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over the church,' &c. &c.* On these, among other grounds, while we allow that the distinction between the bishop and the presbyter arose in the manner we shall presently submit, or in some other manner), during the second century, we can by no means assent to Mr. Milman's view that the whole of Christianity,
when it emerges out of the obscurity of the first century, appears ' uniformly governed by certain superiors of each community called 'bishops,' as distinguished from the presbyter-bishop.
If, however, the identity of the bishop and the presbyter was recognized by Irenæus, the disciple of Polycarp and Papias (both of whom were intimate with the apostle John) so late as the year of our Lord 196, when the strife arose between Victor of of Rome, and Polycrates of Ephesus, respecting the observance of Easter, the argument in favor of the apostolic appointment of super-presbyterial bishops, seems already to have melted away. But let us look at the argument as unaffected by this consideration, and examine the hypothesis of Mr. Milner as stated in the second extract on this subject. His view is that the apostle (or other primitive teacher), being the recognized head of the religious communities which he had founded, and being frequently in circumstances which prevented, when it might be necessary, his personal interposition, and feeling the necessity of making a provision for his disciples when he should'vacate his place by death, appointed some distinguished individual as the delegate, the re' presentative, the successor to his authority, as primary instructor
of the community,' and invested him in an episcopacy or over* seership, superior to that of the co-ordinate body of elders.' This, which, however he proposes merely as a probability-for, in fact, there is no positive evidence for it whatever, harmonises,' he thinks, with the period in which we discover in the sacred writings this change in the form of the permanent government of the different 'bodies; accounts most easily for the general submission to the authority of our religious chief magistrate, so unsatisfactorily explained by the accidental pre-eminence of the president of a college of co-equal presbyters; and is confirmed by general tradition ' which has ever, in strict union with every other part of Christian ' history, preserved the names of many successors of the apostles,
the first bishops in most of the larger cities in which Christianity 'was first established. Let us look into these considerations. The • light thrown on this subject by the sacred writings, Mr. Milman • derives from Rev. ii. 1 (to which may be added vers. 8, 12, 18, iii. 1, 7, 14. being repetitions of the same form), where the church of Ephesus,' he thinks, 'is represented by its angel or bishop.' But what is this passage--exhibiting the only place in which Mr.
* His words are:- και οι προ Σωτήρος πρεσβύτεροι, οι προϊστάντες της εκκλησίας, ής νύν αφηγή, Ανίκητον λέγομεν και Πίον, κ. τ. λ.
Milman finds Scripture harmonizing with his theory? An obscure term, in a book written throughout in symbolical language-a term nowhere else applied in Scripture to the bishop's office, if so applied here--a term never, as we should have expected, were Mr. Milman's theory sustainable, brought into use in application to the new office! Can any light be feebler, any harmony with Mr. Milman's supposition more faint than this? How stands the second consideration—this theory 'accounts most easily for the general submission to the authority of our religious magistrate,' &c.? It certainly would easily account for such submission: this we grant. We further grant, that, if it could be shown, which it cannot, that one among the presbyters invariably or generally, usurped a power over the rest, it might need to be accounted for why we have no records of any resistance to this usurpation, such, for instance, as Irenæus made to Victor in the matter before-mentioned. But this cannot be shown; and the absence of such records has therefore little or no force, and the whole consideration is a trifle. The third, however, is not exactly a trifle; it requires too much. If tradition confirms this hypothesis, by its preservation of the names of many successors of the apostles, the first bishops in 'most of the larger cities in which Christianity was first established,' then this hypothesis may be erroneous, for some of the names so preserved are undoubtedly so. Tradition has preserved the following as the list of the first bishops at Rome. Peter A.D. 54, Linus A.D. 55; Clement, A.D. 67 ; Cletus, A.D 77; Anacletus, A.D. 83, &c. &c. Now Peter's martyrdom at Rome, “rests altogether,' Mr. Milman acknowledges, on unauthoritative tradition, though, confidently believing, that in Rome, as in Corinth, there were
two communities, a Petrine and a Pauline-a Judaising and a · Hellenizing church,' originating in the peculiar doctrines of the two apostles, he thinks all difficulties in the way of Peter's episcopacy vanish. We are not unacquainted with ihe principles and causes of this mode of reasoning, but we do not admit its force. The church at Corinth was one religious community, though there were different parties in it, and so far from Paul's allowing himself to be considered as the head of any party or peculiar church, or encouraging any distinction between Christian churches in any way, we know that he rebuked the party spirit at Corinth, and that bis remonstrances produced a reformation. In both epistles to the Corinthians (1 Cor. iv. 9-13, 2 Cor. iv. 7-18, v. 18-21), he speaks most feelingly of the community of spirit and experience among the apostles. The apostles Peter and Paul frequently met, as may be seen from the Acts of the Apostles; labored in behalf of the same people in Asia Minor, Gal. i. 2, 1 Peter i. 1. [2 Pet. iii. 1, 15); and does not the whole tenor of New Testament doctrine on the subject of the apostles intimate, that as the same authority ordained them, Eph. iv. 11, so the same spirit actuated
them, Eph. iv. 4? Ecclesiastical tradition must be something different to what it is before we can admit its emanations to counteract, or even to fill up but in a very humble way, and then only under special necessity and restriction, the information granted to us in the sacred writings. How then stands the case as to Peter, and the church at Rome. He neither planted nor watered it, so far as authentic history informs us. Paul even did not plant, but he watered it by an epistle, and two years' preaching. Which, according to Mr. Milman, would be its recognized head; and, on his hypothesis, appoint a successor ? How is it, then, that tradition has assigned Peter, and not Paul, as the first bishop of Rome?
We will now propose our theory of the rise of super-presbyterial episcopacy, for as much as it is worth. We also, like Mr. Milman, propose it as a probability, for we have no authentic information on the subject. The apostles exercised a general superintendence
, not only over the churches which they had planted, but even over some which they had not. Thus Paul addressed a letter to the church at Rome, as yet unknown to him, Rom. i. 11, 15, &c. and to the Colossians and Laodiceans, also unknown to him, Col. ii. 1; Peter wrote to the churches of Asia Minor, which had been both planted and watered by Paul; and John finished his apostolical ministry among Paul's former converts. This leads us to believe that the superintendence which they exercised, they exercised as much in virtue of their official apostolical authority, as their individual interest in different places. If so, we do not see how they could appoint permanent officers in their place to represent then. Had Paul actually done this in the seven churches of Asia, to whom, on Mr. Milman's principles, would the obedience of those churches have been due? That they, or Paul, at any rate, had helpers, sometimes with them, sometimes left behind, or sent to a distance on special services, we also know from Scripture ; but this was occasional, not permanent; and that Timothy and Titus were permanent diocesan bishops“ rests only on unauthoritative tradition.' That "it was only in a very limited and imperfect sense,' that any persons could even in the sees founded by the apostles, be called
the successors of the apostles,' Mr. Milman has fairly said, 'how, then, could such persons be the successors to their authority? The fact is, there was no longer need of an inspired human supremacy in the churches, when the principles of Christianity had been for several decads of years embodied and exemplified in practice, and illustrated and recorded in a number of inspired writings. These, with the ordinary teachings of the Spirit, were henceforth to be what apostles and the gifts of the Spirit, had been before to the
How, then, arose this spurious episcopacy? Occasionally perhaps, it was a result of usurpation; more frequently that of circumstances, and of the wish of his brother presbyters, that one should
take the lead. Probably some churches could with difficulty keep up a presbytery. When there was a presbytery, some would confine their cares to the internal, some, usually perhaps one, and he who had the greatest talents for public business, would attend to its external concerns, its correspondence with other churches, its interests as invaded by Jewish or heathen foes, or endangered by acts of the civil government. This more active presbyter would obtain, whether he wished it or not, an influence above his fellow presbyters, and, to all beyond the limits of the society, he would naturally be the recognised overseer and representative of the church. Polycarp, towards the middle of the second century, was, we think, such a presbyter; Irenæus, another such at the end of it. In the third century, the doctrine of the Catholic-visible unity of the church came into vogue, when all the churches became anxious to trace their descent from one of the apostles through a line of episcopal successors, and all the churches, with their apostolical bishops, were encouraged to look to Rome as the sedes apostolica, the cathedra Petri, the centre of Christian unity. We consider that the rise of this feeling in the third century, accounts for the traditional lists of bishops in unbroken succession from the apostles, especially that of the bishops of Rome commencing with Peter; and that all the extant lists were framed upon the principle of excluding all co-presbyters where such had existed, and just selecting and exalting to the rank of sole bishop the most distinguished of each generation, when such was known. But so arising, or however arising, if unsanctioned by inspired authority, super-presbyterial episcopacy must be regarded as an abuse not to be defended but abandoned.
To bring our observations on this subject to a close, three considerations, derived immediately from the New Testament, seem to us to confirm the view which we have taken, as preferable to that of Mr. Milman; the first is that, if the angels of the seven churches were the bishops of those churches, the apostles' successors, officially recognised as such, enjoyed, super-presbyterial authority contemporaneously with the apostles. Secondly, it surely is inconsistent with the idea, that the apostles -and especially the apostle John, the instance principally relied on-should have made succession to their authority, the distinction of the bishop from the presbyter, that the last-mentioned apostle should twice, 2 John i. 3 John i, designate himself the presbyter;' and that the apostle Peter should call himself a fellow-presbyter. Thirdly, in the enumeration, Eph. iv. 11, of the functionaries and gifted brethren in the church, we read, and he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists ; and some, pastors and ' teachers; for the perfecting,' &c. In this passage the apostle and the prophet, the apostle and the evangelist, the apostle and the pastor, are distinguished from each other. Ought we not then
to require Scripture authority as strong as this, before we recognise a transmutation of the pastoral office, which allows one class of pastors to claim, on the plea of an authoritatively sanctioned succession, the apostolical prerogative of a super-presbyterial episcopacy?
The unexpected length to which our observations on episcopacy have extended, prevents our going further into Mr. Milman's volumes. But it is unnecessary. The character of the work must be sufficiently obvious. To the praise of distinguished diligence, great perspicacity, extensive learning, honorable freedom of inquiry, and eminent impartiality, Mr. Milman is fairly entitled. But his work is in several respects more adapted to the student than the general reader, and we should not recommend it as the single book to be possessed by any person or family on the period of Christian history on which it treats. To such, however, as have leisure to read several books, and know how to read, the present volumes may be very useful; for, though they exhibit many of those views which have been hitherto held almost exclusively by rationalists, and Mr. Milman himself partakes somewhat of the rationalising spirit, yet circumstances appear to have obliged him -we mean, the combined influence of his position as a clergyman, and all the associations of his order and his education—to look very carefully into those matters which affect the external bulwarks of our faith, so that, as a sifter of speculations which aim at their subversion, he is capable of rendering the student important service. His work, upon the whole, must be regarded as being principally adapted to those whose motto is πάντα δοκιμάζετε, το kalòv katéxete, and to such we do not hesitate to recommend it.
Art. V. Notices of the Reformation in the South-West Provinces
of France. By Robert FRANCIS JAMESON. Seeley and Burnside. 1839.
a length the subject of the Reformation; or as D'Aubigné calls it, the Great Reformation,—we are well pleased with the opportunity of referring to that collateral branch of it which is comprehended in the details of this small volume. In Germany, indeed, the light arose, and appeared in the concentrated form of a moral luminary ; but England, Switzerland, and France soon caught the heavenly radiance. Thence it has been reflected and
* See Eclectic, vol. v. p. 485.