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done by the Presbyter when the Bishop was present.* If it be taken for confirmation, it doth not prejudice our cause; for the Canon limits the power of confirmation as well as ordination to the Bishop, as was also the power of consecrating churches, if any should take the word in that
“We may understand the meaning by a parallel place of Hilary in Ambrose, who thus speaks of
“ The writings of the Apostle” (Paul) “ do not in all things agree with the ordination which is now in the church: for even Timothy, (1 Tim. 4, 12. 2 Tim. 16. a Presbyter created by himselt) he calls “Bishop ;' because the Presbyters were originally called Bishops ; so that as one left the office, another who was next to him should take his place. Finally, the Presbyters in Egypt do, at this day, consecrate if a Bishop be not present. But because the Presbyters, who followed next in order, began to be found unworthy of holding the first rank; the mode was changed by the care of a council, so that not the order of rotation, but merit, should make a Bishop, when constituted by the judgment of a number of priests; lest an unfit person should seize the office at random, and be a scandal to
* Præsente Episcopo.
# Comment. in Eph. 4.
“ The same Author saith also, in Tim, 3. “After the Bishop he subjoins the order of the Dea
For what other reason than this, that a Bishop and Presbyter have the same ordination. For each of them is a priest, but the Bishop is first.”+
“ Here note,
“1. That the ordination in Hilary's time did not in all things agree with the writings of the Apostle. That he speaks of the ordination of Ministers is evident by the following words : “A Presbyter created by himself.”
“2. At first, Presbyters and. Bishops were of the same order and office, and had but one ordination.“ The ordination of a Bishop and Press byter is the same," which shows the meaning of “ Ordinatio” in the former paragraph. The Bishop, in Hilary's time, which was about the year 380, under Damasus,* was but primus Sacerdos, (first priest) “and not of a superior order: Peter is called wqwros, primus Apostolus, (first Apostle) Matth. 10, 2. and yet Protestants hold all the Apostles to be equal.
* Ideo non per omnia conveniunt scripta Apostoli Ordinationi quæ nunc in Ecclesia est, quia hæc inter ipsa primordia sunt scripta ; nam et Timotheum (1 Tim. 4, 14. 2 Tim. 1, 5. Presbyterum a se creatum) Episcopum vocat, quia primum Presbyteri Episcopi appellabantur, ut recedente uno, sequens ei succederet. Denique apud Ægyptum Presbyteri consignant, si præsens non sit Episcopus. Sed quia cæperunt sequentes Presbyteri indigni inveniri ad primatus tenendos, immutata est ratio prospiciente Concilio, ut non Ordo, sed meritum crearet Episcopum, multorum Sacerdotum judicio constitutum, ne indignus temere usurparet, et esset multis scandalum.
+ Hilar. Diac. in Tim. 3. Post Episcopum, Diaconi Ordinem subjicit. Quare, nisi quia Episcopi et Presbyteri una Ordinatio est ? Uterque enim Sacerdos est, sed Episcopus primus est.
“ 3. Spalatensist infers from this quotation, that at the beginning, when a Bishop died, there was not so much as an election of him that was to succeed, (much less any new ordination,) but the eldest Presbyter came into the room of the deceased Bishop. See the preface to Blondel's Apology, p. 11, and 31.
“4. There was a change in the way of choosing their Bishop ;“ that not order," viz. order of rotation, “but merit, should make a Bishop.”
“5. After this change the Presbyters chose and made their Bishop; for so Hilarius affirms him to be—“ Constituted by the judgment of a number of Priests."
“6. He adds, that in Egypt, “ the Presbyters consecrate, if no Bishop be present.” He speaks in the foregoing words of the identity of Bishops and Presbyters, and he brings this as a confirmation of it, that in the absence of the Bishop they might do those things which custom had appropriated to the Bishops. “Consignare,” is some act of prerogative that the Bishops challenged to themselves, which yet in their absence the Presbyters might perform. Whether we understand it of ordination or confirmation, in which they did Chrismate consignare,' it is not material, for both were reserved to the Bishop by the Canons. Though by comparing this with the scope of Hilary's discourse, and with the quotation out of the questions under Austin's name, 'If a Bishop be wanting, a Presbyter consecrates,' it should seem evidently meant of ordination ; especially when we find“ consignare” to be taken for “consecrare” in several authors, Arnob. lib. 3. Cypr. Ep. 2. Tu tantum quem jam Spiritalibus castris cælestis militia signavit. ?*
† De Repub. Eoclos. 1..3.C.S.
To close this article. A Diocese, i. e. a district under the government of a single Bishop, contained, in the fourth century, a large number of congregations, and could not possibly be served by the ministrations in word, sacraments, and family inspection, by a single man. Some episcopal sees were of great extent. That of AUGUSTINE, Bishop of Hippo, was no less than forty miles long.* Summarily, Bishops, in those days, were a sort of ecclesiastical princes, having thousands and ten thousands of ecclesiastical subjects under their jurisdiction. This will not be disputed. But a primitive Bishop and bishoprick were quite other matters; the declaration of Mr. BINGHAM to the contrary notwithstanding.t. We have yet, among what are accounted the genuine epistles of Ignatius, a letter to his friend POLYCARP Bishop of Smyrna, and a cotemporary of the Apostle John. In that letter he gives the following advice to Polycarp, with regard to the exercise of his episcopal functions :
* Owen's Plea, &c. p. 128--140.
“ Let not the widows be neglected. Next to the Lord, do thou exercise care over them. Let nothing be done without thy sanction--Let
your assemblies be held frequently. Inquire after all by name.
Do not overlook the men and maid ser
* BINGHAM, Orig. Eccles. B. IX. ch. 2. Vol. I. p. 353. Fol.
+ This very learned Divine says, that the “ church, in settling the bounds of Dioceses,” according to her first and primitive model went by the rule of government in every city, including not only the city itself, but the suburbs or region lying about it within the verge of its jurisdiction."
Orig. Eccles. Book IX. c. 2. Vol. I. 351.