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adulterers, sodomites and murderers. But after going through this filth, a succession cannot be proved, for the papists themselves cannot trace their own succession to the apostleş. Touching Pope John XII. if any, he was the true pope—"an infidel, a simonist, a drunkard an adulterer, a worshipper of idols and devils,-a thing in human shape, worse than a beast, and bad as beelzebub,” says one, “ is made Christ's vicar upon earth."
Having seen the grounds of episcopal succession, let us try the several denominations by their own rules.--How do the several denominations ordain ? Answer, they ordain to their own faith and order, and no sooner than a preacher dissents from the church and order by whom he was ordained; but he is accounted -as a grievous offender, and unsound in the faith of the saints, and his power of ordination dies with his decision, but he never minds that, but sticks his standard and soon gathers a respectable body. How does the new denomination ordain? Answer, they ordain like all others, that is, to the same faith and order, and if a preacher dissents, he is accounted a grievous offender, and as a man who is not sound in the faith. All denominations cry out against their dissenting members, as men unsound in the faith, and that they have lost all the power of ordination, but never so much as once think that they are but dissenters themselves, and that by the same rule they have no right to ordain.
Supposing it should be said by any, ihat the right of ordination does not cease with the dissension; this then supposes that if a man has only been ordained he may do or believe what he will, like Tetzel's pardons for sin, the rite of ordination still holds good, and we may expect as much virtue through the finger-ends of an ungodly pope or prelate, as from the hand of the most just and holy man.
Again. Should it be said that neither succession nor virtue is to be sought after this, first, argues that one bas as much right to lay on hands as another, and what a presumptuous and assuming order of people must they be who say to their young preachers, “you shall not break bread, baptize nor perform the supposed duties of a minister until you have been confirmed by the hands of such priests," as can have no more power to ordain than they : 2dly, To say that no virtue nor communicable grace is to be sought after nor expected; this too, supposes that all have equal power; and if the rite of laying on of hands has no power, so it is but a dead form; and if we give credence and obey the apostle, (2Tim. iii. 5.) such as have “a form of godliness, denying the power thereof,” from such we must " turn away.”
I venture to say from protestants' own acknowledgment that there was not one cere. mony in the Romish church, but what had as much virtue in it as there is in the laying on
of hands. If any advert to the apostles let them lay on hands and give the Holy Ghost as they did, or else acknowledge that they do not follow the apostles' examples, and that they have only the form without the power.
I have before observed, that the ceremuny of laying on of hands, has descended to us with other ceremonies from an ancient Jewish custom. When the apostle Paul and Barnabas condescended to receive the laying on of hands, it was to comply with a Jewish custom, just as he condescended to circumcise Timothy, or purify in the temple, it was not to qualify him to preach the gospel. No: he declared to his Galatian brethren, that God who had separated him from his mother's womb,'had called him by his grace;' for said he, I received it not of man, neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ, (Gal. i. 12,): for the same reason that the apostle Paul and Barnabas, received the laying on of hands, for the same reason they received the right hand of fellowship years afterward, but seeing the ceremony is sanctioned at this day with so much zeal, it is high time that the truth should appear, and that it should be known that men are no more nor no less qualified for the ministry by that ceremony.They who are called to the ministry are not to confer with flesh and blood, but go as the apostle Paul did, and preach that which God bids them preach.
Reader, separate in thy mind the meek and
humble followers of Christ from them who glory in pre-eminence, opulence and power, for it is in them to love their own inventions.Therefore, if they can by any means stretch any scripture practice, or conditional precept, or permission, fitted to the weakness or capacity of some; or appropriate to some particular dispensation, to give soine color for any of these inventions, they will; and thereby in their own wisdom and worldly prudence, iniquity, evil, bitterness, and darkness hath abounded to the church, even to this day. How much more does the world abound in zeal, than in grace; “ which zeal if they would but seriously examilie it, they would find to be but the prejudice of education, and the love of self more than that of God, or his pure worship.-Reader, say not in thy heart like Micah, “ Ye have taken away my gods, and my priests and what have I more ;" surely we want better ones, or none. The plagues. of Egypt would be more evangelical to us than all the gods and priests we have made.. ourselves, and hired made for these many years. The true ministers are such as are ordained of God, they need not go to man, to be confirmed, they are sent by one who has a right to send them, without our inspection. There is not one church on earth that has a right to send a preacher, or to hinder one. There are many instances and things, which they may confer with them about, but no au-thority can be exercised for, or against them.
Nothing but a Spiritual qualification can make a true gospel minister; there are none more bound nor none more free than they ; their souls are touched with a sense of eternal things. They feel bound to not daub with untempered mortar, nor sew pillows under arm holes, and not to speak smooth things. Like the apostle, their labor is to make men see what is the fellowship of the mystery of of God in Christ, and in Christ's stead, they pray men to be reconciled to God in Christ, in whom is hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. They are filled with the spirit of their station, they are not lovers of themselves, boasters, covetous, proud, despisers of good, nor heady high minded lovers of pleasures more than God-teaching for doctrine the commandments of men having a form of godliness denying the power. They mind not high things (these all belong to anti-christ's ministers.) They are holy, harmless and meek, like a coffer their treasure is inward, hid from the world. They are loved of God, as his ministers, they are despised by the world for the truths they speak. They seek not the applause of the world, and so must necessarily fall out with all who do not fall out with themselves, and turn to God. They are free, and well they may be, because their commission is not by virtue of money, nor by the hands of the presbytery, but by the Holy Ghost which is within them; their oratory supersedes that which is so much