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of the Fathers, or so stated as to make it quite impossible to reconcile the statement with the high notions now once again in fashion. Jerome, in a passage which has often been quoted, says that the distinction between Bishop and Presbyter was unknown at the first, and was an invention of later days. Theodoret, commenting on the third chapter of the Epistle to Timothy, has these words:

Formerly Elders and Bishops were the same name for designation, and those whom they now call Apostles they used to call Bishops; but in process ‘of time they left the name of Apostle to those who 'really were Apostles, and gave the name of Bishop 'to those who were formerly called Apostles.' Here Theodoret testifies that the words had been changed, which is quite sufficient to destroy the idle theory of the three degrees, and in fact we find repeated testimony that Apostle, Elder, or Bishop, Bishop, Elder, or Apostle, were indifferently used in the Apostles' days, which it could not be by any means allowed amongst Episcopalians in these days. Thus we find Peter (i. v. 1) saying,

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also a fellow-elder,' ovunpeoßurepos; and John the Evangelist begins his second and third Epistles by styling himself a Presbyter or Elder. Rightly to apply these examples, we need only suppose the case of a clergyman (who is called in the Church of England a Presbyter) writing to the Archbishop of York or the Bishop of London, and giving to those prelates the title of Presbyter and Elder! In these days such a designation would be considered a gross insult, because an English Bishop conceits himself to be something immensely above a Presbyter or an Elder, and he would most certainly reprove the clergyman, who had thus written to him, as guilty of an unwarrantable liberty, and would charge him with introducing confusion and sedition into the Church of Christ. The Apostles and Episcopi of the Scriptures have different views from the prelates of the Established Church.

“Again : Chrysostom, in his first homily on the Epistle to the Philippians, teaches that Presbyters, or Elders and Bishops, were names of the same order ; and again in the eleventh homily of Timothy he uses these words :- Why does Paul, omitting the order of Presbyter or Elder, pass from the Bishops to the Deacons ? for this reason, because the difference between Bishop and Presbyter was scarcely any, for the Elders had received the power of teaching and presiding over the Churches, and whatever things he had said about the Bishops agree perfectly with the office of Elder also.'

“Now I do not quote these testimonies of the Fathers as carrying weight in the argument, for I know full well that any bad thing may be proved from these contentious, violent, and unscriptural writers, who hesitate not to utter any calumny to blacken their enemies, or to exalt the power of the clergy: my only motive for bringing them forward here is, to show the clergy that their favourite theory of tradition may be turned against themselves; that'a little learning is a dangerous thing;' and that they had better really examine what may not be proved by tradition and by the Fathers before they browbeat Dissenters with high-sounding authorities.

“To finish, therefore, these evidences, I shall quote the words of Archbishop Cranmer, the Father of the Church of England, preserved in Bishop Burnet's Records, appended to the History of the Reformation. The record is entitled, Some Questions concerning the Sacrament.' Qu. Whether Bishops or Priests were first ? and if the Priests were first, then the priests made the Bishops. Cranmer answered, 'The Bishops and Priests were at one time, and WERE NO TWO THINGS, BUT BOTH ONE OFFICE, in the language of Christ's religion.' Qu. Whether the Apostles, lacking a higher power, as not having a Christian King among them, made Bishops by that necessity or by the authority of God? The answer is very long, but towards the end, says, 'The ministers of God's word under his Majesty be the Bishops, Parsons, Vicars, or such other priests as be appointed by his Majesty to such ministration. In the admission to many of these offices be divers comely ceremonies and solemnities used, for if such offices and ministrations were committed

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without such solemnity they were nevertheless truly committed ; and there is no more promise of God that grace is given in the committing of an ecclesiastical office than in the committing of a civil office in the Apostles' time, for as much as the Christian people had no sword nor governor among them, they were constrained of necessity to take such curates and priests as either they knew themselves to be meet thereunto, or else as were recommended unto them by others, that were replete with the spirit of God ....... and so sometimes the Apostles and others unto whom God had given abundantly his spirit, sent or appointed ministers of God's word. Sometimes the people did choose such as they thought meet thereunto; and when any were appointed or sent by the Apostles or others, the people of their own voluntary will with thanks did accept them, not for the supremity, empire, or dominion that the Apostles had over them to command as her princes and masters, but as good people ready to obey the advice of good counsellors, and to accept anything that was necessary for edification and benefit.' Thus, Christian friends, have


heard enough from this Lecture to convince you have abundant reason for denying that form of Episcopal authority, lordship, and power, which you now unfortunately see in the Established Church, but which is wholly unscriptural and contrary to the Spirit of the Gospel ? By what I have said, I hope you will now clearly understand what is an Episcopus of the New Testament; and you also know better than I can tell you what an English or Irish Episcopus is, by their doings in the business of the Reform Bill, and by their unwearied struggles for tithes and Church property.

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“ It is, therefore, for these reasons that we Dissenters constantly and holily refuse to show the smallest obedience to a Bishop of the Established Church ; to acknowledge his jurisdiction, or seek the miraculous touch of his hand ; to listen to his pretensions, or heed his anathemas. Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone. The Bishops, whom our Vicar loveth, have got what this world can give them, and what this world also seems much disposed to take away from them. They have chosen an inheritance corrupted, defiled, and fading away. We leave them to their diocese, which is the kingdom of this world and all its glory; but as for ourselves, having our own Episcopi, our own pastors, our own overseers, who are apostles, we trust, not of men, neither by men-having through their means the faithful preaching of the word, and the administration of the Sacraments; we care not for all the threats and browbeating of an impotent Clergy, who in these days can indeed show their teeth, but have lost the power of biting; and who have been deprived of the only arguments wherewith they ever could meet the Dissenters, namely, the dungeon, the pillory, the stocks, and the gibbet.”

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