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of presbyters.” Polycarp, who was tolic origin. Thus Jerome, in his bishop of the church at Smyrna, commentary on Tit. i,5, says: “A he represents as “an apostolical presbyter is the same as a bishop; presbyter."
and before there were, by the instiClement of Alexandria (a pres- gation of the devil, parties in relibyter) speaks of himself, and others gion, the churches were governed like him, as having rule over the by the joint councils of presbyters. churches, and as being called pas. But afterwards it was decreed, tors. He sometimes speaks of bish. throughout the whole world, that op and presbyter as the same, and one chosen from among the prese sometimes he makes a distinction byters should be put over the rest, between them.
and that the whole care of the church The account of Tertullian, who should be committed to him.” Jewas cotemporary with Clement, is rome proceeds to support his opinion much of the same character. “Cer. as to the original equality of prestain approved presbyters," says he, byters and bishops, by commenting “preside, who have obtained that on Phil. i, 1, and on the interview honor, not by price, but by the evi- of Paul with the Ephesian elders, dence of their fitness.” These pre- and then adds: “Our design in siding presbyters are sometimes these remarks is to show, that called bishops, and sometimes the among the ancients, presbyter and highest priests. They were modo bishop were the very same. But by erators in the meetings of presby. degrees, that the plants of dissension ters, and correspond to the presi- might be plucked up, the whole dents, spoken of by Justin.
concern was devolved upon an indiVarious epistles have been pub- vidual. As the presbyters there. lished under the name of Ignatius, fore know that they are subjected, an early pastor or bishop of the by the custom of the church, to him church at Antioch. From among who is set over them, so let the these, seven have been selected and bishops know, that they are above published by Archbishop Wake, as presbyters, more by custom, than being probably genuine. There is by any real appointment of Christ.” too much evidence, however, that Augustine held to the same doc. these seven
are spurious; or at trine on this subject. Writing to least that they have been interpo. Jerome, he says: “Although, aclated, and with reference to this cording to the names of honor very subject. In these epistles, the which the usage of the church has three orders of ministers are pretty now acquired, the office of bishop frequently and distinctly recognized. is greater than that of presbyter, There is this, however, to be con- yet in many things is Augustine insidered : the bishop of Ignatius is ferior to Jerome.' never a diocesan bishop, but the Chrysostom and Theophylact mere pastor of a single church. both affirm, that " while the Apos.
There can be no doubt that, in tles lived, and for ages after, the the third and fourth centuries, im- names of bishop and presbyter were portant changes took place in the not distinguished." government of the churches. The
" It is remarkable,” says Gieseler, bishops now claimed to be a distinct “how long the opinion of the orig- . and superior order of ministers. inal identity of bishops and presby. Still, they had not the exclusive ters was retained in the church.” power of ordination, nor was it be. Among the Roman Catholics, this lieved by the more intelligent Chris- was the generally received doctrine, tians, that the distinction between insisted on both by canonists and them and presbyters was of apos- schoolmen, until past the middle of
the sixteenth century, when the are brought for this distinction and opposite opinion was affirmed by superiority of order" (between bishthe Council of Trent.
ops and presbyters ;) “no Scripture, By the English reformers, the no primitive general council, no doctrine of the original parity of general consent of primitive doctors Christ's ministers was distinctly as. and fathers, no, not one primitive serted. So taught Wickliffe, in the father of note, speaking particularly fourteenth century.
So taught and home to our purpose.” Cranmer, and Jewell, and Grindall, Selden, the best read in ecclesiasand Whitgift, and most of the early tical antiquity of any man of his dignitaries of the present Episcopal time, and whom Grotius styles “the church. Bishop Jewell says ex. glory of the English nation," turned pressly, “ The office of bishop is the doctrine of the divine right of above that of priest, not by the au- bishops into jest. thority of Scripture, but after the Archbishop Bancroft is said to names of honor which, through the have been the first of the English custom of the church, have now Protestant clergy, who insisted on obtained.”
the divine right of bishops; and The King's Book, so called, drawn even he did not hold this opinion up under the direction of Henry constantly; for in the year 1610, VIII, and published in 1543, makes when it was moved that the Scotch no original distinction between bish. bishops elect might first be ordained ops and priests, and says that “ of presbyters, Bancroft replied that these two orders only, priests and there was no need of it, since ordi. deacons, Scripture maketh express nation by presbyters was valid. mention.” In a paper, drawn up Archbishop Laud, of persecuting in England at about the same time memory, was a strenuous and conwith the King's Book, and signed sistent advocate of the divine right by the two archbishops, eleven bish- of bishops. He undertook the de. ops, and twenty divines, it is stated, sense of this position, while a memamong other things, that “in the ber of the University, for which he New Testament, there is no mention received, it is said, a college cenmade but of deacons or ministers, sure. He persisted, however, in and priests or bishops."
maintaining the doctrine, and had Bishop Burnet says, “ As for the the happiness to see it prevail, under notion of the distinct offices of bisho his administration. It has been the op and presbyter, I confess il is not belief of high-church Episcopalians, so clear to me; and therefore, since in England and America, from that I look upon the sacramental actions period to the present. as the highest of sacred perform- We have thus given a mere sketch ances, I can not but acknowledge—the briefest possible—of the arthat those who are empowered for gument from history in proof of these” (as presbyters confessedly ihe original equality of bishops and are) "must be of the highest office presbyters. in the church."
But if such was the order of things, Archbishop Usher says, “I have as established by the Apostles, and ever declared my opinion to be, that as received and observed by their bishop and presbyter differ in degree immediate successors; how, it may only, not in order; and that in be inquired, was this order changed ? places where bishops can not be The distinction between bishop and had, ordination by presbyters is val. presbyter was pretty early devel.
oped; how did it take its rise ? Bishop Crofts says, “I hope my To answer this question is the reader will see what weak proofs object of Mr. Coleman's seventh
chapter. And without undertaking the third and fourth centuries, our to iravel with him over the whole author gives a very satisfactory acground of discussion, it will be count. enough to say, that Episcopacy
"The churches, in the principal towns, grew up gradually in the church, gradually gained a controlling influence and that its origin and progress are over those which were planted in the to be ascribed to several causes. country round abont. And the clergy of Among these, was the apostolical into similar relations to their brethren in
these central churches came, by degrees, custom of committing the care of the country. So that both minister and every church-certainly of all the people of the city became, through the principal churches—to several joint operation of various causes, the center presbyters. That such was the cus.
of influence and power over the feeble
churches that gradually sprang up in the iom in the times of the Apostles, country around. The church of the meand subsequently, there can be no tropolis became, in the quaint style of doubt. Thus we read of elders in church history, the mother-church, to the church at Jerusalem, of the smaller, dependent fraternities in the
country; and the clerical head of this elders at Ephesus, and of bishops church, the principal man among bis at Philippi. There were several brethren, the presiding genius of their teachers in the church at Antioch, assemblies and councils. This accidental at the time when Paul and Barnabas its clergy, led on the rapid development
ascendency of the central church, and of were called to go to the heathen. of the Episcopal systein : and, finally, In such a college of elders, sharing ended in the overthrow of the popular a joint responsibility, it would be government of the primitive church." convenient, if not indispensable, for one of their number to act as mod. Another fact which aided mate. erator or president of their assem- rially in the growth of Episcopacy, blies. This would confer on the was the institution of synods and presiding elder no official superi- councils. We hear nothing of any ority over his brethren, but-coupled such assemblies, until past the midwith age, and talents, and spiritual dle of the second century. They gifts, it might give him a controlling were got up, in the first instance, influence in their councils, and in as a measure of prudence, and in the government of the church. The the hope of drawing closer the control thus acquired, he began, in bonds of Christian fellowship and time, to claim as his own preroga. union. But they soon began to tive. He claimed to be the bishop give law to the churches, and furof the church. Such was the ori. nished to aspiring ecclesiastics a gin of the distinction between bish. most inviting medium, through op and presbyter, as it developed itwhich to strengthen and extend self near the close of the second their influence. Mosheim remarks, century, and in the beginning of that these councils “ were producthe third.
tive of so great an alteration in the It is obvious, however, that the general state of the church, as nearbishops thus created would be no ly to subvert its ancient constitution. more than parochial bishops, or pas. The primitive rights of the people tors each of a single church. And experienced, in consequence, a consuch actually were the first bishops siderable diminution, while the dig. of which we have any account in nity and authority of the bishops ecclesiastical history. The ques- were much increased.
At the first, tion, then, arises : how came the indeed, the bishops acknowledged simple parish to be exchanged for a that they appeared in council merely diocese ; and the parochial bishop as the ministers or legates of their to be transformed into a diocesan churches. But it was not long beof this change, which took place in fore this humble language began to
be exchanged for a loftier tone ; and unwilling to acknowledge it, and they at length took it upon them to strove to maintain their former inassert that they were the legitimate dependence. “This strife," says successors of the Apostles, and Neander," between the Presbyte. might, consequently, by their own rian and Episcopal systems, is of authority, dictate to the Christian the utmost importance in developflock."
ing the moral and religious state of Still another consideration which the church in the third century." tended to the growth of Episcopacy, The Episcopal church governwas the analogy which began, ment, when once developed and es. pretty early, to be drawn by the tablished, ran very naturally and higher clergy, between their office speedily into the metropolitan, the and that of the Jewish priesthood. patriarchal, and the papal systems. The officers of the church were Each of these passes under the originally organized according to searching review of Mr. Coleman; the order of the Jewish synagogue.
but we shall not be ble to follow The name and office of the rulers him in the discussion any farther of the synagogue were transferred than to notice some of the more to the church. But the bishops, palpable results of the great and after a time, began to change their fatal change which had now been ground, and to claim analogy to experienced. the priesthood of the Old Testa- So far as the laity were conment. They were no longer in- cerned, these results were disastrous. cumbents in office at the pleasure Having no longer any concern in of the people, but divinely consti- the government of the church, the tuted priests of God, and divinely people generally became indifferent appointed to instruct and rule over as to its interests. If scandals the church. And as in the service abounded, it belonged not to them of the ancient temple, there were to remove them. If a case of dis. the high priest, the priests, and the cipline occurred, its management Levites ; so it was inferred that, in began and ended with the clergy. every parish or diocese, there should Every thing tended to separate the be a bishop, presbyters, and dea- laity from the care of the church,
and to influence them to neglect Another cause of the rise of the duty of watching and striving toEpiscopacy was that hinted at bygether for the maintenance of godliJerome, in a passage before quoted ness among its members. Nor were -the controversies and dissensions they, in general, any more care. which sprang up in the church, and ful in regard to their own spiritual which it was hoped that a more interests. Chrysostom, the eloquent stringent government might be able bishop of Constantinople, thus porto subdue. “By degrees,” says trays and laments the corruption of Jerome, “ that the plants of dissen- morals, in his day. “All things sion might be plucked up, the whole now seem corrupted and lost. The
was devolved upon church is little else than a stall for individual.” The results, however, cattle, or a fold for camels and which the good Fathers anticipated asses; and when I go out in search from the change, were not realized. of sheep, I find none. All are ramSo far from this, the devolving of pant and refractory as herds of wild the whole concern upon one indi. horses or goats. Every thing is vidual led on, in many places, to full of their abounding corruptions." still greater difficulties. The bish- To the clergy, the results of the ops were urgent in enforcing their change in question were even more authority, while the presbyters were unhappy than to the people. In
proof of this, we need only quote a of the learned, but of the great; few passages from the letters of and value highest, not what is useGregory Nazianzen, a pious pre-ful, but what is pleasing to others.” late of the fourth century.
The state of the church during * How I wish there had been no prece
the long ages of papal usurpation, dence, no priority of place, no authorita. is thus eloquently set forth by our uve dictatorship, thai we might be dis. author. tinguished by virtue alone.
But now this right hand, and left hand, and iniddle, “The corruptions and abominations of and higher and lower, this going before the church, through that long night of and going in company, have produced to dreadful darkness which succeeded the us much unprofitable affliction,-brought triumphs of the Pope of Rome, were inmany into a snare, and thrust them out expressibly horrible. The record of them among the herd of the goats; and they, may more fitly lie shrouded in a dead not only of the inferior order, but even of language, than be disclosed to the light in the shepherds, who, though masters in the living speech of men. The succes. Israel, have not known these things." sors of St. Peter, as they call themselves, "I am worn out- with contending against were frequently nominated to the chair the envy of the holy bishops ; disturbing of “his holiness” by women of infathe public peace by their contentions, mous and abandoned lives. Not a few and subordinating the Christian faith tó of them were shamefully immoral; and tbeir own private interests." ...“If I some, monsters of wickedness. Sev. must write the whole truth, I am deter- eral were heretics, and others were demined to absent myself from all assem- posed as usurpers. And yet this church blies of the bishops ; for I have never of Rome, with such ministers, and so seen a happy resuli of any councils, nor appointed,-a church corrupt in every any that did not occasion an increase of part and every particular-individually evils, rather than a reformation of them and collectively, --in doctrine, in disciby reason of these pertinacious conten- pline, in practice,'—this church, prelacy tions, and this vehement thirst for power, recognizes in the period now under consuch as no words can express." pp. 291, sideration as the only representative of
the Lord Jesus Christ, invested with all
his authority, and exercising divine pow. Speaking of the ignorance and
ers on earth! She boasts her ordinances, incompetence of the bishops, the her sacraments, transmitted for a thousame writer says:
sand years, unimpaired, uncontaminated,
through such hands! High Church Epis"No physician finds employment until copacy proudly draws her own apostolical he has acquainted himself with the nature succession through this pit of pollution, of diseases; no painter, until he has and then the followers of Christ, who learned to mix colors, and acquired skill care not to receive such grace from such in the use of his pencil. But a bishop is hands, she calmly delivers over to God's easily found. No preparation is requisite uncovenanted mercies.” p. 313. for bis office In a single day we make one a priest, and exhort him to be wise Mr. Coleman's last four chapters and learned, while he knows nothing, are on the prayers, the psalmody, and brings no needful qualification for his office, but a desire to be a bishop. They and homilies of the primitive church, are teachers, while yet they have to learn and the benediction. He shows the rudiments of religion. Yesterday, that prescribed forms of prayer are impenitent, irreligious; and to-day, priests; in opposition to the free spirit of the "*They are, in their ministry, dull; in Christian dispensation ; are contrary evil speaking, active; in study, much at to the example of Christ and his leisure; in seductions, busy, in love, apostles, and unauthorized by their cold; in factions, powerful; in hatred and enmity, constani; in doctrine, waver
instructions; are inconsistent with ing. They profess to govern the church, the simplicity and freedom of prim. but have need themselves to be governed itive worship; and that they were by others.” p. 305.
unknown to the primitive church. The inferior clergy of his time, Origen warns his readers against Gregory describes as “ seducing vain repetitions and improper reflatterers ; savage as a lion to the quests in prayer, charging them not weak, cringing as a dog to the pow. to battologize ; an error into which erful, who knock at the doors, not they could not possibly 'fall, had