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“ unqualified terms. p. 63. Dr. Bowden quotes the passage from Calvin, exactly in the same manner, and makes precisely the same use of it with Mr. How.
You will, no doubt, be filled with astonishment, my brethren, to find that the passage from which these gentlemen profess to make this quotation, is in fact as follows: “ Presbyters, or Elders, it is well “ known, are not so denominated on account of
young men are sometimes chosen to this office, as for instance, Timothy ; but “ it has ever been customary, in all languages, to “ apply this title, as a term of honour, to all “ Rulers. And, as we gather from the first Epis“tle to Timothy, that there were two kinds of El" ders; so here the context shows that no other " than teaching Elders are to be understood ; that “ is, those who were ordained to teach; because " the same persons are presently called Bishops. - It may be objected that too much power seems “ to be given to Titus, when the Apostle com“ mands him to appoint ministers over all the “ Churches. This, it may be said, is little less “ than kingly power; for, on this plan, the right u of choice is taken away from the particular “ Churches, and the right of judging in the case “ from the College of Pastors; and this would “ be to profane the whole of the sacred discipline
of the Church. But the answer is easy. Every “ thing was not intrusted to the will of Titus as an " individual, nor was he allowed to impose such
Bishops on the Churches, as he pleased: but he
was commanded to preside in the elections as “ Moderator, as it is necessary for some one to do. * This is a mode of speaking exceedingly com
Thus a Consul, or Regent, or Dictator, “ is said to create Consuls, because he convenes « assemblies for the purpose of making choice of 6 them.
So also Luke uses the same mode of “ speaking concerning Paul and Barnabas in the “ Acts of the Apostles; not that they alone autho“ ritatively appointed Pastors over the Churches, " without their being tried or approved; but they “ ordained suitable men, who had been elected or “ chosen by the people. We learn also from this
place, that there was not then such an equality among the ministers of the Church, but that
some one might preside in authority and counsel. “ This, however, was nothing like the tyrannical " and unscriptural Prelacy which reigns in the
Papacy * The plan of the Apostles was ex“tremely different."
Here is not only a passage taken out of its connexion, and interpreted in a sense diametrically opposite to the whole scope and strain of the wri. ter; but, what is much worse, the passage itself is mistranslated, and made to speak a language essentially different from the original. Mr. How may possibly plead that he never saw the original; that
* Here Calvin not only represents Prelacy as a tyrannical and unscriptural system, but evidently considers it as a part of the corruptions of Popery,
he quoted entirely on the authority of some other person. But Dr. Bowden cannot make the same plea. He inserts in the margin the very words which he mistranslates and perverts! What are we 'to think of such a fact? Is Dr. B. unable to trans. late a plain piece of Latin? or did he design to deceive? He may choose which alternative he pleases.
Dr. Bowden thinks me inconsistent with myself in demanding decided Scriptural warrant, and in maintaining the sufficiency of Scripture to direct us on the subject of ecclesiastical order; while, at the same time, I acknowledge that there are no formal or explicit decisions delivered on this subject, either by Christ or his Apostles. But where is the inconsistency here? Do I not maintain that, although the Scriptures present no formal or explicit decisions on this subject, yet we find in the New Testament, “a mode of expression, and a “ number of facts, from which we may, without “ difficulty, ascertain the outlines of the Apostolic “ plan of Church order?" And is not this “Scrip“ tural warrant?” Is it not " decided" Scriptural warrant, in the estimation of all those who consi. der the form of the Apostolic Church as a model intended for our imitation ? This is perfectly clear to every impartial mind: with others it is vain to
With respect to Dr. Bowden's open declaration, that the Scriptures, taken alone, are not a sufficient guide on this subject; that we cannot
“ stir a step,” in the controversy, to any purpose, without the aid of the Fathers; and even that we cannot establish the genuineness and authenticity of the Scriptures themselves, without the writings of the Fathers—I can only say that I consider it as a declaration equally unworthy of his character as a Divine, and as a Christian. Has Dr. Bowden no evidence that the Scriptures are from God, but what the Fathers say? Then he is exceedingly to be pitied; for his hope rests upon a most precarious foundation. I bless God that much better judges have been of a different opinion. I bless God that the greatest ornaments of his own Church, from Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley, to the present day, have considered the internal evidence of the Scriptures as the strongest, the best, and most precious of all. The testimony of the Fathers, indeed, has its use; but to place it in the point of light in which Dr. Bowden does, and to lay so much stress upon it as he avows a disposition to do, is really extraordinary conduct for a Protestant minis. ter of the Gospel!
The doctrine of our Confession of Faith is full and explicit on this subject.
be " ed and induced by the testimony of the Church,
to an high and reverend esteem for the Holy
Scripture: And the heavenliness of the matter, “ the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the " style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of “ the whole, the full discovery it makes of the " only way of man's salvation, the many other in
comparable excellencies, and the entire perfection
thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abun“ dantly evidence itself to be the word of God. “ Yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and as
surance of the infallible truth, and divine autho. “ rity thereof, is from the inward work of the Ho“ ly Spirit, bearing witness, by and with the word « in our hearts.--The whole counsel of God con“ cerning all things necessary for his own glory, “ man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly
set down in Scripture, or, by good and necessary consequence, may be deduced from Scrip
ture; unto which nothing, at any time, is to be " added, whether by new revelations, or by the “ spirit and traditions of men." Chap. I. This is the doctrine of all the Reformed Churches. The doctrine of the latter clause, is explicitly recognized in the VIth article of Dr. Bowden's own Church, which, in my opinion, he misunderstands and
perverts. Holy Scripture containeth all " things necessary to salvation: so that whatso
ever is not read therein, nor may be proved
thereby, is not to be required of any man, that « it should be believed as an article of the Faith,
or be thought requisite or necessary to Salva66 tion.” This is the rock on which we stand. As long as we
can show, and while the Bible lasts I am sure we shall always be able to show, that Presbyterian government was the Apostolic model of Church order, we may stand unmoved at all opposite testimony, however plausible in its nature, and however confidently adduced.