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When, indecd, he proceeds to specifications of aberrations from the canons of a rigid induction, he seems to have special and emphatic reference to the assumption of the sources of evidence, or the seizure of the field out of which the facts are to be gleaned from which this induction is to be made. In one word, I have assumed that the scriplures alone are the field from which a scriptural induction can be made. This is the head and front of my offending against the inductive philosophy. It may not be the only offence of which I have been guilty, but it is the capital one in his estimation. My answer to this specification is, that it was a scriptural induction in quest of which I set out; and to me it would seem to be an aberration from the prime canon of the inductive philosophy to have sought for facts out of the scriptures from which to have conducted a scriptural induction.-With our learned and excellent correspondent the scriptures are not the only field from which the facts are to be gleaned from which the ancient, divine, snd apostolic constitutions are to be inferred. In that case, indeed, a scriptural induction would not be sufficient to the final adjudication of the whole case; but as we only proposed a scriptural induction, we must plead not guilty of a sin against the inductive plan in confining a scriptural induction to scriptural premises.
Still our correspondent has a right to assume other premises and to add to the apostolic field the back grounds of the ecclesiastic fathers and the examples of the early councils, and from these to induct an argument in favor of some other ancient order of things. Still this not being my premises, I claim the right of first irying the question by an appeal to the Bible alone. Ancient Christianity is not apostolic Christianity. This is true of the outward as of the inward Christianity.
I have said my correspondent has a right, I do not say as good a righi, to assume the Fathers as I have to assume the Apostles. Sull if it be assumption on my part, it is no less'assumption on his part. The previous question then would be as much in his way as in mine. We equally "start with general positions instead arriving at them by a rigid induction." I indeed, start with this general position, that Christianity is all found in the New Testament. Siill, although it may be an assumption in this discussion, it is not an assumption in our scheme of reforınation, nor in our general argument in favor of primitive Christianity. We have before proved from a strict induction, that the Bible alone, and the whole Bible contains the whole Chris. tian institution. If that be an erroneous induction from its own facts, then are we in error. But it is an error not in logic, but in theology. It is a defect in the Bible, not in our inductive philosophy. It, then,
we assume any thing in the present discussion, it is because it is a logical deduction, an inference inductively established, in some other part of the pending discussion about primitive apostolic Christianity. Still I have no objection whatever to a reconsideration of the facts in sacred history, from which we, in common with the first Protestants, have concluded that the Bible, and the Bible alone, contains the religion of Protestants. I ask no favors, no concessions, no assumptions in ascertaining the field from which the facts are to be gathered in the present investigation of Christian organization.
If then it should appear that there are no apostolic precepts, precedents, or facts from which a complete Christian organization can be gleaned, I would rather infer that whatever is wanting to complete the organization in reference to any exigencies, times, or circumstances whatever, is left to Christian wisdom and prudence, and to be regarded with no other veneration or authority than is due to human enactments: I say, I had rather infer this than throw myself upon such a sea of troubles as that upon which I must sail by way of Eusebius and his apostolic fathers in quest of the terra firma of apostolic institutions.
With regard to my allusions on former occasions to the testimony of ecclesiastic history in favor of immersion and the weekly celebration of the supper, I desire to be distinctly understood. I do, indeed, appeal to these as a mere argumentum ad hominem, but not as an authentic primary source of evidence. I will appeal in the same manner to the same sources so far as they indicate ancient usages relative to the Christian ministry and the Christian organization; but not as primary authentic sources of evidence, or as fields from which facts may be gleaned and arranged under the same category with scriptural facts and statements.
I would, indeed, most respectfully ask our much esteemed corre. spondent whether his grand position towards the conclusion of his second number be according to a rigid induction from a field of facis and documents of divine authority. He will at once perceive that I allude to this inference:-"All facts which have relation to practice, (not moral, but ecclesiastic practice is intended) whether derived from scripture or antiquity, and are clearly so ancient that no departure from the more ancient can be proved or fairly inferred, are all the legitimate materials of a sound and safe induction upon this subject.” From what facts, and from what field, may I ask, is this inference fairly and inductively evideni! May it not, indeed, be regarded as an assumption? I most sincerely and benevolently put it to the good sense and Chriatian fidelity of my worthy correspondent, whether it
be a logical induction according to the canons of sound philosophy from another field of facts antecedent to, or different from, that to which we look for light upon the organization of the Christian church. And will he have the goodness to state those facts from which he deduces this conclusion, and I promise acquiescence in the conclusion the instant that its relevance and legitimacy are ascertained and established. Until then, on his own allegations, I must regard it as an assumption.
I now proceed to consider the grand outline of an inductive arguinent on the Christian ministry, one of the three grand topics which our correspondent regards as pertinent to the subject of church organization, as sketched in the sacred records of the New Covenant. He has judiciously selected the church at Ephesus. I have always regarded the historical details of that community as more ample and complete than those of any other Christian community reared by the ministry of the twelve Apostles. We may be said to have apostolic notices of this church for some forty years by adding up the documents to which he refers. If a clear case of apostolic practice cannot be found in the scripture records of the Ephesian church, in vain will any one seek it in the details of the Jerusalem, Antiochan, or Roman com. munities, though from each of these many important facts may be gleaned.
From the first notices of the Ephesian church, found in the Acts of Apostles, we gather the following facts:-Paul on his arrival there, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila, and probably by some others, (Timothy and Silas,) entered into the Jews' synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. That any were converted during his visit is not stated. Leaving there his companions, Priscilla and Aquila, he sailed for Cesarea and Jerusalem. After his departure the eloquent and persua. sive Apollos came 'to Ephesus and commenced a series of lectures in the Jewish synagogue on the things of the Lord, so far as pertained to the baptism of John. Being farther instructed by Priscilla and Aquila, he left for Achaia. On Paul's return to Ephesus he found iwelve converts to the things of the Lord so far as Apollos had preached. These being immersed in the name of the Lord, and having been endowed with miraculous powers by the imposition of Paul's hands, became the neucleus of the Ephesian church. Paul commenced a second assault upon the infidelity and superstition of the citizens, and continued his addresses for three months, with how much success Luke deposes not. Some were converted, and the synagogue was offended. Paul left the synagogue, and entering the academy of one Tyrannus, daily for two whole years disputed and reasoned with the Ephesians on the things of the Lord. Many were converted, renounced their wicked acts, burned their books to the value of 50,000 silver coins; mso mightily grew the word of the Lord and prevailed.”During this long siege Timotheus and Erastus, with others not named, ministered to him and aided in the work.
After the Demetrian mob was quelled Paul left for Macedonia and spent three months in Greece. Returning to Syria after his visit to Troas, he prosecuted his journey to Assos, Mytilene, and Miletus.From this last point he sent for the bishops of Ephesus, to whom on their arrival Paul delivered a very solemn valedictory charge. Such are the facts found in the 18th, 19th, and 20th chapters of the Acts.
From the charge of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesian bishops, who it seems were a pretty numerous bench, we must learn that Paul anticipated a schism among them—that from among these very men "some would arise speaking perverse things to draw away many disciples after them.” He charged them, however, to take heed to themselves, and to the flock over which they presided, to feed and tend it as good pastors. These bishops or elders he commended to God and his word of grace, and exhorted 10 liberality even at the expense of the labor of their own hands.
From all the facts found in this history of the Ephesian community, it does not appear who selected, ordained, or consecrated these bishops. The presbytery of this church furnishes not a single fact from which to infer their mode of selection or consecration. We know just as little of this from the book of the Acts as we do of the persons who baptized the converts at Ephesus. Whether Paul, Apollos, Timothy, or Erastus, Alexander, or Aristarchus, or all of them in conjunction, imposed their hands upon them, is so far as Luke informs, an eternal secret.
Great and valuable facts are, however, found in this field:
1st. The congregation gathered by Paul, Apollos, Aquila, Timothy, Erastus, and others, was ultimately organized and placed under the supervision and government of a presbytery.
2d. This episcopacy was held responsible to the Lord for the faithful discharge of their duties and the church was to be subject to em.
3d. Their duties were all comprehended under two categories "taking heed," and "feeding the church; in other words, teaching and ruling.
These facts are all-important; and from them we learn that bishops, teaching, and discipline are essential elements of the Christian organ ization, and that the labors of Apostles and Prophets must necessarily precede both the gathering of the materials and the erection and organ zation of the Christian church.
We shall next examine the epistle written by Paul to the Ephesian church, and ascertain its facts bearing on this question. From this document it is farther evident that the Lord on his ascension bestowed on the church catholic (his body on earth) apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. For what purposes, general and special, were these gifts bestowed? It is, I believe, very generally agreed that on our Lord's ascension, and especially on the descension of the Holy Spirit, various supernatural gifts and offices (for gift and office are but two versions of one word) were immediately vouchsafed in compensation of his absence. The office of Apostle and Prophet were original and supernatural gifts to the church, inasmuch as Apostles possessing "the word of wisdom” uttered new divine oracles, and Prophets possessing the supernatural gift of "the word of knowledge” infallibly expounded the ancient oracles. These offices were necessary to ihe introduction and establishment of Christianity, and consequently were not to be continued. Hence neither Moses nor the twelve Apostles, nor the ancient Jewish and Christian Prophets had any successors in office.
Evangelists, too, so far as they needed and received the gift of speaking foreign tongues to fit them for addressing all nations in their various languages; and so far as they needed the confirmation of mira. cles in aitestation of their mission to procure for them a favorable hearing, may in these two respects be regarded as officers extraordinary and special: but as this office can be exercised without supernatural qualifications on ordinary occasions, while that of Apostles and Prophets could never be discharged but by the presence of special and supernatural gifts, it is not exclusively ranked amongst the first class of gifts, but is found amongst the secondary and ordinary gifts vouchsafed to the church as necessary to its extension and continuance in all coming time.
We have, then, preachers of the gospel, or evangelists; pastors, or teachers, sometimes called bishops, sometimes elders, amongst the spiritual functionaries that Christ bestowed on the church. The Apostle fully states the design of these grand displays of the Lord's bounty to the church after his ascension, and therefore intimates that at first they were all supernaturally endowed; and, indeed, the crisis so demanded: for had the church to have waited till she had raised up and trained for her service evangelists, pastors, and teachers, her commencement would have been weak and her progress slow. Not so, indeed; for all these offices, as that of the apostleship of Paul, were at first the creation of a moment. Their design is fully expressed in the 12th and 13th verses of the 4th chapter of the epistle to the Ephesians,