Page images

38—42. 4: 32--35. 6: 2-4. 15: 22. It is evident from all these passages, that in the church at Jerusalem, every thing was conducted under the direction of the apostles. Acts 15: 41. 16: 4 &c. Paul travelled through several churches, taught in them, and made various arrangements. Ch. 19: 9. Paul collected the new converts and gave them instructions. i Cor. 7: 17, ουτως εν ταις εκκλησιαις πασαις διατασσομαι thus do I ordain (direct) in all the churches. 2 Cor. 11:28, 1 uepquva naσων των εκκλησιων anxiety for all the churches.

. Comp. Heb. 10: 24 &c.

§ 102.

Institution of the ministerial office. As it was the design of our Lord that christianity should be preserved on earth until the end of the world (1), and be gradually (3) extended by means of instruction (2); the apostles, in obedience to this divine purpose (4), issued their general injunction, that the first teachers should qualify others for the duties of that station (5), and that the ministerial office should be of perpetual standing (6). They moreover made specific declarations by which they promoted the settlement of ministers in particular congregations (7).


1. Perpetuity of the church.--Matth. 13:30, until the harvest, v. 39-43, 47–49. Until the separation of the good and evil at the end of the world, there shall be a church of Christ, consisting of good and bad. Matth. 28: 20. Compare $ 99. III. 9.

II. The church to be extended by instruction.--Matth. 28: 20. διδάσκοντες αυτους κ. τ. λ, teaching them. John 17: 20, περι των πιστευοντων δια του λογου αυτων ερωτω Ι


for those who shall believe through their word (doctrine or preaching). Luke 8: 11, the seed is the word of God, ο λογος θεου. Εph. 4: 12, εδωκε (Χριστος) διδασκαλους-εις οικοδομης του σωματος Χριστου Christ appointed some teachers-for the edification of the body of Christ. 1 Ρet. 1: 23 &e 2: 2.

III. Matth. 13: 31-33, the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven.

IV. Bishops or ministers appointed by the apostles.-Eph. 4: 10 &c. see 111. 2. and $ 100. ΙΙΙ. 6. Acts 20: 28, υμας το πνευμα το αγιον εθετο επισκοπους, ποιμανειν την εκκλησιαν του θεου the Holy Ghost hath appointed you overseers (bishops) to feed the church of God.

V. These are commanded to ordain others.--2 Tim. 2: 2, α ηκουσας παρ' εμου, ταυτα παραθου πιστους ανθρωποις, οίτινες ικανοι έσονται και ετερους διδαξαι the things which you have heard of me, commit to faithful men, who shall be able also to instruct others.

Εph. 4: 11, 12, εδωκε (Χριστος) διδασκαλους, προς τον καταρτισμoν των αγιων, εις εργον διακονιας Christ appointed teachers,

for the perfecting (improvement) of the saints, for the work of the ministry. .

Vl. Perpetuity of the ministerial office.-Eph. 4: 12, 13. In this passage, the phrase, εργον διακονιας the work of the ministry, for which certain christians were from time to time to be prepared; is mentioned as the rmeans to be used εις οικοδομην του σωματος του Χριστου for the edification of the body of Christ, until the church of God shall have attained a state of perfection in the future world. See $ 62. Ill. 18.

VII. The apostles directed that ministers should be located.--Acts 20: 17. (comp. with v. 28) TREOBUTEROLETL040ποι, Comp. ΙΙΙ. 4. 14: 23, χειροτονησαντες (Παυλος και Βαρναβας) πρεσβυτερους κατ' εκκλησιαν Paul and Barnabas, ordained them elders in every church. Tit. 1: 5, Paul directs Titus to ordain elders or presbyters in the towns of Crete. 1 Tim. 3:1-5. 5: 17. 1 Thess. 5: 12. &c. Gal. 6: 6, 7. Heb. 13: 17. These passages enjoin respect and obedience to the elders or ministers of the churches.

$ 103.

Even in those instances, in which the agency of Christ in the

government of his church, is not manifested by any extraordinary acts, that agency nevertheless is exerted.

By these arrangements ($ 100 and seq.), provision was made for the preservation and extension of christianity, so that such extraordinary and striking acts of Christ (§ 100), as were required for the formation of christian societies (1) and the establishment of the ministerial office, (Eph. 4: 11) should no longer be necessary; but that christianity should of itself (2), make a progress (3) which, though not so strikingly apparent (4) to its teachers and friends, should nevertheless be uninterruptedly advancing. Yet (5) Christ does not leave the church to herself, even in our days (6); but carries on his work in the hearts of men ( 114), and by virtue of his government over all things (Matth. 28: 18. $ 96), overrules also external circumstances (7) for the good of his church; even those which seem detrimental to her interests.


I. Miracles wrought for the purpose of establishing churches.—Acts 2:6–43. The miracle on Whitsunday, after the performance of which three thousand persons received christianity. Acts 4: 4. (comp. 3, 10 &c). The great multiplication of christians, in consequence of the miracle of healing the lame man wrought by Peter. Acts 5: 11-16. The great influence which the miracles of Peter (the death of Ananias and his wife, the healing of the sick &c.), had on the inhabitants of Jerusalem and of the surrounding country, Acts 8: 6–17: The founding of a church in Samaria by the miracles of the apostle Philip. Acts 14: 3. Miracles of Paul and Barnabas in Iconia. Acts 19: 10–20. Miracles of Paul at Ephesus, the consequences of which are thus described (ν. 20): ουτω κατα κρατος

ο λογος του κυριου ηυξανε και ισχυεν thus mightily did the word of God increase and prevail. Rom. 15: 18 &c, XATELQyQOCTO Xorotos δι εμου εις υπακοην εθνων, λογω και εργω, εν δυναμει σημείων KAL Tepatwv Christ wrought by me to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders.

II. Mark 4: 28, aurouarn i yn xaqnoqopet the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself. Comp. v. 26, oŮtws EOTW i Baouletu Tov Tɛov thus is the kingdom of heaven (the church of Christ).

III. This is proved by the parable of the mustard seed which gradually grew up to be a large tree Matth. 13:32—and of the little leaven which gradually leaveneth the whole lump v. 33.

IV. Mark 4: 27," the seed, unobserved by the husbandman, sprang up and grew to be a large tree.”

V. Just as the expression “of herself” or spontaneously, aurouarn, (Mark 4: 28) does not, according to Michaelis' own

confession, exclude the influence of the weather and other similar circumstances, but only indicates, that the seed which was deposited in the earth, possessed a power to bring forth plants corresponding to the seed, and to produce something which the utmost exertion of the sowers could not effect, and which they at first could not even perceive ; in like manner also does the apodosis or application of this parable, ascribe to divine truth, the seed of which is committed to the soil of the human heart, an intrinsic power, which, of itself, unobserved by others, effects a salutary change in those who receive it, without thereby denying that the efficacy of this truth is augmented in various ways by divine providence. 1 Cor. 3: 6 &c. $ 115.

VI. Matth. 28: 20. $ 99. Ill. 9.

VII. 1 Cor. 3: 21-23, παντα υμων εστιν-(κοσμος, ζωη, θανατος, ενεστωτα, μελλοντα) υμεις δε Χριστου all things are yours (the world, life, death, things present, things future) and you are Christ's. Rom. 8: 28 &c. $74. III. 1.

§ 104. Notwithstanding all the adversity which the church has to en

counter, she is nevertheless under the uninterrupted guidance of Christ.

The frequent adverse incidents of an internal or external nature, to which the church is exposed, are not evidence either of incapacity or inattention in her Ruler. For, precisely such adversity also befel her in those days, when God exerted (1) himself in her defence, in an ocular manner, and demonstrated by miracles, that he did not want pow

1 Michaelis Dogmatik, p. 241.

« PreviousContinue »