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numerous as the clerical: and hence their superior control in all church affairs.*
45. Deacons. What was their true character? their proper office? their specific duties? How did their ordination differ from that of presbyters? Were there deacons before the appointment of the seven mentioned in sixth of Acts? etc.†
Were there Deaconesses in the primitive apostolic church?
46. We would denounce no church organization which does not withhold the pure gospel from the people; or which does not preach another gospel, or substitute its own inventions in place of the gospel-as does Rome.
Evangelical, Low Church Episcopacy, such as Whately holds, may be harmless and unobjectionable. We do not quarrel with it-though some do.
47. Presbyterians are everywhere spoken against. All sects unite in hostility to them and their system—either on account of their Calvinistic doctrine or peculiar church polity. So do politicians, philosophers and all sorts of infidels.
48. Church officers. 1. Apostles. "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." (1 Cor. xii. 28.)
* For an account of the discussions and decisions about Ruling Elders in the Westminster Assembly of Divines, see Hetherington's History of said Assembly, p. 143.
† See as above, pp. 143, 144.
See Rom. xvi. 1. Also, Coleman's Antiquities, p. 115.
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers." (Eph. iv. 11.)
2. Prophets. "Having then gifts, differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;" etc. (Rom. xii. 6, etc.; 1 Cor. xii. 28; Eph. iv. 11.)
3. Evangelists. (Eph. iv. 11.)
4. Pastors and Teachers. (Eph. iv. 11; 1 Cor. xii. 28.) "Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers;" etc. (Rom. xiii. 1.
5. Elders-both ruling and teaching. "Let the elders that rule well, be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” (1 Tim. v. 17.)
6. Deacons. For their appointment, see Acts, vi. verses 1 to 6. For their qualifications, see 1 Tim. iii. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.*
7. Deaconesses. "The office of deaconess may be regarded as substantially the same with that of female presbyters. They were early known in the church by a variety of names, all of which, with some circumstantial variations, denoted the same class of persons.” * * * "Their most frequent appellation however is that of deaconess, diaconissa, a term which does not occur in the Scriptures, though reference is undoubtedly had to the office in Rom. xvi. 1."+
"I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a
* See Coleman's Antiquities of the Christian Church, pp. 108, etc. + Coleman, p. 115.
servant of the church which is at Cenchrea." (Rom. xvi. 1.)
49. A comparison of the Levitical with the Episcopal priesthood, will demonstrate that the former was not, and could not be, a type of the latter. The grades are ranged thus:
Type or Shadow.
Antitype or Substance.
Now in what do they resemble each other? Did the High-Priest ordain the priest? But the discussion need not be pursued further now.
50. Ministers of the gospel may now be regarded as sustaining a twofold character and relation. First, as heralds of salvation, duly commissioned to preach the gospel to sinners; and secondly, as the officers and advocates of the particular church to which they belong. Thus the Episcopalian, the Independent, the Presbyterian, the Methodist, the Baptist-while they severally break the bread of life and unfold the mysteries of divine revelation in all honesty and godly simplicity -feel it to be their duty also to inculcate and defend their own respective tenets and ecclesiastical polity. These two distinct classes of duty are often so mixed up and confounded, as to occasion bitter controversies, lamentable breaches of charity, and the most egregious mistakes about the essential attributes of genuine piety.
It is desirable, certainly, that every Presbyterian should be made acquainted with the theory, principles and ad
vantages of the Presbyterian form of church government. Just as it is desirable that every American citizen should be well informed concerning the constitution, laws and policy of his country. Not that this knowledge is absolutely essential in either case to constitute a sincere Christian. But as every man owes allegiance, fealty, obedience, duty, to the civil government which protects him, and to the church which provides for his spiritual wants, and which guides his steps onward and upward toward the heavenly Canaan, it is difficult to conceive that he can be a very exemplary and useful citizen or Christian while ignorant of his relations and obligations in so large a province or department of active service.
A Presbyterian Bishop ought then to instruct his Presbyterian flock upon the subject of Presbyterian Church Government. He ought to show them that church government, like civil government and parental government, is a divine institution-necessary to the very existence of the church, and to the well-being of every society great and small-and, therefore, that obedience to such church government as they may have voluntarily preferred, is as much a duty as obedience to parents or civil magistrates. He ought to show them that the Presbyterian system is scriptural; that is, not only not contrary to Scripture, but as strictly in accordance with apostolic usage as could reasonably be desired; and that, on this score, no other denomination can boast of precedence or advantage. That it is congenial with the tenor, spirit and benevolent character of the entire Christian Scriptures-eminently auspicious to evangelical truth and
purity-harmonizing exactly with the civil government and free institutions of our own favoured country-and that it is in truth as perfect a model of a pure democracy or representative republic as can be found in the world. Should he be called to preach an occasional sermon to a people or congregation, not Presbyterian in government, he ought to say nothing on the subject. He ought then neither to laud his own nor to censure any other. Just as he would abstain from inculcating republicanism or depreciating monarchy in Austria, Britain or Russia.
A man may, however, be a rigid Presbyterian, and yet be but a sorry Christian. And we venture, with all humility, and with becoming deference to superior wisdom and knowledge, to assert, at least to hope, that it is possible for a man to be a conscientious, enlightened, judicious, liberal, charitable, laborious, self-denying Presbyterian bishop, and at the same time maintain the character and discharge the duties of a Christian minister and a Christian citizen as completely as ever did the most devoted apostle; or as do any of our equally conscientious and gifted brethren of other evangelical churches.
Christians have adopted creeds, confessions, or articles of doctrinal belief, which differ from one another. Here it may be observed, that no system of opinions or series of propositions distinctly enunciated, is enjoined in Scripture as the object of faith or as essential to salvation. The faith spoken of in the gospel has respect to an individual, to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and