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What was the method of appointing presbyters and deacons ?
The persons chosen were set apart by prayer, and the laying on of the apostles' or bishops' hands, in which, in the case of Timothy, the presbyters joined. Neglect not the gift-given thee-with the laying on of the
hands of the presbytery. 1 Tim. iv. 14. Stir up the gift of God, which is in thee, by the putting on of
my hands. 2 Tim. i. 6..
any ordi nation to the ministry by presbyters, without the presence of one of the apostles, or of some superintendent appointed by them. There can be no period fixed on before the Reformation, when ordination to the ministry belonged to any other minister than a bishop. To whom was committed the choice of persons to fill the
office of presbyter or deacon? Not to the people, but to those whom the apostles appointed as superintendents or bishops. / And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the
same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 2 Tim. ii. 2. Besides, Timothy and Titus would not have had such minute directions about the character of persons proper to fill these offices, except to guide their choice: and the former is commanded to use great caution in his choice, and To lay hands suddenly on no man. 1 Tim. v. 22.
But if the bishop was to ordain only those who had been set apart by the election of the people, no matter how suddenly he laid his hands upon them. And St. Paul tells him, that these directions were given, that if he tarried, He might know how to behave himself in the house of God,
which is the Church of the living God. 1 Tim. iii. 14, 15. What was the office of a deacon ?
The Scriptures have not informed us; but it must have been perfectly understood by Timothy and the Church of that period. In 1 Tim. iii. 8—13, the same character for piety and good conduct, is required in deacons as in pres. byters. Let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of
deacon, being found blameless. 1 Tim. iii. 10.
And the deacons were to look forward to a higher office ; for They that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to
themselves a good degree, 1 Tim. iii. 13.
Were the seven persons mentioned in Acts vi, deacons ?
It is generally thought so. They are not, however, called deacons in the Acts of the apostles, but only in the title of the chapter. What account have we of the order of the Church, after the
death of the apostle Paul ? The seven churches in the Revelation, addressed by St. John, had each an officer called an angel, who presided over both the presbyters and the flock, and was therefore a superintendent or bishop.* What reason have we for thinking that these angels were
bishops? Because we find, that during St. Paul's stay at Ephesas, Not only at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, he had
persuaded and turned away much people. Acts xix. 8. 10. 26.
So that the number of Christians would require the care of several presbyters.. And when St. Paul passed by this city in his way to Jerusalem, He sent to Ephesus, and called the presbyters of the Church.
Acts xx. 17. So that the angel was the person presiding over them all. What proof have we that the angel of the Church at Ephesus
exercised the authority of a bishop ? Thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are
not, &c. Rev. ii. 2.
And he received approbation for his conduct from the Lord Jesus, through St. John. What proof have we that the angel of the Church at Thyatira
was a bishop? He is blamed for suffering. Jezebel, who called herself a pro
phetess, to teach. Rev. ii. 20.
Now he could not have been the subject of blame, unless he had had the power to silence her, which is the office of a bishop. Is there any reason to think that the government of the
Churches of Asia, mentioned in the Revelation, was different from that of other Christian Churches ? No: there is great reason to believe, that the Church of Christ was governed everywhere by superintendents or
• The word Angel literally means one sent, which is also the meaning of Apostle.
bishops, each presiding over his own district, though sub ject to a general synod of bishops and presbyters. The apostles and elders came together for to consider of this
matter. Acts xv. 6. They delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordain
ed of the apostles and elders. Acts xvi. 4. What further account have we of the order of the Church
after the death of the apostles ? We learn from the writings of men who lived in the times of the apostles,
Clement, afterwards Bishop of Rome, who is mentioned in Phil. iv. 3; Polycarp, who was Bishop of Smyrna, and a disciple of St. John; and Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, that immediately after the death of the apostles, there was, in every Church, a superior officer, called a bishop, and other two orders of priests and dea
Was this order generally received in the primitive Church ?
The threefold distinction of bishops, priests, and deacons, was acknowledged, and was scarcely called in question for one thousand five hundred years after the death of Christ; nor was there any Christian church without a bishop during that time. Besides, if this order was not established by the apostles, it could not have been afterwards introduced without being noticed in history. Is the personal holiness of a man a sufficient warrant for
his taking the office of a minister of Christ ? The minute directions which the apostle Paul gave to Timothy and Titus, to enable them to make a right choice of the persons whom they were commissioned to ordain for the ministry, must have been unnecessary, if persons, upon presumption of their own holiness, or other qualifications, might, consistently with the appointed order of the Christian Church, take upon themselves the office of ministers. But are we not informed, that after the martyrdom of Ste
phen, Saul made havoc of the Church, entering into every house, and
haling men and women, committed them to prison. There
fore, they that were scattered, abroad, went everywhere preaching the word ? Acts viii. 1. 4.
This example would undoubtedly be a warrant to private Christians to act in like manner, under severe perse
cution, in an enemy's country, where ordination could not be obtained; but it affords no authority for such conduct in a settled and peaceable state of the Christian Church. Why is it necessary that a Church should now copy the ex
ample of the apostles, as to government ?
The apostle Paul says,
And his example as a superintendent of the Christian
God blesses the labours of her ministers?
done. Matt. xxiii. 23. Besides, we cannot tell what injury religion may sustain, in course of time, by departing from that order which God has established ; and we have no right, by leaning to our own understandings, to do evil that good may come. But are there not good men of most religious persuasions ?
Yes. But we shall not be excused in any neglect or error by pleading the example of others—Let God be true, and every man a liar. It is not our business to condemn others who profess to follow the Scriptures as their guide.
ON THE LITURGI.
How long have those short prayers, called Collects, been used
in the Christian Church, which are appointed to be used
in the Protestant Episcopal Church ? Not less than one thousand three hundred years. What instances have we in Scripture, of forms of prayer or
praise being used ? The ancient Jews always used precomposed forms in their synagogues; and as our Lord regularly attended at
the service of the synagogue, he gave his sanction to the propriety of them. As his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sab
bath day. Luke iv. 16.
John the Baptist appears to have taught his disciples a form of prayer. Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. Luke
St. Paul speaks of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, both for the social and private worship of Christians. Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the
Lord. Col. iii. 16. And hymns are merely forms of prayer in verse. The primitive Christians did very early use forms of public worship. which are called in their writings
What are the excellencies of the Liturgy of the Protestant
Episcopal Church? 1. It is so comprehensive, “that nothing is omitted which is fit to be asked in public; and so particnlar, it compriseth most things which we should ask in private."
2. The prayers are each so short as not to fatigue the attention, and yet are considerably comprehensive, constantly concluding with a reference to the mediation of Jesus Christ.
3. It tends to secure an unity of doctrine; and as both minister and people have their separate parts to perform, this division of service is well calculated to keep up attention, and to excite devout feelings.
4. Another advantage is, that of knowing beforehand the prayer and praises which are to be offered to God. By
* Mr. Wheatly has shown, by sundry appeals 10 ancient Christian writers, that the first three centuries joined in the use of precomposed Bet forms of prayer, besides the Lord's Prayer and Psalms; and that these were styled by so early a writer as Justin Martyr, who died in the year of our Lord, 163, "Common Prayers;" by Origen, “Constituted Prayers;" and by Cyprian, “Solemn Prayers." "Hence the inference is fairly drawn, that a Liturgy composed for public use is warranted by the practice of our Saviour, of his apostles, and of the primitivo Christians