Obrazy na stronie

communion, and deprived of all or certain of his Christian privileges. It is analogous to a similar mode of proceeding among the Jews, whereby, under sanction of the Mosaic Law (Exod. xii. 19. Lev. vii. 20. Ezra x, 8.) a person was condemned to separation from social intercourse, and exclusion from the synagogue. The term employed by St Luke (vi. 22.) is ápopičeobal, and by St. John (ix. 22.), á toouváywyos γενέσθαι.

2. Upon what ground is the rite of Excommunication claimed by the Church of Christ?

The Church claims the right to excommunicate offenders, partly on the authority of Christ and his Apostles, and partly on the principle that such a power is necessarily inherent in every community in order to its preservation and support. As the civil government has the power of inflicting punishment in proportion to the crimes committed against society at large, so is it essential that the Church should be invested with a like power in cases of any gross violation of the duties of religion. So generally has this principle been understood and acted upon, that even under heathen forms of worship, exclusion from sacred rites was uniformly regarded as a severe and efficacious punishment.

3. Cite an instance of exclusion from religious privileges, as practiced by the Heathen.

Cæsar (B.G. VI. 13.) speaks thus of the Druids of Gau) :Siquis aut privatus aut publicus eorum decreto non stetit, sacrificiis interdicunt. Hæc pæna apud eos gravissima. Quibus ita est interdictum, in numero impiorum ac sceleratorum habentur ; iis omnes decedunt, aditum eorum sermonemque defugiunt, nequid ex contagione incommodi accipiant ; neque iis petentibus jus redditur, neque honos ullus communicatur.

4. Mention such cases of Excommunication as occur in the Apostolic history; give the form under which the sentence was delivered; and shew that extreme severity was sometimes exercised by the Apostles.

The most remarkable instance recorded in the New Testament is that of the incestuous person, whom St. Paul directed the Corinthians to excommunicate; from which it may probably be inferred that παραδούναι το Σατανά, το deliver over to Satan (1 Cor. v.5.), was the usual form in which the sentence was expressed. It is possible however that in this particular case, the addition of the words els ölepov rñs oapkos indicate some bodily disease, in the infliction of which Satan might be regarded as the agent. That severe temporal calamities, and sometimes even death itself, were inflicted by the Apostles on notorious sinners, is manifest from the instances of Ananias and Sapphira, of Elymas, and the like. In the case of Hymenæus and Alexander (1 Tim. i. 20.), the simple form is used without the additional words.

5. Advert to any direct rules, which the Apostles may have laid down respecting Excommunication.

St. Paul directs that those who cause divisions and offences contrary to the Apostolic doctrine are to be marked' and avoided' (Rom. xvi. 17.) ; and that a heretic after a first and second admonition is to be rejected' (Tit. iii. 10.). “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine

of Christ, receive him not into your house,' says St. John, 'neither bid him God speed' (2 John 9, 10.). See also 1 Cor. v. 11. xvi. 22. 2 Thess. iii. 6.

6. Upon what authority is this Article immediately grounded ; and how is the precept to be carried out?

Christ himself enjoined his disciples, that when an obstinate offender refused to listen to the admonitions of the Church, and was consequently excommunicated, he was to be treated as a heathen man anda publican' (Matt. xviii. 17.). Hence it follows that, in carrying out the censures which she inflicts upon notorious sinners, she is entitled to the co-operation of all her members in making the punishment felt, to the extent implied in our Saviour's precept. In early times, those who gave any countenance to persons under Ecclesiastical censure, rendered themselves liable to the same punishment as the offenders themselves.

7. In what sense is the rule prescribed by our Lord to be understood ?

It is well known that both heathens and publicans were held by the Jews in extreme detestation, and considered to be without the pale of religious society. According to our Lord's injunction, therefore, no religious communion is to be held with a man who refuses to comply with the endeavours which are made to restore him to a sense of duty ; but his national and civil rights are to remain unmolested.

8. What are the ends and object of Ecclesiastical penalties ?

Punishments inflicted by the Church are not intended to be vindictive, but admonitory, that a man may be ashamed' of what he has done amiss (2 Thess. iii. 14, 15.); that he may be led thereby to repentance, and learn not to blaspheme' (1 Tim. i. 20.); that having suffered in the flesh in this world,

the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord' (1 Cor. v. 5.); and that others may be deterred by their example from the commission of similar crimes (1 Tim. v. 20.) Hence they are inflicted in mercy both to the sinner and to others; and thereby the Church, knowing the terrors of the Lord, persuades men' (2 Cor. v. 11.).

9. To what extent are the censures of the Church to be carried ?

Our Lord immediately followed up his instructions respecting the treatment of an obstinate offender, by confirming to his Apostles generally the authority to bind and loose,' which he had previously conferred on Peter together with the power of the keys. Hence it appears that those who have power to inflict, have also the power to remit, the penalties of transgression ; so that, when 'openly reconciled by penance,' the penitent is to be again received in the Church

by a judge that hath authority thereto.' Thus St. Paul directed that the person, who had been excommunicated by the Corinthians, was on repentance to be “forgiven, and comforted, lest perhaps he be swallowed up with overmuch

sorrow,' and 'lest Satan also should get an advantage' by tempting men to resist an authority unnecessarily severe. He added his own Apostolical sanction for the reversal of the sentence, and forgave the offence in the person of • Christ' (2 Cor. ii. 7. 10, 11.).

10. To whom appertains the judicial authority in these matters?

As the Church, wherein the power of excommunication is vested, must be that particular congregation of which the offender is a member, acting under the sanction of its bishop; so the same bishop is the judge by whose authority the sentence is relaxed. Thus it is the angel of the respective Churches mentioned in the Apocalypse, who are made responsible as it were for the corruptions of their charge : and St. Paul exhorts both Timothy and Titus to rebuke with all authority. See 1 Tim. v. 20. 2 Tim. iv. 2. Tit. ii. 15. Rev. ii. 14, 15. 20.

11. What are the degrees of severity in sentences of Excommunication ?

Excommunication is of two degrees, the lesser and the grcater : the former being a sentence of temporary exclusion from the Lord's Supper; and the latter a deprivation of all religious communion whatsoever, as well as of the society and conversation of the faithful, until the party be restored by performance of the required penance to the privileges of the Church. [See on Art. xxv. qu. 10.].

12. Does the English Church still uphold the principle of Excommunication ; and what led to its gradual disuse?

Although the practice of Excommunication has now fallen almost entirely into disuse, yet our Church both recognizes the principle, and asserts the right, not only in this Article, but in her Rubrics and Canons. See Rubrics to this effect in the Commmunion Service, and the office for the Burial of the Dead ; and Canons 2–12. 65. 68. 85. Its practical discontinuance was consequent upon the mischievous purposes to which it was applied by the Popes, in not only depriving mankind of their natural and civil rights, such as filial obedience and the protection of the magistrate; but in deposing sovereigns, releasing subjects from their allegiance, interdicting whole kingdoms from the use of the sacraments and public worship, and even debarring them from every comfort of social and Christian life.

13. Shew that Excommunication was a prominent feature of primitive Ecclesiastical discipline.

Ignatius (ad Smyrn. c. 4.) mentions those, whom Christians ought not only not to receive, but, if possible, not to meet. Tertullian (Apol. c. 39.) observes that one object of the Christian assemblies was to cut off from communion in prayer and every holy exercise, those who had been quilty of any flagrant offence; and the sentence was pronounced by the bishop or presiding minister. See also the Trac

licit. c.

'14. Cyprian (Epist. 52.) speaks of

14 profane persons without the pale of the Church ; and Augustinë (de mor. Eccl. 1. p. 1146.) describes the Church as a house of discipline.


Of the Traditions of the De





It is not necessary that TRADITIONES atque CæTraditions and Ceremonies be remonias easdem non omnino in all places one, and utterly necessarium est esse ubique, like: for at all times they aut prorsus consimiles : nam have been divers, and may | et variæ semper fuerunt, et be changed according to the mutari possunt, pro regionum, diversities of countries, times, temporum, et morum diversiand men's manners, so that tate, modo nihil contra vernothing be ordained against bum Dei instituatur. TradiGod's Word. Whosoever tiones et cæremonias Ecclethrough his private judg- siasticas, quæ cum verbo Dei ment, willingly and pur- non pugnant, et sunt auctorposely, doth openly break the itate publica institutæ atque traditions and ceremonies of probatæ, quisquis privato the Church, which be not re- consilio volens, et data opera, pugnant to the word of God, publice violaverit, is, et qui and be ordained and approved peccat in publicum ordinem by common authority, ought Ecclesiæ, quique lædit aucto be rebuked openly, that toritatem Magistratus, et qui others may fear to do the infirmorum fratrum consci

« PoprzedniaDalej »