Imatges de pÓgina

Religious Communications.

ON THE EXAMINATION OF CAN on no man, to set him apart for DIDATES FOR THE MINISTRY.* that sacred trust, before his queli.

At the present day there is fications have been fully examinas much licentiousness in reli

ed and thoroughly approved. gion, as in politics; and as much Neither make thyself partaker in perhaps in the ministry, as a

the sins of others ; as thou wilt mong the people.

Were not

certainly do,' if thou art the many, who bear the name of means of bringing those into the gospel ministers, plotting against ministry, whom thou mightest the ancient faith, and using all

have discovered to be unworthy their influence to introduce a

men.” The apostle here cau. new form of Christianity, it tions ministers not only against would not be so necessary as it introducing into the sacred office now is to contend for a practice,

men who are not qualified, but which is sanctioned by scripture against introducing even those and reason. The examination of

who are qualified, without suitcandidates previously to ordina- able inquiry respecting their tion, has, of late, been not only qualifications. What the requineglected, but violently oppose from the same apostle. A bishop

site qualifications are we learn ed; not only treated as a matter of indifference, but decried, as a

must be blameless, vigilant, sober, destructive evil. It is, there of good behaviour, apt to teach, fore, thought conducive to the holding fast the faithful word. interest of Zion, to give a brief This description of a bishop is statement of the principal rea

designed not only as a standard, sons which occur in favour of to which every minister ought examinations,

to be conformed, but as a direcIn the first place, it is evident tory for those who are concerned that examinations are supported in ordaining others. That this by scripture. Paul says to Tim

was the special design of the deothy, Lay hands suddenly on no

scription appears beyond all

doubt from the connexion. For man, neither be partaker of other men's sins. The true meaning

this cause, says Paul to Titus, of this caution is undoubtedly shouldst set in order the things

I left thee in Crete, that thou contained in the following para- which are wanting, and ordain phrase of Doddridge. “ As it is a matter of so great importance

elders in every city, as I appoiniin the Christian Church, whated thee. Immediately upon this persons are admitted to minister he gives Titus the description of in it ; I charge thee, that thou

a bishop; which is nothing less lay hands suddenly and rashly

than giving him instruction what

characters to ordain. And this is • This essay has been inserted in virtually directing him not to oranother religious publication. It is

dain any man, without satisnow, though with many alterations, factory evidence, that he posoffered to the Panoplist.

sesses the character described.


I might, secondly, urge the set of articles, where if an honest practice of the Christian church. man, who believes all the rest, In the first ages of Christianity a scruples any one article, phrase, serious examination always prea or word, he is as effectually ex. ceded the ordination. Before any cluded, as if he rejected the person could be regularly elected whole. 10 any clerical office in the church, “The pastors, who are to bear the electors and ordainers were their part in the public work, obliged to examine him concerning having been thus in their conhis faith, his morals, and condition sciences satisfied, that the person in life. The person elected was offering himself to ordination, is obliged to answer certain questions duly qualified for the Christian of doctrine, He was obliged to ministry, and regularly called to subscribe to a body of articles, or

the full exercise of it, they proconfession of faith, at the time of ceed at the appointed time and his ordination. The examination place to consecrate him to it, and of his morals was very strict.* to recommend him to the grace

Dr. Doddridge, in his account and blessing of God.”+ of the usual methods of ordina- The same is true of the exceltion among Protestant Dissen- lent fathers of New-England. ters in England, gives the follow- We may apply to them the saying description ; "previously to ing of Calvin respecting primithe assembly for ordination, the tive ministers ; " whereas they credentials and testimonials of understood that, when they enthe candidate are produced, if it gaged to ordain ministers, they be requested by any who are to engaged in a most important be concerned ; and satisfaction matter; they durst attempt nothas to his principles is also given to ing, but with great reverence and those who are to carry on the carefulness.public work, generally by his Such has been the practice of communicating to them the con- the Christian church in the best fession of his faith which he has ages. And it is surely no sign drawn up; in which it is expec- of wisdom, to despise the footted, that the great doctrines of steps of Christ's Rock. Christianity should be touched The general practice of enlighten. upon in a proper order, and his ed men in cases far less important persuasion of them plainly and may be mentioned as another reaseriously expressed in such son for examinations. Without a words as he judges most conveni- strict examination, a young man ent. And we generally think cannot be admitted a member of this a proper and happy medium, college. A man must pass through between the indolence of acquies, a long and minute examination cing in a general declaration of before our medical societies, in believing the Christian rcligion, order to obtain license to pracwithout declaring what it is anfire- tise the art of healing. Our hended to be, and the severity of laws wisely direct, that the lowdemanding a subscription to any est class of schoolmasters shall

See Bingham's Antiquities of the Christian Church.

Vol. I. No. 11.

† Appendix to his charge at the ordination of the Rev. Mr. Tozer.

the shedding of blood is no remis- depraved hearts ; to introduce sion.” But since Christ hath of- believers into the presence of fered himself, a sacrifice for sin, God, and give them a place in the God can be just and yet justify kingdom of everlasting blessedhim that believeth. Believers ness. know, that the foundation, on If Christ were a mere man, which they build their hopes of there would be no real, inherent happiness, is firm and immovea- merit, or efficacy in what he did ble. But such a foundation could and suffered, any more than in not be laid, except by a self-suf- the actions and sufferings of such ficient and unchangeable Being. eminently good men, as AbraThe hope of believers rests on ham, and Paul. If only the sacChrist, the Rock of Ages. Hence rifice of a mere creature, possestheir hope may well be called, sing perfect holiness, had been "an anchor to the soul, both sure necessary, one of the elect angels and steadfast.” But Christ could might have been designated as not be such a firm foundation of Redeemer, and the Son of God hope, were he not GOD as well spared. But all the divine as man. Our hope of pardon perfections were requisite to and salvation, must, therefore, in- qualify a being for the work of volve an unwavering confidence atonement. No being but the in the infinite power and grace Son of God, in whom dwells all of the Redeemer.

the fulness of the Godhead bodi. To illustrate and establish this ly, had sufficient power and sentiment more fully, let us at- dignity to fulfil the office of tend to the following train of re- Mediator. flections.

The objector may say, that, The obedience and sufferings although Christ were not God, of Christ derive all their merit the Father might have accepted from the union of Divinity with his sufferings, as an adequate his human nature. There is price of pardon and salvation. “ one Mediator between God and This objection rests on the idea, men, the man Christ Jesus.” It that the merit, by which the sinwas necessary that he should be ner is justified, consists simply in man, that the nature, which had the will of the Father, and not, sinned, might obey and suffer. in any degree, in the dignity and Divinity is incapable of obedi- work of the Saviour. But the ence or suffering. The Son of scriptures represent this subject God, therefore, took upon him in a very different point of light. the human nature, that he might They inform us, that Christ hath obey the precepts, and suffer the appeared to put away sin by the penalty of that law, which man sacrifice of himself ; that by one had broken. But Christ is not offering he hath perfected forever merely human. He is “ God them who are sanctified; and that manifest in the flesh."

by the obedience of one many shall necessary, that he should be be made righteous. These passages God, that he might be qualified plainly teach us, that sinners are to bring in that perfect righteous- justified by virtue of the obediness through which sinners can ence and death of Christ; that be pardoned ; to sanctify their our salvation is the effect of his

It was


own intrinsic worth. As he has fections of Jehovah. Hence it
thus merited and purchased eter- is evident, that our hope of sal-
nal happiness for his friends, he vation must rest on the divine
is represented, as bestowing it character of Christ. Without
upon them by his own power, some just views of the scheme
and according to his own sove- of redemption, and of the divine
reign pleasure. “I give unto character of the Saviour, we can-
them eternal life, and they shall not have a hope, which the gose
never perish, neither shall any pel will authorize, of enjoying
pluck them out of my hand.” eternal salvation.
Upon his divine and eternal ex- They, who have had a proper
istence depend their security and sense of the evil of sin and the
glory. “ Because I live, ye shall strictness of the divine law, are
live also.” He is the author of fully convinced that none but a
eternal salvation to them who be- divine Being could make an ad-
lieve. His coming into the equate atonement. So exceed-
world and suffering death, was ingly hateful is sin in the sight
the consequence of his having of God, that the most exalted
been appointed to the office of a creature could do nothing to pro-
Saviour. But his appointment cure forgiveness. The divine
to the work was not the ground law is so holy, so inflexibly just,
of his merit. The merit of his that it would have forever pre-
death, and the efficacy of his vented the salvation of sinners,
blood arise from his own divine unless full satisfaction had been
excellence. As it is impossible, made to its injured authority.
that any original merit should be- They, who are taught of God,
long to a finite being; all the clearly see, that none but a be-
merit of Christ's death must flow ing of spotless purity and infinite
from his divinity.

dignity could make that satisfac-
By attending to the apostle's tion ; that none, but the divine
reasoning, Heb. vii. we shall find, Lawgiver, could so vindicate and
that he infers his ability to save honour the broken law, as to
sinners from his divine perfec- render the salvation of sinners
tion. By showing the superior- consistent with his just and holy
ity of Christ's priesthood above government. Thus their hope
that of Aaron, and proving it to of being delivered from the
be eternal, he establishes the guilt and punishment of sin rests
doctrine of his sufficiency for entirely on the divinity of the
the work of redemption. “ But Lord Jesus, who made the atone-
this man, because he continueth ment.
forever, hath an unchangeable Let it be added, that scripture
priesthood. Wherefore he is often represents the Saviour, as
able to save them to the utter being God; and always holds
most, who come unto God by up, as the object of our faith, a
him, seeing he ever liveth to Being of divine perfection. “I
make intercession for them.” am God, and beside me there is
The apostle's argument rests no Saviour. Look unto me,
on the unchangeableness and and be saved. To the only wise
eternity of the Redeemer; and God, our Saviour, be glory,” &c.
these are incommunicable per. But we know that sinners are

constantly directed to look unto THE DECALOGUE. Christ as the Saviour, and to ex

NO. 4. pect pardon and salvation from him, which would not be con

Fourth Commandment. sistent, were he kot truly God. REFLECTIONS.

“ REMEMBER the Sabbath day 1. Since Christ is a Being of to keep it holy. Six days shait divine perfection, we may, with thou labour and do all thy work; perfect safety, commit our souls but the seventh day is the Sabto him for salvation. Were bath of the Lord thy God. In it Christ a mere creature, it would thou shalt not do any work, thou, be unsafe to commit the interests

nor thy son, nor thy daughter, of our immortal souls into his thy man servant, nor thy maid hands, and depend on him for servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy pardon, sanctification, and glory. stranger, that is within thy În a concern of so much impor- gates; for in six days the Lord tance, it would be dangerous in made heaven and earth, the sea, the extreme to rest upon any fi- and all that in them is, and resto nite being. But we may, with ed the seventh day ; wherefore the most unreserved confidence,' the Lord blessed the Sabbath commit our souls to the divine day, and hallowed it." Saviour, and with perfect securi- The religious obscrvance of ty, rest on him for eternal life. the seventh day, previously to He will keep his disciples by his the Mosaic economy, has been own power through faith unto questioned, but without sufficient salvation.

reason. « On the seventh day," 2. Is there not good reason to

says Moses,

God rested from believe that they, who deny the all his works, and God blessed divine glory of Christ, cut them- the seventh day, and sanctified selves off from the hope of sal- it.”

By sanctifying the Sab. vation ? By rejecting the only bath is here meant, setting it ground of hope, and the only apart t) a sacred use. From way of happiness, do they not the beginning six days were alforfeit the Christian character, lowed mankind for necessary laand place themselves among in- bours. But the seventh was defidels? “Who is a liar, but he voted immediately to religious that denieth that Jesus is the

purposes. This order Christ? He is antichrist, that made in Paradise, while our first denieth the Father and the Son."

parents retained their innocence. Peter foretold, that there would If necessary for the innocent, be teachers in the church, who how much more for the guilty. would privily bring in damnable if deviations from duty were heresies, even denying the Lord feared in innocence without the that bought them, and bring up- aid of the Sabbath ; how much on themselves swift destruction. more must they be feared in the They, who are not with Christ

present depraved state of manare against him, and may well kind? What but entire ruin tremble for their awful situation, could now be expected. and their approaching doom.

That keeping a Sabbath day B. T. holy was a practice of an early


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