1. As to the fact of the Apostolical Succession, i.e. that our present Bishops are the heirs and representatives of the Apostles by successive transmission of the prerogative of being so, this is too notorious to require proof. Every link in the chain is known, from St. Peter to our present Metropolitans. Here then I only ask, looking at this plain fact by itself, is there not something of a divine providence in it? can we conceive that this Succession has been preserved, all over the world, amid many revolutions, through many centuries, for nothing? Is it wise or pious to despise or neglect a gift thus transmitted to us in matter of fact, even if Scripture did not touch upon the subject?

2. Next, consider how natural is the doctrine of a succession. When an individual comes to me, claiming to speak in the name of the Most High, it is natural to ask him for his authority. If he replies, that we are all bound to instruct each other, this reply is intelligible, but in the very form of it excludes the notion of a ministerial order, i.e. a class of persons set apart from others for religious offices. If he appeals to some miraculous gift, this too is intelligible, and only unsatisfactory when the alleged gift is proved to be a fiction. No other answer can be given except a reference to some person, who has given him license to exercise ministerial functions; then follows the question, how that individual gained his authority to do so. In the case of the Catholic Church, the person referred to, i.e. the Bishop, has received it from a predecessor, and he from another, and so on, till we arrive at the Apostles themselves, and thence our LORD and. SAVIOUR. It is superfluous to dwell on so plain a principle, which in matters of this world we act upon daily.

3. Lastly, the argument from Scripture is surely quite clear to those who honestly wish direction for practice. CHRIST promised He should be with His Apostles always, as ministers of His religion, even unto the end of the world. In one sense the Apostles were to be alive till He came again; but they all died at the natural time. Does it not follow, that there are those now alive who represent them? Now who were the most probable representatives of them in the generation next their death? They surely, whom they had ordained to succeed them in the ministerial work. If any persons could be said to have CHRIST'S power and presence, and the gifts of ruling and ordaining, of teaching, of binding and loosing, (and comparing together the various Scriptures on the subject, all these seem included in His promise to be with the Church always,) surely those, on whom the Apostles laid their hands, were they. And so in the next age, if any were representatives of the first representatives, they must be the next generation of Bishops, and so on. Nor does it materially alter the argument, though we suppose the blessing upon Ministerial Offices made, not to the Apostles, but to the whole body of Disciples; i.e. the Church. For, even if it be the Church that has the power of ordination committed to {4} it, still it exercises it through the Bishops as its organs; and the question recurs, how has the Presbytery in this or that country obtained the power? The Church certainly has from the first committed it to the Bishops, and as never resumed it; and the Bishops have no where committed it to the Presbytery, who therefore cannot be in possession of it.

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