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2d. The right of the presbyters to sit in judgment with the apostles upon all ecclesiastical concerns, which were not to be decided by special revelation, was well understood in the churches. ;
The proof of this proposition lies in the very terms of the reference from Antioch. For it is inconceivable, how the church there should think of submitting a question, so weighty in itself, and so extensive in its consequences, to the “ elders,” conjointly with the “apostles,” if they had not been taught that presbyters were the ordinary church governours, and were to continue such after the decease of the others. This explains why they went up with the apostles to Jerusalem. It was not only to give them opportunities of information; but also, if not chiefly, to learn the proper mode of dispatching the public business. Before this council or synod, composed of apostles and elders, was the interesting reference from Antioch laid; by them was it discussed, and by them decided.
3d. The apostles, on this occasion, acted simply as members of the synod; they did nothing in vir
Clement the VIII.* viz. that the principle of Hooker's book, and the
scope of his argument, are to prove the right of the church to model her government as she shall judge for edification. We shall touch this subject again. Does not the reader suppose that this must be a truly Protestant work, which excited the admiration and rapture of the pope and his cardinals!
* Hooker's life, p. 78, 79. Works, vol. 1. 8vo.
tue of their extraordinary, which was their apostolical, character, nor introduced into the deliberations of the assembly, any influence but that of facts ; of the written scripture ; and of reasoning founded on the comparison of both. All this is evident from the narrative in the fifteenth chapter of the Acts; and resulted from the nature of the case. Had the question been to be determined by special revelation or apostolic authority, one inspired man, or one apostle, would have answered as well as a dozen. The dispute might have been settled on the spot, and by Paul himself. Had there arisen any doubt of his power, or distrust of his integrity, a hundred miracles, if necessary, would instantly have removed the obstacle. In every view, the embassy to Jerusalem would have been an useless parade.
The truth is, that the apostles acted in a double capacity. They had that authority which was designed to be ordinary and perpetual, such as preaching the word, administering the sacraments, and governing the church. But superadded to this, they had also the authority of special messengers for extraordinary and temporary purposes. If a new church was to be founded among the nations—if any part of the rule of faith was to be revealed—if a particular emergency required a particular interposition; in these and similar cases, their extraordinary character found its proper objects: they “ spake as they were moved
by the Holy Ghost :” their judgment was infallible, and their authority paramount. But for the ordinary government of the church, or any part of it, they do not appear to have enjoyed these extraordinary communications of the divine spirit ; nor to have exerted their extraordinary powers; nor to have claimed a particle of authority above the presbyters. Without such a distinction as we have now stated, their history is a tissue of inconsistencies, and their conduct in the synod of Jerusalem must be given up as a riddle that basfles solution.
Seeing, therefore, that in the apostolic epistles and salutations to the churches, there is no mention of prelates, although there is frequent mention of presbyters and deacons—that presbyters are formally addressed as possessing the power of government—and that they actually did exercise it in matters of the highest moment, the advocate for diocesan episcopacy must adduce scriptural facts to support him under the depressing weight of all these considerations. As he maintains that prelates are at least of apostolic origin; and that they alone succeeded the apostles in the powers of ordination and government, his facts must not only be plausible when detached from their place and bearings in the Christian history, and when decorated with appendages of his own imagination; but they must accord with the language of the New Testament, and with its narrative ; they
must be so decisive as to annihilate the foregoing difficulties; and must not admit of a fair and rational explanation upon Presbyterian principles. With such facts, he tells us, he is ready to confront us.
Our curiosity is awake: let us look at them without further delay.
He refers us for one fact, to that same synod of Jerusalem which we have just left. We must go back again.
“ If from Crete,” says Cyprian, “ we pass to Jerusalem, we shall there discover equally striking evidence* that St. James, the brother of our Lord, possessed in that place the pre-eminence of a bishop in the church. In the first council that was held there, in order to determine the controversy which had arisen in regard to the circumcision of Gentile converts, we find him pronouncing an authoritative sentence. His sentence, we remark also, determined the controversy.
" Wherefore my sentence is, says he, that we trouble not those who from among the Gentiles are turned unto God." In Acts xxi. 17 and 18, . we are told, “ that when St. Paul and his company were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received him gladly; and that the next day following, Paul went in with them unto James, and all the Elders or Presbyters were present.” Acts xii. 17, it is said, that Peter, after he had declared to the Christians to whom he went, his miraculous deliverance, bade them go and
* What this 66 striking evidence" is, remains to be seen hereafter. We shall reduce the out-works of the hierarchy before we close in upon her citadel. This is the Episcopal character of Timothy and Titus, as her chieftains confess, as their anxiety to defend it sufficiently indicates, even without their confession. In the mean time, we believe Cyprian to be pretty correct in making the evidence for the episcopate of James at Jerusalem, to be
equally striking” with that of Titus's at Crete. For we hope to prove that in both cases it amounts to just nothing at all ! Vol. III.
show these things to James and to the brethren.” In Galatians ii. 12, St. Paul says,
" that certain came from James," that is, from the church of Jerusalem to the church of Antioch. Surely these passages strongly indicate that James held the highest dignity in the church of Jerusalem. The brethren carry Paul and his company to him as to a supreme officer. He has presbyters and deacons in subordination to him. When messengers are sent from Jerusalem to other churches, it is not done in the name of the presbyters and deacons, or of the church of this place; it is done in the name of James. Do not these considerations prove James was the supreme ruler of that church ?"
The first argument of Cyprian for the episcopal pre-eminence of James, is, that he pronounced in the synod of Jerusalem, an authoritative sentence ;" and that “ his sentence determined the controversy.” The proof is, that expression in his speech to the council, " Wherefore, my sentence is, that we trouble not those who from among the Gentiles are turned unto God.” Acts xv. 19.
We are under the necessity of objecting, for the third time, to these writers, that they put into the mouth of the person whom they quote, declarations which he never uttered. They will make James deliver an authoritative sentence as the bishop of Jerusalem. They, perhaps, could not help themselves, as they have only followed their file leaders. Potter had said the same thing; and they took it as they found it. But the editor of Lycophron, and author of the “ Antiquities of Greece,” was “a scholar, and a ripe and good one."
He knew that he was standing on slippery