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The sense of reverence may take a wrong as well as a right direction. It led John himself to worship an angel, and to bring on himself the severe reproof which he has so faithfully recorded, and it may lead misguided men to give that which is not God the worship due to God alone. But while we think this, let none fall short in the deepest reverence. None can adore Him enough; none can be holy enough in His presence and at His feet. But it p. 17is the living Saviour at the right hand of God whom we will adore. It is the Prince on the throne, the Priest at the right hand of the Father. It is the living, reigning, triumphant Saviour, 鈥渇ar above all principalities and powers, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come;鈥 and not a small piece of lifeless bread, which is said to have been turned into God by the miraculous powers of a priest..
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For the decision of this point, let us compare the 18th and 19th verses. In v. 18 we read,鈥斺淕od hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.鈥 But in v. 19 there is a slight variation; but one of great importance in the exposition of the passage; for we there find鈥斺淗ath committed to us the word of reconciliation.鈥 The word of reconciliation, therefore, is the substance of the ministry: the grand work is to make known the perfect reconciliation wrought out for us in Christ Jesus, to act on the example set us by St. Paul himself, when he burst out in the grand appeal which follows, and said,鈥斺淣ow, then, we are ambassadors for Christ. As though God did beseech you by us, we pray p. 63you in Christ鈥檚 stead, be ye reconciled unto God.鈥!
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In 1 Cor. x. 17; xi. 26, 27, 28, we are all p. 13said to partake of bread: 鈥淟et a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.鈥.
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Heb. x. 12..
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4. Nay more, it is contrary to the words of our Lord. The words, as given by St. Matthew (xxvi. 26-28) were: 鈥淎nd as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.鈥 Of the bread, therefore, p. 14He said, 鈥淭his is my body;鈥 and of the wine, 鈥淭his is my blood.鈥 The bread did not represent the body and blood together, but the body only, and the wine the blood; or, if the doctrine of transubstantiation were taught, the passage would teach that the bread was changed into the body, and the wine into the blood. But the teaching of Rome defies all such distinctions, though thus plainly laid down by no less an authority than our Lord Himself, and fearlessly hurls her anathemas against all who do not believe that the bread, and the bread alone, is changed into body, blood, soul, and divinity, and becomes, to use their own expression, 鈥渁 whole Christ,鈥 to be exalted, carried in processions, and adored as a living God. The words themselves, taken literally, are dead against such a doctrine. I am not surprised, therefore, when I read our 28th Article, which says: 鈥淭ransubstantiation (or the change of the substance of bread and wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture.鈥 But I am surprised that Christian people in the Church of England should sit so light as some seem to do to a heresy of so fearful a character, and that men p. 15should be so indifferent to truth as even to speak of the possibility of peace with Rome.
I. On the authority of the ministry this text is perfectly clear; for the Apostle traces it to no human source when he says, 鈥淎ll things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.鈥 The ministry, therefore, is a gift from God, and not a plan of human contrivance. It is not an arrangement adopted p. 49by the great Christian society as a means for its own improvement, but it is an institution by the authority of the Founder of that society, God Himself. Both the office and the men are gifts from God. In this passage he speaks of the office, and says, 鈥淕od hath given us the ministry of reconciliation;鈥 and in v. 19, 鈥渉ath committed to us the word of reconciliation.鈥 The men, therefore, received their office from their God. Just so he said to Archippus (Col. iv. 17), 鈥淭ake heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.鈥 But perhaps the most striking passage on this subject is St. Paul鈥檚 address to the elders of the Church of Ephesus, in Acts, xx. 28; for he there teaches not merely that the ministry in general was given to these elders, but that they had been made by the Holy Ghost overseers of that particular people amongst whom they were called to labour. 鈥淭ake heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood.鈥 Now, bear in mind that these persons were not apostles, nor persons holding any extraordinary office, as some did in those early days, but ordinary p. 50clergymen; some, probably, ordained by St. Paul himself, and some by Timothy, appointed to labour together amongst the rapidly increasing church in the large heathen town; and mark well the fact, that the Apostle does not say, 鈥淭o which I appointed you,鈥 or 鈥渢o which Timothy appointed you,鈥 but he regards the appointment as from God Himself, and says, 鈥淲hereof the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.鈥
21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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