OCCASIONAL HEARING LEADS TO OPEN COMMUNION, OVERTHROWING FAITHFUL CONFESSIONS, & THEN FINAL APOSTASY
Finally, that we may trace the streams to their fountain, of which the "flock of slaughter" are tempted to drink when "fouled by the feet of shepherds" unfaithful to the Chief Shepherd, we believe that the (fons et origo omnium nostrorum malorum)—the fountain and origin of all our sinful departures from the Covenanted Work of Reformation—will be found in the practice of what is well, too well, marked in our history, and commonly called "Occasional Hearing."
Can any person give a reason why he should not hear constantly where he can hear occasionally?
Or can any one, at the same time, testify against a church for unfaithfulness, and wait upon its ministry, without evident inconsistency and neutralizing his testimony?
Will he succeed in recovering backsliders by following them in their backsliding course?
We distinguish here between such as are advancing and those who are retrograding, as our witnessing fathers always did, and towards which parties our deportment ought to be different. To those advancing we extend a helping hand, but from those declining we are commanded to "turn away." (1 Tim. 3:1-5).
If I may hear a minister in his pulpit in another fellowship, why may I not in my own pulpit? Then exchange of pulpits necessarily follows, invitation to a seat in church courts, and then open communion!—and all sanctioned and sanctified by the euphonious phrase, "Christian courtesy"!
But how will Christ look upon such motley multitudes?
Can they bury his blood-sealed truth and conceal their hypocrisy under "good words and fair speeches" from "His eyes, like unto a flame of fire?"
But we ought to "have the mind of Christ." (1 Cor. 2:16).
To us the logical connection of the consecutive steps above merely noted is quite obvious. The inevitable tendency of occasional hearing and its ultimate issue is open communion,—the overthrow of all creeds, confessions and testimonies; all Subordinate Standards and final apostasy.
To all those in whose heart the Lord has preserved a supreme love to Himself and to His truth, sealed by the blood of heroic and patriotic martyrs, as that truth has been transmitted historically in doctrine, worship, government and discipline,—the practical results of our Covenants, National and Solemn League: to all such we address the words of good Hezekiah:
"Now, be ye not stiff-necked, as your fathers were; but yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified forever, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you."
"Arise, O God, judge the earth, for thou shalt inherit all nations."
DAVID STEELE, JAMES CAMPBELL, Committee. April, 1879.
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