Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

different from any thing I ever to the fountain of light, and life, experienced before." After this, and love, under the pressure of according to his own account, despondence, anguish, and calathe majesty and grace of God mity!” seemed to give an exquisite and But the Christian holds this peculiar charm to the whole face high privilege by a tenure which of nature. Every thing on earth all the power and craft, rage below, and in heaven above, ap- and malice of his enemies cannot peared with a beauty and magni- destroy. In the valley of humnificence derived from the stamp liation, as on the mount of of the Creator's excellency, and triumph and transport, he walks displayed his wisdom, purity, and with God. This divine fellowlove, in a manner which thrilled ship sustains and invigorates his and ravished the heart. We are spirit, assuages 'bis sorrows, disaware that such narratives call perses his fears, blesses the preforth from many the cry, to be- sent moments as they pass, and ware of enthusiasm; but perhaps brightens the prospect of a disno man living possessed stronger tant futurity. Hence, too, his powers of reasoning, or was less motives to patience, watchfulness, likely to become the dupe of en- zeal, and perseverance in well thusiastic emotions, than Dr. Jona- doing, take their rise and their than Edwards.

strength, their purity and their Communion with God is cer permanence. Nearness to God tainly the richest and highest produces a holy indifference to privilege a Christian in this the world. Its treasures seem world can enjoy. “ By our na druss, its honours and delights tural weakness, we are exposed vanity, to one who is advancing to continual danger; by our igno- towards an incorruptible, underance, to wandering and error; filed, and unfading inheritance, by the corrupt propensities of our reserved in heaven for him; and fallen nature, to guilt, terror, and who possesses even now, in his misery; we are oppressed by fear, happy experience, a pledge of harassed by temptations, agitated the full and final enjoyment of between hope and apprehension, it. and ready to faint under the pain- How wise and circumspect ful and ever-during conflict of then ought those to be, who find nature and grace. Under these, daily admission into the presence and all the other complicated chamber of the King of kings ! forms of sorrow and affliction, How anxious to preserve a calm which are more or less the por- serene, humble, holy, and heation of every human being, what venly frame of mind! How fearsituation could be conceived more ful of dishonouring their God and desolate and comfortless, than that Father, of injuring the cause of of a man forbidden by the Al. their Divine Redeemer, and of mighty God to approach him grieving the Holy Spirit, by whom with prayer and supplication ? they are sealed unto the day of What a state of darkness, hor- redemption ! Let them set the ror, and distress! To live upon Lord always before them, and the earth, excluded from all inter- esteem it their best privilege to course and communion with the walk in the light of his counteever-blessed God; prohibited from nance! Even a temporary suslooking up to the throne of grace pension of fellowship with God for mercy, from reclining on Al- envelopes the soul in a sort of mighty power for succour in our Egyptian darkness; brings the feebleness; interdicted all access blast of barrenness, which, withers every Christian grace, every spi- ancestors came to discard the apritual comfort, every heavenly pellation of bishop, after strughope; and lays us open to the gling so painfully, and so triumfierce assaults and fiery darts of phantly, to prove the identity of infernal legions. Well may a bishops and elders. They conbeliever in such circumstances ex- tended with the power of prelacy claim, « Return unto thy rest, as presbyters or elders,-as presO my soul, for the Lord hath byters they suffered, and when dealt bountifully with thee! Seek their liberty was restored, they his favour, which is life, and his again, as presbyters, resumed their loying kindness, which is better ministry. But since they resumed than life. One smile of thy re- their ministry as presbyters, indeconciled Father can scatter these pendent of any diocesan prelate, gloomy and appalling clouds; we may now be a little surprised one whisper of thy Saviour's at their not commencing their lavoice, saying, “ peace be still,” bours as independent bishops of can calm this tempest within ! independent churches, which anExperience has abundantly de- swered to the ancient raportà. monstrated, that all real pros. The nonconformist ministers knew, perity and advancement in genu that in the minds of the people ine religion, depends on commu- the name of bishop was associated nion with God. It is the very with the ideas of personal aggranlife, soul, and essence of per- disement and ecclesiastical domisonal piety. Promises and ordi- nation, and their own deep huminances will prove fruitless, unless lity, and desire of usefulness led they quicken and promote our them not to assume it. They intercourse with heaven. Chris- might also have considered the tian reader, keep close to thy term presbyter as embracing more God, the fountain of life and extensively the whole range of felicity.

AMICUS B. their office, whereas the name of Jan. 18, 1827.

bishop only regarded their over

sight of the particular flock over ON THE RIGHT OP DISSENTING MI. which they presided. Whatever NISTERS TO THE NAME OF BI operated on their self-denying

minds to the exclusion of the episVolo Episcopari.

copal name,' we feel assured it SCARCELY a Dissenting Minister was not an apprehension that the can be found who does not regard adoption of it was unscriptural; himself as the legitimate and au- for it was their unshaken adhethorized bishop of the church of rence to the scriptural and aposwhich he has the oversight: and tolic import of the term, that exscarcely a dissenting church ex- cluded them from a prelatical ists, which does not recognize and church, and exposed them to accept its pastor as its bishop to“ trials of cruel mockings,-yea, the utmost extent of the scriptural moreover of bonds and imprisonuse of the term. Since the name ments.” of bishop is avowedly claimed by None can doubt that dissentthe pastor, and tacitly conceded ing ministers fulfil the duties asby the church, how then comes it signed in the New Testament to to pass, that the name is not ge- the office of a bishop: it is indisnerally and publicly adopted, as putably evident, that the New the designation of the ministerial Testament gives to those who office ?

fulfilled such duties, in apostolic It is an inquiry, very full of times, the name of bishops; it is, interest, how our nonconformist therefore, congruous and expe

SHOPS.

dient, that those who still fulfil and “ breaking bread,” and “a the scriptural duties of such chris- certain disciple, named Ananias," tian office, should also bear the baptizing Saul of Tarsus, Acts scriptural name and designation of ix. 10. 18, we conclude, that these that office.

were fully authorised to do so, That dissenting ministers do and that such things were not the work of bishops, is evident limited to the commission of the from a survey of the episcopal twelve. Hence, dissenting miniduties laid down in the New Tes- sters can vouch for their preaching tament. The duties of a bishop and administrations of the ordiare, to conduct public worship- nances, the highest authority and to preach the Gospel-to admini- the most unexceptionable precester the ordinances—to preside in dents. the discipline of the church-and Episcopalians confine the right to ordain other ministers; and of presiding in the discipline of these are duties in which we find the church, or rather of ruling the our ministers on every occasion church, to diocesan bishops, &c.; engaged.

nevertheless the presbyter or elder That dissenting ministers are has as indisputable a claim to it duly and legitimately authorized as has the bishop, for the New to preach the Gospel, and admini- Testament assigns it as unequivo. ster the ordinances, may be argued cally and as extensively to the from the universal aspect, the in- one as to the other. In 1 Tim. discriminate tenor, and the un- iii. 2. 4, 5. ; v. 17.; the bishop changeable perpetuity of the com- who rules well, and the elder who mission of Christ to his disciples. rules well, must be the same offiIn Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. Christ cer, or else the apostle argues authorises them to preach, to make very incongruously in Tit. i. 5, 6, 7, disciples, to baptize, &c. Is not where he cautions Titus to take this authority the same to all heed that the “ elders” whom he ministers? Where does this com- ordains should be blameless: “ bemission intimate any distinction of cause,” says he, “a bishop should rank among the preachers of the be blameless." Paul, in writing to Gospel ? Are not all wbo act the church or churches among the under this authority in the same Hebrews, exhorts the members office? To aver that this commis- thereof to “ remember them that sion was limited to the apostles had the rule over them,” also to only, will not serve the cause of " obey them that had the rule high-church episcopalians, because over them," and again, to “ salute it could not have been so under- them that had the rule over them." stood by the apostles themselves. Heb. xiii. 7. 17. In the church In their very hearing, on a former or churches, whether of Jerusalem occasion, Christ had cominanded or of Palestine, to which this others to preach the Gospel, Luke epistle was addressed, there were ix. 60., and consequently, after several rulers, who could not posthe Saviour's ascension, many who sibly have been bishops of extenwere scattered abroad through the sive dioceses, but who were the persecution of Saul, “ went every ordinary ministers of the Gospel. where preaching the word,” Acts Some of these rulers were dead, viii. 4., and these were the men others still lived, who were indiswho continued steadfastly in the criminately to be obeyed and saapostle's doctrine and fellowship, luted without any reference or and in breaking bread, &c. Acts allusion to any ruler of distinction, ii, 42. Since we find primitive much less any mention of such a Christians “ preaching the word," character as a diocesan bishop.

H

Here then we find a church or suddenly on no man." 1 Tim. churches, formed undoubtedly on v. 22. But this argument, like the the proper christian platform, other, is a mere begging of the without any diocesan bishop, and question; for what evidence have with many rulers, which cannot we that Timothy ever was such a be accounted for hut on the ad. bishop? or that he was the bishop mission that presiding elders and of Ephesus? Paul directs him to bishops are the same officers. Dis. do the work of an evangelist, and senting presbyters, therefore, while to come to him at Rome; not one they preside in the discipline of of which could have been accomthe church, only act up to the in- plished had he been a diocesau junction of the apostle, to rule bishop. To do the work of an well and be blameless, for a bishop evangelist, was to itinerate, to must rule well and be blameless. preach the Gospel-this his charge

The advocates of diocesan epis- of a diocese would not allow him copacy dispute the validity of to undertake, much less a journey ordination among dissenters. From to Rome. But were we to allow Tit. i. 5., where it is mentioned, the full force which episcopalians that Paul had left Titus in Crete, may claim for this passage, disto ordain elders in every city, it senting presbyters can with great has been concluded, that the power confidence appeal to the very of ordaining is scripturally limited ordination of Timothy himself. to a bishop. Our limits will not Timothy was not ordained by a allow us to pursue the inquiry, diocesan prelate, or a sufiragan whether ordination, in the appro- bishop, but by elders, or, in the priate ecclesiastical sense, be un- language of the apostolical code, doubtedly intended by the word “ by the laying on of the hands of kataornons? Does it not rather the presbytery.” 1 Tim. iv. 14. convey the idea, that the elders Here, then, dissenting presbyters who were already ordained, were may fix their standing, and ask, by Titus to be constituted the Does not the New Testament ministers of particular churches, ascribe the power of ordination, by his appointing them to their as decisively and as explicitly to respective spheres of labour? This elders as to bishops? We might passage, however, might be left also plead, that if there be any out of the discussion, until it can advantage to be derived from an be shown that Titus was a bishop, uninterrupted succession in ordiin the prelatical sense of the word, nation, dissenting presbyters can or indeed that he was a bishop of claim it as legitimately, and deCrete, in any sense. How long rive it from as pure a source, to did he reside in Crete before he say the least, as diocesan prereturned with Panl to Nicopolis ? lates. Here is an ordination by Where in the epistle can it be presbyters or by pastors, of unfound, that he ever settled in questionable antiquity, and this Crete at all? If not in the epis- is the very ordination practised tle, in what other document of among disseuters of the present apostolic history can the fact be day, and this ordination is as old shown? Does not Dr. Whitby and as valid as that of episcopagive up this passage, as failing in lians. As an argumentum ad homievidence that Titus was a diocesan nem, it may be advanced, that the bishop?

old dissenters were ordained by Another passage advanced to nonconformist ministers, who had support ordination by a diocesan received ordination from the hands bishop, is that wherein Paul ad- of consecrated diocesan bishops. monishes Timothy to “ lay hands Ordination from such noncon

formists was undoubtedly valid, given so absolutely and so indisunless it can be proved that to criminately to elders, were, in fact, render ordination efficacious, it only intended for one out of every requires that the person who or- thirty of them, namely, their diodains should, at the time, actu- cesan? If these elders did not ally wear lawn sleeves and a already regard themselves as mitre. If there be any mysterious ETT LOKOTO1, bishops, would they not influence communicated by the bave startled at the exhortation of imposition of the hands of lord the apostle to do the office of bishops, did that influence dege- bishops? or could St. Peter create nerate in the poor nonconformists? bishops by letter? And is that influence, after being Again, in the introduction of handed down to the present race the Epistle to the Philippians, of dissenters, so degraded and de- Paul and Timothy address the based, that it is not worthy to be saints there, " with the bishops claimed, when compared with what and deacons.” Phil. i. 1. Episepiscopalians have derived from copalians lay great stress on the “ the mother of harlots ?

argument, that the word elder is We have hitherto endeavoured a generic name, including both to show, that dissenting ministers bishops and the ordinary elders do the scriptural works of bishops, or ministers; but even this will whence we infer, that they may not serve them here. If three lavefully adopt the name of bishops. orders of ecclesiastical officers exWe will now pursue the inquiry isted at this period, how came the a little farther, to discover whe- epistle not to be addressed to ther the New Testament will au- bishops, elders, and deacons ? If thorize such an assumption of the elders were inferior to bishops, name. If we find there the ap- they are certainly superior to pellation of bishops given to those deacons: are the elders then to who do the work of bishops, that be included among the bishops, is, to pastors, or presbyters, or or among the deacons ? Was the elders, it is enough for our pur- church at Philippi properly conpose.

stituted on the apostolical order? In 1 Peter v. 1-3, the Apostle If not, would not Paul and TimoPeter exhorts the elders of Asia thy, if they would ever write to Minor to feed the dock of God, such heretical nonconformists, inas ERIKOTOVVTEC, taking the over- timate such a thing, or rather resight thereof, i. e. doing the office monstrate with them? When this of bishops. The elders are not epistle arrived at Philippi, with invited to assume that office, but what face could the diocesans, to exercise it as the office to which if there were diocesans in that one they were already constituted. city, for they are plural in the The apostle regards the presbyters, text, read it, to the church, from in the exercise of their office, as which the whole college of presbyETLOKOTOUYTES, doing the office of ters was excluded ? When the bishops. Where then is the in- elders heard it read, among which congruity of conceding the name of the other two orders would they of ERLOKOTO1, bishops, to those who class themselves ? Surely the are EA ITKOROVVTES, doing the office fondest episcopalian will hardly of bishops? or, how can it be a suppose them classed with deasacrilegious presumption in those cons: and we know to a certainty, who do the office, to assume the in what order they were classed name, of bishops? Besides, could in the apostle's own mind. He the presbyters of Asia Minor pos- who addressed the elders of Ephesibly imagine, that the instructions sus as bishops, now addresses the

« ElőzőTovább »