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the position of rule and authority. These steps were gradual; but we shall presently remark the permanent evils which have sprung from the results to which they lead.

In looking at Romish order, we see simply this: that a man whose profession is opposed to the whole scheme of God's grace, stands as the head on earth of that which is nominally the Catholic Church; from him all the downward gradations of rulers flow; he authorises men to bear certain names, and to profess to hold certain qualifications: again, he divides to these men their places of service. It matters nothing whether he do these things mediately or not; for if these things be performed through bishops, &c., it is only under the warrant of papal authority they can act all is done in responsibility to him, both as to qualification and appointment. The substitutes for God's order which are to be found in Anglicanism, are less consistent and more complicated. "Orders" are, it is true, conferred as by Rome through one who is styled a bishop, and who is regarded as a spiritual person; but even in this the secular power interferes (a thing from the extraneous trammels of which Rome is quite free); for the oaths prescribed, and the subscriptions to be made, are required by the law of the land as prerequisites for those who would be ministers in the Anglican communion.

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Besides, the question arises, "Who appoints the bishops who confer orders?' What is their mission' for so doing?" In Romanism the answer is simple:-the Pope. But in Anglicanism, the fact is that it is the minister of the crown (in the sovereign's name) who appoints the bishops;* that is, who dictates who the men shall be who shall profess to give the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a priest in the Church of God, together with the power of remitting and retaining sins. Thus a man who is seeking mere political ends becomes the appointer of those who rule, and who appoint and qualify others for office in the nominal Church.

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The conferring of "orders" is supposed to be vested in the bishops, and the consecrating" of bishops is in the hands of those who are bishops already; but the bishops can consecrate no one to the vacant see without the mandate of the crown and thus the bishops have no "mission" as to "consecrating," except as the minister of the crown from time to time sees fit to give; the new bishop, as I have already said, being appointed by the minister, he is virtually the ruler in the Church," holding the place in Anglicanism which the Pope does in Romanism, although in the one more curious machinery is introduced than in the other.


The idea of "orders" in the national establishment may thus be complicated; but investigation only makes the fact more evident that it is to those who rule in the world that the power of making men into "clergymen" is to be ascribed. There is one connecting link, it is true; but were there one or one hundred, it would make no difference: that on which the first depends is the thing of consequence a chain which hangs on a fragile hook gains nothing in strength from being increased in length.

But here the case is very concise: whoever holds worldly power, does, by a slightly complicated process, make those who are called ministers of Christ: this is the authority of Anglican "orders," however much the whole subject has been and is disguised. I know that "succession" is talked about, than which scarcely any pretence can be more foolish; for in Anglicanism there is no succession, excepting such as that of the Lords-lieutenants of counties, whose "succession" consists in their coming one after another, as they are appointed by the Crown: but no such officer would look to his predecessor as being the person who had transmitted to him the power of signing commissions: the authority given to him directly by the Crown is all that he has to do with. Just so is really the case with every bishop in the

* It is not necessary to spend many words to prove that the nominal election of a bishop by the chapter is but a form; they receive the congé d'elire; they elect the nominee of the Crown under the penalty of a pramunire. The other bishops then consecrate the bishop elect; and if the chapter were to dare to submit to the penalty, instead of being the machinery for carrying out the will of the Crown, it would be in vain; for any one whom they might choose could not be consecrated without the royal mandate. Whatever mystification be used, the fact is simple: the state appoints, and not the Church. In Ireland, things are

more simply done; for the royal letters patent take the place of the nominal election.

Anglican Establishment. And even if "succession" were proved (which, in reality, it never can be), it would only lead to Rome.


Mission," or the authority by which an ordained person ministers or exercises any of his functions in a given sphere, is in the Establishment still more complicated than "orders;" for the power of authorising is so mingled amongst different parties, -although one thing is clear and simple, that the rule of the Spirit of God is not that which is acknowledged.

It is not the mere fact of a man being a clergyman that gives him the right to minister; there may be the personal "qualification," without any place in which its exercise is authorised.

A bishop has his own peculiar jurisdiction or "mission," and just so has every officiating clergyman: he may not act out of his parish* or other place officially assigned to him; his "orders" do not of themselves warrant him in ministering in any church; so that, practically, his "mission" is full as important as his "orders." I cannot enter into the details of Church patronage, &c. Suffice it to say, that as in the conferring of "orders" the state really rules, so in “mission,” in a vast number of cases, the authority in the Church is only the means of carrying into effect the will of the "lay patron," or else of the minister of the Crown. The actual "mission" may be given by the bishop, because he is the authorised person for so doing; but the presenter to a living, or the nominator to a curacy, be he "lay" or “clerical,” is virtually the giver of authorlty to exercise the function in the given place.

The person nominated must be one who is "qualified" for the office; so that the whole is interwoven in the complicated net of worldly authority, trying to interfere in the things of God.

In Romanism, there is the authority of that which professes to be a spiritual head; in Anglicanism, there is the avowed leaning on the world, and the acknowledgment of its authority. Rome has here the greater semblance of truth; for no principle of the New Testament, however it might be perverted, could lead to the setting up of the powers of the world to bear rule in the Church: as though, because there are powers that be which are ordained of God, which are to be honoured in their proper sphere, this could qualify them for being the channels of authority in the Church. If they be, when did they become so? Surely it was not in the Apostles' days when the powers of the earth were idolatrous; but if it were not then, what later period is to be fixed on for this? Have the Apostles given us any intimation that they would become so? or are we to conclude from their silence that such is not according to the mind of God?

The acknowledgment of the rule of earthly power over the Church, which is to be found in Anglicanism, ought, if it were right, to be based upon nothing short of the most certain warrants of the word of God. No argument drawn from convenience, expediency, custom, or the like, ought to be allowed to have any weight in such a case as this. Even if it were conceded, that "orders," as found in the Establishment, were right, the question would still have to be answered, "What is the warrant of any bishop or priest in the Anglican Establishment to exercise his functions ?" And the best answer which any could return would be, "The State," or "The Crown," or "The Law of the Land."†

* The history of the word " parish" is not a little remarkable. In the early days, when the Church had not quite forgotten her pilgrim character, the Christians, in any given place, were accustomed to speak of themselves as being Tapotkou (see 1 Pet. ii. 11, and also i. 17); and thus Clement, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, commences with, "The Church which sojourneth (apoikovoa) at Rome to the Church which sojourneth at Corinth." From this idea of strangership and sojourning, the word became applied to the common residence of professing Christians; so that now a "parishioner" and "a parochial clergyman" mean anything rather than a pilgrim and stranger. The limited or extended territory of a "rector" or a "vicar," from which he derives his income, and over the inhabitants of which he professes to hold pastorship, bears a name which was once so differently applied. Truly, a land divided parochially becomes practically a place of apoikia to a saint who knows the vanity of these things, and the greatness of the blessing and glory that is before him.

Of course I do not mean to say that none of the ministers of the Establishment

But why is the administrative authority of the Spirit of God in the Church to be superseded by these human powers? If the New Testament be not the record given for the instruction of Christians until the Lord shall return, let it be plainly stated, instead of having to be gathered incidentally from its systematised rejection in practice by those who profess to be servants of God.

In this matter, those who have separated from Rome are guilty of an inconsistency which is most deplorable: they have set up an earthly headship, without even a semblance of truth; they have left Rome, but have not separated from the world; yea, they have set over themselves those who shall declare who shall rule and teach in the Church and preach the Gospel, who are not only of the world, but who stand pre-eminently forward in worldly station. Alas! these things ought not so to be! I do not now enter into the history of power in the world; suffice it to say, that the word does not intimate anything like its being used for God until the Lord Jesus takes it into His own hands. It was not so used when the Lord was crucified: the “true wisdom" was that which "none of the princes of this world knew;" and power has never since changed its character, however much it may have altered its nominal profession. And what is before us? Do we find patronage by the powers that be the portion of the saint? No! It is written, "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution;" but will not worldly power be improved so as to be at last quite according to God? No! It is written, that at last "the spirits of devils working miracles go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them together to the battle of that great day of God Almighty;" and again, "I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse and His army." These things are written for our "instruction in righteousness;" let us learn from them what the character of worldly power is, and to what it is tending; and whilst we honour the powers that be, and submit to them, let it be as we are commanded: let us "render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and to God the things that are God's."

Is it not a sad but an undeniable fact, that Anglicanism gives to Cæsar the jurisdiction that belongs to God?

Now, it is easy for Dissenters to say that they are free in this matter, both from the error of Rome and of the national Establishment; that they have not, as Rome, made the mistake of acknowledging a human vicar of Christ instead of the Holy Ghost; nor have they, as the Establishment, erred in extending the sphere of worldly authority into the Church of God. But do their ideas and practices accord more exactly with the word than those which they condemn ? or are they too acting on that which they have substituted for the truth and the order of God?

In congregational "Churches," the admitted principle is, that the people shall elect or appoint those who shall be their "pastors ;" i. e., a class of persons who are supposed to monopolise the gifts of rule and teaching. The minister elect, before he can regularly exercise all his functions, has to receive "ordination" from some other "ministers" who have passed through the same process before. This, at least, is in case that he has not before had another "flock," and then also received the indelible" character" which ordination impresses.

In this there is the perpetuation of many of the errors of Rome as retained by the Establishment, together with a few mistakes added: there is the same idea of the character of "orders;" but the people are here made the source of "mission," which is a principle which cannot even claim in its support that it is the perversion of a truth, so thoroughly is it an invention of man, or rather (if traced to its source) a device of Satan.

This admission of popular or democratic rule is a fearful principle; and the attempts which are made to support it shew a great ignorance of its true character. It is said, that because, in Acts vi, we read of the multitude appointing seven to distribute money, that therefore we may, by popular election, appoint those who shall exercise gifts of ruling and teaching. This is a strange inference, and one which shews how little those who use it know of what is meant by the Spirit of God dis

are ministers of Christ. Thanks to His grace! many of them are so; but this has nothing to do with the system which makes them "ministers:" it is a thing wholly independent.

tributing gifts. Let us look at the case :-the money of the Church was a tangible thing, which the multitude, with the consent of the Apostles, could put into the hands of those seven whom they had chosen. Now, is it so with spiritual gifts? When "Churches" can bestow them by popular election, then let them in the same way appoint their exercise.

It is true that it is often said, that Churches do not pretend by election to bestow gifts, but they acknowledge that the minister elect is gifted for his new office. This plea would only shift the difficulty; for it amounts to this-a permission given by popular election to a gifted person to exercise his gift, instead of simply acknowledging that they, without any sort of election, are bound to receive every one whom the Holy Ghost may have gifted to minister, simply upon that ground, and in obedience to God, not as a matter of choice.

Dissenting bodies ought to have nothing to plead about custom or tradition. Why did they leave the Establishment? If it were for any other reason than this, that there they were obliged to conform to things contrary to the word, they would have acted on very insufficient ground; but if the Scripture be thus pleaded as the reason, then I would ask, Why is there any addition thereto or contradiction thereof, retained or introduced? I might ask many questions as to what congregationalists mean by their departures from their own nominal principles, as, in having their ministers elect "ordained" by those of other "churches," and the like; but that is not my object. If men be inconsistent with the word of the living God, it is no marvel that they should be so with their own principles.

The connection which men have made between what they call "ordination" and the right "administration" of the Lord's Supper, is very remarkable. This is to be found as thoroughly embodied in the systems of Congregationalists and Methodists, as in those of England and Rome. A Christian may preach and teach, and perhaps baptise, without exciting so very much of the indignation of Dissenters; but let him "administer" the Lord's Supper, and it seems as though no deed could be more fearful. It is so entirely taking up the ministerial "office," it is such an “unauthorised intrusion," that it is most evident that this holds in their minds some peculiarly high and awful place. Now, I really do not see the exact value of Dissenting ordination, unless it be in giving a man authority in this. He may do almost any thing else whilst a "lay-man," but the bread and wine which symbolise the body and blood of our Lord, broken and shed for us, must not be profaned by being dispensed by hands of any but "authorised ministers."

It is useless, with this fact before us, to listen to the words of those who would fain persuade us that "ordination" is, among the Congregationalists, a mere nominal thing, one to which no specific value is attached.


There is this value, that the head on which hands have been imposed, henceforth passes current as a minister," ," and differs as much from what he was before, as does the coin of the realm bearing the sovereign's impress, from so much unstamped metal.

This stamp is simply PRIESTHOOD; and the secret thought which is so dearly cherished is this, that by a certain process a man is converted, not into a saint, but into a priest.* This is what the human mind always longs for a tangible something between itself and God-an authoritative medium of communication-but which still keeps up a sufficient distance. The Lord's Supper has been erringly connected with official administration, and its nature being altogether forgotten, it has had an office assigned to it which is not recognised in the word of God. It is supposed to be something to be authoritatively administered by duly qualified persons; so that the description which is given in the New Testament of the "breaking of bread"

Any one who chooses to quibble about words, may object that "priest" really comes from poßurepog, and that thus it is properly an office in the church. Very likely; but in our translation of the New Testament, the word πрɛσßуτeроç is rendered "elder," while priest is used to translate iɛpevç; and it is in this last sense that the word priest is now employed. Etymology is no guide in such a case as this; we must give words the value which belongs to the originals from which they are translated. Thus, in speaking of "church," we mean ikkλnoia, and should affirm or deny the same things of this English term as we would of the Greek, which has not the signification of a building, although "church" actually comes from kupiakη (sc. oikia), and has since been applied to the gathered people.

among brethren when met on the first day of the week, has very little resemblance to that which has taken its place.

This connection of the Lord's Supper with official priesthood arose from the former having been regarded a sacrifice instead of an eucharistic commemoration. Of course, those who thus erred could have known nothing of the meaning of the words, "By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb. x. 14). This error is constantly perpetuated by all who make official administration a part of the ordinance of the Lord's Supper.

The truth is simply this, "the administration of the Lord's Supper" has been handed down from the Romish service, where, as a sacrifice, it is administered by a priest. Some of the more offensive parts of it have been softened, and some things contradictory to Scripture have been changed; but the similarity is far greater to the form of Rome than to the communion of the New Testament. The bodies of Dissenters may have left out some of the Romish appendages which the Establishment retains, but they have only been abridging the Romish model, not taking up that which is in the Scripture.

And just as the administration of the Lord's Supper, so the idea of priesthood is borrowed from Rome; and to the former we have referred as bringing out distinctly to view the way in which the latter is retained by Protestants. It is of no small importance to see this, for it is the clue to the common thoughts and practices with regard to "Christian ministry." It is tacitly assumed to be a priesthood, and thus two ideas being identified which ought to be kept most distinct, wrong thoughts altogether come in as to the nature of both.

Jesus our Lord is our great high priest (Heb. x. 21), and all we who believe are priests through Him, consecrated by His blood, and privileged to enter into the holiest (Heb. x. 19; 1 Pet. ii. 5; Rev. i. 6). Nothing can be more abhorrent to the idea of our position, as saved by the blood of Christ, and dwelt in by the Holy Ghost, knowing and believing the love that God hath unto us (1 John iv. 16), than the idea of a sacerdotal order. The intrusion of this idea both invades the prerogative of our great High Priest, and also deprives the saints of their common privilege, "He hath made us kings and priests."

Let official priesthood come in, and Christian service is forgotten. How can those serve who are not yet able to stand with none save Christ between them and God? how can they recognise that all gifts are bestowed for the common benefit of the body, when an official class is selected for a supposed nearer approach to God?

I do not say that many of those who admit the form of priesthood into the Church do not see the standing of a believer in full acceptance; but this I hold most unhesitatingly, that the idea has sprung up from ignorance of this. Where is "priesthood" carried out most consistently? Is it not in that apostate body which systematically denies that a believer is a saved person? And can any one question that it is from this same body that the separating parts have retained the idea even when they have seen the truth of our justification being complete so soon as we believe ?*

Faith knows that the Lord Jesus has offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, and is now sat down at the right hand of God, from henceforth waiting till His enemies be made His footstool; and he to whom the Holy Ghost teaches this blessed truth can draw near with boldness, and needs no other priest: the perfectness of Christ is sufficient for all his need.


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Strange are some of the ways in which the idea of a sacerdotal order" manifests itself. The following is an extract from the Missionary Herald for Jan. 1839 :

"As some of them [i. e. the candidates for baptism] are fit subjects for baptism, I think the number of church members will be augmented as soon as a person is sent thither to baptise them; for they have been for YEARS as candidates, and their baptism is deferred on account of some ORDAINED missionaries not being able to go to them."

Does this proceed from Fen Court or from the Vatican? Whence did Protestants learn to make baptism a thing which requires ordination to administer it? Rome has not attained to this as yet.

The New Society for Evangelising in Belgium prohibits its agents (i. e. preachers) from administering the Lord's Supper and Baptism unless they have been " consecrated by the imposition of hands."

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