V. The Historic Episcopate. By the Rev. Wm. P. Ten Broeck, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Seabury Divinity School, Faribault
(D). "The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of His Church."--Lambeth Quadrilateral.
AS the nineteenth century runs to its close, this humiliating fact stares us in the lace. The Church of Christ, though coterminous with civilization, sits powerless to save her own children from Moslem and Buddhist fanaticism. nerveless in the presence of heathenism, helpless to guide the counsels of them that govern, or sway the hearts of them that dwell in Christian lands. Yet, when but a feeble flock, she conquered the Romans, converted the barbarian invaders, mastered the heathen Germans and Northmen, subdued the Slavs and Saxons. And [141/142] why this sad contrast? Because she is divided against herself by conflicting forms of government. Of old, Bishops, in brotherly emulation, concentrated the energies of the Church against the common foe. Differences of doctrine provoked quarrels, indeed, and dissensions, but they never crippled the Church, or stayed her onward march, so long as a common allegiance prevailed. They rather enlarged her energies. Loyalty to the same government makes parties sources of strength, and differences of opinion promotive of a truer statesmanship. When dissensions run into dissent, when patriotism is lost in partisanship, when rival rulers are set tip, then weakness and war ensue. So now, Pope against Patriarch; Presbyter versus Bishop; Preacher contra Presbyter; and Congregationalism at issue with them all--this is the spectacle that must almost make angels weep. Hence come the bitter rivalries, which exhaust the Churches at home, stunt and starve the Missions abroad, provoke the sneer of the skeptic and the sarcasm of the heathen, arouse the contempt of the Turk, [142/143] alienate the masses, and compel the organization of Salvation Armies, Temperance Societies, Christian Associations, Leagues, etc., to try and do the Church's work. The very names--Popery, Episcopacy, Presbyterianism, Congregationalism--show that the divisions turn on questions of Polity.
My Major Premiss, then, is, that a uniform Polity, adapted to the needs of the various nations, is the one thing the Church most wants. My Minor Premiss is, that the Historic Episcopate, as set forth by our House of Bishops, and reissued at Lambeth by the Bishops of the Anglican Communion, is the only Polity that can supply the want.
As you are aware, four terms of Unity were laid down by the Bishops. In the first three there are differences between the first and final form. In the fourth, not so much as a word was altered. As to this, the Anglican Churches, all around the seas, in no wise doubt, in no way differ. That counts for much in the struggle and the issue. For it goes without saying that, in [143/144] all things hereafter to be done in Christendom, the Episcopal Churches of the Anglo-Saxon race will have the largest influence, wielding, as they do, the greatest religious force of the British Empire, and no small force in the United States.
It is not to be expected that the assertion of the necessity of Episcopacy should be welcome to those from whose Church Polity it has been eliminated. But, if it was a serious mistake to reject it, and if it is a great damage to the cause of Christ to refuse it, as we believe it to be, loyalty to our Lord compels us to say so. Episcopacy is not our device or peculiar possession. It is a sacred inheritance which we have received from Christ and His Apostles, along with the Bible, Creeds, and Sacraments. It is a trust which we hold for the common weal of Protestantism. And so far from being ours exclusively, we are but a fraction among the Christians who hold to it as of necessity. Only our peculiar position in the midst of the Protestant Churches causes it to seem to be our distinctive feature and forces us to emphasize it.
 All existing non-Episcopal forms of Church Polity were fashioned in the sixteenth century, by men, great, undoubtedly, and good, but certainly not inspired, or specially commissioned of God. Were these at all alike, there might be some plea for claiming that they are only a recovery of what had been lost. But Luther's Super-tendency, and Calvin's Consistory, and Melville's Presbytery, and Browne's Independency, are so entirely inharmonious, that the conclusion is inevitable, that these gentlemen were simply reconstructing the Polity of the Church according to their own fancy, and contrary to the facts of the fifteen centuries that lay between them and the Lord Christ. And as works of fancy are called Novels, and the story of facts is called History, we are compelled to call their Politics novel, and the Polity, which is according to facts, "Historic."
The base fact of all is this. Government by Bishops was universal in the Church from the beginning of the second century to nearly the middle of the sixteenth. So says the Deist [145/146] Gibson. "After we have passed the difficulties of the first century, we find the Episcopal Government universally established till interrupted by the Swiss and German Reformers." Prof. Sohm of Leipsic, a Lutheran, asserts that, "In the beginning of the second century, the Presbyters were subject to the Bishop, whose name had a peculiar sense, and whose office had legal authority." Bishop Browne, in his Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles, declares, that for "scarcely any of the undoubted events of ancient history does there exist anything like the weight of contemporary evidence, that we have in proof of the prevalence of Episcopacy, in the second century." "There is not a single great Church Historian from the Magdeburg Centuriators to Mosheim and Neander," says Bishop Thompson, "who does not admit, that when the struggling Chrisitianity of the earliest day breaks into the light, it is Episcopal."
 How, then, came this to be? It came as Creation came. "God said, Let it be." It was so ordained by the Apostles, at the command of Christ, and under the direction of the Holy Spirit. This is our contention. Our reasons for the same are, as follows:
"Bishops are by the will of Jesus Christ," says St. Ignatius. "The Apostles instituted Bishops in the Churches," says Irenaeus. "The order of the Bishops of the Seven Churches of Asia rests upon St. John as its author," says Tertullian. These are the witnesses of the second century. Later on, Cyprian, Athanasius, Ambrose, and Jerome adopt the same, while St. Augustine declares, that "everybody knew that the Lord appointed Bishops."
"Possession, actual and undisputed, constitutes, in time, sure and sufficient title," says [147/148] Blackstone. Bishops had actual and undisputed possession of authority for more than fourteen hundred years. Therefore their title is original and valid. Such is the Law of the matter.
"What is held by the Church," says St. Augustine, "and has not been ordained by a Council, must be of Apostolic authority." [Adv. Don. 5, 24.] That Episcopacy was held by the Church, everywhere in the early part of the second century, is beyond gainsaying. It was not ordained by a Council. Therefore it is of Apostolic authority. Such is the Logic of the situation.
"An innovation or usurpation on Apostolic order," says Bishop Hobart, "could not have received universal sanction in the age next to that of the Apostles, without opposition or explicit record." There is no vestige of opposition to Episcopacy in the second century; no line recording its introduction. Hence it was not an innovation or usurpation, but an Apostolic order. Such is the dictate of Common Sense.
 "We fear not," says Judicious Hooker, "herein to be bold and peremptory, that the first institution of Bishops was from heaven--the Holy Ghost was the author." For we believe in the Holy Ghost, and in the Holy Catholic Church. And we believe that in her He resides, for her He decides, over her He presides. Therefore from Him came her Polity. Such is the conviction of Faith.
"Christ loved His Church," says St. Paul, "and gave Himself for her." The Bride of His Love could not, would not--could not be forced, would not be allowed to, leave at once the Shepherds of His choosing and run after strange and self-appointed pastors. This is the declaration of Love.
Having, therefore, as we think, testimony law, logic, common sense, faith, and love in support of our contention, we abide steadfast in our conviction that Episcopacy is of Divine origin.
But this, it is said, is a presumptuous claim. uncharitable and exclusive. And why more presumptuous than the claim that Presbyterianism, [149/150] or Congregationalism, is the only Divinely ordained Polity! To presume is to take up without warrant. And who have done this? Surely not we, who have only maintained what the ancient Church delivered to us. They, who have altered the customs and orders of fifteen centuries, are the presumptuous and self-willed, despising government, and speaking evil of dignities. And as for uncharitableness. Is it charity to brand as a usurpation the chosen government of the entire primitive and mediaeval, and four-fifths of modern Christianity? Is it charity to put Bishops under the tan as tyrants and intruders, to drive them out of Court and Commons; to stamp the tens of thousands of Presbyters, who sustain them, as abettors to tyranny; and the millions of laymen, who support them, as incapable of knowing that they are under bondage? Exclusive! indeed! Why Episcopacy includes and requires the office and Divine authority of Presbyters. Presbyterianism and Congregationalism exclude the Bishops and denounce
them as usurpers. Which is the exclusive? And which is the comprehensive system?
The advocates of Presbyterianism, being mostly followers of Calvin, believe that all things are done absolutely according to God's will. They declare the Divine call to be always effectual, and the final perseverance of Saints to be eternally decreed. And then they affirm that the regulations of the Apostles were wilfully annulled by their immediate disciples; that the calling of Presbyters to rule the Church availed nothing to keep out usurping Bishops; and the perseverance the Saints failed before the plottings of an ambitious hierarchy.
A strange sort of predestination this, which concentrates the Divine energy upon the sorting out of individuals into elect and reprobate, and leaves the Church to be the victim of human willfulness.
Are God and Nature then at strife?
So careful of the type she seems,
So careless of the single life.
Yes, if Episcopacy be a usurpation of the [151/152] Divine right of Presbyterianism, God and Nature are at strife.
So careless of the Church God seems,
So careful of the single life.
For, according to this theory, the grace of God was freely given to enable the Church to preserve the Bible and Sacraments, and to fashion Creeds; but no grace was given for keeping intact the Divine Ministry which is for the Church's weal and direction. This she despised, and denied, and dethroned, at once, in favor of usurping Episcopacy. At length, after fourteen hundred and fifty dreary years, John Calvin restored it, for such as would recognize his Divine mission. Alas! however, the great mass of Christians were so perverse as to persist in believing that God had not forsaken His Church, and so obstinate as to insist upon retaining the Ministry, which had come to them from the same hands as the Bible, the Sacraments, and the Creeds. This is what we are asked to believe. Credat Judaeus Appella.
 In justice, however, to Calvin, it must be , that he asserted that, "in the Apostles' days, there was not equality among the ministers of the Church, but one was placed over the rest in authority and counsel." He simply claimed the right to alter. He did not pretend to restore. His excuse for setting aside Episcopacy was, that it was necessary and expedient so to do. But his plea of necessity has swollen into an assertion of the original right of Presbyterianism, and claims, that Calvin never dreamed of, are now set forth as stamped and sealed with a Divine warrant. "Astonishing transformation," a recent advocate of the Presbyterian theory calls this alleged sudden and universal change to Episcopacy. I should say it was. As astonishing and unlikely as the transformations of Aladdin's lamp.
But, I am reminded that Jerome, an eminent Christian Father, asserts that Presbyterianism was the Divinely ordained Church Polity.
What have you to say about this, Jerome?
 "Before the days, when it was said, I am of Paul and I of Apollos, the Churches were governed by a council of Presbyters. But afterwards it was decreed in the whole world, that one, chosen from among the Presbyters, should be set up over the rest and have the entire charge of the Church." [Comm. on Titus.]
When did you live?
Three hundred years after the time of the Apostles.
You evidently then do not speak from personal or direct knowledge. Do you state it as an accepted, historic fact?
O, no! only as my inference from Holy Scripture.
Indeed, then, it is not history. Did any of your contemporaries agree with you?
There is no record of any.
Have you the name of any one that lived before you who agrees with you?
 To whose authority do you ascribe the introduction of Episcopacy?
To the authority of the Apostles. This I have more than once asserted.
For what reason did they introduce it?
"To remove the seeds of schism."
Presbyterianism then, you believe, failed to prevent schism?
Yes, I think it fostered schism.
And Episcopacy is, in your judgment, necessary for the preservation of unity and was introduced for that purpose?
I have so expressed myself.
That will do, Jerome. If our Presbyterian friends can find any comfort in your statements, they are welcome to it. I wish they would as candidly note your explanation of the abolition of their Polity, as they cordially cherish your opinion of its antiquity.
"Development from Presbyterianism in the natural course of events" is a mild, modern phrase, devised to get rid of the Apostolic origin of Episcopacy. "Natural course of events.'' [155/156] Is that Divine? or Darwinian? or Pickwickian? If Divine, then is Episcopacy Divine. If Darwinian, Christian Darwinianism makes the process of development an operation of God, and then Episcopacy is Divine. To deny its Divine origin makes this phrase Pickwickian. Any way it is a begging of the question. For the very point at issue is, what was the form of government at the first. We want proof, that it was anything else than what it was afterwards. High sounding phrases ought to have some basis of fact. The baseless fabric of a wish, requires a better buttress than the theory of development. For what is development? It is a process of change, in which continuity and similarity can be plainly traced. Where these are lacking, we call a decided change a creation, or a revolution. Now, no one will affirm that there is any continuity or similarity between Episcopacy and Presbyterianism. They are clean contrary, in principle and practice. Therefore, the substitution of the one for the other could only be made by creation, or [156/157] revolution. Of course, Presbyterians would deny that Episcopacy was a creation, for then it would be Divine. It can only, therefore, have come in by revolution. An ill-sounding word, of a truth, to apply to the acts of the primitive Church, but that is what sudden changes of government are called in all common fairness. Under no other name can the bitter hostility to Episcopacy be honorably accounted for.
Again, it is said, Episcopacy provoked and justified its rejection at the time of the Reformation. It was so bad. Yes, there were bad Bishops then; some of them simoniacal, some of them sensual, some almost Satanic. But why? Because Popes and Kings were in league together to appoint Bishops, who could pay large fees, and sustain large pretensions. They were politicians, not Churchmen; Peers of the realm, not Pastors of the flock; Attaches of the Court, not attached to the Cathedral. But put the blame where it belongs. Not on the Church, not on the institution; but on the age, on the Kings, on the Popes. And blame not indiscriminately. There were [157/158] many good Bishops like Herman of Cologne, or Honest Hugh Latimer. Anyhow, which was the more manly thing? To reject Episcopacy, or abolish its abuses? In England, Sweden, Moravia, Episcopacy was preserved and purged. And its influence has gone out into all the world. What might not have been, if those, who abolished it, had joined in the magnificent task, which has brought the Bishops of all Communions to be of one mould in abundant labors and splendid lives, however they may not be of one mind. I challenge our Republic to show anybodies of men more useful as leaders in good works, or more eminent as patterns of godliness, than our own House of Bishops, or the Roman Council of Prelates. In such an Episcopacy is the sternest rebuke of Mediaeval Prelacy, the fullest warrant for its own maintenance, and the amplest guarantee for its ultimate triumph. Its abuses have gone with those of kingship. Its use, its advantage, nay, its necessity is becoming every day more evident and convincing. Calvin once said, that he was deserving of [158/159] anathema who should refuse to reverence and obey Bishops, who subject themselves to Christ, as their only Head, and trace their authority to Him. I commend his words to his followers of the present, when such Bishops are and abound. I dare to 'say, that not a few of those, who, at Lambeth, made the Historic Episcopate a term of unity, are of that kind, whom to reverence is a duty, whom to obey is a delight. Yes! the non-Episcopal Churches, and above all the Presbyterian, could furnish many most fit to rule in the Kingdom of God. O! what a mighty impulse would the cause of Christ receive, if some of these would be no longer content to abide as simple pastors among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks, but would come forth and be governors in Israel!
But there is small hope of help from the Presbyterian Church in restoring Church Unity, if these words following fairly exhibit their spirit:
"The General Assembly of the Bishops and Elders of the Presbyterian Church recognize the Historic Episcopate. They themselves adhere [159/160] to the Presbyter-bishop of the New Testament and the Apostolic times. They find this Presbyter-bishop in all ages of the Church in unbroken succession until the present day. They have endeavored to adapt this presbvterial-episcopate to the needs of the American people, and are ready to make any further adaptations that may seem to be necessary or important, and that do not conflict with the teachings of the New Testament. At the same time, they deem it their duty to testify against any claim of the Diocesan Episcopate to the exclusive right of ordination, as without warrant from the word of God, and as one of the chief barriers to Christian union."
It is clear enough that the Presbyterians propose to cling tenaciously to their peculiar Polity. I would that they might have set forth their views in phrases more fair. "Bishops of the Presbyterian Church," they avow themselves to be; and since a Church, that has Bishops, is an Episcopal Church, this means that they are an Episcopal Church. Verily, this is almost grotesque. A polity, created and named of a purpose to get rid of Bishops, claiming now to be [160/161] made up of Bishops! The times have indeed changed, and some folks are strangely changed with them. But, candidly, my friends, is it fair to ignore the use which the word "Bishop "has had in law and in language for eighteen centuries, and to summon its departed meaning from its place of rest to do duty in Christian controversy? Usage governs among the world's people. It is a pity it cannot among Christ's people. Strange things can be brought to pass, by this sort of juggling with words. Our President might call himself Emperor. For is he not Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy? And that is what Emperor meant originally. I hardly think it would be safe for him to try it. It is a wonder that the Presbyterians have not availed themselves of the fact that a Diocese was a parish in Constantine's day, and insisted that, as a parish Bishop is only a Presbyter, we are really all Presbyterians. What a wonderful way this would be to settle the vexed question of Church Polity! How stupid the Irish have been, not to see that, because they are the original Scots, [161/162] they are the rightful partners in the union between England and Scotland.
Again, "they adhere to the Presbyter-Bishop of the New Testament." And where in the New Testament is this compound word to be found? The word Bishop and its derivatives occur in the original eleven times. Twice it is used of God, once of Christ, once of the office of Apostle, six times of the office of Presbyter, once of ever\-Christian. Few words in the Bible have so wide an application. This is what makes it so eminently suited as the name of an Officer, who is Divine in authority, from Christ by derivation, Apostolic in succession, chosen from among the Presbyters, and yet bound by the sins and duties of an humble Christian. To make a compound word of Presbyter and Bishop, as though they were identical in use, is a sort of word-coinage one would not have looked for from a Christian mint. It has very much of the ring of the debased issue of a political campaign.
 Again, "they find the Presbyter-bishop in unbroken succession in all ages of the Church." Of course they find a succession of Presbyters, because the Bishops kept it up. And they did also maintain a succession of Bishops and Deacons, in order to perpetuate in its fulness the Ministry which the Lord ordained. But this succession, the most palpable fact of history, these learned gentlemen coolly ignore. Certainly, not because they do not know that it is the succession of Bishops, and not of Presbyters, which is in dispute; or because they do not know that Ecclesiastical usage, centuries ago, settled the meaning of the word Bishop, as the designation of a Successor of the Apostles, in distinction from a Presbyter. It is to be presumed that the Council of Chalcedon is a truer exponent of correct Christian phraseology than the Presbyterian General Assembly. Its venerable Fathers declared it to be "a sacrilege to reduce a Bishop to the rank of a Presbyter." To the verdict of such an august tribunal we are more than content to leave this scheme of [163/164] compounding the words Bishop and Presbyter, in order to confound them. Richard Hooker called this verbal sophistry "a lame and impotent kind of reasoning." Age and use have not improved its quality. No word fencing can parry the force of his peremptory challenge. "We require you to find but one Church upon the face of the whole earth, that hath not been ordered by Episcopal regimen since the time of the Apostles." No compounding of words can set aside the cogency of the statement of the English Reformers. "It is evident unto all men, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures and ancient authors, that from the time of the Apostles these have been three orders of Ministers in Christ's Church, Bishops, Priests and Deacons."
These three great facts present themselves to one seeking for the truth. 1. For fifteen hundred years the Church lived and worked without Presbyterianism, and under Episcopacy. 2. For three hundred and fifty years since, nine tenths of the Christian world have gone on, unconvinced of the preeminence of the claims and [158/159] desirability of Presbyterianism, and persuaded of the rights and efficiency of Episcopacy. 3. After a trial for the same period of time, Presbyterianism has made scarce any impression on the English, and has almost disappeared from among the French and Swiss. Scotland is the only country of which it ever obtained control, and there, where it is the Established Church, and in America, where it has had a perfectly free field, it has parted into six, or more, opposing factions. While Episcopacy has been retained not only by all the unreformed Churches, but also by the reformed Churches of the British Empire, Sweden, and Denmark, the great Protestant nations of Europe. It is, moreover, a tremendous force in the Protestantism of Germany and America, and has everywhere maintained unity and prospered greatly. These are facts, that, like Banquo's ghost, will not down at the bidding of any theory. Their compelling logic we set over against the logic of the use of obsolete meaning of words, assured that there is no danger that the Presbyterian Bishop will ever supersede the [159/160] Apostolic Bishop. Yea! having with us the overwhelming majority of living Christians, and happily conscious, that of the glorious host, who are tenting at the gates of the Celestial City, a hundred to one were folded in Episcopal Churches, we are content, nay, constrained, to abide under the rule of Bishops.
But while Episcopacy, as a Polity, is of such long continuance, wide acceptance, and august origin, it exists under three different sorts. Hence the necessity of the word "Historic" to specify that for which we stand. These three are: 1. The Lutheran, which is also the Methodist. 2. The Roman. 3. The Anglican, Russian, Greek, Swedish, Old Catholic, Armenian, Nestorian, Moravian, Coptic, Abyssinian: i.e., "The Historic."
The Lutheran view is this: The Divine Law makes no distinction as to rank and prerogative among the Ministers of the Gospel, yet it is necessary to the preservation of unity that some Ministers should hold a rank and possess powers superior to the rest." [Mosheim, iv., ii., 1, 4.] In Germany these [166/167] are called Superintendents; in Denmark, Bishops. This sort of Episcopacy has no Divine original or succession, but is simply a human device and an elective function. Methodist Episcopacy is of the same character.
The Roman theory is, that Bishops have, by God's appointment, authority in the Church, superior to Presbyters, with the exclusive right of ordination, but they are Satraps or Commissioned Officers of the Pope, in all things to him subordinate, and upon him dependent, as speaks the Vatican Council: "The Pope has full and supreme power of jurisdiction, ordinary and immediate, in all matters of faith and morals, discipline and regulation, over all Pastors and people." Plain enough this and pretentious enough.
The Historic view is, that Bishops have, by God's appointment, authority in the Church, superior to Presbyters, with the exclusive right of ordination, and are subject only to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Canons of the Church.
 From a comparison of these views it is evident that the Lutherans and Romans are diametrically opposite. It is evident that in allegiance to the Pope lies the difference between the Roman view and the Historic. An enormous difference, but much common ground remains--a comforting thought in the discussion of Church Unity. It is also evident that as to the necessity of Episcopacy, in some form, as a bond of unity, the Lutheran view and the Historic are at one, but away apart as to its origin and authority. Lutherans and Methodists strip their Bishops of all special Divine authority, and make them mere exponents and agents of the people's, or preachers', will. Romanists strip their Bishops of all direct Divine authority, and make them mere exponents and agents of the Papal will-The Historic Episcopate ascribes to Bishops both special and direct Divine authority, and makes them exponents and agents of God's will, and the will of the Church, as expressed in her Canons.
 Now none but the wildest devotee of Rome can imagine that Protestants, Russians, and Greeks will ever submit to the Papal See, while tokens abound everywhere of another reformation in the Church of Rome. On the other hand, evidences are multiplying that the Lutherans are reaching out after a more real Episcopacy. Both the reformation and the reaching must result in the adoption of the Historic Episcopate. For minus the Papacy, or plus the Superintendency, equals the Historic Episcopate.
How felicitous is that phrase, "Historic Episcopate"! How grandly it refers the question of the form of Episcopacy to the verdict of the only true tribunal, that of History, where the logic of law and the logic of facts determine the issue, and records and events supply the evidence. How deftly it asserts that Polity alone to have authority and validity which is set forth in the Canons and Decrees of the Church; whose use explains the progress; whose abuse accounts for the decay; whose non-use has caused the dead-ness of the Church, at various periods. Before [169/170] the august tribunal of History let us present our plea and pray for an answer.
It seems very strange that, when the Lutherans concede Episcopacy to be necessary for the order and harmony of the Church, they should not ascribe it to God's ordaining, and esteem it accordingly. Pray! what is human necessity but the Divine opportunity? "That our Heavenly Father knoweth that we have need" is the very basis of Providence and Religion. What! Episcopacy necessary, and not ordered of God! And it is the followers of Luther that say it! Mirabile dictu! It is passing strange. And it is most sad and significant that Lutheran Episcopacy has not produced order and harmony. In North Germany the Lutheran Church is kept together only by State support and control. A recent Lutheran writer confesses that, independent of the State, Church government would be turned into party government, and that would be fatal to the life of the Church. Frederick William III., of Prussia, when petitioned to give autonomy to the Lutherans, said he would, [170/171] if the "right hands," that is, real Bishops, were provided. William I., of Germany, declared that, lacking State control, only a strong Episcopacy could keep the Lutheran Church from going to pieces. In America the existence of four big rival synods and a number of independent little ones justifies his assertion. A sad sight this; the disintegration of the Church which bears the honored name of Luther.
Nor has it fared any better with Methodism. How manifold its divisions, even in its short term of existence! Its Episcopacy, as an adhesive cement, has not proved a conspicuous success. It reminds one of the mended china seen sometimes on public exhibition. It carries great weight, but it won't stand hot water.
"Bishops," says the Augsburg Confession, "have the power of the ke3rs. Their duty is, by Divine appointment, to preach, remit sins, judge of doctrine, exclude the wicked; and the Churches are bound to obey such Bishops agreeably to Christ's Word, "He that heareth you heareth Me.'" Good words these for our Lutheran [171/172] brethren to ponder. They describe perfectly our own idea of Episcopacy. They prove that it is they, not we, who have wandered away from the principles of the Fathers of the Reformation. In September 1784, by the imposition of hands and prayer, John Wesley, Presbyter, did set apart the Rev. Thomas Coke, Presbyter, to be a "Superintendent" for America. Three years later, this title was changed, by a vote of the Methodist Conference, to '' Bishop.'' Whereupon, Wesley wrote to Dr. Asbury: "How can you? how dare you suffer yourself to be called a Bishop? I shudder. I start at the very thought. Men may call me a fool, a rascal, a scoundrel; and I am content. But they shall never with my consent call me Bishop. For my sake, for God's sake, for Christ's sake, put a full end to this." Good words these for the followers of the sainted Wesley to ponder. Our Episcopacy is that for which he contended, under which he lived, in communion with which he died. Methodist Episcopacy has no warrant from him, but only rebuke and rejection.
 To Rome's idea of a Bishop, we give most hearty consent. From her Papal annex, we most emphatically dissent. From this Medusa head, with snaky tresses, and an "I," that turns all it looks upon into stone, we recoil. And we assert unhesitatingly that the records of history show that the Papal authority was secured by fraud, and the events of history prove it to be fatal to liberty and Christian unity.
In evidence of this we will take a glance at the table of contents of Church History. In the early period, six Oecumenical, and some three hundred Provincial, Synods picture for us the mind and methods of the Church. Up to the conversion of Constantine, the Bishops of each Province came together, as, and when they could, and took counsel and order for all matters of discipline, now consulting with, and anon rebuking, their beloved brother of Rome. After that event, the Councils enlarged their scope. Constantine called one at Rome, A.D. 313, as a tribunal to settle the Donatist quarrel, but so limited was the authority of the [173/174] Roman See, that this proved to be but little more than a moot-court. Another Council had to be called at Aries. It was this Council that settled the question. The judgment of Rome was not accepted as a decision by the Church. So St. Augustine affirms.
To Constantine also was due the plan of holding Oecumenical Councils, whose binding force no Church is more ardent than the Roman in maintaining. And yet, the entire six, that are universally received, lack every element and trace of Papal jurisdiction. The Bishop of Rome had no share in summoning them. Neither his advice nor consent was asked. At none of them was he present. The decrees were not submitted to him for ratification, nor issued in his name, but in that of the Emperor. Nay more, the (Ecumenical Councils repudiate Roman Supremacy. The first of Constantinople decreed, that the Bishop of Constantinople should have equal rights of honor with the Bishop of Rome. Chalcedon re-enacted the same with this notable comment: "The one [172/173] hundred and fifty Bishops at Constantinople gave to the most Holy See of New Rome equal privileges with the See of Old Rome, rightly judging that the city, honored with the Sovereignty and Senate, and enjoying equal political privileges, should also be made alike great in matters ecclesiastical." Ephesus enacted that, "No Bishop should presume to assume control of a Province that had not been his from the beginning, and should give it up if he had done so; that the Canons of the Fathers be not violated, and lest thevanities of worldly honor be brought in under pretext of sacred authority, and so, losing it, little by little, we at last forget the liberty which Christ hath purchased with His Blood." Listen! it is the voice of Prophecy, whose fulfilment is found in the story of the Roman See. The intoxication of temporal power and possessions; then the fiction of Divine Vicegerency; and, at last, the loss and, what is worse, the forgetfulness of liberty, as in the fable of Circe. The anathematizing of Pope Vigilius, as a defender of heresy, by the Second [175/176] of Constantinople, and the excommunication of Pope Honorius, as himself a heretic, by the Third of Constantinople, emphasize, most effectually, the repudiation by the other CEcumenical Councils of the Roman Supremacy.
By reason of the fact that it was a body representing the whole Western Church, I add the testimony of the Council of Frankfort, called by Charlemagne, A.D. 794, to consider a request of Pope Hadrian, that a decree should be issued sanctioning the worship of images. The Council deliberately refused to do so, and condemned the opinions of the Pope.
"In no Canon then," so say the living Bishops of Constantinople, and so say we, "and in no Father, for eight hundred years, does any hint occur that, in any way, the Bishop of Rome is the Head of the Church, or an infallible judge of other Bishops, or the Vicar of Jesus Christ."
The Middle Ages are the period of the weary and dreary story of papal ambition and intrigue. The popular idea, assiduously cultivated by the advocates of Roman claims, is that the Pope had [176/177] everything, then, his own wav. Whereas, the fact is, that the Churches of Asia, Africa, and two-thirds of Europe, never yielded one whit to his authority. Only in the western third of Europe, containing, at the most, scarce sixty million souls, did the Pope at any time receive any homage. Crusades against heretics, and Inquisitions; in France, Pragmatic Sanctions; in Germany, the Code of Melfi; in England, Magna Charta and Statutes of Praemunire and Pro-visors; in Italy, Republican leagues--show that these countries were in chronic rebellion. So that it is simple fiction to assert that the Papal authority was ever widely accepted or acceptable. For a time, false Decretals and spurious Canons gave it a basis of assumed legality. But peaceful submission there never was, to any large extent; or authorized recognition. The real attitude of the Church in the Middle Ages toward the Papal supremacy is shown by the actions of the three Councils of the fifteenth century. At that of Pisa, two Popes; and at that of Constance, three Popes were deposed. At both of [177/178] these, and also at Basle, General Councils were declared to be superior to the Roman See.
Modern history is largely the story of resistance to the Papal claims. Their sanction by the Councils of Trent, and the Vatican, and their continual intrusion into the affairs and policies of the nations, have been the provoking cause of continual disturbance and legislation, from the Parliamentary Acts of Henry VIII. in England, to the late decrees for the expulsion of the Jesuits from almost every country of Europe. Out of the six great Powers, four are distinctly hostile, and would not allow a subject of the Pope to hold the reins of government. A fifth is--well, it is France. Austria alone is loyal, apparently. In the regions of liberty, power, and progress, the Papacy is simply tolerated. In the weak and decaying nations--some of them--it is obeyed. We may, therefore, dismiss to the limbo of the fairies the thought that Papal monocracy will ever become a center of unity for Christendom. With the Bishops of Constantinople, we can unhesitatingly say: "We are filled with [178/179] unspeakable sorrow when we see the Papal Church refusing to contribute to the sacred cause of reunion, by a return to the ancient constitutions of the one, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ."
With these other words of the same Bishops, we pass to the subject of the Historic Episcopate. Each national Church wholly independent and self-administering; governed by its Bishops in synods assembled, with all the Bishops on a perfect equality; each Bishop, also, absolutely independent and free within his own jurisdiction, subject, however and always, to the Decrees of the Councils--such was the ancient constitution of the Church. And such is the nature of the Historic Episcopate, which our Bishops assert to be one of the principles of Unity exemplified by the undivided Church Catholic during the first ages of its existence. Here is a perfect agreement between the Greek Church, with its large following and historic prestige, and the Anglican, with its wide influence and world wide ramifications. An agreement which includes [179/180] also the ancient Churches of Africa, the illustrious Church of Sweden, the devoted Moravians, and the resolute Old Catholics. The Historic Episcopate is already, therefore, so wide spread, so comprehensive, so diverse in its adherents, so extensive in its diffusion, as to form an actual, practical, existing basis of Unity for a majority of the estranged families of God.
And this is its glorious pedigree, by which it exhibits its lofty lineage. In the Jewish High Priesthood was its type and foreshadowing. In the Lord Jesus Christ was its first and full realization. He was the primal Bishop. In the Acts of the Apostles-we find the expansion of the office into a College of itinerants, having both joint and separate jurisdiction over all the Churches. In the Epistles to Titus and Timothy, and the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, we see the jurisdiction localized, and separate Dioceses created. In Constantine's masterly and sagacious reconstruction of the Empire was found the ready basis, upon which the whole system of Episcopacy was organized into [180/181] Provinces and Dioceses, and locally adapted to the varying needs of the several peoples.
And this is the glorious record by which it has asserted its Divine power. In the days of the planting of Christianity, Bishops were the directors of Missions and the organizers of Churches. In the era of persecution, they were the counsellors and enduring supports of the suffering flocks. In the age of heresies, they were the conservers and expounders of the Faith. Amid the horrors of barbaric invasion, they furnished the wise sagacity and fearlessness which wooed the rude sons of nature from their fierceness, and won them for Christ and civilization. In the dreariness of the Dark Ages, they fostered the learning that lit up the gloom, and supplied the rulers with their Chancellors and Counsellors of State. In the troublous times of the Reformation, they revived and preserved Apostolic order, in England, and Sweden, and Moravia. Under the brutalities of Moslem rule, they have maintained the life and vigor of Oriental Christianity. Episcopacy is to-day [181/182] one of the greatest living forces of Christianity; not alone in the British Empire, Sweden, and America, and in the domains of Russia, and in the Orient; but the enormous vigor which the Roman Church possesses is due to her Episcopal organization, and is in exact proportion to the independence and freedom of her Bishops, which are measured by their relative remoteness from the Pope.
But some one will say: Granting all this, is it necessary to make Episcopacy a condition of unity? Is it right to place it along with the Bible, Sacraments, and Creeds? Can there not be unity of heart, of charitable cooperation, of fraternal intercourse; perhaps, even of common worship, without insistence upon any one form of government? That depends upon what we want unity for. If only for dress parade, or platform exhibition, then let the question of government alone. But if we desire to conquer the world for Christ and to bring to naught the kingdom of evil, I trow that uniform government is of the first importance. Were men ever [182/183] yet bound together effectively, or enduringly, by any other tie than that of common government? Did Alliance ever do it?--which, being built up upon sentiment, is dissolved by selfishness. Did a League ever do it?--which, being the creation of self-interest, is the victim of ambition. Did Confederation ever do it?--which, being the result of compromise, is the prey of jealousy Greece fashioned an Alliance. Gaul formed a League. Rome organized a Government. And Rome conquered both Greece and Gaul. The Hohenstaufens were at the head of a Confederation: the Popes at the head of a strong Government. The result is writ at large in history. Our forefathers established a well governed Union. Some of their descendants set up a Confederacy. The Union abides. The Confederacy is a completed chapter. But why multiply instances? We all know that, in the loss, or for the lack of, a strong central government, nothing can atone or compensate.
Moreover, in the great Universe, what is the basis of harmony, but submission to the one [183/184] Lord and Governor of all? No laws of attraction, or cohesion, or motion, can bind the stars together and make them tread in their appointed circuits, except as they rest upon this supreme fact. And how can it be otherwise in the Church? Revelation, Faith, Sacraments cannot dispense with, or supplant, the order of government which the Lord established. These all lead tip to and require a Ministry to preserve them and make them effectual, and if the Ministry be not one, then will not these be one. And indeed, alas! they are not.
Furthermore, what is schism but a revolt from the government of the Church--a setting up of a rival organization, of another ministry? It is the ecclesiastical equivalent of secession. How then is Christianity ever going to be healed of its schisms, except by a return to the form of government from which the schismatics seceded? Oh! that men would only stop to think seriously, then would they see that this question of Church Government lies at the very basis of Unity; and that to ignore it would be a farce, to [184/185] omit it would be a fraud. Our Bishops have not set forth the Historic Episcopate as one of the final terms of Unity, because it is their own view and possession; or even because it is primitive, practical, and widely prevailing; but because it is fundamental, indispensable, and necessary. Compromise, or evasion, is too apt to be the object of men's utterances. Some schemes of unity, lately set forth, read as though they were spoken of a purpose to avoid or defeat it. Sometimes God moves men to utter words of spirit and of life, of power and inherent truth. Such, I believe, are those words of the Lambeth Conference: "The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of His Church." Certainly, if History can teach us any lessons, and God's Providence is therein the controlling factor, then will the principle, set forth in these words, go on conquering and to conquer, until all who bear the name of Christ are at unity among themselves.
 In the future, as in the past, Episcopacy will draw to itself those ardent souls, who, weary of schism, desire to dwell in the fellowship of the Apostles. The vested interests, and wilfulness, and selfishness of sectism are too strong to allow hope of speedy realization of full unity. But mighty- cyclones of judgment will yet sweep away the vested interests. The Spirit of God will either control, or conquer, the wilfulness. And as for selfishness, surely it must be shamed into love, as down into the souls of men the Grace of Christ distils the infinite pathos of His Passion prayer: "That they may be one in Us, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me."