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stituted it for perpetuity, yet till he declares the contrary, it must bind for perpetuity; especially if the reason of the institution of it be not apparently altered, which cannot be pretended in the case under debate, there being the very same reasons for a superiority and subordination between ecclesiastic officers now, as there was when our Saviour first appointed and instituted it. Until therefore they can
. shew either that the reason of the institution is ceased, or that the institution itself is repealed by some other law, (neither of which was ever yet pretended,) they may as reasonably dispense with most of the precepts of the gospel, (which are no more declared perpetual than this,) as with this of superiority and subjection among the ecclesiastical orders, which is the proper form of the episcopal government.
II. That the true government of the church is episcopal is evident also from the practice of the holy apostles, who, pursuant to the institution of our Saviour, did not only exercise that superiority in their own persons which their office gave them over their inferior clergy, but also derived it down with their office to their successors, which is a plain argument that they looked upon our Saviour's institution of this superior office of the apostolate, not as a temporary expedient, but as a standing form of ecclesiastical government, to be handed down to all succeeding generations. For though during our Saviour's abode upon earth, and some time after his ascension into heaven, the number of the apostles was confined to twelve, yet when afterwards, through their ministry, the church was spread and dilated, not only through Judea, but into the Gentile nations, they added to their number several other apostles, to
whom they communicated the same office and degree of superiority over the other clergy that our blessed Saviour had communicated to them: for so Eusebius, lib. i. cap. 11. Ell és napà Toúrous Katà μησιν των δώδεκα πλείστων όσων υπαρξάντων αποστόλων, i. e. Besides the twelve, there were many other apostles in that age, after the similitude of the twelve. And of the truth of this I shall give three or four instances.
The first is that of St. James of Jerusalem, the brother of Jesus, who though he was none of the twelve, (for in that number there were but two James's, viz. the son of Alpheus and the son of Zebedee, neither of which was he whom St. Paul calls the Lord's brother, and St. Paul reckons him apart from the twelve, 1 Cor. xv. 5, 6, 7.) is yet styled an apostle by St. Paul, Gal. i. 19. but other apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. And St. Jerom, in his comment on Isaiah, styles James the thirteenth apostle; that is, the first that was made an apostle after the twelve: and that he was not merely a nominal apostle, but actually endowed with apostolical power and superiority, is evident both from scripture and the unanimous consent of ecclesiastical history. From scripture it is evident, that this James was a man of great preeminence in the church of Jerusalem; for in the first council that was held there, we find him giving a decisive sentence in the matter of circumcision, Acts xv. For after there had been much disputing, ver. 7. and St. Peter, and St. Paul, and St. Barnabas had declared their judgment in the case, ver. 7–13. St. James, after a short preface, thus delivers himself; Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them which from among the Gentiles are turned unto God: and this sentence of his determines the controversy, and puts a final end to all farther debate; which plainly argues his great authority and preeminence in that place. Again, Acts xxi. 17, 18. we are told, that when St. Paul and his company were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received him gladly; and that the next day following Paul went in with them unto James, and all the elders were present. Now for
, what other reason should Paul go in to James more especially, or upon what other account should all the elders be present with James, but that he was a person of the greatest note and figure in the church of Jerusalem ; and for the same reason, in all probability, St. Paul mentions James before Peter and John, discoursing of a meeting he had with them at Jerusalem, Gal. ii. 9. because though Peter and John were two of the principal of the twelve apostles, and St. James was not so much as one of that number, yet in the church of Jerusalem he had the priority of them both. Now considering that St. James is called an apostle, and considering the preference he had in all these instances above the other apostles at Jerusalem, it is at least highly probable that he was peculiarly the apostle of the church of Jerusalem. But if to all this evidence we add the most early testimonies of Christian antiquity, we shall advance the probability to a demonstration; for by the unanimous consent of all ecclesiastical writers, St. James was the first bishop of Jerusalem : for so Hegesippus, who lived very near the times of the apostles, tells us, that James the brother of our Lord, called by all men the Just, received the church of Jerusalem from the apostles, (vid. Euseb. lib. ii. cap. 23.) So also St.
Clement, as he is quoted by the same author, 1. ii. c. 1. tells us, that Peter, James, and John, after the assumption of Christ, as being the men that were most in favour with him, did not contend for the honour, but chose James the Just to be bishop of Jerusalem. And in the Apostolical Constitutions that pass under the name of St. Clement, (which though not so ancient as is pretended, yet are doubtless of very early antiquity,) the apostles are brought in thus speaking;“Concerning those that were ordained by us
bishops in our lifetime, we signify to you that they
were these: James the brother of our Lord was or“ dained by us bishop of Jerusalem,” &c. So also St. Jerom, de Script. Eccles. tells us, that St. James, immediately after the passion of our Lord, was ordained bishop of Jerusalem by the apostles. And St. Cyril, who was afterwards bishop of that church, and therefore a most authentic witness of the records of it, calls St. James “the first bishop of that diocese,” Catech. 16. To all which we have the concurrent testimonies of St. Austin, St. Chrysostom, Epiphanius, St. Ambrose, and a great many others : and St. Ignatius himself, who was an immediate disciple of the apostles, makes St. Stephen to be the deacon of St. James, Ep. ad Trall. and therefore, since Stephen was a deacon of the church of Jerusalem, St. James, whose deacon he was, must necessarily be the bishop of it.
Upon this account therefore St. James is called an apostle in scripture; because, by being ordained by the apostles bishop of Jerusalem, he had the apostolic power and authority conferred on him: for since it is apparent he was none of the twelve, to whom the apostleship was at first confined, he could no otherwise become an apostle, than by deriving the apostleship from some of the twelve: and therefore since that apostleship which he derived from the twelve was only episcopal superiority over the church of Jerusalem, it hence necessarily follows, that the episcopacy was the apostleship derived and communicated from the primitive apostles.
The second instance of the apostles communicating their apostolic superiority to others is Epaphroditus, who, in Phil. ii. 25. is styled the apostle of the Philippians; but I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and companion in labour, and
fellow-soldier, úpwv dè åróctonov, but your apostle : for so St. Jerom, Com. Gal. i. 19. Paulatim, tempore præcedente, et alii ab his
Dominus elegerat ordinati sunt apostoli, sicut ille ad Philippenses sermo declarat, dicens, Necessarium existimavi Epaphroditum, &c. i. e. By degrees, in process of time, others were ordained apostles, by those whom our Lord had chosen, as that passage to the Philippians shews, I thought it necessary to send unto you Epaphroditus your apostle. And Theodoret upon the place gives this reason why he is here called the apostle of the Philippians; tij enaσκοπικής οικονομίαν επεπίστευτο, έχων επισκόπου προσηγορίαν, i. e. He was intrusted with episcopal government, as being their bishop. So that here you see Epaphroditus is made an apostle by the apostles, and his apostleship consists in being made bishop of Philippi.
A third instance is that of Titus, and some others with him, 2 Cor. viii. 23. Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you : or our brethren be inquired of, they are απόστολοι εκκλησίων, the apostles of the churches,