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Who are they that govern ?
Apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers, pastors or bishops, elders and deacons 65.
What is the office of those persons who are denominated apostles ?
To go forth to the whole world (Matth. xxviii. 19; Mark xvi. 15) to proclaim the gospel of Christ, and particularly to exhibit a testimony of his resurrection ; for which purpose they were chosen and sent forth by Christ: whence also they were called apostles ; whom likewise Christ endued with the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, and armed with powers suited to so high an office. Acts ii. 4.
What is the office of prophets ?
To unfold the secrets of the divine will,- to reveal things hidden, and far removed from huinan sense,
65 That these offices, instituted by the Lord Christ through his apostles, were continued and observed in the primitive church, appears evident from the writings of all antiquity : but especially from that very ancient epistle, and so worthy to be read (seeing that among other vestig'es of antiquity it contains the orthodox opinion of the primitive church concerning God) of Clement, the disciple of St. Paul, which he addresses to the Corinthians in the name of the Roman Church, whereof he was bishop. For the primitive Christians were above all things careful that the church should not be corrupted by tyranny or disorder. About the year 600 (when also tyranny chiefly entered into the Church) there arose a sect of men who were called ACEPHALI (that is, without a head). These took
away all rule from the church, and endeavoured to introduce disorder into it, if what Nicephorus (lib. xviii. c. 45) affirms be correct: otherwise, in all times and places, this appointment of Christ and the apostles has been held in respect by Christians, and has continued in uninterrupted succession from their time to our own.-B. WissowATIUS.
to know and predict things that are to come. Cor. xiv.
What is the duty of evangelists ? - To assist the apostles in proclaiming the gospel, and to spread and plant it in different places. Such were Philip, Timothy, and others. Acts xxi. 8; 2 Tim. iv. 5.
What are the offices of teachers, of pastors or bishops, and of elders ?
To speak before others in discourse and prayers, and in all things to preserve order in the church of the Lord.
What is the office of deacons ?
To minister to the necessities of the church, especially of the poor. Acts vi. 2, 3.
Are all those persons who, vou state, are to rule over others, and whose offices you have described, to be found at this day in the church of Christ?
With respect to apostles, and to prophets, (who were nearest to apostles,) it is certain that they are no longer to be found in the chureh of Christ. For the cause on account of which they were chosen, sent, and given by God, no louger exists; which was, that God designed by thein first to announce and establish in the world the doctrine of his Son. Whence they were called also by Paul (Ephes. ii. 20), the foundation of the church of Christ. After, therefore, the doctrine of Christ had, according to the purpose of God, been abundantly revealed and confirmed, the office of these persons in the church ceased.
Why do you call the apostles and prophets the foundation of the church of Christ, when Christ himself is the foundation thereof, I Cor. iii. 11?.
The apostles and prophets are called the foundation of the church of Christ in one sense, Christ is the foundation of his church in another. For the apostles and prophets are called the foundation of the church of Christ in respect of other persons who belong to that church, and rest upon the doctrine and authority of the apostles and prophets. But Christ is considered as something more; that is, as the chief corner-stone of its foundation, as is written Ephes. ii. 20. And Christ is the foundation of the church not only in respect of other men, but also of the apostles thenıselves, who, as well as all other believers, are built upon the Lord.
What say you respecting the evangelists ?
That they also have ceased, as well as apostles : for they, together with the apostles,were chosen for the promulgation of a new doctrine, which is now the oldest.
What think you of the other persons ?
As the causes, on account of which their offices were appointed, do still altogether remain, I certainly conclude that the persons themselves or their offices do also continue.
What kind of persons ought teachers and bishops to be? -. On this subject the apostle Paul treats at large in writing to Timothy (1 Epist. chap. iii. ver. 2–7), “ A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hos
pitality, pitality, apt to teach : not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre,” that is moderate,“ but patient, no brawler,” or not contentious," not covetous, one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a hovice, lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devi). Moreover, he must have a good report of them which are without, lest he fall into reproach, and the snare of the devil.” In like manner, in writing to Titus, and showing what kind of elders ought to be appointed by him, he says (chap. i. 6-9): “If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riotzeelt unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate,” or chaste,“holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he inay be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsavers.'
Is it not necessary that they who teach in the church, and attend to the support and preservation of order, should be sent by others ? It is not : for they do not now bring any
doctrine that is new, or not before promulgated, or not yet sufficiently confirmed; but only propose and inculcate the apostolic doctrine, long since abundantly confirmed, and received by all Christians; and exhort men
to regulate their lives conformably to it. Whence the apostle, in describing at large all that pertained to such an office, makes no mention of a mission of this kind. When, however, such persons are ordained and constituted according to the prescript of the apostolic doctrine, or even when, the affairs of the church having fallen into disorder, they go forth of their own accord, excited by a regard for the divine glory and the salvation of men, for the purpose of regulating and settling the church, and excel in these two qualifications, innocence of life, and aptness to teach,-they ought deservedly to have just authority among all men.
What then say you to those words of the apostle (Romans x. 15), “How shall they preach except they be sent?”
That the apostle does not in these words speak of the preaching of those persons who speak as the dis. ciples of the envoys of God and Christ, and who rest their declarations on the authority of the latter, and not on their own ; but of the preaching of those who profess that they have received what they teach directly from God himself and Christ, and are commanded to announce it to others, and thus claim for themselves the authority of envoys from God and Christ :-Of this kind was the preaching of the apostles, and of some others who were their assistants in the same work; and this certainly required a mission. But as the preaching of the teachers of the present day is not of this kind, as I have lately shown, no such mission is in the least necessary for it.
What kind of persons ought deacons to be?