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I can truly say, that I feel much respect for the gentleman on whose production I have been commenting, and that I wish well to the denomination of Christians of which he is a member. I most sincerely bless my God, however, that he has led me to the Episcopal Church. I love her worship. Her liturgy is most precious to my heart. Of her authority there is no doubt. The Presbyterians in denying it, would destroy themselves; for they derive ultimately from Bishops. This is an all-important consideration. The members of the Episcopal Church are certain that the priesthood, at whose hands they receive the ordinances of the gospel, have a real authority from God. The authority of the priesthood being of divine origin, can be preserved only by adhering to the mode established for its transmission. If that mode be departed from, all authority ceases. We bless God that he has given our Church a priesthood, whose authority is so unquestionable, and we undertake not to judge those who have departed from what we conceive the only mode of conveying the sacerdotal power.
A Layman of the Episcopal Church.
For the Albany Centinel.
MISCELLANIES. No. X. It may be asked, Do we not read of Bishops? Is then to have such an order in the Church? It is answered, Presbyterians believe that such an order is instituted, but not such as the Episcopalians maintain.
They contend that the word explained and understood, does not authorize the pre-eminence of one Minister above another; that all are equals; and that the custom of having diocesan Bishops is corrupt and injurious. It is not uncommon for a word, through length of time, to be misapplied and misunderstood. To determine the true meaning in this, and similar cases, we must always resort to the original. The English word charity is now limited in its signification ; but in 1 Cor. xiii. it means love, in an extensive sense. The Greek word episkopos occurs five times in the New Testament, and signifies an overseer or inspector. It is translated in four places bishop, which comes from the Saxon word bischon, and in one place
The words episkopees and episkopountes are also found; the one translated “the office of a bishop," and the other “ taking the oversight.” If these places be examined, it will be clearly seen that Bishops and Presbyters are not distinct orders; that the same name, office, and work belong to both; and that a Bishop, such as is asserted by the Episcopal Church, receives no countenance, In Titus i. 5-7, the Apostle says, “ For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest ordain Elders in every city. If any be blameless,” &c. “ For a Bishop (episkopon] must be blameless," &c. The connection here shows beyond contradiction, that Elders or Presbyters are also Bishops. They are called by the one name and by the other. See also Acts XX. 28. Paul having assembled
the Elders or Presbyters (presbuterous] of the Church at Ephesus, addressed them thus : “ Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers” [episkopous]. Take one instance farther in 1 Peter v. 1, 2. “ The Elders or Presbyters (presbuterous] which are among you I exhort, who am also an Elder,” &c. Here the Apostle Peter, from whom the Romish and the Protestant Episcopal Church pretend to have derived their authority, calls himself not a Bishop, but an Elder; claims no pre-eminence over his brethren. He styles himself sumpresbuteros, a fellow Elder, or an Elder with them. * He adds, “ Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof,” &c. or as the word might be rendered agreeably to our translation in other places, performing the office of Bishops. Peter asserts, that himself was an Elder, and that the Elders were Bishops. The Pope, notwithstanding, in process of time took to himself the title of Vicar of Christ, and there was mar. shalled a sacred regiment of Patriarchs, Metropolitans, Arch-Bishops, Bishops, Arch-Deacons, Deacons, &c.f Peter signifies a rock, and upon a rock is the Church built; but alas, some may be 6 likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand.”
It must be evident that the pretensions of either the Romish or the Protestant Episcopal Church to their order of Bishops from the name,t is utterly vain. Every Presbyter, Priest, or Minister of the word, is a Bishop in the sense of the New Testament. To speak of the Bishop by way of pointing him out of superior rank and power to the other Clergy, is improper, and is a proof of words being sometimes verted. No one is entitled to the appellation as the Episcopalians use it. They would discover more understanding, more regard to the sentiments of their fellow Christians, more of the spirit of the Apostles, and more unlimited obedience to the injunctions of their divine Master, did they dismiss such aspiring and uncharitable conduct. Jesus Christ alone is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.”ll Memorable was the occasion on which he
By the same mode of argument could it not be proved, that our blessed Lord, who is called both a Deacon and a Bishop, was in no respects superior to them?
Ed. + Does this author here mean to insinuate that the Bishops date their origin at the time of the Papal usurpation? Ought he not to have known that the most learned opponents of Episcopacy date its origin within forty years of the Apostles ?
Ed. | Episcopalians never pretended to rest their cause on the precarious and changeable application of names. They assert, that it appears from the facts and declarations of scripture, that the Apostles communicated their Episcopal power to an order of men distinct from, and superior to those called Presbyters and Elders, and sometimes in reference merely to their over seeing the Church, Bishops. And that to this order the name of Bishop became appropriate after the death of the Apostles.
Ed. || But even on the principles of this author, is not every Pastor “ the Bishop" of his congregation? Was not this title lately bestowed in the most solemn manner upon a Minister of New-York at his installation to the charge of a single congregation? If the miscellaneous author is consistent, he will not fail immediately to chide his brethren for this " aspiring conduct."
gave a solemn and affectionate charge to his disciples. “Grant,” said the mother of Zebedee's children, “ that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.” She wished her sons to be promoted to places above the rest of the disciples, and to be consecrated Archbishops at least, “ But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise domiņion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you.”
The Episcopalians not having the semblance of an excuse for their practice from the term Bishop, let us consider next some passages of scripture which they labour to introduce as pleading for them.
Because we read of the ordination of Deacons, of Elders, and of Timothy and Titus being appointed to officiate in certain churches, it has been inferred, that from the beginning there were three distinct orders of Ministers. Let it be observed that the Presbyterians do not deny that there are three orders of officers in the Church; they only deny that there is any divine authority for an order superior to Presbyters or Ministers of the word. A plain distinction is made in 1 Timothy v. 17. between a ruling Elder and one who also teaches.* Timothy and Titus were, no doubt, Bishops; and so is every one who is set apart to the ministry of the gospel.+ They collected churches, and organized them by ordaining Elders, and those helps, governments which are instituted; and so does every
* Let Dr. Campbell, the most zealous opponent of Episcopacy in modern times, show the futility of this distinction between a ruling and a teaching Elder. “ Some keen advocates for Presbytery, as the word is now understood, on the model of John Calvin, have imagined they discovered this distinction in these words of Paul to Timothy, (1 Tim. v. 17.) • Let the Elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.' Here, say they, is a two-fold partition of the officers comprised under the same name, into those who rule, and those who labour in the word and doctrine, that is, into ruling Elders and teaching Elders. To this it is replied on the other side, that the especially is not intended to indicate a different office, but to distinguish from others those who assiduously apply themselves to the most important as well as the most difficult part of their office, public teaching; that the distinction intended is therefore not official but personal; that it does not relate to a difference in the powers conferred, but solely to a diference in their application. It is not to the persons who have the charge, but to those who labour in it, οι κοπιωντεσ. And to this exposition as the far more natural, I entirely agree.” See Dr. Campbell's Eccles. Hist. vol. i. p. 178. Ed.
† Why then do those denominations who maintain that all Ministers are Bishops and on an equality, retain the subordinate orders of Church officers, Elders and Deacons ? The Elders of scripture we know preached and administered the sacraments. But on the Presbyterian plan Elders are confined to assisting the Minister in ruling the Church. The Deacons in scripture both preached and baptised. Presbyterian Deacons are stripped of these powers. The fact is, that the distinction of three orders is so apparent in scripture, that those denominatiovs who rejected Episcopacy found it necessary to keep up at least the semblance of the primitive plan.
Presbyterian Minister. In conjunction with the Elders he admits to communion, inflicts censures, and manages the spiritual concerns of that church of which he has the oversight; he forms new congregations, and organizes them in places which have never enjoyed the ordinances of the gospel; he is an equal with the other Ministers, and so far from being “a Lord in God's heritage,” he is subject to his brethren; he, in conjunction with his brethren, licenses persons to preach, and ordains by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery;'* he believes that he derives his commission for these things from Christ, t and that, therefore, his acts are valid; and though he pretends not to be a successor of the Apostles, who were extraordinary officers, qualified and appointed to establish the Church; yet his office is divine, instituted by the Apostles, who knew the mind of the great Head and Lawgiver. The consideration of some other passages of scripture must be deferred until a future number.
POSTSCRIPT TO MISCELLANIES No. XI.
Which was on political topics. THE writer who has attacked me on the subject of Church Gon vernment, will see that I still act according to the title of “ Miscellanies.” He professes to “ have long known me, and to have long felt for me sincere respect and esteem.” I have not the happiness to know him; but nothing appears, at present, why the “re. spect and esteem” may not be mutual. It is a rule with me never to ask a printer who the author of a piece is. He has thought proper to complain of “ the uncharitable manner" in which I have attacked his Church. Has he read two late publications; the one entitled, “ A Companion for the Festivals and Fasts," &c. and the other - A Companion for the Altar,” &c? Does he know that the Bishop of the Episcopal Church in this State acts upon these principles? That he holds no ordination, and no administration of ordinances to be valid, but those of the Episcopal Church? If he is acquainted with these things, the charge against me of uncharita, bleness is made with an extremely ill grace. Quotations from the performances alluded to will, in due time, appear. To others I may owe some apology, to him none.
* This writer is exceedingly averse to quoting this text accurately. It is, “ with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery."
Ed. † How can he derive his commission from Christ, if, according to thiş writer, there is no succession of persons appointed to convey this commission from the Apostles, on whom it was conferred by Jesus Christ? Ed.
# This author here very properly admits that the ministerial office is of divine, because it is of apostolical institution. When, therefore, we prove that the Apostles instituted an order of men with superior powers to those called Presbyters and Deacons, we have a right to conclude that their office is divine, because “ instituted by the Apostles, who knew the mind of the great Head and Lawgiver.” Let this be remembered. Edo
I am astonished at his assertions, that the dissenters from Episcopacy bear no sort of proportion to those who adhere to it”-that “now, the whole Christian world is Episcopal, except a few dissenters, who, within two or three hundred years, have arisen in the western Church”—that if “the Roman Catholics be struck entirely out of the calculation, the advocates of parity constitute but a very trifling proportion of the remaining part of the Christian world." I deny the facts, and shall show hereafter that they do not exist. *
As to my using by instead of with, I am not conscious of any 6 unfairness.” It is not included in the quotations, and I laid no weight upon it. When the ordination of Timothy is discussed, it will, indeed, appear that WITH is an important word. Both it and BY will be allowed their due force; and I trust that it will be evident that Timothy was not ordained after the Episcopal, but after the Presbyterian mode. If the writer will only patiently indulge me in my miscellaneous course, I promise him all proper attention.
For the Albany Centinel.
CYPRIAN. No. I.
AM continues his dissertations upon Church Government, or rather his animadvertions upon the Episcopal Church. The revival of reli. gious controversies is always dangerous, is seldom if ever productive of any good. On all points connected with religion, especially on so important and fundamental a one as that of Church Government, the feelings of men are peculiarly delicate. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to avoid, in the discussion of them, wounding the feelings of some. This writer himself (whose good sense and ingenuity I do not hesitate to acknowledge) affords us an additional proof of the correctness of this observation. Although he commences his strictures with the fairest promises, and, no doubt, with the most sincere desire, to preserve the “unity
* This promise has never been performed.
Ed. † And yet controversy, if properly managed, is certainly favourable to the discovery of truth. While error exists, it must be a sacred duty to expose it, and to contend against it. And thus controversy, in the present imperfection of human nature, appears unavoidable. Evils no doubt attend it; and yet these will generally be counterbalanced by the advantages that result from it. Experience proves, that at those periods, and in those places where reli. gion is made a subject of discussion, its truths are more generally disseminated and understood. Where a spirit of false liberality places all opinions upon a level, and reprobates the divine injunction of “contending earnestly for the faith,” there it has always been found that the essential characteris. tics of the faith are soon totally forgotten, neglected, or despised.
Cyprian has proved himself so candid and so able a controversialist, that his readers will not regret the occasion which called forth bis pen. Ed.,