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diate direction of the Holy Spirit. For if it can be supposed that the immediate disciples of the Apostles did not know the minds of their teachers, or that their practice was not strictly conformable to it; or "if it is imaginable that the whole world should, immediately after the death of the Apostles, conspire together to seek themselves, and not the things that are of Jesus Christ, to erect a government of their own desiring, not ordained by Christ, not delivered by his Apostles; and to relinquish a divine foundation, and the Apostolical superstructure; which, if it was at all, was a part of our Master's will; "* we may suppose and imagine any thing; and there is no ground left upon which any conclusive reasoning on this subject can be built.

But "what need we," said a judicious writer, who had paid particular attention to this subject, and whose writings have been frequently referred to as a standard of judgment in Church matters; "what need we," said he, "to seek for proofs, that the Apostles, who began their order of regiment by bishops, did it not but by Divine instinct; when, without such direction, things of far less weight and moment they attempted not? Paul and Barnabas did not open their mouths unto the Gentiles, till the Spirit had said, Separate me Paul and Barnabas for the work whereunto I have sent them.'t The eunuch, by Philip, was neither baptized nor instructed before the angel of God was sent to give him notice that it so pleased the


Taylor, "Of the sacred Order and Office of Episcopacy,"

section 22.

+ Acts xiii. 2.

Most High. In Asia, Paul and the rest were
silent, because the Spirit forbad them to speak.
When they intended to have seen, Bythinia, they
stayed their journey, the Spirit not giving them
leave to go. Before Timothy was employed in
those Episcopal affairs of the Church, about which
the Apostle Paul used him, the Holy Ghost gave
special charge for his ordination; and prophetical
intelligence, more than once, what success the
same would have. And shall we think, that James
was made bishop of Jerusalem, Evodius bishop, of
the Church of Antioch, the angels in the Churches
of Asia bishops; that bishops every where were
appointed to take away factious contentions and
schisms; without some like divine instigation and
direction of the Holy Ghost? Wherefore let us
not fear to be herein bold and peremptory; that if
any thing in the Church's regiment, surely the
first institution of bishops was from heaven, was
even of God, the Holy Ghost was the author of
If we say, then, that in every Church that
was planted, the offices of bishop, priest, and dea-
con, answering to those of high-priest, priest, and
Levite, under the law, were to be found; we shall
say no more than the history of the primitive
Church will warrant. It being certain that the
economy of the Christian Church corresponded
as nearly to that of her elder sister, the Jewish
Church, as the different nature of their respective
services would permit. Indeed, from the parallel
subsisting between the law and the Gospel, the one
being considered as the type or figure of the other,

Hooker's Ecc. Pol. book vii.

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it was no "uncommon thing for the primitive fathers, in speaking of the government of the Christian Church, to argue from the distinctive offices in the Levitical priesthood, to a similar distinction in the Christian.' "Christ and his Apostles, (says the learned Hickes) who were the reformers of the Jewish economy into the Christian Church, did build with many of the old materials, and conformed their new house, as much as they could, after the platform of the old. This will appear from baptism itself, which was a ceremony by which proselytes, both men, women, and children, were initiated into the Jewish Church; which ceremony our Saviour consecrated in the place of that of circumcision, to be the sacrament of initiation into his Church, and a seal of the righteousness of faith. So, likewise, the other sacrament of the Lord's Supper was certainly of Jewish original, as hath been showed by many learned men;t and the correspondence of the bishops, presbyters, and deacons, to the high-priest, priests, and Levites, doth show that the subordination of the Christian hierarchy is taken from the Jewish Church; as St. Jerome observes, in his epistle to Evagrius, "what the high-priest, priests, and Levites were in the temple, that the bishops, presbyters, and deacons are in

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*Selden de jure, 1. ii. c. 2; de Synedr. 1. i. c. 3. Lightfoot Hora Hebraicæ, p. 42. Hammond on Matth. iii. 1.


Altingius de Proselytis.

Mede, 1 book, disc. 51, 6, 11.

Grot. Opusc. tom. iii. p.

510. Cudworth on the Lord's Supper. Thorndike, c. 10, Dr. Taylor's "Great Exemplar," p. 1; Discourse of Baptism.

the Church, according to the Apostolical constitu-
"Et ut
tion taken from the Old Testament."
sciamus traditiones Apostolicas sumptas de veteri
Testamento, quod Aaron, et filii ejus, et Levitæ in
templo fuerunt; hoc sibi episcopi et presbyteri et
diaconi vendicent in ecclesia.”*

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Thus, in correspondence with the same established idea, St. Clement, one of the first bishops, a fellow labourer with St. Paul, writes to the members of the Church at Corinth, for the express purpose of pressing upon them the duty of eccle"To the siastical subordination and obedience. high-priest," says he, "were allotted his proper offices; to the priests their proper place was assigned; and to the Levites their services were appointed; and the laymen were restrained within the precepts of laymen.”

Now were there no similarity at that time acknowledged between the Jewish economy and Christian Church; were there no offices in the latter corresponding with those of high-priest, priest, and Levite, in the former; the force of argument, otherwise to be deduced from the application in this case, must have been totally lost upon the parties to whom it was addressed.

But upon appeal to St. Paul's writings we find

* The reader will find a masterly illustration of the connec tion between the Jewish economy and Christian Church, (a subject necessary to be understood by all Christian divines, who, according to our Saviour's description of the doctor “rightly instructed unto the kingdom of God," should be like unto a householder, "who bringeth out of his storehouse new things and old,”) in the discourse previous to the "Case of Baptism, by the very learned Dean of Worcester." See London Cases, No. 15.

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that part of the charge delivered to Timothy, appointed bishop of the Church in Ephesus, was, that he should lay hands suddenly on no man; that he should receive no accusation against a presbyter, but before two or three witnesses; and that the deacons in his Church should be men of sober and orderly conversation. Here, then, we have the form of the Christian Church, after the model drawn out by the Apostles themselves, with its officers distinguished by their respective stations; the bishop, as supreme governor, answering to the high-priest under the law; the presbyters and deacons to the priests and Levites, as subordinate ministers in it. And by an appeal to ecclesiastical history, it will be found, that immediately from the death of the Apostles, or a very few years after, the government of the Christian Church throughout the world was in every part of it settled upon this same Apostolic plan.

Under this form of government has the Church continued, from the days of the Apostles down to the present time; and, doubtless, will continue so to the end, whatever occasional interruptions it has met with, or may still meet with, from the prevailing passions and prejudices of sinful men. "For it is impossible," we are told, "but that offences will come;" and "there must be heresies, that they which are approved may be made mani


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Should further testimony in favour of the government of the Church, as here described, be necessary, we are furnished with what must be deemed Luke xvii. 1-1 Cor. xi. 19.

* Tim. v. 22.

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