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ing. A Christian Bishop is a Pastor, whofe office is to feed his flock with the word of Truth. You, my Lords, are a strange set of Paftors, to feed the flock committed to your care by substitutes, How are you fure they will take care of them, and feed them in your Master's pastures. There is not a farmer in England would allow his fhepherds to use fuch freedom with his flocks as to commit the care of them to others, that they themselves may trifle and live at eafe.
The Apostle faw your day afar off, and was fad.He fpeaks of grievous wolves entering in, who would not spare the flock. He certainly had an eye to those Clergy who devour rich livings, but feldom or never preach to their people. All that we have found is far from being any proof of an Hierarchy.
In the beginning of Paul's Epiftle to the Philippians he makes mention of Bishops and Deacons. Pray, my Lords,
how many Diocefian Bishops might there be in this City and its environs? For, according to all accounts, it was not very large, nor yet the Chriftians there very numerous. They muft certainly have had very small livings in thofe times. But there is one thing which the friends of the Hierarchy often forget, that the word Ecclefia in the New Teftament fig nifies an affembly of Christians meeting in one place, having full authority to dif charge all religious duties, and perform all acts of difcipline. There is fome reason to conclude that the Saints, Bifhops, and Deacons, were but one single congregation; this will put the friends of the Hierarchy to prove, that there were more congregations at Philippi than one, otherwise it will render their Bishopricks very small. It will be an hard task to prove an affembly in this city except one; and, till this is done, there is still wanting a New Testament proof for an Hierarchy.
It is time now to proceed to Timothy and Titus, who are faid to have been Diocefian Bishops. They appear only to have been Evangelifts fent by the Apostles to let things that were wanting in order, and feem to have been altogether under the direction of Paul. All that they were to deliver was what they had received of him as an inspired Apostle, and when they had done that, their commiffion was executed. They ordained Bishops and Deacons, and put thefe Churches in order; but there is not one word in all the Epiftles to these two Brethren that implies any Jurifdiction they had over thofe Churches after they had fettled Church Officers amongst them. They went away and left them after they had fulfilled their commiffion which the Apostle gave them. We find them elsewhere travelling with Paul, and never hear a fingle word of their returning to their Diocefes any more. Timothy was called to Rome, and Titus
to Dalmatia +; but there is no account that ever they vifited Ephefus or Crete any more. It is indeed alleged that the continued to be Bishops, and carried their Epifcopal Function along with them; but it would appear that they were never fettled ftatedly in any place more than the Apostles. By looking into Titus, i. 5, 6, 7. I find in the Apostle's opinion, that an Elder and a Bishop are all one. My Lords, let us read the paffage; it is a very plain one. For this caufe have I left thee at Crete, that thou mayeft fet in order the things that are wanting, and ordain Elders in every city, as I had appointed thee. If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly.For a Bishop must be blamelefs, as the fteward of God, nor felf-willed, not foon angry, not given to wine, na Striker, not given to filthy lucre. It ap
† 2 Tim. iv. 9, 20, 21.
pears exceedingly plain to an unlearned reader, that this Elder and Bishop are the very fame office, and the officers have the very fame qualifications affigned them. Now thefe Elders or Bishops, or whatsoever name they may receive, had no power either to ordain or do any thing else without the confent or approbation of the whole Church. Even when the Apostles were at their head, they never pretended to act without the whole Church; this fentiment is fufficiently plain from Acts xv. 22. Then it pleafed the Apostles and Elders, with the whole Church, to fend chofen men of their own company to Antioch with Barnabas and Saul, &c. It is not very likely, my Lords, that Paul would give a Power to Timothy and Titus to perform Epifcopal Functions, which the whole College of Apoftles and Elders would not take upon them when affembled together. As for the power of ordination, which your Reverences, claim a