[ocr errors]

obliged to mend it: only they forgot to apprise the
churches of the alteration; and so left the ex-
ploded order in the rule of faith; and the new
order out of it; depositing the commission of the
prelates with that kind foster-mother of the hie-
rarchy, Tradition /*
We may now remind our reader of the Lay-
man's declaration, that we “can produce No record
of a CHANGE ; but are obliged to imagine one, in op-
position to the UNIForM testimony of the primitive Fa-
thers And of the declaration of Cyprian, that we
talk “ of a change that must have taken place at an
early period; but can produce No PRoof on which to
ground our bold assertions”—That we “ are coun-
tenanced by NoNE of THE RECoRDs of these times that
have been transmitted to us”—That otir opinion is
mere conjecture, a creature of the imagination '"
These gentlemen have, indeed, made their ex-
cuse; they have honestly told us, what their pages
verify, that they are but “striplings” in literature.
But that a prelate, from whom we have a right to
look for digested knowledge, and scrupulous ac-
curacy, should deal out the same crude and un-
qualified language, excites both surprise and
regret. He has been pleased to say, that our late
brother, the Rev. DR. LINN, in “representing Jerome
as favouring the Presbyterian scheme of church go-
vernment,” has “pursued the usual mode of ARTFUL
MisBEPRESENTATION.” With whom the misrepresen-
tation lies, we leave to public opinion. But as we
wish to give every one his due, we cannot charge
the Right Reverend Prelate with any art; nor
withhold an advice, that when he is searching, on
this subject, for a “spark of modesty,” he would
direct his inquiries to a “bosom” to which he has
much easier access, than to the bosom of any
Presbyterian under heaven.
After this exhibition of Jerome's testimony, it
would be superfluous to follow with particular
answers, all the petty exceptions which are found-
ed upon vague allusions and incidental phrases.
Jerome, like every other writer upon subjects
which require a constant reference to surrounding
habits, conforms his speech to his circumstances.
He could not be for ever on his guard; and if he
had been, no vigilance could have secured him
from occasional expressions which might be inter-
preted as favourable to a system which he solemn-
ly disapproved. This will sufficiently account for
those disconnected sentences which the friends of
the hierarchy have so eagerly seized. We could
show, taking them one by one, that they fall very
far short of the mark to which they are directed.”

* If any of our readers wishes to have a fuller view of the writings of the hierarchy on Jerome's spear, we advise him to read Dr. Hobart's Apology, p. 174—194.

*The quotation which stands most in the way of our argument, and of Jerome's testimony, is from his “Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Writers;” where, says Dr. Hobart, “he records as a matter of fact, JAMEs, immediately after our Lord's ascension, having been

[ocr errors]

When we want to know a man's matured thoughts on a disputed point, we must go to those parts of his works where he has deliberately, and of set purpose, handled it. All his looser observations must be controlled by these. A contrary procedure inverts every law of criticism; and the inversion is not the more tolerable, or the less reprehensible, because advocates of the hierarchy have chosen to adopt it. But if Jerome's testimony is to be slighted, because he was fervid, impetuous, and unceremonious, we much fear that some of the most important facts in ecclesiastical and civil history must be branded as apocryphal. We are very sure that none of Dr. H.’s friends could ask

oRDAINED bishop of JERUsALEM, undertook the charge of the church at Jerusalem. TIMothy was or DAINED Bishop of the Ephesians by PAUL, TITUs of Crete. PolycARP was by John or DAINED Bishop of Smyrna.' Here, then,” the reader perceives the triumph, “here, then, we have bishops ordained in the churches by the apostles themselves.” HobART's Apology, p. 194. There is a small circumstance rather unfavourable to this voucher.—It is not JERoME's. Of that part which relates to Timothy and Titus, this is expressly asserted by the episcopal historian, Cave; and by Jerome's popish editor. Wide CAve, Script. eccles. hist. litter. p. 172, ed. Colon. 1720. HIERoN. Opp. T.I. p. 265. 268. ed. Victorii. The articles JAMEs and PolycARP are so precisely in the same style with the others, and so diametrically repugnant to Jerome's own doctrine, that if, by “bishop,” is meant such a bishop as was known in his day, it is inconceivable they should have proceeded from his pen. That they are interpolations, or have been interpolated, we think there is internal evidence. At least, when several articles of the same catalogue, tending to the same point, and written in the same strain, are confessedly spurious; it is hardly safe to rely upon the remainder as authentic testimony. * See page

the credence of the world to a single assertion in
his Apology. And if similar productions were the
fashion of the day, we have no reason to wonder
at indignant feeling and vehement language in
men of a less fiery spirit than father JEROME.
The advocates of Episcopacy assert that the
whole current of fact and of opinion for fifteen hun-
dred years after Christ, is in their favour; that we
“can produce no record of a change,” in the gov-
ernment of the church, “but are obliged to imagine
one in opposition to the uniform testimony of the
primitive fathers.”
We have met them on this ground; and have
“produced” the “testimony” of one of the “pri-
mitive fathers,” directly against the divine original
of the hierarchy. This was JERoME, the most
learned, able, and distinguished of them all. He
tells us, in so many words, not only that the epis-
copal pre-eminence is without divine authority;
but that this was a fact which could not, with any
show of reason, be disputed; as being a fact well
ascertained and understood. “The Presbyters,”
says he, “know, that they are subjected by the cus-
tom of the church, to him who is set over them.”
To elude the force of Jerome's deposition, it is
alleged, among other things, that his opinion is of
no weight unsupported by facts; and that his tes-
timony, in the fourth century, concerning facts in
the first and second centuries, that is, two or three


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

hundred years before he was born, is no better than an opinion; and so he is excluded from the number of competent witnesses.” By this rule some other witnesses who have been summoned by our Episcopal brethren, must be cast without a hearing. Eusebius, Chrysostom, Augustin, Theodoret, Epiphanius, must all be silenced. It is even hard to see how a single man could be left, in the whole catalogue of the Fathers, as competent to certify any fact of which he was not an eye-witness. To say that they derived their information of times past from credible tradition, or authentic records, is indeed to overrule the principle of the objection. But when this door is opened to admit the others, you cannot prevent JEROME from walking in. We will allow that Eusebius had access to “all the necessary records of the churches.” But had JERoME no records to consult? Was “the most learned of all the Christians,” as ERASMUs calls him, with CAve's approbation, in the habit of asserting historical facts without proof? If he was, let our opponents : show it. If he was not, as his high reputation for learning is a pledge, then his testimony is to be viewed as a summary of inductive evidence reaching back to the days of the Apostles. In his estimation, the facts of the original parity of ministers, and of the subsequent elevation of prelates

* CypriaN, No. VII. Essays, p. 167. HobART's Apology, p. 171–178.

« 上一页继续 »