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s 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 presa byters 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 6 shew these things to James and to the brethren.” Why to James in particular ? 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
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 have 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 natural ; 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 ? 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? 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? 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, Aiò éyw repivw, &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.
The episcopal care of James unquestionably extended over many assemblies. By the preaching of St. Peter on the day of Pentecost, after the miraculous effusion of the Holy Ghost, we are assured P, that to the number of the disciples “there were added “about three thousand souls.” It is indeed probable, that of these many were strangers, who, after the celebration of the feast, which had brought them to Jerusalem, departed from that city, and returned to their respective countries. It appears, however, that, soon afterwards, the number of believers resident in Jerusalem amounted to five thousand; and, by the time that St. Paul returned to give an account to James and the elders, of what things God had done by his ministry among the Gentiles, even that number had greatly increased 9. But ten or even five thousand men could not meet for public worship, for the breaking of bread and for prayers, in any private house, or any ten private houses, belonging to the Christians in Jerusalem ; and, therefore, as James appears to have had the episcopal care of them all, that care must have extended over many assemblies.
That such was the nature of episcopal jurisdiction even in that age appears still more evident, if possible, from St. John's epistle, in the Apocalypse, to the seven churches in Asia. That epistle is addressed, not επτα εκκλησίαις των εν τη 'Ασια, as it probably would have been, had it been intended for seven of a greater number of churches in Asia Minor, but ταις επτα εκκλησίαις ταις (εκκλησιαις) εν τη Aria, to the seven churches, the churches in Asia. Those seven, therefore, must have been the only societies in Asia Minor so organised as to be entitled to the appellation of churches, at the time when St.
p Acts ii. 41.
9 The words of St. James in the original Greek are, Oewpēls, αδελφε, πόσαι μυριάδες εισίν Ιουδαίων των πεπιστευκότων, &c. You see, brother, how many myriads there are of Jews who believe, &c.
John wrote the Apocalypse. But is it conceivable