Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

assembled at Constantinople the year following that in which the General Council was held.

But, be this as it may, it is a testimony of an important assembly of Christian bishops to the falsehood of an assertion, an assent to which is deemed necessary to salvation, and made a term of communion by the Church of Rome.

EPHESUS.

Action 6, Page 33. It is clear from this, that in requiring assent to the Creed of Pope Pius (see Form for receiving a convert, above), as a term of communion, the Church of Rome is schismatically opposing itself to a decree of the Catholic Church.

Action 7, PAGE 35. This is conclusive evidence against the Roman usurpations in Britain ; seeing that, at the time this council was held, the churches here were, as they had ever been, wholly independent of the Roman jurisdiction ; owning no superior under God but their own Metropolitan. All the power that the Bishop of Rome afterwards, by slow degrees, acquired here, was in direct violation of this decree of the Catholic Church. It is in continued schismatical violation of the Catholic rules that he continues to send Bishops into the British isles.

CHALCEDON.

Canon 1, Page 37. By this canon the sanction and authority of a General Council is given to the twenty-five canons of Ancyra, A. D. 315; the fourteen canons of Neocæsarea, held about the same time; the twenty canons of Gangra, A.D. 340; the twenty-five canons of

Antioch, A.D. 341; and the fifty-nine canons of Laodicæa, A.D. 367 : which, being added to the twenty canons of the Great Nicene Council, formed the beginning of that code, called by Justellus the Code of the Universal Church, to which the decrees of the General Councils of Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, were afterwards added. This body of canon-law was confirmed by the civil authority of the Roman empire under the Emperor Justinian, who ordered that “the canons edited or confirmed by the four general councils, should have the force of law.” This code is referred to by the Fathers in their councils, as appears in the 4th Action, where the 5th of Antioch is cited verbatim (Labbé and Cossart, iv. 527); and in the 11th Action, where the 16th and 17th canons of Antioch are cited at length (ibid. ibid. 691), as the 95th and 96th, which, if the number of canons of the councils above-named, be added together, they will be found to be.

Neocæsarea.

Canon 1, PAGE 37. There is no doubt that the rule (article 32), and custom of the Church of England, which permits, not only Presbyters but Bishops also, to marry after they are ordained or consecrated, is a relaxation and departure from the general custom of the Primitive Church, and contrary to this canon. But as the Church of England has never made an assent to the sacred canons a term of communion, this argues no inconsistency in her, and as she is content to assert her own liberty, without censuring or excommunicating those churches which are content to waive it in this point, she is guilty of no schism, nor breach of charity. The simple question is, whether the power, for edification and not for destruction, which the Lord has given (2 Cor. x. 8.) to the apostles of the Church, to set in order the things that are wanting (Tit. i. 5.), does not warrant the spiritual rulers of any integral portion of the Church of Christ, provincial or national, in dispensing with a rule of discipline, which, though ancient and general ;

1. Was not universally and from the beginning; for, in the collection of canons made at different timesand places prior to the conversion of Constantine, and known by the name apostolical, we have one to this effect,—“If any bishop, priest, or deacon, or any of the sacerdotal list, abstain from marriage and flesh, and wine, not for mortification but out of abhorrence, as having forgotten that all things are very good, and that God made man male and female ; blasphemously reproaching God's workmanship, let him amend, or else be deposed, and cast out of the Church ; and so also a layman.”—(Ante-Nicene Code, 51.)

2, Which has no sanction from the Scriptures of the New Testament, where marriage is said to be honourable in all (Heb. xiii. 4.); but rather savours of heresies therein condemned (1 Tim. iv. 3.); 3, which is an abridgment of Christian liberty ; 4, which is contrary to the former dispensation ; 5, and which in practice has been found inexpedient, and injurious to the morals both of clergy and people. The Church of Rome, of all others, can least find fault with the exercise of liberty on this point; for she has expressly asserted the authority of the Church to dispense with the restrictions in marriage, which have been appointed even by God Himself, (Council of Trent, session 24, of Matrimony. Canon 3.) and has pronounced anathema upon all who shall gainsay that authority. Much more then, in all reason, may the Church of England, without blame, assert her authority to dispense with a human regulation, which is rather against than according to, the Word of God; and the hardship and inconvenience of enforcing which are undeniably very great. Observe, there is nothing in this canon tending to separate Presbyters or others from the wives which they had previously to being ordained. But of that more hereafter.

Gangra.

Canon 4, PAGE 38. This canon is diametrically opposed to the 7th of the second Lateran, where it is decreed, “We command that no one hear the masses of those whom he may know to be married." The Roman writers (Labbé and Cossart, ii. 430,) endeavour to evade the force of this canon, by alleging that by a married Presbyter yeyaunkus, is meant not one who has a wife, but one who has ever had one. But, 1st, the violence done to the Greek by this has been clearly exposed by the learned Beveridge (Pand. ii. 184,), who cites St. Paul's advice “now to the married I command, let not the wife depart from her husband," &c., in which it is clear that the apostle is speaking of those then in a state of marriage, not who had been: the Greek here is the same as that in the canon yeyaunkóol. 2ndly. It is to be observed, that the Eustathians, against whom the Council of Gangra was assembled, objected not to a Presbyter who had had a wife, but to one continuing to have one, to whom he had been married when a layman, as is plain from the passage of Socrates's History, Ipeopurépov yuvaika έχοντος, ήν νόμω λαικός ών ηγάγετο, την ευλογίαν και την κοινωνίας wg uñooc évadively ékéleve, (ii. c. 43.) “He commanded them to avoid, as wickedness, the blessing and communion of a Presbyter retaining the wife whom he had lawfully married while a layman.” It is clear, therefore, and beyond dispute, that this canon sanctions clergymen retaining their wives, and anathematizes those who gainsay it. It is clear that all who in the Church of Rome assent to the seventh canon of the second Lateran Council, are anathematized by this canon, which has been confirmed by the authority of a general council, which is acknowledged as such by the whole Catholic Church. In allowing clergymen to retain their wives, this canon did no more than had been done in the very earliest ages of the Church ; for, we find in the Ante-Nicene Code, of which mention has been already made, the following (6th) canon,——" Let not a Bishop, Presbyter, or Deacon, put away his wife, under pretence of religion ; if he do, let him be suspended from communion, and deposed if he persist :” and the conduct of the first Nicene Council upon this point we have already seen.

Antioch.

Canon 12, page 38. This canon is chiefly of value, because, when compared with the doubtful canons of Sardica, it proves that those canons, if genuine, conferred no more power upon the Bishop of Rome than seems here to be admitted to be in the emperor, namely, that of directing a cause to be reheard by a larger council. This power which is here implied, is expressly asserted in the African Code, canon 104, which is the 19th of the Synod of Mileni, in Numidia, A.D. 416, and is as follows: “If any one shall ask of the emperor to have his cause heard by the public judges, he shall be deprived of his honour (bishopric); but if he ask of the emperor for the judgment of bishops, this shall be no hindrance to him.”—(Labbé and Cossart, ii. 1542.) But, note, that by the 15th canon of Antioch, no appeal at all can be had if the provincial bishops are unanimous.

Canon 22, PAGE 39. This is one of the numerous canons to be found in the ancient Codes, by which the ministrations of the foreign bishops, in communion with Rome, in the English dioceses, are proved to be schismatical and invalid.

Laodicæa.

Canon 35, PAGE 40. This plain testimony of the Fathers of the Primitive Church against the invocation and worshipping of angels, which is denounced as idolatry, is not to be set aside by all the ingenuity of the Roman writers. (See their attempts, Labbé and Cossart. i. 1526.) The subtle distinctions of Latria, Dulia, and the rest, had not entered the imagination of Theodoret when he cited this canon as condemning the worshipping of angels, σύνοδος έν Λαοδικεία της Φρυγίας νόμω κεκώλυκε το τοις αγγέλοις προσεύχεσθαι. (Comm. Coloss. ii. 18.): nor into that of Origen, who expressly says, that men ought not to worship or adore the angels, for that all prayer and supplication, and intercession and thanksgiving, should be made to God alone (Contra Celsum v. § 4.), and that right reason forbids the invocation of them (ibid. ibid. § 5.).

« PoprzedniaDalej »