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Episcopacy has been adopted by England, it is an essential part of the State in England, has been estab- it. lished, and is patronised and supported. Nor does any particular system of Presbytery has acquired the same doctrine belong essentially to any form status in Scotland, while Indepen- of government. Episcopacy may be dency is unconnected with the State allied to Popish doctrine, or to Calvin. in both lands. But it is not essential istic, or to Arminian, or to Rationto Episcopacy and Presbytery that alistic. It may be either Trinitarian they should be thus in alliance with or Unitarian, and so may Presbytery the State ; nor is it essential to Inde- and Independency. The maintainers pendency, that it should not be in
of any system of doctrine may choose alliance with the State.
for themselves to be governed after The Churches founded by the Pil- the Episcopalian, or Presbyterian, or grim Fathers in America on what was Independent fashion—their doctrine called the Independent platform, were
and their form of government having in close alliance with the civil govern- no essential connexion with each ment, and received State support. other. We, Independents of the present day, It is thus evident at once, that the may regard such alliance and support accidents of a form of government may as a violation of one of our fundamen- be more important than its essence. tal principles. And we are right in It is an accident of any of the three believing that principles which we forms we have named, and of which hold very sacred, such as the purity all others are modifications, more or and spirituality of our membership, less true to their central principle,cannot be practically maintained if that is, it is not of its essence, whether, dependent on State support or subject for example, it should be Trinitarian to State control. But that which con- or Unitarian. But here the accident stitutes the strict differentia between is more important than the essence. Independency and Episcopacy It is far more important that a Church Presbytery, is not that it may not, should be Trinitarian than that it while they may be embodied in the should be Episcopalian, or Presbyform of a State Church.
terian, or Independent; and hence a Nor are we to look for the essential man, holding the Episcopalian theory difference in the various forms of of government, would not be acting worship which have place among us. inconsistently in forsaking a Unitarian Episcopalians might abjure all litur- Episcopacy to connect himself with a gies, and yet their Episcopacy remain Trinitarian Independency. He would pure and absolute. Presbyterians and be only sacrificing the less to the Independents might adopt a liturgical greater, and equally so if the supposervice, and not be in the least degree
sition be made of a Presbyterian, or inconsistent with the distinctive prin- Independent doing likewise. ciples of their respective forms of It is not a thing to be wondered at government. It may be very natural, then, nor within certain limits is it a but still it is a mistake, to assume thing to be condemned, that men's that, because a liturgy is uniformly choice of a denomination, or of their associated
with Episcopacy in ecclesiastical position, should be deter
VOL. 1.-NEW SERIES.
mined rather by the accidents of shading off from Romanism is of the Church government than by their faintest character to a system that
The Established Church of comes painfully near to infidelity, England is Episcopalian, but very which is tolerated, and even obtains few leave it because of its Episcopacy. legal sanction within its pale. Some Should a man come to believe that cannot away with the practical corrupEpiscopacy does not rest on divine tion of its fellowship. Some are authority, it will be his duty to con- scandalised by the way in which what nect himself with a Church whose is called the cure of souls is bartered, government he believes does, provided the right to appoint the pastors of he can find in connexion with that the people being an article of public other Church the higher essentials of merchandise. Some have no other a true Church, sound doctrine and reason for leaving the Established such means of grace as will strengthen Church than that its formularies the spiritual life in his soul. But it teach, that in baptism children are is more for other reasons than for
regenerated and made children of God this that men leave the Established and heirs of His kingdom. Some do Church. Some leave it because of not find a Liturgy conducive to their its connexion with the State. They devotion, and seek a spiritual home come to the conviction that this alli- in which free prayer is offered ; ance is evil, and only evil. Instead while others have no reason for leavof the Church's strength, they believe ing the Established Church but that it to be the Church's weakness. In they happen to find elsewhere a minstead of finding in it a preservative of istry, if not better in itself, at least faith and godliness, they discover in more suited to their tastes or more it a source of corruption and error. profitable to their hearts. But it will The actual good which they know to be seen that in none of these cases be in the Church, they believe to be does the cause of separation affect the there, not because of, but in spite of, theoretic difference between one form its connection with the State ; and its of Church government and another. severance from the State they would And we have still to find out wherein regard not as its destruction, but as the essential difference consists. the greatest blessing which its friends
First, as to Episcopacy, it seems to could desire, and the beginning and us that we are to find the essence of precursor of a reformation which is
it in the doctrine of three ministerial impossible so long as the State is its orders,-Deacon, Presbyter, and master. Meantime, as the Church Bishop,—the Bishop constituting an will not be separated from the State order distinct from that of Presbyter, they must separate themselves from and superior to it. Leaving out of view the Church, even while they have no the peculiar idea which Episcopalians objection to its Episcopacy or its have of the Deacon's office, their idea Liturgy.
of the distinction between Presbyter Others reach the same practical and Bishop is their speciality, and issue in other ways. Some are affected: that on which depends everything that by the indiscriminate mixture of distinguishes them from others. The doctrine, ranging from a system whose idea may be embodied as in a papacy, in which one bishop is raised to palian interpreters of the New Testaprimacy over all the bishops of all ment, who do not confess, what seems lands; or in a prelacy in which the too plain to be denied, that Bishop and bishops are invested with the honours Presbyter, in the Acts of the Apostles, and privileges of peers of the realm ; and in the Epistles, are but two names or in the humbler Episcopate of the of one office, and of one class of Episcopalian Church in Scotland, Christian ministers. And whatever whose bishops have no civil status be the ground on which they justify other than that which the ministers the after development of one of the of other communions possess.
The Presbyters into a Bishop par excellence, powers given to the bishop may vary a Bishop of Presbyters, the fact that it in different ages and in different took place after the times of Paul, countries. They may be determined should make them more modest than and regulated by civil law, as in they are in the assertion of their England, or may depend entirely on claims, and may help us to feel very the will of the Church, as in Scotland. much at our ease in wanting a class They may be exercised by the bishop of office-bearers, which the Church in according to his own absolute discre- Ephesus, and the Church in Philippi, tion, as in some cases, or in concert and other Churches under the imwith a council or synod of Presbyters, mediate guidance of the Apostle Paul, as in others. But with all these and wanted likewise. other varieties, the one distinction of As to Presbyterianism, while with Episcopacy, is the superiority of the Independency it rejects the distinction order of Bishops to that of Presbyters. which forms the essence of EpiscoAnd it is because of the want of pacy, it differs froin Independency in bishops of this superior order,that Pres. denying to the people a direct share byterian and Independent Churches in the exercise of their own governare regarded as essentially defective ment and discipline, and in making and incomplete. Learning, piety, the exercise of government the exzeal, sound doctrine, good and peace- clusive business of the elders or Presful order, go for nothing in the absence byters. We may put out of view all of bishops. The Church which wants questions respecting the distinction these is held to be unapostolic and between a ruling elder, and an elder uncatholic. It has separated itself who shall be both a teaching and a from the great Church of the ages ruling elder, because the distinction, that are past, and can never be but a at least as a permanency, is denied by stunted and decrepit thing.
some Presbyterians, while it is adNow one would imagine that those mitted by some Independents. The who hold Bishops of an order superior essence of Presbyterianism is to be to Presbyters to be so important, and found in the exclusiveness of the juriseven essential to a perfectly constituted diction with which the elders or PresChurch, must feel very sure that the byters of each congregation are indistinction is Scriptural, and was vested, and in the united jurisdiction, recognised in the Churches which which the elders or Presbyters of a were planted by apostles. But it is district claim over all the congrega
There are very few Episco- tions of the district. There is, first,
the exclusive jurisdiction of the ism wherever you have these two elders. The people, that is the mem- things; first, each Church or congrebership of each congregation, may gation ruled by its elders, without the elect their elders, and in all free Pres- voice of the people; and, secondly, byterian Churches they do. But the elders of the Churches or congrehaving elected them, their power gations of a district recognised as a ceases. The elders (including the court for the common government of minister who is himself an elder) all. exercise all government and discipline, We have nothing to do at present without the voice or concurrence of with the supposed advantages or disthe people.
advantages of this system, nor can we If the system stopped here, we now examine the grounds of Scripture might have what we should call Inde- on which it is ordinarily placed-only pendent Presbyterian Churches remarking that if the principles of Churches governed by its own Pres. Independency can be proved to be byters, but independent of other Scriptural, those of Presbyterianism Churches. But Presbyterianism goes cannot. farther. It unites Church with Church, The essence of Independency is to all the Churches of its order that are be found in each Church declining neighbouring to each other, not for the authoritative jurisdiction of other the purposes merely of Christian com- Churches, and in its admitting the munion and mutual aid, but for the membership of each Church to a voice purpose of a common government. in the administration of its own affairs. While the elders of each congregation Take the second of these principles are the primary rulers of that congre- first. Our membership has a voice gation, the united elders of the con- in the administration of its own gregations, within a given district, are affairs. The Bishop or Presbyter, the common rulers of the whole. or, if there be more than one, the The elders themselves are subject to Bishops or Presbyters, of an Indepentheir peers in this union of elders, dent Church, are rulers, but they usually called a Presbytery, and to exercise their rule in concurrence this Presbytery or union of elders, with the voice of the people over appeals may be carried by individual whom they rule. And we think the members of congregations, who may evidence is clear that in those things think that their own elders have not which constitute what we may call the judged rightly. If the congregations staple of Church business-the admisare very numerous, and the district sion of members, and discipline over over which they are spread is very members, even to the point of their large, this principle of subordination exclusion—the private members of the may be indefinitely extended. Thus
Primitive Churches took part with the in Scotland, both the Established bishops or elders. It was the Church Church and the Free Church, have at Corinth, when “gathered together" first their session, then their presby- (1 Cor. v. 4), not the elders of the tery, then their synod, and then their Church, that was instructed by the general assembly. But you have a apostle to put out from among them complete embodiment of Presbyterian- the man whose flagrancy in crime
had brought reproach on the Saviour's degenerated sometimes into a practical
And it was the same body separation and isolation and indifferthat was afterwards to restore him on ence to each other's good opinion and proof of his repentance. Our Pres- each other's weal, which are very byterian brethren plead for the right alien to the idea of one holy comof the Christian people to elect their
munion in Christ. And our Congreown pastors or presbyters, and we are gationalism in the administration of one with them in this. But there each Church's affairs has
times seems to us to be far less direct evi- led to anarchy. But practical isoladence for the right of the people to tion and anarchy may be found likeelect their presbyters than there is wise in Episcopalian and Presbyterian for their right to take part with their Churches. And if we admit that our presbyters in the exercise of discipline. Independency is more liable to these And it is in the claim and exercise of abuses than other forms of governthis right that we find one essential ment, we must hold that it is less difference between Independency and liable to another abuse, that of Presbytery.
tyranny. And if we come to measure As to the other essential principle the evil of abuses, it would be difficult of Independency, the non-subjection to say whether anarchy or tyranny is of one Church to the jurisdiction of the greater. Tyranny is not a necesanother Church, we only claim for it sary consequence of Episcopacy or at present the support of this fact, Presbytery. But neither is anarchy that we can find no trace in the Acts
a necessary consequence of Indepenof the Apostles, or in the Epistles, of dency. And, believing as we do, any interference by one Church with that our form of government is based the discipline of another. Churches on the practice of the Apostolic are instructed how to act in the matter Churches, we cannot doubt that it is of their own discipline, but no provi- the best embodiment of the two great sion is made or implied for the exercise principles of freedom and law, and of a common government over the that, wisely administered, it will Churches of a district or province. conduce better than any other to the
That these principles have not great spiritual ends for which the always been well worked we admit. Church Christ exists in the world. Our independence in government has
NEW BOOKS. Sermons by HENRY WARD BEECHER.. few can study the volume, if they do it
Vol. I. London: Heaton and Son. with intelligence and discrimination, THESE sermons cannot be regarded as
without some healthy stirrings of heart models either in style or in thought; but
and intellect. there is much in their style and thought Ministering Angels. By the Rev. ROBERT that arrests and fixes attention. It would MEEK, M.A., Sutton Bonington, Notts. be easy to hold up to serious reprehension London : Nisbet and Co. crudities of opinion and defects of doc- THE Rector of Sutton Bonington does not trine. But all we can do in these lines “intrude into things not seen.” His little is to say that those who know and admire volume contains a sober and Scriptural Mr. Beecher and his preaching will find statement of all that is known of minister. here his usnal power and freshness. And ing angels.