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: Our author next observes, in consequence, cannot admithat a man can never act as nister the Lord's supper in it, a pastor, where he is not so which is an act of office power." much as a member; a
The force of this reasoning must be a member of a church lies in the last few words, which, before he can be a pastor of it, as they contain an assertion, as we have seen." This is not unsupported by scriptural auonly taking it for granted, that thority, should be carefully'exthe administration of the ordi- amined, and cautiously received. nance, under consideration, is What proof have we, that the a pastoral act, (which remains administration of the Lord's to be proved,) but that it is a supper is an act of office power ? pastoral act confined to the Our author does not adduce pastor's particular flock; for if one scripture in support of his it is not a pastoral act, or though assertion. The administration it should be found to be of that of an ordinance, so remarkably description, yet, if it be a ge- simple in its appearance, and neral pastoral act, which the devotional in its nature, can pastor is not restricted from hardly be called an act of performing as an act of minis- power; and even if it were als terial kindness to a bereaved lowed to be an act of pastoral church, this observation has power, there is no reason for not the least force; and the al- limiting the pastor's performlusion to a corporate body and ance of it to his own particuits principal officer, already no- lar church. Exemplary piety, ticed, will also, on this ground, suitable gifts, and the invitation be found of no avail. Under of a destitute church, seem to this head, Col. iv. 12, and comprehend all that can be reaRom. xii. 4, are quoted, but sonably required in the adminiga they will be found to have no trator. reference to the subject. In- It is farther observed, " As deed, the Doctor appears only well may he exercise other to have quoted the former, to branches of his pastoral office show, what we have no inclina- as this; as well may he be de tion to doubt, that Epaphras ruling elder, &c. and if he can was a member of the church at act as a pastor in two churches, Colosse; and the latter, to he may in ten, and twenty, and prove, what we firmly believe, more, and so become adiós that all members have not the cesan bishop; yea, a universal same office.”
bishop, or pastor, as the pope It is next remarked, that, at Rome pretends to be, &c. “ As one that is not a member And it is an affectation in some, of a church cannot be an officer to be thought of more moment in it, as a pastor. of another and importance than they are, church cannot be; then he has and to grasp at power and auno office relation to it, nor has thority, and to appear in a ebao he
any office power in it, and, racter and figure which do not therefore, cannot exercise in it belong to them, if not someany act of office power; and, thing else, which témpts them
to give into such an unwar- more than probable, that it is rantable practice.” It is diffi- not affectation, nor a desire to cult, in controversy, to preserve grasp at power, nor a wish to that calmness of temper and appear in a character which determination of mind, that does not belong to them, that seem equally necessary to the induces them to accept the ininvestigation and support of vitation of a destitute church, truth. It is to be regretted, and preside at the table of the that a man, so justly celebrated, Lord; but a sincere regard for should have suffered himself the commands of Christ, a dehere to be a little extravagant. sire to be of use to the church To administer the ordinance of at large, and a readiness to the supper, to be a ruling elder, oblige the household of faith. to preside at church meetings,
The Doctor then proposes and to exercise every part of the following questions :discipline, are certainly very “ Should it be asked, as it may different things, not equally ex- be reasonably asked, by what pedient, nor convenient. When authority they do this thing? the Lord's supper is adminis- Who or what gives them this tered by another pastor, it is authority? What answer because the church is of opi- be returned? Will they say, nion, that the administration of they have their authority from it is a pastoral act; or, at least, Christ?”. To which he replies because the communicants pre- at considerable length. To folfer receiving it from the hands low him through his assertions, of a pastor. But this ministe- would be tedious and unnecesrial visit does not invest the sary; for many of the observakind pastor with any new au- tions that would be made, have thority, any more than my in been anticipated in what has viting, in case of necessity, a already been remarked. To the friend to do the honours of my questions themselves, it may be table, would invest him, or her, briefly replied, that the authowith any prerogative to govern rity is considered to be derived, in my family. An equal need primarily, from Christ; and, does not exist for presiding at secondarily, from the destitute church meetings, and exercising church that gives the invitation. discipline; therefore, we very Should it be said, the scriptures rarely observe such invitations no where allow this authority, given.
it is remarked, they no where It
may be doubted, whether prohibit it. The narratives of it is quite consistent with that the commemoration of the charity that“hopeth all things,” Lord's supper are remarkably &c. to question the motives of simple, and unaccompanied those worthy pastors, who can with those restrictions for which cheerfully administer the ordi-Jour author contends ;* and, if nance to another people. It is our Lord has not prohibited the
Matt. xxvi. 26.-Mark, xiv. 22.-Luke, xxü: 19, and xiv. 30.Acts, xx. 7.-1 Cor. xi. 24, 25.
practice, and particularly point- | not flocks.” This comment, in ed out the administrator, nor its strict observance, would tereven hinted at such restrictions; minate all exchange of services, nor the apostles, who were tho- and occasional ministratious. roughly acquainted with the And what is then to become of duties of a Christian pastor, that flock that has no overseer? and who were likely, in some Happy is that pastor, who, after of their epistles, to have given having conscientiously fed his such directions ; it may be very own flock, can, in the exercise properly inquired, why any one of Christian love, extend his else should? The practice is services to the utmost of his evidently attended to upon the ability! same principle that induces
Our author proceeds to apother pastors to assist in the or- ply 1 Pet. iv. 15, to those who dinance of baptism, and preach- differ from him in this practice. ing the word; and it quite agrees He says, “Such who take upon with the benevolent and en- them to act in such a manner, larged spirit, which the recep- may be truly called busy bodies tion of the glorious gospel, un- in other men's matters, or bider the Holy Spirit's influence, shops in other dioceses.” The is calculated to promote. It is exhortation of the apostle is extherefore considered, that a cellent; but does it follow; bechurch has the power of in- cause Peter exhorts, “. Let none viting another pastor, rather of you suffer as a busy body," than that the dying love of the that administering the ordinance Saviour should not be comme- to another church, constitutes morated. The scriptures quoted such a character?' Are those by Dr. Gill, under this head, who so act likely to suffer in appear to have no allusion to any respect? Far from it; they the subject, Acts, xiv. 23.— are likely to participate of that There can be no doubt that the spiritual joy and satisfaction, elders were ordained for them, which such an act of kindness, and not others. Col. i. 7, that under the divine blessing, is Epaphras was a faithful minis- calculated to diffuse through ter for the church at Colosse, the whole family of the church. particularly; but it does not. Nor can he be well called a follow, that his ministrations busy body, who merely accedes were confined to that church to a respectful invitation; espeActs, xx. 28.—1 Peter, v. 2.--cially as, by so doing, he canThese exhortations to the el- not interfere with the duties of ders, to feed the flocks over any other
person. which the Holy Ghost had One should suppose, that the made them overseers, can hard- very nature of the engagement ly warrant our author's inference would shield from such an acfrom these passages ;
“ but not cusation. No secular conall the focks over which they cerns are attended to, no imare not overseers; so other pertinent curiosity is indulged, elders were directed to feed the no presuming behaviour. Thé flock that was amongst them, service is composed of prayer, praise, and showing forth the no explicit instance of the praca death of the ascended Saviour; tice, there is no implied prohiand the minister afterwards re- bition; and, certainly, a comtires to his more immediate con- municant, under such circumnection.
stances, need not fear drawing It is farther affirmed, “ As upon himself “ the guilt of an well may a deacon, of one unlawful administration.” Unë church, officiate as such in an- der the former dispensation, the other.” This does not appear, duties of the priesthood, with for there cannot exist an equal every particular relative to the necessity; and, therefore, we rights and ceremonies of the have no examples of such a church, were described with a practice in the history of our minuteness that does not cha churches. There are, gene-racterize the descriptions of the rally, several deacons in a New Testament ordinances, church; and the duties of that and the duties of those who office are not, therefore, inter-are to administer them. And rupted by the removal of an in- who has a right to prescribe dividual; and, where there is limits and regulations, when the but one in a church, his loss is Holy Spirit has been silent? generally -soon supplied by an- From a dispassionate and other election : and, indepen- serious view of the subject, dently of this fact, we know of there appear no reasons why no duties, the deacon of one we should hesitate in regarding church could be called upon to the ordinance of the supper, discharge in another.
even though we may be deprived Finally, it is added, “ No in- of a pastor; nor does it seem stance can be given of such a greatly important, whether the practice in the word of God. administrator be a pastor, or The instance of the apostle some eminent saint in the Paul's breaking bread to the church. But let us not dismiss disciples at Troas (supposing it the subject, without considerto be understood of the ordi-ing the effects likely to result nance of the supper) is no proof from disregarding it. or example of such a practice, Where this ordinance is dissince he was an apostle." To continued, it will be seen, that which we may observe, there the members consider themis no proof that he did it as an selves more at liberty to wanapostolic act. The precise cir- der. In a numerous church, it cumstances of the church at can hardly be expected to see Troas, we are unacquainted all its members together; but with. We are informed, Acts, the occasion when most aré XX. 7, that when the disciples seen, is the delightful ordicame together to break bread, nance, when the Saviour's dying Paul preached unto them.” love is commemorated, as most There is a probability, that the exert themselves to attend. disciples would have broken The neglect of any duty must bread, although Paul had not have a serious effect on the visited. Troas. What if there is mind; and it will be owing tà
irresistible grace, if the impor- that every church of Christ tance of the ordinance is not should, often and constantly, undervalued in consequence;
" show forth the Lord's death, and it may be feared, that our than it is that the affliction or gracious Lord, who is jealous removal of their pastor, should of his honour, may resent such suspend or supersede their cominattention to his commands, pliance with a positive instiand withdraw the smiles of his tution? face. Its observance is particularly calculated to preserve and promote Christian love and friendship. Meditating on what THE SCRIPTURES. Christ has done and suffered for his church, its members “ True dignity and nobleness will be likely to forget those tri- of spirit, greatly consist in an en fling differences, and misunder- larged and unprejudiced mind; standings, by which the great open, to. conviction, willing to enemy of souls seldom fails to investigate the truth, - to exaagitate, and, oftentimes, rend the mine the evidence adduced in church. Indeed, it has been re- support of men's opinions, and marked, that destitute churches to treat religious inquiries with have been kept together from candour, seriousness, and dili
other apparent cause. gence. Such an ingenuous and
Reader, search the scrip-teachable disposition comes tures. Accompany your read from above. They who possess ings with prayer; and when it, will cautiously avoid a blind your heart is most filled “ with credulity, an obstinate , bigotry, joy and peace in believing,” and a heedless conceited infideexamine whether your objec-lity. They will receive the tions are strongest to receiving word of sober teachers with all this memorial of your Re- readiness of mind; and, know, deemer's love, from the hands ing their need of divine instrucof him, who, though his ser- tion, they will daily search the vant, may not be your pastor. scriptures, to see whether things Are your prejudices then so be so or not. They will gradually strong, and your scruples so rectify their mistakes, obtain sonumerous and powerful, as to lutions of their difficulties, find make
you reluctant to take the answers to their objections, and bread and wine from the hands be led into a solid understandof a godly minister, though pas- ing and firm belief of the gostor of another church, or a pel. But nothing can be more pious deacon belonging to your ignoble and base, than bigotry own?
and persecution; and many, Fear, lest while you endea- who appeared devout in their vour to avoid inconsistency, you way, have been most inveterate should commit sin ; lest, while against the truth, and most acyou (6 strain at a gnat, you tive in stirring up others to opa swallow a camel.” Is it not pose it.” undeniably much more evident,
Prac. Ob. on Acts, xvii, 10--13,