It may be true that one of these modes of speaking is more exact than
the others, but they are all intended to describe the same acknowledged
facts, and not one of them is without an intelligible ground.
(c) The main direct passages are i Pet. ii. 5, 9 ; Rev.
i. 6, v. 10, xx. 6.
It is noticeable that in i Pet. ii. 5, which is most
explicit, the sacrifices offered are moral rather than
ceremonial. Compare Rom. xii. i ; Heb. xiii. 15 f.
4 a, b, d] AND DEFINITIONS 27
(d) Dr. Milligan argues that ' whatever function Christ
discharges in heaven must also be discharged, according
to her capabilities and opportunities, by His Church on
earth. This principle is the simple corollary to the
fundamental principle of the Church's existence as a
spiritual body, that she is the Body of Christ, and that
the Body lives in such close communion with the
Head, that whatever the latter is or does the former
must in a measure be or do' (Expositor, 1889, i. 200).
This is far-reaching, if true. It invites discussion.
DR. FAIRBAIRN. The answer to this question may be intro-
duced by the remark that, while on these points there is
in the Apostolic thought a striking unity, there is a
significant variety in its types, or the forms under which
it is presented. Thus, while there is complete agree-
ment as to the death of Christ being a Sacrifice for sin,
this Sacrifice is by no means regarded by all, equally, as
sacerdotal in its character.
(a) and (b} St. Paul's references to the death of Christ are more
forensic or legal than sacerdotal, i. e. His death is conceived more
figuratively than formally and materially as a sacrifice. For while He
conceives it as involving loss and suffering even unto the surrender of
life, in order that by its means Christ might effect man's reconciliation
to God ; yet he does not conceive it, like the author of ' Hebrews,' as
the act of a priest who offers Himself as a sacrifice in a temple, in order
that he may enter the Holy of holies and make eternal intercession for us.
On the contrary, Paul conceives the death through the idea of the Law as
living and regulative and punitive rather than through the associations of
the Levitical system. Indeed, nothing is more remarkable than his
avoidance of Levitical figures and phraseology ; and his preference, so
far as he uses any historical forms for the interpretation of the sacrifice
and death of the Redeemer, for the forms that we may call prophetic rather
than priestly. Thus he finds the prototype of Christ and His work not in
Leviticus, but in the Suffering Servant of God in Isaiah (Rom. x. 16-17,
ao, xi. 26 ; i Cor. xv. 3 ; 2 Cor. v. 21). This Pauline standpoint is made
the more emphatic by such a crucial text as Rom. iii. 25, 26, where to
read iKaarrjptov in a Levitical sense is to dislocate the whole order of his
thought ; and by references throughout to the righteousness of God by
faith as opposed to the righteousness of law or of works. Even the
28 STATEMENTS [4 a, b, c
explicit references to Christ's death as a Sacrifice bear out this view :
' Christ is our Passover' (i Cor. v. 7), the rite where the father was the
priest and the official priesthood had no function. And Eph. v. 2 is too
purely ethical to permit a strictly sacerdotal inference.
In Hebrews, the Sacrifice is conceived under sacerdotal forms, but these
are expressly designed to bring out the uniqueness of both the Priesthood
and the Sacrifice. He was a priest without sin and without successor, and
His Sacrifice was spiritual, made by His obedience and offered once for
all, leaving no other possible or necessary (Heb. ix. 26, x. 5-7, 12).
In i Pet. i. 19, ii. 24, the texts determinative of the Petrine position,
the form under which the Sacrifice is conceived is not sacerdotal and
Levitical, but prophetic and ethical, being, like the Pauline, directly
suggested by the Deutero-Isaiah.
The Apocalypse and the Epistles of John both speak of the piacular
work of Christ, but in neither is it associated with the express recognition
of His Priesthood. The ritual or Levitical formulae are most marked in
the Apocalypse, where of course they are very numerous, as i. 5, v. 6-9, &c.,
and this makes only the more significant the emphatic statement that in
*the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, the only temple is the Lord God
Almighty and the Lamb (xxi. 22). In i John His work is described as
a propitiation (i\a<ry5s), but this is not expressly associated with hierarchic
functions, but rather with those of a person potent in a court of law
(vapaic\r)Tos, ii. 1-2), or of a special apostle or messenger from God
(c) The explicit texts here are i Pet. ii. 5, 9 ; Rev. i. 6,
v. 10, xx. 6.
In i Pet. ii. 5 the adjectives are significant : the stones are ' living,' the
house or temple is ' spiritual,' and so are the sacrifices, and the priest-
hood, not as office, but as community, is holy. These seem to emphasize
the apostolic idea as essentially ethical. But even more characteristic is
the mediated nature of the priestly function. The Priesthood does not
stand before God in its own right or by virtue of what it offers, as was
the case of the Levitical priest, or as is the case of the High Priest of
our Confession ; but there is mediation in the relation of these mediators
of the New Covenant. It is a priesthood which He has constituted and
which has nothing worthy of God's acceptance to offer save what comes
from its standing in Christ and its action through Him. It belongs to the
whole people, and its functions are spiritual in character, even as its
temple and sacrifices are. The ' royal priesthood ' of ver. 9 emphasizes
the fact that the community is royal as well as priestly ; and we must
read both qualities as alike real and alike ideal. This is true of the
texts in the Apocalypse, where the kingdom of God is a kingdom of
priests, who live and reign with Christ. The priestly and the royal
functions must be construed in similar terms; both are spiritual, the
society is a kingdom, but its citizens are priests.
4 a, b, c, d] AND DEFINITIONS 29
(d) This priesthood is at once related to Christ's and
distinguished from it. His is causal, it is consequent.
His is personal, it is collective realized in the infinite
multitude of the citizens within His kingdom. His is
real and substantive, the priesthood of one who knew no
sin, and never needed to sacrifice on his own behalf ; theirs
is ideal and figurative, the priesthood of those who have
been by the sacrifice of the Sinless redeemed from their
sins. His as original is creative ; theirs as derivative is
received only from Him, and is incapable of transmission
by its recipient. These are fair inferences from the fact
that their priesthood is traced directly to Him ; but His
to the act and call of God.
DR. SALMOND. (a) The main points, which alone can be
indicated here, are these that His Sacrifice was the
giving of Himself for redemptive ends, voluntarily ; that
in particular it was for the declaration of righteousness
(Rom. iii. 24, &c.), the forgiveness of sin, and the breaking
of the power of sin ; the notes which are most prominent
being those of its reconciling, propitiatory, and expiatory
power, its uniqueness and its perfection.
(b) That it is the one Priesthood in the full and proper
sense of the word, the only one by which men come to
God superior to Aaron's, changeless and of efficacy for
(c) That all His people are priests in the sense that
they can draw near to God by Him, having also their
own peculiar sacrifices to present 'spiritual sacrifices,'
to wit, those of their bodies, praises, prayer, obedience, &c.
(d) The former is related to the latter as consequent
DR. DAVISON. (a) The Apostles view the sacrifice of Christ
mainly as expiatory for the sin of the world ; secondarily,
30 STATEMENTS [4 a, b, c, d
as self-dedicatory and implying a mystical union between
Himself and believers.
(b) But the idea of the Priesthood of Christ is almost
confined to the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the analogy
between the High Priest of O. T. and the Heavenly
Priesthood of the Saviour is encompassed with difficulty,
if pressed in detail.
(c) The whole Church is (very occasionally) recognized
in N. T. as in a modified and metaphorical sense a
* priesthood,' intended to present only the spiritual ' sacri-
fices ' of self-consecration and thanksgiving (i Pet. ii. 5)
The eucharist is never viewed in N. T. as a sacrifice.
(d) The people of Christ accept and rest in the benefits
o/ the Sacrifice of their Lord, and look to Him as the
only 'Priest' in the full sense of the word in the
DR. FORSYTH. (a) To God it is atoning and in some true
sense piacular. To man it is feeding and succouring
the source of common life and mutual help vicarious.
(b) His Priesthood unique; abolished all else but what
it might create ; the only medium of communion between
God and man. He was both Priest and Victim, and in
N.T. the name Priest is reserved for Him and no Apostle
claims it or its function.
(c) The priesthood of His people is universal in Him.
Every man in Him is his own priest and pastor other
men may be helps but are not necessaries. The Church
is thus priestly in its nature, but only as a whole, and only
as interceding, working, suffering for men ; it has a com-
munion of the vicarious, but not of the atoning side of
Christ's work. The Church is priestly as being a priest,
not as having priests, and it is priestly more by the
indwelling of Christ's Spirit than by virtue of any com-
mission or transmission.
6] AND DEFINITIONS 31
5. What relation has the idea of the Church as the
Mystical Body of Christ to the ideas of His Priesthood
DR. MOBERLY. Priest and Sacrifice are the very heart's core
of what He became, and is, as Man. The Church, as His
Mystical Body, is wholly made one with His Manhood,
therefore it is wholly made one, par excellence ', with His
Priesthood and Sacrifice.
CANON GORE. The Church is the Body of Christ. Christ
lives, as quickening Spirit, in this body, in order that
the priesthood and sacrifice of man may be realized in
CANON BERNARD. To ascribe sacrifice to the Church on
this ground seems to me to be pressing a figurative
presentation of truth beyond the limits to which it is
DR. SANDAY. The fundamental question is that just stated
The passages most in point would seem to be John xv.
1-7, xvii. 21-23 ; Rom. vi. 3-11, xii. 4 f. ; I Cor. xil 12-27 ;
Eph. i. 22 f., iv. 1 2-1 6; Col. ii. 19.
It may be observed that the idea of the Church as the Body of Christ
is correlative to the idea of its members as fniaa pivot, 7101, /cXi/rci ayioi.
This character comes to them through the Sacrifice of Christ (Heb. xiii. 12,
x. 10 ; compare Rom. v. 2, &c.).
DR. FAIRBAIRN. I cannot recall a single case where the
idea of the Church as the mystical body of Christ is
associated with the idea of the priesthood. Of course,
His Priesthood and Sacrifice are the causes of its being,
as they are the ground of the Christian redemption as
32 STATEMENTS [5
a whole. But this does not mean that the Church
participated or participates in the acts or functions by
which it was itself created. They make its existence
possible, and so it lives the life of the redeemed rather
than experiences the passion of the Redeemer. Besides,
the idea of the priesthood can be got into the mystical
body an essentially Pauline idea only by conveying
Hebraic forms of thought into the Pauline phraseology.
Further, we must carefully define the sense in which
Sacrifice is here used, whether when predicated of the
body it means sacrificium or sacrificatio. The mystical
body is a body that lives, a resurrection body as it were,
incapable of death, and so incapable of being conceived
or described as a sacrificium.
DR. SALMOND. The designation 'body of Christ' being
applied to the Church by a figure (which also is only
one of various figures so applied), there is no necessary
or intended relation between the two ideas. Figures of
speech are good for illustrative not for dogmatic pur-
poses. This particular figure is introduced in relation
to the existence and use of gifts, but also and especially
in relation to Christ's Headship.
DR. FORSYTH. The relation of the Church to Christ is not
only as a Body but as a Bride. It is not only His organ
but the object of communion by the Spirit flowing entirely
from His death- work. By this the Church enjoys the
benefits of His atonement, and re-echoes the ministering
aspect of His death, both to its own members and to the
world. By this Spirit also the Church worships in the
perpetual fellowship of the Son's obedience to the Father.
But the Christian Church cannot, even by the Holy Ghost,
reproduce the sacrificial act which constituted it the
Sacrifice proper of Christ. The Atonement was not really
6, 6] AND DEFINITIONS 33
made by Christ's body or His sufferings, but by His loving
soul and holy obedient will. Its chief nature was prayer,
which is a function not of body but of soul. The Church,
therefore, in so far as it is Christ's body, can but carry out
what is foregone in Christ's act. Body is not a complete
outward to the Spirit's inward. The Church is Christ's
earthly tabernacle rather than His home. Its priesthood,
therefore, is a real but inferior function of His.
6. Does the idea of Priesthood applied to the Church
reside in the whole body collectively, or in the whole body
ideally, or in individual members of the body?
DR. MOBERLY. In the whole collective body ideally, and
in all its members as sharing in what it is ; but some
individuals are set apart, as others are not, for the public
and corporate representation of its priestliness.
CANON GORE. It resides in the body collectively and in the
individuals, therefore, as rational, personal, members of
DR. SANDAY. 'St. Peter doubtless meant by lepc&rev/xa not
a mere aggregate of individual priests, but a priestly
community. Such a priesthood is doubtless shared by
each member of the community in due measure, but
only so far as he is virtually an organ of the whole
body ; and the universality of the function is compatible
with variations of mode and degree as to its exercise'
(Hort, i Pet., p. 126). The last sentence appears to
mean that though all are priests, some may be priests
in a fuller and more special sense than others.
34 STATEMENTS [6, 7
DR. FAIRBAIRN. The only usage found in the N. T. ascribes
the priesthood to the living stones, whether collectively or
severally, in other words, to the citizens of the kingdom.
DR. SALMOND. In the first instance in the individual
members, each of whom is a priest in the N. T. sense.
In the second instance in the body, in so far as the
individuals are regarded as a whole ; in this sense, there-
fore, in the ' whole body collectively/ but not in the
sense of the whole body institutionally.
DR. DAVISON. If 'Priesthood' in this modified sense be
applied to the Church, the idea resides in the whole
body collectively, and in individuals separately ; but its
meaning is found in that direct access to God which is
now made possible for all believers through Christ the
One true Priest, as they offer the only ' sacrifices ' they
are called to present, viz. themselves, their thanksgivings
and worship generally.
DR. FORSYTH. In the whole body ideally without denying
that it is an ideal having its spiritual reality in Christ.
The priesthood belongs to individuals, not as such, but
in virtue of their incorporation with the spiritual body,
which is, under Christ, the only true priest.
7. Can there be any delegation of the functions of this
DR. MOBERLY. Delegation is hardly the right word. There
are some who, for public and corporate purposes, repre-
sent and discharge the priestly functions of the whole.
They must indeed be authorized by a public and minis-
7] AND DEFINITIONS 35
terial action of the body. But their authorization
requires something more than a popular appointment,
whose method might depend upon the unfettered fancy
of the contemporary body. Each generation has a
trusteeship, not an irresponsible ownership ; and must
comply with the conditions which are the guarantee of
CANON GORE. The body is an organized whole with
differentiated organs and functions ; and particular organs
of the body (i.e. persons) may be therefore in a special
sense consecrated to priestly ministry by divine appoint-
ment or delegation from the body, or both.
DR. SANDAY. Exception is taken to the words 'delegate,'
'delegation' in this connexion (Moberly, Ministerial
Priesthood, p. 90, with context). And it would seem
that the idea of ' organs ' or ' representatives ' of the
community is more appropriate (see the passage quoted
from Bp. Moberly, ibid., p. 70 ; and for a repudiation of
any idea of 'vicarious action,' a quotation from Canon
Gore, p. 71).
Though an ' organ ' of the whole body the ministry may be a necessary
organ, and the only organ qualified to act for certain purposes (guoad
DR. FAIRBAIRN. The priesthood of the Christian man can
be as little delegated as the passion of Christ could have
been delegated. It is of the very essence of his calling
and state ; and it can be neither assigned to another, nor
undertaken by any representative or substitute.
DR. SALMOND. Yes, in the sense that the individual members
may act collectively or corporately, and commit certain
functions or services to particular men with a view to
order, rule, convenience, or public worship.
36 STATEMENTS [7, 8 a, b
DR. DAVISON. Properly speaking, No. The minister may
be said to act as ' representative ' or ' organ ' of the whole
body see Dr. Moberly's Ministerial Priesthood^ passim
this is for the sake of church order, and the phrase
' delegation of functions ' is likely to mislead.
DR. FORSYTH. The most priestly function of Christ cannot
be delegated, either by Himself to others, or by those
others again. The words, delegate or representative, are
both misleading, and connote an independence from the
real priestly body, the Church, which is practically un-
happy. It might be better to describe the ministers of
the Church as its organs, which can act only when the
oody is present. The distinctive acts of the ministry
should not be performed apart from the presence of the
Church, were it but of two or three. The Church
should be present in the same bodily sense as the
8. If there is such delegation, how does it affect (a) those
to whom the functions are delegated; (b) those to whom
they are not delegated ? Is the Priesthood of the Church
affected by the delegation?
DR. MOBERLY. (a) Those set apart have all their lives and
powers consecrated to the public representation of the
priestly character, and the enactment of the functions
which express and embody it.
(b) Those not set apart have no authorization to
represent the corporate priesthood publicly in relation
to a congregation. Yet their lives too (according to
their different professions and opportunities) are to be
animated by, and illustrative of, its spirit.
8 a, b, C, 9] AND DEFINITIONS 37
(c) The Priesthood of the Church is itself, for all
public or corporate purposes, expressed, uttered, and
exercised, necessarily and only through those who are
authorized to be the Church's instruments for the
CANON GORE. Such delegation enables the body to express
its priestliness corporately. Those to whom such delega-
tion is not made obviously do not become thereby less
priestly, as members of the priestly body.
DR. SANDAY. That there should be this marking off of
certain organs for certain definite purposes is strictly
in accordance with the analogies of civil society (e.g.
the judicature, the army, &c.). Though the whole body
acts through the organs, it does not follow that every
member of the body can make himself an organ when
and as he wills (Heb. v. I, 4).
DR. SALMOND. (a] Only in respect of distinction of office
or particularity of service.
(b) In no sense implying that by their act of com-
mittal they part with any power proper to them, or
become the servants of those to whom they make the
0. What is the fundamental signification of the Laying
on of Hands P Does it involve Transmission ? And if so,
what is transmitted ?
DR. MOBERLY. Its fundamental significance is the conferring
of a blessing from God, or an appeal to God for the
conferring of a blessing. It does not, per se, involve
transmission. But blessing for ministerial office cannot
38 STATEMENTS [9
be (divinely) conferred without it, nor conferred except
by those who have received authority for conferring.
Thus (in regard of ministry) transmission of authorization
comes to be inseparably connected with it.
CANON GORE. In tJie Christian Church the normal significa-
tion for the laying on of hands is the transmission of
a divine gift lodged in the body whether pardon or
strength or authority of some kind.
CANON BERNARD. In its 'fundamental signification' it
designates the person on whom hands are laid as the object
commended in prayer to Divine favour and assistance.
* It does not involve transmission, but it is obvious that
the supposition would naturally arise, whenever this sym-
bolical action was used in connexion with bestowal of
authority or appointment to office.
DR. SANDAY. Does not the laying on of hands in blessing
tell against the idea of transmission ? The good things
invoked were not first possessed by him who invokes
them : they are in the hands of God, and the blessing is
a petition that He may bestow them.
There might seem to be more ground for the idea in
connexion with miracles of healing: and the popular
idea probably was that vital power passed from the
healer to the healed. But here, too, there is a Divine
intervention in answer to prayer, expressed or implied.
So that it would seem on the whole best to explain
these instances in the same way as in blessing. All
forms of laying on of hands will then fall into the
DR. FAIRBAIRN. The priesthood of the Christian man is
quite independent of the laying on of hands, and is as
incapable of transmission as of delegation.
0] AND DEFINITIONS 39
DR. SALMOND. That of a symbolical act, of ancient use in
solemn acts of prayer and benediction, and in the public
setting apart of men to office. It transmits nothing.
It is part of the transaction which sets apart, accompany-
ing the word of prayer which ordains and invokes
DR. DAVISON. The action of laying on of hands is sym-
bolical only. It is appropriate as implying, Godward
a prayer for blessing ; manward a commission to teach
and fill a certain office.
There is no ' transmission ' of specific grace or power.
DR. FoRSYTH. It is a symbol, and not a channel, of con-
secration. Nothing is transmitted. It is an expressive
and impressive concomitant to prayer of ordination
specially so in the case of a personal relation as between
Paul and Timothy. It was not used by Christ as an
official act. Neither St. Paul nor St. Matthew had it ;
and the idea of transmission of spiritual faculty by it
is outside the genius of the Christian idea, and too easily
The following note has been communicated by DR. DRIVER.
To lay (more exactly, to lean or rest) the hands upon
by offerer on head of wr/-offering (Exod. xxix. 15, Lev. i. 4, viii. 18,
Num. viii. 12) ; of/a-offering (Lev. iii. a, 8, 13, viii. 22, Exod. xxix.
19) ; of '-offering (Lev. iv. 4, 15, 24, 29, 33, viii. 14, Exod. xxix. 10,
2 Chron. xxix. 23).
by high priest on head of scape-goat, when confessing the people's
iniquities (Lev. xvi. 21).
by witnesses on head of blasphemer (Lev. xxiv. 14 ; cf. Susanna, v. 34).
by people on head of Levites to be admitted to menial services in the
sanctuary (Num. viii. 10).
by Moses on head of Joshua, when instituted formally as his successor
(Num. xxvii. 18, 23, Deut. xxxiv. 9).
The idea of the ceremony appears to be the solemn and deliberate
appropriation of an object, coupled with its assignation to a particular
40 STATEMENTS [9, 10
purpose 1 , by the person performing it (so e.g. Oehler, 0. T. Theol.,
126, a ; Keil on Lev. i. 4; Dillmann on Lev. i. 4, xxiv. 14, &c.).
It symbolized also the transference of the purpose, or intention,
actuating the agent, or (Oehler) 'die Zueignung dessen, was der Handelnde
dem Andern vermoge der ihm zustehenden Machtvollkommenheit zuer-