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the Christian religion—not once; reference to priestly rites as discharged by one man for others—not one. That the writers of the New Testament employ no Levitical terms in their numerous references to the office and work of the Christian ministry, will appear the more remarkable, when it is remembered, that they had themselves been educated in the bosom of the Jewish church,--that their earliest religious associations were connected with the work of its priesthood, and, that on almost every other subject, Levitical analogies evidently presented themselves with spontaneous exuberance to their minds, and are most freely and beautifully recorded by their pens. It was only when writing upon that subject, in illustration of which, if modern ideas be correct, these analogies might have been employed with most propriety and effect, that they carefully abstain from their use;—or rather, the current of their thoughts in reference to
to the adjudication of any two individuals, and named as his own referree Counsellor Clinch. But Counsellor Clinch subsequently declined giving an opinion on the case.—Wide Report of the Discussion, p. 373. If, therefore, the unlearned Catholic finds the ministers of the church sometimes called priests, in the translation of the New Testament which is provided for him ; those of his own communion, who are acquainted with the original, know that the word there employed is improperly rendered.
the Christian ministry flowed in channels so different from those which have been subsequently opened, that they never occurred in this connexion to their
NO PRIESTHOOD INCLUDED, EITHER IN THE INCIPIENT, OR THE COMPLETE AND FINAL APOSTOLIC COMMISsion.
THAT we may not appear to rest our conclusions on general assertions,instead of a careful induction of facts, it may be desirable to examine in detail, the provision made by the Saviour, in his supreme authority as the Head of the Church, for the publication of his religion to the world. This examination is the more necessary, as it will lead us to investigate the foundation of claims which have been associated with the priesthood, equally doubtful in their character, and questionable in their origin.
The first step towards the appointment of a ministry for the Christian church, is certainly to be found in the sending forth of the twelve, whose names and instructions are given at large by Matthew, in the tenth chapter of his gospel. Their commission is contained in the seventh and eighth verses, “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”
Now, it will be remembered, that when this com-. mission was given, the Jewish priests were still officiating, in the order of their courses, and according to the appointed ritual, in the only place where a priest could discharge the duties of his functions—the temple. To that temple, the Saviour himself, that he might fulfil all righteousness, was accustomed to repair; and, with his deciples, to unite in its services and festivals. There was, then, no intrusion on the office of the priest in the commission which was given to the twelve. No ephod, breast-plate, or mitre, was provided for them, (with changes of ordinary raiment they were not to encumber themselves,)—no oil was poured upon their heads,--no blood was sprinkled upon their persons or their garments;–the temple was not to be the scene of their ministry, but the whole land of Judea;-to the altar they received no right to approach;-with sacrifice or incense no authority to intermeddle. They were to preach, and to work miracles in confirmation of the message which they delivered.
Mark gives us a brief account of the execution of their commission: “And they went out, and preached that men should repent, and they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” The anointing of the sick with oil, though it has been adopted as a rite of the Romancatholic church, formed no part of the ritual which was discharged by the Jewish priesthood; and was therefore no invasion of the office, no encroachment on the work of the priest. With what consistency it has been converted into a priestly rite in the Romancatholic church, will be sufficiently seen, when the correspondence of the cases is considered. The Apostles, in the exercise of the miraculous powers with which they were invested, anointed with oil many that were sick, to heal them. And James, in his general Epistle, says, “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church,” (miraculous powers being also possessed by those, on whom for their conveyance the hands of an Apostle had been laid) “and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” The Catholic priest anoints with oil, only at the moment when recovery is deemed impossible, not miraculously to restore the sick to health, but peacefully to dismiss him from the world ! If it were necessary to assign a reason, why Protestants in no case anoint the sick with oil, it would be sufficient to say, that it is the same which prevents them from anointing with clay the eyes of the blind. The anointing in both cases, whether performed by the Saviour or his Apostles, was a significant action, connect
* Mark vi. 12, 13.