« PrécédentContinuer »
were to send out a company of two or three missionaries; and, for the sake of convenience, were to convey their instructions in the form of a Letter to the oldest and most prudent of the number; would this individual have reason to consider himself as a person of a superior order, on account of such a circumstance ? Again, when we ordain a minister, the person who presides in the ordination generally recites to the newly admitted brother many passages from the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, seldom omitting, in particular, the injunction-Lay hands suddenly on no man. But no mi. nister ever considered this mode of address, as constituting him the sole ordainer in any case in which he should afterwards act. It would be as reasonable to say, that, because the Apostle gave Timothy direction about public preaching, therea. fore he alone was empowered to preach ; or,
be. cause he was instructed with respect to some parts of public prayer*, therefore he only was allowed
By the way it is not a little remarkable that the Apostle should content himself with giving Timothy only general directions with respect to public prayer, and even these only with regard to some of the objects of petition. Where were the Liturgies of those tiines ? Had Forms of Prayer been so ins dispensably necessary, or, at least, so pre-eminently impor. tant, as our Episcopal brethren, tell us they are, and always have been, why did not Paul, or some other of the Apostles, furnish the churches with Liturgies written by themselves, and under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Ghost? How shall we account for it, that instead of sending Timo, thy a Form, he only laid down for him a few general words
to pray. But there would be no end to such ab. surdities. It is really wonderful that gentlemen who appear to be serious, should lay so much stress on arguments, much better calculated to pour ridicule on their cause, than to afford it efficient aid.
But, admitting that Timothy and Titus each acted as sole ordainers at Ephesus and Crete the probability is, that they did not; but, supposing it proved that they did, it does not affect the question in dispute. Although Presbyterians, wishing to conform as perfectly as possible to Scriptural example, require a plurality of ministers to be present, and to lay on their hands in ordination ; yet I have no reason to suppose that any Presbyterian minister or church, would consider an ordination performed, in a case of necessity, by a single Presbyter, as null and void. Supposing it proved, therefore, that an inspired Apostle, in a new and unsettled state of the church, sent forth Evangelists singly to preach, ordain, and organize churches, it would establish nothing, either way, material to the present controversy.
Every thing, therefore, that Dr. Bowden has advanced to establish the prelatical character of Timothy and Titus, is perfectly nugatory. It is all mere assumption, instead of proof; and were it
of direction ? But this is not the only instance in which the Apostles appear to have been of a different mind from some modern churchmen.
not for the respectable character of the author, would be totally unworthy of reply. He has no where proved that these ministers went to Ephesus and Crete in a higher character than that of itinea rant Presbyters. He has no where proved that they were the fixed pastors or bishops of the churches which he undertakes to assign to them. He has no where proved that there were Presbya ters in those churchés, before these Evangelists were sent thither, who might, on Presbyterian principles, have performed the rite of ordination, without the trouble and expense of sending special missionaries to só great a distance. He has no where proved that Timothy or Titus was, either of them, the sole ordainer in any case.
He has no where, in short, established a single fact concern ing either of them, which has the least appearance of prelatical superiority. Even if he could estab. lish these facts, his point would not be gained. He would, after all, be obliged to show, that they took place in a regular and established and not in a new and unsettled state of the church; and that they were intended to serve, in every minute particular, as precedents. But he has not proved, and cannot prove, either the one or the other. I therefore repeat, with increased confir dence, the closing sentence of the discussion of this subject in my former Letters. “ ment which our Episcopal brethren derive from · Timothy and Titus is absolutely worth nothing i « and after all the changes that may be rung upon
6. The argu
“ it, and all the decorations with which it may 66 be exhibited, it amounts only to a gratuitous as" sumption of the whole point in dispute.”
As to the testimony adduced from the Fathers, to establish the prelatical character of Timothy and Titus, it is more, much more, suited, in the view of all intelligent readers, to discredit than to aid the Episcopal cause. I had quoted from Dr. Whitby, an eminent Episcopal divine, the following passage.—“ The great controversy concerning " this, and the Epistle to Timothy is, whether “ Timothy and Titus were indeed made Bishops, " the one of Ephesus, and the pro-consular Asia; 66 the other of Crete. Now of this matter I con“ fess I can find nothing in any writer of the first 26 three centuries, nor any intimation that they 66 bore that name.” Dr. Bowden virtually concurs in this statement of Dr. Whitby; for though he speaks with much confidence of the testimony of the Fathers on this point, yet the first authentic witness *, among the Fathers, whom he brings
“ From a
* Dr. Bowden does, indeed, adduce one witness, whom be places before Eusebius, in the following words. “ fragment of a treatise by Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus, « towards the close of the second century. This fragment “ is preserved in Photius's Bibliotheca, and quoted by Arch« bishop Usher in his discourse on Episcopacy. In that “ fragment it is said, that “ Timothy was ordained Bishop
of Ephesus by the great Paul." Nobody has ever seen the original work of Polycrates ; but Photius, who was Patriarch of Constantinople, toward the close of the ninth century, has preserved, it seems, a fragment of it in his Bibli:
forward is Eusebius, who says, “ it is related that
Timothy was the first bishop of Ephesus.” Now Eusebius does indeed say so; but he also declares, generally, that his sources of information were exceedingly scanty and uncertain ; and, in particular, he confesses, that it was not easy to say, who were left Bishops of the several churches, by the Apos. tles, except so far as might be.gathered from the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles of Paul. Eccles. Hist. Lib. III. Cap. 4. Here, then, is the sum of the evidence from the Fathers, as to this point. Eusebius stands first on the list. He quotes as his authority, the New Testament. All the others, as Ambrose, Epiphanius, Jerome, Chrysostom, &c. follow Eusebius. The fathers, then, virtu. ally confess that they knew no more of the matter than we do; and of course their whole testimony is, to us, perfectly worthless.
But some of the Fathers speak on this subject in a manner that is somewhat unfortunate for the Episcopal cause. On the one hand, several of them represent Timothy and Titus, and especially the former, as more than a single Bishop, as bearing the dignity of an Archbishop, or Metropolitan.
otheca. This Bibliotheca has been seen, and is quoted, we are told, by Archbishop Usher, " in his Discourse on Epis.
copacy." But as Dr. B. has no reference, by means of which this fragment may be found, either in the “ Bibliotheca," or in the “ Discourse," I consider myself as absolv. ed from all obligation to pay it the least attention. Did not Dr. B. promise to act in a more “ scholar-like" manner!