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rule was adopted, that the senior presbyter should statedly preside. But some presbyters were not qualified to teach well, though well adapted to preside and take charge of the local church, and if found able and faithful in the discharge of this duty, they were, says the apostle, worthy of honor.
The term προεστως, and the kindred words in 1 Thess. 5: 12, and Heb. 13:7, 17, are therefore regarded by Gillespie, who was a leading member of the Westminster Assembly, as ordinary titles of the ordained pastor or minister of the church. And it is a further confirmation of this meaning of the word, that the term priest, which has never been thought to refer to any officer but the ordained minister,* "cometh, we know," says Cartwright, "not of sacerdos; but that it cometh of presbyter, for in Greek powotws approacheth far nearer
προεστως unto priest than πρεσβυτερος.
In Latin the word preses (that may be so called of præest) is much nearer priest than presbyter. And as for the French and Italian, considering that they are daughters of the Latin tongue, from whence commonly they are derived, it is apparent that they are rather derived of the words before mentioned, which are natural Latin words, than of presbyter, which is Greek born, howsoever it is (by use) devised in the Latin tongue.” Presbyter and bishop were therefore both of them titles of the Christian minister, and in their distinctive meaning applied only to them; the term presbyter being adopted from the Jewish synagogue, and the term bishop from the Greek language. I
ALL THE PRESBYTERS HERE SPOKEN OF, WERE THEREFORE TEACHERS, AND CALLED TO MINISTER IN WORD AND DOCTRINE. The qualifications necessary for a teacher are, we have seen, every where required by this same apostle, of presbyters or bishops, (1 Tim. 3: 2, Titus 1: 9, &c.) when he sets himself explicitly and fully to define the office and duties of the presbyter; and therefore we must carry these explicit definitions of the office into the interpretation of the present passage. The term presbyters here, therefore, must refer to teachers, since we have in the previous history heard of no others; and the fact that all are also characterized as those that "rule,” is in no way inconsistent with this view, since we have proved that this function of government or jurisdiction, as well as that of teaching, belongs to all the teaching presbyters or bishops.* The capacity to teach and to rule belongs to ALL PRESBYTERS, and is, we think, attributed to all in this passage. And the emphasis and distinction implied in the word "especially," must refer not to any distinction of order or office, but of appointment and labor. Those presbyters-whose function it is to teach and to rule—who at the sacrifice of all ease and comfort, and in the face of danger and death, go forth among the heathen around, and there “labor" and toil in preaching to such hardened and blaspheming enemies “the word and doctrine," THESE, says the apostle, are “worthy of even double honor."
$Miscellany questions, ch. ii. $ 7, p. 22.
*In its present acceptation, this word, as synonymous with sacerdos, is most dangerous and heretical, since it implies the offering of sacrifice. The word ιερευς, of which it is a translation, is never therefore, in the New Testament applied to its ministers, but only to the Jewish or Pagan priests. There is no priest under the New Testament, except Christ its head, who is a priest for ever. See on this subject Cartwright's Confut, of the Rhemists on Acts 14: 22, p. 292. See also Whatley on Romish Errors, and in many other places.
See Presbytery and Prelacy, pp. 37, 109, 110, and Coleman's Primitive Church, p. 20.
The sense here given of the verb translated “labor” has been already noticed, and is referred to in a passage of the Apostolical Constitutions, † where it is taught that "to presbyters also, when they labor assiduously in the word and doctrines, let a double portion be assigned." It is here unquestionably made the duty of all the presbyters to preach, but it is to that kind of ministerial effort denominated laboring, that double honor is to be given. "In no part, whatever, of the New Testament," says Mosheim, “is the verb labor made use of, either absolutely or conjoined with the words in word and doctrine, to express the ordinary labor of teaching, and instructing the people. But I observe that St. Paul, in various places, applies this verb, and also the noun, sometimes separately, and at other times connected with certain other words, in an especial sense, to that kind of labor which he and other holy persons encountered in propagating the light of the gospel and bringing over the Jews and heathens to a faith in Christ. In Romans 16: 12, (to pass over what is said in ver. 6 of one Mary,) the apostle describes Tryphæna and Tryphosa as laboring in the Lord; and Persis, another woman, as having labored much in the Lord, or which is the same thing, for the sake of, or in the cause of the Lord. Now what interpretation can be given to this, unless it be that these women had assiduously employed themselves in adding to the Lord's flock, and in initiating per
*See Presbytery and Prelacy, B. I. ch. vi. Lib. ii. ch. xxviii.
There are various allusions in this very section to the fact that presbyters were to preach, and also "to offer the eucharist.”
$Commentary, on the Affairs of the Christians, &c., vol. i. pp. 216, 217. See also Goode's Divine Rule of Faith, vol. ii. p. 62. Riddle's Christian Antiquities, B. iii. ch. iv. § 2, pp. 231, 232, 233. See also 231. Lightfoot's Works, vol. iii. pp. 258, 259. Voetius' Politica Eccles. tom. iii. p. 439, &c. Neander's Hist. of the Planting of Christianity, vol. i. pp. 174, 178. Also, Hist. of the Chr. Rel. vol. i. pp. 189-191, “Presbyters for ruling well, are worthy of double honor, specially for laboring in the word.” See also this view of the passage urged at length by Macknight, Comm. in loco. vol. iii. r. 206, 207. See also Neander's Hist. of the First Planting of Christianity, vol. i. p. 177.
sons of their own sex in the principles of Christianity? The word appears to me to have the same sense in 1 Cor. 4: 12, where St. Paul says of himself, “And we labor, working with our own hands." By laboring, I here understand him to have meant laboring in the Lord or for Christ; and the sense of the passage appears to me to be, "Although we labor for Christ, and devote our life to the spreading the light of his gospel amongst mankind, we yet derive therefrom no worldly gain, but procure whatever may be necessary to our existence by the diligence of our hands." And when in the same epistle, 1 Cor. 15: 10, he declares himself to have "labored more abundantly than all the rest of the apostles,” his meaning unquestionably is that he made more converts to Christianity than they. It would be easy to adduce other passages in which by laboring, whether it occur absolutely or in connexion with some explanatory addition, is evidently meant not the ordinary instruction of the Christians, but the propagating of the gospel among those who were as yet ignorant of the true religion; but I conceive that the citations which I have already made will be deemed sufficient. We see, therefore, that it might not, without show of reason and authority, be contended that by “the presbyters who labor in the word and doctrine,” are to be understood such of the presbyters as were intent on enlarging the church, and occupied themselves in converting the Jews and heathens from their errors and bringing them into the fold of their Divine Master-and not those whose exertions were limited to the instructing and admonishing of the members of the church, when assembled for the purpose of divine worship. And nothing could be more natural than for such to be pointed out as more especially deserving of a higher reward, and worthy to be held in greater esteem than the rest.
The practice of the churches in subsequent times further expounds this text; for having few learned and able speakers, he that could preach best preached ordinarily, and was made chief, or bishop, or president, while the rest assisted him in government and other offices, and taught the people more privately, being however regarded as of the same office and order with him, and preaching occasionally as necessity or usefulness required.* It is true that when the prelates came to engross the power and authority of the ministry, they claimed the exclusive right to preach, while presbyters were only allowed to preach by their permission; and Dr. Miller deduces from this an argument in favor of the application of the term presbyter to lay or ruling elders; but that this was a tyrannical assumption of unconstitutional power, and neither the general rule nor the general custom, cannot be doubted.*+ “Unto priests as well as unto bishops is committed the dispensation of God's mysteries, for they are set over the church of God, and are partakers with bishops in the teaching of the people and the office of preaching," says one ancient council. “It is a very bad custom," says the Council of Constantinople, "in certain churches for priests to hold their peace in the presence of the bishops, as though they did either envy or scorn to hear them contrary to the apostle," etc. Gregory thus speaks in his pastorals: "Predications officium suscipit, quis ad sacerdotium accedit," whosoever taketh priesthood upon him, taketh upon him also the office of preaching. “Seeing to you," says Gregory of Nyssa, "and to such as you, adorned with hoary wisdom from above, and who are presbyters indeed, and justly styled the fathers of the chruch, the word of God conducts us to learn the doctrines of salvation, saying, ask thy father and he will show thee; thy presbyters, and they will tell thee.” And so also, the first council of Aquisgranense, A. D. 816, most explicitly attributes to presbyters the function of preaching, and of administering the sacraments. It was in fact the general doctrine of all the fathers, that the words addressed by Christ to Peter, "feed my sheep,” were addressed to all the ministers of Christ; and thus Suicer, in entering upon his illustration of the term presbyter from the Greek fathers, defines presbyters as those to whom is committed the word of God, or the preaching of the gospel.* Such is the clear determination of the fathers and of those who have most thoroughly studied their works. “The business of preaching," says the learned Le Moyne, "belonged to the apostles, bishops, and the early presbyters"-and this he confirms by a long series of witnesses. Vitringa defends the same opinion, $ and says. “Surely nothing can be more certain, nothing in ancient his. tory more plainly brought to light," than that presbyters were capable of all the offices of the bishop or pastor, of which he makes an enumeration. Yea, verily, even as late as the time of Jerome, "What could a bishop do which a presbyter could not do, except in the matter of ordination ?"** in which custom and usurpation had given a precedency to the latter.
*Baxter on Episcopacy, Pt. II., p. 122. Apost. Fathers, ed. Cotel. Tom. i. p. 624.
We have now then, we think, made it evident that in the primitive church, presbyters were, by their very office, preachers;tt and that there was as a general rule a plurality of them
**Vitringa shows that the custom of the African Church was an exception, p. 489. De Vet. Synag. *See Presbytery and Prelacy, p. 126.
Not. ad Polycarpi Epist. p. 35, in Vitringa, p. 497. See pp. 484, 485.
$See p. 486, and especially p. 489. **Ep. ad Evagr. 1. c.
See further proof in Presbytery and Prelacy, p. 157, &c. and 164, &c.
in every church, just as was the case in the apostolic churches. The presumption, therefore, arising from these facts in favor of the interpretation now given to the passage in 1 Tim. 5:17, is exceedingly strong, and this presumption will be greatly increased by the additional fact that in the fathers, the very term
POEOTWTES, here translated ruling, and now imagined to refer to our ruling elders, or lay representatives of the people, is employed to denote (as we think it does in this passage) the president, moderator, or superintendent of the presbytery, who was pre-eminently the pastor and preacher of the church.If In proof of this, we request attention to the following examples:
Polycarp, in his letter to Valens, recognizes the authority of the presbyters over him, their co-presbyter, and represents him as having been “made a presbyter among them."* Clemens speaks of “the presbyters appointed over the church at Corinth, as having the gifts, ETLO KOTIS, or the episcopacy.t
Thus Justin Martyr mentions the προεστως των αδελφων, who was a presbyter, who presided, and offered up the eucharistic prayers. He calls him "that one of the brethren who presides.” Irenæus, in describing the succession of bishops, calls them "presbyters, presiding among their brethren." Such were Soter, Victor, and others, who are now glorified into popes, but who, in the days of Irenæus, were only peo Butepol ov POLO TAVTEs, presiding or ruling presbyters. Clement of Alexandria, places the honor of bishops in their having the first seat in the presbytery, that is, among the other presbyters, πρωτοχαθεδρια. Tertullian also represents the government of the church as resident in the council of presbyters, ecclesiastici ordinis consessus, of which the bishop was the antistes, praesidens, or summus sacerdos. “The presidents that bear rule, are, says he, “certain approved presbyters.”łt Even Ignatius describes the bishop as the officer of an individual church, and as occupying the first seat, epoxaOnuvove. The apostolical tradition ascribed to Hippolytus, represents the bishop or moderator asking the presbyter of the church over which a pastor was to be set apart, “whom they desire for a president?" ov ALTOUVTAL EUs apxovta. The setting apart of the
?ον εις αρχοντα siding bishop, or presbyter, was, by “the deacons holding the divine gospels over his head,” while presbyters were ordained by imposition of hands; nor is there any proof that the prelates, or presiding bishops, were separately ordained by imposition of hands, before the third century.*+
1 These terms are all synonymous in their derivation. *Dr. Wilson's Prim. Gov't, p. 227.
Ibid. Apol. ad Anton. Sect. I. c. 67. Dr. Wilson's Prim. Gov't, p. 227. **Ibid. p. 228.
11 See in Archb. Usher's Reduction of Episc. 11Dr. Wilson's Prim. Gov't, p. 229. **Dr. Wilson's Prim. Gov't, p. 229.