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interests, and prepare the way for a quiet and regular election. By this means, the visitor had a fair opportunity, as Bingham justly remarks, "to ingratiate himself with the people, and promote his own interest among them, instead of that of the church."73 This measure, though supported by Symmachus,74 in the sixth century, and by Gregory the Great,75 failed to produce the desired effect; and seems neither to have been generally adopted nor long continued.
Justinian, in the sixth century, sought, with no better success, to remedy the evils in question, by limiting the elective franchise to a mixed aristocracy, composed of the clergy, and the chief men of the city. These were jointly to nominate three candidates, declaring under oath, that, in making the selection, they had been influenced by no sinister motive. From these three the ordaining person was to ordain the one whom he judged best qualified.76 But it was not defined who should be included among the chief men, and the result was the loss of the people's rights, and an increase of the factions which the measure was intended to prevent. The council of Arles, A. D. 452, c. 54, in like manner, ordered the bishops to nominate three candidates, from whom the clergy and the people should make the election; and that of Barcelona, A. D. 593, ordered the clergy and people to make the nomination, and the metropolitan and bishops were to determine the election by lot.
But even these ineffectual efforts to restore, in some measure, the right of the people, sufficiently show to what extent it was already lost. Indeed, the bishops had already assumed, in some instances, the independent and exclusive right themselves of appointing spiritual officers.77 The
73 Book II, c. 15, § 1. Comp. Book IV, c. 11, § 7.
74 Ep. 5, c. 6.
75 Ep. Lib. 9. Ep. 16.
76 Justin, Novell., 123, c. 1, 137, c. 2d. Cod. Lib. 1, tit. 3. De Episcop. leg. 42. 77 Sidon, Apollinar., Lib. IV, Ep. 25.
emperor Valentinian III complains of Hilary of Arles, that he unworthily ordained some in direct opposition to the will of the people; and when they refused those whom they had not chosen, that he contracted an armed body, and by military power forcibly thrust into office the ministers of the gospel of peace.78 Leo the Great, A. D. 450, asserts the right of the people to elect their spiritual rulers.79
The government of the church, from a pure democracy, had changed, first into an ambitious aristocracy, and then into a more oppressive oligarchy, who, assuming practically the sentiment of a crafty tyrant, οὐκ ἀγαθὸν πολυκοιρανίη,80 directed their assaults against the most sacred principle. both of civil and religious liberty, the right of every corporate body to choose their own rulers and teachers. This extinction of religious freedom was not effected in the church universally at the same time, nor in every place by the same means. Oppressed by violence, overreached by stratagem, or awed into submission by superstition, the churches severally yielded the contest at different and somewhat distant intervals. In Rome, the rights of the people were recognized under Cœlestia, A. D. 422,81 and Leo the Great, A. D. 440, which, as we have seen, Justinian attempted to restore in the century following. In Gaul, these rights were not wholly lost until the fifth,82 and even the sixth century.83
The doctrine of a divine guidance from the Spirit of God to the clergy, had its influence also in completing the subjugation of the people. This vain conceit, by ceaseless
78 Valentinian III, Nov. XXIV, ad calcem Cod. Theodos.
79 Qui praefecturus omnibus, ab omnibus eligatur. Ep. 89. Comp. Ep. 84, c. 5.
80 Iliad, II, 204. Paraphrased by Pope, in the following lines:
Be silent, wretch, and think not here allowed
That worst of tyrants, an usurping crowd.-POPE.
82 Sidon, Apollinar., Lib. IV, Ep. 25.
81 Ep. 2, c. 5.
83 Conc. Orleans, A. D. 549, c. 10.
repetition of bishops and councils, became an unquestionable dogma of the church. Once established, it had great influence in bringing the people into passive submission to their spiritual oppressors. Resistance to such authority under the infallible guidance of the Spirit of God, was rebellion against high heaven, which the laity had not the impiety to maintain.
"Thus every thing was changed in the church. At the beginning it was a society of brethren; and now an absolute monarchy is reared in the midst of them. All Christians were priests of the living God, 1 Pet. 2: 9, with humble pastors for their guidance. But a lofty head is uplifted from the midst of these pastors. A mysterious voice utters words full of pride; an iron hand compels all men, small and great, rich and poor, freemen and slaves, to take the mark of its power. The holy and primitive equality of souls is lost sight of. Christians are divided into two strangely unequal classes. On the one side, a separate class of priests daring to usurp the name of the church, and claiming to be possessed of peculiar privileges in the sight of the Lord. On the other, timid flocks, reduced to a blind and passive submission; a people gagged and silenced, and delivered over to a proud caste." 84
The interference of the secular power with ecclesiastical appointments has been already mentioned. The civil magistrate often exercised the same arbitrary power in these matters which the priesthood had usurped over the people, so that the oppressor became in turn the oppressed. This secular interference began with Constantine. Both in the Eastern and the Western church, it was often the means of disturbing and overruling the appointment of ecclesiastical officers, and finally itself completed the extinction of religious liberty. Valentinian III, A. D. 445, for example, enacted, that all bishops of the Western em
84 D'Aubigné's Hist. of the Reformation, I, p. 31.
pire should obey the bishop of Rome, and should be bound to appear before him at his summons. 85 Constantius appointed Liberius bishop of Rome, A. D. 352, and the Gothic kings in the sixth century exercised the same arbitrary power over the churches of France and Spain.86
In the Eastern church, Theodosius I also appointed Nectarius bishop of Constantinople, A. D. 381,87 and Theodosius II, in the same summary manner, appointed Proilus, A. D. 434, to succeed Maximian in the same place. The church sometimes protested with great vehemence against these encroachments of secular power, of which we have a remarkable example in the sixth canon of the council of Paris, A. D. 557. "Seeing that ancient custom and the regulations of the church are neglected, we desire that no bishop be consecrated against the will of the citizens. And only such person shall be considered eligible to this dignity, who may be appointed, not by command of the prince, but by the election of the people and clergy; which election must be confirmed by the metropolitan and the other bishops of the province. Any one who may enter upon this office by the mere authority of the king, shall not be recognized by the other bishops; and if any bishop should recognize him, he must himself be deposed from his office." 88 The eighth council of Rome, also, A. D. 853, forbade, on pain of excommunication, "all lay persons whatsoever, even princes themselves, to meddle in the election or promotion of any patriarch, metropolitan, or any other bishop whatever, declaring withal, that it is not fit that lay persons should have any thing at all to do in these matters; it becoming them rather to be quiet, and patiently to attend until such time as the election of the bishop who
85 Riddle's Eccl. Chron., p. 103.
86 Simonis, Vorlesungen über die Christlichen, Allerthümer, p. 106. 87 Böhmer's Alterthumswissenschaft, Vol. I, p. 151.
88 Conc. Paris, c. 8.
is to be chosen, be regularly finished by the college of the church." 89
Such demands for the institution of apostolical and canonical elections, as they were called,90 were, however, but rarely made, and never with success. The clergy were brought to bow down to an usurpation more absolute and despotic than that by which they at first wrested from the laity the rights, which, in their turn, they were compelled so reluctantly to resign to the secular power, until at length the pope, that prince of tyrants, became the supreme arbiter of all power, whether ecclesiastical or secular. Innocent III, at the close of the twelfth century, described himself as "the successor of St. Peter, set up by God to govern not only the church but the whole world. As God," said he," has placed two great luminaries in the firmament, the one to rule the day, and the other to give light by night, so has he established two great powers, the pontifical and the royal; and as the moon receives her light from the sun, so does royalty borrow its splendor from the papal authority!"
The right of suffrage involves the great principles and rights of a popular government. These rights and privileges the apostles, under the guidance of wisdom from on high, studiously sought to protect, in framing the constitution and government which they gave to the churches; as the following remarks may serve to show.
89 Neminen laicorum principum, vel Potentum semet inserere electioni vel promotioni Patriarchæ, vel Metropolitæ, aut cujuslibet episcopi, &c. præsertim cùm nullam in talibus potestatem quenquam potestativorum, vel ceterorum laicorum habere conveniat, sed potiùs silere, ac attendere sibi, usque quò regulariter à collegio ecclesiæ suscipiat finem electio futuri pontificis.-Conc. 8. Con. 12, t. 3, Conc. p. 282.
90 Gregory Naz., Orat. 21.