« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
vested with authority to ordain and to be observed, too, that the first rebuke presbyters, are facts about epistle to Timothy, which alone which all parties are agreed, and was written to him during his rewhich, indeed, cannot be contro-sidence at Ephesus, was of a date verted by any reader of Paul's prior to Paul's meeting with the epistles. To this the Presbyterian elders of that church at Miletus; replies, with confidence, that the for in the epistle he hopes to come power which Timothy exercised to him shortly ; whereas he tells in the church of Ephesus was the elders at Miletus that they that of an evangelist, Tim. ii, 4, should see his face no more. This 5. and not a fixed prelate. But, being the case, it is evident that according to Eusebius, the work Timothy was left by the apostle at of an evangelist was, to lay the Ephesus only to supply his place foundations of the faith in barba- during his temporary absence at rous nations, and to constitute Macedonia ; and that he could among them pastors; after which not possibly have been constituted he pussed on to other countries.' fixed bishop of that church, since Accordingly we find that Timo- the episcopal powers were afterthy was resident for a time at wards committed to the presbyPhilippi and Corinth (Phil. ii, 19. ters by the Holy Ghost in his pre1st Cor. iv, 17. 1st Cor. xvi, 10, sence. 11) as well as at Ephesus, and “The identity of the office of bithat he had as much authority shop and presbyter being thus over those churches as over that clearly established, it follows, that of which he is said to have been the presbyterate is the highest perthe fixed bishop. • Now, if 'Ti-manent office in the church, and motheus come, see that he may that every faithful pastor of a be with you without fear, for hel flock is successor to the apostles in worketh the work of the Lord, as every thing in which they were to I also do. Let no man, therefore, have any successors. In the aposdespise him.' This text might lead tolic office there were indeed some us to suppose that Timothy was things peculiar and extraordinary, bishop of Corinth as well as of such as their immediate call by Ephesus; for it is stronger than Christ, their infallibility, their bethat upon which his episcopacy ing witnesses of our Lord's resurof the latter church is chieflyrection, and their unlimited jubuilt. The apostle says, 1st Tim. risdiction over the whole world. i, 3. 'I besought thee to abide These powers and privileges could still at Ephesus, when I went not be conveyed by imposition of into Macedonia, that thou might hands to any successors, whether est charge some that they teach called presbyters or bishops; but no other doctrine.' But, had as rulers or office-bearers in parTimothy been the fixed bishop of ticular churches, we have the that city, there would surely have confession of the very chiefest been no necessity for beseeching apostles,' Peter and John, that him to abide with his flock. It is they were nothing more than
presbyters or parish ministers. || and shorter catechisms; though This being the case, the dispute, it is supposed that the clergy, when which has been so warmly agitated composing instructions either for concerning the validity of Presby-their respective parishes, or the terian ordination, may be soon de- public at large, are no more fettercided; for if the ceremony of or-ed by the confession than the clerdination be at all essential, it is ob- sy of the church of England are vious that such a ceremony per- by the thirty-nine articles. Maformed by presbyters must be va- ay in both communities, it seems, lid, as there is no higher order of take a more extensive latitude ecclesiastics in the church by whom than their formulas allow them. it can be performed. According As to the church government ly we find, that Timothy himself, among the Scotch Presbyterians, though said to be a bishop, was no one is ignorant, that, from the ordained by the laying on of the first dawn of the reformation among hands of a presbytery. At that us till the era of the revolution, ordination, indeed, St. Paul pre- there was a perpetual struggle besided, but he could preside only tween the court and the people as primus in paribus ; for we have for the establishment of an episseen that, as permanent officerscopal or a presbyterian form : 'the in the church of Christ, the apos- former model of ecclesiastical potles themselves were no more than lity was patronised by the house presbyters. If the apostles' hands of Stuart on account of the subwere imposed for any other purport which it gave to the prerogapose, it must have been to com- tives of the crown ; the latter was municate those charismata, or mi- the favourite of the majority of raculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, the people perhaps not so much which were then so frequent; but on account of its superior claim which no modern presbyter or bi-to apostolical institution, as beshop will pretend to give, unless cause the laity are mixed with the his understanding be clouded by clergy in church judicatories, and the grossest ignorance, or pervert the two orders, which under epised by the most frantic enthusi-copacy are kept so distinct, incor
porated, as it were, into one boThe members of the church oidy. In the Scottish church, every Scotland are strict Presbyterians. regulation of public worship, eveTheir mode of ecclesiastical go-ry act of discipline, and every ecvernment was brought thither clesiastical censure, which in other from Geneva by John Knox, the churches fiows from the authority famous Scotch reformer, and who of a diocesan bishop, or from a has been styled the apostle of convocation of the clergy, is the Scotland.
joint work of a certain number of Their doctrines are Calvinistic,clergymen and laymen acting toas may be seen in the con-gether with equal authority, and fession of faith, and the larger deciding every question by a plu
rality of voices. The laymen who decision of the session; nor, indeed, thus form an essential part of the has he a right to vote at all, unless ecclesiastical courts of Scotland when the voices of the elders are are called ruling elders, and hold equal and opposite. He may, inthe same office, as well as the samedeed, enter his protest against name, with those brethren (Acts their sentence, if he think it imxv), who joined with the apos-proper, and appeal to the judgtles and elders at Jerusalem in de-ment of the presbytery ; but this termining the important question privilege belongs equally to every concerning the necessity of im-elder, as well as to every person posing upon the Gentile converts who may believe himself aggrieved the ritual observances of the law by the proceedings of the session. of Moses. These lay-elders Paul The deacons, whose proper office enjoined Timothy (1st Tim. v, it is to take care of the poor, may 17) to account worthy of double be present in every session, and honour, if they should rule well, offer their counsel on all questions and discharge the duties for which that come before it; but, except they were separated from the mul-, in what relates to the distribution titude of their brethren. In the of alms, they have no decisive vote church of Scotland every parish with the minister and elders. has two or three of those lay-el The next judicatory is the presders, who are grave and serious bytery, which consists of all the persons chosen from among the pastors within a certain district, heads of families, of known or- and one ruling elder from each thodoxy, and steady adherence to parish, commissioned by his brethe worship, discipline, and go-thren to represent in conjunction vernment of the church. Being with the minister, the session of solemnly engaged to use their that parish. The presbytery treats utmost endeavours for the sup- of such matters as concern the pression of vice and the cherish- particular churches within its liing of piety and virtue, and to mits; as the examination, admisexercise discipline faithfully and sion, ordination and censuring of diligently, the minister, in the ministers; the licensing of probapresence of the congregation, sets tioners, rebuking of gross or conthem apart to their office by so- tumacious sinners, the directing lemn prayer; and concludes the the sentence of excommunication, certoo!, which is sometimes the deciding upon references and called cruination, with exhorting appeals from kirk sessions, resolyboth elders and people to their re-ing cases of conscience, explainspective duties.
ing difficulties in doctrine or diso The kirk session, which is the cipiine; and censuring, accordlowest ecclesiastical judicatory, ing to the word of God, any heresy consists of the minister and thosellor erroneous doctrine which hath elders of the congregation. The either been publicly or privately minister is ex officio moderator, maintained within the bounds of but has no negative voice over the its jurisdiction. Some of them
have frankly acknowledged that from the universities and royal bothey cannot altogether approve of roughs. A presbytery in which that part of her constitution which there are fewer than twelve pagives an equal vote, in questionsrishes sends to the general assemof heresy, to an illiterate mechanic bly two ministers -and one ruling and his enlightened pastor. Weelder; if it contain between twelve are persuaded (say they) that it and eighteen ministers, it sends has been the source of much trou-three of these, and one ruling elble to many a pious clergyman, der ; if it contain between eighwho, from the laudable desire of teen and twenty-four ministers, it explaining the scriptures, and de- sends four ministers, and two rulclaring to his flock all the counseling elders; and of twenty-four of God, has employed a variety ministers, when it contains so maof expressions of the same import ny, it sends five, with two ruling to illustrate those articles of faith, elders. Every royal borough sends which may be obscurely express-one ruling elder, and Edinburgh ed in the established standards. two, whose election must be atThe fact, however, is, that in pres-tested by the kirk sessions of their byteries the only prerogatives respective boroughs. Every uniwhich the pastors have over the versity sends one commissioner ruling elders are, the power of or- from its own body. The commisdination by imposition of hands, sioners are chosen annually six and the privilege of having the weeks before the meeting of the moderator chosen from their bo- assembly; and the ruling elders dy.
are often men of the first emi. From the judgment of the pres-nence in the kingdom for rank and bytery there lies an appeal to the talents. In this assembly, which provincial synod, which ordinarily meets once a year, the king premeets twice in the year, and exer- sides by his commissioner, who is cises over the presbyteries within always a nobleman, but he has the province a jurisdiction similar no voice in their deliberations. to that which is vested in each The order of their proceedings is presbytery over the several kirk regular, though sometimes the sessions within its bounds. Of number of members creates a conthese synods there are in the fusion; which the moderator, who church of Scotland fifteen, which is chosen from among the minisare composed of the members of ters to be, as it were, the speakthe several presbyteries within the er of the house, has not suffirespective provinces which give cient authority to prevent. Apnames to the synods.
peals are brought from all the The highest authority in the other ecclesiastical courts in Scotchurch of Scotland is the general || and to the general assembly; and assembly, which consists of a cer- in questions purely religious no tain number of ministers and rul-appeal lies from its determinaing elders delegated from each tions. See Hall's View of a Gospresbytery, and of commissioners pel Church; Enc. Brit., art. Pres
byterians ; Brown's Vindication of the general assembly of the church the Presbyterian Form of Church and parliament of Scotland, 1645Government; Scotch Confession and 9. It seems, they object not so Directory. For the other side of much to a religious establishment, the question, and against Presby- but to the religious establishment terian church government, see ar- as it exists; they object not to an ticles BROWNISTS, CHURCH Con- alliance of the church with the GREGATIONAL, EPISCOPACY, and state, but to the alliance of the INDEPENDENTS.
church with an uncovenanted king PRESBYTERIANS ENG. and government. Their number, LISH. The appellation Presbyte- it is said, amounts to about four rian is in England appropriated to thousand persons. a body of Dissenters, who have PRESCIENCE OF GOD is not any attachment to the Scotch his foreknowledge, or that knowmode of church government any ledge which God has of things to more than to episcopacy among come. The doctrine of predestinaus; and therefore the term pres- tion is founded on the prescience byterian is here improperly ap- of God, and on the supposition of plied. How this misapplication all futurity being present to him. came to pass cannot be easily Properly speaking, indeed, predetermined; but it has occasion- science supposes that of predestied many wrong notions, and nation; for if we allow that God should therefore be rectified. En- from all eternity foresaw all things, glish Presbyterians, as they are he must thus have foreseen them called, adopt nearly the same mode in consequence of his permitting of church government with the or fore-appointing them. Hence Independents. Their chief dif- events are not certain merely beference from the Independents is, cause foreknown; but fureknown that they are less attached to Cal. because antecedently certain on vinism.
account of pre-determining reaPRESBYTERY REFORM-sons. See FOREKOWLEDGE, PREED.--The reformed presbytery DESTINATION. in Scotland trace their origin as far PRESCRIPTION, in theology, back as the reformation, and con- was a kind of argument pleaded by sider themselves as the only pure Tertullian and others in the third Presbyterians since the revolution. century against erroneous doctors. They profess to adhere to the so- This mode of arguing has been delemn league and covenant agreed spised by some, both because it to by the nation before the re- has been used by Papists, and bestoration, in which they abjure cause they think that truth has no popery and prelacy, and resolve need of such a support. Others, to maintain and defend the doc- however, think that if it can be trines, worship, discipline, and go- shewn that any particular docvernment of the church, as ap-trine of Christianity was held in proved by the parliament and as the earliest ages, even approachsembly at Westminster, and by ing the apostolic, it must have