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est effort. The manner of handling the subject was strikingly moderate and as charitable as any man could reasonably desire. Supporting the doctrine of the invalidity of ordination by presbyters, and the validity of episcopal ordination alone, the author proceeds in maintaining the argument without uncharitable reflections; and when he condemns, does it in the mildest language, and often or always with expressions of good opinion of the motives of the opposite party. If there is any thing offensive to any one, in the book, it is a quotation—and quotations a man is bound to state as they are stated by the author from whom they are taken. To do otherwise, to change language, to curtail, to omit material expressions, without informing the reader, is to act corruptly, and is so esteemed by all men of letters and justly so.
The argument itself is exceedingly strong and in the language of a gentleman of this place in conversation with me, it is the best array of the question, perhaps, any where to be found in the same compass,
The strength of the direct argument for the doctrine, and of that indirect one, growing out of the evil consequences of schism, or division from the church, contained in some of the following sermons, is such, that I was compelled to say to myself; if these facts are so, this doctrine is the truth. Uneasiness now sprung up in my mind. The question arose, What if it be true? Can you leave your friends, your intimate associates in what has engaged so much of your attention, your efforts, your ardent desires for eighteen years, and go to a people who, prejudice whispered, are no people? The answer of conscience was, If it be the truth, embrace it, and leave the consequences to Him, who revealed his will to man for his guidance.
The question now was, Is this doctrine true? To determine this without delay, I sought information from ministers of the principal denominations involved in the doubt as to the validity of Presbyterian ordination, viz. the Presbyterians, the Methodists, and Baptists. With one consent they all referred me to Miller's Letters on this subject. This book I immediately obtained-Emory and Bangs were also mentioned and were likewise obtained.
Meeting Dr. Chapman in the street, I inquired of him also what were the standard works on this controversy. He also mentioned Miller-and stated that Bowden had answered him. He also men. tioned Lord King (by whom Mr. Wesley was influenced,) and
Slater's Original Draught in answer to King, as well as Potter on Church Government and Hooker's work.
I immediately commenced reading Miller with great attention, read over and over the arguments respecting the order of the Church in the time of the Apostles and for centuries afterwards, with his quotations from such of the fathers as could be procured conveniently—and with regard to those which I had not, I was enabled to form a very good idea from comparing him with Bowden. Thus, if he quoted a passage from an author which I had not the means of consulting, Bowden was examined to see what reply was made; if admitted by him, it could not be questioned; if not ad. mitted, Miller's reply to Bowden's answer was examined; and if necessary Bowden's rejoinder to Miller's reply. So that from the two works of each, was not a difficult matter, with care, to make out what was agreed to by both these able disputants, and what was asserted, but, when answered, not maintained in the re: ply, and therefore given up: in short it was not difficult to get at the truth.
The result of the whole investigation, after six weeks close in: quiry, was a thorough conviction of the truth of the doctrine that Presbyterian ordination is unauthorized by scripture and therefore entirely invalid.
In order that those of my friends and others into whose hands this pamphlet falls, without having it in their power to consult the books above mentioned, may be able to judge of the validity of the reasons on which rests the conclusion I have come to, I propose to make some remarks on the argument of Dr. Miller, the statements he has advanced, and the manner in which he has answered the arguments of the Episcopal writers and close with a condensed statement of facts showing the invalidity of Presbyterian ordination.
The argument of Dr. Miller consists of the four following positions:
“ That Christ gave but one commission for the office of the Gospel ministry, and that this office, of course, is
“ 'That the words Bishop, and Elder or Presbyter, are uniformly used in the New Testament as convertible titles for the same office.
“That the same character and powers which are ascribed, in the sacred writings, to Bishops, are also ascribed to Presbyters; thus plainly establishing the identity of order, as well as of name. And finally,
* That the Christian Church was organized by the Apostles after the model of the Jewish Synagogue, which was unquestionably Presbyterian in its form.
“ [f these four positions (he says) can be established, there will remain no doubt on any candid mind, how the question in dispute ought to be decided.” [Miller's Letters, p. 28.]
The first of these positions contains a proposition and an infer
The truth of the proposition is granted. It is true that Christ gave but one commission for the office of the Gospel ministry: but the inference is denied; it is not true that the office of course is
The inference is contrary to the plain facts of the New Testament. Without going further into the controversy, on this branch of it, than is necessary for the purpose of showing that there is more than one office, suffice it to say that, besides the Apostolic office, plain directions are given in the first epistle to Timothy respecting the qualifications of bishops or presbyters and deacons; and the latter are mentioned in scripture as ministering in the word and baptizing.
Thus when, in consequence of the great persecution of the Church "at Jerusalem, the disciples were scattered abroad, “ Philip, (the deacon,) went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them." In the same chapter of the Acts it is stated, that Philip also preached Jesus to the Æthiopean, and baptized him. The same Philip is in another place called an evangelist,f literally a bearer of good news, or of the Gospel.
It is evident therefore that there were, besides the apostolic, at least two other offices in the ministry, those of the presbyters and the deacons; and the matter of fact is opposed to the truth of the inference of Dr. Miller: and that inference being the point upon which his whole argument turns or rests, and being unfounded and contrary to plain facts, the argument built upon it falls to the ground.
The second and third positions, that the names, bishop and elder, were names of the same office, no one disputes—it is not even the question in dispute--the question is whether or not there was in the Church in those times an office superiour to these presbyters or bishops, with power to appoint them, to receive and try charges against them, and to rebuke and reprove them publicly if they sinned.
*Acts, viii, 5.
Acts, viii, 35-38.
Acts, xxi, 8.
If any one has any doubt on this subject, let him turn to the first epistle to Timothy and see what power he had over these presbyters or bishops.
Paul had been in Ephesus preaching and disputing daily for three years,* when he determined to go to Macedonia, Greece, Jerusalem and Rome ;t and besought Timothy, his constant companion for several years; to abide still at Ephesus;& and that he might know how he ought to behave or conduct himself in the Church, hė wrote, he tells him,|| this epistle. In it lie gives him sundry directions as to doctrine, and as to his conduct towards all the members of the Church, male and female, old and young, rich and poor, in and out of office. He tells him what kind of men will suit for the office of presbyter and what for that of deacon,** and warns him to lay hands suddenly on no man;tt if the elders rule well, they were to be honoured; if they were accused, he was not to receive the accusation without two or three witnesses, and if they sinned, he was to rebuke them before all, that OTHERSalso may fear; and Paul charges Timothy before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect Angels to observe these things, without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.88
Here Paul manifestly shows that Timothy is to be the judge and punisher if these presbyters sin; but if Timothy act partially there is no redress, and the appeal of Paul is to God, there being no human authority over him: and seeing that his charge is so important, and that Timothy is but a young man, he charges him solemnly several times to do his duty, and uses these most emphatic words, “I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession, that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, UNTIL THE APPEARING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.” | ||
It will subsequently appear that there is evidence in the Acts to shrow that Timothy continued in Ephesus in this charge, five years and a half at least: how much longer is uncertain.
The argument of Dr. Miller on the fourth position consists of an attempt to show the analogy between the Christian Church and the Jewish Synagogue with respect to name, mode of worship, titles of officers, their character, duties and powers, and the mode of ordaining officers. On the other hand, the Episcopal writers contend that the analogy is stronger between the Christian Church and the Temple worship, its officers, &c; and for this they bring the most express declaration of the Christian Fathers. Thus Jerome, on whose evidence Dr. Miller rests with great confidence, asserting that it is decisive in his favour, on this point says, “We know that what Aaron and his Sons were, that the Bishop and Presbyters are." (Epist. ad Nepot, see Bowden, vol. 1. p. 6.]
*Sno Acts, xis, particularly verses 8, 9, 10; xx, 31. Acts, xix, 21. Acts, xvi, kic. $1. Tim. i, 3. li. Tim. iii, 14, 15. **1. Tim. iii. 11. Tim, v, 22. THE REST: see inore of this bereafter. Vgl. Tim. v, 17-21. 11. Tim. vi, 13, 14.
It is however useless to enter upon an analogical argument; especially as it involves the necessity of discussing the main question in order to settle it, and the main question cannot be decided by the decision of such a subordinate one. If either party should feel pressed by it, they could not be satisfied to abide by a decision unless the main question were discussed.
It is proposed next to notice some statements which Dr. Miller seems to consider as enough to settle the question. He says, “The scriptures also represent presbyters as impowered to ordain and as actually exercising this power. Of this we can produce at least three instances of the most decisive kind.
« The first is recorded in Acts xiii, as follows: Now there were in the Church that was at Antioch, certain prophets and teachers, as Barnabas and Simeon, that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. This (he says) is the most ample account of an ordination to be found in Scripture; and it is an account which, were there no other, would be sufficient to decide the present controversy in our favour.”
It is proper to remark here, that Dr. Miller does not make any attempt to show that the scriptures represent presbyters as impowered to ordain and as actually exercising the power. He only brings forward certain cases which he represents as instances in which the power was actually exercised. Dr. Miller may have intended nothing more than this in the expressions above mentioned, but it is proper to make the remark, that stating the cases iş all he has done,