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Now, as Dr. Bowden, and his friends, acknowledge that there were no Archbishops in the Apostle's days, they must of course consider this testimony as false and worthless. On the other hand, one of the Fathers quoted by Dr. Bowden, (Chrysostom) in his Commentary on Titus 1. 5. speaks of that Evangelist in the following clear and decisive terms:
“ That thou mayest ordain Elders, say's the Apostle : he means Bishops. In every
city, says he, for he would not have the whole 66 Island committed to one man ;
every one should have and mind his own proper cure ; U for so he knew the labour would be easier to 6 him, and the people to be governed would have
more care taken of them ; since their teacher 6 would not run about to govern many churches ; “ but would attend to the ruling of one only, and
so would keep it in good order.”
Here Chrysostom expressly declares, that Titus was not the Bishop of all Crete ; that he was sent, not to take the fixed pastoral charge of the Island, but to place its churches under a permanent and regular ministry, that the Apostolic direction was to set a Bishop over every particular church: and that a single church was quite enough for a Scriptural Bishop to have under his care. In short, the whole passage is so entirely Presbyterian in its strain, that its force in our favour can be overlooked by none.
But one of the most extraordinary parts of Dr. Bowden's work, is that in which he undertakes to answer my argument drawn from the constitution of the fewish Syuagogue I had shown, in my second Letter, that the Synagogue worship universally prevailed among the Jews, at the time of our Lord's coming in the flesh; that the apostles, in organizing Christian Churches, willing to conform as far as possible, to the habits and prejudices of the first converts to Christianity, who were Jews, deviated as little as circumstances would admit from the synagogue model; that this model was Presbyterian in its form; and that the nature of the public service, the names and duties of church officers, the manner of ordination, &c. were all transferred from the synagogue to the church, It is not easy to exibit this argument in its native strong light before common readers, because few have any tolerable acquaintance with Jewish ana tiquities. But the more I reflect. upon it, the more deeply I am persuaded, that, when properly stated and understood, it will be found an argument of the most conclusive and satisfactory kind.
Dr. Bowden, however, views it as wholly des. titute of force. This, indeed, might be expected from a man, who, as we have lately seen, is hardy enough to dissent from a direct statement of the apostle Paul. But let us examine his objections and his reasonings..
In the first place, Dr. B. insists that the Chris. tian Church could not have been organized after the model of the Jewish Synagogue, because the synagogue did not, properly speaking, partake of the
character of a church; being a mere human institution, and resting on no other basis than human authority. He asserts, that my not adverting to this fact, is the foundation of my whole error ; and that the due consideration of it will completely destroy my argument. I trust, however, that a few remarks will be sufficient to show that the want of due consideration is on his part, and not on mine; and that the argument stands firm and unanswerable, notwithstanding all he has said.
When Dr. Bowden so confidently asserts that the synagouge was a mere human institution; that no Jew was under any obligation to attend upon its service, and that, being a mere creature of man, every one was at liberty, in the sight of God, to treat it as he pleased ;-when he makes these assertions, he ought to know that he is speaking wholly without authority. Who told the learned professor all these things ? If he can inform us when synagogues were instituted, by whom, and from what source the suggestion or command to establish them came, he will render a piece of service to ecclesiastical history, for which all its students will have reason to thank him : for, truly, no other person has ever yet been able with any degree of certainty to give us this information. But if he cannot give a decisive answer to any one of these questions, how could he dare to speak on the subject in the manner that he has ventured to do? It is certain that synagogues are mentioned in the 78th Psalm, and that they are there called synagogues of God. It is certain that putting an offender out of the synagogue, was a well known mode of speaking among the Jews, to express excommunication from the church; and it is equally certain, that our Lord and his apostles attended the synagogue service every sabbath day, and thus gave it their decided sanction. Now, all these taken together, look, to say the least, like something more than mere human contrivance. If, as some suppose, the synagogue was instituted by Ezra, after the Babylonish captivity, and none, that I know, ascribe to it a later, or less respectable origin, even this supposition will not aid Dr. Bowden, or countenance his reasoning. Was not Ezra an inspired man? And will not, of course, an institution of his, rest on substantially the same ground, as to authority, with an institution established or enjoined by Peter or Paul ?
But granting to Dr. Bowden all that he asks ; granting that the synagogue was a mere human institution ; that it made no part of the Jewish church, properly so called ; and that no Jew was under any divine obligation to attend on its service ;--what does he gain by the concession? No. thing. It is so far from destroying my argument, that it does not affect or even touch it. Dr. B. does not deny that synagogues existed, and were in use, at the time in which the apostles were called upon to form their Jewish converts into Christian churches. How they came into use, er by what authority they were introduced, are
questions foreign from the present inquiry. Again, Dr. B. does not deny, that every particular synagogue had three classes of officers, a bishop, el ders, and deacons ; that the peculiar office of the bishop, (or as he was sometimes called, the angel of the church) was to preside in the public service, and lead the devotions of the people; that the principal duty of the bench of elders, was to assist in ruling the synagogue, and administering its discipline *; and that the deacons, though sometimes called to the performance of other services, were particularly charged with collecting and distributing alms for the poor. Dr. B. does not deny, that ordination by the imposition of hands was always employed in constituting the synagogue ministry. And, finally, he does not deny, that reading the sacred scriptures, expounding them, and offering up public prayers, formed the ordinary service of the synagogue. He does not deny that all these were found in the Synagogue, and that none of them were found in the Temple service. This is conceding all that I desire, or that my argument demands. not what doubts may be started concerning the date or the origin of these institutions. All that I have to do with, are the great and indubitable facts, that they were in use among the Jews, and
* Dr. Bowden explicitly grants that there was a class of officers in every Jewish synagogue, similar to the ruling elders in the Presbyterian church. We shall hereafter see that this is an important concession.