Covington, GA., March 1, 1860.
“Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
This is the language of the blessed Redeemer to his disciples in connection with the rule pointed out by Him relative to the course to be pursued in cases of church discipline. When the gospel church and kingdom was set up and established among all nations, the twelve Apostles were called, qualified and appointed by the Great Head of the Church to set in order every thing appertaining to the faith and practice of the church under the new covenant dispensation. They received their authority direct from the Lord Jesus, as he said to them at a certain time, “Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” The prophet Isaiah testified, “Behold a King shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.” The Lord Jesus is the King in Zion, is King in his spiritual kingdom which his Father had appointed him, and the princes are the Apostles of the Lamb, who sit as judges upon their thrones, and rule in judgment in all matters concerning the church and kingdom of God. And as they were commissioned and sent forth to preach the gospel in all the world, they were endued with power from on High, to decide what was truth, and what was not truth in all matters relative to the church of Christ. From their decision there was, or could be no appeal. Their decision was final, and clothed with as much authority as though the Lord Jesus himself personally had been present in the setting up and establishment of his church. The truth is, the Apostles were full of the Holy Ghost, and their judgment in all matters, as well as their acts in references to the church of God were valid and conclusive. As men they had no more power and authority than other men, but as Apostles and Judges they had.
The doctrine the Apostles preached they received from heaven, and is, therefore called the Apostles doctrine. They bound, or fastened it, as with a band or cord upon the church, and their act was confirmed or ratified in heaven. And everything relative to the laws, ordinances and discipline of the church is bound or fastened in the same manner.
They loosed or unbound the church from all the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish, or old covenant dispensation, and also from all the abominations of the Gentiles, such as their religious idolatry and gross immoralities. And the act of the Apostles in this particular also, was confirmed or ratified in heaven. And as the church of Christ has a visible existence on earth, and has had for more than eighteen centuries, the acts of the Apostles, both in binding and loosing, still remain confirmed and ratified in heaven. Whosoever attempts to take from, or add to their acts, either in doctrine or practice, is a transgressor, and will be punished in a manner corresponding with the nature of the transgression.
The Lord Jesus is still seated upon the throne of his glory, and the twelve Judges are also seated upon their thrones in the kingdom of our God. The church of God has but one King and one Shepherd, and she has no other STANDARD writers but what we find in the Scriptures of truth, and especially in the New Testament. And whatsoever is not preached or published in accordance with the writings and acts of the Apostles or Judges, however plausible it may appear, cannot endure the ordeal of Eternal Truth. An experimental knowledge of the truth of the Scriptures, is known by revelation or heavenly teaching, as the Prophets and Apostles knew it. And unless the experience of the saints correspond with the Scriptures it can be of no account. The opinions and notions of men are all vain, when tried by the word of revealed truth. Let the saints, therefore, act wisely, search the Scriptures and believe what God hath spoken.
We could write more on the subject before us, but at this time we have no opportunity, and are obliged to close our remarks, and as we have briefly expressed our views on the text by request, we hope to be excused from writing any more at this time.