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efficiency,-a two-fold approval, which is more than he seeks, viz., first, that of the congregation, and then, that of the conference. I confess, therefore, I possess not the ability of discerning what is to be gained by such an unnecessary departure from the general rule. If, in the opinion of J. W. H., a congregation confers “ validity,” why question, that “efficiency” and “validity" which has a duality of sanction and recognition. The conference of ministers and other members of various societies of the church, accedes “ to the will of a Christian society;" and is not this “the true Christian order as regards the constitution of the ministry, and the true basis of ministerial authority;" resting “
upon the suffrage of both Scripture and common sense,” and (I may add) upon the usage of the Christian churches in the first three centuries ? However averse to your correspondent's views the "
and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” But the apostles themselves, thus divinely appointed, “ chosen and ordained," did not imagine that the power by which they wrought miracles, and which rendered their ministry successful, was self-derired. (See Acts chap. 3, verses 6-16; chap. 4, verses 7-12.) Neither did they attempt to confer any miraculous power on those they afterwards ordained, (the Lord worked with them,) but they were ordained on account of their previouş fitness for the ministry, and not miraculously prepared by their ordination.* Notwithstanding this, we find the apostles commenced the work of ordination after the Lord's ascension, and when
* I know of no minister in the New Church who entertains the superstitious notion that some secret mystic power is, or can be conferred by ordination, although the OFFICE of the ministry they may with propriety confer. And should any candi. date for the ministry be so “ feeble minded” as to imagine it possible, his vain expectations will be blasted before he has been long in the exercise of the duties of his office, if faithfully discharged.
they were “ endued with power from on high.” It became necessary to choose men for the office of deacons,“ to serve tables," as some murmured “ because their widows were neglected in the daily ministrations." This was a new and distinct order and office from that of the ministers of the Word, as is evident from the words of the whole assembly of the apostles on the occasion, viz., “ It is not reason that we” (the apostles and preachers of the gospel)“should leave the Word of God and serve tables." And the distinction is further notified in the following words, “ We will give ourselves continually unto prayer, and to the ministry of the Word;"-quite distinct offices and employments. And further; "this saying pleased the multitude," i. e.“ of disciples,” which is tantamount to the “congregation,” as approved by J. W. H. But they were not made worthy officiators even in that subordinate office by ordination : no, “Look ye out among you (said the apostles) seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom he may appoint unto this business.” And how were they ordained ? By prayer and laying on of hands. “When they had prayed, they laid their hands upon them.” Acts chap. 6, verses 1-6. Was this right, consistent, and orderly? If this is out of order, then the New Church is out of order. And the persons so
rdained were only deacons ; so that before they were permitted to fill that office, they were ordained to it.* And it pleased the whole of the disciples, or followers of the Lord. Where then is the ground of objection to the ordination of approved persons, chosen by the congregation, to the office of the ministry of the Word, and the administration of the sacrament, when even the office of deacons, or servers of tables, was only considered“ valid,” as it regarded the “ business” and office, when ordained by the apostles? We read, also, that Barnabas and Saul, “ who also is called Paul,” were ordained after the Lord had called them to the work of the ministry, and they had been preaching at Jerusalem : and among those who were present at“ the ceremony of ordination,” were Simeon, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, Herod's foster-brother. “ As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, separate ("Apoplatë,--select, set apart,) unto me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them.' And how was this ordination performed ? “When they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” (Acts chap. 13, verses 1–3.) “Laid their hands on them !" What!
Deacons did not preach and administer the sacrament by virtue of their ordination ; and when they preached, it was only upon suffrage, as our lay preachers do now; not by rule or authority.
Lay their hands on two men whom the Lord had called to the work of the ministry! And is it so ? See the reference. Could they, then, by ordination, communicate any supernatural power to render their ministry“ valid,” or give it “efficacy ?" No. This is from Him who hath “all power both in heaven and on earth.” 6 Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."
Was this laying on of hands to be considered as “borrowing analogies from the Levitical priesthood ?” This, in the opinion of our respected correspondent, is very objectionable,-as objectionable as “the retention of a priestly cast” (p. 292). It would thus appear, that the laying on of hands by the apostles, under the Christian dispensation, was superfluous, and “ spurious, and foreign to its spiritual genius.” Oye apostles! why did ye thus trangress? This representative act belonged to the Mosaic economy, with which “ we have nothing to do.” “I cry you mercy then;" for the New Church (wonderful to relate) adopts the mode, retains the ceremony; and with it, that of prayer, which, I trust, is not a ceremony merely. They know it was a significative and representative rite, but arrogate not unto themselves the power of the keys, extreme unction, or that of miraculous gifts. Does our author condemn it? No. He says, “ The laying on of hands was representative of the Lord's omnipotence. So when Moses appointed Joshua to be his successor, ability was conferred ; and hence the ceremonies of the present day, of inauguration and benediction by the imposition of hands.” Look at the reverse, or the abuse of this order.
“ Uzzah’s laying hold of the ark, represented self-derived power, or man's proprium ” (A. C. 878). If it be objected, that this was all external, and under a representative dispensation, which is "for ever abolished, both priest and Levite;" we may reply in an interrogatory form, thus-Because external worship is nothing without the internal worship of the heart, is it therefore wise or reas
easonable, to set aside all external observances, and external worship? By this mode of reasoning, all outward forms of religion, and the outward observance of the Lord's day, may be dispensed with as useless. Now, as the apostles were ordained, so they ordained elders as well as deacons in the church. “ And when they had ordained (“Xecporovhoavtes") them elders (“ IIpeobutépus ") in every church, and had prayed, with fasting, they commended them to the Lord” (Acts chap. 14, ver 23). Here, the mode appears to be, that of praying, and their usual fasting, as well as laying on of hands, as the word “Cheirotonesantes," would imply : hence Xeup, the hand,—and X£ipotovéw, to stretch out the hand. And if we are
to believe the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, “laying on of the hands” is one of “ the first principles of the oracles of God;" one of “the principles of the doctrine of Christ" (chap. 5, ver. 12; chap. 6, ver. 1, 2). Thus a representative rite of the Mosaic dispensation was not only retained under the Christian dispensation, but enjoined by the Lord; "they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover” (Mark, chap. 16, ver. 18). And (notwithstanding its spiritual signification) it was literally observed by the apostles, as may be seen in their 6 Acts." Yet this would be considered as mere useless form and ceremony, by those who have an inrooted antipathy to the laws and rules of order. But such persons may as well imagine, that, when our Lord took the little children up in his arms, and “laying hands upon them, he blessed them ;" and that when the apostles did the same, it was a continuation of the Levitical priesthood, and of the Mosaic economy. But, although the apostles, of themselves, could not confer any extraordinary gift which they did - not possess before, yet there can be no doubt there were cases in which the Lord, at the time, operated upon the mind of the person so ordained; and who shall dare to prescribe limits to the divine influences now on such an occasion, any more than on any other religious observance? We have a case in point in reference to Timothy; for the elders who were ordained in the manner just noticed, laid their hands on others; and the apostle writes to Timothy thus, (1 Ep. chap. 4, ver. 14): “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." Yet doubtless Paul was the ordaining minister on the occasion; for in his 2nd Epistle to him he again reminds him of his ordination, thus ; “ Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.” Nevertheless, the power of communicating spiritual gifts, was not inherent in the apostles, although it is recorded that many on whom they had laid their hands, received the Holy Spirit. By the laying on of their hands at the ordination, the presbyters signified their approval and recommendation; and hence they are mentioned in connection with the apostles at an ordination that took place at Jerusalem; “ Them that were ordained of the apostles and elders (Ilpeo burepov) which were at Jerusalem” (Acts, chap. 16, ver. 4). Enough has been said to shew, that ordination is not
66 without any scripture authority,” but was an established rule of order in the Christian Church, which was not “ lightly esteemed ;” and that the inauguration into the ministerial office, was by laying on of hands, prayer, &c. After the persons to be ordained were approved and
recommended by Christian believers :--a practice which has been continued to the present day, and is one of the forms of order so necessary to be preserved in a well regulated church. This the apostle has beautifully set forth in simile, in his 1st Ep. Cor. chap. 12, throughout.
In agreement with this order of the church, we find that, in the beginning of the third century, Cyprian was chosen by the inhabitants and members; and that when thus chosen by the people, they presented him to the neighbouring bishops (pastors of a flock or parish) for their approbation and consent; without which concurrent assent no minister or pastor could be legally constituted (Euseb. lib. 6, c. 11, p. 212; and Clem. Roman. Ep. 1, ad Corinth. p. 57). After this election by the people, the assent of the assembled ministers, who had judged of his abilities and qualifications, the ordination was performed by imposition of hands by the bishop (ETLO XOTOS) of that place, others often being present on the occasion. With regard to the office of prebsyters, these, as far as I can learn from ecclesiastical history, appear to be not persons having the “oversight” of one particular congregation, church, or parish, but assistants to pastors, different in degree, but equal in order, discharging the duties of the office only by consent or permission. For it should be remembered, that there was but one bishop (or ordained minister) in a church, and that he generally performed the whole service. And we are informed, that, without his leave, a presbyter could neither baptize nor administer the Lord's supper, much less those who were ordained. " The bishop hath a right to baptize, then, the presbyters and deacons (who also were ordained), but yet, for the honour of the church, not without the authority of the bishop" (Tertullian, De Baptism. p. 602). Ignatius, the disciple of the apostle John, who wrote in the first century, says, “ It is not lawful for any one to baptize except the bishop* permit him” (Ignatius, Ep. ad Smirn. p. 6). “The eucharist is only valid (administered in proper form and order) which is performed by the bishop, or by whom he shall appoint or permit (which was some ordained person); for it is not lawful for any to celebrate the eucharist without leave from his bishop " (Ibid.). Many quotations might be made from other sources, shewing that for the sake of peace, order, and unity, presbyters although ordained men, were not permitted to invade any part of the church without the consent of the resident minister of that place, whom they acknowledged as their superior in degree, since “they were the presented, instituted, and inducted ministers of their
* The word bishop to be understood as before explained, and so throughout this article.