Abbildungen der Seite

St. Matthew's Gospel.

Episcopacy. we have no more than a single letter re- sions to episcopacy. He repeatedly maining, have manifest allusions to dif- distinguishes the ministers of the ferent parts of this gospel." Still it Church into bishops, priests and déa. seems, nothing but allusions-no name cons, and declares, that there was no mentioned.

Church without them. Polycarp has “ The first indeed upon record, who nothing of consequence either one way has named Matthew as the writer of or the other. In lieu of him, I refer this gospel, is Papias, bishop of Hiera- the reader to the acts of Ignatius' marpolis, in Cesarea, who is said to be a tyrdom already quoted ; and shall only companion of Polycarp, and hearer of add, that in the epistle of the Church "John. Concerning Matthew, this ven- of Smyrna, Polycarp is styled, Bishop erable ancient affirms, that he wrote of the Catholic Church of Smyrna. his gospel in the Hebrew tongue. As Papias has left nothing about Again; the proper evidence of ancient episcopacy, I produce froin Eusebius, facts is written testimony. And for a fragment from Dionysius, bishop of this fact, as was observed before, we Corinth. - He was contemporary with have the testimony of Papias, as Euse- Papias. He wrote several letters. One bius who quotes his words, assures to the Athenians, in which he mentions us. For a fact of this kind, a more first Publius their bishop, and after proper witness than Papias could hard: him Quadratus. Another to the church Iy be desired ; if not a contemporary of of Nicomedia, in which he gives a the Apostles, or rather, if not known great character of Philip, their bishop. to them, a contemporary of their dis. Another to the church of the Amasciples, and who had been a hearer of trians, in which he mentions Palma two men, Aristion and John the elder, their bishop. One to the Gnossians, whom he calls disciples of the Lord.” whose bishop was Pinytus, and one to

“ The next authority I shall recur the church of Romc, inscribed to Soter to, is that of Ireneus, bishop of Lyons their bishop. in Gaul, who in his youth had been a I also produce the testimony of anodisciple to Polycarp. He says in the ther contemporary, Hegesippus. In only book of his extant, that Matthew his account of his travels from Judea among the Hebrews wrote a gospel to Rome, he says, " he visited many in their own language, whilst Peter bishops, and found the same doctrine and Paul were preaching the gospel among them all. He then gives the at Rome, and founding the Church names of several of them. there." The Doctor adds, “ As to Ireneus affords strong testimonies Ireneus, from the early period in which in our favour. He says, “We can he lived, he had advantages for infor- reckon up those who were by the mation little interior to those of Papias, Apostles ordained bishops in the having been in his younger years well churches, and those who were their acquainted with Polycarp, the disciple · successors even in our time. Tertut. of the apostle John." This is true, lian uses the same language, and bears and let it have its weight with regard pointed testimony to episcopacy. In to episcopacy.

the same century, the Christians of “The third witness (says the Dr.) Lyons wrote a letter to the churches is Origen, who flourished in the for- of Asia and Phrygia, concerning the mer part of the 3d century." “As I persecution which had raged in Gaul. have learnt by tradition concerning the In that letter, they call Pothinus their four gospels, which alone are receive bishop, and Ireneus, by whom they ed without dispute by the whole sent it, a presbyter. When he returniChurch of God under heaven; the ed from Rome, he succeeded to the first was written by Matthew, once a episcopal chair." So say Eusebius publican, afterwards an apostle of Jesus and Jerome. The letters also of PolyChrist, who delivered it to the Jewish crates, bishop of Ephesus, and Sera. believers, composed in the Hebrew pion, bishop of Antioch, mention a language."

number of bishops at this time. The Doctor proceeds, “It would Origen is as pointed in his testimony be endless to bring authorities. Je to episcopacy. "If (says he) Jesus the rome, Augustin, Epiphanius, Chrys. Son of God was subjeci to Josephi and ostom, Eusebius, and many others, all Mary, shall not I be subject to the St. Matthew's Gospel.

Episcopacy.' attest the same thing, and attest it in bishop, who is ordained by God to be such a manner as shows, that they my father? Shall not I be subject to knew it to be uncontroverted, and the presbyter, who, by the divine judged it to be incontrovertable." vouchsafement is set over me?" (Hom.

20.) Again, “more is required of me (he was then a presbyter) than of a deacon, more of a deacon than of a layman : But he that governs in chief, must give an account of the whole Church?...Com. p. 395. More from this father is unnecessary.

Every word in the opposite column is true with respect to episcopacy. I commit myself to prove it, when called

upon. I shall now conclude this head in the words of Dr. Campbell. “Aş the matter stands, we have here a perfect unanimity of the witnesses, not a single contradictory voice. No mention is there, either from those fathers, or from any other ancient writer, that ever another account of this matter had been heard of. Shall we then admit a mere modern liypothesis, to overturn the foundations of all historic evidence ?"

I have now, Sir, completely verified my assertion, that the evi. dence in favour of episcopacy is, to say the least, equal to that in favour of the canon of scripture.

There is another topic, from which I shall derive a strong argu. ment in favour of episcopacy; it is the religious observance of the Lord's day. For this, we have by no means the evidence, which we have for episcopacy. Yet we have enough to convince any unprejudiced man, that it is of apostolic institution. The evidence from the primitive writers is, in short, as follows. Ignatius, in his epistle to the Magnesians, has a reference to it. Justin Martyr, in his apology to the heathen, says, “ We all meet together on Sunday, on that day Jesus Christ our Saviour rose from the dead." Tertullian, Clemens Alexandrinus, Ireneus, Origen and others, speak of it as an institution derived from the apostles. But in tine New Testament, we have little or no evidence ; nothing, without the testimony of the fathers, that can be deemed proof. Far otherwise is the case with respect to episcopacy. That, I flatter myself, will appear in due time from scripture, as it has already appeared from the oncients, to be an apostolic appointment.

Now, Sir, if these things be so; if there be, (to say the least) as much in favour of episcopacy, as for the canon of scripture, and for the religious observance of the Lord's day, then you are reduced to the necessity (if you mean to be consistent) of either equally rejecting, or equally admitting them.*

We have now brought episcopacy within the apostolic age, and indeed, some of our learned adversaries have freely acknowledged, that it is entitled to that date. Here then, were I to close the dispute, our cause could not suffer; for I cannot but think, that every

This is another topic of discussion, to which I request our author's parti. aular attention.

impartial person would sav, “ As episcopacy appears from a cloud of witnesses, to be the gov > ment of the Church in the apostolic age, it can never be admitted; that any thing in the New Testament militates against this fact. That would be a contradiction unpara. lelled in the history of mankind. It would place us in the most perplexing situation that can be conceived; for we must, if your hy pothesis be true, either give up the passages relating to this point in the New Tertament, or we must reject the highest degree of historical evidence, which, from the nature of the subject, is the only evidence we can have. Thus, true philosophy and inspiration would be set at variance ; or in other words, man as a christian, must contradict himself as a reasonable being. This is too shocking to be ad: mitted.

I shall now proceed to the scripture evidence ; and I beg, Sir, that it may be particularly remembered, what numerous testimonies have been produced; to what period I have traced episcopacy, and how absolutely necessary it is, to preserve consistency in our interpretation of the scripture, with the sentiments and testimony of the Church universal. With this key, we shall meet with no difficulty that may not easily be removed. • Inthe order in which I have begun the enquiry, ascending from the 2nd century up to the commission given by Christ to his apostles, the first part of the New Testament which arrests our attention is, the revelation of St. John. The epistles to the seven churches of Asia Minor, have been brought forward by your sensible opponent Cyprian, and stated with great perspicuity and fairness. His observations are an appeal to the common sense of mankind, and if they have not the effect on the readers of this controversy, which they appear to me calculated to produce, all I have to say is, that the cona troversial spirit has taken full possession of one side, or the other. There is one thing however, which affords a strong presumption in our favour; it is, that the presbyterians cannot agree among themselves, in what sense to take the addresses in the epistles. Even Dr. Campbell condemns the fancies of some of his brethren, and yet without being able to defend it, (himself being the judge) adopts the hotion of the Puritans of the 17th century. According to them and to the learned professor, the angels of the seven churches were the moderators of seven congregational presbyteries.*

When our author resolved to adopt this notion from the Puritans of the 17th century, we wonder that his own good sense did not revolt from the hard treatment, with which the angels of the churches of Pergamos and Thyatira were threatened. These men are described by him that liveth and was dead, as eminent for their good works, charity, service, steadfastness in faith and patience; yet they are both severely blamed, and the former threatened, for suffering in their respective churches false teachers, whom, if they were nothing more than moderators, they could not remove. Would it not have been very unjust to censure Dr. Campbell, when moderator of the presbytery or synod of Aberdeen, for not removing from their charges, such of the ministers as had taught the peculiar doctrines * Ecc. Lect. vol 1. p. 156.


of Arminius ? « And shall we, for the sake of a novel hypothesis, which has not the shadow of support beyc « our author's sentiment, attribute to the King of Kings, a species of conduct unworthy of men? God forbid !”*

The leamed professor seems to be fully aware of the very inadequate account, which presbyterian writers give of this matter, and candidly acknowledges, that his opinion“ is only the most likely conjecture of all he has seen on this article, which, (he owns) does not admit so positive a proof as might be wished.” Now, I appeal to the understanding of every reasonable man, whether conjectures and fancies are to be admitted in opposition to matter of fact; for that it is matter of fact, that these seven angels were the bishops of the seven mentioned churches, all antiquity asserts ; and Cyprian has given you the names of those bishops ; bishops in the appropriate sense of the appellative, and Polycarp, to whom Ignatius addressed one of his epistles was, at that time, or ncarly then, bishop of Smyrna.

We have now gone a step farther in our progress, and I think it is a fair conclusion, that the interpretation given by Episcopalians to these passages, are just ; because the words require such interpretation, and because no other will accord with historical evidence. Away then with temporary moderators, or even with presidents during life ; for the apostolic age knew nothing about them!

We shall proceed in our next letter to other instances of episcopal government.

* Sce Anti Jacobin review for June 1801, p. 121, 122. This is an excellent periodical work, affording much sound instruction, especially to Churchmen.

+ I hope I shall not be misunderstood when I say, presidents during life. The bishops were so; but then they were much more; more than primi inter pares.


[No. I.] Copy of a letter from the late Rev. William Jones, of Nayland, Grent-Brit

ain, to the Rev. Dr. Bowden, then Principal of the Episcopal Academy, Cheshire, Connecticut.

Nayland, Suffolk, Feb. 28, 1799. REVEREND SIR,

YOU would have heard from me sooner, but that your let. ter came to my hands at a time when I was in great sorrow; and as I am not nearly out of it, I fear my answer will fall very far short of my intention. It gave me as much pleasure as any thing could then do, to hear of a worthy gentleman of the country on the other side of the water, so well disposed to the principles in philosophy and divinity, which have engaged my attention so many years. I have, by the blessing of God, opened the eyes of many people, and I hope I shall of many more ; for though I am now at a stand for a time, I am now on the road to a great deal more business, which will be accomplished in its time, if God permit; to which end I earnestly request your prayers.

The figurative language is a work, on which I set my heart for twenty years. One part of it I suppressed by the advice of Bishop Horne, but have now ventured to send it out as he advised I would do after a time. A new edition of my life of Bishop Horne is coming out with a new preface, and a new discourse added to the end of it, on the Hebrew language ; both of which I dare say will please you ; as the life also will, if you have not yet seen it. You will not be sorry to hear, that I have some young friends, sons of the nobility, who are as zealous as you are in these studies, and may in time be of great use, if we are not too far gone ; at which my heart often sinks; but God who raises the dead can still do something for us. I have also in the press six letters on electricity. I hope I shall not forget to desire the editor to send you these, and some other things of the kind, when they make their appearance. If such a publication as the Anti Jacobin has reached your country, you will see there are people here, who are not afraid to speak ont; and they have already done much good. I wrote some months ago a letter to the Church of England ; telling them as a friend what was wrong amongst us; and I fully intended to be hid; but the Anti-Jacobin Review got at the knowledge of the author, and made me public. The society for promoting Christian knowledge, a few weeks ago, desired me by their Secretary, to introduce by a preface, two pieces of Charles Leslie, which they are about to distribute ; which, though I am very low at this time (God help me!) I could not forbear to do ; and I hope they will kindly accept my endeavours. That was a great man, and one of the great patterns, from whom I learned controversial divinity, in my early years. I desired a bookseller of London to lay hold of as many copies of his works as he could find ; foreseeing that they would be called for. Ah Sir, said he, I could have got you a hundred copies a year ago ; but the price was fallen so low, that they are now gone for waste paper. They are among many other things disregarded by the world, which will, nevertheless, survive the fire of the last day. In the room where I am writing at this time, I have before my eyes a very good picture of Bishop Seabury, the painter of which was my particular friend. He painted another fine picture for the front of my church organ; but it so happened (longa est historia) that that picture was the occasion of his death. I perceive I begin to tell stories, like an old man as I am ; so for the present, Sir, I will bid you adieu, with hearty good wishes for yourself and family ; and conclude myself,

Your very sincere friend,
and humble servant,

Rev. Doct. Bowden.

« ZurückWeiter »