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ginning, and during the Apostles' days, a Bishop and a Presbyter were the same thing. He then goes on : 'As to the fact, that AFTERWARDS one was ELECTED to preside over the rest, this was done as a remedy against schism ; lest every one, , drawing his proselytes to himself, should rend the church of Christ. For even at Alexandria, from the Evangelist Mark to the Bishops Heraclas and Dionysius, the Presbyters always chose one of their number, placed him in a superior station, and gave him the title of Bishop: in the same manner as if an army should make an emperor ; or the deacons should choose from among themselves, one whom they knew to be particularly active, and should call him ARCH-DEACON. For, excepting ordination, what is done by a Bishop which may not be done by a Presbyter ? Nor is it to be supposed, that the church should be one thing at Rome, and another in all the world besides. Both France, and Britain, and Africa, and Persia, and the East, and India, and all the barbarous nations, worship one Christ, observe one rule of truth. If you demand authority, the globe is greater than a city. Wherever a Bishop shall be found, whether at Rome, or Eugubium, or Constantinople, or Rhegium, or Alexandria, or Tanis, he has the same pretensions, the same priesthood.'* Observe,
“1. JEROME expressly denies the superiority of Bishops to Presbyters, by divine right. To prove his assertion on this head, he goes directly to the scriptures ; and argues, as the advocates of parity do, from the interchangeable titles of Bishop and Presbyter; from the directions given to them without the least intimation of difference in their authority ; and from the powers of Presbyters, undisputed in this day,
“2. JEROME states it as a historical fact, that, in the original constitution of the church, before the devil had as much influence as he acquired afterwards, the churches were governed by the joint counsels of the Presbyters.
* Quod autem postea unus electus est, qui cæteris præponeretur, in schismatis remedium factum est: ne unusquisque ad se trahens Christi Ecclesiam rumperet. Nam et Alexandriæ a Marco Evangelista usque ad Heraclam et Dionysium Episcopos, semper unum ex se selectum, in cxcelsiori gradu collocatum, Episcopum nominabant: quomodo si exercitus imperatorem faciat; aut diaconi eligant de se, quem industrium noverint, et archidiaconum vocent. Quid eniin facit, excepta ordinatione, Episcopus, quod presbyter non faciat? Nec altera Romanæ urbis Ecclesia, altera totius orbis existimanda est. Et Galliæ, et Brittaniæ, et Africa, et Persis, et Oriens, et India, et omnes barbaræ nationes unum Christum adorant, unam observant regulam veritatis. Si auctoritas quæritur, or. bis major est urbe Ubicumque fuerit Episcopus, sive Romæ, sive Eugubii, sive Constantinopoli, sive Rhegii, sive Alexandriæ, sive Tanis ; ejusdem meriti, ejusdem et sacerdotii. Hieran. Opp. T. II. p. 624.
“3. JEROME states it as a historical fact, that this government of the churches, by Presbyters alone, continued until, for the avoiding of scandalous quarrels and schisms, it was thought expedient to alter it. Afterwards,' says he, when every one accounted those whom he baptized as belonging to himself and not to Christ, it was decreed throughout the whole world, that one, chosen from among the Presbyters, should be put over the rest; and that the whole care of the church should be committed to him.'
“ 4. JEROME states it as a historical fact, that this change in the government of the churchthis creation of a superiour order of ministers, took place, not at once, but by degrees Paulatim, says he, by little and little.' The precise date on which this innovation upon primitive order commenced, he does not mention; but he says positively, that it did not take place till the factious spirit of the Corinthians had spread itself in different countries, to an alarming extent. 'In populis, is his expression. Assuredly, this was not the work of a day. It had not been accomplished when the apostolic epistles were written, because Jerome appeals to these for proof that the churches were then governed by the joint counsels of Presbyters; and it is incredible that such ruinous dissentions, had they existed, should
not have been noticed in letters to others beside the Corinthians. The disease, indeed, was of a nature to spread rapidly; but still it must have had time to travel. With all the zeal of Satan himself, and of a parcel of wicked or foolish clergymen to help him, it could not march from people to people, and clime to clime, but in a course of years.
“5. JEROME states as historical facts, that the elevation of one Presbyter over the others, was a human contrivance ;—was not imposed by authority, but crept in by custom ;—and that the Presbyters of his day knew this
well. therefore,' says he, the Presbyters know that they are subjected to their superiour by Custom; so let the bishops know that they are above the Presbyters, rather by the custom OF THE CHURCH, than by the Lord's appointment.'
“6. JEROME states it as a historical fuct, that the first bishops were made by the Presbyters themselves ; and consequently they could neither have, nor communicate any authority above that of Presbyters. ' Afterwards,' says he, 'to prevent schism, one was elected to preside over the rest.' Elected and commissioned by whom? By the Presbyters : for he immediately gives you a broad fact which it is impossible to explain away. “At Alexandria,' he tells you, 'from the evange
list Mark, to the Bishops Heraclas and Dionysius,' i. e. till about the middle of the third century, 'the Presbyters always chose one of their number, placed him in a superior station, and gave him the title of Bishop.'
“7. JEROME states it as a historical fact, that even in his own day, that is, toward the end of the fourth century, there was no power, excepting ordination, exercised by a Bishop, which might not be exercised by a Presbyter. What does a Bishop,' he asks, 'excepting ordination, which a Presbyter may not do ?'
“ Two observations force themselves upon us.
“1st. Jerome challenges the whole world, to show in what prerogative a Presbyter was, at that time, inferiour to a Bishop, excepting the single power of ordination.
A challenge which common sense would have repressed, had public opinion concerning the rights of Presbyters allowed it to be successfully met.
“2d. Although it appears from Jerome himself, that the prelates were not then in the habit of associating the Presbyters with themselves, in an equal right of government, yet, as he told the former, to their faces, that the right was undeniable, and ought to be respected by them, it presents us with a strong fact in the progress of Episcopacy. Here was a power in Presbyters, which,