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ancient prelate, is the result of custom, without any scriptural warrant whatever.
This is in accordance, also, with the authority of Hilary, which has been given above. What a note of triumphant exultation would prelacy raise, did all antiquity offer half as much in defence of her lofty claims as these fathers allege against them.
The most distinguished of the Greek fathers, again, concur with those of the Latin church, in their views of the identity of bishops and presbyters. Chrysostom, A. D. 407, in commenting upon the apostles' salutation of the bishops of Philippi, exclaims, "How is this? Were there many bishops in one city? By no means; but he calls the presbyters by this name; for at that time both were so called. The bishop was also called Siúnovos, servant, minister; for, writing to Timothy, who was bishop, he says, ' make full proof of thy Sianovlav, ministry.' He also instructs him to lay hands, as a bishop, suddenly on no man. And again: 'which was given thee by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.' But presbyters [as such] did not lay hands on the bishop. Again, writing to Titus, he says, 'for this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldst ordain presbyters in every city as I had commanded thee.' 'If any one be blameless, the husband of one wife.' This he says of a bishop; for he immediately proceeds to add: ‘a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God, not self-willed.' Wherefore, as I said, presbyters were anciently called bishops and stewards of Christ, and bishops were called presbyters. For this reason, even now, many bishops speak of their fellow-presbyter and fellow-minister; and finally, the name of bishop and presbyter is given to each indiscriminately." 139 Again: with reference to Paul, in
139 Συν επισκόποις καὶ διακόνοις, τί τοῦτο; μιᾶς πόλεως πολλοὶ ἐπίσκοποι ἦσαν; Οὐδαμῶς· ἀλλὰ τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους οὕτως ἐκάλεσε· τότε γὰρ τέως ἐκοινώνουν τοῖς ὀνόμασι, καὶ
1 Tim. 3: S, Chrysostom says, that after discoursing of bishops, and showing what they should possess, and from what they ought to abstain, he proceeds immediately to speak of deacons, passing by the order of presbyters. Why so? Because there is not much distinction between them and bishops. For they also are set for the instruction and government of the church. What he had said of bishops. was also applicable to presbyters; they have the superiority merely in the imposition of hands, and in this respect alone take precedence of the presbyters.140 This was said in relation to the time then present. Even at this late period this eminent prelate recognizes only a trifling distinction between bishop and presbyter.
διάκονος ὁ ἐπίσκοπος ἐλέγετο. Διὰ τοῦτο γράφων καὶ Τιμοθέῳ ἔλεγε· τὴν διακονίαν σου πληροφόρησον, ἐπισκόπῳ ὄντι. γὰρ ἐπίσκοπος ἦν, φησὶ πρὸς αὐτὸν χεῖρας ταχέως μηδενὶ ἐπιτίθει· καὶ πάλιν· ὃ ἐδόθη σοι μετὰ ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν τοῦ πρεσβυτερίον· οὐκ ἂν δὲ πρεσβύτεροι ἐπίσκοπον ἐχειροτόνησαν. Καὶ πάλιν πρὸς Τίτον γράφων φησὶ· τούτου χάριν κατέλιπόν σε ἐν Κρήτῃ, ἵνα καταστήσῃς κατὰ πόλιν πρεσβυτέρους, ὡς ἐγώ σοι διεταξάμην· εἴ τις ἀνέγκλητος, μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἀνήρ· ἃ περὶ τοῦ ἐπισκόπου φησί. Καὶ εἰπὼν ταῦτα εὐθέως ἐπήγαγε· δεῖ γὰρ τὸν ἐπίσκοπον ἀνέγκλητον εἶναι, ὡς Θεοῦ οἰκονόμον, μὴ αὐθαδη. “Οπερ οὖν ἔφην, καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τὸ παλαιὸν ἐκαλοῦντο ἐπίσκοποι καὶ διάκονοι τοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ οἱ ἐπίσκοποι πρεσβύτεροι, ὅθεν καὶ νῦν πολλοὶ συμπρεσβυτέρῳ ἐπίσκοποί γράφουσι, καὶ συνδιακόνῳ, λοιπὸν δὲ τὸ ἰδιάζον ἑκάστῳ ἀπονενέμηται ὄνομα, ὁ ἐπίσκοπος καὶ ὁ πρεσβύτερος.Chrysostom, Ep. ad Phil., Tom. 11, p. 194.
140 Διαλεγόμενος περὶ ἐπισκόπον καὶ χαρακτηρίσας αὐτοὺς, καὶ εἰπὼν τίνα μὲν ἔχειν, τίνων δὲ ἀπέχεσθαι χρὴ, καὶ τὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων τάγμα ἀφεὶς, εἰς τοὺς διακόνους μετεπήδησε. Τι δήποτε; ὅτι οὐ πολὺ μέσον αὐτῶν καὶ τῶν ἐπισκόπων. γὰρ καὶ αὐτοὶ διδασκαλίαν εἰσὶν ἀναδεδεγμένοι καὶ προστασίαν τῆς ἐκκλησίας· καὶ ἃ περὶ ἐπισκοπων εἶπε, ταῦτα καὶ πρεσβυτέροις ἁρμόττει· τῇ γὰρ χειροτονίᾳ μόνη υπερβεβήκασι καὶ τούτῳ μόνον δοκοῦσι πλεονεκτεῖν τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους---Ibid. Ep. ad Tim. 1, Tom. 11, p. 604,
Theodoret, also, who lived only a few years later than Chrysostom, repeats substantially the same sentiments. In relation to the salutation of Paul to the Philippians, c. 1: 1, he says, "the apostle addresses himself to the priesthood and to the saints who are under them, in which term he includes all who had received baptism. But he calls the presbyters bishops; for they had, at that time the same names, as we learn from the history of the Acts of the Apostles." The writer then proceeds to remark upon the presbyters of Ephesus, Acts 20: 17, who in verse 28 are called bishops. From this he goes on to speak of the instructions given to Titus, who was left in Crete, to ordain presbyters in every city; but on being directed what persons to choose, he is told that "a bishop must be blameless," &c. He then adverts to the fact, that the apostle speaks only of the two orders of bishops and deacons, without any mention of presbyters; and of the impossibility of supposing that several bishops could have borne rule in the same city. After this, he proceeds to say ; SO that it is evident that he denominates the presThis sentiment he repeats in remarking
141 Πᾶσι τὰ κατ ̓ αὐτὸν ἐπιστέλλει, τοῖς δὲ τῆς ἱερωσύνης ἠξιωμένοις καὶ τοῖς ἀπὸ τούτων ποιμαινομένοις. ἁγίους γὰρ τοὺς τοῦ βαπτίσματος ἀξιωθέντας ὠνόμασεν, ἐπισκόπους δὲ τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους καλεῖ, ἀμφότερα γὰρ εἶχον κατ ̓ ἐκεῖνον τὸν καιρὸν τὰ ὀνόματα. Καὶ τοῦτο ἡμᾶς καὶ ἡ τῶν Πράξεων ἱστορία διδάσκει. Εἰρηκὼς γὰρ ὁ μακάριος Λουκᾶς, ὡς εἰς τὴν Μίλητον τοὺς Εφεσίων μετεμέμψατο πρεσβυτέρους ὁ θεῖος ἀπόστολος, λέγει καὶ τὰ πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἰρημένα· προσέχετε γάρ φησιν ἑαυτοῖς καὶ παντὶ ποιμνίῳ, ἐν ᾧ ὑμᾶς ἔθετο τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐπισκόπους, ποιμαίνειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Χριστοῦ· καὶ τοὺς αὐτοὺς καὶ πρεσβυτέρους καὶ ἐπισκόπους ὠνόμασεν. Οὕτω καὶ ἐν τῇ πρὸς τὸν μακάριον Τίτον ἐπιστολῇ· διὰ τοῦτο κατέλιπόν σε ἐν Κρήτῃ, ἵνα καταστήσῃς κατὰ πόλιν πρεσβυτέρους, ὡς ἐγώ σοι διεταξάμην. Καὶ εἰπὸν ὁποίους εἶναι χρὴ τοὺς χειροτονουμένους ἐπήγαγε· δεῖ γὰρ τὸν ἐπίσκοπον ἀνέγκλητον εἶναι, ὡς Θεοῦ δικόνομον. Καὶ ἐνταῦθα δὲ δῆλον τοῦτο πεποίηκε· τοῖς
upon Phil. 2: 25 ; where he says, that “those who, in the beginning of the epistle, are called bishops, evidently belonged to the grade of the presbytery." The passage is given entire in the margin.142 Again, 1 Tim. 3: 1, he takes occasion to say, that the apostle "calls the presbyter a bishop, as we have had occasion to show in our commentary on the epistle to the Philippians." 143
The following commentary of the Greek scholiast, of a later date, shows that these views were still retained in the Eastern church. "Inasmuch as the custom of the New Testament especially, of calling bishops presbyters, and presbyters bishops, seems to be silently neglected by many, it may be shown from Acts 20: 17; and from the epistle to Titus; and again, from that to the Philippians ; and, yet again, from the first epistle to Timothy. From the Acts the argument is as follows:-From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus, and called the presbyters of the church.' He called them not bishops; but farther on, he says, ‘Over which the Holy Ghost hath made you bishops to feed the church.'- From the epistle to Titus, 'Having established presbyters throughout the churches as I commanded you.'From the epistle to the Philippians, 'To those that are in Philippi with the bishop and deacons.' From the epistle
γὰρ ἐπισκόποις τοὺς διακόνους συνέζευξε, τῶν πρεσβυτέρων οὐ ποιησάμενος μνήμην· ἄλλως τε οὐδὲ οἷόν τε ἦν πολλοὺς ἐπισ κόπους μίαν πόλιν ποιμαίνειν· ὡς εἶναι δῆλον ὅτι τοὺς μὲν πρεσβυτέρους ἐπισκόπους ὠνόμασε.—Theodoret, Ep. ad Phil., p. 445, seq. Tom. 3, ed. Halens.
142 Πολλὰ καὶ τούτου (Epaphroditus) κατορθώματα διεξῆλθεν (Paulus), οὐκ ἀδελφὸν μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ συνεργὸν καὶ συστρατιώτην ἀποκαλέσας. Απόστολον δὲ αὐτὸν κέκληκεν αὐτῶν ὡς τὴν ἐπιμέλειαν αὐτῶν ἐμπεπιστευμένον· ὡς εἶναι δῆλον ὅτι ὑπὸ τοῦτον ἐτέλουν οἱ ἐν τῷ προοιμίῳ κληθέντες ἐπίσκοποι, τοῦ πρεσβυτερίου δηλονότι τὴν τάξιν πληροῦντες. — Ibid., Ep. ad Tim., p. 459, Tom. 3.
1433 Επίσκοπον δὲ ἐνταῦθα τὸν πρεσβύτερον λέγει, ὡς τὴν πρὸς Φιλιππησίους ἐπιστολὴν ἑρμηνεύοντες ἀπεδείξαμεν. Ibid., p. 652.
to Timothy the same may be inferred by analogy, when he says, 'If a man desire the office of a bishop he desireth a good work;' A bishop must be blameless,' &c."144
This scholiast has but hinted at the argument from these passages, to which he refers, but he has said enough to show that the doctrine of the ministerial parity of bishops and presbyters was still maintained during the middle ages, in the Eastern church, and justly defended on the authority of the Scriptures.
Elias, archbishop of Crete, A. D. 787, asserts the identity of bishops and presbyters; and, in commenting upon Gregory Nazianzen, remarks, that this bishop, in the fifth century, was accustomed to denominate presbyters, bishops, antistites, making no distinction between them; a circumstance which this scholiast has noticed in many passages from Gregory.145
It is truly remarkable how long, and how distinctly, these views of the original sameness of bishops and presbyters were retained on the church. Isidorus Hispalensis, bishop of Seville in Spain, in the seventh century, and
144 Επειδὴ λανθάνει τοὺς πολλοὺς ἡ συνήθεια, μαλιστα τῆς καινῆς διαθήκης, τοὺς ἐπισκόπους πρεσβυτέρους ὀνομάζουσα καὶ τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους ἐπισκόπους, σημειωτέον τοῦτο ἐντεῦθεν καὶ ἐκ τῆς πρὸς Τίτου ἐπιστολῆς, ἔτι δὲ καὶ πρὸς Φιλιππησίους καὶ ἐκ τῆς πρὸς Τιμόθεον πρώτης. ̓Εκ μὲν οὖν τῶν Πράξεων ἐντεῦθεν ἐστὶ πεισθῆναι περὶ τούτου, γέγραπται γὰρ οὕτως· Εκ δὲ τῆς Μιλήτου πέμψας εἰς Εφεσον μετεκαλέσατο τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους τῆς ἐκκλησίας. Καὶ οὐκ εἴρηκε τοὺς ἐπισκόπους, εἶτα ἐπιφέρει· ἐν ᾧ ὑμᾶς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἔθετο ἐπισκόπους, ποιμαίνειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν. Εκ δὲ τῆς πρὸς Τίτον ἐπιστολῆς· Καταστήσεις κατὰ πόλιν πρεσβυτέρους, ὡς ἐγώ σοι διεταξάμεν. Εκ δὲ τῆς πρὸς Φιλιππησίους· Τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Φιλίπποις συνεπισκόποις καὶ διακόνοις. Οἶμαι δὲ, ὅτι ἐκ τῆς προτέρας πρὸς Τιμόθεον ἀναλογισάμενος τοῦτο ἐκλαβεῖν· εἴ τις γάρ, φησι, τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς ὀρέγεται, καλοῦ ἔργου ἐπιθυμεῖ. δεῖ οὖν τὸν ἐπίσκοπον ἀνεπίληπτον εἶναι.—Cited by Rothe from Salmasius, Episcop. et Presb., p. 13.
145 Greg. Νaz., Tom. 2, p. 830. Ed. Colon. 1590. Also Ed. Basil. 1571, pp. 262, 264.