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other fhall take his Bishoprick. And as Chrift, by fending his Apoftles and their Succeflors as he was fent by the Father, plainly gave them Authority to make and ordain Bifhops; fo he also as plainly gave them the Power to judge and declare when a Bishop was fallen from his Bishoprick by Tranfgreffion. Thus (k) Peter and the other Apoft les judged and declared in the Cafe of Judas. It is true, Judas was then dead, and fo his Bishoprick vacant another Way; but they did not declare the Vacancy to have accrued from his Death, but from his Tranfgreffion: That was fufficient to have made his Place vacant, though he had been ftill alive. Here then is a Rule in the Sacred Writings for depofing of Bishops; no one has Authority to depofe a Bifhop arbitrarily or without juft Caufe, but when he is guilty of fuch Tranfgrefon as justly makes a Vacancy of his Bishoprick; then the College of Bishops are to declare and judge concerning the Matter, and put another into his Place.
SXLIV. Another Query is, Was not the judging and depofing of Bishops by Provincial Synods in the Beginning, a Prudential, no Divine Inftitution, fuch a one as the Church thought to be beft in their Circumstances; as was the Divifion of the whole Church into Districts, called in our Modern Terms, Diocefes and Provinces, after the Plan of the Civil Empire ? It may be answered, That I have already fhewed, that the Divifion of the Church into Districts, which we now call Diocefes or Provinces, was made by the Apostles themselves, and that not meerly upon Prudential Reasons, as is here fuggefted, but by the Directions of the Holy Ghost; and therefore St. Paul (1) calls his Diftri&t, the Meafure of the Rule or Line which God had diftributed to him. And if herein they followed the Plan of the Civil
(k) A&. i. 13, 15.
(1) 2 Cor. X. 13.
Empire, what follows from thence? Only that they faw no Occafion to make new Measures and Boundaries for the World when they faw it already well bounded to their Hand. But ftill they did not go to the Civil Magiftrate to know which Province he would be pleased to allot to each Apoftle. They first made S. James the Bishop of ferufalem, allotting to him that City and its Territory; and the other Apostles difperfed themselves into the other Parts of the World, each taking such a Province or Number of Provinces as was thought proper among themfelves. And when any of them had made fuch a Multitude of Converts as were too many for his own fingle Inspection and Government, then he ordain'd fome other Perfon to be Bishop or chief Spiritual Ruler of fuch a Diftrict or Diocese within his Province as he thought fit to commit to his Charge; and they took care that no one should meddle in another's District, or (m) stretch himself beyond his Measure. Thus the whole Church was divided into Districts or Dioceses by the Apostles, as appears from the Sacred Writings; and therefore this was a Divine, not an Humane Inftitution, as the Querift pretends, made upon Prudential Reasons or by an Humane Authority, the Apoftles in this, as in the other Settlements of the Church, following the Directions of the Holy Ghoft. So alfo the Meeting of Provincial Synods, that is, Synods of Neighbouring Bifhops, to judge and determine concerning the Affairs of the Church, was not a meer Prudential Inftitütion, but derived from the Practice of the Apoftles, who, by the Directions of the Holy-Ghoft, fettled that Method for determining fuch Controverfies as might arife. Thus, when a Controverfy arose concerning Circumcision, (~) the Apostles met in Council at Jerufalem to determine the
(m) 2 Cor. x. 14.
(n) A. xv.
Question. And that they acted herein not upon Prudential Reasons only, but by Divine Appointment, is evident from the Decree then made; wherein they fay, (o) It feemed good to the Holy-Ghost and to us. And if the Holy-Ghoft had not directed them to that Method of ending this Matter, they would not have enforced their Decree with his Authority. Is the Holy-Ghoft to be made the Author of a meer Prudential Conftitution? They had alfo an exprefs Warrant from Chrift thus to determine Controver fies of the Church by meeting together in Synodical Affemblies; and he had promised, (p) That where tmo or three fhould fo meet together in his Name, he would be in the midst of them. Not only to determine Matters of Faith, Doctrine or Practice, fach as are mention'd to have been determin'd in the Apoftolical Synod, but to hear and determine Differences between Man and Man, (q) and to examine Witneffes, confequently to judge of all Matters wherein the Church may be concerned. And therefore as the Church is concerned to know whether a Bishop is fallen from his Bishoprick by Tranfgreflion or not, they must thereby receive a Power to determine that alfo. For fince the Scriptures teach us, that the Apostles and their Succeffors the Bishops, were fent by Christ even as he was fent by the Father, that is, were appointed to govern the Church under him as the Supreme Head, for fo the Words muft mean, or they mean nothing; and he had before directed, that in Matters of Spiritual Judicature, they fhould meet two or three, or more, to hear and determine fuch Causes, and promised to be in the midst of them to ratify and confirm their Judgment when fo met in his Name, (r) and to bind or loofe in Heaven what they should at fuch
(0) A&t. xv. 28.
(p) Matt. xviii. 20.
Meetings bind or loofe on Earth, it is plain that he authorized them to meet in Synods Provincial, National or Oecumenical, according as they convéniently might do, to judge all Spiritual Caufes. And whether a Bishop has been guilty of fuch a Tranfgreffion as may forfeit his Bishoprick, is certainly a Spiritual Caufe, and which the Apostles did judge in the cafe of Judas; it is evident then that the Judging and Depofing of Bishops by Provincial Synods in the Begin ning, was not a meer Prudential, but a Divine Institutich, at was alfo the Divifion of the whole Church into certain Dis ftrict's called in our Modern Terms Dioceses and Provincesz after the Plan of the Civil Empire. As I have already proved.
§ XLV. It is also asked, Did not the Emperors when they became Chriftian, yield the Crufes of Bishops; as formerly to Synods, out of meer Favour, and as looking upor them to be abler Judges of Matters that concerned the Faith and Difcipline of the Church than the Heathen Magiftrates, who were then mostly poffeffed of thofe Offices under the Chriftian Emperors? I have already proved in the Answer to the former Queftion, that Bishops had a Divine Right, or a Right by Divide Inftitué tion, given by Chrift himself, to meet in Synods, to hear and determine Spiritual Caufes. And therefore when Christian Emperors confirmed that Right by their Civil Laws; it was not a Matter of meer Favour, but what they were obliged to as Chriftians; if they had not done it, but had gone about to have taken that Right from them, they would in that particular have rejected the Authority of Chrift, who gave them that Right fome hundreds of Years before there was a Christian Emperor. For he made them, and not the Emperor and his Officers, whether Heathen of
Christian, the only Judges of what concerned the Faith and Difcipline of the Church. Chrift and his Apostles fettled the Faith and Difcipline of the Church without the Emperor or any other Civil Magiftrate whatsoever: And (s) committed the fame to faithful Men; the Bishops and Paftors whom they appointed to fucceed them, who should be able to teach others aljo. And when the Emperors became Chriftian they received and embraced the Faith and Difcipline thus fettled by Chrift and his Apostles, and conveyed down to them by the Bishops who fucceeded them. Therefore the Chriftian Emperors yielding the Canfes of Rifhops to Synods, as to what concerned the Faith and Difcipline of the Church, was no matter of meer Favour, but a Right which they received from Chrift. But their yielding the Caufes of Bishops concerning Civil Matters to Synods, was, I confefs a Matter of meet Favour, and that the first Christian Emperors did, as judging it not fo proper to permit the Heather Officers to be Judges of Bifhops in any Matters. And many Governors of the Provinces were Heathen long after there were Christian Emperors. And this Diftinction will help to folve the next Question. Which is,
§ XLVI. Did not the Chriftian Emperors however, when they faw Reason, interpofe in the Caufes of Bishops, and determine them in another Way from the first Provincial Plan? Did not Conftantine for Inftanee, the first Chriftian Emperor, order the Caufe of S. Athanafius, Metropolitan of Egypt, to be heard by certain Eastern Bifhops, whom he appointed, and at a Place remote from the Province of Athanafius? To this it may be anfwer'd, That a Civil Cognifance of all Causes, even the moft Spiritual that can be imagined belongs to
(s) 2 Tim. ii. 2.