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laws of good order which had a moral object, and were once enacted by divine authority, have not been removed by that authority. Consequently they remain in force, and are to be obeyed with due accommodation to time and circumstance, but in their genuine spirit.
Accordingly, our blessed Lord, who certainly taught nothing repugnant to the general laws of good order, by which he intended that the consciences of his disciples should be bound, conformed to the rules and discipline of the one national church of Judah, even in its degenerate state. He disapproved, it is true, of many abuses which existed in the administration of that church, and of some practices which corrupt custom had introduced; but, as the foundation was pure, this was not a sufficient reason why he should countenance schism, or encourage disorder. He therefore gave his followers an example of conformity, by attending the established mode of worship, both in the temple and in the synagogues. The latter are not to be regarded as rivals of the temple: they were local places of assembly, subordinate to that
one national edifice; uniting with it in subservience to the great general cause; but enjoying inferior privileges, and not presuming to infringe upon its higher prerogative.
And our Lord has, upon a particular occasion, shewn his great regard to the discipline of the national church, and his care not to offend against the laws of established order. When he was about to celebrate the feast of the Passover, he did not think it meet to observe this ordinance in one of the cities of Galilee, or in any provincial city of Judah, though the pre-eminence of his character might have sanctioned the act. He went up to Jerusalem for this purpose, notwithstanding the inhabitants of that city had already threatened his life. This perilous journey he undertook in obedience to the precept of Moses, who charges every Israelite-Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee: but at the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover. (Deut. xvi. 5, 6.) Thus it became our great Master to fulfil all righteousness;
and thus it would certainly become every one of his disciples.
Our Lord's conformity and precepts of conformity (for such he also gave) to the established church of the Jewish nation, together with the silence of the Gospel as to any intended abrogation of such a general law of good order, afford ample conviction, to a candid and unprejudiced mind, that the same rule is still applicable to the ́ professors of his religion; that, in every nation, under a Christian government, there ought to be an authoritative establishment of his church; and that it is the duty of his disciples to conform to its laws and ordinances, as far as they are consistent with the word of God. But our adversaries are not satisfied with inference, however clear and conclusive. They demand a positive example of the application of this rule to the Christian religion, in the records of the New Testament. This may be thought an uncandid demand, considering that the writers of the New Testament closed the canon long before the Christian religion was publicly adopted by the government of any state. This volume, however, if examined
with a single eye, will be found more full of ecclesiastical regulation than it is generally supposed to be. And here we may remark an example, which is much to the present purpose.
St. Paul, in the words of my text, declares to Titus, For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting-or, are hitherto left undone-and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.
Upon this passage we may remark, in the first place, that Crete was a large island, including a nation within itself. It extended more than two hundred miles in length, and contained a multitude of cities, eleven of which were episcopal, in the early age of Christianity. And here we find, in the records of the New Testament, one senior bishop, under Christ our great High-priest, stationed by an apostle, not as pastor of a local congregation, but as president over the whole of this national church. He had authority to make, and therefore to enforce, by the law of good discipline, necessary regulations in the several districts of the island, and to ordain ministers in every city; over
which ministers, as it will presently appear, he possessed a superintending power; and consequently his authority extended over all the members of the same united church.
Here is, then, what our adversaries demand, an evangelical record of one national church, under one hierarchy, constituted and established by the great apostle of the Gentiles, after the pattern of the church which God had established in Israel, and to which our Lord, by his example and precept, enjoined conformity, as the duty of every true believer who lived within its jurisdiction.
But it will be said, "The form of this church of Crete was maintained only by the spiritual law of discipline. Here was no alliance between church and state."
Those who contend, that a mutual cooperation and support between the civil state and a national church are inconsistent with the spirit of the Gospel, generally aim to prove their position by that declaration which our Lord made to Pilate :-My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered