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(says he) constituted [or ordain'd] Bishops and Deacons for such as [were not yet converted,but] should, in some time ta come, be brought over to the Faith. There needs no Comment upon this
Testimony; for sure, whatever imaginary Peo. ple may be suggested to have bore a part in the Election or Ordination of such Bishops and Deacons as those, 'tis plain enough, the People they were afterwards to preside over, or minister amongst them, could have none at all ; which is the only Thing contended for, and should be prov'd, in the Case before us.
But, to return to Scripture Evidence again: As the principal Apostles themselves (according to the Teftimony of that truly Primitive Father indeed, for he was cotemporary with many of them) did unquestionably constitute and ordain Pastors in the Church, without any Suffrage or Election of the People in it; fo the holy Scriptures affirm no less of such as, were adopted into that sacred College, dignify'd with that Title by the Holy Ghost, and call’d of God himself to the holy Function, as well as the Blessed Twelve were; I mean S. Paul and S. Barpabas, whose Ordinations, are particularly recorded for us in holy Writ itself. The Text which mentions them is obvious enough, and has seldom escaped the Observation of any who have wrote on this Argument, on one side or the other. 'Tis Acts xiv. 23. where, in our Translation, we read thus: || And when they had
Η Αξ. χίν. 23. Και χάe9τονήσαντες και αυτούς πρεσβυτέρες και εκκλησίαν, ωeoσαξάμενοι και νησιών, παρέθεντο έντου τω Κυείω, ας δν πεσισάκισαν.
ordain'd them Elders in every Church, and had prayed with Fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. I know the original Word, here used for this Apostolical Or. dination, is with great Assurance insisted upon by the Advocates for Popular Election, as including in it the Votes or Suffrages of the Peo. ple, because it signifies the stretching out, or holding up, of the Hand; which Ceremony was commonly used by the ancient Greeks, to express such an Action of the People in giving their Voice or Suffrage either in Courts of Judicature, or at the Choice of Magistrates amongit them. This is the main Stress of all the Glof. ses I meet with, to evade the clear Evidence of this Text for the Apostles ordaining those Elders by their own free Choice and Authority alone : The clear Evidence of the Text, I call it ; for if there be any Regular and Grammatical Construction of the holy Penmens Words to be allow'd at all, it must necessarily be this ; That the same Persons who held forth their Hands for the Act of Ordination here, did, in the Words immediately following, commend the People, then present, to the Lord, in mhom they bea liev'd. The Word (Commended) in the latter Clause, and the Persons who ordain’d (or stretched out their Hands for Orders, if wę had rather translate it fo) in the former, having as direct a Reference to, and Connexion with one another, and appropriating the Aaion of the one to the Persons of the other, as entirely as 'tis possible for true Syntax to do in any Sentence whatsoever ; and therefore, unless the People commended ther.zselves to the Lord
in the latter Clause, they could not be included amongst the Persons that stretched out their Hands for Ordination in the former; for they
. that did one, as clearly as Language can make it, did the other also. Besides, tho' it might fignify either, yet it must fignify both here, if it imply the People's Votes, else no Imposition of Hands in this Ordination; and how absurd is that?
I might balance (at least) all the Proofs that could be given for a Popular Election necessarily imply'd in this original Word, by a Cloud of Witnesses both of Greek and Jewish Writers, (in and about the Time that the New Testament was wrote) who familiarly apply the same Word, not to the Votes or Suffrages of a Multitude only, but to the bare Authoritative Act of a single Person, (nay even of * God himself) in constituting or ordaining Officers to the respective Places or Purposes that they treated of.
I might add also the venerable and receiv'd Authorities of Christian Fathers, Historians, Criticks, and Grammarians, (eminent both in ancient and modern Ages of the Church) who affirm the Word to be so taken in the ancient Ecclesiastical Notion of it; insomuch that the Inquisitive Suicer, (who was Friend enough to Popular Elections ) amongst other Significations of the Word, undertakes to prove by many Testimonies and Examples,
* So the Holy Scripture attributes it to God's Choice of Witnesses, .A&ts X. 41.
*that the Stretching out of the Hand included in it, imports no more than barely creating,conftituting, and designing Persons to the Place or Office intended for them, as distinct from Suffrage and Ele&ion; and (which is not a little to the Purpose) produces this very Text, at the Head of many other Authorities, for a clear Testimony and Example of it. [But they who would see a plain and compendious Account of the Authorities I here appeal to, need only read the excellent Doctor Hammond's Annotations on this single Text, and those of the late Bishop Beveridge on the first Apoft. Can.] But,
I have chosen rather to leave the sacred Text to its own naked Evidence, than amuse the Rea. der with numerous Quotations of that Kind, which are so readily to be found elsewhere; era pecially, since Authorities of that nature, tho' justly thought to have a considerable Weight in them by unprejudic'd Men, yet (I know not for what Reasons) are very often slightly pass'd over by some of the greatest Patrons of Popular Election and the Congregational Cause. Witness that remarkable Passage in the celebrated J, Owen's Plea for Scripture Ordination ; who, speaking of valid Ordinations, . thus explains himself: By Valid (says he) I mean, not what old Canons make so, (and yet ’tis remarkable by the by that
* Exemplis & teftimoniis præbemus xseslováv nihil aliud declarare quam conftituere, crezre, dejignare: patet hoc.ex A&t. xiv. 23. ubi de Paulo & Barnaba, X669τονήσανες αυλούς πρεσβυτέρες και εκκλησίαν. Suicer. Thesaur. Ecclus. in verbo xwe lovew, & in voce xe.egnovia. Num. 2.
our learned Enquirer urges such Authorities in the Cafe) but what the Scriptures determine to be so: Those sacred Oracles, which are of Divine Inspiration, and not arbitrary Canons which are of weak Mens
, devising, are the Foundation of our Faith, and the infallible Standard, by which Truth and Error must be try'd; which tho’ it be an unaccountable Contempt of those venerable Records of the Church, and of all other humane Authority besides; yet so far as any original Right or Power in that solemn Act of Ordination can be claim'd (as Die vine) he may be own'd to speak a very important Truth in it; for after that sacred Code was once complete and seald, I know of no such authentick Power as that granted to any, either in Part, or in Whole.
I shall therefore pursue the Evidence of those holy Oracles a little farther still, and prove from thence, that as the Apostles receiv'd and exercis'd such an Ordaining Power, independent of any Popular Election in it; so they convey'd the same, without any such Condition annex'd to it, to the individual Persons of some of the chief Pastors of the Churches which were planted by them. The two noted Instances of this Kind, within the facred Canon itself, are Timothy and Titus ; in whose Commission and Instructions together, (which are very particular, we know, in the Point of Ordinations above ali Things) we might reasonably expect to hear of this material Right and Privilege of the People, (if such a Right there was) and not without some solemn Directions, one would think, for a due Regard to it, left their Ordinations shou'd prove defective and invalid (after all the Autho