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Conversation before : Ifany Man can see a Popular Election here, he must be quicker sighted than I can ever hope to be. That their knowledge of his Life and Conversation before, should qualify them to give Testimony of his Moral Conduct and Behaviour amongst them, and so en: courage or discourage the Bishops in making or confirming their Ele&tions, is a natural and genuine Inference from that Expression ; and if we will allow S. Cyprian to make his References and Similitudes apposite and agreeable to the Subject he applies them to, we must conclude it was his own Meaning too: For opon this very Argument, and in the same Page, he refers to God's Inftru&ions to Moses, to bring forth Aaron, with Eleazar his Son, and place them before his Congregation, in order to consecrate the Son his Father's Successor ; and I presume, no Man infers from hence, that the Congregation of Israel chose or voted Eleazar to the High-Priesthood, because it was appointed to be done in their Prefence; and why this Reference, then, to illustrate Christian Ordinations by, if they were so very different in that particular Circumstance for which alone they were produc'd ? which was, to shew that the Judgment and Testimony about them both, should be as Publick as it well could be; for that is the very Reason I given by S. Cyprian, for quoting the facred Text, and applying it to the Argument he had in Hand.
|| Ut facerdos, plebe præsente, sub omnium oculis deligatur, & dignus atq; idoneus publico judicio ac teftimonio comprobetur, ficut in Numeris Dominus Moyfi præcepit. Cypr. Ep. 68. aut Edit, Oxon, Ep. 67.
For any thing that appears in this Quotation, the general Custom of the Church made the Election of the Person to be the Bishop's Part, and left the Presence and Testimony of the People only to be theirs ; and doubtless in Sabinus's Case it could be no otherwise, for 'tis introduc'd here with this Attestation to it, That this Custom of the Church was accordingly observ’d in the Ordi. nation of Sabinus. Where lies the Evidence then, that the People chose there, tho' the general Custom is declar'd in this Quotation, not to be so ? Not in S. Cyprian's affirming it (l'm sure) in such plain Terms, as he affirm'd before that the Provincial Bishops met and chose too; but it wholly lies in a positive Construction of a dubious and mistaken Word in this Quotation, and the Enquirer's Ingenuity in joining two different Terms, in one and the fame Sense, in his Translation, which the accurate S. Cyprian had carefully distinguish'd bimself. For the Holy Father's Words (to translate them right) are these ; That the Bishoprick was conferr'd upon Sabinus, by the Suffrage of all the Brethren, and by the Judgment of the Bishops there : So that Judgment and Suffrage are plainly distinguih'd (we see) by S. Cyprian ; the former attributed to the Bishops alone, and the latter to all the Brethren; whereas the Enquirer was pleas'd to unite them in his Translation, and says that Sabinus was advanc'd to that Dignity by the Suffrage of all the Brethren, and of all the Bishops there present. So that Suffrage being made the same wich a judicial Act, by this ingenious Union of them, insensibly convey'd an equal Share at least, of Right and Power to the People in this Election,
with that of the Bishops themselves; and that purely, (so far as any Man can see) because the Word Suffrage was taken of Course to signify no less; which I desire theReader more particularly to take Notice of, because a very great Stress of this ingenious Author's Arguments for Popular Election, and that which innocently influenc'd ('tis possible) his own Judgment in it too, seems to lie in a mistaken Construction of this single Word, in the Writings of S. Cyprian.
I must be forc'd, upon this Occasion, therefore, to spend a little Time in clearing up the holy Martyr's Notion of it, which I shall do as briefly as I can
And were there no other Instance in all the venerable Monuments we have of his excellent Works to prove that Suffrage (in his ordinary Use of the Word) imply'd no Right or Power at all,in them that gave it ; or convey'd any Title, or Part of Title, to the Person they gave their Suffrages for : This single Passage before us would go a great way to persuade an unprejudic'd Man that it was fo. For to find it distinguish'd (as it is here) from the judicial Part of the whole Proceedings, and the decisive Act (which Judg. ment exprefly is) attributed afterwards unto others, who were fewer in Number too, does na. turally enough imply, that there was no adual Power, but purely either precedent Testimony or a subsequent Approbation in the Suffrages of the People; else their very Number would have made them Judges, rather than the Bishops themselves; and it makes not a little to the fame Pure pose, that those very Words were carefully distinguish'd also, in the Account of Eleazar's
publick Confecration, (just before) where we are sure they must be taken so.
But to shew how familiar this Notion of the Word is, in the Writings of that Primitive Father; let these farther Instances (out of many more, which might be produc'd) be added to the former. In his Tract (De Zelo do Livore)
speaking of the People's Transport of Joy and Satisfaction at David's slaying of Geliab; be expresles it thus, They broke forth (says he) into Come mendations of David, with Suffrage of Applause. What can this Suffrage of Applause signifie, but plainly a Testimony of the Peoples highest Approbation of the thing done ; not express'd by way of Votes, to be sure, ('twould be absurd enough to imagine that) but by publick Acclamations of them, all, as infinitely pleas'd with what the holy Champion had done ; and this $. Cyprian thought properly express’d, by calling it, the Suffrage of the People.
Again, in his Treatise [De Vanitate Idolorum] speaking of the Jerps earnestly urging Pilate to crucify our blessed Lord, ll they deliver'd him up (tays he) to Pontius Pilate," requesting of him by Force, and importunate Suffrages, that he should be crucify'd ; and what meant these importugate Suffrages more, than to thew their wicked Inclination, Defire, and highest Approbation of
* Populus admirans in laudes David prædicationis fuffragio profiliit. Cypr. de Zelo Liv. p. 223. Oxon. Edit.
lf Magiftri eorum Pontio Pilato tradiderunt crucem ejus, & mortem fuffragiis violentis & pertinacibus flagi. tantes. Cypr. de Fanit, Idol. p. 16. Edit. O xox.
the thing, if Pilate should pass such a bloody Sentence upon him? for they declar'd themselves, they had no Power, in the Act of putting any Man to Death, [70. xviii. 31.] Yet this the accurate holy Father again, in his Language, calls the Suffrage of the Jews.
One Instance more I shall name, because it contains in it his own Explication of the Word, and plainly shews, that, by Suffrage, he meant the same thing as he did by publick Testimony, and nothing more. In his 68th Epistle, he says of Cornelius's Ordination, that it was by the Suffrage of the Clergy and the People ; and of the same Ordination, in another Place, he says, * 'twas by the Testimony of almost all the Clergy, and by the Suffrage of the People that were there. Now if the Testimony of the Clergy in the latter Clause be not the same with their Suffrage in the former, then 'twas something less than To; and consequently the Clergys Personal Part and Interest in Elections falls fhort of the common Peoples, to whom a Suffrage is imputed in the same Clause;(which, I presume, is not intended neither.) But if the Terms be allow'd to be e. quivalent, the Case is plain, the holy Father appears consistent with himself; and in no other Sense, I apprehend, it can be fo.
These few Instances, I think, may shew, that to take the Word Suffrage in the Sense of solemn Testimony, Good-liking, Approbation, or the
|| De cleri & plebis fuffragio. Cypr. Ep. 68.
* De clericorum peene omnium teftimonio, & de plebis, quæ tunc affuit, fuffragio. Ep. 55. p. 104. Edit. Oxon,