touched and led to propound them to the Ame- 
rican Israel?" I had not the pleasure of your 
personal acquaintance, but from what I knew of 
you, and from the fact you had asked such 
questions, I was led to believe you were pecu- 

B 



2 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

liarly well qualified to answer them in the spirit in 
which they were asked, and with that faithful- 
ness their importance demanded ; and as I 
noted them for future reference, I once more 
said, " Will not the brother, or some other com- 
petent person, undertake to respond to such 
inquiries ? " The occasion which gave them 
utterance was solemn, and the character of the 
brother who propounded them added force and 
interest to them ; but more than these, were the 
amazing interests involved in them. I looked 
out upon the ministry and membership, and in 
sorrow dropped my head, and said, *' Alas ! alas ! 
and who shall answer such interrogatories ?" and 
then I turned to the multitudes in our midst, 
who were passing rapidly and unconcernedly to 
their final account, unprepared to meet their 
Judge; and to "the dark places of the earth, 
full of the habitations of cruelty ; " and again 1 
repeated the question, " Who ! who ! will respond 
to such questions ? " And during the many 
months that have since passed, as often as my 
eyes rested on the note, the question would in- 
stantly arise, " Will not some one who is com- 
petent, undertake to inform us what is to become 
of the Churches ? " But, so far as I know, the 
questions remain unanswered; and this, for 
many reasons, is to be deeply regretted : and as 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 3 

no one who is competent seems disposed to un- 
dertake the duty, I have concluded in a brief 
manner, not to answer your inquiries, — for this I 
have not the ability to do, — but to so far point 
out some of the characteristics of the piety of 
the ministry and membership of the day, and 
the consequences resulting therefrom, as to call 
attention to the subject ; in the hope that suf- 
ficient interest may thus be awakened, to induce 
some brother, who is competent to do justice 
to the subject, to assume the duty of respond- 
ing to your inquiries ; and if what I shall 
be enabled to say shall accomplish this, I 
shall not have laboured in vain. Besides, 
as we are more or less influenced in our views 
and opinions by the position occupied, it 
may not render what I shall say less worthy 
of notice, as from my humble position, I am 
obliged to look up to the ministry; for the 
sheep, in so constantly looking up to the shep- 
herd, become quite familiar with his looks, 
habits, walk, life, &c., perhaps even more accu- 
rately than they are known to himself; and it 
is not impossible, but that such a lowly position 
may enable me to judge with some degree of 
accuracy on points, where a more elevated posi- 
tion might overlook, or but casually observe. 



4 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 
HOW THE QUESTIONS AKE TO BE ANSWERED. 

I DO not pretend to sit in judgment on my 
brethren, much less the anointed of the Lord. 
Ear be this from me. Yet I do propose to 
examine the present state of the Ministry and 
Churches in some of their professions, practices, 
opinions, attainments, influences, fee, and, so 
far as I am able, test them by the word of 
God ; and if, in doing this, the judging by 
" their fruits," there should seem to be harsh- 
ness or uncharitableness, I hope it may not be 
thought to be designedly so ; for, to correctly 
understand the situation and prospects of the 
Church and Ministry, we must look at them as 
they are, and watch their influence on the world ; 
and if in describing these, the plainness of 
speech demanded, should seem severe, it ought 
not to be deemed censorious. At all events, in 
what I have to say, while I speak with that 
plainness which should ever characterize the 
Christian, I shall endeavour to judge charitably ; 
remembering that " He that judgeth, shall be 
judged." 

WHAT PART OF THE CHtJRCH IS TO BE 
EXAMINED ? 

To ascertain,' " why the country is shorn of 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHXJKCHES ? 5 

its strength so extensively," and to judge of 
" what is to become of the Churches, if we are 
not to have a different set of Ministers from 
what we have had of late," it w^ill be necessary 
to examine somewhat in detail the characteristics 
of the Ministry and the Churches ; and, to avoid 
prolixity, I will confine what I have to say on 
these points, to that part of the ministry and 
membership, which give character to the whole, 
and which are regarded as Christians, and who 
are supposed to walk worthily before the world. 
There is another class, small in numbers, but 
strong in faith, who live when dead, and preach 
when in their graves ; and there is still another 
class, more numerous than this, which perhaps 
in the judgment of charity, would not be re- 
garded as having passed from death to life, — so 
manifest is their love of the world. It is not of 
either of these classes that I propose to speak, 
but of that great, intermediate, or middle class, 
which from numbers, wealth, position, &c., give 
character and tone to the whole. 

THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THE CHURCH 
AND MINISTRY. 

What, then, is the present condition of the 
church and ministry? and. What is their in- 
fluence on the world ? Judged by **' their 
B 3 



6 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

fruits," this condition, I feel constrained to say, 
is not one of as much usefulness to the world, or 
profit to themselves, as is desirable ; and, judged 
by the word of God, it falls short of its 
demands. The Church is designed to be a 
light, and Ministers are standard bearers. The 
mission of the Church is the glory of God, in 
the salvation of souls ; and to this high calling 
should be wholly consecrated. The work of 
soul-saving, under God, is not only a respon- 
sible, but a peculiar work ; requiring cleanness 
of hands, pureness of heart, blamelessness of life, 
and an active, living faith. Those who engage in 
it, are savours of life or death ; and which, under 
God, to a great extent, depends on themselves. 
They are representatives, exhibiting to the world 
the life and power of the ~ religion they profess. 
They live and move amongst those who still 
require a sign, and whose book of divinity is the 
lives and practices of Christ's professed fol- 
lowers. They are commanded to ask for grace 
to enable them to discharge their solemn duties, 
and the promise is, "Ye shall receive." The 
power of heaven is placed at their disposal, and 
the promise of heaven's King is, " Lo, I am with 
you alway." The provisions are ample, the 
motives to action infinite, and the results con- 
templative of such amazing magnitude as to 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUUCHES ? 7 

defy calculation ; and yet, moving in the midst 
of such influences and responsibilities, what is 
the Church doing ? 



THE CHARACTER OF THE PRESENT MINISTRlf. 

The Ministry is learned, and often enters the 
pulpit to win souls to Christ, by a presentation 
of the philosophy of religion, rather than religion 
itself. The truth is preached, the seed is there ; 
but obscured by a "beaten" covering. Re- 
sults prove, that in many instances, the Gospel 
is presented in human, and not Divine strength ; 
that the attempt is made to turn men to Christ, 
not in God's way, but by a process of reason- 
ing, and displays of human wisdom, which often 
leave the subject so obscured, as to be quite 
unintelligible to the great majority of hearers. 
This was most clearly not St. Paul's method 
of preaching ; for he spake not " with enticing 
words of man's wisdom;" nor yet, "with ex- 
cellency of speech or of wisdom;" nor 'Svith 
wisdom of words ;" that the faith of his hearers 
" should not stand in the wisdom of man, but 
in the power of God;" for he was but an 
" earthen vessel," " that the excellency of the 
power might be of God, and not of himself;" 
and in accordance with such teaching, the 
author of Mammon, not long before his death, 



8 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF TPIE CHURCHES? 

said, *' Modern preaching is too much to the 
head, rather than the heart ; too much the man 
instead of Christ ; and too much the reasonable- 
ness of Christianity, rather than Christianity 
itself." 

THE PRESENT PREACHING IS NOT A SAVOUR 
OP LIFE. 

It seems to me, that there is great truth in 
these remarks ; and that there is an obvious 
display of human wisdom, but little simplicity, 
but little dependence on the Spirit, — a strong 
tendency to self-reliance, and an evident desire 
for self-glorification; but whether these things 
be so or not, the painful fact exists, that the 
Gospel, as presented in too many instances, is 
not a savour of life ; and the responsibility of the 
failure rests with man, and not God. Mi- 
nisters preach, and men perish; and one man 
labours, and his successor enters into his labours, 
not of winning souls to Christ, but of keeping 
peace and promoting tranquillity in Zion ; and 
thus years pass away, and with them genera- 
tions of men, unprepared to meet their God ; 
passing from beneath the pulpits, which for a 
lifetime had been sounding in their ears, to 
a[)pear before their God, to give an account of the 
kind of sermons they had heard ; and although 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 9 

the chaff which served to obscure the tmth, will 
not avail them to excuse ; there is a point in the 
distance, when inquisition will be made for the 
blood of souls. It is not but that truth is 
preached ; but it is preached in human strength. 
It is not Holy Ghost preaching. This, it seems 
to me, is the general rule, with many noble 
exceptions. 



THE TWO PASTORS. A CONTRAST. 

Men cannot be reasoned into heaven; nor 
will human wisdom draw souls to Christ ; as 
facts abundantly and painfully prove. Let one 
or two sample cases suffice. Some years since, 
in the place where I then resided, among others, 
were two Ministers, with whom I was intimately 

acquainted. A , my Pastor, was a learned 

man, with far more than average talents, and 
had enjoyed unusual advantages for the position 
he occupied. His sermons were learned, logical, 
and scriptural • but unattended with any ap- 
parent good results in winning souls to Christ. 

B , was a self-made man, without a " liberal" 

education, and with only " fair " talents. His 
sermons were simple, but very practical. There 
were no attempted displays of human wisdom or 
eloquence ; but revivals constantly followed his 



10 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

preaching ; and the secret of his success was to 
be found in the fact, that he lived very near to 
God. He was a consecrated Chj^stian ; and 
lived but to glorify God. 

THE LEARNED PASTOR. 

In my neighbourhood resides one of the 
ablest Ministers in the denomination to which I 
belong; and though I had often met him in 
Council, I had never heard him preach. Being in 
a distant city, I went on the Sabbath to a cele- 
brated church, and was pleased to find my neigh- 
bour in the pulpit, as I had long desired to hear 
him ; but when he had finished his sermon, I was 
pained and mortified ; for while the discourse 
was exceedingly able, and so learned, I had 
great difficulty in following the train of argu- 
ment; there was not religion enough in it, 
to have given it the character of a sermon, if 
it had been delivered elsewhere. As he pro- 
ceeded in his argument, exploring the fields of 
learning, I looked about on the congregation to 
see what was the effect of such preaching ; and 
while many were dozing, the mass were evidently 
making an effort to follow and understand the 
distinguished speaker; and that was called 
preaching the Gospel ; but it was not such 
preaching as is followed by conversions. 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 11 

THE POPULAR MINISTER AND PROSPEROUS 
CHURCH. 

I KNOW a Minister, whose praise is iu aU tlie 
the Churches, who, for a quarter of a century, 
had occupied one field of labour ; until, 
from a very feeble beginning, his membership 
numbered over six hundred ; and yet, so far as 
man was permitted to see, not one of them had 
been converted under his ministry ; nor any of 
those who had died during that long period; 
and still, as a Minister, he stood high ; and his 
Church was regarded as prosperous, as there was 
outward peace, and the rapid growth of the 
place augmented the membership. 

A QUARTER OF A CENTURY's FRUITLESS 
LABOUR. 

More than one fourth of a century had 
passed away, and with it many hundred souls 
from within the sound of that time-honom-ed 
beU ; many of whom had, from Sabbath to 
Sabbath, year after year, obeyed its call to enter 
"the first Church," to listen to a learned, ortho- 
dox discourse ; but alas ! " the first Church," 
nor its learned Doctor of Divinity, nor the 
weekly prayer meeting, had been instrumental 
in their salvation. Children, whose parents the 
same popular Doctor of Divinity had joined in 



12 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

wedlock, and by whom they had been baptized, 
grew up, and lived, and died, under the same 
influences, unchanged by the Holy Spirit. The 
Gospel had not proved a "savour of life," through 
the instrumentality of '' the first Church ; " and 
yet it was generally considered to be a prosper- 
ous Church. It was orthodox, peaceful, wealthy, 
and influential ; not in winning souls to Christ ; 
but in gaining and maintaining a high position 
in public estimation. 

PREACHING TO THE LEARNED. 

The preaching is too much to the head ; and 
in too many instances beyond the comprehension 
of the unlearned. The aim seems to be to edify, 
if not convert, the most learned and intellectual ; 
and with what success, let the word of God, and 
the records of the Church testify. Such sermons 
do not produce godliness ; and those possessing 
much learning and great intellects, when humbled, 
ascribe, under God, to simplicity of presenta- 
tion of truth, and not human wisdom and much 
learning, the instrumentality of their conversion. 
When will Ministers understand this truth ? 

the STANDARD OF PIETY IN THE CHURCH 
AND MINISTRY CONTRASTED. 

A REGARD to truth compcls me to say, that 
the standard of piety in the Ministry, is below 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUKCHES ? 13 

that of considerable numbers in their Churches ; 
and when wrestling prayer brings blessings, the 
lowly chamber, and not the well-filled libraiy, is 
likely to be the scene of that agony. Much 
learning may not produce madness, neither does 
it seem to foster humility, or reveal the humble 
boldness of faith -, and the " enticing words of 
man's wisdom " are still relied upon to win 
souls to Christ, if not to exalt the creature. 
There is a disposition to preach to the rich and 
fashionable; while to "the poor," the Gospel is 
not very generally preached. Unlike Christ, 
many of His Ministers do not go after sinners, 
but wait for them to come to Christ's ambassa- 
dors; and while the rich become Gospel hardened, 
the great mass of the poor pass away, with but 
very little knowledge of the Gospel, except what 
has been presented to them through the lives of 
their more highly favoured neighbours ; and 
such exhibitions of divinity, are not always 
transforming in their influence. 

a.OW STANDARD OF PIETY IN THE MINISTRY, 
LEADS TO AN INEFFICIENT CHURCH. 

The truth is, the Ministry do not enter into 
a high state of grace themselves ; and thus en- 
courage by their example, if not precept, a low 
state of piety ; and, of consequence, an inefficient 

c 



14 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

Church. They may talk about high attainment, 
and great usefulness; yet without the posses- 
sion of the one, and the practice of the other, 
their preaching is but as sounding brass. It is 
not a savour of life ; and under it, men become 
hardened. 

PREACHING FROM EXPERIENCE. 

The Lord does sometimes, it is tme, speak 
through a Balaam, or a Caiaphas ; but ordi- 
narily, He uses for good, only such as speak 
from an " abundant " heart, and of that which 
they " do know," and can testify of that which 
they " have seen." To be made a blessing, they 
must first be blessed ; and if thev would kindle 
a fire on other hearts, the ''live coal" must first 
be applied to their own " lips." If they would 
*' comfort others," it must be by reason of the 
comfort "wherewith they themselves are com- 
forted of God." To be successful, they must 
preach from experience. They must testify, as 
well as preach. If they demand obedience, they 
must themselves obey ; if they ask for consecra- 
tion, their own bodies must be "living sacri- 
fices ; " and if they call for holiness, they must 
themselves be holy. 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OP THE CHURCHES ? 15 
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE MINISTRY. 

Truly, the responsibilities of a Minister of 
Jesus Christ, under any circumstances, are ex- 
ceedingly great ; but under the light, and the 
peculiar influences, favourable and adverse, of 
this age, they are really appalling. He has a 
noon day light, when those of understanding 
'' shall instruct many ; " but he also has the en- 
ervating, accommodating, inquiring spirit of an 
age, when even " some of them of understanding 
shall fall, to try them." No common measure 
of faith and faithfulness becomes the Minister 
of this day. He may fan his conscience with 
the reflection that he equals, perhaps, excels, 

father A , or Dr. B ; yet where they 

fail in imitating Christ, duty still calls him. 
The *' tree is known by his own fruit," and not 
that of another. The tests are plain and simple. 
They are "signs" and "seals" of God's own 
appointment. Are souls converted, and saints 
quickened? Here, where the visible guides 
public opinion, he may succeed in deceiving 
himself and others ; but the judgment will reveal 
how far the " love of Christ " or the fear of man 
influenced ministerial conduct. Sermons seen 
in the light of eternity 1 Motive known ! The 
value of souls understood ! Yes, the inquisition, 
c 2 



16 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

not of Pope's and Cardinals, but of the Lamb, 
mud he met. The search will be for the blood 
of lost souls, not for heresies. It will not be in 
a dark, dismal cell; but before an assembled 
universe ; and in the presence of the Lamb, and 
where the lamp of Calvary shines. No instru- 
ments of torture will be applied ; but those eyes 
which saw Nathaniel under the tree will be 
there ; and " the books were opened ; and 
another book was opened, which is the book of 
life." 

DOCTORS OF DIVINITY. 

The Church is sprinkled all over with D.D.*s, 
and there is a feverish eagerness to secure such 
baubles ; which, like riches, must be left behind ; 
as such titles would sound strange where the song 
is, " not unto us ; " and where the Lazarus's 
are " Kings and Priests ; " and where love, faith, 
and meekness, shine more than knowledge. 
Some good men have such titles bestowed upon 
them ; but the titles only remind them of re- 
sponsibility, and not of greatness ; and tend to 
humility, more than pride ; and instead of fos- 
tering a spirit for a well-filled head, create a 
desire for a clean heart, freedom from sin, and a 
useful life. 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 17 
THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THE CHURCHES. 

If you turn from the Ministry to the Churches, 
you there find a corresponding state of things ; 
for " there shall be like people, like priest." If 
the ministers preach themselves, or rely too much 
on human wisdom, the Churches "love to have 
it so." If you go to the sanctuary on the Lord's 
day, you will find a majority of the members in 
their seats, if the weather be favourable ; and al- 
though there is not seriousness, there is decorum, 
showing that the head, if not the heart, is engaged. 
If you retire to the family circle, in many in- 
stances, you will encounter religious conversation, 
with worldly tendencies, or the reading of books 
of doubtful religious influences ; while the Bible 
lies quietly on the shelf, to be looked at morning 
and evening. If you take your stand by the 
closet, you will notice that most professors will 
enter there, probably, but once a day ; and the 
devotions wiU indicate, that a sense of duty, not 
love, induced the visit ; while others will visit 
the closet but once a week, which, of itself, 
shows the motive. If you go to the weekly 
prayer-meeting, in a church of three to six hun- 
dred members, even when the weather is favour- 
able, you will rarely find more than twenty-five 
to fifty present ; and these, mostly females ; and 
c 3 



18 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

if you inquire the reason of the absence of so 
many, especially of the male members, you will 
probably be told that the fatigues of the day, or 
present business duties, prevents a more general 
attendance. If you gc %to the world, it will be 
difficult to find the members of Christ's body, 
by reason of their resemblance to the world ; and 
if you do find them, and ask them if they have 
daily peace and communion with God, they will 
answer in the negative ; and if you ask them if, 
when they pray for a revival of God's work, or 
for other blessings they expect to receive, they 
will answer no ; and if you ask them if they are 
really and truly consecrated to God, with a little 
hesitation, they will again say no ; and if you 
ask them if they should be, without hesitation, 
they will say yes. The truth is, they serve God 
reluctantly, and are not impelled by love, but 
present unwilling offerings. There is no heart 
in their services ; for the Spirit leads where there 
is a desire to be led ; and when He retires, 
duties become crosses. 

SABBATH OBSERVANCE, AND THE POWER OF 
MONEY. 

If on the Sabbath, when seated in God's 
house, listening to a faithful exhibition of His 
truth, on the subject of Sabbath observance, you 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 19 

hear the screeching whistle of the steam engine, 
sounding its defiant notes, and proclaiming 
heaven daring acts of rebellion against the au- 
thority of the great Jehovah ; you are reminded 
that such acts are jointly produced, by the money 
of the professed friend, and the real and open 
enemy of God ; and if in your simplicity, you 
ask how such acts are permitted under such 
preaching, the answer will be, that it would dis- 
turb the peace and harmony that prevails to deal 
with such cases ; therefore, they are tolerated ; 
and the professed followers of the Lamb, many 
of them office-bearers in His Church, deliberately^ 
constantly, and mimolestedly , continue to send 
forth their trains and steamers on God's holy 
day. Money laughs at discipline ; rules in God's 
house ; tramples upon His commands ; and loads 
His church with sins tliat drag souls down to hell. , 

SAD CONDITION OF THE CHURCHES. 

Such seems to be the condition of the Churches. 
There is but little prevailing prayer, little self- 
denial, little faith, and but little fruit. There is 
the form of prayer, but the spirit and power are 
wanting ; and when men ask, they do not expect 
to receive. Groans and lamentations are heard 
on every side ; and instead of victories through 
faith, there are defeats through fear and unbe- 



20 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUKCHES ? 

lief; and the cry, "O wretched man that I am," 
is pertinaciously adhered to, where there should 
be the song, " Behold, what manner of love the 
Father hath bestowed upon us." There seems 
to be a disposition to rely on policy, to the ex- 
clusion of the Spirit; and to manoeuvre men 
into heaven, rather than to pray them there. 
There is an evident " corruption from the sim- 
plicity that is in Christ." Men are dropping 
into eternity, who for years have been listening 
to such prayers, and for whose salvation no ade- 
quate efforts had been made; and God's own 
people will take part in placing their bodies in 
the earth, believing their souls to have been 
ushered, unprepared, into the presence of their 
Maker ; and not only be unmoved, but return to 
their avocations as they would from any ordi- 
nary duty ; when, perhaps, the departed one 
was a neighbour to whom the warning, entreat- 
ing voice had never been raised. They do not 
say, nor mean, "Am I my brother's keeper," 
but they do mean that such is the custom of the 
Church ; that others do as they have done ; and 
propped up by such a slender support, they go 
on thinking, "to-morrow shall be as this day." 
In some places, generation after generation rises 
up and passes away, while the Church proceeds 
on in the even tenor of her way, without being the 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 21 

instrument of the salvation of one or but few 
souls. If there be outward peace and tran- 
quillity, if agitating subjects are kept out, and 
unity and concord prevails within ; though that 
concord results from slothfulness, and tends to 
death ; it would seem, that if there was not 
satisfaction, there was not, at least, a desire for 
a revival sufficiently strong to disturb the general 
harmony which prevails; as revivals not only 
sift members, that they which are approved may 
be known, but ruffles the outward surface, as well 
as the inward man. Indeed, revivals are not 
expected or laboured for, except in the distance. 
There is not an expectation of present results. 
In warm weather, men are too much engaged in 
secular pursuits to attend especially to the things 
of eternity ; and in the winter, lectures, visiting, 
&c., crowd out special efforts; and thus, the 
year passes away without a revival, and men go 
down to hell from the very vestibule of the 
Church. Ordinarily, the result corresponds 
with our faith and works ; and if these put off 
descending mercies to an unknown, distant future, 
the result will not be different from our expecta- 
tion. If we are willing to remain lifeless, and 
let souls perish, the result will correspond with 
our faith. God's time is now; and harvest 
work is present labour, looking to present results. 



22 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 



WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF THE PRESENT LOW 
STATE OF PIETY? 

Such being the condition of the Churches, 
the question arises, What is the cause of such a 
state of things ? Why is it, that the Gospel, 
when committed to such hands, is not more 
generally a savour of life ? Why do Ministers 
preach Christ for a life time, in some instances, 
with no apparent good results ? Why do Chris- 
tians continue to pray for years, for the salvation 
of souls, without obtaining their requests ? Why 
is there so little self-denial, and so much confor- 
mity to the world among the professed followers 
of Christ? There must be a radical defect 
somewhere, or the Gospel is not what we have 
been taught to believe it is. If, by the " foolish- 
ness of preaching," men are converted, and our 
preaching does not produce this result, there is a 
fault somewhere. Doubtless, there are many 
defects, and different individuals may find them 
in various places, and under different aspects ; 
and believing they are not so difficult to find as 
to forbid inquiry, I will endeavour to point out 
a few of them, hoping that what I may fail in 
bringing to view, others may be induced to 
notice. 



TVHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 23 
THERE IS A WANT OF CONSECRATION. 

It appears to me that the first, and in est 
formidable defect, the one which underlies and 
overrides all others, and which in a measure is 
made responsible for some others, is to be found 
in the fact, that the Christians of this day, are 
not fully and v^Tiolly consecrated to the service 
of their Master. I never yet found a Christian 
who did not admit this duty ; yet but few by 
their works acknowledge, or in their lives give 
evidence, of its faithful discharge; while they 
know that if they are not wholly given up to the 
service and will of God, they are deliberately, 
constantly, and consciously withholding from 
Him, what He demands. This is a serious 
charge, — yet solemn truth; and from it there 
is no escape. The command is to Christians, 
" Come out from among them, and be ye 
separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the 
unclean tiling ; and I will receive you, and will 
be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My 
sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 
That this means consecration, is evident from 
the following verse, which says, " Having there- 
fore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse 
ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and 
spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 



24 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

Having consecrated ourselves, we are then re- 
quired, by faith in the promises to receive us, 
and to become our Pather, to " cleanse our- 
selves from all filthiness." Again, the Apostle 
says, " I beseech you therefore, brethren, by 
the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies 
a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable unto God, 
which is your reasonable service." And yet 
again, we are commanded that whether we eat 
or drink, or whatever we do, the gloiy of God 
should be the object. 

WHEN WE ARE ON PROMISED GROUND. 

The truth is, we are not on promised ground, 
until this solemn consecration is made; for it is 
only on condition that we do thus come out 
from the world, that the promise is to receive 
us ; and it is when, and only when, we seek 
God with all the heart, that He will be found of 
us. God is the Eather of all converted persons ; 
but becomes especially so, and in a peculiar 
manner, " dwells in " us, and " walks in " us, 
and "puts His law" in our ''minds," and 
" writes it " in our " hearts," when fully conse- 
crated to His service and will. 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES 'f 25 

INDIEFERENCE TO THE DUTY OF CONSE- 
CRATION. 

If you ask the members of your Church, if 
they are wholly given up to Grod, they will say. 
No ; and strange as it may seem, they will 
appear to regard it of but little moment ; when 
in truth, it is the foundation stone, under God, 
of the human superstructure to faith, love, and 
obedience. Is it to be wondered at that such 
Christians do not prevail in prayer, or enjoy 
communion with their God ? Nay, is it not a 
wonder that the Lord's forbearance and long- 
sutfering do not cease, and "judgment and justice 
assume the habitation of His throne ? " I know 
I ought to be a wholly consecrated Christian, 
that I ought to be a living sacrifice, that I 
ought to do all things with a view to the glory 
of God; yet I do not, neither do I seriously 
attempt it, or sorrow at my neglect of these 
duties ; and then I think it strange, that I do 
not have liberty in prayer, and communion with 
the Father of lights. I look at the Bible, 
and find the command is explicit, and the 
promise, that " I can do all things through 
Christ;" and then I look at my neighbours, 
especially the Ministers, the leaders and teachers 
of God's children, and beholding almost every- 

D 



26 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

where, a palpable neglect of this solemn duty, I 
say, " Go thy way for this time ; " when I have 
a more suitable opportunity, when afflictions 
come, or death approaches, I will then attend to 
this matter. Are such professors " living epis- 
tles ? " Can there be an intimate communion 
between such souls and their God ? 

APATHY ON QUESTIONS OF MOEAL EEFORM 

THE TEMPERANCE QUESTION. 

There is apathy on, if not opposition to, 
questions of moral reform. Temperance had to 
fight its way into the Church, over the broken 
bodies and ruined souls of many within her 
folds ; and its tenure there, even now, is pre- 
carious and uncertain. The cry was, " Peace ! 
peace ! " while the world was swimming into 
perdition, and the Church spotted all over with 
the contagion. Liquor robbed, murdered, made 
paupers, ruined families, destroyed souls, and 
demanded taxes ; but the Church was slow to 
see it ; and even now, members in good stand- 
ing continue the traffic in the poison : and if 
they do not fall on their knees, and ask the 
blessing of Heaven on their sales, they place in 
the treasury of the Lord the avails thereof. 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 27 
THE POWER AND INFLUENCE OF SLAVERY. 

Slavery, which forbids men to read God's 
word, — imprisons helpless women for teaching 
children to read the Bible ; — that forces millions 
into fornication, — that chattelizes the man, and 
the faith, and love, and spirit of prayer in the 
Christian, had to walk into the Senate, and 
substitute the club for argument ; and murder, 
and scalp, and violate women on the plains of 
Kansas, in carrying out its schemes for subduing 
freedom, before the Ministry and the Church 
could see danger, or apprehend duty ; and when 
slavery forced freedom into a compact to turn 
the hungry and naked from the doors of Christ's 
followers, Ministers could take the day set apart 
for thanksgiving for liberty and other blessings, 
and use Christ's pulpits to preach obedience to 
such a law. O, was not that a strange sight 
indeed ? and if it caused Christendom to mourn, 
how must it have been regarded in Heaven ? 

THERE IS RESPECT OF PERSONS. 

Another defect is to be found in the fact, 
that there is respect of persons. Let your eyes 
rest upon the pew seater, as he directs to a seat 
the stranger. Though a dull man, yet by reason 
of experience, his practised eye, at a glance, 
D 2 



28 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

takes the measure of the new-comer ; and he is 
placed in that position, by common acquies- 
cence, if not consent, allotted to his quality 
of cloth, with as much precision as the bill- 
holder classes his number one, two, and three 
bills. The cloth, aided by certain attention 
to dress, and not worth or age, guides the 
man who does the bidding of the Church. 
The gold ring gets a good seat; while the 
humble follower of Jesus, even him whose 
'' hoary head is a crown of glory," and whose 
" face " we should " honour," whose blessing 
consists in a clean heart, and meetness for his 
Master's presence, is placed in Ms allotted seat. 
Money takes precedence in God's house, over 
grace; and he to whom the Lord has given 
silver and gold, sits above him to whom He has 
given faith that shakes kingdoms, and gives 
direction to events. Now for one moment let 
us listen to the Lord's commentary on such 
acts : " If there come into your assembly, a 
man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel ; and 
there come in also a poor man in vile raiment, 
and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay 
clothing, and say unto him, ' Sit thou here in a 
good place ; ' and say to the poor, * Stand thou 
there, or sit here under my footstool ; ' are ye 
not then partial in yourselves. If ye have 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 29 

respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are con- 
vinced of the law, as transgressors." It would 
be difficult to find language in which more 
plainly and pointedly to condemn such conduct ; 
and yet, with these words before them, and as 
they fall from ministerial lips, in God's own 
house, and on His holy Sabbath, these commands 
are Tiahitually disregarded by the Lord's own 
people. It win not do to say, that this is a 
small matter, and does but little injury; for 
it is not so small as to have escaped the eye of 
Omniscience, or too trivial to have prevented 
specific directions being given ; and will not 
escape the same Omniscient eye at the judg- 
ment ; for He who hath said that He " regardeth 
not the rich more than the poor," will not hold 
them guiltless who do so. 

MONEY RULES THE CHURCHES : OR, THE POOR 
WISE MAN. 

Money, to a considerable extent, rules the 
Churches. The men who fill the offices, and 
give tone to public sentiment, both in things 
spiritual and temporal, are the possessors of 
money. They may, or may not, have much 
piety; if there is a tolerably correct outward 
walk, with money, the way is open for prefer- 
ment, and weight and influence in council. The 

D 3 



30 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

poor wise man is still unnoticed. He may, by 
his prayers, prevent the judgments of heaven 
from descending upon a graceless Church, and 
agonize in his closet until mercies descend ; and 
when he enters his Father's house, he cheerfully 
takes the humble position assigned him by the 
will of those who control God's house. The 
eyes of his brethren are not upon him ; but he 
is as dear to his Father as the apple of His eye. 
He is not consulted on matters pertaining to the 
interests of Zion; yet the Holy Ghost is his 
teacher ; and when refreshings are approaching, 
he is the first to see and improve them. 

THE POOR RICH MAN : OR, THE WEAK 
STRONG MAN. 

When I first entered the Church, I found 
such a brother in it ; and I very soon learned to 
appreciate his worth ; and my eyes would watch 
the door to catch a glance of his happy face, 
as he approached the place of prayer ; and, some- 
how, I always wanted a seat by his side. He 
was an uncommonly plain looking person, and 
very poor, but mighty before God in prayer. 
Twenty years have since rolled aw^ay, and still I 
hear that voice, and listen to those earnest cries. 
It was difficult to resist the impression that God 
was very near to him; and yet, he would no 



IVHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUKCHES?31 

more have been consulted as to the propriety 
of extra meetings, or on any point purely 
spiritual, than he would have been asked for a 
hundred dollars towards the Minister's salary. 
Such cases may be rare ; but if it be so, it is 
because of the absence of such piety, and not 
the influence of money. 

UP TOWN CHURCHES, AND DOWN TOWN 
DESTITUTION. 

The simplicity of the Gospel is well nigh 
lost. Look at the style and expense of many 
of our Churches. Enter them, and note the 
provision there made for the poor. Yisit the 
'' up town " Churches in New York ; and then 
roam amidst the " down town " destitution ; 
and remember, that '' to the poor the Gospel is 
preached." When, where, and how, can these 
multitudes hear the Gospel ? They cannot pay 
to hear it ; and they could not enter the Sabbath 
abodes of the rich, even if permitted. Silver 
and gold they have not ; but they have souls 
that must live for ever ; and who cares for those 
souls ? Is it the occupants of the " up town " 
pulpits and slips? Is the Gospel preached to 
the poor in the city of New York ? Yet the 
" up town " religious powder, exerts a controlling 
influence in our land; and have, perhaps, as 



32 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

much piety, as the " up town " professors in 
other places. 



PRAYER. 

The simplicity of faith is but little seen. 
Christians live by faith ; yet how seldom is it 
exercised. Men pray, but not in faith. They 
do not expect answers to their prayers, in most 
instances. Indeed, answers would astonish, if 
not frighten, many suppliants ; yet the Lord does 
nothing for the Christian, but in answer to the 
prayer of faith ; for being " children of the 
promise," they have by promise, what others 
have by common providence. Using a form of 
prayer, without faith, will no more obtain mercies 
than did the cries of the priests of Baal bring fire 
in the presence of Elijah. Christians are exhorted 
to exercise faith, but in too general terms. Faith 
rests only on God's word ; and if on that, on 
particular commands, or promises, requiring 
specific and appropriating faith. Man "lives 
by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth 
of the Lord; " -and if by the word, by faith in 
particular, specific promises. Paith is a present 
act, having reference to this moment. We 
cannot lay in a stock of grace in the morning, 
for the day ; but must live by the moment. 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 33 
MAMMON WORSHIPPERS. 

Mammon is worshipped in temples erected to 
the praise of the Triune-God. Fashion, display, 
and position too often take the place of love, faith, 
and meekness. The salvation of souls seems to 
be the exception ; and formality the rule. The 
glory of God is not unfrequently sought through 
style, wealth, and ostentatious display. How 
unlike Jesus of Nazareth ! Not a place to lay His 
head, in a world made by Himself 1 "Despised and 
rejected of men ! " Lowly, Omnipotent Saviour ! 
What would be Thy reception in a modern fashion- 
able Church ? Ho w m any woul d recognise Thy cha- 
racter, or acknowledge Thy claims ? Where would 
be Thy allotted seat ? How would the absence of 
gold and fine apparel affect Thy reception ? 

HOARDING TO PERPETUATE A NAME. 

Hoarding, is another practice which tends 
to dry up the sources of spiritual blessings. 
Hoarding has a broad signification in spiritual 
matters. It is not alone the man who hoards, 
for the sake of the money ; but the man who lays 
by the thousands, to leave to thriftless children, 
while men are perishing for the lack of vision ; 
and this is not only tolerated, but practically 
encouraged, in the Church. A man is left, if not 



34 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

taught, to believe he is doing pretty well, nay, 
liberally, if lie gives to the Lord the hundreds, 
and retains for himself the thousands, to be dis- 
tributed at death to children, without regard 
to character. The Lord has blessed my labours, 
and given me more than sufficient for my wants 
and comforts. I look out upon the world, and 
see men everywhere passing to the judgment, 
unprepared to meet their God, because no man 
responded to the cry, " Come over and help us." 
I know my money would send out light, and 
save souls ; and I know too, that one soul is of 
more value than the whole world ; yet I want 
the character of a rich man, and my children to 
be known as the children of a rich father, and 
to enjoy luxuries their talents or industry may 
not secure ; therefore, I will lay by the most of 
what the Lord shall give me for these purposes ; 
and really ! " Am I my brother's keeper ? " 
Cannot I do what I will with my own ? Can I 
not add farm to farm, stock to stock, and call 
my lands by my own name ? Yes, verily, thou 
may est ; yet " remember that for all these things 
God will bring thee into judgment." The men 
who reason and act thus, in many instances, 
control our Churches ; and to question their 
right thus to reason and act, would be regarded 
as savouring of bigotry and uncharitableness. 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 35 

Christians are not taught to really hold their 
possessions as stewards. There is such a theory, 
and it often falls from ministerial lips ; but where 
is the fruit of such preaching ? The rule is the 
opposite ; while the few noble exceptions, stand 
out as marks of wonder to men, and joy to 
angels. 

THERE IS WANT OF DISCIPLINE. 

There is great laxity on the subject of dis- 
cipline. Numbers are permitted to live for 
months, if not years, without molestation, in 
sins requiring the attention of the Church ; and 
such individual sins, by reason of this neglect, 
at length become the sins of the Church. 
Christ has clothed His Church with power to 
deal with offenders, and vindicate His honour ; 
nay. He commands it ; yet, vast multitudes are 
living in a state demanding proceedings; and 
which, if taken in the Spirit of Christ, would be 
restored to happiness and usefulness. The 
neglect of discipline is not only a sin, but a 
gross wrong to the offending party ; for when 
there is the image of Christ, though terribly 
marred, disciplinary measures, taken in obedience 
to the command, will be followed by repentance, 
confession, peace, and usefulness. True, it may 
sometimes be difficult to " cast the first stone ;" 



36 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

yet if " Christ be left alone," the command 
remains, "Thou shalt not suffer sin upon thy 
neighbour." Churches are loaded down with 
individual, unrebuked sins ; and thus there is a 
double impediment in the way of receiving 
blessings. The individual's hands are tied, for 
he has no power in prayer ; and the Church is 
powerless, because she "hast them that hold 
the doctrine which I hate." Ministers preach, 
and members pray, but there are no indications 
that blessings are about to descend ; and then 
they wonder why their prayers are not answered ; 
while the wonder should be, why they have not 
prayed and acted differently. Judgment must 
begin at the house of God ; and if His people 
would witness a return of their Lord's, presence, 
they must first prepare the way by removing 
what " He hates." " Neither will I be with 
you any more, except ye destroy the accursed 
from among you." 

THERE IS BUT LITTLE PERSONAL LABOUR 
FOR CHRIST. 

Another defect is to be found in the fact, 
that there is but little personal labour for Christ. 
Some give money, and then fold their arms ; 
while others give but little money, and no per- 
sonal labour ; indeed, most professors do not 






WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 37 

give much personal labour for Christ ; and this 
is a serious defect ; for while in vineyard work, 
each has his particular sphere of duty, yet 
Christ demands the personal services of all His 
followers. Christians are preachers and teachers ; 
and are commanded to go and labour. A man 
may give all his goods to send the Gospel 
throughout the world, yet if he does not labour 
personally to win souls to Christ, he does not 
obey the command. Wherever we are, in God's 
order, whether in the shop, office, or field, there 
we are to labour for Christ. Men, bound with 
us to the judgment, meet us at every step ; and 
we are not obliged to go to heathen lands, or 
distant parts of our own to find a field ; for 
beliold! the "fields are white already to the 
harvest," all around us. We must entreat, as 
well as pray ; and warn, as well as give money. 
At the judgment, the plea that we have sent 
missionaries to the heathen, will not excuse for 
the blood of our neighbours' souls. 

WITNESSING FOE JESUS IS DISCOURAGED. 

Again, is the teaching and practice of the 
Church in accordance with God's word, on the 
subject of witnessing for Jesus ; or the relation, 
or confession of our experience to our brethren ? 
In most Churches, the relation of personal ex- 

£ 



38 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

perience is discouraged, if not unknown; and 
the members of the same Church, will not know 
each others' experience for years ; and is this 
scriptural? The Lord declares that Christians 
are His witnesses ; and the Psalmist calls upon 
God's people to hear what the Lord has done 
for his soul; and the Prophet says that they 
that feared the Lord, spake often one to another ; 
and Christ commanded the man out of whom 
He cast the legion of devils, to go home and 
teU his friends what great things the Lord had 
done for him ; and St. Paul thanked his God, 
and prayed that the communication of Phile- 
mon's faith, might become effectual, by the 
acknowledging of every good thing which was 
in him in Christ Jesus. 

THE CHAKACTER OF A CONFESSION FOR 
JESUS. 

Is it not true, that a proper statement of 
what God has done in, for, and through us, not 
only honours the Saviour, but quickens souls, 
not excluding our own ? A testimony for Jesus, 
so far from tending to pride or complacency, 
promotes humility and love. If I confess to 
the reception of the grace of faith or patience, it 
is ordinarily in connexion with some trial, where 
these graces have been conspicuous ; which not 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 39 

only ascribes all the glory to Christ, but in doing 
this, necessarily acknowledges my own unwor- 
thiness and inability ; for " boasting is excluded, 
not by the law of works, but by the law of 
love;" and thus " the righteousness of God is 
revealed from faith to faith." It is true, there 
is danger of formal confessions, which do not 
honour the Saviour ; and so there is formality 
encountered in the discharge of other duties. 
As Christians, we are under obligation to testify 
from personal experience, that we know that 
whatever the Bible affirms of Christian experi- 
ence, is true. If it be said, '' Great peace have 
they that love Thy law, and nothing shall offend 
them," or that '' thou wilt keep him in perfect 
peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee," Chris- 
tians are under infinite obligations to testify 
that they know from personal experience, that 
this is true ; and such testimony honours Christ, 
and encourages others to trust in Him for 
similar blessings. To say that ifl should trust 
Christ, He would do this or that, is not testimony 
for Jesus, but supposition ; and such as all men 
can make. It is not a "profession of our 
faith;" but trifling with eternal interests, and 
the " Judge of the quick and the dead." There 
may be testimonies unlike practice; if so, we 
elsewhere meet with the same inconsistencies; 
E 2 



40 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

and yet, it is no reason if others do dishonour 
Christ by their lives, while they draw nigh with 
their lips, why I should not honour Him, both 
in life and profession. Let us listen a moment 
to what some good and great men have said on 
this subject. 

WHAT GOOD MEN HAVE SAID ABOUT 
WITNESSING FOE JESUS. 

Matthew Henry said, " What God has 
wrought in our souls, as well as for them, we 
must declare to others." Again, " the Psalmist 
calls upon Christians to hear him declare what 
God had done for his soul, not in a spirit of 
vain glory, but for the glory of God. God's 
people should communicate their experiences to 
each other ; we should take all occasions to tell 
one another the great and kind things God hath 
done for us, especially our souls, the spiritual 
blessings ; and these we should be most affected 
with ourselves, and with these we should 
endeavour to affect others." Dr. Scott said, 
" Every servant of God is a witness for Him ; 
and they all can give such an account of what 
He has wrought in them, shown to them, and 
done for them, as to lead others to know, believe, 
and understand His power, truth, and love; 
and the help which He sends in answer to their 






WHAT IS TO BECOME OP THE CHURCHES ? 41 

prayers, enables them to testify that He never 
faileth those who trust in Him." 

Latimer said, in speaking of the relation of 
Bilney's experience, which was so remarkably 
blessed to his conversion, "I learnt more by 
this confession, than by much reading, and in 
many years." John Wesley said, " a general 
temptation now, is the denying what God hath 
wrought." 

Bishop Gobat, in a public address, recently 
delivered in London, in speaking of the fact, 
that the Jewish converts at Jerusalem, had of 
their own accord, established weekly social 
meetings, one prominent feature of which, was 
the relation of personal experience, remarked 
that " he had noticed a sensible improvement in 
their spirituality, as the result." 

SUBSTITUTION OF DOUBTS AND FEARS, FOR 
FAITH AND LOVE. 

In some branches of the Church, members 
are frowned upon, who speak of sins forgiven, 
and present acceptance with God. To say, " I 
know whom I have believed," is regarded as 
presumptuous ; while to doubt of my acceptance, 
through Christ, is evidence of humility; and, 
strange to say, even of my acceptance and Sonsliip. 
The Christian " lives," '' stands," and '' walks," 
E 3 



42 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

by faith ; yet to say I believe my sins are forgiven, 
is presumptuous ; while to say, I have doubt of 
this, is evidence that I am forgiven, that I do 
believe. Doubt is put for faith, and darkness for 
light. God requires me to believe His word, 
which promises forgiveness, as a condition of 
being forgiven ; yet I doubt that word ; and 
this doubt, is regarded as evidence that I do 
believe, that I am forgiven. Salvation is made 
to depend, not on faith, but the opposite ; not 
on a belief in the veracity of God, but the want 
of it. President Edwards said, '* It is manifest 
that it was a common thing for saints that we 
have a history, or particular accoimt of in the 
Scriptures, to be assured ; " but much of modem 
theology wishes to substitute doubts and fears, 
for faith and light ; and to keep those in bond- 
age, whom Christ has made free. The Lord 
says, that " without faith " I " cannot please 
God;" yet to say I have faith in God's word 
that my sins are forgiven, is presumptuous. It 
is rash and presumptuous to believe that God 
does just what He has promised to do; but 
praiseworthy to doubt that word. This is 
really what such theology teaches ; though far 
from the thoughts of many who teach it. 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 43 



THE PRESENT . STANDARD OF CHRISTIAN AT- 
TAINMENT IS TOO LOW. 

It seems to me, that tlie present standard of 
Christian attainment dishonours Christ. He 
lias made provision for high attainment, arid not 
only commands it, but promises to bestow it, 
upon the simple condition of the humble prayer 
of faith. Christians know their present attain- 
ment brings but little peace to themselves, or 
good to others ; and yet, there they stand with 
folded arms, and saddened countenance, exclaim- 
ing, " O wretched men that we are ! " Christ 
stands by them saying, " This is the way," but 
they heed Him not ; and then in mercy He 
sends judgments ; and while the chastening is 
upon them, there is a partial turning unto the 
Lord ; but soon the judgment is forgotten, and 
again they stand shivering in the cold, praying 
without being heard, and mourning less for 
their sins, and the absence of their Lord, than 
for the joys He gives. They know the joy of 
the Lord is their strength ; yet their moans speak 
of low attainments, enfeebled efforts, and sepa- 
ration from God. They cannot say from present 
experience, that the Lord is faithful to His pro- 
mise, to keep them in perfect peace, whose mind 
is stayed on Him. 



44! WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES P 

THE PRESENT STANDARD OF CHRISTIAN AT- 
TAINMENT IS NOT ATTRACTIVE TO THE 
WORLD. 

Men know what God commands and pro- 
mises/bnt do not see it exhibited in the lives 
of His professed followers ; and are thus led to 
doubt the word, or to regard professions as 
hypocritical. Christ declares He is able to save 
unto the uttermost, but His followers in their 
lives, if not professions, deny this ; or what is 
practically the same thing, in theory place the 
attainment so high, or surround it with so much 
mysteiy, that honest souls are disheartened, and 
do not attempt to secure such a blessing, — for- 
getting that it is Christ who saves, not man; 
and that He is as able to save wholly, as par- 
tially ; as able to sanctify, as to justify ; and as 
willing, as able ; and as faithful, as He is able. 

effects of denominational contro- 
versies. 

Denominational controversies and personal 
warfares, exhaust much of the energies of the 
Church. There is a spirit at work, which seeks 
to plant names, creed, and particular views in 
advance of others. Tbe Church is not one in 
eifort, if in design. Points not essential to sal- 



"WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 45 

vation receive too mucli attention, while souls 
are perishing for the want of vision. The sal- 
vation of souls, which is a present work, is 
neglected, that we may do battle against an 
opponent, who entertains but slightly different 
views on some comparatively trivial point, uni- 
versally acknowledged to be non-essential. The 
cry is, " We must be valiant for the truth, we 
must enlarge our 'tents,'" while men all around 
us are stretching forth their hands, citing, 
" Come over and help us." If we have been 
able to silence an opponent, or " strengthen our 
stakes," there is complacency, even though 
thoughts of lost souls do now and. then present 
themselves to our minds. The great business 
of the Christian — the salvation of souls — is not 
pursued as he pursues other objects. Ministers 
will often spend days, perhaps weeks, in the 
preparation of doctrinal discourses, to the neg- 
lect of the more important and direct work of 
saving souls. It is not but that doctrinal ser- 
mons should be occasionally preached, but that 
much of the real strength of the Church is spent 
in reconnoitring, — not the outposts of the 
enemy ^ — but the friends of God ; not so much 
in promoting godliness, as in successfully com- 
peting with the friends of God in ''lengthening 
cords." 



46 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

A SECTARIAN SPIRIT INTERFERES WITH 
SALVATION. 

There is a sectarian spirit pervading the 
Churches, which is as unseemly, as it is unfruit- 
ful. It is uncharitable, full of prejudice, un- 
willing to admit others are good, or do good. 
It is exclusive, regarding our denomination as 
always right ; and others often, if not mostly, 
wrong. If you speak of the Lord's presence 
with others, it is very easy to be mistaken, 
especially when errors exist on many points. 
If you point to evident trophies of grace, Satan 
himself shines at times. How much of this 
spirit is to be found in the Churches ! How dis- 
honouring to God, and how chilling in its in- 
fluences ! If you go amongst the Arminians 
and Calvinists, or other divisions in Christ's 
household, you will often find this spirit mag- 
nified into formidable impediments in the way 
of salvation ; and in vain you may point to the 
evident tokens of God's presence in each, for the 
eyes are shut against such evidence, and there 
will at once be a, resort to distinctive pecu- 
liarities ; and cruel, uncharitable, and often ex- 
ceedingly offensive remarks, will fall from the 
lips of the Lord's own children. 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 47 



TVHOM GOD HONOURS, WE SHOULD BE SLOW 
TO DISPARAGE. 

There is sometliing peculiarly offensive in 
tliis spirit ; for while our doctrinal views should 
be firmly settled, this should not prevent even 
pleasure in the society of those who may, on 
some points, differ with us. The question is, 
does the image of the Saviour appear ? and 
where this is found, minor points of difference 
should not create suspicions or diminish con- 
fidence ; for whom the Lord honours, we should 
be slow to disparage ; and when a denomination 
is evidently blessed and honoured of God, it 
does not become us to denounce them, though on 
some minor points we may think them in an error. 
If they were fundamentally so, God's presence 
would not go with them ; for, " wherein shall it 
be known here that I and Thy people have found 
gi-ace in Thy sight ? Is it not that Thou goest 
with us ? " 

THE ATTAINABLE STANDARD OF PIETY IS 
PLACED TOO LOW. 

Men do not ordinarily reach a higher point 
than the one aimed at, even as water rises not above 
its source. Practically, the standard reached, is 
no higher than the one aimed at ; and what that 



48 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

is, we have seen in looking at the present condition 
of the Churches. The advocates of a full salvation 
in a tone indicating sorrow, if not taunt, say that 
men are taught to believe that they will, if not 
must, sin daily, in thought, word, and deed; 
and to speak of sins forgiven, and a sense of 
present acceptance with God, is discouraged as 
tending to boasting, pride, and a pharisaical 
spirit ; while, to speak in doubtful terms of our 
salvation, if not scriptural, is yet evidencing a 
humble spirit, and therefore commendable. 
That men are taught to pray to be made holy, 
to believe provision has been made for them to 
be holy, and yet they are told that they cannot 
be holy ; that is, live without known, voluntary 
transgression. No line short of a full salvation 
is pointed out which they may expect to reach ; 
nor is the number or kind of sins they may or 
shall commit defined. The language, "0 wretched 
man that I am," is to be their cry till they reach 
Jordan ; and then as they are about to leave 
this world, where holiness is necessary to useful- 
ness, they are made holy. 

A LOW STANDARD OF PIETY INSURES AN 
INEFFICIENT CHURCH. 

But, if all this be tme, they ask, is not the 
standard which ;s attainable considerably higher 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUECHES ? 49 

than the one now reached? Indeed, does not 
the fact that, happily, God has witnesses on 
earth to higher attainment, settle the question 
that the present general standard is far too low ; 
and if this be so, where does the responsibility 
rest for the present low standard ? To this, the 
reply is, that it mainly rests with the Ministry ; 
but whether this be so or not, is not the present 
standard too low? -And in this, is there not 
found a sufficient cause for the present condition 
of the Churches ? The people want holiness, 
and the Lord has promised it. They sigh to be 
filled with righteousness, and the Lord has pro- 
mised this ; but the Chiu'ch, if they do not deny 
its attainability, place it so high, as practically 
to be beyond the reach of the mass of Christians. 
The sighing, seeking child of God goes to his 
Bible, and finds the command to be holy, the 
promise he shall be holy, and the prayers of 
inspired men that he might be holy ; but 
when he enters the Church," he is taught he 
cannot be holy, that is, live without voluntary 
transgression. He is taught he can be very 
spiritual, and live very near to God ; but he 
cannot, or will not, live without voluntary 
transgression. 



50 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

WHAT THE ADVOCATES OF A FULL SALVATION 
BELIEVE. 

The advocates of a full salvation do not admit 
that this is the scriptural view of the subject, but 
allege that Christ is able and willing to save unto 
the uttermost, that is, that provision has been 
made to be saved from voluntary transgression ; 
and that such a salvation is within the reach of 
all who will fully and wholly consecrate them- 
selves to God, and trust in His word to be 
cleansed fi'om all sin, and thus moment by 
moment to keep the offering upon the altar, 
and trust in Christ to be wholly saved. They 
say that the man who never thus consecrated 
himself, and thus trusted in God's word for a 
full salvation, is no more competent to testify 
against the doctrine of a full salvation, than 
would be the man who never trusted in Christ 
for justifying grace, that there is no remission 
of sins through the blood of the Lamb. 

OPINIONS ARE NOT ALWAYS FOUNDED ON 
god's word, from a PERSONAL EXAMI- 
NATION. 

The truth is, that the opinions of many in 
the Church, on such points, are not founded 
upon the word of God, from a careful, prayerful. 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 51 

personal investigation ; but on the belief or tra- 
dition of the Church to which, on conversion, 
they go ; and although these opinions may, and 
doubtless are, in most instances correct; yet 
the tendency and influence of such a course is 
disastrous to the individual, and dishonouring to 
God. Such persons enter the Church, in many 
instances, with very confused views on many 
points of doctiine and practice ; and as different 
points are brought to their notice, without in- 
vestigation, they embrace the popular opinion^ 
and run with the multitude ; and at once begin 
to defend the opinions, and seek not after truth, 
but arguments, to fortify and sustain their posi- 
tions. How dishonouring to God is such a 
course 1 The Bible is simply a history of things 
revealed to man, until the Spirit makes it a re- 
velation ; and this He ordinarily does only when 
there is humility, a teachable spirit, and earnest, 
protracted prayer, with a desire to know the 
truth, that it may be obeyed. On such points 
as the one under consideration, how few adopt 
this course ; and yet will vehemently denounce 
all who entertain opinions different from them- 
selves. This is not the part of wisdom, nor the 
path of safety. 



F 2 



52 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

HAS THE CHURCH ERRED ON THE SUBJECT 
OF A FULL SALVATION ? 

Permit me to ask, in this connexion, whether 
the Church has not somewhat erred, on the sub- 
ject of Christian perfection, in these latter times ; 
if not on the main point in controversy, the pos- 
sibility of living without voluntary transgression ; 
at least in the attempts that have been made to 
suppress opinions, the strange, if not tyrannical 
acts of excommunication, the ecclesiastical cen-. 
sures, and the war with the followers of the Lamb 
on the subject, in heathen lands. Some of these 
acts made a profound impression on many 
minds, im.pressions which the lapse of years 
does not efface; and as one of them, for par- 
ticular reasons, made a deep impression on my 
own mind, you will pardon me for briefly 
alluding to it. 

the MISSIONARY IN AN " UPPER ROOM " 
PRAYER-MEETIN G. 

It is now some years since, being in one of 
our large cities, I went one afternoon to an 
'' upper room " in one of the streets of that city, 
to a meeting for prayer and conference. There 
were a few persons present, and as they one 
after another led in prayer, or spoke of the 



WPIAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 53 

goodness of God to them, tlie Holy Ghost 
seemed to fill the room. I was a stranger to 
all, but my attention was soon drawn to an 
individual who sat near me, who, from his atti- 
tude and bearing, was evidently most deeply 
interested in the meeting ; and as the meeting 
progressed, and increased in interest, he would 
unconsciously move his chair a little nearer to 
the part of the room occupied by those taking 
part in the meeting. I never before saw such 
evidence of deep, absorbing feeling. The tears 
kept trickling down his manly, sun-burnt cheeks, 
yet he did not seem to know it, but leaned for- 
ward with his hands resting on his knees, 
drinking in every word that was uttered. My 
own interest in the meeting was considerably 
lessened, in watching this brother. At length, 
that manly bosom seemed incapable of longer 
holding the deep feelings that had been aroused 
within, and out of the fulness of the heart, the 
mouth spoke. In a peculiarly modest and 
solemn manner, he proceeded to speak of the 
pleasure he experienced in being present in such 
a place, and the great interest he felt in what 
had been said ; and then stated that he was a 
Missionary to the heathen, on the other side of 
the globe, where he had for many years resided, 
and from whence he had but just returned ; and 

V 3 



54 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUKCHES ? 

added, that he felt more deeply than he could 
express, the privilege of being in such a meeting, 
where the Lord was so manifestly present. I 
left the meeting without learning the name of 
the brother, but I felt quite sure I should recog- 
nise him, when we meet in the other world. I 
was deeply interested in him, for " my soul was 
knit with his soul," and a knowledge of the fact 
that he had dedicated the life Gad had given 
him, to His service among the heathen, did not 
diminish my love for him ; nor does the remem- 
brance of those tears, lessen my respect for the 
man. The Missionary wept ; and his tears of 
joy I could not but think were " put into the 
Lord's bottle," when entered " in His book," 
even with those which flow from a contrite 
spirit. 

THE MISSIONARY IN DISREPUTE WITH HIS 
BRETHREN. 

Some few months after this, I noticed a short 
paragraph in a periodical, to the effect that two 
Missionaries among the Heathen in a distant 
part of the world, had been dismissed from 
their connexion with their Missionary Board, on 
account of their views on Christian perfection ; 
and learning that my unknown, but loved 
brother of tlie upper room, was one of the two 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 55 

alluded to, I procured a statement of their views, 
to see what heresy such a brother had embraced, 
that should induce such a Board, to dismiss him 
from such a field of labour ; and that you may 
see what was the cause of so important a step, 
I W'ill give you in a few words, the view^s of these 
brethren on the subject of holy living ; wdth the 
simple remark, that in their letters of dismission, 
they were assured, that apart from their views 
on Christian perfection, they were highly re- 
garded ; and but for this " doctrinal error " 
would gladly have been retained. 

WHY THE MISSIONARY WAS IN DISREPUTE 
AMONG HIS BRETHREN. 

One of these Missionaries states, that he 
never entertained the idea that he had attained 
to a sinless state, or that others had, or would ; 
but held that this could not be proved ; and 
that he had a deeper sense of his depravity 
since he had entertained the views complained 
of, than ever before. That lie never expected to 
attain to that state, in which he should be able 
to say, that he knew, or believed, he lived with- 
out sin ; but that all men should ask to be 
searched and cleansed from secret faults, and 
should watch, pray, and strive. 

But he did believe, that the provisions of 



56 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

grace were sufficient to authorize the Christian 
to look to Christ for aid, to enable him to do all 
the will of God ; or to love God with all his 
heart ; consequently, he did not set aside the 
grace of Christ; or our dependence on that 
grace. He believed it could not be proved to 
be true, that "no man is able, either by himself, 
or by any grace received in this life, perfectly to 
keep the commands of God; but doth daily 
break them in thought, word, and deed ; " and 
that while he did not teach that any had, or 
would attain, in this life, to a state of entire 
and continued exemption from sin, to affirm the 
converse, was going beyond scriptural authority. 
The other brother held, that while he had not 
taught that any man had in this life kept the 
commands of God perfectly, he did teach, that 
the provisions of grace were such as to authorize 
all Christians to hope and expect, through 
CJmst, to do, daily, all God commands them; 
all He requires them to purpose, or resolve, or 
endeavour, or aim, or try to do ; all He requires 
them to pledge themselves to do ; all He has 
taught them to ask for grace to do ; and all He 
requires them to exercise faith in Him to help 
them to do. 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 57 



CASTE, BIGAMY, AND SLAVEBY, IN CHBIST S 
HOUSEHOLD. 

Thus two valuable Missionaries, after having 
mastered the language of the people among 
whom they laboured, and were prepared for 
great usefulness, were thrust out from their 
labours, as unfit to teach the Heathen that there 
was salvation through Jesus, because they 
believed the grace of Christ was sufficient to 
enable them to do all that the Lord required of 
them ; while the same Eoard, (I quote from 
memory,) at the same time, had Churches in 
other lands, in which were caste and bigamy ; 
and in our own, slaveholding ; and where the 
laws of the slaveholders forbid the Missionaries 
to teach the slaves to read God's word, or suffer 
them to sing praises to their Saviour, before 
their masters. The Board planted and sus- 
tained Churches, where the laws forbid God's 
word to His creatures, and where plurality of 
wives was tolerated ; but could not permit their 
Missionaries to teach men they could do, through 
Christ, what their Maker required of them. 

THE troubles OF THE SIMPLE MINDED. 

To one not learned, but who honestly wishes 
to obey God, such teaching and practice seem 



58 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

strange and unaccountable. How it is right to 
tolerate a disregard of God's law in one instance, 
or wrong to hold we can, through Christ, obey 
it in another, a simple minded man finds it 
difficult to understand. He can comprehend how 
that Jesus, wielding all power in heaven and 
earth, '' is able to save unto tbe uttermost ; " 
seeing "He ever liveth to make intercession," 
for His people ; for that is affirmed in God's 
word ; but he cannot see now it is right in any 
way to give countenance to laws that allow 
a man two wives, or suffers him to keep the 
word of life from any of God's creatures, and 
not permit him to sing praises to his Eedeemer ; 
for this is not affirmed in Christ's Gospel. How 
would one untrammelled by the traditions of 
men, understand these things, from the word of 
God, as on his knees, he sought for light at the 
mercy seat? 

THE VIEWS OF THE ADVOCATES OF A FULL 
SALVATION. 

But what is the doctrine taught by these 
Missionaries, and others of this day, on the 
subject of Christian perfection, or entire sancti- 
fication ? I feel my incapacity to speak in the 
behalf of such individuals, and on such a sub- 
ject, and to such a brother as I am address- 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 59 

ing ; but I will venture, in a very brief manner, 
to notice some of the points made by the advo- 
cates of a full salvation; and if I should do 
them injustice, or the cause they advocate harm, 
I shall deeply regret it. At all events, they are 
not responsible for what I shall say, whether it 
be in accordance with their views or not ; as I 
do not belong to any particular school of the 
Prophets on this subject. 

WHAT THE ADVOCATES OF A FULL SALVATION 
DO NOT TEACH. 

What, then, do they teach ? They teach, in 
the first place, that there is no sinless perfection 
in this life. That entire sanctiiication is not 
absolute perfection ; as that only belongs to 
God. It is not angelic perfection ; as that only 
belongs to beings who have never sinned. It is 
not Adamic perfection ; as that only belongs to 
him who was created holy. Neither is it every 
kind of relative perfection. It is not the per- 
fection St. Paul alludes to when he says, " Not 
as though I had already attained, neither was 
already perfect ; " as that doubtless refers to 
the perfection he hoped to attain to in the 
resurrection ; but that perfection which he de- 
scribes when he says, " Let us therefore as many 
as be perfect, be thus minded ; " and " herein 



60 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

do I exercise myself to have always a conscience 
void of offence towards God, and towards men." 
It is not the perfection of the Christian as a 
man ; it is moral, not natural, perfection ; the 
perfection of a man's Christianity ; a perfection 
not inconsistent with human infirmities ; such 
as unsoundness of judgment, fertility of imagi- 
nation, dulness of apprehension, uncertainty 
of memory, imbecility of intellect, &c., and, as 
an inevitable result of these, numerous blunders 
and mistakes. It is not a perfection that places 
us beyond temptation; but, on the contrary, 
they hold that the more holy, the more we are 
tempted. It is not a perfection that places us 
beyond the possibility of falling into sin ; nor 
does it render us independent of the atonement ; 
but rather compels us to a momentary trust in 
the merits and intercession of Christ. Neither 
is it a holiness which is without advancement ; 
but on the contrary, a state of grace, in which 
the most rapid growth is secured \ as the more 
holy we are, the more rapid is our growth in 
holiness. 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 61 

WHAT THE ADVOCATES OF A FULL SALVATION, 
DO TEACH. 

We thus see what they do not believe ; and 
now let us look for a moment at what thej do 
believe. They believe and teach, that we are 
commanded to be, and can be, as holy in our 
sphere, as God is in His ; that through Christ, 
provision has been made for a full salvation 
from knovm, voluntary transgression ; and that 
this salvation is attainable to all who will 
wholly consecrate themselves to the will and 
service of God; who will believe God's word 
that He accepts the oflPering thus presented 
through Christ, and thus " cleanse themselves 
from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit ; " and 
who being thus cleansed, will continue to trust 
in Christ to be kept from sin ; and thus live a 
life of faith upon the Son of God. They hold 
there is no available faith without such conse- 
cration ; and even with such consecration, there 
is no cleansing frora all unrighteousness, until 
there is faith in God's word, that He accepts the 
offering and cleanses them ; and even when 
thus cleansed, they are obliged to obey the 
command, " As ye have therefore received Christ 
Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him ; " that is, 
each successive moment of their pilgrimage, 

G 



62 WHAT IS TO BECOME OP THE CHURCHES ? 

they are obliged to live in that same state of 
consecration, and belief in its acceptance, and 
trust in Christ for salvation from sin. They 
hold that while they do this, they are kept from 
voluntary transgression; but the moment they 
take the offering from off the altar, or cease 
" looking unto Jesus," they sink as certainly and 
as suddenly as did Peter ; and " their eyes are 
opened," and " they know that they are naked." 
They hold that faith is a present act, and 
has relation to this moment, and that the 
question is, " Am I now, this moment, trusting 
in Christ to save me 'unto the uttermost?'" 
That as we are to walk by faith, not sight, 
God's word, and not feeling, is to guide ; as it 
is our faith, not feeling, we are commanded to 
profess. They hold that this freedom from sin 
is a state called "perfect love, entire sanctifi- 
cation," &c., and begins after consecration, when 
we believe the consecration is accepted, and 
when we trust in Christ to be wholly saved ; 
and although a state, yet one we are liable to 
fall from, and one in which we progress, if 
faithful, and become more and more holy. That 
while it is a full-orbed holiness, plainly visible 
from centre to circumference, yet 'like the sun 
seen through a thick, hazy atmosphere, and 
which, as the atmosphere becomes purer and 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 63 

clearer, shines more and more brightly ; so in 
passing along the narrow way of faith, we 
become more and more like Jesus, conse- 
quently more and more holy, and shine more, 
as our light comes, and the glory of the. Lord 
rises upon us, with each advancing step. That 
freedom from voluntary transgression is the 
lowest stage of entire sanctification, simply the 
sun seen through a hazy atmosphere ; but that 
oeing " jSiUed with all the fulness of God," is 
the same sun, seen through a clear atmosphere, 
at noon-day. They say the term " sanctifi- 
cation" is applied by St. Paul and others to 
all Christians ; yet he prayed that such might 
be wholly sanctified. They believe that while 
in these bodies, at least, until the reign of uni- 
versal righteousness, w^e are liable to mistakes 
in judgment, and consequently conduct ; that 
as we form incorrect views of character, in 
acting on such views, our acts are wrong, though 
the law of love is not violated; and as our 
memories are not reliable, we may forget an 
appointment, and thus neglect a duty, but not 
intentionally ; and yet in^ consequence of such 
defects and infirmities, and by reason of the un- 
speakable evil of sin, we need the atoneing blood 
momentarily applied ; and to say, " Forgive us 
our trespasses." 

G 2 



1 



64 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUKCHES? 

They say the soul that knows and feels the 
pangs of sin, desires to be free from it, and 
such souls read that Jesus is a Saviour from, 
not in sin ; that He gave Himself " to redeem 
us from this present evil world," and " from all 
iniquity ;" and that through Him, we are " to 
reckon ourselves to be dead unto sin." They 
read the command which is addressed to Chris- 
tians, " to present their bodies living sacrifices ;" 
and to " come out and be separate " from the 
world ; coupled with the promises to receive 
such offerings; and "to cleanse them from all 
their filthiness ;" and hating sin, and dreading 
its future curse, and wishing to do their 
Heavenly Father's will, they do, through Christ, 
obey these commands, and claim the promised 
blessings ; and are enabled to say, that " after 
they believed, they were sealed with that Holy 
Spirit of promise;" that they not only know 
" their Eedeemer liveth," but that " His blood 
cleanseth from all unrighteousness ; " for " they 
have received, not the Spirit of the world, but 
the Spirit which is of God, that they might 
know the things that are freely given to them 
of God." They assure us, that when they do 
really thus consecrate themselves to God, and 
rest in His word to receive them, and thus 
honour Him bv their faith ; that sooner or later. 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 65 

most generally very sooiij He honours their act 
of faith by giving them the witness of the 
Spirit ; for he " that belie veth on the Son of 
God, hath the witness in himself; " and many 
of those who afRrm this, are persons of exalted 
character, great intelligence, and undoubted 
veracity, whose word would not be doubted in 
other matters, either from want of capacity or 
honesty ; and they speak of present, personal 
experience ; and their " name is legion." Such 
is their theory, and the experience they claim 
under it ; and they ask, if we had never heard 
of the doctrine of a full salvation, except through 
a personal examination of the Bible, should we 
probably feel inclined to reject such a theory ? 
Does it become a man, they add, though he 
be a teacher in Israel, to denounce such a doc- 
trine, until he has personally tested its truth ? 
Can a man, they ask, full of prejudice against 
the doctrine, and not believing in the attain- 
ability of a full salvation, reasonably expect to 
make a fair trial ? Must there not first be very 
great simplicity, and an honest desire to know 
the truth, that it may be obeyed, before the 
Holy Ghost becomes our teacher ? They ask, 
did those who denounce this doctrine, ever test 
it in such a spirit ? Are they now living in a 
state of entire consecration to God ? If not, do 
G 3 



66 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

they claim the Spirit as their teacher ? Can the 
Spirit, will the Spirit, teach self-reliant, confi- 
dent hearts ? Must there not be a humble, as 
well as a sincere heart, to be taught of God ? 

CONSEQUENCES OF NOT HEPENTING, AND 
TURNING FROM SIN. 

One of the worst features in the catalogue of 
defects, is to be found in the fact, that the Lord's 
people, when they know they have done wi'ong, 
and are now pursuing the wrong path, do not 
repent, and turn again to God. The commission 
of sin is certainly injurious enough, yet the 
neglect of repentance is still more ruinous. 
Conscience, judgment, and the word of God, tell 
me I have sinned, and grieved the Spirit ; but I 
add sin to sin, by refusing to listen to these 
monitors ; and, with a stout heart, persist in 
leaving undone that which I hiow I ought to 
do \ treasuring up wrath, and taking steps which 
I know must be retraced. Christ calls, the 
Spirit woos, and the Eather entreats, and still I 
am unmoved ; forgetting the solemn words, 
''Thou fool." If a man ought to go east, and 
was going north, should on discovering his error, 
persist in his wrong course, acknowledging he 
was going wrong, and must in the end change 
his course, he would be regarded as unfit to 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUECHES ? 67 

take care of himself. All this the half-hearted 
Christian is doing, and more ; for he is offend- 
ing God, grieving the Spirit, treating with con- 
tempt the Saviour, and injuring souls by his 
example. Not only not doing good, but doing- 
evil; not only disobeying, but persisting in it. 
Men do not act thus in other relations ; yet in 
the solemn matter of duty to God and their own 
souls, they persist in pursuing the wrong course, 
knowing it to be such. By repentance and 
turning from error, we escape the consequences 
of further rebellion ; but the man who will not 
do this, will find in the end, that awful as is the 
commission of sin, more dreadful will be the 
consequences of not repenting and turning from 
it. No plea of sudden temptation will be made 
in such cases, for he wiU stand with the words 
written on his forehead, " He knew his Master's 
will, but did it not." 

WHERE, AND HOW, SOME OF GOD's PEOPLE 
DIE. 

Some of the Lord's own people, and among 
them those once moving in the " higher circles," 
are suffered by the Church to which they belong, 
to spend their last days on earth in a public 
poor house ; to die surrounded by professional ser- 
vants ; and leave their dying testimony for Jesus, 



68 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUKCHES ? 

with His enemies; and while the agonies of 
dissolving nature require the sympathies of 
kindred spirits, the rough hand of hired service 
is left to minister at the gate of death ; and a 
scene which brings Christ's angels from heaven 
to witness, Christ's followers on earth volun- 
tarily absent themselves from. 

THE SCHOOLS OF THE PEOPHETS UNFAVOUR- 
ABLE TO GROWTH IN GRACE. 

Our theological institutions, for some cause, 
are so detrimental to growth in grace, as to in- 
duce many parents to forego the numerous in- 
cidental advantages of such schools ; and place 
their sons with godly Ministers of the Gospel. 
What a story does this statement unfold ! The 
schools of the Prophets unfavourable to piety, 
and growth in holiness ! 

TYRANNY OF OPINION. 

There is tyranny of opinion in the Church. 
Men, Ministers even, often dare not avow opin- 
ions at variance with the standard presented by 
their denomination; and if they should, they 
would be quite as likely to be disciplined, as 
they would for travelling on the Lord's day. 
On doctrines, great strictness is required ; but 
in practice, sin is sometimes '* winked at," 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 69 

There is restraint on freedom of opinion, and on 
conscience. Honest convictions are stifled, and 
real opinions kept back, for fear of being regarded 
heretical, or of becoming " marked men ; " and 
thus good men are forced into a state of bondage, 
where the praises of their fellow men are more 
regarded " than the praises of God ; " and there- 
fore they cannot believe ; and without faith, they 
do not please God. The tendency of this tyranny 
of opinion is to keep men from investigating and 
thinking for themselves ; and thus, that which 
is so justly repudiated and condemned in Ro- 
manism, is practically encouraged in Protestant- 
ism. If you go to the multitude, and question 
them as to the ground of their faith, you will 
probably be surprised to see how seldom there 
is a resort to " Thus saith the Lord ; " and the 
principal reason of this is to be found in the fact, 
that in matters pertaining to their soids, and the 
glory of God, they are content to let others think 
for them ; while in matters of dollars and cents, 
they think and act for themselves. 

UNWILLING OFFERINGS. 

Christians are required to present perfect 

offerings to the Lord ; yet in many instances 

they do not. The Lord's work, so called, is 

. crowded into a corner, and placed last on the 



70 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

list of duties for tiie day. Such offerings are 
imperfect as well as unwilling; and the Lord 
does not receive them, though at length their 
tears flood the altar. The language of the 
heart, and the commentary of the life is, " What 
a weariness is it ? " " What profit is it that we 
have kept His ordinances ? " and the " torn," 
and the "lame," and the "sick" are still 
offered unto the Lord; though He again and 
again assures them. He will not receive them. 
The offering must be in the spirit of Abel's, not 
Cain's ; in faith and love, and not in selfish- 
ness and unbelief. 

THE COVETOUS MAN UNREBUKEB, BUT NOT 
UNHONOUREB. 

CovETOUSNESS, a frequently and solemnly de- 
nounced sin, one coupled with murder and theft, 
and declared to be idolatry, is unmolested by the 
Church ; and the covetous man goes on grasp- 
ing and hoarding, setting at defiance the 
authority of God ; and drying up the sources of 
spiritual blessings unrebuked, but not un- 
honoured. In no branch of the Church, is 
this withering sin made a subject of discipline ; 
thus deliberately setting at defiance the com- 
mands of God ; and, in their corporate capacity, 
refusing to obey. The pulpits faintly reiterate 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 71 

the command, thereby aggravating the guilt of 
disobedience, by the increased light which they 
shadow forth. Men will pray, and give money 
to do away with idolatry in India ; but insist on 
retaining their own idols; and the Church, 
through her Minister, will denounce the idolatry, 
but place the idolater in the highest position in 
God's house ; saying, " You must be an idolater, 
for the Lord has declared it ; but then, should 
we not have the benefit of your money and 
position, to help forward, the cause of God ? ' 

THEEE IS CASTE IN CHRIST's HOUSEHOLD. 

A CASTE, inexorable in its demands, and 
odious in its pretensions, is encountered in 
most Churches, as many bleeding, agonized 
hearts can testify. We have not to cross the 
ocean to examine amidst the glories and incon- 
sistencies of the Churches in our fatherland, to 
find this heaven-provoking sin ; for it is here, 
developing itself wherever money is unequally 
distributed. Members of Christ's body, oc- 
cupants of the same table in the Lord's house, 
living in sight of each other, and daily looking 
each other in the face, do not even speak to each 
other; or if they do, the cold, distant nod 
sends a pang into a heart where Christ dwells. 
" I cannot visit there," said a sister, whose 



72 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

/heart the Lord had recently filled with love to 
overflowing. '' There," was at the house of a 
humble Minister of Christ, and the object was, 
the gathering of a few souls to pray with and 
for the servant of Christ, and to spend an hour 
in conversing about the things of eternity. " I 
cannot go to that meeting, among the great 
folks who meet there," said a sister in humble 
life. " They do not even speak to me, and 
I should feel awkward in such a place." The 
" place," was a private dwelling, and the occa- 
sion, a social meeting for prayer, and those who 
met there were members of the same Church 
with the neglected, overlooked sister. Such are 
the feelings, and such the practices, in our 
churches. It is "caste;" against which the 
pulpits thunder, when found in India ; but are 
" dumb dogs," when encountered at home. It 
is a "caste," far less excusable than- that 
found in Oriental countries, or even in England, 
where civil institutions encourage and foster 
such a feeling. It is less a " caste " of talents, 
worth, or education, than of money ; as these 
are most generally gentlemanly, if not cha- 
ritable, in intercourse with those less favoured. 
How unlike the first disciples are those in whom 
this feeling is developed ! and how unlike 
Christ's Apostles, are the Ministers who tolerate 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 73 

such a state of things ! The child of God in 
humble life, meets not unfrequently, with the 
severest trials, in the conduct of those occupy- 
ing high places in God's house ; and made 
severe, because of the right to expect different 
treatment. Christ is treated with contempt, in 
the persons of His disciples, and by His own 
professed people. " Inasmuch as ye did it not 
to one of the least of these, ye did it not unto 
Me," is a declaration that will astound many 
at the judgment. Ministers are not guiltless 
in this matter ; for many " pay court " to 
money, and take " hasty leave " of poverty and 
scenes of distress ; and will readily forsake the 
company of those in whom Christ dwells, and 
whose conversation is in heaven, to enjoy the 
society of those who live luxuriously, and talk 
about the things of earth. 

THE POWER OF FASHION. 

" Fashion," desig-ned, created, and sustained 
by the enemy of all good, to lead souls from God, 
often binds Christ's professed followers more 
firmly than the commands of Jehovah. God 
says, " be not conformed to this world ; " and 
declares that "all that is in the world, the lust 
of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the 
pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the 

h 



74 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

world ; " but the professed disciples of Jesus 
say, we must not be singular ; though God says, 
His children are '' peculiar : " and if " Fashion " 
demands a bonnet not designed to cover the 
head, or a dress which trails in the dust, or a 
skirt of unseemly proportions, health, decency, 
propriety, and duty are all readily sacrificed; 
and the professed child of God, often vies with the 
child of the devil, in pushing the " Fashion " to 
its extremest point of endurance ; and this is 
not only tolerated by the Church, but the Church 
herself is often controlled by those who thus 
think and act. 

LIBERAL CHRISTIANITY, AND ECCLESIASTICAL 
" COLLATIONS." 

The tendency of the age, is to "liberalized 
Christianity,'* an " accommodating spirit," a 
point where the professed friends, and the real 
enemies of God can meet, and join "congratula- 
tions," and cordially interchange a " liberal 
Christian greeting." Ecclesiastical " collations," 
where grave Doctors of Divinity are expected to 
appear, with " nothing to say," that they may 
catch the spirit of the occasion, and " be witty," 
and "bring down the house," and "bear off the 
palm of wit," are resorted to, in order to pro- 
mote the cause of godliness. The followers of 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 75 

Him who did not laugh, but often wept, show 
their zeal in His cause by imitating grovelling 
political scenes, where " fun and frolic " are 
more sought than advancement of principle. 

WEARING OF GOLD AND COSTLY ARRAY. 

We are commanded to "adorn ourselves in 
modest apparel, and not with gold or costly 
aiTay." This command is very explicit ; while 
the practice, in many instances, is as explicitly the 
reverse. Said an ambassador of Him who was 
" meek and lowly," in a recent Missionary 
sermon, " How shall they be sent ? " and in 
asking this solemn question, imposingly raised 
his left arm, showing an immense gold ring on his 
finger, and a heavy, massive gold chain attached 
to his watch. On his person, were many dollars 
worth of gold, placed there, in the judgment of 
charity, by pride. Women, professed followers 
of Jesus, avowed imitators of the Marys, will 
enter God's house on the Sabbath "adorned" 
with gold enough to defray the expenses of a 
Missionary to China. They use the money 
given to them by the Lord to promote His glory, 
to introduce themselves into, and to sustain, a 
"position in life," where "it is not expected," 
self-denial will be practised ; and such women 
are left to believe they are ripening for glory. 
H 2 



76 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUECHES ? 

" She did not know that I gave her corn, and 
wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, 
which they prepared for Baal." " Husband ! " 
said such a woman lately, as the angel of death 
approached, " husband ! promise me that when 
I am gone you will take this furniture out of the 
bouse, and replace it by such as may be suitable 
for a child of God. O, it oppresses me ! I 
cannot bear to look upon it ! " '' She that liveth 
in pleasure is dead while she liveth ; " but 
when the agonies of death come upon her, and 
the world begins to recede, " gold rings," and 
" bracelets," and " chains of gold," and '' costly 
array," and " splendid furniture," become trou- 
blesome appendages; more burthensome than 
was " Pilgrim's " load. 

PRESENT LABOUR AND POSTPONING FAITH. 

Men are exhorted to present labour, but not 
to expect present results ; and as it is done unto 
us, "according to our faith," the blessing is 
necessarily indefinitely postponed. We must 
give up the idea of being saved in the future, or 
we shall not be saved now. The commands, 
threatenings, exhortations, and promises relate 
to this moment. God commands present obedi- 
ence, present holiness, and present usefulness ; 
and promises present blessings ; even " while 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 77 

they are speaking I will hear." If we are saved 
by faith, it is just as we are, and now. Legal 
salvation wants time to perfect a righteousness ; 
but faith says, Lord save me now, and just as I 
am ; vile, unworthy, and destitute of all things, 
save a sorrow for my sins, and faith in the 
blood that cleanses ; and even these Thou hast 
given me. 

CHRISTIAN FEASTS. 

Christians give " feasts ; " but to *' friends, 
brethren, kinsmen, rich neighboui's ; " and not 
to " the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind ; " 
and the motive is present, worldly "recompense;" 
and not the blessings granted '^ at the resurrec- 
tion of the just." This command to call " the 
poor " to feasts, is habitually, and almost uni- 
versally, disregarded ; nay, more, for the Lord's 
money is not only not devoted to assuage the 
griefs and sorrows of the poor and needy, but is 
often used, not simply to appropriately enter- 
tain *' neighbours and friends ; " but expended 
in such luxurious profusion and extravagance, as 
to cause mere worldly wisdom to cry out 
" shame ! " and ministers, not unfrequently 
sanction by their presence such exhibitions of 
pride and disobedience ; yet " the poor shall 
never cease out of the land." 
H 3 



78 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 
CHUUCH CHRISTIANS. 

Many professors, make a virtual Saviour of 
the particular organization to whicli tliey are 
attached. They have zeal; but it is to 
"strengthen" our "stakes." In labours they 
are abundant; but they toil to "enlarge" our 
" tents." Often, they are noted for punctuality 
and assiduity in the discharge of Church and 
Society duties ; and in conversation about the 
circumstantials of Society and Church matters, 
they find their chief delight ; but a little obser- 
vation detects the spring of action, and the 
source of joy. " The Temple of the Lord ! The 
Temple of the Lord. The Temple of the Lord, 
a7'e these." The Church and Society stand fore- 
most in their thoughts and actions. They do 
not ignore the glory of God in the salvation of 
souls, as the ultimate end of all their efforts : by 
no means ! Yet this is comparatively, and un- 
consciously, of minor consideration. Bays, 
weeks, and years, pass away, without one soul 
being rescued ; or one prayer of faith offered for 
such a blessing. They pray, or rather use the 
form of prayer ; but there is no faith, no belief 
that God "is the rewarder of them that dili- 
gently seek Him : " that is, they have a general, 
undefined impression that this is a Bible truth ; 



■WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUKCHES ? 79 

but for others, rather than themselves. They 
live, and move in, and for, a Church influence, 
which reaches not up to heaven, nor down to 
hell; but skims the surface of earth, and talks 
of increase of members, and lengthening of 
"cords." Their rest, which is less in Christ, 
than the Church, and its services, and duties, 
gives composure, and a measure of happiness, 
of a semi-religious character. The love of 
Christ does not constrain them; nor is the 
value of souls the subject of frequent medita- 
tion ; yet they are often pillars in the Temple of 
the Lord ; leading in circles of prayer, and occu- 
pying the foremost seats in God's house. 

THEEE IS TRIFLING WITH THE MAHRIAGE 
RELATION, AND THE COMMANDS OF GOD. 

The marriage relation is trifled with. The 
Lord says, " Be ye not unequally yoked together 
with unbelievers ; " yet in every branch of the 
Church, this command is very generally disre- 
garded ; and the professed friends of the Saviour, 
intermarry with His enemies. God asks, " What 
agreement hath the Temple of God with idols ? " 
and " Shouldest thou love them that hate the 
Lord ? " Still, His professed followers, say, " Let 
us join ourselves to our Saviour's enemies ; let 
us love and cling to " them that hate God ; " 



80 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

although the answer is, "Therefore is wrath 
upon thee from before the Lord." 

The Lord declares, that " whosoever shall put 
away his wife, save for the cause of fornication, 
causeth her to commit adultery ; " but the laws 
and practices of Christ's professed disciples say, 
" Surely, ye shall not do evil ; " and Christ's 
ministers join in wedlock such divorced members 
of their Churches, saying, "Yea, hath God 
said ye shall do evil in this thing ? For God 
doth know that by joining yourselves to His 
enemies, you may do them good ; " and so, " they 
rebelled against the commandments of the Lord, 
and went presumptuously up the hill." 

CHRISTIANS PRAY FOR RIGHTEOUS, BUT VOTE 
FOR WICKED RULERS. 

Christians pray for righteous rulers; yet 
habitually vote for such men as ungodly bar- 
room cliques point out to them ; many of them 
offensively vile, even in the sight of worldly 
men ; often open infidels, using the power con- 
ferred upon them by Christian men, to legislate 
against God, and " frame mischief by law." 
The child of God goes to his closet, and asks 
the Lord that his "officers may be peace," 
and " exactors righteousness ; " and from the 
closet repairs to the polls, and votes for an 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 81 

openly unrighteous man. Such prayers mock 
God ; and such acts tend to perpetuate Satan's 
mle in the earth. 

A LAZY OETHODOXy. 

Multitudes are resting more in doctrines, 
than in the Son of God. A " lazy orthodoxy," 
a belief in doctrines, is substituted for a faith in 
Jesus of Nazareth, a faith which is manifested 
by love and works. Correct views of Sabbath 
observance, fan the conscience on questions of 
personal obedience. A zeal for doctrinal truth, 
is often taken to the poiut of separation between 
soul and body, as a passport to heaven. Mi- 
nisters preach doctrines until their people are 
surfeited ; and this is often less the result of a 
sense of duty, than a shrinking from grappling 
with truths which relate to holy living, and 
deep experience; as in this field, many pews 
might occupy a more elevated position than the 
pulpits. Men cry, " The Temple of the Lord 1" 
Who, like, Eehoboam, lived near to the Lord's 
house, but far from God. Jotham *' became 
mighty because he prepared his way before the 
Lord, his God ; " not simply in having his head 
filled with sound doctrines ; but in having his 
soul cleansed, and his heart filled with love. 



82 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

FIGHTING Christ's enemies with their 

OWN WEAPONS. 

The policy of a world presided over by the 
Saviour's enemy, is resorted to, in warring, in 
Jesus' name, against that enemy ; and they 
whose weapons are not carnal, adopt the devil's 
tactics in " wrestling against principalities, and 
powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this 
world." In such encounters, Christ does not 
engage ; and man, is overmatched by Satan. If a 
trustee, or deacon, is to be elected, the prominent 
question is not. Is he holy? but. Has he influence 
and position in the world? Will his selection 
give character, not in God's sight, but in the 
estimation of His enemies, to our enterprise? 
Alas ! how many such men occupy seats of 
authority in God's house ; and simply, in con- 
sequence of theii* money. One of the most pro- 
fane men I ever met, would, on entering the 
Lord's house on the Sabbath, bow his head in 
the attitude of prayer ; and if he did not prevail 
with the Lord, he did with His professed 
people. " Sea and land are compassed," to 
gather the rich, not so much to embrace and 
enjoy the religion of Jesus, as to sustain, by 
money and position, a particular entei^prise ; 
and if he is not made " twofold more the child 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 83 

of hell " than before ; he is made to sustain 
what he really hates ; and is taken into council 
where every word uttered is a trumpet of con- 
demnation to his soul. But his money and 
influence are united to (mt enterprise ; and the 
Church takes one step upwards in public 
estimation, and one downwards in God's sight. 
The sin is not in getting a rich man into the 
society ; but in the motive ; in which the glory 
of God is less conspicuous than worldly policy. 

the standing still policy, and my 
neighbour's soul. 

Finally, God's people know that these 
glaring, soul-destroying defects exist, yet do not 
seriously attempt their removal ; but with folded 
arms cry, "Alas 1 Alas 1 This state of things is 
discouraging ! but what can we do ? Torgetting 
that it is the system, that requires amendment ; 
as it is the system, that makes the ministry of 
this day, and not the present ministry, the 
system. The system is wrong, for it is satisfied 
with low attainment, and tolerates an absence 
of God's appointed " signs " and " seals." 
Under it, Christ's ministers see men falling into 
perdition, and hear the groans of disappoint- 
ment and reproach, as they pass out of time; 
but the morrow witnesses no change of piu'pose 



84 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

—-no new resolve — no turning again to God. A 
transitory pang of conscience, a momentary 
trembling about tbe heart, and all remains as 
before. My neighbour's soul is among the lost ! 
and T, " Am I my brother's keeper ?" 

THE CHURCH IS DISEASED. 

The disease exists ; and its character and 
tendencies known; the one, regardless of God's 
authority, the other death ! eternal death ! and 
Christian men gaze upon it, as they would upon 
the devastation of an earthquake, or the eruptions 
of a volcano. The watchmen blow the trumpet, 
and not always with an uncertain sound ; but he 
who blows, and he who hears, sits with folded 
arms ; the one, not expecting obedience ; the 
other, not disappointing his teacher's expecta- 
tions. The Church is diseased ! and suffers the 
sore to fester on ! and on ! and on ! diffusing the 
poison throughout the mass; enervating and 
paralysing the efforts of the few, who are 
struggling to rise above the common level. 

WHAT UNCHECKED EVILS WILL PRODUCE. 

If such is the condition of the Church and 
ministry, it is not difficult to see ,"why the 
country is shorn of its strength so extensively ; " 
or to know '' what is to become of the Church." 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUECHES ? 85 

Sabbatli desecration, slavery, drunkenness, lewd- 
ness, and infidelity, instead of being banished, 
will increase in power, and daily gain new 
victims and add new conquest. Once, slavery 
was simply tolerated ; but under tlie spirituality 
of the age, it has planted itself on the word of 
God ; and not only overrides law, but bids 
defiance to all power, human and divine. Be- 
cause "with all deceivableness of unrighteousness 
they received not the love of truth, God sent 
them strong delusions that they should believe a 
lie." Being unfaithful to the light given, the 
most unrighteous system of bondage on earth, 
distrusting and distrusted, has yet proved itself 
superior to law ; and now, audaciously, yet 
serenely resting on God's word, as authorizing 
and sanctioning its acts of robbery and murder ; 
with its heels on the souls and bodies of men, 
women, and children, and its grasp on the 
throats of the sons of freedom, sits securely in 
the seat of power ; insolent in bearing, exacting 
in demand, and tyrannical in action ; and most 
of the religion of the day, not used to defend 
and support the system, cowardly succumbs to 
it, or ignobly shuns its giant strides. 



86 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUKCHES ? 

THE rUTUHE SEEN FROM THE PRESENT AND 
PAST. 

From the past, the future is plain. If the 
spirit of worldly-mindedness and latitudinarian- 
ism, which so extensively prevail, are not 
checked, the future will record, not only an 
increase of present evils, but new developments 
that would, if seen even from our stand-point, 
startle men, and rejoice devils. If Israel, be- 
cause of disregard of light and privileges, 
became more wicked than the heathen nations 
around them; even as individuals who grieve 
the Spirit until He is obliged to leave them, 
become seven-fold more wicked than their 
neighbours ; what will our nation become, in 
descending from the high position which we 
have taken before the world ? Already we are 
a by-word in the mouths of some of the best 
men on earth, and our position placed unfa- 
vourably in contrast with many of the despot- 
isms of the old world. They cannot understand 
a religion which sanctions, if not enjoins, a 
traffic in the souls and bodies of men. The 
truth is, our beloved country "is shorn of its 
strength so extensively," by reason of the de- 
crease of its moral power. God governs the 
world with reference to His Church; and if 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 87 

that is unfaithful, the legitimate results will 
ensue. If holy, the Lord's hand will be with 
them for good ; but if unfaithful. His hand will 
be against them for evil. The true prosperity 
of the country, under God, rests with His 
people ; and ordinarily, their faithfulness can be 
read in the history of their country. 

THE EFFECT UPON THE CHUUCH OF CON- 
TINUED EVILS. 

A CONTINUANCE of this state of things, 
cannot but lead to deplorable results in the 
Church. We shall have more churches, but less 
devout worshippers; more doctors of divinity, 
but not more followers of St. Paul ; more 
unprofitable controversies, with less love and 
charity; more ministerial lecturers, with fewer 
Gospel sermons ; more pride, with less humility; 
more extension of tents, but fewer souls saved ; 
longer prayers, with less faith; more luxuries 
in God's house, but fewer of the poor to hear 
the Gospel; and more formality, and less 
religion. 

THE OXEN, THE FARMS, AND THE WIVES. 

Such, it seems to me, is to be the future, 
looking from our stand-point, aided by the 
light of the past. To one who loves God, and 
I 2 



^ 



88 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

realizes something of the value of souls, the 
prospect is gloomy and discouraging. The Lord 
is waiting to have His people willing to receive 
His blessings ; but the oxen, and tke farms, 
and the wives, still plead for undivided atten- 
tion, and too often receive it. The Lord says, 
" Prove Me ; " but His people are slow to obey ; 
and then He entreatingly says, " Turn ye ! " for 
why will you let others die ? but they hear not 
the accents of love and mercy ; but one goes to 
his merchandize, and another to his plough, and 
time rolls on, the judgment approaches, and 
souls perish. 

HOPE IS FOUND IN RETURNING UNTO GOD. 

But, " is there no balm in Gilead ? " No 
hope that this state of things may be averted ? 
"No hope?" "No?" Yes, let us rejoice and give 
thanks to our God and Saviour, there is hope. 
There is " balm in Gilead." Our dispensation 
is one of mercy ; and Christ is its surety ; and 
love its propelling influence. There is hope ; 
but it is only found in returning unto God. 
There is mercy; but only to the merciful. 
There are blessings in store ; but only for the 
obedient. There is forgiveness ; but only to 
the penitent. There is pardon; but only for 
those who ask for it in faith. There is an altar 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 89 

that sanctifies ; but only those who lay upon it. 
There is a fountain opened for sin and un clean- 
ness ; but for those only who bathe in it. There 
is a returning of God unto us; but to those 
only who return unto Him. Yes, verily, there 
is hope, for Christ lives to make intercession for 
His people ; and Christians still continue to 
plead the merits of the Son of God. Amazing 
love ! incomprehensible forbearance ! If the 
Lord delights more in being the only Saviour, 
than the only Creator, what must we think of 
that love which is not exhausted in dealing with 
such a Church. So unwilling to leave such a 
habitation ? "I will never leave thee nor for- 
sake thee," says our Saviour ; but it is said to 
the obedient, " When thou passest through the 
waters, I will be with thee ; " but it is only 
them who trust in that promise. '^I will 
return unto thee ;" but only to such as return 
unto Him. 

HOW WE ABE TO RETURN UNTO GOD. 

What, then, must be done to avert such 
evils ? I think you will agree with me in the 
opinion, that the child of God who has not 
daily peace and communion with his Maker, 
wherever he may be, when the Voice says to 
him, " What doest thou here ? " or w^hatever 

I 3 



90 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

may have been the cause of the estrangement, 
the first step to take, is to return unto God ; 
by repentance for the past, and a renewed con- 
secration, or the entering into a new covenant 
for the present and future. Other things may 
be necessary ; but these are as indispensable to 
a restoration to God's favour, as is food to 
sustain the body. There is no alternative. It 
must be done. It is God's command, and in 
His order. 

THE SIMPLE PROCESS OF RETURNING UNTO 
GOD. 

The process is as simple, as it is efficacious, 
and he that runs may understand it, and the 
child can obey it. If going in the wrong 
direction, we must turn about, and go in the 
right way. "If I have done iniquity, I will do 
no more," is as necessary with us, as with Job. 
If the nation. Church, or individual have done 
wrong, they must " do no more." This is a 
simple rule, acted upon in other relations, 
without hesitation or delay. 

THE minister's CONSECRATION. 

Suppose an aged minister of the Gospel, who 
had spent a long ministerial life in preaching 
orthodox sermons, without being permitted to 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 91 

see much, if any, fruit of his labour and toil, 
should humble himself before his God, and 
anew really and truly give himself unreservedly 
to his Maker ; and then on his knees, and with 
an agony of soul that should send forth tears, 
pray for the guiding hand of the Spirit in his 
preparation for the pulpit; and should, with 
eternity in view, enter the House of God, and 
in the presence of his congregation confess his 
past unfaithfulness, and tell them he had sought 
and found pardon for the past, and grace to re- 
newedly consecrate himself to the service and 
will of God, and then in God's strength proceed 
with his discourse. All this being done, would 
the result be doubtful? would not the fallow 
ground be soon broken up, and descending 
mercies attest the faithfulness of God? Sup- 
pose, again, the office bearers should imitate the 
example of their pastor, and enter into a new 
covenant to live wholly for God ; and before 
their brethren make confession for past unfaith- 
fulness, and a declaration of their new covenant 
relation with their God. As God is faithful, so 
would the Holy Ghost honour such a scene 
with His special, gracious presence ; and devils 
would tremble, heaven rejoice, and souls be 
saved. 



92 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUECHES ? 
JUDGMENT MUST BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD. 

If sinners are converted. Christians must be 
holy ; if the word proves a savour of life, the 
vessel must be clean ; if prayer be heard and 
answered, the iniquity must be removed ; if the 
oiBPering be accepted, it must be laid upon the 
altar ; if God be honoured. Christians must be 
humbled. All this is fulLy understood and 
believed, and rests upon the Chm'ch like a 
mountain, because there is no adequate, cor- 
responding action. There is a knowledge of 
God's will, but not the obedience ; there is 
light, but it produces blindness ; and conviction, 
which tends to hardness. 

A LIVING CHRISTIANITY. 

The Christianity which lives for, and is from, 
God, makes us new creatures in Christ Jesus. 
We really and truly love God, and His cause 
supremely. This is not a matter of mere theory, 
it is fact and experience. It is unlike head 
religion, which is often bold, self-reliant, cross- 
shunning, and full of excuses ; but it trusts, 
loves, is obedient, cross bearing, and fuU of 
confessions ; and when iniquity is found, it is 
put away, with the resolve in the strength of 
Jesus " to do no more." 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 93 

THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE DOUBTING, 
UNDECIDED CHRISTIAN. 

The falteringj doubting, undecided child of 
God, occupies a responsible position, and in 
some respects is more censurable than the man 
whose heart has never been changed. The one 
has enjoyed the sweet communications of his 
God, and abided "under the shadow of the 
Almighty;" his teacher has been the Holy 
Ghost, and his affections have been placed in 
heaven. He knows of the Saviour's love, and 
his Lord's faithfulness, by experience. His sins 
have been washed away in the blood of the 
Lamb, and he has known the blessedness of 
that man '' to whom the Lord imputeth not 
iniquity." He has been on Pisgah, and sur- 
veyed the promised land ; and knows that 
where much is given, much is required. 

THE TRUE CONDITION OF MANY CHRISTIANS. 

Many such child of God, however, is to be 
pitied, as well as reproved. He remembers the 
past, the change of thoughts, habits, pursuits, 
&c. ; how he loved the word of God, the com- 
munion of saints, and the ways of Zion : but 
unexpectedly, and perhaps imperceptibly, there 
w^as a partial change. He discovered within 



94 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUECHES ? 

passions pleading for indulgence, and was sur- 
prised and mortified to find how often those 
passions were indulged, and wondered whether 
he was really a converted man ; but by return- 
ing unto the Lord, in humble, penitent faith, the 
load was removed ; and again he went on his 
way rejoicing, only to encounter similar tempta- 
tions, with like results ; and this coui'se of ad- 
vancing and retreating, of sinning and repenting, 
he had pursued for years, until at length, in an 
agony of soul he exclaims, " Is there no deliver- 
ance from this bondage, in this pilgrimage state ? 
I feel I honestly desire to avoid sin, and obey 
God, but my efi*orts seem unavailing. I resolve, 
and fast, and pray, and promise, only to make 
food for repentance, confession, and sorrow. 
Instead of leading others to Jesus, and having 
the joy of the Lord my strength, I am fighting 
to keep in view my own hope of heaven ; and 
was it not that I look back to the experience 
attending and following my conversion, I should 
sink in despair; yet I know if I have not a 
present evidence of my acceptance and sonship, 
my hope is indeed a dubious one. I read the 
just shall live by faith ; yet it seems to me that, 
judged by that rule, I am an unconverted man. 
Christ says, if I love Him, I shall keep His com- 
mandments; and by this rule I cannot stand, 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 95 

though I do strive to obey, and would rather 
die than sin ; yet I do sin. I hunger and thirst 
after righteousness, but am not filled ; and yet 
Christ says such shall be filled. I want to love 
God with all my heart, yet I fear I do not. 
Why is this ? why is it that a soul honestly 
desiring and striving to love and obey, finds it 
so difficult to do so ? The atonement is ample, 
the Father commands it, Christ is in heaven to 
intercede for it, and the Spirit in the world to 
help my infirmities. Why am I so miserable ? 
The language of my heart is, ' Saw ye Him 
whom my soul loveth ? ' I seek Him in the 
closet, at the family altar, in the social circle, 
and in the public assembly, but find Him not as 
an indwelling Saviour. He comes at distant 
periods, and smiles upon me, and bids me look 
to Him ; and then I feel after Him, but find 
Him not ; and ' when I would do good, evil is 
present with me,— for the good that I would, I 
do not ; but the evil which I would not, that I 
do ; ' and I exclaim, ' Who ! who shall deliver 
me from this bondage ? ' " 

THE GREAT WANT OF UNDECIDED CHRISTIANS. 

This is a sad picture, and not less so, 
because it is true, not merely with some, but 
with many in the Church ; who, instead of being 



96 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

co-labourers with the Lord in the salvation of 
souls, are in their lives making such an exhi- 
bition of religion, as to lead men to doubt its 
reality, or to confirm them in infidelity. Such 
souls want the rest of faith, a simple, yet per- 
manent resting on Christ ; and will not be 
happy or useful, until this rest is found. Many 
of them are able, and perhaps willing, to teach 
others how to enter into this rest ; but are un- 
willing to practise what they preach. They say, 
" Go ; " but neither lead, nor follow. There is 
an indisposition to make the eflPorts and sacri- 
fices necessary to obtain such blessings ; and 
thus they continue to groan and lament, less for 
their slothfulness, than the absence of joys. But 
the law is inexorable. If we would reign, we 
must sufi'er ; if we would enjoy the rest of faith, 
we must believe ; and if we will believe, we 
must be consecrated ; and if we are fully con- 
secrated, we shall be self-denying and cross- 
bearing. The Lord says, " Eeturn unto Me, 
and I will return unto you." 

THE CONSECRATION GOD REQUIRES. 

Consecration to God, while it is a very 
plain, and in most respects an easy duty, is yet 
a very solemn one. The Lord is one of the 
parties to the covenant ; and sinful, weak, help- 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 97 

less man, the other ; while Christ is its surety. 
God requires the surrender, and the promise is, 
that through Christ, we can make it. The 
Lord requires a deliberate yielding up to Him, 
through Christ, of our souls, bodies, spirits, 
time, talents, influence, possessions, families, 
friends, judgments, wills, affections, memories, 
imaginations, propensities, habits, thoughts, 
purposes, &c., to be His for ever, without 
reservation ; to live for His glory ; to suffer 
His will; to obey His commands; to believe 
His word; to recognise His hand in mercies, 
judgments, afflictions, bereavements, prosperity, 
adversity, sickness, and health ; not only for 
this moment, or this day, but for all time ; to 
be an everlasting covenant; and whether we 
eat, or drink, or whatever we do, the glory of 
God to be the controlling motive. 

THE RESULTS OF CONSECBATION. 

All this the Lord requires, and will not be 
satisfied with less. Nature may shrink, and the 
flesh plead for a little more liberty ; the enemy 
may insinuate the demand is too great, more 
than is reasonable, and greater than we can 
bear; unbelief may discern deep waters in the 
path, and fear cry out, " Lions in the way ; " 
but the consecration must be made ; God must 

K 



98 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

be obeyed ; the sacrifice must be laid upon the 
altar, and there must be faith in God's word 
which assures us the offering is accepted. All 
this must be done, if we would have '' our peace 
like a river," and "be filled with righteous- 
ness," and have that love that '' casteth out aU 
fear." It must be a living sacrifice, always 
upon the altar which sanctifies; and a living, 
active faith in its acceptance ; and here lies the 
secret of holy living : — " I live ; yet not I, but 
Christ liveth in me : and the life which I now 
live in the flesh, I live by the faith in the Son of 
God." Yes, the Christian lives by faith in the 
Son of God. Faith in the blood that cleanses ; 
faith in the altar that sanctifies 5 and faith in 
the word which promises these blessings. It is 
a momentary trust in Christ for the supply of all 
our need ; requiring ceaseless watching, cease- 
less praying, and ceaseless trusting. 

IN WHAT SENSE CHRIST BORE OUR SINS AND 
CARRIED OUR SORROWS* 

Christ bore our sins, and griefs, and carried 
our sorrows, in His own body on the tree ; but 
of those only who cast them upon Him. He 
sustains us under burdens, but only when they are 
cast upon Him, with faith in the promise, " He 
shall sustain thee." Christians groan, being 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 99 

burdened, yet refuse'^to cast their burdens on tbe 
Lord. When will Christians" learn the blessed- 
ness of casting their burdens on the Lord? 
A privilege worth ten thousand worlds ! Yet 
how slighted. Christ does sustain under bur- 
dens. He does bear our sins, when in faith in 
His word, we cast them upon him. Sending 
under a weight of cares, which render us un- 
happy, and disqualify us for usefulness, we yet 
refuse Christ's proffered aid; and stagger on, 
objects of wonder to angels, and delight to 
devils. Yeiily, it is easier to build, than to 
be temples of the Lord : less difficult to preach 
faith, than to exercise it. The difficulty is, 
there is an unwillingness to approach near 
enough to the Saviour, to cast our burden on 
Him. We would rather stand at a distance, 
and thus avoid those tender glances, and the 
path of self-denial. To successfully cast our 
bm-dens on the Lord requires faith; and this 
demands a walk in the steps, and very near to 
the Saviour. If we could cast our burdens on 
the Lord fi'om our distant position, and from 
that cold point exercise faith, we should be 
willing to make the effort ; but this is not in 
God's order. He that will follow Christ, must 
take up his cross. 



K 2 



100 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

A LIFE OF UNION AND ONENESS WITH 
CHRIST. 

The world requires, and Christ demands, a 
life of union and oneness with Himself. By 
this, the world is to '' know," and " believe," 
that the Eather sent the Son into the world. 
This life of oneness, therefore, is just as import- 
ant, as is the value of souls. The mass look 
less frequently into the Bible, to know and 
understand what religion is, than to the lives of 
its professed exponents, moving in their midst ; 
and where this " sign " is wanting, Satan's rule 
is very generally acknowledged. Our Inter- 
cessor, when on earth, prayed that this might 
be our experience ; and in heaven. He presents 
our prayers for the same blessing when offered 
in faith. A disbelief in the attainability of this 
state of grace, of course, incapacitates us from 
praying for, or reaching it. What Christ prayed 
for, and in that form of prayer which is believed 
to have been a model of the kind of prayers He 
now presents for His people, is it not the will 
of the Father to give us ? 

THE NARROW WAY, AND THE ANGELS PATH. 

Living for God, is a solemn business. The 
path is narrow, the way straight, and the sur- 



TVHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 101 

rounding dangers many ; yet because of the 
straitness of the way, and narrowness of the 
path, an easy, plain way ; for while in the narrow 
way, the angels have charge to keep us ; and the 
Sun of righteousness lights up the path, and 
makes the way not only plain, but safe and 
pleasant. It is a glorious way ; for in it, self is 
forgotten, fear banished, and dangers avoided; 
and all, by " looking unto Jesus." We cannot 
deviate at all from this narrow way ; and we 
rejoice that it is so ; for having the sentence of 
death in ourselves, we know we cannot trust in 
an arm of flesh ; for the moment we step beyond 
the line of the path in which the angels walk, 
we are left to our own strength and wisdom, 
and then fall. 

THE AMOUNT OF EELIGION WE MAY HAVE. 

We have just as much religion as we live for. 
If much, we have it ; if little, we do not have 
more. If we keep in the narrow way, our pro- 
gress is necessarily rapid ; as the '^ light shineth 
more and more," and the way becomes more and 
more confined ; even as a long street, well 
lighted, appears to have more light, and to be 
more narrow, as the eye reaches forward. 
Ours, being a reflected light, the more light 
there is in our path, the less difficulty there is in 
K 3 



102 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

walking, and the more light we reflect. If we 
really want to live near to God, and be useful, 
we shall not be otherwise; for the Lord is 
waiting to have us willing to receive grace for 
these purposes. "As he thinketh in his heart, 
so is he." 

THE WAY OF FAITH, AND ITS RESULTS. 

We must " have faith in God." As we live 
by the word, we must have faith in the word. 
This is our warrant at the throne of grace. The 
promises are " given us," that " by these, ye 
might be partakers of the divine nature." If 
the word affirms that sins confessed shall be 
forgiven ; it also says, "As ye have believed, so 
be it done unto thee." When the sin is con- 
fessed, we are required to believe it is forgiven ; 
and simply, because the word affirms it. This 
is faith. Living by faith, necessarily involves 
the idea of receiving by faith, and by the 
moment. Men pray, but do not believe they 
receive; and therefore, do not receive. My 
authority for believing I shall be sustained, when 
I cast my burdens on the Lord, is the word ; and 
if I receive " according to my faith," it follows 
I must believe the word of promise ; and when 
I do, the veracity of God is pledged that He 
does sustain me. I confess my sins ! and then 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUKCHES ? 103 

rest on the word which assures me that '' if we 
confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive 
us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteous- 
ness;" and as this word is true, so certain is it^ 
if I believe it, that my sins are forgiven ; for we 
know, that such petitions are according to the 
will of Grod ; and the certainty consists, not in 
my act of faith, though this is necessary, but in 
the veracity of God. 

WHAT THE LIFE OF FAITH INVOLVES. 

A LIFE of faith involves, first, a deep sense of 
our unworthiness, and utter helplessness out of 
Christ ; and then a trust in the merits and 
intercession of Jesus ; and these blessings can be 
secured only by faith in the word of God. 
Living by faith, involves the absolute necessity 
of living by the moment; of receiving each 
moment, the grace necessary for that moment ; 
and here is the great stumbling block with multi- 
tudes ; who forget that as they " have received 
Christ Jesus, the Lord, so they must walk in 
Him ;" that if they have been cleansed by faith 
in the blood of Jesus, so by faith in that blood, 
must they continue to be momentarily cleansed ; 
and by faith draw each spiritual breath, as all 
else is but moral death. If we could receive 
grace now, for the future, it would lead to 



104 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 

forgetfulness, and a feeling of independence of 
God. The manna, annual products, our physical 
existence, the word, and providence of God, and 
the personal experience of all saints confirm this 
great, but not well understood truth, that we 
can only live acceptably before God, but by the 
moment. Many persons follow the teaching of 
the Spirit, and the word of God, until they reach 
this point ; and here they stagger and fall. 
They are cleansed, have peace and communion 
with God, are happy and useful, because they 
are watchful, prayerful, and confiding ; but suffer- 
ing " the little foxes," to approach in slight 
omissions of watchfulness, trivial neglects of 
" looking unto Jesus," plausible thoughts of the 
sufficiency of present grace, for the future, they 
cease to live a life of faith, and thus loose their 
peace, and the enemy again comes in like a 
flood ; and they soon find they are shorn of their 
strength ; and thus with a lifeless, listless, if not 
aimless existence, they continue to groan and 
lament. 

The wholly consecrated soul is under solemn 
obligation to live by the moment. It is a dif- 
ficult lesson to learn ; yet one that can be 
learned, and one that is learned ; though gene- 
rally through a very humbling process ; but 
not necessarily so. The flesh pleads mightily 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES ? 105 

for sight, and habit is violent for signs ; but 
faith says, believe each successive moment ; let 
the prevailing habit of the soul be one of 
'' looking unto Jesus." 

THE GLOUIOUS WAY OF FAITH. 

The way of faith is a glorious way, and the 
privilege of trusting in the merits of another, 
great and precious. Griorious ! because un- 
merited. Great ! because of the vastness of our 
sins. Precious ! because of our necessities. 
Humbling ! because it exalts the Saviour at the 
creature's expense ; and certain ! because of its 
surety. It is glorious, because it honours God 
in its demands for trust in His veracity ; in 
superseding sight, and the abandonment of the 
desire for *' signs and wonders." Men want to 
see and live ; to work and live ; but God says, 
"believe," and "live;" "obey," and "live." 
The flesh exclaims, I " fast often I " but faith 
cries, " Have mercy ! " 

EXAMINING FOR FRUIT. 

But I must stop, for I have already far 
transcended the limits I prescribed to myself 
when I commenced this letter ; and if there is 
even the semblance of uncharitableness in what 
I have written, I shall deeply regret it ; for I 



106 WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHURCHES? 

would not speak harshly of any man ; but to 
speak of fruits, entirely disconnected with the 
tree, is difficult ; and the more so, where the tree 
is adorned with fair, and, often to appearance, 
promising foliage ; for in searching for fruit, we 
necessarily come in contact with the leaves, as 
well as the tree. 

THE JUDGMENT. 

Soon, we shall stand in our lot ; the one to 
meet the preparation, the other, the reception of 
sermons ; and that will be a solemn scene ; for 
in that hour will cluster the past and future. 
The light of the place will not only enable us to 
look back on earthly scenes of despised grace, 
and neglected opportunities ; but the life of 
self, will then stand out in all its hideousness ; 
and the value of souls will then be properly 
appreciated. There will be no excuses made, 
for not having been useful. " Justice and judg- 
ment are the habitation of the Throne ; " but 
" Mercy and truth " had preceded ; '' Kighte- 
ousness " is laid " to the plummet ; " but grace 
had clung to the ''line." Those eyes which 
once shed tears, and the lips which uttered 
groans over the hardness of men's hearts, do so 
no more. Motive will appear without a cover- 
ing ; and those words which were not for God ; 



WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THE CHUECHES ? 107 

tliey^ will be there. The wailings of the lost, 
among them those we loved, will be heard ; and 
above the general moan, and in accents clear 
and startling, will come up the cry, " No man 
cared for my soul ! " Yerily, it will be a solemn 
scene ; for then we shall understand the import- 
ance of faithfulness here ; know the meaning of 
the words, "Be ye holy;" — see the connexion 
between holiness and usefulness ; and know how 
much good we might have done, had we been 
faithful here. Yes, and know, too, the difference 
between that introduction into glory, which is 
"so as by fire ; " and that other one, which 
" shall be ministered abundantly." 

THE RECOGNITION. 

In the flesh, we shall probably not meet; 
but when our Father calls us up to the man- 
sions which He has prepared for us, we shall 
know, and be known; and perhaps we may 
often converse about the things suggested by 
your inquiries ; and then, at least, we shall 
" see eye to eye ; " and until that happy period 
arrives, may we stand " perfect and complete in 
all the will of God ; " is the prayer of 

Your Brother in Christ Jesus, 

A Layman, 



c 



27 July 185!*. 



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