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in certain Courses, may properly be said to be Ember Days, because Fafts in Course.
Q. Wherein confifts ihe Piety of instituting tbefe Days ?
A. The Ordination of fit Persons to serve in the sacred Ministry of God's Church being of that vaft Importance to the Welfare of it, as well as to the Salvation of those Souls that are Members of that Body ; it is very necessary and fitting that all Christians, who are so much concerned in the Consequences of it, should use their best Endeavours to make it successful and efficacious, which cannot be better done than by the united Prayers and Fastings of Christians, which have always been esteemed an admirable Method to procure God's Favour and Blessing upon such Occasions. Besides, the Time of Ordinations being publickly stated, the People have the Advantage and Liberty of making their Objections, if they have any thing material to offer against the Candidates for Holy Orders ; a Privilege which the ancient Church always al
lowed, and is very much encouraged by the Form of ' Churıb of England, who gives free leave to every Confecr. Man to declare, if he knoweth any Impediment
- or Crime in any Persons presented to be ordained, and calls upon them to come forth and thew the Crimes alledged.
Q. What Officers are established in the Christian Church?
A. The Church being a regular Society founded' y Christ, distinct from, and independent of all
other worldly Societies, must naturally make us Preface to suppose that he instituted fome Officers for the Form of Government of it. And it is evident to all Men, Confecr. diligently reading holy Scripture, and ancient du
thors, that froin the Apostles Time there have been thefe Orders of Ministers in Christ's Church, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons; which Offices were evermore had in such reverent Estimation, that no Man by his own private Authority might prefume to execute any of them, except be were first called, tried, and examined, and known to have fucb Qualities, as were requisite for the same, and also by publick Prayers with Imposition of Hands approved and admitted thereunto. These Orders have all some spiritual Powers annexed to their Office, though some in a greater Degree, and others in a less.
Q. What is the Office of a Deacon ?
À. “ It pertaineth to the Office of a Deacon, Form of « in the Church where he shall be appointed, to Consecr. " allist the Priest in Divine Service, and especi“ally when he ministreth the Holy Communion, “ and to help him in the Distribution thereof, " and to read the Holy Scriptures and Homilies “ in the Congregation, and to instruct the Youth “ in the Catechism ; to baptize and to preach, “ if he be admitted thereto by the Bishop. And “ farthermore it is his Office, where Provision “ is so made, to search for the sick, poor, and “ impotent People of the Parish, to intimate “ their Estates, Names, and Places where they “ dwell, unto the Curate, that by his Exhor“ tation they may be relieved by the Parish, or “ other convenient Alms."
Q. Upon what Occasion was this Order instituted in the Church?
A. This Office had its Original from the Acts 6. Murmuring of the Grecians, who were probably Profelytes, fews by Religion, and Gentiles by Descent, against the Hebrews, who were Jews
both by Religion and Descent, that their Widows were negleEted in the daily Ministration, when Believers had all Things in common, and were supplied out of onę Treasury. To prevent any Mismanagement for the future, the Apostles appointed seven Men of bonest Report, full of the Holy Ghost, and of Wisdom, to superintend the Neceflities of the Poor, and to serve Tables, who were called Deacons.
Q. Doth tbis serving of Tables only imply their Care of the Poor?
A. Besides the Care of the Poor, by their serving of Tables was implied their peculiar Attendance at the Lord's Table. It being the Custom of Christians in those Times to meet every Day at the Lord's Table, where they made their Offerings for the Poor, and when Poor and Rich had their Meals together ; consequently it was their Office to deliver the Sacramental Elements, when consecrated, to the People, They had also Authority to preach and baptize, as appears from the Example of Philip, one of the Seven; but they all along in the Primitive Church retained so much of the chief Design of their Institution, that they took care of the Church's Revenues under the Bishops, and distributed them as the Bishop and his College of Presbyters appointed.
O. Was not this Office exercised, as some pretend, by Laymen?
A. The Solemnity that was used in setting
Deacons apart for this Service, by Prayer and Can. A
Imposition of Hands, and the Qualifications that St. Paul requires in a Deacon, almost the very fame with those for a Priest, sufficiently prove this Degree to be an Ecclesiastical Office;
nor would the Primitive Church have forbidden Deacons, as it certainly did, to have followed secular Employments, if they had been mere Laymen.
Q. How long is it required that a Person shall remain in the Degree of a Deacon ?
A. It is enjoined by the Church, “ That a Can. 31, “ Deacon shall continue in that Office the Space " of a whole Year at the least, (except for rea« fonable Causes it be otherwise feen to his Or
dinary) to the Intent he may be perfect and
well expert in the Things pertaining to the “ Ecclesiastical Administration: In executing “ whereof if he be found faithful and diligent, “ he may be admitted by his Diocesan to the Or“ der of Priesthood.” And it is to be wished that this Rule was more particularly observed, that those who aspire to the Priesthood might give sufficient Proof of their Fitness for that high Calling
Q. What Qualifications are required in a Dea
Can. 3 4
A. Chiefly that he be a Man of a sober and godly Conversation, edifying by his Example thofe Chriftians where he officiates; and that he be endowed with such Measures of Learning as to be able at least to render an Account of his Faith in Latin, and confirm it with Testimonies out of the holy Scripture: Especially he must be very conversant in those holy Books, which are the perfect Rule of Faith and Manners, necessary for the governing of his own Life, the Instruction of others, and the confuting of Gainsagers. The Bishop ought to have a moral Assurance, partly by his own Knowa ledge, and partly by the Testimonials of credi
ble Hands, that the Person presented is so qualified; and his Arch-deacon, after Trial and Examination, professes, that he believes the Candidate fo prepared.
Q. What do you mean by an Arch-deacon ?
4. In great Churches, where the Bishops had many Deacons, one among them had the Title of Arch-deacon; who was a sort of Governor over all the rest; to whom the Bishop committed some Authority to admonish and censure, as it should be found expedient, still reserving an Appeal to himself. The original Jurisdiétion, which of Right belonged to the Bishop, by Degrees and mutual Consent, was in part committed to the Arch-deacon; whose Jurisdiction is founded on immemorial Custom, in Subordination to the Bishop; and though for some time he was only of the Order of Deacons, yet afterwards it became common for such as were Priests to be chosen to that Office, which consists in the inspecting the Lives and Behaviour of the Clergy, and in taking Care the Churches and Chancels be kept in good Repair, and that the Poffeffions, and all other Things belonging to God's Houfe, be not imbezzled or damnified ;
particularly to try and examine those who shall Hieron.
be Candidates for holy Orders. The Inftitution
of Arch-deacons is very ancient, and their AuEvag.
thority very considerable, and the due Execution of the Office contributes very much to the good Government of the Church.
Q. What is the Office of a Priest or Presbyter ?
A. To teach and instruct the People, committed to his Charge by the Bishop of the Diocese, in the whole Doctrine of Chriftianity as contained in the Holy Scriptures. To administer