« ZurückWeiter »
that it may be occasion to whet men's speeches for controversies, it is easily remedied, by some strict prohibition, that matters of controversy tending any way to the violating or disquieting the peace of the Church, be not handled or entered into; which prohibition, in regard there is ever to be a grave person president or moderator, cannot be frustrated. The second consideration is, whether it were not convenient there should be a more exact probation and examination of ministers: namely, that the bishops do not ordain alone, but by advice; and then that ancient holy order of the Church might be revived; by the which the bishop did ordain ministers but at four set times of the year; which were called Quatuor tempora; which are now called Ember-weeks: it being thought fit to accompany so high an action with general fasting and prayer, and sermons, and all holy exercises; and the names likewise of those that were to be ordained, were published some days before their ordination; to the end exceptions might be taken, if just cause were. The third consideration is, that if the case of the Church of England be, that were a computation taken of all the parochian churches, allowing the union of such as were too small and adjacent, and again a computation to be taken of the persons who were worthy to be pastors; and upon the said account if it fall out that there are many more churches than pastors, then of necessity recourse must be had to one of these remedies; either that pluralities must be allowed, especially if you can by permutation make the benefices more compatible; or that there be allowed preachers to have a more general charge, to supply and serve by turn parishes unfurnished: for that some churches should be provided of pastors able to teach, and others wholly destitute, seemeth to me to be against the communion of saints and Christians, and against the practice of the primitive Church.
TOUCHING THE ABUSE OF EXCOMMUNICATION.
EXCOMMUNICATION is the greatest judgment upon earth; being that which is ratified in heaven; and being a precursory or prelusory judgment of the great judgment of Christ in the end of the world. And therefore for this to be used irreverently, and to be made an ordinary process, to lackey up and down for fees, how can it be without derogation to God's honour, and making the power of the keys contemptible? I know very well the defence thereof, which hath no great force; that it issueth forth not for the thing itself, but for the contumacy. I do not deny, but this judgment is, as I said before, of the nature of God's judgments; of the which it is a model. For as the judgment of God taketh hold of the least sin of the impenitent, and taketh no hold of the greatest sin of the convert or penitent; so excommunication may in case issue upon the smallest offence, and in case not issue upon the greatest: but is this contumacy such a contumacy as excommunication is now used for? For the contumacy must be such as the party, as far as the eye and wisdom of the Church can discern, standeth in state of reprobation and damnation as one that for that time seemeth given over to final impenitency. Upon this observation I ground two considerations: the one, that this censure be restored to the true dignity and use thereof; which is, that it proceed not but in causes of great weight; and that it be decreed not by any deputy or substitute of the bishop, but by the bishop in person; and not by him alone, but by the bishop assisted.
The other consideration is, that in lieu thereof, there be given to the ecclesiastical court some ordinary process, with such force and coercion as appertaineth; that so the dignity of so high a sentence being retained, and the necessity of mean process supplied, the Church may be indeed restored to the ancient vigour and splendour. To this purpose, joined with
some other holy and good purposes, was there a bill drawn in parliament, in the three-and-twentieth year of the reign of the queen deceased; which was the gravest parliament that I have known; and the bill recommended by the gravest counsellor of estate in parliament; though afterwards it was staid by the queen's special commandment, the nature of those times considered.
TOUCHING NON-RESIDENTS, AND
FOR non-residence, except it be in case of necessary absence, it seemeth an abuse drawn out of covetousness and sloth: for that men should live of the flock that they do not feed, or of the altar at which they do not serve, is a thing that can hardly receive just defence; and to exercise the office of a pastor, in matter of the word and doctrine, by deputies, is a thing not warranted, as hath been touched before. The questions upon this point do arise upon the cases of exception and excusation, which shall be thought reasonable and sufficient, and which not. For the case of chaplains, let me speak that with your majesty's pardon, and with reverence towards the other peers and grave persons, whose chaplains by statutes are privileged: I should think, that the attendance which chaplains give to your majesty's court, and in the houses and families of their lords, were a juster reason why they should have no benefice, than why they should be qualified to have two; for, as it standeth with Christian policy, that such attendance be in no wise neglected; because that good, which ensueth thereof to the Church of God, may exceed, or countervail that which may follow of their labours in any, though never so large a congregation; so it were reasonable that their maintenance should honourably and liberally proceed thence, where their labours be employed. Neither are there wanting in the Church dignities and preferments not joined with any exact cure of souls; by which, and by the hope of which, such attendants in ordinary, who ought to be, as for
the most part they are, of the best gifts and sort, may be farther encouraged and rewarded. And as for extraordinary attendants, they may very well retain the grace and countenance of their places and duties at times incident thereunto, without discontinuance or non-residence in their pastoral charges. Next for the case of intending studies in the universities, it will more easily receive an answer; for studies do but serve and tend to the practice of those studies: and therefore for that which is most principal and final to be left undone, for the attending of that which is subservient and subministrant, seemeth to be against proportion of reason. Neither do I see, but that they proceed right well in all knowledge, which do couple study with their practice; and do not first study altogether, and then practise altogether; and therefore they may very well study at their benefices. Thirdly, for the case of extraordinary service of the Church; as if some pastor be sent to a general council, or here to a convocation; and likewise for the case of necessity, as in the particular of infirmity of body, and the like, no man will contradict, but that there may be some substitution for such a time. But the general case of necessity is the case of pluralities; the want of pastors and insufficiency of livings considered, posito, that a man doth faithfully and incessantly divide his labours between two cures; which kind of necessity I come now to speak of in the handling of pluralities.
For pluralities, in case the number of able ministers were sufficient, and the value of benefices were sufficient, then pluralities were in no sort tolerable. But we must take heed, we desire not contraries. For to desire that every parish should be furnished with a sufficient preacher, and to desire that pluralities be forthwith taken away, is to desire things contrary; considering, de facto, there are not sufficient preachers for every parish: whereto add likewise, that there is not sufficient living and maintenance in many parishes to maintain a preacher; and it maketh the impossibility yet much the greater. The remedies in rerum natura are but three; union, permutation, and
supply. Union of such benefices as have the living too small, and the parish not too great, and are adjacent. Permutation, to make benefices more compatible, though men be over-ruled to some loss in changing a better for a nearer. Supply, by stipendiary preachers, to be rewarded with some liberal stipends, to supply, as they may, such places which are unfurnished of sufficient pastors: as queen Elizabeth, amongst other her gracious acts, did erect certain of them in Lancashire; towards which pensions, I see no reason but reading ministers, if they have rich benefices, should be charged.
TOUCHING THE PROVISION FOR SUFFICIENT MAINTENANCE IN THE CHURCH.
TOUCHING Church-maintenance, it is well to be weighed what is jure divino, and what jure positivo. It is a constitution of the divine law, from which human laws cannot derogate, that those which feed the flock should live of the flock; that those that serve at the altar should live of the altar; that those which
dispense spiritual things should reap temporal things; of which it is also an appendix, that the proportion of this maintenance be not small or necessitous, but plentiful and liberal. So then, that all the places and offices of the Church be provided of such a dotation, that they may be maintained, according to their several degrees, is a constitution permanent and perpetual: but for particularity of the endowment, whether it should consist of tithes, or lands, or pensions, or mixt, might make a question of convenience, but no question of precise necessity. Again, that the case of the Church de facto is such, that there is want in the Church of patrimony, is confessed. For the principal places, namely, the bishops' livings, are in some particulars not sufficient; and therefore enforced to be supplied by toleration of commendams, things of themselves unfit, and ever held of no good report. And as for the benefices and