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• Can. 20.

+ Can. 2.

wife fubject to the Priest as is evident from the * Council of Laodicea, where they are commanded not to fit in the Prefence of the Priest, unlefs they are bidden to do it. The † Council of Ancyra teaches us, that their Office was to Preach and Distribute the Bread and Wine to the People at the Celebration of the Lord's Supper. In the beginning of the fifth Century, the Council of Carthage plainly diftinguishes the three Orders and Determines the Age at which Deacons fhall be ordained. In the fixth Century the Emperor Juftinian exempted the Deacons, together with the rest of the Clergy, from all fuch Duties as were Perfonal. In the feventh Century the fixth general Council assembled in the imperial Palace at Conftantinople, determined the Age at which Deacons shall be ordained.

That the Deacons Office continued ftill the fame it was originally, we may learn from Durandus, who was confecrated Bishop of Menda, * Lib. 2. Cap. 9. about the Year 1286. He in his Rationale of the Divine Offices, tells us, That the Office of the Deacon is to affift the Priest in the Miniftration of the Sacraments, to give the Bread and the Cup as the Prieft fhall appoint, to gather the Alms and Oblations of the People, to Baptize, to Preach, and to Read the Gospels and Epiftles. And that the Office of a Deacon was originally the fame, in the Church of England we may learn from † Laws, pag. 130. Elfricus, who was Archbishop of Canterbury,

+ Lamb. Saxon

about the Year 280. He in an Epistle to Wulfin, Bishop of Shirebourn, tells him, That 'tis the Office of the Deacon to affift the Priest, to place the Oblations on the Altar, to Read the Gospel in the time of Divine Service, to Baptize and to Adminifter the Lord's Supper unto the People. The


Church of England therefore had great Reason to continue this Order at the Reformation, fince it was inftituted by the Apoftles, and continued in and from the pureft Ages of Christianity down to our own time, with an uninterrupted Succeffion; the Office and Order being the fame it was from the beginning, and a kind of Probationership for the higher Orders of Priests and Bishops: For they that have used 1 Tim. 3. 13. the Office of a Deacon well, purchase to themselves a good Degree, as St. Paul expreffes it. And it is to me a most convincing Argument that Deacons were appointed by the Apostles as an Order of the Clergy, becaufe St. Paul requires almost the very fame Qualifications in a Deacon which he requires in a Prieft, called by him


a Bishop and appoints that thefe alfo be first 1 Tim. 3. 10. proved, then, fays he, let them use the Office of a Deacon, being found blameless.

The Deacons were properly the Bishops Minifters or Servants to take Charge of the Church Revenues under him, and to distribute them as he and his College fhould appoint 'em to do. And the Fathers of the (a) Council of (a) Can is. Nice call them the Bishops Minifters. St. (b) (b) Lib 3. C. 1. Epiphanius fays, that without a Deacon it was impoffible for the Bishop to be, and therefore the Apoftles took care that the Bishop fhould have his Deacons to Minifter unto him. (d) St. Ambrofe tells (d) De Officiis. us, that the Holy Deacon St. Lawrence feeing Xyftus his Bishop dragged away to Martyrdom, fell a Weeping because he was left behind him: And Addreffes himself to him in these Words: Whither go you, my Father, without your Son? Whither run you, O Holy Bishop, without being accompanied by your Deacon? You never used to offer Sacrifice without a • Mini


Lib. 1. Cap 41.

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Minifter; what is it then that has difpleafed you in me? Is it because you have found that I have not well difcharged my Office? Try now whether you have chofen a good Minifter: Why do you refufe him whom you have Confecrated, and who has Confecrated the Holy Sacraments with you? This Pathetical Speech of this pious Martyr (who fuffered about three Days after his Bifhop and Mafter being broil'd to Death on a Gridiron) plainly fhews us what was the Deacons Office, viz. conftantly to attend and wait upon the Bishop, and to affift in all holy Offices, particularly the Administration of the Sacraments. This was about the middle of the third Century. Deacons were indeed the Bishops Domesticks, by them he dispatched his Orders to all Parts of his Diocese, by them he fent Stipends to the Presbyters in the Country, and Letters of Communion to other Bi(e) Can. 7. Con- fhops: (e) And to them alfo he delegated his Place in Councils, where he himself could not be prefent. (f) Gratian out of the Epistle of Clemens Romanus to James the Brother of the Lord (which tho' a Spurious Piece, yet is of great Antiquity, and may be urged as a Teftimony for the Cuftoms of the Church) tells us, that the Deacons of the Church are as it were the Eyes of the Bishop, running to and fro, and modeftly looking into the Acts of the whole Church, and fearching diligently if they fee any one on the Borders of Deftruction, and the Brink of Sin, that they may acquaint the Bishop with it. Alfo that it is their Part to Suggeft to the Bishop what Strangers need Relicf, and things of the like Nature which belong to the Worship

cil. Sext in Trullo.

Dift. 93. c 11.

• and

and Difcipline of the Church. (g) St. Ifidores) Lib. 1. Ep. 2. of Damiata tells the Deacons that they are 19.

the Bishops Eye.

Since the dividing Diocefes into Parishes, and the fixing fettled Permanent Incumbents in them, who receive the Church-Dues thereof in their own Right, whereby the ChurchRevenues have been fo appropriated, that they could no longer be divided, as anciently, into four Parts, and the Bishops alfo have had their own peculiar Rents appropriated wholly to themfelves, one part of the Deacons Office has been dropped as needlefs: They are no longer concerned in the Difpenfation of the Church-Revenues, which are not now any more collected into one Bank as formerly. The poor are alfo otherwife provided for: whilft Religious Houfes were in Being, the Poor were maintain'd by their Alms, and fince their Suppreffion, the Civil Government has made other Provifion for them.. Indeed where there is a Deacon appointed to affift a Priest in any Cure, our Church fays, that it appertains to his Office, to Search for the Sick, Poor and impotent People of the Parish, to intimate their Eftates, Names and Places where they dwell unto the Curate, that by his Exhortation they may be retieved by the Parish, or other convenient Alms, but there are few Places where fuch Provision is made or needful to be made as Matters now ftand. So that we may fay, that the Office of a Deacon in our Church is at prefent no more than a Probationerfhip for a higher Order.

I heartily with (b) our Canon in this parti-() Can. 32 An. cular was more ftrictly obferved, and that fome 1603. Provifion was made that Bifhops might not take upon 'em to difpenfe with what Canous • they

N 2

they pleafed, how and when they pleased: For want of this our Canons are of very little Ufe.

(1) Plat. vit, Higin.

(k) Ep. 83.



Of Archdeacons.

HE Deacons, as has been obferved, were the Bishops Eyes, who by his Order passed thro' the Diocese to vifit and inspect the Lives and Behaviour of the Rural Clergy, and acquaint the Diocefan how all Duties were performed. And in Procefs of time, the BiThop found it neceffary to communicate fome Authority to his Deacons, that they might not be bare Informers, but have a Power alfo to admonish and cenfure as it fhou'd be found expedient, ftill referving an Appeal to himself. But it not being thought convenient to commit fuch a Power to all the Deacons, one was efpecially appointed for this Purpose, and called the Arch-Deacon. If the Diocese was large, it was commonly divided into feveral Parts, and an Arch-Deacon fet over each of them, which were from thence, called Arch-Deaconries. It is probable that Arch-Deacons (together with Arch-Priests or Deans of the College of Presbyters, which I have already treated of) were first instituted by (i) Higinus, Bishop of Rome, about the middle of the fecond Century, for Platina fays of him, that he prudently reduced his Clergy into Order, and diftributed Degrees. It appears from (k) St. Jerom, as if the Bifhop did not originally conftitute the Arch


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