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the original remained, she has, indeed, still the same name; but all else, how changed! One by one, her every part has gone to decay, and given place to something else. And there she lies now at her moorings, with scarce a beam, or plank, or fragment of her shrouds remaining from the original and noble frame-work of her great Masterbuilder; and yet proudly claiming still an exclusive right to the honored name which she so much dishonors. This "catholic, apostolic church,"-pray, in what consists her identity with the church of the holy apostles?
"A real, living unity, and a well regulated liberty," says Riddle, "characterized the early constitution of the church. But liberty was afterwards sacrificed to unity; and this unity itself degenerated into a merely external, forced, and dead union, which became subservient to the purposes of oppression, and to the growth of the hierarchy."
4. The original equality of bishops and presbyters continued to be acknowledged, from the rise of the Episcopal hierarchy down to the time of the Reformation.
The claims of prelatical Episcopacy were attacked in the fifth century with great spirit by Jerome, who denies the superiority of bishops, giving at the same time an explanation of the origin of this groundless distinction, widely different from that of divine right by apostolical authority. Several passages from this author have already been given under another head, to which we subjoin the following, with a translation, and an analysis by Dr. Mason.
"Thus he lays down doctrine and fact relative to the government of the church, in his commentary on Titus 1: 5. "That thou shouldest ordain presbyters in every city, as I had appointed thee.134 What sort of presbyters ought to
133 "Qui qualis Presbyter debeat ordinari, in consequentibus disserens hoc ait: Si qui est sine crimine, unius uxoris vir," et caetera: postea intulit, "Oportet. n. Episcopum sine crimine esse, tanquam Dei dispensatorem." ldem est ergo Presbyter, qui et Episcopus, et antequam diaboli
be ordained he shows afterwards. If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, &c., and then adds, for a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God, &c. A presbyter, therefore, is the same as a bishop: and before there were, by the instigation of the devil, parties in religion; and it was said among different people, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, the churches were governed by the joint counsel of the presbyters. But afterwards, when every one accounted those whom he baptized as belonging to himself and not to Christ, it was decreed throughout the whole world that one, chosen from among the presbyters, should be put
instinctu, studia in religione fierent, et diceretur in populis: "Ego sum Pauli, ego Apollo, ego autem Cephae:" communi Presbyterorum consilio ecclesiae gubernabantur. Postquam vero unusquisque eos, quos baptizaverat, suos putabat esse, non Christi: in toto orbe decretum est, ut unus de Presbyteris electus superponeretur caeteris, ad quem omnis ecclesiae cura pertineret, et schismatum semina tollerentur. Putet aliquis non scripturarum, sed nostram, esse sententiam Episcopum et Presbyterum unum esse; et aliud aetatis, aliud esse nomen officii: relegat Apostoli ad Philippenses verba dicentis: Paulus et Timotheus servi Jesu Christi, omnibus sanctis in Christo Jesu, qui sunt Philippis, cum Episcopis et Diaconis, gratia vobis et pax, et reliqua. Philippi una est urbs Macedoniae, et certe in una civitate plures ut nuncupantur, Episcopi esse non poterant. Sed quia eosdem Episcopos illo tempore quos et Presbyteros appellabant, propterea indifferenter de Episcopis quasi de Presbyteris est locutus. Adhuc hoc alicui videatur ambiguum, nisi altero testimonio comprobetur. In Actibus Apostolorum scriptum est, quod cum venisset Apostolus Miletum, miserit Ephesum, et vocaverit Presbyteros ecclesiae ejusdem, quibus postea inter caetera sit locutus: attendite vobis et omni gregi in quo vos Spiritus Sanctus posuit Episcopos, pascere Ecclesiam Domini, quam acquisivit per sanguinem suum. Et hoc diligentius observate, quo modo unius civitatis Ephesi Presbyteros vocans, postea eosdem Episcopos dixerit. Haec propterea, ut ostenderemus apud veteres eosdem fuisse Presbyteros quos et Episcopos. Paulatim vero, ut dissensionum plantaria, evellerentur, ad unum omnem solicitudinem esse delatam.-Sicut ergo Presbyteri sciunt se ex ecclesiae consuetudine ei, qui sibi propositus fuerit, esse subjectos, ita Episcopi noverint se magis consuetudine quam dispositionis dominicae veritate, Presbyteris esse majores, HIERONYMI Com: in Tit., 1. 1. Opp., Tom. 4, p. 413, ed. Paris, 1693—1706. The same may be found in Rothe, p. 209.
over the rest, and that the whole care of the church should be committed to him, and the seeds of schism taken away.
"Should any one think that this is only my own private opinion, and not the doctrine of the Scriptures, let him read the words of the apostle in his epistle to the Philippians: "Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus, which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons," &c. Philippi, is a single city of Macedonia; and certainly in one city there could not be several bishops as they are now styled; but as they, at that time, called the very same persons bishops whom they called presbyters, the apostle has spoken without distinction of bishops as presbyters.
"Should this matter yet appear doubtful to any one, unless it be proved by an additional testimony, it is written in the Acts of the Apostles, that when Paul had come to Miletum, he sent to Ephesus and called the presbyters of that church, and among other things said to them, “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops." Take particular notice, that calling the PRESBYTERS of the single city of Ephesus, he afterwards names the same persons BISHOPS.' After further quotations from the Epistle to the Hebrews, and from Peter, he proceeds: 'Our intention in these remarks is to show, that, among the ancients, presbyters and bishops were THE VERY SAME. But that BY LITTLE AND LITTLE, that the plants of dissension might be plucked up, the whole concern was devolved upon an individual. As the presbyters, therefore, KNOW that they are subjected, BY THE CUSTOM OF THE CHURCH, to him who is set over them, so let the bishops know that they are greater than presbyters,
MORE BY CUSTOM THAN BY ANY REAL APPOINTMENT
134 Mason's Works, Vol. III, pp. 225-228.
Again with the ancients, bishops and presbyters may have been one and the same, because the one denotes dignity in office, the other, superiority in age.135
"Here is an account of the origin and progress of Episcopacy by a father whom the Episcopalians themselves admit to have been the most able and learned man of his age; and how contradictory it is to their own account the reader will be at no loss to perceive, when he shall have followed us through an analysis of its several parts.
"1. JEROME expressly denies the superiority of bishops. to presbyters, by divine right. To prove his assertion on this head, he goes directly to the Scriptures; and argues, as the advocates of parity do, from the interchangeable titles of bishop and presbyter; from the directions given to them without the least intimation of difference in their authority; and from the powers of presbyters, undisputed in his day.
"2. JEROME states it as a historical fact, that this government of the churches by presbyters alone, continued until, for the avoiding of scandalous quarrels and schisms, it was thought expedient to alter it.
"3. JEROME states it as a historical fact, that this change in the government of the church, this creation of a superior order of ministers, took place, not at once, but by degrees,'Paulatim,' says he, 'by little and little.'
"4. JEROME states, as historical facts, that the elevation: of one presbyter over the others was a human contrivance; was not imposed by authority, but crept in by custom; and that the presbyters of his day knew this very well.
"5. JEROME states it as a historical fact, that the first bishops were made by the presbyters themselves, and consequently they could neither have, nor communicate any authority above that of presbyters. 'Afterwards,' says he,
135 Apud veteres iidem episcopi et presbuteri fuerint; quia illud nomen dignitatis, est; hoc, aetatis.—Ep. ad Oceanum, Tom. 4, p. 648
'to prevent schism, one was elected to preside over the rest.' Elected and commissioned by whom? By the presbyters; for he immediately gives you a broad fact which it is impossible to explain away. At Alexandria,' he tells you, 'from the evangelist Mark to the bishops Heraclas and Dionysius,' i. e., till about the middle of the third century, 'the presbyters always chose one of their number, placed him in a superior station, and gave him the title of bishop.'
"It is inconceivable, how JEROME should tell the bishops to their faces that Christ never gave them any superiority over the presbyters; that custom was their only title; and that the presbyters were perfectly aware of this, unless he was supported by facts which they were unable to contradict. Their silence under his challenges is more than a presumption that they found it wise to let him alone.” 136
The testimony of Jerome affords an authentic record of the change that was introduced into the government of the church, and the causes that led on to this change, by which the original constitution was wholly subverted. It was in his day a known and acknowledged fact, that prelacy had no authority from Christ or his apostles,-no divine right to its high pretensions. "The presbyters know that they are subject to their bishops," not by divine right or apostolical succession, but "by the custom of the church." And to the same effect, is the admission of his contemporary, Augustin, the renowned bishop of Hippo, which we give in the words of a distinguished prelate of the church of England, as quoted by Aynton.137 "The office of a bishop is above the office of a priest [presbyter], not by the authority of Scripture, but after the names of honor, which through the custom of the church have now obtained." 138 Episcopacy, according to this eminent and
136 Mason's Works, Vol. III, pp. 233-251.
137 Jewel, Defence of his Apology, pp. 122, 123.
138 Quanquam secundum honorum vocabula quae jam ecclesiae usus obtinuit, episcopatus presbyterio major sit; tamen in multis rebus Augustinus Hieronymo minor est.-Ep. ad Hier., 19, alias 83, § 33, Op., Tom 2, col. 153.