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and without the office of a bishop or an apostle, receiving a command from Paul to ordain elders or bishops in every city, to which he might be directed in the providence of God.
Oh, who can tell what would be that amount of consternation and alarm which a return to the practices of New Testament Christianity would occasion in the present day. There might be as much piety as ever, and as much usefulness as ever, and as much veneration for the Bible as ever; but if worldly wealth were taken away—if the dominion of the clergy were taken away-if tradition were taken away--if the gewgaw of apostolic succession were taken away,--and if it were ordained by the highest ecclesiastical authority—that all the fox-hunting, horse-racing, and irreligious clergy were to be superseded by “faithful men, who should be able to teach others also,” even though they were fishermen, or tax-gatherers, or tentmakers, and occupying the meanest stations in life; then in certain quarters the cry
would no longer be, "the church is in danger;" but,“ the church is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.”
Now if it could be clearly established that the three individuals just referred to, sustained the episcopal character, and by reason of it be
came apostolic successors, it would not prove that our diocesan bishops must become so likewise : for beyond the mere name what resemblance is there between them? Let the New Testament qualifications for a bishop be placed in juxta position with those required by the ecclesiastical laws and political usages of this country, and
will find that they are dignitaries of quite a different order. Yea, you will find that in some respects, not more contrary is light to darkness, or Christ to Belial, than one of these orders is opposed to the other.
A bishop must not be without worldly pomp or princely revenue-or parliamentary duties -or ecclesiastical courts-or dominion over the inferior clergy: but the New Testament requires no qualifications of this kind, but rather the absence of them, to give existence and honour and usefulness to the episcopal character. How is the gold become dim and the fine gold changed, how lamentable is it to reflect that a transformation of the church of England into the likeness of the church of the apostles would, by many who profess and call themselves christians be considered as a death blow to its very existence, if not the downfall of christianity within these realms.
APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION A MISNOMER.
Apostleship Unique-Conditions of its existence-Grandeur of it-Its wonderful Operations—Between Apostles and Bishops no comparison-D, Rhys Stephen-Pharasaical Succession--Homage claimed for Bishops-Blackwood's Magazine—Dean and Chapter—Extravagant notions of Episcopal character corrected.
« Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves,
Milton's Par. lost.
In the strict and proper sense of the term, the apostles could have no successors: their office was unique, without succession, without communication, and without propagation; with them it lived and with them it died. Created under circumstances which could have no existence after they were taken out of the world, and their Lord was taken up into heaven, the very name apostle applied to a minister must now be considered as a misnomer. They were appointed to this honor by our Lord himself, and they could be appointed in no other way. It was likewise necessary that an apostle should have seen him in the flesh, and have been an eye-witness of his resurrection. On these qualifications, Paul insists, when establishing his claim to this dignity, which had been assailed by certain false teachers in the Corinthian church. “Am I not an apostle, am I not free, have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord.” “ And last of all he was seen of me also, as one born out of due time;" but still he was born, that is, called to be an apostle not by the will of man, but by the will of God. It was likewise peculiar to the apostles to labour not in any particular locality, “but in that field, which is the world, to make laws and regulations for the whole of Christendom, and for all succeeding ages of the church: to “Hold the keys of the Kingdom of God,” and “To bind on earth what should be bound in heaven, and to loose on earth what should be loosed in heaven."
Besides all this, they were so endowed with power from on high as to become the noblest preachers, and the highest of all ecclesiastical dignitaries that Christ ever made, that the world ever saw. Baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire, the very impurities and imperfections of our common nature seemed in them to be almost utterly consumed: their wondrous words could make the hardest heart to heave with sorrow, and the driest eyes
flow with penitential tears. The power of discerning spirits,--of speaking in other tongues -of rebuking sickness and disease-of casting out demons, and even of raising the dead also belonged to them. With all these supernatural gifts, they moved about like stars of the first magnitude to shine on a benighted world, and when that world shall be no more, and, 'When the Son of man shail sit
the throne of his glory, they also shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
But where are their successors? How cruel would it be to institute a comparison between them and the bishops of modern times. Can they make the blind to see,-the deaf to hear, ~the dumb to speak,—the lame to walk, or the dead to live? Can they speak in other tongues, not as learning or as imitation, but as the Spirit shall give them utterance. If they who. profess to be apostolic successors cannot speak like them, or act like them, or preach like them, or suffer like them; if the acts of the bishops bear little or no resemblance to the acts of the apostles, then why should they assume the name? and why should they trouble the world with this vain conceit, and this contemptible offspring of their vanity and pride ?*
* Miracles ceased with every man after the Apostolic age. The Apostles then can have had in the proper sense of the term, no suc