Thursday, March 4, 2010


Presbyta, in optics is a person whose eyes eyes being flat, can see distant objects distinctly, but those near confusedly; but defect of sight got this appellation, because old people are naturally subject to it.

Presbyter in the primitive Christian church, an elder, and of the second order of ecclesiastics; the other two being bishops and deacons. or pro.test.ants, so called from their maintaining that the government of the church appointed in the New Testament was by presbyteries; that is, by ministers and ruling elders, associated for its government and discipline.

The Presbyterians affirm, that there is no order in the church as established by Christ and his apostles superior to that of presbyters; that all ministers, being ambassadors of Christ, are equal by their commission, and that elder of presbyter, and bishop are the same in name and office; for which they allege, Acts xx. 28, etc.

The only difference between them and the church of England, relates to disciple and church government. Their highest assembly is a synod(sin nod), which may be provincial, national, or oecumenical; and they allow appeals from inferior to superior assemblies; according to Acts xv. 2, 6, 22, 23. The next assembly is composed of a number of ministers and elders, associated for governing the churches within certain bounds. This authority they found upon Acts xv. 4, 6, etc. The lowest of their assemblies or presbyteries consists of the ministers and elders of a congregation, who have power to cite before any member, and to admonish, instruct, rebuke, and suspend him from the Eucharist. They have also a deacon, whose office is to take care of the poor.

The ordination of their ministers is by prayer, fasting, and imposition of the hands of the presbyters. This is now the discipline of the church of Scotland.