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drew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and On a progress,
in John his brother;
extreme from that of the Church of Rome. His error in doctrine proceeded from a systematizing spirit, attempting to comprehend those subjects which humble men will shrink from, till their faculties are enlarged by the knowledge of another state of being. His bitterness and intolerance were the vices of his age. In all other respects he was both a wise and a good man. In proposing his views to the world, he believed he was planting the tree of life. He would have wept to have known that he had substituted the upas of theological hatred, and controversy, and error, beneath whose poisonous influence so many fair churches have withered away. If he could have foreseen this result, he would have united in the powerful sentiment of a father of the Church : “ Nothing so grieves the Spirit of God, as the causing divisions in the Church ; not even the blood of martyrdom can atone for this crime.”-ουδέν γάρ όυτω παροξύνει τον θεόν, ώς εκκλησίαν διαιρεθήναι-δε μαρτυριε αιμα ταύτην δύναται taleipel rhv åpapriav.— Chrys. Hom. XI. in Ephes. See the notes to Archbishop Laurence's Bampton Lectures, p. 340, 341, on the character of Calvin.
After the original form of Church government had been thus boldly infringed upon, the minds of men became gradually reconciled to the innovation ; and the gradation to the next difference became in comparison easy. The Presbyterian polity had taught the world, that the presbyters of the Church were all equal in anthority; the next generation introduced another innovation, and discovered that if presbyters were equal, they were also independent of each other. Mr. Robert Brown, of Northampton, in the reign of Elizabeth, was the first who invented this system of Independency, which is totally without the remotest support from either Scripture or antiquity. The opinions of the Independents obtained great popularity in the subsequent reigns of James and Charles ; and were espoused by many of the more energetic spirits of that turbulent period, till they gradually superseded the newly established Presbyterianism.
From the reception which was given by the community to these innovations on the Christian Priesthood, the last stage of its degradation was easy and natural. The office of teacher, the administration of the sacraments, the interpretation of Scripture, were, and still are, assumed at pleasure, by men of all ages, ranks, characters, and classes, without adequate preparation, responsibility, obedience, or authority. The civil law affords equal protection to all ; and the public repose of the community renders this necessary: but the privilege which is allowed by the civil power, is mistaken for the liberty of the Gospel of God. Mutual candour is granted to mutual error, while every term of obloquy and reproach, which the proverbial bitterness of theological hatred can suggest ; is unsparingly poured forth to stigmatize the supposed bigotry and illiberality of those, who assert the ancient, uniform, universal belief of the primitive Church ; that the Christian Minister is subordinate to a higher order, to which alone was committed the government of the Church, and the power of ordaining and appointing ministers. The question is not one of human polity. It rests with us to enquire whether the lawgiver of the Christian dispensation has, or has not, revealed to his creatures, a model of Church government, to which it is the duty of every Christian Society to conform.
On a progress,
Philip, and Bartholomew ; Thomas, and Mat- Matt. x. 3. probably
Should such a government be laid down in Scripture, it becomes at once obligatory upon all Christians. Time cannot destroy it, fashion cannot change it, opinion cannot prevail against it, nor the apostacy of nations invalidate it. No speculation can remove the foundation of its truth. It will be as evidently discoverable as the Mosaic institutions. Its principle will be as clear, its facts as evident, its origin as undeniable. If there is, or was such a government, its whole progress will be matter of record ; every innovation, every corruption, would be accurately registered, and so engrafted with the history of Christianity, that they could not be put asunder.
The various forms of Church government which we have now considered, may be distinctly traced to human invention. They have originated in the circumstances of the times in which they commenced. Episcopacy only is traced to the days of the apostles, and of their and our divine Master ; and originated in his instructions, and their practice.
But, that we may arrive at some certain conclusions on the subject of Church government, it will be necessary to refer to Scripture, and enquire into the facts which are there recorded. I shall here confine myself to a review of the manner in which the Church was established while our Lord was upon earth : and defer to other notes the consideration of the nature of that government, by means of which the doctrines of the Gospel were perpetuated, in the three periods, after the ascension : when the Church consisted of Jewish converts only; when it was extended to the proselytes of the Jewish religion ; and when it embraced the converts from idolatry, throughout the whole Gentile world.
The period from our Lord's birth to his baptism was marked by no recorded instances of divine power, or sovereignty ; nor by the assumption of his ministerial dignity. His ministry began by a public and solemn inauguration into his high office.
“ The heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God, as a dove, descended and lighted upon him; and lo, a voice from heaven, this is my beloved Son : hear ye him." To fulfil every type, he was anointed, like the ancient Jewish kings, priests, and prophets, not with the material unction of oil, but with the Holy Ghost, and with power, Eph. iv. 7. Immediately after his inanguration, guided by the same Spirit, he overcame the great enemy of his spiritual kingdom. He then began the office to which he was anointed, by preaching the Gospel to the people of Galilee, in the synagogues of his own city Nazareth, Luke iv. 14—18. His laws were delivered in his own name : "I say unto you.” He enlarged and refined the law of Moses, and enforced his precepts with the promise of higher rewards, and the threatenings of severer punishments. He confirmed the truth of his assertions, and demonstrated the certainty of his Messiahship by stupendous wonders and miracles. By these means, and by his example, and his precepts, he collected multitudes of disciples, whom he baptized, not as John had done, in the name of another, but in his own name, John iii. 5. After a certain time had elapsed, he selected twelve from his followers, and imparted to them some of the same powers and privileges which himself had received from the Father. He gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure all manner of disease, Luke ix. 1. Mark vi. 7. Matt. x. 1-5.
Some time after the twelve Apostles had been thus chosen, our Lord appointed
Matt. x. 4.
thew the Publican; James the son of Alphæus; On a progress, and Lebbæus, whose surname was Thaddæus ; Galilee.
Simon the Canaanite ; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him,
These twelve Jesus sent forth
to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the
Matt. x. 5.
Luke ix. 2.
other seventy also. In some respects, their commission was the same as that of the twelve; in others there was a remarkable difference. The twelve return to our Lord, and continue with him to the end ; the seventy return to give an account of their mission, and are again blended with the general mass of the brethren. The seventy were more limited in their office. They were sent only to precede our Lord, in those towns whither he was himself going, (Luke x. 1.); the Apostles had a more extensive and discretionary power, which extended to all the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The Apostles were ordained to be with our Lord, (Mark iii. 14.) as his constant attendants ; whereas the seventy were only appointed to preach, (Luke x. 1.) Before the inauguration of the twelve, our Lord not only commanded his disciples to pray to God, to send labourers into his harvest, but he continued a whole night himself in prayer; and even after the mission of the seventy, they were always distinguished by the name of Apostles. Our Lord particularly addressed the twelve more than the other disciples, expounding to them his parables, and revealing to them apart the mysteries of his kingdom, (Matt. xx. 17, &c.) In two instances their powers were enlarged. At the time of the institution of the eucharist, the Apostles were commanded to commemorate his death, until his second advent to judge the world. When our Saviour was on the point of leaving earth, on the day of his ascension, he invested them with still higher powers. At first, like their divine Master, they had been sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. His death destroyed the distinction between the Jew and the Gentile. All power was now given unto him, in heaven and in earth, and his last parting command to them was, to preach the Gospel to all nations. A kingdom was given to them, as a kingdom had been given to our Lord: as he had ordained and appointed spiritual governors and rulers over the converts, to them also was committed the same delegated authority.
Such were the two classes to whom our Lord, while upon earth, confided a share of the ministerial office to which he had been commissioned from above. He was the prophet like unto Moses, in this, as well as in other respects, that he instituted a new priesthood, with new authority and powers. The Levitical priesthood was now to be abolished, by the same divine Lawgiver who had at first 'ordained it; and another erected on its foundation, Christ himself being the chief corner stone.
The next stage of the Church, and its ecclesiastical discipline, we shall consider, as I have observed, in future notes ; remarking only here, that the people had no choice, nor part, either in the appointment or consecration of the twelve, or the seventy. They exercised no power, they conferred no right. The discipline of the Church was established by its spiritual head, Christ himself, and after his ascension it was delegated to his twelve Apostles.
probably in Galilee.
b Acts xiii, 46.
c Luke x. 9.
Luke ix. 3.
* Or, Get.
Mark vi, 9.
Matt. x. 10.
Luke ix. 3.
Matt. x. 10.
I Tim. 1. 18.
Mark vi. 10.
On a progress, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the Matt. x. 5.
way of the Gentiles : and into any city of the Sa-
• But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Matt. X. 6. Israel.
And, as ye go, preach, saying, “The kingdom Matt. x. 7. of heaven is at hand.
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, Matt. x. 8. cast out devils : freely ye have received, freely give.
And [he] commanded that they should take no- Mark vi. 8. thing for their journey, save a staff only;
And he said unto them,
* Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in Matt. x. 9. your purses,
Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, Matt. x. 10. neither shoes,
But be shod with sandals; + Gr. a staff. nor yet + staves,
neither bread, d Lukex. d for the workman is worthy of his meat.
And he said unto them, e Luke x. 8. • into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, en- Matt. X. 11.
quire who in it is worthy; and
And when ye come into an house, salute it.
And if the house be worthy, let your peace come Matt. x. 13. upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear Matt. x. 14.
your words, when ye depart out of that house or Acts xiii. 51. city, fshake off the dust of your feet,
Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolera - Matt. x. 15.
& Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst Matt. x. 16
of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and 1 Or, simple. I harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver
you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
And ye shall be brought before governors and Matt. x. 18. kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
Luke ix. 4.
Matt. x. ll.
8 Luke x. 3.
Matt. x. 17. Matt. X. 20.
Matt. x. 21.
Matt. x. 22.
Matt. x. 23.
Matt. x. 24.
Matt. x. 25.
Matt. x. 19. h But when they shall deliver you up, take no on a progress,
thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall Calidely in be given you in that same hour what
h Mark xiii. shall ye 11. Luke xii.
For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
And the brother shall deliver up the brother to i Lukexxi. 16. death, and the father the child : and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye
shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: kbut he that endureth to the end shall be k Mark xiii. saved.
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another : for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not * have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Or, end, or,
finish. Son of man be come. The disciple is not above his master, nor the Luke vi. 40.
John xiii. 16. servant above his lord.
It is enough for the disciple, that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house + Beelzebub, how + Gr. Beelzemuch more shall they call them of his houshold ? bul.
Fear not them therefore : m for there is nothing m, Mark iv.22. covered that shall not be revealed ; and hid, that & xii. 2, 3. shall not be known,
What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the house-tops
* And fear not them which kill the body, but are n Luke xii. 4. not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Are not two sparrows sold for fa farthing? and 11 is in value one of them shall not fall on the ground without thing in the
original, as being the tenth
part of the Ro. 3 After the return of the Jews from Babylon, when the Hebrew language was see on ch. no longer spoken among the common people, the Jews adopted the custom to Xviii. 28. which our Lord here alludes. The Scripture was publicly read in the original, but the doctor of the law whispered the meaning in the ears of an interpreter, or Targumista, who publicly proclaimed what was communicated to him to the people. Our Lord here intimated to his disciples, that those things which were now revealed to them ; such as the calling of the Gentiles, the abolition of the Jewish law, not yet to be openly declared, and other doctrines, should be hereafter publicly promulgated. The houses of the Jews had flat roofs, from whence they made proclamations to the people. Both Lightfoot and Schoetgen have treated copiously on this subject.
• The Jews were of opinion, that a superintending Providence protected the
Matt. X. 26.
Matt. x. 27.
Matt, x, 28.
Matt. x. 29.