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THE CHURCH AT JERUSALEM-CHAP. IX.
Jalan Pe- or to bestow the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, (for all Lydda.
riod, 4753, these have been inferred,) it is not necessary to decide. The
Valgar&ra, important fact is certain; the ministerial function was con-
trolled and subject to a superior eeclesiastical authority, which
was demonstrated by the fulfilling of more solemn duties than
subordinate preachers were empowered to perform. Christian
teachers exercised government over other Christian teachers,
and likewise over their converts, without either the permission
or the interference of the people. Aud from the recorded fact,
we are justified in concluding that this system of ecclesiastical
discipline was uniformly observed by the apostles, and, as such,
must be the best model for all their successors.
Before the Gentiles, or the Proselytes of the Gate, were invited
to become members of the Christian Church, St. Paul was mira.
culously converted. Three years after which he preached Christ
in tbe synagogues, apparently without either the sanction of
an apostle, or ihe request of the people. This illustrious con-
vert, although he cannot be admitted as a general example, had
also authority for what he did. He was (as Biscoe on the Acts,
p. 271, has proved,) an ordained elder, doctor, or teacher,
among the Jews, and possessed the privilege of preaching in
the synagogues. In addition to this human ordination, he was
miraculously filled with the Holy Ghost, as a qualification for
his high office. He was set apart by the divine Head of the
Church himself, who appeared to him from heaven, and com.
missioned him to go to the Gentiles.
We are now brought to the most important part of tho subject-the nature of the authority which was thus exercised by one class of Christian teachers over both the other teachers and the first converts : or, in other words, of what nature was the apostolie office, and what kind of government therefore is to be exercised in the Christian Church? It will appear, from the united testimony of the Scripture itself, and the authority of some of the most learned theologians who have adorned the Christian world, yet who have been adverse to the episcopal regimen, that the word apostlo was well known among the Jews, and that it denoted an officer of high influence and authority, who exercised a delegated power over the ministers and people of separate and distant congregations.
Though the Jews where dispersed throughout the world at the time of our Lord, their numerous congregations were under the control of the High Priest and Sanhedrim ; and the persons who were sent by tbem were called their apostles. While every separate congregation was governed by its own rulers of the synagogue, or councils of ten, or three, or twenty-three, the whole Jewish Church, through all its departments, was subject to the authority of the heads of the Church at Jerusalem, and the Romans protected the Jews in exercising the right of governing their own countrymen (6). The Jews, therefore, were accustomed to submit to the control of the Sanhedrim, and would not, when converted to Christianity, object to a continuance of that form of government to which they had thus submitted. We will, however, consider the word in all its significations.
Í. The word apostle, årborodos, says the learned Witsius, literally signifies one who is sent forth. It was used among the Greeks for the word
II. Φρεσβεύς αποστελλόμενος, μεσίτης ειρήνης ένεκα, i.e. an ambassador, one sent forth, a mediator to make or establish peace.
III. More especially, ο στρατηγός κατά πλάν πεμπόμενος, the leader sent on a naval expedition. Hesychius.
IV. Noumaywyòs, one sent to bring the bride to the house of her husband.' Pbavorinus.
Julian Pe. In all which senses it is singularly descriptive of the office
riod, 4753. of the apostles--they were ministers of peace, and commanders of
Volgar Æra, that great expedition which was directed to the Isles of the Sea,
and to the Gentile world; which in Scripture is frequently re-
presented under the emblem of the sea. It was their high
office also to present the Christian Church as a chaste virgin to
In Hebrew, the word åtóotolos, or apostle, corresponds to
, . , ,
of angels, but of prophets and priests, Hag. i. 13. Malac. ii.
7. In this sense St. Paul calls Cbrist the apostle of our pro-
fession, (adding the word αρχιερέυς,) της ομολογίας ημών-- of
our, that is, the Christian profession, in opposition to the
High Priest of the Jews.
It corresponds also to the word nibv. The Jews had their
7138 obw or bmp, árogtólous tñs tekinolas, who brought the de.
crees of the High Priest to the synagogues at Jerusalem,
and the tithes and victims to the priests, and principally col-
lected for the temple service the tribute of the half shekel,
which was required by the law of Moses from the whole popu-
lation. The word, in this sense, was adopted in the Christian
Church. It was more especially used to denote the ambassadors
and assistants of the patriarchs of the Jews (c).
In the Jerusalem Talmud (Sanhed. fol. 18. col. 4.) we are presented with tho form of the letters which were issued by the Sanhedrim, from which we learn that the expression “ to tho brethren," was in common use, and referred to the Jews, wbether priests or not, who had anthority in the provinces ; and to whom the Sanhedrim gave the power to put its decrecs in force. It must however be observed, says Lightfoot(d), that it was not the awe of the power of the Sanhedrim, so much as the innate ambition of the Jews to continue as one people, whicb made them obedient. And the letters therefore which St. Paul received from the Sanhedrim to the brethren at Damascus, we must suppose not to be imperative, but declarative and persuasive. This is the remark of Lightfoot, and it is no doubt correct; it proves however the point under discussion : that authority was exercised over the synagogues of the Jews, and that the persons who were deputed to exercise it were called apostles : and, we may add too, that the same desire of únion among themselves, wbich induced the forcign Jews to submit to the jurisdiction of their High Priest and Sanhedrim, ought to be a prevailing motive to union among Christians.
In Joma, fol. 18. 2. ap Schoetgen, vol. i. p. 936. we find the
Jews were also accustomed to call the High Pricst apostle, as
implying probably that a part of his power was the result of
their decisions, and that He therefore was in one sense the pos-
sessor of a delegated autbority; if so, the analogy is here com-
plete. We read-The elders of the Sanhedrim bind the High
Priest by an oath, and say unto him, Oh, our great High Priest,
art our apostle, 7'nibw nnx, and the apostle of the Sanbe-
drim, que fa nobvi, we adjure, by the name of him who bas
caused his name to dwell in this house, that thou wilt not be
silent concerning those things which we speak to thee.
In Gemara, fol. 19. I fin. R. Hunna fil' R. Jehoscua, says,
our High Priest, is the apostle of God.
Sohar Exod. fol. 21. col. 84. adverba, Levit. xiv. I. Hoc modo veniet sacerdos ad sancta, 537 xn bv, apostolus omnium (e).
The word apostle, says Mosheim (f), it is well known, signifies a legate, an ambassador, a person entrusted with a particular mission. The propriety, therefore, with which this appel
THE CHURCH AT JERUSALEM-CHAP. IX.
109 Jalian Pe- lation was bestowed by Christ on those friends whom he thought Lydda. riad, 4753. proper to select for the propagation of his religion throughValgar Æra, out the world, is manifest from this its common acceptation. But
the reader will perhaps discover a peculiar force in this term ;
and more readily perceive the motives wbich probably induced
our Saviour to apply it to those whom he sent forth, when he is
informed that, in the age of which we are now treating, this
appellation was appropriated to certain public officers of great
credit and authority amongst the Jews, who were the con-
fidential ministers of the High Priest, and consulted with by
him on occasions of the highest moment. They were also oc-
casionally invested with particular powers, and dispatched on
missions of importance, principally to such of their country-
men as lived in foreign parts. The collection of the yearly
tribute to the temple, which all the Jews were bound to pay,
was likewise entrusted to their management, as were also
several other affairs of no small consequence. For since all
Jews, however widely they might be dispersed throughout the
various regions of the world, considered themselves as belong-
ing to one and the same family, or commonwealth, of which
the High Priest residing at Jerusalem was the prefect and head;
and as the members of every inferior syuagogue, however dis-
tant or remote, looked up to Jerusalem as the mother and
chief seat of their religion, and referred all abstruse or difficult
matters, and any controversies and questions of moment re-
specting divine subjects, to the decision of the High Priest, it
was absolutely necessary that this supreme pontifr sbould
always bave near him a number of persons of fidelity, learning,
and authority, of whose services he might avail bimself in com-
municating his mandates and decrees to those Jews who were
settled in distant parts, and in arranging and determining the
various points referred to him for decision.
The learned writer then goes on to shew the great pro-
bability that the officers who were thus entrusted with this
delegated authority were called apostles. In the first place,
St. Paul bimself evidently intimates such to have been the
case, in the opening of bis Epistle to the Galatians, when he
terms bimself an apostle, not dr' avopwrūv, of men, nor di
åvpwtūv, by men, but of God himself, and his Son Jesus
Christ, Gal. i. 1. What necessity could there be that this in-
spired writer should thus accurately define the nature of his
commission, and so particularly mark the distinction between
himself and an apostle invested with mere human authority, if
the Jews, to whom that epistle is principally addressed, bad
been strangers to that other kind of apostles commissioned
by men, pamely, apostles sent by the Jewish High Priest and
magistrates, to the different cities of the Roman empire? This
interpretation was long since given to the words of the apostle
by St. Jerome, Comm. ad Galatas, tom. ix. opp. p. 124. edit.
Francof. usque hodie, says he, à patriarchis Judæorum apos-
tolis mitti (constat) ad distinctionem itaque eorum qui mit.
tuntur ab hominibus, et sui qui sit missus a Christo, tale
sumpsit exordium: Paulus apostolus, non ab hominibus, neque
per hominem. These words of St. Jerome, who resided in
Palestine, and was every way skilled in Jewish affairs, must
necessarily be allowed to weigh strongly in favour of the
above statement respecting the apostles of the High Priest.
The meaning they convey, indisputably is, that, in the time of
St. Paul, it was the practice of the Jewish High Priest to send
forth apostles, after the same manner as the Jewish patriarchs
were accustomed to do at the time he, St. Jerome, wrote: and
there appears to be no reason whatever which should induce us
Julian Pe- to question the credibility of what is thus said. But let us Lydda.
riod, 4753. return to the words of St. Paul, in which there is something
Vulgar Æra, worthy of remark, which, if my memory does not fail me,
says Mosheim, bas never hitherto attracted the attention of
any commentator. St. Paul says, that he is an apostle, not of
men, neither by man. He therefore clearly divides human
apostles into two classes ; viz. those who were commissioned
merely by one man, and those who were invested with their
powers by several. Now what does this mean? Who are these
men, and who that single man, who, in St. Paul's time, were
accustomed to send amongst the Jews certain persons, whom
it was usual to distinguish by the appellation of apostles ?
The single man to whom Paul alludes, could, I conceive,
bave been none other than the great High Priest of the Jews;
and the several men, who had also their apostles, were un-
questionably tbe archontes, or Jewish magistrates. The
learned well know that justice was administered to the Jews
who dwelt in the different provinces of the Roman empire
hy certain magistrates, or vicegerents of the High Priest,
who were termed, after the Greek, archontes, concerning whom
a curious and elegant little work was published by Wesseling,
ad Inscript. Boren Traject ad Rhen. 1738, in 8vo. I take
the meaning, therefore, of St. Paul to be, that he neither de.
rived his commission from those inferior magistrates, to whom
the Jews who dwelt without the limits of Palestine were sub-
jects, nor was he delegated by the chief of their religion, the
High Priest himself. That these archontes bad under them
certain ministers, who were termed apostles, much in the same
way as the High Priest had, is clear from Eusebius, who says,
'Αποστόλους δε εισέτι και νύν έθος εστίν Ιεδαίοις ονομάζειν τας τα
εγκύκλια γράμματα παρά τών ΑΡΧΟΝΤΩΝ αυτών επικομεζομένες. .
Apostolos etiam nunc Judæi eos appellare solent qui archon-
tum suorum litteras circumquaque deportare solent. Comment,
in Esaiam. cap. 18. in Montfauconii. Collectione nova Patr.
Græcor. tom. ii. p. 424.
Mosheim goes on to prove, that the aversion of the Jews to
Christianity, must bave prevented them from borrowing this
title from the Christian Church. As the High Priest had pro-
bably twelve apostles, to correspond with the number of the
tribes, he supposes our Lord appointed twelve also, in allu-
sion to the same. This bowever is uncertain (9).
The learned Vitringa (h), who had endeavoured to identify the officers of the Christian Church entirely with those of the synagogue, writes, that he is doubtful of the meaning of the words 7128 prow. I cannot suspect this eminent theologian of disingenuousness, or I should be inclined to suppose that his ignorance in the present instance could be accounted for in no other way; for he expresses himself on other occasions with sufficient decision. St. Paul, in two passages of his Epistles, (2 Cor. viii. 23. Pbil. ii. 25.) 'decidedly applies the expression
Apostles of the Churches," to Epaphroditus and Titus, both of whom, ecclesiastical history informs us, were bishops, Vitringa, (p. 913.) would apply the term exclusively to the collectors of the money provided by the Churches for the necessities of their members: and to this sonse it is also limited by Witsius, Benson, Doddridge, and the divines in general who object to that form of Church government which existed in the early ages of Christianity. It is certain the of fice of the apostle embraced with this, other dutics of a much higher and important nature: and these several duties, with the bigb authority attached to them, must be included in our definition of the office of the apostle.
THE CHURCH AT JERUSALEM-CHAP. IX.
Jalian Pe- Bishop Taylor bas placed this part of the subject in its Lydda.
riod, 4753. proper light. Now these men were not called 'A TOOTOlo, mes.
Folgar Æra, sengers, in respect of these Churches sending them with their
contributions: 1. Because they are not called the apostles of
these Churches, to wit, whose alms they carried; but simply
’Exkinoiwv, of the Churches, viz. of their own of which they
were bishops. For if the title of apostle bad related to their
mission from these Churches, it is unimaginable that there
should be no term of relation expressed. 2. It is very clear
that although they did indeed carry the benevolence of the se-
veral Churches, yet St. Paul, not those Churches, sent them :
“ And we have sent them with our brother," &c. 3. They are
called apostles of the Churches, not going from Corinth with
the money, but before they came thither, from whence they
were to be dispatched in legation to Jerusalem : “ If any in-
quire of Titus, or the brethren, they are the apostles of the
Church, and the glory of Christ.” So they were apostles be-
fore they went to Corinth, not for their being employed in the
transportation of their charity (i).
Vitringa proceeds further to assert, in the most positivo man-
der, that there were not in the Christian Churches any ambas-
sadors of this nature; and that the only ministers were bishops
and presbyters, which were the same, and deacons. It is most
true that there were no officers in the synagogue itself bearing
the title of apostle, and confined exclusively to the performing of
the religious service of one particular synagogue; and it is the
very point which I have been endeavouring to establish, and on
wbich the whole question depends. There were, however,
among the Jews, officers of this name, whose duty it was to
superintend the synagogues at the command of the High Priest;
in allusion to which, it is highly probable that Christ, our great
High Priest, distinguished his chosen disciples by the same ap-
pellation, when he invested them with a similar power of
superintendence over their converts; implying that those whom
he bad appointed should have the same indluence and authority
over his Churches, as the apostles of the High Priest and San-
hedrim possessed over the synagogues. The apostles of Christ
were not ministers of single congregations; the apostles of the
High Priest did not confine themselves to the superintendence
of one synagogue. The jurisdiction of both extended over
countries and districts. As the necessity of government for the
new societies made the apostolic office essential in the period
when the Church was most pure, so is a similar power of go-
vernment and superintendence essential at present. It has
always been required; and we find accordingly, though the
name of apostle was discontinued with the twelve and St. Paul,
that the power of ordaining, confirming, and governing, was
preserved in the purer ages of our faith, before the papacy
usurped upon the primitive episcopacy; or the foreign re-
formers rejected the latter, in their eager and justifiable ab-
horrence of the former.
Vitringa, however, acknowledges, in another place (k), that the Sanhedrim sent out persons with ample powers to superintend the synagogues out of the precincts of the Holy Land.
St. Paul calls Christ the Apostle and High Priest of our (i.c. the Christian) profession, (Heb. iii. 1.) He was an apostle, as having received a delegated authority from God over his worshippers ; for we read, God anointed bim to preach the Gospel to the poor. He was the High Priest, as he himself sent out apostles, with the same delegated authority as he bad