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bim, in the most holy place of the tabernacle, which was thence termed —“the house of God.” Such exhibitions of his presence are not only an accommodation to our weak conceptions, but are wisely fitted to give a peculiar sacredness in our minds, to the places where God has appeared to be present with us, and thus to make them instrumental in renewing the same impressions at another time. Holy men, therefore, use them for the o: for which they are designed. acob, doubtless knew that the universe was the house of God, yet he poured oil upon the stone, on which his head had rested during the vision, and named it, and the place where it stood, Beth-el, that is “ House of God.” Many years after, when he returned from Syria, and came to the spot, it brought forcibly to his mind the promises which God had there made to him, and he built an altar of earth, and called it El-Beth-el—because there God appeared to him, when he fled from his brethren. In a similar manner, we should hold those places sacred where God has appeared to us, that they may become means of recalling the gooduess of God, and renewing the solemn impressions and holy resolutions, which they once witnessed. In this view of the subject, a house of prayer, and public worship, is peculiarly, the house of God. There we assemble to meet our God, and to hold communion with him. There we meet, to hear his words, to make known our requests, to call upon the Lord, to praise his name—and to realize, as in his more immediate presence, all those circumstances, counected with our knowledge of him and of his holy law, which have been ulentioned in this discourse, as giving solemuity to 'our present existence. And here, it may be added, his children, while engaged in the services of the sanctuary, do often receive peculiar and refreshing views of his presence and glory. The place, therefore, should be sacred in our minds. We should, if possible, suffer nothing
of a worldly nature, to be associated with the house of prayer, the house of God. “Surely God is in this place, though we may know it not.” He is here—speaking to us, by his word —He is here, by his Holy Spirit, in the hearts of his children and perhaps of sinners, producing conviction of sin in some, and giving comfort and consolation, joy and peace in believing, to others. This is the house of God; for many with an awe and rapture, seemingly less than that of the Patriarch, have seen him here, and have felt his power while they have listened to his promises. His goings have been seen in his sanctuary. It is the house of God and the Gate of Heaven, where many precious souls have received those impressions and bopes which conduct to Heaven— “They have seen thy goings,” (says the Psalmist) “even the goings of my God, my king, in the sanctuary.” Let all the solemnity, then, which accompanies the view of a present God, of his holy law, and of Eternity, here settle on eur souls. If no where else, let us at least, be thoughtful and solemn in the house of God. Let the vision of spiritual things alone occupy our minds. O let us realize and feel that it is none other but the house of God. May it prove to all of us the Gate of Heaven.
For the Christian Spectator.
A brief Essay on Church Govern
WHEN an individual church, in any town or parish, possesses the power of christian discipline, even to the exclusion of offenders, and possesses the same power to discipline its pastor, as any other member; the government is denominated strictly congregational. And be the church ever so few in number, or ever so much at variance among themselves, there is no remedy, except it come from themselves. They may contend for years, two against two, or three against three, without a prospect of peace. They claim to be independent, and amenable to no power or influence out of their own body; and, like all other small and feeble bodies, they are liable to those jealousies and prejudices, by which the judgment is impaired, and the heart embittered. And there is no appeal to any larger or more respectable body : no appeal to any but those, (as the case may be,) whose minds have long been agitated by the collision of adverse parties. And, of all men, these are the least qualified to judge and decide. Being plunged deep in difficulty, the parties sometimes consent to a mutual council. A venerable council is convened, consisting (in many cases) of more and wiser men than the whole church that called them, and they come from out of the reach of every bias or prejudice. They are considered by all parties, as men of talents, and of enlarged views; men of integrity, and ardent piety. They hear and labor night and day, with many prayers and tears. They make out a result, which is communicated with much solemn advice and exhortation. But, unfortunately for both and all parties, this venerable council, the best situated and qualified of all men to hear and judge and decide, is totally void of power. The result goes to the church, and there it is rejected. The council, conscious of having judged correctly, retire with grief and mortification, leaving the church in a worse predicament than they found them. Now they are ripe for an ex-parte council : and when and how will the troubles end ? Nothing can safely be decided. If, instead of multiplying councils, evidently selected for party purposes, the churches would unite, and cove
how many women and children we know not. But they were all one body, under the pastoral care of many elders. Such were all the apostolical churches. They were one united body, under the care of a suitable number of elders, called the presbytery. The church in every city or district was a completely organized Consociation. This venerable body of elders, together with delegates from all the churches, has always possessed the right of self-government: for this is the legitimate body of Christ, consisting of all the saints, with the bishops and deacons. To them, in the apostolic age, were the difficult causes referred, by the minor churches, for a final decision. They were the church, in the highest sense of the word. And, according to the congregational principle, it was fit and suitable, that they should be a standing council for the government of the various branches of their own body. It would have been altogether improper for the church, in the highest sense, to be amenable to the church in the lowest sense; or for the consociation to be subject to the individual churches. But there is very little subjection in this case. There is a right of appeal to the united wisdom of all the pastors and brethren in the connection, to hear and decide cases of peculiar difficulty. And who would not rather submit a cause to the wisdom of ten or twenty churches, all in perfect harmony, and under mutual bonds of love and faithfulness; than to a few brethren, whose wisdom is certainly inferior, and whose judgment, is more likely to be swayed by prejudice and party spirit * But, aside from matters of government, let us consider some of the benefits of the union of the churches. The benefits are realized chiefly by the brethren of the churches, rather than by their pastors and elders. It brings the brethren out of obscurity. It brings them forward, one after another, to attend to the most importaut and interesting discussions, both of a doctrinal and practical nature. It brings the churches, to deliberate, by their delegates, and co-operate with their pastors, and give their votes on the most important questions. Delegates of the churches, when they return from meetings of the consociation, realize, that they have been attending a most excellent and profitable school; and, with pleasure, they communicate to their brethren what they have learnt in the consociation; so that information circulates through the whole body of churches. Another thing, in which the churches have greatly the advantage of ministers, in the consociation, is, that on account of the delegates of vacant churches, there is generally, a majority of delegates in the meetings of the consociation. Ministers propose to relinquish what little power they have possessed, and give it into the hands of the churches. Heretofore, our ecclesiastical concerns have been transacted by the asseciation. The association has convened a number of times a year, as a private body; and has attended to, and transacted the most important concerns of the churches, without any to inspect their conduct. But the plan of consociation brings all these concerns directly before the united churches; and gives them an agency in every transaction of an ecclesiastical nature. Not only does it give the churches an agency, but a preponderance, in the decision of the most important matters. In voting, they command a majority. These things being true, how unreasonable is the cavil, that ministers are assuming all the power, and trampling on the rights of the churches' Directly the reverse of this, is the truth. Surely, the brethren of the churches, if they are under no wrong bias, must be ardently engaged to effect, as soon as possible, the union of the churches. We notice another benefit of this union; and that is, that vacant churches derive great advantages from their connection with the consociation.
Being destitute of ministers and spiritual guides of their own, they have a claim on any, or all the ministers in the connection for that aid, direction, and fatherly care, by which they are kept from going astray, and are enabled to obtain faithful ministers of the gospel. It is no small privilege to enjoy the aid and assistance of those ministers, who are in the closest bonds of union and fellowship. The vacancy of churches is, in a great measure, filled, by the union of the pastors and churches in the vicinity. The pastors, by this union, become like the pastors of the apostolical churches ; fellow labourers, workers together, fellow helpers, and fellow servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But there are still greater benefits resulting from the consociation of the churches. It is a great check to the progress of prevailing errors and heresies. If the consociation is, as it most certainly ought to be, a standing council for the examination and ordination of ministers, within their own limits; there will be but little danger of the introduction of heretics into the sacred office. Instances are very rare, if any have occurred, in which heretics of any name have gained an establishment in the midst of a harmonious consociation. But where no bond of union exists, in the churches, there is a continual struggle between the advocates for the various systems of religion. Unitarians and universalists claim the congregational principle, and introduce their disciples almost imperceptibly into our vacant congregations.
On the whole, if every degree of union, fellowship, and co-operation of sister churches, in discipline and practice, is wrong and oppressive; then, in fact, there is no church order in the world, except, perhaps, in Massachusetts. But what is the form of church government in Massachu. setts P It is extinct. There is nota shadow of union of one church with another. Instead of union and cooperation, one church with others, we stand aloof, and cultivate jealousies, and party feelings against each other. Being rarely called together to act in concert, as sister churches; we make but very little acquaintance with christians, beyond the narrow limits of our own parishes. This shameful ignorance of our brethren in Christ, and even of the officers and leading members of his church, “ought not so to be.” We ought to be intimately acquainted with our brethren, even at a distance. But how can this acquaintance exist, so long as we utterly refuse to associate, or to cultivate any bonds of christian union whatsoever ? It cannot take place. We must remain strangers and aliens, for want of some bond of union. There is, in fact, but one alternative. The churches in this state, as well as generally, throughout christendom, must unite—must organize themselves, in union with their pastors, for mutual acquaintance, improvement, good fellowship, and discipline; or they must go to ruin. All must be sensible, that the struggle with the enemies of divine truth, is arduous. Does it not become all the friends of Christ to unite, not to wage war against heretics; but to escape their pernicious snares P Do any, after all, ask why the churches cannot do as well as they have done in times past It might suffice to say, that unless they do much better than in times past, they will do very wickedly. The churcher; it did not appear what we should see, but imagination seized the moment to elevate and fill the mind with expectation and majestic dread. With in a mile of the falls, the river rolls smoothly along in rapid silence, as if unconscious of its approaching destiny, till at once across its entire channel, it falls the apparent distance of ten or twelve feet, when instantly its waters are thrown into consternation and foam, and boil and whirl and run in every direction, as if filled with instinctive dread. At this place the shores recede, and allow the terrified waters to spread out in shallows over an extent twice as broad as the natural channel of the river. A portion of the waters, as if hoping to escape, rushes between the American shore and the island (whose brow forms a part of the continued cliff, which on either side constitutes the falls) and too late to retreat, discovering the mistake, hurries down the precipice, and is dashed on the rocks below. This is the highest part of the fall, and the most nearly approaching to the beautiful; the waters being shallow and the sheet entirely white below. Another large sheet of contiguous waters on the other side of the island, undecoyed by appearances, and apparently desperate by an infallible premonition, attempts no evasion, but with tumult and roar, rushes on and thunders down the precipice which stretches about half across to the Canadian shore. The rest and the largest portion of the river, as if terrified at the sate of its kindred waters, retires a little, but scarcely is the movement made before the deep declivities of the river's bed summon the dispersion of waters into one deep dark flood, which rolls its majestic tide upon the destruction below. The shallow waters which as yet have escaped, cling terrified to the Canadian shore, reconnoitering every nook and corner, in quest of some way to escape: but their search is fruitless, and they come round at
es, by their connection with heretics, are thought to be in danger of speedy ruin. JWow, it is supposed, many are given over to strong delusion, denying the Lord that bought them, and rejecting, with abhorrence, the doctrines of the cross. On these accounts, a union of the churches is thought to be more important now, than in past seasons of tranquility, when the voice of teachers was more regarded. Finally; it is as absurd and unscriptural for individual churches to set up for independence of the united body of the church, as for individual towns to set up for independence of the state, or nation. Order, harmony and peace cannot be preserved and promoted, without a more extensive union, than that of a few individuals, or individual bodies. From a careful view of the scriptures, on this subject, we have found, that the churches established by the apostles, were composed of a large number of ministers, with their individual churches. These, in cordial union, fellowship, and co-operation, composed what we call a consociation. And from the days of the apostles, to this day, the orthodox churches have been nearly on the same ground. Their ecclesiastical judicatures have been of the nature, and have had the effects of a consociation of the churches. MAss Achusettensis.
length reluctantly, and are dashed down upon the death they had so long struggled to escape. It is at the junction of these two sides of the cataract, nearly in the form of two sides of a triangle, rounded at the point, that the most powerful sheet of water falls. The depth of the water in the channel above, and as it bends over the precipice, cannot, from the nature of the case, be ascestained; I should judge from the appearance, that it might be from fifteen to twenty feet. The colour of the part of the stream above the fall is black, as it bends over the cliff and descends, at the inintersection of the two sides and for several rods on either hand, it becomes a deep and beautiful green, which continues till the column is lost in the cloud of mist that asscends before it. With respect to the impression made by the first view of the falls, it may be observed, that whoever approaches them anticipating amazement at the descent of the waters from a giddy height, will be disappointed. It is the multitude of waters and their power, as they roll and foam and thunder, which arrests the step, suspends the breath, dilates the eye, lists the hand, and fills the soul with wonder. It seems to be the good pleasure of God, that men shall learn his omnipotence by evidence addressed to the senses as well as the understanding, and that there shall be on earth continual illustrations of his mighty power: of creation we are ascertained by faith, not by sight; the heavenly bod. ies, though vast, are distant, and roll silently in their courses.—But the earth by its quakings, the volcano by its files, the ocean by its mountain waves, and the floods of Niagara by the majesty of their power and ceaseless thunderings, proclaim to the eye, and to the ear, and to the heart, the omnipotence of God. From thei far distant sources and multitudinous dispersions, he called them into the capacious reservoirs of the North, and