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the fact changes with the construction of these two symbols. You must fix their sense before you can tell what the fact is. Unless you can prove that “ star” and “angel” necessarily denote individuals, and such individuals as diocesan bishops, the fact, instead of being for the hierarchy, will be against her. And thus her advocates, under the pretext of “absolute demonstration,” put us off with what they themselves have again and again declared to be “miserable sophistry”—“ the old and wretched sophistry of names.” Let us, however, examine this, their “absolute demonstration” of diocesan Episcopacy. It turns, as we just now said, upon the interpretation of the symbolical titles, “angel” and “star.” These, our prelatical friends maintain, “are constantly applied in the book of Revelation to single men, and never to a society or number of men.” Such is the assertion—now for the proof. “The whole churches, or collective bodies of Christians, are represented by “seven candlesticks,” which are distinguished from the “seven stars,” that are emblems of the angels, the bishops.” The distinction is admitted : but it is equally marked upon the Presbyterian plan. For the collective body of the ministry is quite as distinguishable from their churches, as the bishops alone can be. Nothing is gained here. We go on. “They,” the angels, “are constantly mentioned in the singular number.”
What then P Does this prove that the singular term “angel” has never a collective sense 2 What next? Nothing at all. Let out readers examine, again, the whole of what Cyprian has said upon this point, and if they can detect, in the multitude of his words, and his show of illustration, any thing more than his mere assertion, we shall be disappointed. The stars and angels, says he, are distinguished from the churches. True—but they may be so without being diocesan bishops “They are constantly mentioned in the singular number”—which is not true. And if it were, the question still is, whether the symbolical term in the singular number must necessarily signify only a single person—Oyes, says Cyprian, most undoubtedly. “What places this subject beyond all reasonable doubt, is this circumstance. The titles of angels and stars are constantly applied in the book of Revelation, to single men, and never to a society or number of men'" Now this is exactly
the thing to be proved.
- .4mphora capit Institui : currente rota cur urceus exit 2 Cyprian sets out with a threat of “absolute demonstration,” and leaves off with begging the question.*
* Potter, in his zeal to make out the prelatic character of these angels, presses into his service a various reading. “If,” says he,
That the assertions which Cyprian has borrowed from Potter, are not accompanied with quite an “absolute demonstration,” may be gathered from the light in which they are considered by Episcopal writers no way inferiour to Potter himself.
“Methinks,” says Dr. Henry JMore, “it is extremely harsh to conceit that these seven stars are merely the seven bishops of any particular churches of Asia, as if the rest were not supported nor guided by the hand of Christ; or as if there were but seven in his right hand, but all the rest in his left. Such high representations
“in the epistle to Thyatira, instead of (rmy yuvaika Ieštán),) the woman Jezebel, we read (ruvywatka gov Igoon),) thy wife Jezebel, as it is in St. Cyprian, the Syriac version, the Alexandrian, and several other manuscript copies, then the Angel of Thyatira was a married man, and consequently but one person.” Learning, when not well directed, falls into absurdities which plain sense avoids. It is hard for a man to suspect himself of blundering when he is displaying his erudition. But on this occasion, the eyes of Potter seem to have been blinded by the dust of his manuscripts. If we adopt his reading, and make “Jezebel” a literal woman, by making her the wife of the prelate of Thyatira, the symbolical or figurative sense of the text is gone. And in order to be consistent, the crimes charged upon her must also be literal. Thus we shall not only have my lady of Thyatira an open adulteress; but the diocese a huge brothel under her inspection; where by example and by precept, she initiates her husband's flock in the mysteries of lewdness and idolatry. A goodly occupation for the spouse of a diocesan ' Bad times, one would think, for an angel-bishop; and not the most flattering compliment to episcopal discipline. * Discourse of Church government, p. 145, 3d edit.
cannot be appropriated to ANY seveN PARTICULAR CHURCHEs whatsoever.” Again, “By angels, according to the apocalyptick style, all the agents under their presidency are represented or insinuated—and it is so frequent and obvious in the Apocalypse, that none that is versed therein can any ways doubt of it.” The great, and justly celebrated Joseph JMede, observes, that “Angels, by a mode of speaking not uncommon in this book, are put for the nations over which they were thought to preside. Which appears hence, that they who, by the injunction of the oracle, are loosed, are armies of cavalry sent forth to slaughter men.”f Just after he adds, “the four angels, (Rev. ix. 14,) “signify so many Sultanies or kingdoms.”f Dr. Fulk, in his answer to the Rhemish Testament, remarks, that “ St. John, by the angels of the churches, meaneth not all that should wear on their heads mitres, and hold crosier-staves in their hands, like dead idols, but them that are faithful messengers of God's word, and utter and declare the same. They are called the ...Angels of the churches because they are God's messengers.” The famous Stillingfleet, in his Irenicum, asks, concerning these angels, “If, in the prophetick style, any unity may be set down by way of representation of a multitude ; what evidence can be brought from the name, that by it some one particular person must be understood P”—And a little further he says, “If many things in the Epistles be direct to the angels, but yet so as to concern the whole body, then of necessity, the angel must be taken as a representative of the whole body, and then, why may not the word angel be taken by way of representation of the body itself; either of the whole church, or, which is far more probable, of the Consessus, or order of Presbyters in that church 2 We see what miserable, unaccountable arguments those are, which are brought for any kind of government, from metaphorical or ambiguous expressions or names promiscuously used.”f
* Erposition of the seven churches, Works, p. 724.
# Angeli ponuntur pro gentibus quibus praeesse credebantur, non inusitatá in hoc libro metonymia. Id ex eo apparet, quéd qui continuo ex oraculi praescripto solvuntur, Erercitus Equestres sunt, hominibus occidendis emissi. In Apocap. B. III. Tub. VI. Works, p. 471.
1 Angeliquatuor totidem Sultanias seu regna significant. Ibid.
* This and the following quotation, are from the Appendix to Ayton's Original Constitution of the Christian Church.
# It is the fashion with the Jure divino prelatists to decry this work of Stillingfleet as the production of his juvenile days ; and as being recanted by him in maturer life. The true reason of their dislike to it is, that it has sorely gravelled them from the date of its publication till the present hour, and is likely to gravel them in all time hereafter. We cannot, however, see what the age or the recantation of the author, (if he did recant,) has to do with the question, any further than as it may be influenced by his