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14th of October, 1062, which day is dedicated to his honor in the calendar of the church of Rome.
The Quietists, who arose in 1688 and gave great trouble to the church of Rome, held that the christian religion consisted neither in knowledge nor practice, but in certain internal feelings or divine impulses.
The casuistry of the Jesuits was proverbial as sapping the foundations of morality and religion. Amongst other principles, they held that it was lawful to do evil that good might come; that it was a matter of indifference what motives determined the actions of men; and that even an oath might be taken with mental additions and reservations.
The doctrine was once held and practised in the church of Rome, that no faith was to be kept with heretics.
It is to be hoped, that catholics do not lay the stress they have been formerly taught to do on things foreign to real virtue, that is, to good dispositions of mind, and a good conduct in life; as it is to be lamented, that many protestants are far from being free from all superstition in these respects. But now that the minds of men seem to be so well opened to the admission of religious truth in gerieral, errors so fundamental as these which relate to morality, will hardly remain long without redress. It will be happy if the reformation of christians in doctrine and discipline be followed by a suitable reformation in practice.
OF MINISTERS IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH,
THE INTRODUCTION. The christian church was served originally (exclusive of the apostles and other temporary officers) by Elders and Deacons only; the former being appointed for spiritual matters, and the latter for civil affairs. They were all chosen by the people, and were ordained to their office by prayer, which, when it was made on the behalf of any particular person, was in early times always accompanied with the
imposition of hands. For the sake of order in conducting any business that concerned the whole society, one of the elders was made president or moderator in their assemblies, but without any more power than that of having a single vote with the rest of his brethren. From this simple constitution, it is certainly astonishing to consider how these servants of the church, came in time to be the lords of it, and of the world; and it is curious to observe the various steps by which this change was made.
THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MINISTERS, TILL THE FALL OF
THE WESTERN EMPIRE. The first change in the constitution of the primitive churches, was making the most distinguished of the elders to be constant president, or moderator, in their assemblies, and appropriating to him the title of episcopos, or bishop, which had before been common to all the presbyters or elders, but without giving him any peculiar power or authority
It was early found necessary to educate the ministers of religion, and schools were accordingly erected for that purpose, among which that at Alexandria, in Egypt, founded on the plan of those of the Greek philosophers, was very famous.
An important change of early date was the exaltation of presbyters into the rank of bishops, which gradually took place on account of the branching out of large individual churches into several colonies, or dependent churches, over all which the bishop of the mother church bore rule. Thus in the beginning of the fourth century, Rome contained twenty-five parishes, over each of which was placed a priest, but all were subject to the diocesan bishop.
There is evidence enough, showing that the bishops and presbyters were originally the same order of men, though it has been a subject of much controversy between the church of England and the Dissenters.
Chrysostom says that when the apostle Paul gave orders to Titus i. 5. to ordain elders or presbyters in every city, he meant bishops. Theophylact says that each city was to have its own pastor, and that by presbyters in this place the apostle meant bishops. Oecumenius and Theodorit
i imply as much. Jerome, on the epistle to Titus, says, that among the ancients, priests and bishops were the same.
At first bishops were appointed by the whole congregation, consisting of elergy and laity, as they were afterwards called, nor did any church apply to the neighboring bishops to assist at the ordination. Afterwards, they were invited to be present through courtesy, and to reciprocate friendly feelings with the new incumbent. From being customary their attendance was at last deemed necessary, and it was thought the ceremony could not be performed without the concurrence of at least three.
The usual ceremony in appointing a bishop was the imposition of hands, which was originally only a gesture, in dicating the person who was particularly prayed for. In- . stead of imposition of hands, at Alexandria, they only placed the bishop on his chair of office.
Though no distinction originally existed between presbyters or elders, and bishops, one was made in the course of time ; and the bishops began to appropriate certain functions to themselves. They enjoyed exclusively the power of confirming the baptized, when chrism was applied. The idea, that the ministers of Christ succeeded to the Jewish priesthood, with its orders of high priests; priests, and Le vites, led to the increased honor and profit of the clergy, and favored the existence of different orders among them. Their assembling in synods was also a great cause of the clergy being distinguished from the people, and the bishops from the presbyters. For the more orderly holding of these assemblies, some one bishop was employed by common consent to summon, and preside in them; and this being generally the bishop of the metropolis, he was called the metropolitan, or archbishop, a term first used by Athanasius, but common in the church after 430.
The clergy of several provinces appointed officers of more extensive jurisdiction, whom they called patriarchs or primates. This word was applied to the five principal sees, Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. These patriarchs came in time to be distinguished by peculiar rights and privileges.
In consequence of these changes, there did not remain a shadow of the ancient constitution of the church at the end of the fourth century; the privileges of the people and the presbyters being usurped by the bishops, who did not fail
to assume the state suited to their distinctions. A spirit of pride and ambition, against which our Savior had earnestly cautioned his disciples, possessed many of the Christian bishops. Their wealth and power in the larger sees made them resemble princes. “Make me bishop of Rome," said Pretextatus, consul elect, to one who pressed him to embrace Christianity, "and I will be a Christian.” It was deemed inconsistent with the clerical office to engage in secular affairs, but this was more than made up by the power given to the ministers and bishops to enforce the rules of church discipline. Once having tasted of civil authority, they acquired such a love of it, as needed early to be checked.
The regulation of ecclesiastical affairs was during this period thought to be properly lodged in the hands of the supreme civil power. Constantine made many laws in ecclesiastical matters, as concerning the age, qualifications, and duties of the clergy; and Justinian added many more. The emperors were accustomed to call councils and preside in them.
In many cases opulent laymen enjoyed some ecclesiastical power, as the appointment of bishops. The right of patronage was introduced in the fourth century to encourage the rich to erect churches.
The idea arose in this period, that it was not quite proper for the clergy to marry, certainly not proper to marry twice. The council of Nice ordered that priests who were not already married should abstain from it. A synod held at Elvira, in Spain, enjoined celibacy on priests, deacons, and sub-deacons. However, notwithstanding these and other regulations, the marriage of priests was not uncommon in many parts of the Christian world, quite down to the reformation.
The clergy were often very ignorant during this period. Agathon, bishop of Rome, excused the want of learning in two of his bishops, whom he sent as legates to a council at Constantinople, saying that to have had a theologian, he must have sent to England. Several bishops at the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon could not write, so that other persons signed the decrees for them. Societies of ec. clesiastics living with bishops for the purposes of instruction, and partly to imitate the monastic life, laid the foun. dation for the canons and prebends of cathedral churches.
THE HISTORY OF THE CLERGY FROM THE FALL OF THE ROMAN
EMPIRE IN THE WEST, TO THE REFORMATION. In the former period we have seen a very considerable departure from the proper character of presbyters or bishops, in those who bore that title in the christian church. But in this we shall see a much greater departure, and through the increasing ignorance and superstition in the laity, we shall find such a degree of power assumed by the clergy, as was nearly terminating in the entire subjection of every thing to their will.
Originally the rite of ordination was simple, consisting of prayer and the imposition of hands, but changes were introduced; and now priests in the church of Rome have two distinct powers, that of consecrating, and that of absolving. They are ordained to the former by the delivery of the church vessels, and to the latter by the bishop alone, laying on his hands and saying, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, &c.
In this period, the bishops reserved to themselves the exclusive right of confirming after baptism.
The priests assumed several new signs, or badges of their office. They borrowed from the Egyptian priests the shaven head and surplices, and from the Roman augurs, the crosier, or pastoral staff
A new order arose in the church called Cardinals. As this word means chief, or principal, it has been supposed that this body sprang out of the twenty-five priests who were placed over as many parishes, into which Rome was subdivided; and that, being next in rank to the bishop of Rome, who was subsequently pope, they rose in rank and wealth as he did. They elect the pope now, and are considered as his great council.
Originally bishops were always chosen by the people, but afterwards the presbyters set aside the vote of the people altogether, and took the power into their own hands.
As bishops became landholders, and therefore of great influence in the State, it was an important matter to the prince, who should be bishop. Charlemagne interested himself much in the elections, and though he did not choose, he retained the right of approving the one elected ; which he did by delivering to him the pastoral staff and