Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 1.djvu/47

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purpose, were consequently withdrawn: but it should never be forgotten, that these, wonderful and striking as they must have been, were but secondary and subsidiary to those invisible spiritual gifts, which are the real fulfilment of God's promise of constant aid to his Church. With regard to these latter, it was indeed necessary that they should be her portion through all ages; but the others derived in truth their sole value from the evidence which they bore to the existence of these more precious boons; an evidence which, though immediately addressed to converts in the first ages, was intended to convince, not them alone, but all those to whom their report of these miraculous gifts should come, of the reality of God's promises with regard to those gifts which were not palpable to earthly senses; of the truth of Christ's saying, already quoted, that He would be with His Church even unto the end of the world; and of His declaration that the Comforter, whom He would send, should abide with that Church for ever.

What name was originally applied to the ofiice borne by Timothy and Titus, of destined successors to the Apostles, is not very clear. There was perhaps at first no one name specially used to designate it. They may have sometimes been called Evangelists (see 2 Tim. iv. 5.); sometimes, from their bearing in some measure the character of heavenly messengers to mankind, the Angels of their respective Churches. By this name, at least, the heads of the different Churches of Asia are addressed in the 2d and 3d chapters of the book of Revelations. Consecrated as they were by different Apostles in different parts of the world, some little time would necessarily elapse, before one general name would be applied by the whole Christian Church to the associates and successors of its first inspired governors.

Of the powers entrusted to these persons, a good idea may be formed from the study of the Epistles addressed to two of them. Timothy, it appears, had apostolic authority to superintend and arrange the celebration of divine service, to prescribe the nature of prayers to be used therein, and to give general directions for the decent and orderly behaviour of the congregation. (See 1 Tim. ii.) Copious instructions were given him as to the persons whom he should choose to ordain as Bishops (or Elders) and Deacons, (chap. iii.) He had power to select among the Elders such as should rule, (ver. 17,) probably over different portions of his congregation; and to hear and decide upon any accusations brought against