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Saint Cyprian.

The epistles of S. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage and Martyr : with the council of Carthage on the baptism of heretics, to which are added The extant works of S. Pacian, bishop of Barcelona, with notes and indices (Volume 17) online

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Online LibrarySaint CyprianThe epistles of S. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage and Martyr : with the council of Carthage on the baptism of heretics, to which are added The extant works of S. Pacian, bishop of Barcelona, with notes and indices (Volume 17) → online text (page 1 of 50)
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BR 60 .L52 V. 17
Cyprian,

The treatises of S.
Caecilius Cyprian



^



A



LIBRARY OF FATHERS



OF THl'-



HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH,



ANTERIOR TO THE DIVISION OF THE EAST AND WEST.



I HANSLATED BY MEMBEIIS OF THE ENGLISH CHURCH.




YET SHALL NOT THY TEACHEllS liE IIEMOVED INId A CORNER ANY MORE, BUT
THINE EYES -SHALL SEE THY TEACHERS. Isninh XXX. 20.



OXFORD,

JOHN HENRY PARKER;

J. G. F. AND J. RIVINGTON, LONDON.

MDCCCXLIV.



TO THE
MOST REVEREND FATHER IN GOH

WILLIAM

LORD ARCHBI8H0P OF CANTERBURY,

PRIMATE OF ALL ENGLAND,

roR.MKRI.Y KKfilrs PROFESSOR OF PIVIXITY IN THE UNIVKRSITV OF OXKllRfi,

THIS LIBRARY

OF

ANCIENT BISHOPS, FATHERS, DOCTORS, MARTYRS, CONFESSORS,
OF CHRIST'S HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH,

IK

WITH HIS grace's permission

RESPEfTFULLY INSCRIBED,

IN TOKEN OF

REVERENrK FOR HIS PERSON AND SACRED OFFICE,

AND OF

GRATITUDE FOR HIS EPISCOPAL KINDNESS.



THE

EPISTLES OF S. CYPRIAN,

BISHOP OF CARTHAGE >ND MARTYR,
WITH

THE COUNCIL OF CARTHAGE,



BAPTISM OF HERETICS.



TO WHICH ARE ADDED,



THE EXTANT WORKS OF S. PACIAN,



BISHOP OF BARCELONA.



WITH NOTES AND INDICEvS.



OXFORD,

.JOHN HENRY PARKER;

J. G. F. AND J. RIVINGTON, LONDON.

MDCCCXLIV.



BAXTEIi, PRINTER, OXFORD.



THE



EIISTLES OF S. CYPRIAN,



BISHOP OF CARTHAGE AND MARTYR.



WITH



THE COUNCIL OF CARTHAGE,



BAPTISM OF HERKTICS.



OXFORD,

JOHN HENRY PARKER;

J. G. F. AND J. RIVINGTON, LONDON.

MDCCCXLIV.




THBOLOG



PREFACE.



The Epistles of S. Cyprian exhibit in detail but one
portion of his character of mind or thought. Unlike the 1^^*^^^^°''
collections preserved of S, Ambrose or S. Augustine, nof^^rgin

1 • 1 • , . . are of

one has survived, written upon a subject in any sense the Ep.
private, or to a private friend. It was remarked long since
by S. Jerome', " Blessed Cyprian, like a most pure fountain,
floweth sweetly and softly ; and being wholly occupied in
the exhortation to holy .action, hemmed in by the straits of
persecution, he no where discoursed on the Divine Scrip-
tures." Of the Epistles which are preserved, one% at least,
which is chiefly taken up with the Sacramental meanings of ^^*
Holy Scripture, indicates, as well as his " Testimonies," a full
possession of the system of Scriptural interpretation, which,
whether by intuition or by tradition, was the heritage of the
Ancient Church, as he in his turn aided to fix that meaning.
That Epistle is like one flash from a mind we love, disclosing
to us as it were a new world within it, enlarging and re-
arranging all our previous thoughts of it, and deepening our
reverence towards it. Of a kind, which will with many
command little sympathy now, it shews a reverential con-
templation and grasp of the hidden meaning of Holy Scripture
in its Sacramental aspect, which we must the more admire in
one, whose duties, almost from the time of his conversion, were
of intense and absorbing activity. One such has been preserved
to us perhaps, to correct narrow views as to a mind, chiefly
called to the " care of the Churches" and the external mainte-
nance of things deeply internal, discipline and unity. Yet,

' S. Jer. Ep. 49. ad Paul.



vi PREFACE.

mostly, He Who distributeth even to His Saints as He wills,
has withdrawn the rest from sight, and exhibited His servant
to us, directly, only in the single yet manifold relations of
the shepherd of his people, an eminent Pastor in the whole
Church. So God " tempereth the body" together ; and
S. Cyprian the more occupies the place which his humility
loved, while he has but the office of one member of the
body, ministering eminently in the functions only of practical
life, and leaving others to supply what from him is lacking.

His Epistles are not only mostly of the same stamp and
character, but they even group ^ chiefly together round the
difficult practical questions, with which his brief Episcopate
was harassed. On him, indeed, fell well-nigh the care of
the Western Church ; during the eleven years of his Episco-
pate, he survived five Bishops of Rome, whose chief office
appears to have been to prepare for that highest, their
Martyrdom. At the most critical time, the Roman See was
vacant for above a year^; when filled, the Episcopate of
Cornelius was first to be vindicated against Novatian; it was
opposed for a time even by Confessors in his own Church ;
a year later it was still unsettled and Cornelius himself was

*• 50. §2. daunted"'; that same year (A. 252.1 saw^ S.Cornelius a Martyr

' ' and S. Lucius, his successor, in banishment; Pope Stephen's

Episcopate alone passed beyond the third year, and even

then important cases in Spain and Gaul were decided by

' C'7. the w^eight of S. Cyprian, in the one case' against the pre-

' is. vious judgment of Stephen, in the other*^, through him; as,
equally in the time of S. Cornelius, both decisions as to the
lapsed, as well that which granted restoration after protracted

'56, 1..'). penance", as their immediate restoration^ on the eve of the
new persecution under G alius, were first enacted by an
African, and subsequently adopted by a Roman, Council.

« Life, His Episcopate followed so closely ^ upon his conversion,
that the deep grace already visible alone took it out of the

' Small collections were made by 20. A. 250; S. Cornelius was not elected
St. C. himself, Ep. 20. 26.32.36. Just before Easter, A. 251. (Ep. 4.3. $.2.)

' S. Fabinn's martyrtlom was Jan. "but was shortly after. (Ep. 44.)



d. 6.



PREFACE. vii

Apostolic restriction, so that it has been a marvel, whence
he, " having never learned," could be imbued so deeply and
so accurately with the whole of Christian doctrine and
discipline*. His Episcopate pointed him out to be de-
manded " for the lions"," and, directed' by God to retire, he ^22. 59,
was proscribed. Apart, in concealment, with few Clergy *16, 3.
around him'', in an exile of two' years, he had in a new crisis,^^.^*
when delay was ill brooked yet partial decisions dangerous,
to hold together and unite the mind of the Western Church.
The Roman See was vacant ; in his own was a faction
personally opposed to himself, seeking to win popularity by
laxer measures™, and supported by one layman", as it seems, ° 1^' ^'*-
with all secular influences; intestine divisions"; the miserable "41.

o 21 3,

number of lapsed'' over the whole world, (the result of pre-p 10'. 11.
vious laxity 1,) forcing a decision yet aggravating its difficulty; g^* ^^'
numbers liable in sickly seasons' to be carried off by death, 1 ii> !•
their denial of their Lord uncancelled, and Satan tempting
them deeper to renounce willingly in deeds and a heathen
life and the pleasures of sense* Him, Whom they had un-* ^5)4.
willingly for fear of, or some through, extreme' tortures denied' i^> ^•
in word ; among the lapsed themselves, various degrees of sin
and penitence"; Martyrs and Confessors led by over-easiness ''"^^•^^•
or misguided by the factious presbyters to facilitate an in- §.4.
discriminate or unrepentant admission J' ; and exposing him^^^'^^'
to odium' and hard speeches* from his people; the lapsed,^ 27, 2.
with the people, extorting restoration from some Bishops of lessa'36^ 6.
devoted courage and demanding it of himself' ; the schismatics '' ^^'^-
offering freely the peace which they had not to give% and§. 2. 33.

c 43 4

withdrawing them from the hope of those Sacraments which 5. jg '
they pretended to restore ; the motives of his retirement P^'
misunderstood and for a time at least invidiously represented
even by the Clergy at Rome'', how much more by the factious" ^•

•• Baronius supposed that he must the Holy Spirit in his Baptism, must

have been acquainted with our books as of necessitj' include enlightening as to

a heathen, " unless it be attributed to Divine truth; since great sanctification

a miracle," (H. E. A. 250. $. 11.) Cn- implies it ; and his \ery words (ad Don.

doubtedly we are entitled to assume a §. 3. p. 3. 0x1". Tr.) can hfirdly stop

higher illumination, see below. His short of it.
account of the amazing infusion of



viii PREFACE.

in his own people I whatever was done a jnecedent for the
whole Church, his own Presbyters needing his presence, yet
himself hindered still further iiom returning by the very

•43. confusion'', lest his return should be the occasion of dis-
turbance, whicli the heathen powers might turn to evil!
Any one nuist have the tenderness and holiness of S. Cyprian
and his holy love of unity to estimate the intensity of suffer-
ing, at being unable at such a time to bind up the wounded,
to raise the fallen, to gather in one those scattered from the
fold.

The decision of the Church on the lapsed determined the
course of schism ; so that scarcely had she formally adopted
the merciful side, when they who had used laxity professed

'p- ill, severity ^ Scarcely then had S. Cyprian returned, when the

n. m.

schism of Novatus and Novatian broke out, and with imper-

8 44. 45. feet information as to the events^, amid misrepresentations

h 44. 48.(jj]jggjjtly circulated by the emissaries of Novatian", he had

s. 9. to take measures to procure the recognition of S, Cornelius'

' and to keep his Church in communion with the true Bishop.

Even the stedfast heart of S. Cornelius, which S. Cyprian

'■59,2-4.80 much extols, at one time sunk"", shaken, it seems, by that
8. 9. . .

which must be most trying to a religious mind, the dread

lest, on occasion of religious discipline, those who might yet
be saved should forsake the Church and be lost. S. Cyprian,
having had to uphold his election, had now to encourage
himself in the maintenance of the common discipline.
Meanwhile, the dreadful pestilence which, it has been said,
" from A. 250. to A. 205. raged without any interruption in
every province, every city and almost every family of the
Roman empire," had already begun ; its severest ravages in
Africa seem to be placed at this time^; and continual preach-
ing", arousing the people to the "profusion of exubei-ant

* The ad Demetrian. and de Mortal, very treatise, yet the addition of

are placed then. " assidue" and " publice" requires that

^ In the de Mortal. §. 14. he says, it should have been " a frequent and

that it had heen often revealed to him, public exhortation." S. Cyprian speaks

" ut contpstarer assidue et publice of preaching as part of rhe Episcopal

prff>dicareni," that we ought not to office and his own practice. Ep.lv, 11.

sorrow, &c. Althouch pra'dicarem n. z. Iviii, 4. Ixxx, 2. add Life, §, 18,

might have been understood of that p. xviii.



PREFACE. ix

works" of charity, and his own unwearied " sleeplessness in
the watchings of benevolence','' i^ay account for the fewness' Life,
of the letters during this period. One more troubled period " '
was the herald of his rest. The decision of the Council of
Carthage that the Novatians too were to be included in the
African rite of baptizing heretics, brought on the contro-
versy, to him the more deeply painful, in that he who had
hitherto been the centre of union to the Church, now unex-
pectedly, gave occasion to distraction ; he who had been the
instiTiment of peace to the Roman Church, was rejected by
her Bishop, his legates'" regarded as those with whom it is '"76,26.
prohibited " so much as to eat." One year of this sorrow
brought him within a year of his glory. One" year of rest" Life,
during his Christian life was given him, to set his Diocese in
order, and as a calm entry into the haven of his everlasting
rest. On Aug. 30, A. 257, he received from Paternus his
sentence of banishment; on Sept. 14, he saw the vision
which assured him of martyrdom and foretold its manner and
its day; on Sept. 14, A. 258, he was with his Lord. The
few remaining Epistles are on the one subject, on which he
ever kindles, " in expectation of the glory which shall be
revealed," exhortations to martyrdom or preparation for his
own. One is from his place of banishment, a second after
his recal by Maximus, and on the very verge of his martyrdom,
since it reports that of S. Sixtus, " the good and peace-
making Bishop" of Rome, on Aug. 6 ; the last yet nearer, in
retirement, until the Proconsul should arrive, closing with an
injunction to tranquillity, in conformity with his whole life,
and giving, in a few words of touching simplicity, his parting
benediction.

The first of these periods of trouble was the most enduring,
and to his tenderness of soul must have been the most
afflicting trial. Yet the very greatness of the evil forbade
present action. The higher his consciousness of the mag-
nitude of his office, the more deeply his humility felt that,
although the powers entrusted to him were absolute and
independent, he had morally no right, in a matter of such



X PREFACE.

moment, to act alone. Meanwhile, his faith in God's pro-
tecting Presence in His Church was his stay. What duty-
required could not turn out to evil to any who were really
His ; those plants only would be finally rooted up, which

" 6-2, 4, the Heavenly Father had not planted". Appreciating in this

' ■ way also, the unity of the Body of Christ, he wished what

was enacted to be the act of the whole body, not in the

modern way of suffi-age, but by " advice of the Clergy, con-

p 14, 5. currence of the laity *"."

Any one who follows the course of the Epistles of this
period, must be filled with admiration at his stedfast, un-
varying course. He kept in view the point to which the
vessel of the Church must be guided, but felt that there was
One only, Whose Presence in the ship could bring it " im-
mediately to the land whither they went." For the present,
he saw that so deep a wound could not be slightly healed ;
most could but recover slowly, if at all, from a fall so ex-
ceeding ; hasty and indiscriminate restoration had been but

s 1.5,1. to profane Things Holy'', and emperil those on whom they

31 7

r 15 2. were prematurely bestowed"; they wlio had cast themselves

16,2.17. Q^t Qf ^jjg body of Christ, were, if possible, to be roused to
feel the intensity of their loss, that the sharp torture of their
privation might awaken their dormant life, the fear of
everlasting fire nerve them to overcome all other fears, the
fearfulness of being without Christ gather up all their
» 19. .55. energies, that they be not without Him for ever% It is thus
de Laps, that God Himself often deals with the soul, withdrawing His
^"iw,. Presence and allowing it to be tortured and darkened by the
spectres and shadows of its former sins. It was easier per-
haps, from having denied Christ to become His martyr, than
to repent amid an easy restoration. Penitence after such
falls must be itself a martyrdom.

His very energy at this time is employed in gaining all to

his own patience and self-possession, that all might delay

acting prematurely, in order that when God should permit

them to be gathered together, all might act advisedh' and as

'20. with one soul. To the Roman Clergy', the Martyrs and



PREFACE. xi

Confessors', his own Clergy", his people % tlie lapsed** them- ' 15.
solves, he writes in one even tone, pressing on all the 26. 32. '
necessity of one well-balanced tenor of action; he seems f j'3'^*
like one marshalling those scattered by the grievous inroad ''33.
of the persecution into one united army ; a centre of unity,
attracting all to his own poised and stedfast rest. Acting him-
self stedfastly on the principle, that " what concerned all
in common," he " dared^ not to prejudge and claim to himself^ 26.
alone;" that what as a precedent', " concerned not a few, nor" ^4, 3.
one Church, nor one Province," must be waited for " from the
whole Church'';" he could, with consistent energy, inculcate '' 20. 56.
that " one" rule of discipline and one consent be observed by ■= 25 fin.
all, according to the Lord's commands." Meantime, in
conjunction with the Clergy of Rome, (who, with several
neighbouring Bishops, concuiTed in the wisdom of his de-
cision'',) he made provision for the care of the lapsed, when ''so, 8.
sick% and had regard to individual cases, whenever this dide I's.
not forestall the judgment of the Church '. From the first, he f 24. 25.
indicates the course which he thought healthful. The complaint
that certain Presbyters admitted the lapsed to Communion with-
out the due period of public penitence and formal restoration
by the Bishop and Clergy of such as were approved*"', and hisg 15. I6.
request to the Confessors that they would restrain their
recommendations to such as had by penitence made " very
nearly full amends'"," indicate that he was prepared to restore ^ 15 fin.
such as had fulfilled these conditions. But denying to
himself the exercise of his individual authority, he carried
with him the judgment of the whole Church; the counsel,
suggested by one, became the act of all ; and out of the
perplexities of a new decision, when the variety of natural
temperament', strictness, lenity, firmness, pliableness, or the

"^ Aiitonianus occurs as an instance adulterers, (§. 17-) the very extent to

of tbose within the Church, who were which the Novatian heresy actually

perplexed by the milder couise taken, spread, indicates the same. Tiie same

{Ep. 55.) and the very detail in which sensitiveness as to the purity of the

St. C. meets his difficulties implies the Church, which carries some beyond the

extent to whicli they were entertained, bounds, would exist in many of more

The strictness of the African Church dutiful mind within it ; those who

appears also incidentally in that some failed in a trial and were carried out of

had wholly denied reconciliation to the barn-floor, would only be a portion



xii PREFACE.

divers relations to tlie lapsed themselves, might have oc-
casioned much disharmony, the Church emerged, reflecting
in the unbroken unity of its mode of action the Oneness of
its Author.

The same wonderful union of caution and promptness is

visible in his measures to obtain the unanimous recognition

of Cornelius. Convinced of the rectitude of his election

from the first, he at once announced his consecration to the

' 46, 1. Church at Carthage', refusing to allow lying reports to defile

•■44.45. the sanctity of the priesthood or the presence of the Altar''-

Yet in obtaining his recognition he awaited such evidence

from Rome, as should overbear all doubt and ensure the

1 45, 2. uniform recognition at the hands of all'.

48 2«

' ' Even in that question, in which he for the time failed, on
heretical baptism, his measures seem most wonderfully
adapted for obtaining unity. He overrules none, yet wins
almost all ; and there is perhaps hardly any more remarkable
memorial of the unperceived influence of one mind over
others, than the way in which the letter of Firmilian and the
Council of Carthage echo his maxims and grounds of Scrip-
ture, so that the Council seems by the mouths of many to be
uttering the thoughts of one. And even here it should be
observed that the question was of practice only, not of prin-
ciples or doctrines ; for on the inefficacy of the Sacraments
out of the Church S. Augustine concurred with S. Cyprian,
while controverting the practice derived from it. The practice
itself which S. Cyprian retained in the African Church, re-
mained in the Eastern'*, and appears to be adopted, although
unrecognised, by the Roman Communion among ourselves.

Wisdom must have it in common with mere policy, that
she chooses h'cr measures well ; it need hardly be said, that
the measures of a great Saint cannot be cliosen with a view
to any thing merely external, not even the peace of the
Church itself. Unity was the great object of S. Cyprian's

of those sifted by it. Thi,- strictness of .59, 20. 1.

the Laity even amid "joy at the return " see, at length, Note G. on Tert. de

of the less culpuble" is mentioned, Eji. Hapt. p. 280 8qq.



PREFACE. xiii

life, because it is the very centre of his doctrine, as flowing
from love, the bond of all. Unity being an effluence from
the Unity of God, a fruit of the Indwelling of His Spirit,
His Bond, knitting and joining together His own", typified ■" S. Fir-
in the Sacraments" and itself a Sacrament", faith in love, its^. 3_
maintenance was not the maintenance of any thing outward, g^^'^^'
but the developement of an inward grace. It must suffer of° 45, i.
course from any injury of its outward form, but over and 73^ 9.
above any efJects, one learns, on the veiy surface of S. Cyprian,
something of its intrinsic beauty and propriety ^ As being of
grace, it is graceful, lovely, in and for itself; it is the visible
expression of what is heavenly. As being a grace, it must
emanate from within. The peace of the Church then must
be the result of the peace of individuals, as heresy and
schism ai'e of their restlessness. S. Cyprian, in cultivating
unity, cultivated it as a Christian grace ; as such, it was an
end in itself; the fi'ee union of different wills in one consent
was an antagonist to self-will, a present cultivation of grace,
a sight pleasing to Him 'Who purchased and " gave peace"
to His own, a practising and prelude of the everlasting
harmony.

The same temper then which S. Cyprian laboured to form
in the whole Church, he studied to foster in his own ; what
he was in the greatest questions, that he was in the least:
to his own people the same as to the whole Church. As he
would not in the case of the lapsed forestall the judgment of
the Church, so neither that of his own people as to sub-
deacons who had retired in persecution. " I cannot make p 34, 3.
myself sole judge," are the words of one, who, by a moral
necessity, could not act out of the unity in which he lived,
whose individual existence was inseparable from the body of
which he was the visible head. He would be nothing of
himself, except the bond which binds all together, and thus
he becomes (so to speak) the animating life of all, since his
life is his Lord's in him. A proof how " the meek inherit

' Of this sort, seems i\ie fitness which St. C. sees iu " one rule of discipline and
one consent," e. g. Ep. 25.



xiv PREFACE.

the earth," and " having nothing, possess all things ;" an
instance also, that the highest conceptions of Episcopal
authority lead in a well-ordered mind to the most self-
denying moderation in their exercise. Episcopal authority,
apart from the doctrine of the mystical unity of the Church,
would be liable to be secular, arbitrary, despotic ; in con-
nection with it, it derives its qualities from Him, of Whom
it is, and is essentially spiritual, parental, self-sacrificing.
The Bishop, as conceived by S. Cyprian, though set over
the Church, is yet in and of her ; not, like a secular power,
external to those it rules, nor again deriving authority from
«) 1 Cor. it, yet "set in her'';" the visible representative of the In-

12 28

Ep. 48. visible Head ; the joint, compacting the members together,

*^"* yet one with the Church, as the Church with him ; on the

' 33. 45. one hand, deriving his authority by vicarious succession"^ from

75^ ■ the Apostles, " chosen," " ordained," " niled," " inspired,"

"strengthened," "protected," by Christ'", on the other, by

the unity of the Spirit which holds together invisibly each

part of the Church and its whole, " in the Church, as the

» 66, 7. Church in the Bishop '." The Bishop, independent in

authority, was one organic whole with the Church. It

belonged, then, to the oneness of the Church, that whatever

was done, should emanate from her oneness and love, as the

result of a concordant will, not be accepted only by a cold

unparticipating obedience. The maxim accordingly of S.

Ignatius for the people, "to do nothing without the Bishop,"

finds in S. Cyprian the counterpart for the Bishop, " do

nothing without the Presbytery and the concurrence of the

people;" in his well-known words, " from the beginning of

my Episcopate, I resolved to do nothing of my own private

judgment without your advice and the concurrence of the

' 14,5. people." If possible, he abated from his right*, in order to

gain the more loving concun-ence to what he saw to be

right. In the abstract he asserted his right to exercise alone

" 35- the authority committed to him of God; held it back", while

" .'?4. he might; when necessary he exercised it\ But in pro-

'" Ep. 48 fin. see other passages in Index, v. Bishop.



PREFACE. XV

portion as he felt the intensity of the Episcopal authority,
from which, until compelled by the anxiety of the people, he



Online LibrarySaint CyprianThe epistles of S. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage and Martyr : with the council of Carthage on the baptism of heretics, to which are added The extant works of S. Pacian, bishop of Barcelona, with notes and indices (Volume 17) → online text (page 1 of 50)