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though undisputed, lay, for the most part, dormant. The transition from disuse to denial, and from denial to extinction, of powers which the possessors have not vigilance, integrity, or spirit to enforce, is natural, short, and rapid. According to Jerome's declaration, the hierarchy did not pretend to the exclusive right of government. Therefore, there was bút half a hierarchy, according to the present system. That the Bishops had, some time after, the powers of ordination and government both, is clear. How did they acquire the monopoly? By apostolic institution ? No. Jerome refutes that opinion from the Scriptures and history. By apostolic tradition ? No. For, in the latter part of the fourth century, their single prerogative over Presbyters was the power of ordination. Government was at first exercised by the Presbyters in common. When they had, by their own act, placed a superiour over their own heads, they rewarded his distinction, his toils, and his perils, with a proportionate reverence; they grew slack about the maintenance of troublesome privilege ; till at length their courtesy, their indolence, their love of peace, or their hope of promotion, permitted their high and venerable trust to glide into the hands of the prelates. We have no doubt that the course of the ordaining power was similar, though swifter.”
* “ This testimony of Jerome is seconded by a more full one of Eutychius, Patriarch of Alexandria, who, out of the Records and Traditions of that church, in his Arabick Originals thereof, saith, (according to Selden's Translation in his Comment. p. 29, 30.) Mark the Evangelist ordained, along with Hananias, twelve Presbyters, who were always to remain with the Patriarch; so that when the Patriarchate should be vacant, they should elect, from the twelve Presbyters, one on whose head the other eleven should impose their hands and bless him, and create him Patriarch: and then should choose some other distinguished man, as a fellow Presbyter, in the place of him who was thus made Patriarch, so that their number should always be twelve. Nor did this institution concerning the Presbyters, viz. that the Patriarch should be created from these Presbyters, go into disuse before the time of AlexANDER, Patriarch of Alexandria, 318. He forbad the Presbyters to create a Patriarch from that time : and decreed, that on the death of one Patriarch, the Bishops should meet and ordain
* In the following extract from Dr. Owen's Plea for Scripture ordinalion, the Latin quotations are translated by the author of this work, for the benefit of the unlearned reader; and the quotations themselves thrown into the margin.
his successor. He also decreed that, in case of a vacancy, they should, without regard to place, choose either from among these twelve Presbyters or any others, some man of peculiar worth, and give him the title of Patriarch. And thus vanished that more ancient institution, according to which the Patriarch used to be created by Presbyters; and in its place came the above decree for creating him by Bishops.*
“ Here is a full proof of Presbyters choosing and creating their Bishop, (whom Eutychius, speaking in the language of his age, calls Patriarch,) and that by imposition of hands and benediction, or prayer, without any other consecration: which custom continued several ages, until
* • Constituit item Marcus Evangelista duodecim Presbyteros cum Hanania, qui semper manerent cum Patriarcha, adeo ut cum vacaret Patriarchatus eligerent unum e duodecim Presbyteris, cujus capiti reliqui undecim manus imponerent, eumque benedicerent, et Patriarcham eum crearent : et dein virum aliquem insignem eligerent, eumque Presbyterum secum constituerent, loco ejus qui sic factus est Patriarcha, ita ut semper extarent duodecim. Neque desiit ALEXANDRI Æ institutum hoc de Presbyteris, ut scilicel Patriarchæ crearentur e Presbyteris duodecim, usque ad tempora ALEXANDRI Patriarchæ Alexandrini, qui fuit ex numero illo 318. Is autem vetuit, ne deinceps Patriarcham Presbyteri crearent, et decrevit ut, mortuo Patriarcha, convenirent Episcopi qui Patriarcham ordinarent. Decrevit item ut, vacante Patriarchatu, eligerent sive ex quacunque regione, sive ex duodecim illis Presbyteris, sive aliis, ut res forebat, virum aliquem eximium, eumque Patriarcham vocarent; atque ita evanuit institutum illud antiquius, quo creari solitus a Presbyteris Patriarcha, et successit in locum ejus decretum de Patriarcho ab Episcopis creando.?
at last the neighbouring Bishops usurped the power of consecration, and left the Presbyters neither the choice nor the creation of their Bishop.
“Here we have also an instance of Presbyters making Presbyters; for Eutychius tells us, that the same Presbyters that made their Bishop, chose and ordained another person Presbyter in his room ; and so constituted both Presbyters and Bishops for several ages together.,
“The Bishop of Worcester* tells us, out of Johannes Cassianus, that about the year 390, one Abbot Daniel, inferior to none in the desart Scetis, was made a Deacon' by PAPHNUTIUS, a Presbyter of the same retreat; for so greatly was he charmed with the abbot's virtues, that he was eager to associate with himself in the honour of the Priesthood also, one whom he knew to be his own equal in the excellence of his life. Unable, therefore, to bear the thought that he should remain any longer in the inferior order of the ministry, and anxious to provide for himself a most worthy successor, he promoted Daniel, during his own lifetime, to the honour of the Presbyterial office.t
* Stilling. Iren. p. 380.
+ A B. Paphnutio solitudinis ejusdem Presbytero : in tantum enim virtutibus ejus adgaudebat, ut quem vitæ meritis sibi et gratia parens noverat, coæquare sibi etiam Sacerdotii honore festinaret. Siquidem nequaquam ferens in inferiore eum ministerio diutius immorari, optans. que sibimet successionem dignissimam providere, superstes euni Pres. byterii honore provexit.
“ Here is a Presbyter ordained by a Presbyter, which we no where read was pronounced null by Theophilus, then Bishop of Alexandria, or any other of that time. Had it been either irregular or unusual, doubtless it had been censured.
“ The power of ordination and government was in the hands of the captive Presbyters, under the Scythians beyond Ister, for about seventy years, from the year 260, to the year 327; the former being the year of their captivity under Galienus, the latter of the change of the government under. Constantine, when Urphilas was created Bishop by Eusebius, and others.*
“ Hilary, or whoever was the Author in Q. ex utroque Test. mixtim, affirms, That in Alexandria, and throughout all Egypt, if a bishop be wanting, a presbyter consecrates. It cannot be said that “consecrate” here signifies the consecration of the eucharist, for this might be
* Philostorg. lib. 2. cap. 5. in Blond. Apol.
+ In Alexandria et per totam A gyptum si desit Episcopus, consecrat Presbyter. Q. %. 101.