Jeremy Taylor.

The whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 13) online

. (page 54 of 61)
Online LibraryJeremy TaylorThe whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 13) → online text (page 54 of 61)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


even for the ordering their assemblies, making ecclesiastical
laws for enemies of true religion : so necessary it is for
princes to govern all religion and pretences of religion within
their nations. This we find in the civil law, in the title of
the code ' de Judaeis,' in many instances. A law was made
by Justinian also, that none should be admitted into the
Jewish synagogues that denied angels, or the resurrection,
or the day of judgment. Thus the civil power took away
the churches from the Maximianistse, because they were an
under-sect of the Donatists condemned by their superiors.
But then that the Christian princes did this, and might do
this and much more in the articles of true religion, is evident
by many instances and great reason.

14. There is a title in the first book of the code, ' Ne
sacrosanctum baptisma iteretur,' against the Anabaptists.
Charles the Great made a decree 3 against the worshipping of
images, and gave sentence against the second Nicene Coun-
cil in that particular : and Sozomen reports, that Constantine
cut off unprofitable questions, to prevent schisms in the
Church ; which example our kings of England have imitated,
by forbidding public preachers or divines in schools to med-
dle in the curious questions of predestination. Thus the
public laws of a nation often declare who are and who are

* Novel, cxlvi. Vide 1. Nemo. ff. de Summa Trinitate.



AND THEIR LAWS IN SPECIAL. 541

not heretics : and, by an act of parliament in England, they
only are judged heretics who for such were condemned by
the four general councils. Upon this account many princes
have forbidden public disputations in matters of religion :
to this purpose there was a law of Leo b and Anthemius, c and
Andronicus the emperor hearing some bishops disputing with
some subtilty upon those words, " My Father is greater than
I," threatened to throw them into the river if they would
not leave such dangerous disputations. Heraclius the em-
peror forbade any of those nice words concerning Christ to
be used : some did use to say, that in Christ there was a sin-
gle energy, some said there was a double ; but the emperor
determined the question well, and bade them hold their
peace and speak of neither: for, as Sisinnius said toTheodo-
sius, " Disputando de sacris accendi tantum contentionem,
There is nothing got by disputations but strife and con-
tention :" and therefore princes are the best moderators of
churchmen's quarrels, because princes are bound to keep the
peace. And consonantly to this Isidore d spake well; " Sane
per regnum terrenum coeleste regnum proficit, ut qui intra
ecclesiam positi contra fidem et disciplinam ecclesise agunt,
rigore principum conterantur, ipsamque disciplinam, quam
ecclesiae humilitas exercere non praevalet, cervicibus super-
borum potestas principalis imponat." The civil power ad-
vances the interests of the heavenly kingdom by punishing
them who sin against the faith and discipline of the Church ;
if they be ' intra Ecclesiam, within the Church,' their faith
and manners both are subject to the secular judgment.

15. But not only so, but they are to take care to secure
and promote the interest of truth : for though, as St. Paul
says, *' doubtful disputations do engender strife," yet we
must " contend earnestly for the faith;" with zeal, but yet
with meekness too : and therefore, that matters of faith and
doctrines of good life be established, it is part of the prince's
duty to take care.' According to which we find that when a

b Xicet. Choniat. Lib. qui in Mon. C. de Episc. et Clericis.

d 23. q. v. cap. Principes.

* Imprator, ut communis intr<nip./>iaa%t!f existens et nominatus, srnodalibus
praeest sententiis et robur tribuit, ecclesiasticos ordines componit, et legem dat
vitee poliiiaeque eorum qui altaii serviunt. Et rursus ut uno verbo dicam, solo
sacrificandi excepto ministerio, reliqua pontificialiu privilegia imperator reprae-
sentat. Demetr. Chomaten. in Re$p. Orien. Evagrius, Leonie Imp. Concilii
Cbalced. approbationem vocat decisionem de fide, lib. iii. c. 4. et c. 5. videat



542 OF SUPREME CIVIL POWERS,

rumour was spread that brought Pope Pelagius into suspicion
of heresy, King Childebert sent Ruffinus to require him either
to recite and profess the tome of St. Leo, in which there was a
good confession of faith, or else that he should do the same
thing in his own words. Pope Pelagius f sent this answer:
" Satagendum est ut pro auferendo suspicionis scandalo ob-
sequium confessionis nostrse regibus ministremus, quibus
etiam nos subditos esse Sacrae Scripturae prsecipiunt; We
must take care, that, for the avoiding suspicion, we exhibit
to kings the duty of our confession : for to them the Holy
Scriptures did command even us to be obedient." And not
only for the faith of bishops and even of popes, but for their
manners also, kings were to take care, and did it accordingly.
Justinian 8 made laws, that bishops should not play at dice,
nor be present at public spectacles ; and he said of himself,
" maximam habere se solicitudinem circa vera Dei dogmata,
et circa sacerdotum honestatem; that his greatest care was
about the true doctrine of God and the good lives of bishops."
16. I do not intend by this, that whatsoever article is by
princes allowed, is therefore to be accounted a part of true
religion ; for that is more than we can justify of a definition
made by a synod of bishops : but that they are to take care
that true doctrine be established ; that they that are bound
to do so must be supposed competent judges what is true
doctrine, else they guide their subjects, and somebody else
rules them: and then who is the prince? By what means and
in what manner the civil power is to do this, I am to set
down in the next rule; but here the question is of the power,
not of the manner of exercising it : and the answer is, that
this power of judging for themselves and for their people is
part of their right ; that no article of religion can become a
law, unless it be decreed by God or by the prince ; that the
bishop's declaration is a good indication of the law of God,
but that the prince's sanction makes it also become a law of
the commonwealth : that the prince may be deceived in an

lector totura bujus rei processum ex lib. i. Heraclii, incip. Cum sanctus, inter
constit. Imperial Cum Sanctus (inquit) Sopbronius, tune summo sacerdotio
fungens Hierosolymis, subjectis sibi sacerdotibus convocatis synodice demon-
stnisset, cos qui imam in duabus Cbristi uaturis voluotatem atque energiam affir-
marent, pa lam unam quoque uaturam statuere, eique Jobannes, papa Roman us,
aasensua esset, imperator edictum proponit, noque singularem, ueque duplicem
in Cliristo euergiaiu ease asserendam.

' 25 q. i. cap. Satagendum. f Novel, cxxiii. c. 10.



AND THEIR LAWS IN SPECIAL. 543

article of religion, is as true as that he may be deceived in a
question of right, and a point of law ; yet his determination
hath authority, even when a better proposition wants it:
that error must serve the ends of peace, till, by the doctrines
of the wiser ecclesiastics, the prince being better informed,
can, by truth, serve it better.



RULE VIII.

The supreme civil Power is to gorern in Causes ecclesiastical
by the Means and Measures of Christ's Institution, that is,
by the Assistance and Ministries of ecclesiastical Persons.

1. KINGS are supreme judges of the law; for " cujus est
loqui, ejus est interpretari, he that speaks, best knows
his meaning:" and the lawgiver is certainly his own best
interpreter. But in cases where there is doubt, the supreme
civil power speaks by them whose profession it is to under-
stand the laws. And so it is in religion. The king is to
study the law of God ; " nee hoc illi dictum ut totus ab
alieno ore pendeat, ipseque a se nihil dijudicet," said that
learned prelate of Winchester ; a " not that he should wholly
depend in religion upon the sentences of others, but be able
of himself to judge." But where there is difficulty, and that
it be fit that the difficulty be resolved, there the supreme civil
power is to receive the aid of the ecclesiastic, from whose
mouth ' the people are to require the law,' and whose lips, by
their office and designation, are ' to preserve knowledge.'
The doctors of the Jews tell, that when Jephthah had made
a rash vow, he might have been released if he had pleased :
for if a horse had first met him, he had not been bound to
have offered it to God ; but it must have been sold, and a
sacrifice bought with the price ; and much more must a man
or a woman have been redeemed. But because Jephthah
was a prince in Israel, he would not go to Phinehas the high-
priest to have had his vow interpreted, commuted, or released.
Neither would Phinehas go to him, because he was not to
offer help till it was implored. Phinehas did not go to
Jephthah, for he had no need, he had no business : and
Jephthah would not go to Phinehas, because he was the

* Tortur. Tort.



544 OF SUPREME CIVIL POWERS,

better man. In the meantime the virgin died, or, as some
say, was killed by her father : but both prince and priest
were punished, Jephthah with a palsy, and Phinehas was
deprived of the Spirit of God. For when the prince needs
the priest, he must consult him ; and whether he consults
him or no, the priest must take care that no evil be done by
the prince, or suffered by him for want of counsel.

2. But the prince's office of providing for religion, and
his manner of doing it in cases of difficulty, are rarely well
discoursed of by Theodosius the younger, in a letter of his to
St. Cyril, of which I have formerly mentioned some portions:
" Pietatis doctrinam in sacra synodo in utramque partem
ventilatam eatenus obtinere volumus, quatenus veritati et
rationi consentaneum esse judicabitur ; The doctrine of
godliness shall be discussed in the sacred council, and it
shall prevail or pass into a law so far as shall be judged
agreeable to truth and reason :" where the emperor gives
the examination of it to the bishop, to whose office and call-
ing it does belong : but the judgment of it and the sanction
are the right of the emperor, who would see the decrees
should be established, if they were true and reasonable. The
judgment, I say, was the emperor's ; but in his judgment he
would be advised, taught, and established by his bishops.
" Sed nee earn doctrinam indiscussam patiemur ; cui dijudi-
candae eos praefici oportet qui sacerdotiis ubivis gentium
praesident, per quos et nos quoque in veritatis sententia sta-
bilimur, et magis magisque identidem stabiliemur ; That
doctrine that is in question, we will not suffer to escape ex-
amination ; but those shall be presidents of the judgment
who, in every nation, are the appointed bishops, by whom
we also ourselves are confirmed in the true religion, and hope
every day to be more and more established.

3. When the supreme power hath called in the aid and
office of the ecclesiastic, good princes use to verify their acts
accordingly, to establish their sentences, to punish the con-
vict, to exterminate heretics and suppress their doctrines.
Thus Honorius and Arcadius the emperors, by an edict,
repressed Pelagius and Celestine, whom the bishops had
condemned ; Constantine, after the sentence of the Nicene
fathers against Arius, banished him. b Theodosius the elder,
having diligently conferred with the orthodox bishops, and

k Sozom. lib. vii. c. 12.



AND THEIR LAWS IN SPECIAL. 545

heard patiently what the others could say, by a law for-
bade them to have public assemblies, who denied the con-
substantiality of the Son with the Father. " Per consilium
sacerdotum et optimatum ordinavimus, constituimus, et dix-
imus ;" it was the style of King Pepinin the Council of Sois-
sons. And of this nature the instances are very numerous.
For " semper studium fuit orthodoxis et piis imperatoribus
pro tempore exortas heereses per congregationem religiosissi-
morum archiepiscoporum amputare, et recta fide sincere
praedicata in pace sanctam Dei Ecclesiam custodire," said The-
odorus Silentiarius : c " All the pious and orthodox empe-
rors did use this instrument and manner of proceeding, for
the cutting off heresies, and the sincere publication of the
faith, and the conservation of the Church in peace."

4. But that this manner of empire may not prejudice the
right of the empire, it is to be observed , that, in these things,
the emperors used their own liberty, which proved plainly
they used nothing but their own right. For sometimes they
gave toleration to different sects, sometimes they gave none ;
sometimes they were governed by zeal, and sometimes by
gentle counsels ; only they would be careful that the dis-
putes should not break the public peace : but for their pu-
nishing recusants and schismatics they used their liberty ; so
we find in the acts of the great Ephesine Council, that The-
odosius II. resolved of one, but not upon the other. "At
vero sive illi veniam impetraturi sint, qui a patribus victi dis-
cedent, sive non, nos sane civitates simul et ecclesias con-
turbari nequaquam sinemus ; Whether those who are convict
of heresy by the fathers shall be pardoned yea or no, yet we
will be sure not to suffer the republic or the churches to be
disturbed."

5. This I observe now in opposition to those bold pre-
tences of the court of Rome, and of the presbytery, that
esteem princes bound to execute their decrees, and account
them but great ministers and servants of their sentences.
Now if this be true, then princes must confirm all that the
clergy decrees : if all, then the supreme prince hath less than
the meanest of the people, not so much as a judgment of
discretion ; or if he have, it is worse ; for he must not use his
discretion for the doing of his duty, but must, by an implicit

c In 5. Synod. Constant.
VOL. XIII. N N



546 OF SUPREME CIVIL POWERS,

faith and a blind brutish obedience, obey his masters of the
consistory or assembly. But if he be not bound to confirm
all, then I suppose he may choose which he will, and which
he will not : and if so, it is well enough ; for then the su-
preme judgment and the last resort are to the prince, not to
his clerks. And that princes are but executioners of the
clergy's sentences is so far from being true, that we find
Theodosius d refusing to confirm the acts of the great Ephe-
sine Council : for having been informed, though falsely, that
affairs were carried ill, he commanded the bishops to resume
the question of the Nestorians ; for their acts of condemna-
tion against them he made null, and commanded them to
judge it over again, and that till they had done so, they
should not stir to their bishopricks. The ministry was the
bishops' all the way, but the external judgment and the legis-
lative were the prince's. So Charles the Great reformed the
Church ; e " Episcopos congregavi," &c. " I convocated the
bishops to counsel me how God's laws and Christian religion
should be recovered. Therefore by the counsel of my reli-
gious prelates and my nobles, we have appointed bishops in
every city, and Boniface their archbishop, and appoint that a
synod shall be held every year, that, in our presence, the ca-
nonical decrees and the rights of the Church may be restored,
and Christian religion may be reformed." But because this
must be evident as a consequent of all the former discourses
upon this question, it will be sufficient now to sum it up with
the testimony of St. Austin writing to Emeritus the Do-
natist : " Nam et terrense potestates, cum schismaticos perse-
quuntur, ea regula se defendunt, quia dicit apostolus, f Qui
potestati resistit, Dei ordinationi resistit, noil enim frustra
gladium portat;' When the civil power punishes schisma-
tics, they have a warrant from an apostolical rule, which says,
' He that resists, resists the ordinance of God : for they bear
not the sword in vain.' " It is not therefore by a commission
or a command from the Church that they punish schismatics,
but " constituurit ad versus vos pro sua solicitudine ac potes-
tate quod volunt ; they decree what they please against
them according to their own care and their own power."
6. So that when it is said, that princes are to govern their

d Apud Acta Concil. Ephes. in Liter. Theod. ad Synod.
e Apud Surium die 5. Jun. f Epist. clxiv.



AND THEIR LAWS IN SPECIAL. 54-7

churches by the consent and advice of their bishops, it is
meant not 'de jure stricto,' but * de bono et laudabili:' it is
fit that they do so, it is the way of Christ's ordinary appoint-
ment : " Hethathearethyou,hearethme:"andto them a com-
mand is given, ' to feed all the flock of Christ.' In pursuance
of which, it was a famous rescript of Valentinian I. cited
by St. Ambrose; 8 " In causa fidei vel ecclesiastic! alicujus
ordinis eum judicare debere, qui nee munere impar sit, nee
jure dissimilis." These are the words of the rescript : that
is, he would that ' bishops should judge of bishops ; and that
in causes of faith or the Church their'ministry should be used,
whose persons, by reason of the like employment, were most
competent to be put in delegation.' But to the same pur-
pose, more of these favourable edicts h were made in behalf
of the Church by Theodosius and Valentinian II., by Arca-
dius, Honorius, and Justinian : and indeed, besides that it is
reasonable in all cases, it is necessary in very many : because
bishops and priests are the most knowing in spiritual affairs,
and therefore most fit to be counsellors to the prince, who
oftentimes hath no great skill, though he have supreme au-
thority. I remember that when Gellius, the praetor, was sent
proconsul into Greece,' he observed that the scholars at
Athens did perpetually wrangle and erect schools against
schools, and divided their philosophy into sects ; and there-
fore sending for them, persuaded them to live quietly and
peaceably, and to put their questions to reference or umpi-
rage, and in it offered his own assistance : but the scholars
laughed at his confident offer to be a moderator in things he
understood no more than his spurs did. He might have made
them keep the peace, and at the same time make use of their
wit and his own authority. And although there may happen
a case in which princes may, and a case in which they must,
refuse to confirm the synodical decrees, sentences, and judg-
ments, of ecclesiastics ; yet, unless they do with great reason

s Lib. v. Epist. 32.

b Lib. i. Cod. Theod. de Relig. Nov.Valen. deEpisc.Jud.lib. Grav.ib.nov.89.

1 Bp. Taylor alludes to the following passage : " Me Athenis audire ex Ph-
dro meo memini, Gellium, quum pro consule ex praetura in Graeciam venisset,
Athenis philosophos, qui turn erant, in locum unum convocasse, ipsisque magno-
pere auctorem tuisse, ut aliquando controversiarum aliquem facerent modum :
quod si essent eo animo, ut nollent zetatem in litibus conterere, posse rem conve-
nire : et simul operam suam illis esse pollicitum, si posset inter eos aliquid
con venire." .De Legibus, Ub. i. c. 20. n. 53. Wagner, p. 40. (J. R. P.)



548 OF SUPREME CIVIL POWERS, &C.

and upon competent necessity, they cannot do it without great
scandal, and sometimes great impiety. But of this I shall dis-
course in the next chapter. For the present I was to assert the
right of princes, and to establish the proper foundation of hu-
man laws ; that the conscience may build upon a rock, and not
trust to that which stands upon sand, and trusts to nothing.
7. I have been the larger upon these things, because the
adversaries are great and many, and the pretences and the
challenges high, and their opposition great and intricate, and
their affrightments large ; for they use something to per-
suade and something to scare the conscience. Such is that
bold saying of Pope Leo X. ; k " A jure tarn Divino quam hu-
mano laicis potestas nulla in ecclesiasticos personas attributa
est; Both by Divine and human laws ecclesiastics are free
from all secular power." But fierce and terrible are the
words of the Extravagant ' unam sanctam :' " Porro subesse
Romano pontifici omnem humanam creaturam declaramus,
dicimus, definimus et pronunciamus omnino esse de neces-
sitate salutis; That every man should be subject to the
bishop of Rome-, we define, we say, we declare, and pro-
nounce to be altogether necessary to salvation." This indeed
is high ; but how vain withal, and trifling, and unreasonable,
I have sufficiently evidenced. So that now the conscience
may firmly rely upon the foundation of human laws, and by
them she is to be conducted not only in civil affairs, but in
ecclesiastical, that is, in religion as well as justice : and there
is nothing that can prejudice their authority, unless they
decree against a law of God ; of which because ecclesias-
tical persons are the preachers and expositors by ordinary
Divine appointment, princes must hear bishops, and bishops
must obey princes : or because ' audire et obedire, to hear
and to obey,' have great affinity, I choose to end this with
the expression of Abbot Berengar, 1 almost eleven hundred
years ago ; " Sciendum est quod nee Catholicse fidei nee
Christianas contrarium est legi, si, ad honorem regni et sacer-
dotii, rex pontifici et pontifex obediat regi ; It is neither
against the Catholic faith nor the Christian law, that the
prince obey the bishop, and the bishop obey the prince :"
the first is an obedience of piety, and the latter of duty ; the
one is justice, and the other is religion.

k Coucil. Later, sub Leon. X. ' Lib. de Myster. Sign, in Biblioth. Sanct. Patr.



OF THE POWER OF THE CHURCH, &C. 549



CHAPTER IV.

OF THE POWER OF THE CHURCH IN CANONS AND CENSURES,
WITH THEIR OBLIGATIONS AND POWERS OVER THE CON-
SCIENCE.



RULE I.

The whole Power, which Christ Jiath left in ordinary to his
Church, is merely spiritual.

1. THAT there are great things spoken by the doctors of the
Primitive Church, of the ecclesiastical or spiritual power, is
every where evident, and that there are many expressions
which prefer it above the secular ; all which I shall represent
instead of others in the words of St. Chrysostom,* because
of them all he was the most eloquent, and likeliest in the
fairest imagery to describe the powers of his order : " Others
are the limits of the kingdom, others of the priesthood ; for
this is greater than that : and you must not estimate it by
the purple and gold. The king hath allotted to him the
things of this world to be administered ; but the right of
priesthood descendeth from above : ' Whatsoever ye shall
bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.' To the king is
committed what is here below ; to me, that is to the bishop,
things celestial. The bodies are intrusted to princes, but the
souls to bishops. The king remits the guilt of bodies, but
the bishop the guilt of sins. The prince compels, the bishop
exhorts. He governs by necessity, but we by counsel ; he
hath sensible armour, but we spiritual weapons ; he wageth
war against the barbarians, but we against the devil. Here
then is a greater principality. For which cause the king
submits himself to the priest's hand, and every where in the
Old Testament the priests did anoint kings." Where, by
the way, though it be not exactly true that the kings of
Israel and Judah were always anointed by priests, b but some-
times by prophets who were no priests, as in the case of Jehu ;
yet supposing all that, the discourse is true enough, and
the spiritual power in relation to a nobler object is in that

1 Horn. lib. iv. ex Verb. Isaiae. b 2 Kings, ix. 4.



550 OF THE POWER OF THE CHURCH

regard better than the temporal ; and therefore is in spi-
ritual account in order to a spiritual end above that which
serves the less excellent. But the effect of this discourse is,
that kings are subject to bishops, just as the princes of Israel
were to those that anointed them ; that is, they came under
their hands for unction, and consecration, and blessing, and
counsel, and the rites of sacrifice. And all this is very true ;
and this is all that was or could be intended by St. Chry-
sostom, or those other eminent lights of the Primitive Church,
who set their order upon a candlestick, and made it illus-
trious by the advantage of comparison. The advantages are
wholly spiritual, the excellences are spiritual, the operations
are spiritual, and the effects are spiritual ; the office is spi-
ritual, and so is all the power. But because the persons of
the men in whom this spiritual power is subjected, are tem-
poral as well as princes, and so are all civil actions, therefore



Online LibraryJeremy TaylorThe whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 13) → online text (page 54 of 61)