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of confirmation; a third, that of general supervision; a fourth, that of the general administration of discipline. These are separate points to be made out; and a distinct argument might be entered into, to show that neither of them is founded on the authority of the Scriptures. To enter on this discussion, would require more time and space than we can now spare. Nor is it necessary, for we presume the Episcopalian would be willing to stake the whole cause on his being able to make out the authority of ordination to lie solely in the bishop. For, obviously, if that cannot be made out, all the other pretensions are good for nothing; and, as the writer of this tract limits his inquiries to this single point, we shall confine our remarks to that also.
The question, then, is, Has a bishop the sole power of ordaining? Is setting apart to a sacred office,-to the office of preaching and administering the sacraments, confined in the New Testament exclusively to this order of ministers? The Episcopalian claims that it is. We deny it, and ask him for the explicit proof of a point so simple as this, and one which we have a right to expect he will make out, with very great clearness, from the Sacred Scriptures.
The first proof adduced by the author is, that the apostles had the sole power of ordaining. This is a highly important point in the discussion, or rather, as already remarked, the very hinge of the controversy. We cannot, therefore, but express our surprise that a writer who can see the value and bearing of an argument so clearly as Dr. Onderdonk, should not have thought himself called upon to devote more than two pages to its direct defence; and that, without adducing any explicit passages of the New Testament. The argument stated in these two pages, or these parts of three pages, (14, 15, 16,) rests on the assumption, that the apostles ordained. "That the apostles ordained, all agree." Now, if this means any thing to the purpose, it means that they
ordained as apostles; or that they were set apart to the apostolic office for the purpose of ordaining. But this we shall take the liberty to deny, and to prove to be an unfounded claim. Having made this assumption, the writer adds, that a distinction is observed in the New Testament between "the apostles and elders," the apostles and elders, and brethren." He next attempts to show, that this distinction was not made because they were appointed by Christ personally," nor because they had seen our Lord after his resurrection;" nor "because of this power of working miracles :" and then the writer, adds, "It follows, therefore, or will not at least be questioned,- -a qualification which, by the way, seems to look as if the writer had himself no great confidence in the consecutiveness of the demonstration,-"that the apostles were distinguished from the elders, because they were superior to them in ministerial power and rights." p. 15. This is the argument; and this is the whole of it. On the making out of this point, depends the stupendous fabric of Episcopacy. Here is the corner-stone on which rest the claims of bishops; this the foundation on which the imposing and mighty superstructure has been reared. Our readers will join with us in our amazement, that this point has not been made out with a clearer deduction of arguments, than such as were fitted to lead to the ambiguous conclusion, "it follows, therefore, or-.”
Now, the only way of ascertaining whether this claim be well-founded, is to appeal at once to the New Testament. The question, then, which we propose to settle now, is, Whether the apostles were chosen for the distinctive and peculiar work of ordaining to sacred offices? This the Episcopalian affirms. This we take the liberty of calling in question.
The Evangelists have given three separate and full accounts of the appointment of the apostles. One is recorded by Matthew, ch. x.; another by Mark, iii. 12, etc; the third by Luke, ch. vi. They were selected from the other disciples,
and set apart to their work with great solemnity. Luke vi. The act was performed in the presence of a great multitude, and after the Saviour had passed the night in prayer to God. Luke vi. 12. The instructions given to them on the occasion occupy, in one part of the record, (Matt.) the entire chapter of forty-two verses. The directions are given with very great particularity, embracing a great variety of topics, evidently intended to guide them in all their ministry, and to furnish them with ample instruction as to the nature of their office. They refer to times which should follow the death of the Lord Jesus, and were designed to include the whole of their peculiar work. Matt. x. 17-23.
Now, on the supposition of the Episcopalian, that the peculiarity of their work was to ordain, or that "they were distinguished from the elders because they were superior to them in ministerial powers and rights," (p. 15,) we cannot but regard it as unaccountable, that we find not one word of this here. There is not the slightest allusion to any such distinguishing "power and rights." There is nothing which can be tortured into any such claim. This is the more remarkable, as on another occasion he sent forth seventy disciples at one time, (Luke x. 1-16,) usually regarded by Episcopalians as the foundation of the second order of their ministers; (see "The Scholar Armed;") and there is not the slightest intimation given, that they were to be inferior to the apostles in the power of ordaining, or superintending the churches. do not know what explanation the Episcopalian will give of this remarkable omission in the instructions of the primitive bishops.
This omission is not the less remarkable in the instructions which the Lord Jesus gave to these same apostles, after his resurrection from the dead. At that time, we should, assuredly, have expected an intimation of the existence of some such peculiar power. But, not the slighest hint occurs of any such
peculiar authority and superintendence. Matthew, (xxviii. 18-20,) Mark, (xvi. 15-18,) and Luke, (xxiv. 47-49,) have each recorded these parting instructions. They have told us that he directed them to remain in Jerusalem (Luke) until they were endued with power from on high, and then to go forth, and preach the gospel to every creature: but not a solitary syllable about any exclusive power of ordination; about their being a peculiar order of ministers; about their transmitting the peculiarity of the apostolic office to others. We should have been glad to see some explanation of this fact. We wish to be apprised of the reason, if any exists, why, if the peculiarity of their office consisted in "superiority of ministerial powers and rights," neither at their election and ordination, nor in the departing charge of the Saviour, nor in any intermediate time, we ever hear of it; that even the advocates for the powers of the bishop never pretend to adduce a solitary expression that can be construed into a reference to any such distinction.
We proceed now to observe, that there is not anywhere else, in the New Testament, a statement that this was the peculiarity of their apostolic office. Of this any man may be satisfied, who will examine the New Testament. Or, he may find the proof in a less laborious way, by simply looking at the fact, that neither Dr. Onderdonk, nor any of the advocates of Episcopacy, pretend to adduce any such declaration. The apostles often speak of themselves; the historian of their doings (Luke) often mentions them; but the place remains yet to be designated, after this controversy has been carried on by keen-sighted disputants for several hundred years, which speaks of any such peculiarity of their office.
This point, then, we shall consider as settled, and shall feel at liberty to make as much of it as we possibly can in the argument. And we might here insist on the strong presumption thus furnished, that this settles the case. We should be
very apt to regard it as decisive in any other case. men go from a government to a foreign court, and one of them claims to be a plenipotentiary, and affirms that the other is a mere private secretary, or a consul, we expect that the claimant will sustain his pretensions by an appeal to his commission or instructions. If he maintains that this is the peculiarity of his office, though he may "enjoy all the powers of the other grades," (p. 11,) we expect to find this clearly proved in the documents which he brings. If he is mentioned by no name that designates his office, as the Episcopalian admits the bishop is not,-(pp. 12, 13,) if his commission contains no such appointment, and if we should learn that specific instructions were given to him at his appointment, and again repeated in a solemn manner when he left his native shores; we should at least look with strong suspicions on these remarkable claims. Would not any foreign court decide at once that such pretensions, under such circumstances, were utterly unfounded?
We proceed now to inquire whether it is possible to ascertain the peculiarity of the apostolic office? for it must be conceded that there was something to distinguish the apostles from the other ministers of the New Testament. Here, happily, we are in no way left in the dark. The Saviour, and the apostles and sacred writers themselves, have given an account which cannot be easily mistaken; and our amazement is, that the writer of this tract has not adverted to it. The first account which we adduce is from the lips of the Saviour himself. In those solemn moments when he was about to leave the world; when the work of atonement was finished; and when he gave the apostles their final commission, he indicated the nature of their labours, and the peculiarity of their office, in these words: (Luke xxiv. 48 :) "And ye are WITNESSES of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you," etc. The object of their special