صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

p. 415.


prove it lawful to grant unto others besides Christ, the power of headship in a different kind from his; but they should have proved it lawful to challenge, as they did to the bishop of Rome, a power universal in that different kind. Their fault was therefore in exacting wrongfully so great power as they challenged in that kind, and not in making two kinds of power, unless some reasons can be shewed for which this distinction of power should be thought erroneous and false. A little they stir (although in vain) to prove that we cannot with truth make such distinction of

power, whereof the one kind should agree unto Christ only, and the other be farther communicated. Thus therefore they argue, T. C. 1. ii. “ If there be no head but Christ, in respect of spiritual government, there is no head but he in respect of the word, sacraments, and discipline, 'administered by those whom he hath appointed, forasmuch also as it is his spiritual government." Their meaning is, that whereas we make two kinds of power, of which two, the one being spiritual, is proper unto Christ; the other, men are capable of, because it is visible and external: we do amiss altogether in distinguishing, they think, forasmuch as the visible and external power of regiment over the church, is only in relation unto the word, sacraments, and discipline, administered by such as Christ hath appointed thereunto, and the exercise of this power is also his spiritual government: therefore we do but vainly imagine a visible and external power in the church differing from his spiritual power. Such disputes as this do somewhat resemble the practising of well-willers upon their friends in the

pangs of death; whose manner is, even then, to put smoke in their nostrils, and so to fetch them again, although they know it a matter impossible to keep them living. The kind of affection which the favourers of this labouring cause bear towards it will not suffer them to see it die, although by what means they should make it live, they do not see. But they may see that these wrestlings will not help. Can they be ignorant how little it booteth to overcast so clear a light with some mist of ambiguity in the name of spiritual regiment? To make things therefore so plain, that henceforward a child's capacity may serve rightly to conceive our meaning, we make the spiritual regiment of Christ to be generally that whereby his church is ruled and governed in things spiritual. Of this general we make two distinct kinds; the one invisible, exercised by Christ himself in his

own person ; the other outwardly administered by them whom Christ doth allow to be rulers and guiders of his church. Touching the former of these two kinds, we teach that Christ, in regard thereof, is particularly termed the Head of the church of God; neither can any other creature, in that sense and meaning, be termed head besides him, because it importeth the conduct and government of our souls by the hand of that blessed Spirit wherewith we are sealed and marked, as being peculiarly his. Him only do we acknowledge to be the Lord, which dwelleth, liveth, and reigneth, in our hearts; him only to be that head, which giveth salvation and life unto his body; him only to be that fountain from whence the influence of heavenly graces distilleth, and is derived into all parts, whether the word, or the sacraments, or discipline, or whatsoever be the means whereby it floweth. As for the power of administering these things in the church of Christ, which power we call the power of order, it is indeed both spiritualand his; spiritual, because such properly concerns the Spirit : his, because by him it was instituted. Howbeit, neither spiritual, as that which is inwardly and invisibly exercised; nor his, as that which he himself in person doth exercise. Again, that power of dominion, which is indeed the point of this controversy, and doth also belong to this second kind of spiritual government, namely, unto that regiment which is external and visible; this likewise being spiritual in regard of the manner about which it dealeth; and being his, inasmuch as he approveth whatsoever is done by it, must notwithstanding be distinguished also from that power whereby he himself in person administereth the former kind of his own spiritual regiment, because he himself in person doth not administer this ; we do not, therefore, vainly imagine, but truly and rightly discern a power external and visible in the church exercised by men, and severed in nature from that spiritual power of Christ's own regiment: which power is termed spiritual, because it worketh secretly, inwardly, and invisibly: his, because none doth, nor can it personally exercise, either besides or together with him; seeing that him only we may name our head, in regard of his; and yet, in regard of that other power from this, term others also, besides him, heads, without any contradiction at all. Which thing may very well serve for answer unto that also which they farther allege against the aforesaid distinction, namely, “That even the outward societies and assemblies of


the church, where one or two are gathered together in his name, either for hearing of the word, or for prayer, or any other church-exercise, our Saviour Christ being in the midst of them as mediator, must be their head : and if he be not there idle, but doing the office of a head fully, it followeth, that even in the outward societies and meetings of the church, no mere man can be called the head of it, seeing that our Saviour Christ doing the whole office of the head himself alone, leaveth nothing to men, by doing whereof they may obtain that title.” Which objection I take as being made for nothing but only to maintain argument. For they are not so far gone as to argue this in sooth and right good earnest. “God standeth (saith the Psalmist) in the midst of gods;" if God be there present, he must undoubtedly be present as God; if he be not there idle, but doing the office of a God fully, it followeth, that God himself alone doing the whole office of a God, leaveth nothing in such assemblies to any other, by doing whereof they may obtain so high a name. T.C. lib. The Psalmist, therefore, hath spoken amiss, and doth ill to

ii. p.413. call judges gods. Not so; for as God hath this office differing from theirs, and doth fully discharge it even in the midst of them, so they are not hereby excluded from all kind of duty, for which that name should be given unto them also, but in that duty for which it was given them they are encouraged religiously and carefully to order themselves after the selfsame manner. Our Lord and Saviour being in the midst of his church as head is our comfort, without the abridgment of any one duty; for performance whereof others are termed heads in another kind than he is. If there be of the ancient fathers, which say, " That there is but one head of the church, Christ; and that the minister that baptizeth cannot be the head of him that is baptized, because Christ is the head of the whole church : and that Paul could not be head of the church which he planted, because Christ is the head of the whole body;" they understand the name of head in such sort as we grant, that it is not applicable to any other, no, not in relation, to the least part of the whole church; he which baptizeth, baptizeth into Christ; he which converteth, converteth into Christ; he which ruleth, ruleth for Christ. The whole church can have but one to be head as lord and owner of all; wherefore, if Christ be head in that kind, it followeth, that no other besides can be so either to the whole or to any part.

[blocks in formation]

To call and dissolve all solemn assemblies about the public affairs of the



Amongst sundry prerogatives of Simon's dominion over the Jews there is reckoned, as not the least, “ That no man might gather any great assembly in the land without him.” For so the manner of Jewish regiment had always been, that whether the cause for which men assembled themselves in peaceable, good, and orderly sort, were ecclesiastical or civil, supreme authority should assemble them. David gathered all Israel together unto Jerusalem; when the ark was to be removed, he assembled the sons of Aaron and the Levites. Solomon did the like at such time as the temple was to be dedicated; when the church was to be reformed, Asa in his time did the same. The same upon like occasions was done

afterward by Joash, Hezekias, Josiah, and others. Polyb. I. vi.

The consuls of Rome Polybius affirmeth to have had a de Milit

. ac kind of regal authority, in that they might call together the Rom. Dis- senate and people whensoever it pleased them. Seeing, cipl.

therefore, the affairs of the church and Christian religion are public affairs, for the ordering whereof more solemn assemblies sometimes are of as great importance and use, as they are for secular affairs; it seemeth no less an act of supreme authority to call the one, than the other. · Wherefore, the clergy, in such wise gathered together, is an ecclesiastical senate, which with us, as in former times, the chiefest prelate at his discretion did use to assemble; so that afterward in such considerations as have been before specified, it seemed more meet to annex the said prerogative to the crown. The plot of reformed discipline not liking thereof so well, taketh order that every former assembly before it breaketh up should itself appoint both the time and place of their after-meeting again. But because I find not any thing on that

side particularly alleged against us herein, a longer dispuLib. i. de tation about so plain a cause shall not need. The ancient Code Cont imperial law forbiddeth such assemblies as the emperor's auventiculis, thority did not cause to be made. Before emperors became

Christians, the church had never any general synod; their Episc. et Presbyt. greatest meeting consisting of bishops and other the gravest

in each province. As for the civil governor's authority, it suffered them only as things not regarded, or not accounted

cap. de

cap. 1.


of at such times as it did suffer them. So that what right a Hierarch. Christian king hath as touching assemblies of that kind, we lib. vi. are not able to judge till we come to later times, when religion had won the hearts of the highest powers. Constantine (as Constant. Pighius doth grant) was not only the first that ever did call concil. a.

Theodosio. any general council together, but even the first that devised Sardicen the calling of them for consultation about the businesses of concil. a God. After he had once given the example, his successors a long time followed the same; insomuch that St. Jerome, to disprove the authority of a synod which was pretended to be general, useth this as a forcible argument, “ Dic, quis imperator hanc synodum jusserit convocari ?" Their answer hereunto is no answer, which say, " That the emperors did Hieron. not this without conference had with the bishops:" for to Ruffinam, our purpose it is enough, if the clergy alone did it not other- lib. ii. wise than by the leave and appointment of their sovereign lords and kings. Whereas, therefore, it is on the contrary Sozomen. I. side alleged, that Valentinian the elder being requested by Xin bap: 7. catholic bishops to grant that there might be a synod for the Epist. 32. ordering of matters called in question by the Arians, answered, that he being one of the laity might not meddle with such matters; and thereupon willed, that the priests and bishops, to whom the care of those things belongeth, should meet and consult together by themselves where they thought good. We must, with the emperor's speech, weigh the occasion and drift thereof. Valentinian and Valens, the one a catholic and the other an Arian, were emperors together : Valens, the governor of the east, and Valentinian of the west empire. Valentinian, therefore, taking his journey from the east unto the west parts, and passing for that intent through Thracia, there the bishops which held the soundness of Christian belief, because they knew that Valens was their professed enemy, and therefore if the other was once departed out of those quarters, the catholic cause was like to find very small favour, moved presently Valentinian about a council to be assembled under the countenance of his authority; who by likelihood considering what inconvenience might grow thereby, inasmuch as it could not be but a means to incense Valens the more against them, refused himself to be author of, or present at any such assembly; and of this his denial gave them a colourable reason, to wit, that he was, although

« السابقةمتابعة »