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show most decidedly that those individuals singly, in the same manner as bishops in our day, had a right to ordain elders or presbyters, and deacons; over which two distinct orders of ministry, the higher possessed a government and charge ; be

; ing authorized to receive accusation against them, to instruct and admonish, and if needful, to rebuke them also-powers which are at once recognised in the Episcopal form, but are not found to exist in any other.

If any difficulty presents itself in respect of the distinction of grades here mentioned, it is merely in the terms of office, and this is one which is readily explained. The word for elder is

agroBurigos, referring to the age of those who

πρεσβύτερος were usually ordained to that station, and corresponds, both in rank and appellation, to our term presbyter. It was the second order of the ministry; and because presbyters were put in charge of particular congregations or flocks, they had also, originally, the name of bishops or overseers. Thus, in the text, St. Paul says to Titus, that he had left him in Crete, to ordain elders in every city; and then, expressing the necessary qualifi.cations, he adds, “for a bishop," or overseer, “ must be blameless." The title, however, does not effect the office itself; which was evidently below that of the person ordaining, and above that of the deacons. The community of these two names, bishop and presbyter, to designate the second grade of the ministry, during the life time of the apostles, is universally admitted; but after their death, and from respect to their character, a change took place. The term apostle was confined to those to whom it was originally given, who were, indeed, the first bishops of the Church; the title of bishops was applied to those who immediately succeeded them; and that of presbyters and elders remained, as now, to the second grade. For the fact of this change there is the express authority of Theodoret, one of the fathers of the Church. His language is this,

Formerly the same persons were called both

presbyters and bishops, and those now, called “ bishops were then named apostles; but in pro

cess of time the name of apostle was left to “ those strictly so called, and the name of bishop " ascribed to the rest." And “all bishops," says Jerome, “ are the apostles successors."* Thus the distinction between these two orders is clearly seen. And as to the lower order of deacons, that this was not, as now pretended, a mere lay appointment, is manifest from this, that St. Philip, who was of that order, both preached and baptized.

Hasty as is this view of the scriptural proof for Episcopacy, it shows evidently that from the apostles' time, there were three orders in Christ's Church, bishops, priests, and deacons. And did time allow, the right of the first to govern in the Church, as well as to ordain, (agreeably to the declaration of St. Paul in the text) might be amply proved. The whole subject might be further elucidated by considering particularly the scriptural instances of Episcopal authority, in Timothy, bishop of Ephesus, and Titus, bishop of Crete; the power which is ascribed to St. James, bishop of Jerusalem in the Acts; and also the responsibility which, in the book of Revelation, is attributed to the angels of the seven churches in Asia, by which are intended the bishops of those churches.

* Hooker, p. 243.

Turning from this branch of the argument (its scriptural proof) to that of ancient authors, the materials are more ample; but our attention to them must be more brief. In the writings of the apostolical fathers, St. Clement, bishop of Rome, and St. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, and particularly in the Epistles of Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, reference to the three orders of the ministry is perpetually made, and the most explicit injunctions given, that due subordination and obedience should be observed. The testimony of these writers applies to the very age of the apostles, and corresponds with the received persuasion of the ancient Christian world, that “ ecclesia est in Episcopo—the outward being of a “ Church consists in the having of a bishop."


And if we descend a little lower, we find Irenæus,
bishop of Lyons, who was instructed by Polycarp,
the disciple of St. John, and who lived within
fifty years from the time of St. John's death, using
this language, “ We can reckon those whom the

apostles appointed bishops in the churches; and
“ who they were that succeeded them down to our
“ own times.” Clement of Alexandria, who lived
about the same time, in his writings, lays down
precepts which concern men in different stations,
some of which relate to bishops, others to pres-
byters, and others to deacons. Tertullian, Origen,
and Cyprian, continue the evidence in favour of
Episcopacy to the year 220. 'And from that time
forward, as the Church emerged from obscurity,
history every where recognises this form of
government, and this only. To this assertion
agrees the declaration of the historian of the de-
cline and fall of the Roman empire, that “after

we have passed the difficulties of the second century, Episcopacy seems to have been universally established, until the time when,” to use his language, “it was interrupted by the re

publican genius of the single reformers;" the reason and the grounds of which have already been mentioned.

The whole argument which has been considered, may be thus summed up: The superiority of bishops we think fairly made out from the very

letter of the sacred text; and so thought

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“ all the most ancient fathers. This primitive “ interpretation is farther confirmed by the prac“ tice of the apostles, who enthroned many bi

shops with their own hands. It was never dis

puted till the fourth century, and then by an “ heretic. No one church can be produced where

Episcopal government did not take place. No “ general council met to appoint it. And yet the “ Armenian and Persian churches in the east, " those of Spain in the west, of Africa in the

south, and of Great-Britain in the north, sub“mitted 10 bishops without exception. And the

proof we have for all this, is the universal tes

timony of those writers upon whose authority “we admit the canon of Scripture. Would the

primitive saints and martyrs, whom we know " to have been over tenacious of the apostolic “ practice in the minutest matters, invade the

Episcopal power of their own will, and in de“ fiance of the apostles? Would they attempt “ this without any worldly motive, bút greater “ loads of trouble and affliction? For the care “ of all the churches lay upon them; and the “storm of persecution fell first and hardest upon “ the bishops. Do men usually invade the rights “ of others upon such principles ? And if they

did, was it possible for the invaders to prevail, “ in so short a time, over Christendom without

opposition; and no record be found of one “ word of complaint from the degraded presbyters

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