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rannical measures of a Popish-hearted king, it is certain that the arguments which induced him to seek ordination "in the more despised way of the Presbyterians," must have been maturely
The ordination of Mr. Henry took place in London_upon 9th May, 1687, by the Rev. Messrs. W. Wickens, Fran. Tallens, Edw. Lawrence, Nath. Vincent, James Owen, and Rich. Steele. In the preceding year he had visited the city of Chester, where he preached with great acceptance to a few pious people in the house of Mr. Henthorne, a sugar-bakerreligious toleration not being then permitted-when he received a pressing invitation to become their minister. Determined now to engage in the work of the ministry, he thought he could discern in this the voice of Providence calling him to exercise his ministerial talents for the benefit of souls. Accordingly, soon after this visit to Chester, he returned to London, with the design of taking leave of the Inns of Court, where he had been pursuing his studies for the legal profession. Not daring, in those perilous times of the church, to receive ordination publicly from the hands of the non-conformists of the day, he was privately set apart to the duties of the sacred office by the Presbyterian ministers, whose names we have already specified; and upon Thursday, the 2d June, 1687, he preached his first sermon in public at Chester, where, with the exception of the two last years of his valuable life, which he spent at Hackney, he continued to administer the ordinances of the Gospel, until the Lord and Master, whom he faithfully served, said it was enough, and received him into his everlasting kingdom and glory.
Hoping afterwards to entertain our readers with a more detailed account of the life and closing scene of this good minister of Christ, we proceed to transfer into our pages his grounds for preferring Presbyterian to Episcopal ordination:
"On this case Mr. Henry thus reasons: The doubt is not whether Episcopal ordination be lawful, especially considering that the bishop may be looked upon therein as a Presbyter, in conjunction with his compresbyters, and the validity of such ordination is sufficiently vindicated by the Presbyterians in their Jus Divinum; but whether it be advisable or no?
"1st. There is much to be said on one hand to prove it advisable; as, "1st. That Episcopal ordination is established by the settled law of the land, and all other ordinations cassated and made void by the same law.
"2dly. That the Presbyterians do agree Episcopal ordination to be valid, and have never urged any re-ordination in that case; but the
Episcopal party generally deny ordination by Presbyters, without a consecrated bishop, to be valid, and require re-ordination. And,
"3dly. That the time may come when the act of uniformity being abolished, and the unscriptural terms taken away, Episcopal ordination may qualify a man for public service in the church of Christ, when Presbyterian ordination will not qualify him, but altogether incapacitate him, rendering him unfit for public service, without at least a tacit renunciation of former ordination, which will not easily go down with a tender conscience.
"2d. That which may be said against it, as not advisable rebus sic stantibus is this; first, it is a tacit owning of the prelatical power of ordination which the bishops usurp and claim as the sacred prerogative of their mitres, and will by no means allow to every gospel presbyter and doth not our submission thereunto implicitly justify that usurpation? Secondly. The pretended fasts, and too formal prayers with which the bishops manage that solemn service, renders it less comfortable to a serious honest heart, that knows the weight of that work upon which ordination is an entrance.
"Thirdly. The making of two distinct orders of deacons and priests, is certainly owned by submitting to two distinct ordinations; a scriptural deacon seems to be ordained to serve tables, and not to give himself to the word and prayer; and it is very hard for one that is self-devoted to the ministry, to say, that he thinks himself moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon him the office of a deacon.
"May this be got over by saying, that a deacon is a Gospel minister, and one ordained to be so is a minister to all intents and purposes, without faith or ordination; but here are two things stumble us. First, the ordainer intends it not so, as appears by the form of ordination. Secondly, the bishop ordains the deacon without any Presbyters joining with him, which methinks is unscriptural.
"Fourthly. Ordination by Presbyters seems to me more regular and conformable to Scripture, and more becoming one that disowns a prelatical power. And though an Episcopus praeses be willingly owned as conveniently necessary, especially in ordination, yet quere, whether one professedly claiming to be Episcopus princeps, and acting as such, challenging the sole power of ordination jure divino, only in the ordination of priests calling in the aid of com-presbyters, who herein stand but for cyphers, only to grace the solemnity; I say, whether such an one can be conscientiously owned as a spiritual father and an ordainer in Christ's name, by one that knows no such principality established by Christ, the King of his church.
"And perhaps the three things which were urged before for it, may be thus answered: To the first, That Episcopacy is established by the law of the land; a knowing christian will soon answer, that sufficeth not to make it alone valid and to invalidate all others, especially considering the practice of the best reformed churches-and that though the church is in the world, yet it is not of the world. Besides, the same law that established Episcopal ordination, established the disliked oaths and subscriptions as the terms of it; and if those be disowned, notwithstanding that authority, why must the other be owned and submitted to for the sake of that authority? And by the imposed terms, a just measure may be taken of the imposing power.
"To the second thing, That Presbyterians allow Episcopal ordina
tion, but the Episcopal party disown the validity of Presbyterian ordination, there is a reply ready-that this argument is of no more weight in this case, than that of the Papists in a much greater,—that the Protestants grant a possibility of salvation in their churches, but the Papists deny it in the Protestant churches-the more uncharitable, unchristian, and anti-christian they. And besides, other men's judgments are not the rule of my practice, but let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind, and prove his own work; so shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
"To the third thing, That Episcopal ordination may open a door of opportunity, when Presbyterian ordination may shut and bolt it, which has most strength in it to direct in point of prudence, this may be said, that duty is ours; events are God's. It is easy to say this may be, and it is easy to say twenty other things may be; but future events are hid from us, and we know not what a day may bring forth-many unexpected changes have been seen in a short time. Who knows but the day may come when God will vindicate the honour of Presbyterian ordination, and when such a submission to Episcopal ordination by one in other things otherwise minded, and when that which is purer and better might be had, may be branded with the name of cowardice, and called mean, if not sinful, compliance.
"And if we must look forward, supposing the worst should come to the worst, it is but being silenced with good company; and I am apt to think a man might comfortably suffer for these two truths, though, in all probability, they will never stand alone to be suffered for. First, that ordination by Presbyters is, though not the only valid, yet the best, most scripturally regular, and therefore the most eligible ordination. Secondly, that Jesus Christ never meant to make any of his ministers really priests, sacerdotes, otherwise than spiritual priests, as all believers are; nor that he ever meant to necessitate all his ministers to be deacons, that is, but overseers of the poor, or, at best, but half ministers at the first.
"It may also be considered how far the integrity and uprightness of the heart, in acting herein according to light bestowed after serious consideration and prayer, may administer matter of comfort and satisfaction in a day of suffering, the sharpest of which surely is a day of silencing: and if that should be the issue of it, Ambimelech's plea might be renewed, "Surely in the innocency of my heart I did it;' and it may be remembered, that when Paul was called to preach the Gospel, immediately he consulted not with flesh and blood.
"Mine eyes are ever towards the Lord; shew me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of my observers.'
"April 28, 1687.”
SUMMARY STATISTICAL REPORT OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, FOR 1833.
THIS portion of the Catholic Church of Christ in the world, under one General Assembly of Bishops and Ruling Elders, styled Commissioners, which, with the Delegates from Corresponding Bodies, in May last, consisted of two hundred and seventy-four persons, comprehends according to the returns now in possession of the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, twenty-two Synods; one hundred and eleven Presbyteries; eighteen hundred and fifty-five ordained Bishops; two hundred and fifteen Licentiates; making two thousand and seventy Preachers of the Gospel; two hundred and twenty-nine Candidates in a state of preparation for the ministry, twenty-five hundred churches; and two hundred thirty-three thousand five hundred and eighty Communicants. The INCREASE during the last year has been in Bishops one hundred and twenty-five, in Licentiates ten, in Candidates nine, in ordained and licensed Preachers one hundred and thirty-five, in Churches one hundred and nineteen, and in Communicants sixteen thousand two hundred and forty-two. The Communicants added on examination last year were twenty-three thousand five hundred and forty-six; being ten thousand six hundred and fourteen LESS than were reported in 1832, as added in the same way. Seven thousand two hundred and fifty-two were added last year by certificates from other churches, or passed from one congregation to another, being three hundred and sixty-six MORE than were received in the same manner the year previous. The total of additions now reported is thirty thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight. Of these fourteen thousand five hundred and fifty-six must be considered as equal to the number of persons who have deceased, or been dismissed or suspended, or who were at the time of making the reports in a state of transition from the care of one session to another, or who for some reason have not been reported as members: leaving as above stated the net gain in communicants of 1833 over the whole number of 1832 at sixteen thousand two hundred and fortytwo. The baptisms now returned amount to twenty-one thousand eight hundred and twenty; of which six thousand nine hundred and fifty were adults, fourteen thousand and thirty-five of infants, and eight hundred and thirty-five of
persons not distinguished. The baptisms of 1832 exceeded those of 1833 by two thousand eight hundred and eightythree. The funds reported as having been collected in the year preceding the meeting of the last General Assembly were for missionary purposes, seventy-six thousand four hundred and twenty dollars, and thirty-nine cents; for defraying the expenses of Commissioners to the Assembly, four thousand six hundred and eighty-nine dollars, and fifty-eight cents; for different Theological Seminaries six thousand three hundred and eleven dollars, and twenty-three cents; for the Education of poor and pious youth, principally with reference to their becoming ministers of the Gospel, forty-seven thousand one hundred and fifty-three dollars, and sixty-five cents; and for the Contingent expenses of the Assembly, eight hundred and ninety-two dollars, and eighty-seven cents; which give a total of one hundred and thirty-five thousand four hundred and sixty-seven dollars, and seventy-two cents, collected for charitable uses. This sum is less than the total for the same objects in 1832, by two thousand three hundred and fifty-one dollars, and sixty-seven cents. Eleven Presbyteries have made no returns of any collections; and four have reported only on the Commissioners' Fund. In all the Presbyteries there are several churches which have made no reports on any subject, for some time past; and some which have never returned so much as the number of their communicants for some years. The statistics, however, are much more complete than they formerly were; and must be regarded as a near approximation to an exact statement of the numbers and operations of the whole body.
Mr. Marshall, author of the "Gospel Mystery of Sanctification," having been for several years under distress of mind, consulted Dr. Goodwin, an eminent divine, giving him an account of the state of his soul, and particularizing his sins, which lay heavy on his conscience. In reply, he told him, he had forgot to mention the greatest sin of all, the sin of unbelief, in not believing on the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of his sins, and sanctifying his nature. On this he set himself to the studying and preaching of Christ, and attained to eminent holiness, great peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Mr. Marshall's dying words were these: "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal Fife, through Jesus Christ our Lord."