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however, I will say for him, that he had abundant reason to be much exasperated at parity men. He had seen the Church completely ruined; her clergy stripped of their subsistence, and reduced, with their families, to beggary. He had seen such scenes of injustice, cruelty, and villainy practised by those men, while, at the same time, they were making pretensions to a very superior degree of sanctity, that he must have been either more or less than a man, not to have conceived the utmost abhorrence of their principles. Parity and Calvinism he therefore detested; and this would naturally lead him to speak of them in terms too severe. But notwithstanding this, he was an excellent man; of pure morals, and real piety; nor do I know any writer that I would sooner depend upon for facts which came under his own observation. But as I have not produced a single testimony from him in respect to the present subject of debate, I need not say any thing more about him. Collier, indeed, Í have quoted; but it seems he too is a partial writer, and therefore not to be depended upon. Well, Sir, this is making short work. You have only to depreciate the authority I adduce, and there is an end of the matter. But this is not all; you not only wish to sink my authorities, but to establish your own, as if they were perfectly impartial. If you can think Neal deserves that character, your prejudice must be very stubborn indeed. A volume might be filled with his gross and shameless misrepresentations. Read Maddox in answer to him, and if there be a possibility of dissipating your prejudice, that book will do it. Yet I do not say that I would reject what Neal says, merely because he says it. I would examine circumstances, and weigh probabilities, and then give him more or less credit for his assertion. Calamy I cannot say much about, as I know very little of him; but from what I see in Stillingfleet and Maurice, he also is far from being impartial. In short, in all controversial matters, writers on both sides must be closely watched; for it is almost impossible, when the mind is zealously attached to a particular system or party, to keep within the bounds of strict fact, and always to give a correct view of men's principles and actions.
But to waste no more time. You shall have full credit for what you quote from Calamy and Neal. Let it be that in the Bishop's Book, composed by Cranmer and others, it is expressly declared, that in the New Testament there is no mention made of any other Ecclesiastical orders 'than Deacons or Ministers, and Presbyters or Bishops.'
Now, my first observation is, that the book whence your quotation is taken, was written several years before the Reformation. Not a single article of importance but the Pope's Supremacy, was as yet altered. Cranmer and the other reformers were, at this time, just beginning to inquire into the doctrines and government of the Church. The public mind began to be agitated, and to keep it under some degree of control, the Institution of a Christian Man was composed, in which were maintained all
the doctrines of the Church of Rome, except the superiority of the Pope. Cranmer and his associates appear to have been tinctured at that time, with the distinction invented by the zealous advocates of the Papal see. This distinction is fully expressed in L'Enfant's History of the Council of Constance. "The historian, giving an abstract of Gerson's book concerning Ecclesiastical power, informs us, that Gerson observes there is some difference between the sentiments of the lawyers and divines concerning episcopacy. The lawyers call episcopacy an order, because it is above the priesthood. Though the divines thought that episcopacy is a hierarchical power above the priesthood, yet they do not say that it is an order, because it adds nothing to the power of the priest.over the true body of JESUS CHRIST; therefore it is not a new order, but a new power. From this account, it appears, that before the Reformation, although it was the general opinion, that episcopacy is a hierarchical power above the priesthood, or a new power added to that of Presbyters, which power was known always to have been communicated by a new ordination; yet in the language of the divines, in contradistinction to that of the lawyers, it was not called a distinct order." "d This distinction, Bishop Burnet says, "sprung out of the very dregs of popery!" And indeed it is so utterly frivolous, that it is not worth while to stop a moment to expose it. With this opinion, the reformers, before they had risen much above the level of popery, seem to have been in some degree, if not totally, infected. They therefore expressed themselves in the current phraseology, that there were but two orders; but at the same time meaning, as the generality of divines did, that episcopacy is a superior degree of the priesthood. With this we are perfectly satisfied; for a new power, and a new ordination, imply all that we contend for.
2. This mode of speaking is similar to that which obtained a long time under the Jewish dispensation. Throughout all the books of Moses, Aaron, the first High Priest, is never dignified with any higher character than that of Priest, nor was Eleazar his son, who succeeded him in the high priesthood, called by another name. But afterwards, the distinction of names obtained to express the distinction of officers; so that in the historical parts of the Old Testament, and in the Prophets, the High Priest is called the Chief Priest, and the inferior priests have their distinctive title. Now, would not a man expose himself to contempt, who would argue from this confusion of names, a sameness of office? Degrees in the office, there certainly were, Just so, before the Reformation, the popish divines thought that there were degrees in the priesthood, and not different orders, This distinction was invented to save as much as possible the dignity of the priesthood, to which was attached the high honour of converting bread into the real body of CHRIST,
d CHANDLER'S Appeal Defended, p. 80, 81.
3. It is a canon of criticism, observed by all judicious interpreters, that words and phrases must be taken in the current sense of the times. That I have given that sense correctly, is beyond contradiction. This then is the true key to the meaning of Cranmer and his brethren, when they speak of but two orders as mentioned in the Scripture-the order of the priesthood, and of the deaconship; the former including priests, the generality of whom possess equal powers; but over these is placed a superior priest by divine appointment, for the important purpose of preserving the unity of the Church, and preventing those dissensions and schisms which too often spring out of equality. This notion of the episcopal office was invented after transubstantiation became the established doctrine of the Church of Rome; and at the Reformation it was pretty general among the clergy. It is therefore evident, that nothing in favour of your side of the question, can be inferred from the quotation you have given from Neal and Calamy, when the opinion and language of the times are brought to view; but keeping them out of view as you do, (of which, however, a fair disputant would not be guilty) there seems to be something that casts a favourable look on parity of ministers.
What further evinces that this is a correct statement, is, the quotations that I am now able to give from the Erudition of a Christian Man. This book I had not when I first wrote; but I can assure you that it is at this moment under my eye. The Erudition was published, you know, six years after the Institution, and still Cranmer and his associates were staunch papists in every article but the Pope's supremacy; so slow was the progress of their minds in rejecting the corrupt doctrines of the Church of Rome. Not even in the absurd doctrine of transubtantiation, had their minds undergone the least change. This is evident from the following words, "In this moste hygh sacrament of the aultare, the creatures which be taken to the use thereof, as bread and wine, do not remaine still in theyr owne substance, but by the virtue of CHRISTIS word in the consecration, be changed and turned to the very substance of the body and blood of our SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST."f It is then clear beyond all contradiction, that we are not yet to look for any thing final, either as to doctrine, or government, from the divines who composed the two books under consideration.
That the authors of these books did not maintain the doctrine of ministerial parity, is evident from their constantly distinguishing Bishops from Priests in the Erudition. "Thus: St. Paul did consecrate and order priestes and Bishops by the imposition of handes. And as the Apostles themselves in the beginning of the Churche, dyd order priestes and Bishops: so they
e The edition from which I quote was printed in the year 1543, "by Thomas Barthelet, printer to the King's Highness."
f Sacrament of the Altar, p. 2, where will be found more to the same purpose.
appointed and wylled the other Bishops after them to do the lyke, as St. Paul manifestely showeth in his epistle to Titus and Timothy."
This passage clearly proves, that the reformers considered the office of a Bishop as superior to that of a Priest, in some respects. The expression is Bishops and Priests," and not Bishops or Priests." Again: When the authors say, the Apostles "appointed and wylled the other Bishops after them to do the lyke" —that is, ordain; they drop the word Priests, and say the power was committed to the Bishops who succeeded the Apostles; and for proof of this, they quote the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, which they understand precisely in the same sense that I have given to them; that is, as confining the giving of orders to Bishops, which is the principal distinction between them and Presbyters. If this be not talking like prelatists, I do not know what is.
This language, which necessarily distinguishes Bishops from Priests, is uniformly the language of the Erudition; nor do I find a single instance in which the expression, Bishops or Priests is used. This book, therefore, is decidedly opposed to the opinion which you ascribe to the reformers.
Now, who would expect that the only answer you are able to make to this clear and distinctive language is, 'Do not many Presbyterians speak the same language?-Does not every Presbyterian grant that there were many Presbyters in the Apostles' days, who had no pastoral charge, and who were, of course, no Bishops? Is Dr. B. unable to understand this? Or does he close his eyes against it?'
Dr. B. assures Dr. Miller, that though he is not always able to penetrate to the bottom of his meaning, yet on this occasion, his vision is so clear and distinct, as to perceive thoroughly, that the answer is perfectly ridiculous. Presbyterians call those Bishops who have a pastoral charge, and those Presbyters who have not; therefore Cranmer made the same distinction! Titus was sent to Crete, and Timothy to Ephesus, to ordain Presbyters; and though on the Presbyterian hypothesis, Presbyters and Bishops are the same officers, yet the Presbyters of Crete and Ephesus were not Bishops, because Timothy and Titus had the pastoral charge! St. Paul, who had the care of all the Churches which he planted, so long as he had that care, was a Bishop; but when he lived in his own hired house at Rome, and had devolved that care on others, he ceased to be a Bishop, and sunk into the Presbyter! Does not the absurdity of this strike you?
This notion, which you say Presbyterians entertain, that a man is a Bishop when he has a pastoral charge, and but a Presbyter when he has not, is, I think, quite new in ecclesiastical history. Will you be so good as to name any author of anti
g Sacrament of Orders, p. 2.
quity, or any passage in the New Testament, which makes such a distinction? But if you could, it would be to no purpose; for still the question would be, whether the Bishop was congregational or diocesan, and in reference to the present state of the debate, whether Cranmer had any such notion. That he had not is most certain, if we may judge from the Erudition, or from any other of his writings. Priests, in his day, were generally attached to a congregation, but neither he nor any body else thought that they were on that account Bishops. Nor did he suppose, that the episcopal authority was founded on the circumstance of a Bishop's having a charge; but that the Bishop was invested with the episcopal character by his commission, and that had he the next moment been disabled from exercising his episcopal authority during his whole life, still he would continue a Bishop. It is the distinction of powers which makes a distinction between a Bishop and a Presbyter, and not the attachment of the former to a charge, and the want of a charge on the part of a Presbyter. This is so evident to common sense, that nothing but the strait to which you are reduced, could ever have suggested the distinction which you have asserted.
It is strange, Sir, that you should so far forget the radical principle of your own system as to make the distinction now in question. It is an essential principle of Presbyterianism, and which you yourself maintain, that Bishop and Presbyter are but two names for the same officer; consequently, whoever is a Presbyter, is also a Bishop. Were you not to maintain this position, your argument, bad as it is, from the community of names, would be entirely lost. If a Presbyter, when he is not attached to a congregation, is not a Bishop, then a Presbyter and Bishop are different things; and if they are the same officer, however circumstanced, then your distinction is perfectly ridiculous.
Suppose, Sir, a man were ordained a Presbyter by your Presbytery, for the purpose of converting the Heathen on this continent; would he be a Bishop in consequence of his commission, or not? If he would, then he would be a Bishop without a pastoral charge; for by this, I take it for granted, you mean the charge of professing Christians, which, by the supposition, is out of the question. If he would not be a Bishop, in virtue of his commission, then it seems, though a Presbyter by that commission, he is not a Bishop by it. How then does the same commission make him both a Bishop and a Presbyter?
Again: If a Presbyter be not a Bishop till he receive a call from a congregation, and take the charge of it, then he is a Bishop in virtue of a ca and not in virtue of a divine commission. Consequently, a Presbyterian Bishop is the mere creature of the people, and not a Bishop empowered to feed and govern a flock by authority from the great Head of the Church. If this, Sir, be the extent of your claim, as it certainly must be, if consistency be preserved, we shall not be disposed to think you can depress yourselves much lower,