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the priestly office, should also be entertained." Accordingly, that the “ Apostles” might come behind in no gift, they set themselves to satisfy a desire so greatly felt. They had a revelation that the alb and girdle, stole and chasuble, might be used for all services connected with the altar ; that the presiding “Angel" should wear a cope. In 1842 the preacher's dress was to be a surplice, but four years' later a rochette and mosette were added to make his apostolic resemblance more striking and complete. During the year 1843, while the Churches were gradually growing into the use of the Liturgy and vestments, it was ordered that, where there was not a sufficient number of priests, the full service should not be attempted ; and where, from whatever further cause, the prescribed forms and orders could not be observed, they should retire for the present under the shelter of the ordinances of the Established Church.” In 1847 considerable additions and emendations were made in the Liturgy, and “the proper mode of conducting public worship was more fully developed.” To guide the ministry, rubrics were drawn up with minute directions. Additions in the outward ceremonial were also observable: the most remarkable being the use of consecrated oil, now for the first time sanctioned in the visitation of the sick, and the employment of the four ministries in the morning and evening services,
It was not until the year 1850 that the “ Apostles," who had long dimly believed in sacramental efficacy, became convinced that the light of prophecy indicated a still further use of the consecrated elements. It was now ordered that a certain portion of the bread and wine, which had been consecrated on the previous Lord's-day, should be kept in an appropriate ark or tabernacle, placed upon the altar. 6. The elements so reserved were not merely for the purpose of consumption, but also of proposition before the Lord ; by this was expressed the spiritual truth, symbolised by the table of shewbread, or bread of proposition, under the law. It was directed that at the morning and evening.sacrifices, immediately before the supplications, the 'Angel' should go up to the Altar, and taking the holy vessels containing the bread and wine out of the tabernacle, should spread them reverently before the Lord.” The reservation of these symbols declares the presence of the Lord in His house, and their daily proposition is intended to keep the memorial of His continual intercession fresh in people's minds.
To show how capable of development is the system of these new " Apostles," we may mention that the year 1852 opened with the expression of a strong desire, long felt by many, that permission should be given to use lights and incense in the celebration of daily worship. “The principle having been recognised in the proposition of the Holy Sacrament that symbols may be used in Christian worship, where the reality of the thing symbolised is present and expressed in language, it was considered seemly for the perfecting of the outward ceremonial, though not necessary to the act of religious worship, that two lights at the altar should be used to symbolise the presence of God in His two witnesses, Apostle and Prophet, and seven lights before the altar, emblematic of His enlightening power when shining in the Word through the sevenfold eldership, the true candlestick; and that incense should be burnt while the prayers of saints were ascending into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. The bread and wine, the water and the oil, were already in use. Consistency seemed to require the adoption of the other two symbols, &c.” We may add that recently-only last year—the "Apostles" sanctioned the use of "holy water." It is placed, as in Roman Catholic churches, by the door, and people “cross” themselves before entering, as they do in the Romish Communion.
Such then, in brief, is an outline of the Irvingite movement from its commencement in the year 1831: into what it is likely to culminate, the reader will have the means of judging when we place before him in our next a description of their Church service. Meanwhile, those who knew Edward Irving may take some comfort from the fact that his followers utterly ignore him, and are very sore upon being called “Irvingites." Their true designation, they insist, is “The Catholic Apostolic Church." Existing Churches, they maintain, will permit neither the voice of the Holy Ghost to be heard in prophecy, nor the exercise of the ministries which the Lord has revived, nor the observance of the right order of worship, which had been forgotten and abandoned by Christian men. There was room, therefore, for a true Apostolic Church.
It will, perhaps, be asked, what progress this new sect has made during a period of nearly forty years ? According to their own statistics—the only data, unfortunately, on which we can form an estimate-that progress has been of the most flourishing description. It must be admitted that they have not been idle. In 1836 a word of prophecy came to the “ Apostles,” revealing to them that it was their duty to go to the various countries of Christendom, and to search for the truth remaining in each. The division of Israel into twelve tribes was believed to symbolise the purpose of God to have twelve tribes among the Gentiles, who should together form the spiritual Israel. These tribes were pointed out by reference to the different countries of Europe, and an “Apostle” was appointed to each to prepare the way of the Lord. This work occupied two years, during which time Sweden and Norway, Russia, North Germany, Holland and Belgium, Italy, Austria, and Greece, were visited. 66 The benefits from all this were incalculable. The going forth of the Apostles' into the lands of Christendom tended greatly to break down the barriers, which had hitherto separated those who ought to have been one, and to give a realisation to that name * Catholic' which had long been but a mere name, in its application to the visible Church.” In London there are seven Churches; these are in Gordon Square, Spitalfields, Southwark, Chelsea, Islington, Paddington, and Westminster. Each of these Churches is intended eventually to have four “horns,” or Churches in connexion with them. The only Church, however, at present in possession of a “horn" is Gordon Square, and its “horn” is in Kentish Town.
We are assured that in other places, in Ireland, Scotland and America, the work has not slumbered. “In the latter country great success has attended the preaching of the word; and the visits of the Apostle’in the years 1850 and 1851 have produced abundant fruit. Some Episcopal clergy and Congregational ministers have become obedient to the faith, and considerable bodies of communicants have been gathered, both in Canada and the United States. Almost all the countries of Europe have also been visited. In Prussia many Churches have been formed, and · Angels' and other ministers ordained over them. At Berlin the number of communicants is very large, and there is much spiritual utterance among them. In Paris a commencement has been made, and in the north of France some small congregations have been assembled, and services for worship established. In Italy, Spain, and Bavaria, many Roman Catholic priests have lent an ear in private, some recognising the restored Apostleship, and anxiously awaiting the progress of the Lord's work for the deliverance of themselves and of their people. In Switzerland, there is one large Church at Basle, and several smaller gatherings; and in Holland and Sweden individuals are found willing to receive the messengers of the Lord, and to trust in His promise that He will visit and redeem His faithful ones.” Such is the statement of one who several years ago “ took every possible care to present a faithful and exact history" of the progress of the Irvingite community; but we have been assured that, of late years, that progress has not been so rapid as was at first anticipated. In our next we shall give some account of the mode of worship amongst the Irvingites.
This yearning and weeping and watching below:
These laughters that lighten and tear-drops that flow?
The glory of youth and its wonderful zest;
Look long for the hope of an infinite rest.
We know not our place in the whole mighty plan ;
Content our own narrow horizons to scan.
And deeming thyself but a cumbersome clod
G. W. THOMSON.
HAVE I BEEN A WILDERNESS UNTO ISRAEL ?
A MEDITATION AND A HOMILY. "HEAR, O heavens, and give ear, 0 earth, for the Lord hath spoken,”hath spoken with a condescension to which only infinite love could stoop"I will plead with you, and with your children's children will I yet plead.” “Have I been a wilderness unto Israel ? a land of darkness ? wherefore say my people, we will come no more unto thee?" Let us hear this voice from heaven, and let it not be drowned or hushed by the discordant noises of this miserable world.
1. The first idea we associate with a wilderness is that it is a place of want and privation. And God asks whether such is a true image of what He was to Israel. A place of want and privation. A place which produces no harvests of itself or spontaneously—a place which owes nothing, because it would yield nothing, to the hand of the plower, and the sower, and the reaper. A place in which, when you traverse it, you see sand, sand, sand everywhere ; sometimes rock, still barer and more sterile than the sand; sometimes, indeed, an oasis, a green spot around the margin of a fountain. But the oasis though in the desert is not of the desert; it is only encompassed by the desert, which through the length and breadth of its sands and rocks is barren and fruitless.
Shall we take such a region for a true image of God? Was He a wilderness to Israel? Read the histories of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, the founders of the nation, and see how as a father pitieth his children and provideth for them, so the Lord pitied them and provided for them. The last of these patriarchs, just before his departure, in extreme old age, prayed thus for the sons of his beloved Joseph :-“God, before whom
fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads.” (Gen. xlviii. 16.) Ask Jacob, “ Was God a wilderness to thee, O Israel ? ” and his grateful, adoring reply would be, “No; He heard my vow at Bethel, and gave me bread to eat, and raiment to put on. He has been to me as a land that floweth with milk and honey; a good land, a land of brooks of water and of fountains, a land of wheat and barley, and vines, and fig-trees, and pomegranates ; a land of oil olive, and honey, a good land. (Deut. viii. 8.) He has blessed me in my basket and store.”
And what the first Israel could say, the nation of Israel could say likewise. They go out of Egypt into a very wilderness, a land of drought and barrenness. But rather than that they should suffer hunger and thirst, He works miracles on their behalf, which one of their own sacred poets celebrated ages after in these words : –
“In the day time he led them with a cloud,
He rained down manna upon them to eat,
He sent them meat to the full.” (Ps. lxxviii. 14.) The Lord a wilderness to Israel! Hear how Moses, before he ascended Pisgah to die, recounted His dealings towards His people—“He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he intructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange God with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.” Deut. xxxii. 10-14. And then, at last, he gave to them that goodly land which was the glory of all lands.
Nor has God been a wilderness to mankind. Long ages before man was created, this earth of ours was in preparation for him. By a succession of creations and changes of the most stupendous order, there were provided those treasures which man is only discovering in these last times. And not till their home was ready for them, and its Maker saw everything He had made, and behold it was very good, were our first parents formed to enter that home and enjoy it. Even now, with all the evil sin has wrought in the world, with all the desolations and disorders it has created, with all the consequent misery and poverty that are in the earth, God has a right to say, “ Am I a wilderness to mankind ?" And in reply, mankind should burst forth into song and say, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness." Ps. 107.
But Israel had other wants as well as those that are outward and bodily, and, with reference to those, God was no wilderness to His people. The exiles returned from Babylon, recounted, in a great song of praise, the dealings of God towards His people of old, and said, “Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from hearen, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments; and madest known unto them thy holy Sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant. Thou gavest them also thy good Spirit to instruct them." Veh. ix. One of their Psalmists sang
thus : · He showed his word unto Jacob; his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation; and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord." Ps. exlvü. And another of their Psalmists celebrated the spiritual blessings aeeruing from God's revelatioas of Himself, and of His will in these well