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not tell you that the pastor who officiates every Sabbath to the same people requires a far higher degree of talent and of knowledge than luis diocesan. It appears to me that prudence, and piety, and a moderate share of theological research, are all that is requisite in a good prelate. Possessed of these qualifications, he is competent to examine candidates for the sacred office, and may be entrusted with the
of ordination and government. Any Minister of moderate attainments could readily exercise these functions. Endowments of a superior order are required for the efficient discharge of his other duties. Every clergyman in his own congregation is a professor of theology. He must expound the Scriptures, he must illustrate the prac tical tendency of the truth, and he must defend the faith against all gainsayers. That he may continue to instruct and to edify his people, he must possess a large and varied store of biblical information. That he may be enabled to silence scepticism and to contend successfully against heresy, he must be intimately acquainted with controversial divinity. That his public services may be interesting and impressive, he must be “ apt to teach”-he must be capable of explaining his views with perspicuity and energy–he must be gifted with the power of commanding the attention, and of imparting a done to the feelings of his congregation, by the solidity and the fervour of his discourses. Preaching, in fact, presents an opportunity for the developement of the highest class of mental accomplishments. The glorious Gospel of the blessed God is a theme worthy the mightiest efforts of the
oftiest genius. It challenges the investigation of the most vigorous intellect, and it supplies topics sufficient to call forth the exercises of the purest and noblest eloquence. We do not intend to say that every preacher must possess these qualifications, for we would thus condemn many excellent and profitable Ministers-we merely allege that the most exalted talents may find ample scope for their exertion
upon the field of pastoral duty. We wish to show that the office of a preacher is superior to the office of a prelate that he who breaks the bread of life unto the people requires greater ability and learning than he who sits upon the throne of episcopal oversight.
And now, Mr. Editor, I would solicit the special attention of your readers to the inference which I would deduce from these premises. It is simply this--if we act upon the just and the scriptural principle, that the office-bearers in the church should be remunerated according to their services, episcopacy, in its present arrangements, must cease. We hear much in the present day respecting an equitable division of ecclesiastical property. We are told that the funds of the establishment are improperly apportioned—that the bishops receive too much, and that the curates receive too little. But in what way are our legislators to promote the work of reformation ? We hesitate not to assert, that the framework of the establishment must be altered, and its Ministers be ranged in Presbyterian parity, before we can expect any approximation to justice in the distribution of the property of the church. So long as the present arrangement is preserved, the members of the royal cabinet attempt to solve an impossible problem, when they purpose to make a fair appropriation of the ecclesiastical revenues. Let them or. ganize the national church upon a Presbyterian platform, and then the working clergy will be recompensed, whilst they who will not submit to the drudgery of the pastoral care, will be deprived of the rewards of pastoral exertion. Thus the character of Protestantism will be vindicated, and the dictates of equity will be recognized. Then our ecclesiastical establishment will be no longer an incommodious and clumsy fabricbut in the simplicity and the beauty of its arrangements, it will appear" as a city compactly built together.” Based upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and cemented by the spirit of all grace, and reared up in Presbyterian symmetry, its friends might exultingly say, as they contemplated the goodly structure, “Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.
Walk about Zion,
and about her tell the towers thereof,mark ye well her bulwarks-consider her palaces—that ye may tell it to the generation following; for this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.”—Ps. xlviii.
Many who seem to be convinced that the direct duties of the episcopal office are not such as to require the establishment of a distinct order of ecclesiastical functionaries, are nevertheless disposed, upon a different principle, to plead for the existence of these supernumeraries. They argue that the varied avocations of the parochial Minister afford him very little time for the labours of authorship, and that therefore the extinction of the superior clergy would be highly injurious to the interests of theological literature. How often may we have been told that the Church of England and Ireland is the great bulwark of Protestantism, and that her dignitaries have produced qur best publications in the defence and the illustration of Christianity ? Far be it from me to detract from their merit.
Far be it from me to withhold my tribute of sincerest admiration from Leighton, and Horne, and Usher, and Beveridge. The works of such men speak for themselves, and will hand down their ballowed memory to posterity of the latest generations. But, Sir, have not the parochial clergy of the establishment published at least as extensively as the upper ranks of her hierarchy? Has she not been greatly indebted for her fair name to Hervey, and Scott, and Newton, and Bickersteth, and Bridges ? After all, however, we cannot avoid thinking that the advantages conferred upon sacred science by the writers of the English Chureh have been vastly overrated. It would not, I think, be difficult to demonstrate, that the men who have shed the brightest glory upon Protestantism by their biblical knowledge and their uncompromising Orthodoxy, have been nurtured under the shadow of Presbyterianism. It is, I believe, generally admitted, that Calvin, the venerable restorer of our system of church government, was the most learned of all the reformers. Tur. retine, one of his successors in the chair of theology at Geneva, composed a body of divinity which many competent judges have pronounced to be the best extant. And need I tell you, Sir, of Witsius, and Vitringa, and Witherspoon, and Halyburton, and Matthew Henry, and Jonathan Edwards ? In the present day have the prelates of the English Church given to the world more ample fruits of their literary industry than the Ministers of Scotland ? Can episcopacy point to the works of any of her mitred guardians, and indulge the hope, that they can enter the lists of successful competition with the splendid eloquence of Chalmers, or the exact and varied erudition of M-Crie? I feel, however, that I am entering on a theme which may to some appear invidious, and I shall therefore dismiss the subject by observing, that we have no security for the interests of theology in the existence of an order of spiritual dignitaries. If our legislators wish to foster the cultivation of sacred literature, they may do so much more cheaply and efficiently. They can multiply our colleges, they can endow theological professorships, and they can encourage talent and piety in candidates for ordination, by permitting the people to choose their pastors.
Let it not be inferred from these observations that we are opposed to the national establishment of religion. No. We believe that episcopacy is an unscriptural form of ecclesiastical government, but we are equally persuaded that it is the duty of rulers to defend and to patronize the Gospel. We cannot subscribe to the opinion, that the truth should reject the aid of human auxiliaries, and that the welfare of the church should not be considered in the business of legislation. We conceive that rulers are responsible for the influence with which the Almighty has invested them, and that it is their duty to provide for the spiritual instruction of the people whom they govern. We are convinced that religion is the best safeguard of the state, and that if its interests are disregarded by our senators, the Most High will confound their counsels, and make their devices of none effect. We desire that the Protestant Church should prosper within these realms, and we only wish that the external fabric may be stripped of those remnants of a darker age which have hitherto contributed to mar its beauty and to impair its excellence. Were our national establishment constructed upon the principles of genuine Presbyterianism, we are satisfied that it would be more likely to be enthroned in the affections of the Protestants of the empire. We feel assured, that through the blessing of its heavenly King, it would, ere long, form a grand, and united, and holy commonwealth, which neither the rancour of infidelity nor the intrigues of Popery could shake. And if, in the days that are past, our fathers taught Britons the nature and the value of civil liberty—if the persecuted saints of Scotland dared to struggle for their freedom when England bowed to the yoke of tyranny--and if, when Rome was about to embrace us in her iron grasp, Presbyterian Hollạnd came to our relief, and sent forward to our shores a brave and a triumphant asserter of our privileges--may we not hope that our Protestant brethren will be at length induced to adopt the free spirit of our religious institutions, and that they will make an effort to save the tottering establishment of Ireland, by ingrafting its sound doctrines upon the healthy stock of our Presbyterian constitution.
SIMPLICITY OF THE GOSPEL.
“O How unlike the complex works of man,
Heaven's easy, artless, uuencumber'd plan!
THE DISTRIBUTION OF TOKENS.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX PRESBYTERIAN, Sir,
A Few weeks ago I was present at public worship in Fisherwick-place, when a method of distributing tokens of admission to the Lord's Table was adopted, which appears to me so much better than what is common, that I take this opportunity of suggesting it to your numerous readers. Before the close of the service, the Minister stated, that he and the Session disliked the ordinary method of distributing tokens that he had inquired into the original practice of the Church of Scotland that he bad found it like all the laws of the Scotch Church, wise and simple—and that therefore he would, with the consent of the people, adopt it in future. For this pur“pose he requested, that when the benediction was pronounced and the congregation retired, the communicants would remain. These accordingly did remain, to the number of between five and six bundred persons, and those who had sat in the gallery came down to the lower part of the house. After the benediction, Mr. Morgan came down and stood before the pulpit, and the Elders by him. He read a part of the 116th Psalm: “I'll of salvation take the cup," &c., which the people sung. He offered a short prayer, constituting the Session. He then briefly explained what was meant by giving and receiving tokens, showing wherein Presbyterianism differed from Episcopacy and Independency, in admitting to the Lord's Table. Presbyterianism, he stated, simply recognised two things as necessary in the candidate-soundness in the faith and blamelessness of life. On these only did the Scriptures allow the church to legislate. After this brief explanation, he called upou the communicants to come forward and receive their tokens, the act of doing so being a declaration that they professed the doctrines of the Presbyterian Church, as laid down in her standards, and that nothing was known in their lives which required the legislative interference of the rulers of the church. Those who sat on the right hand and left hand aisles of the house then rose, and each received his token as he passed at the table before the pulpit; (each lifted his token off the plate in presence of all the Elders,) and the stream of people passed down the centre aisle, and went out at the door. Those parts of the house being emptied, those who sat in the pews off the centre aisle rose, received