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ceeding we have found by fad Experience that Ecclesiastical Censures, which in the Primitive Church were very dreadful and juftly formidable to all Offenders, are now generally efteemed to be little more than Bruta Fulmina, and are become in a manner despicable. Wherefore cannot but be perswaded that if there Causes must be determined by Spiritual Cenfures, they ought to have a Spiritual Judge to Hear and Determine as well as to pronounce the sentence: And no Question but Elérgy-Men may be as capable to judge of such Matters now as they have been formerly, and in fome Dioceses do it still, 'and might in all; if our Bishops pleased, without any alteration of the Laws now in force.

But then there are other Matters of a pure Spiritual Nature wherein these Lay-Chanchel-, lors Act, even to the Exercise of all Episcopal Jurifdi&tion. They institute to Livings; grant Licenses to Preach, They visit and cena fure the Clergy, deprive and degrade them if there be occasion, and such like. Now methinks, if my Lords the Bishops have not leisure to do these things themselves within their respective Diocesses, they should appoint some of their own Order as their Vicars for thls pur pole, which our Constitution allows them tơ do as I shall sew in another Chapter where I treat of the Churepiscopi or Bishops Suffragan, or at least they may have them of the Clergy, so that such Authority may not be communicated to less than a Presbyter. Were not their Lordships Candor and Love to their Clergy teftified many other ways, one might be apt to think they had very despicable Opinions of them to fubject them to the Power of Lay

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Men in Spiritual Causes, as if none of their own Order could be qualified for such a Trust. For tho' the Laws of this Realm permit LayMen to exercise Spiritual Jurisdiction, yet they leave all Bishops at Liberty whether they will commit any such Jurisdiction to them or not: so that it is not so much our Constitution as our Practice that is blameable in this Point. May not the Words of * St. Paul be applicable to us on this Occasion, Is it so, that there is not a Wise Man amongst the Clergy ? No not one that shall be able to judge between his Brethren? Are not the Clergy as capable of understanding the Canons and Ecclesiastical Laws by which they are to be guided and governed as Lay-Men ? Are not those whose Advice and Consent must be had in the making new Canons capable of judging by those already made ? Or is it foreign to the Business and Duties of a Clergy-Man to make himself a Mafter of those Laws by which both he and his Brethren are to be guided in all their Actions and Ministrations ?

With what Face can we blame the Presbyterians for admitting Lay-Elders to a share in the Ecclesiastical Power, when our own Bishops commit a greater Power to Lay-Chancellors? For the Ministers sit in their Consistories as Coa sessors with the Elders, and judge together with them : But with us the Lay-Chancellor is sole Judge, and the Presbyter who pronounces the Sentence which the Chancellor awards is no Co-asleflor to him, but only the Executioner to Excommunicate upon another's Judgment and not his own. So that their LayEldership may seem the more tolerable Abuse. And the Non-conformists above an hundred

Years

Years ago cast this in our Teeth. Shall they (says the Vindicator of the Non-conformists of Devon and Cornwall, An. 1606, pag. 13.) take Lay-Men to deal in Church Censures, and yet deride it in us? And the Moderate Men of this Age, who are Zealous for Comprehension, suppose the Dissenţers will not easily be brought into the Church 'till this is rectified. As we may see in the Essay for Comprehension (Printed for F. Hartley, 1701.) where it is made one , Article of the New Reformation proposed by that Author, That the Power of the Keys be fo entirely put into the Hands of the Clergy, that na Lay-Man be permitted to exercise any Ecclefiaftical, Jurisdi&tion by Censures, Suspensions or Excommunications ; but in all those instances wherein the Ghurch is permitted to exercise her Power by the Laws, it be performed and executed by Spiritual Persons. Mr. Calamy also, in the tenth Chapter of his Abridgment of Mr. Baxter's Life and Times, urges it as one Reason why the Dis. senters cannot conform to the Church, because the Episcopal Government is managed by Chancellors Courts, wheré Lay-Men exercise the Church-Keys by decretive Excommunications. Now, tho’this Ábuse be not by any means sufficient to justifie a Separation from the Church, yet it is certainly such an Abuse as the Church ought to be ashamed of, and to endea your to rectifie: And I could never yet hear a good Argument in Defence of it.

And what has been the effect of this kind of Goyernment by the Bishop or his Chancellor solely without his Presbytery,without Aslesfors? When this Authority was exercised and exerted its Power, it brought ftrange Clamours against the Church, and the general Cry was,

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• Sir E. Deerings* Down then with our Prelatical Hierarchy or Speeches, P. 76. Hierarchical Prelacy, such as we now have. Nor

were these only the Words of the Mob, but of

a Gentleman who pleaded hard in the House * ibid. p. 120, of Commons of to convince them of the Ape

stolical Institution of Epifcopacy : And suffered very much for maintaining it. In fine it brought upon this Church and State the most miserable Confusions that ever befel it. And when all these Troubles were happily brought to an end, so that the Royal Power was restored and Episcopacy with it; yet the Remembrance of those Difmal Calamities fo disheartned the Bishops from Exercising their Authority as they had formerly done, that they slackened the Reins of Ecclesiastical Discipline to such a Degree that scarce the Shadow of it now remains. The Case then in short is this: whilst Ecclesiastical Discipline was exercised þy the Bishop in conjunction with his Presbyters, it preserved its Authority fo as to make the greatest afraid of its Censures. When the Bishops came to take this power folely into their own Hands, and execute it by 'themfelves and their Chancellors without Assessors, which began, as I have shewed when the Papicy was at the height, their Authority was supported by the Papal Power, and so preferved whilst that continued : But when that Axthority was most justly abolished in this Realm, then this sole Power in the Bishop and his Chancellor would not be long endured: And tho it has been again restored, yet it retains little Efteem and Reverence, and cannot preserve the Vigour of Ecclefiaftical Difcipline, which I conceive nothing can fo well Tetrieve as Restoration of Presbyteries, that s, of the Deans and Chapters to their ancient Powers to be Anestors to their Bishop, which by the Common Law (as has been proved) they are still esteemed to be.

Can. 13. & Neo

C H À Þ. xit. of Chorepiscopi, or Bishops Suffragan. * IN

frequently placed in Villages of the larger cel. Can. 43.& Diocesies, who were from thence called, Cho- Antioch, Can. 16. repiscopi : But they were subject to the Bishop of the City, under whose jurisdiction the Village was, and therefore could act nothing but by his Licence and Commission. Opinions have been divided concerning these Chorepiscopi, whether they were real Bishops, or simple Presbyters, with something more of Authority than other Presbyters commonly had. $ + Of the Conscer. Mr. Mason says, There were the forts of Chorepif- Priests and Dea? copi, the first had no Episcopal Consecration, which cons. p.90. Edit are reprov'd, and that Juftly; for they were only Priests and not Bishops, (and therefore could not Confecrate a Bishop, which is the Subject he is there treating upon, but were condemned by the Bishop of Rome for so doing) and of these Damafus {peaks in the Judgment of Bellarmine. The second had Episcopal Consecration, and these, thothey had no City, nor Diocess of their own, but only some Country Town for their See, yet in regard of their Consecration, were true Bishops. But

this very Learned Man gives us no Proofs from Antiquity for this Opinion, and therefore the Truth of it may be justly suspected.

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