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velopment, the Catholic scheme. Hence the inconsistency, both moral and intellectual, which is so surprising a phenomenon among the " evangelicals;" surprising, that is, at first sight, but no longer surprising, when we regard them as possessed really with religious feelings which draw them to Christ, but possessed, also, by a human, traditionary, and most unscriptural system, which draws them directly from Him. Hence that feebleness, ambiguity, uncertainty of doctrinal statement, that inequality, unshapeliness, dwarfishness of spiritual stature, which persons at all conversant with Catholic models, are so pained and disappointed in finding (with very few exceptions) in what they hear or see of religious Protestants.”
From the foregoing extracts, we see, first, that the Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith alone, is regarded by the Bishop of Chester as a fundamental truth, and that the teaching which opposes it, is the teaching of Satan.
Secondly, that, according to the British Critic, which is the organ of the Tractarians, the Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith alone, is a heresy, poisoning at the very root, not Christianity only, but also natural religion. The expression of Luther was ominous, that the doctrine of justification by faith alone, was the article of a standing or a falling church.
HEAR THE CHURCH. (No. 2.)
To the Editors of the Intellectual Repository. GENTLEMEN, WHEN I wrote my last article under this title, I had no idea of renewing the oft reiterated cry. • But the number for August, contains an article “On the Constitution and Nature of the Christian Ministry,” to which no one has replied, and which, I conceive, ought not to pass unnoticed, as it appears to me to contain sentiments which are liable to be construed to the discredit of the church, and the Christian ministry, as now constructed in an orderly manner, I trust it will not be deemed obtrusive, or out of character, either by J. W. H., or by others who may entertain the same conscientious views, if, without ostentation, or any claim to superior discernment above others, I offer, without uncharitableness, or other unchristian intention or feeling, a few remarks. Far be it from the spirit of the New Church, merely " to strive for masteries;" yet, " if a man strive,” or contend for the prize, he receives not the
garland crown unless he contend “lawfully,” or according to the established rule. So the apostle enjoins the church to " strive together for the faith of the gospel ; and to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.” But, says he, “let your moderation, (gentleness, clemency,) be known unto all men.” “Let all things be done with charity.” “Let all things be done to edifying.” “For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, I should not be ashamed; that I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.” I cannot, therefore, disguise my opinion that the most prominent feature and principal tendency (I say not design) of the article alluded to, is to bring into disrepute the ordination of ministers as established by rule, and to introduce the administration of the sacred ordinances of the Christian Church by unordained, and therefore, in a certain sense, unauthorized persons, because contrary to such established order. This is no impeachment of the sincerity or piety of those who in this respect exceed the bounds of order or rule. The will may be well disposed, and the understanding and judgment wrong. It is possible, the will may be biased by some influential person or persons of the church; and that, won by solicitation, and guided by other authority than that established, the individual may readily yield to the infringement of rule and order, for the sake of amnesty and peace.
Our friend seems to prefer the authority of a church or society, to the authority of the church in conference assembled. But, surely, those who are altogether opposed to conferences, have little if any reason to complain of its proper authority, if no bad party spirit exists, so long as all the societies by their representatives are invited to attend and share in its deliberations and decisions; and to oppose, or sanction, as conscience and a love of truth and equity may dictate, any measures then and there introduced.
The power of authorizing and ordaining ininisters, is not “ retained against the will of the people," and therefore cannot be an “abominable usurpation;" nor are ministers, thus approved by the people and by the church, “mere intruders in the fold of God." There are instances in which ordinations have been refused by the Conference, but none, that I am aware of, in which it granted ordination, and then forced the individual, when ordained, upon a congregation, or society of the church. An unprejudiced view of the matter, compared with the Conference rules on that point, completely neutralizes such an intimation. According to the ideas of your correspondent, the approval of the congregation is sufficient; but here is a double recognition of
efficiency,--a two-fold approval, which is more than he seeks, viz., first, that of the congregation, and then, that of the conference. I confess, therefore, I possess not the ability of discerning what is to be gained by such an unnecessary departure from the general rule. If, in the opinion of J. W. H., a congregation confers “ validity," why question, that.“ efficiency” and “ validity" which has a duality of sanction and recognition. The conference of ministers and other members of various societies of the church, accedes “ to the will of a Christian society;" and is not this “the true Christian order as regards the constitution of the ministry, and the true basis of ministerial authority;" resting “upon the suffrage of both Scripture and common sense,” and (I may add) upon the usage of the Christian churches in the first three centuries ?
However averse to your correspondent's views the “ ceremony of ordination" may be, I need not remind him that it is Scriptural and of divine origin ; and when traced back to its commencement, it may be seen to be, not a mere ceremony, but accompanied with “power " from Him who alone can confer power and give efficacy to the means. “ And he (Jesus) ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses,” &c. (Mark chap. 3, ver. 14). The persons ordained were the twelve apostles, whom he chose out of his disciples, as Luke informs us, chap. 6, ver. 13. And when, on a subsequent occasion, the Lord announced his departure from them, and administered consoation and instruction to them, he said, “ Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” But the apostles themselves, thus divinely appointed, “ chosen and ordained,” did not imagine that the power by which they wrought miracles, and which rendered their ministry successful, was self-derired. (See Acts chap. 3, verses 6–16; chap. 4, verses 7-12.) Neither did they attempt to confer any miraculous power on those they afterwards ordained, (the Lord worked with them,) but they were ordained on account of their previous fitness for the ministry, and not miraculously prepared by their ordination.* Notwithstanding this, we find the apostles commenced the work of ordination after the Lord's ascension, and when they were “ endued with power from on high.” It became necessary to choose men for the office of deacons," to serve tables," as some murmured “ because their widows were neglected in the daily ministrations." This was a new and distinct order and office from that of the ministers of the Word, as is evident from the words of the whole assembly of the apostles on the occasion, viz., “It is not reason that we” (the apostles and preachers of the gospel) “ should leave the Word of God and serve tables.” And the distinction is further notified in the following words, “ We will give ourselves continually unto prayer, and to the ministry of the Word;" —quite distinct offices and employments. And further; “this saying pleased the multitude," i. e." of disciples,” which is tantamount to the “congregation,” as approved by J. W. H. But they were not made worthy officiators even in that subordinate office by ordination : no, “Look ye out among you (said the apostles) seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom he may appoint unto this business.” And how were they ordained ? By prayer and laying on of hands. “When they had prayed, they laid their hands upon them.” Acts chap. 6, verses 1-6. Was this right, consistent, and orderly? If this is out of order, then the New Church is out of order. And the persons so
* I know of no minister in the New Church who entertains the superstitious notion that some secret mystic power is, or can be conferred by ordination, although the OFFICE of the ministry they may with propriety confer. And should any candi. date for the ministry be so “ feeble minded” as to imagine it possible, his vain expectations will be blasted before he has been long in the exercise of the duties of his office, if faithfully discharged.
rdained were only deacons ; so that before they were permitted to fill that office, they were ordained to it.* And it pleased the whole of the disciples, or followers of the Lord. Where then is the ground of objection to the ordination of approved persons, chosen by the congregation, to the office of the ministry of the Word, and the administration of the sacrament, when even the office of deacons, or servers of tables, was only considered“ valid,” as it regarded the “ business” and office, when ordained by the apostles ? We read, also, that Barnabas and Saul, “ who also is called Paul,” were ordained after the Lord had called them to the work of the ministry, and they had been preaching at Jerusalem : and among those who were present at “ the ceremony of ordination,” were Simeon, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, Herod's foster-brother. .“ As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, separate ("Apoploarë,--select, set apart,) unto me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them." And how was this ordination performed ? “When they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” (Acts chap. 13, verses 1-3.) “ Laid their hands on them !" What!
* Deacons did not preach and administer the sacrament by virtue of their ordination; and when they preached, it was only upon suffrage, as our lay preachers do now; not by rule or authority.
ordinations valid," or given in heaven and mohe hath “all be power, and tonds to be co
Lay their hands on two men whom the Lord had called to the work of the ministry! And is it so? See the reference. Could they, then, by ordination, communicate any supernatural power to render their ministry “ valid,” or give it “efficacy ?" No. This is from Him who hath“ all power both in heaven and on earth.” “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
Was this laying on of hands to be considered as “borrowing analogies from the Levitical priesthood ?” This, in the opinion of our respected correspondent, is very objectionable,-as objectionable as " the retention of a priestly cast" (p. 292). It would thus appear, that the laying on of hands by the apostles, under the Christian dispensation, was superfluous, and “ spurious, and foreign to its spiritual genius." Oye apostles ! why did ye thus trangress ? This representative act belonged to the Mosaic economy, with which “ we have nothing to do.” “I cry you mercy then;" for the New Church (wonderful to relate) adopts the mode, retains the ceremony; and with it, that of prayer, which, I trust, is not a ceremony merely. They know it was a significative and representative rite, but arrogate not unto themselves the power of the keys, extreme unction, or that of miraculous gifts. Does our author condemn it ? No. He says, “ The laying on of hands was representative of the Lord's omnipotence. So when Moses appointed Joshua to be his successor, ability was conferred; and hence the ceremonies of the present day, of inau. guration and benediction by the imposition of hands.” Look at the reverse, or the abuse of this order. “Uzzah's laying hold of the ark, represented self-derived power, or man's proprium ” (A. C. 878). If it be objected, that this was all external, and under a representative dispensation, which is “for ever abolished, both priest and Levite;" we may reply in an interrogatory form, thus,-Because external worship is nothing without the internal worship of the heart, is it therefore wise or reasonable, to set aside all external observances, and external worship? By this mode of reasoning, all outward forms of religion, and the outward observance of the Lord's day, may be dispensed with as useless. Now, as the apostles were ordained, so they ordained elders as well as deacons in the church. “And when they had ordained (“Xetporovhoavtes") them elders (" Tipeobutépos”) in every church, and had prayed, with fasting, they commended them to the Lord” (Acts chap. 14, ver 23). Here, the mode appears to be, that of praying, and their usual fasting, as well as laying on of hands, as the word “Cheirotonesantes," would imply : hence Xeup, the hand,—and Xecpotovéw, to stretch out the hand. And if we are