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all secular matters, and honor the laws of God, and of God alone, in religious faith and practice. These are the inalienable rights of every member of the Republic. These are rights reserved by the people to themselves, in the formation of the Government, which no power can legiti
THE BIBLE CHRISTIANS.
BY THE REV. WILLIAM METCALFE, MINISTER OF THE BIBLE-CHRISTIAN CHURCH, NORTH THIRD STREET, PHILADELPHIA.
AMONG the primary institutions of our Heavenly Father, for the more effectual assistance of his people in the acquisition of spiritual knowledge, and the attainment of the end of their creation, was a visible, external Church, in which he might be worshipped, his name professed and magnified, his appointed ordinances duly administered, and such order and discipline maintained as should be suitable to the times and conditions of the generations of men. Such an institution existed in the Antidiluvian world; this was succeeded by the Noahaic, or Ancient Church, in which "Noah was a preacher of righteousness." Then followed the Israelitish, and lastly came the Christian Church with all its spiritual blessings, "peace upon earth and good will to men."
There is great reason to believe that the Almighty has made use of means to bring forth to view the principles of these several Churches. Noah, Abraham, and in the fulness of time, Jesus Christ, are presented in the sacred Scriptures as the instruments by whom the respective Dispensations were announced to the human family; and even in subsequent times, when
mately wrest from them. If usurped by our Legislatures and sustained by the Judiciary, then has the downfall of the Republic already commenced, and we may prepare to sing the requiem of "the last hope of Freedom!"
Reformation was needed, a Luther, a Cal vin, a Melancthon, and others have been successively raised up in the providence of God to be the mediums for accomplishing his all gracious purposes, of reforming abuses in his church.
Under Divine Providence, the body of people known by the appellation of BIBLECHRISTIANS, began to assume an external, visible and distinct existence as a Church about the year 1800, principally through the pastoral labors of the late Rev. WILLIAM COWHERD, minister of Christ Church, Salford, England. Educated in the most liberal manner for the Christian Ministry, he was early ordained a minister of the Church of England, or Episcopal Church, and appointed to the important duties of a church living, at Beverly, in Yorkshire. In addition to his sacred charge, he became Classical Teacher and Professor of Philology in the college at that place, and fulfilled the duties of both stations to the entire satisfaction of all concerned. While thus exercising his arduous duties at Beverly, he became acquainted with the late Rev. JOHN CLOWES, A. M., Rector of St. John's Church, Manchester, from
whom he received a liberal offer, and a pressing invitation to remove to Manchester, and exercise his ministerial powers in that populous and improving town. Thither accordingly he shortly afterwards removed, and for some time preached in St. John's Church, in connection with the well known and highly venerated rector of that institution. Here Mr. Cowherd became a general favorite of the congregation, and as a preacher was universally admired. Possessing a strong and vigorous intellect, and a deep sense of moral responsibility, he was not long willing to to be trammelled in his religious services by the ritual and forms of that denomination; he therefore, after some time, left the established National Church, and took charge of the New Jerusalem Church, in Peter street, which had been built, and was just completed for him by a number of ardent admirers of his preaching.
For some time Mr. Cowherd preached at this place, and was exceedingly popular; but even in the New Jerusalem Church, professing as it does to be distinguished for its Charity, he was made to feel the influence of sectarian jealousy. This caused him to come to the determina-peals to the facts taught by Physiology, tion to continue there only until Provi- Anatomy, and personal experience; for dence empowered him to erect a church he faithfully practised what he taught to of his own, in which he could feel himself others as essential to secure their salvaat liberty to preach the truths of the Bible tion. unshackled by human creeds, and unfettered by sectarian connections.
In the year 1800, when his Meeting House in Salford was completed, he commenced a new career; he preached the word of God gratuitously, and supported himself by the Practice of Medicine. Believing it to be the duty of every one, in matters of faith, to turn from the erring notions, and vain traditions that were to be found in most of the denominations of professing Christians, and to draw their principles directly from the Bible, he required every one who became a member of his church to proclaim himself simply a BIBLE-CHRISTIAN.* Hence origi
nated the name by which this body of Christians are designated and known among the numerous and diversified sects of the age. His cultivated mind, transcendant talents, powerful eloquence and indefatigable zeal soon attracted a large and highly respectable congregation; for in the pulpit Mr. Cowherd shone with peculiar lustre. He was fluent, copious, sublime, demonstrative and persuasive. Possessing a clear and harmonious voice, capable of expressing all the various pas sions of human nature, and taking a deep interest in his subject at all times, he seldom failed to reach the hearts and enlighten the understandings of his hearers. His church soon became so crowded that numbers who could not be accommodated with a seat, were yet contented to stand in the aisles that they might enjoy the pleasure of hearing his eloquent and instructive illustrations of the Bible. In the year 1807, he began to inculcate the doctrine of abstinence from the flesh of ani mals as food, and total abstinence from all intoxicating liquors as religious duties. He founded his principles on the testimony of the Bible, and confirmed them by ap
None in the Christian Church, at first, were called so much as by the name of an Apostle; we never heard of Peterians, or Paulians, or Bartholomeans, or Thaddæans; but simply of Christians, from CHRIST. See EPIPHAN. Hær. 42. Marcionit.-Item. Hær. 10.
In the spring of 1817, a number of persons, all professing to be members of the Bible Christian Church, as above described, including two ministers, the Rev. James Clarke, and the writer of this arti cle, sailed from Liverpool for Philadelphia, in the ship "Liverpool Packet," Captain Stephen Singleton, Commander. This people left the land of their Nativity, with the intention of becoming citizens of these United States. They had in view as the crowning object of their emigration, the propagation of their religious views among the citizens of this great Republic, and if possible to establish the Bible Christian Church, in this free and favored land. Shortly after their landing, the Rev. Mr. Clarke, and several of his friends determined to go Westward and obtain land. The other minister and two or three friends concluded to remain in the city of Brotherly Love, believing it to be their
duty to “ Stand still and do good,” trust- other. From Front Street, where the first ing that the gracious promise of their religious meetings of this people were held, Heavenly Father, would be extended to to Pcar Street, thence to Coates Street, them ;-" verily thou shalt be fed." then to Germantown Road, and little
The next step in the onward progress Green Street. The only remedy they of this people was to buy out a Teacher, could entertain as likely to be permanent, and rent the residence and school house was to purchase a place of their own. he had occupied; the minister intending Accordingly on the 31st of May, 1823, a by the blessing of Providence, to support lot of ground was purchased. A frame himself and family by teaching school ; building which had been recently erected and to fulfil his ministerial duties by and used as a Lancasterian School House, preaching on the Sabbath, like the Apostle was bought, removed to their lot and fitted of the Gentiles of oid, “ in his own hired up in a plain and suitable style for public house,” to as many as might be disposed worship, and on the 21st of December, of to attend and listen to his testimony. that year, it was opened and dedicated to Here he adopted, at once, the order of that purpose. procedure which had been approved and In the year, 1830, they became Incoracted on by his brethren in the ministry, porated by Law, under the title of “ The in England. He took a chapter from the Philadelphia Bible Christian Church, Old Testament, beginning at the first of North Third Street,” and they have reGenesis in the morning, and one from cently superceded their old frame building the New Testament, beginning with the by the erection of a handsome brick edifice. first of MATTHEW in the afternoon, and This denomination of Christians having proceeded in this way, chapter by chap- no Creed but the Bible, cannot refer to ter in regular rotation every Sabbath day, any other standard of Faith, as containing giving such an Exposition of the revealed a development of their doctrines, or prinWord of God, as he might be graciously ciples of religious belief. In the Report enabled to do by the goodness of God. of a Conference, however, composed of To make their meetings more generally Ministers and lay members, held in Christ known, a notice was caused to be pub- Church, Salford, Manchester, in June, lished in several of the City papers, stat- 1809, at which were present, Rev. Joseph ing, That the members of the Bible Chris. Wright, Kighley, Yorkshire ; Rev. George tian Church, assembled every Sabbath Senior, Dalton; Rev. Samuel Dean, Hulme, day in the Schools back of No. 10, North now Manchester; and Rev. William CowFront Street, at half past ten o'clock, in herd, Christ Church, Salford, Manchester; the morning, and at three in the afternoon ; and about forty lay members as delegates that they did not form a Sectarian Church, from different parts of the kingdom. In deriving their doctrines from human creeds, that Report we find the subjoined testibut that they held all the doctrines, though mony in relation to the Doctrines of the not all the ideas of the various sects, so Trinity, the Incarnation, Revelation, far as they were respectively founded on the Church, and Church Discipline. the literal expressions of Sacred Scrip- “ The DIVINE TRINITY consists not of ture ; that they humbly sought, through three visible beings or personal subsistenthe institutions of the Word of God, to cies—somewhere localized in a heavenly become more efficiently edified in Bible “ mansion,” but of three combinations of Truths, and that they respectfully invited Spirit in one united kingdom. In this their fellow mortals, of any or every pro- GREAT SPIRIT of heaven, the inmost is fession, to come and hear for themselves, the FATHER, or essential DIVINE SPIRIT; and if disposed, to join with them in the second, effluxed by and every-where Church membership, and unite in the all- combining with the Father, is properly the important service of worshipping God ac- Son of God; and the third, assumed by cording to the teachings of his Word. the Father and the Son, in and around
Much inconvenience was experienced human or angelic individuals and societies, from time to time, by being compelled to is as properly the Son of Man,—taken move their tings from one place to an- | by the Son of God into union with the
Father, when the atonement or "at-one. BEING then descended, and were 'exclument" between God and men was fully sively enshrined within the person of effected, according to the obvious meaning JESUS CHRIST; or, whether it were of the REDEEMER's prayer: "As thou, the EMANATED GLORY OF DIVINE SPIRIT Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they of the IMMUTABLE GOD, as existing forth also may be one in us!" in the heavens, which became SOUL in the REDEEMER.
Accordingly, as God is "a Spirit" and as "all men should honor the Son as
"If the DIVINE BEING descended they honor the rather," the glorified RE- on that occasion, He who built the uniDEEMER, now constituting a place pre- verse, and continually gives life to every pared" for Christians, is there the infinite animated creature, must necessarily have HUMAN SPIRIT-the WORD that was worked for a time, on our earth, as a com"with God," the SON OF GOD" before all mon carpenter; and then have died, like worlds," concentrating himself finitedly in a frail mortal: For, JESUS CHRIST, it is an assumed human Spirit from our earth certain, by following the occupation of -the Son of Man "born in time;" dis- that reputed parent' to whom he was playing therein a "LIKENESS as the AP-subject,' was denominated the CarpenPEARANCE OF A MAN-the LIKENESS of the GLORY OF THE LORD;" and beaming thence from the indwelling and embosoming Father (that fills also and embosoms the universe) a threefold HOLY SPIRIT, in which HE-the TRUE OBJECT of all Christian worship, unitedly comes to men, according to promise," in his own glory, in his Father's, and (in that) of the holy angels."
ter; and, after a laborious and painful life, died as man ever dies, by the separation of soul and body, when he had cried, Father! into thy hands I commend my Spirit.'
"But if we admit, as we ought to do, according to the Scriptures, That GoD gave not the Spirit,' His Son, by measure' to JESUS CHRIST, but dwelt' thereby in Him, in heaven, and in the "This TRINITY of Spirit in any of the universe, at the same time and in the same "Father's mansions," is, according to the manner, ONE UNDIVIDED GOD: That Scriptures, OMNIPRESENT in miniature, the Son of Man' also, or the Human both within and before the eyes of every Spirit, which was associated with the angel or spirit of "just men made per- Divine at the incarnation, was in fect," in what has been invariably called JESUS CHRIST on earth, and in "the beatific vision."-Thus "it is God heaven,' at one and the same time;which worketh in you both to will and to finally united with the GREAT OMNIdo of his good pleasure.-No man hath scen POTENT, the DIVINE SPIRIT in God at any time: the only begotten Son, both worlds, when He said, ' All power is which is in the bosom of the Father, he given to Me in heaven and in earth :'hath declared (or manifested) him. He In this case, we neither finite the DIVINE that hath seen me hath seen the Father.- Spirit, nor limit the HUMAN exclusively, Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name that to the person of JESUS CHRIST. will I do, that the Father may be glo- On the contrary, we maintain, That they rified in the Son.-The Son can do no- have been from eternity united in the thing of himself, but what he seeth the heaven of heavens,' the throne of God, Father do for what things soever he as intimately as the soul and body of doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.' man are united into one person;—but not In this way, that "glorified" and visi-exclusively,' even there. That, on earth, ble MEDIATOR of the otherwise invisible the Human was partially separated from Gon, from a heaven as before an angel, the Divine Spirit, at the fall of man. is every where the " express IMAGE of That in JESUS CHRIST, the fallen, the Father's Person, the Image of his the carnal spirit of man was ultimately GLORY." re-united with its APPROPRIATE DEGREE of the DIVINE SPIRIT, as THAT exists,— unseparated from the throne,-down into our world. That this DIVINE SPIRIT,
"Respecting the INCARNATION, Conference thought it necessary to inquire whether, as some suppose, the DIVINE
descending from the throne and pervading | Spirit,' the Mediator between God and the universe, is that HOLY SPIRIT, Man,' 'by whom,' as refracted to the which came upon the Virgin and assumed 'right hand of God,' all the faithful shall materiality at the incarnation. That apparently pass, when He delivers up when this Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the the ki om to the Father' in the eternal Light 'that enlightens every man that heavens. That the GLORY investing this comes into the world,' had, through the express Image of the Father's Person,' fleshly tabernacle of JESUS CHRIST is again the HOLY SPIRIT,' which was diffused itself throughout this world of not given' forth in full manifestation from man, as cther diffuses itself in our atmo- the throne of JESUS,' till He was fully sphere; it then began to exhibit the glorified, or till His HUMAN SPIRIT, leavDivine HUMAN APPEARANCE* ing its fleshly Tabernacle on the cross, beof the HEAVEN of HEAVENS, as ether ex- came one with the right Spirit of Man as hibits the refracted image of the sun in filled and united with the good Spirit of our atmosphere. That this IMAGE God throughout the universe. That the maof that Divine Human Appearance, which terial body, re-assumed at the resuscitation, is given in the glorified Human Spirit and handled' by the unbelieving Thomas, at the centre of creation, is the true could spontaneously pass off from the 'JESUS CHRIST, whom we shal! Spirit of JEsUs; as the flesh and blood,' 'meet in the air;'—that Quickening which cannot enter the kingdom of heaven,' undoubtedly deflagrated from the prophet Elijah, in the fire beheld by Elisha. That, in this way, the body' of JESUS, which had given offence to some, and might have caused idolatry in others, became truly and properly a sacrifice for sin.' And that, finally, the At-one-ment or reconciliation between God and Man, was virtually effected, when the human spirit was re-united with the Divine; and fully accomplished against sin, when JESUS, by voluntarily laying down His life, prevented his enemies from murdering him-thus overruling their wicked design, for good to them and their posterity, by preventing sin,—particularly the sin of idolatry, among Gentiles as well as Jews, even to the remotest generations. In this way of viewing the Incarnation and the Redemption, the pious Christian may be edified, the infidel silenced or reclaimed, and all the great attributes of Divine Wisdom, Mercy and Goodness, completely reconciled with common sense, sound reason, and every expression of Sacred Scripture.
This APPEARANCE is most sublimely described by the Prophets;-as He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grass-hoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth
them as a tent to dwell in.'-Isai. xl. 22.
And upon the likeness of the throne was a LIKENESS as the APPEARANCE OF A MAN above, upon it:-from the appearance of His loins even upward; and from the appearance of His loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire; and it had brightness round about, as the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain:-This was the appearance of the LIKENESS of the GLORY OF THE LORD.'-Ezek. i, 26--28.
† In looking through the atmosphere, as in looking through a telescope, toward an object, we never see the object itself (the sun, for instance) but only that image of it which is formed (in the lowest stratum of the atmosphere, and) next the eye in the Telescope.See FERGUSON, Lecture V11.--Also Bp. BERKELEY'S Theory on Vision, passim.
That the Human Spirit, in its greatest and smallest portions, in heaven and in man, is ever in the human form,-may be demonstrated by what is natural, thus:- Every salt, in crystallizing, invariably assumes its own peculiar form. You may dissolve common salt, or saltpetre, a thousand times, and crystallize them as often by evaporating, or cooling the water in which they are dissolved, yet will you still find the common salt will be constantly crystallized in the form of a cube, and the saltpetre in the form of a prism; and if you examine with a microscope such saline particles as are not visible to the naked eye, you will observe these particles to be of the same shape with the larger masses.-See Bp. WATSON'S Chem. vol. i. p. 87. ·
"It was also thought a subject of great importance to consider, whether REVELATION, particularly that of the BIBLE, came to the inhabitants of this earth by secret Inspiration, or by open Vision and audible Dictation.-It may be clearly perceived, that Revelation by secret InSpiration could only be of a private nature, merely to the individual who re