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Hooker," as he is called, affirms, Eccl. Pol. v. 77, that “ St. Paul dividing the body of the church of Christ into moieties, nameth the one part idiotas (what we translate “ unlearned,”-1 Cor. xiv. 16, 23, 24.) which is as much as to say the order of the laity, the opposite part whereunto we, in like sort, term the order of God's clergy;" but in this, it is evident, that that worthy peace-maker has not displayed his usual judgment. For 1 Cor. xiv. 26, plainly teaches us, that the place or “room of the unlearned" was only the relative position of the hearer to the speaker. For when “the whole church” came toge
every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation." But then says St. Paul, “ if any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophecy one by one, that all may learn." Whence it is evident, that the “ unlearned” was the hearer or learner, till his turn came to speak next, when he relinquished the place of the unlearned or learner, and began to teach. So that, if any idea of a church might be taken from that of Corinth, it would appear to be no other than a divine ochlocracy or republic; and if, as a certain theological giant argued from these very Corinthian phenomena, that “the formation of a church-the constitution of an hierarchy composed of different orders, which orders were appointed to distinct duties, and invested with divine rights—was a thing of so great antiquity as may leave no doubt remaining with any reasonable man of the divine authority of the institution," I think no reasonable man will have a doubt that every Christian formed a part of that “hierarchy,” and had an 6 appointed” share of those “ distinct duties” and those “ divine rights." We will give them, as that Horsley has distributed them, Serm, xiv. Appendix.
OFFICES. 1. The word of wisdom, Apostles.
Prophets, that is, expounders 2. The word of know
of the Scriptures of the ledge, fra Old Testament. 3. Faith,
Teachers of Christianity. 4. Miracles,
Workers of miracles. 5. Healing,
Helps, αντιλήψεις such as 6. Prophecies or predic
Mark, Tychicus, Onesitions,
7. Discerning of spirits, Governments, Κυβερνήσεις
Gifted with tongues in 9. Interpretation of
tongues, V. 1. Besides the instance of the laymen who founded the first Gentile church in Antioch, we find another instance at Acts, viii. 4, of laymen preaching the word.— 2. Philip, the deacon, administered the ceremony of baptism, viii. 12, 38, which is now only permitted the superior orders of the ministry to do; and Ananias, a mere disciple, ix. 10, 18, did the same.-3. Ananias without demur laid hands on Paul, ix. 17, a ceremony which, though it generally succeeded baptism, yet from the circumstance of the Holy Ghost being poured upon some Gentile converts, x. 44, before they were baptised, did not necessarily so, x. 48. It is no objection to the proof of the divine rights of the people, that Ananias had a divine commission to lay hands on Paul, but rather a confirmation of it. For we may well suppose, that if our Lord desired to institute a fixed rule in the church, he would not have been the first to break it. When the right of priesthood was fixed in the family of Aaron, I do not recollect
that ever our Jahoh, directly afterwards, selected any one who was not of the family, to perform its office. One precedent is quite sufficient for our purpose; though that this ceremony was performed by the laymen who founded the church of Antioch, is plainly implied by the
grace of God ;” and that the Corinthians exercised this power in their ochlocracy is far from being improbable; but one precedent is quite sufficient to cope with other precedents, where the Apostles lay on hands, which are nearly as few. But had there been no precedent, where there is no particular law, the general one, given out from the temple, must decide. 4.-Under the Jewish covenant, the people not only very often eat of the sacrifices, but often killed their own sacrifices, while only the blood was taken by the priests. Lev. i. 4, 5. Cudworth’s True Notion of Lord's supper. The people commonly killed their own passovers. When then, under the Christiar dispensation, every Christian became a priest, according to St. Johr, Rev. i. 6, it was because they had a right to partake of the blood also, i. e, the blood of the new Testament, symbolized by the wine in the sacrament; as all the sacrifices were a type of the great sacrifice Christ. If, then, under the Jewish covenant, a professed type of the Christian, the people might kill their own sacrifices, much more then might they celebrate the Lord's supper, when they were entitled to have the blood also. And accordingly, from what may be gathered from Acts, ii. 46, it seems that the three thousand, when they celebrated the sacrament (rat' oixor) at home, must have themselves been the performers of the ceremony. And this is implied from what we learn of the church of Corinth, that they did not wait for each other, but every one took his supper before the other : though they ought to have began together, 1 Cor. xi. 33, 21. For in the
church of Corinth, as we shew above, the whole administration was entirely in the people's hands. The laymen also, who founded the first Gentile church, must have celebrated the communion with the new converts. Here then, I think, are sufficient instances to shew, that the people had the divine right of priesthood, and exercised it according to the Magna Charta delivered from the temple, the divine law of liberty in Christ Jesus. And of all this the early Christians seem to have been well aware; though they forgot one thing : that, as it had been in civil governments, so it was nearly the same in the Christian Church, that though all had an inherent right by the law of Christ to assume the office of ministers, by the mere fact of being Christians, yet that they for a time gave up one part of their rights to secure the rest; and that only then were they bound to wind up the church by some bold stroke of their own, when they saw it going wrong. And I believe, this sort of right the people possess in all civil societies. The early Christians were well aware of all this, For, I perceive, in the age of Tertullian, who lived not a hundred years from St. John, some reputed heretics “ not only allowed, but even enjoined the Laity to assume the sacerdotal office, and administer the ceremonies of the religion.” Bp. Kaye, Eccl. Hist. from Tertullian, 2d Edit. p. 229. Tertullian says, “ it was customary among heretics to confound the offices of clergy and laity together. They made one a bishop to-day, and another to-morrow; to-day a deacon, and to-morrow a reader; to-day a presbyter, and tomorrow a layman. For laymen among them performed the offices of the priesthood.” Bingh. 1. 5, 4. But this Tertullian himself became a heretic. “Do not," he then says, “suppose that what is forbidden to the Clergy is allowed to the Laity. All Christians are priests, agree
ably to the words of St. John, in the book of Revelations
-Christ has made us a kingdom and a priesthood to God and his Father.' The authority of the Church and its honor, which derives sanctity from the assembled clergy, has established the distinction between the Clergy and Laity. In places where there are no Clergy, any single Christian may exercise the functions of the priesthood, may celebrate the eucharist, and baptise. But where three, though Laymen, are gathered together, there is a church. Every one lives by his own faith, nor is there respect of persons with God; since not the hearers, but the doers, of the law are justified by God, according to the Apostle. If, therefore you possess within yourself the right of the priesthood, to be exercised in cases of necessity, you ought also to conform yourself to the rule of life prescribed to those who engage in the priesthood; the rights of which you may be called to exercise. It is the will of God that we should at all times be in a fit state to administer his sacrament, if an occasion should arise.” Bp. Kaye, on Tertullian, p. 226. Here Tertullian makes the proper distinction between the divine right of the people, and the custom of the church. And the custom of the church will be of little weight against the law of Christ, when there is any necessity for departing from it. By the authority of the church, Tertullian himself could not have meant much, since he himself did not regard it, or more than this : that as he had been presbyter when he was orthodox, he did not mean to lay down his office, and confound himself with laymen, when he ceased to be so. Now let us see the value of the customs of the Apostles.
If any body will take the pains to compare the two accounts, recorded in those books which are professedly written for our instruction, of the establishment of the