Project Canterbury





Cyprianic Age,

With Regard to

Episcopal Power and Jurisdiction:

Asserted and Recommended from the Genuine Writings of St. Cyprian himself, and his Contemporaries.

By which it is made evident, That the Vindicator of the Kirk of Scotland is obliged by his own Concessions to acknowledge, that he and his Associates are Schismaticks.


In a Letter to a FRIEND.


By J. S.


Printed for Walter Kettilby at the Bishop's Head in St. Paul's
Church-yard. MDCXCV.



I Acknowledge you have performed your Promise. The Author of the Defence of the Vindication of the Church of Scotland, in Answer to an Apology OF (he should have said FOR) the Clergy of Scotland, has indeed said so as you affirmed: And I ask your Pardon for putting you to the trouble of sending me his Book and Pointing to Sect. 39. Page 34. where he has said so. But now, after all, what thô he has said so? And said so, so boldly? Do you think his bare saying so is enough to determine our Question? Don't mistake it. That which made me so backward to believe he had said so, was not any dreadful Apprehension I had of either his Reason or Authority; but a Perswasion that none of his Party would have been so rash, as to have put their being or not being Schismaticks upon such a desperate Issue. And that you may not apprehend my Perswasion was unreasonable, I shall first take to Task what he hath said; and then, perchance, add something concerning our main Argument. His Words are these.

Arg. 5. Cyprian's Notion of Schism is, when one separateth from his own Bishop. This the Presbyterians do: Ergo. A. All the strength of this Argument lieth in the sound of Words. A Bishop, in Cyprian's time, was not a Diocesan, with sole Power of Jurisdiction and Ordination. If he prove that, we shall Give Cyprian and him leave to call us Schismaticks. A Bishop, then, was the Pastor of a Flock, or the Moderator of a Presbytery. If he can prove, that we separate from our Pastors, or from the Presbytery, with their Moderator, under whose Inspection we ought to be, let him call us what he will: But we disown the Bishops in Scotland from being our Bishops; we can neither own their Episcopal Authority, nor any Pastoral Relation that they have to us. Thus he.

Now, Sir, if one had a mind to catch at Words, what a Field might he have here? For Instance; Suppose the Word Diocess was not in use in St. Cyprian's time, as applied to a particular Bishop's District; Doth it follow, that the Thing now signified by it, was not then to be found? Again; What could move him to insinuate, that we assign the sole Power of Jurisdiction and Ordination to our Diocesan Bishop? When did our Bishops claim that sole Power? When was it ascribed to them by the Constitution? When did any of our Bishops attempt to Exercise it? When did a Scotish Bishop offer, e. g. to Ordain or Depose a Presbyter, without the Concurrence of other Presbyters? When was such a sole Power deem'd Necessary for Raising a Bishop to all the due Elevations of the Episcopal Authority? How easie is it to distinguish between a Sole and a Chief Power? Between a Power Superiour to all other Powers, and a Power Exclusive of all other Powers? Between a Power, without, or against which, no other Powers can Act; thô they may, in Conjunction with it, or Subordination to it: And a Power, destroying all other Powers, or disabling them from Acting? Once more, How loose and Ambiguous is that part of his Definition of a Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, in which he calls him, The Pastor of a Flock? May not a Bishop, and his Diocess, be called a Pastor and a Flock, in as great propriety of Speech, as a Presbyterian Minister and his Parish? Sure I am, St. Cyprian and his Contemporaries thought so, as you may learn hereafter.

How easie were it, I say, for one to insist on such Escapes, if he had a mind for it? But I love not Jangle; and I must avoid Prolixity: And therefore considering the State of the Controversie between our Author and the Apologist, and supposing he intended (however he expressed it) to speak home to the Apologist's Argument; the Force and Purpose of his Answer, as I take it, must be this.

That an Argument drawn from such as were called Bishops in St. Cyprian's time, to such as are now so called in Scotland, is not good. That a Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, was nothing like one of our modern Scotish Bishops; i. e. a Church Governour superiour to, and having a Prelatick Power over, all other Church-Governours within such a District as we commonly call a Diocess. That a Bishop then was no more than a Single Presbyter, or Pastor of a single Flock, (such a Flock as could conveniently meet together in one Assembly, for the Publick Offices of Religion; such a Flock as the People of one single Parish are, in the modern Presbyterian Notion of a Parish,) acting in Parity with other single Pastors of other single Flocks or Parishes. Or, at most, That he was but the Moderator of a Presbytery, taking both Terms in the modern current Presbyterian Sense; i. e. as Moderator signfies One, who, as such, is no Church Governour, nor hath any Jurisdiction over his Brethren: One, whose Power is meerly Ordinative, not Decisive; To be the Mouth of the Meeting, not to be their Will or Commanding Faculty: To keep Order in the Manner and Managing of what cometh before them; Not to Determine what is Debated amongst them. And as Presbytery signifies such a Number of Teaching and Ruling Presbyters living and having their Cures within such a District; meeting together upon Occasion, and acting in Parity in the Administration of the Government, and Discipline of the Church. That therefore our Scotish Presbyterians cannot be called Schismaticks in St. Cyprian's Notion of Schism, unless it can be proved, That they Separate from their Pastor, or Teaching Presbyter, who has such a Parish assigned to him for his Charge: Or, (not from the Moderator of the Presbytery, who is not; but) from the Presbytery (which is the Principle of Unity) with their Moderator.

This, I say, I take to be the Purpose of our Author's Answer to the Apologist's Argument; on the Force whereof he ventures his Parties being, or not being, Schismaticks. If I have mistaken his Meaning, I protest I have not done it wilfully. I am pretty sure, I have not, in the Definition of a Moderator; for I have Transcribed it, Word for Word, from one whom I take to be a dear Friend of his, intirely of the same Principles and Sentiments with him; and whose Definitions, I am apt to think, he will not readily Reject. I mean, the Author of The Vindication of the Church of Scotland, in Answer to the Ten Questions. And doth not our Author himself, in this same 39th Section, (part whereof I am now considering,) affirm, That Fifty Years before the first Council of Nice, (i. e. some 17 or 18 Years after St. Cyprian's Martyrdom,) the Hierarchy was not in the Church? And that however some of the Names might have been, yet the Church-Power and Dominion, signified by them, was not then in Being? Plainly importing, that the Church then was Governed by Pastors acting in Parity, after the Presbyterian Model. In short, what our Author hath said, when duly considered, will be found to be no Answer at all to the Apologist's Argument, if it is not to be understood in the Sense I have represented.

Taking it for granted, therefore, that I have hit his Meaning, I hope you will not deny, that, If I shall prove that a Bishop, in Cyprian's time, was more than a Pastor of a Flock, or the Moderator of a Presbytery, in the Presbyterian Sense of the Terms: If I shall prove, that a Bishop then had really that which cannot be denied to have been true, Genuine Episcopal or Prelatick Power: If I can prove, that he acted in a Real Superiority over, not in Parity with other Church-Governours, even Pastors: If I shall prove these Things, I say, I hope you'l grant, our Author is fairly bound by his Word to acknowledge, that he and his Brethren Presbyterians are Schismaticks. Let us try it then: And now, Sir,

Before I come to my main Proofs, consider if it may not be deemed a shrewd Presumption against our Author in this matter, That generally the great Champions for Presbytery, such as Chamber, Blondel, Salmasius, the Provincial Assembly of London, &c. do ingenuously acknowledge, That, long before St. Cyprian's time, Episcopacy was in the Church; even Spanhemius himself grants, That, in the Third Century, Bishops had a manifest Preheminence above Presbyters and Deacons, and a Right of Presiding, Convocating, Ordaining, &c. By the way: I have cited this Writer particularly, because our Author not only builds much on his Authority, but honours him with the great Character of being That diligent Searcher into Antiquity. How deservedly, let others judge; for my part, I cannot think he has been so very diligent a Searcher: For in that same very Section, in which he acknowledges the Episcopal Preheminence in the Third Century, he says expresly, That, in that Age, there were no Door-Keepers, Acolyths, nor Exorcists. And yet I not only find express mention of Exorcism in the Venerable Council of Carthage, in which St. Cyprian was Praeses; But both Cyprian and Firmilian expresly mention Exarcists. And as for Acolyths, how often do we find them mentioned in Cyprian's Epistles? E. g. We have Narious an Acolyth, Ep. 7. Favorinus, Ep. 34. Nicephorus, Ep. 45. Saturnus, and Felicianus, Ep. 59. Lucanus, Maximus, and Amantius, Ep. 77. And doth not Corneius Bishop of Rome, in his famous Epistle to Fabius Bishop of Antioch, Recorded by Eusebius, positively affirm, That there were then in the Church of Rome 42 Acolyths, and 52 Exorcists, Lectors, and Door-keepers? But this, as I said, only by the way.

That which I am concerned about at present, is, That when these great Patrons of Presbytery, these truly Learned Men, whom I named, have all so frankly yielded, that there was real Prelacy in the Church in, and before, St. Cyprian's time; yet our Author should affirm, so boldly, that there was no such Thing: That there was no Hierarchy in the Church then, nor for many Years after. Has our Author been a more diligent Searcher into Antiquity, than thosegreat Antiquaries were, that he was thus able to contradict their Discoveries? I am not apt to believe it. However, as I said, let this pass only for a Presumption against him. I proceed to other Arguments. And,

1. I observe, that, in St. Cyprian's time, every Church all the World over, at least, every Church, Constituted and Organized, according to the Principles which then prevailed, had a Bishop, Presbyters, and Deacons, by whom she was Ruled.

Thus, for Example, we find express Mention of the Bishop, Presbyters, and Deacons, of the Church of Adrymetum; for Cyprian tells Corneius, That when He and Liberalis came to that City, Polycarpus the Bishop was absent, and the Presbyters and Deacons were ignorant of what had been Resolved on by the Body of the African Bishops, about writing to the Church of Rome, till the Controversie between Cornelius and Novatianus should be more fully understood.

Thus Cyprian was Bishop of Carthage, and at the same time there were, in that City, 8 Presbyters at sewest: For we read of three, Rogatianus, Britius, and Numidicus, who adhered to him. And five who took part with Felicissimus against him, when that Deacon made his Schism. I hope I need not be at pains to prove, that there were Deacons then in that famous Church.

Thus Cornelius, in the afore-mentioned Epistle to Fabius, tells him, That while himself was Bishop of Rome, there were in that City no fewer than 46 Presbyters, and 7 Deacons, &c. A most flourishing Clergy, as St. Cyprian calls it. Whoso pleases, may see the like Account of the Church of Alexandria, in the same Times, in Eusebius, Indeed,

If we may believe St. Cyprian, there was no Church then without a Bishop: For from this Supposition, as an uncontroverted Matter of Fact, he Reasons against Novatianus. His Argument is, That there is but One Church, and One Episcopacy, all the World over; and that Catholick and Orthodox Bishops were regularly planted in every Province and City, and therefore Novatianus could not but be a Schismatick, who, contrary to Divine Institution, and the Fundamental Laws of Unity, laboured to super-induce false Bishops into these Cities, where True and Orthodox Bishops were already planted. And he Reasons again upon the same Supposition, in the beginning of his 63d Epistle directed to Caecilius, concerning the Cup in the Eucharist. From this Supposition, I say, as from an uncontested Matter of Fact, he Reasons, in both Cases, which is a Demonstration, not only of the Credibility of his Testimony, but that the Matter of Fact was then so Notorious, as to be undeniable. He Reason'd from it, as from an acknowledged Postulate.

2. I observe, that the Presbyters, who, in these Times, were contra-distinguished from the Bishop and Deacons, were Priests, in the Language which was then current; Pastors, in the present Presbyterian Dialect, i. e. not Ruling Elders, but such as laboured in the Word and Sacraments. They were such as were honoured with the Divine Priesthood; such as were Constituted in the Clerical Ministery; such as whose Work it was to attend the Altar and the Sacrifices, and offer up the Publick Prayers, &c. as we find in the Instance of Geminius Faustinus. Such as God, in his merciful Providence, was pleased to raise to the Glorious Station of the Priesthood; as in the Case of Numidicus. Such as in the time of Persecution went to the Prisons, and gave the Holy Eucharist to the Confessors. Such as at Carthage (as St. Cyprian complains to Cornelius) presumed to curtail the Pennances of the Lapsers, and gave them the Holy Sacrament while their Idolatry was so very recent, that, as it were, their Hands and Mouths were still a smoaking with the warm Nidors of the Sacrifices that had been offered upon the Devils Altars. Such as, contrary to all Rule and Order, absolved the Lapsers, and gave them the Communion, without the Bishops Licence. Such as were joyned with the Bishop in the Sacerdotal Honour. In a word, They were such Presbyters as St. Cyprian describes to Stephen Bishop of Rome; such as sometimes raised Altar against Altar, and (out of the Communion with the Church) offered False and Sacrilegious Sacrifices: Such as were to be Deposed when they did so; such as, thô they should return to the Communion of the Church, were only to be admited to LAY-COMMUNION, and not to be allowed, thereafter, to act as Men in Holy Orders; seeing it became the PRIESTS and Ministers of God, those who attend the Altar and Sacrifices, to be Men of Integrity, and Blameless.

Such Presbyters they were, I say, who were then, contra-distinguished from the Bishop: For, as for your LayElders, your Ruling, contra-distinct from Teaching, Presbyters, now so much in vogue; there is as profound a Silence of them in St. Cyprian's Works and Time, as there is of the Solemn League and Covenant, or The Sanquhar Declaration: And yet, considering how much he has left upon Record about the Governours, the Government, and the Discipline of the Church, if there had been such Presbyters, then, it is next to a Miracle that he should not, so much as once, have mentioned them.

3. I observe, that the Bishops Power, his Authority, his Pastoral Relation, (call it as you will,) extended to all the Christians within his District. E. g. Cornelius was immediately and directly Superiour to all the Christians in Rome, and they were his Subjects. So it was also with Fabius, and the Christians of Antioch; Dionysius, and the Christians of Alexandria; Cyprian, and the Christians of Carthage, &c. The Bishops prelation, whatever it was, related not solely to the Clergy, or solely to the Laity, but to both, equally and formally. How fully might this Point be proved, if it were needful? Indeed, St. Cyprian defines a Church to be A People united to their Priest, and A Flock adhering to their Pastor. And that by the Terms Priest and Pastor, he meant the Bishop, is plain from what immediately follows; for he tells Florentius Pupianus there, That from that common and received Notion of a Church, he ought to have learned, That the Bishop is in the Church, and the Church in the Bishop; and that whoso is not with the Bishop, is not in the Church. And in that same Epistle, chastising the same Florentius for calling his Title to his Bishoprick in question, and speaking bitter Things against him, he Reasons thus: What Swelling of Pride? What Arrogance of Spirit? What Haughtiness is this?

That thou shouldest arraign Bishops before thy Tribunal? And unless we be Purged by thee, and Absolved by thy Sentence, Lo! these Six Years, The BROTHERHOOD has had no BISHOP; The PEOPLE no RULER; The FLOCK no PASTOR; The CHURCH no GOVERNOUR; CHRIST no PRELATE; And GOD no PRIEST? In short, He that bore the high Character of Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, was called the Ruler of the Church by way of Eminence. The Church was compared to a Ship, and the Bishop was the Master. He was the Father, and all the Christians within his District were his Children. He was the Governour, the Rector, the Captain, the Head, the Judge, of all within his Diocess. He was the chief Pastor; and thô Presbyters; were also sometimes called Pastors, yet it was but seldom; and, at best, they were but such in Subordination, Indeed, the Presbyters of the Church of Rome, during the Vacancy between Fabianus his Death and Cornelius his Pro+motion, look'd only on themselves as Vice-Pastors, saying, That, in such a juncture, they kept the Flock in STEAD of the Pastor, the Bishop. I could give you even a Surfeit of Evidence, I say, for the Truth of this Proposition, if it were needful. Whoso reads St. Cyprian's Epistles, may find it in almost every Page. And I shall have occasion hereafter to insist on many Arguments in the Probation of other Things, which may further clear this also. Indeed, there is no more in all this, than Ignatius said frequently, near 150 Years before St. Cyprian.

And now, Sir, thô the Monuments of the Cyprianic Age could afford us no more than these three Things which I have proved from them, they would be of sufficient force to overthrow our Author's Definition of a Bishop in St. Cyprian's time, as to both Parts of it; and demonstrate to every thinking Man's conviction, That he was neither The Pastor of the Flock, nor The Moderator of a Presbytery, in our Author's sense of the Terms.

1. Not the Pastor of a Flock, i. e. a single Presbyter, having the Charge of a single Parish, after the Presbyterian Model: For, a Bishop, in those Times, had many such Presbyters under him. Cyprian himself: (whatever he had more) had no sewer than Eight under him in the City of Carthage, besides the adjacent Villages. Cornelius was over Forty six in the City of Rome. I know not how many Dionysius was over at Alexandria, or Polycarpus at Adeumetum but it is certain, they were in the Plural Number. So it was all the Christian World over, as I have proved. A Bishop then, in St. Cyprian's time, was a Pastor indeed, but it was of a Diocess; i. e: all the Christians within such a District were his Flock; and he had a direct, formal, and immediate Pastoral Relation to them all, thô at the same time, within the same District, there were many inferior Pastors who were subordinate and subject to him.

2. He was as little a meer Moderator of a Presbytery, in our Author's sense of the Terms. A Presbyterian Moderator, as such, is no Church Governour at all: A Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, as such, was Chief Pastor, Judge, Head, Master, Rector, Governour, of all the Christians within his District. A Presbyterian Moderator, as such, has no direct, immediate, formal Relation to the People, but only to the Presbytery. He is the Mouth, and keeps Order in the manner and managing of the Affairs of the Presbytery, not of the Church, or rather Churches, within the Bounds of that Presbytery. But a Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, was quite another thing: His Prelacy, whatever it was, related to the Laity, as well as to the Clergy. St. Cyprian's, e. g. to as many Christians as required the subordinate Labours of, at least, Eight Presbyters: Cornelius's to as many as required the subordinate Labours of Forty Six: To a Body of Christians, in which, besides Forty six Presbyters, Seven Deacons, Seven Sub-Deacons, Forty two Acolyths, Fifty two Exorcists, Lectors and Door-keepers, there were more than Fifteen hundred Widows and poor People who subsisted by Charity: And, besides all these, a mighty and innumerable Laity, as himself words it. These Things, I say, might be sufficient in all Reason to confute our Author's Notion. But then, this is not all, for let us consider,

II. How a Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, was Promoted to his Chair, to that sublime Top of the Priesthood (as he calls it). And we shall easily collect another Demonstration against our Author's Notion. For, by the Principles of those Times, it was plains,

I. That there could be no Lawful nor Allowable Promotion of One to a Bishoprick which had been Possessed before, unless there was a Clear, Canonical, and Unquestionable Vacancy. It was a received Maxim then, That there could be but one Bishop at once in a Church. When a See was once Canonically filled, whosoever else pretended to be Bishop of that See, was not a second Bishop, but none at all, in St. Cyprian's Judgment. Nay, he was so far from reckoning of him as another Bishop, that he deemed him not a Christian. Innumerable are his Testimonies to this purpose. But I shall Transcribe only One from Ep. 69. because he fully reasons the Case in it. There was a Controversie between Cornelius and Novatianus, whether was Bishop of Rome. Now, consider how St. Cyprian decides it. The Church is one (says he); and this one Chuch cannot be both within and without: If, therefore, the True Church is with Novatianus, She was not with Cornelius. But if She was with Cornelius, who succeeded to Bishop Fabianus by lawful Ordination, and whom God honoured with Martyrdom, as well as with the Episcopal Dignity, Novatianus is not in the Church; nor can he be acknowledged as a Bishop, who, contemning the Evangelical and Apostolical Tradition, and succeeding to none, hath sprung from himself, He can by no means either have or hold a Church, who is not Ordained in the Church; for the Church cannot be without Herself, nor divided against Herself, &c. And a little after, Our Lord recommending to us the Unity which is of Divine Institution, saith, I and my Father are One; and again, Obliging the Church to keep this Unity, he saith, There shall be One Flock, and One Pastor: But if the Flock is One, How can he be reputed to be of the Flock, who is not numbred with the Flock? Or how can be he deem'd a Pastor, who (while the True Pastor lives and rules the Flock by a succedaneous Ordination) succeeds to none, but begins from himself? Such an one is an Alien, is Profane, is an Enemy to Christian Peace and Unity. He dwells not in the House of God, i. e. in the Church of God: None can dwell there but the Sons of Concord and Unanimity.

Neither was this Principle peculiar to St. Cyprian: Cornelius, in his so often mentioned Epistle to Fabius, insists on it also, and in a manner Ridicules Novatianus, if not for his Ignorance of it, at least for entertaining the vain Conceit, that it was in his Power to counter-act it. And when Maximus, Urbanus, Sidonius, Macarius, &c. deserted Novatianus, and returned to Cornelius his Communion, they made a Solemn Confession, That, upon the score of that same common Maxim, they ought to have look'd upon Novatianus as a False and Schismatical Bishop. We know, say they, that Cornelius was chosen Bishop of the most Holy Catholick Church by the Omnipotent God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. We confess our Error; we were imposed upon; we were circumvented by Perfidy and Ensnaring Sophistry--For we are not ignorant, That there is One God; One Christ our Lord, whom we have confessed; One Holy-Ghost; And that there ought to be but One Bishop in a Catholick Church. Indeed, two Bishops at once, of one Church or City, were then thought as great an Absurdity as two Fathers of one Child, or two Husbands of one Wife, or two Heads of one Body, or whatever else you can call Monstrous in either Nature or Morality.

2. There was no Canonical Vacancy; no Place for a new Bishop, but where the One Bishop, whose the Chair had been, was Dead, or had Ceded, or was Canonically Deposed by the rest of the Members of the Episcopal College. Vacancy by Death hath no Difficulties. I don't remember to have observed any Instances of Cession in St. Cyprian's time; (thô there were some before, and many after;) Unless it was in the Case of Basilides, who, after he had forfeited his Title to that Sacred Dignity by being guilty of the dreadful Crimes of Idolatry and Blasphemy, is said to have Laid it down, and to have confessed, That he should be favourably dealt by, if thereafter he should be admitted to the Communion of Laicks. We have Instances of Deposition in the same Basilides and Martialis, in Marcianus, Privatus Lambesitanus, Evaristus, Fortunatianus, and perhaps some more. However, these Three, I say, were the only Causes in which there could be a Lawful Vacancy.

3. When a See was thus Canonically vacant, it was filled after this manner: The Bishops of the Province, in which the Vacancy was, met, choosed and ordained One in the presence of the People whom he was to Govern. This St. Cyprian, with other 36 Bishops, tells us, was of Divine Institution, and Apostolical Observation; And that it was the common Form, not only in Africa, but almost in every Province all the World over. I know, 'tis controverted whether a Bishop, in those Times, was Chosen by the People, or only in the presence of the People? But my present purpose doth not engage me in that Controversie.

4. But Election was not enough: Thô the Person elected was already a Presbyter, and in Priestly Order; yet when he was to be Promoted to a Bishoprick, he was to receive a new Imposition of Hands, a new Ordination. His former Orders were not sufficient for that Supreme Office. Thus, e. g. St. Cyprian was first a Presbyter, and then Ordained Bishop of Carthage, if we may believe his Deacon Pontius, Eusebius, and St. Ierome. Thus our Holy Martyr tells us, That Cornelius had made his Advances, gradually, through all the inferior Stations, and so, no doubt, had been a Presbyter, before he was a Bishop. And yet we find, when he was Promoted to the See of Rome, he was Ordained by 16 Bishops. Thus we find also, in the Promotion of Sabinus to the Bishoprick from which Basilides had fallen, that he was Ordained by the Imposition of the Hands of the Bishops who were then present at his Election. Thus Fortunatus, Achimnius, Optatus, Privationus, Donatulus, and Felix, 6 Bishops, Ordained a Bishop at Capsis. Thus Heraclus was first a Presbyter under Demetrius, in the Church of Alexandria, and then succeeded to him in the Episcopal Chair. Dionysius was first a Presbyter under Heraclas, and then succeeded to him. And Maximus, who had been a Presbyter under him, succeeded, to Dionysius. And before all these, some 70 Years before St. Cyprian's time, Irenaeus was first a Presbyter under Photinus, and afterwards his Successor in the Bishoprick of Lions. Nor is it to be doubted, that each of these was Raised to the Episcopal Dignity by a new Ordination. The first of the Canons, commonly called Apostolical, which requires, That a Bishop be Ordained by two or three Bishops, was, doubtless, all along observed. Nay, this Necessity of a new Ordination for Raising One to the Episcopal Power, was so Notorious and Received then, that the Schismaticks themselves believed it indispensible. And therefore Novatianus, thô formerly a Presbyter, (as Cornelius tells expresly in that so often cited Epistle to Fabius,) when he Rival'd it with Cornelius for the Chair of Rome, that he might have the shew, at least, of a Canonical Ordination, he got three simple inconsiderate Bishops to come to the City, upon pretence of Consulting with other Bishops about setlingthe Commotions of the Church: And having them once in his Clutches, he shut them up under Lock and Key, till they were put in a scandalous Disorder, and then forced them to give him the Episcopal Mission, by an imaginary and vain Imposition of Hands, as Cornelius words it. Thus also, when Fortunatus, One of the Five Presbyters who joyned with the Schismatical Felicissumus against St. Cyprian, turned bold to set up as an Anti-Bishop at Carthage; He was Ordained by Five false Bishops. And now, Sir, by this Account, I think we have our Author's Definition of a Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, fairly routed a second time: For,

How could the Maxim of but One Bishop, at once, in a Church hold, if that Bishop was nothing but a single Presbyter? The Church of Rome was but One Church; so was the Church of Carthage: And yet, in each of these Churches, there were many single Presbyters. Again,

If a Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, was no more than a single Presbyter, in the Presbyterian Sense, what needed so much work about him? Why, e. g. convene all the Presbyters of a Province, such as Africa or Numidia was, for the Election and Ordination of a single Presbyter in Carthage, where there were Presbyters more than enough to have performed all the Business? What needed the Church of Rome to make such work about supplying such a Vacancy as was there, before Cornelius was Promoted? Why a Convention of Sixteen Neighbouring Bishops to give him Holy Orders? Might not the Forty Six, who lived in Rome, have served the turn? Might not these Forty Six, I say, have filled Fabianus his Room with far greater Ease and Expedition? If they made such work, and had such Difficulties, (as we find they had about a Bishop,) in setling One single Brother Presbyter, when, according to our Author's Principles, they had the full Power of doing it, what had become of them, if Thirty, nay Twenty, nay Ten of the Forty six, had all died in one Year? Sure, they had never got so many Vacancies filled. And then,

Were not Cornelius and Novatianus Presbyters of Rome, before the former was the True, and the latter the False Bishop of that City? If so, what need of a new Election, and a new Ordination for making them Presbyters of a Church, of which they were Presbyters already? Had it not been pretty pleasant, in such a grave, serious, persecuted State of the Church, to have seen two eminent Men, already Presbyters of Rome, making so much work about being made Presbyters of Rome? And all the Clergy and Christians of Rome, nay sooner or later, of all the Christian World, engaged in the Quarrel? What had this been other than the very Mystery of Ridiculousness? But this is not all.

The Premisses will as little allow him to have been a Presbyterian Moderator: For, to what purpose so much ado about the Establishment of a meer Moderator of a Presbytery? Why, so much stress laid upon only one Moderator in a City? Why no Canonical Vacancy of his Moderatorial Chair, unless in the case of Death, Cession, or Forfeiture? Sure, if they had then understood all the Exigencies and Analogies of Parity, they would not have been so much in love with a constant Moderator; no, they would have judged him highly inconvenient, and by all means to be shunned: If he had been imposed on the Meeting, it had been an Encroachment on their Intrinsick Power; and so, absolutely unlawful, and Prelacy: And thò Chosen by themselves, fatal; as having a violent Tendency to Lordly Prelacy: And therefore they could never have yielded to have One with a Good Conscience. Again,

How often did the Presbytery of Rome meet, in the Interval between Fabianus his Death, and Cornelius his Promotion? How many excellent Epistles did they write to the Neighbouring Bishops and Churches, and these, about the most weighty and important Matters during that Vacancy? They wrote that which is the Eighth in Number, amongst St. Cyprian's Epistles to the Carthaginian Clergy, and, at the same time, One to St. Cyprian, then in his Retirement, which is lost, They wrote that notable Epistle, which is the Thirtieth in Number, in which they not only mention other of their Epistles which they had wrote to St. Cyprian, and which are not now extant; but also Epistles, one or more, which they had sent to Sicily. They wrote also that considerable Epistle, which is in Number the Thirty sixth. It is not to be doubted that they wrote many more. How many Meetings and Consultations had they, during these Sixteen Months, about the Affairs of the Church, and particularly, the Case of the Lapsi, which was then so much agitated? Is it probable, that they wanted a Moderator; a Mouth of their Meeting; One to keep Order in the manner and managing of the Affairs were brought before them all that time, and in all those Meetings? How could they, without one, handle Matters with Order and Decency? And what was there to hinder them from having one, if they had a mind for him? Might they not have chosen one as safely as they met? Might they not have chosen one at every Meeting, according to the Principles of Parity? Farther:

What need of so much Parade about the Election of a Moderator of a Presbytery, as was then about the Election of a Bishop? Why the People chose him, according to the Principles of those, who think that St. Cyprian was for Popular Elections? What was the People's Interest? How was it their Concern, who was Moderator of the Presbytery? What was his Influence, De jure, at least, in the Government of the Church, more than the Influence of any other Member of the Presbytery? Nay, is it not confessed, that, as Moderator, he was no Church-Governour at all? That he had no Jurisdiction over his Brethren? That his Power was only Ordinative, not Decisive? To be the Mouth of the Meeting, not to be their Will, or Commanding Faculty? To keep Order in the Manner and Managing of what came before them, not to determine what was Debated amongst them? Why then were the People so much concern'd about him? What Benefits, or what Harm, could redound to them by ones being Moderator of the Presbytery, whatever he was? Besides, as I have shewed before, as Moderator of the Presbytery, he had relation only to the Presbytery: At least, he had none directly, immediately, and formally to the People. What pretence, then, could the People have to Interest themselves in his Election? Nay, say, (as I am apt to think it ought to be said, I am sure the contrary cannot be made appear from St. Cyprian,) that he was not chosen by the People, but only in their Presence; and the same Argument will take place, as is obvious to any body. Farther yet.

What need of Convocating so many from the Neighbourhood for managing the Election of a Moderator, E. g. for the Presbytery of Rome? If a Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, was nothing but a Presbyterian Moderator, then the Bishops convocated for managing the Election of a Moderator, were Moderators too: And so, by consequence, Sixteen Moderators of other Presbyteries met at Rome to constitute a Moderator for the Roman Presbytery. And might not the Presbytery of Rome have chosen their own Moderator without the Trouble or the Inspection of so many Moderators of other Presbyteries? Once more.

What Necessity, nay, what Congruity, of a new Imposition of Hands, of a new Ordination, a new Mission for constituting One a Moderator of a Presbytery? And this too, to be performed by none but Moderators of other Presbyteries? Thus, e. g. it behoved Six Moderators to meet at Capsis, to Ordain a Moderator for the Presbytery of Capsis; and Sixteen at Rome, to Ordain a Moderator for the Presbytery of Rome: And, after he was Ordained, it behoved Novatianus to be at so much pains to get together Three Moderators, to Ordain himself an Anti-Moderator. Who can think on these Things without smiling? But perhaps you may think, I have insisted on this Argument more than enough; and therefore I shall leave it, and proceed to other Considerations. To go on, then.

A Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, thus Elected, Ordained, and Possessed of his Chair, did bear a double Relation, One to the particular Church over which he was set, and another to the Church Catholick, an integrant part whereof, the particular Church, was, of which he was Bishop. The consideration of each of these Relations will furnish us with fresh Arguments against our Author's Hypothesis. I shall begin with the Relation he bore to his own particular Church. And,

FIRST: The first Thing I observe about him, in that regard, shall be, That he was the Principle of Unity to Her. Whosoever adhered to him, and lived in his Communion, was in the Church a Catholick Christian. Whosoever separated from him, was out of the Church, and a Schismatick. He was the Head of all the Christians living within his District; and they were One Body, One Society, One Church, by depending upon him, by being subject to him, by keeping to his Communion. He was the Sun, and they were the Beams; he was the Root, and they were the Branches; he was the Fountain, and they were the Streams; As St. Cyprian explains the Matter. This is a Point of great Consequence, especially considering that it is the Foundation of the Apologist's Argument, our Author's Answer to which I am examining: and therefore, give me leave to handle it somewhat fully. And I proceed by these Steps.

I. There was nothing St. Cyprian and the Catholick Bishops, his Contemporaries, valued more, reckoned of higher Importance, or laid greater Stress upon, than the Unity of the Church: And there was no Sin they represented at more Heinous, or more Criminal, than the Sin of Schism.

In their reckoning, Unity was the great Badge of Christianity; God heard the Prayers that were put up in Unity, but not those that were performed in Schism. Christian Peace, Brotherly Concord, and the Unity of People in the true Faith and Worship of God, was accounted of greater value by them, than all other imaginable Sacrifices. Nothing afforded greater Pleasure to the Angels in Heaven, than Harmony amongst Christians on Earth. It were easie to collect a thousand such Testimonies concerning the Excellency of Unity. But as for Schism, and Schismaticks, how may it make Men's Hearts to tremble, when they hear what hard Names, and what horrid Notions, these Primitive Worthies gave them, and had of them? Schism, to them, was the Devil's Device for subverting the Faith, corrupting the Truth, and cutting Unity. Christ instituted the Church, and the Devil Heresie, or Schism; for both, then, went commonly under one Name. Schism was reckoned a greater Crime than Idolatry it self: And St. Cyprian proves it by several Arguments. Firmilian affirms it also. So doth Dionysius of Alexandria, in his notable Epistle to Novatianus. He tells him, He ought to have suffered the greatest Miseries, rather than divide the Church of God: That Martyrdom, for the Preservation of Unity, was as Glorious, as Martyrdom for not Sacrificing to Idols: Nay, more, Because he who Suffers rather than he will Sacrifice, Suffers only for saving his own Soul; But he that Suffers for Unity, Suffers for the whole Church. Schismaticks had not the Spirit; Were forsaken of the Spirit; Held not the Faith, Had neither Father, Son, nor Holy-Ghost. They were Renegadoes; Apostates; Malignants; Parricides; Anti-Christs; False Christs; Christ's Enemies; Blasphemers; The Devil's Priests; Retainers to Corah; Retainers to Iudas; Villainous and Perfidious; Aliens, Profane, Enemies; Were without Hope; Had no Right to the Promises; Could not be saved; Were Infidels; Worse than Heathens; Self-Condemned; were no more Christians than the Devil; Could but belong to Christ; Could not go to Heaven; The hottest part of Hell their Portion; Their Society, the Synagogue of Satan; Their Conventicles, Dens of Thieves; They were Destroyers of Souls; Their Preaching was poysonous; Their Baptism pestiferous, and profane; Their Sacrifices abominable; They could not be Martyrs; Their Company was to be avoided: Whoso befriended them, were Persecutors of the Truth; Were Betrayers of Christ's Spouse to Adulterers; Were Betrayers of Unity; Were involved in the some Guilt with them. In short, Schismaticks, by being such, were, Ipso facto, Persecutors of the Church, Enemies of Mercy, Infatuated Salt, and Cursed of God.

Such, I say, were the Notions the Holy Fathers, in those early Times of the Church, had of Schismaticks; and such were the Names they gave them. And certainly whoso seriously considers how much Schism is condemned in Holy Writ; what an Enemy it is to the Peace, the Power, and the Propagation of Christianity; and how much it stands in opposition to the Holy, Humble, Peaceable, Patient, Meek, and Charitable Spirit of the Gospel: Whoso considers, that our Blessed Savious's great Errand into the World, was to Unite all his Disciples here into one Body, and one Communion, that they might Eternally be Blessed in the full Enjoyment of one Communion with the Father, Son, and Holy-Ghost, in Heaven hereafter: Whoso, I say, considers these Things, cannot but confess, that Schism and Schismaticks deserve all these hard Names, and answer all these terrible Notions. Now

2. That, for the Preservation of Unity, and the Preventing of Schism, in every particular Church, all were bound by the Principles of St. Cyprian's Age to live in the Bishops Communion; and to own and look upon him as the Principle of Unity to that Church of which he was Head and Ruler, might be made appear from a vast Train of Testimonies.

But I shall content myself with a few. Thus, for Example, when some of the Lapsed presumed to write to St. Cyprian, and design themselves, without a Bishop, by the Name of a Church; How did the Holy Man resent it? Consider how he begins his Answer to them. Our Lord, (says he) whose Precepts we ought to Honour and Obey, Instituting the Honour of a Bishop, and the Contexture of a Church, saith thus to Peter in the Gospel; I say unto thee, thou art Peter, and upon this Rock will I build my Church, and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it: And I will give unto thee the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, &c. From thence by the Vicissitudes of Times and Successions, the Ordination of Bishops, and the Frame of the Church, are transmitted so, as that the Church is built upon the Bishops, and all her Affairs are ordered by them as the chief Rulers: And therefore, seeing this is God's appointment, I cannot but admire the bold Temerity of some, who, writing to me, call themselves a Church; when a Church is only to be found in the Bishop, the Clergy, and the faithful Christians. God forbid, that a number of Lapsed should be called a Church, &c. Consider how he Reasons. By Divine Institution, there cannot be a Church without a Bishop: The Church is founded on the Bishop: The Bishop, as Chief Ruler, orders all the Affairs of the Church: Therefore, those Lapsed ought not to have called themselves a Church, seeing they had no Bishop, no Principle of Unity. We have another notable Reasoning, as well as Testimony of his, in his 43d Epistle, written to his People of Carthage upon the breaking out of Felicissimus his Schism. God is One, (says he) and Christ is One, and the Church is One, and the Chair is One, be our Lord's own Voice, founded on St. Peter. Another Altar cannot be reared, another Priesthood cannot be erected, besides the One Altar, and the One Priesthood. Whoso gathereth elsewhere, scattereth. Whatever Human Fury institutes, against God's Appointment, is Adulterous, is Impious, is Sacrilegious. And a little after: O Brethren! Let no Man make you wander from the Ways of the Lord: O Christians! Let no Man rend you from the Gospel of Christ: Let no Man tear the Sons of the Church from the Church: Let them perish alone, who will needs perish: Let them abide alone out of the Church, who have departed from the Church: Let them, alone, not be with the Bishops, who have Rebelled against the Bishops, &c. And, as I observed before, in his Epistle to Florentinus Pupianus, he defines a Church to be a People united to their Priest, and a Flock adhering to their Pastor, &c. and from thence tells Pupianus, That he ought to consider, that the Bishop is in the Church, and the Church in the Bishop: So that if any are not with the Bishop, they are not in the Church. And how concernedly doth he Reason the Case in his Book of the Unity of the Church? Can he seem to himself, says he, to be with Christ, who is against Christ's Priests? Who separates himself from the Society of Christ's Clergy and People? That Man bears Arms against the Church: He fights against God's Ordinance: He is an Enemy of the Altar: A Rebel against Christ's Sacrifice. He is Perfidious, and not Faithful; Sacrilegious, and not Religious. He is an Undutiful Servant, and Impious Son, an Hostile Brother, who can contemn God's Bishops, and forsake his Priests, and dares to set up another Altar, and offer up unlawful Prayers, &c. Indeed, in that same Book he calls the Bishop, The Glue that cements Christians into the solid Unity of the Church. And hence it is,

3. That St. Cyprian, every where, makes the Contempt of the one Bishop, or Undutifulness to him, the Origine of Schisms and Heresies. Thus, Epist. 3. he makes this Observation upon the Undutifulness of a certain Deacon to Rogatianus, his Bishop; That such are the first Efforts of Hereticks, and the Out-breaking and Presumptions of ill advised Schismaticks: They follow their own Fancies, and, in the Pride of their Hearts, contemn their Superiours. So Men separate from the Church: So they Erect profane Altars without the Church: So they Rebel against Christian Peace, and Divine Order and Unity. And, Ep. 59. he tells Cornelius, That Heresies and Schisms spring from this only Fountain, That God's Priest (the Bishop) is not obeyed; And Men don't consider, that, at the same time, there ought to be only One Bishop, only One Judge, as Christ's Vicar, in a Church. And Ep. 66. to Florentius Pupianus, That from hence Heresies and Schisms have hitherto sprung, and do daily spring; That the Bishop, who is One, and is set over the Church, is contemned by the proud Presumption of some: And he that is honoured of God, is dishonoured by Men. And a little after, he tells him, (alluding clearly to the Monarchical Power of Bishops) That Bees have a King; and Beasts have a Captain; and Robbers, with all humility, obey their Commander: And from thence he concludes, how unreasonable it must be for Christians not to pay suitable Regards to their Bishops. And in another place, Then is the Bond of our Lord's Peace broken; then is Brotherly Charity violated; then is the Truth adulterated, and Unity divided; then Men leap out into Heresies and Schisms: When? When the Priests are controlled; when the Bishops are envied; when one grudges that himself was not rather preferred; or disdains to bear with a Superiour. Indeed,

4. By the Principles of those Times, the Bishop was so much the Principle of Unity to the Church which he Governed; the whole Society had such a Dependance on him, was so Vircuaily in him, and represented by him; that what he did, as Bishop, was reputed the Deed of the whole Church which he Ruled. If he was Oxthodox and Catholick, so was the Body united to him reckoned to be. If Heretical or Schismatical, it went under the same Denomination. If he denied the Faith, whoso adhered to him, after that, were reputed to have denied it. If he confessed the Faith, the whole Church was reckoned to have confessed it in him Thus,

We find, when Martialis and Basilides, two Spanish Bishops, committed Idolatry, and so forfeited their Bishopricks, and yet some of their People inclined to continue in their Communion; St. Cyprian, with other 36 Bishops, tells those People, That it behoved them not to flatter themselves, by thinking, that they could continue to Communicate with Polluted Bishops, and withal, themselves continue Pure and Unpolluted: For all that communicated with them, would be Partakers of their Guilt: And therefore, (as they go on,) a People obeying and fearing God ought to separate from Criminal Bishops, and be careful not to mix with them in their Sacrilegious Sacrifices. And again, in that same Synodical Epistle, they say, that it was a neglecting of Divine Discipline, and an Unaccountable Rashness to Communicate with Martialis and Basilides: For whosoever joyned with them in their Unlawful Communions, were Polluted by the Contagion of their Guilt: And whosoever were Partakers with them in the Crime, would not be separated from them in the Punishment. Indeed, this is the great Purpose of that 67th Epistle; as also of the 68th concerning Marcianus, who, by Communicating with Novatianus, had rendred his own Communion Infectious and Abominable.

On the other hand, when Cornelius Bishop of Rome confessed the Faith before the Heathen Persecutors, St. Cyprian says, the whole Roman Church confessed. And when Cyprian himself, having confessed, received the Sentence of Death; being then at Utica, he wrote to his Presbyters, Deacons, and People, at Carthage, telling them how earnest he was to Suffer at Carthage; Because, as he Reasons, it was most Congruous and Becoming, That a Bishop should confess Christ, in that City, in which he Ruled Christ's Church; That, by confessing in their Presence, they might be all Ennobled: For whatever, says he, in the moment of Confession, the Confessing Bishop speaks, GOD assisting him, he speaks with the MOUTH OF ALL. And he goes on, telling them, How the Honour of their Glorious Church of Carthage should be mutilated, (as he words it.) if he should Suffer at Utica; especially, considering how earnest and frequent he had been in his Prayers and Wishes, that he might, both for HIMSELF and THEM, Confess in their Presence at Carthage. And upon the same Principle it was, that he so frequently call'd his People, His Bowels, His Body, The Members of his Body: And that he affirm'd, that their Griefs were his Griefs; Their Wounds, his Wounds; Their Distresses, his Distresses, &c. Upon the same Principle it was also, that Pontius his Deacon, having accounted how our Holy Martyr was executed, in presence of the People, falls out into this Rapture: O blessed People of the Church of Carthage, that Suffered together with such a Bishop, with their Eyes and Senses, and, which is more, with open Voice, and was Crowned with him! For thô all could not Suffer in real Effect, according to their common Wishes, nor really be Partakers of that Glory; yet whosoever were sincerely willing to Suffer, in the sight of Christ who was looking on, and in the Hearing of their Bishop, did, in a manner, send an Embassy to Heaven, by One who was a competent Witness of their Wishes.

5. Neither was this of the Bishop's being the Principle of Unity to the Church which he govern'd a Novel Notion, newly Minted in the Cyprianic Age: For, besides that Episcopacy was generally believed, then, to be of Divine Institution; besides, that St. Cyprian still Argues upon the Supposition of a Divine Institution, as particularly, in the same very Case of the Bishops being the Principle of Unity, as may be seen in his Reasoning against the Lapsed, which I have already cited from Ep. 33. and might be more fully made appear, if it were needful. Besides these Things, I say, we have the same thing frequently insisted on by the Holy Ignatius, who was Contemporary with the Apostles, in his Genuine Epistles. Thus, for Instance, in his Epistle to the Church of Smyrna, he tells them, That that is only a firm and solid Communion which is under the Bishop, or allowed by him; and, That the Multitude ought still to be with the Bishop. Plainly importing this much at least, That there can be no True Christian Communion, unless it be in the Unity of the Church; and there can be no Communion in the Unity of the Church, in opposition to the Bishop. And, in his Epistle to the Philadelphians, These who belong to God, and Jesus Christ, are with the Bishops; and these are God's that they may live by Jesus Christ, who, forsaking their Sins, come into the Unity of the Church. And again, in that same Epistle, God doth not dwell where there is Division and Wrath: God only Pardons those, who, Repenting, joyn in the Unity of God, and in Society with the Bishops. And he has also that same very Notion, of the Bishops being so much the Principle of Unity, that, as it were, the whole Church is represented in him. Thus he tells the Ephesians, that he received their whole Body, in their Bishop Onesimus.

And in his Epistle to the Trallians, he tells them, that in Polybius their Bishop, who came to him at Smyrna, he beheld their whole Society.

6. Indeed, this Principle, of the Bishop's being the Center of Unity to his Church, was most reasonable and accountable in it self. Every particular Church is an Organiz'd Political Body; and there can be no Unity in an Organical Body, whether Natural or Political, without a Principle of Unity, on which all the Members must hang, and from which, being separated, they must cease to be Members: And who so fit for being this Principle of Unity to a Church, as he who was Pastor, Ruler, Governour, Captain, Head, Judge, Christ's Vicar, &c. in relation to that Church? This was the True Foundation of that other Maxim which I insisted on before, viz. That there could be but One Bishop, at once, in a Church? Why so? Why? Because it was Monstrous for One Body to have Two Head, for One Society to have Two Principles of Unity.

If what I have said does not satisfie you, (thô, in all conscience, it ought, it being scarcely possible to prove any thing of this Nature more demonstratively,) then be pleased only to consider the necessary Connexion that is betwixt this Principle, and that which I am next to prove; and that is,

SECONDLY, That by the Principles of those Times, a Bishop, Cononically Promoted, was Supreme in his Church; immediately subject to Jesus Christ; independent on any, unaccountable to any Earthly Ecclesiastical Superiour. There was no Universal Bishop, then, under Jesus Christ, who might be the Supreme visible Head of the Catholick visible Church. There was, indeed, an Universal Bishoprick; but it was not holden by any One single Person. There was an Unus Episcopatus; One Episcopacy, One Episcopal Office, One Bishoprick; but it was divided into many Parts; and every Bishop had his share of it assigned him, to Rule and Govern with the Plenitude of the Episcopal Authority. There was One Church all the World over, divided into many Members; and there was One Episcopacy diffused in proportion to that One Church, by the Harmonious Numeresity of many Bishops. Or, if you would have it in other words, the One Catholick Church was divided into many Precincts, Districts, or Diocesses; call them as you will: Each of those Districts had its singular Bishop; and that Bishop, within that District, had the Supreme Power. He was subordinate to none but the Great Bishop of Souls, Jesus Christ, the only Universal Bishop of the Universal Church. He was independent on, and stood collateral with all other Bishops. There's nothing more fully, or more plainly, or more frequently insisted on by St. Cyprian, than this Great Principle. I shall only give you a short view of it from him and his Contemporaries. And,

I. He lays the Foundation of it in the Parity which our Lord instituted amongst his Apostles. Christ, says he, gave Equal Power to all his Apostles when he said, As my Father hath sent me, even so I send you, Receive ye the Holy-Ghost, &c. And again, The rest of the Apostles were the same that St. Peter was, endued with an Equality of Power and Honour. Now St. Cyprian, on all occasions, makes Bishops Successors to the Apostles, as perchance I may prove fully hereafter. Thus, I say, he founds the Equality of Bishops, and, by consequence, every Bishop's Supremacy within his own Diocess. And agreeably, he Reasons most frequently. I shall only give you a few Instances.

2. Then, in that excellent Epistle to Antonianus, discoursing concerning the Case of the Lapsed, and shewing how, upon former Occasions, different Bishops had taken different Measures about restoring Penitents to the Peace of the Church, he concludes with this General Rule, That every Bishop, so long as he maintains the Bond of Concord, and preserves Catholick Unity, has Power to order the Affairs of his own Church, as he shall be accountable to God. Plainly importing, that no Bishop can give Laws to another, or call him to an Account for his Management. To the same purpose is the conclusion of his Epistle to Iubaianus, about the Baptism of Hereticks and Schismaticks. These Things, most dear Brother, says he, I have written to you, as I was able, neither prescribing to, nor imposing on any Man, seeing every Bishop hath full Power to do as he judges most fitting, &c. The same way he concludes his Epistle to Magnus, concerning that same Case of Baptism performed by Hereticks. To the same purpose is the whole Strain of his Epistle to Florentius Pupianus. And what can be more clear, or full, than his excellent Discourse at the opening of the Council of Carthage, Anno 256? More than Eighty Bishops met, to determine concerning that same matter of Baptism administred by Hereticks or Schismaticks. St. Cyprian was Praeses; and having briefly represented to them the Occasion of their Meeting, he spoke to them thus: it remains now, that each of us speak his sense freely, judging no Man, refusing our Communion to no Man, thô he should dissent from us: For none of us costitutes himself Bishop of Bishops, nor forces his Collegues upon a necessity of Obeying by a Tyrannical Terror; seeing every Bishop is intirely Master of his own Resolutions, and can no more he judged by others, than he can judge others: But we all expect the Judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone hath Power of making us Governours of his Church, and calling us to an Account for our Administrations.

3. Neither did the Principle hold only in respect of this or the other Bishop; but all without Exception, even the Bishop of Rome, stood upon a Level. And for this, we have as pregnant Proof as possibly can be desired: For when the Schismatical Party at Carthage set up Fortunatus as an Anti-Bishop, and thereupon sent some of their Partisans to Rome to inform Cornelius of their Proceedings, and justifie them to him; Cyprian wrote to him also, and thus Reasoned the Case with him. To what Purpose was it for them to go to Rome to tell you, that they had set up a false Bishop against the Bishops? Either they continue in their Wickedness, and are pleased with what they have done; or they are Penitent, land willing to return to the Churches Unity: If the latter, they know whither they may return: For seeing it is determined by us all, and withal, 'tis just and reasonable in it self, That every one's Cause should be examined where the Crime was committed; and seeing there is a Portion of Flock (the Catholick Church) assigned to every Bishop to be Governed by him, as he shall be accountable to God, our Subjects ought not to run about from Bishop to Bishop, nor break the Harmonious Concord which is amonst Bishops by their subtle and fallacious Temerity. But every Man's Cause ought there to be discussed, where he may have Accusers and Witnesses of his Crime, &c. In which Reasoning, we have these Things plain: 1. That, by St. Cyprian's Principles, evey Bishop was judge of his own Subjects; of all the Christians who lived within his District. 2. That no Bishop, no not the Bishop of Rome, was Superior to another Bishop; nor could receive Appeals from his Sentences. And, 3. That this Independency of Bishops, this Unaccountableness of one Bishop to another, as to his Superiour, was founded on every Bishop's having his Portion of the Flock assigned to him, to be Ruled and Governed by him, as he should answer to God; i. e. upon his visible Supremacy in his own Church; his being immediately Subordinate to God only. To the same purpose he writes to Stephen Bishop of Rome also: For having told him his Mind freely concerning those who should return from a State of Schism, to the Unity of the Church; how they ought to be Treated, and how Recceived, &c. he concludes thus: We know that some are tenacious, and unwilling to alter what they have once determined, and that they will needs retain some Methods peculiar to themselves; but still with the Safety of Peace, and Concord with their Collegues: In which case, we offer Violence, we proscribe Laws to no Man, seeing every Bishop has full liberty in the Administration of the Affairs of his Church, as he will answwer to God.

And how do both St. Cyprian and Firmilian resent Stephen's Extravagance, in threatning to refuse his Communion to those who had not the same Sentiments with himself about the Baptism of Hereticks? Let any Man read St. Cyprian's Epistle to Pompeius, and Firmilian's to St. Cyprian, and he may have enough to this purpsoe. Would you have yet more? Then take a most memorable Acknowledgment from the Presbyters and Deacons of Rome. St. Cyprian had written to them, while the Bishop's Chair was vacant, and given them an account of his Resolutions about the Lapsed; those who had Sacrificed to the Heathen Idols in time of Persecution. Now, consider how they begin their answer to him. Altho, say they, a Mind that's without Checks of Conscience, that's supported by the Vigour of Evangelical Discipline, and bears witness to it self, that it has squared its Actions by the Divine Commandments, useth to content it self with God, as its only Judge; and neither seeks other Men's Approbations, nor fears their Accusations; yet they are worthy of doubled Praises, who, while they know their Conscience is subject to God only as its Judge, do yet desire that their Administrations should have their Brethrens Comprobations. So clearly acknowledging St. Cyprian's (and by consequence, every Bishop's) Supremacy within his own District; and his Independency, or Non-Subordination, to any other Bishop; that even Rigaltius himself, in his Annotations on St. Cyprian, thô a Papist, confesses it. And no wonder; For,

4. By the Principles of those Times, every Bishop was Christ's Vicar within his own District; Had a Primacy in his own Church; Managed the Ballance of her Government; Was, by his being Bishop, elevated to the sublime Top of the Priesthood; Had the Episcopal Authority in its Vigour; the Prelatick Power in its Plenitude; A Sublime and Divine Power of Governing the Church. And none could be called Bishop of Bishops. Every Bishop was Head of his own Church; and she was built upon him in her Politick Capacity. He, and he only, was her visible Judge; and he did not stand Subordinate to any visible Superiour. In short, The Constitution of every particular Church, in those Times, was a Welltempered Monarchy: The Bishop was the Monarch, and the Presbytery was in Senate; all the Christians within his District depended on him for Government and Discipline, and he depended on no Man: So that I may fairly conclude this Point with that famous Testimony of St. Ierom's in his Epistle to Evagrius: Wherever a Bishop is, whether at Rome or Eugubium, Constantinople or Rhegium, Alexandria or Tani, he is of the same Merit, and the same Priesthood. Neither the Power of Riches, nor the Humility of Poverty, maketh a Bishop higher or lower; but they are all Successors of the Apostles. 'Tis true indeed, St. Ierom lived after the Cyprianic Age: But, I suppose, our Author will pretend to own his Authority as soon as any Father's in the point of Church-Government. Let me represent to you only one Principle more, which prevailed in the Days of St. Cyprian: And that is,

THIRDLY, That whatever the High-Priest, among the Jews, was to the other Priests and Levites, &c. The Christian Bishop was the same to the Presbyters and Deacons, &c. and the same Honour and Obedience was due to him. This was a Principle which St. Cyprian frequently insisted on, and Reasoned from. Thus in his Third Epistle, directed to Rogatianu, he tells him, That he had Divine Law and Warrant for Punishing his Rebellious and Undutiful Deacon. And then cites that Text, Deut. 17. 12. And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the Priest, or unto the Judge, even that man shall die: And all the people shall bear and fear, and do no more presumptuously. And confirms it farther, by shewing how God punished Gorah, Datham, and Abiram, for Rebelling against Aaron, Numb. 16. 1. And when the Israelites, weary of Samuel's Government, asked a King to judge them, The Lord said to Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the People in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me that I should not reign over them: 1. Sam. 8. 7. Therefore, he gave them Saul for a Punishment, &c. And when St. Paul was challenged for reviling God's High Priest, he excused himself, saying, He wist not that he was the High Priest: Had he known him to have been so, he would not have Treated him so, for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the Ruler of they People: Act. 23. 4, 5. And.(as he goes further on) Our Lord Jesus Christ, Our God, King, and Judge, to the very hour of his Passion paid suitable Honour to the Priests, thô they neither feared God, nor acknowledged Christ: For when he had cleansed the Leper, he bade him go shew himself to the Priest, and offer his Gift: Matth. 8. 4. And at the very instant of his Passion, when he was beaten, as if he had answered irreverently to the High Priest, he uttered no Reproachful Thing against the Person of the Priest, but rather defended his own Innocence, saying, If I have spoken Evil, bear witness of the Evil; but if well, why smitest thou me? John 18. 22, 23. All which Things were done humbly and patiently lby him, that we might have a Patern of Patience and Humility proposed to us; for he taught us to give all dutiful Honour to true Priests, by behaving so towards false Priests.

Thus St. Cyprian Reason'd, and these were his Arguments for obliging all Men, Clergy as well as Laity, to Honour and Obey their Bishops. To the same purpose he wrote in his Fourth Epistle to Pomponius, concerning some Virgins and Deacons that lived Scandalously. Let them not think they can be saved, says he, if they will not obey the Bishops, seeing God says in Deuteronomy, and then he cites Deut. 17. 12. He insists on the same Arguments in his 59th Epistle directed to Cornelius, when he is giving him an account of the Rebellion, and Schismatical Practices of Fortunatus and Felicissimus, the one a Presbyter, and the other a Deacon. He insists on them over again, in his 66th Epistle to Florentius Papianus. He insists largely on the Argument drawn from the Punishment inflicted on Corah and his Complices for Rebelling against Aaron; and makes it the same very Sin in Schismaticks, who separate from their lawful Bishop, in his 69th Epistle directed to Magnus; and in his 73d Epistle, directed to Iubaianus. And Firmilian also, St. Cyprian's Contemporary, insists on the same Argument. Indeed, the Names, Priest, Priesthood, Altar, Sacrifice, &c. so much used those Times, are a pregnant Argument of the Notions Christians had then, of the Christian Hierarchy's being Copied from the Iewish. Neither was it a Notion newly started up in St. Cyprian's time, for we find it in express Terms in that notable Epistle written to the Corinthians by St. Clement Bishop of Rome, who was not only contemporary with the Apostles, but is by Name mentioned by St. Paul, as one of his Fellow-Labourers, whose Names are in the Book of LIfe, Philip. 4. 3. For he perswading those Corinthians to lay aside all Animosities and Schismatical Dispositions, and to pursue and maintain Unity and Peace, above all things; proposes to them as a proper Expedient for this, that every Man should keep his Order and Station; and then enumerates the several Subordinations under the Old Testament, which sufficiently proves, That the Hierarchy was still preserved in the New. His Method of Reasoning, and the Design he had in hand to compose the Schisms that arose amongst the Corinthians, make this evident beyond all Contradiction, That a Bishop in the Christian Church was no less than the High Priest among the Iews, else he had not argued from the Precedents of the Temple to perswade them to Unity in the Church. The High Priest (saith he) has his proper Office, and the Priests have their proper Place or Station; and the Levites are tied to their proper Ministeries; and the Layman is bound to his Laick Performances.

Having thus demonstrated, that these were three current and received Principles in St. Cyprian's time, viz. That a Bishop was the Principle of Unity to his Church, to all the Christians within his District; That he was Supreme in his Church, and had no Earthly Ecclesiastical Superiour; and, That he was the same amongst Christians, which the High Priest was amongst the Iews: Let me try a little, if our Author's Definition of a Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, can consist with them. I am afraid, it can consist with none of them singly, much less with all these together.

I. Not with the first; for, if a Bishop, then, was the Principle of Unity to a Church, in which there were many Presbyters; as Cyprian, e. g. was to the Church of Carthage, and Cornelius to the Church of Rome, and Fabius to the Church of Antioch, and Dionysius to the Church of Alexandria, &c. If thus it was, I say, then, to be sure, a Bishop was another thing than a meer single Presbyter of a single Parish in the Presbyterian sense: For, if a single Presbyter could have been the Principle of Unity to a Church in which there were, e. g. 46 single Presbyters, he must have been it as a single Presbyter, or as something else: Not as a single Presbyter, for then there should have been as many Principles of Unity in a Church, as there were single Presbyters; for Instance, There should have been 46 Principles of Unity in the Church of Rome: Which, besides that 'tis plainly Contradictory to the Notion of One Bishop, at once, in a Church; what is it else, than to make a Church such a Monster as may have 46 Heads? Than by so multiplying the Principles of Unity, to leave no Unity at all? Than, in stead of One Principle of Unity to an Organized Body, to set up 46 Principles of Division? Indeed, what is it else than the very Extract of Nonsense, and Cream of Contradiction? A single Presbyter then, if he could have been the Principle of Unity to such a Church, mut have been it, as something else than a meer single Presbyter. But what could that Something else have been? A Presbyterian Moderator? Not so neither; for by what Propriety of Speech can a Moderator of a Presbytery, as such, be called the Principle of Unity to a Church? How can he be called the Principle of Unity to a Church, who, as such, is neither Pastor, Head, nor Governour of a Church? Who, as such, has no direct, immediate, or formal Relation to a Church? Who, as such, is only the Chair-man, the Master-Speaker, not of the Church, but of the Presbytery? Nay, who may be such, and yet no Christian? For however inexpedient or indecent it may be, that an Heathen should, on occasion, be the Moderator, i. e. the Master-Speaker of a Presbytery; yet it implies no Repugnancy to any Principle of Christianity. But however this is, 'tis certain, that, according to the Presbyterian Principles, (not the Moderator, but) the Presbytery is the Principle of Unity to the Church, or rather Churches, within the Bounds of that Presbytery. And, to do our Author Justice, he seems to have been sensible of this, as a I observed already: And therefore, he said not, If he (the Apologist) can prove, that we separate from our Pastors, or from the Moderator of the Presbytery; but, from our Pastors, or from the Presbytery with their Moderator. Neither,

2. Can our Author's Definition consist with the second Principle, viz. That every Bishop was Supreme in his Church, Independent, and not Subordinate, to any Ecclesiastical Superiour on Earth. To have such a Supremacy, such an Independency, such an Unaccountableness, is notoriously inconsistent with the Idea of either a single Presbyter, or a Presbyterian Moderator. How can it be consistent with the Idea of a single Presbyter acting in Parity with his Brethren Presbyters, that of 46, for Example, One should have a Primacy, a Supremacy, a Plenitude of Power, the Sublime and Divine Power of Governing the Church, an Unaccountable and Eminent Power, as St. Ierom himself calls it. And all the rest should be Accountable, and Subordinate to him? What is this but reconciling Contradictions? Besides, the Independency of single Presbyters is notoriously inconsistent with the Presbyterian Scheme. 'Tis Independency, not Presbytery. And as for the Presbyterian Moderator, In what sense can he be called Supreme, or Independent, or Unaccountable? In what sense can he be said to be raised to the Sublime Top of the Priesthood? Or to have an Exors Potestas, an Unaccountable Power? Or to be Accountable to God only? Or to have the Sublime and Divine Power of Governing the Church? Is he, as such, raised to the Sublime Top of the Priesthood, who, as such, may be no Priest at all? For why may not a Ruling Elder be a Moderator? How can he be said to have an Unaccountable Power, who can be Voted out of his Chair with the same Breath with which he was Voted into it? How can he be said to be Accountable to God only, who is Accountable to the Presbytery? How can he be said to have the Sublime and Divine Power of Governing the Church, who, as such, is no Church Governour? Has he a Supreme Power in a Society, who, as such, has no imaginable Jurisdiction over any one Member of that Society?

3. But what shall I say to the Consistency of our Author's Definition with the third Principle I named? Even no more than that I have proved it to have been one of St. Cyprian's, and one that was generally received in his time; and that I can refer it to our Author himself to Determine, Whether the High Priest of the Iews bore no higher Character than that of a single Presbyter, or a Presbyterian Moderator? And so I proceed to another Head of Arguments, which shall be,

FOURTHLY, To give you, in a more particular Detail, some of the Branches of the Episcopal Prerogative in St. Cyprian's time. And I think I shall do enough for my purpose, if I shall prove these three Things:

I. That there were several considerable Acts of Power relating to the Government and Discipline of the Church, which belonged solely to the Bishop's several Powers lodged in his Person, which he could manage by himself, and without the Concurrence of any other Church-Governour.

II. That in every Thing relating to the Government and Discipline of the Church, he had a Negative over all the other Church-Governours within his District. And,

III. That all the other Clergy-men within his District, Presbyters as well as others, were subject to his Authority, and obnoxious to his Discipline and Jurisdiction.

I. I say, there were several considerable Acts of Power relating to the Government and Discipline of the Church, which belonged solely to the Bishop; several Powers lodged in his Person, which he could manage by himself, and without the Concurrence of any other Church-Governour. Take these for a Sample. And,

First, He had the sole Power of Confirmation; of imposing Hands on Christians, for the Reception of the Holy-Ghost, after Baptism. For this, we have St. Cyprian's most express Testimony in his Epistle to Iubaianus, where he tells, It was the Custom to offer such as were Baptized to the Bishops, that, by their Prayers, and the laying on of their Hands, they might receive the Holy-Ghost, and be Consummated by the Sign of our Lord, i. e. by the Sign of the Cross, as I take it: And he expresly founds this Practice on the Paterm of St. Pater and St. Iohn, mentiond Acts 8. 14. &c. Firmilian is as express in his Epistle to Cyprian, saying in plain Lanugage, That the Bishops, who Govern the Church, possess the Power of Baptism, Confirmation, and Ordination. 'Tis true, he calls them Majores Natu, Elder: But that he meant Bishops, as distinguished from Presbyters, cannot be called into Question by any Man, who reads the whole Epistle, and considers his Stile all along; and withal, considers what a peculiar Interest, by the Principles of these Times, the Bishop had in these three Acts he names. But whatever groundless Altercations there may be about his Testimony, as there can be none about St. Cprian's, so neither can there by any shadow of Pretext for any about Cornelius's, who, in his Epistle to Fabius, (so often mentioned before,) makes it an Argument of Novatianus his Incapacity of being a Bishop; that thô he was Baptized, yet he was not Confirmed by the Bishop.

Secondly, He had the sole Power of Ordination, and that of whatsoever Clergy-men within his District. Ordinations could not be performed without him; but he could perform them Regularly, without the Concurrence of any other Church-Officer. This has been so frequently and so fully proved by Learned Men, that I need not insist much on it. Forbearing therefore to adduce the Testimonies of such as lived after St. Cyprian's time, such as Ambrose, Ierom, Chrysostom, &c. I shall confine my self to St. Cyprian, and his Contemporaries. To begin with St. Cyprian.

'Tis true, so humble and condescending he was, That when he was made Bishop, he resolved with himself to do nothing by himself, concerning the Publick Affairs of the Church, without consulting not only his Clergy, but his People. I call this his own free and voluntary Condescention: It wa a thing he was not bound to do by any Divine Prescript, or any Apostolical Tradition, or any Ecclesiastical Constitution. His very Words import so much, which you may see on the Margin. And yet, for all that, we find him not only in extraordinary Junctures, Ordaining without asking the Consent of his Clergy or People; but still insisting on it as the Right of all Bishops, and particularly his own, to Promote and Ordain Clergy-men, of whatsoever Rank, by himself, and without any Concurrence. Thus,

In his 38th Epistle, having Ordained Aurelius a Lector, he acquaints his Presbyters and Deacons with it, from the Place of his Retirement: Now consider how he begins his Letter. In all Clerical Ordinations, most dear Brethren, says he, I used to Consult you beforehand, and to examine the Manners and Merits of every one with common Advice. And then he proceeds to tell them, How, that notwithstanding that was his ordinary Method, a Rule he had observed for the most part; yet, for good Reasons he had not observed it in that Instance. In which Testimony, we have these Things evident: 1. That his Power was the same, as to all Ordinations, whether of Presbyters or others: For he speaks of them all indefinitely; In Clericis Ordinationibus. 2. That he used only to ask the Counsel and Advice of his Clergy, about the Manners and Merits of the Person he was to Ordain, but not their Concurrence in the Act of Ordination; not one word of that: On the contrary, That they used not to Concurr, fairly imported in the very Instance of Aurelius. 3. That it was intirely of his own Easiness and Condescension, that he Consulted them in the Matter: He USED to do it, but needed not have done it: He did it not in that very same Case. Which is a demonstration of the Truth of what I said before, viz. That his Resolution, which he had made when he entred to his Bishoprick, was from his own Choice, and absolutely Free and Voluntary.

We have another remarkable Testimony to the same purpose in his 41st Epistle, where he tells, that, Because of his Absence from Carthage, he had given a Deputation to Caldnius and Herculanus, two Bishops; and to Rogatianus and Numidicus, two of his Presbyters, to examine the Ages, Qualifications, and Merits, of some in Carthage, that he, whose Province it was to promote Men to Ecclesiastical Offices, might be well informed about them, and Promote none but such as were Meek, Humble, and Worthy This, I say, is a most remarkable Testimony for our present Purpose; for he not only speaks indefinitely of all Ranks or Orders, without making Exceptions; but he speaks of himself in the Singular Number, as having the Power of Promoting them; and he founds that Power, and appropriates it to himself, upon his having the Care of the Church and her Government committed to him.

We have a third Testimony as pregnant as any of the former, in his 72d Epistle written to Stephen Bishop of Rome. For, representing to him what the Resolution of the African Bishops were concerning such Presbyters and Deacons as should return from a State of Schism, to the Communion of the Church, he discourses thus. By common Consent and Authority, Dear Brother, we tell you further, That if any Presbyters or Deacons, who have either been Ordained before in the Catholick Church, and have afterwards turned Perfidious and Rebellious against the Church; or, have been Promoted by a Profane Ordination, in a State of Schism, by FALSE BISHOPS and Anti-Christs, against our Lord's Institution--that such, if they shall return, shall only be admitted to Lay-Communion, &c. By which Testimony, you may clearly see, 1. That all Ordinations of Presbyters, as well as Deacons, were performed by Bishops; by True Bishops in the Catholick Church; and by False Bishops in a State of Schism. 2. That to Ordain Presbyters and Deacons, was so much, and so acknowledged by, the Bishop's Work, and peculiar to him, that, herein, even Schismaticks themselves oberved the Common Rule. They found their Ordinations were indispensibly to be performed by Bishops, that they might not be Obnoxious to the Charge of Invalidity.

So clear and full is St. Cyprian on this Head: And not only he, but Firmilian, as I have cited him already. Nay, further yet,

Our Martyr's Practice was always suitable and correspondent to these Principles. He not only Ordained Aurelius a Lector, as I have shewed, without either the Consent or Concurrence of his Clergy; but also Saturus a Lector, and Optatus a Sub-Deacon, Epst. 29. and Celerinus a Lector, Ep. 39. In which we have also a most considerable Evidence of the Bishops Power in Ordinations, in St. Cyprian's Discourse concerning Aurelius and Celerinus: For there he tells his Presbyters, Deacons, and all his People, and tell them in an Authoritative Stile, in the Stile, by which Superiours used to signifie their Will and Pleasure to their Subjects, with a Be it known to you; He tells them, I say, That tho he had only Ordained these two, Lectors, for the time, because they were but young; yet he had designed them for the Presbyterate, and to sit with him, as soon as their Years would allow of it.

And what can be more pat to this purpose, than that uncontrolable Account we have of Novatianus his Promotion to the Presbyterate, which we have in that so often mentioned Epistle written by Cornelius to Fabius of Antioch? There he tells, how Novatianus was Ordained a Presbyter, meerly by the Favour of the then Bishop of Rome. That all the Clergy, and many of the People, opposed it, as being Unlawful, considering that he had been Baptized while on the Bed of Sickness. And that, after much work, the Bishop prevailed, and Ordained him, promising that he would not make a Precedent of it. I refer you to the Testimony which I have transcribed faithfully on the Margin. Consider it, and tell me if any thing can be more clear, than that the Bishop, then, had the sole Power of Ordination.

Neither do we read in all St. Cyprian's Works, or in any Monuments of those Times, of any Concurrence of Presbyters with Bishops, in any Ordinations, and far less, that ever Presbyters Ordain'd without a Bishop. 'Tis true, we read in St. Cyprian's 52d Epistle, that Novatus made Felicissimus a Deacon: And I read, that several Learned Men understand it so, as if he had Ordained him. And Blondel particularly, because Novatus was nothing but a Presbyter, concludes, that this was a notable Instance of the Power of Presbyters in Ordinations. But when one reads the whole Passage, as St. Cyprian hath it, and ponders all Things duly, he cannot but think it strange, that ever that Fancy should have been entertained: For all that St. Cyprian says, amounts to no more than this, That Novatus turn'd a Schismatick in the time of Persecution, and thereby became another Persecution to the Church; and that having thus given himself up to the Spirit of Schism, he, by his Faction and Ambition, got Felicissimus made a Deacon, without either St. Cyprian's knowledge or Allowance. St Cyprian's Words, I say, do not import, that Novatus Ordain'd Felicissimus: They import no more, than that Novatus his Ambition and Faction prevailed to get Felicissimus Ordain'd a Deacon, thô himself did not Ordain him. ('Tis probable he was Ordained by some Neighbouring Bishop, St. Cyprian being then in his Secession.) And 'tis as evident as any thing can be made, from what immediately follows, that St. Cyprian designed them for no more. For he goes on, and tells, in that same Breath, That Novatus having done so and so at Carthage, went next to Rome, and attempted just the like things there; only with this difference, That as Rome, by its Greatness, had the Presedency of Carthage, so he attempted greater Wickedness, at Rome than at Carthage: For he (says Cyprian) who had made a Deacon at Carthage against the Church, made a Bishop at Rome, meaning Novatianus. Now 'tis certain that not Novatus, but Three Bishops, Ordained Novatianus; and, by consequence, that St. Cyprian never meant that Novatus Ordain'd Felicissimus. This is irrefragable. But then, suppose the worst; Suppose Novatus had really Ordained Felicissimus, what stress is to be laid on the Example of a Schismatick? Especially when what he did was done Schismatically? Antonianus asked of St. Cyprian, what was Novatianus his Heresie? And Cyprian answered, It was no matter what he taught, seeing he taught in Schism And may we not say with the same Reason, That it matters not what Novatus did, seeing what he did was done in Schism? One Thing indeed we learn from this Matter, and that is another Argument of the Bishop's peculiar Interest in the matter of Ordination; For St. Cyprian most plainly imputes it to Schism, that, without his Allowance, Novatus should have presumed to have got Felicissimus Ordained a Deacon.

One Word more: The Bishops being thus possessed of the sole Power of Ordination in St. Cyprian's time, and his Practising suitably, was exactly agreeable to the Second of the Canons commonly called of the Apostles; which is, Let a Presbyter be Ordained by One Bishop, as likewise a Deacon and the rest of the Clergy. A Canon, without doubt, universally received then, as Beveregius has fully proved; and a Canon highly agreeable with the then current Principles, which I have insisted on already, viz. That a Bishop was the Principle of Unity, and Supreme Ecclesiastical Magistrate within his District. For what can be more suitable to, or rather, more necessary by all the Fundamental Rules of Society, than that it should belong to the Supreme Power, wherever it is lodged, to promote and give Commissions to all Inferiour Officers? 'Tis one of the Rights of Majesty, and one as intrinsick and unalienable, or incommunicable, as any. 'Tis true, a good many Years after St. Cyprian's time, it was appointed by the Canons, That Presbyters should concurr with the Bishop in the Ordination of Presbyters: But then, I say, it was many Years after St. Cyprian's time; and it was for new emergent Reasons; That Ordinations might be performed more deliberately, or with the greater Solemnity, or so; but 'tis evident, that nothing of the substantial Validity of the Orders were to depend upon it. And so much, at present, for the Bishop's Power of Ordination. But this is not all. For,

Thirdly, He had full Power, without asking the Consent or Concurrence of either Clergy or People, to settle Presbyters within his District. Of this, we have a most remarkable Instance of St. Cyprian's planting Namidicus a Presbyter of the City of Carthage: Our Martyr wrote to his Presbyters, Deacons, and People, to receive him as such, (probably he had been Ordained before,) and there was no more of it: It was instantly done. As we learn from the very next Epistle, where we find the same Namidicus, as a Presbyter of Carthage, receiving a Commission for a Deputation to oversee such and such Things in St. Cyprian's absence. So negligent, shall I say? Or so ignorant was St. Cyprian of Christ's Testament, at least of his Leaving, in it, to his People, by way of Legacy, a Right, a Grant, a Priviledge, of Choosing their own Ministers! What a Stranger has he been to all the Analogies and Principles of Presbyterian Government! But I proceed.

Fourthly, In St. Cyprian's time, the Bishop had the disposal of all the Revenues of the Church. All the Churches Incomes, then, were Oblations, and Charitable Contributions. The Civil Magistrate was Heathen, and treated her commonly with Persecutions, never with Encouragements. Now, the Bishop, I say, had the full Power of disposing of these Contributions and Oblations.

In the first place, he had his own Quantitas Propria, His proper Portion; and twas, no doubt, a considerable One. 'Tis commonly reckoned to have been the Third. The other Two belonged to the Clergy and the Poor; but so, as to be dispensed by the Bishop.

That he had his own Portion, and that a Liberal One, is evident from his 7th Epistle; For there he tells how, before he retired, he gave the Trust of it to Rogatianus, one of his Presbyters, ordering that if there were any necessitous Strangers at Carthage, they should have Maintenance out of it. And it is observable, that when St. Cyprian gives an account of Fortunatianus, who had been Bishop of Assurae, but had forfeited by Sacrificing in time of Persecution, and yet was earnest for all that to retain his Bishoprick; he says expresly, that it was upon the account of the Perquisites, and not from any Love to Religion. And it is not to be doubted, that the same Reason moved Basilides to be so much concerned for the recovery of his Bishoprick, after he had forfeited it also Indeed, the Bishop's proper Portion was setled on him by the 40th of the Apostolic Canons.

And that he had the disposal of the rest, particularly that which belonged to the Clergy, is as plain. For, in his 41st Epistle, he makes it an aggravation of Felicissimus's Guilt, that, contrary to the Duty which he owed to his Bishop, he should have made such a Clutter, about the Division of the Contributions. And on the other hand he praises the Dutifulness of others, who would not follow Felicissimus his bad Example, but continued in the Unity of the Church, and were satisfied to take their Shares, as the Bishop should please to dispense them. And it is a most remarkable Instance of this his Power, which we have in the aforementioned Case of Aurelius and Celerinus; for thô he promoted them only to the Degree of Lectors, yet he Entituled them to the Maintenance of Presbyters. And as for that part that belonged to the Poor, his Power in the Distribution of it is so evident from his Fifth and Forty first Epistles, that I need not insist upon it. Indeed, this Power was expresly asserted to them by the Thirty eighth and Forty first of the Apostolick Canons. And we find Bishops in Possession of it long before St. Cyprian's time; as is evident from Iustin Martyr's second Apology, not far from the end. Not now to mention that it seems fairly to be founded on express Scripture. Indeed,

Fifthly, He seems to have had a Power of imposing Charitable Contributions on all the Christians within his District, for the Relief of Distressed Strangers, whether Captives, Prisoners, or condemn'd to the Mines or Galleys, &c. Of this Power, we have famous Instances in his 62d and 78th Epistles. You may Consult them at your Leasure. And long before St. Cyprian's time, Soter Bishop of Rome, as the Venerable Dionysius Bishop of Corinth, (cited for it by Eusebius,) tells us, Managed this Power to excellent purpose, as his Predecessors, from the Apostles times had done before him. Take his own Words, for he was a very ancient Father, having flourished about an Hundred Years before St. Cyprian. They are in an Epistle of his to the Church of Rome, in which he thus bespeaks them. This has been your Custom from the beginning, (i. e. ever since the Church of Rome was planted,) to do manifold good Offices to the Brethren, and send Supplies to most Churches in most Cities, for sweetning their Poverty, and refreshing those that are Condemned to the Mines. You, Romans, observe the Custom of the Romans handed down to you by your Fathers; which Custom, your blessed Bishop Soter has not only observed, but improved, &c. What can be more clear than it is from these Words, That Soter, as Bishop of Rome, had the chief Management of the Charitable Contributions, imposing them, and disposing of them for the Relief of the Afflicted Christians of whatsoever Church? And now that I have gone higher than St. Cyprian's time, (thô it was not necessary for my main Argument; and to make use of it, might swell this Letter to too great a Bulk;) Let me mention another Power, which Tertullian (who lived before St. Cyprian also) in plain Terms appropriates to the Bishop. A considerable Power, a Power that is a considerable Argument of the Episcopal Sovereignty. And it is,

Sixthly, The Power of Indicting Solemn Fasts, as occasion required, to all the Christians within his District. You have his Words, plain and home, upon the Margin

Seventhly, A Bishop in St. Cyprian's time, (for now I return to it,) as such, had the sole Power of Convocating his Presbyters and Deacons; all those of his Clergy and People, who either sat with him, or standing gave their Suffrages, as they were ask'd, about any thing relating to the Church. All Learned Men (even Spanhemius himself, our Author's diligent Searcher into Antiquity,) confesses this. Indeed, this was a Point on which the Unity of the Church did so much depend, that it could not but be a necessary Branch of his Prerogative, who was the Principle of Unity to, and was intrusted with,the Supreme Government of the Church. And, agreeably, we find Cornelius accounting about it in an Epistle to Cyprian. For there he tells, how the Presbyter and Confessors, who had sided with Novatianus, turning sensible of their Error, came (not streight to himself, for it seems they had not the confidence to do that, or rather, they would not have been allowed that freedom so suddenly; but) to his Presbyters, acknowledging their Offences, and humbly supplicating that they might be Pardoned, and their Escapes forgotten: How, when all this was narrated to him, He was pleased to Convocate the Presbytery: How Maximus, Urbanus, Sidonius, and Macarius, being allowed to appear, made their Acknowledgments and humble Addresses; and then, how after they were received in the Presbytery, the whole matter was Communicated to the People; and they again renewed their Acknowledgments before the People, confessing as I shewed before, viz. That they were convinced, that Cornelius was chosen by the Omnipotent God, and our Lord Jesus Christ to be Bishop of the most Holy Catholick Church; and that they were not ignorant, that, as there was but One God, One Christ our Saviour, and One Holy Ghost; so there ought to be only One Bishop in a Catholick Church. Here, I say, was a Noble Instance of a Bishop's Power in Convocating his Presbyters at pleasure, and managing the Affairs of the Church like a Chief Governour. The whole Epistle is well worth perusing. But I shall only desire you to take notice of one Thing by the way, it is, That Cornalius sought not the People's Consent for their Reception; no, he first received them again into the Communion of the Church, and then acquainted the People with it. I observe this, because it is another Demonstration, That what St. Cyprian determined from the beginning of his Episcopacy, was meerly the effect of his own Choice, and Arbitrary Condescension, viz. To do nothing without his Peoples Consent: This, I say, was not a Thing he was bound to do by the Rules of his Episcopacy, for then Cornelius had been as much bound as he.

After these Persons were so solemnly Reconciled to the Church, they themselves, by a Letter, gave an Account of it to St. Cyprian; an Account, I say, which might bring more Light to the whole Matter, if it needed any. We are certain, say they, most dear Brother, that you will rejoyce with us, when you know, that all Mistakes are forgotten, and we are Reconciled to Cornelius OUR BISHOP, and to all the Clergy; to the Great Contentment and Good Liking of the whole Church.

But you may say, Did not the Roman Presbytery Conveen, during the Vacancy, after the Death of Fabianus? And did not the Presbytery of Carthage meet frequently, during the time of St. Cyprian's Secession? How then can it be said, That the Bishop had the sole Power of Convocating Presbyters? I answer, 'Tis true, it was so in both Cases: But how? To begin with the latter; There was no Meeting of the Clergy at Carthage, during St. Cyprian's Secession, without his Authority: And therefore we find, when he retired, he left a Delegated Power with his Presbyters and Deacons, or an Allowance, call it as you will, to meet and manage the Affairs of the Church, as occasion should require; but still, so as that they could do nothing of Moment without first Consulting him; and nothing, but what was of ordinary Incidence, is Regulated by the Canons. This we learn from many of his Epistles: Thus, in his Fifth Epistle directed to his Presbyters and Deacons, Because he could not be present himself, he required them Faithfully and Religiously to discharge both his Office and their own. Which not only imports, that they had distinct Offices from his, but also, in express Terms, settles a Delegation on them. He bespeaks them after the same manner in his 12th Epistle. And more Authoritatively yet, Ep. 14. where he not only Exhorts, but Commands them to perform the Office of Vicars to him. But then, how warmly he resented it, when some of them ventured beyond the Limits of the Allowance he had given them; when they began to encroach on his Prerogatives; when they presumed to meddle in Matters for which they had no Allowance, and which were not in the common Road, nor Regulated by the Canons, you shall hear to purpose by and by. And from what I have already said, the other Case, That of the Presbytery's Meeting in the time of a Vacancy, may be easily cleared also; for thô they might meet, yet all they could do, was to provide all they could for the Peace and Safety of the Church, by determining in Ruled Cases; just as may be done by inferiour Magistrates in all other Corporations, or Societies, in the time of an Inter-Reign; but they could make no new Rules: And there were several other Things they could not do; as I shall also shew fully within a little. In the mean time, having mentioned how St. Cyprian, in his Absence, gave a Delegation to his Clergy, and Constituted them his Vicars; let me give you one Example of it, which may well deserve to pass for another Instance of Acts that were peculiar to himself: And that is,

Eighthly, His Delegating, not his Presbyters in common, but two of them only, viz. Rogatianus and Numidicus, with two Bishops, Caldonius and Herculanus, not only to consider the State of the Poor, and of the Clergy at Carthage; but to pronounce his Sentence of Excommunication against Felicissimus and Augendus, and all that should joyn themselves to that Faction and Conspiracy. Which Delegation was accordingly accepted of, and the Sentence put in Execution, as we learn by the Return, which these four Delegates, together with another Bishop called Victor, made to our Holy Martyr. I might have easily collected more Instances of Powers and Faculties which were peculiar to a Bishop in St. Cyprian's time, and which could not be pretended to by Presbyters: But these may be sufficient for a Sample, especially considering that more, perhaps, may be discovered in the Prosecution of the next Thing I promised to make appear, which was,

II. That in every thing relating to the Government and Discipline of the Church, the Bishop had a Negative over all the other Church-Governours within his District. He had the Supreme Power of the Keys. No Man could be admitted into the Church; no Man could be thrust out of the Church; none Excommunicated could be admitted to Penance, nor Absolved nor Restored to the Communion of the Church; no Ecclesiastical Law could be made, nor Rescinded, nor Dispensed with, without him. In short, all Ecclesiastical Discipline depends upon the Sacraments, and neither Sacrament could be Administrated without his Allowance. If this Point, well proved, does not evince, That a Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, was a real Prelate, and stood in a real Superiority above all other Church Officers, I must despair of ever proving any thing. And I must despair of ever proving any thing, if I prove not this Point.

1. To begin with Baptism, the Sacrament by which Persons are admitted into the Church: That no Man could be Baptized without the Bishop's Consent, has as much Evidence as can be well required for any Matter of Fact. For,

First, St. Cyprian could not have expressed any thing more fully, or more plainly, than he has done this. To omit that Testimony which he gives in his Exhortation to Martyrdom, where he says, Bishops, by our Lord's Allowance, give the first Baptism to Believers. Let us turn over to Ep. 73. in which he insists directly to this purpose. The Question was, Whether Baptism performed by Hereticks, or Schismaticks, was Valid? St. Cyprian affirmed it was not. His Conclusion was such, as required some other Argument to support it, than his own Authority. It was therefore needful, that he should attempt to prove it; and that from received and acknowledged Principles. Now consider his Argument, I shall give it in his own Words as near as I can Translate them. 'Tis manifest, says he, where, and by whom, the Remission of Sins can be given, which is given in Baptism. For, our Lord gave, first, to Peter (on whom he built his Church, thereby instituting and demonstrating the Original of Unity,) that Power, That whatsoever he should loose on Earth, should be loosed in Heaven: And then, after his Resurrection, he gave it to all his Apostles, when he said, As my Father hath sent me, &c. (Joh. 20. v. 21, 22, 23.) Whence we learn, that none can Baptize Authoritatively, and give Remission of Sins, but the BISHOPS, and those who are FOUNDED in the Evangelical Law, and our Lord's Institution: And, that nothing can be Bound or Loosed out of the Church, seeing there's none, there, who has the Power of Binding or Loosing. Further; Dearest Brother, we want not Divine Warrant for it, when we say, That God hath disposed all Things by a certain Law, and a proper Ordinance; and that none can USURP any thing against the BISHOPS, all being subject to them: For Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, attempted to assume to themselves a Priviledge of Sacrificing against Moses and Aaron the Priest, and they were Punished for it, because it was unlawful. Thus St. Cyprian argued; and the force of his Argument lies visibly in this, That Baptism performed by Hereticks or Schismaticks cannot be Valid, because not performed by the Bishop, nor with his Allowance. Now whatever comes of his Inference, sure, it had been Ridiculous in him to have so Reasoned, if his Antecedent had not been a received Principle.

Neither was St. Cyprian singular in this, for Firmilian Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia is as plain, saying, (as I have cited him before) That the Bishops, who Govern the Church, possess the Power of Baptism, Confirmation, and Ordination. And Fortunatus Bishop of Thuraboris, another of St. Cyprian's Contemporaries, in his Suffrage at the Council of Carthage, is as plain as either Cyprian or Firmilian. Jesus Christ, says he, our Lord and God, the Son of God the Father and Creator, built his Church upon a Rock, and not upon Heresie, and gave the Power of Baptizing to Bishops, and not to Hereticks, &c. Indeed, before St. Cyprian's time, we have Tertullian, who spent most of his Days in the Second Century, and who, in his Book about Baptism, against Quintilla, to the Question, Who may Baptize? answers positively, The High-Priest, who is the Bishop, hath the Power of Baptizing; and after him, or in Subordination to him, Presbyters and Deacons, but not without the BISHOP's AUTHORITY. And before him, we have the Apostolical Ignatius, who spent almost all his Days in the First Century, and who says in express Terms, That it is not lawful to Baptize without the Bishop.

2. A Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, had as much Power about the Holy Eucharist: No Presbyter within his District could Administer it without his Leave, or against his Interdict. St. Cyprian's Testimonies to this purpose are innumerable. Let me give you only One or Two, for Instance; Thus in his 16th Epistle written to his Presbyters and Deacons, he resents it highly, that some of his Presbyters should have dared to admit the Lapsed to the Sacrament without his Allowance. Such, says he, deny me the Honour of which by Divine Right I am possessed, &c. Indeed, the 15th, 16th, and 17th Epistles, are to this purpose. And in his 59th Epistle, having cited Mal. 2. v. 1, 2. he Reasons thus against all such Presbyters as presumed to Celebrate the Eucharist without the Bishop's allowance. Is Glory given to God, when his Majesty and Discipline is so contemned, that, when He says, He is Angry and full of Wrath against such as Sacrifice to Idols, and when He threatens them with everlasting Pains and Punishments, Sacrilegious Persons should presume to say, Think not on the Wrath of God: Fear not the Divine Iudgments: Knock not at the Church of Christ: That they should cut off Repentance, and the Confession of Sins; and PRESBYTERS CONTEMNING and TRAMPLING ON THEIR BISHOPS, should preach Peace with Deceiving Words, and give the Communion, &c.

And, 'tis a Passage very remarkable to this purpose, which we read in an Epistle of Dionysius of Alexandria to Fabius of Antioch, (both St. Cyprian's Contemporaries) in which he tells, how one Serapion, an aged Man, after a long Perseverance in the Christian Faith, had first fallen from it in time of Persecution, and then into a deadly Sickness: How, after he had been dumb and senseless for some Days, recovering some use of his Tongue, he called quickly for one of the Presbyters of Alexandria, (for he lived in that City) that he might be Absolved, and have the Sacrament, being perswaded he should not die till he should be Reconciled to the Church: And how the Presbyter being sick also, sent the Sacrament to him: But by what Right or Authority? By Dionysius the Bishop. For, says he, I had COMMAND that any Lapsed, if in danger of Death, especially if he was an humble Supplicant for it, should be Absolved, that he might go out of this World full of good Hopes, &c. He being Bishop of that City, had given a COMMAND for it, otherwise it could not have been done. And all this was nothing more than Ignatius had told the World long before, viz. That that is only to be deemed a firm and valid Eucharist, which is Celebrated by the Bishop, or by his Authority.

Let me only add one Testimony more from St. Cyprian concerning both Sacraments; but such an one as ought not to be neglected. It is in his 69th Epistle written to Magnus. The great Purpose he pursues in it, is to represent the Atrocious Guilt of Schism, and the forlorn Condition of Schismaticks; that they cannot have Valid Sacraments, and that all their Acts are Nullities, &c. Amongst many Arguments to this effect, he insists on that famous one; Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, were of that same Religion that Moses and Aaron were of, and served the same God whom Moses and Aaron served: But because they transgressed the Limits of their own Stations, and Usurp'd a Power of Sacrificing to themselves, in opposition to Aaron the Priest, who was only legally Invested with the Priesthood by God's Vouchsafement and Appointment: They were forthwith punished in a miraculous manner; neither could their Sacrifices be Valid or Profitable, being offered Unlawfully and Irreligiously, and against the Divine Ordinance.--And yet these Men had made no Schism: They had not departed from the Tabernacle, nor raised another Altar, &c. which now the Schismaticks do, (meaning the Novatians,) who dividing the Church, and rebelling against Christ's Peace and Unity, are bold to Constitute an [Episcopal] Chair, and assume to themselves a Primacy, an Episcopal Authority, and a POWER OF BAPTIZING and OFFERING, that is, Celebrating the Holy Eucharist. What can be more plain than 'tis here, That no Sacraments could be Administred but in dependance on the Bishop? Indeed,

3. Considering that, as I have fully proved, a Bishop was, then, the Principle of Unity to the Church; that he was Chief Governour of the Church; and that, by consequence, the Supreme Power of the Keys could not but belong to him: Considering that the Church was a Visible Society; that he was the Visible Head of that Visible Society; and, by consequence, that it belonged to him as such, to take care that Society might suffer no Detriment: Considering these Things, I say, it was highly reasonable, that he should have the Chief Power of Dispensing the Sacraments: Such a Power, as that neither might be dispensed without him. What can be more Detrimental to a Society, especially such a Society as a Christian Church, than admitting Unworthy Persons to the Priviledges of it? Or allowing them to continue in it? Or restoring them to their Membership in the Society, after they have been justly thrust from it, without considering whether they have given any Evidences of a serious Reformation? And who so proper to judge of these Matters, as the Chief Governour of the Society? And now,

Having thus made it evident, that a Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, had a Negative over all other Church-Officers within his District, in the grand Concern of Dispensing both Sacraments; and that neither could be Administred without him, or against his Authority, I might fairly supersede the trouble of making either a Minute or a laborious Demonstration of his Sovereign Interest in the Acts of Excommunication, or injoyning Penances, or reconciling Penitents, or making, or rescinding, or dispensing with Ecclesiastical Laws or Canons; in a word, in every thing relating to the Government or Discipline of the Church. All these Acts depend upon the Sacraments. His Negative therefore, about the Dispensation of the Sacraments, had been in vain, and to no purpose, if he had not had a Negative likewise about all these Acts. Besides, you will not readily say, I think, that he could have had a Greater Trust by having a Negative, in any other Matter than in the Dispensing of the Sacraments. Having that, therefore, he might well be intrusted with a Negative in all other Things, either of equal (if any such can be imagined) or lesser Importance on which, the Order, the Subsistence, the Unity, the Peace, the Purity, the Prosperity, or whatsoever Interest of the Church could any way depend. Yet that I may give you all possible satisfaction, I shall proceed a little further, and give you, by way of Historical Deduction, such an account of Powers lodged, e. g. in St. Cyprian's Person, as you may fairly judge thereby, concerning the Preheminences of Bishops in his Time.

The most current Account we have about him, is, that he was not Converted to Christianity, at least, not Baptized, till the Year 246. That he was Ordain'd a Presbyter, Anno 247; and Bishop of Carthage, Anno 248. Chronologists do generally agree in this last Step of his Preferment. Now, as we learn both from himself, and from Pontius his Deacon, some of the Carthaginian Clergy were mighty Enemies to his Promotion. Belike, they took it ill, that he, so lately converted to the Faith, so lately made a Presbyter, should have been preferred to themselves. However it was, certain it is, as I said, that they appeared against him with all their might and main. But the People were so Generally and so Zealously for him, to have him their Bishop, that these his Enemies were overpowered. Made Bishop he was; and he was a Person so well Qualified, so Eminent in every Virtue, and withal so Strict and Cautious in his Life and Government, after he was made Bishop, that it was not easie for the Mutineers to wreck their Malice on him: But this was so far from softening them, and bringing them to a better temper, that, on the contrary, it imbittered them the more, and made them the more watchful of all Opportunities to breed him Troubles, and disturb his Government. At last, they catch'd hold of one, and that a very dangerous one, in the time of the Decian Persecution.

This Persecution beginning towards the end of the Year 249, and lasting for a full Year; coming on the Church, after a long Peace, with a surprizing Violence, had very sad Effects. Vast numbers turned Apostates, Renouncing the Holy Faith, and Sacrificing to the Heathen Idols: And Cyprian himself, commanded by God, had retired from Carthage till there should be some Relentment of the Fury of the Persecution. Here, I say, his subtle Enemies found their so long wished Opportunity: For, the Lapsed, so soon as the Hazard was over, resumed their Christian Profession, and turned mighty forward, if not furious, to be restored to the Communion of the Church. 'Thô they knew full well, that they were bound by the Canons to have continued, for a long time, in the state of Penitents; yet they thought their Numbers, and perhaps their Qualities, might overpower the Canons, and claim Indulgences and Dispensations. With them struck in those Clergy-men, who had still retained the old Grudges against St. Cyprian's Promotion, encouraging their Presumptions. They knew, he was a Man of Principles, and had a mighty Zeal for the real Interests of Christianity; and, by consequence, that he would stand Resolutely by the Canons of the Church, and be clear, that the Lapsed should perfect their Terms of Penance: They saw the Eagerness of the Lapsed to be sooner reconciled, than the Canons allowed: They resolved therefore to fall in with them, thinking that thereby they should effectually put a Thorn in his Foot; they should enflame the Lapsed, and their Relations, perchance, the great Body of the People against him. But this was not all.

It was not enough for them themselves to encourage the Lapsed in their Petulancies: The Bishops Prelation over Presbyters was then so Notorious, that, as malicious as they were, they had not Impudence enough to set up theirs in opposition to his Authority, and Reconcile the Lapsed to the Church, meerly upon the score of their own Credit, against his Will and Orders; and therefore, they fell upon another Project. If it was possible for any other to stand up against the Bishops Authority, it was that of the Martyrs and Confessors. These, for their Faith and Patience; their fervent Zeal, and fragrant Graces; their glorious Courage, and good Example; that they might Persevere themselves, and others might be encouraged to follow their Patern; were held in mighty Reputation. They were reputed as dearer to God, and in a closer Communion with him, and nearer Approximation to him, than Christians of the common size: And their Intercessions had been in use of being much regarded in former Persecutions. These, therefore, as the only Persons whose Credit could be feasibly put in the Ballance with the Bishops Authority, the Holy Man's Supplanters instigated to espouse the Quarrel of the Lapsed; to become their Patrons, for having themselves Absolved against the Bishop's Resolutions. And truly, some of them were so far wrought upon, as to turn Zealous for it: And, armed with their Authority, these discontented Presbyters adventured to Absolve and Lapsed, and receive them to the Sacrament, without the Bishop's Allowance. Now consider what followed, and speak your Conscience, and tell me, if St. Cyprian was not more than either Single Presbyter, or Presbyterian Moderator.

Thô he was one of the mildest and most humble Men that ever lived; yet, so soon as this was told him, where he was, in his Retirement, he was not a little alarm'd: The Practice was surprizing, and the Presumption, new, as well as bold: The like had never been done before in any Christian Church: And such preposterous Methods clearly tended to shake all the Foundations of Order and good Discipline: And therefore he thought it high time for him, if he could, to give the Check to such irregular and unexampled Methods. In short, he drew his Pen, and wrote Three notable Epistles; one to the Martyrs and Confessors; Another to his Clergy; and a third to his People: Insisting, in each of them, upon the Novelty and Unwarrantableness of the Course was taken; the Dishonours and Indignities were done himself by it; and the great Mischiefs and fatal Consequences might, nay would, unavoidably follow upon it, if it were not forborn. More particularly,

In that to the Martyrs and Confessors, he told them, That his Episcopal Care, and the Fear of God, compelled him to Admonish them, That, as they had devoutly and couragiously kept the Faith, so they ought, suitably, to be observant of Christ's Holy Laws and Discipline: That, as it became all Christ's Soldiers to obey their General's Commands; so it was their Duty, in a special manner, to be Examples to others: That he had thought, the Presbyters and Deacons, who were with them, might have taught them so much: But that now, to his extream Grief, he understood, they had been so far from doing that; that, on the contrary, some of them, especially some Presbyters, neither minding the Fear of God, nor the Honour of their Bishop, had industriously misled them. He complain'd mightily of the Presumption of such Presbyters, that against all Law and Reason, they should have dared to Reconcile the Lapsed without his Consent. That herein they were more Criminal than the Lapsers themselves: That it was somewhat Excusable in the Lapsed to be earnest for an Absolution; considering the uncomfortable State they were in, so long as they were denied the Communion of the Church: But it was the Duty of Office-bearers in the Church to do nothing rashly, lest, in stead of Pastors, they should prove Worriers of the Flock, &c. And then he told these Martyrs and Confessors, how far their Priviledges reached: All they could do, was, by way of humble Supplication, to Petition the Bishop for a Relaxation of the Rules of Discipline: But they had neither Power to Command him, nor Grant Indulgences without him. Indeed, this he told them frequently, and that they went beyond their Line if they ventured any further.

In that to his Presbyters and Deacons, he wrote in a yet more resenting Strain. He told them, He had long kept his Patience, and held his Peace; but their immoderate Presumption and Temerity would suffer him no longer to be silent. For what a dreadful Prospect, says he, must we have of the Divine Vengeance, when some Presbyters, neither mindful of the Gospel, nor their own Stations, nor regarding the future Iudgments of God, nor the Bishop, who, for the time, is set over them; dare attempt what was never attempted before, under any of my Predecessors, namely, so to Affront and Contemn their Bishop, as to assume all to themselves? And then he proceeds to tell them, how he could overlook and bear with the Indignity done to his Episcopal Authority, if there were no more in it: But the course they followed was so wicked; they were so injurious to the Lapsed whom they presumed to Reconcile so Uncanonically; their Pride and Popularity were so apparent in their Method; it was such a Crime, so to Expose the Martyrs to Envy, and set them at Variance with their Bishop, &c. that he could stifle it no longer. In short, all over the Epistle he wrote like a Bishop, and concluded it with a Peremptory Threatning of a present Suspension from the Exercise of their Office, and then an Infliction of further Censures when he should return from his Retirement, if they should Persevere in such a Lawless Course.

In that to his People, he proceeded on the same Principles; condemned these Presbyters, who had acted so disorderly, not reserving to the Bishop the Honour of his Chair and Priesthood: Told them, That those Presbyters ought to have taught the People otherwise; Laid to their Charge the Affectation of Popularity; and required such of the People as had not fallen, to take Pains upon the Lapsed; to try to bring them to a better Temper; to perswade them to hearken to his Counsel, and wait his Return, &c.

Here were three Epistles written, I think, in plain Prelatick Stile; sure, neither in the Stile of Single Presbyter, nor Presbyterian Moderator: Especially if we consider the very next, written to his Presbyters and Deacons upon the same Principles, still. He had written to them several times before from the Place of his Retirement, but had received no Answer from them. Now consider how he Resents this, and, Resenting it, asserts his own Episcopal Authority; his own Sovereign Power in Ecclesiastick Matters: For thus he begins; I wonder, dear Brethren, that you have returned no Answers to the many Letters I have sent you; especially considering, that now, in my Retirement, you ought to inform me of every thing that happens; that so I may, advisedly and deliberately, give Orders concerning the Affairs of the Church. Let any Man lay these four Letters together, and weigh them impartially, and then let him judge if St. Cyprian wrote in the Stile of Parity, if he claim'd not a Sovereign Power, a Negative, to himself, over all the Christians, Presbyters as well as others, living within his District.

But did not Cyprian shew too much Zeal in this Cause? Possibly, he attempted to stretch his Power a little too far; as afterwards many did: He was a Holy and Meek Man, but such may be a little too High. So I read, indeed, in a late Book. But it seems, the Author has found himself very sore put to it when he said so: For how can one not be fore put to it, when he cannot escape but by seeking for Refuge in a Reconciliation between Pride and Patience, Superciliousness and Selfdenial, Huffyness and Humility, Carnal Height and Christian Holiness? But to let this pass,

Had that Author any solid Ground for saying so? Or rather, had it been possible for him to have said so, had he had but an ordinary Acquaintance with St. Cyprian, or his Epistles? Charge Pride on the Humble Cyprian! Cyprian, who was so very Humble, that from the Conscience of his own Nothingness, he has still been looked upon as a Patern of Humility! Cyprian, whose Humility would not allow him almost to speak in the Stile of Authority, even to Female Laicks! Cyprian, who was perswaded, that God would hear none but the Humble and Quiet! Cyprian, who believed, that none could be a Christian, and withal, be Proud and Haughty! Who insisted on his own Humility in that very Epistle, for which that Author charges him with Pride! Who, if in any thing, Gloried most in his Humble and Bashful Modesty! Who, when accused of Pride, could Appeal not only to all Christians, but even to the Heathen Infidels, as Witnesses of his Innocence! Cyprian, who had this Great Testimony from some of his Contemporaries, That he was the Greatest Preacher, the Most Eloquent Orator, the Wisest in Counsel, the Simplest in Patience, the Most Charitable in Alms, the Holiest in Abstinence, the Humblest in Obligingness, and the Most Innocent in every Good Action! And from others, That he had a Candid and a Blessed Breast! &c. In a word, Cyprian, whose Humility was such, that, if we may believe his Deacon Pontius, He fled and lurk'd when they were going to make him a Bishop! Such, that when St. Augustine, many years after, was pressed with his Authority, he came off with this, The Authority of Cyprian doth not fright me, because the Humility of Cyprian encourages me! Such a Person was Cyprian; And yet to Proud was he, forsooth, for doing his Duty; for asserting his Episcopal Authority, when most undutifully trampled on by his presuming Presbyters.

What I have said, methinks, might be enough in all conscience, for defeating for ever that Uncharitable, shall I say, or Ignorant Suggestion, That it was Pride, perhaps, that prompted Cyprian to write so Magisterially to the Carthaginian Presbyters; yet, because a farther Discussion of it may contribute not a little for clearing up the Bishop's Negative, in St. Cyprian's time, I shall not grudge to give it you.

St. Cyprian had three sorts of People to deal with in that Controversie, which bred him so much Trouble. He had the Lapsed themselves; the Martyrs and Confessors; and these Presbyters and Deacons, who had encroached so much on his Episcopal Authority.

I am apt to think, the Author himself, with whom I have now to do, will not be shy to grant, That St. Cyprian, without incurring the Reputation of either Proud or Presumptuous, might have chided the Lapsed, as we find he did: They had Cowardly renounced their Christianity, to save their Lives and Fortunes; and the Canons subjected them to a strict and a long Penance for it: And I think, without the imputation of either Height or Humour, one in St. Cyprian's Station might have put them in mind of the Respect they owed to the Canons of the Church, and the Governours of it. Indeed, all the Lapsed were not engaged in the disorderly Course. There were some of them who were sensible of their Duty, and subjected themselves to their Bishop, resolving to wait his time, and intirely to depend upon him for their Absolution, as we learn from his 33d Epistle.

His Difficulty was greater with the Martyrs and Confessors, who appeared as Patrons to the Prejudicating Lapsed; but neither need I insist on that, nor how he conquered them in point of Right and Argument: For, this Author told Dr. Stilling fleet, He was wholly out of the way in medling with that Matter, seeing none ever imagined that every Martyr had Church Power. Thô I must tell you, Sir, That whoso reads St. Cyprian's Works, and particularly observes the State and Management of this whole Controversie about the Lapsed, cannot but be convinced, that the Reputation and Authority of Martyrs and Confessors, made a far greater Figure in it, than the Reputation or Authority of Presbyters. To come therefore to that which is the main Point with this Author,

Let us try, if St. Cyprian stretch'd his Power too far in his Treatment of the Presbyters, who appeared against him in this Controversie. Consider the following Steps, and then judge.

I. Consider that St. Cyprian doth not fall a buffing or hectoring, or running them down by Noise or Clamour. No,

He Reasons the Case with them, and Reasons all along from known and received Principles. He tells them plainly indeed. That in Presuming as they had done, they had forgotten both the Gospel, and their own Station: That he was their Superiour: That they did not pay him the Honour that was due to his Chair and Character: That the like had never been attempted before by Presbyters, under any of his Predecessor-Bishops: That it was a Factious, Selfish Temper, and too great Love of Popularity that prompted them to Measures so in no wise Presidented: That he knew the Secret of the Matter, and that it was the old Grudge against his being preferred to the Bishoprick that byass'd them to their Insolencies: That is belonged to him as having the Chief Power of the Keys, as being Bishop, i. e. as having the visible Sovereignty in Church Matters, to straiten or slacken the Sinews of Discipline; to prolong or shorten the Courses of Penance; to grant Absolutions, and reconcile Penitents, &c. That such Presumptions were Encroachments upon the very Foundations of the Church, to the Subversion whereof, their pretending to any Power, in opposition to the Bishops, tended: In short, That such Practices were against Christ's Institution, and the Analogies of Government, and all the Laws of Order, Peace and Unity: And they deserved the sharpest Censures for them.

These, I say, are a Sample of the Arguments St. Cyprian insisted on against those Presbyters; and most of them were founded on Matter of Fact: And now, suppose St. Cyprian had had considerable Doses of Pride, yet if you will but allow him, withall, to have had some Grains of Common Sense or Honesty, can you so much as imagine he could have used such Arguments, if they had wanted Foundation? Would he not have been ashamed to have used them, if he, and not his Presbyters, had been guilty of the Usurpations he was Condemning? But what needs more? Have I not fully proved already, That a Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, was the Principle of Unity to all the Christians, Presbyters as well as others, within his District? And that he was a Sovereign and Peerless Governour of the Church which he Ruled. And were not all his Reasonings founded on these Principles? But this is not all; for,

2. Consider that they were not all the Presbyters of Carthage, who were engaged in the Quarrel. No: Rogatianus, Britius, Numidicus, and, perhaps, many more, whose Names are not trasmited to us, would never joyn with those of the Faction; but still continued in their Duty to St. Cyprian. And can we think, they would not have joyned with their Brethren for the Maintenance of their own Rights and Priviledges, if Cyprian had been the Usurper? If he had been Claiming a Sovereign Power, without any Pretence of Right to it? If he had been driving at a Prelacy, when the Government of the Church belonged to Presbyters acting in Parity? We learn from St. Cyprian himself, That, in those Times, it was a mighty Wickedness for Men to part tamely with their Rights and Powers in Divine Matters. And can we think, that Rogatianus, Britius, and Numidicus, were ignorant of this? Or, supposing that should have had small Weight with them, is Power such a gustless Thing, that Men will easily part with it without any Reason? But to go on.

3. Even those very Presbyters and Deacons of the Faction came once to something like a Dutiful Submission in the Matter. They lower'd their Sails, and began to wave Apologies, and knit Excuses for what they had done. They endeavoured to put a fair Face upon the foul Steps they had made: They wrote to Cyprian, That they had done what they could to bridle the Heats of the Lapsed, and oblige them to continue in their Penances, till his Return from his Retirement; but that they were so Ungovernable and Stiff, and urged a present Absolution so eagerly and irresistibly, that they were forced, in a manner, to comply with their Humours: But now seeing they found, that he, their Bishop, was so much displeased with what they had done, they asked a FORM from him, i. e. his Will and Pleasure in the Matter. And now, let any Man consider, whether St. Cyprian or these Presbyters had been in the Wrong before? Whether He or They had acted beyond their Lines? But I have more to tell you: For,

4. These Presbyters, who had thus transgressed the Bounds of their Station, were generally Condemn'd for it, by their Brethren Presbyters, all the World over: At least, we have a most remarkable Instance in the Presbyters of Rome. Take it thus.

St. Cyprian being a Wise and Watchful, as well as an Holy and Humble Prelate; one, who had still before his Eyes the Conservation of the Order, the Peace, and the Unity of the Church Catholick; and perceiving that the Controversie concerning the Restitution of the Lapsed, might be of bad Influence on those great Interests, if not prudently determined; thought fit to acquaint his Brethren of the Episcopal Colledge with it, and ask their Sentiments about it: And because there was no Bishop then at Rome, he wrote to the Presbyters and Deacons, the Roman Presbytery. The Epistle is the 20th in Number. In which he deduced the whole Matter to them, and told them particularly, how he had Exerted his Episcopal Authority, in its Vigour, against such of his Presbyters as, without his Leave, had boldly and presumptuously Absolved the Lapsed, and given them the Sacrament. Now consider their Return to him: You have it in the 30th Epistle.

They begin with the Acknowledgment of his Supream and Unaccountable Power within his own District, which I observed before: They impute it to his Modesty and Caution, (not to his Pride and {etulancy,) that he had been pleased to communicate his Measures to them: They approve the Course he had taken with the Lapsed: They compare him to the Master of a Ship, sitting at the Helm, who, if he steers not right, and keeps not a steddy Course, especially in a Storm, endangers the Ship, and runs her upon Rocks or Shelves: And I think, the Master of a Ship doth not act in Parity with the rest of the Mariners. And further, They compare those who, at that time, endeavoured to interrupt the Course of his Discipline, Presbyters as well as others, to the Tumbling Waves, striving to shake the Master from the Helm, and expose all to the Hazards of Shipwrack. In plain Terms, they condemn the Course of Reconciling the Lapsed, so Undutifully and Rebelliously. As for themselves, they tell him, (and pray take notice of it,) That, wanting a Bishop, they could define nothing in the Matter: They tell him, I say, That since the Death of Fabianus of most Noble Memory, through the Difficulties of the Times, and the Encumbrances of their Affairs, they had not got a Bishop Constituted; who only could define in these Matters, and determine in the Case of the Lapsed with AUTHORITY and Counsel But withal, they tell him, That, for their parts, they were extreamly well pleased with the Course he had taken; namely, That he had resolved to do nothing rashly, to take no sudden Resolutions in a Matter of such Consequence; but to wait till God should grant him opportunity of Treating about it with others, and determining with common Advice in such a ticklish Case: Where observe by the way, That they do not found the Wisdom of this his Resolution on any thing like the Incompetency of his Power, for having determined by himself concerning the Lapsed, within his own District: No, the Reason they give for it, supposes his Power to have been fully Adequate and Competent for that Effect; and, that if he had given the final Stroke, no body could have Quarrel'd it: For they insist only on the Rules of Prudence, which, if I mistake not, are quite, different from the Rules of Power. They tell him, it might prove Invidious and Burdensom for one Bishop to Determine by himself, in a Case in which all Bishops were concerned; and that it was Providently done of him to desire the Consent of his Colleagues, that his Decrees might be Approved and Confirmed; That they might not be made void through the want of the Brotherly Ratification. These are the Reasons, I say, for which they justifie his Caution; and these Reasons suppose he had Power to have done otherwise thô not so wisely, nor so warily. And then they tell him over again, That they had met frequently, and canvassed the Matter seriously; They had tossed it, not only amongst themselves, but with several Bishops, far and near, as they had occasion to be in the City; and that still the Conclusion was, That they should attempt no Innovations till a Bishop should be settled: All they had Resolved was, That those of the Lapsed, whose Health might allow, should continue in the State of the Penitents, till God should grant them a Bishop

Neither was this a meer Complement to our Holy Martyr: Indeed, in all this, they gave him a true Account of their Real Sentiments and Principles, as we learn from another Epistle of theirs, wherein they had neither Occasion nor Temptation to Complement Bishops. The Epistle is that which is the Eighth, amongst St. Cyprian's. An Epistle written by them to the Presbyters and Deacons of Carthage; to Persons of their own Rank and Quality: By consequence, an Epistle, in which, had they understood it, had the Principles of those Times allowed it, they might have spoken their Minds very freely concerning the Power of Presbyters. Never had Presbyters, I am sure, more Freedom, or better Opportunity, to have asserted their own Power, and Vindicated Parity, and Condem'd Prelatical Usurpations, in an Epistle, than they had on that Occasion; for Fabianus Bishop of Rome was dead, and Cyprian Bishop of Carthage was retired; and so it was written by Presbyters who had no Bishop, to Presbyters in the absence of their Bishop: And yet, in that Epistle, they were so far from having any such Notions, that they said expresly, That both Themselves who wanted One, and those of Carthage who wanted the Presence of One, were only seemingly the Governours of those respective Churches; and only kept the Flocks, in stead of the respective Pastors, the Bishops. And further, telling what Pains they had been at to keep People from Apostatizing in the Day of Trial, they account how they Treated those who had fallen, particularly, that they did separate them from the Flock indeed, but so, as not to be wanting in their Duty and Assistance to them: They did what was proper for their Station: They exhorted them to continue patiently in their Penances, as being the most plausible Method for obtaining Indulgences from him who could give them That is, without Controversie, from the Bishop when he should be settled. For so I read in an Epistle, written at that same time by Celerinus a Roman, to Lucianus a Carthaginian, and the 2Ist in Number among St. Cyprian's, that when the Cause of Numeria and Candida, two Female Lapsers, was brought before the Presbytery of Rome, the Presbytery commanded them to continue as they were, i. e. in the State of Penitents, till a Bishop should be Inthroned. And now, let any Man judge, whether, according to the Principles and Sentiments of the Presbyters of Rome, St. Cyprian or his presuming Presbyters had taken too much upon them at Carthage. But neither is this all yet; for,

5. These Carthaginian Presbyters were also Condemned by the Roman Martyrs and Confessors, who, thô they were in Prison, had learned the State of the Controversie, from the Accounts St. Cyprian had sent to Rome, two of them, Moyses and Maximus, being also Presbyters. These Martyrs and Confessors wrote also to St. Cyprian, and to the same purpose the Roman Clergy had done: Their Epistle is the 3Ist in number: In which, they not only beg with a peculiar Earnestness,

That he, being so Glorious a Bishop, would pray for them; They not only lay a singular stress upon his Prayers beyond the Prayers of others, by reason of the Opinion they had of his Holy Virtues, which, I am apt to think, such Men as they would not probably have done, had they believed him to have been a Proud aspiring Prelate, that is, indeed, a Limb of Antichrist, as this Author would fain give him out to have been: But also they heartily Congratulate his discharging, so Laudibly, his Episcopal Office; and that even in his Retirement, he had made it so much his Care to acquit himself, that he had halted in no part of his Duty; and particularly, That he had suitably Censured and Rebuked, not only the Lapsed, who, little regarding the Greatness of their Guilt, had, in his Absence, extorted the Churches Peace from his Presbyters; but even these Presbyters for their profane Facility, in giving that which was Holy to Dogs, and casting Pearls before Swine, without any Regard to the Gospel. In short, They Approve his whole Proceeding, as having done nothing Unsuitable to his Character, nothing Unbecoming either an Holy or an Humble Bishop. Further yet.

6. These same Carthaginian Presbyters resuming their former Boldness, and Topping it over again with their Bishop, were Excommunicated by him, and his Sentence was Approved and Ratified by all Catholick Bishops in all Catholick Churches all the World over, as shall be shewn you fully by and by. And then,

7. And lasty, That in all this Matter St. Cyprian did nothing either Proudly or Presumptuously, is evident from this, That in his Time, and long before his Time, even from the Apostles Times, it was not Lawful for Presbyters to Attempt any thing relating to the Church without the Bishop. The Presbyters and Deacons attempt nothing without the Bishop's Allowance; for 'tis he to whom the Lord's People are committed, and 'tis he that must Account for their Souls, is the 39th of the Canons called Apostolical. And no doubt it was in force in St. Cyprian's time. And this was no greater Power than was assigned him by the Apostolical Ignatius, I cannot tell how many times. Take these Testimonies for a Sample. Let no Man do any thing that belongs to the Church without the Bishop. He that honoureth the Bishop, is honoured of God; but he that doth any thing in opposition to the Bishop, serveth the Devil. If any Man pretend to be wiser than the Bishop, (i. e. will have Things done against the Bishop's Will,) he is Corrupted. Let us be careful not to resist the Bishop, as we would be subject to God. The Spirit hath spoken, Do ye nothing without the Bishop. 'Tis necessary that you continue to do nothing without the Bishop.

And now, let any of Common Sense determine, Whether there was Ground, or shadow of Ground, for insinuating that St. Cyprian shewed too much Zeal in this Cause, or attempted to stretch his Power a little too far, (indeed, it had not been a little, but very much, nay monstrously too far, had those of Parity been then the current Principles,) or was a little too high in this Matter? But if there was no Ground to say so, if it was contrary to all the then current Principles, and to the common Sentiments of all Catholick Christians, nay, even to the Convictions of all Honest, Orderly, Dutiful, and Conscientious Presbyters, who then lived, to say so: If thus it was, I say, and 'tis hard to prove any Matter of Fact more evidently than I have proved that it was thus; then, I think, it follows by good Consequence, not only that this Author was a little in the wrong to St. Cyprian, when he said so; but also, that, in St. Cyprian's time, a Bishop had fairly a Negative over his Presbyters, which was the Thing to be demonstrated. And so I proceed to the next Thing proposed, namely,

III. That all the other Church-Governours within his District, Presbyters as well as others, were, in St. Cyprian's time, subject to the Bishop's Authority, and obnoxious to his Discipline; I do'nt think you very sharp sighted, if you have not seen this already. Yet that I may give you all reasonable Satisfaction, I shall insist a little further on it. And,

I. This might appear sufficiently from this one Consideration, (thô no more could be produced for it,) That, still in the Stile and Language of those Times, the Bishop was called the Praepositus, the Ruler, the Governour, the Superiour, of all the Christians within his District, Clergy as well as Laity: And they, without Distinction or Exception, were called His People, his Flock, his Subjects, &c. This may be seen almost in every one of his Epistles. Thus, Ep. 3. he says, That Deacons ought to remember that our Lord chose his Apostles, that is, Bishops and Governours: But the Apostles chose Deacons to be the Bishop's and the Churches Ministers: And therefore a Deacon ought with all Humility to give Satisfaction to the Bishop, his Superiour And Ep. 9. He praises the Roman Clergy for having the Memory of Fabianus, who had been their Superiour, in so great Honour. And Ep. 13. writing to Rogatianus his Presbyter, and the rest of the Confessors, and praising God for their Faith and Patience, he says, That, as all Christians were bound to Rejoyce when Christ's Flock was illuminated by the Examples of Confessors; so he himself, in a special manner, as being the Bishop, seeing the Churches Glory was the Ruler's Glory. And in that famous Passage which I have cited already from Ep. 16. he complains of it as an unexampled Petulancy, that Presbyters should so contemn the Bishop, their Superiour. And in another place, We Bishops, who have the Chief Power in the Church. And Ep. 62. I, who, by the Divine Mercy, Govern the Church, have sent to you [Januarius, Maximus, Proculus,] &c. 100000 Sesterces, as the Charitable Contribution of my Clergy and People. And Ep. 66. Hence spring Heresies and Schisms, &c. That the Bishop who is one, and is set over the Church, is Contemned, &c. Such was the Dialect of those Times, I say, and thus Bishops were called Rulers, Governours, Superiours, &c. and that in regard of all within their Districts, making no Discrimination betwixt Clergy-men and Laicks; and not only so, but more particularly,

2. It was as common in that Dialect, to call the Clergy The BISHOP'S CLERGY. Thus for Example, Ep. 14. It was my Wish, that I might have saluted all my Clergy safe and sound, &c. My Presbyters and Deacons ought to have taught you, &c. Because I cannot send Letters but by Clergy-men, and I know that many of mine are absent. Numidicus was preserved alive by God, that he might joyn him my Clergy--Urbanus and Sidonius came to my Presbyters--If any of my Presbyters or Deacons shall turn precipitant--I have sent you Copies of the Letters which I wrote to my Clergy and People concerning Felicissimus and his Presbytery--And, as I observed before, when Maximus a Presbyter, and Urbanus, &c. returned from the Novatian Schism to Cornelius's Communion, We are Reconciled (say they to Cyprian) to Cornelius OUR BISHOP, and to all the Clergy.

Such was the Language of those Times. Now, I say, by what Propriety of Speech could a Bishop have been called Praepositus, Superiour to his Clergy? Could they have been called HIS Clergy? Could he have been said to have been Their Bishop? Their Ruler? Their Governour? By what Rule of either Grammar or Rhetorick, Logick or Politick, could he have been said to have been set over them, or they to have been his Subjects or Inferiours, if he had no Power nor Jurisdiction over them? If they were not Subjected to his Authority, nor Obnoxious to his Discipline? But let all this pass for meer Prolusion if you will. I am not pinch'd for want of Arguments. For,

3. The three great Principles which I proved so fully before, viz. That a Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, was the Principle of Unity to the Church which he Govern'd; that he had a Supreme Power in it; and that by the Principles which then prevailed, he was the same in the Christian Church, which the High Priest was in the Iewish; and the last Thing I proved also, viz. That he had a Negative over his Presbyters; Each of these is demonstration for the present Conclusion, and you need not Artificial; Natural Logick is enough to let you see the Consequences. Indeed,

4. We find Cyprian all along both Reasoning and Practising to this purpose. Thus, he told Bishop Rogatianus, Ep. 3. That the Case was plain between him and his Deacon: He might punish him, forthwith, by his Episcopal Power, and his Cathedral Authority: He might make him sensible of his Episcopal Honour: He might Exert the Power of his Honour against him either by Deposing, or by Excommunicating him: Nay, He might Excommunicate all such as should Rebel against him: For all these Censures, his Sovereign Authority was competent.

Thus he praises Pomponius, another Bishop, for Excommunicating another Scandalous Deacon, Ep. 4. p. 9. And did not he himself Suspend Philumenus and Fortunatus, two Subdeacons, and Favorinus an Acolyth, from their Livings? As we learn from his 34th Epistle.

But you may say, These Instances extend no further than to Deacons, or more inferiour Clergy-men; but, What is this to Presbyters? Why? Sir, indeed, the Instances are pat and home; and you must acknowledge so much, if you consider, that, by the Principles of those Times, there was no Disparity between Prebyters and Inferiour Orders in this respect: But the Bishop's Power extended equally to all; just as a King can censure his Chancellor, as well as a Sub-Collector of his Customs; a Justice-General, as well as a Justice of Peace: Nothing clearer from the above-mentioned Principles. But that I may leave you no imaginable Scruple, I shall even account to you about Prebyters also.

5. Then, I have told you already, how some of the Carthaginian Presbyters conspired against St. Cyprian, and used their utmost Arts to hinder his Preferment to the Bishoprick. Now, if we may believe either himself, or Pontius in his Life, whatever it was they did on that Occasion, he might have punish'd them for it; punish'd them not only with Deposition, but with Excommunication, had he pleased. Take first his own Account in Ep. 43. there he tells his People, That through the Malignity and Perfidiousness of some of his Presbyters, he durst not adventure to return to Carthage so soon as he would: And he describes those Presbyters thus; That being mindful of their Conspiracy, and retaining their old Grudges against his Promotion, they reinforced their ancient Machinations, and renewed their Attempts for Undermining him, by siding with Felicissimus in his Schism: And then he proceeds thus; I neither willed nor wished their Punishment for their Opposition to my Promotion; yea, I Pardon'd them, and kept my Peace: And yet, now, they have suffered Condign Punishment: Thô I did not Excommunicate them then, their own Guilty Consciences have done it now: They have Excommunicated themselves, &c. Take it next from Pontius his Deacon, Thô I am unwilling, says he, yet I must speak it out: Some resisted his Promotion, but how Gently, how Patiently, how Generously, how Mercifully, did he forgive them? Did he not thereafter admit them to his most intimate Friendship and Familiarity, to the Astonishment of many? Indeed, he therein shewed a Miracle of Clemency. Lay these two Accounts together, and then tell me, if these Presbyters were not Obnoxious to his Discipline? If his Power over them might not have extended to their very Excommunication, for their old Tricks against him, had he been willing to have put it in Execution? But this is not all. For,

Have I not accounted already, How, when they first Engaged in the Controversie concerning the Lapsed, he threaten'd them, that if they should continue to Absolve and Reconcile any more of them without his Allowance, he would Suspend them from their Office, and inflict severer Censures on them when he should return to Carthage? And have I not justified him in this, and made it manifest to a Demonstration, that herein he did not stretch his Power too far? That he took not too much on him? Further yet.

When they resumed their Impudence, and, after a little Interruption, would needs be Absolving the Lapsed, thô he was then in his Retirement, and by consequence, had few or none of his Clergy to Consult with; yet he gave out this plain and peremptory Order, That if any of his Presbyters or Deacons could prove so Lawless, or Precipitant, as to Communicate with the Lapsed before his Determination in the Matter, and, by consequence, without his Leave, that they should be forthwith Suspended from the Communion, and should be more fully Tried and Censured when he should return. And then,

Lastly, When they proceeded so far as to Commence the Schism with Felicissimus; mark it well, He not only gave a Delegation to Caldonius and Herculanus, two Bishops; and Rogatianus and Numidicus, two of his own Presbyters, to Judge and Excommunicate Felicissimus and his Partisans, as I have shewed already; but he likewise Excommunicated the five Presbyters who joyned with him, and all who should adhere to them. And he gave an Account of his Proceedings to all Catholick Bishops, particularly to Cornelius Bishop of Rome; and his Sentence was not only ratified by Cornelius and Felicissimus, and all his Party refused his Communion, but they met with the same Treatment; St. Cyprian's Sentence was Approved, and Confirmed by all Catholick Churches all the World over.

I might easily have proved this more fully, but, I think, I have said enough. And now, Sir, lay these three Things together, viz. That there were several considerable Acts of Church Power peculiar to a Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, and which those in the Order of Single Presbyters could not meddle with: That a Bishop, as such, had a Negative over all the Presbyters within his District: And, That they were all Subordinate to him, and Obnoxious to his Discipline: And then I can refer it to your self to determine, Whether a Bishop, then, was not quite another thing than either Single Presbyter, or Presbyterian Moderator.

Thus, I think, I have sufficiently defeated our Author's Definition of a Bishop, in St. Cyprian's time, by giving a fair and just Account of him. as he stood related to his own particular Church which he Govern'd. I come now to consider him as he stood related to the Church Catholick. And here also I am very much mistaken, if I shall not find Matter enough for another Demonstration against him. I shall endeavour to dispatch this Point with all possible Brevity.

I. Then, by the Principles of the Cyprianic Age, all Bishops were Collegues, and made up One College. St. Cyprian calls them so, and speaks of the Episcopal or Sacerdotal College so frequently, (no fewer than 6 or 7 times in one Epistle, and 4 or 5 times in another ) that I need not adduce Testimonies. Indeed, being all Men of the same Character, the same Order, the same Dignity; being all of them equally Supreme, and First in their own Churches; and all standing Collateral to one another; they were most properly called Collegues, and their Society, a College, if we may rely on A. Gellius his Skill in the Latin Tongue, or rather Messala's cited by him. And it is observable to this purpose, That St. Cyprian no where calls Presbyters his Collegues. He calls none so, but Bishops. And the Notion of the Episcopal College had such an Impression on him, it was so Common and Received in those Times, that speaking even of Schismatical Bishops, who run one course, he calls them a College also, thô quite different from the True College of Catholick and Orthodox Bishops. Now,

2. As the One Bishop was the Principle of Unity to a particular Church, so this College of Bishops was the Principle of Unity to the Catholick Church: And Jesus Christ was the Principle of Unity to the College of Bishops. I hope, not being a Romanist, you will not require that I should prove the Highest Step of this Gradation. All that remains then, is to Explain how the College of Bishops, by the Principles of those Times, was the Principle of Unity to the Church Catholick; or, the One great Aggregated Body, consisting of all the particular Churches all the World over, whereof, their particular Bishops were the particular Principles of Unity. Neither needs this be a Laborious Task. For all that's necessary for it, is, To shew how they were so United into One College, as to make them capable of being justly denominated One Principle of Unity. Now, they were thus United by the Great and Fundamental Laws of One Faith, and One Communion.

That the One Holy Catholick Faith is Essential in the Constitution of the One Holy Catholick Church, is, even to this day, a received Principle, I think, amongst all sober Christians. But then, I say, That the Christians, in St. Cyprian's time, reckoned of the Laws of One Communion as every whit as forcible and indispensible to the Being of One Church, as the Laws of One Faith. It was a prime, a fundamental Article of their Faith, That there was but One Church; and they could not understand how there could be but One Church, if there was more than One Communion. By their Principles and Reasonings, a Multiplication of Communions made, unavoidably, a Multiplication of Churches: And by consequence, seeing there could be but One True Catholick Church, there could be likewise but One True Catholick Communion. All other Churches or Communions were False, i. e. not at all Christian Churches or Communions. These Principles, and suitable Reasonings from them, are so frequently and so fully insisted on in St. Cyprian's Writings, that to Transcribe his Testimonies to this purpose, were almost to Transcribe his Works. Now from these Principles, it follows clearly,

3. That the Grand Concern of the Episcopal College was, to Preserve and Maintain this One Communion: To Guard against all such Doctrines as destroyed, or tended to destroy, the One Holy Catholick Faith; and all Schisms and Schismatical Methods which destroyed, or tended to destroy, the Unity of the One Church. These being the Great and Fundamental Interests of the One Church; and they being her Supreme Governours, they could not but be chiefly bound by the most Fundamental Laws of their Office to be Conscientious Conservators of these Great and Fundamental Interests. And indeed, so they believed themselves to be, as will evidently appear from the following Considerations. And,

I. They look'd upon themselves as bound indispensibly to maintain the Peace, the Unity, the Concord, the Unanimity, the Honour, (they are all St. Cyprian's Words) of the College it self. Every Error, every Defect, every Thing Disjoynted, or out of Tune in it, tended naturally to endanger the great Interests, for the Conservation and Procuration of which it was instituted. For this End,

2. Because every Man, by being Promoted to the Episcopal Dignity, was, Eo ipso, a Principle of Unity to a particular Church, and so a Member of the Episcopal College; all possible Care was taken, that a fit Person should be promoted, and that the Promotion should be Unquestionable. Therefore, he was not to be Promoted, as I have proved, but where there was an Unquestionable. Vacancy. Therefore, he was not to be Promoted, if there was any thing Uncanonical or Challengeable in his Baptism, or his Confirmation, or his Promotion to any former Order, as I have shewn also in the Case of Novationus. Therefore he was Solemnly Elected in the Presence of the People, That either his Crimes might be detected, or his Merits published; because the People was best acquainted with every Man's Life and Conversation. Therefore he was to be Solemnly Ordained in the Presence of the People also. And that by two or three Bishops at fewest; (thô an Ordination perform'd by One Bishop was truly Valid:) Commonly there were more; all the Bishops of the Province.

3. Being thus Canonically Promoted, his first. Work. was to send his Communicatory Letters to all other Bishops, to give them thereby an Account of his Canonical Promotion, his Orthodoxy in the Faith, his Fraternal Disposition, &c. Thus, Cornelius was no sooner Ordained Bishop of Rome, than he instantly dispatched his Communicatory Letters to St. Cyprian And no doubt, as the Custom was, to all other Bishops; at least, to all Metropolitans, by them to be Communicated to the Bishops within their Provinces: I say, to Metropolitans, for nothing can be clearer than that there were Metropolitans in St. Cyprian's time. He was undoubtedly One himself and Agrippinus, his Predecessor Bishop of Carthage, was One long before him. Spanhemius himself, our Author's Diligent Searcher into Antiquity, acknowledges it. But to return from this Digression. Novatianus also, thô Illegally and Schismatically Ordained, found it necessary to send his Communicatory Letters to St. Cyptian; as if he had been Ordain'd Canonically, and in the Unity of the Church. So also Fortunatus, when made a Schismatical Bishop at Carthage, sent his Communicatory Letters to Cornelius Bishop of Rome. Indeed, this was never omitted.

4. If there was no Competition, no Controversie in the Case; the Matter was at an end. The Promoted Bishop's Communicatory Letters were sufficient, and he was forthwith faithfully joyned with all his Collegues, as St. Cyprian words it. But if there was any Competitor, any Debate, then the rest of the College, before they received him as a Collegue, made further Enquiries. Sometimes they sent some from the Neighbourhood to examine the Matter: Sometimes the Ordainers were obliged to Account for the Person Ordained, and the whole Procedure of the Ordination: Sometimes both Methods were practised. We have a famous Instance of both Methods in one Case; the Case of Cornelius and Novationus. Cornelius, as I have said, upon his Promotion wrote to St. Cyprian: So did Novatianus. Here was a Competition. Cyprian therefore, with his African Collegues, sent Caldonius and Fortunatus, two Bishops, to Rome, that upon the Place it self, where they might have the surest Information, they might enquire into the Merits of the Cause, and try the Competition. And on the other hand, the Sixteen Bishops, who Ordain'd Cornelius, wrote to St. Cyprian, and the rest of the Bishops of Africa, and satisfied them upon the whole Qvestion, demonstrating Cornelius's Title, and Condemning Novatianus Such Care was taken, that none should be admitted Unworthily or Uncanonically into the Episcopal College. But then,

5. There was equal Care taken to purge him out of the College again, if he turned either Heretical or Schismatical: If he kept not close to the Laws of One Faith, and One Communion. If he swerv'd from these, he was forthwith refused the Communion of the whole College. Therefore, (says St. Cyprian to Stephen Bishop of Rome, in the Case of Marcianus Bishop of Arles, who had joyned with Novatianus,) The Corporation of Priests, (the Episcopal College) is Copious, being cemented by the Glue of Mutual Concord, and the Bond of Unity, that if any of the College shall turn Heretick, or attempt to divide or waste the Flock of Christ, the rest may interpose, and, as profitable and merciful Shepherds, collect our Lord's Sheep, and restore them to the Flock. And this they were bound to do by the Fundamental Laws of One Church, and one Communion; for, as our Martyr subjoyns, Thô they were many Pastors, yet they all fed but one Flock.. And therefore all the Bishops in the World were bound to give the desolate Christians of Churches, whereof the Bishops had turned Heretical or Schismatical, the Comfort of their Aid and Assistance 'Tis true, no Bishop was Superiour to another Bishop in point of Power or Jurisdiction, but all stood Collateral, as I have proved, and so no Bishop as Superiour to another, in a streight Line, could pass Sentence on him, as they might have done to Presbyters. Yet all being United into One College, which College was the Principle of Unity to the Church Catholick, it was necessary, as well as natural, that that College should be impower'd to take care of its own Preservation, and by consequence, they could do the Equivalent of a formal and authoritative Deposition; they could refuse the Heretical or Schismatical Bishop their Communion, and thereby exclude him from the Episcopal College: And they could oblige all the Christians within his District to abandon his Communion, and choose another Bishop, as they valued the invaluable Priviledges of the One Church, and the One Communion. But then,

6. So long as a Bishop, worthily, and legally Promoted, kept the Faith and the Unity of the Church, he was Treated, he was Encouraged, he was Consulted, he was Corresponded with; in a word, Every way used as became the Head of a particular Church, and a Fellow-Member of the College. All the rest of the Members were bound, by the Fundamental Laws of the College, to Ratifie all his Canonical, nay, Equitable Acts of Priesthood, Government, and Discipline. Whosoever was Baptized by himself, or by his Clergy, with his Allowance was to be owned as a Baptized Christian, a True Denison of the Church, and to have the Priviledges of such all the World over. Every Bishop of the Christian Church, living at how great a distance soever, was bound to Communicate his Dutiful Subjects, duly attested by him; and to Excommunicate his Excommunicates. Thus, for Instance, Cornelius Bishop of Rome rejected Felicissimus, and all his Retainers; and Fortunatus, and all his; and would not grant them his Communion, because Excommunicated by St. Cyprian. And Cyprian rejected Novatianus and all his Party, because not in Communion with Cornelius. In short, By the Laws of the College, he that was Injurious, Undutiful, or Disobedient to his Bishop, was such to all the Bishops on Earth: He that set up an Altar against his Bishop's Altar, set up his Altar against all the Altars of the whole College: If a Bishop Deposed or Excommunicated any of his Presbyters or Deacons, it was not lawful for any other Bishop to Receive him, nor to Absolve him: He was still to be reserved for that, to his own Bishop, so long as he lived. He that was Reconciled to his Bishop, (whether he was of the Clergy or Laity,) and Restored by him to the Peace of the Church, was thereby Restored to the Peace of all other Churches, and by consequence, of the Church Catholick. And of this we have a remarkable Instance in St. Cyprian's time. Therapius Bishop of Bulla, in the Proconsular Province of Africa, Absolved Victor, who had been a Presbyter, but had fallen, in time of Persecution, Prematurely and Uncanonically: And yet, by a Synod of Sixty six Bishops, whereof Cyprian was One, the Absolution was Ratified, and Victor was allowed their Communion; as we learn from their Synodical Epistle. So Eminent and Considerable was a Bishop then, as he stood related to the Catholick Church. Let me only add one Thing more in pursuance of his Dignity, as to this Relation; and that is,

7. That so long as Bishop continued a sound Member of the College, all Informatory, Consultatory, Recommendatory, Communicatory, Congratulatory, Apologetick, Testimonial; in a word, all Letters concerning the Peace, the Unity, the Government, the Discipline of the Church; or the Concord, the Correspondence, the Harmony, the Honour, the Hazards, or any other considerable Interest of the College, were directed to him, or received from him, as having the Supreme Power of the Church which he Govern'd.

All the great Concerns of both the Catholick Church, and the Episcopal College, were, in those Times, transacted by Letters. There was no possibility of General Councils then: All that could be done, was either to meet in Provincial Synods, upon great Emergencies; or, if that could not be neither, to transact Matters, and bring them to a General Determination, by particular Letters from Bishop to Bishop.

Provincial Synods were ordinarily kept twice a Year; and by them, in the ordinary Course, all Matters of Moment were Determined; and so by the Reciprocation of Synodical Letters, Matters came sometimes to such a General Agreement and Determination, as, in the Result, was fully Equivalent to the Definition of a General Council. We have several Instances of such Transactions by Provincial Synods. Thus in the Grand Case of the Lapsed, in the time of the Decian Persecusion, the Matter was so managed by Provincial Synods in Africa, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, &c. that at last, as St. Cyprian tells us, it was brought to this General Conclusion, That the Lapsed should complete their Terms of Penance, and should not be restored to the Peace of the Church before the Time appointed by the Canons, unless it was in the case of Deadly Sickness. Thus, without doubt, also that considerable Canon mentioned by St. Cyprian in the Synodical Epistle, which is the 67th in Number, amongst his Epistles, viz. That the Lapsed, however they might be restor'd to the Communion of the Church, should never be received into Holy Orders. And that other Canon mentioned by him also, That no Clergy-man should be Tutor to Minors. Thus also, long before St. Cyprian, the great Controversie concerning the Observation of Easter, was managed in many Synods, as Eusebius tells us. And a few Years after his Martyrdom, the Case of Paulus Samosatenus. These Instances are only for a Sample.

When Provincial Synods could not be kept, or emergent Matters of Consequence could not be conveniently determin'd in them, then Recourse was had to the only remaining Method, viz. particular Letters from Bishop to Bishop. And to make this Method both sure and effectual, all possible Pains was taken. It was necessary that each Bishop should sign his Letter, and send it, not by every common Carrier, but by a Clergy-man. In short, They had such Marks, that it was not easie, if possible, to Counterfeit them. And the Bishop who received it was bound by the Laws of the College to transmit it, for his Share, to the rest of the Members. And so it went through, and the whole College was acquainted with the Accident, the Case, the Controversie, whatever it was that had Emerged, we have many Instances and Evidences of this Method and Diligence in St. Cyprian's Writings. Thus, e. g. When Caldonius writes to Cyprian concerning some Lapsed within his District, Cyprian returns him an Answer, telling him, He had written his Mind to that purpose already, and so sends him Copies of five Epistles concerning the Case, requiring him to transmit them to as many Bishops as he could; adding this as the Reason, That One Course, One Resolution, might be kept by all the College. And so we find, that the Letters written by him about that Controversie were trasmitted from hand to hand, till they were dispersed all the World over Thus, I say, sometimes the greatest Affairs of the Church were managed: And, 'tis plain, this Method. was every was Equivalent, if not Preferable, to a General Council: So that the Christian Church might have still subsisted, and its Unity been provided for, and preserved in all Ages, without such Councils, as it was, effectually, during the First Three Centuries. Now, that which I am principally concern'd for in all this Matter, is,

That all these Circular Letters, of whatsoever Nature, relating either, to the great Interests of the Catholick Church, or of the Episcopal College, were regularly directed only to the Bishops, as being the Heads, and Principles of Unity to their respective Churches, as well as written and sent by those of the same Order. And we have a notable Account of this in St. Cyprian's 48th Epistle directed to Cornelius; for there we learn, That the Presbyters and Deacons of the Church of Adrumetum, having received Cornelius's Communicatory Letters, directed to Polycarpus their Bishop; and, seeing their Bishop was absent, finding it necessary that they should return an Answer, in his Name, as having his presumed Allowance for it, they wrote to Cornelius in the common Form, acknowledging him as Bishop of Rome, and subjoyning Polycarpus his Name to the Letter: A clear Evidence, That where there was a Bishop, it behoved all the Letters that concerned the publick State of the Church to be subscribed by him, no other Name but his could give them Force, and make them Current. Well! but there was one Thing amiss: St. Cyprian, and the rest of the African Bishops having Intelligence of the Competition that was at Rome between Cornelius and Novatianus, and being unwilling to do any thing rashly, had determined to continue to write only to the Roman Presbyters and Deacons, as before, during the Vacancy; till Cornelius his Title should be fully cleared to them. This the Clergy of Adrumetum were ignorant of when they wrote the abovementioned Letter. And being afterwards told it by Cyprian and Liberalis, they directed their next Letter not for Cornelius, but for the Roman Presbyters and Deacons. Hereat Cornelius was not a little stumbled, and, according to the then current Principles, interpreting it to be a disowning of him as Bishop of Rome, he wrote a Letter of Complaint to Cyprian about it, who was then Metropolitan of that Province. In Answer to which, our Holy Martyr wrote a full Apology to him, shewing him what was true Matter of Fact: Upon what Reasons the Bishops of Africa had taken the aforesaid Resolution: How it was in consequence of that Resolution, that the Clergy of Adrumetum had changed their Direction: And how, by the whole Method, no thing was less intended than to disown him as Bishop of Rome, or Invalidate his Title. And was there not here as clear an Evidence, that Regularly, and in the current Form, all Letters were directed to the Bishop? Shall I give you another History to clear this Matter further? When Maximus and Nicostratus retaining to Novatianus, and so separating from Cornelius, did thereby cut themselves off from the Communion of the Church; Cyprian wrote to them, as well he might, considering that his Design was to Reconcile them to their True Bishop Cornelius. But how did he write? Why? so, as that his Letter should not be delivered till Cornelius should see it, and judge whether it was proper to deliver it Such a special regard was then paid to the Bishop of a Church, as being Supreme in it, and the Principle of Unity to it.

If all this doth not satisfie you, then listen a little further, and resist this Evidence if ye can: Because, by the Fundamental Principles of One Faith, and One Communion, every Heretical and Schismatical Bishop was, ipso facto, out of the Church; and all who retain'd or adhered to him, whether Bishops, Clergy, or Laicks, did run the same Risque with him: Therefore, so soon as any Bishop turned Heretick or Schismatick, the Catholick Bishops of the Province, especially the Metropolitans, formed Lists of all the True, Orthodox, and Catholick Bishops, within their respective Provinces, and sent them to other Metropolitans: And so they were transmitted all the World over. That their Communicatory Letters, and theirs only. might be received, and their Communion, and theirs only, might be allowed; and that all Heretical or Schismatical, or Retainers to Heretical or Schismatical Bishops, might be rejected, and their Communion refused. And for this we have two notable Testimonies from St. Cyprian, the one is in his 59th Epistle directed to Cornelius, where he tells him, That upon Fortunatus his starting out of the Church, and pretending to be Bishop of Carthage, He had sent him the Names of all the Bishops in Africa, who Govern'd their Churches in Soundness and Integrity, and that it was done by common Advice: But to what purpose? That you and all my Collegues may readily know to whom you may send, and from whom you may receive Communicatory Letters. The other Testimony is in Ep. 68. where Cyprian having given his Sentiments fully concerning Marcianus; that he had forfeited his Dignity; and that it was necessary, that another should be substituted in his room, & c. requires Stephen Bishop of Rome to give himself, and the rest of the Bishops of Africa, a distinct Account of the Person that should be Surrogated in Marcianus his Place, That we may know, says he, to whom we may direct our Brethren, and write our Letters.

I have only given you a Taste of the Methods and Expedients which were put in Practice in those Times, for preserving the Unity, the One Communion of the One Catholick Church; and how nicely and accurately it was provided for, by the Incorporation of all Bishops into Our College; of all particular Principles of Unity of particular Churches, into one Aggregated Principle of Unity, proportioned to the Extent of all those Churches in their Aggregation: And by the mutual Support of all Bishops one towards another. It had been easie to have collected more Particulars, as well as to have insisted more largely on these I have collected: But from the small Collection I have made, I think I have laid Foundation enough for another Demonstration against our Author's Notion of a Bishop in St. Cyprian's time. For,

How could either Single Presbyter, or Presbyterian Moderator, taking the Terms in the Presbyterian Sense, have born such a Part, in relation to the Unity of the Catholick Church, and the Preservation of One Communion? Besides, that the College of Bishops, in those Times, is still considered and insisted on, as consisting of Church Governours notoriously distinguished from Presbyters: Besides, that in all St. Cyprian's Writings, or in any Monument of those Times, you shall never, so much as once, find a Bishop calling a Presbyter his Collegue: Besides, that we have not the least Vestige of any such stated, ordinary current Office, in any Record of those Times, as that of a meer Presbyterian Moderator: Besides these Things, I say,

How had it been consistent with the Principles or Analogies, the Scheme or Plot of Presbyterian Parity, to have committed to any Single Presbyter, Moderator, or other, the bearing of such a Part, as that He, and He alone, of God knows how many, should have been Constituted a Member of a College, which College, and which alone, had the Supreme Power of Preserving the Faith, and the Unity, and managing all the Affairs of the Church Catholick? As that all his Admissions into the Church; his Exclusions from the Church; his Extrusions out of the Church; his Suspensions, his Abstentions, his Excommunications, his Injunctions of Penances, his Absolutions, his Ordinations, his Degradations, his Depositions; in a word, all his Acts of Government and Discipline, within his own District, and his alone, should have had Authority, and been deemed Valid, and merited a Ratification all the World over? As that whosoever, Presbyter or other, within such a District, in which there might have been many Decads of Presbyters, was Disobedient to him, or Top't it with him, or Rebelled against him, should have been reputed Disobedient to, and Rebellious against, the whole College of the Supreme Governours of the Church Catholick? As that raising an Altar against his Altar, and his only, should have been deem'd Raising an Altar against all Catholick Christian Altars? As that from him, and from him only, in the regular Course, all Communicatory, Informatory, Consolatory; in short, all Letters concerning the Publick Affairs of the Catholick Church, or the Sacred College that Ruled the Catholick Church, should have been Received? As that to him, and to him alone, all such Letters have been directed? As that by the Circulation and Reciprocation of Letters betwixt him and his Collegues, and their General Agreement upon any Thing, by that Circulation and Reciprocation, Laws should have been given to the whole Catholick Church, Canons, as Binding and Obligatory as the Supreme Ecclesiastical Power on Earth could make them?

How could one raised to such a Post, I say, have been no other than a Single Presbyter, or a Presbyterian Moderator? Doth not his very bearing such a Part, his having such a Trust, his being Cloath'd with such an Eminence, argue him Demonstratively to have been something other, something Greater, something Higher and more Honourable than either?

Thus I have considered a Bishop in St. Cyprian's time, as he stood related to his own Particular, and to the Church Catholick; and, in both respects, have discovered a vast Discrepance betwixt him, as he was really, and our Author's Notion or Definition of him. Let me only add one Consideration more; and that is,

What Character he bore, what Figure he made, in the Eye of those who were without; of the Heathen World, especially the Roman Emperours and Magistrates. And here I need not be at much Pains; the Thing is Obvious: The Christian Bishops, as being the Chief Rulers, the Supreme Governours,the Heads of their respective Churches, were the Chief Butts of all the Heathen Rage and Malice. Take these few of many Evidences.

After St. Cyprian had retired from Carthage, in the time of the Decian Persecution, he wrote to his Presbyters and Deacons, and told them how earnest he was to return to the City, but Prudence would not let him. When he considered the Publick Peace of the Church, and how much he, as Bishop, was concerned to Provide for it, and for the Quiet and Safety of the Brethren, he found it necessary for him, thô with mighty Grief, to forbear returning for a time, lest HIS PRESENCE should provoke the Rage and Fury of the Gentiles. So he wrote, I say, in his 7th Epistle. And in the 12th, directed also to his Presbyters and Deacons, I wish, says he, that my Station and Character, would allow me to be present with you. In his 20th Epistle directed for the Roman Presbyters and Deacons, he Apologizes for his Retirement after this manner. In compliance with our Lord's Commands, (pointing, no doubt, at Matth. 10. 23.) so soon as the Persecution began, and the Rabble, with mighty Clamour, pursued me, I retired for a time, not so much to save my self, as for the publick Quiet of the Church; and that the Tumult which was already kindled, might not be the more inflam'd by MY OBSTINATE PRESENCE. And to the same purpose, he Apologizes to his own People for his so long Absence, Ep. 43. Thô he had been long away, yet he durst not return, because of the Threats and Snares of these perfidious Men, (Felicissimus, and his Fellow-Schismaticks,) Lest, says he, upon MY COMING, there should be a greater Uproar, and, while as a Bishop ought, in all Things, to provide for Peace and Tranquillity, I should seem to have added Fewel to the Sedition, and to have imbittered the Persecution.

Here, I think, is clear Demonstration of the Episcopal Eminence in the Eye of the Heathen Persecutors: It was a Grief, a Burden, a Torment, a very Crucifixion to St. Cyprian's Soul, to be separated from his Flock, as himself words it. But he was bound by the Laws of his EPSICOPAL PROVIDENCE, by all means, to study the Peace, the Quiet, the Tranquillity of the Church, and his LOCUS and GRADUS, his Station and Dignity, were so Conspicuous and Eminent, that HIS PRESENCE would have provoked the Gentiles, and increased the Persecution, and therefore he durst not return. And yet this is not all. Consider if what follows is not yet clearer.

In his 14th Epistle written to his Presbyters and Deacons, he tells them, That tho he had strong and pressing Reasons to hasten his return, yet he found it more expedient and useful for the publick Peace to continue longer in his Lurking Places; and Tertullus, one whom they knew, and could not but value, had seriously advised him to be Calm and Cautious, and not to commit himself rashly to the publick View, especially of that Place where he had been so often lain in wait, and made search for; and therefore he Exhorts and Commands them, (his Presbyters and Deacons,) That THEY, whose PRESENCE was neither so INVIDIOUS, nor by far so DANGEROUS, might perform the part of Vicars to him. Here, I think, we have a full Evidence of a fair Discrimination was made betwixt him and his Presbyters by the Heathen Persecutors. And not only so; but.

He tells Cornelius Bishop of Rome, Ep. 59. That he was Proscribed in the Days of the Decian Persecution, and that by Name, as Bishop of the Christians in Carthage, and that he was destin'd for the Lions, & c And again, Ep. 66. he tells Florentius Pupianus, That his Proscription ran in this Form: If any Man holds or possesses any of the Goods of CAECILIUS CYPRIANUS BISHOP OF THE CHRISTIANS, &c. And thereby makes an Argument, that it was Unaccountable in Florentius not to own him as a Bishop. And Pontius his Deacon tells us, That, when he at last commenced Martyr in the Valerian Persecution, in the very Sentence that was given out against him, he was called SECTAE SIGNIFER, the Ring-leader, the Head, the Chiftain of the Sect of the Christians in Carthage. Would you have yet more? Then,

Take it, not about St. Cyprian's Person, for I think we have enough of him already, but in St. Cyprian's Words: You have them Ep. 55. there he tells Antonianus, That the Emperous Decius (from a Sense, no doubt, that, as Heads of their respective Churches, they were, under God, the great Supporters and Promoters of our Most Holy Faith,) had such a Spite, such a Pique, at the Christian Bishops, that for Example, He could have heard with greater Patience and Composure, that another emulous Prince should have Rival'd it with him for the Roman Empire, than that a Bishop should have been settled in the City of Rome. And doth not Eusebius tell us, That the Emperour Maximinus, in that Persecution of which he was the Author, some 22 or 23 Years before St. Cyprian's Martyrdom, Ordered, that the ArconteV, the chief Governours of the Christian Churches, should only be put to Death, as being the Authors of the Propagation of the Gospel? So Eminent, in those Times, was the Episcopal Character; such a Sense had the very Heathens of their being Bishops indeed; so much, as Bishops, were they Obnoxious to the Fury and Malice of Persecutors; and so much Reason had St. Cyprian to say, That it mattered not, whence (whether from Heathens without, or Schismaticks within, if they may be called any way within,) Terrors or Perils threatned a Bishop, seeing, as such, he was still obnoxious to Terrors or Perils. Meaning, that, in those Times, Bishops, as Bishops, were still exposed to the first burnt of all Persecutions. As, on the other hand, when the Human Galienus, who succeeded to Valerianus, stop'd the Persecution which his Predecessor had begun, he began his Imperial Rescript, thus, The Emperour Publius Licinius Galienus, &c. To Dionysius, Pinnas, Demetrius, and the rest of the BISHOPS, &c. and so went on, telling them, How he had ordered his Edict of Grace and Clemency to be Published all the World over; allowing them to rely upon it, as full Security against all Molestation for the future. Thus, I say, that Heathen Emperour stopping the Current of a fierce Persecution, and designing Favour and Security to Christians, directed his Letters to the Christian Bishops, as the Persons who were Heads of the Christian Churches, and in all Persecutions had wont to be exposed to the greatest Hazards.

Thus, Sir, I have examined our Author's Definition of a Bishop in St. Cyprian's time; and, if I mistake not, have demonstrated by many solid Arguments, that he was neither Single Presbyter, nor Presbyterian Moderator, in the Presbyterian Sense of the Terms; but a True Prelate in the strictest propriety of Speech. Consider my Arguments thoroughly, and weigh them only in the Ballance of Iustice, without Prejudice, and without Partiality, and try whether Each of them singly, and much more, all together do not Conclude irrefragably against him. And if they shall be found to be Concludent, I leave it next to you to Determine, whether our Author is not both fairly and formally bound by his Word to confess himself a Schismatick.

When I first put Pen to Paper, I had in my Project to have proceeded further, and made it appear as evidently, as what I have now dispatched, That the Episcopal Preheminence which was so notoriously and unquestionably Prelatical in St. Cyprian's time, was no Novel Usurpation, no Late Invention, not at all the Production of the Cyprianic Age, nor any Age later than the Apostles: That St. Cyprian, and all his Contemporaries, firmly believed it to be of Divine Institution; That they had not Entertained it, having so little Temporal Encouragement, nay, so great and many Temporal Discouragements to Entertain it, if they had not so believed: That they had great Reason for this their Belief; as fairly founded on our Saviour's own Ordinance; and fully handed down to them in the constant Practice of the Universal Church from the First Plantation of Christian Churches: That it pass'd amongst them as a common Principle,That Bishops, as I have represented them, Bishops, as they were then, that is, clearly contradistinct from Presbyters and Superiour to them, Bishops as the Heads of, and Principles of Unity to, their respective Churches, were the Rightful, True, and Genuine Successors of the Apostles, in the Supreme visible Ecclesiastical Power of Governing the Churches, whereof they were Bishops.

These Things, I say, I had once in my Prospect; but this Letter has swell'd to such a Bulk already, as, perhaps, may fright you from Reading it: And you may Command me to Prosecute what is lest undone, when you will: And what I have written, as I said, seems to me sufficient, in Point of Argument, for bringing your Author to a Sense of his State, as well as a Candid Confession of it, when 'tis thus plainly represented to him: And therefore I Conclude with my Best Christian Wishes to you and him, and all Men.

March 28. 1695.


Project Canterbury