Project Canterbury


Primitive Episcopacy: A Return to the "Old Paths" of
Scripture and the Early Church.






The Reformed Episcopal Church








"Surely if the salt has not lost its savour, some one in authority, some Bishop or Prelate will at length arise and be large-hearted enough to say to his separated brethren of the family of God: 'There has been enough of strife, enough of division. Hereafter let us be one in Christ. We do not ask for your submission as we have done in the weary ages of controversy that are past. We ask for nothing, we wish for nothing save your unfeigned love. Your Ministers we regard as Ministers of Christ, in accordance with their work for Him, though you may not call them by our name, and in you we gladly recognise the work and the fruits of the Spirit of grace in just as full measure as we behold them among ourselves.'

"When this most joyful of days shall come, then shall the family of God be one on earth, even as it is one in Heaven; then shall our Saviour's prayer for the fulfilment of which all loving hearts have ever been sighing, since the spirit of disunion parted them asunder, have its blessed accomplishment: 'That they all may be one.'"--Preface to MOSSMAN'S History of the Catholic Church of Jesus Christ, 1873, London Edition.

"The opinion that Episcopacy was the most ancient and eligible, but with out any idea of Divine right in the case, the author believes to be the sentiment of the great body of Episcopalians in America, in which respect they have in their favor, unquestionably, the sense of the Church of England, and as he believes, the opinions of her most distinguished prelates for piety, virtue and abilities."--Bishop WHITE'S "Case of the Episcopal Church Considered."

"A bright vision has oft risen before my mind of a Church pure and primitive, combining the early organization, zeal and love, with the freshness, energy and progressiveness of the times--gathering from past ages experience, wisdom, and liturgic treasures, while discarding utterly all corrupt additions and cleansing the temple from all profane intrusions--conservative without being narrow and bigoted--liberal without being lax a true interpreter of holy writ, and yet referring all men not to her own interpretations, but to the living oracles--rebuking with power, worldliness and wickedness, sympathizing with all that is good and heaven-born--a rallying point for those who are weary of sectarian strife, a candlestick of the Lord, whose radiance should illumine our cities and forests, our mountains and plains. Is such an ideal never to be realized? Is it but a dream and cloud picture?"--Bishop ALFRED LEE'S Sermon before the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, October 7th, 1868.


The author of the following Discourse gratefully reeognizes the guidance of the Blessed Spirit, in leading him to acknowledge the Scriptural basis of the truths therein maintained. It is only since he has been permitted to exercise the office of a Bishop himself, that more careful study, with earnest prayer for Divine enlightenment, has brought him to the conviction that only upon this basis can Episcopacy be defended and retained in the Church of Christ. It is his earnest prayer that others may be led, like himself, to accept the same interpretation of what "the Spirit saith unto the Churches."

December 15th, 1873.


I ST. PETER, V. 1-4.

I The Elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an Elder, and a witness o: the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind:
3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

IT is a striking saying of Erasmus, that "the First Epistle of St. Peter is worthy of the Prince of the Apostles, and full of apostolic dignity and authority, sparing in words, but full of sense, verbis pauca, sententiis differta." And, perhaps, the weightiest of the inspired utterances of the Epistle, is that included in the words of the text: "The Elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an Elder, (sumpresbuteroV) (a fellow-presbyter;")--he, who in the opening of the Epistle declares himself, "Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ," now proclaims himself one with the Presbyters to whom he writes:--"I exhort you, feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock: and when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."

What utterance of the Spirit unto the Churches could be more fitting on an occasion like this, when we are assembled to [9/10] solemnly consecrate, that is, set apart to the Office and Work of a Bishop in the Church of God, a beloved Presbyter; to ratify and confirm by the "laying of on hands," as an outward sign and symbol, the act of his fellow Christians, who have by their own election already conferred upon him this priority among his brethren.

It is meet and right on an occasion so momentous, that we should carefully declare in what estimation the Office of a Bishop is held in this branch of Christ's visible Church; so that if any do inquire of him who now becomes my partner and fellow-helper concerning you, or if our brethren who are hereafter to fill the same office be inquired of, we will respond as did St. Paul of Titus and other fellow-laborers: they are "the messengers and servants of the churches;"--"Overseers to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood;" "Not lords over God's heritage, but ensamples to the flock," in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."

Our appeal in this, and in all questions, is to the Word of God, the inspired records of the primitive Church of Christ, "To the Law and the Testimony."

These truths, we claim as most clearly settled and established by the New Testament.

I. Our blessed Lord Himself, the Divine Founder of His Church, prescribed no form of Polity under which it should exist, and left no rules for its government or mode of public worship. That "The Church," as comprehending the whole company of believers, is a Divine institution founded by Christ Himself, is admitted by all Christian people. "On this Rock (His true character as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, God manifest in the flesh) I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."--ST. MATTHEW, xvi. 18.

It is to this Church the promise is made: "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world." (St. Matthew, xxviii. 20.) But for this "blessed company of all faithful people," as [10/11] they should afterwards be gathered together into particular or national Churches, our Saviour Christ prescribed no Ritual, and defined no order of Church constitution. "All the Church's constitutions," says Hooker, "are of the nature of a human law." (Ecclesiastical Polity, III, 9.)

II. The Apostles of our Lord adopted or promulgated no definite code of ordinances and regulations for the Christian Church. What the Apostles did appoint and sanction in the Church in their own days, we shall presently consider; and when we shall have ascertained from the testimony of the inspired records of the early Church, what was undoubted apostolic practice and custom, we must bow to it as the work of holy men under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. But these divinely-guided men upon whose foundation the Church is built, Jesus Christ being the chief corner-stone (Ephesians, ii. 20), have left on record no fixed rules, have handed down to all ages no inflexible order for the government and preservation of the Church. And this characteristic of the Apostles is made more significant and impressive by its contrast to the Jewish Church. In the ancient Church, divine regulations were promulgated, minutely controlling and ordering the ministry, the ceremonial and the whole structure of ecclesiastical polity comprehending every detail of mode of ordination, the forms, postures, and vestments of the priests; and these rules were written down by Divine direction, and ordered to be preserved for the use of the Church in all succeeding ages until these "shadows" were lost in the substance of a better dispensation, even in Him whose office and work they prefigured. But these devout Israelites, trained under the influences of this elaborate and imposing system of Church order and Ritual, as soon as they received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, exhibited an entire emancipation from this yoke which their fathers had so long borne. Their supreme and constant purpose seems to have been to propagate and maintain the plain truth of Redemption through the blood of the Lamb, and to strengthen and deepen the spiritual life of the converts to the faith, rather than to establish an elaborate [11/12] Polity for all circumstances, or to prescribe a Ritual for all succeeding ages. Truly has it been said, "there is no Leviticus in the New Testament; there are no apostolic constitutions, rightly so named." [The so-called "Apostolic Constitutions" are a compilation of ecclesiastical formularies and regulations of various dates, from the second to the fourth or fifth century, some of which are good, but none of them are of apostolic origin or authority.--JACOB'S Ecclesiastical Polity, page 39, New York Edition.]

III. The forms or offices of the Christian ministry that existed in the Apostles' day, and may therefore be justly regarded as having the sanction and authority of the Apostles themselves had their origin in the necessities of the Church, and were not the result of Divine prescription. The Ministry is not of the essence of the Gospel: it is not essential to the being of the Church of Christ. It is a necessity for its well-being, for the proper administration of discipline and government, for the propagation and maintenance of the faith by an order of men set apart to this work, and whose care is to "watch for souls as they that must give account" to the Great Shepherd of souls.

Under what forms, then, did the Ministry exist in the Apostles' time? There was, indeed, in the Apostolic Church a kind of Ministry, whose office was only temporary. This was the "Ministry of Gifts" (Charismata), consisting of the gifts of healing, of speaking with other tongues, and of "prophesying" or of exposition and appeal under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. This Ministry was, indeed, a necessity in the early Church, but was designed to serve only the exigencies of the Church, and to give way to the permanent Ministry whose office is that of teaching and of ruling in the Household of Faith.

For a time the Apostles were the sole office-bearers in the Church. The necessities of the Church gave rise to the establishment of the Diaconate. I need not detail the circumstances which gave rise to this office, familiar as they are to all readers of the New Testament. We do not now enter into the discussion whether the Diaconate was an Order of the Christian [12/13] Ministry, or simply an office for the care of the poor and helpless. It is sufficient for our purpose now to maintain, as we do, that the Diaconate was an office established by the Apostles, that those elected to fill this office were set apart to their work by "the laying on of hands" of the Apostles, that St. Paul, in the pastoral Epistles, declares the qualifications that should belong to Deacons, that they were to be men "holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience," and that "they who have used the office of a Deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree," i. e., gain an honorable standing, and great boldness of faith; that this office originally included women as well as men, as Phoebe, a Deaconess of the Church in Cenchrea, and doubtless "Tryphoena and Tryphosa," and "the beloved Persis," and other women who labored with St. Paul "in the Lord." The Diaconate, as it exists in the Anglican Communion at the present time, is only a name and not a reality, a stage where one abides a year previous to being ordained a Presbyter. If it could be made a real office and not a name only, the office of Evangelist, whose work should be to preach the Gospel, and to minister among the masses of our large cities living without God, and among the spiritually destitute in rural districts, "sheep having no Shepherd," the Diaconate might be the source of unspeakable blessings to mankind. Virtually it does exist in the work of the faithful laymen who, without "the laying on of hands," preach the Gospel to the poor.

The Presbyterate, or office of Presbyter, is of undisputed Apostolic origin, and arose also out of the necessities of the Church. As the Apostles organized Christian communities in the different cities of the Roman Empire, they were compelled to provide those communities with officers to instruct, to guide, to rule and to watch over them. They ordained them elders presbuterouV in every city." This is the simple record.

Whence came the name? And what was the model and type after which the first Christian Churches and office-bearers were moulded? Not from the Temple nor from the Jewish Priesthood. There is no feature of the Temple with its Altar [13/14] of Burnt Offering, and Altar of Incense, and Table of Shew Bread, and Golden Candlestick, and Holy of Holies with its embroidered veil, to be discerned in the account of the simple assemblages of the early Christians. They continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers." Acts ii. 42. This is all the record.

The Synagogue was the model on which the first Christian Churches were established; the Synagogue with its pulpit and Holy Scripture read on every Sabbath day, and its Ruler who not only read but expounded God's Word, or, as we should say, preached to the people. The officers of the Synagogues bore the very name of presbuteroi, "Elders," or Presbyters,"--and we know that the first Christians among the Jews formed themselves into Christian Synagogues. These Synagogues among the Jews were the places first resorted to by the Apostles in their visits to the cities of the Roman Empire on their Missionary journeys. To "the dispersed of Israel among the Gentiles" they first proclaimed the Gospel. And when any among these who were men of rank, of culture, and of character, became converts to the new faith, they were already fitted to become teachers and rulers in the Christian communities, and were ordained Presbyters by the laying on of the Apostles' hands.

Nor is there any trace of a Jewish Priesthood to be discovered in the Office thus established. The title of Priest (iereuV) is never applied to, the Presbyter or Elder in the New Testament. Sacerdotal functions or offices are never attributed to Christian Ministers in the New Testament. They are Apostles, Evangelists, Pastors, Doctors, Teachers, Heralds, Ambassadors, Watchmen, Stewards, Rulers never "Priests." The whole body of the faithful form "a royal priesthood," and share in this equally. There are, indeed, but two orders of a mediating, sacrificing priesthood in Scripture; the order of Aaron and the order of Melchizedek. The order of Aaron ceased with the destruction of the Jewish Polity. The Order [14/15] of Melchizedek is contained alone in the Lord Jesus Christ, "without beginning of days or end of years," "a Priest forever," admitting no successors or sharers in His glorious Office. (JACOB'S Ecc. Polity, pp. 374-376.)

This office of Presbyter bore another title in the Apostolic [15/16] Church, viz., that of Episcopos, or Bishop, (that is, an overseer, or superintendent,) the two titles or names being used interchangeably in the New Testament; one of Hebrew, the other of Hellenic origin. The word episkopoV was a familiar word to the Greeks, and was the title chosen by the Gentile churches to designate him who was set over them as teacher and ruler, and is limited in its use to the Gentile churches; while the Jewish Christians preserved the name presbuteroV--"elder," as one already in use among them in the services of the Synagogue. The two names, therefore, in the New Testament, designate the one and the same office. Phil. i. r7 Acts xx. 28; Titus i. 7.

IV. We are now prepared to advance another proposition: we have seen, from clear testimony of Holy Scripture, that the Apostles themselves established and sanctioned the office of the Deacon and the office of the Presbyter in the Churches under' their care.

But there is no evidence from Scripture that the Apostles established the Episcopate as an order in the Ministry distinct from and superior in rank to the Presbyterate. If there is to be found any trace of Episcopacy in the New Testament, it is only as an office exercised by one who was himself a fellow-presbyter, commissioned or set apart for the exercise of such powers as were rendered necessary by the exigencies of the Church, and for the promotion of its well-being by a system of general oversight and superintendence. During the lifetime of the Apostles, they were, of course, the chief Rulers and Overseers of the Church, and, at first, all care and government were exercised by themselves. Soon, however, as the New Faith spread rapidly and Churches were multiplied in widely-separated portions of the Roman Empire, there arose the need of helpers in their work. Naturally the persons selected for this work would be the intimate personal friends of St. Paul, the "Apostle to the Gentiles;" and accordingly, we find that Timothy and Titus, and, perhaps, Tychicus and Epaphroditus and others were delegated by St. Paul to reside for a time in certain places, in order to take the general oversight of the [16/17] Churches in those places, and to discharge what we now designate as Episcopal functions, viz.: "the ordaining, superintending, reproving or encouraging the Ministers of those Churches, as well as to promote in every way the well-being of the Christian communities there." But Timothy and Titus were not the settled Bishops of Ephesus and Crete; their commissions were only temporary, and St. Paul indicates in several places the approaching close of their special work, to which he had delegated them. Moreover, they are not called by any special name, or designated by any title to indicate their superiority, as belonging to a higher order or rank in the Ministry. They were sumpresbuteroi over presbuteroi, Episkopoi over EpiskopouV, primi inter pares,--to whom were delegated certain powers, for the wise government and well-ordering of the Church Of Christ.

The Apostolic Church in Jerusalem, the first and oldest of all Churches, supplies us with a very marked illustration of the same state of things under the Apostles' immediate care. "James, the Lord's brother," holds a very exalted position: among his brethren. St. Paul, in Galatians, ii. 9, gives him the precedence of St. Peter and St. John in matters affecting the Jewish Church. In the first Council convened at Jerusalem, and composed of "Apostles, Elders (Presbyters) and Brethren," James is the President, and frames the decree adopted. These facts have led some of the writers of the fourth century to make most extravagant statements concerning him. Epiphanius (A.D. 370) says that "Christ committed to him His own throne upon earth." Chrysostom, that he was "made Bishop of Jerusalem by Christ Himself." But a careful examination of the case proves most conclusively that James, though prominent, is only a member of the body. Peter desires that his deliverance from prison be reported "to James and the brethren." When St. Paul visits him, all the Presbyters are present. Sometimes he is mentioned alone; at other times he is omitted, and the body of Presbyters mentioned. From this it may be inferred that he was a member of the presbytery, yet [17/18] holding a superior position the President of the college. "Therefore, at the close of the New Testament Canon, about A.D. 70, there is no trace of any Episcopate in the Church, except the solitary case of James at Jerusalem, where the character of the man and his relation to our Lord would secure that prominence among his Presbyterial peers, analogous to an Episcopal rank, which was held by him." (Rev. J. B. Lightfoot, D.D., Hulsean Professor of Divinity in Trinity College, Cambridge, England.)

V. What, then, is the true position of the Episcopate, as it is retained in this Reformed Episcopal Church, following Holy Scripture and the practice of the early Church?

I. It is not a continuation of the Apostolate. Bishops are not the successors of the Apostles. The Apostles of our Lord could have no successors, as their office was of special appointment by Christ Himself, endowed with miraculous powers by the Holy Ghost, and could be filled only by those who were "eye-witnesses of the majesty," and of "the sufferings of Jesus." Their office ceased with their lives, and Holy Scripture contains not a suggestion indicating that others could ever perpetuate their office in the Church.

2. The Episcopate is not the depositary of the Faith, the Divinely-constituted body to which are committed all gifts of grace as the sole channel through which they can be dispensed. Holy Scripture warrants us in rejecting such teaching as utterly antagonistic to the very spirit and essence of the Gospel of the Son of God.

3. The Episcopate is not an ordinance of Apostolic institution; but it was adopted by the post-Apostolic Church as the development of the practice or custom first suggested by the Apostles, in delegating to certain of their fellow-laborers among the Presbyters the oversight or superintendence of the Churches in certain districts, temporarily. The authority delegated by St. Paul to Timothy and Titus was doubtless the pattern which was so soon and so universally followed by the primitive Churches in the adoption of Episcopacy after the [18/19] decease of the Apostles. "The very name," says Lightfoot, "suggests the origin of the Episcopate." The term "Bishop" was first applied to all Presbyters, but afterwards restricted to a higher grade of Ministers. This seems to indicate that the order of Bishops rose upward out of the Presbyterate, and was not developed downward out of the Apostolate; that it came not from localizing Apostles with lessened powers, but from elevating some Presbyters above others, and giving them par excellence, the name of "Overseers or Bishops." [Lightfoot, Commentary on Philippians.] "The Episcopal office in its original institution was one of simple priority among the other Ministers, rather than a superior order in the Church. Every city had its Bishop, with a body of Presbyters and Deacons under him; the Church often consisting of a single congregation, and the Bishop himself performing all the duties of a Presbyter among them, and having a personal acquaintance with every member of his flock. But as the numbers of Christians increased and were spread abroad more widely, separate congregations were necessarily formed and multiplied, and Bishops appointed Presbyters to take charge of them; until by degrees the Episcopal office was fully occupied with the ordination and general superintendence of the clergy and other special duties." (JACOB'S Ecclesiastical Polity.)

Episcopacy in this form began to be established shortly after A.D. 100, and was probably received before A.D., 200, by general consent, in all the Churches of the Roman Empire. It was first found complete in Asia Minor, and Tertullian and Clement, of Alexandria, mention a tradition that St. John, after his return from Patmos, appointed Bishops in the different Churches about Ephesus. If this be true, it proves, that up to that date, Bishops were not existing in the Churches of Asia Minor. St. John certainly makes no mention of it in his inspired writings, and gives no instruction to the Churches on this subject. "All the historic notices of the Episcopate," says Lightfoot, "throw light on the origin of the office. They show first that the [19/20] Episcopate rose out of the Presbyterate, and was not the Apostolate continued; second, that it did not spread at a uniform rate in all parts, but was a progressive development; third, the fact that it rose and spread soonest in Asia Minor, cannot be dissociated from the influence of St. John, and of the other Apostles, who may have lived nearly to the end of the first century."

VI. It is easy to trace the progress by which this simple, primitive Episcopacy of the Second Century of the Christian era was transformed into a Hierarchy, claiming Divine right and the succession to the order and office of the Apostles of our Lord, "lords over God's heritage," and not fellow-Presbyters with their brethren. Prof. Lightfoot, in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Philippians, has performed this task with such admirable clearness and succinctness, that I adopt his account as the most satisfactory statement of the matter. In the development of the Episcopal authority, there were three distinct stages of progress effected by the middle of the Third Century, respectively connected with the names of Ignatius, Irenaeus and Cyprian.

"Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, is rightly regarded as the great advocate of Episcopacy in the earliest age of the Church. Although the strength of this view is greatly due to forged epistles that bear his name, his genuine writings warrant it. Now, to him the value of Episcopacy is, that it is a visible centre of unity. He had in mind the purpose of its origination, which was to avert the danger of disintegration that menaced when Jerusalem had fallen, errors arisen, and apostles were no more. Out of many quotations, a few can be cited. He writes to the Bishop of Smyrna, Have a care of unity, than which nothing is better." Let nothing be done without they consent, and do thou nothing without the consent of God." To the people he writes, "Give heed to your Bishop, that God also may give heed to you." Such passages show no more [20/21] than that he valued the office as a security for discipline and harmony in the Church, although he may have used language regarding it in which we, in a less ignorant day, could not acquiesce.

"Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, wrote his famous work against heretics about seventy years after Ignatius died. In this he expresses his views of the Episcopate, and regards it as a depositary of Apostolic tradition, a security for the faith. For, amidst the many rival teachers of the day, the perplexed would ask, "What is the test, as to who is right?" Irenaeus replies that in the succession of bishops from Apostolic days is a means provided for the preservation of the truth, a source of teaching that must be correct. This is a still higher view than that of Ignatius; for the bishops are not only the rulers, to whom unquestioning obedience is to be rendered, but it is furthermore necessary to be in union with them, and to heed them, in order to be sure of possessing the Apostolic doctrine, which it was their place to preserve.

"Cyprian was Bishop of Carthage from A.D. 248-258, and had a stormy experience. In his writings we find the full-blown flower of Episcopal prerogative. He regards the Bishop as the absolute vicegerent of Christ in things spiritual. He was forced into the Episcopate against his will, but he raised it to a position from which it has not yet been deposed. This was due to his great abilities and force of character, as displayed in two contests where he was victor.

As Cyprian was the great man of his day, and as his victories were so signal in regard to the absolute supremacy of each Bishop in his own Church, and of the perfect, inspired supremacy of the Episcopate in the Universal Church, these positions were assumed by the other Bishops and granted by the Church. So was cemented a power that still stands firm, and the structure of Episcopal prerogative was complete."

And at this day, throughout the Roman, Greek, and Anglican Communions, it is the Cyprianic theory of Episcopacy, that everywhere, and with few to contest it, holds sway. Against [21/22] this Episcopacy, the development of a later and a corrupt day, we utter our protest, and return to the true, simple Episcopacy of the Second Century, the period immediately succeeding the decease of the Apostles of our Lord.

We hold with Jerome, the most learned, of the ancients in his Com. Titus, i. 5: These things we have brought forward to show, that with the Ancients Presbyters were the same as Bishops. But in order that the roots of dissension might be plucked up, a usage gradually took place that the whole care should devolve upon one."

Jerome takes the same ground in his letter to Evagrius.

"As the Presbyters, therefore, know that they are subject by the custom of the Church to him who is placed over them, so let Bishops know that they are greater than Presbyters, more by custom than by any real appointment of the Lord, and that they ought to govern the Church along with the Presbyters."

Bishop Burnet, in the Appendix to "History of the Reformation" Record, 21, gives the answers of the leading divines of Henry VIII.'s reign, 1540, to the questions of the King, relating to various ecclesiastical subjects; among others, whether by Scripture, Bishops and Priests were distinct Orders, and whether Ordination was necessarily confined to Bishops.

Cranmer answers that the ceremonies and solemnities used in admitting Bishops and Priests, are not of necessity, but only for just order and seeming fashion, and there is no more promise of God that grace is given in committing of the Ecclesiastical than of the Civil office. "He that is appointed to be a Bishop or a Priest, needs no Consecration by the Scripture, for election or appointing thereunto, is sufficient." Cranmer--with Bishop Cox and Drs. Redmayn and Robertson, joint compilers of the Ordinal--asserts, with Jerome, "that, according to the Scriptures, Bishops and Priests are also one."

Bishop Jewel (Defence of Apology, p. 439), says: "What meaneth Mr. Harding here to come in with the distinction of [22/23] Bishops and Priests? Thinketh he that Priests and Bishops hold only by tradition? or is it so horrible a heresy as he maketh it to say that by the Scriptures of God a Bishop and Priest are all one? or knoweth he how far, and to whom he reacheth the name of heretic?" He then gives the language of Jerome, Chrysostom, Augustine and Ambrose, the most eminent of the Fathers, to show that Bishops and Priests were the same in Scripture, and concludes:. "All these, and other more holy Fathers, together with St. Paul the Apostle, for thus saying, by Mr. Harding's advice, must be holden for heretics."

Dr. John Rainolds, Professor of Divinity at Oxford, who refused a Bishopric when offered it by Queen Elizabeth, whom Hallam describes as "nearly if not altogether the most learned man in England," when asked by Sir Francis Knollys, Lord Treasurer of England, whether Dr. Bancroft was right in stating that the office of Bishop was distinct from that of Priest according to Scripture, replied thus, after giving the words of Bishop jewel (which I have just quoted), as of the very highest authority: "Michael Medina, a man of great authority in the Council of Trent, adds to the fore-mentioned authorities, Theodorus Romanus, Sedulias, Theophylact, with whom agree Oecumenius, the Greek Scholiast, Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, Gregory and Gratian, and after them, how many? it being once enrolled in the Canon law for Catholic doctrine, and thereupon taught by learned men.

"Besides, all that have labored in Reforming the Church, for five hundred years, have taught that all Pastors, be they Bishops or Priests, have equal authority by God's word, as first, the Waldenses, next Marselinus Patavius, then Wickliffe and his scholars, afterwards Huss and the Hussites, and last of all, Luther, Calvin, Brentius, Bullinger, and Musculus.

"Among ourselves, we have Bishops, the Queen's Professors of Divinity in our Universities, and other learned men consenting therein, as Bradford, Lambert, Jewel, Pilkington, Humphreys, Whittaker, Fox, Fulke, etc. But why do I speak of particular persons? It is the common judgment of the Reformed [23/24] Churches, of Helvetia, Savoy, France, Scotland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Low Countries, and our own."

As Cranmer, Jewel, and Rainolds had read all the Fathers, Latin and Greek, their joint testimony on this point is conclusive. Archbishop Whitgift's "Answer to the Admonition" was revised and approved by Archbishop Parker, Bishops Cox and Cooper, and, according to Strype, "may be applied to as one of the public books of the Church of England." He writes: "The same Jerome, in his Epistle to Evagrius, teacheth that the cause why one was chosen among the Bishops to rule over the rest, was to meet with schisms, lest every one according to his own fancy should tear in pieces the Church of Christ. . . It is plain that any one certain form or kind of external governnient, perpetually to be observed, is nowhere in the Scripture prescribed to the Church, . . This is the opinion of the best writers; neither do l know any learned man of a contrary judgment."--Vol . II. 222, III. 215.

Whitgift, in 1586, ordered each of his clergy to procure the Decades of the learned Bullinger, and once a week to read one of his sermons. Here Bullinger writes: "St. Jerome judgeth rightly, saying, that by the custom of man, not by the authority of God, some One of the Elders should be placed over the rest and called a Bishop; whereas of old time an Elder or Minister, and a Bishop, were of equal honor, power and dignity."

In 1610, Bishop Hall, a contemporary of Laud, thus speaks: "I reverence from my soul (so doth our Church, their dear sister) those worthy foreign Churches which have chosen and followed those forms of outward government that are every way fittest for their own conditions." These sisters have learned to differ, and yet to love and reverence each other; and, in these cases, to enjoy their own forms without prescription of necessity or censure." In one of his epistles to a person in Holland, he wrote: I fear not to be censured as meddling; your truth is ours: the sea cannot divide those churches whom one faith unites."

In 1623, he calls the continental Churches the dearest sisters [24/25] of the Church of England," and exclaims: "Blessed be God, there is no difference in any essential matter betwixt the Church of England and her sisters of the Reformation." "The only difference is in the form of outward administration: wherein we are so far agreed, as that we all profess this form not to be essential to the being of a church, though much importing the well or better being of it, according to our several apprehensions thereof; and that we do all retain a reverent and loving opinion of each other in our own several ways; not seeing why so poor a diversity should work any alienation of affection in us towards another [one another]."

And, in 164o, he thus affirms: "What fault soever may be in the easy admittance of those who have received Romish orders, the sticking at the admission of our brethren returning from reformed Churches was not in case of ordination, but of institution: they had been acknowledged ministers of Christ, without any other hands laid upon them; but, according to the laws of the land, they were not perhaps capable of institution to a benefice, unless they were so qualified as the statutes of this realm do require. And, secondly, I know those, more than one, that by virtue only of that ordination which they have brought with them from other Reformed Churches, have enjoyed spiritual promotions and livings, without any exception against the lawfulness of their calling."

We add another testimony of great authority--and this list might be greatly extended if time would allow--Dr, Andrew Willet, Chaplain to Prince Henry, and Prebend of Ely. He was styled "a miracle of learning." In his "Synopsis Papismi"--fifth edition, 1634--issued "by authority of his Majesty's Royal Letters Patent"--which declare that it hath been seen and allowed by the Lords, the reverend Bishops, and hath also ever since been in great esteem in both Universities, and also much desired by all the learned, both of our clergy and laity, throughout our dominions." Dr. Willet, after largely discussing this present subject, proceeds: "I come now to deliver our own opinion. . . The distinction of Bishops and Priests, as it is now received, cannot be directly proved out of [25/26] Scripture; yet it is very necessary for the policy of the Church to avoid schism, and to preserve it in unity. Of this judgment, Bishop jewel against Harding, showeth both Chrysostom, Ambrose and Jerome to have been. And among the rest Jerome thus writeth (as above): To this opinion of St. Jerome subscribeth Bishop Jewel, in the place above quoted, and another most revered prelate of our Church (Bishop Whitgift) in these words: 'I know these names to be confounded in the Scriptures; but I speak according to the manner and custom of the Church ever since the Apostles' time."--Vol. III. 47. This language of Whitgift shows how he interpreted the expression in the Ordinal--"from the Apostles' time." Dr. Wit let, elsewhere commenting on Jerome's language with respect to the Church of Alexandria, in the letter to Evagrius, concludes: "So it should seem that the very election of a bishop in those days, without any other circumstances, was his ordination." And this in a work published under the King's seal.

Archbishop Usher, another divine who read all the Fathers, and of unsurpassed authority in Ecclesiastical History, states as his opinion: "The intrinsical power of Ordaining proceedeth not from jurisdiction, but from order. But a Presbyter hath the same order, in specie, with a Bishop. Ergo, a Presbyter hath equally an intrinsical power to give Orders, and is equal to him in the power of order; the Bishop having no higher degree in respect of retention or extension of the character of orders, though he hath a higher degree, i. e., a more eminent place in respect of authority and jurisdiction and spiritual regimen."--Appendix to Parr's Life, p. 6, ed. 1686.

In a conversation between Richard Baxter and Usher, the two most learned men of their day, the former says: "I asked him also his judgment about the validity of Presbyters' Ordination, which he asserted, and told me that the King (Charles I.) asked him in the Isle of Wight, where he found in antiquity, that Presbyters alone Ordained any: and that he answered, I can show your Majesty more, even where Presbyters alone successively ordained Bishops, and instanced in Hierome's words [26/27] (Epist. ad Evagrium), of the Presbyters of Alexandria, choosing and making their own Bishops from the days of Mark till Heraclas and Dionysius."

This statement made by Jerome, that the Patriarchal Church of Alexandria was without Episcopal Consecration for more than a Century, is confirmed by other ancient writers, by divines of the Roman Church, and by Church of England writers, from the Reformation down to the present day. While non-Episcopal writers universally describe this custom of the Church of Alexandria, as narrated by Jerome, standard Episcopal divines, like Stanley, Litton, Goode and Lightfoot, acknowledge the fact, that whatever consecrations occurred in Alexandria for two centuries after St. Mark, were performed by Presbyters alone.

Nor do we regard it as essential to the validity of such an Episcopacy that it should be able to trace its succession by an unbroken chain to the Apostles, or their immediate followers. All Christians recognize a Historic succession of Gospel Preachers and Teachers; but the doctrine of "Apostolic succession" which professes to transmit the Holy Ghost by the "laying on of hands," of men, who, by an unbroken chain, reach back to the very hands of the Apostles, and by virtue of that transmit supernatural powers--a succession which secures no soundness in the faith, but lends itself to error as readily as to truth, as seen in a Council of seven hundred Bishops, who, in 1871, invested a mortal with the attribute of God alone, infallibility; a doctrine which can exclude the best as well as include the worst of ministers;--such a doctrine we reject as a "fond thing vainly invented and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the word of God."

["According to the strict definition of a General Council, an assemblage of all the bishops of Christendom or their proxies, no such assemblage has ever convened. All that have assumed the title have been minorities. If convened, the question is more easily asked than answered, Who gave the bishops, without concurrent voice of clergy and laity, the power to decide all controversies? What evidence that they are the mouth-piece of the Holy Ghost? Something more is required than their own assumption. They cannot bear witness of themselves. 'And when they are gathered together (forasmuch as they be an assemblage of men whereof all be not governed by the Word and Spirit of God) they may err, and sometimes have erred in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they are taken out of the Holy Scriptures.'" [Art. XXI. Of Church of England.]

["In truth, the history of Councils is a humiliating chapter in ecclesiastical annals. We are reminded of the prodigious disparity between the Apostles and those who claimed to be their successors. Ambition and intrigue, prejudice and passion, rancor and bitterness, prelatical rivalries and secular dictation deform their deliberations, and detract from the weight of their conclusions. The old father, Gregory Nazianzen, conspicuous in one of the most esteemed of the Councils, so lamented the corruption, ambition, and contention which prevailed in them that he heartily desired never to see another, For any good that has flowed from these assemblages, for the fact that at a critical period the fathers of Nicaa bore a noble testimony to the supreme Godhead of the Lord Jesus, instead of being imposed upon by crafty errorists like those at Ariminium, we may be devoutly thankful. But the pretentions of Councils to be oracular and unerring, became, from age to age, increasingly preposterous, until, at Trent, it was in the mouth of scoffers that the Holy Ghost was sent down from Rome in a post-bag. 'To the law and to the testimony. If they speak not according to this rule there is no light in them.'" BISHOP ALFRED LEE, of Delaware. (Sermon before the General Convention of 1858.)]

On this memorable occasion, when we meet to consecrate a Bishop in this Reformed Episcopal Church, I deem it a matter of importance that we can bring the additional testimony of venerable and scholarly men, who have been our teachers and leaders, to prove to you that we bring no new doctrine to your ears. That eminent and saintly man of God, Dr. William Sparrow, Professor in the Theological Seminary at Alexandria, Virginia, the institution in which our brother now to be admitted to this office was a student, thus speaks in the Commencement address on June 24th, 1869:

The notion now so incessantly pressed upon us, of what is called the tap-root of sacerdotalism, is the cause which, combining the palpableness of matter with the subtlety of mind, acts as an effectual under-pinning to the whole system of anti-Christian doctrine and practice. The theory is this. The [28/29] Apostles were invested by our Lord with sole and plenary powers, and these powers they have conveyed to their actual successors, constituting them a close corporation to the end of time, for the two-fold purpose of the government of the Church and the conveyance of grace. This Church authority, and these influences of the Spirit, are both alike transmitted through a material channel, and by an outward ceremony, in such a way that if the continuity of the channel be broken, the precious contents are lost to the world; and this, though multitudes in this society, thus supposed to be evacuated or emptied of its powers and virtues, still seem to love the Lord Jesus Christ, and to prove their sincerity by holy living, and a scriptural faith. Whilst, on the other hand, where this channel is supposed unbroken, there, though it be in the midst of the dead formalism and superstition of the Greek Church, or the more active and virulent error of the Romish, grace and power, it is said, are possessed and conveyed. in all the fullness of exclusive, covenanted mercy!

Such is the theory. I stop not to show how alien it is to the genius of the Gospel; how unspiritual, how mechanical, how enslaving; how antagonistic to that parrhsia which belongs to those who are brought nigh to God by a divine, not human, mediation; to that freedom, that openness, that filial confidence, that humble boldness, that freespokenness (for by all these words is parrhsia rendered), which must needs characterize those who, fearing God as a loving and Holy Spirit with a spiritual fear, can consent to nothing beside. In the Reformed Church that theory is in a most uncongenial soil, and can be kept alive and active there only by means which tend to the subversion of that Church. The incongruity is such as must, moreover, ever make it a trouble to the Protestant Israel. If they would have peace, true, internal peace, and real stability, they must rid themselves of it as something foreign to the body, like an irritating mote in the eye, or an enfeebling poison in the veins. In Rome, indeed, it is at home; there it is "to the manner born." It tallies exactly [29/30] with it--has a chemical affinity for the doctrines of Infallibility, the opus operatum of the sacraments, Justification and Regeneration by Baptism, Tradition as a principium cognoscendi, Priestly Absolution, the scholastic sense of the maxims, extra ecclesiam nulla salus and ecclesia in Episcopo, together with all those views which tend to externalize religion, and make men believe that the Kingdom of God is mainly and primarily not within us, but without us; and, lastly, it deprives the laity, as we see in the Church of Rome, of all substantive position and. authority in the Church, rendering them mere cyphers, which add value, indeed, to the significant figures, but are of no value themselves. And for the very reason that this notion is consonant with the Romish system, it is discordant with the Protestant. It is, in truth, the iron sceptre by which Rome rules so despotically over the minds and bodies of men, and seeks to shiver all Protestant opposition to pieces like a potter's vessel. In the eye and light of this theory, of what account is a three-fold organization of the ministry, both diocesan and missionary; what worship in the use of a matchless liturgy that has received the approving suffrages of all high culture and true seriousness; what an orthodoxy unmistakably ratified by every page of the Bible; what an active and intelligent charity, which extends its beneficent arms to the ends of the earth; what a deep, pure love to Jesus, such as the Apostle Paul delighted to salute and greet wherever found! Alas, these are as nothing without the pedigree! You may have the exactest form of government that can be inferred from the Holy Scripture; you may have, to all human appearance, the spirit and power of the highest type of genuine religion; you may have men highly gifted and deeply versed in divine things, preaching the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, with a manifest unction from the Holy One; but lacking the pedigree, it is nothing; or, if this language be thought too strong, at best it is set down as a thing of suspicious appearance, very much like apples of Sodom, as Tacitus describes them--'black and empty.'

"Succession in the ministry, thus maintained and pressed upon [30/31] us, as it is, as a vital, constituting principle, is Romish and anti-Protestant, anti-Scriptural, anti-Christian, being the very strength of Sacerdotalism, and one element, I doubt not, in that complex mystery of iniquity which the Apostle saw beginning in his own day, and growing, though hindered somewhat, under his own eye. If my language seems strong in opposition to this notion, so is the language of its advocates in its favor; and if they presume to speak thus, discountenanced as they are by the great body of the Reformers, surely I may venture so far, sustained by their sanction.

"Orderly induction into office, according to the established usages of the body, all approve and all practice; and any interruption of the course of usual ecclesiastical life and operation, except in the very extremest cases, in which Christians are compelled to throw away the casket in order to preserve the jewel--every one is ready to deprecate as a great calamity. But while a settled Scriptural system of government, and solemn and regular appointment to all offices in it, and a steady, not fitful maintenance of existing modes of acting in the Church, are one thing--the very thing meant by the Apostle when he demanded that all things should be done, 'decently and in order,'--pedigree, as a peculiar virtue, imparting supernatural qualities to rites, and divine energies to persons, so that they shall convey grace as a conducting medium between Christ and his people--ah! this is another thing, a very different thing. This is it which converts the ministers of Christ into a vicarious, sacrificing body, mediating between men and Christ, very much as Christ mediates between us and God. This it is which furnishes a plausible basis for all such arrogant priestly claims. Sacerdotalism is its only complement. In these 'two things combined, we see a fitting structure raised on a fitting basis. Without some such structure, it seems to have no adequate final cause, but looks like some huge foundation, laid without ulterior purpose. causing the passer-by to ask, 'Cui bono?'

On the 16th day of December, 1849, the beloved Bishop McIlvaine, whose praise is in all the Churches, and who so [31/32] lately entered into his rest in the fullness of years, and in the ripeness of likeness to Jesus, in a sermon preached at the consecration of Bishop Upfold, of Indiana, thus warns the Church of the results to follow the adoption of this doctrine in a Reformed Church:

"Bring the ministry of the gospel into such resemblance to the priesthood of the law, that the performance of sacrificial services, or the ministering of sacramental ordinances, instead of "teaching and preaching Jesus Christ," shall be its great incumbent, characteristic work; and then the knowledge of a ritual, joined to a form of ordination, will constitute its only essential qualification. Men will come to it just because they can get admission into the line of Apostolical Succession, as Jews came to the priesthood, because they had been born in the line of the house of Aaron. To be a converted man, taught of God, enlightened in the knowledge of the Scriptures, experienced in the operations of grace in the heart; a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, "rightly dividing the word of truth," will not be considered as particularly necessary to the office. Sacramental efficacy depends neither on the personal character, nor the spiritual knowledge of the minister. The man that can only keep to the ritual, may perform as valid a priesthood, and may administer as effectually in the sacramental sanctification of the people, as the wisest and best. Thus will men, utterly ignorant in their personal experience, of what it is to be "new creatures in Christ Jesus," incapable of guiding an inquiring soul to the Saviour, knowing nothing in their hearts of His preciousness to them that believe; thus will mere formalists find an easy berth in the Ministry of the Gospel, till the courts of the Lord's house are filled with them; men of solemn pomp, and mystic signs, and portentous ceremonies; grave machines and symbols, to be looked at more than heard, whose holiness will be the observance of holy seasons, the reverence for consecrated places and things, the dramatic posture, the sacerdotal vestment, the self-imposed obedience, the "voluntary humility;" substitutes for the inward and spiritual grace [32/33] of a new heart toward God, and a living faith in Christ. All such things, however multiplied, the carnal mind, which is "enmity against God," may most easily put on; just as the Scribes and Pharisees, those "whited sepulchres," as the Saviour named them, full of hypocrisy and spiritual death, loved to appear in them.

"Thus it will come to pass, as has always been the case, in proportion as what is called the ministry of the altar has put out of regard, or into an inferior place, the ministry of the pulpit, and of which the Church of Rome, especially in the chief seats of her sacrificial and sacramental pomp and privilege, is a most impressive admonition. Sanctification, according to the system we are referring to, being not through the truth, but by the receiving of sacraments, the work of the preacher will be contracted into the narrow circle of such topics as centre around the sacraments. The people, supposing they get all they need without the reading of the Scriptures, will neglect them. Thus will the Bible go out of use, and barren formularies will take its place. The golden candlestick of the sanctuary, deprived of the holy oil of God's inspired Word, will lose the light of God's Holy Spirit. Soon the knowledge of religion will be shriveled up into little else than an acquaintance with church days and church ceremonials. What ministers are, personally, being under this system, so unconnected with the efficacy of what they do officially, their moral character will fast degenerate. As the priest, so the people. The ministry of sacraments being the great work of his office, the receiving of sacraments will be the sum and substance of their piety, until the whole distinction between the unregenerate world and the church of God's "peculiar people," will be shrunk into the mere fact, that on one side the sacraments are attended upon, while, on the other, they are neglected."

VII. One question arises from the foregoing statements, which demands a clear and careful answer. What is the true nature and essence of an "Ordination" to the Ministry of the Christian Church? What does Ordination or "the laying on [33/34] of hands" confer upon the recipient? And if a Bishop is not superior in order to a Presbyter, but only in grade, a "fellow Presbyter" (I Peter, v. i.) still, but one chosen by his brethren to preside over them, to have the oversight and "care of all the Churches," why ordain or consecrate him to this Office by so solemn a service, and by the laying on of hands with prayer?

The reply to this can only be given by the declaration of great and fundamental principles, founded upon the Word of God:

I. First, then, no power but that of the Holy Ghost can make an Ambassador of Christ. "No man taketh this honor unto himself but he that is called of God."

2. The election by his fellow-Christians of one of their number to be their Teacher, Ruler, Shepherd and Guide, in spiritual things, is the conferring upon the chosen one the right to exercise his ministry among them; is their acknowledgement of His call from God to this great work.

3. Ordination, or "the laying on of hands" with prayer, upon one chosen by the people to the office and work of the Ministry, is only the solemn ratification and confirmation by those in authority, of the act of the Church in the choice of the Minister; an outward sign and seal of his admission into the office. The inauguration of the President of the United States by the formal service of administering the oath of office by the Chief Justice, and by the imposing parade, does not make him President; he is that by the election of the people. Ordination and election are parts of one transaction, the one the complement of the other.

4. Ordination does not confer grace as the Church of Rome teaches, elevating it, against all the testimony of Holy Scripture, into a sacrament. It does not confer spiritual gifts or powers: these come from God alone. When St. Paul says to Timothy, "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hand" (2 Tim. i. 6.), this gift was, indeed, a spiritual power, [34/35] doubtless some miraculous power which formed part of the "ministry of gifts" in the Apostles' day, and which was imparted by the imposition of the Apostles' hands, and by them alone. We know, assuredly, that the laying on of the Apostles' hands did communicate the Holy Ghost, and miracle-working powers, the gift of healing, of speaking with other tongues, of "discerning spirits," and of "prophesying." But that power ceased with the Apostles, and there is not the slightest trace in the New Testament of its continuance or perpetuation in the Church.

5. Ordination, then, confers only authority to execute the offices of the Ministry; and this, as the solemn ratification and confirmation by visible sign and seal on the part of those already in authority, of the choice and act of the whole body of the Christian community in the election.

6. Therefore, in "the Form of Consecrating a Bishop" in the Reformed Episcopal Church, the words: "Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a Bishop in the Church of God," do not appear, but in their stead, the words: "Take thou authority to execute the office and work of a Bishop in the Church of God." We reject the words, "Receive the Holy Ghost," etc., "whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted," etc., because they are not sustained by the teachings of God's Holy Word. Moreover, Dean Close, of Carlisle Cathedral, in a recent lecture, stated that down to the twelfth century, that form of words never existed in any Ordination service in the world. He defied all the world to find an instance of a Bishop down to that time, ordaining any one in those words. Upon this point the Dean quoted the testimony of Morinus, the learned liturgiologist, that those words had no existence in the Ordinals of the Greek, Latin, Coptic, or any other ancient Church, 'till the twelfth century; and, strange to say, it had no existence in the Greek Church to this day. Bingham in his Antiquities, [35/36] Sec. xvii, says: which things I wrote for the instruction of those who may be apt to think that modern forms of Ordination are in every circumstance like the primitive ones; whereas, if Morinus say true, the words which are now most in use, viz., 'Receive the Holy Ghost,' were not in the Roman Pontifical above four hundred years ago, which makes good the observation of a learned person (Bishop Burnet), that the Church Catholic did never agree to the uniform Ritual or book of Ordination, but that was still left to the freedom of particular churches, and so the Church of England had as much power to make or alter rituals as any other had."

[Dean Alford, in his Commentary on St. John, xx. 23--"Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained "---says: "The Apostles had this gift in an especial manner, and by the full indwelling of the Spirit were enabled to discern the hearts of men, and to give sentence on that discernment--see Acts v. 1--11; viii. 21; xiii. 9. And this gift belongs to the Church in all ages, and especially to those who, by legitimate appointment, are set to minister in the churches of Christ, not by successive delegation from the Apostles, of which fiction I find no trace in the New Testament, but by their mission from Christ, the Bestower of the Spirit for their office, when orderly and legitimately conferred union them by the various churches, not however to them exclusively--though for decency and order it is expedient that the outward and formal declaration should be so--but in proportion as any disciple shall have been filled with the Holy Spirit of wisdom is the inner discernment his,"--Alford's Greek Testament, Vol. I. (The italics in this passage are Alford's own.)]

7. One more statement must be added to this summary. Deposition from the ministry (except on the ground of immorality or the denial of the essentials of the faith) does not destroy or impair the Ministerial character; that was received from the Lord Himself. The effect of deposition is only to suspend the exercise of the functions of the deposed minister in the organization in which he has heretofore officiated. It only suspends the exercise of his functions; it does not destroy them--holds them in abeyance; for those Churches which depose. Ministers who leave them for another religious body, provide, by law, for the restoration of the deposed clergyman on certain conditions, but never require a re-ordination; thus acknowledging that the ministerial character, or status, remains unimpaired by the act of deposition.

[But one Protestant Church, as far as I am informed, "deposes," "displaces," or, "degrades" from the ministry, or attempts to do so, clergymen withdrawing to unite with another religious body. The Protestant Episcopal Church, to which allusion is here made, provides by Canon xi, Title ii, § 2, for the restoration of a deposed minister by the joint consent of the Bishop who deposed him, the Standing Committee of the Diocese, and the unanimous concurrence of five other Bishops, but never requires reordination; thus acknowledging that the functions of the deposed minister are only suspended, or held in abeyance within the Church from which he has withdrawn, and can be resumed again under certain conditions provided for in the Canon. Moreover, the same Church which deposes all clergyman who leave her communion to unite with any other Church, receives a priest who comes to her from the Church of Rome, and who has been "deposed" by the most terrible formalities, without requiring him to be reordained; thus acknowledging that the effect of the act of "deposition," in his case, does not affect his ministerial status in the Church of God, whatever may be its effect in his relations toward the Roman Catholic. Church. If the Protestant Episcopal Church admits that the Roman act of "deposition" does not destroy ministerial standing, will she claim a greater power for her own?

[The simple truth is, that if Protestant Churches admit for a moment that "deposition" has any other effect than to suspend the exercise of the functions of the "deposed" minister in the body which claims the right to "depose" him--the whole Reformed Church of Christendom is left without a basis on which to stand. All the Reformed Churches of England, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and France, with all Bishops and other clergy, were "deposed" and excommunicated by the Church of Rome.

[The whole Church of Christ, probably, outside of the pale of the Latin Church--recognizes Bishop Reinkens to be a true and lawful bishop. Yet, Dr. Reinkens was a "deposed" priest at the time of his consecration, and was consecrated by a "deposed" bishop; for the whole Jansenist Church of Holland has been formally and with fearful anathemas excommunicated and pronounced cut off from the Church of God.

[The consecration of Bishop Reinkens by the Bishop of Deventer, assisted by the priests present, who united in the "laying on of hands," bears a marked resemblance to the services at the consecration of Bishop Cheney.]

[37] I have felt it necessary, beloved, on this occasion, the first Consecration of a Bishop in this Church, to set before you the estimation in which the office of a Bishop is held by those associated with myself in restoring "the old paths." This is the Episcopacy to which we adhere, not of Divine right or of direct Apostolic Institution, but a Primitive Episcopacy, the development of the practice and custom of the Apostles, the Episcopacy of Polycarp and Ignatius, and not of Irenaeus and Cyprian, found existing almost universally in the Churches of the Second Century, an Episcopacy which is a bond and centre of unity, which claims no exclusive prerogative of contain [37/38] in itself the only Divine Order of Christ's Church, a Polity which, limited and controlled by wise safeguards, is admirably fitted to promote the well-being of the whole visible Church of Christ.


And now, my beloved Brother in the Lord, what words of mine can add to the solemnity and sacredness of this hour, and of this service in your esteem? In this city, for the past ten years, most momentous years in its history, you have fulfilled a ministry whose record is before the world, and needs no commendation from me. In this congregation you have labored with a fidelity and with a success to which a thousand souls gladly bear witness to-day.

Well do I remember the small and unpretending edifice which contained the congregation under your charge at the time of my entrance upon my work as Rector of Trinity Church in this city in 1863. To-day this vast congregation, this great company of communicants, these hundreds of Sunday-school children, these flourishing Mission chapels, tell how graciously He who called you into His vineyard has blessed your efforts to serve Him. You have had trials, such as fall to the lot of but few men; trials that have come upon you from your loyalty to Christ and fidelity to your conscientious convictions of what is essential to the Gospel, and to the truth that alone can save the soul.

I would not dwell upon them; they are past; the dawn of a brighter day falls upon your pathway at this hour. You have been chosen, by an almost unanimous vote of both the Clergy and Laity among your brethren, to the office of a Bishop in this Church. Your fellow-Presbyters have come from far distant places to unite in the solemn act which ratifies your election by the Council. Heavy, indeed, will be your responsibility in becoming the standard-bearer of the Reformed Episcopal Church [38/39] in this great Metropolis of the empire of the Northwest. How many will look to you for counsel, for encouragement, for help, in their efforts to extend the same blessed work for Christ and His truth! If your heart fails as you approach this burden, look to Him who has never left you nor forsaken you in the past, and say: "The Lord is my Helper," The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want," my Strength, and the Rock of my might," "My Sun and my Shield." He who hath stood by you and strengthened you heretofore, will be with you to the end; "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass, and as thy day, so shall thy strength be." "I give thee charge, dear brother, in the sight of God and before the Lord Jesus Christ, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession, preach the Word; be instant in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine. Feed the flock of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; not as being a lord over God's heritage, but being an ensample to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."




THE language of Dr Cox, afterward Bishop of Ely, one of the most prominent compilers and revisers of the Prayer Book, is as follows: "Although by Scripture" (as St. Hierome saith) "priests and bishops were one, and therefore the one not before the other; yet bishops as they be noir were after priests, and therefore made of priests."

Dr. Redmayn remarks: "They be of like beginning, and at the beginning were both one, as St. Hierome and other old authors show by the Scripture. Wherefore one made another indifferently."

Bradford, Bishop Ridley's chaplain, "whom in my conscience," said Ridley, "I judge more worthy to be a bishop, than many of us that be bishops already, to be a parish priest," fully agrees with his brethren on this point.

Dr. Harpsfield, the papal examiner, held the following conversation with Bradford:

"The Church hath also," saith he, "succession of bishops." And here he made much ado to prove that this was an essential point.

"You say as you would have it," quoth I; "for if this point fail you, all the Church you go about to set forth will fall down. You shall not find in all the Scripture this your essential point of succession of bishops," quoth I. "In Christ's Church Antichrist will sit."

"Tell me," quoth he, "were not the Apostles bishops?"

"No," quoth I, "except you make a new definition of bishops; that is, give them no certain place."

"Indeed," said he, "the Apostles' office was more than bishops, for it was universal; but yet Christ instituted bishops in His Church, as Paul saith, 'He hath given pastors, prophets;' so that I trow it proved by the Scriptures the succession of bishops to be an essential point."

To this I answered that "the ministry of God's word and ministers is an essential point; but to translate this to bishops and their succession," quoth I, "is a plain subtility; and therefore," quoth I, "that it may be [41/42] plain, I will ask you a question. Tell me whether the Scriptures know any difference between bishops and ministers whom you call priests?" "No," saith he.

"Well, then, go on forward," quoth I, "and let us see what you get now by the succession of bishops, that is, of ministers; which cannot be understood of such bishops as minister not, but lord it"--Works, Vol. I., p. 501, Parker Soc. ed.

Wickliffe, the harbinger of the English Reformation, had taught: "In the time of the Apostle Paul two orders of the clergy were reckoned sufficient for the Church--priests and deacons. Nor were there in the days of the Apostles any such distinctions as those of a pope, patriarchs, and bishops."

Tindal, styled "the Apostle of the Reformation in England," expresses himself in language similar to that of Wickliffe.

Lambert, an English Reformer, writes: "As touching priesthood in the primitive church, when vertue bare (as ancient doctors do deem, and Scripture in my own opinion recordeth the same) most room, there were no more officers in the Church of God than bishops and deacons; that is to say, ministers, as witnesseth, beside Scripture, full apertly, Hierome, in his Commentaries upon the Epistles of Paul: Whereas, he saith that those whom we call priests were all one, and none other but bishops, and the bishops none other but priests, men ancient both in age and learning, so near as they could be chosen."--Fox's Monuments, Vol. II., p. 336.

Barnes, another English Reformer and Martyr, says: "A byshop was instituted to instructe and teach the cytie, and therefore he might have as much underneath him as hee were able to preach and teach to. And if in one place of Scripture they be called Episcopi, in divers other places they be called Presbiteri."--Works, 213-221.

Dr. Alley, Bishop of Exeter in 156o, writes: "What difference is between a bishop and a priest? St. Hierome writing ad Titum, cloth declare, whose words be these: 'Idem est ergo presbyter, qui Episcopus,' etc.--a priest, therefore, is the same that a bishop is," etc. Then, quoting Jerome, he proceeds: "These words are alleged, that it may appear priests among the elders to have been even the same that bishops were. But it grew by little and little that the whole charge and cure should be appointed to one bishop within his precinct, that the seeds of dissension might utterly be rooted out." (ALLEY'S Poor Man's Library, 2d edition, 1571, tom. I, fols. 95, 96.)

Bishop Pilkington, a Reviser of the Prayer Book in 1563, writes: "The privileges and superiorities which bishops have above other ministers are rather granted by men for maintaining of better order and quietness in commonwealths, than commanded by God in his word. Ministers have better knowledge and utterance some than others, but their [42/43] ministry is of equal dignity. God's commandments and commission is like and indifferent to all, priests, bishop, archbishop, prelate, by what name soever he be called St. Paul called the elders of Ephesus together, and says, 'the Holy Ghost made them bishops to rule the church of God.' (Acts xx.) He writes also to the bishops of Philippos, meaning the ministers . . . . St. Jerome, in his commentary on the first chapter, Ad. Tit., says that 'a bishop and priest is all one.' .... A bishop is a name of office, labor, and pains."--Works, ed. Park. Soc., p. 493-4.

Dr. Wm. Whittaker, Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, whom Cardinal Bellamine declared "to be the most learned heretic he had ever read," writes with respect to the same comment of Jerome: "Si Episcopi consuetudine non dispositione Dominica presbyteris majores sunt, turn humano non divino jure totem hoc discrimen constat." With respect to Jerome's statement in his letter to Evagrius, that the power of ordination had been reserved to bishops, he says: "Quod antem affers ex eadem Epistola, ad humanam non divinam constitutionem pertinet. Etsi enim ortu suo iidem erant ambo, postea tamen (inquit Hieronymus) unus electus est, qui caeteris praeponeretur: atque inde natum est illud episcopi ac presbyteri discrimen."--Op., torn. 1, p. 149.

Dr. John Fulke, Master of Pembroke College, in his "Defense of the Translation of the Bible," writes: "That Episcopus, a 'bishop,' was of very old times used to signify a degree ecclesiastical, higher than presbyter, an 'elder,' or 'priest,' we did never deny--we know it right well--we know what St. Jerome writeth upon the Epistle to Titus, chap. I: 'Idem est ergo presbyter qui episcopus.' The same man is presbyter, or an 'elder,' or 'priest,' which is Episcopus, a 'bishop.'" Then, quoting Jerome's words, he adds: "This, and much more to this effect, writeth St. Jerome of the distinction in that place, and in divers other places. ... The word presbyter, in the Scriptures, is every ecclesiastical governor; in the fathers one degree only--that is, subject to the bishop."--Parker Soc. ed., pp. 265-7.

Dean Field, one of the ablest disputants of the time of James I., remarks: "Hereunto agree all the best learned amongst the Romanists themselves, freely confessing that that wherein a bishop excelleth a presbyter is not a distinct and higher order, or power of order, but a kind of dignity--an office or employment only Hence it followeth that many things which in some cases presbyters may lawfully do, are peculiarly reserved unto bishops, as Hierome noteth, rather for the honor of their ministry than the necessity of any law."--Of the Church, lib. 3, c. 39.

Bishop Bedell, of the same reign, who translated the Scriptures into the Irish language, in reply to the objection of a Roman Catholic: "Yea, but in France, Holland, and Germany, they have no bishops," answered: "First, what if I should defend they have? Because a bishop and a presbyter are all one, as St. Jerome maintains and proves out of [43/44] Holy Scripture, and the use of antiquity. Of which judgment, as Medina confesseth, are sundry of the ancient fathers, both Greek and Latin--St. Ambrose, Augustine, Sedulius, Primasius, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, and Theophylact, which point I have largely treated of in another place against him that undertook Master Alabaster's quarrel."--Bedell's Life, p. 453

An objection to the argument here used, which is derived from the testimony of Jerome, requires notice. No witness can be presented whose words have so much weight in this connection as this ancient author. Jerome had been educated at Rome, and was familiar with Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, Syriac and Chaldaic; had traveled in Egypt and France; had resided in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Antioch, and Constantinople, and hence the remark of Augustine is not strange: "That what Jerome was ignorant of, no man was acquainted with."

We present this objection, as made by a Roman controversialist, with the reply, as given by the learned Prof. Whittaker, whose testimony has been previously presented:

"Sanders, the Romanist, asserted that bishops had been appointed by the Church, after the schism at Corinth, with the approbation of the Apostles, though not under their direction, and appealed in proof of it to the testimony of Jerome."

Whittaker replied in the following terms, which we translate from the original Latin:

"I answer Sanders plainly, either that he does not understand, or has not attended to what Jerome intends. For, although during the lives of the Apostles some said, 'I am of Paul,' 'I of Cephas,' 'I of Apollos,' and Jerome writes, before it was said, 'I am of Paul,' etc.; nevertheless, Jerome does not think that this order was changed by the Apostles, but subsequently by the judgment of the Church. This Jerome signifies when he says, 'Presently throughout the whole world it was decreed that one elected out of the presbyters should be placed above the rest.' Was the thing thus done decreed by the Apostles? Jerome himself answers: 'As in fact the presbyters,' he says, 'know that they are subjected to a bishop placed over them by custom of the Church.' Jerome says 'by the custom of the Church,' not by the decree of the Apostles; then he adds: 'Thus the bishops may know that they are superior to presbyters by custom, rather than by the fact of our Lord's appointment.' But if the Apostles had changed that order, and had placed bishops before presbyters, and had forbidden that thereafter the churches should be governed by the general councils of the presbyters, that, indeed, would have been a divine arrangement, as set forth by the Apostles of Christ; unless, perhaps, those things which the Apostles had decreed should be ascribed to custom, and not to the divine arrangement. But, during the lives of the Apostles, nothing was changed in [44/45] this order. For the Epistle to the Corinthians was written when Paul was engaged in Macedonia; but after this time he left Titus in Crete, that he might appoint presbyters in each town: Tit. i. 5. If the Apostle had thought that the order should be changed, he would not have, directed that presbyters should be appointed in each town; nor would Jerome have brought testimony from Paul--Phil. i. I; I Tim. iii. a; Tit. i. 5, 7; from Peter, r Pet. v. r; from Acts, Acts. xx. 17, 28; from John, 2 John, i, and 3 John, i.--by which he could demonstrate that a presbyter was the same as a bishop. Paul had written his Epistles to the Philippians, to Timothy, to Titus; and Peter his; and John his, after that schism arose in Corinth; and Luke, also, had written that the presbyters of Ephesus, after that schism, were called together by Paul at Miletus.

"When Jerome, relying fully on these passages (Epistle to Evagrius), contends that a. presbyter is equal to a bishop in all respects, he could not be so unmindful of himself as to have supposed that the arrangement was changed by the Apostles. So, elsewhere, when he had subjoined the testimony of Scripture, by which he proved that the bishop and presbyter were not different things, he adds, 'afterwards one was elected who should be over the others.' If 'afterwards one was elected who should be superior to presbyters,' therefore the Apostles did not introduce the distinction, but a certain ecclesiastical custom or arrangement."--Contro. 4, Quaest. I, Cap. 3, Sect. 29.

This language of Whittaker, together with that of Rainolds, already produced, informs us what were the doctrines with respect to church-government, in which the youth of England were instructed at Oxford, and Cambridge by the teachers appointed by the Crown.

Having given the consentient statements of the most learned and influential of the clergy of the Reformation period, in which they fully' indorse the views of Jerome as to the rise of the present third order of the ministry, we close the testimony with the words of two intelligent laymen of the Church of England of our own time:

William Albin Garratt, an English Barrister, in his "Inquiry into the: Scriptural View of the Constitution of a Christian Church," thus writes, p. 372: "Jerome's account of the introduction of bishops, as distinguished from presbyters, deserves serious attention. Jerome had his faults--and great faults--but he was a man of extensive learning; He argues from Scripture that 'a bishop and presbyter' are the same; and then adds, that 'afterwards one was chosen over the rest.' Why? 'To prevent schism;' to form a bond of union between the presbyters, and again, to facilitate union among the different churches. That he is right in his view of the passages of Scripture which he cites (Phil. i. I; Acts; xx. 28; Tit. i. 5; I Tim. iv. i4; I Peter, v. i; 2 John, i., and 3 John,. i.) is, I think, clear, and will scarcely be disputed by any one, though an [45/46] advocate for Episcopacy, who has carefully considered the question; and what he adds, as a matter of fact, respecting the purpose for which one person was 'chosen to be over the rest,' is not inconsistent with what we read in the epistles to the seven apocalyptic churches, or with the facts which have been deduced from our examination of the Fathers down to the time of Cyprian. It is a statement which implies a gradual introduction of Episcopacy into the churches, first into one church, and then into another; a statement in perfect harmony with the result which I deduced from an examination of several epistles of the apostolic fathers, and at the same time utterly at variance with the notion of Apostolic succession by Episcopal ordination."

Bowdler, in his "Letters on Apostolic Succession," after reviewing the language of the Fathers with respect to Church government, remarks on Jerome's statement: "I am aware that in St. Jerome's time there existed generally, though by no means universally, this difference between the bishop and the presbyter, namely, that to the former was then confided the power of ordination. The transition from perfect equality to absolute superiority was not suddenly effected; it was the growth of time, not of years, but of centuries, the distinction of authority or office preceding that of order or degree in the Church, and being introductory to it. With the former I have no concern, it being sufficient to show that, as a distinct and superior order in the Church, Episcopacy, in the modern acceptation of the term, did not exist in the time of the Apostles; and that, however expedient and desirable such an institution might be, it cannot plead the sanction of apostolic appointment or example.

"It may be difficult to fix the period exactly when the episcopate was first recognized as a distinct order in the Church, and when the consecration of bishops, as such, came to be in general use. Clearly not, I think, when Jerome wrote. Thus much at least is certain, namely, that the government of each Church, including the ordination of ministers, was at first in the hands of the presbytery; that, when one of that body was raised to the office of president, and on whom the title of bishop was conferred, it was simply by the election (co-optatio) of the other presbyters, whose appointment was final, requiring no confirmation or consecration at the hands of any other prelates, and that each Church was essentially independent of every other.

"If, then, all this be so, there seems to be an end to the question; for, under whatever circumstances the privilege of ordaining was afterwards committed to the bishop, he could of necessity receive no more than it was in their power to bestow of whom he received it, who are co-ordinate presbyters, not superiors."



Clemens Romanus, A.D. 65:

Epistle to the Corinthians: "So likewise our Apostles knew, by our Lord Jesus Christ, that contention would arise on account of the name of the Episcopate; and, therefore, having a perfect knowledge of this, they appointed the Bishops and Deacons before mentioned, and afterwards gave directions how, when they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry."

"For it would be no small sin in us, should we cast off those from the Episcopate who boldly and without blame fulfill the duties of it. Blessed are those Presbyters, who, having finished their course before these times, have obtained a fruitful and perfect dissolution, for they have no fear lest any one should turn them out of their place which is now appointed for them."

Says Harrison, a writer of the English Church: "Clement, no doubt, regarded the office of a presbyter as of divine appointment; but then he describes, as we have seen, the Christian orders as being two only--those of Bishops and Deacons. Like the New Testament writers and most of the Fathers, he treated the office of Bishop and Presbyter as being one and substantially the same."--Whose are the Fathers, p. 82.

In this elaborate work, published in 1867, the author gives the language of fifty-four fathers of the first six centuries concerning the Church and its ministry and other collateral matters.

Tertullian, A. D. 192:

Concerning Baptism, he writes: "The chief priest--that is to say, the Bishop--has the right of giving baptism. After him Presbyters and Deacons, but not without the authority of the Bishop, on account of the honor due to the Church; for, if that be preserved, peace is preserved. Otherwise, even laymen have the right. . . . Emulation is the mother of division. 'All things are lawful to me,' said the most holy Paul; but all things are not expedient. Let it suffice that you use your liberty in cases of necessity, when the condition of the person or the circumstances of the place compel you to it."

On this passage, Riddle, an Episcopal writer, in his "Christian Antiquities," remarks: "The opinion of Jerome respecting the original equality, or rather identity, of presbyters and bishops, is in perfect [47/48] accordance with the language of a still earlier writer, Tertullian, 'De Baptismo,' c. xvii. The two passages together form a text and a commentary sufficient to elucidate the whole matter."

"Upon the whole, then, it appears that the order (or office) of a bishop is above that of priest--not by any authority of Scripture, but only by the custom of the Church, or by virtue of an ecclesiastical arrangement," p. 242, ed. 1843.

In his work concerning Chastity, Tertullian writes: "Foolish indeed shall we be, if we imagine what is not lawful to priests is lawful to laymen. Are not we laymen priests, do you say? It is written: 'He hash made us kings and priests unto God and his Father.' The authority of the Church has constituted the difference between those in orders and the people at large, and an honorable office has been made holy by the concession of orders. Thus, therefore, where there is not the concession of the ecclesiastical order, thou offerest the Eucharist, thou baptizest, thou thyself art a priest unto thyself. But where these are, though they be laymen, there is a Church. For every one liveth by his own faith, and there is no acceptance of persons with God."

Mossman, Hist. of the Catholic Church, p. 17, on Tertullian's testimony, remarks: "To realize the exact position occupied by. Tertullian, we have only to compare him with St. Clement, of Rome, on the one hand, and St. Cyprian on the other. He flourished fully three generations after the former, and only a single generation before the latter. Yet he has immensely more in common with him from whom he is more, than with him from whom he is less remote in time. And we may test this by a comparison of the teaching of Clement with that of Tertullian upon the ministry of the Church of Christ. We have seen that Tertullian looked upon the official priesthood, and its highest form of expression, the Episcopate, as the fruit of ecclesiastical order, and based upon ecclesiastical discipline. We have also seen that, without manipulating historical facts, we must look upon St. Clement himself as having been only the temporary chairman of the presbyter bishops of Rome."

Firmilian, Bishop of Caesarea, A. D., 250, writes thus to Cyprian: "It is of necessity arranged among us that we, elders and rulers, meet every year to set in order the things entrusted to our charge, that, if there be any matters of grave moment, they may be settled by common advice;

. . for that all power and grace is placed in the Church, where the presbyters preside, who also possess the power of baptizing, and of laying on of hands, and of ordaining."

Hilary, the deacon, A. D. 376:

Commenting upon Eph. iv. 2, he writes: "Amongst these, he who, on account of unlocking the hidden meaning of Scripture--especially he [48/49] who, bringing forth the words of eternal hope, is said to prophesy, is understood to be the greatest after the bishop. This order is at present the presbyterate. For all orders are in the bishop, for he is the first priest--that is, the prince of priests--and is also a prophet and evangelist. . . . Thus it is that the apostolic writings do not agree in every particular with the ordination which is now in the Church, for these writings were composed at the very commencement, and St. Paul calls Timothy a bishop who had been created by him a presbyter; for the first presbyters were called bishops in such manner that, when one departed, the next in order succeeded him, In a word, the presbyters of Egypt confirm, if a bishop be not present." On I Tim. iii. 8, he writes: "After the bishop, the Apostle has subjoined the ordination of the deacon. Why, in that the ordination of a bishop and presbyter is one? For each is a priest, but the bishop is first, so that every bishop is a priest, but not every presbyter a bishop; for he is bishop who is first among the presbyters."

Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, A. D. 396:

Writing to Jerome, whom he styles his "fellow-presbyter," this Bishop says, Epist. xix.: "I entreat you to correct me faithfully when you see I need it; for although, according to the titles of honor which the custom of the Church hath now obtained, the Episcopate is greater than the presbyterate, yet in many things Augustine is less than Jerome."

In the "Quaestiones" bound up with Augustine's works, and regarded as by a contemporaneous African author, we read: "The higher order contains within itself and by itself the inferior order; for a presbyter exercises the office of a deacon, of an exorcist, and of a leader. But the Apostle Paul proves that a presbyter is understood to be a bishop, when he instructed Timothy, whom he had ordained presbyter, what kind of person he ought to make a bishop. For what indeed is a bishop, except the first presbyter, the chief priest! And, in short, the bishop calls presbyters nothing else but his fellow-presbyters and fellow-priests. Does the bishop call the lower ministers his fellow-deacons? Not so, because they are far inferior; and it would not be right to call a chief secretary a judge. For in Alexandria, and throughout the whole of Egypt, if a bishop he absent, the presbyter consecrates."

Mossman, after giving this passage among others, says: "Error is long-lived and dies hard: but it may perhaps be hoped that, after this, nothing further will be heard of bishops being accounted a superior order to priests upon any higher ground than that of a supposed convenient and profitable ecclesiastical arrangement. . . . In fact, to maintain that presbyters never ordained in the early Church, is not only contrary to fact, but it implies a misconception of the whole tone, and spirit, and feeling of those ages." Hist. of the Catholic Church of Christ, pp. 108, 112.

[50] Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople. A. D. 398:

Homily 11th, on 1st Epistle to Timothy: "Discoursing of Bishops, and having described their character and the qualities which they ought to possess, and having passed over the order of Presbyters, he proceeds to treat of Deacons. The reason of this omission was that between presbyters and bishops there was no great difference. Both had undertaken the office of teachers and presidents in the Church, and what he has said concerning bishops is applicable to presbyters. For in the power of ordination only have they gone above (them), and in that thing only seem to take the advantage of presbyters."

Fifty-four fathers are quoted in the work of Harrison alluded to, which, with the volumes of Mossman, Jacob, and Lightfoot, present, at the hands of Episcopal divines of our own day, the result of the thorough investigations of past centuries on the important question presented in this discourse.


[From the Chicago Daily Tribune, December 15, 1873.]


THE Rev. Charles Edward Cheney, Rector of Christ Church, was consecrated a Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church yesterday morning. The ceremonies took place in Dr. Cheney's Church, corner of Twenty-fourth street and Michigan avenue, and were witnessed by an immense concourse of people. Even before the church doors were opened, a large crowd gathered on the sidewalk, in the hope, by being early, of gaining good seats. The members of the congregation were admitted at the Twenty-fourth street entrance, about two-thirds of the pews being reserved for their use. 'The remainder of the seats, and the gallery, were given to the general public, and were crowded within ten minutes after admission was accorded. Many people arrived too late to get into the vestibule even, and were, consequently, obliged to go away. The steps of the chancel were occupied by ladies, and the side aisles were full of people, who were satisfied to stand up, in order to see what took place.

There were no decorations of any kind. The only change noticeable in the church was the removal of the lectern and the placing of the pulpit in the centre. The Presbyters taking part in the ceremonies formed the semi-circle, with Bishop Cummins in the centre, and Dr. [50/51] Cheney on the left, the others standing in the following order, commencing at the left: The Rev. Marshall B. Smith, and the Rev. Mason Gallagher, of New Jersey; the Rev. B. B. Leacock, of New York City; the Rev. W. B. Feltwell, of New York, and the Rev. Charles H. Tucker, of Chicago. Mr. B. Aycrigg occupied the right.


The ceremonies were begun by the singing of the 215th hymn:

All hail the power of Jesus' name;
Let angels prostrate fall;

the congregation uniting their voices with the choir.

The Bishop, who presided, then offered the following prayer:

"Almighty God, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, give grace, we beseech Thee, to all Bishops and other pastors of Thy Church, that they may diligently preach Thy Word, and duly administer the godly discipline thereof; and grant to the people, that they may obediently follow the same; that all may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

The Rev. Mr. Leacock read the Epistle from Acts xx. 17, as follows:

"From Miletus Paul sent to Ephesus, and called the Elders of the Church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews; and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there; save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after [51/52] my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years, I ceased not to warn every one, night and day, with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel; yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak; and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

The Rev. M. B. Smith read the Gospel, St. Matthew, xxviii. 18:

"Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

Bishop Cummins, at the conclusion of the reading, said: "I desire to state to the congregation, before announcing the next hymn, that the prayer book used on this occasion is the Prayer-Book of 1785, as set forth by the First General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in that year, presided over by the Rev. Dr. White, afterwards Bishop White. The Litany to be used this morning, and the Communion Service, are also from the Prayer-Book of 1785."


The 97th hymn was then sung, and was followed by the sermon.


Presbyters Gallagher and Smith then conducted Dr. Cheney to Bishop Cummins, who was inside the chancel-rail, both saying:

"Reverend brother in Christ, we present unto you this godly and well-learned man, to be consecrated to the office and work of a Bishop."

Bishop Cummins: "I demand the testimonials to be produced in behalf of the elected Bishop--the first testimony to be the certificate from the General Council of the Reformed Episcopal Church, certifying the election of our brother."

Mr. Aycrigg, who was the temporary Chairman of the Council, then read the subjoined document:

[53] "This is to certify that at the First General Council of the Reformed Episcopal Church, held in the city of New York on Tuesday, December 2, in the year of our Lord, 1873, the Rev. Charles Edward Cheney, Doctor of Divinity, Presbyter, was elected by the unanimous vote of both orders to the office of Bishop in the Church of God.

"Witness my hand and seal, this 9th day of December, in the year of our Lord, 1873.

"Secretary of the General Council."

The Rev. Mr. Gallagher next read the personal testimonial, as follows:

"We, whose names are undersigned, fully sensible how important it is that the sacred office of a Bishop should not be unworthily conferred, and firmly persuaded that it is our duty to bear testimony on this solemn occasion, without partiality or affection, do, in the presence of Almighty God, testify that Charles Edward Cheney, Doctor in Divinity, is not, so far as we are informed, justly liable to evil report, either for error in religion or for viciousness of life, and that we do not know or believe there is any impediment or notable crime for which he ought not to be consecrated to that holy office. We do, moreover, jointly and severally, declare that, having personally known him for three years last past, we do in our consciences believe him to be of such sufficiency in good learning, such soundness in the faith, and of such virtuous and pure manners and godly conversation, that he is apt and meet to exercise the office of a Bishop, to the honor of God and the edifying of His Church, and to be an wholesome example of Christ."


"MARSHAL L. B. Smith, Presbyter.
"B. B. LEACOCK, Presbyter.
"CHARLES H. TUCKER, Presbyter.


The Bishop followed with the litany, substituting after the words, "That it may please Thee to illuminate all Bishops," etc., the following:

[54] "That it may please Thee to bless this our brother elected, and to send Thy grace upon him, that he may duly execute the office whereunto he is called, to the edifying of Thy Church, and to the honor, praise, and glory of Thy name."

This was followed by the prayer:

"Almighty God, mercifully behold this Thy servant, now called to the work and ministry of a Bishop; and so replenish him with the truth of Thy doctrine, and adorn him with innocency of life, that both by word and deed he may faithfully serve Thee in this office, to the glory of Thy name, and the edifying and well-governing of Thy Church; through the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen."

Then the Bishop, addressing Dr. Cheney, said:

"Brother, forasmuch as it is enjoined in Holy Scripture that we should not be hasty in laying on hands, and admitting any person to office in the Church of Christ, which He hath purchased with no less price than the effusion of His own blood, before we admit you to the office of a Bishop, we will examine you in certain articles, to the end that the congregation present may have a trial and bear witness how you are minded to behave yourself in the Church of God.

"Are you persuaded that you are truly called to this ministration, according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the order of this Church?"

Dr. Cheney: "I am so persuaded."

Bishop Cummins: "Are you persuaded that the Holy Scriptures contain all doctrine required as necessary for eternal salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ? And are you determined out of the same Holy Scriptures to instruct the people committed to your charge, and to teach or maintain nothing, as necessary to eternal salvation, but that which you shall be persuaded may be concluded and proved by the same?"

Dr. Cheney: "I am so persuaded and determined, by God's grace."

Bishop Cummins: "Will you then faithfully exercise yourself in the Holy Scriptures, and call upon God by prayer for the true understanding of the same, so that you may be able by them to teach and exhort with wholesome doctrine, and to withstand and convince the gainsayers?"

Dr. Cheney: "I will do so, by the help of God."

Bishop Cummins: "Are you ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God's Word; and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage others to the same?"

Dr. Cheney: "I am ready, the Lord being my helper."

Bishop Cummins: "Will you deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, [54/55] and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; that you may show yourself in all things an example of good works unto others, that the adversary may be ashamed, having nothing to say against you?"

Dr. Cheney: "I will so do, the Lord being my helper."

Bishop Cummins: "Will you maintain and set forward, as much as shall lie in you, quietness, love, and peace among all men; and diligently exercise such discipline as, by the authority of God's Word, and by the order of this Church, is committed to you?"

Dr. Cheney: "I will so do, by the help of God."

Bishop Cummins: "Will you be faithful in ordaining, or laying hands upon others?"

Dr. Cheney: "I will so be, by the help of God."

Bishop Cummins: "Will you show yourself gentle, and be merciful, for Christ's sake, to poor and needy people, and to all strangers destitute of help?"

Dr. Cheney: "I will so show myself, by God's help."

Bishop Cummins: "Will you, faithfully feed the flock of God, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of ready mind; neither as being lord over God's heritage, but being an ensample to the flock?"

Dr. Cheney: "I will do so, the Lord being my helper."

Then the Bishop offered the prayer: "Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who hath given you a good will to do all these things, grant also unto you strength and power to perform the same; that, He accomplishing in you the good work which He hath begun, you may be found perfect and irreprehensible at the latter day; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Then Dr. Cheney knelt down, and the Veni Creator Spiritus was said, the Bishop beginning, and the others responding.

The Bishop: "Lord, hear our prayer."

The Presbyters: "And let our prayer come unto Thee."

Bishop Cummins: "Almighty God, and most merciful Father, who, of Thine infinite goodness, hast given Thine only and dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Redeemer, and the Author of everlasting life; Who, after that He had made perfect our redemption by His death, and was ascended into heaven, poured down His gifts abundantly upon men, making some Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists, some Pastors and Doctors; to the edifying and making perfect His Church; grant, we beseech Thee, to this Thy servant, such grace, that he may evermore be ready to spread abroad Thy Gospel, the glad tidings of reconciliation with Thee; and use the authority given him, not to destruction, but to salvation; not to hurt, but to help; so that, as a [55/56] wise and faithful servant, giving to Thy family their portion in due season, he may at last be received into everlasting joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who, with Thee and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen."

The Bishop-elect then knelt at the chancel-rail, and the clergy and the Bishop placed their hands on his head, Bishop Cummins saying, as they did so:

"Take thou authority to execute the office and work of a Bishop in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands; In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

The Bible was then presented to Bishop Cheney by Bishop Cummins, who said, in handing it to him:

"Give heed unto reading, exhortation, and doctrine. Think upon the things contained in this Book. Be diligent in them, that the increase coming thereby may be manifest unto all men; for by so doing thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee. Be to the flock of Christ a shepherd, not a wolf; feed them, devour them not. Hold up the weak, heal the sick, bind up the broken, bring again the outcasts, seek the lost. Be so merciful, that you be not too remiss; so minister discipline, that you forget not mercy; that, when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you may receive the never-fading crown of glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Bishop Cheney then arose, and the Rev. Mr. Tucker advanced to the chancel-steps, and said:

"The collection now to be taken up is for the sustenation-fund of the Reformed Episcopal Church. The sustenation-fund is for the support of those ministers who may connect themselves with us, but who are obliged to leave their congregations in doing so."

A very large amount was taken up by the vestrymen, after which Bishop Cummins announced that, at the close of the next prayer, those persons who did not desire to remain through the administration of the Lord's Supper could retire. A most cordial and affectionate invitation was extended to all Christians of other churches to remain and commune with the congregation at the table of their common Lord. All the communicants of the Church were especially desired to commune on this day, for the first time, with the newly-elected and consecrated Bishop. After prayer about one thousand persons left the church, something over five hundred remaining and partaking of the communion, the bread and wine being administered by Bishop Cheney and Bishop Cummins.

When all had partaken, the following prayer was offered by Bishop Cummins:

"Most Heavenly Father, we beseech Thee to send down upon this [56/57] Thy servant Thy heavenly blessing; and so endue him with Thy Holy Spirit, that he, preaching Thy word, may not only be earnest to reprove, beseech, and rebuke, with all patience and doctrine; but also may be to such as believe a wholesome example in word, in conversation, in love, in faith, in chastity, and in purity; that, faithfully fulfilling his course, at the latter day he may receive the crown of righteousness, laid up by the Lord, the righteous Judge, who liveth and reigneth, one God with the Father and the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen."

The benediction was given by Bishop Cummins:

"The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord: And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you, and remain with you always. Amen."

This ended the services, and the vast assemblage went to their homes.


The church was again filled to its utmost capacity at the commencement of the evening service. Bishop Cummins preached upon the "Unity of the Church," taking for his text verses 21-25 of John xvii. At the conclusion of Bishop Cummins' sermon, Bishop Cheney announced that a collection would be taken up for the Sustentation Fund. He spoke of the joyfulness of the day for all who participated in the movement for the purification of the Church, and referred to the significance of this day as marking one of the bright events of Church history. He called upon the congregation to give liberally to the Sustentation Fund, which would be mostly applied to the aid of such clergymen as should lose their pastorates by reason of following the dictates of their consciences. The collection having been taken up, the services concluded with a prayer by Bishop Cummins, who asked the blessing of God upon their efforts and upon the newly-consecrated Bishop.

Bishop WHITE, in his Dissertation on Episcopacy (Philadelphia Edition, 1813) pp. 425 and 426), discussing the question, "whether Episcopacy be obligatory on Christians in all times and places, so that on this is dependent the being of a Christian Church?" alludes "to the very moderate ground taken at the time of the Reformation by the Church of England," and adds--"not only so, but many of her public proceedings show her care to avoid saying anything decisive on it, of which only the following instance shall be given. When the Episcopacy was conveyed by that Church to the Church of Scotland in the reign of James the first; it was pressed by some, that the ministers sent for consecration, should previously be ordained deacons and priests; their ministerial character being in virtue of ordination not episcopal. But Archbishop Bancroft--the very prelate accused by the Puritans of that day of carrying the Episcopal claims higher than had been done by his predecessors--overruled the objection--'lest the calling and character of the ministry, in most of the Reformed Churches, might be questioned.'

"Not long before this, Mr. Hooker published the first five books of his immortal work on Ecclesiastical Polity. Perhaps there is no work which, from the circumstances connected with it, has so good pretensions to be considered as evidence of the opinions of the leading churchmen of the period. The third of the books is devoted to the proof of what includes the negative of the present question. The same sentiment seems to have prevailed universally, from the Reformation until after the time of Hooker. At least, if there be opposing authorities, they have not come to the knowledge of the present writer."

"The stipulations which are made in Baptism, as well as in Ordination, do only bind a man to the Christian faith, or to the faithful dispensing of that Gospel, and of those Sacraments of which he is made a Minister; so he who, being convinced of the errors and corruptions of a Church, departs from them, and goes on in the purity of the Christian Religion, does pursue the true effect of his Baptism and of his Ordination vows."--Bishop Burnet on the XXXIX. Articles, Art. XIX., page 24s. American edition.

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