Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Church was episcopal, the ordinations were also episcopal.” This I have proved by incontrovertible evidence to have been, in fact, the case in the third century, and now it is clearly and necessarily implied in the view we have taken of the epistles of Ignatius.

As Blondel has been introduced, it may be well for me to notice here a striking misrepresentation of what I said of his opinion, about the time when episcopacy was introduced. I said that Blondel acknowledges, that it was introduced as early as 140. You say, 'Blondel does not make such a concession as Dr. B. imputes to him.' This is certainly flat contradiction; one of us, therefore, must be in a gross error. Let us see at whose door it lies.

1. Blondel declares that it was Jerome's opinion, that episcopacy was introduced (such episcopacy, no doubt, as prevailed in Jerome's day) “ when every where, the people being mad, after the example of the Corinthians, began to divide and separate froin one another, which,” says he, cannot be sufficiently proved to have been before the year 149.” And, in his preface, he labours to prove that the change of government was made at Jerusalem, about the year 135 or 136 ; at Alexandria, about the year 143, and at Rome about the year 140.5

2. Blondel frequently acknowledges that episcopacy was introduced in the second century." He says expressly, that episcopacy was introduced before Tertullian wrote his book about baptism, which he dates in the year 197.4

2. The whole Provincial Assembly of London understand Blondel as I have stated him. In the appendix to the Jus Divinum Ministerii Anglicani, they ask this question-"How long was it that the Church of Christ was governed by the common council of Presbyters without a Bishop set over them ?" To which they thus answer—“ Dr. Blondel, a man of great learning and reading, undertakes, in a large discourse, to make out that before the year 140, there was not a Bishop set over Presbyters; to whose elaborate writings we refer the reader for farther satisfaction in this particular.” This certainly implies what I have asserted ; and besides, that the whole Provincial Council were of the same opinion.

Not being content with contradicting me, you also impose a sense upon Blondel, which makes him contradict himself." You say, that the import of the passage to which I refer is, that, about the year 140, according to the best light the authór had been able to attain, one of the steps towards the establishment of prelacy was taken, which consisted in choosing standing

Continuation, Letter IX. p. 409. [p. 470, 2d ed.] & On St. Paul's words—“I am of Paul,” &c. Blondel says-Id est, postquam alii passim Corinthiorum more dementati, in partes discerpti sunt,Quod ante annum 140 evenisse idonee vix quisquam probaverit. t Apology, p. 86, 92.

u Pref. p. 38, 39; and Apology, p. 3, 4. v Cyprianic Age, p.

89.

[ocr errors]

moderators. Now, Şir, this cannot be the sense of Blondel, (allowing him to write consistently) because he repeatedly acknowledges that there were standing moderators, or fixed. presidents, with a peerless power, from the very beginning; and that the succession to this fixed presidency belonged to the oldest Presbyter, and this your own quotation in your third letter fully proves. It was not the fixed presidency that was introduced in the year 140, but it was the circumstance of the president's being elected instead of succeeding by seniority, That was then introduced, in the opinion of Blondel. Here lies your mistake, wirich a little more attention would, I presume, have entirely prevented, and, consequently, the not over polité observations you make upon my supposed misrepresentation.

I know, Sir, perfectly well, that Blondel did not mean by his fixed presidency to allow a difference of order.

That yould have been to write a book in favour of, instead of against episcopacy, and I am certainly not such a child as not to know the difference between for and against. I meant what the Provincial Council of London meant, viz. that about the year 140, a change from a primacy of order to a difference of order took place; and this certainly is episcopacy in the very height of the term. Let our readers now judge which of us is right.

I find, Sir, that you express a suspicion, that I have misrepresented Chamier and Salmasius also. As you do not assert it, I shall take no other notice of the hint to your readers, but refer you to the Cyprianic Age vindicated for full proof that those learned writers, and several others, concede the point, that episcopacy was introduced in the second century,

I also asserted, on the authority of Dr. Chandler, that Dr. Doddridge acknowledged the distinction of Bishop and Presbyter in the time of Ignatius, and that Baxter, as quoted by Hoadly, allowed that there were fixed Bishops in the time of St. John. And it is on these concessions from learned and candid Presbyterians that I introduced Chillingworth's demonstration, that it was morally impossible for so great a change to take place in so short a time.

I shall now, Sir, sum up all that I have said.with respect to the testimonies from Ignatius.

1. The superiority of the Bishop is proved from the repeated injunctions on the Laity, Deacons, and Presbyters to be obedient to him in all things relating to the spiritualities of the Church.

2. It is proved from Ignatius' declaration, that even the sacraments, when celebrated out of communion with the Bishop, or in opposition to him, are neither regular nor valid ; because they are administered in schism, which is totally inconsistent with the law of CHRIST's family, and with charity and brotherly love.

# Continuation, p. 409. [P. 470, 2d ed.)

3. The Bishop's superiority strikingly appears in all the epistles of Ignatius, from the circumstance of his being the fixed president of the Presbytery, which was always formed within his own diocese, and consisted of himself and his Presbyters, and was therefore totally different froni a modern Presbytery.

4. The Bishop's superiority appears from his having the same authority out of the Presbytery that he had in it. It appears that, in fact, the Presbyters were the Bishop's counsellors; that they had no control over him, as he had over them; and that they could do nothing, as to the spiritualities of the Church, without his concurrence; he, therefore, had a negative upon all their proceedings.

Lastly ; it appears from the epistles of this pious martyr, that the Bishop's superiority was not that of Pastor of a single congregation, and over lay Elders, but of a Pastor over a plurality of congregations, and over Priests; who, of consequence, preached and administered the holy sacraments.

These circumstances I detailed to a considerable extent in my first publication, but not so minutely as I have done at present; and all that I find you saying of any consequence, besides what I have already noticed, is, that Dr. B. supposes that Presbyterians consider the Bishop so often mentioned by Ignatius in no other light than as the moderator of some ecclesiastical assembly. Assuming this as our opinion, he attempts to pour ridicule upon it, by substituting the word moderator for Bishop, and endeavouring to show that the supposition is utterly inconsistent with the representation given of the duties of this officer. When a man does not comprehend the subject' (N. B.) ' which he attempts to ridicule, he is extremely apt to draw upon himself the laughter which he thought to turn against others. This is the unfortunate situation of Dr. B.' (Foor man! no doubt he has your pity.) He seizes upon a detached fragment of Presbyterian doctrine; and, imagining that he sees and understands the whole system,' (no easy matter) ‘he thinks to involve that system in the absurdity which he makes to recoil upon his own.'*

You certainly recollect the answer you gave to the quotation from Tertullian. “The Bishop,” says this writer, “is the high Priest." To this you reply, the high Priest may be the Moderator.' On this answer I grounded my ridicule. I showed that there is not a single trait of character in which they agreed ; and that, therefore, the idea is perfectly ridiculous. Now, if Tertullian's high Priest, or Bishop, is a moderator, Ignatius' Bishop is a moderator. A moderator of what? of a Church session? But a Church session is not a Presbytery on your own principles. The Bishop of Ignatius then, if you are right, was the moderator in an assembly of neighbouring Bishops, with a mixture of ruling Elders. But this will not do ; fur in the Pres

[ocr errors]

x

« Continuation, Letter V. p. 164. (P. 320, 2d ed.]

bytery of Ignatius there were no ruling Elders, the Presbyters were of his own diocese, and the Bishop was not voted into the chair. Is it not then ridiculous to say, that the Bishop of Tertullian and Ignatius was the moderator of such a Presbytery as yours?

Further: Is not the moderator of your Presbytery always a Bishop? And is not a Bishop always the moderator? Are not then the elected Bishop and the moderator convertible terms? Can you not apply either term to the chairman? And does not this imply convertibility ?

But it was not against the convertibility of the terms that the ridicule was pointed ; for there is nothing ridiculous in that ; but in the idea of Ignatius? Bishop being the moderator of such a Presbytery as yours. And if that be not ridiculous, the comparison of two totally different things, to prove that they are alike, is not ridiculous.

If this subject needs any further illustration, and the ridicule any farther point, we may be furnished with it by taking the case which you mention, viz. the number of congregations in the city of Edinburgh ; you say there are twenty. Now, I ask, who is the Bishop of those congregations ? Is the pastor of any par. ticular congregation the Bishop over all the rest? You will not say he is. But Ignatius' Bishop, whatever number of congregations were in the city, presided over both them and their pastors. This you cannot deny; because the epistles are full of it. The city of Edinburgh, then, affords no example of a primi-. tive diocese.

Again : Is each pastor holding a Church session, the Bishop of whom Ignatius speaks ? Certainly not; for such a pastor has no preaching Presbyters under him; but if he had an assistant, he would be co-pastor, with equal powers, and under no obligation to be obedient to him. They would also take the moderator's chair alternately, and the senior pastor would not always be the moderator ex-officio. But Ignatius' Bishop was the moderator ex-officio, and consequently, for life. Besides, upon this plan, every other pastor would be a Bishop, and then we should have as many Bishops as pastors, in direet opposition to the Ignatian epistles, which always speak of one Bishop to a city, with his subject Presbyters and Deacons.

Let us go farther, and consider all the pastors of Edinburgh met in Presbytery. As no one of them is Bishop over the rest, there can be no ex-officio inoderator. One of them is chosen, for how long a time I do not know, nor is it of any consequence. But the Bishop of Ignatius was the ex-officio moderator; and the Presbyters were to be obedient to him in spiritual things, whether in or out of the Presbytery. They were his counsellors, according to Ignatius; and not being his equals, he was not bound by their advice, though, no doubt, in most cases he would take it. He had a negative upon their decisions ; for the holy martyr says, over and over again, “Let all be subject to the Bishop!

[ocr errors]

The constitution of the Church then, in Edinburgh, is at utter variance with the primitive Church in the time of Ignatius.

Had I not, then, field enough for pouring ridicule on the notion of Tertullian's high Priest and Ignatius' Bishop, being the moderator of such a Presbytery as yours?

I cannot but flatter myself that I have now laid this matter to rest, and that we shall hear no more of that ridiculous paradox, that the epistles of Ignatius are presbyterian. - And what a specimen does this afford of your hardihood? And how careful ought your readers to be not to receive your representations with confidence, when several of the ablest and most learned Presby. terians think it a most hopeless business to attempt the reconciliation of Ignatius with the doctrine of parity ?

Having now said enough upon this point, I shall close my testimony of the fathers with a few observations upon what you say relating to the testimonies of St. Jerome.

It is a curious circumstance, and something which looks very like inconsistency, for a man who says there is no dependence to be placed on the fathers of the third and fourth century, to have recourse to one of them who lived about three hundred years from the apostolic age, because he thinks he sees something in the writings of that father favourable to his side of the question. All the fathers that we produce, although they lived from one to two hundred and fifty years earlier, are nothing when compared with Jerome. He may also say what he pleases on our side of the question, and it goes for nothing ; but if he drops a single expression that may be construed in favour of parity, it is caught with avidity, and Jerome, pro hac vice, [for that time] is all in all. Is not this very inconsistent ?

In my next I will take a short view of Jerome,

LETTER V.

Rev. Sir :

What does Jerome say?- That Bishops and Presbyters were the same under the Apostles—that before there were, by the devil's influence, parties in religion, the Churches were governed by the common council of Presbyters. This he proves from Scripture. He also says, that afterwards the practice was introduced of placing one of the Presbyters above the rest, aś å remedy against schism. He further says, that this practice was brought in “ paulatim,” by little and little. He asserts likewise, that Bishops are above Presbyters, more by the custom of the Church than by the appointment of CHRIST. And finally, he asserts, that this change owed its origin to the decay of religion, and especially to the ambition of ministers. It commenced,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »