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commendable among men, let the Bishop possess them in himself.”
The reader, with these passages fully before him, will, we suppose, need no comment. He will need only to bear in mind that the condemned Bishop of Antioch held a high civil office, (that of ducenarius Procurator,) with the pomp and honors of which he was thought to be exceedingly elated. The Constitutions, most manifestly, would have a Bishop magnify his spiritual office, and keep aloof from all secular employments.
3. “ Paul prepared for himself a tribunal and a throne, like the rulers of this world, (ib.,) and the Constitutions give directions concerning both. Thus, B. ii. 47 directs the time and manner of the Bishop's court; B. ii. 57, the place of the Bishop's throne, and the manner in which the clergy should be arranged,—the Presbyters sitting, the Deacons standing on each side of him."
Whoever will turn to the Encyclical Epistle itself, to which reference is here again made, and which may be found in Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, will perceive that the offense committed was, not the preparing of a tribunal and throne, after the manner and style of a Christian Bishop, but the doing of it ostentatiously, after the manner and style of a secular magistrate. The Council observe: “ We shall say nothing of his preparing himself a tribunal and throne, not as a disciple of Christ, but having, like the rulers of this world, a secretum, and calling it by this name.” The Latin word secretum, which is used in the Greek text of the Epistle, indicates the separated and exclusive seat or place where the magistrate sat while deciding cases. To separate him the more effectually from all other persons that were present, the place was elevated, and inclosed with railings and curtains.
Paul was deposed in the year 269. He had presided over the church at Antioch, one of the most wealthy and luxurious cities of the East. And if he was among the foremost to introduce a pompous display into the large city churches, it does not follow that this had any special connection with his speculative system. Other Bishops in flourishing cities, being situated in this respect substantially as he was, may have exerted an influence similar and even superior to his in favor of arrangements to sustain the dignity of the High Priesthood. It is certain that a few years only after the close of the third century, (after the year 313 and before the year 315, as might be shown from internal evidence,) when the newly rebuilt Christian temple at Tyre was dedicated, the preparing of thrones for Bishops was adverted to, not with reproach, but VOL. XV.-NO. LXII.
with joy and congratulation. On that occasion Eusebius himself, the ecclesiastical historian, delivered a panegyric, in the course of which he said: “When the architect had thus completed the temple, he also adorned it with lofty thrones, in honor of those who preside, and also with seats decently arranged in order throughout the whole, and at last placed the holy altar in the middle. And that this again might be inaccessible to the multitude, he inclosed it with frame latticework, accurately wrought with ingenious sculpture, presenting an admirable sight to the beholders."
But why is reference made to what the Constitutions say in B. ii. c. 47? After directing that the judicatures of Christians be held on Monday, so as to give the most ample opportunity for having the contending parties brought to peace before the Lord's day, the chapter proceeds thus : "Let also the Deacons and Presbyters be present at your judicatures, to judge without acceptance of persons, as men of God, with righteousness. When therefore both the parties are come, according as the Law saith, (Deut. xix. 17,] they shall both stand in the middle of the court; and when ye have heard them, give your votes religiously, endeavoring to make them both friends before the sentence of the Bishop, that judgment against the offender may not go abroad into the world ; knowing that he (the Bishop) hath in the court the Christ of God, observing and approving his judgment. But if any persons are accused by any one, and their fame suffereth, as if they did not walk uprightly in the Lord; in like manner ye shall hear both parties, the accuser and the accused, but not with prejudice, nor with hearkening to one party only, but with righteousness, as passing a sentence concerning eternal life and death."
Do these injunctions indicate any influence from the Samosatean school ? Our readers doubtless all remember that an apostle (in 1 Cor. vi. 1) had asked, “ Dare any of you, haring a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints ?"
4. “ It was one of the charges against Paul, that he accumulated wealth by his exactions of the people, (ib. ;) and the Constitutions are particular in their directions concerning oblations. Thus B. iv. 4-9 exbort to magnificent offerings, and B. ii. 25 had directed what was to be done with them. All these were to pass through the hands of the Bishop, who was never to be inquired of concerning them.”
In reply, we call attention again to B. ii. c. 6, where it is
# See his History, B. I. C. 4.
said: “Let not a Bishop be given to filthy lucre ; . . . not covetous nor rapacious; not eager after worldly things, nor a lover of money. . . . For if the pastor be unblamable as to any wickedness, he will compel his disciples, and by his manner of life press them to become worthy imitators of his own actions;" —and to B. ii. c. 25: “Let him (the Bishop] use those tenths and first-fruits which are given according to the command of God, as a man of God. Let him dispense in a right manner the free-will offerings which are brought in on account of the poor, the orphans, the widows, the afflicted, and strangers in distress, as having that God for the examiner of his accounts who hath committed the disposition to him. . . Now we say these things, not as if ye might not partake of the fruits of your labors; for it is written, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox which treadeth out the corn; but that ye should do it with moderation and righteousness."
5. “ The Constitutions give to the Bishop that honor and reverence, authority, and irresponsibility to the church, which the Council that condemned Paul tell us he exacted and received from the people."
We have examined carefully the Epistle of the Council, as preserved by Eusebius; and we have been utterly unable to find any basis for this fifth and last specification. Without saying another word in this connection, we are willing to submit the whole effort concerning the discarded Bishop to any sober-minded man, of any denomination : Can Paul of Samosata be made a scape-goat to bear away into the wilderness the hierarchical sins of these mysterious Constitutions ?
We hasten to other topics belonging to the subject before us. Respecting the opinions of the Ante-Nicene fathers, it may be well to call to mind the elaborate and voluminous works of Petavius* and of Bull.t Whoever has examined them, and especially whoever has himself read the writings of those ancient fathers, or any considerable portion of them, must be prepared to admit the correctness of what we stated in the former part of this article. Even Petavius and Bull, those profound investigators of ecclesiastical antiquity, though they differ widely from each other in some of their representations, yet, it is well known, agree in maintaining that a theory of subordination, with correspondent modes of expression, was very prevalent before the Arian controversy, and of course in the latter part of the third century, the time which the author of the Prize Essay on the Apostolical Constitutions mentions as the time when the first seven books of them were written. Hence, as we have been endeavoring to show, these Constitutions, though containing expressions which would not have been chosen by an orthodox writer after that controversy, and especially after the adoption of the perfected form of the Athanasian Creed, might not originally have been intended to promote heterodoxy. In respect to this, they might easily have seemed to be unobjectionable. And the confident tone of denunciation which they assume towards all heretics, is a strong indication that the writer was not conscious of inculcating what would be deemed heresy.
* Dionysii Petavii, e societate Jesu, Opus de Theologicis Dogmatibus; in six folio volumes, edited by Leclerc, at Antwerp, A. D. 1700. The second volume treats of the Most Holy Trinity, and is dedicated Trinitati personis distinctæ, PATRI ingenito et genitori; Filio soli ac sine initio genito; SPIRITUI SANCTO, ab utroque procedenti ;--uni, coæterno, consubstantiali Deo.
† Georgii Bulli, S. Theologicæ Professoris et Presbyteri Anglicani, Opera Omnia, quibus duo præcipui Catholicæ Fidei Articuli
, de S. Trinitate et Justificatione, orthodoxè, perspicuè, ac solidè exponuntur, illustrantur, confirmantur; in one folio volume, edited by Dr. Grabe, A. D. 1703. The works pertaining to the subject now before us are three:-1. Defensio Fidei Nicænæ, ex Scriptis Catholicorum Doctorum, qui intra tria prima Ecclesiæ Christianæ secula floruerunt. This consists of four principal sections ; the last of which is De Subordinatione Filii ad Patrem, ut ad sui originem ac principium. 2. Judicium Ecclesiæ Catholicæ Trium Primorum Seculorum, de Necessitate credendi quod Dominus noster Jesus Christus sit verus Deus, assertum contra M. Simonem Episcopium, aliosque. 3. Primitiva et Apos tolica Traditio Dogmatis in Ecclesia Catholica recepti, de Jesu Christi Servatoris nostri Divinitate, asserta, atque evidenter demonstrata contra Davidem Zwickerum, Borussum, ejusque nuperos in Anglia Sectatores.
Besides, Epiphanius, in his work against Heresies, written about A. D. 380, speaks of the Constitutions then extant as being orthodox, and containing "every canonical arrangement; and no adulteration of the faith, or of the profession, or of the ecclesiastical administration." But after that time the Constitutions seem to have been altered here and there, and enlarged, by an Arian hand. And, at length, they were condemned by the Trullan Council, A. D. 692, as having been long ago corrupted,—not as having been written originaliy with the design of propagating unsound doctrine. But if such a charge as this latter could have been sustained, would it not then have been brought forward ?
The general aspect and texture of the original work, written as it was in an age when there prevailed a theory of subordination that might easily slide into Arianism, would naturally encourage an enterprising Arian or semi-Arian to prepare a new and improved edition. Though the doctrinal interpolations in the first seven books might have been very few, yet a very few would, in the circumstances, have been sufficient to furnish an occasion for casting aside a work whose good influence seemed to be no longer needed, and whose bad influence it seemed desirable to counteract. Zealously orthodox men who had long been accustomed to the perfected
form of the Athanasian Creed, in which all traces of the theory of subordination had disappeared, could hardly fail to deprecate the influence of a work which now bore the impress of Arianism, and which, if not authoritatively rejected by them, would be likely to be regarded by many as having the sanction of the apostles.
Happily our situation is different, and we can use the work for historical and archæological purposes, without being led by it into heresy : for we know that it was a forgery in the outset; and that, from its history and from the nature of the case, it can have no authority to teach us articles of faith. Here what safeguard, more complete or more strong, can be needed ?
The forgery is detected ; and one of its leading objects, the giving of apostolic sanction to the claims of the hierarchy, is too obvious to be concealed. We have purposely abstained from bringing forward the considerations which the author of the Prize Essay respecting the Constitutions has presented in his clear and convincing chapter on their Plan and Object. We would specially commend to our readers an attentive perusal of that chapter. Our remarks we wish to have regarded as only an occasional addition to the full and regular discussion which may there be found.
Perhaps one of the best ways of diminishing some of the differences of opinion among good and learned men, would be to increase their personal acquaintance with the documents which have come down to us from the early ages of the church. Certainly it would tend to increase their sympathetic interest in the Christians of those ages, and their gratitude to God for the Holy Scriptures. The Word of the Lord endureth for ever.
Would that churches and individuals were reverently listening to his voice, and to the admonitions which sound forth from the history of those who have gone before us! “In such a world as this,” it has well been said by an able reviewer of the Constitutions,* “nothing short of experience can restrain or recover the church from human inventions, and bring her to the stable practice of Christ's directions. Happy for us then, (if we will only profit by the result,) that so much of this experimenting is already done. But in order that we may profit by it, the history of every experiment should be preserved and carefully studied; if not, then all has been suffered in vain, and must be suffered over again. We must know not only the general result, but also the causes and the pro
* In the Bibliotheca Sacra and Theological Review, for May, 1848.