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and of consequence, has nothing to do with us, who are of the Gentiles. So that whether their commission were permanent or temporary, it affords no aid to the argument for prelacy, but rather opposes and subverts it. Until Episcopalians prove not only that the Seventy Disciples were sent on an inferior ministry, and were vested with inferior powers to those of the twelve ; but also that their commission, as well as that of the twelve, was renewed ; and that their Master left them in office when he ascended to heaven- until they prove both these, which they never have done, nor can do, the attempt to derive any aid from this source, in vindicating the doctrine of clerical imparity, is altogether vain.
In support of the foregoing remarks, it is easy to produce high Episcopal authority. Dr. Whitby speaks on the subject in the following terms.-* Whereas some compare the Bishops to the A"postles, and the Seventy to the Presbyters of the " Church, and thence conclude that divers orders $ in the ministry were instituted by Christ him. “self, it must be granted that the ancients did be" lieve these two to be divers orders, and that " those of the Seventy were inferior to the order e of the Apostles; and sometimes they make the a comparison here mentioned : But then it must “ be also granted that this comparison will not “strictly hold; for the Seventy received not their * mission as Presbyters do from Bishops, but im“ mediately from the Lord Christ, as well as the
a Apostles; and in their first mission were plainly
sent on the same errand, and with the same “powers."- Notes on Luke x. 1.
Bishop Sage, a writer still more zealous for diocesan Episcopacy, expresses himself on the same subject, in a manner no less decisive. 66 The A.
postles,” says he,“ got not their commission to “ be governors of the Christian Church, till after 6 the resurrection. And no wonder, for this their “ commission is most observably recorded, John
XX. 21, &c. No such thing is any where record“ed concerning the Seventy. Nothing is more C certain than that the commission which is record. 6 ed Luke x. did constitute them only temporary “ missionaries, and that for an errand which could not possibly be more than temporary.
That " commission contains in its own bosom clear evi. “ dences, that it did not instal them in any stand“ ing office at all, much less in any standing office 66 in the Christian Church, which was not yet in
being when they got it. Could that commission “ which is recorded Luke x. any more constitute “the Seventy standing officers of the Christian “ Church, than the like commission recorded
Matthew x. could constitute the Twelve such “ standing officers ? But it is manifest that the 6 commission recorded Matthew x. did not consti. “ tute the Twelve governors of the Christian 56 Church; otherwise what need of a new commis. “ sion for that purpose after the resurrection ? Pre
sumable, therefore, it is, that the Seyenty had
no successors, office-bearers in the Christian “ Church, seeing it is so observable that they " themselves received no commission to be such 6 office-bearers*.”
And as the Seventy Disciples were not permanent ministers, having ceased to be officers in the Church long before Deacons were appointed ; so it is equally certain, that Deacons are not to be considered as an order of clergy at all; and, of course, their office affords no countenance to the notion of different grades among ministers of the Gospel. That Deacons are not an order of clergy, as our Episcopal brethren make them,
and consequently have no right, as such, to preach and baptize, is evident, both from the account of the original institution of the office, and from the subsequent statement of their qualifications, which we find in Scripture. The account of the institution of the office of Deacon is in the following words, Acts vi. 1—6. And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arosc a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebreus, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
* See his Vindication of the Princip. of the Cyprianick Age. Chap. vi. Sect. 6.
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude : and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch; whom they set before the Apostles : and, when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. I appeal to every candid reader of this passage, whether it is possible to consider these persons as commissioned to preach the Gospel ? Is there any thing like it mentioned, or hinted at, in the whole account? Rather, is not the contrary plainly expressed ? Do not the Apostles expressly say, that desiring to give themselves exclusively to prayer and the ministry of the word, they wished to be relieved from the care of the poor, and the service of tables? Do they not declare, that attending to this secular concern would render it necessary for them to leave the word of God? Are not the Deacons ex. pressly said to be appointed over this secular business ? And is it credible, after all, that preaching and baptizing, should be, either in part or in whole, their proper employment? To suppose this is to consider the inspired Apostles of Christ, as speaking and acting with the inconsistency of children. No less decisive is the language of the Apostle Paul in stating to Timothy the qualifications necessary for this office.
In describing the proper qualities of a Bishop or Pastor, the Apostle had, in a preceding verse, represented aptness to teach
as an essential accomplishment; but when he proceeds to speak of Deacons, he gives no hint of any such accomplishment, nor does he once, in the remotest manner, allude to public teaching, or administering either of the sacraments, as a part of their duty.
Episcopalians, indeed, tell us, that Philip, one of those who had been made a Deacon in Jerusalem, is afterwards represented as preaching and baptizing in Samaria. And hence they infer that these functions belonged to his office as Deacon. But they forget that Philip is expressly called (Acts 21) an Evangelist ; an office the leading and essential duty of which is preaching the Gospel. The truth is, Philip, a short time after being set apart as a Deacon, was driven from Jerusalem, by persecution ; and being no longer able to fulfil the duties of this office, it is probable that some person residing in that city was chosen his successor, and that he was advanced to the higher office of Evangelist, and sent abroad to preach the Gospel. As to Stephen's disputing with the opposers of the Christian faith, immediately after being appointed a Deacon, it is nothing to the purpose. This was not preaching the Gospel. In fact it was nothing more than every private Christian, in every age, is bound to do when his faith is attacked. Every thing, therefore, found in Scripture on this subject, is opposed to Deacons being considered as an order of Clergy; and in favor of their being regarded, as they are in the Presbyterian Church, as offi