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LECT. order of priests, divided afterwards under
David and Solomon into four and twenty courses, all regularly officiating in their turns. Below these there was the order of the Levites, who assisted the priests in all the services of the temple. There were then three orders of priests in the Jewish Church : there was the high priest, and the sons of Aaron, and the Levites. In the Church of Christ there was the order of the Apostles; besides whom there were the seventy disciples sent out after them; and last of all, the Deacons were ordained, to serve under both in the lower offices of the Church. The same form is still preserved in every regular Church of the world, which derives its succession and authority from the Church of the Apostles; after whom the Bishops succeeded by their appointment; such as Timothy and Titus were in their respective Churches. This authority has been opposed in the Christian as it was in the Jewish Church : Corah and his company rose up against Moses and Aaron, for usurping a lordly authority over the people: so, in the later ages of
the Christian Church, a levelling principle LECT. hath prevailed, which has appeared in many different shapes. In some it objects to the order of Bishops, as an usurpation of long standing in the Church: in others, it argues for an equality of authority in all Christians, because all the congregation are holy; herein making no distinction between holiness of person and holiness of office. Thus hath the authority of the Church been troubled with arguments and objections, the same as in the times of old, and proceeding from the same spirit of rebellious opposition, under the disguise of superior fanctity. It was foretold to the church by the Apostle, that of their own felves men should arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them, * as Corah and his company rose out of the congregation itself, and drew the people after them. Unless it were so, the Church of Christ would not be conformed, as it ought to be, to the Church of Israel. Though the case is lamentable, yet thus it must be: it must be that offences come :
* Acts xx. 30.
LECT. the authority of the priesthood must be
opposed, and the Church must be divided, if the scriptures are verified; but woe unto them by whom the offence cometh.
The Church under the gospel hath also been provided for as it was under the law, by the tenths of all the fruits of the earth, set apart for the maintenance of its ministers. The antiquity of this provision is so great, that we cannot trace it up to its beginning. Abraham gave the tenths of the spoils to Melchizedec, long before the age of Moses; and therefore the law only established what had been instituted in the earliest times of the Patriarchs. The Christian Church followed the same rule in all countries, as soon as it obtained a regular establishment; and the apostle argues for the propriety of it from the law of Moses. Do ye not know, said he, that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the temple ? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel should live of the
gospel*. Here it is evidently intended, LECT. that the practice of the law should be coming taken as a precedent for the times of the gospel ; and that as it was then, even so it ought to be now: but the clergy then received the tenths, &c. which were conses crated by God's appointment; therefore it is his ordinance that they should receive the same now otherwise the cases would not be parallel. :
During the perfecutions under which the Christian Church suffered at its first appearance, its support by pecuniary contribution, and the sale of private property may seem to have authorized a new rule, different from that of the law of Moses, But we can draw no conclusion, because of the necessity of that time. In regular times the old rule will take place : and if the Church should again fall into distress, it must again depend upon the devotions of the congregation.
There is likewise a conformity in all the services and ministrations of the church.
* 1 Cor. ix. 13.
LECT. The law had its washings and purifications, III.
as we have the purification of water baptism. They had the passover in figure as we have it in truth; for Christ our passover is sacrificed for us; and we keep that feast as a memorial of our redemption, as they commemorated their deliverance from Egypt by the offering of the Pascal Lamb. He was no Jew who did not celebrate the Passover ; and he is no Christian who neg. lects the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. As they had manna in the wilderness to sup. port them, we have the true bread from heaven; without which we cannot pass through the wilderness of this world to the heavenly Canaan. They added their prayers to the incense of the temple, as we offer up our prayers through the merits of Christ, whereby they are recommended and made acceptable. There was a censer for incense within the veil, as Christ intercedes for us in the presence of God. Let my prayer, says the Plalmist, be set forth in lly fight as the incense; thereby thewing us what was intended in that part of their Service; and when Zechariah, the father of