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those, who through fear of death were subject to bond. age."" He spoiled principalities and powers, triumphing over them on the cross." But he triumphed more gloriously, when, after his ascension, he poured down his Holy Spirit on his apostles and disci ples, and thus enabled them to cast out devils, and to turn sinners from the power of Satan unto God. He also triumphed over death in a most conspicuous manner, when, rising from the grave, ascending into heaven, and shedding forth miraculous gifts, he demonstrated his power to quicken whom he would, to call forth the dead from their graves, and to exalt believers to an eternal state of glory with himself.
"He gave gifts to men." The expression in the 68th Psalm is, "He received gifts for men." He received gifts from the Father to bestow them on men. "It hath pleased the Father, that in him all fulness should dwell; and that of his fulness we all should receive grace for grace." All power, in heaven and earth, is committed to him. Hence, when he commanded his apostles to go forth and preach the gospel, he promised to endue them with power from on high, by which they should cast out devils, speak with new tongues, recover the sick and defeat all the power of the enemy, and thus demonstrate their divine commission.
Besides these extraordinary gifts vouchsafed for the confirmation of the gospel, he promised and bestowed such an internal influence of the Spirit, to accompany the preaching of the gospel, as should open men's hearts to attend to it and believe it.-Accordingly, wherever the apostles went preaching the word, multitudes were turned from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, and from the works of the flesh to works meet for repentance.
The extraordinary gifts continued only for a season, until the gospel was established. The ordinary influence of the Spirit is alike necessary in all ages, and
will, in a greater or less degree, attend the gospel to
the end of the world.
Among the gifts bestowed on the church, St. Paul particularly mentions the officers appointed for its edifi cation. "Christ gave some apostles; some prophets; some evangelists; some pastors and teachers."
By apostles, prophets and evangelists are intended those extraordinary ministers, who were employed to propagate the gospel in the world, and who, for that purpose, were endowed with miraculous powers. By pastors and teachers are generally understood those ordinary ministers, who had the care of particular churches, and who were to be continued in succession to the end of the world. A similar distinction is made in the 12th chapter of the First Epistle to the Corin. thians. "God hath set some in the church; first apostles; secondarily prophets; thirdly teachers; after that miracles, &c."
The name of apostles is especially applied to those, who were immediately commissioned by Jesus Christ, to be witnesses of his doctrines and works, his death and resurrection, and to go forth and publish his gospel among the nations of the earth. To these, as occasion required, the Spirit revealed the mysteries of the divine will, that they might communicate them to the world.
Prophets were men endowed with supernatural knowledge in divine things; the knowledge of the ancient scriptures-of the doctrines and mysteries of the gospel-and, in some cases, of future events. These were chiefly employed in opening and explaining to believers the great truths of religion.
Evangelists are generally supposed to have been men employed in propagating the gospel among the Heathen, in founding churches where Christ had not been named, and in confirming the churches which were already founded. They are distinguished from
the apostles only as their gifts and employments were more limited and confined.
Pastors and teachers were those who labored in word and doctrine, especially in particular churches, of which they had the immediate charge. As the apos tles received the word more immediately from Christ, either by his personal instruction, or spiritual inspiration, so they from time to time communicated it to the pastors and teachers, who, receiving it from them, preached it to others, for their conversion to, and edification in the faith of the gospel. This appears from Paul's charge to the elders of Ephesus, from his instructions to Timothy and Titus, and from John's letters to the angels of the churches in Asia.
Christ gave these various officers "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." Or, as the words, more agreeably to the original, may be rendered, He gave pastors and teachers, in order to the preparing of holy men for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. The officers whom Christ gave, were to instruct and furnish others for the mine istry; and thus a succession of ministers was to be continued in the church, for her edification in knowł edge, faith and holiness.
In the passage now explained several things are suggested which deserve our particular attention.
1. It is evident, that public teachers in the church are to be a distinct order of men.
Christ has given some pastors and teachers. He has set some in the church; first apostles, next prophets, then teachers. Are all apostles? Or all prophets? Or all teachers By no means. If all the body were one member, Where were the body? If all the
* Πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων εἰς ἔργοι διακονίου εἰς οἰκοδομην τῇ σωμα· της τῷ χρίσω,
members of the church were to assume one office, Where were the church?
None have a right publicly to teach in the church, but those who are calledsent-authorized to the work in the gospel way. "How shall they preach, except they be sent ?"" No man taketh this honor to himself but he that is called of God, as was Aaron;" and as were his sons. They were consecrated: by Moses, God's minister, according to his appointment, that they might minister to him in the priest's office. Korah and his companions fell under an awful condemnation, because they presumed to offer incense with unhallowed hands, pretending that all the congregation were holy, and that one had as good a right as another, and they as good a right as the sons of Aaron, to perform the solemn functions of the priesthood. To these impious usurpers Jude compares those who had crept into the church unawares, turning the grace of God into wantonness. He says, "They have gone in the way of Cain, run greedily after the error of Balaam, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah." All Christians are to exhort, reprove and comfort one another, as there is occasion; but public teaching in the church belongs peculiarly to some to those who are given to be pastors and teachers.
II. Public teachers are here called Christ's gifts. "He gave some pastors and teachers." And they are to be received by the church in the way, in which he sends them.
There is a particular order, which Christ has instituted, for the introduction of public teachers. The first apostles were commissioned immediately by him. In the time of his ministry on earth, he ordained twelve to preach the kingdom of God among the Jews. Af ter his resurrection, he enlarged their commission, saying, Go, preach the gospel to all nations." But for this work they must understand the languages of all nations; therefore he says, "Tarry ye at Jerusalem,"
confine your ministry there, "until ye be endued with power from on high." On the day of Pentecost, which was about ten days after Christ's ascension, when the twelve apostles, and those who had companied with them, while Christ went in and out among them, making in all about an hundred and twenty, were all gathered together in one place, the Holy Ghost was shed on them in miraculous gifts, and there appeared,on each of them, cloven tongues, like as of fire, and they began to speak with other tongues. And all the people, who were assembled from different countries to attend the festival, heard them speak, in their own various languages, the wonderful works of God. To this remarkable event the apostle refers, when he says in the text, "Christ ascended on high, and gave gifts to men, and he gave some apostles, some prophets,
They who were thus commissioned of heaven to preach the gospel, were authorised to ordain others. Paul, after his conversion, presumed not to preach, until Ananias, by immediate direction from Christ, had informed him, that he was chosen to this work, and had confirmed the information by a miracle. Afterward Paul came to Jerusalem, and was there received by the apostles. And when he was about to go, in company with Barnabas, on a mission to the Heathens, they were both separated to this mission, by the proph ets and elders of the church, who fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, and sent them away.
Timothy was ordained a bishop or elder by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. And the things which he had received, the same he was to commit to faithful men, who should be able to teach others also.
When Paul and Barnabas went forth preaching the gospel and planting churches among the Gentiles, they ordained elders in every church.
Titus, who was a minister in the Isle of Crete, was left there by Paul, for this, among other purposes, VOL. III.