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Writings are often styld. * Presbyters and Deacons. Since we are sure we find such a diftinct Power, as we contend for, expressly describd, we stand not so much upon the Name; when we are secure of the thing, it is but trifling to cavil about Words. Tho what is more usual, what more coinmonly known, than that the same Words may, in their first and general signification, take in feveral very different things, till they are by a peculiar Appropriation restrain d to somewhat special in the Kind, and Then they become in a manner New Words; and Things being always before Words, the Thing, which the restrain'd use of the Word signifies, must have been before That Word was restrain d to such a signification. The Office therefore of that Chief Ecclesiastical Oyerfeer, which the word Bishop does import, was of Necessity Sometime, and might have been a long time in Being, before that general Word was limited to signify so particularly, Which is a sufficient Answer to the less diftinct undetermin'd Use of this Name in Scripture, tho we find it immediately after by Ecclesiastical usage Universally appropriated to the signification it now bears, as by the most early Writers of the Church, St Clement, St Ignatius, and the Apostolical Canons plainly appears. Whatever Name : therefore the Apostes call'd it by, we are. * Ipoobumpe, Aréno.
fure they exercis'd This Authority, and find ing so soon after them, nay in the life time of some of them, both the Name and Thing in Every One of the Churches which they founded, we have all the reason in the world to conclude, that it was by Their Inftitution. Which whosoever shall go about to contradict, let them give any tolerable Account, how Episcopal Government should so fpeedily and fo universally spread itself over the whole Christian World, as it is most notorious that it did, that it was not accounted a Church, that was not Subject to a Bishop. How is it possible to conceive, that all the several Churches, difpers d far and wide, and distant from each Other , should have conspir'd so unanimously, and consented in One and the Same form of Government, unless they deriv'd it from the same Original, and receiv'd it at first together with the Faith itself from the Apoftles? St Austin tells us, There are but two ways possible of accounting for so general a Consent as this, in any matter, that is not plainly commanded in Scripture , Namely, That they must have been either deriv'd from Apoftolical Authority, or been Decreed by some General Council. But now, as the learned Editor of the Synodicon observes, there is not one Law, not one Canon, not the least Footstep of one
Decree of any Council extant, or hinted at by any Father or ancient Ecclefiaftical Writer, by which this Government is either Instituted or Confirm'd. It remains therefore, according to that known general Rule of the fame Father, Whatsoever the Universal Church holds, and has always held, if not Ordaind by any Council, muft be concluded to have been receiv'd from the Authority of the Apostles; that of the Government of the Church by Bishops, the least that can be said is, that it is of Apoftolical Institution.
And this very same Argument will as strongly prove the Second Thing we laid down, which is, that The Power of Ordination has ever been in their Hands.nl
For that this Power of Ordaiping did ever belong by peculiar Right to the Bifhop, is (no less than Episcopacy itself) conftantly presuppos'd in the moft Ancient Canons of the Church, as much Elder than They.
There is not oné Canon to be found, which Confers that Power on Bishops, but many that prescribe Rules and Measures to the Exercise of it. Thus the Apostolical Canons, as they are calld, determin what Number of Bishops shall be requir’d to the conferring of each different Order, as Three to the Consecration of a Bishop, and One only to the Ordination of a Priest or a
Deacon; and divers Other Canons afterwards there are, which reftrain Episcopal Ordinations to Itricter Rules; all which confirm their Original Authority, and prove that they exercis'd that Power before wichout those Restrictions; And that all other pretended Ordinations beside were void and null, several Decrees of Councils afterwards abundantly prove. Thus the second Decumenical Council, That of Constantinople, after it had declar'd Maximus to have been no Bishop, immediately adds, and all That by Him have been ordaind into what Degree foever, aré [avsepoi] in the same condition as if they never had been Confecrated; and there is a famous and known Instance, which St Athanafius gives us in his fecond Apology, of a Council at Alexandria, that decreed Ischyras a meer Laick, because he was Ordain d by Colluthus a meer Prefbyter. And Socrates in his History says, that what Ischyras did afterwards, * deferu'd to be punifb'd with many Deaths. But how do's he set forth his Crime? not that he contemn'd and violated the Decree of the Sacred Council, but that never having been initiated into Holy Orders, he took upon him the name of a Presbyter, and exercis'd the Office of a Priest, as his words are,
he ;-chat Ordaind him, Coluthus, was a True r and Canonical Presbyter. It were endless 1917 Πρακος σολών θεμάτων άξιον.
tp reckon up all the Testimonies of Antiquity in this so clear a point; the whole Aream of Church Writing and Church Practise is for us, and agree with that of Epiphanius, That Presbyters indeed bave Power by Baptism to beget Children, but Bishops only by Ordination to beget Fathers to the Church. So much even St Jerom himself, who of all the Fathers is the least favourable to the Order of Bishops, and the stiffelt Aflertor of the Rights of Presbytery, is forc'd to confefs, What is there, says he, that a Bishop do's, except only Ordination, which a Presbyter may not do? But in abatement of the absolute Necessity of such an Ordination, we are often urgd with this captious and invidious Question; What will ye deny that there is any Lawfull Ministry in all the Reform'd Churches abroad, who have none but Prefbyterian Ordination? To which we may return, that their Case, and that of our Wilful Dissenters at home, is quite different. For most of those abroad in the begining of the Reformation have frequently own'd, that it was absolute Necessity that forcd them at first very unwillingly to alter the Ecclesiastical Government, and many of em have since express’d an earneft defire of such a one as we enjoy. But how great their Neceflities are, and how far Neceflity may go towards making that Lawful, which