Page images

the Christian Church. Ambiguity is convenient to the Romanists, but it becomes the Protestant to be open and explicit on all occasions. There is a general sense of the word “spriest,” as one having to do with sacred things and separated to the service of God, not necessarily implying that he offered sacrifices, and this general meaning is conveyed by the word repevs, from lepos, sacer; and this is the word most frequently used in the New Testament, especially in the Epistle to the Hebrews. It is applied in this sense to the whole tribe of Levi, who are called the Levitical priesthood (Heb. vii. 11), though they only prepared the sacrifices, as Levites, which were offered by the sons of Aaron; and though none of the Levites, except the sons of Aaron, entered into the holy place, or approached to the altar of incense, at any time. In this general sense, the deacons of the Christian Church may be regarded as of the priesthood, being separated to the service of God, and having to do with sacred things, though not yet admitted to the higher offices of the priesthood, which were typified under the law by the acts not allowed to Levites, but reserved to the sons of Aaron. The washings and purifications, both of the persons who were coming to worship, and of the offerings which they brought, were all done by the Levites, and typified the diaconal acts of the Christian Church, in preparing for baptism and the table of the Lord, and also seeing that those who have come under such sacramental obligations are walking consistently towards all men in purity and integrity of life. The priests, answering to the sons of Aaron, present continually at the throne of grace those who are thus prepared to come into the presence of God; and all the sacrifices prescribed for the consecration of the sons of Aaron, and the continual holiness enjoined upon them, and their sustenance entirely from the altar, are designed to be so many admonitions to the Christian priesthood of the solemn responsibility, which lies on them of being examples and guides to the people. And there was one day in the year, the day of atonement, from all the services of which the sons of Aaron were prohibited-it, and all its services, being reserved exclusively for Aaron, or for him who should succeed to Aaron as high priest. On that day the high priest did all the services, those of the priests and Levites, as well as those peculiarly his own; and on that day alone he entered the most holy place, to sprinkle the blood and burn the incense before the mercy-seat of Him who dwelleth between the cherubim. This is the day, and these are the services, which St. Paul has made the groundwork of his argument in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and from whence he has deduced, not only that Christ is the High Priest of the Christian Church, and that we have no priest on earth; not only that Christ is the one sacrifice for sin, and that there is no other ; not only that the one true altar of the Christian Church is in heaven, where our High Priest now mediates for us; but that the services of the Christian Church are a continuance of the day of atonement; and that as on that day the high priest did everything, and all other services were suspended, so, in the Christian Church, Christ is the doer of everything, and his ministers are not feeling aright unless they feel that they are but instruments in his hands, and lose altogether the vain confidence of having an independent standing. One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Our day of grace is our day of atonement-an expansion of that type, so as to cover, absorb, or displace every other type, in a practical sense-while Christ is within the vail, and until he shall appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation. (Heb. ix. 8, 24, 28).

Christ is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world; he is also the High Priest who continually presents his own blood before the throne of heaven; and he who once died for our sins now ever liveth to make intercession for us. And as the acts are thus expanded to cover all time, and the acts were begun by him on earth, but are carried out and completed in heaven, so all our days are but as one day of atonement-begun on the cross, running on through all time, until the day of the Lord come and the kingdom of heaven be revealed; and all our services are incomplete to sense, and only what they should be according as faith completes them, by beholding the High Priest and Head of the Church in heaven.

Chrysostom has a true sense of the importance of the priestly office, and of the self-examination which should precede and accompany ordination, in all who undertake so great and so sacred a responsibility. And to dissipate the fears and apprehensions which such an examination might raise, we need only to remember that we are not left to ourselves, and that we are in such sort instruments in the hand of another, that Christ imparts his own strength in the very act of using us: and that distrust of ourselves should ever become the provocative of faith in him. We may well ask, “Who is sufficient for these things ?" but must remember that he hath said, “ My grace shall be sufficient for thee.” We feel persuaded that men in general do not enough consider the responsibilities of the priesthood, as ministers of Christ towards God and towards the people. And it is among

men in general that the tone of thinking most needs raising; for if not, it will but give to the priesthood an air of arrogance, which, not being understood, will disgust and repel; and the want of it among the people deters modest and humble men from following out their own convictions, and from taking upon themselves even that degree of confidence towards God and authority towards men, to which they may, in their secret convictions, believe themselves entitled. Mr. Marsh, who has translated “ Chrysostom," must, we conceive, have some fear of this kind, which makes him shrink from the place which belongs to him as a priest, and take only that of a presbyter or elder; and think that Chrysostom gives "indication of a prevailing disposition in that age unduly to magnify the ministerial office, by borrowing the terins, and investing it with all the peculiarities, of the Levitical priesthood.” (Pref. vi.) It is unfortunate for Mr. Marsh's argument that the use of the word complained of did not come in with Chrysostom; it is the word constantly used for the Christian priesthood in the Epistle to the Hebrews; and it is used also by St. Peter in reference to the Church (1 Peter ii. 5, 9); and the word "presbyter" would scarcely be good sense in Chrysostom's treatise, as it certainly would not in St. Paul or St. Peter. So also Mr. Marsh's objections to the words “sacrifice” and “altar" proceed from a similar shrinking back from the truth, because the words have been mistaken or misapplied by the Romanists, and by some injudicious persons amongst ourselves. Like as for applying “ priesthood” to the Christian ministry, so have we scriptural authority for applying the words “altar and sacrifice" to the Christian realities which those things typified. (Heb. xiii. 10-15, 16; 1 Pet. ii. 5). While the old Levitical priesthood subsisted, and there were real altars and literal sacrifices, these all were of no avail, and had no signification, except as they typified Christ about to come; and being come, himself is the grand reality to be

apprehended in all Christian ordinances and in every part of our service. Yet, as God, who knew man's limitation and Christ's fulness, appointed many types to prefigure the one Messiah, so there may be similar reasons for various means of apprehending that fulness now, through various Christian ordinances. While Christ is truly acknowledged and duly honoured, we may bear with each other's wants and infirmities, remembering that at present we only know in part, and prophecy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall predetermined in the counsel of God, and for the preparing and perfecting of which he provided all the instruments-Moses and the prophets

be done away.

And it must ever be borne in mind that the Church is one

, Christ and the apostles. There is substantial unity of action in all the instruments, though they may seem very different instruments, and may appear at different times to be employed on very different kinds of work. The Church is called a building, in order to show this; for though one building of lively stones, each is set in a place of its own, for which it has been adapted. Each builder of the Church has to know this—to know the plan first, and then the means of adapting the various individuals to that one plan. Men have not all the same natural endowments to begin with, nor have they been all found in the same lands, or with the same national or local advantages; and the differences of station and accidental circumstances, as well as of individual character, render some difference of treatment necessary, wheresoever and whensoever a Church is to be gathered and built.

We may borrow an illustration from the builder's art, in the broad and deep foundations laid underground and out of sight; and yet even here different workmen are used to dig the ground, and hew the stones, and cement them. And as the church rises more and more, and the ornamental parts appear, a greater diversity of workmen and of tools are brought more and more into requisition—the roof, and towers, and pinnacles being more complicated than all the rest of the building. And yet it is one church, and one plan pervades the whole, and it all rests on one solid foundation, prepared with exact reference to the predetermined superstructure. And not one of the classes of workmen can be spared, nor can one do the other's work. The stone had to be dug from the quarry; the timber to be felled in the forest; the bricks and the lime to pass through the fur

And there is the mason, with his pick, to shape the granite; and the carpenter, with his adze and his plane, to fashion the timber; and the pick of the former would as little do for the carpenter's work, as the mason could smooth his granite with the axe and the plane.

And thus it has been in the Church: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers have all been required for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. And when the last stones have been gathered by the great Master Builder, he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying“ Grace, grace unto it !”



Art. II.-— Rapport Complet de M. Thiers, sur la loi de l’In

struction Secondaire. "Edition populaire. Paris. 1841. 2. L'Etat, l'Eglise et l' Enseignement. Par M. A. DE LAMAR

TINE, Deputé de Mâcon. Paris. 1843. 3. Réponse à M. De Lamartine à l'occasion de son ecrit l'Etat,

l'Eglise et l'Enseignement. Par CHAPUYS MONTLAVILLE, Député. Paris. 1844.

THE ablest writers on political economy and moral science have ever attached a primary importance to the subject of popular education, though they have greatly differed as to its nature, and the extent to which it should be carried. Some, asserting that the well-being of society is entirely dependent upon its right communication, have nevertheless contended for an education of which religious instruction should not form a compulsory element; others, agreeing to the proposition, have insisted upon this instruction as a proper and necessary part of it; others, . again, would confine all education for the lower classes to a simple instruction in religious truths; whilst some few have argued that any education of the poor is prejudicial to the best interests of society. Many, who differ much in other respects, are, however, agreed in the conclusion, that to the extent to which education has been popularly carried, it has hitherto proved a bane, rather than a blessing.

To a certain extent, much of the reasoning which has been employed in the discussion of this subject is now useless, for it has no place. Whether it is good for the people to be educated, or not, has ceased to be a problematical question, as applied to a people altogether ignorant; for nationally, at least in this country, such a people no longer exists. An onward movement of the public mind has taken place; retrogression is neither consistent with the law of our being, nor practicable from the nature of the circumstances in which we find ourselves—a return to ignorance is not possible. The advocates for a national edu-cation have adopted such measures as, being once adopted, can never be recalled; and the question now really is, not, shall there be a national education? but what shall be its nature, what its limits, and who shall be its superintendents? The experiment, to a certain extent, has been tried, and some of the results are before us; and, however these results may fortify any man in the opinion that a popular education is neither good nor necessary, they can only now be wisely and rightly employed in the future modification and application of the various systems which obtain, and in the regulation of that onward movement of


« PreviousContinue »