By NOAH WELLES, A. M. Pastor of the first Church in Stanford.

BUT be ye not called Rabbi; for one is your MASTER, even CHRIST, and all ye are BRETHREN.

Matt. 23, 8.

FEED the flock of God,—neither as being LORDS over God's heritage.

1 Pet. 5. 2, 3.

[...]AM traditionem, quae est ab APOSTOLIS, quae per successi­ones PRESBYTERORUM custoditur, provoeamus.

Iraen. Lib. 3. c. 2. p. 170.



Extract of a letter to the author.


A GENTLEMAN in this town, to whom Mr. Lea­ming's "defence" was lately sent, saw fit, a few days ago, to put it into my hands, desiring I would give it a reading; which I have accordingly done.

How far it may be justly called ‘a defence of Episco­pacy against your sermon,’ I am not able to say; not having had the pleasure of ever seeing it: But 'tis with great impropriety stiled "a defence against mine;" as nineteen parts in twenty of what I had said, is passed over, without so much as an attempt to examine its force, or shew its inconclusiveness in point of argument. Was it not that my name is now and then mentioned, no one would im­agine he had it in view to answer me, any more than an hundred others, who have appeared on the same side of the question in dispute.

I ESTEEM my sermon as full an answer to his "defence," as if wrote on purpose to confute it; and ask no other fa­vour than that they be carefully compared with each other, and an impartial judgment formed thereupon. If this is done, I cant suppose that any one, besides Mr. L. will be disposed to think, ‘that he has answered the most material things advanced by Dr. Chauncy:’ It must be deter­mined, on the contrary, that he has scarce taken notice of any thing material that I have offered.

I HAVE no other knowledge of this gentleman, than what may be collected from this small work of his; which has not, I confess, given me an exalted opinion of him. Was I inclined to engage in the episcopal controversy, I should choose for my opponent, one that is better able to manage a dispute, than he appears to me to be. What good purpose would it serve to write, tho' it were never so [Page iv]clearly and strongly, when one knows before hand, that little notice may be taken of what is wrote, and yet the whole be compleatly answered?—He has said but little, very little, but what has been answered an hundred times over, and with arguments much too powerful to be set aside by him.

I AM sorry your lot is cast among those who are deeply tinctured with high-church principles. Such are always bigots themselves, and zealously endeavour to make others so too. This was the case among us in former years; but these high flying-notions are now almost absorbed in a more generous way of thinking. There are but few who dare openly profess their adherance to these tenets, whatever their private thoughts may be. 'Tis indeed high time they were universally eradicated out of men's minds, they are so senseless in themselves, as well as contrary to the word of God.

HOWEVER, as the case is circumstanced with you, it may be well for you to take him to task, and point out his weakness; which, as I imagine, you will find no difficult matter.

IT would be doing too much honour to him, for us both to be engaged in the dispute with him: Tho' I believe it is in reality a dispute with the combined clergy in those parts. By the account I have of Mr. L. he is not equal to the performance that comes out in his name, however in­sufficient it may be as an answer to either of us.

[Page v]


WHEN I preached and published my discourse upon ordination, I had no thoughts of engaging in a controversy. Providence had cast my lot in that part of Christ's vineyard, where there are sundry episcopalians, interspersed among the people of my charge, as well as in the neighbourhood. Tho' I never could find any scripture warrant, for the peculiarities that distinguish that church from the rest of the protestant world; tho' it has many defects in its orders, worship and discipline, and is consi­derably different from the plan laid down by our Saviour and his apostles, and followed by the primitive christians in the next succeeding ages; yet as it appears to have the essentials of religion, it has ever been my practice to treat its professors as christian brethren, tho' mistaken in some points; agreeable to the apostolic direction, ‘him that is weak in the faith receive, but not to doubtful disputa­tions.’ A wrangling disputatious temper among the disciples, especially among the ministers of the prince of peace, is odious and unchristian. As the things in which we agree, are, by all allowed, to be of infinitely greater importance than those in which we differ; how can that zeal be defended which spends itself only, or principally, about the latter, while the former are treated with com­parative neglect? Is it not much more becoming the cha­racter of christians and ministers of the gospel, to lay aside these bickerings, and unite our endeavours in opposing the growing cause of infidelity and irreligion, and promoting the more important truths of our common christianity? These are the principles agreeable to which I have ever [Page vi]treated our episcopal dissenters: And I challenge the whole party to produce an instance, in which I have ever begun a dispute with them upon the controverted points, or attempted, publicly or privately, to prejudice them a­gainst their own worship or ministry. I esteem it a greater honour to promote the real interest of religion, than that of any particular denomination; and, if I know my own heart, had much rather be the happy instrument of savingly converting one soul to Christ; than of making a thousand proselytes, merely to the low designs of a party. It has ever given me pain, to observe the prevalence of a con­trary temper and conduct, in those of any denomination, whether clergy or laity. How far this has been the case with the episcopalians in these parts, would, perhaps, be deemed invidious in me to say. Sure I am, if I had not observed too many instances of this kind; had I not been repeatedly sollicited, to preach and publish upon this sub­ject, as a necessary antidote against the effects of them; the discourse I am now called upon to vindicate, never would have seen the light. In composing of it, I studiously guarded against every thing offensive; for I had no desire to be drawn into a controversy. Had I been disposed to this, I could not have been at a loss for materials. It is well known, that besides the exorbitant, unscriptural claims of their bishops, and the mean, servile subjection of the presbyters, in that church; there are some things in her articles, and in her worship and discipline many more, which are, (at least in our opinion) highly exceptionable. However naturally many of these things sell in my way, while writing upon this subject, I carefully suppressed them; for my maxim was to act only on the defensive, and endeavour, by scripture and reason, to vindicate our ministerial authority from the perpetual attacks of the party. In these circumstances, I had reason to conclude, that the most sanguine and zealous among them would not be offended, or look upon themselves concerned to answer me, either from the pulpit or the press. But no sooner was the piece published, than the episcopal pulpits, here [Page vii]and in the neighbourhood, resounded with the old cry, "the power, the power;" and repeatedly rung over all the various changes, of the nullity of presbyterian orders and administrations, the absolute necessity of uninterrupted succession, and the unalterable and divine right of episcopacy. And among the rest, it was said, Mr. L. often distinguish­ed himself upon the topic, with singular pathos and zeal.

IT was soon given our, that an answer to my piece would be published: But as no particular author was named, and the rumour abated; it was generally concluded, as they had no call to engage in the controversy, the design was laid aside. However, after a preparation of near three years, Mr. L. has seen fit to step forth, and favour the public with the first fruits of his pen, in what he is pleased to call ‘a defence of the episcopal government of the church, containing remarks upon two late noted ser­mons, on presbyterian ordination.’

WHAT I was to expect, from such an opponent, I was at a loss to determine; having never had a taste of his abilities for managing a controversy. When the book came out, I read it with a good degree of attention; and was not a little surprized to find, that after so long prepa­ration, the author had so little to say, upon the two pieces he had set himself to answer. As to Dr. Chauncy's, the Dr. justly observes, nineteen parts in twenty are pas­sed over without a single remark. And as to mine, who­ever compares it with Mr. L.'s answer, will, I am confi­dent, make much the same remark. Whether he has so fully succeeded, in those parts he pretends to answer, must be submitted to the judgment of the public, to which I appeal.

FOR these and such like reasons, it was judged at first, that to attempt an answer was no ways necessary. But as the party soon began to triumph in it, as an unanswerable piece, and boasted of great exploits done by it, in the ad­dition of sundry converts to the episcopal cause; it was generally concluded, that something ought to be wrote by way of reply. This, I hoped, would have been underta­ken [Page viii]by Dr. Chauncy, as every way my superior, especially in his acquaintance with this controversy. But as he has declined the service, for the reasons mentioned in his letter, prefixed to these sheets; it of course devolves upon me.

AS I am conscious of no other motive in the affair, than a sincere regard to truth, and the interest of our churches, which I really believe to be the interest of the redeemer's Kingdom; I shall endeavour fairly to examine every thing in Mr. L.'s book, that looks like an argument, and give it its due weight. For as it is truth rather than victory I aim at: so the former will shine brightest when placed in controst with every thing that opposes it; and as to the lat­ter, he who should challenge it for only nibbling at here and there a sentence in his antagonist, must I conceive, appear with a very ill grace. This, however, will make me more lengthy, than might otherwise be thought needful.

ONE thing I think proper to premise.—Since, not with­standing the caution used, both by the Dr. and myself, to avoid a controversy with episcopalians, they have seen fit to engage in one; and will not suffer us even to defend our cause, when called upon so to do, without taking the alarm; I shall not look upon myself holden to observe the like caution, in that respect, as I did in my sermon. If therefore in the course of this dispute, I should happen to treat them with less ceremony: If there should occafional­ly drop from my pen, any direct reflections, or free ani­madversions, upon some very exceptionable and unserip­tural parts of their scheme, when they fall in my way, I request the candid reader to impute it to the proper cause.

[Page 9]

SEC. I. Remarks upon the letter-writer, S. I. and Mr. L.'s intro­duction.

MR. L. has ushered his "defence" into public view, with a letter signed, S. I. Who this gentleman is, we are not concern­ed to enquire. As he has seen fit to give us only the initial letters of his name, and no more ceremony than any anonymous writer, whatever honorary titles he may happen to be dig­nified with.

‘OUR opponents, says he, have of late, without any provocation, been mustering up their old sophisms a­gainst the ancient episcopal government of the church, which have been long ago abundantly answered over and over.’ Perhaps the gentleman thinks all argu­ments against his scheme, deserve the name of sophisms. He should remember however, that, tho' to call an argu­ment that pinches, by an ugly name, may be an easy me­thod to get rid of it; yet in the judgment of the candid, a solid refutation would be more satisfactory. That our arguments are old, is readily granted; for so is truth: But that they are the worse or the weaker upon that account, appears not. Nor does it appear that these arguments have been all abundantly, I mean solidly answered. To pretend to answer an argument, is one thing; to do it effectually, another. The former, in the present case, we allow. The latter perhaps wants proof: We have only his bare word for it; and as he seems to be an interested [Page 10]person, the public, and not he, will be presumed the pro­perest judge. But then, ‘these sophisms have been mus­tered up against the ancient episcopal government of the church.’ Had he said against the present government of the church of England, as explained by some of her zealous sons; the words would have read as well, and been more agreeable to truth. Every sect, almost, is apt to boast of its antiquity; and if bare assertions are admitted as proof, one has as good a claim to the honour as another: That the present government of the church of England, is episcopal, none will deny: But that it is very ancient, at least so ancient as some of its advocates pretend, is by many denied. As to myself, I am fully persuaded, that not­withstanding all its high pretences to antiquity; it is com­paritively a mere novel, upstart institution. So far from being the true ancient episcopacy, that prevailed in the apostles times, and the ages next following; that it is, in many respects, diametrically opposite to it and destructive of it. This, I presume, will appear in the following pages.

BUT after all, if we had attacked, even the church of England, without provocation, it was doubtless wrong. This is a charge commonly brought by our episcopalians. Notwithstanding the uncommon generosity, with which they are treated in this country, and the singular indul­gence of the state towards them, above what was ever shewn to dissenters, in any part of the christian world; they are often complaining of opposition and ill-usage. At least, if we will believe them, they never begin a contro­versy. They are forced into it, in their own defence. This gentleman tells us, ‘these opponents, (meaning, I suppose, Dr. Chauncy and I) have of late been mustering, &c. against the church, without any provocation. Mr. L. says, ‘I am fully persuaded, upon the strictest enquiry, it will be found, that there cannot be one single instance produced, for thirty years past, in which our clergy have begun the dispute."* And, "When the church of England is attacked, her elergy suppose they ought [Page 11]to defend it."* His book is therefore called a defence, &c. And this is the only reason that causes him to publish this defence. But is this representation honest? Are presbyterians such quarrelsome neighbours, as always to be attacking the church of England? and beginning the con­troversy with her, without provocation? Nothing less. The first piece wrote upon the controversy, in this conutry, was on the episcopal side. And the first in this colony, by one with whom, I presume, S. I. is intimately acquainted. What then can these gentlemen mean, by attacks upon the church of England? Had either the Dr. or I, denied her the essentials of a true church; had we disputed the vali­dity of her ministry;—pronounced a nullity upon her ad­ministrations; —ranked her clergy among the sons of Ke­rab, or her members with heathen Jews and infidels; or had we directly attempted to expose any of those many things, which are, at least, highly exceptionable in her doctrines, discipline, orders, and worship; they might, with more propriety sound the alarm, and cry, ‘an attack upon the church.’ Every one knows, how common these cants are, from a certain quarter. But is there any thing of this kind in the pieces Mr. L. pretends to an­swer? Certainly nothing. They bravely defend our mini­stry, from the exceptions of these zealous advocates for episcopacy, whose high-flying principles, lead them to anathematize all of our communion, and leave all the pro­testant world, but themselves, to the uncovenanted mercies of God. According to these gentlemen, it seems, there can be no defence of presbyterian principles, however mo­dest, without attacking the church of England. This is a great mistake. Let but the church of England, even in her present form, be put upon her original and true foot­ing; —let her rest upon the foundation, which the first re­formers, and all her moderate and catholic sons since, have fixed for her; I mean the civil authority of the King and parliament; and they never need sear being attacked by us. A defence of presbyterian ordination and government, will [Page 12]be no direct opposition to the church of England, in this view of it. Had there never been any higher claims for her, (and, to me, it is clear there never ought:) Had her sons in this country, contented themselves, with challeng­ing for her, the honour of being a valuable branch of the reformation, and of having the authority in England, en­gaged for her establishment and support there; I am con­fident, "the annual lecture in Cambridge," at which Mr. L. is so much nettled, never would have had a being; nor the pieces he pretends to answer, have seen the light.

BUT the grand secret, no doubt, is:—The cause of epis­copacy is to be pushed in America, at all events. And, upon trial, this, it seems, has been found the best expedi­ent—to unhinge and perplex the minds of ignorant peo­ple,—to fill their heads with airy notions of the absoluts necessity of episcopal ordination, prejudice them against their own ministers, as having no commission from Christ, no au­thority to perform the divine offices of religion, and boldly pronouncing nullity upon all their administrations. This is the general strain of all the pieces upon the controversy, that have been wrote in this country. If this was not Mr. L.'s design, he had no call to engage in the dispute. This, however, is no new art. All opposers of religion, have ever made their most successful attacks, thro' the sides of its clergy. Thus did Korah, Dathan and Abiram. They fell upon Moses and Aaron, and denied their authority, as officers in God's church. ‘Ye take too much upon you.’ The scribes and pharisees did the same in their opposition to christianity in its infancy. They ‘compassed sea and land to make proselytes,’ they attacked the divine author of the gospel, and boldly questioned his au­thority, as a public officer in the church. ‘By what au­thority dost thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? The apostle Paul met with the same treat­ment. The Judaizing teachers, (who, by the way, were notable sticklers for uninstituted rites and ceremonies in religion,) traduced his character, denied his ministerial au­thority, and in that way andeavoured to prejudice people's [Page 13]minds, and draw off a party to follow them. This laid him often, under the disagreeable necessity, of vindicating himself against such aspersions; as may be seen in his epis­tles. The grand topic of declamation of papists, against protestants, has ever been this. ‘You have thrown off the pope's authority, seperated from the catholic apostolic church; you have therefore no authentic ministry, no valid gospel administrations.’ The same clamor was raised in England, by the non-jurors, against the church of England, at the revolution. And most of us remember, how successful the same artifice has been, in the hands of our enthusiastic seperates of this country, in the late times.

But to return.

‘FOR ten years, says Mr. L. before this, the church of England and dissenters, lived in a peaceful state: But since they have published so many things against that church, it has a little disconcerted the design of our clergy.’ If the "design of their clergy" is to promote practical godliness, and make converts to Jesus Christ; I am at a loss to find any Thing in the books he speaks of, tending to disconcert it. But if their grand design is, to convert preshyterians to the doctrines of prelacy, and make proselytes to the church of England, I dont doubt but it has been a little, perhaps not a very little disconcerted, by the publications aforesaid.—He adds, ‘Who determine, as much as possible, to live peaceably with all men.’— Peace, without doubt, is a very desirable thing; but if truth must be the purchase of it, we beg to be excused. We should heartily rejoyce to find them, ever more disposed to a peaceful conduct, than at present they appear to be; and are not conscious of any thing on our side, to make them otherwise. But if their desigus are disconcerted, by opening peoples eyes to discover the truth; if their tempers are soured, and they become unsociable, and unpeaceful, by a bare detection of the weakness of their cause, and they are resolved not to live in peace, unless we will give up all pretences to the character of ministers and christians, and, right or wrong, come over to their party; we must plainly tell them, they hold their friendship too dear.

[Page 14] ‘THIS conduct of their ministers, says S. I. to his cli­ent, has made it necessary for us to write again, in de­fence of the church; and I am glad, and thank you, that you have undertaken this office, and so well acquit­ted yourself in the discharge of it.’ How well Mr. L. has acquitted himself in this office, must be left to the reader. However if all our arguments are but sophisms; especially if they ‘have been long ago abundantly answered over and over by others;’ 'tis no great purchase to do it again. But a smattering of logic will serve, to answer a sophism, and detect its fallacy. And if in the present case, this has been so often done before, some perhaps may be ready to doubt, whether Mr. L. has not acted the plagiary, and only published the works of others, in his own name. Besides, if all our sophisms have been so often, so abundantly answered before, what occasion was there for doing of it again? Not that I would detract from Mr. L.'s perfor­mance. It is really better than I expected from him; and, so far as he enters into the subject, as good, I imagine, as the cause will well admit. After all, I can hardly think he has done quite so much execution with it, as his friend sup­poses. According to him, all our arguments stand no more chance, before the formidable artillery of this mighty champion, than mere cobwebs or puffballs, before the mouth of a roaring cannon. ‘They instantly vanish into dust and smoke.’ But no wonder: Since whatever ‘plausible appearance they make, they are but mere cavils.’

‘THEIR chief appearance of strength, he adds, lies in the promiscuous use of the words, bishop and presbyter.’ This gentleman must allow me to tell him, he here labours under a great mistake. If he had read the pieces he makes so free with, he must have seen that, we argue the validity of presbyterian ordination, from the one general commis­sion to ministers in the gospel. As this commission be­longs to all Christ's ministers, we think they must be inti­tled to all the powers it contains; therefore to ordination which is one of these powers. We argue it, from all gos­pel [Page 15]ministers being successors to the apostles, in their or­dinary capacity, and so possessed of all the powers belong­ing to them, in that capacity, of which ordination is indu­bitably one.—We argue it, from there being but one kind, or order of ministers, to be found in the new testa­ment, —but one set of qualifications required,—one general work or business assigned,—and only one method of intro­duction into office, prescribed for them all. Finally, we produce, as we think, plain and express instances, from scripture, of ordination by presbyters, properly so called, which is more than our opponents have ever been able to do, for episcopal ordination, tho' often requested so to do.

'TIS true, ‘the promiscuous use of the words, bishop and presbyter in scripture’ is one of our arguments, and, we think, a good one. For if these names were ap­plied in common to all gospel ministers at that time; if every scripture presbyter was really a bishop then, we see no reason why it should be otherwise now. At least the instance he brings to convince us of our mistake; to con­vince us, that tho' bishop and presbyter were one office in the apostles times, yet they ought not to be so now; does not seem so happily chosen to prove the point, tho' it serves well enough, to shew how the alteration was introduced into the christian church, the motives leading to it, and the means used to accomplish it.

THE instance he produces is this.— ‘They might, says he, with just the same reason, argue and conclude, that Pompey and Augustus were of the same office, because they were both called imperatores; when all the world knows, that within 50 years, (as the case hath often been with other words,) a different set of ideas was annexed to that word, from what it meant 50 years before: Which was plainly the case, with the word, bishop, when the church came to be settled, &c’ The truth of the fact he mentions, as to the Roman state, I readily al­low. Nor will I dispute the propriety of the application. It has indeed, in this instance, (as he justly observes,) fared with the christian church, much as it did with the ancient [Page 16]Roman common-wealth. While Rome was free, and re­tained her happy republican form of government; the term, imperator, meant only an officer in the army, of equal authority with his brother officers of the same title. But when Julias Caesar, that grand usurper, not content with the original honours and powers of his office, as general; but fired with unbounded thirst of dominion, found means to destroy the ancient form of government, and enslave his country; then he appropriated the title to himself and suc­cessors, and so the word, imperator, in process of time, came to signify, one of supreme authority over all others, both in the army and state.

AND has it not happened, even so, with the word, bishop, in the christian church? Originally it signified, barely a minister of Christ, a standing officer in the church, only of equal power with the rest of his brethren in the ministry. But the church of Rome, in imitation of the state, have long since, destroyed the original parity, that first subsisted among the gospel-ministers, and, together with the power, appropriated the title of bishop, in its highest signification, to the pope, the grand usurper and enslaver of God's peo­ple, in spirituals, and made him lord paramount, over all the officers and members in the church of Christ. And pity it is, that any protestant church, should so far affect to ape and imitate them, as to adulterate the scriptural mean­ing of the word, bishop, to appropriate the title to a pre­tended superior order of officers in the church, as expres­sive of a lordly authority over their brethren in the mi­nistry, who were all originally upon a level, as to power; all true scripture-bishops. Is not this too much like sym­bolizing with the church of Rome, the mother of harlots and abominations? Is it not too lightly departing from the scripture patern, and treating with too much neglect, that solemn caution, given by the great head of the church, to his ministers, ‘be ye not called rabbi, master, lord; for one is your master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren.

LET the candid reader now judge, whether there is not some weight in this argument, drawn from the identity of [Page 17]"the names, pishop and presbyter in scripture" in support of presbyterian ordination, after all this gentleman has said to defeat it? Or whether it is, as he says, ‘a mere logo­machy, or strife about words, fixing modern ideas to old names?" Besides, who is it that has introduced this logomachy" "this strife about words?" Who, "that affix modern ideas to old names?" They, who have affixed’ to the name bishop, originally the same, by his own confession, with presbyter; the ‘modern additional ideas’ of superior authority, and a lordly dominion, o­ver his brother bishops and fellow presbyters? or we, who consider him, in the same state of equality with his brethren, in which the scripture has fixed him? They, who arrogate to him, the sole power of ordination and government? Or we, who, agreeable to scripture patern, leave these powers in common to all gospel ministers? If there is any adulte­ration, any perversion of words from their original signifi­cation, "or affixing modern ideas to old names," let those be answerable who have given the occasion.

NOTHING of consequence occurs in the remaining parts of this letter, but what we shall meet with in the piece it ac­companies, and which will be there considered. He indeed tells us "they maintain" the ancient government of the church was episcopal;" that Timothy was an instance of it at Ephesus, and the apocalyptic angel another, &c. &c. To which he finally adds, the testimony of the fathers, who, if we may believe him, were all upon their side of the ques­tion: And then says; ‘They, (the fathers) must have as well known the form, in which the apostles, under divine inspiration, established and left the church; as we now know how ours was, in Q. Elizabeth's time.’


IT is not true in fact, that these ancient fathers, had such perfect knowlege of the original institution of the church, or that their writings in this case are so certainly to be de­pended upon, as his argument supposes. If their writings are a sure guide for us in one case, they are in another. But 'tis well known these same fathers maintained the doctrine of [Page 18]the millennium, and practised giving the sacrament to in­fants; and moreover, declared that they received these things from the apostles themselves. This they assart as fully, as they do the doctrine this gentleman cites them to prove. And yet his church, and ail others, for many hundred years, reject the testimony of the fathers in the a­foresaid instances, as being repugnant to the word of God. But further, granting his assertion to be true, ‘that these writers knew as well what form of government prevailed in the apostles times, as we do, what was the establish­ment of the church of England in Q. Elizabeth's time;’ yet this will not prove that diocesan episcopacy is of di­vine right. This gentleman, and other zealots of his par­ty, assert, that episcopacy in England, at the time of the reformation, was settled upon the foot of divine institution. Others, not only presbyterians, but many eminent and learned episcopalians, affirm the contrary: They deny it has any pretence of divine right in its original establish­ment, but rests wholly upon the civil authority and acts of parliament, for its existence in its present form. Now both of these opinions can't be true. If then we can't, at this day, certainly know, upon what footing the church of En­gland stood in the reign of Q. Elizabeth; we certainly cannot know from the writings of these fathers, what was the apostolic institution of the church, even allowing that they knew it, as well as we do, what was established by Q. Elizabeth and her parliament: For, it seems, we are far from being agreed in that, and therefore don't certainly know it,—But what spoils the whole of this argument for episcopacy, is that it takes for granted a fact which is not true. ‘The fathers testify in favour of diocesan episco­pacy, therefore it is of divine institution.’ I deny the fact. It is so far from being true, that any of the fathers of the two first centuries, declare in favour of diocesan episcopa­cy, much less that this was the form of church government handed down to them from the apostles; that, on the con­trary, their writings unanimously exhibit to view a form, diametrically opposite to and absolutely destructive of, the [Page 19]present diocesan episcopacy, that prevails in the church of England. This I propose to prove in its proper place, to which I refer the reader.

HE goes on; "This was always my way of arguing." Answer. Some men are observed, to have a very odd and wrong-headed way of arguing, all their days. But barely its being their way, the way they have always been used to, will not prove it to be a good one, or serve to recommend it to those, who have been accustomed to a better way.

HE adds, ‘just in the same way do our dissenting neigh­bours, with us, very rightly argue the cause of infant bap­tism, and the first day sabbath; only they have not near so many clear, incontestible facts, either of scripture or antiquity, for them, as we have for episcopacy; so that they must either give up them, or embrace that, or be self-condemned, as inconsistent with themselves.’— I answer. There is, at least in our opinion, much better evi­dence, both from scripture and antiquity, in support of infant baptism, and the first day sabbath; then for dio­cesan episcopacy. But if there were not, there is this ma­terial difference between us and them. They, from scrip­ture and antiquity, are convinced, as they tell us, that diocesan episcopacy is of divine institution, and therefore practice it. But then they virtually exclude all other chris­tians, from the benefits of the gospel, by denying the autho­rity of their clergy, and the validity of their administrati­ons, and leaving them in the deplorable state of heathen and infidels.—We, on the other hand, from the same testi­monies, believe infant baptism, and the first day sabbath. We accordingly practice them. But then, ‘we have not so learned Christ,’ as to think it our duty, either by our principles or practice, to unchurch and unchristianize all who differ from us in these points: But, if they are other­wise qualified, cheerfully admit their ministers into our pulpits, and their members to communion, in gospel ordi­nances. We are content to enjoy our principles, without taking upon us to damn all who differ from us. Upon the whole then, we don't find ourselves greatly embarrassed with [Page 20]this powerful dilemma, in which he means to entangle us, in order to draw us over to the church. We really think, notwithstanding all he has said, we may safely retain our old principles and practice, without incurring the character of self-inconsistency, in the judgment of the impartial, or seeling the reproaches of self-condemnation in our own consciences.

HIS letter concludes with these words.— ‘Let us then faithfully adhere to the doctrine, government, and li­turgy OF THE MOST EXCELLENT CHURCH OF EN­GLAND, WHICH CERTAINLY ARE, AND HAVE BEEN PROVED TO BE, THE MOST SCRIPTURAL, OF ANY NOW IN THE WORLD.’ A high encomium! and if just, abundantly sufficient to recommend his beloved e­piscopacy to the good graces of all mankind. Let him only favour us with sufficient proof of his assertion, and we will, at once, quit our present way, and all in a body be­come cordial proselytes, to his most excellent, truly apos­tolic, and best constituted church in the world. Till then, he must allow us a little to hesitate,—to consider who this pompous character comes from. Possibly it may be just. Of this, however, he has given us no proof but his bare word.—Perhaps he may have observed, that it is no new thing for men to cry; ‘The temple of the Lord, are tem­ple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, are these’ All men are apt to like their own principles best, and en­tertain a partial fondness for their own way. And for aught I can see,—the cry, of ‘THE MOST EXCELLENT CHURCH, THE MOST SCRIPTURAL, PURE, PRIMITIVE DOC­TRINE, GOVERNMENT AND LITURGY OF ANY IN THE WORLD,’ are words, that sound as smooth and harmo­niously in the ear, and offer full as much conviction to the understanding of an impartial judge, from the mouth of any other enthusiastic sectary, as from that of an episcopal dissenter in New-England. I now take leave of the pa­tron in order to pay my devoirs to his client.

[Page 21]

SECT. II. Containing some incidental remarks, upon sundry scattered pas­sages in Mr. L.'s book, not so immediately connected with the main point.

MR. L. charges me with a mistake, in calling Mark an apostle* My words are, ‘Thus Matthew Mark and John, are all called evangelists, tho' at the same time they sustained the character of apostles.’ How I came to make the mistake of calling Mark an apostle, I know not, unless through inadvertency; as knowing it no ways affected the argument, whether he in particular bore that character or no. A mistake however, I confess it was, and thank him for pointing it out. I shall now do him the same friendly office, in pointing out a few of his; some of which greatly affect the subject he is upon. The first I shall notice is a general one that runs thro' his piece, as well as the letter prefixed to it; I mean, his calling those of our communion in this country, dissenters. 'Tis pity, I think, these gentlemen don't consider where they live, be­fore they give themselves such airs. Not that I ima­gine there is any thing reproachful in the name, when pro­perly applied, tho' doubtless this is their meaning. Dis­senter is one, who differs from the established religion of the country where he lives. I must therefore inform him, if he don't know it, that the term is merely topical. That in England, for instance, the same person who is a member of the established church there, consequently no dissenter; let him but only pass the Tweed into Scotland, or cross the Atlantie, and fix in New-England, and he commences a very dissenter as any in Christendom. The reason is, in the former country, the episcopal persuasion, in the latter, the presbyterian or congregationl, is the religion by law esta­blished. This mistake, I do not pretend greatly effects the point in dispute. It may tend however to give people's minds a wrong bias. At least it is always best to call [Page 22]things by their proper names. And as Mr. L. as well as I, is a young writer, it may be a kindness to him just to be reminded, that however weak and deficient his arguments are, his readers will at least expect of him propriety in point of diction.

IN page 37, he is chargable with another mistake, and that too expressed in a manner, hardly consistent with the character of a polite gentleman, upon which, 'tis said, he pretty much values himself.—What I intend is, his charg­ing me with downright falsehood and dishonesty for a cer­tain passage in my book. His words are ‘Mr. Welles, in p. 27, has these remarkable words. By bishops, they, (the church) mean, I hope, true scripture bishops, not merely creatures of the state, of human institution.’ On which he very genteely remarks. ‘I must be so free as to tell him, he did not hope any such think, for he knew the contrary to be true.’ What he could find in these harmless expressions to awaken his ire, (for he certainly was angry,) or what induced him to cite them, and pass such illiberal and injurious reflections upon them; I con­fels myself utterly at a loss to determine. Was it that he thought they carried in them an insinuation, that their church was really a creature of the state, in its present form, and not of divine institution? No such thing was expressed. But if there had, he ought to know that this is the opinion, not only of presbyterians; but of many great and learned writers in his own church; I may say, of the generality of the reformers, and all the more moderate episcopalians ever since Or does he thing there is a contradiction between [Page 23]this sentence, and the other he pretends to quote from p. 50 of my sermon? The words I there use (for he has not quoted them right) are these, ‘Another argument made use of, &c.—is, that the New-testament has actually ap­pointed three distinct orders in the gospel ministry, viz. that of bishops, &c.’ Now let the candid reader com­pare these two sentences, and see if there be any contradic­tion: Or any thing that could provoke him to treat me so rudely. In one I say, episcopalians argue their three or­ders from scripture. In the other I express my hope that ‘by one of those orders, bishops, they mean scripture bi­shops.’ In the former, I assert what they declare their belief in this case to be. In the latter, I express my cha­ritable hope of their honesty in such declaration. These were the hopes, the only hopes, I mentioned. But Mr. L. very politely replies, "I must be so free as to tell him he never hoped any such thing. In some cases, I would be far [Page 24]from calling his knowledge in question. But how he could know my heart; how he could certainly tell, what I did, or did not hope, is beyond me to conceive. But he tells me, not only that I did not "hope so"; but that ‘I knew the contrary, to be true.’ Now if I knew the contrary to be true, it must be because it was true: Otherwise, it is utterly impossible I could know it to be true. But what, I ask, is this contrary, which he says, I know to be true? Plainly this, ‘that by bishops, episcopalians do not mean true scripture bishops.’ This, and nothing else, stands op­posed, to what I declared was the matter of my hope. All therefore I am able to make of this remarkable sentence, is this. I had said, ‘I hoped, by bishops, episcopalians mean true scripture bishops.’ Mr. L. denies they mean any such thing. I had declared, that when they talked so much about the divine right of episcopacy, I was charitably in­clined to think they were honest. But this gentleman plainly tells me it is no such thing. Since therfore he must be supposed to know best, and will needs have it so; I will grant I was mistaken, as to him in particular; tho's as to others of his party, he must allow me to entertain the same charitable opinion still; at least till they give me the same reason to alter it, as he has done in his case. If this is not his meaning in these remarkable words of his; 'tis indeed difficult to say, what his meaning is. They seem to have no meaning at all; and therefore (to use another of his courtly phrases) ‘they might have been left out, and his defence would have been as good as it is now’

Mr. L. seems to be displeased with the length of my ser­mon. In pag. 30 he has these words. ‘Tho' he (Mr. Welles) fleers about our preaching deacons; yet I be­lieve it is really true that Stephen preached as good a sermon as Mr. Welles's divine right, &c. tho' it was not so long.’ I have examined the passage, to which he refers in this remark, but can find nothing that looks like a fleer there. After giving an account of the institution of deacons, Acts 6. beginning, and answering the arguments they bring for their preaching; I have these words, ‘Since [Page 25]therefore it plainly appears, that these deacons, were in no sense, gospel ministers, but expressly appointed and set apart to quite another service; it undeniably follows that no order in the christian ministry can be founded upon this instance; and consequently, that their pre­tended order of preaching deacons, has no warrant— from the word of God.’ Now what is there in these words, that looks like a fleer? It is true, I denied that preaching was any part of the scripture deacon's office; and if after I had proved it was not, I called it, a pretended order, &c. I can see nothing criminal in it, nothing that looks like fleering. The order of preaching deacons in the church of England, is either a real and scriptural, or a pretended and unscriptural one. The former he knows we deny. He knows it was the very thing I was then disproving; and if, when I had, as I thought, sufficiently disproved it, I called it a pretended order, I can see no reason he had to be offended. I hope he would not have me call it a real scrip­tural order of the ministry, when I did not believe it to be so, and had proved it not to be so.—But ‘he believes it is really true, that Stephen preached as good a sermon as mine, tho' it was not so long.’ Possibly he does; tho' why he believes it, he has not told us. Sure I am, the scripture, to which he so often appeals, furnishes no evi­dence of it. That indeed gives a lengthy account of this protomartyr, but says not a word about his preaching as I can find. 'Tis true it speaks of his disputing; but then Mr. L. I presume, will not pretend that all disputing is preaching. He has disputed against my sermon; but he has not publicly told us, he ever preached against it, tho' others say he did at sundry places and times. Whether his ser­mon, upon these occasions, was longer or shorter, whether it was better or worse than mine, as it is of little importance, I am not anxious to know. Be that as it will, I do not see what great reason he had tò complain of the length of my sermon; since long as it is, it has given him so little trou­ble. For all professedly attempts to answer of it, is only my first argument, which being comprised in little more [Page 26]than two pages, could not, one would think, give him any great pain. Whether, it was the length, or the strength of the other arguments, that discouraged him from meddling with them; as he has not seen fit to tell us, every one must be left to conjecture for himself.

THE pieces Mr. L. attempts to answer, had occasionally mentioned "the right of people to choose their ministers." This he has repeatedly remarked upon, tho' not directly connected with the main point; while sundry arguments that were, are passed by unnoticed. What could be his motive for this, is difficult to guess. Perhaps he thought, so long as people were left to claim and prize this invalua­ble priviledge; all he could say upon his divine-right and best-constituted-church, would be insufficient to draw them away from a communion, where this priviledge is enjoyed, to one where it it utterly denied. He attacks Dr. Chauncy upon this head, and spends near two pages in endeavouring to disprove it; and, as if that was too little, he falls upon it again in his remarks upon me. He demands of the Dr. ‘Where we find in scripture, this to be declared a part of christian liberty.’ &c. I presume, scripture pattern will satisfy for proof of this point, since it is all they pretend to bring for episcopacy, and much more than they are able to produce. And of this kind of proof there is plenty in scripture. From the gospel history it appears, that this was the universal practice in the apostles times. When the vacancy made in the breach of apostles, by the death of Judas, was to present, was taken in the case; so that when Matthias was appointed, he is said to be ‘numbered with the apostles, by the common vote or suffrage, as it is in the original.* This is a plain matter of fact: And this solemn transaction in the beginning of christianity, is a standing pattern for the church in all succeeding ages.

I mentioned in my sermon, the instance of the seven deacons, who are expressly said, "to be chosen" by the church, by the whole multitude Was it thought necessary, that the vote of the church should be taken, in the choice [Page 27]of officers, whose business was only to serve tables; how much more, in the more important office, of ministers of the word and sacraments? As a further proof of this right, I observed in my sermon, that this was the manner, in which the elders, ordained by Paul and Barnabas were in­troduced: By the vote or suffrage of the people, as it is in the original.*

THESE now are so many scripture examples, of the ex­ercise of this right, by the primitive christians. Hence it undeniably follows, that this originally belonged to the people; consequently, to go about to rob them of it, is unscriptural and tyrannical. Dr. Chauncy mentioned a number of proofs from the fathers, in support of this right; and that even after the distinction between bishops and presbyters took place. To these, many more might easily be added, from the same quarter. I shall subjoin one from Cyprian bishop of Carthage who flourished A. D. 250. ‘The people, says he, have the chief power of choosing worthy ministers, and refusing the unworthy.’ He adds, ‘That it must be received as a divine tradition, and an apostolic observation." The ingenious author of the enquiry into the constitution, &c. of the primitive church, supposed to be Sr. Peter King, afterwards lord chancellor, abundantly proves, from numerous testimonies, that this was the universal practice of the primitive church, for people to choose their own ministers. And indeed, the contrary practice, is so repugnant to reason, to all no­tions of liberty, and the universal custom in all other cases; that, one would think, nothing but the highest degree of prejudice, could reconcile people to it. Do not we esteem it a priviledge to choose our civil rulers? and look upon the people, as in a degree of slavery, who are utterly de­prived [Page 28]of it? Would we submit, to have others choose for us, a lawyer to defend our property, or a physician to take care of our health? and oblige us to improve these and no other? Certainly no. But if we are so tenacious of our natural rights, where our temporal interest, and bodily health only, are concerned; how much more ought we to be, in things that relate to the health of our souls, our fu­ture and eternal interest? Surely as much more, as the lat­ter exceeds the former in point of importance. No wonder then Mr. L. considered the want of this, a very important objection against his favorite church; and tho' somewhat beside his subject, set himself so zealously to remove it. How far he has succeeded, I leave to the reader. But if he is not able, wholly, to vindicate his own church in this re­spect, he seems to think it some excuse that others, and ours in particular, is in the same state. This seems to be his meaning in these words. ‘I believe if the matter be care­fully examined, it will be found, that the right of the New-England churches, to choose their ministers, is founded, not upon scripture, but upon the law of the province, which declares who shall be the patrons, in each parish to choose their ministers. As far as I have been able to understand this matter, the law of the province constitutes the heads of the families to choose, &c.*

HOW far Mr. L. ‘has been able to understand this mat­ter,’ he must know best. The defect of his understand­ing, it is not in my power to help. Whether it was for want of understanding or will, certain, I am, the account he gives of this affair is not true. According to the law of this colony, (and I suppose the case is much the same in the rest of New-England, where there is an ecclesiastical esta­blishment) the right of choosing a minister, is declared to be, not in the heads of families exclusively; but in them and the members of the church, whether heads of families or not. Besides, this right is not founded, as he supposes, in the law of the colony, any more than the obligation of any divine law, adopted by the civil magistrate. The obli­gation in one case, and the right in the other, is founded in [Page 29]scripture. The civil law only recognizes the right, and protects people in the enjoyment and exercise of it. And all men acquainted with our ecclesiastical constitution, know that we are so far from having any thing to do, with what he calls "patrons, in each parish, to choose the minister;" that most people know nothing of the term, or what it sig­nifies, and I hope, by experience, never may. The com­municants, and all others of our people, who vote in socie­ty-meetings for other purposes, have all free liberty to vote in the choice of a minister. And that they may act with discretion in this important affair; they have opportunity to make trial of the candidate while he is upon probation. Was it then honest in Mr. L. to say, ‘In the same way so­cieties, corporations and particular persons, become pa­trons in the church of England?’ In that church, patrons, clerical or secular, choose the ministers for the people. In ours, he is chosen by the church and people themselves In the former the bishop, or some lay patron, who perhaps never saw the candidate, and is never to sit under his mini­stry, has the sole power of electing. In the latter, he is elected by the votes of those who have made trial of him, are to maintain him, and attend upon his administrations. In our method, the law acknowledges the natural and scrip­tural right of the people in this important affair, and pro­tects them in the enjoyment of it. But in theirs, in defiance of both, their minister is obtruded upon them without their consent. If therefore, in this view of the case, ‘that good gentleman," (as Mr. L. calls the Dr.) should really think their church, somewhat culpable in the matter of patrons; few people, I presume, "would greatly wonder at it," save he and those of his party; and if, as he says, ‘their church appears to him to stand clear of all blame in that matter;’ it must be owing, I think, to prejudice and partiality in a very high degree.

I FIND but one thing more, in Mr. L.'s book, proper for this section. And that is, the uncommon advertisement tacked to the end of it. I have read it over sundry times, but can't be certain I have hit upon his meaning after all. [Page 30]He talks much about consequences; cautions his answerer against "falling upon consequences," and declares that ‘he has no concern with consequences. What he intends by them, is difficult to say. A consequence in logic, is an essen­tial part of every good argument. But he can't mean this by his consequences: For whatever they be, he places them in opposition to arguments, for want of which, in confuting his book, they are supposed to be "fallen upon." And yet this or something like it, must be his meaning too; for he warns his antagonist against "flying from the subject, or what he has advanced in "his book" and ‘falling upon the consequences. But if this be his meaning, he need give himself no trouble in the case, provided he has only been careful, "to advance" nothing but truth: For truth is ever consistent with itself; and nothing but truth will follow from it, or be the consequence of it, and this can do him no hurt. But if he has not: If he has advanced things in his book, that are not true, or espoused principles that cannot be supported by scripture or reason, he must be ac­countable for the consequences, whether he will or no. If, for instance, he has advanced a scheme of church govern­ment, which takes the power of discipline out of the hands of her proper pastors, and so robs her of this useful part of Christ's institution: If, according to his principles, the e­piscopal churches in America, cannot be said to have the least shadow of discipline: If it necessarily follows from his positions, that it is better to be a papist than a presby­terian, and an ordination received in the church of Rome, "the mother of harlots" is lawful and valid, while one received in the truly protestant church of Scotland or Ge­neva, is ipso facto nul and void:* If upon his scheme, all [Page 31]the protestant world, except his own church, are utterly destitute of any valid gospel administrations, and in no better state than heathen and infidels, because they lack episcopal ordination: Or lastly, if he should be told, that upon his principles, both he, and probably the greatest part of episcopalians in this country, are in the same deplorable circumstances; having never received any baptism, but what was administred by the unauthorized hands of those, who lack episcopal ordination, and therefore, upon his principles, can have no power to baptize, consequently, that he, and the greatest part of his brother-missionaries in these parts, are so far from being the only authorized re­gular ministers among us, that they are not even visible christians, and therefore, not only, have no right to admi­nister gospel ordinances to others, but are actually unin­titled to them themselves:—If any, or all these things should happen to be urged against him, perhaps he will call it "a flying from the subject, and falling upon conse­quences." And in answer, gravely tell us, ‘he has no concern with consequences. But whatever he thinks, im­partial judges, 'tis presumed, will think, that genuine con­sequences, may properly be urged in a dispute, without be­ing chargeable with "flying from the subject for want of argument; and that the advocates of such principles, from whence such consequences flow, ought to be "concerned" a­bout them, whether they be or no. No man should advance any principles, but what are true. From such, no conse­quences will follow but what are true, and consequently good: Good in themselves, and agreeable to every doc­trine and duty of scripture, which is infallible truth. If therefore men and, their principles are productive of con­sequences, in their own nature, bad; repugnant to the laws of charity and the great doctrines and duties of the gospel; they cannot think to excuse themselves to the world, by [Page 32]saying "they have no concern with consequences. They ought to be "concerned about them," and manifest this concern to the world, by renouncing and abjuring such principles, as corrupt and detestable, from which such un­charitable and damnatory consequences follow.

SECT. III. Animadversions upon Mr. L.'s preliminary remarks to page 10.

I FULLY agree with our author; ‘That it nearly con­cerns us to know who are the lawful ministers in Christ's kingdom.’ And am well pleased with the me­thod he has proposed to decide this point, viz. ‘by an appeal to scripture and reason.’

IN the mean time, let us attend to the observations he thinks proper to make, previous to his entering upon this decision. His first observation is this. ‘The whole body of dissenters, (presbyterians he means) affirm, that bishop and presbyter, in scripture, signify the same office: Yet they say, no instance is to be found there of an ordina­tion, by any person under the name bishop: And if a presbyter is the same office, then there is none by a pres­byter.’ But now, who does not see the fallacy of this argument? He allows, with us, that bishop and presbyter, in scripture, signify the same office; that ministers were promiscuously called by both these names, in gospel times. But then he holds, that the business of ordination, &c. ought not to lie in common, to all gospel ministers; but to be confined to a particular order, which in their church, are called bishops. We, on the contrary affirm, that as bishop and presbyter, in scripture, signify the same office; the power of ordination belongs in common to all ministers, and therefore ought not to be confined to some few, under the title of bishops. To prove this, we observe, that tho' we have sundry accounts of ordination, in scripture, per­formed by ministers, yet there is no single instance of one so performed by them, under the name bishop, and yet to [Page 33]this, episcopalians appropriate the whole power of ordina­tion. But Mr. L. says, if this be true, that there is no ac­count in scripture of an ordination performed by any per­son under the name bishop, then it will follow,—What? Why "that there is none by a presbyter," that is, no in­stance of one performed by a presbyter. But does it at all follow, that because the scripture mentions no ordination as performed by ministers under their one title of bishops, therefore there is no instance to be found there of their or­daining under their other title, that of presbyters? Or thus, because the scripture never calls ministers by one of their common names, i. e. bishops, when acting in ordina­tion; is it a necessary consequence that it never calls them by their other common name, presbyters, when acting in that business? Is it not possible that the same office in scrip­ture, may be commonly denominated and known by either of the names, bishop or presbyter indifferently, and yet only one of these names, constantly used and applied to him, when acting in the business of ordination? But now this is what his argument proves, or else it proves nothing. The truth is, he has, either ignorantly or designedly, alter­ed the terms in his syllogism, so that his conclusion contains more in it than his premises, which all logicians call, false reasoning. His argument reduced to mode and figure, runs thus, ‘Bishop and presbyter in scripture signify the same office. No instance is to be found there of ordina­tion by any person under the name of bishop’ This is his major and minor proposition. His conclusion is,— ‘Therefore there is no instance of an ordination perform­ed by a presbyter.’ Whereas, had he kept to the terms in his minor proposition, his conclusion must have been, "Therefore there is no instance of an ordination performed "by any person under the name presbyter. Had he done this, his readers would at once have seen the weakness and fal­lacy of his argument.

IN England. bishop, and lord-spiritual are synonimous terms. Now should I undertake to prove, that there is no account in the english history, of an ordination performed [Page 34]by a bishop, and in order to it, make use of this argument. —Bishop and lord-spiritual signify the same office: But there is no account in history, of an ordination performed by any person under the title of lord-spiritual; therefore there is no account of one performed by a bishop; and from hence should infer, the invalidity of episcopal ordina­tion; Mr. L. I presume, would hardly allow the argu­ment to be good. And yet it is the same he has used in this case, and full as conclusive. However, weak as it is, it seems it wrought full conviction in his mind: For he tells us ‘he is fully persuaded, at that time in which the scriptures were wrote, none had power to ordain mini­sters in Christ's kingdom, but those only, who in scrip­ture, are called apostles. * But then what becomes of bi­shop Timothy? Mr. L. has spent a considerable part of his book in attempting to prove, the divine right of episco­pacy, from the instance of Timothy bishop of Ephesus. Yea it is the most plausible argument, and indeed the only thing in his piece that deserves the name of an argument. But if ‘none had power to ordain ministers in Christ's kingdom, but those only, who are in scripture called a­postles, Timothy certainly had no power to ordain, for he is never once called an apostle in the whole scripture, as I shall have occasion more particularly to shew anon: Con­sequently all pretence to support his scheme from this ar­gument is to no purpose. Tho' therefore I might now fairly dismiss the controversy, as decided in our favour by his own confession; Yet not to take advantage of this in­consistency of his, I shall consider the argument when I come to it. In the mean time I intirely agree with him in what follows in this paragraph: "That the bishops in the church of England, do not answer, to those that are promiscuously called, either bishops or presbyters ‘in scrip­ture.’ I add, neither do they, to any order instituted in scripture. Diocesan bishops, such as obtain in that church, are so far from being of divine institution, that they are doubtless mere creatures of the state, what the gospel knows nothing of,

[Page 35] AND so I am ready to attend upon his next observation, which is this, ‘That dissenters (presbyterians he should have said) are not agreed among themselves about the orders of the ministry,—some holding to one order, others to two, and others again to three, &c.’ * But what then? shall we mend the matter, in point of unity, or in the least better ourselves, by going over to the church of England? By no means. Episcopalians are really as much divided in sentiment in this respect, as those he calls dissenters. Thus some of them absolutely deny that any particular form of government or order, is established in scripture, but the whole is left to the civil magistrate. Others agian think, with us, that there are only two standing orders of officers, bishops or presbyters, and deacons, to be found there. This has always been the opinion of the more moderate e­piscopalians in England; and therefore tho' they conform to the church of England, they do it, not as being of divine institution, but as established by the king and parliament. And others, with Mr. L. and his flighty brethren, assert the three orders of bishops, priests and deacons, as of divine appointment: These plead the absolute necessity of episco­pal ordination, and reject all the protestant world who are without it. I might add, that there have been other advo­cates for prelacy, who have pleaded, with equal zeal, for the several orders of acolyths, lectors, subdeacons, archdeacons, chiroepiscopi, archbishops, patriarchs, and the Roman hi­erarchicks, [Page 36]for the pope, as Peter's successor, at the head of all.— ‘We may see then, (to use his own phrase) the question under debate, cannot be decided by these men; for they are not agreed among themselves.’

BUT how does he prove "that dissenters are not agreed" in this point? Why he tells us, ‘some never ordain their deacons," and these of course "hold, that Christ has ap­pointed but one order, presbyters.’ But how does this follow? He himself supposes the bishop is a different or­der in their church, and appointed by Christ. And yet, as far as I can learn, he has properly no new ordination when appointed bishop, but only what they call a consecration to the episcopal office. Tho' therefore some of our churches suppose, that since the civil magistrate now takes care of the poor, which, in times of persecution, was the deacon's bu­siness, there is no necessity of a formal ordination to that office; it will by no means infer a denial of his being an officer in the church, of divine appointment. We all, I presume, are agreed that the deacon is an officer of divine appointment, (tho' not instituted by Christ, as Mr. L has it, but by his apostles:) and that, whether we ordain him or not. He was therefore quite mistaken in affirming, that we hold to but one order of officers as of divine appoint­ment.

BUT then if some dissenters hold to but one, and others to two, there are others again, he tells us, ‘that hold to three orders of ministers in the kingdom of Christ.’ And for this he quotes Mr. Calvin. But how came Cal­vin, pray, to be a dissenter? He was indeed a dissenter from the church of Rome: And (I hope) so is Mr. L. too. But from the church of England he never was a dissenter, for he never belonged to it. Our episcopalians, indeed, warmly contended, in years past, that the church of England establishment extends to America, and consequently that all who refuse to conform to it, are dissenters. But the highest sticklers for uniformity among them, never, that I know of, pretended to carry the claim to Geneva, before Mr. L. It seems his head is so turned against dissenters, [Page 37]since he has renounced our communion, and become a pre­latest, that he is ready to fasten the approbrious character, upon every one, who happens to differ from him. Besides, according to him, Calvin was no dissenter; for he held to the three orders of "bishops, presbyters, and deacons." I have examined the place in Calvin's institutions, from whence Mr. L. pretends to make his quotation, and boldly affirm there are no such words there. The sentence truly quoted, is this, ‘As we have declared that there are three sorts of ministers commended unto us in scripture; so all the ministers that the old church had, is divided into three orders.’ Then follows; not bishops, presbyters and deacons, as added by our author: But these words; For out of the order of elders, were partly chosen pastors and teachers; the rest of them had the rule of judgment, and correction of manners. To the deacons was committed the care of the poor, and the distributing the alms.’ * This plainly shews what Calvin's judgment was: That be­sides pastors and deacons, there was the office of ruling el­ders, as practised in the church of Scotland. But now what is this to "bishops, presbyters and deacons," as quoted by Mr. L.? This is not the only time, he has used the free­dom with the authors he pretends to quote, of making them speak what they never intended.

BUT he tells us, ‘In scripture we find mention made of apostles, presbyters, and deacons, and why they should be so carefully distinguished when ever they are mentioned in scripture, if there was not a subordination in their of­fice, seems very strange.’ —Answer. Barely these names being mentioned, or even distinguished in scripture, will not prove, that they mean different orders in the church, of standing continuance. If so, we shall find, not only three, but five orders in scripture. There we are told, ‘that when Christ ascended, he gave, not only apostles and prophets and evangelists, but also pastors and teach­ers.’ Here are five different names of church-officers mentioned and these as particularly and carefully distinguish­ed, as those he has mentioned: And if to these we add, [Page 38]presbyters and deacons, two of the number mentioned by him, and which are not included in the above five; we shall, instead of three, have no less than seven different or­ders, all as particularly mentioned and as carefully distinguish­ed as those three mentioned by him.

HOWEVER, that there is mention made, in scripture, of apostles, presbyters and deacons, is readily granted. 'Tis further conceded, that presbyters and deacons, signify two distinct offices in the church. Finally, it is allowed, that apostles are superior to them both. But then they are so, only considered in their extraordinary character, as apostles, in which, as I shall shew more fully hereafter, they have no successors, and so all that remain are only the presbyters and deacons, about which there is no dispute.

HE goes on.—‘Let it be carefully remarked, that those who were commissioned to send others, were called apos­tles, in the time when the new-testament was penned.’ * But then what becomes of Timothy and Titus again? His main argument for the bishop's sole power of ordination, depends upon Timothy and Titus, being the bishops at Ephesus and Crete. But as they are never called apostles in scripture; it must unavoidably follow, either, that they never were bishops, and so his main argument for episcopa­cy is demolished: Or if they were, then what he here so often affirms, is not true.

‘THE word bishop, he tells us, being used to express the apostolic office, no more altered the office, than the word, christian, altered the profession of believers. Grant­ed. But then there is this material difference in the two cases: The latter was done in the apostles times: The for­mer, by his own confession in times posterior. The name, believer, was changed into that of christian, by divine inspi­ration. Whereas no such heavenly warrant is pretended for changing the name apostle, into bishop. If he will but just reconcile this material difference; I will allow the two cases to be parrallel. Till then, he must excuse me, if I think his comparison nothing to his purpose.

BUT he goes on to tells us, in his margin, from Eusebius [Page 39]and Theodoret, that bishops are the apostles successors — I answer. If he only means that they are successors to them, in their ordinary capacity, as gospel ministers, we have no dispute with him, upon that head. In that sense, we main­tain that all gospel ministers are successors to the apostles, as I largely shewed in my sermon. But if he means, that they succeed the apostles, in their extraordinary capacity; let him produce for them the extraordinary credentials of miracles, &c. on which the apostolic character, as such, was founded, and we will submit. Otherwise this claim of suc­cession, is but mere pretence.—Besides, ecclesiastical wri­ters, as expressly call presbyters, the apostles successors, as bishops * Whatever therefore is argued, from such successi­on, in favour of the power of the latter, follows with equal force as to the former.

SECT. IV. Dr. Chauncy's sermon vindicated from the exceptions contained in the "defence of episcopacy,"—from p. 11. to 24.

BEFORE I enter upon a vindication of the Dr's sermon, from the exceptions of another, it concerns me to do him justice, in one particular, in which I have, inadver­tently, misrepresented him myself.

IN page 67 of my sermon, I had these words; ‘And altho' the above learned writer, (meaning the Dr.) ex­cepts Ignatius out of the number of the primitive writers in his account, and owns, that the epistles ascribed to him, speak very fully in favour of diocesan episcopacy, &c.

WHEN I wrote this sentence, I had my mind upon what the Dr. says, in p. 71 of his sermon: But upon reviewing the passage, I find, I mistook his meaning. His words are, not ‘that those epistles speak very fully in favour of dio­cesan episcopacy:" But "that they do, as certainly, as [Page 40]strongly, and as constantly, distinguish bishops from pres­byters, as any of the writings of the third and fourth centuries.’ Now all that the Dr. asserts is, that these epistles point out a distinction of order between bishop and pres­byter: And upon reading what Mr. Boyse has wrote, in his "clear account of the ancient episcopacy," in which he has every thing contained in these epistles, relative to the subject; I am fully convinced, that the bishop described in these epistles, even in the present state of them, is very different from the diocesan bishop. The Ignatian bishop, was merely a parochial one, having no more than a single congregation for his charge, with presbyters under him: Whereas the diocesan one, has many scores or hundreds of such congregations in his cure. The interpolations and adulterations in these epistles, were doubtless made, before the bishops power was inlarged, so as to comprehend a num­ber of parishes in his diocess.—Having thus corrected my own mistake; I proceed to perform the same friendly office as to Mr. L.

AS a direct proof of ordination by presbyters, the Dr. had mentioned, the instance of Saul and Barnabas being seperated to the work of the ministry, by certain prophets and teachers, as recorded, Acts XIII. beginning. As this is so very express and circumstantial an account, of a sepa­ration to the work of the ministry; as all the solemn acti­ons, contained in ordination, are here so particularly men­tioned; and as this is said to be done, not by apostles or bishops, but by the ordinary pastors of the church, here called prophets and teachers; Mr. L. seems to be at a loss what reply to make to it. He, at first, seems to be doubt­ful as to the nature of this action; at a loss what name to give it. "If, says he, this was an ordination:"—‘If this was a real ordination, then,’ &c. Finally, he denies it to be an ordination. ‘Whatever is meant, says he, by this designation, it was not an ordination.’ ‘In truth this was not an ordination.’ * He found himself so pres­sed with this instance, that he had no way to get rid of the argument, but by flatly denying it to be an ordination. [Page 41]And indeed, this was the only course he could take to sup­port his scheme. For if this be once granted to be a real ordination, the indisputable right of presbyters, to act in this business, is firmly established, and all pretences of con­fining of it to a superior order, must be given up. I shall therefore offer a few observations, to prove that this was, in fact, an ordination; and then make some remarks upon Mr. L.'s objections against its being considered as such.

NOW by ordination, I conclude, is meant, a solemn se­peration, or setting a part to an office in the church, by such as have authority to do it, and that, in the use of those rites or actions, the scripture has appointed in this case. The scripture rites of ordination, are fasting, prayer, and the imposition of hands. In this way the seven deacons were introduced into office,* which Mr. L. owns to be an ordi­nation. In the same way Timothy was ordained And in the same way he is directed to ordain others. And this has been the general method of introducing men into the ministry, in all subsequent ages. But now, all these things concurred in the instance under consideration. The per­sons acting in it, were church officers of Antioch, prophets and teachers. What they undertook to do was to sepe­rate Saul and Barnabas to the work of the ministry, a­mong the gentiles.’ This was done by the direction of the holy Ghost; ‘seperate me Barnabas and Saul to the work whereunto I have called them;’ that is, to the work of the ministry, especially among the gentiles, ‘to whom they were now sent.’ The thing therefore to be done, beyond dispute, was to seperate these two men to the work of the gospel ministry. How this was done, the ac­count inform, us; ‘For when they had fasted 'and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.’ As every action, every circumstance pertaining to an ordi­nation, is here so very particularly and expressly found; if, after all, this was not an ordination, I dispair of ever finding one, in scripture of any where else. And what still further confirms the matter, if it needs further confir­mation, is, that if I am not much mistaken, the apostle Paul [Page 42]himself acknowledges it to be so. In his inscription of his epistle to the Romans, chap. 1. v. 1. he has these words, ‘Paul a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, seperated to the gospel of God.’ He here evidently de­signs to give himself, his true and proper character, of an apostle, and minister of Jesus Christ. He therefore parti­cularly mentions, both his call to the apostleship, and his seperation to the gospel ministry. By the former, he most likely means, that immediate call from heaven, of which in Acts ix. Then it was he was called to be an apostle. But we find nothing in scripture answering to this other part of his character, viz. his seperation to the gospel of God, unless it was this seperation we are now considering. And it is worthy of remark, the word in both places is the same, both in the original, and also in our translation. In Acts 13th, ‘The holy Ghost said, APHORISATE, seperate me Barnabas & Saul to the work whereunto I have called them. In Rom. 1.1. The apostle says he ‘was, APHORISMENOS, seperate to the gospel of God. Does it not appear highly probable, that when the apostle wrote these last mentioned words, he had his mind particularly upon the action we are considering? I confess I see no other sense in which they can be well interpreted. And if so, we have the testi­mony, even of the apostle himself, that this was, in fact an ordination.

TO this Mr. L. objects, ‘that if these prophets & teach­ers were presbyters, so were Barnabas and Saul. And if this was an ordination, they, who were before pres­byters, were ordained to a superior office; which, he says, is granting the thing they contend for.’ I in office, as apostles; yet there is no account, that either they, or indeed any others, had been formally intro­duced into office, as standing ministers in the church, by the imposition of hands, till now. They, and the rest of the apostles, had hitherto, exercised their mini­stry, principally among the Jews. But now, that the gos­pel was to be sent to the Gentiles, and churches gathered and settled among them, upon a plan which was to be per­petuated, [Page 43]after the times of inspiration were over, even to the end of the world; it seemed good to the holy Ghost, to order, that they should be set apart, by the solemn rite of ordination, as a standing pattern for these future ages. This, as Dr. Chauncy observed, was the opinion of a learn­ed episcopal writer, Dr. Lightfoot. ‘No better reason, says he, can be given of this present action; than that the Lord did hereby, set down a platform of ordaining ministers, to the church of the Gentiles in former times.’ * This being the case, it will by no means follow, that, ‘if this was an ordination, they were ordained to a superior office,’ as he supposes. Tho' they were in office before, they had been only "called to be apostles;" whereas now, they were "seperated to the gospel of God," by ordination, that so they might, both have a public authentic character, and exhibit a pattern to be followed, in all succeeding ages. Had Mr. L.'s head been less crowded, with the unscriptural ideas of superiority and inferiority of orders in the ministry, he might have recollected, that even reordination itself, does not necessarily ‘advance a man to a superior office in the church.’ He doubtless knows sundry of his brethren in America, who have been twice ordained: Once, ‘by the hands of the presbytery,’ according to scripture pattern, and then again by the bishop, after they conformed to his church: And yet I suppose, he acknowledges them still, as sustaining no higher office, than that of presbyters. Tho' according to his argument, he ought, in all reason, to look upon them as dignitaries in the church; ‘for who, (to use his own words) ever heard, that a presbyter was ordained, unless it was, to advance him to a higher station in the church?’

BUT, ‘In truth, says he, this was not an ordination; but an action of the same nature with that Gal ii. 9. When James, Cephas and John,’ &c. It is well since he will not allow this to be an ordination, he has at last found what it is. It seems then, that it was ‘giving the right hand of fellowship:’ For that is what was done in the instance to which he compares it. Now giving the right hand of [Page 44]fellowship, as it is a public declaration and sign, that the person to whom it is given, is now received into a copart­nership of power and office with the givers, must necessa­rily suppose that the persons giving, are at least, equal in power with him who receives it. Consequently if what was now done, was, as he says, giving the right hand of fellow­ship to Barnabas and Saul, it will follow that these prophets and teachers were at least equal in power to Barnabas and Saul. Since therefore Mr. L. allows the ordaining power to the latter, it must equally belong to the former, whether they did in fact exercise it at this time or no; and then the validity of ordination by presbyters will of course follow.

AGAIN. If these two actions are, as he says, both of the same nature, then it will follow, that the persons acting in both were of the same office, or indu'd with equal power: But those who gave the right hand, in Gal. ii. 9. viz. James, Cephas and John, were undoubtedly vested with the ordain­ing power, for they were apostles: Consequently the pro­phets and teachers, who acted in the other instance, must be vested with the same power of ordination too, whether they actually exercised it at this time or not.

MR. L. has one objection more to this instance of ordi­nation. It is this, ‘Whatever is meant by this designati­on, it was not ordination to impower Paul, for—it is beyond all dispute that Paul and Barnabas officiated as public ministers of Christ, long before this pretended or­dination.’ * Answer; if they did, it was as apostles, by virtue of their extraordinary call; not as ordinary mini­sters, in the gentile church, of standing continuance, by the imposition of hands in ordination. Tho' therefore with re­spect to the former, ‘they were, as he says, apostles, not of men, neither by man; yet in the latter sense, they received their designation from men, as others now do, by the im­position of hands in a proper ordination. Their ‘officia­ting as public ministers before,’ by virtue of their extra­ordinary call, no more proves that this was not an ordina­tion; than the eleven apostles so officiating, by virtue of a temporary mission from Christ in his life time, will prove [Page 45]the commission, he gave them after his resurrection, was no commission. Mr. L. allows that the commission recorded in Mat. 28.19. and John 20.21. was that which authorized the apostles to act as ministers. And yet we know that Christ ordained the twelve apostles, and sent them forth to preach, long before he gave them this commission. If therefore the eleven apostles so officiating in Christ's life time, does not prove the commission he gave them after his resurrection, to be no commission; neither will Barnabas & Saul's so officiating before this, prove that this was no or­dination.

THIS objection indeed the Dr. largely considered and an­swered in his sermon. He there observed, that tho' ‘Paul and Barnabas were before this, commissioned ministers of Christ;’ yet this would by no means prove that they did not now receive a proper ordination. ‘For the thing in­tended by ordination, is not that the ordainers should commission persons to do the work of the ministry. This is done by Christ. It only belongs to them to declare who these persons are, and to seperate them to the work to which Christ has commissioned them. They don't make them ministers, but being authorized hereto, give them an authentic character as such, in the eye of the world, &c. "As in the case of the mayor of a city, the king's charter of incorporation grants the power; the burgesses and the recorder only indigitate the proper recipient of it, and put him legally into the execution of his office.’ * But the Dr. is mistaken, says Mr L. in supposing that the mayor receives his commission from the king. He receives it, he tells us, not from the king, ‘but from the persons who give him the corporation oath.’ In like manner, he argues, ministers receive their commission, not from Christ, [Page 46]but from those that ordain them ‘It is true, he says, that all power in the church of Christ is originally derived from him. When Christ was here upon earth, he reserv­ed the power of making officers, in his kingdom, to himself alone: When he was about to ascend to heaven, he told a number of his disciples, that all power, &c.’ That is, if I understand him, tho' the great head of the church, while he was upon earth, kept the power of making officers in his own hand, yet when he ascended into heaven he delegated this power to his apostles and their successors. 'Tis pity Mr. L. had not told us, how much of this power of making officers in the church, is now delegated to the bishops; whe­ther all, or only a part of it; or in what sense it is now in the hands of the bishops, whether despotically or absolutely, or only ministerially. If it be only in the latter sense in them, then they are only Christ's ministers or instruments in introducing men into office, and investing them with the powers of Christ's commission, as the Dr. asserted, and so don't properly give the commission, but only indigitate or point out the recipient of it. All therefore they have to do in the case, is only to judge of the qualifications of the per­sons to be ordained, and give them a solemn admission to the exercise of their office, by fasting, prayer and the impo­sition of hands. The commission therefore is not from them, but from Christ. But if this power delegated to the bishops, be despotical, as Mr. L. must suppose, or else what he here says is nothing to his purpose: If it be true, as he seems to intimate, that bishops now, have the same power of making officers in the church, as Christ had when here upon earth; then it will follow, that no ministers of the gospel, since Christ's ascention into heaven, can be said to receive their commission or authority from him, but from the or­dainers: As therefore in the case of a city-mayor; if, as our author asserts, he receives his commission, not from the king's charter, but from the recorder, and is therefore not the king's officer, but his who gave him his oath; so in this case, if ministers now, do not receive their commission from Christ, but from those to whom he has delegated this [Page 47]power of making officers in his church, that is, according to Mr. L. the bishops; then they are no longer Christ's mi­nisters, but the bishop's who gave them commission, and consequently they ought to preach, baptize, &c. not in the name of Christ, but of the bishop, whose ministers they are, and who gave them their authority.

FURTHER, as Christ had all power in heaven and earth, & so was under no limitation as to the exercise of this power in making officers in his church, but might, if he had seen fit, multiplied these officers, and, instead of two, appointed twenty, or two hundred different kinds or orders: So from this principle of Mr. L.'s, it will follow, that not only the apostles but their successors in office, to whom Christ has delegated this power of making officers, have the same unli­mited authority also, in this respect as he had: That they are not confined to any particular number of orders, in the exercise of this their office making power; but may appoint and establish, as many different orders and degrees as they please; and instead of three orders in the church, might have three hundred or three thousand. For Christ had un­doubtedly this power. And indeed this is the sense of the romish church upon this point. The pope, in virtue of his being successor to Peter, is, according to them, not only infallible, but is vested with all the plentitude of the power that Christ had, in this respect. And it is by this plenti­tude of power, with which he is vested, not only that he has constituted that great variety of orders, found among their clergy; but also raised those they call bishops, above pres­byters in the church. According to the doctrine of that church, bishops are superior to presbyters, not by divine right, but merely as advanced to this superior dignity by the plentitude of the pope's power.* But,

THE truth of the case is, those words, ‘as my father hath sent me, so send I you,’ on which our author founds the bishop's power of making officers in the church, have no direct reference to the power of ordination at all. They only imply, that as Christ received his commission imme­diately [Page 48]from the father; so he did immediately send them to disciple all nations, and teach them whatever he had com­manded. But this by no means implies, that whatever power Christ had himself, he invested his apostles with, or gave them the same authority and dominion in his church, that belonged to him. His power was despotical; theirs only ministerial; and he himself warned them against aspir­ing at any more. Mat. 20.25, &c. He did not therefore make over to them a despotical authority of commissioning others, but only a ministerial authority of investing such with the office, his charter should authorize & oblige thereto.

HAVING thus vindicated Dr. Chauncy's notion of ordi­nation, from Mr. L.'s exceptions, I am now prepared to answer the questions he has seen fit to propose.—He asks, ‘how the ordainers are to know in these times, that Christ has commissioned these men, as his ministers, whom they let into the ministry?’ * I answer.

AS the Dr. no where says that men are invested with Christ's commission, before ordination, as the question seems to intimate; He ought rather to ask, "how the ordainers are to know who are proper to be ordained, or vested with Christ's commission, and declared lawful ministers?—And here the answer is easy. They are to know it by the can­didate's professing an inclination to enter into the ministry, his being upon examination, found qualified for it, and, (in case he is to take the charge of a particular church) his being chosen and invited by the church to take the pastoral charge of them. All who have these qualifications and this call, the ordainers may know are such, as ought to be introduced into office in the church, and as such may safely ordain them.

AGAIN he asks, ‘What testimony is given to the world, that the persons he (the Dr.) has ordained, are the mini­sters of Christ?’ Answer.—Their public ordination is a sufficient evidence in this case. This, the Dr. had told him was the design of ordination. Not for the ordainers, properly speaking, to authorize and impower them them­selves, but ‘to declare who the persons were that Christ's [Page 49]commission has impowered.’ Not to make them officers, as Mr. L. would have it: But ‘to give them an authentic character, as such, in the eye of the world.’ And as this, with us, is done in a very public manner, it must be suffici­ently evident to those who attend the solemnity. And as to others, I hope, a certificate from the ordaining council pro­perly attested, will be deemed as good evidence, in our case, as the bishop's licence and letter of orders are in that of Mr. L. and his brethren. We, no more than they, ‘ex­pect or desire people should believe in this case, without evidence.’ If they can produce sufficient testimony that their ministers are ordained, we, I presume, can easily do the same as to ours, notwithstanding this fleer of Mr. L. to prejudice people against us. ‘And therefore, to use his words to the Dr. I hope he will now see his error & retract it.’

THUS I have endeavoured particularly to answer every objection brought against this instance of Paul's & Barnabas's seperation, and, I presume, sufficiently proved it to be a real & proper ordination. That it was so, was the declared opinion of Chrysostom, one of the fathers. He asserts that ‘Paul was ordained at Antioch,’ and that this is the sense of Acts 13.1—3.*. Bishop Taylor was of the same sentiment, as I shewed in my sermon. The same was the opinion of Dr. Lightfoot and Dr. Hammond, two celebrated writers of the episcopal side.* And Mr. Ollyffe another of them, in his dispute with Mr. Calamy, brings this very text in fa­vour of reordination.* Finally, ‘in the book of ordina­tion used in the church of England, (as my author says, for I have not the book by me) the order for consecrating bishops, alledges the very fact we have been considering, as an example or precedent.’* This shews that the church of England looks upon this as a proper ordination, however some of her zealous sons, for special reasons, are tempted to deny it. But let it be called by what name it will, it is indubitably an express and very circumstantial instance, of persons being seperated, and sent forth to the work of the gospel ministry, which is all the scripture means by ordina­tion. And as this was confessedly done, not by officers of [Page 50]a superior character, not by apostles or bishops, but by teach­ers or presbyters, it must be considered as a proper scripture pattern of presbyterian ordination, and a proof that such ordination is valid.

I PROCEED now to consider what Mr. L. has to say, up­on the other instance of presbyterian ordination in scripture, as mentioned by the Dr. viz. that of Timothy, 1 Tim. iv. 14. ‘Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. This, the Dr. mentioned, as an express in­stance of ordination by presbyters, and very fully answered all the objections commonly urged against it by episcopa­lians. Nor do I find any material one added by Mr. L. He indeed tells us ‘the text says, Timothy was not ordain­ed by presbyters, but by prophecy.’ I answer: It does not say in so many words, he was ordained by either. The word, ordained, not being mentioned. But then, the thing signifying ordination; the rite universally in use, in setting men apart to the ministry, viz. imposition of bands, is par­ticularly mentioned, and expressly said to be performed, not by an apostle, not by an officer of a superior character, nor yet by prophecy; but by the presbytery. His saying therefore "that Timothy was ordained by prophecy," a phrase to which he, nor no man else can affix any determi­nate idea, could be with no other view, than to confuse the minds of his readers, and perplex an argument, which he found himself unable fairly to answer. Had he attended to what the Dr. had observed, concerning the gift, here said to be given to Timothy, by prophecy, it might have pre­vented his imposing upon his readers, and betraying his own ignorance in the interpretation he has given of this text. At the same time, it would have saved him the trouble of repeating that other objection, so particularly answered by the Dr. viz. that Paul was concerned in Timothy's ordina­tion. The word gift, here said ‘to be given to Timothy by prophecy,’ &c. Mr. L. insists, is the same in the ori­ginal with that mentioned II Tim. i. 6. as given by the put­ing on of Paul's hands. The Dr. allows it is. He more­over [Page 51]allows the same thing to be signified, in both texts, viz. the extraordinary gifts of the holy Ghost. And fur­ther, that these were communicated to Timothy by Paul's hands only. For after mentioning the text in question, he says, ‘The meaning of the words, compared with what is said upon the matter in II Tim. i. 6. may be fully ex­pressed in the following paraphrase, "Improve the gift of the holy Ghost, which I imparted to you, in an ex­traordinary measure, according to the prophecies which went before concerning you, when you was seperated to the work of the ministry, with the laying on of the hands of the consistory of presbyters.’ * In this paraphrase is fairly and methodically included, every thing contained in both texts, concerning Timothy's ordination, and the gift here said to be imparted to him. The gift, in both places, signifies, the extraordinary HARISMETA or gifts of the holy Ghost. These, the Dr. allows were conferred by the imposition of Paul's hands only, as mentioned in II Tim. i. 6. This was given by prophecy; that is agreeable to, or in consequence of the prophecies, which the apostle says I Tim. i. 18. went before concerning Timothy. Holy men prophetically speaking by inspiration, of him, as a fit per­son to receive this gift, and in consequence, to be put into the ministry; to which service he is here, in I Tim. iv. 14. said to be seperated, by the imposition of the hands of the presbytery, in ordination. This makes both the accounts, perfectly consistent, which no other interpretation, perhaps, can do. To be sure that given by Mr. L. is very far from doing it. Indeed, as in the forementioned instance of Paul and Barnabas; so also in this of Timothy, he seems very loth to allow, that ordination is intended by the imposition of hands. "If, says he, this was an ordination." Again, "If this was an ordination, then," &c. It is easy to see, in both these instances, what were his reasons for expressing himself so doubtfully in the case. If these were allowed to be proper ordinations, he was fully sensible, all he could say, would be insufficient to weaken the force of the argu­ment, brought from them, in favour of presbyterian ordi­nation [Page 52]And therefore he endeavours to persuade his read­ers, that it is, at least doubtful, whether ordination is the thing intended. But as the evidence in the case is so full; as every thing included in ordination is more particularly and expressly mentioned, in these two instances, than in any others recorded in the new-testament; and I may add, as there can certainly be found no instance of an ordination in the whole bible, if these are not allowed to be such; Mr. L. seems not quite willing, after all, to hazard the issue of the controversy, upon a bare denial of this fact: But thinks it concerns him to shew, that if this was an ordination, yet it was not performed by presbyters. And the only argument he brings for the purpose, is, "that the word presbytery, "here, does not signify a number of presbyters. His words are; ‘It seems, the Dr. takes it for granted, that a pres­bytery means a number of presbyters only. Calling a number of presbyters, a presbytery, does not prove that St. Paul means the same, when he used the words.’ * He therefore concludes that ‘Paul was at the head of these el­ders to constitute them a presbytery, with power to or­dain.’ If therefore I can prove, that the word PRESBU­TERION, a presbytery, always signifies, in the new-testament, and other ancient writers, a number of presbyters only; then his whole objection against the Dr's interpretation of these words, is overthrown; and this instance of Timothy's or­dination, will remain an incontestible pattern and proof of presbyterian ordination.

NOW the word PRESBUTERION is to be found but in two other places in all the new-testament, in both of which it signifies "a number of presbyters only." The first is Luk. xxii. 66. ‘And when it was day PRESBUTERION, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together,’ &c. It is very evident the word here means a number of elders or presbyters only: It is so translated; the elders of the people, the sanhedrim or grand council of the Jews: Not including the chief priests, the scribes, or indeed any other officer of a superior rank, as Mr. L. would have it in the other instance: These are also expressly men­tioned, [Page 53]and very particularly distinguished in the account; the elders of the people, PRESBUTERION, and the chief priests and the scribes. Besides, the very persons who are here called by the collective name, PRESBUTERION; in the parallel place, Matt. xxvii. 1. are called by the common or appropriate one, PRESBUTEROUS, (which shews the words are used synonimously) and they are there also distinguished from the chief priests or any other officers. It is therefore beyond all dispute that the word presbytery, here means a number of elders only.

The other place, in which the word occurs, is Acts xxii. 5. There it is translated, "the state of the elders," that is, the body or company of presbyters. Here again they are particularly distinguished from the chief priest, or any other superior officer; for he is particularly mentioned, and dis­tinguished from the TO PRESBUTERION, the state or body of elders.* The word is frequently used by ancient ecclesi­astical writers, and always to signify a number of presbyters only. Numbers of quotations from the fathers, might easily be produced in proof of this. I shall adduce but one, a­gainst whom, I hope Mr. L. will make no exceptions. It is his favourite Ignatius. He frequently uses this word; and in him it ever signifies a number of presbyters only. A few instances may suffice. In his epistle to the Ephesians he says, "Being subject to the bishop, and the presby­tery." Again, "That you may obey the bishop, and the presby­tery." Again, ‘He that does any thing without the bishop and the presbytery."’ § Again. ‘Respect the bishop [Page 54]and the presbytery. * In all these instances, and many more that might be mentioned, 'tis evident to demonstra­tion, that the word, PRESBUTERION, means a number of presbyters and nothing else. Not as Mr. L. would have it, ‘a number of elders with an apostle or bishop at their head.’ Thus it signifies in scripture, and in all good au­thors where it occurs. Nor do I remember ever to have seen it used, in any other sense.

DR. CHAUNCY had therefore good right ‘to take it for granted, that a presbytery means, a number of presbyters only.’ And since this is the word used in this instance, it is a clear consequence, that Timothy was ordained by a number of presbyters; and therefore that presbyterian ordi­nation, is the true scripture ordination.

NOR will it at all alter the case tho' we should grant that Paul joined with the presbytery in Timothy's ordination: For if he did, he acted, not as an apostle, but as a presby­ter, of no more authority than the rest. For it is in this character only, that the persons who imposed hands are here said to act: Plainly denoting that they acted as a pres­bytery; and consequently, that the right of ordination is vested in such a body, and in none else.

HENCE it will follow, that what Mr. L. says about the lower house of assembly in Connecticut, is not true. It is not true ‘that a number of presbyters have no more power to ordain without a bishop, than the lower house of assembly have, to perform acts of legislation without the governor.’ So far from it, that presbyters and they only are vested with the power of ordination; and even when an apostle was joined with them, if that indeed was the case; he acted, not as an apostle, but as a presbyter; therefore the action is expressly said to be done by a consis­tory of presbyters, as we have shewed above. But if it were not so: If it were true, as he says, that a number of pres­byters have just as much and no more authority, with or without a bishop, than the lower house of assembly have, with or without the governor; still it will be nothing at all [Page 55]to his purpose. For as the lower house, can perform no act of legislation, without the governor; no more can the governor without them. The power of the latter, in this case therefore, is at least equal to the former. If then we allow this a parallel case, it will indeed follow that pres­byters have no power to ordain, without a bishop: But it will equally follow, that the bishop has no such power with­out the presbyters. Consequently their power in this re­spect is equal. But, unluckily for our author, this will at once ruin his scheme, agreeable to which the sole power of ordination is in the bishop, and the presbyters have no manner of authority in the case. Thus have I very par­ticularly, and I think sufficiently vindicated the Dr's inter­pretation of this text, and proved it to be a standing pat­tern and warrant for presbyterian ordination.

MR. L. goes on,— ‘Another objection is, that in scrip­ture, bishops are frequently called presbyters; therefore bishop and presbyter mean one and the some office. In answer to this I would ask, whether apostle and presbyter mean one and the same office in scripture? Answer this without a double meaning, and the point is settled.’ * —I answer. Considered as standing officers in the church, they most certainly do; and the apostle Peter himself shall be my voucher. ‘The elders, says he, which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder." This then, accor­ding to him, must settle the point.’

AS another proof of ordination by presbyters, the Dr. observed, ‘that besides deacons, the scripture mentions but one order of officers only, promiscuously called bishops or presbyters, therefore that the ordaining power must belong to that order.’ In proof of this he added sundry texts, and among others Philip. 1.1. where the apostle, ad­dressing this church with its officers, makes mention of but two orders, bishops and deacons.

IN answer to this Mr. L. says, these bishops were the presbyters of this church; and that, besides them and the deacons, there was an apostle, viz. Epaphroditus, presiding over them in quality of bishop. In proof of this he quotes [Page 56]chap. ii. v. 25. where Paul says, ‘I supposed it necessary to send to you, Epaphroditus my brother, &c.—but your messenger. * "In the original, he tells us, it is your apostle. Hence he infers, that in this church, were three orders of ministers.

ANSWER. Epaphroditus being sent to Philippi is no proof he was sent there in character of a bishop. If so then Timothy must have been their bishop also. For Paul says, "I trust in the lord to send Timothy unto you shortly." v. 24. But this would be, to have two bishops in this one church, which is utterly inconsident with the episcopal scheme; according to which there can be but one bishop to one church. Neither will his being called the Philippi­an's messenger, prove that he was their bishop, or held any office in this church. I grant the word in the original is APOSTOLON, an apostle. This, however, in its common & unappropriated sense, means not a bishop, or indeed any church officer; but according to its original derivation, a messenger, or one sent. It is accordingly so translated, wherever it occurs in scripture, in its unappropriated sense, just as it is in this place. We meet with it in John xiii. 16. and II Cor. viii. 23. But as it is used in its unappropriated sense in both, so it is translated, as here, not apostle but mes­senger: But if it must be rendered apostle in this place, as Mr. L. contends, it must also in the others, and wherever it occurs. And if this be the case, John the baptist, and those who were sent to him from the pharisees, must be al­so acknowledged as apostles or bishops: For they are called APOSTELLMENOI, apostles, a word of the same theme and import with this. And therefore if this word must always signify apostle or bishop, possibly Mr. L. will find in scrip­ture, an instance of a she-bishop or apostle: For Junia, which by many is supposed to be the name of a woman, is said with Andronicus, "to be chief among the apostles. But "the truth of the case is: The word APOSTOLON is here [Page 57]used in its unappropriated sense. Our english bibles there­fore rightly have it translated, not apostle, but messenger or one sent. For so Epaphroditus was. He had been sent by the Philippians to carry their bounty to Paul, as appears from chap. iv. 18. And therefore the apostle very properly calls him their messenger. Again. Paul's calling Epaphro­ditus, your messenger, plainly shews that he was not an apos­tle in the appropriate sense of the word. The apostles, as such, are never called apostles of the churches, but of Jesus Christ, whose apostles or messengers, they are, who gives them commission, and sends them forth. Thus Peter and Paul, often call themselves apostles of Jesus Christ, but they are never once called, your apostles, or the messengers of the church. Epaphroditus however is called a messenger or apostle, not of Jesus Christ, but of the church: This plainly shews that he was not an officer in that church, but only a messenger they had sent, to carry money to Paul. In­deed it looks at least highly improbable, had he been their apostle or bishop, as Mr. L. pretends, that he should be singled out by them for so inferior a piece of service, as carrying their alms to Paul; especially, as they had a num­ber of presbyters and deacons, whom they might have im­proved in this service.

FINALLY, had Epaphroditus been the bishop of this church, is it not strange the apostle should not mention him in his inscription of his epistle to this church? He parti­cularly mentions the bishops or presbyters, and deacons, but says not a word of any apostle. This neglect, most certain­ly, Paul would not have been guilty of, had Epaphroditus been their bishop, as our author pretends. Upon the whole, these reasons must, I imagine, convince every impartial person, that he was not the bishop of Philippi, that there were but only the two orders of bishops or presbyters, and deacons in this church, as the Dr. asserted, and therefore his argument for presbyterian ordination, from this text, stands good.

MR. L's next instance of three orders, is the church at ‘Jerusalem. We have clear evidence, he tells us, from [Page 58]scripture that, St. James resided for twenty years toge­ther, with and over the presbyters and deacons there.’ * For proof of this he refers to Acts, chapters vi. and xv. chap. xxi. 18. and Gal. i. 19.

TWO things, he says, he has proved from these texts. One, that the apostle James resided for twenty years to­gether in the church at Jerusalem: The other, that he re­sided with and over the presbyters and deacons of this church, during that time.—Let us examine his proofs.—

AS to the first, it does indeed appear from these texts, that Paul found James at Jerusalem, three several times, and at the distance of sundry years one from another. But then, at two of these times, the same accounts say, Peter was there with him. And one of them mentions John as there also. If, then from these two accounts it can be proved, that James was at Jerusalem as bishop, during the term aforesaid; the same must follow also as to Peter. This argument therefore either proves that both of them so resided, or that neither did. But as they could not, in Mr. L's sense, be both bishops of this church, the conse­quence is plain, that nothing can be concluded from these two accounts, that either of them were. All the proof then that remains as to this fact, is the single circumstance of his being found there by Paul, some years after. Acts xxi. 18. But as there is no account how long he resided there, barely his being found there, I presume, will hardly be ad­mitted a sufficient proof of Mr. L's assertion, that the time of his continuance was twenty years. Indeed, as James, by our author's concession was an apostle, there is not the least degree of probability, much less any proof, that he resided at Jerusalem, or any other place, for any considerable time together, as his particular charge. So to do would have been utterly inconsistent with the apostolic character, and the charge given to the apostles by Christ, go teach all nations," "go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," and so preach repentance and remission of sins among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’ How the executing this large commission, could be consistent [Page 59]with any of the apostles making Jerusalem their stated resi­dence, especially for twenty years together, as Mr. L. as­serts, for my part I am unable to understand. Wherefore without offering a word more upon this point, I freely sub­mit it to the candid reader to determine, whether the evi­dence Mr. L. has brought, to prove that James actually "resided twenty years together at Jerusalem, is sufficient to support the fact. But if it should be deemed to be, it will by no means follow, that he so resided in character of a bishop, or as Mr. L. expresses it, ‘with and over the pres­byters and deacons there.’ This is the other thing he has here asserted, and for proof of it, he refers us to what he calls ‘James's conduct in the case St. Paul laid before him, Acts xv.’ I desire the reader to turn to the place, and read the whole account, and then say, what there is in it to prove that James, any more than any of the rest, that were present at that council, was the bishop of Jerusalem? Is it that he was at Jerusalem at that time? So was Peter and John, and other apostles. They therefore from this circumstance bid as fair for the office as he. Was it that James attended upon the council there? The same did the other apostles, yea and the elders and brethren too. Or was it that James gave his judgment, in the determination of the question before them? This did all that were present. And therefore when the decree was drawn up and publish­ed, it is expressly said to go forth in the name ‘of the apos­tles, and elders and brethren.’ * Or lastly as it that James in particular, spoke in the council, and declared his sentiments concerning the case in question? But the same did also sundry of the rest, as Peter, Barnabas and Paul. These are all particularly mentioned as speaking and de­claring their opinion upon the point in debate. Yea, as giving the same sentence or judgment, that James afterwards declared to be his. What right, I demand, then had Mr. L. to say, "that James's authority was decisive in the case," any more than that of Peter, Paul and Barnabas, who had given the same sentence before? Certainly none. Nothing [Page 60]therefore appears from this circumstance, or indeed from any thing else, in the account, in favour of James's episco­pal relation to, and authority over this church, and its offi­cers, but what equally appears in favour of the rest. And since they could not all be bishops of it, it is a plain case that none of them are proved to be so; consequently, that there were not three orders of officers in this church as Mr. L. has asserted.

HIS next attack upon the Dr. is for asserting, ‘That the apostles as such, were extraordinary officers, and had no successors,’ and then asks "in what respects they were so.?"* I answer.—Let him turn to the page in the Dr's sermon, from whence he has quoted these words, and he will readily see. ‘They received their commission immediately from Christ. Their charge was unlimitted; their province the whole world. They were, by office, the teachers of all nations; had power to gather churches every where, to settle them with proper officers, to inspect over them, to give binding rules & orders for the government of them; and all this under the infallible guidance of the holy Ghost.’ If this don't satisfy Mr. L. I would refer him for a more particular account of the distinctive character & qualifications of the apostleship, to Mr. Boyse's ‘ancient episcopacy,’ p. 253, &c. To Dr. Barrow as quoted by him, p. 272, &c. and "the scripture-bishop, p. 26, &c. In the mean time, as I shall have occasion, more particularly to consider this point, when I come to his remarks upon my sermon, it may be sufficient to observe here,—that Mr. L. does not pretend to prove bishops now-a-days, are indued with these extraordinary qualifications, on which the aposto­lic character and powers were founded: consequently the former cannot succeed the latter in the exercise of these powers. He says indeed as to some of these qualifications, —such as, ‘the power of working miracles, travelling from place to place to plant churches, and being imme­diately sent by Christ;" that they were not peculiar to the apostles, for others at that time had the same.’ But now, what is this to his purpose? If they were not peculiar [Page 61]to the apostles, they were at least essential to the apostolic character and absolutely necessary to furnish men for the duties of it. Tho' therefore some, cotemporary with the apostles, might have some of these extraordinary qualifi­cations, essential to the apostolic office; yet as none can pretend to them now; the consequence is undeniable, that none now can pretend to succeed the apostles, in that part of their character and office, to which these extraordinary qualifications were essential and absolutely necessary. Since therefore diocesan bishops do not, cannot succeed the apos­tles, in that part of their character or office which was ex­traordinary, and peculiar to them; it belongs to him, if he would support his scheme, to prove, that the apostles, in communicating their ordinary powers, did in fact make a difference; committing a chief power to a superior order, called bishops, and an inferior one to others, under the name of presbyters.

THIS is what he next attempts to do.— ‘What we as­sert, says he, is that the apostles did commit a chief pow­er to a superior order, then called apostles. And for proof he refers us to Acts xiv. 14. Philip. ii. 25. II Cor. viii. 23. ‘From these texts, he tells us, it appears, that Barnabas, Epaphroditus and Titus are stiled apostles." and adds, that he intends to prove Timothy also, to have been in­vested with the same apostolic power and office.’ *

ANSWER. As to, at least three of the four here mention­ed, neither the texts he has quoted, nor indeed any other in scripture, proves them to be apostles, in the appropriate sense of the word. As to Epaphroditus, it has been already proved that he was no apostle, but only a messenger of the church of Philippi, sent to carry their contribution to the apostle Paul; an errand not over and above apostolical.— As to Titus, he is no where, in scripture, called an apostle in any sense whatever. The text Mr. L. quotes to prove him so, is this, ‘Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner, and fellow-helper concerning you: Or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches and the glory of Christ.’ It seems Mr. L. [Page 62]thouught Titus must needs be an apostle; because he found the word, A POSTOLOI, messengers, in the same verse, in which Titus is named. But unhappily for him, it is not Titus, but the brethren that went with him, who are called A POS­TOLOI, messengers. Titus is particularly distinguished from them in the former part of the verse, as Paul's partner & fellow-labourer, and not of the number of the brethren who are called A POSTOLOI, messengers, in the latter part of it. But if he was not: If he was, as Mr. L. supposes, of the number of these A POSTOLOI, messengers; it would be no­thing to his purpose: For it is abundantly evident, from the context, that the word A POSTOLOI is here used, not in its appropriate sense, to signify an officer in the church; but in the common and unappropriated one, meaning bare­ly a messenger, or one sent. For it is evidently on account of their being sent to Corinth to receive their collections, and carry them to Jerusalem, and nothing else, that these persons are called A POSTOLOI, messengers of the churches. If therefore Epaphroditus was no apostle, much less was Titus, who is never once called by that name, in any sense of the word whatsoever. And tho' Mr. L. tells us ‘he designed to prove Timothy to be one;’ yet as we find nothing of that kind done in the remaining part of his book; 'tis probable, upon second thought, he was dis­couraged in the attempt. Since therefore he has dropt him out of the number, we have a right to do the same, and so there remains only Barnabas to be considered.

AND, it is readily granted he is called an apostle in Acts xiv. 14. But until it is proved that he derived his apostolic power from the apostles; barely his being called an apos­tle, will not prove his assertion, ‘that the apostles did com­municate a chief power to a superior order called apos­tles." All that is proved from this text, is that "Barna­bas was an apostle.’ How he came to be so, or from whom he received his "chief power" and superior character as an apostle, the text is intirely silent; nor can it be collected from any thing Mr. L. has said. If his being here menti­oned with Paul, signifies that he was vested with the same [Page 63]superior office and character as Paul was; no doubt he re­ceived his apostolic commission and authority, in the same immediate way, and from the same fountain, as Paul did. How that was, he himself has told us. For he was ‘an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the father’ * At least till the contrary is proved from scripture, we have a right to conclude this was the case: Consequently, that the apostles did not ‘thus divide the ordinary powers of their office, communicating to some more, to others less, and so constituting the two orders of bishops and presbyters,’ as our opponents pre­tend. I may therefore now with propriety, I presume, take leave of this argument in the words of Dr. Chauncy. ‘If the apostles did thus communicate these powers, in a different degree, committing to some more, to others less, and so constituting two orders in the ministry; it is what we may reasonably expect to see evidenced. The new-testament is open. If it contains any such evidence, let it be produced. We imagine it contains clear evi­dence to the contrary, and that we have given such evi­dence. Merely calling bishops successors to the apostles will not prove their superiority: Tho' by the way they are never called so in the sacred books.—The bible only can settle this point.’

OUR author proceeds.— ‘Dr. Chauncy seems to allow, that the church universally has been governed, in the form of episcopacy, (after the first two centuries) for several succeeding ages. But, says he, before that, in the early days of the church, it was governed by pres­byters.’ I have examined the pages, from whence he pretends to quote this passage, but can find nothing of that kind there. If by episcopacy Mr. L. means diocesan episco­pacy, (which he must mean, or it is nothing to his purpose) the Doctor is so far from allowing that the church was ever governed in that form, that on the contrary he affirms and proves, that during the first century, and the greatest part of the second, there is no distinction to be found, in the writers of those times, between bishop and presbyter; the [Page 64]names being used promiscuously for the same office, just as they are in the new-testament. And even in the third cen­tury, and onwards, after the name bishop came to be ap­propriated, so as to signify something different from pres­byter; he expressly denies ‘that the fathers are universal or unanimous, in affirming of it for fact, that it was a distinction importing a superiority of order, or that it was of apostolical institution.’ * As Mr. L. therefore has mis­represented the Dr. I hope he will do him justice. ‘And, (to use his own words) will see his error and retract.’

I AM now prepared to consider his rhapsody of questions quoted from Mr. Chillingworth, and those of the same strain added by himself in pages 22, and 23 of his book: The whole of which amount to no more than this, viz. how, when and by what means it was that the original form of presbyterian church government, came to be changed to that of episcopalian?

FOR answer to which, and indeed, to almost every thing else he has remarked upon the Dr's sermon, I might very fairly refer him to the sermon itself. At least he will there see, that when this alteration of a distinction between bi­shop and presbyter first began, it was very small. ‘The bishop was no more than primus inter pares, the head presbyter, the praeses or moderator of the consistory; and it was by gradual steps he attained to the power with which he was afterwards vested. These ecclesiastical superiorities and inferiorities, which have for a long time been visible in the christian world, were unknown in the first and purest ages: Nor did they at once take place. It was the work of time. From prime-presbyters, arose city-bishops: From city-bishops, diocesan ones: From diocesan bishops, metropolitans: From metropolitans, patriarchs; and finally, at the top of all, his holiness the pope, claiming the character of universal head of the church.’

IF this answer will not satisfy Mr. L. I will give him a­nother, in the words of a protestant in answer to a demand of the like kind from a papist. It is as follows. ‘When [Page 65]Arius, Nestorius, and such like heretics arose; they vio­lently broke out of the church, and forsook all commu­nion. And when Mahomet came from without, he vi­sibly assaulted all christianity. But the papacy bred si­lently, as a gangrene in the church within. That cock atrice was long a hatching in the shell, before it did appear. It was a secret departure from the truth, caused by errors stolen into the church, sensim, sine sensu, insensi­bly and unawares: Whence appears the difference be­tween open heresy and clandestine apostacy. The one is easy to be known, because it works openly, in the day: The other hard to be discovered, because it makes its approaches only in the night.’ Let Mr. L. only make the small change of the word papacy into prelacy, and the answer will be exactly adapted to his question.

OR if this account should be thought of too late a date, I will refer him to that given by Jerom, one of the fathers. His words are these:— ‘The presbyter therefore is the same with the bishop. And therefore, by the devit's in­stinct, there were parties in religion, and it was said a­mong the people, I am of Paul, I of Apollos, I of Ce­phas; the churches were governed by the common council of presbyters: But after every one thought, those he baptiz­ed to be rather his than Christ's; it was agreed in the whole world, that one of the presbyters should be set a­bove the rest, to whom the care of all the church should belong, and the seeds of division taken away.’ *

I FIND nothing more, by way of remark, upon the Dr's sermon, in the whole of Mr. L's book, except a passage or two towards the close, which shall be considered in their place. I therefore finish this section with this reasonable request;—that the Dr's sermon, our author's remarks up­on it, and what has been now offered in reply, be carefully read over and compared. If this is done, I presume, that no one except Mr. L. and his partial admirers will be or the mind, ‘that he has, as he terms it, considered the most material things advanced by the Dr. in support of his scheme," much less, "that he has shewn him to be great­ly [Page 66]mistaken in many things he has asserted.’ * On the contrary, unless I am much mistaken every unprejudiced judge will find, that by far the greatest part of the Dr's ar­guments, are passed over, intirely unnoticed. And as to those few that are touched upon; the objections are so far from being conclusive, that they are really of no weight at all.

SECT. V. Reflections upon Mr. L's claim of an uninterrupted succession from the apostles, especially through the line of the old british bishops. from p. 24. to 27.

WHAT could induce our author, to fall upon this topic of the uninterrupted succession, and set him­self to answer objections against episcopacy, which neither of the pieces he undertakes to confute, say any thing about; and at the same time, pass over unnoticed, so great a part of the arguments contained in these pieces, is difficult to de­termine; unless perhaps because he thought it easier an­swering objections of his own starting, than those urged by his opponents Be that as it will. ‘Another objection he tells us, is that they receive their authority from Rome; and that church is so corrupt, that she can convey none.’

I have sometimes heard it remarked, indeed, as a sort of inconsistency in the church of England, to discover such a partial affection to that of Rome, as to allow of their orders as valid while they deny those of all Protestant churches; and blast so much of a succession thro' that church, which in their homilies they call ‘a filthy old withered harlot, and so far from being or the nature of a true church, that for more than nine hundred years before the reformation, nothing could be more.’ This, however Mr. L. denies. They did not, he says, derive either their power, or chris­tianity from Rome. ‘The british church flourished, he tells us, many hundred years—before the gospel took place in England.’ I answer. That christianity was early intro­duced into England, is not denied. Who first preached it there, is very uncertain. 'Tis still more so in what form, whether presbyterian or episcopalian, that church was first [Page 67]settled. If Paul was the first who brought the gospel to Britain and planted christianity there, as many writers say; it is presumed, that since he himself was ordained by pres­byters, that was the form of ordination and government he would establish there. As to king Lucius, whom Mr. L. makes to be the first christian king, and the founder of an arch-bishoprick in London; the time of his conversion is so uncertain, that Fuller, in his church history, reckons up no less than twenty six different accounts of it by different writers; between the first and last of which, there is no less than 90 years difference, as to date.* This, with many o­ther things mentioned by the same author, gives the whole such a fabulous and romantic air, that there is little or no weight to be laid on any thing said about him. And indeed many doubt, whether there ever was such a man in the world.

BUT granting christianity was as early planted in Great-Britain, as he pretends, this will by no means help him out with a succession through the old british bishops, as distinct from those of the Romish church. He allows that the pope "got footing in England before the reformation." But then he tells us ‘the old british clergy opposed him with all their might, and prevented all that came from Rome, from getting into the vacant churches, as far as possibly they could.’ That when [...] first opportunity presented," at the time of the reformation, "they threw of the papal yoke. All that were ‘ordained at Rome, he tells us, refus­ing to comply with the reformation, returned to Rome, from whence they came. The number of bishops that did so were fourteen. The rest of the bishops who were ordained, and derived their power by a regular succession of ordinations from the ancient british bishops, were the men who ordained the bishops and presbyters of our church.’ I have transcribed the whole of this curious piece of secret history, that the reader may have it all in one view.

IT is well known by all acquainted with the english his­tory, that Austin the monk came into England toward the [Page 68]latter end of the sixth century. He was sent there by Gre­gory, the pope of Rome, to convert the Anglo-saxons to christianity. From that time to the reformation, A. D. 1530, a space of near a thousand years, England was under the popish yoke, and over-run with all the errors and su­perstitions of the church of Rome, as much as the rest of Europe. The whole christian world, for many hundred years before the reformation, "wandered after the beast;" and the church of England, during the whole of that peri­od, was as much the church of Rome, as that of France, Spain, or even Italy itself. All equally sunk in error, su­perstition, and idolatry, and equally ‘drunk with the cup of abominations, and filthiness of the fornications, of that old withered harlot.’ Where then, I ask, will Mr. L. find a succession for their clergy, except through the bishops of the romish church? His attempts to derive it thro' a line of "ancient british bishops," is a mere chimera, that scarce deserves notice. There were no such bishops to be found in England, during the greatest part of that time. I readily allow that christianity had been planted in Eng­land, before Austin's arrival; that upon the Saxon invasi­on, a number of the british christians retired into the moun­tains of Wales, and preserved their liberty and christianity. It is further granted, that upon Austin's coming into Eng­land, the old british clergy in Wales, refused at first to sub­mit to the pope's authority. In consequence of which the greatest part of them were cruelly put to the sword, in the city of Bangor, said to be effected by Austin's means.* The remainder were too inconsiderable a handful to make any opposition to Austin, who was commissioned by the roman pontif, and supported by the power of the Saxon kings, sun­dry of whom are said to be his early converts. If these welch bishops therefore, were those Mr. L. means by his "ancient british bishops," from whom their clergy derive their succession, and who he tells us ‘as far as possible, pre­vented all that came from Rome from getting into the vacant churches;’ the opposition they made, could be but very feeble at best, and must certainly have ceased, after [Page 69]the greatest part of them were cut off. And as to the re­mainder of them we are assured from history, that they soon after submitted to the church of Rome: ‘For Lau­rentius, who succeeded Austin, as arch-bishop of Can­terbury, by demeaning himself more humbly, than his predecessor had done, reduced the recusant Britons to some tolerable conformity to the romish ceremonies.’ * And so intirely were the ancient Britons, brought under the ecclesiastical dominion of the romish church of Eng­land, that about A. D. 1279, near three hundred years before the reformation, ‘John Peckham arch-bishop of Canterbury, actually excommunicated their prince, be­cause he could not prevail upon him to be at peace with England.’ In about three or four years after this, king Edward the first, intirely conquered' Wales, beheaded Lhewellin ap Griffith their last king, after he had taken him prisoner. Since which time, Wales, the last resort of the ancient Britons, has been annexed to England, as part of the kingdom, and incorporated with it, in all affairs ci­vil and ecclesiastical. What then can Mr. L. mean, by pretending to keep up a distinction between the british clergy, and those of the romish church? Wales, for many hundred years before the reformation, was as really under the "papal yoke" as he terms it, and received their bish­ops "from Rome" as much as any other part of the king­dom.

BUT if this had not been the case: Had it been, as his argument supposes, that there was a distinct succession of bishops kept up in Wales, in a direct line from the anci­ent british bishops, even till the reformation; this will afford him no manner of relief as to the present clergy of their church. They, certainly, can claim no benefit from such a succession of welch bishops; for not one of the welch bishops was concerned in the consecration of Parker, and yet from him all the bishops in the church of England ever since must derive their succession. The fact was truly this. In the beginning of the reformation under Henry VIII. all the bishops, abbots and priors in England, (Fisher [Page 70]bishop of Rochester only excepted) complied with it, as far as it was then carried.* This therefore could not be the time Mr. L. speaks of, ‘when all that were ordained at Rome, refused to comply with the reformation, and re­turned to Rome from whence they came.’ For at this time none returned to Rome; and but one in the whole kingdom, refused to comply with the changes that were made. By the reformation, therefore, he must mean, the revival of it in queen Elizabeth's reign. Then indeed, all the bi­shops in the kingdom, except Kitchen of Landaff, refused to comply with it and were turned out. None of them, however, "returned to Rome, as he asserts, save one only, and but three left the kingdom, viz. Pates bishop of Wor­cester, Scot of Chester, and Gold well of St. A [...]aph This is considerably short of the number fourteen, mentioned by Mr. L. Now this being the case, that all the bishops in the kingdom, not only of England, but Wales too, except one, were deprived; where will he go to make out a suc­cession for their clergy, from the old british bishops? They were all, save one, deprived, and a new succession begun in Parker, from whom all the bishops ever since, must derive their claim. Unless therefore he can prove, that Parker was consecrated by the descendants of those ‘ancient bri­tish bishops,’ his pretended succession from them, is ine­vitably overthrown. But to the utter destruction of his scheme, so it happened, that Parker, (from whom all the clergy of the church of England, both bishops and presby­ters, ever since, derive their succession) was consecrated, not by any of the bishops of Wales, but by four english bishops, who had been consecrated in king Edward's time, had been deprived in the reign of Q Mary, and had never been re­stored. For the men who consecrtaed Parker, were Bar­low, formerly bishop of Bath and Wells, Scory of Chiches­ter, Coverdale of Exeter and Hodgskins suffragan of Bed­ford But none of these had been bishops of Wales. It is true the writ for Parker's consecration, named Kitchen of Landaff for one. But it is equally true that he never [Page 71]appeared to asist at the consecration, and so it was per­formed without him by the four above named. Where then, I repeat it, will Mr. L. make out his succession, thro' the line of the old british bishops? If he was so unac­quainted with history, as not to know that there was no manner of foundation for such a pretence, he was unqua­lified to write upon the subject, and ought not to have meddled with it. If not, he has designedly imposed upon his readers and ought "to retract."

THE truth of the case is, no history of the british church furnishes the least foundation, even of pretence, for such a succession. Bishop Burnet says, that the reformers in Eng­land, expressly allowed ‘that England received the faith from those sent from Rome by pope Gregory the great, i. e. Austin and his monks.* And all the advocates for uninterrupted succession, I have ever seen, till Mr. L's book appeared, unanimously agree in tracing it up to Austin, and through him to St. Peter. Mr. Beach in particular, some years ago, in his controversy with Mr. Hobart, says, ‘the present archbishop of Canterbury is the seventy third, who has set in that see, since Austin the monk.’ And tho' I don't imagine there is any great probability of an unbroken succesion, even in that line, yet it must be sought there, or no where. 'Till therefore Mr. L. brings us some better authority for one, through the old british bishops, than his bare assertion; he must expect it will be treated with that contempt, such a visionary enthusiastic scheme deserves.

I CALL this notion of an uninterrupted succession, & the absolute necessity of it to render gospel administration va­lid, a visionary enthusiastic scheme. It is so even when tra­ced in any line. The evidence of the fact is so small, and the probability, or rather evidence of an interruption, so great, that a man must renounce the common principles of credibility, and act by an implicit faith, to give in to it, or at least to lay any great weight upon it. But to be very confident of it, and that in a line where it is absolutely cer­tain it is not to be found, argues, if possible, a greater de­gree [Page 72]of weakness and credulity than what the most visio­nary enthusiasts are influenced by. And is not this even the case with our author? For tho' he disclaims a succes­sion through the romish church and lays the whole stress upon one through the old british bishops, which never had any existence, save in a heated imagination, he is so confi­dent of the truth of it, that he tell us, ‘we have as good evidence that their clergy derive their authority, by an uninterrupted succession from the apostles, (meaning through the line aforesaid) as we have of the descent of all mankind from Adam by ordinary generation.’ * The highest evidence to which, even Mr. Beach, pretended in this case, and that in a line too, which bid much fairer, than the romantic one of our author, was only to put it upon a level, with that of the levitical priesthood in the family of Aaron. This indeed was much too high. But even this it seems will not content Mr. L. Nothing short of one, equal to that ‘of our descent from Adam, will serve his turn.’ If the faith of the advocates of this doctrine, con­tinues thus increasing, we may expect it will soon grow up to full assurance; and that the next stickler for uninter­rupted succession, will put the evidence of it upon a par with that of our existence.

LET us however examine Mr. L's proof: And here let it be noted, that we have the most clear and express scrip­tural evidence of our natural descent from Adam, and there­fore are absolutely certain of it. The same he tells us, we have for the uninterrupted succession of their clergy from the apostles. Let it be also remembered, that this succes­sion must be in a line of bishops as superior to presbyters, for he calls, it "a regular succession of the episcopal power," ‘an apostolic succession," and "a succession of the gospel ministry in the three orders.’ Barely a succession in the line of presbyters will not suffice. For we have such a suc­cession up to their bishops, and yet he denies us to be the ministers of Christ. Now the argument by which he un­dertakes to prove his succession, is this. Christ's promise to his ministers, contained in his commission, in Mat. xxviii. [Page 73]20. must have failed unless there has been such a succession as he pleads for, that is, in a direct line of bishops as a su­perior order in the church. But why must the promise have failed, unless there has been such a succession? There is nothing in the commission, limiting the promise to such a superior order: Not the least hint of the institution of such an order. The commission is but one, and therefore one order only is instituted by it. But if there were two, or ten, it would make no alteration: Since the promise is not limitted to any one in particular, a succession in either of them would answer all the ends of fulfilling the promise. Mr. L. himself allows that this promise belongs to presby­ters.* If so, then a continuation of the succession in the line of presbyters, would as effectually serve the accomplishment of the promise, as one in the line of bishops: Consequently if it has been continued in the former, the promise is fully accomplished, even tho' it has been broken or interrupted in the latter: and therefore his argument from the pro­mise, in support of a succession in the line of bishops, is by his own confession, intirely defeated.

THE truth is, as the commission supposes but one order in the ministry, the utmost that can be argued from the annexed promise, in favour of a succession, even of any kind, is that there shall be a ministry continued in the church, to the end of time. How, or in what manner mi­nister, shall be introduced, whether in a regular unbroken line of succession or not, whether by a superior or inferior order of ministers, yea whether by the officers of the church or the brethren, as the commission is [...] silent upon this head, so nothing relative thereto [...] concluded from it. And altho' from other texts it appears, that it belongs, not to the private brethren, but to ministers to ordain: yet for aught appearing in the commission itself, a successi­on of ministers, even by lay ordination, would have as ef­fectually secured the accomplishment of the promise, as one by presbyters, yea or bishops themselves.

THUS his bold assertion ‘that we have the same evidence for the succession he pleads for, as we have for our de­scent [Page 74]from Adam, finally comes to this.’ For one we have the certain, indubitable, repeated, express testimony of infallible scripture, which is evidence of the highest kind. For the other, we have only his forced interpretation of a particular text, which is no evidence at all.

BUT if scripture will not support his confidence in this point, perhaps he thinks history will. For he tells us ‘there can be no instance produced from all ecclesiastical his­tory, of any one man's being owned, by the church uni­versal, as a bishop, who was not ordained by another bi­shop, or by an officer in the church superior to a presby­ter.’ * 'Till this is done, he thinks ‘it unreasonable to disbelieve the succession in the three orders.’ This argu­ment for a succession, is the universal acknowledgment of the church, that there has, in fact, been such a succession. Now the fact here asserted, is either true, or it is not true. If it is not true in fact, that there has been any such univer­sal acknowledgment, in favour of a succession, which is doubtless the case; then his argument founded upon such acknowledgment is at once destroyed. But if it is true, his argument founded upon it, is inconclusive; for if it proves the point in question, it will equally prove other things, which even Mr. L. himself will not admit as truths. ‘The sum of the argument, he tells us, is this: Christ, at first, did appoint a certain number of men with power to send others: The church universal never could be induc­ed to receive officers, unless they were ordained by such officers, as Christ appointed to ordain; therefore there has been a succession of such officers, as Christ appointed at first, which are apostles, or, as they have been since called, bishops. This evidence for the apostolic successi­on, he says, is fully sufficient to satisfy a rational enquiry, whatever it may be to silence the spirit of party.’ Now if this argument proves an uninterrupted succession of bi­shops as superior to presbyters, it will equally prove the pope's supremacy, together with other doctrines equally absurd. Let us try it in an instance or two of this kind, and see how it will run.

[Page 75] CHRIST did at first say unto Peter, ‘unto thee I commit the keys of the kingdom, &c." "The church universal never could be induced to submit to an authority Christ had not instituted;’ but the church universal, for many hundred years, did in fact submit to the pope, as Peter's successor and the vicar of Christ, therefore the pope's su­premacy, &c. is of divine institution. Or thus.—Christ did at first appoint the sacrament of his supper, to be ad­ministred to the proper subjects of it: The church univer­sal never could be induced to depart from Christ's appoint­ment, in this respect: But the church universal did in fact, for a long time practice giving the sacrament to infants; therefore this practice was no departure from Christ's insti­tution,—Whether this ‘evidence will be sufficient to silence the spirit of party,’ in any who should happen to dispute the pretended authority of his holiness, the pope, or the lawfulness of giving the sacrament to infants, I will not take upon me, absolutely, to determine. Sure I am, how­ever, it is the same evidence he has brought, in support of his apostolic succession, ‘and as fully sufficient to satisfy a rational enquiry.’

I HAVE been thus long upon the point of a succession, not that the defence of the sermons I am vindicating, is concerned in it; for neither of them say any thing about it. Nor would I be understood, absolutely to deny, that there has been a succession in the christian ministry. I ra­ther incline to think there has; though not such an one as Mr. L. contends for, in a line of bishops superior to pres­byters. Of this there is scarcely the least probability. But my motive herein was, to expose the weakness of such high claims, and the dangerous tendency of laying so much weight upon this same-episcopal succession, as the zealous advocates for it commonly do. As to the weakness of the proof, I presume it has been sufficiently exposed. The danger of laying so much stress upon it, must be obvious at first view. It naturally tends to fill the minds of serious christians, with perplexing doubts and fears, as to the vali­dity and efficacy of the gospel administrations, on which they attend; and utterly deprive them of the comfort and [Page 76]edification they might otherwise hope to receive from them. At the same time, it gives a handle to deists and infidels, to banter and ridicule the most important truths of christianity, while they thus behold them, and that even by its teachers, sunk to a level, in point of evidence, with the most doubt­ful and disputable points.

I SHALL conclude what I have to say upon this head, in the words of a learned prelate of the church of England;* as probably it will be more convincing to Mr. L. and those of his stamp, than any thing I can say. They are contained in his answer to the high claims of the non juror-clergy, at the time of the revolution; who refusing to swear allegi­ance to king William, were deprived of their office, and others put in their places. Upon which they condemned the whole church of England, as schismatical, in having gone off from this same line of succession, our author con­tends for, and like him and his zealous brethren, arrogated the whole power of the church and ministry to themselves. —Upon which the learned bishop thus writes,

‘I DO not love, I confess, so much as to repeat the prin­cipal branches of their beloved scheme; they are so diffe­rent, whence so ever they come, from the voice of the gospel. When they would alarm you, as their fellow labourers the papists do, by telling you, that you cannot hope for the favour of God, but in the strictest communion with their church (which is the true church of England, governed by bishops, in a regular succession,)—that God hath him­self hung your salvation upon this nicety;—that he dis­penses none of his favours or graces, but by the hands of them and their subordinate priests;—that you cannot be authoritatively blessed or released from your sins, but by them who are the regular priests;—that churches under other bishops (i. e. other than in a regular succession,) are schismatical conventicles, made up of excommunicated persons, both clergy and laity; out of God's church, as will as out of his favour:—I say, when such arguments as these are urged; you need only have recourse to a gene­ral answer, to this whole heap of scandal and defamation, [Page 77]upon the will of God, the gospel of Christ, and the church of England in particular;—that you have not so learned Christ, or the design of his gospel, or even the foundation of this particular part of his church, reformed and esta­blished in England. The following arguments will jus­tify you, which therefore ought to be frequently in the thoughts of all, who have any value for the most impor­tant points. God is just and equal, and good: And as sure as he is so, he cannot put the salvation and happi­ness of any man, upon what he himself has put it out of the power of any man upon earth, to be intirely satisfied in.—It hath not pleased God, in his providence, to keep up any proof of the least probability, or moral possibility, of a regular uninterrupted succession. But there is a great ap­apearance, and, humanly speaking, a certainty of the con­trary; that this succession hath been interrupted.’

SECT. VI. A vindication of my discourse upon presbyterian ordination, from the exceptions contained in Mr. L's book; from p. 27, to 38.

NOT to say any thing of Mr. L's logic, he seems to be well acquainted with a certain figure in rhetoric, by which a part is taken for the whole. Having remarked up­on one or two, among many, of Dr. Chauncy's arguments, he roundly tells us, ‘he has considered every thing mate­rial advanced by the Dr.’—The same method he takes, in his remarks upon me. Thus he begins them.— ‘The sum of his argument is this, there is but one commission and of consequence can be, but one order of gospel mini­sters.’ * Truly concise and laconic! An easy and com­pendious method this, of answering a book,—to remark upon one argument, out of many, and then pretend he has answered the whole; tho' perhaps not quite so safe and ho­nourable to the author, unless he could be sure, the pieces he pretends to answer, had never been seen by his readers. 'Tis true this was one of my arguments: I hope to shew it is a good one. But if he had read my piece, he must have observed that I used sundry others in support of the doctrine [Page 78]I undertook to defend.—I argued it,—from presbyters be­ing successors to the apostles in their ordinary character.— From there being in fact but one order only to be found in the gospel.—From presbyters being true scripture bishops, and the only bishops the gospel owns.—From express in­stances of presbyterian ordination found in scripture.—And finally, from the suffrage of antiquity,—the unanimous judgment and practice of the reformed churches abroad,— the first reformers in England, and many great and learned episcopalians since. How then could he pretend, ‘that this was the sum of what I had advanced, in support of my principles?’ However, since he chooses to combat only this one argument, I shall follow him in his remarks upon it.—His words are, ‘Mr. Welles says, p. 17, these last words (meaning the promise annexed to the com­mission) plainly shew that this promise was made, not to the persons of the apostles but to their office as ministers in Christ's church; and consequently that their office is to—continue to the end of the world.—He asserts, p. 16, this is the commission, and the only commission we have any account of, which Christ gave to his apostles.’—The consequence of which Mr. L. says, must be this, ‘that the commission constituted them apostles, and therefore the apostolic office must continue to the end of time.’

ANSWER.—If by apostolic office, he means the office the apostles sustained, as ordinary ministers in the church; I readily grant that the commission in Mat. 28, did con­stitute them apostles, and that their office, in this sense of it, is to continue to the end of the world. But if by apos­tolic office, he means their office as apostles, properly so call­ed, considered in their extraordinary character, I deny that it was to be continued, and affirm there is nothing in the words he pretends to quote from me, that will infer such a conclusion. 'Tis true I said, and still say, ‘that the promise of Christ's presence to the end of the world, annexed to the commission, was made, not to the persons of the apostles, but to their office. But as what? Not as apostles, but as I there express it, ‘as ministers in [Page 79]Christ's church,’ i. e. standing ordinary ministers.—I also said, ‘that this is the commission, and the only one, we have any account of, that Christ gave his apostles.’ But then I added, "in virtue of which they were im­powered to act as ministers in his church." i. e. as ordinary standing ministers, as the whole connexion of my dis­course shewed. Had Mr. L. thus quoted my words at large, every reader would have seen the weakness of the conclusion he pretends to draw from them. They are so far from given any countenance to his notion of, "a con­tinuation of the apostolic office as such; that on the contra­ry, they very expressly distinguish between this, and their ordinary character, and very clearly shew, that is was the latter, and not the former, that was to be perpetuated, and in which they were to have successors to the end of time. This, I presume, is sufficient to vindicate my words from this consequence he pretends to draw from them.

BUT, says Mr. L. ‘the consequence (meaning from my words) is plainly this: that the commission constituted them apostles, or else that they acted as apostles with­out any commission.’

I ANSWER, This is by no means a plain consequence neither. Had I said, as he has imperfectly quoted me, ‘that this is the only commission we have any account of, that Christ gave his apostles,’ and had added nothing further, it would indeed have followed, not as he says, "that they acted without any commission;" but that, for aught appeared in scripture, they acted without any. These two conclusions are very different. The scripture gives no account of the ordination of Silas, Apollos, Epaphroditus, &c. I trust, however, he himself will not from hence con­clude that they acted as ministers without any commission or ordination. But then he well knew, that when I said, "this is the only commission," &c. I meant the only one they received as standing gospel ministers, invested with an office to be perpetuated. This distinction was fully ex­pressed in the clause he has seen fit to suppress, viz. ‘in virtue of which they were impowered to act as ministers,’ &c. His conclusion therefore, ‘that this commission [Page 80]constituted them apostles, or else they acted without a commission,’ no ways follows. For altho' as standing ordinary ministers, they had no other commission, yet they might have as apostles. It was in the former view I spake of them, not in the latter. Certainly they were called apostles long before this commission was given, even upon their being first called by Christ.* Paul was called and commissioned to be an apostle, and acted as such, long be­fore he received ordination as a standing gospel minister. The commission of the apostles as such, as extraordinary offi­cers, was in an extraordinary way; by an immediate call from heaven. As apostles, they were all with Paul "not of men, neither by men, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father. When it was they received this commission, whether upon their first call, as some suppose, or at the day of Pentecost, as others think, is perhaps difficult certain­ly to determine. As their apostolic office, properly so call­ed, was extraordinary, and temporary, there was no occa­sion the commission, impowering them thereto, should be particularly recorded in scripture. This was given to them in person; and as they were to have no successors in it, none else had any concern with it. But as standing ordi­nary ministers, they were to have successors to the end of time; and therefore it was necessary their commission, in this character, should be particularly recorded; for this concerned their successors as well as themselves. Accord­ingly we find, this commission is in fact recorded: 'Tis that we have been considering: 'Tis that to which the promise is annexed of Christ's presence to the end of the world; and the same concerning which I asserted in my sermon, ‘that it is the only one, we have any account of, which Christ gave to his apostles, in virtue of which they were improved to act as ordinary ministers in his church.’ And for this purpose, no doubt it is recorded, that it might be a standing commission, impowering, au­thorizing and directing, all the true ministers of Christ to the end of the world.

OUR author's next remark is to this purpose,—that [Page 81]while I am proving from the one commission, that one or­der only of ministers can be virtuated by it, I myself, in effect, allow two, and so defeat my own argument: For he says, I call the apostles in one place, extraordinary officers, and in another, ordinary ones, and yet these are both impow­ered by one commission; hence he concludes that I am "refuted by myself."*

I ANSWER, had he honestly cited the passage he pretended to quote from me, the weakness of this conclusion of his would have been obvious at first view. 'Tis true I speak of the apostles, as sustaining the twofold character or office, of apostles, and ordinary gospel ministers. But then it is e­qually true that I speak only with respect to the latter, when I say, ‘this is the commission and the only commission we have any account of their receiving from Christ.’ This distinction and limitation I fully enough expressed, in the pas­sage from which he quotes these words, tho' he has seen fit to suppress it by apartial & imperfect quotation. Such acts may help to support a bad cause: A good one has no need of them. Will it at all follow, that because the apostles, considered as ordinary ministers of Christ, are impowered by this one ge­neral commission, that they must as extraordinary officers also be impowered by the same? If it will not, then there is no force at all in Mr. L's conclusion from my argument, as tho' it allowed of two orders being impowered by one and the same commission. As there is nothing expressly said, or e­ven implied in this commission, of more than one order to be impowered by it; not the least intimation, that the pow­ers it contains are to be divided, and the whole given to one order, and part only to another; and finally, as it is incon­sistent to suppose, that two or more offices, the one superior, the other subordinate, should be virtuated and appointed by one and the same commission, we may I think, fairly con­clude, that one order of gospel ministers, and only one, is appointed and impowered by this commission; consequent­ly, that all the powers contained in this commission belong to that one order, and that of ordination among the rest. I presume therefore, my argument from the one commissi­on, [Page 82]still stands good, notwithstanding all Mr. L. has said against it.

I HAD said in my sermon, ‘that the apostles in their ex­traordinary character, had no successors.’ This Mr. L. calls "a bold assertion," and demands ‘what evidence I have produced to support it.’ *

ANSWER. As the assertion is a negative, had no evidence been produced, it would hardly have deserved the epithet of "bold." According to the rules of argumentation, the proof lies upon those who affirm a fact, not upon those who deny it. Had Mr. L. however, carefully read over the page in my sermon, from whence he pretends to quote the passage, he must have seen the evidence he demands. My words are these, ‘It must be remembered that the apostles sustain­ed a twofold character, the one extraordinary as apostles, the other ordinary as gospel ministers. In their extraor­dinary capacity, they were immediately called by Christ. —Were sent forth by him to be witnesses of his resurrec­tion. —Were endowed with the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, the knowledge of tongues, the power of discerning spirits, and of working miracles. They were not limitted to any particular place, one more than ano­ther, for the exercise of their ministry; but had the whole world assigned them as their charge; and being under the infallible guidance of divine inspiration, they had the superintendency and government of all the churches com­mitted to them, until the canon of scripture should be full, and compleat rules given for that purpose in the word of God. In this they had no successors, but this part of their office expired with themselves: For as there is now no occasion for these extraordinary powers, since the scripture is sufficiently attested, its canon compleated, and every thing necessary for the institution and govern­ment of the church, particularly revealed; so there are no men since the times of the apostles, who can lay any claim to these extraordinary and miraculous powers; and therefore none can pretend to be successors to them in that part of their character which was founded on these [Page 83]powers.’—This was the sense in which I asserted ‘the apostles had no successors,’ and these the reasons I assign­ed for such assertion; and to me they appear conclusive: As this extraordinary character of the apostles had its rise in the extraordinary circumstances, attending them, and was founded in the extraordinary powers bestowed upon them, it must necessarily have ceased, if the circumstances and powers have ceased, on which it was founded; but that the latter have ceased, Mr. L. will not deny: For whatever powers they claim for their bishops, the pretended succes­sors of the apostles; I think that of working miracles is not one of them. If he can produce any instance of that kind sufficiently authenticated, they shall be properly noticed; if not, he must not be offended, if people look upon the claim a little assuming, nor pretend the ‘assertion is more bold’ than true, if the right to assume the character should happen to be denied.

[Page 84] OUR author's next attack upon this argument of the one commission, is from the order of deacons, whom the apos­tles, he says, by virtue of this commission, constituted and ordained. ‘They were ordained, he tells us, to do some­thing which the apostles did, before these deacons were consecrated to their office.’ It is pity he had not told us what this something was, they were ordained to do. This he purposely evades; and he had his reasons for it. If he had done this, he was sensible it would have at once appear­ed, that their office was not contained in, or virtuated by this commission, and so have overthrown his objection a­gainst my argument, which was ‘that one and the same commission, could constitute but one office only.’ This something to which these deacons were ordained, was to serve tables, concerning which work, not the least hint is to be found in the ministerial commission. That indeed impow­ers those to whom it is given, to preach, baptize, &c. but says not a single word of serving tables and managing the church stock, the peculiar business of deacons. As therefore the deacons office is not contained in, or virtuated by this commission; so the appointment of them no ways militates against my argument, that where there is but one commission, there can be but one order or office impowered by it.

BUT tho' he cannot find the work of a deacon contained in the ministerial commission, he seems very desirous of having their office virtuated by it, that so he may make out [Page 85]two orders impowered by the same commission, contrary to what I had asserted. ‘If, says he, the commission of the apostles, impowered them to ordain but one order of of­ficers; how came they to constitute the office of deacons.’ I answer:—They did it, not by virtue of the ministerial commission we have been considering, but of that which constituted them apostles. The former, as has been shewed, belonged to them, not as apostles, but as ordinary ministers of Christ, impowered thereby to preach, baptize, &c. In vir­tue of this, they were no more impowered to constitute a new order, than any of their successors in the same office. But as apostles, as divinely inspired, and under the infallible guidance of the Holy Ghost, they had power to do it. And in this capacity, and this only, they acted, when they insti­tuted this office. As therefore, it was not in virtue of, or by power derived from the general ministerial commission, that this office of deacons was instituted; so there can be no argument brought from their appointment, in proof of two or more offices virtuated by this commission; consequently, my argument, ‘that where there is but one commission, one order only can be virtuated or impowered by it,’ still stands good.

I readily allow ‘the office of deacon, to be inferior to that of apostle, I grant ‘it is an office in which the pow­er of ordination is not included.’ And if it will please him, I will concede too, that they may in a general sense, be called "ministers in Christ's church." But then, as they are so, not by virtue of the general commission given to ministers as ministers of the word and sacraments; but by the express appointment of the apostles, acting in their apostolic character; this will afford no argument in favour, either of his preaching deacons, or of his notion that two or more orders are impowered by this one commission. Let him shew in this commission, or elsewhere, as particular an ac­count of the appointment of their two orders of bishops & presbyters, as we can produce of the institution of deacons. Let him produce as express warrant for deacons preaching, from the account of their first institution, as we have for [Page 86]that of presbyters, in the general ministerial commission; and we will readily allow their scheme of diocesan episcopa­cy to be warranted by scripture: 'Till then, he must not be offended if people call it by its true and proper name, an unscriptural scheme that has no countenance from the word of God.

BUT he tells me, that I undertook to prove the right of people to choose their own ministers, from the instance of deacons being chosen by the church. ‘Now, says he, if these deacons were ministers, it proves that there was more than one order of ministers at that time: If they were not, it does not prove the point for which he brought it.’

ANSWER. Deacons being called ministers in a general sense, agreeable to the original import of the word DIACO­NOS, will not prove them to be ministers in the sense of the commission, that is, ministers of the word and sacraments. If so, Mr. L. must admit a fourth order into their priesthood, viz. that of she ministers: For the apostle calls Phoebe a mi­nister, (DIACONON) "of the church of Cenchrea." Conse­quently, calling deacons ministers in this general sense, will not prove ‘that there was more than one order of mini­sters, in the proper sense, at that time.’ And yet their be­ing ministers in this general sense, that is, officers or servants of the church, and as such, chosen and elected by the church, affords a good argument in proof of the church's right to choose her own officers in general, and consequently those who are to minister in the word and sacraments in particu­lar. This instance therefore, of the deacons election by the church does as effectually ‘prove the point for which I brought it,’ as if they had been ministers in the most strict and appropriate sense of the word. Thus my argu­ments for but one order of gospel ministers, stand, I trust, fully vindicated from this cavil also.

THO' deacons, in the general sense above, may be called ministers, yet 'tis plain from their original institution they never were designed to be ministers of the word. The oc­casion of their appointment, and the business they were ap­pointed [Page 87]to do, is there expressly said to be, "to serve tables," and that with a special express view that the apostles being released from this care, might be at liberty to pursue their proper work, to ‘give themselves to prayer and the mini­stry of the word.’ Who can once imagine then, that preaching is any part of the deacons business? That when the apostles found, that "serving tables was inconsistent with and too much for the ministers of the word, and accor­dingly instituted the order of deacons to ease them of that burden, they should nevertheless devolve the whole burden of both upon the deacons they had appointed? The apos­tles themselves were not sufficient for both; but the deacons whom they appointed, it seems were, if the doctrine of preaching deacons be true. When the deacon is employed in his proper work, I know no body that "despises him" (as Mr. L. complains.) It is an honorable office in the church, and ought to be so esteemed. But when he leaves his business, and becomes ‘a busy body in other mens mat­ters,’ when he invades an office the scripture never de­signed him, and presumes to preach as a minister of the word; if he is not to be despised upon this account, most certainly he ought to be rebuked for his rashness and presumption.

IN my argument from the one commission, I had these words. ‘Who hath a right to divide the powers Christ has evidently connected in his commission, and give the whole to one order of ministers, and but half to the other; or rather to create a new order of officers in the church which the gospel knows nothing of’?—From these last words Mr. L. attempts to prove, that I have cut myself off from a regular ordination. For if either the bishops or presbyters in their church, are this ‘new order which the gospel knows nothing of;’ as we derive our succession from the bi­shops of their church, by whom our first ministers in this country were ordained, we must, he supposes, derive it from this new order, and therefore our ordinations must be null

ANSWER. When any officers in Christ's church, in addi­tion to the powers granted them in the gospel, engross and exercise those which do not belong to them, they are so far [Page 88]forth "a new order which the gospel knows nothing of." This I take to be the case with diocesan bishops. They ingross and monopolize the whole power of ordination and government, which the gospel leaves, in common, to all gospel ministers. In doing this, they usurp a power, which does not belong to them, and in the exercise of this usurped power, are "an order which the gospel knows nothing of." This, however, does not nullify those actions, which the gospel impowers them to perform. Now one of these is ordination. Tho' therefore in ingrossing the whole power of ordination, &c. to themselves, they act as ‘a new order which the gospel knows nothing of,’ because they have no right so to do; yet barely in ordaining, they are an order which the gospel owns, because, by the gospel, they have a right to ordain. Again, when an order of officers, from principle, neglect a part of the duties of their office, and which their commission obliges them to do; they are so far forth, "a new order which the gospel knows nothing of." This is the case of the presbyters in the episcopal church. Considered as set apart to the ministry by ordination, they are lawful gospel ministers. But considered as abridging themselves of one half of the powers that belong to them, as living in a state of servile subjection to the bishop by their oath of canonical obedience; and preaching, not in virtue of Christ's commission, but the bishops licence; they are merely of human institution, a ‘new order which the gospel knows nothing of.’ But until it is proved, that that an officer's pretending to claim and exercise a power which he has not, destroys and nullifies the power which he lawfully has; Mr. L's consequence, as to the unlawfulness of my ordination, will by no means follow. If a justice of the peace should pretend to engross all the authority of his brother-justices in a whole county, 'tis plain in so doing, he would be an officer which the law knew nothing of. This, however, would not invalidate those acts, which, as a jus­tice, the law impowered him to do. The pope, with his impious and unscriptural claim of infallibility and universal dominion, over the whole christian church, I hope Mr. L. [Page 89]will allow, is an officer which the gospel knows nothing of: And yet he, and all other advocates for uninterrupted suc­cession, must derive it from him, or upon their own prin­ciples, they can have no claim to the ministerial character, However therefore this argument of his, might move one to pity its weakness, I find nothing in it to make us ‘a­shamed of proper boasting in the ministerial authority we have received.’

IN p. 28 of my sermon I argued, that as a governor and justice of the peace being different officers, must be impow­ered by different commissions, so if there were different de­grees of office in the gospel ministry, we might reasonably expect different commissions, authorizing them to these offices.

TO this Mr. L. replies, that a governor, by virtue of the king's commission, can authorize a justice of the peace and other officers, and just so the apostles, by virtue of their commission from Christ, "can authorize men of different orders to act in Christ's name."*

ANSWER. Tho' a governor can authorize a justice and other officers which the laws of the king or constitution have appointed, yet he can create no new officer in the state. So in the other case. Tho' the apostles could ordain such offi­cers as the gospel had appointed, yet they could make no new ones, different from, or in addition to those which the laws of Christ's kingdom, and the gospel constitution have established. We know it was agreeable to the gospel con­stitution, that they should appoint the office of deacon; be­cause they have in fact done it. Besides this, we read of no other order appointed by them. If there be any, it be­longs to our opponents to produce them. When Christ ascended, be left only his eleven apostles in commission; all of one order, all equal it power. Had two or more orders been necessary in the gospel ministry, he ‘who was faith­ful in all his house.’ would certainly have appointed them, or left orders with his apostles to do it. As he has not; as neither he nor his apostles have instituted, except deacons, any more than one order of officers in the gospel [Page 90]church, 'tis a certain consequence there are no other. And therefore Mr. L's plea, from what the apostles were "im­powered to do in authorizing different orders," is nothing to the purpose. What they were "impowered to do," we must judge from what they have in fact done. And as, in fact, they have, besides deacons, appointed no other order, we may safely presume they were not impowered by Christ to appoint any other. As to the three orders which he says, they appointed in the church of Jerusalem, it has been al­ready considered and refuted, and his assertion proved to be groundless.

HIS next attack upon me, is for saying, ‘that presbyters have a right to govern the church." This, he says, "I labour hard to prove.’ * 'Tis true I mentioned this oc­casionally, and, I think, sufficiently proved it, without any "hard labour." He himself allows them some power of go­vernment. ‘That they have a right, in subordination to their apostle or bishop, to govern their own stocks.’

ANSWER. What kind or degree of government, the mis­sionary of Norwalk, as a simple presbyter, pretends to, or what manner of discipline he exercises over the flock there. I am not able to say. This, however, I can say, that if he exercises any discipline at all, as a ruler in the church, it is without book. The canons of his church and the rules of his order, having allowed nothing of this kind to him, but reserved the whole affair to his ordinary. If therefore he should presume to arrogate any such power, and take it upon him to discipline any of his unruly flock. ‘I can't say, (to use his own words to me) how they will relish these high claims of his.’ If he should ever attempt any thing of this kind;— ‘unless he does it under the specious pretence of apposing presbyterians,"—"and his people should once come to be cool, he must take a great deal of pains, and use much art, to bring them tamely to submit to this his claim of authority over them.’

FOR the direct proof of the presbyters right of govern­ment, the reader is referred to the latter part of this, and the next section. In the mean time there is one sentence [Page 91]more in this paragraph, which deserves a remark. It is this. ‘If he will allow our bishops, the same power over the presbyters, that the apostles exercised over their presby­ters, we will contend for no more in their behalf.’

ANSWER. 'Tis granted the apostles exercised authority over those he calls presbyters, in the age in which they lived. But the same did they also, over those he calls bishops; par­ticularly over Timothy and Titus. If this then is any ar­gument in proof of three orders in the church, in proof of the bishop's authority over the presbyter now, it equally proves the necessity of four orders, and will as effectually establish the authority of the pope over all other bishops, as it will theirs over presbyters. But the authority the apos­tles exercised over other gospel ministers, whether presby­ters or bishops, or by whatever name they were called; they did it, not as ordinary ministers of the church, not as an or­der to be perpetuated; but as apostles, as officers divinely inspired, &c. When therefore Mr. L. can prove his bi­shops, to have the same immediate mission, miraculous pow­ers, infallible guidance, &c. &c, &c. which constituted the apostolic character and superior authority; it well be then time enough for him to make, and us to grant the above demand.

MR. L. next imputes to me an argument, for support of our ordination, that I never used. He says ‘I take a great deal of pains to prove, and often repeat it, that the pow­er of the apostles, to ordain and govern, was not expres­sed, but only implied in their commission"* This, he says, I do in order to prove that the first ministers of this country had power to ordain, tho' no such power was expressed, in the commission they received from the bishops that or­dained them.’ * Tho' I never tho't of this argument he here frames for me, yet as he has advanced some things in his re­marks upon it, which may tend to mislead the inattentive, it may be proper to make a few observations upon what he here offers.—He first tells me, that to the account of the commission in Matt. xxviii. I ought to have joined that giv­en by John; chap. xx. v. 21, 22, 23. Where Christ says, [Page 92] ‘As my father hath sent me, even so send I you.—Whose­soever sins ye remit," &c—"If, says he, we lay toge­ther the accounts, these two apostles give of the matter, we shall plainly see, that in the apostles commission, they were expressly impowered to send others—to govern the church—to preach and to baptize.’ *

ANSWER. Great weight, I am sensible, is laid by the ad­vocates for prelacy, upon these words of our Saviour. ‘as my father hath sent me, &c.’ The warm patrons of epis­copacy, pretend here to find, the bishops exclusive right to the power of ordination, &c. Tho' by what logic, is diffi­cult to say. Papists, from the same text, support the sacri­fice of the mass. For as God the father sent Christ to of­fer a sacrifice for sin; so Christ sent his apostles, and they o­thers, to offer the sacrifice of the mass, that is, the real flesh and blood of Christ in the sacrament of the supper. So that these words will prove almost any thing and every thing. Now tho' I don't concieve the ministerial commission, to be contained in these words, but rather in those Matt. 28. Yet if it will gratify Mr. L. I am willing, for once, to allow it; to allow the commission to be collected from both. But then I don't see what service it will be to his cause. For tho' the power of government is rather more particularly ex­pressed, in John's account than those in Matthew's; the or­daining power, about which we are contending, is full as clearly expressed in Matthew as in John: Or rather, it is expressed in neither. However, tho' the commission in Matthew, says nothing expressly, about sending others; yet the promise of Christ's perpetual presence, annex't to the commission, necessarily supposes it, as I shewed in my ser­mon; consequently the ordaining power is fairly implied in the commission. But the utmost that can be pretended in John's account, is barely an implication of such power. Mr. L. supposes that the power "of sending others," is ex­pressed in these words; ‘As my father hath sent me, even so send I you." Here indeed is express mention of " the Fa­ther's sending Christ," and of "Christ's sending the a­postles;’ but not a single word of ‘the apostles sending [Page 93]others,’ or any thing expressly intimating that such power was committed to them. In order to this, the words must have been, "as I send you, even so do ye send others." Mr. L. I conclude, will say, that the words, ‘as my father hath sent me,’ &c. contain in them a power committed to the apostles of sending others. I grant they do. But how? Not expressly, but only by implication. But then the same does the commission in Matthew. As to this then, there is no manner of difference. ‘Perhaps, therefore, (to use his own words,) no better reason can be given, why Mr. L. will not allow the commission in Matt. 28. to be the only ministerial commission, than that it does not comport with his scheme. According to "his scheme," there are three gradations in the ministry. Men must be first ordained dea­cons, then presbyters, and finally advanced to the highest order, bishops. But, for this, he found, one and the same identical commission would not suffice. He has therefore, besides that mentioned by me, Matt. 28. found, as he thinks, another in John 20. ‘This, he tells us, Christ gave to his apostles, the night after he rose from the dead,’ and so before the other. By this then, according to ‘his scheme, the apostles must have been ordained to no higher order than deacons, or at most presbyters. The other com­mission, that in Matthew, he tells us, ‘was given some time after in Gallilee, which therefore, "to comport with his scheme, must have made them bishops. But, unhap­pily for "his scheme," the first of these, according to him, contains the powers of ordination and government, and the last, only those of preaching and baptizing. According to his account, therefore, the apostles must first have been ordained to the highest office of bishops, and afterwards to the lower one of presbyters or deacons; which, to make the most of it, "comports with his scheme" but very indifferently, and must well nigh "prove fatal to his design."

BUT if this will not help his own cause, he thinks it will overthrow ours. For he says,— ‘if we find that the words of the commission that their ministers received from our bishops, are not expressive of such power, (viz, of ordi­nation [Page 94]and government:) We must conclude they did not receive such authority as is pretended.’ *

ANSWER. If there is but one ministerial commission, as has been proved, then all who are lawfully ordained, are vested with this commission, and all the powers it contains, of which ordination is one, let the intention of the ordain­ers be what they will. The bishops, who ordained our first ministers, intended, I hope, to make them lawful ministers of Christ, and invest them with his commission; and more­over, used words sufficiently expressive of such intention. If they did not do this in our case, neither did they, I pre­sume, in that of Mr. L. and his brethren: They are there­fore not lawful ministers of Christ, not being vested with his commission. But if this was done in the case of the latter, it was equally so in that of the former; consequently they were vested with Christ's general commission and with all the powers of it, and those of ordination and govern­ment among the rest.

AS a proof of but one order in the ministry, I mentioned, in my sermon, the elders of the church of Ephesus, Acts xx. and said, ‘the intire guidance and government of the church was committed to these elders, without any men­tion of a single person as their superior in office.’ Here Mr. L. demands, ‘Where does he find that the govern­ment of these churches was committed to these elders.’

ANSWER. I find it in the words directed to them by the apostle, v. 28. He there charges them in these words. ‘Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers; to feed the church of God." But he tells me "they are here expressly said to be made overseers, not to govern, but to feed the flock;" and he is really "amazed I should assert, that the intire guidance and government of the church is committed to them," for he can see nothing of it there.’ Perhaps the following observations may help him to see it.

IN the first place. I find this power of government con­tained in the name, by which these elders are there called. [Page 95]The apostle expressly calls them overseers. He tells them they were made, EPISCOPOUS, bishops, over this church, and that by the Holy Ghost. This name includes in it the pow­er of rule or guidance. It is rendered, by the best lexico­graphers, by epicopus, bishop, inspector, an inspecter, praeses, a president or chief ruler. Accordingly it is the very name that episcopalians have appropriated to the highest order of their clergy, the bishops; and that as peculiarly expressive of the power of government or chief rule. If therefore their bishops, as such, are vested with the power of govern­ment, these elders are also; for they are expressly called bishops; and were made such even by the Holy Ghost: Doubtless the Holy Ghost, in making them bishops, com­mitted to them the whole power of bishops, and this of go­vernment among the rest. Mr. L. allows, those who are made bishops, by other bishops in their church, or even by the grand pontif at Rome, to be invested with the power of governing the church. But to these bishops at Ephesus, who were made such by the Holy Ghost; he will not al­low any such power. How partial is this, to say no more? This power of government therefore is included in the ve­ry name by which these elders are called.

AGAIN. It is included, and that expressly, in the charges the apostle gives them. The words are, "to feed the flock "of God, POIMAINEIN.* The word in the original, signi­fies to rule or feed, as a shepherd does his flock, and so in­cludes in it all acts of pastoral government and care. It is derived from POIMEEN, a shepherd, whose business is, not only to feed, but to rule and guide his flock. Which title our Lord applies to himself, as peculiarly expressive of his character, as the "chief shepherd and bishop of souls," and of all that power and authority he exercises in that character. Accordingly he uses the word as his apostle does here, in his charge to Peter an apostle, and that as expres­sive of the whole care he was to take of Christ's flock, both in government and instruction. Peter uses the same word, in his charge to the elders or bishops of the churches, to whom he directs his epistle. That these were the proper [Page 96]bishops or rulers of these churches, is plain from the apostle's charging them to "take the over-sight of them." EPISCOPOUNTES. To act the bishop among them; as also from his cautioning them against lording it over God's heritage,’ i. e. using this power of government tyranni­cally. But to put the matter beyond all dispute; we find the word sundry times used in the new testament, where it can't possibly admit of any other interpretation but to rule, and therefore is so rendered by our translators. Thus when Christ is spoken of under the express character of a gover­nor: He is said, as such, (POIMANEI,) ‘to rule God's peo­ple Israel".* Again. "To him that overcometh, I will give power over the nations, and he shall (POIMANEI) rule them with a rod of iron.’ Again it is said of the man child, ‘that he was to rule (POIMANEI) all nations with a rod of iron.’ Finally the supreme dominion and authority of our blessed Lord, ‘who hath on his vesture and on his thigh, a name written KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS," is set forth by the same word, "he shall rule (POIMANEI) all nations with a rod of iron.’ Thus with an evidence, beyond all exception, it appears, that the power of ruling or governing the church of Ephesus, is expressly committed to the elders of it, by the apostle, in this his charge given to them. And yet because our trans­lators use the word feed in this place, Mr. L. confidently as­serts ‘that the direction given to them, was only to teach or feed the people over whom they were placed.’ § He puts the words feed and teach in italics, and makes them sy­nonimous terms; at the same time he sets both in opposi­tion to ruling or governing, which is the original meaning of the word; and then tells us, ‘these words expressly declare, what they were made overseers to do; that was, to feed the church of God; there is not the least intimation they were to govern it." And he "is really amazed, he says, that I should assert the contrary, when the place referred to so expressly says, that the Holy Ghost made them over­seers, not to govern, but to feed the church of God.’ ‖‖ What the poor gentleman's amazement arose from, whether [Page 97]from the overbearing lustre of the evidence he opposed, or from what other cause; sure I am, he has grossly preverted the meaning of this text, by so confidently asserting, that nothing concerning the government of the church, is contained in it; when that is the very thing the apostle gives them in charge; and that by a word as expressive of it, as per­haps, any in the new testament. I hope he did not do this, with a dishonest design, to impose upon his unlearned read­ers. I will not therefore tell him as he politely does me, "that he himself knew the contrary to be true." This, how­ever I will tell him, that if he did not, he was utterly un­qualified for the controversy he has undertaken, and there­fore ought to have declined it.

HAVING thus made good the assertion in my sermon, "that the government of the church was vested in these elders, the argument deduced from it in support of presby­terian ordination still stands good. The inference Mr. L. draws from what he calls "this claim of mine, as to the ef­fect which he supposes it will have, upon the minds of my hearers, gives me not the least uneasiness. The communi­cants of our church, which he is pleased to call the meeting of Stanford, by twenty years experience, well know my principles and practice, as to church government. Every one who reads my sermon will readily see what I meant by saying ‘the intire guidance and government of the church, was committed to the elders.’ That is, not exclusive of the church, but in contradistinction to any other pretended superior officer. That they were the only persons who, as officers, had any thing to do in governing the church. This I expressed by saying, ‘the Holy Ghost had made, not Ti­mothy, but these elders, the sole bishops of this church.’ Whereas, when I am professedly speaking of the powers committed to ministers, by Christ's commission; I express it in these words. ‘To dispense the word and sacraments, to preside in the government of the church, and to ordain others.’ * This, I think a sufficient answer to all his quib­bles, as to the "powers I claim," in the government of the church. His remarks upon it, considering the foundation [Page 98]he acted upon, and his end in view; appear as weak, as they are ill natured.

THUS have I very particularly considered, all Mr. L's remarks upon my sermon, and as I think, abundantly re­futed, all his objections against my arguments from the one commission. Have sufficiently proved, that as there is but one commission given by Christ to his ministers, there can be but one order only, virtuated and impowered by it; consequently that all who are authorized by this commissi­on, to any part of the ministerial office, must be vested with all the powers the commission contains; therefore with that of ordination, which is one of these powers. And as this is the only argument Mr. L. has pretended to attack, all the others in my sermon, must be presumed to stand good.

SECT. VII. A particular consideration and refutation of what Mr. L. calls "his direct proof of episcopacy, from matters of fact recorded in scripture," from p. 38 to 48.

THE whole of what our author calls ‘his direct proof of episcopacy," turns upon "the directions given by the apostle to Timothy, compared with his charge to the elders of Ephesus." "There are some things, says he, given in charge to these elders, in common with Timo­thy: Such as,—to take heed to themselves and to their doctrine, &c." "But besides these, he tells us, there are several particulars, of great importance, that Paul gave in charge to Timothy, which he did not so much as mention to all these elders.’ *—Particularly.—He informs him as to the qualifications of presbyters and deacons.—Orders him to charge some that they teach no other doctrine.—Charges him to lay hands suddenly on no man.—Directs him how to receive an accusation against an elder.—Orders him to rebuke them that sin, before all. — And finally charges him to keep this commandment unrebukable, till the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. ‘These things, he says, Paul gave in charge to Timothy, but did not so much as men­tion them to the elders of Ephesus." Hence he infers, [Page 99]that Timothy was superior in office to these elders, and charged with the government of them, and of the church at Ephesus."* He then concludes, "that Timothy had the same authority that their bishops claim, and the elders the same power only that the presbyters, in their church, exercise, consequently, "that episcopacy is of divine right, and the whole dispute is at an end.’ This is the true state of his argument presented in its full force. It turns wholly upon this.— ‘Timothy had more, and more impor­tant charges given him than these elders, therefore he was superior to them in office,—vested with episcopal autho­rity over them.’— In answer to which I observe,

1. THAT if this argument proves Timothy superior to these elders; it equally proves Peter superior to the rest of the apostles, and so establishes the supremacy of the pope above all other bishops, according to the doctrine of the church of Rome.

IT is evident from the whole history of the gospel, that Peter is, in various respects, distinguished from the other apostles. Whenever their catalogue is given, he is placed the first. Are any select number chosen, upon any special occasion, Peter is always one. He is one of the number, and the first mentioned, who were picked out to provide for the passover, —to attend Christ in his transfiguration,§ and in his agony in the garden‖‖ Our Lord frequently addres­ses his speech to him in particular by name, even in the pre­sence of the rest of the apostles. His opinion is asked con­cerning the demanded tribute. For him Christ, in parti­cular, prays that his faith fail not, and charges him, and him only, to strengthen his brethren. The women at the sepulchre, are directed by the angel, to go tell his disciples, and Peter in particular, that he was risen from the dead. §§ And, what is still more directly to the case, our Lord par­ticularly applies to him by name, and commits to him the government of the church, without saying a word to the rest of the apostles; tho' they were all present at the same time.— ‘And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon [Page 100]this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee, the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in hea­ven.’ * In the same manner, after his resurrection, he ad­dresses Peter only, tho' the other apostles were present, with this important charge,—"feed my sheep,—feed my lambs." Here now are not only a number of circumstances menti­oned, which seem to give Peter a precedency to the rest of the apostles; but sundry important charges given to him which are not given to them, tho' they were present at the same time. And what is remarkable, these are the very arguments used by the church of Rome, to establish the pope's supremacy, as Peter's successor, and give him a su­periority to all other officers in the christian church. If therefore they are sufficient to prove Timothy's superiority to the elders of Ephesus, they are equally so to prove that of Peter to the other apostles, and, consequently, to esta­blish the supremacy of the pope over all other ministers. As the argument is the same, it is certainly as conclusive, in the mouth of an Italian roman-catholic, for the pope's supremacy, as in that of an English prelatist for the bishop's superiority. And indeed it is worthy of note, that there is no one argument used, by the latter, for the divine right of episcopacy against presbyterians; but what has been used with equal force, and equal success, by the former for the divine right of the papacy, against protestants. If then our author insists upon this argument, as conclusive in his case, he must own it to be equally so, in that of the pope, and, to be consistent with himself, must turn Roman-catholic: Or if he denies it in one case, he must give it up in the other, and own there is no force in it when brought to esta­blish diocesan episcopacy.—Moreover,

2. IF this argument proves Timothy's superiority to the elders of Ephesus, it will equally follow, and upon the same principles, that he was superior to many others also, whom yet Mr. L. himself allows to be bishops in his sense of the [Page 101]word. He has told us that Barnabas was an apostle or bi­shop;* that Epaphroditus was the bishop of Philippi, and James of the church at Jerusalem But no where will he find those particular directions given to them, as are here given to Timothy. Where does he find Barnabas the apos­tle, James the bishop of Jerusalem, or Epaphroditus of Phi­lippi receiving those more, and more important charges, which, as he pretends, distinguish and prove the episcopal character of Timothy bishop of Ephesus? In this respect even the Ephesian elders, to whom yet out author will not allow the episcopal authority, have evidently the advantage. For they, he allows, received charges and directions from the apostle, tho' not so many and important as Timothy did. But these, whom nevertheless he owns were proper bishops, received no such charges. Either therefore he must re­nounce the episcopal character of James, Epaphroditus, &c. and give up his argument for episcopacy thence arising; or else he must allow these elders of Ephesus to be bishops, and so give up his present argument; or finally, which will a­mount to the same, must suppose Timothy to be superior to both, and, by divine right, an arch-bishop, a prince apostle or pope. Nay further, as there are no such particular di­rections and important charges, in scripture, given, even to the twelve apostles themselves, as are here given to Timo­thy, it must follow, from this argument, that Timothy was superior even to them. And that altho' he received his di­rections and charges from the apostle Paul, he was never­theless Paul's superior: For we no where find such parti­cular directions and important charges given even to him, as are here given to Timothy. Thus this argument for Timothy's superior power and character, while it deprives the Ephesian bishops of pastoral authority at the same time cuts off all others mentioned in scripture, even the apostles not excepted, from any claim to the powers of ordination and government.

THERE is no way, I conceive, to get clear of this difficul­ty, upon his scheme, but only by supposing, that tho' the apostles had not these particular directions given them that [Page 102]Timothy had, yet all the powers that belong to the pastoral or episcopal function are included in their general commis­sion given them by Christ, and this is sufficient to constitute them proper bishops. It is granted they were. But then the same must be granted in the case of these elders, to whom he denies this power, and then his whole argument is defeated. They also were vested with the powers includ­ed in the ministerial commission given by Christ, and be­sides, had a particular charge given by the apostle, which, as I shall shew anon, necessarily supposed these powers. Either therefore this argument intirely cuts off the apos­tles, and all others mentioned in the gospel, from any claim to the powers of ordination and government, and leaves Timothy the only apostle or bishop; or else, if the others are allowed to be vested with these powers, in virtue of the general ministerial commission; the same must be granted to these elders also, and so his argument to prove diocesan episcopacy, from this instance, looses all its force.—But.

3. IT is not true, in fact, that Paul gave more important charges to Timothy, than what he gave to these elders, and therefore Mr. L's argument, founded upon the supposition that he did, is not conclusive. His charge to these elders, very expressly considers them as bishops of the church of Ephesus; yea as appointed and fixed in the pastoral or e­piscopal office over that church, even by the Holy Ghost. ‘Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath fixed or esta­blished you bishops. * When therefore the apostle here char­ges them to ‘take heed to the flock over which they were constituted bishops;’ it is a direct charge, to do all the work, to discharge all the duties, and execute all the pow­ers of the episcopal office, consequently those of ordination and government which are part of those powers. When the fame apostle directs Timothy ‘to do the work of an e­vangelist,’ all will allow it a command to discharge all the duties of that office. And when our Lord, in his ge­neral commission to his apostles, bids them ‘go teach all nations,’ &c. it is granted on all hands, to be a command, [Page 103]authorizing and requiring them to exercise all the offices and powers of the ministry. So when the apostle here com­mands these elders to "take heed to the flock over which "the Holy Ghost had made them bishops; it equally com­prizes in it a charge to the exercise of the whole power and duty of a bishop, as tho' they had been all particularly enu­merated, as it is pretended they were in the directions to Timothy. Is Timothy, for instance, ‘charged to see to the qualifications of such who were to be ordained pres­byters and deacons?’ The same is given in charge to these elders, when they are commanded to ‘take heed to this whole flock as its proper bishops or pastors, to which office this work belongs. Is Timothy ordered to charge the elders that they teach no other than gospel doctrines?’ The same is included in the charge given to these elders. They are expressly commanded to "take heed to the whole flock." &c. to feed, i. e. not only to teach, but, as I have largely proved above, to rule and govern this church of Ephesus. Paul had particularly reminded them, ‘how that he had kept back nothing that was profitable to them, but had taught them publicly, and from house to house; that the doctrine he had preached, was repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ; and that he had not shuned to declare unto them the whole counsel of God; that he had shewed them all these things, to the intent that so labouring, i. e. as he had done, they might support the weak. &c.’ * Now what can the apostle mean, by so particularly mentioning in his charge, what, and how he had preached, but to set them an example, how they should preach themselves? And that they should take care, that no other doctrine should be taught by others, is very particularly contained in his exhortation to them. For after he had given them the above charge, as a reason of it he immediately subjoyns ‘for I know this, that after my departure, shall grievous wolves enter in a­mong you, not sparing the flock; also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away dis­ciples after them. Therefore watch, &c.’ But to what pur­pose [Page 104]was it for him to forewarn them of these ‘grievous wolves, these false teachers, "and men speaking perverse things,’ when, if Mr. L's principles be true, they had no power to prevent them? And how weak, and even im­pertinent, will the apostles discourse appear, to assign that, in particular, as a reason, why they should take heed and watch over this church, as its proper bishops or pastors, when at the same time the apostle knew, if Mr. L's doc­trine be true, that they had no power, no authority, as ru­lers of the church, to call these false teachers to account, a­gainst whom he had warned them? Would it not appear extremely impertinent, not to say ridiculous, for the bishop of London, Mr. L's diocesan, to give him a solemn charge, to ‘take heed to the church at Norwalk," to watch over it, to feed and govern it as its proper bishop or pastor,’ and that with a special view to prevent ‘false teachers from thrusting themselves in, and drawing away disciples af­ter them;’ when at the same time, his Lordship well knew, that he was so far from having any power to rebuke an elder, to receive an accusation against these false teachers, and so prevent the bad effects of their endeavours to draw away disciples after them; that he has not authority to call to account, even a private christian, or judge and censure the meanest offending member in his church? Most cer­tainly it would. But equally impertinent will the apostle's charge to these elders appear, unless we suppose they had power to call to account, and to censure these false teachers, and so prevent the evils, he foresaw would otherwise arise.

THIS power therefore most certainly they had.—A pow­er of "receiving an accusation against an elder," against any of their own number, ‘any that should arise from a­mong themselves;" and, if found guilty, "of rebuking them openly before all, that others might fear;’ a pow­er, in short, of puting to silence false or scandalous mini­sters, and of laying on hands upon others and ordaining them in their stead—This power they had equally with Timothy, which tho' not so particularly express'd, is yet as necessarily included in the charge given to them, as in that [Page 105]given to him. Besides, Timothy himself was certainly or­dained by such elders, as has been already proved, and therefore these elders had the same power to ordain.

AND as to "the one solemn charge more" so very re­markable, mentioned by our author* as given to Timothy, viz. ‘of keeping the commandment till the coming of Christ," since he himself tells us "that this is of like na­ture with the promise to the apostles, that Christ would be with them to the end of the world; it is evident from what he expressly allows elsewhere, that this must belong to these presbyters, equally with Timothy, even upon supposition Ti­mothy was their superior. For, speaking of this promise, he says; ‘tho' it might with more propriety be confined to the apostolic office, than to the other, i. e. that of pres­byters; yet we allow that it extends to both, as both are to continue to the end of time.’ As this charge there­fore is what he calls, when applied to Timothy, ‘a charge, not merely personal, but such as had relation to the of­fice he sustained:" and as this, according to him, "is pe­culiar to those officers of Christ, who have power to con­stitute other officers in the church;’ it undeniably fol­lows from his own concession, that these elders, even tho' inferior to Timothy, had power to constitute or ordain o­ther officers in the church; ‘for to their office, he tells us, was the promise and charge given, as well as to that of the apostles since both are to continue to the end of time;’ consequently these elders, having his own characteristic of those who had power to constitute others, must be invested with the power of ordaining by his own concession: And so upon his own principles, presbyterian ordination is scriptu­ral, "and, to use his own words, the dispute is at an end."

4. THAT Timothy could not be the bishop of Ephesus, left there with ordaining power, &c. is evident from Mr. L's own definition of an officer vested with that power. For he tells us ‘that at the time in which the scriptures were wrote, none had power to ordain ministers in Christ's kingdom, but those only who are in scripture called apos­tles." Again. "Let it be caresully remarked, that [Page 106]those who were commissioned to send others, were called apostles in the time when the new testament was penned.’ * This then, with him, is absolutely essential to the character of those who had power to ordain at that time, viz. that they are in scripture called apostles. But now Timothy is no where in scripture called an apostle, and therefore, ac­cording to his own definition, could not be left at Ephesus with power to ordain. Pity it is he had not thought of this. It would have saved him all the learned labour of his ‘di­rect proof of episcopacy.’ And tho' it would have de­prived him of the pleasure of those confident triumphs, with which the conclusion of it is ornamented, and robed him of the applause which his zealous admirers lavish upon this part of his performance more especially; yet, in the judgment of the impartial, ‘his book would have been as good as it is now, tho' not quite so long.’

BUT perhaps he will endeavour to prove, for he told us he designed it, tho' it should seem, he afterwards forgot his promise, ‘that Timothy was admitted to the apostolic office.’ But if he was, why is he never called an apostle? Paul frequently joyns him with himself, in the inscription of his epistles. And tho' he takes to himself the name of apostle, yet, 'tis remarkable, he never once gives it to Ti­mothy. His stile is, ‘Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, and Timothy a brother.’ Now how can this be accounted for if Timothy was an apostle? Would the meek, the hum­ble St. Paul arrogate to himself the honorable title of apos­tle, and deny it to Timothy, to whom it was equally due? Most certainly not. Besides, if Timothy was an apostle, he was equal to St. Paul. But that he was not, is plain from the authority Paul exercises over him. He every where treats him, not as an equal, but an inferior. He writes e­pistles to him, in which he warns, directs, charges, com­mands him, in the most authoritative manner. Orders him to come to him, to bring his cloke, his books, his parch­ments, and personally to attend upon him Is this the lan­guage of one to an equal? Especially one of St. Paul's [Page 107]meek and humble spirit? Certainly not. Timothy there­fore was not, could not be an apostle, consequently, if Mr. L's doctrine be true, could not be left at Ephesus with or­daining power; since none, according to him, but apostles, and so called in scripture, had power to ordain. In short Paul exercises the same authority over Timothy, and that even in those directions and charges, on which however, our author founds his episcopal or apostolic character, as he does over the elders of Ephesus. This would incline one to think, Timothy was superior to these elders in no respects.

But if he was, yet.

5. HE was an evangelist, and therefore could not be, as Mr. L. supposes, a resident governor or fixed bishop in Ephesus, or any other place. That he was an evangelist we learn from 2 Tim. 4.6. Now the work and business of an evangelist was utterly inconsistent with a fixed relation to any church, as its stated pastor or bishop. He was a kind of subordinate apostle, an extraordinary and temporary of­ficer, whose business was to travel from place to place and water the churches which the apostles had planted.* Or, as Euscbius expresses it, ‘To lay the foundation of faith in strange nations, to constitute them pastors; and having committed to them the cultivating these new plantations, to pass on to other countries and nations.’

THIS argument of Mr. L's for episcopacy, wholly de­pends upon the supposition of Timothy's being fixed at Ephesus, over the elders of that church, as their proper bi­shop, with ordaining and governing powers. He every where supposes him to be such a fixed officer in that church. ‘He enquires, whether Paul has not given Timothy, a much more extensive charge to be exercised by him at Ephesus, than he gave to the elders of the same church. Speaks of him ‘as invested with power over the church of Ephesus,—and charged with the government of the church at Ephesus. He every where supposes him to be a fixed officer in that church, and the whole of his argument depends upon this single circumstance. If he can't prove this, all his argument in favour of episcopacy, from the more [Page 108]particular directions given to Timothy, than to these Ephe­sian elders, comes to nothing. This Mr. L. indeed does not once attempt to prove. He seems rather to take it for granted: And so having begged the main question in dis­pute, proceeds to argue from it in support of his scheme. And all the evidence that episcopalians ever bring, in proof of this main fact, is ‘Paul's beseeching of him to abide still in Ephesus, while he went into Macedonia.’ * But does this found like the language of an apostle to a fixed pastor of a church? If Ephesus was his stated charge, why is he besought to abide there, when he could do no otherwise, without neglecting his duty and sinning against God? And why is he intreated to abide there, only while Paul went into Macedonia? If he was bishop of that church, a stated residence there, was his indisputible duty, not only for that short period, but during life. And he would need no en­treaties to oblige him to it, unless we suppose the doctrine of non-residence, so much espoused by some of his pretended successors, was then in vogue. But considered as an evan­gelist, an unfixed itinerant missionary, such an entreaty was highly proper. And such an one, 'tis plain from scripture, he was. Accordingly, as he is here desired, by the apos­tle, to stay, for a season at Ephesus; so we find him upon another occasion sent to Corinth. 1 Cor. 16.10. He is with Paul again, when he wrote his second epistle to that church. 2 Cor. 1.1. As also when he wrote his epistle to the Colossians. chap. 1. v. 1. At Baerea he was with Paul, and abode there still with Silas. Acts 17.14. The word is the same, as is used for his continuing at Ephesus. If therefore, in the one instance, his so abiding makes him bishop of Ephesus; it equally makes him bishop of Baerea in the other. 'Tis true he soon left Baerea, and followed Paul to Athens, Acts 17.15. But 'tis equally true that he was to stay at Ephesus, only till Paul finished his journey to Macedonia, and returned to him again. I Tim. 3.14. Chap. 4.13. And in the second epistle, which was written not long after the first, it is most probable, from chap. 4. v. 12. that he had left Ephesus already: But [Page 109]if he had not, 'tis certain he then left it; for the apostle there calls him away to Rome, and sends Tychicus, another evangelist to Ephesus. 2 Tim. 4.9., 12, 21. Eph. 6.21, 22. In 1 Thes. 1.1. we find him in Athens; whence he was sent to Thessalonica, and from thence returned back to Athens. 1 Thes. 3.1, 2, 6. After this he removed with Paul to Corinth. Acts 18.5. From thence he accompanied him to Asia and Ephesus. Acts 19.1. And thence he was sent into Macedonia. v. 21, 22. But it would be tedious to follow him, in all his travels to so many different places. Enough has been mentioned of his unfixed, itinerant man­ner of life, to shew he was an evangelist, and therefore could not be a fixed resident officer in any church. The same might be shewn as to Titus, whom episcopalians make to be bishop of Crete, barely because the apostle, for some short time left him there for certain purposes. There is the clearest evidence from scripture, that they were both of them impowered in the work of evangelists. And as this was utterly inconsistent with their sustaining a relation to any particular church, as their fixed pastors or bishops, 'tis a clear consequence they did not sustain such relation. There­fore all our author has argued in support of episcopacy from these directions given to Timothy, is nothing to his purpose.

6. AS the scripture is wholly silent as to this notion of Timothy's episcopal care of Ephesus; so there is nothing in any of the ancient fathers to support this opinion, but much to the contrary. Dr. Whitby, who was well read in the fathers, confesses, as I shewed in my sermon, ‘that as to the great controversy, whether Timothy and Titus were indeed bishops, the one of Ephesus, the other of Crete, he could find nothing of this matter in any writer of the three first centuries, nor any intimation that they bore that name." He adds indeed, "that this defect is abundantly supplied by the concurrent suffrage of the fourth and fifth." "But these, as Dr. Chauncy justly ob­serves, were times too far distant from Timothy and Ti­tus, to be relied on for the truth of this fact; especially, as in these times they had greatly departed from the sim­plicity [Page 110]of the gospel.’ * And if Mr. L's quotations from Iraeneus be true, this silence of the fathers for 300 years, concerning the fact in question, is a certain evidence it ne­ver did exist. Iraeneus's words, as quoted by our author, are,— ‘We can reckon those bishops who have been con­stituted by the apostles, and their successors, all the way to our time.—We have the succession of the bishops, to whom the apostolic church was committed in every place.’ Now since, Iraeneus lived in the second century; if they had in his time, as he declares, "the true succession of bi­shops in every church, and yet there is nothing to be found of Timothy and Titus in the succession for Ephesus and Crete, as Dr. Whitby asserts; 'tis an undeniable conse­quence that they never were bishops of these churches, let the writers in following ages say what they will to the con­trary.

BESIDES, it is evident from ecclesiastical history, that the apostle John was at Ephesus, and resided there for a consi­derable time after Paul's departure thence, and after the writing the first epistle to Timothy, on which his pretended episcopacy over that church, is founded. Euscbius, upon the testimony of Iraeneus and Clemens Alexandrinus, af­firms, ‘that he returned to Ephesus, after his release from banishment, and lived there, and among the Asian church­es until Trajan's reign.’ Now if the apostle John resided at Ephesus and ruled that church by his apostolic power, certainly Timothy was not, could not be the supreme bi­shop of Ephesus. Consequently all attempts to prove epis­copacy from this argument are to no purpose.

7. AND lastly, we need not recur to ecclesiastical history for proof of this point. The sacred scriptures abundantly prove, that not Timothy, but the elders of Ephesus, were the true and only bishops of this church. This is evident from the account given of them in Acts 20.17—36. Be­fore this, Paul had been successfully labouring for near three years in and about Ephesus. Great numbers had been con­verted to the faith. A flourishing church gathered and el­ders [Page 111]ordained. And now that the apostle was about to leave them, never to see them more; as one deeply concerned for them, since he could not visit the church in person, he sends for the elders of it, preaches his farewell sermon to them, and gives them his last directions and charge, in a most solemn and moving address. In all which there is not one word mentioned, or the least hint given, of setting a single person over them as their bishop. So far from this, the whole government of the church is expressly commit­ted to them and them only, in a state of equality. And what is remarkable, tho' Timothy was probably now present, not a single word is said of his relation to this church. No di­rections are given to him as the governor of it, nor the least hint mentioned to these elders, to consider and obey him as their superior: But they, the elders, are the only persons mentioned as the appointed officers in it. They are ex­pressly called its bishops; yea are declared to be appointed such by the Holy Ghost. The care and guidance of the church, in all things, is committed to them, and they are, in the most solemn manner, charged to feed, teach, rule and govern it, as its only proper pastors or bishops. And what puts the matter beyond dispute, they are commanded to do this with an express view to prevent the future disorders which the apostle foresaw, were about to arise in this church, by ‘grievous wolves, men speaking perverse things," thrusting themselves in," "to draw away disciples after them.’ This is the express reason assigned for giving this charge. To prevent this, they are commanded to watch, to rule and govern the flock committed to their care, and exercise that authority, which, as its proper pastors or bishops, they were vested with, in warning their people a­gainst those grievous wolves, convincing these gainsayers, or by exercising their pastoral authority, in way of disci­pline; to put to silence these corrupt teachers. But now how inconsistent will all this appear, if they were not the pastors, but only the subject presbyters of this church, as our author affirms? What propriety, in giving them, and them only, this solemn charge, when they had no power, [Page 112]no authority to comply with the most essential branches of it? How absurd, to direct them in the government and discipline of this church, both as to private members and corrupt teachers, when they could exercise no authority over either, and at the same time, intirely to omit Timothy, to whom, and only whom, upon the episcopalian scheme, the whole of this business belonged? The supposition is ri­diculous. It destroys the whole force of the apostle's rea­soning, and renders his discourse quite impertinent.

THE apostle, no doubt, had a tender concern for the fu­ture welfare and good government of this church. He had long presided over it in person. He was now taking his final leave of its officers, never to see them more.* The elders understood him in this sense. They took leave of him, as their apostolic father, in a manner most tender and affecting, with many tears. ‘Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more’ This then was the proper time, to provide for the future guidance of this church, and its officers; to provide a single person to succeed him in the government of it, had this been the scripture model, as our opponents pre­tend. Had this been the gospel plan, certainly Paul would not have concealed it from these elders, especially at such a time as this. He called them to record, ‘that he was pure from the blood of all men," "that he had kept back nothing that was profitable for them, nor shunned to declare unto them, the whole counsel of God.’ And then immediately adds, ‘that the Holy Ghost had made them the fixed overseers, bishops or pastors of this church,’ without so much as hinting that any one was to preside o­ver them. Had episcopacy "been profitable to them," the apostle must have known it. Had it been any part of the "counsel of God," he must have told them so; for he "kept back nothing of that." Now was the proper time to have done it when he was giving them his last, his part­ing directions. But neither before, nor now, does he men­tion a word of any such thing. On the contrary, he ex­pressly commits to these presbyters, in a state of parity, the [Page 113]whole government of this church, which plainly shews, that diocesan episcopacy was no part of "the counsel of God," and therefore not of divine institution.

IN this view of the case, the directions given to Timothy, while at Ephesus, (if indeed he was there when he received them,) will nothing weaken the force of this conclusion: And yet on them, the whole strength of Mr. L's argument depends. For, granting he was there, when he received these epistles; yet all skilful chronologists agree, they were wrote, long before this convention of Paul, and the elders at Miletus; and most probably, before the church of E­phesus was settled according to gospel order, with presby­ters appointed in it. If this was the case, the directions must be sent to Timothy, for there was no other officer to whom they could be sent. His stay, however, at Ephesus, was but short at the longest. He was soon called away by the apostle, and there is no account that he ever returned. If he did, it could not be as their bishop; for this office was conferred upon the elders, by the express direction of the Holy Ghost. Vested with this office, the apostle found them, when they met him at Miletus; and in full possession of it, he left them, when he took his final leave of them, never to see them more. Judge then, who is to be credit­ed in this ease; our author, who says these elders were only simple presbyters, without any pastoral authority in this church; or the apostle, who expressly charges them, to exercise such authority in the government of it!—Mr. L. who confidently asserts, that Timothy was their only bishop, to whom they and the church of Ephesus were sub­jected, as their single pastor or overseer; or St. Paul, who assures us, that these elders were appointed by the Holy Ghost, in parity, the overseers or bishops of this whole flock! ‘Look into the scriptures. Judge for yourselves. If what I have advanced, is not fact, it may be easily ex­posed. If it is an undeniable truth, it is a truth of great importance, if religion be so.’

I AM now prepared for a few remarks upon some select passages in this part of Mr. L's defence, which will con­clude this section.

[Page 114] HE enquires,— ‘If the elders of Ephesus had power to ordain and govern, what need of sending Timothy there?’ * leaving him there, he should have said. — I answer,

IT does not appear from scripture, that this church had any settled pastors at this time. But if it had, they needed the divine directions concerning ordination and government, contained in these epistles to Timothy, as much as we do at this day. And who more proper to receive, and put them in execution, than an evangelist, an extraordinary of­ficer, and a faithful companion of Paul? But till he can prove that Timothy was left there, as a resident pastor over that church, as fully as I have, that the elders were, this will be no service to his cause. Barely his being sent to Ephesus, will not prove this. If so Tychicus also was their bishop, for he was sent there as well as Timothy. And upon the same principle, Timothy must have been bishop also of Co­rinth, Thessalonica, Macedonia, &c. for to all these was he sent as well as to Ephesus. This would be to make him a prelatist as well as a non-resident, and exhibit a compleat idea of modern episcopacy. Again,

HE demands a proof from facts recorded in scripture, ‘that mere presbyters, in virtue of their office as such, did ordain officers in the church of Christ.’ Answer,

IF by mere presbyters, he means, such as those in his church, professedly subjecting themselves to bishops, and disclaiming all pastoral authority in ordination and govern­ment; none will pretend to prove from scripture that such ever did ordain. And good reason for it. The scripture knows of no such order. But if he means scripture-pres­byters, such as those at Ephesus; presbyter-bishops, such as Timothy and Titus were directed to ordain; I have al­ready proved, such presbyters did in fact ordain, and that by virtue of their office. Of this sort were those, who or­dained Paul, Barnabas and Timothy, as I have already proved, by express facts recorded in scripture. And what is more: The scriptures plainly shew, that none but such ought to ordain; they being the only ministers, authorized by Christ's general commission, and vested with all the pow­ers it contains.

[Page 115] WHAT he quotes from Mr. Beach, respecting our first ministers, who were ordained by the English bishops, is no valid objection against this, even allowing that there was no expressed intention, either in the ordainers, or ordained, of conveying the power of ordination. For the commissi­on of Christ, not the intention of the ordainers, is what conveys the power in ordination, as I shewed in my ser­mon. I now add.—These first ministers of N. England were ordained, I conclude, in the same manner as Mr. L. and his brethren were. Either therefore he is no minister of Christ, not being vested with his commission in ordina­tion: Or if the words used in his ordination, were suffici­ently expressive of such investiture, in his case: they were equally so in that of our ministers; consequently, they were cloathed with all the powers the commission contains, of which that of ordination is confessedly one.

AS to the other part of this objection, the oath of cano­nical obedience; tho' it is far from being true, that this, as he affirms, includes in it ‘a solemn promise never to or­dain others;’ yet allowing it did, such promise, being evidently sinful, can't be binding upon conscience, but is ipso facto null and void. A number of the Jews bound themselves by solemn oath, ‘not to eat or drink till they had killed Paul.’ * If this oath was binding, it was their duty to keep it; consequently murder is a duty. For the murder of Paul or of themselves, was a necessary con­sequence of their keeping this oath. But if it was not bind­ing in this instance, no more was it in the case he supposes, consequently the objection is of no force.

MR. L. says,— ‘Nothing is now claimed by our bishops, but the very same that St. Paul gave in charge to Timo­thy. Nothing prohibited to the elders and presbyters of our church, that he commanded the elders to do, at Ephe­sus.’ Is this really the case? Do not their bishops claim a power of administring the sacraments, of baptism and the Lord's supper? But where will he find this mentioned in Paul's charge to Timothy? Do not the former claim the power of confirmation and absolution? But does Paul men­tion [Page 116]either, in his charge to the latter? The bishops in their church, claim the whole exclusive power of ecclesiastical rule or government. But where do we find Paul giving this to Timothy? On the contrary, does he not expressly charge him, that those presbyters he was to ordain, should be ‘men that ruled well their own houses, that they might be able to rule the church of God?’ * Does he not ex­presly command, ‘let the elders who rule well be account­ed worthy of double honour?’ But what occasion for this, if the bishop had the sole power of government? I add; where does he find the apostle charging his grace, Timothy lord bishop of Ephesus, ‘to entangle himself with the affairs of this life:’ To intermeddle, and bear a chief part in civil matters, to erect courts, and preside in them, either in person, or by his lay chancellor, for the trial of all causes, testamentary and matrimonial, &c. &c. &c.? And yet he knows a set of bishops, pretending to be the only successors of Timothy and the apostles, who actually claim and exercise all the fore-mentioned powers. Paul tells the Ephesian elders, ‘that the Holy Ghost had made them pastors or bishops over the whole flock.’ and charges them to exercise the powers of such, to feed, to rule and go­vern this church as its proper bishops, to use their authori­ty, if necessary, in a way of discipline, and prevent false teachers creeping in, to draw away disciples: And is there any thing, I ask, of this kind, allowed to Mr. L. and his brother-presbyters in their church? Not in the least. He himself knows, that by the rules and canons of his order, he is absolutely prohibited every thing of this kind.

THUS have I answered every thing material in this part of our author's defence;—particularly shewed, from facts recorded in scripture, that Timothy neither was, nor could be a fixed bishop of Ephesus, settled there, with governing, powers over these elders; but that this church was most e­vidently settled upon the presbyterian plan,—that St. Paul when taking his leave of it, never to see it more, very ex­pressly left the intire guidance of it, not to a single person, not to Timothy, but to these elders in a state of parity; con­sequently, [Page 117]that this is the true scriptural plan of church or­der and government, and therefore, presbyters, or ordinary pastors, in such state of equality, have the power of ordina­tion, &c committed to them.

I HAVE nothing to add, but my most earnest wish and prayer, that the great head of the church would guide us into all truth, and inspire all protestants, especially gospel ministers, with the spirit of meekness, forbearance and cha­rity towards each other, even tho' not exactly of one mind in all points; that so, instead of worrying and cruelly con­demning our fellow christians, and thereby, giving advan­tage against us to the partrons of popery, infidelity and ir­religion; we may all cordially unite, in opposing the com­mon enemies of christianity, and promoting the grand and important truths, in which we all agree.

SECT. VIII. Mr. L's proof of episcopacy from the writings of the fathers, contained in his appendix, from p. 49, to 61, examined and refuted.

OUR author proposes, in this part of his work, ‘to en­quire what form of government prevailed, imme­diately after the apostles. "To answer this enquiry, he tells us, he will exhibit a few extracts, from the ancient fathers.’

HIS first extract is, from that truly ancient apostolic father, arch-deacon Echard of England, who flourished about A. D. 1699. But what purpose this extract is designed to serve, the reader must determine for himself, for I am not able to help him.

HIS next is from Eusebius. He, I own, is one of the fathers; but far from being an ancient one: For he lived in the fourth century. And as he himself tells us, in his history ‘that he could trace no footsteps of any going be­fore him, only in a few narratives,’ * there is little depen­dence upon what he says, of things so remote from his time. However the passage quoted is this. ‘St. John, being by Domitian's death, released from banishment, returned, [Page 118]and took the care of the church of Ephesus; and upon the invitation of the neighbouring churches, who had en­joyed only the ministry of presbyters and deacons, he went to them, and consecrated bishops,’ &c* I have carefully examined the passage in Eusebius, Mr. L. refers to; but find it very different from what he has quoted. None of the words, set down in italics, are to be found in the ori­ginal. The passage truly rendered, is as follows. Speak­ing of John, he says.— ‘After the tyrant's death, he return­ed to Ephesus; and being invited so to do, went also among the neighbouring nations, where he appointed bi­shops, established regular and compleat churches, elect­ing to the clerical office whomsoever the Holy Ghost pointed out for the same.’ Tho' I will not charge Mr. L. with dishonesty, in thus pretending to quote from Eu­sebius, what is not to be found in him; since 'tis possible he might not have leisure to consult the original, but taking the translation upon trust, set down the passage as he found it, in some episcopal writer; yet every one must see, the words added, in Mr. L's quotation, intirely alter the sense of the passage, and make it evident it was done, by somebody, to favour episcopacy, and impose upon the unlearned reader. With the addition of the words.— ‘who had enjoyed only the ministry of presbyters and deacons;’ the passage does indeed seem to favour the doctrine of three orders in the mi­nistry: but let it be read without this corrupt addition, and then let the intelligent reader judge, what it is to Mr. L's purpose; or whether any other eight lines, taken at random, from Eusebius, or any other author, will not as effectually prove episcopacy, as these here quoted? Striped of this addition the passage mentions but one officer, viz. a bishop in these churches; and as that, in scripture, means the same as presbyter, by his own concession, it can be no­thing to his purpose.

HIS next quotation is from Irenaeus, ‘That Polycarp was constituted by the apostles in Asia, bishop of the church at Smyrna.’ Answer. St. Paul, whose authority is at least equal to that of Irenaeus tells us, ‘that the Holy Ghost [Page 119]constituted the elders of Ephesus, bishops of the church of Ephesus.’ If therefore Polycarp's being called bishop, proves him such in Mr. L's sense of the word; these elders must be so too. But then what becomes of his main argu­ment for prelacy, from Timothy's being bishop of Ephe­sus? Or if he still denies these elders to be bishops, tho' they are called so, the same he must do as to Polycarps. And so this extract fails him also.

BUT he tells us, the design of Irenaeus was to prove a succession of apostolic doctrines, ‘but his argument is e­qually good in favour of a succession of bishops.’ And this, he says, will prove ‘that bishops were superior to presbyters.’ Answer. Not till he proves there were, besides these here called bishops, any presbyters in that church for them "to be superior to. Irenaeus, in the pas­sage quoted, mentions but one order only. This extract therefore, is so far from helping Mr. L's scheme of three orders, that it is wholly in favour of our's which has but one.

THE same answer also will serve, for his three next ex­tracts from Irenaeus. As there is no mention made in ei­ther of them, of more than one order, viz. bishops, nor the least hint given concerning any other; it must be pre­sumed that Irenaeus knew of none, but such bishops or presbyters as are mentioned in scripture. Consequently that the doctrine of three orders, and Mr. L's diocesan bi­shop, was a stranger in the time in which this father lived: I shall only just add. That Mr. L's translator, has again served him ill. For in the first of these quotations the words of Irenaeus, as recited by Eusebius, are not ‘that Clement is he of whom mention is made Philip: iv. 3. as Mr. L. has it, but "that Linus is he, of whom Paul makes mention in his epistle to Timothy.’ *

HIS next extract is from Jerom. ‘Quid facit, exceptà or­dinatione, episcopus, quod presbyter non facit?" "What can a bishop do, except ordination, that a presbyter may not do?’ Had Mr. L. answered this question, accor­ding to his own principles, the reader would, at once, have seen, how very little it was to his purpose. For is there no­thing [Page 120]thing in the church of England, ordination excepted, but what is common to the presbyter and bishop? Certainly there is. Mr. L's bishop can confirm,—hold spiritual courts, exercise discipline, &c. But is a presbyter allowed to do those? Nothing less. But Jerom does not even in­sinuate, that ordination belongs only to the bishop, by di­vine right. And had Mr. L. read the epistle, from whence these words are taken, he must have seen, that the whole scope of it is to prove, that in the apostles times, bishop and presbyter were the same, both in name and office. This he asserts, in so many words, and proves it from the same texts and topics, as are used by presbyterians at this day; and then goes on to shew, how, when, and upon what occasion the government of the church was altered after­wards. ‘That one was afterwards chosen, who should be set over the rest, he tells us, was done as a remedy against schism.’ * When therefore he uses the words Mr. L. has quoted, he evidently does it to shew, ‘what was the prac­tice of the church in his time; not what prevailed in that of the apostles. 'Tis pity Mr. L. will not be at the pains of reading the fathers himself. It might, perhaps, save his friends many a blush upon his account.

THE next church he mentions, as upon the episcopal model, is that of Antioch. ‘In this, he tells us, was a num­ber of believers, whom the apostles, Paul and Barnabas, took the government of for some time.’ Strange! Two bishops in one church at once! How different the modern episcopacy from the ancient! Formerly one church could boast two bishops, and both apostles. But their successors, it seems, have made such improvement in the prelatic art, that one bishop now will serve for more than an hundred. This must be ancient episcopacy inverted. However, this was not the case long. ‘Paul and Barnabas, he says, were soon succeeded by Peter.’ What, Peter bishop of Anti­och! We thought he had been metropolitian of Rome. But this was not long. ‘Euodius soon takes his place; to whom succeeded Ignatius;’ Whose epistles, we are told, contain the very model and marrow of modern episcopacy. [Page 121]Accordingly our author is longer upon this favourite pa­tron, than all the rest of the fathers; tho' I think he gives us but one or two extracts from him, and them but short.*

AS to the epistles ascribed to Ignatius, Mr. L. must know, if he has read Dr. Chauncy's sermon, that they lie under very strong suspicions of forgery, or at least of great adulteration and corruption. This the Dr. largely shews in his appendix, and offers such arguments in support of the charge, as makes it, at least very highly probable, if not cer­tain this was the case. These, Mr. L. does not attempt to answer. He indeed tells us. ‘that bishops Beveridge and Pearson have fully confuted, Messrs. Daille, L'arroque, and all others, in whatever they have advanced against these epistles." And I can tell him "that L'arroque un­dertook to answer Beveridge and Pearson, as appears by a manuscript found among his papers, in which he had made great progress; but at the desire of several persons, who leaned too much to the episcopal cause, he did not finish this reply.’ A victory obtained by such arts as these, can do no great honour to the conquerors. This story, Mr. L. if he pleases, may confront with his, concerning Blondel in pag. 69 of his book.

BUT if we should allow these epistles to be genuine, they will really make nothing in favour of diocesan episcopacy, but much against it. 'Tis true, they frequently mention bishops, presbyters, and deacons: But then it is equally true, that the bishop described in these epistles, was essen­tially different from the diocesan one. The ‘Ignatian bi­shop’ presided over but one single church, was therefore no more than a congregational bishop, or pastor of a parti­cular church: Whereas the diocesan one, presides over many scores or hundreds of congregations. Again, the former had much the same authority over his presbyters, as the rector of a parish, in the church of England, has over his assistant curates, who are not pretended to be of a dif­ferent order, but have radically the same power with the rec­tor: But the church of England bishop, is asserted to be a different order from the presbyter; by divine right, supe­rior [Page 122]to him, and vested with the sole power of ordination and government. A few extracts from these epistles will serve to prove this. ‘Let all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ; and the presbyters, as the apostles."—"Let none do any of those things which belong to the church without the bishop."—"Where the bishop appears, let the multitude, or congregation be."* "If the prayer of one or two have so much efficacy, how much more the prayer of the bi­shop, and the whole church? He that comes not to the same place, is puffed up, &c." "Do nothing without the bishop and presbyters,—but when you meet together, let there be one prayer, &c. run all together as to one tem­ple of God, as to one altar." "Where the pastor is, there do you, as sheep, follow.’ From these passages it ap­pears, that the diocese of the Ignatian bishop, was no larger, than could meet together in one place, for public worship, with the bishop and presbyters. But it is impossible for a modern diocese, consisting of some hundreds of congrega­tions, to attend divine service in one place.

AGAIN. It is plain, from these epistles, that the sacra­ments were not to be administred, but in the presence of the bishop. ‘Let that eucharist be accounted valid which is celebrated in the bishop's presence, or by his permission; where the bishop appears, let the multitude be;—it is not lawful without the bishop, either to baptize or to make a love feast."§ "Take care to use, or frequent, one eucharist; for there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup for union in his blood; there is one altar, as there is one bishop."§§ "Since every one of you by name, with common consent, meet together,—that you may obey your bishop and the presbytery, with an undi­vided mind, breaking one loaf, which is the medicine of immortality.’ ‖‖ From these passages it appears, that as every altar, or communion table, had its bishop; so all the communicants, in his whole diocese, steadily met together with the bishop, to receive the sacraments, and that it was not allowed to receive them, but from his hand, or in his [Page 123]presence. But now, how different is the case from this in the church of England? There, one bishop has many scores or hundreds of communion tables in his diocese, and a great many thousand communicants; for whom it would be ab­solutely impossible, to attend the communion at one table, with their bishop, and receive the consecrated elements, at his hands, or in his presence.

MOREOVER, the Ignatian bishop took care, in person, of all the poor of his diocese; which plainly shews it was but a single congregation he presided over. Thus Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, is commanded to do. ‘Let not the widows be neglected: Be thou, next to the Lord, their guardian. Let nothing be done without thy will. Let your religious assemblies be more frequent. Enquire af­ter all by name. Do not proudly overlook the men-ser­vants and maid-servants.’ *

I MIGHT easily fill several pages with extracts to the same purpose. But these are abundantly sufficient to shew, that the bishop described in these epistles, was not, could not be a diocesan bishop, but only a pastor of a single con­gregation, agreeable to the practice in our churches. And notwithstanding all the bustle made, with these epistles, by episcopalians; should the episcopacy described in them, once take place; it would be as certainly ruinous and de­structive, to the english hierarchy, as that contained in the scriptures, and practised in our churches, would be. Then there would be no longer, any of those large and over­grown bishopricks, so much, and so justly complained of, even by episcopalians themselves, containing some hundreds of churches and congregations, with but one single pastor to watch over, to inspect, and govern the whole: But eve­ry congregation, every church, would have its own parti­cular pastor for these important purposes; as the presby­terians actually have. Hence it will follow; that the e­piscopal ordinations at this day, are by no means the epis­copal ordinations of the Ignatian age, being performed by a sort of bishops, unknown at that time, and whose autho­rity is inconsistent with, and destructive of, that of the Ig­natian [Page 124]bishop: Whereas, the ordinations, called presbyte­rian, are truly episcopal ones, in the language of Ignatius. They are performed by such parish-pastors, as Ignatius's bishops were; having the same charge, the same office, and power, as his had. And therefore, to press Ignatius into the cause of diocesan episcopacy, and argue from the bi­shop's power, as described by him, in support of that which modern bishops claim, is but to impose upon the reader, by mere sounds instead of arguments.

WHOEVER would see more upon this argument, I would recommend to them the perusal of Mr. Boyse's ‘clear ac­count of the ancient episcopacy," and, "an enquiry into the constitution, discipline, unity and worship of the pri­mitive church,’ said to be wrote by Sir Peter King. These authors, especially the former, have collected every thing from Ignatius, relative to the subject, and clearly shewn, that the Ignatian bishop was but a pastor of a sin­gle congregation, and therefore can afford no countenance or support to modern episcopacy.

OUR author next mentions Clemens Alexandrinus, as declaring in favour of his scheme:* But as he uses, not Clement's words, but his own, and refers to no particular place for what he advances; it may be sufficient to tell him, that when he does this, it will be then time enough to an­swer him.

HIS next voucher is Clemens Romanus. He is made to say, ‘To the high priest, his proper offices were appoint­ed; the priests had their proper order, and the levites their peculiar services, or deaconships.

I grant there are words to this purpose, in Clement's e­pistle to the Corinthians: But that ‘he applies these words, as Mr. L. says, to the orders in the christian church,’ I utterly deny. I have carefully examined every thing in this epistle, as to this point, and can find nothing that looks like such "an application?" And I challenge Mr. L. or any one else to point it out. As Mr. Pierce justly ob­serves, ‘there are no signs of ecclesiastical monarchy, to be found in Clement. A presbyterian can hardly de­scribe [Page 125]our opinion, more clearly, and fully, than in his words. Every thing he says, of the form of ecclesiasti­cal government, exactly agrees with scripture.—He never distinguishes presbyters from bishops; but these names signify the same with him, as they do also with the sacred scriptures. He makes the church of Corinth to be sub­ject, not to one single person, but to a company of bi­shops or presbyters.’ * He reproves the Corinthians, for making an opposition against their presbyters, and casting them out of their episcopal office. Which plainly shews, that with him, bishop and presbyter are the same office, as they are in scripture. And having exhorted them to peace, and subjection to their spiritual guides; the more deeply to impress their minds with this exhortation, he tells them, ‘that the apostles, receiving instructions, and being sent out by Christ,—went forth, declaring the glad tidings of the coming of the kingdom of God; and preaching thro' countries and cities, they constituted the first fruits of their ministry, for bishops and deacons of those that should afterwards believe, having by the spirit approved them.’ And, as if he wrote on purpose, to guard against the high claims of modern episcopacy, having mentioned in the next chapter, ‘how the tribe of Levi was chosen for the priest­hood, by the budding of Aaron's rod,’ he adds in the chapter following. ‘And our apostles knew by Jesus Christ our Lord, that contentions would arise about the name, (or on the account) of episcopacy; and for this cause, be­ing indued with certain fore-knowledge, constituted the foresaid persons, (i. e. bishops and deacons,) and moreover gave orders, that other approved men might succeed in the place of the dead, and execute their office.’ Now who would expect a writer that could talk thus, should be pressed into the episcopal service? This epistle of Clemens, is justly esteemed, one of the most genuine and valuable pieces of antiquity. And as he is one of the earliest of the fa­thers, living about A. D. 65, or 70, and supposed to be the same mentioned by Paul, as one of his acquaintance, and fellow-labourers, in his epistle to the Philippians; so [Page 126]it is remarkable, he mentions the same church-officers only, as of divine institution, that Paul himself salutes in the be­ginning of the same epistle, viz. bishops and deacons: * More­over, he uses the names "presbyter and bishop" promiscu­ously for the same office, as Paul also does in his epistle to Titus. This clearly shews that the name bishop, in his time, had not got to be an appropriated term, to signify an officer, distinct from, and superior to a presbyter; conse­quently that he was unacquainted with diocesan episcopacy.

MR. L's last testimony from the fathers, is from Jerom. ‘What Aaron and his sons and the levites were in the temple; that same are bishops, presbyters and deacons in the christian church.’ Had Mr. L. read Jerom him­self, and not trusted to some detached scraps, badly transla­ted by others, he must have seen that Jerom is so far from favouring episcopacy, either in this epistle to Evagrius, or in his commentaries, that on the contrary he sets himself strenuously to oppose it in both. In his commentary upon Titus,§ having declared, ‘that presbyter is the same with bishop, that, according to scripture, one is the name of age, the other of office;’. and largely proved, from the same texts and arguments, as are used by presbyterians, that in the times of the apostles, ‘the care of the church was equally divided among many, being governed by the common council of presbyters;" he adds: "These things are alledged that we might shew, that among the antients, the presbyters were the same with the bishops, but by little and little, the whole care was devolved on one, that the seeds of dissention might be plucked up. As therefore the presbyters know, that by the custom of the church, they are subject to him who is their president, ("praeposi­tus;") so let bishops know that they are above presby­ters, more by the custom of the church, than the real appointment of the Lord; and that they ought to rule the church in common." Again. "Among the ancients, bishops and presbyters were the same; for one is the name of dignity, the other of age.’ I might fill pages [Page 127]with quotations from him to the same purpose. And as to the passage Mr. L. has here quoted from him, if he will read what a dignitary of his own church has said upon it,* he will at once see that it is nothing in support of his cause. He will there see, that the whole drift of the epistle is to chastise the arrogance of one, who had pretended, that dea­cons were superior to presbyters. To confute this notion, he largely proves from scripture, that a presbyter is so far from being inferior to a deacon, that on the contrary, he is really equal to a bishop, being the same office, according to scripture account. Whereupon he immediately adds the words quoted by Mr. L. Now can it once be supposed, that a man of Jerom's good sense, after he had been prov­ing the presbyter's superiority to a deacon, by shewing that he was equal to, and in fact, a bishop, should immediately be guilty of such an inconsistency, as to assert a bishop to be superior to a presbyter, as Mr. L. by his quotation would make him to do? 'Tis absurd to suppose it. ‘The plain meaning of Jerom, (as Dr. Stillingfleet observes,) is no more than this. "That as Aaron and his sons, in the order of priesthood, were above the levites, under the law; so bishops and presbyters, (which are with him the same,) in the order of the evangelical priesthood, are a­bove the deacons, under the gospel: For the compari­son runs, not between Aaron and his sons under the law, and bishops and presbyters under the gospel; but between Aaron and his sons, as one part of the comparison, under the law, and the levites under them, as the other; so un­der the gospel, bishops and presbyters make one part of the comparison, answering to Aaron and his sons, in that wherein they all agree, viz. the order of priesthood; and the other part, under the gospel, is that of deacons, an­swering to the levites under the law.’ This interpreta­tion of Jerom's words, will make him consistent; whereas that of our author, makes him flatly contradict himself; and so cannot be admitted.

THUS have I particularly examined all M. L's testimo­nies from the fathers, and, as I trust, sufficiently shewn, that [Page 128]they make nothing in support of the cause he has underta­ken to defend: On the contrary, that all he has mentioned, even Ignatius not excepted, are plainly on our side. More especially is this the case as to Clemens Romanus, the ear­liest of all the fathers, as appears from the above quotations. That Jerom also was full in the presbyterian scheme of church order and government, the impartial reader, I pre­sume, is by this time fully convinced.—I shall add a few more testimonies from some of the rest, and so conclude the ap­peal to the fathers.

POLYCARP, next in order of time to Ignatus, A. D. 140. in his epistle to the Philippians, has these words. ‘Where­fore you must—be subject to the presbyters and deacons, as to God and Christ.’ * Here is no mention made, but of two orders of church officers. Not a word of a bishop, as their superior. All that are named are presbyters and dea­cons. And these presbyters had the care and government of the church. For in the same epistle he says. ‘Let the presbyters be full of pity, merciful to all, reducing those that wander, visiting the sick, &c. abstaining from all wrath, respect of persons, unjust judgment, &c.—not too severe in judgment, as knowing we are all guilty of faults.’

JUSTIN Martyr, who flourished A. D. 155. In the clear account he has given of the churches in his time, has these words. ‘Then is bread and wine brought to the president of the brethren,—after the president has given thanks, and the whole people made their acclamations, they that are called deacons among us, give to every one a part of the bread and wine.’ &c.

AGAIN. ‘On sunday, those in the city and country as­semble together, where the writings of the apostles and prophets are read, &c. the reader ceasing, the president makes an exhortation. After this, we all rise and offer our prayers, which being ended, bread wine, and water are brought forth. The president, according to his ability, offers prayers and thanksgivings.—The elements are dis­tributed.—The rich contribute, the collections are lodged with the president,’ &c. A man will here scarce re­frain [Page 129]thinking, he is reading an account, of a modern pres­byterian or congregational assembly. No mention of any officers in the church, but the PROESTOS, president or mi­nister, and the deacons. The former preaches, prays accor­ding to his ability, (therefore not out of a book,) administers the supper; the latter carry about the consecrated elements of bread and wine, and distribute them to the communi­cants, exactly agreeable to the practice in our churches.

MUCH the same account, Tertullian, a presbyter of Car­thage A. D. 200, gives us of the churches in his time. Having mentioned their assembling for the purposes of prayer, reading the scriptures, and the exercise of discipline, in censuring offenders and excluding them from communion, he says. ‘In all these things, certain approved elders preside, who have obtained their office by merit, not by bribe,’ * Here again we see, elders, presbyters in parity, not a single bishop, presiding in the church, even in government, which in the diocesan scheme, is wholly confined to the bishop; the presbyters, (as Mr. L. says.) having no power to govern the church.

IRENAEUS also, (from whom Mr. L. has made sundry extracts, to prove a succession of bishops from the apostles,) in another place, speaking to the heretics of that age, says, ‘We challenge them to shew that tradition, which was handed down from the apostles, by a succession of presby­ters. This proves, that in his time, bishop and presby­ter signified the same office, as in the scriptures: For those, who in Mr. L's extracts, he called bishops, in this he terms presbyters. Again. ‘It behoves us (says Irenaeus) to hearken to those who are presbyters in the church; to those who, as we have shewn, have their succession from the apostles; who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have also received the certain gift of the truth.’ Upon which Dr. Stillingfleet justly remarks. ‘What strange confusion must this raise, in any one's mind, that seeks for a succes­sion of episcopal power over presbyters from the apostles, by the testimony of Irenaeus? When he so plainly at­tributes both the succession to the presbyters, and the e­piscopacy too, which he speaks of.’

[Page 130] IT would be easy to fill many pages, with extracts to the same purpose, from these and other ancient fathers, as Ori­gen, Clemens Alexandrinus, Cyprian, the apostolic consti­tutions and canons, &c. But these, I trust, are abundantly sufficient to shew, that diocesan episcopacy, was a thing unknown in these ages: That the more early writers, make no distinction at all between bishop and presbyter, but use the names promiscuously, to signify the same office, just as the scriptures do. And even in the later ones, where some distinction appears, it was no greater than that between the rector of a parish, and his assistant curates, who are yet of the same order; consequently, that there is no foundation for diocesan episcopacy, such as our author pleads for, to be found in any of these writers: Modern episcopacy was an utter stranger to these times.

MR. L. utterly denies ‘that there are any histories, giv­ing an account of any one single church in the universe, that has been presbyterian from the first planting of chris­tianity.’ * I believe the reader is convinced by this time, that the churches mentioned in the foregoing quotations, were really upon the presbyterian plan. I shall adduce a few more instances of the same kind.

IN the church of Alexandria, it appears from Jerom, that presbyters actually ordained, for two hundred years, from the first planting of it. His words are,— ‘At Alexandria, from Mark the evangelist, to Heraclas and Dionysius, the bishop thereof, the presbyters always named one, cho­sen out of them, and placed in an higher degree, their bishop: As if an army should make an emperor, or the deacons should choose one of themselves, whom they knew to be most diligent, and call him arch-deacon. Hence it appears, that the bishop of Alexandria, was no more than a prime-presbyter, of the same office with the rest: No more than an arch-deacon, of the same office with his brother-deacons; and that even this was confered, not by consecration, from the hands of a superior order, but by the presbyters themselves, who chose and appointed him thereto. If presbyters therefore could appoint and consecrate their [Page 131]bishop, I hope it will be allowed that they had power to ordain a brother-presbyter; consequently that presbyterian ordination was the original establishment there.

THAT the ancient Gallic or French church was presby­terian, appears from what I have already quoted from Ire­naeus, pastor of the church of Lyons in France. With him, presbyter and bishop are the same office, as they are also in scripture. And, (as Dr. Stillingfleet justly observes,) ‘he attributes, both the episcopacy he pleads for, and the succession thro' which it descended from the apostles in­tirely to the order of presbyters, and none other.’

THE Irish church also, in the early times of it, was evi­dently presbyterian. Certainly it was not episcopalian, of the diccesan kind. Nennius mentions St. Patrick's ordain­ing 365 bishops in that church, in the early times of it. And Mr. Clarkson shews out of Bernard, and Baronius, that there were, in that kingdom, well nigh as many bi­shops as churches.* These certainly could not be bishops of the diocesan kind, who have many scores or hundreds of churches in their cure; but were evidently congregational pastors of particular churches, like ours at this day.

MR. L. is at a difficulty to know what I meant, by say­ing ‘that the church of Scotland had been presbyterian from the beginning.’ I will now tell him.—It was not that it was so, barely from the time of the reformation, as he pretends; but that this was its original constitution, and continued so to be, till popery had over-run that and all other churches; from the errors of which, when a consider­able part of christendom was delivered, by the glorious light of the reformation; that church immediately resum­ed her original constitution of presbyterian government, and has retained it ever since.

THAT the church of Scotland, was originally presbyte­rian, is proved by a cloud of witnesses. Prosper Aquita­nicus, in his chronicle, annexed to that of Eusebius, tells us, ‘that Palladius was ordained, by pope Caelestine, for the Scots, that had already believed in Christ, and is sent to them to be their first bishop.’ The same is also affirmed [Page 132]by Bede, and cardinal Baronius. Fordun an ancient histo­rian▪ affirms, ‘that before the coming of Palladius, the Scots, following the custom of the primitive church, had teachers of the faith and dispensers of the sacraments, who were only presbyters or monks.’ * Johannes Major, another ancient historian, says expressly, ‘that the Scots were instructed in the faith by priests and monks without bishops" The same also testifies Hector Boethius. Palladius, he tells us, was the first of all who exercised any hierarchical power among the Scots, being ordained their bishop by the pope; whereas before, their priests were, by the suffrages of the people, chosen out of the monks and elders.’ Buchannan and Craig testify the same.

I HOPE these testimonies will convince Mr. L. (they certainly will every candid person,) that presbyterianism was the original constitution of the church of Scotland: And that he will no longer be at a loss that I meant by assert­ing it was.§

IN the mean time, I am at a loss to know what he means by saying, ‘that presbytery was introduced into Scotland, at the time of the reformation, by rebellion, unless he thinks it must needs be rebellion, for subjects to be chris­tians or protestants, who are so unhappy, as to have a pa­gan or papist for their prince: But if so the greatest part of the english nation, episcopalians not excepted, were guil­ty of rebellion, at the glorious revolution. The parliament of Scotland, opposed the popish queen Mary, by introduc­ing presbytery, at the time of the reformation: The same did the parliament of England, to the popish king James the second, in joining with the prince of Orange, for pre­serving their religion and liberties, at the time of the revo­lution. [Page 133]It then ‘presbytery was introduced into Scotland by rebellion’ in the former instance; the same was the case as to episcopacy in England, in the latter. Moreover, if it be rebellion for people to differ from the religion of their rulers; all the primitive christians, even the apostles not excepted, stand chargeable with this crime; for they all dissented from the religion by law established. I hope my antagonist is not a rebel: And yet upon the principles he here advances, I dare not undertake to acquit him: For 'tis well known, that when he forsook our communion, and became an episcopal dissenter, he adapted a scheme of religi­on, different from that professed and established by the ci­vil rulers of the colony.*

OUR author seems to blame me for saying, ‘there has never been any pretence for lay ordination in the church of Scotland." "This he says, may be true, and it may not. If John Knox never was lawfully ordained, the scotch ordinations are no better than those in New-Eng­land.’ "This, he says, he supposes, to be the case." But I must tell him, the good king Edward supposed otherwise, or he never would, 'tis presumed, have improved Mr. Knox as his own chaplain, and offered him a bishoprick, as it is certain he did.

MR. L. seems to be sure that episcopacy was the original constitution in England. If it was, I am sure nothing he has said proves it to be so. The authorities he has brought are by no means sufficient for the purpose. In the first place, they assert no such thing in the quotations he has made from them. They only mention that this church had bishops; but whether diocesan ones, or only scriptural [Page 134]bishops, congregational pastors, they are wholly silent. Be­sides, they are testimonies some ten or twelve hundred years to late, to be depended upon, as authentic vouchers in this case. If St. Paul planted christianity in England, as many suppose, 'tis natural to suppose that he would settle the same form of ordination, he himself had received, and this has been proved to be presbyterian.

HAVING thus attended our author, in his search after episcopacy among the writings of the fathers,—having par­ticularly examined all his extracts, from them, and exhibit­ed a number more from the same writings, in support of the contrary opinion; I now freely submit the whole ‘to the cool and candid’ to determine whether they are of so much "weight in his favour" as he seems to "persuade" himself they are. The impartial reader will now judge, whether Mr. L. has been able to find any more solid foun­dation, on which to erect his grand fabric of diocesan epis­copacy, among the writings of the fathers, than what ap­pears in the new-testament; consequently what little rea­son he had, to be so very confident of having fully settled the dispute in his favour, by an appeal to these writers, and that even before he had finished his extracts from them.

UPON quiting his favourite Ignatius, he has these words. ‘But is not this fact evident and undeniable, from the forecited passages, that in the next age after the apostles, episcopacy was universally received, in all the churches of Christ?’ * What now, I ask, are these passages from whence this fact is so undeniably evident? Why barely one or two quotations, from the pretended epistles of Ignatius, without having, as yet, given the least intimation, that these epistles lay under any suspicion of interpolation, adul­teration or forgery, and without afterwards examining, or attempting to invalidate, any of the arguments brought by Dr. Chauncy, to prove their insufficiency, in point of evi­dence, on that account. Besides these, Mr. L. had, as yet, brought no testimonies from any writer, within two hun­dred years after Christ, except from Irenaeus only; and these barely some scraps, detached from their connection, [Page 135]and which even then, favour his cause in sound only, not in sense; as has, I trust, sufficiently appeared, from the foregoing remarks. And yet this is the whole evidence, on which he affirms it ‘to be undeniable fact, that episco­pacy, in his sense of the word, was universally received, in all the churches of Christ.’ What may not one make to be fact, and undeniably so, upon such evidence as this? Much to be pitied is the man, who is so far under the go­vernment of prejudice, as to imagine such evidence as this undeniable! Much more, if his prejudice puts him upon representing that as undeniable evidence to others, which is truly no evidence at all!

HE goes on — ‘Tho' this strangely slipt Dr. Chauncy's observation, when he read the fathers, yet I suppose their testimony may be of some weight, with those whose ob­servation this point has not slipt.’ *

ANSWER. Dr. Chauncy never so much as hinted that this fact had slipt his observation. He well knew that no such fact ever took place within that term of time, and so must every one else, who impartially reads the fathers. What the Dr. refered to, when he said, ‘unless it had slipt his observation," was this, "that the mode of diction," bishops, presbyters, and deacons,’ was not to be met with, till we come to Clement of Alexandria, who flourish­ed towards the close of the second century. If Mr. L. will be pleased to point out an instance, the Dr. no doubt, will readily own "it slipt his observation." 'Till then, he will have just occasion for blushing, whenever he reflects, how grossly he has perverted the Dr's words.

MR. L. says, ‘he is surprized that the Dr. should deny, that the ancients constantly assert the government of the church, to have been episcopal all along from the times of the apostles, without producing a sentence from one of the fathers, to support his denial.’

ONE would thought, a man who engages in a public controversy, ought to be so well acquainted with the rules of disputation, as to know, that it belongs to those who affirm a fact, to bring evidence in proof of it; not to those [Page 136]who deny it. This was the case here. Dr. Hoadly affirm­ed a certain fact to be declared in the fathers. Dr. Chauncy denies they mention any such fact. This he has a right to do, without proving such denial. The proof lay upon the affirmer. It lies upon all the advocates of episcopacy in this instance. It has often been called for: But the call has never yet been answered, by producing so much as a single passage, within two hundred years after Christ, except from the justly disputed epistles of Ignatius, wherein this fact is affirmed, either in direct terms, or in words from whence it can be fairly deduced. 'Till this is done, Dr. Chauncy, and all mankind have a right to deny the fact. Had Mr. L. thought of this, it might have saved him his great "surprize."

HE adds.—‘Instead of supporting this denial from the fathers, the Dr. has quoted the opinion of the moderns.’ * Mr. L. is quite mistaken in the design of these quotations. They were bro't only to shew, that in the ages posterior to the second century, and even after the establishment of e­piscopacy, it was far from being indubitably clear, that this establishment, and the practice upon it, had taken place upon the foot of a divine right. And in this view there are none, I imagine, save Mr. L. and his party, but what will think them pertinent and conclusive.

IN answer to the Dr's demand ‘of an example of epis­copal ordination within the two first centuries,’ Mr. L. instances in the "ordination of Titus by St. Paul." But pray how came he by the knowledge that Paul ordained Titus? He affirms it, and that is all. If he had any proof, why did he not produce it? Sure I am, the scripture affords him none. But if it did, how will this prove he did it in the capacity of a bishop? Paul himself was ordained by presbyters: No doubt then he acted as a presbyter in or­daining Titus, if he acted at all. ‘But, says he, that Ti­tus had episcopal ordination, appears from his being left in Crete to set in order the things that were wanting,’ &c.

ANSWER. These directions given to Titus, no more prove him to be bishop of Crete, i. e. of a superior order [Page 137]to the elders he was to ordain; than like directions given to Peter, prove him to be superior to the other apostles. Besides, those whom he was to ordain, are expressly called bishops.* He himself was no more, therefore could not be their superior, consequently not their bishop, in Mr. L's sense of the word. But if he was, how does this prove that he himself received episcopal ordination? This, if I under­stand it, is Mr. L's argument: Titus himself was a bishop; therefore he was ordained by one, or had episcopal ordina­tion. But how does this follow? Paul and Timothy, he allows, were bishops: And yet, it has been proved, and that from scripture, that they were both ordained by pres­byters. And from Jerom it appears, that he whom they called bishop, in the church of Alexandria, was chosen from among, and set apart to his episcopal office by the presby­ters of that church, for two hundred years, in the begin­ning of it.

AN example of episcopal ordination, not from scripture, but from the fathers of the two first centuries, was what was demanded. Mr. L. says he could produce many. Why has he not then done it? Was it for want of incli­nation, or ability? Doubtless the latter. Thus after all his boasted appeal to the fathers, they afford him as little relief, as the scriptures do.

SECT. IX. Examination of Mr. L's appeal to the first reformers for his divine right of episcopacy, from p. 61, to 65.

IN both the pieces Mr. L. undertook to answer, it was observed, that this doctrine ‘of the unalterable divine right of episcopacy,’ was a stranger to the first refor­mers, [Page 138]even in the church of England. This was done with a view to expose the bigotry of those anathematizing zea­lots, the modern sons of that church, who, like Mr. L. un­church and unchristianize all the protestant world but them­selves. Sundry testimonies were adduced, from the first reformers and later writers of the church of England, both bishops and others, to prove that this was not the doctrine of that church, at the time of the reformation, and many years after.—That tho' for reasons of state, they concurred with the episcopal settlement in England; yet they did not look upon it to be of divine right, or so essential as to nul­lify all ordinations, unless those performed by bishops, in their sense of the word. And it was particularly shewed, that the first who publicly maintained that uncharitable antichristian doctrine was the famous arch-bishop Laud, of papistical and persecuting memory; and that he was pub­licly rebuked by his superior for so doing.

MR. L. declares himself of the same principles, and un­dertakes to defend them, by an appeal to the first refor­mers. Let us examine his proofs.

HIS first is from arch-bishop Cranmer, in these words, ‘We read not that any, not being a bishop, hath, since the beginning of Christ's church, ordained a priest.’ If by bishop, is here meant, a congregational bishop, all presbyterians will agree, that none but such have power to ordain: But then it will be nothing to Mr. L's purpose.—But if a diocesan bishop is intended, then all that Cran­mer can be supposed to mean is, that the business of ordaining has been confined to such bishops, not as solely vested with that power by the law of Christ; but only by human ap­pointment, and the custom of the church. For bishop Burnet assures us, that Cranmer's opinion was, ‘That bi­shops and priests, were at one time, and were not two things, but one office, in the beginning of Christ's religi­on.’ * If they had one office, they had one and the same power: All therefore that Cranmer intends is, that this work of ordination, which was originally common, had been, by the custom of the church, appropriated to bishops. [Page 139]This interpretation makes Cranmer consistent, whereas Mr. L's involves him in a plain contradiction.

HIS next extract is from bishop Jewel, in these words, ‘We believe that there be divers degrees of ministers in the church, whereof some be deacons, some priests, some bishops.’ That Jewel here only asserts a matter of fact, or what were the officers then in the church, not a matter of right, or what ought to be by divine institution, is evi­dent from what he says in his apology. Speaking of the various degrees of clergy in Jerom's time, he says; ‘Christ appointed not these distinctions of orders from the be­ginning.—This is the thing we defend, St. Jerom saith, let bishops understand, they are in authority over priests, more by custom, than by order of God's truth. a priest is the same with a bishop; they are both one thing, and the churches were at first, governed by the common advice of the priests.’ * This plainly shews, that in the passage quoted by Mr. L. he does not mean to declare his belief of the divine right of three orders; but only to assert a matter of fact; and so is no proof that Jewel owned the divine right of episcopacy.

BUT Mr. L. supposes, this is proved to be the doctrine of the reformers, from the preface to the book of ordination. ‘It is evident to all men diligently reading the holy scrip­tures, &c.—that there have been these three orders of mi­nisters, &c." Upon which he observes. "It must be evident to any man of common sense, that the reformers, who composed this preface, believed the three offices of bishops, priests and deacons, to be of divine right, or none of them to be so; for they as positively assert that all are, as that one is.’—Answer. They do not assert that one is. This preface only asserts a matter of fact; that there had been such orders from the apostles times. It does not declare that these three orders are of divine unal­terable right: Nor does it determine what kind of bishops were from the apostles times, whether diocesan, or only parochial. And if Messrs. Hoadly and Ollyffe, two epis­copal divines, may be allowed to understand the sense of [Page 140]this assertion, as well as Mr. L. it will be nothing to his purpose. Mr. Ollyffe in his answer to Mr. Calamy, speak­ing of this very preface, says, ‘The proposition of this rubrick is formed or expressed, with as great a degree of latitude or moderation, as ever could be expected, from an episcopal church. It saith nothing of divine right or appointment. That is Mr. Calamy's addition, as Mr. Hoadly well observes. It saith nothing of the distincti­on of their powers and officers; or whether they have been every where in every church or no: But only, that from the apostles times, there have been these orders, &c. From which, the most that can be inferred is, that in such churches where there has been need of them, or oc­casion for them all, there have been three such ranks of ministers, for the government and instruction of Christ's church, from the times of the apostles; which yet by Mr. Calamy's leave, does not prove a divine appointment of all, (however otherwise it may appear to him,) there ha­ving been other things, in the apostles days, which yet, for all that, are not allowed to be of divine appointment’ Here we see Mr. L's uncharitable interpretation of this preface, as tho' it meant to nullify all ordinations, save those of the episcopal kind, stands expressly condemned, by two celebrated divines of his own church. As their interpre­tation is more charitable and christian-like, than Mr. L's; I presume every person of candor will judge it the true one; and consequently, that his argument, founded on such a stingy interpretation, can't be admitted as proof, that the venerable compilers of this preface, were of his contracted and schismatical principles.

THO' they here speak of three orders in the church, yet they no where say, that bishops are by divine right, supe­rior to presbyters: Nor is there the least intimation, that they looked upon all ordinations to be null and void, unless performed by a bishop. For tho' they say ‘no man shall be accounted a lawful bishop, unless admitted according to the form there prescribed;’ yet this is expressly li­mitted "to that church of England." All therefore that can [Page 141]be meant by this, is no more than a declaration, who they will allow to be accounted lawful bishops of the national church of England: But this is no proof that they believed the divine right and absolute necessity of diocesan episco­pacy, or accounted those churches to have no valid mini­stry and ordinances, that are without it, as Mr. L. does. The contrary of this, is undeniably evident from their practice, as I shall shew.

OUR author's last argument, to prove that the reformers were of his uncharitable sentiments, in this point, is taken from the 3d, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th, canons of their church, which he has quoted at large.*

AS the canons of the church of England, as they now stand, were composed at sundry times; at periods far dis­tant one from another; some in the reign of Q Elisabeth, some in that of K. James, Mr. L. should have told us which class, those he has quoted belonged to: For if they were among the number of those passed in K. James's reign; they can't be said to exhibit the sentiments of the first re­formers, who had no hand in making them, being dead many years before. As he has not seen fit to do this, I might justly forbear any further notice of them, as being nothing to the purpose of his argument.

HOWEVER, allowing they were of the first class, they will by no means prove, that the compilers of them believed the unalterable divine right of episcopacy, and denied the validity of presbyterian ordination. The substance of them is, (for they are too long to transcribe) ‘that if any person should deny the church of England to be a true church, or declare her government by bishops, &c. to be anti­christian, or repugnant to the word of God, or upon that account, or any other, seperate himself from her commu­nion, he shall be ipso facto excommunicated.’ But now there is nothing in these canons, that will prove the au­thors of them believed diocesan episcopacy, to be of unal­terable divine right. They might think it to be lawful, tho' not expressly of divine institution; much less that it was absolutely necessary to the being of the church.

[Page 142] AS to the charity of such excommunicating, anathema­tizing canons, I must leave it to the vindication of Mr. L. and those of his stamp: For as to myself, I utterly despair of succeeding in any attempt of that kind. Americans, blessed be God, have hitherto been unacquainted with such damnatory canons. Their fulminations in this land, are heard, only like the distant thunders of the vatican. Had not Mr. L's zeal for episcopacy, got the better of his pru­dence, I should have judged he would have been more ten­der of the reputation of his best constituted church, than thus to expose her nakedness, by bringing to view these notable canons, in a country where they are so little known. Per­haps his design was to let us know what we are to expect, if the scheme for sending bishops to America, erecting spi­ritual courts, &c. in the colonies, should take place.—

But to return.

THE above remarks, I trust, make it sufficiently clear, that it cannot be proved, either from the preface to the book of ordination, or from the canons, or indeed from any thing else Mr. L. has quoted, that the reformers were of his sentiments, as to the divine right of episcopacy. They conformed to the episcopal church, as established by the king and parliament, as what they thought lawful, tho' not necessary in it self, or of any scriptural or divine appoint­ment. —That they did not look upon it as of divine institution, is evident,

1. FROM their express declarations, both singly, and in a collective capacity. I have had occasion already to cite some passages from bishops Cranmer and Jewel, in which they expressly assert it, as their judgment, ‘that bishop and presbyter, in scripture, is one and the same.’ The bishop of St. Asaph, Therlby, Redman and Cox, declared them­selves of the same opinion. Bishop Morton, in his catho­lic apology, declares, ‘that the power of order and juris­diction, which the papists ascribe to bishops, doth, by di­vine right, belong to all other presbyters. And particularly, that, to ordain, is their ancient right. * Bishop Bedel says, ‘that a bishop and presbyter are all one, as Jerom [Page 143]proves from scripture and antiquity.’ * And then men­tions sundry of the ancient fathers, as Ambrose, Augustin, Primasius, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, and The­ophylact, as of the same opinion. Dr. Reynolds, in his letter to Sir Francis Knolls, mentions bishop Pilkington, Dr. Humfrey, Whittaker, Bradford, Lambert, and Fulk, as all declaring the same. To which number we may add, bishop Carleton, Dr. Field, Mr. Mason, Dr. Forbes and the arch-bishop of Spolato, who all expressly assert the validity of presbyterian ordination.

TO these single testimonies, I will only add, that in the time of the reformation, the arch-bishops, bishops, arch­deacons and clergy of the church of England, in their book intitled, "the instruction of a christian man," subscribed with all their hands, and dedicated to K. Henry VIII. A. D. 1537. in the chapter of orders, have these words, ‘In the new-testament there is no mention of any other de­grees, or distinctions in orders, but of deacons or mini­sters, and presbyters or bishops.’ And K. Henry VIII himself, in his book stiled, ‘A necessary erudition for a christian man,’ set out by the authority of king and par­liament, prefaced with the king's own epistle, and publish­ed by his command A. D. 1543, in the chapter of orders expressly resolves, ‘That priest and bishop, by God's law, are one and the same, and that the power of ordination and excommunication belongs equally to both, and of these two orders only, priests and deacons, the scripture makes express mention.’

THESE things, I mentioned in my sermon, to which Mr. L. has made no reply. I now submit it to the candid read­er, whether it is possible to suppose, that men who could express themselves in this manner, were of Mr. L's princi­ples, ‘that diocesan episcopacy is of divine right," "and that all ordinations by presbyters, are a mere nullity.’

MR. L's letter-writer, S. J. tells us, ‘the sentiments of the first reformers, are not to be learnt from some tran­sient expressions of individuals, but from their public [Page 144]acts.’ I have here produced instancies of both, in which, as individuals, and as public bodies, they give their testi­mony for the scriptural divine rights of presbyterian ordi­nation and government, in terms, as express and positive, as can well be conceived. From these testimonies it evidently follows, that episcopacy was not established in England, at the time of the reformation, upon the foot of divine right; but only as a form of government, suited to the civil institution of the state, by which it was established.

2. THIS fact further appears from the practice of the church of England, consequent upon said establishment. It is not denied that there have been some particular mem­bers of that church, all along, from the pontificate of arch­bishop Laud, to the present day, who, like Mr. L. have e­spoused this uncharitable doctrine of the divine right of epis­copacy, and the invalidity of all ministerial authority and gospel administrations, where this is wanting. But that this is not the doctrine of the church of England, appears from her repeated practice to the contrary, in admitting mini­sters to officiate in that church, who never had episcopal ordination. In the reign of K. Edward the sixth Mr. Knox was improved by him, as his chaplain, and had the offer of a bishoprick, tho' he had nothing but presbyterian ordina­tion, and not even that, if Mr. L. says true. In the same reign, Peter Martyr, Martin Bucer, and P. Fagius, all fo­reigners, and who had been ordained only by presbyters, had ecclesiastical preferments in the church of England confer­red upon them, without re-ordination.* Mr. William Whit­tingham was made dean of Durham about 1563 tho' or­dained by presbyters only. In like manner, Mr. Travers, ordained by a presbyter beyond sea, was seven years lec­turer at the temple, and had the bishop of London's letter for it. And even so late as the time of K. James I. bi­shop Bancroft, tho' a rigid episcopalian, consecrated Spots­wood and two others, bishops for Scotland, without first ordaining them presbyters, tho' they had received only presbyterian ordination; and he alledged this as his rea­son, "that presbyterian ordination was valid."

[Page 145] NOW is it not abundantly evident from these facts, that the church of England, as such, is not of Mr. L's principles, as to the point in debate? He asserts the divine right of episcopacy, and utterly denies the validity of presbyterian ordination: But here we see, the church of England, and her greatest dignitaries and bishops, not only asserting in words, the validity of presbyterian ordination; but repeat­edly declaring this, to be the sense and doctrine of that church, by admitting, from time to time, those who had no other ordination, to the free exercise of the ministry, and placing them in the highest offices in the church. Whom now shall we believe? Mr. L. who pretends, from the rubrick and canons of this church, to prove that she holds the un­christian, schismatical doctrine aforesaid? Or she herself, who by her practice, denies it? Must we not suppose, that the first reformers, the bishops and dignitaries of the church of England, understand her constitution and principles, as well as the missionary of Norwalk?—But,

3. THAT presbyterian ordination is valid, even in the sense of the church of England, is evident, from the most public and express acts of the king and parliament. The church of England is properly a parliamentary church. She expressly acknowledges the king as her head, invested with supreme power in all affairs, ecclesiastical. Her articles and canons are all enjoined, by authority of parliament. 'Till this is done, they are of no force. The parliament, therefore, especially if considered as composed, partly of the bishops, who all have a seat there, must be supposed to understand her constitution, and what doctrines she main­tains. But now the validity of presbyterian ordination has, in fact, been owned and established, by the king and par­liament, at two several times. Soon after the restoration, A. D. 1661, there was an act of parliament passed, ‘de­claring and confirming those to be ministers, to all in­tents and purposes,’ who were then incumbents in the several parishes; tho' many of them had been ordained, after the bishops were put down in the preceeding admini­stration, and so had only presbyterian ordination.*

[Page 146] AGAIN, the same was done, A. D. 1707, by the act of union, whereby England and Scotland were united into one kingdom. Previous to this, the parliament of Scotland passed ‘an act, for securing the protestant religion and presbyterian church-government in Scotland, to posteri­ty.’ Now this act was made an essential and fundamen­tal part of the act of union, and so is confirmed by the king and parliament of Great-Britain, and thereby, the presby­terian order and government of the church of Scotland is as fully, to all intents and purposes, established there, and by the same authority, as episcopacy is in England. Accor­dingly, ever since that time, every king of Great-Britain, upon his accession to the throne, is obliged to take the fol­lowing oath;— ‘I G.—king of Great-Britain, France & Ireland, defender of the faith, &c. do faithfully promise and swear, that I shall inviolably maintain and preserve, the settlement of the true protestant religion, with the government, worship, discipline, rights and privileges of the church of Scotland, as established by laws made there, in prosecution of the claim of rights; and parti­cularly by an act intitled, an act for securing the protes­tant religion, and presbyterian church government, and by the acts passed, in the parliaments of both kingdoms, for the union of the two kingdoms.’

"So help me God. G. Rex."*

HERE again we see, the supreme authority of the nation, king, lords and commons, expressly allowing the religion of the church of Scotland, and her presbyterian form of govern­ment, to be the true protestant religion. As such, they esta­blish it to perpetuity; and the king, by his coronation oath, most solemnly promises and swears, to protect and defend it. But how could all this be, if the church of England, and the king as the head of it, really believed, as Mr. L. says they do the divine right of episcopacy, and the unlaw­fulness and nullity of presbyterian ordination and govern­ment? Must not the king and parliament, who are pro­perly the church of England, be supposed to understand her constitution on which she was settled at the reforma­tion, [Page 147]and the doctrines she maintains, as well as Mr. L.? Most certainly they must. Consequently since they have so expressly declared, by their most solemn and public acts, "that a church, founded upon presbyterian principles, is a true protestant church; and as such, have established it, and engaged to preserve and defend it in perpetuity; it undeniably follows, that the divine right of episcopacy, was no part of the original constitution of the church of England at the time of the reformation, or a doctrine since owned by her, as such. What rashness, what effrontery then, is Mr. L. chargeable with, in so confidently asserting, as he does, ‘that the body of the church of England di­vines, at the time of the reformation, and I may say, ever since, have constantly believed and maintained, the divine right of episcopacy?’ 'Tis pity gentlemen of such uncharitable and schismatical principles, can't be con­tented, since it must be so, to enjoy their unscriptural noti­ons themselves, without vainly attempting to fix the odious imputation upon others, and thus blackening the memory of the good old reformers, who detested these doctrines equally with us.

UPON the whole then, if any weight is to be laid, upon the most express declarations of many great & learned men of the church of England, bishops as well as others, at the time of the reformation, and since, in their individual capa­city, in favour of the validity of presbyterian ordination and government;—if any heed is to be given to the repeated in­stances, in which that church has, by her practice, owned and approved of that doctrine;—if any regard is to be had to public acts of parliament, acknowleging and declaring presbyterian churches and ministers, to be true lawful, pro­testant ministers and churches; it must be a most clear and indubitable fact, that the church of England, neither at the time of the reformation, nor since, hath espoused and main­tained the doctrine of the divine right of episcopacy; but on the contrary does expressly own the lawfulness and validity of presbyterian ordination and government. This uncharita­ble doctrine, is not the doctrine of the true church of Eng­land. [Page 148]It is believed and maintained, only by some of her degenerate sons; of which number I am really surry to find so great a part of her professors in this country, and Mr. L. among the rest.

SECT. X. Animadversions on Mr. L's appeal to the foreign protestants, concerning the validity of presbyterian ordination, p. 63, &c.

IN this part of his work, our author pretends to give us sundry extracts from the foreign protestants: Not in­deed to prove, that these foreign churches are of the epis­copal kind. This he knew was impossible: But tho' they are presbyterians themselves, yet that they do not allow our ordinations to be valid. Now, granting his quotations from Calvin, Beza, Le Mayne, &c. to be genuine; which, considering the freedom he uses with other authors, is at least very doubtful; they will by no means prove that these men denied the validity of ordination, even among the dissenters in England. What they seem to blame the old puritans for, is their separating from the established church of England, not for maintaining presbyterian prin­ciples. Besides, it is well known what arts were used in them times, by the sticklers for uniformity, to sollicit the opinion of foreign protestants in their favour, and get them to discountenance the seperation. ‘About this time, se­veral letters passed, between the english divines, on both sides, and several learned foreigners. Matters were false­ly represented to them, and great arts were used, on the bishop's side, to prevent such persons writing, who they found would not write in their behalf; and what they thought made for them, they published to the world in way of triumph. The foreigners were told, that unless they complied with the things enjoined, they must let in the papists to supply the cures. Several foreigners there­fore dreading that, and hoping these things would soon be altered, spake more favourable of them than they deserved.’ * Moreover these foreign divines knew, that episcopacy was settled in England, not as of divine right, [Page 149]but only by civil authority. Having this view of the english hierarchy, they might think it more advisable for their brethren in England, to submit to it, than to go into a sepa­ration barely upon this account. For it is only on account of this, that they are, in Mr. L's quotations, supposed to se­parate, and for which they are blamed. Whereas this was but one thing, among many, that caused the separation. But what business had Mr. L. with the dissenters in Eng­land? The pieces he attacks, undertook the defence of the New-England ministry, not that of the dissenters in Eng­land. There was no need of it. This has been repeatedly and successfully done by many able writers of their own. Particularly by Messrs. Baxter, Calamy, Pierce, and more lately the dissenting gentleman in answer to Mr. White. Besides, who does he mean by ‘the dissenters in this coun­try?’ If he intends New-England; bating a few ana­baptists and quakers, I know of no dissenters, save those of his communion. Episcopacy never was established here, tho' its opposite is, to the no small mortification of our au­thor and company. If therefore the foreign divines had such a regard to peace, as to advise their presbyterian bre­thren in England not to separate, even from an episcopal church, by law established; Who can suppose they would not condemn Mr. L. and party, in separating from the established presbyterian churches here, and becoming episcopal dissenters? Wherefore to come to the question, as he has stated it; that is ‘whether our ordinations in this country are allowed to be valid by the foreign protestants?’ In answering of it I will pursue his method, and ‘examine their public constitutions, their general practice, and their private sentiments.’

1. FROM the public constitutions of the foreign protestants, it is evident, even to demonstration, that they do and must approve of our ordinations as valid. If they allow their own to be valid, they must for this plain reason allow ours to be so; because their constitutions, at least so far as ordi­nation is concerned, are precisely the same with ours. Mr. L. I trust, need not be told that our ordinations are strictly [Page 150]presbyterian, agreeable to our constitution: But the same is the constitution of the foreign churches. ‘The protes­tant churches abroad, says Mr. Boyse,* are divided into lutheran and reformed. For the lutheran churches we have the concord of lutherans printed at Leipsick, containing the confession of Augsburgh, and the apology for the same—the Smalcaldic articles, Luther's greater and les­ser catechism.’ From these authentic writings, we learn what the opinion of the Lutherans in this point is.—The words are,— ‘The gospel gives to those that are placed over the churches, a command to teach the gospel, to re­mit sins, to administer the sacraments, and jurisdiction also. And by the confession of all, even our adversaries, 'tis manifest that this power, is by divine right, common to all that are set over the churches, whether they be called pastors, or presbyters, or bishops.—Since bishop and pas­tor are not different degrees by divine right, 'tis mani­fest that ordination performed by a pastor in his own church is valid.’ The confession containing this article was subscribed by 3 electors, 45 dukes, marquisses, counts and barons, the consuls and senators of 35 cities, by Luther, Melancthou, Bucer, Fagius and many other ministers to the number of 8000 says Mr. Calamy. 'Tis the common confession of the Lutheran church throughout Europe.

OF the same sentiments in this point are the reformed churches comprehending the rest of the foreign protestants. In the Helvetic confession are these words; ‘One, and that equal power and office, is given to all ministers in the church. 'Tis certain that from the beginning, bishops or presbyters governed the church with common care. None set himself above another, or usurped dominion over his fellow-bishops. This confession, as Mr. Boyse says, was approved by the reformed churches of Scotland, France, Belgium or the Dutch, Poland, Hungary and ma­ny in Germany.§ Dr. Chauncy adds, ‘those of Myllhu­sium, Neocome, Geneva and most of the protestant churches, except those above mentioned.’ ‖‖

[Page 151] THE French protestant churches, in their confession pre­sented to Charles IX. say, ‘We believe all true pastors, wherever they are placed, to be endued with equal power. under that only head, the chief and universal bishop.’ *

IN the Belgick or Dutch confession, we have these words, ‘In what place soever the ministers of the word of God are, they have all the same and equal power and authority, as being all alike the ministers of Christ, that only universal bishop and head of the church.’ Mr. L. need not be told that the article of the church of Scotland is the same upon this head.

NOW can there be a more full and convincing evidence, of these foreign churches allowing of the validity of our or­dination, than this universal agreement and testimony of their public constitutions in this point? Mr. L. and those of his stamp, tho' they renounce our ordinations, yet allow of those performed in the romish church. The reason is, because the principles of the papists, in this respect, are the same with theirs. Episcopacy is the doctrine of the church of Rome; the church of England therefore allow their ordinations to be valid, as being the same with her own. But now, with an evidence beyond exception it ap­pears, that all the foreign protestants are strictly of our principles, as to the ordaining power; from whence it un­deniably follows, that they must allow and approve of our ordinations, as valid, because they are the very same as are pointed out, in all their confessions of faith.

2. THIS point is also evident from the universal practice of the foreign churches. All the Dutch churches through­out the united provinces, the protestant churches in France, those of Geneva and the protestant cantons in Switzerland, &c. are utter strangers to bishops, both name and thing. All their clergy are upon a level; all equally exercising the power of ordination, and every other branch of mini­sterial authority. And as to those protestant churches which have officers they stile bishops, superintendents or seniors; they are little more than standing moderators, pretending to no superiority, by divine right, over their [Page 152]brethren. ‘All these churches, says Dr. Stillingfleet, ac­knowlege no such thing as the divine right of episcopacy, but stiffly maintain Jerom's opinion, of the primitive equality of all gospel-ministers.’ * Nor can they do otherwise; having at bottom no other than presbyterian ordination among them: For Luther, Calvin, Bucer, Me­lancthon, Bugenhagius, &c. and all the first reformers and founders of these churches, who ordained ministers among them, were themselves presbyters and nothing else.

THIS again clearly proves, that they do in fact allow our ordinations to be valid; for they are the same with theirs. Theirs are performed by presbyters, pastors, by divine right, all in a state of equality: The same also are ours. If therefore they allow their own, they must allow ours which are the same. And that this is the case in fact, is evident from particular instances of their practice. In Holland, tho' they allow a liberty of conscience to those of other denominations, yet no ministers are supported by the public, but those of their own profession: But it is an un­doubted truth, as I am informed, that they do in fact sup­port one or more Scotch presbyterian ministers, just as they do their own. This plainly shews, that they look upon the presbyters in Scotland, as their brethren, of the same church with themselves, and undeniably proves, that they allow of their ordination, and consequently of ours in this country, which is the same. The Dutch churches there­fore in Europe, beyond dispute allow the validity of our ordinations. In America the case is the same. Here there are sundry Dutch churches, originating from, and upon the same constitution with, the reformed protestant church­es in Holland. These allow the validity of our ordinati­ons. A number of years ago a young gentleman of Dutch extract, came to New-Haven, and was ordained by our ministers, at the college there, as a minister for the Dutch churches in the county of Albany. This, as my author tells me, was done by order of the classis in Holland. The Reverend Mr. Woosly, who was ordained by a number of Connecticut ministers, over the church and congregation [Page 153]of Southold on Long-Island; after he left that people, and removed to his plantation in Oyster-Bay, preached and ad­ministered the sacrament, in a Dutch church in that town, for 20 years together. The same did the Reverend Mr. Ketteltas since. He was ordained minister of Elizabeth-Town, by the presbytery in New-Jersey. After he left that people, at the invitation of sundry Dutch churches in Queen's-County, Long-Island, he officiated as their mini­ster for some time. The same gentleman is now improved in the ministry, in the French protestant church in the city of N. York. Now these are so many express instances, in which our ordinations have been, in fact, acknowledged and allowed to be valid by the foreign protestant churches. And yet in direct opposition to this incontestible evidence, in the very face of these stubborn and obstinate facts, Mr. L. has the assurance, shall I call it? to tell his readers ‘that none of these foreign protestants, (meaning the Dutch, French, &c.) will admit of a man ordained by our dissenters, (as he calls us by way of contempt) to admini­ster the sacraments in their churches." "That they con­demn, and find as much fault with our ordinations, as the episcopalians (meaning himself and those of his high­flying principles) do." "And that our mode of worship, &c. is condemned by all the foreign protestants.’ * What heed is to be given to the testimony of a man, who thus boldly contradicts the most glaring facts?

3. FROM the private sentiments of foreign protestants it appears, that they both approve of our method of ordina­tion and government, and condemn that of the episcopal church. Gerard, a famous lutheran divine, says, ‘During the apostolic age, there was no such thing as a distincti­on, between a bishop, and a preaching presbyter.’ Cal­vin's private judgment in this point, is well known from his institutions and other writings. Heylin, Howel, and other rigid episcopalians, speak of him as the father of pres­byterians, and the most inveterate enemy of the hierarchy. Musculus another learned foreigner, asserts and proves from Acts 20. Philip. 1. and the like texts which we now use, [Page 154] ‘that bishop, pastor, and presbyter are all one and the same.’ * Zanchy, another foreign divine, and one of the old reformers, professes, ‘that he cannot but love the zeal of such as hate the name of bishop and arch-bishop, fearing lest with these names, the ancient ambition and tyranny, together with the destruction of the churches, should return.’ The celebrated Turretine, Ames, and Wollebius, divinity professors in the universities of Geneva, Friseland and Basil, all fully declare in favour of our me­thod of ordination and oppose episcopacy, not only in the church of Rome, as Mr. L. pretends, but in general, as unscriptural. To add no more, Beza, who Mr. L. would persuade us is a friend to the english hierarchy, in his let­ter to Mr. Knox, minister of Scotland, soon after the refor­mation began there, writes thus, ‘But I would have you, my dear Knox, and the other brethren, to remember that which is before your eyes: That as the bishops brought forth the papacy: so false bishops, the relics of popery, shall bring in epicurism to the world. They that desire the churches good and safety, let them take heed of this pest. And seeing ye have put that plague to flight ti­mously, I heartily pray you that ye never admit it again, albeit it seem plausible, with the pretence and co­lour of keeping unity, which pretence deceived the anci­ent fathers, yea even many of the best of them.’

NOW who can suppose, that men of these sentiments, could be friends to episcopacy? Who can entertain the least doubt of their being, in principle, strictly presbyteri­an, when they so strongly express themselves in favour of the latter, and in opposition, and even detestation of the former?§ If these testimonies, from the public institutions, [Page 155]the universal practice, and the private sentiments of the fo­reign protestants, do not amount to a full proof of their being strictly presbyterian in principle themselves, and of their approbation, and allowance of our ordinations, as valid and scriptural, I must forever despair of seeing any fact proved, in any case whatsoever.

BUT Mr. L. tells us, ‘the whole that is aimed at, in these confessions, is to condemn the usurpation of the pope, not to condemn episcopacy.’ * Answer. 'Tis e­vident to demonstration, from the foregoing testimonies, they meant to condemn both; and that for this plain rea­son, because both are equally unscriptural, both rest upon the same foundation. I defy any man to condemn the ro­mish tyranny, and at the same time, defend the english hierarchy, upon any consistent principles. Episcopacy is episcopacy, whether in England or Rome. Whoever op­poses it in the latter, must, to be consistent with himself, condemn it in the former. Besides, some of the above tes­timonies, especially Beza's, as expressly condemns episco­pacy in Great-Britain, as at Rome. He calls it the pest, the plague of the church, and equally ruinous to to its wel­fare in the former, as in the latter.

AGAIN, Mr. L. appeals to the foreign churches, ‘whe­ther any presbyterian ministers are maintained by them, &c. but only such as have been ordained according to the method of those churches.’ —Answer: Doubtless none but such, are received and maintained by them. And this again is a clear evidence that they approve of and al­low our ordinations to be valid, and that our ministers and ordinations are the same, in their opinion, with theirs, since they do, in fact, as has been shewn above, receive and main­tain them in their churches, just as they do their own. [Page 156]How injuriously then does Mr. L. treat the foreign pro­testants thus to represent them as patrons of his unscriptu­ral scheme, and endeavour to fasten upon them, the odious imputation of maintaining his uncharitable and schismati­cal principles? What imposition upon the reader to attempt to beget in him a belief of this groundless aspersion?

I HAVE now gone thro' with my remarks upon Mr. L's book. Have very particularly examined, and I trust, fully answered every thing in it, worthy of notice. Scripture, reason and authentic history, have been my guides thro' the whole enquiry; and, unless I am much mistaken, his principles and conduct stand condemned by all three. The result is,—that neither in the sacred scriptures, nor the writings of the ancient fathers,—neither in the opinion of the first reformers, the constitutions and practice of the fo­reign protestants, nor even in the principles of the true church of England itself, is there the least shadow of a foun­dation for diocesan episcopacy, considered as of divine right.

WHEN Christ ascended he left the eleven apostles, the only ministers of his church; all vested with the same commission, all equal in power. Authorized by this com­mission they went forth,—preached the gospel, planted churches, and ordained ministers in them, vested them with the same commission they themselves bore. No account is to be found of their fixing some in a superior, others in a subordinate station. The ministers they ordained, were all of one order, promiscuously called bishops, pastors, or el­ders. As the general commission is but one, so one me­thod of introduction into office, one set of qualifications in order to it, one work or business for them when introduced, and one only, is to be found in the word of God. This was the order fixed by Christ, and followed by his apostles. They invariably adhered to that divine maxim of the great head of the church; ‘call no man your master upon earth, for one is your master in heaven, even Christ, and all ye are brethren.’ This was transmitted to the primitive christians, and observed in the purest and earliest ages of the church. A defection from this original parity, 'tis [Page 157]granted, pretty soon arose. "The mistery of iniquity be­gan "to work," even before the apostles were dead. A thirst of dominion and ecclesiastical pre-eminence, early opperated amongst the ministers of the meek and lowly JESUS. This increased from less to more, till that man of sin, the son of perdition, who exalteth himself above all that is called GOD, or is worshiped,’ got himself fairly mounted upon the seven-headed beast, and enslaved all christendom with his usurped dominion. From this yoke of anti-christian tyranny, when great part of Europe was happily delivered, by the glorious light of the reformation, the ancient parity among ministers, generally took place. By far the greatest part of the protestant churches, recur­red to the original scriptural plan of presbyterian order and government. And where in any instance, as in England, they adopted the episcopal mode, it was not under any pre­tence of divine right, but wholly in conformity to the form of government in the state.

THE above facts are indubitably clear, from scripture, and ecclesiastical history, ancient and modern. On these facts the reasonings and conclusions are founded, contained in the foregoing pages. For the truth of the facts I appeal to the authentic writings aforesaid. For the justness of the reasonings and conclusions deduced from them, the candid reader is now to determine.

IF diocesan episcopacy be of divine right, it is certainly contained in scripture. If it be of such vast importance, as is pretended, it must be very clearly and expressly revealed there. Doctrines of importance, truths essential to religion, are not left to be collected barely from dark hints and doubtful expressions; but are clearly revealed, and often repeated, in various modes of diction, ‘that he who runs may read them.’ But is this the case with diocesan epis­copacy? The warmest advocate for it, I presume, will not pretend it is. All that the learned labour of its ablest cham­pions has hitherto been able to produce, is barely some dark hints and doubtful expressions, which a fruitful invention may turn to savour it; but these capable of a more rational [Page 158]interpretation upon the contrary scheme. And yet to this point of doubtful disputation, the most essential doctrines and express precepts of our holy religion, it seems, must be made a sacrifice. That men fulfil their promises, perform their covenant obligations, and religiously regard their so­lemn vows, is not only one of the first dictates of natural religion; but very expressly and repeatedly enjoined in the word of God. But when men, who have solemnly dedi­cated themselves to the ministry in our churches, renounce their ordination vows, and take episcopal orders: When professors among us, who solemnly promised and covenant­ed before God, angels and men, to walk in communion with us, rend themselves off, and join the episcopal sepa­ration, under a pretence of the divine right of episcopacy, who does not see that doubtful points are preferred to possi­tive precepts; and that more weight is laid upon the for­mer, than the latter? If this is not to substitute ‘mint, anise, and cummin, instead of the weightier matters of the law.’ 'tis indeed hard to say what is. And after all; what is gained, in point of valid ministry and ordinances? Why truly, upon their own principles, just nothing at all. If our ministers have no power, then our administrations are invalid, our baptisms a mere nullity. Those therefore who have been baptized in our churbhes, are in a state of mere heathenism, let them conform to what church they will. As this is the case with most of their ministers in this country, they must, upon this principle, be so far from be­ing the only regular ministers, that they are not even visi­ble christians; and instead of being the only persons im­powered to dispense gospel administrations, they have no right even to partake of them themselves. Consequently all they pretend to baptize, are still in a state of heathen­ism, and so all their ministers and churches, as well as ours, in the same wretched and deplorable condition. Who can suppose such doctrines as these, are to be found in the bi­ble? who can imagine, claims and principles, productive of such shocking consequences, have any warrant from the gospel of Christ? A moments cool reflection, methinks, [Page 159]might shew their absurdity, and give a check to the advo­cates of them, in their warmest career of proselyting zeal. Verily, gentlemen, a little more consistency of principle and conduct here, would not be amiss. Let us first see you concerned to secure for your selves, a valid baptism: Then it will be time enough to press us with the argument of your only valid ministry. When we see you properly concerned for your own safety, it may possibly convince us that you are sincere, in your zealous attempts to promote ours.

IF Mr. L. or any other, will just remove these difficul­ties, and favour us with a solid, scriptural and thoro' re­futation of the foregoing arguments, it will be kindly re­ceived, and properly noticed. But if only bold assertions, false quotations, and a superficial glance, upon here and there a sentence, is offered to the public, under the speci­ous pretence of a full answer, it will be treated with deserv­ed neglect.

MAY the father of lights direct our enquiries, and the God of truth lead us into all truth. May the saving influ­ences of the spirit of peace and holiness, so remarkable in the apostles and primitive christians, be shed forth in plen­tiful effusions, upon all orders and denominations. That so, however we differ in sentiments in some lesser things, we may all agree in "choosing the one thing needful," and finally unite our hearts and voices, in endless hallelujahs, to our common Lord and Redeemer. AMEN.

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