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Surely, the wrath of man shall plain. Some four or five years ago, praise thee; the remainder of wrath Mr. Coleman published his “ Chrisshalt thou restrain.", -This senti- tian Antiquities”-a work of great ment of the Divine word is contin- learning, and of distinguished useful. ually illustrated before our eyes. ness. This contradicted, of course Human wickedness becomes the -as every such work of necessity occasion, in the wonder-working must-the arrogant claims and providence of God, of a greater pretensions of high-church Epis. good than would otherwise have copalians ; and an addle.headed been realized; and all this without “ Presbyter” of the Episcopal furnishing the least shadow of an church undertook to reply to cer. excuse for the sin, or detracting at tain portions of it, affecting to treat all from the guilt of the sinner. it with scorn and contempt. And The sin of Joseph's brethren in sell. but for that miserable, spiteful re. ing him into Egypt was made the ply, the book before us, we are as. occasion of his subsequent exaltation sured, had never been written. To and usefulness, and of the preserva- the " Presbyter" aforesaid we feel tion of his father's house. The sin under no particular obligations ; but of Queen Elizabeth and her suc. we do rejoice that, in consequence cessors, in persecuting the Puritans, of his interference, the thoughts of was made the occasion of the set. the learned author of the “ An. tlement of New England. Had tiquities” were directed more spenot the court of Charles II. been cifically to the subject of the prewicked enough to shut up John sent volume. And more especially Bunyan in prison, the world might do we praise that overruling Prov. never have been favored with Pilo idence, under whose guidance and grim's Progress, and the name and blessing it has been given to the influence of the writer might long world. ago have been forgotten. And so Nor do we feel under obligations in a thousand other instances. With- to arrogant Churchmen and Pusey. out intending it, or thinking of it, ites, for assailing our ecclesiastical men fulfill the purposes of God, and constitution as they have done, and promote his glory. And even when insisting that we have no proper they intend the contrary, their evil churches or ministers among us. designs are overruled for the ad. And yet we do not doubt that their vancement of Christ's kingdom. opposition will be overruled for
Surely, the wrath of man shall good. Indeed, we can see that it praise thee; the remainder of wrath has been so already. It has aroused shalt thou restrain."
the friends of a popular church But what has all this to do with government, and led them to look Mr. Coleman's “ Apostolical and again at the foundation on which Primitive Church?” We will ex- they stand. It has been a means of
reviving a too much neglected sub.
ject, and of drawing towards it a * The Apostolical and Primitive Church, Popular in its Government, and deeply interested attention. Simple in its Worship. By Lyman
The work before us is not one to Coleman. With an Introductory Essay, be trifled with, either by friends or by Dr. Augustus Neander, Professor of foes. It obviously is the result of Second Edition. Boston : Gould, Ken: deep and thorough research of dall & Lincoln. 1844.
much patient labor and study. Not
satisfied with the means of investi. machinery (if I may so speak) of gov. gation enjoyed in this country, when
ernment unchanged; the rulers of synaour author had resolved to canvass
gogues, elders, and other officers (whether
spiritual or ecclesiastical, or both) being the subject, and had made consid. already provided in the existing instituerable progress in the arrangement tions. And it is likely that several of the of his materials, he repaired to Ger. in this way; that is, that they were con
earliest Christian churches did originate many, that he might have access to
verted synagogues ; which became Chris. the extensive libraries, and conser tian churches as soon as the members, or with distinguished scholars, there. the main pari of the members, acknowl. He had thus the best sources of in. edged Jesus as the Messiah."
in It is, then, an admitted fact," says formation within his reach, and he Mr. Coleman, “ as clearly settled as any certainly has made very good use thing can be by human authority, that of them. He has given us a vol. the primitive Christians, in the organiza
tion of their assemblies, formed them ume, at which the enemies of a pop. after the model of the Jewish synagogue. ular church government may rail, They discarded the splendid ceremonials but which they never will answer of the temple-service, and retained the a thesaurus of facts and testimonies, simple rites of the synagogue worship.
They disowned the hereditary aristocracy, which should have a place in the of the Levitical priesthood, and adopted libraries of all our young ministers. the popular government of the syna. Mr. Coleman commences with a
gogue.' summary view of the ground to be Mr. Coleman's next chapter is on passed over, and the course of rea the independence of the primitive soning to be pursued. He next in. churches. He proceeds to show quires into the constitution and gove that the Apostles instituted no exernment of the Jewish synagogue, ternal form of union or confedera. and shows that the primitive Chris- tion between the churches. No tian churches were formed after the trace of any such confederation, same model. In some instances, whether diocesan or conventional, the assemblies of the early Chris- can be detected on the page of his. tians were even called synagogues. tory. The newly planted churches “If there come into your assembly, enjoyed the fellowship of the Spirit, ouvayurynv, a man with a gold ring, and they had intercourse and com. &c., James ii, 2. In regard to the munion, one with another, in a great connection between the early church variety of ways. But each indi. and the synagogue, the testimony of vidual church was a society purely Archbishop Whately is too important voluntary, and was independent of to be omitted.
all others, in the conduct of its "It is probable that one cause, humanly worship, the admission of its mem. speaking, why we find in the Sacred bers, the exercise of its discipline, Books less information concerning the the election of its officers, and the Christian ministry and the constitution of entire management of its affairs. church governments than we otherwise might have found, is that these institu
If this be so, it certainly is a very tions had less of novelty than some would important fact; and that it really is at first sight suppose, and that many por so, is sustained by the authority, not tions of them did not wholly originate merely of Congregationalists and with the Apostles. probable,—I'might say, morally certain, Presbyterians, but of Episcopalians -that wherever a Jewish synagogue ex
and Lutherans. “Every church,” isted, that was brought the whole, or
Dr. Barrow, settled apart, the chief part of it,-to embrace the gospel, the apostles did not, there, so much
so as independently and separately form a Christian church (or congregation, to manage its own concerns." ecclesia) as make an existing congregation “Every church,” according to Dr. Christian ; by introducing the Christian Burton, “ was independent of every sacraments and worship, and establishing whatever regulations were requisite for other church, with respect to its own the newly-adopted faith ; leaving the internal regulations and laws."
“The subordinate government of own ministers and other ecclesiasti. each particular church,” says Rid- cal officers, was one of the last dle, was vested in itself ; that is which the people would surrender, to say, the whole body elected its or which the hierarchy was able to ministers and officers, and was con wrest from them. “ During the sulted respecting all matters of im. first century,” says Waddington, portance. All churches were inde. * on the death of a president, or pendent of each other, but were bishop, or pastor, the choice of a united by the bonds of holy charity, successor devolved on the members sympathy, and friendship.” Dean of the society. In this election, the Waddington, speaking of the church. people had an equal share; and it es in the first century, says, Every is clear that their right in the matter church was essentially independent was not barely testimonial, but judi. of every other. The churches, thus cial and elective.” Mosheim, in constituted and regulated, formed a his history of the second century, sort of federative body of indepen. says, “One president or bishop predent religious communities, dispersed sided over each church, who was through the greater part of the Ro- created by the common suffrage of man empire, in continual communi. the whole people.” According to cation, and in constant harmony Cyprian, it was an apostolic usage, with each other.” Similar views preserved by a divine authority in are also expressed by Archbishop his day, and observed throughout Whately : “ Though there was one the churches of Africa, that a pas. Lord, one faith, one baptism for all tor should be chosen publicly, in the these churches, yet they were each presence of the people; and that by a distinct, independent community their decision, thus publicly expresson earth, united by the common ed, the candidate should be adjudged principles on which they were found worthy to fill the vacant office, ed by their mutual agreement, affec. whether of deacon, presbyter, or tion and respect; but not having bishop. any one recognized head on earth, The right of electing their own or acknowledging any sovereign- church officers, so dear to the peoty of one of these societies over ple, and regarded by them as their others."
natural inheritance, was not wrested The writers here quoted are all from them at once, but was filched of them learned Episcopalians of away by slow and imperceptible England. Similar testimonies to degrees. Under pretense of prealmost any extent might be adduced venting popular disorders and tufrom the Lutheran ecclesiastical his. mults, it was gradually restricted, torians of Germany. Indeed, all and encumbered with embarrassing candid and competent witnesses unite conditions, till at length, after the in testifying to the independence of lapse of some five or six hundred the apostolical churches.
years, the traces of it
scarcely In the next chapter, which is the visible. Thus, in the language of fourth, our author shows that the our author, “the government of the churches exercised the right of elec- church, from a pur democracy, tion, not only in the age of the had changed, first into an ambitious Apostles, and in their immediate aristocracy, and then into a more presence, but for long ages after. oppressive oligarchy, which directed ward. Indeed, this relic of the its assaults against that most sacred early, popular form of church gov. principle both of civil and religious ernment remained, when nearly liberty-the right of every corporate every other vestige of it had passed body to choose its own teachers and away. The right of choosing their rulers. This extinction of religious
freedom was not effected in the been from the beginning. Planck church universally at the same time, affirms that, so late as the middle nor in every place by the same of the third century, the members means. Oppressed by violence, of the church still exercised their overreached by stratagem, or awed original right of controlling the prointo submission by superstition, the ceedings of the church, both in the churches severally yielded the con- exclusion of offenders, and in the test, at different and somewhat dis. restitution of penitents. tant intervals."
“From about the middle of the fourth The subject of the fifth chapter century," says our author, “the bishops is the discipline of the primitive assumed the control of the whole penal churches. This, says Mr. Coleman,
jurisdiction of the laity, opening and shutwas administered by each body of inflicting sentence of excommunication,
ting at pleasure the doors of the church, believers collectively; and contine and prescribing, at their discretion, the ued to be under their control, until austerities of penance; and again abthe third or fourth century. About solving the penitents, and restoring them
to the church by their own arbitrary this period, the simple and effective
power. The people, accordingly, no discipline of the primitive church longer having any part in the trial of was exchanged for a complicated and offenses, ceased 10 watch for the purity oppressive system of penance, ad. of the church, connived at offenses, and
concealed the offender; not caring to in. ministered by the clergy."
terfere with the prerogatives of the bishThat the right to administer eccle. op, in which they had no further interest. siastical discipline was originally The speedy and sad corruption of the vested in the church, Mr. Coleman of this loose and arbitrary discipline.
church was but the natural consequence argues from the Scriptures; from Nor can it be doubted, that ihis was one the early Fathers; from the author- efficient cause of that degeneracy which ity of modern ecclesiastical writers; succeeded.” p. 116. and from the fact, that the entire The almost total neglect of disci. government of the church was vested pline in churches where the power in the body itself.
vests in the priesthood, and not in In the age immediately succeed. the people, is apparent in our own ing that of the Apostles, we find the times. For example, in the Lutheran churches exercising the right, not church in Germany, according to only of excluding offending mem- the testimony of a devout minister bers, but of deposing and excluding of that body,“ persons of abandoned unworthy ministers. The church character, known to be such, and at Corinth had deposed some of their the most notorious slaves of lust, presbyters, which was the occasion are publicly and indiscriminately of Clement's writing to them his received to the sacrament of the first epistle from Rome. In writing Lord's supper.” And in the church to the Philippians, Polycarp refers of England, the state of things is to the case of a presbyter, who had not at all better. The following is been excluded by that church. At the testimony of the Tractarians on a later period, we read of two bish. this point; and they will not be sus ops in Spain, who had been deposed pected of exaggeration. by their churches for idolatry. Ori “Every church warden in every parish gen, in his commentary on Matthew, in England, is called upon once a year 10 speaks of the conviction of an of attend the visitation of his archdeacon.
At this time oaths are lendered to him refender before the whole church, as
specting his different duties; and among the customary mode of trial. The other things he swears, that he will preRoman Catholic historian, Du Pin, sent to the archdeacon the names of all asserts that the discipline of offen: such inhabitants of his parish as ders, in the third century, was ad- oath is regularly taken once a year by
leading notoriously immoral lives. This ministered by the church, as it had every church warden in every parish in Vol. IV.
England; yet I believe that such a thing Hermas, the author of the Shepas any single presentation for notoriously herd, was a member of the church immoral conduct has scarcely been heard of for a century.”. “ Thus we go on
at Rome, and lived in the first cen. lamenting, once a year, the absence of tury. He uses the terms bishop discipline in our church, yet do not even
and presbyter promiscuously, and dream of taking any one step towards its speaks of presbyters as presiding restoration." p. 121.
over the church at Rome. The sixth and longest chapter in One of the earliest and best acthe volume before us, is on “the credited pieces of Christian antiquity equality and identity of bishops and is the first epistle of the Roman presbyters.” In establishing this Clement to the Corinthians. In it position, Mr. C. first appeals to the the writer says, that the apostles Scriptures. He shows that, in every where appointed bishops and Scripture, the appellations and titles deacons in the churches, making no of a presbyter are used interchange- mention of a third order. ably with those of a bishop; that that presbyters had been placed over both are required to possess the the church at Corinth, and complains same qualifications; that the official that certain presbyters had been duties of both are the same, not ex. ejected from the episcopate. He cepting ordination ; and that, in the exhorts the Corinthian brethren to apostolic churches, there was no or. restore these ejected presbyters, and dinary and permanent class of min. to submit themselves unto them. isters superior to that of presbyters. No mention is made in this epistle The Apostles were not an ordinary of more than two orders of church and permanent class of ministers, officers, and the terms bishop and but one extraordinary and tempo. presbyter are used continually as rary. They were not bishops. referring to the same office. They are never called bishops in Of Polycarp we have but one the New Testament. In fact, their epistle remaining, which is addressed duties in relation to the whole Chris. to the church at Philippi. In it the tian church were incompatible with word bishop does not once occur. the office and work of a bishop. Polycarp exhorts the Philippians to In the high and peculiar character be subject to their presbyters and which they were called to sustain, deacons. they left no successors, and from In what remains of Papias, there the nature of the case could have is no mention made of bishops, but left none.
Timothy was not bishop only of presbyters. This Father of Ephesus, nor Titus of Crete; denominates the Apostles presbyters. nor were the angels of the churches “If I met any where with one who addressed in the Apocalyptic epis. had conversed with the presbyters, tles, bishops. All these points are I inquired after their sayings; as fully and satisfactorily argued in what Andrew, what Peter, what the work before us. They are es. Philip, what Thomas or James had tablished in a way not to be over said.” thrown.
In the writings of Justin, there is The historical argument in proof no mention made of bishops. He of the identity of bishops and pres. speaks of one in each church as its byters is pursued at great length, president; and the president and and with distinguished ability. We deacon are the only church officers shall not be able to present so much of which he gives us any account. as an outline ; but shall merely refer Irenæus uses the terms bishop to some of the more convincing au and presbyter interchangeably. He thorities which have come down speaks of traditions preserved in
the churches through a succession