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tian bishops, was quite unknown.
Boniface III. received first the title of Universal Bishop from the Emperor Phocus, as a reward for his subserviency and flattery to this basest of tyrants. With the exception of the ambitious heretic Arius, Episcopacy prevailed, with the usurpation of Papacy alone, in every Christian Church throughout the world, till Presbyterianism began to show itself under the protection of the reformer Calvin. When the reformation in Church government began, the R. C. Bishop of Geneva, Peter Balma, refused to comply with some proposed alteration, and was expelled from the town with his clergy. After the expulsion of the Bishops, two popular preachers, Farrel and Viret, who had greatly contributed to this measure, assumed the ecclesiastical and civil power,-in this state of things, Calvin, in his way from France to Strasburgh, stopped at Geneva and remained there at the invitation of Farrel. He then, with his two colleagues, proposed a new form of discipline which he had lately invented; but the people being dissatisfied with the severity of his laws, expelled him, with his principal associates, from their town. At the expiration of three years he was recalled, and being appointed to institute a form of ecclesiastical discipline, he proposed, and finally established, a system of Church government never before either known or practised, which is known by the name of Presbyterianism. When he first introduced this system he expressed his highest veneration for reformed Episcopacy, and defended his innovations on the plea of necessity. Beza and his other followers gradually discontinued that mode of argument, and have sometimes asserted, in not very courteous language, that Presbyterianism is of divine right. It is now established in Scotland, where it was introduced by John Knox and his coadjutors, who were the friends of the reformer at Geneva. Many of the exiles who had fled to the continent, in the reign of the persecuting Mary, adopted the same system, and endeavoured, on their return to England, to complete, as they supposed, the reformation in their own country, by recommending and enforcing the Presbyterian discipline. The labours of Cartwright and others, however, were rendered unsuccessful, at least in England, by the exertions and vigilance of Whitgift, then Archbishop of Canterbury, aided by the firmness of Elizabeth.
This great reformer and celebrated Commentator of Geneva, did not anticipate the possible evils of his deviation from the conclusions to which his brother reformers in England had arrived. He erred only in proceeding to an opposite extreme from the Church of Rome.
His error in doctrine proceeded from a systemizing spirit attempting to comprehend those subjects which humble men will shrink from, till their faculties are enlarged by the knowledge of another state of being. His bitterness and intolerance were the vices of his age. In all other respects he was both a wise and a good man. In proposing his plan to the world he believed he was planting the tree of life. He would have wept to have known, that he had substituted the Upas of theological hatred, and controversy, and error, beneath whose poisonous influence so many fair Churches have withered away. If he could have foreseen this result, he would have united in the powerful sentiments of a Father of the Church, nothing so grieves the Spirit of GOD as the causing divisions in' the Church; not even the blood of martyrdom can atone for this crime.'
After the original form of Church government had been thus boldly infringed upon, the minds of men became gradually reconciled to the innovation; and the graduation to the next difference became in comparison easy. The Presbyterian polity had taught the world, that the presbyters of the Church were all equal in authority; the next generation introduced another innovation, and discovered that, if presbyters were equal, they were also independent of each other. Mr R. Brown of Northampton, in the reign of Elizabeth, was the first who invented this system of independency, which is totally without support from either Scripture or antiquity. The opinions of the Independents obtained great popularity in the subsequent reigns of James and Charles; and were espoused by many of the more energetic spirits of that turbulent period, till they gradually superseded the newly established Presbyterianism. From the reception which was given by the community to these innovations on the Christian priesthood, the last stage of its degradation was easy and natural. The office of teacher, the administration of the sacraments, the interpretation of Scripture, were, and still are, assumed at pleasure by men of all ranks, ages, characters and classes, without adequate preparation, responsibility, obedience, or authority. The civil law affords equal protection to all, and the public repose of the community requires this, but the privilege which is allowed by the civil power is mistaken for the gospel of GOD. Mutual candour is granted to mutual error, while every term of obloquy and reproach, which the proverbial bitterness of theological hatred can impart, is unsparingly poured forth, to stigmatize those who assert the ancient uniform, universal belief of the primitive Church, that the Christian minister is subser
vient to a higher order, to which alone was committed the government of the Church, and the power of ordaining and appointing ministers. The question is not one of human polity. It rests with us to inquire whether the Lawgiver of the Christian dispensation has, or has not, revealed to his creatures a model of Church government to which it is the duty of every Christian society to conform.
Should such a government be laid down in Scripture, it becomes at once obligatory on all Christians. Time cannot destroy it, fashion cannot change it, opinion cannot prevail against it, nor the apostacy of nations invalidate it. No speculation can remove the foundation of its truth. It will be as evidently discoverable as the Mosaic institutions. Its principles will be as clear, its facts as evident, its origin as undeniable. If there is, or was such a government, its whole progress will be matter of record; every innovation, every corruption would be accurately registered, and so engrafted with the history of Christianity that they could not put it asunder.
The various forms of Church government which we have now considered may be distinctly traced to human invention. They have originated in the circumstances of the times in which they commenced. Episcopacy alone is traced to the days of the apostles and of their and our divine Master; and originated in His instructions, and their practice. The manner in which the seven deacons were appointed, proves that the utmost caution was used on the part of the apostles to prevent inferior or unworthy men being intruded into the offices of the Christian Church. The apostles, the heads of the Church, prescribed the qualifications for this office; the people chose the persons who were thus worthy, and the apostles ordained them to the appointed office. Every Church, we infer, therefore, is entitled and is bound to follow this plan of conduct. Its ecclesiastical heads are the sole judges and directors of the qualifications required for the fulfilment any sacred office; the persons who are to fill these offices, must be taken from the general mass of the people, and they are then, when thus known and approved, to be set apart by prayer and laying on of the hands of those to whom that power is rightly committed. Till they are thus set apart, their own qualifications, and the general approbation of the people, do not constitute their right of admission to the offices of the Christian Church. If Scripture is to be our guide in matters which concern Christian societies, as well as in those which interest us as individuals, these are the directions it has given for ever to the Churches of Christ in every nation, wherever its sacred
pages have been imparted. The apostles alone called the Church together, and gave them directions to look out from among them seven men of good report, specifying at the same time their necessary endowments and numbers; and reserving to themselves the power of appointing them to the sacred office. And when we consider that the gifts of the Holy Ghost were one indispensable qualification, and may be regarded as the pre-election to some sacred function, no possible authority can be derived from this portion of Scripture, to sanction the laity taking upon themselves the choice and appointment of their respective ministers. The same rules which were on the present occasion prescribed, we have reason to suppose were observed likewise in the nomination of bishops and deacons in other Churches. For in St Paul's epistles to Timothy and Titus, we read that he desires the Bishops who ordain, to enquire most particularly into the character of those who were admitted into the high sacred function. In Titus, for a bishop seventeen necessary qualifications are enumerated, and in Timothy iii. 2., fifteen. Canon Townsend.
NOTICES OF MEMORABLE DAYS IN THE MONTH.
OUR saint of to-day is a pattern of stedfastness to principle-' Only Luke is with me.' The affliction of his master, S. Paul, the tribulations of prison and persecution, and the scorn of the worldly, did not shake his principles. We have, in these days, need to ponder on such a bright example. The catholic doctrines of our Church are experiencing St Paul's treatment by Demas. They are unpopular -unworldly. It costs them much to hold them in the Church, so our Demases either forsake their mother for a stepmother, in order to still retain peaceful catholicity, or else abandon them altogether. Our Demas becomes an Eclectic, if he is not so far gone as to sink into total indifference. Conscience, which revolts at the latter, is easily flattered and beguiled into Eclecticism. Anything to avoid the reproach, rebuke, and blasphemy of these latter days, so that the man himself may lay some deceitful unction to his soul-may have something, however shadowy and unreal, to rest upon. Let us beware if in any way we are tempted to give up our catholic position because of the world about us. Surely that is the safest post which
is nearest the cross. If we shrink from the old paths because we see them assailed on all sides by Romanist, Eclectic, and Puritan, we follow not S. Luke but Demas. In any one of these positions we shall find plenty of friends and lovers-the hostility of the world almost leaves Christianity there. But having the worldly and liberal (so-called) for our foes, we may hope to be with Paul and with Christ.
S. SIMON AND S. JUDE.
LET us take up to-day S. Jude's exhortation, Earnestly contend for the faith which has been once delivered to the saints.' There is agony enough for human traditions or new theories, but little earnestness in holding fast the faith which has been from the beginning. There is strife enough for the dominancy of particular Church systems, but there is scarce any for the restoration of primitive doctrine, and discipline, and practice. On the one hand, Romanism, on the the other ultra-Protestantism, put forth their claims to our belief; yet neither on the score of contending for the faith once delivered to the saints. We are as sure that the Bishop of Rome never was universal pontiff in the first ages of Christianity, as we are that bishops were held for the same time necessary to the existence of the Church. We are as sure that the cup was then never denied to the communicants, as that cup and paten were ministered not only weekly, but even daily. We are as sure that prayers were then said in a language understood by the people, as that they were not extempore. We are as sure that then S. Mary would not have been addressed as 'the only hope, yea, the very ground of our hope,' as we are that she was honoured as Mother of God and ever Virgin.
We are as
sure that then prayers were not offered, nor indulgences sold, for souls in purgatory, as we are that prayers were offered for the consummation of the bliss of the departed. We are as sure that the Roman was not then the catholic Church, as that there was a one, holy catholic and apostolic Church. It is the faith once delivered, not continually developed by individual churches, or by individual christians, for which we are earnestly to contend.