Accordingly, when the Christians of Corinth went into parties, and set up forms of doctrine of their own, and neglected St. Paul their Apostle, what did he say? did he forbear to forbid them? no, he forbade them. And he gave this reason; "What?" he said, "came the word of God out from you?" [1 Cor. xiv. 36.] that is, did the word of God originate with you? And in like manner we may say to those who set up a distinct sect or communion for themselves, Where did you get your knowledge of the truth? You may think the word of God came out from you, but really it came to you from us; nor have you received what you teach, as far as it is true, except through that Church which you oppose. That Church made you what you are, as far as you are Christian; and the Church that made you has a right to rule you, and to protest against you when you will not be ruled; she has a right to bid you follow her, and to claim jurisdiction over you, for you are hers; whereas the man in the text who cast out devils had not received the power through the Apostles, and therefore the Apostles had no claim on him to submit to them.

Afterwards, however, the Apostles were the sole channels of grace; and as they were the sole grace-givers under Christ, so they were the sole governors, under Him, of all Christian people; and as they transmitted life, so they claimed obedience. For instance, St. John the Baptist's disciples were believers, religious men, and in God's favour; but, when once the Church was set up, they were obliged to submit to the Church, and to leave the sect, though divinely founded, to which they belonged. We read, in the Acts of the Apostles, of Apollos, "an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures," who was "instructed in the way of the Lord, and being fervent in the spirit, spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John." [Acts xviii. 24, 25.] All this availed, and was accepted with God, till He had set up His Church; but when once it was set up, it availed Apollos nothing, though eloquent, though scriptural, nay, mighty in the Scriptures, though instructed in the Lord's way, though fervent in spirit, though diligent in speaking and teaching, and that boldly, though belonging to the sect and baptized with the baptism of him than whom, among those born of women, no prophet was greater. The Baptist had taught him true doctrine, had taught him that Christ was the Son of God, the Lamb of God, our Atoning Sacrifice; and this Apollos doubtless taught in turn. What did he not teach which persons now teach who call themselves especially Gospel preachers? But as the Baptist submitted to Christ, so must the Baptist's followers submit to Christ's followers, Apollos to the Church. Apollos must not stand apart and so preach Him who {199} taketh away the sin of the world; but he must come to those servants of His, who alone could convey the Spirit; he must come for Christian Baptism, in spite of his knowledge of the Gospel. So Aquila and Priscilla "took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly."

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