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You go on to say, 'I asserted, that about the year 1547, in an assembly of divines called by Edward VI., Archbishop Cranmer, in answer to a question respecting the office of Bishops and Presbyters, replied, 'Bishops and Priests were at one time, and were not two things, but one office in the beginning of Christ's religion. And that two other Bishops, together with Dr. Redmayn and Dr. Cox, delivered a similar opinion in still stronger terms; and that several of them quoted Jerome as a decisive authority in support of their opinion.'
Well, Sir, I told you that there is no heterodoxy in this opinion. Bishop and Presbyter were two names for the same officer, the Apostles then being the superior officers in the Christian Church. And I can'lay my hand upon my heart, and say, that I consider such answer agreeable to my principles:' for it is what I have repeatedly acknowledged, and what Episcopalians generally acknowledge, that the second order had a double title. This occasioned no inconvenience during the lives of the Apostles, whose superior authority all acknowledged. But this community of names, since the Reformation, has given rise to fallacious and specious reasoning, which, previous to that time, never existed in the Church. If the fact was, that the Prelates of after ages succeeded to the second order, who were indifferently styled Bishops or Presbyters, the argument would be conclusive against. us; but when we maintain and prove by such abundant evidence, that the Apostles conveyed to single persons, and not to a plurality, their own mastership (as Irenæus speaks) or superiority in the government of the Church, we think it arrant trifling to urge any thing from the community of
But so it is, and so it will be, for a very good reasonit throws a degree of obscurity over the question.
If, Sir, you had consulted Collier, you would have found all the questions and answers' at full length. These he took from Stillingfleet's manuscripts, and Burnet's history. This, I hope, will satisfy you as to Collier's fidelity and correctness. The amount of the whole is this. Cranmer, the Bishop elect of Westminster, Dr. Cox, and Dr. Redmayn, say, that, at the beginning, they (Bishops and Presbyters) were all one. The Bishops of York, London, Rochester, Carlisle-Drs. Day, Tresham, Symmons, and Oglethorpe, were of a different opinion. The Bishop of York and Dr. Tresham think, that the Apostles were first Priests, and after were'made Bishops, when the overseeing of other Priests was committed to them. The Bishops of Durham, London, Carlisle, Rochester, Drs. Symmons, and Crafford, think that the Apostles first were Bishops, and afterwards made other Bishops and Priests. Drs. Coren and Oglethorpe say, that the Apostles were made Bishops, and the seventy-two were afterwards made Priests. Dr. Day thinks, that Bishops, as they are now called, were before Priests.
The Bishop of London, Drs. Edgworth, Redmayn, and Ro
bertson, think it no inconvenience, if a Priest make a Bishop in that time.
Every one of these answers is decidedly in favour of prelacy, except the answer of the three last divines. But when you compare their answer on the 10th question with the answer they give on the 11th, it will be evident that by Priests making Bishops, they mean no more than electing. Thus Dr. Edgworth says, “A Bishop hath authority by Scripture to make a Priest, and that any other ever made a Priest since Christ's time, Í read not. Albeit, Moses, who was not anointed Priest, made Aaron Priest and Bishop, by a special commission or revelation from God, without which he would never so have done.”
Equally decisive is Dr. Redmayn. The 11th question has two parts. 1. “Whether a Bishop hath authority to make a Priest by the Scripture, or no? 2. Whether any other but only, a Bishop may make a Priest ??
Now, thus Redmayn replies—" To the first part I answer, Yea; for so it appeareth, Tit. i. and 1 Tim. v. with other places of Scripture. But whether any other but only a Bishop may make a Priest, I have not read, but by singular privilege of God, as when Moses (whom divers authors say was not a Priest) made Aaron a Priest. Truth it is, that the office of a godly prince is to oversee the Church, and the Ministers thereof-but as for making, that is to say, ordaining and consecrating of Priests, I think it specially belongs to the office of a Bishop, as far as can be showed by Scripture, or any example, as I suppose,
from the beginning."
Dr. Robertson also says, “ I think that a Bishop has authority to make a Priest, provided it be done with the permission of the government. But whether it can be done righily by any other than a Bishop, I do not know; though I do not remember to have read that it has been done by any other.”
From these explanations, it is evident that these three divines, of whom alone there could be any doubt, were decidedly opposed to ordination by Presbyters; and, consequently, were good Episcopalians.
Had you, Sir, been more attentive to the Questions and Answers,' and compared them with one another, you would, I pre
, sume, have been more careful in pronouncing our reformers not to have been Episcopalians on the ground of apostolical institution. Like honest men breaking loose from long established opinions, they were not hasty in their decisions, but in every step of their progress took Scripture and primitive usage for their guides. Their minds were but slowly illuminated ; during the progress, therefore, we are not to look for that decision of opinion, and that perspicuity of language, for which they were
h COLLIER'S Eccles, Hist. Collection of Records, p. 50, verse 2. 1 BURNET, Hist. of Reform. Vol. III. p. 323, 324, 325, et seq. COLLIDA, Ecoles, Hist., Records No. 49, p. 50.
afterwards distinguished, when their minds were completely and finally made up on the doctrines and government of the Church.
With respect to the time when these questions and answers were put out, we are, it seems, still at variance. You assert that the transaction took place in 1548; I assert that it took place in 1540. My authority is Burnet-yours is Stillingfleet, or perhaps Neal, who generally follows him. It is certain that Burnet places the business in 1540, as you will see by consulting his History, Vol. I. p. 289, and comparing it with his Collection, No. 21. He professes to use Stillingfleet's manuscripts, altering the date from 1548 to 1540, and we do not find that Stillingfleet ever disputed the point.
But were I to concede this point, it would be of no material consequence; for all agree that the transaction took place before the Ordinal and the Articles were framed. : In them, it is beyond all controversy, that the three orders are said to have been instituted by the Apostles, under the direction of the Holy Ghost. This, then, was the deliberate and final decision of the English reformers.
That any man who can consult the Common Prayer Book of the Church of England, should ever venture to assert, that her reformers did not place the superiority of Bishops on the ground of divine right, is to me one of the most extraordinary instances of hardihood that I have ever met with. Even Mosheim would have taught you better. He declares, that the Church of England “constantly insisted on the divine origin of its government and discipline."
I have now, Sir, brought the question, with respect to the origin of episcopacy, to a conclusion. The evidence in favour of its apostolic sanction, appears to me to be next to irresistible. It is so abundant and so uniform, and universality of episcopacy is só unaccountable on any other ground, that I know not what greater degree of evidence an impartial mind can require. But I am no stranger to the imperious nature of early prejudice, to the force of party attachments, and to the mortification which pride sustains from relinquishing a long adopted opinion. Few men have strength of mind sufficient to burst these bonds. I do not, therefore, expect that many will see their error in being aliens from episcopal communion ; but I do expect, that episcopalians who read this controversy will gather, from the force of ihe arguments and evidence, produced, confidence in the goodness of their cause, and will be unalterably attached to that Church, in which there cannot be the least doubt of a valid ministry, and valid ordinances. I have also, I trust, settled the point with respect to the English reformers. Indeed, there is but one consideration necessary to be mentioned ; that is, that the whole Ordinal of the Church proceeds upon the ground of a
k Eccles. Hist. Vol. II. p. 231.
divine institution. When a man knows this to be the fact, and yet wants to persuade his readers that Cranmer and his associates were Presbyterian in principle, he must have a way of thinking, which, I believe, very few would envy.
The controversy is, I conceive, now fairly ended. therefore, totally needless for me to make any reply to all that follows in your last book. If I have proved episcopacy to be an apostolic institution, other points which you have introduced, if they were even proved, are of no manner of consequence. It is of no consequence to this dispute, whether the Waldenses were Episcopal; whether Calvin was ordained, and whether he was of a violent, persecuting spirit. It matters not whether Archbishop Grindal gave a license to Morrison to officiate in the Church of England without reordination, and whether he was one of the reformers. It is of no moment whether the reformed Church of Scotland was at first prelatical in form, or Presbyterian from the commencement of the reformation. In short, it matters not whether several unconnected, minor points, which you have introduced, are fairly stated by you or by me. These things are of no moment to you, if I have proved that episcopacy rests upon apostolic authority ; but if I have not, it is of no moment to me to disprove every one of these particulars. Still I choose to take notice of the most material of these points, that our readers may see which of us is the more accurate. I shall be as short as I well can be in the observations which your statements will produce.
First, with respect to the Waldenses. The author who has most minutely examined the history of this people is Dr. Allix. When I wrote before, I had not his book: but now it lies before me. He says, that the Waldenses distinguished their çlergy into three orders, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. In proof of this, he quotes, first, Bernard, Abbot of Foncaud, in his treatise against the sect of the Waldenses, Chap. vi. He charges them with usurping the Church Ministry, which, says Dr. Allix, is a false accusation. Now a Papist by the Church Ministry, must necessarily mean a ministry which consists of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.
2. The Doctor quotes Raynerus, who lived in 1250. He acknowledges that the Waldenses had their Bishops in Lombardy.
3. He quotes Matthew Paris, An, 1243, who speaks of a Bishop of the Paterines (or Waldenses) in Cremona, who was deposed for fornication,
4. Dr. Ahix observes, that in the kingdom of Naples they had a Superior (or Bishop) who conferred orders in the city of Aquila. 5. He says,
We find the same thing in the kingdom of Bohemia, in the confession of faith they presented to Uladislaus,
Ordinandi majoribus aut minoribus ordinibus, promovendi vita virtuosa in Christi fide, &c. [Of ordaining to the higher or lower orders; of promoting a virtuous life in the faith of CHRIST, &c.]
6. The Doctor asserts, that “the same is observed in an ancient abridgment of the opinions of the Waldenses, recorded by Wolhus. (Lect. Memor: ad Ann. 1160, p. 380.) They absolutely deny the Pope's primacy over all Churches, and more especially his power over all policies, that is, his power of both swords; neither do they hold that any other orders ought to be retained in the Church, but those of Priests, Deacons, and Bishops.”
7. Allix says, that Guido Carmelita attributes to them the same discipline, according to the report of Alphonsus a Castro, (Lib. xi. p. 337.)
8. He quotes Claudius Sysselius adversus errores Waldensium, fol. 10.
“ Those whom they judge to be the best amongst them they appoint to be their Priests, to whom, upon all occasions, they have recourse, as to the vicars and successors of the Apostles.” Now, that by the successors of the Apostles, the Catholics mean Bishops, is beyond all dispute.
9. He proves from Commenius, the only Bishop that survived the Bohemian persecution, that the Waldenses had Bishops; and that three Pastors of the Bohemian Church were sent to the Waldenses dwelling in Austria and Moravia, to receive episcopal consecration; and that the Churches of those States always acknowledged, that they had received the authority of laying on of hands, and external succession from the Waldenses. Allix further quotes Commenius as saying, "Forasmuch as the said Waldenses declared that they had lawful Bishops amongst them, and a lawful and uninterrupted succession from the Apostles themselves, they very solemnly created three of our Ministers Bishops, conferring upon them the power of ordaining Ministers, though they did not think fit to take upon them the name of Bishops, because of the anti-christian abuse of that name, contenting themselves with the name of Elders. (Mark this.] As to their union with the Waldenses, before it could be brought about, the good Waldenses were again dissipated ; their Bishop, Stephen, being burnt at Vienna."
10. Allix observes, that this order continued till the year 1655, and, under the title of Moderator, governed the Churches of the Valleys for twelve years. He called synods, presided in them, and celebrated the function of laying on of hands, p. 208.'
I See Remarks upon the Ancient Church of Piedmont.