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some parts of the religious world with whom he came in contact, from the circumstance of having changed his name, and some other instances of his conduct when he made no profession of religion, was certainly unreasonable, and probably contributed not a little to form that disposition to satire, which is always incongruous with the temper of a Christian minister. Fondness for novelty, and the desire of forcing a passage through regions untrodden before, perhaps more than any hostility to practical religion, seem to have fixed upon him the name of Antinomian. Many of his comments on particular texts of Scripture, were, to the last degree, whimsical and absurd.
Of Antinomians there is a particular kind who are frequently to be found, and who severely, and justly, censure speculative Antinomianism; never reflecting that they themselves are practically, and in conduct, what, in sentiment and in system, they condemn in others. Such are all those who, on questions of morality between man and man, are rigid interpreters of the social virtues ; but who with respect to the personal duties of sobriety and chastity, and with respect to the Divine virtues of secret, family, and public devotion, the consecration of the Lord's day, and the punctual celebration of the institutions of the Gospel, claim great indulgences from the considerations of God's being merciful, and of the Atonement made by Christ for the sins of men. These are Antinomians of the worst kind, who encourage themselves in the neglect, or in the transgression, of the most sacred laws of moral obligation, by abusing the doctrines of natural, or of revealed religion. In short, all hopes of salvation without holiness, and all attempts to calculate with how little purity of heart and life a man may hope to escape hell, and to get possession of heaven, are AntiVOL. II.
nomian abominations, and their tendency will ever be found to be of the most destructive kind to the souls of
ON CHURCH GOVERNMENT.
The end of Civil Society being the protection of the liberty, property, and lives of its members, government of some kind or other is absolutely necessary to the obtaining of it. Laws must not only be made, but executed, and consequently a legislative is not more necessary than an executive power. The end of Religious Society being the glory of God, and the present purity and the eternal happiness of men, these are to be secured in the Church of Christ by committing the execution of the laws of the Gospel, to persons who are qualified to discharge that sacred trust; that thus the Church may preserve that purity of doctrine, that correctness of man. ners, and that order and harmony which Christianity inculcates. The first question that requires our consider. ation here is, Has the Saviour appointed any particular form of Church Government: or, has he left the particular form to be determined by the local opinions and circumstances, prevalent in those places in which Chris. tian Churches should be planted ? Some contend, that to suppose our Saviour to have left his Church without prescribing the mode of its government, is to suppose him inferior in fidelity to Moses, the prophet of the Jewish dispensation. To this others reply, that the supposition can no more be an impeachment of Christ's fidelity, than the not appointing any form of Civil Government is an impeachment of the goodness of God, as the Creator and Governor of mankind ; and that there seems to be no reason why the Redeemer of the world should do that in the one case, which the Cre. ator of it left undone in the other. It is evident that general reasoning cannot decide this question. It is necessary to its decision, that the particular institute of Heaven be pointed out in the New Testament. Till this is done, conviction will not be produced. When it is done, every
Christian should consider the question as set at rest.
Some respectable men and pious Christians have supposed, that the quantum of power, which was necessary to be committed to the Ministers of Christianity, is a question of prudence, and must be settled by particular circumstances. These have often been called Latitudinarians on this subject. Their general maxim has been that which Pope has adopted, on the subject of civil Government,
" For forms of Government, let fools contest :
Those who are advocates for a particular form of Church Government must be careful, not only to examine the practice of the Apostolic Churches, but also the institutions of the Apostles. The use of any particular form of Church Government by the Apostles, is certainly a strong argument for its excellence, and well entitle it to a decided preference to any other mode whatsoever ;
but it will not prove that every other mode of it is absolutely interdicted and unlawful. It is to the insti. tutions, or to the general prescriptions of the Apostles, therefore, that their references should be made, and if those references be accurate, and fully made out, the mode which is established must be considered as a matter of sound doctrine, which no circumstances can alter, or modify. The forms of Church Government, the obligations of which have been vehemently debated in the Christian world, are four. One is, the universal authority of the Pope of Rome. This is justly exploded by all Protestants. The other three are the subjects of dispute, among Protestants themselves.
On this subject we shall endeavour, impartially to give the outlines of the arguments used by the advocates of these different systems. A moderate volume could hardly compress the substance of what has been urged, in the dilated arguments of the disputants, on each side of the question, Among Protestants, there are many who have adopted the Episcopalian form of Church Government, as the Apostolic, and the only regular mode: there are many who contend that the Presbyterian form is the only legitimate and scriptural one; and there are many who consider both these forms as equally unknown to the Scriptures, and argue that Independency was the government of the first Christian Churches, and the rule by which all Christian Societies are bound to regulate themselves.
We shall begin with Episcopacy. Impartiality requires us to state, that the controversy here is not, whether Bishops or Overseers be acknowledged as officers who constitute an essential part of Church rulers. Both Presbyterians and Independents contend that they are essential to the formation of Church Government. The question is, are Bishops a distinct and superior order, who rank by themselves, and whose office differs from that of the Pastor and Elder, as one which was designed to rule and govern the latter? The advocates for Episcopal Government plead for the superiority of Bishops; Presbyterians and Independents contend that Bishops and Elders, or Pastors, are only different names for the same office.
Episcopalians consider their position, that Bishops are a superior order to Elders, as clearly supported by such proofs as these :-First. They argue from our Saviour's institution of the twelve Apostles, as an order distinct from the Seventy whom he commissioned to preach the Gospel, that they are superior to them. That the Seventy were ordained Ministers of the Gospel is evident from our Saviour's address to them, immediately after they were selected, to go two and two, before him. “ He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.”—Luke, x. 16. Now, say the friends of Epis. copacy, that these Seventy occupied the place of Presbyters or Elders, is so evident, that it is confessed by all. But the twelve Apostles were always distinguished from them, and are represented as chosen from the whole disciples, to fill a distinct and an appropriate office. Had the offices and ranks of the Seventy and of the Apostles been the same, they would not have been so carefully distinguished, as we see that they are. It is likewise to be attended to, that in the catalogue of Ecclesiastical Ministers, (Eph. iv. 11, 1 Cor. xii. 28,) they are mentioned as distinct offices, and that of the Apostles is declared to be the primary office, “God hath set some in