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every Sovereign Prince, as I have fhewed in the Beginning of this Difcourfe, whether he be Heathen or Chriftian, and he may take Cognizance of it in fuch Manner as to him feems moft Expedient. And therefore if an Emperor was difpofed to take Cognizance of the Faith of any Bishop, he was not bound to do it in a Synod of that Province, where the Bishop lived, which was the regular Ecclefiaftical Method; but might examine him by himself, or appoint his Privy Council, or an Inferior Magiftrate to do it; or if he thought it proper to have him examined or tried by Bifhops, he might pick out or Name what Bishops he thought fit for that purpose; for fuch Trial would be only for the Emperor's Satisfaction, and enable him to judge whether he fhould pass a civil judicial Sentence upon him or not; as whether he fhould condemn him to Fine, Imprifonment, Banishment or Death, or any other Temporal Punishment which the Civil Magiftrate only can inflict. And when a Civil Magiftrate is applied to on fuch Occafions, he must inform himself in the Matter by fuch Methods as he thinks beft, and is no more tied up by Ecclefiaftical Rules in the Cafe of a Bishop, than in the Cafe of any other Man. Now the Complaints against Athanafius, which were made to Conflantine, and for the Examination of which, he called a Council of the Eastern Bishops, and ordered them to allemble at Tyre, (which is the cafe particularly referred to by the Querift) were of this fort. (t) They first accufed Athanafius of levying Money in Egypt for the ufe of one that was going about to ufurp the Empire ; for which Athanafius was immediately fummoned to Conftantinople, heard and tried by the Emperor himfelf, and being acquitted, was fent back to his Diocefe. Then he was accufed of cutting off a Man's Hand, of getting a Wench with Child, and other Matters, which deferved not only a Spiritual
(t) Theod. Hift. Ecclef. cdp. 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31.
Cenfure, but to be corrected by the Secular Judge,if they could be proved: These things Conftantine ordered to be tried before the Council of Tyre, where Athanafius alfo cleared himself, by fhewing that the Man whom he was accused to have maimed, had both his Hands fafe and found. And when the Wench who pretended he had got her with Child came to give her Evidence against him, it appeared that he knew him not, and calling another Man by is Name, charged that Man with it. Then Atha nafius went to the Emperor to fatisfy him concern ing thefe Matters; and there his Adverfaries brought a new Accufation against him, as that he had prohi bited the Carriage of Corn from Egypt to Conftanti nople. The Emperor hearing this, and believing it, without any further Examination of the Matter, banifhed Athanafius to Treves in Gallia. Now what was there in all this but a meer Civil or Secular Judicature, which undoubtedly belonged to the Emperor? And he might try fuch Caufes in what manner he thought fit.
§ XLVII. But then it is asked, Did not the Emperor Gratian in the fourth Century, when the flowness of Proceedings by Synods, was become a Grievance, ordain by his Civil Authority, that Damafus Bishop of Rome, and any five or Seven Bishops with him, should be fufficient for depofing of Bishops? And did not the Roman Synod then futing readily accept that Conftitution? Now, for my part, 'til I fee a Subftantial Proof of this pretended Ordinance of Gratian, (but it is not the Business of a Querift to prove any thing) I fhall fay that Emperor never made any fuch Decree, nor was there any Council of Rome that accepted it. But this I do find, (a) That as foon as Gratian, upon the Death of his Uncle Valens, came to the Poffeffion of
(u) Theod. Hift. Ecclef. 1. 5. C. 2.
the whole Empire, he thought fit to take the Catholick Church which Valens had perfecuted into his Protection. And forafmuch as Valens had banished almost all the Catholick Bishops within his Part of the Empire, or at least put them out of the Poffeffion of their Churches, Gratian thought proper to restore the Catholick Bishops to thofe Poffeffions out of which they had been unjustly ejected. And forafmuch as all the Catholick Bishops were known to be of one Communion, and to hold no Communion with the Arians, or any other Hereticks or Schifmaticks: Therefore whoever held Communion with a CathoJick Bishop was esteemed to be a Catholick himself by all Perfons: For this Reason, that the Governors of the feveral Provinces of the Empire might know to what Bishops they were to give Poffeffion, he made a Law by which he order'd all the ejected Paftors to return from Banishment, and that they should be restored to their Flocks; and that the Holy Churches should be delivered to fuch as embraced the Communion of Damafus. This is the whole Decree of the Emperor Gratian that I can find concerning this Matter; not a Word of Damafus or any five or feven Bishops with him to depofe a Bishop, not a Word of any Roman Synod fitting at that Time, and accepting this Conftitution, that is all Dream and Fiction. And now what is there in all that Gratian did but what is purely fecular, and belongs to the Civil Magistrate? and therefore he might proceed in it in fuch a Way as liked him beft. He. neither made nor depofed any Bishop: He pretended not to take away the Relation between a Bifhop and his People, but only restored the rightful Pastors to their proper Flocks, from which they had been banished. And because fome might, upon this Imperial Favour, pretend to be Catholick Bishops that really were not fo, what better Rule could he give the Governors of his Provinces on this Occafion, than to direct them to reftore fuch Bifhops as were.
in the Communion of Damafus, the Catholick Bifhop of the Imperial City? The Church even in the Reign of Heathen Emperors never pretended to eject Hereticks out of Houfes, Lands or Edifices which they had got or kept Poffeffion of, though they were fuch Things as were notoriously known to belong to the Church; (w) as we learn from the famous Cafe of Paulus Samofatenus: He being accused of Herefy, a Council was affembled to try and examine that Matter: They found him guilty, and accordingly depofed him and ordained Domnus in his Room. But Paul having Poffeffion of the Epifcopal House would not quit it. Neither did the Bishops pretend that by their own Authority they could eject him from it: But they applied to the Emperor Aurelian, an Heathen, and not long after a Perfecutor of the Church; and he ordered, that Poffeffion fhould be given to him to whom the Bishop of Rome and the other Bifhops of Italy fhould direct; which was done accordingly, and Domnus obtain'd the Poffeffion. May it not now as well be asked, If Aurelian, an Heathen Emperor, did not authorize the Bishop of Rome, and the Bishops of Italy to depofe the Bishop of Antioch, as to ask if Gratian did not authorize Damafus, and Five or Seven Bishops more to depofe any Bishop? But the plain Anfwer is, That the Bishop was depofed and the Communion fettled in a regular Ecclefiaftical Method according to Divine Institution, before Aurelian was applied to in the Cafe. And then when he was to judge concerning the Right of Poffeffion, he took fuch a Method for examining the Merits of the Caufe (as far as he was concerned in it) as to him feemed moft proper. And if Aurelian would have given no Judgment at all, or had given a wrong Judgment, and confirmed Paulus in his unjuft Poffef
(w) Eufeb. Hift. Ecclef. 1. 7. c. 30.
fion, this would have made no Alteration in the Matter of Communion. Those that had communicated with Domnus, would have been the Carbolicks, and thofe who had adhered to Paulus, the Schifmaticks, which way foever the Emperor had judged. And fo it was in the Cafe of Gratian the Chriftian Emperor. His Decree did not make the Orthodox of the true Communion, nor the Arians of the falfe one. The Orthodox were as much the true Communion under Valens, who perfecuted and ejected them, as they were under Gratian that restored and protected them. The different Edicts of these two Emperors made no Difference in this Cafe. And the Arians were as much Hereticks and Schifmatic ks under an Arian Emperor, who gave them Poffeffion of the Churches, as they were under an Orthodox Emperor, who ejected them out of the Churches. And the Cafe was the fame here under Queen Elizabeth, which is the next Query I fhall confider.
§. XLVIII. It is asked, Was the Church of England Schifmatick under Queen Elizabeth, when he in Parliament deprived feveral Bishops for not acknowledging her Supremacy? Did even the Roman Catholicks that ftioned the Queen's Title at that Time or afterwards on that Score of depriving the Bishops feparate from the eftablished Prayers? Were the Acts of the Bishops that filled the Sees of the deprived Bishops Invalid, or their Ordinations under this imagined Schifm null? But I defire the Querift to inform me who imagines that there was any Schifm made at that Time? And I fhall anfwer in direct Terms, That the Church of England was not fchifmatick under Queen Elizabeth, though she and her Parliament deprived feveral Bishops for not acknowledging ber Supremacy. And therefore the Acts of the Bishop's that filled the Sees of the deprived Bishops were not Invalid or Null in any respect. And as to what the Roman Catholicks did upon that Occafion, I think our Caufe