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kingdom of Christ and of God. Let evidently not mistaken Christians, no man deceive you with vain words, but opposers of Christ's authority, for because of these things cometh and abettors of a system directly the wrath of God upon the children the reverse of his. They were the of disobedience.” Eph. v. 5-6. From Judaizing teachers against whom the this it seems that they were some who Galatian Church was warned, or the sought to entice the Ephesians to Gentile philosophers who sought to return to the vile impurities which seduce and mislead the Ephesian prevailed in the Gentile world. believers. The character of both these Respecting these the Apostle says: classes of men we have already ascer“ And have no fellowship with the tained ; and we have seen that the unfruitful works of darkness, but necessity of expelling men like these, rather reprove them." Eph. v. 11. proves nothing in favour of the exBut it is clear enough, I should sup- pulsion of Christ's followers from pose, that the persons against whom Christ's church. the Ephesian church is warned, were Paul gives directions as to the disnot good men labouring to know and ownment or expulsion of certain do God's will, but bad, corrupt, members of the church, in the second deceitful men ; men whose principles epistle to the Thessalonians, "Now and proceedings were alike corrupt, we command you, brethren, in the immoral, and abominable.
name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that Persons of the same class as those ye withdraw yourselves from every above described, are referred to in brother that walketh disorderly, and the epistle to the Philippians. “For not after the tradition that he receivmany walk, of whom I have told ed of us ; for yourselves know how you often, and now tell you even ye ought to follow us.” 2 Thess. weeping, that they are the enemies iii. 6-7. He says afterwards, “For of the cross of Christ : whose end is we hear that there are some which destruction, whose God is their walk among you disorderly, workbelly, and whose glory is in their ing not at all, but are busy bodies." shame, who mind earthly things. v. 11. Still further he says, Philip. iii. 18-19. Such were the if any man obey not our word by heretics of those days. They were this epistle, note that man, and have not men inspired with a quenchless no company with him, that he may love of truth, and a solemn deter- be ashamed.” v. 14. The heresies mination to do the will of God; here spoken of, you see, are practimen who, for the sake of God and cal heresies ; the persons to be disof the truth, were prepared to sub- owned arethose who walk disorderly; mit to the greatest hardships, and to and to walk disorderly is not to opwelcome the most painful priva- pose the authority of men, but the tions and the severest persecutions; authority of God.
The heretics no, they were selfish, earthly-mind- in the Thessalonian church were ed, sensual men : men who loved those who obeyed not the word gain, whose belly was their God, and delivered by Paul in his epistles, or who supremely regarded earthly in other words, those who obeyed things. What man would argue, not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. that because men like these were to In Paul's epistles to Timothy, be expelled from the church of there are two or three passages which Christ, it is lawful to expel men of shed a considerable amount of light a confessedly opposite character ? on the subject under consideration. The men who reason thus, to be con- In one of these passages he gives us sistent with themselves, should argue, a full length portrait of a heretic. that because a murderer may pro- After directing Timothy as to the perly be put to death, it is right to doctrines he should teach and the execute an innocent man!
duties he should inculcate, he says, Another passage which claims our “If any man teach otherwise, and notice is Coloss. ii. 8. “ Beware lest consent not to wholesome words, any man spoil you through philoso- even the words of our Lord Jesus phy and vain deceit, after the tradi- Christ, and to the doctrine which is tions of men, after the rudiments of according to godliness; he is proud, the world, and not after Christ.” knowing nothing, but doting about The persons referred to here were questions and strifes of words, where
of cometh envy, strife, railings, evil phemy? Was it simply for error surmisings, perverse disputings of that Hymeneus was excluded, when men of currupt minds, and destitute the Apostle himself declares that his of the truth, supposing that gain is object in excommunicating him was, godliness : from such withdraw thy- that he “might learn not to blasself.” 1 Tim. vi. 3-5. How strik- pheme?” I have nothing to say ingly does this description agree with against the excommunication of all that has gone before. How plain blasphemers; but I see neither reathat the men described in this pas- nor justice in arguing that sage were, 1. Infidel opposers of because a blasphemer may be expelChrist's doctrine and authority, not led from the church of Christ, a sinmistaken interpreters of Christ's cere disciple of the Redeemer may words. 2. That the doctrines which be expelled likewise. It is worthy they taught were corrupting and of observation also, that in the above immoral in their tendency. 3. That passage, Alexander is joined with they were bad men, men of corrupt Hymeneus, and if you turn to the minds; and 4. That their motives second epistle iv. 14-15 verses, you were utterly impure, “supposing that will find these words, “ Alexander gain is godliness.” Well might the the coppersmith did me much evil, Apostle command Timothy to with- the Lord reward him according to draw from such; but how either the his works : Of whom be thou ware description or the command just also ; for he hath greatly withstood quoted, can sanction in any way the our words.”
These two passages expulsion of men from the church of assist us to understand the pasChrist who are acknowledged to be sage first referred to. “But sħun real Christians, I confess I am at a profane and vain babblings ; for they loss to understand.
will increase unto more ungodliness. “ Yes, but are not Hymeneus and And their word will eat as doth a Philetus represented as heretics, canker; of whom is Hymeneus and merely for maintaining that the Philetus; who concerning the truth resurrection was past already?" I have erred, saying that the resurrecremember this objection being urged tion is past already; and overthrow with great confidence and boldness the faith of some.” 2 'l'im. ii. 16-18. by one who was advocating the prin. From all this it is evident 1. That ciple, that it is right to expel good these men taught that the resurrecmen from the church, because they tion was past already. 2. That they differ in sentiment from a majority taught this, not from any idea that of their brethren. “ Was it not sim- this was the doctrine of the Apostles, ply for error, apart from immorality, but in avowed opposition to the that Hymeneus was excommuni- Apostle's doctrine : they “greatly cated?” said he. “ Was it not for withstood the Apostle's words.” 3. maintaining that the resurrection That in doing this, or besides all was past already ?”. Read all that is this, they were guilty of blasphemy. recorded on the subject in the two 4. That their doctrines were not epistles of Paul to Timothy, and you only infidel in their character, but will find that there is nothing to con- alső licentious in their tendency, trovert the principles maintained in “ increasing unto more ungodlithis article. If you turn back to ness."
5. That they had made 1 Tim. i. 18-20, you will find this shipwreck of conscience. And 6. charge addressed to the youthful That the faith of some was overevangelist. “This charge I commit thrown by them. They did not lead unto thee, son Timothy, according to some to change their opinion as to the prophecies which went before the meaning of what the Apostles thee, that thou by them mightest said. No, they shook and overthrew war a good warfare. Iolding faith, their faith in the Apostle's testimony, and a good conscience; which some leading them to regard the Apostles having put away concerning faith as false teachers, and therefore, of have made shipwreck. Of whom is course, uninspired. But what reHymeneus and Alexander ; whom I semblance such men as these bear to have delivered unto Satan, that they those who humbly and reverently may learn not to blaspheme.” And receive the testimony of Christ and is their nothing immoral in blas- his Apostles, and only differ from
their brethren in the interpretation and false teachers like these, were they put on some parts of that tes- not honest, well-disposed men, anxtimony, I leave the reader himself to ious to know God's will and do ascertain.
it,--and only differing from their In his epistle to Titus, c. iii., v. 10, brethren in the sense in which they the Apostle says, “ A man that is an understood some portions of God's heretic after the first and second ad- word? Heretics such as those demonition reject ?” But then he scribed by Peter, ought to be excludimmediately adds, “Knowing that ed from the church of Christ, and he that is such is subverted, and thus far we have not met with the sinneth, being condemned of him- slightest intimation in the New Tesself.” And in the first chapter of the tament that there are heretics of any same epistle, commencing at the other class. tenth verse, he more largely describes False teachers are again referred those heretics of whom he speaks. to in the first general Epistle of John. “For there are many unruly and “ Little children, it is the last time : vain talkers and deceivers, specially and as ye have heard that Antichrist they of the circumcision : whose shall come, even now are there many mouths must be stopped, who sub- antichrists, whereby we know that vert whole houses, teaching things it is the last time. They went out which they ought not, for filthy from us, but they were not of us : lucre's sake." Any one may see for if they had been of us, they would that those passages most strikingly no doubt have continued with us : confirm all that has been said on the but they went out, that they might character of those who were regard- be made manifest that they were not ed by the Apostles as heretics : all of us." 1 John ii. 18, 19. In the they prove that the heretics spoken 22nd verse he tells us who these antiof in the New Testament were bad, christs were. " Who is a liar but he ill-designing men; men whose own that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? consciences convicted them of sin, He is antichrist that denieth the and condemned them for their evil Father and the Son."
It appears, ways.
then, that these persons denied the This view of the case is still fur- Messiahship of Jesus; it appears that ther confirmed by Peter in the they had never sincerely believed in second chapter of his second general Christ; that they had only pretendepistle. In that chapter he largely ed to believe in him for their own describes the character of heretics and selfish ends; and when it suited their false teachers. I have not space to sinister ends, to throw off the mask, give the whole of this description; they did so, and openly avowed their but I shall give an extract or two, unbelief. This is apparent also from and refer the reader to the chapter another passage in the same epistle. itself, for the whole. “But there Beloved, believe not every spirit, were false prophets also among the but try the spirits whether they aró people, even as there shall be false of God: because many false prophets teachers among you, who privily are gone out into the world: hereby shall bring in damnable heresies, know ye the Spirit of God: every even denying the Lord that bought spirit that confesseth that Jesus them, and bring upon themselves Christ is come in the flesh is of God: swift destruction.” Ver. 1. “Spots and every spirit that confesseth not they are and blemishes, sporting that Jesus Christ is come in the themselves with their own deceiv- flesh is not of God: and this is that ings, while they feast with you; spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have having eyes full of adultery, and heard that it should come ; and even that cannot cease from sin ; beguil- now already is it in the world.” 1 ing unstable souls ; an heart they John iv. 1-3. It is in reference to have exercised with covetous prac- those who thus deny this capital, or tices; cursed children : which have foundation doctrine of Christianity, forsaken the right way, and are gone the Sonship or Messiahship of Jesus, astray, following the way of Balaam that John says in his Second Epistle, the son of Bosor, who loved the “ If there come any unto you, and wages of unrighteousness.” 13-15. bring not this doctrine, receive him Who does not perceive that heretics not into your house, neither bid him
God speed: for he that biddeth him Christ.” Jude iv. As the descripGod speed is partaker of his evil tion, however, exactly corresponds deeds.” 2 John X. 11. That such with that given by Peter, and as these is the case you may see by looking observations have already been pro. at the seventh verse: “For many longed too far, I shall not insert it deceivers are entered into the world, here, but only request the reader to who confess not that Jesus Christ is peruse it for himself, and determine come in the flesh. This is a deceiver whether it be not in perfect agreeand an antichrist.” So that it turns ment with all the preceding remarks. out after all, that the passage so con
In the Revelation of John the fidently cited by those who contend Divine we have particular mention for the expulsion of Christ's follow- made of certain heretics and false
on account of mere harmless teachers, and it will be found on differences of opinion, is neither examination, that their principles more nor less than a direction to and character were just such as have Christians to avoid the company of been described again and again. In infidel rejectors and opposers of the letter to the angel of the church Christianity. The testimony of the in Pergamos are these words, “But Apostle John on the point is most I have a few things against thee, decisive and triumphant. He, in because thou hast there them that fact, furnishes us with a text whereby hold the doctrine of Balaam, who to detect heresy. “He that knoweth taught Balac to cast a stumbling God heareth us (the Apostles); he block before the children of Israel, to that is not of God heareth not us eat things sacrificed unto idols, and (but rejecteth our testimony). Here- to commit fornication. So hast thou by know we the spirit of truth, and also them that hold the doctrines of the spirit of error.” 1 John iv. 6. the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.” As an application of this test, he Rev. ii. 14, 15. To the angel of the thus writes in his third epistle, “I church in Thyatira the following wrote unto the church ; but Diotre- words addressed“Notwithphes, who loveth to have the pre- standing, I have a few things against eminence among them, receiveth us thee, because thou sufferest that not. Wherefore, if I come, I will woman Jezebel, which calleth herremember his deeds which he doeth, self a prophetess, to teach and seduce prating against us with malicious my, servants to commit fornication, words ; and not content therewith, and to eat things sacrificed unto neither doth he himself receive thé idols." These were the persons brethren, and forbiddeth them that (most likely) alluded to by the would, and casteth them out of the Apostle Paul, where he exhorts the church.” 3 John 9, 10. Diotre- Ephesians to let no man deceive them phes, the heretic, therefore, was not a with vain words.-See the observasincere, though a mistaken follower tions on that passage in a former part of Christ, but an ambitious, intoler- of this article. ant man; a man who proudly resist- There is but another passage that ed the divine authority with which I am aware of, that is adduced in the Apostles were invested, and un--favour of the right which some supjustly and intolerantly cast out of pose the church possesses, to exclude the church those who respected their true Christians from its communion. authority, and received the doctrines And when this passage comes to be which they taught. Whether there examined, it will be seen that it says be any thing here to sanction, or as little in favour of such a right as whether there be not every thing any that have been already considerhere to discountenance the exclusion ed. It is the passage in Matt. xviii. of the saints from the church of 15-18, in which the Saviour gives Christ, I would have the reader him- directions for the peaceful adjustment self to judge.
of all personal disputes between his In the Epistle of Jude we have followers. These directions are, 1. another full description of “certain That the offended party tell the men who had crept in unawares, un
offender of his fault between their godly men, turning the grace of God two selves. 2. That if the offender into lasciviousness, and denying the will not make reparation and be reonly Lord God, and our Lord Jesus conciled to his brother, his brother
take one or two more with him, that clusion of heretics from the church by their influence the quarrelsome, of Christ, they would not all estaoffending brother
may be brought to blish the right of the church to expel a better mind; or, if this cannot be those whose only offence is, that they accomplished, that in the mouth of reverence the authority of the Gospel, two or three witnesses every word and freely exercise their minds to may be established. 3. That in case ascertain what are its teachings and he still refuse to hearken to offers requirements. and counsels of peace, the case be
(To be continued.) laid before the church ; that by the entreaties and admonitions of the
USE OF PROPERTY. church he may be induced to acknow- How little of all the property that ledge his offence, and agree to be re- is possessed by professing Christians conciled to his brother. 4. That in is rightly employed.
What vast case he still harbour unkind, revenge- amounts are spent in pride and senful feelings, and show himself to be suality. What vast amounts are laid a stranger to the meek, conciliating up as a security against future want. spirit which Christ requires of his What vast amounts are employed in disciples, his brethren proceed forth- trade, with no other object than to with to disown him, and that he be acquire more wealth. How little do thenceforth regarded by them as a we see employed in genuine Chrisheathen man and a publican. It is tian charity. How scarce is the true obvious here also, that the person to self-denial and charity of the Gospel. be disowned is not a good man who How few do we see who have given faithfully follows his conscientious up all pretence of title to themselves convictions, and acts according to a or any thing they have, and who sense of duty in every thing, but a have consecrated themselves and their proud, morose, quarrelsome indi- all to God; resolving to employ their vidual, unwilling to be reconciled to all in his service, studying only to be his brother, when his brother has well informed in what particular made the first advances, and done ways it may best promote his glory, every thing in his power to effect a and the welfare of mankind. How reconciliation. Whether this pas- scarce are those men who are covetous sage, when it comes to be understood, and laborious for God and for their proves any thing against the princi- fellow-men, that do as providently ples and reasonings contained in this get and keep, and as diligently laarticle, judge ye.
bour, and as much pinch their flesh I have now gone through the New that they may have the more with Testament, and examined every pas- which to do good, as other men do in sage with which I am acquainted, making provision for their flesh, and that has any relation to the subject; laying up for their posterity: Oh, and if I am not mistaken, I have when will men understand the reproved, by a separate examination of ligion of heaven; when will they each passage, that
no submit themselves to the will of God. heretics spoken of in Scripture, who When will they acknowledge the were not either infidel in sentiment, wisdom of his laws, and begin to live or licentious in practice, or both, - only for his glory and for the welfare that there is not a single passage of their fellow-men. authorising the church to expel from its communion any sincere follower He never studied God and heaof the Lord Jesus Christ; and that ven, nor his own heart, that knoweth while the right of the church to ex- not that it is a very difficult thing to pel heretics, and even the imperative have a heavenly mind in earthly duty of the church to do this is prosperity, and live in the desires most manifest, there is nothing and delightful hopes of another world, in this fact to authorize the ex- while we feel that all things seem pulsion of those who love God, to go well with us in this. It is and make it the labour of their life hard to be weaned from the world to ascertain and do his will. Men till we suffer in it; yea until we are like these are not heretics, and though plunged into an utter despair of ever there were ten times as many pas- receiving the satisfaction of our des sages as there are, requiring the ex- sires.