« PoprzedniaDalej »
apostle in person. This confidential service, compared with the circumstance, that no such apology was written in behalf of Titus, as of Timothy, affords some ground to presume, that Paul had previous experience of the prudence and fidelity of Titus. The epistle to Titus expressly limits his service in Crete to the arrival of a substitute, who was promised to be sent; it can never, therefore, let us suppose it to have been written when it may, prove a permanent connexion between Titus and the churches of Crete. As Titus was to ordain elders in every city, it may be inferred, there were none until constituted by him, this being one of the things left undome." To suppose that there were, is also to conflict with his practice, of first planting, and afterwards ordaining. But when this work was performed, or progressed in by him for some time, he was to meet Paul at Nicopolis. Those whom he had ordained, and others, whom Artemus, or Tychicus, might afterwards commission as elders, that is as pastors or bishops, continued, it may be fairly presumed, for the evangelists, like the apostles, had no successors,t the succession of the ordinary office, as every where else. If it could be proved, that Titus died in Crete, it would no more establish that he was bishop of Crete, than his death at Corinth or at Dalmatia, where the scriptural record
leaves him, would have evinced, that he was bishop of either of those places. Dr. Potter says: “he (that is Titus) was ordained and appointed to this office (bishop of Crete) by St. Paul;” and refers to Titus i. 5. as .
his proof. But the words; mean no
such thing. The verb translated “appointed,” is never once used in the New Testament in the sense of to ordaim to an office; but was in this instance designed to refer Titus to the particular directions Paul had given him, when he left him in Crete. If there were no bishops but of particular churches, at that time, and we think the affirmative cannot be shown, to have ordained Titus a bishop, would have confined him to one charge; but the apostle gave him no new commission; he was to exercise the office which he already had, towards any people to whom he was sent. And it would be as correct to say, that he was ordained a bishop at Corinth, or in Dalmatia, in both which places he served as an evangelist, by the assignation of Paul, as to denominate him the first bishop of Crete. That he had the oversight" of the churches, particularly to give each of them presbyters or bishops,” in Crete, in virtue of his office of evangelist is freely conceded, but this was not to ordain him especially the bishop of Crete. The apostles received an extra
* re. Astroyla. Titus i. 5.
i If diocesan bishops existed in the days of the apostles, and were their successors in office, then the Catholic argument, that Peter, being the prince of the apostles, left his peculiar powers to the bishop, who succeeded him at Rome, finds some support. But if they had no successors in office, then John, having survived Peter, died the head of the visible church, and the Catholic argument is ruined. So important did this point appear to Pope Pius the IVth, that “he is said to have offered Queen Elizabeth, a confirmation of all she had done, provided his supremacy was acknowledged.”
| The passages in which the original word occurs in the Greek Testament, are the following. Matt. xi. 1. Luke iii. 13. viii. 55. xvii. 9, 10. Acts vii. 44. xviii. 2. xx. 13. xxiii. 31. xxiv. 23. 1 Cor. vii. 17. ix. 14. xi. 34. xvi. 1. Tit. i. 5. In none of which it is used for ordaining to an of fice. Hesychius explains Atararles by 9,22074", kzonyerat.
* Tøy ir, Kolz, ixzxzzló, Érizzorno. Eusebius, l. iii. c. 4.
** xas recovray extaxo~ay xg4 7.4.
Chrysostom, hom, in Tit. i.
ordinary commission, which may be said to have virtually contained all the offices, which have been legitimately exercised in the church since they received it, and thus they were the predecessors of all other church officers. This high commission was necessarily limited to them. Paul’s apostleship was often questioned, but the proofs of his apostleship were numerous and great. That the apostles were bio. of the whole church, in the appellative sense of the term, is evident. The pastors or bishops of particular churches having been commissioned by them, were justly referred to them as the heads of their respective successions; but there is little more propriety, in bringing the apostolic commission down to a level with such presbyters or bishops, or of elevating the latter to the grade of the former, than of supposing every É. an alderman, or every alderman of this city a governor of the state, because commissioned by him. Titus exercised an office evidently inferior to that of Paul, for he went and came, preached, planted churches, and ordained bishops, according to the directions of the apostle. He attended upon his person, and did the work of an apostle, in subordination to him. So far as appears from the New Testament, his work was not fixed or stationary, more than that of the apostle. His residence in Crete may not have been so long as that of Paul at Ephesus. The exercise of his of. fice at Corinth, except that he ordained no presbyters there, much more resembled that of a bishop, which was then understood of one church, than when he was travelling through the cities of Crete, ordaining bishops or pastors, in the cities to which he came; for this was in character for an evangelist, and recisely the work of an apostle. his duty as far exceeded that of a modern diocesanbishop, as this does
that of a bishop in the gospel days.
The office of Titus then, call it what we may, appears to have been in rank next to that of an apostle, and his work evidently extraordinary. It seems to have been the practice of Paul to carry the gospel into strange places, collect worshipping assemblies; and afterwards to return and ordain elders, of those who had some experience. Thus when he landed with Barnabas at Perga in Pamphylia, they proceeded to Antioch in Pisidia, thence to Iconium, then to Lystra, and afterwards to Derbe; they then returned to all these places, and ordained presbyters or bishops in each of the societies. The Corinthian church was a worshipping assembly for years before they had any ... Pursuing the same reasonable method, he first collected churches in Crete, left them worshipping assemblies, and having given instructions to Titus to ordain such as were fit to be officers in the churches; he thus left him to accomplish what he would have done, had he tarried longer, and gone through those congregations a second time. Thus the churches in Crete were furnished, as other places were, with presbyters, pastors, or bishops, who could afterwards continue a regular administration of ordinances, by commissioning others of the same order in succession. There is nothing in the instructions given to Titus by Paul, which will not be found implied in the work of an evangelist; and the same work might have been accomplished by him in virtue of his office, in any other district to which he came. The work for which Titus was left in Crete, was not that of a bishop, who has the oversight of the individuals of a church, but a more general or indefinite service, to constitute elders or bishops over the worshipping assemblies, and give permanency to the fruits of apostolic labours. That every church, or congregation, was at the first, in some sense episcopal, admits not of a doubt; but this is no warrant for diocesan episcopacy in the modern use of the word; nor does the history of Titus and Crete appear to us to yield relief. That Titus had powers as an evangelist, even transcending those of a modern bishop, is freely acknowledged; but they were suited to his itinerant ministry, and he was no more, either by his commission, or the execution of it, the settled bishop of Crete, than of Corinth, Nicopolis, Dalmatia, or of any other places in which he planted, or watered churches. And to limit the offices of the apostles, and evangelists to any particular church, or larger district, over which they might for a longer or shorter period preside, by virtue of their general authority, appears to contravene the terms of the apostolic commission, and the nature of the duties for which evangelists were originally appointed. J. P. WILSON.
Some Jìrticles of Faith in which Jimtitrimitarians and Trinitarians accord.
It is the common report of people, who style themselves Unitariams, that their opponents are the enemies of reason, the advocates of mysticism, unfriendly to free inW. ready to demand faith where there is no information, and peculiarly illiberal in their views and learning. Now it may serve some good purpose to extract from “The Unitarian Miscellamy,” a periodical work published in Baltimore, a few propositions in which Trinitarians perfectly accord with these eacclusive enemies of bigotry, ignorance, irrationality and superstition.
1. “We embrace our opinions upon the most serious and firm conviction of their truth.” So do we.
2. “We have not been led to them without an humble and devout inquiry into the revelation
made by Jesus Christ, earnest prayers to God for his enlightening influence, and the best use we could make of the powers he has given us.” Nor have we. 3. “While we have the written word of God in our hands, we think it an imperious duty to consult the divine oracles themselves, and to build our faith entirely on the simple truths they contain.” So do we : and indeed, without repeating it again, we solemnly assent to each of the following extracted propositions. 4. We “believe, that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament contain authentic records of the dispensations of God, and of his revelations to men. We think the evidence of the truth and divine authority of these books to be abundant and convincing.” 5. We believe “that the revealed truths of the scriptures are in conformity with the principles of right reason, and consistent with one another. We hold it to be impossible, in the nature of things, that any truths, which God has revealed, should be irrational, or contradictory among themselves. What stronger evidence can you have of the falseness of any proposition, than that it contradicts an undeniable truth, violates the plainest laws of your understanding, and opposes the deliberate convictions of your judgment? No such proposition, we are persuaded, can be contained in the scriptures. If any are found apparently of this character, we believe the obscurity arises from an imperfect acquaintance with their meaning, and that further inquiry, and more accurate rules of interpretation, will prove them to be perfectly consistent with the clear, positive parts of scripture, and with our rational convictions. Passages, about which there can be no doubt, should serve as guides in explaining the obscure.” 6. We “believe one of the great doctrines taught in the scriptures to be the UNITY and supremacy of
God;” and “that he alone is to be
worshipped.” ;3 7. We “believe, that Jesus
Christ was a messenger commissioned from heaven to make a revelation, and communicate the will of God to men:” and we, moreover, believe him to be, in one of his natures, of the essence of the Godhead. 8. We believe, that Jesus Christ, in his mediatorial office, is “subordinate” to the Father, “and that he received from the Father all his power,” to officiate as mediator between the Deity and sinners. In this same character Jesus prayed to the Godhead, which is the only proper object of adoration. Concerning his official inferiority, Jesus said, “My Father is greater than I.” “The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” “I can of mine own self,” as God-man mediator, “do nothing.” “I have not spoken of myself; the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak.” “As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” 9. “We believe in the divinity of his mission,” and in the divinity of his person. “We consider all he has taught as coming from God; we receive his commandments, and rely on his promises, as the commands and promises of God. In his miracles we see the power of God; in his doctrines and precepts we behold the wisdom of God; and in his life and character we see a bright display of every divine virtue. Our hope of salvation rests on” his obedience to the precept, and suffering of the penalty of the law, in our place, whereby he has satisfied divine justice and brought in a perfect righteousness, as the ground of our acceptance; which complete righteousness becomes personally ours, when we practically and cordially believe “the truths he has disclosed,” and comply with “the means” of salvation “he has pointed out. We believe
him to be entitled to our implicit faith, obedience and submission, and we feel” or would wish to feel, “towards him all the veneration, love and gratitude, which the dignity of his mission,” the deity of his nature, “the sublime purity of his character, and his sufferings for the salvation of men justly demand.” 10. We “believe that Christ was one being, and that he possessed one mind, one will, one consciousness.” This one being, however, from and after the supernatural conception by the Holy Spirit, and birth in our world, was a compler one, consisting of a human body, and a human soul, united to the divine nature. For any thing to be, constitutes it a being ; and any man is one being, even while he consists of a mental and a material substance, or of a thinking and an unthinking essence, mysteriously conjoined in one person. A complex thing may as truly be, or exist, as a simple substance. 11. Our “doctrines are rational and scriptural; they can be defined and explained; they involve no contradictions; they never take refuge in mysteries, but are supported by the plain and positive truths of the sacred writings: they have no delight in darkness; their strength is best seen and tried in the light of open day; they will never shrink from inspection, nor retire from any manly and honourable contest to vindicate their pretensions, or substantiate their authority.” 12. “We believe” that man had originally in himself, “the power of being good or bad, of meriting the rewards, or deserving the punishments of a just God. Christ has revealed to us the will, the moral government, the perfections of God, and the certainty of a future state of retribution. He has made known the rules of duty, and the terms of salvation. He has set before us the most powerful motives to obedience, and the consequences of wilful sin, and impenitence.”
13. “We profess to believe and teach a religion, which all men can understand. We keep as clear as possible from all dark windings, and thorny mazes. We think the way of religion, as revealed in the gospel, is a plain way. We impose no unreasonable tax on any man’s understanding. We ask him to beHeve nothing, which we cannot explain and make intelligible. We hold to no magical faith, which works unseen wonders, and finds truth in contradictions. We believe the doctrines, which Jesus taught, came from God, and for this reason we believe them true. For this reason, also, we are sure the must be rational. I need not . whether a system founded on such principles, has not more to recommend it to a sound mind, than those, which delight in mysticisms, latent meanings, and incomprehensible dogmas.”
14. “We regard with abhorrence every act of tyranny over the persons of men. But of all tyranny, that most deserves our reprobation, which is attempted to be exercised over the mind. To fetter and enslave the mind is audaciously to rob men of that liberty, with which the Creator, when he gave them reason, and the Saviour, when he enlightened that reason by revelation, made them free.
“He who has just views of the imperfection of human knowledge and the human faculties, and wishes only to conduct answerably to the situation in which divine Providence has thus placed him, will feel the obligation of bearing patiently with error, of listening respectfully to reasons offered in support of offensive opinions, and of repellin them only by better reasons offere in the gentle spirit of Christianity. He will endeavour to bring over to his faith those, who dissent from what he believes to be important truth, only by enlightening the understanding and convincing the judgment. As ready to receive as
to communicate light, he will do nothing to check its progress, or to limit the advancement of knowledge. “With him, who thus thinks and feels, no article of faith is thought too sacred, nor any doctrine too true, to be the subject of inquiry; convinced that inquiry and examination can do no harm to the truth. It is not truth, he believes, but error and imposture, that are endangered by being thoroughly investigated, by having their foundations examined, and their whole evidence exposed to the most critical scrutiny. “It was the abuses and corruptions of our religion only, that would not bear the refining process of the reformation, but were consumed in the fiery trial. All that was true, all that was pure and valuable survived, and came out of the furnace the more beautiful and excellent for having parted with its dross. And it will always be so. Truth will always appear the brighter for its collision with doubt or error; and it will stand the firmer for having had its foundations attempted to be shaken; like the oak, that gathers strength, and stability by the buffeting of the tempest. It is error only, which wants a solid foundation, that can be eventually overthrown and destroyed. “Nor is this true only, when the contestlies between ourholy religion itself and infidelity, or any other rival system. It is equally true, when it lies between different and inconsistent doctrines of the same religion, and between different and opposite interpretations of the same scripture. The doctrine that shrinks from examination, that calls for the support of authority, that requires to be received without evidence or without being understood, if it be true, exposes itself, or is rather exposed by its friends to suspicion. It incurs a reproach, which can only be wiped away by taking away the fences, with which it is thus officiously and presumptuously surrounded.