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24.DIVINE INSTITUTION AND SUCCESSIVE ORDINATION
THE ESSENTIAL CHARACTERS OF THE PRIESTHOOD.
The institution of the Priesthood, at the giving of the Law, or first revelation of Divine worship, was marked by two distinctive principles. Ist. A certain order of persons were set apart for the Divine ministry, with full authority to officiate in it, and with the promise of their ministerial service being acceptable to God. Had not the Almighty imparted this authority and promise, there could have been no warrant for any individual to assume the ministerial office: such an assumption of the ministry would have been at best highly uncertain,-it might be presumptuous, it might have called down Divine judgment, and it never could hav swered the end proposed by a sacred ministry ; since the arbitrary assumption of the ministerial office by any individual would have been incompatible with order, regularity, and unity, being destitute of the Divine sanction, which could alone secure uniformity and obtain the respect and obedience of the people. The 2nd principle of the Priesthood was the divinely instituted form of ordination, by which the succession of Priests was preserved, and confirmed by the Divine prohibition against intrusion or infringement upon their office. These were the essential characters of the Priest
the Christian Church. It is still the sign of the Israel of God, and their covenant with the Lord : it is the same comniemoration, the same type, and their day of public worship; so that it exists still, like the Priesthood, in all the characters essential to it as a Divine institution, fulfilling, in like manner, the Lord's declaration of its being “a sign for ever, to be observed throughout all generations for a perpetual covenant.” Like the Priesthood transferred from the line of Aaron to the line of the Apostles, the Sabbath has been transferred from the day of deliverance from Egyptian bondage (Deut. v. 15.) to the day of deliverance from hell by the Lord's resurrection. As the Priesthood of the law was from Christ, so was He the Lord of the Sabbath day; and so both the Priesthood and Sabbath in his Church, though derived, continued, and transferred from the law, took from him a new origin, a new appointment. And as they resemble each other in these respects, so do they in the prophetic declaration that they would be institutions of the Gospel. In the description of the Christian Church, the Prophet Isaiah (lxvi. 23) says, “ that from one Sabbath to another shall all flesh come to worship before God;" and St. Paul applies the Sabbath to the Church as a type of its heavenly rest. * There remaineth therefore a keeping of the Sabbath (Sabbatismos) to the people of God.” (Heb. iv. 2.)
hood. If either of them be taken away, it can no longer exist : as long as they are retained, the Priesthood must continue in its full institution as a sacred order.
25.–VARIATION OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP NOT AN ABRO
GATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD. The form of worship-the particular rites of religion, may vary ; but as long as these attributes remain, there will continue an order of men deriving from God their commission and authority to minister before him, and tracing up to His Divine institution their succession to the sacred office. It affects not the Priesthood as a Divine institution whether its worship be prophetical and typical, or historical and commemorative ;-whether it shows its faith in Christ by the sacrifice slain, or the bread broken---the blood shed, or the wine poured out ;-whether it sprinkle the water of regeneration or the sacrificial blood for the cleansing of sins: whether its oblations be prayer and praise, or incense and the smoke of sacrifices :*_-whether the succession be continued in one family, corresponding to the limitation of the Divine worship to one nation and temple, or whether the power of ordina
* Mal.i.7-11. “ Ye offer polluted bread upon my Altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The Table of the Lord is contemptible. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of Hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. For from, the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering.”—“The Lord puts an end to the worship according to the law; not suffering vain sacrifices to be offered, from which no one henceforth could receive benefit; so the Prophet foretells to the Jews the ceasing of the ministration of the Mosaic law, and proclaims the pure and bloodless sacrifice of the Gentiles which was to succeed it; and first he addresses the Jews, “I have no pleasure in you, neither will I accept an offering at your hand;" and then he shows the piety of the Gentiles, “ My name shall be glorified in every place, and incense and a pure sacrifice be offered unto my name. .” (Theod. in Mal. i. 10.) This comment of the Archbishop of Cyrus expresses the opinion of the Church in his age of the unity of the Divine worship and ministry in botḥ covenants. The prophet does not declare the extinction of sacrifices, and priestly worship, but that they should be transferred to the Church of the Gentiles. The bloodless sacrifice, the pure commemorative offering of the Christian Church should be presented from the rising to the setting of the sun among the Gentiles. If then the succession of the Christian to the Jewish sacrifice be thus distinctly foretold, it is evident that the Priesthood by whom the sacrifices were offered must also be continued by a corresponding succession, in accordance with the prophetic declarations of the existence of Priests and Levites in the Christian Church.
tion be committed to the chief order in the Priesthood without regard to family or nation; still, while the essential character of the Priesthood remains as an order of men commissioned by a Divine institution and successive transmission of office through a divinely prescribed form of ordination, the promise of its everlasting duration is fulfilled, and the Church possesses in its ministers the sanction and authority of the Divine Being for the exclusive performance of the ministerial offices of worship.
26.-- UNCHANGEABLENESS OF GOD A PROOF OF THE CON
TINUANCE OF THE PRIESTHOOD. If we reflect solemnly upon the unchangeable nature of the Divine will—the impossibility that any Divine decree can be abrogated, or any institution of a moral nature can undergo any change by which its principle would be destroyed, we shall feel a strong reason to conclude that the Priesthood must be an inalienable accompaniment of the Church. Again, if we consider that no tittle of the law shall fail of its complete fulfilment, and that the Spirit of God foresaw as present all conditions of the Church when He expressly declared, in words of the most positive description, that the PRIESTHOOD SHOULD BE EVERLASTING, it will be a conclusion rendered imperative, from regard to the word of God, that the Priesthood continues in the Christian Church ; and this conclusion is attended with no difficulty, since the character of the Priesthood is retained in the Divine institution and succession by ordination of the Christian Ministry, these being the only attributes of the Priesthood essential to its existence, and constituting its peculiar character and office as an appointment of God.
27.-GENERAL VIEW OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
MINISTERS SENT BY GOD. It may be well, before entering upon the consideration of our Lord's appointment of a Ministry, to give a general
view of the office itself as described in Scripture. 1st. The Ministers of the Gospel are said to be sent to have a commission from God :- no man taketh this honour unto himself but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb. v. 4.) how shall they preach except they be sent ?" (Rom. x. 15. Compare Matt. x. 16. Luke, x. 3 ; xi. 49. Mark, iii. 14.) “ Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." (Matt. ix. 38.) (See also
the text Ephes. iv. 11.) " And God hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondarily Prophets, thirdly Teachers.” (1 Cor. xii. 28; ix. 16, 17.)
28.-THEIR ORDINATION. They are ordained by imposition of hands. " Who (the Deacons) were set before the Apostles, and when they had prayed they laid their hands upon them.” (Acts vi. 6.) “And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them (Barnabus and Saul), they sent them away.” (Acts xiii. 3.) “Lay hands suddenly on no man.” (1 Tim. v. 22.) “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain Elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.” (Tit. i. 5.) “ And when they had ordained them Elders in every Church, and had prayed with fasting.” (Acts xiv. 23.)
29. THEIR OFFICE:--TEACHING, EXHORTATION, PREACH
ING. DIFFERENT ORDERS IN THE MINISTRY. They are appointed for “the work of the ministry.” (Eph. iv. 11.) "They are to be faithful men, who shall be able to teach others.” (2 Tim. ï. 2; 1 Tim. vi. 2; Matt. xxviii. 20.) They are to "give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (1 Tim. iv. 13.) They are “to preach the Word.” (2 Tim. iv. 2.) “A dispensation is given them fully to preach the Word.” (Col. i. 25.) They are ordained Preachers. “Whereto I am ordained a Preacher.” (1 Tim. ii. 7.) There are various orders in the ministry. “There are differences of administrations (in the original ministries), but the same Lord.” (1 Cor. xii. 5.) (See also Ephes. iv. 11; 1 Cor. xii. 28.) “A
Bishop must be blameless.” (1 Tim. iii. 1.) Against an Elder (or Presbyter) receive not an accusation.” (1 Tim. v. 19.) “ Likewise must the Deacons be grave.” (1 Tim. iii. 8.)
30.-TO ADMINISTER THE SACRAMENTS. 6 Let a man so account of us as of the Ministers of Christ, and Stewards of the mysteries of God.” (1 Cor.iv. 1.) And “He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them (the Apostles), saying, This is my body, which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. (Luke xxii. 19.) There is nothing here said of receiving or eating the bread. The words “this do” can therefore only refer to the blessing, breaking, and administering the bread;
and so St. Paul speaks (1 Cor. x. 16), “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?”.
'_“The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ ?” For the frequency of the Lord's supper, see Acts ii. 42, 46 ; Acts xx. 2. The last commission of our Lord to his Apostles was to “ baptise all nations in his name, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt. xxviii. 19.) 31.-WITH POWER AND AUTHORITY IN THE CHURCII. The Ministers of Christ were “.to
and rebuke.' (2 Tim. iv. 2.) “ Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” (1 Tim. v. 20.) " Wherefore rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith.” (Titus i. 13.) " Exhort and rebuke with all authority.” (Tit. ii. 15.) With power of excommunication. “A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject.” (Titus, iii. 10); examples of which are to be seen in 1 Tim. i. 20, and in 1 Cor. v.5. Compare with Hos. iv. 4, and Deut. xvii. 11, 12.
32.-PRIESTS TO BE OBEYED AND REVERENCED BY
LAITY, AS HAVING A SPIRITUAL CHARGE FOR WHICH THEY MUST GIVE ACCOUNT.
“ Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves, for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account.” (Heb. xiii. 17.) “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God.” (Heb. xiii. 7.) “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake.” (1 Thes. v. 12, 13.) (See also 1 Cor. xvi, 16, and Ezek. in. 18-Ezek. xxxiii. 2,8.
33.--TO. BE SUPPORTED BY THE LAITY. “ Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel. (1 Cor. ix. 14.) “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.” (Gal. vi. 6.) “ If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things ?” (Cor. ix. Il.) (See also 1 Tim. v. 17, 18. Compare Deut. xviii. 1, 2.)
34.-THE MINISTRY FULLY ESTABLISHED BY THE APOSTLES.
We see, then, that the Scripture describes a very distinct and precise constitution of the Ministry ; so much so, that