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KINGDOM OF CHRIST.
AN INQUIRY AS TO THE
SCRIPTURAL, INVINCIBLE, AND HISTORICAL
POSITION OF PRESBYTERY.
I prize Essay
REV. JAMES MOIR PORTEOUS,
WANLOCKHEAD AND LEADHILLS.
WITH. PREFACE BY THE REV. HORATIUS BONAR, D.D.
EDINBURGH: JOHNSTONE, HUNTER, & CO.
PREFATO RY NOT E.
A PRIZE of Fifty Pounds was offered 'For the best Essay on the Fundamental Principles of Presbyterian Order and Government, open to any Student, Preacher, or Minister of the Free Church of Scotland. The adjudicators, the Rev. Professor Douglas, D.D., Glasgow; the Rev. William Laughton, Greenock; and the Rev. A. Walker, Cumbrae (appointed instead of the late Rev. Dr Macintosh, Dunoon), were unanimous in awarding the prize to the writer in 1869. This volume-intended as an introduction to the study of the subject—is a revision and enlargement of that Essay, the general plan of which has been retained. It is published at the desire of a number of friends, and is sent forth in the hope that it may prove a contribution towards the more thorough recognition and adoption of Scriptural Government in all the departments of that Kingdom which cannot be moved.'
Cordial acknowledgments are tendered to those who have aided in obtaining recent and reliable statistical information.
A CHURCH without government must be a Church without order and without power. Even a State, to be powerful and united, must be well governed.
If there be government, there must be the rulers and the ruled. If there are no rulers, or if all are rulers, there is no government; and if there is no government, unity breaks up, compactness is gone, discipline is impossible, purity is hopeless.
The moment two or three are gathered together in the name of Jesus, government begins; and when the two or three are multiplied, then government develops itself, and the necessity for the control of law and for the recognition of some to carry out that law becomes indispensable. If all things in the Church are to be done decently and in order, law and administration must step in, otherwise every man will do what is right in his own eyes.
In the Church, as in the State, there have been in all centuries two extremes of rule—despotism and socialism. Did the Head of the Church mean either of these? Do we find, either in His own words or in those of His apostles, any intimation of these ? He meant His Church to be governed. Has He anywhere indicated His purpose that it should be governed by one or governed by all ?
Perhaps the ecclesiastical tendencies of our day do not favour the former so much as the latter, yet still it is needful that these two opposing governmental systems should be examined. It may be found that there is a more excellent way than either, a way which preserves all that is good in both, and yet exhibits