Abbildungen der Seite

be meant by it, they might then assist, as they do now with us, in the ordination ofa Priest, to shew their concurrence with him of the superior order in so pious a work. But still it is most certain, that St. Paul, who was an Apostle, did lay on. his hands with them; and that, as if he. meant to obviate any mistake that might arise from his own words, he afterwards, in another place, ascribes the whole of Timothy's ordination to the “ laying on of« his own hands *." 2 Tim. i. 6.

Upon the whole then it appears, that there were three distinct orders of clergy in the Christian church, from the very beginning of it: of the first of which was Christ himself; and after him his Apostles, who have; as I have observed, sometimes the names of the two inferior orders, because their superior order included them both; and then those, whom the Apostles ordained for their partners and fellow

* Της δε Εφέσου Τιμόθεος μέν υπό Παύλου [κεχειροτόνηλαι]. Const. Ap. L. 7. c. 45. So Theophylact interprets it; ότε σε έχηιροτόνου επίσκοπος,


helpers, and who, in the apostolical age, were also called Apostles. Of the second were the Apostles, whilst Christ their High-Priest taught upon earth; and after the Apostles were advanced to be his vicegerents, those that are usually in the scriptures called Elders, that is, Presbyters or Priests, and also Bishops. And of the third were, during our Saviour's time, the seventy Disciples; and afterwards those that are called Deacons. And of all these orders, those of the first alone had the power of ordination.

But after the apostolical age, there being some things peculiar to the Apostles, which were not communicable to their successors; they, in humble respect and reverence to them*, declined the name of Apostles, and contented themselves to be called Bishops ; which was before a name given to Presbyters, but from thenceforward appropriated to the superior order, by way of distinction. So that immediately from and after the death of St. John, who for some time' survived the other eleven Apostles, we find the three orders regularly distinguished by the names of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons*, as they now are; and the power of ordination constantly confined to the first of them. [Constit. ut supra).

* Τις νύν καλεμένες επισκόπης Αποςόλος ωνόμασονί προϊόνnos dà xgóve-&c. Theodoret. in 1 Tim. ii. 1.


That the account I have here given of this important matter is the only true one, I might abundantly evince from the sacred writings and the volumes of the primitive Fathers; I might too shew, that it was exactly derived from the Jewish constitution, as established by God himself, would either time permit, or did occasion require it. But it is not my present design to lead you through the thorny paths of controversy. It is enough that we are able, when called upon, to defend the received practice of our established church against the innovations of one set of men and the corruptions of another.

* Vide Sancti Hermæ Pastor, L. 1. S. 5.

+ Κλήμης υπο σέτρα κεχειροτόνησαι, της δε Εφέσε Τ.μόθεος μέν υπό παύλα, Ιωάννης δε υπό Ιωάννου. Acts xiv. 22, And that this 'succession, which our church, I bless God, hath faithfully preserved, may be of the greater use and benefit, it is carefully provided, that all whom she admits into any holy function, may have

proper qualifications and abilities for it, as far as human foresight can judge of them; such as competent natural parts and faculties, cultivated and improved by sound learning and skill in languages, by serious study and frequent meditation, especially in divine matters, digested into a sound and orthodox faith, and exemplified by a suitable life and conversation; together with a modest assurance that, they are inwardly moved and inclined by the Holy Ghost, in a rational and providential (not an enthusiastic and unaccountable) way, to take upon them that office and ministration; forasmuch as they find the principal motive determining them to this choice to be a fervent zeal to serve God, for promoting his glory and the salvation of man.

Having thus shewn who the persons are, who may properly be said to be sent;

I proceed, 2dly, to shew, that such as are not thus sent, may not lawfully preach.

The Apostle says in the words of the text, “ How shall they preach?” Which is indeed somewhat more than if he had directly said, they shall not preach. For, 1st,“ How shall they preach? With " what right and authority? By what

authority doest thou these things, said “ the Jews to our Saviour, and who gave " thee this authority?" And had he not been able to give the world sufficient satisfaction in this point, both himself and his religion must soon have sunk and perished together.

He was therefore at the expence of many miracles to make good - this point, and by them has given all men just reason to declare with Nicodemus their full and certain assurance of it: 6 We know that thou art a teacher come * from God; for no man can do these “ miracles that thou doest, except God 66. be with him."

And from him the Apostles received their authority, who expressly sent them ၅။


« ZurückWeiter »