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“ first Bishop.” Palladius, according to this writer, did not introduce the gospel among the Scots ; they believed in Christ before he was sent to them; but he was the first Bishop, or Prelate, that they ever had. The same fact is attested by Cardinal Baronius, who says, “ Al men agree that this na“ tion, (the Scots, had Palladius their first Bi" shop from Pope Cælestine*.”
Dr. Bowden has no other method of evading the force of this evidence, but by insinuating, (as others, who were perplexed by the argument, had done before him,) that by the Scots these writers meant the Irish! This evasion is too ridiculous to be seriously refuted. It contradicts the most authentic historyt. And if Dr. B. will take the trouble to consult his own Episcopal historians, Skinner and Geodalit, he will be satisfied, that in adopting this notion, he has been led astray by blind guides. But, suppose that it were even so ; what advantage to Dr. Bowden's cause would result from this dis. covery? Would it not be a fact equally against him, if it were found that the Churches of Ire. land, instead of Scotland, were, under the govern- . ment of Presbyters, without Prelates, for more than 200 years after their being first planted ?
. Annal. 429. + Cardinal Baronius expressly distinguishes between the visits of Palladius to Scotland, and Ireland. His visit to the former country, he mentions in the manner cited above : that to the latter, he speaks of in a subsequent paragraph.
* Skinner's Ecclesiastical History of Scotland, wett:r 1.Goodall's Introduction to the History and Antiquities of Scot. land. Chapters 2. 7. and 16.
Dr. Bowden, in attempting to show the improbability that Prelacy was introduced after the Apostolic age, as a measure of human expediency, still insists that, if it were introduced at all, it must have been very suddenly. To corroborate this assertion, he represents some of the ablest Presbyterian Divines who have written on the subject, as acknowledging that Prelacy had been brought in as early as the middle of the second century. He assures us, more than once, that, among others, the learned Blondel concedes the existence of Prelacy as early as the year of our Lord 140, which was within fifty years of the death of the last Apostle. This is a misrepresentation; and a misrepresentation so extraordinary, that I know not how to account for it but by supposing that Dr. Bowden never saw Blondel's far-famed work. Whatever Dr. B. may say to the contrary, Blondel does not make such a concession as he imputes to him. The passage to which Dr. B. no doubt, refers, is found in the Preface to the Apology; and its import is, that, about the year 140, according to the best light the author had been able to attain, one of the steps toward the establishment of Prelacy was taken, which consisted in choosing standing moderators. If by Bishops be understood, not what the Scriptures and the Presbyterian Church mean by that title, but what Dr. Bowden and his friends mean, an order of clergy, who were alone invested with the power of ordination ; then it is perfectly mani
fest to all who ever perused Blondel's work, that its grand scope is to show the direct contrary of that which Dr. Bowden ascribes to him; and that for this purpose, he quotes Cyprian, Tertullian, Origen, and still later Fathers, who lived long after the year 140, to show that, in their day, Episcopacy, in the prelatical sense of that word, was not introduced. In short, Blondel's whole book is written to prove that Prelacy was not an apostolic institution; that it was brought into the Church grudually; and that it was several hundred years in gaining an establishment. Considering the frequency and positiveness with which Dr. Bowden undertakes to state the testimony of Blondel, he certainly ought to have understood it better.
Dr. B. also asserts that Salmasius, an acute and learned advocate of ministerial parity, makes a concession of the same kind with that which he as. cribes to Blondel. I have never seen the Walo Vessalinus of that celebrated Presbyterian; and cannot undertake with confidence to say that Dr. B. has misrepresented him also; but I strongly suspect this to be the case, and shall certainly require, after all that I have seen, better evidence of the contrary than his assertion. The learned Chamier and Du Moulin are also quoted by Dr. B. as making still more pointed and important concessions. But as he has not chosen to inform us where these concessions are to be found, I consider myself as liberated from all further obligation to notice them*. I am verily persuaded, however, that he has been deceived by the representation of others, and that he entirely mistakes the opinions of those writers.
After carefully reviewing all that Dr. Bowden has said on the rise and progress of Prelacy, I only think it necessary to offer and illustrate a single additional remark. It is this. That the indiscri- . minate application of the titles Bishop and Presbyter, during the first and second, and occasionally, as Dr. B. himself acknowledges, in the third century, furnishes, in my view, a most powerful argument in support of ministerial parity, and that in a point of light which I have not hitherto stated. The use of terms is to express distinct ideas. The use of official titles is to express in single terms official rank and powers. Now it is conceded by Dr. Bowden, and by Episcopalians generally, that the titles Bishop and Presbyter were applied indiscriminately, in the days of the Apostles, to designate the same order of clergy; and that both are most frequently applied, in the New Testament, to what they call the second order, or the Pastors of single Churches. They contend that the Apostles themselves were, strictly speaking, the Prelates of the apostolic Church ; and that the title of Bishop was, in fact, then applied precisely as the
It is really not a little extraordinary that Dr. Bowden, af
his promises to the contrary, ld so frequently guilty of this conduct.
Presbyterians now apply it, to every minister of the gospel who had a pastoral charge. This they all explicitly grant. But they insist that, in process of time, as the Apostles died, the title of Apostle was laid aside, and that of Bishop began to take its place, and to be restricted to an order of clergy superior to Pastors, and succeeding to the apostolic pre-eminence. But does not all this carry impro. bability on the very face of it? Is it likely that the inspired Apostles, or men immediately taught by them, when the Churches, for more than half a century, had been accustomed to employ a certain title to designate a particular class of ecclesiastical officers, would have adopted that very title to de signate a totally different class, and that when all the riches of language were open to their selection? Can it be supposed, above all, that this would have been done in a case in which, if we believe our Episcor: pal brethren, the distinction of orders has always been essential to the very being of the Church? It cannot be supposed. Had their object been to produce confusion of ideas, and perpetual inconvenience in the expression of them, they could scarcely have adopted a more direct method to attain their end.
But, on the other hand, supposing Prelacy not to have been an apostolic institution, but to have been brought in by human ambition, and that in a gradual and almost insensible manner, as we contend; then nothing is more natural than this indiscrimi. nate use of official titles in early times. The most