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to admonish us of our obligation to help each other in making sure work for the life which is to come.

3. This practice is in perfect harmony with the character, design, and genius of Christianity.

In worldly associations, rival interests, selfish motives, and envious devices, are either covertly, or openly, brought into play. One man's successes are often based upon another man's misfortunes; and the accumulations of one man's property often tends to the deepening of another's poverty. But in Christianity there are no rival interests, and no ground for the workings of jealousy or of envy. On the contrary, it condemns, and is designed to destroy, every feeling opposed to love. It declares mankind to be equally lost, and proclaims that they are equally redeemed; it offers life and salvation to every man on the same terms; teaches us to regard each man as our brother; and annexes a reward to the tears we shed over his misery, the gifts we bestow to relieve his penury, and the words we speak with a desire to promote his salvation. Christianity not only gives existence to "brotherly love," but it sustains it in its Divine activity, and suggests motives of infinite weight why it should ever be diligently cultivated.

The Gospel, when cordially embraced, assures the believer of the pardon of his sins, and acceptance in the Beloved; it brings him into fellowship with God, fills him with love to God and man, gives him a taste for the sweets of sanctified friendship, and plants in his heart the hope of glory. Nothing, therefore, can be more in harmony with a religion so social, so characterized by love, and so full of enjoyment, than that those who enjoy its blessings and bow to its claims, should hold frequent and joyous fellowship with each other. Christians travel by the same road to the same heaven, serve the same Master, feast at the same table, have common joys and griefs, common encmies and interests, and are required to be ready to lay down their lives for their brethren. For them, therefore, not to take counsel together how to make their calling and election sure, would be unnatural, and altogether alien to the character of the Gospel which they profess to believe. The fellowship of saints has always been prized by the saintly, and by persons deeply convinced of sin. In all genuine revivals of religion, meetings for prayer and Christian intercourse are frequented and enjoyed by those who are subjects of a work of grace ; and the decay of piety, in churches, or the souls of individuals, is ever indicated by the neglect of such services. Those professors who are satisfied with a form of godliness, dislike everything in the discipline of the Church which goes to distinguish between "the living" and "the dead." They are the "whole," of whom the Saviour speaks, who "have no need of a physician." Strangers alike to godly grief and holy joy, "rich and increased in goods," and needing nothing which

the Atoning Saviour and the sanctifying Spirit have to give, they cannot relish meetings designed for the healing of the sick, the comforting of them that mourn, the enriching of the spiritually poor, and the exaltation of Him who is the "Alpha and Omega" of the believer's salvation. The fact that such persons dislike Class-meetings ought to excite no surprise; it only proves the Gospel character of these social gatherings, and should raise them in our esteem. “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet." (Prov. xxvii. 7.)

Christians are one body, actuated by one Spirit, united to one Head. They have "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in them all." (Eph. iv. 5, 6.) It is the will, and loving design of God, that, "speaking the truth in love," they should "grow up into Him, in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." (Verses 15, 16.) Christians are fellow-labourers in the same vineyard, fellowsoldiers in the same army, and fellow-heirs of the same heavenly inheritance; they therefore act in harmony with the promptings of their new nature, their common relationship to each other, the genius of Christianity, and their joint union with Christ, when they meet to "comfort one another," to "edify one another," and to "provoke unto love and to good works." Whereas, those who "forsake the assembling of themselves together" through the fear of man, the love of the world, or on the ground of some slight or offence, render their piety questionable, and their example a stumbling-block. "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.' ii. 19.)

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(1 John


To fear God, under the Old-Testament dispensation was, in all leading points, equivalent to loving Him under the New. As the love of God constitutes the sum of true religion now, so the filial fear of God was regarded as constituting its sum and substance then; and as love to God is the distinguishing mark of a good man now, so the fear of God was that which distinguished the righteous man then. When David therefore calls upon all that "fear God" to come and hear, he purposely excludes scoffers, unbelievers, triflers, and self-sufficient professors; an n the days of Malachi, those only who evinced their fear

of God by keeping His commandments, met for purposes of mutual edification.

We find that our Saviour cautioned His disciples not to cast their "pearls before swine, lest," said He, "they trample them under their feet;" (Matt. vii. 6;) and it appears the Holy Spirit impressed the same caution on the mind of His servant David, long before the Saviour's coming in the flesh. The easy admission of unawakened and worldly-minded persons to church-fellowship, is a souldestroying evil. It thwarts the Redeemer's purpose that His people should be "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;" showing forth the praises of Him who "called them out of darkness into His marvellous light." It leads to unequal marriages and unholy partnerships; soothes the formalist in his formality; provides the hypocrite with a cloak to cover his hypocrisy ; grieves the truly pious, and prevents God from crowning His ordinances with His presence and blessing, as He would otherwise do. A church without discipline is like a vineyard without a hedge: "all they which pass by do pluck her; the boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it." Church privileges which may be enjoyed by those who have no claim to church-membership, will not long be prized by members themselves. Christian fellowship is based upon mutual esteem; and since a conviction of each other's sincerity is essential to a free expression of individual experience, the admission of unspiritual persons to the social gatherings of believers is to be deprecated, as tending to destroy confidence. By such parties, that simplicity which lends a charm to the relation of Christian experience, will be regarded with ridicule; and in proportion as the experience related is deep, it will be deemed unintelligible,—perhaps be attributed to pride, enthusiasm, or hypocrisy. In Wesley's estimation, discipline was a means of grace; wherever it was enforced, he looked for a revival of the work of God, and where it was laxly administered, he anticipated decline.

No community is wholly pure; but every Scriptural means ought to be employed to prevent the temple of God from being made "a house of merchandise," or "a den of thieves." The ministers who sanction, or silently connive at, indiscriminate communion, betray their trust, and are sure to meet with rebuke in the day of their Lord's coming. Whether we consider the discipline practised in the primitive church, the spiritual character of the meetings in question the design of Christianity in the earth, or the blindness and enmity of the carnal mind, we are convinced that as a rule, none but converted persons, or such as evidence their desire of salvation, by ceasing to do evil," and "learning to do well," ought to be admitted to assemblies for the relation of Christian experience. Such persons alone can relish, or understand, or rightly improve statements

relating to the Christian warfare, and the work of the Spirit on the hearts of believers. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. ii. 14.) Whilst, therefore, we ought to seize every opportunity of warning sinners, and such as are at ease in Zion, and should do our utmost to bring them under the word, and induce them to yield themselves to God, let us, on no account, introduce them to Lovefeasts and Society-classes, until they feel sin a burden, and inquire what they must do to be saved?

"Men of worldly, low design,
Let not these Thy people join,
Poison our simplicity,

Drag us from our trust in Thee.
"Save us from the great and wise,
Till they sink in their own eyes,
Tamely to Thy yoke submit,
Lay their honours at Thy feet.
"Never let the world break in;
Fix a mighty gulf between :
Keep us little and unknown,
Prized and loved by God alone."

The remainder of this paper will appear in February.



THE readers of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine do not require an array of texts to teach them that it is their duty to "fear God and honour the king;" and that it is also the duty of Christian ministers to put their flocks in mind " to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work." We are, however, surrounded by multitudes who have not so clear a perception of religious duty; and occasions frequently occur for us to put them, also, in mind.

When kings and princes were all heathens, and when magistrates all over the Roman empire were required to do their utmost for the extirpation of Christianity, there could be no stricter test of sincerity than that of requiring the followers of Christ to love, honour, and obey their most cruel enemies. Yet such was the requirement. One example suffices for illustration. It is not certainly known when St. Paul wrote his first Epistle to Timothy. The year 65 is in the margin of our English Bible, and it may have been written in that year, or so late as 68; but, perhaps, we may rightly assign to it the date of 67 At this very time the first great persecution of the Christians was raging fiercely, led on and enforced with all the power of Nero. It was in the summer of the year 64 that he set Rome on fire, then falsely

accused the Christians of having done it, and had many of them torn to pieces by wild beasts, or burnt alive, or otherwise horribly put to death. In 66 he made war upon the Jews in Syria, and attacked Jerusalem; and in the year 70 Titus razed the city to the ground. It was at some time within this calamitous period that the Apostle wrote to Timothy, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. ii. 1-4.)

Certainly Christians were not then leading "a quiet and peaceable life." In every corner of the empire they were hunted down, and killed, as public enemies who ought not to be suffered to live. No man in our day is capable of conceiving the accumulations of horrors which overwhelmed the infant Christendom. A lawless despotism wantonly inflicted cruelty and injustice in their wildest and most exaggerated forms; and the nearer its victims were to the centres of administrative power, the more hopeless was their condition. Peace could only be realized when the confessor could escape society, and be alone with God. Life hung in doubt every moment. Nothing could be accounted safe. The Christian's goods were to be spoiled; his reputation was already gone; he was pursued with inexorable vengeance. All men in authority were waging a battle without pity on those who bore the name of Christ; resolved, as they thought, that they would extirpate all faith in our Saviour, and blot out His very name from the earth.

Could we now see another Nero revelling in the slaughter of our fellow-Christians, we should, no doubt, wish an end to a reign so hateful; but, when in full sight of the tyrant, and himself likely to be soon among his victims, the holy Apostle exhorted that Nero and his agents should be made the subjects of every Christian's prayer. While brethren were yet reading his exhortation, his own head was severed by the sword.

So long as the fiery trial continued, the patience of the church endured. Oppressive and sanguinary rulers heard indeed the remonstrances of the sufferers, but they heard of no insults offered to their dignity; for the confessors honoured the "power" that was "of God," even while the potentate acted as if he were prompted by the very spirit of that Evil One whose kingdom Christ came to overthrow; and the history of that age of martyrdoms abounds with evidence in proof of their loyalty no less than their patience. The venerable Polycarp, disciple of St. John, and Martyr, exhorted the Philippians to "pray for kings, and powers, and princes, even for those who persecuted and hated them; and for the enemies of the cross of Christ, that in all things it might be made evident that they were perfect in Him."* Justin, philosopher and Martyr, while he did not scruple to plead with the Emperor Antoninus that certain proceedings against the Christians were those of hangmen

Polycarp., Epist. ad Philippenses, xii. Versio antiqua.

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