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years, have arisen in the western Church. There are supposed to be two hundred and twenty millions of Christians in the world; of which fifty millions are Protestants, eighty millions are of the Greek and Armenian Churches, ninety miflions of the Romish communion. The Greek and Armenian Churches are entirely Episcopal; so also are those of the Romish persuasion. The Protestants are very much divided. Episcopacy exists in the Protestant Church in Denmark, Prussia, Sweden, Norway, and, with a little exception, in Great-Britain and Ireland. All the Lutheran Churches in Germany are Episcopal.* The dissenters from Episcopacy bear no sort of proportion to those who adhere to it. They are confined to the western Church, and there their number is comparatively very small. Will it be said we ought not to calculate on the Romish Church, since she asserts the supremacy of the Pope? Nevertheless that Church contends for distinct orders in the Ministry, and admits the validity of Episcopal ordination. But let the Roman Catholics be struck entirely out of the calcula. tion. The advocates of parity constitute but a very trifling proportion of the remaining part of the Christian world. These are facts.
I cannot help taking notice, also, of the manner in which this writer makes use of a passage of scripture, upon which the advocates of parity place much reliance. In the first Epistle to Timothy, fourth chapter, and fourteenth verse, St. Paul says, “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, WITH the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery." It is to the passage which follows that I object. “The Presbyterians cannot see where these things are written ; and the Episcopalians, in order mercifully to open the eyes of the blind, reject Presbyterian ordination; so that whoever would join the Episcopal Church, must be anointed from the horn of their Bishop, though he had received before a sort of ordination BY the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.” The passage of scripture, correctly stated, is “ WITH the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.' Qur author has it, “ BY the laying. on of the hands of the Presbytery." The important word WİTH is entirely omitted, and the word BY substituted in its place. True, the word BY is not included in the crotchets; but the word WITH is omitted, and the word BY placed immediately before the pas sage, so as materially to affect the sense. Of this I complain. In order to show the unfairness of the thing, I must beg the attention of the reader to a few observations,
“ Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, WITH the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery." So says St. Paul in his first Epistle to Timothy Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee, BY the putting on of my hands." Such is the language of the second Epistle to Timothy.
If we would arrive at a just interpretation of scripture, we must view all the parts of it in connection. This is a dictate of common sense. The two passages in the Epistles to Timothy must, therefore, be taken together; and such a construction given them that both
* But few of the Protestants of Prussia and Germany are Episcopal. Ed.
« The gift of God which is in thee, BY the putting on of my hands." St. Paul, then, imposed hands on Timothy, and by this imposition Timothy received his power. The Greek word here used, is dia ; and it signifies the means by which authority was conveyed. “The gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, WITH the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery." Here the mode of expression is different. Timothy received his power BY the laying on of Paul's hands, WITH the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery, St. Paul conveyed the power, while the Presbytery expressed approbation.—The Greek word here used is meta, which signifies nothing more than concurrence, not at all designating the conveyance of authority. What is the practice of the Episcopal Church? The Presbyters lay their hands on with the Bishop; so that every Minister receives his ordination by the laying on of the hands of the Bishop, with the laying on of the hands of Pres. byters.
The reader is, I trust, convinced of the importance of the words by and with, in this case. Was it fair, then, to give the passage from the first Epistle to Timothy in a mutilated state ? Ought the word with to have been omitted, and the word by so situated as to give a sense to the passage which it will not bear? True, the remark is made in an incidental way; but that does not exonerate the writer from the obligation of a strict adherence to accuracy. It is to be recollected, too, that the passage of scripture thus dealt with, is one on which the advocates of parity have relied. I complain then here of unjust treatment; and I feel strongly disposed to suspect weakness in a cause when I find such expedients employed to defend it.
Thus much I have thought proper to say, for the purpose of placing the passage from the first Epistle to Timothy in its true light. But it may not be unprofitable, before dismissing this part of the subject, to make such further observations as may be applicable to the words of St. Paul, although not particularly called for by any thing in the strictures which have given rise to this address.
“ By the putting on of my hands.” “With the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery." These are the two passages. It is not at all improbable that the Presbytery here spoken of, were some of the Apostles themselves, who laid their hands on Timothy, in connection with Paul. The term Presbuteros, in its general import, signifies a Church Governor; and, of course, although ordinarily appropriated in the New Testament to the second grade of Ministers, it is capable of being applied to all the grades. The Apostles call themselves Presbyters. Well, then, the term Prese buteros being applicable to all the orders, and the Apostles occasionally applying it to themselves, it is at least probable that the Presbytery spoken of by Paul were Apostles. At all events, it cannot be proved that they were mere Elders. And when we go to ecclesiastical history, we find that the practice of Presbyters uniting with Bishops in the imposition of hands, was not introduced until the latter part of the fourth century. In the Greek Church, indeed, it has never prevailed. These circumstances render it ex- .. tremely probable that the Presbyters, who, with Paul, imposed hands upon Timothy, were really and truly Apostles. But let it
be conceded to the enemies of Episcopacy, that they were nothing more than Elders. The concession will avail them nothing; for Paul was an Apostle, and superior to the order of mere Presbyters. He imposed hands on Timothy, and by such imposition, the sacerdotal power was conveyed. Elders alone, therefore, upon the most indulgent supposition, cannot ordain. The presence of a superior order is necessary. In what then does this passage avail the advocates of parity ?
Here the subject seems naturally to call for a few observations on that promiscuous use of the terms Elder, Bishop, Presbyter, on which the opposers of Episcopacy place so much reliance. The fair inquiry, certainly, is as to the orders of Ministers which existed in the Church in the Apostolic age, and the ages immediately succeeding; not as to the particular titles of office that were used at different periods. Names frequently change their signification; and, even in the same period are sometimes sed to denote one thing, and sometimes another, according to the manner in which they are applied. Presbuteros signifies a Church Governor, or it signifies an Elder or grave man. Accordingly, as has been remarked above, the Apostles applied the name occasionally to themselves. Episkopos signifies an overseer. Every Bishop is overseer of his diocese, and every Presbyter of his particular flock.
The Apostles then are called Presbyters. This proves conclusively that no argument can be drawn by the advocates of parity, from the promiscuous use of the terms Presbyter, Bishop, in the sacred writings. If it proves that there is now but one order in the Ministry, it proves equally that Paul was upon a perfect level with the Elders of Ephesus.
In Roman history we find the term Imperator at one period applied to designate a General of an army; at another, a Magistrate clothed with unlimited civil and military authority. Suppose we should be told that every General of an army was Emperor of Rome, and that the Emperor of Rome was merely General of an army; what would be the reply? That the term Imperator had changed its signification. And how would this be proved? By the Roman history, which shows us, that the Emperors had Generals under them, over whom they exercised authority. Apply this reasoning to the case under consideration. The terms Bishop, Presbyter, are used promiscuously in the New Testament. Therefore, say the advocates of parity, they designated the same office in the ages subsequent to the age of the Apostles. Is this a logical conclusion? Surely not. Names change their signification. Ecclesiastical history tells us, and the most learned advocates of parity have admitted the fact, that the order of Bishops existed in the Church as distinct from, and superior to the order of Presbyters, within forty or fifty years after the last of the Apostles. The Bishops then had Presbyters under them, over whom they exercised authority. The offices were distinct from the beginning ; Bishops being the successors, not of those who are promiscuously called Bishops, Presbyters, Elders, in the New Testament, but of the Apostles themselves. Theodoret tells us expressly, " that in process of time those who succeeded to the Apostolic office left the name of Apostle to the Apostles, strictly so called, and gave the
name of Bishop to those who succeeded to the Apostolic office.” No argument then can be founded on the promiscuous use of names. This mode of reasoning proves too much, destroying itself by the extent of the consequences which it draws after it. If it deprive the Bishops of their superiority over Presbyters, it equally deprives the Apostles of their superiority over Elders. An argument which leads to false conclusions, must itself be false.
I have said that the question is as to the orders of Ministers which were established in the Church. Let this question be determined by the sacred writings. The case of the seven Angels of Asia, the case of Timothy, the case of Titus, the case of Epaphroditus, the case of St. James, Bishop of Jerusalem, all show that distinct orders of Ministers were established in the Church by the Apostles themselves. I should trespass too long on the patience of the reader in going through these cases. Let it suffice to examine the situation of the Church of Ephesus. Of this Church Timothy was the Governor. Both Clergy and Laity were subject to his spiritual jurisdiction. “ Against an Elder receive not an accusation, but before two or. three witnesses." 66 And I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no strange doctrines.” Did the Presbyterian plan of government exist then in the Church of Ephesus? Surely not. Was Timothy on a perfect level with the Elders or Presbytèrs ? No. He exercised authority over them. They were subject to his control. I have sometimes heard it said that Timothy was only primus inter pares. Very well-Give our Bishop the same power over the other Clergy that was exercised by Timothy, and we shall not contend about a word. Let him be called primus inter pares, or by any other name.
The writer in question ridicules the idea of an uninterrupted succession from the Apostles, calling it a tale which obtains currency only among fanatics. This is strange language to apply to a prin ciple susceptible of the strictest demonstration. All power in the Church is derived from Christ. The Apostles received their commission from him immediately. He delivered it to them in person. But this was the case with the Apostles alone. How, then, did the succeeding Clergy obtain their authority? They derived it from Christ. But our Saviour did not personally give it to them. He sent the Apostles with power to send others, and thus an uninter. rupted succession has been kept up. All succeeding Clergymen then derived their authority from Christ through the medium of others. In fact, it is impossible that there should be any power, except that of the Apostles, which has not been transmitted through the medium of men authorized to qualify others. The truth is, this idea of uninterrupted succession is as necessary to the Presbyterians as to us. Why then are they so opposed to it? It is, that not a single Presbyter in the world can trace his succession up to the Apostles; while, among Bishops, it is a very common and easy thing. The chronology of the Church has been computed, in the succession of the Bishops, its chief officers; not in that of Presbyters, who are of a subordinate grade: Just as the chronology of a city is computed by the succession of its Mayors; not by that of its Bailiffs. Nothing improper is intended by this comparison. It is purely for the sake of illustration.
This writer declaims on the subject of the civil dignities, connected with the Church of England, and attempts to confound them with Episcopacy. This really appears to me to be uncandid; nor can it, I think, promote those dispositions in the public mind which are most favourable to the discovery of truth. Episcopacy is here precisely what it is in Great-Britain; that is, in the Church of England, and in the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, there are three distinct orders in the Ministry, the highest of these alone possessing the power of ordination. The only difference is, that in Great-Britain the Episcopal Church is established, and its prelates rendered important members of the State. Into the wisdom of all this I shall not pretend to inquire. The civil dignities constitute no part of the government of the Church. They are a mere adjunct which has existed in particular ages and countries. If the author had been treating on the subject of religious toleration, it might have been expected that he would detail these circumstances; but what connection they have with the question, .whether the Apostles established distinct orders in the Ministry, or instituted the plan of parity, I confess myself utterly at a loss to comprehend.
Popery is brought forward on this occasion. This is a common practice. It is certainly high time that it should cease. The Protestant Episcopal Church is now, and ever has been, the firmest bulwark of the cause of the Reformation. The sacerdotal authority is not impaired by having descended through the Romish Church. If it is, the scriptures are equally affected, for we derive them from the same source. Episcopacy was no part of the corruptions of Popery. Our Church reformed the abuses which had been introduced, but she pretended not to create a new priesthood any more than new sacraments.
Notwithstanding the length to which this piece has been extended, I cannot help introducing here the testimony of that great man, whom the Presbyterians so highly admire, in favour of Episcopacy. I mean Calvin. He strongly declared his attachment to Episcopacy; but pleaded the necessity of his situation, alleging that he must have gone for it to the Roman Hierarchy. He applauded most highly the Episcopal Hierarchy of the Church of England. “ If they would give us,” says he, “ such an Hierarchy, in which the Bishops should so excel as that they did not refuse to be subject to Christ, and to depend upon him as their only head, and refer all to him, then I will confess that they are worthy of all anathemas, if any such shall be found, who will not reverence it, and submit themselves to it with the utmost obedience.” Such is the language of Calvin. He appears to have differed very widely in opinion with some of his modern admirers.
I took up my pen in this business with great reluctance; and, if I know my own heart, from a conviction of duty. It appeared to me entirely improper, that a representation which I think so very erroneous, should go forth without correction, to operate on the minds of those who may not have had it in their power to give attention to the subject of ecclesiastical government. I have no disposition to embark in controversy; nor do I believe I shall again come forward in reply to what may possibly be called forth by this address. The. mode of communication too I dislike extremely.