Page images
PDF
EPUB

like, in the Works of S. Cyprian, is an authentick and warrantable Interpretation of it, as being directly suitable to his own manifest and familiar Notion of the Word; and therefore I leave the Reader to judge, whether the Enquirer's promiscuous Joining of it with the Word [Judgment] in the Quotation now before us, (as if they were Synonymous Terms) and Laying the whole Stress of the Quotation upon it, when the holy Father himself had cautiously distinguished them in both Places, where Occasion was offer'd him to do so, does not seem (at least) a mistaken Apprehension of that great Author's Sense; and by that Means strains the whole Quotation, to prove a Popular Ele&tion, when, by what has been offer'd, we may clearly fee, there is no such Evidence to be found in either Part of it.

* The other Authority brought to prove the fame Thing, is a Passage in S. Clement's first Epistle to the Corinthians, where our learned Author observes; f. That Apostles and Apoftolick Preachers ordain'd Bishops and Deacons with the Consent of the whole Cherch; that is, by their Votes given for the Candidate to be ordain'd in the manner of a regular Election ; for fo the Subject he applies it to, obliges us to understand it. Now this Evidence so far agrees with the former, that the whole Force of it lies in the Signification of a single Word again, and won't want many (1 hope) to shew the invalidity of it. S. Clement's Word for consexting here, is

L

[owd doo * See Enq. p. 49.

+ Καλας αθένας υσ' εκείνων και με αξυ υφ' ετέρων έλλογίμων ανδρών, σωλδοκησάσης η εκκλησίας πά

Clem. Rom. Ep. 1. ad Corinth. p. 57.

[ocr errors]

US.

[owddoxnodons] and if any Word in the Greek Tongue could aptly render S. Cyprian's Sense of Suffrages in the Notion I have just now given of it, I should think it might be this. But let the Language of the inspir'd Penmen determine it for

Eudoxéw is of near Affinity to it; (to be sure) and this we often meet with in Holy Writ. God's Complacency in his own Son is express’d by that Word in three of the Evangelifts; * This is my beloved Son, ix whom I am well pleased. || S. Paul uses it for taking Pleasure in Infirmities, in Reproaches, in Necessities; and for the Wicked's being pleas'd in Onrighteousness; [2 Thes. ii. 12.] And other places in Holy Writ might be produc'd to the same Purpose, which the learned + Commentators expound by rejoycing, resting highly satisfy'd, and acquiescing in them. And how can the Right of Election be grounded on such a Term as this ? S S. Luke exprelles Sanľs Consent to the Death of S. Ste. phen, indeed, by the very fame Word which S. Clement used here : But if that tragical Act was all over Rage, and Riot, and lawless Violence of a barbarous and incens'd Multitude, (as the Holy Penman's Relation of it does sufficiently Thew) then Saul's Consenting to such an Act as that, can have no other Sense (I think) so fairly put upon it, as

that

* 'Ev Ñ Euróungl. Matt. iii. 17. Mark i. 2. Luc. iii. 22.

H 'Eudox cu catevcious, &c. 2 Cor. xii. 10.

* Ευδοκήσανlες ν αδικία στατχαίρω, ευφegίνομαι, μετ' α' θυμίας δέχομαι. Τheodor. in loc. Προσs] :ican do as & xíạ. Theophyl. in loc.

9 ΣάυλG 3 ήν συναδοκών της αναιρέσει αυτό. Αξt.

viii. 1.

that which we have found to be in all the foregoing Particulars upon this Head; that is, he highly approv'd the Thing, had a thorough Satisfaction in it, and his Heart went along with theirs, who were principal Actors in it: So that the Sense of S. Clement's Word, even in the Language of Holy Scripture itself, does in no-wise warrant such an Inference from it as can establish a Popular Election in the least.

To strengthen these two Authorities, the Enquiry offers three or four Examples of Matter of Fact, where Bishops were actually chosen by the People, and therefore the Primitive Church did own such a Power in them. I'll propose them fairly as they are, and consider them as briefly as I can.

His first Example is that of Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem, * chosen there (says he) by the Compulsion or Choice of the Members of that Church. So he translates the Quotation for us; which (in plain English) is thus : $ That the Brethren would not suffer Alexander to return home. The Matter of Fact was this; Alexander was a Bishop in Cappadocia long before that Time, but came to Jerusalem out of Devotion to pray there, and visit the Country. Here, by one Divine Vision to himself, and another to the People of Jerusalem, God was pleas'd to signify, that he should stay amongst them, and be an Alliftant Bishop to the superannuated Narcissus, who was now 116 Years old; upon L 2

which

* See Enquiry, p. 46.
+ 'Αδελφοί έκέτ' οίκαδε αυτώ παλιγος &ν επιθρέ-

Euseb. l. 6. C. II.

CXI,

which Visions, with an audible Voice from Heaven to confirm them, the People would not suffer him to return home again. This is the first Example of the People's choosing a Bishop for themselves. I shall join the second to it, because of the Resemblance they have to one another: 'Tis that of | Fabianus's Promotion to the Bishoprick of Rome. This looks a little fairer to the Purpose indeed ; for the People were met in Consultation about nominating a Person whom they liked: And whilst they were thus tógether, a Dove miraculously lights upon Fabianus's Head, in the same Manner as the Holy Ghost formerly descended on our blessed Saviour ; at which Divine Vision, in so miraculous a Manner, the People (as it were by Inspiration, for fo the Historian's express Words are *) cry out with one 'Heart and one Mind, that Fabianus was worthy of the Bishoprick; and straitway they hastily set him on the Throne.

These are the two leading Instances or Exam. ples of a Popular Election in the Primitive Church; and to speak my Thoughts freely of them, they incline me much more to admire, than to reply: To admire (I say) that so im. portant a Right and Privilege of all Christian Congregations in the World, (as that of electing their own Bishops surely would be) mould be supported in the very Foundation of it, by two such fingular Examples as these.

Yet,

ll See Euseb. 1. 6. c. 29. Hift. Eccl.

2 co sp up śros aval o toho xevntére óóre. Ib.

[ocr errors]

Yet, because S. Cyprian furnishes me with a short Answer to all extraordinary Occasions of this Natyre, I shall leave it with the Reader, and hope it may excuse a farther Reply. *We must not wait for the Testimony of Men, (says that excellent Father) where the Testimony of God is given in before. By this Maxim, that holy Martyr himself practis’d, when he ordain'd the eminent Confessor Aurelius, a Deacon of his Church, without the People's Character or Testimony of him ; which, I freely own, he ordinarily us'd to inform himself by. And if the Constancy of Aurelius, under his several Trials and Persécutions, deserv'd the Name of God's Testimony for him ; (for that was all in the Case) surely the heavenly Voice and Visions, in each of the foregoing Instances, (both of Alexander and Fabiarus too) may well be taken for no less; and confequently the humane Suffrages (whether of Laity or Clergy) in those Elections, were but very indifferentPrecedents to ihew how far they might go.

There are two Examples more propos’d to us; it, That of Cornelius, the Successor of Fabianus at Rome ; and laitly, that of S. Cyprian himself at Carthage. But forasmuch as all the Force of both of them || lies in that Construction of the Word [Suffrage] again, and in the Language of that Holy Father too, which we have seen already, can warrant no Consequence from it, I conceive the Answer to them both to be given there. 'Tis true indeed, Pontius the Deacon

L 3

calls

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

* Non expectanda funt teftimonia humana, cum præ. çedunt divina suffragia. Cypr. Ep. 38. Edit. Oxon,

!! See Enquiry, p. 47.

« PreviousContinue »