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must be that of his Moral Vertues, or of his Life and Conversation; and why should the Bishops of different Provinces be call'd in to judge of that? No Man ever question'd, (I think) but that Neighbourhood or Societies, Friends or Familiars, whether Laity or Clergy, which any Man whatsoever has been more familiarly conversant with, are the properest Evidence, before all others, to give a juft and satisfactory Information of this kind of Qualification. But how, and in what Manner, would a reasonable Man conceive such Information should be had ? By an upiversal Suffrage and critical Majority of Voices, in so mix'd a Multitude? Sure, if natural Reason, and common Sense and Experience does not startle at that, yet our blesed Master would teach us to be very cautious (at least) in such hazardous Trials as these; when he plainly tells us, there will be Tares as well as Wheat (and 'tis well, if we must not understand it in more than Equal proportion too) in that very Field which is a Symbol of the Kingdom of Heaven, or of the Visible Church of God upon Earth ; and to measure out one and t'other without Distincti. on, as this Case supposes, could have little Good come of it. Not this Man, but Barabbas, is a tremendous Instance of this kind, in the most eminent Congregation of the only Church of God then amongst Men: And whosoever Mall seriously confider, how exprefy the Spirit has foretold us, what Degeneracy of Faith, what Corruption of Manners, what perilous Times should come in the latter Days, when Men should be false Accusers, and Haters of those that are good, and the like; yet still retaining the Form
of Godliness, though without the Power of it, whoSoever (I fay) hould impartially consider this, must be inclin'd to think, that the Wisdom of God, who both foresaw and foretold it all, should scarcely ever grant such an unchangeable Charter to every individual Member of a Church, to approve his Bishops and Pastors for him, in all Generations to come, as we see, indeed, there appears no Footsteps of it in the holy Code of his Laws, by the View we have already had of them. The wise Heathen speaks a naturalTruth,(not very foreign to this purpose) which I am afraid the Christians in our Age would find hard to contradict : * Things don't go so well with Mankind, (said the excellent
Seneca) that the Beft please the most where Number and Multitude is, 'tis an Argument rather of the Worst. The Inference from as I have said here is this, That notwithstanding the whole Corporation, or Society, (whether Sacred or Civil) which any Person is an immediate Member of, and the whole Region or District he ordinary lives and converses in, be the most suitable Places and Persons from whence we should seek a moral Character of him ; yet a few select ones out of all the rest, if judicioully chosen, and with an upright Mind apply'd tò, are as likely (at least) to give a just and sober Account in the Case, as the promiscuous Votes of the mixed Multitude together can reasonably be thought to do : And
* Non tam bene cum rebus humanis agitur, ut meliora pluribus placeant, argumentum peffimi, turba eft. Seneca de vit. Bcat. c. 2.
if what I have said seem too little for it, I shall farther add, (what I learn from the judicious Enquirer himself) namely, that Ignorance and
Affection, that is, Weakness in Understanding, and Byass upon the Will, are generally to be found amongst the volgar People of any Christian Church or Congregation whatsoever.
And this will clear (I hope) the third Particular I promis'd to make out, that the Enquirer himself, where he most impartially explains his Sense upon this Subject, does not a little countenance our Opinion of it: For these are the two Qualities he || faftens upon the Common People, even of Primitive Churches and Congregations in general, [as I just mention'd once before.] They serv'd his Turn then indeed in another View of the Cafe: He was representing to us the Primitive Custom of Neighbouring Bishops being call'd in, as necessary to consent to the Peoples Election of a Bishop; and because it would eclipse the Popular Power, to speak out the whole of their Business, Office, and Authority, in constituting a Bishop over them, he smooths it over with this Gloss ; (and one or two more not much unlike it, which I may consider afterwards) 1 suppose (says he) the Reason of their presenting him to those Bishops for their Consent was this, left the People, thro' Ignorance, or Affection, should choose an unfit, or an una able Man for that Office. What Manner of Representation this is of an Episcopal Part and Office in Primitive Ordinations, I shall not stay
ll See Enquiry, p. 48.
to observe now; I only make good the Observation I rais'd from it to the present Purpose, viz. That he charges the Congregation with Suspicion of such Ignorance and Affection in the Choice of their Bishop, that they needed better Judges to be callà in, as in another Place he makes them subject to Giddiness, Envy, or Pride, Pag. 105. He may apply, 'tis likely, the Weakness of their Understanding to the Point of judging of the Candidates Humane Learning only ; but the Byass of their Affection (which with equal Justice perhaps he supposes to be in them) together with the other Qualities of Giddiness, Envy, or Pride, can never pass for a tolerable Disposition in them, to give their Suffrage in any other Qualification whatsoever : And therefore I think it can be no Injury to say, that where his Sense is most impartially explain'd, he countenances, at least, our present Opinion in the Case.
Now, to sum up all that has been offer'd from Scripture Evidence relating to the Argument before us, the Particulars are briefly these.
First, That the principal Apostles themselves were unquestionably chosen and ordain'd Supreme Governors and Pastors of all that did, or should believe in their Time, without the Concurrence or Consent of any : And this was the Root and Fountain of all Church Power granted from above.
Secondly, That the fame Apostles must have had the like Ordaining Power personally and entirely invested in themselves alone, upon these two Accounts; ift, Because their Com
mission (in this refpe&) was, in express Words, the very Transcript of the Fathers to their Lord and Master, who sent them, [as my Father hath fent me, even so send 1 you, Joh. xx. 21.] And, 2dly, Because their Pastoral Work in converting unconverted Nations, and constituting or ordaining Spiritual Governors for them, being, in that respeế, the same also, did naturally require the fame Authority and Power for it. And that those holy Apostles did actually exercise such a Power, I prov'd by the collateral Authority of Clem. Romanus, who, in so many Words, assures us, that they ordain'd both Bifhops and Deacons fo.]
Thirdly, 1 shew'd, from the Evidence of the Sa. cred Text itself, that those adopted Apostles, S. Paul and S. Barnabas, did ordain Elders for the Churches, in the same Manner, as to their fole and personal Ad in it; referring the Reader to many unexceptionable Authorities, for that Exposition of the holy Penmens Words.
Fourthly, That the same S. Paul convey'd the like Power to Timot by and Tirus, requiring no Concurrence of a Popular Election with them, either in his Commission or Instructions given to them; but, on the contrary, left Cautions with them to beware of trusting too much to any such Elections.
And, Lastly, I consider'd at large that single Jostruction so often strain'd to prove a Popular Ele&tion by, viz. That Bishops or Deacons must be first prov’d, and found 10 be blameless; and shew'd, that neither in the Sense of the Apostle himself, nor from the Nature of the Thing, or in the more impartial Sense and Judgment of the