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presbyters did not possess the full power of ordination, the apostle could not use the language which he does in 1 Tim. iv. 14. The evidence is complete, that bishops and presbyters are one in office and authority; and that after the apostolic office and power ceased, bishops, (called also elders, and presbyters) and deacons, are the only orders remaining in the church. This is admitted by all moderate Eipscopalians. The Christian Observer for March, 1804, says, " that Episcopalians found not the merits of their cause upon any express injunction or delineation of church government in the scriptures, for there is none." Paley, notwithstanding bis archdeaconship, admits, that "it cannot be proved, that any form of church government was laid down in the christian scriptures, with a view of fixing a constitution for succeeding ages.” When Charles I. struggled between the relinquishment of his life, or the jus divinum of Episcopacy, he sent for Usher, and asked him, “ Whether he found in all antiquity, that presbyters alone ordained any? To which the archbishop replied frankly, that he could show bis majesty more than that, even that presbyters alone had successively ordained bishops, and instanced in St. Jerome's words, in his Epis. ad Evagrium, where he says, the presbyters of Alexandria chose and made their own bishops, from the days of Mark the apostle, till Heraclus and Dionysius."* In the reign of Elizabeth, the archbishop of Canterbury gave Mr. John Morrison, a Scots Presbyterian, a license to preach and administer the sacraments through his whole province. “ As much as in us lies, and as by right we may, approving and ratifying the form of your ordination, etc.”+ In those two remarkable works, called the Institution of a Christian Man, and A necessary Erudition for a Christian Man, (the first named the Bishop's book, and the second the King's book, and both licensed by Henry VIII.,) the one “maintains but two orders of the clergy, and avers, that no one bishop has authority over another, according to the word of God;" and the other in the sacrament of orders, “maintains no real distinction between bishops and priests.” And concerning the order of deacons, it says, Of these two orders only, that is to say, priests and deacons, scripture maketh express mention.”| The early reformers were of the same opinion, and the godly men who bore the burden of the subsequent Reformation, maintained the same doctrine. They found no difficulty in refuting the arguments of their popish opponents, but were crushed by the civil power. Says Milton, “ The prelates bore sway, in whose time, the books of some men were confuted, when they who should have answered, were in close prison, denied the use of pen or paper. And the divine right of Episcopacy, was then valiantly as
* Neal Vol. iii. p. 508. t Ibid. Vol. i. p. 386. Ibid. p. 73–81.
serted, when he who should have been respondent, must have bethought himself withal, how he could refute the Clink or the Gatehouse.'
We have not time, nor is it necessary, to follow our author through his many citations from the primitive fathers, occupying the space of a long lecture. He quotes Irenæus, Tertullian, Cyprian, Eusebius, and Jerome, of the ancients; supporting their testimony by extracts from Calvin, Melancthon, Grotius, etc., and instar omnium, Hooker. As for those modern fathers who yielded so much to the Episcopal claim, their concessions prove nothing more than their strong desire to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This was the object of the Geneva reformer, and if it were not so, we, as Milton says, shall not " be put off with Calvin's name, unless we be convinced with Calvin's reason." Selden and Stillingfleet, and other eminent men in the Reformation, refuted the high claims of Episcopacy, but they were induced by flattery and preferment, or compelled by persecution, to retract their arguments. With a word, we must also dismiss the primitive fathers. If their testimony is valid, it favors alike both sides of the controversy. Ignatius, the oldest of the fathers, so often quoted by our opponents, writing to the Philadelphians, says, " that it belongs to them as to the church of God, to choose a bishop.” Much more to the purpose, we might cite from the same author ; but as bishop Hopkins prudently omits Ignatius, we leave him, and pass on to the fathers he has cited, as furnishing an unbroken line of Episcopal bishops, from the apostles. He begins with Irenæus, who tells us, that Polycarp " was made bishop of Smyrna by the apostles.” That the apostles delivered the Episcopal office to Linus, (mentioned by Paul in his epistle to Timothy,) and to him succeeded Anacletus, and to him Clement,
But Irenæus confesses to Florinus, that he saw Polycarp only when a boy, and if bis boyish testimony can be relied on, Polycarp was “an apostolical presbyter," for so the young witness calls him. But Eusebius, near the close of his third book, speaking of Papias, an old writer given to "new doctrines and fabulous conceits,” and who had heard St. John, says, that “divers ecclesiastical men, and Irenæus among the rest, while they looked at bis antiquity, became infected with his errors.” The same Irenæus was as much a patron of papacy as of Episcopacy, for he says, (Book iii. against Heresies, that “the obedience of Mary, was the cause of salvation to herself and all mankind.”+ Next, Tertullian. He repeats the argument of Irenæus, but with no increase of authority. Neither of them says, that bishops were above presbyters, nor does it appear, that they are speaking of diocesans. The apostles, say they, placed a bishop at Smyrna, another at Rome, etc. But what bishops were these? And who will assure us, that authors so infected with popish sentiments, have not been corrupted in their passage through the channel of Rome? Tertullian calls “St. Paul a novice, and raw in grace, for reproving St. Peter at Antioch."* If prelacy is supported by such witnesses, it must go hand in hand with popery. The third father is Cyprian. By the Romish argument, he makes Peter the rock of government, and deduces bishops from him. But this same Cyprian says, (Epis. 55th and 681h,) “A bishop is made by the suffrage of all the people. The people chiefly bath power either of choosing worthy ones, or refusing unworthy." This he repeats often, and proves from the scriptures, “and with solid reasons; these were his antiquities.” In Epis. 6th, 41st, and 52d, also, we add, that Cyprian calls presbyters, his compresbyters, and they call him brother Cyprian and dear Cyprian. The first council of Nice, in a synodical epistle to the African churches, warning thein of Arianism, “exhorts them to choose orthodox bishops, in the place of the dead, so they be worthy, and the people choose them.”'t Eusebius, as we have already seen, confesses, that he knew nothing of bishops, except from tradition, and what might be gathered from the Acts of the apostles, and the epistles to Timothy. And Jerome, the last on our author's list, is the man who opposed prelacy, and tells us it came in "paulatim," by abuse of the power given to the “primus inter pares.” We add to these ancient fathers, the testimony of “a fast friend of Episcopacy, Camden, who cannot but love bishops as well as old coins, and his much lamented monasteries, for antiquities' sake.” Writing of Scotland, he says, “that over all the world, bishops had no certain diocese, till pope Dionysius, about the year 268, did cut them out; and that the bishops of Scotland executed their function in what place soever they came indifferently, and without distinction, till king Malcom III., about the year 1070.”I
* Apol. for Smectymnuus. Milton Prelat. Epis. p. 83.
We have done with citations from the fathers; but since bishop Hopkins, and all Episcopal writers, rely more upon Hooker than upon any other champion, ancient or modern, we beg leave to insert here an extract from Orme's Life and Times of Richard Baxter, vol. i. p. 23.
In Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, the strength of the Episcopal cause is to be found, and from the almost superstitious veneration with which his name is mentioned, by the highest, as well as the more ordinary members of the church, it is evident how much importance they attach to his labors. Of the man whom popes have praised, and kings
* Ref. in Eng. p. 19. * Ibid p. 15. p. 14.
commended, and bishops without number, extolled, it may appear presumptuous in me to express a qualified opinion. But truth ought to be spoken. The praise of profound erudition, laborious research, and gigantic powers of eloquence, no man will deny to be due to Hooker. But had his celebrated work been written in defense of the popish hierarchy, and popish ceremonies, the greater part of it would have required little alteration. Hence we need not wonder at the praise bestowed upon it by Clement VIII., or that James II. should have referred to it, as one of the two books which promoted his conversion to the church of Rome. His views of the authority of the church, and the insufficiency of scripture, are much more popish than protestant: and the greatest trial to which the judiciousness of Hooker could have been subjected, would have been to attempt a defense of the Reformation, on his own principles. His work abounds with sophisms, with assumptions, and with a show of proof, when the true state of the case has not been given, and the strength of the argument never met. The quantity of learned and ingenious reasoning which it contains, and the seeming candor and mildness which it displays, have imposed upon many, and procured for Hooker, the name of judicious,” to which the solidity of his reasonings, and the services he has rendered to christianity, by no means entitle him.'
We have noticed the fathers, ancient and modern, merely to show that their testimony cannot be relied upon in support of Episcopacy. The arguments from this source go to prove Congregationalism, even more fully than prelacy. The oldest of the fathers, uncertain traditions excepted, had nothing but the scriptures for their guide. The wisest of them confess, that they knew nothing sure but what they gathered from this source. “ Thus, while we leave the bible to gad after the traditions of the ancients, we hear the ancients themselves confessing, that what knowledge they had in this point was such as they had gathered from the bible: therefore, antiquity itself hath turned over the controversy to that sovereign book, which we had fondly straggled from." Bishop Hopkins also has subscribed to certain articles, of which Art. VI. saith, “Holy scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation : so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be provided thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.”
In view of the whole evidence in the case, we are confident, that diocesan Episcopacy cannot be established either from the scriptures, or the traditions of the elders. Whence then its origin, we are asked. We answer, it came in by degrees upon the simplicity and purity of gospel institutions. The cardinals of Rome, as an old English writer shows, were originally parish priests. The primitive bishops, as Cave and Mosheim have proved, were simply pastors. By time and corruption, a new Vol. VIII.
order of the ministry was invented, and the name of bishop was elevated to correspond with it. The church and state became at length cemented together, and spiritual powers were fashioned by the civil. He who should have fed the flock like a shepherd, began to trample on the “liberties and lawful titles of God's freeborn church.” The superstition of Helena, the mother of Constantine, is well known. Her son, the first christian emperor, having found the cross of Christ, as he supposed, "put some of the nails into his helmet, to bear off blows in battle; others he fastened among the studs of his bridle, to fulfil, as he thought, or his court bishops persuaded him, the prophecy of Zachariah, “ And it shall be that which is in the bridle shall be holy to the Lord.” Superstition and corruption prevailed till the dead mass was broken up by the Reformation. But the reform in England, so far as those in power were concerned, was rather political than evangelical. Henry VIII. lived and died a bigoted papist.* Mary was worse still. Elizabeth was but half a protestant, and the Jameses and the Charleses were staunch Romanists. Such were their supporters; and the brief labors of Edward VI. scarcely availed nothing. So late as the reign of Charles I. great stress was laid on the uninterrupted succession of the Episcopal character from the church of Rome. “ Miserable were we, (says Dr. Pocklington) if he that now sits archbishop of Canterbury could not derive his succession from St. Austin, St. Austin from St. Gregory, and St. Gregory from St. Peter.” The author of the English Pope (1643) says, " Sparrow paved the way for auricular confession, Watts for penance, Heylin for altar worship, and Laud for the mass.”+ In view of such historical facts, and the persecutions which in the reign of Elizabeth, suspended a fourth part of the best preachers; and in the reign of Charles II. expelled two thousand of the most godly ministers from the church, we are surprised to find bishop Hopkins saying, “We are justified in disclaiming all part or lot in the dissensions and divisions of the church of Christ. It is an unfailing ground of humble thankfulness with those who belong to the English branch of the Reformation, that this grievous multiplication of schisms did not arise in the communion of that church.” (p. 3.) Schisms! The godly reformers, driven out for conscience sake, would have remained, had they not been compelled “ to use the popish babits," and to observe idle ceremonies. Had a few of these indifferent things been left discretionary, there had been no schism. This
* His funeral was observed with popish ceremony. And he left £600 a year to the church of Windsor, for priests to say mass for his soul every day, and for four obits a year, and sermons and distribution of alms at every one of them, etc.- Fox's Martyrs, p. 321.
+ Neal, vol. ii. p. 315.