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CONTAINING THEIR FIFTH ASSERTION, "THAT OUR LAWS ARE CORRUPT, AND REPUGNANT TO THE LAWS OF GOD, IN MATTERS BELONGING TO THE POWER OF ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION; IN THAT WE HAVE NOT THROUGHOUT ALL CHURCHES CERTAIN LAY-ELDERS ESTABLISHED FOR THE EXERCISE OF THAT POWER.
I. On the alleged right of LAY-ELDERS to possess spiritual jurisdiction.
WE now come to consider of Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, Dignity, and Dominion; which, indeed, were the subjects ultimately aimed at, when the objectors put forth their arguments ostensibly against ceremonial rites. Their doctrine herein is,-"That, by the law of God, there must be for ever, in all congregations, certain Lay-Elders, ministers of ecclesiastical jurisdiction-" inasmuch as our Lord has left (as they assert) all Pastors in the Church executors equally to the whole power of spiritual jurisdiction; and has joined the People with them as colleagues. And herein they set up a claim of divine right, to wrest spiritual power from its present possessors, and to share it equally with pastors of all congregations; and in order to effect this more readily, they enlist the Laity on their side, by persuading them, that they are only thus contending for their own rights and privileges. If, however, in thus acting, their premises shall appear unsound, then their endeavours to advance Presbyterian power, may seem only a parallel to the conduct of Korah and his company, when railing against Moses and Aaron, they exclaimed, "It is too much that ye take upon you, seeing that all the congregation is holy [Num 16:3]."
II. On the NATURE of Spiritual Jurisdiction.
WE must, however, premise that there are two distinct powers in the Church, viz. that of Order, and that of Jurisdiction: the former has reference to the administration of holy things, as included in our Saviour's commission, "preach," "baptize," "do this in remembrance of me;" the latter respects the management of the affairs of the Church as a society, and is intimated when the Apostle speaks of "ruling the Church of God [Acts 20:28]" and of "receiving accusations [1 Tim 5:19]." The spiritual power of the Church is derived from its Divine Head, and depends not on any natural right or human institution. It was given by Him for the good of souls, both in the way of guidance, and of restraint when necessary. And though the words of His Gospel be the only foundation whereon the Church can sustain herself in the use thereof; yet inasmuch as all societies must manifestly, and in the nature of things, have a power of self-regulation for the common good, so the body of the Church must similarly have a power of administering the Saviour's ordinances, and, in this changeful world, of varying, augmenting, or limiting, according to the exigence of the case, in her exercise of that power, which in itself always continues the same. Hence, Spiritual Authority is a power given by Christ, to be used for the good of those subject thereto, according to His own laws, and the wholesome constitutions of His Church.
III. Of PENITENCE, as a private duty, and an external discipline.
IT will help in no small degree towards understanding the subject, to state, that the ultimate object or end of spiritual jurisdiction, is the health of men's souls, by bringing them to repentance of sins against God, and reformation of breaches of Christian charity against man. By Repentance, we are to appease those whom we offend by sin; and as all sins deprive us of God's favour, the way of reconciliation with Him, is the inward secret repentance of the heart, which of itself is sufficient towards God. But if the consequences of our sin reach injuriously to others, then something further is required; and the discipline of His Church calls for a public satisfaction in the eyes of men. Hence, we may term the inward contrition, the virtue of repentance; and the outward manifestation, the discipline of repentance: the former of which, being always the same in nature and effects, is ever daily required of us; but the latter only for certain sins, and in such a fashion and manner as the Church shall, from varying circumstances, consider requisite.
[Here seems to end all that really belongs to Book VI.
What follows is an entire deviation from the professed object of Hooker in this book, as stated in the title thereof: viz. "An Inquiry into the claims of Lay Elders to a share in Church Jurisdiction." Instead of which, it consists of a series of dissertations on Primitive and Romish Penance, in their several points of Confession, Satisfaction, and Absolution, These, though valuable in themselves, and being clearly also, from internal evidence, the composition of Hooker, have, as is just said, no connexion with the professed object of the book; and, from peculiar circumstances, seem to have been accidentally substituted for the real book itself. [Unless indeed, as it has been observed, the consideration of the nature of Repentance itself might be preparatory to the question, "Who were the proper administrators of the Discipline of Repentance."But, even in that case, so judicious a writer as Hooker would not have given his book a title which its subject-matter by no means fulfills, and even scarcely enters upon. Indeed, other considerations show this observation to be unfounded.] This discrepancy has, however, somewhat singularly been overlooked, and the book has been published along with the rest, as if it regularly discussed its professed objects and no such deviation had occurred. The force of prescriptive custom, and the obvious facility of reference from this Digest to the original work, have led to keeping the old arrangement, and the retention of the remaining portion in this place which it was once intended to transfer, as an appendix, to the end of the volume.
The subject has been ably investigated by Keble in the preface to his edition of Hooker's Works; and the conviction arising from the internal evidence of the matter of the Book not at all corresponding to its subject, has been confirmed by a document found in the library of Corpus Christi College: this is no other than a series of notes,-the genuineness of which seems undoubted,-made by George Cranmer, to whom, as his intimate friend, Hooker had sent his Sixth Book for revision. Now, these Notes, professing to be on the Sixth Book, do in no way, either in mode of reference or matter, correspond with the Book that at present goes by that title. The most probable solution of these incongruities seems briefly to be this: Hooker, having published the five first Books, had got the other three ready prepared for the press, but died before they could be published. His Widow was connected in relationship with the Puritans, whose jurisdiction by Lay-Elders, whereon they prided themselves, was in the genuine Sixth Book attacked with all the force and acuteness of such a powerful writer as Hooker, and she therefore is supposed, at their instance, (which indeed is positively stated as a fact by Walton, in his life of Hooker,) to have surrendered the MSS. to them: and they took effectual care to prevent the contents from ever appearing against them. "While at the same time In the search which almost immediately afterwards took place, any one eager to publish, and happening to meet with some loose papers accidentally lying next after a rough sketch or preamble of the Sixth Book might, in the hurry and excitement, fall into the mistake of supposing them to be the Book itself." The only wonder is, that the incongruity as been so long unremarked upon. For further particulars on this interesting subject see Keble's edition of Hooker, Oxford, 1836.]
III. (continued) . Of PENlTENCE .
THE virtue of Repentance is the fruit of divine grace, which offers itself even to those that have forsaken it; and not only "knocks without [Rev 3:20]," but likewise assists to open within, whereby a man is made a repaired temple for the Spirit of God to inhabit again: grace is infused at once, but the virtues comprehended in it develop themselves in an orderly succession. The first thing done by the Holy Ghost in framing man's sinful heart to repentance, is enlightening the eye of faith to see and apprehend the future terrors of the Lord; and, consequently, to produce a salutary fear, similar to that which caused those of old to cry to the Apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do? [Acts 2:37]" Even as fear of man oft restrains from heinous offences, so fear of divine punishment causes a desire of deliverance from the inward guiltiness of sin, wherein otherwise men would securely continue. But fear alone does not constitute Repentance; there must be also a hope of the possibility of pardon. Utter hopelessness would only produce a hatred and an obduracy like that of those obstinate, godless sinners, who, hating what they dread, labour to extinguish the very belief of a God. Whereas, where there is a sense of the goodness of God, arising from the hope of pardon, in that He has provided a way of pardon for rebels against Him, then a love towards Him arises, and a consequent desire of reconciliation and re-union with Him, whom we grieve that we have offended. And hence, a pensive and corrosive desire springs up, which suffers us not to rest or cease from confession and supplication, till the light of God's reconciled favour shine in on our darksome soul. And herein we see why David's confession of sin was effectual [2 Sam 12:13], and Saul's not [1 Sam 15:24-26]: the acknowledgment of the latter proceeded from fear only; that of the former, from fear mingled with love. This feeling was the fountain of Peter's tears; as it was also of the life and eloquence of David's penitential psalms, wherein the very melting words of sorrow do nevertheless bespeak a comforting sense of God's mercy and love. Hence, the well-spring of Repentance is faith, first breeding fear, and then hope and love; these produce a desire of reconciliation, and a resolution of attempt; "I will go unto my Father, and say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before Thee." And in this returning to God, there are three things included: viz. aversion of sin; submissive supplication to God; and earnest purpose of amendment. In three words,-as Repentance hates, bewails, purposes, so there is in it contrition, confession, resolution. Now, contrition is not a sudden natural passion of regret, but a deliberate aversion of the will from sin. This is accompanied, it is true, with external signs of sorrow, wherein grief of heart naturally shows itself; but the outward signs do not constitute Repentance, there must be a deliberate hatred of sin in the heart, and such an aversion of the soul from it, that whereas it once delighted us, so now we shun and abhor nothing so much. And because God wills that offences should not only be abhorred within ourselves, but also humbly displayed before Him, and a testimony given of amendment by present works, worthy of repentance, we consider next the duty of Confession and Satisfaction.
IV. Of the DISCIPLINE of Repentance; as to its original institution by Christ; the primitive practice; and the subsequent perversion thereof, and of CONFESSION, as connected therewith, into an imaginary Sacrament.
THE Saviour, in His Gospel [Mark 16:19], gave His Apostles the government over God's Church, for they that have "the keys" are thereby intimated to possess a certain guiding and correcting power, to be exercised for the good of souls. And for this end, to meet the various cases, either of doctrine or discipline, that occur, they have Courts and Consistories, founded on the sacred authority of that voice which once said, "Tell it to the Church" [Mt 18:17]; and which virtually conferred upon them power of deprivation and exclusion, in the case of those who, by contumacy, might become unto them "as heathens and publicans." To render which decree the more solemn and authoritative, the Lord has promised to ratify them [Matt 18:18]; and thus both Apostles [1 Cor 5:3] and their successors [1 Tim 1:20] used wholesome discipline for reclaiming of offenders, and as the best expedient for the cure of sin. And this is the original warrant for spiritual jurisdiction in the Church of Christ. Formerly, open transgressors were put to open penance and Public Confession, in the hearing of the whole Church; and were not capable of partaking of the sacred mysteries of Christ, till this was duly done. Offenders in secret, knowing themselves to be as unworthy in the sight of God as open ones were, and being desirous of the advice and help of the Church, did also frequently come unto some minister, and make known their faults, through him, to the rest, submitting afterwards to public confession and such other remedies as might to them seem fit. But when persecution ceased, and prosperity had caused evils to spring, and schisms, jealousies, and dissensions to arise, this custom of Public Confession began to be prejudicial in many ways, both to the Church and individuals, and thence gradually to be disused; and instead thereof, Private Confession succeeded. This continued, as an edifying practice, for some time; till at length the Lateran Council (A. D. 1215) decreed, that all men should, once a year at least, confess themselves to a priest: and from thus making it an act of necessity, they further elevated it into a sacrament, teaching, that as Baptism gave life, and the Eucharist nourished life, so Penitency was a sacrament to recover life, and that Confession was a part thereof. They define, therefore, Private Penitency to be "a sacrament of remitting sins after baptism;" and the Virtue of Repentance to be "a detestation of wickedness, with hope of pardon, and purpose of amendment:" i.e. external Repentance to be a sacrament; and internal, a virtue. Now, passing by their confused illogical statements -(which, for instance, among other things, make Contrition, that can belong only to the internal virtue, a part of the external sacrament)-we admit that Confession of sins unto God is every way necessary, and a duty; as being the best method of testifying a hatred of sin, and of humbling our hearts before Him, so as to make us more capable of His mercy. We also know, that amongst the Jews, no Repentance was held available without confession, either conceived in mind, or openly uttered: and of this latter they had various kinds,-such as the general confession annually on the day of Expiation; private voluntary confessions; special confessions for particular acts of sin [Num 5:6f]; and confessions by malefactors adjudged to die [Josh 7:19]. But with respect to this Romish doctrine of auricular confession to the Priest being absolutely necessary to salvation, there is no Scripture warrant for it. We read, indeed, that to John the Baptist those from Jerusalem and Judea came and "confessed their sins [Matt 3:6];" but besides that his was an extraordinary commission, it was before this pretended sacrament of Repentance was instituted; neither was it sin after Baptism. And when we read [Acts 19:18] of some coming to the Apostles, and "confessing their deeds," though it might be good and proper on that occasion, it has not the force of a general example, to be so strictly followed as that it should be necessary to salvation to pour out confessions into the ear of a priest: briefly, it shows Confession a virtuous act, but not a sacrament. The passage also from St. James [James 5:14,16] refers merely to mutual confession, in order to reconciliation amongst themselves; and that from St. John, "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins," clearly intimates confession to God, and has no reference to a priest. But perhaps it may be alleged, that whereas Christ said, "Whose sins ye remit, they are remitted, and whose sins ye retain, they are retained [John 20:22]," hence, that sins must be confessed to the priest, otherwise he cannot know how to remit them. Now, the Fathers, in primitive times, and for many centuries after Christ, held no such opinion, and made no such interpretation of Christ's words: public Confession they thought necessary, by way of discipline; but private Confession to a priest, as in the nature of a sacrament, not at all necessary. From Tertullian we gather, that the EXOMOLOGESIS was a confession made openly in the hearing of the whole assembly, that "the whole might labour and strive to help that, wherewith a part of itself was molested." St. Cyprian also teaches, that on occasions of lapse, confessions were made unto God's priests; not to one singly, but to the whole Consistory of God's ministers. Salvianus speaks of confession being made "sub oculis Ecclesiae, in sight of the whole Church;" and "in conspectu fratrum, before the brethren." And St. Ambrose evidently alludes to the same practice, when he speaks of "public supplication" being made by penitents. It is not meant, however, that there was no practice of private confession at all. The first mention of it is found in Origen: from whom it appears, that persons being loath to present their faults rashly to the whole Church, did first unfold their minds to some individual minister, for guidance and counsel, who might either help them himself, or refer them to a higher court, if necessary. And what moved sinners to this, was often a fear to receive the holy sacraments of grace, till the stewards thereof deemed them worthy; as also, on other occasions, to seek for comfort and satisfaction to their own hearts, from the wisdom and experience of ghostly physicians; but, above all, it was a fervent desire to receive benefit from the united prayers of God's saints. Indeed, the words of Gregory, bishop of Nyssa, seem quite apposite to the explication of this; "Humble thyself, and take unto thee such brethren as are of one mind, and do bear kind affection towards thee, that they may together mourn and labour for thy deliverance; show me thy bitter and abundant tears, that I may blend mine own with them." And inasmuch as no one could be a fitter physician for a troubled spirit than a minister of God, he proceeds to say, "Make the priest, as a father, partaker of thy affliction and grief; be bold to impart to him the things that are most secret; he will have a care both of thy safety and thy credit." Whence the whole scope of these examples goes to show, that even private acknowledgments had nothing analogous to the auricular confession of Papacy; but were made as well for ghostly guidance and direction, as also more particularly to ensure, by a communication through the medium of one, the sympathy and help of the whole Church, in the efficacy of whose public prayers there was singular trust and confidence. In process of time, the Greek Church, and subsequently the Latin Church also, altered this arrangement; and, on account of various difficulties arising out of it, superseded the Public Confession, and established instead certain Penitentiaries, throughout all the Churches, to take the confessions and appoint the penances of secret offenders. This practice continued in the Greek Church upwards of a century (from A. D. 253 to 391,) and then, in the Episcopate of Nestorius, was for sundry reasons abolished; The Penitentiaries' office was taken away, and it was left to every man's conscience to determine as to his own fitness for participation in God's holy mysteries. In brief, we may conclude, from an impartial investigation of the writings of the Fathers, that in primitive times the use of Confession -- and especially Public -- was everywhere allowed of, and commended; but the peculiar practice of auricular private confession to a priest, as it is upheld and insisted upon by the Church of Rome, we find not. [Hooker here enters into a long disquisition and sifting of various passages from the Fathers, brought forward to establish this doctrine; and clearly shows, that it is only by illogical reasonings and false constructions, that they can be made to give any apparent countenance thereto; and that their real scope and meaning afford not the slightest warrant for it.] And the whole doctrines held by that Church, of Penitence and Confession, of God being unable to forgive sin without the priest and of the consequent absolute necessity for the priest to give absolution in order to salvation; have no warrant or authority at all, from ancient times, to support them. The pretensions are of modern growth, and antiquity dreamt not of them. Without more observations upon the papistical opinions herein, we turn to those held by the Reformed Churches. Now, Confession being (as already shown) a chief duty in Repentance, and this not only toward God, but in some cases also confession to man: the principal of learned divines on the Continent have always held, that the latter, when cleared from all errors, is not only lawful, but advisable: and this is more particularly the case with the German and Lutheran Churches, which direct all men, at certain times, to confess their offences to God in the hearing of God's ministers; as well for a token of sorrow, as also for advice and direction; and more especially for the benefit of pardon, through the power of those "keys," rightly used, which the Saviour has committed to his ministers. In the Church of England, Public Confession forms a part of her daily Liturgy; and she begins her prayers with a general open acknowledgment before Almighty God, wherein every man may make special application and use thereof to himself, and adapt it to his own individual case and circumstances. And as to Private Confession, though the minister's power, together with the authority of the Church therein, is not denied, yet it is not imposed upon the people as necessary; and because of the various inconveniences that experience shows to attend it, the Church thinks it more expedient to refer men's hidden crimes unto God and themselves only. At the same time, she has special admonitions to this practice for those that come to the Eucharist; and she holds out the comforts arising from it, for those about to depart from life. In reference to the former, the holy Eucharist being so solemn a rite, and the very highest grace that men on earth can be admitted to, the minister is bound to warn the unfit of the peril in receiving, to repel them when known, and to terrify them when unknown. In the case of notorious and flagrant evil-doers, he is to withhold that sacred mystical food until they be reclaimed; but in matters of alleged wrong and injury amongst individuals, as it is difficult to know the exact truth, it is better to leave the matter between the parties and their God, than rashly to sever any from communion. And in respect of the latter, the absolution of the sick indeed has no difficulty; and it is rather an office of joy, to be the dispensers of such a precious gift. Even in the hour of death, many may feel the sting of sharp repentance, and manifest the deepest contrition; and, upon special confession, the minister may absolve, by that authority which Christ has committed to him, knowing that God estimates not so much the time spent, as the truth shown, in repentance. Briefly, when an offence is only between a man and his own conscience, Chrysostom's advice is good; "Tell thy sins to God, who will cure them: let God alone see thee at thy confession." Yet if peace with God do not follow thereupon, and fear and anguish still continue, then it is advisable to have recourse to a spiritual pastor for consolation and remedy.
V. Of the doctrine of SATISFACTION, as a part of the discipline of Repentance; and of Popish INDULGENCES, as arising out of its abuse.
WE now come to consider the term Satisfaction. In the language of the Fathers indeed, it generally included the whole work of penitency; but when it is spoken of as a part, it refers to what the Baptist meant by "works meet for repentance." Satisfaction implies something done to the entire contentment of the injured party, and to be in justice fully equal to the injury committed. Now, sin against an infinite God must necessarily be an infinite wrong, requiring an infinite recompense, or else demanding infinite punishment. Hence man's utter inability thus to satisfy; and God's great love in providing a Mediator to do that for us, which to ourselves was impossible. Wherefore all sin is remitted, only in the faith of Christ's passion; and without belief thereof, no man is justified: faith alone makes Christ's satisfaction ours: and yet not the faith unaccompanied by repentance; but that faith, which makes us by conversion His, and willing to do that which, however unavailable in itself, yet being accepted by God in Christ, causes us to become fit vessels for receiving the fruit of His satisfaction. Repentance implies the operation of a grace in us: Satisfaction, the effect it has, either on God or man; and, if it be complete, nothing further is required. Now, our Lord Jesus Christ, by one most precious sacrifice, did satisfy and reconcile us to God, and purchased His free pardon for all. Although we are not thereby freed from the duty of penitence: God has made it a condition; and Christ is an everlasting Intercessor, through whom every particular penitent's grief for sin is acceptable to God who, beholding his meek submission, regards his deed with infinite mercy, and revives his afflicted mind, saying, "It is I, even I, that take away thine iniquity for mine own sake." Repentance thus satisfies God, changing wrath into mercy. When, however, we speak of God's wrath and mercy, they must not be considered passions in Him, as they are in us; but only as terms used in accommodation to our ideas: inasmuch as His punishments for sin seem as the effects of anger to us; so His withdrawal thereof is as compassion. And when the sin is once pardoned, no further punishment of it remains; once remitted, there is a perfect absolution and discharge: and if chastisements do follow afterwards, as on the people of Israel [Num 14:22], or Moses [Num 20;12], or David [2 Sam 12:14], they are not in revenge for what is pardoned, but only for amendment's sake; and for the noble exercise of faith and patience, to be as examples of warning to others, or as benefits to ourselves. Hence the notion is confounded, that imagines pardon to mean the remission of eternal punishment only, but that a temporal one is still to be endured. [By this mode of reasoning Augustine answered the Pelagian objection, which alleged, "that if death were imposed as the punishment of Adam's sin, it ought to have ceased when Christ had made satisfaction for sin;" showing that the continuance of bodily death was a means for exercising and strengthening the faith, in overcoming the fear of death.] And as the same fire that consumes stubble also refines gold, so we may conclude, with Augustine, that "before forgiveness, chastisements are the punishment of sinners; and after forgiveness, they are the trials of righteous men." Repentance, therefore, even the sole virtue thereof, in its several branches of contrition, confession, and fruits, without shrift or absolution from the priest, is effectual to pacify us to God, through the propitiatory blood of Jesus Christ, and to procure a deliverance from hell, and restoration to glory. Amongst the works of Satisfaction, the chief are Prayers, whereby we lift up our souls to that God, from whom sin had estranged us; Fastings, whereby we bring under the body to the obedience of virtue; and Alms-deeds, expressive of our good-will towards men. Indeed, all the parts of Repentance are in themselves as well painful, and therefore a revenge upon ourselves; as also opposed to actual sin, and therefore likely to be a cautionary preservative therefrom: contrition being the contrary to pleasure; confession, to error; and works of satisfaction, to deeds of sin. And though in strictness, satisfaction (as has been already said) be made to God by Christ only, yet both Faith and Repentance are, in the ordinary phrase of the Fathers, termed satisfactory, and may be so acknowledged by us, in that they are acceptable to God, and make sinners capable of His mercy in Christ. [Particular cases call for particular acts in Repentance. e.g. restitution, in case of wrong or fraud. This was strictly enjoined in the Mosaic Law (Lev 6:2ff), even to the heirs of the injured party, if he were dead (Num. 5:8). And though we are not under that dispensation, yet the spirit of the Law extends fully in this case to Christians.] But though Repentance ordinarily might be private, between God and a man's own conscience; yet in those cases where the Church required some outward sign of satisfaction, if any presented themselves hypocritically, or else by sinister means obtruded on the sacred mysteries, she held them incapable of receiving the grace therefrom which the devout did; and, no doubt, God did retain those bound, whom the Church in such cases refused to loose. Now, the Church established certain rules of discipline and satisfaction, such as restraining from social acts of worship, and from communion, for certain periods, in some cases even for years; in order that penitents might, by patient submission and regular conformity, form settled habits of religious improvement; while, at the same time, they were encouraged by hope of a gradually complete re-admission, which indeed might be accelerated, on manifestation of deep contrition and zealous reformation. [In the case of those who had lapsed, for instance, and repented thereof, it was ordained, "That, earnestly repenting, they should continue three years hearers, seven years be prostrate, and two years communicate (unite) with the people in prayer, before they come to receive the Oblation (Eucharist). In case, however, a person was about to die before his probation finished, the bishop might give leave for him to receive it.] [It seems that sometimes imprisoned martyrs were importuned by those under discipline to intercede for an abridgment of the period for them, which was granted in honour of martyrdom; and we find St. Cyprian complaining of this, as likely, if too much permitted, to bring mischief, as well to the Church itself, as also to the penitents themselves, by lessening their sense of sin, and even in some cases of leading into a belief of peace where there was no peace.] Now, the inventors of the papistical doctrine of sacramental satisfaction have strangely imagined, that when God remits sin, and its eternal punishment, He nevertheless reserves the torments of hell to be endured for a time, longer or shorter in proportion to the crime; but that this temporal punishment may be remitted, by certain duties appointed by the priest, and thus satisfactory to God: if, however, the soul depart from life before these are fulfilled, it must remain in torment till all be paid. And towards the discharge of this, they hold, that the prayers and sacrifices of others in life, on their behalf, may avail; whence arose the enormous pensions and bequests to their priests, to pray for the departed, that they might be delivered from torment. Moreover, a still further assumption they have made, that God's saints may, by their pious life and austerities of self-infliction, have an overplus of merit, which may unite to form a common stock or treasury, as it were, whereout satisfaction may be drawn for the sins of men at the disposal of the Pope: whence sprung all the foolish absurdities and abomination of Indulgences; and the conversion of a pretended sacrament into a monopoly of infinite gain indeed to him, but a scorn to God and man.
VI. On ABSOLUTION of Penitents, and its pre-requisites; ACTUAL only on the part of God, and merely DECLARATORY on the part of the Priest: incorrectness of the Romish tenets herein.
THERE can be no ease from the sense of sin, but by assurance of pardon; and hence it is to be considered, what force the sentence of man has, to absolve us from sins against God. Now, when Christ said to the diseased paralytic, "Thy sins be forgiven thee [Matt 9:2]," though some cavilled, yet others, believing Him to be a prophet, admitted His power thus to speak: even as Nathan, without any imputation of blasphemy, said to David, "God has taken away thy sin." And as God, in that special case, did authorize Nathan, so did Christ more generally authorize His Apostles and ministers, to absolve sinners in His name. The power is the same: the only difference being, that the one had for his warrant prophetical evidence; the others have the combined one, of faith in God's gracious promise to all true penitents, and such external evidence as human observation can furnish, as to the sincerity of each individual. And as our doctrine of Repentance differs from that of papacy, in that we consider true contrition of heart to be the chief; and they exalt an outward ceremonial penance of their own devising: so they proceed to assert, that no penitence whatever can be available to absolution, but such as is enjoined by the Priest's authority; that no contrition, fasts, or charities, have any force towards this end, except with his knowledge and under his direction: for they allege, inasmuch as Christ has said, "Whose sins soever ye retain, they are retained," no man can be reconciled unto God but by their sentence. And thus, forsooth, has God so tied himself, that without the Priest, He cannot pardon any man! Now it is true, that by the words above stated, Christ did give His ministers authority to absolve, and promised to ratify in heaven what they should thus do in faithful discharge of their office; but yet, with the limitation that every jurisdiction carries with it, viz. "that all should be done orderly and with bounds;" and hence, that though power of remission be given to them, it by no means follows that no sin can be pardoned without them. We hold, that the virtue of absolution is, "That it declares unto us the assurance of God's merciful pardon;" the Papists, "That it really takes away sin." We admit that Christ alone has power to forgive sins; but, nevertheless, that grace operating with our means, He will ratify His promise to His ministers. To the remission of sins there are two things necessary: grace, which alone takes away iniquity; and repentance, as the conditional duty. When, then, we have God's promise on the one hand, and the answer of a good conscience as to sincerity on the other, we may well rest assured in God's gracious declaration of forgiveness, as pronounced by His authorized servant. But as there is the power of declaratory absolution in the Church towards voluntary penitents, i. e. of pronouncing sentence according as the outward tokens warrant, (although the actual removal of sin is far beyond priestly power,) so she possesses a more stringent authority of binding or loosing, in reference to sacred mysteries, and can restrain from access to the holy sacraments, or permit it, according to our sinful obstinacy or penitence; herein binding or remitting, in the full and actual meaning of the expression. As this doctrine however, though true, has not escaped from being oppugned, through error [by Tertullian and Novatian], on the one hand; neither has it from being perverted by abuse, on the other. And, in this latter point, Papacy has erred much, holding that men are to confess every sin to the priest; and that whatever is concealed from him, God will never pardon: and thus, from overloading confession, as it were, discipline and absolution have been reduced to a mere formality; and, so far from being discouraged, vice has become emboldened thereby. The Fathers, indeed, were very cautious and slow in absolving, before evident proofs of real contrition; whereas the preposterous practice of Papists,in absolving first, and appointing works of satisfaction afterwards, has led them, as well to pervert the real end of absolution itself, as also to run into such absurdities as those of pardons and indulgences, which increase the evils they profess to cure. In Sin there are three points to be considered: the act itself, which is a transgression of God's Law; the effects of sin, as a permanent quality, defiling the soul; and the debt, or obligation to endure its punishment, whereby sinners are bound, under God's strict justice, till repentance loose them. The act of sin God alone remits; the stain He washes out by the sanctifying grace of the Spirit; and, as to its punishment, since none else has power to cast into hell, so none besides Him has power to deliver therefrom. And the ministerial sentence of absolution can be only declaratory of what God does: even as was Nathan's to David, when he said, "God has taken away thy sin." The words are judicially used: and, according to the saying of St. Jerome, "As the priests of the Law could only discern, and neither cause nor remove, leprosy; so the ministers of the Gospel, when they either retain sin or remit it, do but in the former case judge how long we continue guilty, and in the latter declare when we are clear or free." In brief, the discipline of Repentance, both public and private, was ordained as an outward means to bring men to conversion; and when this did appear by manifest outward signs to be effected, then absolution served to declare, but could by no means make, men innocent. The reason, indeed, why such opinions on Absolution are so strongly maintained by the Church of Rome, is her having elevated Penance into a sacrament; and as she holds that the outward signs, in all sacraments, are not only signs, but also in themselves actual causes, of grace, hence she contends that the priest's absolution, being the external sign in this alleged sacrament, does of itself convey actual remission of sin. [Hooker here mentions some misrepresentations of our tenets by Romish writers, on this point, as if we made sacraments merely modes of instructing the mind by visible images, and nothing more, And he also adverts to other illogical and confused explanations of their own thereon.]
We however hold, that in sacraments there are two things to be considered: the outward sign; and the secret concurrence of God's Spirit: just as the Saviour has taught, that Water and the Spirit combine to work the mystery of the new birth in Baptism: and hence, that no sacramental elements are endowed with any physical efficacy, per se, to work grace (which alone proceeds from God); but that, along with the due administration and reception of the sacramental signs, according to His own ordinance, He bestows grace effectual to sanctify, cure, and comfort the souls of men. Though they be not, however, causes of grace, yet they are not empty, ineffectual signs,- being means that God employs: the delivery and administration thereof are in the hands of men, by whom, as by personal instruments, God applies the signs, and with them joins the Spirit, and through the Spirit works grace: God is the author of the whole; and man a co-operator, appointed to work for, with, and under Him. Indeed, the Romish doctrine itself is inconsistent with the decrees of the council of Trent, which says, "That contrition, perfected with charity, does at all times reconcile offenders to God, before they come to receive actually the sacrament of Penance;" as it is also with the statement of some of their own writers, that on true conversion, "sins are remitted immediately, before they receive priestly absolution." What force has absolution here, when the penitent has been already pardoned of God? or how can this stand with the pretence of absolution being so necessary, that sin without it cannot (except in rare cases) be possibly remitted? In order to evade this, it has been alleged, 1st, That there is in penitents an attrition or grief for sin, arising from fear alone, and that real contrition is produced by absolution; 2nd, That the really contrite desire absolution, and this desire is in God's sight as absolution to them. The first of these positions is contradictory in itself: for what need of contrition is there-(and contrition is a pre-requisite to their sacrament)-if absolution produce it? even Judas had this attrition, proceeding from fear alone. And as to the second, viz. the desire of absolution, (to say nothing of many other concurrent feelings to constitute true repentance,) this desire of absolution, even presupposing that it be commanded, is but a mark of the obedience of a contrite spirit; and, therefore, as such, one of the component parts of true penitence, in virtue of which alone sin is remitted. The sacrament of absolution has in this no place, because it has not been administered; and where there is no actual cause, no effect can follow. Hence, far sounder is the opinion of some of their own divines, who ascribe the real abolition of sin to God's pardoning it, without any dependence upon the priest's absolution as an efficient cause thereof. And to conclude: God alone gives remission of sins. The virtue of Repentance alone procures, and Absolution does but declare it. The most difficult matter oftentimes, however, is to satisfy our own minds in this point, and to make the conscience feel clear of sin. While the sense thereof continues, it is as a sore burden: and this, indeed, is a part of natural religion, and everywhere acknowledged, even by unenlightened Heathens. So that the revelation of a way whereby we may be reconciled to God, and thus shake off the burden, and change the most grisly horrors into comfortable heavenly peace, is worthy of every thankful and most grateful acknowledgment. But the attainment of this joyful state of mind is often prevented, especially in two ways: first, because some apprehend they may be guilty of the "unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost;" and, secondly, others are fearful lest infirmity should prevent them from that perfect repentance which is required. Now, in reference to the first of these, it may be stated, that from the whole scope of the case, "the irremissible sin against the Holy Ghost," was spoken of those persons in Apostolic times, who, having been converted, and received from the imposition of the Apostles' hands the grace and power of the Holy Ghost, enabling them to cure diseases, to speak with tongues, and to prophesy, did afterwards fall away, and blaspheme that blessed Spirit whose gifts they once possessed; so that it was morally "impossible for them to be renewed again unto repentance [Heb 6:6];" and, consequently, they remained sunk in the gulf of unpardonable sin. And the mistake of these self-terrifiers is, that of supposing every act of known and wilful transgression to be of this kind; forgetting, that under the Law there were sacrifices of expiation even for presumptuous sins, as well as for those of error. As to the second case: there are those who, not doubting God's readiness to pardon on true repentance, do nevertheless imagine their own repentance to be defective; and that, after all their earnest wishes and zealous endeavours to be otherwise, their heart remains hard, their deeds imperfect, and their repentance consequently unaccepted,-so that they sink in despair. To such, no better remedy can be offered, than to betake themselves to some spiritual consecrated person, to whom opening their minds, they may receive such ghostly advice and consolation as may remove their timorous scruples, and settle their doubtful minds. In brief: it is not so much the exact measure of their penitential acts, that is to be considered, as their sincere feeling and purpose of mind. The heart is it that makes penitence sincere; sincerity, that which finds favour with God; and the favour of God is that which supplies, by gracious acceptance, whatever is defective in the hearty and true offices of His servants. "If (as St. Chrysostom says) there be a will and a desire to return, He receives and embraces, and omits nothing which may restore us to former happiness." The lowest step in repentance sets us above them that perish. So, with Augustine, we will conclude, "Lord, in thy book and volume of life all shall be written; as well the least of thy saints, as the chiefest: let not, therefore, the imperfect fear; let them only proceed and go forward."
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OF EPISCOPACY. RESPECTING THEIR SIXTH ASSERTION, "THAT THERE OUGHT NOT TO BE IN THE CHURCH BISHOPS ENDUED WITH SUCH AUTHORITY AND HONOUR AS OURS ARE."
I. EPISCOPACY, though oppugned, providentially upheld, and continued hitherto, as being DIVINELY-APPOINTED.
UPWARDS of 1500 years the Church of Christ has continued under the sacred government of BISHOPS; and nowhere has it been planted, during that period, excepting under Episcopacy,-which indeed seems plainly an institution of God. Christianity existed in England, under Bishops, even long before the Saxon conquest; and seems to have commenced towards the close of the second century, during the reign of Lucius. On the invasion of the Saxons, with their accompanying Paganism, the Britons, still however retaining the faith of Christ, and its Episcopal government, withdrew into their fastnesses. Hence we have very ancient historical mention of their Bishops; so that, at the council of Ariminum, A. D. 359, three British Bishops are recorded as being present. When, therefore, Gregory sent over missionaries to convert the Saxons, about A. D. 600, he found the British Christians still observant of the selfsame form of government,-by Bishops over the rest of the clergy. And hence, in establishing Episcopal Christianity amongst the Saxons, he introduced nothing new into the country; but only contributed to replace it in those quarters from whence it had been previously driven. Under this form, Christianity continued till the Norman Conqueror, and has remained such to the present day. Surely, then, it must be a strange infatuation creeping over the minds of men, that has caused a disposition to forsake a mode of Church Government approved by the universal experience of so many centuries, and co-eval with the establishment of Christianity; and to frame unto themselves a new mode of government, neither appointed of God, nor heard of before, until now. But, leaving the ordering of these things, and the consequences thereof, in the hands of Divine Providence, we proceed to inquire into the question of EPISCOPACY; and, first in order, to define the name and office of Bishop.
II. On the meaning of the NAME and OFFICE of a Bishop.
IT may be as well, however, to answer an objection in limine [at the outset], by which the whole argument is attempted to be extinguished at once. For when we plead the antiquity of Episcopacy, we are encountered with the reply, "That the Bishops we have now, are not like those which were formerly." Though in one sense the remark is true, yet it alters not the argument however. Were we reasoning, for instance, as to the antiquity and lawfulness of kingly power, it would be no fair disparagement of the argument, to assert that kings in ancient times were not such in all points as those in the present; the real point at issue being the nature of Sovereignty itself: And if Regality in substance did exist, then the accidental differences thereof, arising from change of time and circumstances, cannot invalidate the lawfulness of the office. Just in the same manner, to those who argue against Episcopacy, and who, being pressed by the question of antiquity, attempt to evade it, by alleging a dissimilarity in circumstances between Bishops of old and those of present times, we reply, that this makes no essential difference in the nature of the office itself. Many things in the state of Bishops have changed with the times; many an ancient Bishop may have been in poorer estate than ordinary pastors now; but this makes no difference as to those things in regard whereof they are termed Bishops, and wherein they essentially differ from other pastors. And first for the Name. In the original language it signified an Over-looker; and, in ecclesiastical writings, was applied to all Church-governors in a general sense; but, in course of time, it began to have a limited application to those only who were Chief governors over the rest. Offices and things generally are more ancient than the names by which they are designated; and frequently a term of general meaning comes to have, in time, a special definite application. Thus the names of Disciple and Apostle originally meant Learner and Messenger; but were appropriated to designate, in Christian language, the former a Follower of Christ; and the latter, an Ambassador specially and immediately sent by Himself. And thus the title of Bishop, implying at first any ecclesiastical governor, came to mean only the principal or chief one. And hence, also, as it is evident that the restricted application of the name is always subsequent to the actual discharge of the office; this conclusion is an answer to the allegations of those who argue against Episcopacy, merely because there seems no use of the word in its limited application, in Apostolic writings, but only in its general meaning. And next for the nature of the office itself. A Bishop is a minister of God, who has a permanent power, not only of administering the Word and Sacraments, but a further power of ordaining Presbyters, and of jurisdiction over them, as well as over Laymen,-being as a Pastor over pastors themselves. He has things in common, therefore, with other Presbyters; but those that properly constitute him a Bishop are not common to other pastors with him. And Bishops may have either an indefinite charge, or a restricted one, confined to jurisdiction over the Churches in one particular locality.
III. On the SUPERIORITY of Bishops; its authoritative and permanent character.
IN our government by Bishops, two things are cavilled at: their superiority; and the honour paid to them. Now, the objectors do admit among themselves a superiority, as arising from eminent gifts and talents; and they also permit it, as an expedient orderly arrangement, wherein one man takes a principal, although only a temporary, share in any public transaction, others being concurring with him. But they utterly deny "that any one minister should have permanent superiority above another; or in any sort a superiority of power that is mandatory, judicial, and coercive, over other ministers;" which position we, on the contrary, strenuously maintain, and contend that Bishops have had it ever since the institution of Christianity. And we now proceed to show, by an induction of particulars, the lawfulness both of a permanent and authoritative superiority on the part of Bishops.
IV. On the ORIGIN of Episcopacy.
THE first Bishops in the Church of Christ were His blessed Apostles, as is seen in the appointment of Matthias to the EPISCOPE; which term implies government, just as the term APOSTOLOS implied having a mission to preach. And though the term EPISCOPE was at first not used in its high and restrictive sense, but applied to inferior offices in general, yet the whole history shows that the spiritual authority, which we have defined as being properly episcopal, was exercised by the Apostles of Christ: the speciality of the name being (as has been already remarked) subsequent to the actual discharge of the office. The Apostles, therefore, were Bishops at large. Though, however, their charge was unlimited, yet, in the execution of it, nothing prevents but that they might restrict themselves individually to some particular portion, as circumstances seemed to require. And thus, as in preaching the Gospel, Paul betook himself to the Gentiles and Peter to the Jews, so we find John taking charge of the Asiatic Churches [Eusebius and Tertullian state this]; and the very case in point, of a Bishop restricting his general charge to one locality, is established by St James being constituted Bishop of Jerusalem. The Apostles, moreover,-whether exercising unlimited Episcopal authority, as St. Paul, or limited, as St. James,-did also depute it to others, to exercise in their stead; as they did to Timothy and Titus, in the first instance: though these subsequently were endowed with an apostolical authority of their own. [This appears from the subscriptions in the 2nd Epist. to Timothy and in that to Titus; as it is shown also by Eusebius, Eccles. Hist. 3:14:2] For ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY makes it clear, that the Apostles conferred permanent Episcopal authority on others. Irenaeus says, "We are able to number up those who by the Apostles were made Bishops;" and he states that the Apostles made Linus first Bishop of Rome, and Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna: as Ignatius also states that they made Evodius Bishop of Antioch. Hence the Apostles, being first possessed of this authority, all others who have it after them, in orderly manner, are their lawful successors,-whether it be in any particular Apostolic Church, or in any place where an Apostle has not previously been; succession, in this point, meaning the possession of the same kind of Episcopal power which was first given to them. And thus Jerome says, "All Bishops are the Apostles' Successors." And though they do not (like them) hold their commission immediately from Christ, nor are the first founders of His Church; yet, as in the office of preaching the Gospel, every Presbyter is a successor of the Apostles, so-though not in largeness and extent, yet certainly in that kind of Episcopal function whereby to sit as spiritual judges and directors over the affairs of Christian Churches--our Bishops are, in the true sense of the word, successors of the Apostles.
V. The PERIOD and CAUSES of the Bishoprics being LIMITED to certain localities.
THE Apostles, under inspired guidance, erected Churches in such cities as received the Gospel; and these Churches all received from them the same faith and sacraments, and also the same form of government; which was, in the first instance, that the Laity should be subject to a sort of College of Presbyters, who are sometimes likewise styled Bishops: these being all subject to the Apostles, as specially appointed over them by God. [Compare Acts 20:17 with Acts 20:28, where the same persons are called, first, Presbyters, and then Bishops; and they are directed, "Attendite gregi, -- Look all to that one flock of Ephesus, over which the Holy Ghost has made you Bishops:" they being all subject to St. Paul's control, as their divinely-appointed governor.] But as the Apostles could not be present at all Churches, and as disputes arose even amongst the governors of Churches themselves, it became necessary to appoint one,-according to the order already begun at Jerusalem,-with an Episcopal authority, derived from the Apostles, over the rest, to settle and determine; and thus the actual exercise of the Episcopal authority existed before the limitation of the name and title. Hence we find Bishops, in the book of Revelation, called Angels. [If it be said that these Angels of the Churches were only the ministers in every Church, it may be inquired then, Why should St. John address his speech to one alone? There were many ministers, for instance, in Ephesus: does not the fact of the Apostle's styling one in particular the angel of the Church (Rev 2:I) evince his superiority?] This order prevailed universally, and was so intimately connected with the very idea of Church, that the ancient Christian persuasion was, "Ecclesia est in Episcopo; The outward being of a Church consists in its having a Bishop." This order, therefore,-whether by previous express divine appointment, or subsequent approbation,- being established by those under the plenary inspiration of the Holy Ghost, must be acknowledged as an ordinance of God. And thus it was held to be by the primitive Fathers. St. Augustine asserts, that "whatever positive order the whole Church observes everywhere, it must have received the same from the Apostles." [He adds, "Unless, perhaps, from General Councils;" but these latter pre-suppose Bishops to hold them, and consequently the argument still holds.] St. Jerome says, that "till factions arose in the Church, and among the people it began to be professed 'I am of Paul, I of Apollos, and I of Cephas,' Churches were governed by common advice of Presbyters. But when every one began to reckon those whom himself had baptized to be his own, and not Christ's, it was decreed in the whole world, that one chosen out of the Presbyters should be placed above the rest, to whom all the care of the Church should belong, and so the seeds of schism be removed." [Hooker answers an objection raised from a wrong construction of Jerome's words, in reference to the practice of electing Bishops in the Church of Alexandria, as if it were peculiar to that place only, and not a general practice. He shows that the words have been wrested from their proper bearing and intent; and that, as is seen above, Jerome's testimony to Episcopacy is clear and distinct. He likewise explains another passage of Jerome's, in reference to Bishops with limited jurisdictions; wherein he intimates that their authority, and the Presbyters' subjection thereto, arose from custom more than God's ordinance. But Jerome, in that passage, was giving an admonition, both to Presbyters and Bishops, that each should behave towards the other as became their stations: the one not contumaciously; the other not proudly: and the words must, therefore, be taken generally, as in a matter of grave caution to each party, and not stringently and literally; as is plain from other passages of Jerome's similar to the one quoted above.] Another argument for Episcopacy is found in the Succession of Bishops; as by Epiphanius, the Bishops of Jerusalem are reckoned down from James to the then Bishop in his time, Hilarian. And on this point Tertullian's words are, "Let them show the beginning of their Churches: let them recite their Bishops one by one; each in such sort succeeding the other, that the first Bishop may have had for his author and predecessor some Apostle, or at least some Apostolical person who persevered with the Apostles. For so, Apostolical Churches are wont to bring forth evidence of their estates; so does the Church of Smyrna, having Polycarp, whom John did consecrate." And on this point, Eusebius and Socrates have collected catalogues, making the evidence thereon quite clear and conclusive. Indeed, when we know, that on many occasions, things of far less moment were not commenced without the Divine direction of the Spirit,-as, for instance, the baptism of the Eunuch by Philip, the direction of Paul and Barnabas to preach to the Gentiles, the appointment of Timothy to his charge,-it would seem a plain and manifest inference, that the appointment of Bishops, from James of Jerusalem to all the various Bishops chosen for the preservation of peace and order in Christ's Church, must have had the same Spirit for its author, and that Episcopacy is a divine institution.
VI. On the NATURE and MANNER of the Power which Bishops have exercised from the origin of their Order; being that of ORDER and of JURISDICTION.
THE superiority of a Bishop over a Presbyter consists as well in power of Order, as also in power of Jurisdiction. As, under the Law, Priests were superior to Levites, and the High-Priest above Priests, each having a more dignified charge, and an authority to do in his superior office certain things not permitted to his inferior; so it is with Bishops, Priests, and deacons: each of the superior having certain duties wherewith the inferior may not intermeddle. Now, the power of ordaining Presbyters and Deacons is peculiar to Bishops: it never having been heard of, that inferior Presbyters had authority to ordain. Some, indeed, have been led into the error of supposing Bishops and Presbyters equal in power of order, because the former offer prayer, preach, and administer the sacraments; all which offices are indeed common to both, but the higher office of ordaining is clearly not so. The Apostles, being Bishops at large, ordained Presbyters everywhere; and Timothy and Titus, having a special episcopal power for Greece and Ephesus, ordained in these their respective regions. Confirmation seems generally to have been confined to Bishops; but instances have occurred, when in their absence, this duty has been discharged by Presbyters. From a direction of the Council of Carthage, that Presbyters should lay their hands together with the Bishop on ordained persons, it has been erroneously supposed that Ordination is not peculiar to Bishops. Now, this indeed is the practice in our own Church at the present day. But this is only in the way of association, the Presbyters having no original power therein; just as the Saviour tells the Apostles, "With me ye shall sit and judge the twelve tribes of Israel," although the right and power of judging is in Him alone. Indeed, no Presbyter or Deacon, ordained by Presbyters only, was ever allowed in the ancient Church; though everywhere the converse may be found, where Bishops alone have ordained them. As to the power of Jurisdiction, it may be remarked, that under the Law this was possessed by the High Priests over the Priests, and by the latter over the Levites: e.g. Eleazar, the son of Aaron, we read, was to be "chief over the chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them [Num 3:32]; as we also find that the Gershonites were to be "at the appointment of Aaron and his sons, in all their burdens and in all their service [Num 4:27]." Indeed, this is not denied by our opponents; but only an attempt is made to evade its force, by saying, that the High-Priest being a figure of Christ in His supremacy, when the Saviour came the figurative supremacy ceased. Now, it is true that the High-Priest was a type of Christ in many things,- such as, for instance, in his entering once each year into the holy place, to atone for the people; but these points were matters of Order, and not of jurisdiction; and to imagine, that an office for directing and regulating a whole society, was so far typical, that it had no other end but simply to prefigure, is absurd. Indeed, St. Cyprian and St. Jerome use the same mode of arguing for Episcopal jurisdiction, by the analogy of the Law: the latter says, "That which Aaron and his sons and the Levites were in the Temple, Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons, in the Church, may lawfully challenge to themselves;" and the former also proceeds to assert, "That it is not left to our own choice whether Bishops shall rule or not; but the will of our Lord and Saviour is, that every act of the Church be governed by her Bishops." Ignatius observes of Bishops, that they are HIERATEUEIN KAI ARCHEIN (to function as priests and kings). And, to adduce no more from the many evidences on this point, the power of Timothy and Titus over Presbyters [1 Tim 5:19], in their respective Episcopates, was clearly one of rule and jurisdiction. [Calvin admits, "that in old time the ministers which had charge to teach, chose of their company one in every city, to whom they appropriated the title of Bishop, lest equality should breed dissension." He then goes on to assimilate their office and authority in spiritual, to that of the Roman Consuls in civil, matters. Though, singularly enough, after these admissions, he denies that Bishops had authority to bear rule over other ministers.] Passages have indeed been alleged, both from St. Jerome and St. Chrysostom, implying that Bishops were only superior to Presbyters in the power of conferring Ordination: e.g. the former says, "What may a Bishop do more than a Presbyter, except it be only to ordain?" and the latter, "Bishops seem not to excel Presbyters in anything but only in the power of Ordination." But here they are writing only on the power of Order, which by divine consecration is given to Bishops above Presbyters; and their words are not intended to apply to the authoritative part of their Jurisdiction, which was necessary for the government of the Church. That this is so, may be at once seen by reference to other parts of their writings: e.g. Jerome says, "I marvel that the Bishop under whom Vigilantius is said to be Presbyter, does not yield to his fury, and break that unprofitable vessel with his apostolic and iron rod;" again, advising Nepotian, he says, "Be thou subject unto thy Bishop, and receive him as the father of thy soul." And Chrysostom, when through the factious conduct of a party he had been banished, and was afterwards summoned to appear, objected on the ground of two of the messengers being his own Presbyters; and that it was contrary to all precedent, that they should be sent to summon him, who were a part of that clergy whereof he himself was ruler and judge.
VII. On the MODE wherein Bishops, associating Presbyters with them, administered the affairs of their respective Churches.
THE custom was, whenever Bishops and their Presbyters met in council, on affairs of their Churches, for the Bishop to have a raised seat of dignity, and to be surrounded by his Presbyters, who assisted him with their advice in important matters. Ignatius calls Presbyters SYMBOULOI KAI SYNEDREUTAI TOU EPISKOPOU, "counsellors and assistants of the Bishop." Not that the Bishops had not power of themselves to act,-for this they clearly had; but rather, as a matter of discretion and convenience, they voluntarily submitted things to the college of Presbyters, which they might have done of their own power and authority. Sometimes they also consulted other Bishops, who attended at their councils in matters of moment. But that the Bishop's power of jurisdiction was inherent, ex officio, may be seen in the answer sent to Rogatian, a Bishop who had consulted Cyprian and other Bishops, about the contumelious conduct of one of his own Deacons: "That though in his own cause he did of humility rather show his grievance [unto others] than himself take revenge, which by the vigour of his Apostolical office and the authority of his chair he might have done;" yet if the party should again offend, he was to "use on him that power which the honour of thy place gives thee, either to depose him or exclude him from access unto holy things." The Bishop had also under him a Presbyter named Arch-deacon, to superintend the Deacons; and another Presbyter to rule the Presbyters; which latter office corresponds to what is now called Dean. So that, notwithstanding time may have made certain changes, yet our Cathedral officers are clearly remnants of Apostolical antiquity; and for their support and continuance, as such, it is our duty earnestly to strive.
VIII. On the LOCAL EXTENT, or DIOCESE, over which the authority of a Bishop reached; on ARCHBISHOPRICKS and PRIMACIES or PATRIARCHATES.
HAVING established the position that Bishops had jurisdiction over Presbyters, we may now inquire, although only as a secondary consideration, how far in point of locality this extended; or, in other words, the extent of their Dioceses. In early times, care was had to provide a Bishop for every Christian city, if possible: the college of Presbyters in which, together with those in its circumjacent province or territory (for smaller congregations, with single Pastors to each, by degrees spread in the country-villages) were all subject to him. The cities themselves, also, as believers increased in number, had separate Churches provided in them, wherein single Ministers officiated to separate congregations. But all these Churches, whether in the city or adjacent towns and villages, had a respect for the principal City-Church, as a sort of mother, out of which they grew: to whose Bishop they and their Pastors were all subject; and to which they resorted for the administration of such things as their own Presbyters were not entitled to perform. This mother-church was usually termed Cathedral; which, with the College of Presbyters, formed the Bishop's See; as the local compass of his authority did his Diocese. Within his own See and Diocese, it was his peculiar office to ordain Presbyters and Deacons, and to dispose of matters of importance. Here, then, we may remark, that as St. Paul had a general and unlimited Episcopal authority, and Timothy and Titus an extensive but more limited one; so other Bishops had a smaller Episcopal charge and authority, but yet extending over many congregations. There were also persons appointed by the Bishops to be a kind of substitutes or vicegerents for them, over those Churches of their See that were distant; and those had the name Chorepiscopi; but their power was limited to the oversight of the Churches, and the appointment of sub-deacons, and smaller officers: the power of ordaining being reserved to the Bishop himself. The same causes that required the jurisdiction of Bishops over their respective Presbyters, called, in the course of time, for the establishment of a higher order amongst themselves. The public affairs of the Church enlarging with the increase of her estate and members,-general consultations and judicial ordinances being required, and sometimes disputes arising between Bishops themselves,-rendered it eventually necessary to appoint certain of their own body, to superintend and preside over the deliberations of the rest [Even the Puritan objectors, in their Synods, admit the principle by electing one of their Pastors to rule and preside over the rest. And although this pre-eminence is but temporary, yet it is renewed in some one individual, each time they assemble. Whereas we prefer having one continual president.]; and thus Arch-Bishops were established: in constituting of whom, it seemed fitting that the civil dignity of the place should be considered; consequently, that the Bishop of the mother city or Metropolis should hold the chiefest rank amongst the other Bishops: and hence the title of Metropolitan, which attaches to an Arch-Bishop. And as the Archbishops were many, during that period when the whole Christian world was under one civil government, there being many mother-cities, and consequently Metropolitans, in the various regions of that extensive sway; so a still higher order arose over the Archbishops themselves, called Primates, or Patriarchs, of whom there were four: viz. the Primates of Alexandria, of Rome, of Antioch, and subsequently of Constantinople: these Patriarchs, or Primates, having the same prerogative power In reference to Archbishops, as these latter had in respect to Bishops. [Though the title of Primate be now given to an Archbishop, yet in strictness it was appropriated to the Patriarchs, as above-mentioned. And this title was recognized at the Council of Nicea, A. D. 325; at which the three above first-mentioned Primates were present. About sixty years after this, Constantinople was erected Into a Primacy, and the Primate thereof adjudged to rank next after the Primate of Rome.] All Bishops were indeed equal, as regarded their power within their respective dioceses; but when sundry of them had occasion to assemble on general public matters of the Church, then the Archbishops took precedence and authority: and when, from various causes, difficulties arose amongst them, the Council of Nice appointed unto each grand division of the Christian world one Primate, or Patriarch; from whose decision there was no appeal, except to a general council of Bishops. [The prerogatives wherein Archbishops were superior to Bishops were, the power of convoking the Bishops in their own provinces on public occasions; granting the Bishops leave of absence, when necessary, from their dioceses; apprising them of things commanded by supreme authority; hearing accusations (if any) against them, and deciding in cases of appeals from their inferior clergy; and all Provincial Councils required the presence of an Archbishop to give their acts validity.]
IX. On ANCIENT objections to Episcopacy, as held by AERIUS and his followers.
THE first strenuous opposer of Episcopal superiority that we read of in early days, seems to have been one Aerius, a disappointed man, who, seeking to be made Bishop, and angry that Eustathius was preferred before him for the office, set himself to impugn the dignity he had coveted. His position was, that Scripture makes no difference, in point of order, between Bishops and Presbyters; that the latter are competent to all the duties of the former; that, for instance, Presbyters made Timothy a Bishop [1 Tim 4:14]; and that the Apostle calls Presbyters by the name of Bishops [Phil 1:1]: and hence, that the custom of the Church, in instituting such orders, is unwarranted. Now, to pass by the wrong conduct of Aerius,-in causing schism, and not submitting to the order of the Church,-he was wrong also in his conclusions: for it does not follow, because the Word of God does not mention or appoint any difference between a Presbyter and a Bishop, that it prohibits any such distinction ever to be made. Yet this is the whole ground of his argument.
X. The three general grounds of MODERN objections to Episcopacy.
AND this ground is also taken by the enemies of Episcopacy at the present day; who build thereupon all their arguments, precisely in the same way, against any inequality or difference between Presbyters and Bishops. They allege, 1st, that it is a mere human invention, and that the order and authority of both are the same; 2nd, that it is a corrupt aggravation of an ancient incorrect practice; 3rd, that it is unscriptural,-being not only unwarranted, but even condemned, by Scripture.
XI. On the allegation that Episcopacy is a mere HUMAN INVENTION.
THESE allegations they endeavour to uphold by the following positions: 1st, That wherever Scripture mentions the word Bishop, it signifies a person having an oversight only in respect of some particular congregation, and not over other pastors; and hence, that the names Bishop, Presbyter, and Pastoral-Elder, used frequently in Scripture, are all synonymous: 2nd, That there is no difference in the manner of their election and ordination; hence, also, they are equal: 3rd, As the Apostles were all equal, so Pastors, being their successors in ministry and power, are likewise equal: 4th, That the power of the "keys," and of ordaining ministers, is not in any one Pastor of any one Church, but belongs to the Church itself; and hence, all Pastors therein are equal, not only in Ministry of the Word and Sacraments, but also in Jurisdiction and Authority: 5th, That the Council of Nice attributed the difference [now held] to ancient custom, and not to God's ordinance: lastly, That all ministerial functions ought to be set down in the word of God; and if they be not so, (as Bishops are not,) then they are inventions of men, and can do no good, but only harm, to the Church of Christ. To all which it may be replied, generally, that their alleged proofs from Scripture on this point are unavailable; and that, even were Bishops (as they assert) of no Apostolical institution, yet their authority is not thereby disannulled, nor proved unsuitable or unprofitable to the Church. For, -- 1st. It is untrue that the term EPISKOPE implies only an oversight of a particular congregation: the office of Matthias, for instance, is termed Episcopal [Acts 1:20], and was common to him with all the other Apostles, whose authority clearly was over more congregations than one; and, consequently, included an oversight over Pastors themselves. And though Pastors of certain individual Churches were sometimes termed Bishops, sometimes Presbyters, implying a charge only over the Laity therein; yet this does not prevent the special application of the term in cases of higher government and charge, such as those had whom St. John calls angels [Rev 2:1]. 2nd. There being no difference in the rules for Election and Ordination, is of no weight towards proving no difference in office: the same would apply as to Priests and Deacons; and yet we know that Scripture makes them not equal. And a reason why Timothy and Titus did not receive directions about Bishops specially, may be, that they had Episcopal authority to ordain,-not Bishops, (that power being yet with the Apostles,)-but only Priests and Deacons. 3rd. The argument from the equality among the Apostles is less conclusive still. True, they themselves were all equal; but they had authority over all other Pastors who were not Apostles: Pastors, therefore, were subject to Pastors, in Apostolic days; and where is the commandment that this custom should cease, and that all should thenceforth be equal? 4th. As to the fourth position: the power of the "keys," i.e. of Censure, and also of Ordination, is in the Church; but it is administered by some specially appointed superior: e.g. to Timothy it is said, "Receive thou no accusation save with two or three witnesses [1 Tim 5:19];" to Titus, "I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest redress the things that remain, and shouldest ordain Presbyters in every city, as I appointed thee [Tit 1:5]." If there had been an equality in all Pastors, that all might perform the same things, why this special appointment? and why were not the Epistles addressed to the other Pastors in conjunction with Timothy and Titus, as being their alleged equals? Similarly, also, the Epistles in the Book of the Revelation should be addressed to the whole of the Pastors, and not to the Angels of each Church. Scripture, therefore, does make an inequality of Pastors. 5th. The Nicene Councils only referred to certain Customary honours in the Church, as connected with primates, and had no allusion to superiority of Bishops, as a divinely-appointed ordinance, over Presbyters. 6th. Even supposing the generally-received opinion were incorrect, as to the Apostles leaving Bishops invested by them with power over other Pastors; yet, in that case, if the Churches agreed among themselves to appoint such to hold an Apostolic power, as chief over the rest, for the good of the whole, this ought not therefore to be abrogated. [Our Saviour's question, "The baptism of John, was it from heaven or of men?" (Matt 21:25) implies that spiritual functions may be given, not only immediately by God himself, but also by lawful authority amongst men: and supports the conclusion, that without one of these two modes of commission, no exercise of spiritual functions is warranted.] All things in the Church ought, it is true, to be of God; but there are two modes in which this may be: first, by His own special institution; and, secondly, by man's appointment, but with His approbation. And of His approval it may be considered sufficient evidence, that either His Word warrants it, or that our own reason perceives the intrinsic goodness and fitness thereof, together with its non-repugnancy to His Word and ordinances. Nay, indeed, we disparage the work of God's hands, if we reject every thing simply because "the wit of man" has devised it. All that is good, in the way of civil or religious institution, may be said to be of Him, and approved by Him, whether specifically set down in Scripture or not. Hence, the Apostle terms even the Law of Nature [Rom 1:32], as the Evangelist does the Law of Scripture [Luke 1:6], DIKAIWMA TOU THEOU, God's own righteous ordinance. What, indeed, is expressly directed in Scripture is of more paramount authority; but this forbids not that other things may be estimated and reverenced according to their true use and worth. Hence, if our Episcopacy were not derived from the Apostles, but only an institution for the general good of the Church, yet no exception could on that account justly lie against it.
XII. Episcopacy alleged to be UNNECESSARY.
OTHER allegations, however, are made: as 1st, That as in the primitive Church all Pastors were equal, and her affairs flourished, Bishops (in our meaning of them) are superfluous; if really necessary, they would have been earlier instituted: 2nd, That as Christ prescribed all, even the minutest things, under the Law, so He would not have left so weighty an affair undetermined in the Gospel: 3rd, That as faults had better be investigated on the spot, the office of Bishops and Archbishops, with jurisdiction at a distance, is unsuitable.
XIII. Refutation of the foregoing assertions, as to Bishops being UNNECESSARY.
Now, it has already been shown [An objection is here answered by Hooker, founded upon a perversion of Cyprian's words, that Bishops were only Pastors of single congregations, and the perversion and irrelevancy thereof are shown.], that the Apostles did rule over the Church of Christ as Bishops at large; and, consequently, at first there was no need for Bishops with local limited jurisdiction established in every city. But so far from the Church subsequently flourishing because without these, it was the evil that immediately arose wherever they were not, that led to their universal appointment, after the manner of that Episcopate already so beneficially established at Jerusalem: and thus the very origin of the office proves its use and necessity. The argument from want of express prescription, as the Jews had for every thing, under the Law, is here inapplicable: were it otherwise, indeed, we should clearly then have to refrain even from building churches, inasmuch as we have no directions at all for the structure of them; whereas the Jews had for every particle of their Temple. And for the objection of distant places for trial or appeal, it is evidently of no weight; such customs being adopted generally from experience of their benefit, and being sanctioned by the Apostle himself, who "appealed from the court of Judaea unto Caesar" at Rome.
XIV. On the alleged DIFFERENCE between the Power of Bishops, as exercised in ANCIENT times and in MODERN.
BUT the superiority of Bishops to Presbyters having been conceded,--at least as being of ancient standing,-another objection is raised, "that they had not the same kind or extent of power as ours have:" such as ordaining without the people's leave; excommunicating or releasing of their own will; bearing civil office in a realm, etc. Now, supposing it were so, and that by degrees they had crept into this sole exercise of power; yet even thus they perform not, after all, any act which in itself they were originally debarred from doing, only with the consent and co-operation of others: and if such a custom had, by a sort of general tacit consent, obtained in the Church for many ages, it is not therefore to be uprooted. The Church, as a body politic, is competent to make new laws, or abrogate old ones; and if she either let ancient canons go into desuetude, or abrogate them at once, then such laws are not afterwards to be brought forward as forming grounds whereon to build objections. At the first institution of Deacons, it is true that the Apostles committed unto the people the power of choosing out fit persons for the office; but it was the imposition of Apostolic hands that constituted them such. And, in making of Presbyters, both the custom and canons of the Church require that hands should be "laid suddenly on no man;" and that due examination and probation of them should take place before presentation to the Bishop; which, in fact, is the custom in the Church of England even now; but, as in the case of the Deacons, it is the imposition of hands alone that constitutes them Presbyters, the selection and probation being only preparatives thereto. And hence, if the Bishops ordained fit persons, even should the people exercise no previous choice,-(such custom having by tacit consent fallen into disuse,)-neither is there transgression of any law in this, nor is the ordination in any sort invalid. Indeed, experience shows how inconvenient, and even unsuitable, some customs, originally good, may in time become, especially in matters wherein a multitude exercise power. And on this very principle the objectors themselves act, in the mode of appointing their own Deacons by an Ecclesiastical Senate, and not, as in Apostolic times, by the people at large: and the reason they allege is briefly this, "That, as in civil governments the whole sway is originally in the people's hands, who voluntarily appoint magistrates,-but that afterwards the magistrates, and not the multitude, have the ordering of public affairs,-so exactly it was with the Church; the regimen of which is not now in the hands of the whole multitude, but wholly in theirs who are appointed guides thereof: and hence, what for certain causes was done by the people, before the Church was fully settled, cannot be made a perpetual form of ordering the Church." Unless, then, that which is truth, when uttered in defence of the practice in Scotland and Geneva, ceases to be truth when applied to the Church of England, here is in their own reasoning a complete answer to all their allegations against us on this head. There are two things in every ecclesiastical function; "Power to exercise the duty;" and some "Charge of people whereon to exercise it." The former can only be conferred by the visible Catholic Church; and they whom she has authorized, as her instruments herein, are not the Laity (of whom it has, therefore, never been heard that they were allowed to ordain), but certain ecclesiastical persons, superior both to Deacons and Presbyters, who have power to confer order in the name of the whole Church. Such were the Apostles, such were Timothy and Titus; such Bishops, who, though different from them in some points, are the same in pre-eminence of place, otherwise they might not ordain. [Episcopal Ordination, however, in extreme and extraordinary cases, may perhaps be dispensed with: as when God specially raises up some instruments for His own purposes; only, in that case, they must be furnished with some evident and satisfactory sign, that He has authorized them. Or, again, should a Church ever be in such a position as not, by any possibility, to obtain a Bishop to ordain, she must yield to such inevitable necessity; and the lineal descent of power by Apostolical succession is not, in such case, to be urged absolutely, and without any possible exception. [As connected with what is just said in regard to Episcopal Ordination, a reference to the words of Hooker may be made here, which was omitted in its proper place at Book 3:11. "For mine own part,-although I see that certain reformed Churches,-the Scottish, and especially the French,-have not that which best agrees with Scripture, I mean the government that is by Bishops, inasmuch as both are fallen under a different kind of regimen,-to remedy which is for the one altogether too late, and for the other too soon, in their present affliction and trouble,-this their defect and imperfection I had rather lament, in such case, than re-agitate; considering that men may often, without any fault of their own, be driven to want [be deprived of] that kind of polity which is best, and to content themselves with that which either the irremediable error of former times, or necessity of the present, has cast upon them." Here, though clearly contending for Episcopacy, he at the same time speaks with a tender reserve and Christian forbearance of the irregularities into which pressing circumstances had driven others.]] The power of Order having been thus conferred, and requiring next some Charge, then comes in the People's consent, and not before. Power of Order may be received without their consent, but cannot be exercised upon them against their wills. In this respect, no Pastor in the Church of England exercises his charge in any parish, but the people virtually consent thereto. Not, indeed, that they do so by particular vote; but inasmuch as in former days it seemed reasonable, and for the encouragement of further piety in the eyes of the Christian world, that those who built and endowed Churches on their own soil, and at their own charge, should have the appointment of the Minister thereof, the public right was thus orderly devised to an agent, whose choice therefore is virtually theirs. Hence it is untrue that Ordination ought only to proceed on the people's suffrages; that ancient Bishops could not otherwise ordain; or that our Bishops have usurped a power not originally belonging to them. Nor yet is the allegation well-founded, that they also act tyrannically in excommunicating or releasing by their own power, without concurrence of the many. Indeed, by the word many here, the objectors mean not the people at large, but a council of Lay-Elders; and the reply to it might well rest on their own words, as just quoted in reference to Ordination. But the tyranny of any act depends, not upon the number of agents, as one or more, but in its being contrary to law; and if a Bishop excommunicate only those whom the law authorizes him, the complaint is groundless. Besides, were he to call in others, viz. Presbyters, into council hereon, still he would not remove the complaints of the objectors, because they would have Lay-Elders, such as no ancient Bishop ever was judicially associated with. How much better to strive for real good, than to contend on such trifles!
XV. On the CIVIL power and authority exercised by our Bishops.
ANOTHER objection is started against the power of secular punishment being entrusted to our Bishops, and against their being permitted to hold civil offices. With regard to the former-(premising that it is not any capital punishment, but only one extending to imprisonment),- what they do is only done according to the laws of the land; and herein, were it necessary, a precedent might be adduced from the practice of the Priests under the Law [Jer 29:26]. And in reference to civil offices being held; though some may be unsuited to the clerical character, yet all are not, but may be held, and that often with manifest general advantage. For instance, a Christian society may be placed in such circumstances, as that there is a lack of discerning and skilful men among the Laity; and then, what hinders that, in the spirit of the Apostle's advice, [1 Cor 6:1-7] they should commit the arbitration of their disputes to the wisest among them, even if the same should happen to be their Pastors? Indeed, Augustine concluded therefrom, that it was actually incumbent upon him, although it was pain and travail to him, nevertheless to "endure the perplexities of other men's causes," to which toils "the Apostle, being directed by the Spirit, had tied him." Again, in Ecclesiastical Societies it is expedient on similar grounds, that certain of their own body should undertake civil offices for the right government of the whole: hence Chancellors, and other like academical officers. [Supposing any of the Blood-Royal in a nation be ordained to the ministry, and the Crown did descend to him, ought he thereby to be precluded from his lawful civil dignity? or, rather might it not be a blessing to the Church, that he should be, as God's anointed in two senses, a nursing-father to her?] And, indeed, in a general point of view, wherever God has bestowed eminent peculiar gifts and parts, it would seem somewhat derogatory of the Giver, were the Commonwealth wherein they live to be entirely deprived of their ability in a civil capacity. Do we not read of David employing the High-Priest as his chief counsellor of state? nay, even of the Jews sometimes selecting Priests to be their leaders in war? Moreover, from certain dignities attached to ecclesiastical offices, there may arise an increase of respect for religion itself, salutary at all times, as far as it goes: and thus, in our own nation, the Clergy are held for the chief of the three estates that make up the entire body of the commonwealth, under one Supreme Head. Hence, there may be a certain conjunction of civil with ecclesiastical power, exercised beneficially to a nation, provided it be not of such a kind or extent as is contrary to law or reason. And that there is no real incompatibility in such things, we have the striking instance in Scripture, of Eli being both Priest and Judge, and of Ezra being Priest and Governor. Nor will the argument apply here, which is sometimes alleged, from the conduct of the Saviour, when He said, "My kingdom is not of this world," and refused to be made a king, or to interfere in civil matters; He merely implied, that such was no part of the Messiah's office. Neither again can any argument be drawn from the words or conduct of the Apostles; who taught that "good soldiers of Christ should not entangle themselves with the business of life;" [2 Tim 2:4] and who themselves never took upon them civil office or power. For in the first instance, the Apostle is only giving general advice, to be regulated by circumstances, that disciples should not be too much occupied in worldly affairs, so as to cause neglect of spiritual; otherwise for instance, his words might be drawn even into a prohibition of marriage itself [1 Cor 7:7f], which brings many cares. And in the next place, their own circumstances, and those of the times wherein they lived, formed a sufficient reason for their not sustaining any civil offices themselves. And whereas it is alleged also, that sundry Canons and Councils forbid the Clergy to bear secular offices; neither is this sufficient to overthrow our position, that, under certain circumstances, ecclesiastical and civil offices may be profitably conjoined. In the law of God it is showed that they may be so. And if occasionally laws have been made to restrain it, they have been rather to restrain an excess in the practice, than to form ground of perpetual prohibition. Indeed, change of times requires change of regulations; and the Church has power as well to relax old laws, as to make new ones. For instance, ancient laws forbade ecclesiastical persons to be executors of wills, or guardians of children; are these laws of perpetual obligation? However it would seem idle to argue these points further with those who protest both against what has been, and what is; and who utterly condemn, as well the ancient as the present superiority of ecclesiastical persons.
I. Refutation of the objection that the laws of Christ, and the judgment of the best men in all ages, FORBID Episcopal superiority.
IT is however urged, that the words of our Saviour forbid the authority of one minister over another, when he says, "Kings of nations bear rule over them; but it shall not be so with you." [From these words the Anabaptists deduced, that Christians ought to have no civil government, but only be ordered by Christ their head: alleging that Christ spoke to His Apostles not in their Apostolical character, but as Christians, in opposition to Heathens generally: a conclusion which our present Puritan objectors will not allow, because it suits not their purpose to go so far; but they, nevertheless, urge it to the extent they themselves require it.] Now,-to omit arguments derived from this peculiar mention of regal government, and of Gentile kings,-the best interpretation of these words will be arrived at, by considering the circumstances under which they were spoken. The Jews had a mistaken notion of their promised Messiah's kingdom,-that it was to be that of a mighty temporal prince, who should subdue the world, and make Jerusalem the seat of an universal empire. Under this impression, the mother of Zebedee's children sued to the Saviour for their secular aggrandisement, when, as she expected, He should set up His kingdom; and Christ replied, that though kings of nations might have ample preferments for their respective followers, yet His disciples must not look for such things from Him, whose kingdom was not of this world. Hence, the passage referring to His own case and circumstances, has only a general bearing to His disciples, and inculcates humility of temper, and spirituality of views, but it has no specific application to distinctions amongst Christians themselves. [Two objections are here stated from the words of Cyprian, and the Council of Carthage; but in the former case, Cyprian is only protesting against an undue assumption of power over him, and not against degrees of ecclesiastical dignity: and in the latter, the Council of Carthage only lays it down, that amongst Archbishops, though the chief Metropolitan had a certain prerogative over the rest, yet that this power was not of the same kind, and to the same extent, as that of Bishops over their own Clergy, which reached even to suspension, excommunication, or deposition.] For, indeed, it is a well known fact, manifest from Scripture, that the Apostles did exercise authority and power over the rest of the disciples. Neither, as has been already stated, is evidence wanting in the writings of the ancient Fathers, on this head; nothing is more constantly insisted upon, than that Episcopal authority is sanctioned of God, and that, according to His divine law, the whole Christian fraternity is under an obligation of obedience to their Bishop; it was a thing universally admitted, and agreed upon by the Christian world of old: and it is only pride of heart and spirit that moves men now to despise, what was once so reverently esteemed, and falsely to allege arguments from Scripture, in order to procure their own self-exaltation, and to set up themselves as teachers not brooking a superior.
XVII. On the HONOUR and RESPECT paid to Bishops, being a great cause of enmity against them.
ONE chief motive of opposition to Episcopacy is, the honour and respect paid to it, and through it to the Clergy; whereat their envy and jealousy are stirred up, precisely as in the case of Korah and his company against Aaron and the priests of God [Num 16:3]. Now, honour is the respect due from man to man, according to the several kinds of worth which each may possess, and by which they are presumed to be beneficial to their fellow-men; the degrees thereof being regulated according to the measure of worth in each. And the inward feeling of this requires to be evidenced in outward actions. Hence the Scripture direction, "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the person of the aged [Lev 19:32];" thus we are directed to "honour the king;" and even by St. Peter to "honour all men;" that is, to give to each the proper degree of respect, "honour to whom honour," and "custom to whom custom" is due. And though the external signs, such as titles, gestures, etc., in themselves, are of little value, and easily given, yet they are practically of great influence amongst mankind in general; so that, strip any office of its external ornaments, and the estimation thereof will be visibly diminished. And as the custom in this kingdom-(even as it was in Israel of old, and is now in all Christian kingdoms)-is to give to the chief prelate in God's name, the degree of honour next to that of the Sovereign, the reasons thereof may now be investigated.
XVIII. The various PUBLIC BENEFITS arising from Episcopacy, form the chief ground of its being HONOURED.
The ground then, whereon to claim honour for the prelates of God's Clergy, is the public good they are the authors of. Now, as God's favour is the great prop of states, and the practice of true religion therein the great means of securing it; so true religion is intimately connected with prelacy, and by consequence its public benefit is clear. This latter position, however, is now often disputed. But if it was accounted amongst God's blessings to His people, that they were led "like sheep by the hands of Moses and Aaron [Psalm 77:20];" the former being as a civil governor, and the latter as a spiritual one; it must be likewise beneficial now, to have what was exemplified by the rule of Moses and Aaron, viz. Monarchy and Prelacy; Sovereigns being as Moses was; and Bishops, in reference to their Clergy, being what High Priests were then to the inferior priesthood. And as Christianity also was singularly benefited by the regimen of the Apostles, so does it continue to reap benefit from prelates their successors. As, however, the steersman's quiet office in a vessel seems not, to the unobserving eye, one of so much beneficial importance, as perchance that of the more bustling ordinary mariner,-although, the safety of the vessel is involved therein; so the government of prelates is often by the unthinking depreciated. But to those who estimate aright the great value of orderly, punctual, and efficient ministration of all the sacred ordinances, in God's house and vineyard, the authority whereby such a singular benefit is secured, and negligence therein prevented, will never be otherwise than highly reverenced. And even if-(what must happen through human infirmity)-they be not in all points personally such as they ought, yet the authority itself of their office effects great good; and while those that rule well are by the Apostle's verdict [1 Tim 5:17] "worthy of double honour;" others, at least, for their office' sake, are not to be lightly esteemed. There are also other public benefits derived to a State incidentally from prelacy; as the increased esteem wherein it is held by foreign powers, when the virtuous conduct of Bishops, the lights of the Church, shines out conspicuously: or when posterity has recourse to their history, for orderly direction in ecclesiastical matters: or when,-in consideration of the peculiar feelings arising from different grades of society,-a Sovereign requires the aid and direction of a spiritual counsellor, he may at once have the benefit thereof, in a person whose elevated position removes many obstacles that else might have stood in the way; even as Joshua had Eleazar, the High Priest, for his counsellor;-David, Abiathar;-Constantine, Hosius, the Bishop of Cordova; and other Christian kings their respective Prelates, whose private advice and admonitions were often of singular benefit. We must be content to deal with human nature as it is, and personal feelings must be respected; and hence by a similarity of reasoning, Prelacy is beneficial also in respect of the Aristocracy of a nation, by the discountenance of vice, and the encouragement of virtue, given by Bishops moving respectively as peers amongst the various grades of nobility. Indeed, the conjunction of Prelacy with the Aristocracy, in forming one integral portion of the State, whereof the King as supreme is also one, and the Laity another, was a most wise arrangement of our forefathers, which, whosoever should attempt to sever, would thereby greatly impair the general good. And, as the detriment arising from the loss of civil government is great to the people at large, so would there be equal injury from loss of ecclesiastical government, whereof Prelates are the chief support, and whose power is beneficial generally to the settlement of disputes and difficulties between clergy and their flocks, and also particularly to the Clergy themselves, in thus affording them natural guardians as it were, and protectors against oppression and wrong. Hence, Prelacy being attended with such various and manifest good fruits (tempering excesses in all estates, binding together the parts of the body politic, and contributing to the religious and moral benefit of society) instead of meriting the disregard and contempt that the vile would heap upon it, is in every point of view, entitled to honour and respect at the hands of all.
XIX. On the KIND of Honour due unto Bishops.
HAVING shown the grounds whereon honour may be claimed for Prelacy, it remains next to show the sort of honour which is due thereto. Good government, either in a Church or Commonwealth, depends very much upon the public external respect paid to its governors, in their character of governors: for though individually, governors may be esteemed in proportion to their private virtues; yet it is in their official character, that honours are due to them, as a public token of the estimation wherein the beneficial effects and social advantages of their order are held; and this honourable respect no individual, on the mere strength of his own private opinion, is warranted in withholding. These things have been indeed wisely instituted and arranged beforehand by those who, knowing the variability of men's opinions, have laid down rules and regulations to secure, by public decision, an uniformity in so important a matter; allotting different degrees of honour and dignity to different situations. So that the people at large, as in civil offices, so here in religious ones, might have some criterion, whereby to guide them in their estimation of things. For if there were no such distinctions of public esteem in religious offices, as there are always in civil ones, what would follow, but an impression that religion is not accounted beneficial to a State, and a consequent disregard thereof? In vain, therefore, does a state pretend to honour God, unless it honours God's ministers. For order's sake, there must be amongst the body of the Clergy degrees of honours; and these may be classed under the heads of Titles, Place, Ornament, Attendance, Privilege, Endowment; and in these things Prelates have ever ranked much higher than the inferior Clergy.
XX. On the Honours of Bishops in respect of TITLE, PLACE, ORNAMENT, of DRESS, and ATTENDANCE.
IN reference to the first of these distinctions, i.e. Titles, we find that under the Mosaic law, those appointed to sacrifice were comprehended under the general name of Priests; there being, however, the higher distinctions amongst them of Arch-priests, who stood at the head of the twenty-four companies of Priests; and of the High Priest, who equally stood above these latter. Even so the ministers of Christ's Gospel have the general name of Presbyters; and above them Bishops and Archbishops. And the honour of pre-eminence of Place, respectively allotted to each rank, is a necessary arrangement for decent order and propriety. Ornaments of Dress have also a propriety; even as the wise Preacher says of Aaron, that God "made him blessed through his comely ornament, and clothed him with the garment of honour [Ecclus 45:7]." For though the robes of a Judge add not to his virtue; and as the chief ornament of a King is his justice, so of a Bishop, is his purity of life; yet, notwithstanding, the peculiar attire of each is an evident token of estimation, and of the honour wherein, for their office' sake, they are held. Thus, likewise, Attendance belongs similarly to Bishops, even as to High Priests under the law. For though the Saviour came "not to be ministered unto, but to minister," yet He had His stated Apostles and Disciples, who followed Him and waited upon Him. And when the Apostles were commissioned by Him afterwards, though despised by the world generally, they nevertheless had amongst the saints, those who ministered to them. And Ignatius shows, that in his days, attendants were regularly provided for Bishops; as, indeed, the affairs for Church regimen would necessarily require, even though they formed no portion of honourable retinue. [Hence the name acolyte (AKOLOUTHEW, to follow)-shows that there was a regular set train of attendants usual about Bishops.]
XXI. On Honours by ENDOWMENTS, with Lands and Livings.
BUT these things might all most probably have been easily admitted by the objectors, were it not that the Clergy had the substantial honour of wealthy endowment: this, in truth, is the real origin of their alleged grievances, and what stirs them most to anger. "How soon-oh! how soon might the Church be perfect, even without any spot or wrinkle, if public authority would at length say amen unto the holy and devout requests of those godly brethren, who as yet with outstretched necks, groan in the pangs of their zeal, to see the houses of the Bishops rifled, and their so long desired livings gloriously divided amongst the righteous. But there is an impediment, a let, which somewhat hinders these good men's prayers from taking effect; they, in whose hands the sovereignty of power and dominion over this Church rests, are persuaded that there is a God!" And hence, that the robbery, attempted under the name of reformation, is vile sacrilege! To argue with those whose hearts are set on such plunder, would be useless; but for the information of others, we may do well to show, 1st, That none has property in Church goods, but God himself: 2nd, That the Clergy are God's receivers therein,-Prelates having the honour of principal ones: 3rd, That each have the power of using such, according to their respective receipts: 4th, That even in case of any abuse herein, the receipt thereof cannot nevertheless be lawfully alienated from them to persons of another profession.
XXII. All Ecclesiastical Property, of every kind, peculiarly and INALIENABLY BELONGETH UNTO GOD.
ALL possessions of the Church belong to God, in such sort, that no man, as such, can claim property in them. [For more on this subject, see Book 5:79, on Oblations, Endowments, and Tithes.] Every thing, indeed, is God's, in right of creatorship: but sacred property is His by another tenure; inasmuch as those who receive blessings from Him, have returned them again to Him in the way of special gift or oblation; so that God terms the places wherein such gifts were stored up, as being peculiarly "His treasuries [Mal 3:10]." Such oblations seem to be prompted indeed even by natural piety, whereby men are led to "honour the Lord with their substance," so that their barns may be filled with plenty [Prov 3:9]." For although sincerity of heart and spirit, be the chief things He requires, yet outward tokens are not to be omitted, both as evidences of our gratitude, and as manifest proofs to others that we honour Him. And in doing so, the gifts we bring should be the best and choicest that we have, as being most suitable to His dignity, and also conformable to the intimations of Scripture, which everywhere shows that God expects this at our hands. The sacrifices under the law, for instance, were to be "without blemish;" the "first fruits," and the "first born," all belonged unto God. And though sacrifices are not required now under the Christian dispensation, yet the principle of "honouring God with our substance," is still binding upon us; and an offering of gratitude is a homage still required at our hands. The prophecy which said, "The kings of Tarshish and of the Isles shall bring presents" to the Messiah; the visit of the magi to Him With "gold, frankincense, and myrrh;" the pouring of precious oil upon His head [Matt 26:13], which the Saviour said should ever be "told as a memorial of her who did it;" all indicate the acceptability of such things before God, from the hands of Christians. Now the best gifts are evidently those that have the greatest permanency; hence, absolute donations of such things as are irrevocably and permanently given up to Him, rank first; and hence, lands and endowments were formerly devoted to Him, by entire alienation on the part of the owners. In primitive times, indeed, money arising from the sale of lands was given; because in the exigency of those times, it was most advisable. But subsequently, when Christianity was spread and established, then houses and lands in perpetuity were hallowed and set apart for His service. And herein, Constantine's devotion stands admirably conspicuous. If any one should be disposed to carp at this, let him first consult Solomon's [Prov 3:10] and Malachi's words [Mal 3:10], and consider also the conduct of the holy patriarch Jacob, who vowed, if God would be with him, to prosper and keep him, that he would set up "a house of God," and "give a tenth of all he had unto Him [Gen 28:22]." May not a Christian follow the example of holy Jacob? Is there any law of nature or of Scripture to forbid it Or rather do not both concur, to consider it, as such, acceptable unto God? And in things so consecrated and given up, no man or community of men, in their civil capacity, can claim any propriety or share whatever.
XXIII. Ecclesiastical Property entrusted to the Clergy as GOD'S STEWARDS; Bishops the chief-receivers thereof; with a power of freely using a portion for their own benefit.
OF this sacred property of God, Ecclesiastical persons are the Stewards; as they are the ministers in His spiritual gifts, so they are receivers in His temporal revenues. Amongst the Jews, tithes were first offered to the Lord, and then bestowed upon the Levites; while the tithe of the Levites' income was given to the High Priest [Num 18:24]; and of spoils taken in war a portion was laid up as a grateful offering to God in the Tabernacle. And similarly, in the earliest times of the Church, we find that contributions for general use were put into the hands of the Presbyters, and by them delivered to their Bishop, to be disposed of at his discretion as their head. On this ground the Apostolical canons were framed, arranging that Bishops should have chief control in sacred property. Difficulties have been started, as to the use whereto these sacred treasures should be applied; and some have condemned their expenditure in costly ornaments for God's house. But although we know that when He is worshiped in spirit and in truth, such worship is acceptable, even though in caves and dens of the earth, when men are so situated as to be unable to provide better: yet it is evident from the sacred history, that when circumstances permit, God expects external honour to His House; and of this the splendid Tabernacle in the wilderness, and the magnificent Temple in Canaan bear ample testimony. The chief difficulty, however, seems to be about the apportionment of it for the maintenance of his Clergy. But the regulation of the Mosaic law may afford us guidance herein; and is indeed the best criterion we can have; inasmuch as it was arranged by God himself. Looking then at all the regulations about offerings and tithes, we shall find on a fair computation of quantity and quality, that the tribe of Levi received about four-twelfth parts of the produce of all the lands of Canaan: and hence, that each Levite's share was ample, being, on comparison, four times as good as that of any individual in any other tribe, while the High Priest's share, being a tenth of all the Levites' portion, placed him in a state of very superior affluence. Besides this, forty-eight cities were allotted them, for their special residences, dispersed through all the tribes, in order that they might have convenient and ready access in instructing the people. And thus did God himself apportion and honourably provide for his clergy, exempting them from manual toil, and setting them above want and penury. Now in God's making a provision after this sort, there is great wisdom displayed, inasmuch as it prevents the heart-burnings and grudging which men might otherwise be disposed to feel; for what they thus give, they are taught to consider as in fact a portion to that Lord, to whose providence they are indebted for every thing: it is represented in Scripture as given to Him as a right, and bestowed by Him on His ministry [Num 18:24]. And that Christian ministers ought not to be inferior to Jewish ones, the Apostle's argument clearly proves; "Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things, eat of the things of the temple; and they which wait at the altar, are partakers with the altar? Even so has the Lord ordained that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel [1 Cor 9:13]." If then the grateful hearts of God's people prompt them to honour Christ with their riches, nothing prevents that the portion of His ministers therefrom, under the Gospel, should be as ample as that of priests under the Law; nay, even the Apostle says, "so has the Lord ordained it." And what they thus enjoy, is not to be deemed as the mere hire of human service; it is a sacred maintenance, from Christ, who counts them worthy the hire. And although men should be found, wicked enough sacrilegiously to defraud them of aught thereof, yet their faithful labour in the Lord shall not be forgotten, but, in one way or other, the hire of which He accounts them worthy, shall be punctually fulfilled to them. In primitive times, when Christians disposed of their property for the good of the whole community, and entrusted it to the Apostles [Acts 4:35], it would be absurd to suppose that the Clergy would be excluded from a proper share, wherewith to provide their own decent maintenance. The Apostles, and the rest of the Clergy at Jerusalem, seem to have lived as a sort of Collegiate Society, and were supported, as well as the poorer brethren, from a common purse, contributed by the faithful; and in this sense we must understand the passage [Acts 2:44] respecting their "having all things in common." For some centuries, there seems to have been no other maintenance for their Clergy, save what arose from the devout charity of believers, in bestowing goods or lands; the proceeds whereof formed a sacred Christian treasury, from whence to defray the charges in the service of God, to provide a support for the Bishops and their Clergy, and to minister to the poor. And for the management thereof; one of the Presbyters was appointed by the Bishop as a sort of treasurer [The office and name (Arch-Deacon?) remain, though the original object no longer exists.], who administered the portions according to his directions. When circumstances however caused some Presbyters to live apart from their college,-as when the districts began to have parochial limits, and a minister to separate parishes,-then their allowances were sent them separately [These portions were called SPORTULAE, and the receivers thereof FRATRES SPORTULANTES.]; while a certain number still continued to reside and share a common table with the Bishop, as a College Society. This apportionment, however, being according to the discretion of each Bishop, certain disputes began in the course of time to arise, respecting what was his own proper share, and whether he might not be induced to assign himself too much. This led eventually to a regular specific arrangement; whereby it was fixed that, the revenues being divided into four equal portions, each Bishop was to have one-fourth share; the Clergy another; while another was set apart for furnishing and upholding Churches; and the remaining fourth was appropriated to the maintenance of houses of relief for the poor. Hence it appears, what proportion of maintenance was, in those early times, thought fitting for Bishops; even a fourth portion of the whole Church-revenues. And hence we may infer, that their state was not altogether so mean as some have asserted. Indeed, the contrary is shown, from the very circumstance of ambitious men being extremely discontented when they failed in their endeavours after a bishopric, and when being "disappointed (as Lactantius says), of wealth and honours" thereby, they sometimes separated with their followers from the Church. As to the ancient canons, which the objectors allege, restraining the expenditure of Bishops; these had only reference to the times when they lived in common, as has been said, with their Clergy; and some fitting regulations were necessary for the expenditure of a whole body. But they have no force or application now, when Bishops have an entirely separate and peculiar maintenance, in the expenditure whereof their own discretion must be their guide. Neither is the argument of any force, which goes to set up the Saviour's poverty and mean condition, as a pattern or a measure for a Bishop's mode of living; for if the rule be applicable at all, it is equally so to all Christians at large. And as the Saviour's poverty is a sufficient example, to teach every disciple of His a lesson of contentment, even under the meanest circumstances, and to repress all covetous dispositions in all: so to urge it as a rule for every one strictly and literally to follow, is evidently absurd. [Supposing a person, summoned before one of the Synods of the Puritans, were to object to their authority, on the ground that the Saviour "came not to judge;" would they therefore abolish their elderships, and permit no more tribunals?]
XXIV. The SACRILEGIOUS INJUSTICE; of confiscating Ecclesiastical property to secular purposes.
INDEED it would seem clear, that it is not so much from a sincere wish to accomplish a true reform, whereby effectually to benefit the Church of Christ, that the cry is raised against Episcopal revenues; as it is from a rapacious desire, on the part of wickedly covetous and ungodly men, sacrilegiously to seize and convert to their own use and benefit, the treasures that have been solemnly dedicated to God. They therefore put forward loud accusations against the Clergy, and raise an outcry in the ears of the unwary and simple multitude, in order to create a prejudice against God's ministers; and to obtain a colourable pretext for their persecution, and spoliation of their temporal possessions, which excite the cupidity of their calumniators. At the same time, we well know, that God sometimes uses wicked men as the instruments for inflicting deserved chastisements upon His people; and it behooves, on such occasions, to look to our ways, and see whether our transgressions have merited it, in order to our repentance and reformation. And Bishops will do well herein to lend a patient ear, in Christian humility, to any respectful and seasonable admonition to themselves, though it be from those in inferior place. Let none then aim at obtaining the sacred office of Episcopacy, by undue means; and let both the receiver and the bestower of the office of Prelate look well to it, that they avoid this grievous and scandalous sin (impious in both parties,) of making merchandise of holy things, and profaning the Church of Christ by such ungodly bargains. For Bishops, moreover, certain qualifications are necessary, to render them efficient in their office. It is one that requires not only soundness of judgment and integrity of purpose; but also much skill, learning, and acquaintance with the civil and canonical laws, and when men of such qualifications are appointed, it is well for the land. Yet even when so appointed, they should not rely on themselves alone, but rather strengthen each other's hands by mutual consent and co-operation: a singular benefit, indeed, would thence ensue, both to themselves and the Church at large. And in the general discharge of their Episcopal duties, it is highly incumbent on them to exercise great caution, whom they ordain, and whom they institute to any holy function or preferment. Nothing more contributes to bring the Church into contempt, than a lack of competent skill and ability on the part of her ministry. And though in the matter of institution, the rights of patrons may form some obstacle to Bishops-(although their own easiness or want of resolution herein often increases the difficulty);- yet there can be no excuse for any negligence in the admission of unfit and incompetent persons to ordination, and for thereby throwing upon the Church not only a useless but an injurious burden. Moreover, in the bestowal of their own patronage, Bishops should beware of favouritism,-a grievous blot; and should set a commendable example to others, by giving dignities or preferments to the worthiest in their dioceses; and thus hold out an encouragement for learning and industry, to those over whom they preside. It might be well, also, if visitations were rendered more efficient, and made to answer their original intent, in the investigation and correction of abuses; rather than that they should be held in their present manner of mere formality: and if in their Courts likewise, speedy straightforward justice were done, free from all corrupt seeking of gain and profit. As a Bishop, solicitous for the welfare of souls, might be a general blessing, by a zealous and steady course, tempered with paternal kindness and courtesy towards his clergy on the one hand, and firmness of discipline on the other; so it is to be feared, that this desirable object has been sometimes frustrated, by the fault of those whose patronage has exalted unworthy persons to such a high and important trust. And for this evil of former times we are now perhaps grievously suffering. The estimation wherein Bishops are held, arises from the excellency of those virtues that fit them for their office. If their souls be possessed of God, and influenced by His Spirit,-if they exhibit a meek devotion, a serious sense of religion, deep meditation on holy things;-if these and similar divine virtues appear in them, then will their very position itself draw a higher and more reverend estimation of their Christian conduct generally; and, moreover, they may be the happy means of winning over to the paths of life, those of higher grades amongst whom they move, and whose state-occupations not unfrequently are a sore hindrance to a truly religious path. Hence, indeed, it behooves them, at all times, to walk circumspectly; with dignity and gravity, both of speech and action, as great ambassadors of God; in soundness of wisdom and knowledge, as angels of the Church; and in fervour of piety, and warm diffusive charity; and lastly, withal in daily prayer for aid and strength, knowing that many wait on every side for their halting: so that their petition to God should ever be, Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness, because of mine enemies." Let not, however, malicious censurers think, that though Bishops may not always reach so high a standard, this will form any just excuse for their own hard and cruel speeches against them, proceeding from an evil temper and bitter spirit. Indeed, we are all too apt to look upon Prelates generally, with an overweening sort of expectation; to desire too much from them; and not to make that reasonable allowance for them, as frail and fallible men, which we ought to do for all that are encompassed about with infirmity. And, hence, proportionate discontent and vexation arise, whenever our expectations herein are disappointed. But after all, whatever may be the case as respects the conduct of Prelates, it does by no means warrant the spoliating or defrauding of God's heritage. If even Ananias and Sapphira could not reserve, without impiety, a part of that which themselves had just given; how stands the case with those, who would sacrilegiously lay hands on that which never was theirs; and which for ages has been consecrated by the piety of others to the honour and use of God? Moreover, also, a feeling of sound policy might restrain men herein, even if no sense of religious reverence did. For nothing contributes more to the good of the Commonwealth, as well as the Church, than that those in high stations, both ecclesiastical and civil, should be furnished with a sufficiency, wherewith to maintain an appearance and a hospitality corresponding thereto. And to bring the Episcopal order into the contempt consequent upon poverty or scanty means, would be a public injury in many ways; as well by lowering generally the tone of respect for religion, as by indisposing fit and competent men to undertake such important offices; and also by checking the endeavours after sound learning, when the hope and means of reward are diminished or destroyed. The law of Moses made careful provision, under a solemn penalty, that what was once given to God should remain sacredly His for ever. "Ye shall not make common the holy things of the children of Israel, saith the Lord, lest ye die [Num 18:32];" the lands of the Levites might not be alienated or sold, "for it was their possession for ever [Lev 25:34]." And sacrilegious despoilers have a heavy curse denounced against them. [Mal 3:9] In early times, a better feeling prevailed than that which we see exemplified now, when the Clergy seem marked out as a legitimate prey for plundering. In those days of old, when the poverty of the Clergy was as great as their enemies now wish it to be, the noble and the wealthy considered Solomon's advice,"Honour God with thy substance, and the chiefest of thy revenue; so shall thy barns be filled with corn, and thy vessels run over with new wine;" and with holy David, they thought it not meet, "that they should at the hands of God enjoy all sorts of abundance, while God's Clergy suffer want:" they considered the Saviour's promise, that even "a cup of water," given from Christian motives, should "in no wise lose its reward;" and hence the revenues of the Church were augmented by pious bounty; kings and queens became her nursing-fathers and nursing-mothers; and the Saviour fulfilled thus His promise, that "they which should leave father or mother, or lands, or goods, for His sake, should receive even in this world a hundred-fold [Matt 19:29]." But this blessing of prosperity bred envy and jealousy against the Church; and as in preceding ages, men thought they could scarcely give enough, so present times seem dissatisfied, and as long as anything remains, think it too much. Even computations have been made and laid before our Sovereign the Queen, how much public burden might be lightened by spoliation of Episcopal revenues. But in vain was this done to one, who, acting always like her gracious self, felt the awful responsibility she was under, in regard of that Church whereof she has vowed to be the protector; in whose pious regards we have the strongest assurance, and whose sense of religion, we feel persuaded will shine to all posterity. But even regarded with a view to political economy only, apart from religious considerations, the confiscations of Bishops' property might not conduce so much to public benefit, in the alleged reduction of burdens, as it does in its present condition, where what is received returns back again, partly to State revenues, and partly to the benefit of the public at large. We might learn a good lesson on this head, from considering what particular diminution of public burdens arose from the dissolution of monasteries and religious houses in days of old. [Hooker here makes a distinction between the property of Monastic Institutions and that of the Church. He considers Monasteries as a sort of "civil corporations, such as the city of London has divers;" and that "as their institution was human, and their end for the most part superstitious," they consequently "had not that holy and divine interest which belongs unto Bishops." And, hence that the sequestration of Monastic property under the Reformation is not liable to the charge of sacrilege.] Nay, even if the plea be put forth, that on the ground of their abuse of such revenues, they ought to be deprived of them; in this case, let the rule be fairly applied, which, if applicable to one party, is equally so to another; let the ample possessions of all who abuse them, whoever they may be, be proposed for confiscation, simply on the ground of that abuse, and need we advert to the outcry that would instantly be raised? What then becomes of the justice of that plea when used against Bishops, whose title to their possessions is as good as that of any sort of men whatever; and in this point is even above all secular titles, that it is founded on a solemn consecration and dedication to God. The liberality, however, towards the Church, as just adverted to, in former times, may be somewhat sadly contrasted with her reduced circumstances now. What she has been deprived of by way of impropriations or other means-(though length of possession, and faith in the law which at the time secured it, render it inexpedient to moot its restoration)-has so diminished her resources, that generally speaking there remains nothing, save what a spirit of rapacious envy alone could find fault with; considering that all other avenues for a clergyman's obtaining income and support for his family are closed to him, so that many a tradesman or artisan would hesitate to exchange positions with a minister of God. And it seems indeed hard, that the Clergy alone should thus be exposed to obloquy, because they enjoy that which is their own by special right; and that a spirit should be abroad, to reduce them to depend on the voluntary and casual support of those that may be found perchance not grudging to give! Were indeed the glory of God, and the furtherance of religion thereby to be promoted, the case would be different; and ready might they themselves be found perhaps, to make the sacrifice. But when Levi is to be robbed, merely that Simeon and Reuben may divide and devour the spoil,-and God's Clergy are to be plundered, only that a rapacious Laity may share thereof,-then we would solemnly appeal against the injustice; and, adopting for our Church the language and prayer of Moses for Levi, would say, "Bless, O Lord, his substance, accept Thou the work of his hands; smite through the loins of them that rise up against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise no more!" [Deut 33:11]
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ON THE KING'S SUPREMACY.
I. State of the Question between the Church of England and her Opponents, respecting the King's Supremacy.
WE now come to treat of the last matter in dispute, viz. the "Power of Supreme Jurisdiction," which, by way of distinction, we shall term the Power of Ecclesiastical Dominion.
[The arrangement of the Text here followed, is that adopted in Keble's Hooker, Oxford edition, 1836; the basis of which is an important MS. in Trinity College, Dublin, containing a considerable accession of new matter, together with a totally different arrangement of several portions of the Book. So that, though we "are still far from having the Book, as Hooker himself would have published it,- yet the disjecta membra are somewhat more decently arranged than before."-Extract from Archdeacon Cotton in Keble's Preface.]
It may be in the outset remarked, that under the Jewish polity, the exercise of Ecclesiastical Supremacy was not incompatible with that of Civil Supremacy; as we find in the case of Simon, [1 Macc 14:42ff] who indeed was both Chief Governor or Secular Prince, to be "over the country and weapons, and fortresses," and likewise High Priest, "to provide for holy things." And if it be objected, that Simon did thus exercise an ecclesiastical power solely in virtue of his office of High Priest, which as a merely civil governor he could not do, the actions of David, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Josias, and others of their ancient kings, all go to prove the contrary; for we find the sacred history frequently adverting to the occasions, whereon they made laws and regulations in matters purely religious, respecting the affairs of the temple and the service of God. And the very circumstance that the piety or impiety of their kings did always change the public condition and appearance of their religion, does of itself show that they were possessed of power in spiritual affairs; and, moreover, that it was such a power indeed as the Priests had not, is shown from the fact of such changes being always termed the deeds of the king. [If at any time it were otherwise, it was only when the offices of Prince and High Priest were combined in one and the same person.] From this precedent in the Jewish polity, Ecclesiastical power is, by the laws of our realm, annexed to the Crown. Now against this our custom, strong objections have been raised; it being asserted to be contrary to the law of God, for any lay-person to exercise Ecclesiastical power at all: and the objectors ground their argument herein, on such an alleged specific and essential difference existing between the Church and Commonwealth, as that no one who belongs to the one society, can possibly be permitted to exercise any functions in the other, without a violation of God's law: that they are bodies depending indeed each upon God, but yet totally separate and independent of each other; so that Ecclesiastical power therefore belongs solely to those, who by proper spiritual functions are Church-governors. Whereas we hold, that the care of religion being common to all bodies politic, such societies as embrace the true religion, have the name of Church given to them, by way of distinction from the rest. [By true is meant true in essentials, and not in every minute accidental particular.] Thus in former days, when only the Commonwealth of Israel had the true religion, it was styled the Church of God; and, subsequently, every nation that embraced the truths of the Gospel, was termed the Church of Christ: as a politic society, it maintains religion; and as a Church, that religion revealed by God through Jesus Christ. We hold, therefore, that a Church is any society of men, united by some regular form of government, and distinguished from other societies by the exercise of the Christian religion: whereas the objectors contend for a still further distinction, and even in a Commonwealth of professing Christians, sever and set apart the Church from the Commonwealth itself. Hence we maintain, that as there is not any man of the Church of England who is not also of the Commonwealth; nor any member of the Commonwealth who is not also of the Church of England; so, though different qualities and functions do severally cause the names of Commonwealth and of Church to be given to a multitude, yet it is in such sort, as that one and the selfsame multitude may constitute both, and no person appertaining to the one can be denied to be of the other. And unless the objectors can prove the contrary-(which they cannot do),-and show that the one comprehends always persons not belonging to the other; then their argument fails, which would maintain, that civil and ecclesiastical government are completely distinct, and that, consequently, no one holding office in the one, can discharge functions in the other. Briefly, they hold a personal separation, which excludes an individual entirely from dealing in both: we hold a natural distinction, which does not hinder, but that the same person may bear authority in both. Mistakes on this head have arisen from two causes: First, from the circumstance of professors of the true religion living in heathen states, e.g. the Jews in Babylon, and Christians subsequently in infidel lands, -when the very facts of the case led necessarily to a complete severance of their religious regulations from the civil government of the country wherein they dwelt; and hence sprang the error that it should be always so, under all circumstances: Secondly, from the usual custom of distinguishing between secular and spiritual affairs, and the persons respectively occupied in each; whence the error has grown, that there is an absolute and essential difference between Church and Commonwealth, and a necessary personal separation between the individuals employed in each. Indeed, even the Heathens had their religious offices distinct from civil ones; but yet it did not cause two independent states to exist among them: and, moreover, when God, by revelation of the truth, constituted the Jews as His Church and people, He gave laws both for their temporal and spiritual concerns; yet He did not thereby distract them into two independent states, but only instituted several functions in the same community. To come then at once to the point: the question is not, whether there be a difference between a Church and a Commonwealth; but it is, as to the kind of distinction between them; and whether the Church now, in Christian states, should be as distinctly severed in her policy and government, as she was when under Heathen princes, and in Heathen Commonwealths; so that a Church and a Christian Commonwealth should form two essentially separate and distinct societies. Now, in Apostolic times, the Church of Rome existed, comprising the whole society of believers there; and as it was not the authorized religion of the state, the Church and the Commonwealth were then necessarily distinct and separate. But when whole Rome became Christian, the case was different; for all being believers, the Church and Commonwealth became personally one society; being a Commonwealth, as regulated by a civil code, and being also a Church as under the spiritual law of Jesus Christ [Were it otherwise, indeed, then the name of Church must be restricted to the Clergy, excluding all the residue of believers, both prince and people.]: and though in each there must necessarily have been divers functions, to be discharged by different persons, yet no where can it be held, that two separate societies were thus constituted, independent of each other. Neither does it impugn this argument, that the Fathers (as is alleged) sometimes mention the Church by way of contrast to the Commonwealth: because it is admitted, that the names import two different things; but yet only differing in such a way, as that they may harmoniously co-exist in the same subjects, and may mean the same thing under different relations. When we speak of the Commonwealth, for instance, we mean a Society, having (to use a logical phrase) the accident [i.e. property, attribute] of certain civil laws and regulations; and when we name the Church, it is still the same society, having the accident of Gospel Truth. [Now, accidents always imply subjects whereunto they attach; and there is no impediment whereby different accidents may not attach to one and the same subject: e.g. the names of Physician and School master betoken accidents which may combine in one and the same individual.] When, therefore, we speak of the Church, and of the Commonwealth, by way of contrast, it is only in reference to these accidental relations: meaning, by the latter term, the Society as regards its secular affairs; and by the former, the same Society as respects its religious concerns: and we speak of the prosperity of Church or of Commonwealth, according as the affairs of the same State happen to flourish in each department respectively: or when they both do equally well, then we speak of the prosperity of Church and Commonwealth together. David's great munificence to the Temple [1 Chron 29:3] evinced his love for the Church; while Nehemiah's care in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem [Neh 2:17] showed his regard for the Commonwealth: again, Gallio's speech marks the same difference, when he said, "if it were a matter of wrong or evil deed," he would hear the cause, as being a case of the Commonwealth; but if it "were a question of their Law," he would reject it, as an affair of the Church. [Acts 18:14f] Hence, in their different accidental relations, the names may be put in contrast, though the subjects or societies to which they attach are the same. [An allegation has been set up, drawn from the circumstance, that civil and spiritual penalties are not alway concurrent: that, for instance, though a man may be severed from the Church by excommunication, he is not thereby deprived of his civil rights; or, on the other hand, that though a person be disfranchised, he is not thereby cast out of the Church: and hence, that since a person may remain a member of the one, at the very time he is cut off from the other, these two Societies cannot be one and the same. But it may be replied, that the argument will not hold: inasmuch as the combined Society of Church and Commonwealth having, as was before said, divers functions and privileges, a person may be deprived of, or rendered incapable of holding, some portion of them, but this does not sever him from the whole; and he still remains a member of the Society, though with abatement of some of his privileges: just as a man may lose his right of voting at an election, but yet still enjoy the common benefit of laws and protection as a citizen.] To conclude, 1st, Under the dominion of Infidels, the Church of Christ and the Commonwealth did form two separate independent Societies: 2nd, Where the Pope of Rome bears sway, these, though forming essentially one Society, are nevertheless severed, and the Church is not permitted to depend upon any civil Prince or Potentate: 3rd, In this realm of England, the Church and Commonwealth, being one Society, the Church is also dependent upon the chief civil Ruler: and, lastly, In this respect we resemble God's ancient elect people, who, as a Church and commonwealth, were one people, under one Chief Governor, on whom they did all depend.
II. The NATURE of our Sovereign's SUPREMACY; the FOUNDATION thereof; the MODE and EXTENT of its operation; and the BENEFITS arising therefrom.
IN all the foregoing allegations, towards proving the essential diversity between Church and Commonwealth, and the respective independence of the one upon the other, the chief object is to show that, in a Christian kingdom, Ecclesiastical Supremacy cannot lawfully be held by the Civil Ruler, so far as to order and dispose of spiritual affairs in the Church; and hence the question arises, "How far, in this realm, our laws are correct, in vesting such a supreme power in our Sovereign." It will, therefore, be necessary, first, to define what this power is; then successively to show, by what right, after what sort, in what degree, by what rule, with what conveniency, and after whose example, Christian kings may be invested with it. And, after these generalities, to exhibit the lawfulness of the details thereof: such as the Title of Headship; the prerogative of summoning Councils, of sanctioning Church laws, of appointing Prelates, of holding supreme judicial authority, and of exemption from certain kind of censures. 1st, As respects the question, "What this power of dominion is." No society can exist without order [Luke 11:17]: hence the Apostolic injunction, that "all things be done in order [1 Cor 14:40]:" and order, being a gradual disposition, necessarily involves a distinction of degrees between persons and things. Indeed, Deity itself has exhibited this, as well in the original work of creation of things, as also in the subsequent conservation thereof [see Book 1:3]. Now, order is the work of policy, furnished with power, either inherent or delegated; and, if the power have nothing to overrule it, it is supreme, so far as its bounds extend. When, therefore, Christian Kings are said to have supreme ecclesiastical power, the exercise thereof is limited to their own territories. And there, moreover, it is not absolute: for-(not to notice the utter absurdity of supposing that anything resembling God's supremacy is here meant)-the power must be exercised in conformity with the law that sanctions it, according to the axiom, "Attribuat rex legi, quod lex attribuit ei, potestatem et dominium:" neither is the Sovereign's power, though greater than that of any one, superior to that of all the societies conjoined, whereon he exercises rule. This supremacy briefly implies, only the exclusion of all foreign powers, and of any several powers domestical; so as that not any of them can have higher authority than he, or overrule him. Next, as regards the right whereon this is founded. Some hold that supreme ecclesiastical power, extending throughout the world, is vested in the Pope of Rome; others, that it belongs in every National Church to the Clergy thereof; whereas we hold, in opposition to each of these, that every King, within his own dominions, may exercise it: and we proceed to show how this power is derived to them. In the first place, it seems clear, that even as a free and unfettered individual has power over himself; so, previously to any form of government being established, every independent multitude has entire dominion over itself, and can determine the mode of society under which it shall choose to live. But as an individual, originally free, may yet become the servant of another; so the power of whole societies may be derived unto a few, or even unto one, in subjection to whom the rest must live. This supreme power may be the result of lawful conquest; and, as it is God that gives victory, the conqueror is thereby invested with that power over the conquered, which the law of nations authorizes. Sometimes, as in the case of the Israelites, it arises from special divine appointment; and sometimes it is given by human appointment, being delegated by those who enjoy the privilege of choosing for themselves. In every case, however, when Kings or Governors are once established, their authority must be considered as approved by God, and themselves as His vicegerents. Supreme ecclesiastical power being nowhere in Scripture either assigned to Kings, as such, or denied them, Christian Kings seem to be invested therewith solely by human authority. But whenever supreme power has been bestowed on any, although only by man's discretion, they must be considered as holding it by divine right. For, if God's word have appointed the power itself, leaving the selection of the person to exercise it to man's discretion; or even if both the power and the persons to exercise it, be established by men themselves; in each case, when so established, the consequent rights and duties thereof must, on Scripture-warrant, be exacted and performed. So that unto Kings, by human right, honour is due by divine right: man's ordinances being frequently pre-supposed as grounds in the statutes of God. [The power of the Romans, for instance, over foreign provinces, was not a thing instituted by God's law, nor yet was the exercise of it given thereby to Tiberius Caesar; yet the payment of tribute to Caesar (Matt 22:21) is the express law of Christ.] And, therefore, by whatever means Governors are lawfully advanced to their station, we are thenceforward bound, by the law of God, to obey them, in whatever affairs their power may serve to command. Thus God ratifies that sovereign authority, originating merely in human appointment. Such being the ground of right, we consider, secondly, after what sort this supreme power is held and exercised: and in so doing, we shall confine our remarks to the constitution of our own nation, wherein the King has universal dominion indeed, but yet with a dependence on the whole entire body, over the several parts whereof he exercises it; being "major singulis, universis minor." Notwithstanding, however, such dependency, the kingly power is hereditary; the original conveyance thereof, when it was derived by the whole into the one, causes the lawful successors in blood to hold it, not as a personal gift, but as an indefeasible right: except in cases where natural or legal inability renders them incapable of it. And the same causes also produce a continuance of that dependency of the King upon the whole, which accompanied the first conveyance. Original influx of power from the body into the King is the cause of the King's dependency, in power, upon the body. By this dependency are meant subordination and subjection; and a proof of its existence is, that when in reference to the Head there is a defect of heirs, the power reverts back to the body itself: just as lands, in such a case, fall by escheat to the lord thereof, under whom they are held. Thus power resides originally and fundamentally in the body, and derivatively in the Head. Now, as it seems clear that the body politic cannot justly withdraw the power when once given [The anointing or coronation of Kings under the Law, did not imply that the kingdom was, by such solemnities, given to each individual, and that the Kings were elective; but they only constituted a public testification of the inheritor's right, and a mode of inducting him into his legal possession thereof.] (except, indeed, with the consent of the holders thereof, or, as has been said, by escheat), there must be grave consideration before it be granted, as to the limitations and conditions whereon it is so granted. Hence, in the third place, we come to consider in what degree and measure, Kings may exercise their power. And this is various; Kings by conquest fix their own charter; and their power, both in spirituals and temporals, is limited only by the law of God and nature: Kings by God's special appointment, have that extent of power which He chooses to assign: and Kings instituted by original compact With their people, have that power which either such compact bestows, or which has been still further increased by express enactments, or silent custom growing at length into prescriptive right: by which process, indeed, it often happens that a power originating in violence, has been gradually softened down into a pleasant and desirable mode of government. This kingly power, when properly restrained by law,-but yet not so restrained as to deprive it of supremacy in the very highest matters, which would reduce it to a name rather than a reality,-seems to be the most perfect form of government. Where the King guides the state, and the law the King, then the whole is harmoniously attuned to general good; even as it has been well said (Y = eta, W = omega, etc), HO MEN BASILEUS NOMIMOS, HO DE ARCHWN AKOLOUTHOS, HO DE ARCHOMENOS ELEUTHEROS, HY D' HOLY KOINWNIA EUDAIMWN (that is: "The king ruling by low,-the magistrate following, the subject free,-the whole society happy."). 20 Hence are apparent the wisdom and beauty of our own Constitution, wherein no person or cause is unsubjected to the King's power; and yet this is so limited, that the law itself is in all things the rule of his proceeding; whence the axiom "LEX FACIT REGEM (The law makes the king.):" the King's grant of anything contrary to law is void, because "Rex nihil potest quod non jure potest. [The King cannot do what the law cannot do.]" While the very ceremonies of their crowning, enthroning, and anointing, severally and significantly imply their legal supremacy in matters military, judicial, and religious. It is, indeed, on all hands admitted, that in the two former cases of military and judicial matters, Kings have the supreme authority: but a question is raised, whether they may lawfully exercise it in religious affairs. And yet even in this case, there is also a seeming agreement; for Papists themselves admit, that "the civil magistrate may by his edicts and laws, keep all ecclesiastical persons within the bounds of their duties, and constrain them to observe the canons of the Church, to follow the rules of ancient discipline;" and that he "may have power to lay corporal punishment on teachers of perverse things; to make laws for the peace of the Church, to proclaim, defend, and preserve (even by punishment), the very dogmata or articles of religion from violation." From which, and other similar admissions, the King's supremacy in matters ecclesiastical, would at once seem established: but then this seeming admission is nullified by a secret reserve, implying that it is only so "in case the Pope permit, or prohibit not." And the Puritan objectors make also as ample general admissions, respecting the King's "pre-eminence, supremacy, and prerogative," extending "over all persons, and in all things;" but yet, when they come to specific details, there are such deductions and special limitations, as reduce it, in the matter of their own Church-discipline, to a mere nullity. Indeed, this contradiction between their general proposition and their particular details, seems to arise from the abstract force of truth, in that the lawfulness of kingly power compels them to admit, what their own prejudices and passions subsequently urge them to disclaim. All parties, however, seem, notwithstanding, fully to agree in the following points:-1st, That Kings may have supremacy, and exercise dominion, in the matters of religion, as a whole; 2nd, That some particular actions thereof they cannot exercise, viz. those of the power of order, and the jurisdiction inseparably conjoined therewith; of administration of the Sacraments; of Ordination, Excommunication, and the like: 3rd, That even in those points wherein they have power, it must be nevertheless limited according as their civil power is, by certain regulations of law: however, this latter has not been agreed upon so definitely as might be wished. And hence, 4thly, we are led to consider, by what rule it is, that a King's power in things ecclesiastical should be regulated. Now as it has been already stated, in reference to civil affairs, that the King is supreme, but yet only so in accordance to, or in concurrence with, the law of the land: even so, in matters ecclesiastical, the axiom holds, "Imperator bonus intra ecclesiam, non supra ecclesiam (a good monarch is in the Church, not over the Church);" kings have dominion therein, but only "according to the laws of the Church;" concurrent with them he has supreme authority, but against them none. And, as in civil matters, it would be thought wrong, if a King, even in conjunction with the whole body, should in his own state do any thing in violation of the general law of nations: so, by analogy, it would be improper for anything to be done, even by King and law together, in matters of religion, contrary to those generally received opinions and customs of the Christian world, sanctioned by the reverent estimation of ages, which, as expressed by the General Councils, were to form a requisite part of the rule, whereby ecclesiastical dominion was to be limited. [Hence the law; "That Judges shall not condemn as heresy, any thing but what heretofore has been so adjudged, by the authority of the canonical Scripture, or by the first four General councils, or by some other general Council, wherein the same has been declared heresy by the express words of the said canonical Scriptures; or such as shall be hereafter termed heresy by the high Court of Parliament of this realm, with the assent of the Clergy in convocation." Wherein we see the influence and authority that the decrees of these four General Councils still continued to have.] And this brings us to mention, in the fifth place, the conveniency of deriving supreme power from a whole multitude into some special part thereof. For thereby public affairs are expedited, confusion and trouble saved, and the jarring conflicts between private advantage and common good, avoided. The end of all government being the common good, we consider it is best attained by deriving supreme dominion over all into one. "No man can serve two masters," says the Saviour [Matt 6:24]; and two or more supreme masters might obviously cause much mischievous disturbance to the public weal, by the possibility of their ordering things at the same time, contradictory to each other,
III. Our Kings' Ecclesiastical Supremacy formed on a SCRIPTURE MODEL.
AND lastly, as a striking example of the benefits arising from vesting all supreme authority in one person, and a Scripture warrant for doing the same, we may cite the Jewish Polity, wherein Moses, though imparting authority to others, retained unto himself the entire supremacy; and Jehoshaphat, and other kings of God's own chosen people, acted in the same manner. Why therefore may not Christian kings be similarly invested? It is no valid answer to allege (as has been done), "the superiority of Christianity over Judaism;" or that "theirs was a religion of settled and prescribed forms, which required simply to be executed according to the letter; whereas ours is one of mysterious doctrines, and various ordinances, not specifically set down in writing:" or again, that "Judaism was armed with power to inflict temporal punishment, which kings therefore might wield; whereas Christianity wields the spiritual sword, which none may use but those who have power to bind or loose;" or still further, that "the Jewish polity consisted only of one people; whereas the Church being spread over all nations, mischief might arise, if every separate king were invested with ecclesiastical power:" for indeed not any of these allegations prove that it is contrary either to the law of God, or of nature, for Christian kings to possess all supremacy of eternal power, to preserve order, quietness, and peace, in their respective dominions. Even the Heathens, with their inferior notions in religion, committed the supreme power therein to their highest civil officers, as being the most suited to exercise it: and is it fitting, that with our sure and certain hopes of things so infinitely superior, we should be blamed, in acting similarly? For it is a gross mistake to imagine, that regal power is instituted only for the good of the body, and not of the soul; or that kings should merely provide for the temporal welfare of their subjects, as for so many soul-less animals. Hence, though as has been stated, they may not execute ghostly offices, or administer sacraments,-they may direct the outward government of the Church; and the first allegation just mentioned, as to the superiority of Christianity to Judaism, would seem therefore to make it at least quite as incumbent upon us to adopt the custom, as it was upon the Jews. And in regard to the second allegation, which asserts that the ordinances and doctrines of Christianity require more skill and knowledge in divine things than Judaism, it may be fairly questioned, from the great niceties and distinctions of Judaism, whether it does so; moreover, also, Jewish divines were civil lawyers as well as ecclesiastical, and consequently needed to use much labour, and to possess much skill. But after all, it touches not the question, as to the supreme authority which Christian kings may possess for directing the general affairs of religion, even as Jewish ones did. In reference to the third allegation, it may be remarked, that the Jewish Church wielded the spiritual sword, as well as the Christian Church does; degrading and excommunicating. And, though, in the first instance, Christ's Church had not the temporal sword, inasmuch as His religion was to be quietly and peaceably propagated among all nations, by those who had no civil authority; yet when His religion was established, and whole kingdoms were made Christian, does it not seem reasonable, that the same temporal power which the Jewish Church had, in addition to her spiritual, might be usefully and safely conceded to the Christian Church? Nay, does not the very custom, which many Christian Churches have, of applying to the civil magistrate, for coercion in matters connected with her affairs, of itself prove this? And as to the fourth allegation, that the diffusion of Christianity over many nations, would cause great dissimilitude in the exercise of Christian religion, were every King to have supreme power over the Church; we reply, that the way to prevent this-(which is a thing to be avoided)-is, not to submit the whole of Christendom to the tyranny of only one pastor,-the serious evils whereof have been already experienced; but rather for each nation to frame its government substantially to one Christian law, of equal force and influence to the law of nations in civil matters: and till this desirable event shall happen, for each Church to keep as near as possible to the order it ought to have; even as Judah did, when it differed, in its religious forms, from those which Israel followed. Hence we conclude, that in a free Christian state, where the self-same people are Church and Commonwealth, God through Christ leading them to appoint that their Sovereign shall have supreme power in matters ecclesiastical as well as civil; they do, in adopting this custom, not repugnant either to reason or Scripture, act both wisely and well.
IV. On our Sovereign being styled HEAD OF THE CHURCH.
AFTER this general view of the matter, we now come to the objection raised against styling our King the "Head of the Church." But, if he have the substance itself of supreme power, why should the designatory title thereof be denied? It seems but a natural consequence, that the style should accompany the actual power. And as to the objection, that "Christ alone is the Head of the Church, and that the Scriptures in various places give this title expressly to Him [Eph 1:20,22,23; Col 1:16,18]," it is answered by at once stating, that we attribute not the title at all, in the same sense wherein Scripture gives it to Christ; no more than when we style any mortal man "lord," can we thereby be imagined to mean the same thing as when we call Christ "Lord." Were it, indeed, a matter liable to misconstruction in this way, so that there could be any possible encroachment on our Saviour's prerogative imagined thereby, then reason would, that it should not be adopted; but, as this is not the case,-and as, in common acceptation, it conveys no more than that the Sovereign has, in ecclesiastical matters, the same supreme power of government as in civil,-we hesitate not to bestow that title which best describes the thing signified. For, indeed, the Headship of Christ over His Church differs entirely from that of any other, both in order, in measure, and in kind. He is HUPER PANTA, above all; HUPERANW PASYS TYS ARCHYS, far above all principality and power [Eph 1:21]." He is unlimited, in measure either of place or time, being eternally and unlimitedly Head over all: and He is, moreover, the Spiritual Head, whence proceeds ghostly life and strength to all. Whereas the headship we give to Kings is merely the external government of the framework of the Church amongst ourselves; so that, as has been said, no possibility of mistake on this point can exist. But it has again been objected, that "inasmuch as Christ's headship over the Church arises from His being Son of Man, and His government over the world from His being Son of God, it is incongruous to consider any civil magistrate,-whose authority, as such, is from God,-as a subordinate head of Christ, in that peculiar capacity which He so holds under the Father as Son of Man." But Christ, as the incarnate Word consubstantial with God, by and with whom the Father did create all things, and by and with whom He continues to guide all things, is Lord or Head over all, in absolute sovereignty, and has no more a superior in governing the Church, than He has in ruling the universe. There is no necessity that all things spoken of Christ should correspond to Him severally, either as God or Man: but some, as He is the consubstantial Word of God; and some, as He is that same Word incarnate. The works of supreme dominion, which have been since the beginning wrought by the power of the Son of God, are now most truly and properly the works of the Son of Man; the "Word being made flesh," sits for ever and reign as Sovereign over all. Dominion belongs unto His kingly office,-Propitiation and Mediation unto His priestly,-and Instruction unto His pastoral or prophetical office. By His Providence He upholds and preserves kingdoms and people; and, by the same Providence, He guides, comforts, and supports His Church and His own elect; executing the latter offices in virtue of the self-same omnipotent and divine power, as He does the former. And hence it is a manifest error, to suppose that Christ, in the government of the world, is equal to the Father, but that He is not so in the government of the Church. [This error has arisen from misconceiving that Christ governs His Church in his character of Mediator, wherein He is inferior to the Father. Whereas His power over the Church belongs to His Kingly office, as the Mediatorship does to His priestly. For, as the High-Priest, under the Old Testament, offered sacrifice for expiation of the people's sins, and then entered into the holy place to make intercession for them; so Christ, having finished upon the cross that part of His priestly office, which wrought the expiation of our sins, did afterwards enter into Heaven as the Mediator of the New Testament and appear before God for us. In like manner, it is a mistake, that civil authority is only from God, and not mediately through Christ, nor subordinately to Him: for "there is no power (says the Apostle) but from God;" nor does anything come from God but mediately by Jesus Christ. Indeed, the objectors admit that these words of the Old Testament are applicable to Him; "By me kings reign, and princes decree justice" (Prov 8:16); and in the New Testament this doctrine is taught, "That Christ is the Prince of the kings of the earth." (Rev 1: 5.)] It is true, that when the end of all things comes, and there is no Church-militant on earth, then the peculiar part of His office of governing the Church will obviously of necessity cease, and glorified believers shall receive everlasting joys and felicity, and "God shall be all in all;" but, in the mean time, Christ, as a King, reigns supreme, as well over the works of His providence and over kingdoms, as also over His Church. Hence, then, as all authority is derived from God through Christ, and whatever has a necessary being originates from Him; so human dominion, being necessary for the well-being of the world, must be from Him, and consequently have reference of subordination to Him. The power, therefore, which civil magistrates have in ecclesiastical affairs, is from God through Christ; and being necessary for the due ordering of religion and the good of His Church, is more peculiarly of and under Him, as being Head of the Church. "All things (says the Apostle, speaking to the Church) are yours; and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's [1 Cor 3:22f]." Kings are Christ's, both as saints, and as kings: as saints, because they are of the Church; as kings, because they are in authority over the Church. This authority extends over all persons and causes, within their respective dominions, and in this sense we style them Heads: this authority they have received of Christ, because from Him all lawful powers are; and they hold it under Him as being Lord of all. Hence, the civil magistrate, in the exercise of this power, is a subordinate head of God's people. [There are sundry other objections raised, in a cavilling spirit: as, for instance, 1st, "That as Christ is always present with the Church, which is His body, there is no need for any subordinate head." But this is answered by the consideration, that the external visible government of the Church is necessary for its orderly arrangement; and that it has nothing to do with that invisible spiritual rule which Christ exercises over His mystical body. Again, 2ndly, "That if a magistrate be the head of the Church, he cannot be of the Church, because all the Church constitutes the body of Christ." But here, again, the sophism arises from confounding the visible and the spiritual conditions of the Church. Visible heads, with various Churches over which they rule, are but inferior parts of the spiritual body, which is but one, and Christ its Head. There are other objections; but, as they all arise from a sophistical overstraining of analogies, it is unnecessary to advert to them further.] But, after all, it is not so much the title itself of Head, that is objected to, which perhaps we might be willing to change, were that all that was required, (notwithstanding the precedent in Scripture wherein God names Saul 'Head of all the tribes of Israel,' including the ecclesiastical one of Levi,)-it is not, we say, so much the title itself that is objected to, as the actual power which it implies to be given to the civil magistrate, and which the objectors contend ought to be exercised by another set of men. It has been already stated, that there is this distinction between the title of Head, when given to other governors, and when given to Christ; viz. that the Dominion which it imports is not the same in both: He is the fountain of spiritual life and blessings poured into His Church; they are but principal instruments for its outward government: He is Head, as founder of the house; they, as His chief overseers. And this distinction, therefore, between spiritual and mystical headship in Christ, and the ministerial and external headship given to others, clearly derogates not at all from the honour of Christ. But yet this is, nevertheless, assailed as being untenable; because, as is alleged, "If there be no Head but Christ, in respect of spiritual government, then the visible power over the Church, being only in relation to the word, the sacraments, and discipline, (administered by those whom Christ has appointed thereunto,) the exercise of this power is also His spiritual government;" and, consequently, that our distinction between external and spiritual is a vain one. Now, the general government of Christ over His Church having been already considered, in two distinct points of view,-the one mystical and spiritual, whereby He alone is Head; the other external, whereby He administers through others, as instruments: this latter administrative power may be divided into that of Order, and that of Regimen. And both of these are indeed spiritual, and both are His: that of Order, because properly concerning the things of the Spirit, and instituted by Him; that of external Regimen, because also belonging to things spiritual and approved by Him. But yet neither of them is spiritual in the same manner that His peculiar invisibly exercised power is; nor yet are they in such sense His, as that which He personally exercises. Hence, there clearly may be a power exercised by men visibly and externally in the Church, severed and totally different from that invisible power which is peculiarly His, and which works secretly and inwardly in the hearts and souls of men, through the blessed Spirit, giving grace, life, and salvation; and which, therefore, no other can possibly exercise. And hence, we term Him, in this latter sense, our only Head; but, in the former sense, we may style others also Heads, subordinate to Him. [As to the objection arising from Christ's presence, "'wherever two or three are gathered together' in the external Church, wherein He must of course actually execute His office of Head, and therefore no other is required;" it is a mere sophism, answered by the arguments already urged in reference to the distinction between invisible and external power.]
V. The King's Supremacy shown in the power of SUMMONING PUBLIC ASSEMBLIES AND COUNCILS.
THE summoning of Public Assemblies of the people seems always to have been considered a mark of Regal supremacy; and this, whether in matters civil or ecclesiastical. And it was considered such in the case of Simon, when "no man might gather any great assembly in the land without him [1 Macc 14:44]." In virtue of this royal prerogative it was, that David [1 Chr 15:3f], Solomon [1 Ki 8:1], and other Jewish kings, gathered Israel together, as well in the affairs of the Church as in civil matters. It was also held as an Imperial prerogative; and hence, until the Roman Emperors became Christians, no general Synods were held; the greatest being till then, only meetings of Bishops and others in one single province. Constantine was the first that called, or devised the calling of any General Council on the affairs of the Church; and his example seems to have been strictly followed by his successors, so that no Synod was accounted a General one, that had not the imperial sanction. Thus commenced that authority, which we contend Sovereigns may lawfully have, respecting ecclesiastical meetings, the Bishops, it may be, originating or suggesting such meetings, but only holding them through permission and appointment of the chief ruler.
VI. On the King's power in making ECCLESIASTICAL LAWS.
THE natural subject of Power, is the whole body of the Commonwealth, whose well-being depends much upon the nature of its laws: and hence, even in Monarchies, there has ever been a jealousy of confiding the power of legislation to one individual; and from this analogy of civil legislation, the power also of making ecclesiastical laws belongs to the whole body of that Church for which they are made. And as equals cannot impose laws upon equals, nor one individual indifferently upon another, neither may one Church on another; unless, indeed, they can show sufficient warrant to the contrary. But each Church as a whole body, may clearly legislate for her own particular children, and from them exact obedience, generally and individually. Now no position is more assailed by the Church of Rome, than that this power of Jurisdiction (in which they include spiritual dominion) should be vested in the whole Church; inasmuch as it tends to overthrow the Pope's supremacy, and to elevate General Councils above him. Hence they hold that the power is derived from CHRIST, not into the whole body of the Church, but only into the Prelacy. This, however, seems to arise from the neglect of distinction between the institution of a power, and the appointment of the person in whom it shall be vested. And this investiture of power may be given either to one or more definite individuals, or to a class of persons possessing certain qualifications. Sometimes, indeed, as often happened among the Israelites, God himself specially appoints the persons to be invested with power. And thus Christ also, having given the Church the power now treated of, whatever her appointed agents did was considered as her own act. And whereas Christ did, in the first instance, appoint special persons to hold this power; yet their successors, not having such special investiture from Christ himself, exercise it in virtue of being the authorized agents of the Church, in which it was instituted. The Church, then, having this power, the question is, whether a Monarch, whose whole kingdom receives Christianity, may therein lawfully exercise the power of dominion, in matters ecclesiastical, as amply as is done in this our land; or whether, in matters of ecclesiastical legislation, the Clergy alone may have power to make laws, without the consent of the Laity, or the assent of the Sovereign. Now, omitting the inconsistencies of the Puritan objectors herein,-who sometimes insist, that all laws must in every particular be from God; and sometimes admit, that in certain points the Church has power to institute;-we may remark, that Laws may be requisite, as well in matters of Doctrine as of Practice. For although the law of nature and the law of God do fully and plainly declare "whatever is necessary for salvation," as between each individual and God; yet-(although there is a similar provision in Scripture for it, as respects all matters of weighty importance)-for man in his social capacity, and as a member of the body politic of Christ's Church, it may on some occasions, and from existing circumstances, be necessary, that the Church should establish certain ordinances, and declare certain deductions from Scripture, for the regulation of life and guidance of belief. In the former particular of ordinances, the Church has clearly power of appointment, and thus can make that to be consequently a duty, which was not so before. But in the latter, she has not a similar power to make that to be truth, which before was not so; she can only notify and declare, having no power to compel belief; this is God's prerogative, who rules the heart and mind. But she may, for the sake of public unity, require professed assent, or prohibit contradiction, to certain special articles of doctrine; since, otherwise, grievous detriment might arise to men's souls generally. But, as has been just said, the Church has clearly, in virtue of its character as a Christian society, the power which all free societies possess, of legislating for her own community: and if the whole Commonwealth and people thereof be Christian, then they, as such, constitute the Church. It has, however, been contended, that the power of ecclesiastical legislation is vested solely in the Clergy in their Synods; and this, as grounded upon what took place at the Council at Jerusalem [Acts 15:6-30], whose decision was a law to all the Gentile Churches; and is an example in point, that the Apostles, and their successors the Clergy, have this power in the Church of God. But that Council was one sui generis; it consisted of inspired Apostles acting under the special guidance of the Spirit; and hence, what things "unto the Holy Ghost and them seemed good [Acts 15:28]" were of divine ordinance, and therefore absolutely binding on the whole Church of Christ. Whereas, subsequent Clerical Councils can only lay claim to the general and ordinary influence of the Spirit; and consequently, they can challenge no such authoritative power. Besides, also, the state of the Church was not at that time, such as it is now, neither in respect of Princes nor Clergy: and until, therefore, some special ordinance of Christ can be brought forward, to prove that such power belongs solely to the Clergy, we contend that no ecclesiastical law can be made, in a Christian Commonwealth, without the consent, as well of the Laity as of the Clergy; and least of all, without that of the Sovereign. Indeed it seems clearly against all equity, that a man should be punished for non-observance of that, whereunto he never, in his social capacity, gave his consent, either immediately or mediately; and the axiom seems undeniable, "Quod omnes tangit, ab omnibus tractari et approbari debet. (What touches everyone, ought to be drawn and approved by everyone.)" [Pope Nicholas admits this, when, though not allowing even the very highest of the Laity to be present at Synods, he nevertheless seems to except those cases wherein "matters of faith common to all, and interesting both Laity and Clergy, are to be discussed."] Were it otherwise, the Clergy might impose laws most injurious to the rights of others; and thus destroy that proper balance, which is so essential to the wellbeing of estates, and which is best accomplished, when the Sovereign has the superintendence in the legislation that is to affect all alike. To say nothing of the practice of Christian kingdoms anciently on this point, wherein it cannot be shown that any law of an Ecclesiastical Synod alone received general authoritative force without royal sanction, the example in the promulgation of the decree of the Council of Trent, by Philip of Spain, within his own dominions, establishes this position. For in so doing, he added certain special provisions, limiting the effects of that decree, as regarded the privileges of himself and vassals. And in virtue of the same power, whereby he thus excepted against one portion, he might clearly have also excepted against others, or even all. Hence, until the head of a nation sanctions any canon, it can possess no legal force in his dominion, any more than the statutes of a college or body corporate can, until it receive the consent of its rector: unless, indeed, by making the Clergy independent legislators, we choose to depose the Sovereign from that rightful power, which even inferior rulers possess. It has been objected, that it is not competent for a Parliament to pass Ecclesiastical laws; inasmuch as it is itself a mere temporal court, having no power, as such, in spirituals; and the King, as its head, having also, as such, no power over the Church, cannot communicate any to it; and consequently that no Church regulations, made by them conjointly, can be valid. Now the Parliament, conjoined with the Convocation, is that, whereupon the very essence of all government in this kingdom depends; it is even the body of the whole realm; inasmuch as it comprises the Head thereof, and all the subject-members, either personally, or mediately through their representatives. And hence it has authoritative power in all matters, ecclesiastical as well as civil. This was admitted even in Papal times; for when, in Mary's reign, the Pope's Legate came over, and the Parliament undertook to pacify him, by repealing certain laws passed about Church affairs; what need was there for such repeal, if the laws were themselves null and void, as they must have been, if the argument raised against this were at all sound? The very power of repeal establishes that of legislation. And this was further seen in the fact, that when certain dispensatory decrees of the Legate were made, in order to give apostolicae firmitatis robur [the power of apostolic confirmation] to what, in his opinion, had previously taken place irregularly, in reference to Church matters, it was nevertheless still thought necessary to confirm and sanction such decrees by an Act of Parliament. As the best course for legislation seems to be, to gather the opinions of those best skilled in the matters to be legislated upon; so the Pastors and Bishops seem to be the fittest persons to devise and originate modes and rules in all religious affairs. But until their counsels receive the sanction of the whole Church, to give them the force of laws, they cannot bind any individual thereof. And hence, the assent and approbation of Parliament is necessary, to give authoritative force to Ecclesiastical laws. The supremacy of power which our Sovereigns have herein, seems to consist chiefly in their possessing a negative voice or veto, upon any proposed law. And this is accordant to the practice of Christian Princes, from the age of Constantine downwards; and it is only analogous to the exercise of the same power in civil matters, wherein the Sovereign, as head of his people, is empowered to prevent what might seem prejudicial to the general good of the whole Church and State. Neither is this repugnant to the dutiful subjection which even Princes owe to their Pastors in their ministerial capacity, as dispensers of the Word and Sacraments: but both may well harmonize together. It is not at all meant, that the laws thus made receive their force from any inherent power in the Sovereign, and imparted also by him to Parliament; but from that power which the whole body of this realm, as a Christian realm and Church, has freely derived unto him that rules over them; and hence the laws so made, do take their power originally from the Church of Christ itself. As to the Puritan statement, that Ecclesiastical governors may not legislate in civil matters, nor, vice versa, Civil magistrates in Church affairs; it seems somewhat contradictory, that they who object that ecclesiastical persons should KURIEUEIN, be lords, should nevertheless claim for them the privilege of lords and governors in the matter of legislation. As we have said, it seems to be the peculiar province of spiritual persons, though not to establish, yet to devise, laws for the Church; but this does not deprive them of a concurrent voice in establishing such Civil laws as Civil governors may devise. And in establishing both descriptions of laws, is there any law of Christ that forbids Sovereigns to exercise supreme power? If so, then, indeed, the controversy is at an end. But it is clear, that Christ in His Church, has established no such law, in reference to temporal power; and that in this respect it is totally different from the Commonwealth of Israel. And in reference to the spiritual law of the Gospel, they who first received it were scattered about in divers kingdoms; and the Rulers thereof not being Christians, they were necessarily obliged to adopt such regulations for their own Church, as seemed to them fittest; the Civil magistrate not interfering therein. When, however, whole kingdoms became Christian, evidently the entire case was altered: unless it be maintained-(which it cannot be without absurdity)- that Kings, by becoming Christian, did divest themselves of a part of that sovereign power which they had as Infidels, and must henceforward submit to the dominion either of certain domestic superiors, or else of some foreign potentate. Now this is quite contradicted by the whole tenor of the Gospel; and it is clear, that what Kings might, as such, do previously, in matters of a false religion, they might still continue to do, after their conversion, in support of the true Christian religion. [There are occasions, when even the Puritans allow that Kings may exercise ecclesiastical power; as when, for instance, the Ministry is no lawful Ministry; and by "no lawful", it may be observed, they mean in this case a wicked Ministry; then they admit, that the wickedness of a Ministry depriving it of its rights of spiritual legislation, the Sovereign is empowered to legislate. But supposing the King be also wicked; then, on their own showing, the power must pass from him. And whither, then, must it descend? To the godly amongst the people, forsooth! In fact, the Puritan objectors have been driven into what thus seems so absurd, by a secret desire to overthrow the English Clergy, which they assert to be universally wicked, and therefore no Ministry; and hence they are willing to admit the Sovereign to the exercise of power, for the purpose of installing themselves in the Ministry, and then they will ease him of his prerogative, and become sole Ecclesiastical legislators themselves.] To conclude: it is on all sides admitted, that to the Sovereign belongs the power of maintaining the laws of the Church; but his power in making them is by some impugned. And yet it is nevertheless admitted, that in ancient times, no ecclesiastical canon of any Council even, had authoritative force, till it received the Emperor's confirmation. Why, then, should the practice of our Church be condemned, when, after all, it only gives the Sovereign a power similar in kind, but by no means equal in degree, to that of former times?
VII. On the APPOINTMENT TO BISHOPRICKS being vested in the Sovereign.
WE next come to consider of the power vested in our Sovereign, of appointing Bishops. Now, with respect to a Prelate, there are three things to be considered: the power whereby he is distinguished over other pastors; the locality wherein it is to be exercised; and the honours and emoluments belonging to his office: the first of these he has, by his consecration, the second by his election, and the third he receives from the Sovereign alone. With the consecration the King has nothing to do; it being solely given by Bishops. In the matter of election, various modes have obtained: in ancient times, it seems probable that each Presbyter in the College succeeded to the Episcopate by seniority; and when elections, strictly so speaking, arose, the choice seems to have been amongst the Presbyters themselves; the people, by acclamation or otherwise, testifying their approbation or dislike. The difference which exists as to the choice of Bishops with us, and in their appointment being virtually vested in the Sovereign, arises from the latter having provided the Episcopal residences, and endowed them with ample possessions. Hence they may reasonably seem to be entitled to the privilege of personal appointment [Precisely on the same grounds as Patrons enjoy the privilege of presenting to Livings, because of their having endowed the Livings. But in each case there is no spiritual power exercised; the persons are already ordained, and fit and competent to their office.]. And, indeed, the privilege of creating temporal Peers being restricted to the King, since Bishops with us are Peers of the realm, it would seem somewhat incongruous, were others to have the privilege of advancing them to this dignity. Hence our mode of electing Bishops is merely formal to meet certain canonical regulations, and it is the Sovereign's choice which really appoints them. In this, however, England is not alone: foreign nations have adopted a similar practice, as is evident from history. For many centuries [from Justinian, A. D. 550, down to Hildebrand, A. D. 1080], the appointment of the Bishop of Rome seems not to have been complete, without the Emperor's sanction; and this their right of investiture to have been acknowledged by the Popes themselves. This practice appears to have been also adopted in Spain, Hungary, and Scotland, without opposition, on the ground that as Sovereigns endowed and protected Prelacies, they were entitled to the nomination of individuals to fill stations, so important and influential in their respective kingdoms. But leaving the practice of other Christian States,- which, however, ought not to be without its due and proper weight in the grave consideration of such a question,-the practice is fully established with us, and sufficiently warranted, unless, indeed, some law of God or nature could be brought forward as forbidding it. And, truly, there seem to be many advantages arising from it. First, the avoidance of unseemly disturbances and disgraceful ferments, which generally took place when popular elections were held; even sometimes, as is on record, to the shedding of blood. [St. Jerome complains sadly of this; and in A.D. 366 the disputes ran so high that the Emperor Valentinian was obliged to interfere and the blood of 137 persons was shed on the occasion.] As, however, we have adopted a mode which is thus free from such objectionable proceedings, and given unto our Sovereigns the right of Episcopal appointment, it behooves them to consider the serious responsibility of this power: and in their selection of individuals, to remember that all ought to be done to the edification of the Church; that they are in the position, as it were, of guardians over a pupil, whose interests they are under a solemn obligation to consult; and that, therefore, it will be a grievous fault, if any other motives prevail with them, than those of the competency, piety, and exemplary and devout lives of the parties whom they advance to so high and holy a dignity.
VIII. On the SOVEREIGN'S JUDICIAL SUPREMACY over all Persons and Causes ecclesiastical.
VARIOUS mistaken notions have been entertained, respecting the sort of Supremacy held by our Sovereign in the Church. By some it has been imagined for instance, that they may prescribe for the administration of the Word and Sacraments, and that they may personally hear and decide judicially, in ecclesiastical matters, and in questions of Christian faith. Now these opinions are quite unfounded. And what is meant by the Sovereign's supremacy is, that no person in the realm has any such ecclesiastical power, as that he can, per se, command universally and irrespectively of the King; or that he can plead exemption from the King's authority, when exercised within certain definite limits, settled by law: that the Sovereign has a supreme controlling and authoritative power, for the supervising, ordering, and directing of affairs in things spiritual, just as he has in civil matters. Indeed, without such a power, the Ecclesiastical affairs of a realm could not well be administered. And for the exercise of such a power, we have Scripture precedent; e.g. in the acts of Joash and Hezekiah; the former of whom, purposing to renew the House of the Lord, and finding the Levites slack in collecting the necessary supplies, hasted them by means of his civil officers [1 Chr 24:4-9] and the latter proclaimed a public celebration of the Passover to the Lord, and required of all, even from Beersheba to Dan, to present themselves at it [2 Chr 30:1-6]. And in the arrangement of Ecclesiastical controversies, a similar Supremacy is requisite, for the due execution of what spiritual Judges have, according to law, decided. The laws themselves appoint the modes and regulations whereby the Judges are to proceed. These Judges are either Ordinaries, which office belongs only unto Prelates; or Commissionary, who may be Laymen. But to uphold and strengthen their particular jurisdictions, and to give force and effect to their decisions, there requires a Supreme Head. This Supremacy having been at one time grasped at, to an extraordinary degree, by the Bishop of Rome, it was for just considerations annexed to our Sovereign's royal prerogatives. And the desire which our particular opponents have herein, is to transfer the same to their Ecclesiastical Synods. Now cases of appeal show where the supreme jurisdiction lies; and herein our Kings act in matters spiritual equally as in civil. But an objection is raised against this, founded on passages from the Law and the Gospel; and it is contended,that as from the one [2 Chr 19:6], "judgment in spiritual belongs to God;" and from the other [Heb 5:1], that "every High Priest is ordained for men in things pertaining to God;" hence that judgment in Church matters can only belong to those in the Ministry of the Church. But it is clear, that taking in the whole scope of the Apostle's words in the passage, he is there speaking of strictly priestly duties, such as "offering gifts and sacrifices for sin;" which of course belong only to ordained persons. But jurisdiction and ruling authority are not so limited; neither were they by the Mosaic Law, under which, as has already been shown, principality in spiritual affairs was the special prerogative of Kings. [Moreover, it seems somewhat strange, that when in other matters the objectors will not allow that the Christian Church should even imitate anything from the abrogated Jewish one, they should in this particular point allege the example of the High Priests as an argument in their favour.] It is true that Kings are not suited to sit and determine as ordinary judges, in matters of faith and religion; such must be taken from those most conversant therein. But so it is precisely in civil affairs. Yet this is no bar to a King's acting as supreme head; it being an error to think that the King's authority can have no force, except in that which he may personally do. [In peculiar matters, therefore, requiring a more strictly professional education, commissionary Judges, or Commissaries, are appointed, who may be Laymen, and whose office it is to assist in such cases as for the Ordinary might seem inexpedient.] And hence, as in civil affairs, the King appoints those learned in the Law to be Judges ordinarily, and to decide according to the Law; and yet, though not himself occupying the seat of justice, he is notwithstanding virtually a party therein; even so it is in spiritual affairs. Such persons are appointed to exercise ordinary jurisdiction, as are most fit by office and education; and to their decisions the King is virtually a party, and comes in by his supremacy of power, to give authoritative force and effect thereto; being thus on reasonable and proper grounds, Supreme over all causes ecclesiastical and civil. In early times, before Kings were converted to the Faith, this Supremacy of course existed not, and Bishops used to have direction of affairs; and when sovereign authority used to take part against them, they were wont to plead against it. But their words, under such circumstances, cannot with any reason be alleged; although, contrary to all reason, this is sometimes done now, and their opinions thus peculiarly spoken, are quoted as militating against our present practice. Nor, again, when the contrary occurred, and when virtuous Christian Emperors felt a delicacy and reserve about assuming to themselves a supremacy in religious matters, are their actions and speeches, under those circumstances, to be construed as literally and stringently applicable to our present orderly and settled condition, as a Christian Church and kingdom. In brief, all things with us are proceeded with and settled according to the due order of law, whoever be the person that administers. It is not permitted, either to Prelate or Prince, to determine at his own discretion; but the law has prescribed what both shall do. Their power, and the limits thereof, are bestowed and defined by Law, and publicly known. The entire Community and whole body politic establish the laws which confer this power; and the King, having bound himself to use the Law according to the power so bestowed, and each branch of ecclesiastical and civil being legally managed by its own peculiar ordinaries, under his supremacy, it follows, after all, that the whole Community have their own decrees, as it were, carried into execution by their Supreme Head, in his administrative acts. Thus much for the King's Supremacy.
IX. On the EXEMPTION of the Sovereign from Ecclesiastical censure, and other Judicial power.
THE last thing concerning the King's supremacy is, whether he be himself thereby exempted from the operation of the judicial power which Ecclesiastical Consistories exercise over others. It seems, at first sight, requisite that there should be no one without a control of some kind upon his conduct. Now, the two passions of fear and love towards a Governor, continue generally to work good on the subjects in his Commonwealth in this respect: and if, therefore, private men, knowing as they do, that evil deeds shall be punished by royal authority, do, notwithstanding, commit offences, in the hope of a possible escape; how much sorer a temptation is it to those in supreme power (who, it is admitted, are not always so virtuous as they ought) to give a loose to the evil passions of frail human nature, if they be considered as irresponsible to any earthly authority. And yet this seems, in the opinion of many wise and learned men, as a point necessary to be admitted. We will therefore adduce and examine, somewhat, the opinions on both sides. By those who contend that Kings are responsible to God alone, it is urged, 1st, That as there is an origin or spring, communicating motion to all natural bodies, but itself immovable; so, in bodies politic, there must be some one unpunishable, or no one else could suffer punishment. That, in fact, as punishment proceeds from superiors, there must be some fountain-head, deriving authority to others, but not receiving it from them; otherwise justice would move in a circle, infinitely, every superior having his superior without end. And this Head must be the Sovereign; private men being subject to the magistrate; the magistrate to the Sovereign; and the Sovereign only to God. Again, the objectors to this doctrine hold, for instance, that the King may be subject to excommunication, as a Christian brother subject to the laws of the Church. Now it is replied, on this point, that a King is a Christian brother [On this ground, indeed, the Jews were forbidden to choose an alien as King, in order that the head and members might not be foreign in blood to each other.]; but then he is such a brother, as one unto whom, after the example of Joseph's sheaf, all the rest are subject [Gen 37:7]. And though the Jewish Church had the sword of excommunication, we never read of their using it against their Kings, although many of them were notoriously defaulters. And as to St. Paul's words, "Do ye not judge them that are within [1 Cor 5:12];" whence, and from other passages similar, it is inferred that Kings, being in the Church, may be judged by the Church; such sentences must be understood generally, and not as entirely forbidding exceptions. Just as, under the Law, idolaters and adulterers were to be put to death; and yet neither Manasses nor David suffered at man's hands for their respective criminalities; so it is with respect to Christian Kings; the legal punishment reaches not to them, although the grievousness of the sin cleaves to them, and renders them, for that very reason, the more obnoxious [ = vulnerable] to divine chastisement. [Bishop Jewel's opinion is unfairly alleged, as countenancing the subjection of Kings to Ecclesiastical dominion. Whereas, in point of fact, he is arguing against the Pope's supremacy, and states that, as in his priestly office a Minister of Christ is superior to Kings, even so the Pope being a Priest, as such, is their superior. But this clearly has nothing to do with the King's supreme power of jurisdiction and judicial authority.] Concerning, indeed, the power of excommunication, as far as regards a mere refusal to admit any notorious transgressor to a participation of the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, till his humble penitent mind be made manifest, we hold, that herein every King is everywhere bound to abide by the decision of the Minister of Christ. But with respect to judicial authority to punish malefactors, if our King be as the Jewish Kings, a Supreme Lord, then it seems clear, that no one has power to chastise him, save God; inasmuch as there is no other that has judicial authority over him. [Two examples are alleged of Emperors: viz., one of the Philips, and Theodosius, submitting themselves, the one to a discipline for his fault at the hands of Babylos, Bishop of Antioch, and the other to a prohibition from entering the Church for a season, pronounced by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. But it is clear, on an investigation of the whole particulars, that these were nothing more than strong censures and admonitions, Individually pronounced, by men who were zealous and courageous enough to warn even Emperors of their faults, and of the punishment they merited; which cautions and admonitions were received and submitted to, in a spirit of meekness, by those to whom they were addressed: but they had nothing in them of a judicial sentence, or authoritative excommunication. For, besides that they were pronounced instanter, and without any previous formal decree, usual in all regular proceedings, the Bishops themselves were not, in regard to the locality of their respective Bishopricks, legally and properly competent to pronounce a judicial sentence upon the parties, who did not fall within their provinces.] Wherefore, since the Kings of England are in their own dominions supreme, and can have no peer, it seems absurd that any person, ecclesiastical or civil, subject unto them, should possibly be thought to exercise coercive jurisdiction over them, so as to be a superior's superior and judge! And, therefore, that no one can pronounce against them the sentence of excommunication, which is the heaviest that can be passed. And hence, until stronger reasons shall be alleged to the contrary, we conclude that Kings are lawfully exempted from the jurisdiction of Ecclesiastical Courts.
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[Here ends Richard Hooker's ON THE LAWS OF ECCLESIASTICAL POLITY, as summarized by the Reverend J B Smith, D D]