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gregationalist may urge it with the same propriety. His community registers the names of his minister, and deacons, and church, and congregation, each with distinct privileges and rights. If Dr. Onderdonk should reply to this, that his remark referred only to the distinction of “systems of office, both religious and civil,” (p. 18.) and “ that among officers, there is a difference of power and rights.” (p. 19.) we reply, that the distinction of officers pertains to other churches, as well as the Episcopal. No nonEpiscopalian, perhaps, can be found, who holds to a parity of office. He will refer, at once, to his minister, to bis elders, to his deacons, as evincing sufficient disparity, to meet the full force of the presumption alledged by Dr. Onderdonk. But our main objection here, as before, is to the principle of interpretation. We respectfully insist, that it should be laid aside, as an “extraneous consideration," in the inquiry, whether Episcopacy " has the authority of scripture.”
In our review, we 'stated, that the burden of proof, in this inquiry, was laid wholly on the friends of Episcopacy. (p. 7.) This point was so obvious, that we did not think it necessary to illustrate it at length. Nor do we now intend to do more than merely, by adverting to it, to recall it to the attention of our readers. The author of the « Answer" has endeavored to remove this burden from himself and his friends. (p. 4, and p. 18.) This he has done, by attempting to show, that there is a presumptive argument in favor of Episcopacy; which presumption throws the task of proving the parity of the clergy on those who advocate it. Now we are not disposed to enter into a controversy on this point. To us it seemed, and sull seems, to be a plain case, that where it was affirmed, that the clergy of the christian church was separated, by divine authority, into three grades, or orders, and that one of those orders had the exclusive right of ordination, of discipline, and of general superintendence; it could not be a matter requiring much deliberation, to know where rested the burden of proof. If a man assumes authority over an army, demanding the subordination of all other officers to his will, it is not a very unreasonable presumption, that the burden of proof lies with him; nor would it be the obvious course, to expect the entire mass of officers to show, that he had not received such a commission. We shall, therefore, feel ourselves to be pursuing a very obvious course, if we do not recognize the authority of Episcopal bishops, unless there is proof positive of their commission. We may add further, that in the supposed case of the commander of the army or the navy, we should not regard that as a very satisfactory proof, which was pursued with as little directness and explicitness, as are evinced in the argument to establish the original domination and perpetuity of the prelatical office. And in this connection we may remark, that it
is perfectly immaterial, as to the main point, what may be the opinion of the man who calls the claim in question, or what may be the particular denomination to which he is attached. Whether he is an Independent, a Presbyterian, or a Congregationalist, it may be equally true, that the bishop of the Episcopal church is unable to inake out his claims from the new testament. The only material point, in which all other denominations are agreed, is, that the ministers of the new testament are on an equality, in the respect under consideration; that the power of ordaining, and administering discipline, and of superintending the concerns of the church, is intrusted to them, as equals, in opposition to the exclusive and exalted assumptions of a few, who claim the right to deprive them of these powers, and to make their ministrations null and void. And when claims of this order are advanced,-claims designed to dispossess the great mass of the ministry throughout the world, of the right of transmitting their office to others; of exercising government and discipline in their own pastoral charges; of superintending and controlling the affairs of the particular portion of the church universal, with which they are specifically intrusted; when claims like these are presented, tending to degrade them from their office, to annihilate their authority, and to leave their charges without a ministry ;- we may respectfully insist, that the proof of this should be drawn, by no circumlocution, from the bible. We wish to see, with great pertinency, the chapter, and the verse: we can with difficulty resist the impression, that it should be done totidem rerbis, or at least, so nearly so, that there could be no possibility of mistake.
We may here remind our readers, of the precise points which Episcopacy is called upon to make out. The first is, that the apostles were a distinguished from the elders, because they were superior to them in ministerial power and rights.” (Tract, p. 15.) The second is, that this distinction “ was so, persevered in, as to indicate, that it was a permanent arrangement.” (Tract, p. 23.) These are independent propositions. One by no means follows from the other. Should the first be admitted, yet the second is to be established by equally explicit and independent proof. Nay, the second is by far the most material point, and should, as we shall show, be fortified by the most irrefragable arguments. The third point, indispensable to the other two, is, that there is no evidence in the new testament, that presbyters, or elders, discharged the functions which are now claimed for bishops; that is, that they either (1.) ordained, or (2.) exercised discipline, or (3.) exerted a general supervision. (Tract, p. 11.) Unless then it is shown, that not one of these functions was ever performed by presbyters, the Episcopal claim fails of support, and must be abandoned. These Vol. VII.
are independent positions, and a failure in one, is a failure in the whole.
To a cursory review of what can be said on these points, we now propose to call the attention of our readers.
The first claim asserted, is, that the apostles were “distinguished from the elders, because they were superior to them, in ministerial power and rights.” (Tract, p. 15.) The points of their alledged superiority, are, exclusive ordination, exclusive discipline, exclusive confirmation, and exclusive right of general superintendence. The question is, whether this is the nature of the superiority, with which the apostles were intrusted; or, which is the same thing, Were these the purposes for which they were set apart to the apostolic office, and for which they were called apostles ? Dr. Onderdonk affirms it; we take the liberty, most respectfully, of calling for explicit proof of it, from the new testament.
His direct proof is contained in a nut-shell. It consists of one expression of scripture: (Acts, xv. 2, 4, 6, 22; xvi. 4.) “ Apostles and elders,” apostles, and elders, and brethren ;” and a note on p. 12, of the tract, and in the reply, expanded to more than two pages, showing that, in his apprehension, they administered discipline. As this is the basis on which the whole fabric is reared, and as it embraces the very gist of the “ Answer,” we shall be pardoned for adverting to it with some particularity.
We may then inquire, why the apostles were distinguished from the elders, or presbyters. Dr. Onderdonk affirms, that it was because they were superior in ministerial power and rights.” The argument on this subject, from the new testament, is, that the two classes of men are distinguished from each other, (Acts, xv. 2, 4, 6, 22 ; xvi. 4.) by the following expressions ; elders," "apostles, and elders, and brethren." Now in regard to this proof, we beg leave to make the following remarks.
(1.) That it is the only direct passage of scripture, which Dr. O.' is able to adduce, on the subject of the alledged superiority of the apostles. Its importance, in his view, may be seen from the fact, that it is not merely the only proof, but, that it is repeated not less than five times, in the space of less than a single page the tract; (pp. 14, 15.) and that it occupies a similar prominence in the Answer. The tract has been written four years. Diligent research during that time, it would be supposed, might have led to the discovery of soine other text, that had a bearing on the point. But the inatter still rests here. There is no other text; and the fabric is to be sustained on the solitary expression, “ apostles and elders," "apostles, and elders, and brethren."
(2.) What does this passage prove? It proves this, and no more, that there was a distinction, of some sort, between the apos
tles and elders, -which is a point of just as much importance, as when we affirm, that one class were called apostles, and another called elders. But it is difficult for us to see, how this determines any thing respecting the reasons of the distinction. In Ephesians, , iv. 11, the apostle affirms, that God gave soine, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. Here a distinction is made out. But is the nature of the distinction thereby ascertained ? I speak of guineas and doubloons, and guilders. I affirm a distinction, indeed; but is its nature ascertained? Have I determined, that the guinea is, therefore, superior in weight or value to the others ?
(3.) We have never denied, that there was a distinction between the apostles, and elders, and brethren. The very fact, that they had the name apostles, shows, that there must have been some distinction, or some reason why they were so called. Unusual discernment, or labored argument, surely, are not necessary to perceive this. But the very point is, what is the nature of this distinction ? And this is to be settled, not by the use of the word, but by the statement in the new testament; and it is incumbent on the Episcopalian to show, by proof-texts, that it was because the apostles were superior, in the power of ordination, of confirmation, of discipline, and of general superintendence of a diocese. Dr. Onderdonk affirmed, that the name was not so given, because they were appointed by Christ personally ; nor because they had seen the Lord after his resurrection; nor because they had the power of working miracles : and then observed, that “it followed, OR would not be questioned, that it was because they were superior in ministerial power and rights.” (Tract, p. 15.) It seems not to have occurred to him, that they could be appointed to be witNESSES of his entire ministry, including the fact of his resurrection, as a main point. We took the liberty, therefore, of examining this matter, as very material to the argument. We proved, (1.) That in the original appointment of the apostles, there was Do reference to their superiority, in the powers of ordination, discipline, etc. (Review, p. 10.) This position we supported by the three separate accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. (2.) That no such thing occurred in the instructions of our Lord, after his resurrection from the dead. This also we confirmed, by an examination of the testimony of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in neither of whose gospels was there found a vèstige of such instructions. (Review, p. 10.) (3.) That there was no where else in the new testament, any account, that what Dr. O. affirmed, as the peculiarity of the apostolic office, was known to the writers. This conclusion we rested upon our own examination, and the fact, that Dr. O. had not adduced any such passage. (4.) That the reason of the appointment to the apostolic office was expressly af
firmed; and, that it was not that which Dr. O. supposed it to be. We showed, (a) that it was expressly affirmed, in the original appointment, (Luke, xxiv. 48. Matt. xxviii. 18, 19.) that they should be WITNESSES of these things ; (Review, p. 12.) (6) that this was expressly provided for, in the case of the election of one to fill the place vacated by Judas; (Acts, i. 21, 22.) (c) that this was the account which the apostles uniformly gave, of the design of their appointment; (see p. 13.) (d) that the same thing was again expressly provided for, in the case of the apostle Paul, and, that in order to a qualification for that office, he was permitted to “SEE the Just one,” the Lord Jesus ; (Acts, xxii. 14.) and, (e) that he himself expressly appeals to the fact, as a proof, that he was fully invested with the apostolic office. 1 Cor. ix. 1, 2. (See Review, p. 15.) In the course of the argument, we adduced not less than twenty explicit passages of scripture, bearing directly on the point, and proviny, beyond dispute, that this was the design of the appointment to the apostolic office. Our purpose in this, was evident. It was to show, that the peculiarity of the apostolic office was of such a nature, that it could not be transmitted to distant generations; but, that it had a specific, yet very important design, which, as a matter of course, must cease.
With deep interest, therefore, we opened the “ Answer," to ascertain how this array of scriptural argument was met. We did not deem it unreasonable to suppose, that there would be some new attempt to show, that the peculiarity of the apostolic office, was to ordain ; that the passages of scripture on which we had relied, were irrelevant; or, that other passages might be adduced in proof of what Dr. O. had affirmed to be the peculiarity of the apostolic office, and which we had respectfully denied. Our readers will join with us in our amazement,' to find the following, as the result of an examination of the “ Answer."
(1.) A solemn, and somewhat pompous re-adducing of the expression, (Acts, xv.) “the apostles and elders," " the apostles, and elders, and brethren ;” (Answer, p. 7.) a passage, maintaining still its solitary dignity, and reposing in the “ Answer," as it had in the “ Tract," in its own lonely grandeur. We could not restrain our amazement,' that no other passages were even referred to, on this material point; and we came to the conclusion, that we had reached an end of the argument, so far as direct scripture proof was concerned.
(2.) We found a notice of our extended array of proof-texts, showing what was the design of the apostolic appointment, of a character so remarkable, that we shall quote it entire.
* The reviewer, in order to show what he thinks was the point in which the apostles excelled the elders, in the matter in question, dwells