THE

PENITENTIAL DISCIPLINE

OF THE

PRIMITIVE CHURCH,

FOR THE

FIRST FOUR HUNDRED YEARS AFTER CHRIST;

TOGETHER WITH

ITS DECLENSION

FROM THE FIFTH CENTURY, DOWNWARDS TO ITS PRESENT STATE:

Impartially Represented.

BY
NATHANIEL MARSHALL, D.D.

A NEW EDITION.

OXFORD,
JOHN HENRY PARKER:
MDCCCXLIV


Editor's Preface

Preface

Introduction

CHAPTER I.

OF THE FOUNDATION WHEREUPON THE CHURCH BUILDS HER CLAIM TO THE POWER HERE ASSERTED

This Foundation threefold:—

Section I.—That there is somewhat of this kind founded in common reason
Section II.—That she hath an express charter to bear her out in it
Section III.—That her construction of the sense wherein she understands the words of that charter, is derived to her from general and current practice, as well before, as after the delivery of these powers to her, by Christ, her Founder

CHAPTER II.

OF THE USE WHICH THE CHURCH MADE OF THIS POWER, AND OF THE MANNER WHEREIN SHE EXERTED IT, FOR THE FIRST FOUR HUNDRED YEARS, WHEREIN SHE ENJOYED IT

This considered in two parts:—

Part I.—What were the constituent parts of the discipline in question.
Part II.—What were the crimes for which it was inflicted; and in whose hands the ministration (or execution) of it was lodged.

PART I.
The constituent parts of this Discipline were three, viz.:

Section I.—Confession.
Section II.—Segregation.
Section III.—Absolution.

PART II.

Section I.—Of the Crimes for which this Discipline was inflicted.
Section II.—In whose hands the ministration, or execution, of this Discipline was lodged.

CHAPTER III.

OF THE DEPARTURE OF THE WESTERN CHURCHES FROM THE PRIMITIVE MODEL

This departure consisting chiefly in the four following particulars:

Section I.—In the substition of the Private for Public Penance.
Section II.—In the Redemption of the Public Canonical Penance, by pecuniary and other commutations.
Section III.—In the Separation of the two jurisdictions from each other, which were originally lodged in the same hands, and proceeded together with equal paces, viz. 1. That which respected the Conscience of the Sinner, and the Forgiveness of his sin: and 2. That which only referred to outward Discipline, and to the privilege of Church-Communion.
Section IV.—In the Variation of the Form in Absolving, which from deprecatory and optative, grew about the same time with the preceding change, to be peremptory and indicative.

CHAPTER IV.

WHETHER THE REVIVAL OF THE PRIMITIVE DISCIPLINE MAY BE PRACTICABLE, AND HOW FAR IT MAY BE SO; IF IT SHALL SEEM GOOD TO AUTHORITY TO MAKE THE TRIAL.

To this purpose Seven Things propounded, with all humble submission:

I.—That the laws respecting Discipline, whihc are at present in being, be reinforced, and pointed with some new sanction.
II.—That some brand be fixed upon the practice of joining in the other parts of public worship, and of departing from it without the reception of the Blessed Sacrament.
III.—That some use of the Ancient Stations might be now revived; that the receivers of the Holy Communion might have some place assigned them in our Churches distinct from those who should not communicate.
Under this head somewhat is propounded concerning Baptism and Confirmation.

IV.—That the Key of Jurisdiction be re-united to that of Order, and that both be lodged in the same hand, as they formerly were, for above a thousand years after Christ.
V.—That the Interceding Mediatorial Office of the Priest be by some fit methods inculcated upon the people, who by all means should acknowledge him in that character and capacity.
VI.—That a Chorepiscopus, or Suffragan, be appointed in some market-town, or place of great resort, within every rural Deanery, to whom should appertain whatever heretofore was committed to the Penitentiary, in the district he should belong to, or in the villages adjacent to it; and that he should accordingly be entrusted with the management of Discipline, in all the parts assigned him for his Province; yet with this restriction, that he should be subject and accountable to the Bishop of the Diocese, who by his means might be acquainted with the state of his people, much better, and more fully, than it is possible he now should be.
Under this head some account is given of Primitive Episcopacy.

VII.—And lastly; That all this, or whatever else of this kind shall be provided, be more particularly specified in a Penitential Office explained by a proper Rubric, and added to our public Liturgy.

The Conclusion.


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