« PreviousContinue »
of their Orders and Baptism and other Ministrations which they had in common with the Catholick Church; yet the denied that these could be effectual to Salvation in Herefy or Schifm, because there was one Thing wanting, and that was Charity, without which the Apostle has taught us, that all things elfe are nothing worth. And the fame Apoftle has alfo taught us, that this Charity confifts in preferving the Unity of the Church, which is always broken by Herefy and Schifm. And the fetting up one Bishop in Oppofition to another, or putting a new Bishop into a Bishoprick already poffeffed by a Catholick Bihop, was ever called a Schifm, because it divided the Flock from the Communion of their rightful Bishop with whom they ought to be always in Communion. And the Schifm at Corinth, as I have fhewed plainly, arofe from fome Mens coming in there and drawing away the People from the Communion of S. Paul their rightful Bishop; in other Matters, for ought appears to the contrary, they were Orthodox enough. And this Schifm of the Donatifts which S. Auguftine wrote againft, arofe.only from the fetting up Majorinus to be Bishop of Carthage, when that See was already filled by Cecilian the rightful Catholick Bishop of that Church: As the Novatian Schifm began at Rome by putting Novatian into that See, whilft it was filled by Cornelius the Catholick Bishop. And the Church plainly had S. Paul's Authority, or rather the Authority of the Holy Ghoft to declare, that the Miniftration of Divine Offices in fuch Schifmatical Communions was ineffectual, that is, unprofitable to Salvation, notwithstanding the Orders and Sacraments were in all other Refpects valid and regular, and therefore needed not to be repeated upon their Reconciliation to Catholick Communion; and therefore whether our Orders are derived from Schifmaticks or Catholicks, it Matters not, fo as we be in Catholick Communion.
SL. But fays the Querift, There was a Schifm kept up in the Western Church for leventy Years together; were the People all this Time and fince deprived of all Benefit of Divine Ordinances, without their Fault? Now as to the Time fince, I have fufficiently answered it already; for the Schifm being healed, the Word and Sacraments were rightly and duly adminiftred by all the Bishops and Priests of both Parties, whether they had been Schifmatical or not; I mean as to any Deficiency or Ineffectualness occafioned by the Schifm. But the other Question still remains, Were the People, for feventy Years together, during the Time that Schifm Lafted, deprived of all Benefit of Divine Ordinances, without their Fault? Now the fame Question might be asked with Regard to the Novatian and Donatift Schifms which continued more than feventy Years. For the Novatian Schifm began about the Year 251, when Novatian was put into the See of Rome in Oppolition to Cornelius the rightful Bishop, and did not end till after 440, where Sacrates finishes his Hiftory, during which Time he gives us a Catalogue of the Novatian Bishops at Conftantinople in a conftant Succeffion one to another, and how long they continued afterwards we do not find. The Donatift Schifm began about the Year 311, when Major nus was made Bishop of Carthage in Oppofition to Ceci lian the rightful Bishop, who was before legally poffeffed of that Chair, and continued till after the Conference at Carthage in the Year 411. So that one of thefe Schifms continued two hundred Years at least, and the other above an hundred Years. These Schifms were formed purely upon the fetting up Anti-Bishops in Oppofition to the Rightful Bishops, who were before legally poffefled of their Bishopricks, and whom no regular Epifcopal Synod had judged to have fallen from their Bishopricks by Tranfgref fion. Novatian alfo, and his Party, was (as I have
before fhewed) fupported by Gallus and Volufianus, the Emperors at that Time, who banished Cornelius and Lucius, one after the other, the Rightful Bishops of Rome, and left Novatian in the fole Poffeflion. The Donatift's alfo, (c) as we learn from Optatus, who has given us the fullest Account of the Rife and Progrefs of that Schifm, were fo fupported by the Emperor Julian, that they drove away the Catholick Bifhops in divers Places, invaded their Churches, and kept Poffeffion of them. What should the People do in thefe Cafes? The Catholick Bishops were driven away by the Sovereign Imperial Authority without their Fault? They could not have the Word and Sacraments from Catholick Bishops and their Pref byters, but privately and with great Danger; but they might have them from the Novatians or Donatifts openly and without any Danger at all. The Novatians and the Donatifts miniftred them alfo juft in the fame Manner that the Catholicks did; there was no manner of Difference in their Liturgies or Forms of Worship; and the People could not help it that the Catholick Bishops were difabled from officiating among them. When therefore they received thefe Divine Ordinances from thefe Schifmatical Bifhops, or their Priests, were thofe Ordinances ineffectual to their Salvation? Were they deprived of the Benefit of them? The Church always held they were fo, and that upon the Authority of the Scriptures, which teach us, as S. Auguftine has obferved, that Schifm breaks the Band of Charity, and without Charity all Divine Ordinances whatsoever are unprofitable. But fhall the People be deprived of this Benefit without their Fault? In answer to which it may be asked, how this can be without their Fault? Is it not their Fault, if they will join themfelves to Hereticks
(9) Optat, contra Parmenian. lib. 2.
or Schifmaticks, and go to them for thefe Divine Ordinances, which it is is fo plain they cannot effe&tually minifter? It may be said, perhaps, that they are fo placed that they must receive them from fuch" Perfons, or not at all. Then let them not receive them at all: For it is no Sin if a Man receives not the Sa craments, who lies under an Impoffibility of receiving them; as fuppofe a Chriftian to be left alone in an Heathen Country, which has fometimes happened, for many Years, will it be a Sin in him, or put him out of the State of Salvation, that he joins in no Publick Worship, nor receives the Holy Eu charift for fuch a Number of Years, or may happen to die in that State? But it is a Sin to make or abet a Schifm, and he that joins in Divine Ordinances with a Schifmatick abets and encourages the Schifm, and therefore is not deprived of the Benefit of those Ordinances without his Fault. But it may be he knows not the Minifter from whom he receives thefe Ordinances is a Schifmatick. Then it is his Fault that he did not inform himself better: For Schifm is a Thing of a Publick Nature in which any Man may easily inform and fatisfy himfelf which is the Right. Thus for Inftance, there was no Christian at Rome but did, or at least might know that Cornelius was the Rightful Bishop, being lawfully poffelfed of the Bishoprick, and confecrated thereto after a confiderable Vacancy which followed the Death of Fabianus: And that Novatian was not confecrated nor appointed to be Bihop till after the Epifcopal Chair was regularly filled; confequently that Novatian was the Schifmatick, and not Cornelius, even though Cornel.us was banished by the Emperor, and Novatian left in the fole Poffeffion, fo far at leaft that Cornelius's Presbyters were forced to officiate in Private, not in the publick Churches for fear of the Emperor. However, there was no Man but might easily know whether he received Divine Ordinances
from a Catholick or Novatian Presbyter, and confequently whether he communicated with the Catholick or with the Schifmatical Bishop. So at Carthage the People all knew that Cecilian was their lawful Bishop, and Majorinus an Intruder that got Poffeffion of the See when it was full before, confequently could not but know which was the Schifmatick: And when they received Divine Ordinances from any Presbyter, they could not but know whether he belonged to Cecilian or Majorinus; for they did not mix Communions fo as to have it unknown to which Party any Presbyter belonged. And though one of thefe Schifms continued above 200 Years, and the other above an hundred; yet during all that Time the Communions were diftinct, (for had there been but one Communion there had been no Schifm) and those who received Divine Ordinances knew with whom they communicated; and therefore if they would notwithstanding receive Divine Ordinances from the Hand of those who could not effectually minifter them to the Profit and Salvation of those who received them, it cannot be faid that they were deprived of the Benefit of them without their own own Faults. And the like may be faid with relation to those who lived in the Time of the Anti-Popes If it be faid, that during the Time of fo long a Schifm as feventy, an hundred or two hundred Years, many Perfons must be born, who being educated in the Schifm were, from their Infancy, taught to believe that to be the true Communion, who had not Means or Opportunities of enquiring into the Original of the Schifm, and who hearing one Story from one Party, and another from the other Party, were unable to judge which was right and which was wrong If they did continue in the Schifmatical Communion, fhall we fay, that they were deprived of the Benefit of the Divine Ordinances when it is fo apparent that it was not their own