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of the school of Clarke ; and he admitted , not only the pre-existence , but the atonement of Christ .
Sir S , the rational Dissenters of the Apresent day begin to manifest a predilection for the Ordination or their Ministers , a ceremony which for a considerable time has been pretty generally discontinued , I should , be
glad if any of your learned correspon dents will answer the following que
nes : 1 . What is the ceremony of Ordination ? 2 . What is the scriptural authority for such a ceremony ? 3 . Is the plea of assumed utility a
sufficient ground for the observance of a religious ceremony ? 4 . What is the meaning of the expression , ( CoL ii . 23 , ) " Wisdom in will-worship" ?
5 . If any religious practices or ceremonies are continued with a reference to the approbation of nominal Christians in general , or from a respect to deep-rooted prejudices in favour of outward forms and parade , do not the wise make too costly a sacrifice for the foolish ; and for which , what are the foolish better ?
I have heard the ceremony of Ordination defended on the plea of the utility of a religious service , when a young minister has been appointed the pastor of a particular congregation . A religious service , as such , is , no doubt , generally useful ; but can we
infer from the general utility of a religious service , the propriety of connecting it with a particular object , if there is no authority for such connexion ? All the saints' days in the calendar might be defended on the ground of
assumed utility . And if such a service , in regard to some particular object , ( the crucifixion , for instance , ) become stated , by an association easily formed in weak minds , the day on which it is held is rendered sacred .
Thus has Good Friday acquired its sacredness . And thus we should be soon led through all the mazy errors of the inveterate superstitions of the Established Churches , by the plea of assumed utility . I confess that I do not much admire
any of those forms or ceremonies which are maintained on the score of utility , decency , respectfulness , solemnity , &c . ; though I , as well as those who use them , know to whom , and to how many , they are the best arg uments that can be used . I much more admire
the old Protestant axiom— " Bible , the Bible alone . " FABER .
334 Queries on the Ordination of Ministers .
Sir , OBSERVED in the newspapers an I account of an action in the Court
of Common Pleas , which came to trial Feb . 17 , that appears not a little interesting to the Protestant Dissenters . The plaintiff was Stoddart , described as officiating Minister at Lady Huntingdon ' Chapel , in Mulberry Gardens , in or near Wapping ; the defendants were Mathews , Shnmonds , and three
others , Trustees of the said chapel . The plaintiff sought to recover the amount of half-a-year ' s salary . The subscriptions had , during the last year , fallen short , and the Trustees had paid all but the plaintiff , who , however , conceived ' that they were personally responsible if any deficiency should arise in the contributions . The
Chief-Justice was of opinion that the Trustees were no further responsible than to appropriate the contributions received . —The jury found a verdict for the defendants . This is all that the newspapers , as
far as I can find , have reported of the rase . They do not state whether the Trustees had covenanted to pay the minister a certain salary , which , however , I suppose to have been the fact . If it were so , the decision of the court
seems to set aside all bargains between minister and trustees in Dissenting congregations . It would further appear , that , notwithstanding an express agreement as to salary , the Trustees of a meeting-house are entitled to discharge every claim before that of the minister , who must be contented with
the residue , how much soever it may fall below the contract . Perhaps some of your correspondents may be able to give further information on this case , which would be very acceptable , it is presumed , to many , but certainly to A DISSENTING MINISTER .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), June 2, 1821, page 334, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2501/page/10/