having first proved them by the Spirit.
5 Nor was this any new thing; seeing that long before it was written concerning bishops and deacons.
6 For thus saith the Scripture, in a certain place; I will appoint their overseers in righteousness, and their ministers in faith.
7 And what wonder if they, to whom such a work was committed by God in Christ, established such officers as we before mentioned; when even that blessed and faithful servant in all his house, Moses, set down in the Holy Scriptures all things that were commanded him.
8 Whom also all the rest of the prophets followed, bearing witness with one consent to those things that were appointed by him.
9 For he, perceiving an emulation to arise among the tribes concerning the priesthood, and that there was a strife about it, which of them should be adorned with that glorious name; commanded their twelve captains to bring to him twelve rods; every tribe being written upon its rod, according to its name,
10 And he took them and bound them together, and sealed them with the seals of the twelve princes of the tribes: and laid them up in the tabernacle of witness, upon the table of God.
11 And when he had shut the door of the tabernacle, he sealed up the keys of it, in like manner as he had done the rods; and said unto them, Men and brethren, whichsoever tribe shall have its rod blossom, that tribe has God chosen to perform the office of a priest, and to minister unto him in holy things.
12 And when the morning was come, he called together all Israel, six hundred thousand men; and showed to the princes their seals and opened the tabernacle of witness; and brought forth the rods.
13 And the rod of Aaron was found not only to have blossomed, but also to have fruit upon it.
14 What think you, beloved? Did not Moses before know what should happen?
15 Yes verily: but to the end there might be no division, nor tumult in Israel, he did in this manner, that the name of the true and only God might be glorified; to whom be honour for ever and ever, Amen.
16 So likewise our Apostles knew by our Lord Jesus Christ, that there should contentions arise, upon account of the ministry.
17 And therefore having a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed persons, as we have before said, and then a gave direction, how, when they should die, other chosen and approved men should succeed in their ministry.
18 Wherefore we cannot think that those may justly be thrown out of their ministry, who were either appointed by them, or afterwards chosen by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church; and who have with all lowliness and innocency ministered to the flock of Church, in peace, and without self-interest, and were for a long time commended by all.
19 For it would be no small sin in us, should we cast off those from their ministry, who holily and without blame fulfil the duties of it.
20 Blessed are those priests, who having finished their course before these times, have obtained a fruitful and perfect dissolution for they have no fear, lest any one