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the Senate reject him; but they cannot nominate one in his stead. This the President alone can do. It is exactly analogous in the Christian organization. The people choose, and the Presbytery or an Evangelist ordains.
We have here suggested an important inquiry. Why do the scriptures require in the appointment of officers in the church, the co-operation and concurrence of a Presbytery or an Evangelist? To the man of faith it is sufficient to know that such is the law; still there is good reason for it--such as has influenced all rational governments to incorporate a like principle into their Constitutions. Certain qualifications are presumed to be essential to fitness for certain offices: these are prescribed in the fundamental law; and though the people should choose one who did not possess them, he could not be constitutionally inducted into office. Should the people glect to the presidency of the United States a foreigner, he could not be constitutionally inaugurated, because a fundamental law of the government forbids to such the honor and powers of this office; should the people elect to a seat in Congress one under the lawful age, no matter though his election may have been by the unanimous voice of his district, he must still lose his seat for the want of the requisite qualification of age. The people choose, but they cannot effectually call those who possess the legal qualifications—and of this they are not to be the judges.
Now the Christian organization must be regulated by law-and that, not the law of man, but of Christ. This law requires that there be in the church certain officers, and authorizes the congregation to choose them. But, at the same time, it requires that none shall act, although the people desire it, who have not certain qualications. These qualifications are not a matter of human legislation, but they are clearly and explicitly set forth in the law of Christ. Who, then, is to apply these tests? One will say, Has not the congregation as good a right to judge in this matter as to choose in the other? By no means. In the first place, they are not as well qualified, either from their acquaintance with the Word or by their ability to analyze character. Neither can they know so well the suitableness of those whom they may choose to fill the station to which they would call them. So far, then, as qualification gives right, they have not as good a right. But where Christ has legislated, all right must rest upon his will; and simply because he has not given this right to the congregation but to the Presbytery or Evangelist, do we say, with confidence, that none but the Presbytery or Evangelist can exercise it. This is the law of Christ, and there is much wisdom in it. It is a plan commending itself to the admiration of all who have studied the tangled web of human nature and witnessed, even in its best estate, the dangerous tendencies of its unchecked current. To prevent the disagreeable consequences of imposing upon a people, rulers whom they might not like, they are granted the right to choose; and to guard against the influence of party feeling, blind personal partiality, or a neglect of the required qualifications, on the part of the people-Elders or Evangelists are required to ordain.
Can the Presbytery or Evangelist, then, refuse to ordain one włrom the people have selected? Certainly. Does not Paul tell Timothy to lay hands suddenly on no man? If this does not mean that he is to exercise a prudence and discretion in this matter in order to satisfy his own judgment of the qualifications of the persons proposed, we are at a loss to say what is its import. Titus was left in Crete to ordain Elders in every city, but only upon the condition that he found such as filled up the character which Paul depicts. But in order to determine this, he must exercise his judgment in every case submitted to him. If one were presented to him, who had not the qualities which Paul names, Titus must either reject him by refusing ordination, or else disregard the positive and solemn injunction of the Apostle.
The case of a congregation organizing itself, we cannot find in the New Testament, and the reason is obvious. The law of God requir that there shall be the concurrence of a Presbytery or an Evangelist with the congregation in the appointing of its officersthe people to choose those who would be acceptable to their feelings; the Presbytery or Evangelist, to see that the requisitions of the law are complied with. The method of procedure was natural and plain. A church or churches sent out Evangelists to preach the gospel and to baptize the penitent believers;—these went forth on their mission, and in various places converted the people. When they had succeeded in baptizing a sufficient number, they gathered them together in congregations and taught them the things commanded. Amongst other things, the duty and necessity of organization. Under these instructions the people made their choice, and the Evangelists, not daring to lay hands suddenly on any man, examined with prudence and care into their qualifications, and then proceeded to ordain to office such as filled up the requisitions of the law. That this was the ancient and divine method of procedure is evident from the 13th and 14th chapters of Acts, which, taken in connexion with Paul's instructions to Timothy and Titus, leave no
room for even a cavil. Paul was an Apostle and Barnabas was a Prophet; yet the Holy Spirit, intending to signify to us this divine or ler, commands even these to be sent forth under sanction and by ordination of the church at Antioch; and we find that obedient to their mission, they return to this same church and report, as in duty bound, the result of their labors. It is not here stated that Paul and Barnabas were ordained by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery; but the work to which they were separated is the same as that imposed upon Timothy, and it was by the hands of the Presbytery that he was ordained.
The sensible force of these examples is opposed by an appeal to the fact that Paul was an Apostle, and that Timothy enjoyed a special gift through the imposition of Paul's hands;—but what of Titus? He was left by Paul in Crete for this purpose; and, as an Apostle, Paul had full power to ordain him to this work; but we have no evidence that he enjoyed any supernatural gift qualifying him specially for the discharge of his duties. On the contrary, does it not appear that Paul and Barnabas, as well as Timothy and Titus, in the cases we are referring to, were acting in the legiti. mate capacity of Evangelists, and were all therefore governed by the same rule. Paul, as an Apostle, could prescribe and declare the rule; but as an Evangelist of the church at Antioch, he submits himself to it as well as Timothy or Titus. That the two latter acted in no wise by any divine internal illumination or guidance in this matter, is evident from the nature of the instructions given them by Paul. They could do no more than exercise a sound judgment in applying the law promulged by Paul. They had no discretion.
The relation which a church holds to the Evangelist that planted it, makes him, in every sense, the most fitting person to officiate in ordaining the officers. It is his business to labor among them and to take the lead in their proceedings, as often as praeticable, antil he has not only taught them, but to some degree trained them in the exercises of the Lord's house. This must be done, before there can be an organization at all. By means of this intercourse he becomes acquainted with the various gifts and qualifications of the church, and can therefore apply the tests of the Apostle: But as no “new convert" can be promoted to the office of Elder, it is manifest that a congregation made up exclusively of such, must be under the discipline and tutelage of the Evangelist, till some of them attain to such a degree of experience in scriptural things as will qualify them for the responsible labors of a Bishop.
In those cases, however, where one church is formed out of a part of the members of another, it would seem that the Presbytery of the mother church should officiate. In this case, their relation to the members who had been a part of their own charge, best fits them for judging of the character of those who might be preferred for office.
Both analogy and the nature of the Christian government, then, seem to require the method of appointing to office indicated in the 6th chapter of Acts—and that, no matter what the office, whether Elder, Deacon, or Evangelist. With this conclusion the farthest voice of antiquity concurs. Clemens Romanus, who is the most reliable of all the Apostolic Fathers, says that the Apostles ordained the first ministers of the church, and "then gave directions how, when they should die, other chosen and approved men should succeed in their ministry. Wherefore, we cannot suppose that they may be justly thrown out of their ministry, who were either appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church.” Cyprian says that it was a rule of divine appointment, “that a minister should be chosen in the presence of the people, and should be publicly acknowledged and approved as worthy of the office,” and that in no case should the act of ordination be solemiized without the knowledge and assistance of the people. We might still further multiply the historic evidences of this fact, both from the decrees of councils and the allusions of profane history—but we attach no authority to any thing of this kind, further than to receive it as corroborative of that which is already manifest from the scriptures.
The manner in which the people shall express their suffrage is a matter of discretion. It is both their privilege and their duty; and since the manner of doing it is not prescribed, they must determine this for themselves. The ancient method seems to have been for the Presbytery or Evangelist to ascertain in an informal manner by private inquiry, who would be acceptable to the brethren, and then propose such, provided they were qualified, to the approbation of the church, by their ac:lamation;—the people exclaiming, Axios, [fit,] or Anaxios, (unfit;] or, in the Latin church, Dignus est justus. This seems the most prudent course and that which is least likely to lead to any unpleasant collision of party feeling. Every thing should be done decently and in order, and with a view to avoid, as far as practicable, every manifestation of a worldly ambition for the honor of preferment. There should be no opportunity given for electioneering—no room for the play of artifice and intrigue; but SERIES 111.-VOL. V.
each disciple should feel only for the glory of God and the good of the church, and cast his suffrage accordingly. Any person who would resort to the wily and hypocritical expedients of the politician, to curry favor with his brethren and to seduce them into his support, shows himself at once unworthy and unfit: he should be rebuked by his brethren and taught that such arts belong not to the purity of the Christian organization.
There are various items in connexion with this important process of the Christian organization which we might notice, but they are of minor importance, and our limits are already exceeded. Should any of our kind readers, however, feel inclined to suggest any thing they may deem of interest to notice farther, we shall be happy to give them a hearing.
W, K. P.
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FREE MASONS. CIRCUMSTANCES beyond our control prevent, at present, a special response to brother Williams. An impartial attention to the views of our brethren on “moral societies” requires that we allow the Masonic brotherhood to exhibit their claims upon the charities of the Christian communities,-especially when these claims are urged upon us not only by a Christian brother, but by a brother minister. We shall, therefore, give space to a few extracts from a recently printed “Oration, delivered at Glasgow, Kentucky, before the members of Allen Lodge, No. 24, of Free and Accepted Ancient York Masons, and the citizens of Barren county, Kentucky, on the 24th of June, 1818—hy Elder William P. Clark, of Harrodsburg, Ky.”printed September 1st, 1848. This oration being in part a response to some of my objections to “moral societies," "having secrets without being secret societies,” I am as much in duty bound to hear Elder Clark as Elder Williams, and to allow my readers the same privilege.
A few extracts from this oration will show its strength and the claims of its author upon our respect for hiinself and the institution which he so zealously defends:
“Beloved Brothers, Companions, and Fellow-Citizens—We hail with the liveliest emotions of the gratitude of our hearts, the return of another day of glad and delightful festivity. We have met this mornin: for the purpose of celebrating the anniversary of St. John the Baptist, and to cherish and perpetuate in our memories ihe name