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not so likely to have happened to the Church in its infancy, as in a more advanced stage.
There has been also an objection made to the local relation of Titus; because of his being so soon called from his Church by St. Paul, * to Nicopolis in Macedonia. But there may have been good reasons for this interview, and Titus may have soon returned. It is said to have been the tradition of the island, that he lived there to a very advanced age.
It should be remembered, that the episcopacy of these two persons, is not held to depend on the circumstance of the locality of their ministries. This does not rest on ground, as unequivocal as that of the other. Dr. Whitby.--a divine of the Church of England of great note.concedes that he finds no evidence in the first three centuries, of the diocesan episcopacy of the two characters in question. But by that term he means a local relation, and not to distinguish between diocesan and congregational episcopacy; as might be thought from the view of his position, detached from his reasonings on the subject. In these he has advanced evidence---and with great ability---of the higher grade of the ministry of Timothy and of Titus.
It is agreeable to the episcopal theory to expect, that as the time drew nigh, when the Church was to be deprived of the general episcopacy of the inspired apostles, there should be appearances of the local episcopacy intended to succeed. Accordingly,“ the apostles of the Churches,” spoken of in the second epistle to the Corinthians, are not mentioned until about twenty-four years after the beginning of the Christian æra. And Epaphroditus, the apostle of the Church of Philippi, appears at the still later period of St. Paul's imprisonment in Rome. If these were bishops, as is here supposed, their local relations will not be denied: as neither will those of the seven angels of the apocalyptickChurches.--the same condition being admitted. In one instance, there has been contended for a local
* ji, 12.
episcopacy, from the earliest period of the apostolick labours.
It has been thought proper to bring into view this arrangement, as originally in the contemplation of the apostles: although, should it be thought to rest on ecclesiastical authority, it would seem to be the best suited to the ensuing ages of the Church; the succession being the same in either case.
From the time of the completion of the canon of scripture, human testimony alone can be expected, in proof of the succession. Still, it will be contend. ed to be sanctioned by the circumstance, of having originated within the limits of the times of inspira. tion.
After the apostolick age, the first document inviting attention, is the epistle of the venerable Cle. ment of Rome. The present author does not find in this epistle to the Corinthian Church, any evidence of its being governed by a bishop. Yet there may have been such a character; and he may have been included in the mention of the presbyters, on account of the intercommunity of names. But this question is of little importance to the Episcopal
. theory; which supposes, that local Episcopacy was introduced by degrees, as the necessity increased in consequence of the decease of the apostles. Ac. cording to the chronology given by Dr. Cave, St. John and St. Clement are supposed to have died in the same year. * In that chronology, it is also supposed, that the book of Revelation was written six years sooner. Under these circumstances, the epistle in question could not have been written at a time when, on episcopalian principles, there must have been in every district, a pastor superiour to the order of presbyters within it. But that within half a century afterwards, there was such a pastor in the Church in question, appears in what Eusebiust has quoted from Hegisippus, an older writer than himself. This person, arriving at Corinth in his way to Rome, found Primus the bishop in the former city. Here is a document, much in favour of the present argument. An historian, reputed faithful, cites another historian whose works were extant, giving an account of a journey. Being himself a Christian of note, he records the name of the person, whom he found presiding in a populous and celebrated city, which he visits on his way. Thus Episcopacy is recognized as the regimen obtaining in Corinth, and under circumstances precluding the suspicion of novelty, before the anti-episcopalian date of it; and when, according to the same historian, the whole Church of Christ had retained her integrity.
4 Lib. iv. cap. 22.
But to return to the epistle of Clement: it is here conceived, that there are two orders of men contemplated in the following passage—“ And our apostles knew, by the Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be contention concerning the name of the Episcopacy. Therefore they appointed those spo. ken of above: and from that time they delivered a rule, that when they” (the apostles) “ should be de. ceased, other approved men should receive their ministry. Therefore we think, that they" (the Co. rinthian pastors)“ who were constituted by them,” (the apostles) “ or thenceforward by other chosen men” (the successours of the apostles in the power of constituting)“ the whole church consenting and approving; and who with humility, with quietness, and not negligently, have ministered to the sheepfold of Christ, and who for a long time have been well reported of by all, are unjustly deposed from office."*
What stands in parentheses, well easily be distinguished from the words of Clement; and is de. signed to show the ground on which it is here conceived, that through the whole passage, there are recognized two distinct orders of ministers: one
* Cap. 44.
order, consisting of the apostles and their successours constituting; and others who, with the appro. bation of the whole Church, were constituted. Of the latter description were all the ejected ministers of the Church of Corinth: unless we suppose an exception in one of them--their bishop; which, it must be confessed does not appear, however clearly there is described an Episcopacy extraneous to themselves.
The name of St. Ignatius is handed down by ec, clesiastical authors, as that of a blessed martyr, who had conversed with the apostles; and who had been established by them in Antioch, as the bishop of the Church in that city. His martyrdom took place in the city of Rome, in the year one hundred and seven. On his way thither, he wrote six epis. tles to as many Churches; which epistles were highly esteemed in primitive times; and many passages are professed to be quoted from them by Eusebius, in his history. In after times, there were circulated, under the name of Ignatius, epistles which bore evident marks of interpolation. But in the sixteenth century, there were discovered, through the indus. try of Archbishop Usher and of Isaac Vossius, a Latin and a Greek manuscript; both of which were presented to the world, as bearing evident marks of the original epistles. Among other marks, there is that of their agreement with the passages professed to be quoted from them in Eusebius. And as some parts of the work apply directly to the proof of Episcopacy; there is no rejecting of the discovered copies, unless on the presumption, that the epistles themselves were forged before the time of that historian. The extreme improbability of this, in aid of other considerations, has induced a general acceptance of the copies by the learned: so that their authenticity seems to be not questioned, except by some who are zealous in the cause of ministerial parity; which is utterly inconsistent with these documents. Dr. Mosheim, who was of a Church not Episcopal, adopts the opinion of their being genuine; but adds the drawback" That they seem to labour under much obscurity, and to be embarrassed with many difficulties.” And even a very respectable critick of the Church of England -Dr. Jortin-says of these epistles" I will not affirm, that they have undergone no alterations at all."
It is probable, that the clogs hanging to the assents of these two learned men, were owing to the unqualified injunctions in the epistles, exacting unlimited submission of the respective Churches, to their bishops: which, indeed, have been offensive to very many. Now it should be considered, that we know not in what degree there were calls for precepts on that subject, in the Churches to which such admonitions were addressed. For if, as is strongly insinuated, there prevailed in some persons a disposition to hold unauthorized and irregular assemblies; it is easy to conceive, that the writer would be disposed to uphold the contrary propriety of conduct, in a very different form from that which would have been adopted by him, had he treated of the subject without a reference to existing circumstances.
But allowing the utmost weight to such diffi. culties; and supposing, yet not granting, that liberties may have been taken in some respects, al. though no evidence of the same is offered; yet it should be remembered, in relation to the subject of Episcopacy, that the forgeries must have been such as to contradict the undoubted knowledge of those who were to be deceived by them. How far such a manæuvre might have contributed to the extend. ing of the prerogatives of bishops, is another question. But that a work should be imposed on the Christian Church, over and over recognizing the bishop and the presbyters of each Church as two distinct orders; when, in the age of the fathers of many living, every diocese had been under the go