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years before the Synod of Dort, argues as uniformly and strongly in favour of Presbyterian principles, as any champion of Presbytery that ever appeared. I cannot forbear particularly to observe, that Bem larmine turns in every direction, and strains every nerve, to set aside the testimony of Jerome ; and for this purpose, in almost every instance, employs exactly the same arguments and the same subter. fuges with Dr. Bowden: While Junius pronounces and proves his arguments to be futile, and his subterfuges unavailing, and the testimony of that celebrated Father to be precisely what the friends of parity have ever considered it*.
The learned Sadeel, a French Protestant Divine, contemporary with Calvin and Beza, has frequently been represented by Episcopal writers, as friendly to their claims, and even as acknowledging the apostolical institution of Episcopacy. What the opinions of this Reformer really were, will appear from the following quotations. In answer to a learned Popish Doctor, who, like some of our zealous Episcopalians, warmly contended that the power of ordination was confined to diocesan Bishops, he declares, “ This Sorbonne Doctor objects, " that our ministers are only Presbyters, and not “ Bishops ; and therefore could not ordain other “ ministers, since only Bishops have a right to or“ dain.' That this opinion is false, I shall imme.
* Fr. Junii Animadversiones in Bellarm. Contrar. v. Lib. 1. Cap. 5, 6, 7.
diately show. It is evident, from the word of * God, that Bishop and Presbyter are the same. “ This appears from Titus 1. 5, from Acts xx, and “ from Philip 1. 1.
But the Doctor will reply, ". that the names are indeed used interchangeably " in the passages above stated; but that the offices " themselves are carefully distinguished in Scrip“ ture. But, I answer, when the Presbyters are “ called Bishops, the Apostle is, in such places, “ treating not of the names and titles only, but of " the office and function itself. For when he ex. “ horts the Presbyters of Ephesus to the right ex“ ercise of their office, he adds this reason, that " the Holy Ghost had constituted them Bishops ; " and, therefore, he says, not that they were only “ called so ; but that they were, in very deed, con“ stituted such Bishops. So that the answer touch“ ing the confusion of names is quite overthrown.
-But the Sorbonne Doctor tells us that Paul enjoins Timothy to lay hands suddenly on no man, " and, therefore, none but Timothy had the right 1 of ordination. But this conclusion is utterly “ without foundation; for Timothy is also enjoined
to reject fables, and to give attendance to read.
ing, exhortation, and doctrine, &c. Did Timo. " thy, therefore, arrogate all these things to himu self alone? Did they not belong to Presbyters, " who, by Paul's testimony, laboured in the word " and doctrine? Timothy's episcopacy at Ephesus “ cannot be made good by any testimony of Scrip“ ture." Again—“ If we allow to Presbyters the “ right to preach the Gospel, to administer Bap.
tism, and to celebrate the Lord's Supper, upon “ what imaginable ground can we deny them the
right to ordain? Therefore such as exclude
Presbyters from the right to ordain, show them. "selves to be grossly ignorant both of the nature " of ordination, and of the Pastoral office.” And in support of all this reasoning, and much more, which I am compelled to omit, he quotes the famous testimony of ferome, and pronounces it to be conclusive. He quotes also Irenæus, Ambrose, and Augustine, as giving testimony which co-incides with that of Jerome; and adds," I cite these, be
cause the Papists esteem the authority of the " Fathers, more than that of plain declarations of " Scripture*."
But, in addition to all this, there is testimony of a different kind. It not only appears, from the public Confessions, and individual declarations, which have been quoted, that the Apostolical insti. tution of ministerial parity was believed by the Lutheran, as well as the Reformed Churches ; but it is evident that they were considered by others as having avawed their belief in that docrine.
The famous Cardinal Bellarmine certainly under. stood the Protestants of his day generally to hold the equality of Bishops and Presbyters by divine
* Oper. Theol. Tom. 1. Tract. De Legitima vocatione Pastorum Ecclesie. p. 65-67.
right.“ If," saith he, “ Episcopacy be a sacra
ment distinct from the Presbyterate, it will be easy to prove that a Bishop is, both in order and jurisdiction, greater than a Presbyter, by divine
right; which now, ALL THE HEretics (the Pro“testants DENY*." De Sacramento Ordinis, Cap. 5. And in his work, De Clericis, he makes a similar declaration in terms equally express. For having asserted that a Bishop is superior to a Presbyter, by divine right, both with respect to order and jurisdiction, he ascribes the contrary doctrine to Aerius, to Wickliffe, to the Lutherans, and the Calvinists. Cap. 14.
Crakenthorp, a learned divine of the church of England, contemporary with Bellarmine, speaking of Luther, and the other Reformers on the continent of Europe, expresses himself in the following terms. “ They have not, I know, Bishops, distinct from
Presbyters, and superior to them; but at the same “ time, they do not teach, as Aerius did, that minis" terial imparity is contrary to the word of God. * They do not condemn it. They hold that, by " the word of God, and divine right, either parity,
or imparity is luwful; and that every Church
• Bellarmine was contemporary with Archbishop Whit. gift. It seems that, at that time, the Cardinal knew of no Protestants who held to the divine right of Prelacy. It is evi. dent, therefore, that this doctrine was then either wholly un. known in England, or maintained by so few, that they were not considered as worthy of being recognized as an exception.
“ has authority or power to admit either the one or " the other as it thinks best*."
On these documents I shall not trouble you with many remarks. They speak a language so uniform, decided, and conclusive, that it can neither be mistaken nor resisted. And they establish, beyond the possibility of dispute, that all the leading Reformers were firm believers in the primitive parity of ministers. That this was the opinion of Luther, Melancthont, and all the principal die vines of their communion, has been abundantly proved. That Calvin was uniformly of the same opinion, will be demonstrated in the next Letter. That the Saxon, Helvetic, French, Belgic, and Bohemian Confessions, all declare in favour of this
* Defensio Ecclesiæ Anglicana. Cap. 42. Sect. 6.
† It has been said that Melancthon, on a certain occasion, expressed a willingness to submit to the power of Prelates, provided they would become patrons of the Reformation. This is true. It is also true, that the same pious and amiable, but too accommodating, Melancthon, when he subscribed the famous Smalkald Articles, annexed to his subscription a declaration, (which is still to be seen,) that he was willing to allow the Pope a superiority over all other Bishops, for the sake of the peace of the church; provided he would aid in reforming the church. And it is as true as either, that by these concessions, Melancthon gave great offence to the Protestants of his own communion, and complains in one of his letters, of the resentment which they manifested against him on this
See Melancthon's Epistles, near the beginning of the volume. Having mislaid the notes which I made, at the time of perusing the passage, I am not able, at present, to make a more particular reference.