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stituted Priesthood. The necessity for a Divine commission and succession of the sacred office is apparent from reason; since by these means alone it can possess a satisfactory warrant for its ministry, and sufficient sanction in the eyes of the people to procure their concurrence and acceptance. The Jewish, or only true system of religious worship, possessed these characters-was divinely instituted, and continued, so that there is from the nature of the sacred office itself, as well as from the conduct of the Almighty, the strongest presumption against the opinion of the Priesthood or Ministry being without a Divine institution, or a strictly prescribed form of transmitting the holy office with undiminished authority, and certainty of the Divine commission and acceptance. The dispensations of the Almighty may be supposed capable of progressive development and fulfilment, but not of complete abrogation. The reasons for the Divine institution and succession of the Priesthood are of an eternal nature. The Divine sanction and acceptance are essential to its authority; and the Christian Priesthood, endowed with the fulness of the Saviour's authority, and with the ministration of the most awfully sacred rites, cannot be supposed destitute of a sanction and authority bestowed upon the Priesthood of the typical covenant. The opinion, then, that the Divine institution of the Priesthood is perpetual, that God, having once granted His great commission to an order of men to minister before Him, has never revoked that commission, but has extended its exercise, and increased its authority and ministration, as the religion of which it was to be the ministry was revealed and fulfilled, is rendered probable by the strongest presumption, and confirmed by the consideration of the nature of the Priesthood-the unchangeableness of God-the advantage to religion-and the wants of mankind. There is nothing in reason-nothing in the Divine institution of the ministry, to sanction the idea of its being subject to human appointment, or of its being assumed by any individual without the successive transmission of the Divine appointment; and all precedent considerations give high probability to the doctrine. of the Divine institution and Apostolic succession of the Christian ministry. The Apostles could have had no other conception of the Priesthood than as continued by divinely prescribed succession, with the transmission of the authority conferred upon it at its institution. This must have been the impression upon their minds often expressed incidentally*, and
In such expressions as these, "No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron." (Heb. v. 4.)
carefully inculcated by our Lord *; and if there is to be found in the Gospel a divinely instituted ministry, with a prescribed form for its successive continuance, we are bound to interpret it by the system which had already obtained Divine sanction,
And, "How shall they preach except they be sent ?" (Rom. x. 15.) We see this conviction upon the Apostles' minds. They declare as a maxim or proverb the Divine institution of the ministry, "which God hath set up in the Church.” (1 Cor. xii. 28.) It was the only conception of a ministry present to their minds, and they allude to it casually and incidentally as a known and undoubted truth. The Divine appointment personally conferred through the Apostles upon the various orders of ministers (Eph. iv. 11), is in itself a proof of the Apostolic succession of the ministry. Why did God give to his Church, or set in his Church, these various ministers by ordination from his Apostles, but to transmit to them from Himself their ministerial commission? If, then, this succession of ordination was deemed necessary by the Apostles to convey the Lord's commission, no reason can be shown why it has ceased to be necessary ever since;-why the Divine commission thus transmitted should have ceased to be transmitted after the first succession. If this continuance of ordination was necessary to impart ministerial authority from our Lord through his Apostles to the first succession of ministers, it is necessary in every succeeding succession. If the personal ordination by the Apostles was necessary to enable the first ministers "to edify the body of Christ, to do the work of the ministry," &c. it is so still, and will be so "until we all come in the unity of the faith unto a perfect man," &c. If the direct transmission of the Lord's authority and commission were necessary for the first ministers to preserve the Church from being "carried about with every wind of doctrine," &c., it is so still, and will be so while the Church continues. Our Lord, through his Apostles, instituted with a prescribed form of ordination a ministry in his Church, and revealed to us (Eph. iv. 11) the ends he designed it to fulfil; therefore we are warranted in concluding that his institution will continue as long as the objects for which it was designed remain to be fulfilled, that the ministry He set in the Church for its edification, government, and unity, will be continued by the same form of ordination by which He established it, through his Apostles, as long as those services are required.
"The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works." (Mat. xxiii. 3.) In this command the Lord recognised the doctrine of Divine authority continued in the ministerial office, by succession of the Priests, even in the persons of unworthy men. He frequently enjoined the performance of the obedience due to the Priests, opposed as they were to his Gospel. (Luke xvii. 14; Matt. viii. 4.) Our Lord refused to answer the High Priest at his first interrogation; but when abjured by him in the form of the law, our Saviour replied to him. (Matt. xxvi. 63.) So St. Paul acknowledged the authority of a High Priest, although a Sadducee: "I wist not that he was the High Priest." (Acts xxiii. 5; Acts v. 17.)
and by the conviction existing in the minds of the Apostles of the institution and succession of the Priesthood.
17. THE PRIESTHOOD INSTITUTED WITH A DIVINE PROMISE OF BEING EVERLASTING, A PROOF OF ITS CONTINUANCE IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
The analogy or conformity between the Christian and Mosaic ministry derives additional strength from the consideration that the divinely instituted Priesthood of "Aaron was to be an everlasting Priesthood throughout their generations." This, in the full sense of the words, which express the promise of the Most High, implies a perpetual succession of the Priesthood, of the order of men then set apart for the ministry of religion. Now if the successive ministry, tracing its authority from its Divine founder, and receiving its office through a form of ordination instituted by Him, has ceased, then the Priesthood no longer continues in the sense or form in which it was established*; it no longer exists as an institution of God's appointment, with His direct authority to perform the rites of religion, and His promise to receive them at its hands.
18.-PROPHECIES DECLARING A PRIESTHOOD IN THE GOSPEL
There is evidence in Scripture that the Priesthood, instituted with a Divine promise of being everlasting, was not to be abrogated by our Lord, but was to be continued by him under such modifications as would render it applicable to the Gospel, so fulfilling the Divine promise that it should be eternal. In the 132nd Psalm, the Prophet thus describes the kingdom of Christ, or Gospel dispensation: "The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David; He will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore. For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her Priests with salvation, and her Saints shall shout
"And that we may know that the Apostolic traditions were taken from the Old Testament, that which Aaron and his sons and the Levites were in the Temple, the Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons perform in the Church.”—Hier. Ep. Evag, tom, ii. 330.
aloud for joy." These are the words of Him" whose words are right, and all whose works are done in truth: who will not break his covenant, nor alter the thing that has gone out of his lips; whose counsel shall stand, and who will do all his pleasure." (Psal. xxxiii. 4; lxxxix.34.) The Ministers of the Gospel are called its Priests; they are distinguished from the poor (that is, other meek and humble persons); and from the Saints (that is, all other good and religious men* ;) so that the persons spoken of are not merely the pious members of the Church, but Priests in the proper sense, devoted to and employed in the religious service of God.
19. THESE PROPHECIES APPLIED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT ΤΟ THE GOSPEL DISPENSATION.
"Thus saith the Lord, If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the Priests,
* Barrow, Serm. 12.
+ Lightfoot thus describes the constitution of the Jewish ministry. "Was it then the custom among the Jews that any one at his own suggestion was admitted to the office of preaching? By no means, for, 1st, from the first constitution of the Church of Israel, the tribe of Levi was selected to the public ministry, that it might serve at the Altar in Jerusalem, and teach the people every where; (Deut. xxxiii. 10.-Matt. ii. 7); and that they might be fitter for this office forty-eight cities were bestowed upon them (Jos. xxi.) in which they lived as so many students of the law in universities, that they might go out fitted to take the office of preachers in the synagogue, and to teach throughout the schools of Israel. 2nd.-Men of other tribes studied the law, and became learned, and public preachers, as well as the Priests and Levites: in this number were the scribes of Zabulon. (Jud. v. 14.); the learned men of Issachar (1 Chron. xii. 32)— the great Hillel of the tribe of Judah, &c. But none of these were admitted to the public office of teaching and preaching who had not previously been ordained, and the ordination was the call to this station of life and office. So Johanan Sutor was ordained by R. Akibah before he could teach openly, or be called Rabbi. (Juchasin, fol. 61.) No one was called Rabbi unless first ordained, some were ordained by this appellation; for in ordaining, imposition of hands was not always used, but they called him Rabbi; Lo, thou art ordained," &c. &c. (Maimon, in Sanhed. Perek. 4.) In the time preceding the ordination, the name of father was given to the person to be ordained, as Ben Beturah; but after ordination they were called Rabbi. (Juchasin, fol. 56.) Down to the time of Hillel, public doctors had power, and were accustomed, to ordain their own disciples as they thought them fit: but this rite was afterwards perfected
my ministers." (Jerem. xxxiii. 20; Isai. Iv. 3.) The fulfil ment of this prophecy, and of several others of a similar import (Psal. lxxxix. 35, &c.-Isai. lv. 3), is expressly applied in the New Testament to the establishment of Christ's kingdom, or Church. Thus the Angel declares to the blessed. Virgin, "that the Lord shall give unto Jesus the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever." (Luke i. 33, 68, 70.) Hence, then, it is estab
hed, that there should be with Christ in possessing the everlasting throne of David a ministry of Priests and Levites, everlasting throughout their generations.
20.-PROPHECIES OF THE CONTINUATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD IN THE CHURCH.
Thus also the Prophet Isaiah, speaking (as is evident from the context, and as is universally acknowledged) of the Gentiles who should be converted and assembled in Christ's Church, "And I will also take of them for Priests and for Levites, saith the Lord." (Isai. Ixvi. 21.) And also the Prophet Jeremiah, "Neither shall the Priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to do sacrifice continually." (Jerem, xxxiii. 18.) This prophecy evidently concerns the same tine and state of things which the prophet Malachi thus foretels, "For from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered to my name, and a pure offering." (Mal. i. 11.) “Ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you' the Ministers of our God." (Isai. Ixi. 6.)
by the Sanhedrim. They were accustomed to ordain men to particular offices in the public ministry, who were allowed to exercise no other office than that to which they had been ordained. (Maimon. ubi supra.) So great was their caution and circumspection in matters pertaining to ordination, and the lawful appointment of doctors and judges in the public ministry; nor was it lawful for any one to take that office upon himself, and persevere in it. The duty of the Sanhedrim was to judge of false prophets. He who was not a prophet, and would preach as a prophet, did so at his own peril. (Harmon. Evan. Luca iv. 15.) The same learned writer elsewhere explains the careful examination of the Priests before the Sanhedrim, previous to admitting or licensing them to the public ministry." We thus learn that ordination by imposition of hands was a rite in the Jewish Church used in the appointment, of those who were not Levites, to such sacred and magisterial offices as were not confined to the tribe of Levi. And in the transfer of this rite to the Christian Church, we see additional evidence of the modification and transfer of the Jewish ministerial system to the Gospel, not of its entire abrogation.