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On the Church.
ble for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for that city. Now, as God, by instituting this society, and annexing such rewards and punishments, has sufficiently declared his will, that men should enter into it, all men aro obliged to become members of it; and it can in no other sense be called a voluntary society, than as it is left to every man's choice, whether he will be forever happy or miserable.
Secondly, The Christian Church is a spiritual society. It was founded in opposition to the kingdom of darkness. This is plainly implied in our blessed Saviour's words to St. Peter : Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall never prevail against it. (8) Whence the members of the Christian Church are said to be delivered out of the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of Christ. (h) And the Christian people as soldiers under Christ, are said to fight, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (i) Their armour is not such as will guard them against carnal, but spiritual enemies ; it is the arrrour of light, (k) the armour of God, the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit. (!) And this Spiritual Society, or kingdom of Christ, was, by the design of its Great Founder, to be distinct from all earthly Kingdoms, "My kingdom, says Christ, is not of this world :(m) for as earinly kingdoms are designed for men's temporal welfare, so the end of this heụvenly kingdom is to promote our everlasting happiness.
Thirdly, It is an outward and visible society. The name of Church is constantly applied in the Scriptures to such a society. Thus we find it used by our blessed Saviour himself : Tell it to the Church. If he neglect to hear the Church. (n) It is compared to a marriage feast, to a sheepfold, to a net full of fishes, to a field of corn, &c. by which allusions the society of Christians, which is the notion implied in the name of Church, is evidently described, as a visible body of men, taken out of and separated from the rest of the world. Public rulers were appointed to govern the Church, the faith was to be publicly confessed, the public worship of God to be frequented, and visible sacraments to be received by all the members of it; and consequently the Christian Church is an outward and visible society.
Fourthly, It is an universal society, both with regard to place and with regard to time. With regard to place'; for Christ's commission to his apostles was, to preach the Gospel to every creature (0) and to teach and baptize all nations ; (p) and with regard to time; for it is prophesied concerning Christ's kingdom, that it shall be established for erer, as the sun and moon throughout all generations ; (9) and we are told by St. Paul, that Christ must reign, till all his enemies, the last of which is decith, shall be put under his feet, (r) which cannot be till the general resurrection ; and he himself has promised to be with his apostles and their successors always, even unto the end oj' ine
II. Now, since no well-regulated society ever did or can subsist without officers to govern it, and without some subordination among these, and since it appears that the Christian Church is a regular society, it must, of necessity, have its officers. And as this society is to be continued by a succession of believers to the world's end, it follows, that there must be an uninterrupted succession of officers till that time. And as it is a society of God's institution, the officers of it must receive their commission from Him.
First, That there are officers in the Christian Church does not admit of doubt : our blessed Lord, the head and founder of it, when on earth, chose twelve that they should be with him, and that he might send them jorth to preach, whom he named apostles, (t) and gave them power and aiittoriin orer devils, and to cure all manner of diseases ; (T) and besides these, he appointed other serenty. (u) After his resurrection, when he declared, ill
. power was given unto him in heaven and in earth, he commissioned his apos(8) Mat. xvi. 13. (h) Col. i. 13. (i) Col ii. 14, 15. (k) Rom. viii. 12. (1) Eph. vi, 13. (mn) John xviii. 36. (n) Mat. xviii. I. (0) Mark icri. 15. (p) Mat. xxviii. 19.
(9) Psal. Ixxii. 5. (r) 1 Cor. 11. 23. 20. (s) Mat, xxyii. 20. (1) Luke vi. 13. 13.
(81) Luke is. I. (it) Lohib,
On the Church.
tles, to teach and baptize all nations, (w) and invested them with the same authority which he had received from his Father; As my father hath sent mé; EVEN SO send I you: (x) as he had received authority to send them, so he gave them authority to send others; and accordingly, when they were further endued with power from on high (y) by the descent of the Holy Spirit, whom Christ promised to send, we read, that they ordained the seven deacons, (2) that Paul and Barnabas ordained elders in every Church, (a) and Paul ore dained Timothy: so that from the beginning, there were three distinct orders of ministers in the Church, namely, that of deacons, another of presbyters, and over them a superior order, in which were not only the apostles, but also Timothy and Titus, who governed the Churches in which they resided.
Secondly, And that there is a subordination among the officers of this society, is evident from Scripture. For the commission of the seventy was more limited and restrained than that of the iwetce. And as the apostles and disciples were subject to Christ, so were the elders and deacons to the apostles: St. Paul sends to Miletus, and calls thither the elders of Ephesus, to whom he gives a most solemn charge; which is a manifest sign, that they were under his government. (b) And at Corinth, where several prophets and evangelists were then present, the same apostle, being absent; both excommunicates, and absolves, and enacts laws. Let the propheis speak two or three, and let the rest judge, (c). If any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let himna acknowledge, that the things which I write unto you, áre the commandments of the Lord. (d)
And, in like manner, Timothy, by virtue of the authority conferred on him by the imposition of St. Paul's hands, ruled the whole Church of Ephesus, officers as well as private Christians. Whence it is manifest, that as the Christian Church was governed by the three orders of apostles or bish, ops, priests, and deacons, so the supreme authority was lodged in the superior order of the apostles or bishops, from whom the priests and deacons derived their power, and without whose consent they could not lawfully perform any religious act. *
Thirdly, That there will be an uninterrupted succession of those officers in the Church to the world's end, may be interred from the nature of their func (ru) Mat. xxviii. 19. (r) John xx. 21. (y) Mat xxviii. 19, 20, (z) Acts via (a) Acts xiv. 23. (6) Acts xx. 17, &c. (c) i Cor. xiv. 29. (d) i Cor. xiv. 36, 37.
During the lives of the Apostles, the three orders of the ministry were distinguished by the names of Apostles, Bishops, Presbyters or Elders, and Deacons. After the death of the Apostles, their successors in the first order of the ministry, not chusing to retain the name, which, by way of eminence, had been applied to the twelve, took the name of Bishops, which was never afterwards applied to the second order of the ministry, but was .considered as the distinguished name of the first order. Theodoret says expressly, “ that in process of time, those who succeeded to the Apostolicoffice, left the name of Apostle to the Apostles, strictly so called, and gave the name of Bishop to those who succeeded to the Apostolic office.” Thus the name of Bishop, and that of Elier or Presbyter, which were promiscuously used for the same office in Scripture, came to be distinct in the ecclesiastical use of words. With respect to the ministers of Christ, there was a distinction of office from the begivning. St. Ignatius, who lived in the days of the Apostles, thus expressly designates the three offices. “What is the Bishop, but he that hath all author ity and power? What is the Presbytery, but a sacred constitution of Counsellors and Assessors to the Bishop ? 'What are the Deacons, but imitators of Christ, and ministers to the Bishop, as Christ was to the Father?”. And again, “ Follow, as Jesus Christ the Father, your Bishop. Let no man do any thing of what belongs to the Church, without the Bishop: Let that sacrament be looked upon to be firm and effectual which is administered by the Bishop, or by him to whom the Bishop has committed it. Wherever the Bishop is, there let the people be.” Bishops, as they are distinct from Presbyters, do not derive their succession from those who are promiscuously called in the New-Tes. tament, Bishops or Elders, But from the postles themselves and their succes tors, such as Timothy, Titus, Sylvanus, Epaphroditus, &c.
On the Church
tions. Their constant office is to prescribe rules for maintaining the outward peace and order of the Church-to preach the Gospel-to admit members into the Church by baptism fes-to take care that there be no schism in the body
f) to administer the eucharist (g)--to oppose heresies ; (h) and therefore their continuance is as necessary as their first institution, so long as the Church shall last : and as that will be to the end of the world, there must be a constant succession of officers till the same time. And that it will be so, we have the assurance of our Lord's promise to his apostles just before his ascension, Lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world : (i) the meaning of which promise must be, that they should always be succeeded by others in the same office : for as the apostles all died within the compass of fourscore years after this extensive promise was made, it could no other way be fulfilled, but by our Lord's being with their successors in the Gospel ministry till the world's end.
Fourthly, That the officers of this society must receive their commission from God, --is manifest from Hebretes v. 4. No man taketh this honour to himself, but he that is called of God as was Aaron. Now, besides the plain meaning of the words, which shows, that he who officiates in divine matters is to be set apart, and to have a distinct commission from the rest of mankind, and that this commission must be derived from Divine institution, the necessity of such a Divine commission to qualify a person for any sacred office may be proved by three invincible arguments.
First, Fron the dignity of the office. It is called an honour. The ministers of religion are the representatives of God Almighty : they are the stewards of the mysteries of God, the dispensers of his holy word and sacraments, the messengers and embassadors of Heaven. These characters ascribed to them in Holy Scripture, sufficiently demonstrate the dignity of their function, and are a plain argument, that none but God himself can give them their commission.
Secondly, From the constant practice among the Jews. The apostle makes the calling of Aaron the pattern of all other ministers in the Jewish and Christian Church. Aaron and his sons, and the Levites were consecrated by the express command of God to Moses, and they had all of them their distinct commission from Heaven, and no less than death was the penalty of invading their office. ík) What Aaron and his sons, and the Levites were in the temple, such are the Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons, in the Christian Church.
These are appointed by God as those were, and therefore it can be no less sacrilege to usurp their office.
Thirdly, From the example of our Saviour, who (as the apostle speaks) glorified not himself to be made an high priest, but he that said unto hin, Thou art my Son, to-day hare I begotten thee. (!) Though our Saviour wanted no gift to qualify him for this office, as having the Divine nature inseparably united to his human, yet he would not enter upon his office till he was externally commis; sioned thereunto by the visible descent of the Holy Ghost upon him, and an audible roice froní Heaven, proclaiming him to be the Messiah. From all which it is evident, that no one ought to exercise the office of a minister in the Church of God without a Divine commission; and that as the officers or the Christian Church, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, were appointed by God, this, like every other Divine institution, must remain in the same state, till it shall please God to change or wholly lay it aside ; for men may with the same reason abolish the sacraments of the Church, and all other Christian instituitions, as pretend that the functions of Church officers are mutable and tempor
III. As no society can subsist without afficers, so neither can it without power to do all things which are necessary to its own preservation and good government; and as it appears, that the Church is a society instituted by God, and designed to last to the world's end, there can be no doubt but that he has invested it with all the powers which the nature of such a society requires.
First, As the Church is a spiritual society, all the powers which belong to it are of the same nature, and such as wholly relate to the next worid; consequently they are distinct from those of civil magistrates, which concern the (e) Acts ii. 38, 39. (f) i Cor. xii. 4, 12, 18, 21, 28. (3) 1 Cor. xi. 23. 26. (; 2 Tim. ii. 2. (i) Mat. xxviij. 20., (k) Num. iii. 10. (1) Heb. v. 5.
Questions and Answers, affairs of this life, and are designed for the present welfare of human societies. Our Lord himself wholly disclaimed all civil power, and left the civil rights of mankind in the same state wherein he found them. And when the apostle exhorts the Hebrews to yield obedience to their pastors, he restrains it to the atfairs of their souls, for which their pastors were accountable to God: Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves, for they watch for your souls, as they that must give an account. (m)
Secondly, As God has appointed officers to govern his Church, the powers which he has committed to his Church for its good government, must ordinarily be executed by them. For every office implies power, and to say that the officers of the Church have no power but what all private Christians may lawfully exercise, is just the same as to say there are no such officers at all. And as there are distinct ofices, so there must be distinct powers appropriated to every one of them; for as the notion of an office implies power, so distinct ofices do necessarily imply distinct powers : and therefore, though the Scriptures had been silent in this matter, it might safely have been concluded, from the different kinds of officers whom Christ hath intrusted with the care and government of his Church, not only that private Christians are excluded from the ordinary execution of any ecclesiastical power ; but that some powers are appropriated in such a manner to the chief officers, that they cannot lawfully be exercised by those of lower orders. The officers of the Church are called God's stewards, who are intrusted with the care and government of his household, that is, his Church ; and whose business and duty it is to dispense their constant food, i. e. the word and sacraments to all the members of it; whence it is plain that private Christians have no power to dispense the ordinances of the Gospel to others, but must themselves expect them from the hands of God's ministers. And the names of apostles and angels, whereby the officers of the Church were distinguished from other Christians in the apostolic age, manifestly imply, that they acted by a commission from God, to which the rest had no title. And however great the gifts and abilities of private Christians might be, none had power to exercise any function or office in the Church, who had not been first approved and commissioned by those whom God had invested with authority to that end ; for through the whole New Testament the gifts or abilities of Church-officers are every where distinguished from their commission, and described as previous qualifications to it. [TO BE CONCLUDED IN NUMBER SECOND.]
(m) Heb. xiii. 17.
“SOME ECCLESIASTICAL TERMS EXPLAINED, BY.WAY OF QUESTION
AND ANSWER. Q. What is a Liturgy ? A. A form of Public, or Common Prayer. Q. What is a Collect? A. A short Prayer, suited to a particular subject or occasion. Q. What is a Litany? A. A general form of Supplication to be used by the Minister and People. Q. What is a Response ? A. The Answer made by the People. Q. What is a Rubric? Å. Directions for the method and order of solemnizing the public devotions Q. Why is it called the Rubric ?
A. From Rubrum, which signifies red; because it was formerly written in red letters.
Q. What are the Feasts of the Church, sometimes called Festivals ?
Å. The Evening before some Holy-Day; which was formerly spent ira Watching and Prayer.
of the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels. Q. What is a Holy-Day ? A. A day specially separate to the service of God.” Q. What is the Calendar ? A. A Register of the year, in which the months, and stated times, are marked, as Festivals and Holy-Days.
Q: What are the four Advent-Sundays which begin the Calendral-Year? A. The four Sundays next before the birth of our Lord. Q. Why are they called Advent-Sundays? A. They are called Advent from the Latin word adventus : the name of one of the holy seasons, signifying the coming of our Saviour: which is made the subject of our devotion during the four weeks before Christmas : that Christmas may ever retain in their minds Christ's Advent in the flesh: and although he is now gone to Heaven; he will most assuredly come again in the end of the world, and render unto every man according to his works.
A. T. [To be continued.]
OF THE COLLECTS, EPISTLES, AND GOSPELS. HERE is a particular Collect, Epistle, and Gospel, appointed for every
Sunday, and Holy-day, throughout the year. The Epistles, and Gos on pels, now in use, are believed to have been selected by Jerome; and, it is thought, that the Collects are of equal antiquity, and, perhaps, framed also by that Father of the Church. Most of the Collects, which we now use, are now' to be found in the Sacramentary of Pope Gregory, who corrected the offices in the year . 600, after Christ.–At the time of our Reformation, these Collects were cleared from the additions and corruptions, that had been introduced during the prevalence of later superstitions ; and some old ones, that had been displaced, were then restored. The Epistles, and Gospels, were, as was just said, put into the Lectionary * by Jerome. They are the same, which are in general use throughout the whole Western Church, and which have been commented upon by several antient fathers ; so that they have, most of them, belonged to the same Sundays, and Holy days, to which they are now appropriated by our Church, for above twelve
Before the Review, which was made of the Common Prayer Book, at the Restoration, the Epistles, and Gospels, were of the translation of the great Bible of Cranmer ; but upon the petition of the Presbyterian Commissioners, on that occasion, the Commissioners on the side of the Church came to a resolution, that, in future, the new translation of James the First's time, should be used.
It is well worthy of observation, in what admirable order and method the Epistles, and Gospels are appointed, and what special relation they bear to the occasions of the several Festivals, and Fasts, on which they are read. For this purpose, the whole year is divided into two parts: the design of the former, being to commemorate Christ's living amongst us; that of the latter, to instruct us to live after his example : the former takes in the period from Advent to Trinity-Sunday; the latter comprises all the Sundays from Trinity to Adrent. Thus beginning at Adrent, we first celebrate his Incarnation in general, and after that, the several particulars of it, in their order ; such were the Nativity, Circumcision, and Manifestation to the Gentiles ; his Doctrine, and Miracles : his Baptism, Fasting, and Temptation; his Agony and Bloody Sweat ; his Cross and Passion ; his precious Death, and Burial; his glorious Resurrection, and Ascension, and his sending the Holy Ghost to comfort us During all this period, the chief end of the Epistles, and Gospels is, to make us remember, what unspeakable benefits we receive from the Father, first by his Son, and then by his Holy Ghost ; accordingly, this period of the year is very aptly concluded by giving Praise and Glory, to the whole blessed Trinity.
In the second part of the year, comprehending the period from Trinity Sunday to Advent, the Epistles and Gospels are employed in teaching us to lead
* The Service Book.