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fast that which is good.” “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God, because many false prophets are gone into the world.”
More especially will every minister of religion, who is enlightened, honest, and sincere, be desirous that these precepts should be fully enforced. He will resent the impositions which have been practised by others, and be ready, cheerfully and promptly, to give a reason for every official title which he wears,
and every part of the work which he performs. He will
. be concerned, so far as in him lies, to keep his conscience before God as the noon-day clear, and his character for sincerity and integrity before men, unimpeached and unimpeachable. He will not, with a christian name and office, yield pre-eminence, in any moral respect, to a Jewish priest, who, be it remembered, could discharge all the functions of his office, without the embarrassment of a single conscientious scruple in his own mind, without a rational ground for suspicion, which could desecrate him in the eyes of others.
Had a Jewish priest been asked for the origin of the office which he sustained, he could have produced the Book of the Law, and have pointed with his finger to the express passage of institution. He could have given full and explicit quotations, not only in support of the title and authority of the office itself; but also, descriptions in detail of every particular which related to its services, and even of the vestments which were
to be worn in its discharge. Had he been asked for his own individual and particular right to execute the office, he could have produced the genealogical tables, and have led the inquirer, ascending or descending through every link of the chain which connected him with God's first anointed-Aaron. Had he been asked for the authority of any of the varied rites which he performed, he could again, in every instance, have referred to the specific and divine prescription. But, if we turn to those who wear the title, pretend to the office, and perform the rites of a priest in the Christian church, and ask them to show us, in the New Testament, the specific institution of their office ;-to prove their descent, natural or ecclesiastical, from any priest who ever officiated, by God's appointment, in heaven or earth;-to give us divine prescription for the rites which they discharge ;-we ask for that which no priest in existence can produce,—we present a difficulty which cannot be satisfactorily removed,—we lay naked to the eye the fallacy and impotence of names and pretensions derived from another dispensation of religion, without the comprehension of its principles, or the firm basis of its authority and facts. In no particular has the church and the world been more extensively and injuriously misled, that in ministerial pretensions derived from Judaism. These pretensions were introduced into the Christian church at a very early period of its history, and were the source from which the greater part of its subsequent corruptions flowed. * So long as they remain in any of their modifications, christianity will be encumbered with that which is incongruous with its nature, which obscures its lustre, fetters its liberty, and confuses the interesting and instructive relation which the two sys
* “ The Christian doctors had the good fortune to persuade the people, that the ministers of the Christian church succeeded to the character, rights and privileges, of the Jewish priesthood : and this persuasion was a new source both of honours and profit to the sacred order. tion was propagated with industry some time after the reign of Adrian, when the second destruction of Jerusalem had extinguished among the Jews all hopes of seeing their government restored to its former lustre, and their country arising out of its ruins. And, accordingly, the bishops considered themselves as invested with a rank and character similar to those of the high-priest among the Jews, while the presbyters represented the priests, and the deacons the Levites. It is indeed highly probable, that they who first introduced this absurd comparison of offices, so entirely distinct, did it rather through ignorance and error than through artifice or design. The notion, however, once introduced, produced its natural effects; and these effects were pernicious. The errors to which it gave rise were any; and one of its immediate consequences was, the establishing a greater difference between the christian pastors and their flock than the genius of the gospel seems to admit.”—Mosheim, Cent. II. chap. ii. sect. 4.
tems, coming from the same hand, and comprised in the one volume of inspiration, bear to each other.
The difficulty as it has already been stated, which lies in the way of an individual who would substantiate his right to the priestly office in the Christian church, on an analogy drawn from Judaism, is insurmountable. He can produce no inspired warrant of institution,no genealogical table of descent,--no divine prescription of priestly rites. But the case is not yet presented in the whole of its strength. As the Christian dispensation is the last in order of time which has been given to the world; so is it allowed by all, to be the clearest in light, and most abounding in privileges. “Life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel.” When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” As it is the last dispensation, and the best, so it is the most comprehensive in its character, and permanent in its duration. It is designed and adapted, it was prophetically promised, and has been authoritatively instituted for the whole race of mankind, and the whole duration of the world in which they dwell. Now, under such a dispensation, intended for the world, involving the destinies of the unnumbered millions of its coming generations, embodying for their enjoyment the clearest light which God ever intends to vouchsafe to men upon earth,--if, under such a dispensation, salvation
were to be obtained through the medium of the official rites of an earthly priesthood, might we not expect that the authority and ritual of that priesthood, would, at least, be equally clear with the authority and ritual of the Jewish priesthood? Would not the immensely expanding, the infinitely multiplying interests involved in the one case, warrant us to expect, if it were possible, prescriptions even more explicit, sanctions even more incontrovertible than in the other ? But what are the facts of the respective cases? Why, when we open the Old Testament, the priesthood, under its proper designation, and in some or other of its branches or engagements, lives and moves before us in almost every page; while one entire book, and a considerable portion of others, are occupied by the arrangement of its services. If, however, we open the New Testament, and search through it from beginning to end, we shall find, respecting the institution of an earthly priesthood for the Christian church—not a word; the title of priest* applied to designate any minister of
* lepeùs. From the root of which comes Hierarchy.
In the public discussion which took place in Dublin, April, 1827, between Mr. Pope and Mr. Maguire, the latter was challenged to shew, that iepeùs, the term employed to designate a priest of the old law, was ever applied in the New Testament to a minister of the Christian church. After some quibbling about a passage in the Revelations, Mr. Maguire offered to submit the question