Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. V.: Whether the Chirotonia mention'd in the fourteenth of the Acts be indeed, as is pretended by Dr. Mammond, Dr. Seaman, and the Authors they follow, the same with the Chirothesia, or a far different thing. In which are contain'd the - The Oceana and Other Works
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CHAP. V.: Whether the Chirotonia mention’d in the fourteenth of the Acts be indeed, as is pretended by Dr. Mammond, Dr. Seaman, and the Authors they follow, the same with the Chirothesia, or a far different thing. In which are contain’d the - James Harrington, The Oceana and Other Works 
The Oceana and Other Works of James Harrington, with an Account of His Life by John Toland (London: Becket and Cadell, 1771).
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Whether the Chirotonia mention’d in the fourteenth of the Acts be indeed, as is pretended by Dr. Mammond, Dr. Seaman, and the Authors they follow, the same with the Chirothesia, or a far different thing. In which are contain’d the divers kinds of Church-Government introduc’d and exercis’d in the age of the Apostles.
Chap. V.EITHER I have impertinently intruded upon the politics, or cannot be said so much to meddle in church-matters, as churchmen may be said to have meddled in state-matters: for if the chirotonia be election by the many, and the chirothesia be election by one, or by the few, the whole difference between popular and monarchical government falls upon these two words; and so the question will be, Whether the Scriptures were intended more for the advantage of a prince, of a hierarcliy or presbytery, than of the people. But that God in the Old Testament instituted the chirotonia, not only in the commonwealth, as by the election of the sanhedrim, but in the monarchy, as in the election of the kings, is plain: so if there remains any advantage in Scripture to kings, to the hierarchy or presbytery, it must be in the New Testament. Israel was God’s chosen people, and God was Israel’s chosen king. That God was pleas’d to bow the heavens, and come down to them, was his choice, not theirs; but in that upon his proposition, and those of his servant Moses, they resolv’d to obey his voice, and keep his covenant, they chose him their king. In like manner, the church is Christ’s chosen people, and Christ is the church’s chosen king. That Christ taking flesh was pleas’d to bow the heavens, and com down in a more familiar capacity of proposing himself to mankind, was his own choice, not theirs: but in that the church upon his proposition, or those of his apostles sent by him, as he was sent by the father, resolv’d to obey his voice, and keep his covenant, she has chosen him her king. Whatever in nature or in grace, in church or in state, is chosen by man according to the will of God, is chosen by God, of whom is both the will and the deed.§ 36. Which things consider’d, I wonder at Dr. Hammond, who says, Sure the Jewish and Heathen citys, to whom the gospel byChrist’s command was to be preach’d, were not to chuse their guides or teachers.Christwas not chosen by them to whom he preach’d; for, says he, ye have not chosen me. He came from heaven, sent by his father on that errand; and happy they whom he was thus pleas’d to chuse, to call, and preach to. And when his apostles, after his example, go and preach to all nations, and actually gather disciples, they chose their auditors, and not their auditors them. To make short work, I shall answer by explaining his words as they fall.
A ROMAN chusing whether he would speak to the senat or the people, chose his auditors, and not they him: nevertheless, if it were the consul, they chose him, and not he them. It is one thing to be a speaker to a people, that have the liberty, when that’s don, to do as they think fit; and another thing to be a guide, whom the people have consented, or oblig’d themselves to follow: which distinction not regarded, makes the rest of his argumentation recoil upon himself; while he procedes thus: And they that give up their names to the obedience of the gospel (chose the preachers, as I should think, of that gospel their guides) one branch of this obedience obliges them (by their own consent it seems, because before they gave up their names) to observe those that (being thus plac’d over them by their consent) are plac’d over them by God: such not only are their civil magistrats (who succede to their places by, and govern according to the laws which the people have chosen) but also their pastors, whom the Holy Ghost either mediatly (according to the rules of church disciplin in Scripture) or immediatly (upon som such miraculous call, as the people shall judg to be no imposture) has set over them. From which words the Doctor, not considering those qualifications I have shewn all along to be naturally inherent in them, concludes that a bishop is made by the Holy Ghost, and not by the people.
If he would stand to this yet it were somthing; for if the Holy Ghost makes a bishop, then I should think that the Holy Ghost ordain’d a bishop, and so that the election and ordination of a bishop were all one. But this hereafter will appear to be a more dangerous concession than perhaps you may yet apprehend. Wherfore when all is don, you will not find divines, at least Dr. Hammond, to grant that the Holy Ghost can ordain: he may elect indeed, and that is all; but there is no ordination without the chirothesia of the bishops, or of the presbytery. Take the Doctor’s word for it.
§ 107.WHEN St. Paul says of the Bishops of Asia, that the Holy Ghost had set them overseers, I suppose that it is to be understood of their election or nomination to those dignitys:Acts 20. 28. for so Clement speaks of St. John, who constituted bishops of those that were signify’d by the Spirit; where the Spirit’s signification notes the election or nomination of the persons, but the constituting them was the ordination of St. John.
God may propose, as the electors do to the great council of Venice; but the power of the council, that is to resolve or ordain, is in the bishop, says Dr. Hammond, and in the presbytery, says Dr. Seaman. Indeed, that election and ordination be distinct things, is to divines of so great importance, that losing this hold, they lose all: for, as I said before, whatever is chosen by man according to the will of God, that is, according to divine law, whether natural or positive, the same, whether in state or church, is chosen by God, or by the Holy Ghost, of whom is both the will and the deed. To evade this, and keep all in their own hands, or chirothesia, divines have invented this distinction, that election is one thing, and ordination another: God may elect, but they must constitute; that is, God may propose, but they must resolve. And yet Grotius, who in these things is a great champion for the clergy, has little more to say upon this point than this:De Imp. sum. Whether we consider antient or modern times, we shall find the manner of election very different not only in different ages and countrys,Pot. c. 10. but in different years of the same age,§ 31. and places of the same country, so uncertain it is to determin of that which the Scripture has lest uncertain. And while men dispute not of right, but of convenience, it is wonderful to see what probable arguments are brought on all sides. Give me Cyprian and his times, there is no danger in popular election. Give me the Nicene fathers, and let the bishops take it willingly. Give me Theodosius, Valentinian, and Charles the Great, than royal election there is nothing safer. Upon the heels of these words treads Dr. Hammond in this manner:§ 104. That election and ordination are several things, is sufficiently known to every man that measures the nature of words either by usage or dictionarys; only for the convincing of such as think not themselves oblig’d to the observation of so vulgar laws, I shall propose these evidences.Acts 6. In the story of the creation of the deacons of Jerusalem, there are two things distinctly set down, one propos’d to the multitude of disciples to be don by them, another reserv’d to the apostles; that which was propos’d to the multitude was to elect, &c. Election of the persons was by the apostles permitted to them, but still the (ϰαταϛήσομεν) constituting is reserv’d to the apostles.Of ordinat. p. 13.Then coms Dr. Seaman: Be it granted, as it is by Protestants generally, that Paul and Barnabas made elders with the consent of the people, their consent is one thing, and their power another.
Where in the first place I for my particular, who have had the books of Dr. Hammond and Dr. Seaman sent to me by way of objection, need not go a step further. All that I have inserted in my Oceana concerning ordination, is in these three votes acknowledg’d and confirm’d: for the probationer to be there sent by a university to a cure that is vacant, may, by a doctor, or the doctors of the same university already ordain’d, receive imposition of hands, if that be thought fit to be added, and then the election of the same probationer by the people dos no hurt, nay, says Grotius,is of the right of nature; for it is naturally permitted to every congregation to procure those things which are necessary to their conservation, of which number is the application of function.De Imp. c. 10So merchants have the right of electing of a master of their ship; travellers of a guide in their way, and a free people of their king. The merchant, it seems, dos not make the master of his ship, the traveller his guide, nor the free people their king, but elect them. As if Van Trump had bin admiral, a robber upon the highway had bin a scout, or the guide of an army, or Saul a king before they were elected. The point is very nice, which instead of proving, he illustrats in the beginning of the same chapter by these three similitudes.
The first is this, The power of the husband is from God, the application of this power to a certain person is from consent, by which nevertheless the right is not given; for if this were by consent, the matrimony might be dissolv’d by consent; which cannot be. As if an apparent retraction of matrimonial consent, as when a wife consents to another than her own husband, or commits adultery, did not deliver a man from the bond of marriage by the judgments of Christ. There is an imperfection or cruelty in those laws, which make marriage to last longer than a man in humanity may be judg’d to be a husband, or a woman a wife. To think that religion destroys humanity, or to think that there is any defending of that by religion which will not hold in justice, or natural equity, is a vast error.
The second similitude is this: Imperial power is not in the princes that are electors of the empire; wherfore it is not given by them, but applied by them to a certain person.
1 Pet. 2. 13.This is answer’d by Peter, where he commands obedience to every ordinance of man (or, as som nearer the original, every power created by men) whether it be to the Roman emperor, as supreme, or to the proconsuls of Asia and Phrygia, as sent by him; for this is the sense of the Greec, and thus it is interpreted by Grotius. Now if the then Roman emperor were a creature of man, why not the now Roman emperor?
The last similitude runs thus: The power of life and death is not in the multitude before they be a commonwealth; for no privat man has the right of revenge; yet it is apply’d by them to som man, or political body of men. But if a man invades the life of another, that other, whether under laws or not under laws, has the right to defend his own life, even by taking away that (if there be no other probable remedy) of the invader. So that men are so far from having bin void of the power of life and death before they came under laws, that laws can never be so made as wholly to deprive them of it after they com under them: wherfore the power of life and death is deriv’d by the magistrat from, and confer’d upon him by the consent or chirotonia of the people, wherof he is but a mere creature; that is to say, an ordinance of man.
Thus these candles being so far from lighting the house, that they dy in the socket, Grotius has bin no less bountiful than to grant us that the people have as much right (where there is no human creature or law to the contrary) to elect their churchmen, as merchants have to elect their seamen, travellers their guides, or a free people their king; which is enough a conscience. Nor is Dr. Hammond straiter handed: election, says he, was permitted by the apostles to the multitude, and therfore the same may be allow’d, always provided the (ϰαταϛήσομεν) constituting be reserv’d to the pastors, or ordain’d doctors and preachers. And Dr. Seaman, upon condition the people will not say that it was don by their power, but think it fair that it was don by their consent, is also very well contented. So all stands streight with what I have heretofore propos’d. Let no man then say, whatever follows, that I drive at any ends or interests, these being already fully obtain’d and granted; nevertheless for truth sake I cannot leave this discourse imperfect. If a politician should say that the election and the ordination of a Roman consul or pontifex were not of like nature; that the ϰαταϛήσομεν, contract of the senat of Rome with the people in the election of Numa(ut cum populus regem jussissent, id sic ratum esset, si patres autores fierent) included or imply’d the soverain power to be in the fathers; that the consent of this people was one thing, and their power another: if, I say, he should affirm these or the like in Athens, Lacedemon, or any other commonwealth that is or has bin under the sun, there would be nothing under the sun more ridiculous than that politician.Livy. But should men pretending to government of any kind be not oblig’d to som consideration of these rules in nature and universal experience; yet I wonder how the word (ϰαθιϛάναι) to constitute, with which they make such a flourish, did not lead them, otherwise than they follow; this, as it was said of Solon by Aristotle, being that which I have already shewn to be us’d both in the Greec of the Scripture, for the constitution of the sanhedrim by Moses, and in other authors for that of the senat by Romulus, each of which was then elected by the people: whence it may appear plainly that this is no word, as they pretend, to exclude popular suffrage, but rather to imply it. And indeed that it is of no such nature as necessarily to include power, could not have bin overseen in the New Testament, but voluntarily where (οἱ δὲ ϰαθιϛῶν[Editor: illegible character]ες τὸν Πα[Editor: illegible character]λον) they are signify’d by it that conducted Paul.Acts 17. 15. But they have miracles: such indeed as have neither words nor reason for them, had need of miracles. And where are these same miracles? why the apostles by the chirothesia or laying on of hands confer’d the Holy Ghost. So they did not only when they us’d that ceremony in reference to ordination, but when they us’d it not in that relation, as to those that were newly baptiz’d in Samaria, men and women:Acts 8. now it is not probable, that these, who should seem to have been numerous, were all ordain’d, at least, the women; and so the miracle is to be attributed to the hands of the apostles, and not to ordination in general. Joshuawas fall of the spirit (not because he had been ordain’d by the chirothesia, for so had many of them that crucify’d Christ and persecuted the apostles, but) because Moseshad laid his hands upon them.
Would divines be contented that we should argue thus: The chirotonia or suffrage of the people of Israel at the first institution was follow’d with miraculous indowments, therefore therfore whoever is elected by the people shall have the like? or what have they to shew why the argument is more holding as to their chirothesia, seeing for above one thousand years all the hierarchy and presbytery laid together have don no more miracles than a parish clerc?
A continu’d miracle, as that the sea ebbs and flows, the sun always runs his admirable course, is nature. Intermitted nature, as that the waters of the red sea were mountains, that the sun stood still in the dial of Ahaz, is a miracle. To continue the latter kind of miracle were to destroy the former, that is, to dissolve nature. Wherfore this is a certain rule, that no continu’d external act can be in the latter sense miraculous. Now government, whether in church or state, is equally a continu’d external act. An internal continu’d act may indeed be natural, or supernatural, as faith.
A natural man, being even in his own natural apprehension fearfully and wonderfully made, is by the continu’d miracle of nature convinc’d that the world had a Creator, and so coms to believe in that which is supernatural; whence it is that all nations have had som religion: and a spiritual man being convinc’d by the purity of Christ’s doctrine, and the miracles wherby it was first planted, is brought to the Christian faith. However Christ may require such continu’d faith or spiritual exercise of his church as is supernatural, he requires not any such continu’d act or bodily exercise of his church as is supernatural. But the government of the church is a continu’d act, or bodily exercise. It should be heeded that to delude the sense is not to do miracles, but to use imposture. Now to persuade us, that monarchical, aristocratical, popular, or mixt government have not always bin in nature, or that there has ever bin any other in the church, were to delude sense. Wherfore give me leave (in which I am confident I shall use no manner of irreverence to the Scripture, but on the contrary make the right use of it) to discourse upon church-government according to the rules of prudence.
The Gospel was intended by Christ to be preach’d to all nations, which (princes and states being above all things exceding tenacious of their power) is to me a certain argument that the policy of the church must be so provided for, as not to give any of them just cause of jealousy, there being nothing more likely to obstruct the growth of religion: and truly the nearer I look to the Scripture, the more I am confirm’d in this opinion.
First way of ordination in the church of Christ.Christ being taken up into heaven, the first ordination that we find was that of the apostle Matthias after this manner:
Acts 1.The aristocracy of the church, that is the apostles, assembl’d the whole congregation of disciples or believers at Jerusalem, being in number one hundred and twenty, where Peter (it having as it should seem bin so agreed by the apostles) was proposer; who standing up in the midst of the disciples, acquainted them, that wheras Judas was gone to his place, the occasion of their present meeting was to elect another apostle in his room: wherupon proceding to the suffrage, they appointed two competitors, Joseph and Matthias, whose names being written each in a several scrol, were put into one urn, and at the same time two other lots, wherof one was a blank, and the other inscrib’d with the word apostle, were put into another urn; which don, they pray’d and said, Thou Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen. The prayer being ended, they gave forth their lots, and the lot fell uponMatthias (ϗ συνϰα[Editor: illegible character]εψηφίσθη με[Editor: illegible character]α τῶν ἕνδεϰα ἀϖοϛόλων) and by this psephisma (the very popular word, and not only so, but being apply’d to the ballot, is the very literal and original signification) he was added to the eleven apostles. So you have the first way of ordination in the church, after Christ was taken up into heaven, perform’d by the election or chirotonia of the whole church.
Now except any man can shew that Matthias ever receiv’d the imposition of hands, these several things are already demonstrated. First, that the chirotonia is not only the more antient way of ordination in the commonwealth of Israel, but in the church of Christ. Secondly, that the chirothesia or imposition of hands is no way necessary to ordination in the Christian church. Thirdly, that the disciplin of the Christian church was primitively popular; for to say that in regard of the apostles it was aristocratical, is to forget that there is no such thing, without a mixture of aristocracy, that is without the senat, as a popular government in nature. Fourthly, that ordination in the commonwealth of Oceana being exactly after this pattern, is exactly according to the disciplin of the church of Christ. And fifthly, that ordination and election in this example are not two, but one and the same thing.
The last of these propositions having bin affirm’d by Mr. Hobbs, Dr. Hammond tells him plainly, that his assertion is far from all truth:§ 115. let us therfore consider the doctor’s reasons, which are these; seeing the congregation, says he, is affirm’d by the gentleman to have ordain’d, and it is plain by the words of St.Lukethat God elected, election and ordination by this example must be distinct things: which in another place going about to fortify with this argument, that it was don by lottery, andSolomonsays, The lot is at the disposing of the Lord, he utterly overthrows without and beyond help; for in this Solomon not denying, but rather affirming that he was chosen king by the people, plainly shews that election by the people is election by God. Where it is affirm’d, that God rais’d up judges in Israel, it is not deny’d that the people elected them. The doctor is at it in Maimonides more than once, that the Divine Majesty rested upon such as were ordain’d by imposition of hands. But wheras it is affirm’d by Maimonides more often, that when the people (ecclesia dei) or congregation of Israel assembl’d, then the Divine Majesty, or the Holy Ghost rested upon them; of this he never takes any notice. The people, whether in Israel, Athens, Lacedemon, or Rome, never assembl’d for enacting of laws, or election of magistrats, without sacrifice and imploring the assistance of God, to whom when their work was perform’d, they always attributed the whole result or election: and would the doctor have Christians to allow him but a piece? for wheras God electing there had, in the sense both of Jews and Heathens, his choice of all, God electing here had, in the sense of divines, but his choice of two, which were next this or none, but that indeed where he has not the whole he has none at all. Is that then far from all truth, which the gentleman, or that which the divine has said, either in this part,Dr. H. of imposition. or where he adds, that the hundred and twenty in the text are never mention’d but once, and then it is in a parenthesis?§ 115. I will but transcribe the place.
Acts 1. 15.AND in those daysPeterstood up in the midst of the disciples, and said (the number of the names together were about an hundred and twenty) &c. Are the disciples in the parenthesis, or out of it? are they but once mention’d, and that is in a parenthesis? or are they but once number’d, and that is in a parenthesis? if a gentleman should do thus, what would they say? or, what were ill enough to be said? but to mend the text, and bring the disciples into the parenthesis, they have more ways than one; wheras the Heathen people, while the priests were willing, mix’d these dutys with devotions, divines will not suffer a Christian people upon like occasions to pray: for where it is said, They pray’d, it went before, they appointed two, and it follows, they gave out their lots; which antecedent and consequent, if the people pray’d, must be equally understood of them, and so they could be no parenthesis. Therfore pray they must not, or divines are lost. But how will they silence them? to shew you this art I must transcribe the heads of the chapter.
The apostles being return’d from Mount Olivet to Jerusalem, went up into an upper room, where abode bothPeterandJames,andJohn,andAndrew, Jamesthe son ofAlpheus,andSimon Zelotes,andJudasthe brother ofJames.
AND in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said (the number of names together were about one hundred and twenty)
MEN and brethren,
OF these men which accompany’d with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out amongst us,
MUST one be ordain’d to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
AND they appointed two, Joseph and Matthias.
AND they pray’d, and said, Thou Lord which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen.
AND they gave forth their lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, ϗ συνϰα[Editor: illegible character]εψηφίσθη με[Editor: illegible character]ὰ τῶν ἕνδεϰα ἀϖοϛόλων.
They whom Peter acquainted that one must be ordain’d, one would verily believe were the hundred and twenty disciples, in the midst of whom he stood up, and made the proposition; and so much the rather, because this was no more than the apostles knew before, and (in all right understanding of government and sense) were already agreed upon, it being the office of the aristocracy or senat in a commonwealth (and such exactly were the apostles in the church) upon all new orders or elections to be made; first, to debate and determin by themselves, and then to propose to the chirotonia or ultimat result of the people. But divines say absolutely no, which word to make good, they appointed two, and they pray’d, and they gave forth their lots, being sentences that stand plainly together, or hunt in couples, must leap sheer over nine verses, Peter’s whole oration (which by this means is no more than a parenthesis neither) and over the hundred and twenty disciples, without touching a hair of their heads, to light plum upon the thirteenth verse, and the eleven apostles!Grotius. never man us’d his grammar so since he threw it at a pear tree! yet that Chrysostom (who understood Greec) allows of no such construction, is confefs’d by the learnedst of this opinion; and wheras they fly to the Latin fathers, that retreat is wholly cut off by David Blundel in his very learned treatise of the right of the people in the church-government.
But what do we stand upon words? are these such wherof the things to which they relate may be interpreters? or to what things can they relate but the institution of the sanhedrim by Moses? that at the institution of the sanhedrim the competitors were elected by the suffrage of the people, and from thence that the ballot of Israel consisted not only of a lot but of a suffrage too, has bin already demonstrated out of Scripture; and that the election of Matthias was by the ballot of Israel is no less apparent in itself, than fully confess’d upon the place by Grotius.
“They that under color of religion in matter of government, slight prudence, are mistaken, or do not mean honestly.Demonstration that God rever ordain’d any policy ecclesiastical or civil, but upon the principles of human prudence. Neither God nor Christ ever instituted any policy whatsoever upon any other principles than those of human prudence. The embassadors sent from the Gibeonites to Joshua deliver their message in this manner: the elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, go meet them, and say to them, We are your servants; therfore now make ye a league with us. They that had power to send embassadors and to make a league with a foren nation, had soverain power; this soverain power was in the elders, or senat, and in the people of Gibeon: wherfore God constituting his commonwealth for the main orders (that is to say, the senat and the people) upon the same principles on which the Gibeonites had long before built theirs, laid his foundations upon no other than human prudence.Josh. 9. 11. So for the inferior courts they were transcrib’d by Moses out of the commonwealth of Midian, upon advice of Jethro his father in law. According to such patterns was Israel fram’d, and by that of Israel this first policy of the church of Christ so exactly, as (sans comparaison) any man shall shew the commonwealth of Oceana to have bin transcrib’d out of Rome or Venice. Let them that would have the government be somwhat between earth and heaven, consider this place.
Nor is the ecclesiastical policy only subject to human prudence, but to the same vicissitudes also wherto human prudence is subject, both in her own nature, and as she is obnoxious to the state wherin she is planted, and that inavoidably; as I com now to demonstrat by the alterations which happen’d even in the age of the apostles themselves: for this at the election of Matthias being alter’d, the next form of ecclesiastical policy introduc’d in their times, is resembl’d by Grotius to that of Athens, of which, for the better clearing of what follows, it is necessary that I first say somthing by way of introduction.
Arist. 2. lib. 2. c. 10.Thethesmothetæ, being in number six, were magistrats of the highest dignity, power, and rank in Athens. These, says Aristotle, were elected by the chirotonia or suffrage of the people; and says Pollux, being elected underwent the inquisition of the senat, where they were to answer to those interrogatorys, whether they worship’d the God of their countrys? Whether they had bin dutiful to their parents? born arms for the commonwealth?Pol. [Editor: illegible character] 8. c. 9.paid dutys or taxes? in which particulars the senat being satisfy’d, they were sworn and crown’d with myrtle: which coms to this, that the ϰαταϛήσομεν) or constitution being reserv’d to the senat, the thesmothetæ were elected by the chirotonia of the people. Now tho the government of Athens throought the citys of Asia (being most of them of the like model) was most known, I will not say that the apostles wrote their orders out of Athens, but seeing all political institutions must needs be according to human prudence, and there is nothing to be written out of this but what will fall even with som other government that is or has bin, I may say, as Grotius has said before me, that the frame of church government in the insuing example was after the manner of Athens.
Second way of ordination in the church of Christ.WHEN the number of the disciples, or believers, was multiply’d, there arose a murmuring among such of the Jews as having bin bred in Alexandria or other parts, were for their language (which was Greec) partly strangers, against the Hebrews or converted Jews, that spoke their own language, as if these indeed us’d them like strangers, their widows being neglected, or not dealt so liberally withal, as those of the Hebrews in the contributions due for their constant maintenance.
Hereupon the twelve apostles, after the manner of the senat, having without all question debated the business among themselves, as appears by the speech upon which they were agreed, assembl’d the people, which is still senatorian, or call’d the multitude of the disciples to them, and said, it is not reason that we should leave preaching, or the word of God, to be taken up with this, tho charitable, nay, seeing we have introduc’d community of goods, most just and necessary imployment of providing food and cloathing for every one of our fellowship or community (the Christians in these times, much after the manner of the Lacedemonian convives, us’d to eat in publick and together) to do this as it ought to be don, were to becom caterers, and be taken up in serving tables, wherfore, brethren, (take the wise men and understanding, and known among you) look out seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost, and of wisdom ([Editor: illegible character]ς ϰαταϛήσομεν ἐπι τῆς χρειας ταυτης) whom we may appoint over this business.
THIS saying, that is, this proposition of the senat or apostles, pleas’d the whole multitude, (like that of Moses,the thing which thou hast said is good for us to do) so they choseStephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas,andNicolas, whom being elected, they set before the apostles, who when they had pray’d, laid their hands upon them.
What fuller demonstration can be given of any thing, than that in this example ordination and election are one and the same, that this was confer’d by the chirotonia of the people? if there be any possible way of making this clearer, it must be by opposition: wherfore let us see what divines have to say to the contrary.
GROTIUS gives us all we ask from this place, which he gives for nothing, because it concerns not the election of pastors, but of deacons. As if Stephen and Philip had not only bin preachers of the Gospel, but don miracles. What Dr. Seaman denys or grants in relation to the same, I have indeavor’d to understand, but it will not do. Dr. Hammond is so plain, that his objections may be of use. He, to prove that the ordination of these deacons was not in the chirotonia of their disciples, but in the chirothesia of the apostles, has these arguments:
THERE be two things distinctly set down, election, permitted to the people, and the (ϰαταϛήσομεν) constituting reserv’d to the apostles.
To which I answer, that there were two things set down by the Athenian law, election of the thesmothetæ by the people, and the (ϰαταϛήσομεν) constituting of them by the senat; yet that the ordination was in the power, and that the power was in the people of Athens: he that makes a doubt, is not resolv’d whether the most popular commonwealth that ever was, were a democracy.
But, says he, this looking out of men, or chusing, was permitted to the multitude by the apostles with these three bounds: first, to take seven, neither more nor fewer: secondly, those men generally known and well reputed of: and thirdly, full of the spirit, and of discretion or parts fit for government. To which I answer, that the election of the thesmothetæ was permitted by the law to the people of Athens with these three bounds; first to take six, neither more nor fewer: secondly, those generally known and reputed of: thirdly, in such estimation for their honesty and ability for government, as in their consciences (to which also they made oath) they should judg fittest for the commonwealth. Yet is all this so far from any proof that Athens was no democracy, or that the soverain power, whether in enacting of laws, or election of magistrats by the lot or the suffrage (institutions equally popular) was not in the people, that it amounts to the strongest argument that the people were soverain, and the commonwealth was democratical. Could truth desire greater advantage than redounds from such opposition? we have another example of the same model, in which because it has bin paraphras’d upon already in the introduction, I shall be briefer here.Acts 13. In the church of Antioch, where the disciples were now becom so numerous, that they began to be call’d Christians, there were among them prophets: so being assembl’d on occasion, as I conceive, of giving an extraordinary commission after the manner of the people of Athens when they elected ambassadors, or (that I may avoid strife upon a point so indifferent) to chuse two new apostles, the Holy Ghost said, separat meBarnabasandSaulfor the work wherto I have appointed them: that is (for so it is render’d by all interpreters) the Holy Ghost spake those words by the mouths of the prophets. Now the prophets being well known for such, this suffrage of theirs was no sooner given, than (as one that can allow prophets to be leading men may easily think) follow’d by all the rest of the congregation: so the whole multitude having fasted and pray’d, the most eminent among them, or the senatorian order in that church, laid their hands upon Paul and Barnabas, who being thus sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed to Seleucia.
To evade this apparent election, or chirotonia of the whole congregation, wherby these apostles or ambassadors to the churches of the Gentils were ordain’d, divines have nothing to say, but that they were elected by the Holy Ghost: as if the chirotonia of the people were more exclusive to election by the Holy Ghost, than the chirothesia of the aristocracy, for which in the mean time they contend. But if neither of these were indeed exclusive of the Holy Ghost, how is it possible in this frame (where tho of natural necessity an aristocracy must have bin included, yet the aristocracy is not in the text so much as distinguish’d from the people, or once nam’d) that the power, and so the ordination should not have bin in the people? The council of the apostles, of the elders, and of the whole church at Jerusalem, and other councils, not of apostles, nor of the whole church, in other times or places, us’d this form in their acts; it seems good to the Holy Ghost, and to us:Acts 15. 22. but dos this, whether a true or a pretended stile, exclude that act from being an act of that whole council? or how coms it to pass that because Paul and Barnabas were separated by the Holy Ghost, they were not ordain’d by the chirotonia of the whole Christian people at Antioch?
Thechirothesia can be no otherwise understood in nature, nor ever was in the commonwealth of the Jews, than election by the few: and so even under the mere chirothesia, ordination and election were not two, but one and the same thing. If Moses ordain’d Joshua his successor by the chirothesia, he elected Joshua his successor by the chirothesia; and for what reason must it be otherwise with the chirotonia? that a Pharisee could do more with one hand, or a pair of hands, than a Christian church or congregation can do with all their hands, is a doctrin very much for the honor of the true religion, and a soverain maxim of ecclesiastical policy.
Third way of ordination in the church of Christ. Grot. adThe third constitution of church-government in Scripture (whether consisting of bishops or presbyters, between which at this time a man shall hardly find a difference) runs wholly upon the aristocracy, without mention of the people, and is therfore compar’d by Grotius to the sanhedrim of Israel, as that came to be in these days; from whence divines also generally and truly confess that it was taken up:1 Tim. 4. 14. to which I shall need to add no more, than that it is an order for which there is no precept, either in the Old Testament of God, or in the New Testament of Christ. This therfore thus taken up by the apostles from the Jews, is a clear demonstration that the government of the church, in what purity soever of the times, nay, tho under the inspection of the apostles themselves, has bin obnoxious to that of the state wherin it was planted. The sanhedrim, from the institution of the chirothesia, for a constant order, consisted of no other senators than such only as had bin ordain’d by the imposition of hands; which came now to be confer’d by the prince, in the presence, or with the assistance of the sanhedrim.Grot. ad Mat. 19. 13. The same order was observ’d by the Jewish synagogues, of which each had her archon; nor would the Jews converted to the Christian faith, relinquish the law of Moses, wherto this way of ordination, among other things, tho erroneously, was vulgarly attributed: whence in the church, where it consisted of converted Jews, ordination was confer’d by the archon, or first in order of the presbytery, with the assistance of the rest. Hence Paul, in one place, exhorts Timothy thus:1 Tim. 4. 14.Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. And in another thus:2 Tim. 1. 6.Wherfore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
I grant divines, that ordination by this time was wholly in the presbytery; what say they then to the distinction of ordination and election? are these still two distinct things, or may we hence, at least, compute them to be one and the same? if they say yes, why then might they not have bin so before? if they say no, who, in this place, but the presbytery, elected? why, says Dr. Hammond, it is plain that the spirit of prophecy elected.§. 106. But to give account of no more than is already perform’d, were the spirit of history rather than of prophecy, to which it appertains to tell things before they be don; as did the prophets now living in this church, that Timothy should com to be ordain’d: so the place is interpreted by Grotius: and how it should be otherwise understood I cannot see. But putting the case som act preceded, as Saul and David were elected kings by prophecy; yet did ever man say that for this Saul or David were any whit the less elected kings by the people? to the contrary in every well-order’d commonwealth (a jove principium) the disposing of the lot, and of the suffrage too, has universally bin attributed to God.
§. 134.The piety of divines in persuading the people that God elects for them, and therfore they need not trouble themselves to vote, is as if they should persuade them that God provides their daily bread, and therfore they need not trouble themselves to work. To conclude this point with Dr. Hammond’s own words upon the same occasion; this distinction of ordination and election is in divines the procreative mistake, or ignorance producing all the rest.§. 111.
The reason why Paul ordain’d now after this manner among the Jews, is to me an irrefragable argument that he ordain’d not after this manner among the Gentils: for wheras the first ordination in the Christian church, namely that of Matthias, was perform’d by the chirotonia, which by degrees came now in complacence with the Jews to the chirothesia; it seems he was contented not to alter the worst of political institutions or customs, where he found them confirm’d by long and universal practice: and if so, why should any man think that he would go about to alter, or weed out the best, where they had taken like root? that this administration of the Jews was of the very worst, is clear in the nature of the politics, there being no example of a pure aristocracy or of a senat, such as was now the sanhedrim, without a popular balance, that ever govern’d with justice, or was of any continuance. Nor was the chirothesia, by which means this work came to effect in Israel, introduc’d by the prudence of God, but by the corrupt arts of men. Now that the governments at the same time of the Gentils, all balanc’d by the chirotonia of the people, were in their nature more excellent, and indeed more accommodated to ancient prudence, as it was introduc’d by God himself in the commonwealth of Israel, has bin already sufficiently prov’d: nevertheless, to refresh your memory with one example more,
CRETE having bin (as is affirm’d by the consent of authors) the most ancient, and the most excellent commonwealth in human story, was founded by Rhadamanthus and Minos, an age before the Trojan war: these were held to have learnt their arts by familiar discourse with Jupiter, and from point to point to have fram’d their model according to his direction.Epitome of the commonwealth of Crete. Nor, tho’ all acknowlege Minos to have bin a king, did he found his government upon any other than a popular balance, or a fundamental regard to the liberty of the people: for the whole commonwealth was made up of these three parts, the college, the senat, and the people. The college consisted of the annual magistrats call’d the cosmi: these had the whole extentive power, som in leading forth the armies, and others in judging the people; which functions were accordingly assign’d by the orders to each in particular. That which was common to them all, was to propose such things as they had debated or prepar’d in their college or council, to the senat. The senat being elective for life, was the council, to which appertain’d the debate of whatever was to be propos’d to the congregation. The congregation, or assembly of the people of Crete, had not the right of debate; but in enacting of laws, and election of magistrats, had the ultimate result of the commonwealth. Such was the copy after which Lycurgus wrote himself so famous a legislator. And thus stood this frame to the six hundred and eighth year of Rome; when this people, having bin too favourable to pirates then infesting those seas, turn’d the arms of the Romans upon themselves; and by these, under the conduct of Quinctus Metellus, thence call’d Creticus,Crete was made a province: tho’ the chief cities being first freed, it should seem (by Cicero’s second oration against Antony) that the whole island was at length restor’d to her ancient liberty. However by the manner observ’d by the Romans, as was shewn, in provincial government, the cities under their magistrats (who while the commonwealth was a province perhaps might have exercis’d the office of the cosmi) were not yet depriv’d of their popular assemblies, at least in their distinct cities, electing all magistrats for their (ἀυ[Editor: illegible character]ονομία) peculiar or domestic government. Such was the state of Crete, when Paul, having appeal’d from the Jews to Cæsar, and being thereupon conducted by sea towards Rome, touch’d in his way upon this island, where he left Titus to constitute elders of every city. The word (ϰαταϛήϛης) constitute, our divines will have to signify ordain by imposition of hands, and imposition of hands to signify an act of power excluding the people. But why Paul, who among the Jews had comply’d with their customs, should injoin; or how Titus, had it bin so injoin’d, should accomplish this where the power was popular, they have not shewn nor consider’d. To introduce religion or government there be but two ways, either by persuasion, or by force. To persuade the people of Crete, in whom was the power, to this new way of ordination, Titus must have spoken to this effect: Men of Crete, Minosbeing a king, could not chuse but have a natural inclination to popular power; wherfore his pretence thatJupitertold him, power was to be in the people, may be suspected to have bin imagin’d merely for his own ends: or this is a certain sign thatJupiteris no true, but a feign’d God; seeing the true God will have itthat the people should have no power at all, but that such, upon whom his ambassadors shall confer power, be without all dispute obey’d. How! are you starting at this! are you solicitous for your commonwealth! it is true, that upon carnal principles or human prudence, without power in the people there can be no commonwealth: but Israel was a commonwealth without power in the people; whereMosesmade all the laws by the power invested in him by God, and created all the magistrats, not by popular suffrage, but by his chirothesia. Wherfore, men of Crete, know ye, that on whomsoever I lay my hands, the same is in all spiritual affairs, or matters of church-government, to be obey’d by you, after the same manner that you have hitherto obey’d such magistrats or priests as have bin ordain’d by your own election, or chirotonia. Of what other nature the arguments of Titus to the pretended purpose could have bin, I am not able to imagine; nor how this should have done less than provoke the people to a dangerous jealousy of such a doctrine. But divines, to set all streight, think it enough to repeat the words of Paul to Titus in Greec:Tit. 1. 5.For this cause left I thee in Crete (ἵνα ϰαταϛήσης πόλιν ϖρεσϐυτέϱȣς) that thou shouldst ordain elders in every city.De Corona. It is true that Demosthenes speaks somwhat like words concerning the expedition of Philip of Macedon in Peloponnesus (ἐϖειδὴ τυραννȣς ἐχεῖνος ἐν ταύταις ταις ϖόλεσι ϰατέϛησε) when he had ordain’d tyrants in every city: but then Philip had an army; what army did Paul leave with Titus? or if he ordain’d his elders neither of these two ways, I see no other than that only by the known and legal chirotonia or suffrage of the people. But if this be clear, the clergy com from Crete, not upon the wings of Titus, but of Icarus, whose ambitious wax is dissolv’d by the sun.
So much, I conceive, is now discover’d concerning church-government, as may shew that it was not of one, but of three kinds, each obnoxious to the nature of the civil government under which it was planted; in as much as the chirotonia, or ballot of Israel, being first introduc’d pure, and without any mixture, as at the ordination of Matthias, came afterwards to receive some mixture of the chirothesia, as in the ordination of Stephen; and last of all by excluding the people, to degenerat wholly into the chirothesia of the presbytery, as in the ordination of Timothy: all this by the testimony of Scripture, and in the purest times, even the age of the apostles. Whence my undertaking to shew that as Christ intended his doctrin should be preach’d to all nations, so he intended his disciplin should be such as might sute with any government (as indeed, if the choice of any of these three be lawful, it dos exactly) is, I hope, perform’d. For where the government is popular, it is the same with the first; where it is aristocratical or monarchical, it agrees with the last; and where it is mix’d, it is between both, and responsible to the second. Of these three in the farther exercise of their natural and intended compliance with human prudence, it may be convenient to give som fuller exemplification.
That any other ordination than that of the first kind for the original authority or practice of it, whether in the commonwealth of Israel or in the church of Christ, and indeed for the prerogative of the same in nature, should have bin introduc’d by the apostles, where it might, much less where the nature of the civil policy would admit of no other, is neither probable by Scripture nor reason; whence it is that in the citys of Lycaonia and Pisidia, the government of these being then popular, we do not find any mention at all of the chirothesia, the apostles in these places (χειροτονήσαντες πρεσβυτέρȣς ϰατ’ ἐϰϰλησίαν) chirotonizing elders in every congregation.
To evade this place, our adversarys turn tail to the things, and make their whole flight at the words. In taking one of them into the disputation, I shall take in all, for they run all upon the same quotations, or with little additions.
§ 3.THAT the word chirotonizing, says Dr. Hammond,in this place signifies no more than ordaining by the imposition of hands, is not so generally acknowleg’d by late writers, but that it may be useful to give som few testimonies out of those writers which were nearest the times of the Scripture. ThusPhilo JudæusofJoseph (ϐασιλέως ὕϖαϱχος εχειροτονε̃ιτο) he was ordain’d governor of all Egypt under the king. So again ofMoses (ἡγεμών εχειροτονε̃ιτο) he was constituted their ruler. So ofAaron’ssons (ἱερεῖς ἐχειροτόνει God constituted them priests.Alexanderson ofAntiochus Epiphaneswrites toJonathan (χειροτον[Editor: illegible character]μέν σε αρχιερέα) we (in the regal stile) constitute thee high priest.Joseph A[Editor: illegible character] l. 13. c. 5.Luciansays ofHephestion (Θεὸν χειϱοτονῆσαι τὸν τετελευτηϰότα) thatAlexandermade him a God when he was dead.Appian (which is added out of Grotius, whence most of the rest is taken) to signify election of magistrats made by the Roman emperors, uses no other word; and later writers speak of som that were chirotoniz’d emperors by their fathers. For the use of the word among Christian writers, take one place in the author of the constitutions for many;Clementafter the death ofLinus (ϰεχειροτόνηται) was ordain’d bishop of Rome byPeter.L. 7. c. 45.But what need any more?Christ’sdisciples are said (ϖϱοϰεχειροτονημένοι ὑϖὸ τ[Editor: illegible character] Θε[Editor: illegible character]) design’d or foreconstituted by God the witnesses of his resurrection:Acts 10. 41. by all which that of Paul and Barnabas (χειροτονήσαντες πρεσϐυτέρȣς ϰατ’ εϰϰλησίαν) is but constituting or creating elders in every church. Wherfore they that have look’d so far back to the original, as to think it necessary to render the word create by suffrages, are sure guilty of a very impertinent nicety. I promise you had this bin against one of our doctors, it might have bin a rude charge; but it is only against Erasmus, Beza, Diodati, and such as took upon them to translate the Switz, French, Italian, Belgic, and (till the episcopal correction) the English bibles. And what apparent cause is there of such confidence? what necessity is there even in the places alleg’d why the word chirotonia should be understood in the sense impos’d? the people of Egypt, till having sold their lands they came to lose their popular balance, were not servants to Pharaoh; wherfore when Joseph was made governor over all Egypt they were free: now that a king should make a governor of a free people without their consent, or som advice as we say of his parlament, is altogether improbable, the rather because a protector, in the absence or minority of the king, has bin no otherwise made in England, nor pretends the present protector to any other title than the like chirotonia. But that Moses is said by the same author (who affirm’d that he introduc’d the chirotonia in Israel) to have bin chirotoniz’d ruler of the people, can in my judgment be no otherwise than originally and literally taken, seeing God himself was no otherwise made king in Israel than by the suffrage of the people. That the like must be understood of the sons of Aaron has been already shewn. The doctor is the first has told me, that the plural number for the royal stile is so ancient as Epiphanes:De Cor. sure I am it was not deriv’d from his Macedonian predecessors, for in the letters to the Athenians and the Thebans recited by Demosthenes, Philip of Macedon writes in the singular number. But the letters of Epiphanes to Jonathan must it seems import that he at single hand (tho’ the words carry double) had chirotoniz’d a high priest of the Jews: who can help it? some princes have not only given out that their priests have been chirotoniz’d when they were not, but that themselves have bin chirotoniz’d when there was no such matter. When a prince says that he was chirotoniz’d or elected by the people, to talk of rhetoric is to have none. Divines in this case commonly understand it to be proper, or literally meant; for to impose a new sense is to spoil the word; and spoil the word, spoil the prince. Lucian is a drol, and intends a jest, but not so good a one, as that he of all others should come nearest to help up with a hierarchy. For the chirotonia, or election of the Roman magistrats by the suffrage of the people or of the army, every man knows that it is literal: Suidas himself interpreting the word by this very example; where he affirms it to signify election or ratification by the many. The quotation out of the constitutions, with those of Bishop Bilson, and others out of the Greek fathers, and out of councils, do not only imply the word chirotonia, but the thing, while they all relate to that kind of ordination, which being in those churches yet administer’d as at the ordination of Stephen, was not conferr’d without the consent of the people. But it is above all, that labouring to prove the chirotonia and the chirothesia to be the same thing, they should rely most upon the place where the apostles are said (ϖϱοϰεχειϱο[Editor: illegible character]ονημένοι ὑϖὸ τ[Editor: illegible character] Θε[Editor: illegible character]) to have bin forechirotoniz’d by God; as if it were clear in this, that God ordain’d the apostles by the laying on of hands, for so it must be understood, or it makes no more for them than for us. Or if they mean it only to shew that the word chirotonia or suffrage is us’d for some ordination that cannot be taken in our sense; so the word chirothesia (ἐπὶ θεσις χειϱῶν) or laying on of hands, where Ananias being neither bishop nor presbyter, but only a disciple, that is, a Christian, lays his hands upon Paul, is us’d for some ordination that cannot be taken in their sense; or a man not ordain’d may ordain as well as they: for to say that the call was extraordinary, where the like is, or is pretended, will avail little. But there is no need that we should go so near the wind; wherfore to give them all these places in their own sense, even till we come to the cities in question What word in any language is not somtimes, nay frequently, us’d in some other than the proper sense? With what elegance, if this be forbidden, can any man write or speak? Is a word like a woman, that being taken with a metaphor, it can never be restor’d to the original virtue? If chirotonia has, as divines pretend, lost all other but their signification, how shall we understand it in Isaiah, or where Paul speaks it of the brother (χειρο[Editor: illegible character]ονηθέν[Editor: illegible character]α ὑϖὸ τῶν εϰϰλησ[Editor: illegible character]ῶν) chirotoniz’d, or chosen by the churches?2 Cor. 8. 19. Certainly in this one place at least it is of our sense, and in the word ϖϱοϰεχειρο[Editor: illegible character]ονημένοι it is but once yet in all the New Testament of any other; so that if we gain the place in controversy, we have it twice of our sense in Scripture for once not in theirs, but in any other: and in human authors, they will not so much as pretend to have it once for them for a hundred times for us; which is pretty well for the vindication of the property of one word, and somwhat more perhaps than can be don for another. But in the sense of words that are somtimes properly and somtimes improperly taken, may we admit of the things wherof they are spoken for interpreters? Or if lillys and roses have bin almost as often said of ladys cheeks, must we understand them no otherwise when we are speaking of gardens?
Yes, says Dr. Hammond, and therfore to say of the apostles Paul and Barnabas, that they created elders by their own suffrages, is no more than to say that they, jointly did create, and indeed being but two, there could be no place for suffrages; and to assirm they did it by the suffrages of others, is not agreeable to the pretended use of the word; for where it is us’d of chusing by suffrages, as when the people are said to chirotonize, it is certain that their own, and not others suffrages, are meant by it.
His own words to Mr. Hobbs.IT were hardly possible to have contriv’d a greater number of affirmations in so small a compass, nor to have gone farther in them from all truth. Phrases, as words, are to be understood according to the rule and law of speech, which is use:§ 118. and thus that the apostles created elders by their own suffrages, is not said; that they did it by the suffrage of others, is necessarily imply’d; as also that the people are understood to chirotonize as well when it is said of the presidents of their assemblys, as of themselves.
Diruit, ædificat, mutat quadrata rotundis.
When a man is said to build a house, or marry a daughter, he is not understood to be the mason, or the bridegroom: but the apostles built churches in these citys; therfore the people were not the masons. The apostles marry’d Christ to these nations; therfore the people gave not their consent or suffrage; what a construction were this in ordinary discourse or writing, and yet in the language, as I may say, of a commonwealth the phrase is more usual.De Coron. How often dos Demosthenes speak of his laws (see my psephisma, peruse my law) and those of other privat men? after which copy the parte, or laws in the commonwealth of Venice, are call’d by the names of the proposers as were those of Rome, Rupilia, Cornelia, Trebonia; in which manner we have Poyning’s law, and som statutes bearing no other stile than enacted by the king’s most excellent majesty, which nevertheless are known to have bin all enacted by the parlament. Thus the laws of Moses, Rhadamanthus, Minos, Lycurgus, Solon, Romulus, king Edward, were (leges et consuetudines quas vulgus elegerit) such as the people had confirm’d or chosen by their chirotonia. But they may say, granting you this use of speech in relation to laws, what have you of this kind for elections? The exception is nice, but to leave none:
The high sherifs in England proposing to their countys the names of such as stand, are said to elect parlament-men. They that thus propose competitors to the great council in Venice are call’d electors, and said to elect the magistrats. The proedri, certain magistrats to whom it belong’d to put the question in the representative of the people of Athens, consisting of one thousand, were said (διαχειρο[Editor: illegible character]ονίαν ϖοιεῖν) to give or make the suffrage.Demost. cont. The thesmothetæ, who were presidents at the creation of magistrats, were said (ϛρα[Editor: illegible character]εγ[Editor: illegible character]ς χειρο[Editor: illegible character]ονεῖν) to chirotonize the generals.Timocrat.Josephus renders those words of God to Samuel,Hearken to the voice of the people (ϰελεύω δή σε χειρο[Editor: illegible character]ονεῖν αυ[Editor: illegible character]οῖς βασιλέα) I command thee to chirotonize them a king;Pol. l. 8. c. 8. which author vindicating Luke for his understanding both of the Grecian customs, and property of speech, at each of which he was expert,Ant. l. 6. c. 4. com up to the full and genuin interpretation of the place in controversy, where Paul and Barnabas (χειρο[Editor: illegible character]ονήσαν[Editor: illegible character]ες αυ[Editor: illegible character]οῖς ϖρεσϐυ[Editor: illegible character]έρȣς ϰατ’ εϰϰλησίαν) chirotonizing them elders in every congregation, can be no otherwise understood than that they here, as Moses at the institution of the sanhedrim, Samuel at the election of the king, the proedri at the passing of laws, the thesmothetæ at the creation of magistrats, the electors in the great council of Venice, and the high sherifs in the countys of England, were no more than presidents of that chirotonia, which was given or made by the suffrage of the people.
Wherfore the Greec is thus render’d by these several translations of the Bible.
That of Zurich,
WHEN they had created them elders by suffrages in every congregation.
That of Beza,
WHEN they had created them elders by suffrages in every congregation.
WHEN by the advice of the assemblys they had establish’d elders.
WHEN by the advice of the congregation they had constituted them elders.
That of Diodati,
WHEN they had ordain’d them in every church by the common votes of the elders.
That appointed by the synod of Dort,
WHEN in each church, by the holding up of hands, they had elected presbyters.
That us’d in England from the time of the Reformation till the Episcopal correction of the same,
WHEN they had ordain’d them elders by election in every congregation.
Indeed the circumstance of the place forbids any other construction of the words, for if the suffrage or chirotonia (which were scarce sense) related to the apostles only, what needed they have don that in every congregation or church, which they might have don in any chamber or closet? The circumstance of the action forbids any other construction; for the people were assembl’d upon occasion of election or creation of officers, which thing dos not use to be don in assemblys gather’d for divine service: besides, these congregations were not always of one mind, but sometimes for sacrificing to the apostles, somtimes for stoning them, which are acts of power; wherfore they were political assemblys. Now these consisting also of a people, that had in their citys (quandam ἀυ[Editor: illegible character]ονομίαν) the government of themselves, hence arises the strongest circumstance of all, forbidding any interpretation of the text that might exclude them from election of their own magistrats, priests, or ecclesiastical elders, such as had bin the Asiarchs, tho heathen prelats, yet remember’d by the Scripture as affectionat friends to Paul; or such as were those, tho to a better end, now ordain’d by the apostles.Acts 19. 3[Editor: illegible character] Wherfore Grotius, notwithstanding all the arts he uses in other places to avoid this sense, giving this note upon the text, yields, Tho chirotonizing may be said of any election made by one, or by the few; yet to the election in this place it is probable that the consent of the people was given, no less being imply’d in the beginning of the chapter, where the multitude believ’d, where they were stir’d up, where they were evil affected, and where part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles: which shews that the people were active in the business. But says Dr. Seaman,There is difference between the consent of the people, and the power of the people: which is not to understand the case in controversy, nor to take notice that the people wherof we are speaking were under popular government; for wherever the people are under popular government, between that which is don by their consent, and that which is don (jussu populi) by their power, there is no difference. How should the people give their consent, but by their suffrage? or what difference, where they have power, can there be between the suffrage, and the power of the people?
Dr. HAMMOND upon this point is far more quaint: where the Scripture says, that the multitude were evil affected, and where part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles, he thinks it e’en like enough: but where it is said that a great multitude of the Jews, and also of the Greecs believ’d, he seems to have no opinion of it:§ 134.for, says he, It is evident that believers were at first but few in every town or city; they were not whole corporations at once converted, nor consequently could they act in a common capacity: but as Clemens Romanus says, they that were by the apostles constituted bishops and deacons in several citys and regions, were constituted over those that should after believe, there were oft so few at the present. And then, as fast as any did com into the faith, they readily submitted themselves to those by and under whom they did com in, and were not at all troubled (honest men) with the consultation or deliberation about the way of electing their teachers and guides.
Com away, to leave the Scripture a while, and follow Clemens; be it so for discourse sake, that in those days there was no where any such thing as a great multitude believing, much less whole states or commonwealths at once converted, wherby they might still act in a common capacity, but only som privat or gather’d congregations or churches; and that in such it was the apostles Paul and Barnabas chirotoniz’d: yet these, as they were found, or as afterwards they came to be made, must of necessity have bin corporations; for what can a number of men coming into a society regulated by certain laws, constitutions, or form, be but a corporation? Som ecclesiastical policy or disciplin they must have had; and that probably, seeing the greatest legislators, even Moses himself, have written after copys, according to som pattern: what was this pattern, and whence came it?
§ 125.Why, says he, not from their heathen customs, but from the metropolis; for it must be remember’d, that whersoever the gospel was preach’d, it came originally from Jerusalem; and then, as Agrippa in Philo says of that city, it was the metropolis, not only of Judea, but many other regions, because of the colonys thence sent into Egypt, Phenice, and both the Syrias; nay, to Pamphylia, Cilicia, and a great part of Asia, as far as Bithynia, and Pontus.§ 135. So in reason the churches in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, where Paul and Barnabas ordain’d elders, were to follow the pattern at Jerusalem; and there, we know, it was not by the suffrage of the people, that an elder was assum’d into the sanhedrim, but the prince or head of the sanhedrim receiv’d him in by imposition of hands. It will be much more reasonable to reduce the circumstances of ordaining elders from the customs familiar to them that preach’d the faith to them, than from the former usages of them to whom it was preach’d, who were not to dispute, but to believe, and receive the institutions as well as doctrins which were brought them.
These, methinks, are strange arguments: the gospel came to us from Rome, is Rome therfore the metropolis of England? It is true Agrippa being a Jew, and writing to Caligula in the behalf of the Jews, not of the Christians, tells him, That Jerusalem is the metropolis of the Jews, and of all their colonys; so is London of the English, and of all their colonys:Philo de legatione ad C[Editor: illegible character]ium but dos it follow from hence that either Jerusalem or London is the metropolis of Christendom? But the Jews had many colonys in Asia; and therfore the churches of Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, were to follow the pattern at Jerusalem. The Jews indeed had synagogs in Iconium and Lystra, as the French have churches in England; but is this a good argument, The French have churches in England, therfore the English are to follow the orders of the French church? The Jews withstood the gospel at Iconium; for, says the text, the multitude of the city was divided, and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles:Acts 14. 4. therfore the believing Iconians must have acknowledg’d Jerusalem to be their metropolis, and were to follow the pattern of that city: And what was that? Why there we know it was not by the suffrages of the people that an elder was assum’d into the sanhedrim, but the prince or head of the sanhedrim receiv’d him in by imposition of hands. The government of the Iconians was popular, that of the Jews was aristocratical; therfore the Iconians receiving the Christian faith, were bound to change their democracy into aristocracy. The apostles, to comply with an oligarchy, had alter’d that ordination, which originally (as at the election of Matthias) was popular, to aristocracy; therfore being now to plant the gospel in a free state, they might not alter it from aristocracy to democracy. To please the Jews they might change for the worse; therfore to please the Iconians they might not change for the better, but must tell the people plainly, That they were not to dispute, but to believe, and receive the institutions as well as doctrins that were brought them from the metropolis. How would this sound to a people that understood themselves?
Sic volo, sic jubeo, stat pro ratione voluntas.
The right temper of a metropolitan, to whom popular power is a heathen custom, and with whom nothing will agree but princeing of it in the senat: but with the apostles it was otherwise, who making no words of the chirothesia where it was needless, were glad of this occasion to chirotonize, or elect them elders in every congregation by popular suffrage. But this, they will say, is not to come off from the haunt, but to run still upon the people in a common or public capacity. Tho the Scripture speaks of great multitudes believing, believe it there is no such thing: Clemens says they were very few, their assemblys privat, and very scanty things. As privat as they were by the judgment of divines, they were, it seems, to receive from their pattern (if that were the sanhedrim) a form that was public enough; and why might not they have receiv’d this from that public form wherto they were accustom’d, rather than from a foren policy, and one contrary to their customs? Why should they suffer such power in new and privat, as they would not indure in their old and public magistrats? Or, if they receiv’d the Scriptures, why should they chuse that ordination which would fit them worst, rather than that which would fit them best, that of Timothy rather than that of Matthias? Or, let their assemblys have bin never so privat or scanty, yet if the apostles chirotoniz’d them elders in every congregation, is it not demonstrable that they did receive that of Matthias, and not that of Timothy?
Thus much for the propagation of the pure, or first kind of ecclesiastical policy to the citys of Lycaonia. The mix’d or second kind into which (the Christian presbytery delighting to follow the steps of the Jewish) the former might soon degenerat, continu’d in the primitive church, to speak with the least (for Walleus brings it down to Charles the Great) three hundred years after Christ:§ 138. which assertion in Mr. Hobbs, prov’d out of Ammianus Marcellinus, Dr. Hammond has either willingly overseen, or includes in this answer, it is most visibly void of allappearance of truth. Wherfore to the quotation mention’d I shall add the words of Platina: Damasusthe second, by nation a Bavarian, sirnam’dBagniarius,or as som willPopo,possess’d himself of the papacy by force, and without consent of the clergy and of the people. Now what can be clearer than that by this place the clergy and the people had hitherto a right to elect the pope? The doctor coms near the word of defiance to Mr. Hobbs, in a matter of fact so apparent to any judgment, that I need not add what gos before in the life of Clement the second; where the emperor engages the people of Rome not to meddle with the election of the pope without his express command: nor what follows after in Leo the ninth, where the whole power of election was now confer’d by the emperor upon the clergy. Again, Victorthe second, says the same author, obtain’d the papacy rather by favor of the emperor, than by free suffrages of the clergy and the people of Rome, who apprehended the power of the emperor, whose displeasure they had somtime incurr’d by creating popes. So then the people, it is clear, had hitherto created the popes. The power of election thus in the whole clergy came afterwards, as at this day, to be restrain’d to the cardinals only; and so to devolve into the third kind of ordination exactly correspondent to the sanhedrim, and their chirothesia, as it was exercis’d among the converted Jews, when Timothy was ordain’d by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
Now this is that with which, of all others, divines are so inamor’d, that they will not indure it should be said there is any other: it is also propitious above all the rest to monarchy, as that which, according to the inherent nature or impotence of oligarchy, must have a prince at home or abroad to rest upon, or becom the inevitable prey of the people. Herein lys the arcanum or secret of that antipathy which is between a clergy and a popular government, and of that sympathy which is between the miter and the crown. A prince receiving a clergy with the monopoly of their chirothesia, has no more to do than to make a metropolitan, by whom he governs them, and by them the people, especially if he indows them with good revenues; for so they becom an estate of his realm, and a more steddy pillar of his throne than his nobility themselves, who, as their dependence is not so strong, are of a more stirring nature. This is the Gothic model, from which we had our pattern, and in which No bishop, no king.
Thus for the dignity of ecclesiastical policy, whether in Scripture or human prudence, popular government, you see, is naturally inclin’d to the very best, and the spiritual aristocracy to the very worst. It is also remarkable that the political balance extends itself to the decision of the question about ordination: for as a people never offer’d to dispute with a well-balanc’d clergy, so a clergy dismounted never gain’d any thing by disputing with the people. As to the question of empire or government (I propheti disarmati Rovivano) the apostles became all things to all.
His own words to Mr. Hobbs. § 122.THUS beyond all measure improsperous are this divine’s undertakings against Mr. Hobbs, and the undertakings of divines upon this subject.