The Priesthood is the ministry of mediation between GOD and man in those things which impart forgiveness of sins, convey blessings, and put away wrath. It is divided into imperfect, as was that of the law; and perfect, as is that of the Church.
The foundation of the Priesthood in the Church is laid on that declaration of the LORD of the Priesthood to St. Peter, in the region of Caesarea Philippi: “To thee I shall give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; And whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven”. Its superstructure comes from that other injuction: “Feed My lambs. Feed My sheep. Feed My ewes Its completion and perfection from that He breathed on them saying: “Receive ye the Holy Spirit; if ye forgive a man his sins, they are forgiven to him; and you withhold forgiveness of a man’s sins, they shall be held”.
The old Priesthood was one of generation, and not one that was based upon manner of life and will, but the new Priesthood by Apostolic succession, and imparted in the Church through the laying on of hands, is given to those who are deemed worthy of it after examination of their manner of life and thought.—”Let these be first examined, and then let them minister being found blameless.”
Therefore the perfection of this and the imperfection of that Priesthood is evident, since we know that very many wicked children are begotten to righteous fathers, as Cain, Kham, and the children of Lot, of Moses, Eli, and others; and good children are begotten of wicked fathers, as Melchizedek, Abraham, and others. Moreover, the former Priesthood was conferred by material oil; but this latter by the immaterial unction of the SPIRIT, through the laying on of hands.
As to the matter of the rules whereby he who desires the Priesthood is to be tried, whether he be worthy or not, let him who wishes to know this attend to the words of St. Paul, the tongue of the SPIRIT; this is a true saying: “If a man desire the priesthood he desireth a good work.
He who becomes a priest must be blameless, the husband of one wife, alert mentally, modest, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt at teaching; not given to wine, not hasty to strike, but patient, not quarrelsome, not greedy of lucre. One who rules well his own house, having his children under submission to bring them up with all purity. For if a man know not how to rule his own household, how can he take care of the Church of God?
He should not be a recent convert, lest he become proud and fall into the condemnation of satan. Moreover, he must have a good report from outsiders; lest he fall into reproach, and snares of satan. Likewise the deacons must be pure, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, and they should not love impure profits; holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
And let these. “that is all the degrees of the Priesthood, be first proved, and only then should they minister, being found blameless.