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lieving the Scriptural doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Atonement, the question of Church government, I have expressed myself in the most decided manner. I have done so because I believe that Christianity is a system of positive institutions; and that those Christians who would represent Christ our Lord, as the Saviour of individuals only, have misapprehended the spirit of Christianity. Christ is the legislator of nations. As the Jews were a nation and a people, governed by the laws of God; so was it designed, that every nation under heaven should be bound by one law of Christian, and national polity. This object was to be effected by our Lord committing to his Church a system of authority, which is alike suited to all forms of civil government. Because the teachers of the people are in all nations the eventual arbiters of the character, the destiny, and the morality of a people; it pleased God to appoint an order of men, who should judge of the fitness or unfitness of all the teachers of the people ; and who should permit none to become Christian Ministers who had departed from the truth which Christ had revealed. To prevent ambition and pride, (the principal agitators of governments,) from disturbing the Churches, he made these men equal. The Apostles were equal among themselves, and they appointed teachers; and the Christian world never heard at that time of revolts, rebellions, or wars, among Christians. The purity of the apostolic government, was preserved among their immediate successors. The union of the Church with the civil power under Constantine, perverted episcopacy, by inducing ambition among the governors of the Churches ; and the usurpations of the Bishop of Rome, still more deeply injured the spirituality of the visible Church. The Reformation was the æra of new modes of Church government, as well as of the overthrow of the corruptions of that apostasy; and the Universal Church has been disgraced, and the world continued in evil, by the shameful and bloody divisions among Christians. These divisions still continue; but they would not -have existed, if the institutions of the great Lawgiver had been observed; neither will they cease, till the great majority of Chritians shall revive among them the primitive laws of order and union. · I have not studied to discover new modes of interpretation. At the risk of being considered a compiler, I have freely taken from various works on Scripture, whatever appeared to be suited to my purpose. Though in danger of being esteemed erroneous, I have not hesitated to express a decided opinion on the controverted points I may have found it expedient to discuss. No fear lest I should be considered illiberal, or uncandid, has prevented me from condemning any opinion which is contrary to truth. No hope of pleasing has induced me for one moment to study the popular opinion; to vary my phrases, to soften my expressions, or in any way to flatter the people. While I have not studied novelty, I have not hesitated to express any new view of a subject which appeared to me desirable. I may use the expressive language of the great author of the Demonstration of the Messias, “ I do not desire to live longer in this world, than whilst I am disposed both to find out the truth, and follow it (d)."
I must apologise for the period of the publication of this book. Though some delay, arising from unavoidable circumstances, has caused me much regret, in other instances it has been willingly indulged. In contemplating the plan of the government of the world, as it is revealed to us in the Scriptures, I seemed to be surveying a more magnificent temple, erected to the glory of God, than the round unclouded sky, with the sun walking in its brightness. On every side I heard the song of angels, and of the spirits of the just made perfect. Like Adam in Paradise, I listened
(d) Bishop Kidder, Dem. of the Mess. dedication, p. 1.
to the voice of a manifested God; I conversed with the Evangelists and the Apostles, I walked with them through the avenues of the majestic edifice; and even now, though their address is ended, “ so charming is their voice, that I can think them still speaking, still stand fixed to hear." Their words are the words of eternal life: and the intercourse with these priests of the temple, and with their holy Master, the God of their homage, appeared but the anticipation of that intellectual and spiritual happiness which shall constitute so much of our felicity in a future state. I submit to the reader the completion of the labour of some years, with deference, yet with satisfaction and pleasure : and I rejoice that it has pleased God, to grant me the desire and the patience, to accomplish a work which should be useful to the Church, and to the World.
Portions of Scripture.
4 5 6 7
1 32 44 64 69 88 103 110 125 133 147 159 166 175 185
11 12 13 14 15
i. ï. .
of the section
17 18 19 20 21 22
199 208 212 218 224 230 235 244 255 264 267 271 277 281 281
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Portions of Scripture.
1 2 3
4 5 6
SECT. xvii. xix. xx.
I. 302 I. 307 1. 313 I. 322 I. 329 I. 335 I. 340 I. 345 I.
348 I. 351 I. 354 I. 359 I. 362 I.
365 I. 370 I, 374 I.
380 I. 394 I. 400 I. 409 I. 414 I.
420 1. 425 I. 431 I. 446 I. 450 I.
484 I. 488 I. 488
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31