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66 It is also very
tions, is any number of persons who, propriety as an assembly ; or that it believing the gospel, have been bap- might as well be termed a segration tized, and agree to meet at certain of the called, as a congregation of the times, to observe certain ordinances. called. In short, it is not the meeting This agreement is called forming a in any place that forms the Christian church : in this sense it is a society. ecclesia of that place It is said furBut we find no such phrase in the ther in that note writings of the apostles, as forming a often applied to the whole body or church, nor a church itself. No aggregate of the faithful.” I believe such idea as we have of a church, is that when correctly rendered, it althere to be found. The word ecclesia, ways refers to the whole body, or agrendered church in the common ver- gregate of the faithful, especially when sion, is universally acknowledged to it is in the singular number. I will be derived from eccaleo, to call out : give a few examples. 1 Cor. i. 2, hence it means the calling out, or, the “ Unto the church of God which is called out. But I cannot find a word at Corinth”. that is, to the whole in the English language to express body or aggregate of the faithful, alexactly such an idea. It is a collec- though limited by the “ being in Cotive noun, such as army or retinue : rinth.” Rom. xvi. 1, “I commend it therefore follows, that as the army unto you Phæbe, our sister, who is a means the soldiers collectively, so servant of the church”—that is, a does church mean the called collec- servant to the aggregate of the faithtively. But as the army does not ful who were at Cenchrea. 3 and 5, necessarily convey the idea of soldiers “Greet Priscilla and Aquilla,” &c. collected together in any place or “and the church that is in their house” places : neither does the church con- —that is, all the faithful, limited to vey the idea of the called congrega- members of the household of Priscilla ted. From these premises I conclude and Aquilla, and not to a meeting or that the word congregation does not congregation held in their house. convey the meaning of the word re- Thus, I think it is beyond dispute, ferred to, because congregation always that church is a word of the same bears the idea of meeting together, kind as army, although not exactly which ecclesia does not.
similar in every respect ; and for that I am well aware that this conclu- reason we cannot say of the army
of sion will not pass uncontroverted, for, Great Britain, an army ; but we may while every lexicographer, of all the say, the army in India, the army in sects, says that ecclesia, coming from Ireland. So, then, we cannot say a eccaleo, to call out, means congregation church, while we may say with proor assembly, I do not expect that a priety, the church in Corinth, the flat denial of this will be received, church in Philippi, &c. But we have without the concurrence of parties of still more evidence of another kind, much higher standing and learning to disprove, that the church of God is than the writer of this article. a host of social communities, inde
Most of the brethren have access pendent of each other : for, by one to the New Testament, edited by A. Spirit we are all baptized into one Campbell, of America. I may here body, whether Jews or Gentiles, wherefer to a note in the appendix of ther bond or free, and have been that book, under the word church. It made to drink into one Spirit. “Now is there said to be “ an assembly of ye are the body of Christ, and memthe called, or those brought together bers in particular," I Cor. xii. This by one leader or profession.” Now is sufficient of itself to expose the falI believe that it might be termed a lacy of the doctrine, that every separation of the called, with as much church has the right to direct its own internal affairs. I am convinced that meet together by messengers appointif we had a translation of the Scrip- ed to represent them, and consult and tures such as we should have, it arrange for the better performance of would tend much to purify our speech ; their duties. I do not considsr this and if a real English word could be at all sufficient to effect the unity of found for this ecclesia, we should no the body of Christ. There is nothing longer be subjected to listen to such to hinder the small congregations from inutile and improper adjectives as are meeting together themselves, which is joined to it - as church militant, or much better than by proxy; and I
fighting church; church triumphant, am sure that if arrangements were holy catholic church, &c. Indeed I entered into by the brethren in Scotam of opinion that the word host land, for example, to meet on a given comes as near to the original mean- first day, either in Edinburgh or ing as any that could be found. A Perthshire, there would be present careful attention to the use made of some six or seven hundred the it by Stephen, in his speech before greater part of whom could leave the Sanbedrim, will illustrate this. their residences in the morning, and Speaking of Moses, he says, Acts vii. return home again at night for an ex38, “This is he who was in the church pense of about 5s. each. Indeed in the wilderness, with the angel there is scarcely a working-man who which spake to him in the Mount has not his annual “jaunt” now-aSinai.” Now this is the angel spoken days; and why should not such jourof by Stephen in the 30th verse, neys be encouraged, and put to a which is a quotation from Exodus proper use ? If others go to fairs ii. 2; and there is no evidence what- and races, might not we go to the ever of this angel having been at any “Great Congregation," to praise the time with Moses in the congregation Lord, and to give thanks among in the wilderness, while there is in- much people ? Then we should bedubitable evidence of his being with hold the body fitly compacted and him in the host of God. Let it not connected by every assisting joint, be supposed for a moment, that while according to its energy in the proI endeavour to show that the ecclesia portion of each particular part affectis not a congregation, that I discou- ing the growth of the body, towards rage the congregating of the people the edification of itself in love, (see of God. The communion of saints Eph. iv.) Now there does not appear retains its place in my creed, as well among us the effectual working of as the forgiveness of sins ; and it is the assisting joints and bands, so often because there is not such a commu- spoken of by Paul. See Colos. ii. in nion of the saints as there should be, which he tells the Colossians of the that I have been induced to investi- great concern for them and others gate this subject, and to call attention who had not seen his face, that their to the communion as it was in the hearts might be comforted even by all days of the apostles, and as it should the riches of the full assurance of unbe now. It appears that the disciples derstanding to the acknowledgment were gathered together oftener and in of the mystery of God, in which are much larger congregations than in all the concealed treasures of wisdom our day; and that, too, while having and knowledge ; and he plainly deno such means of locomotion as we clares, that in order to this they must have. That such a communion is be knit together in love. It must be wanted at present, all are agreed ; but evident, then, that the brethren in the how it is to be obtained we differ. city of Laodicea, could not be firmly Some say and write, that congrega- united in love with the citizens of tions in given local districts, ought to Colosse, and the brethren throughout Phrygia, without meeting together to called out. The different chapters in excite each other to love and to good which these words occur need not be works. And again : having previously enumerated, as a Concordance will showed that Christ is the head of his supply the reader with them all. Brobody the church, he warns them ther Fordyce thinks that none of the against not holding firmly the head, words thus translated, express the (verse 29) from which the whole full meaning of the original ; he has, body, being supplied and connected therefore, supplied the terms army, by joints and bands, increaseth with retinue, and host; but regards the the increase of God. If, then, all the latter word as the most appropriate body is to be supplied and compacted and expressive of the three. But from the head, by means of joinings even these words, in his opinion, do and fastenings, in order that it may noi convey the full meaning emboincrease that growth which comes died in the original. Now, if this be from God, we ought to consider if we correct, how is the difficulty that prehave such joinings and fastenings in sents itself to be overcome ?
We good order ; if not, we cannot expect cannot select any other terms to exthe blessing. For these reasons it press the idea intended, unless we appears expedient that all the con- choose that of flock of God, or synagregations be requested to consider gogue, which could not be admitted. the utility of gathering themselves to- It appears to us that in considering the gether in large numbers, in their re- word ecclesia, our brother has conspective districts, as often as may be fined himself too strictly to the etyfound convenient, to break bread, and mology of the term, rather than to its to publish the death of the Lord, in application in the sacred writings. order that we may be more firmly Hence we find the term ecclesia emunited by the bands of peace and ployed to denote the whole congregalove ; and that the Lord may thus tion of the saved, as in Eph. i. 23, make us to increase, and that our “ He is the head over all things to hearts may be established unblame- his congregation.” It is also applied able in holiness, in the presence of to designate particular congregations, our God and Father, at the coming as in Rev. ii. 1, 8, 12, 18, &c. The of our Lord Jesus, with all his saints. term is also applied to an assembly,
Such were the feelings that per- not being a congregation of Christ at vaded my mind, when I proposed the all, as in Acts xix. 41. To ascertain, resolution adopted at Glasgow. then, the particular application of
A. FORDYCE. this term by the Spirit, we must re
gard the context attentively. Now
in 1 Cor. i. 2, “ The congregation “Where two or three are gathered together which is in Corinth,” &c. ; and in in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” | Rev. the congregations that are in
Brother Fordyce having presented Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyafor the consideration of our readers, tira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodithe foregoing observations on the word cea - these separate congregations, ecclesia, it will scarcely be expected, with all the disciples in every place, that at the present time, we should constituted the one ecclesia of Jesus say much by way of criticism. It Christ. But, as no army can be goought to be generally known amongst verned, instructed, disciplined, and the brethren, however, that this word properly trained to the laws, spirit, is translated in the New Testament, and requirements of a king, en masse, by the terms church, churches, as- but must be divided into different sembly, and congregation, its simple regiments, and placed under proper meaning being, a number of persons officers, that all may learn to practise
REMARKS BY THE EDITOR.
the same duties, for the same purpose of operations got up by our good Father M‘Lean -so, in the kingdom of Christ, the and his coadjutors. Now, sir, am I to undisciples are one in, and under Him, Baptist churches separate the ancient gospel
derstand you as intimating that the Scotch and members one of another. The from the ancient order? If so, in what respect worship and truth of God, however, does this appear? And again, in what do you are to be diffused, maintained, and consider the system of operations defective earnestly contended for, throughout among us? We would most gladly be informthe whole world ; the ecclesia, (con
ed, that we might alter it.”—W. JONES. gregation) must be planted in every
The religion of our exalted Recity. Elders were ordained in every
deemer is as perfect a whole, and in church, as the Lord commanded; all its parts, as the universe which he and the apostles taught the same has builded. In it there is nothing things in every church — which, in- deficient—nothing superfluous. It is deed, was the result of their instruc- adapted to man as it finds him tions emanating from the same King it must be presented to man as he is, and Divine Legislator. Nor did they and not as he is not. It comes to us enjoin upon the disciples any obser- in the form of a record, or testimony ; vance which the Lord had not com
which testimony, believed, brings it manded. His wisdom, love, and into the heart. The testimony treats authority, as King and Legislator in of facts and their meaning. The order Zion, was perfectly satisfactory to of things in the divine economy is, them.
therefore, 1st, facts, 2nd, testimony, What advantage could possibly re- 3rd, faith, 4th, a change of views and sult
, in instruction, discipline, or good feelings, called repentance, issuing in order, by the disciples of Christ leav- reformation, 5th, immersion, 6th, the ing their respective homes to assem- enjoyment of remission of sins, 7th, ble in large congregations at a dis- adoption into the family of God, and tance, Brother Fordyce has not in the light and consolation of God's
A scriptural example or good Spirit. Or to place the leading two would prove satisfactory on this terms in the proper order, from Alpha subject. We see no objection to a to Omega, they stand-facts, testigeneral meeting being convened, in a mony, faith, repentance, immersion, given district, once or twice in the remission of sins, holiness, the hope of a year, or even oftener, providing any glorious resurrection to eternal life and definite or beneficial object can be good works. The facts are the works accomplished thereby. This army of God and man; the testimony of might assemble with mutual advan God respectsthe meaningand tendency tage to every member of it, if each of these works, divine and human ; heart were filled with love towards, faith receives the whole as true, and confidence in, each other, and because the testimony is confirmed by actuated by a desire for union, in the the power of God : this works in the fear of God. May that happy day heart repentance : and this works soon dawn upon us ! J. W. obedience ; first, in immersion ; then
comes the enjoyment of a personal
and plenary remission of all past sins, CHRISTIANITY A PERFECT in the name, or by the authority of SYSTEM.
the Lord ; and then communion with
God by his good Spirit received, holi“Let me beg the favo of you to explain to ness of heart and life, the blessed hope, me the following passage in your letter. The and character corresponding to it. ancient order of things, without the ancient
Now I would not be understood gospel, will not succeed. What God has united ought not to be separated. The world would that the preaching of such a theoretic not be converted in 10,000 years by the system I view, or of any theory of the gospel,
is preaching the gospel. One of the stirring operations ; shouting, as if fatal mistakes in Christendom is the God were asleep; swooning, fainting, preaching of some theory of the gospel, and metaphysical convulsions, as if rather than the gospel itself. To God were to be compelled by the vepreach the gospel, is to declare the hemence of preachers and hearers to testimony of God, his precepts and have some sort of new mercy upon promises. It is to declare what we them. have done and what he has done The Scotch Baptists, on the other (facts)—to prove it by the Holy Spirit hand, appear to me to be so straitensent down from heaven-by the ed by the cords and stays of hyperProphets and Apostles—(testimony.) calvinism, that they are afraid to To convince men that it is true~ command all men to repent" and obey (faith ;) to persuade them to change the gospel, lest they should savor of their views, feeling, and behaviour Arminian works, and make void the (repentance or reformation ;)—to put grace of God. They are so fettered off the old man and to put on Christ and manacled, and paralyzed by Cal-(immersion ; )-- to regard them- vinian metaphysics, that they are unselves then as Christ's, (pardoned, able to utter the strivings of the Holy justified, sanctified, regenerated to Spirit—the arguments, remonstrances God :) and to walk in Christ as and persuasions of Prophets and children of God, (led by the Spirit ;) | Apostles. The preachers appear all and to adorn their profession-living concern that their hearers should soberly, righteously, and godly in the think right, as if men were to be saved present world.) All this is done by by thinking correctly. If at any time fairly, fully, honestly declaring the they quote such sayings as “God so whole testimony of God. This is to loved the world, that he sent his only preach the old gospel ; and this is to begotten Son, that whosoever belieres preach it as did the old Apostles, who on bim might not perish, but have were neither Calvinists, Arminians, everlasting life,” they are compelled Trinitarians, Unitarians, or any thing by their theory to neutralize it all by else but the followers of Christ. foisting in the word elect before the
The technicalities of Calvinism, term world, or by such qualifications, Arminianism, and the fanaticism of explanations, and theories of converNew Lightism of some sort, have di- sion, effectual calling, &c. as make vested the gospel of its ancient sim- the gospel a mere instrument in the plicity and power. The word of God, hand of the Spirit for saving the which is living and effectual, has been elect. converted into " a dead letter ;" and They who preach the original gosthe ignis faluus of some physical or pel avoid all such speculations. They adstract agency on the hearts of un- have no wish or inclination to prove believers, liorking faith in them, is Calvinism or Arminianism to be true. now represented as the power of God | They only say that neither of them is to salvation. Thus the word of God the gospel which Peter preached. is made of non-effect; and in this They speak the word of God in the country dreams, visions, and new terms and phrases of the book, and revelations of the Spirit are substi- address men as Jesus and his Apostles tuted for the truth formerly delivered did, not minglingtheir own philosophy, to us by the saints.
nor that of Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Even the English Baptists in with the teachings of the Holy Spirit. America have got up Methodistic There is something in the matter camp-meetings, anxious seats, mourn- and manner of our preaching very ing benches, clerical intercessions, different from any thing which we and all the paraphernalia of passion-heard in Britain or Ireland. It is true