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in throwing upon the deacon too much of the pastoral responsibility, and giving to inexperienced young men too great a prominence in the work, to the endangering of their own humility, as well as of the salutary order of the Church.
" It also happens that necessity often compels even the rulers of the Church either to leave an important charge altogether unprovided with the ministrations of a clergyman, or else to commit it to the sole care of one only in deacon's orders: the defect, in such a case, being not so much a fault as a misfortune. At the very best, however, whether arising from necessity or not, this contounding of two of the ministerial orders is an evil, whieh it is im portant that we should endeavour to avoid, in order that we inay the better conform to our Lord's institution for the edification of his Church, and secure for our own branch of that Church a still fuller and riper ministry than it is even now our privilege to possess. Many and great are the advantages and blessings which, as a Church, we enjoy. May we never, for our sins, or our negligence, or our melancholy divisions, be deprived of them! Rather, if in any respect we fail, in our actual condition, to realize the institutions of our Lord, may we endeavour to correct this defect in our own practice; and, with God's help, to become more and more, in reality, what we boast to beman example at once of evangelical truth and of apostolical order.
“III. As regards the work of the ministry, it is certainly to be desired that our number of clergy were so far increased, that no congregation should ever be placed solely, or principally, under the care of a deacon; and that every parish church, at least, particularly in populous or extensive parishes like our owi), should have its deacon as well as its priest. Such an arrangement would - be good for all concerned; good for the deacon, good for the priest, and good for the congregation.
“Though preaching is a very important part of a clergyman's duty, yet is not that, even with the adıninistration of the holy sacraments, and the visitation of the sick, the whole of his pastoral work. The Church, under the sanction of God's holy word, expressly commits to the clergy two other peculiar responsibilities, which deserve our earnest attention. These are the elementary instruction of the young and ignorant, and the care of the poor ; points ever of great importance, an 1 peculiarly so in these countries at the present time, when after the transition from a state of slavery, society is at length settling down on its new basis, and that anxiety which was telt on the subject in the mother country having nearly subsided, we are left müre and inore to our own resources.
“ The care of the poor is indeed the common duty of all Christians; but it is luid in an especial manner upon the consciences or the clergy. To then it is a professio.al, as well as a Christian duty! a part not only of their religion, but of the ministry which they have received in the Lord. The work is one in which they are to take the lead, the people indeed not looking listlessly on, but bountifully assisting them in this labuur of love. We know that it was so in the early Christian Church, and that the very occasion of the ordination of St. Stephen and the rest of the seven deacons by the Apostles at Jerusalem was, that they might relieve the Apostles, amidst their increasing spiritual cares, of the charge of attending to the daily ministration of the bounty of the Church to the poor widows and others that had need. And St Paul alludes to the saing practice in the church at Ephesus, when, in his first Epistle to Tinothy as bishop of that Church, he directs that it any man or wornan had widows' dependent upon them, they should relieve them, and not let the Church be charged; that it might relieve them that are widows indeed ;' the bishop having the oversight of this, as of all other Church proceedings. But
the more direct part of the duty, that which required time and labour, was devolved, not as his only duty, but amongst others, upon the deacon; and so it is still, in theory at least, in our own Church. For observe the solemn charge given to the deacon at his ordination, and his solemn yet willing promise, '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 exhortation they inay be relieved with the alms of the parishioners or others.' What a wise and beneficent arrangement! The parish is considered as the household of faith, (alas, that in point of fact it should ever he otherwise !) as the family of God, of which the sick, and poor, and in potent are members, in whose wants and sufferings the other members ought of necessity to sympathize; provision for their relief being made from the alms of the congregation. Nor is this to be done in a careless, indiscriminating manner; but the ministers of the Church are to search' them out, to acquaint themselves personally and particularly with their state, their names, and their abode;' so that on the one hand the Church may not be unnecessarily burthened with those who are not destitute of private help, nor, on the other hand, neglect those who are. Is there not, in such an aspect of the Church, in this tender concern for the sick and poor, this searching for misery and want that they inay be relieved, soinething peculiarly benign, something more than human, something that re-echoes the language of Him who said, “I was sick, and ye visited me?'
“Were it only to assist the curate or pastor in this godlike work, would it not be worth while, perhaps in a worldly sense, but certainly worth while in a Christian view, that every parish should have its deacon? How much misery might such parental vigilance on the part of the Church prevent, and, with the misery, the expense and manifold injury which the misery of the poor entails upon society at large! It has been said, and said wisely, thathonesty is the best policy: to this might be added a similar maxin, of a still more decidedly Christian character, that piety is the best econmy:' and that nothing is gained, but, on the contrary, inuch is lost, even in a temporal view, by omitting to maintain the Church in the fulness of its operations, and to give to each parish a supply of Christian ministers equal to its various wants, as a Christian community, a household of God. It may be truc (and I thankfully adınit it) that in this country* our number of clergy is comparatively large; but I speak of our Church generally, and would compare our numbers not so much with those of other lands, as with what our duties require; and it in this view our strength is inadequate to the many obligations imposed upon us, then, whilst we stili endeavour to discharge them to the utmost of our power, fet must our brethren of the laity have consideration for us, it we fail of doing the work of several, and unite with us in praying to the Lord of the harvest to send forth additional labourers into his harvest, as well as endeavouring, under his grace and blessing, to supply what our Church clearly contemplated, for the furtherance amongst us of a sound and living piety, pervading all classes, and abounding in works of mutual love.
"The necessity for some such exertions will be still more evident, when wa consider that other duty of the Church, which she proposes to discharge mainly through the labours of her deacons, namely, the instruction of the young, and, I may add, of those who are but babes in knowledge, the ignorant part of the parishioners."
The excellent Sermon from which the above extracts have been selected, is one of five Sermons, entitled “Ordination Vows Practically considered in a Series of Sermons.” By Thomas PARRY, D. D., Lord Bishop of Barbadoes. Published by F. & J. RIVINGTON, 1846.
ON THE DUTY OF DEACONS.
"CHURCH DISCIPLINE ACCORDING TO ITS ANCIENT STANDARD, AS
IT WAS PRACTISED IN PRIMITIVE TIMES."
Published by his Son, Robert Brazze, M.D. A.D. 1739.
“ To the Merchants, and the rest of the Gentlemen who support the
Lecture at Pinner's Hall. “GENTLEMEN,
• Your labour of love in encouraging so ancient a Lecture as that at Pinner's Hall, is, among other things, your Praise in the Gate. It is in compliance with the repeated desires of the gentlemen who are your com. mittee, as well as those of the church to which I have the honour to stand related as pastor, that the following discourses are published. The plainness of their dress will, I hope, be no prejudice to the beautiful form of God's house. As they were preached, so they are published without cen, soriousness, or the least reflection. All the followers of the Lamb are not of one mind as to Church Discipline: however, whereunto we have at. tained, we should all walk by the same rule of love and forbearance. And that the communication of our faith may become effectua!, we should ackuowledge every good thing, that is in any person or church, in Christ Jesus, as the Apostle directs, Phikmɔn, verse 0. He who is to set judg. meut in the earth, will, under latter day glory, (and it will be no smali part of the glory of that day) bring all his true followers to be of one mind in doctrine, worship, and discipline : till then we ought to bear with, and forbear one another, so far as we can without si; in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; praying for the Spirit as floods, to amend whatever is amiss either in spirit or in walk among us. May the following truths be owned of God, and I have my reward, who am your hearty well-wisher, and servant for Christ's sake, Robert Bragge.
“I shall now say something concerning the Office or Duty of Deacons, who are helps in more respects than one, even in many instances. As,
“ First. They help the church in temporals, beyond what the pastor can, or ought to do. To go to the pastor for advice in temporals, is to put him upon acting, without or beyond his line; but to go to an able, faithful Deacon, for advice in such cases, is to act as Christ would have you. Such as run to the pastor for advice in temporals, may expect a rebuke; but such as go to the Deacons may expect to be both guided and succeeded.
“Secondly. They are to take care of the Church's Stock, that it be carefully preserved, and faithfully employed to the ends for which it is given.
" Thirdly. They are to take care that the Church's Contributions are such as they cught io be. lu cicer to which, they should set a good cxemple themselves, (necura e the liberal, and in meekness reprove the strait-handed; whose reprcols are an ordinance of God, which he will certainly own and bless.
“ Fourthly. They are to take care of the Table of the Lord, that the bread and wine be such as it onght to be.
“Fifibly. They are to take care of the minister's table, that he and liis may want nothing; remembering how worthy the labourer is of his hire ; and that such as are tanglit shcu'd communicate unto him that teacketh in all good things; Gal. vi. 6. Lét him that 18 taught in the word Ccu.n.unicule unto, 8e.
"Sixthly. They are to take care of all Christ's Pocr; that they have what is fitting both for ford and raiment, with other necessaries of life. Wo to such churches ard Deacons as starve Christ's Poor. Should not the devil's poor be starved, much less should Christ's ?
“Seventhly. They are to visit the poor, and to pray with them, when rced so requires, as well as for them, but not exc'usive of other members. It is a most useful word, Lut little practised, Jam. v. 14. Is any sick cming you, let lim call for the Elders of the Church, and let them pray Grer him, &c. and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, ariil if he hare cummiltes! sins, they shall be fur. girın him.
“ Eighthly. They are to take all the care they can that Coretousness end Prodigality have neither of them any room in a church of Christ. These are two extremes carefully to be avoided in a church of Christ : Christ's followers should guide their affairs with so much discretion as to avoid each of these extremes.
“Ninthly. They should pray that the Rich may have a bountiful Eye, and a liberal İland, and the Poor a contented lleart; for when such rich and such poor ones mcet together in a church of Christ, how sweetly do they live together.
“Tenthly. Their Prayers for the church should be, that God would bless it in its basket and in its store, 1 hat there may be bread for the eater, and seed for the sower. The prayers of all and every member is God's ordinance, for the bringing down of temporal blessings on the church of Christ; but the Prayers of the Deacons are so in an especial manner.
“ Eleventhly. They also should be examples unto the flock in their persons, wives, and children.
“ Twelthly. They should no more be sharp than double-tongued; neither should i bey be strait handed, nor hard-hearted, nor given to much wine ; but lovers of hospitality as well as the pastor. And the apter such are to teach, and to comfort, and to reprove, the better.
“Thirteenthly. Deacons should not slight Christ's poor, but remember whose pocr they are, and how they are honoured and esteenied by the Lord Jesus Christ; who, in his eye, are some of the excellent of the earth,
"Fourteenthly. Nor should they snub or grieve Christ's poor, for by so doing they would grieve Christ's Spirit. Nor,
"Fifteenthly. Should they pinch and straiten them, but take care they have such things as are convenient, remembering how liberally, poor as well as rich, are provided for in the Gospel.
"Sixteenthly. The Deacons should not misrepresent Christ's poor, either to the pastor or to the rich. Nor,
“ Seventeethly. Act partially towards Christ's poor, taking care of some with the neglect of others ; but remember they are dear alike into the Lord Jesus Christ : pity and sympathize with them, so as to help bear their burdens, and as much as may be encourage their faith and patience.
“An inference or two, and I have done. As,
“ First. Hence learn that your Deacons need Prayer, as well as the Pastor : whose office, as it is useful and difficult, so it is honorable ; and when filled up as it ought to be, it brings down a blessing upon the whole Church. The rich are the better as well as the poor for faithful Deacons.
“To conclude : as careful diligent Deacons, whose hearts are engaged in their work and office, bring down, most remarkably, a blessing upon themselves and families ; so careless Deacons, who regard the honour more than the duty of their office, and take little or no pains in the disch ge of their trust, are sooner or later attended with a blast, and it is generally a very sad one, and reaches their families as well as themselves; tbeir children smart for their carelessness.”
DR. BIBER ON THE ORDER OF DEACON AND ITS REVIVAL,
"Our Church, preserving the apostolic distinction of ministerial orders, has an order of Deacons; but instead of being a distinct order, ministerial to the Episcopate, auxiliary to the Presbyterate, her Diaconate is a mere transition state, and that too short to insure that maturity of age and ripeness of growth in Christ, which the very name of presbyter implies. The deacon is in fact nothing more than an incipient presbyter ; the young presbyter, a contradiction in terms, nothing more than a deacon prematurely advanced to the higher degree, which he has not had time to purchase for himself.
“With regard to the revival of the order of Deacons, as an inferior grade of the ministry, permanently brought into action, in aid of the pres, byterate, the recent endeavours made in some localities, to meet the crying want of instruction in the way of salvation to an ignorant and spiritually as well as physically destitute population, by the employment of Scripturereaders, sufficiently attest the necessity of an increased supply of labourera to go forth into the Lord's harvest.