CONFESSIONS AND PROOFES OF PROTESTANT DIVINES OF Reformed Churches, That EPISCOPACY is in respect of the Office according to the word of God, and in respect of the Use the Best.

TOGETHER With a brief Treatise touching the Originall of BISHOPS and METROPOLITANS.

Printed in the year, 1662.

TO The Pious and Religious Reader, Grace and Peace in Christ Jesus.

THe matter subject of this Treatise being yet in suspense, and to be determin'd de fu­ture, viz. What Ecclesiasticall Govern­ment is to be judged to be, according to the Word of God, in respect of the office it self, and also the Best in respect of its use: Af­ter that, upon more and more deliberation, I had perfected my conlusion, the saying of Augustine came in­to my mind, He that concealeth a truth, and he that teacheth a falshood are both guilty: the first because he will not profit; the other because he intendeth to hurt and delude: which I apprehend as a double caution, both of not publishing any Uto­pian Ecclesiasticall form of Government of mine own forging, as also, of not stifling, by my silence, a form truly Apostolicall.

Which Resolution, notwithstanding, I did not adventure to take, before that I was fortified in my perswasion by a general consent of Protestant Divines of reformed Churches, and among others, in some principal points appealing to the Divines of the Church of Geneva; Nor yet do we so much insist upon their Confessions as upon their Proofs, especially being grounded up­on two infallible foundations. The first, the general verdict of Antiquity, as well Doctrinall as Historicall: Though we should not name that general Council of Calcedon con­sisting of 630 Fathers, which by one Canon decreed it to be a Sacriledge to presse down a Bishop into the degree of a Presby­ter. The same Council that did also ordain another Canon, which was then the very break-neck of Romish Popedome.

[Page] 2. The Authenticall Texts of Scripture so far as thereby to demonstrate Christ his own approbation of Episcopal Prelacy after his Ascension in the Churches of Asia: in one whereof without all contradiction was one Polycarpus Bishop and Martyr.

As for the Churches, whereof we are to speak, the Tractate hath been undertaken in behalf of Protestant Churches, which practice at this day the same Prelacy under these two divers names of Episcopacy and Superintendency, as much exceeding the number of those which are destitute of Bishops, yet so, as justly condemning the Romish Hierarchy (rather Tyranny) poysoned with most grosse Idolatry; and not so onely, but so far opposite to the Episcopacy which we defend, that it is a false Usurpation, that all Bishops be originally deduced from the Pope, and dependant upon him. Other Churches destitute of Bishops we differ from, yet not so (far be it from us) as not to account them essential Churches of Christ, but to whom as formerly, we do desirously give the right hand of Brotherly fellowship; to joyn against the common and grand adversary in the Romish Babylon.

Concerinng other points circumstantial we have provided, that our Method be with coherence, our Styl plain and even, our Allegations direct and punctual, our Authors justly approve­able, our Taxations toothless, and our Inferencies brief, perti­nent and consectary.

As for you (good Christian Reader) his hope is, that he shall not need the use of the Apostles Expostulation, saying, Am I your enemy because I tell you the truth? And his prayer to God shall be to protect and blesse you, to the glory of his saving Grace in Christ Jesus, that he also will distribute to this our lacerated Church, some portion of that his peerlesse Legacy left unto his Apostles, when he said, My peace I leave with you, by vertue whereof, we may with one heart and mind faith­fully worship God in Spirit and in Truth.

The Contents of every THESIS.

  • I. THesis. That our English Episcopacy hath been justified b the confession of the most learned Protestants of remot Churches, in speciall by the Church of Geneva. Pag. 1
  • II. Thesis. That there was never any visible constitu­ted Church in all Christendome since the Appostles time for 1500. years and more, which held Episcopacy in it self to be unlawful. 5
  • III. Thesis▪ That Episcopall Prelacy is acknowledged by Protestant Divines of remote Churches to be according to the Word of God, and their consent therein unto Primitive Antiquity. 7
  • IV. Thesis. That Episcopall Government in the Church is, in respect of the necessary use thereof, the Best, by the consent of Protestant Di­vines of other reformed Churches. 9
  • V. Thesis. That the most Protestant Churches do professe and practise a Prelacy over Presbyters. 13
  • VI. Thesis. That the former Reasons of Confessions of Protestant Di­vines, concerning the necessity of Episcopall Prelacy, for preservation of concord and preventing of Schisme, is correspondent to the judgement of Antiquity. 14
  • VII. Thesis. That Bishops primitively were not only the chiefest Champions for the Christian Faith, but also the greatest adversaries to Ro­mish Popedome, as have also our English. 16
  • VIII. Thesis. That to be of Aposticall Institution argueth in it a Di­vine Right by the confession of excellent Divines of the reformed Churches. 18
  • IX. Thesis. That no Ancient Father absolutely denyed the Aposticall Originall of Episcopacy, no not the objected Hieròme, who will shew himself a manifest Patron thereof. 19
  • X. Thesis. That Clement an Apostolicall Disciple, to whose arbitre­ment both our Opposites and we offer to yeild our selves, doth patronize Episcopacy, as being Apostolicall. 21
  • XI. Thesis. That other Primitive Fathers before Hierome did unani­mously testifie an Apostolical Right of Episcopacy. 24
  • XII. Thesis. That the Apostolicall Antiquity of Episcopacy is confes­sedly proved out of Ignatius. 26
  • XIII. Thesis. That Antiquity hath given us Rules of Resolution for the knowledge of any Apostolicall practice, which may serve in the case of Episcopacy. 27
  • XIV. Thesis. That Protestant Divines of other Reformed Churches [Page] have held it most equall to be directed by the judgments of Ancients for a proof of a Practice Apostolicall. 28
  • XV. Thesis. That Mr. Beza himself is challengable to yield unto an Apostolicall right of Episcopacy from his own former confession. 30
  • XVI. Thesis That the testimonies of Nazianzen and Augustine are unworthily objected to the contrary. 30
  • XVII. Thesis. That Timothy and Titus both had a Prelacy over Presbyters notwithstanding the objection of the Community of names of Bishops and Presbyters is sufficiently confessed by Protestant Divines of remote Churches. 32
  • XVIII. Thesis. That Timothy and Titus have had a Prelacy as Bishops over Presbyters in the Apostles times, notwithstanding the Objecti­on, that they were called Evangelists according to consent of Protestants of Reformed Churches. 34
  • XIX. Thesis. That Antiquity taught an Episcopacy both in Timothy and Titus. 36
  • XX. Thesis. That our Opposites first Exposition which interpreteth the Angell to meane the whole Church and Congregation is notably extra­vagant. 38
  • XXI. Thesis. That our Opposites second Exposition of the word An­gell, to signifie onely the Order and Colledge of Presbyters, is erroneous, not­withstanding the Arguments of our Opposites to the contrary. 39
    • The Answer to the first Argument. 39
    • To the Second. 39
    • To the Third. 41
    • To the Fourth. 42
    • To the Last. 43
  • XXII. Thesis. That our Opposites third Exposition of the word Angell, to signifie one only Pastour in the Church of Ephesus, is extremely new and naught 44
  • XXIII. Thesis. That by the word Angell of Ephesus, to signifie a sin­gular and individuall Pastour having a Prelacy over Presbyters, is proved by a large consent of Protestant Divines without Exception judicious and ingenuous. 45
  • XXIV. Thesis. That Antiquity held not the word Angell (whereof we treat) to be taken collectively for a Multitude of Pastours. 48
  • XXV. Thesis. That the word Angell in other places of the Revelation is commonly, if not alwayes individually taken. 48
  • XXVI. Thesis. That by Angell is meant individually one Bishop, is demonstrated by Historicall learning without contradiction. 50
  • XXVII. Thesis. That Christ himself shewed his approbation of Prela­cy, which the foresaid Angels had in their severall Churches. 52

The judgment of Protestant Divines, of remote Churches, as well such as were the first Reformers of Religi­on, as others after them in behalf of Episcopal degree in the Church.

THis they perform, both by their direct and ingenious confessions, and after by sound and solid Proofs, so far as to shew Epis­copal Prelacy to be According to Gods Word, as also to acknowledge the same for use to be the Best kinde of Ecclesiastical Government. We are, in the first place, to try their plain confessions concerning the said Prelacy, as well in special, for our English, as touching Episcopacy in ge­nerall, in what Orthodox Church soever, and afterwards to ad­joyn the proofs.

That our English Episcopacy hath been justified by the confes­sion of the most learned Protestants of remote Curches, in special by the Church of Geneva.

OUr Episcopall Prelacy we are sure was profess'd, and practis'd by Bishops.

1. In the dayes of King Edward the 6. who as they were the principal Authors of the Reformation of our Protestant Re­ligion, [Page 2] so did some of them seal the truth of their profession with their bloud, and have therefore been with others thus extoll'd by that golden mouth of the French ChurchMoulin epist. ad Episc. Win­ton. Quorum Martyrum ha­bemus scripta, & meminimus gesta, ac zelum, nullâ ex parte inferiorem zelo praestantissimo­rum Dei servo­rum, quos Ger­mania, aut Gal­lia tulit: hoc qui negat, opor­tet ut sit vel improbè vecors, vel gloriae Dei invidus, vel ce­rebrosâ stolidi­tate caliget in clara luce. Master Moulin saying, That they were for zeal nothing inferiour to the most excellent servants of God, that Germany or France ever had; which (saith he) none will deny is so, if not wilfully stu­pid and blinded in day-light. Yea, and touching those then Archbishops and BishopsBezae Re­spons. ad Sarav. de Minist. gra­dibus, c. 18. p. 303. Quod si nunc Anglica­nae Ecclesiae in­stauratae suorum Episcoporum & Archiepiscoporum authoritate suffulta praestant, quemadmodum hoc illi nostra [...] memoriá contigit, ut ejus ordinis homines non tantum insignes Dei Martyres, sed etiam praestantissimos Pastores, ac Doctores habuerit. Beza for the Church of Geneva. It happened in our memory, that she (speaking of our English Church) hath had men of that calling, not onely constant Mar­tyrs of God, but also excellent Pastours and Doctors.

2. In the dayes of Queen Elizabeth, Calvin the most il­lustrious star of the Church of Geneva, doubted not to instile Archbishop Cranmer Calvin epist. Cranmero, Te praesertim (Ornatissime Praesul) qui altiori in specula sedes, in hanc curam incumbere necesse est. Scio non ita unius An­gliae haberi abs te rationem quin universo orbi consulas. A most accomplish'd Prelate (saith he) who hath the cure, not onley of England, but also of the whole Christian world, which he did to the dignifying of the Go­vernment of our English Church; and no marvel, seing that he durst professe to yeild, in behalf, even of Popish Bishops, upon condition, that renouncing the dependance upon the Pope, and acknowledgment of Christ as their onely Head, with profession of his Truth Calvin. tom. 7. ad Sadoletum, & de necessitate reformandae Ecclesiae, p. 69. Verum talem nobis si contribuant Hierarchiam in quā emineant Episcopi, ut Christo subesse non recusent, ut ab illo t [...]nquam ab unico capite pendeant, & ad ipsum referantur, in quâ si fraternam charitatem inter se colant, & non alio modo quam ejus veritate collegati, tum vero nullo non Anathemate dignos fatemur si qui erunt, qui eam non reverenter & summâ cum obedientia observent.. Then shall we professe all them (saith he) who shall not reverently and willingly submit to their Government, to be worthy of whatsoever Anathema or curse. So he, even in his Tractate of Reformation of the Church, at what time also Beza after his congratulating the restitution of our Protestant Religion in England, earnestly de­sired the whole Clergy under the Government of Grindal then [Page 3] Bishop of London, toBeza ad Grindal. Epist. 23. ut omnibus praesulibus suis ex animo obse­quantur: ma­jori poena digni sunt qui Autho­ritatem Tuam aspernabuntur. Idem rursus ad Sarav. upon the considerati­on of the Go­vernment by Arch-bishops and Bishops. Fruantur sane istā Dei benefi­centiā, quae uti­nam sit illi na­tioni perpetua. submit unto him, holding him wor­thy of much punishment who should despise his Authority. Yea, and so well did he approve of the then Government by Arch­bishops and Bishops, as to wish it might be perpetual unto them. This is cited by the Author of the Survey of the preten­ded holy disci­pline, &c. Be­za apud Sarav. de Minist. gradibus, p. 343. c. 21. Nedum, ut quod falsissi­mè & impu­dentissimè nonnulli nobis objiciunt cuiquam uspiam Ecclesiae sequendum nostrum peculiare exem­plum praescribamus, imperitissimorum illorum similes, qui nihil nisi quod ipsi agunt, rectum putant. Sadell likewise, who is sufficiently commended by his excellent writings in defence of the Protestant Religion, did joyn together with Beza in an Apology to vindicate themselves from a sinister report, as if they had detracted from the Right of Government by Arch-bishops and Bishops, avouching the same aspersion to have been a most impious slan­der. AndPet. Martyr Epist. praefix. Juelli Apol. Amplissime Praesul, & Domine mihi quo­tidie etiam atque etiam observande. Bishop Jeuell, how was he honoured by Peter Martyr, calling him A most renowned Prelate; and by Sib­brandus Sibrand, contra Grotium p. 183. citatus â Nicholao Vi­delio. lib. de Episcopat. Constantini magni p. 25. Lubbartus, entitling him The Ornament, not onely of England, but also of the whole world?

Zanchius in Epist. ad Elizab. Anglia Regin. Cogitet Tua Majestas in hoc omnem Tuam curam, potentiam & authori­tatem intendere, ut imprimis Episcopos habeas pios, & in Sacris literis eruditos, ficut Dei be­neficio habes quamplurimos, eosque soveas & audias. Hierom Zanchee, one in the opinion of our Opposites (we doubt not) worthily renowned, in his Letters to Queen Elizabeth, he exhorteth her Majesty with an imprimis, and especially to extend her care, power and authority, to have god­ly Bishops, skilfull in holy Scriptures, of which sort (saith he) by the blessing of God you have already very many: and to che­rish and hear them. Idem Epist. Edmund Grindall [...] Episcop. non possum non gratulari novam & amplissimam dignitatem: quoniam ista sunt di­vinae benedictionis Testimonia & constantis Tuae in Deum pietatis, quâ ejus beneficentiâ cura Tua magis magisque in verâ Religione & pietate promoveri possit. Also in his Epistle to Arch-bishop Grindall, upon occasion of his remove to Canterbury, he ex­presseth his joy for that accesse of dignity, as a testimony of Gods love towards him, and a means whereby he might more and more promote Gods true Religion. Our Opposites ought not to be offended with us, although we offer unto them next an Author, somewhat distastfull unto them at the first hearing, [Page 4] namelySaravia de Minist▪ gradi bus in Epist. ad Lectorem. Saepe miratu [...]sum eo­rum sapientiam, qui Anglicanae Ecclesiae resti­tuerunt divi­num cultum, & ita se attempe­rârunt ut nus­quam decessisse ab antiquâ & priscâ Ecclesiae consuetudine re­prehendi possint Et in Epist. De­dicatoriâ. In parte foelicitatis Regni Anglica ut numerandum est, quód hunc Ordinem Episco­porum retinet. D. Saravia, because as he is a Religious Divine [...] and as un-Episcopall as any other, so also is he as Orthodox, every-where, as they know, inveighing against the Romish Hierarchie; he confesseth himself to wonder at the wisdome of the Reformers of Religion in England, So as not any where deviating from the antient Church of Christ; and concludeth with this Epiphonema, saying, I hold it a part of her happiness that she hath retained with her the order of Bishops.

3. In the raigne of King James, that famous Isaac Ca­saub. Regem al­loquens, in prae­fat, ad exercit. Qui Ecclesiam [...]abeas in Tuis regnis partim jam oli [...] ita in­stitutam, partim magnis Tuis la­boribus ita instauratam ut ad florentis quondam Ecclesiae formam nulla hodie propius accedat, quàm Tua: inter, vel excessu, vel defectu peccantes, median viam sequu [...]a. Quā mode­ratione hoc primum assecuta est Ecclesia Anglicana, ut illi ipsi qui suam foelicitatem invi­dent, saepè tamen ex altarum comparatione illam cogantur laudare. Idem Epist. ad Card. Beron. Reg. Brit. nomine sed ex animi quoque sui sententia, Certo ac liquido mihi con­stat, si notae [...] quaerantur, & verè necessaria ad Salutem spectentur, ut etiam ad decorum Ecclesiae, nullam in orbe terrarum (Deo uni sit laus & gloria) inventam, quae pro­piùs ad fidem, aut speciem antiquae Ecclesiae Catholicae accedat, &c. Isaack Ca­saubon, whom we reckon as the fourth witnesse from the Church of Geneva, had that estimation of our English Episco­pall government, as to confesse, That no Church doth come nearer the form of the primitive Church, then it doth: so farre that even they who envyed her happinesse, are notwithstanding constrained to extoll it. He proceeds furthermore to blazon the worthinesse of it. If (saith he) the essentiall part of the Church be enquired into, and what either necessarily belongeth unto the Doctrine of Salvation, or else to the decency of the Church, then (praysed and magnified be God) no Church upon earth can be found, which more professeth the faith, and resembleth the form of the ancient Catholique Church, then it doth. So he.

But to return to our French witnesse again: worthyMaster Moulin in his Buckler of Faith. p. 271. Ma­ster Moulin, in an answer to a Papist, who upbraided him with the discipline of England, doth avouch the dignity thereof, telling him furthermore, That their agreement is such, that England (saith he) hath been a refuge to our persecuted Churches, and correspondently the excellentest servants of God in our Churches, as Peter Martyr, Calvin, Beza, and Zanchee, [Page 5] have often written Letters full of respect and amity to the Pre­lates of England. So he.

Lastly, now under our Gracious Soveraigne King Charles in the time of Arch-Bishop Abbot, Whose daily experience did testifie the reciprocall correspondence between him, and with other Bishops and all reformed Churches beyond the Sea. At what time likewise Cyrill, late Greek Patriarch of Consta­tinople, did so farre honour both him and our English Church, as to professe his accordance therewith, more specially then with any other. And if our Bishops of later date had not been re­spected, then surely would not the Divines about Breme in Germany have sent their controversies had among themselves, onely unto certain Bishops in England (as they did) to have them moderated by their judgements, not to speak of their dedications of some of their Books unto Bishops. These last Relations nothing, but the importunity of these times, could have extorted from us. Thus much of particular respects had in speciall to our English Episcopall Government, by singular approved Divines of the reformed Protestant Churches. In the next place, as the thread of our method leadeth us, we are to examine what they will say touching the unlawfulnesse, or lawfulness thereof in generall.

That there was never any visibly constituted Church in all Christendome since the Apostles time for 1500. years and more, which held Episcopacy in it self to be unlawfull.

WE are not ignorant that even at this time, all Episco­pacy, and Prelacy of any one above Presbyterie, is cryed down by some as unlawfull in it self,August de Aëri [...] lib. de Haresi cap. 53. Quia non potuit Epi­scopus ordinari, dicebat Presby­terum ab Episco­po nulld diffe­rentiâ debere discerni. notwithstanding our Opposites cannot but know what, besides Epiphanius, Saint Angustine recorded of one Aerius, to wit, that he, be­cause he could not obtain to be made a Bishop, did therefore teach that there ought to be no difference between a Presbyter and a Bishop. So he: and for that cause they listed him among the erroneous Authors of that Age, but (he being excepted) [Page 6] never any visible Church of Christ before him, we adde, nor yet any thus protested after him, nor before these dayes of con­tradiction defended his opinion. Now whether the humour of desire to rule others, and the unwillingnesse to be subject un­to others, may not equally transport some Ecclesiasticks to op­pose against Episcopacy, they can best judge whom it most concernes. We know (beside infinite others, who have ac­knowledged the lawfulnesse of Episcopacy) some protestant Divines of remote Churches, who have fully condemn'd the opinion of Aerius. Three may suffice for three hundred if they be learned and judicious Authors, and not interested in that which is now called Episcopall policy.Mr Mou­lin in Epist. 3 ad Episc. Win­ton. Ab incuna­bulis Aërium damnavi. Master Mou­lin commeth on roundly: I have since my infancy (saith he) abhorr'd the opinion of Aërius.Tylenus in paraenes. Ante Aërium de Epi­scopis exauto­randis nemo, post Aërium so­lùm Geneven­ses studebant. Tylenus also a Divine of the French Church as pertinently and plainly. None ever be­fore Aërius endeavoured the extirpation of Episcopacy, nor yet after him any, but some of Geneva. What some he might meane we know not, but whom he might not meane we have already shewn, as Calvin, Beza, Sadle, and Causabon, who have given their ample suffrages for our English Episcopacy, but only speak against the Romish Hierarchie: And now, for the generality of it,Beza de Mi­nist. gradibus. p: 2. Si qui sunt (quod sanè mi­hi non facilè persuaseris) qui omnem Episco­patûs Ordinem, ut Tu scribis, reliciunt, ab sit ut quisquam sa­nae mentis furo­ribus illorum assentiatur. Idem si modò deformatam domum Dei adamussim ex verbi divini Regula pro viribus instaurarent, ut Ecclesiae Christianae fidos pastores, cur non agnoscamus? observemus? & omni Reverentiâ prosequamur? Beza is again at hand, saying, If there be any, as I think (saith he) there is not, who altogether reject the Episcopall Order, God forbid that any of sound brains should ever assent to their furies: and besides, protesteth his ac­knowledged observance, and all reverence to all Bishops refor­med. Hitherto against the objected unlawfulnesse of Episcopacy in the Church of Christ. But this will not satisfie some men, except furthermore the lawfulness thereof may appear in that degree which is called in respect of its right, According to the Word of God. It belongeth unto us to shew this by the Con­fession of Divines of remote Protestant Churches, which we are ready to performe, and more too.

That Episcopal Prelacy is acknowledged by Protestant Divines of remote Churches to be according to the Word of God, and their consent therein unto Primitive Antiquity.

LVther may well be allowed for the fore-man amongst the Reformers of the Protestant Religion,Luther. tom▪ 1. fol, 309. Reso­lut. ejus super propositionibus Lypsiae disputa­tionibus habitis, conclusio. Probo quamlibet civi­tatem habere debere Episco­pum proprium jure divino, quod ex Paulo ad Titum osten­do, dicente hu­jus rei gratiâ, reliqui te Cre­tae, ut quae de­sunt corrigas, ut constituas simplices Pres­byteros per ci­vitates sicut ego disposui ti­bi, Hos autem Presbyteros fu­isse Episcopos. Hieron, & tex­tus sequens ostendit, dicens, oportet Episcopum irreprehensibilem esse. who proveth the Prelacy of Episcopacy above simple Presbyters (for so he saith) by Divine Right; and this he doth in his Tract [...]te called his Reselution, grounding his judgment upon Scripture, whereof hereafter. Accordingly Bucer, against the Pope as Anti-Christ:Bucer, de Regno Christi lib. 2. cap. 12. Ex perpetuâ Ecclesiarum observatione ab ipsis Apostolis videmus visum hoc esse spiritui Sancto, ut inter Presbyteros unus Ecclesiarum & totius Sacri Ministerii gerat curam singulorum, & cunctis praeerat aliis quâ de causâ Episcopi nomen hujusmodi Ecclesia­rum Curatoribus est peculiariter attributum: tametsi hi sine Presbyterorum consilio nihil sta­tuere debuerant qui & ipsi propter hanc communem Ecclesiarum ad minist. rationem Episcopi in Scripturis vocantur. We see (saith he) by their perpetual observa­tion of Churches, and from the Apostles themselves, that it see­med good to the holy Ghost that some singular one should be ap­pointed among the Presbyters to Govern in so sacred an Order, who hath for the same cause, the Appellation of Bishop in Scrip­ture. Scultetus the Divine, Professour at Heidelberg, professing Episcopal degree to be of divine Right, and professeth to prove it to be such by efficacious reasons, who in the sequell of his discourse will be as good as his word; with whom agreeth that admirable SchollarIsaac Casaubon, Exercit, Episcopi, Presbyteri, Diaconi apertis Scripturae testimoniis sunt sundati. Ibid. Apostolorum hodie vicarii sunt, etsi non pari pote­state cum Apostolis omnes Episcopi, ut è B. Cypriano antea dicebamus Exercit. 14. Cyprian, Ep. 65. Apostolis vicariâ ordinatione succedere Episcopos. Isaac Casaubon, the ornament of Geneva, who held the same to be grounded upon the Testimo­nies of Scriptures. These may serve for the present till we come to a larger consent.

All these, and other the former confessions of Protestant Di­vines, are the proper idiom and language of primitive Antiqui­ty, teaching thus. Episcopacy is by the Ordination of Christ. [Page 8] So Ignatius il­lam formam E­piscopalem [...] Teste Sculteto in Titum. Ignatius: and again, Cyprian E­pist. 65, ad Ro­gat▪ Quod si nos aliquid sa­core contra De [...]um audemus, qui Episcopos facit; Et Epist. 27. ad Laps. cum igitur di­vinâ lege fun­data sit &c. Epist. ad Cornel. Ecclesiae guber­nandae sublimem ac divinam po­testatem. Reverence your Bishop as Christ and the Apostles have commanded you. Or thus, To be a divine power, the resistancè whereof is against God himself: So Cyprian. And thus, God placed Bishops over His family: So Origen, tract. in Mat. 31. cognoscunt Epi­scopi quod hoc non vos salvat, quod constituit eos Dominus super familiam ejus, &c. Origen. And thus, The Apostles were made Bishops by Christ, who ordained others (meaning Bishops) in other places, by whom the Church should be govern'd:August. in quaestion. veter. & novi Testa­men. pag. 97. Nemo ignorat Salvatorem no­strum Episcopos instituisse, quando Apostoli facti sunt, qui missi sunt ut mittere possint alios; ipse enim imprimis Apostolis instituit Episcopos. So Augustine. Or thus, Epiphanius adversus Aërium [...] De Heresi. 75. Bishops constituted over Presbyters, as the Word of God teacheh: So Epiphanius. And thus, August. lib. 7. contra Donatist. cap. 42. De Apostolis à Christo missis, qui­bus nos successimus eadem potestate Ecclesiam Dei gubernantes: & de Verb. Domini Serm. 24. Qui vos spernit, me spernit &c. None can be ignorant that Bishops were instituted by Christ when he made His Apostles, by whom others should be made Bishops, whom we succeed, and (speaking of Bishops) of whom Christ said, he that despiseth you despiseth me: So again Augustine.

Before we end this point we shall desire our Opposites to bethink themselves what they think may signifie the suffra­ges of the Fathers of the Synod of Calcedon, for Antiquity, one of the first four Generall, and in this generality univer­sally receiv'd throughout Christendom, for amplitude con­sisting of six hundred and thirty Bishops, and for aversenesse against the Pope of Rome, that which undermin'd the very foundation of Romish Popedom, which is a pretence of having been established by the divine Authority of Christ the uni­versall Bishop of the Church, and equalling another Patriarch with him, and shewing that all the Primacy which the Pope of Rome had, was but from humane Authority. ThisConcil▪ Calced Can. 29. [...]. Coun­cell concerning Episcopacy ordain'd, that To depose a Bishop down to the degree of a Presbyter, is Sacriledge.

This so great a Harmony, between the former Protestant Divines, and those eminent Fathers, how shall it not sound delightfull unto every docible and unpreoccupated hearer? These confessions notwithstanding, we have not discharg'd [Page 9] our Assumption, untill we produce their proofes, which is to be perform'd according to our former promise, after that we shall manifest the like confessions of Protestant Divines and ac­cordance to Antiquity, in acknowledging Episcopacy to be the best forme of Government in respect of the use thereof.

That Episcopall Government in the Church, is, in respect of the necessary use thereof, the best by the consent of Protestant Divines of other reformed Churches.

SOme peradventure will conceive, that three at the least be­ing required in the degree of comparison, to make up a best: Therefore our three must be taken either for Episcopacy, which is a Prelacy of one above more; or Presbytery, which is an equality of moe among themselves; or that which is cal­led an Independency, of one in each Parish without relation to any other. Which mis-begotten brat was never heard of in ancient times, or approv'd of any latter Church of Christ since; and indeed is but the erecting of a Pope in every Pa­rish, whereof somethingSee here­after. hereafter. It will be sufficient that we understand a best in the full latitude with comparison of whatsoever other.

Our Protestant Witnesses we ranke into two Classes; First is the Church of the Lutherans, who were the first Reformers of our Protestant Religion.Luther; tom. 2 fol. 307. Plus illis tribuo quàm merentur, qui eos tam san­cto & veteri nomine dignor. Lup [...]s enim & canes appellare op [...]rtes, & fol. 320. Nemo contra statum Eiscoporum, & ver [...] Episcopos vel bonos pastores dictum putet quicquid contra hos Tyrannos dicitur. Apol. Confess. Aug. cap. de numero & usu Sacramenti. No [...] saepe protestati sumus summâ cum volun­tate conserva [...]e Politiam Ecclesiasticam & gradus in Ecclesiâ sactos etiam summâ authoritate. lib 4 cap. Protestant. de unitat. Eccles. ut scbismata vttarentur accessit utilis ordinatio ut ex multis Presbyteris eligeretur Episcopus qui regeret Ecclesiam decendo Evangelium & retinenedo Di­sciplinam, ut praeesset Presbyteris, &c. If our Reader will be pleased but to cast his eye upon the Marginalls, he may find out these following observables, viz. that Luther will be known, when he complained of Bishops, to have meant over tyrannous (P [...] ­pish) Bishops, and them, (as he saith) who are unworthy of the [Page 10] Holy name of Bishop; next, that all Protestant Churches of Germany in their generall Confessions, had (as they say) often protested their earnest desire to conserve the discipline of degrees in the Church by the Authority of Bishops, whereby to remove dissentions and Schismes from the Church, then that Phil. Me­lanct Hist conf. Aug. pag. 365. Teste Sarav. de Minist. gradi­bus cap. 16. Quanquam ut ego quod censeā dicam, utinam possem admini­strationem resti­tuere Episcopo­rum. Video e­nim qualem si­mus habituri Ecclesiam dissolu­tâ politiâ Eccle­siasticâ Video postea futuram Tyrannidem multò intolera­biliorem, quàm unquam fuit, nihil concessi­mus praeter ea Lutherus cen­suit esse red­denda. Melancthon ci­tat Buoerum disciplin. eleric. quia omnino ne­cesse est ut Cle­rici suos habe­ant Curatores atque Custodes instaurandos, ut Episcoporum, ita & Archiepiscorum, alio­rum que omnium; quibuscunque nominibus censeantur potestas & animadversio, ne quis omnino sit in hoc ordine [...]. Me­lancthon, by the perswasion of Luther, was as much bent for Episcopall Government as any, when he burst out into this expression; I would to God it lay in me to restore the Govern­ment of Bishops, for I see what a Church we shall have, the Ec­clesiasticall Policy being dissolv'd, I foresee it will be far more intolerable then ever it was. There is added to this the ac­knowledgment of Bucer; holding it necessary, that the Cler­gy have those (speaking of Bishops) to whom the Authority of the Church is committed: His reason, least that refractory and dissolute persons should be in the Church. Prince Hanolt, after he became a sincerely profess'd Protestant and faithfull Prea­cher of the Gospel, speaking of Bishops, that would be faith­full in Governing the Church: Georgius Princ. A [...]bolt Concion. In praefat. de Ordina­tione Teste Saravia pag. 267. utinam si [...]ut gerunt nomina & titulos, ita so reipsa praestarent Episcopos Si fideliter Ecclesias regerent, quàm libenter, quantâque cordis laetitid, pro Episco­pis ipsos habere, revereri, morem gerere, debitam jurisdictionem & ordinationem eis facere, eā que sine ulla recusatione frui vellemus. How willingly, and with what gladnesse of heart, would we (saith he) reverence, obey, and yeeld them their ordination and jurisdiction, the which we and Luther have very often protested, both by word and writing.

We now passe unto the other Classes of Protestant Divines, of Reformed Churches, beginning with Calvin himself, who hath a double intuition concerning Presbyteriall Govern­ment. One as it may be considered is in an Independency; so that every one have a Right of excommunication in him­self: Calvinus Epist. ad Gasparum Magnum u [...]i­le fuit jus excommunicandi permitti singulis pastoribus, nunc ea res odiosa est, & facilis est lapsus in Tyrannidem, & Apostoli alium usum tradiderunt. this he calleth, unprofitable, odious, and such as easily [Page 11] turneth into Tyranny, and contrary to that which the Apostles taught. Next beholding them in a joynt parity, he relateth the reason of the first beginning of Episcopacy, and saith true­ly, Calv. instit [...] lib. 4. cap. 2. & Tom. 7. fol. 218. Presbyterum in suo numero ex singulis civita­tibus unum eli­gebant, cui spe­cialiter titulum Episcopi da­bant, ne ex ae­qualitate ut fi­eri solet, dissidia nascerentur. that by the parity and equality among Presbyters, (as it useth to be) Schismes and dissentions might arise among them. This Parenthesis [as it useth to be] which he inserteth, cer­tainly hath in it a sting, which pierceth into the Bowells of the cause. Successour to Calvin was Beza, who thus far succeedeth him also in his opinion, asBeza de di­vers. Ministro­rum gradibus cap. 23. apud Sarav. p. 386 [...] Ipsa tandem experientiâ compertum fu­isse, non satis virium eos ha­buisse ad impro­bos compescen­dos; communi­cata viz. singu­lis pastoribus per vices hujus Primatûs dignitate: Ergo visum fuit ad unum, & illum quidem totius Presbyterii judicio, delectum transferre, quod certè reprehendi non debet, cum praesettir [...] veinstus hic mos fuit in Alexandrinâ Ecclesiâ, jam inde à Marco Evangelistâ observatus esset, & rarsus. Absit ut hunc Ordinem, etsi merâ divina dispositione non constitutum, tamen aut ut te­merè, aut superbè inventum reprehendam, cujus potiùs magnum usum fuisse, quandiu bonî & Sancti Episcopi Ecclesiis praefuerunt, quis inficiari poss [...]t? to confesse (as he saith) from ex­perience, this of the Presbyterian Government, that it being not sufficient to repress vices, choice was made of one to Governe the rest, as was observed anciently (saith he) from the Evang. Mark in the famous Church of Alexandria: Again, speaking of the institution of Episcopacy, whatsoever it was, he will be known to abhore and reprehend it, as erected by pride: but why? for none can deny (saith he) but that there was great use of it whilst that goodly and Godly Bishops were chief over others.

We may well presume (as was said) that the other part of the misquoted sentence of Zanchie is extant in some Impression of his Works, wherein he did so symbolize with the forecited Sentence of Calvin, Citat per Petrum Moulin: filium Hieron. Zanch. Thefibus de vera reformandarum Ecclesiarum ratione. Testor me coram Deo in mea conscientia non alio habere loco quàm Schismaticorum illos omnes, qui in parte Reformationis Ecclesiarum ponu [...]t nullos habere Episcopos, qui authoritatis gradu suos compresbyteros emineant, ubi liquido possint haberi. Praterea cum D. Calv. nullo non Anathe­mate dignos censeo, quotquot illi Hierarchiae, quae se Domino Jesu submittit, subjici no­lunt. Testifying before God (for these are the words) that he holdeth them Schismaticks, who shall deter­mine, that in the restauration of Churches there ought to be no Bishops, having authority over Presbyters, where freely they may be had. He proceedeth furthermore, I think with Calvin saith he, them to be worthy of whatsoever Anathema, who will not [Page 12] be subject to their Government, which submitteth it self to Christ; So he. Furthermore concerning the testimonies, as I may so say, of Ecclesiasticall Government,Zanchius pag. 7. in suâ Confessione. Quid cortlus ex historiis, ex con­ciliis, ex omni­um patrum scri­ptis, quàm illos Ministrorum Ordines, de qui­bus dicimus cum totius Reipubl. Christiana con­sensu in Eccle­sia constitutos & receptos fu­isse? Quis au­tem ego sum qui quod tota Eccle­siâ approbat im­probem? neque omnes docti viri nostri temporis improbare ausi sunt, quippe quod norunt & licuisse hac Ec­clesia, & ex pi­etate atque ad optimos fines pro aedificatione e­lectorum ea om­nia fuisse per­fecta & ordi­nata [...] quid quod in Ecclesiis Protestantium non desunt Episcopi. Zanchie con­fessed Episcopacy to have been ordained for the best end, to wit, the edification of the Elect. The sentence of Calvin hath been formerly alleadged; Unto these we adde the saying of the proloquutour in the Synod of Dort, who is rendred unto us, by them that heard him, to have wished, that the Church with them were so happy as our English, by having an Episcopall Government among them. This case was so evident to a late Advocat for Presbyters, Salmasius by name, that although he relucteth justly against an irregular Prelacy, yet doth he freely and ingenuously grant, that Wallo, alias Salmasius lib. de Episc. p. 413 Episcopus Ecclesiis regendis unicus praepositus est qui & Presbyteris pluribus unius Ecclesiae praeesset. Bono fine hoc institutum esse nemo negat, cum optima ratio fuerit ita instituendi. the preferring of one Bishop in every Church, was instituted with best reasons.

Would any see more? Then he is to observe the Protesta­tion made by the German Divines in the Augustane confessi­on, protesting their desire for the conservation of Episcopacy; whereof it is testified by aConradus Verstius in Apol. Pro Eccles. Orthodox; de Augustan. Confess. pag. 285. in Colloquio Possiaceno Augustanae confessioni per omnia se subscribere paratos esse, testati sunt praeterquam Articulo doctrina de Eucharistiâ, utpote obscuriùs positâ. Theologicall professour, that other Protestants were ready to subscribe to the Augustane Confession, (per omnia) excepting only the Article of the Eucharist, because it was not clearly explain'd: among these Protestants he names Calvin, Beza, Vermilius, Marlorat and Zanchius, which probably could not have been altogether true, if they had been adversaries to the foresaid Protesta­tion.

Before we can conclude, we return to Geneva to be satis­fied in a main question; which is, whether the forme of Government in Geneva ought to be perscribed as a patterne to other Reformed Churches to be regulated thereby: And [Page 13] when we consult withBeza c. 21. pag. 343. apud Sarav. Quod falsissimè & im­pudentissimè nonnulli nobis objiciunt, cui­quam uspiam Ecclesiae sequendum nostrum peculiare exemplum praescribamus, imperitissimorum illorum si­miles, qui nihil, nisi quod ipsi agant, rectum putant. Beza about this very point, he telleth us, that this opinion was imparted to their Church, but in the name of the whole Church of Geneva rejecteth it as a most false and impudent exprobration. After this com­parison made by weight and ponderation, we seek to try what may be done by computation and numbring.

That the most Protestant Cburches do professe and practise a Prelacy over Presbyters.

MAny now look upon our English Bishops as birds upon owles, yet not peradventure so, as they for strangenesse or for reverence; but with left eyes in an opinion of singulari­ty and onelinesse, as a thing not acknowledged in other re­mote and reformed Churches of Protestants; not considering what hath been published to the world long-ago, that the word Superintendent is of the same signification with the word Bishop: both from the same Greek, [...]. Yet some Protestant Churches practising a Prelacy, vail it over with the word Superintendency: If we would know what,Zanchius in suâ confessione, fuit mihi pra­terea habenda ratio illarum etiam Ecclesia­rum, quae licet Evangelium complexae sint, suos tamen, & re & nomine habuerunt E­piscopos, quos (mutatis be­nis graecis nominibus in malè Latina) vocant Superintendentes & Generales Superintenden­tes; sed etiam ubi neque vetera illa bona Graeca neque haec nova male Latina verba obtinent, ibi tamen solent esse aliquot primarii, penes quos fere tota est Authoritas. Sed cum de rebus convenit quid de nominibus altercamur? Teste Sarav. de Ministrorum gradibus, c. 23. p. 365. Zan­chie will speak out and to the purpose, in telling us that Epis­copi (whom we call Bishops) and Superintendents, are words of the same sense and signification: and therefore where there is an agreement in the thing signified, there ought not to be any altercation and strife about words. But what will he say to the practice? He distinguisheth Protestant Churches in this re­spect into three differences, some whereof practise a superiority of one above the Clergy under the proper name of Bishops; an­other [Page 14] sort the same, but under the name of Superintendents and General Superintendents, whom we call Arch-bishops. Lastly, he discloseth a third kinde, (a circumstance very remarkeable) who although they avoid the Titles of Bishops or Superin­tendents, yet use they to be such primarii, as to say, eminent in Prelacy, as in whom (for so he saith) the whole Authority con­sisteth. Now therefore our question must be, whether the Church exercising Prelacy, or the other that onely practise equa­lity, exceed in number.

The number of Churches, which had Prelates under the name of Bishops, and the other of Superintendents (being in signification the same) seemed to Greg. de Valentia, the Jesuite, so many, that he thought all Protestant Churches to have Bishops.

An excellent servant of God Doctor Duraeus, and a zealous hunter after the best game, which is, the general peace of Pro­testant Churches among themselves, hath set down a Cata­logue of the Churches reform'd on both Parties, and reckon­eth (if he be not mistaken) seven Bishops in the Kingdom of Swede: in Denmark Bishops, in other Lutheran Churches Su­perintendents, and in all Imperial Cities among the Prote­stants, besides divers other reform'd Churches the like; which we suppose will rather keep their conformity with England, then tast new wine with others, seing that, as the Text saith, Luke 5. 39. The old is better: and whether the Episcopal form be not the onely and Apostolical, cometh now to be discussed by in­quiring into Antiquity.

That the former reasons of Confessions of Protestant Divines, concerning the necessity of Episcopal Prelacy, for preserva­tion of concord and preventing of schisme, is correspondent to the judgment of Antiquity.

IT would be worth our knowledge to understand, that the former Confessions of Protestant Divines are, in effect, but [Page 15] the ecchoings unto the sentences of ancient Fathers. Among whom, Hierome could tell us,Hieron in E­pist ad Evag [...] Omnes Episcopi (ubicunque sunt locorum) Suc­cessores sunt A­postolorum. Ad Evagr. Quod posteà unus est electus, quae prae­pon [...]retur caete­ris, in Schismatis remedium fa­ctum est, nequis­quam ad se tra­hens Ecclesiam Christi corrum­pat. That the original of Episco­pacy (which is the placing of one Presbyter in a degree above others) was decreed throughout the whole world, for taking away Schisme: which use thereof was held so necessary in the dayes of Antiquity, that the said Hierome spared not to af­firm, Hieron. ad­vers. Lucif. Ec­clesiae salus ex summi Sacerdo­tis dignitate pē ­det, cui nisi ex­ors quaedam & ab omnibus [...]mi­nens detur pote­stas, tot in Ec­clesiâ efficientur Schismata quot Sacerdotes. That the safety of the Church dependeth upon the dignity of a Bishop, to whom, except some eminent Authority be given, there will be as many Schismes as there are Priests in the Church. So he, and before him Tertullian thus,Tertull. lib. de Baptismo, Episcopus propter Ecclesia honorem, quo salvo salva est Pax. The Bishop is for the honour of the Church, which being in safety, our peace will be also safe. But howNyssen. Hom. in Ecclesiast. ut Chorus ad Coriphaeum respicit, nempè suum ductorem, nauta ad Gubernatorem & Acies ad Imperatorem; ita etiam ad Ecclesiam qui praesunt in coetu Ec­clesiae. Chrysostom. orat. in dicta Apostoli, Omnia in gloriam Dei. Quemadmodum Cho­rus Praecentorem, & nautarum multitudo Gubernatorem requirit, sic & Sacerdotem coetus Pon­tificem, &c. Chrysostome and Gregory Nys­sen do illustrate, both affirming the same necessity of a Bishop in the Church, as is a Precentor in a Quire, a Governour in a Campe, and a Pilot in a Ship. By which Episcopal order (saithBasil. in Epist. ad Eccles. Ai. de Episcopis Membra Ecclesiae hâc dignitate tanquam unâ qua [...]em animâ in concordiam, & communionem reducantur. Basil) the Church is reduced as one soul into com­munion and concord: yea and before all these;Cyprian E­pist. Vnde Haereses, unde Schismata, nisi quòd Sacerdoti dei non obtemperent, qui est loco Christi Judex. Idem Epist. 55. Actum est de Episcopatûs vigore, & de Ecclesiae gubernandae sublimi ac divinâ potestate, &c. (where he speaketh of himself, and not of the Bishop of Rome.) Cyprian Bishop and Martyr, complained of such insolencies of Pres­byters against their Bishops, as being causes of heresies and schismes against a divine power of Government. So he; These, will some say, are but their sayings, and shall we therefore think that their sayings were not the symbolls and expressi­ons of their meaning; but we presume better of them that are ingenuous, and the rather for their further satisfaction which may be had in the next Thesis.

That Bishops primitively were not only the chiefest champions for the Christian faith, but also the greatest adversaries to Romish Popedome, as have also our English.

BEfore we can begin the proof of this Thesis, we are con­fronted by our Opposites against Primitive Fathers in strange termes,Smestym. in their vindica­tion. Bishops by advancing the authority of Episco­pacy did thereby (say they) but plead their own cause, and made a stirrop for the Romish Antichrist to mount into his Pontificall saddle. So they. Which contumely against the reverend an­tiquity, we are loath to call by its proper name; being there­fore not to reprove others, but to prove what we have in hand, which is that some of the ancient Bishops lived in the torrid zone of fiery persecution, and others in a temperate. Of the first sort we have it confessed, That the persecuting Emperours did, above all others, make their Inquisition and exercises of their furies most especially upon Bishops; we have it upon record in Cyprian, but much more in other Ec­clesiasticall Histories, wherein, as is confessed byBrightman [...]n Apocalyps. Dioclesian te. poribus erant a­trocissimae cla­des, sed tamen fideles ad extre­mum certamen constanter per­stiterunt, repor­tantes Trophaea victoriae corpo­ris stigmata. Ma­ster Brightman, although Dioclesian in his Edict, did especially command the destruction of all that had taken sacred Orders, yet in a further Complures Episc. insignes erant in Conci­lio Nicaeno; & rursus qui histo­riam scripsit, meminit centum & sexaginta Episcoporum qui in Sagasan [...] extincti sunt, & in provinci­as edicto Re­gis proferantur ut delerentur universi qui sa­cros ordines habuerint. speciality the massacring of Bishops; he relateth that one hundred and sixty of them were martyred in two places; yea, and in the Church of Rome it self is also reckoned the num­ber of 160. Bishops, who were martyrs of Christ in those primi­tive times. To fancy that these afflicted and persecuted Mem­bers of Christ for their degree sake, could pride it in their Episcopall office, would be held to be but a dream, they will rather think, that if they should prelate it, (as Marriners use to frolike it) rather in a calme of tranquility; but for this also we shall easily subcribe to the judgement of Master Beza, who when he was thus posed, whether he should impute the note of pride unto these Primitive servants of God, (whose names have alwayes been celebrious in the Church of Christ [Page 17] (to wit) Basil, Nysen, Nazianzen, Athanasius, Chrysostome, Ambrose, and Augustine, who are known to have afterwards had Episcopall Government in their several Churches) an­swereth, saying,Beza de Ministrorum gradibus, c. 25. pag. 543. apud Saravian. Ne­minem adhuc audivi loquen­tem, neque legi scribentem, qui non honorificè, sicut par est, de magnis illis suo­rum temporum hominibus sen­tiat: nempe Nazianzeno, Nisseno, Basi­lio magno Atha­nasio, Cypriano, Chrysostimo, Ambrosio, Au­gustino. I never heard any speak, or read any write otherwise then honourably of those men, as was meete. So he, of his time; he could not prophesie of the future. It were good, that these who use this new and broad language had considered,Iren. lib. 5. adversus haeres. cap. 20. That Bishops were then almost the only ones, who, as occasion fell out, either pulled the Romish Pope out of his Saddle when he was mounted, or else pluckt away his Stirrop, that in those times he could not get up. For whereas Popedome, being a double usurpation, one of pleni­tude of Authority,See the book intituled, The Romish Grand Impostor, throughout. universall over Bishops; and the other of an infallibility of judgement in determining all Controver­sies of Faith, it hath been evidently and copiously proved, that the amplitude of his Diocesse was limited by three hun­dred Bishops in the Generall Councell of Nice. His pretend­ed right of Universall Authority was contradicted an. 553. by six hundred Bishops in the Councell of Calcedon, where we find it accounted to be but of Humane Authority against his pretended universall challenge of appeale to Rome, it was twice contradicted by Bishops in two Councells in Africk; and as for his pretended infallibility in judgement, the 165 Bishops in the Councell of Constantinople condemned the De­cree of Pope Vigilius; aud in the sixth and seventh Councells, consisting in all of 603. Bishops, was Pope Honorius condem­ned for an Heretique. We may not omit the mention of sin­gular persons Bishops, who have had their solemne oppositi­ons against the Popes of their times, Cyprian, Athanasius, Ba­sil, Cyrill of Alexandria, Hilary of Arles and Augustine, with many others. But what talke we of Bishops in other Sees? seeing we have in the See of Rome it self one, who did prejudice the pretended and usurped dignity and authority of all his Successours in condemning the pretence of the high­est Title and Prerogative which the Pope doth challenge, which is to be called The Vniversall Bishop of Christs Church, by judging it to be proud, prophane, and blasphemous, and [Page 18] the Bishop we mean was Pope Gregory the first, whom Mr. Brightman hath adorned with this Encomium, Mr. Bright­man in Apoc. cap. 8. 13. cited hereafter. The flying Angell mentioned, Apoc. 8. 13. whose lustre, saith he, God would use for the Church. As for our Church of England since the Reformation, it hath been conformable to the Primitive. Surely greater faithfulness could not be shown then in the seal of Martyrdom, nor more opposition to Popedom, then to cut off all dependence upon it by the neck ever since, nor this more by any then in Bishops, as our Ecclesiastical monu­ments have recorded; not to mention the writings publique in confutation of all Popish Errours and Heresies, onely let it be lawfull for us to point at the last Synod and Convocation was vehement against Popery, as (for this is spoken by him that was absent from it) any one may read. After these Con­fessions of Protestant Divines, we are to ascend higher to our proofs, for evincing the same to be according to the word of God, as Apostolical; first from Antiquity, and after from the word of God it self.

Our first proof, that Episcopacy is according to the word of God, by manifesting it to have been of Apostolical Institution by necessary reasons.

That to be of Apostolical Institution, argueth in it a divine Right, by the confession of excellent Divines of the Refor­med Churches.

FRom the Church of Geneva, we have before us Mr. Beza to deliver his own words.Beza tra­ctat. de Minist. gradibus c. 23. Cert [...] si ab ipsis Apostolis esset profecta haec mutatio, non vererer illam ut caeteras Apostolicas Ordinationes divinae in solidum dispositioni tribuere. Surely if Episcopacy had proceeded from the Apostles, I would not doubt to ascribe un­to it a divine Ordinance. So he. This is plain; Second­ly, from the Churches within the Palatinate, Scultetus by name, argueth accordingly.Scultetus observat in Tit. esse juris divini. Ratio. Apostolos prafixisse Presbyteris Episcopos. The Apostles placed Bishops [Page 19] above Presbyters, and therefore is Episcopacy of divine Institu­tion. A third, properly call'd Salmasius, out of the University and Church of Leiden in the Low-countries, one of great fame, and a profess'd friend unto our Opposites; and not­withstanding confesseth, saying,Walo, alias Salmasius lib. de Episc. pag. 422. Institutio Epis­copi si ab Apo­stolis, est Jure Divino. If the Institution of Epis­copacy (saith he) be from the Apostles, then it is of divine Right. So they. Certainly, because what power was ordained by the Apostles proceeded from the Spirit of God: like as was their decree against Strangled and Blood, their Holy-kisse, their Agapae, and the like in their first Institution.

And although these were abrogated in time, yet the necessi­ty of perpetuating Episcopacy, standeth upon two grounds; one, is the first reason of institution thereof, which was, for avoiding Schisme; the other was, the universal continuance thereof from age to age, upon experience of the same reason: Which, as we have heard, hath been held most reasonable to almost all Protestant Divines of remote Churches. Now therefore, that which we are to make good is onely our As­sumption; to wit, that Episcopacy was of Apostolical In­stitution, then which nothing almost can be more evinceable, if testimonies from Antiquity, evidences out of Scriptures, and upon both these, the confessions of Protestant Divines of the Reformed Churches may be held satisfactory, our first endeavours concerning Antiquity for this performance, must be to remove objections which our opposites cast in our way. The onely peremptorily objected Ancients are these two, Hierome and Clement, both whom we are now to salute.

That no Ancient Father absolutely denied the Apostolical Ori­ginal of Episcopacy, no not the objected Hierome who will shew himself a manifest Patron thereof.

THe objected sentence ofHieron. in 1. ad Tit. Sicut Presbyteri sci­ant se Ecclesiae consuetudine iis, qui sibi praepositi sunt esse subjectos; ita Episcopi noverint se magis consuetudine, quam dispositionis Dominicae veritate Presbyteris esse majores, & in com­muni debere Ecclesias regere. Hierome, saying, concerning Episcopal Prelacy, That it is rather by the custom of the [Page 20] Church, then by the Lords disposal, is confessed by the Theo­logical Protestant Professour in the University of Heidelberg to be understoodScultet. observat in Tit. [...]8. Nisi forte consuetudinem Ecclesiae pro con­suetudine Apo­stolicâ, et dispo­sitionis Domi­nica veritatem pro instituto Christi capiat. by the decree of the Lords disposal; the immediate ordinance of Christ, in his dayes upon earth, and affirming the custom, happily to have meant the Apostolical custom, after they began the forming and framing of the Churches. However, for this one place objected against us, we have many most evident Testimonies out of Hierome him­self, to prove the first institution of Episcopacy to have been indeed Apostolical.

First is from the original occasion, whereunto he alludeth, even the contention in the Church of Corinth, whenHieron. in 1. Tit. Ante­quam Diaboli instinctu studia in Religione fie­rent diversa in­ter populos, Ego sum Pauli, Ego Apollinis, Ego Gephae, communi consi­lio Presbyteris Ecclesiae guber­nabantur postea autem in toto terrarum orbe decretum est ut unus ex Presby­teris electus su­perponetur saeteris. some held of Paul, some of Appollo, some of Cephas, whereof it is confessed by the foreceited Palatinate Doctour,Scultetus in Tit. hoc caep­tum est viventibus Apostolis, prior Epistol. ad Corinthios nos dubitare non finit. That the words of the Apostle will not suffer me (saith he) to doubt but that alteration was made in the dayes of the Apostles, and his confirmation is as doubtlesse; namely, because no man can pro­duce any other original of the questioned Schisme and contention. This is a chief point, and therefore we desire to hear whatVidelius in Epist. Ignat. ad Philadelphenses, cap. 14. Discrimen illud Presbyterorum & Episcopi ut ex pluribus Epistolarum locis apparet, tempore Ignatii fuit, etenim illud valde maturè ipsorum Apo­stolorum temporibus in Ecclesiam irrepsit statim postquam dici coeptum est, Ego sum Pauli, Ego Cephae, &c. Teste Hieronymo in Titum. Videlius the Divine Professour in Geneva, will say unto it. He handleth the matter accurately, which is to be reserv'd to its proper place. In summe, out of Ignatius the disciple of the Apostles he sheweth the difference of Bishop and Presbyter begun timely in the Church, even presently after the contention to the Corinthians, whereof it is say'd, some held of Paul, and some of Apollo, and some of Cephas.

Secondly, Hierome granteth in general, yet distinctly of Bishops, Hieron. in Epist. ad Euagr. Omnes Episcopi (ubi cunque sunt locorum) successores sunt Apostoli. That they are the Successors of the Apostles.

Thirdly, yea he sheweth who were Successours in the very dayes of the Apostles, reckoning among others,As they are set down in their divers Titles in his Book De Ecclesiasticis scriptoribus. Timothy, Titus, Polycarpus and Euodius.

[Page 21] Fourthly, He relateth who were first Bishops of all others after them, to wit,Idem de script. Ecclesi. Jacobus minor Hierosolymita­nus Episcopus, Marcus Eccle­siae Alexandri­nae primus Episcopus. James of Jerusalem, and Marke of Alexandria.

Fifthly,Idem Epist. ad Euag. 58. Aaron & filii summi Sacerdo­tes & us Aa­ron, Eleazar, & Levitae, juxta traditiones Apostolicas hoc sunt Episcopi, Presbyteri, & Diaconi. he alleadgeth the Analogy between Aaron and his sonnes in respect of the Levites with Bishops and Pres­byters, from (as he saith) Apostolicall tradition.

Sixthly, theIdem ad Ruper [...] advers. Vigilant. Miror sanctum Episcopum in cujus parochiâ Presbyter esse dicitur, a [...]quiesc [...]re furori ejus, & non virgâ Apostolicâ & ferre confringere vas inutile. Episcopall part of Excommunication against Vigilantius he calleth His Apostolicall Iron Rodde. So Hierome. It were incredible if that all these Apostolicall Re­lations concerning Episcopacy, should not amount unto so much as to make up an Apostolicall Institution thereof.

The second objected Father, is Clement, whereof their suc­cesse will be no better, if not much worse.

That Clement an Apostolicall Disciple, to whose arbitrement both our Opposites and we offer to yeeld our selves, doth pa­tronize Episcopacy, as being Apostolicall.

WE are earnestly called upon to hearken unto Clement,Smectym. vind. pag. 136. talking of a prophecy of a future contention which should happen about the name of Bishop. Next, That there is no peece of Antiquity of more esteem, then the Epistle of Clement unto the Corinthians. Then; That this was brought to light by a learned Gentleman Mr. Patrick Young: and lastly for the matter it self, That there is a common and promiscuous use of the word Presbyter and Bishop.

We shall answer punctually to every one, viz. The Pro­phecy maketh for us, the Epistle much more, the Publisher also as much as can be desired, and that Objection of the indiffe­rency of the Words of Bishop and Presbyter is scarce worthy the mention.

We begin with the Prophecy▪ The Prophecy was only, [Page 22] that there should be in time to come, a contention about the word Bishop. If we should ask our Opposites, when this conten­tion was first known in times of old, they would be loth to tell us, knowing right well, that it was first raised by one Aerius, of whom Epiphanius and Austin haveSee above. told us, that he broke out into Schisme, andSee above. because he could not obtain to be made a Bishop, did therefore spurne against Episcopacy, teaching, saith St. Austin, that there ought to be no difference between Bishops and Presbyters; therefore thus they may see the Prophecy fulfilled, both when, and in whom, if they like it. But if any shall boast, that it is fulfilled now by their pre­sent Opposalls against Episcopacy, after that it hath had ap­probation with a continuall use universally in the Churches of God: Then have we nothing else to reply, but what the spirit of God, from the pen of the holy Apostle, putteth in our mouth; If any be contentious (saith he) we have no such cu­stome, nor the Churches of God, whereby the wilfully conten­tious maketh himself an adversary to the Churches of God, and consequently no way acceptable to God himself.

The second point which we are to discerne, is that, which they call identity of names of Bishops and Presbyters: they should have called it community of names, especially know­ing that there is no more identity in the words Presbyters and Bishops, then there is between the letters of P. and B. But this was a lapse: Therefore to our matter in hand. We an­swer, that meer names and words make but verball conse­quences, to which we oppose a reall and Logicall consequence à paribus, thus: For of the very Apostles of Christ one insti­led himself Co-presbyter, another himself Presbyter, a third himself Deacon, who are all common names with others that were not Apostles; and notwithstanding, the Apostles them­selves in respect of their offices and Functions were Gover­nours over Presbyters: which sheweth that the enterchange­ablenesse of names cannot conclude an indifferency of degree. But this [...]rambe will be sodden once again, when we shall be occasioned to give further satisfaction. As for the present, it may well be said, what shall we need words, when we see Acts [Page 23] and deeds, namely concerning this Clement? Not only that he maintained the distinct degrees of Episcopacy, but that also he was distinctly above Presbyters, a Bishop himself. Yet should not our Opposites pose us in that, whereVedelius. Exercit. 8. ad Mariam in Ig­natium, cap. 3. Lino & Cleto defunctis ante Clementem, so­lus Clemens su­perstes, solus e­tiam Episcopi nomen retinuit, tum quia inter adjutores Apo­stolorum solus ipse restabat, tum quia jam invaluerat di­stinctio Episcopi & Presbyteri. ita ut caeteris Ecclesiae Roma­nae Presbyteris, qui cum solo Clemente, es­sent, nomen id non fuerit tri­butum. Vedelius a Professour of Geneva gave them (if they have read him) some satisfaction; shewing, that as soon as Clemens remained the sole Adjutour of the Apostles after Linus and Cletus, the name of Bishop was given unto him, and not attributed to any Presbyter, or Presbyters in the Church of Rome. So he. Is not this to the point; the distinguishing of times doth solve many doubts. It is meet now at length we hear Clemens him­self speak. Clement immediately after his relation of the afore­said Prophecy, addeth, saying concerning the Apostles,Clement ad Corinth. Epist▪ p. 57. [...]. for this cause, they having a perfect foreknowledge, constitu­ted the aforesaid, and left a description of Officers and Ministers in their course, who after that they themselves should fall asleep, other Godly men might succeed and execute their function. So Clement. Whence it is evidently collected, that Bishops were the successours of the Apostles, because a Role and Catalogue of Bishops is frequently had in Ecclesiasticall stories, lineally deduced from the Apostles, as the most of the learned Prote­stants of the Reformed Churches have ever confessed. But if our Opposites cannot prove the like Catalogue of Presbyters of a primitive and right line of descent, then are they wholy to yeeld the cause, and that even by the judgment of Clement, which is now ready to be furthermore confessed by the exact learning of the Publisher of Clement. This Gentleman, our Opposites call Learned, we owe him an higher Title, even one exquisitely learned; he commenting upon the same Epistle of Clement, now objected against Episcopacy, teacheth that the right word [...] agreeth with the word census in Tertullian by whom it appeareth, that it was a custome in Apostolicall Churches to make a Role (for this word he held not unfit) of the order of Bishops to bring them unto their first originall, even as, saith Tertullian, Polycarpus, was from John the Apo­stle in the Church of Smyrna, and Clemens, in the Church of Rome, from Peter, speaking even of this our Clemens, and [Page 24] addeth of others; and others (saith he) whom the Apostles constituted Bishops, from whom others might deduce their tra­ductions and offsprings; what is, if this be not, an inexpugnable convincement of our Opposites to prove Episcopacy to be of an Apostolical Ordination? Yet is not this all.

Clement is further represented unto us by the same learned Publisher, as one register'd and enroll'd by antiquity as Bishop of Rome, in the Catalogue of the same Bishops lineally descen­ded from the Apostles, whether in the first, second or third rank, it matters not; and the doubt, such as it is, is solved in the Margent by our foresaid Geneva Professour: And for witnesses hereunto are cited Optatus, Hierome, Ruffinus, Eu­cherius and Photius, set down expressely in the same Book, which our Opposites have objected against us; which if you would not see, or seing not regard, all we shall say is, We are sorry for it: Yet after this our retorsion of their objected Au­thors upon themselves, we shall endeavour to give them fur­ther satisfaction from our selected and expresse suffrages of Antiquity for the truth of Apostolicall succession of Episco­pacy.

That other Primitive Fathers before Hierome did unani­mously testifie an Apostolical right of Episcopacy.

NOthing can be more manifest for the first threeIreneus ad­vers. haeres. l. 3. c. 3. Habemus annumerari eos qui ab Apostolis instituti sunt E­piscopi in Eccle­siis, qui nihil ta­le docuerunt, & l. 4. c. 43. Qui cum successione Episcopatûs Chrisma veritatis certum acceperunt. Ireneus Tertull. praescript. cap. 31 lib. 4. contra Marcion. cap. 5. Romanae perinde & caeterae extant Ecclesiae, quae ab Apo­stolis in Episcopatum constitutos Apostolici seminis traduces habeant. Tertullian, andOrigen in Joha [...] ▪ de Episc. Quod Dominus in Ecclesiâ ordinavit post Apostolos, quià in eâ primum [...] sunt locum. Origen, to which we addAugust. Epist. 42. Radix Christianae societatis per sedes Apostolorum & successio­nes Episcoporum certâ per orbem propagatione diffunditur. Au­gustine, do all professe themselves ready to deduce the succes­sion of Bishops in the principal Sees from the dayes of the Apostles. Next they instance in some Apostolicall Church, [Page 25] as namely from Ja. the Bop. of Hierns. & Mark in Alexandria What say our Opposites to this? a principal oneWalo, alias Salmas. de Episc pag. 201. Ab­surdum est Cle­mentis Alexan­drini commen­tum. & p. 406. Fabula est, quam in libri Hypotypose [...] de ordinatio­ne, &c. (Salma­sius by name) calleth this alleadgment of James a Bishop false and foolish: his reason was, because James was an Apo­stle, and therefore not to keep residence in one See. First, be it known, that whatsoever this James was, all Antiquity ren­dereth him unto us a Bishop of Hierusalem, (viz.) Eusebius lib. 7. cap. 8. Jacobus, quem Scriptura fratrem Domi­ni nominat, Hie­rosolymae Eccle­siae sedem acce­pit. Eu­sebius, Epiphan. lib, 2. cap 2. Haeres. 65. Ja­cobus primus Ecclesiae Hiero­solymitanae. Epiphanius, Hierom, Egesippus, Apostolorum temporibus erat quod Jacobus cognomento Justus Ecclesiam Hieros. post Apost. accepit, sic Hieron, de scriptis Ecclesiae in Jacobo. Egesippus, Chrysost. Hom. 33. in Act. 1. 15. Jacobus Episc. Ecclesiae Hiero­olymitanae. Chrysostom, andAmbros. in 1. Galat. Jacobus ab Apostolis Hierosol. constitutus est Episco­pus. Ambrose, theSynod. 6. in Trullo can. 32. Ad stipulantes. enimvero hic est ille Jacobus, qui fixum Hier [...]solymis habuit domicilium velut Ordinarius Episcopus, quem Paulus primo & ulti­mo suo adventu invenit in urbe Apostolis fere omnibus foris Evangelizantibus, Gal. 1. Act. 21. Synod of Trullo: How then shall it become us but of yesterdayes birth, thus to pull reverend An­tiquity by the beard, and give them the fool? Yet we may not restrain rational men from reasoning, and therefore we an­swer, that were it that Ia. had been an Apostle, yet other Pro­testant Divines of the reformed Churches were no fools, as Dr.Scultetus observat in Tit. Jacobum ab Apostolis Hierosolymorum Episcopum ordinatum testantur patres quam plurimi. Scultetus, Zuinglius tom. 2. de Eccles. fol. 48. Apostoli Apostolorum nomina deposuerunt, uni sedi affixi, sive senecta impediti, aut peregrinationibus afflicti; exem­plum esto Jacobus minor Hierosol Episcopus. zuinglius, and Mr.Moulin lib. de Vatibus cap. 10. Apostoli toti Ecclesiae invigilabant in solidum & indivisum, aliquam tamen peculiarem provinciam qui­busdam Apostolis fuisse assignatam discimus ex Sacrâ Scripturâ, Gal 2. 7. Moulin each one can answer; that notwithstanding the proper fun­ctions of the Apostles, in visiting of Countries after Coun­tries for conversion of people, and founding of Churches; yet whether enfeebled by age, or upon extraordinary occasions, they might fix themselves to one Province. But yet are we not costrained to this answer; but furthermore tell our Oppo­sites that, (which hath beenArchiepisco­pus Spalatensis, tomo quarto. judiciously proved at large) that this was not Iames that Apostle, but Iames the Brother of our Lord, and onely an Apostolical Disciple, which may sa­tisfie [Page 26] our Opposites, untill we come to speak of their obje­cted Timothy and Titus, called Evangelists; As for Mark, if in the line of succession of Bishops of Alexandria, he only be taken exclusively, yet must the Ordinance of that See be ne­cessarily held Apostolicall.

That the Apostolicall Antiquity of Episcopacy is confessedly proved out of Ignatius.

VEdelius that learned Divinity Professor in the Acade­my of Geneva, Vedelius pro­fessor Gene­vensis Apol. pro Ignatio cap. 1. Ignatius Apo­stolorum disci­pulus erat; quem nemo negabit fuisse virum sanctissimum, Ecclesiae Antiochiae Episcopum, et qui Christi ve­ritati Testimo­nium praebuerit saevissimo mortis genere sub Tra­jano Impera­tore. in his most elaborate work of Exercita­tions upon the Epistles of Ignatius for vindicating his Do­ctrine from the false glosses of Bellarmine, Baronius and other Romish writers, is copious in manifesting the direct judgement of Ignatius in many notable points. Concerning Ignatius himself he rendereth him unto us a Disciple of the Apostles, a Bishop of Antioch, an holy man, aud a faithfull Mi­nister of Christ. 2. Concerning the cause against Bellarmine, and others who will have Bishops the first under the Pope of Rome, as the Apostles were under Christ, this he confuteth out of Ignatius, who taught that Presbyters should be subject to Bishops, and Bishops to Christ. 3. Against Papists who pro­claime the Pope to be Bishop of Bishops: he confesseth Ig­natius holding the Bishop in every Church to be the next un­der Christ, and chief therein. 4. The distinction between Bi­shops and Presbyters, Item Exercit. prima in Ep. ad Trall. cap. 4. § 4. Bellar. lib. 4. de Pontifice c. 25. Quemadmodum Apostoli primi erant sub Christo, ita Episcopi primi sub Pontifi­ce. Resp. Imo Episcopi non sunt primi sub Pontifice, sed sub Christo, nisi Bellarmino Ignatius mentitur, qui Episcopum nullam in Ecclesiâ habere supra se potestatem dicit hâc ipsâ Episto­lâ. Et Epist, ad Smyrnenses. [...]. Ib. c. 9. num. 8. Pontificii statuunt Papam ut Episcoporum Dominum: at Ignatii tempore maximus in Ecclesiâ erat Episcopus, post. Archiep. Item Exercit. 1. cap. 2. num. 4. Ignat. in Epist, ad Polycarp. Verba ejus monēt Episcopū officii sui, ut agnoscat se tum demum aliorum Episcopum esse, quando ipse Epi­scoporū principi pareat: Talibus Episcopis & libenter paremus. [...]. was in the dayes of the Apostles: and lastly professeth for himself and others, that if they had a Bi­shop, [Page 27] such as was Polycarpus (a Disciple also of the Apostles) they as Ignatius required of the Smyrnaeans, would willingly, yea, necessarily obey him. So he. In this Maxime we behold two Disciples of the Apostles, Ignatius and Polycarpus; both Bi­shops distinctly from Presbyters and Governours: and this in the Apostles times. As well therefore may our Opposites deny themselves to have depended naturally from their own pa­rents, as Bishops, originally from the Apostles. We are to pursue this yet a little further.

That Antiquity hath given us Rules of Resolution for the knowledge of any Apostolicall practice, which may serve in the case of Episcopacy.

THe rule given by Antiquity, was alwayes held Catholique throughout all Christian Churches of ancient times. St. Austins rule may be our first direction thus,August. de Baptism. contra Donatist. l. 4. Quod universa tenet Ecclesiae, nec consiliis in­stitutum, sed semper reten­tum est, non nisi Authoritate A­postolica tradi­tum rectissime creditur. Whatso­ever the Vniversall Church holdeth, and was not instituted by Councels, but alwayes kept, that must most rightly be judged to have been from Apostolicall Authority: So he: which for our purpose is as much as Dr. Scultetus most judiciously and ingenuously confess'd, that if no Interim can be shewn be­tween the Apostles times, and the dayes immediately succee­ding, when there was no Episcopall Government over Presby­ters in the Church, then must the same have proceeded im­mediately from the Apostles. We hold this most reasonable, even as if the Question were, what the practice is of the Country adjoyning unto us: Our next bordering neighbours to it, would be the most competent witnesses of their manners, such have been hitherto our proofes even from such Anci­ents, as either had seen the Apostles, or else from such as had been conversant with the immediate Disciples of the Apo­stles. Our Opposites not able to instance in the practice of any one Primitive Church to the contrary, onely object a com­munity of names of Presbyters and Bishops, which shadow [Page 28] will vanish, as soon as we shall give light by proofes of the Apostolicall O [...]gi [...]all of Episcopacy in diverse Theses following by expression, confession and Authorities.

That Protestant Divines of other Reform'd Churches, have held it most equall to be directed by the judgements of Anci­ents for proof of a practice Apostolical.

WE plead no other equity in this cause,Calv Tract. Theol. Eccl [...]si. reform, a [...] 74 Iren [...]o & Origini negotium erat cum impro­bis nebulonibus▪ qui, dum pro li­g [...]o [...]os errores p [...]errent in [...], eos sibi divinitus rev [...] ­latos [...]. Hujus [...] facilis erat Re­vel [...]tio quô [...]ad­huc superstites erant multi, qui familiares Apostolorum discipuli fue­runt: quibus re­c [...]ns erat hujus doctrinae me­moria, quam Apostoli tradiderunt. then what Cal­vin held necessary against Anabaptisticall Revelati­ons, arguing negatively in this manner, These lyes (saith he) are easily confuted, because many were then living who had been conversant with the Disciples of the Apostles. So he concerning Doctrines. How much more convincent must this Argument be when our Question shall be of the practice of the Church in the dayes of the Apostles? even as is daily done by all Christian Churches, for p [...]oof of the practice of baptizing of Infants, against the same Anabaptisticall Faction; yea, why not also for the like Originall practice of Episcopacy, even by the confession of Protestant Divines of excellent judgement: Beza de Minist gradibus. Pro primatu Ordinis inter Presbyteros communicato [...]nguli p [...]storibus per vices Primatùs dignitate, quod visum fuit hunc ad unum equidem [...]otius p [...]esbyterii judicio delectum transferre, certè reprehendi nec possit, nec deb [...]t, cum [...] [...]ustus mos [...] primum presbyterum deligendo in Alexandrinâ Ec­clesiâ celeberrimâ inde à Marco Evangeli [...] observatus. Beza must not be neglected, telling us, that he ought not to neglect the Ordinance of a higher degree of a Bishop above a Presbyter, because this was an ancient custome in the famous Church of Alexandria. So he. This is well, but he hath not quite told out his tale, which he doth elsewhere out of the words ofB [...]za de Minist grad. c. 23. [...]uod autem unus electus est qu [...] [...]aeteris praeponer [...]tur, in Schismatis factum est Remelium, ne unus­quisque ad se Christum traho [...]s Ecclesiam rumperet; nam & Alexandriae a Marco Evangelistâ ad Heracl. usque et Dionysium Episcopos, Presbyteri unum semper à se electum in cel [...]iore gradu coll [...]catum Episcopum nominabant. Hierome, saying namely, that in Alexandria, from Mark the Evangelist, one was elected by the Presbytery, [Page 29] and placed in a higher degree, whom they named Bishop, which was done for a remedy against Schisme. Be it then that touching this Series and order of Succession, as it was said of Saint Mark the Apostle, be it taken inclusively, or exclusively; it necessarily implyeth, that the Original of Episcopacy was in the dayes of the same Apostles. Master Moulin giveth us a lowder Accent, saying, that Moulin Ep. 3. ad Episc. Winton. Non sum adeo [...]ris duri ut velim adversus illa veteris Ecalesiae Lumina Ignati­um, Polycarpum Cyprianum, Au­gustinum, Chry­sostomum, &c. ferre sententi­am, ut adversus usurpatores mù­neris illiciti: plus semper a­pud me potuit veneranda An­tiquitas, quam novella cujus­quam constitu­tio. See below. The like ac­knowledgment will Beza give us hereafter. he was never so hard faced as to censure these Bishops: Ignatius, Polycarpe, Augustine, Chrysostome, and other great lights of the Church, to have usurped an unlawfull function in the Church of Christ; So he: Alleadging among his ancients Polycarpe and Ignatius; the first of which, as all the learned know, lived in the dayes of the Apostles, and as antiquity it self teacheth, and consent of Protestant Divines of Remote Churches will afterwards grant, to have been in the dayes of Saint John the Evangelist, the Bishop of Smyrna. The other, viz. Ignatius, was also acquainted with those, who had been the Disciples of Christ. Besides, we have heardScultet. observat. in Titum. c. 8. sed ego de Jacobo dicam, non illo quidem Apostolo sed Salvatoris nostri fratre. Scultetus resolving, that Iames (not the Apostle) the Brother of our Lord, was Bishop of Hie­rusalem, from the plentifull testimonies of Antiquity it self. We will conclude with this our proof from the same Anti­quity; but what? even that whichBucer de Anim. curâ et officio Pastor: Apud patres Hieronymo vetustiores clara habemus Testimonia, in praecipuis Ecclesiis omnibus temporibus Apostolorum ita comparatum est, ut Presbyteris omnibus quidem officium Episcopale fuerit impositum. Interim tamen Apostolorum temporibus unus, de Presbyteris electus utque or­dinatus est in officii ducem & quasi Antistitem, qui cateris omnibus praeivit, & curam animarum, ministeriumque Episcopale pracipuè & in summo gessit atque administravit, quod de Jacobo legis, Act. 15. ubi Lucas Jacobum describit ut Antistitem totius Ec­clesiae omniumque Presbyterorum. Bucer finds resolved upon (as he saith) before Hierom, let us take his own words. Di­vine Fathers more ancient then Hierom. Cyprian, Ireneus, Eu­sebius, and other Ecclesiastical Historians shew, That in the Apostles times there was one elected and ordained, who should have Episcopal function and superiority over Presbyters; so [Page 30] he, instancing in Iames, of whom we have spoken who was Bishop of Hierusalem.

That Master Beza himself is challengable to yeild unto Aposto­lical right of Episcopacy, from his own former confession.

MAster Beza hath alreadyVide Thesi [...]. 12. confessed concerning the famous Church of Alexandria, that from Mark the Evangelist, one was chosen to be placed in a degree above Presbyters, called Bishop, is according to the Testimony of Hierom. The Story hereof hath been of late published by Master Selden, the Ornament of our Nation, excellently con­versant in ancient & exotick Learning, out of the Relation of Eutych [...]us, that Mark the Ev. placed Anianus Patriarch or Bi­shop over Presbyters in the Church of Alexandria. In which book also, there is set down the full Catalogue of 18. Bishops successively unto Dionysius, that possessed the same See, which proveth as plainly an Episcopal and personal succession, by an Apostolical Constitution from Anianus to Alexandria in a lineal succession, as was the filiall and natural descent from Adam to Thara, which makes up eighteen Generations. What need then many words? the most Theses which have been premised, and almost all afterwards to be propounded, do de­clare the same by joynt accordance of Protestant Divines of reformed Churches, and suffrages of Antiquity. We hasten to our last proof; but are arrested in our way by our Oppo­sites, to answer two objected Testimonies of Antiquity.

That the Testimonies of Nazianzen and Augustine are unwor­thily objected to the contrary.

VVE are urged to reckon these two excellent Bishops, although in true Construction they have answered for themselves.Smect. vindi­cat. pag. 88. Nazianzen (say our Opposites) mustering up the evils that had hapned unto him, reckoneth [Page 31] ejection out of his Episcopacy, holding it a part of wisdome to avoid it, wishing that there were no [...] place of Pre­sident-ship, or [...] or Tyrannicall Prerogative in the Church, but that they might be known only by vertue. We have alleadged Nazianzen according to the genuine sense; So they: But so as usually in an Heterogeneall sense to inferre a necessary abnegation of Episcopacy. They who seek iugenuously the genuine sense of Sentences in Authors must be Janus-like faced, looking [...] backward and foreward, both which properties have been wanting to our op­posites; first because before the words objected they lay be­fore their eyes this saying ofNazianz, orat. 28. Fuit tempus quando corda [...] & prudentes viri Episcopa­tum in admira­tione habuerunt & disiderabant Nazianzen; there was a time when Episcopacy was had in great admiration, and desired of wise and prudent men; and the second, as not considering that was then spoken only comparatively against the Tyrannicall Government of Bishops, which by all Protestant Bishops hath been condemned in the Popish Hierarchie; besides, that this was but the breath of vexatious passion upon occa­sion of one Maximus, whom Nazianzen calleth a Cynicke and doggish Philosopher, because, whereas he himself had the Generall esteem in the Church of Christ to be, by way of excellence, called [...], the Divine, notwithstanding he was vehemently persecuted by the same unworthy Prelate, and by his circumvention disturb'd out of his Bishopricke; and therefore sensible of that iudignity, did utter the language of his hearts grief. But why did not our Opposites tell us, that after this storme there fell a calme, when the same godly Bishop was with generall applause received to his Bishoprick again; but especially we may complaine that they have by their silence smothered Nazianzens judgement concerning the cause it self, which is the right of Episcopacy, and which he estee­med the most perfect kind of Government; So he. And is not this as much as to have held it the best? Which he further declareth in his funerall Orations which he had of three famous Bishops, Basil, Athanasius, and Cyprian. Augustine writing to Hierome Walo pag. 355. usus, inquit obtinuit, ut E­piscopatus Presbyterio ma­jor sit secundum honorum voca­bula, Ergo usu & consuetudine Ecclesiae priùs constitutum est ut Episcopi ma­jores essent Presbyteris, tum ex re di­stinctâ vocabu­lorum etiam in­sequuta est di­stinctio. saith, that custom hath obtained, that Episcopacy should be higher then Presbytery, according to the honour and [Page 32] dignity of the words. Therefore (saith Walo) the distinction of Episcopacy and Presbytery was first constituted by the Church. So he; whose disciples our other Opposites have learned this lesson, saying,Smect▪ Vin­dic. pag. 87. If Augustine had known the majority of Bishops above Presbyters, to have been of Divine or Apo­stolicall institution, he might have said so much; nay he would have said as much. And we answer, if any of our Opposits had reguarded to search the judgement of Augustine, they would not have said thus much, because it is evident that Au­gustine did say as much as they require, he should have said, as hath been shewn; saying of himself and other Bishops, thus; we succeed the Apostles in the same Power, and that Christ instituted Bishops when he ordained his Apostles: That weSee above. repeate not his condemning Aërius (as Epiphanius did) for denying Episcopacy to have been an institution Aposto­licall; and now whether our Reader think it more reasona­ble, to yeeld to the supposition of what Augustine would have done, or the manifestation what he did, we permit to his judgement. This obstacle thus removed, we fall now upon the last proof.

Our last proof, that Episcopacy is of Apostolicall right & ac­cording to the word of God, even from the Word of God it self.

To this purpose, two places of Scripture are especially to be alleadged: The Epistles of Paul to Timothy and Titus, and the Epistles of St. John in the Revelation to the seven Chur­ches in Asia, which are to be discussed according to our fore­mer Method, by the consonant Testimonies of ancient Fa­thers; and consent of Protestant Divines of generall esteem and approbation.

That Timothy and Titus both had a Prelacy over Presbyters, notwithstanding the objection of the community of Names of Bishops and Presbyters, is sufficiently confessed by Protestant Divines of Remote Churches.

THere can none be held a more sufficient witnes with our Opposites, then he who hath professedly pleaded this [Page 33] cause in their behalfe, & notwithstanding freely, & deerly gran­teth: thatWalo lib. de Episc. per totum cap. primum ex­traordinariâ missione & fun­ctione p. 70. sic alii discipuli Christi & Apo­stolorum ejus &c. p. 229 Ti­tum Cretae insu­lae praefecit Paulus, qui non singulari in ali­quâ Civitate E­piscopus fuit, sed totam illam provinciam ad tempus procura­ret. Tales fue­runt Apostolo­rum auditores & discipuli, quique primi eo­rum successores. Timothy and Titus were indeed Governours over their Provinces and places, where the Apostle had appoint­ed them, and that they had over the Presbyters a kind of Apo­stolical anthority, which he in his own judgement calleth extra­ordinary, and we take him at his own words; in granting that it was some way an Authoritative Prelacy, and for the distin­ction of extraordinary, it will by and by receive an ordinary, but a true answer: yet we do not so much presse his confession, as we may do his Reasons thereof, deducted from the Texts themselves, concerning their Prelaticall power of ordering matters that were amisse. Tit. 1. 5. of receiving Accusation against Presbyters, 1 Tim. 5. 19. and the like.

But our other Opposites will needs pose us, requiring us to answer their first Objection, videl. Smect. That the Bishops, whose pedegree was derived from the Apostles, were no other then Presbyters; then this is proved, say they, by two instances; the first is, The identity of their names, which (quoth they) is a proof of no small consequence, we answer, yea, rather of none at all: Else was Master Beza but of small judgement, when speaking of the Apostolicall Age, be confessed,Beza de Minist. grad. cap. 22. Habuit jam tum Pres­byterium suum aliquem [...] Presby­terum, etiam Presbyterorum manente com­muni appellati­one. that the Presbytery had then a President over them, yea, when the com­munity of names. So he; of Presbyters and Bp•. remained among them; accordingly asDoctor Reynolds his conference with Hart. c. 8 divis. 3. Dr Reynolds hath said that the Pres­bytery had then one, who was president over them, when as yet the names of Bishop and Presbyter were the same; who fur­thermore concerning the time of distinguishing the name of Bi­shop and Presbyter, whither sooner or later, here or there, he saith. The name of Bishop was afterwards appropriated by the usuall language of the Fathers of the Church, to him that had the Presidentship over the Elders. So he; Hereby granting that the Presidentship by Bishops was of force before the ti­tle and name was appropriated and allotted unto them. If our Opposites had acquainted themselves with these learned authors, they would have spared their pains in oppugning Episcopacy. How much more if they had consulted with Gods own Oracle in his word, wherein we find (which [Page 34] formerly we pointed at) that Saint Peter intituled himself a Co-presbyter. 1. Pet. 5. & 1. Saint Iohn himself a Pres­byter. 1. John 1. And Saint Paul himself thrice (he could then stoop no lower) a Deacon. Col. 1. 23. & 25. 2 Cor. 3. & 6. Yet notwithstanding all these inferiour appellations they held still the Authority of their Apostelship; we end this point in hope that our Opposites will take out this lesson, which Calvin learnt from the Divine Text in the Epistle of Titus; what's that? Even our full conclusion in this cause. Calvinus in Titum▪ 1 5. Dis­cimus ex hoc lo­co non eam fu­isse aqualitatem inter Ministros, quia unus ali­quis authoritate prae [...]sset. We learn from hence, that there was not then an equality (saith he) among the Ministers of the Church; but that one was with Authority placed over others. Their second convinc­ing objection would be discuss'd

That Timothy and Titus have had a Prelacy, as Bishops over the Presbyters in the Apostles times: notwithstanding the objection that they were called Evangelists, according to consent of Protestants of reform'd Churches.

IN the next place we are to examine the second, and only other objection, which our Opposites enforce in this case, to wit,Smectym. vin­dicat pag. 115. that Timothy and Titus, with all other such Disciples of the Apostles, the assistants and immediate successors, did take care of the Churchs, not as properly Bishops, but as Evange­lists, who had no setled residence in any of the Churches: So they, but are encountred with other Protestant Divines of re­mote Churches in good number. ForLuther tom. 1. fol. 309 Re­solutiones ejus super propositio­nes Lypsiae dis­putat conclus. 13. Proboquam­libet civitatem habere debere Episcopum pro­prium jure di­vino, quod ex Paulo ad Titum ostendo dicente, (Hujus rei gra­tiâ reliqui te Creta, ut quae desunt corrigas, & constituos Presbyteros per civitates, sicut disposui tibi) Hos autem Presbyteros fuisse Episcopos Hieron, & textus sequens ostendit dicens, Oportet Episcopum irreprehensibilem esse, &c. B. Augustin. in Epist ad Hieron. Epist. descripturus rationem reddit & dicit. Erat enim Civitas quasi diceret, non erat simplex Presbyter, sed Eipse. de quo loquor, quia erat civitas cui praeerat. Luther among his other Resolutions inserted this: That Episcopacy was of di­vine Right, grounding his judgement upon the Text, specifying Titus his Government in Creete, as being consonant to the judgement of Augustine.

[Page 53] 2. Their learned Scultetus in Titum cap. 8. pa. 10. At Pau­lus Ephesi et in Cretâ aliquan­diu docuerat, i­deo Titum & Timotheum in Cretâ jubet ma­nere non utiquè ut Evangelistas sed Ecclesia gu­bernatores. Id quod etiam E­pistolae ad u­trumque scriptae evincunt: In his enim non Eccle­siae colligendae, que erat Evan­gelistarum sed collectae guber­nandae, quae est Episcoporum, rationem, illi [...] praescribit; suntque pracep­ta omnia ita confirmata, ut non speciatim ad Timotheum vel Titum, sed generatim ad omnes Episcopos referentur. Ideoque ad Temporariam Evangelistarum potestatem minimè quadrent Scultetus sheweth, that at this time, they were not exercis'd in assisting the Apostoles for collecting of Churches at Evangelists, but for Governing of them that had been collected, as the generall praecepts given by the Apostles (saith he) do prove thereby to become the examples & Types for the successours to follow: and thereupon he concludeth them to have been the same, who otherwise were called Evange­liste for preaching the Gospel, although by their superinten­dency Bishops. To the same purpose Moulin in Epist. 3. ad Epis [...]. Win­ton. Quomodo appellaveris Titum, Timotheum, & Marcum, seu Episcopos sive Evangelistas? con­stat eos habuisse successores Episcopos haerede [...] illius preminentiae Master Moulin will have it known, that whatsoever Timothy and Titus had, whe­ther as Bishop or Evangelist, it was such as had a continual suc­cession in the Church, which is as others confesse, as James had in Jerusalem, and Marke in Alexandria, which was Episco­pall. Titus (saith Paulus Tossanus index in Sacra Bib. Titus comes Peregrinationum Pauli, postea Cretensium Episcopus Tossahus) after his peregrinations with Paul, was appointed Bishop of Creet, and before these Zuinglius tom. 2. fol. 45. Idem Episcopi & Evangelistae nomen; nam Paulus, 2 Tim. 4. [Tu vigila, opus Evan­gelist [...] perage: ministerium tuum probatum reddito] aliquo in loco tunc temporis fuit Episcopus, cum haec scriberet Apostolus, Ergo constat idem fuisse Officium utriusque. Zuinglius confess'd, that Tim. at that very time, when Paul advis'd him to pursue the work of an Evangelist. 2 Tim. 4. was then Bishop in some place or other, by all consequence.

Gerhard, tom. 6. De Minister, Ecclesiast▪ num. 227. 2 Tim. 4. Fac quae Evangelistae. Haec v [...]x hoc in loco generaliter sumitur, non specialiter pro quodam Doctorum ordine, quo Timotheus constitutus fuerit Ecclesiae Ephesinae Episcopus, nec ulterius Paulum comitatus. Sicut etiam Lutherus red­didit specialiter [dicti Evangelistae erant Apostolorum [...], à qutbus in partem muneris Apostolici asciti ad diversa l [...]ca ab illis mittebantur. In illorum Evangelista­rum numero censendi sunt Timotheus et Titus. Timotheum Lystria assumpsit Paulus Act. 16. postea eum misit in Macedoniam Act. 19. 22. & ad 1 Cor. 4. 17. Ad Phil. 2 19. Ad Thes. 1. c. 3. Tandem vero Ephesi [...]ae Ecclesiae Episcopus. 1 Tim. 3. 15. Titum [...] 2 Cor. 8. 23. cum misit ad Corinth. 2 Cor. 5. 6. 12. 18. Assumpsit secum Hierosel. Gal. 2. 1. Misit in Dalma­tiam. 2 Tim. 4. 10. Tandem Cretensium Ecclestatum constituit Episcopum Tit. 1. 5. Dr. Gerhard a late famous Theological Author is copi­ous in this Argument: who in the same sheweth that the word Evangelist, given to Timothy when Paul wrote unto him, was taken in a generall acceptation, and not as properly be­longing to him, as he had been an Assistant, even as Luther [Page 36] (saith he) understood it. Besides he sheweth out of Scripture exactly the severall Stations, which Timothy had with Saint Paul in exercising his office, before that time that he was placed Bishop in Ephesus.

We forbeare the full allegation of the like Authours cited by others, that we may hearken to our English Doctour Rey­nolds, nothing inferiour to any of the rest even in the opinion of our Opposites themselves, telling us of that very time when Paul assembled the Ministry at Miletum, Act. 20. 28. Dr. Rey­nolds Confe­rence with Hart, cap. 8. distinct. 3. One was chosen as chief in the Church of Ephesus to g [...]d it, the same whom afterwards the Fathers of the Primitive Church called Bishop. So he. And for confirmation hereof, sheweth that which must indeed be impregnable, to wit, A lineall succession of 27. Bishops (as hath been proved) from Ti­mothy in the Church of Ephesus: and for surplus age to all this we answer, to the objected reasons propounded for Timothy's non-residence in Ephesus, by that qualification, whichCalvin. in­stitut. lib. 3. c. 3. S. 7. Pastoribus singulis assigna­tur sede [...], inter­ea non negamus, qui [...] pastor a­lias Ecclesias adjuvare possit, qui uni est alli­gatus [...] sive quid turbarura inter­cedat quod ejus praesentiam re­quirat, sive ab eo petàtur con­silium. Nec e­nim sunt veluti Glebae addicti, ut Juriscon­sulti. Cal­vin hath done in like cases, namely, that Pastours are not so strictly tied to their Glebe or charge, as that they may not help other Churches upon necessary occasions. As for the objected terme of Evangelists, we moreover answer from Scripture, where we find Philip preaching the word of God in Samaria. Act. 8. 5. Called an Evangelist, Act. 21. 8. And yet was one of the seven, meaning Deacons, Act. 6. 5. Our Quaere is, why Timothy might not as well be called an Evangelist for preach­ing the word, being a Bishop, as Philip was, for the same cause, named in Evangelist, being a Deacon. We think all this should be satisfactory, although no more were said: But more we have.

That Antiquity taught an Episcopacy both in Timothy and Titus.

OUr strongest OppositeWalo, alias Salmas. lib. de Episc. pag. 229. Titum Cretae insulae praefecit Paulus, qui non singulari in aliqu [...] civitate Episcopus fuit, sed t [...]tam illam provinciam ad tempus procuraret. Tales fuerunt Apostolorum Auditores & [...], quicunque primi eorum successores extitere, Salmasius could not but con­fesse concerning Antiquity, (although he spurne against [Page 37] it) That Chrysostome, Epiphaneus, Theophylact, Theodoret, and other Greek Commentatours have collected out of the words of Paul, that Titus was verily Bishop of Cree [...]e, and that there could not be divers Bishops in one City, which is our pre­sent defence, and agreeth as well to Timothy as to Titus. Hieron. de Eccles. script. Ephesiorum E­piscopus à Pau­lo ordinatus. Hierome hath recorded both Timothy and Titus Bishops, the one of Ephesus, and the other of Creete, to whomAmbros. in praefat. ad Ti­moth c. 3. Hunc creatum Episco­pum. Am­brose, Greg. Pap. de Curat. Past. part. 2. c. 11. Primasius, Primasius in 1. Tim. Gregory the great, do consent: Lu­ther also bringeth in Augustine into the said Chorus. We hasten to our last Act.

Our second ground out of Scripture to prove a Prelacy over Presbyters, to be according to the word of God is, Rev. c. 2. 3.

In the Book of Revelation, Christ by his Angel (properly so called) commandeth Iohn to write unto the seven Chur­ches in Asia, vers. 1. Telling him mystically of seven golden candlesticks, vers. 13. and of seven starres, vers. 16. and after­wards expoundeth their meanings; seven starres to signifie seven Angels of the seven Churches; and seven candlesticks, to betoken the seven Churches, vers. 20. By and by, descend­ing to particulars, he directeth his several Epistles to the several seven Angels of the seven Churches, beginning at the Church of Ephesus, saying, Write to the Angel of the Church of Ephesus, and so of the rest. These are our Texts, which we are, in discussing these our differences, to insist upon.

The State of the Question.

We readily grant, that whatsoever matter was written to these Angels concerning either themselves or others, were by them to be communicated severally to the Churches, and all the faithfull as they were interested therein, according to that Epiphonema, severally applied in every Epistle thus; [He that hath an [...]ar to hear, let him hear] But the onely que­stion is, whether each of these Angels of the Churches were singular persons, having a Prelacy over other Pastors and Clergy, or no? Our opposites say nay, we yea. The odds is ex Diametro.

[Page 38] We are therefore according to true method: first, to disprove their negative, and after to evince our affirmation; But, in the first place, be it known that our Opposites in their negatives are distracted into three Opinions. One sort, by the word Angel, will have understood the whole Church collectively, as well Laitie as Clergy. Not so, say the second Opinatours, but by Angel is collectively meant onely the Or­der or Colledge of Pastours or Presbyters. After these the No­velists, its neither so nor so; but by Angel is meant one indi­vidual Pastour, without relation to any other, newly called an Independent, whereas our tenet is, by Angel, to under­stand one individual Ecclesiastical person, having a Prelacy above the rest.

That our Opposites first Exposition, which interpreteth the An­gel to mean the whole Church and congregation, is notably extravagant.

ALthoughLib. 3. de Episc. pag 183. Sit ergo hoc fixum, per An­gelos nihilaliud voluisse Johan­nem designari, nisi ipsas Ec­clesias. Wal [...] Messalinus, the grand Adversary to Episcopacy, be very peremptory for this exposition, yet will it altogether appear groundlesse. But first we are to hearken unto his glosse. Let is be held a firm and fixt truth, (saith he) that by the name of Angels are not signified any that had Presidency over others, but the whole congregation and Churches. So he; Pythagorically upon his own word, as we see: whereunto we may rather answer, Let it be held firmly and fixtly, that this glosse upon the Text is evidently confuted by the context, which standeth thus, cap. 1. and 20. The An­gels are called Starres, and the Churches Candlesticks, so that he must turn Starres into Candlesticks, before that he can make the Angel to signifie the whole Congregation. Be­side cap. 2. 1. the command to John is, Write to the Angel of the Church of Ephesus, where if by Angel must be understood the Church, then were it as much as to have been said, Write unto the Church of the Church of Ephesus. But we know the spirit of wisdom could not write unwisely.

That our Opposites second Exposition of the word Angel, to sig­nifie only the Order and Colledge of Presbyters, is erroneous, notwithstanding the Arguments of our Opposites to the con­trary.

The Answer to their first Argument.

THis indeed is the common exposition of our opposites, whereunto our objectours adhere, upon, as they call them firme Arguments, as first; Our first Argument, say they is drawn from the Epistle to the Church of Thyatira, where after it was said to the Angell [I have something against thee] in the singular number, cap. 2. 20. It is after added in the plural, vers. 24. [But I say to you, and to the rest] But what of this? This sheweth (say they) the word Angell to be collective, to sig­nifie a multitude of Pastours. We answer, if so, then was Be­za but dim-sighted, who paraphras'd upon these words thus [unto you] that is (saith he) unto the Angell as President, and unto Collegues, as unto the Assembly (meaning of Presbyters) and to the rest, that is, to the whole flock. So he. Where we see that the Angell was as individuall and singular, as ei­ther Thee, or Thy: And is it possible our Opposites should be ignorant what an Apostrophe is? And that there is no f [...]gure of speech more familiar and usuall among men, then it is? As when a Lord writing to his chief Steward of matters belonging to him and other Officers under him, and the whole Family: Be thou circumspect in managing my affaires, and af­terward as well unto him, as others, but see that you and the rest keep at home, as much as may be, because of the danger of the Pestilence which now rageth on all sides.

Answer to the second Argument.

Our second Argument (say they) is drawn from the Phrases even in this very book of Revelations, Smect. vindi­cation. wherein it is usual to ex­press a company under a singular person, as the civil State of [Page 40] Rome called a Beast with ten heads, which proveth that the Angell might be taken collectively. Is this all! Master Meade (say they) one better skil'd in the meaning of the Revelation, then our adversary, said, that the word Angell is commonly [if not alwayes] in the Revelation taken collectively. So they. This saying have I diligently sought after, but it fled from me: But yet I shall be content to be satisfied of Mr. Meade his meaning from his other sayings more obvious unto me, to shew, that he hath not been rightly understood by these obje­ctours. For Collectively, properly taken, is a word compre­hending a multitude without distinction of persons, as Christ in his Lamentation said, [O Hierusalem, how oft would I have gathered thy Children, but tho [...] wouldst not] where the words singular Thou, and Thy, do here comprehend all the Citizens of Hierusalem without distinction. Had Master Meade this collective sense? He sheweth the flat contrary, Apoc. 9. 14. [four Angells] These four (saith he) were put for Nations, which they were thought to Govern. So then, they did repre­sent Nations, as notwithstanding to be distinctly their four Governours. Next upon Revel. 14 6. [I saw another An­gell flying] We are to call to mind (saith he) that which be­fore was cap. 7. shewed: that the Angells of like Visions de re­present them, of whom they have Government wheresoever. And again upon vers. 7. The flying Angell is ruler, not onely of men, but also of a more eminent ranke. So he. If that our Ob­jectours had (according to Master Meade's direction) but cal'd to minde his own explanations, they might have easily per­ceived he said no more, then as if we may grant that under the word Angell, to whom the Epistle is in speciall directed, are implyed all those who are concern'd therein. But how? Not by alteration of his person, but by communion of interest, for which cause Master Beza accknowledged him the President over others, even as many other Protestant Divines are ready to do, and that as exactly as either we can desire, or our Op­posites mislike, when we come to discharge the affirmative point.

Two Answers we wish our Opposites to take into their se­cond [Page 41] thoughts; One, as they have presented him by way of comparison, as better skill'd in the Book of the Revelation then his adversary: the other, as he is to be singly respected, and in his own worthinesse. To the first we say, that compa­rison might well have been forborne, which now provoketh us to another comparison, between him and one as dear to our Opposites as any other, whom they know to have been as conversant in the Book of the Revelation altogether, where­in he, notwithstanding, after the second and third Chapters, hath been so far from the collective interpretation of the word Angell, that he hath not any where, as we can find, set it down as comprehending any Multitude, nay in many places he expresseth by name the individual persons them­selves, or some Individuum Vagum signified thereby, some sin­gular notable one.

The consideration of Master Meade his worthinesse and judgement touching Episcopacy, would be had the rather, because we have read the Translation of his Book authoriz'd in this manner, It is Ordered by the Committee of the Commons House in Parliament, that the Book entituled, The Key of the Revelation, be printed. So they. Which Key doth unlock unto us his judgement in behalf of Episcopacy, to be so fully according to the word of God, that part. 1. c. 4. v. 67. p. 35. The four and twenty Elders (saith he) compasse next about the throne, which represent the Bishops and Prelates of the Chur­ches, and do answer both in place and order to the Levites and Priests in the Camps of Israel, &c. Thus Master Meade, so commended by our Opposites themselves, who if they shall approve his Key in this point, it is well, we in imparting thus much unto them have but done our duty.

The third Argument.

Our third Argument, say they, is taken from the word An­gel, Smect. vindic. pag. 143▪ as it is a common name to all Ministers and Messengers, and surely if Christ had intended to point out any individuall person, he would have used some distinguishing name, as to have called him President, Rector, Superintendent. So they. [Page 42] As if by this their surely they would assure us it is a Truth, if we shall take their own word for it, contrary to the judge­ment of all the Learned, who have every where taught that ever since Angelical Spirits were revealed to the world, the word Angel, spoken in the better part, hath been used to expresse the dignity of their Office, and accordingly of the Ministers of God whensoever it is applyed unto them: Other­wise our Opposites, I think, would have gratified us with the allegation of some one Author that ever fancied the con­trary, whom notwithstanding we shall endeavour to satis­fie by a parallel in the word Apostles (signifying Messengers) whereof Mr. Calvin, Calvin in­stitut l. 3. c. 3. [...]. 5, De voce hâc Apostoli, etsi ex verbi E­tym ritè sic pos­sunt vocari om­nes verbi Mini­stri, quoniam à Domino mit­tuntur nuncii; sed tamen quia magni refert certam habere de eorum missi­one notitiam, qui rem inau­ditam afferrent, duodecim illos peculiari hoc ti­tulo ante omnes insigniri opor­tuit. This word (saith he) according to its Etymon agreeth to any Minister of Christ, yet was it entituled upon the twelve Apostles, because they were the immediate Embassadours of Christ. So he. And yet we presume that our Opposites would not, because of the Community thereof, call either every Minister of Christ sent to preach the Gospel, an Apostle; or every Cobler sent on a message, an Angel.

Their fourth Argument.

Our fourth Argument, say they, standeth thus;Smect. vind. pag. 146. Our Savi­our saith, that the seven Candlesticks are the seven Churches, but he saith not likewise that the seven Starres are the seven Angels, but in mentioning Angels, omitteth the word seven, which is not done without a Mystery; to wit, that the Angels do not signifie seven individual Pastours. So they. Whose Te­nents are two; First, that the ommission of the word seven ar­gueth a Mystery; Secondly, that the Mystery signified thereby is this, that the word Angel is not individually, but collectively taken. We cannot but deny both, and so will any even with wonderment at the Objectours boldnesse in uttering such their conceptions: for first to call that a Mystery, which by all Grammar learning is in every Language most common, by that which the Grecians call [...], that is a word not expres­sed following upon course in the understanding of any ratio­nal Reader. As for example: If any one of our Opposites writing to any of his Servants to bring him his two Horses, [Page 43] the black Horse and the white, omitting in the second place the word Horse, which word doth follow in course of com­mon understanding; yet his man should bring only the black, but not the white, might his excuse have been, It was a Mystery?

Secondly, were it that a Mystery should be imagined therein, yet that denial of the word Angel, to be an indivi­dual person in the Text, contradicteth the Context. The Con­text standeth thus, cap. 1. 26. The Starres are said to be the seven Angels of the Churches, & cap. 2. & 3. The same An­gels being recko [...]ed, prove accordingly to be seven. In the Context we have Numerum numerantem, in the Text Nume­rum numeratum, that that which maketh up a number, should be said not to refer unto a number, which was before express'd by Christ. He that hath a perfect natural hand, is said to have individually every finger, although he reckon them not to be five.

Their last argument answered.

This Argument (say they) is taken from Christs denunoi­ation against the Angel of the Church of Ephesus, Smectym. pag. 148. vindicat. to remove his Candlestick out of its place, if he did not repent: where by Candlestick is meant the Church or Congregation; But if there by Angel were signified one individual person, then the congregation and people should be punished for the offence of that one Pastour. So they. Who would not have thus argued, if they had considered; that by thus oppugning our Exposition, they have as utterly undermin'd and overthrown their own. As for example, their tenent hath been; that by the word Angel is signified the Order and Colledge of Pastours, in the Church of Ephesus. Now then (to return their own en­gine upon them) if the Candlestick, signifying the Church, should be removed out of its place, except those Pastours should repent, then should the people and congregation be pu­nished for the fault of those Pastours. Therefore all the odds that is between both these consequences, is no more than this, viz. the punishing of people for the fault of the Pastour: [Page 44] and for the faults of the Pastours, in extremity equally, une­qually in both; whereas they should have labour'd to solve the doubt by some commodious, and congruous interpre­tation.

Whether thus, if by Candlestick be to understood the people: then by people to conceive such of whom the Pro­phet spake like people like Pastour, so that the irrepentant peo­ple adhering to the unpenitent Pastor, may justly be involv'd in the same punishment. Secondly, or thus, by taking the word Candlestick to signifie the Pastor himself, for the Mini­sters of the Gospel are so called, Mat. 5. 15▪ And that the same word should be diversly taken in the same sentence, can­not be strange to him who is not a stranger to Scripture. As where it is said, He that shall save his life, (viz. Mortall) shall loose his life; to wit, the Eternal: And again, 2. Cor. 5. 21. Of Christ, He that knew no sin, (properly taken) was made for us sin, that is, a sacrifice for sin, or else (not to seek fur­ther) by distinguishing of the word place, as here betoken­ing mans estate and condition with relation to others, in which sense might the Church of Ephesus, be removed by altering the relation to that one Pastor, both by not acknowledging him their Bishop, and by withholding maintenance.

That our Opposites third Exposition of the word Angel, to sig­nifie one onely Pastor in the Church of Ephesus, is extreme­ly new and naught.

THis mis-begotten brat, namely an Exposition, which before these dayes of distraction never saw print, we might think should by and by vanish with its own novel­ty: How much more for the safety thereof, which we are rather to enquire after, seeming to us to be very transpa­rent. For the reasons, which these our Opposites might have read inBrightman in Apoc. p. 11. Ephejus evasit nobilior propter Pauli operam triennalem in eâ Act. 19. 10. & 20. 31. Di­vinam ad popu­lum Scriptam Epist. datum iis Timotheum pa­storem ac faeli­cissimam Jo­hannis. Apost. per tot annos irrigationem. Mr. Brightman, viz. The City of Ephe­sus was more ennobled of all other, by Pauls Triennial la­bour [Page 45] therein: Next, by the divine Epistle written unto the people there, as also by that Timothy was ordained their Pastor: and besides; for John's laborious watring thereof for so many years together. So he. But how successefull were these then? this was told us in the Acts of the Apostles, concerning the Church of Ephesus: whereof it is said, so mightily grew the word of God, and prevailed. Act. 19. 20. Now that after Pauls long residence, after Timothies Pastorship, and after Saint Johns watering of that Church, and so long a time; and that with so admirable successe, and yet here but one onely Pastor among them. Is this credible? What saith the Scri­pture? The Harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. But here in the mightily great Harvest, the labourers are fewer then few. We ought not to be blamed for medling with such trifles in earnest, but that our study hath been to weed out even the least scruples, now that we are to expedite a matter of high­est importance, which is our proof of Episcopacy from the word of God: and to that purpose from confutation of the negative part held by our Opposites, we passe to the proofes and confir­mations of our affirmative.

That by the word Angel of Ephesus, to signifie a singular and individual Pastor having a Prelacy over Presbyters, is proved by a large consent of Protestant Divines without exception judicious and ingenuous.

THe Divines, which we shall produce shall be those, whom our Opposites themselves cannot call Partialists in behalf of Bishops, whether they be of remote Chur­ches, or as it were domestiques in our own Country. Of the first kind, we alleadge the last chief Pastor of the Church of Geneva Master De­odate his notes upon the Apoc. 2. 1. Master Deodate, who is to be cited out of his Book lately authoriz'd to be publish'd, by Order of the House of Commons this Parliament. The Text in the Reve­lations is, Write to the Angel of the Church of Ephesus: His [Page 46] paraphrase thus. That is, saith he, to the Pastor or Bishop; under whose person ought to be understood the whole Church. The Church to be implyed or understood, and the Pastor or Bishop, under whose person, which, because person can be but one, according to the Etymon of the word Angel, Persona quasi per se una: Or as it is defin'd in Philosophy. A person is an individual intellectual Nature; yet so in this place as he being to acquaint all with the contents of this Epi­stle, all were understood to be concern'd in him, as all the other following witnesses will acknowledge. Before him in the same Church of Geneva was Theodore Beza in Apoc. 2. 1. An­gelus [...], quem oportet admoneri & per eum Colle­gas, totamque adeo Ecclesiam. Beza, by Angel (saith he) is meant the President, who was admonish'd and his Col­legues with him. So he.

Bullinger in Apoc. cap. 2. concio septima. Nemo autem existimet hanc Epiostlam uni inscriptam An­gelo, i. e. Epis­cop [...] vel pastori, nihil ad Eccle­siam pertinere. Nam sub finem Epistolae Epi­phonema adjici­tur. Qui habet aurem audiat quid Scriptura dicat Ecclesiis. Nominatur er­go pastor, sed non excludun­tur oviculae; Interim verò Angelo inscri­bitur, ut admo­neantur Pasto­res, in ipsis esse per multum sitū qualis sit Eccles. Bullinger, although he, as others affirm, that the Epistle concerneth as well People as Pastors, yet doth he consent un­to us, that, the Epistle was inscribed to one, by whom the Pastors and people might be enformed: As punctually and pertinently Marlorat. in Apoc. 1. 12. Quamvis quae­dam tam in Clero, quàm in populo corrigenda essent, non tamen populum, sed Clerum aggreditur: nec quemlibet de Clero, nominatim principem Cleri, utique Episcopum. Marlorat, some things (saith he) were to be corrected as well in the people as in the Clergy; yet doth not John address himself unto the people nor yet to the Clergy, but to the chief of them, which is the Bishop, and that not without good reason. So he. Of our chiefGualther. Hom. 9. in Apoc. 8. Angelo, id est, Episcopo Smyrnensi, atque adeo toti Ecclesia; constat ex Historiis Polycarpum fuisse hunc Angelum. Gualther held the same opinion with further evidence of these other words. [Unto the An­gel of the Church of Smyrna write] that is, saith he, To the Bishop thereof, as Histories do manifest. Gaspar. Sib. in Apoc. p. 185. de uno singulari Angelo, qua sententia mihi magis arridet. Gaspar Sibilius, having compared the divers Expositions, confess'd, saying, This, as spoken but of one Angel, pleaseth me better. Piscator in eandem Apoc. [Angelo] id est, Episcopo, nec non ipsi Ecclesiae. Pisca­tor briefly and consonantly to the Angel, that is, to the Bishop and to the Church: namely Bishop expressely, and Church consequently, because of matters of concernment to them al­so. Paraus [Angelo Ephesinae Ecclesiae] sic vocat pastorem ejus, eadem apella­tione Christus aliarum Ecclesiarum Episcopos dignatur. Paraeus doubteth not to make his explanation as ge­nerally to be observ'd in these Epistles. It is the word of Christ [Page 47] (saith he) that that, which is meant to the Church, should be inscribed to the Bishop of the place, or Church. Aretius [Angelo] id est Ministro Ec­clesiae per quem ad totum coetum res proferantur. Aretius is of no lesse esteem then the former, and as punctuall altoge­ther, by Angel interpreting a speciall one Minister, and Disci­ple of John; by whom the writing might be commended to the whole Church. P. Martyr cōment, in pri­mam Corinth. 11 Johannes jubetur scribere ad Angelos Ec­clesiarum, quie­rant illarum E­piscopi. Peter Martyr used to be reckoned among the first Worthies. John (saith he) was commanded to write to the Angels, who were the Bishops of the Churches. But what do we multiply remote Authors, when one of their Doctors may satisfy us both for the generall, and for himself?Scultetus observat in Tit. Doctissimi quique interpre­tes per septem Ecclesiarum Angelos inter­pretantur sep­tem Ecclesiarum Episcopos, ne­que enim aliter possunt, vim nisi facere textui velint. All the most learned Interpreters, (saith Dr. Scultetus) by Angels expound the Bishops of the Churches, nor can it be otherwise Interpreted without violence to the Text. So he. After our so long peregrination in remote Churches, it is time to haste home, to try what our own English Divines have judged of this matter; and lest now we be too numerous, we shall single out three, who will be held singular in the estimation of our Opposites themselves,Dr. Rey­nolds in his Conference. with Hart. c. 2. divisio. 3. Dr. Reynolds. Although in the Church of Ephesus, saith he, there were sundry Elders and Pa­stors to guid it, yet, among those sundry, was there one Chief, whom our Saviour calleth the Angel of the Church. Apoc. 2. So he. His words need no Paraphrase.Dr. Fulke in Apoc. 2. Ad Pergamensis Ecclesiae Episco­pum Epistola haec destinatur. Dr. Fulke is one of them whom our Opposites have cited for their part, who, if he speak directly against them, they may not be offended with us. The Epistle to Pergamus, saith he, was directed to the Bi­shop thereof. We have reserved Master Cartwright to the last. that his Testimony may be more lasting in the memory of our Opposites, as from one who useth to be most gratefull unto them. The letters written to the Churches, saith he, were there­fore directed to the Angel, because he is the meetest man by of­fice, by whom the Church may understand the tenor of the letter. So he, and so they. Although this Cloud of witnesses thus rai­ning down aboundance of Testimonies, for proof of an Aposto­licall originall of Episcopacy,Mr. Cart­wright on the Rhems Testa­ment upon A­poc. 2. may justly be held so convin­cent, that nothing but selfenesse in any party can oppose any thing against it, yet shall we furthermore fortify their proofes, desiring that this one thing may be observed, (to wit) the rea­son [Page 48] why all our Opposites have strugled against this our Ex­position, as a break neck to their whole cause; but wee'll go on.

That Antiquity held not the word Angel (whereof we treat) to be taken Collectively for a multitude of Pastours.

IF that our Opposites had not said that we cited no ancient Fathers for our exposition, we should not have framed this Thesis; only we cannot tell with what appetite they did it: Is it that they hold the judgement of Fathers satisfactory in this case? Why then have they not alleadged any one syl­lable out of them for their own collective sense? But we list not to expostulate, rather hoping the best, we entreat them to spell the words ofAmbros. in 1 Corint. 1. An­gelos Episcopos dico, sicut docet in Apocalypsi Johannes. Ambrose, they are but few, I call Bi­shops Angels, as I am taught in the Revelation. What Am­brose meant by Bishops who can doubt? LikewiseAugust. E­pist. 192. Di­vind voce lau­datur Angeli nomine Praepo­situs Ecclesia. Augu­stine the famous Bishop of Hippo, saith, of one of these Angels, That he was set over the Church by the divine voice (meaning the Scripture.) IfSee above. Scultetus when he said, that all the most learned Interpreters, by Angels, understood Bishops; if among all, he comprehend the Ancients, we have not to seek more witnesses; however, we need not, because there is but very rare commenting upon the Apocalyps among the Fathers, much lesse upon these Texts. All this notwithstanding we are sure of that what is wanting in their Commentaries, they supply in their Historicall relations, as will appear by and by, rendring unto us one Polycarpus Bishop and Martyr to have been one of these Angells in the Church of Smyrna. In the interim we will plead Reason with our opposites.

That the word Angel in other places of the Revelation is com­monly if not alwayes Individually taken.

BEtter reason they cannot expect then is the retorting of their own Argument upon them: When they dislike this, [Page 49] The word Angell is commonly, if not alwayes taken Collectively, ergo, ought it to be so interpreted in the second and third cap. So they; but altogether amisse, as hath been shewen. It will be our part to prove the contradictory, whereof upon observa­tion in reading Commentaries upon the Revelation, we are the more confident; our Opposites at their leisure may inquire to other Authors; We for this present shall need but commend a special one unto them who in their opinion may stand for ma­ny, because only now at hand. He after these two Chapters (as the Marginalls shew)Brightman­nus in cap. 7. 2. id est. Constan­tius. cap. 8. 17. Angelus vo­lans i. [...]. Greg. Magnus c. 10. Angelus robu­stus, id est Che­stus. cap. 14 There is seven times alius An­gelus, and of the first three he saith, Erant hi tres totidem coelestes vi­ri, &c. v. 15. Alius, ut proba­bile est Mini­ster, and yet af­ter doubleth fondly, v. 17. Angelus alius est, Tho. Crom­wellus, v. 18. Alius Tho. Car­merus, cap. 16. Sunt 7. Angeli, v. 2. Angelus primus Eliz. Regin. v. 3. Se­cundus, id est, Mart. Chemni­tius. v. 5. An­gelus Aquarum, Civis aliquis Magistratus, v. 7. Alius Angelus. Unus aliquis. Videat reliqua Lector, cap. 16. vers. 2, 3. 5. 7. 12. 17. cap. 18. vers. 21. cap. 19. vers. 17. through his whole Commenta­ries upon the same Book, taketh the word Angel so far indi­vidually, as to enterpret it of some one person, either expresly by name, or else equivalently by an Individuum vagum as thus, some not able one, or the like.

In the second place, we do appeale to the Texts them­selves to give a sufficient taste; for oftentime the Angels are reckoned seven, and after distributed ordinatively into first, second, third, and so till the seventh, as plainly as one can reckon the seven dayes in the week, Chap. 15. and 16. Afterwards we have recited one Angel having the Key of the bottomlesse pit, Chap. 20. was there need of a Collectively understood multitude of Angels to keep one Key? The like may be said of a mighty Angel for delivering a little booke, Chap. 10. 1, 2. Besides the Angel whom John is said to have worshiped, Chap. 22. will they say this Angel also to com­prehend a Multitude? Then might the Angel reply, have you forgot when I said to John, I am thy fellow Servant, but five words, and every one an Individuall.

Thirdly, to return to the questioned Text, whereas some of the Angels are commended for notable vertues, and as much condemned for some notorious vices; they that think that all the same vices and vertues did as well imply every Pastour in all the Colleges of the seven Churches, may as well conceive, that where the deformities are noted in any Cor­poration, [Page 50] therefore every person in it is equally flat-nosed, crook't-legged, bald-headed, and the like,

Lastly, the Angels and Churches being both reckoned distin­ctly seven times, that there should be a Collective number of the Order of Pastours, without so much as any insinuation of distinguishing them either from Angels, or Churches; have they any Key to unlock such a Mystery? From this kind of reasoning, we passe unto an evidence of no lesse importance, Historicall Experience, and Practice.

That by Angel is meant Individually one Bishop, is demon­strated by Historicall learning without contradiction.

HIstory is the life of memory, and memoriall of mens lives, if it may be undubitably had, it must necessarily seal up the verity of all that hath been said of an Apostolicall Institution of Episcopacy, whereof we have had evident in­stances in the Episcopall Traditions from James in Jerusalem, Mark in Alexandria, Peter in Antioch and in Rome: And now we are to insist upon examples of the descent from John in two of these Angelical Churches Ephesus and Smyrna. For the first, it hath been made good unto you out of Eusebius, thatPolycrat. E­pist, ad Victo­rem apud Euseb Hist. lib. 5. cap 25 Polycrates writ himself Bishop of Ephesus, testifying withall a line of seven Bishops of his own kindred, his Prede­cessours: Whereunto may be added the Declaration made by Leontius the Archbishop of Magnesia in the generalConcil. Cal­ced. Act. 11. Coun­cell of Calcedon of the succession of the seven and twenty Bi­shops from Timothy in the same Church of Ephesus; which Timothy, all antiquity with a large consent of most approved Protestant Divines have testified to have been Bishop there; none will think, but shame it self would have restrained Leontius from making such a publique Declaration in the hear­ing of six hundred Fathers assembled in this Councell, if the matter it self had been liable to any contradiction. The next instance (as we are perswaded) may be held satisfactroy [Page 51] and infringeable in it self, in Polycarpus Bishop of Smyrna, in the dayes when Saint Iohn lived; Our witnesses deserve your hearing, we will begin with the veriest junior of all, saying, Hieronym. de Scrip. Eccles. Polycarpus Jo­hannis discipu­lus & ab es Smyrnae Episco­pus ordinatus, totius Asiae princeps fult, qui nonnullos Apost, lorumqui Dominum vide­rant Magistros habuerit & vi­derit. Postea vero regnante Marco Antonio quartâ post Ne­ronem persecu­tione Smyrnae sedente procon­sule & univer­so populo in Am­phithet. adver­sus eum perso­naliter igni tra­ditus est. Polycarpus who had been Disciple to one that heard the Lord, and afterward burnt a Martyr of Christ, was ordained Bishop of Smyrna by Saint Iohn. Hieronym. de Scrip. Eccles. Polycarpus Jo­hannis discipu­lus & ab es Smyrnae Episco­pus ordinatus, totius Asiae princeps fult, qui nonnullos Apost, lorumqui Dominum vide­rant Magistros habuerit & vi­derit. Postea vero regnante Marco Antonio quartâ post Ne­ronem persecu­tione Smyrnae. sedente procon­sule & univer­so populo in Am­phithet, adver­sus eum perso­naliter igni tra­ditus est. So Hierome. Another, Polycarpus Bishop and Martyr, was placed by John Bishop of Smyrna. SoEuseb. A­lius Polycarpus. Episc. & Martyr suffr [...]giis Smyrnens. Episcapatum obtinuit. Eusebius. A third before him. By John was Polycarpus constituted Bishop of Smyrna. SoTertull. praescript. cap. 23. à Johanne Symrnae collocatus. Euseb. Hist. lib. 3. c. 30. Episcopus Smyrnae abiis qui erant [...]. Tertullian. And before him a fourth testifieth as one that had seen this Poly­carpus, That after that he had been instructed by the Apostles of Christ, with whom he had been conversant, he was made by them Bishop of Smyrna. SoIren. lib. 3. cap. 3. vide & apud Euseb lib. 3. c. 55. [...], &c. Polycarpus non solum edoctus â Christi discipulis & conver­satus apud multos qui Christum ipsum viderunt, verum etiam ab Apostolis constitutus Episcopus Ecclesiae in Asia quae dicitur Smyrna, quem in tenera nostra aetate nos ipsi vidimus; diu enim vixit & valdè senex per nobile & gloriosum Martyrium vitâ decessit Ireneus. We ascend some­what higher, to one who write an Epistle to the same Polycar­pus, intituling him the Bishop of Smyrna; and in his Epistle to the Church of Smyrna, saluting him as their Bishop.Ignatius Epist. [...] & Epist. ad Smyrnenses, [...], Vedelius, Exercit. in ist a [...] Epist. Ig­natius in these Epistles and sayings which Vedelius the Pro­fessour in the Church of Geneva, and an exact discerner and discoverer of the corruptions crept into his writings, doth hold as genuine and legitimate. Can our Opposites require a greater confirmation of any historicall point, which they themselves maintain, as more amply testified then this is? whereto as many of our former Protestant Divines did sub­scribe, so is there not one, to our knowledge, from this Saint Iohn that ever did contradict it.

That Christ himself shewed his approbation of the Prelacy which the foresaid Angels had in their severall Churches.

THere was yet never either favourites to Episcopacy, nor opposites against it, but have granted, that whatsoever the Government was meant in these seven Churches, it had the approbation of Christ by the tenour of his Epistles writ­ten unto them. First from the words of the Chap. 1. 1. [The Revelation of Jesus Christ sent by his Angel to his Servant John] to acknowledge the Epistles to have been dictated by Christ himself, conveied by an Angel to Iohn, and as it fol­loweth in the second and third Chapters, distributed by Iohn to the severall Angels, and communicated to the Churches. After this, by the vertue of the same letters, an inquisition is made, (as it were a Visitation kept) upon every Angel of the Churches, concerning the discharge of their offices; wherein two of them are found of weight and commendable, the other five, more or lesse criminally deliquents, yet so, as to manifest a justification of the Offices. The approbation of the function is seen, not only (which reason none can deny) by Christ his commending their diligence, zeal, and faithfull­nesse; but even likewise in his processe of convictions, repre­hensions, and denuntiations against their remissenesse, dissolute­nesse, and faithfulnesse of others; but how? certainly, so that the condemnation of their vices and abuses argued an appro­bation of their Offices and Functions, because it was done, not with an absolute intent to remove them at the first, but onely to reforme them, and continue them upon their Reformation; therefore was it said from Christ to one, Repent, or else, &c. Chap. 2. 5. & 16. to another, Repent, if not, I will come against thee, and the like; this we see was no deprivation of the Of­ficers at first, much lesse abolition of the Offices which were to continue from age to age.

The last poynt will be our Assumption from all these pre­misses, [Page 53] which is, that these Angels, being so amply, evidently, and with so unanimous consent of the most and best ap­proved Protestant. Divines, agreeable to Historicall practise of Apostolicall Churches, proved to have been such Bishops as had a Prelaey over the Clergy with Christs own approbation, a truth, which the evidence of these Scriptures did expresse in part fromBeza de Minist. grad. cap. 13. Quid objicis in ata­tem Johannis Apost. Asiae Ec­clesia septem habuerunt Epis­copos, divinâ non humanâ or­dinatione sibi praefectos, Apo­stolo singulos il­los singularum Ecclesiarum An­gelos minimè compellature, & culpam malè obitae functionis minimè illi [...] attributuro, nisi eminentior fuisset eorum in Ecclesiae regimine auctoritas: Hoc, inquam, qu [...]rsum adversus Hieronymum & nos torques? nec enim ille, quum diceret Ecclesias initio fuisse communi Presbyterorum consilio gubernatas, ita desipuisse existimandus est, ut som­niares neminem ex Presbyteris illi c [...]tui praefuisse, &c. Beza himself; his sentence is large, consisting of these briefes; First, that the Episcopacy which seemed to him to be regulate, was to be collected out of this Scripture of the Apocalyps. Secondly, that the same was a Presidency, and Prefectureship of one Presbyter over the rest. Thirdly, that it was a Prelacy of Authority. Fourthly, that Hierome was of judgement. Fifthly, that to hold otherwise, were to doate and play the foel: all which prove the difference of Bishop and Presbyter both to have been of Apostolicall Institution, be­cause under Iohn in the Church of Asia; and to have had the approbation of Christ, because of Christ his commendation of the faithfull discharge of this Function, which fully makes good unto us both our conclusions, That Episcopacy for the Office and Function it self, is according to the word of God, and in respect of use, therefore the Best.

The Originall of BISHOPS and METROPOLITANS, briefly laid down by James, Arch-Bishop of ARMAGH.

THe ground of Episcopacy is derived partly from the patterne perscribed by God in the Old Testament: and partly from the imitation thereof brought in by the Apo­stle's and confirmed by Christ himself in the time of the New, The government of the Church of the Old-Testament was committed to the Priests and Levits: unto whom the Ministers of the New do now succeed; in like sort as our Lords-day hath done unto their Sabbath, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet, touching the vocation of the Gentiles.Esa 66. 21. I will take of them for Priests, and for Levits, saith the Lord.

That the Priests were superiour to the Levits, no man doubteth: and that there was not a parity, either betwixt the Priests or betwixt the Levits themselves, is manifest by the word of God; wherein mention is made of the Heads and Ru­lers both of the one, and of the other. 1 Chron. XXIV. 6. 31 and Ezr. VIII. 29.

The Levits were distributed into the three families of the Gershonites, Cohathites, and Merarites: and over each of [Page 55] them God appointed one [...] or Ruler, Num. III. 24. 30. 35. the Priests were divided by David into four and twen­ty courses; 1 Chron. XXIV. Who likewise had their Heads; who in the History of the New-Testament are ordinarily called Matth. 2. 4. and 27. Act. 19. 14 &c [...], or chief of the Priests; and clearly distinguished from that singular one, who was the type of our great High Priest, that is passed into the Heavens, Jesus the Son of God. Heb. 4. 14. Yea in the XI. of Nehemy, we find two named Bi­shops, the one of the Priests, the other of the Levits that dwelt in Jerusalem. The former so expresly tearmed by the Greek in the 14. the latter both by the Greek and Latin Interpreter in the [...]. LXX Episcopus Levitarum. Hieron. 22 vers. and not without approbation of the Scripture it self, which rendreth the [...] Psal. 109. 8. Hebrew word of the same originall in the Old, by theActs. 1. 20. Greeke [...] in the New-Testament.

Of Levi it was said by Moses the man of GodDeut. 33. 10. They shall teach Jacob thy judgements, and Israel thy law; they shall put incense before thee, and whole brunt sacrifice upon thine Altar. Because this latter part of their office hath ceased with them, and the Leviticall Altar (the truth prefigured thereby being now exhibited) is quite taken away: May not we there­fore conclude out of the former part (which hath no such ty­picall relation in it) that our Bishops and Presbyters should be (as the Apostle would have them to be)1 Tim. 3. 2. [...] apt to teach; Tit 1. 9. able by sound doctrine both to exhort, and to con­vince the gain-sayers? Nay, and out of the latter part it self; where God had appointed, thatDeut. 28. 1. the Priests the Levits and all the Tribe of Levi should eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire; doth not the Apostle by just analogy inferre from thence, that for asmuch as1 Cor. 9. 13, 14. they which waited at the Altar, were partaker with the Altar; even so had the Lord ordained, that they which preached the Gospell, should live of the Gospell?

With what shew of reason then can any man imagine, that what was instituted by God in the Law,, for meere matter of Government and preservation of good order (without all re­spect of type or ceremony;) should now be rejected in the Gospell, as a device of Antichrist? That what was by the Lord [Page 56] onceJerem. 2. 2. planted a noble vine, wholly a right seed, should now be so turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine; that no purging or pruning of it will serve the turne, but it must be cut down root and branch, asMatth. 15. 13. a plant which our heavenly Father had never planted? But nothing being so familiar now a dayes, as to father upon Antichrist, whatsoever in Church matters we do not find to suite with our own humors: The safest way will be, to consult with Christ himself herein, and hear what he delivereth in the cause.

These things saith he, that hath the seven Starres. Revel. III. 1. he owneth then, we see, these Starrs; whatsoever they be. And, the Mystery of them he thus further openeth unto his be­loved Disciple. The seven Starrs which thou sawest in my right hand, are the Angels of the seven Churches. Revel I. 20. From which words a learned man, very much devoted to the now so highly admired Discipline, deduceth this conclusion. Quanta igi­tur dignitas ve­rorum Pasto­rum, qui tum stellae sunt, non in alio firma­mento, quàm in dextrā Christi fixae, tum An­geli? T. Bright­man. in Apoca­lyps. 1. 20. How great therefore is the dignity of true pastours, who are both STARRES, fixed in no other firmament then in the right hand of Christ, and ANGELS?

He had considered well, that in the Church of Eph [...]sus (one of the seven here pointed at) there were manyAct. 20. 17. 28. PRES­BYTERS, whom the holy Ghost had made BISHOPS, or Overseers, over all that flook, to feed the Church of God, which he had purchased with his own blood. And withall he saw, that by admitting one Angel there above the rest (all, as wellJudg. 2. 1. Hagg. 1. 13. Matth. 11. 18. extraordinary Prophets, asMalach. 2. 7. ordinary Pastours, be­ing in their own severall stations accounted Angels or Messengers of the Lord of Hosts) he should be forced also to ac­knowledge the eminency of one Bishop above the other Bishops (that name being in those dayesPhilip. 1. 1. 1 Tim. 1. 2. Tit. 1. 5. 7. common unto all the Pres­byters) and to yeeld withall, that such a one was to be esteemed as a starre fixed in no other firmament, then in the right hand of Christ.

To salve this therefore; all the starrs in every Church must be presupposed to be of one magnitude, and though those starrs which typified these Angels are said to be but seven, yet the Angels themselves must be maintained to be farre [Page 57] more in number: and in fine, where our Saviour Saith,Revel. 3. 1. unto the Angel of the Church of Ephesus write; it must by no means be admitted, thatNec uni ali­cui Ange [...]o mit­tuntur, sed toti (ut ita dicam) Collegio Posto­rum; qui omnes hāc communi voce compre­henduntur. Non enim unus erat Angelus Ephesi, sed plures: nec inter istos ali­quis Princeps. Brightman in Apocalyps. 2. 1. any one Angel should be meant hereby, but the whole Colledge of Pastors rather. And all upon pretence of a poor shew of some shallow reasons; that there was not one Angel of Ephesus but many, and among them not any Principal.

Which wresting of the plain words of our Saviour is so extream violent, that M. Beza (though every way as zea­lously affected to the advancement of the new Discipline, as was the other) could by no means digest it: but ingenuously acknowledgeth the meaning of our Lords direction to have been this. [...], id est [...]. Quem nimirùm oportuit inpri­mis de his rebus admon [...]ri, ac per eum cateros Collegas to­tamque ad [...]ò Ecclesiam. Bez. in Apocalyps. 2. 1. To the Angel, that is, to the President, as whom it behoved specially to be admonished touching those matters; and by him both the rest of his colleagues, and the whole Church likewise. And that there was then a standing President over the rest of the Pastors of Ephesus, and he the very same (as learnedConference with Hart, c. 8. divis. 3. Doctor Rynolds addeth) with him whom after­ward the Fathers called Bishop: may further be made manifest, not only by the succession of the first Bishops of that Church, but also by the clear testimony of Ignatius: who (within no greater compasse of time then twelve years afterwards) distinguisheth the singular and constant President thereof, from the rest of the number of the Presbyters, by appropriat­ing the name of Bishop unto him.

As for the former, we find it openly declared in the gene­ral Council of Chalcedon, by Leontius Bishop of Magnesia; that [...]. Concil. Chalce­don. Act. 11. from Timothie (and so from the dayes of the Apostles) there had been a continued succession of seven and twenty Bi­shops; all of them ordained in Ephesus. Of which number the Angel of the Church of Ephesus, mentioned in the Revela­tion, must needs be one: whether it were Timothie himself, asVid. Peter. in Apocalyps. cap. 2. disp. 2. Alcasa: Pro [...]em. in cap. 2, & 3. Apocal, notat, 1. & Petr, Hal­loix, Notat, in vit. Polycarp. cap. 7. some conceive; or one of his next Successours, as others rather do imagine.

[Page 58] For that Timothie had been some timeNotandum est ex hoc loco, Ti­motheum in E­phesino Presby­terio tum fuisse [...] (i. e. antistitem) ut vocat Justinus. Bez. Annotat. in 1 Tim. 5. 19. * the [...] (which is the appellation thatQui politiae causā reliquis fratribus in coe­tu praeerat (q. ē Justinus [...] vo­cat) peculiari­ter dici Episco­pus coepit Id. in Philip. 1. 1. Justin Martyr, in his se­cond Apology for Christians, &Dionys. Co­rinth. in epist. ad Athenienses, eodem sensu Publium mar­tyrem nominat [...], quo proxi­mum ejus suc­cessorem Qua­dratum [...]. a­pud Eusebium, l. 4. hist. [...]. Dionysius of Corinth not long after him, in his epistle to the Church of Athens, and [...]. Marcell. Ancyran. apud Epiphanium, haeres. 72. Marcellus Bishop of Ancyra in his Letters to Julius Bi­shop of Rome, do give unto a Bishop) or Autistes, or President of the Ephesine Presbytery, is confessed by Beza himself: and that he was ordained the first Bishop of the Church of the Ephesians, we do not only read in the subscription of the second Epistle to Timothy, and the Ecclesiastical History ofEuseb. Hist. lib. 3. [...]. Euse­bius, but also in two ancient Treatises concerning the martyr­dom of Timothy; the one namelesse in the Library of [...]. & post [...]. P [...]ot. Bibliot [...]num 254. Pho­tius; the other bearing the name ofPolycrat. de martyrio Timothei: inter vitas Sanctorum edit. Lovanil anno 1485. Polycrates, even of that Polycrates, who was not only himself Bishop of this Church of Ephesus, but born also within six or seven and thir­ty years after S. John wrote the fore-named Epistle unto the Angel of that Church: as it appeareth by the years he was of, when he wrote that Epistle unto Victor Bishop of Rome, where­in he maketh mention of [...]. Polycrat. Epist. ad Vi­ctorem. apud Euseb. l. 5 Hist. [...]. seven kinsmen of his who had been Bishops; he himself being the eight.

I come now to the testimony of Ignatius: whomTheodoret. in Dialogo 1. sive [...]. Theo­doret, andFe­lix III. in Epist. ad Zenonem Imp. recitat in V Synodo Constantinopol. Act. 1. (tomo 2. Conci­lior. pag. 220. edit. Binnii. anno 1606. Felix Bishop of Rome, andJohan. Malela Antiochenus, Chronic. lib. 10 M. S. John the Chro­nographer of Antioch, report to have been ordained Bishop of Antioch by S. Peter in special, Chrysostome (who was a Pres­byter of the same Church) by [...]. Jo. Chrysost. in Ignatii Encomio. the Apostles in general; and without all controversie did sit in that See, the very same time wherein that Epistle unto the Angel of the Church of Ephesus was commanded to be written.

[Page 59] In the Isle of Patmos had S. John his Revelation manifested unto him, [...]. I­ren. advers. haeres. lib. 5. cap 30. toward the end of the Empire of Domitian, as Ireneus testifieth; or the fourteenth year of his government, as Euseb. Chron. Hier. Catal. scriptor. Ecclesi­ast. in Johanne. Eusebius and Hierome specifie it. From thence there are but twelve years reckoned unto the tenth of Trajan: where­in Ignatius, in that last journey which he made for the consum­mation of his glorious Martyrdome at Rome, wrote another Epistle unto the self-same Church of Ephesus. In which he maketh mention of their then Bishop Onesimus: as it appears both byEuseb. lib. 3. hist. [...]. Eusebius citing this out of it, and by the Epistle it self yet extant.

In this Epistle to the Ephesians, Ignatius having accknow­ledged that their [...]. Ignat. epist. ad Ephes. numerous multitude was received by him in the person of their Bishop Onesimus, and [...]. Ibid. blessed God for granting unto them such a Bishop as he was: doth after­wards put them in minde of their [...]. Ibid. duty in concurring with him, as he sheweth their worthy Presbytery did, being [...]. Ibid. so conjoyn'd (as he saith) with their Bishop, as the strings are with the Harp: and toward the end exhorteth them to [...]. Ibid. obey both the Bishop and the Presbytery with an undivided minde.

In the same journey wrote Ignatius also an Epistle unto the Church of Smyrna, another of the seven, unto whom those letters are directed in S. Johns Revelation, wherein he also [...]. Id. in epist. ad Smyrn. saluteth their Bishop and Presbytery: exhorting all the people to [...]. Ibid. follow their Bishop, as Christ Jesus did his Father, and the Presbytery, as the Apostles: and telling them that [...], &c. Ibid. no man ought either to administer the Sacraments, or do any thing appertaining to the Church, without the consent of the Bishop.

Who this Bishop, and what that Presbytery was, appear­eth [Page 60] by another Epistle written a little after from Smyrna, by [...] Polycarp. epist. ad Phi­lippens. Polycarpus and the Presbyters that were with him, unto the Philippians. And that the same Polycarpus was then also Bi­shop there, when S. John wrote unto the Angel of the Church of Smyrna; who can better inform us then Irenaeus? who did not only know those worthy men, [...]. Iren advers. hae­res. lib 3 cap 3. who succeeded Poly­carpus in his See; but alsoId. in epist. ad Florinum: (a­pud Euseb. lib. 5. [...]) & ad Victorem, (ibid. [...]) was present, when he himself did discourse of his conversation with S. John, and of those things which he heard from those who had seen our Lord Jesus.

Polycarpus, [...] Iren. lib. 3. cap. 3. Vid. & Euseb lib. 3. hist [...]. saith he, was not only taught by the Apostles and conversed with many of those that had seen Christ, but also was by the Apostles constituted in Asia Bishop of the Church which is in Smyrna: whom we our selves also did see in our younger age, for he continued long: & being very aged, he most gloriously and nobly suffering Martyrdome departed this life.

Now being ordained Bishop of Smyrna by the Apostles; who had finished their course, and departed out of this life before S. John (the last surviver of them) did write his Reve­lation: who but he could there be meant by the Angel of the Church in Smyrna? in which that he still held his Episco­pal office unto the time of his Martyrdome (which fell out LXXIV. years afterward) may sufficiently appear by this testimony, which the brethren of the Church of Smyrna, who were present at his suffering, gave unto him. [...]. Smyrnens. Eccles. epist. de martyrio Polycarpi. Euseb. lib. 4, hist. [...]. He was the most admirable man in our times, an Apostolical and Prophe­ticall Doctor, and Bishop of the Catholick Church which is in Smyrna. Whereunto we may add the like of Polycrates Bi­shop of Ephesus, who lived also in his time and in his neigh­bourhood, affirming [...]. Polycrat. epist ad Victorem: apud Euseb. lib. 5. hist. [...]. Polycarpus to have been both Bishop and Martyr in Smyrna. So saith he in his Synodica Epistle di­rected [Page 61] unto Victor Bishop of Rome, about 27 years after the Martyrdome of Polycarpus; he himself being at that time 65 years of age.

About the very same time wherein Polycrates wrote this Epistle unto Victor, did Tertullian publish his book of Prescrip­tions against Hereticks: wherein he avoucheth against them, thatSicut Smyrna­orum Ecclesia Polycarpum ab Johanne con [...]e­catum refers; sicut Romano­rum Clemen­tem à Petro or­dinatum edit: proinde (or, per­inde) utique & caeteri exhi­bent, quos ab Apostolis in E­piscopatum con­stitutos, Aposto­lici seminis tra­duces habent. Tertul. de Prae­script. cap. 32. Vid. & ejusd. lib. 4. contra Marcion cap. 5. as the Church of Smyrna had Polycarpus placed there by John, and the Church of Rome Clement ordained by Peter; so the rest of the Churches also did shew what Bishops they had received by the appointment of the Apostles, to traduce the Apostolical seed unto them. And so before him did Irenaeus urge against them Successiones Episcoporum, quibus Aposto­licam qua in unoquoque loco est Ecclesiam tradiderunt. Iren. lib. 4. advers. hares. cap. 63. the successions of Bishops, unto whom the Apostles committed the charge of the Church in every place, Omnes enim ii valdè posteriores sunt quàm Episcopi, quibus Apostoli tradiderunt Ecclesias. Id. lib. 5. cap. 20. For all the Hereticks (saith he) are much later then those Bishops, unto whom the Apostles committed the Churches. And Habemus annumerare eos qui ab Apostolis instituti sunt Episcopi in Ecclesiis, & successores eorum usque ad nos; qui nihil tale docuerunt, neque cognoverunt quale ab his deliratur. Id. lib. 3. cap. 3. we are able to number those who by the Apostles were or­dained Bishops in the Churches, and their Successours unto our dayes; who neither taught nor knew any such thing as these men dream of.

For proof whereof, he bringeth in the succession of the Bishops of Rome, from [...]. Id. ibid. Liuus (unto whom the blessed Apostles committed that Episcopacy) and Anacletus (by others called Cletus) and Clement (who did both see the Apostles, and conferred with them) unto [...]. Ibid. Eleutherius; who when Ire­naeus wrote, had the charge of that Bishoprick in the twelfth place after the Apostles. Concerning whom, and the integrity which then continued in each other succession from the A­postles dayes, Hegesippus, who at the same time published [Page 62] his History of the Church, saith thus. [...]. Hegesip. apud Euseb. lib. 4. hist. [...]. Soter succeeded A­nicetus, and after him was Eleutherius. Now, in every suc­cession, and in every City, all things so stand, as the Law and the Prophets and our Lord do preach.

And more particularly concerning the Church of Corinth; [...] (ita e­nim ex MS. le­gendum, non [...]. Euseb. lib. 4. histor. [...]. cum lib. 3. [...]. after he had spoken of the Epistle written unto them by Cle­ment, for the repressing of some factions wherewith they were at that time much troubled (which gave him occasion to tell them, that [...]. Clemen. epist. ad Corinth. pag. 57. edit. D. Patricii Junii. the Apostles, of whom he himself was an hearer, had perfect intelligence from our Lord Jesus Christ, of the contention that should arise about the name of Episcopacy) he declareth, that after the appeasing of this tumult, [...] (ita MS. non [...]. Hegesip. apud Euseb. lib. 4. [...]. the Church of the Corinthians continued in the right way, untill the dayes of Primus, whom he did visite in his sayling toward Rome. Which Primus had for his successour that famous Dio­nysius, whose Epistle to the Church of the Athenians hath beene before nominated; wherein he put them in minde of Dionys. Corinth. apud eund. Euseb. lib. 3. [...]. & lib. 4. [...]. the first Bishop that had been placed over them, even Dio­nysius the Areopagite, Act. 17. 34. S. Pauls own convert, a thing where­of they could at that time have no more cause to doubt, then we should have, if any question were now made of the Bi­shops that were here in King Edward the VI. or Queen Maryes dayes: I might also say, in the middle of the raigne of Queen Elizabeth her self; if withBaron. Annal. tom. 2. ann. 120. Baronius I would produce the Areopagites life unto the government of the Em­perour Hadrian.

This Hegesippus, living next after the first succession of the Apostles (asEuseb. lib. 2. [...] (non, ut vulgò legitur, [...]. Egesippus qui post ipsas statim primas. Apostolorum successiones fuit: ut Rufinus locum expressit. Eusebius noteth) and being himself a Christian Euseb. lib. 4. [...]. fin. of the race of the Hebrews; was carefull to record unto posterity the state of the Church of Ierusalem in the dayes of the Apostles, and the alteration that followed after their de­parture [Page 63] out of this life. Where first he sheweth, that [...]. Hegesipp. Com­mentariot. lib. 5. apud eund. Euseb. lib. 2. [...]. Iames the brother of our Lord, surnamed the Iust, did governe that Church together with the Apostles: yet so (asClem. in li­bro sexto Hypo­typoscôn: ubi narrat, [...]. Apud eund. l. 2. cap. 1. Clement of Alexandria, who wrote some twenty years after him, fur­ther addeth) that he had this preferment even before the three prime Apostles, Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (Iames and Iohn) to be chosen the peculiar Bishop of Ierusalem, the then mother Church of the world.

After the death of Iames the Just,Apud Euseb lib. 4 cap. 22. Vide eund. lib. 3 cap. 11. & 32. Hegesippus declareth that Symeon the sonne of Clopas or Cleophas was constituted Bishop, and so continued untill the dayes of the Emperour Trajan: under whom he suffered a glorious Martyrdome (about the same time that Ignatius did) being then an hundred and twenty years of age; and by that account borne before the Incarnation of our blessed Saviour. Where, the observation of this prime Historian is not to be passed over: that [...]. Hegesipp. apud eund. lib. 3▪ cap. 32. untill these times the Church was called a Virgin; as being not yet corrupted with the overspreading of hereticall doctrine. For howsoever heresies did spring up before, yet they were so kept down by the authority of the Apostles and the Disciples who had heard our Lord himselfe preach; that the authors and fautors thereof were not able to get any great head, being forced (by the authority of such opposites) to lurk in ob­scurity.

But as soone as all that generation was gathered unto their fathers, and none of those were left who had the happinesse to hear the gracious words that proceeded from the Lords [Page 64] own mouth: the Hereticks, taking that advantage, began to enter into a kind of combination, and with open face pub­lickly to maintain the [...]. 1 Tim. 6. 20. oppositions of their science falsly so called (from whence they assumed unto themselves the name of Gnosticks, or men of knowledge) against the preaching of that truth, which by those who wereLuc. 1. 2. eye-witnesses and mi­nisters of the Word had beenJude v 3. ONCE delivered unto the Saints. [...] Hegesipp. apud Euseb. lib▪ 4. [...]. The first beginner of which conspiracy was one Thebûthis: who had at the first been bred in one of the seven sects, into which the people of the Jewes were in those dayes divided; but afterwards, because he missed of a Bishopricke unto which he had aspired, (this of Jerusalem, as it may seem; whereunto Iustus, after the death of Symeon, was preferred before him) could think of no readyer a way throughly to re­venge himself of this disgrace, than by raising up the like distractions among the Christians. Which as, in the effect, it sheweth the malignity of that ambitious Sectary: so doth it, in the occasion, discover withall the great esteem that in those early dayes was had of Episcopacy.

When Hegesippus wrote this Ecclesiasticall History (the ancientest of any, since the Acts of the Apostles) Eleutherius as we heard before, was Bishop of the Church of Rome: un­to whomMisit ad eum Lucius Britan­norum Rex epi­stolam: obse­crans ut per e­jus mandatum Christianus ef­ficeretur. Et mox effectum pia postulatio­nis consecutu [...] est: susceptam­que fidem Bri­tanni usque in tempora Dio­cletiani Prin­cipis inviolatam integramque quietâ pace servabant. Bed. hist. ecclesiast. Anglor. lib. 1 cap 4. Lucius King of the Britains (as our Bede rela­teth) sent an Epistle; desiring that by his means he might be made Christian. Who presently obtained the effect of his pious re­quest: and the Britains kept the faith then received, sound and undefiled in quiet peace, untill the times of Dioclesian the Em­perour. By whose bloudy persecution the faith and discipline of our Brittish Churches was not yet so quite extinguished; but that within ten years after (and eleven before the first generall Councell of Nice) three of our Bishops were present and subscribed unto the Councel of Arles: Tom. 1. Concilior. Galliae, à Sirmondo edit pag. 9. Eborius of York, Restitutus of London, and Adelfius of Colchester; if that be it, which is called there Colonia Londinensium. The first root of whose succession we must fetch beyond Eleutherius, and [Page 65] as high as S. Peter himself: if it be true, that he [...]. Me­taphrast. Com­mentar. de Pe­tro & Paulo; ad diem 29 Ju­nii. constitu­ted Churches here, and ordained Bishops, Presbyters, and Dea­cons in them; as Symeon Metaphrastes relateth out of some part of [...]. Ibid. Eusebius (as it seemeth) that is not come unto our hands.

But, to return unto the Angels of the seven Churches, men­tioned in the Revelation of S. Iohn: by what hath been said, it is apparent, that seven singular Bishops, who were the con­stant Presidents over those Churches, are pointed at under that name. For other sure they could not be, if all of them were cast into one mould, and were of the same quality with Polycar­pus, the then Angel of the Church in Smyrna: who without all question was such, if any credit may be given herein unto those that saw him and were well acquainted with him.

And as Tertullian in expresse termes affirmeth him to have been placed there by S. Iohn himself (in the testimony before alledged out of hisTertull. Praescript. c. 32. Similiter & Hieronymus in Catal. script. Ecclesiast. cap, 15. in Polycarpo; & Nicephorus, lib 3. hist. ecclesiast. cap. 2. Prescriptions:) so doth he else-where, from the order of the succeeding Bishops, not obscurely inti­mate, that the rest of that number were to be referred unto the same descent.Habemus & Johannis alumnas Ecclesias. Nam etsi Apocalypsim ejus Marcion restuit; ordo tamen Episcoporum ad originem recensus, in Johannem stabit auctorem. Sic & caeterarum generositas recognoscitur. Tertullian. advers. Marcion. lib. 4. c. 5. We have, saith he, the Churches that were bred by John. For although Marcion do reject his Revelation: yet the order of the Bishops reckoned up unto their originall, will stand for John to be their Founder.

Neither doth the ancient Writer of the Martyrdome of Ti­mothy (mentioned by Photius) mean any other by those se­ven Bishops, whose assistance he saith S. Iohn did use, after his return from Patmos, in the government of the Metropolis of the Ephesians. For [...]. Phot. Bibliothec, num. 254. being revoked from his exile, saith he, by the sentence of Nerva, he betook himself to the Metropolis of Ephesus; and being assisted with the presence of SEVEN Bi­shops, [Page 66] he took upon him the government of the Metropolis of the Ephesians: and continued, preaching the word of piety, untill the Empire of Trajan.

That he remained with the Ephesians and the rest of the bre­thren of Asia, untill the dayes of Trajan, and that during the time of his abode with them, he published his Gospel; is suffi­ciently witnessed byIrenaeus ad­vers. haeres. l. 2. cap. 39 item. lib. 3. c. 1. & 3. Ireneus. That upon his return from the Iland, after the death of Domitian, he applyed himself to the government of the Churches of Asia, is confirmed like­wise both byEuseb. lib. 3. hist. cap 23. Eusebius, and byHieronym. in Catal. scrip. Ec­clesìast c. 9. Hierom: who further addeth, thatId. ibid. & Praefat. in E­vangel. Mat­thaei. at the earnest intreaty of the Bishops of Asia he wrote there his Gospel.

And that he himselfe also, being free from his banishment, did ordaine Bishops in diverse Churches, is clearely testified by Clement of Alexandria: who lived in the next age after, and delivereth it as a certain truth, which he had received from those who went before him, and could not be farre from the time wherein the thing it self was acted. [...]. Clem. Alexandrin. in lib. de divite salvando, (qui falso Origenis nomine habetur editus, ad ca [...]eem tomi 3. Commentariórum Michaelis Ghislerii.) Euseb. hist. lib. 3. cap 23. When S. John (saith he) Domitian the Tyrant being dead, removed from the Iland of Patmos unto Ephesus, by the intreaty of some he went also unto the neighbouring nations; in some places constituting Bishops, in others founding whole Churches.

Among these neighbouring Churches was that of Hierapo­lis: which had Papias placedEuseb. lib. 3. hist. cap. 35. Hieron. Catal. script▪ Ecclesiast. cap. 18. & Chronic. ad ann. Traj [...]ni 2. Bishop therein. That this man was [...]. Irenaeus advers. haeres lib. 5 cap. 33. a hearer of S. John, and a companion of Polycarpus, is testified by his own SchollarIrenaeus, vir Apostolicorum temporum & Papiae auditoris Evangelistae Johannis discipulus, Episcopus Ecclesiae Lugdunensis. Hie­ronym. epist. 29. ad Theodoram. Irenaeus: and that he conver­sed withHi sunt Presbyteri Apostolorum discipuli; quorum Irenaus, lib. 5. cap. 36. meminit. the disciples of the Apostles, and of Christ also; he himself doth thus declare, in the Proëme of the five books which he intituled, A declaration of the words of the Lord. [Page 67] [...] (ita e­nim ex Graecis MSS. & vetere Rufini versio­ne locus est re­stituendus) [...]. Papias, in Pro­oemio [...], apud Euseb. lib. 3. hist. [...]. Euseb ibid. If upon occasion any of the Presbyters, which had accom­panied the Apostles, did come; I diligently enquired what were the speeches which the Apostles used, what Andrew or what Peter did say, or what Philip, or Thomas, or James, or John, or Matthew, or some other of the disciples of the Lord; and the things that Aristion and John the Elder, our Lords di­sciples, did speak. The two last of whom he often cited by name in the processe of the work; relating the passages in this kind which he had heard from them.

Neither can any man be so simple as to imagine, that in the language of Clemens Alexandrinus the name of a Bishop should import no more then a bare Presbyter: if he consider, that not the [...]. Clem. Alexandr Paedagog. lib. 3. cap. ult. difference only betwixt Presbyters, Bishops and Deacons is by him acknowledged; but further also, that the disposition of their three offices, in his judgement, doth carry with it [...]. Id. Stromat. lib. 6. an imitation of the Angelicall glory. To say nothing of the Emperour Hadrian: who, hard upon the time of the fore-named Papias, writing unto the Consul Ser­vianus touching the state of things in Aegypt, maketh distinct mention in his letter ofNemo Christianorum Presbyter. Hadrian. epist. ad Servian apud Pl. Vopisc. in vità Saturnini. the Presbyters of the Christians, and of thoseQui se Christi Episcopos dicunt. Id. ibid. who call themselves the Bishops of Christ.

And thus having deduced Episcopacy from the Apostolicall times; and declared, that the Angels of the seven Churches were no other, but such as in the next age after the Apostles were by the Fathers tearmed Bishops: we are now further to en­quire, why these Churches are confined unto the number of se­ven, in the superscription of that Apostolicall Epistle prefixed before the book of the Revelation.Revel. 1. 4: Iohn to the seven Churches in Asia: Grace be unto you and peace. where S. Iohn [Page 68] directing his letters unto them thus indefinitly, without any mention of their particular names; cannot by common intend­ment be conceived to have understood any other thereby, but such as by some degree of eminency were distinguishable from all the rest of the Churches that were in Asia, and in some sort also did comprehend all the rest under them.

For taking Asia here in that stricter sense, wherein the New Testament useth it, as denoting the Lydian Asia alone (of the circuit whereof I have treatedDisquisit. touching the Asia properly so called, &c. chap. 2. elsewhere more particularly) it is not to be imagined, that after so long pains taken by the Apostles and their disciples in the husbanding of that part of the Lords vineyard, there should be found no more but seven Churches therein, especially since S. Paul that1 Cor. 3. 10. wise master­builder professeth, that he had here1 Cor. 16. 8, 9. a great door and effectu­all opened unto him: and S. Luke testifieth accordingly, that Act. 19. 10, 20. all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Ie­sus, both Iews and Greeks; so mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed. Which extraordinary blessing of God upon his labours, moved the Apostle to make his residenceAct. 20. 18. 31. in those parts for the space of three years: wherein he ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

So that in all reason we are to suppose, that these seven Churches (comprising all the rest within them) were not bare Parochiall ones, or so many particular congregations; but Dio­cesan Churches (as we use to call them) if not Metropoliticall rather. For that inPlin. lib. 5. hist. natur. cap. 29. Laedicea, Sardis, Smyrna, Ephesus and Id. ibid. c. 30. Pergamus, the Roman governours held their Courts of justice, to which all the Cities and Towns about, had recourse for the ending of their suites; is noted by Pliny. And besides these (which were the greatest) Thyatira is also byPtolem. Geo­graph. lib. 5. Ptolo­my expresly named a Metropolis: as Philadelphia also is, in theConcil. Con­stantinop. sub Menâ, Act. 5. Greek Acts of the Councell of Constantinople held un­der Menas. Which giveth us good ground to conceive, that the seven Cities, in which these seven Churches had their seat, were all of them Metropoliticall, and so had relation unto the rest of the Townes and Cities of Asia, as unto daughters rising under them.

[Page 69] This Lydian Asia was separated from Caria by the river Maeander: upon the banks whereof Magnesia and Trallis were seated, to the Christians whereof Ignatius directed two of his epistles; wherein he maketh mention of Damas Bishop of the one Church, and Polybius Bishop (or [...]. Euseb. lib. 3. hist. cap. 35. Ruler, as Eu­sebius calleth him) of the other, whom they had sent to visit him at Smyrna, adding withall in that to the Trallians, his usuall admonitions. [...]. Ignat. epist. ad Trallian. Be subject to the Bishop, as to the Lord: and [...]. Ibid. to the Presbytery, as to the Apostles of Jesus Christ our hope. [...], Ib. He that doth any thing without the Bishop and the Presbyters and the Deacons, such a one is defiled in consci­ence. [...], &c. Ibid. Fare ye well in Jesus Christ; being subject to the Bishop, and likewise to the Presbyters.

Wherein we may note, that with twelve years after men­tion of the seven Churches made in the Apocalyps (for then, as hath been shewed, were these epistles of Ignatius writ­ten) other Episcopal cities are found in the same Lydian Asia; and two such, as in after times are well known to have been Ordo Metro­politar. in Ap­pend. Geo­graph. sacr. Ca­roli à S. Paulo, pag. 11. & in tomo 1. Juris Graeco. Romani. à Jo. Leunclavio edit. pag. 90. under the government of the Metropolitan of Ephesus. But whether this subordination were as ancient as the dayes of Ig­natius (whose Epistles are extant unto these three Churches) andEuseb. lib. 3. hist. cap. 35. Damas the then Bishop of Magnefia, with Polybius of Trallis, were at that time subject to One simus the Bishop of Ephesus, might well be doubted: but that the same Ignatius directeth one of his Epistles unto the Church [...]. Ignat. epist. ad Roman. which had pre­sidency in the place of the Region of the Romans; and in the bo­dy thereof doth attribute unto himself the title of the Bishop of Syria. Whereby, as he intimateth himself to have been not onely the Bishop of Antiock, but also of the rest of the province of Syria, which was under that Metropolis: so doth he likewise not obscurely signifie that the Bishop of Rome had at that time a presidency over the Churches that were in the Ex Vrbicari [...] Regione. [...]od. Theod. lib. 11. tit. 2. leg. 3. Vrbicarian Region, as the Imperiall Constitutions, or the [Page 70] Ex Provin­cia Romanâ, civitate Por­tuen, &c. In nominibusquae Concilio Are­latensi l. prae­fixa leguntur. Roman Province, as the Acts of the first Councell of Arles call it.

What that Vrbicarian Region was, I will not now stand to discusse: whether Tuscia onely, wherein Rome it selfe was situated (which in the dayes of Ignatius was one entire regi­on, but afterwards divided into Tuscia Suburbicaria and An­nonaeria) or the territory wherein the Praefectus Vrbis did ex­ercise his jurisdiction (which was confined within the com­passe of a hundred miles about the City) or, with that, those other provinces also whereunto the authority of the Vicarius Vrbis did extend; or lastly the circuit within which those 69. Bishopricks were contained thatInsuper prae­ter septem col­laterales Epi­scopos eraut alii Episcopi, qui dicuntur suffra­ganei Romani Pontificis, nulli alii Primati vel Archiepiscopo subjecti; qui frequenter ad Synodos voca­rentur. M S. Vatican apud Baron. ann. 1057. S. 23. were immediatly subject to the Bishop of Rome, and frequently called to his Synods: the names whereof are found registred in the Records of that Church. The antiquity of which number, as it may in some sort receive confirmation from the Roman Synod of seventy Bi­shops held under Gelasius: so for the distinction of the Bishops which belonged to the city of Rome, from those that apper­tained to Italy, we have a farre more ancient testimony from the Edict of the Emperour Aurelian; who in the controver­sie that arose betwixt Paulus Samosatenus and Domnus for the house which belonged unto the Church of Antioch, com­manded that it should be delivered to them, [...]: saith Ni­cephorus Cal­list. lib. 6. Hist. cap. 29. but Eu­seb. lib. 7. c. 30. more fully, [...]. to whom the Bishops of Italy and Rome should by their letters declare that it ought to be given. Which distinction, aswell in the foreci­ted Ex Provinciâ Italia, civitate Mediolanen, &c. Ex Provinciâ Romanâ, civitate Portuen. ut suprà. Acts of the Councell of Arles, as in the Epistles of the [...] Synod. Sardic. epist. ad Alexandrin. in 2. Athanasii Apologiâ (tomo 1. Oper edit. Commelin. pag. 588.) Sardican Synod and [...]. Athanas. epist. ad solitar▪ vit. agentes. (ibid. pag. 640.) Athanasius, may likewise be obser­ved: the name of Italy being in a more strict sense applyed therein to the seven Provinces, which were under the Civill ju­risdiction of the Vicarius or Lieutenant of Italy, and the Ec­clesiasticall of the Bishop of Millaine.

And it is well worth the observing, that the Fathers of the [Page 71] great Councell of Nice afterwards confirming this kinde of primacy, in the Bishops of Alexandria, Rome and Antioch, and [...]. Conci. Ni [...]aen. 1. Can. 6. in the Metropolitans of other Provinces; do make their entrance into that Canon with [...]. Let the ANCIENT customes continue. Which as it cleareth the antiquity of the Metropoliticall jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, so doth it likewise confirm the opinion of those, who conceive the Metropolitan of Alexandria to be meant in that passage of the Emperour Hadrians epistle unto Servianus. Ipse ille Pa­triarcha quum Aegyptum ve­nerit, ab aliis Serapidem ado­rare, ab aliis cogitur Chri­stum. Hadrian▪ epist. ad Servi­an. apud Vo­pisc. in Satur­nino. Even the very Patriarch himself, when he commeth into E­gypt, is by some compelled to adore Serapis, and by others to wor­ship Christ. As if, upon his returning into Egypt, either from his visitation of Lybia and Pentapolis (which this same Nicene Canon sheweth to have of old belonged unto his care) or from his flight in that present time of persecution; he should suffer this distraction: the heathen labouring to compell him to the worship of Serapis, and his own Christian flock on the other side striving to keep him constant in the service of Christ. For that either the Heathen had will, or the Christians power at that time to force the Jewish Patriarch (of whom some do un­derstand the place) to the adoration of Christ; hath no man­ner of probability in it.

That part also of the Canon, which ratifieth the ancient rights of Metropolitans of all other Provinces, may serve to open unto us the meaning of that complaint which, some threescore and ten years before the time of this Synod, S. Cy­prian made against Novatianus; for the confusion which by his schisme he brought upon the Churches of God: that Cùm jampri­dem per omnes provincias, & per urbes singu­la [...], ordinati sint Episcopi in aeta­te antiqui, in fide integri, in pressurâ proba­ti, in persecutione proscripti; ille super eos creare alios pseudo-episcopos▪ audent. Cyprian Epist. 52. Whereas long since in all Provinces, and in all Cities, Bi­shops had been ordained, in age ancient, sound in faith, tryed in affliction, proscribed in persecution; yet took he the bold­nesse to create other false Bishops over their heads. Namely, subordinate Bishops in every City, and Metropolitans in every Province.

In Africke at that time, although there were many civill [Page 72] Provinces, yet was there but one Ecclesiasticall: whereof Cy­prian himself was [...]. Concil. Constantinop. in Trullo, Can. 2. Archbishop; as the Fathers of the Trul­lan Synod call him. It pleased, saith he in one of his Epistles, Universis Epi­scopis, vel in no­strâ provi [...]ciâ, vel trans mare constitutis. Cy­prian. epist. 40. all the Bishops constituted either in our Province or be­yond the Sea: intimating thereby, that all the Bishops which were on his side the Sea did belong unto one Province.Quoniam la­tiùs fusa est no­stra provincia; habet etiam Numidiam & Mauritanias duas sibi cohae­rentes. Id. Epist. 45 For our Province, saith he in another place, is spread more large­ly; having Numidia also, and both the Mauritaniaes, annexed unto it. Whence that great Councell assembled by him for determining the question touching the baptizing of those that had been baptized by Hereticks, is said to be gatheredEx provincia Africâ, Numi­diâ, Maurita­niâ. Concil. Cypriani. out of the Province of Africa, Numidia, and Mauritania. For howsoever in the civill government, the Proconsular Africa (wherein Carthage was seated) Numidia and both the Mau­ritanies, (Sitifensis and Caesariensis) were accounted three di­stinct Provinces: yet in the Ecclesiasticall administration they were joyned together and made but one Province, immediately subject to the Metropoliticall jurisdiction of the prime See of Carthage.

Some threescore years before this African Councell was held by Cyprian, those other Provinciall Synods were assem­bled by the Metropolitans of sundry nations, fot the composing of the Paschall controversie, then hotly pursued: and among the rest, that in our neighbour country, out of [...]. Euseb. histor. lib. 5. cap 23. the Pa­rishes (for so, in the ancient language of the Church, those precincts were named, which now we call Dioceses) of which Irenaeus had the superintendency; whence also he wrote that free Epistle unto Victor Bishop of Rome, [...]. Ibid. cap 26. in the person of those brethren over whom he was President. At which time (and before) the [...]. Ibid. cap. 1. most famous Metropoles of that Country, and so the [...]. Id. ibid. most eminent Churches therein, were Lyons and Vienna; in the one whereof Irenaeus [...]. Theodoret. in [...]. was then no lesse re­nowned a Prelat, then Cyprian was afterwards in Africa.

Dionysius, the famous Bishop of Corinth, was elder then [Page 63] they: who among many other Epistles, directed one [...]. Id. lib. 4. cap. the Church of Gortyna, and all the rest of the Churches of Crete; wherein he saluted their Bishop Philip. Whereby it appeareth, that at that time, aswell as in the ages following, Subscript. Concil. Chal­cedon Act. 6. & Concil. Con­stantinop. sub Me [...]â, Act. 5. & Synodi V. generat. Con­stantinop. Col­lat. 8. Gortyna was the Metropolis, and the Bishop thereof the Metropolitan of all the rest of that whole Island. Which kinde of superin­tendency there, Eusebius (the ancientest Ecclesiasticall Histo­rian now extant) deriveth from the very times of Titus; whom, out of the histories that were before his time, he relateth to have held [...]. Id lib. 3. cap. 1. the Bishoprick of the Churches in Crete. With whom the Grecians of after times do fully concurre; as appea­reth both by the subscription annexed by them unto the Epistle of S. Paul [...]. to Titus, ordained (as there they say) the first Bishop of the Church of the Cretians; and by the argument prefixed by them before the same, speaking of him to the same effect, that [...]. Theodoret. argument. epist ad Tit. in Oecome [...]o. he was by Paul ordained Bishop of that great country, and had commission to ordain the Bishops that were under him, which they gather out of those words of S. Paul unto him. Tit. 1. 5. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain Elders in every City, as I had appointed thee. Out of which M. Calvin collecteth this doctrine unto us for the generall. We learn out of this place, that there was not then such an equality betwixt the ministers of the Church, but that there was some one who was president over the rest both in authority and in counsell. And S Chrysostom, for the particular of Titus, [...]. Chrysost. in Tit. 1▪ Homil. 1. Had he not been an approved man, he would not have committed that whole Iland unto him: he would not have commanded him to supply the things that were defective; he would not have com­mitted unto him the judgement of so many Bishops, if he had not had very great confidence in the man. And Bishop JewellDiscimus ex hoc loco, non eam fuisse tunc aequalitatem inter Ecclesiae ministros; quin unus ali­quis autoritate & consilio prae [...]sset. Calvin. in Tit. 1. 5. [Page 74] upon him again. Having the government of many Bishops; what may we call him but an Archbishop?

Which is not so much to be wondred at, when we see that the Bishops of another Iland stick not (and that without any controll) to deduce the ordination of their Metropolitan from the Apostolick times, in the face of the whole generall Coun­cell of Ephesus. For whereas the Patriarch of Antioch did claim an interest in the ordaining of the Metropolitan of Cy­prus: the Bishops of that Iland prescribed to the contrary, that A sanctis A­postolis nun­quam possunt ostendere quod adfuerit Antio­che [...]us & ordi­naverit, vel communicave­rit unquam in­sulae ordinatio­nis gratiam, ne­que alius quis­quam. Concil. Ephesin. Act. 7. from the time of the holy Apostles it could never be shewed, that the Bishop of Antioch was ever present at any such ordina­tion, or did ever communicate the grace of ordination to that Iland; and that the former Bishops of Constantia (the Me­tropolis of Cyprus) Troilus, Sabinus, Epiphanius,Et nunc me­morati Episcopi, & qui a sanctis Apostolis erant omnes ortho­doxi, ab his qui in Cypro consti­tuti sunt. Ibid. and all the holy and orthodoxe Bishops which were before them, ever since the holy Apostles, were constituted by those which were in Cyprus, and therefore desired that Sicut initio à temporibus Apostolorum & constitutionibus & canonibus sanctissimae & magnae Synodi Nicaenae; illaesa & superior infidiis & potentiā permansit nostra Cypriorum Synodus. Ibid. as in the beginning from the times of the Apostles, and by the constitutions and canons of the most holy and great Synod of Nice, the Synod of the Cy­prian Bishops remained untouched and superiour to privy under­minings and open power; so they might still be continued in the possession of their ancient right. Whereupon the Councell con­demning the attempt of the Bishop of Antioch, as [...]. Ibid. an inno­vation brought in against the Ecclesiasticall laws and the ca­nons of the holy Fathers; did not only order, that [...] Ibid. the go­vernours of the Churches which were in Cyprus should keep their own right entire and inviolable, according to the Canons of the holy Fathers and their ancient custome: but also [...] & paulo pòst. [...]. ibid. for [Page 75] all other Dioceses and Provinces wheresoever; that no Bishop should intrude himself into any other Province, which had not formerly and from the beginning been under him or his prede­cessours.

The beginning of which kind of subordination of many Bi­shops unto one chief, if it were not to be derived from Aposto­licall right; yet it is by Beza fetchedNeque verò magis existi­mandum est, hunc externum ordinem fuisse initio humani generis. Pagi enim ex fami­liis, & ex pa­gis urbes, & ex urbibus ci­vitates ipsae, suadente naturâ & necessitate flagitante, sen­sim eoïerunt; aliis aliorum exemplum se­quutis. Bez. de divers. gradib. ministr. contr. Sarav. cap. 24. sect. 4. from the same light of Nature and enforcement of Necessity, whereby men were at first induced to enter into consociations, subjected one unto another; and by Bucer acknowledged to haveAtque hoc consentiebat le­gi Christi, fie­batque ex jure corporis Christi. M. Bucer. de vi & usu. S. Mini­sterii. (inter scripta ejus An­glicana, pag. 565.) been consen­taneous to the Law of Christ, and to have been done by the right of the body of Christ; and by all men must be confessed to be conformable to the pattern delivered by God unto Moses. For having set apart the three families of the Levites for his own service, and constituted a chief (as we have heard) over every of them: he placed immediately over them all, not Aaron the High Priest, but Eleazar his son, saying,Num. 3. 32. Ele­azar, the son of Aaron the Priest, shall be chief over the chief of the Levites; and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of the Sanctuary.

In respect of which oversight, as he hath by the Septuagint (warrantably enough by the Word of God) given unto him the name of [...]. LXX. Num. 4. 16. a Bishop: so the Holy Ghost having vouch­safed to honour him with the title of [...] id. Num. 3. 32. [...], the President of the Presi­dents of the Levites; none, that without prejudice did take the matter into consideration, would much stick to afford unto him the name of an Arch-bishop, at least he would be taught hereby, to retain that reverend opinion of the primitive Bishops of the Christian Church (who so willingly submitted themselves, not only to the Archiepiscopal, but also to a Patriarchical govern­ment) which Calvin professed he did: that in all this, they were far from having a thought,Reperiemus vete­res Episcopos non aliam regen [...]ae Ecclesiae formam voluisse fingere ab eâ quam Deus Verbo suo praescripsit. Calvin. Institut. lib. 4. cap. 4. sect. 4. to devise another form of Church-government, then that which God had prescribed in his Word.

The Apostolicall Institution of EPISCOPACY; deduced out of the premises, by W. C.

IF we abstract from Episcopall government all accidentals, and consider onely what is essentiall and necessary to it; we shall find in it no more but this: An appointment of one man of eminent sanctity and suffici­ency to have the care of all the Churches, within a certain Precinct or Diocesse; and furnishing him with authority, not absolute or arbitrary, but regulated and bounded by lawes, and moderated by joyning to him a convenient number of assistants. To the intent that all the Churches under him may be provided of good and able Pa­stours: and that both of Pastours and people conformity to lawes and performance of their duties may be required, under penalties, not left to discretion, but by law appointed.

To this kind of government I am not by any particular in­terest so devoted, as to think it ought to be maintained, ei­ther in opposition to Apostolick institution, or to the much desired reformation of mens lives, and restauration of Primi­tive discipline, or to any law or precept of our Lord and Sa­viour Jesus Christ: for that were to maintain a means con­trary to the end. For obedience to our Saviour is the end for which Church Government is appointed. But if it may be demonstrated, or made much more probable then the contra­ry, as I verily think it may: I. That it is not repugnant to [Page 78] the government setled in and for the Church by the Apostles. II. That it is as complyable with the reformation of any evill which we desire to reform either in Church or State, or the introduction of any good which we desire to intro­duce, as any other kind of government; And III. That there is no law, no record of our Saviour against it: then I hope it will not be thought an unreasonable motion, if we humbly desire those that are in authority, especially the High Court of Parliament, that it may not be sacrificed to clamour, or over-born by violence: and though (which God forbid) the greater part of the multitude should cry, Crucifie, Crucifie, yet our Governours would be so full of Justice and cou­rage, as not to give it up untill they perfectly understand con­cerning Episcopacy it self, Quid mali fecit. I shall speak at this time only of the first of these three points: That Episco­pacy is not repugnant to the government setled in the Church for perpetuity by the Apostles. Whereof I conceive this which followes as clear a demonstration, as any thing of this nature is capable of.

That this government was received universally in the Church, either in the Apostles time, or presently after, is so evident and unquestionable, that the most learned adversaries of this go­vernment do themselves confesse it.

Petrus Molinaeus, in his book De munere postorali, pur­posely written in defence of the Presbyteriall government, ac­knowledgeth: That presently after the Apostles times, or even in their time (as Ecclesiasticall story witnesseth) it was ordained, That in every City one of the Presbytery should be called a Bishop, who should have preheminence over his Col­leagues; to avoid confusion which oft times ariseth out of e­quality. And truly this form of government all Churches every where received.

Theodorus Beza, in his Tract De triplici Episcopatus ge­nere, confesseth in effect the same thing. For having distin­guished Episcopacy into three kinds, Divine, Humane, and Satanicall, and attributing to the second (which he calls Hu­mane, but we maintain and conceive to be Apostolicall) not [Page 79] only a priority of order, but a superiority of power, and au­thority over other Presbyters, bounded yet by lawes and ca­nons provided against Tyranny: he clearly professeth, that of this kind of Episcopacy is to be understood whatsoever we read concerning the authority of Bishops or Presidents (as Justin Martyr calls them) in Ignatius, and other more anci­ent Writers.

Certainly fromTo whom two others al­so from Gene­va may be ad­ded: Daniel Chamierus (in Panstratia, tō, 2. lib. 10. cap. 6. sect. 24.) and Nicol. Vedelius (Exercitat. 3. in epist. Igna­tii ad Phila­delph. cap. 14. & Exercit. 8. in epistol. ad Mariam, cap. 3.) which is fully also de­monstrated in the former Treatise, by the testimo­nies of those who wrote in the very next age after the Apostles. these two great defenders of the Presby­tery we should never had this free acknowledgement, so pre­judiciall to their own pretence, and so advantageous to their adversaries purpose, had not the evidence of clear and unde­niable truth enforced them to it. It will not therefore be ne­cessary to spend any time in confuting that uningenuous asser­tion of the Anonymus Authour of the Catalogue of Testimo­nies for the equality of Bishops and Presbyters, who affirmes, That their disparity began long after the Apostles times: But we may safely take for granted that which these two learned Adversaries have confessed; and see, whether upon this foun­dation laid by them, we may not by unanswerable reason raise this superstruction.

‘That seing Episcopall Government is confessedly so anci­ent and so Catholique, it cannot with reason be denyed to be Apostolique.’

For so great a change, as between Presbyteriall Govern­ment and Episcopall, could not possibly have prevailed all the world over, in a little time. Had Episcopall Govern­ment been an aberration from, or a corruption of the Govern­ment left in the Churches by the Apostles, it had been very strange, that it should have been received in any one Church so suddainly, or that it should have prevailed in all for ma­ny Ages after. Variâsse debuerat error Ecclesiarum: quod autem apud omnes unum est, non est erratum, sed traditum. Had the Churches err'd, they would have varied. What therefore is one and the same amongst all, came not sure by errour, but tradition. Thus Tertullian argues very pro­bably from the consent of the Churches of his time, not long [Page 80] after the Apostles, and that in matter of opinion much more subject to unobserv'd alteration. But that in the frame and sub­stance of the necessary government of the Church, a thing al­wayes in use and practice, there should be so suddain a change as presently after the Apostles times, and so universall, as re­ceived in all the Churches, this is clearly impossible.

For what universall cause can be assigned or fained of this universall Apostasie? you will not imagine that the Apostles, all or any of them, made any decree for this change, when they were living; or left order for it in any Will or Testament, when they were dying. This were to grant the question; to wit, that the Apostles, being to leave the government of the Churches themselves, and either seeing by experience, or fore­seeing by the Spirit of God, the distractions and disorders which would arise from a multitude of equalls, substituted Epi­scopall government instead of their own. Generall Councells to make a Law for a generall change, for many ages there was none. There was no Christian Emperour, no coercive power over the Church to enforce it. Or if there had been any, we know no force was equall to the courage of the Christians of those times. Their lives were then at command (for they had not then learn't to fight for Christ) but their obedience to any thing against his Law was not to be commanded (for they had perfectly learn't to die for him.) Therefore there was no power then to command this change; or if there had been any, it had been in vain.

What device then shall we study, or to what fountaine shall we reduce this strange pretended alteration? Can it enter into our hearts to think, that all the Presbyters and other Christians then, being the Apostles Schollers, could be generally ignorant of the will of Christ, touching the necessi­ty of a Presbyteriall government? Or dare we adventure to think them so strangely wicked all the world over, as against knowledge and conscience to conspire against it? Imagine the spirit of Diotrephes had entered into some or a great many of the Presbyters, and possessed them with an ambitious desire [Page 81] of a forbidden superiority, was it possible they should attempt and atchieve it once without any opposition or contradicti­on? and besides that the contagion of this ambition should spread it self and prevail without stop or controule, nay, without any noyse or notice taken of it, through all the Churches in the world; all the watchmen in the mean time being so fast asleep, and all the dogges so dumb, that not so much as one should open his mouth against it? But let us suppose (though it be a horrible untruth) that the Presbyters and people then were not so good Christians as the Presby­ters are now, that they were generally so negligent to retain the government of Christs Church commanded by Christ, which we now are so zealous to restore: yet certainly we must not forget nor deny that they were men as we are. And if we look upon them but as meer naturall men, yet know­ing by experience how hard a thing it is even for policy arm'd with power by many attempts and contrivances, and in a long time to gain upon the liberty of any one people, undoubtedly we shall never entertain so wild an imaginati­on, as that among all the Christian Presbyteries in the world, neither conscience of duty, nor love of liberty, nor averse­nesse from pride and usurpation of others over them, should prevail so much as with any one, to oppose this pretended universall invasion of the Kingdome of Christ and the liberty of Christians.

When I shall see therefore all the fables in the Metamor­phosis acted and prove stories; when I shall see all the De­mocraties and Aristocraties in the world lye down and sleep, and awake into Monarchies: then will I begin to believe that Presbyteriall government, having continued in the Church during the Apostles times, should presently after, against the Apostles doctrine and the will of Christ, be whirl'd about like a scene in a masque, and transformed into Episcopacy. In the mean time, while these things remain thus incre­dible, and in humane reason impossible; I hope I shall have leave to conclude thus. Episcopall government is acknow­ledged [Page 82] to have been universally received in the Church, presently after the Apostles times. Between the Apostles times and this presently after, there was not time enough for, nor possibility of, so great an alteration. And therefore there was no such alteration as is pretended. And therefore Epi­scopacy, being confessed to be so ancient and Catholique, must be granted also to be Apostolique. Quod erat demon­strandum.


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