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But this is not an accidentalor conventional arrangement, but necessary to the existence of the churches. For there being one minister of the word in each, possessed of that dignitywhich I have explained above, who shall be the judges of one fit to occupy the same room, but those who are con. scious of the gift within themselves, and accustomed to know its manifestations. Without a continualconfederation there. fore of the ministers seeking out men in whom the Holy Ghost is, and appointing such to make probation of their gifts amongst the churches, it is clear ihat the churches would soon be found without ministers. And whether I look at the primitive church, or, further down the stream, at the discipline of the Culdees, or at the foundations of our colleges and universities, I see this work, of seeking for gifted and called persons, to have been a principal object with

а the governors of the church. Moreover, whatever may be said of the right of the people to call their minister, and I am inclined to regard this as essential, still it belongs to those who are already in possession of the gift and calling, to discern in whom that gift is found, and to set him solemnly apart by the laying on of hands, when he hath received his call. It is a thing therefore not only natural, but even necessary to the continuance of the church, that there should be confederations of the ministers for ministerial purposes, and as in the council of Jerusalem for questions concerning discipline, that elders should be conjoined with them in this common cause. This presbytery may appoint over itself a permanent superintendant, or choose him for the occasion as their president, or proceed in any other way which they may judge best for the management of the matters in hand. But such a superintendant doth not thereby subordinate to himself in any way the other ministers of the word, whose indefeasible right to represent Christ standeth in his ministry of the word and sacraments, which are the symbols of his vicegerency. Yet did this superintendent or moderator early attain to himself the dignity of metropolitan, which at length issued in the assumption of the Papacy.-When thus presbyteries are formed with their permanent or moveable moderator, it is not necessary nor to be desired that in every thing they should seek or practise aniformity; and I believe if they give themselves to the Lord in this matter, he will not work amongst them uniformity, but accommodate each to the condition of the place where it is seated, making it able and vigilant to meet the form of temptation which besetteth the people there, and conforming it to that mode of discipline which may best serve the ends of God's special dealings with the church in that particular province. The spirit of uniformity I regard as the greatest antagonist to the spirit of unity. Uniformity is unity turned into an idol.

So far indeed do I carry this principle of unity as perceived in diversity, that with all the existing differences hetween the churches of Scotland and England, I can maintain in my heart, and do maintain an unity of love and brotherhood without losing one jot of my presbyterian · preferences; and the same cau 1 say of every Reformed ehurch as constituted in their standards, amongst whom when any great vital question ariseth, the means of

preserving the unity is by a general synod or æcumenical council. The council of Trent hath put the Roman cburch out of the pale of Christendom. He that acknowledgeth that council, let him be Anathema Maranatha. But churches which acknowledge it not, though not Protestant, however far gone in corruption, I can still look upon with brotherly regards; but those which adhere to the most damnable decrees.of that council, I utterly reject froin the communion of the Christian church; aye, and until they shall have purged themselves from that abomination.

But still this matter is not yet told out. What I have said concerning the preservation of unity, applies only to the preservation of unity in place. I have shewn the natural methods by which the churches will come to work together as one through their observance and dependance on the one common Head: but the catholic church is not merely the church in all places subsisting at one time, but in all places, subsisting in all times, generations, and ages, from the former to the latter coming of the Lord; and therefore it is of necessity that there should be a provision for preserving the unity of the church against the separation of times, generations, and ages, a provision to connect generation with generation, as well as to connect church with church. And this is provided by means of regular succession in the ministers, who are the constituent heads of a congregation. By regular succession, I mean ordination from the hands of those who already possess the prerogative of ministering the word and the ordinances. These in the persons of the Apostles had the dignity from Christ. And they transmitted it to others, and so it passed downward with a continual recognition of the principle in the church, that the right could not be derived from any other source but those who already possessed it. At the Reformation, this principle was a little shaken in the Church of Scotland; but it soon recovered itself, and was fully recognised in the Second Book of Discipline, which is the more perfect form of our government. There is a question, in whom the right of ordination lies; whether in those ministers called diocesan bishops and prelates, or in the parish priests and ministers of the word. This question, our former remarks on this vision have, I think, set at rest. If the dignity of an angel standeth in the ministry of the word and ordinances, then he who actually bath this function, is, and must be, the judge of him who ought to have it. And accordingly in the Church of England the parish priest layeth on his hand in ordination along with the bishop; and, I maintain, is co-equal in that act with the bishop, who hath it only in right of his being a minister of the word and the sacraments. In our church, through all ages thereof, excepting only the two centuries in which we proved the dark oppression of the Papacy, the act of ordination was in no diocesan bishop, but in those who ministered the word and sacraments, and who formed the little Culdee College or Presbytery of the neighbourhood. They set a man over any particular flock, or sent him out on any particular mission, by the laying on of hands. And from the first times of the church it was so.

Ordination never stood in one person, but in two or three; and I hold that the characteristic of that person in whom it stood was the preaching of the word and the ministratiou of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. This is not Church-of-Scotland doctrine ; I hold it to be the doctrine of the catholic church, of Scripture, and of reason itself. Ordination, therefore, at the hands of those who already possess the office of ministers, is that which continues the unity of the church against the disadvantages of time, as mutual confederation is that which maintains it against the disadvantages of place, by what ministers this act should be done is not material to the essence of it, so that there be two or three. But it hath always been deemed by the church convenient, that it should be by the ministers of the bounds, with the consent of, at least without any objections from, the ministers of the province. The church hath always looked upon this as a thing which should not be done in a corner, but with great publicity, and likewise with great deliberation ; for it is the life-coutinuing act of the church, in which should be embodied every thing symbolical of and necessary for unity. The unity in place is preserved by its being done by the ministers of the presbytery; in the Church of England, by the bishop and his priests; but if there were any hindrance to other ministers taking a part, then the unity of the church in place would not be preserved, and therefore this is carefully avoided. All ministers of the word present, may, and ought to lay their hands upon the head of him whom they would ordain. This union of their right hands signifyeth the oneness of the rulers of the church. Their want of a single head, signifyeth that the great Head is still invisible, and will continue so all the days of the church, until the kingdom. Their uniting without a visible head to install another, commonly one of another generation, over the flock, signifies the unity of the church in time. The union of the people to call one whom the ministry thus searcheth into and fixeth over them, doth signify both the unity of the members, and their subjection to their rulers. But, besides all this, there is a thing still wanting, which is the acknowledgment of the gift to the Holy Ghost; namely, That the qualification dependeth not on the calling of the people, nor yet upon the approbation of the ministry and their authorising of him, but reacheth higher, and acknowledgeth the invisible work of Christ, the Head, by the invisible Spirit. Now this, which is most necessary to prevent the whole of the apparatus of the church from becoming a great idol, is beautifully provided for, not, only by the questions put to the person before ordination, but by this invariable rule of our church, that anterior to the act of ordination, years perbaps, certainly


months, the person ordained shall have been tried, as to his gifts of preaching, and, after satisfactory evidence of his having the gift, been licenced to preach the Gospel, as a probationer amongst the churches, unto the end that if any church, void of a minister, should feel satisfied of his fitness to edify them, they may call hiin to be their pastor, as one in whom the gift hath been found by the Presbytery: and he, as one gifted of God, and who hath found favour of the people, may now re. ceive the Presbytery's sanction, to minister word and ordinance, and represent the great Head over that community of his members; and by this means it seems to me that in the great radical matter of continuing the ministers, our church hath been well directed of God, for which I desire to render him humble thanks.

Now let no one think, because in laying out these great ideas I exemplisy them in that church with whose constitutions I am best acquainted, that I do this in a spirit of bigotry, or of schism: nor have I any object in view of making proselytes; nor have I any object in view of justifying the most noble reformation of Scotland from the abuse which hath been cast upon it by many dignified men, nor have I any covert object whatsoever. As an honest man, I am honestly interpreting the visions of the Apocalypse, and having now before me the grand symbol of the seven golden candlesticks, representing the unity in number of the Christian church, it was absolutely necessary that I should unfold this much agitated question of the church's unity: and how should I unfold it, but in my character of a churchman, whereof I am not ashamed; in my character of a minister of the Church of Scotland, whereof I am proud? To every man I owe love, to every member of Christ's church pastoral care, to every minister of Christ's church lowe true brotherhood; and honour, above that with which I honour myself. This spirit may my God enable me ever to preserve, and especially in these days of irreverence and insubordination ; which evil spirit as I have much rebuked, so would I fain preserve myself a witness against it, and an example of the opposite spirit of love and subordination. Having now acquitted myself of this difficult task, than which I anticipate none more

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