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proved elders preside, who have obtained that honor, not by price, but by the evidence of their fitness.”l Aged men, as such never presided in the church. Also these are expressed to have obtained their standing by testimony, and were consequently chosen. We have seen in Justin, that the eucharist was dispensed by the stpoko7ws, presiding presbyter. The same practice, though not '
mentioned by Clement, is recognised by Tertullian, his cotemporary. “We never take from the hand of others," says he, “than presidents, de aliorum manu quam presidentium, the sacrament of the eucharist, commanded by the Lord, in the time of his life, to all, even the nightly assemblies.”m In the same chapter, he has used the Latin word, antistes which exactly corresponds to #poko7w5; “Being about to go to the water, but a little before it, we testify in the church, in the presence of the president, sub antistitis manu, that we renounce the devil, and his pomp and angels.” That the names, Aposolws, agoro Tapevos, præses and antistes, which had been used for the first presbyter from the apostolic age, began to give place to the word encoxontos, episcopus, or bishop, is established by his exclusive agsignation of the exercise of the power last mentioned, to the bishop of every congregation in the following passage." "The highest presbyter, who is the bishop, summus sacerdos, qui est episcopus, has the right of granting baptism, afterwards the presbyters and deacons, dehinc presbyteri et diaconi, nevertheless, not without the authority of the bishop, for the honor of the church, which being preserved, its peace is secure; otherwise the right is also with the laymen.” The highest implies inferiors of the same kind. These were the presbyters, because no others had existed at this period, in any Christian church. That this diversity sprang, not from any original difference in order or office, is evident; because Tertullian expressly founds the superior
I“ Præsident probati quique seniores, honorem istum non pretio sed testimonio adepti." _Apol. c. 39.
DA De Corona, chap. 3, p. 341.
authority of bishops, upon its necessity to the preservation of the honour and peace of the church, and not upon any scriptural or apostolical ordination or appointment. Here are no lay-presbyters; yet the expediency alleged for degrading presbyters by a transfer of a part of their original authority to a presiding presbyter, bears some affinity to that, which is now made the excuse for conferring on elders the place and station of deacons in the church. The terms, “next the presbyters and deacons,” imply that baptism was not originally proper, only to the presiding elder; but the peace of the church appears to have been disturbed by the rivalship of presbyters, whose power of baptizing had been made an engine of raising adherents, and promoting divisions. The peace of the church required that it should be under the direction of the
presbytery in every congregation, and be performed by the presiding presbyter, or by some other for him. If the original power of these presbyters, which expediency only suspended, authorized their administration of ordinances, they were not lay elders. The implied concession of a power in deacons to do the same things, and the position, that the right existed in laymen, show, not merely that, had there been lay-presbyters, they might have baptized, but that the presbyters spoken of, were not laymen.
He expresses his opinion, “That the authority of the church appointed, constituit
, the difference between the order and the people, inter ordinem et plebem.". But that authority he must have understood to have been exercised in the days of the apostles; for he challenges the heretics to prove their doctrine by uninterrupted tradition, through successive bishops from the apostles; by which bishops, and the other presbyters, he must have meant the order of which he has spoken in the singular. “Let them show the commencements of their churches-let them tell the series of their bishops, so descending by succession from the beginning, that the first bishop shall have had some author or predecessor from the apostles, or apostolic men, who continued constantly with the apostles; for in this manner the apostolic churches deduced their own genealogies; thus the church of Smyrna, having Polycarp, relate that he was located there by John; thus the church of Rome, having Clement, put forth that he was ordained by Peter; in the same manner, also, other churches present those whom, placed in the episcopacy by the apostles, they account the propagators of the apostolic cion.”p The originality of doctrines was to be proved by that of the churches; and this could be shown by the successions of the presiding officers.
o Opera Tertulliani à Semler, vol. iii. p. 119.
The preservation of the names and successions of all the presbyters for a century, might have been impracticable; yet the strength of the argument for the sameness of doctrines, chiefly depended upon this circumstance, that the presbytery of each church, at any given period, secured the orthodoxy of each successive repoɛo7ws, presiding, presbyter, whom Tertullian denominates bishop.
Inveighing against the irregularities of the heretics, he observes, “One is the bishop to day, to-morrow, another, alius hodie episcopus, cras alius; to day he is a deacon, who is a reader to-morrow, hodie diaconus, qui cras lector; to-day a presbyter, who is a layman tomorrow, hodie presbyter, qui cras laicus; for they also impose sacerdotal functions on the laity.” Individual assemblies are here the allusion, as in all other parts of his writings; if one to-day acted as the bishop in public worship, and to-morrow another, it must have been intended of one man's leading in the ordinances on one day, and another on the next, which is no more than the office of the aposolws, president; except that with heretics, the duty belonged to no one permanently. This passage also proves, that reading was no part of the deacon's office; that elders were not laymen; and that
P Ib, vol. ii. p. 39,
the latter ought not to have performed clerical duties in the church.
When arguing the truth of the common doctrines against Marcion, from their priority, after mentioning the churches of Corinth, Galatia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Ephesus and Rome, he observes, "we have also the churches nourished, alumnas, of John; for if Marcion rejects also his Apocalypse, nevertheless, the series of the bishops, ordo tamen episcoporum, reckoned up to their commencement, will stand upon John their founder. In the same manner also, the genuieness of the other churches is recognized.”. The enumerations of the presiding presbyters, which have formerly occurred, render this passage perfectly clear, and vastly different from the modern import of the phrase order of bishops. He sometimes also means by ordo, the bench of presbyters which sat in every organized church. “Ubi ecclesiastici ordinis non est consessus, where there is not a presbytery, offers et tingis, you administer the eucharist, and baptize, &c.”. This is the plain testimony of Tertullian," that there was but one kind of ecclesiastics in every church, who were called an order, because they sat in a row; of these there was one, who by custom, from the apostle's days, presided; and the series of such presidents, up to the apostles, was also denominated the order of the bishops of that particular congregation; but we have not found a word concerning lay-presbyters, in all his writings.
9 Ib. vol. iii. p. 119.
r The piece on the Trinity appearing among the works ascribed to Tertullian, has been referred by Jerom to Novatian, who lived until about the middle of the third century. In like manner the treatise on Jewish meats, among the works of Tertullian, is ascribed to Novatian; and also the 30th letter in the works of Cyprian. Neither Novatian nor Hilary, the deacon, are accounted authors, their writings having been incorrectly assigned to others.
Ignatius wrote epistles; the Latin are given up, and the larger Greek gene
rally: the smaller are liable to many objections.— They sustain not the character given by Polycarp, were opposed to Arianism, which was long after his day; differ in style; were written when the government was parochial episcopacy.-The word επισκοπος had not been substituted for προεστος in the days of the martyr, as these letters represent.— The writer's principal object was to enhance the power of parochial bishops, which had not commenced then.- They allege he saw Christ, which would make him too old in 116 to have walked and acted as described. There is mention an error, which arose long after his martyrdom. — Their description of the church as Catholic, the worship as at an altar, and in a temple, and the bread as if transubstantiated, are arguments against them. — Other objections.
That Ignatius was sentenced by Trajan, whilst at Antioch on his way to the East, in his fourth year, A. D. 116, to be carried to Rome, and there given to wild beasts, which was accordingly done, is sufficiently certain. The account of his martyrdom, which has been defended as ancient and authentic, disagrees with the relation Eusebius has given of his progress to Rome. The former declares that he sailed from Seleucia to Smyrna, thence to Troas, and from thence to Neapolis. The latter relates that he passed through Asia, and confirmed the congregations throughout every city where he came, preaching the word of God, &c. Whoever compares the seven larger Greek epistles which bear the name of Ignatius, with the account which Eusebius has given of the epistles of that apostolic father, will find such an agreement as will establish a strong probability that they are the same. Yet this argument is nearly the same in favor of the smaller which are chiefly preferred. The Latin epistles, and the larger Greek ones, are now generally, if not universally given up. The larger epistles are