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was exceedingly disappointed and mortified at not obtaining it. Cyprian expressly declares not only that a spirit of intrigue, of worldly gain, and of ecclesiastical domination, existed among the clergy of his day, but that such a spirit was awfully prevalent among them. Eusebius gives us similar information in still stronger terms.
Archbishop Whitgift makes the same acknowledgment, more particularly with respect to the Bishops of that per riod. And even Dr. Bowden himself, forgetting his own assertions, unwarily acknowledges, in several other parts of his work, that a number of persons, as early as the days of Cyprian, and before his time, who aspired to the office of Bishop, and who used every effort and artifice to attain it, on being disappointed, distinguished themselves as heretics or schismatics, and became the pests of the Church. Was there no spirit of ambition and domination among such men? Why did they aspire to the office of Bishop? Was there nothing in that office to attract their regard, or to excite their cupidity ? Or did they act without motive? Sure. ly this gentleman needs to have some one at hand to refresh his memory, and to prevent him from warring against his own cause. But a man must be wary and ingenious indeed, who can be consisa tent when truth is against him.
Still, however, the question recurs; What, in those days of persecution and peril, before chris. tianity was established; when the powers of the world were leagued against it; and when every christian pastor especially held a station of much self-denial and danger, what could induce any selfish or ambitious man to desire the pastoral office, and to intrigue for the extension of the powers and honours of that office? When my opponents can tell me what induced Judas Iscariot to follow Christ, at the risk of his life; when they can tell me what impelled Diotrephes to desire the preeminence in the Church ; or what were the objects of Demas, Hymenæus, and Alexander, in their rest. less and ambitious conduct, while Calvary was yet smoking with the blood of their crucified Lord, and while their own lives were every moment ex. posed to the rage of persecution ;—when my opponents can tell me what actuated these men, I shall be equally ready to assign a reason for the early rise and progress of Prelacy.
But there is no need of retreating into the obscurity of conjecture, when causes enough to satisfy every mind may easily be assigned. If Dr. Bowden does not know that there are multitudes of men, in all ages, in the Church, and out of it, who are ready to court distinction, merely for distinction's sake, and at the evident hazard of their lives, he is less acquainted both with human nature and with history than I have been accustomed to suppose him. But this is not all. It is a notorious fact, notwithstanding all the round assertions of Dr. Bowden to the contrary, that the office of Bi. shop, even in very early times, had much to attract the cupidity as well as the ambition of selfish and aspiring men. The revenues of the primitive Church were large and alluring. It is granted that, during the first three centuries, the Church held little or no real property; as the Roman laws did not allow any person to give or bequeath real estates to ecclesiastical bodies, without the consent of the Senate or the Emperor. The contributions, however, which were made to the Church, for the support of the Clergy, the poor, &c. were immense. During the Apostolic age, the proceeds of the sale of real estates were devoted to ecclesiastical and charitable purposes, and laid at the Apostles' feet. We find the Gentile Churches contributing liberally to the relief of the Churches of Judea, in Acts XI. 29. Rom. xv. 26. 1 Corinth. XVI. 1. and 2 Corinth. VIII. The same liberality manifested itself in subsequent times*. So ample were the funds of the Church of Rome, about the middle of the second century, that they were adequate not only to the support of her own clergy and poor members ; but also to the relief of other Churches, and of a great number of christian captives in the
* One cause of the liberality of the primitive christians in their contributions to the church, was the notion which generally prevailed, that the end of the world was at hand. This notion was adopted by some of the early Fathers, and propagated among the people with great diligence. Cyprian taught, in his day, with great confidence, that the dissolution of the world was but a few years distant. Epist. ad Thibart. The tendency of this opinion to diminish the self-denial of parting with temporal wealth is obvious. See Father Paul's Hist. of Benefices and Revenues. Chap. II.
several provinces, and of such as were condemned to the mines*. Such was the wealth of the same Church, in the third century, that it was considered as an object not unworthy of Imperial rapacity. By order of the Emperor Decius, the Roman Deacon Laurentius was seized, under the expecta. tion of finding in his possession the treasures of the Church, and of transferring them to the coffers of the Emperor : But the vigilant Deacon, fearing the avarice of the tyrant, had distributed them, as usual, when a persecution was expected. Pru dentius introduces an officer of the Emperor, thus addressing the Deacon, Quod Cæsaris scis, Cæsari da, nempe justum postulo; ni fallor, haud ullam tuus signat Deus pecuniam. i. e. Give to Cæsar what you know to be his, I ask what is just; for if I mistake not, your God coins no moneyt.
Now the revenues of the Churches, whether great or small, were at the disposal of the Bishops. The Deacons executed their orders. Of course they had every opportunity of enriching themselves at the expense of the Church. And that they em. braced this opportunity, is attested by Cyprian, who laments the fact, and is of opinion that the persecution which took place in the reign of De. cius, was intended by God to punish a guilty people, and to purge this corruption from his Churchț.
* Father Paul's Hist. of Ecclesiastical Benefices and Revenues, Chap. 111.
+ Prudent. in Lib. de Coronis. Father Paul's History of Ecclesiastical Benefices and Revenues, Chap. III.
# See his discourse, De Lapsis before quoted.
And yet, in the face of all this testimony, Dr. Bowden has permitted himself to assert, that there was no temptation, either before or during the age of Cyprian, to induce any man to desire the office of a Bishop ; and especially that it was impossible for any to be moved by the love of wealth to seek that office, because no acquisitions of that kind“ resulted from it, or could result from it!" It is really amazing that gentlemen can so entirely close their eyes against the light of all authentic history. If Dr. Bowden were an ardent and incautious young man who had but lately commenced the examination of this subject, he might be pardoned on the score of ignorance; but to a gentleman of his long expe. rience and standing in the controversy, it is difficult to suppose this apology applicable.
One of the arguments which I adduced in support of the gradual introduction of Prelacy, was the fact, that Metropolitans, or Archbishops, though acknowledged on all hands not to have been insti. tuted by the Apostles, were yet early brought in by human ambition ; while, at the same time, the early records are so scanty, that we are unable to pronounce when they were first introduced.
To this Dr. Bowden gives two answers. The first is, that we can decide, with certainty, when the authority of Metropolitans took its rise: And the second, that the cases are by no means parallel, and that the argument, even if the facts were admitted, is of no force.