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[The readers of this work will doubtless be gratified with the following extract from the review of it, contained in ... the Anti-jacobin Magazine. This extract exhibits a reply to Dr. Campbell's commentary on the words of Ignatius—“There is but one altar, as there is but one bi
shop,”—more satisfactory than that advanced by Bishop o, Skinner.]
DR. Campbell takes it for granted, that his Episcopal antagonists consider the unity in the second clause of Ignatius's words as the numerical or physical unity of the bishop's person; and, consequently, that they represent the venerable martyr as arguing thus: “All the altars of a diocese must be one, because the bishop is but one person.” Ignatius, however, neither argues, nor is supposed by the advocates of Episcopacy to argue, in this foolish and senseless manner. His reasoning is perfectly sound, although Dr. Campbell has either happened, or chosen, to misunderstand it. The unity intended in both clauses of the sentence is of the same kind; and in neither of them is it numerical. In both it is an unity, not in respect of individual existence, but in respect of authority, power, and effect. All the altars of a diocese, however numerous in respect of place, are one; because the same (not numerically) eucharistical service is, with the same spiritual benefit to the partakers, performed at all of them by the one authority of Christ, derived to them through the bishop; and the bishop is one, because, with respect to his own diocese,
he is the original depositary of this one authority. Nor is
this mode of phraseology confined to ecclesiastical subjects; but, on the contrary, perfectly common. We say that
there is but one executive power in the kingdom; because,
although the individuals employed in the execution of the laws are almost innumerable, yet they all derive their authority from the one authority of the king, who, in this country, is the sole fountain of power. We say that the act or deed of any one justice of the peace is the same as that of any other; not because it is numerically the same, but because it is of the same validity. We say that their authority is the same, because, in all of them it is the king's authority. In like manner we say, that every altar in the diocese is the same with every other; not because they are numerically the same, but because they are all erected by the one authority of the bishop; and because, of consequence, the eucharist received at one has the same effect as when received at another.
It is true, indeed, that, in the case of both the king and of the bishop, this one authority happens to be lodged in one numerical individual person. But this is a circumstance on which the propriety of the above-mentiomed modes of speech in no degree depends; and which, therefore, as far as our argument is concerned, is merely acci. dental. If we find it difficult to abstract the idea of the one authority of the king or of the bishop, from the individuality of the persons invested with it, the difficulty is wholly owing to the power of early and habitually confirmed association; for the things themselves may, certainly, be separated, not in idea only, but in fact. The Roman consuls, though numerically two, were possessed but of one supreme authority; and when that authority was, occasionally, lodged, whether in one dictator, or in ten military tribunes, it was but one authority still. So if it had pleased our blessed Saviour, or his apostles acting under his direction, to constitute bishops, in all districts, by pairs, such a constitution of the church would have made no alteration in the force of St. Ignatius's argument. For then, the bishops, who, in respect of personality, were
two, would, in respect of spiritual authority and power, have been but one. * We repeat, therefore, that the quibble which Dr. Campbell finds in the words of Ignatius, as explained by that Father's Episcopal commentators, is all his own; and we strongly suspect that, by a dialectician of his eminent acuteness, it would never have been found, if the weakness of his argument had not stood in need of even this very feeble support. For no man knew better than Dr. Campbell, that, in all nations and languages, things are viewed and spoken of as, in some respects, one, which, in other respects, are exceedingly different; and that physical, or numerical unity is, in fact, but one of innumerable kinds, which are hourly conceived by the human mind, and hourly expressed in human speech. But Dr. Campbell's conclusion that “the bishop's cure was originally confined to a single church or congregation,” required that the words is ovoiasinuoy should signify one individual “communion table or altar;” and this signification of them, he thinks, is sufficiently secured by supposing is triaxoro; to mean the individuality of the bishop's person: for otherwise Ignatius would be guilty of a quibble. We wonder, indeed, that the very words which he quotes from Dr. Burn’s Ecclesiastical Law did not show Dr. Campbell the danger of building on such unfirm ground. “The cathedral church,” says that accurate writer, “is the parish church of the whole diocese.” The bishop, of course, and strictly speaking, is the pastor of the whole diocese. Every altar in it is, therefore, his altar. If we wished to speak with particular correctness, we might say that it is a representative of his altar, meaning the altar of the cathedral church. Or if we choose to adopt a figurative phraseology, we may employ a language exactly analagous to that of the customs, (which calls such a sea-port a branch of the port of London) and say that every altar in the diocese is a branch of the bishop's altar.