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so great in process of time, that the Apostles appointed deacons to assist them, and afterwards elders. We read of St. Paul appointing elders in all the churches which he founded, and he directed Timothy and Titus to do the same. Thus it appears that ministers should derive their authority from Jesus Christ; and none can be said to have this authority, but those who have received ordination from the hands of a bishop, who has been himself duly consecrated; for the power to ordain is the exclusive right of a bishop. Our Saviour said to his Apostles, "As my Father sent me, so send I you; and lo! I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Hence it is evident, that the Apostles' commission is of divine institution, and that they were empowered to ordain others. And it is equally clear, from authentic history, that there has been a succession of persons, whose authority is derived from God himself, and who are commanded by the same authority to ordain others as the occasion may require. It appears moreover, that God was pleased
and satisfied with the mode of proceeding; for at the death of Judas, Matthias was appointed; and on the day of Pentecost, they were ALL (including Matthias) filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Yes, it is very evident that our prelates derive their authority from the Apostles themselves, and they from our Saviour, so that there has been an uninterrupted succession of ministers, regularly ordained to their sacred office, from the commencement of Christianity, to the present time; an unbroken chain of bishops, priests and deacons-a regular succession has taken place. At the death of one, another was appointed, and so on until now. Besides, our reason, and our experience concur to convince us, that unless men be properly educated, and duly called to the ministry, individuals of heated fancies, of vulgar tongues, and of very little knowledge, will madly rush in "where angels fear to tread," and inducting themselves into the priesthood cause the service of God to lose its effect, and to be stripped
We may then rest assured, that God hath placed these sacred things into our hands, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Thus have we briefly examined the three points contained in our text.
are of God." The reconciliation itself, that has taken place between the Father and us through Jesus Christ, and the ministry of reconciliation, which has been committed to us to be made known to you, are verily of God. And who, let us ask, hath not believed our report? Who hath not profited by our preaching and their own hearing? Alas! there may be hearts that refuse to be softened by the word of exhortation; there may be minds that dwell upon the records of Holy Writ as idle and useless tales! There may be some who would have us not preach the whole Gospel, but prefer it rather in its limited and garbled form, lulling perhaps to their conscience, but dangerous and deadly to their soul. The message that we have to deliver is from heaven-it is from God himself, and woe be to that man, who preaches not
the Gospel! It is to the wicked that the truth is most startling. It is to the impenitent and hard of heart that the Gospel becomes a stumbling-block, and a matter of offence. The faithful minister may be pointed at with the finger of scorn for delivering the message truly and honestly, but we should look to the Author of the message rather than to the vehicle by which it is conveyed. The outward storm may be severe-the puny attacks of man may pierce for a while, but the faithful watchman is daily supplied with strength from above, that enables him placidly to smile upon the cares of the world, and to resist by faith the beating of the storm. But thanks be to God! we can do all through Christ, who will strengthen us and effect much, through the power of God, in patience, in resignation, and in hope. Let us then believe the report given to us, as it comes from God. It is for your good in this world and your eternal welfare in the world to come. Are we sinners? Yes, we are all sinners; but then we are told that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.
Are we oppressed with the labours and cares of the world? We are told that Jesus Christ came into the world to relieve those that labour and are heavy laden. In short he came upon the earth to save that which was lost, to reconcile the world unto God, and "hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." Consider then all that God, hath done and is daily doing for us, and may each year as it rolls onward, almost imperceptibly away, find us nearer to God! we know that it will lead us nearer to the grave and nearer to eternity; let us then strive, by God's help, to approach nearer to heaven, that everlasting and blessed resting-place, that Jesus Christ has obtained for all his faithful and sincere disciples, and may God give us help! Grant this, O most merciful Father, for thy dear Son's sake, Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory, world without end!