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THE MONK AND THE MILLAR'S WIFE,
TRANSLATED INTO LATIN.
An honest Millar winn'd in Fife,
Kuit Halbert's love to him the faster;
When cqual is the night and day,
tumnales, And Ceres gives the schools the play ;
'To tak the thread of tale alang,
This will to Halbert did belang :
Nunc, musa, pergas enarrare Now, smiling mufe, the prelude past,
Smoothly relate a tale shall last
Lectures on Ecclefiaftical History. By the late Duncan Campbell,
D. D. &c.
(Continued from P. 279.) HE structure of the third Lecture is extremely irregular, though the object of its author seems to be to persuade his audience that
the discipline of the church of Scotland is infinitely preferable to that of England, and that the congregational and independent churches are more apostolical in their government and discipline, than either. He begins this lecture, as he finished the former, by taking it for granted that the church soon became exceedingly corrupted, and he attributes all her corruptions to the primitive practice of believers re-, ferring their civil differences to the arbitration of the clergy. This practice, he owns, resulted naturally from St. Paul's exhorting the Corinthians not to go to law before the tribunals of the heatheri, but to refer their differences to arbitrators cholen from ainong
themselves. The consequence of which was that in several churches, the choice fe"! upon their ministers; but he aflures us, that, in the days of the Apostle, “ we find no mention of bailiffs or tipstaves, fines or imporronments, or distraining of goods," in contequence of the fentence of those clerical arbiters !!! He then gives a view of the priginal conftitution of the church, and her inherent discipline, as diftingu 'ned from this business of arbitration, which, though it stands in the form of an episode, we fhall quote, at length, because we think by much the most important part of the lecture.
" Some learned men (says Dr. Camphell) seem to be of opinion, that the business of determining such civil controversies as arose between Christians, beo longed, ai firit, to the whole congregation; or, in other words, to chat particular church or society, whereof the parties concerned were members. But this appears to have arisen fron confounding two things totally diftinct. When one Chriftian had ground, real or supposed, to complain of the conduct of another, as unbrotherly and injurious, after private methods of reclaiming the offender had been tried in vain by the offended, it belonged to the congrega: tion to judge between them; and either to effect a reconciliation or to dis. card one, who, by his obitinacy in the wrong, shewed himself unworthy of their fellowship. This method had been clearly pointed out to them by their great founder. If thy brother," says 'he, " trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault becween thee and him alone : if he hear thee, thou haft gained thy brother ; but if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of iwo or three witnesfes every word may be established ; and if he neglect to hear them, tell it to the church ; but if he neglect to hear sħe church, let him be to thee as a heathen man and a publican. Verily. I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound, &c. &c.
" The practice of the apostolic age, which has the best title to the denomination of primitive, is the furest commentary on this precept
of aur Lord. Not only were such private offences then judged by the church, that is, by the congregation, but also those scandals which affected the whole Chriftian fraternity. Accordingly the judgment, which Paul by the Spirit of God, had formed concerning the incestuous person, he enjoins the church, to whom his epiftlę is directed, to pronounce and execute. And, inhis second epistle to the same church, he says, in reference to the same delinquent, sufficient 18 such a man is the censure which was inflitted by many---70 TWY a darovar, by the community. To whom ye forgive any thing, addressing himself al ways to the congregation, I forgive also. We admir, with the learned Dad well,
that in the censure inflicted on the incestuous person, the Christians at Com rinth were but the executors of the doom awarded by the apostle. Nor does any one question the apoftolical authority, in such matters over both the flock and the pastors. But from the words last quoted, it is evident that he acknowledges, at the same time, the ordinary power, in regard to discipline lodged in the congregation; and from the confidence he had in the discretion and integrity of the Corinthians, he promises his concurrence in what they fball judge proper to do. To whom ye forgive any thing, 1 forgive aljó. Now, though in aftertimes the charge of this matter came to be devolved, first on the Bishop and Presbyters, and afterwards solely on the Bihop, yet that the people, as well as the Presbyters, as far down, at least, as to the middle of the third century, retained some share in the decision of questions wherein morals were immediately concerned, is manifeft from Cyprian's letters till extant.
In his time, when congregations were become very numerous, the inquiry and deliberation were holden (perhaps then more commodiously) in the ecclefiaftical college, called the Presbytery, consisting of the Bishop, the Presbyters, and the Deacons. When this was over, the result of their inquiry and consultations was reported to the whole congregation belonging 10 that church, who were called together on purpose, in order to obtain their approbation of what had been done, and their consent to the resolution that had been taken ; for without their corsent, no judgment could regularly be put in execution.”
Since the commencement of our critical labors, strange as some of the works are which have fallen under our review, we have read nothing with greater furprise than this account of the original conftitution and discipline of the Christian church. Had it come from the pen of some of our factious Disfenters, who are distinguished from other professors of Christianity, chiefly by their abhorrence of every thing established; or had it been part of a theological lecture delivered in the Circus of Glasgow, by Mr. Professor Greville Ewing, to the pupils educated by him for the purpose of propagating the Gospel at home, it would have been perfectly natural, however erroneous; and though we should certainly have endeavoured to correct the author's mistakes, truth would have compelled us to acknowledge his confiftency, But what can we think of the consistency-we had almost taid of the integrity of that man, who, holding two preferments in the church of Scotland, could thus, from his professional chair, draw a picture of the apoftolical church, to which the least fagacious of his audience must have been sensible, that the constitution and discipline of the church, which he was intended to serve, bears hardly any resemblance ? Fortunately, this picture, so flattere ing to the pride and prejudices of the rabble, as little resembles the primitive church of Christ, as the national church of Scotland; and Dr. Campbell, when he advances ecclefiaftical paradoxes, seems to be deserted by that ingenuity, which, in the region of metaphysics, enabled him to unravel the sophistry of Hume.
We pass over, as wholly unworthy of regard, his insinuation, that St. Cyprian, though honored with the title of Bishop, was nothing more than the pastor of a single congregation. The most prejudiced
opponents of episcopacy, which even the dregs of the seventeenth century produced, admitted that Cyprian must have been the permanent moderator of a Presbytery, comprehending, at least, eight congregations; and they were extremely gravelled to account for his receiving a new and folemn consecration by the imposition of the hands of the moderators of the neighbouring Presbyteries, to fit them for fo unimportant an office! Such a consecration, if it placed him only in the moderator's chair, was indeed, to use the words of a learned writer on this subject, “the very mystery of ridiculousness!”
We might pass, with equal neglect, Dr. Campell's affertions, that, " in the age of St. Cyprian, the people as well as t'ie Presbyters retained some share in the decision of questions respecting morals; and that, without their consent, n judgement of the Bihop could regularly be put in execution;" for though the truth of these positions is manifest, he says, from Cyprian's letters, he has not quoted a single paffage to evince that truth ; and we hesitate not to affirm with confidence, that in those letters there is not a single passage to be found, which, if fairly interpreted, gives the smallest countenance to the Jurisdiction of the people. One pafiage, and we believe but one, has indeed been alleged in support of the claim thus urged for the congregation ;. but Dr. Campbell was too wise a man to bring it into view, for ic directly proves that, by the constitution of the church as then understood, neither Presbyters nor people had a decisive voice in the adminiftration of discipline.
While the persecution under Decius raged with the greatest violence, St. Cyprian, whose station rendered him peculiarly obnoxious, withdrew himself from public view, in conformity to our blessed Lord's direction to his Apostles, “when perfecuted in one city, to free into another.” During his retirement, some of those who had facrificed to idols, and were, in consequence, denominated Lapsi
, became extremely urgent to be reconciled to the church, before they had completed the course of penance prescribed by the canons for such offences. In this emergency, four of the Presbyters, to whom the place of the Bishop's retreat was known, wrote to him requesting his determination of the matter; a conduct which must be considered as altogether absurd, if the Presbyters and people had, equally with the bifhop, decisive voices in such questions. St. Cyprian's reply was such as might have been expected from a superior to his inferiors, when consulted by them on a subject, which he had not studied, as not expecting it to be submitted to his cognizance. The Canons had declared how the Lapsi were to be treated in general, and he had not adverted to the alleviating circumstances of particular cales. He, therefore, in a letter addresled to the whole Clergy and Laity of Carthage, says, Ad idvero quod scripserunt mihi compresbyteri, Donatus et Fortunatus, Novetus et Gerdius, solus referibi nihil fotui, quando , primorcio episcopatus mei STATUERIM nihil fine confilio veltro (Piefbytera: un ct Diaconarum) et fine conversu plebis, mea privatim sententia gerere. Had matters of this kind been usually determined by the con
gregation, how could St. Cyprian have said, that, from entering on bis episcopal office, he had resolved to do nothing without the advice of his Presbyters and Deacons, and the approbation of the people at large? What would be thought of a minister of the church of Scotland, who, when he should first meet his kırk-fesion, or be first chosen moderator of the presbytery, should say—“ Gentlemen, while I am minister of this parith, or while I hold this office of Moderator, I have resolved to exercise no ecclefiaftical jurisdiction, without consulting you, the Elders and Deacons of the session; or you, my copresbyters and elders of the Presbytery?” Undoubtedly he would be thought mad, if he should declare such a'resolution with seriousness, and not very sober, were he to utter it in jeft, when deliberating on a matter fo momentous as the reconciliation of the Lapsi!
This resolution was formed by St. Cyprian when he encered on his high office, for the very fame reason that the most absolute fovereign on earth, if a virtuous man, will take no step which can greatly af fect the interests of his kingdom, without previously consulting his ministers and nobles; or that a cautious commander will not haçard a desperate battle, without first hearing the opinion of a council of
That the Bishop of Carthage did not consider himself as bound, by any law human or divine, to abide, on all occasions, by the counsel of the majority, is moft evident from his sending to his Presbyters and Deacons an authoratative rule (forman) how to treat the Lapsi in his absence; and threatening them with nothing less than excommunication, if they should dare to tranfgress a single article of it, though some of its articles were disapproved of by the majority. Interea, fiquis immoderatus et præceps, Jive de NOSTRIS PRESBYTERIS vel DEACONIS, sine de peregrinis, aufus fuerit, ante SENTENTIAM NOSTRAM, communicare cum Lapsis, a COMMUNICATIONE refecetur. This is perfectly agreeable to what he affirms, in numberless places, of the absolute power of every Bishop within his own diocese, who may make what statutes he pleases, being accountable for his conduct, so long as he maintains catholic unity, to God alone.
That Dr. Campbell should have made St. Cyprian the pastor of an independent congregation cannot excite great furprise, after his pressing the apostle himselt into the same fervice. He admits, indeed, and it would have been strange had ne not admitted, that the Christians at Corinth were but the executors of the doom awarded by St. Paul; but that the apostle acknowledged the power of the congregation in ordinary cases of discipline, he infers from words, which seem to us to imply the direct contrary. " To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also,” is certainly the language of a superior to inferiors who have no power either to punish or to forgive but what they derive from him : it is, as if the king had fuid to the viceroy of Ireland, during the late rebellion, " I entrust you with the amplest powers for the public good; such of the rebels as ye shall forgive, I will forgive also ;" but will any man say, that, in ordinary cales, the yiceroy's power, in consequence of such a speech, would have been