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tittle of the law was to pass away without fulfilment. Now, we would ask, in what respect is this part of the law fulfilled as regards the threefold order of the ministry, or, if not fulfilled, in what respect can it be called an everlasting priesthood, if these three orders be abolished? The dilemma is impassable. Either the law as respects the Jewish priesthood, being everlasting, is, or should be, unchanged until this day, or it is fulfilled, and therefore abolished. But it has not in any one sense been fulfilled; therefore it remains unchanged. In corroboration of this, we must remember, that the dispensation under Christ is called by this very name. It is not called a new priesthood, but in Hebrews vii. 24, the unchangeable priesthood; and further, in the 12th verse of the same chapter it is stated as clearly as words can do, that the Levitical priesthood is transferred to the Christian economy. It is there said, 'For the priesthood being changed there is of necesity a change also of the law.'-Now the plain meaning of these words, both from the context and their signification in the original is, that the priesthood being now transferred to Christ, and to those who were in Christ's stead, there was made of necessity a change or transference also of the laws concerning the restriction of the priesthood to the order Levi; and that it was transferred from Levi to the more perfected order of Melchisedec. The full force of this proof consists in the word which in our version is translated changed, meaning in the original, and even sometimes used by ourselves in the same sense, to denote, not a substitution, but a transference. Now, if the priesthood was transferred, as the apostle says, then it must have been transferred in all its orders, otherwise it could not have been transferred. To change the triple order of the Livitical priesthood into one order, would have been a substitution, not a transference; so that by the statement of this unerring apostle or bishop we find, that the Levitical priesthood being transferred from the order of Levi to the priesthood after the order of Melchisedec, God's institution of church polity in the wilderness has not become of none effect, but is, as he promised that it should be, an everlasting priesthood; and what St Paul says it was and should be, under the Christian economy, 'an unchangeable priesthood.' But greater proofs than this have we for such a divine institution. Christ's ministry upon earth shews a model of Church polity which the Church of the living God has always copied. During His ministry on earth, while He sent forth apostles and disciples with power and authority peculiar to each, He Himself re
tained a power and authority superior to both. He alone was the Lord of the harvest, and commissioned labourers to go forth. other words, He retained to Himself the sole power of ordination. In every other respect, as to preaching, working miracles, and baptizing, the apostles and disciples were equal in this they were inferior; and they continued so until His visible presence was about to be withdrawn, when they were invested with this power. 'Receive ye,' said He, when He breathed upon them, 'Receive ye the Holy Ghost: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.' Here, then, was the bestowal of that Holy Ghost, or sacred authority (for the words mean that) which raised the apostles to an equality in the ministry with that which Christ had held Himself upon earth. In every other respect He had made them equal before; but now, even in respect of ordination, they were equal. In that also, sacred authority was breathed upon them, to enable them to come forth from a parting and ascending Saviour, to perpetuate the everlasting priesthood' to the end of time. In this respect, even as the Father had sent the Son, so the Son now sent forth His chosen Nor was it long before they exercised the newly conferred authority. They waited not for the promised enlightenment of the Comforter, because they were now fully invested with an authority which of itself enabled them to perform the Sacerdotal act. They accordingly proceeded to select one for the bishopric of the betrayer, the deceased Judas. Matthias was, no doubt, ultimately appointed by the drawing of lots, but this took place, not from want of power to appoint, but evidently from an uncertainty whether he or Justus ought to be appointed.
The design for which they met was, as Peter said, that one should be ordained,' not that two should be selected and lots drawn; this was a result which was not anticipated. And the reason why one was not appointed to this 'bishopric' before this time is not easily accounted for, unless from the fact that previously to that time, the apostles neither possessed, nor dared to assume, the power of ordination. This is a strong proof that the superintendent office of the apostles as bishops depended not upon the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, inasmuch as they had been invested with, and exercised an Episcopal power before that day. It shows further that such an Episcopal power is wholly independent of those gifts of the Spirit with which the apostles, and, indeed, the greater number of believers both priests and laymen were afterwards endowed;
for if this power was received and exercised before the descent of the Holy Ghost, then the same power and the same exercise of that would remain after these gifts had ceased. But upon the Divine institution of Episcopacy, proofs might be multiplied to any amount. From the historical records of St Matthew, we may proceed to the apocalyptic visions of St John, and there we find the Angels of the Churches occupying the ever-occupied chair. We may also unroll the Episcopal charges which form the greater portion of the New Testament. And every such charge (for every epistle is such a charge) would prove the existence of the high priests of Christianity, shewing the exercise of a superior power, each being but a charge from a bishop to the Church under his care and superintendence. From the acting apostolic bishops we may pass onward to their uninspired successors, the bishops of Crete, Ephesus, and Philippi, observing that the same form was adopted throughout the seven Churches of Asia, and that when scriptural history ends, the history of the Church begins, and shews us that this has been the form retained in the Catholic Church throughout all ages and in all lands.
Let us now advert to the use of the three different orders in the christian Church. And this is declared in the verses already referred to (Eph. iv. 11, 12), for the perfecting of the saints-for the work of the ministry-for the edifying of the body of Christ-till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man.' In other words, for the preservation of unity and orthodoxy; so that in these two words is comprised the glorious purpose, the important end for which God has placed on earth an everlasting priesthood, to maintain and spread the unity of of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God: to preserve truth and unity, the eternal pillars of the house of God. And it is a fact well worthy of observation, that whenever this divinely instituted form of Church government has been violated, there has followed as an inevitable consequence either the rending asunder of Christ's body, or the corruption of the faith once delivered to the saints. It is observable,' says an able writer, that in these last ages there have been no heretics who have not likewise been anti-Episcopal.' And another says, 'There were more heresies started up in England in the space of four years after bishops had been laid aside, than there have been known in the universal Church since the foundation of it to that time.' Nor need we the testimony of writers upon this point. The melancholy picture which the christian world presents, testifies
too truly of the vanity, wickedness, and folly of man exalting his finite wisdom above that of God of rearing systems for himself in opposition to that which God has instituted. Look to those who have encumbered the simplicity of the priesthood by the addition of divers orders, by placing a fallible man, not merely in the chair of St Peter, but of Christ, and investing him with the prerogative of Heaven. There, against that unscriptural form of government we see marks of Divine displeasure; we discern the want of that orthodoxy of belief which the threefold order was instituted by God to maintain. The whole body of that pure faith which once that apostate Church held has become a mass of corruption. Its members, instead of being edified, of advancing to the 'knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ,' are for the greater part sunk in the depths of spiritual ignorance and darkness, like the Athenians of old worshipping what they know not, and too superstitious in all things.
Again, those who have mutilated this Divine polity, instead of adding to it, if they present not the same corruption of doctrine at the present day, they at least afford a mournful absence of the true unity of the faith, being, as described in verse 14 of the chapter above quoted, 'Like children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.'
In both cases, either where additions have been made, or where there have been diminutions, the consequences have followed, to prevent which St Paul says that Apostles, Pastors, and Teachers were established. In both cases it is proved that the Divine polity of the Church, like the Divine oracles of the Church, cannot with impunity be added to, nor subtracted from. In both cases the wisdom of man becomes foolishness before God. And that primitive form which he has instituted is vindicated by striking and appalling lessons, not to be misunderstood. For in all the multiplied 'heresies, false doctrines, and schisms,' the hand of God is plainly discernible, executing retributive justice and judgment upon the violators of His law, upon those who have either dared to add to, or to diminish from His declared will; so that upon the maintenance, therefore, of the three orders, which God has planted in the Church, must depend the stability and orthodoxy of that Church.
Can any one who wishes to behold Christ's Church triumphant upon earth, overthrowing the strongholds of Satan, and prevailing
over the gates of hell,-can any one who has the faintest desire to behold the whole family of Adam dwelling together like a family in unity, bound together by the common bond of humanity, and the still stronger bond of Christian charity,-can any one who prays to see God's kingdom come, and that the gospel may cover the earth as the floods do the sea,-not strive by all that in him lies, to preserve and uphold that form of government under which God hath promised to effect all these things, and which He hath declared Himself to have formed and instituted for that very purpose? 'That speaking the truth in love, the Church may grow up unto Him in all things which is the Head, even Christ. From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.'
Here is a picture upon which the eye of the Christian may turn from the sad prospects of man's undoings, and amid its tears glisten with delight. Here is a prospect which may nerve the feeble knee, and the hands which hang down, to action and activity. If therefore the Church of God is to be kept in the unity of the faith, and in the knowledge of the Son of God-if she is not to present the sickening appearance of a dissevered mangled trunk, or the mon-strous phenomenon of several distinct and dissimilar bodies joined together strangely and not well-if she would not present the loathsome appearance of the remains of that which had once been so beautiful, but would stand forth in all the vigour and manhood of a healthy body, compactly joined together, every part of which is invigorated by the same circling blood, and which feels the throbbings of but one heart, and is actuated by one spirit-we must uphold and maintain that polity which God instituted, when He gave some Apostles, and some Prophets, and some Evangelists, and some Pastors and Teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
'Let us cling then to this as a precious inheritance, which has come down to us through eighteen hundred years. Every thing else has altered, but the government which our Lord instituted in His Church is still unchanged. Century after century the dark and troublous stream of time has swept by, its waters choked with the wrecks of all that the earth admires. Nations, courts, and dynasties, have played their part, and then been seen no more. The mighty