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also be proved or tested first,” it is thought I 3. We pass on to consider the functions perthere is an allusion to a practice which pre | taining to the deacon's office, and these are vailed in ancient times (and which is still sufficiently pointed out in the reason assigned observed in some churches), of announcing in for the institution. It was to relieve the public beforehand the names of the persons apostles from the labour and responsibility of chosen, so as to give any one an opportunity serving tables; this work was consequently to of objecting if they should see cause, and if be devolved on those holding this new apno objection were brought within a limited pointment. Under this designation it is comtime, they were then allowed to enter on the mon to include the table of the Lord, the table functions of their office.
of the poor, and the pastor's table. The first 2. Consider the mode of election. They comprehends the duty of providing the comwere to be freely chosen, like all other church munion elements of bread and wine, and other office-bearers, by the suffrages of the people. things necessary for the decent and orderly Even the apostles, though divinely inspired, performance of divine worship; and Justin and having the gift of discerning spirits, would Martyr, in his “ Apology," represents the deanot interfere in the matter. They called the cons as “distributing the consecrated bread "multitude of the disciples together,” and told and wine” to the people. The second part of them to “look out” suitable persons " from their office is to provide for the relief of the among themselves.” They pointed out the poor out of the alms of the church, with a proper qualifications, and set them apart by special reference to widows, and to the cirprayer and laying on of hands, but the right cumstances of each individual case. And the of election remained with the people. And last branch of their duty includes the securing the "whole multitude" gave their votes—the of a reasonable maintenance for the pastors, choice was unanimous and when the elec so as their minds may be relieved from all tion was completed they set the persons ap anxiety respecting temporal things, and that proved before the apostles. The same order they be enabled to devote themselves to was observed in choosing Matthias as an “prayer and to the ministry of the word.” It apostle in the room of Judas. It is evident is always an ungracious task for the minister that the whole hundred and twenty united in to bring his own necessities before the people, electing the two candidates, and as the votes and it is a wise and considerate arrangement were equal, the ultimate choice was determined to make his supplies come to him through the by lot. (Acts i. 23—26.) This right of suf medium of disinterested and official persons, frage was soon lost, in the progress of cor who can urge on the church the duty of “miruption, through the ambition of the clergy, nistering to him in carnal things,” without the and the supineness and indifference of the suspicion of any personal motive or selfish people. And even in many modern Protestant end. Hence it appears that the office of deachurches the members are far from “standing con corresponded originally to that of steward fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made or treasurer, and that he was not required to them free.” In some Presbyterian congrega teach or to conduct the exercises of public tions the consistory, or session, is elected worship. Hence no mention is made in the after the manner of the old tory corporations list of qualifications above recited, as in the --that is, the minister and elders already in case of the bishop, of his being “apt to office reserve in their own hands the power of teach." (ver. 2.) No doubt, both Stephen and filling up vacancies, and consequently the Philip preached the word and wrought mirapopular voice is ignored, and those only are cles, but this, we conceive, was in virtue of appointed who are likely to be subservient to the spiritual gifts conferred on them, and was the will of the clergy. And even among Con not necessarily a part of their duty as deacons. gregationalists the apostolic rule is not always Hence it is specially noticed, of the former, observed. I remember, many years ago, when
that he was iba man full of faith and of the an appointment of deacons was about to be Holy Ghost;" and Philip is expressly called made, a worthy Nonconformist minister in han evangelist.” – Acts xxi. 8. In the London contented himself with simply read Church of England, the original design of the ing out a list of persons which he had drawn deacon's office is entirely lost sight of; he is up, to be submitted for the approval of the considered simply as a preacher, like our members. To this mode of procedure a grave licentiates or probationers, occupying the first objection was urged, on the ground that there step in the order of the ministry, with power could be no free or proper election when the to baptise, but not to administer the eucharist. persons to be chosen were already named. It And the duties of the office are devolved on was like the congè d'elire of a bishop, where church wardens, an order of persons unknown the chapter is required to go through the in Scripture. We shall never object to deamockery of electing a candidate already nomi cons preaching or conducting public worship nated by the Crown. The persons thus in cases of necessity, or in the absence of the chosen by the people were set apart “by minister, when they are able to do so to the prayer and the laying on of hands;" and there | edification of the church; but we do not conseems no good reason for departing from this sider it as a necessary part of the deacon's primitive rule in the ordination either of pas office as such, and we should concede the same tors or deacons, providing it be understood and “liberty of prophesying” to any other wellexplained that, by this act, we do not profess qualified brother. or pretend to confer any spiritual gifts, or to From the above view of the subject it impress an indelible character, but simply de appears that the office in question pertains signate, by a decent and becoming solemnity, chiefly to the things of this life, and that it in presence of the people, the objects of their does not invest the persons so constituted with choice, and implore the Divine blessing on any special claim or exclusive authority over their persons and services.
their brethren, in the nomination of pastors
or in the admission or exclusion of members them with the power of ruling elders-for -the whole fraternity of the church stands on they assign the same duties to the one, which an equal footing in this respect, and they must the Presbyterians devolve on the other, and not "give place by subjection," to the dictate of recognize the office, while they reject the others, “no, not for an hour.” Brethren of name. Indeed, both parties have gone to mature age and experience (as deacons gene extremes, in their zeal for a favourite theory. rally are) may give their advice, as those who The Congregationalists have merged the office have received mercy of the Lord to be faith of ruling elder in that of deacons, and the ful; but the ultimate decision must remain Presbyterians the office of deacons in that of with the church.
ruling elders or managers, and have allowed In the Congregational churches, certain the name deacon to fall almost into disuse. collateral duties are devolved on the deacons, Yet the office itself is clearly recognised in the which do not properly belong to the office, but Confession of Faith, and has been generally are conceded to them, from the confidence revived in the Free Church of Scotland, where generally reposed in their judgment and pru the three orders, of pastors, ruling elders, and dence; and in this way they may be considered deacons, are recognised, each holding their reas a sort of standing committee, or assessors spective places in the congregation. In the to the pastor; as, for example, conversing purer age of the Scottish Establishment, the with candidates for church communion, and deacons were considered as assistants to the reporting on their qualifications investiga elders, and, at the communion service, they ting cases of discipline, and preparing them carried the flagons to supply the sacramental for the consideration of the church-visiting cups with wine. and praying with the sick-conducting meet À difficulty still remains :--If these three ings for prayer, and superintending Sunday orders existed from the beginning, how is it schools and Bible classes ; but this is merely that mention is made in the New Testament as a point of order, or matter of convenience, of only bishops and deacons ? This is the and does not necessarily pertain to the office. case ia Philip. i. 1; and in 1 Tim. iii. To On this ground, most Presbyterian churches, account for this, we may suppose that the and some Independent congregations, recog word “elder" was used as a generic term, to nize a separate order of lay officers, called include both; and hence, when the specific ruling elders. These are regularly ordained, term is employed, both bishops and deacons and are considered spiritual men, being em are mentioned. Some arrangement of this powered to discharge all ministerial duties. kind, in the way of “ helps and governments," except preaching and administering the sacra seems indispensably necessary to relieve the ments. This distinction is founded on that pastor of the sole responsibility of governing passage in 1 Tim. v. 17, "Let the elders that the church; so as to preserve it from the rule well, be counted worthy of double caprice or rashness of some self-willed Diohonour, especially they who labour in the trephes on the one hand, and from the anarchy word and doctrine," which implies that, at and confusion of an unmitigated democracy on that time, there were elders who ruled, but the other. No prudent man would wish to did not "labour in word and doctrine." This rely on his own judgment alone, in cases of accounts for the fact that there was a plura- | difficulty, and a staff of wise and well-informed lity of elders in every church founded by the councillors (call them what you will), in apostles. We read of their " ordaining elders whose opinion he can safely confide, will serve in every church,” (Acts xiv. 23,) and “in to give weight to his decisions, and to remove every city.” (Titus i. 5.) So we read of the all reasonable ground of complaint. It is not elders in the church of Jerusalem (Acts 1 essential that a deacon should be a rich man, xv. 2, 22;) and of the elders in the church of or a learned man, or a man of refined and Ephesus (chapter xx. 17). And the apostle, polished manners, but he must be a good man, in enumerating the gifts bestowed on the showing, out of a good conversation, bis church, speaks of him that ruleth,” as well as works with meekness of wisdom." The numof “him that teacheth," and "him that giveth," ber of deacons must depend on the extent of (Rom.xii.7,8.) Now, let it be observed, that this the congregation, and on the amount of work distinction is not peculiar to Presbyterians, they have to perform. In the church of nor does it necessarily trench on the indepen Jerusalem, where the number of members was dency of churches, where the right of suffrage, large, seven were considered sufficient to meet in all matters of common interest, is reserved the emergency, and there seems to have been to the members. Dr. Owen was a decided a plurality in most of the primitive churches. advocate of Congregationalism, and yet he And this is desirable still ; for, in pecuniary strenuously contends for the order of ruling | matters, it is of importance, by mutual checks elders, as distinct from pastors and deacons, and friendly conference, to “provide for and devotes two whole chapters to it, in his honest things, not only in the sight of the 66 True Nature of a Gospel Church,” (chapters Lord, but also in the sight of men." vii. and viii.) Attempts have been made to 4. We shall now advert to the reward of the give a different turn to the expression, faithful deacon. This the apostle states, "especially those that labour in word and 1 (1 Tim. iii. 13), “For they that have used (or doctrine,” as if it referred to the amount and served) the office of a deacon well, purchase not to the nature of their work, -and the (or procure) to themselves a good degree, and meaning were," those that labour especially," great boldness in the faith which is in Christ or diligently ; but Dr. Owen clearly shows Jesus.” The office may be said to be “ well" that this is a mere evasion, and that it puts a or honourably discharged, when the deacons forced construction on the original words. act in obedience to the authority of Christ Independents, by devolving spiritual duties on with meekness, humility, and forbearance, the deacons of the churches, practically invest from love to the people, especially the poor of the flock, and with a view to the glory of with which he spake;" and when the holy God. They are worthy of their office when they martyr declared, in the face of his murderers, seek to excel in the discharge of their duty, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the · not grudging the time or labour it may Son of man standing on the right hand of require—when they are zealous in every good God.” Acts vi. 8, 10; vii. 56. work, acting as in the sight of God, and as McKnight thus paraphrases the passage, those who must give account of their steward “For they who have performed the office ship-studying to promote the comfort and of a deacon, with ability and assiduity, secure usefulness of the pastor, watching over the to themselves an honourable rank in the conduct of the members, so as to comfort, admo church, and great courage in teaching the nish, or reprove, as the case may require. Christian faith. For even the wicked must Those who act thus, "procure for themselves respect persons who show so much benevoa good degree” (bathmon kalon)—the ex lence and activity in relieving the poor, the pression is somewhat obscure-it signifies, afflicted, and the persecuted." (In log.) Thus literally, “an honourable step," or rank, and the words of Solomon may be understood : is supposed to refer to the more elevated seats “The righteous,” the man of upright and conappropriated to the leaders of the congrega sistent character, "is bold as a lion.” tion, or rulers of the synagogue. The expres It is a strange conceit of Mosheim, that sion is evidently metaphorical, and, according “the young men," who were employed in to some, intimates that those who had acted carrying out the bodies of Ananias and Sapfaithfully in the inferior office of deacon, were
hira (Acts y. 6. 10), for burial, were likely to be promoted to the more honourable | “deacons" of the church at Jerusalem. That and responsible office of presbyter or bishop they were servants or attendants, employed in and it is certain that, in ancient times, dea the more menial duties, is probable enough; cons were sometimes chosen to the pastoral and that they are called the young men” (koi office. “Thus," as McKnight observes, neoteroi), not so much in respect of age, as of "Eleatherus, bishop of Rome, before his pro “their office or functions,” may be readily motion, was a deacon of that church in the allowed; for both Greeks and Romans called time of Anicetus." This, however, must de their slaves or servants, boys (paides and pueri), pend on their fitness for the work in other whether old or young; as the French apply respects; and, no doubt, it is on this principle the term garçon, now, to all servants or that the clergy of the Church of England are waiters. But how they could be called deafirst admitted to deacon's orders, before being cons, in the proper or official sense of that advanced to the higher office of presbyters. word, before the institution of that office, we But the phrase may signify merely that the cannot understand; it would involve an obactive and faithful deacon will procure for vious anachronism. He also supposes that himself an eminent place among his brethren; they were entrusted with the distribution of he will be looked up to as an example to the the church's alms, and that, being native Jews, flock, he will secure the confidence and affec they were partial to the widows of that party ; tion of the people, and enjoy the prayers and l and that it was in consequence of the murmurblessings of the poor and afflicted, whom he ing that thus arose, that the “ seven other has relieved and visited ; and, though the deacons were chosen,” (all of whom he mainoffice, as administered among us, is in general tains were foreigners, except one,) on behalf of gratuitously performed, he shall in nowise the Hellenistic or Grecian Jews. But this is lose his reward, but shall receive the appro to introduce confusion into the narrative; for bation of the righteous Judge, and shall be it is evident that the twelve had taken on welcomed, as a good and faithful servant, into themselves the management of the daily ministhe presence and joy of his Lord. “Who, tration, and that it was in consequence of the then, is that faithful and wise steward, whom implied reflection against them (not on any his lord shall make ruler over his household,
inferior class,) that the seven were appointed, to give them their portion of meat in due which was obviously the institution of a new season? Blessed is that servant whom his
office. "The young men" seem to have corlord, when he cometh, shall find so doing." responded rather to the doorkeepers or sextors Luke xii. 42, 43. To such, especially, may be
of the present day. (See Mosheim, Cent. i., applied the words of the Saviour, “I was an Part II., chap. 2, sect. 10, note.) hungered, and ye gave me meat; thirsty, and Dr. Owen puts the question, “whether a ye gave me drink; a stranger, and ye took me deacon may be dismissed from his office, after in; naked, and ye clothed me, sick, and ye he has been solemnly set apart to it by visited me; in prison, and ye came unto me; prayer ?” The answer seems obvious. If for inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of bishops and deacons be the regular and perthe least of these my brethren, ye have done manent office-bearers in a church, they stand it unto me.” Matt. xxv. 35–40.
in the same relation to it; and the same rule They further procure for themselves great applies to both. In general, I should say that boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus;" they ought to be chosen, ad vitam aut culpam ; they will be able to defend it against cavillers there is no reason why an incompetent or inand unbelievers, and will be prepared to suffer efficient deacon should be retained in his office, for it. We have an example of this boldness any more than an incompetent minister. But in the case of Philip, when he "went down to į as it is not every little hindrance or difficulty the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto that will justify a person in refusing to accept them,” (Acts viii. 5); and especially in the the deacon's office, when unanimously called case of Stephen, when “full of faith and to it by the suffrages of his brethren, neither is power, he did great wonders and miracles a church warranted in depriving him of it, for among the people,” and his adversaries “were every trifling fault or infirmity ; but, as a not able to resist the spirit and the wisdom ( body, we have no need of lessons on the sub
ject of depositions or removals—we have enough of these, in all conscience, in the case both of pastors and deacons, as the annals of our churches testify. Our people have more need to be reminded of the apostolic injunction, “We beseech you, brethren, to know (or acknowledge) them that labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake; and be at peace among yourselves." 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. To make the office annual, as some propose, and to have a new election every year, is to loosen the bond of union between the people and their office-bearers—to keep the churches in a state
of constant agitation, and to assimilate oar institutions to those modern societies, the rules of which are founded more on the principles of worldly policy or expediency, than in accordance with the statutes of the kingdom of Christ.
The reader will find an excellent discourse on the deacon's office (now, I fear, out of print), preached by the late Dr. Robert Winter, before an association of ministers and churches in London, 7th March, 1822. There is also a judicious tract on the same subject, marked No. 5, in the Congregational Union Series. Redcar.
THE SUBJUGATION OF ENGLAND. THROUGHOUT the Papal world, the sub-1 more become the home of thralls, the jugation of England is a mere question house of bondage ! Protestants have just of time. They have long been praying, read an astounding article in the that is, counting beads about it; and Rambler, one of the most intelligent they have preached as well as prayed. | organs of Popery in England, avowing, The difficulty, too, of the enterprise is with unusual candour," the deepest properly estimated. Let us hear Cardi hostility to the principle of religious nal Wiseman :
liberty," as having "never given the "If ever there was a land in which shadow of a sanction to the theory of “ work was to be done, and perhaps civil liberty ;” informing its readers that “ much to suffer, it is here. I shall not the Roman Catholic who pretends to " say too much, if I say that we have to the contrary, and pours forth liberalism “ subjugate and subdue, to conquer is not talking Catholicism, but Protes" and rule an imperial race; we have to tantism and nonsense; that, “ religious “ do with a will which reigns through liberty, in the sense of a liberty pos“out the world as the will of old Rome sessed by every man to choose his own “ reigned once; we have to bend or religion, is one of the most wicked delu6 break that will, which nations and sions ever foisted upon this age by the “ kingdoms have found invincible and father of all deceit;" that “the name “ inflexible. We have to gather for of liberty, except in the sense of a per“ this work the rough stones of this mission to do certain acts, ought to be “ great people, and to perfect them as banished from the domain of religion ;" “ gems for the sanctuary of God. It that “none but an atheist can uphold " is good for us to be here, because a the principles of religious liberty;" “ nobler field could not be chosen than designates as damnable Calvinism and “ England on which to fight the battle Anglicanism, as moral sin, like murder “ of the church. What Constantinople, and adultery;" and very candidly fore“ and Ephesus, and Africa were to the warns us that were we in a minority, if “ heresies of old, England is to the last, not in numbers, yet in power, the Ro“ complex, and manifold heresy of mo manist would, if expedient, imprison, “ dern times. Were it conquered in banish, fine, or possibly even hang us. “ England, it would be conquered “ But,” adds the writer, “ he would never “ throughout the world. All its lines tolerate you for the sake of the glorious “ meet here, and therefore in England principles of civil and religious liberty.” “ the church of God must be gathered The candour of the whole article is " in its strength."
equalled only by the audacity of its " To conquer and rule" England, that enunciation in the face of a people on is the mission of Rome! Of all the whose bounty and forbearance they arrogant language that has ever met fatten and thrive, but whom they our eye, this is the most unblushing and execrate, and, fiend-like, are eager once audacious. The object once realized more to subjugate to papal tyranny, and we are undone ! England, the land of whom, with boasting insolence, they the free, the region of glory, will once premonish; as expecting one day to
wield the civil and ecclesiastical power i Oxenham, M.A., Scholar; F. R. Weggof vengeance inherent to their boasted
Prosser, Esq., B.A.; Robert Simpson, Esq. infallibility.
Merton College.—Ven. Archdeacon ManAs Christians, we would not infringe
ning, M.A., late Fellow; James R. Hope, a hair's breadth on their liberties, civil
Esq., M.A., late Fellow; Rev. E. S. Bath
hurst, M.A., late Fellow; Rev. J. H. Pollen, or sacred; as Protestant Christians, we M.A., Fellow. would not assail them but on the basis Exeter College, Rev. J. B. Morris, M.A., of fair argument, and in tbe pursuit of Fellow; Rev. F. S. Bowles, M.A., Fellow ; J. the inquiry, "What is truth?” as
D. Delgairns, Esq., M.A., Rev. E. E. ÉstBritish Christians, whose fathers suf
court, M.A.; Nath. Goldsmid, Esq., M.A.; fered in anguish, and shed their best
Rev. Danvers Clarke, M.A.; L. M. Mackenzie,
Esq., B.A.; Rev. Ć. Cox, B.A.; Rev. c. blood to rescue us from that worse than
Thomas, B.A.; Rev. A. ' Dayman, B.A.; all tyrannies——the Papacy-we would Walter Buckle, Esq.; W. Lockhart, Esq.; T. not deserve our liberties were we to H. King, Esq. lend a helping hand to the jesuitical Oriel College.--Rev. J. H. Newman, B.D., intrigues by which, with characteristic
Fellow; Ven. Archdeacon Wilberforcé, laté effrontery, they aim at their subversion;
Fellow; A. Christie, Fellow; Rev. H. J.
Coleridge, Fellow; Rev. James Orr, B.A.; —and as claimants of equal rights, we Rev. S. P. Rooke, M.A. ; Rev. Daniel Parsons, enter our solemn protest against that M.A.: Rev. C. B. Bridges, M.A.; Rev. F. compulsive principle that would, in a R. Neve, M.A.; Rev. G. D. Ryder, M.A. ; taxational shape, or from the public
Rev. H.' W. Wilberforce, M.A.; Rev. R. revenue, compel either Romanists to
Ward, M.A.; Rev. R. Gordon, M.A.; R.
Williams, Esq., M.A.; Rev. J. R. Shortland, pay for our religion, or compel us, in
M.A.; Rev. R. Simpson, M.A.; Wm. Monviolation of conscience, to support
sell, Esq. ; Rev. H. M. Walker, B.A. theirs. Our principles are directly Queen's College.-F. C. Ellis, Esq; Walter antagonistic as Popish against Protes Wortman, Esq. tant. On equal ground we have no New College.-Nicholas Darnell, Esq., M.A., fear, for “ great is the truth, and it must Fellow. prevail.” On the compulsory Church Lincoln College.-Robert Walker, Esq. and State principles alone can might
All Souls' College. Rev. J. Wynne, B.C.L. ; overcome right, and “ truth fall in our
Rev. E. B. Dean, D.C.L. streets." From that position, therefore,
Magdalen College. Rev. R. Waldo Sibit becomes a sacred duty, by every just
thorpe, B.D., Fellow; Rev. W. Palmer,
M.A., Fellow; Rev. Bernard Smith, late and constitutional means, to exclude Fellow; Rev. W. Wheeler, B.D., late Fellow; that intolerant and persecuting power. Rev. E. Coffin, M.A., Demy; Rev. J. G. Wen
Few understand the true state of the ham, B.A., Demy. case. The Church is full of Popery. Brazenose College.- Rev. J. Walken, M.A.; Secession does not signify purgation : it
Rev. H. Formby, M.A.; Rev. E. Caswell, is only a dislocated part of a greater
M.A.; Rev. C. B. Garside, M.A.; Rev. G.
Case,' M.A.; Rev. R. J. Butler, M.A., Rev. whole: yet that secession is of great
W. H. Scott, Fellow; Rev. R. Stanton, 'B.A.; value as serving to reveal the true state Rev. Joshua Dixon; Rev. R. K. Sconce, of things. Individuals excite little B.A.; J. Leigh, Esq.; T. F. Wetherell, Esq.; notice; the aggregate is appalling. D. C. Lathbury, Esq., B.A. Here is the contribution from Oxford
Corpus Christi College. - Rey. R. Gell alone.
Macmullen, B.D., Fellow; Rev. J. S. Northcote, M.A., late Fellow; Rev. T. Meyrick,
M.A. SECEDERS FROM OXFORD TO ROME.
The following is a list of members of the In the days of our fathers, such things University of Oxford, who have seceded to were not even dreamt of. Among the the Church of Rome :
foregoing, a conspicuous figure is made University College.- Rev. FW. Faber,
by the sons, the sons-in-law, and chapM.A., late Fellow; Rev. J. C. Algar, M.A., Fellow; Rev. J. C. Robertson, M.A.; Rev. W.
lains of bishops: only mitres and emoluMaskell, M.A., Examining Chaplain to the
ments have served to anchor fast the Bishop of Exeter ; Rev. W. Anderdon, M.A. bishops themselves. The calamity is
Baliol College. — Rev. W. G. Ward, M.A., not that these have come out, but that Fellow ; Rev. F. Oakeley, M.A., Fellow; Rev. multitudes of the same stamp remain G. Talbot, M.A.; Rev. J. M. Capes, M.A.; |
behind. The matter is deeply serious, G. Tickell, Esq., M.A., Stowell Civil Law Fellow; Rév, J. 'Plummer, M.A.; E. R. P.
and ought, without loss of time, to be Bastard, M.A.; Rev. E. Walford, M.A., Scho
dealt with. The bishops are traitors to lar ; C. Cholmondeley, Esg.; "Rev. H. N. I their church and the nation !