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I might, secondly, urge the set of articles, where if an honest practice of the Christian church, man, who believes all the rest, In the first ages of Christianity a scruples any one article, phrase, serious examination always pre- or word, he is as effectually exceded the ordination. Before any cluded, as if he rejected the person could be regularly elected whole. to any clerical office in the church, “The pastors, who are to bear the electors and ordainers were their part in the public work, obliged to examine him concerning having been thus in their conhis faith, his morals, and condition sciences satisfied, that the person in life. The person elected was offering himself io ordination, is obliged to answer certain questions duly qualified for the Christian of doctrine. He was obliged to ministry, and regularly called to subscribe to a body of articles, or the full exercise of it, they pro. confession of faith, at the time of ceed at the appointed time and his ordination. The examination place to consecrate him to it, and of his morals was very strict.* to recommend him to the grace
Dr. Doddridge, in his account and blessing of God."'t of the usual methods of ordina. The same is true of the exceltion among Protestant Dissen- lent fathers of New-England. ters in England, gives the follow- We may apply to them the saying description ; “ previously to ing of Calvin respecting primithe assembly for ordination, the tive ministers ; " whereas they credentials and testimonials of understood that, when they en. the candidate are produced, if it gaged to ordain ministers, they be requested by any who are to engaged in a most important be concerned ; and satisfaction matter; they durst attempt nothas to his principles is also given to ing, but with great reverence and those who are to carry on the carefulness.” public work, generally by his Such has been the practice of communicating to them the con. the Christian church in the best fession of his faith which he has ages. And it is surely no sign drawn up; in which it is expec- of wisdom, to despise the footted, that the great doctrines of steps of Christ's flock. Christianity should be touched The general practice of enlighten. upon in a proper order, and his ed men in cases far less important persuasion of them plainly and may be mentioned as another reaseriously expressed in such son for examinations. Without a words as he judges most conveni- strict examination, a young man ent. And we generally think cannot be admitted a member of this a proper and happy medium, college. A man must pass through between the indolence of acquies- a long and minute examination cing in a general declaration of before our medical societies, in believing the Christian religion, order to obtain license to pracwithout declaring what it is appre- tise the art of healing. Our hended 10 be, and the severity of laws wisely direct, that the lowe demanding a subscription to any est class of schoolmasters shall
not be employed without inquiry believes the truths of the gospel, into their qualifications. And or loves the Redeemer. shall men be introduced into the With this is connected anothministry, an office infinitely more er consideration; that if the important than any other, with practice of examining candidater little, or no attention to their be set aside, the churches will be qualifications ? Shall the chil- in danger of being imposed upon dren of this world be wiser in by unqualified ministers. If there this respect too; than the chil. be no inquiry concerning the dren of light? Shall Christians learning, the belief, and the perguard the interests of Christ's sonal religion of candidates ; kingdom with less care than oth- those whose belief is extremely ers do their temporal interests ? erroneous, and who are destitute
The very nature of the trans- of learning and piety, may withactions, in which an ordaining out difficulty obtain ordination. council are engaged, shews the When we deny the necessity of propriety of examinations. How examination, and give up the can they, by vote, express their principle on which it rests, we satisfaction with the qualifica- open a door for the admission of tions of the candidate, when those all who apply, and practically de. qualifications have never been clare, that neither literary, morthe subject of inquiry? Is it not al, nor religious character is of presumption to take it for grant any consequence in gospel mined, that everyone who offers isters. himself for ordination, is fit for I shall only add, that a serious the ministry? Can all be consid- examination of candidates is at ered as sufficiently furnished for tended with many advantages. It that momentous work, who have has a desirable influence on the had a public education? Do not council, calling up their attenmany leave college as they en- tion anew to the great truths of tered it, “ with skulls that cannot the gospel and the interests of ceach and will not learn ?" If Christ's kingdom, and thus pregraduates are well acquainted paring them to engage with a with science, is not their conduct proper spirit in public transacoften irregular and reproachful ? tions. If the candidate give evAnd if their outward conduct is idence of being well qualified for respectable, are they not, fre- the ministry, it prepares them to quently, ignorant of Christianity, embrace him with cordial affecand visibly destitute of true godli- tion, and to live with him in the ness? With what propriety, then, most happy friendship. The or consistency, with what fidelity practice has a salutary tendency to God, or to the souls of men, respecting the people, with whom can a council proceed solemnly the candidate is connected. To to ordain one, whose preparation know that he was not ordained for the ministry has undergone rashly, but after diligent and no examination? How absurd, to prayerful examination was found embrace a man, as a gospel min- well qualified, would naturally ister, and recommend him as dispose them to receive beneht such to the people, when they from his labours. This infor have no definite evidence that he mation would prepare the way
for his general usefulness and would be a palpable infringement acceptance. The effect of the of the rights of councils, and of practice here defended, would be churches. beneficial to those who contem, How great is the criminality plate the ministry as their pro- of those, who carelessly bring fession. While its direct influ- into the sacred office, such as ence would be to prevent bad ought to have neither part nor men from seeking to intrude lot in it. They are in effect themselves into the sacred office, partakers of other men's sins. it would excite others, of a hope. They are responsible for the erful character, to pious diligence ror, the impiety, and the hurtful in completing their preparation influence of those, whom they
This subject deserves the seri, remissly introduce. They keep ous consideration of gospel min- the door of the sanctuary, and isters. When they are called to must answer to God and to the act in councils, neither love of souls of men for those whom popularity nor dread of reproach, they admit. Alas, how sunk is nor any other motive, should de- the credit and usefulness of counter them from acting faithfully. cils ; how do our churches lie “Neither friendship, nor com- mourning in the dust ; how is passion, nor interest, nor impor- the ministry divided, and its intunity, should move them to fluence dwindled almost to nothbring any into the church, who ing, through the want of vigiis not, as they firmly believe in lance and fidelity in those, who their conscience, in every respect have the keys of Christ's kingduly qualified for its service. dom. Let us, then, join with Friendship for any man, in this them, who, in this evil day, aim respect, is enmity against God. to be faithful to their trust, and Compassion to an individual is seriously guard against countecruelty to the community.”* nancing those, who are not only
Those members of councils, lax in principle, and supine in who oppose examinations, as the discharge of pastoral duty, sume what does not belong to but are the most cumbrous, opthem. It is the right and duty pressive load upon the shoulders of every member to use all prop. of the ministry. er methods to obtain satisfaction
ļ LUTHER. respecting the candidate. Shall any be required to act with blind, implicit confidence in others ? THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST, TAL Shall they be deprived of the sat
GROUND OF THE CHRISTIAN'S isfaction, which a careful examination might afford ? "Shall an BELIEVERS consider the rightimposing vote of the majority eousness of Christ, as the only keep them from making suitable foundation of their forgiveness inquiries' respecting the reli- and salvation. If he had not gious sentiments of him whom obeyed the law and suffered they are called to ordain? This death, there would have been no
way, in which pardoning mercy * Dr. Smith's Lectures on the Sa. and saving love could be exerciscred Office.
ed toward sinners. “Without
the shedding of blood is no remis- depraved hearts; to introduce sion." But since Christ hath of- believers into the presence of fered himself, a sacrifice for sin, God, and give them a place in the God can be just and yet justify kingdom of everlasting blessedhim that believeth. Believers ness. know, that the foundation, on If Christ were a mere man, which they build their hopes of there would be no real, inherent happiness, is firm and immovea- merit, or efficacy in what he did ble. But such a foundation could and suffered, any more than in not be laid, except by a self-suf- the actions and sufferings of such ficient and unchangeable Being. eminently good men, as AbraThe hope of believers rests on ham, and Paul. If only the sacChrist, the Rock of Ages. Hence rifice of a mere creature, posses. their hope may well be called, sing perfect holiness, had been “ an anchor to the soul, both sure necessary, one of the elect angels and steadfast.” But Christ could might have been designated as not be such a firm foundation of Redeemer, and the Son of God hope, were he not GOD as well spared. But all the divine as man. Our hope of pardon perfections were requisite to and salvation, must, therefore, in- qualify a being for the work of volve an unwavering confidence atonement. No being but the in the infinite power and grace Son of God, in whom dwells all of the Redeemer.
the fulness of the Godhead bodiTo illustrate and establish this ly, had sufficient power and sentiment more fully, let us at. dignity to fulfil the office of tend to the following train of re- Mediator. flections.
The objector may say, that, The obedience and sufferings although Christ were not God, of Christ derive all their merit the Father might have accepted from the union of Divinity with his sufferings, as an adequate his human nature. There is price of pardon and salvation. “one Mediator between God and This objection rests on the idea, men, the man Christ Jesus.” It that the merit, by which the sinwas necessary that he should be ner is justified, consists simply in man, that the nature, which had the will of the Father, and not, sinned, might obey and suffer. in any degree, in the dignity and Divinity is incapable of obedi- work of the Saviour. But the ence or suffering. The Son of scriptures represent this subject God, therefore, took upon him in a very different point of light. the human nature, that he might They inform us, that Christ hath obey the precepts, and suffer the appeared to put away sin by the penalty of that law, which man sacrifice of himself; that by one had broken. But Christ is not offering he hath perfected forever merely human. He is “God them who are sanctified; and that manifest in the flesh.” It was by the obedience of one many shall necessary, that he should be be made righteous. These passages God, that he might be qualified plainly teach us, that sinners are to bring in that perfect righteous- justified by virtue of the obediness through which sinners can ence and death of Christ ; that be pardoned ; to sanctify their our salvation is the effect of his
own intrinsic worth. As he has fections of Jehovah. Hence it thus merited and purchased eter- is evident, that our hope of salnal happiness for his friends, he vation must rest on the divine is represented, as bestowing it character of Christ. Without upon them by his own power, some just views of the scheme and according to his own sove- of redemption, and of the divine reign pleasure. “I give unto character of the Saviour, we canthem eternal life, and they shall not have a hope, which the gosnever perish, neither shall any pel will authorize, of enjoying . pluck them out of my hand.” éternal salvation. Upon his divine and eternal ex- They, who have had a proper istence depend their security and sense of the evil of sin and the glory. “ Because I live, ye shall strictness of the divine law, are live also.” He is the author of fully convinced that none but a eternal salvation to them who be- divine Being could make an ad-i lieve. His coming into the equate atonement. So exceed. world and suffering death, was ingly hateful is sin in the sight the consequence of his having of God, that the most exalted been appointed to the office of a creature could do nothing to proSaviour. But his appointment cure forgiveness. The divine to the work was not the ground law is so holy, so inflexibly just, of his merit. The merit of his that it would have forever predeath, and the efficacy of his vented the salvation of sinners, blood arise from his own divine unless full satisfaction had been excellence. As it is impossible, made to its injured authority. that any original merit should be. They, who are taught of God, long to a finite being ; all the clearly see, that none but a bemerit of Christ's death must flow ing of spotless purity and infinite from his divinity.
dignity could make that satisfacBy attending to the apostle's tion ; that none, but the divine reasoning, Heb. vii. we shall find, Lawgiver, could so vindicate and that he infers his ability to save honour the broken law, as to sinners from his divine perfec. render the salvation of sinners tion. By showing the superior consistent with his just and holy ity of Christ's priesthood above government. Thus their hope that of Aaron, and proving it to of being delivered from the be eternal, he establishes the guilt and punishment of sin rests doctrine of his sufficiency for entirely on the divinity of the the work of redemption. “But Lord Jesus, who made the atonethis man, because he continueth ment. forever, hath an unchangeable Let it be added, that scripture priesthood. Wherefore he is often represents the Saviour, as able to save them to the utter- being God; and always holds most, who come unto God by up, as the object of our faith, a him, seeing he ever liveth to Being of divine perfection. “I make intercession for them.” am God, and beside me there is The apostle's argument rests no Saviour. Look unto me, on the unchangeableness and and be saved. To the only wise eternity of the Redeemer ; and God, our Saviour, be glory,” &c. these are incommunicable per. But we know that sinners are