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it, not to call upon us to show our Scripture credentials, but to produce their own. For if the Scripture evidence were only equal, the testimony of the Church should turn the scale. On them falls the duty of showing that some other polity was laid down in the Word of God, and laid down, not in one or two doubtful and questionable texts, but with such unquestionable clearness, that, in deference to such authority, we must (however unable to account for the facts before us) give up the plain testimony of the universal Church'. Such, I contend, is the position in which the Church of England stands. The points of our case have, on the face of the question, a strength similar to that which is attributed in law to a title by possession. The holder is not called upon to show his title-deeds; those who dispute his right must first themselves make out a case of their own. Let those who question our title, show the foundations of their own, and not call upon us to make out a title, when the judgment of the whole Church has decided in our favour.
Such, I say, is the position which we are entitled to take up. But, God be praised, those who have leisure for the enquiry need not confine themselves to this. We have no misgivings,-no flaws, which make us fear to produce our title-deeds. Wecan show the foundations of our polity in Scripture ; that the primitive Fathers and the universal Church, though they may have sometimes disfigured the model with incongruous ornaments, yet have preserved its principle and its authority', as it came from the hands
possible suppositions be admitted, all these whom I have now reckoned were Bishops fixed in several Churches, and had dioceses for their charges."
| This is a maxim that should not be lost sight of. not be difficult to bring single texts, on which doubts and disputes might be raised. But these avail nothing against the universal testimony of the Church, and the general tenor of Scripture.
It is one of the fallacies of the day to contrast the external circumstances of episcopacy, the accidents of it arising out of the position of the Church, with the external circumstances of the Apostles-circumstances, be it remembered, not embraced by choice, but imposed by necessity, and consequently neither approved nor condemned. Nothing can be more unjust than the inferences drawn from this. The principle and the foundation of episcopal jurisdiction is not altered by these extrinsic accidents, which, in various positions of the Church, and in its various relations with society, may be found to extend its usefulness. They are only means at one time applicable, at others perhaps not applicable, to the end for which episcopacy was ordained. To constitute a comparison between the Apostles and their successors, the circumstances of the Church, of society, and of the individuals, ought to be the same.
If those who are so zealous for primitive practice, and so fond of drawing these parallels, would only remember that there is not one rule for applying Gospel principles to the ministers of the Christian community, and another for the laity-if they would only begin by carrying out their principles and their parallel by first reducing themselves to the state of the primitive Christian society, and then drawing the parallel for the Bishops—I think a marvellous light would break in upon some of them, and they would have much less difficulty in seeing that the circumstances of the society
of the Master Builders. Let us now take a summary view of the foundations of episcopacy, as they appear in the Word of God.
Had the Scriptures been silent, analogy would have afforded ground for presuming that the Church of Christ was never to consist of disgregated members, having no common bond of sympathy, no common principle of action, and utterly dead to those social propensities, which were either originally implanted by God in the breast of man, or so powerfully impressed upon him by his necessities, that they seem part of his nature, and, in every age and country, have influenced both his religious and civil relations. But both Jesus himself and his Apostles have expressly, and under a variety of figures, represented His Church as a community', with that appropriation of subordination of offices, which are necessary to the order and welfare of any society. They have likened it to a kingdom; to an household with servants and rulers of servants; to a body with mem
might require a change in the outward circumstances of its members, whether rulers or subjects, without affecting the principles of the society itself. Would a Christian nobleman, for example, think he was acting contrary to the principles of religion, because he did not, as the early Christians, lay his possessions at the Bishops' feet?
The very designation of the Church indicates that those who compose it have, as it were, been chosen and called out from the world, to form themselves into a religious community. Luke xii.
1 Cor. xii.
bers, each having their proper functions; to an house “ built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone! He, who recognized this social principle in His Church, did not leave it without a model of government, to direct those to whom he should commit it at his death, or those their successors, with whom he expressly declared, he would be to the end of the world.” And he not only appointed rulers in his Church, but himself became their pattern, and showed them, by example, that the authority is not to be assumed at pleasure, but only by lawful calling. We are not left to infer this from his acts, which we might have done; we have the express testimony of St. Paul in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that “even Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest, but He that said unto him, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?"
Having been thus consecrated, he calls others to be with him, for the purpose of assisting him in his ministry during his life, to qualify themselves for being witnesses of his truth, and for governing the Church after his departure into glory. With a solemnity suited to the occasion, having passed the whole of the previous night in prayer, he calls the twelve; he gives them a special title— Apostles,
and directs that they are to be with him'. Their number, not their office, twelve, appears to have been ordained with a view to the twelve heads of the tribes; for to Israel was the Gospel preached during the life of Christ, and for some time after. And to this connexion with the twelve tribes, an allusion appears to be made, when Jesus tells the Apostles they shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel”. Afterwards, he sent forth also seventy disciples (probably in both cases fixing the numbers with reference to a number familiar to his countrymen), after the pattern of the seventy * elders in the book of Numbers, who were
1 Mark iii. 14.
2 Luke xxii. 28-30. The strife of the sons of Zebedee for to sit one on the right hand and the other on the left of our Lord, shows the sense they had of the authority of their office. Their authority is not questioned, only their ambition for precedency rebuked.
3 I say number, for there appears no similarity in their office, nor were they called “ elders.”
4 Vid. Hammond. Dissertationes, &c. Dissert. tertia, cap. iv. $. 18. Heylin. from the xi. Numb. referred to by Hammond, thinks they were 72, six to each of the 12, as the term septuagint and 70 was commonly understood as speaking in round numbers, and, applied to Sanhedrim, to mean 72. The case of Numbers xi. is certainly one very much to the point, where the Lord says, “ Gather me 70 men of the elders of Israel ;' and Moses is said to have “gathered the 70 men of the elders,” &c. at the tabernacle. But there were still two in the camp upon whom also the Spirit fell, as well as on the rest. With respect to the difference between the office of elders under the Jewish and