- The Scriptural teaching in regard to the Sacred Ministry is that certain persons are set apart to act as the agents of God towards men and the agents of men towards God. The power of the Ministry is inherent in, and derived from Christ, as when He said, "As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you." This was His commission to the Apostles, and to them He promised, "Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world." This promise implies a transmission of this commission, so that the Ministry should never die out, but be continued from generation to generation and from century to century, "even to the end of the world." It also implies that He will work in them and through them, so that whatsoever they shall do in His Name shall be His work. As to the nature of this Ministry it is declared in the Preface to the Ordinal that "It is evident unto all men diligently reading Holy Scripture and Ancient Authors, that from the Apostles' time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ's Church, -- Bishops, Priests and Deacons." And we find that these "Offices were evermore had in such reverend estimation," that for 1,500 years after Christ no Christian people recognized any other Ministry but that of Bishops, Priests and Deacons; and we also find that even at this present time nine-tenths of all Christian people are ministered to by a Ministry in Three Orders.
American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. — New York, Thomas Whittaker. William James Miller, M.A., B.D.. 1901.
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