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ware in the least what Advantage this can be to the point in Question, to observe that a particular Church is ordinarily exprest in the Singular Number, since 'tis a natural Expression for it, and no otherwise explains the Constituent Parts of it, than to say, 'tis a Church somewhere in fome Place or another, which how much it clears up the Notion of it, we have seen before. Nor is it of better use to observe, that National or Provincial Churches are usually exprest in the Plural Number, since it affords no Evidence at all to prove what manner of Churches they were, that were comprehended under them, which is the only Point in question.

I make no doubt, but our Author's Suggestion in it is this, That if a particular Church had more Congregations than One in it, it would surely be exprest in the Plural Number; and why? Because a single Congregation and a particular Church ( he would have us take for granted ) were one and the same thing in the Sense and Language of the Ancients , which tho' he has not prov'd yet, (and I think by the little already said, he will find it hard to do ) yet this is an early Preparation for it, and something like begging the Question beforehand ; therefore I thought it not improper to take a little Notice of it, especially since in Matter of fact 'tis a mere Oversight of the Enquirer ; for I fhall shew Instances to the contrary in the Beginning of the next Chapter.

The Notion of a Primitive Church thus clear ed, as we have seen, he proceeds in a regular and proper Method, to enquire into the Con

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ftituent Parts of it, and to consider the parti. cular Offices, together with the joint and several Acts of the respective Members of the Church he has before defin'd for us.

I am willing to set out, and go along with him as far as Truth and Primitive Authorities (fairly represented) will give me Leave to do. His first Division of the Members of a Church is just and unexceptionable ; he distinguishes them both as primitive and modern Christians do, into Clergy and Laity, shutting out Tertullian's wild Conceit now, (tho' offer'd unawares before) as a Notion of a Church wholly unaccountable. * His Division of the Clergy afterwards into their particular Orders and Degrees ( as far as Names and Titles go) is as Orthodox and Primitive as the other : For Bishops, Priests, and Deacons (so call’d at least by him) are as approv'd Ecclesiastical Officers in his singular Scheme, as, in a genuine and properer Distinction of them, we are sure they always were in every true Church of Christ since the Apostles Times. But I am sorry to say here, that this close Adhering to a Primitive Form of Words, without retaining faithfully the Primitive and Genuine Signification of them, is only a more plausible and dangerous Way of setting off Mistakes, and makes Men lose the Truth, without being senfible how it steals away. And this, I am afraid, will prove the Case of our ingenious Enquirer himself, and has caused his Performance to pass so infenfibly with others; because there are

* Pag. 9.

fome Shades of Antiquity in the Draught, tho', nearly examined, but very few natural and original Lines are to be found. And when you have seen what Bishops and Priests he has settled in his Church, what Offices, A&s, and Powers he has assign'd to the several Members of it, you will need no other Light to discover this by, or to discern the Difference between Things and Names.

To proceed then; he seems fairly to derive all Power and Authority in the Church from the true Fountain of it, our Blessed Lord himself, and his inspir'd Apostles commission'd and empower'd by him to plant and govern Churches : But the Manner of their conveying this Power to others, either for Allistance or Succession to themselves in their great Charge, (which is a main Part of this Enquiry) I am afraid will not appear so plain. Let us see his Thoughts of it.

He begins with quoting two Authorities from Antiquity, to sew the Apostles Method of constituting Pastors and Governors in the Churches they gather'd. The first is from Clemens Romanus, (in his ift Ep. ad Cor. p. 54.) where that Father says, The Apostles went forth preaching in City and Country, [as our Enquirer is pleas'd to translate and place the Words] but ia * Countries and Cities, [as it is in Clemens himself ; and perhaps that night Variation has fome use in it afterwards, and therefore the Greek Words are omitted in his Quotation] ap

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* Κατά χώρας ξν και πόλ4ς κηρύτονες καθίσανον τας απαρχας αω-ες Επισκόπος και Διακώνες, σι. Clem. Rom. Ep. 1. ad Cor. p. 54.

pointing the First-Fruits of their Ministry for Bishops and Deacons. Thus far Clemens : To which our Enquirer adds, that the Apostles generally left those Bishops and Deacons to govern those particular Churches over which they had placed them, whilft they themselves pass’d forward, &c. Now, if he means that they left them always as supreme Church - Governors there, I conceive the Holy Scriptures will be clear against him ; for that Supremacy of Power over all the A postolical Churches, for the greatest part, at least, of the Apostles Lives, was reserved in their own Hands, by which S. Paul fo justly imputed to himself* the Care of all the Churches; and his Commands, Censures, and peremptory Precepts ( so visible in most of his Epistles to them) do evidently prove the same; and therefore, whatsoever Assistants they were to the Apostles by their Ministry and Regulation of the Churches under them, they could not be Ecclesiastical Officers invested with a Plenitude of Church-Power: I only note this here (which must be more at large confider'd afterwards ) for the fake of his second Authority immediatea ly quoted from Tertullian, to the same Intent with this: For thus. ( says he ) Tertullian faith, Clemens was ordained Bishop of Rome by S. Peter, and Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna by S. John.

Now, see here, how the fundamental Mistake insinuates itself, as it were, at unawares. Here are two Quotations brought to prove that the Apostles themselves ordain's Pastors and

Spiritual

* 2 Cor. xi. 28.

Spiritual Officers in the several Churches they planted, and because the Name of Bishop is attributed to them in both Places, therefore they are to pass for Church Officers, not only equal in their Apostolical Institution, but in the Fulness of their Commission, Powers, and Order too. Here lies the secret Spring, indeed, that governs the Motions of the whole Discourse; and if it were set right by an even and unbyals'd Hand, the Controversy would move in a regular and uniform Manner on both sides, till the Adversaries met (I verily believe ) in a blessed Harmony and Consent with one another. For if these Apostolical Church-Officers (express'd only by a common Name with one another) were but understood to be of a different Order and Degree by the very Tenor of their first Commission, as to the Extent of Powers, Prerogatives, and Jurisdiction, convey'd and assign’d to each of them, ( as I think the Epiftles to Timothy and Titus alone would satisfy a sober Christian, that such a Difference there really was) the most entangled Knot of the Di. spute would then be uncy'd, and probably whole Churches and Nations of divided Christians now, would ( to the unspeakable Joy of all good Men) go hand in hand to the House of God together, upon the settling of that single Point alone.

What unexceptionable Authorities there are in the venerable Records of Antiquity for it, besides the holy Scriptures themselves, and the uninterrupted Harmony of the Catholick Church in it, before the modern Innovation at Geneva against it, I shall have Occasion enough to observe

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