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nus agnoscebat imperatoribus concessum est dorninari sacer-
dotibus ; Gregory the Great acknowledged, that to the
emperors it was granted to rule over the priests." And the
same was affirmed by Pope Honorius : " Sancta ecclesia le-
gum saecularium non respuit famulatum, quae aequitatis et
justitiae vestigia imitantur; The holy Church refuses not
to obey secular laws that are equal and just."

3. But I undertook to evidence the truth of this rule
by matter of fact and authentic precedents. Constantino '

e Hist. lib. iv. c. 15. f Apolog. ii. R Epist. ad Mauritium.

h Comm. in Tit. i. de Privileg. cap. Super Specula, cap. Innotuit, de Arbitr.
c. i. de No. oper. mine. cap. Constitutus de Iiitegr. Restitut. cap. Auctoritate, de
Concess. Pneb. in vi.

' Vide Athan. de Synod. Socrat. lib. i. c. 25. Sozom. lib. ii. c. 28.


received the libels which the bishops at Nice had prepared one
against another. He told them indeed, that it was more fit
for them to judge him than he them, and therefore he
burned the papers ; but this signified nothing, but that it
was a shame to them, whose office it was to reprove all sin-
ners, to accuse one another of crimes before their prince.
But that this was nothing but a modest redargution of them
appears, because he did upon their condemnation of Arius
banish him, and recalled him without their absolution of him.
He banished Eusebius J and Theognis, whom the council had
deposed, and took cognizance of the cause between Athana-
sius k and the bishops his accusers; that it might appear
what he had said to the prelates at Nice was but a modest
reproof or a civil compliment, for it was ' protestatio contra
factum.' If he said that, he said cne thing and did another.
His son Constantius caused Stephen, bishop of Antioch, to be
convened in the palace upon the law ' de vi publica,' and the
* lex Cornelia de sicariis.' His lay -judges heard him, found
him guilty, and commanded the bishops to depose him from
his bishoprick, and expel him out of the Church. His brother
Constans 1 heard Narcissus of Cilicia, Marcus the Syrian,
Theodore of Thrace, and Maris of Chalcedon, against
Athanasius and Paul, bishop of Constantinople. Valenti-
nian, m the emperor, set a fine upon the head of Chronopius,
the bishop, and inflicted divers punishments upon the bishops
of Ursieinus, Ruifus, Ursus, and Gaudentius, for making
schisms to the disturbance of the public peace. Gratian, the
emperor, deposed Instantius, Salvianus, and Priscillian from
their bishopricks, and banished them, and afterward recalled
them. Arcadius, n the emperor, heard St. Chrysostom's cause
and banished him ; and Pope Innocent, who found fault be-
cause he gave wrong judgment, yet blamed him not for
usurping of a right to judge him. Theodosius the younger
imprisoned Bishop Memnon and St. Cyril of Alexandria.
Indeed, the prince was misinformed by John of Antioch ; but
when, by the great Ephesine Council, he was rightly in-
structed, he condemned John of Antioch, and afterward re-
leased the two bishops at the great and passionate petition

J Theodor. lib. i. c. 20 ; id. ibid. c. 31, k Athan. Apol. ii.

1 Socra. lib. ii. c. 14. Sozom. lib. iii. c. 9.

i" Lib. ii. Quorum Appel. Cod. Theod. n Socrat. lib. vi. c. 16.

Vestra pia geuua prorensis manibus attingimus.


and importunity of the Council of Ephesus. And when Ibas,
bishop of Edessa, had excommunicated some priests of hia
diocess, they appealed to the emperor,? and were heard. The-
odoric, king of Italy, received accusations against Pope Sym-
machus, q and sent Altinus, a bishop, to be the visitor of that
see, and afterward remitted the matter to a synod. Justi-
nius/ the emperor, gave judgment upon Dorotheus, bishop of
Thessalonica, for sedition and homicide. Justinian banished
Julian, the bishop of Halicarnassus, Severus, bishop of Anti-
och, Peter of Apamea, and Zoaras, a priest: but he also
judged the cause of Pope Sylverius for certain treasonable
letters ; and recalled him from banishment, but so that he
should not be restored to his see, unless he were found inno-
cent of the accusation.

4. I could reckon very many more instances to the same
purpose, but these are as good as more ; especially being but
particulars of that power, and just consequence of that
authority, which I have proved, by the laws of God and the
confessions of the Church, to be inherent in the supreme
power. I sum up this with the words of Balsamo : s " Quia
statutum est nullum per alium injuria afficiendum, ipse pa-
triarcha ab imperatore, qui ecclesiae habet potestatis scientiam,
judicabitur forte ut sacrilegus, vel male de fide sentiens, vel
alicujus criminis reus : hoc enim judicialiter actum vidimus
diversis temporibus; Because it is commanded, that one
should not injure another, the patriarch himself shall be
judged of the emperor who hath cognizance over the power
of the Church, perad venture for sacrilege, or for heresy, or for
the guilt of any other crime ; for we have divers times seen
such judicial processes." And to the same purpose, the
seventh canon of the first Council of Matiscon subjects the
clergy to the secular judge in the causes of theft, witchcraft,
and murder; and the Council of Toledo* does the like in the
matter of robbery or cozenage. For either clergymen are
not subjects, or they are bound by the laws of their prince.
If they be not subjects, how come they free ? If they be sub-
jects, where is their privilege? or is the spiritual calling of
a nature so desperate and estranged from the commonwealth,

P Adastas. Biblioth. in Symmacho. <i Epist. Honnisdae, 56, 57.

T Novel. 42. et ponitur in concil. Gen. 5. Act 1. Liberatus in Breviar. c. 22.
Au can. 12. syn. Antioch. ' Which is cited, c. filiis xvi. q. 7,


that it is no part of it ? or is it better than the secular ? The
questions are worthy inquiring after ; but the decision of
them will take off many prejudices from this great measure
of conscience concerning the fountain of human laws and

5. But, upon a closer view of the particulars, it will be
found that the whole matter is a mistake ; a false consequence
drawn from a true estimate of religion : for all men grant,
that religion is the greatest excellence, that our souls are
the biggest interest, that all our wealth is best employed
when it is spent in God's service, that all things must yield
to our duty to God : these are all very true, as every thing
else is when it is truly understood ; but what then ? therefore
the ministers of religion are to be preferred before the mi-
nisters of policy? Well, suppose that; for it is true, that
every thing is best in its own place and time. But what ?
therefore the ministers of religion are superior to princes,
whose government and care, whose office and employment,
are merely temporal? That will not follow; nor this, there-
fore the ministers of religion are in all things better; nor
this, therefore they are nothing inferior ; nor this, therefore
they are not subject to civil government and civil punish-
ments. But these things must be considered apart.

Question I.

In what sense the service of God is to be preferred before
every thing else?

6. To this I answer, (1.) That, if the service of God be
taken in a sense opposed to any other thing which is not the
service of God, there is no perad venture but it is to be pre-
ferred before every thing ; for the question is no more than
this, Whether we ought to serve God, or not to serve him ?
For, if that which is not God's service comes in competition
with that which is, if the first be preferred, God is directly

7. (2.) If, by the service of God, is meant the virtue of
religion expressed in external action, as saying our prayers,
receiving the holy sacrament, visiting churches, sitting at the
memorials of martyrs, contemplation, fasting, silence, soli-
tude, and the like, then it is as certain that the service of
God, in this sense, is to be preferred before many things, but


not before all things ; not before many things of our ordi-
nary life, not before many things of civil society. For to keep
a holyday is a part of the service of God, but not to be pre-
ferred before bodily labour in our trade, if that labour be ne-
cessary for the feeding our family with daily bread. Con-
templation is an excellent part of the Divine service ; but
charitable actions are more useful. To hear a good sermon
is good ; but to snatch even an ox out of a pit is to. be pre-
ferred before it. This our blessed Saviour taught us in those
excellent words, " I will have mercy and not sacrifice." For
not only the precise virtue of religion is the Divine service,
though, by propriety, it hath obtained the name, but the
doing all our duties, the works of our calling, all charitable
ministries, all useful trades, all the graces of the Spirit ex-
pressed in actions and obedience, is the service of God, and
of one it cannot be said it is better than another ; for they
shall be required in their season. For,

8. (3.) It is one thing to inquire, which is, in itself, more
excellent, and another thing to ask which are to choose ; one
thing to say, ' This is to be preferred in estimation/ and an-
other to say, ' This is to be preferred in practice.' Ecstasies,
and raptures, and conversing with blessed spirits, are certainly
actions and passions respectively of greater eminence than
dressing the sores of poor boys in hospitals : and yet he that
does this serves Christ and does good, while he that follows
after the others may fall into the delusions of the devil.
That which is best in itself, is not best for me : it is best for
the best state, but not for the state of men, who dwell in im-
perfection. Strong meat is better than milk, but this is best
for babes ; and therefore he would but ill consult the good
of his child, who, because it is a princely boy, would feed
him with beef and venison, wild boar and the juice of great
fishes. Certainly a jewel is better than a piece of frieze ; and
gold is a more noble and perfect substance than barley : and
yet frieze and barley do, in their season, more good than gold
and jewels, and are therefore much more eligible. For every
thing is to be accounted of in its own place and scene of emi-
nence : the eye loves one best, and the tongue and palate,
the throat and stomach, love the other. But the understand-
ing, which considers both, gives the value according to the
degree of usefulness, and to the end of its ministry. Now


though our understanding can consider things in their own
perfections, and proportion honour and value to them ; yet
that which is better than honour, love and desire, union and
fruition, are due to those things most, which, it may be, we
honour least. And therefore there are some parts of the
service of God which are like meat and clothes, and some
which are like gold and jewels ; we value and admire these,
but we are to choose the other ; that is, we prefer one in dis-
course, and the other in use ; we give better words to one,
and better usages to the other. And therefore those parts
of the Divine service which are most necessary, and do most
good to mankind, are to be chosen before those that look
more splendidly, and in themselves import more perfection.
The foundation of a house is better than the roof, though the
roof be gilded ; and that part of the service of God which
serves the needs of mankind most, is to be chosen before
those which adorn him better : so that actions of high and
precise religion may be the excellences and perfections of a
human soul : but the offices of civil governors, their keeping
men in peace and justice, their affrighting them from vile
impieties, may do much more good to mankind, and more
glory to God in the whole event of things.

9. (4.) But then if it be inquired, Whether is better,
prayers or government, a pulpit or a court of judicature? I
am to answer, that they are both best in their time. The
pulpit rules on Sundays, the court of judicature all the week
after. The pulpit guides the court, and the court gives laws
to the pulpit. The pulpit gives counsel to this, and this gives
commands to that. But there is this difference ; if the pul-
pit says amiss, we are not bound by it : but if the court
judges ill, we may complain, but we must submit. But then
to inquire which is better, when they are both the servants of
God, is to make a faction in the house of unity ; and as
there can be no good end served in it, so there can be no
good ground of reason or revelation by which it can be de-

10. (5.) If the question at last be, Whether is to be
preferred, the service of God, that is, an act of religion, or
an act of civil life? I answer, that ordinarily religion is to be
preferred when there can be a question reasonably asked,
which is to be chosen. That is, if it be indifferent as to the


person, there is no indifference in the thing ; for the religious
act does more honour to God and more good to us. But it
is because that where our life and time are empty of other
duties, then and there are the time and proper season of reli-
gion. But if it be not indifferent to the man, hut an act of
life or civil calling be in its season and appointment, then
this is to be preferred before that.

1 1 . (6.) Lastly, it is to be observed, that there are seasons
ordinary and extraordinary, in our services of God. Every
thing in its season is to be preferred : and therefore upon
festivals we are to go to church and to public offices ; upon
other days to follow the works of our calling ; and so pre-
fer both in their time. But sometimes these ordinary seasons
are invaded by extraordinary necessities ; and then that must
prevail which is most necessary in its season, and the other
must give place. Now because this happens often in the
needs of our life, and not very often in the needs of religion,
therefore, in cases of natural or political necessities, the things
of the commonwealth are to be preferred before the things of
the church ; that is, the service of God in charity before the
service of God in the virtue of external religion : and the rea-
son is, because this can stay, and the other cannot ; and this
can be supplied with the internal, that is, the-religion of the
heart, but that cannot be supplied with the charity of the heart.

Question II.

Which are to be preferred, and which are better, things
spiritual or things temporal ?

12. To this the patrons of ecclesiastical monarchy give a
ready answer out of St. Gregory Nazianzen," speaking to the
presidents : " Nam vos quoque potestati meae meisque sub-
selliis lex Christi subjecit. Imperium enim ipsi quoque ge-
rimus, addo etiam praestantius ac perfectius ; nisi vero aequum
est spiritual carni fasces submittere, et coelestia terrenis
cedere; The law of Christ hath subjected you also, that are
civil magistrates, to my chair. For we also have an empire,
yea, better and more perfect than yours ; unless it be rea-
sonable that the spirit should submit to the flesh, and
heavenly things give place to earthly." For temporal things
belong to the body, and spiritual things to the soul ; by how

a On.t. 15, ad Subd. Tim. PercuL


much therefore the soul is above the body, by so much spi-
ritual things are above the temporal. For a temporal end is
and ought to be subordinate to a spiritual ; because temporal
felicity is not the last end of man, but spiritual and eternal :
this, therefore, being the greatest, ought to be ministered to
by the cession of the temporal.

13. To this I answer, that temporal things ought to yield
to spiritual, if by spiritual things be meant the glory of
God and the good of souls, but not to every thing that is
spiritual. For though it be a spiritual employment to serve
God in the communion of saints, and the life of a man be a
temporal thing ; yet a man is not bound to lose his life to go
to public churches ; but for his own soul's salvation, for the
promotion of religion, and the honour of God, he is. A man
is very much better than a beast ; yet the life of a beast is
better than the superfluous hair of a man's beard. The
honour and reverent usage of churches is a spiritual concern
and a matter of religion ; and yet when an army is hard put
to it, they may defend themselves by the walls and strength,
and preserve their lives with a usage of the church, which
was never intended by the patron that built it, or the bishop
that consecrated it. When temporal life and eternal are
compared, when the honour of God or the advantage of a
man are set in opposition, when the salvation of a soul and
the profit of trade are confronted, there is no perad venture
but the temporal must give way to the spiritual. But when
a temporal necessity and a spiritual advantage are compared,
the advantage, in the nature of the thing, is overbalanced by
the degree of the necessity, and the greatness of the end ;
and it is better to sell the chalices of the church, and minis-
ter to religion in glass or wood, than to suffer a man to starve
at the foot of the altar. The consequent of this considera-
tion is this, that although spiritual things are better than
temporal, yet not every thing of spiritual nature or relation
is to be preferred before all temporals.

14. (2.) Another consideration is this, that there is dif-
ference also in the degrees and measures of cession or yield-
ing. Temporal things must yield : that is, we must so order
affairs, that by them we serve God ; our money must go
forth in justice and charity, our time must yield up portions
to religion, our persons must decline no labour for God's


service ; and if ever there comes a contest between our duty
and our profit, or our ease, or our advantage, we must, by the
loss of these, secure our gains and our interest in that. But
this preferment of one before another does not consist in
giving to one secular advantages before the other, temporal
honours, and precedences in processions, in escutcheons and
achievements, but in doing the duty of that which is incum-
bent, and making the other minister to that which is more
necessary. He that prefers religion before the world, is
not tied to bestow more money upon his chapel than upon
his house. If God had chosen him one place of residence,
and a temple for his house and for the religion of the nation,
as he did among the Jews, there had been a great decency
and duty of doing so upon many accounts ; for then the
question had been between religion and irreligion, zeal and
contempt, love of God and neglect ; and then the determina-
tion had been easy. But now, since the whole end of inter-
nal religion can be served by giving to places of religion that
adornment which may make the ministries decent and fitted,
and of advantage ; beyond this, when we come to a dispute
between that which is in order to a spiritual end, and that
which serves a temporal, more things are to come into
consideration, besides the dignity of the relation.

15. (3.) For it is yet further to be observed, that when it
is said that all temporal things are subordinate to our spirit-
ual ends, the meaning is, that all the actions of our life, all
that we are, all that we have, must be directed actually or
habitually to the great end of man, the glorification of God,
and the salvation of our souls ; because God hath ordained
this whole life in order to that ; and therefore, in the gene-
rality, it is true, that all temporal things are to minister to
spiritual. But then this is to be added, that temporal things
are not ordained to minister to spiritual intermedial things,
such, I mean, which are not directly, and in circumstances,
necessary. I must serve God with my substance : therefore
I must, by my substance, contribute to the just and appointed
ministries of religion : but it does not follow, that if the Church
multiply priests unnecessarily, and God hath multiplied my
children naturally, that therefore I must let my children want,
to feed the numerous company of them that can minister spi-
ritual things. The whole is subordinate to the whole, that is,


all our temporalities are given us to serve God with : but then
they are given us also to serve our own needs, that we may
serve God ; but they are not any other ways subordinate, but
to enable us to serve him, not to serve the particular spiritual
end, unless it be by accident, that is, not unless we cannot
serve God without it.

16. (4.) For temporal things and spiritual things have
both the same supernatural end, that is, God's glory and
eternal felicity. And sometimes they severally tend to this
end, and then they are to go their own ways, and not to
minister and be subordinate to each other. But sometimes
they are to combine and to co-operate, and then temporal
things must serve spiritual, and spiritual must serve the tem-
poral. For example. The temporal or civil power hath for
its end public tranquillity, that men may serve God in all
godliness and honesty. The ecclesiastical power hath the
Same end : 'Isouavvr) %ctl (3agi\t!a fig tv oouei r'skog, TUV UTTJ-
xouv ffurqetav, said Isidore Pelusiot. I shall not now con-
sider the whole effect of this truth ; but in order to the present
say that, since both temporal and spiritual things minister
to the same end, that is, salvation of mankind, they are dis-
tinct methods or instruments to that end, and, of themselves,
are not in subordination to one another; but as temporal
things must serve spiritual when there is need, so must
spiritual serve the temporal when they require it : the tem-
poral power must defend religion, and religion must minister
to the public peace. The prince must give advantages to the
ministers of religion ; and the ministers of religion must pray
for the prince's armies, his prosperity, his honour, and, by
preachings and holy arts, must give bridles to the subjects,
keeping them in duty by the means of conscience. The
prince, by laws and fear, makes men just and temperate,
chaste and peaceable : the priest does but the same thing by
the worcl of his proper ministry. He that does it most effec-
tually, is the most happy : but he that will go about to
compare which does it most, and therefore is to be preferred,
shall then hope to do it prosperously, when he can tell
which side of the equinoctial hath most stars, or whether
hath most drops of water, the Northern or the Southern Sea.
The sum of this consideration is this ; that although tempo-
ral things in their latitude are to serve spiritual ends, mean-


ing the great end of the perfection of our spirits, yet so
must the intermedia! spiritual things serve the same great
end ; but the intermedial temporal and the intermedial spirit-
ual are not subordinate to one another, unless it be by acci-
dent, and that may, and often does, happen on either side.

17. But I must add one thing more for explication: and
that is, that though all things in the world are to minister
to the great end of souls, and consequently are subordinate
to that great end ; yet it is (that I may use St. Paul's expres-
sion in another case) "by reason of him that hath put all
things under it :" for this subordination is not natural, or by
the nature of the thing, but by the wise economy and dispo-
sition of God ; who having appointed that all things shall
" be sanctified by the word of God and prayer ; " that na-
tural powers shall be heightened by grace, and shall pass
into supernatural, and this world into another, hath, by his
own positive order, disposed of temporal things and powers
beyond their own intention. But otherwise, temporal things
have an ultimate end of their own, terminating all their
natural intention and design. Thus the end of the mariner's
art is not the salvation of the souls of them that sail with
him, but the safe landing of their persons and goods at the
port ; and he that makes statues, hath for his end a perfect
image. Indeed, the man may have another end, to get reput-
ation, to maintain his family, to breed up his children " in
the nurture and admonition of the Lord," and at last the sal-
vation of his own soul, by doing things honest and profitable ;
but though these may be the ends of the man, yet they are
not the ends of his art ; and therefore his art hath no natural
subordination, because it hath no natural order to eternal

Online LibraryJeremy TaylorThe whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 13) → online text (page 50 of 61)