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* so I send you. And lo, I am with “ you alway, even unto the end of the “ world*." And accordingly we find the Apostles ordaining such of all f. orders; the lowest," that of Deacons, to take care of the widows and poor, and also to preach and to baptize : above these they ordained Elders, that is, Presbyters or Priests, in every city (and who are also sometimes called Bishops), to feed the flock of Christ, which he had purchased with his blood; and these had a farther power of administering the sacrament of the Lord's supper and absolving penitents; that is, authoritative benedictions and absolutions. And lastly, for a supply of their own absence or mortality, they ordained others of an order superior to the two former, whom they then called their partners, and fellow-helpers, and companions in labour; 'such as Timothy and Titus, Sosthenes, Sylvanus, and Epaphroditus; that is, Apostles, as they themselves were; by which name the last of them is expressly called in * Holy Scripture, and which is equally applicable to all the restt. And these had yet a farther power of laying on hands, that is, to con firm and ordain: upon which account we find St. Paul cautioning Timothy to "lay. “ hands suddenly on no man, 1.
* Matt. xxviii. 20.
Against this it has sometimes been urged, that Timothy was ordained, as St. Paul acquaints us,
" with the laying on “ of the hands of the Presbytery.”. Admitting this to be meant of his ordination, which, however, many learned men ques tion; yet the Apostles being sometimes ealled Presbyters, and even sometimes Deacons, in the Scriptures (which even our Saviour himself is sometimes called, as well as Presbyter or Bishop, 1 Pet. ii. 25.), they might be the persons intended by that names. Or, if more Presbyters
* Philip. ii. 25.
I Dr. Hammond confines these words to the absolu tion of penitents; but see Whitby in locum, 1 Tim. v. 21.
§ So Ignatius calls the Apostles expressly, txxanoias ægzo6utégio». [Epist. ad Philadelph.]
be meant by it, they might then assist, as they do now with us, in the ordination ofa Priest, to shew their concurrence with him of the superior order in so pious a work. But still it is most certain, that St. Paul, who was an Apostle, did lay on. his hands with them; and that, as if he. meant to obviate any mistake that might arise from his own words, he afterwards, in another place, ascribes the whole of Timothy's ordination to the “laying on of
his own hands *.” 2 Tim. i. 6.
Upon the whole then it appears, that there were three distinct orders of clergy in the Christian church, from the very beginning of it: of the first of which was Christ himself; and after him his Apostles, who have; as I have observed, sometimes the names of the two inferior orders, because their superior order included them both; and then those, whom the Apostles ordained for their partners and fellow
*Της δε Εφέσου Τιμόθεος μέν υπό Παύλου [κεχειροτόνηλαι]. Const. Ap. L. 7. c. 45. So Theophylact interprets it; ότι σε έχηιροτόνον επίσκοπος,
helpers, and who, in the apostolical age, were also called Apostles. Of the second were the Apostles, whilst Christ their High-Priest taught upon earth; and after the Apostles were advanced to be his vicegerents, those that are usually in the scriptures called Elders, that is, Presbyters or Priests, and also Bishops. And of the third were, during our Saviour's time, the seventy Disciples; and afterwards those that are called Deacons. And of all these orders, those of the first alone had the power of ordination.
But after the apostolical age, there being some things peculiar to the Apostles, which were not communicable to their successors; they, in humble respect and reverence to them*, declined the name of Apostles, and contented themselves to be called Bishops; which was before a name given to Presbyters, but from thenceforward appropriated to the superior order, by way of distinction. So that immedi
* Τες νύν καλεμένες επισκόπος 'Aποσόλες ώνόμασονι προϊόν nos dè xgóven&c. Theodoret. in 1 Tim. ii. d.
ately from and after the death of St. John, who for some time survived the other eleven Apostles, we find the three orders regularly distinguished by the names of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons*, as they now are; and the power of ordination constantly confined to the first of them --. [Constit. ut supra).
That the account I have here given of this important matter is the only true one, I might abundantly evince from the sacred writings and the volumes of the primitive Fathers; I might too shew, that it was exactly derived from the Jewish constitution, as established by God himself, would either time permit, or did occasion require it. But it is not my present design to lead you through the thorny paths of controversy. It is enough that we are able, when called upon, to defend the received practice of our established church against the innovations of one set of men and the corruptions of another.
# Vide Sancti Hermæ Pastor, L. 1. S. 5.
+ Κλήμης υπο σέτρε κεχειροτόνηθαι, της δε Εφέσε Τιμόθεος μέν υπό σαύλα, Ιωάννης δε υπό Ιωάννου. Acts xiv. 22.