but paid


church; whence by the direction and approbation of the division, bishop, who was the chief administrator of the revenues of his

into the diocese, a monthly or an annual division was made among the common clergy under his jurisdiction, as has been showed before 99, in giving an account of ecclesiastical revenues and their distribution. Where among other things it has been observed out of Theodorus Lector 1, that at Constantinople no parish church had any appropriated revenues till the time of Gennadius, in the middle of the fifth century, anno 460, when Marcian's oeconomus first ordered the clergy of every church to receive the offerings of their own church, whereas before the great church received them all. In the Western Church, particularly in Spain, in the middle of the sixth century, it appears from the first Council of Bracara?, that the bishop and city-clergy had still their revenues in a common fund, which was divided into four parts: one for the bishop, another for the clergy, a third for the fabric and lights of the church, and a fourth for the relief of the poor, to be dispensed by the hands of the archpresbyter or archdeacon, with the bishop's approbation. But the country-clergy, as to their revenues, were now or shortly after upon a different foot: for in the second Council of Bracara", which was held but nine years after the first, anno 572, we find a canon forbidding bishops to have any share in the oblations of the parochial churches, and assigning that third part to maintain the fabric and lights of the church; only allowing them to receive two solidi by way of honorary acknowledgment, (honor cathedra, the canon terms it,) in their parochial visitations. So that, at least from this time, we may

[ocr errors]

99 B. 5. ch. 6. s. I. v. 2. p. 182. parte sive archipresbyter sive archi

I L. 1. (v. 3. p. 566. 10.) IIpoeßá- diaconus, illam administrans, epiλετο δε Γεννάδιος Μαρκιανόν οίκονό- scopo faciat rationerm. μον, της των Καθαρών όντα θρησκεί- 3 [al. Bracar. 3.] c. 2. (ibid. p. as, els try ekranolav peteldóvta' ôs, 896 e.) Placuit ut nullus episcopoάμα τα γενέσθαι οικονόμος, τα προσ- rum per suas diæceses ambulans, φερόμενα εν εκάστη εκκλησία τους preter honorem cathedre sue, id Toù TÓTOU KImperoùs Komiteodai die- est, solidos duos, aliquid aliud per τύπωσεν, έως τούτου της μεγάλης έκ- ecclesias tollat. Νeque tertiam parκλησίας πάντα κομιζομένης.

tem ex quacunque oblatione populi 2 C. 25. [al. Bracar. 2. c. 7.] (t. 5. in ecclesiis parochialibus requirat, p. 840 e.) Item placuit ut de rebus sed illa tertia pars pro luminaribus ecclesiasticis tres æquæ fiant portio- ecclesiæ vel recuperatione servetur, nes, id est, una episcopi, alia clerico- et per singulos annos episcopo inde rum, tertia in reparatione vel in lu- ratio fiat. minariis ecclesiæ. De quarta [qua]

date the appropriation of revenues in Spain to the country parochial churches. In the same Council there is another canon which corrects an abuse that plainly implies such an appropriate settlement upon country-churches. For some patrons, it seems 4, would build churches on their own lands, not for piety, but for lucre's sake, that they might go halves with the clergy in whatever was collected of the oblations of the people. To remedy which inconvenience the Council orders, 'that no bishop should consecrate any church for the future, that was built upon such an abominable contract and tributary condition.' This is further evidence that the revenues of countrychurches were then appropriated to them, else such abuses as these could not have had any foundation.

But in Germany and France the revenues of the parochial churches seem to have continued in the hands of the bishop, at least he had his dividend of a fourth part for some ages longer. For there are rules in the Capitulars 5 of Baluzius's and Goldastus's editions, which order tithes and oblations to be divided into four parts, according to ancient canon, and one fourth to be given to the bishop. And some learned persons 6 who have narrowly examined our English constitution, seem to be of opinion, that the bishops had their portion of the ecclesiastical revenues with the parochial clergy, for some considerable time after the first designation and settlement of parishchurches. For they suppose that originally the bishop's cathedral was the only church in a diocese, from whence itinerant or occasional preachers were sent to convert the country people,


4 Ibid. c. 6. (p. 897 e.) Si quis ba- ut quatuor partes ex omnibus decisilicam, non pro devotione fidei, sed mis et oblationibus fiant. Quarta pro quæstu cupiditatis, ædificat, ut episcopo referenda.-Conf. Goldast. quicquid ibi de oblatione populi col- Constit

. Imper. t. 3: 4.23. (p. 158.) ligitur, medium cum clericis dividat, Ut decimæ populi dividantur in quaeo quod basilicam in terra sua ipse tuor partes, id est, una pars episcopo, [al. quæstus causa) condiderit, quod alia clericis, tertia pauperibus, quarta in aliquibus locis usque modo dici- ecclesiæ in fabricis applicetur, sicut tur fieri. Hoc ergo de cætero ob- in decreto Gelasii papæ continetur. servari debet, ut nullus episcopo- 6 See Dr. Kennet's Case of Imrum tam abominabili voto consen- propriations. (p. 9, &c.) And these tiat, nec basilicam, quæ non pro were indeed as many acknowledge sanctorum patrocinio, sed magis ments, &c.--Mr.Wharton's Defence sub tributaria conditione est con- of Pluralities, c. 2. (p. 71 and ondita, audeat consecrare.

ward.) When Augustin, the first 5 Lib. 7. c. 375. (Capitul. Reg. archbishop of Canterbury, came into Franc. t. 1. p. 1104 lin. ult.) Scilicet England, &c.

[ocr errors]

who for some time resorted to the cathedral for solemn divine worship. Afterwards by degrees some other churches were built among them; first private oratories or chapels, without any parish-bounds, for the conveniency of such, as being at too great distance from the cathedral, might more easily resort to them. Then parish-churches with certain limits were erected, some by the liberality of the people themselves in more populous and wealthy places, others by the bishops, and others by the Saxon kings; but chiefly the lords of manors, the thanes, as they then called them, were great instruments in this work of founding parish-churches. Whence it was that parish-bounds were conformed to the limits and extent of a manor, as I have shown 7 that the bounds of an ancient diocese were to the territory of a city; and hence the lord of a manor had his original right of patronage and presentation. Yet this did not destroy the bishop's right to a share in the revenue of his whole diocese. But time made an alteration in this matter : for our bishops seem voluntarily to have relinquished their title to parochial revenues, as the Spanish bishops had done before them; though whether they made any canon about it, as the other did, I am not able to inform the reader. But Dr. Kennet 8 has observed out of Dugdale', that notwithstanding the alteration that was made in this matter, the bishops of the Isle of Man continued to have their tertiana or third part of all church-revenues in that island: which I suppose was be

7 See ch.2. the latter part of s. 3. lecto nobis in Christo patri ac dop. 255.

mino, domino Huano, permissione 8 Case of Impropriations. (p. 28.) divina Sodoriensi episcopo moderno, And for the same reason, the bishops in puram et perpetuam eleemosyof Man had their tertiana or third nam, ad mensam suam episcopalem, part of all churches in that island. omnes ecclesias, terras, decimas, ac

9 Monastic. Angl. (t. 1. p.718.) possessiones, quas antecessores noConfirmatio ecclesiarum et terra- stri reges et domini Mannæ ecclesiæ rum, &c. Universis sanctæ matris Sodoriensi et episcopatui ejusdem ecclesiæ filiis, præsentes literas in- dederunt, concesserunt, et confirmaspecturis vel audituris, Thomas, Dei verunt. Videlicet cathedralem sancti gratia, rex Mannæ et Insularum, Germani in Holme Sodor vel Pele comes Derby et dominus Stanley, vocatam ... et tertiam partem desalutem in Domino sempiternam. cimarum de omnibus ecclesiis de Universitati vestræ innotescimus, Manne, confirmantes eis tertianam quod nos, pro salute animæ nostræ plenæ villæ de Kirkby propinquioet animarum antecessorum nostro- rem ecclesiam sancti Bradani cum rum atque omnium fidelium defunc- terra sancti Bradani, et tertianam torum, concessimus et dedimus di- plenæ villæ de Kirkmarona, &c.

cause they were not liable to any alterations made here, as not being then of the English jurisdiction.

Thus I have given a short account of the original and ancient state of parochial churches, but it is beyond my design to carry this inquiry any further. They, who would know by what steps and encroachments parish-churches lost their revenues again, first by the confusion of parish-bounds, and a liberty granted to men to pay their tithes and oblations where they pleased, and then by appropriations to monasteries, and impropriations granted to laymen, may find these things handled at large in Dr. Kennet's elaborate Discourse of Impropriations and Augmentation of Vicarages, to which I refer the inquisitive reader.


Wherein is proposed an easy and honourable method for

establishing a primitive diocesan episcopacy, conformable to the model of the smaller sort of ancient dioceses, in all the Protestant Churches.

All I have further to add upon this subject is only to make one seasonable and useful reflection upon what has been discoursed in this last Book, with relation to the long wished for union of all the Churches of the Reformation in the same form of episcopal government, agreeable to the model and practice of the primitive Church. One great objection against the present diocesan episcopacy, and that which to many may look the most plausible, is drawn from the vast extent and greatness of most of the northern dioceses of the world, which makes it so extremely difficult for one man to discharge all the offices of the episcopal function. To take off the main force of which objection, I have been at some pains to show, that for the preservation of episcopacy, there is no necessity that all dioceses should be of the same extent, since there was so great differ

[ocr errors]

ence in the bounds and limits of the ancient dioceses, but not the least difference about the forms or species of episcopal government for all that, in any part of the primitive Church. And therefore, if ever it shall please God to dispose the hearts of our brethren, in the Churches of the Reformation, to receive again the primitive form of episcopacy, which is much to be wished, and there seems in some of them to be a good inclination and tendency toward it, there needs be no difficulty from this objection to hinder so useful and peaceable a design; because every Church is at liberty to contract her own dioceses, and limit them with such bounds, as she judges most expedient for the edification and benefit of the whole community; there being no certain geometrical rule prescribed us about this, either in the writings of the Apostles, or in the laws and practice of the primitive Church, any further than that every city, or place of civil jurisdiction, should be the seat of an ecclesiastical magistracy, a bishop with his presbytery, to order the spiritual concerns of men, as the other does the temporal. That this was the general rule observed in the primitive Church, I think, I have made it appear beyond all dispute; and that upon this ground there was so great a difference in the extent of dioceses, sometimes in the same countries, as in Palestine, Asia Minor, and Italy especially, because the cities differed so much in the extent of their territories, and the bounds and limits of their jurisdiction.

Now it is not very material in itself, whether of these models be followed, since they are both primitive and allowed in ancient practice. The Church of England has usually followed the larger model, and had very great and extensive dioceses; for at first she had but seven bishoprics in the whole nation, and those commensurate in a manner to the seven Saxon kingdoms. Since that time she has thought it a point of wisdom to contract her dioceses, and multiply them into above twenty: and if she should think fit to add forty or an hundred more, she would not be without precedent in the practice of the primitive Church. Archbishop Cranmer was very well apprised of this, and therefore he advised King Henry VIII. to erect several new bishoprics, as a great means among other things for reforming the Church. In pursuance of which advice the king himself drew up a list of near twenty new bishoprics

« ForrigeFortsett »