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troublesomely, and without order; and that we allow every man to be a priest, to be a teacher, and to be an interpreter of the Scriptures.
Sect. 9. Power of the keys.o_Moreover we say, that Christ hath given to his ministers power to bind, to loose, to open, to shut.p
And we say, that the office of loosing consisteth in this point: that the Minister, either by the preaching of the gospel offereth the merits of Christ, and full pardon, to such as have lowly and contrite hearts, and do unfeignedly repent themselves, proncuncing unto the same a sure and undoubted forgiveness of their sins, and hope of everlasting salvation; or else, that the same Minister, when any have offended their brothers' minds with some great offence, or notable and open crime, whereby they have, as it were, banished and made themselves strangers from the common fellowship, and from the body of Christ—then, after perfect amendment of such persono, doth 1cconcilc thitill, and bring them home again, and restore them to the company and unity of the faithful.9
the Church of England as finally settled on the principles of the reformation.]
•[From Matth. xvi. 19, the ministerial right to administer and withhold the covenant privileges of the Church, has been currently termed the Power of the Keys.]
P (Matt. xvi. 19. xviii. 18. John xx. 23.)
9 [Two kinds of absolution are here recognized. First, virtual-by declaration of the terms of pardon : such are the forms of absolution in our service. Second, official—by the readmission of expelled communicants. A statement, the same in effect, is made by BURNET: "Upon repentance sincerely begun, and honestly, pursued, we do in general, as the heralds of God's inercy, and the ministers of his gospel, pronounce to our people daily, the offers that are made us of mercy and pardon by Christ Jesus. This we do in our daily service, and in a more peculiar manner before we go to the holy communion. We do also, as we are a body that may be offended with the sins of others, forgive the scandals committed against the Church.” On the Thirtynine Articles, p. 273.
In the early Church, a public and solemn form of absolution for individual penitents was in use. “ The order hereof, as it is set forth by S, CYPRIAN, was this : first, the sinner by many outward gestures and tokens showed himself to be penitent, and sorrowful for his sin; after that, he made humble confession thereof before the whole congregation, and desired his brethren to pray for him; lastly, the bishop and the clergy laid their hands over him, and so reconciled him." Jewell, Defence, p. 147.]
We say also, that the Minister doth execute the authority of binding and shutting, as often as he shutteth up the gate of the kingdom of heaven against unbelieving and stubborn persons, denouncing unto them God's vengeance, and everlasting punishment:" or else, when he doth quite shut them out of the bosom of the Church by open excommunication.
Out of doubt, what sentence soever the minister of God shall give in this sort, God himself doth so well allow it, that whatsoever here on earth by their means is loosed and bound, God himself will loose and bind, and confirm the same in heaven.s
And touching the keys,' wherewith they may either shut or open the kingdom of heaven, we with ChrysosTOM say, “ they be the knowledge of the Scriptures ;'"
T“ CHRIST himself saith 'If any man hear any words and believe not, I judge him not-he that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hathrɔne that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.' John xii. 47, 48. Likewise saith St. Paul, . we are--a sweet savour of CHRIST, in them that are saved and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto
and to the other the savour of life unto life.' 2 Cor. ii. 15, 16. And again: 'If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.' 2 Cor. iv. 3. So saith God unto the Prophet Ezekiel : 'If thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity ; but thou hast delivered thy soul.' Ezek. ïïi. 19. To be short, the whole Scriptures are full hereof: and therefore Augustine saith, Prædicatur Evangelium quibusdam ad præmium, quibusdam ad judicium.' "The gospel is preached to some unto reward, to some unto judgment. Epist. 49 ad Deogratias.' JEWELL, Defence p. 149.
Matt. xviii. 18. John xx. 23. + “We confound not these keys. We say that the power, as well of loosing, as also of binding, standeth in God's word: and the exercise or operation of the same, standeth either in preaching, or else in sentence of correction, or ecclesiastical discipline." Defence, p. 148.
u CHRYSOSTOMus, in Opere Imperfecto, Hom. xliv. " Clavis est scientia Scripturarum, per quam asperitur janua veritatis." (JEWELL invariably quotes the Latin translation of CHRYSOSTOM, as the Greek text had not yet been published when he wrote.
CHRYSOSTOM, who received that name (signifying the goldenmouthed) for his superior eloquence, from Libanius the Sophist
, his teacher, was Bishop of Constantinople at the close of the fourth cen. tury. For an inexhaustible vein of noble eloquence, and for judicious interpretation of the Scriptures, he stands pre-eminent among all the fathers. While a presbyter he was so greatly distinguished for his abilities as a preacher, that although born and resident at Antioch, he was unanimously chosen by the clergy and people of Constantinople to be their bishop, and urged by the emperor Arcadius to yield his
with TERTULLIAN we say, " they be the interpretation of the Law ;'', and with EUSEBIUS we call them “ the word of God."w Moreover, that Christ's disciples did
reluctant assent, in 393. After a busy and stormy episcopate, during which he was twice banished, he died of rough treatment received from his guards while in his second exile, in 407.
The works of CHRYSOSTOM, which are voluminous, consist principally of Commentaries, and Homilies or Sermons. Although tinged with the errors of the age (then verging rapidly to the superstition of the dark ages) they are replete with instructive matter, and breathe throughout the purest spirit of devotion.]
TERTULLIANOS contra Marcion. Lib. iv. "Quam clavem habebant legis doctores, nisi interpretationem legis ?"_"St. JEROME saith " Duces Ecclesiæ habent claves scientiæ ut aperiant Scripturas creditis sibi populis.” 'The captains of the Church have the Koys of knowledge to open the Scriptures unto the people to them committed.' In Esaiam.” Defence, p. 150. [TERTULLIAN is the oldest of the Latin fathers whose writings are
He was a man of extensive learning and great natural abili-. ties. His. keen eloquence, and thorough acquaintance with pagan learning render his writings attractive, notwithstanding a remarkable uncouthness in their style. They are on a great variety of subjects, and of very different grades of importance. The Apology, written in defence of Christianity against the injurious imputation of the heathen, and the oppressions of the civil authorities, furnishes the best account of the state of the Church in that age that we possess. Others display the vehemence of the writer's temper, and the rich stores of his mind, in expostulations with the heathen, with heretics, with persons in danger of lapsing from the faith, and with the professors of doctrines which he considered erroneous.
TERTULLIAN was born at Carthage, about the middle of the second century. He had a liberal education, and is thought to have studied, if not practised, law. He was converted to Christianity about A. D. 185, and ordained Presbyter about 192. Beyond this grade of the ministry he never rose. About the commencement of the third century he embraced the errors of MONTANUS, a heretical leader of that age ; and some af his works were written in defence of the austere opinions he then adopted. Of course, their value is lessened by the author's peculiar opinions. TERTULLIAN died in extreme old age, probably about 220, or later.
* EUSEBIUS (commonly called of Cæsarea, or from his attachment to the martyr Pamphilus, Pamphili) is one of the most distinguished writers of the fourth century. For learning, diligence, and talent, he was surpassed by few, if any. His opportunities for the acquisition of knowledge were extremely favourable, and his willingness to communicate it was not less. To him we owe an elaborate account of the first ages of the Church, which has deservedly obtained for him the title of Father of Church History.' He produced a treatise in defence of Christianity, more complete and satifactory than any which preceded it, or followed for some time after. And the body of matter which he collected as an introduction to the knowledge of the gospel, under the
receive their authority
—not that they should hear the private confessions of the people, and listen to their whisperings, as the common Massing-priests do every. where now-a-days; and do it so, as though in that one point lay all the virtue and use of the keys ;y—but to the end they should go-they should teach--they should
name of Evangelical Preparation, furnishes us with much valuable information accessible by no other means.
Yet with all these claims upon our gratitude, his character as a Theologian is not immaculate. He was charged with leaning towards the Arian heresy, and certainly gave ground for at least suspicion.
EUSEBIUS was born in Palestine, about the year 265. He was consecrated bishop of Cæsarea in 313. In the year 325 he assisted at the council of Nice, and subsequently took a prominent part in the disputes excited by the Arian heresy, inclining always to the side of its leader. He enjoyed the peculiar favour of the emperor Constantine, whose panegyric he pronounced in public during the rejoicings in the thirtieth year of his reign. He died in 338.
JEWELL furnishes the explanation of EUSEBIUS' saying that 'the , keys' given to the priesthood are the word of God,' where he writes : "That duly receiving the sacrament ordained by CHRIST, we receive also the remission of sins, is not any way denied. For the substance of all sacraments is the word of God, which St. Paul calls the word of reconciliation' (2 Cor. v. 19.) This word is the instrument of the remission of sin. The sacraments are the seals affixed to the same: the priest is the mean. AUGUSTINE saith 'In aqua verbum mundat. Detrahe verbum, quid est aqua, nisi aqua? 'In the water is the word of God, that maketh clean. Take the word away, and what is water else, but water ?!” Defence, p. 143.]
[In the Romish Church, the great privilege of a priest—the chief business which it is his office to perform, is supposed to be the celebration of the Mass ; i. e. the communion after their form-so called from the words “Missa est' (you are dismissed,) with which it was anciently customary to dismiss the catechumens and others not admitted to the communion, before its celebration. Hence the name used in the text, Massing priests—those who say Mass.]
y ["The difference that is between us and our adversaries in this whole matter” says JEWELL, speaking of confession " is not great. Three kinds of confession are expressed unto us in the Scriptures. The first, made secretly to God alone: the second, openly before the whole congregation: the third, privately unto our brother. Of the two former kinds, there is no question. Touching the third ; if it be discreetly used to the greater comfort and better satisfaction of the penitent, without superstition or other ill, it is not in any wise reproved. The abuses and errors set apart, we do no more dislike a private confession than a private sermon.
"Thus much only we say : that private confession to be made unto the Minister, is neither commanded by Christ, nor necessary to salvation. And therefore CHRYSOSTOM saith, “I will thee not to bewray thyself openly, nor to accuse thyself before others : but I counsel thee to obey the prophet saying 'Open thy way unto the LORD.'” CHRYS. ad Heb. Hom. xxxi.” Defence, p. 141.)
publish abroad the gospel, and be unto the believing * a sweet savour of life unto life," and unto the unbelieving and unfaithful “a savour of death uuto death ;'' and that the minds of godly persons being brought low by the remorse of their former life and errors, after they once began to look up unto the light of the gospel, and believe in Christ, might be opened with the word of God, even as a door is opened with a key. Contrariwise, that the wicked and wilful, and such as would not believe, nor return into the right way, should be left still as fast locked and shut up, and, as St. Paul saith, worse and worse."a_This take we to be the meaning of the keys :b and that after this sort men's consciences be either opened or shut. We say,
that the Priest indeed is a judge in this case ; but yet hath
no manner of right to challenge any authority, or power," as saith AMBROSE. And therefore
1 2 Cor. ii. 16.
a 2 Tim. iij. 13. b [“We make no confusion of the keys. Our doctrine is plain ; that there be two keys in the Church of GOD: the one of instruction, the other of correction. Whereof the one worketh inwardly, the other outwardty; the one before God, the other before the congregation. And yet either of these standeth wholly in the word of God. And therefore St. Paul saith : 'All scripture--is profitable, for doctrine, (to teach the truth,) for reproof, (to reprove the falsehood,) for correction, (to correct the wicked,) for instruction in righteousness,' (to nurture and inform the godly.) 2 Tim. iii. 16.
“ Of the former of these keys, St. Paul saith : 'Believe in the LORD Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts xvi. 31.
“Of the other, he saith : "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds ; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor. x. 4, 5.
“ This doctrine seemeth to be simple and plain, without confusion." JEWELL, Defence, p. 153.]
["' First I say, that a priest having authority to pronounce the word of God, is thereby a judge over sin. For the word that he speaketh is the power of God unto salvation,' (Rom. i. 16.) and a two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner [able to judge, Jewell renders the Greek KPITIKOS) of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. iv. 12.)
"Of the other side, I say, that in open crimes and public penance, the priest is likewise appointed to be a judge." --Defence, p. 156.]
d'« Verbum Dei dimittit peccata. Sacerdos est judex. Sacerdos quidem officium suum exhibet : sed nullius potestatis jura exercet.” AMBROSIUS. De Pænitentia, Dist. I. Verbum Dei.