Imatges de pÓgina
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which the author thus evinces, to render his work a complete and authentic treatise on a subject, upon which we have, in this country, nothing like a book of any authority. If it be completed as it is begun, it bids fair to be of essential service, when the question in which it originated is quite at rest.

The part before us contains two chapters on the important reign of Constantine the Great—" the age,” as the author justly observes, “ to which we must look for the original * line of demarkation between the jurisdiction of the tem

poral sovereign and the prelacy of a state, in matters

affecting the external discipline and the internal or spiritual 66 administration of the church; before we can trace these « aberrations from an established rule, which circumstances “ recorded in the page of history, have introduced.” Of these the first embraces the donatist schism, in which, as the editor of Morsheem, in a passage judiciously placed at the head of this chapter, rightly observes, “the proofs of the “ supreme power of the emperors, in religious matters, appear

so inconstestable, that it is amazing it should ever bave “ been called in question.”

Of the truth of this assertion, the following summary of the evidence adduced by Mr. Brown, in the course of his narrative of the controversy, will afford the most convincing proof.

“The facts detailed in this narrative of the donatist schism, seem to establish the following points in favour of the ancient ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the crown, in matters of external, and in some instances of internal regulation.

First, That bishops, and others of the inferior orders of the clergy, who had to complain of their brethren for having violated an ecclesiastical regulation, by paying obedience to a civil law of the empire, or otherwise, did not scruple to prefer their accusations before a secular magistrate, 100 even of necessity a Christian.

“ Second, That where these complaints, either at the solicitation of the parties, or at the discretion of the proconsul or prefect, were referred to the emperor, their investigation was conducted by those ordinary rules of justice which governed the decision of the temporal causes, without being marked by any particular respect to the clergy, who, from the highest to the lowest rank, were in turn alike the accusers or the accused; the voluntary or reluctant witnesses against their brethren, of superior, equal, or inferior, tank to themselves.

“Third, That where the parties, in a dispute on matters of external ecclesiastical regulation, preferred their complaints before an inferior secular magistrate, with a request that their accusations might be transmitted to the emperor, the ecclesiastical judges granted to them at their solicitation, derived their authority from the precept of the supreme secolar

magistrate by which they were convened, and their information in the cause from the report of the proceedings in the proconsular, or other secular courts, which he transmitted to them; and from the divá voce examination of the parties, and their witnesses, brought before them by an imperial citation.

* Fourth, That this accordance with the request of the clerical complainants on an ecclesiastical grievance, that the einperor would select some of the bishops of a certain province to determine the matters in dispute between them and their opponents, was both prayed and granted as a matter of favour to the individuals petitioning for it, and neither claimed nor conceded as a right or privilege of the order to which they belonged; as the exanination of that identical complaint, wbich (though directly effecting the validity of a bishop's election) was said to have been neglected by the ecclesiastical commissioners so appointed to determine it, was afterwards remanded to the tribunal of a secular magistrate.

“Fifth, That where, on complaint of noncompliance on the part of the commissioners with the directions given to them, the emperor, to preserve the peace of the church, which he frequently asserted to be committed (as the conduct of the clergy during his reign proves that they believed it to have been committed) to his care, suminoned a council, or large assembly of ecclesiastics, to give the cause referred to their decision a re-hearing, the number of deputies from the various churches who sat there, and the length of time they should continue to sit as judges, was regulated by the precepts which he directed to their prelates, whilst their very synodilical letter acknowledges that they were met together in compliance with his will,

“Sixth, That where the decision of a council, or large assembly of ecclesiastical commissioners, was dissatisfactory to one of the parties, with the determination of whose differences it was intrusted, a direct appeal was made to the emperor in person.

“Seventh, That on such appeal being made, the emperor commanded both the appellant and respondent clergy to quit their dioceses and charges, and, together with their witnesses, to travel to and fro to wait his convenience in bearing it, and even caused some of them to be put under restraint, and to be conducted to the town in which he meant to decide the cause, in the safe custody of secular officers.

“ Eigbth, That after having directed the bearing of such appeal from the solemo decision of a council, or large body of ecclesiastics, before secular officers of his own appointment, the emperor remanded the parties to his presence, and re-heard a cause, evidently relating to matters of church discipline, which had been twice determined by the mature deliberation of ecclesiastical commissioners; he having no clerical or other assistance in conducting this examination, but the return of the proceedings before these commissioners, and the proconsular acts in an essential part of the same cause.

“Ninth, That the judgment thus pronounced by the emperor was final, and admitted of no further appeal.

“Tenth, That having acquitted the respondent on this appeal of the breach of ecclesiastical discipline laid to his charge, the emperor punished the appellant bishops for their irregular and schismatical conduct, (for there was no pretence to charge them with a violation of any civil law of the empire,) by confiscating their goods, confining them in prison, or sending them into exile, as a commutation of the punishment of death,

with which, previously to entering on the appeal, he threatened to visit which ever party he should find disturbing the peace of the church.

“Eleventh, That, notwithstanding the distinct and deliberate sentence of condemnation passed by two large assemblies of the highest prelates in the church, and his confirmation of that sentence on the appeal made to himself in person, the emperor recalled those whom he had sent into exile on account of their schism, and permitted bishops and priests, whom the orthodox clergy deposed and excommunicated, to return to their sees and churches, without the intervention of any synod or ecclesiastical assembly whatever.

"Twelfth, That the emperor required and received the same compliance with his commands, and submission to his authority, from the bishops and clergy of his dominions, which he required and received from his otber subjects; their immunity from the discharge of secular offices being deried from concessions, limited in the extent of their operation, by the opinion which he had formed of the compliance of one of the opposing parties with the established rules of ecclesiastical discipline; their attendance, as well on his secular courts, as in the ecclesiastical assemblies which he convened to determine their differences, being required and enforced in the same authoritative language, and by the same compulsory measures, as those which he adopted to enforce the attendance of secular persons, in causes purely of a secular nature; their property, public and private, being liable to confiscation, and their persons being subject to arrest, imprisoninent, banishment, and even death, in accordance with, or in opposition to, the decision of ecclesiastical commissioners, legally appointed by himself, and to that of councils, or pretended councils, com, posed of the g!eatest part of the clergy of a large portion of his empire.

“Finally, That there are no traces of any distinction having then existed between the supreme head of the church and the supreme head of the state, as the emperor in his character of guardian of the peace of the former, convened those meetings of ecclesiastics, by whose deliberation he wished the disputes that might arise amongst the clergy of his empire to be determined, and for this purpose called the prelates and other inferior members of that body from their dioceses and charges, at his pleasure, giving them directions for the preservation of order in their sees and churches, during their absence, through the medium of secular officers, to whose tribunal these disputes were occasionally referred by his rescripts, or originally brought by the clerical complainants themselves. From the decision of these assemblies he received and beard appeals in causes ecclesiastical, at least as they respected matters of external discipline, pronouncing a judgment upon them, from which there lay na appeal. In contradiction also to their decision, but to preserve the peace of the church, he delegated to certain prelates, whom he himself selected, the power of deposing to us rival bishops, one of them previously declared to be orthodox, the other schismatical; a commission which these prelates readily accepted, though their authority to act was solely derived from the emperor's commands.

“ But besides these points, which directly relate to the exercise of ecclesiastical jurisdiction by the supreme secular magistrate of the empire, the narrative seems to establish iwo other, closely connected with those discussions which have prevailed during so many centuries, on the precise limits of the jurisdiction of the pope, as supreme head of the catholic church, and the dependence of the ecclesiastical, on the temporal power of the state: namely,

“ First, That offences committed by the clergy, from the highest to the lowest rank, against the civil institutions of the empire, were then regularly cognizable before the tribunal of a secular magistrate.

Second, That the bishop of Rome then possessed no authority over his fellow-bishops, except that which might arise from the patriarchal dignity which be possessed in common with others, or from the voluntary respect which was paid to him, as presiding over one of the largest and oldest dioceses of the empire, generally believed to have been founded by St. Peter, and the chair of which was seated in its ancient and venerated capital.”

Each of these conclusions is supported by references to the preceding narrative for instances in which the power contended for was exercised, and will be perfectly satisfactory to every candid mind, though we fear they will have but little effect on the bigoted partizans of the see of Rome. On many of the points, Mr. Brown has referred his readers for further information to passages in Catholic writers, who have taken a more correct view of the subject tban the rest, and whose opinions he frequently cites at length. In the number of these are Tillemont, Dupin, Petau, Valesius, De Marea, Giannone, and the anonymous author of a very scarce tract published in 1592, by direction of the Duc de Bouillon, in answer to the sentence of excommunication passed by Gregory XIV. upon Henry IV. of France, under the title of Maintenue et defense des Princes Souverains, et Eglises Christiennes, contre les attentats, usurpations, et cxcommunications des Papes de Rome." This latter work must, we should think, be very curious; and we are happy to learn, from one of Mr. Brown's notes, that the only copy of it known to be in England, is in the possession of his friend Sir John Hippesley, who, we have no doubt, will make a proper use of it in the committee for which he has moved.

Amongst the Protestants we find references to, or quotations from, Grotius, Baldrinius, Witsius, Mosheim, Blondel, James and Samuel Basnage, The Magdeburgh conturiators, and many other foreign divines and jurists, as well as Bishop Stillingfleet, Cave, Prymre, Long, Gibbon, and others of our own countrymen.

The second chapter embraces the “ proceedings relative to the Arian heresy, from its rise to the condemnation of its supporters in the council of Nice, A.D. 325.” And though tbe author has reserved the summing up of his proofs for the next part, which will bring the history of Constantine's interference with the Arian controversy to a close, we cannot

avoid observing, en passant, that these arguments seem to demonstrate, if possible, still more clearly, the jurisdiction of the Crown in the earlier ages of the Church, than those we have just noticed, as they originate in a matter of internal regulation merely, in a dispute about an abstract article of faith. We select a short passage from the history of the proceedings of the Council of Nice, which, did our limits adınit of it, we would gladly transcribe at length, as a fair specimen of this author's manner of enlivening a narrative, which, to the general reader, might be somewhat tedious, if related in the dry sententious style of most of our ecclesiastical annalists.

“ But to continue our relation of the proceedings of the council, so far as the interference of the secular magistrate is involved in them. We find Constantine taking so active a part in its deliberations, that we have the express authority of Eusebius for asserting, that he was the first to deliver his opinion upon the symbol of faith, which that prelate offered to the council, adding to it nothing but the word oponois, or consubstantial, into an explanation of the import of which he entered so successfully, and his panegyrist represents so learnedly, as to induce the bishops to avail themselves of the term in framing the creed received in our church under the title of the Athanasian; in which we confess the Son to be of the same substance with the Father, in the very words which this first Christian emperor had propounded to the first general council of the church, in the regulation of all whose concerns his controlling hand may be so distinctly traced. Some modern authors, as from their prejudices might naturally be expected, have, it is true, sought to impeach the truth of this narrative; but the reasons they adduce are little calculated to bring conviction to the mind of an unbiassed enquirer after truth. They are all agreed, however, in admitting that, whether he originally suggested its adoptiou to the council or no, it is very clear that Constantine sanctioned its introduction into the creed which they framed, and threatened with banishment those prelates who hesitated to subscribe that creed; and the condemnation of the doctrine of Arius, with which it was closed. The fear of the execution of this threat was so powerful, as to reduce the number of bishops who originally refused to subscribe this instrument,

from seventeen to two. These were the original supporters of Arius, Theonas and Secundus; who, together with their leader, were anathematized by the council, and immediately banished by the emperor into Illyria. Eusebius of Nicomedia, and the rest of his partisans, thought it more prudent to preserve their sees, at the expense of their consciences; and the Nicene confession of faith accordingly received their tardy, and, as it was soon afterwards proved, their temporising and hypocritical signatures. From anathematizing the tenets, the council was naturally enough led to con demn the writings of Arius; and Constantine readily gave complete efticacy to this condemnation, by publishing an edict, addressed alike to the bishops and the people of their charge, in which he commands them to burn all the writings of Arius in their possession, op pain of death to those who should be convicted of concealing them. To this he adds a decree,

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