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most effectual steps for the future establishment of what was fo neceffary to be adopted. Nay fo much was even Dr. Campbell convinced of the neceffity of such an apoftolic inftitution of government, that he pronounces " any prefumptuous encroachment on "what is evidently fo inftituted, to be justly repre"henfible in thofe who are properly chargeable "with fuch encroachment, as is indeed any viola❝tion of order, and more efpecially when the vio"lation tends to wound charity, and to promote di"vifion and ftrife." Happy had it been for the church in this kingdom, if what is here observed had been duly attended to by thofe from whom the author of this juft remark derived his miniftry.Yet, as if afraid that he had gone too far in cenfuring fuch prefumptuous encroachment as justly reprehenfible, he immediately adds-"But the repre"henfion can affect thofe only who are confcious of "the guilt; for the fault of another will never fruf"trate to me the divine promife given by the Mef
fiah, the great interpreter of the Father, the "faithful and true Witness to all indiscriminately, "without any limitation, that he who receiveth his "teftimony hath everlasting life."
There is a fenfe, in which part of this reafoning may be received as well-founded; but we cannot fo eafily perceive the connection, by which the following conclufion is drawn from it. "I may be de"ceived," fays the author, "in regard to the pre"tenfions of a minifter, who may be the ufurper of
"a character, to which he has no right. I am no "antiquary, and may not have either the know
ledge, or the capacity neceffary for tracing the "faint outlines of ancient establishments, and forms "of government, for entering into dark and criti"cal questions about the import of names and titles, "or for examining the authenticity of endless genealogies; but I may have all the evidence that confcioufnefs can give, that I thankfully receive the "teftimony of Chrift, whom I believe and love and "ferve."*
But furely this all-fufficient confciousness must arife from fome fource or other: and where there is a want of the "knowledge or capacity neceffary" for such inquiries as are here alluded to, there must be an implicit reliance on the fkill and fidelity of those teachers or spiritual guides, who ought to serve as 26 eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame," who seem to be particularly pointed out for that purpose in the authoritative direction delivered to God's people in these words-" Thus faith the Lord, stand ye in the ways and fee, and afk for the old paths, "where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye "fhall find reft for your fouls." There were many, no doubt, in the days of Jeremiah, who might have availed themselves of this plea, that "they were no "antiquaries, and had neither the knowledge, nor
Vol. I. p. 88.
+ Jer. vi. 16.
capacity that was neceffary" for fuch laborious and useless investigation. Yet the command is general, and fufficient inftruction given, how to proceed in discharging the duty enjoined. There is a "good way" pointed out for walking in, among the "old paths," which are to be found out by "afking," with earneftnefs and circumfpection."Stand ye in the ways, and fee, and ask for the old paths."" Asking" implies fome person or thing, of whom enquiry may be made; as where the children of Ifrael were commanded to "afk their fa"thers," and to "afk of the days that were paft," for fuch information as was neceffary for directing their conduct. The fame inftructive information may still be obtained, if we are at due pains to apply for it, and do not trust too much to that inward "consciousness," which often promises reft to the foul, without the trouble of any outward inquiry about "coming" to that Saviour, in the way and manner which he has prefcribed, who alone can beftow this inestimable bleffing, and " give reft to "the foul that is weary and heavy laden."*
Having therefore already confidered his holy religion, the only way in which we can "come to him" for spiritual rest and comfort, as, like himfelf-"the "fame yesterday, to-day, and for ever;" and being I hope, well convinced, that it ought to be received and
St. Mat. xi. 29.
and embraced, just as it is represented and held out in the fcriptures of truth, without "adding thereto, "or diminishing from it," we shall now proceed, in confequence of what has been said, to establish another no less evident and important fact, which fhall be the fubject of the following chapter.
THE CHURCH OF CHRIST, IN WHICH HIS RELIGION IS RECEIVED AND EMBRACED, IS THAT SPIRITU. AL SOCIETY, IN WHICH THE MINISTRATION OF HOLY THINGS IS COMMITTED TO THE THREE DISTINCT ORDERS, OF BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND DEACONS, DERIVING THEIR AUTHORITY FROM THE APOSTLES, AS THOSE APOSTLES RECEIVED THEIR COMMISSION FROM CHRIST.
WHEN the converted Hebrews received this command from an infpired apoftle-" Obey them "that have the rule over you, and fubmit your
felves; for they watch for your fouls ;"* they were thereby put in mind, not only that they had fouls to be "watched for," but also that the power or authority, which thefe watching rulers had over them,
* Heb. xiii. 17.