Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

also their duty, in a subordinate the ordination by imposition of degree, to promote its spiritual hands, that the seven deacons interests. The deacon of the were appointed not so much for Episcopal Church has nothing in secular, as for spiritual purposes, common with such an office; he By none, perhaps, has this arguhas no secular business; he is no ment been more forcibly put than assistant to the bishop; he is, in by Whitby on the passage; and fact, but an imperfect presbyter, by Mr. Hughes in his dissertation preparing to obtain, by another prefixed to his edition of Chrysosordination, his full powers. We tom de Sacerdot. But what less, have to show that the primitive I ask, could have been required deacons managed the temporalities for the due discharge of the daily of the church, and in that, as administration, or for the sustainwell as in other respects, were ing of any official character in the appointed to assist the pastors. Christian church, than wisdom and Whether they belonged to the good character, and in an age clergy or the laity, is a question when miraculous gifts were so about names, and that too of an common, a large measure of the age after the Apostolic; we Holy Ghost. As to the imposi. readily admit them to have been tion of hands, we do not see how an order of spiritual men, and this can support any view of the we wish they had more of this deacon's office, as this rite was character in our own churches. used on almost all occasions in

In the passage under considera- the primitive church. When tion, they were evidently ap- multitudes received the imposition pointed to see, that a suitable and of hands, who were appointed to just provision was made for the no office at all; when it appears widows, and to manage the daily to have been the common symbol administration, confessedly the of communicating supernatural distribution to the poor. They gifts; surely nothing can be inwere to serve tables, that is, to ferred from this rite, respecting attend to pecuniary business, in the nature or duties of an eccleorder that the Apostles might un- siastical office. When it is said, reservedly devote themselves to that Stephen preached, and Philip the word of God and prayer. The baptized; I reply, it can be easily phrase, diakovelv tPanešais, seems shown, that in the primitive church to refer to the tables of the money many preached and some bapchangers ; TpaTEŠn frequently oc- tized, who were neither bishops curs in the sense of a money table, nor deacons; just upon the prinand in Luke xix. 23, in that of a ciple recognized in Dissenting bank. An appropriate passage is churches, but disowned by Episcommonly cited from the decree copacy, that every member is of Ptolemy, respecting the manu- obliged to spread the knowledge mission of the Jews, Josephus of the Gospel wherever he has an Ant. xxi. 2, 3. (See Krebs and opportunity. Rosenmüller.) With good rea- It has been sometimes said, that son, therefore, all recent commen- this was only a temporary ap. tators have interpreted the pas. pointment on a particular emersage “ inservire pecuniæ,” to attend gency, and not the institution of to pecuniary business.

a permanent office in the ChrisOn the other hand, it has been tian church ;—that these persons argued by some writers, from the are no where called deacons ;qualifications required, and from and that nothing can therefore be

argued from this passage respect. The distinction between presbying the office in question. Then ters and deacons, in the first four I say at once, whether these men centuries, is apparent from the were deacons or not, to the dea- appellations which were com. cons of the primitive church was monly given to them. In allusion committed the superintendence of to the Jewish economy, the former its temporal business.

were called priests, and the latter For, not to insist upon the fre- levites. These expressions frequent use of the word diakovla in quently occur in acts of Councils, the New Testament, to denote and in the writings of the Latin the superintendence of charitable fathers; among the rest, Jerome donations for the benefit of the often calls deacons levites, and poor, the whole current of Chris- says, expressly, that they are the tian antiquity represents the dea- ministers of tables and widows.* cons as intrusted with the manage. Previous to the martyrdom of St. ment of secular business. The Lawrance, the treasures of the declaration of the Council of church were demanded from him Trullo upon this subject is well as deacon, (the archdeacon being known, in which it is said, the at that time a deacon, and not, as deacons did not administer the now, a presbyter,) and he presacred mysteries, but only served sented the widows, the orphans, tables and attended to widows.* and the infirm. In accordance Bingham calls this a singular with the spirit of their office, the notion of the Council, and ad- deacons received the oblations of duces in reply several expressions the congregation-distributed the of the epistles of Ignatius, in elements at the Lord's Supperwhich the deacon's office is cer- conferred with the bishop on cases tainly lauded and extolled suffi. of scandal, or improper conduct ciently. But to those who can among the people, provided for believe, that so early a Christian the regular solemnization of di. writer as Ignatius commanded the vine worship-and performed a people to reverence the deacons variety of services, which afteras Jesus Christ, just as in another wards, when both priests and deaepistle he is made to tell the cons grew too great for the duties Magnesians, that their bishop pre- of their offices, were committed to sides in the place of God, to such a host of people, called the infeit is a hopeless task to argue upon rior clergy. One part of these this question. Surely such ex duties might perhaps be revived pressions as these, were there no with advantage. My readers will other reason to doubt their genu smile when I tell them, that the ineness, must prevent us on a apostolic constitutions direct deacontroverted subject from placing cons to overlook the people, that any dependance upon the epistles no one talk or sleep during divine of Ignatius.t

service. Upon the nature of the office, we therefore conclude in

the words of the fourth Council * Coun. Trul. c. 16. As Pearson makes the extravagant

of Carthage, “ a deacon is set exaltation of presbyters, which is commor in these epistles, a plea for their genuineness, because, as he wonld have for the antiquity of these epistles from us believe, the honours and influence of their representing deacons as the holy priests declined in the third or fourth Apostles, and even as Jesus Christ himcentury; so perhaps some ingenious con- self. troversialist may construct an argument * Hierom. Ep. 75. ad Evagr.

apart not to the priesthood, but to With regard to the number of a ministering office." *

deacons in each church, no uni. It remains to observe, that in formity was observed; only be it the primitive church the office of remembered, deacons were always deacons was not considered pre- attached to some particular church, paratory to that of presbyters or that is, congregation of believers. bishops. We readily admit, that In general, deacons were more many deacons were made both numerous in the eastern than in presbyters and bishops ; because the western churches. The church the piety, wisdom, and diligence, at Rome, and some few others, which qualified them for the for- professing to imitate apostolic mer office, recommended them practice, always appointed seven also to the latter, in an age when deacons : on the contrary, at

than it is at present, and much less by one of Justinian's novels, to a of a professional character was hundred for the great church only. attached to Christian pastors. But It may be expected, that such to prove that the one office was a paper as this should not close not preparatory to the other, it without some remarks upon the will be sufficient to state, what deaconesses of the primitive all must admit, that on the one church, the archdeacon of the hand, many eminent deacons were early ages, and as far as it can never made presbyters, and on the be ascertained, the amount of other, there were many presby. provision which, in the first three ters and bishops who had never or four centuries, was made for been deacons. Of the former the poor of the church. I must class, we find St. Lawrence the defer the consideration of these martyr, Ephrem the Syrian,t and particulars until another oppormany others; of the latter class, tunity. St. Ambrose, Cyprian, Nectarius, In the mean time, allow me to Bishop of Constantinople; Euse- call the attention of your readers bius, of Cæsarea; Eucherius, of to the following inquiries. What Lions; Philogonius, of Antioch, means can be adopted to diminish and many others. To make our the prevalence of the system of appeal to Scripture, would the committing the business of a Apostle have said, “ not a novice,” Christian church, the guardianif every bishop was previously to ship of the ark of the Lord, to unserve the office of deacon, of converted men, that is, be it obwhom it is said, let them also be served, to men with whom a befirst proved ?

liever is solemnly bound to form

no unnecessary association what* Coun. Car. 4. $ 4. Diaconus, non ad ever? We oppose an unholy sacerdotium, sed ministerium, conse- ministry; can we countenance cratur.

+ I mention this industriong writer what is in effect, under the name because Mosheim in his Ecclesiastical of committees or managers, an History, Cent. iv. p. 11. ch. 1. § 10. ungodly deaconship? calls him Bishop of Syria. It is strange Again, in the present age of the learned historian should make him a bishop, and still more strange, give

zeal and activity, when so many him so large a diocese in the fourth duties press upon the faithful century. It is, I believe, said by some pastor, often calling him from body, that St. Basil ordained him a study and prayer; is it not depresbyter ; but the otherwise uniform testimony of the ancients, is, that he died

sirable, I go further, is it not a deacon of the church of Edessa.

Christian duty, that such deacons

of our churches as have amassed deed, if we were prepared to say, considerable property in business, the widows and orphans, the aged and will sustain no serious injury and infirm among us, are our in leaving it, should retire from brethren and sisters in Christ : the bustle of the world, and con- we will cheerfully pay every secrate themselves unreservedly demand for the poor of our counto the glory of the Redeemer in try; but we will strain every that important office to which the nerve to support the household of voice of their brethren has called faith; we have one sacred printhem? Lastly, what support is a ciple among us, if any man will church bound to afford to its des not work, neither shall he eat; and titute members, where there is a we will preserve another inviolegal provision for the poor? in late, if any man cannot work, he other words, is a church at liberty shall not be thrown for his mainto leave its members among the tenance upon the world, from paupers of the land, and thus to which we have received him. abandon “ the daily ministration" How this is to be effected, or to overseers and churchwardens? whether, under present circumI confess, for myself, I should stances, it can or ought to be heartily rejoice, if Dissenters had effected at all, I am not preas little dependance upon paro- pared to venture an opinion. chial relief as the poor among

R. H. Quakers. I should rejoice, in

THE BOOKWORM. A Treatise concerning Enthusiasme, by Meric Casaubon, D. D.- London. 8vo. 1655. The generality of books, like and manners of this age are as plants peculiar to a climate, thrive different from those of the times only in that soil which gave them alluded to, as the mien of a mobirth : if they are removed they dern beau from that of a Cromlose their beauty and wither. wellian sectary, or an iron-nerved They may retain their peculiarity trooper of Sir Arthur Haselrigge. of shape, and stand as specimens What have babies to do with of exotic productions on the shelves men's employ? Let them play of a museum, but all their sana. with their rattles. To hear one tive virtue is blasted by the un- of these smooth apprentices of the kindly atmosphere they breathe. small ware of letters, whose mind This is doubtless, one of the many was never capacitated for an idea reasons which operate to that dis- larger than betits the pop-gup like for obsolete literature which magazines of the day-to hear pervades, at least, many modern such an one sit in judgment on readers. Men whose minds are the Spirits of olden times, is like trimmed up in the guise of mo- listening to the opinion of a bat on dern literary dandyism, drilled to the splendour of the sun, or to the learning under the rapid evolu- critique of a petit-maitre on the tions of Hamiltopian fuglemen, muscular contortions of a wrestand taught to dance to the March -ling Hercules. There is an initiaof intellect," do not come fitly tion to the secrets of the biblioprepared to read, much less to mania, and till that be endured, understand and enjoy, the quartos many of its rites will appear unand folios of former days. The spirit meaning..

A genuine bookworm must an- spirit of progression. There, at tedate his life and all his sym- least, we shall not be bullied by pathies, and by a kind of in- Irving's orations, nor fascinated by verted metempsychosis be ideally the gaze of the “ modern seers.” present with, and feelingly alive The Cambrian precipices are as to, all the wants, and customs, and yet inaccessible to the “ March fashions, and principles of the era of intellect," and as impregnable of the book he reads. He must to the legions of modern science form another atmosphere in which as to those of ancient Rome. his drooping exotic may again Situated as we are, though more revive and blossom. To us, who than a hundred miles from the cen

are better acquainted with the tre of action, there is but little hope .“ Mercurius Rusticus," than with of remaining long uninfected, and

the “ Times," and have been left if ever these steam-coaches should far behind in the rapid march (or be invented, the contagion will be fight, as we should rather call unavoidable. Though we amuse it) of the present age, such a ourselves with the pertinacity of mental retrospection has almost an eastern ascetic, and shun, as become babitual. But to those far as possible, all intercourse with who are not familiarized to ancient the diseased, we sometimes fear, manners, the process by which especially from some prognostics the taste is formed to this “cavear of recent appearance, that the to the multitude,” is repulsive. In mania has entered our humble these days of mechanical excite. dwelling. As yet one section of ment, when intellectual progres- it is perfectly healthy-our study: sion is accelerated by gas and there, nothing modern has been steam engines, the very air which permitted to enter :--the air of it we breathe is impregnated with savours of antiquity. Its aspect the corpuscles of modern philoso- is that of an Egyptian catacomb, phy, and 'tis scarcely possible to where, in their several niches, rewithdraw ourselves from the mure pose the forms of the mighty dead, ky element with which we are whose very dust is fragrant. It surrounded, and inhale, even for a is in such company that a black moment, the inartificial breath of letter volume should be read: the antiquity. Scotch moods, German garishness of a parlour, and its metaphysics, the gigantic nonen- meagre assortment of ornamenttities of eastern mythology, arctic ed and ephemeral literature but navigation, and tunnels under the ill befit the gravity of age. Let Thames, are all uniting to mystify our readers abstract themselves our understandings, and this in- for a few moments and bear us tellectual opium spreads such a company. Let them absorb themuniversal delirium, that nothing selves in the contemplation of the can excite our energies but what events of the seventeenth century, is prodigious and terrific. If the and consider every later period as age proceed much further in im- a kind of parenthesis in history, provement, there will be no living a paragraph which contributes in it, and we have serious thoughts, nothing to the integrity of the before it is too late, of taking up sense. From amidst the crowd our abode in one of the most dis. of worthies who surround us, we tant of the Hebrides, or in some will select this thin and time-worn lone nook amongst the Welsh octavo, whose pages amply graced, mountains, where we hope to be with learned Latin, and more out of the reach of this alarming learned Greek, bespeak a person

« AnteriorContinuar »