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nated proud and self-condemned.'113 Again, as there was but one place of meeting, so there was but one communion table or altar, as they sometimes metaphorically called it. 'There is but one altar,' said Ignatius, for there is but one bishop;'114 and accordingly, one place of worship. To this may be added the authority of Stilling fleet. "For although when the churches increased, the occasional meetings were frequent in several places, yet still there was but one church, and one altar, and one baptistry, and one bishop, with many presbyters assisting him; and this is so very plain in antiquity, as to the churches planted by the apostles themselves in several parts, that none but a stranger to the history of the church can ever call it in question."
We have here another illustration of the parochial Episcopacy, which, in the ancient church, restricted the labors of the minister of Christ to a single church and congregation.
(d) All under his charge were, in some instances, as familiarly known unto their bishop himself, as are the people of a parish to their pastor.
Polycarp, for example, bishop of Smyrna, is exhorted by Ignatius to know all of his church by name, even the menservants and maid-servants; to take care of the widows within his diocese; to take cognizance personally of all marriages; and to suffer nothing to escape his notice.116
113 Εἰ γὰς ἑνὸς καὶ δευτέρω προσευχὴ τοσαύτην ἰσχὺν ἔχει, πόσῳ μᾶλλον ἥ τε τῷ ἐπισκόπε καὶ πάσης ἐκκλησίας; ̔Ο ἦν μὴ ἐρχόμενος ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸς καὶ ἑαυτὸν διέκρινεν.—Ep. ad Eph., c. 5. 114 Εν θυσιαςήριον ὡς εἰς ἐπίςκοπος. Ep. ad Phil., c. 8. Campbell's Lectures, p. 109.
115 Stillingfleet, Serm. against Separat., p. 27, cited by Clarkson, p. 17. 116 ’Εξ ὀνόματος πάντας ζήτει. Δὲλες καὶ δέλας μὴ ὑπερηφάνει· Χῆσαι μὴ ἀμελείσθωσαν. Πρέπει δὲ τοῖς γαμῖοι καὶ ταῖς γαμεμέναις,μετὰ γνώμης τῷ ἐπισκόπε τὴν ἕνωσιν ποιεῖσθαι. Μηδὲν ἄνευ γνωμης 08 γινέσθω.-Ignatius ad Polycarp, c. 4, 5.
All this evidently requires of the bishop a personal acquaintance with the people of his charge, even more familiar, and a personal supervision over them more minute, than that of the pastor of a single parish in any of our cities. Even the bishop of Tyre had a diocese so small that he had a personal knowledge of the Christians within it.117 Carthage, again, was one of the largest cities in the world; and yet Cyprian, the bishop of that city, made it a duty to have a familiar acquaintance with all his people, and to provide for the needy and destitute among them.118 To such primitive Episcopacy as this who can object?
(e) So many bishops are found in a single territory of limited extent, that no one could have exercised jurisdiction beyond the bounds of a single parish.
Take, for example, a single province, that of Africa; and in doing this, I am happy to avail myself of the inquiries of another. "The testimony of Du Pin on this point, himself a prelatist, is invaluable. He describes, in the first place, the ancient province of Africa, as nearly commensurate with the modern Barbary States, and then proceeds to remark as follows:
"All this tract, both before and after the subjection of the Romans, contained an almost countless number of people. There were found cities, towns, boroughs, military stations (castellis), and villages, both of natives and colonists, in great number; and, by the fertility of the soil, and abundance of its produce, as well as by mercantile trade, it became very wealthy. Hence we find so great a
117 Schoene, Geschichtsforschungen, III, p. 336.
118 Cumque ego vos pro me vicarios miserim ut expungeretis necessitates fratrum nostrorum sumptibus, si qui vellent suas artes exercere, additamento quantum satis esset desideria eorum juvaretis, simul etiam et aetates eorum et conditiones et merita discerneretis; ut etiam nunc ego, cui cura incumbit omnes optimè nosse et dignos quosque, et humiles et mites ad ecclesiasticae administrationis officia promoverem.-Ep. 38, p. 51.
multitude of Christians in these regions, to govern whom were appointed very many bishops, far more numerous, indeed, and nearer together, than in some other parts of the Christian world. For in these parts it was customary to appoint bishops not only in great cities, but in villages, or villas, and in small cities (in vicis aut villis et in modicis civitatibus); which was guarded against by the 57th canon of the Council of Laodicea, and the 7th canon of that of Sardica. But that rule obtained, not in Africa, where it is on record that bishops were ordained not only in great cities, but in all the towns (in cunctis oppidis), and not unfrequently in villages and military stations (in vicis et castellis); which multitude of bishops' sees, that had sprung up, even from the very first rise of the African churches, was increased by the emulation of the Catholics and Donatists.' 119
"Such are the statements of one of the learned historians, one whose judgment is universally respected. Such, too, must be the convictions of every one who makes himself acquainted with the surviving documents of the African churches. Let any one turn over the pages of the Minutes of the Conference (gesta collationis) between the Catholics and Donatists at Carthage, in A. D. 411, at which 565 bishops were present, and he must come to the conclusion that Mons. Du Pin has told the truth.
"So strong is the evidence from this quarter, that Bingham is constrained to admit, that during the time of the schism of the Donatists, many new bishoprics were erected in very small towns in Africa; as appears from the acts of the Collation of Carthage, where the Catholics and Donatists mutually charge each other with the practice; that they divided single bishoprics sometimes into three or
119 Du Pin's Sacred Geography of Africa, prefixed to his edition of "The Seven Books of St. Optatus, bishop of Mileve in Africa," on the schism of the Donatists, published at Paris, A. D. 1700, p. 57.
four; and made bishops in country towns and villages, to augment the numbers of their parties.' 120
"It will be observed, that this practice was pursued as well by the Orthodox as their opponents. Wherever a few people could be gathered together, they organized them into a church, and placed a bishop over them. And when that church became very numerous they divided it again (except in the great cities), just as we are accustomed to do at the present day. There was nothing in the idea of a church, or of a bishop, that forbade this practice. Nay, it was provided for by an ecclesiastical law of the province. The fifth canon of the second council of Carthage (A. D. 390) provides, that if, in the course of time, as religion prospers, any people of God should be so multiplied as to desire to have a rector of their own, they should have a bishop, in case they obtained the consent of him to whose authority the diocese was subject.'
"Du Pin says, 'We have drawn out of ancient documents the names of six hundred and ninety bishoprics in Africa.' , 121 He annexes a catalogue of their names, and refers in every instance to the document or documents
120 Bingham's Antiq. of Christ. Church, B. 2, c. 12, § 3.
121 Geog. Sac. Africae, p. 59. Shoene says, Geschichtsforschungen, Vol. III, 335, that in the time of Augustine there were nine hundred bishops in Africa. The number is evidently made out in the following manner. Augustine, in his minutes of the first day's conference between the. Catholics and Donatists, says, that of the Catholics, 286 answered to their names, 20 subscribed not, 120 were absent, detained by reason of their age, infirmity, or other causes; and that 60 of their bishoprics were vacant, making a total of 426 bishops and 486 bishoprics.
Of the Donatists, 279 were present, many more than 120 were absent, and many of their bishoprics were vacant.-Opera, Tom. 9, p. 374, F. 375, 376, A. Antwerp, 1700.
Augustine also states, that the Maximinianists were condemned by a council of 310 of the Donatists. Contra Parmenian, Lib. 1, Tom. 9, c. 18, p. 15, B. Contra Crescon. Don., Lib. 3, c. 52, p. 315, E. Lib. 4, c. 7, p. 331, D. The Donatists, moreover, themselves boasted that they had more than 400 bishops in Africa. Post. Coll., c. 24, p. 411, D. In addition to all these, the Maximinianists afford another legion of bishops in this
where they are found. With reason, therefore, he says, 'there is not one of these that has not at some time a bishop, as may be gathered from ecclesiastical documents.'" 122
(f) The charge of a primitive bishop is known in many instances not to have equalled that of a modern presbyter or pastor.
Bishops were found in villages and military stations in Africa, as we have just seen. Ischyrus was made bishop of a very small village, containing but few inhabitants. 123 Paul, one of the famous council of Nice, was only bishop of a fort, pooúgiov, near the river Euphrates.124 Eulogius and Barses, monks of Edessa, had each no city, but only a monastery for a diocese; or rather it was merely an honorary title, an empty name, without any charge connected with it.125 Others, again, were bishops of cities where there were no Christians whatever, but some few in the country round about.126
The council of Sardica, c. 7, and of Laodicea, c. 57, in the fourth century, denounced the custom of ordaining bishops "in villages and small cities, lest the authority of a bishop should be brought into contempt." But a hundred years later, the custom still prevailed to a considerable ex
same province, 100 or more of whom condemned Priminianus. Contra Crescon. Don., Lib. 4, c. 6, p. 331, D. Post. Coll., c. 30. We are now prepared to make up the roll of African bishops. Catholics, 426, Donatists, 400, Maximinianists, 100. Total, 926,-to say nothing of vacant sees. In such astonishing profusion are these dioceses, these Episcopal sees, scattered broad-cast over the single province of Africa.
122 New York Evangelist, Vol. XIV, p. 182. 1843.
123 Κώμη βραχυτάτη, καὶ ὀλίγων ἀνθρώπων.—Athans. Apol., 2,
T. 1, p. 200.
124 Theodoret, Eccl. Hist., Lib. 1, c. 6.
125” Οι καὶ ἐπισκόπω ἄμφω ὕστερον ἐγενέθην, ου πόλεως τινὸς ἀλλὰ τιμῆς ἕνεκεν χειροτονηθέντες ἐν τοις ιδίοις μοναστηglois-Sozomen, Eccl. Hist., Lib. 6, c. 34, p. 691.
126 Shoene, Geschichtsforschungen, III, p. 336.