I have read your articles about the apostolic succession, and I think that I have grasped your argument. Paul ordained Timothy and Titus by the laying on of hands, something was transmitted to them by the imposition of hands, and we have no other biblical model for ordination, so we must stick to it. The early church did it this way, and this way the Apostolic Succession (AS) has been transmitted to the present day.
1. The Ordinal makes the Bishop say that the Holy Spirit is transmitted to the priest by the imposition of his hands, and that he thereby receives authority to forgive or retain sins. My difficulty is that I do not see that this necessarily results in the conclusion that AS is in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP).
2.So the Bishop ordains, and in so doing the transmits the Holy Spirit for a particular purpose. How do we conclude that it must always be a bishop in the line of AS? Is it not also reasonable to think that this happens in any ordination, such as the Presbyterians practice? I am thinking of continental like a Laski (?) who came to England with Presbyterian orders and were received into English orders without re-ordination. I have in mind the letters between Cranmer and Calvin, in which the necessity of episcopal ordination for the purpose of transmitting the AS is not mentioned. Surely something so necessary for a valid sacrament, which sacrament is generally necessary for salvation, would be boldly and plainly stated, instead of being inferred? Why is the AS not mentioned in the articles?
Please believe that I am not trying to change your mind, or to have an argument, but to rightly understand this issue.
(Before getting into the meat of the answers, let me say this: About Laski: The fact is, if any man who had never been episodically ordained was allowed to minister as if he had been, the bishop who knew this would have been in violation of the Law, and both men in danger of imprisonment. The official records of the Church of England simply do not bear out the Laski story; and, on the other hand, the records of English Law are indisputable. As for Cranmer's letters to Calvin, they were intended for an ecumenical purpose, and the practices of the Church of England were well-known, making any difference fairly obvious and perhaps not worth discussing in that context. One generation later, however, answering domestic matters, Hooker had much to say against "Calvin's Geneva Discipline" when defending the unbroken practice of the English Church.)
It is evident that only disputed matters get enough attention to receive clarification. The answer to why the BCP, including as it does the Articles and Ordinal, does not explicitly speak of Apostolic Succession in the clearest of terms is covered by answering your other question at the same time, namely: "Is it not also reasonable to think that this happens in any ordination, such as the Presbyterians practice?" For, neither the Calvinists nor the Lutherans have ever rejected Apostolic Succession to this day. True many of them do not know this fact; but, it is known to their more astute theologians.
What the Presbyterians and Puritans in England rejected was the episcopate. They believed that the Apostolic Succession was passed on well enough through their presbyters. They would emphasize I Tim. 4:14: "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." Our side has always replied that this verse does not stand alone, and must be read along with II Tim. 1:6: "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands." So, the Apostolic hands of Paul were essential somehow, since the gift came by his hands. The hands of the presbytery seem not have the same efficacy, as what happened was merely with their laying on of hands, not by it. Therefore, we believe that we must make sure that what is passed on is truly Apostolic and not merely ecclesiastical, and why this requires bishops will be clear in what follows. Moreover, II Tim. 1:6 speaks in expressly charismatic terms, not merely institutional terms; what we see in scriptural references to ordination bears witness to supernatural grace, not merely a formal procedure of licensing ministry.
It is evident from the Epistles to Titus and to Timothy that each of these men was placed in the position of what we call these days the Ordinary-they ordained. They needed to exercise sound judgment concerning who they should ordain, and who not to ordain. Clearly, their authority was greater than that of the Presbytery. It is evident that they were left in Crete and in Ephesus respectively in place of the Apostle himself. Whether or not the word ἐπίσκοπος (episkopos, bishop) was synonymous with the word πρεσβύτερος (presbyteros, elder) in the usage of the Church, at the time of Paul's writing, within one generation the word episkopos (bishop) was set apart to refer only to those men like Titus and Timothy who succeeded the Apostles (most evident in the Epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch, who knew Paul, Peter and John). And, as noted, this succession, drawing from what we read in scripture is not only authoritative but charismatic. Furthermore, our reading of scripture also happens to coincide with the only practice of the ancient Church for which we have evidence. Non-episcopal ordination simply has no historic witness. The closest we come is mention of laying on of hands with the presbytery in Alexandria; but, on examination it is evident that, there too, this was not without the laying on of a bishop's hands as well.
I hope this answers your questions.