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good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” “ False Prophets," says Grotius, “not as to their mission, or calling, but as to their false, destructive doctrine.” “ Who are false Prophets, but false preachers who are false Apostles, except those who preach an adulterated Gospel ?” says Tertullian, De Praescript, c. 4. They had sheep's clothing, but inwardly were ravening wolves. The disciples of Christ were to judge of them, not by Ordination or Succession, but by their Fruits. According to this rule, they were to be on their guard against them; not to obey them, nor follow them. “ Let them alone;" that is, “leave them," as the word often signifies : “ They be blind leaders of the blind, And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch :" Matt. xv. 14. In John, x. 5, he says, of his sheep, that “ a stranger will they noT FOLLOW, but WILL FLEE FROM HIM; for they know not the voice of a stranger.” This at once establishes the right and duty of FORSAKING wicked and heretical Ministers. St. Paul speaks of the false teachers, in the Corinthian Churches, “ as false Apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ:" 2 Cor. xi. 13. He does not hesitate to pronounce such the “ Ministers of Satan.” And what are the proofs? Their false Ordination ? that they were not in the Succession ? Nay, the very reverse, for he speaks of them as being formally " the Ministers of Christ,” v. 23. But they “ handled the Word of God deceitfully," c. iv. v. 2: “corrupted the Word of God,” c. ii. v. 17 : “ denied the Resurrection," &c., 1 Cor. xv. In his Epistle to the Galatians, he declares that “such teachers are to be held accursed by us." “ I would,” says he, “ that they were even cut off which trouble you," chap. v. 12. So, when writing to Timothy, 1 Tim, vi. 3–5: “ If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” In the second Epistle to the Thessalonians, the description of Anti-Christ, in the second chapter, shews that he would be found in the Temple of God, that is, would be embodied in a false Ministry. See Bishop Jewel on this Epistle for abundant proof of this point. They are, therefore, warned against him, and are to stand fast, and hold the traditions which they had been taught by the Apostle, whether by word or Epistle, v. 15. He then says: “Now we COMMAND you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that
ye WITHDRAW yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received from us.” This may principally refer to private Christians. But then the argument applies with increased force to Ministers, in proportion to their obligations to holiness and truth, and to
the pernicious effects of their conduct when standing opposed to truth and Godliness. Yet I am by no means satisfied that the Apostle did not mean directly to refer to Ministers, as well as to private members. He certainly speaks of his own conduct, and that of his fellow-labourers, Silvanus and Timotheus, as being particularly suited to bear on the case he wished to reprove; but it bore on that case most directly as they were Ministers, therefore, it is probable that it was to some who were Ministers that he designed his observations to apply. Now he solemnly commands, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they WITHDRAW themselves from every
such brother, from
every such MINISTER, who walked disorderly, and not after the tradition received from the Apostles. So in Romans, xvi, 17, 18: “ Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” He tells us in Acts, xx. 29, 30: “ For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." To suppose the flock bound by the Chief Shepherd to follow ravening wolves, would be monstrous. Our Lord says, his sheep NOT follow" them, but “ will flee from them;" at once declaring and justifying the fact.
St. John says, 1 Epistle, iv. 1—" Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false Prophets are gone out of the world.” And how are we to try the spirits ? He tells us elsewhere, not by Episcopal Ordinations, and personal Succession, but by their DOCTRINE. This is the way Anti-Christ is to be discovered. In his second Epistle he is very express on the subject, 7-11. “ For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an Anti-Christ. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed : For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." Jude's awful descriptions and warnings principally regard wicked Ministers. And nothing can be plainer than that the design of his Epistle is to lead all true Christians to avoid such corrupters of the truth. The Seven Churches in the Revelations have the same directions. The Church of Ephesus is commended for trying those who say they are Apostles, and are not. So the Church of Pergamos has admonitions about the Balaamites, and Nicolaitanes. Their leaders were evidently Ministers or teachers, and were to be rejected at the peril of God's judgments : “ Repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” Rev. ii. 16. The Church at Thyatira is rebuked for “suffering that woman, Jezebel, which calleth herself a Prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants to commit fornication, &c,” v. 20. The same strain runs through the whole. Now every where truth of DOCTRINE, and HOLINESS of life, is the rule: and every where, teachers, who are BAD MEN and PERVERTERS of the TRUTH, whatever might be their other pretensions, ARE TO BE FORSAKEN. To conclude these extracts: Many of the Roman Catholics, before the Reformation, and all the Reformers generally, considered Rome to be the Babylon mentioned in the Revelations. This
Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, and abominations of the earth, who reigned over the Kings of the earth,” has always pretended to be before all others in Episcopal Ordinations, personal SucCESSION, &c. Yet, what saith the spirit to the Churches ? He that hath ears to hear, let him hear: Rev. xviii. 1-4, “ And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the Great is fallen, is fallen, and has become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of
unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the Kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her PLAGUES.”
Here is, surely, enough to confound for ever such a scheme as we have seen exhibited by such men as Bishop Taylor, Dr. Hicks, Dr. Hook, &c. The words of Dr. Barrow, as to the duty of rejecting the Pope, apply admirably to this scheme, simply changing the person of the Pope, for this Popery of binding all Christianity absolutely to Episcopal Ordinations and personal Succession. For whatever the Popes have done, this Succession hath done: the Popes, as Bishops of Rome, having always been the main pillars of the whole system. The scheme is one, and its claims are one. The perfection of the whole depends upon the perfection of every part. It is a chain, forming, says Dr. Hook, an “ UNBROKEN line from Peter---to the present day." Every body knows that the Popes form the main links in this chain. If you break the links of a chain, you break the chain itself. Barrow breaks the Popes as links in this Succession chain. He breaks, therefore, the chain itself. If, then, the Bishops of Rome,” (alias the Ministers of this Scheme, in any age,) " instead of teaching Christian doctrine do propagate errors contrary to it; if, instead of guiding into truth and Godliness, they seduce into falsehood and impiety; if, instead of
declaring and pressing the laws of God, they deliver precepts opposite, prejudicial, destructive of God's laws; if, instead of promoting genuine piety, they do (in some instances) violently oppose it; if, instead of maintaining true Religion, they do pervert and corrupt it, by bold defalcations, by superstitious additions, by foul mixture and alloys; if they coin new Creeds, Articles of Faith, new Scriptures, new Sacraments, new rules of Life, obtruding them on the consciences of Christians; if they conform the doctrines of Christianity to the interests of their pomp and profit, making gain Godliness; if they prescribe vain, profane, superstitious ways of worship, turning devotion into foppery and pageantry; if, instead of preserving order and peace, they foment discords and factions in the Church, being a makebait and incendiaries among Christians; if they claim exorbitant power, and exercise oppression, and tyrannical dominion over their brethrencursing and damning all that will not submit to their dictates and commands; if instead of being shepherds they be wolves, worrying and tearing the flock by cruel persecutions; they by such behaviour, IPSO FACTO, DEPRIVE THEMSELVES OF AUTHORITY AND OFFICE; THEY BECOME THENCE NO GUIDES NOR PASTORS to any Christian; there DOTH IN SUCH CASES REST NO OBLIGATION TO HEAR OR OBEY THEM; but RATHER TO DECLINE THEM, TO REJECT AND DISCLAIM THEM.
This is the reason of the case. This the Holy Scripture doth prescribe; this is according to the Primitive doctrine, tradition, and practice of the Church.” Dr. Barrow, on the Pope's Supremacy, Supposition 7th.
SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE AGAINST THESE CLAIMS, CONTINUED.-BISHOPS AND PRES
BYTERS THE SAME, PROVED FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT.
Every reader must see that one of the ESSENTIAL PILLARS of this High Church Succession Scheme, is the opinion that the ORDER of Bishops is, by Divine right, superior to that of PRESBYTERS, having powers and authority incompatible with Presbyters, as Presbyters; the sole power, indeed, of ordaining Presbyters, and of governing Presbyters, as well as the people. In this Section we shall produce from the New Testament, decisive evidence against this position. As preliminary, we shall make three general observations:
1. There is not, in the whole Book of God, any solid proof that one STANDING order of God's Ministers were ever appointed to have that power and authority over other Ministers which these Succession Divines claim for Modern Bishops. The High Priest among the Jews had the performance of some special duties of the Sanctuary, typical of the Lord Jesus Christ; but there is no solid proof that he had, by Divine right, this sole power over other Priests. The Apostles were not a standing order; but I think there is not very clear evidence that they had this sole power and authority. When Churches were once planted, and Ministers had been appointed, the Apostles visited them to encourage them; they wrote Epistles, by immediate Divine authority, to all the Saints, and sometimes, though seldom, they mention the Ministers; but I think we find no declared authority SOLELY belonging to them as Apostles, to call any Ministers to account, or to depose them; and I am sure they did not claim the sole right of ordaining. See 1 Tim. iv. 14.
2. There NEVER was any general Council; never any number of accredited Fathers ; never any Modern Church, since the time of our Lord and Saviour, who maintained that Bishops were, by DIVINE RIGHT, an order superior to, distinct from, and possessing powers and authority incompatible with Presbyters, as Presbyters. Of this safficient proof will be given hereafter.
3. That if the Sacred writers viewed this matter of the order of Bishops, as essentially superior to that of Presbyters, in the same light as our High Church Divines do, we may expect to find them manifest equal, or rather greater care and anxiety to MARK this distinction, and lay down LAWS to guard the dignity, powers, and authority of that important order,