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themselves against their delusions! What effect his epistle had does not appear; the weight of his character and the vigour of discipline, now happily prevalent in Africa, make it probable chat it had the desired success.

One Rogatian, an African bishop, complained to Cyprian and his colleagues, assembled in a fynod, of the insolent and injurious behaviour of a deacon. Cyprian observes, that he might have done himself justice without them. He applies the case of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram to this of the haughty deacon, and takes notice very properly of the humble and unassuming carriage of our Lord toward the impious dignitaries of the Jewish church. “He taught us, says he, how true pastors ought to be fully and regularly honoured, while he behaved himself so towards false ones.”

The following passage is perhaps the most striking proof of any in Cyprian's writings, that the ideas of episcopacy were too lofty, even in that age, and had insensibly grown with the gradual increase of luperstition. Let it be remarked as a character of the times, and as an instance of the effect of the spirit of the times on a mind one of the purest and humbleft in the world.

" Deacons ought to remember that the Lord chose Apostles, that is, bishops and rulers, but the Apostles chose to themselves deacons, afcer his afcent into heaven, as the ministers of their government and of the church. Now if we dare do any thing against God who makes bishops, then may deacons dare to act against us by whom they are appointed.”

The comparison is very unseemly, nor ought bishops to be set on the same footing as the Apostles; but he is certainly right in observing

farther :


farther : “ These are the beginnings of heresies, and the attempts of ill-disposed schismatics to please themselves and despise with haughtiness their superior ;” and he goes on to advise the bishop how to act concerning him, with that happy mixture of firmness and charity, of which, by a peculiarly intuitive discernment, he seldom failed to shew himself a master.

One Geminius Victor appointed Faustinus, a presbyter, a guardian by his will. In an African fynod Cyprian and his colleagues wrote to the church of Furnæ | a protest against the practice. The clergy were then looked on as men wholly devoted to divine things; secular cares were taken out of their hands as much as possible. Let this again be remarked as one of the happy effects of the work of the Holy Ghost on the church.

Novatianism had spread into Gaul, and Marcian, bishop of the church of Arelate, united himself to the fchism. Fauftinus, bishop of Lyons, wrote both to Cyprian of Carthage and Stephen of Rome on the subject. Other bishops in France wrote also on the subject. Cyprian supports the fame caufe with them in a letter to Stephen. The

а chief reason for mentioning this is to shew how the gospel which had so gloriously begun at Lyons, in the second century, must now have spread in France to a great degree. Contentions and schisms usually have no place, till after christianity has taken deep root.

The same observation may be made of the progress of the gospel in Spain, where, by the infcrip. tions of Cyriac of Ancona, it appears that the light of truth had entered in Nero's time. Here two bishops, Basilides and Martial, had deservedly lost their pastoral offices in the church on account of their unfaithfulness in the perfecution. Cyprian and his colleagues in council wrote to confirm their deposition, and he shews that the people were no less bound than the clergy to abstain from the communion of such, and supports his argument by the directions of Moses to the children of Israel, “ Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men." He recommends * that ordinations fhould be performed in the light of all the people, that they might all have an opportunity to approve or to condemn the characters of the persons ordained. He takes notice that in Africa the neighbouring bishops used to meet before the people of the place, where the bishop was to be ordained, and the bishop was chosen in the presence of the people, who knew fully the life of each and his whole conversation. He observes that Sabinus, who had been substituted in the room of Basilides, had been ordained in this fair and equitable manner. He censures Basilides for going to Rome, imposing on Stephen, and gaining his consent for his being re-instated. Cyprian thinks his guilt was augmented by his conduct. Martial, it seeins, had defiled himself with pagan abominations, and his deposition, he insists, ought to remain confirmed.

their. * Epif. 66. | Epif. 67.

While these things shew the unhappy spirit of human depravity bearing down the most wholesome fences of discipline, they evince that there were those at that tiine in the christian world, extremely careful, and that not without success, of the purity of the church. And if ever it should please God to put it into the hearts of those who have power to reform what is amiss among ourfelves, better guides and precedents than these, next to the scriptures, are scarcely to be found.


G g 3

* Epif. 68.



(470) In the year two hundred and fifty-four one Pupian, a man of note in the church of Carthage, wrote him a letter complaining of his insolent and haughty conduct in ejecting such members out of the church, and ruling with imperious sway. The African prelate had governed now six years, and had signalized himself equally in persecution and in peace, as the friend of piety, order, and disci, pline, and had with every temporal and spiritual faculty laid himself out for the good of the falling and distempered church; he saw by this time the great success of his labours, and he must now pay the tax which eminent virtue ever pays to Nander and envy, to prevent the risings of pride, and to keep him low before his God. Pupian believed, or affected to believe very unjust rumours which were circulated against his paftor, and said that the scruple of conscience with which he was seized prevented his owning the authority of Cyprian. He himself had suffered during the persecution, and had been faithful, probably a person of Lu. cian's character both in his virtues and weaknesses, and was disgusted at the backwardness of Cyprian to receive the lapsed. He heavily complained of his severity, while the Novatian party had separated from him on account of his lenity. But the best and wiseft of men have ever been most exposed to such inconsistent charges. It does not appear that Pupian was able to raise a second sect of difíenters on opposite grounds to those of the first. We will rather hope, that he saw into his error, and returned into a state of charity with his bishop. A few extracts from Cyprian's answer (for we have not Pupian's letter) may throw still stronger light on the character of Cyprian, and may afford us some salutary reflections.


To the charge of Pupian that he was not posfeffed of humility, he answers thus: “ Which of us is farthest from humility? I who daily serve the brethren, and who with kindness and pleasure receive every one who comes to the church, or you who constitute yourself the bishop of the Bishop, and the judge of the Judge appointed by God for the time? The Lord, in the gospel, when it was said to him, “ Answerelt thou the high priest so?” still preserving the respect due to the facerdotal character, said nothing against the high priest, but only cleared his own innocence ; and St. Paul, though he might have exerted himself against those who had crucified the Lord, yet answers, “I wist not, brethren, that he was the High Priest; for it is written, thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people."

Unless you will say that I was a pastor before the persecution, when you were in communion with me, and after the perfecution I ceased to be a paftor. The persecution reaching you, exalted

. you to the honour of a witness for Christ; me it depressed with a load of a proscription, when the public edict was read, “ If any one holds or pos. sesses any thing of the goods of Cæcilius Cyprian, bishop of the christians.” Thus even those who believed not God, who appoints the bishop, credited the devil who proscribed him.

I speak not these things in a way of boasting, but with grief, since you set yourself up as a judge of God and his Christ, who says to the Apostles, and of consequence to all the Bishops, the succefsors of the Apostles, “He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that rejecteth you, rejecleth me.' Hence heresies and schisms arise and do arise while the bishop who is one, and presides over the church, is despised by the proud presumption of some ;


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