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We reply, that while Christ lived—the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls—the apostles only prayed the Lord of the harvest, that he should send forth labourers into his harvest, Matt. ix. 38. Christ, who ordained the twelve apostles, and seventy inferior teachers, formed the platform of the Christian church on the model of the Mosaic institutions - high-priest or chiefpriest, priests, and Levites. But as Christ was leaving the world, he communicated powers to his apostles: as my Father hath sent me, so send I you : and he breathed on them, and they received the Holy Ghost, John xx. 21. ..
Soon after, they began to ordain presbyters (Acts xiv. 23), and deacons to serve tables--not laymen; for Philip the deacon baptised the Samaritan converts, and baptism is an ecclesiastical office, Acts viii. 5. Yet these deacons could not confirm or ordain; for Peter and John went down to complete the work of Philip, Acts viii. 14.
In 1 Tim. iii., Acts xx. 28, and Phil. i. 1, it is true bishops are mentioned as presbyters ; but every bishop is a presbyter, though every presbyter may not be a bishop ; and the meaning of the word may not at that time have been exclusively applied to the office of overseer in the church. Yet that order may be still bishops, priests, and deacons, which at first was, 1. apostles, and after them bishops, being also presbyters ; 2. presbyters, not being bishops; and 3. deacons.
The Independents hold that every congregation is a church within itself, having power to regulate itself, and acknowledging no external authority, either of a bishop or a presbytery. They rely chiefly on 1 Tim. iii. 5, if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? But here ékk nola is without the definite article. The comparison is inapplicable, the first clause referring to a private household; while the second relates to an integral portion of the general church. This last is what we mean in 1 Cor. xvi. 19, the church that is in their house ; but less than we mean in Ephes. i. 22, Christ is the head over all things to the church. Again, they urge, let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another, Gal. vi. 4. It is added (though referring to a man's domestic concerns), he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man, 1 Cor. ii. 15; while the gradual process from private admonition to a few witnesses, and then to the church, mentioned in Matt. xviii. 15-17, is averred only to allude to a single congregation.
But Paul was an Šniokotos, bishop, in the strictest sense, for he had the care of all the churches, 2 Cor. xi. 28. He likewise sent for the elders of Ephesus to meet him, that they might receive an episcopal charge at Miletus, and they confessed his superior authority. He appointed Titus bishop of Crete, an officer having power to ordain presbyters in every city, and to set things in order, Titus i. 5. St. John assumes authority over the seven churches. Titus was not chosen by the congregation, but appointed by Paul, to reject heretics, and consequently to judge of heresy, Titus iii. 10. James the less, as bishop of Jerusalem, gaxe sentence in a council, to which all acceded as authoritative, Acts xv. 13.
If there were presbyters before in Crete, with power of ordaining, there was no occasion to settle Titus there; and if none, the ministers were called, not by the congregation, but by a superior and extraneous authority. Timothy was placed at Ephesus as its bishop for the same purpose, not by a call from the people, but by the imposition of Paul's hands.
Class IV.--Baptism : Mode and Age. The Baptists form the third branch of those properly called Dissenters; the Independents and Presbyterians being the two others. They are general and particular, the latter being Calvinists. They do not consider sprinkling to be baptism; and they rely on the history of our Saviour's baptism in the river Jordan, and that of the Ethiopian who descended to a river. Bantiśw, in all the texts where it occurs, they hold as signifying dip, or immerge : so the LXX. use it; and such is its meaning in 1 Cor. x. 2, all our Fathers were baptised in the Red Sea. Moreover, as a sign of purification, since the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint (Isa. i. 5), the symbol is thought to be not significant without immersion.
The church does not object to immersion as heretical, but denies its necessity. It is not certain that either our Saviour or the Ethiopian was dipped: the water poured from the hollow of the hand might be sufficient. The word baptise, is derived from Baon, a spot (see Hey’s Lectures, vol. i. lect. ix.); and the washing of hands in the Gospels was only partial. The answer of our Lord to Peter at the last supper seems decisive : he that is washed in order to have part with Christ) needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit, John xiii. 10.
The Antipædobaptists (being the same persons, only urging a different objection) oppose infant baptism, and baptise only adults ; affirming that all the persons mentioned as baptised in the Gospels had come to years of responsibility, and could personally perform the conditions of repentance and faith annexed to the sacrament. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, Mark xvi. 16. Repent, and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, Acts ii. 38. Is it then affirmed that children, who cannot perform these conditions personally, are to be damned, according to the latter clause of the above verse, Mark xvi. 16? Horrible conclusion ! How will this agree with the words of the meek Saviour himself, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not ; for of such is the kingdom of heaven, Matt. ix. 14 ?
The jailor of Philippi was baptised, with his house, Acts vi. 33. What construction do the Antipædobaptists put on 1 Cor. vii. 14, Else were your children unclean, but now are they holy ? as also the promise is to you and to your children ? Baptism was the corresponding rite to circumcision under the law; and that always took place on the eighth day after the birth of the child.
N.B. Some Baptists are Sabbatarians, keeping Saturday, or the old Jewish Sabbath or seventh day, and affirming it never to have been abolished. Professor Lee has shewn that Sunday was the original patriarchal Sabbath, and was changed after the Exodus. But we affirm that the first day of the week was the Christian Sabbath, when acts of public worship were performed, and alms laid up in store, 1 Cor. xvi. 2; and that it was called the Lord's day by St. John, Rev. i. 10. The spiritual meaning of the Sabbath was a seventh part of time given to rest and religious reflection; and the converted Jews gave two seventh parts; which was supererogation; or a spiritual added to, not substituted for, a literal observance : but the theme of remembrance was purposely changed at the resurrection of Christ.
Quakers, or Friends, are classed under this head because they oppose both sprinkling and dipping (together with all external symbols), resting on an inward baptism, that of the Spirit in the heart. They number outward ordinances with “ beggarly elements,” designed to be abolished with the other rites of the law; although Christ himself, who came to fulfil the law, actually instituted two sacramental and outward signs of inward and spiritual grace. Their text is, But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage ? Gal. iv. 9.
Another passage on which they lean is dependent on the analogy of baptism to circumcision, But he is a Jew (Christian) which is one inwardly, and circumcision (baptism) is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, Rom. ii. 29. For the letter killeth ; but the Spirit giveth life, 1 Cor. iii. 6.
To all this we oppose our Saviour's exemplification, in his own baptism, of his own command, Go ye and teach all nations, baptising them, Matt. xxviii. 19; and, with reference to the other sacrament, his words, as often as ye eat of this bread, and drink of this cup, ye do shew forth my death until I come, 1 Cor, xi. 26. To declare what a duty is, and what it is not, is a common idiom of Scripture, not excluding the latter, but giving priority of importance to the former. Thus, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated, only signifies, “ Jacob have I loved before Esau.” Apply this to the above text respecting the spirit and the letter, and likewise to the usual distinctions between faith and works, &c. &c.
Class V.--Nature and Extent of Spiritual Influence.
The Methodists pretend not to differ with the church in any of her grand doctrines, whether they be considered in the
Arminian or Calvinistic interpretation of her creed, for they are of both persuasions. The only point in which the Wesleyans seem to differ as a sect, is the witness of the Spirit, or an assurance of personal salvation wrought by the Holy Spirit in the heart of a believer, so that he can no more doubt of it than of his own existence.
The texts on which this doctrine is reared are, If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater, 1 John v. 9, 11. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself, John ix. 10. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God, Rom. viii. 16. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his. Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father, Gal. iv. 6.
But none of these texts amount to a sanction of the doctrine of assurance beyond the possibility of falling away. We are desired to make our calling sure, 2 Peter i. 10. St. Paul feared lest he should be cast away, 1 Cor. ix. 27.
The doctrine in question encourages a deceitful reliance on feelings and excitements, very different from that joy in the Holy Ghost (1 Thess. i. 6) wrought by a reflection on our possessing the fruits of the Spirit; which are, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, Gal. v. 22, 23.
Even this joy ought to be with trembling (Philip. ii. 12); and the utmost we can or dare say, in our best estate, is, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, 1 Peter i. 3. But hope is not assurance.
The text, the just shall live by faith ; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him (Heb. x. 38), ought to be rendered, “ if he draw back;" for “any man” is not in the original. So, then, a man may be just, or justified by faith, and yet draw back, or fall away into the Divine displeasure : that is, grace is not indefectible; and there is no assurance of faith.
“ If pardon and justification be obtained by faith, and this faith be only an assurance that I am pardoned and justified, then I must believe that I am pardoned and justified, that I