Page images
PDF
EPUB

be born separate and distinct from the rest; therefore
it is not by uniting members that are separately born,
at sundry times, that the human body is formed.
Nor is the Church formed of such as are born again
in this manner. But as the whole body is brought
forth at one birth, and in order, with all its corres-
ponding parts, perfect after its kind ; so also is the
birth of the Church. And this is effected in and by
the joint power and influence of the two sirst-born,
which is the word of their testimony.
29. By this the Church is jointly and invisibly be-
gotten and conceived, and visibly brought forth, one
body, perfect in its order, and in all its correspon-
ding parts, as the offspring of God, coming forth
from the invisible order of heaven—rooted, settled,
and grounded in the divine nature—sound and un-
shaken in her faith—pure and examplary in her mor-
als—unpolluted and unstained by the flesh—and sep-
arated and unspotted from the world and from all
sin. And in the same manner must every individual
be born again, who is ever born in and by the Church
as the Mother.
30. Hence the work of regeneration and salvation,
respects souls in a united capacity; for no individual
can be regenerated nor saved in any other capacity
than in a Church-relation, any more than a hand or
foot can be born separate or distinct from the human
body, and united to some other body after it is sepa-
rately born.
31. If we walk in the light, as God is in the light,
ove have fellowshift one ruith another, and the blood or
life of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
And without this light and fellowship there can be
no salvation. Therefore, the first work of the Spir-
it of preparation, in this day of Christ's second ap-
pearing, was to convince those who committed sin,
that they were not born of God: for whosoever is born
of God sinneth not.
32. And as many as were thus convinced, and
were willing and desirous to confess and forsake
their sins, and to find salvation from them, came in-
to the testimony, confessed their sins, and set out to
travel in the work of regeneration and redemption.

CHAP.
XII.

1 Johni. 5, 7.

1 John v. 18.

oft. So that all who were faithful, gradually, and pro

[ocr errors]

gressively, travelled out of an evil nature, by morti-
fication and the cross of Christ ; and became sepa-
rate from the world, and in their spiritual relation, as
much out of sight, as the seed of a plant under
ground, or the infant in the womb.
33. And after having gained a sufficient degree of
deliverance from the nature of lust, covetousness,
selfishness, and the various branches of an evil na-
ture ; and having that growth and maturity in the
principles and fruits of the Spirit, which are love,
peace, meekness, gentleness, long-suffering, faith-
fulness, goodness, temperance, benevolence and such
like ; they were then enabled, practically, to come
forth in outward visible order, proceeding from the
order of that which is invisible. -
34. Accordingly, about the ninth month, Septem-
ber, in the year 1787, the Believers began to gather
together with one consent; first at New-Lebanon,
and shortly after in other places, for the purpose of
supporting one joint union and interest in all things,
spiritual and temporal, for the mutual benefit and
comfort of each other, and for other pious and char-
itable uses, according to the light of God they had
received, and their understanding of a Church in the
true order of the gospel.
35. And it was revealed, and manifested to the Be-
lievers at large, that first, Joseph M.E. A chA M, and
afterwards Lucy W R16 it, were raised up, prepar-
ed and appointed, by the gift and power of God, each
in their own order, to take the first lead and spiritual
concern in the order and government of the Church;
and they were mutually acknowledged by all, as our
beloved parents, standing in the visible order, and
relation, of the first Father and Mother of our re-
demption, who are the invisible first pillars upon
which the spiritual house of God is built.
36. These were first pillars in the spiritual build-
ing and visible order of the Church ; Father and
Mother, in spiritual relation, and first in relation to
all others. And by these, with others as helps in
the ministry, the Church was established, and set in
that order and correspondent relation, under which
every member, both male and female, as brethren
and sisters of one family, and members of one joint
body, enjoyed their free and equal rights and privi-
leges, pertaining to the spiritual travel, increase
and up-building of the whole.
37. Ministers were likewise raised up and appoint-
ed by the gift of God, and sent forth from the Church,
by the ministry, to labour among distant believers, in
word and doctrine, to purge out iniquity, to reprove
the disobedient, to strengthen and encourage the
weak, and confirm the faithful.
38. Deacons and Deaconesses also came forth in
their proper gift, order and office, in the temporal
affairs of the Church ; and each, according to their
gift and talents for usefulness, were felt and mutual-
ly acknowledged by all, according to the order and
gift of God by which they were appointed.
39. Therefore, as each member of the body is de-
pendent on another, and as the light of the body is
the eye ; so the whole body, that came forth into vi-
sible church-order, were subject to the visible head,
the joint parentage, who stood in Christ the invisible
head, as the medium through which the whole visi-
ble body is full of light. -
40. And as both the eyes in one head, centre in
one, and see every thing alike, and as the true
watchers, when the Lord should bring again Zion,
were to see eye to eye; so, according to that one
light which flows from Christ the head, through both
the man and woman, all things were disposed, regu-
lated, and set in order, in a perfect law of righteous-
ness, justice and truth.
41. As the work of redemption is a great work,
even from its beginning until its final accomplish-
ment; so all iniquity was not purged away at once,
nor was the complete order of the Church obtained
in an instant.
42. In the preparatory work and building of the
Church, the Believers passed through many scenes
of mortification, trial, tribulation, and temptation, in
which all the faithful were united from the eldest to
the youngest, as the heart of one man. Sharp re-
proofs against the o all sin, and every band
X x 2

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

and tie of a carnal nature, were continually rolling
like peals of thunder ; and the word and testimony
of eternal life, like perpetual flames of fire, sat up-
on each of them, until a complete victory, over the
nature and practice of evil, was mutually obtained.
43. And as sin and confusion was removed, and
every thing contrary and offensive to the pure nature
of the gospel was purged out ; so purity, order, and
righteousness were established. Every thing that
could be shaken, was shaken ; and that which could
neither be shaken nor moved, still remained, rooted
and grounded in the foundation of eternal truth.
44. In all this work was the promise of God ful-
filled, relating to the work of Christ in the latter
day—“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever is
left in Zion, and remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be
called Holy, every one written among the living in
Jerusalem : when the Lord shall have washed away
the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have
purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst there-
of, by the sfirit of judgment; and by the sfirit of
burning.”
45. “But who may abide the day of his coming 2

and who shall stand when he appeareth 2 for he is

iike a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap : And he
shall sit as a refiner and a flurifier of silver: and he
shall flurify the sons of Levi, and flurge them as
gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an
offering in righteousness.
46. Such in reality, was the nature, and spirit of
the work, which was wrought in the Believers, and
by which they were severally, mutually, and jointly
prepared to stand as a united body, fitly joined to-
gether in all its corresponding parts, so as to form a
pure and spiritual relation in the building of the
Church. And thus from faith to faith, and from one
attainment to another, there was a gradual and con-
tinual increase of unity, purity, and order, until the
present order of the Church was fully established.

CHAPTER XIII.

The Subject continued.

HE present gospel order of the Church was es- of:

tablished in the year 1792, although the gathering and preparatory work began some years sooner. Most of the members of the Church at MetoLebanon, were gathered in the year 1788. At which time they entered verbally into Covenant with each other, to stand as one joint community in Church relation. 2. In this Covenant they freely gave themselves and services, with all their temporal interest, for the mutual support and benefit of each other, and for other charitable uses, according to the light and revelation of God which they had received, and which was there and then, and from time to time afterwards, revealed and made known, in regard to the order and building of the Church. 3. After seven years experience, the said Covenant was committed to writing, in form, for the security of their just and natural rights, on account of those who were envious without ; and for the more perfect information of all whom it might thereaster concern. —And five years after this, the Covenant was again renewed. 4. It may therefore be proper here, for the better understanding of our faith and practice, in regard to the joint union and equal rights of the Church, to state the conditions and most essential particulars of this Covenant, as they are taken from the written form of the Covenant itself: they are as follows. 5. “In the year of our Lord one thousand seven * hundred and eighty eight, the year in which most * of the members of the Church were gathered, the * following order and Covenant, was then, and from *time to time after, made known and understood, re“ceived, and entered into, by us members of the “Church, agreeable to our understanding of the or* der and covenant of the Church in gospel order.” 6. “It then was, and still is our faith, being con

« PreviousContinue »