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Paul, had for the first time ventured or indirectly includes the point in to leave it. Let any intelligent man dispute. It is with great propriety, consider the symptoms of degene. therefore, that Mr. Chapin underracy of which there are so many takes to state distinctly, at the outintimations in the New Testament set, what are the points assumed, itself, and the elements of corrup- from which his argument proceeds. tion which could not but exist in the We transfer to our columns his acprimitive Christian community count of the starting point of his elements the operation of which the whole inquiry. Apostles foresaw and predicted ; let him consider who the primitive agreed upon in this matter, and which
“ One of the points thus assumed, or Christians were-converts from Ju- the common sense of every person must daism or from heathenism, with approve, is, that the apostolic bistory, as the remains of their old prejudices
contained in the Acts of the Apostles,
was written to acquaint us with the fact, cleaving to them still ; let him
that the gospel was preached, and churchconsider their circumstances, living es were formed; but not to detail the peamong pagans, under a pagan gov- culiarities of their organization ;—that the ernment, surrounded by the influ. firm the churches in the faith; but not to
apostolic epistles were written to con. ences of a state of society of which give them a platform of church organizapaganism was the soul, obnoxious tion and order. Hence, we are obliged to the laws, and frequently assailed
to infer, as we know the fact to be, that
the Nero Testament gives, in no one place, by the most active persecution ; let a detailed account of the organization and him consider their disadvantages, order of the apo
order of the apostolic church. This point with no Christian literature, with no being assumed, it is necessary to assume libraries of theological learning, with another, before we can proceed at all in
the argument; and that is, that the aposno press to multiply books and read
tolic churches, when fully established, ers, with no suitable schools for bad a uniform system of organization; their children, and no colleges for and that the Apostles, in their writings, the training of their ministry, com
allude to, and speak of that form, with
sufficient distinciness, to enable us to depelled even to hold their religious termine what it was. assemblies under the protection of night, and in the deepest privacy ; This paragraph, to our eye, conand then let him say whether any sists of two parts; first a concession thing but a constant miracle could on the part of the author, which have kept the church uncorrupt for virtually subverts every particular a longer time after the days of the form of church organization, claimApostles, than the whole period from ing to be jure divino; and secondly, the days of the first settlers of New an assurnption which we, on our England till the establishment of part, utterly refuse to concede. the federal constitution.
The concession is, that no part of “In every subject which men dis- the New Testament was written for cuss, or examine,” says our author, the sake of making known the con“there must be certain things which stitution and organization of the are assumed, or agreed upon, by all Christian community, in the days of parties. These, like the axioms in the Apostles. And in the face of mathematics, are the starting points such a concession as this, will any of the argument.” All this is true;
man ask us to believe that the wri. and it is also true that almost every ters of the New Testament were all successful sophism, may be resolv. Episcopalians of the jure divino ed into the trick which dextrously school? If that glorious saint and assumes, at one step or another in martyr, Archbishop Laud—if Bish. the course of the argument, some op Seabury, or Bishop Hobart-if definition, some axiom, or some Queen Elizabeth, or King Charles general proposition, which directly first or second--if Dr. Pusey, or Vol. I.
pp. 19, 20.
Prof. Newman, or Bishop Whitting- proceed at all in the argument,” is ham, or the editor of the New York that the apostolic churches, when Churchman-if the Rev. A. B. Cha- fully organized, had a uniform syspin, had written the New Testa- tem of organization.” We do not ment, or even one book of that col. volunteer to prove the negative of lection-could the Bible have been the proposition thus assumed as the found so deficient in respect to an basis of all argument; we only say explicit“ platform of church organi- that for our part, we do not at all zation and order?" True Episco- concede what our author presumes palians could not have left this im. to be conceded. We wait for proof portant matter in so neglected a con- on this point. Nor are we to be dition. Accordingly, when Episco- satisfied by being told that the as. palianism had grown to something sumption is not peculiar to Mr. Chalike maturity, not far from the year pin, or to his party. We know that 300, some writer or writers attempt Congregationalists, Presbyterians, ed to supply this glaring deficiency. and Episcopalians, have all made A book was forged, entitled " the the same assumption. We know Constitutions of the Apostles,”—a that this assumption lies at the founmost Episcopalian book; Laud him- dation of the Cambridge Platform self could hardly have made it more and of Thomas Hooker's Survey, so. It professed to have been writ. as really as it lies at the foundation ten by Clement of Rome, as the of Mr. Chapin's argument. But all amanuensis of the Apostles assem- this is not proof. We want proof bled in council, for the express pur- that the church at Jerusalem, in the pose of prescribing all sorts of reg. days of the Apostles, and the church ulations for the churches. “The at Antioch, were organized and Canons of the Apostles," was anoth- governed on precisely the same syser work of the same kind, though tem. We want proof that the much more compendious. During church at Corinth and the church at those glorious ages before the Re- Babylon, had just the same officers, formation, which the Oxford doc- with just the same functions. The tors and their American co-workers Christian assembly in each city are so anxious to restore, both these which the Apostles and their fellow books had great authority, being laborers visited, grew up by the side considered almost if not quite genu- of the synagogue ; its original and ine; though now they are univer- leading members being a secession sally regarded as forgeries, got up from the body of Jewish worshipers. not far from the beginning of the Who will prove to us, in the first fourth century. But if these are place, that the Jewish synagogues forgeries, how happens it that we of that age, in all parts of the world, have no genuine article of the same in Egypt, in Syria, in Chaldea, in kind?. If the Apostles made no Cappadocia, and in Italy, were all canons at all,
besides what we find constituted and regulated precisely in the New Testament, and if the after one pattern? And this being New Testament was not written to proved, who will prove to us in the give to Christians a platform of next place, that, in every instance, church organization and order, what the seceding body of Christians, deground can there be for the claim, viated from the institutions and rege that any particular form of church ulations to which they had been ac. government, in distinction from oth- customed in the synagogue, just so ers, exists by the divine law? So far and no farther? We commend much for the concession.
this inquiry to the attention of those The assumption which our author learned men, who have more leisure says he must make “ before we can for it than we have, and especially
to Masters of Arts, and the members ordained by any recognized authorof the Yale Natural History Society. ity, can be referred to no lawgiver,
The author of the work before us, and to no precise date at which has a highly original way of ac. they came into existence. Yet we counting for the troublesome factare gravely requested to admit as a that the New Testament no where “ fundamental principle,” that the lays down a platform of church Apostles established in all their government. Having assumed, as churches, from the Euphrates to the we have seen, “ that the churches Guadalquiver, a uniform body of planted by the Apostles, when fully regulations, which they neglected to established, had a uniform system commit to writing, for the reason of organization," he goes on to as that the system was, intrinsically, sume other fundamental proposic and independently of all records, so tions as follows.
"tangible and visible," that it“could
not be mistaken or forgotten.” Is “2. That, whatever this form was, it must have been tangible and visible;
this the way in which“ uniform sys. known to all the members of the church.
tems of organization," Episcopales; and, therefore, could not be mistaken ian, Methodist, or Presbyterian, are or forgotten. " 3. For this reason, the Apostles did
set up and kept up in these days? not address epistles to the churches, in Besides, if we take this for a fundarelation to ecclesiastical organization; mental principle, why are we not to that being a subject about which there adhere to it in our practice? If the was no possibility of mistake. But they
“uniform system of organization," did address epistles to the various church. es.on matters of faith
and doctrine, which invented and put in practice by the not being thus visible and tangible, but Apostles, was a system which need. depending on recollection and memory ed no written constitutions or canons, for their iransmission, were liable to be forgotten or misremembered." pp. 21, 22.
how can we admit, as identical with
that, any system of uniformity, lo Now we can not but think that if which a written code of laws is in. any thing ought to be reduced to dispensable? The church of Eng. writing, instead of being left to the land, the kirk of Scotland, the va. uncertainties of remembrance and rious national churches of America, tradition—if any thing would cer, which have for their essence unitainly be reduced to writing by men formity of organization, present of common sense, acquainted with themselves before us, each with its the use of letters—the constitution own voluminous canons and constiand laws which were to be the “uni. tutions, without which its uniformity form system of organization,” for a would be impossible ; and each of confederacy of newly formed reli. these various churches claims that gious societies, extending over the its own organization is in precise known world, ought to be, and cer- accordance with that established by tainly would be made “tangible and the Apostles. Why shall we not be visible," by being written upon allowed to tell them that, according parchment, if not upon “ tables of to Mr. Chapin's “ fundamental prinstone.” Nay, may we not say that ciple,” they are all wrong? For, the only unwritten laws and institu. as he teaches us, the “uniform sys. tions which are possible in a com. tem of organization," established by munity that has the art of writing, the Apostles, was one which needed are such laws and institutions as no writing to record it or define it; have grown up by usage, slowly but without canons or constitutions, and unobserved, with the tacit con- it was “ tangible and visible, known sent or the tacit submission of that to all the members of the churches, community-laws and institutions and therefore could not be mistaken which, never having been positively or forgotten.”
Another point in the passage truths, which were the object of above cited, is equally remarkable their faith, and the basis of their in its bearing on the whole subject hopes. To suppose that the Apos. of inquiry. According to the fun- tles established in all the churches damental principles from which our a uniform hierarchical system, with author's argument proceeds, the a distribution of powers and duties Apostles had no occasion to write among various ranks rising one any “ epistles to the churches, in above another; and to suppose at relation to ecclesiastical organiza- the same time, that while that hiertion; that being a subject about archical system remained unwritten, which," even in the absence of all and while the communities over written constitutions and canons, which it was established, were all “there was no possibility of mis- new, there arose, in a full quarter take.” We will not dispute this of a century, no occasion for the proposition. Let it stand confessed founders of it to give any explanathat the Apostles, from the day of tion of an obscure or disputed point, Pentecost till the latest of them fin- is a supposition so near to an abished his course, never had occa- surdity, that we might be excused sion to address a single epistle to a from arguing against it. single church, on the subject of The author seems to feel that church organization. Let it stand after all his preliminaries are setconfessed that in that primitive and tled, and all his assumptions are forming age, when, there were no granted, the inquiry upon which he settled usages, no precedents, and is entering will not be without its no written regulations, the organiza- difficulties. To illustrate the artion of the churches, whatever it duousness of the investigation which was, was such, so tangible and must ascertain the constitution and visible" a thing, so known and com- uniform organization of the aposprehended of all men, that in all the tolic churches from the New Testachurches there arose no serious ment alone, he supposes that a man question as to its principles or de- born and educated in a South Sea tails-no dispute respecting the rela- island, and entirely ignorant in retive rights, powers, and functions of spect to the institutions and usages members, and of different officers— of civilized countries, is called to at least, none of such a nature as to the task of ascertaining the organirequire any explanation or decision zation of the American army in the from an apostle. In one view, this revolutionary war, from a collection fact, admitting it to be a fact, is a of General Washington's private most significant phenomenon. Why letters, together with a few of his may we not shut up the book here, proclamations addressed to the arwith the conclusion that the system my—the letters being written, du. of ecclesiastical organization set up ring the progress of the war, to a by the Apostles, was just about no few of the General's familiar friends system at all? How can the phe- who had left the army and were nomenon be explained, but by sup- residing in a remote part of the posing that wherever converts were country. “ Such a man, under such made, under the teaching of the circumstances," says our author, Apostles, and a Christian society or " would be situated very much as we community was thus originated, the are when attempting to determine Apostles left those Christians to man- the entire constitution of the apos. age their own matters, as a society, tolic church, from Scripture alone." in their own way, only charging This is a strong, but on the whole, them to keep their communion pure, not an unfair illustration so far as it and to hold fast those inspiring goes. Yet it is somewhat defective.
To complete the analogy between particular, is for every man to apthe two cases, it must be supposed pear on parade in plain clothes, as that by some fundamental ordinance decent as he can afford to wear. of the government, all the rights Amid these distractions, the inof every citizen to his franchises quirer, as ignorant of all such matas a citizen, to his property, to his ters as a South Sea islander, is to liberty, to his life itself, are made judge from a few of Washington's to depend on his ascertaining, un- private letters, and a few of his der all these disadvantages, what general orders, which of these variwas the organization of the old ous organizations is the true continental army, and thus enroll- cient and honorable" revolutionary ing his name in some regiment army. And the question is not to organized and disciplined exactly be decided by inquiring which corps after the revolutionary model. It has the most of the old revolutionmust also be supposed that learned ary patriotism, or which maintains and ingenious men, who have given in the greatest purity those political much attention to the documents, principles on which the revolution have arrived at different conclu- turned-such inquiries might lead sions; and that accordingly, there him wide of the mark; the whole are in existence several distinct question, he must remember, is a bodies of troops differing from each question of order and organization other in various particulars. There only. He is to secure his rights as a are some who hold that no organiza- citizen, only by enlisting in that corps tion is complete, or truly revolu- which is officered and drilled after tionary, or can have any validity the true revolutionary pattern. Howin securing the rights of those who ever pure may be his patriotism, enroll themselves under it, unless it however enlightened and sound his is commanded by a field-marshal; political principles in all other reand such as hold this opinion, organ- spects—if he fails in this point, he ize themselves accordingly. Oth- has no rights as a member of soers succeed in keeping up a very ciety, but is thrown absolutely on respectable discipline, with no offi- uncovenanted mercy” of the cer of a higher rank than general. sovereign power in the commonThere are some who maintain, that wealth. the word of command must always Such are the preliminaries of the be read out from a book, or else investigation such the explanations
— all order in the army will go to which our author gives of the naruin. Others hold, that if the word ture and arduousness of the inquiry of command is rightly given and through which he proposes to conpromptly obeyed, the actual pres- duct his readers. We are now to ence of a book is of small con- observe his manner of conducting sequence, and may be, in some the inquiry itself—" What is the emergencies, a positive inconveni. Scriptural draught of the apostolic
Some insist, that it is neces- church?” sary to wear on parade a certain This general inquiry he divides grotesque old fashioned uniform, into the following particulars : “ 1. with prodigious white facings. Oth. What was the apostolic church ? 2. ers insist, that as the revolutionary Who composed it? 3. What were armies appear to have been in no the powers and duties of its memcondition to bestow much attention bers ? 4. What were its officers ? upon their uniforms, and were gen. and 5. What were the qualificaerally glad to wear whatever coats tions required of, and the power and they could get, the most suitable duty belonging to each ?” imitation of their practice, in that First, then, “ What was the apos.