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“ all care of the Church should belong, that the « seeds of schism might be taken away.
suppose that it is merely my opinion, and not that • of the Scriptures, that Bishop and Presbyter are “ the same, and that one is the name
the “ other of office, let him read the words of the " Apostle to the Philippians, saying, Paul and Ti
mothy, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints m in Christ Jesus that are in Philippi, with the Bish.
ops and Deacons. Philippi is a city of Macedonia, « and certainly, in one city, there could not be
more than one Bishop, as they are now styled.
But at that time they called the same men Bishops “ whom they called Presbyters; therefore, he " speaks indifferently of Bishops as of Presbyters. “ This may seem, even yet, doubtful to some, till “ it be proved by another testimony. It is written “ in the Acts of the Apostles, that when the Apos“ tle came to Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called " the Presbyters of that Church, to whom, among " other things, he said, Take heed to yourselves, “ and to all the
flock over whom the Holy Ghost hath “ made you Bishops, to feed the Church of God which “ he hath purchased with his own blood. Here ob
serve diligently, that calling together the Presby" ters of one city, Ephesus, he afterwards styles “ the same persons Bishops.
“ These things I have written to show, that among the ancients, Presbyters and Bishops
were the same. But, by little and little, that « all the seeds of dissention might be plucked up,
" the whole care was devolved on one.
As, there“ fore, the Presbyters know, that by the custom of " the Church they are subject to him who is their “ President, so let Bishops know, that they are
above Presbyters more by the custom of the “ Church, than by any real appointment of Christ.”
In his epistle to Evagrius, he speaks in the same pointed language, asserting, and proving by the same quotations from Scripture, that in the begin. ning and during the Apostle's days, a Bishop and a Presbyter were the same thing. After having done this, he proceeds thus:-“ As to the fact, that af“ terwards, one was elected to preside over the rest, “ this was done as a remedy against schism ; lest
every one drawing his proselytes to himself, u should rend the Church of Christ. For at Alex" andria, from Mark the Evangelist, to the Bishops
Heraclas and Dionysius, the Presbyters always “ chose one of their number, placed him in a su. “ perior station, and gave him the title of Bishop. “ In the same manner as if any army should make
an Emperor, or the Deacons should choose from
among themselves, one whom they knew to be “ particularly active, and should call him Arch66 deacon."
Dr. Bowden, and his friends, do not hesitate to acknowledge, that Jerome represents some alteration of the original constitution of the Church as having early taken place; but they insist that, according to him, this alteration took place during the time, and under the authority of the Apostles. Is
Dr. B. then prepared to adopt the opinion, that the inspired Apostles at first adopted a form of government, which in a little while, they found ill-judged, and insufficient to answer the purpose; and that they then altered it for a better? Yet if there is any meaning in part of his reasoning, this is the amount of it! But besides the blasphemy of the suggestion, Ferome could not have intended to say that this alteration took place during the times of the Apostles, because he quotes the Apostolical epistles to prove that it had not taken place at their date ; and particularly in his epistle to Evagrius, he quotes the second and third epistles of John to show that Presbyterian parity existed when they were written, which was about thirty years, after the schism at Corinth, which Dr. Bowden asserts is the period assigned by Jerome for the rise of Prelacy. Jerome further tells us, that the practice of setting one of the Presbyters above the rest, was brought in by degrees; which could never have been the case had it been founded on a distinct and positive order of the Apostles. And, as if this were not sufficiently explicit, he adds, to take away all possibility of mistake, “ Let the Presby.
ters know that they are subject to him who is
set over them by the custom of the Church; and " let the Bishops know, that they are greater than “ Presbyters, rather by the custom of the Church, " than by any real appointment of Christ."
If I were further to take up your time, breth, ren, in exposing the various attempts of Dr. Bowden
to set aside this plain and unequivocal testimony of Ferome, I should trespass on your patience, and insult your understandings. I have only to say, that some of the most learned and able advocates of Prelacy, as well as others, have understood yerome as we understand him, and have confessed that he decisively maintains the Apostolic origin of Presbyterian parity. To establish this fact, the most pointed quotations might be adduced, almost without number. The few following will be sufficient.
The celebrated Episcopal Divine, Dr. Saravia, explicitly grants that Jerome was against the divine right of Episcopacy: “ Jerome's opinion,” says he,
was private, and coincided with that of Aerius*."
The learned prelatist, Alphonso de Castro understood Jerome in the same manner. He sharply reproves a certain writer who had endeavoured to set aside the testimony commonly derived from that Father in favor of Presbytery, and insists that the testimony, as usually adduced, is correct. “ But Thomas Waldensis," says he, " truly is de“ ceived; for Jerome does endeavour to prove " that, according to divine institution, there was
no difference between Presbyter and Bishop.” He afterwards adds, " Neither ought any one to “ wonder that Jerome, though otherwise a most " learned and excellent man, was mistakent."
• De Gradibus Minist. Evangel. Cap. 23. t Contra Heres. p. 103, 104.
Bishop Jewel understood Jerome as we do, and expressly quotes the passage which is commonly quoted by presbyterians, to show that this Father asserts the original equality and identity of Bishops and Presbyters*.
Bishop Morton interprets Jerome in the same manner. He expressly acknowledges that Jerome represents the difference between Bishop and Pres. byter as brought into the church not by divine, but human authority. He further asserts, that there was no substantial difference, on the subject of Episcopacy, between Jerome and Aerius. And further, that not only all the Protestants, but also all the primitive Doctors were of the same mind with Feromet.
The learned Episcopalian, Professor Whitaker, Goncured in this interpretation. “ If Aerius," says he, was a heretic in this point, he had Jerome to « be his neighbour in that heresy ; and not only di him, but other Fathers, both Greek and Latin,
as is confessed by Medina. Aerius thought that
Presbyter did not differ from Bishop by any di. “ vine law and authority ; and the same thing was " contended for by Jerome, and he defended it by " those very Scripture testimonies that Aerius didt.”
• Defence of his Apology.for the Church of England, p. 248. f Cathol. Apolog. Lib. 1. p. 118-120. # Controo. iv. Quest. i. Cap. iii. Sect. 30.