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effectual way to disguise a new office, and to prevent the mass of the people from suspecting it of either encroachment or innovation, was to give it an old name. When, therefore, one of the Pastors, in a city or district, began to assume pre-eminent honours and powers over his colleagues, instead of taking some new and high-sounding title, it was an obvious dictate of policy to content himself with a title which was common to his brethren. This policy was accordingly adopted. The plain title of Bishop, which was before given to all Pastors, and to which the people had been long accustomed, was still the only one which the aspiring individual ventured to employ. But it obviously would not have served the purpose either of convenience or ambition to continue this community of title when a new order had arisen in the Church. Some alteration of ecclesiastical language was necessary for the sake of being understood; and it was equally necessary that the alteration should be such as not to alarm or offend. The consequence was, that the ordinary Pastors gradually dropped the title of Bishop, leaving it to be the appropriate title of those who had succeeded in raising themselves above the rest, and consenting to be called Presbyters or Elders only.
When, therefore, our Episcopal brethren grant, as they all do, that the titles of Bishop and Presbyter, in the days of the Apostles, were interchange. ably applied to the same class of officers, and those ordinary Pastors of the Church; when they grant,
as they also universally do, that the former of these titles was gradually disused by ordinary Pastors and appropriated to Prelates; and when they fur ther concede, as they do with one voice, that the process of dropping this title on the part of the former, and appropriating it on the part of the latter, took up a period of more than a hundred years after the death of the Apostles;-I think no candid man can hesitate to conclude, that the necessity of this change in ecclesiastical titles, arose from the introduction of an order of officers before unknown in the Church.
What confirms this reasoning is, that we certainly know facts of a similar kind to have taken place very early. Dr. Bowden himself asserts that al. though Metropolitans existed, in fact, in the second century, yet that the use of this distinctive title, was but little known before the council of Nice, in the fourth century. It is certain that the title of Pope was frequently applied to Pastors in general, as early as the third century. We find Cyprian repeatedly called by this title, in the Epistles addressed to him. It was not until a considerable time afterwards, that the Roman Pontiff succeeded in appropriating to himself the title of THE Pope, by way of eminence. These examples are exactly in point. A policy which we know to have been adopted in other cases, we have every reason to believe was adopted in that under consideration. In short, our doctrine concerning the rise and progress of Prelacy is not only, in itself, natural and
probable; but it is so remarkably confirmed by early history, and especially by a variety of minute facts incidentally recorded, that my only surprise is, how any candid mind can withstand the evidence in its favour.
I HAVE now nearly completed my review of such
parts of Dr. Bowden's volumes, and of Mr. How's pamphlet, as appear to me worthy of notice. I have, indeed, passed over many passages in both, which might justly have been made the objects of severe criticism; but which I considered as either of too little importance to demand animadversion, or so obviously erroneous, as to leave no unprejudiced reader of the least discernment in danger of being led astray by them. It only remains that I make a few miscellaneous remarks, and then close a controversy which I unfeignedly regret that there should ever have been a necessity of beginning.
It was my intention to add another Letter on the Concessions of Episcopalians, for the purpose of vindicating and establishing what I had before advanced under this head*; and also of presenting a
* Dr. Bowden has made an insinuation with regard to one of the Episcopal concessions cited in my work, of which it is proper to take notice. He says he has examined Jewel's Defence of his Apology, and cannot find the passage which I pro
number of additional concessions from the works. of eminent Episcopal writers. To fulfil the latter purpose, I had made a large collection of extracts from the works of Bishop Jewel, Bishop Andrews, Bishop Morton, Bishop Hall, Bishop Taylor, Bishop Burnet, Bishop Warburton, Dr. Fortin, and several other Prelates and Divines, all containing sentiments very different from those of Dr. Bowden and Mr. How, and making concessions of the most decisive kind. But having already drawn out this work to a length greatly beyond my origi nal design, I am constrained to suppress the proposed letter, and to content myself with the Epis copal concessions already laid before the public.
But really, independent of the fear of trespassing on the patience of my readers, there is little use in collecting testimony for such opponents as Dr. Bowden and Mr. How. However abundant and pointed it may be, they appear to find no difficulty
fess to quote from that work, in my seventh Letter. He therefore infers that I have either taken the quotation at second hand, on the authority of some person who has blundered in the business; or that my references are to a different edition from that which he has consulted. I can assure this learned professor, who has, it must be confessed, much reason to plume himself on the fairness and accuracy of his quotations, that I possess a copy of the work from which my citation was made; that my edition is, like that which he professes to have consulted with so much care, (a folio, printed in 1570,) and that I am ready, whenever he will please to favour me with a visit, to show him the very words which I have quoted, in the very page referred to as containing them.