Слике страница

Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,

Unutiered, or expressed.” To conclude this, and the remaining topics embraced in the lecturo under consideration, we say of responses, to which our author attaches great importance, that we find nothing of them in the new testament--nothing but the occasional responding, Amen. Of the “music of the church, another important department,” we only say, that like the music of all other churches, it is not what the scriptures demand in this very delightful and very important branch of divine service. We dissent from our author, however, in regard to the value which he attaches to the posture of prayer. The pharisee, who intended to observe the precise form of orthodoxy, stood and prayed. This was a common posture, and is sanctioned by scripture in instances too numerous to require a reference. Kneeling was a common posture, so was prostration. These attitudes of devotion, all have the highest sanction. That attitude in prayer is best which is most reverent, and which corresponds with the feelings of the supplicant, and wbich is best fitted to aid the exercise of devotion. "God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth."

But, says bishop Hopkins, “the proper position for prayer is kneeling; for praise, standing; and sitting, for the listening to the reading of the scriptures, and the sermon." After making a few exceptions for sickness, and the infirmity of age, he adds, “ but in all other cases, kneeling in prayer is a sacred duty; [what chapter and verse ? ] nor have I any hesitation in saying that sitting down to address the Majesty of heaven, instead of kneeling, when we have no apology of bodily indisposition to plead, is an act of irreverence, which is totally inconsistent with the directions of the liturgy, and must of itself go far to binder the acceptance of our supplications before his throne.” Since kneeling is affirmed to be a sacred duty, the reader may consult a few passages. (Gestures in prayer: Ex. ix. 29; Psa. Ixiii. 4; 1 Kings viii. 22; Isa. i. 15. Standing: Judg. xx. 28; Luke. xi. 13. Kneeling : 2 Chron. vi. 13; Luke. xxii. 41; Acts xx. 36. Falling on the face: Deut. ix. 18, 25; Job. i. 20; Matt. xxvi. 29. Sitting : 2 Sam. vii. 18; Neh. i. 4.) It is not incumbent on us to apologize for sin committed against the liturgy, but as it regards the custom of sitting in prayer, we crave exemption from the general denunciation for two such devout men as David and Nehemiah, who unconscious of error, sat before the Lord and prayed.

The remaining half of the volume, our author devotes chiefly to the subject of ecclesiastical polity. We have time only for a brief notice of this endless topic.* The possibility of shedding

[ocr errors]

It is hardly worth our while to refute the same arguments, as often as every

new light upon a subject agitated for centuries, has long since ceased. Bishop Hopkins bas repeated, as a matter of necessity, the self-same arguments which have been asserted, and as often confuted, from the Reformation down to the present day. He treads the beaten track of his predecessors, and attempts, by the testimony of scripture and the fathers, to prove the descent of a " threefold order of the ministry,” from the apostles; and to obtain the sanction of their authority, for the organization of the church under this exclusive form.

In defense of this high claim, be gleans from the scriptures the little evidence which has a plausible bearing in his favor, and then supports the scanty testimony of the divine record, by plentiful citations from the fathers, appending the original to verify the correctness of the translation. The first glimmering ray which falls upon a three fold order in the ministry, is discovered, as our author supposes, in the far twilight of antiquity, even beyond the date of Aaron's consecration to the priesthood. He admits, that the commencement of the priestly office, as distinct and peculiar, is not set forth in the scriptures.” But Melchisedeck was a priest; there were priests in Egypt in the days of Joseph; Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, was a priest; and in Exodus xix. 24. priests are mentioned. The bishop, gathers from this, that previous to the appointment of Aaron, “ there may have been an instituted priesthood; and for aught we know, the ministry exercised in the affairs of religion, may even at that time, have had a three-fold character.” This conjecture has not even probability in its favor. It serves only to show the need of pressing every possible aid to the defense of prelacy. We are referred next, to the Mosaic dispensation, the distinct and “three-fold character attached to the sacred ministry, in the high priest, the priests, and the levites.” But what has this to do with the institution of the christian ministry? The Jewish priesthood, excepting their common character as ministers of religion, could not typify the gospel ministry. Their office, together with the rites and sacrifices, was typical of Christ and his atonement. The apostle Paul has settled tbis matter in the epistle to the Hebrews. The type fulfilled therefore, what further need of perpetuating a form of the ministry analogous to the Jewish priesthood ? The office of high priest, became necessarily extinct at the death of Christ, and how does it follow, from a burdensome ministration of types, shadows, and burnt offerings, that the same form and order were continued in the ministry of a new, simple, spiritual, and perfect dispensation ? The priesthood being of necessity changed, and the law of it changed, its form also might be essentially varied. This question must be decided by the new testament, without any reference to the analogy of a typical and vanished economy.

new advocate for Episcopacy chooses to assert them. For a thorough examination of the validity of Episcopal church government, as deduced from the scriptures, the reader is referred to the review of “ Episcopacy tested by scripture.” Christian Spectator, Vol. VI. No. I. and Vol. VII. No. 1.

But, [says bishop Hopkins,] the threefold form of the ministry remained till the coming of Christ, the great high priest, and in complete analogy with it we perceive, that soon after the commencement of his ministry, he chose twelve apostles, and seventy disciples, 'whom he sent forth, two and two, into every place and city, whither he himself would come ;' thus displaying a strict correspondence with the threefold form.' * ** So that if we do truly take the testimony of the sacred word of inspiration, the Redeemer set before his disciples a three-fold ministry : himself the shepherd and bishop of our souls, (1 Pet. ii. 35.) presiding, his apostles next, and subordinate to them, the seventy.' pp. 191, 198.

The author gives us nothing but repeated assertion, that the seventy disciples were subordinate to the apostles. He affirms, that the commission of the seventy was permanent, and not for a “temporary service ;” and that after the “earthly ministry of Christ was accomplished, the seventy would then become, of course, the second, as they had always been next to the apostles, and we see how soon they supplied the third order, by the appointment of deacons." We have still the same ipse dixit proof.

• Where do we read that the seventy disciples had only a temporary service? How has [it been] discovered that they were not allowed to preach again? Who has told [us] that they were not among the disciples of whom we read in St. John's gospel, (ch. iv.) who baptized more than John the Baptist himself? And from what principle of analogy has it been made probable, that our Lord ever commissioned men for his ministerial service, for a brief period only, and then cast them aside ?' p. 196.

It is an easy matter to ask questions, and in the present instance, it is po less easy to answer them. If John the Baptist received only a temporary commission, the same may have been true of the seventy. This will suffice for“ the principle of analogy.” Our author will admit that John fulfilled, that is, finished his course for if his commission was permanent, he must have successors in office, and this will give us four orders in the ministry. But it is a plain matter of fact, that the appointment of the Baptist was temporary merely; and there is reason to conclude, that the seventy disciples received a similar appointment.

Like John the Baptist, they went before the Lord, to prepare his way in every place and city, whither he himself would come. The main question is, what became of the seventy after the death

and not upon

of Christ? We are as much puzzled to find them, as we are to ascertain what has become of the ten tribes of Israel. But the whole scheme of tying down the ministry to a perpetual and mystical three-fold order, is encombered with insuperable objections.* In the first place, it is irreverent, to say the least, to make Christ an order of the ministry in bis own church. Or, if this is admissible, it does not answer the intended purpose. All authority in the church was vested in him, as its supreme head. There is, therefore, no analogy between the government of the church by one sole ruler, and its government as adıninistered by twelve apostles, or scores of diocesan bishops. The one is a monarchy, the other an oligarchy. If Christ then, was an order of the ministry, the succession should devolve on one,

twelve. The pope, the soi-disant " vicegerent of Christ,” has the benefit of the argument. He has a more consistent claim to supreme authority in the church, than the bishops. We ask, in the next place, what is to be done with John the Baptist? He and the Savior exercised their ministry at the same time. Why cast aside one greater than all the prophets? (Matt. xi. 11.) He must have a place in the catalogue ; and if the seventy were commissioned before bis death, we have four orders of the ministry. If the seventy were not constituted an order of the hierarchy, till after the decease of John the Baptist, the advocates of prelacy, by omitting him, have in the beginning, but two orders, Christ and the twelve. Either way, the triad is broken, and the triple charm is dissolved. But there is a third difficulty. We have no evidence, that the seventy disciples were subordinate to the twelve. We are required to

Bishop Hopkins, describing the leading principles of the priesthood, (p. 235.) says, “ the first of these principles may be termed consecration. The second of these principles may be viewed in the threefold order of the ministry, perhaps as we may reverently conceive, adopted in reference to the mystery of the trinity, by whose glorious agency we are redeemed: set forth in the high priest, priests, and levites ; then in the visible ministry of Christ, the great high priest, his apostles and elders; and then in the apostles, elders, and deacons, continued by the bishops, priests, and deacons of the present day; all admirably calculated to remind us, that as three orders concur in one service, so the divine trinity of persons concur in one salvation, and in like manner, the human trinity of soul, mind, and body, should concur in the service of heaven.” The third leading principle is, that " as the triad in the Aaronic ministry, was typical of Christ, and designed to prepare the Israelites for his first coming to suffer and to die, so the triad of the christian ministry is designed to lead the world to the same sa. viour, and prepare the church for his second coming in glory, to judge the world.” We cannot attach to this mystical speculation, the importance even of a reverent conceit. The “ triad of the christian ministry,” is not proved. It will be time for us to admit the antitype, when the type is shown to have a real exigtence. The Unitarian, in the mean time, can turn this speculation to good account. As the second order in the ministry is inferior to the first, and the third is inferior to the second, so he might infer a like inferiority in the persons of the trinity, as adumbrated by a threefold priesthood! For ourselves, as we hold to an equality of persons in the trinity, the bishop's type would lead us to place bis three orders on a par.

receive this as a matter out of debate. But if the reader will compare Matt. x. 1-16, with Luke x. 1-16, he will see, that the authority given to the twelve and the seventy, is too nearly the same, to support the pretension, that they constituted two distinct orders, the one subordinate to the other. This is not proved by the writings of either of the evangelists. But there is another obstacle still, which impedes the succession of a triple order. Bishop Hopkins avers, that the appointment of the seventy was permanent, and still exists in the order of modern priests. After the death of Christ, the apostles, according to his view, were exalted to the first rank; the seventy were promoted to the second; and deacons were appointed to supply the third. But the apostles ordained leaders in every city. If these constituted a distinct order from the seventy, we have four orders co-existing ;—the apostles, the seventy, the elders, and deacons. What shall be done in this dilemma? The commission of the seventy, according to our author, was permanent, and as they were ordained by Christ, they could not be re-ordained by the apostles, except to a higher grade of office. But higher they could not go, during the life time of the apostles, for they held the first rank. They kept their place then, second to the apostles, of course, says bishop Hopkins, where they had always been. But if so, how shall we crowd the other elders and deacons into the triple form? One order must yield, or the assumption of three perpetual orders must be given up. Some Episcopal writers, to solve this difficulty, say, on the authority of Eusebius, Jerome, and Epiphanius, that “ Mark, Luke, Sosthenes, with other evangelists, as also the seven deacons, were of the seventy, if the primitive fathers of the church, be at all to be relied upon as witnesses of facts. And these persons, even after their promotion, were still inferior to the twelve, being under their government."* But this salvo, besides giving the seventy a " promotion downwards," throws out the succession of presbyters; for as they derive their descent from the seventy disciples, (called elders, by way of hypothesis,) if these elders were degraded from their second rank to the third grade of deacons, the natural descent from them could be nothing more nor less than deacons. In this case, the modern Episcopal presbyter has no original. Let us look at the line of descent, as furnished by our author. “High priest, priest, levite; Christ, the twelve, the seventy elders; the apostles, the elders, (that is, the seventy,) and deacons ; bishops, priests, deacons.” In this arrangement, either the seventy elders, whose commission, we are told, was “not temporary,” or the elders ordained by the apostles, must be erased from the venerable

* Collection of essays on the subject of Episcopacy, etc. New York: T. & J. Swords. 1806, pp. 154.

« ПретходнаНастави »