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gives a title to a higher degree of glory in the next world; for they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the fir. mament ; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the sturs for ever and ever.h

Q. What are the benefits of the ministry?

A. It is by the execution of the office of the ministry that men are made members of the Church of Christ by baptism; and without being born of water and of the Spirit, we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven: that our spiritual life is maintained by the holy eucharist; for the cup of blessing which they bless is the communion of the blood of Christ; the bread which they break, the communion of the body of Christ:j that the pardon of our sins is signed and sealed to us; for by the authoritative sentence of absolution, and by the administration of the sacraments, are the benefits of Christ's sacrifice really conveyed to the penitent and faithful. It is moreover by the faithful discharge of this high office that men are turned from darkness to light, convinced of the folly of their sins, and of the necessity of being holy, in order to their being happy. And the good of the state is advanced by those instructions which men receive from the ministers of God, in the necessary duties of obedience, justice, and fidelity. Without the ministry there could be no religion, and without religion society could not exist.

2. What titles of honour and respect are given in the Gospel to those who are invested with the ministry?

Ă. The dignity and importance of their office are amply displayed in the Gospel. Those who are invested with the authority of the ministry are called the ministers of Christ, stewards of the mysteries of God,k to whom he hath committed the word of reconciliation,' ambassadors for Christ,m and co-workers with him.n

Q. What is implied in their being ministers of Christ?

A. By their being ministers of Christ is implied that they act by commission from him, that they are his officers and immediate attendants, employed in his particular business, empowered and authorized to declare the nature and conditions of his salvation.

Q. What is implied in their being stewards of the mysteries of God?

A. As a steward is the highest domestic officer, and.gover

h Dan. xii. 3 ki Cor. iv.1. n 2 Cor. vi. l.

i John iii. 5.
1 2 Cor, v. 19.

i 1 Cor. x. 16.
m 2 Cor, v. 20

nor of the whole family, who is to give them their portion of meat in due season; so the priests under the Gospel are instituted to dispepse spiritual food for the nourishment of Christians, to feed them with God's holy word and sacraments, to speak the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world.

Q. What is implied in their being public agents and ambassadors ?

A. As ambassadors, they are delegated by God to solicit and maintain a good correspondence between God and man; that they are empowered to administer the word of reconciliation, to sign and seal covenants in the name of God; upon which account their persons are sacred, and all contempt shown to them is an affront to their Master, whose character they bear.

Q. What is implied in their being co-workers with Christ?

Ă. As co-workers with Christ they manage and carry on that glorious design for which he came into the world and took upon him our nature; they are the ministers of his spiritual kingdom, to whose diligence and fidelity is committed its preservation and enlargement.

0. The duties of providing an adequate maintenance for the clergy, and yielding them obedience, have been already explained and enforced. What other duties, arising from the consideration of the dignity of their office, do we owe to the clergy?

A. We should not only provide a decent and honourable support for the clergy, and yield them ready obedience, but we should also honour and esteem, respect and revere them highly, for their works' sake,

We should entertain the highest esteem and affection for those whose business and object it is to advance our eternal salvation : we should treat those with the greatest respect and reverence, who have received a commission from God, to minister unto us in sacred things: we should be ready to assist them in all difficulties, to vindicate their reputations from the aspersions of calumny: and our earnest prayers for them should be directed to God, that they may be evermore guided and supported by his Holy Spirit; that they may be defended from the malice of wicked men ; that they may always enjoy the countenance and support of good men ; and that their important labours may be crowned with success.

o 1 Cor. ü. 7,

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Q. Would we be justified in contemning or neglecting the ministrations of a duly authorized minister of Christ, on account of the irregularity or immorality of his life?

A. The personal qualification of the minister is, in a cera tain degree, necessary to the proper discharge of his sacred office, and is on that account truly desirable. But in the administration of an outward sacrament, which is to be considered as the appointed means of spiritual communication from God to man, nothing is to be considered as absolutely necessary, but the lawfulness of the commission by which it is administered. The divine confirmation of the ministerial act is secured to us by the commission, and not by the personal qualification of the minister, in order that the eye of the faithful may be directed to the proper object, and God, not man, receive the glory. The baptism administered by Judas, who had received a commission from our Saviour to baptize, was without doubt equally effectual with that administered by any other Apostle. Yet we read that this Judas was a devil.p. The effect of Christ's ordinances is not taken away by the wickedness of those who administer them, nor the grace of God's gifts diminished from such who receive the sacraments rightly and by faith, which are effectual by reason of Christ's institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men. A pardon passed by an immoral governor, or a sentence pronounced by a wicked judge, are valid, because their efficacy depends not on the qualifications of the officers, but upon the commission which they hold. The irregular life therefore of a minister of Christ, will not justify us in neglecting or contemning his ministrations. Until he is suspended from the exercise of his ministerial office by the authority of the Church, before which we are bound to present proofs of his irregular life, it will be our duty to reverence his ministrations. By a contrary conduct we shall incur the guilt of contemning that divine authority on which the ministerial office is founded.

Q. The distinction of office between Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons, has been fully established, and their respective powers and duties occasionally enumerated. It may now be proper to state distinctly the duties and powers of each of ihese offices. What powers belong to the office of a Bishop?

A. The office of a Bishop contains and includes in it all the powers of the Christian ministry; to preach, to pray,

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to administer the holy sacraments, to absolve penitents. It moreover contains peculiarly the power of consecrating Bishops, of ordaining Presbyters and Deacons, of confirming those who renew the solemn vow that was made in their names at their baptism, and of consecrating Churches. To this office belongs the inherent right of administering the censures of the Church, and the power of ruling and governing it, and providing for its welfare by good laws. Q. What is the office of a Priest or Presbyter?

A. It is the office of a Priest or Presbyter to teach and instruct the people committed to his charge by the Bishop of the diocese, in the whole doctrine of Christianity, as contained in the holy Scriptures To administer the sacraments and the discipline of Christ, as the Lord hath commandedTo oppose all such erroneous and strange doctrines as are contrary to God's word-To use both public and private admonitions and exhortations as well to the sick as to the whole within his cure, as need shall require, and occasion shall be given-To offer up the prayers in the public assemblies To maintain quietness, and peace, and love, among all Christian people, especially among those committed to his charge -To fashion and frame himself and family according to the doctrine of Christ; and to make himself and them examples to the flock he feeds-To exercise all these duties with diligence and fidelity, and to forsake and set aside (as much as may be) all worldly care and studies; since the employment of his function is sufficient to engage all his time and all his thoughts.r

Q. What is the office of a Deacon?

A. “ It pertaineth to the office of a Deacon, in the Church where he shall be appointed, to assist the Priest in divine service, and especially when he ministereth the holy communion, and to help him in the distribution thereof, and to read the holy Scriptures and homilies in the congregation, and to instruct the youth in the catechism; to baptize, and to preach, if he be admitted thereto by the Bishop. And furthermore it is his office, where provision is so made, to search for the sick, poor, and impotent people of the parish; to intimate their estates, names, and places where they dwell, unto the Curate, that by his exhortation they may be relieved by the parish, or other convenient alms."

Q. Upon what occasion was this order instituted in the Church?

r Form of Ordination.

& Form of Ordination

A. This office had its original from the murmuring of the Grecians, who were probably proselytes, Jews by religion, and Gentiles by, descent, against the Hebrews, who were Jews both by religion and descent, that their widows were neglected in the daily ministration, when believers had all things in common, and were supplied out of one treasury. To prevent any mismanagement for the future, the Apostles appointed seven men, of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost, and of wisdom, to superintend the necessities of the poor, and to serve tables, who were called Deacons.

Q. Doth this serving of tables only imply their care of the poor?

A. Besides the care of the poor, by their serving of tables was implied their peculiar attendance at the Lord's table. It was their office to deliver the sacramental elements, when consecrated, to the people. They had also authority to preach and baptize, as appears from the example of Philip, one of the seven : but they all along in the primitive Church re. tained so much of the chief design of their institution, that they took care of the Church's revenues under the Bishops, and distributed them as the Bishop and his college of Presbyters appointed.

Q. Was not this office exercised, as some pretend, by lay

A. The solemnity which was used in setting Deacons apart for this service, by prayer and imposition of hands, and the qualifications which St. Paul requires in a Deacon, almost the very same with those for a Priest, sufficiently prove this degree to be an ecclesiastical office: nor would the primitive Church have forbidden Deacons, as it certainly did, to follow secular employments, if they had been mere laymen.

men ?

Q. Having thus fully explained the nature and constitution of the Christian Church, it may be proper more fully to con: sider the necessity and obligation of communion with it. On what is the obligation of communion with the Church founded ?

A. The obligation of communion with the Christian Church is founded on its being a society established by God,u to which he has annexed all the privileges and blessings of the Gospel covenant. Of course, in order to partake of these privileges and blessings, we must be admitted into the Christian Church, and maintain communion with it.

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