« AnteriorContinuar »
ARTICLE I.—THE SEE BISHOPRICK. (No. 2.)
HOW SHALL WE GET IT?
In this Review, in the month of October, 1857, there appeared an Article on the See Bishoprick, entitled “ The Apostolic Church in the Apostolic position.”* It showed, that, the Episcopate or Order of Bishops being Apostolical, the Bishop of each Diocese had also a proper position in which, by the same Apostolic prescription, he ought to be. That the city,' from the earliest time and by the earliest law and usage of the Church, was the seat (See or kafedpa) of the Bishop. That every city, finally, should have a Bishop, and every Bishop, from the earliest times, had a city' as his . See.'
This was shown to be the universal law of Christianity in all time, from St. John at Ephesus, St. James at Jerusalem,
When our first Article was published, the ideas in it struck the minds of many in the Church with great force, and among others a distinguished Clergyman of the South, now deceased. He wrote upon the same subject for the Review, and by some mistake the same title was given to his Article as to ours. It was taken therefore to be a second paper by the same writer. The writer of the first deems it but just to himself to say, that he intended to complete the subject himself, as he himself had started it, and this Article is the second of that series. And while the writer of the Article in January, 1858, manifestly never intended that any mistake should occur, still, as from the similarity of title the mistake has occurred in many cases, to the Author's personal knowledge, he thinks it but just to himself to advertise the readers of the Review of the fact. VOL, XIV.-NO, I.
St. Polycarp at Smyrna, St. Clement at Rome, down to the present Bishops of London, of Edinburgh, of Paris, of Moscow, of Athens, of Quebec. It was proved to be the universal usage of the Christian Church over all the space and extent of the Christian world, so far as the Catholic and Apostolic Churches, pure or corrupt, have spread, East and West, North and South, Greek and Latin, Chaldean, Syrian, Armenian, Egyptian and Abyssinian, everywhere, save with us who are and ought to be the American Catholic Church, the Church, whose doctrine, descent and discipline, fit us, alone of all competitors that are in this great Missionary field, to be the universal, all-embracing, all-containing Church of this great nation,
And with us, that we should have taken the territorial title, that from States, instead of that from Cities, against this universal prescription of time for eighteen centuries, and of place over the whole world, happened, we suppose, partly through the thoughtlessness of the persons who received and settled the Episcopate, having no clear perceptions of the relations which the City, as such, bears to Society in general, and also to the organic powers of the Church, as concerns progress, unity and discipline. Partly it happened, we suppose, through a timorousness, connecting itself, however unreasonably, with the new Constitution of the country. The English cities, as it is well known, gave to the Bishops of the establishment of England, who are at the same time members of the House of Peers and Bishops of Apostolic descent, the title of Baron.* Thus the Bishop of London is “ My Lord of London.” From these rea.sons, we suppose, our Bishopricks, instead of being entitled in the true way, obtained their titles from States, at least by in
* The Bishops in the Eleventh of Henry II., in a dispute concerning Becket, stated, that they did not sit merely as Bishops, but as Barons; and told the House of Peers, “Nos Barones, vos Barones, Pares hic sumus." In the very year before, in the Tenth of Henry II., it was declared by the Constitutions of Clarendon, that Bishops and all other persons who hold of the King in capite have their possessions of him “sicut baroniam" and "sicut ceteri barones debeant interesse judiciis curiæ Regis.”—Hook's Church Dictionary, 7th Ed.. pp. 116.
In fact, any one who knows anything of the Feudal system can see, that it must have been so, both from the historic fact and the nature of the tenure of
and property under that system.
ference, in the Convention of 1785. The principle expressed being, that there shall be a Bishop in each State, and the immediate inference, that he should be called Bishop of the Church in that State.'* And this title, thus begun, is the one in use down to our own time.
Now, in the Article referred to, we stated, that we considered this to have been a grievous error, and that it should be amended, as the Church unquestionably has the right and the power to do ; that we ought to abolish the territorial title, unknown as it is to all the Church except ourselves, and restore the primitive title, that from Cities. We then went onward and proved, that the difference, although it seemed merely verbal, yet is actually real, in the good it prevents, in the obstacles to progress, to union, to harmony, which it creates. We showed, that the City is the proper position and place for the Episcopate, as being the heart of the country, the center and origin of all circulation of ideas, of money, of population, from whence all these originate and flow outward towards the extremities. And again we showed a returning flood, into the cities, of the rural population. Hence the Cities are the centers of all propagandism, that has for its object a change to be wrought in the whole nation. We showed then, from the nature of the City, that money can be more easily raised in Cities for religious purposes, converts more easily made, fervent and glowing resolves more easily aroused, men more easily obtained, work of all kinds, subsidiary to the great Missionary work, more easily done in Cities. Hence, that from the earliest time, the head and guide and leader of this work, the Bishop, was placed in the City, as in the center and heart of it allthe Bishoprick, the corporate unit of the Church's progress, was placed there, as in the focus of all activity, mental, commercial, military and civil. And from the city, therefore, the Diocese considered as a corporate body, was naturally named. All these advantages manifestly exist at this present time, as any one can see ; all are reasons now for the true position, as they were of old.
**In every State there shall be a Bishop duly consecrated and settled, and who shall have acceded to the Articles of this General Ecclesiastical Constitution. He sball be considered as a member of the Convention ex officio.'—(Convention of 1785.)
We illustrated this truth in many ways. We showed, first, that such a position for a Bishop would free the Clergy and the Laity from this hateful party spirit, this interference and control of mere manæuverers and intriguers and wire-pullers, by making the Bishop the actual head and real leader of the whole Diocese, the guide and director of all its movements. Under the present arrangements, this is utterly impossible ; what between the Bishop's absences from the City, and the existence of Societies, Corporations and Committees, and their Presidents, Chairmen and Patrons, necessary to do work which has to be done, and which he has hardly time even to look at. A situation of affairs, in fact, can hardly be conceived, that could give more room for intrigue, and faction, or party wrath and personal spite, than the little whirlpools, currents and eddies, that belong of necessity to such a state of things Ecclesiastical in one of our great Cities. And, the greater the City, the more opportunity for them all. Have not our Bishops felt these thorns, and our Clergy and Laity also ?
And yet, what can they expect, when the Bishop has perhaps five, perhaps ten, great Cities under his jurisdiction, in each of which, by the Constitution of the Church, there should be a Bishop, in each of which Church-progress would be vastly aided by the Episcopate. What, but that party leaders, constantly resident, should encroach upon the powers, crawl into the prerogatives, and injure the influence of the Bishop, who being a resident in a population of say one hundred thousand and upwards, leaves the work at his doors and in his hands to officiate, at railroad speed, in six other Cities? In fact, but for this anomalous state of affairs, which the territorial Bishoprick by its nature produces, and the See Bishoprick by its nature excludes, our party troubles would be at an end. One Bishop in one City, would as naturally make peace as one husband in one house. The husband who has one wife, the Bishop who has one Church, * has, from the very nature of things, more peace,
* The Church of, or at Ephesus, Antioch, Rome, Corinth, &c., is no single congregation. It is the Corporation, the whole body of Christians, Clergy and Laity in that City, of which the Bishop is the Head. We use this fact as an argument against the Congregationalists ; do wo not make it null in truth and in deed ?
more dignity, more love and loyalty, more influence and control, than he who has ten wives or ten Churches.
And this argument, which in this way accounts for a sad fact, we upheld and illustrated by showing, that the natural unit of the Church is the Diocese, which is a natural corporation in a locus marked out for it in space and time; that is the City. The One Bishop, the many Presbyters, the Seven Deacons, and the Laity in one City, are the constituent head, limbs, and body of this corporation. A proposition this is, that is so distinctly manifested in Christian antiquity, that there can be no doubt of it whatsoever. No doubt that Presbyterianism, Congregationalism, and other modern settlements of Church Order and Church government, are mere fragments and disruptions of this original corporation. How much this consideration upholds the arguments in the last paragraph,how much does it show the source of our troubles, to reflect, that the one head which should give unity and guidance and force to the one body, is taken away from it, and tries to be head of from two to ten bodies more !
Again we showed, that this great evil being taken away, and its Bishop given back to the City, which this scheme has deprived it of, the presence among us of a venerable man, recognized by all the Clergy as uplifted above them by his Apostolic dignity and Apostolic position, and therefore raised far above the envy and jealousy which are the fruits of Parity, -a spiritual Father among his spiritual children, would directly tend to create among them peace and mutual love and respect. It would give to their actions, Missionary and Parochial, an unity and harmony which by no means now exist. Their Bishop would be, as it were, the great central wheel, the driving power of all the Missionary and Church work among the population of that City, and the region adjoining. Unity of work and action, strength and smoothness of movement, uniformity and steadiness; all these are the natural result of one governing and guiding head in its proper and peculiar position. How many weak Churches would now have been alive and prosperous, but that they were left to stagger on in their fee· bleness, because their Bishop knew next to nothing of them ; VOL. XIV.NO. I.