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that in organizing the Christian church, the Apos tles acting in the name, and under the authority of Christ, appointed for the Church the same classes of officers as existed in the synagogue; gave them the same names; assigned to them similar duties; directed their ordination to be solemnized in the same manner; and prescribed for them, substantially, the same course of public service. Can any thing be more conclusive? He who can reject this plain induction of facts, will find it difficult to be satisfied with demonstration itself.
You will now be able, my brethren, to judge between Dr. Bowden and me, with respect to this point; or rather between the Presbyterian and Episcopal doctrine. We say that the Christian church was formed by the apostles after the model of the Jewish Synagogue; while those who contend for the divine right of Diocesan Epis copacy, assert, that it was organized, after the model of the Temple service. We produce proof, We show that the organization and service of the Christian church, resemble the Temple in scarcely any thing; while they resemble the Synagogue in almost every thing. We show that there were bishops, elders, and deacons in the synagogue; but not in the temple :-That there was ordination by the imposition of hands in the synagogue, but no ordination at all in the temple:-That there were reading the scriptures, expounding them, and public prayers, every sabbath day, in the synagogue;
while the body of the people went up to the temple only three times a year, and even then to attend on a very different service:-That in the synagogue, there was a system established, which included a weekly provision not only for the instruction and devotions of the people, but also for the maintenance of discipline, and the care of the poor; while scárcely any thing of this kind was to be found in the temple. Now, in all these respects, and in many more which might be mentioned, the Christain church followed the Synagogue, and departed from the Tem ple. Could we trace a resemblance in one or a few points, it might be considered as accidental; but the resemblance is so close, so striking, and extends to so many particulars, as to arrest the attention of the most careless inquirer. It was, indeed, notoriously so great in the early ages, that the heathen frequently suspected and charged Christian churches, with being Jewish synagogues in disguise. But with respect to the Temple service, this resemblance is, in almost every particular, entirely wanting. I ask, then, after which of these models was the Christian church formed? The answer is so plain, that I should insult your
Only the males, it will be observed, were required to go up to Jerusalem, three times a year. If, therefore, Dr. Bowden's position, that the synagogue service was a mere human invention, be admitted, then it will follow, that there was no public religious service of divine institution in which the Jewish females could ever join! Is this probable?
understandings by supposing it possible for you to
It is vain to object as Dr. Bowden does, that the resemblance between the Christain church and the synagogue is not absolutely perfect as to every minute particular. This does not affect the general principle. He objects, for instance, that neither Baptism nor the Lord's Supper is to be found in the synagogue service. Be it so. But were they to be found in the Temple service, for the resemblance of which to the Christian church, he so ardently contends? No. Baptism, among the Jews had no connexion with the Temple; and with respect to the Passover, it was instituted long before the temple had a being; and has been continued near eighteen hundred years since it was
But Dr. Bowden is incorrect in his premises, as well as in his conclusion. Both Baptism and the Passover, though they had no connexion with the Temple, were connected with the Synagogue. The ministers of the Synagogue admitted Proselytes to their communion by baptising parents and children. To constitute a regular Jewish baptism, it was necessary that three Elders of the Synagogue should be present. The Synagogue officers also determined the question of right who should eat the Passover. In fact, the Synagogue, officers did admit Proselytes into the Jewish Church, and excommunicate offenders. They had the care of the whole discipline from the time of Ezra. The
priests, it is true, had a voice; but it was as members of the Sanhedrim, and not as officers of the Temple.
As to Dr. B.'s objection, that the organization of the Christian church cannot resemble that of the synagogue, because the bishop of the syna. gogue had only the charge of a single congregation, whereas he is persuaded, that the Christian Bishop has a charge extending over many congregations-I can only say, that while it includes a most ludicrous begging of the question in debate, it carries with it also a most important concession, which I take for granted the Dr. was not aware of; but which is fatal to his cause. He grants that the bishop of the synagogue, (and of course, the only kind of bishop to which the first converts to Christianity had been accustomed,) was the pastor, or presiding officer, over a single congregation. Now if the model of the synagogue, and not of the temple, was adopted by the apostles, it affords a strong presumption that the scriptural bishop was, what we suppose him to have been, the pastor of a single church. In fact, Dr. B. fully concedes this: for, in another part of his work, he frankly acknowledges that, in the days of the apostles, the title of bishop was currently applied to the pastors of particular churches. There is nothing now wanting, even on Dr. B.'s own principles, to render the resemblance between the synagogue and the church complete, so far as the officers of each are concerned, but to find ruling
elders in the primitive church. But a bench of ruling elders, corresponding with those who bear that name in our church, he acknowledges belonged to the Synagogue; and in the next Letter I hope to prove, to the satisfaction of every impartial mind, that such officers were instituted in the primitive Church.
The great principle for which I am contending, viz. that the Christian Church was organized on the model of the Synagogue, has been received and maintained by a number of the ablest divines that ever wrote on the subject, both Presbyterian and Episcopal. But all testimonies adduced from the former will be viewed, by Dr. Bowden and his friends, with a suspicious eye. I shall, therefore, pass by all that has been said on this subject, by the incomparably learned and able Professor Vitringa, of Holland, and by that prodigy of erudition, the celebrated Selden, of England because they were Presbyterians*. But I hope my op ponents, in this controversy will pay some respect to the following quotations from some of the most respectable writers in their own church, who con cede all that I ask or desire.
The first quotation shall be taken from Bishop Burnet. Among the Jews, (says he) he who
* I call Selden a Presbyterian, because, though not a thorough advocate for Presbyterianism, strictly so called, he was decidedly anti-episcopal.