alone, the neighbouring pastors will officiate; and thus, while the junior brother is favourably introduced into the pastoral fellowship, the unity of the one body, formed by the churches of Christ, though there are many members, is very strikingly exhibited.

II. The nature and extent of the authority with which it invests him.

That the bishop or pastor is, by ordination, actually invested with authority, is manifest from the exhortation of the apostle, Heb. xiii. 17. “ Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves : for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account,” &c. It becomes, then, especially desirable to ascertain, if it can be done, the precise kind and degree of this authority. Few things are more to be deprecated than disputes, or even differences of opinion, between a minister and his people, on this exceedingly delicate subject; yet, when right and authority remain in any degree undefined, there is obviously great danger that misunderstandings on this point may arise. The wholesome desire, on the one hand, of repressing democracy, and, on the other, of resisting unlawful efforts to lord it over God's heritage, may place, and have sometimes actually placed, both minister and people in a false position. Each party may possibly suspect that it is not altogether right; but as the other cannot prove it to be decidedly wrong, both persist in their course ; and the unhappy result is, that mutual coolness and suspicion increase, till a violent rupture terminates the unseemly strife, and breaks the ill-assorted union. If, then, any additional light can be thrown on this subject, considerable service will be rendered to the Church of God. With some hope that the following remarks may not be altogether useless, they are respectfully laid before the reader.

It is conceived, then, to be of some consequence to remember, and it may be of advantage to our ministerial brethren to remember, that their authority, whatever it may be, does not extend to any thing not coming fairly

case it

within the limits and range of the pastoral office. It is, indeed, chiefly, if not exclusively, confined to the application and execution of the laws of Christ, in regard to the church as an associated body. In reference to any thing beyond this, though a minister may give his opinion, he should not expect that it will carry with it more of authority than that with which the opinion of a wise and holy man will always be clothed. It is possible, however, for youth and inexperience to forget that a right to rule in some things, does not confer the right of ruling in every thing; and that a man who unwisely stretches the prerogative, and aims at being master in all things, may ultimately find himself master in nothing. Far greater is the importance than is sometimes imagined, of confining the exercise of the pastoral authority within legitimate bounds. In that

may be exerted, where it should be exerted, more vigorously, with less risk of opposition or questioning, and with incomparably more advantage to the church. The notion we entertain of what is an undue extension of ministerial authority may be illustrated by the following case :-All applications for pecuniary aid in the erection of new places of worship, or in support of those noble institutions which aim at evangelizing the world, are sometimes admitted or rejected by the minister exclusively (and the right is contended for of thus admitting or rejecting them.) without consultation with the deacons, or any other members of the church. This is surely not the most correct mode of proceeding. Certainly the pastor has a right to give or withhold his personal sanction of the application ; but by mere pastoral authority to forbid or grant the application, is practically to assume the right which no man possesses to govern others in the application of their property. It exposes ministers, also, to reflections and suspicions which it is very desirable for them to avoid.

Again, it is to be remembered that the authority of the pastor is not legislative but ministerial. His proper work is to expound, and apply, and execute the laws which have issued from the Son of God, occupying as he does, exclusively, the legislative throne, and permitting no one to infringe upon this his undoubted prerogative. In short, the pastor rules by making the Lord Jesus Christ rule; by showing what He directs, commands, forbids. He has no authority independent of his Master, or separate from his. Forgetful of this important sentiment, should he enact laws, and then attempt to enforce them, the people would not be bound to obey; the people ought not to obey. Obedience would, in that case, be a practical dethroning of the exalted King in Zion. And should the pastor unwisely bring the authority of his office, instead of the authority of Christ, to enforce even an admitted enactment of the latter, he would be in danger of corrupting the principle of obedience, and of miscarrying after all. A rightminded minister will not desire to see himself, but the Saviour, reign over the people. Jealous for his Master's honour, he will shrink from the thought of dividing the supremacy with him. He covets not the obedience of the church on his own account, but for the honour of his Lord; and thus, placing before the people not himself but Christ, as the actual ruler, he secures, when the conscience is in subjection to Divine authority, the obedience he enforces.

Still there may be thought to be some degree of indefiniteness in these statements. The

business of the pastor is, we have stated, to expound, apply, and to execute the laws of Christ. But, if there should be a difference of opinion between him and the church, in reference either to the meaning or the application of a law, are its members, in a case awaiting their decision, bound to take the pastor's exposition of the law, and to walk by his opinion of its application, when their judgment is at variance with his ? Every candid man will admit that there is some difficulty here. If we maintain the affirmative, there appears to be no guard against the pastor's lording it over God's heritage; if the negative, we seem to open the door at once for confusion, and anarchy, and every evil work. The church is to obey the pastor; but if the pastor is neither to make law, nor authoritatively to expound and to apply law, what room is there for obedience ? Οι the other hand, if the church is bound to act on the judgment of the pastor, even when they regard that judgment as erroneous, how can they obey Christ? The only reply I feel able to give is, that, as the pastor is the authorised expounder of the laws of Christ, the church is bound to act on his judgment and direction, unless they can prove that he has misdirected them—the onus probandi being laid upon them for the evident purpose of repressing groundless and factious opposition. If it be objected, as perhaps it will, that this statement leaves it after all uncertain when a church is bound to yield obedience, and when it will be lawful to refuse it, I would reply, that a similar difficulty, if difficulty it be, is connected with the injunctions which bind the subject to obey the governor, the wife to obey the husband, the child to obey the parent. They seem to leave no case open for the refusal of obedience; yet all admit that such cases may occur. The governor, the husband, the parent, must all be disobeyed, when God interposes his authority ; yet, as the instances where this is the case cannot be specified, the subject, wife, and child are thrown in every particular instance upon the decision of conscience in reference to the propriety of disobedience ; having upon them the onus probandi of showing that the higher authority of God compels them to disobey. If it be further objected, that the whole of these injunctions to obedience are too general and loose, I reply, that they are perhaps as definite as they should be, the great object of the Moral Governor being to test the existence of the spirit of obedience; and, for this purpose, they are amply sufficient. In regard to a pastor and his flock, the difficulty referred to is rather speculative than practical. When there exists fervent love between the parties--when there is no tendency to an improper assumption of power on the one hand, and no proneness to groundless and factious opposition on the other, there . will be no disputes on this delicate point; and with respect to which disputes are especially to be deprecated and avoided.


The second class of office-bearers comprises those to whom the management of the temporal affairs of the church is especially intrusted. This is the department of service to which the deacon is called. The term employed to designate the office is too general to afford us any light in reference to its nature. It simply means a minister, or servant; and may, accordingly, be applied, and indeed is so, to individuals performing various kinds of service. It is used, for instance, to denote Christ, Rom. xv. 8; civil magistrates, Rom. xiii. 4; private Christians, John xii. 26; Paul and his companions, 1 Cor. iii. 5. By a common process of limitation, in reference to the meaning of terms, it came at length to denote that particular service which consists in distributing the alms of the church.

It is commonly thought that the origin, or institution of the office, is recorded in the sixth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. We read there that, “when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples to them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among yourselves seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business," &c.— vi. 1-4. These persons are not called deacons; and hence many have doubted whether their office identifies itself with that of the deacon referred to the epistles of Timothy and Titus. It was intended, it has been

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