The Unity of the Church Essential to the Conversion of the World
The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Unity of the Church Essential to theConversion of the World, by James Henry Alexander GwytherThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org. If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: The Unity of the Church Essential to the Conversion of the WorldAuthor: James Henry Alexander GwytherRelease Date: October 10, 2018 [eBook #58072]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH ESSENTIALTO THE CONVERSION OF THE WORLD***
Transcribed from the 1846 John Snow edition by David Price,email [email protected]
THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH ESSENTIAL TO THE
CONVERSION OF THE WORLD.
THE DIRECTORS AND FRIENDS OF THE LONDON
IN MAY, 1846,
IN THE CHURCH OF ST. MARY, SPITAL SQUARE,
J. H. GWYTHER, M.A.
VICAR OF MADELEY, SALOP.
JOHN SNOW, PATERNOSTER-ROW; THE SOCIETY’S OFFICES,
BLOOMSBURY HOUSE, FINSBURY SQUARE. GEO. M. SMITH,
“Neither pray I for these alone,but for all who shall believe in me through their Word:that they all may be one: that the World may believethat thou hast sent me.”—
John xvii. 20, 21.
The last earthly act of one we love and honour, is oftenreferred to with deepest interest, and revolved with the mostthoughtful attention. It is then that the dying Parentdelivers his solemn counsels, and unbosoms his most sacredlycherished feelings. If ever the tenderest and earnestworkings of the heart are laid open, it is as the scene drawsnear and yet nearer to its close.
And as our beloved Saviourapproached the termination of His earthly history, the strongcommanding feelings of his soul were displayed, and thenespecially he taught his disciples what sentiments he would havethem cultivate, and what objects he would have them propose;whilst by his example, he taught them in what spirit, andby what means to seek those high and holy ends.
It was then, assembled with his disciples in the Garden ofGethsemane, that He as the Great High Priest of Our Profession,breathed forth in earnest prayer, the words before us:—
“The last acts of theGreat Mediator, were acts of prayer.”
He prayed! that he might impresshis people with the importance of prayer. He made themwitnesses of his prayer, that when they hereafter mightfollow him their divine intercessor, by faith, within theveil, they might know for what ends, and in what spirit, hisintercession is carried on. His lastacts were prayer. It was in prayerthat he closed his last interview with his Apostles. It wasin this exercise that he passed his hour of agony in the Garden;and when on the Cross, His dying breath was spent in repeated andsolemn application.
p. 4Oh!beloved brethren! ’twas a solemn scene;—the adorableMediator with the shadows of death deepening around him, employedin earnest addresses to his
In the endeavour to fulfil that duty, which the Directors ofthe London Missionary Society have assigned me, I feel I needyour sympathy, and your prayers. I stand before you“in weakness, and in fear, and in muchtrembling.” From a sense of my own insufficiency toperform this duty aright, as well as from the conviction that Imay be standing in the room of some more qualified and acceptableadvocate of the cause, I was naturally reluctant to leave thequietude of a country village and place myself in this publicsituation: on the other hand, believing that this was a call fromGod, to bear my humble testimony toHis truth in this great Metropolis, and that in endeavouring todo his will, we shall not fail of his grace; I have come belovedbrethren, and would seek to offer a few remarks upon theinteresting subject now introduced to your notice. Thesubject I am fully aware, is now one of those to which so muchattention has been given of late years, that I cannot hope topresent it more clearly or forcibly than it has already beenplaced in your view: all I can attempt is to bring these thingsagain to your remembrance, and again to urge them upon theattentive consideration of the Christian Church.
I. The object, which in this Petition,the Saviour seeks.
II. The means by which it is to bepromoted.
III. The reasons why it should be mostearnestly desired.
We must proceed to notice:—
I.—The object, which in this petition theSaviour seeks.
It is the unity of all believers upon Earth. Notindeed that Christ is indifferent tothe peace and love which ought to bind together allmankind as one great family. He purposes to securethis; but he seeks to bless His Church, that thro’it he may bless the world. Yes! beloved brethren,—Menought to “be one” in the bonds of love andkindness. We are Brethren, all “one man’ssons,” and where there is a man, there is one who has aclaim upon the thoughtfulness, the care, the kindness of hisfellow man; and in order to promote the general well-being of ourspecies, we should be as one. To us there cry thepoor in their destitution—the ignorant in theirdarkness—the oppressed in their wrongs—the victims ofwar, murderous and impious war—the slaves in the chains,which tyranny has thrown around their persons, or set on theirintellect and conscience; these, and sufferers in everyother form of woe, appeal to man, the family, thefraternity of man, for sympathy, pity, and relief. They are Men; they are Brethren; and these are outrages againstour common claims, which should rouse all that hear the cry, tosuccour the suppliants. We have all one
But another work must precede this. The Church mustfirst be made one itself. The universal harmonypredicted, and eventually to be realized in the world, must firstpervade the elements of Christ’sVisible Church, and therefore as a means to that great end, eventhat p. 6theworld may believe in, fully recognize, and submit to theauthority of Him, whom God has sent,the Redeemer here prays, that His disciples may “beone;” implying thereby that the unity of the Church, is thegreat pre-requisite for the conversion of the world.
1.—And who are His Church, His People,the subjects of this prayer?
None but those who rest upon His atonement, and rely upon Hisgrace, as the one foundation of their hope for eternity. Itis not the bearing of a Christian name; it is not an enrolment inany society, however scriptural in doctrine and apostolic indiscipline that constitutes men Christians. There may beloud profession—an orthodox creed—ceaselessactivity—large sacrifices, without faith in
But the Church includes all who believe on the Son ofGod, among whatever community they may be found. Eachchristian may have, and ought to hold dear, hisconvictions, as to the truths the bible teaches, and the churchprinciples which are there developed.
The Bible is ever to be his standard, and his conscience bindshim to receive all that it teaches. We plead for nolatitudinarian indifference. We have ourconvictions, nor dare we yield them, unless
All these are His people—they are parts of Hisuniversal Church; though severed from each other, they are onewith Him; members of His mystical body; branches in Him theLiving Vine!
And where shall we seek them? They are found adorningfellowships of varied names, and each possessing features ofpeculiar beauty, and sacred excellence. We dare not saythat a connexion with any system of itself can make menChristians; nor of Episcopacy, Presbyterianism,Congregationalism, nor Methodism, that it is exclusively
The churches which have numbered among them a Fletcher, aHenry Martyn, a Cary, a Williams, a Wesley; will furnish their
The genuine disciples of the
And many yet are found below. True our minds aredistracted by the differing names and varied distinctions whichexist among us. But be of good cheer, beloved brethren,upon a goodly company, though widely scattered,