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292 ADVICE TO YOUNG CLERGY, &e. and benevolent dispositions, we are purchasing to ourselves a reversion and inheritance valuable above all price, important beyond every other interest or success.
Go, then, into the vineyard of the gospel, and may the grace of God go with you. The religion you preach is true. Dispense its ordinances with seriousness, its doctrines with sincerity-urge its precepts, display its hopes, produce its terrors
be sober, be vigilant _“have a good report” -confirm the faith of others, testify and adorn your own, by the virtues of your life and the sanetity of your reputation-be peaceable, be courte
sus; condescending to men of the lowest conditaken tion—"apt to teach, willing to communicate;" whom yso far as the immutable laws of truth and probit Eolt ha will permit, be every thing unto all men, that 22. promaye may gain some.”
Guga The world will requite you with its esteen. 08H12 OLG The awakened sinner, the enlightened saint, the on young whom you hare trained to virtue, the old
young whom visited with the consolations of wh Chestinnity, shall pursue you with prevailing
tings and effectual prayers. You will close a ves and ministry with consciences void of
and full of hope.-To present at the last she recovered soul, reflect how grateful it will be to him, whose commission
world-infinitely, no doubt, but still rasite world-infinitely
ee, does our office differ from hisfirst-born; it was the business of his his death, the counsel of his Fa
ise and consummation of his
v brethren unto glory.” BOHE
Fakener whom yo
A DISTINCTION OF ORDERS IN THE CHURCE
DEFENDED UPON PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC UTILITY
SERMON, PREACHED IN THE CASTLE CHAPEL, DUBLIN,
At the Consecration of
JOHN LAW, D. D. LORD BISHOP OF CLONFERT AND KILMACDUAGH,
September 21, 1782.
À DISTINCTION OF ORDERS IN THE CHURCH, DE-
And he gave some, apostles, and some, prophets ;
In our reasoning and discourses upon the rules and nature of the Christian dispensation, there is no distinction which ought to be preserved with greater care than that which exists between the institution, as it addresses the conscience and regulates the duty of particular Christians, and as it regards the discipline and government of the Christian church. It was our Saviour's design and the first object of his ministry, to afford to a lost, and ignorant world such discoveries of their Creator's will, of their own interest, and future destination ; such assured principles of faith, and rules of practice; such new motives, terms, and means of obedience, as might enable all, and engage many, to enter upon a course of life, which, by rendering the person wbo pursued it acceptaanother stage of his existence.
It was a second intention of the Founder of
means of Obelice; such new mphes of faith, ani
Christianity, but subservient to the former, to as.
ship and mutual edification, for the better trans-
From a view of these distinct parts of the eran
SERMON III. À DISTINCTION OF ORDERS IN THE CHURCH, DEFENDED UPON PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC UTILITY,
And 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.--Ephes. iv. 11, 12.
In our reasoning and discourses upon the rules and nature of the Christian dispensation, there is no distinctio which ought to be preserved with greater care than that which exists between the institution, as it addresses the conscience and re. gulates the duty of particular Christians, and as it regards the discipline and government of the Christian church. It was our Saviour's design and the first object of his ministry, to afford to a lost and ignorant world such discoveries of their Creator's will, of their own interest, and future destination ; such assured principles of faith, and tules of practice; such new motives, terms, and means of obedience , as might enable all, and engage many, to enter upon a course of life, which, by rendering the person wbo pursued it acceptable to God, would conduct him to happiness, in another stage of his existence. .
It was a second intention of the Founder of Christianity, but subservient to the former, to as. sociate those who consented to take upon them the profession of his faith and service, into a separate community, for the purpose of united wor. ship and mutual edification, for the better transmission and manifestation of the faith that was de. livered to them, but principally to promote the exercise of that fraternal disposition which their new relation to each other, which the visible par. ticipation of the same name and hope and calling, was calculated to excite.
From a view of these distinct parts of the evan
296 A DISTINCTION OF ORDERS gelic dispensation, we are led to place a real difference, between the religion of particular Christians, and the polity of Christ's church. The one is personal and individual-acknowledges no sulle jection to human authority-is transacted in the heart—is an account between God and our Ow consciences alone: the other, appertaining to ciety (like every thing which relates to the golm interest and requires the co-operation of many persons,) is visible and external-prescribes rules of common order, for the observation of which, we are responsible not only to God, but to the society of which we are members, or, what is the same thing, to those with whom the public authority of the society is deposited.
But the difference which I am principally con cerned to establish consists in this, that whilst the precepts of Christian morality and the fundamental articles of his faith are, for the most part, plu cise and absolute, are of perpetual, universal, am unalterable obligation; the laws which respect the discipline, instruction, and government of the community, are delivered in terms so general and indefinite, as to admit of an application adapter the mutable condition and varying exigencies on the Christian church. " As my Father hath sent me, so send I you.”_6 Let every thing be done decently and in order.”_"Lay hands suddenly on no man.” Let him that ruleth do it with di ligence.”—“The things which thou hast heard of me, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." _“For this cause left I thee, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city.”
These are all general directions, supposing, deed, the existence of a regular ministry in the church, but describing no specific order of preeminence or distribution of office and authority.
y other instances can be adduced more cir
cumstantial than these, they will be found i geven dasyarpointment of the seven deacons, the collection
IN THE CHURCH DEFENDED, &c. 297 for the saints, the laying by in store upon the first day of the week, to be rules of the society, rather than laws of the religion--recommendations and expedients fitted to the state of the sereral churches by those who then administered the affairs of them, rather than precepts delivered with a 80lemn design of fixing a constitution for succeed. ing ages. The just ends ofreligious as of civil union are eternally the same; but the means by which these ends may be best promoted and secured, will vary with the vicissitudes of time and occasion, will differ according to the local circumstances, the peculiar situation, the improvement, char acter, or even the prejudices and passions, of the several communities upon whose conduct and edi. fication they are intended to operate.
The apostolic directions which are preserved in the writings of the New Testament, seem to exclude no ecclesiastical constitution which the experience and more instructed judgment of future ages might find it expedient to adopt. And this reserve, if we may so call it, in the legislature of the Christian church, was wisely suited to its primitive condition, compared with its expected progress and extent. The circumstances of Chris
tianity in the early period of its propagation were necessarily very unlike those which would take place when it became the established religion of great nations. The rudiments, indeed, of the future plant were involved within the grain of mus. tard-seed, but still a different treatment was required for its sustentation when the birds of the air lodged amongst its branches. A small select society under the guidance of inspired teachers, without temporal rights, and without property, founded in the midst of enemies, and living in subjection to unbelieving rulers, divided from the rest of the world by many singularities of conduct and persuasion, and adverse to the idolatry which public authority every where supported, differed so much from the Christian church after Christi anity prerailed as the religion of the state; when