« AnteriorContinuar »
to withdraw from the Church as with those , dignities or preferments to excite ambition, who adhered, and not from any tendency in no pluralities and curacies to encourage sloth, Presbyterianism “ to enforce an iron frame- no authority or power over one another to work of uniformity upon believers.”
gratify pride, no exemption from the laboriWe object to Congregationalism because ous part, or excuse for not performing it. it repudiates in toto the benefits resulting Every minister in Scotland preaches from a State alliance; and for holding, as a twice a day, and lectures upon or expounds primary and distinctive principle, the scrip- a chapter before the morning sermon; except tural right of every separate congregation or only where, in some large parishes, there are church to maintain perfect independence in assistants or colleagues allowed. Every the government and administration of its minister is bound by his office to visit erery own affairs (a position, as we have already family in his parish, ministerially, and at shown, less accordant with scripture than least once a year to examine every examinPresbyterianism); because it recognizes no able person in his parish. Every minister superior courts-admits of no appeal from is obliged, in conjunction with his eldersthe church's decision-constitutes the entire who, with the minister, compose the Kirk members, learned and illiterate, of each Session—to take cognizance of, and hear church into a supreme court — introduces all complaints against, the morals of every laymen to the pastoral charge without ordi- | person in his parish, and to proceed judicially, nation, and without having received a proper as the case shall require. Every minister, collegiate and theological education - and likewise, is obliged to visit the sick in his because it claims infallibility by rejecting parish whenever they send to him;—nor is gradational courts of review—and for insist that easy work in the country, where the ing that the decisions of each separate church | parishes are large, and the villages included should be final.
in them remote from one another. We may, in conclusion, be permitted to Yet all this is supported and discharged quote the impartial language of Defoe, in with such courage, such temper, such steadiorder to convey a just idea of the character ness in application, such unwearied diligence, and efficiency of the Scottish Kirk. His such zeal and vigour in the work, that our words are: -“ The office of a minister of English sermon readers know little of, not the Church of Scotland is quite a differ- having the same support, and, I fear, not the ent thing from the office of à minister in same spirit to carry them through; and I England; that is to say, as it is now exe- must acknowledge, there seems to be such cuted, either in the National Church or an appearance of the Spirit and presence of among the Dissenters. Here are no drones, God with and in this church, as is not to be no idle parsons, no pampered priests, no seen in any church in the world." J. N.
| according the terms of our question. We Most bitter truth, but without bitterness.
could have wished that this debate had Nor deem my zeal so factious, or mistimed; For never can true courage dwell with them,
assumed a more abstract character; we Who, playing tricks with conscience, dare not would rather that the principles of the three At their own vices. Ye have been too long
systems of church polity had been made the Dupes of a deep delusion."
subject of debate--we believe this was con
COLERIDGE. templated in the question when first proposed, “He who believes an opinion on the authority -and each writer must feel that he has wanof others, who has taken no pains to investigate dered a little from the points at issue by its claims to credibility, nor weighed the objections declaiming so much against the imperfecacquiescence; while obloquy, from every side, is tions added to, not inherent in, his opponent's too often heaped on the man who has minutely system. Being earnest and ardent suitors searched into the subject , and been led to an op- of truth, we feel that dignity, generosity
, posite conclusion."
candour, and calmness should characterize AGAIN we desire the attention of the im- our deportment towards those who enter the partial inquirer after truth, as we farther lists to break a lance with us in honour of pursue the subject of ecclesiastical polity, our fair lady. The poetry and romance of
“ I have told
life consist in those pure emanations of intel- did not hold this doctrine, for he says, 1 Cor. lect and affection, which,“ in honour pre- iv. 17, “ Timotheus .... who shall bring ferreth one another,” and constitute the you into remembrance of my ways, which be letters-patent of the gentleman, the scholar, in Christ, as I teach everywhere, in every and the Christian.
church;" and in 1 Cor. vii. 17, “ And so orWe are exceedingly pleased that J. S, J. dain I in all churches." While it is true has raised the question, Whether "church that this question is not of the same importgovernment is not so defined in Holy Writ ance as a question respecting an essential that it must be followed, or so described that doctrine of the gospel, we find that it is of it can be said to be enjoined.” He affirms that great moment in the conservation of pure it is not so defined or enjoined; in other truth in doctrine, because in proportion as words, that the Scriptures are not to guide correct views are entertained upon ecclesiastius in matters of church polity. Now, ac- cal polity, the doctrinal truths of Chriscording to this hypothesis, no divine pattern tianity are maintained in vigorous vitality; is obligatory on Christians generally; but and departure from the apostolic model in one, they are perfectly free to follow their own conducts to and facilitates the development judgment in the inatter, and to modify the of erratic vagaries in the other. This is no government of churches, under the present mere assumption-no fiction of the imaginadispensation, as the genius of the age or tive faculty—but a fact written with suncountry may seem to suggest. Expediency beams upon every page of church history. is the only rule by which everything should We recognise the principle, that the Chrisbe settled. The discretion or wisdom of men tianity of the New Testament is fitted for must mould and shape the arrangements of every age, country, and condition of humanity; social worship. We demur to the adınission that no circumstances can possibly arise in the of expediency in matters of religion equally experience of mankind in which the gospel with its introduction into social and political of salvation shall not be applicable to the economics.* Principle and right—the em- individual man as a sinner needing salvation bodiment of principle in fact, are the only -in which it shall not be sufficient for the sources of authority in religious discipline, wants of any and every company or aggreindependent of divine authority.
gation of saved sinners. The gospel does There is an à priori argument against not, it is true, give a set treatise in theothis assumption of J. S. J., in the character logical form of the terms of salvation; neither and moral government of God, as evidenced does it give a formal constitution, drawn up in His dealings with men, and particularly with lawyer-like precision: but in both cases as exhibited in the history of the Jews. Can it gives the grand, general principles to which we think that the infinitely wise and holy men must conform, if they are to make its God should mark with the strictest precision provisions available for their particular benefit. the whole ceremonial detail of the Mosaic Were it otherwise, the gospel dispensation economy, and fail to give anything like a would be deprived of its universality of appliconstitution for the government of his Church cability. Farther, if no polity in general under the economy of grace ? Shall the principles is laid down in the New Testawhole Jewish ceremonial be minutely par- ment, but men are left to their own conticularized, while the Church of Christ is siderations of what is necessary under any confided to the erring judgment of fallible peculiarity of circumstance, the Church is man to provide rules for its conduct, laws placed, with respect to discipline, exactly in for its government, officers for its permanent the same position as it would be placed in continuance, and decree rites and ceremonies doctrine ly those persons who hold the latifor its observance? The very thought is tudinarian notion, that it is of no importance self-condemnatory, and must be rejected by what doctrines a person believes, so that he the candid and correct thinker as preposter- is conscientious! Although J. S. J., as an ously absurd, as it would make the All- Episcopalian, has adopted this assumption, wise One to attach more importance to the his friends do not feel that it is of sufficient less than to the greater. The Apostle evidently force to support their position; they are,
therefore, at very considerable pains to trace * See ante, pp. 180, 181.
their form of church government to apostolic times and scriptural origin; we accordingly prepared in a supernatural manner for their find our friend F.J. L. endeavouring (p. 208) work. We have not one iota of evidence in to establish, “after careful and anxious de- the sacred canon that they either received liberation," " that Episcopacy is of Aposto- the power to transmit their office to any suclical and Scriptural origin.' We give him cessors, or even by word or act did attempt full credit for integrity of intention in his to transmit it; and in the absence of any deliberations, but we must object to his con- evidence on these points, our reply is simply, clusions. In reply to the assertion that that all arguments grounded on apostolic " three distinct orders of ministers-episcopi, succession are utterly futile, and cannot be presbyteri, diaconi,- corresponding to the received by a “ British Controversialist.” high-priests, priests, and Levites, under the Returning, once again, to J. S. J., we agree Jewish dispensation,” are to be found as with him that his Episcopalian friend is in officers in the Christian Church, on New error respecting the analogy between highTestament authority, we have previously priests, priests, and Levites of the Jewish (p. 294) shown that presbyteri and episcopi Church, and the bishops, priests, and dea
- presbyters and bishops — are the same cons of the Episcopalian Church. We wonofficers. We further remark, that the pas- der that Protestantism has, for three centuries, sages from the New Testament, quoted by tolerated such a gross exhibition of Papacy F. J. L. at foot of p. 208, not only do not as the title priest for an ordinary pastor of prove the point for which he has produced her communion. We have always associated them, but abundantly prove the contrary, with the term priest the idea of sacrifice; viz., that presbyteri and episcopi are the and we cannot withdraw the sacrificial idea same in office and person. Especially are these from the term without denuding it of all remarks applicable to Tit. i. 5—7, “ For this significance. The anomaly to our Protestant cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest Episcopalian friends of an officiating priest set in order the things that are wanting, and and no sacrifice, must be peculiarly irksome; ordain ELDERS (presbuteros) in every city, hence we feel greater surprise that F.J. L. as I had appointed thee; . for a BISHOP should have introduced this as an argument (episcopos) must be blameless.” Herein the in favour of Episcopacy. We remind him person to be ordained and the person to be that Christ is the only High-priest of the blameless are evidently the same; to affirm Christian Church, and every individual the contrary would be an insult to common Christian is a priest to God in Christ Jesus. sense. In Acts xx. 17-28, the elders (pres- From the following remarks by F. J. L., buteros) of the Church of Ephesus are said p. 209–“I do not see how we are to exto have been made bishops (episcopous) and plain the fact that we nowhere find the are commanded by the apostle to “take heed powers”—previously referred to as prelatical to the flock;” to “feed the Church" of God. -"attributed to presbyters, especially of Again, 1 Pet. v. 1, 2, the elders (presbu- ordaining bishops, priests, or deacons,"—We teros) are exhorted by Peter, who also is an presume he is altogether ignorant of such a elder,“ to feed the flock," to "act as bishops,” passage as 1 Tim. iv. 14—“Neglect not the or do their duty as bishops (episcopountes). gift that is in thee, which was given thee by These passages show—1st. That the quali- prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of fication of an elder is precisely the qualifica- the presbytery." Here Timothy, for whom tion of a bishop; 2nd. That the duties per- F. J. L. claims a position superior to the formed by the elder are the same as performed persons who ordained him; in fact, according by the bishop; and, 3rd. That sereral bisheps to his assumption, a man receiving superare found in a single church or individual natural gifts by the hands of those very congregation of professing Christians. officers whom F.J. L. alleges have no power
Apostolic succession becomes a prop by even to ordain an ordinary bishop. Surely, which F. J. L. supports his tottering argu- this is a sad oversight in his reasoning. ment, founded upon the assumed distinction Many remarks have been made by opposing between presbyteri and episcopi. Upon th's writers upon the relative value of the Conpoint we would have it remembered that the gregational polity compared with Episcopacy apostles received their commission personally and Presbyterianism, as to the quality of from Christ himself, and were inspired and their results. One fact is worth a thousand inferences, though ever so finely drawn. We patronage; and glories in synodical action. appeal to the tables of the official report on These points are all conceded by the advoReligious Worship and Education, wherein cates of its polity—“ Aristides," J. N., and we find that 2,400,000 persons are brought “ Walter.” In all these points we believe it under the influence of the Episcopal pulpit is unscriptural. We read of no parishes or on the Sabbath day,* at an expense per territorial jurisdiction for the presbuteri or annum of about 11 or 12 millions sterling: episcopi of the New Testament; but we do while the Baptists and Independents—the read of the “ Church of God in Ephesus,” “in two chief bodies of Congregationalists—are Colosse," " the saints,” “the faithful brethfound to bring under their pulpit influence ren,” and many other similar characteristic about 900,000, at an annual expense of cer- designations. tainly not exceeding one million sterling. The Christian religion being essentially a Again, our Episcopalian friends have about personal, voluntary, subjective reality, its 940,000 children in their Sabbath schools, development in the individual, and in the while the Congregationalists have about aggregation of individuals, must of necessity 650,000 children in their Sabbath schools, be also voluntary. State endowment is there—and this with an equal disparity of means. fore, from the nature of the thing, repugnant In the presence of a fact like this, we cannot to its genus, and, therefore, contrary to the for one moment consent to trifle with the Scriptures. reader so far as to argue upon that part of The only instances we have of the appointour question which refers to the results of ment of presbyteri or episcopi in the New either system as the best evangelizer of the Testament, not from the direct choice of the great bulk of the people.
members of the Church, are appointments It is deprecatingly observed by our op- made by the apostles themselves, or by perponents, that Congregationalism is unfitted sons specially delegated for the purpose; and for association with the wealthy and the even in these cases the approbation of the noble. Upon the same ground, we observe, Churcb, and the confirmation of the choice, that the religion of Jesus is also unfitted for is desired by the apostles. Hence, as the the society of the purse-proud and the titled apostles have no successors, if they possessed of the earth. We remember that “it is as the power to appoint church officers, that easy for a camel to pass through the eye of power ceased with the apostles, unless irrea needle as for a rich man to enter into the fragable proof is shown to the contrary, which kingdom of heaven;" and if religion requires we opine is impossible, therefore, public and to be baited with heathenish baubles and papal private patronage is unscriptural. The gewgaws, before it is palatable to the diseased Church, in its collective capacity, alone posmind, we say, there is something radically sesses the elective power in the appointment wrong in the hearts of those who require of episcopi or presbyteri. From the Scripthis at her hands.
tures we gather that Christians from differChristianity is fitted for all classes and ent churches may consult upon the general every condition of society, and therefore, its wellbeing of the universal Church, but such simple ordinances, spiritual worship, and have no authoritative powers; their influence moral discipline, are most purely presented is entirely of a persuasive character, and can in the Congregational polity.
only make itself felt in so far as it is perPresbyterianism occupies the halfway. ceived by individual Christians to be in house between gospel simplicity and human accordance with New Testament authority. devices, and the mid-way between the ex- It is this peculiar element of Congregationtremes of the present debate. While it has alism which is the true conserving principle many commendable traits, it has those which, of the Christian system; and it is in proporin our opinion, destroy its claims to scrip. tion only to the measure of this principle tural origin; for instance, it claims for itself possessed by the Episcopalian and Presbyterritorial limits and jurisdiction; it admits terian Churches, that they have been preof State endowments; of public and private served and prospered. But for this principle
all Christian churches must necessarily beThe numbers given here refer to the morning come dwarfish and weak. The hard words, attendance, us being chiefly made up of regular and harsher actions, of our aristocratic friends can well be borne by us as Congregationalists. Reader, we must close, but cannot do so We have espoused truth-evangelical truth without entreating you to try the spirits, --and we must not expect more respectful whether they be of men or of God. Think treatment than the bride of our choice—she not, because a man or number of men are has ever suffered reproach and persecution, strongly condemned as holding, erroneous bnt, phenix-like, she is invulnerable, and views, that the condemnation is just, or the when thought by her opponents to be en- opinions of the condemned necessarily false. tirely consumed, she rises more vigorous Examine their opinions by the standard of and powerful, in proportion to the in- all moral and religious truth-the Word of tensity of the opposing fire of trouble and God. With respect to Congregationalism, we persecution.
have the greatest confidence that it is the
nearest approach to the scriptural idea of “No might nor greatness in mortality C'an censure 'scape ; back-wounding calumny, results, because most spiritual in its consti
church polity, and the most beneficial in its The whitest virtue strikes ; what king so strong,
tution and development. Can tie the gall up in the slanderer's tongue?".
DUGHT GOVERNMENT TO PROHIBIT THE SALE OF INTOXICATING
SEVERAL direct means have been tried for selves, and thereby encounter a storm of the abolition of our drinking customs. Tem- opposition, and possibly much pecuniary loss; perance Societies, which prohibited to their and hence, they either treat the whole quesmembers the use of spirituous liquors, at one tion with contempt, as one with which they time existed. More recently, Total Absti- have no concern, or intrench themselves benence Societies have sprung up. These asso- hind trifling fences of logic, which men easily ciations have done much good; they have rear when they have a selfish part to play. clearly shown that the safety of society con- Thus the evil of intemperance is increasing, sists in cessation from the use of intoxicants; as repeated statistical returns have shown. or, in other words, that in that direction lies Both the success of total abstinence—so far the means of cure. With untiring energy as embraced—and its want of success, arising the principles of these societies have been from the strength of the drinking habits
, pressed on the public attention. So far as more particularly from the prevalence of these have been embraced, the evils of intem- public houses, have naturally led many tenperance have been checked, -sometimes by perance reformers to turn their attention to prevention, and sometimes, though more the propriety of a law by which the outward rarely, by cure. On the other hand, the temptations to drinking would be remored. influence of the drinking customs has been So far as we can ascertain, total abstainers proved to be so strong, that the class much are almost unanimous as it regards the justice addicted to the use of intoxicants are dead and expediency of such a law, whaterer : to the moral or economical appeals of the portion of them may think of the propriety temperance reformers; or their feeble resolu- of an agitation for it at the present time; tions are readily broken, in consequence of and the opinions of those who have examined the intensity of the inward craving, and the the subject in every possible light—who have various outward temptations which exist. been long organized to oppose the evil of
The more respectable class are so fettered intemperance-and to whose endeavours the by the prevalent drinking habits, that they public are indebted for what has been already have not the moral courage to abstain them- gained must be entitled to considerable