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

and places

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 thenf 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

Lovitical order,

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

origin of

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

its llGVG

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

supported ,

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

fcnip writ

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

Philippians at this time, or existed only in an elementary form,

so that the bishop was a mere president of the presbyteral

Thessalo- council. At Thessalonica indeed, according to a tradition


1 Tertull. de Praescr. 37.

mentioned by Origen1, the same Caius whom St] Paul describes as his host at Corinth was afterwards appointed bishop; but with so common a name the possibilities of error are great, even if the testimony were earlier in date and expressed in more distinct terms. When from Macedonia we pass to Achaia, the same phenomena present themselves. At the close of the first century Clement writes to Corinth, as at the beginning of the Corinth, second century Polycarp writes to Philippi. As in the latter epistle, so in the former, there is no allusion to the episcopal office: yet the main subject of Clement's letter is the expulsion and ill-treatment of certain presbyters, whose authority he maintains as holding an office instituted by and handed down from the Apostles themselves. If Corinth however was without a bishop in the strict sense at the close of the first century, she cannot long have remained so. When some fifty years later Hegesippus stayed here on his way to Rome, Primus was bishop of this Church; and it is clear moreover from this writer's language that Primus had been preceded by several occupants of the see*. Indeed the order of his narrative, so far as we can piece it together from the broken fragments preserved in Eusebius, might suggest the inference, not at all improbable in itself, that episcopacy had been established at Corinth as a corrective of the dissensions and feuds which had called forth Clement's letter*. Again Dionysius, one of the immediate successors of Primus, was the writer of several letters of which fragments are extant4; and at the close of the century we meet

1 On Rom. xvi. 23; 'i'crtur sane and then after some account of Cletraditione majorum' (rv. p. 86, ed. De- ment's epistle (fieri, riva rtpi rijs K\-f)larue). yu«>ros rpis KopivBtovs {itijto\ijs air!j>

2 In Euseb. //. E. iv. 22, /tol iri/ittvar elprjniva, 11. E. iv. 22) he continued in r i iKKiaia ij KopiyBlav ty T$ ip8<j> \byy the words which are quoted in the last iUxpi llplfiov irurKorevorros iv KoplvBi p note (irMyomos raCro, Kot briiurev K.t.x. A little later he speaks of Tk6.<itti ij iKKKqaia K.t.\.). On the probable oiaSoxi}, referring apparently to Corinth tenor of Hegesippus' work see below, among other churches. p. 182.

* Hegesippns mentioned the feuds in 4 The fragments of Dionysius are

the Church of Corinth during the reign found in Euseb. H. E. iv. 23. See

of Domitian, which had occasioned the also Routh Rel. Saer. I. p. 177 sq. writing of this letter (H. E. iii. 16);

with a later bishop of Corinth, Bacchyllus, who takes an active Athens, part in the Paschal controversy1. When from Corinth we pass on to Athens, a very early instance of a bishop confronts us, on authority which seems at first sight good. Eusebius represents Dionysius of Corinth, who wrote apparently about the year 170, as stating that his namesake the Areopagite, 'having been brought to the faith by the Apostle Paul according to the account in the Acts, was the first to be entrusted with the bishopric (or supervision) of the diocese (in the language of those times, the parish) of the Athenians8.' Now, if we could be sure that Eusebius was here reporting the exact words of Dionysius, the testimony though not conclusive would be entitled to great deference. In this case the easiest solution would be, that this ancient writer had not unnaturally confounded the earlier and later usage of the word bishop. But it seems not improbable that Eusebius (for he does not profess to be giving a direct quotation) has unintentionally paraphrased and interpreted the statement of Dionysius by the light of later ecclesiastical usages. However Athens, like Corinth, did not long remain without a bishop. The same Dionysius, writing to the Athenians, reminds them how, after the martyrdom of Publius their ruler (toi> irpoearWra), Quadratus becoming bishop sustained the courage and stimulated the faith of the Athenian brotherhood*. If, as seems more probable than not, this was the famous Quadratus who presented his apology to Hadrian during that emperor's visit to Athens, the existence of episcopacy in this city is thrown back early in the century; even though Quadratus were not already bishop when Hadrian paid his visit. Cbbtb. 6. The same writer, from whom we learn these particulars

about episcopacy at Athens, also furnishes information on the Church in Crete. He writes letters to two different communities in this island, the one to Gortyna commending Philip who held this see, the other to the Cnossians offering words of advice to their bishop Pinytus*. The first was author of a 1 Euseb. H. E. v. 22, 23. 3 In Euseb. B. E. iv. 23. s Euseb. H. E. iv. as. treatise against Marcion1; the latter wrote a reply to Dionysius, of which Eusebius has preserved a brief notice*.

7. Of episcopacy in Thrace, and indeed of the Thracian Thbace. Church generally, we read nothing till the close of the second century, when one ^Elius Publius Julius bishop of Debeltum, a colony in this province, signs an encyclical letter*. The existence of a see at a place so unimportant implies the wide spread

of episcopacy in these regions.

8. As we turn to Rome, we are confronted by a far more Romb. perplexing problem than any encountered hitherto. The attempt

to decipher the early history of episcopacy here seems almost hopeless, where the evidence is at once scanty and conflicting. It has been often assumed that in the metropolis of the world, The.prethe seat of imperial rule, the spirit which dominated in the spirit not State must by natural predisposition and sympathy have infused TM°na" itself into the Church also, so that a monarchical form of government would be developed more rapidly here than in other parts of Christendom. This supposition seems to overlook the fact that the influences which prevailed in the early church of the metropolis were more Greek than Roman3, and that therefore the tendency would be rather towards individual liberty than towards compact and rigorous government. But indeed such presumptions, however attractive and specious, are valueless against the slightest evidence of facts. And the most trustworthy sources of information which we possess do not countenance the idea. The earliest authentic document bearing on Bearing of the subject is the Epistle from the Romans to the Corinthians, Epistle. probably written in the last decade of the first century. I have already considered the bearing of this letter on episcopacy in the Church of Corinth, and it is now time to ask what light

1 Euseb. 11. E. iv. 25. that the signatures of three distinct

2 Euseb. H. E. v. 19. The combina- persons have got confused. The error

tion of three gentile names in 'iElius however, if error it be, does not affect

Publius Julius' is possible at this late the inference in the text.

epoch; but, being a gross violation of * See Philippiaru, p. 20 sq.

Roman usage, suggests the suspicion

it throws on the same institution at Rome. Now we cannot hesitate to accept the universal testimony of antiquity that it was written by Clement, the reputed bishop of Rome: and it is therefore the more surprising that, if he held this high office, the writer should not only not distinguish himself in any way from the rest of the church (as Polycarp does for instance), but that even his name should be suppressed1. It is still more important to observe that, though he has occasion to speak of the ministry as an institution of the Apostles, he mentions only two orders and is silent about the episcopal office. Moreover he still uses the word 'bishop' in the older sense in which it occurs in the apostolic writings, as a synonyme for presbyter5, and it may be argued that the recognition of the episcopate as a higher and distinct office would oblige the adoption of a special name and therefore must have synchronized roughly with the separation of meaning between 'bishop' and 'presbyter.' Testimony Again, not many years after the date of Clement's letter, St tins Ignatius on his way to martyrdom writes to the Romans.

Though this saint is the recognised champion of episcopacy, though the remaining six of the Ignatian letters all contain direct injunctions of obedience to bishops, in this epistle alone there is no allusion to the episcopal office as existing among his correspondents. The lapse of a few years carries us from the and letters of Ignatius to the Shepherd of Hermas. And here the

indications are equivocal. Hermas receives directions in a vision to impart the revelation to the presbyters and also to make two copies, the one for Clement who shall communicate with the foreign churches (such being his duty), the other for Grapte who shall instruct the widows. Hermas himself is charged to ' read it to this city with the elders who preside over the church3.' Elsewhere mention is made of the ' rulers' of the

1 See S. CUment of Rome p. 252 sq. rtn^ii ovv KXij/iip «i rdi *£«■> riV.t•

Appendix [and Apostolic Fathers, Part tKelyi p yap irirtrpairraf rpairrii Si

1, S. CUment of Rome, i. p. 69 sq.]. vovBerfaei rai X'W* Kal roin dpfavovf

s See Philippians p. 96 sq. <j-i> Si avayviiaea iii rairrrp tip rb\ur

3 Vis. ii. i ypi\j/eii ovv o//o fiifi\iSdpia /ifTo. Tuv rptafivrtpu r ruy rpoirraiUyuy

Kal riu.\pi\$ tv Kinevri Kal tv Ypairrxj. rijj tKKKqalas. 1 Vii. ii. 2, iii. 9. /wcou rfjt iKKialat rat Tms 7rpuroKoflt


church1. And again, in an enumeration of the faithful officers of the churches past and present, he speaks of the 'apostles and bishops and teachers and deacons*.' Here most probably the word 'bishop' is used in its later sense, and the presbyters are designated by the term 'teachers.' Yet this interpretation cannot be regarded as certain, for the 'bishops and teachers' in Hermas, like the 'pastors and teachers' in St Paul, might possibly refer to the one presbyteral office in its twofold aspect. Other passages in which Hermas uses the same terms are indecisive. Thus he speaks of 'apostles and teachers who preached to the whole world and taught with reverence and purity the word of the Lord3'; of 'deacons who exercised their diaconate ill and plundered the life (tt)v &rjv) of widows and orphans4'; of' hospitable bishops who at all times received the servants of God into their homes cheerfully and without hypocrisy,' 'who protected the bereaved and the widows in their ministrations without ceasing8.' From these passages it seems impossible to arrive at a safe conclusion respecting the ministry at the time when Hermas wrote. In other places he condemns the false prophet 'who, seeming to have the Spirit, exalts himself and would fain have the first seat*'; or he warns 'those who rule over the church and those who hold the chief-seat,' bidding them give up their dissensions and live at peace among themselves7; or he denounces those who have 'emulation one with another for the first place or for some honour8.' If we could Unwaraccept the suggestion that in this last class of passages the inference, writer condemns the ambition which aimed at transforming the presbyterian into the episcopal form of government0, we should have arrived at a solution of the difficulty: but the rebukes are couched in the most general terms and apply at least as well

- Vit. iii. 5. Syirals, K.t.\. For the form rpuroKa

s Sim. ix. 25. BeSplriii see the note on ffvySiSaffKtM

* Sim. ix. 26. raw, Ignat. Ephes. 3.

5 Sim. ix. 27. 3 Sim. viii. 7.

8 Hand. xi. » So Ritschl pp. 403, 535.

7 Vis. iii. 9 ifuv \tyia roit rpvrryov

to the ambitious pursuit of existing offices as to the arrogant assertion of a hitherto unrecognized power1. This clue failing us, the notices in the Shepherd are in themselves too vague to lead to any result. Were it not known that the writer's own brother was bishop of Rome, we should be at a loss what to say about the constitution of the Roman Church in his day*.

But while the testimony of these early writers appears at first sight and on the whole unfavourable to the existence of episcopacy in Rome when they wrote, the impression needs to be corrected by important considerations on the other side. Testimony Hegesippus, who visited Rome about the middle of the second sippns6 century during the papacy of Anicetus, has left it on record that he drew up a list of the Roman bishops to his own time'. As the list is not preserved4, we can only conjecture its contents: but if we may judge from the sentence immediately following, in which he praises the orthodoxy of this and other churches under each succession, his object was probably to show that the teachings of the Apostles had been carefully preserved and handed down, and he would therefore trace the episcopal sucand of Ire- cession back to apostolic times5. Such at all events is the aim and method of Irenaeus, who, writing somewhat later than Hegesippus and combating Gnostic heresies, appeals especially to the bishops of Rome, as depositaries of the apostolic tradition*.

Lists of The list of Irenaeus commences with Linus, whom he identifies with the person of this name mentioned by St Paul, and whom he states to have been 'entrusted with the office of the bishopric' by the Apostles. The second in succession is Anencletus of whom he relates nothing, the third Clemens whom he describes as a hearer of the Apostles and as writer of the letter to the Corinthians. The others in order are Evarestus, Alexander, Xystus, Telesphorus, Hyginus, Pius, Anicetus, Soter, and Eleutherus during whose episcopacy Irenaeus writes. Eusebius in different works gives two lists, both agreeing in the order with Irenaeus, though not according with each other in the dates. Catalogues are also found in writers later than Irenaeus, transposing the sequence of the earliest bishops, and adding the name Cletus or substituting it for Anencletus1. These discrepancies may be explained by assuming two distinct churches in Rome— a Jewish and a Gentile community—in the first age; or they may have arisen from a confusion of the earlier and later senses of eiriiricoiros; or the names may have been transposed in the later lists owing to the influence of the Clementine Homilies, in which romance Clement is represented as the immediate disciple and successor of St Peter*. With the many possibilities of Linus, error, no more can safely be assumed of Linus and Anencletus Anenclethan that they held some prominent position in the Roman tU8' Church. But the reason for supposing Clement to have been clement, a bishop is as strong as the universal tradition of the next ages **D'' can make it. Yet, while calling him a bishop, we need not suppose him to have attained the same distinct isolated position


bishops. i Comp. Matt, xxiii. 6, etc. When 5 The words of Hegesippns h iK&ar-g

Irenaeus wrote, episcopacy was cer- Slasoxv Kal h Mary rAX«*.t.X. have a

tainly a venerable institution: yet parallel in those of Irenseus (iii. 3. 3) rg

his language closely resembles the afa-p rifei Kal rg afrrj SiSaxjj (Lai.

reproachful expressions of Hennas: 'hac ordinatione et successions') ij Ti

'Contumeliis agunt reliquos et princi- dri Tw aroeto\uv iv rij iKKiala n

palis consessionis (mss conoessionis) oaSarii Kal rb rijj afieliu v/jpvync

tumore elati sunt' (iv. 26. 3). Kar^imjKev iii iinat. May not Irvmvu

a See Philippians p. 168, note 9, and have derived his information from the

S. Clement of Rome p. 316, Appendix SiaSoxr i of Soman bishops which Hege

[Apostolic Fathers, Part i. S. Clement of sippus drew up f See below, p. SOJ

Rome i. p. 359 sq.] [and Apostolie Fathers, Part I. S. Cle

* In Euseb. H. E. iv. 22. ment of Rome I. pp. 63 sq., 204 sq..

* [It is probably preserved in Epi- 327 sq.]. phanius, see Apostolie Fathers, Part I. 6 Iren. iii. 33. S. Clement of Rome I. p. 327 sq.1

1 On this subject see Pearson's Dis- the fact that the names Cletus, Cle

itrtationes dime de eerie et successione mens, begin with the same letters. In

primorum Romae episcoporum in his the margin I have for convenience

Minor Theological Works n. p. 296 sq. given the dates of the Roman bishops

(ed. Churton), and especially the recent from the Ecclesiastical History of Eu

work of Lipsius, Chronologic der rami- sebius, without however attaching any

ichen BuchSfe, Kiel 1869. The earliest weight to them in the case of the

list which places Clement's name first earlier names. See PhiUppiam p.

belongs to the age of Hippolytus. The 169 [and Apostolic Fathers, Part I. S.

omission of his name in a recently Clement of Home i. p. 2U1 s<].].

discovered Syriac list (Ancient Syriac 2 See above, p. 99. Documents p. 71) is doubtless due to

of authority which was occupied by his successors Eleutherus and Victor for instance at the close of the second century, or even by his contemporaries Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp of Smyrna. He was rather the chief of the presbyters than the chief over the presbyters. Only when thus limited, can the episcopacy of St Clement be reconciled with the language of his own epistle or with the notice in his younger contemporary Hermas. At the same time the allusion in the Shepherd, though inconsistent with any exalted conception of his office, does assign to him as his special province the duty of communicating with foreign churches1, which in the early ages was essentially the bishop's function, as may be seen by the instances of Polycarp, of Dionysius, of Irenaeus, and of Polycrates. Of the two succeeding bishops, Evarestus and Alexander, no authentic notices are preserved. Xystus, who follows, is the reputed author of a collection of proverbs, which a recent distinguished critic has not hesitated to accept as genuines. He is also the earliest of those Roman prelates whom Irenceus, writing to Victor in the name of the Gallican Churches, mentions as having observed Easter after the western reckoning and yet maintained peace with those who kept it otherwise3. The next two, Telesphorus and Hyginus, are described in the same terms. The former is likewise distinguished as the sole martyr among the early bishops of the metropolis4; the latter is mentioned as being in office when the peace of the Roman Church was disturbed by the presence of the heretics Valentinus and Cerdon*. With Pius, the next in order, the office, if not the man, emerges into daylight. An anonymous writer, treating on the canon of Scripture, says that the Shepherd was written by Hermas 'quite lately while his brother Pius held the see of the Church of Rome1.' This passage, written by a contemporary, besides the testimony which it bears to the date and authorship of the Shepherd (with which we are not here concerned), is valuable in its bearing on this investigation; for the use of the 'chair' or 'see' as a recognised phrase points to a more or less prolonged existence of episcopacy in Rome, when this writer lived. To Pius succeeds Anicetus. And now Anicetus, Rome becomes for the moment the centre of interest and activity in the Christian world*. During this episcopate Hegesippus, visiting the metropolis for the purpose of ascertaining and recording the doctrines of the Roman Church, is welcomed by the bishop*. About the same time also another more illustrious visitor, Polycarp the venerable bishop of Smyrna, arrives in Rome to confer with the head of the Roman Church on the Paschal dispute1 and there falls in with and denounces the heretic Marcion5. These facts are stated on contemporary authority. Of SoTER also, the next in succession, a contemporary Soter, record is preserved. Dionysius of Corinth, writing to the A'' Romans, praises the zeal of their bishop, who in his fatherly care for the suffering poor and for the prisoners working in the mines had maintained and extended the hereditary fame of his church for zeal in all charitable and good works8. In Eleu- EleutheTHERUS, who succeeds Soter, we have the earliest recorded "^ 177 instance of an archdeacon. When Hegesippus paid his visit to the metropolis, he found Eleutherus standing in this relation to the bishop Anicetus, and seems to have made his acquaintance while acting in this capacity7. Eleutherus however was a contemporary, not only of Hegesippus, but also of the great writers Irenaeus and Tertullian9, who speak of the episcopal succession in the churches generally, and in Rome especially, as


A.D. 100.

Alexander, A. D. 109.


A.D. 119.

A.D. 128.


A.D. 139.

A.D. 142.

1 See above, p. 180, note 3.

* Ewald, Qeich. da V. I. vn. p. 321 sq. On the other hand see Zeller Philos. der Griechen in. 1, p. 601 note, and Sanger in the Jiiditche Zeitsehrift (1867) p. 29 sq. It has recently been edited by Oildemeister, Sexti Senten

tiie, 1873.

3 Iren. in Euseb. H. !':. v. 24.

4 Iren. iii. 3. 3. At least Irenens mentions him alone as a martyr. Later stories confer the glory of martyrdom on others also.

5 Iren. iii. 4. 3.

1 See Philippiani p. 168, note 9, 7 In Euseb. H. E. iv. 22 /Oxf" 'amwhere the passage is quoted. *i)tov oil Si&xovos #> 'EXei5Sepos.

2 See Westcott Canon p. 191, ed. 4. 8 He is mentioned by Irenseus iii. 3.

3 Hegesipp. in Euseb. H. E. iv. 22. 3 vvv SuSexirif Tottij/ Tov rrjs iriaKOrrjs

* Iren. in Euseb. H. E. v. 24. arb r&v &roatb\w Kot^x" K\ijpov 'E\e65 Iren. iii. 3. 4; comp. iii. 4. 4. Btpos, and by Tertullian, Praescr. 30

• In Euseb. H. E. iv. 23. 'sub episeopatu Eleutheri benedicti.

the best safeguard for the transmission of the true faith from

Victor, apostolic times1. With Victor, the successor of Eleutherus, a A.D. 189. , .

new era begins. Apparently the first Latin prelate who held

the metropolitan see of Latin Christendom2, he was moreover the first Roman bishop who is known to have had intimate relations with the imperial court8, and the first also who advanced those claims to universal dominion which his successors in later ages have always consistently and often successfully maintained4. 'I hear, ' writes Tertullian scornfully, 'that an edict has gone forth, aye and that a peremptory edict; the chief pontiff, forsooth, I mean the bishop of bishops, has issued his commands8.' At the end of the first century the Roman Church was swayed by the mild and peaceful counsels of the presbyterbishop Clement; the close of the second witnessed the autocratic pretensions of the haughty pope Victor, the prototype of a Hildebrand or an Innocent. Gaul. 9. The Churches of Gaul were closely connected with and

probably descended from the Churches of Asia Minor. If so, the episcopal form of government would probably be coeval with

1 Iren. iii. 3. 2, Tertull. de Praescr. of Victor, Zephyrinus (202—219) and 32, 36, adv. Marc. iv. 5. Callistus (219—223), bear Greek names,

2 All the predecessors of Victor bear and it may be inferred from the acGreek names with two exceptions, Cle- oount in Hippolytus that they were mens and Pius; and even these appear Greeks; but from this time forward not to have been Latin. Clement the Roman bishops, with scarcely an writes in Greek, and his style is wholly exception, seem to have been Latins, unlike what might be expected from a 'Hippol. Haer. ix. 12, pp. 287, 288. Roman. Hermas, the brother of Pius, * See the account of his attitude in not only employs the Greek language the Paschal controversy, Euseb. H. E. in writing, but bears a Greek name also. v. 24.

It is worth observing also that Tertul- • Tertull. de Pudic. I. The bishop

lian (de Praescr. 30), speaking of the here mentioned will be either Victor or

episcopate of Eleutherus, designates Zephyrinus; and the passage points to

the church of the metropolis not 'ec- the assumption of extraordinary titles

clesia Romana,' but 'ecclesia Roma- by the Roman bishops about this time.

nensis,' i.e. not the Church of Rome, See also Cyprian in the opening of the

but the Church in Rome. The trans- Condi. Carth. p. 158 (ed. Fell) 'neque

ition from a Greek to a Latin Church enim quisquam nostrum epiacopum se

was of course gradual; but, if a defi- episcoporum constituit etc' donbtleas

nite epoch must be named, the episco- in allusion to the arrogance of the

pate of Victor serves better than any Roman prelates,
other. The two immediate successors

the foundation of Christian brotherhoods in this country. It is true we do not meet with any earlier bishop than the immediate predecessor of Irenaeus at Lyons, the aged Pothinus, of whose martyrdom an account is given in the letter of the Gallican Churches1. But this is also the first distinct historical notice of any kind relating to Christianity in Gaul.

10. Africa again was evangelized from Rome at a compa- ArmcA. ratively late date. Of the African Church before the close of

the second century, when a flood of light is suddenly thrown upon it by the writings of Tertullian, we know absolutely nothing. But we need not doubt that this father represents the traditions and sentiments of his church, when he lays stress on episcopacy as an apostolic institution and on the episcopate as the depositary of pure Christian doctrine. If we may judge by the large number of prelates assembled in the African councils of a later generation, it would appear that the extension of the episcopate was far more rapid here than in most parts of Christendom5.

11. The Church of Alexandria, on the other hand, was Alexanprobably founded in apostolic times*. Nor is there any reason

to doubt the tradition which connects it with the name of St Mark, though the authorities for the statement are comparatively recent. Nevertheless of its early history we have no authentic record. Eusebius indeed gives a list of bishops beginning with St Mark, which here, as in the case of the Roman see, is accompanied by dates1; but from what source he derived his information is unknown. The first contemporary notice of church officers in Alexandria is found in a Hadrian's heathen writer. The emperor Hadrian, writing to the consul Servianus, thus describes the state of religion in this city: 'I have become perfectly familiar with Egypt, which you praised to me; it is fickle, uncertain, blown about by every gust of rumour. Those who worship Serapis are Christians, and those are devoted to Serapis who call themselves bishops of Christ. There is no ruler of a synagogue there, no Samaritan, no Christian presbyter, who is not an astrologer, a soothsayer, a quack. The patriarch himself whenever he comes to Egypt is compelled by some to worship Serapis, by others to worship Christ*.' In this letter, which seems to have been written in the year 134, Hadrian shows more knowledge of Jewish ecclesiastical polity than of Christian: but, apparently without knowing the exact value of terms, he seems to distinguish the bishop and the presbyter in the Christian community1. From the age of Hadrian to the age of Clement no contemporary or nearly contemporary notices are found, bearing on the government of the Alexandrian Church. The Clement'of language of Clement is significant; he speaks sometimes of^^ two orders of the ministry, the presbyters and deacons*; sometimes of three, the bishops, presbyters, and deacons*. Thus it would appear that even as late as the close of the second century the bishop of Alexandria was regarded as distinct and yet not distinct from the presbytery*. And the language of Clement is further illustrated by the fact, which will have to be considered at length presently, that at Alexandria the bishop was nominated and apparently ordained by the twelve presbyters out of their own number5. The episcopal office in this Church during the second century gives no presage of the world-wide influence to which under the prouder name of patriarchate it was destined in later ages to attain. The Alexandrian succession, in which history is hitherto most interested, is not the succession of the bishops but of the heads of the catechetical school. The first bishop of Alexandria, of whom any distinct incident is recorded on trustworthy authority, was a contemporary of Origen.

1TheEpistleoftheGallicanChurches Victor Vitensis p. 117 sq., with the

in Euseb. H. E. v. 1. notes p. 215 aq. These last references

J At the African council convoked I owe to Gibbon, c. xxxvii. and c xli. by Cyprian about 50 years later, the 'Independently of the tradition re opinions of as many as 87 bishops are lating to St Mark, this may be inferred recorded; and allusion is made in one from extant canonical and uncanonical of bis letters (Epist. 59) to a council writings which appear to haveemanated held before his time, when 90 bishops from Alexandria. The Epistle to the assembled. For a list of the African Hebrews, even if we may not ascribe bishoprics at this time see Miinter it to the learned Alexandrian Apollos Primord. Ecel. Afric. p. 31 sq. The (Aots xviii. 24), at least bears obvious enormous number of African bishops a marks of Alexandrian culture. The sofew centuries later would seem incredi- called Epistle of Barnabas again, which ble, were it not reported on the best may have been written as early as the authority. Dupin (Optat. Milev. p. lix) reign of Vespasian and can hardly date counts up as many as 690 African sees: later than Nerva, must be referred to tompare also the Notitia in Ruinart's the Alexandrian school of theology.

1 Euseb. II. E. ii. 24, iii. 14, eto. difficulty. Hadrian paid bis visit to

See Clinton's Fasti Romani n. p. 544. Egypt in the autumn of 130, but the

9 Preserved in Vopiscus Vit. Saturn. letter is not stated to have been written 8. The Jewish patriarch (who resided there. The date of the third consulat Tiberias) is doubtless intended; for ship of Servianus is A.m. 134, and the it would be no hardship to the Christian account of Spartianus (Ver. 3) easily bishop of Alexandria to be 'compelled admits of the adoption of Verus before to worship Christ.' Otherwise the ana- or during this year, though Clinton ehronism involved in such a title would (Fast. Rom. I. p. 124) places it as late alone have sufficed to condemn the let- as A.d. 135. Gregorovius (Kaiser Hater as spurious. Yet Salmasius, Casau- drian p. 71) suggests that' filiammeum bon, and the older commentators gene- may have been added by Phlegon or by rally, agree in the supposition that the some one else. The prominence of the bishop of Alexandria is styled patriarch Christiansin thisletterisnotsurprieing, here. The manner in which the docu- when we remember how Hadrian interment is stated by Vopiscus to have ested himself in their tenets on another been preserved ('Hadriani epistolam ex occasion (at Athens). This document libris Phlegontis liberti ejus proditam') is considered genuine by such opposite is favourable to its genuineness; nor authorities as Tillemont (Hist, des Emp. does the mention of Verus as the em- n. p. 265) and Gregorovius (1. e. p. 41), peror's 'son' in another part of the and may be accepted without hesitaletter present any real chronological tion.

The notices thus collected8 present a large body of evidence Inferences The gene- establishing the fact of the early and extensive adoption of

1 At this time there appears to have ayyt\iKrjs <SA{ij», Strom, iii. 12 (p. 552),

been only one bishop in Egypt (see Paed. iii. 12 (see the next note): see

below.p. 196). ButHadrian.whowould E&ye'sClement of Alexandria Tp. 463 sq. have heard of numerous bishops else- * Yet in one passage he, like Irenseus

where, and perhaps had no very precise (see Philippians p. 98), betrays his ig

knowledge of the Egyptian Church, norance that in the language of the

might well indulge in this rhetorical New Testament bishop and presbyter

flourish. At all events he seems to are synonymes; see Paed. iii. 12 (p.

mean different offices, when speaking 309) fivplai Si oaax vnoilijKtu eh rplxranra

of the bishop and the presbyter. in\exri. Siarelvovaai iyytypd<pa.tai raii

a Strom, vii. I (p. 830, Potter) oiuAus filfl\oisraitaylais,alnivrpeo-pvtipois

Si Kal Kara Tiiv iKKialav, rriv niv /SeX- al Si i-o-urKbrois al Si SuiKovou, aX\iu

rajr-iKriy ol rptapWrepoi o-ufrvaiv elKOva, jrf/""» K.t.\,
Ttjy imipetiirhiv Si ol Si&kovol. 5 See below, p. 194.

3 Strom, vi. 13 (p. 793) a! irradBa « In this sketch of the episcopate in

/ior& rip' tKKiatav rpoKorai, eriaKOruv, thedifferent churches I have not thought

rpta^vri'pav, Siokbviw, ixijjrjpata o?/iuu it necessary to carry the lists later than

r&l Tjrfivi

lence ol episcopacy in the Christian Church. The investigation howSS!^°" ever would not be complete, unless attention were called to such indirect testimony as is furnished by the tacit assumptions of writers living towards and at the close of the second century. Episcopacy is so inseparably interwoven with all the traditions and beliefs of men like Irenaeus and TertuIrian, that they betray no knowledge of a time when it was not. Even Irenaeus, the earlier of these, who was certainly born and probably grown up before the middle of the century, seems to be wholly ignorant that the word bishop had passed from a lower to a higher value since the apostolic times1. Nor is it important only to observe the positive though indirect testimony which they afford. Their silence suggests a strong negative presumption, that while every other point of doctrine or practice was eagerly canvassed, the form of Church government alone scarcely came under discussion. Gradual But these notices, besides establishing the general preva

evendeve- lence of episcopacy, also throw considerable light on its origin. thPmffit0f ^ey indicate that the solution suggested by the history of the word 'bishop' and its transference from the lower to the higher office is the true solution, and that the episcopate was created out of the presbytery. They shew that this creation was not so much an isolated act as a progressive development, not advancing everywhere at an uniform rate but exhibiting at one and the same time different stages of growth in different churches. They seem to hint also that, so far as this development was affected at all by national temper and characteristics, it was slower where the prevailing influences were more purely Greek, as at Corinth and Philippi and Rome, and more rapid where an oriental spirit predominated, as at Jerusalem and Antioch and Ephesus. Above all, they establish this result clearly, that its maturer forms are seen first in those regions where the latest surviving Apostles (more especially St John) fixed their abode, and at a time when its prevalence cannot be dissociated from their influence or their sanction.

the second century. Nor (except in a dence is not trustworthy, though in

very few cases) has any testimony been many cases the statements doubtless

accepted, unless the writer himself flou- rested on some traditional basis,

rished before the close of this century. 1 See Philippians p. 98. The same

The Apostolic Constitutions would add is true of Clement of Alexandria: see

several names to the list; but this evi- above, p. 189, note 4.

The original relation of the bishop to the presbyter, which Original this investigation reveals, was not forgotten even after the the two lapse of centuries. Though set over the presbyters, he was still J^l"^^"' regarded as in some sense one of them. Irenaeus indicates this position of the episcopate very clearly. In his language a presbyter is never designated a bishop, while on the other hand he very frequently speaks of a bishop as a presbyter. In other words, though he views the episcopate as a distinct A bishop office from the presbytery, he does not regard it as a distinct a presbyorder in the same sense in which the diaconate is a distinct ^„fIre" order. Thus, arguing against the heretics he says,'But when again we appeal against them to that tradition which is derived from the Apostles, which is preserved in the churches by successions of presbyters, they place themselves in opposition to it, saying that they, being wiser not only than the presbyters but even than the Apostles, have discovered the genuine truth V Yet just below, after again mentioning the apostolic tradition, he adds,' We are able to enumerate those who have been appointed by the Apostles bishops in the churches and their successors down to our own time*'; and still further, after saying that it would take up too much space if he were to trace the succession in all the churches, he declares that he will confound his opponents by singling out the ancient and renowned Church of Rome founded by the Apostles Peter and Paul and will point out the tradition handed down to his own time 'by the succession of bishops,' after which he gives a list from Linus to Eleutherus3. So again in another passage he writes, 'Therefore obedience ought to be rendered to the presbyters who are in the churches, who have the succession from the Apostles as we have shown, who with the succession l Iren. iii. 2. 2. 3 Iren. iii. 3.1. 3 Iren. Hi. 3. 2, 3.

of the episcopate have also received the sure grace of truth according to the pleasure of the Father'; after which he mentions some 'who are believed by many to be presbyters, but serve their own lusts and are elated with the pomp of the chief seat,' and bids his readers shun these and seek such as 'together with the rank of the presbytery show their speech sound and their conversation void of offence,' adding of these latter, 'Such presbyters the Church nurtures and rears, concerning whom also the prophet saith, "I will give thy rulers in peace and thy bishops in righteousness1" '. Thus also writing to Victor of Rome in the name of the Gallican churches, he says, 'It was not so observed by the presbyters before Soter, who ruled the Church which thou now guidest, we mean Anicetus and Pius, Hyginus and Telesphorus and XystusV and Cle- And the same estimate of the office appears in Clement of Alexan- Alexandria: for, while he speaks elsewhere of the three offices **' in the ministry, mentioning them by name, he in one passage

puts forward a twofold division, the presbyters whose duty it is to improve, and the deacons whose duty it is to serve, the Church8. The functions of the bishop and presbyter are thus regarded as substantially the same in kind, though different in degree, while the functions of the diaconate are separate Testimony from both. More than a century and a half later, this view siaster is Put forward with the greatest distinctness by the most learned and most illustrious of the Latin fathers. 'There is one ordination,' writes the commentator Hilary, 'of the bishop and the presbyter; for either is a priest, but the bishop is first. Every bishop is a presbyter, but every presbyter is not a bishop: for he is bishop who is first among the presbyters1.' The language of St Jerome to the same effect has been quoted Jerome, elsewhere*. To the passages there given may be added the following: 'This has been said to show that with the ancients presbyters were the same as bishops: but gradually all the responsibility was deferred to a single person, that the thickets of heresies might be rooted out. Therefore, as presbyters know that by the custom of the Church they are subject to him who shall have been set over them, so let bishops also be aware that they are superior to presbyters more owing to custom than to any actual ordinance of the Lord, etc.: Let us see therefore what sort of person ought to be ordained presbyter or bishop*.' In the same spirit too the great Augustine »nd Auwriting to Jerome says, 'Although according to titles of honour which the practice of the Church has now made valid, the episcopate is greater than the presbytery, yet in many things Augustine is less than Jerome'.' To these fathers this view seemed to be an obvious deduction from the identity of the terms 'bishop' and 'presbyter' in the apostolic writings; nor indeed, when they wrote, had usage entirely effaced the original

1 Inn. iv. 26. 2, 3, 4, 5. assumes, p. 414 sq.) why the usage

- In Euseb. H. E. v. 24. In other of IremBus should throughout be uni

places Irenaeus apparently uses rptafli- form in this matter. repoi to denote antiquity and not office, * See the passage quoted above, p.

as in the letter to Florinus, Euseb. 189, note 2. So also in the anecdote of

//. E. v. 20 ol rpb ttfiSiv rptajlvrepoi St John (Quii div. ialv. 42, p. 959)we

o! Kox Tots &ttootb\ois aviupovrfyrayrts read rip *o9effti3ri rpoapTSiijna in

(comp. ii. 22. 5); in which sense the aKorip, but immediately afterwards i

word occurs also in Papias (Euseb.//.£. 6i rpeo-/Si5repoi &vaXa^iiiy K.t.x, and

iii. 39; see Contemporary Reiicic, Aug. then again &ye Sri, ?oiij, & eriaKore,

1875, p. 379 sq. [Essays on Supernatu- of the same person. Thus he too, like

ral Religion p. 143 sq.]); but the pas- Irenaeus, regards the bishop as a pres

sages quoted in the text are decisive, byter, though the converse would not

nor is there any reason (as Rothe be true.

connexion between the two offices. Even in the fourth and Bishops

styled fifth centuries, when the independence and power of the epis- them

copate had reached its maximum, it was still customary for a iow.pre8.

bishop in writing to a presbyter to address him as 'fellow- by'618

presbyter6,' thus bearing testimony to a substantial identity of

1 Ambrosiast. on 1 Tim. iii. 10. presbyteris tecum considentibus scripta

2 See Philippian s p. 98. venissent.' Compare also, 45,

3 On Tit. i. 5 (vii. p. 696). 71, 76. Augustine writes to Jerome in 1 7-.pisf.lxxxii.3S (n. p. 202, ed. Ben.). the same terms, and in fact this seems 5 So for instance Cyprian, Epist. 14, to have been the recognised form of adwrites 'compresbyteri nostri Donatus dress. See the Quaest. Vet. et Nov. Teat. et Fortunatus'; and addressing Corne- ci. (in Augustin. Op. Hi. P. 2, p. 93) lius bishop of Rome (Eput. 45) he 'Quid est enim episcopus nisi primus says 'cum ad me talia de te et com- presbyter, hoc est summus saoerdos?

order. Nor does it appear that this view was ever questioned until the era of the Reformation. In the western Church at all events it carried the sanction of the highest ecclesiastical authorities and was maintained even by popes and councils1. Nor was it only in the language of the later Church that the memory of this fact was preserved. Even in her practice indications might here and there be traced, which pointed to a time when the bishop was still only the chief member The of the presbytery. The case of the Alexandrian Church, which

Alexan- has already been mentioned casually, deserves special notice. sen*and St Jerome, after denouncing the audacity of certain persons created by who < would give to deacons the precedence over presbyters, bytery. that is over bishops,' and alleging scriptural proofs of the identity of the two, gives the following fact in illustration: 'At Alexandria, from Mark the Evangelist down to the times of the bishops Heraclas (a.d. 233—249) and Dionysius (a.d. 249—265), the presbyters always nominated as bishop one chosen out of their own body and placed in a higher grade: just as if an army were to appoint a general, or deacons were to choose from their own body one whom they knew to be diligent and call him archdeacon8.' Though the direct statement of this father refers only to the appointment of the bishop, still it may be inferred that the function of the presbyters extended also to the consecration. And this inference is borne out by other evidence. 'In Egypt,' writes an older contemporary of St Jerome, the commentator Hilary, 'the presbyters seal (i.e. ordain or consecrate), if the bishop be not present8.' This however might refer only to the ordination of presbyters, and not to the consecration of a bishop. But even the latter is supported by direct evidence, which though comparatively late deserves consideration, inasmuch as it comes from one who was himself a patriarch of Alexandria Eutychius, who held Tfe?Jilny the patriarchal see from A.D. 933 to A.D. 940, writes as follows: chius. 'The Evangelist Mark appointed along with the patriarch Hananias twelve presbyters who should remain with the patriarch, to the end that, when the patriarchate was vacant, they might choose one of the twelve presbyters, on whose head the remaining eleven laying their hands should bless him and create him patriarch.' The vacant place in the presbytery was then to be filled up, that the number twelve might be constant1. 'This custom,' adds this writer, 'did not cease till the time of Alexander (a.d. 313—326), patriarch of Alexandria. He however forbad that henceforth the presbyters should create the patriarch, and decreed that on the death of the patriarch the bishops should meet to ordain the (new) patriarch, etc.2' It is clear from this passage that Eutychius considered the functions of nomination and ordination to rest with the same persons.

Denique non aliter quam compresbyte- - Eput. cxlvi. ad Evang. (i. p. 10S2).

ros hie vocat et oonsacerdotes snos. * Ambrosiast. on Ephes. iv. 12. So

Numquidetministroscondiaconossuos too in the Quaest. Vet. et Nov. Test. a.

dicit episcopus?', where the writer is (falsely ascribed to St Augustine), An

arguing against the arrogance of the gust. Op. m. P. 2, p. 93, 'Nam in

Roman deacons. See Philippians p. Alexandria et per totam .Egyptum,

96. si desit episcopus, consecrat (v. L con

1 See the references collected by signat) presbyter.' (jieseler, I. p. 105 sq.

If this view however be correct, the practice of the

1 Eutychii Patr. Alexandr. Annates I. tween the accounts of Jerome and Eup. 331 (Pococke, Oxon. 1656). The in- tychius as to the time when the change ferences in the text are resisted by Abra- was effected. But we may reasonably ham Eccheliensis Eutychi us vindicate conjecture (with Ritschl, p. 432) that the p. 22 sq. (in answer to Selden the trans- transition from the old state of things later of Eutychius), and by Le Quien to the new would be the result of a proOriens Chrutiamu Ii. p. 342, who urge longed conflict between the Alexandrian all that can be said on the opposite presbytery who had hitherto held these side. The authority of a writer so in- functions, and the bishops of the reaccurate as Eutychius, if it had been un- cently created Egyptian sees to whom supported, would have had no weight; it was proposed to transfer them, but, as we have seen, this is not the Somewhat later one Ischyras was case. deprived of his orders by an Alexan

- Between Dionysius and Alexander drian synod, because he had been or

four bishops of Alexandria intervene, dained by a presbyter only: Athan.

Maximns (a.». 265), Theonas (a.d. 283), Apol. c. Arian. 75 (i. p. 152). From

Peter I. (a.D. 301), and Achillas (a.d. this time at all events the Alexandrian

312). It will therefore be seen that Church insisted as strictly as any other

there is a considerable discrepancy be- on episcopal ordination.

Increase of the Egyptian episcopate.

Alexandrian Church was exceptional; for at this time the formal act of the bishop was considered generally necessary to give validity to ordination. Nor is the exception difficult to account for. At the close of the second century, when every considerable church in Europe and Asia appears to have had its bishop, the only representative of the episcopal order in Egypt was the bishop of Alexandria. It was Demetrius first (a.d. 190—233), as Eutychius informs us1, who appointed three other bishops, to which number his successor Heraclas (AJD. 233—249) added twenty more. This extension of episcopacy to the provincial towns of Egypt paved the way for a change in the mode of appointing and ordaining the patriarch of Alexandria. But before this time it was a matter of convenience and almost of necessity that the Alexandrian presbyters should themselves ordain their chief.

Nor is it only in Alexandria that we meet with this peculiarity. Where the same urgent reason existed, the same Decree of exceptional practice seems to have been tolerated. A decree cilofAn- of the Council of Ancyra (a.d. 314) ordains that 'it be not oyra- allowed to country-bishops (xnpeirur/ioiroi,i) to ordain presbyters or deacons, nor even to city-presbyters, except permission be given in each parish by the bishop in writing*.' Thus while restraining the existing license, the framers of the decree still allow very considerable latitude. And it is especially important to observe that they lay more stress on episcopal sanction than on episcopal ordination. Provided that the former is secured, they are content to dispense with the latter.

1 Eutych. Ann. 1. c. p. 332. Heraclas, we are informed on the same authority (p. 335), was the first Alexandrian prelate who bore the title of patriarch ; this designation being equivalent to metropolitan or bishop of bishops.

3 Concil. Ancyr. can. 13 (ltouth Rel. Sacr. iv. p. 121) x<>>p«"<"<0'TM><» v&j ^£«cai rpeafivripov s 17 Suucirovs xtipOt0yt•y> dX\a [nijv] nriSt rptaflvrtpoit 5r6X«us Xupis Tov irirpainjvai vrb Too (tiktkorow /mta ypafindtiiiv iv iKdffry rapouttf. The various readings and interpretations of this canon will be found in Routh's note, p. Hi sq. Houth himself reads dXXd nty injSi rpw^vripoin rrdXeus, making rptfffjvripovs roXtur

the object of x«po^oi-eiy, but to this there is a twofold objection: (1) he necessarily understands the former rpeafivripom to mean rpio-pirrtpom x<^pas, though this is not expressed: (2) he interprets 4XXA n^v nrfit 'much less,' a sense which nriSt seems to exclude and which is not borne out by his examples.

The name and office of the x^'p"^ffuo7ros appear to be reliques of the time when iVio-*oros and rptapT&repos were synonymes. While the large oities had their college of presbyters, for the villages a single rpio-fivrepos (or iriatorei) would suffice; but from his isolated position he would be tempted, even if he were not obliged, to perform on his own responsibility certain acts which in the city would only be performed by the bishop properly so called, or at least would not be performed without his consent. Oat of this position the office of the later xuptr!-<"">''rn would gradually be developed; but the rate of progression would not be uniform, and the regulations affecting it would be determined by the circumstances of the particular locality. Hence, at a later date, it seems in some places to have been presbyteral, in others episcopal. In the Ancyran canon just quoted a chorepiscopus is evidently placed below the city presbytery; but in other notices he occupies a higher position. For the conflicting accounts of the x«p«rf<"roro» see Bingham n. xiv.

As a general rule however, even those writers who maintain c-rdinaa substantial identity in the offices of the bishop and presbyter fiued £, *

reserve the power of ordaining to the former1. This distinction ^e,

r ° _ bishops.

in fact may be regarded as a settled maxim of Church polity in the fourth and later centuries. And when Aerius maintained the equality of the bishop and presbyter and denied the necessity of episcopal ordination, his opinion was condemned as heretical, and is stigmatized as 'frantic' by Epiphanius5.

It has been seen that the institution of an episcopate must be placed as far back as the closing years of the first century, and that it cannot, without violence to historical testimony, be dissevered from the name of St John. But it has been seen also that the earliest bishops did not hold the same independent position of supremacy which was and is Causes of occupied by their later representatives. It will therefore be lopment instructive to trace the successive stages by which the power of episeo- of fae office was developed during the second and third centuries. Though something must be attributed to the frailty of human pride and love of power, it will nevertheless appear that the pressing needs of the Church were mainly instrumental in bringing about the result, and that this development of the episcopal office was a providential safeguard amid the confusion of speculative opinion, the distracting effects of persecution, and the growing anarchy of social life, which threatened not only the extension but the very existence of the Church of Christ. Ambition of office in a society where prominence of rank involved prominence of risk was at least no vulgar and selfish passion. Three This development will be conveniently connected with three

Banr's account of the origin of the episcopate supposes thateach Christian congregation was presided over, not by a college of presbyters, but by a single rpeafHrepos or iriaKOrOi, i.e. that the constitution of the Church was from the first monarchical: see Pastoralbrie/e p. 81 sq., Vriprung del Epiicopats p. 84 sq. This view is

inconsistent alike with the analogy of the synagogue and with the notices in the apostolic and early ecclesiastical writings. But the practice which he considers to have been the general rule would probably hold in small country congregations, where a college of presbyters would be unnecessary as well as impossible.

1 St Jerome himself (Epist. cxlvi.), in the context of the passage in which he maintains the identity of the two orders and alleges the tradition of the Alexandrian Church (see above, p. 194), adds, 'Quid enim facit exceptu ordinatione episcopus quod presbyter non faciat?' So also Const. A post. viii. 28 irlffKOros xfi/x>0erei xtlpQtoyf^--''rptff^' repos xeiP°0ete' 00 xtipotoxei, Chrysost. Hom. xi. on 1 Tim. iii. 8 Tj; xriporori? /jj>vtj i/repptfflKaai Ko.1 tovri p nbvov SoKovai r\eovCKteiv rpiofivrtpom. See Bingham n. iii. 5, 6, 7, for other references.

3 Haer. lxxv. 3; comp. Augustine Haer. § 53. See Wordsworth Iheoph. Angl. c. x.

conrfeeted Srea*; names, each separated from the other by an interval of

with its more than half a century, and each marking a distinct stage in progress. , .?

its progress. Ignatius, Irenaeus, and Cyprian, represent three

successive advances towards the supremacy which was ultimately attained. l. Igna- 1. Ignatius of Antioch is commonly recognized as the staunchest advocate of episcopacy in the early ages. Even,

The Syriao though we should refuse to accept, as genuine any portions Version. ... , „. _.,.,.

which are not contained in the bynac Version , this view

would nevertheless be amply justified. Confining our attention

for the moment to the Syriac letters we find that to this father

the chief value of episcopacy lies in the fact that it constitutes

1 In the earlier editions of this work shorter Greek form is genuine; bat

I assumed that the Syriao Version for the sake of argument I have kept

published by Cureton represented the the two apart in the text. I hope be

Epintles of Ignatius in their original fore long to give reasons for this change

form. I am now convinced that this of opinion in my edition of this father,

is only an abridgment and that the [See p. 239 sq., Additional Note A.]

a visible centre of unity in the congregation. He seems in the The bishop development of the office to keep in view the same purpose ^"c^,tre which we may suppose to have influenced the last surviving of unity. Apostles in its institution. The withdrawal of the authoritative preachers of the Gospel, the personal disciples of the Lord, had severed one bond of union. The destruction of the original abode of Christendom, the scene of the life and passion of the Saviour and of the earliest triumphs of the Church, had removed another. Thus deprived at once of the personal and the local ties which had hitherto bound individual to individual and church to church, the Christian brotherhood was threatened with schism, disunion, dissolution. 'Vindicate thine office with all diligence,' writes Ignatius to the bishop of Smyrna, 'in things temporal as well as spiritual. Have a care of unity, than which nothing is better1.' 'The crisis requires thee, as the pilot requires the winds or the storm-tossed mariner a haven, so as to attain unto God*.' 'Let not those who seem to be plausible and teach falsehoods dismay thee; but stand thou firm as an anvil under the hammer: 'tis the part of a great athlete to be bruised and to conquer8.' 'Let nothing be done without thy consent, and do thou nothing without the consent of God4.' He adds directions also, that those who decide on a life of virginity shall disclose their intention to the bishop only, and those who marry shall obtain his consent to their union, that 'their marriage may be according to the Lord and not according to lust5.' And turning from the bishop to the people he adds, 'Give heed to your bishop, that God also may give heed to you. I give my life for those who are obedient to the bishop, to presbyters, to deacons. With them may I have my portion in the presence of God6.' Writing to the Ephesians also he says that in receiving their bishop Onesimus he is receiving their whole body, and he charges them to love him, and one and all to be in his likeness7, adding, 'Since love does

1 Polyc. 1. • Polyc. 5.

3 Polyc. 2. • Polyc. 6. 1 Polyc. 3. 'Ephes. 1.

4 Polyc. 4.

not permit me to be silent, therefore I have been forward in

exhorting you to conform to the will of God1.'

From these passages it will be seen that St Ignatius values

the episcopate chiefly as a security for good discipline and

The Greek harmonious working in the Church. And, when we pass from letters. . .

the Syriac letters to the Short Greek, the standing ground is

still unchanged. At the same time, though the point of view

is unaltered, the Greek letters contain far stronger expressions

than are found in the Syriac. Throughout the whole range of

Christian literature, no more uncompromising advocacy of the

episcopate can be found than appears in these writings. This

championship indeed is extended to the two lower orders of the

Their ex- ministry2, more especially to the presbyters*. But it is when

exaltation asserting the claims of the episcopal office to obedience and

erJi'sco- respect, that the language is strained to the utmost. 'The

pate. bishops established in the farthest parts of the world are in the

counsels of Jesus Christ4.' 'Every one whom the Master of the

house sendeth to govern His own household we ought to receive,

as Him that sent him; clearly therefore we ought to regard the

bishop as the Lord Himself*.' Those 'live a life after Christ,'

who 'obey the bishop as Jesus Christ6.' 'It is good to know

God and the bishop; he that honoureth the bishop is honoured

of God; he that doeth anything without the knowledge of the

bishop serveth the devil7.' He that obeys his bishop, obeys

'not him, but the Father of Jesus Christ, the Bishop of all.'

On the other hand, he that practises hypocrisy towards his

bishop, 'not only deceiveth the visible one, but cheateth the

Unseen8.' 'As many as are of God and of Jesus Christ, are

with the bishop8.' Those are approved who are 'inseparate

[from God], from Jesus Christ, and from the bishop, and from

the ordinances of the Apostles10.' 'Do ye all,' says this writer again, ' follow the bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father1.' The Ephesians are commended accordingly, because they are so united with their bishop 'as the Church with Jesus Christ and as Jesus Christ with the Father.' 'If,' it is added, 'the prayer of one or two hath so much power, how much more the prayer of the bishop and of the whole Church*.' 'Wherever the bishop may appear, there let the multitude be, just as where Jesus Christ may be, there is the universal Church*.' Therefore 'let no man do anything pertaining to the Church without the bishop4.' 'It is not allowable either to baptize or to hold a love-feast without the bishop: but whatsoever he may approve, this also is well pleasing to God, that everything which is done may be safe and valid5.' 'Unity of God,' according to this writer, consists in harmonious co-operation with the bishop8.

And yet with all this extravagant exaltation of the epis- The prescopal office, the presbyters are not put out of sight. They form however a council7, a ' worthy spiritual coronal8' round the bishop. It is noifor" the duty of every individual, but especially of them,' to refresh the bishop unto the honour of the Father and of Jesus Christ and of the Apostles'.' They stand in the same relation to him, 'as the chords to the lyre10.' If the bishop occupies the place of God or of Jesus Christ, the presbyters are as the Apostles, as the council of God11. If obedience is due to the bishop as the grace of God, it is due to the presbytery as the law of Jesus Christ1*.

It need hardly be remarked how subversive of the true Consideraspirit of Christianity, in the negation of individual freedom and ge8ted by

this lan

Christ, is the crushing despotism with which this language, if

the consequent suppression of direct responsibility to God in m

1 Smyrn. 8, comp. Magn. 1. curs 1 Tim. iv. 14, is very frequent in

2 Ephes. 5. the Ignatian Epistles. 'Smyrn. 8. 8 Magn. 13.

* ».; comp. Magn. i, Philad. 7. 3 Trail. 12.

* Smyrn. 8. I0 Ephes. i; comp. the metaphor in

* Polyc. 8 iy ivtrnrri 6roO Kai trurKb- Philad. 1.

Rov(v.1. bria/tory): comp. Philad. 3, 8. u Trail. 2, 3, Magn. 6, Smyrn. 8.

7 The word rptffjivrt'piov, which oc- 12 Magn. 2.

taken literally, would invest the episcopal office. It is more important to bear in mind the extenuating fact, that the needs and distractions of the age seemed to call for a greater concentration of authority in the episcopate; and we might well be surprised, if at a great crisis the defence of an all-important institution were expressed in words carefully weighed and guarded. The same Strangely enough, not many years after Ignatius thus vanced in asserted the claims of the episcopate as a safeguard of ortho

tlie inter- doXy another writer used the same instrument to advance a

ests of E- •"

bionism. very different form of Christianity. The organization, which is

thus employed to consolidate and advance the Catholic Church, might serve equally well to establish a compact Ebionite community. I have already mentioned the author of the Clementine Homilies as a staunch advocate of episcopacy1. His view of the sanctions and privileges of the office does not differ materially from that of Ignatius. 'The multitude of the faithful,' he says, 'must obey a single person, that so it may be able to continue in harmony.' Monarchy is a necessary condition of peace; this may be seen from the aspect of the world around: at present there are many kings, and the result is discord and war; in the world to come God has appointed one King only, that 'by reason of monarchy an indestructible peace may be established: therefore all ought to follow some one person as guide, preferring him in honour as the image of God; and this guide must show the way that leadeth to the Holy City*.' Accordingly he delights to speak of the bishop as occupying the place or the seat of Christ*. Eveiy insult, he says, and every honour offered to a bishop is carried to Christ and from Christ is taken up to the presence of the Father; and thus it is requited manifold*. Similarly another writer of the Clementine cycle, if he be not the same, compares Christ to the captain, the bishop to the mate, and the presbyters to the sailors, while the lower orders and the laity have each their proper place in the ship of the Church1.

1 See above, p. 171. 'ib. iii. 60, 66, 70.

- Clew. Horn. iii. CI, G2. « ib. iii. 66, 70.

It is no surprise that such extravagant claims should not Montahave been allowed to pass unchallenged. In opposition to the reaction lofty hierarchical pretensions thus advanced on the one hand in W1**' the Ignatian letters on behalf of Catholicism and on the other vagance. by the Clementine writer in the interests of Ebionism, a strong spiritualist reaction set in. If in its mental aspect the heresy of Montanus must be regarded as a protest against the speculative subtleties of Gnosticism, on its practical side it was equally a rebound from the aggressive tyranny of hierarchical assumption. Montanus taught that the true succession of the Spirit, the authorized channel of Divine grace, must be sought not in the hierarchical but in the prophetic order. For a rigid outward system he substituted the free inward impulse. Wildly fanatical as were its manifestations, this reaction nevertheless issued from a true instinct which rebelled against the oppressive yoke of external tradition and did battle for the freedom of the individual spirit. Montanus was excommunicated and Montanism died out; but though dead, it yet spake; for a portion of its better spirit was infused into the Catholic Church, which it leavened and refreshed and invigorated.

2. Iren^eus followed Ignatius after an interval of about 2. Iketwo generations. With the altered circumstances of the Church, the aspect of the episcopal office has also undergone a change. The religious atmosphere is now charged with heretical speculations of all kinds. Amidst the competition of rival teachers, all eagerly bidding for support, the perplexed believer asks for some decisive test by which he may try the claims of the disputants. To this question Irenaeus supplies an answer. 'IfThebishop you wish,' he argues,'to ascertain the doctrine of the Apostles, ntary of apply to the Church of the Apostles. In the succession of bishops ^^twe tracing their descent from the primitive age and appointed by the Apostles themselves, you have a guarantee for the trans

1 Clem. Hom. Ep. Clem. 15.

mission of the pure faith, which no isolated, upstart, selfconstituted teacher can furnish. There is the Church of Rome for instance, whose episcopal pedigree is perfect in all its links, and whose earliest bishops, Linus and Clement, associated with the Apostles themselves: there is the Church of Smyrna again, whose bishop Polycarp, the disciple of St John, died only the other day1.' Thus the episcopate is regarded now not so much as the centre of ecclesiastical unity but rather as the depositary of apostolic tradition. The same This view is not peculiar to Iremeus. It seems to have been

view lit;Id

by Hege- advanced earlier by Hegesippus, for in a detached fragment he TerttU-and ^avs s^ress on the succession of the bishops at Rome and at H*"- Corinth, adding that in each church and in each succession the

pure faith was preserved2; so that he seems here to be controverting that 'gnosis falsely so called' which elsewhere he denounces*. It is distinctly maintained by Tertullian, the younger contemporary of Iremeus, who refers, if not with the same frequency, at least with equal emphasis, to the tradition of the apostolic churches as preserved by the succession of the episcopate4. 3. Cy- 3. As two generations intervened between Ignatius and

"han. Irenaeus, so the same period roughly speaking separates Iremeus from Cyprian. If with Ignatius the bishop is the centre of Christian unity, if with Irenasus he is the depositary of the The apostolic tradition, with Cyprian he is the absolute vicegerent of

vicegerent Christ in things spiritual. In mere strength of language indeed of Christ, it would be difficult to surpass Ignatius, who lived about a century and a half earlier. With the single exception of the sacerdotal view of the ministry which had grown up meanwhile, Cyprian puts forward no assumption which this father had not advanced either literally or substantially long before. This one exception however is all important, for it raised the sanctions of the episcopate to a higher level and put new force into old

1 See especially iii. cc. 2,3,4, iv. 26. p. 182.

2 sq., iv. 32, 1, v. prief., v. 20, 1, 2. 3 Eu8eb. II. E. iii 32.

2 In Euseb. H. E. iv. 22. See above, * Tertnll. de Praescr. 32.

titles of respect. Theoretically therefore it may be said that Cyprian took his stand on the combination of the ecclesiastical authority as asserted by Ignatius with the sacerdotal claim which had been developed in the half century just past. But Influence the real influence which he exercised in the elevation of the on the epi episcopate consisted not in the novelty of his theoretical views, 80°Patebut in his practical energy and success. The absolute supremacy of the bishop had remained hitherto a lofty title or at least a vague ill-defined assumption: it became through his exertions a substantial and patent and world-wide fact. The first prelate whose force of character vibrated throughout the whole of Christendom, he was driven not less by the circumstances of his position than by his own temperament and conviction to throw all his energy into this scale. And the permanent result was much vaster than he could have anticipated beforehand or realized after the fact. Forced into the episcopate against his will, he raised it to a position of absolute independence, from which it has never since been deposed. The two great controversies in which Cyprian engaged, though immediately arising out of questions of discipline, combined from opposite sides to consolidate and enhance the power of the bishops1.

The first question of dispute concerned the treatment of First consuch as had lapsed during the recent persecution under Decius. Cyprian found himself on this occasion doing battle for the Treatment episcopate against a twofold opposition, against the confessors lapsed, who claimed the right of absolving and restoring these fallen brethren, and against his own presbyters who in the absence of their bishop supported the claims of the confessors. From his retirement he launched his shafts against this combined array, where an aristocracy of moral influence was leagued with an aristocracy of official position. With signal determination and

1 The influence of Cyprian on the sq. (1857). See also Rettberg Thascius

episcopate is ably stated in two vigor- Cilcilius Cyprianus p. 367 sq., Huther

ous articles by Kayser entitled Cyprien Cyprian's Lehre von der Kirche p. 59

ou VAutonomie de VEpiscopat in the sq. For Cyprian's work generally see

Revue de Th4ologie xv. pp. 138 sq., 242 Smith's Diet, of Christ. Biogr. s. v.

courage in pursuing his aim, and with not less sagacity and address in discerning the means for carrying it out, Cyprian had on this occasion the further advantage, that he was defending the cause of order and right. He succeeded moreover in enlisting in his cause the rulers of the most powerful church in Christendom. The Roman clergy declared for the bishop and against the presbyters of Carthage. Of Cyprian's sincerity no reasonable question can be entertained. In maintaining the authority of his office he believed himself to be fighting his Master's battle, and he sought success as the only safeguard of the integrity of the Church of Christ. In this lofty and disinterested spirit, and with these advantages of position, he entered upon the contest.

It is unnecessary for my purpose to follow out the conflict in detail: to show how ultimately the positions of the two combatants were shifted, so that from maintaining discipline against the champions of too great laxity Cyprian found himself protecting the fallen against the advocates of too great severity; to trace the progress of the schism and the attempt to establish a rival episcopate; or to unravel the entanglements of the Novatian controversy and lay open the intricate relations Power of between Rome and Carthage1. It is sufficient to say that in his own Cyprian's victory was complete. He triumphed over the confihadCl1 de fessors, triumphed over his own presbyters, triumphed over the schismatic bishop and his party. It was the most signal success hitherto achieved for the episcopate, because the battle had been fought and the victory won on this definite issue. The absolute supremacy of the episcopal office was thus established against the two antagonists from which it had most to fear, against a recognised aristocracy of ecclesiastical office and an irregular but not less powerful aristocracy of moral weight.

1 The intricacy of the whole proceed- nists, varying and even interchanged

ing is a strong evidence of the genuine- with the change of circumstances, are

ness of the letters and other documents very natural, but very unlike the in

which contain the account of the con- vention of a forger who has a distinct

troversy. The situations of the antago- side to maintain.

The position of the bishop with respect to the individual church over which he ruled was thus defined by the first contest in which Cyprian engaged. The second conflict resulted Second in determining his relation to the Church universal. The Versy. Reschism which had grown up during the first conflict created the £ttP4"!m of difficulty which gave occasion to the second. A question arose whether baptism by heretics and schismatics should be held valid or not. Stephen the Roman bishop, pleading the immemorial custom of his church, recognised its validity. Cyprian insisted on rebaptism in such cases. Hitherto the bishop of Carthage had acted in cordial harmony with Rome: but now there was a collision. Stephen, inheriting the haughty temper and aggressive policy of his earlier predecessor Victor, excommunicated those who differed from the Roman usage in this matter. These arrogant assumptions were directly met by Cyprian. He summoned first one and then another synod of African bishops, who declared in his favour. He had on his side also the churches of Asia Minor, which had been included in Stephen's edict of excommunication. Thus the bolt hurled by Stephen fell innocuous, and the churches of Africa and Asia retained their practice. The principle asserted in the struggle was not unimportant. As in the former conflict Cyprian had Relations maintained the independent supremacy of the bishop over the bishops to officers and members of his own congregation, so now he con- '^ga"1 tended successfully for his immunity from any interference from 9hfiur°h without . At a later period indeed Rome carried the victory, but the immediate result of this controversy was to establish the independence and enhance the power of the episcopate. Moreover this struggle had the further and not less important consequence of defining and exhibiting the relations of the episcopate to the Church in another way. As the individual bishop had been pronounced indispensable to the existence of the individual community, so the episcopal order was now put forward as the absolute indefeasible representative of the universal Church. Synods of bishops indeed had been held frequently before; but under Cyprian's guidance they assumed

a prominence which threw all existing precedents into the shade. A 'one undivided episcopate' was his watchword. The unity of the Church, he maintained, consists in the unanimity of the bishops1. In this controversy, as in the former, he acted throughout on the principle, distinctly asserted, that the existence of the episcopal office was not a matter of practical advantage or ecclesiastical rule or even of apostolic sanction, but an absolute incontrovertible decree of God. The triumph of Cyprian therefore was the triumph of this principle. Cyprian's The greatness of Cyprian's influence on the episcopate is

V16W of till"'

episco- indeed due to this fact, that with him the statement of the pate. principle precedes and necessitates the practical measures. Of the sharpness and distinctness of his sacerdotal views it will be time to speak presently; but of his conception of the episcopal office generally thus much may be said here, that he regards the bishop as exclusively the representative of God to the congregation and hardly, if at all, as the representative of the congregation before God. The bishop is the indispensable channel of divine grace, the indispensable bond of Christian brotherhood. The episcopate is not so much the roof as the foundation-stone of the ecclesiastical edifice; not so much the legitimate development as the primary condition of a church5. The bishop is appointed directly by God, is responsible directly

1 l)e Unit. Eccl. 2 'Qitam unitatem et si quis cum episcopo non sit, inecclefirmiter tenere et vindicare debemus sia non esse'; Epist. 33 'Ut ecclesia maxime episcopi qui in ecclesia praesi- super episcopos eonstituatur et omnis demus, ut episcopatum quoque ipsum actus ecclesiae per eosdem praeposito> unum atque indirisum probemus'; and gubernetur.' Hence the expression 'nee again 'Episcopates unus est, cujus a episcopum nee ecclesiam oogitans.' singulis in solidum pars tenetur: ec- Epist. 41; hence also 'honor episcopi' clesia quoque una est etc' So again he is associated not only with 'ecclesiae argues (Epist. 43) that, as there is one ratio' (Epist. 33) but even with 'timor Church, there must be only ' unum al- Dei' (Epist. 15). Compare also the tare et unum sacerdotium (i.e. one language (Epist. 59) 'Nee ecclesia istie episcopate).' Comp. also Epist. 46, cuiquam clauditur neo episcopus alicui 55,67. denegatur,' and again (Epist. 43)

2 Epist. 66 'Scire debes episcopum 'Soli cum episcopis non sint, qui conin ecclesia esse et ecclesiam in episcopo. tra episcopos rebellarunt.'

to God, is inspired directly from God1. This last point deserves especial notice. Though in words he frequently defers to the established usage of consulting the presbyters and even the laity in the appointment of officers and in other matters affecting the well-being of the community, yet he only makes the concession to nullify it immediately. He pleads a direct official inspiration* which enables him to dispense with ecclesiastical custom and to act on his own responsibility. Though the presbyters may still have retained the shadow of a controlling power over the acts of the bishop, though the courtesy of language by which they were recognised as fellow-presbyters* was not laid aside, yet for all practical ends the independent supremacy of the episcopate was completely established by the principles and the measures of Cyprian.

In the investigation just concluded I have endeavoured to The power trace the changes in the relative position of the first and bishops a second orders of the ministry, by which the power was gradually practical

concentrated in the hands of the former. Such a development convenience, involves no new principle and must be regarded chiefly in its

practical bearings. It is plainly, competent for the Church at

any given time to entrust a particular office with larger powers,

as the emergency may require. And, though the grounds on

which the independent authority of the episcopate was at times

defended may have been false or exaggerated, no reasonable

objection can be taken to later forms of ecclesiastical polity

because the measure of power accorded to the bishop does not

remain exactly the same as in the Church of the subapostolic

ages. Nay, to many thoughtful and dispassionate minds even

the gigantic power wielded by the popes during the middle

ages will appear justifiable in itself (though they will repudiate

1 See esp. Epist. 3, 43, 55, 59, 73, tione conjnnotum'; Epist. 40 'Ad

and above all 66 (Ad Pupianum). monitos nos et instructos sciatis digna

3 Epist. 38 'Ezpectanda non sunt tione divina at Namidicus presbyter

tesiimonia hnmana, cum praecedunt adscribatur presbyterorum etc.'

divina suflragia'; Epist. 39 'Non lui- * See above, p. 193, note 5. mana suffragatione sed divina digna

the false pretensions on which it was founded, and the false opinions which were associated with it), since only by such a providential concentration of authority could the Church, humanly speaking, have braved the storms of those ages of and un- anarchy and violence. Now however it is my purpose to withLcer- investigate the origin and growth of a new principle, which is dotahsm. nowhere enunciated in the New Testament, but which notwithstanding has worked its way into general recognition and seriously modified the character of later Christianity. The progress of the sacerdotal view of the ministry is one of the most striking and important phenomena in the history of the Church. No saoer- It has been pointed out already that the sacerdotal functions intheNewan<^ privileges, which alone are mentioned in the apostolic Teste- writings, pertain to all believers alike and do not refer solely or specially to the ministerial office. If to this statement it be objected that the inference is built upon the silence of the Apostles and Evangelists, and that such reasoning is always precarious, the reply is that an exclusive sacerdotalism (as the word is commonly understood)1 contradicts the general tenour of the Gospel. But indeed the strength or weakness of an argument drawn from silence depends wholly on the circumstance under which the silence is maintained. And in this case it cannot be considered devoid of weight. In the Pastoral Epistles for instance, which are largely occupied with questions relating to the Christian ministry, it seems scarcely possible that this aspect should have been overlooked, if it had any place in St Paul's teaching. The Apostle discusses at length the requirements, the responsibilities, the sanctions, of the

i In speaking of sacerdotalism, I as- applied to the Christian ministry, may

some the term to have essentially the have borne this innocent meaning. Bnt

same force as when applied to the Jew- at a later date it was certainly so need

ish priesthood. In a certain sense (to as to imply a substantial identity of

be considered hereafter) all officers ap- character with the Jewish priesthood,

pointed to minister 'for men in things i.e. to designate the Christian minister

pertaining to God' may be called priests; as one who offers sacrifices and makes

and sacerdotal phraseology, when first atonement for the sins of others.

ministerial office: he regards the presbyter as an example, as a

teacher, as a philanthropist, as a ruler. How then, it may well

be asked, are the sacerdotal functions, the sacerdotal privileges,

of the office wholly set aside? If these claims were recognised

by him at all, they must necessarily have taken a foremost place.

The same argument again applies with not less force to those

passages in the Epistles to the Corinthians, where St Paul

asserts his apostolic authority against his detractors. Neverthe-Its raPid

. . 7 /.!/-«•• spread at

less, so entirely had the primitive conception of the Christian a later

Church been supplanted by this sacerdotal view of the ministry,

before the northern races were converted to the Gospel, and

the dialects derived from the Latin took the place of the

ancient tongue, that the languages of modern Europe very

generally supply only one word to represent alike the priest of

the Jewish or heathen ceremonial and the presbyter of the

Christian ministry1.

For, though no distinct traces of sacerdotalism are visible in

the ages immediately after the Apostles, yet having once taken

root in the Church it shot up rapidly into maturity. Towards

1 It is a significant fact that in those the second order in the ministry (e.g.

languages which have only one word to Acts xiv. 23, 1 Tim. v. 17, 19, Tit. i. 5,

express the two ideas, this word etymolo- James v. 14), and by 'seniores' (in

gically represents ' presbyterus' and not Wiclif 'eldres' or 'elder men') in other

'sacerdos,'e.g. the French pretre, the passages: bat if so, this rule is not

Germanj/n'csfer, and the English priest; always successfully applied (e.g. Acts

thus showing that the sacerdotal idea xi. 30, xxi. 18, 1 Pet v. 1). A doubt

was imported and not original. In the about the meaning may explain the

Italian, where two words prete and anomaly that the word is translated

sacerdote exist side by side, there is no 'presbyteri,' ' preestes,' Acts xv. 2, and

marked difference in usage, except that 'seniores,' 'elder men,' Acts xv. 4, 6,

prete is the more common. If the lat- 22, xvi. 4; though the persons intended

ter brings out the sacerdotal idea more are the same. In Acts xx. 17, it is

prominently, the former is also applied rendered in Wiclif's version 'the gret

to Jewish and Heathen priests and tist men of birthe,' a misunderstanding

therefore distinctly involves this idea. of the Vulgate 'majores natu.' The

Wiclifs version of the New Testament English versions of the reformers and

naturally conforms to the Vulgate, in the reformed Church from Tyndale

which it seems to betherule to translate downward translate rpta^&repoi nni

rpeafMrepoi by 'presbyteri' (in Wiclif formly by 'elders.' 'preestes') where it obviously denotes

the close of the second century we discern the first germs appearing above the surface: yet, shortly after the middle of the third, the plant has all but attained its full growth. The origin of this idea, the progress of its development, and the conditions favourable to its spread, will be considered in the present section of this essay. Distinc- A separation of orders, it is true, appeared at a much earlier

clergy date, and was in some sense involved in the appointment of a from the special ministry. This, and not more than this, was originally contained in the distinction of clergy and laity. If the sacerdotal view of the ministry engrafted itself on this distinction, it nevertheless was not necessarily implied or even indirectly suggested thereby. The term 'clerus,' as a designation of the ministerial office, did not owing to any existing associations not de- convey the idea of sacerdotal functions. The word is not used [J^eLefom of the Aaronic priesthood in any special sense which would

vitioal explain its transference to the Christian ministry. It is indeed priesthood, said of the Levites, that they have no 'clerus' in the land, the

Lord Himself being their 'clerus'1. But the Jewish priesthood

is never described conversely as the special 'clerus' of Jehovah:

while on the other hand the metaphor thus inverted is more

than once applied to the whole Israelite people*. Up to this

point therefore the analogy of Old Testament usage would

have suggested 'clerus' as a name rather for the entire body of

the faithful than for the ministry specially or exclusively. Nor

do other references to the clerus or lot in connexion with the

Levitical priesthood countenance its special application. The

tithes, it is true, were assigned to the sons of Levi as their

'clerus'3; but in this there is nothing distinctive, and in fact

the word is employed much more prominently in describing the

1 Deut. x. 9, xviii. 1, 2; comp. Num. reasonable, if it were supported by the

xxvi. 62, Deut. xii. 12, xiv. 27,29, Josh. language of the Old Testament: the

xiv. 3. Jerome (Epist. lii. 5, i. p. 258) latter is plainly inadequate,

says, 'Propterea vocantur olerici, vel 3 Deut. iv. 20 eZy<u airi p \abe fv/rXv

quia de sorte sunt Domini, vel quia ipse pey: comp. ix. 29 Oitoi Xa&i tov ni

Dominus sors, id est pars, clerioorum K\ijpbi o-oy.

est.' The former explanation would be 3 Num. xviii. 21, 24, 26.

lands allotted to the whole people. Again the courses of priests and Levites selected to conduct the temple-service were appointed by lot1; but the mode adopted in distributing a particular set of duties is far too special to have supplied a distinctive name for the whole order. If indeed it were an established fact that the Aaronic priesthood at the time of the Christian era commonly bore the name of 'clergy,' we might be driven to explain the designation in this or in some similar way; but apparently no evidence of any such usage exists*, and it is therefore needless to cast about for an explanation of a fact which itself is only conjectural. The origin of the term clergy, as applied to the Christian ministry, must be sought elsewhere.

And the record of the earliest appointment made by the Origin of Christian Church after the Ascension of the Lord seems to a name for supply the clue. Exhorting the assembled brethren to elect a '^e Cnrissuccessor in place of Judas, St Peter tells them that the traitor ministry, 'had been numbered among them and had received the lot (KXijpov) of the ministry': while in the account of the subsequent proceedings it is recorded that the Apostles 'distributed lots' to the brethren, and that 'the lot fell on Matthias and he was added to the eleven Apostles*.' The following therefore seems to be the sequence of meanings, by which the word «\^po? arrived at this peculiar sense: (1) the lot by which the office was assigned; (2) the office thus assigned by lot; (3) the body of persons holding the office. The first two senses are illustrated by the passages quoted from the Acts; and from the second to the third the transition is easy and natural. It must not be

1 1 Chron. xxiv. 5, 7, 31, xxv. 8, 9. XaiVAu, Deut. xx. 6, xxviii. 30, Ruth i.

3 On the other hand \ads is used of 12, Ezek. vii. 22); comp. Clem. Rom.

the people, as contrasted either with 40.

the rulers or with the priests. From 3 Acts i. 17 t\axa> rov K)pov, 26

this latter contrast comes \ai'xos, 'laic' iSiOKav K\iipovs afrroh Ko.1 (reaev b K\tj

or ' profane,' and \al'Kou ' to profane'; pos M Ma6Btay. In ver. 25 K\ijpov is

which, though not found in the Lxx, a false reading. The use of the word

occur frequently in the versions of in 1 Pet. v. 3 KaraKvpieiovta run> Kx/{

Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion pav (i.e. the flocks assigned to them)

(Xai'Kos, 1 Sam. xxi. 4, Ezek. xlviii. 15; does not illustrate this meaning.

supposed however that the mode of appointing officers by lot prevailed generally in the early Church. Besides the case of Matthias no other instance is recorded in the New Testament; nor is this procedure likely to have been commonly adopted. But just as in the passage quoted the word is used to describe the office of Judas, though Judas was certainly not selected by lot, so generally from signifying one special mode of appointment to office it got to signify office in the Church generally1. If this account of the application of 'clerus' to the Christian ministry be correct, we should expect to find it illustrated by a corresponding progress in the actual usage of the word. And this is in fact the case. The sense 'clerical appointment or office' chronologically precedes the sense 'clergy.' The former meaning occurs several times in Irenaeus. He speaks of Hyginus as 'holding the ninth clerus of the episcopal succession from the Apostles2'; and of Eleutherus in like manner he says,' He now occupies the clerus of the episcopate in the tenth place from the Apostles8.' On the other hand the earliest instance of 'clerus,' meaning clergy, seems to occur in Tertullian4, who belongs to the next generation. No saoer- It will thus be seen that the use of 'clerus' to denote the conveyed* ministry cannot be traced to the Jewish priesthood, and is thereby the fore wholly unconnected with any sacerdotal views. The term does indeed recognise the clergy as an order distinct from the

1 See Clem. Alex. Quis div. salv. 42, povi, it ia used absolutely of 'clerical where K\tjpovv is 'to appoint to the offices.' The Epistle of the Gallican ministry'; and Iren. iii. 3. 3 K\tipovaBai Churches (Euseb. H. E. v. 1) speaks rV irutKor^v. A similar extension of more than once of the Kx^ooi Tuy /unmeaning is seen in this same word K\ij- ripuv, i.e. the order or rank of mar pos applied to land. Signifying origi- tyrs: comp. Test, xii Patr. Levi 8. See nally a piece of ground assigned by lot, Ritschl p. 390 sq., to whom I am init gets to mean landed property gene- debted for several of the passages which rally, whether obtained by assignment are quoted in this investigation.

or by inheritance or in any other way. * e.g. de Monog. 12 'Unde enim

2 Iren. i. 27. 1. episcopi et clerus?' and again 'Extolli

3 Iren. iii. 3.3. In this passage how- mur et inflamur adversus clerum.' Perever, as in the preceding, the word is hapshoweverearlier instances may h»ve explained by a qualifying genitive. In escaped notice. In Clem. Alex. Quii Hippol. Haer. ix. 12 (p. 290), ifclwro div. salv. 42 the word seems not to be inioKoroi ieal rptaft/'Tfpoi Kox Sl&kovol used in this sense.

Siyaiwi Kqi rplyanOi Ka6iaraaBai rfj li\-f)

laity; but this is a mere question of ecclesiastical rule or polity,

and involves no doctrinal bearings. The origin of sacerdotal

phraseology and ideas must be sought elsewhere.

Attention has been already directed to the absence of any Silence of

appeal to sacerdotal claims in the Pastoral Epistles. The silence 8toiic

of the apostolic fathers deserves also to be noticed. Though fathers on r o gaoer

the genuine letters of all three may be truly said to hinge on dotalism. questions relating to the ministry, no distinct traces of this influence are visible. St Clement, as the representative of the Clement. Roman Church, writes to the Christian brotherhood at Corinth, offering friendly counsel in their disputes and rebuking their factious and unworthy conduct towards certain presbyters whom, though blameless, they had ejected from office. He appeals to motives of Christian love, to principles of Christian order. He adduces a large number of examples from biblical history condemnatory of jealousy and insubordination. He urges that men, who had been appointed directly by the Apostles or by persons themselves so appointed, ought to have received better treatment. Dwelling at great length on the subject, he nevertheless advances no sacerdotal claims or immunities on behalf of the ejected ministers. He does, it is true, adduce the Aaronic import of priesthood and the Temple service as showing that God has n^^h appointed set persons and set places and will have all things 'he Aarondone in order. He had before illustrated this lesson by the hood, subordination of ranks in an army, and by the relation of the different members of the human body: he had insisted on the duties of the strong towards the weak, of the rich towards the poor, of the wise towards the ignorant, and so forth: he had enforced the appeal by reminding his readers of the utter feebleness and insignificance of man in the sight of God, as represented in the Scriptures of the Old Testament; and then follows the passage which contains the allusion in question: 'He hath not commanded (the offerings and ministrations) to be performed at random or in disorder, but at fixed times and seasons; and where and through whom He willeth them to be

performed, He hath ordained by His supreme will. They therefore who make their offerings at the appointed seasons are acceptable and blessed, since following the ordinances of the Master they do not go wrong. For to the high priest peculiar services are entrusted, and the priests have their peculiar office assigned to them, and on Levites peculiar ministrations are imposed: the layman is bound by lay ordinances. Let each of you, brethren, in his own rank give thanks to God, retaining a good conscience, not transgressing the appointed rule of his service (Xeirovpyiai) etc.1' Here it is clear that in St Clement's conception the sanction possessed in common by the Aaronic priesthood and the Christian ministry is not the sacerdotal consecration, but the divinely appointed order. He passes over in silence the numerous passages in the Old Testament which enjoin obedience to the priests; while the only sentence (§ 42) which he puts forward as anticipating and enforcing the authority of the Christian ministry is a misquoted and misinterpreted verse from Isaiah; 'I will establish their overseers (bishops) in righteousness and their ministers (deacons) in faith2.' Again a little later he mentions in illustration the murmuring of the Israelites which was rebuked by the budding of Aaron's rod*. But here too he makes it clear how far he considers the analogy to extend. He calls the sedition in the one case 'jealousy concerning the priesthood,' in the other 'strife concerning the honour of the episcopate4.' He keeps the names

1 Clem.Rom.40,41.Neander(CftureA garded as decisive on this point. History, I. p. 272 note, Bonn's tiansla- - Is. lx. 17, where the A. V. coition) conjectures that this passage is rectly renders the original, ' I will also an 'interpolation from a hierarchical make thy officers(lit. magistrates) peace interest,' and Dean Milman (Hut. of and thine exactors (i.e. task-masters) Christianity, in. p. 259) says that it is righteousness'; i.e. there shall be no 'rejected by all judicious and impartial tyranny or oppression. The Lxx descholars.' At the risk of forfeiting all parts from the original, and Clement claim to judiciousness and impartiality has altered the Lxx. By this double one may venture to demur to this arbi- divergence a reference to the two orders trary criticism. Indeed the recent of the ministry is obtained. discovery of a second independent Ms s Clem. Rom. 43. and of a Syriac Version, both contain- * Contrast § 43 fiJAov l/iroriyros ing the suspected passage, may be re- r«pl Tjji Upuairrii with § 44 tpa t<n<u irl Tov iv&patoi -riji iriffKOrrjs. The new covenant, as represented by the

and the offices distinct. The significance of this fact will be felt at once by comparing his language with the expressions used by any later writer, such as Cyprian, who was penetrated with the spirit of sacerdotalism1.

Of St Ignatius, as the champion of episcopacy, much has Ignatius. been said already. It is sufficient to add here, that he never regards the ministry as a sacerdotal office. This is equally true, whether we accept as genuine the whole of the seven letters in the short Greek, or only those portions contained in the Syriac version. While these letters teem with passages enjoining the strictest obedience to bishops, while their language is frequently so strong as to sound almost profane, this father never once appeals to sacerdotal claims3, though such an appeal would have made his case more than doubly strong. If it be ever safe to take the sentiments of an individual writer as expressing the belief of his age, we may infer from the silence which pervades these letters, that the sacerdotal view of the ministry had not yet found its way into the Christian Church.

When we pass on to the third apostolic father, the same phenomenon is repeated. Polycarp, like Clement and Ignatius, Polycarp. occupies much space in discussing the duties and the claims of Christian ministers. He takes occasion especially to give his correspondents advice as to a certain presbyter who had disgraced his office by a grave offence3. Yet he again knows nothing, or at least says nothing, of any sacerdotal privileges

common feature which connects the two great High-Priest (dpx*fpf>'0 >n and

offices together is stated in the words, through whom the whole Church has

§ 43 Xva Ait; iKaraaraala -/hrrirai. access to God, over the old dispensa

1 See below, p. 226 sq. tion of the Levitical priesthood (le/xts).

2 Some passages are quoted in Green- If this interpretation be correct, the wood Cathedra Petri i. p. 73 as tending passage echoes the teaching of the Epiin this direction, e.g. Philad. 9 Koxoi stle to the Hebrews, and is opposed Kid ol Upiis, Kptisaov Si i apx1iptin to exclusive sacerdotalism. On the *.t.x. But rightly interpreted they do meaning of Bvauwr-fipim in the Ignatian not favour this view. In the passage Epistles see below, p. 234, note 1. quoted for instance, the writer seems 3 See Philippians p. 63 sq.

to be maintaining the superiority of the

which claimed respect, or of any sacerdotal sanctity which has

been violated.

Justin Justin Martyr writes about a generation later. He speaks

Martyr _

at length and with emphasis on the eucharistic offerings. Here

at least we might expect to find sacerdotal views of the Christian

ministry propounded. Yet this is far from being the case. He

does indeed lay stress on sacerdotal functions, but these belong

to the whole body of the Church, and are not in any way the

maintains exclusive right of the clergy. 'So we,' he writes, when arguing

an univer- _ , , _ .

sal priest- against lrypho the Jew, 'who through the name of Jesus have

"<>f believed as one man in God the maker of the universe, having

divested ourselves of our filthy garments, that is our sins, through the name of His first-born Son, and having been refined (irvpo)Bevres) by the word of His calling, are the true highpriestly race of God, as God Himself also beareth witness, saying that in every place among the Gentiles are men offering sacrifices well-pleasing unto Him and pure (Mal. i. 11). Yet God doth not receive sacrifices from any one, except through His priests. Therefore God anticipating all sacrifices through this name, which Jesus Christ ordained to be offered, I mean those offered by the Christians in every region of the earth with (eVl) the thanksgiving (the eucharist) of the bread and of the cup, beareth witness that they are well-pleasing to Him; but the sacrifices offered by you and through those your priests He rejecteth, saying, "And your sacrifices I will not accept from your hands etc. (Mal. i. 10)" V The whole Christian people therefore (such is Justin's conception) have not only taken the place of the Aaronic priesthood, but have become a nation of high-priests, being made one with the great High-Priest of the new covenant and presenting their eucharistic offerings in His name. IrensBus Another generation leads us from Justin Martyr to Irenaeus.

When Irenaeus writes, the second century is very far advanced.
Yet still the silence which has accompanied us hitherto remains

1 Dial. c. Tnjph. o. UG, 117, p.344.

unbroken. And here again it is important to observe that

Irenaeus, if he held the sacerdotal view, had every motive for

urging it, since the importance and authority of the episcopate

occupy a large space in his teaching. Nevertheless he not only

withholds this title as a special designation of the Christian

ministry, but advances an entirely different view of the priestly

office. He recognises only the priesthood of moral holiness, aoknow

the priesthood of apostolic self-denial. Thus commenting on ^-J^

the reference made by our Lord to the incident in David's life m^ral

. . . pnest

where the king and his followers eat the shew-bread, 'which it hood.

is not lawful to eat save for the priests alone,' Iremeus remarks1;

'He excuseth His disciples by the words of the law, and

signifieth that it is lawful for priests to act freely. For David

had been called to be a priest in the sight of God, although

Saul carried on a persecution against him; for all just men

belong to the sacerdotal order*. Now all apostles of the Lord

are priests, for they inherit neither lands nor houses here, but

ever attend on the altar and on God': 'Who are they,' he goes

on,'that have left father and mother and have renounced all

their kindred for the sake of the word of God and His covenant,

but the disciples of the Lord? Of these Moses saith again,

"But they shall have no inheritance; for the Lord Himself

shall be their inheritance"; and again, "The priests, the Levites,

in the whole tribe of Levi shall have no part nor inheritance

with Israel: the first-fruits (fructificationes) of the Lord are their

inheritance; they shall eat them." For this reason also Paul

saith, "I require not the gift, but I require the fruit." The

disciples of the Lord, he would say, were allowed when hungry

to take food of the seeds (they had sown): for "The labourer is

worthy of his food."' Again, striking upon the same topic in a

1 Haer. iv. 8. 3. represented in the Latin and does not

3 This sentence is cited by John Da- suit the context. The olose conformity

mascene and Antonius rai [3ain\tvs of their quotations from the Ignatian

JiWos UpatiKiiv *x" T&£i V i but the letters is a sufficient proof that these

words were quoted doubtless from me- two writers are not independent au

mory by the one writer and borrowed tliori ties; see the passages in Cureton's

by the other from him. /Sa<nXti)s is not Corp. Ignat. p. 180 sq.

later passage1 and commenting on the words of Jeremiah

(xxxi . 14), " I will intoxicate the soul of the priests the sons of

Levi, and my people shall be filled with my good things," he

adds,' we have shown in a former book, that all disciples of the

Lord are priests and Levites: who also profaned the Sabbath in

the temple and are blameless.' Thus Irenaeus too recognises

the whole body of the faithful under the new dispensation as

the counterparts of the sons of Levi under the old The position

of the Apostles and Evangelists has not yet been abandoned.

Explana- A few years later, but still before the close of the century,

passage in Polycrates of Ephesus writes to Victor of Rome. Incidentally

Pol7" he speaks of St John as 'having been made a priest' and crates. r_ °_ r

'wearing the mitre'2; and this might seem to be a distinct expression of sacerdotal views, for the 'mitre' to which he alludes is doubtless the tiara of the Jewish high-priest. But it may very reasonably be questioned if this is the correct meaning of the passage. Whether St John did actually wear this decoration of the high-priestly office, or whether Polycrates has mistaken a symbolical expression in some earlier writer for an actual fact, or whether lastly his language itself should be treated as a violent metaphor, I have had occasion to discuss above*. But in any case the notice is explained by the language of St John himself, who regards the whole body of believers as high-priests of the new covenant4; and it is certain that the contemporaries of Polycrates still coutinued to hold similar language8. As a figurative expression or as a literal fact, the notice points to St John as the veteran teacher, the chief representative, of a pontifical race. On the other hand, it is possible that this was not the sense which Polycrates himself attached to the figure or the fact: and if so, we have here perhaps the earliest passage in any extant Christian writing where the sacerdotal view of the ministry is distinctly put forward.

1 Haer. v. 34. 3. sacerdotalis provocamur, deponimui in

5 In Euseb. H. E. v. 24 8» tyerffa fulai.'

leptis rb WraW re^o/xKiis. Comp. 3 See above, p. 121 note.

Tertnll. adv. Jud. 14 'exornatus podere * Rev. ii. 17; see the commentators,

et mitra,' Test, xii Patr. Levi 8 am- * So Justin in the words already

eras trSvaai Ttjk Otoav Ttjs leparelas... quoted (p. 218), Dial. e. Tryph. § 116

T6k roS-fipii t^j d\ijthias Kal rb rlraXov apxlepatiKbv To aiBivdv ytyos ianir rw

rip rfortus K.t.\. See also, as an illus- Oeoi". See also the passage of Origen

tration of the metaphor, Tertul]..Vonop. quoted below, p. 224. 12' Cum ad peraequationem disciplinae

Clement of Alexandria was a contemporary of Polycrates. Clement Though his extant writings are considerable in extent and cjrja though they are largely occupied with questions of Christian ethics and social life, the ministry does not hold a prominent place in them. In the few passages where he mentions it, he does not betray any tendency to sacerdotal or even to hierarchical views. The bias of his mind indeed lay in an opposite direction. He would be much more inclined to maintain an aristocracy of intellectual contemplation than of sacerdotal office. And in Alexandria generally, as we have seen, the . development of the hierarchy was slower than in other churches.How far he is from maintaining a sacerdotal view of the ministry and how substantially he coincides with Irenaeus in this respect, will appear from the following passage. 'It is His 'gnospossible for men even now, by exercising themselves in the hood!TM8 commandments of the Lord and by living a perfect gnostic life in obedience to the Gospel, to be inscribed in the roll of the Apostles. Such men are genuine presbyters of the Church and true deacons of the will of God, if they practise and teach the things of the Lord, being not indeed ordained by men nor considered righteous because they are presbyters, but enrolled in the presbytery because they are righteous: and though here on earth they may not be honoured with a chief seat, yet shall they sit on the four and twenty thrones judging the people1.' It is quite consistent with this truly spiritual view, that he should elsewhere recognise the presbyter, the deacon, and the layman, as distinct orders*. But on the other hand he never uses the words 'priest,''priestly,' 'priesthood,' of the Christian

1 Strom, vi. 13, p. 793. a Strom. Hi. 90, p. 552.

ministry. In one passage indeed he contrasts laity and priesthood, but without any such reference. Speaking of the veil of the temple and assigning to it a symbolical meaning, he describes it as 'a barrier against laic unbelief,' behind which 'the priestly ministration is hidden1.' Here the laymen and the priests are respectively those who reject and those who appropriate the spiritual mysteries of the Gospel. Accordingly in the context St Clement, following up the hint thrown out in the Epistle to the Hebrews, gives a spiritual meaning to all the furniture of the holy place. Tertullian His younger contemporary Tertullian is the first to assert sacerdotal direct sacerdotal claims on behalf of the Christian ministry. ministrv8 ^ tne heretics he complains that they impose sacerdotal functions on laymen*. 'The right of giving baptism,' he says elsewhere, 'belongs to the chief priest (summus sacerdos), that is, the bishop*.' 'No woman,' he asserts, 'ought to teach, baptize, celebrate the eucharist, or arrogate to herself the performance of any duty pertaining to males, much less of the sacerdotal •office*.' And generally he uses the words sacerdos, sacerdotium, sacerdotalis, of the Christian ministry. It seems plain moreover from his mode of speaking, that such language was not peculiar to himself but passed current in the churches among which he moved. Yet he himself supplies the true counterpoise to this special sacerdotalism in his strong asseryet qnali- tion of the universal priesthood of all true believers. * We hisasser- should be foolish,' so he writes when arguing against second tion of an marriages, 'to suppose that a latitude is allowed to laymen priest- which is denied to priests. Are not we laymen also priests? It is written, "He hath also made us a kingdom and priests to God and His Father." It is the authority of the Church which makes a difference between the order (the clergy) and the people—this authority and the consecration of their rank by the assignment of special benches to the clergy. Thus where there is no bench of clergy, you present the eucharistic offerings and baptize and are your own sole priest. For where three are gathered together, there is a church, even though they be laymen. Therefore if you exercise the rights of a priest in cases of necessity, it is your duty also to observe the discipline enjoined on a priest, where of necessity you exercise the rights of a priest1.' And in another treatise he writes in bitter irony, 'When we begin to exalt and inflame ourselves against the clergy, then we are all one; then we are all priests, because "He made us priests to God and His Father": but when we are required to submit ourselves equally to the priestly discipline, we throw off our fillets and are no longer equal3.' These passages, it is true, occur in treatises probably written after Tertullian had become wholly or in part a Montanist: but this consideration is of little consequence, for they bear witness to the fact that the scriptural doctrine of an universal priesthood was common ground to himself and his opponents, and had not yet been obscured by the sacerdotal view of the Christian ministry3.

1 Strom, v. 33 sq., p. 665 sq. Bp. 2 de 'Nam et laid*

Kaye (Clement of Alexandria p. 464) sacerdotalia munera injungunt.'

incorrectly adduces this passage as an 3 de Baptismo 17.

express mention of 'the distinction be- * de Virg. vel. 9. tween the clergy and laity.'

An incidental expression in Hippolytus serves to show that Sacerdotal a few years later than Tertullian sacerdotal terms were ;n ^ppocommonly used to designate the different orders of the clergy. i^tua'We,' says the zealous bishop of Portus, 'being successors of the Apostles and partaking of the same grace both of highpriesthood and of teaching and accounted guardians of the

1 de Exi/. Cast. 7. See Kaye's Tertul- 'Show thyself to the priest'; adv. Mare,

lian p. 211, whose interpretation of iv. 9, adv. Jud. 14. Again, he uses

'honor per ordinis consessum sanctifi- 'sacerdos' in a moral sense, de Spectac.

catus' I have adopted. 16 ' sacerdotes pacis,' de Cult. Fem. ii.

s de Monog. 12. I have taken the 12 ' sacerdotes pudicitiae,' ad Vtor. i.

reading 'impares' for 'pares,' as re- 6 (comp. 7) 'virginitatis et viduitatis

quired by the context. saoerdotia.' On the other hand in de

* Tertullian regards Christ, our great Pall. 4 he seems to compare the ChrisHigh-Priest, as the counterpart under tian minister with the heathen priests, the new dispensation of the priest under but too much stress must not be laid the old, and so interprets the text on a rhetorical image.

Church, do not close our eyes drowsily or tacitly suppress the true word, etc1.' Origenin- The march of sacerdotal ideas was probably slower at the priest- Alexandria than at Carthage or Rome. Though belonging to tuaily8Pirl *ne nex' generation> Origen's views are hardly so advanced as those of Tertullian. In the temple of the Church, he says, there are two sanctuaries: the heavenly, accessible only to Jesus Christ, our great High-Priest; the earthly, open to all priests of the new covenant, that is, to all faithful believers. For Christians are a sacerdotal race and therefore have access to the outer sanctuary. There they must present their offerings, their holocausts of love and self-denial. From this outer sanctuary our High-Priest takes the fire, as He enters the Holy of Holies to offer incense to the Father (see Lev. xvi. 12)\ Very many professed Christians, he writes elsewhere (I am here abridging his words), occupied chiefly with the concerns of this world and dedicating few of their actions to God, are represented by the tribes, who merely present their tithes and first-fruits. On the other hand 'those who are devoted to the divine word, and are dedicated sincerely to the sole worship of God, may not unreasonably be called priests and Levites according to the difference in this respect of their impulses tending thereto.' Lastly 'those who excel the men of their own generation perchance will be high-priests.' They are only high-priests however after the order of Aaron, our Lord Himself being High-Priest after the order of Melchisedek*. Again in a third place he says,'The Apostles and they that are made like unto the Apostles, being priests after the order of the great High-Priest, having received the knowledge of the worship of God and being instructed by the Spirit, know for what sins they ought to offer sacrifices, etc.'.' In all these passages Origen has taken spiritual enlightenment and not sacerdotal office to be the Christian counterpart to the Aaronic priesthood.

1 Haer. procem. p. 3. 3 In Joann. i. § 3 (tv. p. 3).

s Hom, ix in Lev. 9, 10 (n. p. 243 * de Oral. 28 (i. p. 255). See al*>

Delaruo). limn, iv in Num. 3 (n. p. 283).

Elsewhere however he makes use of sacerdotal terms to describe but applies the ministry of the Church1; and in one place distinguishes the terms to priests and the Levites as representing the presbyters and *e mims" deacons respectively*.

Hitherto the sacerdotal view of the Christian ministry has not been held apart from a distinct recognition of the sacerdotal functions of the whole Christian body. The minister is Thepriestthus regarded as a priest, because he is the mouthpiece, the ministry representative, of a priestly race. Such appears to be the !pnnSJ conception of Tertullian, who speaks of the clergy as separate priesthood from the laity only because the Church in the exercise of her gregation. prerogative has for convenience entrusted to them the performance of certain sacerdotal functions belonging properly to the whole congregation, and of Origen, who, giving a moral and spiritual interpretation to the sacerdotal office, considers the priesthood of the clergy to differ from the priesthood of the laity only in degree, in so far as the former devote their time and their thoughts more entirely to God than the latter. So long as this important aspect is kept in view, so long as the priesthood of the ministry is regarded as springing from the priesthood of the whole body, the teaching of the Apostles has not been directly violated. But still it was not a safe nomenclature which assigned the terms sacerdos, ieptvs, and the like, to the ministry, as a special designation. The appearance of this phenomenon marks the period of transition from the universal sacerdotalism of the New Testament to the particular sacerdotalism of a later age.

1 Horn, v in Lev. 4 (n. p. 208 sq.) in Origen's opinion the confessor to 'Discant sacerdotes Domini qui eccle- the penitent need not be an ordained siis praesunt,' and also ib. Hom. ii. 4 minister. The passages in Redell n. p. l!ll)'Cumnonerubescitsacerdoti penning's Origenes bearing on this Domini indicare peccatum suum et subject are I. p. 357, n. pp. 250, 417, quaerere medicinam' (he quotes James 436 sq.

v. 14 in illustration). But Hom, x in - Hom, xii in Jerem. 3 (in. p. 196)

Num. 1, 2 (n. p. 302), quoted by Rede- 'If any one therefore among these

penning (Origenes n. p. 417), hardly priests (I mean us the presbyters) or

bears this sense, for the 'pontifex' ap- among these Levites who stand about

plies to our Lord; and it is clear from the people (I mean the deacons) etc.' Hom, in Ps. xxxvii. § 6 (n. p. 688) that

Cyprian If Tertullian and Origen are still hovering on the border,

pion of un-Cyprian has boldly transferred himself into the new domain. disguised It ^ not onjy foa^ ne uses tne tgrmg sacerdos, sacerdotium,

talism. sacerdotalis, of the ministry with a frequency hitherto without parallel. But he treats all the passages in the Old Testament which refer to the privileges, the sanctions, the duties, and the responsibilities of the Aaronic priesthood, as applying to the officers of the Christian Church. His opponents are profane and sacrilegious; they have passed sentence of death on themselves by disobeying the command of the Lord in Deuteronomy to 'hear the priest"; they have forgotten the injunction of Solomon to honour and reverence God's priests2; they have despised the example of St Paul who regretted that he 'did not know it was the high priest*'; they have been guilty of the sin of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram*. These passages are urged again and again. They are urged moreover, as applying not by parity of reasoning, not by analogy of circumstance, but as absolute and immediate and unquestionable. As Cyprian crowned the edifice of episcopal power, so also was he the first to put forward without relief or disguise the sacerdotal assumptions; and so uncompromising was the tone in which he asserted them, that nothing was left to his successors but to enforce bis principles and reiterate his language*.

After thus tracing the gradual departure from the Apostolic

teaching in the encroachment of the sacerdotal on the pastoral

and ministerial view of the clergy, it will be instructive to

investigate the causes to which this divergence from primitive

Were truth may be ascribed. To the question whether the change

views duo was ^ue to J611"80 or Gentile influences, opposite answers have

to Jewish Deen given. To some it has appeared as a reproduction of the Aaronic priesthood, due to Pharisaic tendencies, such as we find or Gen'among St Paul's converts in Galatia and at Corinth, still fluences? lingering in the Church: to others, as imported into Christianity by the ever-increasing mass of heathen converts who were incapable of shaking off their sacerdotal prejudices and appreciating the free spirit of the Gospel. The latter view seems correct in the main, but requires some modification.

1 Dent. xvii. 12; see Epist. 3, 4, 43, * De Unit. Keel. p. 88 (Fell), Eput

59, 66. 3, 67, 69, 73.

3 Though the words are ascribed to 5 The sacerdotal language in the

Solomon, the quotation comes from Apostolical Constitutions is hardly leis

Ecclus. vii. 29, 31; see Epist. 3. strong, while it is more systematic;

3 Acts xxiii. 4; see Eput. 3, 59, but their date is uncertain and oannot

66. well be placed earlier than Cyprian.

At all events so far as the evidence of extant writings goes, The there is no reason for supposing that sacerdotalism was especi- jewjsh

ally rife among the Jewish converts. The Testaments of the Ch^stmn ° writings

Twelve Patriarchs may be taken to represent one phase of contain no

tl'&Gf'^ of

Judaic Christianity; the Clementine writings exhibit another, saoerdotalIn both alike there is an entire absence of sacerdotal views of18m' the ministry. The former work indeed dwells at length on our Lord's office, as the descendant and heir of Levi1, and alludes more than once to His institution of a new priesthood; but this priesthood is spiritual and comprehensive. Christ Himself is the High-Priest8, and the sacerdotal office is described as being 'after the type of the Gentiles, extending to all the Gentiles8.' On the Christian ministry the writer is silent. In the Clementine Homilies the case is somewhat different, but the inference is still more obvious. Though the episcopate is regarded as the backbone of the Church, though the claims of the ministry are urged with great distinctness, no appeal is ever made to priestly sanctity as the ground of this exalted estimate4. Indeed the hold of the Levitical priesthood on the mind of the pious Jew must have been materially weakened at the Christian «ra by the development of the synagogue organization on the one hand, and by the ever-growing influence of the learned and literary classes, the scribes and rabbis, on the other. The points on which the Judaizers of the apostolic age insist are the rite of circumcision, the distinction of meats, the observance of sabbaths, and the like. The necessity of the priesthood was not, or at least is not known to have been, part of their

1 See above, p. 76. * Levi 8.

J Enben 6, Symeon 7, Levi 18. * See the next note.

programme. Among the Essene Jews especially, who went so far as to repudiate the temple sacrifices, no great importance could have been attached to the Aaronic priesthood1: and after the Apostolic age at all events, the most active Judaizers of the Dispersion seem to have belonged to the Essene type. But indeed the overwhelming argument against ascribing the growth of sacerdotal views to Jewish influence lies in the fact, that there is a singular absence of distinct sacerdotalism during the first century and a half, when alone on any showing Judaism was powerful enough to impress itself on the belief of the Church at large. Sacerdo- It is therefore to Gentile feeling that this development

duetoWB8 must be ascribed. For the heathen, familiar with auguries, Gentile in- lustrations, sacrifices, and depending on the intervention of some priest for all the manifold religious rites of the state, the club, and the family, the sacerdotal functions must have occupied a far larger space in the affairs of every-day life, than for the Jew of the Dispersion who of necessity dispensed, and had no scruple at dispensing, with priestly ministrations from one year's end to the other. With this presumption drawn from probability the evidence of fact accords. In Latin Christendom, as represented by the Church of Carthage, the germs of the sacerdotal idea appear first and soonest ripen to maturity. If we could satisfy ourselves of the early date of the Ancient Syriac Documents lately published, we should have discovered another centre from which this idea was propagated. And so far their testimony may perhaps be accepted. Syria was at least a soil where such a plant would thrive and luxuriate. In no country of the civilized world was sacerdotal authority among the heathen greater. The most important

1 See above, pp. 79, 82 sq.; below, Abel, Ishmael to Isaac, etc. In the

p. 350; Colossians p. 89. In the syv.y- Recognitions the estimate of the higb

gies of the Clementine Homilies (ii. 16, priest's position is still unfavourable

33) Aaron is opposed to Moses, the high- (i. 46, 48). Compare the statement

priest to the lawgiver, as the bad to the in Justin, Dial. c. Tryph. 117. good, the false to the true, like Cain to

centres of Syrian Christianity, Antioch and Emesa, were also the cradles of strongly-marked sacerdotal religions which at different times made their influence felt throughout the Roman empire1. This being so, it is a significant fact that the first instance of the term 'priest,' applied to a Christian minister, occurs in a heathen writer. At least I have not found any example of this application earlier than Lucian'.

But though the spirit, which imported the idea into the but sought Church of Christ and sustained it there, was chiefly due to old TestaGentile education, yet its form was almost as certainly derived J01!!j1etgana' from the Old Testament. And this is the modification which needs to be made in the statement, in itself substantially true, that sacerdotalism must be traced to the influence of Heathen rather than of Jewish converts.

In the Apostolic writings we find the terms 'offering,' (l) Meta'sacrifice,' applied to certain conditions and actions of the fgacriChristian life. These sacrifices or offerings are described as fioes spiritual3; they consist of praise4, of faith5, of almsgiving8, of the devotion of the body7, of the conversion of unbelievers8, and the like. Thus whatever is dedicated to God's service may be included under this metaphor. In one passage also the image is so far extended, that the Apostolic writer speaks of an altar* pertaining to the spiritual service of the Christian Church. If on this noble Scriptural language a false superstructure has been reared, we have here only one instance out of many, where the truth has been impaired by transferring statements from the region of metaphor to the region of fact.

1 The worship of the Syrian goddess 3 1 Pet. ii. 5.

of Antioch was among the most popu- 'Heb. ziii. 15.

lar of oriental superstitions under the s Phil. ii. 17.

earlier Cwsars; the rites of the Sun- * Acts xxiv. 17, Phil. iv. 18; comp.

god of Emesa became fashionable un- Heb. xiii. 16.

der Elagabalus. 7 Rom. xii. 1.

2 de Mort. Peregr. 11 T^y Baviuurrty 8 Rom. xv. 16.

ao^i<u, Tuk XpKrtiaxux ti-iiiaBe repl Tv 'Heb. xiii. 10. See below, p. 234,

liaXaxarlvriv t«i Iepifoi Ko.1 ypa/ifuitev- note 1. au» airriav $vyytvbnwos.

Offerings presented by the ministers.


These 'sacrifices' were very frequently the acts not of the individual Christian, but of the whole congregation. Such for instance were the offerings of public prayer and thanksgiving, or the collection of alms on the first day of the week, or the contribution of food for the agape, and the like. In such cases the congregation was represented by its minister, who thus acted as its mouthpiece and was said to 'present the offerings' to God. So the expression is used in the Epistle of St Clement of Rome1. But in itself it involves no sacerdotal view. This ancient father regards the sacrifice or offering as the act of the whole Church performed through its presbyters. The minister is a priest in the same sense only in which each individual member of the congregation is a priest. When St Clement denounces those who usurp the functions of the presbyters, he reprobates their conduct not as an act of sacrilege but as a violation of order. He views the presbytery as an Apostolic ordinance, not as a sacerdotal caste.

Thus when this father speaks of the presbytery as ' presenting the offerings,' he uses an expression which, if not directly scriptural, is at least accordant with the tenour of Scripture. But from such language the transition to sacerdotal views was easy, where the sacerdotal spirit was rife. From being the act of the whole congregation, the sacrifice came to be regarded as the act of the minister who officiated on its behalf

And this transition was moreover facilitated by the growing

tendency to apply the terms 'sacrifice' and 'offering' exclusively reference

or chiefly to the eucharistic service. It may be doubted whether, taphor to

even as used by St Clement, the expression may not have a rist_

special reference to this chief act of Christian dedication1. It

is quite certain that writers belonging to the generations next

following, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus for instance*, employ the

terms very frequently with this reference. We may here reserve

the question in what sense the celebration of the Lord's supper

may or may not be truly called a sacrifice. The point to be

noticed at present is this; that the offering of the eucharist,

being regarded as the one special act of sacrifice and appearing

externally to the eye as the act of the officiating minister,

might well lead to the minister being called a priest and then

being thought a priest in some exclusive sense, where the

religious bias was in this direction and as soon as the true

position of the minister as the representative of the congregation

was lost sight of.

But besides the metaphor or the analogy of the sacrifice, (2) Analogy of there was another point of resemblance also between the Jewish the three

priesthood and the Christian ministry, which favoured the "heLeAti

sacerdotal view of the latter. As soon as the episcopate and ?*Mjrie8t"

presbytery ceased to be regarded as sub-orders and were looked

1 On the whole however the passage ipipti r <is dpx" P« K.t.x. , § 34 roin

from the Epistle to the Hebrews alluded Kaproin ip£iv *o! Ta (pya rux xtip"y

to in the last note seems to be the best ip&v eh ti/\oytav iin&v rpoaipipovres

exponent of St Clement's meaning, as iuVnfi (sc. rw erio-mr<(i)...tA Supa fyuSc

he very frequently follows this Apos- SiSovrii Oisti? &s Upti 6«B, § 53 S&pov U

tolio writer. If eixapuTteiru has any ian f)ty f; iKdarov rpoffevxh Kal tixa

gpecial reference to the holy eucharist, purrla: comp. also § 35. These passages

as it may have, S&pa will nevertheless are quoted in HOfling, p. 27 sq.

be the alms and prayers and thanks- - The chief passages in these fa

givinga which accompanied the cele- thers relating to Christian oblations

bration of it. Compare Const. Apart. are, Justin. Apol. i. 13 (p. 60), i. 65,

ii. 25 ai Tire Bvaim yvv tixal «** Sefpea 66, 67 (p. 97 sq.), Dial. 28, 29 (p. 246),

ira! tixapurrliu, al rire drrapxal Kal 41 (p. 259 sq.), 116, 117 (p. 344 sq.),

Stkiitai Kal i<f/aip^nara *ai Supa vuv Iren. Haer. iv. co. 17, 18, 19, v. 2. 3

rpoa<popai oi 8iA ruv ixriiav iriVKi- Fragm. 38 (Stieren). The place ocou

Rmy rpoatpepo/itvai Kvplip K.t.\., §27 pied by the eucharistic elements in their

rpoaijKti Oby *o2 vnai, ioi\tpoi, Tas Bvaiai view of sacrifice will only be appreciated

i/iur Ijtoc rpoffcpopbs rip irutKinrip rpoa- by reading the passages continuously.

upon as distinct orders, the correspondence of the threefold ministry with the three ranks of the Levitical priesthood could not fail to suggest itself. The solitary bishop represented the solitary high-priest; the principal acts of Christian sacrifice were performed by the presbyters, as the principal acts of Jewish sacrifice by the priests; and the attendant ministrations were assigned in the one case to the deacon, as in the other to the Levite. Thus the analogy seemed complete. To this correspondence however there was one grave impediment. The only High-Priest under the Gospel recognised by the apostolic writings, is our Lord Himself. Accordingly in the Christian remains of the ages next succeeding this title is reserved as by right to Him1; and though belonging to various schools, all writers alike abstain from applying it to the bishop. Yet the scruple was at length set aside. When it had become usual to speak of the presbyters as 'sacerdotes,' the designation of 'pontifex' or 'summus sacerdos' for the bishop was far too convenient and too appropriate to be neglected.

Thus the analogy of the sacrifices and the correspondence of the threefold order supplied the material on which the sacerdotal feeling worked. And in this way, by the union of Gentile sentiment with the ordinances of the Old Dispensation, the doctrine of an exclusive priesthood found its way into the Church of Christ.

Question How far is the language of the later Church justifiable?

»ngg • £<an j.he (Christian ministry be called a priesthood in any sense? and if so, in what sense? The historical investigation, which has suggested this question as its proper corollary, has also supplied the means of answering it.

Silence of Though different interpretations may be put upon the fact

*tolic wri- th*' the sacred writers throughout refrain from applying sacerdotal terms to the Christian ministry, I think it must be taken to signify this much at least, that this ministry, if a priesthood at all, is a priesthood of a type essentially different from the Jewish. Otherwise we shall be perplexed to explain why the earliest Christian teachers should have abstained from using those terms which alone would adequately express to their hearers the one most important aspect of the ministerial office. It is often said in reply, that we have here a question not of words, but of things. This is undeniable: but words express things; and the silence of the Apostles still requires an explanation.

1 See Clem. Rom. 36, 58, Polyo. Patr. Rub. 6, Sym. 7, etc., Cha. Phil. 12, Ignat. Philad. 9, Te«t. xii Recogn. i. 48.


However the interpretation of this fact is not far to seek. Epistle to The Epistle to the Hebrews speaks at great length on priests brew8." and sacrifices in their Jewish and their Christian bearing. It is plain from this epistle, as it may be gathered also from other notices Jewish and Heathen, that the one prominent idea of its doctrithe priestly office at this time was the function of offering mg, sacrifice and thereby making atonement. Now this Apostolic writer teaches that all sacrifices had been consummated in the one Sacrifice, all priesthoods absorbed in the one Priest. The offering had been made once for all: and, as there were no more victims, there could be no more priests1. All former priesthoods had borne witness to the necessity of a human mediator, and this sentiment had its satisfaction in the Person and Office of the Son of Man. All past sacrifices had proclaimed the need of an atoning death, and had their antitype, their realisation, their annulment, in the Cross of Christ. This explicit statement supplements and interprets the silence elsewhere noticed in the Apostolic writings.

1 The epistle deals mainly with the every priest standeth daily (kh8'imipav)

office of Christ as the antitype of the ministering and offering the samesacri

High-Priest offering the annual sacri- flees, etc.'; where the v. 1. dpx'£p«i>» for

lice of atonement: and it has been ii/xiis seems to have arisen from the

urged that there is still room for a desire to bring the verse into more exact

sacrificial priesthood under the High- conformity with what has gone before.

Priest. The whole argument however This passage, it should be remembered,

is equally applicable to the inferior is the summing-up and generalisation

priests: and in one passage at least it of the previous argument. is directly so applied (x. 11, 12), 'And

and spiritual analogies.

Strictly accordant too with the general tenour of his argument is the language used throughout by the writer of this epistle. He speaks of Christian sacrifices, of a Christian altar; but the sacrifices are praise and thanksgiving and well-doing, the altar is apparently the Cross of Christ1. If the Christian ministry were a sacerdotal office, if the holy eucharist were a sacerdotal act, in the same sense in which the Jewish priesthood and the Jewish sacrifice were sacerdotal, then his argument is faulty and his language misleading. Though dwelling at great length on the Christian counterparts to the Jewish priest, the Jewish altar, the Jewish sacrifice, he omits to mention the one office, the one place, the one act, which on this showing would be their truest and liveliest counterparts in the every-day worship of the Church of Christ. He has rejected these, and he has chosen instead moral and spiritual analogies for all these sacred types1. Thus in what he has said and in what he has left unsaid alike, his language points to one and the same result.

1 It is surprising that some should have interpreted Owkwttjpiov in Heb. xiii. 10 of the Lord's table. There may be a doubt as to the exact significance of the term in this passage, but an actual altar is plainly not intended. This is shown by the context both before and after: e.g. ver. 9 the opposition of x^/"» and Ppii/Mta, ver. 15 the contrast implied in the mention of Bvaia alviaeiai and Kaprbs xei^tiov' ;lnL^ ver. 16 the naming ei'roifa Ko.1 Koivuyla as the kind of sacrifice with which God is well pleased. In my former editions I interpreted the Bvauurt-fipioy of the congregation assembled for worship, having been led to this interpretation by the Christian phraseology of succeeding ages. So Clem. Alex. Strom. vii. 6, p. 848, tan -yoGx To rap' iipuv Bvaiaar^piov ivravBa To erlyeiov To Bpouina T&y rais eixals avaKupiruv. The nse of the word in Ignatius also, though less obvious, appears to be substantially the same, Ephes. 5, Trail. 7, Philad. 4 (bnt in Magn. 7 it seems to be a metaphor for our Lord Himself); see Hofling Opfer etc. p. 32 sq. Similarly too Polycarp (§ 4) speaks of the body of widows as 6vaux<rHipu>v GeoO. [See notes on these passages in Apostolic Fatheri Part II., S. Ignatius, S. Polycarp.] But I have since been convinced that the context points to the Cross of Christ spiritually regarded, as the true interpretation.

Since my first edition appeared, a wholly different interpretation of the passage has been advocated by more than one writer. It is maintained that (xonev BvaiaaHipiov should be

understood 'we Jews have an altar,' and that the writer of the epistle is here bringing an example from the Old Dispensation itself (the sin-offering on the day of atonement) in which the sacrifices were not eaten. This interpretation is attractive, but it seems to me inadequate to explain the whole context (though it suits parts well enough), and is ill adapted to individual expressions (e.g. Bvaia<rrijpiov where Bvaia would be expected, and oi tjj amjyjj Xotptvovrej which thus becomes needlessly emphatic), not to mention that the first person plural and the present tense txoi*a> seem unnatural where the author and his readers are spoken of, not as actual Christians, bnt as former Jews. In fact the analogy of the sacrifice on the day of atonement appears not to be introduced till the next verse, wr yap elffipiperai fouy K.t.\.

Some interpreters again, from a comparison of 1 Cor. ix. 13 with 1 Cor. x. 18, have inferred that St Paul recognises the designation of the Lord's table as an altar. On the contrary it is a speaking fact, that in both passages he avoids using this term of the Lord's table, though the language of the context might readily have suggested it to him, if he had considered it appropriate. Nor does the argument in either case require or encourage such an inference. In 1 Cor. ix. 13, 14, the Apostle writes 'Know ye not that they which wait at the altar arc partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should

If therefore the sacerdotal office be understood to imply the Christian offering of sacrifices, then the Epistle to the Hebrews leaves no are priests place for a Christian priesthood. If on the other hand the word ^n^ot er be taken in a wider and looser acceptation, it cannot well be withheld from the ministry of the Church of Christ. Only in this case the meaning of the term should be clearly apprehended: and it might have been better if the later Christian vocabulary had conformed to the silence of the Apostolic writers, so that the possibility of confusion would have been avoided.

According to this broader meaning, the priest may be defined as one who represents God to man and man to God. It is moreover indispensable that he should be called by God, for no man 'taketh this honour to himself.' The Christian ministry satisfies both these conditions.

Of the fulfilment of the latter the only evidence within our as having cognisance is the fact that the minister is called according to a apn^nt6 divinely appointed order. If the preceding investigation be ment

live of the gospel.' The point of resem- common to Christians and Heathens;

blance in the two cases is the holding i.e. the holy eucharist is a banquet

a sacred office; bnt the ministering on bnt it is not a sacrifice (in the Jewish

the altar is predicated only of the or Heathen sense of sacrifice),

former. So also in 1 Cor. x. 18 sq., * For the passages see above, pp.

the altar is named as common to Jews 229, 230. and Heathens, but the table only as

substantially correct, the three-fold ministry can be traced to Apostolic direction; and short of an express statement we can possess no better assurance of a Divine appointment or at least a Divine sanction. If the facts do not allow us to unchurch other Christian communities differently organized, they may at least justify our jealous adhesion to a polity derived from this source.

And while the mode of appointment satisfies the one condition, the nature of the office itself satisfies the other; for it exhibits the doubly representative character which is there laid down, as repre- The Christian minister is God's ambassador to men: he is

God to charged with the ministry of reconciliation; he unfolds the will man' of heaven; he declares in God's name the terms on which pardon is offered; and he pronounces in God's name the absolution of the penitent. This last mentioned function has been thought to invest the ministry with a distinctly sacerdotal character. Yet it is very closely connected with the magisterial and pastoral duties of the office, and is only priestly in the same sense in which they are priestly. As empowered to declare the conditions of God's grace, he is empowered also to proclaim the consequences of their acceptance. But throughout his office is representative and not vicarial1. He does not interpose between God and man in such a way that direct communion with God is superseded on the one hand, or that his own mediation becomes indispensable on the other, and Sb re- Again, the Christian minister is the representative of man man to to God—of the congregation primarily, of the individual indirectly as a member of the congregation. The alms, the prayers, the thanksgivings of the community are offered through him. Some representation is as necessary in the Church as it is in a popular government: and the nature of the representation is not affected by the fact that the form of the ministry has been handed down from Apostolic times and may well be presumed to have a Divine sanction. For here again it must be borne in mind that the minister's function is representative without being vicarial. He is a priest, as the mouthpiece, the delegate, of a priestly race. His acts are not his own, but the acts of the congregation. Hence too it will follow that, viewed on this side as on the other, his function cannot be absolute and indispensable. It may be a general rule, it may be under ordinary circumstances a practically universal law, that the highest acts of congregational worship shall be performed through the principal officers of the congregation. But an emergency may arise when the spirit and not the letter must decide. The Christian ideal will then interpose and interpret our duty. The higher ordinance of the universal priesthood will overrule all special limitations. The layman will assume functions which are otherwise restricted to the ordained minister1.

1 The distinction is made in Maurice's Kingdom of Chritt H. p. 216.

Yet it would be vain to deny that a very different concep- Theprevation prevailed for many centuries in the Church of Christ, sacerdotalThe Apostolic ideal was set forth, and within a few generations ^dered. forgotten. The vision was only for a time and then vanished. A strictly sacerdotal view of the ministry superseded the broader and more spiritual conception of their priestly functions. From being the representatives, the ambassadors, of God, they came to be regarded His vicars. Nor is this the only instance where a false conception has seemed to maintain a long-lived domination over the Church. For some centuries the idea of the Holy Roman Empire enthralled the minds of men. For a still longer period the idea of the Holy Roman See held undisturbed sway over Western Christendom. To those who take a comprehensive view of the progress of Christianity, even these more lasting obscurations of the truth will present no serious difficulty. They will not suffer themselves to be blinded thereby to the true nobility of Ecclesiastical History: they will not fail to see

1 For the opinion of the early Church passage of Tertullian quoted above, on this subject see especially the p. 223.

that, even in the seasons of her deepest degradation, the Church was still the regenerator of society, the upholder of right principle against selfish interest, the visible witness of the Invisible God; they will thankfully confess that, notwithstanding the pride and selfishness and dishonour of individual rulers, notwithstanding the imperfections and errors of special institutions and developments, yet in her continuous history the Divine promise has been signally realised, 'Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.'

Additional Notes To The Dissertation Upon The
Christian Ministry.

In the following passage in his later work, The Apostolic Fathers Part II., S. Ignatius, S. Polycarp I. p. 407 sq. (1st edit. 1885), I. p. 422 sq. (2nd edit. 1889), Dr Lightfoot sums up his reasons for the change of opinion upon the Ignatian question announced above, p. 198, note 1.

The facts then are these:

(1) No Christian writings of the second century, and very few writings of antiquity, whether Christian or pagan, are so well authenticated as the Epistles of Ignatius. If the Epistle of Polycarp be accepted as genuine, the authentication is perfect1.

(2) The main ground of objection against the genuineness of the Epistle of Polycarp is its authentication of the Ignatian Epistles. Otherwise there is every reason to believe that it would have passed unquestioned.

(3) The Epistle of Polycarp itself is exceptionally well authenticated by the testimony of his disciple Irenaeus.

(4) All attempts to explain the phenomena of the Epistle of Polycarp, as forged or interpolated to give colour to the Ignatian Epistles, have signally failed.

(5) The external testimony to the Ignatian Epistles being so strong, only the most decisive marks of spuriousness in the epistles themselves, as for instance proved anachronisms, would justify us in suspecting them as interpolated or rejecting them as spurious.

(6) But so far is this from being the case that one after another

1 'If the Epistle of Polycarp be accepted as genuine' (2nd edit.).

the anachronisms urged against these letters have vanished in the light of further knowledge. Thus the alleged refutation of the Valentinian doctrine of aeons in Magn. 8 depends on a false reading which recently discovered materials for the text have corrected. The supposed anachronism of 'the leopards' (Rom. 5) has been refuted by the production of passages overlooked by the objector. The argument from the mention of the 'Catholic Church' (Smym. 8) has been shown to rest on a false interpretation which disregards the context.

(7) As regards the argument which Daille' calls 'palmary'—the prevalence of episcopacy as a recognized institution—we may say boldly that all the facts point the other way. If the writer of these letters had represented the Churches of Asia Minor as under presbyteral government, he would have contradicted all the evidence, which without one dissentient voice points to episcopacy as the established form of Church government in these districts from the close of the first century.

(8) The circumstances of the condemnation, captivity, and journey of Ignatius, which have been a stumbling-block to some modern critics, did not present any difficulty to those who lived near the time and therefore knew best what might be expected under the circumstances; and they are sufficiently borne out by examples, more or less analogous, to establish their credibility.

(9) The objections to the style and language of the epistles are l>eside the purpose. In some cases they arise from a misunderstanding of the writer's meaning. Generally they may be said to rest on the assumption that an apostolic father could not use exaggerated expressions, overstrained images, and the like—certainly a sandy foundation on which to build an argument.

(10) A like answer holds with regard to any extravagances in sentiment or opinion or character. Why should Ignatius not have exceeded the bounds of sober reason or correct taste? Other men in his own and immediately succeeding ages did both. As an apostolic father he was not exempt from the failings, if failings they were, of his age and position.

(11) While the investigation of the contents of these epistles has yielded this negative result, in dissipating the objections, it his at the same time had a high positive value, as revealing indications of a very early date, and therefore presumably of genuineness, in the surrounding circumstances, more especially in the types of false doctrine which it combats, in the ecclesiastical status which it presents, and in the manner in which it deals with the evangelical and apostolic documents.

(12) Moreover we discover in the personal environments of the assumed writer, and more especially in the notices of his route, many subtle coincidences which we are constrained to regard as undesigned, and which seem altogether beyond the reach of a forger.

(13) So likewise the peculiarities in style and diction of the epistles, as also in the representation of the writer's character, are much more capable of explanation in a genuine writing than in a forgery.

(14) While external and internal evidence thus combine to assert the genuineness of these writings, no satisfactory account has been or apparently can be given of them as a forgery of a later date than Ignatius. They would be quite purposeless as such; for they entirely omit all topics which would especially interest any subsequent age.

On these grounds we are constrained to accept the Seven Epistles of the Middle Form as the genuine work of Ignatius.


The following extracts from Bishop Ligktfoot's works illustrate his view of the Christian Ministry over and above the particular scope of the Essay in his Commentary on the Philippians. He felt that unfair use had been made of that special line of thought which he there pursued, and soon after the close of the Lambeth Conference of 1888 he had this collection of passages printed.

It is felt by those who have the best means of knowing that he would himself have wished the collection to stand together simply as his reply to the constant imputation to him of opinions for which writers wished to claim his support without any justification.

1. Commentary on the Epistle to the Philippians (Essay on the Christian Ministry, 1868).

(i) p. 199, ed. i; p. 201, later edd. (See above, p. 160.)

'Unless we have recourse to a sweeping condemnation of received

documents, it seems vain to deny that early in the second century

the episcopal office was firmly 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 most have been brought about.'

(ii) p. 212, ed. I; p. 214, later edd. (See above, p. 175.) 'The evidence for the early and wide extension of episcopacv throughout proconsular Asia, the scene of St John's latest labours, may be considered irrefragable.'

(iii) p. 225, ed. i; p. 227, later edd. (See above, pp. 190, 191.) 'But these notices, besides establishing the general prevalence of episcopacy, also throw considerable light on its origin...Above all, they establish this result clearly, that its maturer forms are seen first in those regions where the latest surviving Apostles (more especially St John) fixed their abode, and at a time when its prevalence cannot be dissociated from their influence or their sanction.' (iv) p. 232, ed. i; p. 234, later edd. (See above, pp. 197,198.) 'It has been seen that the institution of an episcopate must be placed as far back as the closing years of the first century, and that it cannot, without violence to historical testimony, be dissociated from the name of St John.'

(v) p. 265, ed. i; p. 267, later edd. (See above, pp. 235, 236.) 'If the preceding investigation be substantially correct, the threefold ministry can be traced to Apostolic direction; and short of an express statement we can possess no better assurance of a Divine appointment or at least a Divine sanction. If the facts do not allow us to unchurch other Christian communities differently organized, they may at least justify our jealous adhesion to a polity derived from this source.'

2. Commentary on the Epistle to the Philippians (Preface to the Sixth Edition), 1881.

'The present edition is an exact reprint of the preceding one. This statement applies as well to the Essay on the Threefold Ministry as to the rest of the work. I should not have thought it necessary to be thus explicit, had I not been informed of a rumour that I had found reason to abandon the main opinions expressed in that Essay. There is no foundation for any such report. The only point of importance on which I have modified my views, since the Essay was first written, is the authentic form of the letters of St Ignatius. Whereas in the earlier editions of this work I bad accepted the three Curetonian letters, I have since been convinced (as stated in later editions) that the seven letters of the Short Greek are genuine. This divergence however does not materially affect the main point at issue, since even the Curetonian letters afford abundant evidence of the spread of episcopacy in the earliest years of the second century.

But on the other hand, while disclaiming any change in my opinions, I desire equally to disclaim the representations of those opinions which have been put forward in some quarters. The object of the Essay was an investigation into the origin of the Christian Ministry. The result has been a confirmation of the statement in the English Ordinal, "It is evident unto all men diligently reading the Holy Scripture and ancient authors that from the Apostles' time there have been these orders of Ministers in Christ's Church, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons." But I was scrupulously anxious not to overstate the evidence in any case; and it would seem that partial and qualifying statements, prompted by this anxiety, have assumed undue proportions in the minds of some readers, who have emphasized them to the neglect of the general drift of the Essay.'

3. Sermon preached before the Representative Council of the Scottish Episcopal Church in St Mary's Church at Glasgow, October 10, 1882. (' Sermons preached on Special Occasions', p. 182 sq.)

'When I spoke of unity as St Paul's charge to the Church of Corinth, the thoughts of all present must, I imagine, have fastened on one application of the Apostolic rule which closely concerns yourselves. Episcopal communities in Scotland outside the organization of the Scottish Episcopal Church—this is a spectacle which no one, I imagine, would view with satisfaction in itself, and which only a very urgent necessity could justify. Can such a necessity be pleaded? "One body" as well as "one Spirit," this is the Apostolic rule. No natural interpretation can be put on these words which does not recognize the obligation of external, corporate union. Circumstances may prevent the realisation of the Apostle's conception, but the ideal must be ever present to our aspirations and our prayers. I have reason to believe that this matter lies very near to the hearts of all Scottish Episcopalians. May God grant you a speedy accomplishment of your desire. You have the same doctrinal formularies: you acknowledge the same episcopal polity: you respect the same liturgical forms. "Sirs, ye are brethren." Do not strain the conditions of reunion too tightly. I cannot say, for I do not know, what faults or what misunderstandings there may have been on either side in the past. If there have been any faults, forget them. If there exist any misunderstandings, clear them up. "Let the dead past bury its dead."


While you seek unity among yourselves, you will pray likewise that unity may be restored to your Presbyterian brothers. Not insensible to the special blessings which you yourselves enjoy, clinging tenaciously to the threefold ministry as the completeness of the Apostolic ordinance and the historical backbone of the Church, valuing highly all those sanctities of liturgical office and ecclesiastical season, which, modified from age to age, you have inherited from an almost immemorial past, thanking God, but not thanking Him in any Pharisaic spirit, that these so many and great privileges are continued to you which others have lost, you will nevertheless shrink, as from the venom of a serpent's fang, from any mean desire that their divisions may be perpetuated in the hope of profiting by their troubles. Divide et impera may be a shrewd worldly motto; but coming in contact with spiritual things, it defiles them like pitch. Facifica et impera is the true watchword of the Christian and the Churchman.'

4. The Apostolic Fathers, Part n., St Ignatius: St Polycarp, Vol. I. pp. 376, 377, 1885 (pp. 390, 391, 1889).

'The whole subject has been investigated by me in an Essay on "The Christian Ministry"; and to this I venture to refer my readers for fuller information. It is there shown, if I mistake not, that though the New Testament itself contains as yet no direct and indisputable notices of a localized episcopate in the Gentile Churches, as distinguished from the moveable episcopate exercised by Timothy in Ephesus and by Titus in Crete, yet there is satisfactory evidence of its development in the later years of the Apostolic age; that this development was not simultaneous and equal in all parts of Christendom; that it is more especially connected with the name of St John; and that in the early years of the second century the episcopate was widely spread and had taken firm root, more especially in Asia Minor and in Syria. If the evidence on which its extension in the regions east of the ^Egean at this epoch be resisted, I am at a loss to understand what single fact relating to the history of the Christian Church during the first half of the second century can be regarded as established; for the testimony in favour of this spread of the episcopate is more abundant and more varied than for any other institution or event during this period, so far as I recollect.'

5. Sermon preached before the Church Congress at Wolverhampton, October 3, 1887. ('Sermons preached on Special Occasions', p. 259 sq.)

'But if this charge fails, what shall we say of her isolation 1 Is not this isolation, so far as it is true, much more her misfortune than her fault? Is she to be blamed because she retained a form of Church government which had been handed down in unbroken continuity from the Apostolic times, and thus a line was drawn between her and the reformed Churches of other countries 1 Is it a reproach to her that she asserted her liberty to cast off the accretions which had gathered about the Apostolic doctrine and practice through long ages, and for this act was repudiated by the Roman Church 1 But this very position,—call it isolation if you will—which was her reproach in the past, is her hope for the future. She was isolated because she could not consort with either extreme. She was isolated because she stood midway between the two. This central position is her vantage ground, which fits her to be a mediator, wheresoever an occasion of mediation may arise.

But this charge of isolation, if it had any appearance of truth seventy years ago, has lost its force now.'

6. Durham Diocesan Conference. Inaugural Address, October, 1887.

'When I speak of her religious position I refer alike to polity and to doctrine. In both respects the negative, as well as the positive, bearing of her position has to be considered. She has retained the form of Church government inherited from the Apostolic times, while she has shaken off a yoke, which even in medieval times our fathers found too heavy to bear, and which subsequent developments have rendered tenfold more oppressive. She has remained stedfast in the faith of Nicaea, but she has never compromised herself by any declaration which may entangle her in the meshes of science. The doctrinal inheritance of the past is hers, and the scientific hopes of the future are hers. She is intermediate and she may become mediatorial, when the opportunity occurs. It was this twofold inheritance of doctrine and polity which I had in view, when I spoke of the essentials which could under no circumstances be abandoned. Beyond this, it seems to me that large concessions

might be made. Unity is not uniformity On the other hand it

would be very short-sighted policy—even if it were not traitorous to the truth—to tamper with essentials and thus to imperil our mediatorial vantage ground, for the sake of snatching an immediate increase of numbers.'

7. Address on the Reopening of the Chapel, Auckland Castle, August 1st, 1888. (' Leaders in the Northern Church,' p. 145.)

'But, while we "lengthen our cords," we must "strengthen our stakes" likewise. Indeed this strengthening of our stakes will alone enable us to lengthen our cords with safety, when the storms are howling around us. We cannot afford to sacrifice any portion of the faith once delivered to the saints; we cannot surrender for any immediate advantages the threefold ministry which we have inherited from Apostolic times, and which is the historic backbone of the Church. But neither can we on the other hand return to the fables of medievalism or submit to a yoke which our fathers found too grievous to be borne—a yoke now rendered a hundredfold more oppressive to the mind and conscience, weighted as it is by recent and unwarranted impositions of doctrine.'