Antoine, taken to the secret meetings of the persecuted Calvinists, began, when only seventeen, to speak and exhort in these congregations of "the desert."
The elders are the first or oldest teachers of congregations, for which there is no regular bishop. They have charge of the meetings of such congregations, and participate in excommunication proceedings, besides which they preach, exhort, baptize, and may, when needed, take the offices of the deacons.
The teachers, who are chosen by vote, may also exhort or preach, when their services are needed for such purposes, and may, at the request of a bishop, perform marriage or baptismal ceremonies.
The clergy were bidden to exhort their hearers to the " works of charity, mercy and faith, specially prescribed and commanded in Scripture, and not to repose their trust or affiance in any other works devised by men's phantasies beside Scripture; as in wandering to pilgrimages, offering of money, candles or tapers to images or relics, or kissing or licking the same, saying over a number of beads, not understood or minded on, or in such-like superstition."
The like holds of Polycarp, who, in explaining that he writes to exhort the Philippians only at their own request, adds, "for neither am I, nor is any other like me, able to follow the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul" (iii.