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Slapd. Then we may as well say, those three honest men who are digging in that shrubbery, are some of Mr. Worthy's deacons. more plain and easy term, the Comforter. So by the same Popish translators, only in the two instances quoted above, we are treated with the barbarous word deacon ; and our language knows nothing of the character, but as received from them. To illustrate this, how preposterously would it have sounded, had it been translated, Christ was“ made a deacon of the circumcision!" there translated minister, Rom. xv. 8. And still more so, Is Christ the deacon of sin ? There also minister, Gal. ii. 17. Thus again Christ speaks of his worshippers, “Where I am, there shall my deacons be:" there rendered servants, John xii. 26.–St. Paul speaking of the civil magistrate, says, “He is a deacon of God to thee for good,” Rom. xv. 4. People little think, that the lord-mayor of London is a deacon, or rather an archdeacon, he being the first magistrate of the metropolis. Phocbe," a servant of the church,” should, to have kept up this translation, been called a deacon of the church; and, if one word be better than another, she well descrved it. But it would have been a curious translation indeed, had it been rendered “Who then is Paul, or who is Apollos, but deacons, by whom ye believed ?" properly called ministers, 1 Cor. iii. 5. Similar to this,“ Whereoti, Paul, am made a deacon :" that is, minister, Col. i. 23 ; and again, ver. 25.“ And so Timothy, the Grecian bishop, is also called a deacon.” “ If thou put the breihren in mind of these things, thou shalt be called a good deacon of Jesus Christ," better translated minister. See also 1 Thess. iii. 2. So also, had our translators gone through with the coinage, and rendered the verb Alexovaw to deaconize, they would have been nearly as preposterous : for then it would
“The mother of Peter's wife being healed of her fever, arose and deaconized unto them,” Matt. viii. 15. So it is said, “ Our conversation is always to be to the use of edifying, that it may deaconize grace to the hearers,” Eph. iv. 9. The women who ministered to our poor Savior of their substance, that we through his poverty, might be made rich, are said to have deaconized unto him, instead of administered. And again, The Son of man came not to be deaconized unto, but to deaconize, Matt. xx. 18. And as a further proof of the clumsy (ffects of this aukward, unmeaning, new-invented word, even the damned themselves are represented as saying,
Lord, then saw we thee sick, &c. and did not deaconize unto thee?" Mait. xxvii. 55. And to finish my criticisms on this subject, Judas was, a deacou ; unless it can be proved that the person who does the office, is not the officer; for thus stands the original word, “ He was numbered with us, and obtained a part of this dea
Mer. Yes, and that poor woman, and her daughter, who are picking up the loose stones from off the lawn, are two more of his deacons ?
Slapd. What would Mr. Stiff say, if he were present, to hear all this about his deacons ?
Mer. And what must we may, about our deacons also ?
Loveg. Why, that Mr. Stiff and ourselves have both mistaken their real office, or character; and however wise it may be, to put men into a probationary state of orders; yet it would have been wiser still, to have given them another name.
Slapıl. And what must become of our archdeacons also ? Oh how Mr. Stiff used to play it off against that order of our Church clergy!
Loveg, Why, in point of positive institution, Mr. Stiff's Deacons, and our Deacons, and Archdeacons also, seem pretty nearly on a par; only we are not so strenuous to contend for their divine appointment. However, had our good Reformers reduced the size of our Bishoprics, aud dispensed with this race of second conship.-01cxona, more properly ministry. And yet this deaconial office was the apostolic office. Acts i. 15. brings this to a point : that he," ihe elected person, Matthias, may take this ministry, deaconship, and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell.” Many other criticisms of the same sort, might have been brought forward to prove, that a deacon is no new officer, only a servant. Upon the whole, it appears to me, that some good people have been misled by the barbarous word deacon, and mistaken the servant for the elder. Dr. Owen, while he pleads for the independency of the churches, as it is called, yet strongly urges the necessity of the existence of a little presbytery, for the internal management of those churches. I believe a variety of Christian congregations, would be much more happy among themselves, if instead of being governed " by old men, and maidens, young men, and children, providod they call on the naine of the Lord,” and are admitted into their communion, they had constituted among themselves, such a sort of a spiritual committee, for the inanagement of their church concerns. I insert this criticism, that all parties may be less positive, and more candid and affectionate towards each enher, and to see if I cannot bring Mr. Stiff, and Mr. Steepleman, nearer together.
hand bishops, our Church discipline had been nearer the model of the primitive times. Yet after all, I see very little, if any, impropriety in the office of our Archdeacons, if they did but serionsly attend to that office, as coadjutors in the episcopal work, by stirring up
the clergy in their different districts, to a more diligent discharge of their sacred works; so that if Mr. Stiff chuses to keep to his Deacons, and we to our Archdeacons, as mere names are of little or no consequence, we should act much more consistent with the spirit, and temper of the gospel.
Mer. Really, it appears to me, as though the Apostles, and their successors in the ministry, after they had received their commission, acted as circumstances seemed to direct them, without laying down any plan of regular operations for themselves, or their successors.
Loveg. So it ever appeared to me. And if this sounds loose in the ears of some bigots, who insist upon it, that their's is the only form prescribed in the word of God, we need not to be under any great ap: prehension, from the mismanagement of these outward matters : each party takes into consideration the purity, and spirituality of the word of God; and, according to their different modes of government, they direct their Churches agreeably to that excellent rule.
Slapd. I wish both Mr. Steepleman, and Mr. Stifi, were within your reach, that you might give them a good lecture for their bigotry.
Loveg. Though I utterly dislike controversy of this sort, yet, as I equally hate the bad consequences of bigotry, I should not care if they were. I would then ask Mr. Steepleman, what would become of his high Church, episcopal religion, were he to pass the Tweed into Scotland, where the established religon is presbyterian ? Then he immediately becomes a dissenter, or, to speak in his own proud language, “ he would be living in schism, against the established religion of that country; and would maintain, that there were no Christian Church, because they have no Bishops."
Slapd. And consequently they are all going to hell together, though their hearts may be as full of grace, as his head is full of these strange, high-church imaginations. I think you might also ask, where is the harm, if a Scotsman should continue a presbyterian in England ? and where is the harm of an Englishman being an episcopalian in Scotland ? Have I a right to knock a man's brains out, because he is a Jew, or a Mahometan? Therefore how much more horrid, when they, who call themselves Protestant Christians, cannot have the least Christian charity, one towards another! I believe there is not a party bigot upon earth, that would not persecute if he could. Blessed be God, for a more enlarged heart, that we may love all that love God, and love to obey him.
Loveg. And upon this principle, my good old friend, I feel it would be my privilege, to hold Christian communion with every protestant Church upon earth. Were I in Germany, it would never be a question with me, Are you Lutherans, or Calvinists, but are you Christians ? Nor would it distract my brains, or concern me, if their modes, and forms did not altogether suit my judgment, or taste; and were 1 to attempt the reformation of such matters at the expence of peace, I should do abundantly more harm than good thereby. As in the Church, so it is, in a great measure, in the state. Have I, or has else, a right to go from state to state, and try to overturn their different existing governments, because they are not modelled according to that which I so much admire in my own? This would be like an unskilful surgeon, who would hazard a mortification for the sake of cutting off a wart. I wish people would but act more according to that excellent prayer in our Church liturgy, that we may be “ kept in the unity of the spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life."*
* It may not be amiss, to remind every high Churchiman of J1r. Steepleman's spirit, of a passage that is to be found in the
Slapd. Ah Church liturgy! how Mr. Stiff rails at Church liturgies, while his own prayers, with a very little variation, are as much a form as any of ours, and I am sure, not mure scriptural, nor yet more spiritual!
Loveg. I suppose then, we should have but a bad bargain of it, if we were to exchange our form for his. But what are their psalms, and hymns, but forms of prayer, or praise? I think the least he can do, is to let us alone with our forms, while he is so formal himself. It would have been well if the poor people of Abley could have met with such a man as Mr. Peaceful, instead of Mr. Stiff.
Mer. Was not Mr. Peaceful the Minister who was in the habit of visiting Mrs. Goodworth? I have often heard you mention his name with much approbation.
Loveg. O! he was a man of a most excellent spirit; and, though from principle he was a dissenter, yet beginning of the Common Prayer Book, Concerning the service of the Church, as i: breathes that spirit of true Christian candor, that should never be forgotten.
“And in these our doings, we condemn no other nations, nor prescribe any thing but to our own people only, for ive think it convenient, that every country should use such ceremonies, as they shall think best, to ihe setting forth God's honor, and glory, and to the reducing of the people, to a most perfect, and godly living, without error, or superstition.” Had they adopted the practice of such liberal sentiments nearer home, would not the Church of England have shone more, as being possessed of the temper, and spirit of the -church of Christ? and which of her advocates will vindicate that spirit, whereby she stands aloof from all other reformed churches throughout the Christian world, without having the least ministerial fellowship, and connexion with them? Even the most able, and excellent ministers of the established church of Scotland, though precisely under the same civil protection with our owr., are perfectly secluded from any connexion with our establishment. How often have I heard, even candid dissenting ministers lament the fact, that while the ordination of a Popish priest, is deemed valid, so that after recantation, no further ordination is demanded; yet if a protestant minister of any country, wishes to join her community, reordination is rigidly required!