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ages, guided by the divine truth and spirit with which it was endowed. We have seen how it borrowed its first simple regulations from the contemporary usages of the Jews. None of these marred its democratic simplicity. As a whole, a sanctified community, it was charged with its entire remaining mission. Its gifts were common. "The advocates of the hierarchy," says one of our best authorities, (Pressense,) "do not deny that the miraculous gifts were bestowed on the Christians generally; but they assert, on behalf of the ecclesiastics, a monopoly of teaching. This distinction, however, is wholly arbitrary. The synagogue already acknowledged, under certain limitations, the right of every pious Jew to teach. It is not surprising that this right should be extended by St. Paul to all Christians, with the exception of women, who were to be silent in public worship. 'When ye come together,' he says, 'every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.' The right was long acknowledged in the Church. We read in the eighth book of the Apostolical Constitutions, 'Let him who teacheth, if he be a layman, be versed in the word.' It remains an established fact that all believers had the right to teach in public worship. All alike took some share in the government of the community. They were summoned, on the occasion of the conferences at Jerusalem, to take a part in important deliberations. The letters of the apostles laid upon all the duty of caring for the great interests of the congregation. Discipline was an act of the community, not of the clergy. The sacraments were equally far from being a monopoly of the clergy. These principles were so deeply rooted in the Church that long after, at a time when it had undergone most important changes, thpy received striking testimony from the lips of St. Jerome. He says: 'The right of the laity to baptize has often been recognized in cases of necessity; for every one may give that which he has received.' We read in the 'Commentaries,' attributed to Ambrose, that 'in the beginning all taught and all baptized on every opportunity.'"
Such was the simple, practical freedom of original Christianity. Of course, the partial delegation of these rights and powers of the Church to selected men became necessary, at last, for its orderly procedure; but the inherent right of the common priesthood remained. It could not be surrendered, for it was of divine ordination; so that, in the language of Luther, the designated preacher is but "one who in the place and in the name of all, who have the same right, should perform the sacred offices, that there be not confusion." llestricted only by the necessities of public order, the layman still maintained his priestly responsibility, and shared in every possible way the work and discipline of the society. Throughout the apostolic period this right was practical in the Church, and made it universally a body of working men and women, self-sacrificing in labor and heroic in suffering, until it overthrew the paganism of the classic world.
This doctrine does not detract from the "divine call" and dignity of the "ministry " proper. Yet it is precisely at this point that we need to clear up the whole subject to the people, by better discussion than it has usually received. "We all admit the divine " call" of the pastorate, but in conceding it we have come, practically, to infer that no analogous vocation or responsibility belongs to the laity. The ministerial " call " is a conviction of the conscience, by the Holy Spirit, of the duty of preaching. But does not every real Christian have the Holy Spirit? Is not religion itself the indwelling of the Spirit—" the life of Cod in the soul of man?" And does not the indwelling Spirit "move" and aid every devout soul in matters of religious devotion and duty? Can, then, a rightly instructed layman*, any more than a clergyman, evade, while under the influence of the Holy Spirit, any important occasion of duty without feeling the "woe" which Paul dreaded if he preached not the Gospel? And is not every opportunity of usefulness a duty to such a man? Let us not be misinterpreted here, for this point is vital. The work of the pastorate is the highest in the Church, and its call or responsibility is correspondent; but every saint—that is to say, every lay or "royal priest"—in the Church has the same Spirit, the same divine "moving," and help to duty, in his sphere and degree, and a proportionate "woe" if he neglect that duty. Each, as a member of the common priesthood, is to find out, by the light of the Spirit and the scrupulous consideration of his peculiar gifts or circumstances, in what particular way he is to discharge his part of the common service, the ministration and propagation of the common cause: some to preach; some to "exhort;" some to teach; some to lead in the social devotions of the society; some to provide pecuniary supplies by their talents in business; but all to serve with equal consecration, moved, aided, and consoled by the same divine Spirit, in the one universal priesthood. The great error of Christendom is that the Church continues to allow an uriscriptural discrimination here; that the vocation, or "moving," of the divine Spirit has been claimed by the clergy as a peculiar distinction of their function. This arrogation has been one of the most disastrous calamities in the history of the Church, for it has given rise to nearly all the usurpations and corruptions of the priestly class on the one side, and to the ecclesiastical enslavement and moral disablement of the laity on the other. It has practically identified the Church with the clergy.*
It is to be feared that in our own denomination this clerical arrogation (not to say arrogance) has grown rather than diminished. In certain quarters there has been no little disposition even to except ordained teachers from the ministry, and to consider clerical educators wrongly recognized in our Conferences. One of our journals says that "Prof. Wheeler was right when he surrendered his credentials, after having fully determined to devote himself to teaching." It speaks of clerical teachers, and other extra-pastoral functionaries, as practically belying the ministerial office, because they have nothing really to do with pastoral work. It seems to forget that even the apostles did little pastoral service, proper; that the original ministry is scripturally described as consisting of "some apostles, some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry." Now, though we need not insist that precisely this classification of ministerial laborers must be retained, intact, yet we do insist that it clearly shows the comprehensive and liberal scope of the ministerial organization. The apostolate necessarily died outwiththe apostles, and the form and
* "Arnold at a later day called him [Coleridge] the greatest intellect that England had produced within his memory, and learned, perhaps, from him some of his leading thoughts, as that the identification of the Church with the clergy was the 'rirst and fundamental apostasy.' "—Shairp's 'Studies in Poetry and Philosophy," p. 142. See Arnold's views, fully given in his Miscellaneous Works.
Fourth Series, Vol. XXV.—4
titles of some of the other offices gave way to modifications and new designations as the Church developed. Though no form of polity or Church organization is enjoined in the Holy Scriptures, yet two were exemplified: first, that above indicated by Paul; and, secondly, the later (yet partially contemporary) modifications, borrowed from the synagogue, and consisting of deacons, presbyters, and superintending presbyters or bishops. These latter, as we have seen, were a mere matter of practical convenience. Crystallizing at last into a permanent ministerial economy, they, like some natural crystalline forms, enlarged in the process till the hierarchical s}*stems of the Greek and Latin ecclesiasticism covered Christendom. But the original comprehensiveness and flexibility of the genuine ministry remain scriptural facts, and a decisive criterion for all such questions.
The lapse of time—of ages—has thrown not a few illusions over the primitive ecclesiasticism. With modern Churchmen, the forms and nomenclature of the early ministry, borrowed, as merely expedient, from the Jews, have become absolutely essential conditions of Church validity. "Ordination" has become even a sacrament with the Greek and Latin Churches, and something hardlv less with High-Church Protestants. So the classification of deacons, presbyters, and superintendents or bishops, (jointed in with the more promiscuous functional arrangements of the earlier period, when there were "teachers" as well as "pastors,") has become a divine order, necessary to the very constitution of the Church, in the estimation of many. To others, there seems to be no genuine idea of the ministry unless it includes the "pastoral " service, whereas all critical students of Church history know that the "pastors" were really secondary in the early Church; that most of her ministers were apostles and evangelists, flying about the world promulgating the new truth; and that the "pastors " and " teachers" were chiefly located presbyters and deacons, the latter being "servants" of the Church, many of them what would now be called laymen.
Even the word "preaching," we may remark in passing, has suffered by these illusions of time, as we have ealled them. Many Churchmen (Methodists as well as others) seem to think that there is no real preaching except in a pulpit, and on a text, and with technical discriminations of the text, whereas the original preaching was substantially what is now good Methodist "exhortation." Its preachers had no pulpits for generations, except the platforms of the Jewish synagogues, scattered over the Roman empire; and these they hardly got on to before they were driven off again by their obstinate countrymen. And as to formal preaching, in the modern sense, they knew little or nothing about it. The "firstly," "secondly," and "thirdly" of the "sermon " were unknown to them, and did not appear in clerical literature till about the times of Origen. In fine, the original ministry was, comprehensively, an organization for the propagandimn or outspread of the new truth all over the world. All kinds of laborers, competent for this work, were incorporated in it. They were put under wholesome regulations as fast as possible; were baptized for their work by the Holy Ghost; and the Church rejoiced and triumphed in its ever-growing host of prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and "servants," or deacons and deaconesses. Clemens (of Alexandria) and Origen are known to us more as teachers of Christian schools than any thing else. St. John himself became a Christian school-teacher, as well as an apostle and prophet. And a glory will it be to Methodism when its Conferences Bhall be thronged with "teachers," and "evangelists," and "apostles," as well as "pastors." Any man called to "preach," hut at the same time eminently capable of teaching in our academies or colleges, should work in the latter, and preach also whenever and wherever he can. He should have his place, and an honored one, among his ministerial brethren in the councils of the Church. Let us not disparage the noble ministerial service and character of our Fisks and Olins. When shall we perfect the "glorious Reformation " by the complete restoration of primitive Christianity in its simplicity and power? When shall we rend off the shackles of medieval ecclesiasticism, and stand forth in the freedom and victory of the apostolic propagandism? When shall Christianity cease entirely to be the grub of papal darkness, and, bursting its old ecclesiastical chrysalis, take wing and fly over the world, like the apocalyptic angel "flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people?"