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all the preachers of the gospel, except the apostles, were obliged to flv for their lives. They were for a considerable time on the wing, and could not be located in the particular churches which had been established. Ruling elders, who would not so likely be driven away, seem needful to take the oversight of the churches, and to perform certain religious duties, in the absence of pastors: and when pastors should become settled, unite with them in the government and discipline of the church. Hence we find that “they ordained elders in every church.” Acts xiv. These I suppose were lay elders. There seems to be no reason why a number of preaching elders should be settled in every individual church. At this period churches had become numerous, and some of them appear to have been small. And it is not very probable that a sufficient number of men, qualified for the pastoral office could be found, so as to afford every church two, three, or more ministers, churches were established, it was necessary to organize them, so that those, which could not obtain stated pastors, might have ruling elders to conduct their worship, and take the oversight of their spiritual concerns. The presumption, therefore, is strong that the elders ordained “ in every church” were ruling lay elders.
Paul and Barnabas who ordained them were Jews; the one, brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, a distinguished doctor of Jewish law; and the other a Levite. They had been accustomed to the government of their church, which was committed to the priests and elders. And it is natural to suppose that they would, if not otherwise directed by Christ, ordain, in the churches, lay elders, since the great body of their members were Jewish converts. And this was according to the organization of their synagogues, which were, in fact, particular or local churches.
The Jews were required to appear three times a year at Jerusalem. But this did not satisfy the pious Jews. That they might, therefore, have public worship every Sabbath, they formed local assemblies under the title of synagogues. In these assemblies the scriptures were read and expounded, and prayers offered up to God. Besides the minister, there were other rulers, who had no right to teach. We frequently read of the rulers of the synagogue. How many rulers were in a synagogue has not been ascertained, but it is supposed, by learned writers, that their number was not less than three.
In these synagogues these rulers were connected with the teachers in the exercise of government and discipline. And upon the model of the Jewish synagogues, the apostles organized the Christian churches.
The singularity of the expression, in the original of the text
under examination, seems to confirm the opinion that they were lay elders whom Paul and Barnabas ordained. ΧειροτονησανΊες DE AUTOLS WHEN CUTegas, i. e. when they had constituted, or ordained elders by suffrage, or by lifting up, or stretching forth, the hand.
The word translated ordain in other places, where ministers are the agents, and where there is no suffrage of the people, as far as I have examined, is different.
"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldst ordain elders in every city." Tit. i. 5.
Here the original xarasons signifies to ordain, or constitute without any suffrage of the people. And the elders which Titus was to ordain, as we learn from the context, were preaching elders or bishops.
Christ" ordained twelve." Mark iii. The original here is inoinos, which signifies to appoint or constitute. And this ordination was without the suffrage of the church. "For every high priest-is ordained for men,-and ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices." Heb. v. 1. viii. 3. The ordination here was done by God himself without any human suffrage.
And the apostles ordained men to the work of the ministry without any suffrage. So also, by their own authority, our presbyteries ordain licentiates, without the suffrage of the church. But in the ordination under examination the suffrage of the churches seems to have been taken. "They ordained elders in every church." The original word, Xigoroveravles, ordained, among the Greeks, included two ideas, to elect by suffrage, and to appoint or constitute. Hence it may be concluded that the churches made choice of suitable men for ruling elders, by lifting up the hand, and then Paul and Barnabas ordained them to that office. The elders, therefore, which they ordained in every church were lay elders.
To establish the same point I introduce 1 Tim. v. 17: “Let the elders that rule well, be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in word and doctrine." By double honour is sometimes understood respect and maintenance. That the last idea is here included, seems evident from the next verse: "The labourer is worthy of his reward."
Some suppose no distinction is intended between "elders who rule well," and those who "labour in word and doctrine," because it is said "let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour." For if the distinction is admitted, lay elders who rule well must be supported, as maintenance is one part of double honour. Their exposition on the opposite side is, that those who "ruled the most prudently, and diligently, and who were the most laborious in their ministry, should be most respected and best provided for, especially they who were the most unwearied in preaching and private exhortation."
But there appear to have been elders of two orders, some who ruled only, but who ruled in conjunction with other ruling elders, who preached the gospel and administered the ordinances.
The chief difficulty seems to arise from the terms “ double honour.” Double, frequently means the most of any thing. Those who best perform their duties should have the most honour. But the sense of the passage is evidently this :-Let those elders who “ rule well," and especially those, of this class, who “ labour in word and doctrine, be counted worthy of double honour:" i.e. let them be the most highly respected, and, in addition, let them be the best maintained.
This exposition establishes a distinction between elders who 6 rule well,” and those who “labour in word and doctrine. This distinction is supported by the signification of wedisa, translated especially. The same form of expression is used, in several places, by the same apostle, where a distinction is evidently made between two different classes of men. “ Who is the Saviour of all men, Mataisas, especially of those that believe.” 1 Tim. iv. 10. Here are two distinct classes of men intended, believers and unbelievers. They that believe, are certainly distinguished from the all men, who must be supposed not to believe. He “is the Saviour of all men.” To this is subjoined the restricting term especially. All men do not believe. And therefore he is not the Saviour of all men who do not believe, in the same sense in which he is the Saviour of them who believe. All men derive some benefits from God in consequence of the mediation of Christ. But he bestows eternal salvation especially and exclusively upon them who believe. The word especially, does, therefore, distinguish one class of men from another class of a different character.
Paul uses the same word to distinguish a person's household from his other connexions. “If any man provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith.” 1 Tim. v. 8.
“ His own,” in the first part of the verse, includes his relatives in general, or, in a more extended sense, his species, or the whole human family.
By his “ own house,” are intended all who dwell with him in a family capacity. By the laws of God every man is bound to make, as far as practicable, some general provision for his conRexions at large, and others who may be in indigent circumstances. But he is under special obligations to make provision for his own immediate family. This is the obvious sense of the passage, and the word, especially, makes an emphatic distinction between two different classes of men.
" As we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to the household of faith.” Gal. vi. 10. The word especially does here distinguish Christians from the men of the world. We are bound to do good to all men without exception, as God' “sendeth rain on the just and unjust.” But we must in a special manner do good to the followers of Christ. The all men here are, by the term especially, distinguished from them who are not “ of the household of faith.”
Thus it is evident that Paul used the term especially with design to distinguish one class of men from another. And hence I think it certain, that the same word, in the passage under discussion, does draw a line of distinction between lay elders and preaching elders, or between them who only rule, and those who is labour in word and doctrine.” They all rule well; but among these rulers there are some that labour in word and doctrine ; and these are especially entitled to double honour, i. e. proper respect, and suitable provision.
It cannot be more fairly argued from the mode of expression, that the “double honour” of those “ that labour in word and doctrine," belong to them who "rule well;" than it can be argued, that the salvation of those who believe, shall be bestowed on all men who do not believe; or that a man must give the provisions of his own family to his connexions, and others of mankind; or that we must do the same good in quality and quantity, to all men, that we are bound to do to the household of faith.
Hence it appears obvious to me, that the elders who “rule well,” are lay elders, distinguished by the word especially from the elders that “ labour in word and doctrine."
J. F. (To be continued.)
LECTURES ON BIBLICAL HISTORY.
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee; and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram; but thy name shall be Abraham : for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee; and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant; to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee, in their generations. This is my covenant which ye shall keep between me and you, and thy seed after thee: Every man-child among you shall be cireumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; med
it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man.child in your generations; he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an ever. lasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man-child, whose fiesh of his fore. skin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.”—Gen. xvii, 1–14.
The life of Abram is instructive, and deserving of special regard, chiefly, because it is intimately connected with the history of the church. In him was eminently displayed the power, the efficacy, and the consoling influence of Divine grace. And in him and his family, if I mistake not, we find the visible church, organized, owned, and guarded by the special favour of Divine Providence. Pious individuals there undoubtedly were in the world before this period; but they were in a scattered condition, and mainly distinguished from the mass of mankind by their personal integrity, and devotional habits. Whereas, in the days of Abram, we find a people called of God; made the depository of his truth and ordinances; taken into covenant relation with the Most High; and recognised, as his professed worshippers and servants, by a religious rite of his own appointment.
In the passage of scripture now before us, we have an account of a transaction, which bears all the marks of a covenant. The design of this covenant-its provisions and promises--its seal and its sanction, with the practical lessons which it teaches, are the main points to which our attention will be directed in the present lecture.
1. We cannot think that the sole, or even principal design of this covenant, was to give assurance to Abram of a numerous progeny, and that he and his family should be protected and provided for, in their sojournings, and that they should, ultimately, be put in possession of the land of Canaan. All this had been promised once and again,-nay, had been guaranteed by solemn compact, as may be seen in Gen. xv. from the 7th verse to the end. And God said unto Abram, “ I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he (i. e. Abram,) said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” Whereupon he is directed to prepare a sacrifice, consisting of several animals. He did so: and having disposed of the parts in due form, with the sections opposite each other agreeably to custom, a deep sleep and an horror of great darkness fell upon him; his senses were closed to all other objects, and the Lord revealed to him his designs respecting himself and family; taught him that they should be in bondage four hundred years; but that, in due time, they should come into the promised land, where he himself VOL. II.-Presb. Mag.