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all, a matter of very trifling importance. All I conceive the canon to mean is, to give the Bishop of Constantinople, throughout the whole of his patriarchate, an equal power with the Bishops of Heraclea, Ephesus, and Cæsarea, (churches of patriarchal rank,) of ordering causes to be reheard. There is, I think, one innovation upon primitive practice in this canon ; I mean where it allows a bishop, instead of hearing a cause himself, to depute it to referees agreed to by both the parties.
Canon 18, PAGE 44.
This canon, though made on the same day, and in the same place as all the foregoing twenty-seven, was not made under the same circumstances. It appears, that after the first twenty-seven had been passed and signed, the representatives of the Bishop of Rome left the assembly ; when the bishops who remained behind, including the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, Heraclea, and upwards of twenty Metropolitans, passed and signed this and two others. On the next day, the Roman legates appealed to the lay judges, whom the emperor had appointed Moderators of the Council, alleging " that the canon was passed by fraud, and the signatures obtained by violence.” The bishops who had signed it, individually and collectively declared, that they had signed it willingly and of their own free accord; especially the Bishops of the Pontic and Asiatic Patriarchates, whose privileges seemed mostly affected: and one of them, Eusebius, Bishop of Dorilæum, declared that he had read this canon at Rome to the Pope, in the presence of some of the clergy of Constantinople, and that he had accepted it. The Roman legates persisting in their opposition, it was again put to the vote, and carried by the assent of the whole council, with the exception of the two Roman Bishops. When the matter was reported to the Bishop of Rome, he also refused his consent. The ground alleged by him was simply and solely that it interfered, as he pretended, with the decrees of Nice, respecting the privileges of Alexandria : an allegation without warrant, as any one will see by referring to the canon (6th) of Nice, relating to the matter ; and, be it how it will, this arrangement of precedency was confirmed afterwards by the Council of Lateran with the full consent of the Pope ; as we have before shown in the notes to the Council of Constantinople. However, because of the objection of the Roman legates at the time, and the subsequent rejection by the Bishop of Rome, the Roman writers distinguish between this canon and the preceding; and while they ascribe to the former the authority of a general council, deny that authority to this and the two following, though passed with the full consent of the whole council, with the exception of the two Roman legates. Happily their objection is a matter of very little importance, nay, it has been so far of use, that the two acts of the council, and the accusations of their writers as to the manner in which the cañon was passed, have put it entirely out of their power to throw doubt upon the authenticity of the canon. Be it general, or be it provincial, yet this is beyond denial, that we have, so late as the middle of the fifth century, the concurrent testimony of the largest assembly of bishops ever collected together, that the claim for the precedency of the See of Rome in the Christian Church, does not rest on the vain pretence of the Bishop of that See being the chief or sole successor of St. Peter; but simply and solely on this, namely that the city of his bishopric had been the seat of the civil government.
This canon is of importance also as tending to throw light upon the 9th ; supporting, as it seems to me, the conjecture which I there hazarded, that that canon was a local one affecting only the old patriarchates of Cæsarea, Ephesus, and Heraclea (here called the Pontic, Asiatic, and Thracian dioceses, or patriarchates), and not the Christian Church generally. It also removes a difficulty which had occurred to Beveridge (Pandect. ii. 115). For Zonaras and Balsamon, in their notes to the 9th canon, had rendered štapxov LoLKÝOews, not the patriarch, but the Metropolitan of the diocese; an unusual phrase, against which Beveridge takes exception (nimirum ac si Metropolita aliquis, præter Patriarchain, toti diæcesi præesset, quod inauditum est). But here we have the identical expression twice used, and the incongruity of it is explained by the peculiar circumstances of the Churches of Cæsarea, Ephesus, and Heraclea, to which it is applied. For they had formerly been heads of independent patriarchates, but were now merged in the great patriarchate of Constantinople; and their bishops held a sort of anomalous rank, being more than Metropolitans of a province, and yet no longer retaining the full privileges of Patriarchs of a diocese.
Actions 13 & 14, Pages 45, 46. These decrees have, as may be supposed, occasioned great difficulties to the modern maintainers of the authority of the Bishop of Rome. Their favourite theory is, that the acts of the council have been corrupted by the Greeks in all the passages relating to this point. We have no reason for this beyond their assertion. Unfortunately, the letter of Leo, Bishop of Rome, exists, confirming this council, and referring expressly to the condemnation of Honorius. Pariterque anathematizamus novi erroris inventores, id est, .... Honorium, qui hanc apostolicam ecclesiam non apostolicæ traditionis doctrina lustravit, sed profana proditione immaculatam fidem subvertere conatus est. (Conc. vi. 1117.): and if that is not enough, we have the confirmation and approbation of the second Nicene Council to the same point (Conc. vii. 555.): and more than all this, we have the profession of faith heretofore made by the Bishops of Rome, in Liber Diurnus. See above, page 24, note n.
As we have now concluded the examination of all the synods, allowed or claiming to be general councils, during the first seven centuries, and have set forth all their decrees which bear upon the points in dispute between the Churches of England and of Rome, let us pause to consider the testimony which they afford in respect of each. First let us inquire whether the Church of England, according to the faith and discipline which she now professes, is justified or condemned by these primitive witnesses. In one point, and in one only, and that an immaterial point of internal discipline, can she be proved to have departed from the ancient standard. I mean in that she allows her clergy after they are in orders to contract marriages. This custom was condemned by the first canon of the council of Neocæsarea, which was confirmed and stamped with the authority of the fourth general council at Chalcedon. Thus much is freely admitted. But it has been shown before that this canon is a violation of Chris
tian liberty as set forth in the Scriptures; that it is contrary to the canons of what is called the anteNicene or Apostolic code; that it savours of those heresies which dishonoured the Maker of the Universe, and regarded His own appointed ordinance as unholy; and that it has been found in practice to be attended with inconveniences injurious to the morals of clergy and people. And besides all this, it is to be considered that this canon was not made at a general council, but is merely found in a numerous code received and confirmed by one. And as no one pretends that the Church of England, in giving a general approval of the homilies, has tied herself to every sentence in them, so it is not to be considered or maintained that the Catholic Church, by giving a general approval to the code of laws in question, has tied itself, or any portion of its body, irrevocably, to every one of them. If the Romans maintain otherwise, by reason of the alleged (on their part) infallibility of general councils: an infallibility which they themselves have made a jest and a by-word throughout Christendom, rejecting, as we have seen, such councils, and such parts of such councils as they judged best; as if the same men, in the same place, and at the same time, and upon the same subjects, could be infallible one moment and fallible the next, the inspiration ebbing and flowing irregularly : let them abide the result of their own principles. But as the Church of England, though honouring in reality the true general coun