« AnteriorContinuar »
. them, though of their own choosing? So in Hieron. ad the Church of Jerusalem, he faith, St. James ^£tt!*tt>a6 the first Bishop $ How was that Church cles' then Governed by a College of Presbyters?
At Ephefus, he confesses Timothy was Bishop h emiog. there 5 and 77tas in Creet. At itee he makes Linus and Clemens to succeed in the Bijhoprick, there. At Antioch, he faith, Ignatius was Bishop, and he owns his Epistles, and surely there is nothing like the sole Government by Presbyters in them. At Smyrna, he faith, Polycarp was appointed Bishop, and had care of the Churches of Asia. Where then, according to St. Jerome, is this Government by Presbyters to be found after the Apostles times?
(4.) No Man lays down greater Reasons for the Change of this Government,than St. Jerome
• doth. For he faith. That
Quod autem ptftea urw eMm est , qui ca- EpifcOPaCV WOS found W
teris praponeretur in Schifinatk rtmedium sac- [ J 1 y J . ,r
turn est, ni umsqukque ad se trabens Cbristi Celjary tO prevent ScblWlS
Ecclefiam rumperet. Ad Evagr. 1 i»s 1 1 _
and disorders, and tear
Vt unm de Presbjterk eleSm fuperpmtretur ing the Church in pieces, ester* , ad quern omnii Ecclesi* cura penineret, What- rnnlrl Up- siiA & Schismatum femina totterentur. In Comment. "udi tuuiu ut
ad Tit- more to the Advantage
of any Government than that it was brought in upon, the best Reason for Government in the World, viz. the preserving of Peace and Order in the Church? We need not carry the matter so far, as to
make make St. Jerome charge the Apostles with Indiscretion before, in not preventing the first Occasion of Schisms. For he might think, the Presbyters would have thought themselves hardly dealt with, to be excluded from Government till the Experiment were tried, and the Confusions following convinced themselves of the Necessity of a Superiour, and so made them more willing to submit. Saint Jerome seems to have had the fame kind of Notion of Church Government, which others have of the beginnings of Civil Government, viz. That at first there was a State of War aviong Mankind, and the inconveniencies of that made men willing to part with their own Rights for the fake of Peace; so these Presbyters, finding so much Disorder and Confusion, by being left to themselves, were far better contented to yield to such Government -33 would best keep the Church in Peace. . ,
( 5.) St. Jerome yields, that this Alteration of Government did Universally obtain. For nothing less than that can be meant by his In to■to rorbe decretum eji: He dot(l not speak clearly , whether he means a Decree of the Apostles to bind the Church, or a General Consent,;, but whichsoever be meant , he supposes no difference, or Qpposition aboutIf
F 2' fie
he had said it was done by the Apostles in plain terms, he had taken away the force of his own Argument, which goes upon the Apostles Times; but yet it is hard to conceive how such an alteration should happen without the Apostles Aft. For, if they had left the Presbyters in full Power of Government, it isnot to be imagined, they would so universally part with it, without being obliged thereto, by those who had Authority over them y but this St. Jerome leaves to be gatherd by the Event.
( 6.) St. Jerome never supposes this Alteration to have been made against any Institution of Christ. All that he faith, is, That there was a time when the Presbyters were left to themselves, and so did Govern the Church by common Consent. And at that time the Apostles Writing to them suppose a Bishop and Presbyter the fame: but he never faith that Christ had appointed, that none should be set over them. For then there could be no Alteration without Violation of a Law of Christ, which he could never suppose would' so universally obtain without opposition. And he never dreamt the setting up of this Government to be any part of fhe Mystery of Iniquity then wording 5 unless he could imagine the preserving the Peace of the Church to be it. On
Fuerunt 0 Ecclesia, Apoftoli Patrei tui—' Nunc qui a i Si recefferunt a mundo, habes pro hit Episcopot fill os, qui a. te creati sum; sum enim hi Pat res tui, quia ab ipfti regerit. Comment, ad Psal. 44 Ctxerum omnet Apistotorum SucceJJores sum. Ad Evagr. Apud nos Apostolorum locum Epifiopi tenent. Ad Marcellam.
the contrary, St. Jerome makes this Govern-
( 7.) St Jerome concludes this Alteration
Estir subditut Pontifici tuofy quasi Anirnt Pa. rentem fuscipe. AdUeyottm.
Nec hoc dm quod ifiiusmodi Gradrbut in Ecclesia non debeatit effe subjeifi. Q/ttcunque enim makdhcerit Patri aut Matri morte morietur. Er Apostolui docet Prapositk in Ecclesia. obeditndum. In Mich. c. 7. ..
Ecclef^MltsSin summi Sacerdotit Drgnhate
eminens detur pttftat^Jot in Ectlesiit efficients Schismata, quotSacerdotes. Adverf. Luciferi*
(IV. Confide "she Universal Consent of the Church being proved, ihere is as great Reason to believe, the Apostolical Succession to be ot Divine Institution? as the Canon oj Scripture, or the Observation of the Lord's Day. We do not doubt but it is unlawfull to add to , or to diminish from the Canon of Scripture ; and yet there is no plain Text for it, with respect to all the Books contained in it, and some of the Books were a long time disputed in some Churches 5 but the Churches coming at last to a full Agreement in this matter, upon due search and enquiry, hath been thought sufficient to bind all after-Ages to make no Alterations in it. And as to the Divine Institution of the Lord's Day, we do not go about to leflen it, but onely to shew, that some Examples in Scripture, being joined with the V■niverfalPrablice of .the Church in its purest Ages, hath been allowed to be sufficient ground not onely for following Ages to observe it, but to look on it as at least an Apostolical Institution. Now it cannot but seem unequal, not to allow the same force, where there is the fame Evidence. And therefore our Church hath^ifely ajj^ truely determined, That since \the Affbstles times there have been three Orders, of Bijhops, Priests and Deacons; and in a; Regular,