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byters as colleagues, and thinks that the fathers made use of some other term. Salmasius also admits the distinction of orders in that age, and, of course, a distinction of colleges."
4. It being then the invariable_language of the third century to call Bishops, and none but Bishops, colleagues, (our ablest opponents being judges) the suspicion of Chamier seems to be well founded. For it is a rule of criticism, that when a term does not suit the language of the age in which it is used, it cannot be deemed authentic. It must therefore be supposed, that if the canon, in its present state, be sincere, the term colleague' must be interpreted in a low, qualified sense, meaning no more than fellow Presbyters, or fellow Ministers; for if we take it strictly, we shall contradict matter of fact, as several of the most learned Presbyterians arc candid enough to acknowledge.
You quote another canon from the same Council, requiring the Bishop to “reside in a small house near the church in which he officiates "—to have “plain, and even coarse, household furniture ”—and that," he should give himself perpetually to reading, praying, and preaching." And what do you in fer from this? Is it that he is not a diocesan, if his house should happen to be at a distance from his Cathedral ? Or that he cannot be a Bishop of that kind, if he should be “ clothed in purple and fine linen, and fare sumptuously every day ?" You really, Sir, must be in great want of evidence, or you would not detain your readers with such impertinent quotations.
Next, you give us iwo long quotations from the Apostolical Constitutions; and you tell me that I am bound on my own principles to admit them. Pray, Sir, what do you know of my opinion in respect to that compilation ? Have I ever told you? Never. All that I said about them is in my fifth letter. The following are my words—“ As to the Apostolical Constitutions, I shall not concern myself about them; because they were not published till after the time, when all acknowledge, that diocesan episcopacy prevailed.” Now, Sir, how have you discovered my opinion of them from this?
When you, Sir, can convince any man of common sense, that the Apostolical Constitutions, which were compiled long after diocesan episcopacy was universally the government of the Church, contain any thing favourable to parity, then it will be time enough to notice the quotations you have made, and the forced, inconsistent gloss, you have given them. When you can point out, how the Bishop of Jerusalem could possibly be personally acquainted with all the poor among the myriads who composed his flock, or the Bishop of Rome with the numberless multitudes in that diocese in the third century; or how a Bishop's having a Deacon to attend him in his own particular church, is a proof of his having but one congregation, you shall have a particular answer. Till then, I pray you to hold me excused from replying to things that carry absurdity on the face of them.
b Vindication of the Principles of the Cyprianic Age, p. 251,
Next you inform us, that the sixth general Council of Constantinople acknowledged the “Scripture Deacons to be no other than overseers of the poor ; and that this was the opinion of the ancient fathers. Either you are incorrect in wording this canon, or Du Pin is. Instead of overseers of the poor, he quotes the canon as saying Ministers of common tables. This is precisely what Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Taylor, maintain. They maintain, that the ordination of the seven was not an ordination to the diaconate, but to the special purpose of manag. ing the “community of goods,” which continued but a short time; and that the institution of Deacons took place some time after. But whether this opinion be correct or not, I have observed that, the additional powers of preaching and baptizing in certain cases, given to Deacons by ecclesiastical authority, (supposing it to rest solely on that ground,) is a very different thing from wresting out of the hands of the Presbyters some of their most valuable rights, and appropriating them to a higher order of ecclesiastics. If this could have been done at all, it must have been after great struggles, and with numerous testimonies from the writers of the age in which it happened.
You give us another quotation from the Council of Aix la Chapelle, held about the year 816. They, you say, “in the most unequivocal terms, owned the original identity of Bishops and Presbyters, and expressly declared that “the ordination of the Clergy was reserved to the High Priest only for the maintenance of his dignity.”
You should have told us, Sir, from whose Collection of Canons you took the above. Whether from that of Binius, or of Father Labbe & Cossortius, or from the abridgment of Father Longus a Conolano. You should also have given us the original, that I might see with my own eyes the express words of the
There is no such thing as answering quotations made in this loose and inaccurate manner.
But let the canon stand as you have given it. My answer is, that the identity of names proves nothing. We admit it without hesitation. We also admit, that one end for which “the ordination of the clergy was reserved to the High Priest,” is, among others, “ the maintenance of his dignity," or superiority over the clergy; for without this, his superiority would be no great matter. This is the principal distinction between a Bishop and a Presbyter.
I cannot find this canon in Du Pin.
You have, after this quotation, several miscellaneous observations, which are only a repetition of what you had said in your first work, and which I think were so amply answered in several of my letters, that it does not appear to me necessary to go over that ground again. Yet, to satisfy those who will not take the trouble of looking over my pages, I will notice in my next letter a few things that you have said,
Rev. SIR :
1. You assert that several early writers of the first three centuries bear testimony, that the ‘Bishops were alone considered as authorized to administer baptism and the Lord's supper.' That 'from Ignatius, Tertullian, and Cyprian, we learn that Christians, in those days, received the eucharist from no hands but those of the Bishop; and that baptism was considered as his appropriate work, and never to be administered by any other hands, unless in cases of necessity.”
Now, Sir, in direct opposition to this, I assert that you have not produced, that you cannot produce, a single testimony from the above named fathers, to prove that none but the Bishops administered the communion. They all assert, indeed, that Presbyters and Deacons derive their authority from Bishops to minister in holy things—that the Bishops have the supreme power of the keys, and that every thing relating to the public worship is under their control; but never that they were the sole ministers of the sacraments. Let our readers attend to what I have said in my first volume on this point, and they will see that I have proved your assertion to be totally groundless, and the thing itself absolutely impracticable. How could the myriads in Jerusalem receive, three times a week, or oftener, the communion from the hands of the Bishop alone? It is utterly impossible. All who professed Christianity, at that time, were communicants; and to suppose that all the men and women out of forty or fifty thousand souls received the communion from the Bishop alone, is preposterous. Besides, this would be making the Presbyters and Deacons mere cyphers, and not the Bishop's assistants, as all the ancients say they were.
You next quote the thirtieth canon of the council of Agatha, According to your account, the canon says, “It shall not be lawful for a Presbyter in the church to pronounce the benediction on the people, or to bless a penitent.” Du Pin gives the canon thus: “The same order shall be observed in divine service every where, that, after the ancients, the Bishops or Priests shall say the collects, that the hymns shall be sung evening and morning, that at the end of matins and vespers some short chapter shall be read out of the Psalms, and that the people, being assembled for prayer at night, shall be dismissed with the Bishop's blessing." This it seems is a proof that the Bishop was the pastor of a single church. A Bishop's blessing the people in the sixth century is a proof of congregational episcopacy! You must excuse
ç Eccles. Hist. Vol. III. p. 112.
me, Sir, when I declare that this appears to me such arrant trifling as to deserve nothing but contempt.
After all this strong reasoning, and these invincible facts, you say, ' Dr. B. does not attempt to deny the facts here alledgedbut he endeavours to evade their force by saying that these writers only mean in general to represent the Bishop as the fountain of all ecclesiastical power; and to assert that none have a right to administer the ordinances of religion excepting those who are empowered by him. And in this manner, and on the same principle, he intimates, that the Presbyters in the Episcopal Church baptize and administer the Eucharist in virtue of permission given them by the Bishop for that purpose. This is an evasion unworthy of Dr. B.'s understanding and gravity. Well, Sir, I will try to be grave, hard as it is. It seems then thé matter stands thus. The Bishop of Jerusalem administered to myriads the sacrament of the Eucharist several times every week, and baptized all the children of these myriads with his own hands; and although there were at least fifty congregations in that city, yet, by some extraordinary management, he dismissed all those congregations with his blessing, which proves him to be the pastor of a single church. Ignatius, and Cornelius, and Cyprian, did the same, so that they also were pastors of single churches. Chysostom also, although he tells us there were one hundred thousand Christians in Constantinople, yet had but one congregation, and administered the sacraments to all the communicants in that number, and baptized all the catechumens that were in a state of preparation, and all the children that were presented. Theodoret too, who had eight hundred Churches in his diocese, did the same, and, therefore, was a congregational Bishop. And all this is so very plain that you are astonished how 'Dr. B. could so far impose upon himself as to imagine there is any resemblance between the present episcopal plan and the above most evidently apostolical plan of Church government.
You next sum up all that you have said. 1. 'It appears, that the titles Bishop and Presbyter were promiscuously applied to the same persons, not only in the apostolic age, but also till the close of the second century. This Dr. B. himself acknowledges, though he asserts, at the same time, that in the second century it was seldom applied. This is not correct. I acknowledge this to be the case only while the Apostles were living, and till they delegated their superiority to fixed presidents, whom they appointed by little and little,' as circumstances required, to take their place in governing the Churches. I also admit, that in the second, third, and fourth centuries, nay, in every age of the Church, Bishops were sometimes called Presbyters, as the greater necessarily implies the less, and as the high Priests were generally styled Priests; but I did not admit, nor do I now admit, that, in a single instance, Presbyters were ever called Bishops. You have, therefore, greatly misrepresented me. The impor
tance of this distinction, those who do not understand the radical points of the controversy, will not readily perceive. By setting you right in this particular, the following observation is entirely destroyed. You say, "Now, if the interchangeable application of these terms was continued until that time, and afterwards does not occur, must we not conclude, that about, or immediately after that time, some change took place in the arrangement of ecclesiastical dignities, which led to a more restricted use of the word Bishop? No supposition can be more natural; and it is precisely this for which we contend.'
As this proceeds on an erroneous supposition, of course, it has not the least force. I repeat it, Bishops were sometimes called Presbyters, not only in the second, but in every subsequent age; but Presbyters were never called Bishops. This completely marks the distinction between them, and affords a conclusive argument against parity in those ages.
2. 'It appears that Dr. B. has not produced, and cannot produce, a single sentence from any writer within the first two hundred years, which gives the least hint that ordination was in fact confined to a particular order of prelates, or was considered as a rite which ought to be so confined.?
With respect to the first age, I flatter myself that I have sufficiently proved that ordination was confined to the Apostles, and to that order who took their place, such as Timothy and Titus, and that there is no instance in the Scriptures of Presbyters ordaining. And with respect to the second century, there is not a single instance on record among the orthodox of any ordination at all; so that a fanatic might with truth say, neither of us can prove that the rite of ordination was in use in the second century. But the answer is easy. It can be proved that ordination was in use in the first century, and in the third; there cannot, therefore, be any reason to doubt that it was in use in the second. If, then, it was confined by St. Paul to Timothy and Titus, it would, of course, be confined to that order of men in the second century, as we know in fact it was in the third, and subsequent centuries. But as you will, no doubt, deny that I have proved Timothy and Titus to have been the sole ordainers at Ephesus and Crete, I must show that the prerogatives of the Bishops in the second age necessarily imply, that none but Bishops ordained.
1. As it has been abundantly proved from Ignatius, and several other writers, that Bishops presided over a plurality of Presbyters and congregations, and that no act of the Presbyters was deemed valid, when done in opposition to the Bishops, or without their authority, it follows that they were the supreme governors of the Churches in their respective districts. Now, in every government, both civil and ecclesiastic, it is an established principle, that the head, or chief, shall be the source of authority; of course, the Bishop, to whom all orders were to be obedient, was the officer by whom all inferior officers were commissioned. This is so necessary a prerogative, that I do not think you will venture to deny it.