網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

face; his axuri, in Hildebrand; his tapanur', in the later times? Surely, had these men bestowed that time in perusing Bishop Downame's discourse concerning Antichrist *, which they have spent in confuting his worthy sermon, they had needed no other, either reformation or disproof. For, can any indifferent man be so extremely mad, as to think all the Christian World, these men only by good luck excepted, is or ever was turned Antichrist? or, that that Antichrist hath set his foot every where, in all assemblies of Christians ? and that he still keeps his footing in all God's Church upon earth? To say nothing else concerning the notorious falsity hereof, what a derogation were this to the infinite wisdom, providence, and goodness of the Almighty : that he should so slacken his care of his Church, as that he should, from the very beginning, give it up, wholly up, to the managing of Antichrist, for the space of more than fifteen hundred years; without any check or contra diction to his government, no not within the first century! Yea, but his Mystery began to work betime :true; but that was the Mystery of Iniquity, not the mystery of good order and holy government: and, if the latter times should be thus depraved, yet can any man be so absurd as to think, that those holy Bishops of the Primitive Times, which were all made of meekness and humi. lity and patience, being ever persecuted and cheerfully pouring out their blood for Christ, would, in their very offices, bolster up the pride of Antichrist +? Or, if they would, yet can we think that the Apostles themselves, who saw and erected this superiority, as Chamier himself confesseth, would be accessary to this advancement of Antichrist ? Certainly, he had need of a strong and as wicked a credulity, of a weak and as wild a wit, that can believe all this. So the semper is plainly ours.

And so is the ubique, too. All times are not more for us, than all places. Take a view of the whole Christian World.

The state of Europe is so well known, that it needs no report.

Look abroad: ye shall find I, that, for the Greek Church, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which, in the Emperor Leo's time, had eighty-one Metropolitans and about thirty-eight Archbishoprics under his jurisdiction, hath under him still seventy-four Metropolitans, who have divers Bishops under them: as Thessalonica, ten Bishops under him; Corinth, four; Athens, six &c.

For the Russian Church, which, since the Mahometan tyranny, hath subjected itself to a Patriarch of their own, near home; of Moscow, he hath under him two Metropolitans, four Archbishops, six Bishops.

For the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, to which have belonged the three Palestines, and two other provinces; Tirius reckons also five Metropolitans and ten Bishops.

For the Patriarchate of Antioch, which hath been accounted one of the most numerous for Christians, it had, as the same author

* Diatrib, de Antichrist. contr. Leon. Lessium.

Christianography, of the Greek Church.

+ Loco suprà citato.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

reckons, fifteen provinces allotted to it; and, in them, Metropolitans, Archbishops, and Bishops, no fewer than 142.

For the Armenian Christians, they acknowledge obedience to the government of two Patriarchs of their own : the one, of Armenia the Greater, who kept his residence of old at Sebastia; the other, of Armenia the Less, whose residence was formerly at Mytilene, the mother city of that province, now near Tarsus in Cilicia. Mr. Sandys reports their Bishops to be 300; but Baronius, 1000.

For the Jacobite Christians, they have a Patriarch of their own; whose Patriarchal Church is near to the city of Merdin, in Mesopotamia : and he hath under bis government many Churches dispersed in the cities of Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Syria.

For the Maronites, whose main habitation is in Mount Libanus, containing in circuit 700 miles, they have a Patriarch of their own, who hath eight or nine Bishops under his jurisdiction.

For the mis-named Nestorian Christians, they are subject to their Patriarch of Musal, or Seleucia; besides others, which they have had : under one whereof, is said to have been twenty-two Bishoprics, and more than six hundred Territories.

For the Indian Christians, named from St. Thomas, they have their Archbishop lately subjected to the Patriarch of Musal.

For the African Christians, we find, that, in one province alone, under one Metropolitan, they have had one hundred and sixty-four Bishops. They are under the government of the Patriarch of Alexandria ; to whose jurisdiction belong both the Christians of Egypt, and those about the bay of Arabia. Upon whose late solemn consecration, how many Bishops attended, and what solemnity were used, were too long to rehearse.

For the Abassine Christians, they are subject to their Abuna, a Patriarch of their own. Some report of one hundred and twentyseven Archbishops : and Alvares, that, in one Church of the Holy Trinity, upon a solemn occasion, he saw two hundred of their Mitred Clergy together.

Thus have 1, for the reader's satisfaction, contracted into a short view some passages of the laborious “ Christianography" of Mr. Paget, gathered by him out of many authors: whereby it well appears, how the Christian Church is governed abroad; and, which is very remarkable, well near all of these, in a manner, utterly divided from the correspondence with Rome, and professedly opposite to most of her errors, and chiefly to her ambitious and tyrannous usurpation; but all gladly ever submitting themselves to that Episcopal Government, which some few, very ill-advised but very well self-conceited new comers, here in a corner of our Europe, have, for their own ends, presumed to contradict.

[ocr errors]

SECT. 19.

Of the Suppression of Contrary Records : and the Sole Opposition of

the Heretic Ærius. CLEARLY, then, all times, all places, all histories are for us : not one, that ever mentioned the discipline and government pretended.

It is a very poor and beggarly evasion of Parker, and Anti-Tilenus, That, perhaps, there were some, but they were suppressed. Suppressed! now, gramercy for that. By whom? I hope, by the Hierarchy. What? when there was no opposition ? no colour of offence? Suppressed! what, not only their edition in this age of presses, but their very mention? Can they persuade themselves? (others, sure, they cannot :) or, if they can, I would fain see them, that, among so many holy Fathers, and faithful recorders of alí occurrences that befel the Church, whose worthy monuments are in our hands, there should not be the least touch, either of their dislike of Episcopacy, if there had been any, or of their allowance of the Discipline called for; not so much as the least intimation of any city or region, that was or wished to be otherwise governed, than by a Diocesan Bishop? As well may they tell us, there are people at this day on and beyond the mountains of the moon, who do still and ever have governed themselves by their platform; though who and what they are, could not, cannot possibly be discovered.

Onwards, then. It can be no great comfort or credit to the disparagers of Episcopacy, that the only founder and abettor of their opinion, which we meet with in all the world of history and record, is a branded heretic, Ærius; branded, even for this very point, which they now maintain. And how could this be, if the conceit had been formerly current? Or, why he singled from the rest, if there had been others known to have been of the same mind ? No man ever wrote of heretics, who did not name him for one ; Epi. phanius, Austin, Philaster.

And who can choose but blush, to hear those, who would go for Orthodox Christians, now, at the latter end of the day, after so many ages of exsibilation, to take upon them the defence of a noted heretic, against all the holy Fathers of the Church; yea, against the whole Church of God, whose judgment those Fathers expressly declared ?

Hear, then, of your Patriarch, all ye opposers of Episcopacy; and then judge how you like him. All agree in the story: Epi. phanius is the fullest. “ Ærius," saith he *,“ was a man franticheaded, proud-minded; an Arian altogether.” He would fain have been a Bishop; and, when his school-fellow Eustathius came to that honour, which he eagerly desired and missed of, he was so much

* 'EMBportv' The Trily dudvalar. Epiph. Hæres. 75.

[ocr errors]

the more nettled with emulation. Eustathius humoured him, by all means: he was still the more peevish : at last, he brake forth into opposition ; "and," saith that Father, “bis speech savoured rather of madness than of sober humanity. For he said, What is a Bishop better than a Presbyter? The one differs not at all from the other. There is but one order, one honour, one dignity of both. Doth the Bishop impose hands ? so doth the Presbyter. Doth the Bishop administer baptism ? so doth the Presbyter. The Bishop dispenseth the service of God: so doth the Presbyter. The Bishop sits in his chair or throne: so doth the Presbyter *."

These are the opinions, among others, for which Ærius was hooted, not out of the Church only, but out of the cities, towns, and villages : which I grieve to see taken up, in this doting and last age of the world, by those, who should be both godly and wise.

He, whom Epiphanius, in the voice of God's Church, styles magnum mundo malum, "a great mischief to the world," is now applauded by those, who pretend to holiness, for a great patron of truth.

SECT. 20. The Vindication of those Fathers, which are pretended to second

Ærius's Opinion. But what noise is this I hear from our Antepiscopists, of many Fa. thers who favoured and cried up this opinion of Ærius ? Surely, if there had been any such, the world would have rung of it, ere now. The then-present Church would sooner have noted it, than those, that lag after them, so many hundred paces of years.

But, to make this good, more than once is laid in our dish by Parkert, and the Censure of Tilenus, the quotation of Medina, which our reverend and learned Bishop of Durham, Dr. Morton, in his Apology, cites 1, Non dubito &c. “I doubt not," saith Medina,“ to affirm, that St. Jerome, Sedulius, Primasius, Theodoret, held, with the Ærian heretics, that the Order of Bishops and Presbyte jure divino, the very same." It is well that he omitted St. Augustin, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Oecumenius.

Well, what of this? The learned Bishop cites Medina ; but doth he approve him? He scorns the motion. “Medina cites those Fa. thers, as for this opinion: the more shameless be! Is it ever the truer, because a sworn champion of the tyranny of Rome, and a professed enemy to the Reformed Religion, impudently avers it? It is enough for me, to leave him to the castigation of Bellarmin : and, though I might spend paper in vindicating these sacred names, from the aspersion of the favour of Ærianism; yet, for that it is but incidentally in our way, I shall rather remit my reader to the learned and satisfactory discourse of the Archbishop of Spalato, who hath prevented that labour §.

* Epiph. loco citato. + Paracles. I. i. c. 7. Apol. p. 2. c. 12. $ Intolerabilis est Medine impudentia. Spalat. de Rep. Eccles. 1. . c. 3.

[ocr errors]

All the rest are easily freed.

St. Jerome and St. Ambrose, in the opinion of some, seem to take in water.

For the former, as he was naturally a waspish and hot good man; so now, being vexed with some cross proceedings, as he thought, of John, Bishop of Jerusalem, he fiew out into some expressions indeed, but yet such as in other places he doth either salve or contradict. The passages are scanned thoroughly, by many authors. It is true, then, that he saith, Bishops are greater than Presbyters rather consuetudine Ecclesiæ, than Dominicæ dispositionis veritate * : but, even in that, withal, he grants Episcopacy to be an Apostolical Institution t; for he interprets himself, that this custom was derived and continued from the Apostles, and that the dominica dispositio of which he spake, was to be taken of a personal appointment from Christ our Saviour I. Wherefore, what can be more plain, than that his toto orbe decretum relates to Apostolic Constitution? The very pedigree of it is, by himself, fetched from the time of the quarrels, which St. Paul mentions in his Epistle to the Corinths: One says, I am of Paul ; another, I am of Apollos; I am of Cephas; which was in the heart of the Apostolic Times. And, relating those words of the Bishop of Jerusalem's letters, “ There is no difference betwixt a Bishop and a Presbyter,” he passeth a satis imperitè upon it; professing to his Marcella, against the novelty of Montanus ; " With us, our Bishops bold the place of the Apostles; and that, the depression of their Bishops below their place, was utterly perfidious:" and, commenting upon that passage of the Psalm, Instead of faihers, thou shalt have children; The Apostles," saith he , “O Church, were thy fathers, &c. Thou hast, instead of them, children, which are, the Bishops, created by thyself.” And, which is for all, where he is most vehement for the dignity of a Presbyter, yet he adds, Quid facit Episcopus exceptá Ordinatione, quod Presbyter non facit ?.“What doth a Bishop besides Ordination, which a Presbyter doth not?” That very exception exempts him from Ærianism; and those other clear testimonies, besides more which might be cited, shew him, though but a Presbyter, no friend to the equality of our Presbyterians.

As for St. Ambrose, they could not have pitched upon a better man: a renowned Archbishop and Metropolitan; and of so holilyhigh a grain, as that he would not abate one inch of Archiepiscopal port and power ; no, not to an Emperor. Yet, this is the man, that shall plead against the superiority of Bishops. And what will he say?" Of a Bishop and a Presbyter,” saith he, “ there is one Order, or Ordination : for either of them is a Priest; but the Bishop is the first : so that every Bishop is a Presbyter, but not every Presbyter a Bishop; for, among the Presbyters, the Bishop is the first.” But, first of all, by Parker's own confession, it is not St. Ambrose that saith so, but a changeling in his clothes: so, not

[ocr errors][merged small]

* Hier. ad Evagrium. + Eadem Epistola ad finem. Tirum. $ Hier. in Ps. xlix.

Hier. in i, ad

« 上一頁繼續 »