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FOR THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES.

Chester Co., Pa., March 12, 1849.

DEAR BROTHER: – I had made a few remarks on brother Trott’s objection to love being the bond of union between Christ and the church, but declined sending them to you: and the subject had left my mind till I saw it again referred to, in the last number, in which brother T. says he has found no one to come forward and advocate the position of love being the bond of union, but is gratified to find such able advocates for no eternal union, &c. Now, from this I would suppose that brother T. views these two ideas at variance with each other; and according to the view held by those brethren referred to in his former communication, it is so: for if the mutual love of Christ and the church constitutes the bond of union it cannot be eternal. But I have not so held it. I stated it as my opinion, in the Signs, some time back that love was the bond of union, and am still of the same belief. – I do not, however, believe it to consist in the mutual love of Christ and the church.

Brother T., if I remember right, (for the number containing his former remarks is not at hand,) considers that the marriage contract constitutes the bond of union, and to illustrate this refers to the marriage relation among men. Now I cannot go with brother T., in this, for I have a notion some how or other got into my head, that the real bond of union between man and wife is something other than the marriage contract. I agree that the marriage contract constitutes the legal bond, but unless man and wife have another bond – stronger than this – to bind them together, they had better remained as they were. I some how or other think that where two persons enter into that state from proper motives the real bond of union exists before the celebration of the marriage contract takes place. I have been twice married, and I cannot help thinking that in both cases the real bond of union existed before I popped the main question. The marriage contract is used in reference to Christ and the church; but a variety of figures are employed to illustrate the relation between them – such as: Husband and wife – Foundation and building – Parents and children – Vine and branches, &c. But love was the great moving cause. – God so loved the church as to send Jesus to redeem her – Jesus so loved her as to engage willingly in this work. LOVE is the great propelling power in the great and wonderful plan of salvation. “For God who is right in mercy for the GREAT LOVE wherewith he loved us even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.” &c. And I cannot bring my mind to believe but that the bond of union between Christ and the church is something superior to the idea of a marriage contract, which may take place where there is no love between the parties.

But to proceed. – I have in a former communication stated that I believed love to be the bond of union between Christ and the church – but not their mutual love, but THE LOVE OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS. “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus” – Rom. viii. 38-39.

To separate is to dissolve or sever the principle by which two or more substances are united. In this connexion the term is used in application to that which binds Christ and the church. Nothing shall be able to dissolve this union, or to sever the cord by which the two are bound: and that cord is the love of God in Christ Jesus, which cord is stronger than death and more durable than the mountains of brass.

In penning these few remarks I have no idea of provoking controversy, but merely to let it be known in what sense I view love as the bond of union between Christ and his beloved. – And that we may realize an interest in this glorious union, is the prayer of

Yours, as ever,
THOMAS BARTON.

P.S., – Br. Trott’s remarks gave rise to a query, which I will now state. – Does the term created, as applied to the church, so read in any place as to justify the following rendering of it – According as he hath created us in him from before the foundation of the world. &c.?

Signs of the Times.
Volume 17, No. 6.
March 15, 1849.