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Add to this, that the laws of religion have, most of them, the warranty of some internal grace or other, and are to be reckoned in the retinue and relation of that virtue; and therefore cannot, in many instances, be broken without some straining of our duty to God, which is, by the wisdom and choice of men, determined in such an instance to such a specification. But this is to be understood only in such laws which are the populakal, out-guards, the exercises of internal religion, not in the garments and adornments of the relatives and appendages of religion. If a prince despises the festival of the church, nothing but a competent reason will excuse him from being, or at least from seeming, irreligious. And in whatsoever instance he hath made or consented to laws of religion, if by them he can suppose the people may serve and please God, he is much more obliged than they; not by the duty of obedience, for he owes none, but by the virtue of religion: for besides that his soul must live or die by greater measures and exactions of those virtues, which bring the people unto heaven, every action of his that deserves an ill report, it is but scandal in the lesser people, but to him it is infamy. For the king's escutcheon is blazoned otherwise than that of his subjects: the gentry by metals, the nobility by precious stones, but kings by planets. For in a king there is nothing moderate. “ Curandum est qualem famam habeat, qui qualemcunque meruerit, magnam habiturus est,” said Senecab : “ His fame, let it be good or bad, it will certainly be very great."
5. The sum is this: kings are so tied to their own ecclesiastical laws, that they must take care they be not despised by their example, that the religion designed by them be promoted, that that part of the commonwealth which most secures to them obedience and peace, and procures them the most and greatest blessings, be not discouraged or disadvantaged: but they are not so tied, that every act of omission is imputable to them, though it have no other cause but the use of his liberty. For in this his duty differs from that of his subjects: for obedience which the subject owes, is a part of justice, and that hath no degrees, but consists in an indivisible point, where it can be practised, and where it can be understood; for he is unjust, that does one act of injustice. But religion hath a latitude of signification and instances, and a man may be very religious who yet does not keep a saint's day, where by obedience he is not bound; which is the case of kings. Therefore what Seneca said of the cares of kings, may be said of the external observations of the laws of religion; “Remissum aliquando animum habebit, nunquam solutum ;” “ He may remit something of the strict observance, but he must never esteem himself wholly quit.”
bo De Clement. lib. 1. cap. 8. §. 1. Ruhkopf. vol. 1. pag. 446.
6. But this is to be understood only in externals and rituals; concerning which one said excellently, “ Pleraque ex iis magis ad morem quam ad rem pertinent;" " They are nothing of the substance of religion, but only appendages,” and manner, and circumstances: and therefore " sapiens servabit ea tanquam legibus jussa, non tanquam Diis grata,” “ a wise man will observe rituals, because they are commanded by laws, not that they are pleasing to God.”--they are the words of Seneca quoted by St. Austin 4. Since therefore these are wholly matters of obedience, kings are free, save only when they become bound collaterally and accidentally. But in matters of essential duty, the king hath equally with his subjects no liberty, but much more direct duty, and many more accidental obligations. The whole affair is well enough expressed by Cicero i : “ Parendum est religioni, nec patrius mos contumaciter repudiandus:” “The prince must obey religion, and he must not despise the customs and the manners of his country;" that is, in the better words of our blessed Saviour,“ These things they ought to do, and not [wholly] to leave the other undone.”
7. But the liberty of princes in these ecclesiastical laws of order, and circumstance, and ritual observances, is very apparent in the practice of the Hebrew kings, who yet possessed this liberty, that even, in the rituals of the divine ordinance, they sometimes did dispense. Thus David ate the shew-bread; and Hezekiah permitted some that were unclean to eat the passover, otherwise than it was written: only Hezekiah prayed to God not to impute it to them, and gave them way: and under his reign the Levites did kill the sacrifice twice, which was only lawful for the priests to do.
b Lib. 6. de Civit. Dei. i De Divin. ii. 33. Davis et Rath. pag. 214.
di Levit. vii. 20. 2 Chron, xxx, 18.
But it was a favourable case, because the priests' were but few, and the sacrifices were very numerous : and if it be (as the Greek expression is) lawful, xalácal ti vñs åkpıßrias, “to loose a little of the exactness" of the rituals of the divine appointment, it is certain, where the man is the lawgiver, he can much more use the liberty. But it is not good to do all that is lawful.
RULE VII. It is not lawful for the ecclesiastical Power to excommunicate
Christian Princes, or the supreme civil Power. 1. In the sentence and penalty of the lesser excommunication, as it is used in the church, there are three portions of evil. In one, the bishop is the author or minister,-in the other, the people, and in the third, the prince. The first is a denying to minister the holy mysteries. The other is, a withdrawing from the communion and conversation of such a person : which although it be done most of all in the greater excommunication, yet it is done also in some proportion in the less, for emendation of the erring brother; not for extermination, as appears in the apostolical precept given to the church of Thessalonica". And the last is, supervening temporal punishments, by which princes use to verify the just sentences of the church against refractory criminals.
2. Concerning the last, it is certain it wholly is owing to the power and favour of the prince ; who, by that favour, is not supposed to lay violent hands upon himself, who, if he did, could quickly take them off again : however, the church inflicts not them by her own authority, but by that of the prince, who will not, like the tree in the fable, lend a stick to the hatchet, to be hewn down or hurt by it afterward.
3. But then concerning that part which is inflicted by the people, which is abstinence from the society of the offender till he repent and make amends, and get his pardon,it is infinitely certain that the church cannot inflict that on kings; because it is destructive of the duty which the people
m 2 Thess. iii. 6. 14, 15.
I Levit. i. 5. 2 Chron. xxix. 24. xxx, 17. VOL. XIII,
owe to their prince,-and of the rights, which the prince hath from God independently from the religion.
4. Besides this, nothing ought to be done to the dishonour of the supreme power, to whose happy government fame is almost as necessary as power: and the imposing upon them disgraceful penalties is kplois Blaopnuías, "a note of dishonour and blasphemy;" for they are to esteem their king as a heathen and a publican, from whose society they are to estrange themselves as from a pestilence." Inviso semel principe, seu bene seu male facta premunt,” saith Tacitus". If he once fall into such a calamity and dishonour, whether he do well or ill afterward, it shall be evil to him.
5. And yet further ; the power of assemblies and public meetings is wholly by the laws and permission of kings; and nothing is more unreasonable, than that any man should interdict kings from public meetings, by whom himself hath leave to meet publicly. And therefore we find imperial laws making provisions in this very particular, and so far from being subject to any thing of this nature, that the emperors gave orders and strict measures to the bishops when they should, and whom they should or should not, separate from churches and communions, For even in those actions of bishops, in which themselves have liberty and divine authority, yet the supreme civil power hath external jurisdiction. Thus Mauritius the emperor commanded Gregory the Great, bishop of Rome, to communicate with John of Constantinople; and anciently, in France, the princes were wont to compel the clergy to officiate; and when the pope had interdicted the kingdom of England, the king compelled the priests and bishops to open their churches : so it is in Holland, and so in Venice, and so in all places, where kings know their power and their interest and their duty.
6. For if excommunication be only an act of caution and prudence, it is very great prudence not to involve kings in it, lest they be provoked by the evil usages of the church; and if it be nothing else, certainly it cannot be necessary to be done at all. But if it be an act of external jurisdiction,
Histor. 1. cap. 7. Valp. ed. vol. 3. pag. 14. • As is to be seen lib. 30. Cod. de Episc. et Clericis, and in the 123d porel of Justinian.
it derives from kings, and therefore they are not under it, but over it: for no coercion in the hands of man ought to touch those, who are reserved only for the judgment of God. “ Apud Serenissimum Regem opus est exhortatione potius quam increpatione, consilio quam præceptis, doctrina quam virga,” said Hildebertus the bishop: “ The king is to be exhorted, not reproved; counselled, not commanded; and to him not a rod, but doctrine is to be used :" and Ivo, bishop of Chartres P, said the same thing. Kings, if they abuse their power, are not to be provoked ; but in case they refuse the admonition of bishops, they are to be left to the divine judgment; where they will be punished the more severely, by how much they were the less obnoxious to human monitions. So Gregorius Turonensis; “ Si tu excesseris, quis te corripiet? Si autem nolueris, quis te damnabit, nisi is qui se pronunciat esse justitiam ?” He spake to King Chilperic:-" If thou beest exorbitant, who shall correct thee? If thou refusest, who shall condemn thee, but he only who is the everlasting righteousness?" For if St. Paul 9 gave in charge to Timothy, that each person should receive an impression and emanation from the pastoral charge according to his quality, and commanded that he should “not rebuke an elder, but entreat him as a father;" much less would he have permitted any to have punished the father of the country and his own superior, and him who is less than none but God, and by whom himself can rule others in external actions, and who, in these very administrations, is superior, and can give laws, and inflict penalties, and is judge and the remedy of all abuses.
7. And if concerning this inquiry we consult the doctrine and practices of the fathers in the primitive and ancient churches, we shall find that they never durst think of excommunicating kings. They had no power, no right, to do it. “Nam sacerdotis tantum est arguere, et liberam præstare admonitionem,” saith St. Chrysostom';" Priests can only reprove and argue, and give a free admonition :” and therefore the first supreme prince that ever was excommunicated by a bishop, was Henry the emperor, by Pope Hildebrand. 8. But against this that I say, now the doctors of the p Epist. 171.
4 1 Tim. v. 1. Homil. 4. de Verbis, Isai. Vidi Dominum.