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and 1 and 3 John, are evidently also so written, thongh not 80 expressly inscribed. That of James, and that to the Galatians, are as evidently to the Visible Church: the one being general, and the other to persons "removed from Him that called them.” Missing out, therefore, these two epistles, but including Christ's words to His disciples, we find in the Scriptural addresses to members of the Invisible Church, fourteen, if not more, direct injunctions “not to be deceived."* So much for the “Infallibility of the Church.”
Now, one could put up with Puseyism more patiently, if its fallacies arose merely from peculiar temperaments yielding to peculiar temptations. But its bold refusals to read plain English; its claborate adjustments of tight bandages over its own eyes, as wholesome preparation for a walk among traps and pitfalls ; its daring trustfulness in its own clairvoyance all the time, and declarations that every pit it falls into is a seventh heaven; and that it is pleasant and profitable to break its legs ;-with all this it is difficult to have patience. One thinks of the highwayman with his eyes shut, in the Arabian Nights; and wonders whether any kind of scourging would prevail upon the Anglican highwayman to open "first one and then the other."
4. So much, then, I repeat for the infallibility of the Invisible Church, and for its consequent authority. Now, if we want to ascertain what infallibility and authority there is in the Visible Church, we have to alloy the small wisdom and the light weight of Invisible Christians, with large per-centage of the false wisdom and contrary weight of Undetected Anti-Christians. Which alloy makes up the current coin of opinions in the Visible Church, having such value as we may choose its natare being properly assayed-to attach to it.
• Matt. xxiv. 4; Mark xiii, 6; Luke zi. 8; 1 Cor. iil 18, vi. 9, XV. 33 ; Eph. iv. 14, v. 6; Col. ii. 8; 2 These ii. 3; Heb. iii. 13; 1 John i. 8, ül 7; 2 John 7, 8.
There is, therefore, in matters of doctrine, no such thing as the Authority of the Church. We might as well talk of the authority of the morning cloud. There may be light in it, but the light is not of it; and it diminishes the light that it gets; and lets less of it through than it receives, Christ being its sun. Or, we might as well talk of the authority of a flock of sheep-for the Church is a body to be taught and fed, not to teach and feed : and of all sheep that are fed on the earth, Christ's Sheep are the most simple (the children of this generation are wiser): always losing themselves; doing little else in this world but lose themselves ;-never finding themselves ; : always found by Some One else; getting perpetually into : sloughs, and snows, and bramble thickets, like to die there, but for their Shepherd, who is for ever finding them and bearing them back, with torn fleeces and eyes full of fear.
This, then, being the No-Authority of the Church in matter of Doctrine, what Authority has it in matters of Discipline ?
Much, every way. The sheep have natural and wholesome power (however far scattered they may be from their proper fold) of getting together in orderly knots; following each other on trodden sheepwalks, and holding their heads all one way when they see strange dogs coming; as well as of casting out of their company any whom they see reason to suspect of not being right sheep, and being among them for no good. All which things must be done as the time and place require, and by common consent. A path may be good at one time of day which is bad at another, or after a change of wind; and a position may be very good for sudden defence, which would be very stiff and awkward for feeding in. And common consent must often be of such and such a company on this or that hillside, in this or that particular danger,—not of all the sheep in the world: and the consent may either be literally common, and expressed in assembly, or it may be to appoint officers over the rest, with such and such trusts of the common
authority, to be used for the common advantage. Conviction of crimes, and excommunication, for instance, could neither be effected except before, or by means of, officers of some appointed authority.
5. This, then, brings us to our fifth question. What is the Authority of the Clergy over the Church ?
The first clause of the question must evidently be, Who are the Clergy? and it is not easy to answer this without begging the rest of the question.
For instance, I think I can hear certain people answering, That the Clergy are folk of three kinds, — Bishops, who over. look the Church ; Priests, who sacrifice for the Church;
Deacons, who minister to the Church : thus assuming in their : answer, that the Church is to be sacrificed for, and that people
cannot overlook and minister to her at the same time; which is going much too fast. I think, however, if we define the Clergy to be the “Spiritual Officers of the Church,"—meaning, by Officers, merely People in office,—we shall havo a title safe enough and general enough to begin with, and corresponding too, pretty well, with St. Paul's general expression apoiorausvos, in Rom. xii. 8, and i Thess. v. 13.
Now, respecting these Spiritual Officers, or office-bearers, we have to inquire, first, What their Office or Authority is, or should be; secondly, Who gave, or should give, them that Authority? That is to say, first, What is, or should be the nature of their office; and secondly, What the extent or force of their authority in it ? for (this last depends mainly on its derivation.
First, then, What should be the offices, and of what kind should be the authority of the Clergy?
I have hitherto referred to the Bible for an answer to every question. I do so again; and behold, the Bible gives me no answer. I defy you to answer me from the Bible. You can only guess, and dimly conjecture, what the offices of the
Clergy roere in the first century. You cannot show me a sin. gle command as to what they shall be. Strange, this; the Bible give no answer to so apparently important a question! God surely would not have left His word without an answer to anything His children ought to ask. Surely it must be a ridiculous question—a question we ought never to have put, or thought of putting. Let us think of it again a little. To be sure, it is a ridiculous question, and we should be ashamed of ourselves for having put it :- What should be the offices of the Clergy? That is to say, What are the possible spiritual necessities which at any time may arise in the Church, and by what means and men are they to be supplied ;-evidently an infinite question. Different kinds of necessities must be met by different authorities, constituted as the necessities arise. Robinson Crusoe, in his island, wants no Bishop, and makes a thunderstorm do for an Evangelist. The University of Oxford would be ill off without its Bishop; but wants an Evangelist besides; and that forthwith. The authority which the Vaudois shepherds need, is of Barnabas, the son of Consolation; the authority which the City of London needs, is of James, the son of Thunder. Let us then alter the form of our question, and put it to the Bible thus; What are the necessities most likely to arise in the Church; and may they be best met by different men, or in great part by the same men acting in different capacities ? and are the names attached to their offices of any consequence? Ah, the Bible answers now, and that loudly. The Church is built on. the Foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the corner-stone. Well; We cannot have two foundations, so we can have no more Apostles or Prophets : - then, as for the other nceds of the Church in its edifying upon this foundation, there are all manner of things to be done daily ;-rebukes to be given; comfort to be brought ; Scripture to be explained; warning to be enforced; threaten.
ings to be executed; charities to be administered; and the men who do these things are called, and call themselves, with absolute indifference, Deacons, Bishops, Elders, Evangelists, according to what they are doing at the time of speaking. St. Paul almost always calls himself a deacon, St. Peter calls himself an elder, 1 Pet. v. 1, and Timothy, generally understood to be addressed as a bishop, is called a deacon in 1 Tim. iv. 6—forbidden to rebuke an elder, in v. 1, and exhorted to do the work of an evangelist, in 2 Tim. iv. 5. But there is one thing which, as officers, or as separate from the rest of the flock, they never call themselves, which it would have been impossible, as so separate, they ever should have called themselves; that is—Priests.
It would have been just as possible for the Clergy of the early Church to call themselves Levites, as to call themselves (ex officio) Priests. The whole function of Pricsthood was, on Christmas morning, at once and for ever gathered into His Person who was born at Bethlehem; and thenceforward, all who are united with Him, and who with Ilim make sacrifice of themselves; that is to say, all members of the Invisiblo Church, become at the instant of their conversion, Priests; and are so called in 1 Pet. ïi. 5, and Rev. i. 6, and xx. 6, where, observe, there is no possibility of limiting the expression to the Clergy; the conditions of Priesthood being simply having been loved by Christ, and washed in His blood. The blasphemous claim on the part of the Clergy of being more Priests than the godly laity—that is ito say, of having a higher Holiness than the IIoliness of being one with Christ,-is altogether a Romanist heresy, dragging after it, or having its origin in, the other heresies respecting the sacrificial power of the Church officer, and his repeating the oblation of Christ, and so having power to absolvo from sin :—with all the other endless and miserable falsehoods of the Papal hierarcy; falschoods for which, that there might be no shadow of excuse, it