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Apostles and general tenor of the Scriptures all speak the same language as the early Church, and are not to be shaken by a few ingenious verbal distinctions and niceties upon one or two disputable texts. The question is not to be treated, as it often is, as though the presumption were against episcopacy, when it is the reverse, both by the testimony of the Church and general tone of the Bible.
I take my stand upon the manifest intention of the commission given to the Apostles, and to the Apostles only, upon the broad marks of appropriation of authority—upon the distinct tenure of power, ordination, and direction which the Apostles display in the exercise of their functions, and which they enjoin to those to whom they commit
that a Bishop was appointed to every city, but only to each city where he was required.
The opponent of episcopacy may reply, I interpret this the other way. Be it so. Then to what better arbitration can we refer the question, than the practice of the Apostles, and men to whom the Apostles delegated their authority, such as Timothy and Titus—the general tenor of Scripture, and the testimony of the Church ? I merely take this as an example, not meaning to enter into the wide field of controversy on single texts.
* An excessive importance appears to be attached, in this controversy, to the question whether the terms Episcopus or Presbyter were distinctly appropriated or not in Scripture. The main point is, whether the office existed, was appropriated, and delegated to successors, and continued in the Church. That it was so by the Apostles, and by Timothy and others, and by the universal Church, there appears to me a mass of evidence which cannot be affected by the time at which the mere terms became distinctly and strictly appropriated.
Bishop Taylor says,— 1st, That the word “ Presbyter" is but an honourable appellative used amongst the Jews, as “Alderman" amongst us; but it signifies no order at all, nor was ever used in Scripture to signify any distinct company or order of clergy: and this appears not only by an induction in all the enumerations of the offices ministerial in the New Testament *, where to be a Presbyter is never reckoned either as a distinct office or a distinct order, but by its being indifferently communicated to all the superior clergy, and all the princes of the people.
2ndly, The second thing I intended to say, is this ; that although all the superior clergy had not only one but divers common appellatives, all being called peoßúrepou and didkovou, even the Apostolate itself being called a Deaconship t, yet it is evident, that before the common appellatives were fixed into names of propriety, they were as evidently distinguished in their offices and powers, as they are at this day in their names and titles.
A great stress has been laid upon Jerome's authority-his meaning grievously perverted—by those who wished to represent him as affirming that there was no distinction between the office of the Bishop and the Presbyter, unless by the custom of the Church. For he himself distinctly admits that the Bishop had exclusively the power of ordination : "Quid enim facit, excepta ordinatione, episcopus, quod Presbyter non faciat.” He recites, as among the Apostolic traditions, that Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons have the same relative gradations as Aaron, his sons, and the Levites, and says the Presbyter is contained in the Bishop as the less in the greater. If his authority, therefore, standing alone, could be set against that of the earlier fathers and the universal Church, it would not avail ; for he brings no argu
their authority'. They, and they only, ordain ministers—they confirm—they issue their decrees to the Church-they receive appeals in matters of controversy—they regulate all the rising Churches. It is true that, at first, they have no specified districts over which each presides (save that, from the unanimous testimony of the early Church, James appears to have been very early Bishop of Jerusalem ? ); but this is again precisely what,
ments to prove any thing more, than that, until the schism at Corinth spoken of by St. Paul, one saying, I am of Paul, another I am of Apollos, &c., the Gospel was preached, and the Church governed, by the common council of persons who were promiscuously termed Bishops and Presbyters. The words were applied to the same persons—those persons were both Bishops and Presbyters—but he does not deny that there were two offices. Even he not only recognizes the two offices, though at first exercised by the same individual, but professes to fix the time and the cause (the Corinthian schism) of their being separated, and separated by the Apostles, and placed in the same superiority and subordination as Aaron and his sons. The Apostles, we know, called themselves elders, but we also know that there were elders who were not Apostles, nor pretended to Apostolical functions. The promiscuous use of the name is no proof that the offices were not distinct.
But it is unnecessary, in this pamphlet, to enter upon the questions of Jerome's theory. The reader will find it well sifted in Hammond's work on Episcopacy, Dissert. 2nd, cap. 27, 28, and 29; and also in Fran. Amessana. Difficilia, S. Hieron, loca.
Titus i. 5. ? Hooker cites in proof of this, Acts xv. 13, xxi. 18; also the direct testimony of Eusebius and Jerome. Ecc. Polity, lib. vii. §. 4. This is fatal to the pretensions of Rome; and, indeed, it is
from the state of things, we should naturally expect. The Church was at first confined to the Jewish nation and the proselytes of the gatetherefore the principal seat of episcopal government, is Jerusalem. At first, all the offices of the ministerial character centered in the Apostles : they performed the functions of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons', and did not establish the subordinate offices till the increase of the Church required them. Their labours also, for some time, must have been rather of a missionary character—to travel about—to make converts—to settle and regulate small congregations, not sufficiently populous, nor protected from jealousy or persecution, to have a separate episcopal government, or be more than parishes under an ordinary Presbyter, with the episcopal superintendence of the Apostles. Afterwards, as Churches became firmly established, and Bishops placed over them, the archiepiscopal superintendence of the Apostles (directed by the Spirit) over those infant establishments ? appears to have been continued. This seems to have been a chief object in St. Paul's travels, which so largely occupy the narrative of the Acts of the Apostles.
evident that the Bishop of Rome had no other precedency than that which the Church might reasonably concede to him as Bishop of the chief city of that empire under which they were. He had no right to rule over independent Churches. The principle of the concession, one of social convenience, not Divine institution, is followed out in practice in the separation of the Eastern and Western Churches, when Constantinople became the seat of empire.
See Acts vi. 1-7. ? 2 Cor. xi. 28.
But while the exercise of their superiority and special power is to be traced occasionally in the Acts, the language of the Epistles, as I have already observed (especially that of St. Paul), is almost every where that of a ruler and a superior officer in the Church, directing not only the laity, but the ministers of religion. And in his Epistles to Timothy and Titus, his language is not only that of a Bishop, but of one addressing with archiepiscopal authority and paternal affection Bishops themselves-men who were themselves rulers, and who had authority to ordain elders, and under whose jurisdiction elders were placed. Especially to Timothy does he speak with these views, and also with a plain reference to the office being continued after his own and Timothy's decease in lawful succession for ever.
I regret being compelled to hurry over this interesting portion of our subject, but am sensible that with the utmost compression I must exceed the limits which, on such an occasion as this, I ought to claim. I must therefore very briefly touch upon the abundant marks of the recognition of Timothy's episcopal character, which was discernible in St. Paul's Epistles to him. St. Paul reminds him of the apostolic authority from which his commission is derived, and of the firmness with which he ought