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catalogue; otherwise, in spite of argument, there are four permanent orders of the ministry! It will not be pretended, that the so called elders appointed by Christ, and the elders afterward ordained by the apostles, filled one and the same grade of office. The apostles would not profane their master's work, by re-ordaining men to the same rank. There is neither proof, nor pretense, that the seventy were ordained to the bishopric by the apostles. That honor is claimed for such men as Timothy and Titus. Besides, if the seventy, as bishop Hopkins admits, could ascend to the second grade, on the vacancy occasioned by the death of Christ, by virtue of their previous commission, they could also, on the decease of the apostles, ascend to the first rank, without a new consecration. From every investigation of this subject, we rise up with a deeper conviction, that the wisdom and the word of God can never be bound down to the perpetual “triad,” so often and so confidently claimed for the ministry of reconciliation.
• The next step of the apostles, [having filled the triple form, by adding deacons to the seventy,] which we have to mark, after they had established many churches, and had ordained ministers in every quarter, is their preparing to set men in their own place, to ordain, and to govern the churches, after they should be no more. For we find St. Peter, in his second epistle, (ch. i. 13-15.) saying, yea I think it meet, etc. And St. Paul, near the end of his labors, writes to Timothy and Titus, charging them to exercise apostolic powers, in ordaining elders and deacons; and in judging and rebuking such as might be unfaithful."
This statement is followed by the assertion, that “from this we see, distinctly, that the three-fold ministry was designed to continue after the apostolic day.” We see no such thing, either distinctly or indistinctly. Nor are we enlightened by the further asseveration, appended in immediate connection, that “the primitive church declares with one voice, that such was the universal custom: that bishops, priests and deacons, were every where the regular officers of the christian church, and that there was no church without them: and that as St. Paul placed Timothy in Ephesus, and Titus in Crete, to preside over the churches in those regions respectively, so the other apostles bad ordained the first bishops in every other city of importance, which had received the gospel.” It is easy to show, that the "one voice” of the primitive church, is not one, but many voices. But we are at present concerned with the argument from scripture. The reference to Peter, (2 Pet. i. 13-15.) is extremely unfortunate. There is not an iota in the chapter, respecting the ministry. The things which the apostle would have the saints, after his decease, keep always in remembrance, were known to them, and they were esVol. VIII.
tablished in the present truth. (ver. 12.) He reminds them of the practical duties of religion, growth in grace, and of the precious promises, and the sure word of prophecy. Not a syllable does he intimate about the appointment of a successor. And he thought as little as he says of this uninspired topic. His epistles are addressed to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bythinia, elect, etc.,—to them who have obtained like precious faith with us." The object of both his epistles, as he himself informs us, is to stir up the pure minds of his brethren, by way of remembrance. This should be the object of every preacher, whether apostle, bishop, presbyter, or deacon. The ministry is set, not for the defense of forms, but for the defense of the truth. The assumption, that the apostles ordained diocesan bishops in every important city, is entirely gratuitous. Nothing of the kind is recorded in their writings. As it respects the apostolic powers of Timothy and Titus, this is no precedent for after times. Moses was a layman, and consecrated Aaron to the priesthood. But this furnishes no warrant for such a layman as Henry VIII. to assume the dignity of head and lau-giver to the church ; nor could he, on the ground of any precedent, human or divine, receive those remarkable "spiritual powers," conferred on him by the "judicious Hooker."* " The powers granted to Timothy and Titus, prove nothing in favor of the jurisdiction claimed by bishops. These, own sons of Paul in the faith, were vested with his authority to ordain elders, not bishops, and to complete the business left unfinished by the apostle. They ordained elders in his name, rebuked them, if necessary, and rejected heretics. This proves, we admit, that the elders were subordinate to Paul, and to those who were sent by him, to regulate the churches which he had planted. But how does it hence follow, that this apostolic authority, necessary in the infancy of the christian church, has been transmitted to the present time? How does it hence appear, in the face too of Matt. xviii. 15-17, and 1 Cor. v. 1-5, that the sole power of excommunication, as our author claims, (p. 290.) “is committed to the bishop alone.” As for the sending of Timothy and Titus, “to preside over the churches in those regions respectively,” nothing of the kind is intimated in the epistles directed to ihem, or elsewhere. They were Paul's traveling companions. In the second epistle, (iv. 5.) Timothy is called an evangelist,-a traveling preacher; and in the same chapter, we find that Tychicus is sent to Ephesis, Crescens to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia, and Paul having only Luke with him, sends for Timothy and Mark to come diligently to him. Titus is sent about in the same manner. He is left awhile in Crete, "to set in order the
* Eccles. Pol. B. viii. 98.
things that are wanting.” (i. 4.) He was a while at Dalmatia. (2 Tim. iv. 10.) He carried Paul's epistle to the Corinthians, and returned to him in Macedonia. (2 Cor. vii. 6.) We might as well call Crescens, and Tychicus bishops, as Timothy and Titus. The effort to prove, that these two spiritual sons of Paul were by him constituted diocesans, with authority to ordain successors to the same office, is and forever has been a failure. It is vain to talk about " the office of apostle, afterwards called bishop.” The scripture knows nothing of such a transmutation of the name, er transmission of the power. Eusebius, the most ancient writer extant of church history, whose testimony bishop Hopkins relies upon, confesses, (book iii. ch. 4.) “That it was no easy matter to tell who were those that were left bishops of the churches by the apostles, more than by what a man might gather from the Acts of the apostles, and the epistles of St. Paul, in which number he reckons Timothy for bishop of Ephesus; so as may plainly appear, that this tradition of bishoping Timothy over Ephesus, was but taken for granted, out of that place in St. Paul, which was only an intreating him to tarry at Ephesus, to do something left him in charge."* Paul charged the elders, (presbyters,) at Ephesus, summoned to him at Miletus, 10 feed, (rule, govern) the church, and take heed to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost had made them (STIOXOTOUS) overseers. (Acts xx. 28.) We are told by Episcopal writers, and by our author, too, that the bishops were not yet appointed. Where is the proof, that the Ephesian church ever had an officer higher than a presbyter? The scriptures are silent; and Clement, the disciple of Paul, more than twenty years after the apostle's death, shows in his epistle to the factious Corinthians, who had been left unbishoped, that they were still governed by presbyters. Hermas, as cited by Salmasius, says the same of other churches.t Here again, the chain of descent becomes weak from its length, and is broken beyond repair.
Bishop Hopkins proceeds next to examine the main positions in Dr. Miller's letters, which he claims to have “ discussed and resuted in their order. These positions, summarily expressed, are the following, to wit: “Christ gave but one commission for the office of the gospel ministry, and of course, the office is one.
The words bishop and elder, or presbyter, are uniformly used in the new testament, as convertible titles for the same office. The same character and powers, ascribed in the scriptures to bishops, are ascribed to presbyters, establishing the identity of order and
The christian church was organized after the model of the Jewish synagogue, and was presbyterian in its form.” We
* Milton's Select Prose Works, Vol. i. p. 75. Boston : 1826. Ibid. p. 121.
shall not assume the office of umpire in this case, but will only offer a few remarks on these propositions. To begin with the last, Buxtorf, Prideaux, and bishop Hopkins, have clearly shown, that the synagogue service more nearly resembled the Episcopal than any other; that is, forms of prayer were used, and the scriptures were read by a fixed calendar. After a portion of the law or the prophets had been read, some one expounded, as appears from the custom of Christ and of Paul, (Luke iv. 16–21; Acts xiii. 15; xvii. 3.) There were several officers, but no stated preacher, and we are unable to discover in the synagogue much that looks like a model for the christian church. Prideaux shows, that synagogues were unknown till after the Babylonish captivity, and were established, the better to instruct the people in the law; the Hebrew, at the public reading, being repeated in Chaldee by an interpreter. From the use of written prayers, and the dividing of the scriptures into lessons, he infers two things, for the consideration of dissenters. “Ist. That our Savior disliked not set forms of prayer in public worship ; and 2d. That he was contented to join with the public in the ineanest forms, rather than separate from it.” We do not stand convicted by these inferences, for Christ and the apostles were Jews. They necessarily conformed to many Jewish customs, which were afterward abolished by the new dispensation. Paul purified himself, circumcised Timothy the Greek, abstained from meats. The simple inquiry is, What was the mode of worship and order of government in christian churches ? Bishop Hopkins says that it was Episcopal, and that the model of the christian church was borrowed, not from the synagogue, but from the temple. But Prideaux, an equally competent witness, and dean as he was, shows conclusively, that the Jews, till after the Babylonish captivity,“ had not any set forrns for their prayers; neither had they any solemn assemblies for their praying to God at all, except at the temple only.” of the men who prayed within and without the temple, at the offering of the sacrifices, he says, « Neither of these had any public forms to pray by, nor any public ministers 10 officiate to them herein, but all prayed in private by themselves, and all according to their own private conceptions." He proves also from the parable of the publican and pharisee, and other instances, that Christ, and the apostles, and the first christians, prayed without the use of forms, as the custom had always been in the temple.* Hence it follows, that liturgies are human, and not of divine origin.
The three remaining propositions which bishop Hopkins says he has refuted, may all be grouped into one. For if the words
* Prid. Connex. Vol. ii. B. vi. p. 170. See also Lightfoot's Temple Service.
bishop, and elder, or presbyter are uniformly used as convertible titles for the same office, the commission for the ministry is one, and its character and powers belong to one and the same class of men. Our author adniits the community of names, that the apostles and public teachers were called indiscriminately, bishops, elders, presbyters, and deacons. But he says, nothing can be proved from ibis. “These names were at first not so much proper as common; although they became official and distinctive afterwards." We dissent from this explanation, with which we have been furnished thousands of times. The names in scripture had, in the beginning, a distinctive and official meaning, however they might be used in common. When Paul calls himself the apostle of the Gentiles, we understand at once, that the word apostle describes his peculiar office; and his distinctive title is not obscured by styling bimself a messenger, elder, or servant of the church. So too, when he sends for the elders of Ephesus, we have no doubt what offices he meant. But if the names and titles appropriated to the first christian teachers were common, and did not become distinctive till afterward, how is one office known from another, and how can the Episcopal succession of three orders be deduced from the scriptures? The titles were originally distinct, and the powers of each office were defined, and therefore, from the interchange of names we can identify the presbyter and bishop. These two words are used promiscuously, and by consequence, signify the same thing. But the other titles are not so used, and they signify different grades of office. We should not say, (describing the duties of an apostle,) a presbyter, or a deacon must be blameless. But we find (Tit
. i. 5-7.) the qualifications of elders, and (mpso Busspous). presbyters thus described : “ If any be blameless, the husband of one wife etc.; for a bishop (ETICXOTCUmust be blameless." If the words bishop and presbyter here do not signify the same office, there is no sense in the language. The same character and powers therefore, are given to the bishop and presbyter. They are commissioned to feed the church, a word which embraces the highest powers of government, for it is applied to Christ the good shepherd, (Matt. ii. 6.) All the powers given to the ministry in the new testament, are ascribed to presbyters. See in the original Heb. xii. 7,17; 1 Tim. iii. 4, 5, 12; 1 Thess. v. 12; 1 Tim. v. 12; Acts, xx. 17, 28; 1 Peter, v. 2, 3. In the salutations to the churches, only bishops and deacons are mentioned. (Phil. i. 1.) These bishops synonymous with presbyters, ordained Timothy. He could not have received ordination by the laying op of the hands of the presbytery,” unless they had power to consecrate him to his office. Paul, as one who had aided in the ordination of his son in the gospel, might properly and very naturally remind Timothy of his share in the transaction. But if the