תמונות בעמוד

ministration to which none of his inferiors were competent. Dr. Mosheim, indeed, seems to think, that there is no resemblance, and hardly any analogy, between the Jewish priesthood and the Christian ministry; but this is a mistake so palpable, that a man of learning and integrity could not have fallen into it, but through the influence of some deep-rooted prejudice. In the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews there is an evident analogy pointed out between the Jewish and Christian churches, and, of course, between their respective ministers; and the first epistle of St. Clement of Rome furnishes incontrovertible evidence, that long before the reign of Adrian—and even in the first century, the bishops, presbyters, and deacons, were considered as invested with rank and characters similar to those of the high-priest, priests and Levites among the Jews. That apostolical father, whose name, we are assured by St. Paul, was in the book of life, expostulating with the Corinthians, then in a state of schism among themselves, and of sedition against the governors of their church, thus reasons with them. “Let us consider those who fight under our “ earthly governors; how orderly, how readily, and “ with what exact obedience they perform those “things which are commanded them. All are not “generals, nor commanders of thousands, nor cen– “turions, nor captains of fifties, and so on; but “every one doeth those things which are enjoined “ him by the king, and by those officers who have “ the command over him. They who are great, “cannot yet subsist without those that are little; “ nor the little without the great. There is a cer“tain mixture in all things, and in these there is “fitness, xoris. Let us take our own body: the “head is nothing without the feet; so neither are “the feet of use without the head: even the smallest “ members of our body are necessary and useful to “the whole body: all conspire together, and are adapted by one subordination" to the preservation “ of the whole. Let therefore our whole body be “saved in Christ Jesus; and let every one be sub“ject to his neighbour according to the order in “which he is placed by the grace given him. Let “not the powerful despise the weak, and let the weak “reverence the powerful. “Seeing then that these things are manifest unto “us, even looking into the depths of the divine “knowlege, we ought to do, in order, all things “ which the Lord hath commanded us to do; at “stated times to perform our offerings and public “ services; for he hath commanded them to be done “not rashly and disorderly, but at predetermined “ times and hours. He hath determined also by his “own supreme will, where and by whom he would “have them to be celebrated; that so all things “being piously done, unto all well-pleasing, they “may be acceptable to his will. They therefore who “make their offerings at the appointed seasons, are “accepted and happy; for, following the instituted “laws (voup.org) of the Lord, they do not go astray. “For to the chief priest his proper services (Astroveyia.) “are committed; and to the priests their proper “ place is ordained; and on the Levites their proper “ministries (3.2×ovia) are imposed; and the layman “is confined by the laws ordained for laymen". It is impossible for an unprejudiced man to read these extracts with attention, and to entertain a doubt that St. Clement considered the bishops, priests, and Levites in the Christian church, as succeeding to the high-priest, priests and Levites in the Jewish. Indeed, if he understood, as he appears to have done, the great scheme of human redemption; if he believed, as our church believes, that, in the Old as well as in the New Testament, “everlasting “life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the “ only mediator between God and man;" if, with St. Paul and the inspired author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, he considered Judaism as Christianity under a veil; he must have considered the Jewish and Christian churches as essentially the same, though the ministrations of the former were more carnal than those of the latter, on account of the grossness of the people. With this view of the stupendous plan of redemption, it seems impossible that he, or indeed any other man, could have considered the bishops, presbyters, and deacons of the church, as succeeding to any thing else than the rank and character of the high-priest, priests and Levites of the temple; unless, indeed, there had been any text of Scripture plainly declaring, that the Jewish and Christian churches were wholly unconnected with each other, and that the former was not intended to serve as a schoolmaster to lead the descendants of Abraham to Christ. Such a text as this, however, none of the sons of latitude have yet pretended to discover. It seems likewise very strange that Dr. Mosheim should have supposed that, in the church of Jerusalem, there was no fixed president over the presbyters or elders, till the dispersion of the apostles; and that the jurisdiction of such presidents, who were then styled angels and afterwards bishops, extended no farther, during the first and second centuries, than over one Christian assembly, which was generally small enough to be contained in a private house. It has been already observed that St. James is represented, with the elders about him, as bishop of Jerusalem, when St. Paul returned to that city, and declared what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. Indeed the part, which, in the New Testament, James appears to have acted from a very early period, cannot be accounted for on any other supposition, than that he really was, what the concurring testimony of all antiquity declares him to have been, the fixed bishop or angel of the church of Jerusalem. When St. Peter was miraculously delivered from prison, and had been received into the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark, (Acts xii.) he said, “Go “ shew these things to James and to the brethren.” Why to James in particular 2 and why were the brethren with James rather than with John, who had acted a more conspicuous part than he during the life of our Lord, as well as at the first preaching of the apostles after the shedding abroad of the Holy {Ghost, and who had not, at the period of St. Peter's deliverance, or for four years afterwards, left Jerusalem? In the second chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians, St. Paul says, that, “when Peter was come to “ Antioch, he withstood him to the face, because he

nitrorays pu% xpirat. • Chapters 37, 38 and 40.]

“ was to be blamed. For before that certain came

“from James, he (Peter) did eat with the Gentiles; “but, when they were come, he withdrew, and se“parated himself, fearing them who were of the “circumcision.” In the Acts of the Apostles we #ave no other account of persons from Judea teaching the Gentiles of Antioch, that, except they should be circumcised, they could not be saved, than that which is given in the fifteenth chapter; and it is indeed highly improbable, that, after the synodical decree at Jerusalem, St. Peter could have acted the part of which he was accused by St. Paul, or have attempted to “to compel the Gentiles to live as “do the Jews,” contrary to the solemn decision of himself and the whole church under the immediate influence of the Holy Ghost. There is therefore no room for reasonable doubt that it was on the occasion mentioned in the fifteenth chapter of the Acts, and some time before the meeting of the council at

Jerusalem, that this dissension took place between

those great apostles. But by St. Luke the certain men, who wished to impose circumcision and the other rites of the Mosaic law on the Gentile Christians at Antioch, are said only to have come from Judea ; whereas by St. Paul they are said to have come from

James. Why are certain men, who came down from Judea, represented as having come from James, rather than from the other apostles and elders, of whom it is evident, from the short history of the council, that there must have been many then residing in Jerusalem. If St. James was the proper bishop of Jerusalem, all these facts, which, upon any other supposition, cannot be accounted for, were perfectly matural; for, to whom was it so expedient that St. Paul should give an account of “the things which God “had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry,” as to the bishop and presbyters of the mother church of the Hebrews 2 To what individual of the church of Jerusalem should St. Peter have sent the earliest account of his miraculous deliverance from prison, but to the bishop of that church 2 If St. James had not been that bishop, is it conceivable that St. Peter would have sent such welcome intelligence to him, rather than to his more intimate friend and companion, St. John, who was the disciple peculiarly dear to their divine Master 2 And could any thing be more natural than for St. Paul to say that certain brethren, who came to Antioch from the church of Judea, came from the governor of that church? This accounts likewise for St. James's presiding in the council of apostles and elders, which was holden in Jerusalem, for determining the question about circumcising the Gentiles; for that he was president of that council is incontrovertible, if any credit be due to the testimony of antiquity, to the unanimous opinion of critics and commentators (a few members of the modern church of Rome excepted), or, indeed, to the obvious meaning of his words, Auð iyā Kelva, &c. But if James was bishop of the church of Jerusalem, and if the constitutions of all other churches were framed after that model, there is surely no reason to suppose that, even in the first century, and still less in the second, the bishop or angel of any church had the care of only one Christian assembly.

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