Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Numa sacris constitutis, fundamenta jecerunt Romanæ civi. tatis,” said Cicerol: “ They built Rome, and religion was the foundation of the city.” And the same custom descended with the succeeding kings, as Dionysius Halicarnasseus reports: Πρώτον μεν ιερών και θυσιών ηγεμονίαν είχεν, και πάντα δι' εκείνου πράττεσθαι τα προς θεούς οσίους, “They had the government of all sacrifices and holy rites; and whatsoever was to be done to the holy gods, was done by them.”

17. When afterward they separated the priesthood from the civil power, they appointed a sacrificing king to take care of the rites, but they kept him from all intermeddling with civil affairs; he might bear no office in the commonwealth, nor have any employment in the army, nor make an oration to the people, nor meddle with public affairs : and yet besides this caution, the supreme magistrate was pontifex maximus; and although he did not usually handle the rites, yet when he pleased, he made laws concerning the religion, and punished the augurs, and the vestal virgins, and was superior to the 'rex sacrorum,' and the whole college of priests “.

18. But when the commonwealth was changed into monarchy, Augustus annexed the great pontificate to the imperial dignity, and it descended even to the Christian emperors, who because it was an honorary title, and was nothing but a power of disposing religion, they at first refused it not: but upon

this account it was that Tacitus " said of the Roman emperor, “Nunc Deûm munere summum pontificem summum hominum esse," "The greatest priest is also the greatest prince.” Now this device of theirs would indeed do their business, but it was more than was needful. For though it were certain that religion, in the hands of the supreme magistrate, should never disturb the public: yet it might be as sure, if the ministry were in other hands, and the empire and conduct of it in their own. And that was God's way.

19. (3.) For God hath intrusted kings with the care of the church, with the custody of both the tables of his law, with the defence of all the persons of his empire; and their charge is to preserve their people in all godliness and honesty, in peace and in tranquillity; and how this can be done

1 Do Nat. D. lib. 3. cap. 2. Creuzer, pag. 497.

* Festas Pompeias, lib. 17.-Dionys. Halic. lib. 4.-A. Gell. lib. 10. cap. 15.Liv. lib. 2.

* Annal. lib. 3.

without the supreme care and government of religion, is not easy to be understood.

4. But this appears, in that kings,—that is, the supreme power of every nation,—are vicegerents of Christ', who is head of the church, and heir of all things; he ruleth with a rod of iron; he is prince of the kings of the earth; the only potentate, King of kings and Lord of lords; to him is given all power in heaven and earth, and by him kings reign. So St. Athanasius P: Λαμβάνων ούν ο Χριστός τον θρόνον μετέσ. τησεν αυτόν, και έδωκε τοις αγίοις Χριστιανών βασιλεύσιν επάναστρέψαι τούτους επί τον οίκον Ιακώβ, « Christ, taking his throne, hath translated it, and given it holy Christian kings to return them back to the house of Jacob." The fathers of the council of Ariminum, writing to Constantius the Arian emperor, say to him, that by Christ he had his empire given him; Δι' ού [Χριστού] σοι και το βασιλεύειν ούτως υπήξεν ώς και της καθ' ημάς οικουμένης κρατείν, “By him thou art appointed to reigy over all the world.” And upon this account, Liberius gave him this advice ; Μη μάχου προς τον δεδωκότα σοι την αρχήν ταύτην μη αντ' ευχαριστίας ασεβήσης εις αυτόν, “Fight not against him, who hath given thee this empire; and instead of thanksgivings, pay him not with dishonour.” For the prince, being an Arian and denying the divinity of Christ, did dishonour the Prince of the kings of the earth, who had deserved better at his hands. The consequence of this consideration is this, If Christ as the supreme king does rule his church, and in this kingdom hath deputed the kings of the earth, and his vicars they are, then they are immediately under him in the government of Christ's church. For Christ, in heaven, is both king and priest. As king, he reigns over all the world for the glory of his Father and the good of his elect; as priest, he intercedes for all mankind, and particularly for them, who shall be heirs of salvation.' Now, in both these relations, he hath on earth deputed certain persons to administer and to imitate his kingdom and priesthood respectively. For he governs all the world, but he does it by his angel-ministers, and by kings his deputies. He officiates in his priesthood himself, and in this he hath no deputy; for he intercedes for us continually : but he hath

• Heb. i. 2. Rev. i. 5. xi. 17. xvii. 14. xix. 16. 1 Tim. vi, 15. Matt. xxviü. 18. p Serm. de B. Virg.

appointed an order of holy and consecrated persons to imitate the offices of this priesthood, to minister the blessings of it to the people, to represent the death of the cross, to preach pardon of sins to the penitent, to reconcile lapsed and returning sinners, that is, to minister to the people all the blessings, which he, by the office of priesthood, procures in heaven for us. Now it is certain, that he hath made deputies of his kingdom; for all power being given to him as the great king, there can be no government upon earth but what he appoints. The government is upon his shoulders,' and all the earth is his inheritance, and therefore from him all just government is derived. Now it being manifest that he is the fountain of all kingly power, it is also as manifest that all this power is delegated to the kings of the earth; for “by me kings reign,” saith the Wisdom of God; and it is one of his most glorious appellatives, that he is “Prince of the kings of the earth ;” and it is as certain that none of this kingly power was given to the ministers of religion, but expressly denied to them. “The kings of nations exercise dominion;" that is their province: “but it shall not be so amongst you: but he that is greatest amongst you, let him be your minister.” That is your state, you are ministers of the kingdom to other purposes, in other manners; you do your work by serving, by humility, by charity, by labours and compliance, by gentle treatments and the gentlest exhortations; nothing of a king is to be in you, but the care; 6Ti ouvántELV TIV Bao leiav ιεροσύνη συγκλώθειν εστί τα ασύγκλωστα, “ for to join the kingdom and the priesthood evangelical is to join in one band things of the most differing nature 9 :" for the name of kings hath power and constraint, rods and axes; the name of priests and apostles hath in it nothing but gentle manners and holy ministries. Kings can compel; the ministers of religion must entreat. They can kill; but, at the most, these can but rebuke sharply. These can cut off from spiritual communion, and deny to give them mysteries, that will hurt the wicked and the indisposed; but they can cut them off from life itself. Kings justly seek honours, wealth, and dignity, and it is allowed them by laws and by necessity, and by their reason: but priests must “not seek their own,

9 Synes.

but only the things of Jesus Christ.” They must indeed be maintained ; the ox cannot labour, if his mouth be muzzled : but though this be his maintenance, it must be no part of bis reward. Our blessed Saviour's word is rendered by St. Matthew' by KataKvplevelv,“ The kings of the people do rule imperiously.” This very word is also used by St. Peter, and forbidden to the elders of the church; and to it is opposed Troqpalvelv, “ to feed the flock like shepherds.” The manner of Kvpletely used by St. Paul, or kataKvpletely used by St. Matthew and St. Peter, " the exercising dominion is compulsion,” and great riches: this is also forbidden to the clergy, they must not do any thing αναγκαστώς, nor αισχροkepdus, not " for profit to themselves," not " with violence or imposing necessity upon others.” The ministers of religion are very considerable in this kingdom of Christ, to promote and to advance it by holy preachings and holy ministrations: but it is true, which was solemnly declared in Babylon to the prince of the captives, “officium ipsi non potestatem injungi, et ab eo die incipiendum ipsi servire omnibus ;” their eminency is nothing but an eminency of service, it is the greatest ministry in the kingdom, but hath in it the least of empire. But of this I shall have occasion to give a fuller account. For the present, that which the present argument intends to persuade is, that the ministers of religion are not only officers under Christ's priesthood, but subjects in his kingdom, which is administered by angels and Christian princes in all the imperial, in the defensive and coactive, parts and powers of it. The Christian king or supreme magistrate can do every thing, πλήν μόνον του ιερουργείν, as Comatenus said, “only except the sacred ministries :” which is the same which was said by the famous Bishop of Corduba, Hosius, in Athanasius ; " Neque igitur fas est nobis in terris imperium tenere, neque tu sacrorum et thymiamatum habes potestatem, imperátor, hoc est jus adolendi.” The good bishop was speaking of the fact of Ozias, who though he had power over the priests, yet had nothing to do to meddle with the rights of priesthood : " It is not lawful for us to meddle with empire or the rights of government; nor for thee, O emperor, with the rites of incense.” The sum is this, If Christ by his kingly power governs his church, and Chris

r Matt. xx. 25.

tian kings are his deputies, then they also are the supreme, under Christ, of the whole government of the church.

20. (5.) So that now I shall not need to make use of the precedents of the Old Testament, nor recite how David ordered the courses of the Levites, the use of the bow in the choir, the solemnities of public service, nor how Solomon put Abiathar from the high-priesthood, nor how Jehu, nor Hezekiah, nor Josiah, reformed religion, pulled down idols, burnt the groves, destroyed the worship of Baal, reduced the religion of the God of Israel. This indeed is an excellent argument, because it was a time, in which God gave his priests more secular eminency and external advantages than ever he did since, and also because Christ changed nothing in the kingdoms of the earth; he left them as he found them, only he intended to make them ministers and portions of his kingdom; and that they should live privately, and govern publicly by his measures, that is, by the justice and mercy evangelical. But this argument I was the more willing to touch upon, because the church of England much relies upon it in this question, and excommunicates those, who deny the supreme civil power to have the same authority in causes ecclesiastical, which the pious kings of the Hebrews had over the synagogue: but I find the ancient doctors of the church pressing much upon the former 'medium,'That Christ hath specially intrusted his church to Christian princes. For,

21. (6.) Christ shall call Christian kings to account for souls.

Cognoscant principes seculi Deo se debere rationem reddere propter ecclesiam, quam à Christo tuendam suscipiunt. Nam sive augeatur pax et disciplina ecclesiæ per fideles principes, sive solvatur, ille ab eis rationem exigit, qui eorum potestati suam ecclesiam credidit,” said Isidore His. palensis : “Let the princes of the world know, that they must give an account to God for the church, which they have received from Christ into their protection. For whether the peace and discipline of the church be increased by faithful princes, or whether it be dissolved, he who hath intrusted his church to their power, will exact an account from them." -And therefore Pope Leo to Leo the emperor gave this advertisement"; "Debes incunctanter advertere regiam potes• In Sent, cap. 51.

! Epist. 75.

« VorigeDoorgaan »