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cause all elders he thinks should be pastors, and empowered to teach as well as rule. This is his scheme of eldership; and we earnestly wish that he could prevail on his religious denomination to reduce it to practice. It is our firm conviction that they cannot institute a plurality of elders, and not pass into our usage.

A number of competent pastors will not be found for every one of many small and poor churches. Soon the preaching will be in the hands of one or two, who can sustain attention and impart instruction; and the rest of the elders will be glad to retire from pulpit occupation for which they are not fitted, and to restrict themselves to the work of superintendence, which they can perform acceptably. Here then is a sure avenue to practical agreement. Let us all follow out our common admission, that each church should have a company of elders. Dr Wardlaw, after quoting Dr M-Kerrow and myself, in regard to the deaconship, and commending the steps taken by Presbyterian churches to have that institution restored, says : ‘Could we find authority for the office of the ruling elder, we trust we should have grace to follow out our convictions.'* But Dr Wardlaw finds at least authority for a company of elders. With all respect we would say, Let him and his brethren follow out that conviction. Call them teaching elders, or call them ruling elders ; if they are appointed, they will ere long be such elders as we have ourselves. There will not long be a college of ministers in any

* Page 192.

one of the chapels occupied by the ablest Congregationalist churches; how much less in small places of worship throughout the country! We beseech our Independent brethren to bear with our earnestness on this topic. The primitive practice is plain : the authority of apostolic example is admitted. It is not allowed us to live in opposition to scripture, and make no movement even towards acquiescence in its dictates. Let Congregationalists escape from this confessędly unscriptural state, and proceed forthwith to get a numerous eldership. We ask nothing but a fulfilment of their own views, to secure identity with our practice. If they still say nay, we still say— make the attempt, and we cheerfully await the result of the experiment.

But if a plurality of elders, whether called preaching or ruling, would conduct in our days to Presbyterian usage, should it not have done this in the apos.

That it actually did so, I hope to make apparent.

tclic age?

II. Some of the elders of the primitive churches simply ruled, while others both ruled and taught; so that a distinction existed among them of teaching and ruling elders.

I adduce at present one passage, as decisive of the point at issue. Paul says, in his first Epistle to Timothy, v. 17, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.' Regarding this passage, I formerly observed: These words could

suggest to an unbiassed reader only one meaning, that all elders who rule well are worthy of abundant honour, but especially those of their number who, besides ruling well, also labour in word and doctrine. Of course the passage so interpreted bears, that of the elders who rule well, only some labour in word and doctrine; that is, there are ruling elders, and among these teaching elders, as we have at the present day.'

The meaning of this passage turns on the force of the word ' especially ;' and I have no great objections to the definition of it given by Dr Wardlaw. He says: 'According to what may, I think, be called invariable usage, it must be understood as representing those who are described in the latter part of the verse, as comprehended under the more general description in the former-not as a distinct class of persons, but a select portion of the same class, distinguished by a specified particularity.'

Be it so. The general description' of elders is, that they are all rulers—ministers are included in this descriptionand the specified particularity' by which some are distinguished' from the rest is, that, besides ruling, “they labour in word and doctrine.' Dr Wardlaw gives an example, which I admit to be quite in point: •We trust in the living God, who is the Saviour (or Preserver) of all men, specially of those that believe.'t • Those that belière,' says Dr Wardlaw, cluded among the all men, but distinguished from the * Congregational Independency, p. 213.

+ 1 Tim. iv. 10.

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rest by their faith.'* Exactly so—and they who labour in word and doctrine are included among

them that rule well, but distinguished from the rest' by their teaching. If the word 'specially’ may mark off from men in general a section possessing faith, surely it may mark off from rulers in general a section who teach, and are distinguished from the rest by teaching; for this latter distinction, considerable as it is, is nothing in comparison with the gulf between a believer and an infidel. We maintain, then, that all elders rule, and that

are distinguished from the rest by also teaching.

Dr Davidson,, after quoting my remarks (given abore) on 1 Tim. v. 17,t says: Few would object to this reasoning, understood in its obvious sense, for a distinction is manifestly implied between those elders that rule well, and those who labour in word and doctrine.'t He speaks of Presbyterians as 'proving that some elders in the primitive churches ruled, while others preached. “That,' he adds, 'is a position too manifest to be called in question. Other parts of the New Testament would warrant that conclusion, had the text in the Epistle to Timothy been wanting.'S Here, then, the matter of fact is conceded to us.

It is acknowledged that our churches resemble the primitive churches not only in having each a plurality of elders, but also in having some

Congregational Independency, p. 214.

+ See page 20.
* Ecclesiastical Polity, p. 183. $ Ibid., p. 186.

*

elders who confine themselves to ruling, and others who perform the duties of teaching.

What, then, is the difference between us and Dr Davidson, and wherein does he think that we are wrong? He thinks that though some of the primitive elders only ruled, they were entitled to preach. He holds that 'the nature of the distinction is merely such as arises from the possession of various talents, directed to the discharge of different duties, while all have an equal right to perform the same functions.' The sum of this statement is, that the elders who did not preach possessed the right to do so, but wanted the talents; and so they had been appointed to functions for which their talents did not qualify them. They were appointed to preach when they could not preach; and they receded from a duty they had undertaken, because they failed in the attempt to discharge it. This doctrine seems strange.

We have sometimes difficulty in getting elders. If we told men of eminent but modest worth that their appointment would include preaching as well as ruling, they would not likely be quicker to enter the office; nor should we overcome their objections probably by telling them, “You have only to be appointed to preach, and then neglect this duty to which you have been solemnly set apart, for this conduct was quite common in the apostolic churches. I prefer to believe that the elders severally did what they were severally appointed to do—that their practice corres

* Ecclesiastical Polity, p. 183.

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