« AnteriorContinuar »
at Jerusalem at that season, manag- ing the elders, as I have hinted ed the affairs of collection and dis- before ; nor in affairs of this kind tribution at first. Acts iv. 35. of the biggest moment, ought any “ The disciples brought the mo. thing to be determined by elders ney and laid it down, at the and deacons, without the cogniapostles' feet, and there was a dis- zance and approbation of the tribution to every one according to church, for in these temporal things their need.” But, Acts vi. 1. 2. we are all but stewards of what the “When the disciples were multipli- church intrusts us with. ed,” the elders could not take care 3. Hence perhaps we may borof all the poor ; therefore the order row another argument for the ex. of deacons was instituted in the tent of the deacon's care, that is, next verse ; and we find in Acts that it reaches to all those things xi. 30. that the elders, or minis- of a temporal nature, wherein the ters, were not utterly divested of brethren of the church may help all power or care of the contribu. the elders; for this is the very detions, for Paul and Barnabas them- sign of the deacon's office, lest the selves received the contributions elders, or ministers of the church, of the church at Antioch, to be dis- might be too much interrupted in posed of to the poor saints in Ju- their continual attendance on the dea: And Acts xii. 25. " Bar. word and prayer; and especially nabus and Saul are said to return where there are no ruling elders from Jerusalem, having fulfilled chosen to assist the pastor or teachthis service, thv draxoviav, this work er, in managing church affairs, the of a deacon," as it is in the origin- care of the deacons seems still to al. So that as the ruling elders be more extensive for the help of probably are helps in government, the pastor. And perhaps the word as the teachers are helps in doc- helps, 1 Cor. xii. 28, may bave trine and catechising, so the dea some reference to these offices of cons are helps to the pastor in the ruling elders and deacons. management of all the outward and Thirdly. The duration of this temporal affairs that relate to the office. Doubtless it was designed church's welfare. Now if these to continue througout all ages of things are so, the following conse- the church, which appears from quences will arise.
these two reasons: 1. That in churches which are 1. The objects of their care alvery small, there is no absolute ne ways continue. “ The poor ye cessity of such officers, as ruling have always with you." John xii. elders or deacons ; for the pastor 8. And ye shall always have them may perform all the services neces- to exercise your charity and comsary in that church, with some very passion. Deut. xv. 11. And in little assistance from the brethren large churches the temporal affairs at such special occasions, wherein thereof will be too heavy a burden his own modesty may excuse him, for the ministers to sustain, and or his other labours prevent him. therefore they will need the asIt is plain the deacons were not sistance of deacons. Besides, the chosen, till disciples were multi- provision for their own support, plied.
and for the table of the Lord, will 2. As pastors and ruling elders be always necessary, while we min. are not utterly divested of the care ister before the Lord in garments of the poor by the institution of of flesh, and while the table of the deacons, so the deacons ought not Lord must be furnished with bread to determine any thing of consider and wine, and other necessaries, ir able importance, without consult- order to participate thereof.
2. They are mentioned by the from the one, and distribute to the apostle Paul, as stated officers of other. They should also be perthe churches, and directions given sons whose temper is compassionconcerning their character, their be ate, and who have as it were a nathaviour, and management, as there ural care for the good of the church. is concerning other standing offi- and such as have some leisure cers and affairs of a church. hours, and who are not so over
It may be added also, that if whelmed with the cares and conthey were thought necessary to the stant business of this life, but they primitive churches, in the age of may now and then devote their miracles, and the age of love, when thoughts, and their hours, to the God took special care of his minis- service of the church of Christ. ters, and excited all the members 2. They must be proved before of a church, to a mutual care of they are fixed in this office. 1 Tim. one another, and of the poor, much
nd of the poor, much ii. 10. I do not conceive this to inmore necessary are these officers tend their management of the deain all the following ages, when con's office, by way of experiment ministers must acquire and improve for a year or two; but rather a fartheir gifts by hard study, and can- ther character of the persons chonot maintain themselves by the sen. Let them be such as are work of their hands, and when the of some considerable standing in charity and mutual care of church Christianity, whose character ard members waxes cold, and need conversation have been proved and some persons to be appointed for found blameless, and fit for such this very business.
an office. It seems to signify tho Fourthly. The way of their con- same with that character of a stitution, or how persons are to be bishop, verse 6. " That he must invested with this office ; which not be a novice,” that is, not one seems to be performed by these that is lately converted, or lately five things.
received into the Christian church. 1. By inquiring amongst the 3. They must be chosen by the members of the church, who come church, Acts vi. 3. “Brethren, nearest to the characters that are look ye out among you seven men,” given of a deacon, Acts vi. 3. &c. The pastors, or elders must “ Men of honest report, full of the notchoose them without the church, Spirit, and of wisdom." 1 Tim. ij. for the apostles themselves, who 8. “ Grave, not double-tongued, were inspired, would not determine not given to wine, not greedy of the persons, but left the church to filthy lucre, holding the mystery of choose them, to show us the stated the faith in a pure conscience." method of choosing ordinary offiUnto these I might add that pru- cers in a church. dence will direct us to choose such 4. They must accept of the call persons who are not very poor, lest of the church, and that freely, and the stewardship of the church's they must solemnly devote themmoney should be a temptation to selves to the service of Christ and them. Not mean or despised in the church. For all the subjects the church, lest they want due and servants of Christ in his visicourage and sufficient influence up. ble kingdom must be voluntary, on their brethren for the manage- and the office of a deacon must be ment of their office. And they undertaken “ willingly, and not by should be persons capable of ad. constraint,” even as the office of a monishing the rich, and of comfort. bishop, 1 Pet. v. 2. ing the poor, even as their business 5. They must be devoted and is to converse with both, to receive separated to this work by the so
lemn prayers of the church, and separation to an office without any seeking the divine benediction up- extraordinary gifts conferred, or an on them in the discharge of their inspired and effectual benediction office. So were Paul and Barnabas given by an inspired person. There. separated to the work of the minis- fore I cannot conceive it necessary try amongst the gentiles, Acts xiii. to be now practised; for if it had 2. 3. And so the deacons to their been necessary, surely there would office. Acts vi. 6.
have been some more certain diHere note, that the elder, or rection and command for it. elders of the church, ministers and But since there is so much colteachers, are to be the chief agents our given to it by some examples in this affair. So you find the or expressions in Scripture, where apostles and teachers were the we cannot certainly prove that exchief agents in the two texts just traordinary gifts were conferred, cited: and as ministers may pro- we leave every church, and every nounce a benediction, or blessing elder, to their own liberty of opin. in the name of our Lord Jesus ion and practice ; and those that Christ, so perhaps here it may be will impose hands in such a way of proper for the minister to pro- benediction, upon any chosen offnounce them blessed, if they faith- cers in a church, shall never be fully perform this office, as well as censured by me, nor dare I proto pray for a divine blessing upon nounce it idle or unlawful. Yet them.
still I think, if there be any elder or The great dispute and inquiry, elders, in that particular congregawhether imposition of the hands of tion to which they belong, these elders in this benediction, is now are the most proper persons to necessary, as in the primitive times, perform such a ceremony. may be thus resolved: In many I would add here, that as there Scriptures, where imposition of were many sorts of consecration of hands is mentioned, there were old in Jewish times, by washings, extraordinary and miraculous gifts sprinklings, water, fire, &c.; in conferred. You find this in Ste- the New Testament things are said phen and Philip, two of the first to “be sanctified by the word and deacons, and you frequently find prayer," i Tim. iv. 5. And therethe Holy Ghost conferred on men fore some useful instructions and by this ceremony, Acts viii. 17, exhortations from the word of God, 18. and chapter ix. 17-19. Nor seem very proper at the consecracan I find one plain and cer- tion of a bishop, or of a deacon, as tain instance of hands imposed in well as prayer.- Watt's Works, the primitive churches, where we Vol. VI. are sure it was but an ordinary
Letters on Clerical Manners and ing a popular accomplishment,
Habits ; addressed to a Student these gave themselves assiduously in the Theological Seminary at to the subject ; and truly, if any Princeton, N. J. By Samuel thing could have cured Walker MILLER, D. D., Professor of Ec- himself of his own notions of orthoclesiastical History and Church epy, it must have been the attempts Government, in the said Semin- of these pupils. Very similar, we ary. New-York : G. & C. Car- imagine, would be the success vill. pp. 476.
which would attend a formal at
tempt to teach politeness from a The table of contents to this text-book. It is not a science to book presents us with such an as- be understood by propositions. He semblage of particulars, that to re- who has not acquired something of view it in detail would be to write it from early discipline and from obanother volume. Under the two servation in the world, will hardly words, “ manners" and “habits,” learn it theoretically in his study. the author discourses not only of Though he con over all the treathe characteristics of the clown and tises he can collect together--if he the gentleman, but of the ro tav of carry the sloven into his chamber, the clerical profession,- from its whatever else he may come out of humblest parochial duties up to the it-whether a precisian, or a fop, highest seat of presbyterian dignity or an automaton,-it is altogether -should his pupil one day be ele- probable he will not come forth the vated to it-the moderator's chair gentleman. Let, for example, one of the General Assembly. Amidst of those unpolished and unpolishathis variety, therefore, we shall pass ble graduates in divinity, who somealong lightly, in the track of the times come abroad, the unjust reauthor, pausing only here and there, proach of our theological seminawith a passing reflection.
ries, to reform the world, who themIn his introductory letter, Dr. M. selves are not to be reformed, learn exhibits the importance of his sub- from Dr. M.'s book, that the approject, and combats the prejudices priate manners of a clergyman conwhich exist in many ininds against sist in these particulars; namely, any attempt to discuss it. We “dignity, gentlencss, condescenhave none of the particular preju- sion, affability, reserve, and unifordices which he remarks upon. We mity." You have given him the apprehend, however, as indeed our theory, but you have by no means author does, that no person will be conformed him to the practice. come truly polite from books mere. You have perhaps not even given ly. Every well bred man has ac- him any tolerable idea of these qualquired his manners, as he has his ities. For aiming at dignity, he pronunciation, from converse with becomes perchance forinal,--at society, and not from written rules. gentleness, he becomes tame or feWe once witnessed the endeavors minine,-at affabilty, he exercises of a doctor in divinity to discipline himself in bows and smiles,--and a class of students in Walker's pro- worst of all, aiming at condescennunciation. The least ingenious, sion, he puts on that graciousness and least observing, were in this of manner which is more provoking department the most docile of his than arrogance itself. Some peopupils. Under the idea of acquir. ple are never so repulsive as when they condescend—whose look and The minister of Jesus is the resmanner say, see how obligingly senger of heaven, sent to exert a I can stoop to your condition. heavenly influence on his fellowAnd herein perhaps is the chief men; and the more he corresponds objection which some feel to in manner to the spirit of the gosworks of this class--that while pel, or to the example of its first they are not intended for the well preachers, adding to the affectionbred, the uncouth and clownly will ateness of John the ingenousness make but a perverted use of them. of Peter, and the manliness of Still, we are not of those who dis. Paul, the more will he make his card treatises on manners altogeth- heavenly influence felt; while by er. We believe they may be, -- a manner the reverse of this he not we think the one before us will be, only looses his own personal infiu.
-of considerable utility to the ence, but he offends his sacred world. A number of specific pre- office; through him 6 the ministry cepts may be given, and a number is blamed." of specific errors pointed out, res- By “good manners" Dr. M. pecting the proprieties of life, in means "those manners which regard to which the reader may ex. Christian purity and benevolence amine himself, and finding himself recommend, and which, where at fault touching these, he will be those graces reign, they will ever put upon the observation of his own be found substantially to produce ;" manners, and of his fellow-men's and he adopts the sentiment of about him, and will thus find him. Witherspoon, that “true religion self in the right way to improve- is not only consistent with, but nement. This, books may do, and cessary to the perfection of true this is the humble office” Dr. M. politeness.” Piety is favorable to " assigns to this little volume:" politeness on every account eren
The value of an attractive man- taking the world's standard of good ner is, in some degree, universally breeding. It promotes simplicity, acknowledged. Even the vulgar, which is opposed to pedantry and while they admire a genteel man- affectation of every kind ; it ension, do at the same time secretly joins sincerity, the true quality of regard with a more invidious ad- which those often hollow pretenmiration, the refined manners of its sions which the world calls “civiliinhabitants. And all men, as uni. tes” are but the counterfeit ; it in. versally as they possess a sensibility culcates modesty, teaching us to to the admiration or the satire of esteem others better than our. their fellow men, though with ex- selves, and is thus opposed to an artremely diverse notions of proprie- rogant or disrespectful manner tow. ty, do endeavour in their own way, ards others; it destroys pride, to recommend themselves by means which either makes us disagreea. of their address.
ble for our self-complacency, on To a minister of the gospel, good the one hand, or else, on the other, breeding is peculiarly important. causing us to be too solicitous for When he, the business of whose the respect of men, puts us ill at life brings him into the society of ease in their society ;-pride, in its all men, that he inay win all to various modifications of superciliChrist, disgusts the refined by his ousness, vanity, and false diffidence, coarseness, or repels the simple by is the source of more offences against his preciseness, or scandalizes the good manners than any other feelserious by his levity, or offends all ing of the human heart ;-it proby his disregard of the proprieties motes cheerfulness and affability, of life, he is eminently unhappy. in the same degree that it promotes