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mitted, that in the present mixed state of the church ($ 105), this sincere adoration, which can alone be pleasing to Christ, is not the characteristic of every member of the church. But each christian ought to be a sincere worshipper of Christ, and all would be, if they actually were what they are called, if they all were true christians or genuine members of the church. And with regard to those who are merely nominal professors of christianity, one object of the institution is, that they should become what as yet they are not ; that in this nursery of true christians ($ 105), they should be trained up to be sincere worshippers of the Lord Jesus.
VIII. The church is under the special protection and guidance of Christ.—Eph. 1:22, and constituted him head over all things to the church. This relation of Christ to his church is referred to, when his guidance of the church or people of God, which is only a part of his government, is, by way of distinction, termed “his reign” (Luke 1: 32, 33), and the church itself is called the kingdom or state of Christ, the descendant of David, Acts 15: 16, ounun david the tabernacle of David. Col. 1:13, Baoinsta tou viov the kingdom of his Son. ($105.) Thus also the particular government of the ancient people of God, which is only a part of the universal divine government, is called the
reign of God.” Matth. 21: 43. And in reference to Christ's special government of his church, the church is also termed " the body of Christ.” Eph. 1: 22. Col. 1: 18. Comp. $ 96. Ill. 4.
In " Hess' Bibliothek der heil. Geschichte," Pt. II. No. I. On the subject of Theocracy, the true idea of a special Providence, is thus determined: “When in a limited sphere of action, which is within the extent of our observation, the intentional guidance of a higher power and wisdom is manifest in a higher and more striking degree, than in the ordinary course of events; this, whether it is connected with more or less that is actually miraculous, is termed “special Providence.”
1 Vide Dissert. de notione regni coelestis, not, 77.
IX. Subject continued.—Matth. 16: 18, I will build my church. 28:20, I am always with you ; i. e. not only with the apostles, but also with all who shall learn to keep my commandments, or teach others to keep them, in short with all, even unto the end of the christian church. Eph. 1: 22. 4: 15. Coloss. 2: 19. “ By which (head, Christ) the whole body attains a glorious growth, because it receives strength and compactness in all its individual parts.” Eph. 5: 23, he is the Saviour of the body. 29–32, the Lord nourisheth and cherisheth the church. John 10: 14, 27, 28, I know my own—and I give unto them eternal life, and no one shall wrest them out of
hand. The influence of Christ is of course bestowed in different degrees, and adapted to the different callings and necessities of the members of the church. Eph. 4: 7—12. 1 Cor. 12: 4, and it is evident also, that the conduct of individual members of the church, may incapacitate them for the reception of many blessings, which they might expect of Christ, if they were sincere members of the church, and made a conscientious use of the privileges which it affords.
1 This is evident from the phrase succeeding, WS TNS OUVTERELAS TOU aLovos until the end of the world. Thus, Deut. 4: 25 &c. ch. 30, the Israelites are frequently addressed in the second person, when such things were spoken of, as concerned the whole Jewish nation in every age. This figure of speech is termed communicatio, x 0 LV W OLS, and by it the speaker embraces, in the first or second person plural, all of the same nation or religion, to which he or his hearers belong. John 7: 26, 22, újwv. Acts 7: 53, shaßete ye received ; and sometimes that particular part of a whole nation which does not belong to the generation then living. John 6: 32. ου Μωϋσης δεδωκεν υμιν Moses did not give to you. Vide Diss. de sensu histor. note 183, where other examples are adduced.
Origin of the christian Church through the special agency
The history of the origin of the christian church, presents striking evidences (1) of the fact, that Christ exercises a particular providence over her. For, he is the Author and promoter of the doctrines (2) by which he collects and preserves his worshippers (3), not only because he commissioned the apostles whom he himself instructed, to disseminate the doctrines he had taught them; but also because he endowed them (4), and other members of the new church (5), with extraordinary qualifications (6) for teaching; and because he even substantiated the truth of his doctrines by mir
I. See Dissert. de notione regni coelestis, p. 31. Opusc. Vol. I, p. 288.
288. Such evidence is afforded by the rapid spread of christianity throughout the Roman Empire, without the instrumentality of the least violence.
II. Christ is the Author of the doctrines taught by the apostles.-Acts 26: 23, the first that should rise from the dead, and should announce a light unto the people and to the Gentiles. Ephes. 2: 17, (Christ) came and preached peace to you who were far off, and to those who were nigh. 2 Tim. 1: 10.
III. Matth. 13: 37 &c, he who sowed the good seed (the sons of the kingdom) is the Son of man. John 10:16, other sheep—I must bring them.
IV. He sent the Comforter.-John 16: 7. 14: 26, neuYW προς υμας (πεμψει ο πατηρ εν ονοματι μου) τον παρακλητον
I will send unto you (the Father will send in my name) the Comforter. Acts 26: 16. Comp. $ 9, 10.
V. All spiritual gifts come from Christ.—In the New Repert. for Biblical and Oriental literature,” the phrase hoyos 00quas the word of wisdom (2 Cor. 12: 8), in comparison with the expression Eidevai uvotnoia to comprehend mysteries, (13: 2) is explained as meaning "a communication of unknown truths, made under the guidance of the Holy Spirit ;" and hoyos yvojoews, “a prudent communication, well adapted to the circumstances of the case.” Compare yvoois 1 Pet. 3: 7 and 2 Pet. 1: 5. Both these phrases are embraced in the word nooONTEVELV to prophecy, taken in its more extensive sense (1 Cor. 14:1–5, 6), for in this sense it includes, in general, every communication of truth, which presupposes a special influence of the Holy Ghost. Both of these, as well as the other spiritual gifts specified (12: 8—10), were of supernatural origin.
VI. Subject continued.—Eph. 4:7–11, having ascended on high, he gave gifts unto men-and he appointed some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors, and some teachers.
VII. He substantiated the doctrines of the apostles, by miracles.-John 14: 13 &c. Acts 14: 7-10. 3: 6. 9: 34. 16: 18. Rom. 15:18. Comp. supra g 10. Ill. 26, 27.
1 See part. III. page 325—338, of the dissertation on the spiritual gifts of the Corinthian christians.
§ 101. Multiplication of christian churches, and the care of the apostles
The very nature of the christian religion led (1) those who first embraced it to form themselves into an associate body. But as an intimate social connexion can exist only among persons of contiguous residence, the natural consequence was that distinct churches were formed in the different sections of the country (2). And the apostles by divine authority (3), sanctioned these societies, and superintended the administration of their affairs (4).
1. The nature of Christianity social.-Christianity requires love and unity among her children (John 13: 34 &c. Eph. 4:3—6, 16); social edification by conversing together on the things of the kingdom (5: 19. Col. 3: 16.), by good works (Matth. 5: 13—16), and finally also by a public profession of religion (Matth. 10:32. Mark 8: 38). Hence, the natural consequences of these requisitions were, separation from those who rejected christianity, and a more intimate connexion among the christians themselves. See $108 inf. See Reinhard's system of Practical theology, $ 306, p. 311, 313.
II. Individual churches formed.--Acts 2: 41-47. Description of the church at Jerusalem. 8:1. Other particular churches are mentioned, with or without their location. 1 Thess. 2: 14. Gal. 1: 22. 1 Cor. 1: 2. 4: 17. 11: 16. 16: 1, 19.
III. Matth. 16: 19. Comp. $ 90. Ill. 19 supra.