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know so little of their mode of operation, and they soon passed away, cannot be taken into account as helping us to a correct notion of the general arrangements of the early Church. 2. The second ministry, viz., that which was determined by natural capacity, has more importance. This included, amongst others, the gifts, or natural capacity, of teaching, exhorting, preaching, giving, and that which is termed pre-eminently ministry, the relief of the sorrows of others. Of the three former, the teacher was apparently he who studied, that he might instruct; the exhorter, one whose addresses were more spontaneous, as called forth by the feelings or circumstances of the hour; the preacher was one who led a missionary life, and went amongst the heathen from village to village, making known the gospel. The speaking in the first Christian churches was evidently unrestrained, and not confined to any particular individuals. This we may gather from the fact that when this freedom-which, like all freedom, was liable to abuse—had led to disorder and emulation, Paul felt it necessary to make one restriction, viz., “I suffer not a woman to teach in the Church ;' and James tried to check the love of speaking, by saying, · Be not many teachers (duðáokado.), knowing that we shall receive the greater judgment.' 3. The third ministry, or that arising out of the arrangements of the Church, included the deacons and elders (or bishops), the only official persons connected with the Church. Natural capacity was of course required here ; but the great distinction between this and the second, consisted in the fact, that whereas in that the capacity involved the duty to act, in this the duty resulted from the capacity only when the election of the Church had put the opportunity within the reach of him who possessed the gifts of deaconship (ministry ? Rom. xii. 7), or government (1 Cor. xii. 28). In this choice the churches were sometimes aided by the apostles, or messengers from them, who helped them to select such as were most fitted for the office. Thus Paul and Barnabas “had elders elected by show of hands (xelpotovioavtec) in every church.' (Acts xiv. 23.)
As the two names, bishop (ÉMLOKÓTOS) and elder (speoßúrepos), were associated with the great changes which afterwards took place in the Church, it may be well to state the grounds on which we conclude that they were originally the same. Paul uses them synonymously, and never unites them. Thus, in Acts xx., he sends for the elders of the Church, and addresses them thus : Take heed to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers (émLokÓTOUS, bishops).” To Titus he writes thus : • Appoint elders in every city, if any be blameless, &c.; for a bishop must be blameless, &c.' If Paul speaks of the officers of a church, he speaks, as in the Epistle to the Philippians, only of bishops and deacons, or of elders, but never of bishops and elders; from which we may fairly conclude that bishops and elders were the same, and that every church was presided over by more than one. The chief duty of these presiding elders, or bishops, of whose number in each church we have no intimation, was, in addition to the preservation of order, to watch the instruction which the Church received, in order that by stopping the teaching of error, they might preserve the Church from being led astray. The necessity for this increased so much in the later years of Paul, that he found it necessary to recommend that the elders should be chosen from those who were able to teach, both because from their cast of mind they would more readily detect the error, and be able at the same time to expose and refute it. A bishop should be apt to teach.' (1 Tim. ii. 2.) Able by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.' (Titus i. 9.) Thus, teaching and superintendence were united in the office of elder, an arrangement, however, which by no means limited the teaching in the Church, or made of the teaching itself a church office, instead of the spontaneous exercise of individual capacity. The duty of pastor devolved not upon the teacher, but the elder. Thus Paul exhorts the elders of Ephesus to feed the Church ;' and Peter writes, · The elders I exhort feed the flock of God, taking the oversight (ÉTLOKOTOŪVTES, bishoping it), not by constraint, but willingly ;' whilst in the previous chapter, he includes the directions about speaking in the general instructions to the churches—'as every man hath received the gift, so let him minister the same ; if any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.' (1 Pet. iv. 10, 11.)
In everything else connected with the early churches, there are evident the same simplicity, and absence of laboured design. Private houses were their places of assembly; hence the apostles so often speak of the church in the house,' The first day of the week was the general day of meeting, yet they met together, when it was practicable, daily. The Lord's Supper was united with the daily meal, and even so late as the period of the Epistle to the Corinthians was connected with some social meal. But that which pre-eminently characterised these early churches, was, that these meetings were regarded by them as forming but a part of their religious acts, and of the worship of God. As they had not yet learned to distinguish the minister from the member, the clergy from the laity, when all were ministers, all God's heritage (K)ýpol, clergy), so they had not yet separated their meetings from the rest of life, and given to them alone the name of worship. To them, as priests, the whole of life was worship, and every act, sanctified by the Holy Ghost, an acceptable sacrifice. The Jewish notions of sanctity, with all the efforts made to introduce them, had not yet found entrance, as the strong opposition of Paul prevailed for a time. Hence, the terms 'worship,' service,' sacrifice,' are never in the New Testament applied to these exclusively; but embrace the whole life. • Present your body a living sacrifice, which is your reasonable service.' 'Pure worship (Opnoreic) and undefiled is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James i. 27.) *To do good and communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.' (Heb. xiii. 16.)
From this, we fear too lengthy, description of the first church, we pass to the changes which were gradually made during the following two or three centuries. I. The first change which we notice is, that a distinction begins to be made between bishops and presbyters. We have
shown that each church was presided over by a body of men, who were called, after the Hebrew, elders, or after the Greek, episcopoi (bishops). Of these there is no evidence that one was superior to the rest; and though certain names are mentioned in the epistles of Paul, no ground is afforded by this for supposing that in official dignity these were higher than the others. Polycarp,
a presbyter of the church of Smyrna, and disciple of the Apostle John, who died 168, makes no mention of bishops in his epistle, and heads it Polycarp and his fellow presbyters. There is much uncertainty about the epistles of Ignatius; if their genuineness could be trusted, a passage which occurs in that to the Trallians would show that in some churches already a bishop existed, who was superior to the presbyters; he says there, “Submit to the bishop as to Jesus Christ; to the presbytery as to the apostles of Jesus Christ. Yet this distinction was by no means general, and where it was adopted the bishop was still regarded as one of the elders, though elected perpetual president. Thus Hilary (380) says, “ There is one ordination of bishops and elders, for both are priests, but the bishop is the first ; so that every bishop is an elder, but not every elder a bishop.' And Jerome (died 420) says, The apostle plainly shows that elders are the same as bishops; but as one was afterwards chosen to be above the rest, a remedy was thus provided for schisms, that the Church might not be divided, by each drawing some away to himself.' He says still more strongly in his epistle to Oceanus, * The elder is the same as the bishop; and before men began, at the instigation of the devil, to vie with each other, and the people said, “ I am of Paul, and I of Cephas, &c.," the churches were governed by the council of elders. But when each began to claim those whom he had baptized as his own, it was determined that one of the elders should be placed over the rest, on whom the care of the whole church should devolve.' This distinction once effected, the development of the chief elder into the bishop of the middle ages and modern times, was but a simple process, favoured, as it was, by the circumstances of the times. It is important, in tracing this, that we do not allow the name to lead us to the notion that the bishop, even in the second and third century, bore any resemblance to the bishop of later ages. He was still the president of one society, in the superintendence of which several elders were associated with him. But, as Christianity spread from the towns into the villages round, and churches were formed there, a kind of superintendence was exercised over them by the chief pastor or bishop of the church in the town, who generally appointed their elders and deacons. And even in the few cases in which they chose their own bishop, the authority of the town bishop increased, for in the year 315 the council of Ancyra resolved, that it is not right for a country bishop to ordain elders and deacons.'
The synods, which were at first meetings of deputies from different congregations, and may therefore be regarded as the first congregational unions, did more than anything else to increase the importance of the episcopal or pastoral office. They were always presided over by the bishop of the church in the largest town; and whilst the little consideration given to any but the bishops soon led to their being the only attendants, the superiority of the metropolitan bishop was confirmed by the council of Antioch, 341. Thus we have the pastor of the town no longer presiding over one church, but over all the village ehurches round; and that of the chief town in each province become president over all the rest. The work thus begun by the synods was completed by the councils, which claimed to represent the whole church, as the former had represented those of each province. The presidency of these was accorded to the bishops of the chief cities of the empire, Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch; and a long contest for the supremacy between these three naturally ensued, which ended in the assumption by the bishop of Rome of the title of universal bishop or pope.
II. The second change we notice is the distinction between clergy and laity, ministers and people. The change from the presbytery to the one bishop, from several bishops presiding over one church to one bishop presiding over several, could scarcely have been effected as rapidly as it was but for the growth of this second distinction. We have shown that the early churches recognised a universal ministry, and that teaching and presiding were but parts of this general ministry, devolving upon those whose talents fitted them for them. This principle was speedily forgotten in the idea that the Christian ministry consisted of a few offices, which could only be filled by certain individuals set apart for that purpose.
A divine klñois, ' call,' was no longer regarded as pertaining to all, but to a select few. The term klipos,* as meaning men consecrated to the divine service, which Peter applies to all Christians, was limited to a class. Hilary describes the growth of this when he says, " At first all taught and baptized on every day on which occasion offered; for Philip did not seek time or day for baptizing the eunuch. But when the Church spread over all places, presidents were appointed, and other officers ordained in the churches, so that no one, who was not ordained, presumed to take from the clergy an office which did not belong to him. Thus the church began to be ruled by a separate order, because if all could do these things, they would seem common and contemptible.' The church,' says Tertullian, ‘has appointed a difference between the “order” (ordo) and the people.' The growing worth attached to ordination, and the supposed virtue communicated to the Lord's supper by the prayer of a ‘minister,' increased the feeling which led to the idea of peculiar sanctity in the order,' and eventually to its elevation into the rank of a priesthood. There was a disposition more and more prevailing to seek in the Christian Church for ceremonies and offices corresponding to those of Judaism. In the Apostolic Constitutions we find this parallel: 'Under the Jewish ritual there were sacrifices, now there are supplications, prayer and praise; then there were first-fruits, tenths and offerings, now in the Lord's Supper oblations are offered by the holy bishops to the Lord.'
Angl. "heritage,' the root of our word clergy.
The bishop was called the high priest,' the elders the priests, the deacons the Levites of the church. The royal priesthood of all gave place to the priesthood of the ordained, and the step was not long from a sacred clergy to a pope.
III. This distinction points to a still more radical change—the loss of the fundamental Christian idea of sacredness. All distinctions of clean and unclean, holy and common, sacred and secular, so characteristic of Judaism, were swept away by Christianity, not because nothing is holy, but because everything is clean, sacred, and holy to the Lord. Sacred places lose their peculiar sanctity, only because it is merged in the higher sanctity of every place in which is found God's noblest temple, a Christian soul. Holy days give up their especial holinessnot because no time is holy, but because to the whole life consecrated to God, belongs the holiness which belonged before to certain days. Acts cease to be especially religious, because to the Christian every act is religious, performed with a right motive, “as unto the Lord. The simplest work, the duties of the slave, done to the glory of God, partake of the religious character which once belonged to temple offerings alone. And the sacredness of a limited
priesthood ceases, not because God has no priests, but because every Christian is made a royal priest, offering daily sacrifices in the faithful discharge of daily duties. A priestly, or ministerial' order,' is a fiction of later times. But it soon found its way into the Church. The use by the apostles of Old Testament terms was misunderstood or misapplied. The reasonable service was confined to acts of prayer and praise; the Jewish Sabbath once more kept out of view the holiness of life; sacred places were set apart, and a limited ministry or priesthood assumed the sanctity and importance belonging to all Christians as ministers of Jesus Christ. This appeared very soon in the buildings erected for their meetings. We first meet with special buildings, towards the end of the second century, which Tertullian calls the ' houses of God.' As these increased in splendour, the name of temple was sometimes used, and the temple of Jerusalem became the model, after the fashion of which a · holy place' was railed off from the rest, which was unapproachable to the unordained. The distinction between sacred and secular became soon so marked, that the ordinary avocations of life were thought unfit for any one who had been ordained. Nor could such a distinction fail to operate upon the Christian member, as well as upon the minister; what the one gained in 'sacredness,' by devoting himself entirely to what were thought exclusively religious duties, the other lost by the amount of time necessarily devoted to those that were
secular. Hence, he was less worthy to come immediately to God, and the prayers of the ordained were sought for as more effectual than his own.
The minister' thus rose to be the mediator; the order became the priesthood, and the sacred caste thus introduced could not fail to expand into the hierarchy, which was incomplete till headed by a pope.
Comment upon this sketch is, we think, unnecessary. Sapienti verbum sat. One deduction is certainly a just one, that no departure