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First. It means to extend or stretch out the hand; and, according to Scapula, it is thus used by Aristophanes. Hence xepotovia signifies holding up or stretching out the hand; and is therefore distinguished from xεipofɛoia, the imposition of hands.
Second. The word yetporove signifies to vote, elect, choose, appoint, constitute, by lifting up the hand, which was a usual custom in voting at assemblies. Hence xεiporovia signifies suffragium, a vote or voting; plebiscitum, a decree or ordinance of the people, enacted by lifting up the hand in voting; also a creation of a magistrate, thus elected or voted. This is now the custom in some elections. One sort of magistrates at Athens were called xepoтovηToi, from the manner of their election, in which the people gave their vote by holding up their hands.* Thus it is said, in the Anabasis of Xenophon, "Let every one who approves of these things raise his hand. They all raised them." This meaning of the word does not suppose, much less mean, laying on hands, because it is an action of a different kind, requiring raising or stretching out hands, but not laying them on any person.
Third. This word signifies to choose, appoint, constitute to an office, in any manner, either with or without imposition of hands, or any ceremony whatever. This will appear clear from the following quotations. It will also appear that the word signifies indifferently to constitute or appoint, without any intimation of suffrages, or plurality of persons or voices, by whom this appointment was made.
The following are instances in which a single individual made the appointment, and therefore there could be no election :-Philo, the Jew, speaking of the appointment of Joseph over Egypt by Pharaoh, says, "He was constituted governor over all Egypt under the "He was king,” (Βασιλέως ύπαρχος εχειροτονειτο.) Οf Moses he says, constituted ruler" over the Israelites, (yepov exelpotovelo.) Of Aaron's sons he says, "God chose them priests," (iɛpeuç exεipotovel.)
Lucian says that Alexander "made Hephestion a god after he was dead,” (Θεον χειροτονησαι τον τετελευτηκοτα.)
Maximus Tyrius says, "The Persians did not salute Darius till his wanton horse had constituted him king." (Sapelov ov πроτεроν πроσεχύνησαν οι Περσαι πριναυτον εχειροτόνησεν επι τεν αρχην υβριςης ίππος.)
Josephus uses the following language: "A king appointed by God." (Βασιλεύς ύπο του Θεου κεχειροτονημενος.)—Antiq., b. vi, chap. iv, sec. 2. Hence also the noun xeiporovia means decree, &c.
The word is also thus used in the Acts, with the preposition ро, before, prefixed: "Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before (πрокEXειро тоνημεvois, appointed or chosen before) of God," Acts x, 40, 41.
In all the foregoing cases the appointment was the act of some one person-Pharaoh, God, Alexander, &c. Consequently there could be no voting, and surely there is no ground to believe there was any imposition of hands, while in some of the cases there evidently was none.
Besides, when the word is used in reference to Roman affairs, as Potter's Græc. Antiq., b. i, chap. ii.
+ Και ότῳ δοκει τατα, αναυτεινατω την χειρα. Ανετεινον ἅπαντες. Xenoph. Anab. iii.
it frequently is by Appian and Dio, it must be taken in this sense, because there was no stretching out or lifting up of hands in use among them.
In the fourteenth chapter of the Acts it has been disputed whether the word under consideration means merely to appoint by the apostles, or to be elected by the votes of the people, or that the elders were first chosen or voted for by the people, and then appointed by the apostles. That the apostles did act therein, we think is plain from the form of the word used. It is the participle of the first aorist active, xeiротоvησavτes, agreeing with Barnabas and Paul in its grammatical construction, and so referring the action of ordaining, or appointing elders, to them, as the actors therein. In this position we will leave this question for the present, and will only observe that in the foregoing passage we have no account of imposition of hands, and the word employed does not mean or imply such an act, and therefore we can derive no proof from this passage that such a ceremony was used. Not only so; we have positive proof not only from the meaning of the word xeрOTOVεw that it does not signify to impose hands, but we have a parallel passage to show that it is used to mean the same thing with a word which does not include the meaning of imposition of hands; for to ordain, or appoint elders in every church, appears to mean the same as KaraçƐσaι, to appoint or ordain elders in every city. (Tit. i, 5.)
The word in question is employed to express the election, choice, or appointment of Luke, or some other person, by the vote, suffrage, or appointment of the churches, to be the companion of St. Paul, in whatever way that appointment was made. "And not that only, but who was also chosen (xeporovηbes) of the churches to travel with us with this grace which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord," 2 Cor. viii, 19. That the word cannot mean imposition of hands in this place must be evident to all. Whether the person spoken of was appointed, ordained, or chosen by votes, or by some other way in which the people manifested their choice or approbation, is difficult to decide.
10. Let us now survey the several Greek words used.
These are TOLε, to make; avadeiкvvμa, to point out plainly; exλeyopai, to choose, elect; içeμ, to stand, set up; yivouai, to be, to be made; Tonu, to put, place; kabinu, to constitute, make a ruler; and Tovew, to raise the hand, vote, appoint,-making, in all, eight verbs, which have the radical meaning we have attached to them; and when employed to denote installing into office convey ideas expressed by the words to be, to be made, choose, make, appoint, put into, constitute, make a ruler, or the like. Some of these terms are employed to designate the appointment of Abraham to be the father of many nations; of Joseph to be over Potiphar's house and over all Egypt; of Moses to be the legislator of the Israelites; of the priests to their office; of Christ to be the Messiah; of kings to their kingdom; of the apostles to their apostleship,-in none of which was there any thing like imposition of hands used, but various rites and ceremonies in some, and none at all in others. The same words are used in the case of Joshua, the Levites, the deacons, Paul and Barnabas to a certain work, and perhaps Timothy and others, to denote their appointment to their sacred offices, in whose instal
lation imposition of hands was used; but the words themselves do not express it, or imply it, for other words are employed to show that the rite was used. From all which we learn that the abovenamed words themselves do not designate any particular form of initiation, much less do they fix on imposition of hands, in appointing persons to the office of the Christian ministry, as an indispensable rite, nor even so much as enjoined or inseparably connected with it. Where imposition of hands is to be found it must be collected from other words besides those we translate ordain, appoint, or the like. Hence we may conclude that the various Greek words in the New Testament rendered ordain, ordination, do not, in their radical import, or applied use, properly mean or imply imposition of hands.
II. Scriptural import and use of the ceremony of imposition of
In order to ascertain the proper relation which imposition of hands bears to appointment to the gospel ministry, it will be important to examine into the meaning, use, and value of the ceremony as we find these points presented in Scripture.
1. The hand of man is the chief organ or instrument of his power and operations. Hence in Hebrew 7, yod, is used with great comprehension of meaning. It is used to denote power, agency, ability, means, instrumentality, dominion, possession, assistance, custody, and the like. The word is derived from 7, yadah, to put forth, hold or thrust forth, so called, probably, from its being put forth or protruded from the body, or because man puts it forth in his operations. Hence we see the propriety of stretching forth or lifting up the hands toward heaven in prayer, which was practiced both by believers in the true religion and heathens, who thus acknowledged the power, and implored the assistance of their respective divinities.
2. This ceremony is a form of prayer. It is one form of expression for that holy exercise, being a usual attitude of prayer, not only anciently but now. The following passages of Scripture will amply support this statement: "Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry unto thee: when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle," Psa. xxviii, 2; "If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart," Psa. xliv, 20, 21 ; "Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God," Psa. lxviii, 31; "Lifting up holy hands," 1 Tim. ii, 8. Here to lift up or stretch out the hands is employed as the expression or outward sign of prayer: just as words are, whether associated with this or any other attitude or mode, such as kneeling, lifting up the eyes, &c. It is true, in the foregoing cases there is no direct laying on of hands; but there is the use of the hands in the formal attitude of prayer, which is of similar meaning with imposition of hands, as will appear from the use of the ceremony in paternal blessings.
3. The ceremony of imposition of hands was used in paternal prayer or benediction. So Jacob, when he blessed or prayed for a blessing on the sons of Joseph, "laid his hands upon their heads," though he accompanied the ceremony with a formal prayer in words. (Gen. xlviii, 15, 16.) It was a common custom among the Jews to lay their hands on the heads of those whom they blessed
or for whom they prayed. This seems to have been done by way of consecration or dedication to God, the person ever after being considered as the sacred property of God. So Christ in this manner dedicated little children. "Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them and pray-and he laid his hands on them," Matt. xix, 13, 15. Luke gives the following account of the same thing: "And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them," Mark x, 16.
4. This custom was used by divine authority when victims were offered to God in sacrifice: "And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt-offering," Lev. i, 4; iii, 2; xvi, 21. Here the victim itself must be a proper one, (( a male without blemish." The ceremony here, too, seems to be a form of prayer, rather than any peculiar virtue to be found in its use.
5. The miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost were conferred by the laying on of hands. We have an account in the eighth chapter of the Acts that the Holy Ghost was given by this means. Philip had preached to the Samaritans with success, and performed miracles, such as ejecting unclean spirits and healing paralysis and lame persons, (verse 7.) Afterward the apostles visited Samaria, "who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost; for as yet he was fallen upon none of them, only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost," verses 15-17. Here prayer was connected with imposition of hands. The recep tion of the Holy Ghost is associated with imposition of hands on twelve disciples at Ephesus, concerning whom St. Luke says, "And when Paul had laid his hands on them the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues and prophesied," Acts xix, 6. The effect of the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost was, that they spake with tongues in a miraculous manner. It appears, therefore, that this gift of the Holy Spirit bestowed on those who received it the gift of tongues as well as of prophesying.
Besides, the power of healing diseases of various kinds was also possessed by many, and was exercised mostly by imposition of hands. Of this the following examples are furnished:-In the case of the ruler's daughter, (Matt. ix, 18, 25,) the ruler said to Christ, "Come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live." But when the Saviour came he did not use this ceremony, at least there is no account of it; for he "took her by the hand, and the maid arose." In the parallel places of Mark and Luke there is no account of imposition of hands, though Mark states that the ruler made the request that this ceremony should be used, while Luke omits it entirely. (Mark v, 23, 41, 42; Luke viii, 41, 54.) In the case of the blind man spoken of by Mark, (chap. viii, ver. 22,) our Lord laid hands twice on him, and also spat on his eyes: "And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw aught. And he looked up and said, I see men as trees walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly." In the case of the woman who had an infirmity eighteen years, our Lord "laid his hands on her; and immediately she was made
VOL. X-Jan., 1839.
straight, and glorified God," Luke xiii, 13. Our Lord uses this ceremony in curing a number of sick persons who were brought to him, and who were afflicted with various diseases. (Luke iv, 40.) Recovery from sickness was one of those miracles which those who should believe would be enabled to perform, according to the declaration of Mark: "They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover," Mark xvi, 18.
In connection with the conferring of miraculous gifts by imposition of hands, we will present the following observations:
First. The ceremony of imposition of hands was not always used in healing diseases. In the case of Jairus's daughter, mentioned above, our Lord did not use this ceremony, though he was requested to do so. In the case of those mentioned by James, (ch. v,) the elders are not instructed to lay hands on those for whom they are taught to pray. Other instances to the same effect could be mentioned. Christ performed as mighty miracles without this as he did with it.
Secondly. In healing the sick, other ceremonies were also used. Prayer was used on all occasions. Peter commanded the lame man, in the name of Jesus, to stand up and walk. The sick person mentioned by St. James was to be anointed without imposition of hands. Numerous other cases could be adduced.
Thirdly. In conferring miraculous gifts, such as tongues, prophecy, &c., the ceremony of imposition of hands was not always used. On the day of Pentecost there was no imposition of hands used. We are also informed that there was no imposition of hands on those who were assembled to hear the word on the occasion of Peter's visiting Cornelius, yet they received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and spoke with tongues. (Acts x, 44-46.) Thus even miraculous gifts were conferred without any imposition of hands.
Fourthly. This ceremony seems to be little else in the cases where it was used than a form of prayer. This must be obvious to any one who will examine the various instances of miraculous cures and gifts recorded in holy Scripture. From these the careful inquirer will learn that, as prayer to God is always prominent, the principal design of the ceremony of imposition of hands, or any other used, was to teach man's dependence on God, and to show that the power is of him.
6. Imposition of hands was closely connected in many cases with baptism. When the Samaritans were baptized, we find, in immediate connection with it, the imposition of hands. (Acts viii, 14-17.) It is furthermore stated, in the nineteenth chapter of the Acts, as follows: "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had LAID HIS HANDS UPON THEM, the Holy Ghost came upon them," ver. 5, 6. From the following text it will be seen that laying on of hands was closely connected with baptism: "Therefore, leaving the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptism and of LAYING ON OF HANDS," Heb. vi, 1, 2.
7. Imposition of hands was used in setting apart for office persons duly qualified and called to fill these offices. Joshua was set apart in this manner by Moses at the command of God: "And