THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.
THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.
rpHE kingdom of Christ, not being a kingdom of this world, is ideal of the -*- not limited by the restrictions which fetter other societies, church, political or religious. It is in the fullest sense free, comprehensive, universal . It displays this character, not only in the acceptance of all comers who seek admission, irrespective of race or caste or sex, but also in the instruction and treatment of those who are already its members. It has no sacred days or seasons, no special sanctuaries, because every time and every place alike are holy. Above all it has no sacerdotal system. It interposes no sacrificial tribe or class between God and man, by whose intervention alone God is reconciled and man forgiven. Each individual member holds personal communion with the Divine Head. To Him immediately he is responsible, and from Him directly he obtains pardon and draws strength.
It is most important that we should keep this ideal Necessary
definitely in view, and I have therefore stated it as broadly tion.
as possible. Yet the broad statement, if allowed to stand
alone, would suggest a false impression, or at least would
convey only a half truth. It must be evident that no society
of men could hold together without officers, without rules,
without institutions of any kind; and the Church of Christ is
not exempt from this universal law. The conception in short
is strictly an ideal, which we must ever hold before our eyes,
The idea which should inspire and interpret ecclesiastical polity, but rtaliza- which nevertheless cannot supersede the necessary wants of toon. human society, and, if crudely and hastily applied, will lead only to signal failure. As appointed days and set places are indispensable to her efficiency, so also the Church could not fulfil the purposes for which she exists, without rulers and teachers, without a ministry of reconciliation, in short, without an order of men who may in some sense be designated a priesthood. In this respect the ethics of Christianity present an analogy to the politics. Here also the ideal conception and the actual realization are incommensurate and in a manner contradictory. The Gospel is contrasted with the Law, as the spirit with the letter. Its ethical principle is not a code of positive ordinances, but conformity to a perfect exemplar, incorporation into a divine life. The distinction is most important and eminently fertile in practical results. Yet no man would dare to live without laying down more or less definite rules for his own guidance, without yielding obedience to law in some sense; and those who discard or attempt to discard all such aids are often farthest from the attainment of Christian perfection.
This qualification is introduced here to deprecate any
misunderstanding to which the opening statement, if left
without compensation, would fairly be exposed. It will be
time to enquire hereafter in what sense the Christian ministry
Special may or may not be called a priesthood. But in attempting to
istio of investigate the historical development of this divine institution,
Christian- no better starting-point suggested itself than the characteristic
distinction of Christianity, as declared occasionally by the
direct language but more frequently by the eloquent silence of
the apostolic writings.
For in this respect Christianity stands apart from all the older religions of the world. So far at least, the Mosaic dispensation did not differ from the religions of Egypt or Asia or The Jew- Greece. Yet the sacerdotal system of the Old Testament hood. possessed one important characteristic, which separated it from heathen priesthoods and which deserves especial notice. The priestly tribe held this peculiar relation to God only as the representatives of the whole nation. As delegates of the people, they offered sacrifice and made atonement. The whole community is regarded as 'a kingdom of priests,' 'a holy nation.' When the sons of Levi are set apart, their consecration is distinctly stated to be due under the divine guidance not to any inherent sanctity or to any caste privilege, but to an act of delegation on the part of the entire people. The Levites are, so to speak, ordained by the whole congregation. 'The children of Israel,' it is said, 'shall put their hands upon the Levites1.' The nation thus deputes to a single tribe the priestly functions which belong properly to itself as a whole.
The Christian idea therefore was the restitution of this Its relaimmediate and direct relation with God, which was partly christian suspended but not abolished by the appointment of a sacerdotal P"6^'tribe. The Levitical priesthood, like the Mosaic law, had served its temporary purpose. The period of childhood had passed, and the Church of God was now arrived at mature age. The covenant people resumed their sacerdotal functions. But the privileges of the covenant were no longer confined to the limits of a single nation. Every member of the human family was potentially a member of the Church, and, as such, a priest of God.
The influence of this idea on the moral and spiritual growth Influence of the individual believer is too plain to require any comment; christian but its social effects may call for a passing remark. It willldealhardly be denied, I think, by those who have studied the history of modern civilization with attention, that this conception of the Christian Church has been mainly instrumental in the emancipation of the degraded and oppressed, in the removal of artificial barriers between class and class, and in the diffusion of a general philanthropy untrammelled by the fetters of party or race; in short, that to it mainly must be attributed the most important advantages which constitute the superiority of
1 Num. viii. 10.
modern societies over ancient. Consciously or unconsciously, the idea of an universal priesthood, of the religious equality of all men, which, though not untaught before, was first embodied in the Church of Christ, has worked and is working untold blessings in political institutions and in social life. But the careful student will also observe that this idea has hitherto been very imperfectly apprehended; that throughout the history of the Church it has been struggling for recognition, at most times discerned in some of its aspects but at all times wholly ignored in others; and that therefore the actual results are a very inadequate measure of its efficacy, if only it could assume due prominence and were allowed free scope in action.
This then is the Christian ideal; a holy season extending the whole year round—a temple confined only by the limits of the habitable world—a priesthood coextensive with the human race. Practical Strict loyalty to this conception was not held incompatible
orgamza- w-^ pra^ca] measures of organization. As the Church grew in numbers, as new and heterogeneous elements were added, as the early fervour of devotion cooled and strange forms of disorder sprang up, it became necessary to provide for the emergency by fixed rules and definite officers. The community of goods, by which the infant Church had attempted to give effect to the idea of an universal brotherhood, must very soon have been abandoned under the pressure of circumstances. The
Fixed days celebration of the first day in the week at once, the institution
of worship; of annual festivals afterwards, were seen to be necessary to
stimulate and direct the devotion of the believers. The appointment of definite places of meeting in the earliest days, the erection of special buildings for worship at a later date, were found indispensable to the working of the Church. But the but the Apostles never lost sight of the idea in their teaching. They inview?' proclaimed loudly that 'God dwelleth not in temples made by hands.' They indignantly denounced those who, 'observed days and months and seasons and years.' This language is not satisfied by supposing that they condemned only the templeworship in the one case, that they reprobated only Jewish sabbaths and new moons in the other. It was against the false principle that they waged war; the principle which exalted the means into an end, and gave an absolute intrinsic value to subordinate aids and expedients. These aids and expedients, for his own sake and for the good of the society to which he belonged, a Christian could not afford to hold lightly or neglect. But they were no part of the essence of God's message to man in the Gospel: they must not be allowed to obscure the idea of Christian worship.
So it was also with the Christian priesthood. For communi- Appointcating instruction and for preserving public order, for conducting ministry, religious worship and for dispensing social charities, it became necessary to appoint special officers. But the priestly functions and privileges of the Christian people are never regarded as transferred or even delegated to these officers. They are called stewards or messengers of God, servants or ministers of the Church, and the like: but the sacerdotal title is never once conferred upon them. The only priests under the Gospel, designated as such in the New Testament, are the saints, the members of the Christian brotherhood1.
As individuals, all Christians are priests alike. As members Two pasof a corporation, they have their several and distinct offices, p^fr" The similitude of the human body, where each limb or organ **tin8 performs its own functions, and the health and growth of the whole frame are promoted by the harmonious but separate working of every part, was chosen by St Paul to represent the progress and operation of the Chufch. In two passages, written at two different stages in his apostolic career, he briefly sums up the offices in the Church with reference to this image.
1 1 Pet. U. 5, 9, Apoc. i. 6, v. 10, xx. 6. et sacerdotale etc.' (Ambrosiast. on The commentator Hilary has express- Ephes. iv. 12). The whole passage, ed this truth with much distinctness: to which I shall have occasion to refer 'In lege nascebantnr sacerdotes ex ge- again, contains a singularly appreciation- Aaron Levitae: nunc autem omnes tive account of the relation of the miex genere sunt sacerdotali, dicente nistry to the congregation. Petro Apostolo, Quia estis genus regale
In the earlier1 he enumerates 'first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then powers, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, kinds of tongues.' In the second passage* the list is briefer; 'some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.' The earlier enumeration differs chiefly from the later in specifying distinctly certain miraculous powers, this being required by the Apostle's argument which is directed against an exaggerated estimate and abuse of such gifts. Neither list can have been They refer intended to be exhaustive. In both alike the work of convertthe tempo- mg unbelievers and founding congregations holds the foremost J"?? mm place, while the permanent government and instruction of the several churches is kept in the background. This prominence was necessary in the earliest age of the Gospel. The apostles, prophets, evangelists, all range under the former head. But the permanent ministry, though lightly touched upon, is not forgotten; for under the designation of' teachers, helps, governments' in the one passage, of 'pastors and teachers' in the other, these officers must be intended. Again in both passages alike it will be seen that great stress is laid on the work of the Spirit. The faculty of governing not less than the utterance of prophecy, the gift of healing not less than the gift of tongues, is an inspiration of the Holy Ghost. But on the other hand in both alike there is an entire silence about priestly functions: for the most exalted office in the Church, the highest gift of the Spirit, conveyed no sacerdotal right which was not enjoyed by the humblest member of the Christian community. Growing From the subordinate place, which it thus occupies in the
anceofthe notices of St Paul, the permanent ministry gradually emerged,
permanent ^ the Church assumed a more settled form, and the higher but mimstry. '°
temporary offices, such as the apostolate, fell away. This
progressive growth and development of the ministry, until it
arrived at its mature and normal state, it will be the object of
the following pages to trace.
Definition But before proceeding further, some definition of terms is necessary. On no subject has more serious error arisen from the confusion of language. The word 'priest' has two different senses. In the one it is a synonyme for presbyter or elder, and designates the minister who presides over and instructs a Christian congregation: in the other it is equivalent to the Latin sacerdos, the Greek leptvs, or the Hebrew j!"0, the offerer of sacrifices, who also performs other mediatorial offices between God and man. How the confusion between these two meanings has affected the history and theology of the Church, it will be instructive to consider in the sequel. At present it 'Priest' is sufficient to say that the word will be used throughout this byter.' essay, as it has been used hitherto, in the latter sense only, so that priestly will be equivalent to 'sacerdotal' or 'hieratic.' Etymologically indeed the other meaning is alone correct (for the words priest and presbyter are the same); but convenience will justify its restriction to this secondary and imported sense, since the English language supplies no other rendering of sacerdos or ieptvs. On the other hand, when the Christian elder is meant, the longer form 'presbyter' will be employed throughout.
of terms r 6
necessary. 1 i Cor. xii. 28. a Ephes. iv. 11.
History seems to show decisively that before the middle of Different the second century each church or organized Christian commu- the orjgin nity had its three orders of ministers, its bishop, its presbyters, °*th* , and its deacons. On this point there cannot reasonably be two ministry, opinions. But at what time and under what circumstances this organization was matured, and to what extent our allegiance is due to it as an authoritative ordinance, are more difficult questions. Some have recognized in episcopacy an institution of divine origin, absolute and indispensable; others have represented it as destitute of all apostolic sanction and authority. Some again have sought for the archetype of the threefold ministry in the Aaronic priesthood; others in the arrangements of synagogue worship. In this clamour of antagonistic opinions history is obviously the sole upright, impartial referee; and the historical mode of treatment will
therefore be strictly adhered to in the following investigation! The doctrine in this instance at all events is involved in the history1.
Ministry St Luke's narrative represents the Twelve Apostles in the
t'o relieve earliest days as the sole directors and administrators of the the Ape- Cnurch. For the financial business of the infant community, not less than for its spiritual guidance, they alone are responsible. This state of things could not last long. By the rapid accession of numbers, and still more by the admission of heterogeneous classes into the Church, the work became too vast and too various for them to discharge unaided. To relieve them from the increasing pressure, the inferior and less important functions passed successively into other hands: and thus each grade of the ministry, beginning from the lowest, was created in order. 1. Dea- 1. The establishment of the diaconate came first. Com
Appoint- plaints had reached the ears of the Apostles from an outlying thena°f Portion of tne community. The Hellenist widows had been overlooked in the daily distribution of food and alms. To remedy this neglect a new office was created. Seven men were appointed whose duty it was to superintend the public messes5, and, as we may suppose, to provide in other ways for the bodily wants of the helpless poor. Thus relieved, the Twelve were enabled to devote themselves without interruption 'to prayer and to the ministry of the word.' The Apostles suggested the creation of this new office, but the persons were chosen by popular election and afterwards ordained by the Twelve with imposition of hands. Though the complaint came from the Hellenists, it must not be supposed that the ministrations of the Seven were confined to this class8. The object in creating this new office is stated to be not the partial but the entire relief of the Apostles from the serving of tables. This being the case, the appointment of Hellenists (for such they would appear to have been from their names1) is a token of the liberal and loving spirit which prompted the Hebrew members of the Church in the selection of persons to fill the office.
1 The origin of the Christian minis- which I am acquainted, and to both of
try is ably investigated in Rothe's them I wish to acknowledge my obliga
Anfiinge der Christlichen Kirche etc. tions, though in many respects I have
(1837), and Hitachi's Entstehung der arrived at results different from either.
Altkatholischen Kirche (2nd ed. 1857). a Acts vi. 2 tuiKoveiv rpartfaii.
These are the most important of the * So for instance Vitringa de Synag.
more reoent works on the subject with in. 2. 5, p. 928 sq, and Mosheim de
I have assumed that the office thus established represents The Seven the later diaconate; for though this point has been much COns. disputed, I do not see how the identity of the two can reasonably be called in question*. If the word 'deacon' does not occur in the passage, yet the corresponding verb and substantive, SiaKovelv and BiaKovla, are repeated more than once. The functions moreover are substantially those which devolved on the deacons of the earliest ages, and which still in theory, though not altogether in practice, form the primary duties of the office. Again, it seems clear from the emphasis with which St Luke dwells on the new institution, that he looks on the establishment of this office, not as an isolated incident, but as the initiation of a new order of things in the Church. It is in short one of those representative facts, of which the earlier part of his narrative is almost wholly made up. Lastly, the tradition of the identity of the two offices has been unanimous from the earliest times. Irenaeus, the first writer who alludes to the appointment of the Seven, distinctly holds them to have been deacons*. The Roman Church some centuries later, though
Beb. Christ, p. 119, followed by many (oomp. p. 146, note 2) as favouring his
later writers. view. With strange perversity Bohmer
1 This inference however is far from (Diss. Jut. Eccl. p. 349 sq.) supposes
certain, since many Hebrews bore them to be presbyters, and this account
Greek names, e.g. the Apostles An- has been adopted even by Ritschl, p.
drew and Philip. 355 sq. According to another view the
J B; is maintained by Vitringa m. 2. office of the Seven branched out into
5, p. 920 sq., that the office of the the two later orders of the diaconate
Seven was different from the later and the presbyterate, Lange Apost.
diaconate. He quotes Chrysost. Hom. Zeit. n. i. p. 75.
14 in Act. (rx. p. 115, ed. Montf.) and 3 Iren. i. 26. 3, iii. 12. 10, iv. 15. 1. Can. 10 of the Quinisextine Council
the presbytery had largely increased meanwhile, still restricted the number of deacons to seven, thus preserving the memory of the first institution of this office1. And in like manner a canon of the Council of Neocaesarea (a.d. 315) enacted that there should be no more than seven deacons in any city however great8, alleging the apostolic model. This rule, it is true, was only partially observed; but the tradition was at all events so far respected, that the creation of an order of subdeacons was found necessary in order to remedy the inconvenience arising from the limitation'. The office The narrative in the Acts, if I mistake not, implies that the institution office thus created was entirely new. Some writers however have explained the incident as an extension to the Hellenists of an institution which already existed among the Hebrew Christians and is implied in the 'younger men' mentioned in an earlier part of St Luke's history*. This view seems not only to be groundless in itself, but also to contradict the general tenour of the narrative. It would appear moreover, that the institution was not merely new within the Christian Church, but novel absolutely. There is no reason for connecting it with any prototype existing in the Jewish community. The narrative offers no hint that it was either a continuation of the order of Levites or an adaptation of an office in the synagogue. The philanthropic purpose for which it was established presents no direct point of contact with the known duties of either. The Levite, whose function it was to keep the beasts for slaughter, to cleanse away the blood and offal of the
borrowed from the
1 In the middle of the third century, when Cornelius writes to Fabius, Rome has 46 presbyters but only 7 deacons, Euseb. If. E. vi. 43; see Ronth's Rel. Sacr. m. p. 23, with his note p. 61. Even in the fourth and fifth centuries the number of Roman deacons still remained constant: see Ambrosiast. on 1 Tim. iii. 13, Sozom. vii. 19 Sidxovoi Si rraph "Punaloii «Wn vuv elalv iirri... Tapd 5i roi? aXXois dSidtpopos 6 roirruv
"Concil. Neoca/s. c. 14 (Routh Bel. Sacr. iv. p. 185): see Bingham's Antiq. II. 20. 19. At the Quinisextine or 2nd Trullan council (a.d. 692) this Neocasarean canon was refuted and rejected: see Hefele Consiliengesch. m. p. 304, and Vitringa p. 922.
3 See Bingham in. 1. 3.
4 Acts v. 6, 10. This is the view of Mosheim de Reb. Chritt. p. 114.
sacrifices, to serve as porter at the temple gates, and to swell
the chorus of sacred psalmody, bears no strong resemblance
to the Christian deacon, whose ministrations lay among the
widows and orphans, and whose time was almost wholly spent
in works of charity. And again, the Chazan or attendant in nor from
the synagogue, whose duties were confined to the care of the g0gue.
building and the preparation for service, has more in common
with the modern parish clerk than with the deacon in the
infant Church of Christ1. It is therefore a baseless, though
a very common, assumption that the Christian diaconate was
copied from the arrangements of the synagogue. The Hebrew
Chazan is not rendered by ' deacon' in the Greek Testament;
but a different word is used instead*. We may fairly presume
that St Luke dwells at such length on the establishment of
the diaconate, because he regards it as a novel creation.
Thus the work primarily assigned to the deacons was the Teaching relief of the poor. Their office was essentially a 'serving of dental to tables,' as distinguished from the higher function of preaching the officeand instruction. But partly from the circumstances of their position, partly from the personal character of those first appointed, the deacons at once assumed a prominence which is not indicated in the original creation of the office. Moving about freely among the poorer brethren and charged with the relief of their material wants, they would find opportunities of influence which were denied to the higher officers of the Church who necessarily kept themselves more aloof. The devout zeal of a Stephen or a Philip would turn these opportunities to the best account; and thus, without ceasing to be dispensers of alms, they became also ministers of the Word. The Apostles themselves had directed that the persons chosen should be not only ' men of honest report,' but also ' full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom': and this careful foresight, to which
1 Vitringa (m. 2. 4, p. 914 sq., in. view, the fact that as a rule there was
2. 22, p. 1130 sq.) derives the Christian only one Chazan to each synagogue
deacon from the Chazan of the syna- must not be overlooked,
gogue. Among other objections to this 2 irriptrris, Luke iv. 20.
the extended influence of the diaconate may be ascribed, proved also the security agaiDst its abuse. But still the work of teaching must be traced rather to the capacity of the individual officer than to the direct functions of the office. St Paul, writing thirty years later, and stating the requirements of the diaconate, lays the stress mainly on those qualifications which would be most important in persons moving about from house to house and entrusted with the distribution of alms. While he requires that they shall'hold the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience,' in other words, that they shall be sincere believers, he is not anxious, as in the case of the presbyters, to secure 'aptness to teach,' but demands especially that they shall be free from certain vicious habits, such as a love of gossiping, and a greed of paltry gain, into which they might easily fall from the nature of their duties1. Spread of From the mother Church of Jerusalem the institution nate to spread to Gentile Christian brotherhoods. By the 'helps8' in churches the First Ep^e to tlie Corinthians (A.D. 57), and by the 'ministration8' in the Epistle to the Romans (A.D. 58), the diaconate solely or chiefly seems to be intended; but besides these incidental allusions, the latter epistle bears more significant testimony to the general extension of the office. The strict seclusion of the female sex in Greece and in some Oriental countries necessarily debarred them from the ministrations of men: and to meet the want thus felt, it was found necessary at an early date to admit women to the diaconate. A woman-deacon belonging to the Church of Cenchreae is mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans'. As time advances, the diaconate becomes still more prominent. In the Philippian Church a few years later (about A.D. 62) the deacons take their rank after the presbyters, the two orders together constituting the recognised ministry of the Christian society there5. Again, passing over another interval of some years, we find St Paul in
I 1 Tim. iii. 8 sq. * Rom. xvi. 1.
II 1 Cor. xii. 28. 5 Phil. i. 1.
> Bom. xii. 7.
the First Epistle to Timothy (about A.d. 66) giving express directions as to the qualifications of men-deacons and womendeacons alike1. From the tenour of his language it seems clear that in the Christian communities of proconsular Asia at all events the institution was so common that ministerial organization would be considered incomplete without it. On the other hand we may perhaps infer from the instructions which he sends about the same time to Titus in Crete, that he did not consider it indispensable; for while he mentions having given direct orders to his delegate to appoint presbyters in every city, he is silent about a diaconate3.
2. While the diaconate was thus an entirely new creation, 2. Prebcalled forth by a special emergency and developed by theBTTEBS' progress of events, the early history of the presbyterate was different. If the sacred historian dwells at length on the institution of the lower office but is silent about the first beginnings of the higher, the explanation seems to be, that the latter had not the claim of novelty like the former. The not a new
Christian Church in its earliest stage was regarded by the body
of the Jewish people as nothing more than a new sect springing
up by the side of the old. This was not unnatural: for the
first disciples conformed to the religion of their fathers in all
essential points, practising circumcision, observing the sabbaths,
and attending the temple-worship. The sects in the Jewish
commonwealth were not, properly speaking, nonconformists.
They only superadded their own special organization to the
established religion of their country, which for the most part
they were careful to observe. The institution of synagogues but adoptn •', i i ii <• <'•!!• „edfromthe
was flexible enough to allow free scope lor wide divergences of 8yna
creed and practice. Different races as the Cyrenians andgog;ue
Alexandrians, different classes of society as the freedmen3,
perhaps also different sects as the Sadducees or the Essenes,
each had or could have their own special synagogue4, where
'1 Tim. iii. 8 sq. 4 It is stated, that there were no less
2 Tit. i. 5 sq. than 480 synagogues in Jerusalem.
3 Acts vi. 9. The number is doubtless greatly ex
they might indulge their peculiarities without hindrance. As soon as the expansion of the Church rendered some organization necessary, it would form a 'synagogue' of its own. The Christian congregations in Palestine long continued to be designated by this name1, though the term 'ecclesia' took its place from the very first in heathen countries. With the synagogue itself they would naturally, if not necessarily, adopt the normal government of a synagogue, and a body of elders or presbyters would be chosen to direct the religious worship and partly also to watch over the temporal well-being of the society.
Hence the silence of St Luke. When he first mentions the presbyters, he introduces them without preface, as though Ocoasion the institution were a matter of course. But the moment of adoption, their introduction is significant. I have pointed out elsewhere5 that the two persecutions, of which St Stephen and St James were respectively the chief victims, mark two important stages in the diffusion of the Gospel. Their connexion with the internal organization of the Church is not less remarkable. The first results directly from the establishment of the lowest order in the ministry, the diaconate. To the second may probably be ascribed the adoption of the next higher grade, the presbytery. This later persecution was the signal for the dispersion of the Twelve on a wider mission. Since Jerusalem would no longer be their home as hitherto, it became necessary to provide for the permanent direction of the Church there: and for this purpose the usual government of the synagogue would be adopted. Now at all events for the first time we read of 'presbyters' in connexion with the Christian brotherhood at Jerusalem3.
aggerated, but must have been very Epist. oxii. 13 (i. p. 746, ed. Yal'.
considerable: see Vitringa prol. 4, 'per totas orientis synagogas,' speaking
p. 28, and i. 1. 14, p. 253. of the Nazaraans; though his meaning
1 James ii. 2. Epiphanius (xxx. 18, is not altogether clear. Comp. Test.
p. 142) says of the Ebionites ffwayin- xii Patr. Benj. 11.
y^iv o&roi Ka\ovai Tijy iavrur iKKKriaiav, 'See above, pp. 53, 58.
Kox oi'x'/- iKKialiu>. See also Hieron. * Acts xi. 30. On the sequenoe of
From this time forward all official communications with the Presbytery
.... . m of Jorusa
mother Church are carried on through their intervention. To iem.
the presbyters Barnabas and Saul bear the alms contributed by the Gentile Churches1. The presbyters are persistently associated with the Apostles, in convening the congress, in the superscription of the decree, and in the general settlement of the dispute between the Jewish and Gentile Christians8. By the presbyters St Paul is received many years later on his last visit to Jerusalem, and to them he gives an account of his missionary labours and triumphs3.
But the office was not confined to the mother Church alone. Extension Jewish presbyteries existed already in all the principal cities of omoe t0 the dispersion, and Christian presbyteries would early occupy ^^M a not less wide area. On their very first missionary journey the Apostles Paul and Barnabas are described as appointing presbyters in every church*. The same rule was doubtless carried out in all the brotherhoods founded later; but it is mentioned here and here only, because the mode of procedure on this occasion would suffice as a type of the Apostles' dealings elsewhere under similar circumstances.
The name of the presbyter then presents no difficulty. But Presbyters what must be said of the term 'bishop'? It has been shown bishops, that in the apostolic writings the two are only different designations of one and the same office5. How and where was this second name originated?
To the officers of Gentile Churches alone is the term applied, but only in
as a synonyme for presbyter. At Philippi8, in Asia Minor7, in churches.
Crete8, the presbyter is so called. In the next generation the
title is employed in a letter written by the Greek Church of
Rome to the Greek Church of Corinth8. Thus the word would
seem to be especially Hellenic. Beyond this we are left to Possible
events at this time see Galatian s p. 5 See Philippians p. 96 sq. tlle term
124. « Phil. i. 1.
1 Acts xi. 30. 'Acts xx. 28, 1 Tim. iii. 1, 2; comp.
5 Acts xv. 2, 4, 6, 22, 23, xvi. 4. 1 Pet. ii. 25, v. 2.
3 Acts xxi. 18. 8 Tit. i. 7.
4 Acts xiv. 23. • Clem. Rom. 42, 44.
conjecture. But if we may assume that the directors of religious and social clubs among the heathen were commonly so called1, it would naturally occur, if not to the Gentile Christians themselves, at all events to their heathen associates, as a fit designation for the presiding members of the new society. The infant Church of Christ, which appeared to the Jew as a synagogue, would be regarded by the heathen as a confraternity*. But whatever may have been the origin of the term, it did not altogether dispossess the earlier name 'presbyter,' which still held its place as a synonyme even in Gentile congregations3. And, when at length the term bishop was appropriated to a higher office in the Church, the latter became again, as it had been at first, the sole designation of the Christian elder*. Twofold The duties of the presbyters were twofold. They were both
o?the rulers and instructors of the congregation. This double function presbyter, appears in St Paul's expression 'pastors and teachers5,' where, as the form of the original seems to show, the two words describe the same office under different aspects. Though government was probably the first conception of the office, yet the work of teaching must have fallen to the presbyters from the very first and have assumed greater prominence as time went on. With the growth of the Church, the visits of the apostles and evangelists to any individual community must The func- have become less and less frequent, so that the burden of inteaching, struction would be gradually transferred from these missionary preachers to the local officers of the congregation. Hence St Paul in two passages, where he gives directions relating to bishops or presbyters, insists specially on the faculty of teaching as a qualification for the position1. Yet even here this work seems to be regarded rather as incidental to than as inherent in the office. In the one epistle he directs that double honour shall be paid to those presbyters who have ruled well, but especially to such as 'labour in word and doctrine',' as though one holding this office might decline the work of instruction. In the other, he closes the list of qualifications with the requirement that the bishop (or presbyter) hold fast the faithful word in accordance with the apostolic teaching, 'that he may be able both to exhort in the healthy doctrine and to confute gainsayers,' alleging as a reason the pernicious activity and growing numbers of the false teachers. Nevertheless there is no ground for supposing that the work of teaching and the work of governing pertained to separate members of the presbyteral college8. As each had his special gift, so would he devote himself more or less exclusively to the one or the other of these sacred functions.
1 The evidence however is slight: * Other more general designations in see Philippians p. 95, note 2. Some the New Testament are ol rpoio-rdVitvoi light is thrown on this subject by the (1 Thess. v. 12, Rom. xii. 8: comp. fact that the Roman government seems 1 Tim. v. 17), or ol rryoi/itvoi (Hebr. first to have recognised the Christian xiii. 7, 17, 24). For the former comp. brotherhoods in their corporate capa- Hennas Vis. ii. 4, Justin. Apol. i. 67 city, as burial clubs: see de Rossi Rom. (6 rpoe<rr<is); for the latter, Clem. Bom. Sotterr. I. p. 371. 1, 21, Hermas Vis. ii. 2, iii. 9 (ol irpoi>
2 On these clubs or confraternities yov^evoi).
see Benan Les Apdtres p. 351 sq.; * Ephes. iv. 11 rain Si roi/Urai cal
comp. Saint Paul p. 239. SiSaaKaKovs. For roifuUnir applied to
3 Acts xx. 17, 1 Tim. v. 17, Tit. i. 5, the irUrKoros or rpwpfrrepos see Acta
1 Pet. v. 1, Clem. Rom. 21, 44. xx. 28, 1 Pet. v. 2; oomp. 1 Pet. ii. 25. 1 1 Tim. iii. 2, Tit. i. 9. elders, was laid down by Calvin and
3. It is clear then that at the close of the apostolic age, the 3. Bishops. two lower orders of the threefold ministry were firmly and widely established; but traces of the third and highest order, the episcopate properly so called, are few and indistinct.
For the opinion hazarded by Theodoret and adopted by The office many later writers*, that the same officers in the Church who tinuation" oftheapo- were first called apostles came afterwards to be designated bishops, is baseless. If the two offices had been identical, the substitution of the one name for the other would have required some explanation. But in fact the functions of the Apostle and the bishop differed widely. The Apostle, like the prophet or the evangelist, held no local office. He was essentially, as his name denotes, a missionary, moving about from place to place, founding and confirming new brotherhoods. The only ground on which Theodoret builds his theory is a false interpretation of a passage in St Paul. At the opening of the Epistle to Philippi the presbyters (here called bishops) and deacons are saluted, while in the body of the letter one Epaphroditus is mentioned Phil. ii. 25 as an 'apostle' of the Philippians. If 'apostle' here had the Explained, meaning which is thus assigned to it, all the three orders of the ministry would be found at Philippi. But this interpretation will not stand. The true Apostle, like St Peter or St John, bears this title as the messenger, the delegate, of Christ Himself: while Epaphroditus is only so styled as the messenger of the Philippian brotherhood; and in the very next clause the expression is explained by the statement that he carried their alms to St Paul1. The use of the word here has a parallel in another passage*, where messengers (or apostles) of the churches are mentioned. It is not therefore to the apostle that we must look for the prototype of the bishop. How far indeed and in what sense the bishop may be called a successor of the Apostles, will be a proper subject for consideration: but the succession at least does not consist in an identity of office.
3 1 Tim. v. 17 /*dXiara oi Kotiiuitts has been adopted as the constitution of
iv Xbyip Kox Sioainm\iq.. At a much several presbyterian Churches. This
later date we read of 'presbyteri doc- interpretation of St Paul's language is
tores,' whence it may perhaps be in- refuted by Rothe p. 224, Ritsohl p. 352
ferred that even then the work of sq., and Schaff Hilt, of Apost. Ch. n.
teaching was not absolutely indispens- p. 312, besides older writers such as
able to the presbyteral office; Act. Vitringa and Mosheim.
Perp. et Fel. 13, Cyprian. Epist. 29: * On 1 Tim. iii. 1, robs Si ruy Koxov
see Ritschl p. 352. nivovs iIiiitKiitovs &ro<ttb\ovs Civbpafar •
3 The distinction of lay or ruling Tog Si xp^cov rpoi'bvtos rb /iiv 7t;s dro
elders, and ministers proper or teaching aroft woua Tots iXijBui aroerb\ou
KarAirov, To ot tijt iriaKoirijt r«! rdXai nuncupationem; diviserunt ergo ipsa
Ka\oviiivoii iro<rri\oii iriBeaav. See nomina etc.' (Raban. Maur. vi. p.
also his note on Phil. i. 1. Comp. 604 D, ed. Migne). Theodore however
Wordsworth Theoph. Angl. o. x, Blunt makes a distinction between the two
First Three Centuries p. 81. Theodoret, offices: nor does he, like Theodoret,
as usual, has borrowed from Theodore misinterpret Phil. ii. 25. The com
of Mopsnestia on 1 Tim. iii. 1, 'Qui mentator Hilary also, on Ephes. iv.
vero nunc episcopi nominantur, illi 11, says 'apostoli episoopi sunt.'
tunc apostoli dicebantur...Beatis vero 'Phil. ii. 25, see Philippian s p. 123.
apostolus decedentibus, illi qui post • 2 Cor. viii. 23, see Galatiam p. 95.
illos ordinati sunt...grave existima- note 3. verunt apostolornm sibi vindicare
The history of the name itself suggests a different account The episof the origin of the episcopate. If bishop was at first used as a veloped synonyme for presbyter and afterwards came to designate the TMg£y' e higher officer under whom the presbyters served, the episcopate tervproperly so called would seem to have been developed from the subordinate office. In other words, the episcopate was formed not out of the apostolic order by localisation but out of the presbyteral by elevation: and the title, which originally was common to all, came at length to be appropriated to the chief among them1.
If this account be true, we might expect to find in the St James mother Church of Jerusalem, which as the earliest founded earliest would soonest ripen into maturity, the first traces of this bl8noPdeveloped form of the ministry. Nor is this expectation disappointed. James the Lord's brother alone, within the period compassed by the apostolic writings, can claim to be regarded as a bishop in the later and more special sense of the term. In the language of St Paul he takes precedence even of the earliest and greatest preachers of the Gospel, St Peter and St John", where the affairs of the Jewish Church specially are concerned. In St Luke's narrative he appears as the local representative of the brotherhood in Jerusalem, presiding at the congress, whose decision he suggests and whose decree he appears to have framed3, receiving the missionary preachers as they revisit the mother Church4, acting generally as the referee in communications with foreign brotherhoods. The place assigned to him in the spurious Clementines, where he is
1 A parallel instance from Athenian - Gal. ii. 9; see the note.
institutions will illustrate this usage. * Aots xv. 13 sq. St James speaks
The irwt&tris was chairman of a body last and apparently with some degree
of ten rpitSpoi, who themselves were of authority (iyu Kpbu ver. 19). The
appointed in turn by lot to serve from decree is clearly framed on his recom
a larger body of fifty rpvrdvevs. Yet we mendations, and some indecisive coin
find the imrrinii not only designated cidences of style with his epistle have
rpvravis par excellence (Demosth. Ti- been pointed out.
mocr. § 157), but even addressed by 4 Acts xxi. 18; oomp. xii. 17. See
this name in the presence of the other also Gal. i. 19, ii. 12. rpofSpoi (Thuc. vi . 14).
represented as supreme arbiter over the Church universal in matters of doctrine, must be treated as a gross exaggeration. This kind of authority is nowhere conferred upon him in the apostolic writings: but his social and ecclesiastical position, as it appears in St Luke and St Paul, explains how the exaggeration was possible. And this position is the more remarkable if, as seems to have been the case, he was not one of the Twelve1, but yet On the other hand, though especially prominent, he appears
lated from i n the Acts as a member of a body. When St Peter, after his hispresby- escape from prison, is about to leave Jerusalem, he desires that his deliverance shall be reported to ' James and the brethren8.' When again St Paul on his last visit to the Holy City goes to see James, we are told that all the presbyters were present'. If in some passages St James is named by himself, in others he is omitted and the presbyters alone are mentioned*. From this it may be inferred that though holding a position superior to the rest, he was still considered as a member of the presbytery; that he was in fact the head or president of the college. What power this presidency conferred, how far it was recognised as an independent official position, and to what degree it was due to the ascendancy of his personal gifts, are questions, which in the absence of direct information can only be answered by conjecture. But his close relationship with the Lord, his rare energy of character, and his rigid sanctity of life which won the respect even of the unconverted Jews5, would react upon his office, and may perhaps have elevated it to a level which was not definitely contemplated in its origin. Nobinhops But while the episcopal office thus existed in the mother theGentile Church of Jerusalem from very early days, at least in a rudiChurchen. mentarv form> the New Testament presents no distinct traces of such organization in the Gentile congregations. The govern
Two stages ment of the Gentile churches, as there represented, exhibits two
of develop- . .
ment: successive stages of development tending in this direction; but
1 See above, p. 1 sq. * Acts xi. 30; comp. xv. 4, 23, xvi. 4.
2 Acts xii. 17. 5 See above, p. 12 sq.
3 Acts xxi. 18.
the third stage, in which episcopacy definitely appears, still lies beyond the horizon.
(1) We have first of all the Apostles themselves exercising (l) Ooca... „ j i • 'sional su
the superintendence of the churches under their care, sometimes pervision
in person and on the spot, sometimes at a distance by letter or Apostles by message. The imaginary picture drawn by St Paul, when tnem
he directs the punishment of the Corinthian offender, vividly represents his position in this respect . The members of the church are gathered together, the elders, we may suppose, being seated apart on a dais or tribune; he himself, as president, directs their deliberations, collects their votes, pronounces sentence on the guilty man1. How the absence of the apostolic president was actually supplied in this instance, we do not know. But a council was held; he did direct their verdict' in spirit though not in person'; and 'the majority' condemned the offender2. In the same way St Peter, giving directions to the elders, claims a place among them. The title ' fellow-presbyter,' which he applies to himself8, would doubtless recal to the memory of his readers the occasions when he himself had presided with the elders and guided their deliberations.
(2) As the first stage then, the Apostles themselves were (2) Resithe superintendents of each individual church. But the wider apostolic spread of the Gospel would diminish the frequency of their dele8atesvisits and impair the efficiency of such supervision. In the second stage therefore we find them, at critical seasons and in important congregations, delegating some trustworthy disciple
who should fix his abode in a given place for a time and direct the affairs of the church there. The Pastoral Epistles present this second stage to our view. It is the conception of a later age which represents Timothy as bishop of Ephesus and Titus as bishop of Crete4. St Paul's own language implies that the position which they held was temporary. In both cases their term of office is drawing to a close, when the Apostle writes1. But the conception is not altogether without foundation. With less permanence but perhaps greater authority, the position occupied by these apostolic delegates nevertheless fairly represents the functions of the bishop early in the second century. They were in fact the link between the Apostle whose superintendence was occasional and general and the bishop who exercised a permanent supervision over an individual congregation. The angels Beyond this second stage the notices in the apostolic calypsenot writings do not carry us. The angels of the seven churches ops. indeed are frequently alleged as an exception*. But neither does the name ' angel' itself suggest such an explanation', nor is this view in keeping with the highly figurative style of this wonderful book. Its sublime imagery seems to be seriously impaired by this interpretation. On the other hand St John's own language gives the true key to the symbolism. 'The seven stars,' so it is explained, 'are the seven angels of the seven churches, and the seven candlesticks are the seven churches*.' This contrast between the heavenly and the earthly fires—the star shining steadily by its own inherent eternal light, and the lamp flickering and uncertain, requiring to be fed with fuel and tended with care—cannot be devoid of meaning. The star is the suprasensual counterpart, the True exheavenly representative; the lamp, the earthly realisation, the outward embodiment. Whether the angel is here conceived as an actual person, the celestial guardian, or only as a personification, the idea or spirit of the church, it is unnecessary for my present purpose to consider. But whatever may be the exact conception, he is identified with and made responsible for it to a degree wholly unsuited to any human officer. Nothing is predicated of him, which may not be predicated of it. To him are imputed all its hopes, its fears, its graces, its shortcomings. He is punished with it, and he is rewarded with it. In one passage especially the language applied to the angel seems to exclude the common interpretation. In the message to Thyatira the angel is blamed, because he suffers himself to be led astray by 'his wife Jezebel1.' In this image of Ahab's idolatrous queen some dangerous and immoral teaching must be personified; for it does violence alike to the general tenour and to the individual expressions in the passage to suppose that an actual woman is meant. Thus the symbolism of the passage is entirely in keeping. Nor again is this mode of representation new. The 'princes' in the prophecy of Daniel" present a very near if not an exact parallel to the angels of the Revelation. Here, as elsewhere, St John seems to adapt the imagery of this earliest apocalyptic book.
1 1 Cor. v. 3 sq. 3 1 Pet. v. 1.
s 2 Cor. ii. 6 r j irmnta a&rq ri iro * Const. Apost. vii. 46, Euseb. H. E.
Tuy rXeiocuv. iii. 4, and later writers.
1 See 1 Tim. i. 3, iii. 14, 2 Tim. iv. 18 'ftr too indefinite to encourage such 9, 21, Tit. i. 5, iii. 12. ^ inference.
2 See for instance among recent 3 It is conceivable indeed that a writers Thiersch Gesch. der Apost. bishop or chief pastor should be called Kirche p. 278, Trench Epistles to the an angel or messenger of God or of Christ Seven Churches p. 47 sq., with others. (comp. Hag. i. 13, Mai. ii. 7), but he This explanation is as old as the earliest would hardly be stvled an angel of the commentators. Rothe supposes that ohurch over which he presides. Seethe the word anticipates the establishment parallel case of drio--roXos above, p. 154. of episcopacy, being a kind of prophetio Vitringa (n. 9, p. 550), and others after symbol, p. 423 sq. Others again take him, explain a-ryeXoj in the Apocalypse the angel to designate the collective by the rvSt?> the messenger or deputy ministry, i.e. the whole body of priests of the synagogue. These however were and deacons. For various explanations only inferior officers, and could not be see Schaff Hist, of Apost. Ch. n. p. 223. compared to stars or made responsible
Bothe (p. 426) supposes that Dio- for the well-being of the churches; see
trephes 6 <pi\orpurtiur airier (3 Joh. 9) Rothe p. 504. was a bishop. This cannot be pro- 4 Bev. i. 20
nounced impossible, but the language
Indeed, if with most recent writers we adopt the early date of the Apocalypse of St John, it is scarcely possible that the episcopal organization should have been so mature when it was written. In this case probably not more than two or three years have elapsed from the date of the Pastoral Epistles3, and this interval seems quite insufficient to account for so great a
1 Rev. ii. 20 r^vywaiKi aov'I«fd/StX. • The date of the Pastoral Epistlea The word aov should probably be re- may be and probably is as late as A.d. tained in the text: or at least, if not 66 or 67; while the Apocalypse on a correct reading, it seems to be a cor- this hypothesis was written not later rect gloss. than A.d. 70.
2 Dan. x. 13, 20, 21.
change in the administration of the Asiatic churches.
Episco- As late therefore as the year 70 no distinct signs of episcopal
blishedin government have hitherto appeared in Gentile Christendom.
Gentile yet unless we have recourse to a sweeping condemnation of
before the received documents, it seems vain to deny that early in the closeofthe . _, „ . , . , .
century, second century the episcopal omce was nrmly and widely
established. Thus during the last three decades of the first century, and consequently during the lifetime of the latest surviving Apostle, this change must have beea brought about. But the circumstances under which it was effected are shrouded in darkness; and various attempts have been made to read the obscure enigma. Of several solutions offered one at least Rothe's deserves special notice. If Bothe's view cannot be accepted as son on. flj^ i^g examination will at least serve to bring out the conditions of the problem: and for this reason I shall state and discuss it as briefly as possible \ For the words in which the theory is stated I am myself responsible. Import- 'The epoch to which we last adverted marks an important
crisis! 6 crisis in the history of Christianity. The Church was distracted and dismayed by the growing dissensions between the Jewish and Gentile brethren and by the menacing apparition of Gnostic heresy. So long as its three most prominent leaders were living, there had been some security against the extravagance of parties, some guarantee of harmonious combination among diverse churches. But St Peter, St Paul, and St James, were carried away by death almost at the same time and in the face of this great emergency. Another blow too had fallen: the long-delayed judgment of God on the once Holy City was delayed no more. With the overthrow of Jerusalem the visible centre of the Church was removed. The keystone of the fabric was withdrawn, and the whole edifice •
1 See Rothe's Anflinge etc. pp. 354— which I have urged) by Baur Vreprung
392. Rothe's account of the origin of dei Episcopats p. 39 sq., and Ritschl
episcopacy is assailed (on grounds in p. 410 sq.
many respects differing from those
threatened with ruin. There was a crying need for some
organization which should cement together the diverse elements
of Christian society and preserve it from disintegration.'
'Out of this need the Catholic Church arose. Christendom Origin of ,,,., . ,. . ., theCatho
nad hitherto existed as a number of distinct isolated congrega- lie Church.
tions, drawn in the same direction by a common faith and
common sympathies, accidentally linked one with another by
the personal influence and apostolic authority of their common
teachers, but not bound together in a harmonious whole by any
permanent external organization. Now at length this great
result was brought about. The magnitude of the change
eifected during this period may be measured by the difference
in the constitution and conception of the Christian Church
as presented in the Pastoral Epistles of St Paul and the letters
of St Ignatius respectively.'
'By whom then was the new constitution organized? To Agen°y of , . . . theBurviv
this question only one answer can be given. This great work ing Apo
must be ascribed to the surviving Apostles. St John especially,
who built up the speculative theology of the Church, was
mainly instrumental in completing its external constitution
also; for Asia Minor was the centre from which the new
movement spread. St John however was not the only Apostle
or early disciple who lived in this province. St Philip is
known to have settled in Hierapolis1. St Andrew also seems
to have dwelt in these parts*. The silence of history clearly
proclaims the fact which the voice of history but faintly
suggests. If we hear nothing more of the Apostles' missionary
labours, it is because they had organized an united Church, to
which they had transferred the work of evangelization.'
'Of such a combined effort on the part of the Apostles, Evidence
resulting in a definite ecclesiastical polity, in an united m^ ^po
Catholic Church, no direct account is preserved: but incidental Jj—Ln
notices are not wanting; and in the general paucity of informa
1 Pa] >ias in Euseb. H. E. iii. 39; 2 Mnratorian Canon (circ. 170 A.d.)
Polvcrates and Caius in Euseb. H. E. South Rel. Sacr. i. p. 394. iii. 31.
tion respecting the whole period more than this was not to be expected1.'
'(1) Eusebius relates that after the martyrdom of St James and the fall of Jerusalem, the remaining Apostles and personal disciples of the Lord, with his surviving relations, met together and after consultation unanimously appointed Symeon the son of Clopas to the vacant see5. It can hardly be doubted, that Eusebius in this passage quotes from the earlier historian Hegesippus, from whom he has derived the other incidents in the lives of James and Symeon: and we may well believe that this council discussed larger questions than the appointment of a single bishop, and that the constitution and prospects of the Church generally came under deliberation. It may have been on this occasion that the surviving Apostles partitioned out the world among them, and 'Asia was assigned to John*.'
'(2) A fragment of Irenaeus points in the same direction. Writing of the holy eucharist he says, 'They who have paid attention to the second ordinances of the Apostles know that the Lord appointed a new offering in the new covenant4.' By these 'second ordinances' must be understood some later decrees or injunctions than those contained in the apostolic epistles: and these would naturally be framed and promulgated by such a council as the notice of Eusebius suggests.'
'(3) To the same effect St Clement of Rome writes, that the Apostles, having appointed elders in every church and foreseeing the disputes which would arise, 'afterwards added a codicil (supplementary direction) that if they should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their office1.' Here the pronouns ' they,' 'their,' must refer, not to the first appointed presbyters, but to the Apostles themselves. Thus interpreted, the passage contains a distinct notice of the institution of bishops as successors of the Apostles; while in the word 'afterwards' is involved an allusion to the later council to which the ' second ordinances' of Irenasus also refer*.'
Clement of Rome.
1 Besides the evidence which I have stated and discussed in the text, Rothe also brings forward a fragment of the Praedicatio Pauli (preserved in the tract de Baptismo Haereticorum, which is included among Cyprian's works, app. p. 30, ed. Fell; see above, p. Ill, note 2), where the writer mentions a meeting of St Peter and St Paul in Rome. The main question however is
so slightly affected thereby, that I have not thought it necessary to investigate the value and bearing of this fragment. - Euseb. H. E. iii. 11.
3 According to the tradition reported by Origen as quoted in Euseb. H. B. iii. 1.
4 One of the Pfaffian fragments, no. xxxviii, p. 854 in Stieren's edition of Irenseus (vol. I.).
'These notices seem to justify the conclusion that immediately after the fall of Jerusalem a council of the apostles and first teachers of the Gospel was held to deliberate on the crisis, and to frame measures for the well-being of the Church. The Results of centre of the system then organized was episcopacy, which at cii. once secured the compact and harmonious working of each individual congregation, and as the link of communication between separate brotherhoods formed the whole into one undivided Catholic Church. Recommended by this high authority, the new constitution was immediately and generally adopted.'
This theory, which is maintained with much ability and Value of vigour, attracted considerable notice, as being a new defence of theory, episcopacy advanced by a member of a presbyterian Church. On the other hand, its intrinsic value seems to have been unduly depreciated; for, if it fails to give a satisfactory solution, it has at least the merit of stating the conditions of the problem with great distinctness, and of pointing out the direction to be followed. On this account it seemed worthy of attention.
1 Clem. Rom. § 44 Kari<rrriaav rois Ambrosian Hilary on Ephes. iv. 12, rpotipriiUvovs (se. rptafivrtpovs) Kal fura- speaking of the change from the preset iriyontyfSeSuKaaiv, Srus, ibv Koinri- byteral to the episcopal form of govern0uo-iv, SiaSH-un/rai (repoi StSoKivuuriUvoi meiit, says 'immutata est ratio, proirSpti Ttjv \urovpyiav aSrrur. The in- ipiciente concilio, ut non ordo etc.' If terpretation of the passage depends on the reading be correct, I suppose he the persons intended in KoinriBdaai and was thinking of the Apostolic Constituai/ruv (see the notes on the passage). tions. See also the expression of St
* A much more explicit though Jerome on Tit. i. 5 (quoted below, p.
somewhat later authority may be 166) 'in toto orbe decretum est.' quoted in favour of his view. The
The evi- It must indeed be confessed that the historical notices will
amined.' not Dear *ne weight of the inference built upon them. (1) The Hegesip- account of Hegesippus (for to Hegesippus the statement in pns' Eusebius may fairly be ascribed) confines the object of this
gathering to the appointment of a successor to St James. If its deliberations had exerted that vast and permanent influence on the future of the Church which Rothe's theory supposes, it is scarcely possible that this early historian should have been ignorant of the fact or knowing it should have passed it over in silence. (2) The genuineness of the Pfaffian fragments of Irenwus. Irenaeus must always remain doubtful1. Independently of the mystery which hangs over their publication, the very passage quoted throws great suspicion on their authorship; for the expression in question2 seems naturally to refer to the so-called Apostolic Constitutions, which have been swelled to their present size by the accretions of successive generations, but can hardly have existed even in a rudimentary form in the age of Irenaeus, or if existing have been regarded by him as genuine. If he had been acquainted with such later ordinances issued by the authority of an apostolic council, is it conceivable that in his great work on heresies he should have omitted to quote a sanction so unquestionable, where his main object is to show that the doctrine of the Catholic Church in his day represented the true teaching of the Apostles, and his main argument the fact that the Catholic bishops of his time derived their office Clement, by direct succession from the Apostles? (3) The passage in the epistle of St Clement cannot be correctly interpreted by Rothe: for his explanation, though elaborately defended, disregards the purpose of the letter. The Corinthian Church is disturbed by a spirit of insubordination. Presbyters, who have faithfully discharged their duties, have nevertheless been ruthlessly expelled from office. St Clement writes in the name of the Roman Church to correct these irregularities. He reminds the Corinthians that the presbyteral office was established by the Apostles, who not only themselves appointed elders, but also gave directions that the vacancies caused from time to time by death should be filled up by other men of character, thus providing for a succession in the ministry. Consequently in these unworthy feuds they were setting themselves in opposition to officers of repute either actually nominated by Apostles, or appointed by those so nominated in accordance with the apostolic injunctions. There is no mention of episcopacy, properly so called, throughout the epistle; for in the language of St Clement, 'bishop' and ' presbyter ' are still synonymous terms1. Thus the pronouns 'they,' 'their,' refer naturally to the presbyters first appointed by the Apostles themselves. Whether (supposing the reading to be correct*) Rothe has rightly translated e-7rivofj,t)v 'a codicil,' it is unnecessary to enquire, as the rendering does not materially affect the question.
1 The controversial treatises on either means of testing the accuracy of the
side are printed in Stieren's Ireniens transcriber or ascertaining the charac
li. p. 381 sq. It is sufficient here to ter of the Ms.
state that shortly after the transcrip- 2 The expression a! Sevrepai Ti* dro
tion of these fragments by Pfaff, the Atb\uv Siarifeis closely resembles the
Tnrin Ms from which they were taken language of these Constitutions; see
disappeared; so that there was no Hippol. p. 74, 82 (Lagarde).
Nor again does it appear that the rise of episcopacy was go Episcosudden and so immediate, that an authoritative order issuing a sudden from an apostolic council alone can explain the phenomenon. creatl0n> In the mysterious period which comprises the last thirty years of the first century, and on which history is almost wholly silent, episcopacy must, it is true, have been mainly developed. But before this period its beginnings may be traced, and after the close it is not yet fully matured. It seems vain to deny with Rothe3 that the position of St James in the mother Church furnished the precedent and the pattern of the later episcopate. It appears equally mistaken to maintain, as this theory requires, that at the close of the first and the beginning of the second century the organization of all churches alike had arrived at the same stage of development and exhibited the episcopate in an equally perfect form.
1 See Philippians pp. 97, 98. iiav-ifi; see the notes on the passage.
2 The right reading is probably iri- 3 p. 264 sq.
but ma- On the other hand, the emergency which consolidated the
a critical episcopal form of government is correctly and forcibly stated.
emergenoy It was remarked long ago by Jerome, that' before factions were introduced into religion by the prompting of the devil,' the churches were governed by a council of elders, 'but as soon as each man began to consider those whom he had baptized to belong to himself and not to Christ, it was decided throughout the world that one elected from among the elders should be placed over the rest, so that the care of the church should devolve on him, and the seeds of schism be removed1.' And again in another passage he writes to the same effect; 'When afterwards one presbyter was elected that he might be placed over the rest, this was done as a remedy against schism, that each man might not drag to himself and thus break up the Church of Christ*.' To the dissensions of Jew and Gentile converts, and to the disputes of Gnostic false teachers, the development of episcopacy may be mainly ascribed.
AsfaMinoi ^or a8a^n *s Rotne probably wrong as to the authority
under the mainly instrumental in effecting the change. Asia Minor was
of St John, the adopted home of more than one Apostle after the fall of
Jerusalem. Asia Minor too was the nurse, if not the mother, of episcopacy in the Gentile Churches. So important an institution, developed in a Christian community of which St John was the living centre and guide, could hardly have grown up without his sanction: and, as will be seen presently, early tradition very distinctly connects his name with the appointment of bishops in these parts. Manner of But to the question how this change was brought about, a
lopment. somewhat different answer must be given. We have seen that the needs of the Church and the ascendancy of his personal character placed St James at the head of the Christian brotherhood in Jerusalem. Though remaining a member of the presbyteral council, he was singled out from the rest and placed in a position of superior responsibility. His exact power it
1 On Tit. i. 5 (vn. p. 694, ed. Vail.).
* Epist. ozlvi ad Evang. (i. p. 1082).
would be impossible, and it is unnecessary, to define. When therefore after the fall of the city St John with other surviving Apostles removed to Asia Minor and found there manifold irregularities and threatening symptoms of disruption, he would not unnaturally encourage an approach in these Gentile Churches to the same organization, which had been signally blessed, and proved effectual in holding together the mother Church amid dangers not less serious. The existence of a council or college necessarily supposes a presidency of some kind, whether this presidency be assumed by each member in turn, or lodged in the hands of a single person1. It was only necessary therefore for him to give permanence, definiteness, stability, to an office which already existed in germ. There is no reason however for supposing that any direct ordinance was issued to the churches. The evident utility and even pressing need of such an office, sanctioned by the most venerated name in Christendom, would be sufficient to secure its wide though gradual reception. Such a reception, it is true, supposes a substantial harmony and freedom of intercourse among the churches, which remained undisturbed by the troubles of the times; but the silence of history is not at all unfavourable to this supposition. In this way, during the historical blank which extends over half a century after the fall of Jerusalem, episcopacy was matured and the Catholic Church consolidated8.
1 The Ambrosian Hilary on Ephes. council of elders: see Vitringa n. 2. p. iv. 12 seems to say that the senior 586 sq., m. 1. p. 610 sq. The opinions member was president; but this may of Vitringa must be received with caube mere conjecture. The constitution tion, aa his tendency to press the reof the synagogue does not aid mate- semblance between the government of rially in settling this question. In the the Jewish synagogue and the ChrisNew Testament at all events apx^wd- tian Church is strong. The real likeyayas is only another name for an elder ness consists in the council of presbyof the synagogue (Mark v. 22, Acts ters; but the threefold order of the xiii. 15, xviii. 8,17; oomp. Justin Dial. Christian ministry as a whole seems to e. Tryph. % 137), and therefore oorre- have no counterpart in the synagogue, sponds not to the bishop but to the 2 The expression 'Catholic Church' presbyter of the Christian Church. is found first in the Ignatian letter to Sometimes however apxuvvayuyos ap- the Smyrna/ans § 8. In the Martyrpears to denote the president of the dom of Polyoarp it occurs several times, inscr. and §§ 8, 16,19. On its Reeogn. i. 43, 68, 73; Clem. Alex,
This view At all events, when we come to trace the early history of the
by the no- office in the principal churches of Christendom in succession, we
dividual * snall ^n^ *H the facts consistent with the account adopted here,
churches. while some of them are hardly reconcileable with any other.
In this review it will be convenient to commence with the
mother Church, and to take the others in order, as they are
connected either by neighbourhood or by political or religious
Jebtjsa- l. The Church of Jerusalem, as I have already pointed
LEM. . . .
out, presents the earliest instance of a bishop. A certain St James, official prominence is assigned to James the Lord's brother, both in the Epistles of St Paul and in the Acts of the Apostles. And the inference drawn from the notices in the canonical Scriptures is borne out by the tradition of the next ages. As early as the middle of the second century all parties concur in representing him as a bishop in the strict sense of the term1. In this respect Catholic Christians and Ebionite Christians hold the same language: the testimony of Hegesippus on the one hand is matched by the testimony of the Clementine writings on the other. On his death, which is recorded as Symeon. taking place immediately before the war of Vespasian, Syineon was appointed in his place". Hegesippus, who is our authority for this statement, distinctly regards Symeon as holding the same office with James, and no less distinctly calls him a bishop. This same historian also mentions the circumstance that one Thebuthis (apparently on this occasion), being disappointed of the bishopric, raised a schism and attempted to corrupt the virgin purity of the Church with false doctrine. As Symeon died in the reign of Trajan at an advanced age, it is not imLater probable that Hegesippus was born during his lifetime. Of the bishops. successors of Symeon a complete list is preserved by Eusebius*. The fact however that it comprises thirteen names within a period of less than thirty years must throw suspicion on its accuracy. A succession so rapid is hardly consistent with the known tenure of life offices in ordinary cases: and if the list be correct, the frequent changes must be attributed to the troubles and uncertainties of the times1. If Eusebius here also had derived his information from Hegesippus, it must at least have had some solid foundation in fact; but even then the alternation between Jerusalem and Pella, and the possible confusion of the bishops with other prominent members of the presbytery, might introduce much error. It appears however that in this instance he was indebted to less trustworthy sources of information*. The statement that after the foundation of Aelia Capitolina (A.D. 136) Marcus presided over the mother Church, as its first Gentile bishop, need not be questioned; and beyond this point it is unnecessary to carry the investigation*.
meaning see Westcott Cation p. 28, in Euseb. ii. 1; Const. Apost. v. 8, vi.
note (4th ed.). 14, viii. 35, 46.
1 Hegesipp. in Euseb. H. E. ii. 23, * Hegesipp. in Euseb. H. E. iv. 22.
iv. 22; Clem. Hom. xi. 35, Ep. Petr. J H. E. iv. 5. The episcopate of
jnit., and Ep. Clem. init.; Clem. Justus the successor of Symeon commences about A.d. 108: that of Marcus * This may be inferred from a com
Of other bishops in Palestine and the neighbourhood, Other sees before the latter half of the second century, no trustworthy tme and
notice is preserved, so far as I know. During the Roman neieh
r ° bounng
episcopate of Victor however (about A.D. 190), we find three countries, bishops, Theophilus of Caesarea, Cassius of Tyre, and Clarus of Ptolemais, in conjunction with Narcissus of Jerusalem, writing an encyclical letter in favour of the western view in the Paschal
the first Gentile bishop, A. D. 136. Thus parison of H. E. iv. 5 roaovrov 0= iyypi
thirteen bishops occupy only about <pwi rap«'Xi;0a with H. E. v. 12 ai TM
twenty-eight years. Even after the aMfli SiaSoxal inpiixovin. His infor
foundation of .Elia Capitolina the sue- mation was probably taken from a list
cession is very rapid. In the period kept at Jerusalem; but the case of the
from Marcus (a.d. 136) to Narcissus spurious correspondence with Abgarus
(aj>. 190) we count fifteen bishops. preserved in the archives of Edessa
The repetition of the same names (H. E. i. 13) shows how treacherous
however suggests that some conflict such sources of information were.
was going on during this interval. 'Narcissus, who became bishop of
1 Parallels nevertheless maybe found Jerusalem in 190 A.d., might well have
in the annals of the papacy. Thus from preserved the memory of much earlier
A.d. 882 to A.d. 904 there were thirteen times. His successor Alexander, in
popes: and in other times of trouble whose favour he resigned A.d. 214,
the succession has been almost as speaks of him as still living at the ad
rapid. vanced age of 116 (Euseb. H. E. vi. 11).
controversy1. If indeed any reliance could be placed on the Clementine writings, the episcopate of Palestine was matured at a very early date: for St Peter is there represented as appointing bishops in every city which he visits, in Caesarea, Tyre, Sidon, Berytus, Tripolis, and Laodicea*. And though the fictions of this theological romance have no direct historical value, it is hardly probable that the writer would have indulged in such statements, unless an early development of the episcopate in these parts had invested his narrative with an air of probability. The institution would naturally spread from the Church of Jerusalem to the more important communities in the neighbourhood, even without the direct intervention of the Apostles. Antioch. 2. From the mother Church of the Hebrews we pass
naturally to the metropolis of Gentile Christendom. Antioch is traditionally reported to have received its first bishop Evodius. Evodius from St Peter*. The story may perhaps rest on some basis of truth, though no confidence can be placed in this class of statements, unless they are known to have been derived from Ignatius, some early authority. But of Ignatius, who stands second in the traditional catalogue of Antiochene bishops, we can speak with more confidence. He is designated a bishop by very early authors, and he himself speaks as such. He writes to one bishop, Polycarp; and he mentions several others. Again and again he urges the duty of obedience to their bishops on his correspondents. And, lest it should be supposed that he uses the term in its earlier sense as a synonyme for presbyter, he names in conjunction the three orders of the ministry, the bishop, the presbyter, and the deacons4. Altogether it is plain that he looks upon the episcopal system as the one recognised and authoritative form of government in all those churches
1 Euseb. H. E. v. 25. * Const. Apost. vii. 46, Euseb. H. E.
2 Clem. Hom. iii. 68 sq. (Cawarea), iii. 22.
vii. 5 (Tyre), vii. 8 (Sidon), vii. 12 * e.g. Polyc. 6. I single out this
(Berytus), xi. 36 (Tripolis), zx. 23 passage from several which might be
(Laodicea): oomp. Clem. Recogn.iii.65, alleged, because it is found in the
66, 74, vi. 15, x. 68. Syriac. See below, p. 198.
with which he is most directly concerned. It may be suggested indeed that he would hardly have enforced the claims of episcopacy, unless it were an object of attack, and its comparatively recent origin might therefore be inferred: but still some years would be required before it could have assumed that mature and definite form which it has in his letters. It seems impossible to decide, and it is needless to investigate, the exact date of the epistles of St Ignatius: but we cannot do wrong in placing them during the earliest years of the second century. The immediate successor of Ignatius is reported to Later have been Hero1: and from his time onward the list of Antiochene bishops is complete3. If the authenticity of the list, as a whole, is questionable, two bishops of Antioch at least during the second century, Theophilus and Serapion, are known as historical persons.
If the Clementine writings emanated, as seems probable, Clemen
from Syria or Palestine8, this will be the proper place to state ings. their attitude with regard to episcopacy. Whether the opinions there advanced exhibit the recognised tenets of a sect or congregation, or the private views of the individual writer or writers, will probably never be ascertained; but, whatever may be said on this point, these heretical books outstrip the most rigid orthodoxy in their reverence for the episcopal office. Monarchy is represented as necessary to the peace of the Church4. The bishop occupies the seat of Christ and must be honoured as the image of God8. And hence St Peter, as he moves from place to place, ordains bishops everywhere, as though this were the crowning act of his missionary labours8. The divergence of the Clementine doctrine from the tenets of Catholic Christianity only renders this phenomenon more remarkable, when we remember the very early date of these writings; for the Homilies cannot well be placed later than the
1 Euseb. H. E. iii. 36. « Clem. Hom. iii. 62, 66, 70. See
2 Eoseb. H. E. iv. 20. below, p. 202.
* See above, pp. 98 sq. • See the references given above, p.
4 Clem. Hom. iii. 62. 170, note 2.
end, and should perhaps be placed before the middle of the second century. Syrun 3. We have hitherto been concerned only with the Greek
Church of Syria. Of the early history of the Syrian Church, strictly so called, no trustworthy account is preserved. The documents which profess to give information respecting it are comparatively late: and while their violent anachronisms discredit them as a whole, it is impossible to separate the fabulous from the historic1. It should be remarked however, that they exhibit a high sacerdotal view of the episcopate as prevailing in these churches from the earliest times of which any record is preserved8. Abu Mi- 4. Asia Minor follows next in order; and here we find the
widest and most unequivocal traces of episcopacy at an early date. Clement of Alexandria distinctly states that St John went about from city to city, his purpose being 'in some places Activity of to establish bishops, in others to consolidate whole churches, in proconsn- others again to appoint to the clerical office some one of those lar Asia. who nad Deen signified by the Spirit*.' 'The sequence of bishops, ' writes Tertullian in like manner of Asia Minor, 'traced back to its origin will be found to rest on the authority of John*.' And a writer earlier than either speaks of St John's 'fellow-disciples and bishops" as gathered about him. The conclusiveness even of such testimony might perhaps be doubted, if it were not supported by other more direct evidence. At the beginning of the second century the letters of Ignatius, even if we accept as genuine only the part contained in the Syriac, mention by name two bishops in these parts, Onesimus ofOneaimus. Ephesus and Polycarp of Smyrna1. Of the former nothing more is known: the latter evidently writes as a bishop, for he distinguishes himself from his presbyters8, and is expressly so called by other writers besides Ignatius. His pupil Irenaeus says of him, that he had ' not only been instructed by Apostles and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but had also been established by Apostles in Asia as bishop in the Church at Smyrna8.' Polycrates also, a younger contemporary of Polycarp and himself bishop of Ephesus, designates him by this title4; and again in the letter written by his own church and giving an account of his martyrdom he is styled 'bishop of the Church in Smyrna8.' As Polycarp survived the middle of the second century, dying at a very advanced age (a.d. 155 or 156), the possibility of error on this point seems to be excluded: and indeed all historical evidence must be thrown aside as worthless, if testimony so strong can be disregarded.
1 Ancient Syriac Document* (ed. episcopate is conferred by the 'Hand
Cureton). The Doctrine of Addai has of Priesthood' through the Apostles,
recently been published complete by who received it from our Lord, and ia
Dr Phillips, London 1876. This work derived ultimately from Moses and
at all events must be old, for it was Aaron (p. 24).
found by Eusebius in the archives of * Quis Div. Salv. 42 (p. 959).
Edessa (H. E. i. 13); but it abounds 4 Adv. Marc. iv. 5.
in gross anachronisms and probably * Muratorian Fragment, Routh Ret.
is not earlier than the middle of the Sacr. I. p. 394. Iren/eus too, whose
3rd century: see Zuhn Odtt. Oel. Anz. experience was drawn chiefly from
1877, p. 161 sq. Asia Minor, more than once speaks of
9 See for instance pp. 13, 16, 18, 21, bishops appointed by the Apostles, iii.
23, 24, 26, 29, 30, 33, 34, 35, 42, 71 3. 1, v. 20. 1. (Cureton). The succession to the
It is probable however, that we should receive as genuine ignatian not only those portions of the Ignatian letters which are e 6er8' represented in the Syriac, but also the Greek text in its shorter form. Under any circumstances, this text can hardly have been made later than the middle of the second century* and its witness would still be highly valuable, even if it were a forgery. The staunch advocacy of the episcopate which distinguishes these writings is well known and will be considered hereafter. At present we are only concerned with the historical testimony which they bear to the wide extension and authoritative claims of the episcopal office. Besides Polycarp and Onesimus, mentioned in the Syriac, the writer names also
1 Polyc. inscr., Ephes. 1. 8 Mart. Polyc. 16. Polycarp is call
2 Polyc. Phil. init. ed 'bishop of Smyrna' also in Mart.
3 Iren. iii. 3. 4. Comp. Tertull. de Igiiat. Ant. 3.
Praetcr. 32. • See below, p. 198, note. « In Enseb. v. 24.
Damas bishop of Magnesia1 and Polybius bishop of Tralles*; and he urges on the Philadelphians also the duty of obedience to their bishop3, though the name is not given. Under any circumstances it seems probable that these were not fictitious personages, for, even if he were a forger, he would be anxious to give an air of reality to his writings: but whether or not we regard his testimony as indirectly affecting the age of Ignatius, for his own time at least it must be regarded as valid.
But the evidence is not confined to the persons and the
Bishops of churches already mentioned. Papias, who was a friend of
Iis. Polycarp and had conversed with personal disciples of the
Lord, is commonly designated bishop of Hierapolis4; and we
learn from a younger contemporary Serapion5, that Claudius
Apollinaris, known as a writer against the Montanists, also
Sagaris. held this see in the reign of M. Aurelius. Again Sagaris the
martyr, who seems to have perished in the early years of
M. Aurelius, about A.D. 1658, is designated bishop of Laodicea
by an author writing towards the close of the same century,
Melito. who also alludes to Melito the contemporary of Sagaris as
Polycrates holding the see of Sardis7. The authority just quoted,
cUld liis TQ
lations. Polycrates of Ephesus, who flourished in the last decade of the century, says moreover that he had had seven relations bishops before him, himself being the eighth, and that he followed their tradition8. When he wrote he had been 'sixty-five years in the Lord'; so that even if this period date from the time of his birth and not of his conversion or baptism, he must have been born scarcely a quarter of a century after the death of the last surviving Apostle, whose latest years were spent in the very Church over which Polycrates himself presided. It appears moreover from his language that none of these relations to whom he refers were surviving when he wrote.
1 Magn. 2. see Colossians p. 63.
2 Trail. 1. 7 Polycrates in Euseb. H. E. v. 24.
3 Philad. 1. Melito's office may be inferred from the 1 Enseb. H. E. iii. 36. contrast implied in repiplrur trir ari 5 In Enseb. 11. E. v. 19. r&v oipav&r iriaKow/)v.
• On the authority of his oontempo- 8 In Euseb. II. E. v. 24. See above,
rary Melito in Euseb. II. E. iv. 26: p. 121, note.
Thus the evidence for the early and wide extension of episcopacy throughout proconsular Asia, the scene of St John's latest labours, may be considered irrefragable. And when we Bishops in pass to other districts of Asia Minor, examples are not wanting 0f ^sia though these are neither so early nor so frequent. Marcion a Minornative of Sinope is related to have been the son of a Christian bishop1: and Marcion himself had elaborated his theological system before the middle of the second century. Again, a bishop of Eumenia, Thraseas by name, is stated by Polycrates to have been martyred and buried at Smyrna'-'; and, as he is mentioned in connexion with Polycarp, it may fairly be supposed that the two suffered in the same persecution. Dionysius of Corinth moreover, writing to Amastris and the other churches of Pontus (about A.D. 170), mentions Palmas the bishop of this city3: and when the Paschal controversy breaks out afresh under Victor of Rome, we find this same Palmas putting his signature first to a circular letter, as the senior of the bishops of Pontus4. An anonymous writer also, who took part in the Montanist controversy, speaks of two bishops of repute, Zoticus of Comana and Julianus of Apamea, as having resisted the impostures of the false prophetesses8. But indeed the frequent Episcopal notices of encyclical letters written and synods held towards syn° the close of the second century are a much more powerful testimony to the wide extension of episcopacy throughout the provinces of Asia Minor than the incidental mention of individual names. On one such occasion Polycrates speaks of the 'crowds' of bishops whom he had summoned to confer with him on the Paschal question8.
5. As we turn from Asia Minor to Macedonia and MacedoNia and Greece. Greece, the evidence becomes fainter and scantier. This
1 [Tertull.] adv. omn. haeres. 6. mea on the Meeander is mentioned at
- In Enseb. II. E. v. 24. the end of the chapter, probably this
3 In Euseb. H. E. iv. 23. is the place meant.
* Enseb. H. E. v. 23. « In Euseb. H. E. v. 24 Toxxa
4 In Euseb. H. E. v. 16. As Apa- 7ixt;9tj.
circumstance is no doubt due partly to the fact that these
churches were much less active and important during the
second century than the Christian communities of Asia Minor,
but the phenomena cannot perhaps be wholly explained by this
Later de- consideration. When Tertullian in one of his rhetorical flights
ofepisco" challenges the heretical teachers to consult the apostolic
P*0?- churches, where 'the very sees of the Apostles still preside,'
adding, 'If Achaia is nearest to you, then you have Corinth; if
you are not far from Macedonia, you have Philippi, you have
the Thessalonians; if you can reach Asia, you have Ephesusl':
his main argument was doubtless just, and even the language
would commend itself to its own age, for episcopacy was the
only form of government known or remembered in the church
when he wrote: but a careful investigation scarcely allows, and
certainly does not encourage us, to place Corinth and Philippi
and Thessalonica in the same category with Ephesus as regards
episcopacy. The term 'apostolic see' was appropriate to the
latter; but so far as we know, it cannot be strictly applied to
the former. During the early years of the second century,
when episcopacy was firmly established in the principal churches
Philippi. of Asia Minor, Polycarp sends a letter to the Philippians. He
writes in the name of himself and his presbyters; he gives
advice to the Philippians respecting the obligations and the
authority of presbyters and deacons; he is minute in his
instructions respecting one individual presbyter, Valens by
name, who had been guilty of some crime: but throughout the
letter he never once refers to their bishop; and indeed its whole
tone is hardly consistent with the supposition that they had
any chief officer holding the same prominent position at
Philippi which he himself held at Smyrna. We are thus led to
the inference that episcopacy did not exist at all among the