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thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom,- preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” Every religious teacher was not an evangelist; for the two are distinguished, and the teacher placed last. 6 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." (Ephes, iv. 11,12.) The apostles and prophets were extraordinary officers, and of temporary standing in the church; highly useful, and even necessary, while the cause of Christ was in a state of infancy; but not required after it had attained to a good degree of maturity. The office of evangelist must be permanent, at least so long as a soul on earth shall need evangelising. Of these permanent officers, then, the evangelist stands first.
Upon the subject of power, your laws are a direct contradiction of the New Testament. 1. Your missionaries, or evangelists, cannot, by virtue of their office, without asking leave of their masters, the elders, administer baptism; for the elders, and such preachers as they may appoint, shall be requested to perform this rite." They are in the same predicament with regard to the Lord's supper; for “where it shall be determined to administer this ordinance, the leaders’ meeting shall fix the time and place for its administration, and the elders, or such preachers as they may appoint, shall be requested to perform this duty."* 2. They cannot admit persons into society; for this is
Mag. for Nov., p. 349.
done by the leaders' meeting, or where there is but one leader, by him and the private members. * 3. They cannot expel improper members; for this is done by the same authority by which they were admitted.t 4. They cannot appoint elders. " They shall be elected by the quarterly meeting, which shall also appoint one of them to be the presiding elder.”I 5. They cannot sit in judgment on elders, and expel them for their sins. Nor can I find, on a careful inspection of your rules, that there is any authority in your connexion to try these consequential gentlemen for any faults they may commit, as elders. But the missionaries are subjected to a committee, consisting principally of elders, who “shall be authorised to call out and employ such missionary candidates as they may approve, and as the state of the funds, and calls for assistance, may justify.”§ 6. They cannot restore a penitent elder, supposing he were expelled the society for his faults; since we have seen that the missionaries are subject to the elders, and not the elders to the missionaries. 7. They cannot appoint deacons, or poor stewards; for these are to be chosen by the leaders' meeting."U 8. They cannot appoint others to the office of missionaries, as I have already shown this is done by a committee consisting principally of elders. 9. They cannot exercise any control over the funds of the society. “ They shall have no power to have any individual control over the funds of any society."1 10. They cannot either make or execute laws, or perform a single act of discipline, by virtue of their office as missionaries, or evangelists. They cannot attend the yearly meeting, which is the legislative assembly, without an order from their masters, the missionary committee, and this committee cannot send to it more than three; and they are not required to send one. The words of the law upon this subject are, “Not more than three mis
* Rules, p. 11. for Nov., p. 348.
+ Ibid, p. 12.
| Ibid, p. 13. § Mag.
Mag. for Nov., p. 348.
sionaries to be sent by the missionary committee."* It would be idle, therefore, to talk of their possessing any legislative authority; for the law seems evidently to have been made with a special view to prevent it. They cannot preside in any meeting : “ The presiding elder when present, shall be the chairman of all quarterly meetings, preachers' and leaders' meetings.f Missionaries shall not be eligible for the office of presiding elder in any circuit.”! This latter rule was unquestionably intended to prevent them, by virtue of their office, from taking the chair in any meeting. They have no authority, as missionaries, " to make the preachers' plans, and see that the appointments be punctually fulfilled ; to renew the tickets at the quarterly visitation of the classes; to meet the societies ; to address the new members ;” or “to settle” any “personal disputes and minor differences betwixt members of the society;" for “all” these things are expressed as belonging to the duties of elders."'S Here are christian missionaries for you! so completely stripped of all power by these lordly elders, that they have not authority to settle even a minor difference betwixt members of the society!
Such is the degraded condition of the missionaries, or evangelists, in your connexion. Let us now inquire into the prerogatives of the evangelists of holy writ. We have seen that they are placed
in the first rank of permanent officers. Your evangelists are subject to the elders; the elders were subject to the evangelist Timothy, who had authority to try them, and if found guilty, to depose them; and it belonged to him to restore them after they had given proof of repentance. All this is plain from 1 Timothy v. 19–22: “ Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that
# Mag. for
* Mag. for Nov., p. 319. + Rules, p. 14. Nov., p. 348. Rules, p. 13.
thou observe these things, without preferring one before another, doing 'nothing by partiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins : keep thyself pure.” Here it is worthy of notice, 1. That if two or three witnesses lodged a complaint against an elder before an evangelist, he was authorised to entertain it, and to try the cause. If the charge were proved, the evangelist, as judge, pronounced sentence: "Them that sin rebuke before all.” If your elders sin, your evangelists have no power to try and judge them.
2. This authority the evangelist derives from Christ, as an essential part of his office; and to Christ he is responsible for the due exercise of it. Hence it is added, “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things.” This is one of the most solemn and awful charges to be found in the Bible, and makes it the imperative and indispensable duty of every evangelist to pay a most strict and conscientious attention to this branch of his office; and those who dare to deprive him of it, and the evangelist who has the meanness and impiety to resign it, must answer for it at the last day, in the presence of God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels.
3. Why was Timothy to be so unbending in the impartial and strict exercise of discipline? The apostle says, “ That others also may fear.” This shows that in those days it was not put to the vote, in an assembly of elders, what punishment should be awarded to an offending brother; for the elders were not likely to be afraid of a censure inflicted by themselves. The guilt was to be clearly proved by the testimony of “two or three witnesses ;" but when this was done, the
evangelist of his own discretion was to mete out a punishment proportioned to the offence, and the best adapted to inspire the other elders with a fear of sinning. Now in such a case as this, suppose a few ignorant and hardened elders in the church, and how would the thing work? What is intended to intimidate, if it fail
of its purpose, will provoke opposition. Those gentlemen, then, who were not moved with fear, would resist, and the demagogues would spout away in thing like the following style: “ Men of Israel help! This beardless youth who has lately come amongst us, and who has been treated by us.with the greatest kindness, and supported in the most liberal manner, is acting the tyrant, and trying to govern, as all tyrants do, by working upon our fears. Are we to submit to this state of vassalage, and to be treated like slaves, because this is the will and pleasure of a lad just out of petticoats? We protest against such outrageous conduct, and we call upon all christians who value their religious liberties, to unite with us in protesting against this impudent attempt to deprive us of the privilege of being tried by our peers.”
4. The punishment, in the passage under consideration, was excision; because it is added,
Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins : keep thyself pure.” I am aware that many understand this text as referring to an ordination to the ministry; but I have shown in my book on Ecclesiastical Claims, that it refers to a restoration to the eldership. * As that book was published fifteen years ago, my opinion on the passage could not be founded on any bias in relation to the present controversy. The apostle was treating here, not on the appointment of officers, but on their punishment. He had exhorted Timothy fearlessly to chastise the guilty; and now he cautions him against a sudden restoration, (which was performed by the imposition of hands,) lest the discipline of the church should be despised; in which case others would venture to sin, and Timothy would become a partaker of it. Your evangelists can exercise no discretion as to the continuance of church censures, and have no more authority to take them off, than to lay them on.
Titus was an officer in the primitive church, similar
* Pages 140, 141.