« PredošláPokračovať »
rity, or disgrace their
that they be not us
hy not to contaminate
any thing but with the
he had been created "an apostle, not of men, neither by man,
XIV. But that the election and appointment of bishops
rosed was, by whom mi this no certain rule or
of the apostles, whi the common call of our traordinary office, it! picuous by some emini ustain it should be calki ord himself. The aposeks 10t in consequence of 21 he sole command of G h to substituto another m a certain appointme the Lord may the successor.) Ltd declaration of Paul, ty
() Gal. i. 1.
(m) 1 Tin F. (0) Acts i. 23
stituted Paul the apostle of the Gentiles, he nevertheless directed him to be designated by the Church. The same may be observed in the election of Matthias. ($) For the apostolic office being of such high importance that they could not venture to fill up their number by the choice of any one person from their own judgment, they appointed two, one of whom was to be chosen by lot; that so the election might obtain a positive sanction from heaven, and yet that the order of the Church might not be altogether neglected.
XV. Here it is inquired, whether a minister ought to be chosen by the whole Church, or only by the other ministers and the governors who preside over the discipline, or whether he may be appointed by the authority of an individual? Those who attribute this right to any one man, quote what Paul says to Titus: “ For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest ordain elders in every city:" () and to Timothy; “Lay hands suddenly on no man." (0) But they are exceedingly mistaken, if they suppose that either Timothy at Ephesus, or Titus in Crete, exercised a sovereign power to regulate every thing according to his own pleasure. For they presided over the people, only to lead them by good and salutary counsels, not to act alone to the exclusion of all others. But that this may not be thought to be an invention of mine, I will prove it by a similar example. For Luke relates, that elders were ordained in the Churches by Paul and Barnabas, but at the same time he distinctly marks the manner in which this was done,-namely, by the suffrages or votes of the people: for this is the meaning of the term he there employs; xsagolovnouvles resoleulsgxs xa? suxamplær. (w) Those two apostles, therefore, ordained them; but the whole multitude, according to the custom observed in elections among the Greeks, declared by the elevation of their hands who was the object of their choice. So the Roman historians frequently speak of the consul, who held the assemblies, as appointing the new magistrates, for no other reason but because he received the suffrages and presided at the election. Surely it is not credible that Paul granted to Timothy
(8) Acts i. 23.
(1) Titus i. 5.
(0) 1 Tim. v. 22.
(w) Aets xiv. 23.
les, he nevertheless di
nted two, one of whop
election might obtain ret that the order of the
by the other ministers
and Titus more power than he assumed to himself; but we
XVI. There remains the Form of ordination, which is the
meaning of the term bi
but the whole mul
no other reason but
(ir) Aete xis.
in the law to lay their hands upon their sacrifices. Wherefore the imposition of the hands of the apostles was an indication that they offered to God the person whom they introduced into the ministry. They used the same ceremony over those on whom they conferred the visible gifts of the Spirit. But be that as it may, this was the solemn rite invariably practised, whenever any one was called to the ministry of the Church. Thus they ordained pastors and teachers, and thus they ordained deacons. Now though there is no express precept for the imposition of hands, yet since we find it to have been constantly used by the apostles, such a punctual observance of it by them ought to have the force of a precept with with us. And certainly this ceremony is highly useful both to recommend to the people the dignity of the ministry, and to admonish the person ordained that he is no longer his own master, but devoted to the service of God and the Church. Besides, it will not be an unmeaning sign, if it be restored to to its true origin. For if the Spirit of God institute nothing in the Church in vain, we shall perceive that this ceremony, which proceeded from him, is not without its use, provided it be not perverted by a superstitious abuse. Finally, it is to be remarked, that the imposition of hands on the ministers was not the act of the whole' multitude, but was confined to the pastors. It is not certain whether this ceremony was, in all cases, performed by more pastors than one, or whether it was ever the act of a single pastor. The former appears to have been the fact in the case of the seven deacons, of Paul and Barnabas, and some few others. (2) But Paul speaks of himself as having laid hands upon Timothy, without any mention of many others having united with him. “I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee, by the putting on of my hands.” (a) His expression in the other Epistle, of “the laying on of the hands of the presbytery,” (b) I apprehend not to signify a company of elders, but to denote the ordination itself; as if he had said, Take care that the grace which thou receivedst by the laying on of hands, when I ordained thee a presbyter, be not in vain.
(-) Acts vi. 6, xiii. 3.
(a) 2 Tim. i. 6.
(6) 1 Tim. iv. 14.
heir sacrifices. Where
the visible gifts of the
and teachers, and thus there is no express presince we find it to have such a punctual obserforce of a precept with
is highly useful both
s use, provided it be not
it was ever the act o
the putting on of my
The State of the ancient Church, and the Mode of Government
practised before the Papacy. HITHERTO we have treated of the mode of government in the Church, as it has been delivered to us by the pure word of God, and of the offices in it, as they were instituted by Christ. Now, that all these things may be more clearly and familiarly displayed, and more deeply impressed upon our minds, it will be useful to examine what was the form of the ancient Church, in these particulars. It will place before our eyes an actual exemplification of the Divine institution. Por though the bishops of those times published many canons, in which they seemed to express more than had been expressed in the Holy Scriptures; yet they were so cautious in framing their whole economy according to the sole standard of the word of God, that in this respect scarcely any thing can be detected among them inconsistent with that word. But though there might be something to be regretted in their regulations, yet because they directed their sincere and zealous efforts to preserve the institution of God, without deviating from it to any considerable extent, it will be highly useful in this place to give a brief sketch of what their practice was. As we have stated that there are three kinds of ministers recommended to us in the Scripture, so the ancient Church divided all the ministers it had into three orders. For from the order of presbyters, they chose some for pastors and teachers; the others presided over the discipline and corrections. To the deacons was committed the care of the poor and the distribution of the alms. Readers and Acoluthi were not names of certain offices, but young men, to whom they also gave the name of clergy; they were accustomed from their youth to certain exercises in the service of the Church, that they might better understand to what they were destined, and might enter upon their office better prepared for it in due time; as I shall soon shew more at large. There
grace which thou re en I ordained thee a
(0) 1 Tim. iv. 14