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This passage, then, clearly contradicts the notion of our opponents as to the essential necessity by apostolical ordinance of the successional Episcopal consecration of all bishops.85
A presbyter, you will observe, becomes the successor of the apostle; and the apostolical succession comes down through him, as a bishop; plainly contradicting the notion that the grace of ordination is restricted to a succession of bishops exclusively, and establishing, in the opinion of this author, the validity of presbyterian ordination. To this effect is this same author. "After the bishop, the apostle has subjoined the ordination (order) of the deaconship. Why; but that the ordination (order) of a bishop and presbyter is one and the same? For each is a priest; but the bishop is chief; so that every bishop is a presbyter, but not every presbyter a bishop. For he is bishop who is chief among the presbyters. Moreover, he notices that Timothy was ordained a presbyter, but inasmuch as he had no other above him, he was a bishop." Hence he shows that Timothy, a presbyter, might ordain a bishop, because of his equality with him. “For it was neither lawful nor right for an inferior to ordain a superior, inasmuch as one cannot confer what he has not received." 86
tenendos, immutata est ratio, prospiciente Concilio, ut non ordo sed meritum crearet episcopum multorum sacerdotum judicio constitutum ne indignus temere usurparet et esset multis scandalum. Comment. in Eph. 4: 11,12. Inter Op. Ambros., ed. Ben., tom. ii, app. col. 241, 242. The "Council" may, I suppose, be what Tertullian calls "consessus ordinis."
85 There are, also, indirect confirmatory proofs. Such, I think, is afforded by the account we have in Eusebius (vi, 29,) of the appointment of Fabianus to the bishopric of Rome, for the assembly that met to elect a bishop having fixed upon him, placed him at once on the Episcopal throne. (Αμελλετως επι του θρονον της επισκοπης λαβοντας αυτον εлεivα), which seems to me irreconcileable with the notion of the essential necessity of Episcopal consecration, to have entitled him to the Episcopal seat, for he was installed in it without any such consecration.
86 Post Episcopum tamen Diaconi ordinationem subiicit. Quare? nisi quia Episcopi et Presbyteri una ordinatio est? Uterque enim sacerdos
There is another passage which has a striking coincidence with the foregoing, and is probably from the same author, though found in an appendix to the works of Augustine. "That by presbyter is meant a bishop, the apostle Paul proves, when he instructs Timothy whom he had ordained a presbyter, respecting the character of one whom he would make a bishop. For what else is the bishop than the first presbyter, that is, the highest priest? For he [the bishop] calls them [the presbyters] by no other name than fellow-presbyters and fellow-priests. He therefore considers them of the same grade as himself." But he is careful by no means to do the same with regard to clerical persons of inferior rank. Not even with the deacons, for to place himself in the same category with them would be degrading his own rank. "Does the bishop call the deacons his fellow-deacons? Certainly not; because they are far inferior to him, and it were a disgrace to call the judge a mere manager of a clerk's office." If any are disposed to call in question this interpretation of the phrase, judicem dicere primicerium, I will only say that it was given to me by Prof. Rothe of Heidelberg, with whose name the reader has already become familiar, by the frequent references to his learned work on the Origin of the Christian Church. The following is also his exposition of the passage. "Where there is a real difference of office and rank, the higher officer cannot include himself in the official designation of the lower, without degrading himself. It would be a downright insult, to address the president of a court as the head of his clerks. Just so it does not enter
est, sed Episcopus primus est; ut omnis Episcopus Presbyter sit, non omnis Presbyter Episcopus; hic enim Episcopus est, qui inter Presbyteros primus est. Denique Timotheum Presbyterum ordinatum significat; sed quia ante se alterum non habebat, Episcopus erat. Unde et quemadmodum Episcopum ordinet ostendit. Neque enim fas erat aut licebat, ut inferior ordinaret maiorem ; nemo enim tribuit quod non accepit.-Comment in 1 Tim. 3: 8, inter Ambros. Op., Tom. II, app. 295.
the mind of the bishop to call his deacons, fellow-deacons,making himself thereby a deacon. Between these two officers there exists an actual difference in rank. On the other hand, he calls the presbyters his fellow-presbyters, because he sees no real difference between his office and theirs, but only a difference in degree; that is, he considers himself, in relation to the presbyters, as only primus inter pares, chief among equals. The offices of bishop and presbyter therefore are essentially one and the same; the very thing which Ambrosiaster wishes to prove. For in Alexandria and throughout all Egypt, upon the decease of the bishop, the presbyter confirms (consignat).'" 87
Here the presbyter performs another of the Episcopal functions, by administering the rite, not only of ordination but of confirmation.88
The full sacerdotal power is possessed by every presbyter, according to the authority of the earliest fathers. The apostolical fathers know no distinction between bishops and presbyters; and later ones make no difference in their order or grade of rank. The distinction of bishop is only a conventional arrangement made for mutual convenience, but in no wise incapacitating the presbyter for the performance of any of his sacerdotal offices. The right to ordain
87 Presbyterum autem intelligi Episcopum probat Paulus Apostolus, quando Timotheum, quem ordinavit Presbyterum instruit, qualum debeat creare Episcopum. Quid est enim Episcopus nisi primus Presbyter, hoc est summus sacerdos? Denique non aliter quam Compresbyteros, Condiaconos suos dicit Episcopus? Non utique, quia multo inferiores sunt, et turpe est, iudicem dicere primicerium.—Augustin.Op., Tom. 3, app., p. 77. Quaestiones in Veteris et Nov. Test., ex utroqua mixtim, ed. Bened. Antwerp, 1700-3.
88 Whether the verb consignare expresses the confirmation of the bap tized, or the imposition of hands upon those who were ordained, or on penitents, it was correctly accomplished by presbyters, in the absence of the bishop, whose presence was founded only on custom, and the canons of the church. But these could not have legalized such acts of the presbyter had not his authority been apostolical. He was there duly authorized to perform the functions of the Episcopal office.
'still belongs to him; and the bishop, when promoted to his office to preside over his fellow-presbyters, receives no new consecration or ordination, but continues still himself to ordain as a presbyter.
Such is a plain statement of this controverted point, and such the exposition which many Episcopal writers, even at the present day, give of this subject. Give up the delusive notion of divine right and apostolical succession, and you concede of course the validity of presbyterian ordination. Such Episcopalians themselves afford us the ablest refutations of the absurdities and arrogant pretensions of high- . church Episcopacy.
We have next the authority of Jerome, who died A. D. 426. He was one of the most learned of the Latin fathers. Erasmus styles him "by far the most learned and most eloquent of all the Christians, and the prince of Christian divines." Jerome received his education at Rome, and was familiar with the Roman, Greek, and Hebrew languages. He travelled extensively in France and the adjacent countries. He resided, in the course of his life, at. Constantinople, at Antioch, at Jerusalem, and at Bethlehem. By his great learning, and his extensive acquaintance with all that related to the doctrines and usages both of the Eastern and of the Western churches, he was eminently qualified to explain the rights and prerogatives of the priesthood.
But does Jerome testify to the right of presbyters to ordain ? "What does a bishop," says he, "ordination excepted, that a presbyter may not do?" 89 This, however, is said of the relations of bishop and presbyter as they then This restriction of the right of ordaining to the bishops alone was a modern innovation, which had begun
89 Quid enim facit, excepta ordinatione, Episcopus, quod presbyter non faciat?-Ep. ad Evang., Ep. 101 alias 85. Op. Ed. Paris, 1693—1706, p. 802.
to distinguish them from the presbyters, and to subvert the original organization of the church. But it was an acknowledged fact, in his day, that the bishops had no authority from Christ or his apostles for their unwarrantable assumptions. "As the presbyters know that it is by the custom of the church that they are subject to him who is placed over them, so let the bishops know that they are above presbyters rather by the custom of the church than by the fact of our Lord's appointment, and that they (both bishops and presbyters) ought to rule the church in common, in imitation of the example of Moses." 90
He reviews the same subject with great point in his famous epistle to Evagrius, or, more properly in modern editions, to Evangelus. He rebukes with great severity certain persons who had preferred deacons in honor "above presbyters, i. e., bishops." Having thus asserted the identity of bishops and presbyters, he goes on to prove his position from Phil. 1: 1; from Acts 20: 17, 28; from Titus 1: 5; from 1 Tim. 4: 14; and from 1 Pet. 5: 1. "Does the testimony of these men seem of small account to you?" he proceeds to say, "then clangs the gospel trumpet,-that son of thunder whom Jesus so much loved, and who drank · at the fountain of truth from the Saviour's breast. The presbyter to the elect lady and her children.' 2 John 1: 1; and in another epistle, The presbyter, to the well-beloved Gaius.' 3 John 1: 1."
"As to the fact, that AFTERWARDS, one was ELECTED to preside over the rest, this was done as a remedy against schism; lest every one drawing his proselytes to himself, should rend the church of Christ. For even at Alexandria, from the evangelist Mark to the bishops Heraclas and Dionysius, the presbyters always chose one of their number, placed him in a superior station, and gave him
90 Comment. in Epist. ad Titus, c. 1, v. 5. Op., Tom. 4. Paris, 1693— 1706, p. 413.