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administering the discipline of the Church, but not in preaching and in the sacraments. Against this sense, the following objections occur.
First: There is not an instance in the New Testament, of such a use of the word translated presbyter or elder; unless it be in this particular text: to urge which, would be a presuming of the matter in question.
Secondly: There are several instances of the use of the said word, disproving such a construction of the text. The distinction made in the Church of Jerusalem of “the apostles, elders and brethren,”* clearly distinguishes the two former classes from the lay-body of Christians. St. Paul, in his instructions to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus, exhorts them to “ feed the Church of God:"; doubtless meaning with the food of doctrine proper to a spiritual pastor; a character, which thus seems necessarily the same with that of presbyter or elder. In the very epistle containing the text under consideration, in which it is agreed on both sides that the terms “bishop" and "elder” are applied to the same persons, it is said "A bishop,” and of course “an elder” must be “apt to teach:” which would have been irrelative to those, had there been such, who were set apart not to teach, but to govern. So in the epistle to Titus—"A bishop”of course-"an elder"--must be able by sound doctrine, to exhort, and to convince the gainsayers.” But this, according to the theory, is out of the department of the persons in question; and therefore the apostle did not know them, as a portion of the body of elders. St. Peter says-“The elders I exhort, who am also an elder *** feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof:”He certainly could have known no elders, to whom both these branches of the ministry were not committed. It is said in the epistle to the Hebrews~"Obey them which have the rule over you, who have spoken to you the word of God:"/
* Acts xv. 23. ll xiii. 7.
† Acts xx, 28. ,
Or, according to a stricter translation -.“ Remember your rulers, who have spoken &c.” Here are ruling, but not distinct from preaching elders: whether the passage relate to the then ministers of the Church of Je. rusalem; or, as is here believed, it be a call on the people to an affectionate and profitable recollection of former pastors; who had reached the end of their conversation," and were in possession of the reward. *
Thirdly: Neither the Greek word translated "elder” in the New Testament, nor the Latin word answering to it, are ever found applied to a layman in any of the ancient writings of the Church. In the fourth century, there come under notice a class of persons known by the name of the seniors of the people: but they were the more considerable of the laity; whose concurrence was sought by the ministry, instead of that more general concurrence, which the clergy of earlier times aimed to carry along with them in the concerns of the respective dioceses. The habits of thinking did not in those days, as at present, take the track of representation: and therefore, when the Church of a diocese became too numerous for the transacting of its business collectively, there arose those seniors of the people, of the manner and the conditions of whose selection no documents remain. Still, they were a different de. scription of persons, from those spoken of in the text: for
Griesbach, in his edition of the Greek Testament, makes a full stop after the words cited, and then follows, as a dis. tinct sentence—“ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday to. day, and for ever." According to the view here taken of the passage, there is insinuated the idea, that the Saviour, who had been preached by pastors ne longer living, was still the same in his doctrine and in his offices; which was very pertinent to the circumstances of a people, to whom the apostle had found occasion to say, v. 12—" Ye have need that one teach you again, which be the first principles of the ora. cles of God.” Perhaps in the text in question, there was designed to be an intimation to the pastors then living, that they were not as faithful as their predecessors had been.
Fourthly: It speaks of one order only of ecclesiastical persons—those who rule: of which order, they who labour in the word and doctrine are a part. The Greek word* translated "they who labour,” denotes a considerable degree of exertion; and therefore implies entire devotion to the work, involving inability to pay attention to any ordinary mean of maintenance: For that the place speaks of provision for this, is agreed on both sides, and appears evidently from the verse immediately following. Probably also, the labouring spoken of may have been with an especial relation to those who travelled from their homes and from their private concerns, for the enlargement of the Christian Church: for St. Paul uses the same Greek word, where he says“I laboured more abundantly than they all,”'t and again where he says " Help those women who laboured with me in the gospel”f-doubtless in the providing of his accommodations in travel; to which the mention of his own labouring also has a reference.
Some episcopalian authors seem to have been misunderstood, when they notice the distinction made between those who taught and those who ruled. Different men may be employed in different departments; for each of which they are all alike qualified, by their grade of character: as at present, both in episcopal and in anti-episcopal communions, there are not a few who derive their subsistence from literary instruction; and yet are not on that account excluded from their respective shares in the exercise of discipline. And there are not wanting instances, in which they afford a like concurrence; while, from allowable causes, they subsist on other means, ministering seldom or not at all. Be. sides these things, it is evident a man may be relieved from labouring in the word and doctrine, by the weight of years, or by bodily complaint; and yet not be thought disqualified for ecclesiastical counsel.
* Κοπιώντες. .
† 1 Cor. xv. 10.
Philip iv. 3.
The opposite theory has been thought to be countenanced by the constitution of the synagogue: in which there were two sorts of elders—those who ruled, and those who taught. But the former held a species of civil magistracy, begun under the captivity, and indulged to the Jews by their superiours of succeeding times. This is stated by Dr. Whitby on the place; although he gives it the turn, of coun. tenancing the idea of imitation in the Christian Church. But the two cases are dissimilar in this respect: for in the synagogue, the departments of those different descriptions of persons were divers also; whereas the opposite theory does not allege, nor would the text in question countenance the notion, that in the Church, they who labour in the word and doctrine are not entitled to any share in the administration of the discipline.
In favour of this scheme of ruling elders, there are but two other passages brought from scripture; so far as is here known.
One of them, is the term “ government,” in 1 Cor. xii. 24. The apostle had noticed, as set in the Church, first, Apostles; secondly, Prophets; thirdly, Teachers. Varying his language, he goes on- " After that, miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” Here is an enumeration, first of descriptions of persons; and afterwards of endowments and offices, which might belong to any or all of them. To make each article the note of a different sort of ecclesiastical character, would be a multiplying of orders, far beyond what the opposers of parity contend for.
The other place is "He that ruleth, with diligence."* But this also appears in an enumeration of offices, which may be performed at different times, by a person of the same grade of character, and therefore cannot mark a distinct order. The apostle premises~"He that teacheth” (let him wait) “on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity.” Then comes in—" he that ruleth, with diligence;” and there follows" he that showeth mercy with cheerfulness." Doubtless, the person who teaches may also exhort, and may also give: and why not also rule? The sense is, that whoever is at any particular time engaged in any one of these acts, should perform it in its proper spirit. Any other interpretation of the two passages makes them inconsistent even with the theory, in the support of which they are produced. For it would fol. low, that the government of the Church requires a special order of persons, to be devoted to the object; and that pastors should have no concern therein. The passages, according to the construction on the other side, prove too much and therefore nothing.
* Rom. xii. 8.
There having been reference to the government of the synagogue; this may be a proper place to ex. press the opinion, that if there should be admitted the position of its having suggested the plan on which the Christian Church was modelled, nothing would be thereby gained to the opinion of congregational Episcopacy. For in such a case, there might still be expected a diversity, accommodated to the different characteristick properties of the Jewish and the Christian Churches. Among the Jews, there were in each large city many synagogues, each of which had its distinct regimen: but their common centre of unity was the temple, with its priesthood. It was therefore a deviation called for by existing circumstances, that although the angel and the presbyters of the synagogue were congregational; the bishop and the presbyters of the Church of Christ should be diocesan. Accordingly, as well in scripture as in primitive authors, we always read of the Church—not of the Churches of any particular city, and its neighbourhood. In Jeru. salem especially—it will be acknowledged—there