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much on the other, is the lot of the and there is no precept or order on Evangelical clergy. At present, how- the subject. To interpret the promise ever, the glaring popery of the Oxford of Christ, Lo, I am with you alway,' divines has scared them rather too &c. as confined to his apostles, and near the Puritans, as we may judge those ordained by them, is not only by extracts from Letters signed “ An without evidence, but contrary to Episcopalian Presbyter,” which ap- evidence. Let it be thus limited, and peared in the Record, November 29, Paul is completely shut out, for he and December 3, and to which the was not appointed nor ordained by any attention of the reader was requested, of the first apostles, to whom the proby editorial remarks. Apostolical mise was made.
But let the promise succession,” says the writer,
" is held be viewed as made to them as preachby the Oxford school to be simply ers of the gospel, and to all such in this : Christ appointed and sent his that character, and Paul, as well as apostles; the apostles appointed and others unconnected with the first ordained others; and these their suc- apostles, will be included. ... ... What cessors ; and none but those who thus
was the first act of the apostles after derive their ordination are entitled to our Saviour's ascension ? It was to the promise,—Lo, I am with you fill up their own number. alway, even unto the end of the world.' proceed in this matter as if the SaviA part of this is true, supported by our had given them the power to the express declaration of Scripture. appoint and ordain another apostle? Christ did expressly send forth his By no means. The whole, or nearly apostles, and did promise to be with the whole church then existing, were them unto the end of the world ; but assembled together, and Peter prohe said nothing about the ordination posed the matter to them. Two were of their successors, or the transmission chosen, not exclusively by the apostles, of any
commission to them. This is but by the whole company, and the only an inference drawn from the selection was decided by lot; and that promise, and by no means a necessary constituted him an apostle without
It is the work of the ministry ordination. There was no commission that our Saviour speaks of, and not given him by those who were already the appointment to the work. They apostles; and yet he was, no doubt, were to go forth and preach the gos- entitled to the promise made by our pel, baptise, and teach men to observe Saviour. After the lot fell on him, whatever he had commanded them; the only thing said is, that he was and to them, as doing the work, the numbered with the eleven apostles.' promise was made, and made to all Here is a different mode of appointthat would engage in it to the end of ment from what some would have the world. This is the only legiti- us believe was fixed and settled by our mate inference, and the only one that Saviour.” can be supported by facts, or the suc- After referring to Stephen, Philip, ceeding history of the church, as &c., the letter proceeds :-“ But it may detailed in the acts of the Apostles. be replied, that there is reason to conThe only commission given to the clude that these men were ordained to Apostles, in the passage above alluded preach and baptise; though there is no to, was to preach, baptise, and to particular mention of this. That this is teach, without a single allusion to any any thing more than conjecture or authority given to them to commission fancy, cannot be proved : and a conothers for the same work. There is jecture is a very feeble thing on which not to be found an instance in which to build the enormous structure, as it our Saviour has given his apostles is now made, of apostolical succession ! any commission to appoint successors,
But we have an instance in the Acts
in which even a conjecture cannot be the successionists. He was miracuharboured. There is mention made lously converted. And to whom was of a person, who taught diligently he sent for instruction and for bapthe things of the Lord,' being an tism? To Ananias, who was no more eloquent man, and mighty in the Scrip- than a disciple; that is, a baptised betures,' without any apostolic commis- liever; or, in other words, a layman. sion : nay, even when he had not re- It was Ananias that told him the
purceived Christian baptism, knowing pose of Christ in converting him; that only the baptism of John' (Acts xviii. is, to make him an apostle: and it was 24—28). This was Apollos ; and his Ananias that baptised him. And, after work is spoken of with approbation ; this, Paul began instantly to preach ; and the Lord was evidently with him. without
human commission, withIf the power of authorising men to out any laying on of hands. All this, preach was exclusively given to the it is said, was extraordinary and miraapostles, this was an evident encroach- culous. It was so, no doubt : but this ment and a violation of order: a con- does not remove the difficulty. There clusion wholly inconsistent with the were apostles ; and God, in his proviwhole tenor of the narrative. And dence, might have easily arranged who were those who “expounded unto things so as to send Paul to one of Apollos the way of God more per- them, and not to Ananias, if he thought fectly'? Two disciples ; a lay-man, and proper ; as he directed Cornelius to a lay-woman,—' Aquila and Priscilla.' send for Peter. But he did not do so ; And they did this without any com
and doubtless he had a wise purpose to mission : a thing in the present day
If this had been done, what that would be deemed by some as a strong hold it would have been for highly presumptuous.
the successionists ? Some conjecture " What was the case of those dis- or other would have probably been persed, when persecution raged at azarded on this case, had we no farJerusalem ? See Acts viii. 1,4. There ther information on the subject than is no mention of their ordination; nor that given in the Acts. But the apostle can we well
suppose that so many were himself, in his Epistles, has put his ordained. They are referred to after- own case beyond the limits of conjecwards in the eleventh chapter, 19–21. ture, and fixed it beyond their reach • And some of them were men of Cy- for ever. prus and Cyrene ; which, when they “ But we have not done with the case were come to Antioch, spake unto the of Paul. He had the laying on of Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. hands; and it is the only instance we And the hand of the Lord was with have in the Acts of such a thing being them : and a great number believed,
dene for a ministerial purpose. We and turned unto the Lord.' Here is have, in fact, no account, throughout the Saviour's promise verified, and
the whole New Testament, of any one verified to those who preached him : of the twelve apostles ordaining any to but of the succession of orders we have the ministry: so that, whatever power no account. Were it so important as they had for this purpose, we have no now made by some, it would doubtless recorded instance in which they exerhave been mentioned. It would have cised it; and we have recorded inbeen quite as necessary to mention the stances in which they did lay on hands commission as their preaching ; for the
for other purposes.
But Paul, and one without the other, as it is now also Barnabas, had hands laid on them ; taught, would have been quite useless! and they went forth, in
of “ We come next to the case of Paul, this, to the work whereunto' the Holy which presents an instance which sin- Ghost had called them. But who gularly contravenes the sentiments of laid hands on them ? Not any one of the apostles ; to whom, we are told, occasions, as he thought proper, withthis power was exclusively given : but out the instrumentality of his first • certain prophets and teachers' at An- apostles. And does he not reserve it tioch. This is the only ministerial or- still? Where has he delegated it ? dination recorded in the Acts; and not Let the document be produced. He one of the apostles had any hand in it. has not, as it were, tied himself down This is singular, and has a very unfa- to any specific mode. He adopted, in vourable bearing on the system of the the primitive church, various plans. successionists. There is nothing more
He himself sent forth his eleven aposthroughout the Acts that refers to this tles by word of mouth. Their numsubject, except an expression respect- ber was completed by lot. He endued ing Paul and Barnabas ; that they Stephen and Philip with a large effu• ordained elders in every church' sion of his Spirit; and they preached (Acts xiv. 23). The word rendered and baptised. The disciples at Jeru
ordained,' XeXporovnOAVTes, might salem, when dispersed by persecution, with more propriety be rendered ap- went forth and preached his Gospel ; pointed, selected, or chosen, as it is ren- and he blessed their ministry. He apdered in 2 Cor. viii. 19, who was also peared to Paul, and directed him to go chosen of the churches,' &c. In what to a disciple at Antioch, for instruction way they did ordain them, we are not and baptism. He sent forth Paul and told. They themselves were appointed Barnabas to the work of the ministry; to their work, according to the direc- having first directed some 'prophets tion of the Spirit, by prophets and and teachers' to lay hands on them. teachers; and that by laying on of And they afterwards appointed or chose hands: and they afterwards appointed elders for the churches which they elders; whether by laying on of hands had formed. We read of all this, and or not, we are not informed. This is not a word of any thing like apostolical surely no apostolic succession. If, succession or apostolical commission. therefore, we go by the recorded ex- “ But in Paul's Epistles to Timothy, amples of Scripture, we must trace the an express mention is made of laying laying on of hands for ministerial pur- on of hands by Paul and the Presbyposes to these prophets and teachers,' tery. What this was I shall hereafter and not to the twelve apostles; of whose describe. Timothy was left at Ephelaying on of hands for this purpose sus, to finish there what Paul had left there is no mention made: no, neither undone; and Titus was sent to Crete in the Acts, nor in any of the epistles for a similar purpose.
And they were which they have written. And strange to ordain or appoint elders; and these it is, if this power was exclusively de- elders were also called bishops. (See legated to them, we have, with only Titus i. 5—9.) This was a course difone exception (that of St. Paul), no ferent from what we have before noaccount of it,—that we have no account ticed. That Timothy and Titus were either of the bestowal of the power, or
not then fixed in those places, appears of its exercise! But such is the fact. clear, from the Epistles sent to them. We have no such account: and let They were presiding or ruling elders ; those who plead for such an account
and the churches were left to their produce it if they can.
care. This appears evident from Paul's “ Our Saviour appointed his apos- charge to the elders of Ephesus, as retles to the work of the ministry; but corded in Acts xx. 17–38. He dedid not expressly invest them with volved on them the whole care of the power to appoint others. That power Ephesian Church. Though he was he reserved for himself: and we see, doubtful whether he should ever see by the history of the church in the them again, he constituted no bishop Acts, that he exercised it on several over them, nor selected any of them for that purpose.
Had he deemed case of Origen clearly proves. As to that indispensable, he doubtless would the administration of the Lord's Suphave done so. The distinct office of per, there is much to lead us to cona bishop, as confessed by some of clude, that it was at first celebrated the most learned in antiquity, did not by the brethren, sometimes unassisted exist at first, but came into use by de- by a minister. It is said in Acts xx. grees ; and was adopted for the sake 7, that the disciples came together of order and regularity, and this in to break bread.' And in the reproofs some places sooner than in others.
and directions given by Paul in 1 Cor. Even in the time of Clement of Rome, ii. 17—34, there is nothing to be who sent an epistle to the Church of found, which may lead us to suppose Corinth, there does not appear to have that it was administered by one that been any bishop then constituted in was ordained, but by the brethren, that church."
when they came together. If there Again in the second letter we find was a regularly ordained minister at “ In my former letter a brief account Corinth at that time, how came the was given of what the New Testament apostle not to mention him, and not contains on the subject of ordination : to give him some directions on the and nothing is to be found in it of an subject ? But this is not done. And opposite character, that substantiates there is nothing said any where in the the notions of the successionists. New Testament which shews that a There is no document in which the minister is necessary for the celebradelegated power, alleged to be given, tion of the Lord's Supper. What inis contained ; and, as far as the twelve troduced the practice of having these apostles are concerned, there is no in- things done generally by persons constance on record, in which they exer- stituted and recognised as ministers, cised it. Their mission was this :- was the necessity and expediency of As my
Father hath sent me, so send order, and of preventing abuses. This I you' (John xx. 21).
practice, which was not exclusive at sionists add, and so you are to send first, that is, in the apostolic age, nor others. All their arguments are con- for a considerable time after, became structed on this basis; as if this addi- gradually almost universal and exclution was a part of the word of God. sive: and it became so, for the most The calling and sending of ministers, part, through superstitious and extravathe Saviour has reserved for himself, gant notions respecting the ministry; and has never as yet delegated this and not merely for order's sake. power. The
and manner in Powers and privileges were ascribed which they are to be introduced into to the office, similar to those claimed their work in the church may be vari- by heathen priests: and this is the ous, and different under varying cir- light in which it is now regarded by cumstances ;-and such was the case the successionists. The characteristics in the earliest age of the church, ac- of their priests are very much those cording to the instances adduced in of a heathen priest, and not of a my former letter. But the practice of humble, faithful, and spiritual minisepiscopal ordination finally prevailed; ter of Christ. how soon after the apostolic age can- “ A very extraordinary importance not easily be ascertained.
is attached by these men to the two “That persons. unordained, preached sacraments; and apostolical succesand baptised in the first age of the sion is especially necessary on account church, can admit of no reasonable of these ordinances. One thing is doubt ; and they continued to do so made what Scripture does not make partially, (at least to preach,) till the it; and then another thing must necesbeginning of the third century; as the sarily be extended beyond the limits
of revelation. Thus one error intro- excellency, and, though short, yet duces another. Baptism regenerates, wonderfully comprehensive ? The and the Eucharist gives life: and then qualifications for ' rightly dividing the to administer them, there must be a word of truth;' and the conduct becommission of a singular nature from coming the gospel, are by far the the successors of the apostles ! Вар- chief and most prominent points; and tism was at first administered without there is not even a mention made this commission, and has been allowed either of baptism or of the Lord's partially to be administered in the Supper. We read nothing there of church in every age, in case of neces- the awful office of the ministry, besity, by laymen. And as to the Lord's cause ministers have to celebrate the Supper, there is no explicit evidence Eucharistic ordinance. But other on the subject; and the most probable things are there represented as rensupposition is, that it was at times dering the office awfully responsible celebrated without a minister. But it and important. Even Chrysostom in is necessary to make much of these
his day, though very
excellent in many ordinances, in order to find some things, was yet deeply tainted with plausible reason for the succession. the superstitions of his age. In his Now, if these ordinances (and in the treatise on the priesthood, what he case of baptism there can be no doubt) represents as the most awful part of were formerly administered by those the ministerial office, was the celebranot ordained, how came ordination to tion of the Lord's Supper. If it be be necessary in order to make them
so, it is very singular that Paul never efficacious, or to answer the ends de- mentions this, nor any of the apostles, signed by them? Where is the evi- while they state other things which dence for this—where is the proof to do render the ministry awfully imbe found ? It is a most extraordinary portant. To view that as the most thing, that amidst the most abundant momentous, which the Divine word materials contained in the New Testa- does not represent as such, nor introment on every subject connected with duce at all among the things that are the salvation of men, no mention momentous in the ministerial office, is should be made on a point which is a sure proof of error and delusion. now represented to be so vitally im- Following this rule of judging, we portant. It is strange, and passing shall be necessitated to cast aside, as strange, that men should deem that extravagant and erroneous, the greatest essentally necessary which God has portion of what is said by the succesnot made so in his word.
sionists. It is not the administration “Of all the things mentioned in the of the Eucharist that Paul sets forth New Testament, with regard to minis- as a matter that is momentous and ters, preaching the gospel occupies, awful, but its reception. As to the pre-eminently, the first place. What mode of celebrating it, that is, with is the sum and substance of those respect to the officiator, he says noextraordinary addresses of our Saviour, thing; but the manner of receiving it contained in the fourteenth and the is all that he speaks of. On the conthree following chapters of St. John's trary, our modern successionists dwell Gospel ? They include the main doc- almost exclusively on the former point, trines of Divine truth, which were to making that, and not the other, as the be made known by the apostles, apostle does, the great matter, without assisted by the Holy Spirit, and not a which the sacrament can be no sacraword is mentioned about either of the ment. But where learn they this? two sacraments. What are the things Not from Scripture, but from Romish dwelt on by St. Paul in his two Epistles legends and traditions. to Timothy - Epistles of unrivalled “ A great deal is made of the words,