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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

1. Scope of the inquiry. -It is proposed to examine the somewhat scanty evidence of the 1st cent. as to the manner in which Christian ministers were admitted to office. In the investigation the following passages, which have, or may be thought to have, a bearing on the subject, will be specially considered:  Acts 1:24 (appointment of Matthias)  Acts 6:6 (appointment of the Seven)  Acts 13:3 (mission of Barnabas and Saul)  Acts 14:23 (appointment of presbyters);  1 Timothy 4:14,  2 Timothy 1:6 (Timothy’s ordination);  1 Timothy 5:22 (?),  Titus 1:5 (ordinations by Timothy and Titus). But, before examining these passages, we may make two preliminary remarks. (a) There is no technical word used in the NT to express admission to ministerial office, for though χειροτονεῖν is found ( Acts 14:23), there is no indication that it is there used in a technical sense (see below, 3). This is the case also in the Didache ( 15, c.[Note: . circa, about.]a.d. 130?), where we read: ‘Appoint (χειροτονήσατε) therefore for yourselves bishops and deacons.’ At a later date this word and χειροθετεῖν and others (for which see Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, article‘Ordination’) acquired a technical sense; but this is not the case in the NT. (b) As we have for this subject to depend largely on the narrative in Acts, it will be well to bear in mind a characteristic of St. Luke. With the wealth of material at his disposal, it was impossible for him to repeat the same or similar details over and over again; he therefore omits a detailed description in cases where a like account has already been given. We notice this both in the Third Gospel and in Acts. St. Luke gives the salient facts, especially of the events that happened at critical periods of the history; but, having once given them, he does not repeat the details next time he has to narrate a similar event. This will be borne in mind when we are considering narratives about admission to the ministry. We shall not expect that on each occasion the whole procedure will be described; but from the analogy of one such ordination, e.g. that of the Seven in Acts 6, we shall conclude, unless anything is said to the contrary, that the same procedure was followed on other occasions.

2. Choice of ordinands. -The normal method of choosing men for the Christian ministry in the Apostolic Age, as certainly in those which succeeded it, was election by those to whom the ordained was to minister. This was undoubtedly the case with the Seven in Acts 6. Whatever their exact office was-and it is not likely, in view of the solemn procedure adopted, to have been only an office of serving tables, a supposition which seems also to be contrary to the evidence of evangelistic activity by Stephen, Philip, and the rest-the people (‘the whole multitude’) elected (ἐξελέξαντο, ‘chose for themselves,’  Acts 6:5) the Seven and presented them to the apostles ( Acts 6:6), who after election ‘appointed’ them ( Acts 6:3, καταστήσομεν) and prayed and laid their hands on them ( Acts 6:6). The difference between the ‘appointing’ and the ‘electing’ would seem to be that while the people had a free choice, the apostles reserved the right of veto if they thought the choice in a particular case unsuitable. And the same veto apparently rested with ‘apostolic men’ like Timothy and Titus. Thus Titus appoints ( Titus 1:5, καταστήσῃς, the same word as in  Acts 6:6) presbyters in every city. This must involve at least the same power of veto as in Acts 6.

We do not read of election in some cases; notably it is not mentioned when the presbyters are appointed in  Acts 14:23, and some have taken the pronoun in the phrase ‘appointed for them’ as indicating that Paul and Barnabas acted without consulting the people. Yet, as has been said above (1), we ought probably to presume election to have taken place unless there is evidence to the contrary. The details are given in ch. 6; they are not repeated in ch. 14. It is also probable that election existed at Ephesus and in Crete, though we nowhere read of it in the Pastoral Epistles. This method (not without a certain veto attached) continued for many centuries, and to a large extent, with geographical and local variations, exists to this day (see article‘Laity,’ Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethicsvii. 768 f.).

An exception to this method of choosing men for the ministry would be when the Divine will was directly intimated. The Twelve were chosen by our Lord Himself (note especially  John 15:16), without ecclesiastical intervention. So also was St. Paul ( Galatians 1:1; see below, 8). In the appointment of Matthias to the apostolate, the people did indeed choose two (Joseph Barsabbas, surnamed Justus, and Matthias) from among the personal witnesses of our Lord’s life and resurrection, but took the lot which (after prayer had been offered) was cast between these two as an indication of the purpose of God ( Acts 1:15-26). The prayer is noteworthy both as being the first recorded act of public worship of the disciples after the Ascension, and as containing words which are characteristic of later ordinations: ‘thou which knowest the hearts of all men’ (καρδιογνῶστα πάντων,  Acts 1:24; cf.  Acts 15:8), though it is uncertain whether the prayer in Acts is addressed to the Father or to the Son. In the later ordinations it is addressed to the Father. In the case of St. Matthias there was apparently no further ‘ordination’ to the apostolate. The Divine choice is announced by the lot, and so he ‘was numbered with the eleven apostles’ ( Acts 15:26).

Other cases of Divine intervention are mentioned, and in such cases it would seem that there was no election. Whatever was the significance of the ceremony in  Acts 13:1-3 (see below, 8), the choice of Barnabas and Saul was made by the Holy Ghost-no doubt through the utterance of a Christian prophet. And Timothy, as St. Paul tells us ( 1 Timothy 4:14), was ordained through (διά) prophecy. This is taken by Liddon (Com. in loc.) as indicating an apostolic utterance or prayer-i.e. the ordination prayer. But this interpretation does not suit  1 Timothy 1:18 ‘the prophecies which went before on thee’ (or better, as Revised Version margin, ‘which led the way to thee’); and a much more likely view is that the ‘prophecy’ is the indication of the Divine purpose by a Christian prophet, showing that Timothy was a suitable person. Here a regular ordination did follow. It is possible, though perhaps not probable, that the words in  Acts 20:28 (see below, 6) mean that the Holy Ghost had by a prophet pointed out the presbyters at Ephesus as being worthy of ordination.

3. The outward sign of ordination. -We are not told that our Lord gave directions to the apostles as to the method by which they were to appoint officials for the Church. Indeed, it is not a little remarkable that what Western theologians of a later day called the ‘matter’ and ‘form’ of ordination could neither of them have been taken from the incidents recorded in the gospel narratives which have come down to us. For in  John 20:22 f. (we need not stop to inquire whether these words were addressed to the Ten or to a larger number of disciples) our Lord is said to have ‘breathed’ on those present, whereas the apostles and those who came after them used, without any known exception, laying on of hands as an outward sign, and to have pronounced a declaratory and imperative formula, whereas the disciples always (till the Middle Ages) used by way of ‘form’ a prayer only.

The use of an outward sign for the admission of men to the ministry follows many analogies. Our Lord had made use of outward signs in instituting the two great sacraments of the gospel, baptism and the Eucharist. In the OT an outward sign was used in setting apart for office, and it was to be expected that a similar custom should be found in the Christian Church. As a matter of fact, the only outward sign found for many centuries in the case of Christian ordination is imposition of hands. This symbol was used in the OT in acts of blessing, of appointment to office, and of dedication to God. Moses laid his hands on Joshua when he set him apart as his successor ( Numbers 27:23,  Deuteronomy 34:9). Jacob blessed his grandchildren by laying his hands on their heads ( Genesis 48:14;  Genesis 48:17). Imposition of hands was used in dedicating sacrifices ( Leviticus 1:4), and in setting apart Levites ( Numbers 8:10). Similarly our Lord blessed by laying on of hands ( Mark 10:13;  Mark 10:16 and || Mt. Lk.), and used the same symbolic act in healing ( Mark 5:23 -which shows that it was a well-known practice, as Jesus is asked to lay on hands,  Luke 4:40;  Luke 13:13 etc.). The disciples also used laying on of hands in healing ( Mark 16:18;  Acts 9:12;  Acts 9:17, referring probably to the restoration of Saul’s sight: see below, 8;  Acts 28:8). We see, then, that the symbol had more than one signification. The apostles used it when praying for the gift of the Holy Ghost for the baptized ( Acts 8:17;  Acts 19:6), and also when setting men apart for the ministry. The ‘laying on of hands’ in  Hebrews 6:2 perhaps refers to all the occasions when the symbol was used; or else to ‘confirmation’ only, as F. H. Chase maintains (Confirmation in the Apostolic Age, London, 1909, p. 45).

Laying on of hands is explicitly mentioned in  Acts 6:6 (the Seven) 13:3 (mission of Barnabas and Saul; see 8),  1 Timothy 4:14 and  2 Timothy 1:6 (ordination of Timothy), and in  1 Timothy 5:22, if that refers to ordination (see below). No other outward sign is mentioned in the first three centuries. None at all is mentioned in the appointment of presbyters in  Acts 14:23. Here the verb χειροτονεῖν is used, which in later days often meant ‘to ordain.’ But it does not necessarily imply laying on of hands; it may mean election, properly through a show of hands, or at any rate by an assembly, as in  2 Corinthians 8:19; or it may even mean an appointment by God ( Acts 10:41) or by man ( Acts 14:23). Thus we cannot affirm from the last-named passage that Paul and Barnabas laid on hands[Note: The word χειροθεσία (‘laying on of hands’) is not found in the NT (as it is so often found later on), but ἐπίθεσις χειρῶν. In some works, e.g. the Apost. Const., χειροτονία is used ordinarily for ‘ordination,’ but χειροθεσία when ‘laying on of hands’ is emphasized; the latter is used in Apost. Const. for other impositions of hands (A. J. Maclean, Ancient Church Orders, Cambridge, 1910, p. 154 f.).]when they appointed presbyters in every church[Note: This word might have been translated ‘In church’: cf.  Acts 2:46, ‘at home’; but  Titus 1:5 is conclusive for the other translation.] which they visited on their first missionary journey. Yet it is exceedingly unlikely that they used any other outward sign, or that they refrained from using any outward sign. Here the characteristic of St. Luke already mentioned should be borne in mind. Laying on of hands was the sign universally used in the early Church for ordination; a supposed exception in the case of the ordination of a bishop in the Apostolic Constitutions (circa, abouta.d. 375) is conclusively shown by the newly-discovered Church Orders to be only apparent.

In the 4th cent, another outward sign was introduced, apparently in cases where it was not at first deemed suitable to use imposition of hands-namely, at the admission of men (and women) to minor orders. In this case the ‘porrectio instrumentorum’ was substituted; a reader, for example, was given a book. In the Middle Ages, in the West, this kind of outward sign almost overshadowed the imposition of hands, especially in the case of the chalice and paten given to one ordained to the presbyterate. See on this subject Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, article‘Ordination.’

Laying on of hands is mentioned in  1 Timothy 5:22. Timothy is to ‘lay hands hastily on no man.’ But does this refer to ordination? If so, it gives us confirmation of the fact, which in any case we can scarcely doubt, that the local ministry were ordained with imposition of hands. It is taken in this sense by Chrysostom and the Greek commentators, and in modern times by Alford, Liddon, and (apparently with a slight hesitation) by H. B. Swete (Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols)iii. 85). On the other hand, this passage is interpreted by several moderns (Hort, Hammond, Ellicott, Chase, etc.), as referring to the reception of penitents with laying on of hands. This interpretation suits the context perhaps better than the other; both before and after this verse St. Paul is speaking of sinners, and the words, ‘Neither be partaker of other men’s sins, keep thyself pure,’ are held to be less suitable to ordination. The custom of receiving penitents or persons who had been in schism or heresy, with laying on of hands, is attested in the 3rd cent. by Cyprian (Ep. lxxiv. [lxxiii.], ‘ad Pompeium,’ 1, de Laps. 16), in the 4th cent. by the Council of Nicaea (Song of Solomon 8), Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica (Eusebius, etc.)vii. 2, an ‘ancient custom’), the Apost. Const. (ii. 41), and at the end of the 5th cent. by the ‘Gallican Statutes’ (Statuta Ecclesiae Antiqua), formerly in error ascribed to the ‘Fourth Council of Carthage’ ( 80; see C. J. Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church, Eng. translation, Edinburgh, 1896, ii. 411). But this custom is not referred to elsewhere in the NT, and one has a suspicion that the interpretation in question antedates it considerably. On the whole, the question must be left open.

The laying on of hands is no magical sign, effecting a change independently of all spiritual considerations. But the same thing is true of the water in baptism and the bread and wine in the Eucharist. The utility of an outward and visible sign is undoubtedly very great, but it is only a minor part of an ordinance, and does not enable those who receive it to neglect the spiritual disposition which is necessary. The outward sign is the help to faith. The vitally important factor in the ordinance is the Holy Spirit who works in it. See Swete, The Holy Spirit in the NT, p. 384.

4. The ordination prayer. -All the passages in Acts mentioned above ( Acts 1:24;  Acts 6:6;  Acts 13:3;  Acts 14:23) tell us of prayer being used, but, except in the case of the choosing of Matthias (where the words are no guide to us for the general case), we have no indication as to the nature of the prayer. The prayer preceded the laying on of hands ( Acts 6:6). The earliest ordination prayer that we can even provisionally arrive at dates from perhaps the beginning of the 3rd century. By a careful comparison of the ordination prayers in the parallel Church Orders of the 4th cent., which are derived from a common original that is perhaps of the time of Hippolytus, we can conjecturally determine the ordination prayer of the lost original. But even this gives us only one out of what was doubtless a very large number of such prayers in use throughout the Church; and, further, those used at ordinations, like those used at the Eucharist, were probably at the first in a very fluid condition, if not extemporaneous. The great characteristic of all ordinations for many centuries after the Ascension was their extreme simplicity, no matter to what office a person was ordained; a prayer and laying on of hands were practically all, except that the kiss of peace, and, in the case of a bishop, enthronization, were added. But it is very noteworthy that while our Lord in  John 20:22 f. said, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost,’ and ‘Whose scever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto them,’ etc., the Christian ordinations invariably took the form of a prayer. The introduction in the West, in the Middle Ages, of the declaratory form, in addition to (not instead of) the ordination prayer, was very probably due to a desire to follow our Lord’s example exactly. But the earlier Christians would seem to have regarded such a procedure as irreverent. Their Master had used a declaratory form, had by His Divine power declared that their commission was given to them. They themselves believed that their own proper course was to pray that God would give the commission to the ordinands by their instrumentality. The same feeling comes out in the fact that in the early ages the eucharistic consecration by the Church was always conceived as effected by a prayer, and not by a declaratory form of words. See Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, articles ‘Invocation (Liturgical)’ and ‘Ordination.’

5. Fasting. -In  Acts 13:2 f. we read that fasting preceded the solemn mission of Barnabas and Saul. In  Acts 14:23 ‘fastings,’ as well as prayer, accompany the appointment of presbyters ‘in every church’ by Paul and Barnabas. The plural ‘fastings’ seems to mean that these apostles at each town held a solemn service of ordination with fasting; they did not ordain a large number for the whole district at one convenient centre.

Fasting was frequently in early ages associated with solemn prayer ( Psalms 35:13,  Daniel 9:3,  Mark 9:29 [some Manuscripts],  Luke 2:37); and so with baptism and the Eucharist. The pre-baptismal fast is mentioned in the Didache (7 f.), by Justin Martyr (Apol. i. 61), Tertullian (de Bapt. 20), Cyril of Jerusalem (Cat. iii. 7, xviii. 17), in the Church Orders (see Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethicsv. 768a), and elsewhere. The fast before Communion is mentioned in Tertullian (ad Uxor. ii. 5) and in the Church Orders (Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethicsv. 768b). In the Testament of our Lord (i. 22) and the Arabic Didascalia (23, 38) there is a fast for bishops after their ordination. But we do not find in early post-apostolic literature much emphasis laid on fasting in connexion with ordination.

6. God working through His ministers in ordaining. -It was not only when there was a special Divine intervention, as in the case of Matthias, Paul, and (probably) Timothy, that the first disciples believed that God was the real ordainer. He always worked through His human instruments. Even in the case of Matthias the special intervention extended only to God’s selection (so they regarded the lot) of one out of two men; the choice of the two was made by the people. Yet no one would doubt that Matthias was really appointed an apostle by God. And this, as seems most probable, is the meaning of  Acts 20:28. St. Paul tells the presbyters of Ephesus that the Holy Ghost has made them ‘bishops.’ Yet he doubtless had ordained them himself, though probably (as in 6:3) the people had elected them. It is perhaps due to this significant passage about the Ephesian presbyters that, as Swete remarks (The Holy Spirit in the Ancient Church, London, 1912, p. 290 f.), all the forms of ordination in the Church Orders recognize the Holy Spirit as the source of ministerial power, though the invocation of the Third Person in the Eucharist was not quite so universal.

7. The charisma in ordination. -St. Paul says to Timothy, ‘Neglect not the charisma that is in thee, which was given thee through prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery’ ( 1 Timothy 4:14); and ‘kindle (stir into flame, Revised Version margin) the charisma of God which is in thee through the laying on of my hands’ ( 2 Timothy 1:6 : on these two verses see further below, 9). That this ‘charisma’ (gift) is not the office to which Timothy was appointed-whatever that was-but the inward grace which enabled him to discharge it, is seen from the words ἐν σοί which occur in both passages (so Alford, Ellicott, Liddon, Comm. in loc.; Swete, The Holy Spirit in the NT, p. 246; see also R. Hooker, Ecclesiastical Polity, bk. v. ch. lxxvii.). The nature of the charisma is referred to in  2 Timothy 1:7, which immediately follows the second passage; it is a spirit of power and love and discipline (σωφρονισμοῦ, i.e., possibly, ‘self-control,’ or better, ‘the capacity of exercising discipline without abandoning love’ [so Swete]). That the ‘charismata’ or gifts of the Spirit are not all of them what we call ‘extraordinary,’ but include those faculties which enable the regular ministry to carry out their work, may be seen also from St. Paul’s description of the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. The gifts are indeed various, but they include ‘apostles,’ ‘teachers,’ ‘helps,’ ‘government,’ as well as ‘powers,’ ‘gifts of healing,’ ‘kinds of tongues’ ( 1 Corinthians 12:28; cf. the preceding verses). The same thing is seen from  Romans 12:6-8.

The belief that in ordination a charisma of the Spirit is given does not (it need hardly be said) mean that those who thus receive it have not before received the Holy Spirit. The Seven, for example, were to be full of [Holy] Spirit and wisdom before they were elected by the people and appointed and ordained by the apostles ( Acts 6:3). Stephen was already ‘a man full of faith and Holy Spirit’ ( Acts 6:5). But the gifts of the Spirit are many and various; and the charisma which Timothy was not to neglect but to kindle was that special gift which would enable him to be a good Christian minister.

8. The mission of Barnabas and Saul from Antioch. -In considering the present subject we must necessarily touch on the meaning of the ceremony in  Acts 13:1-3, when these two great missionaries were sent out on their first evangelistic journey. Was it an ordination, or a ‘dismission service’? Was it the appointment of Barnabas and Saul to the apostolate? We read that certain ‘prophets and teachers’ were at Antioch-Barnabas, Symcon, Lucius, Manaen, Saul. ‘As they ministered (λειτουργούντων) to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.’ The ‘sending forth’ is expressly said to be the act of the Holy Ghost ( Acts 13:4). This was after the return of Barnabas and Saul from Jerusalem, whither they had gone to take the alms of the Church at Antioch ( Acts 11:30,  Acts 12:25). St. Luke’s pronouns are somewhat ambiguous. But his phrase in  Luke 13:3 must mean that Symeon, Lucius, and Manaen (and possibly other prophets and teachers, if any unnamed ones were present)[Note: The τινες of the TR is badly attested, and can hardly be original. D and Vulg. have ‘among whom [were] Barnabas,’ etc., suggesting that there were others. But probably the list given is exclusive.] prayed and laid hands on Barnabas and Saul, and sent them away. It was clearly an important occasion. It was a solemn service or liturgy before God, during which the Holy Spirit indicated His Divine purpose-doubtless by the mouth of one of the prophets present. They then fasted and-apparently on a second occasion-prayed, laid on hands, and sent the two missionaries away. It is the view of some that this was an ‘ordination’ of Barnabas and Saul to the apostleship (so, e.g., Rackham, Com. in loc.). It is said that hereafter, but not before, they are described as ‘apostles’ ( Acts 14:14), and that though St. Paul was made an apostle by our Lord directly, yet that Divine appointment did not make it unnecessary for the Church at large by a formal act to recognize it. But (however that may be) the view that these two men were on this occasion made apostles appears to the present writer to be more than doubtful. In the first place, nothing whatever is said in the passage in question about the apostleship, or indeed about an appointment to any office whatever. Secondly, in  Galatians 1:1 St. Paul explicitly claims that he is an ‘apostle not from (ἀπό) men, neither through (διά) man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father.’ His apostleship is of Divine, not of human, origin; the same is true of the apostleship of the Twelve also. Further, his apostleship is not through man-no man is the instrument by which this Divinely appointed apostleship came to him. Indeed, the whole argument of the first two chapters of this Epistle is based on the supposition that St. Paul did not derive authority through the Twelve-and a fortiori not through any Christian ‘prophets and teachers.’ And in the third place the suggestion about Church recognition, if it be pressed to mean (as it is pressed by Rackham) that Symeon, Lucius, and Manaen conferred the apostleship on Barnabas and Saul, means that those who were not themselves apostles could make others apostles. Rackham says that as the Divine will was indicated, this was possible, just as Ananias, a ‘layman,’ laid hands on Saul ( Acts 9:17). The latter statement involves more than one unproved assumption; but at any rate this argument about Ananias runs counter to the proposition that ‘the Church should by a formal act recognize the Divine operation.’ ‘The Church’ does not mean any individual layman in the Church. More cautiously Gore remarks (The Church and the Ministry5, London, 1902, p. 236 n.[Note: . note.]):

‘It was essential to St. Paul’s apostolate that he should not have received his spiritual gifts through other apostles. Again the prophets and teachers at Antioch lay hands on Barnabas and Saul. But here also we have a special divine authorization; and it is to set apart two already of their own “order” to a special work.’

For the reasons stated it seems impossible to view the incident at Antioch as a conferring of the apostleship on Barnabas and Saul. But it was a solemn assignment to them, under the direction of the Holy Ghost, of an extended work among the Gentiles, and all the accompaniments befitted this new departure. When Barnabas received the apostleship there is no record. But as he was constantly in touch with the Twelve, and was, so to speak, the connecting link between them and St. Paul, and as there is no claim that he received the apostleship direct from our Lord, it is probable that he received it from the Twelve on some occasion which is not recorded.

9. The action of the presbyters in Timothy’s ordination. -We have hitherto refrained from asking to what office Timothy was ordained. And it is perhaps unnecessary for our present purpose to do so. But, at any rate. Timothy was one of those ‘apostolic men’ who shared in the itinerant ministry of the apostles, though they were not themselves apostles; he was not one of the local ministry, though for a time he was resident at Ephesus. There is no reason to suppose that he passed from one office to another, as the ordained of later ages have done; and we may in all probability take his ordination referred to in the Pastoral Epistles as being his only ordination, and as his ordination to the office which he held when St. Paul addressed his two letters to him.

Now in  1 Timothy 4:14 the charisma (see above, 7) is said to have been given to Timothy through (διά) prophecy (see above, 1), with (μετά) the laying on of the hands of the presbytery (πρεσβυτερίου). And in  2 Timothy 1:6 the ‘charisma of God’ is said to be in Timothy ‘through (διά) the laying on of [St. Paul’s] hands.’ It seems hardly possible to interpret these words otherwise than of Timothy’s ordination.[Note: Chase (Confirmation in the Apostolic Age, p. 35) takes  2 Timothy 1:6 (not  1 Timothy 4:14) as referring to Timothy’s confirmation, though he stands almost alone in doing so. He interprets  1 Timothy 4:14 as is done by the present writer, and understands it to mean that St. Paul and the presbyters together laid hands on Timothy at his ordination.] And it is difficult to interpret the presbytery otherwise than as the body of presbyters referred to in  1 Timothy 5:17, etc. The usual interpretation seems to be the right one, that in the above passages we have the prototype of an arrangement which was once probably universal, or certainly widespread, in both East and West, and which still survives in the West. We may think of St. Paul laying his hands on Timothy, with the active concurrence of the local presbyters, who lay on hands together with the Apostle. But the difference of preposition is significant; in the case of St. Paul διά, in the case of the presbyters μετά, is used. The latter word would seem to indicate that the act was one of St. Paul’s in which the presbyters by their deed concurred. There is, indeed, a slight difficulty in this interpretation. The arrangement, formerly in the East and still in the West, to which reference has been made, is that at the ordination of a presbyter the presbyters lay hands on his head together with the ordaining bishop, though the latter alone says the words. But this custom is not mentioned till the 4th century. We find it in the Egyptian and Ethiopic Church Orders, the Testament of Our Lord, and the Verona Latin Fragments of the Didascalia, etc.; also c.[Note: . circa, about.]a.d. 500 in the ‘Gallican Statutes’ (above, 3); see Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, article‘Ministry,’ 8. The custom may probably be traced to the lost original of the parallel Church Orders-that is, to the 3rd century. Of the intervening period between the Pastoral Epistles and that date we know nothing in respect to this matter. It is therefore possible that the arrangement in question was not continuously in use, but was adopted in the 3rd cent. because of the interpretation then given to the passage in 1 Timothy. And it was confined to the ordination of a presbyter, for when a bishop was ordained the other bishops laid on hands, but no presbyters, unless possibly-this is very uncertain-in the Canons of Hippolytus; while in the NT there is no indication that the local presbyters laid on hands with Paul and Barnabas when they ‘appointed’ presbyters for each church: indeed, probably there were no presbyters present other than the newly-ordained. Nevertheless, though the arrangement may possibly not have been continued in the sub-Apostolic Age, and though the latter procedure was not altogether on all-fours with the apostolic arrangement, seeing that the whole local organization of the ministry had developed by the 3rd cent., it appears highly probable that St. Paul’s meaning is that both he and the local presbyters laid hands on Timothy when the latter was ordained. Where this took place St. Paul does not say. It could hardly have been at Lystra, where Timothy was converted. A novice in the faith, such as he was when St. Paul took him into his company, would not have been ordained to the ministry (cf.  1 Timothy 3:6). Alford (Com. on  1 Timothy 4:14) suggests Ephesus, where Timothy was to exercise his ministry for a considerable time. And this would be in accordance with the idea that St. Paul refers to the concurrence of the presbytery because the Ephesian presbyters were likely to read his Epistle. But the point is of no great importance.

For the manner in which ordinations to the ministry have been conducted in subsequent ages, reference may be made to the present writer’s article ‘Ordination’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics.

Literature.-H. B. Swete, The Holy Spirit in the NT, London, 1909, article‘Laying on of Hands’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols); F. J. A. Hort, The Christian Ecclesia, London, 1897 (posthumous); the various Commentaries on Acts and the Pastoral Epistles, especially R. B. Rackham, The Acts of the Apostles2, London, 1904; C. J. Ellicott, The Pastoral Epistles of St. Paul, do., 1856; H. Alford, The Greek Testament7, do., 1874; H. P. Liddon, St. Paul’s First Epistle to Timothy, do., 1897.

A. J. Maclean.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [2]

The act of conferring holy orders, or of initiating a person into the priesthood by prayer and the laying on of hands. Among the dissenters, ordination is the public setting apart of a minister to his work, or over the people whose call he has accepted. In the church of England, ordination has always been esteemed the principal prerogative of bishops, and they still retain the function as a mark or their spiritual sovereignty in their diocess. Without ordination no person can receive any benefice, parsonage, vicarage, &c. A person must be twenty-three years of age, or near it, before he can be ordained deacon, or have any share in the ministry; and full twenty-four before he can be ordained priest, and by that means be permitted to administer the holy communion. A bishop, on the ordination of clergymen, is to examine them in the presence of the ministers, who in the ordination of priests, but not of deacons, assist him at the imposition of hands; but this is only done as a mark of assent, not because it is thought necessary.

In case any crime, as drunkenness, perjury, forgery, &c. is alleged against any one that is to be ordained either priest or deacon, the bishop ought to desist from ordaining him. The person to be ordained is to bring a testimonial of his life and doctrine to the bishop, and to give account of his faith in Latin; and both priests and deacons are obliged to subscribe to the thirty-nine articles. In the ancient discipline there was no such thing as a vague and absolute ordination; but every one was to have a church, whereof he was to be ordained clerk or priest. In the twelfth century they grew more remiss, and ordained without any title or benefice. The council of Trent, however, restored the ancient discipline, and appointed that none should be ordained but those who were provided with a benefice; which practice still obtains in England. The times of ordination are the four Sundays immediately following the Ember weeks; being the second Sunday in Lent, Trinity Sunday, and the Sundays following the first Wednesday after September 14 and December 13. These are the stated times; but ordination may take place at any other time, according to the discretion of the bishop, or circumstances of the case. Among Seceders or Dissenters, ordinations vary. In the establishment of Scotland, where there are no bishops, the power of ordination is lodged in the presbytery. Among the Calvinistic Methodists, ordination is performed by the sanction and assistance of their own ministers.

Among the Independents and Baptists, the power of ordination lies in the suffrage of the people. The qualifications of the candidates are first known, tried, and approved by the church. After which trial, the church proceeds to give him a call to be their minister; which he accepting, the public acknowledgment thereof is signified by ordination, the mode of which is so well known, as not to need recital here. According to the former opinion, it is argued that the word ordain was originally equal to choose or appoint; so that if twenty Christians nominated a man to instruct them once, the man was appointed or ordained a preacher for the time. The essence of ordination lies in the voluntary choice and call of the people, and in the voluntary acceptance of that call by the person chosen and called; for this affair must be by mutual consent and agreement, which joins them together as pastor and people. And this is to be done among themselves; and public ordination, so called, is not other than a declaration of that. Election and ordination are spoken of as the same; the latter is expressed and explained by the former. It is said of Christ, that he ordained twelve,  Mark 3:14 . that is, he chose them to the office of apostleship, as he himself explains it,  John 6:70 .

Paul and Barnabas are said to ordain elders in every church ( Acts 14:1-28;  Acts 15:1-41;  Acts 16:1-40;  Acts 17:1-34;  Acts 18:1-28;  Acts 19:1-41;  Acts 20:1-38;  Acts 21:1-40;  Acts 22:1-30;  Acts 23:1-35;  Acts 24:1-27;  Acts 25:1-27;  Acts 26:1-32;  Acts 27:1-44;  Acts 28:1-23 .) or to choose them; that is, they gave orders and directions to every church as to the choice of elders over them: for sometimes persons are said to do that which they give orders and directions for doing; as Moses and Solomon, with respect to building the tabernacle and temple, though done by others; and Moses particularly is said to choose the judges,  Exodus 18:25 . the choice being made under his direction and guidance. The word that is used in  Acts 14:23 . is translated chosen in Cor. 2: 8, 19. where the apostle speaks of a brother, who was chosen of the churches to travel with us, and is so rendered when ascribed to God,  Acts 10:41 . This choice and ordination, in primitive times, was made two ways; by casting lots and giving votes, signified by stretching out of hands. Matthias was chosen and ordained to be an apostle in the room of Judas by casting lots: that being an extraordinary office, required an immediate interposition of the Divine Being, a lot being nothing more nor less than an appeal to God for the decision of an affair. But ordinary officers, as elders and pastors of churches, were chosen and ordained by the votes of the people, expressed by stretching out their hands; thus it is said of the apostles,  Acts 14:23 .

When they had ordained them elders in every church, by taking the suffrages and votes of the members of the churches, shown by the stretching out of their hands, as the word signifies; and which they directed them to, and upon it declared the elders duly elected and ordained. Some, however, on this side of the question, do not go so far as to say, that the essence of ordination lies in the choice of the people, but in the solemn and public separation to office by prayer: still, however, they think that ordination by either bishops, presbyters, or any superior character, cannot be necessary to make a minister or ordain a pastor in any particular church; for Jesus Christ, say they, would never leave the subsistence of his churches, or the efficacy of his word and sacraments, to depend on the uninterrupted succession of any office or officer: for then it would be impossible for any church to know whether they ever have had any authentic minister; for we could never be assured that such ordinations had been rightly transmitted through 1700 years. A whole nation might be corrupted, and every bishop and elder therein might have apostatized from the faith, as it was in England in the days of popery. To say, therefore, that the right of ordaining lies in men who are already in office, would drive us to hold the above-mentioned untenable position of uninterrupted succession. On the other side it is observed, that, although Christians have the liberty of choosing their own pastor, yet they have no power or right to confer the office itself. Scripture represents ordination to be the setting apart of a person to the holy ministry, by the authority of Jesus himself acting by the medium of men in office; and this solemn investing act is necessary to his being lawfully accounted a minister of Christ.

The original word,  Acts 6:3 . which according to Scapula, and the best writers on the sacred language, signifies to put one in rule, or to give him authority. Now did this power lodge in the people, how happens it that in all the epistles, not a single word is to be found giving them any directions about constituting ministers? On the other hand, in the epistles to timothy and Titus, who were persons in office, we find particular instructions given them to lay hands suddenly on no man, to examine his qualifications before they ordain him, and to take care that they commit the office only to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also,  Titus 1:5 .  2 Timothy 4:14 .  Acts 14:23 . Besides, it is said, the primitive Christians evidently viewed this matter in the same light. There is scarcely a simple ecclesiastical writer that does not expressly mention ordination as the work of the elders, and as being regarded as a distinct thing from the choice of the people, and subsequent to it. Most of the foregoing remarks apply chiefly to the supposition, that a person cannot be ordained in any other way than as a pastor over a church.

But here, also, we find a difference of opinion. On the one side it is said, that there is no Scripture authority whatever for a person being ordained without being chosen or nominated to the office of a minister by a church. Elders and bishops were ordained in every church, not without any church. To ordain a man originally, says Dr. Campbell, was nothing else but in a solemn manner to assign him a pastoral charge. To give him no charge, and not to ordain him, were perfectly identical. On the other side it is contended, that from these words, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." it is evident that missionaries and itinerants must be employed in the important work of the ministry; that, as such cannot be ordaining them for the church universal. Allowing that they have all those talents, gifts, and grace, that constitute a minister in the sight of God, who will dare say they should not be designated by their brethren for the administration of those ordinances Christ has appointed in the church?

Without allowing this, how many thousands would be destitute of these ordinances? Besides, these are the very men whom God in general honours as the first instruments in raising churches, over which stated pastors are afterwards fixed. The separation of Saul and Barnabas, say they, was an ordination to missionary work, including the administration of sacraments to the converted Heathen, as well as public instruction,  Acts 13:1;  Acts 13:3 . So timothy was ordained,  1 Timothy 4:14 .  Acts 16:3 . and there is equal reason, by analogy, to suppose that Titus and other companions of Paul were similarly ordained, without any of them having a particular church to take under his pastoral care. So that they appear to have been ordained to the work of the Christian ministry at large. On reviewing the whole of this controversy, I would say with Dr. Watts, "that since there are some texts in the New Testament, wherein single persons, either apostles, as Paul and Barnabas, ordained ministers in the churches; or evangelists, as Timothy and Titus; and since other missions or ordinations are intimated to be performed by several persons, viz. prophets, teachers, elders, or a presbytery, as in  Acts 13:1 . and  1 Timothy 4:14; since there is sometimes mention made of the imposition of hands in the mission of a minister, and sometimes no mention of it; and since it is evident that in some cases popular ordinations are and must be valid without any bishop or elder; I think none of these differences should be made a matter of violent contest among Christians; nor ought any words to be pronounced against each other by those of the episcopal, presbyterian, or independent way.

Surely, all may agree thus far, that various forms or modes, seeming to be used in the mission or ordination of ministers in primitive times, may give a reasonable occasion or colour for sincere and honest searchers after truth to follow different opinions on this head, and do therefore demand our candid and charitable sentiments concerning those who differ from us."

See articles Episcopacy, Imposition Of Hands, Independents and Ministerial Call in this work; James Owen's Plea for Scripture Ordination; Doddridge's Tracts, 5: 2: p. 253-257; Dr. Owen's True Nature of a Gospel Church, p. 78, 83; Brekell's Essay on Ordination; Watts' Rational foundation of a Christian Church, sec. 3; Dr. Campbell's Lectures on Ecclesiastical History, vol. 1: p. 345; Gill's Body of Divinity, p. 246. vol. 3: 8 vo.ed. Theological Magazine for 1802, p. 33, 90, 167; Ewing's Remarks on Dick's Sermon, preached before the Edinburgh Missionary Society, in 1801.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [3]

the act of conferring holy orders, or of initiating a person into the ministry of the Gospel, by prayer and with or without the laying on of hands. In the church of England, ordination has always been esteemed the principal prerogative of bishops; and bishops still retain the function as a mark of their spiritual sovereignty in their diocess. Without ordination no person can receive any benefice, parsonage, vicarage, &c. A person must be twenty-three years of age, or near it, before he can be ordained deacon, or have any share in the ministry; and full twenty-four before he can be ordained priest, and by that means be permitted to administer the holy communion. A bishop, on the ordination of clergymen, is to examine them in the presence of the ministers, who in the ordination of priests, but not of deacons, assist him at the imposition of hands; but this is only done as a mark of assent, not because it is thought necessary. In case any crime, as drunkenness, perjury, forgery, &c, is alleged against any one that is to be ordained, either priest or deacon, the bishop ought to desist from ordaining him. The person to be ordained is to bring a testimonial of his life and doctrine to the bishop, and to give an account of his faith in Latin; and both priests and deacons are obliged to subscribe to the thirty-nine articles. In the ancient discipline there was no such thing as a vague and absolute ordination; but every one was to have a church, whereof he was to be ordained clerk or priest. In the twelfth century the bishops grew more remiss, and ordained without any title or benefice. The council of Trent, however, restored the ancient discipline, and appointed that none should be ordained but those who were provided with a benefice; which practice still obtains in the church of England.

The reformed held the call of the people the only thing essential to the validity of the ministry; and teach, that ordination is only a ceremony, which renders the call more August and authentic. Accordingly the Protestant churches of Scotland, France, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Denmark, &c, have no episcopal ordination. For Luther, Calvin, Bucer, Melancthon, &c, and all the first reformers and founders of these churches, who ordained ministers among them, were themselves presbyters, and no other. And though in some of these churches there are ministers called superintendents, or bishops, yet these are only primi inter pares, the first among equals; not pretending to any superiority of orders. Having themselves no other orders than what either presbyters gave them, or what was given them as presbyters, they can convey no other to those they ordain. On this ground the Protestant Dissenters plead that their ordination, though not episcopal, is the same with that of all the illustrious Protestant churches abroad; and object, that a priest ordained by a popish bishop should be received into the church of England as a valid minister, rightfully ordained; while the orders of another, ordained by the most learned religious presbyter, which any foreign country can boast, are pronounced not valid, and he is required to submit to be ordained afresh. In opposition to episcopal ordination, they urge that Timothy was ordained by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery,   1 Timothy 4:14; that Paul and Barnabas were ordained by certain prophets and teachers in the church of Antioch, and not by any bishop presiding in that city,  Acts 13:1-3; and that it is a well known fact, that presbyters in the church of Alexandria ordained even their own bishops for more than two hundred years in the earliest ages of Christianity. They farther argue, that bishops and presbyters are in Scripture the same, and not denominations of distinct orders or offices in the church, referring to Php_1:1;  Titus 1:5;  Titus 1:7;  Acts 20:27-28;  1 Peter 5:1-2 . To the same purpose they maintain, that the superiority of bishops to presbyters is not pretended to be of divine, but of human, institution; not grounded on Scripture, but only upon the custom or ordinances of this realm, by the first reformers and founders of the church of England; nor by many of its most learned and eminent doctors since. See Stillingfleet's Irenicum, in which the learned author affirms and shows this to be the sentiment of Cranmer, and other chief reformers both in Edward VI, and Queen Elizabeth's reign, of Archbishop Whitgift, Bishop Bridges, Lee, Hooker, Sutcliff, Hales, Chillingworth, &c. Moreover, the book entitled, the "Institution of a Christian Man," subscribed by the clergy in convocation, and confirmed by parliament, owns bishops and presbyters by Scripture to be the same. Beside, the Protestant Dissenters allege, that if episcopal ordination be really necessary to constitute a valid minister, it does not seem to be enjoined by the constitution of the church of England; because the power of ordination which the bishops exercise in this kingdom, is derived entirely and only from the civil magistrate; and he authoritatively prescribes how, and to whom ordination is to be given: that if an ordination should be conducted in other manner and form than that prescribed by him, such ordination would be illegal and of no authority in the church. Accordingly the bishop at the ordination of the candidate asks, "Are you called according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the due order of this realm!" The constitution and law of England seem to know nothing of uninterrupted lineal descent, but considers the king vested, by act of parliament, or the suffrage of the people, with a fulness of all power ecclesiastical in these realms, as empowering and authorizing bishops to ordain: and this power of ordination was once delegated to Cromwell, a layman, as vicegerent to the king. They farther think it strange, that the validity of orders and ministrations should be derived, as some have contended, from a succession of popish bishops; bishops of a church, which, by the definition of the nineteenth article of the church, can be no part of the true visible church of Christ, and bishops, likewise, who consider the Protestant clergy, although ordained by Protestant bishops, as mere common unconsecrated laymen.

On reviewing the whole of this controversy, says Dr. Watts, that since there are some texts in the New Testament, wherein single persons, either Apostles, as Paul and Barnabas, ordained ministers in the churches, or evangelists, as Timothy and Titus; and since other missions or ordinations are intimated to be performed by several persons, namely, prophets, teachers, elders, or a presbytery,  Acts 13:1;  1 Timothy 4:14; since there is sometimes mention made of the imposition of hands in the mission of a minister, and sometimes no mention is made of it; and since it is evident that in some cases popular ordinations are and must be valid without any bishop or elder,—I think none of these differences should be made a matter of violent contest among Christians; nor ought any words to be pronounced against each other by those of the episcopal, presbyterian, or independent way. Surely all may agree thus far, that various forms or modes, seeming to be used in the mission or ordination of ministers in primitive times, may give a reasonable occasion or colour for sincere and honest searchers after truth to follow different opinions on this head, and do therefore demand our candid and charitable sentiments concerning those who differ from us. Among the Wesleyan Methodists, the ordination of their ministers is in the annual conference, with a president at its head, and is by prayer without imposition of hands. The latter they hold to be a circumstance of ordination, not an essential. They sometimes therefore use it, and at others omit it. The missionaries sent out by that body, if not previously ordained by the conference, are set apart by a few senior ministers; and ordinarily in this case, the service of the church of England, with some alterations, is used, with imposition of the hands of the ministers present.

Webster's Dictionary [4]

(1): ( n.) Disposition; arrangement; order.

(2): ( n.) The act of ordaining, appointing, or setting apart; the state of being ordained, appointed, etc.

(3): ( n.) The act of setting apart to an office in the Christian ministry; the conferring of holy orders.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Ordination See Laying on of Hands.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [6]

in a common, but limited and technical sense, is the ceremony by which an individual is set apart to an order or office of the Christian ministry; As the laying on of hands is usually a distinctive feature of that ceremony, many persons have very inadequately treated of ordination to the Christian ministry as identical with it; whereas imposition of hands (q.v.) has various other uses, and only belongs to the ceremony in question as a symbolic act indicative of the bestowment of spiritual gifts or power. In a broader, and in fact its only important sense, ordination signifies the appointment or designation of a person to a ministerial office, whether with or without attendant ceremonies. The term ordination is derived directly from the Latin ordination signifying, with reference to things or affairs, a setting in order, an establishment, an edict, and with reference to men, an appointment to office. It is used in all languages derived from the Latin, and chiefly in application to this one idea of induction to the- ministerial office. As used in the English language, the term is not fixed and invariable in its signification. In fact it has many variations of meaning, as it is made to represent the peculiar theories and practices which have prevailed in different periods and churches with reference to the character and effect of ordination; yet all these variations of meaning may be harmonized under the general idea of ministerial appointment, whether by the Savior's command, or through multiplied ceremonies of human devising.

It is but just to consider the subject of ordination one of no small intrinsic interest, since, by the consent and practice of the Christian world, it is an act, or the peculiar feature of a series of acts, by which all ministers have received their order or office, in distinction from the laity of the Church. Nevertheless much of the prominence which has been given to it in theological controversy has not arisen from its intrinsic importance, but from the accident of its being a pivotal question in reference to the dogma of a lineal apostolical succession, and the consequences supposed to flow through it as a channel of transmitted grace. It has also entered largely into the sacramentarian controversies of the past. Whoever would properly comprehend the subject of ordination as now defined should give primary attention to whatever teachings the Scriptures contain respecting it. Of necessity the Word of God, rightly interpreted, is the one source of authority in reference to a subject so closely connected with the establishment of Christ's kingdom upon the earth. Hence any theory or practice that is not sustained by inspired precept or example cannot be regarded as of religious authority, or deserving attention other than as a matter of history or curiosity.

A scriptural investigation of this subject can hardly fail to impess any ingenuous mind with the great significance The fact that neither the Lord Jesus Christ nor any of his disciples gave specific commands or declarations in reference to ordination. The facts of the institution of the ministerial office in the Church and of the ordination, in the sense of the appointment, of faithful believing men to serve in that office, stand forth prominently through out the New Testament. But the manmer in which those facts are stated suggest the inference that ministerial ordination, like the more comprehensive subject of Church organization itself, was not designed to be a matter of minute prescription or of constrained uniformity, but rather was to be left open, within the range of certain great principles, to minor variations of detail that might be appropriate to the circumstances of the future. Had any particular form of ordination been essential to the perpetuity of the Church, the validity of the sacraments, or the salvation of men, it seems but reasonable to infer that the Head of the Church himself would have appointed that special form, and have given precepts for its continuance. In the absence of any such appointment by the Lord Jesus, we have to ascertain to what extent the apostles became the instructors of the Church in reference to the subject in question; and, finding in their writings an absence of specific precepts, it is necessary to collate the several examples of ordination which they have recorded, and to draw from them impartial inferences as to their import and bearing upon the future practice of the Church. When once the canon of Scripture is closed nothing remains but to follow the course of history, and to observe how different churches, at different periods, have sought to improve upon the simplicity and godly sincerity of the apostolic practices, and with what results, inclusive of far- reaching corruptions. As the subject essentially demands historic treatment, attention is first invited to

I. The Analogies And Counter-Analogies Of Judaism Many writers, without due consideration, have assumed that Christian ministerial ordination was derived directly from Judaism, whereas the whole system of induction into the office of the Jewish priesthood is in marked contradistinction to that practiced by Christ and his apostles in reference to the Christian ministry.

1. The consecration of Jewish priests was by means of the anointing oil upon their persons and their garments. (see  Exodus 28:40-41;  Exodus 29:1;  Exodus 29:19;  Exodus 29:30;  Leviticus 8:12;  Leviticus 8:30;  Leviticus 10:7;  Leviticus 21:12). The Levites, as assistants to the priests, were consecrated by the sprinkling of the water of purification, washing their clothes, and the offering of sacrifice ( Numbers 8:6-22). The laying on of hands appointed for the Levitical consecration was performed by the. people, not as conferring an office or spiritual gifts, but as symbolical of the transmission of their sins to the Levites, who, in turn, transmitted the same by laying their hands upon the heads of the bullocks offered for a sin-offering and a burnt-offering ( Numbers 8:10-12).

2. The appointment of the Jewish prophets was by direct command or inspiration from God, without any ceremonial induction to their sacred office. In this feature the appointment of the holy prophets prefigured the Messianic period, and Christ's own mode of appointing his disciples to their ministry.

3. The most direct, if not the only real analogy of the Old-Testament Scriptures to the Christian custom of ordination to the office of the ministry is found in the ceremony by which, under the command of God, Moses transferred to Joshua a portion of his responsibilities as a leader and guide to the congregation of Israel (see  Numbers 27:15-23). In this narrative it may be seen that Moses, prior to his departure from the people whom he had been appointed to lead out of Egypt to the land of promise, prayed to the Lord to "set a man over the congregation, . . . that the congregation of the Lord be not as sheep which have no shepherd. And the Lord said unto Moses, Take the Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him'. . And Moses did as the Lord commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses." In this transaction the office of the Christian pastor, his necessary spiritual qualification, his mode of appointment, and his duty as an under-shepherd of Christ's flock, are beautifully prefigured.

II. The Example Of Christ And The Practice Of The Apostolical Church.

1. In the introduction of the Christian dispensation no exterior act of ordination was practiced by Christ. The calling, appointing, and ultimate commissioning of the twelve apostles was his personal act, unattended, so far as the inspired record shows, with any symbolical action or ceremony. When it is narrated ( Mark 3:14) that "he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach," the original word employed is Ἐποίησε , signifying He Made,-In the sense of Constituted or Appointed. When to the same disciples he declared (John 15, 16), "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye 'should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain," the word rendered ordained is Ἔθηκα , I have set or Appointed You. In  Luke 10:1, where it is recorded that he "appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face," the Greek word rendered appointed is Ἀνέδειξεν , literally signifying He Pointed Out or Appointed by designation. In all. these cases. Christ illustrated the divine authority which he asserted in his preface to the great and final commission given prior to his ascension: "And Jesus came, and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" ( Matthew 28:18-20). "He needed not that any should testifyj of man, for he knew what was in man" ( John 2:25).

Hence, while he rem'ained on earth as the visible Head of his own Church, he chose and ordained his own ministers in the exercise of his omniscience and kingly power. If it be: objected that one of the original twelve apostatized and betrayed him, the proper answer is that ministers of the Lord Jesus are in this melancholy fact admonished of the danger of yielding to temptation and falling into the snare. of the devil, notwithstanding the grace imparted in an unquestionably divine appointment. Although in other acts the Savior employed symbolical actions, as when in healing lepers he touched them ( Matthew 8:3;  Mark 1:41;  Luke 5:13), or when in healing blind men he touched their eyes ( Matthew 9:29), spit on their eyes and put his hands upon them ( Mark 8:23), anointed the eyes of the blind with clay ( John 9:6-7;  John 9:11), and in curing a deaf man he put his fingers in his ears and touched his tongue ( Mark 7:33), yet in no case of his ordination of his disciples to their ministerial or apostolic office is it recorded that he laid his hands upon them. Nevertheless, in the final period of his earthly sojourn, between his resurrection and ascension, when about to bestow upon his disciples a higher manifestation of spiritual power "he breathed on them, and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost" ( John 20:22). By this symbolic action he illustrated the nature of the spiritual influence which was to come upon them in its full manifestation at the Pentecost. It was in this connection that he also uttered the words, so often and so grossly perverted, "Whosesoever sins ve remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." A literal and materializing construction of the above passage, together with the kindred passages in Matthew relating to the keys, and the power of binding and loosing ( Matthew 16:19;  Matthew 18:18), became at an early period of the history of the ancient Church a great fountain of error in reference to the office and power of the clergy. That the design of our Lord in employing these strong figures was not to confer upon the disciples a divine prerogative, but rather to impress upon them the responsibility of their office, and their essential need of a constant reliance on the aid of the Holy Ghost to enable them to discharge their duties as ministers of the Gospel, is evident, not only from a just interpretation of the passages themselves, but specially so from the practical illustration of their meaning, given by the actions and teachings of the apostles throughout all their subsequent ministry. In pursuance of the Savior's instructions they proceeded, not to assume personal or official prerogatives, but to employ the Gospel plan of salvation as the one and only agency for securing the remission of sins. In so doing they faithfully warned the wicked of their certain condemnation and ruin outside of the provisions of the Gospel, while they: taught all men the necessity of prayer and personal faith in Christ as the indispensable condition of pardon and salvation.

2. In the whole apostolic history not a single intimation is given of the possibility of the absolution of sin by human or priestly power. On the contrary, that idea was terribly rebuked in the case of the ex-sorcerer Simon, who, although a baptized believer, committed a heinous sin by thinking "that the gift of God might be purchased with money" or imparted by ceremonial acts. For this Peter charged him, saying, "repent of this thy wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee" ( Acts 8:13-24). In this transaction, as well as in his address to the Jews at Jerusalem, and in fact throughout his entire ministry, the teachings of the apostle Peter illustrate the scriptural doctrine that God only can remit sin through the merits of Christ (see  Psalms 130:4;  Daniel 9:9;  Acts 5:31;  Acts 13:38;  Acts 26:1;  Acts 26:8). Moreover, in his denunciations of sin and encouragements to righteousness, Peter showed precisely the nature and extent of the apostolic prerogative of the keys, and of binding and loosing, which was no more nor less than that of organizing the Christian Church, and administering its government on the strict principles of moral purity established by the Gospel itself.

It was a sad and ominous day for the cause of Christianity when a different interpretation began to be put upon the Savior's instructions, and men, lacking the essential elements of Christian experience and all claim to the Holy Spirit's influence, began to imagine and proclaim themselves competent to remit sins, on account. of some magical power acquired by clerical ordination. That there was no scriptural foundation for such errors, and that in fact they might have been corrected by due attention to the teachings of the New Testament, may be shown from .the recorded examples of ordination as practiced by the apostles.

3. The Appointment Of Matthias To The Apostleship. The peculiar feature in this transaction (see  Acts 1:21-26) was a pervading anxiety to ascertain whom the Lord had chosen for the vacant place among the commissioned witnesses of his resurrection. Hence the election or nomination by the Church of two candidates, prayer by the apostles, and the casting of lots to determine which of the two should be numbered with the eleven apostles. In this case, as in those of the Lord's direct appointment, there was no imposition of hands.

4. The Ordination Of The Seven Deacons. This marked event in the history of the Church occurred in immediate sequence of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost at the Pentecost, and from the space allotted to it in the sacred record ( Acts 6:2-6), as well as from the fact that all the apostles were present, it may now be considered, as it doubtless was during the whole apostolic period, a model ordination for the subsequent Church. Its characteristic features were:

(1) A demand for men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom;

(2) An election or choice by the Church "on that basis;

(3) Prayer by the apostles;

(4) The laying on of hands, presumably by several of the apostles, as representative of the whole body.

In this act the apostles illustrated their ideas of the proper functions of the Church in reference to its future ministers, and established a precedent of perpetual authority. It was a precedent moreover, in obvious harmony with the precept of our Lord, given in connection with his appointment of the seventy ( Luke 10:2), "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest." The apostles evidently regarded this as the standing commission and perpetual duty of the Church in reference to the promotion of Christ's kingdom in the earth. In it they saw that the Lord claimed the work of evangelizing the world as his own, and also the prerogative of calling and sending forth laborers, while at the same time he charged the Church with the responsibility of prayer and cooperation. This, too, was in harmony with the Savior's promised gift of the Holy Ghost as the guide of then Church when he should no longer be present as its visible Head. The Spirit's influence was specially promised in answer to prayer, and it was only a praying Church endowed with the Holy Ghost that could become the light of the world and the agency of its salvation. So long as the Church illustrated these characteristics it gloriously fulfilled its mission. It grew rapidly by the addition of regenerated believers, many of whom, in proportion to the demands of its widening work. were called of God and moved of the Holy Ghost to preach to others the same Gospel that had become to them the power of God unto salvation. The function of the Church, therefore, as to ordination was not to create or bestow the gift of the ministry, but simply to recognize and authenticate it when bestowed by the Head of the Church. Hence ensued prayer that the Lord would show the men whom he had chosen for that work, and the laying on of hands, to express the cooperative action and benediction of the Church.

5. These principles were illustrated in the Experience And Ordination Of Paul. On no subject did the great apostle speak more emphatically and repeatedly than that of his divine call, in the absence of which he would have regarded himself no true minister or apostle, whatever ceremonies might have been enacted over him: "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God" ( Romans 1:1); "Paul, an apostle (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead)" ( Galatians 1:1). Such were the terms in which the apostle to the Gentiles expressed his personal consciousness of the divine call, and vet he submitted himself to ordination on the part of the Church, and that in company with a brother of lower degree, and at the hands of prophets (preachers) and teachers who were not numbered among the apostles.

6. Ordination Of Barnabas And Saul. The full inspired account of this transaction is worthy of special attention: "And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark. Now there were in the Church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas. and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleuicia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus" ( Acts 12:25;  Acts 13:1-4). The events above narrated occurred some ten years after the commission of Saul of Tarsus, following which "straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues" ( Acts 9:20). Becoming associated with Barnabas, he also "spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus" at Jerusalem. Both these men seem to have labored as evangelists whenever they had opportunity, and their ministry having been given of God, was honored by his blessing. They were now called to higher responsibilities. They were to go forth "under the sanction of the Church, and not only to proclaim the truth, but also to baptize converts, to organize Christian congregations, and to ordain Christian ministers. It was therefore proper that, on this occasion, they should be regularly invested with the ecclesiastical commission.

In the circumstantial record of this proceeding, in the Acts of the Apostles, we have a proof of the wisdom of the Author of Revelation. He foresaw that the rite of the laying on of hands would be sadly abused; that it would be represented as possessing something like a magic potency; and that it would at length be converted, by a small class of ministers, into an ecclesiastical monopoly. He has therefore supplied us with an antidote against delusion by permitting us, in this simple narrative, to scan its exact import. And what was the virtue of the ordination here described? Did it furnish Paul and Barnabas with a title to the ministry? Not at all. God himself had already called them to the work, and they could receive no higher authorization. Did it necessarily add anything to the eloquence, or the prudence, or the knowledge, or the piety of the missionaries? No results of the kind could be produced by any such ceremony. What, then, was its meaning? The evangelist himself furnishes an answer. The Holy Ghost required that Barnabas and Saul should be separated to the work to which the Lord had called them, and the laying on of hands was the mode or form in which they were set apart or designated to the office. This rite, to an Israelite, suggested grave and hallowed associations. When a Jewish father invoked a benediction on any of his family, he laid his hand upon the head of the child; when a Jewish priest devoted an animal in sacrifice he laid his hand upon the head of the victim; and when a Jewish ruler invested another with office, he laid his hand upon the head of the new functionary. The ordination of these brethren possessed all this significance. By the laying on of hands the ministers of Antioch implored a blessing upon Barnabas and Sail, and announced their separation or dedication to the work of the Gospel, and intimated their investiture with ecclesiastical authority" (Killen, Ancient Church, p. 71 sq.).

It is sometimes asserted that this ordination was a special one to the missionary work. Nevertheless it is the only one recorded as having been received by either of the apostles named, and it illustrates the conditions observed in the ordination of the deacons, viz. (1) The candidates were men called of the Holy Ghost; (2) They were separated unto the work of the Lord by prayer, accompanied with fasting; (3) Hands were laid upon them by representative men of the Church, doubtless the elders. among whom no apostle was present, and as yet the office of bishop had not been instituted.

7. The Ordination Of Elders. When Paul and Barnabas went forth upon their mission, it is recorded of them that "they ordained them (i.e. for the disciples) elders in every Church" ( Acts 14:23). As to the ceremonies employed in these ordinations, only prayer, fasting, and commending the persons ordained to the Lord, on whom they believed, are mentioned. But in the narrative the word Χειροτονήσαντες . (Ordained ) is for the first time introduced. It is again used in  2 Corinthians 8:19, where Paul speaks of Titus as "the brother whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the churches." "And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord." Being chosen of the churches signifies elected or appointed, and implies ordination by the laying on of hands, as well as being elected by the holding up of hands. The employment of the word quoted, and the subsequent use of it by Christian writers as signifying all that belonged to ministerial ordination (see subscriptions to the 2d Epistle to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus), implies that the ordination of elders throughout the churches involved the cooperative action of those churches. In so important a matter the apostles obviously did not act arbitrarily or alone; but when, for the confirming of the souls of the disciples, they judged it important to ordain elders in every Church, they doubtless called on the several churches to determine by prayer, attended with fasting, whom among their number the Holy Ghost would make their spiritual overseers. Upon those designated they doubtless, in connection with other elders, laid their hands, with corresponding prayer, and thus ordained them to the special service of the Lord. A comparison of several passages in Paul's epistles will show that this view of the apostolic custom of ordination is by no means conjectural. In  1 Timothy 4:14, he says, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." The word Prophecy in this verse may be understood in the sense of the divine gift or designation. Again, in  2 Timothy 1:6, referring to the same subject, he says, "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands." Comparing the two verses quoted, it becomes evident that ordination, even by al apostle, was not an individual act, but one participated in by the elders of the Church, who, in connection with the apostle, laid their hands upon the head of the subject. Hence, when the apostle in his charge to Timothy says ( 1 Timothy 5:22)," Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins," we may understand that he warns his son in the Gospel alike against hasty and individual action, in which he might be deceived. Again he-says ( Titus 1:4-5), "To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee." He then proceeds, as he had already done in his letters to Timothy, to state in detail the essential qualifications of ministers, those which he had himself required, and those which he demanded that his successors should require; and by reference to his own example in both cases (see  Acts 16:2;  2 Corinthians 8:19) he clearly intimates their duty of enlisting the prayers and the godly judgment of the churches ill the selection and ordination of ministers of the Word and administrators of the ordinances of God.

Such was apostolic ordination, so far as we can know from the inspired writers, and since they have written nothing on the subject further for our learning, we may safely infer that nothing more is essential. A few points involved in the above scriptural examples may be summarily noted:

(1.) Christ ordained in the sense of appointing his disciples to ministerial service by his own authority, and without employing any exterior ceremony.

(2.) In the election of Matthias to the place in the apostolate from which Judas fell, it was deemed sufficient to ascertain by prayer and the lot whom the Lord had chosen; and in like manner, without any exterior ceremony, "he was numbered with the eleven apostles."

(3.) The laying on of hands as a ceremony of ministerial ordination was first practiced by the apostles. in the case of the seven deacons, in immediate sequence of the miracle of the Pentecost.

(4.) It was subsequently practiced in the ordination of Paul and Barnabas, and the elders of the New-Testament Church.

(5.) No account is given of any one having been ordained to the office of bishop in distinction from that of elder, still less is there any intimation that bishops were or were to become the only officers in the Church competent to ordain ministerial candidates; whereas elders were frequently, if not always, associated even with apostles in the act of ordination.

Such, as to form and ceremony, was ministerial ordination as practiced in the apostolic Church. As to effect, it claimed only to separate, by solemn acts on the part of the Church, holy men, already called of God to the exclusive work of the ministry. No intimation is given that ordination conferred priestly functions or prerogatives in any form or degree, while, on the other hand, various cautions are given, both in the example and precepts of the apostles, against such an idea. That a large body of ministers thus ordained and instructed were at the head of the various Christian churches at the close of the apostolic period is a matter of the clearest inference both from the sacred record and the earliest accounts we have of the post-apostolic Church. Then followed a shadowy period of Church history, in which, by persecution from without and dissensions and corruptions within, many changes were wrought in the customs and theories of Christians.

II. Introduction Of Corrupt Theories And Practice. The greater part of these changes originated in a tendency, itself the result of a decline in spirituality, to incorporate with the ritual of the Church certain ceremonies of Judaism, while corresponding ideas from Greek and Roman paganism were not rigidly excluded. Most startling among these corruptions, and most prolific of other outflowing errors, was the idea of a Christian priesthood parodied from the Jewish. There not having been one word or act in all the teachings of Christ or his apostles to countenance such an idea, we may well be amazed that before the end of the 3d century such declarations as the following were put forth in the name of the apostles for the teaching -and guidance of the Church. The subjoined extracts are from the so-called Constitutions Of The Holy Apostles, (See Ecclesiastical Canons), a notorious collection of disciplinary prescriptions and forms which, although, as seen in the light of modern criticism, obviously spurious, nevertheless were circulated and received both as authentic and authoritative for centuries. Having been put forth at a period when literary criticism was unknown, and having been adroitly harmonized with the drift of corrupt practice then gaining currency in the Greek and Roman churches, neither the literary nor the religious authority of this strange collection of documents was questioned for more than a thousand years. The lowest and the true view to be taken of these documents is that they are descriptive of theories and practices that prevailed when they were written, and from that time forward:

Pretended Authorship. "The apostles and elders to all those who, from among the Gentiles, have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ" (bk. i, § 1).

"We who are now assembled in our place, Peter and .Andrew, James and John, sons of Zebedee, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew, James the son of Alphasns, and Lebbeeus, who was surnamed Thadduens, and Simon the Canaanite, and Matthias who, instead of Judas, was numbered with us, James the brother of the Lord and bishop of Jerusalem, and Paul the teacher of the Gentiles, the chosen vessel all being present, have written to you this catholic doctrine fior the confirmation of you to whom the oversight of the Church universal is committed" (bk. 6 § 14).

Pretended Establishment of the Hierarchy. "As to those things which have happened amonug us, ye yourselves are not ignorant. For ye know perfectly that those who are by us named bishops and presbyters and deacons were made by prayer and by the laying on of hands, and that' by the difference of the names is indicated the difference of their employments. For not everyone that will is ordained, as the case was in that spurious and counterfeit priesthood of the calves under Jeroboam. For if there were no rules or distinction of orders, it would suffice to perform all the offices under one name. But being taught by the Lord the series of things, we distributed the functions of the high-priesthood to the bishops, those of the priesthood to the presbyters, and the ministration under them both to the deacons, that. the divine worship might be performed in purity. For it is not lawful for a deacon to offer the sacrifice, or to baptize, or to give the blessing, either small or great. Nor may a presbyter perform ordination, for it is not agreeable to holiness to have order overturned. For such as these do not fight against us nor against the bishops, but against the universal bishop, even the high-priest of the Father, Jesus Christ our Lord. High-priests, priests, and Levites, were ordained by Moses, the most beloved of God. By on Savior we, the thirteen apostles, were ordained; and by the apostles St. James and St. Clement, and others with us (that we may not make the catalogue of all those bishops over again). Moreover, by us all in common were ordained presbyters and deacons and subdeacons and readers" (bk. 8, § 46).

Affirmation of Priestly Prerogatives and Emoluments. "Ye, therefore, at the present day, O bishops, are to your people, priests and Levites, ministering to the holy tabernacle, the holy Catholic Church; who stand at the altar of the Lord your God, and offer to him reasonable and unbloody sacrifices through Jesus the great high-priest. Ye are to the laity prophets, rulers, governors, and kings the mediators between God and his faithful people, whc receive and declare his Word, well acquainted with the Scriptures. Ye are the voice of God and witnesses of his will, who bear the sins and intercede for all" (bk. 2, § 25).

Episcopal Assumptions. "The bishop is the minister of the Word, the keeper of knowledge, the mediator between God and you in the several parts of your divine worship. He is the teacher of piety, and next after God he is your father, who hath begotten you again to the adoption of sons by water and the Spirit. He is your ruler and governor; he is your king and potentate; he is next after God your earthly god, who hath a right to be honored by you" (bk. 2:26). Let the above strange language be contrasted with the inspired utterances of the apostle Peter himself (see  1 Peter 5:1-4): "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the. oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."

Concerning Ordination "Wherefore we, the twelve apostles of the Lord, who are now together, give your in charge these our divine constitution oncerning every ecclesiastical form; there being present with us Paul the chosen vessel, our fellow-apostle, and James the bishop and the rest of the presbyters, and the seven deacons.

"In the first place, therefore, I Peter say that a bishop to be ordained is to be, as we have already all of us appointed, unblamable in all things, a select person, chosen by the whole people. And when he is named and approved, let the people assemble, with the presbytery and bishops that are present, on the Lord's day, and let them give their consent. And let him who is preferred among the rest ask the presbytery and the people whether this is the person whom they desire their ruler. And if they give their consent, let him ask further whether he hath a good testimony from all men, etc. And if all the assembly together do, according to truth and not according to prejudice, testify that he is such a one, let theon the third time ask again whether he is truly worthy of this ministry; and if they agree the third tine tlhat he is worthy, let them all be demanded their vote; and when they all give it willingly, let them be heard. And, silence being made, let one of the principal bishops, one with two others, stand near the altar, the rest of the bishops and presbyters praying silently, and the deacons holding the holy Gospels open upon the head of him that is to be ordained; and say no God "

The form of prayer prescribed is a long one, but contains the following passages:

"'Grant to him (the bishop), O Lord Almighty, through thy Christ, the communion of the Holy Spirit, that so he may have power to remit sins according to thy command; to distribute clerical offices according to thine ordinance; to loose every bond according to the power which thou gavest to the apostles; that he may please thee, in meekness and a pure heart, steadfastly, inblamably, irreproaclably, while he offereth to thee a pure and unbloody sacrifice, which by thy Christ thou hast appointed as the mystery of the new covenant... 'And when he hath prayed for these things, let the rest of the priests add Amen, and, together with them, all the people. And after the prayer, let one of the bishops elevate the sacrifice upon the hands of him that is ordained; and early in the morning let him be enthroned, in a place set apart for him, among the rest of the bishops- they all giving him the kiss in the Lord" (bk. 8, § 4, 5).

I. "Let a bishop be ordained by two or three bishops.

II. "Let a presbyter be ordained by one bishop as also a deacon and the rest of the clergy"' (bk. 8, § 47).

The above are merely specimen extracts from the Apostolical Constitutions, nevertheless sufficient to show that in the ancient Church not only were bishops and priests ordained to offer "the unbloody sacrifice" of the mass and to remit sin, but also that the number of officers in the Church admitted to ordination was beginning to be increased. (For the forms of ordination for subdeacons, deaconesses, and readers, see bk. 8, § 19, 20, 21, 22.) Other parts of the same Constitutions prescribe the preparation by ordained bishops of the mystical oil, the mystical water, and the mystical ointment to be used in baptism, and also prayers to be offered for the dead. On the enthronement of bishops, the practice of singing hosannas to them, and many customs in reference to ordination, consult Bingham's Antiquities of the Christian Church, bk. 2 and 4. His explanation, that every bishop having liberty to frame his own: liturgy tended to the multiplication and variation of the ceremonies employed, finds many confirmations in fact, and accounts for some differences of a minor character between the Greek and Roman churches. Although he finds the signing of the cross and the kiss of peace added to the ancient ceremonial, he affirms that the use of anointing oil, the presentation of the sacred utensils in clerical ordination, and the exclusive practice of the rite during Ember weeks (q.v.) are modern inventions, i.e. inventions of the medieval period.

Another practice, however, that of forcible ordination, is thus described by Bingham:

"'Anciently, while popular elections were indulged, there was nothing more common than for people to take men by force, and have them ordained against their wills. For though many men were too ambitious in courting the preferments of the Church, yet there were some who ran as eagerly from them as others ran to them; and nothing but force could bring such men to submit to an ordination. Ecclesiastical history furnishes many instances of this, including some who were plainly ordained against their wills. It was a common practice in those times for persons that fled to avoid ordination by their own bishop, to be seized by any other bishop to he ordained by them, and then returned to the bishop from 'whom they were fled.' Nor was it any kind of remonstrance or solicitation whatsoever which the party could make that would prevent his ordination in such cases, except he chanced to protest solemnly upon oath against such ordination.' To hinder this protest, cunning and violence were employed. At the ordination of Macedonius by Flavian, bishop of Antioch, 'they durst not let him know what they were about till the ceremony was over; and when he came to understand that he was ordained presbyter, he broke forth into a rage.' Pauliniaus, Jerome's brother, fled from ordination, but Epiphamius caused his deacons to seize him, and to hold his mouth, that he might not adjure them in the name of Christ to set him free. 'Such ordination stood good, and was accounted as valid as any other.' Even when in the following age the sentiment of the Church was so far modified as to permit deacons and presbyters ordained against their wills to 'be set at liberty as if they had never been ordained,' bishops were excluded from this reasonable provision. 'Though the imperial law gave liberty to all inferiors, so ordained, to relinquish their office that was forced upon them, if they pleased, and betake themselves to a secular life again, yet it peremptorily denied the privilege to bishops, decreeing that their ordination should stanid good, and that no action brought against their ordainers should be of force to evacuate or disaannul their consecration'" (Antiq. bk. 4, ch. 7).

Could it have been certain that these forced ordinations were conferred only on good men, such proceedings would by no means have been so bad as the more common act of ordaining men of unquestioned vileness of character, who by intrigue or simony secured clerical offices, and consequently the so-called sacrament of orders, and "the indelible mark" by which the pretended apostolical (?) succession was to be handled down to remote generations.

When under ecclesiastical sanction the attempt was fully inaugurated to improve on the simplicity of the apostolical customs as to ordination by the multiplication of materialistic ceremonies, it was not likely soon to stop. So, in fact, between bishops emulous of ceremonial splendor and the enactments of rival councils, the process of adding ritual forms went forward in steps parallel to increasing corruptions of doctrine until a culmination was reached in the fully developed

IV. Sacerdotal System Of The Roman Catholic Church. That system, as practiced from about the 10th century and fully restated by the Council of Trent, as well as in the formularies of the Roman pontifical, has the following with other less objectionable characteristics:

1. It affirms that clerical orders constitute a sacrament, the sixth of the seven enumerated by that Church. of which the pope is supreme in authority. The seven orders are those of priest, deacon, subdeacon, acolyth, exorcist, reader, and porter.

3. It affirms that bishops only are competent to confer ordination.

4. That the effect of ordination is to impress on the recipient an indelible mark or character, so that he who has once been a priest cannot again become a layman.

5. That ordination to the priesthood confers the power of offering sacrifice in the Church for the living and for the dead.

The above positions are sufficiently supported by the following extracts from the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent:

On the Sacrament of Orders.

"Canon If any one shall say that there is not in the New Testament a visible and external priesthood, or that there is not any power of consecrating and offering the true body and blood of the Lord, and of remitting and retaining sin, but only an office and bare ministry of preaching the Gospel, or that those who do not preach are not priests at all: let him be anathema.

" Canon II. If any one shall say that, besides the priesthood, there are not in the Catholic Church other orders, both greater and lesser, by which, as by certain steps, advance is made into the-priesthood: let him be anathema.

" Canon III. If any one shall say that orders or sacred ordination is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ the Lord; or that it is a certain human figment devised by men unskilled in ecclesiastical matters, or that it is only a certain kind for choosing ministers of the Word of God and the sacraments: let him be anathema.

" Canon IV. If any one shall say that by sacred ordination the Holy Ghost is not given; and that the bishops do therefore vainly say, Receive ye the Holy Ghost; or that a character is not thereby given; or that he who has once been a priest can again become a layman: let him be anathema."

Touching the Sacrifice of the Mass. sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; or that it is a bare commemoration of the sacrifice offered on the cross, but not a propitiatory sacrifice; or that it avails him only that receiveth, and that it ought not to be offered for- the living and the dead for sins, punishments, satisfactions, and other necessities: let him be anathema."

It is true that Roman Catholic theologians have differed not a little in their discussions of some of these topics, as, for instance, in reference to the number of the sacraments and the matter and form of the sacrament of orders; but in the main they have acquiesced in the points stated above, and in the sequences inseparable from them. It may be added that the formula of ordaining a priest corresponds to the last-quoted canon. It is this: "Receive power to offer sacrifice to God, and to celebrate masses as well for the living as for the dead, in the name of the Lord. Amen."

The principal features of the above-stated theory of ordination were developed before the separation of the Greek and Roman churches, and the ceremonies with which, the rite was administered differed in the two churches only in unimportant particulars, such as that of anointing the ordained person with oil, which the Roman Church practiced and the Greek Church did not. In the Roman Church, in particular, great stress is laid upon the presentation of sacred utensils and symbols as a part of the ceremony of ordination. To the priest is presented a chalice and paten (a small plate used to hold the host or consecrated wafer); to the bishop a ring, a crosier, and a pallium (q.v.) are given; and to the cardinal a hat, as symbolical of their functions and obligations. While, theremore, both churches propagated in its essentially erroneous features a common theory as to ordinations, it was the Romish Church which carried out the greatest extreme of ceremonies, and made the worst uses of the theory in connection with the dogma and assumptions of papal supremacy a system of sacerdotalism that embodied blasphemous pretensions, and that was often prostituted to the most wicked and selfish purposes. Examination shows that this very theory of the Roman Church as to orders and sacraments lies at the center of the system referred to, and is the fountain-head of some of its worst corruptions. Once grant that ordination in direct line and by direct sanction from the pope of Rome is the one essential channel for the descent of God's grace to man, and there is conceded a power as far-reaching and dangerous as it is far removed from scriptural truth. That the Roman see made this claim without disguise, and enforced it during successive centuries by the most unscrupulous measures, is proved by multitudinous facts of history. As a specimen, take the following statement concerning pope Boniface IX:

"At first Boniface did not publicly take money for the higher promotions; he took it only in secret, and through trustworthy agents. At length after ten years, at once to indulge, palliate, and to establish this simony, he substituted as a permanent tax the Annates (q.v.), or first-fruits of every bishopric and rich abbey, calculated on a new scale, triple that in which they stood before in the papal books. This was to be paid in advance by the candidates for promotion, some of whom never got possession of the benefice. That was matter of supreme indifference to Boniface, as he could sell it again. But as these candidates rarely came to the court with money equal to the demand, usurers, with whom the pope was in unholy league, advanced the sum on exorbitant interest. The debt was sometimes sued for in the pope's court. The smaller benefices were sold from the day of his appointment with shameless and scandalous notoriety. Men wandered about Lombardy and other parts of Italy searching out the ages of hoary incumbents, and watching their diseases and infirmities. For this service they were well paid by the greedy aspirants at Rome. 'On their report the tariff rose or fell. Bennefices were sold over and over again. Graces were granted to the last purchaser, with the magic word 'Preference,' which cost twenty-five florins.' That was superceded by a more authoritative phrase (at fifty florin), a perogative of precedence. Petitions already sometimes cancelled in favor of a higher bidder; the pope treated the lower offer as an attempt to defraud him. In the same year the secretary, Theodoric a Niem, had known the same benefice sold in the course of a one week to several successive claimants. The benefices were so openly sold that, if money was not at hand, the pope would receive the price in kind in wine, sheep, oxen, horses, or grain. The officers were as skillful in these arts as himself. His auditors would hold twenty expectatives, and receive the first-fruits. The argus-eyed pope, however, watched the death-bed of all his officers. Their books, robes, furniture, money, escheated to the pope. No grace of any kind, even to the poorest, was signed without its florin fee. The pope, even during mass, was seen to be consulting with his secretaries on these worldly affairs. The accumulation of pluralities on unworthy men was scandalous even in those times" (Milman's Latin Christianity, vol. 7, bk. 13, ch; 3).

It is obvious that such a shameless traffic in clerical ordinations and appointments could only have been maintained in a Church in which and in an age when the people had been taught to believe that their salvation depended on the absolution of priests fitted for their task by the indelible mark of papal ordination irrespective of moral character. The same idea made the theories of purgatory and indulgence sources of illimitable pecuniary exactions, while it also made the power of the popes terrible in their long struggle with emperors in reference to the right;of investiture (q.v.) and temporal sovereignty. In those struggles monarchs and nations were reduced to submission by the culmination of bulls, bans, and interdicts, which, aside from the fundamental idea of divine grace flowing solely through the-channel of papal ordination and authority, would have been as powerless as they are now seen to be absurd.

V. Protestant Reaction. The above-stated theory of ordination, attended by corresponding practice, may be said to have had universal and unquestioned prevalence throughout the Christian world from the 6th to the 16th century. Irrespective of its gradual and insidious beginnings, it was fully developed in the ritual of Gregory the Great (A.D. 595-606), and it reached its present form of administration in the Pontficale Romanum (q.v.) of pope Clement VIII, in 1596. A prominent feature of the great Reformation was a violent and general reaction against the dogmas and abuses of the Roman system of ordinations. Without exception, Protestants rejected the five factitious sacraments of the Roman Church, including orders. The Reformed churches not only rejected the doctrines but the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church in reference to ordination, falling back on scriptural precedents as their sole guide in reference to the modes, of appointing and ordaining their clergy. A partial exception has to be stated in reference to the Church of England, which retained a portion of the Roman ritual of ordination. In reference to this as well as many other subjects, different interpretations of Scripture prevailed, and consequently different customs of ordination were established. Most of the Reformed churches, doubtless owing to the great abuses so long associated with the name and character of bishop, rejected the episcopal office entirely, although the Lutheran Church retained it under the name of superintendent. There was great unanimity in accepting the ordination by elders as appropriate and valid, but in some of the churches two classes of elders were recognized teaching (clerical) and ruling (lay) elders. In some, as in the Church of Scotland, the clerical presbyters only join in the imposition of hands. Among the Independents and Baptists the power of ordination is considered to inhere in any given congregation of believers. The qualifications of a candidate are first ascertained and approved by a Church, which, having called him to its ministry, and he accepting, proceeds to confer ordination upon him by prayer and the imposition of hands.

The Protestant churches of Germany, Holland, Switzerland, France; Denmark, Poland, Hungary, Scotland, etc., have only presbyterial ordination, and place no reliance on the derivation of their clerical orders, from the fact that their founders, such as Luther, Calvin, and others, had been episcopally ordained as presbyters. They all unite in considering the call of God expressed through the suffrage of the Church as the essential prerequisite to true ministerial character, while ordination is simply an appropriate ceremony designed to authenticate that call, and to publicly separate ministers to the sacred office. In most of the churches named, as welt as- in the American Presbyterian, Baptist, and Congregational churches, deacons are only lay officers of the Church, and do not receive the imposition of hands.

As we have not thought proper to allot space for the formulae of the Greek and Roman ordinations, so now we deem it unimportant to introduce details as to ceremonies and variations in the practice of ordinations among Protestants. Such variations find their prototype in the scriptural ordinations, of which no two recorded were conducted in all respects alike, a fact that plainly indicated the non-essentialits of fixed forms, as well as the Christian liberty of adapting forms to circumstances. With a single exception, substantial unity may be said to prevail throughout the Protestant world in the view that the validity or propriety of ministerial ordinations does not hinge on any form of ceremony, or any, pretense of tactual succession, and this, unity of sentiment is sustained by a corresponding charity and mutual respect. The exception referred to, though not stated in the creed of any Protestant Church, has nevertheless existed from the period of the Reformation, and has resulted in a voluminous, and not seldom acrimonious controversy, which passes to descend to future generations.

VI. High-Church Controversy On Ordination. In order to comprehend the nature and bearings of this controversy, it is necessary to take into view some well-known facts respecting the peculiar constitution of the Church of England. They are indicated in the following, language, abridged from lord Macaulay's introduction to his History of England.

"Henry VIII attempted to constitute an Anglican Church differing-from the Roman Catholic-Church on the point of the supremacy, and on that point alone. His success in this attempt was extraordinary. The English Reformers were eager to go as far as their brethren on the Continent. They unanimously condemned as anti-Christian numerous dogmas and practices to which Henry had stubbornly adhered, and which Elizabeth reluctantly abandoned. Many felt a strong repugnance even to things indifferent which had formed part of the polity or ritual of the mystical Babylon. Thus bishop Hooper, who died manfully at Gloucester for his religion, long refused to wear the episcopal vestments. Bishop Ridley, a martyr of still greater reknown, pulled down the ancient altars of his diocese, and ordered the Eucharist to be administered in the middle of churches, at tables which the papists irreverently termed oyster-boards. Bishop Jewell pronounced the clerical garb to be a stage-dress, a fool's coat, a relique of the Amorites, and promised that he would spare no labor to extirpate such degrading absurdities. Archbishop Grindal long hesitated about accepting a mitre from dislike of what he regarded as the mummery of consecration. Bishop Parkhurst uttered a fervent prayer that the Church of England would propose to herself the Church of Zurich as the absolute pattern of a Christian community. Bishop Ponet was of opinion that the word bishop should be abandoned to papists, and that the chief officers of the purified Church should be called superintendents. When it is considered that none of these prelates belonged to the extreme section of the Protestant party, it cannot be doubted that, if the general sense of that party had been followed, the work of reform would have been carried on as unsparingly, in England as, in Scotland. But as the government needed the support of the Protestants, so the Protestants needed the protection of the government. Much was therefore given up on both sides; a union was effected, and the fruit of that union was the Church of England. The man who took the chief part in settling the conditions of the alliance which produced the Anglican Church was Thomas Cranmer. He was the representative of both the parties, which at that time needed each other's assistance. He was at once a divine and a courtier. In his character of divine he was perfectly ready to go as far in the way of change as any Swiss or Scottish Reformer.' In his character of courtier he was desirous to preserve that organization which had during many ages admirably served the purposes of the bishops of Rome, and might be expected now to serve equally well the purposes; of the English kings and of their ministers. Ton this day the constitution, the doctrines, and the services of the Church retain the visible marks of the compromise from which she sprang. She occupies a middle position between the churches of Rome and Geneva. The Church of Rome held that episcopacy was of divine institution, and that certain supernatural graces of a high order had been transmitted by the imposition of hands through fifty generations, from the eleven who received their commnission on the Galilean mount to the bishops who met at Trent. A lagre body of Protestants, on the other hand, regarded prelacy as positively unlawful, and persuaded themselves that they found a very different form of ecclesiastical government prescribed in Scripture. The founders of the Anglican Church took a middle course. They retained episcopacy, but they did not declare it to be an institution essential to the welfare of a Christian society, or to the efficacy of the sacraments. Cranmer, indeed, on one important occasion, plainly avowed his conviction that in the primitive times there was no distinction between bishops and priests, and that the laying on of hands was altogether superfluous."

This formidable array of antitheses by no means exhausts the list of practical contradictions embodied in the Church of England. Rejecting, the supremacy off the pope, she accepted, or, rather, had forced upon her, that of the temporal Sovereign, subjecting her to the most extravagant assumptions of an unscrupulous monarch. Macaulay, on this po