Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

reproves, will do the prince no good, but he shall hurt himself, and shall not be a martyr, when he is smitten. Let no man therefore pretend zeal for God in excuse of any boldness more than priestly towards kings. For the work of God is oftentimes better done by a gentle hand, than by a strong.

peragit tranquilla poteslas
Quod violenta nequit; mandataque fortius orget

Imperiosa quies And if we esteem reproof unseasonable where it is likely we may do hurt, and where it is not likely we shall do good, much more is not this course prudent to be used to kings, who may be provoked by your ungentle sermon, or may be hardened by your fire. For every prince hath not the gentleness of Antigonus, patiently to hear himself reviled: but if he had, yet it was but reason that Antigonus spake, when he bade the soldiers if they would revile him, to go further off. And such men should do well to consider, how ill themselves would take it, if they were publicly in the pulpit called schismatics or incendiaries. But how and if the people be as zealous as the priest, and think it lawful to call their king by all the names of reproach, which they hear in the sermons of the ministers? And if the bishop calls a spade a spade, it is very possible the people may do so too, for they are soon taught to despise their rulers; and then it is to be remembered what Aristotle says, 'Εκ του καταφρονείσθαι πολ. λας γίγνεσθαι των καταλύσεων" If they once come to despise their prince, they will soon unclasp his royal mantle.

15. It is true, that the ministers of religion are 'stewards of the mysteries' of God and 'ambassadors for Christ:' and though I cannot say, that they who, upon this account, think they have power publicly to reprove vicious kings, and in plain language give names to their vices and publish their shame, do overvalue their dignity, for that cannot easily be done; yet I say they use it incompetently and imprudently; for the effect of this power and dignity is not to upbraid, or to disgrace, but to edify and do good to all men according to their capacity: and therefore St. Paul, when he had declared his office and commission to be Christ's ambassador,

Claad. de Fl. Moll. Theod. Cons. 239. Gesner, vol. 1. pag. 219. 2 οίον 'Αντιγόνου το προς τους στρατιώτας, ότι τους παρά την σκηνήν λοιδορούντας αυτόν ως ουκ ακούοντα, την βακτηρίαν υποβαλών έξω, Παπαι (είπεν) ου πορρωτέρω που τραπόμενοι faxã; iqtīto nãs; Plat. de Ira Cohib. Xyland. tom. 2. pag. 457. (J. R. P.)

he adds, as the full, express, and proper issue of that power, * We pray you, in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God.”

16. The old prophets took liberty, and were bold in their reproofs, and troubled kings; and the people sometimes were stirred too much upon such accounts: but when the prophets were charged with sedition, they only gave in answer the express commandment of God. And therefore it was that Amos', being very bold, was bidden not to "prophesy any more at Bethel, because it was the king's chapel and the king's court:" and he was forced to plead a special mission; which the priests had not, and therefore we do not find that ever they used any such license and freedom of reproof, except in such cases in which they also became prophets; as it happened to Jehoiada b: and that is the very case of the ministers of the gospel, who, unless they had a special commission, must teach according to the duty and obedience, the gentleness and prudence, of the religion; lest it be said to them, as was said by King Amaziaho to a bold man that spake openly to him, “Have they made thee the king's counsellor; cease thou, why should they smite thee?"

17. Now in this there can be the less doubt, for they mistake it, that suppose this to be a question of duty; it is only an inquiry after the manner of doing the duty: and therefore although, for the former reasons, this manner of doing their duty is not fit, yet it is necessary that the duty should be done. For “miser est imperator, cui vera reticentur.” No misery is greater, than that kings shall not be taught their duty. They must be taught it all : and in this no liberty, if it be prudently conducted, can become licentious. To which purpose, the bishops and ministers of religion must thus comport themselves to kings.

18. (1.) Let the public doctrines be instructive, but not apt to raise suspicion of the prince. (2.) Let it be in things certain and of evident and apparent duty. (3.) Let no doctrines be fitted to private interests and partialities in the state. (4.) Let no reproof of kings be in pulpits, for it is uncivil towards any,“ut quis crimen audiat eo loco, quo refellendi copia non sit,” as the Roman said '; that a man should be reproved in that place, where, for reverence and religion's sake, the man

a Amos, vii. 10. 13.
C 2 Chron. xxv. 16.

b 2 Chron. xxiv. 20.
d De Maledic. cap. 1.

may not answer for himself. And therefore Clement III. caused a clergyman to be punished, because “multis coram astantibus, verba quædam in depressionem officii et beneficii nostri protulit,” "he spoke words in a public audience tending to his disparagement:" and the emperors e Theodosius, Arcadius, and Honorius, made a law, “si quis modestiæ nescius, et pudoris ignarus, improbo petulantique maledicto nomina nostra crediderit lacessenda,” &c. "that if any man, forgetting shame and modesty, thought fit to dishonour the emperors, he should not presently be punished: for if the man were a fool or a light person, the thing was to be despised; if he were a madman, he was to be pitied; if injurious or angry, he might be forgiven:” but “ ad nostram scientiam referatur, ut ex personis hominum dicta pensemus, et utrum prætermitti an exquiri debeant censeamus :” the princes would have it referred to their cognizance and judgment, whether such persons should be punished or no. (5.) Let there be no doubtful speeches in public sermons scattered amongst the people concerning princes, for they are public seditions, not sermons. (6.) When it is necessary, or when it is prudent, that private addresses to princes be with a sacerdotal freedom, let it be in cases of great crimes, and evidently proved and evidently vicious, neither derived from uncertain rumours of the people, nor from trifling suspicions, nor yet be in matters of secret concernment and undiscerned reason. A prince may be reproved for notorious adultery, or evident murder against the forms of law; but not so freely in the question of wars or judicature: for the bishop's private opinion may be warrant enough for him to speak it when he is required, but not to reprove a prince upon pretence of duty, and by a spiritual authority, when the matter of fact or the question of right is uncertain,

RULE VIII.

Ecclesiastical Censures are to be inflicted by the Consent and

Concurrence of the supreme civil Power. 1. By ecclesiastical censures I mean, the greater and lesser excommunication. This is a separation of a criminal (who is

e Tit. C. Si quis Imper. Maled.

delated and convict by witnesses, or by confession voluntary) from the peace and communion of the church, till he hath, by exterior signs, signified his internal repentance: this is called the lesser excommunication. The greater, is only of refractory and desperate persons, who will be subject to no discipline, make no amends, return to no goodness, and forsake no sin. These the church throws out from her bosom, and shakes the fire from her lap, and quits herself of the plague: and this is called the greater excommunication, or the anathema. Both these are bound by the ecclesiastical power : but the first is bound, that he may be purged of his sins; the second, that the church may be purged of him. The first is bound, as a man is tied fast that he may be cut of the stone; the other is bound as a criminal, that is going to execution: he is bound, that he may be thrown into outer darkness. Not that the church hath power to damn any man; but when she observes a man confirmed in impiety, she does antedate the divine judgment, and secures the sound members, and tells what will befal him in the day of judgment. In the first case, the penitent is like a wandering sheep; in the second, he is turned a goat or a wolf; and by their own acts also, as well as by the power of the keys, they are both bound: the first consents to the medicine, and the reprobate hath, by his own act, incurred that death, which the church declares; and both are acts of discipline, and directly or indirectly consequent to that power, which Christ hath given to his church, of binding and loosing, and to the charge of the conduct of souls.

2. These two are, by the fifth Roman synod under Symmachus, distinguished by the names of 'excommunication' (meaning the lesser) and 'anathema. “He that breaks the decrees of this synod, let him be deprived of the communion: but if he will not amend, anathemate feriatur,' let him be anathema." The same we find in the synod of Turono, which commands that all the curses of the 108th (alias 109th) psalm, be cast upon church-robbers, “ut non solum excommunicati, sed etiam anathematizati moriantur;" “ that they may die not only excommunicate, but anathematized.”

They which are never to be restored to the communion, but are to be accursed;" so Agapetus expresses it in his sixth epistle. This is called 'eradication;' while the lesser

e Cap. 25.

excommunicates are still members of the church, as St. Austin notes.

3. There is yet a third sort of excommunication, brought in by zeal and partiality, a willingness to rule or to prevail ; which is no part of the power given by Christ, but taken up as it happened; it is no part of jurisdiction so much as improper, not an act of the power of the keys: and that is a refusing to communicate with him, who is not excommunicate, a punishing one whom we have no power to punish, a doing that which we have no power to do at all, or to such a person over whom confessedly we have no authority or jurisdiction. For when this humour was got into the manners and customs of the church, they made a new distinction; and there was a communio cum fratribus,' and a communio cum omnibus Christianis.' He that might communicate with the people, might not, in some cases, communicate with the priests and bishops his brethren. The distinction we find in the forty-fifth chapter of the council of Auxerre; and in pursuance of it, we find one bishop refusing to communicate with another. Thus if a bishop came not to the synod of his province, it was decreed in the fifth council of Carthage, “ut ecclesiæ suæ communione debeat esse contentus,” “ that he should only communicate with his own diocess." The like to which we find in the second council of Arles, in the council of Tarracon, and the council of Agathok Thus Epiphanius, bishop and metropolitan of Cyrus, refused to communicate with the bishop of Jerusalem, who was not his suffragan'.

4. Concerning which way of proceeding ;-1. It is evident, that there is no authority in it, or any thing that is like to jurisdiction; and,-2. Sometimes there may be duty, but, 3. Most commonly there is danger. (1.) There is evidently no authority: for if the authority were competent, and the cause just, they might proceed to excommunication. But this was sometimes done by equals to equals, as by bishop to bishop, by church to church, as by Victor to the churches of Asia, by Stephen to the churches of Africa, and by angry or zealous bishops to them, that were not of their humour or opi

| Hom. 50. in Psal. ci.

3 Can. 10.

b Cap. 19. i Can. 6.

k Cap. 35. ! Vide distinct, 18. cap. Placuit. &c, si quis autem, et cap. Si quis Episcopus.

« VorigeDoorgaan »