Barrow - BX1805 .B3 1852

130 RIGHT OF ELECTION IN THE CHURCH. head of the church; for the church has free power to provide itself a head."' Bellarmine himself confesses, that " had St Peter," as he might have done if he had pleased, " chosen no particular see, as he did not for the first five years, then, after Peter's death, neither the bishop of Rome nor of Antioch had succeeded, but he whom the church should have chosen for itself.' Now, if the church, uponthat supposition, would have had such a right, it is not probable that St Peter by his fact would have deprived it thereof, or willingly done any thing in prejudice to it, there being apparently so much equity that the church should have a stroke in designation of its pastor. In ancient times there was not any small church which hadnot a suffrage in the choice of its pastor; and was it fitting that all the church should have one imposed on it without its consent ?3 If we consider the manner in ancient times of electing and consti- tuting the Roman bishop, we may thence discern not only the im- probability but iniquityof this pretence. Howwas he then chosen? Was it by ageneral synod of bishops, or by delegates from all parts of Christendom, whereby the common interest in him might appear, and whereby the world might be satisfied that one was elected fit for that high office? No; he was chosen, as usually then other particu- lar bishops were, by the clergy and people of Rome, none of the world being conscious of theproceeding, orbearing any shard therein. Now, was it equal that such a power of imposing a sovereign on all the grave bishops, and on all the good people of the Christian world, should be granted to one city? Was it fitting that such a charge, importing advancement above all pastors, and being intrusted with thewelfare of all souls inChris- tendom, should be the result of an election liable to so many defects and corruptions, which assuredly often, if not almost constantly, would be procured by ambition, bribery, or partiality,would be managed by popular faction and tumults? It was observed generally of such elections by [Gregory] Nazi- Quod si per possibile Trevirensis eligeretur pro capite ecclesise. Habet enim ecclesia potestatem liberam sibi de capite providendi, &c. Card. Cue. de Cone. Cath. ii. 13, &c. 2 Nam potuisset Petrus nullam sedem particularem sibi unquam eligere, eicut fecit primus quinque anis, et tune moriente Petro, non episcopus Romanus neque Antio- chenus successisset, sed is quem ecclesia sibi elegisset.Belb ii. 12. s Nulla ratio sinit, ut inter episcopos habeantur, qui nec a clericis sunt electi, nec a plebibus expetiti, nec a comprovincialibus episcopis cum metropolitani judicio conse- crati. P. Leo L, Ep. xcii. "No reason will admit that they should be esteemed bishops who are neither chosen by the clergy, nor desired by the people, nor consecrated by the bishops of the same province, with the consent of the metropolitan." Nullus invitis detur episcopus: cleri, plebis, et ordinis consensus requiratur.P. Celest. I., Ep. ü.; Grat. Dist. lxi. cap. 13. " Let there be no bishop imposed on any against their wills: let the consent of the clergy, andpeople, and his own order, be required."