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with an Ordinance of Parliament for the taking away of the Book of Common Prayer and for establishing and observing of this present Directory throughout the kingdom of England and dominion of Wales.” 4to, 1644. In this pamphlet I can find no particular directions as to the mode of conducting ordination—the contents exactly corresponding with the more full title inserted at p. 9, "A Directory for Publique Prayer, Reading the Holy Scriptures, Singing of Psalms, Preaching of the Word, Administration of the Sacraments, and other parts of the Publique Worship of God, ordinary and extraordinary.”
Mr. Matthew Henry, in the life of his excellent father, Philip Henry, has given us a particular account of his ordination, which took place September 16, 1657. He "was very desirous to have been ordained at Worthenbury (the place at which he was settled,] plebe præsente, which he thought most agreeable to the intention, but the ministers were not willing to set such a precedent. The way and manner of his ordination was according to the known Directory of the Assembly of Divines, and the common usage of the Presbyterians.” After mentioning the previous trials and examinations which he was required to undergo, we are told that on the day of ordination Mr. Parsons, who had preached on 1 Tim. i. 12, [to show] “that putting men into the ministry is the work of Jesus Christ,” then, “according to the usual method, required of him a Confession of his faith,” which he made in his own words, ind of which a copy is
serted. Seven “ Questions" were then “proposed to him according to the instructions in the Directory," which with his answers will also be found at length.*
The reader will observe that no subscription was required even to the doctrinal portion of the Westminster Confession, yet this ordination, we are more than once informed, was “according to the usual method.” Here then was a very important variation in the usage of the English Presbyterians even before the Restoration, from that adopted and strenuously maintained by the Scottish claimants. Their statement, therefore, appears to be incorrect—that "the old English Presbyterian ministry, when they were ordained to their respective charges not only solemnly recognized, but also subscribed the Westminster Confession of Faith,” for we find that those who were ordained “according to the Directory," did not bind themselves to a fixed standard of doctrines and discipline. Their common usage even then was in fact precisely the same as that which is adopted by the modern Independents. If these are justly chargeable on that account with latitudinarian indifference, the old English Presbyterians themselves were equally liable to the same charge.
Mr. Matthew Henry, in a short account of the life of Dr. Benion,
* Life of Rev. P. Henry, 12mo. 1712, pp. 27—33. † The Works of Rev. Matthew Henry, fol. 1726, p. 275.
annexed to his Funeral Sermon, tells us, that "he was solemnly set apart to the work of the ministry in January, 1698, by the laying on of the hands of presbyters at Broadoke, plebe præsente.” The confession of faith which he made at that time is inserted as being remarkably concise. *
These tenacious maintainers of the great [Scotch] principle of subscription to human creeds and formularies, cannot therefore, by their own showing, be the true and legitimate representatives of a body, which, from the first, adopted the more liberal Congregational practice.
I am, Sir, yours respectfully, February 11, 1843.
THE APOSTLESHIP OF MATTHIAS.
The attention of the writer has been recently called to this subject by a sentence in Mr. Godkin’s “ Apostolic Christianity”—a book of great excellence. In treating of the people's right to choose their own pastors, Mr. G. adduces the case of the election of Matthias by the apostles and brethren ; and having adduced it, adds, “ But I am not sure that the apostles had the sanction of their Master in this proceeding.” Such too is the sentiment, only more confidently expressed, that may be often heard in conversation and from the pulpit. It may not be amiss therefore, to canvass this subject, and to endeavour to ascertain as clearly as possible, whether the apostles were right or wrong in the election of a successor to Judas,—whether they had the sanction of their Master or acted presumptuously. The circumstance is thus related -On an occasion when the disciples were assembled together, Peter stood up in their midst, and said (one would naturally think, under the influence of inspiration) that the prophecy which the Holy Ghost uttered by the mouth of David respecting Judas, “must needs have been fulfilled," as it was; and that in his place one of those who had associated with the apostles during the whole period of Christ's ministry until his ascension, should be “ordained as a witness of his resurrection.” "Then they appointed two, Joseph called Barnabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias, and they prayed and said, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave
* Mr. Tong, the biographer of Matthew Henry has preserved accounts of many ordinations, at which that eminent minister attended, and in which he took part, between 1691 and 1713, and in all these, a confession of faith was demanded from every candidate, drawn up by himself.-pp. 259–268. Indeed, all the accounts that have been preserved of English Presbyterian ordinations agree in this particular.
forth their lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”—Acts i. 15—26.
1. Such is the narrative; and we cannot but observe, that the impression it makes on one's mind, apart from other considerations, is, that Peter spoke, and that all the apostles acted in the case, under Divine influence and direction. Peter appeals to the prophetic word respecting the fall of Judas and the filling up of his place by another, and concludes that one of their associates should, according to prophetic intimation, be elected an apostle. This was done solemnly and deliberately. He speaks with the confidence of one inspired. He speaks of the election of an apostle as a duty devolving upon him and his fellow apostles. Two of the most suitable persons are selected, and the determination of the most eligible of these two is left to God. “Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen."
2. And why should we doubt or deny the inspiration of the apostles in this transaction? For all depends on their having been inspired or not. It is true that the promised copious out-pouring of the Spirit did not take place till afterwards ; but it is no less true, that the gift of inspiration had been enjoyed before. Their Master had sent them forth to preach and to teach ; and commands them that whenever they might be called before governors or kings for his sake they should not premeditate an answer ; " for the Holy Ghost,” says he,
« shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”
But in addition to this, immediately after his resurrection he appeared to his apostles, and “breathing on them, said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." Breathing was a symbolical action; it signified the actual impartation of the Spirit. This the accompanying words make certain. Here then are the men who assemble to elect an apostle ; men on whom the Holy Spirit had been actually bestowed. Are we then to question the propriety of their conduct in this transaction ? Can we view them as other than the inspired servants of Christ ? And when such men interpret Scripture, and ascertain from it what they regard as the mind of God for their guidance, shall we pronounce them wrong?
3. Or, if they erred in this matter, have we not some intimation of it? Has not the Holy Spirit rebuked their rashness and presumption ? Had they been wrong surely we should meet with something of the kind; some hint would have been dropped in the way of censure to preserve the student of revelation from mistake. Some such hint is demanded by the nature of the case ; for if the apostles erred in this transaction, their error was peculiarly grievous. To appoint an apostle whom they had no authority to appoint, to usurp the right of Jesus Christ,—which they must have done if they acted without warrant-surely this is a heinous sin! Yet not a word of censure is let fall, not a whisper of rebuke is heard. What else can we conclude from this, but that the apostles
acted under Divine sanction? It is said indeed, in reply to this, that the name of Matthias is never afterwards mentioned. But what of this ? The same is true of other apostles. If then this silence respecting Matthias prove that he was not an apostle, similar silence in regard to Alphæus, Bartholomew, and others, will prove that they were not apostles. But it is said again, that the appointment of Paul to be an apostle was a virtual annulling of the election of Matthias. We do not perceive how the conclusion is here made out. Paul was appointed to be an apostle ; and was perhaps without exception the greatest of all the apostles. But how one can infer from this the non-apostleship of Matthias is rather strange; certainly there is no logical connexion between the premise and the conclusion. And what makes this idea more unlike the truth, is that Paul was not called to the apostleship for a long time after ; he was as one born out of due time.”
But it is further asserted that there were only twelve apostles, and as Paul was unquestionably an apostle, Matthias is necessarily excluded. That there are only twelve apostles, we are told, is plain, from the book of Revelation, where we read that in the foundations of the New Jerusalem were “the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” To this however, the reply is simple. Very frequently the inspired writers, instead of specifying numbers in detail, employ round numbers. This is common to all writers. But the case most strikingly parallel with the present is that of the Israelitish tribes. They are commonly even in Scripture designated the twelve tribes of Israel ; while in reality there were thirteen tribes; the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, constituting distinct tribes.
4. So far then, there is nothing to disturb our conviction, but much to strengthen it, that the election of Matthias had Divine sanction. But further there is the testimony of the Holy Spirit that “he was numbered with the eleven apostles,”—ver. 26. No one can justly take exceptions against this statement on account of the word employed. Evyrateympioon may signify to be voted with; but its natural and obvious meaning here is to be numbered, or counted with.*
* Voting appears to be altogether out of the question. The choice between the two candidates for apostleship was submitted to God, and when the choice was made, when the lot of God fell on Matthias, all further voting was set aside ; and the electors had nothing to do but acquiesce in the Divine decision. The words then, must be rendered, according to our authorized version, “He was numbered, or counted with the eleven apostles.” Such too is the rendering of the Latin Vulgate : " Annumeratus est cum undecim apostolis ;” and with both the Peschito Syriac exactly corresponds, lowesom, sos assolto • And this being the correct rendering, the words must be taken as the testimony of the Holy Spirit to the fact, that Matthias was truly an apostle. For the book of the Acts was not written till about A.D. 63; and the inspired writer, in view of the transaction before us and of its subsequent working, avers that Matthias became one of the twelve. But surely, if it were not so, if Matthias was never an apostle, his election having been unauthorized and therefore null, the inspired historian would have employed other language than he does, language which, to say the least, is very ambiguous, on the supposition that Matthias was not an apostle, and would have subjoined a word or two to let his readers know that the election in question had not the sanction of our Lord, and was therefore set aside. But instead of this, all the language he employs is such as to convey the impression that the election of Matthias was authorized and valid.
* Robinson's Lex. N. T. in verbo ; Bloomfield's Gr. Test. in loco.
In addition to all this we have an incidental and general recognition of the apostleship of Matthias, which comes home to the mind of the candid inquirer with all the force of demonstration. On the day of Pentecost, after the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, when some profane Jews began to mock at the manifestations of the Spirit, we are told by inspiration, that Peter “stood up with the ELEVEN.” So then, there were, according to the Holy Spirit's own testimony, at this time twelve apostles. But how were there twelve without Matthias ? Here then is an incidental but irrefutable and inspired confirmation of the validity and authority of the election under consideration. Here we have full proof that the apostles acted in this affair under Divine direction and with the full sanction of their Master. Matthias is spoken of and treated by the Holy Spirit as an apostle. A more complete recognition of his apostleship could scarcely be desired.
These few thoughts are the results of the writer's own unassisted investigation of the subject. He has never enjoyed the happiness of reading or hearing a vindication of the conduct of the apostles in the election of Matthias ; but he has often heard their conduct condemned; and he himself, for some time, participated in the general feeling of censure to which they have been exposed. A candid examination of the question has entirely dissipated every such feeling, and produced the firm conviction that the apostles were as fully directed by inspiration, in the case referred to, as they ever were in anything they did. The evidence on which this conviction rests has been briefly detailed above. Every one can judge of its conclusiveness.
From this view of the subject several important results present themselves. First, the principle of the popular election of ministers receives, in the present case, the sanction of inspired authority. Secondly, we are taught, by inspiration, that to have seen Christ after his resurrection, so as to be a competent witness of that grand event, was necessary