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able to convince adversaries, it follows that the same ngocolausvos, ruling elder of a church was a teacher, The word denotes presidency or priority, and being associated with the authority to teach, but contrasted with the milder instructions of catechist, it sufficiently discovers the office to have been that of a presbyter; for although the term bishop was now often used for atgokolws, presiding elder; there were, as yet, but the two ordinations, one of presbyters, the other of dea
An argument for the identity of the orders of bishops and presbyters, has often been drawn from the first chapter of Titus, where the terms of office, and the personal qualifications are used so promiscuously, as to baffle all powers of discrimination. Origen has observed on the same passage, that, “It is evident, that in the designation of those denominated bishons, Paul delineating what kind of a man, it was fit, should be a bishop, has directed, that he be a teacher, saying, it becomes him to be able to confute gainsayers.”e Here the presbyters, whom Titus was left in Crete to ordain, are declared by Origen, to have been the persons, whom Paul immediately afterwards denominates bishops ; and if these were all to be teachers, which is here also affirmed, they were of one kind only, and none of them laymen.
A passage has sometimes been quoted and unfairly translated, on prayer.
• Besides those which are general, there is a certain debt to the widow, who has been received by the church, Tis ungas--opeian, and another to the deacon, και έτερα διακονου, and another to the presbyter, και αλλη πρεσβύτερου, but the debt to the bishop is the most weighty, και επισκοπου δε οφειλη βαρυ7αλη εστιν, , being required by the Saviour of the whole church, and avenged, unless it be paid." f
If the debt to the presbyter was thought by Origen, to be different from that due the bishop, he has not so expressed it. The translation, “another to presbyters, and another to bishops" is indefensible. Yet if we suppose Origen to have intended, that the debt due the bishop was weightiest, because of his care and responsibility, as the presiding presbyter, whose superintending anxiety for the whole church, laid a just foundation
e Orig. contra Celsum. lib. iii. p. 140. f Orig. Iepe. sugens.
of a claim upon the people for proportional remuneration, the passage will be a just representation of facts, in the government of the churches at that time; and the adoption of the word bishop in the sense of rgokotws, ruling elder would have been no more than a conformity to a mode of expression, which was beginning to be adopted in his day. But the debt to the bishop not being expressed to be another, may be taken to be that, which was before declared to be due to the presbyter, and what may be said of the bishop's claim may be grammatically viewed, as affirmed of the last of the three kinds of debts, which had been enumerated. This interpretation is supported also, by the circumstance, that he speaks of the officers of the church, sometimes as presbyters, and deacons, and at others as bishops, presbyters, and deacons. But upon any interpretation there is no ground to imagine, that he meant by the presbyter, a layman.
The Philocalia were collected more than a century after Origen’s death. To quote this production in support of those writings from whence they are presumed to have been taken, may be proper. But they ought not to be deemed competent evidence of any thing, not found in his works. A mistaken passage has been brought from the Philocalia to prove “the succession diadoxny of the apostles," but the writer is speaking of the handing down of the Scriptures by the apostles.
He censures those deacons, who coveted “the first seats of those, who are denominated presbyters, and such as laid schemes to be called presbyters; and alleges, that as Christ washed the feet of his disciples,
& Tract No. v. on Matt. and Hom. vii. on Jeremiah. h Tract 24, on Matt,
“so a bishop should minister as a servant, to his fellow servants." His complaint of those bishops and presbyters, who were unlearned and flagitiouski may have provoked his own bishop, by whose obloquy his character was assailed. Had the office of Demetrius been by ordination, or resulted from seniority, those jealousies would probably never have arisen; nor had the church at Alexandria been deprived of the unrivalled learning, and exemplary piety of Origen.
That there should be one, however designated among the plurality of equals, in every public body, to facilitate their operations, or lead in duties, is suggested by the experience of all assemblies, civil and ecclesiastical. The Greeks denominated him açoko7ws, president, the identical term adopted by the first Christian presbyteries for their primus. The seven apocalyptic churches were indirectly addressed, through that officer, by the name angel, chosen because less publicly known, but we have found not one instance in any uninspired writing of the use of that name in the same sense. To show how this unordained presidency over equals, grew into parcohial episcopacy, all the credible evidence which has hitherto occurred, has been presented. But every effort to discover, even the existence of lay elders, or of any inferior grade of presbyters, has totally failed; neither has there been found a single word of such a diversity, nor the idea of such an officer, in any church. If such a class of men had existed in the apostolic churches, it could not have escaped detection. If the Scriptures had been understood, by the apostles and evangelists to warrant it, the grade must have existed, and would certainly have appeared. The conclusion is consequently undeniable, that those, who find lay presbyters in the New Testament, have made a discovery of that, of which the inspired men, who wrote it, never entertained an idea.
i Tract 31, on Matt.
k Tract 15, on Matt.
Cyprian was chosen bishop of his church by the people, against a majority of
the presbyters.—The great promoter of episcopal power.-He presided over one church or congregation only, and had no idea of diocesan episcopacy.Professing it his duty to act only with the presbyters, he availed himself of every opportunity of acting prior to them.--He often justified his conduct by the pretences of visions, suggestions, and dreams. The presbyters of Carthage over whom he presided, had not distinct assemblies; the flock was one, and
-This bishop was chosen by the people from among the presbyters, and Cyprian is the first and earliest authority for bishops being commissioned by other bishops; how it was done, is not shown ; and five of the eight presbyters being opposed to him, it is not discernible how otherwise it could have been effected.—The apostolical constitutions had probably no existence at this periode
THASCIUS CYPRIANUS was a native of Africa, and a celebrated teacher of rhetoric in Carthage. Convinced by Cæcilius, a presbyter, about the middle of the third century, he adopted his name at his baptism ; was, in the compass of a year, ordained a presbyter; and, in the next, made bishop by the suffrage of the people, but against the opinion of five of the
eight presbyters of the church. He soon deserted his charge, retiring from persecution. Censured by his people, and the Christians at Rome, he alleged, among other defences, a divine admonition, revealed by vision. His sudden change from Gentilism, and almost simultaneous promotions; his conscious possession of superior talents, with consequent impatience of instruction and ignorance of evangelical doctrines, rendered him the victim of numerous and destructive errors. His native ambition, stimulated by opposition, and supported by mistaken conceptions of priestly power, led him to employ the protracted period of his retirement in epis
& Vide Epist. 43. p. 227.
tolary correspondence, not only with his own forsaken
and presbyters at Carthage sat ou the same bench, were all, in the language of the day,