An Apostle of Equal Power

From The Institution of Ministers (ca. 1704-1708)

It may be asked, how this Matthias should be an apostle of equal power with the others, seeing he was not present when the other were ordained by our Savior and received the Spirit from Him? I answer, that the same doubt may be made concerning St. Thomas, for neither was he present when our Lord breathed his Holy Spirit upon his other apostles; and yet none ever denied but that he was an apostle of equal authority with those that were then present.

And indeed the question concerning both may be clearly answered by a parallel case: for we read how that when Moses had, by appointment of God, chosen seventy of the elders of Israel to be endowed with his Spirit, and had ordered them to go to the tabernacle of the congregation, “the Lord came down in a cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders, and it came to pass, that when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. But two of the seventy remained in the camp, Eldad and Medad,” and though they were not present, “the Spirit rested upon them” also, and they prophesied as well as the other (Num. 11). And this remark is put upon them, that “they were of them that were written, but went not to the tabernacle” (Nov. 11:25, 26).

The case is the same here, for, as Eldad and Medad, being chosen by Moses into the number of the seventy, received the same Spirit which was given to the other sixty-eight, although they were present at the place where the Lord came down in the cloud to them; so here, Thomas and Matthias being in the number of the twelve which were chosen by our Lord to be his apostles, although they were not present at the place where our Lord gave the Holy Spirit to the other ten, yet they received it as effectually to all intents and purposes as the other did. For wheresoever they were, the Holy Ghost breathed upon the apostles as such, rested upon them also, because they also were chosen into the number of apostles, even Matthias himself, as I observed before.

William Beveridge (1637-1708) was an English theologian who served several London parishes before becoming Bishop of St. Asaphs in 1704. He was called “the great reviver and restorer of primitive piety” for his efforts in reviving patristic teaching and robust liturgical piety. Several volumes of his sermons, including The Institution of Ministers, which he wrote for an ordination service during his episcopate, were published after his death.


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