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Quest, xi. Whether an uninterrupted succession either of right ordination or of conveyance by jurisdiction, be necessary to the being of the ministry, or of a true church?The Papists have hitherto insisted on the necessity of successive right ordination; but Voetius 'de desperata Causa Papatus' hath in this so handled them, and confuted Jansenius, as hath indeed shewed the desperateness of that cause: and they perceive that the papacy itself cannot be upheld by that way; and therefore Johnson, alias Terret, in his rejoinder against me, now concludeth, that it is not for want of a successive consecration that they condemn the church of England, but for want of true jurisdiction, because other bishops had title to the places whilst they were put in: and that successive consecration (which we take to include ordination) is not necessary to the being of ministry or church. And it is most certain to any man acquainted in church history, that their popes have had a succession of neither. Their way of election hath been frequently changed, sometimes being by the people, sometimes by the clergy, sometimes by the emperors, and lastly by the cardinals alone. Ordination they have sometimes wanted, and a layman been chosen; and oft the ordination hath been by such as had no power according to their own laws. And frequent intercisions have been made, sometimes by many years' vacancy, when they had no church, (and so there was none on earth, if the pope be the constitutive head) for want of a pope; sometimes by long schisms, when of two or three popes, no one could be known to have more right than another, nor did they otherwise carry it, than by power at last; sometimes by the utter incapacity of the possessors, some being laymen, some heretics and infidels, so judged by councils at Rome, Constance, Basil; and Eugenius the fourth continued after he was so censured, and condemned, and deposed by the general council. I have proved all this at large elsewhere. And he that will not be cheated with a bare sound of words, but will ask them, whether by a succession of jurisdiction, they mean efficient, conveying jurisdiction in the causers of his call, or received jurisdiction in the office received, will find that they do but hide their desperate cause in confusion and an insignificant noise. For they maintain that none on earth have an efficient jurisdiction in making popes. For the former pope doth not make his successor; and both electors, ordainers, and consecrators, yea, and the people receiving, they hold to be subjects of the pope when made, and therefore make him not by jurisdiction giving him the power. Therefore Johnson tells me, that Christ only, and not man, doth give the power, and they must needs hold that men have nothing to do but design the person recipient by election and reception, and to invest him ceremoniously in the possession. So that no efficient jurisdiction is here used at all by man. And for received jurisdiction, 1. No one questioneth but when that office is received which is essentially governing, he that receiveth it receiveth a governing power, or else he did not receive the office. If the question be only, whether the office of a bishop be an office of jurisdiction, or contain essentially a governing power, they make no question of this themselves. So that the noise of successive jurisdiction is vanished into nothing. 2. And with them that deny any jurisdiction to belong to presbyters, this will be nothing as to their case, who have nothing but orders to receive. They have nothing of sense left them to say but this, 'That though the efficient jurisdiction which maketh popes be only in Christ, because no men are their superiors, yet bishops and presbyters who have superiors, cannot receive their power but by an efficient power of man, which must come down by uninterrupted succession.' Answ. 1. And so if ever the Papal office have an intercision, (as I have proved it hath had as to lawful popes) the whole Catholic church is nullified; and it is impossible to give it a new being, but by a new pope. But the best is, that by their doctrine indeed they need not to plead for an uninterrupted succession either of popes, bishops, or presbyters, but that they think it a useful cheat to perplex all that are not their subjects. For if the Papacy were extinct a hundred years, Christ is still alive; and seeing it is no matter ' ad esse' who be the electors or consecraters, so it be but made known conveniently to the people, and men only elect and receive the person, and Christ only giveth the power (by his stated law) what hindereth after the longest extinction or intercision, but that somebody, or some sort of person may choose a pope again, and so Christ make him pope? And thus the Catholic church may die and live again by a new creation, many times over. And when the pope hath a resurrection after the longest intercision, so may all the bishops and priests in the world, because a new pope can make new bishops, and new bishops can make new priests. And where then is there any shew of necessity of an interrupted succession of any of them? All that will follow is, that the particular churches die till a resurrection; and so doth the whole church on earth every time the pope dieth, till another be made, if he be the constitutive head. 2. But as they say that Christ only efficiently giveth the power to the pope, so say we to the bishops or pastors of the church. For there is no act of Christ's collation to be proved, but the Scripture law or grant: and if that standing law give power to the pope, when men have but designed the person, the same law will do the same to bishops and pastors; for it establisheth their office in the same sort. Or rather in truth there is no word, that giveth power to any such officer as an universal head or pope, but the law for the pastoral office is uncontrovertible. And what the Spanish bishops at Trent thought of the Divine right of the bishop's office, I need not mention. I shall therefore thus truly resolve the question. 1. In all ordinations and elections, man doth but first choose the recipient person. 2. And ceremoniously and ministerially invest him in the possession when God hath given him the power; but the efficient collation or grant of the power is done only by Christ, by the instrumentality of his law or institution. As when the king by a charter saith, • Whoever the city shall choose, shall be their mayor, and have such and such power, and be invested in it by the recorder or steward:' here the person elected receiveth all his power from the king by his charter, (which is a standing efficient, conveying it to the capable chosen person,) and not from the choosers or recorder; only the last is as a servant to deliver possession. So is it in this case. 2. The regular way of entrance appointed by Christ to nake a person capable, is the said election and ordination. And for order sake where that may be had, the unordained are not to be received as pastors. 3. If any get possession, by false, pretended ordination or mission, and be received by the church, I have before :old yon that he is a pastor as to the church's use and benefit, though not to his own. And so the church is not extinct by every fraudulent usurpation or mistake, and so not by want of a true ordination or mission. 4. If the way of regular ordination fail, God may otherwise (by the church's necessity, and the notorious aptitude of the person) notify his will to the church, what person they shall receive: (as if a layman were cast on the Indian shore and converted thousands, who could have no ordination :) and upon the people's reception or consent, that man will be a true pastor. And seeing the Papists in the conclusion (as Johnson 'ubi supra') are fain to cast all their cause on the church's reception of the pope, they cannot deny reasonably but' ad esse' the church's reception may serve also for another officer; and indeed much better than for a pope. For 1. The universal church is so great, that no man can know when the greater part receiveth him, and when not, except in some notorious declarations. 2. And it is now known, that the far greater part of the universal church (the Greeks, Armenians, Abassines, Coptics, Protestants, &c.) do not receive the Roman head. 3. And when one part of Europe received one pope, and another part another pope for above forty years together, who could tell which of the parties was to be accounted the church? It was not then known, and is not known yet to this day; and no Papist can prove it, who affirmeth it. As a church e. g. Constantinople may be gathered, or 'oriri de novo' where there is none before, so may it be restored where it is extinct. And possibly a layman (as Frumentius and Edesius in the Indies) may be the instrument of mens' conversion. And if so, they may by consent become their pastors, when regular ordination cannot be had. I have said more of this in my " Disputations of Churchgovernment," Disput. ii. The truth is, this pretence of a necessity of uninterrupted, successive ordination, mission, or jurisdictional collation 'ad esse,' to the being of ministry or church, is but a cheat of men that have an interest of their own which requireth such a plea, when they may easily know, that it would overthrow themselves.
Quest, Xii. Whether there be, or ever was such a thing in the world, as one Catholic church, constituted by any head besides or under Christ 1
The greatest and first controversy between us and the Papists, is not what man or politic person, is the head of the whole visible church; but, whether there be any such head at all, either personal, or collective, monarchical, aristocratical, or democratical under Christ, of his appointment or allowance? Or any such thing as a Catholic church so headed or constituted? Which they affirm and we deny. That neither pope nor general council is such a head, I have proved so fully in my " Key for Catholics" and other books, that I will not here stay to make repetition of it. That the pope is no such head, we may take for granted, 1. Because they bring no proof of it, whatever they vainly pretend. 2. Because our divines have copiously disproved it, to whom I refer you. 3. Because the universal church never received such a head, as I have proved against Johnson. 4. And whether it be the pope, their bishop of Calcedon, 'ubi supra,' et Sancta Clara " System, fid." say is not' de fide.' That a council is no such head I have largely proved as aforesaid, Part ii. " Key for Catholics." And 1. The use of it being but for concord proveth it. 2. Most Papists confess it. 3. Else there should be seldom any church in the world for want of ahead, yea, never any. For I have proved there and to Johnson, that there never was a true general council of the universal church; but only imperial councils of the churches under one emperor's power, and those that having been under it, had been used to such councils: and that it is not a thing ever to be attempted or expected, as being unlawful and morally impossible ".
° Sec also in my " Reasons of Christian Religion," Cons. ii. of the interest of the church.