Of what qualitie they must be, whom he ordaineth Bishops, 8. and Deacons. 14 and the cause of
his writing to be, the excellencie of the Catholike Church, and of Christ, who is the obiect of
1. A Faithful saying. If a man desire a Bishops office, he desireth A good worke.
The great charge, and great merit, of Ecclesiastical functions.
Nothing (saith S. Augustin) in this life, and specially in this time, is easier, pleasanter, or more acceptable to men, then the office of a Bishop, Priest, or Deacon, if the thing be done only for fashion sake and flatteringly: but nothing before God more miserable, more lamentable, more damnable. Againe, There is nothing in this life, and specially at this time, harder, more laborious, or more dangerous, then the office of a Bishop, Priest, or Deacon: but before God nothing more blessed, if they warre in such sort as our Captaine commandeth. August: ep. 148. a good worke.
2. Tim. 1,6. It behoueth therfore A Bishop.
The Apostles vnder the name of Bishop instructeth Priestes also.
That which is here spoken of a Bishop (because the words Bishop & Priest in the new Testament be often taken indifferently for both or either of the twaine, as is noted in an other place) the same is meant of euery Priest also: though the qualities here required, ought to be more singular in the Bishop then in the Priest, according to the difference of their degrees, dignities, and callings. a Bishop to be irreprehensible, the husband Of one wife.
The Heretikes opinion concerning Priests marriage.
Certaine Bishops of Vigilantius Sect (whether vpon false construction of this text, or through the filthines of their fleshly lust) would take none to the Clergie, except they would be married first, not beleeuing (saith S. Hierom aduers. Vigilant. c. 1.) that any single man liueth chastly, shewing how holily they liue themselues, that suspect il of euery man, and wil not giue the Sacrament (of Order) to the Clergie, vnles they see their wiues haue great bellies and children walling at their mothers breasts. Our Protestants though they be of Vigilantius Sect, yet they are scarse come so farre, to command euery Priest to be married. Neuertheles they mislike them that wil not marrie, so much the worse, & they suspect il of euery single person in the Church, thinking the guift of chastitie to be very rare among them; & they doe not only make the state of marriage equal to chast single life, with the Heretike Iouinian, but they are bold to say sometimes, that the Bishop or Priest may doe his duety and charge better married, then single: expresly against *S. Paul, who affirmeth that the vnmarried thinke of the things that belong to God, and that the married be diuersely distracted and intangled with the world.
* 1. Cor. 7.
S. Paules place, of one wife, excludeth bigamos from holy Orders.
The Apostle then, by this place we now treat of, neither commandeth, nor counseleth, nor wisheth, nor would haue Bishops or Priests to marrie, or such only to be receiued as haue been married: but, that such an one as hath been married (so it were but once, and that to a virgin) may be made Bishop or Priest. Which is no more then an inhibition that none hauing been twise married or being bigamus, should be admitted to that holy Order. And this exposition only is agreable to the practise of the whole Church, the definition of ancient Councels, the doctrine of al the Fathers without exception, and the Apostles tradition. Which sense S. Chrysostom wholy followeth vpon the Epistle to Titus (though here he follow not wholy the same sense) Hom. 2. in Epist. ad Tit. S. Ambrose also vpon this place & most plainely and largely in his 82. Epistle post med. giuing the cause why bigamus can not be made Bishop or Priest, in fine affirmeth, not only the Apostle but the holy Councel of Nice to haue taken order that none should be receiued into the Clergie, that were twise married. S. Hierom Epist. 83. ad Oceanum c. 2. & epist. 2. c. 18. ep. 11. c. 2 expresly writeth that the Clergie is made of such as haue had but one wife, at least after Baptisme: for he thought that if one were often married when he was yet no Christian, he might notwithstanding be ordered Bishop or Priest. But S. Ambrose ep. 82. S. Augustin de bono Coniug. c. 18. S. Innocentius the first ep. 2. c. 5. 6. to. 1. Concil. S. Leo ep. 87. *S. Gregorie, and after them the whole Church, exclude those also which haue been twise married when so-euer.
* li. 2. ep. 25.
Who are counted bigami.
Whereof S. Augustin giueth goodly reason and example in the place alleaged. S. Leo ep. 87 addeth further, and proueth that the man is counted bigamus, and not the husband of one wife, in respect of holy Orders, not only if he hath had two wiues, but if his one wife were not a virgin. Which being obserued in the high Priests of the *old law, must needs be much rather kept now. See also the book de Ecclesiasticis dogmatibus c. 72, in S. Augustines workes.
* Leuit. 22.
The heretical Clergie nothing regardeth the Apostles prescription of one wife
And by these few you may see how shamefully the state of the new heretical Clergie of our time is fallen from the Apostolike and al the Fathers practise and doctrine herein. Who doe not only take men once or twise married before, but (which was neuer heard of before in any person or part of the Catholike Church) they marrie after they be Bishops or Priests, once, twise, and as often as their lusts require.
None euer married after holy Orders.
Whereas it was neuer lawful in God's Church to marrie after Holy Orders. Neither is there one authentical example therof in the world. For those of whom Nice Councel speaketh, were married before, & were but tolerated only to vse their wiues: the Fathers in the same Councel prouiding expresly at the same time, that none from thence-forth should marrie after they came to holy Orders, and that according to the ancient tradition of the Church, as *Socrates and Sozomenus declare in most plaine words. See Suidas in the word Paphnutius.
* Socrat. li. 1. c. 8.
Sozom. li. 1 c. 22.
They that were made Priests of married men, absteined from their wiues
And in what countrie soeuer they haue been permitted to haue carnal dealing euen with their wiues whom they had before, is was not according to the exact rule of the Apostles and Churches tradition, by which al that be in holy Orders, should wholy abstaine, not only from marrying, but euen from their wiues before married.
Whereof thus writeth S. Epiphanius hæres. 59 cont. Catharos. The holy preaching of God receiueth not, after Christ, them that marrie againe after their wiues departure, by reason of the great dignitie and honour of Priesthood. And this the holy Church of God obserueth with al sinceritie. Yea she doth not receiue the once married person that yet vseth his wife and begetteth children: but only such an one she taketh to be Deacon, Priest, Bishop, or Subdeacon, as abstaineth from his one wife, or is a widower, specially where the holy canons be sincerely kept.
Marriage of Priests is contrarie to the ancient canons.
But thou wilt say vnto me, that in certaine places Priests, Deacons, and Subdeacons doe yet beget children (belike this holy Father neuer heard of any Bishop that did so, and therfore he leaueth out that order, which he named with the other in the former part of the sentence) but that is not done according to order and rule, but according to man's mind, which by time slacketh, and for the great multitude (of Christian people) when there were not found sufficient for the ministerie, &c. the rest of his words be goodly for that purpose.
Eusebius also Euang. demonst. li. 1. c. 9 saith, that such as be consecrated to the holy ministerie, should abstaine wholy from their wiues which they had before.
S. Hierom Apolog. ad Pammac. c. 8. proueth, that such of the Apostles as were married, did so, and that the Clergie ought to doe the same by their example. Yea in his time he testifieth (Cont. Vigil. c. 1.) that they did liue single in manner through the world, euen in the East Church also. What, saith he, shal the Churches of the East doe, what they of Ægypt, of the See Apostolike: which take to the Clergie, either virgins, or the continent and vnmarried, or such as if they haue wiues, cease to be husbands? And againe he saith in Apolog. ad Pammach c. 3. (See also c. 8.) If married men like not wel of this, let them not be angrie with me, but with the holy Scriptures, with al Bishops, Priests, Deacons, & the whole companie of Priests & Leuites, that know they can not offer Sacrifices, if they vse the act of marriage.
S. August. de adult. Coniug. li. 2. c. 20. maketh it so plaine a matter that al Priests should liue chast, that he writeth, that euen such as were forced (as many were in the primitiue Church) to be of the Clergie, were bound to liue chast, yea and did it with great ioy and felicitie, neuer complaining of these necessities and intolerable burdens, or impossibilities of liuing chast, as our fleshly companie of new Ministers and Superintendents doe now, that thinke it no life without women.
See S. Leo ep. 92. c. 3.
Much like to S. Augustin before his conuersion, when he was yet a Manichee, who (as himself reporteth Confess. li. 6. c. 3.) admiring in S. Ambrose al other his incomparable excellencies, yet counted al his felicities lesse, because he lacked a woman, without which he thought (in time of his infidelitie) no man could liue.
But after his conuersion thus he said to God of S. Ambrose: What hope he had, and against the tentations of his excellencie what a fight he felt, or rather what a comfort and solace in tribulation, and his secret mouth which was within in his hart, what sauourie and sweet ioyes it tasted of thy bread, neither could I coniecture, neither had I tried.
See Tertullian li. 1. ad vxorem S. Cyprian de singul. Clericor. the first Councel of Nice can. 3. Conc. Tolet. 2. can. 3. Conc. Aurelian. 3. can. 2. of Carthage the second cap. 2. of Neocæsarea cap. 1. of Ancyra cap. 10. and you shal find that this was generally the Churches order euen from the Apostles time, though in some places by the licentiousnes of many, it was sometime not so religiously looked vnto.
Wherby you may easily refute the impudent clamours of Heretikes against Siticius, Gregorie 7, and others, whom they falsely make the Authours of the Clergies single life. of one wife, sober, wise, comely, chast, a man of hospitalitie, a Teacher,
3. not giuen to wine, no fighter, but modest, no quareler, not couetous,
4. wel ruling his owne house, He saith, hauing children, not getting children, S. Ambr. Ep. 82. hauing his children subiect with al chastitie.
5. But if a man know not to rule his owne house, how shal he haue care of the Church of God?
6. Not a Neophyte.
None rashly to be admitted to the Clergie.
That vvhich is spoken here properly and principally of the nevvly baptized (for so the vvord Neophyte doth signifie) the fathers extend also to al such as be but nevvly retired from prophane occupations, ciuil gouernement, vvarfare, or secular studies, of vvhom good trial must be taken before they ought to be preferred to the high dignitie of Bishop or Priest. though for some special prerogatiue and excellencie, it hath in certaine persons been othervvise, as in S. Ambrose and some other notable men. Tertullian (li. de præscript.) noteth Heretikes for their lightnes in admitting euery one vvithout discretion to the Cleargie.
Heretikes admit al sorts without exception.
Their Orders (saith he) are rash, light, inconstant: novv they place Neophytes, then secular men, then our Apostataes, that they may tie them by glorie and preferment, Whom vvith the truth they can not. No vvhere may a man sooner prosper and come forvvard, then in the campe of rebelles, vvhere to be onely, is to deserue much. therfore one to day a Bishop, to morovv somevvhat els: to day a Deacon, to morovv Lector, that is, a Reader to day a Priest, to morovv a lay man. for to laie men also they enioyne the functions of Priestes. And S. Hierom ep. 83 ad Oceanum c. 4. saith of such, Yesterday a Catechumene or nevvly conuerted, to day a Bishop: yesterday in the theatre, to day in the Church: at night in the place of games and maisteries, in the morning at the altar: a vvhile ago a great patrone of stageplaiers, novv a consecrator of holy virgins. And in an other place, Out of the bosome of Plato and Aristophanes they are chosen to a Bishoprike, vvhose care is, not hovv to sucke out the marovv of the Scriptures, but hovv to soothe the peoples eares vvith florishing declamations. Dialog. cont. Lucifer. c. 5. Not νεόφυτον
Neophytus is he that was lately christned or newly planted in the mystical body of Christ. a neophyte: lest puffed into pride, he fal into the iudgement of the Diuel.
7. And he must haue also good testimonie of them that are without: that he fal not into reproch and the snare of the Diuel.
The three holy Orders, only bound to chastitie.
Vnder the name of Deacons are here conteined Subdeacons, as before vnder the name of Bishop, Priests also vvere comprehended. for to these foure pertaineth the Apostles precept and order touching one vvife, and touching contin&ebar;cie and chastitie, as by the alleaged Councels and fathers (namely by the vvordes of S. Epiphanius) doth appeare. for they onely be in holy Orders, as seruing by their proper function about the Altar and the B. Sacrament: in respect vvhereof, the law of chastitie pertaineth to them, and not to the foure inferior Orders of Acolyti, Exorcistæ, Lectores. and Ostiarĳ.
Leo. ep. 92. c. 3.
Greg. 6 li. 1, ep. 42.
The 4. inferour orders not bound to chastitie.
Vvho neither by precept nor vovv be bound to perpetual chastitie, as the others of the holy and high Orders be bound, both by precept and promis or solemne assent made vvhen they tooke Subdeaconship.
Al the seuen Orders ancient, euen from Christ and the Apostles time.
Al these degrees and orders to haue been euer since Christes time in the Church of God, it might be proued by al antiquitie but for as much as the Apostles purpose is not here to recken vp al the Ecclesiastical Hierarchie, it neede not be treated of in this place. But we vvish the learned to reade the 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9 chapters of the 4 Councel of Carthage, vvhereat S. Augustine vvas present: vvhere they shal see the expresse callings, offices, and maner of ordering or creating al the said sortes, and shal vvel perceiue these things to be most auncient and venerable. Let them read also Eusebius historie, the 35 Chapter of the 6 booke, vvhere for al these orders he reciteth Cornelius epistle to Fabius, concerning Nouatus. Likewise S. Cyprian in many places, namely ep. 55. nu. 1. Where see the notes vpon the same. S. Hiero. ep. 2. c. 6. Of Subdeacon there is mention in S. Augustine. ep. 74. and ep. 20 de epistolis 22 in edit. Paris. S. Epiph. hær. 59. S. Cyprian ep. 24. S. Ignatius ep. 9 ad Antiochénos. and in the 43 canon of the Apostles. Conc. Tolet. 2. can. 1 & 3. Conc. Laodicen. can. 21. Epist. Epiph. apud Hiero. 60. c. 1. Deacons in like manner σεμνοὺς chast, not double-tonged, not giuen to much wine, not followers of filthie lucre:
9. hauing the mysterie of faith in a pure conscience.
10. And let these also be proued first: & so let them minister, hauing no crime.
11. The women in like manner chast, not detracting, sober, faithful in al things.
12. Let Deacons be the husbands of one wife: which rule wel their children, and their houses.
13. For they that haue ministred wel, shal purchase to themselues a good degree, and much confidence in the faith which is in Christ Iesvs.
14. These things I write to thee, hoping that I shal come to thee quickly.
15. But if I tary long, that thou maiest know how thou oughtest to conuerse In the house of God.
S. Ambrose calleth the B. of Rome Rectour of the whole Church.
Al the vvorld being Gods, yet the Church onely is his house, the Rector or Ruler vvhereof at this day. (saith S. Ambrose vpon this place) is damasus. Where let our louing brethren note vvel, how cleere a case it vvas then, that the Pope of Rome vvas not the Gouernour onely of one particular See, but of Christes vvhole house, vvhich is the Vniuersal Church, vvhose Rector this day is Gregorie the thirtenth. in the house of God, which is the CHVRCH of the liuing God, The piller of truth.
The heretikes say directly contrarie to the Apostle, that the Church is not the piller of truth.
This place pincheth al Heretikes vvonderfully, and so it euer did, and therfore they oppose them selues directly against the very letter and confessed sense of the same, that is, cleane contrarie to the Apostle. some saying, the Church to be lost or hidden: some, to be fallen avvay from Christ these many ages: some, to be driuen to a corner onely of the vvorld: some, that it is become a stewes and the seate of Antichrist: lastly the Protestants most plainely and directly, that it may and doth erre, and hath shamefully erred for many hundred yeres together. And they say herein like them selues, and for the credit of their ovvne doctrine, vvhich can not be true in very deede, except the Church erre, euen the Church of Christ, vvhich is here called the house of the liuing God.
That the Church is the piller of truth & can not erre, is proued by many reasons.
But the Church vvhich is the house of God, whose Rector (saith S. Ambrose) in his time was Damasus, and novv Gregorie the thirtenth, and in the Apostles time S. Peter, is the piller of truth, the establishement of al veritie: therfore it can not erre. It hath the Spirit of God to lead it into al truth till the vvorldes end: therfore it can not erre. It is builded vpon a rocke, hel gates shal not preuaile against it: therfore it can not erre. Christ is in it til the end of the vvorld, he hath placed in it Apostles, Doctors, Pastors, and Rulers, to the consummation and ful perfection of the whole body, that in the meane time we be not caried about vvith euery blast of doctrine: therfore it can not erre. He hath praied for it, that it be sanctified in veritie, that the faith of the cheefe Gouernour therof faile not: it is his house, his spouse, his body, his lotte, kingdom and inheritance, giuen him in this vvorld: he loueth it as his ovvne flesh, and it can not be diuorced or separated from him: therfore it can not erre. the nevv Testament, Scriptures, Sacraments, and sacrifice can not be changed, being the euerlasting dourie of the Church, continued and neuer rightly occupied in any other Church but in this our Catholike Church: therfore it can not erre. And therfore al those pointes of doctrine, faith, and vvorship, vvhich the Arians, Manichees, Protestants, Anabaptistes, other old or new Heretikes, vntruely thinke to be errors in the Church, be no errors in deede, but them selues most shamfully are deceiued, and so shal be still, til they enter againe into this house of God, vvhich is the piller and ground of al truth: that is to say, not onely it self free from al error in faith and religion, but the piller and stay to leane vnto in al doubtes of doctrine, and to stand vpon against al heresies and errors that il times yeld, without vvhich there can be no certaintie nor securitie.
The meaning of this article, I beleeue the Cath. Church.
And therfore the holy Apostles, and Councels of Nice and Constantinople, made it an article of our Creede, to beleeue the Catholike and Apostolike chvrch. Vvhich is, not onely to acknowledge that there is such a Church, as heretikes falsely say: but that that which is called the Catholike Church, & knovven so to be, and communicateth vvith the See Apostolike, is the Church: and that vve must beleeue, heare, and obey the same, as the touch stone, piller, and firmament of truth. For, al this is comprised in that principle, I beleeue the Catholike Church. And therfore the Councel of Nice said, I beleeue in the Church, that is, I beleeue and trust the same in al things.
Io. 14, 16. Mat. 16. Mat. 28. Eph. 4. Io. 17. Luc. 22. Psal. 2. Eph. 5.
Neither can the Heretikes escape by fleing from the knovven visible Church, to the hid congregation or companie of the Predestinate. For that is but a false phantastical apprehension of Vviclesse and his folowers. The companie of the Predestinate maketh not any one Societie among them selues, many of them being yet vnborne, and many yet Infidels and heretikes, and therfore be not of the one house of God vvhich is here called, the piller of truth.
It is the visible Church that is the piller of truth and can not erre.
And those of the Predestinate that be already of the Church, make not a seueral companie from the knovven Catholike Church, but are baptized, houseled, taught, they liue and die in the common Catholike visible Church, or els they can neither receiue Sacraments, nor saluation. S. Paul instructeth not Timothee hovv to teach, preach, correct, and conuerse in the inuisible societie of the Predestinate, but in the visible house of God. So that it must needes be the visible Church which can not erre.
Whence the Church hath this priuiledge neuer to erre.
If any make further question, how it can be that any companie or societie of men (as the Church is) can be void of error in faith, seing al men may erre: he must knovv that it is not by nature, but by priuilege of Christes presence, of the Holy Ghosts assistance, of our Lordes promis and praier.
See S. Augustine vpon these vvordes of the 118 Psalme Conc. 13. Ne auferas de ore meo verbum veritatis vsquequaque. Vvhere he hath goodly speaches of this matter.
For the same purpose also these vvordes of Lactantius are very notable. It is the Catholike Church onely, that keepeth the true vvorship of God, this is the fountaine of truth, this the house of faith, this the Temple of God: vvhither if any man enter not, or from vvhich if any man go out, he is an aliene and stranger from the hope of euerlasting life and saluation. No man must by obstinate contention flatter him self, for it standeth vpon life and saluation. & c.
S. Cyprian saith, The Church neuer departeth from that vvhich she once hath knovven. Ep. 55 ad Cornel. nu. 3.
S. Ireneus saith, That the Apostles haue laid vp in the Church as in a rich treasurie, al truth. And, that she keepeth wish most sincere diligence, the Apostles faith and preaching. li. 3 c. 4. & 40. & li. 1. c. 3. It vvere an infinite thing to recite al that the fathers say of this matter, al counting it a most pernicious absurditie to affirme, that the Church of Christ may erre in religion. the piller and ground of truth.
16. And manifestly it is a great sacrament of pietie, which was manifested in flesh, was iustified in spirit, appeared to Angels, hath been preached to Gentils, is beleeued in the world, is assumpted in glorie.