DIOCESAN CHURCHES NOT Yet Discovered in the Primitive Times.

OR A Defence of the Answer to Dr. Stilling­fleets Allegations out of Antiquity for such Churches.

Against the Exceptions offered in the Preface to a late Treatise called a Vindication of the Pri­mitive Church.

WHERE What is further produced out of Scripture and Antient Authors for Diocesan Churches is also Discussed.

LONDON, Printed for Thomas Parkhurst at the Bible and three Crowns at the lower end of Cheap-side near Mercers Chappel 1682.


PAge 59. l. 4. r. Sirmond. p. 67. l. 33. r. to. p. 76. r. Euodius. p. 80. l. 14. r. orato­rum. p. 86. l. 16. r. Congregations. p. 87. l. 27. r. Bishops. p. 95. l. 2. r. [...], p. ult. l. 9. r. less. besides mis-accenting some Greek words, and other mis-pointings:


DIssenters are accused of Schism by some of this Church, both these and the other are branded not only as Schismaticks, but as Hereticks by the Papists; who upon this account judge us unworthy to live, and had actually destroyed both together, if God in Mercy had not disco­ver [...]d their devilish Plot. The discovery gave them some interruption, and put them upon an af­ter-game, to retrieve what had miscarryed. And this was so to divide us, as that our selves should help them in their design to ruine us all, when they had less hopes to do it alone. In pursuance hereof such influence they have had upon too many, as to raise in them a greater aversation to Dissenters than to Papists. These the Conspirators count their own, and think they may well do so, since [Page] they are too ready to concurre with them in their design to exterminate those, who are true Prote­stants in every point, and differ no more from this Church than those in France do, who by the same Counsels are at this time in extreme danger to be utterly extirpated. Others are so far pre­vailed with as to make use of one of the sharpest weapons they have against dissenting Protestants, and that is the charge of Schisme, lately renewed and re-inforced.

In these hard circumstances, while we do what we can against the common Enemy, we are put to ward off the blows of such as (notwithstanding some present distemper) we will count our Friends. Amongst other expedients, sufficient to secure us a­gainst this attaque, it was thought not unuseful, to answer the allegations out of Antiquity, concern­ing two points, wherein only the Antients were made use of to our prejudice, viz. 1. For Dioce­san Churches, and then 2ly. Against the Electi­on of Bishops by the people in the primitive times. Something was performed and published in reference to both these in a late discourse. One half [Page] of which, where the latter is discussed, concerning the popular Elections of Bishops, hath yet passed without any exception that I can see or hear of; yet this alone is enough to defend us against the aforesaid charge: For those who will not make the primitive Church Schismatical, must not condemn any as Schismaticks for declining such Bishops as that Church would not own.

Against the former part of the Discourse, con­cerning Diocesan Churches, some exception hath been made, but very little; a late Author in his Preface to a Treatise of another Subject, hath touch­ed about 5 pages in 40. but so as he hath done them no more harm, than another, who to find one fault therein, runs himself into two or three, about [...], render'd indefinitely according to the mind of the Au­thor who uses it, and the most common use of it.

I disparage not the Gentleman's Learning who at­taques me in his Preface, he shews that which, (with answerable care and Judgment,) might be service­able in a cause that deserves it. But much more than he shews, would not be enough to support what he would establish. And he might have forborn the [Page] vilifying of those, who are known to be Masters of much more valueable Learning, than appears in either of us. The neglect of some accurateness in little things, remote from the merits of the cause, in one who is not at leisure to catch flies, is no argu­ment that he is destitute of Learning.

I complain not of his proceeding with me; but am obliged by him, that he treats me not with so much contempt as he does others, who less deserve it. I wish he had dealt more temperately with M. B. it would have been more for his reputation, and no prejudice to his undertaking; a good cause, when it hath a sufficient Advocate, does not need any undecent supplements.

After I have cleared my Discourse front this Gentleman's exceptions, I thought it not imperti­nent to shew what in reason cannot be counted com­petent proofs of Diocesan Churches; that if any will pursue this debate farther, instead of opposing us, they may not beat the Air, and amuse those that en­quire after truth; with what is insignificant. Withal I have given an account of what other alle­gations out of Scripture and Antiquity this Author [Page] hath brought in other parts of his Treatise for such Churches; and shew'd that there is no evidence in them, as to the purpose they are alledged for.

In short, I find nothing in this Author, or any other before him, which may satisfie a judicious and impartial man, that in the two first Ages of Chri­stianity any Bishop had more than one particular Church or Congregation for his proper charge; or that in the third Age, there was any Bishop which had a Church consisting of more than are in some one of our Parishes, unless it was the Church of Rome (nor is there sufficient evidence produced for that:) Or that in the middle of the fourth Age there were 4 Churches, each of which comprised more than could assemble in one place (though if they had con­tained more, that might be far enough from making them Diocesans;) Or that afterwards, within the time of the four first General Councils, where there were several Churches belonging to one Bishop, he did exercise jurisdiction over them alone, or only by himself and his Delegates. It will be time e­nough to censure us as Schismaticks for declining Diocesan Churches, when they have made it ap­pear, [Page] that there was such, in the best ages of Chri­stianity: (which not appearing, the censure falls upon the primitive Christians, from whom it will slide of upon themselves.) If they will forbear us, till this be performed, we need desire no more. Ʋn­less we may prevail with those who sincerely profess themselves Protestants, to regard the securing themselves and their Religion from the destructive designs of the Papists, more than those things which are not properly the concern either of Pro­testant or of Religion.

As for those who prefer the Papists before Dis­senters, and revile these as worse, though they differ in no one point of Religion from other true Prote­stants: We need not wonder if we meet with no better treatment from them, then from declared Pa­pists; since by such preference they too plainly declare the Protestant Religion to be worse than Popery, in their account. The following sheets have lain by me many Months, and had done so still; but that the importunity of some, and the misrepresenting of my silence by others, forced me to publish them.

Diocesan Churches not yet discovered in the Primitive times.

TO shew that many Presbyters in one Church was not enough to prove it a Diocesan, I I made it manifest that it was usual in the anti­ent Church, to multiply Presbyters, beyond what we count necessary; (not beyond what is necessary, as it is too often misrepresented:) For this I offer'd two Testimonies, one asserting it to be so in the First Age, the other in the Fourth, and thought these sufficient, if they could not be denied, (as they are not) to evince it to have been so in the Third: For who can reasonably suppose, but that had place in the Third, which was usual both in the Ages before and after? The first was that of Bishop Downham, who sayes, at the first Conver­sion of Cities, the number of people converted were not much greater than the number of Presbyters placed amongst them. But this, its sayed can be of little use; because, ‘1. This was not the case of the Church of Carthage, it was not a new converted Church, but setled long before, and in a flourishing condition.’

The Church of Carthage by the fierce persecutions in Cyprians time (which is the time we speak of) was brought so low, and reduced to so very few, as if it had been but new converted, and how was it in a setled and flou­rishing condition, when it was so lamentably wasted, and still harrassed one year after another? or who can be­lieve [Page 2] it, that reads Cyprian lamenting; Pressurae istius tam turbidam vastitatem, quae gregem nostrum maxima ex parte populata est, adhue & usque populatur, and that they were positi inter plangentium ruinas, et timentium reliquias, inter numerosam & languentium stragem, et exiguam stanti­um paucita [...]em? Lib. 4. Ep. 4. Was not this much the case of the Apostolical Churches, unless this of Carthage was worse, and so less for our Author's advantage? Or if this were otherwise, the Churches in Nazianzen's time were not newly converted, but setled long before, and in a flourish­ing condition; which yet cannot be denyed to have had more Presbyters than we count needful. So that this was the practise in every condition of the Church, whe­ther flourishing or not.

2. ‘He sayes, many more Presbyters may be ordain­ed in a City, than is necessary for the first beginning of a Church, with respect to future increase. &c.

And who will question, but the many Presbyters in the Church of Carthage were for future increase both in City and Country? So that herein the case is not diffe­rent; And the design of that number of Officers might partly be for other Congregations, (Episcopal Churches, though not Diocesan) to furnish them with Officers. This is apparent afterwards in the practice of the Afri­can Churches, who when a new Church was erected, sup­plyed it with a Bishop or other Assistants from places bet­ter stored with Officers; And it is exemplyfied particu­larly (as we shall see hereafter) in the provision which St. Austin made for Fussala.

‘He sayes further, the multitude of Presbyters belong­ing to one Congregational Church, might be occasi­on'd by the uncertain abode of most of the Apostles and their Commissioners, who are the Principal, if not the only Ordainers of Presbyters mentioned in Scrip­ture.’

But herein he does but guess, and had no reason to be positive, unless the Apostles and their Commissioners, (as he calls them,) had been then the only Ordainers, which he will not venture to affirm, knowing what evi­dence there is against it.

‘Lastly, he sayes, if this opinion of Bishop Downham had any certain ground in Antiquity, we should pro­bably hear of it with both eares, and we should have it recommended upon antienter Authority than his.’

This of Bishop Downham hath certain ground in the best antiquity, if the New Testament be such; where it is plain there were many Presbyters in diverse Chur­ches, such as are not yet, nor ever will be proved to be Diocesan.

To that of Nazianzen; he sayes, ‘it hath received its answer, and adds, he that cannot answer it to him­self, from the great difference between the condition of the Church in Cyprian, and in Nazianzen's time, hath a fondness for the Argument.’

This is the answer it received, Pag. 51. and this dif­ference was thus expressed a little before; ‘But that any Church sixt and setled, having its Bishop alwayes pre­sent, should multiply Presbyters beyond necessity, in the circumstances of the Primitive Christians before Con­stantine, is altogether incredible; for the necessary ex­pences of the Church were very great, the poor nu­merous, the generality of Christians not of the Rich­est, and the Estates they had being at the discretion of their enemies, and ruin'd with perpetual persecution, &c. He sayes, multiplying Presbyters beyond necessity, and without necessity; while he alters my words so as to change the sense, he disputes against himself, not me; But this looking more like an Argument than any thing before, I shall take a little more notice of it. 1. Is not all this applicable to the Churches in the Apostle's times, [Page 4] when it cannot be denyed Presbyters were multiplyed beyond what we count necessary? The poor numerous, the generality of Christians not of the Richest, and the Estates they had being at the discretion of their enemies, and ruin'd with perpetual persecution.

Further, the Church before Constantine and Carthage particularly, supposing these to be its circumstances, might have many Presbyters without any great charge: For 1st. the Church Stock was reserved only for those in want, [...], as is determin'd in one of the Canons which pass for Apostolical, Can. 4. and the same decreed in the synod at Antioch. Can. 25. Ambrose even in the 4th. Age, will have none to have a stipend who hath other revenues, Qui fidei exercet militiam, agelli sui fructibus, si habet, debet esse contentus; si non habet, stipendiorum su­orum fructu. Offic. L. 1. [...]. 36. And Chrysostom tells us that in Elections, those of the Competitors that had Estates did carry it, because the Church would need to be at no charge in maintaining of such, [...]. 2ly. When they had no Estates, and the Church (e) De sacerd. [...]er. 3. Pag. 23. [...]dit. Savil. could not maintain them, they were to provide for themselves by some honest imployment. The Council of Elvira allows all sorts of Clergy men to drive a trade, for their living, provided they did it only in the Pro­vince where they lived, Can. 19. and in the 4th. Council of Carthage it is ordered, that the Clergy, though they be learned in the word of God, shall get their living by a trade. Can. 51. and in the next Canon that they shall get food and rayment by a Trade or Husbandry, with this proviso, that it be not a prejudice to their Office. Our Author sayes in­deed, Pag. 154. that this is contrary to the usage of all other Chur­ches; how true this is may be seen by the Canon before cited. He sayes also, that this is forbidden by the 3d. Council of Carthage; but neither is this so, that Canon adds but another restriction, viz. that they get not their livings [Page 5] by an employment that is sordid or dishonest, where the (i) Can. 15. in Cod. 16. Latine and Greek both agree in it. 3ly. The Church was to allow none of them, no not Bishops more than ne­cessary, even after Constantine's time. That Canon call'd the Apostles, and the other Antioch forecited, express this in the same words, the Bishop may have of the Church Stock what is needfull, if he be necessitous, [...], for necessary uses, and these are afterwards ex­plain'd to be food and rayment. Zonaras expresses it fully and clearly, whom he that the Canon doth not satisfie, may consult.

Having shew'd out of Justinian, that 60 Presbyters belonged to the great Church in Constantinople, and thence inferr'd they were numerous in Constantine's time, the ‘number (sayes he,) was become extravagant in Ju­stinians time; but what is this to their number in Cy­prian's?

He should have asked the Dean this, who to prove Diocesan Churches from the number of Presbyters, im­mediately after Testimonies out of Cyprian, brings this of Justinian.

‘For this very edict of Justinian shews that this multi­plying of Church Officers was an innovation, and there­fore would have them reduced to the first establish­ment.’

Justinian took order to retrench the numbers of Pres­byters, not therefore because it was an innovation, but because the Church revenue could not maintain so many, which is express in the Novel.

‘But that first establishment it seems admitted great numbers, for one Church had 60. True; but it must also be noted first, that these 60 were to serve more than one Church.’

Some may be ready to ask how it can be true, that one Church should have 60, and yet more than one had these 60 amongst them.

‘For there were three more besides St. Sophia to be supplyed by these Presbyters. &c.

True; but this still confirms what I answer'd to their argument from the multitude of Presbyters, that in the antient Church the Officers were multiplyed above what we count needful: For it is not now thought needful that any 3 or 4 Churches in a City, should have 60 Presby­ters, 100 Deacons, 90 Subdeacons, Readers 110. &c.

‘Yet after all, there is no argument to be drawn from this number, for these were Canons of a particular foun­dation, design'd for the service of a Collegiate Church; and no measure to be taken from thence concerning the numbers of Presbyters belonging to the Diocess. This is evident from the Preface of the said Novel.

If no argument is to be drawn from this number, why did the Learned Dean draw one from it? 2ly. This seems scarce consistent with the former Period: there, these Presbyters were for 3 or 4 Churches, here they are but for one Collegiate Church of which they were Canons, and this said to be evident in the Preface, where I can­not see it. 3ly. Since no measure is to be taken from hence concerning the numbers of Presbyters belonging to a Dio­cess; it seems there may be this number of Presbyters in a place which cannot be counted a Diocess, (as this one great Church never was, nor can be) and then no argument drawn from the number of Presbyters at Rome, Carthage, Edessa, &c. will prove a Diocesan Church; for here was the greatest number, which any where we meet with.

Dr. St. to prove Diocesan Churches from the nume­rousness of Presbyters, mentioned 60 in C. P. in Justi­nian's time; from hence on the by, I thought it reason­able to suppose they were numerous in Constantine's time, when yet Theodoret sayes, all the Brethren met together with the Bishop. That the number of Presbyters is no [Page 7] proof of a Diocesan Church was evinced sufficiently be­fore: this fell in occasionally, and was added ex abun­danti; Yet upon this supernumerary stragler he turns his main force, spending about 12 Pages on it. I am little concerned what becomes of it, since the main Hy­pothesis is already secured by the premisses; but that this Gentleman may not quite loose all his labour, I am willing to loose a little, in taking some notice of it.

‘I must confess that what is added concerning the Church of C. P. is somewhat surprizing, no doubt sayes he, that the Presbyters were more numerous in C. P.’

Indeed it might have been surprizing if I had said as he reports me, that they were more numerous; but I saw reason not to say so, though what reason there was to impose it on me I know not: I cited Soc: misprinted Soz. saying, Constantine built two Churches at C. P., but laid no stress on it at all. Soc. l. 1. c. 12. It is true, he sayes not that he built no more than two, but his expression plainly im­plyes it, and he was concerned if he had known any more to have mention'd it, when in the same Line, he sayes Constantine intended to make it equal to Rome. Eusebi­us's words agree well enough herewith, he sayes Constan­tine adorn'd it, [...], with more Churches, and that's true, if he built but two more, or any more than was there formerly, or any more than was usual. And these more Churches were not in the City, but (as the Historian speaks) partly there, and partly [...], which as the word is used, may denote places many Miles di­stant from the City, as the Gentleman elsewhere ob­serves after Valesius. Sozomen sayes he built [...], ma­ny Churches, (not very many as he will have it) but if he thereby meant more than are named by Socrates, we need not understand that done before the time Theodoret speaks of; Nor should a lax expression be more relyed [Page 8] on, than one that is punctual and definite; unless we have a mind either to be misled, or to set the two Histo­rians together by the ears. Sozomen names but one Church more than Socrates did, and that not in, but a good distance from the City, (70 Furlongs by Land,) and 3 may pass for many, when it was a rare thing for any City to have more than one. The best Authors, as they sometimes express very few by none, and a generality by all; so they express more than ordinary by many; and two or three such Churches in one City were more than ordinary at that time, when one City in an Hundred had not two Churches, and one in a Thousand had not three Churches, that could be styled [...]: all that Constantine built here were such, both Eusebius his more, and Sozo­men's many, are said, by them to be very great, [...]. But no considerable Author that I meet with in that Age, or some Hundreds of years after, names more than two very great Churches erected by Constantine in that Ci­ty. And if comparison be made, there is no Historian of those times, to be more regarded in matters which concern C. P, than Socrates who tells us, that he was born and educated in C. P., and continued there (as an L. 9. C. 24. advocate) when he wrote his History.

But if we should suppose that Sozomen intended more than 3 or 4 Churches, or that the Emperour built no more than was requisite, and only consulted convenien­cy, and design'd not State or Magnificence, (which yet our Author a little after sayes he did; and we know no­thing is more ordinary than for great Cities to have more Churches than are needful: it was so in London before the Fire, and the retrenching of their number since shews it:) yet this will be so far from proving Alexan­der's Church in C. P. to be Diocesan, that it will not prove it greater than some single Congregations: for there were 12 Churches in Alexandria, when yet the Church [Page 9] in that City adhereing to Athanasius consisted of no more than are in some one of our Parishes. For which such Evidence has been brought, as is not yet, nor I think, can be defaced. ‘Nor can we imagine that two Churches, much less one, could suffice all the Christi­ans in C. P. when the City of Heliopolis being convert­ed to Christianity required more, and Constantine built several for them, [...].’

The word plurally expressed is much improved by our Author, he makes out of it diverse Churches, and all these Churches, when yet all these were but one Church, as Socrates himself makes it plain a little before Soc. l. 1. c. 18.; for having related how Constantine ordered a Church to be built near the Oak at Mambre, he adds, that he order­ed another Church (not Churches) to be erected at Helio­polis, [...]. And to put it past doubt, Eusebius whom the Emperour employ'd about those structures, and from whom in all likelihood So­crates had the Relation, gives an account but of one Church there founded by the Emperour, which he calls [...] l. 3. c. 56. Devitâ Constant., and that it was furnished with a Bishop, Presbyters and Deacons. So that the Bishop of Heliopolis had but one Church for his Diocess, which our Author should not be so loath to own, since it can­not be proved that at this time one Bishop in an hundred, had more.

Valesius (whom our Author much relies on) in his Notes upon this place, is so far from thinking that Con­stantine built more Churches in Heliopolis, that he judges this one at present was not necessary for it, the Town having then no Christians in it: and assigns this as the reason why Eusebius speaks of it as a thing unusual, that it should have a Bishop appointed, and a Church built in it. His words are, Fortasse hoc novum & inauditum fuisse intelligit, &c. He may think this new and unheard [Page 10] of, that a Church should be built in a City, where as yet there were no Christians but all were alike idolaters. Therefore this Church was built at Heliopolis, not for that there was any necessity of it, but rather in hope that he might invite all the Citizens to the profession of the Christian Religion. So that the Bishop here had none for his Diocese but one Church, and that empty, there being then no Christi­ans in lib. 3. de vit. Constant. c. 58. p. 235. in that one Parish; which yet was all he had to make him a Diocesan.

The better to confute Theodoret, who saies (for they are his words, not mine) that Alexander with all the Brethren met together, he endeavours to shew the state of that Church about the latter end of Constantine, &c. this he does here and after by an undue Application of some passages in Sozomen. For the account which that Historian gives of that City is not confined to Constan­tine's time, but reaches beyond it, ay, and beyond Ju­lian's too, which appears, as by other passages, so by his mentioning the heathen Temples in the time of that Emperour. And with respect to the time after Con­stantine must that expression be understood, which makes C. P. to exceed Rome, not only in Riches, but in the number of Inhabitants, otherwise it will be apparent­ly false. For when Chrysostome was Bishop there, about 70 years after (when it is like the number of the Inha­bitants were doubled, it cannot be questioned but they were far more numerous) he who best could do it, rec­kons the Christians then to be an 100000 In Act. Hom. 11. pag. 674.; our Au­thor will have us look upon the Jews and Heathen there to be inconsiderable but let us count them another 100000. Yet both put together will fall incomparably short of the number in old Rome, which by the compu­tation of Lipsius was at least two millions De Magnit. Rom. lib. 3. c. 3.. And in Constantine's time new Rome was as far short of the old [Page 11] as to its greatness in circuit, for whereas Herodian de­clares that Severus quite demolished Byzantium for sid­ing with Niger, and reducing it to the state of a Village subjected it to Perinthus, [...] lib. 3. p. 68. we cannot in reason suppose it to be extraordinarily spacious; yet as Zosimus reports, all the inlargement which Constantine gave it, was but the addition of 15 Furlongs, [...] lib. 2. p. 62. Now suppose it was 30 or 40 Furlongs in compass before (and so larger than one City in an hundred) yet this addition will leave it less than Alexandria, which, as Josephus describes it, was 80 Furlongs, that is, ten miles in circumference De Bello Jud. lib. 2. cap. 16., yet A­lexandria was four times less than Rome, for by Vopiscus's account, in Aurelian's time, not long before Constantine, the walls were made by him near 50 miles in circuit. So it will be in comparison of Constantinople when first built, rather like a Nation than a City, as Aristotle said of the other Babylon, [...] Pol. lib. 3. c. 2.. If then we will have this passage of Sozomen to have any appearance of truth, it must be extended far beyond Constantine's time, when, as Zosimus tells us, many of the succeeding Emperours were still drawing multitudes of People to that City, so that it was afterwards encompassed with walls far larger, [...], than those of Constan­tine lib. 2. p. 65.. And in an Oration of Themistius, it is made a que­stion whether Theodosius junior did not add more to C. P. than Constantine did to Byzantium.

‘Many of the Jews and almost all the Heathen were converted and became Christians.’

The expression of Sozomen does not hinder but as the main body of the Jews remained, so the numbers of the Heathen might be considerable. Tertullian speaks of Citizens in his time as if they were almost all Christians, [Page 12] penè omnes cives christiani Apol. c. 37.; yet no instance can be gi­ven of any one City where the Christians were the major part of the Inhabitants: those that take his words in a strict sense are very injurious to him, and make him speak that which no antient Records will warrant. Sozomen also may suffer by straining his ex­pression; but I will not digress to take further notice of what is not material; for I design not, nor have any need, to make any advantage of the numbers of the Hea­thens in this City.

He tells us of 950 Work-houses whose rents were al­lowed to defray the Funeral expences of all that died in the City (for so it is expressed in the Constitution, [...] Novel. 43.) these being performed with great solemnity, and multitudes of Attendants maintained by those rents for that pur­pose Nov. 59. c. 2.. How this here makes the Christians in C. P. to be so very numerous as he would have them, he should have shewed us; I am not yet so sagacious, as to disco­ver it. The number of the Decani was determined by Honorius to 950 Cod. de Eccl. Lex. 4:. Our Author thinks it probable they were so many at the first establishment, but there's more ground to believe, they were much fewer in Constantine's time; for about 800 were counted sufficient in Justinian's Reign, 200 years after, when the City was both larger, and much more populous and in its greatest flourish Novel. 59. c. 2.. Those that consider the pre­misses, may well think, he might have form'd his con­clusion in terms less confident, to say no worse of it.

Next he forms an Objection against himself: ‘not­withstanding the number of Christians in C. P. might be much too great for one Congregation, yet the ma­jor part might be Hereticks or Schismaticks, such as came not to the Bishop's Church, and therefore all [Page 13] that adhered to him might be no more than could meet in one Assembly.’

To which he answers, that the number of Hereticks and Schismaticks was inconsiderable, and will not except the Arians or Novatians. For the Arians, he saies, they had not yet made a formal Separation.

But if they did not separate themselves, the Church would have them separated, and did exclude them from communion, and withstood Constantine's importunity for their admission, both here and in other places: Athanasius was threatned by Eusebius of Nicomedia Soc. lib. 2. c. 1;, and banished by the Emperour for this cause among o­thers. And Alexander being secured by Arius his death from admitting him to Communion, was the oc­casion of this passage in Theodoret which gives our Au­thor so much trouble. Now the Arians being debar­red from communion, lessened the Bishop's Church, both here and elsewhere, as much as if they had sepa­rated themselves. And they were numerous here, this being the place where they had greatest favour; in Constantine's Edict against the Hereticks whose meetings he would have suppressed, the Arians were not men­tioned when the other are named Euseb. de vita Constant. lib. 3. cap. 62. 63.. Socrates writes that the People in this City was divided into two Parties the Arians and the Orthodox, they had continu­ally sharp bickerings, but while Alexander lived the Or­thodox had the better; as soon as he was dead (which was Vales observ. in Soc. & Soz. l. 2. c Soc. lib. 2. c. 6. while Constantine lived) it seems they appeared equal, for the contest, saies he, was dubious, [...] c. In Nazianzen's time so far they overtopt the Orthodox, that this great Diocesan Church appear'd but in the form of a private meeting, held in a very little house, where he kept a Conventicle with them, [...], so Sozomen Lib. 7. cap. 5., and Socrates agrees with him in the ex­pression, [...], such a diminutive place seems as [Page 14] unproportionable for such a Diocesan Church as a Nut­shell for Homer's Iliads, or a Key-hole for a Witch, to use our Author's Elegancies.

As for the Novatians to which he will have no more allowed than a Conventicle, they were numerous in o­ther places, they had once diverse Churches in Alex­andria, many Churches in Rome and in other places. It is like they were numerous here, for here they had as much favour or more, and longer too, than in the Cities forementioned, here Socrates sayes they had three Churches Lib. 2. cap. 30., and if three Churches would but make one inconsiderable Conventicle; it is possible the other Ortho­dox Churches (though he will have them to be many) might be comprized in one vast Congregation.

I might observe how much Sozomen is mis-represent­ed in what he sayes next of those concerned in the Edict, the Novatians especially. He speaks not mincingly as our Author would have him, but fully that the Nova­tians did not suffer much by the Edict; he does not say only that it was probable they suffered little, but sayes this only of a reason himself gives, why they suffered not much. He gives other reasons for it than the opinion, the Novatians had of that Bishop. He does not say the other Hereticks were altogether extirpated. He does not confess that the Novatians suffered the same measure with others every where, no, nor any where else, it is the Montanists that he sayes this of. He dares to affirm they had a Conventicle or more, for he affirms they had an eminent Bishop in C. P. and were not only numerous there before the Edict, but continued so after. The Gentle­man was in too much haste here, as himself will per­ceive, by observing how much his account differs from the Historians.

At last he comes to that passage of Theodoret which occasioned all these lines, but Theodoret affirms they [Page 15] were no more than could meet in one Church, and that they did actually do so, ‘I answer, sayes he, that Theodoret does not say so, and the passage cited does not con­clude it.’

I did not say Theodoret affirms they were no more, than could meet in one Church, but he sayes the same in effect, viz. that all the Brethren assembled with Alexander. His words are, Alexander, the Church rejoycing, hcld an As­sembly with all the Brethren, praying and greatly glorify­ing God. The words are plain, and the sense, I take them in, is open in the face of them. Nor do I believe that any disinterested person would put any other sense upon them than this, that the generality of Christians of which the Church at Constantinople consisted, assembled together with their Bishop Alexander, to praise God joy­fully for their deliverance by the death of Arius. But he will not have the words taken in a general sense, but will suppose them taken with respect to that particular Congre­gation, in which Arius was to be reconciled. Yet this sup­position hath no ground either in the words, or in the contexture of the Discourse, or any where else that I know of, or our Author either; for if he had, we should have heard it with both ears, as he speaks else­where. He will not have all the Brethren, to be all the Believers at C. P. yet he knows that Brethren and Be­lievers are Synonymous terms both in Scripture and an­cient Authors. And those were the Believers or Bre­thren of the Church of C. P. which had occasion to re­joyce, and that was the whole Church there: as for [...], render'd Ʋniversi, I do not take it for all and every one of the Christians there; for in all Assemblies, of great Churches especially, many are alwayes absent. He had dealt more fairly with Theodoret, if by all he would have understood the generality of Christians adhereing to Alexander at C. P. or the greatest part of them, and [Page 16] about such an abatement of the full import of the word, there had been no need to contend; but his restraint of it to a particular Congregation agrees not with the words, nor the occasion of them, nor hath any support elsewhere.

Nor is that better which follows, unless you will say that with all the Brethren, does not signifie their personal presence, but only their unanimity.

This looks more like a shift than a plain answer, and therefore he was well advised in not venturing to own it.

Theodoret could not think that all the Beleivers of C. P. could come together to the Bishop's Church, for he cites a Letter of Constantine's a little after, where he gives an account of the great increase of that Church.’ In the City that is call'd by my name by the Providence of God, an infinite multitude of People have joined themselves to the Church, and all things there wonderfully increasing, it seems very requisite that more Churches should be built; understanding therefore hereby what I have resolved to do, I though fit to order you to provide 50 Bibles fairly and le­gibly written.

He does not say an infinite multitude, the words of the Letter are [...], that there was a very great multitude of Christians is not denied, nor that he intend­ed to build more Churches; but this confirms what is sig­nified before, that these very many Churches were not yet built, but only in design, and that with a prospect of Christians there still increasing. And the Bibles, if they were intended only for C. P. might be for the future Churches, not the present only.

His Conclusion is, ‘where Christians were so multi­plied that it was necessary to build more Churches, and to make such provisions for the multitude of their Assemblies, it could not be that they should all make but one Congregation.’

He should have concluded that which is denied, o­therwise all he hath premised will be insignificant, and to no purpose: it is granted that all the Christians at C. P. did make more than one Congregation, and for their conveniency met at other times in several Churches. That which is denied is, that the main Body or genera­lity of Christians there could not meet in one Assembly, or did not so meet at this time with their Bishop Alex­ander, as to this he hath proved nothing, and therefore did well to conclude nothing against that which is affir­med to be the plain import of Theodoret's expression.

And it may be supposed that Theodoret, if he had not expressed it, might well think (though the contrary be suggested) that as great multitudes, as Constantine's Letters signified, might meet together at the Bishop's Church; for himself declares what a vast Congregation he preached to at Antioch, having an Auditory of many Myriads Ep. 83.. I will not ask him what Eusebius could think, when he tells us the Christians had [...], Assemblies consisting of Myriads Lib. 8. Cap. 1.. Nor what Socrates thought, when he tells us long after, of C. P. that the whole City became one Assembly, and meeting in an Ora­tory, continued there all day Lib. 7. cap. 23., [...], &c. But I would have him tell me how he understands that passage of Chrysostome, [...] i. What is the import of these words? Do they signify that ten Myriads were assembled in one place to hear Chrysostome? If so, there will be no question but that the generality of Christians might meet in one Church with Alexander in Constantine's Reign; for that then, (about 70 years before) there was any thing ne [...] so many Christians as an 100000; adhereing to one Bishop in this City, cannot with any reason be imagin­ed. [Page 18] Or does he mean only, that there were so many Myriads of Christians contained in that City? If so, then he saies here no more than in another Homily fore­cited, where the number of Christians in C. P. is com­puted to be an 100000, reckoning all besides Jews and Heathens. Now if they were no more in his time, they cannot with reason be supposed to have been above half so many in Constantine's (unless any can imagine, that their numbers advanced more in 6 years than in 70, when the succeeding Emperours multiplyed the Inhabitants excessively, [...], as Zosimus tells us Lib. 2., crouding the City so full as that they could scarce stir without danger:) and a great part of these were fallen off to Arius while Alexander was Bishop: the Novatians also, were numerous, having several Chur­ches; and these with other Sects being deducted, the Christians there that communicated with Alexander will be no more (if so many) than belong to some one of our Parishes.

‘It would swell this Preface to too great a Bulk▪ if I should answer the rest so particularly.’

Since he designed to be so breif, and to have so short a Preface, I wish he had employed more of it a­gainst that which is the strength of the Discourse he opposes, and of more consequence to the main Cause; and not have spent so many leaves upon a by-passage, for which we have little reason to be concerned: for if he could make it appear, that the Christians at C. P. in Constantine's time were more than could meet in one Congregation, yea, or in two either; that would be far from proving it a Diocesan Church, unless some one or two of our Parishes can be counted so.

Let me add in fine, that our Author has done just no­thing towards the disproving of what Theodoret was al­ledged for; unless he shew, that C. P. exceeded old [Page 19] Rome, was furnished with such an infinite number of Christians, so many (more than two) magnificent Churches there erected, the 50 Bibles thought needful to be provided, and almost all the Heathen besides many Jews converted; before Alexander (who is said to hold this Assembly with all the brethren) deceased; and so unless he prove that all this was done (which himself I think can scarce believe) in less than a year. For Vale­sius (upon whose authority this Gentleman takes much) proves at large (making it the business of one of his Books) that Alexander died (and yet must live some while after this panegyrical Assembly) in the year 331. L. 2. observ. i [...] Soc. & Soz. And its manifest, that C. P, was not built, nor had that name till 331. For tho' it was building the year before, yet it was not finished till 25 of Constantine's Reign (as Jerome and others:) and the beginning of his Reign is Chronic. reckoned from the death of Constantius his Father, who was Consul with Maximiunus in the year 306, and Fast Consul. died in the middle of it. There needs not a word more to shew that all his discourse on this subject is wholly insignificant, and not at all for his purpose, tho' this be the most considerable part of his Preface.

‘This Author gives several instances of several Bishops being in one City at the same time, in answer to the Dean of Paul's, who affirmed that it was an inviolable rule of the Church to have but one, &c. Jerusalem is the first instance, &c. I wonder to find a man of Learn­ing cite this passage, than which nothing can be more disadvantageous to his Cause.’

There is one who I suppose passes for a man of learn­ing who for the same purpose makes use of this instance, since mine was published; We have, saith he, Examples in Ecclesiastical story of of two Bishop's at the same time in the same See, and yet this was never thought Schismatical, when the second was advanced by the consent of the first. [Page 20] Thus Alexander a Bishop in Cappadocia was made Bishop of Jerusalem while Narcissus was living, but very old: and Anatolius at the same time, sate in the Church of Caesarea with Theotecnus, and this was St. Austin's own case, who was made Bishop of Hippo while there was another Bishop living Defence of Dr. St. p. 178.. He sayes also, Nothing can be more disadvan­tageous to my cause than this passage. If it had been no advantage to my cause, I should have thought it bad enough; but if nothing could be more disadvantage­ous, I am very unhappy: let us see how it is made good.

Narcissus having retired, and the people not know­ing what had become of him, the neighbouring Bi­shops ordained Dius in his place, who was succeeded by Gordius and after by Germanico, (it should be by Germanico, and after by Gordius) in whose time Narcissus returned, and was desired to resume his Office, and did so. What became of Germanico (he means Gordius,) is not said but probably he resigned or died presently.’

There is nothing to make either of these probable, it is altogether as likely, if not more, that he continued Bishop there with Narcissus for some time; but because Eusebius sayes nothing of it, I insist not on it. But be­sides he tells us, Narcissus took Alexander, into the par­ticipation of the charge. That signifies Narcissus was not excluded from the Episcopal charge, both had their parts therein. No, but sayes he, Alexander was the Bishop, Narcissus retained but the name and title only, that is, he was but a Titular, not really a Bishop, and why so? because Alexander, sayes he, joined with him in prayers, and the Historian sayes he was not able to officiate by reason of his great age. He was not able it may be to perform all the Offices of a Bishop, but what he was able to do no doubt he performed. Now if they must be but ti­tular Bishops, who perform not personally all the Of­fices [Page 21] of a Pastoral charge (when they cannot pre­tend [...]) how many real Bishops shall we find in the World? But besides the Name and Title, did he not retain the Power and Authority of a Bishop? If not, how came he to loose it? Did he resign, or was he deposed? That he resigned there is not the least in­timation in this Historian or any other; nor any in­stance in the antient Church, that ever any Bishop di­vested himself of all pastoral Power upon this account. To have deposed him for his great age had been a barba­rous Act, and such as the Church in those times cannot be charged with. No doubt but he retained the Episco­pal power, though through Age he could not exercise it in all instances; and if he had not only the Title but the Power, he was really a Bishop, and there were two Bishops at once in one Church, and then this instance is so far from being most disadvantageous, that it serves me with all the advantage I designed in alledging it.

As for the words of Valesius cited by him, if they be taken in the sense which our Author would have them, that learned man will not agree with himself. For but a very few lines before, he says, these two were Co-Episcopi, Bishops together in that City, superstite episcopo, adjutor & coepiscopus est adjunctus, And tho' he says (but says it doubtfully with a ni fallor) this was forbid­den at Sardica (above 100 years after); yet he adds that, notwithstanding it was still usual in the Church, nihil ominus identidem in ecclesia usurpatum est, which is all, that I need desire. And afterwards, where Eusebius in l. 7. c. 32. again mentions two Bishops in one City, he observes, that in one of his Copies, the Scholiast h [...]s this note up­on it in the Margin, [...], here also there were two Bishops of one Church. Valesius adds, the Scholiast understands Alexander, who was Bishop of Jerusalem together with Narcissus.

The next instance is of Theotecnus and Anatolius who were Bishops of Caesarea together. Against this he hath little to say, I suppose because nothing can be said against it in reason. Only he seems willing that Anato­lius should pass but as Episcopus designatus, whereby if he mean one, who is not yet actually a Bishop, but de­signed to be one hereafter, as Eradius was by Augustine, it is inconsistent with what Eusebius sayes and himself quotes, but one line before, viz. that Theotecnus or­dained him Bishop in his life-time; for if he was not actually Bishop after he was thus ordained, he was never Bishop at all Euseb. l. 7. c. 32..

Another instance was of Macarius and Maximus both Bishops at once of Jerusalem.

He would not have Maximus to be Bishop while Macarius lived, because it is said he was to rule the Church after his Death.

But Maximus was to govern the Church not only after his death, if he survived him (as he was like to do being much younger) but while he lived; and so did actually together with him, [...], which denotes the exercise of the same Function together Sez. l. 2. c. 19.: besides the Historian sayes, Maximus was before this ordained Bishop of Diospolis, and if he had officiated at Jerusa­lem, where they were so desirous of him, in a lower Capacity; their kindness to him had been a degrading him; which it cannot be supposed they would either offer, or he yeild to.

I alledged Epiphanius, who signifies that other Cities had two Bishops together, and excepts only Alexandria. To which he answers, that Epiphanius cannot mean that all other Cities had two Bishops at a time, nor did I say that he meant this, but his expression imports no less than that it was usual for other Cities to have two Bishops. Nor is there any reason to think that Epiphanius respects only [Page 23] the cases alledged; it was quite another case that was the occasion of his words; and diverse other instances might be brought of a different nature and occasion, though this be sufficient to shew, that the rule against two Bishops in one City was not inviolable: He adds, ‘I do not see what advantage can be made of this pas­sage.’

This passage shews that there was commonly two Bi­shops in a City at once, Alexandria is only excepted as varying herein from other Cities. And this is ad­vantage enough for me, and it is enough against him too; and leaves no reason for his pretence that it was only in extraordinary cases. I affirmed it could not be Epiphanius his meaning (as a great Antiquary would have it) that Alexandria was never so divided, as that several parties in it should have their respective Bishops there, and brought several Instances to evince it: for so it was di­vided in the time of Epiphanius, when the Catholicks had Athanasius, the Arians had Gregorius, and then Geor­gius; and afterwards the one had Peter the other Lucius, and the Novatians had their Bishops successively in that City till Cyril's time.

‘He answers however I do not see why that learned Antiquarie's opinion may not be maintained against this Gentleman's objections, he sayes that Alexandria was divided before Epiphanius his time between several Bi­shops (I said in Epiphanius's time) it cannot be denied. But that is not the thing Epiphanius speaks of, but that before the Election of Theonas against Athanasius, there were never two opposite Bishops as in other Churches.’

But this doth neither agree with the one nor defend the other; it agrees not with Epiphanius, but makes him contradict himself, for he tells us there were two opposite Bishops at Alexandria before Theonas was cho­sen. [Page 24] For this was not till Alexander's death, but he sayes Pistus was made Bishop there by the Arians while Alexander was living Her. 69. Num. 8. p. 733.. And he could not be ignorant of what Eusebius declares Vita Const. l. 3. cap. 4., that upon the division in Egypt occasioned by Arius, in every City, [...], there was Bishop against Bishop, and People against Peo­ple. Nor doth it defend the Antiquary, for he speaks universally without limiting himself to the Election of Theonas, Ecclesiam Alexandrinam nunquam in partes scis­sam quarum singulae Episcopum suum habebant, that Church was never divided so as to have opposite Bishops.

‘The instances are all later than this Fact, and there­fore are insignificant, sayes he.’

They are fully significant, both in reference to the Antiquary against whom they are brought to prove that he mistook Epiphanius, when he would have it to be his meaning, that Alexandria was never so divided as to have two opposite Bishops; for they shew it was of­ten so divided: and also in reference to Epiphanius, they were so late as his time on purpose, to shew more un­questionably, that could not be his meaning, which was against his knowledge, and notorious instances in his own time.

But he will not deny the instance of the Novatians to be significant, only Socrates does not say that they had their Bishops successively to Cyril's time.

Nor do I say he does; but he sayes Cyrill shut up the Novatian Churches there, and took away all the sacred treasure in them, and deprived their Bishop Theopom­pus of all he had. Now when our Author meets with Churches, and a Bishop over them; he is not wont to question a Succession, unless it appears he was the first.

‘It may be they began there after this time, for there is little Account in Church-History, that I know, of any Novatians in Alexandria before Athanasius,

We are little concerned about this, yet it may be they began before this time, for there is no account at all in Church History, that the Novatians began there in, or after Athanasius his time.

I had produced evidence that many African Bishops declared, in the case of Valerius and Austin, that it was usual in all parts, to have two Bishops in a City at once; to this he answers, ‘but suppose all this true, that this might be maintained by the Examples of several Churches, what is it that two Bishops may be in one Church? no, that is not the matter, but that a Bishop when he growes old, may appoint or ordain his Suc­cessour, to prevent the mischiefs, that are usually produced by popular Elections.

If what the African Bishops did alledge, were restrain­ed to that particular case he contends for; yet this is enough to make good all I intend, viz. that usually in the antient Church, there were two Bishops together in one place. For when one is ordained Bishop in the same place, when another is still living; with whatever design, upon what occasion soever this is done, yet there are two Bishops at once in the same place.

I see no reason why this should be restrained to that particular case, the occasion of what the Bishops affirm may clear it, and that was Austin's scruple, not to suc­ceed Valerius, but to be made Bishop of Hippo, while his Bishop there was living, Episcopatum suscipere, suo vivente Episcopo, recusabat, for so there would be two together, which he took to be against the Custom of the Church, contra morem Ecclesiae; but they all perswade him that this was usually done, id fieri solere, and prove it by examples in all parts Possidon. vita August. cap. 8.. And Valerius his desire and proposal was, that Austin might be ordained Bishop of Hippo, Qui suae Cathedrae non tam succederet sed Consa­cerdos accederet, not as one that was to succeed him only, but to be Bishop together with him.

When he assigns this as the reason of appointing a Successour, to prevent the mischiefs that are usually pro­duced by popular elections, he speaks his own sence, not theirs; for they were better advised than to brand the general practice of the ancient Church as mischievous, and how this suggestion becomes one, who undertakes to write a vindication of the Primitive Church, let him­self consider. Others may judge it, a more intollera­ble reflection upon the universal Church in the best and after times, than any M. B. can be justly charged with. However the reason assigned for it by Possido­nius is another thing than appears in this Authors whole account, it was because Valerius feared left some other Ibid. Church, should seek him for their Bishop, and get a per­son so approved, from him.

Whereas in fine he sayes, ‘These Cases specified were not thought to violate the Rule that allowed but one Bishop to a City.’ Yet it was thought so by St. Austin, when he excuses his suffering himself to be made Bishop with Valerius, by this, that he knew no [...] it was forbidden by a rule of the Nicene Council, Quod Conci­lio Niceno prohibitum fuisse nesciebam, and gives this as the reason why he would not so ordain Eradius.

Next he would prove, that this provision for a Suc­cessour does not destroy that Rule, by an instance, I need not transcribe it at large, the sum of it is this, when the Government is Monarchical, if it fall out once (in many Ages, as it did in England once in above 500 years) that another King be crowned, besides him who hath the Throne; yet it will be true enough, that it is the rule of those Kingdoms to have but one King. To which I say briefly, if it be usual to have two Kings in such a Go­vernment, it will scarce be thought true, that it is the inviolable Rule of those Kingdoms, to have but one King. And then how this instance will sute his pur­pose [Page 27] let those judge who take notice, that, I have al­ready proved it usual in the antient Church for Cities in all parts to have two Bishops at once.

From pag. 12. he passes to pag. 23. To shew there were more Bishopricks than one in the Region or Dio­cess of Hippo I brought several instances; and might have produced more, but that I confined my self to those which the learned Dean alledged to the contrary. Fussala is one of them, and tha alone this Gentleman takes notice of. St. Austin calls it Castellum diverse times in one Epistle. He finds fault that I translate Ca­stellum a Castle. I did no more expect to be blamed for this, than if I had render'd Oppidum a Town. But I suppose he counts it no great crime, since he runs into it himself and in a few lines after calls it a Castle.

‘But these Castles, sayes he, were Garrison Towns, with a good dependance of Villages belonging to them.’

They were Fortresses, and sometimes had Villages depending on them, and might contain so many build­ings as there are in some Village or little Town; how­ever he calls them Castles, and may give me leave to do so too.

He adds, ‘It was 40 miles distant from Hippo, and was in St. Austine's Diocess, and never had a Bishop of its own.’

It is said indeed to belong to the Diocess of Hippo, but I do not find it said to be in St. Austine's Diocess or Bishoprick; these are two things and should not be confounded. When it is said to belong to the Diocess of Hippo, so farr distant, Diocess is not taken as an Eccle­siastical sense as it is with us, for part of a Countrey under the Government of one Bishop; but as it was used in Africa in a civil sense, for part of a Province, without respect to one Bishop, or to any one Bishop at all. Some [Page 28] parts there call'd Diocesses had no Bishops, nor were to have any by Decrees of the African Councils Con. Carth. 2. Can. 5. Code Af­fric. 53.. Other places called a Diocess had more Bishops than one. Petilian sayes, that in the place where his Collegue Januarius was Bishop there were 4 Bishops besides, all five in unâ Dioecesi Coll. Carth. D. 1 Num. 117.. And thus it was in many other places, parti­cularly in that called the Diocess of Hippo, as I shew'd by diverse instances, and St. Austin's own Testimony.

Hereby it appears that in Africa, a Diocess and a Bishoprick were not the same thing, though they be with us. There were diverse Diocesses and no Bishop­ricks and many Bishopricks where but one Diocess; so that Fussala and 20 other Castles and Towns might be in the Diocess of Hippo, at 40 miles distance or more; and yet St. Austin's Bishoprick, not one jot the larger for it, nor he more a Diocesan.

Whereas he adds, that it never had a Bishop of its own. It is unquestionable that Fussala had a Bishop of its own in Austin's time; and this renders it wholly unservice­able to their purpose; for the Bishoprick of Hippo, said to be of 40 miles extent, will not upon the count of Fussala be 40 yards larger. Nor will either of these Bi­shops, nor any other in that Region be Diocesans; un­less there can be two Diocesans, and I know not how many more, in one Diocess.

I assigned this reason, why Fussala had not a Bishop sooner, because Austin declares, there was not one Catho­lick in it, and supposed this might serve the turn, not dreaming that those who count all the people in a very large Parish, or in an 100 Parishes little enough for a Diocesan; could think his Diocess competently furnish­ed when he had not one Soul (or but some few) in communion with him.

He sayes, the Town or Castle indeed had none, but the County belonging to it had some; he will have the Terri­tory [Page 29] or Parish depending on this Castle to be a County. I cannot but observe the admirable power of a fancy tinctured and prepossessed. It will turn a Parish into a County, and a Castle into a County Town; and since a County with us, was a Province with them, one Pro­vince must be as much as all Africa; and a very small part of Numidia, must be far greater than the whole. But there are some Hypotheses, which may stand in need of such imaginations.

However he likes not my reason, and why? be­cause, though it had no Catholicks in it then, it might have some before and concludes it had, because it belonged here­tofore to the Diocess of Hippo.

‘But that it formerly had Catholicks, (saies he) we may conclude by Mr. Baxter's reasoning, because it belonged heretofore to the Diocess of Hippo.

If Diocess be taken in a civil sense (as it is frequently in African Authors) this will be no proof, that there had been any Catholicks in it, because in this sense Fussa­la might belong to that Diocess, though there had not been either Christian or Bishop in the whole Region: Nor will it be hereby proved, taking it in the Ecclesi­astical sense; for that part of Hippo, which was under the Donatist Bishop, had no Catholick; and yet de jure, as he tells us, belonged to the Diocess, (as he calls it,) or charge of St. Austin. Yet since he allows Mr. Baxter's Argument, he must admit what it concludes, viz. that a place that hath no Christians or Catholicks in it, belongs to no Bishop; and then Fussala never belonged to St. Austin as its Bishop; either before it had Catholicks, for against this the Argument is admitted to be conclusive: not after, for then it had a Bishop of its own. And so all they have to alledge for the largeness of St. Austin's Bishoprick comes to nothing.

‘So that I conceive the reason will not hold, for its having no Bishop of its own, since the same reason destroys its dependence upon the the Diocess of Hippo, which is expresly affirmed.’

The reason I gave for its having no Bishop, was, because St. Austin declares there was no Catholick in it. This reason will hold, unless they think a place may have a Bishop where there are no Christians at all; when as yet they judge, that a place which hath Chri­stians enough to make a good Congregation, or many, ought not to have a Bishop. Whereas he sayes this rea­son destroys its dependance upon the Diocess, I wonder what dependance he imagines, since it is such, as both the not having of Christians, and also the having of them, destroys it. The former he here affirms, the same reason (which is its not having of Catholicks) destroys it; the latter is undeniable, for when Fussala had a competent number of Catholicks, a Bishop was there constituted; and then it depended no more on the Diocess of Hippo, than one Bishop's Church depends on another, when both are independent.

The dependance of Fussala upon Hippo was such, as that of a Countrey place upon a greater Town well furnished with Officers for their help, to convert and reduce the Inhabitants, and when enough are convert­ed to help them to a Bishop or Pastor. This St. Austin did for Fussala, he imployed Presbyters to reduce the Donatists there, and when they were reduced, he adds them not to his own charge, would not have them E­piscopo cedere; but advises them to have a Bishop of their own, and procures one for them. This was the pra­ctice of the primitive times, in these methods were Churches and Bishops multiplyed; it was not out of use in the fifth Age, this of Fussala as managed by St. Austin is a remarkable instance thereof; and if other Bishops had [Page 31] imitated him, as he did the Apostles, and best Ages, the Church would not have been troubled with de­bates about Diocesans.

That Austin would not take the Charge of a Place so far off as Fussala, he will have it ascribed to his Mo­desty. But it was such Modesty as this excellent Person made Conscience of, being convinced certissimâ ratione, by most certain reason, that he was not sufficient for it. If all other Bishops had been so modest, so conscientious, there might have been, as Nazianzen speaks, when Bi­shops were multiplyed in Cappadocia, [...], a much more desirable thing, to those that love Souls, than a great Diocess.

He gives a reason why this must be ascribed to St. Austin's modesty, because he discharged the Office of a Bishop there, in more difficult times, while the Presbyt [...]r [...] he imployed there, were barbarously used.

I need not deny that he performed the Office of [...] Bi­shop there; for it is the office of a Bishop to endeavour by himself or others, the converting or reducing of all that he can. Only this will not prove Fussala to be then a part of his Bishoprick, no more than it will prove Athanasius to have been Bishop of India; because he encouraged, and sent Frumentius with others thither, to convert the Indians Soc. l. 1. c. 15. Soz. l. 2. c. 23..

The learned Dean had cited Austin as calling himself the Bishop of that Diocess (understanding by it a Region of vast extent) I observed that in the Epistle quoted he onely saith he had the Episcopal charge of Hippo. By this the Gentleman changing my words, will have me to signifie, that he was the Bishop of the Town only. This I did not intend, but that, he was not the only Bishop of that whole Region. But whether he was Bishop of part of the Town only, or of that and some part of the Region also, I am not much concerned. His words are [Page 32] ‘as if he had been Bishop of the Town only, nay, but of part of that neither, for the Donatists had their Bishop there: so this will strangely diminish the Bi­shoprick of St. Austin which at first appeared so large.’ Then he answers, for the Donatists having a Bishop there, it signifies little to our present purpose, since he was but an Ʋsurper.

But this signifies as much to my purpose as I need; for the Donatists having a Bishoprick in Hippo, St. Austin's must needs be diminished thereby, and altogether as much lessened, as if they had not been Ʋsurpers. And they were counted no otherwise Ʋsurpers, but so that if the Donatist Bishop had been reconciled; by a Decree of the African Church he was to continue in his Bishop-there, as a rightful Possessour, and there would have been still two Diocesses (such as they were) in one Town.

He would have us believe Austin as if he declared, that he was not the Bishop of the Town only; but his words are, Ʋt modum dispensationis meae non supergrediar hoc Ecclesiae ad Hipponensem Regionem pertinenti prodesse contestor, which, sayes our Author, plainly signifies, that all the Church belonging, not only to the Town, but but also to the Region of Hippo, belonged to him.

But if he please to view the words again which him­self hath quoted, he will find it plainly signifyed, that Austin's Church belonged to the Region of Hippo, but not that all the Church both in Town and Region, belonged to him. Antonius Bishop of Fussala might have said this as truly of his Church there, as Austin did it of his Church at Hippo; it did ad Hipponensem Regionem pertinere, be­long to the Region of Hippo. And it may be as justly in­ferred from hence, that all the Church both in the Town and Region of Hippo belonged to the Bishop of Fussala. If our Author will allow of this (as he must if he will [Page 33] stand to his own account of this passage) Austin's Bishop­rick will be strangely diminished indeed, it must be con­fined to a part of Hippo and made less than I represent it. For I did not say, nor had I any need to assert, that he was Bishop of the Town only. We may allow him besides his part of the Town, diverse Villages in the Countrey (though I have not seen it proved) with­out any danger of assigning him a Diocesan Church. For Kidderminster (as one tells us, who very well knows it) hath 20 Villages belonging to it, and some thousands of Souls therein, yet according to our mo­dern measures will scarce make a Diocesan Church M. B. of E­piscopacy, Part 2. p. 9..

To shew that there were more Bishops in the Region of Hippo, than St. Austin, besides particular instances (which he passes by) I alledged a passage of his where the Donatists were desired to meet together with the Ca­tholick Bishops, that were in that Region, and who there suffered so much by the Donatists: to this he answers, ‘That these Bishops who are said to be in Regione Hip­ponensi, were not the Bishops of that Region, but some Bishops of the Province met together there.’

But that these were Bishops of the Province met to­gether there, is a meer conjecture of his own, without the least ground either in this passage or any other in that Epistle. It will not be hard to answer any thing at this rate. If there had been a Provincial Council then held in that Region, there might have been some pre­tence for what he sayes; but there is not any hint of this in the whole Epistle. That which is desired is a Meeting for conference, Hoc est ergo desiderium nostrum, &c. Primum si fieri potest ut cum Episcopis nostris pacificè conferatis—, ideo nos conferre volumus—, and the prime occasion of it was the outrages committed in that Region by the Donatists, wherein the Bishops of that place were particularly concerned. This is signi­fyed, [Page 34] as in other parts of the Epistle, so particularly in the passage cited, Episcopos nostros qui sunt in Regione Hip­ponensi, ubi tanta mala patimur. This Meeting was to be with the Catholick Bishops upon the place, in Regione Hipponensi, not any to be call'd from other parts. And these words seem brought in to prevent an objection which the Donatists might make against a more general, or more publick meeting, as that which might bring them in danger of the Laws in force against them; An fortè istae leges Imperatoris vos non permittunt nostros Episcopos conve­nire, and then immediately follows these words in answer to it, Ecce interim Episcopos nostros qui sunt in Regione Hip­ponensi, &c. so that this to me seems the plain sence of both Objection and answer; If because of the Laws you dare not meet us in a more General or Provincial Council, yet give a Meeting to the Bishops of this par­ticular Region, where there can be no apprehension of danger. All which makes me judge, what he sayes concerning the Bishops of the Province as here intended, to be no better than an Evasion.

To prove that there was but one Bishop in the Re­gion of Hippo, he tells us, ‘That the Clergy there cal­led in the Inscription of an Epistle, Clerici Regionis Hipponensium, speaking of the Bishop of Hippo, do call him their Bishop, and not one of their Bishops, &c.

But the Clergy so called, may be only the Clergy of Hippo, and so they are in the Title of the Epistle Clerici Hippone Catholici: and well may they of Hippo be called the Clergy of the Region, both because they were in that Region, and were the Clergy of it [...]. But if the ex­pression should be extended to more or to all in the Regi­on, their calling him Episcopus noster, will be no proof that they had no other Bishop, but him at Hippo. For that [Page 35] phrase Episcopus noster or Episcopi nostri, all along in this Epistle, doth not denote the Bishop of that particular Church to which they belonged (as he would have it) but a Bishop of their party or perswasion. So they call Valentinus nostrum Catholicum Episcopum, who yet was not Bishop of Hippo. So they call them Episcopos nostros, whom they desired the Donatists to meet once and a­gain pag. 373:, and thrice in another page, where our Author finds Episcopos nostros pag. 371.. He may have many more in­stances hereof in that Epistle. If there was so many Bishops in Hippo or in that Region, as the Clergy call Episcopos nostros, he must grant many more Bishops in that Region than I need desire. So that this Phrase however it be understood, is a medium unhappily cho­sen: if it be taken in my sense it is impertinent and can conclude nothing for him; if it be taken in his own sense, it will conclude directly against him.

He passes to Alexandria, and to pag. 32. The instance of Mareotis he sayes little to, so our Author, I might think it enough, where there was so little occasion.

‘He insinuates as if Mareotis might not have number enough of Christians to have a Bishop, but this Atha­nasius does sufficiently shew to be a groundless con­jecture.’

I had no intention or occasion to signifie that Mareo­tis had not Christians enough to have a Bishop, I knew that it both had many Christians, and a Bishop also, and named him too; and therefore the groundless conje­cture may be fixed somewhere else.

‘And even before Athanasius, the generality of the People there were Christians.’

How long before? Dionysius in the latter part of the third Age declares it [...], quite destitute of Christians Euseb. l. 7. c. 11., and the gaining the generality there, to the Faith, required some considerable time, and it is [Page 36] like proceeded not far, till Christianity generally pre­vailed.

Besides Ischyras, I had mentioned Dracontius, both Bishops in the Territory of Alexandria (as Agathammon also was Apol. 2. p. 612.) of Dracontius he takes notice, and sayes, possibly he was a Chorepiscopus.

But a Chorepiscopus is elsewhere with him a Dioce­san a, and here he sayes that he did accept pag. 590. Bishoprick. Now these put together will go near to make a Dioce­san Bishop. But then if there were two or three Bishops in the Diocess of Alexandria, besides Athanasius; they will scarce be so much as half Diocesans.

He sayes Athanasius press'd him to accept it. If so this great Person was no more unwilling to have another Bishop in his Diocess, and in a Countrey place too, than Austin was to have one at Fussala, He sayes further this was an extraordinary case, though what was extraordi­nary in it I cannot imagine; to prove any thing there mentioned to be so, will be an hard task.

‘And allowing this man a Countrey Bishoprick, that of Alexandria would be a great deal too bigg for the Congregational measure.’

And so it might be, and yet be no Diocesan Church; if that will satisfie him which is too big for those measures, he seems content to drop his cause, and may leave it in the hands of Presbyterians. And he is in the more danger, because he seems not apprehensive of it, but counts it enough if he thinks a Church is any where found larger than one Congregation.

I had given instances of several Towns that had Bi­shops, and were but two or three or four &c. miles distant one from another this he denies not: but asks what does this conclude? might not those Diocesses be yet much larger than one Congregation?

I might conclude that these were just such Diocesses as our Countrey Parishes are; and had such Congrega­tions as those Parish Churches have. And some of them in time might have provision (as some of ours have) for more Congregations than one. And if our modern Diocesses were of this proportion, they would be much more conformable to the antient Modells.

‘Suppose the chief Congregations of Holland had each a Bishop, yet I conceive they would be Dioce­sans, though those Cities lie very close together.’

He might have laid the scene at home, where we are better acquainted, and supposed this of our Countrey Towns; or of both the chief, and lesser Towns in Hol­land; if he had designed what would be most parallel. But to take it as it is formed, though those Cities lay not further distant, and had each of them a Bishop, yet if their Churches were governed in common by Bishop and Presbyters, as the antient Churches were; they would not be Diocesan, but more like the Model of the Churches and Government which Holland hath at pre­sent.

‘And now after all this, though we have several in­stances out of Egypt, how near Cities were together in some parts; yet upon the whole account the Dio­cesses do appear to be large enough, from the num­ber of them.’

He would have us think where Cities are so near toge­ther (as I had shewed) yet because of their number the Diocesses might be large enough. But where they were so near together, they could not be large enough to make any thing like the modern Diocesses, no, nor larger than our Countrey Parishes if they had Bishops in them. And the Ancients thought themselves obliged by the Apostle's rule to have a Bishop, not only in some but in every City, [...], sayes Chryso­stome, [Page 38] [...] In 1 Tim. Hom. 11., and Theophilact ex­presses [...] by [...], without exception of the smallness of the place or its nearness to others. The reason diverse Cities had none, was the want, or the inconsiderable number of Christians in them. No­thing but this hindered any City from having a Bishop in the four first Ages; though the greatest part of their Cities (as may be made manifest) were no greater than our Market-Towns or fairer Villages. And upon this account many Cities might want Bishops, and it may be did so, in Egypt particularly; Heathenisme pre­vailing in many places there, even in Athanasius his time; for which I could produce sufficient evidence; but will not now digress so far. Afterwards the affecta­tion of greatness in some, was the occasion of new mea­sures; and orders were made that Towns which had no Bishops before should have none after: though the reason why they had none before was gone; and those places had as many or more Christians in them, than most Episcopal Cities had of old.

‘For in Athanasius his time there were not an hun­dred Bishops in all Egypt, Lybia and Pentapolis Athan. Apol. 2..’

I was a little surprized to read this, and see Athana­sius cited for it. For I knew that Athanasius reckons 95 Bishops from Egypt besides himself, at the Council of Sardica; and others from Africa, wherein Lybia and Pentapolis are usually included; and it was never known that a major part or a third of the Bishops in a Countrey, did come to a Council at such a distance as Egypt was from Sardica. It is scarce credible that A­thanasius would so far contradict himself, as to say there were not so many Bishops in all those three Countreys, when he had signifyed there were many more in one of them. Some mistake I thought there must be, and con­sulting the place I found it not intirely represented. [Page 39] There is this Clause (immediately following the words he cites) left out, [...], none of these ac­cused me, whereby it appears that the meaning of the whole passage is this, there was an hundred Bishops in the Diocess of Egypt who appeared not against him, or that favoured him. But those who favoured Arius (whom he calls Eusebians) and Meletius, to say nothing of Co­luthus (for into so many parties was that Countrey then divided) are not taken into the reckoning; otherwise it would have amounted to many more than an hundred. Sozomen sayes the Bishops there, who took Arius his part were many, [...] Lib. 1. c. 14., and in Athanasius there is an account of many Meletian Bishops by name Apol. 2. p. 614.; and in Epiphanius it is said, that in every Re­gion through which Meletius passed, and in every place where he came he made Bishops Ep. Haer. 68..

The next thing he takes notice of is the defence of Mr. Baxter's Allegation out of Athanasius, to shew, that all the Christians of Alexandria (M. B's words are, the main body of the Christians in Alexandria) could meet in one Church.

‘It is to be confessed that the expressions of that Father seem to favour him, [...] and that the Church did [...] hold all, &c.

I am made more confident by all that is said to the contrary, that the evidence is really such, as will need no favour, if it can meet with Justice.

‘Now suppose that all the Christians in Alexandria, the Catholicks at leastwise, could meet together in that great Church, yet all the Diocess could not.’

All that was undertaken to be proved by the passage in question, was, that the main body of Christians in Alexandria adhereing to Athanasius could, and did meet in that one Church. If this be granted nothing is de­nied that he intended to prove. As for a Diocess in the [Page 40] Countrey, if he will shew us what, or where it was, and that it had no other Bishop in it, he will do something that may be considered; yet nothing at all against what this Testimony was made use of to evince.

He sayes 2dly, ‘Suppose this great great Church could receive all the multitude, yet if that multitude was too great for Personal Communion it is insignifi­cant.’

Upon this supposition it might be too great for an or­dinary meeting in the Congregational way, yet not big enough for a Diocesan Church. But the supposition is groundless and contradicts Athanasius who sayes they had Personal Communion, they all prayed together, and did not only meet within the Walls, but concurred in the worship, and said, Amen.

He sayes 3dly, ‘Before the Church of Alexandria met in distinct Congregations, but we are told that those places were very small, short and strait places.

All these save one, I said, which he ought not to have omitted. And they were so small, because those who were wont to meet in them severally, so as to fill them, could all meet in one Church, and did so as Athanasius declares.

‘But that they were such Chappels or Churches, as some of our Parishes in England have as great a num­ber as Alexandria, is hardly credible.’

I know not how those places could be well expressed with more diminution than Athanasius hath done it, he sayes they were not only strait and small, but the very smallest. If he will make it appear that our Churches or Chappels are less than those that were [...], I shall understand that which I could never before, that something is less than that which is least of all. But he will prove they were not so small, because first the Church of Alexandria was very numerous from the begin­ning. [Page 41] Why it should be counted so very numerous from the beginning, I know no reason, but the mistake of an Historian who will have a Sect of the Jews (which was numerous in or about Alexandria) to be Christians.

‘And if they met all in one place it must consequent­ly be very large.’

The ground of the consequence is removed, Valesius his own Author sayes they had but one Church to meet in, in Dionysius his time, almost 3 Ages from the begin­ning pag. 64. If that one was large, yet it is not like that it stood till Athanasius his time; after so many Edicts for demolishing of all Christian Churches, and a severe Execution of them in Diocletian's Persecution.

‘Nor is it likely they should divide till they were grown too numerous for the biggest Meeting-place they could conveniently have.’

It is as likely as that Athanasius speaks truth, in a matter which he perfectly knew; he tells us they did divide, and yet were not too numerous for one great Church, in which they met conveniently too; yea, bet­ter than when dispersed in those little places, as he sayes and proves, [...], &c.

2dly, He sayes, ‘Though before the Empire was con­verted they might be confined to little places, and forced to meet severally; yet after Constantine became Christian, it is not likely that the Alexandrians would content themselves with small and strait Chappels.’

Nor did they content themselves with those little ones, for besides this built in Athanasius his time, there was one greater than those small ones finished in Alex­ander's time, where the body of Catholicks assembled with Alexander, the other places being too strait, [...], this is that one I excepted, when I said (after Athanasius) that the rest, all save one, were exceeding small. But is it any proof that these were not [Page 42] very small which Athanasius represents as such, because there was one (expresly excepted from that number) something larger? As for what he adds, that then every ordinary City, built very great and magnificent Cathedrals, it is easily said, but will never be proved.

‘3dly, Some of these Churches had been built with a design of receiving as many as well could have per­sonal Communion in Worship together.’

Neither will this hold, unless some of those Churches could have received all, which had Personal Communi­on with Athanasius in this greatest Church; which he denies, and makes use of to Constantius as a plea why he made use of the greatest.

‘As Theonas is said by Athanasius to have built a Church bigger than any of those they had before.’

Where Theonas is said by Athanasius to have built a Church, &c. I find not, nor does he direct us where it may be found, I suppose for very good Reason. In­deed Athanasius in this Apology speaks of a Church called Theonas (it's like in memory of a former Bishop of that place) where he sayes the multitude of Catholicks met with Alexander, [...]; in like Circum­stances, as a greater multitude assembled with himself in the new Church, which was greater, and pleads Alex­ander's example in defence of what he did. But Theonas could not build this Church, for he was dead many years before, being Predecessour to Peter whom Achil­las and Alexander succeeded Euseb. l. 7. c. ult. Theodoret [...]. 1. c. 2..

‘And yet this and all the rest were but few and strait in comparison of the great multitude of Catholicks that were in Alexandria.

I expected another Conclusion, but if this be all, he might have spared the premisses; for one part of it we assert, the other we need not deny, only adding with Athanasius, that the greatest Church was capable [...], of receiving this great multitude.

But here he sticks, and will wriggle a little more, ‘But I conceive, sayes he, after all this, that the expressi­ons of Athanasius do not conclude that all the Christi­ans in Alexandria were met in this great Church.’

That all and every one did come, was never imagined. It is but the main body of the Catholicks that M. B. in­tends, as our Author observes a little before.

‘For the tumultuous manner in which they came to their Bishop to demand a general Assembly, makes it probable that not only Women and Children, would be glad to absent themselves, but many more, either apprehensive of the effect of this tumultuous proceeding, or of the danger of such a crowd.’

The Women he will not admit; but was it ever known that such a great and solemn Assembly for Wor­ship consisted only of Men? Were not the Women in Communion with Athanasius's Christians, that they must be left out, when he sayes all the Catholicks met? Can all be truly said to assemble when the farr greater part (Women, Children and his many more) were absent? Are not the Women in the Primitive Church often noted for such Zeal for the Worship of Christ, as made them contemn far greater dangers, than here they had any cause to be apprehensive of? The supposed danger was either from the Crowd or the Tumult. For the for­mer, did the Women and many more never come to Chri­stian Assemblies, when there was any danger of being crowded? I think there was as great danger from a crowd in Basiliscus his Reign, when the whole City of C. P. is said to have met together in a Church with the Em­perour, but yet the Women stayed not behind but crowd­ed in with the men, as Theodorus Lector reports it, [...] Collect. lib. 1▪. Besides Athanasius here signifies the dan­ger of a crowd was in the lesser Churches, (not in this) [Page 44] where they could not meet but [...], and so drefers their assembling together in the great Church as better.

As for the Tumults (which might have been conceal­ed in a Vindication of the primitive Church) if there was any thing tumultuous, it was over when Athanasius had complyed with their desires to meet in the great Church. And so no apprehension of danger left to women, or any else, upon this account.

‘And even those that did assemble there were too many for one Congregation, and was an assembly more for Solemnity and Ostentation than for Personal Communion in Worship, and the proper ends of a religious Assembly.’

Here he runs as cross, to the great Athanasius and the account which he gives of this Assembly as if he had studied it, debasing that as more for Ostentation than for Personal Communion in Worship, and the proper ends of a Religious Assembly, which Athanasius highly com­mends both for the more desirable communion which the Christians had there in Worship, and for the greater ef­ficacy of it as to the proper ends of a Religious Assembly. Let any one view the passages Apol. 2. p. 531. 532. and judge. He sets forth the harmony, and concurrence of the multitude in worship with one voice. He preferrs it before their assem­blies, when dispersed in little places, and not only be­cause the unanimity of the multitude was herein more ap­parent, but because God would sooner hear them, [...]. For if, sayes he, according to our Saviour's promise, where two shall agree concerning anything it shall be done for them by my Father, &c. how prevalent will be the one voice of so numerous a people, assembled to­gether and saying Amen to God? and more to that pur­pose, by which we may perceive, Athanasius being Judge, how true is it that this Assembly was more for [Page 45] Solemnity and Ostentation, than for Personal Commu­nion in Worship and the proper ends of a Religious Assem­bly. And thus much to let us see through the Arts used to cloud a clear passage alledged out of Athanasius; if M. B. had betaken himself to such little devises, in like Circumstances; our Author would have taken the Li­berty to tell him, that he was driven to hard Shifts.

Before we leave Alexandria I am to take notice of what is said by our Author, to part of a Letter writ by a Friend to M. B. concerning this City and the num­ber of Christians therein in Constantius his time. The Writer of it observes a gross abuse put upon him in the Vindicator's Answer to it, and desires his defence may be here inserted. It contains an argument to confirm what was concluded from th [...] passage in Athanasius here insisted on, that the Catholicks then could meet in one place. After that passage and to this purpose M. B. introduced it, as is very apparent Church Hist. pag. 9. 10.. This our Author seems to observe when he begins with it; he adds, sayes he, to this of Athanasius (the very passage mentioned) another argument given him by a learned Friend Pag: 58.. And after he hath done with it Pag. 63., because M. B. has endea­voured to represent the Church of Alexandria so inconsidera­ble even in Constantius his dayes, &c. And yet, how it comes to pass I know not, it is quite out of his thoughts while he is examining it. He was so hasty for confuting, that he staies not to take notice what he was to confute, though the intent of it be most plain and obvious, both by the occasion and words of the Letter: But Forces that sense on it, and makes that the design of it; which I was far from thinking, would ever come into any man's Fancy, when he was awake. The words of the Letter are these; The City of Alexandria, sayes Strabo, is like a Soldiers Cloak, &c. and by computation about ten miles in compass, a 3d. or 4th. part of this was taken up with [Page 46] publick buildings, Temples and Royal Palaces; thus is two miles and an half or three and a quarter taken up. He answers, ‘I will not say this learned friend hath imposed on M. B. but there is a very great mistake betwixt them.’

But the mistake is his own, and such a one, as I won­der how he could fall into it. He takes it for granted, that the Argument is brought to prove what Christians Alexandria had in Strabo's time. Here is not the least occasion given for this, unless the citing of Strabo shew­ing the dimensions of that City: but Primate Ʋsher is quoted too, on the same account; and so as much rea­son to fancy the design was to shew what Christians A­lexandria had in the Primate's time. Jcrome, Epipha­nius, Theodoret, Socrates, Sozomen are also cited there; why could not these as well lead him to the right Age, which their words plainly point at, without the least glance at any Age before, as Strabo alone (cited with­out any respect to the time when he writ) so far mis­lead him? Nay, the 4th. age is expresly mentioned in the Letter; and the numerousness of the Novatians and Arians in Alexandria at the time intended, is insisted on; could he think any man so stupid, that had but the least acquaintance with those things, as to speak of Arians, and Novatians in Strabo's time? But it may be, though I would hope better, our Examiner was too inclinable to fix an absurd thing upon the Wri­ter of the Letter; that he might be excused, from giving a better answer when it was not ready.

But let us hear what he sayes to it; yet what can be expected to be said by one who makes his own dream the Foundation of his Discourse? However let us try if we can find any one clause that is true and pertinent in the whole, and begin with the best of it.

Though Strabo sayes that Temples and great Palaces took up a 4th. or a 3d. of the City, yet our Examiner [Page 47] will have us think there might be inhabitants there; when Epiphanius sayes, as I cited him, that part was [...], destitute of Inhabitants, so he tells us Bruchium was. The Examiner denies not Bruchium to be that Re­gion of the City which Strabo sayes, was taken up with Publick Buildings, but adds, what all the publick build­ings of the Town in one Region? But who said all the Publick Buildings? This is his own fancy still.

‘And that an outer skirt too, as it is described by the Greek Martyrology in Hillarion, &c.’

If he mean it was not a Part or Region of the City Strabo and Epiphanius will have Credit before a story out of the Greek Martyrology, or him that tells it, when it appears not in the words cited. In Strabo it is [...] part of the City, in Epiphanius it is a Region, [...]. For as Rome was divided into 14 Regions, and de pond. ut mens p. 166. C. P. in imitation of it, so Alexandria was divided into 5, whereof Bruchium was one, and the greatest of all. So I understand Ammianus Marcellinus, who upon the loss of Bruchium saith, amisit regionum maximam parteni quae Bruchium apellatur; Alexandria lost the greatest of its Regions, which was called Bruchium.

‘This Epiphanius sayes was destitute of Inhabitants in his time, and not unlikely, and perhaps destitute of Publick Buildings too, for it was destroyed after an obstinate siege in the Reign of Aurelian as Ammianus Marcellinus, or of Claudius as Eusebius.

When he hath granted all that I designed, that this part was destitute of Inhabitants, and more too, that it was destroyed, yet he would have the City no less, no necessity of this, sayes he, sure we are not yet awake? can a City loose [...], in the Historian's words, a 4th. yea, or a third part of its largeness, and yet not be so much the less? He hath no­thing to salve this, but it may be, and it might be, [Page 48] groundless surmises, without either reason or authority.

‘They might inlarge upon another quarter, being it may be forbid to build Bruchium—they might dwell closer than before, and so their multitude be un­diminisht.’

How far it is from being true, that their multitude was undiminisht; and how needless either to inlarge—or to dwell closer, may soon appear. The multitude must needs be much diminished in such a War, and a close siege of many years continuance, for so it is reported both by Eusebius and Jerome; and it was much wasted in Chronic. and in a consumptive condition, before it was thus be­sieged and dismantled by Claudius 2. or Aurelian.

It was greatly diminished in numbers by Caracalla who Massacred a great part of the Inhabitants. Herodian sayes, [...], &c. the slaughter was such that with the streams of bloud, which ran from the place, not only the vastest outlets of Nilus, but the Sea, all along the Shore of Alexandria was discoloured Hist. Lib. 4.. Towards the latter end of the third Age, Dionysius gives an ac­count of the strange diminution of the Alexandrians In Euseb. lib. 7. cap. 22., signifying that in former daies the elderly men were more numerous, than in his time, both young and old, compriz­ing all from infancy, to extream old age, [...].

‘However certain it is, that this City long after the destruction of Bruchium, retained its ancient Great­ness; and is represented by no Author as diminisht ei­ther in Number or Wealth.’

This is certain no otherwise than the former, i. e. quite the wrong way. For not long after the destruction of Bruchium, in the Egyptian War made by Diocletian up­on Achilleus, which Eusebius, Eutropius and others men­tion: It was greatly diminisht both in numbers and wealth. For Alexandria after a long siege, was taken by force [Page 49] and plundred, great Execution done upon the Citizens, and the Walls of the Town demolished.

A great part of the City (sayes the Letter) was assign­ed to the Jews, so Strabo indefinitely as Josephus quotes him, others tell us more punctually, that their share was two of the five divisions; though many of them had their habi­tations in the other divisions, yet they had two 5th. parts in­tire to themselves; and this is I suppose the [...] which Josephus sayes the Successors of Alexander, set apart for them; thus we see how 6 or 7 miles of the 10 are dis­posed of. To this he sayes, ‘The number of those Jews was much lessened within a little while after Strabo by an insurrection of the Alexandrians against them.’

I suppose he means by that slaughter of them which Josephus mentions De Bello Ju­daic. l. 2. c. 21., where 50000 were destroyed; but what were these to the vast number of Jews in Egypt, which Philo Legat. ad Caium. sayes amounted to no less than a mil­lion?

‘The civil Wars afterwards under Trajan and his Successor had almost extirpated them.’

It was in Palestine where these Tragedies were acted, and was so far from extinguishing them in Egypt or A­lexandria, that thereby, in all probability; their num­bers were there increased; for being divested of about 1000 Towns and Garrisons by Severus (Adrian's Gene­ral) as Dion reports, and forbidden all access to Jeru­salem as Aristo Pelleus in Eusebius Lib. 4. cap. 6., this made other places more desireable, those particularly where they might have good entertainment as they were wont to have at Alexandria, and what Dion Chrysostome sayes, confirms it.

But all this which he sayes, if there were truth in it, is impertinent; for the Letter is not concerned what Jews were there near Strabo or Adrian's time, but in [Page 50] the fourth Age. Yet this is all that he hath to say to the rest of the Letter, besides the publishing and repeating of his own mistake, and upon no other ground making himself sport with the Writer of it.

Thus he begins, by the same rule he might have disposed of all at once, and concluded out of Strabo's division of the Town, that there was not one Christian in it: and repeats it thrice in the same Page, No matter what number of Jews or Heathens it had in Strabo's dayes—, it is kindly done to provide for Christians before they were in being, surely Strabo, who makes the distribution, never intended the Christians one foot of ground in all that division, and this learned Friend might have spared his little Town of 8 or 10 Furlongs, which he so liberally bestows upon the Bishop of Alexandria, before our Saviour was born—, and he is at it again several times in the following discourse Pag. 69. 94..

How desirable a thing is it to have M. B. and his Friend render'd ridiculous? when rather than it shall not be done, our Examiner will publish his own indis­cretion so many times over to effect it. But I will for­bear any sharper reflections upon this Author, for taking him to be an ingenuous Person, I may expect he will be severe upon himself, when he discerns his errour; which I doubt not but he will see clearly by once more reading that Letter.

Next he would disprove M. B's representation of the Church of Alexandria in Constantius's time, by giving a view of that Churches greatness from the first Founda­tion of it Pag. 61.; which because it may concern the Letter du­ly understood, I shall take some notice of it very briefly. But there is something interposed, between this and the Letter, which requires some observance; there we may have an instance of this Gentleman's severity upon M. B. and how reasonable it is; ‘His remark, sayes he, upon two Bishops living quietly in Alexandria is so [Page 51] disingenuous a suggestion, that he hath reason to be asham'd of it.’

But what is there in this so disingenuous and shameful? Does not Epiphanius say this, and our Examiner ac­knowledge it pag. 107.? Ay, but M. B. means that there were not only two Bishops, but their distinct Churches in this City. Well, and does not Epiphanius give him suffici-ground for it? Does he not tell us that Meletius made Bishops, who had their [...] in every place where he came? Does he not signifie that the Meletians in Alexandria had their distinct Churches or Meetings both in the time of Alexander and Athanasius? sayes he not particularly of Meletius that being familiar with Alex­ander he stayed long in that City, having [...] a distinct Meeting with those of his own Party? Were there not innumerable Cities in that Age which had two Bishops and their Churches, some three or four at once (those of the Arians, the Donatists, the Nova­tians, the Meletians, &c. besides those who were styl­ed Catholicks) Would this Gentleman take it well if M. B. should tell him, that he who denies this is disingenu­ous if he know it, and hath some reason to be ashamed if he know it not? Ay, but Epiphanius was deceived in this account of the Meletians, and mis-represents them. Indeed our Examiner makes as bold with Epiphanius (a Bishop of great Zeal and Holiness, a Metropolitan, a famous Writer (as he does with M. B. charging him with much weakness (as one easily imposed upon) many oversights, gross mistakes, diverse absurd things, and such stories, that he will scarce wish worse to his Adversary, than to believe him Pag. 112. 113. &c.. Nor does Epiphanius alone fall under his censure in his Vindication of the Primitive Church (as he calls it) he goes near to accuse more par­ticular Persons (Bishops amongst others) of eminency in the antient Church, than he defends; so that one [Page 52] may suspect his design was, not so much to defend emi­nent Bishops, as great Bishopricks such as the antient Church had none, and to run cross to M. B. more than to vindicate any.

‘In St. Mark's time Alexandria had several Churches, though but one Bishop, &c Euseb. l. 2 c. 16.’

What Eusebius sayes of Churches in Alexandria at that time, is grounded upon a mistake, as appears, because immediately after the words cited, he adds, so great was the multitude of Beleivers at Mark's first attempt there, that Philo in his writings thought fit to give an account of them, [...]. Eusebius conceived that the Essenes, as Scaliger, or the Therapeutae, as Valesius, whom Philo describes, were the Christians of Mark's Conversi­on; and there being Assemblies of that Sect of the Jews in Philo's time, the Historian speaks of Christian Churches at Alexandria in Mark's time; but those who believe that he erred in the former, can have no reason to give him credit in the latter. Our Examiner does not deny that he was mistaken, but sayes, it is not ma­terial whether they were Jews or Christians; yet those who inquire after Truth sincerely, will think it material; and little value a Testimony which hath no better ground than a mistake.

The next is no better Pag. 62., that is an Epistle of A­drian, which others are puzzled to make sense of, or such sense as can have any appearance of Truth. That very passage in it, which is the only ground of our Author's Argument, himself acknowledges to be false; for he would shew the Christians in Alexandria to be numerous enough for his purpose, because it is there said that some (whom he takes to be Christians) did force the Patriarch (whoever he be) to worship Christ, and yet adds, there is no doubt but Adrian does the Chri­stians wrong in this point, for they never forced any to their [Page 53] Religion. Will he have us to rely upon reasonings, which have no better Foundation, than what is un­doubtedly false by his own Confession? He sayes also it is not material to our purpose whether this Patriarch were Bishop of Alexandria, or chief Governour of the Jews. If so, then it is not material with this Gentleman, either to argue from that which is not true, or else from that which is nothing to his purpose. For if this Patriarch was the Bishop of Alexandria, that they forced him to worship Christ, is not true, he did it of his own accord: and if it be not one, who was no Christian, that they forced; then is not any thing in this passage to his pur­pose, and Adrian's Epistle might have been waved as a meer impertinency.

That which follows Pag. 63., hath not the shew of a reason, the great Catechists of Alexandria, as Pantenus, Cle­mens, Origen and Heracles, did not a little advance the growth of Christian Religion in that place, &c.

Must there needs be a Diocesan Church there because the Catechists did advance Religion not a little?

The next concerning Dionysius his Church meeting at Chebron (Cephro it should be) and Coluthio, is already fully answered, as it is offered with better improvement than our Examiner gives it No Evidence for pag. 35, 36.. It cannot easily be ap­prehended how a larger Church meeting with Diony­sius, made up of those banished with him, and others from several parts of Egypt, at Cephro, a Village in Ly­bia, a distinct Province; should prove that he had a Diocesan Church in Alexandria, to any, but those who are very inclinable to believe it without proof. Nor will others understand that Dionysius is better proved to be a Diocesan by the Christians which came from Alex­andria to Coluthio in Mareotes; (there being none there besides) for the Believers in Alexandria it self, were no more than one Church could hold, as Valesius collects [Page 54] from this very place to our Examiners regret, Ex hoc loco colligitur, aetate quidem Dionysii, unicam adhuc fuisse Alexandriae Ecclesiam, in quam omnes Ʋrbis illius fideles, Orationis causâ, conveniebant Not. in Euseb. lib. 7. cap. 11..

In the next Paragraph our Examiner argues for the great numbers of Christians at Alexandria, from the multitude of Martyrs at Thebes.

‘Under the Persecution of Diocletian what numbers of Christians might be at Alexandria, may be judged by the multitude of Martyrs that suffered at Thebes Pag. 64., &c.’

But here he mistakes Eusebius, who gives an account not of the Martyrs which were [...], in the City Thebes, but [...], the Province Thebais: which was half of that large Kingdom, according to the antient division of it into the upper and lower Egypt. The Supe­riour Egypt was Thebais, the inferiour was called some­times the Delta, sometimes Egypt in a restrained sense, and this division in these terms we have in Eusebius (to go no further) a little before Cap. 6., [...], where he begins his account of the Martyrs in this Countrey. Now if the Christians in that Provice of large extent, and comprising very many Cities may be concluded to be very numerous from the multitudes of Martyrs which suffered there; yet nothing at all can be inferred for any numbers to his purpose in the City Thebes, by which he would conclude their numerousness in Alexandria. But if M. B. had mistaken one City for so large a Countrey with multitudes of Cities in it, and made that mistake the ground of his reasoning; it is like our Examiner would have exposed him for it in his Preface, as he does for some lesser matters.

In the following Paragraph Pag. 65., there is a groundless supposition, that the division of Alexandria into Parishes was antienter than Arius, there being no mention of it [Page 55] by any antient Author: as also an accusation of Peta­vius as mistaking Epiphanius his words, without any Serm. of Sepera­tion p. 28. cause that I can discern in those words, though he sayes, it is plain there. That which he sayes is plain, the learned Dean of Paul's could not discern, but un­derstood Epiphanius as Petavius and others did before him. These I took to be preliminaries and expected his Argument, but found it not, unless it be couched in the first words.

‘The Division of Alexandria between several Pres­byters, as it were into so many Parishes, &c.

But this signifies nothing for his purpose, if those in Alexandria thus divided could all meet in one place, as Athanasius declares they did; and that so plainly that any one will judge so, whose interest is not too hard for his judgment. Valesius (who had no byass unless what might lead him the other way) understood it as I do; and expresses it in these words. (deciding the matter so long insisted on, against our Author) After­wards in the times of Athanasius, when there were more Churches built by diverse Bishops of Alexandria, the Citi­zens assembled in several Churches severally and in parcels, as Athanasius sayes in his Apology to Constantius; but on the great Festivals, Easter and Pentecost, no particular assemblies were held, sed universi in majorem Ecclesiam conveniebant, ut ibidem testatur Athanasius, but all of them assembled together in the great Church as Athanasius testifies.

So that there can be no pretence that the Church in Alexandria was Diocesan at this time, unless those who could meet together in one place might make such a Church. Yet this was then the greatest Church in the Empire save that at Rome, and what he adds makes that at Rome very unlike such Diocesan Churches, as are now asserted.

Valesius inferrs from the same passage of Pope Inno­cent's Epistle to Decentius, which Petavius brings to prove the contrary, that though there were several Titles or Churches in Rome then, and had been long before, yet none of them was as yet appropriated to any Presbyter, but they were served in common as great Cities in Holland and some other reformed Countreys, that have several Churches and Mini­sters, &c.

The Advocates for these Churches, who assign the bounds of a Diocess with most Moderation, will have it to comprize a City with a Territory belonging to it; but there was no Church in the Territory which belonged to the Bishop of Rome, he had none but within the City, as Innocentius declares in the cited Epistle, where­as now the greatest City with a Territory larger than some antient Province is counted little enough for a Diocess. Further it is now judged to be no Diocess which comprises not very many Churches with Presby­ters appropriated to them; but he tells us none of the Churches in Rome were appropriated to any Presbyter, but they were served in common. How? as greater Cities in Holland and some other reformed Countreys, and then they were ruled in common as these Cities are. The Government of many Churches is not there, nor was of old, ever entrusted in one hand; and thus the Bishop of Rome was no more a Diocesan than the Pres­byters of that City.

He concludes Pag. 66. with two Assertions which will neither of them hold good. The first that it is evident out of Athanasius how the Bishop of that City had from the beginning several fixed Congregations under him.

This is so far from being evident in Athanasius, that he hath not one word which so much as intimates that the Bishop of Alexandria from the beginning had any such Congregations under him.

The other is that those of Mareotes must be supposed to receive the faith almost as early as Alexandria.

How true this is we may understand by Dionysius Bishop of Alexandria towards the latter end of the third Age, who declares that then Mareotes was [...] Euseb. l. 7. c. 11., it was so far from having any true Christians in it, that it had none of our Author's old Christians, i. e. virtuous, good men pag. 60.. Nor is it like­ly that the faith was there generally received till many years after; and therefore not almost so early as Alex­andria, unless the distance of above 200 years will con­sist with his almost. For Alexandria received the Faith by the preaching of Mark, who arrived there, sayes Eusebius, in the 2d. of Claudius Chron. Euseb., others in the 3d. of Caligula Chron. Alex.. But in the time of Dionysius it doth not ap­pear that Mareotes had so many Christians, as Bishop Ischyras his Church there consisted of, though those were but seven, [...] Athan. Apol. 2. pag. 615.. But enough of Alexandria, though our Author is far from bringing enough to prove it even in the 4th. age a Diocesan Church. He may be excused for doing his utmost to this purpose, considering the consequence of it, for if this Church was not now so numerous as to be Diocesan, it will be in vain to expect a discovery of any such Churches in the whole Christian World in those times; for this is ac­knowledged to be the greatest City and Church in the Roman Empire next to Rome. So that there cannot be so fair a pretence for any other inferiour to this, such as Jerusalem, Carthage, Antioch, &c. much less for ordinary Ci­ties, which were 10 times less considerable than some of the former, as may be collected from what Chrysostome sayes of one of them [...], that it was able to maintain the poor of ten Cities In Mat: Hom. [...]..

So far the Writer of the Letter. Let me now return to our Author's Preface; To shew that the Christians [Page 58] in Alexandria adhereing to Athanasius were not so ex­ceeding numerous as is pretended, and not to be com­pared with the Christians now in London, I had said, that the greatest part of the Inhabitants of that City were at this time Heathens or Jews; of those who passed for Chri­stians, it is like Athanasius had the lesser share Pag. 34., the No­vatians and other Sects, the Meletians especially, and the Arians, did probably exceed his flock in numbers, it may be the Arians there were more numerous. This last clause (which appears by the expression, I was not positive in) he alone sixes on, and would disprove it by a passage out of Athanasius. But the Greek is false printed, and and the sense defective for want of some word, and so no Judgment can be well passed thereon, unless I saw it; and where to see it he gives no direction. My con­cern therein is not so great as to search for it through so voluminous an Author. It will serve my turn well e­nough, if the Arians were but very numerous, or as Sozomen expresses them, [...] Lib. 1. c. 14:, which cannot be denied, though they alone were not more numerous. The last thing he would take notice of, is the Diocess of Theodoret, but this is remitted to the Dean of Paul's, yet one thing he sayes he cannot omit; though some may think that he had better have passed it (as he had many other things); than being so much in haste, to slip at almost every line, as he does in those few which concern it.

If these 800 Churches, not 80 as this Gentleman reckons them (it was not he but the Printer that so reckoned them, as the Errata shew) belonged to him as Metropo­litan, and they were all Episcopal Churches (I never met with any before, that took them for Episcopal Churches, and how he should fall into this mistake I cannot ima­gine; I will not believe that he creates it, to make himself work) this poor Region of Cyrus would have more [Page 59] Bishops than all Africa (not so neither, for by the con­ference at Carthage, and the abbreviation of it by St. Au­stin, much more to be relyed on, than the Notitia published by Simond, which is neither consistent with others, nor with it self, Africa had many more Bishops than 800) notwithstanding they were more numerous there than in any part of the World besides. Nor will this pass for true with those, who take his own account concern­ing their numbers in Africa (which he reckons but 466 Vindic. p. 149. taking in those of the Schismaticks too; about 66 for each Province one with another, counting them as he does seven:) and the account which others give of their numbers, in the antient Roman Province, the King­dom of Naples, the Island Crete, Ireland, to say nothing of Armenia, and other parts of the World.

That which follows, is I suppose, instead of an An­swer to the other part of my discourse concerning the po­pular election of Bishops, which this Gentleman was as much concerned to take notice of, as of the few pas­sages he hath touched in the former part, why he did not I will not enquire further, but satisfie my self with what is obvious; especially since he tells us he intends a discourse of such a Subject. If in this designed work he satisfies me, that it was not the general practice of the antient Church, for the People to concur in the choice of their Bishops, he will do me a greater displeasure, than the confutation of what I have writ, or any other that I can fear he intends me; by taking me off from further Conversation with antient Authors, as persons by whose Writings we can clearly know nothing. For if that point be not clear in Antiquity. I can never expect to find any thing there that is so.

I intended to conclude this discourse here, without giving the Reader further trouble; but considering there are misapprehensions about the Subject in que­stion, [Page 60] those being taken by diverse, for Diocesan Churches which indeed are not such, and arguments used to prove them so which are not competent for that pur­pose, (of which there are many instances, as elsewhere so particularly in the latter end of this Authors dis­course): I thought it requisite for the rectifying of these mistakes, and to shew the insufficiency or imper­tinency of such reasonings, to give an account what mediums cannot in reason be esteemed, to afford com­petent proof of Diocesan Churches.

In general, Those who will satisfy us that any Churches, in the first Ages of Christianity, were Dioce­san, should prove them to be such Diocesans as ours are, as large or near as large; otherwise what they offer, will scarce appear to be pertinent. For the rise of this debate is the question between us, whether the Bishops of these times be such as those in the primitive Church. This we deny, because modern Bishops will have another sort of Churches or Dioceses, than were known in the best Ages. Not that we reject all Dioceses or Diocesan Churches, for both [...] and [...] are used by the Antients for such Churches as we allow. It is those of a later Model, that we approve not, as vastly differ­ing from the antient Episcopal Churches. The modern Dioceses, and Churches thence denominated are ex­ceeding great and extensive, consisting of many scores, or many hundred particular Churches, whereas for the three first Ages we cannot find 3 Bishops that had two particular Churches in his Diocess, nor in the 4th. one in 50 (if I may not say one in a hundred) that had more. So that the difference is exceeding great, and more considerable in the consequence thereof, which I had rather give an account of in the words of the very learned D. St. than mine own. Dioceses generally, sayes he, in the primitive, and Eastern Churches were very small [Page 61] and little, as far more convenient for this end of them in the Government of the Church under the Bishops charge Iren. p. 376., and elsewhere, Discipline, sayes he, was then a great deal more strict, Preaching more diligent, Men more ap­prehensive of the weight of their Function, than for any to undertake such a care and charge of Souls, that it was im­possible for them even to know, observe or watch over, so as to give an account for them Pag. 332., Men that were imployed in the Church then did not consult for their ease and honour, and thought it not enough for them to sit still, and bid others work Pag. 333.. St. Austin speaking of the 3d. Age, makes account of many thousand Bishops then in the World Contra Crescon. lib. 3.. Our Author seems to treat that excellent Person something coursely on this occasion, and goes near to question his judgment or veracity for it, Pag. 534. some may think this not over decently done (to say no more) when it is his business, to vindicate some antient Bishops who need it, to reflect upon one, so untainted, as to need none. How­ever since he sayes that Father judged of other Ages by his own, when Dioceses were exceedingly multiplyed Pag. 535., we may suppose he will grant there were many thousand Bishops in the 4th. Age. Yet among so many thousand Bishops I do not expect that any can shew me 20 (if I may not say 10.) who had so many Churches in their Diocess, as some Pluralists amongst us may have, who yet never pretend to have a Diocesan Church. Those therefore who will make proof of such Diocesan Churches as are in question, must shew us some in the primitive times something like ours in largeness and extent. A­mongst the instances produced for this purpose by for­mer or later Writers, I find none any thing near to ours, save that only of Theodoret in the 5th. Age. But this in the former Discourse was shewed to be so insuf­ficient to serve the ends it is alledged for, that I may hope it will be prest no more for this Service.

More particularly. 1st. It proves not a Church to be Diocesan because it consists of more than can meet together in one place, for there are Parishes in this Land that contain many hundreds or thousands more than can meet in the Parish Church, and yet are but counted single Congregations. Though multitudes in such Churches be far from proving them to be Diocesan, yet I think two instances cannot be given in the third Age of more in one Church than are in some single Con­gregations amongst us; nor many afterwards, till A­rianism and Donatism were suppressed; which the lat­ter was not in Africa till after the famous Conference at Carthage, Anno 410; nor the former in other parts dur­ing the 4th. Age; for though Theodosius made some sharp Declarations against them and other Hereticks, yet none but the Eunomians were prosecuted, if we be­lieve Socrates Lib. 5. c. 20.; that Emperour gave not the least trouble to the rest, forced none to communicate with him, but allowed them their Meetings, and even in C. P. when afterwards the Arians divided among themselves, each party had several Congregations in that City Lib. 5. c. 23.; both that which adhered to Marinus, and that also which followed Dorothius, these keeping the Churches which they had before and the other erecting new Chur­ches.

I know there are those, who from some passages in Tertullian Apol. c. 37. & ad Scapulam., would infer that the Christians in his time were the major part of the Inhabitants in all Cities, and so enough not only for vast Congregations, but for Di­ocesan Churches. But Tertullian was a great Oratour and frequently uses hyperbolical expressions, which ought not to be streined. Such are those insisted on, and by regular construction they import no more than that the Christians were very numerous in many parts of the Empire. Those that will have them streined, and un­derstood [Page 63] as they found, offer great injury to Tertullian, making him intend that which hath no warrant in any Records of Antiquity, Civil or Ecclesiastical, that I can meet with. Before they impose such a sense on him, they ought in reason to make it manifest, that the Chri­stians were the major part of the inhabitants in some considerable Cities at that time; when I believe they cannot produce two instances in the whole Empire, I ne­ver yet could meet with one.

Our Author from these Oratorical expressions sticks not to conclude, that it is evident that the Christians were the major part every where, but in Rome more emi­nently so, and Dr. Downham signifies that Tertullian speaks chiefly of the City of Rome Defence l. 2. c. 5. p. 98., this Gentleman sayes, that by his account it is made very probable, that they were the better half of the Roman Empire, and tells us, it is pag. 54. certain that the number of Christians at Rome was propor­tionably greater than in any part of the Empire. Now how far the Christians at Rome were from being the major part of the Inhabitants, we may judge by the vast dis­proportion between the poor in the Church at Rome, and those in the whole City. Cornelius near 50 years after Tertullian (when it was of more growth by half an Age) reckons the poor of his Church to be 1500; whereas out of Suetonius and others, the poorer sorts of Citizens, quae è publico victitabat, are computed to be 320000 Lipsius d [...] Mag. Rom. l. 3. cap. 2..

Many take occasion from the thousands converted at Jerusalem, Acts 2. and 4. to conclude the vast number of Christians and exceeding largeness of Churches else­where. Our Author hath nothing from Scripture for Diocesan Churches but this, which is considerable Pag. 435, &c.; nor will this appear so, if but a small part of those thou­sands can be counted inhabitants of Jerusalem, and so fixed in that Church. And this is as demonstrable as [Page 64] any thing of this nature can be. For this miraculous Conversion was at Pentecost, one of the three great Feasts, when there was a vast concourse of Jews and Proselytes from all parts to that City: These converted were not only Inhabitants of Jerusalem but Forreigners; and in all reason more of these proportionably, as they exceeded the Inhabitants in number. And then those of the City will scarce be a 20th part of the 5 or 8000 Converts. For the Forreigners that resorted to Jerusalem at these great Solemnities are reckoned to be three mil­lions, [...] Joseph de Bel. Judaic. Lib. 2. cap. 24., whereas the Inhabi­tants of that City were but about an 120000 [...], but of this elsewhere more fully.

The Author of the Vindication will not have so great a part of those Converts to be Strangers, and to return home when the Feast was over, and assigns something like reasons for it.

‘1st, That the Scripture gives no countenance to this Conjecture, but sayes all those strange Nations were Inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the Original word in­clines most on this side.’

That he should say the Scripture gives no countenance to this, is something strange. It is plain in Scripture, that God injoyned the Children of Israel to repair to Jeru­salem from all quarters of the Countrey where they dwelt thrice a year, for the observance of the three great Feasts. And it is apparent also that they were wont to come up to Jerusalem at those Solemnities, both Jews and Proselytes, [...] In Euseb. l. 2. c. 23.. And it is evident in that Chapter cited, Acts 2. The Feast of Pentecost being come, there was a resort of Jews and Proselytes from all those parts of the World to this City. Ay, but the Scripture sayes, all those Strange Nations were inhabitants of Jerusalem.

He can't judge that the Scripture sayes this, but upon a supposition that the word [...], Acts 2. 5. can signify no other thing than inhabitants, but this is a mi­stake, for the word denotes such as abide in a place, not only as inhabitants, but as strangers or Sojourners. Thus Dr. Hammond will have it translated abiding, rather than dwelling In loc., those that were there as strangers In Act. 10. 2., and here expresses those abiding at Jerusalem, to be Jews which came up to the Feast of the Passeover, and Prose­lytes which had come from several Nations of all Quarters of the World. Thus also Mr. Mead In Exercit. in Act. 2. 5., for the word [...], saith he, which I translate sojourning rather than dwelling (for so I understand it, that they were not proper dwellers, but such as came to worship at Jerusalem from those far Countreys, at the Feast of the Passeover and Pentecost, and so had been continuing there some good time) it is true that in the usual Greek, [...] and [...] signify a durable mansion, but with the Hellenists in whose Dialect the Scripture speaketh, they are used indifferently for a stay of a shorter or longer time, that is, for to sojourn as well as to dwell, as these two examples out of the Septu­agint will make manifest, Gen. 27. 44. 1 Kings 17. 20. there [...] is to sojourn only. In a word [...] and [...] answer to the Hebrew Verb [...] which signifies any stay or remaining in a place. Grotius saith it answers the He­brew word which is render'd not only by [...] but [...], &c. adding, therefore it is not said only of them who had fixed their habitation, but of those who were come to the City for the celebrating of the Passeover or Pen­tecost, staying there for a while. The best and most lear­ned Expositors generally take it so in this place, as de­noting, not settled Inhabitants, but such as resided there only for a time. Indeed when this Author would have the Scripture say all these strange Nations were inhabi­tants of Jerusalem, he makes it speak things inconsistent. [Page 66] For it is said ver. 9. they were [...], dwellers at Me­sopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, &c. by which must be understood, either that they were in­habitants or Sojourners in those Countreys; that they were now Sojourners there, no man will imagine, nor can any man be said to be actually a sojourner in a place where he is not, And if they were inhabitants of those Regions they could not be inhabitants of Jerusalem, un­less they could be inhabitants of several distant Coun­treys at once. To the same purpose Mr. Mead Ibid.. [...], where note by the way, that [...] are comprehended in the number of those whom my Text saith were [...], which confirms my interpretation that [...] there signi­fies sojourning, and not dwelling; for that they could not be said to dwell in both places.

2. Suppose there were some of them strangers, &c.

Suppose, sayes this Gentleman, there were some of them Strangers? but does any man that understands how or by whom those Feasts were celebrated, ever suppose that there were not very many thousands of strangers, such as were not Inhabitants, present at those Solemnities? Josephus (and Eusebius after him) sayes, there were three millions in the City at the Passover, and declares what course was taken to give Cestius Gallus a certain account of their numbers; but then they were all in a manner strangers, for he adds, [...], this vast multitude consisted of Forreign­ers De bel. Jud. lib. 7. c. [...].. Yet our Author goes on and confirms himself in the former mistake by another; the verse he cites to prove them fixed Inhabitants at Jerusalem is misunder­stood, the words are [...], which do not signifie any fixed abode in that place, but only their constancy or persevering in the duties mentioned while they were there. This is the use of the Expression in [Page 67] the New Testament, Col. 4. 2. [...], and so Rom. 12. 12. Continuing in Prayer, which they might do if they never had a fixed habitation, nor con­tinued as inhabitants in any place. And thus the Evan­gelist Luke uses the phrase in this book of the Acts c. 1. ver. 14. c. 2. 46. c, 6. 4. But our Author I think will never find it used in this form for any settled or contin­ued abode in a place, and had no reason to fancy it here.

He thinks it not probable Pag. 437. that the zeal and devotion of those Converts would suffer them to leave the Apostles, whereas it is certain that the Primitive Zeal and Devo­tion, though it crucified them to the World, yet heigh­tened and improved a Christian care of their Families and the Souls of their Relatives and others. And their zeal for Christ, and love to Souls would hasten them homeward, that they migh acquaint their Families and others with Christ and the Doctrine of Salvation, as those dispersed from Jerusalem did, ch. 8.

The five thousand mention'd chap. 4. ver. 4. he will have to be a new accession to the three thousand before Converted, but should not have been so positive in it without reason. Those who are engaged in the same cause with him (besides many others) are not of his opinion herein, as they would have been if they had seen any ground for it. Dr. Hammond In loc. takes the 5000 to be the number of the Auditory, not of the Converts, Bishop Downham includes the three thousand in those five Defence l. 2. c. 5. pag. 85., and the Dean of Paul's makes account but of five thousand in all Serm. of Sepa­ration Pag. 26.. To me it is not material whether they were 5000 or 8000 or many more, seeing there was not the twentieth part of them other than Forreigners, and such as for any thing I can see or hear designed not to dwell at Jerusalem, and so intended not fix them­selves in that particular Church. There can be no just reckoning of the numerousness of a Church, from [Page 68] an occasional recourse of strangers, who inhabit remote parts or forreign Countreys.

If there had been more Christians in the Church of Jerusalem than could meet in one place, that would be no Evidence that it was a Diocesan Church, whereas the whole is said in the Acts to meet in one place Act. 2. 44. 6. 2. &c.. He hath nothing to say against this which is considerable, but that the all, may denote only those that were present Pag. 441., and so the sense will be, all that were in one place, were in one place, if this can please himself, I think it will satisfie none else. Let Dr. Hammond decide this busi­ness, for in such a cause we may admit a Party to be Umpire Answer to L. Ministers. pag. 78. 79., What follows, saith he, of the paucity of Be­lievers, and their meeting in one place, is willingly grant­ed by us. What they say of the point of time, Acts 2. 41. that believers were so numerous, that they could not conve­niently meet in one place, this is contrary to the evidence of the Text, which saith expresly ver. 44. that all the believers were [...], which in the last Paragraph they interpret­ed meeting in one and the same place: the like might be said of the other places, Acts 4. 3. and 5. 14. for certainly as yet, though the number of Believers increased, yet they were not distributed into several Congregations.

Concerning the dispersion, Acts 8. 1. P. 442. 443. he tells us, ‘Though they are all said to be scattered besides the Apostles, yet it cannot be understood of all the Be­leivers.’

No, but of the generality of them, all that could commodiously fly as strangers might do. Nor must it be confined to all the Officers only, the generality of Ex­positors are mis-represented if this be made their sense, nor doth it appear that Eusebius so understood it, [...] is used in Scripture and other Writers, and Eusebius him­self, to denote Believers and not Officers only. As for [Page 69] the time of the dispersion (though I need not insist on it) probably it was nearer this great Pentecost than some would have it. On the first day of the week in the morning were the three thousand converted, the next or (as some tell us) the same day afternoon, at the ninth hour D. L:, the number of the Converts was increased to five thousand. While this Sermon was preaching the Apostles are apprehended and committed to Cu­stody till the next morning. Another, it is like the day after, they are imprisoned, but enlarged by an Angel in the night, chap. 5. In or near that week were the seven Deacons chosen, presently after the Di­sciples were thus increased and the Apostles imprisoned and dismissed. The expression signifies it, chap. 6. 1. It is not [...], in those daies which may admit a lati­tude and some good distance of time, but [...], in these dayes, which denotes the time instant, or that which immediately ensues, without the interposure of any such distance. And so the phrase is used by St. Luke ‘both in the Gospel and in the Acts. It is Dr. Hammond's observation upon Luk. 1. 39. The phrase [...], in these dayes, saith he, hath for most part a peculiar signification, differing from [...], in those daies. The latter signifies an indefinite time, sometimes a good way off, but the former generally denotes a certain time then present, instantly, then at that time; so here, that which is said of Mary's going to Elizabeth was sure immediate­ly after the departing of the Angel from her, and therefore it is said she rose up [...], very hastily, so ver. 24. [...], i. e. immediately Eliza­beth conceived,’ so chap. 6. 12. [...], i. e. then, at that point of time he went out to the Moun­tain. See Chap. 23. 7. c. 24. 18. Acts 1. 5. c. 11. 27. and 21. 15.

Immediately after the choice of the Deacons, Stephen one of the Seven is apprehended [...], as soon as ever he was ordained, as if he had been ordained for this alone, saith Eusebius (l. 2. c. 1.) And at the same time the Persecution began which dispersed that Church. Where­as he saith, ‘whatsoever numbers were forced away; it is likely they returned,’ if he understand it of the stran­gers driven from Jerusalem, that they returned to fix there, or otherwise than occasionally, it is no more likely nor will be sooner proved than what he asserts a little after (pag. 444.) viz. that the empty Sepulcher preached with no less efficacy than the Apostles.

This is enough to satisfy what our Author would draw out of Scripture concerning the Church of Jeru­salem. After some trifling about Objections which he forms himself, and then makes sport with, he comes to prove that Jerusalem was a Diocesan Church in the A­postles time. But first he would have us believe that James was the proper Bishop of that Church, and would evince it by two Testimonies, that of Clemens and He­gesippus. But what sayes his Clemens? He saith not only that James was ordained Bishop of Jerusalem pre­sently after our Saviours Ascension, but what I think our Author was loth to mention. If he had given us the intire sentence it might have been better understood. After the Ascension of our Saviour, Peter, James and John, the most honoured by our Lord, would not yet con­tend for the first degree of honour, [...], but chose James the just Bishop of Jerusalem, Apostolorum E­piscopum. Ruffinus reads it, This seems to signify that his being made a Bishop there, was some degree of Honour above their being Apostles. A learned Roma­nist tells us Val [...]., that the books where Eusebius had this did so abound with Errours, that they were not thought [Page 71] worth preserving, and so are lost (as those of Papias and Hegisippus are for the same reason) this may prove one instance of those many Errours. That which seems to be the sense of his words is more fully expressed by one who goes under the name of Clemens too l. 2. Recognit., James the Lord's Brother was Prince of Bishops, and by his E­piscopal Authority commanded all the Apostles, and so the former Clemens in Ruffinus calls him the Bishop of the Apostles Hist. l. [...]. c. 2.. If he means such a Bishop as ours (and otherwise his meaning will not serve our Authors pur­pose) then the Apostles were but the Vicars or Curates of James. This is bad enough if James was an Apostle, the absurdest Papist will scarce ascribe as much to Peter. But if he was not an Apostle, it is yet more intolerable. If our Author can believe his own Witness, some may admire, but I think few will follow him.

Let us hear Hegesippus (not quite so antient as this Gentleman makes him, since he was alive in the Reign of Commodus) he sayes, James ruled that Church [...]. If we take this as it is render'd in Jerome after the Apostles, it is not only against Grammar, but without Truth, and makes James to be Bishop when he was dead, for he was martyred about the 4th. of Nero, and all the Apostles but the other James surviv­ed him. But if the meaning be that he ruled that Church with the Apostles, it speaks him no more the Bishop of Jerusalem than the rest of the Apostles, who were not fixed or topical Bishops, but Oecumenical Of­ficers of an extraordinary Office and Power and accord­ingly is James described▪ One antient Author sayes that he no less than Peter did [...]. And Epiphanius reports Heres. Cerdon:, that Hyginus after James, Peter and Paul was the ninth Bishop of Rome successively, signifying that he was as much Bishop of [Page 72] Rome as Paul and Peter. I need not quote that other Author who sayes he ruled the holy Church of the Hebrews, as also he did all Churches every where founded Ep. to James..

‘However certain it is that James was Bishop of Je­rusalem, not only from Hegisippus and Clemens Alex. but also from St. Paul, who mentions him as one of the Apostles that he had Conversed with in Jerusalem, and it is likely there were no more there at that time but he and Peter.

This is no way certain from Clemens and Hegesippus, and so far from being certain by St. Paul, that his men­tioning him as an Apostle makes it rather certain that he was not a Bishop; for the Offices of an Apostle and of a Bishop are inconsistent, as is acknowledged and proved by an excellent Person of your own. Dr. Barrow Suprem. p. 120, 121. ‘The Offices of an Apostle and of a Bishop are not in their nature well consistent, for the Apostleship is an extraordinary Office, charged with the instruction and Government of the whole World, and calling for an answerable care (the Apostles being Rulers, as St. Chrysostom saith, ordained by God, Rulers not taking several Na­tions and Cities, but all of them in common intrusted with the whole world) but Episcopacy is an ordinary standing charge affixed to one place, and requiring a special attendance there, Bishops being Pastors who, as Chrysostome saith, do sit, and are imployed in one place. Now he that hath such a general care can hardly discharge such a particular Office, and he that is fixed to so particular an attendance, can hardly look well after so general a charge, &c. Baronius saith of St. Peter, that it was his Office not to stay in one place, but as much as it was possible for one man to travel over the whole world, and to bring those who did not yet believe to the Faith, and throughly to establish believers. If so how could he be Bishop of Rome, which was an Office [Page 73] inconsistent with such vagrancy. It would not have beseemed St. Peter the prime Apostle to assume the charge of a particular Bishop, it had been a degrada­tion of himself, a disparagement to the Apostolical Majesty for him to take upon him the Bishoprick of Rome, as if the King should become Mayor of London, as if the Bishop of London should be Vicar of Pan­cras. And little before, St. Peter's being Bishop of Rome (it holds as well of James's being Bishop of Jerusa­lem) would confound the Offices which God made di­stinct, for God did appoint first Apostles, then Prophets, then Pastors and Teachers, wherefore St. Peter after he was an Apostle could not well become a Bishop, it would be such an irregularity as if a Bishop should be made a Deacon.’

‘Ecclesiastical History makes James the ordinary Bi­shop and Diocesan of the place.’

There is nothing in Ecclesiastical History for it, but what is derived from Hegesippus and Clemens, whom o­thers followed right or wrong.

‘It is strange to see Salmasius run his head so vio­lently against such solid Testimonies as those of Hege­sippus and Clemens.

That great person understood things better, and dis­cerned no danger in running his head against a shadow, and there is nothing more of Solidity in what is alledged from those Authors.

Further he would prove it a Diocesan Church by a passage in Hegesippus, who sayes, ‘that several of the Jewish Sectaries who beleived neither a Resurrection nor Judgment to come, were Converted by James, and that when a great number of the Rulers and principal men of the City were by this Ministry brought to believe the Gospel, the Jews made an Uproar, the Scribes and Pharisees saying, that it was [Page 74] to be feared that all the people would turn Chri­stians Pag. 446..’

He sayes many of the prime Sectaries were converted by James, but this will scarce prove such a Diocesan Church as he contends for. That which would serve his turn (that all the people would turn Christians) was not effected, but only feared by the Jews, who took a course to prevent it by killing James. But if this were for his purpose, Hegesippus is not an Author to be reli­ed on, part of the Sentence cited is false, that the Sects mentioned (and he had mentioned seven) did not believe the Resurrection nor Judgment, whereas the Pharisees and others of them beleived both, which Valesius ob­serves. In Euseb. 2. c. 23. One false thing in a Testimony is enough to render it suspected, but there are near twenty things false or fabulous in this account he gives of James, ma­ny of them marked by Scaliger Animad. in Euseb. p. 178., divers by Valesius In Euseb. l. 2. cap. 23., and some acknowledged by Petavius Not. ad He­res 78..

He would not have us suspect that the numbers of the Church at Jerusalem were not so great as he pretends, because Pella, an obscure little Town, could receive them all besides its own Inhabitants, ‘but we must un­derstand that Town to be their Metropolis, and the Believers all scattered through the whole Countrey, and this as Epiphanius writes.’

But where does Epiphanius write this? Not in the place cited, he writes the contrary both there and else­where, that all the Believers (in one place Epiph. Her. 30.) that all the Disciples (in another place) [...] De Ponder. & Mens. cap. 15., what he adds is but to describe where the Town was situated, all the Disciples, all the Believers dwelt beyond Jordan in Pella. Archbishop Whitgift brings this as a pregnant proof that the Christians at Jerusalem were but few in comparison (and no more than could all meet in one place, as a little before he af­firms [Page 75] again and again) his words are how few ‘Chri­stians was there at Jerusalem not long before it was de­stroyed, being above Forty years after Christ? Does not Eusebius testifie Lib. 3. cap. 5. that they all were received into a little Town called Pella? yet the Apostles had spent much time and labour in Preaching there; but the number of those that did not profess Christ in that City was infinite’ Defence of An­swer. Treat. 3. c. 6. pag. 175.. This might be farther cleared by what Epiphanius saith of that Church in its return from Pella, but I design briefness.

Our Author adds one Testimony more, to shew that under the Government of Simeon great numbers were ‘added to that Church, many thousands of the Cir­cumcision receiving the Christian Faith at that time, and among the rest Justus, &c. pag. 448.’

But those who view the place in Eusebius will see, that he does not say those many of the Circumcision were converted by Simeon, or were under his Govern­ment, or belonged to that Church; and so it signifies nothing for his purpose. And so in fine, the account wherewith he concludes his Discourse of Jerusalem will not be admitted by any who impartially consider the Premisses.

As for his other Scripture instances, there is not so much as the shadow of a proof shewed by him, that there were near so many Christians as in Jerusalem, or as are in some one of our Parishes, yea, or more than could meet in one place, either in Samaria (where he sayes it appears not what kind of Government was establish­ed, pag. 451.) or in Lydda, which was but a Village, though a fair one, and far from having Saron for its pro­per Territory, that being a plain between Joppa and Caesarea; or in Antioch, pag. 452. much less in Corinth and Ephesus which he advisedly passes by, pag. 456.

Our Author does in effect acknowledge that in Scrip­ture it appears not that these Churches were Episcopal, much less Diocesan; ‘It is to be confessed, saies he, pag. 461. that the Scriptures have not left so full and perfect an account of the Constitution and Govern­ment of the first Churches, &c. Thus we have no more notice of the Churches of Samaria and of Judaea (Jerusalem excepted) than that such were founded by the Apostles; but of their Government and Constitution we have not the least Information. What information then can we have that they were Diocesan or Episcopal? He goes on, ‘And the prospect left of Antioch in Scrip­ture is very confused, as of a Church in fieri, where a great number of eminent persons laboured together to the building of it up; but only from Ecclesiastical Writers, who report that this Church, when it was settled and digested, was committed to the Govern­ment of Euodias, and after him to Ignatius, &c. So that after what form the Church at Antioch was consti­tuted does not appear (it may be Congregational and not Diocesan, for any thing this Gentleman can see in Scripture) but only from Ecclesiastical Writers.

But his Ecclesiastical Writers do so contradict one ano­ther as renders their testimonies of little value. Nor is there much more reckoning to be made of the traditi­onal account they and others give concerning the Succes­sion and Government of the first Bishops, than this Au­thor makes of Eusebius his traditional Chronology, pag. 454. Some make Euodias the first Bishop and he being dead Ignatius to succeed him Euseb. l. 3. c. 22.; on the contrary some will have Ignatius to have been the first, and make no mention of Euodias Chrys. Orat. in Ignat.; others will have them to have governed that Church both together Clemens Con­stitut. l. 7. c. 46.; some will have Euodias ordained by Peter, and Ignatius by Paul, o­thers report Ignatius ordained by Peter, and some mo­dern [Page 77] Authors of great eminency, both Protestants and Papists (not only Baronius but Dr. Hammond) find no more tolerable way to reconcile them, than by asserting that there were more Bishops than one there at once, which quite blasts the conceit of a Diocesan Church there.

And what is alledged for the numbers of Christians there, to support this conceit of a Diocesan Church, is very feeble, pag. 452, 453. A great number believed, Acts 11. 21. and much people, ver. 24. The next verses shew, that there were no more than Paul and Barnabas assembled within one Church; meeting [...], for a year together, and there taught this [...] or [...]. The same divine Author sayes, Acts 6. 7. [...], a great Company of the Priests were converted, and will this Gentleman hence conclude that there were Priests enough converted to make a Diocese?

He hath no ground from Scripture to think otherwise of Rome (that we may take in all his Scripture instan­ces together) however he would perswade us that there were several Congregations there in the Apo­stles times. Let us see how. ‘By the multitude of Salutations in the end of that Epistle he makes appear the numbers of Christians in that City. Salute Pris­cilla and Aquila with the Church that is in their house.’

The Dean of Pauls will have this Church in their house to be but a Family, this Author will have it to be a Congregation, as if it might be either to serve a turn. I think it was such a Congregation as removed with Aquila from one Countrey to another, for this Church which was in their house at Ephesus before, (1 Cor 16.) is said to be in their house at Rome, Rom. 16. that is, there were some of the Church which belonged to their [Page 78] Family. It is a question whether there was now at Rome any one Congregation such as our Author intends, Grotius In Rom. 16. thinks it probable there was none at all. But let us suppose this to be a Congregation, where finds he his several others? why where another person would scarce dream of any? ‘It is not improbable, saith he, that several that are mentioned with all the Saints that are with them, may be the Officers of several Congre­gations, pag. 457. 458.’

But it is manifest that in the Apostle's times one Con­gregation had many Officers, how then can several Of­ficers be a good Medium to prove several Congregati­ons? The antient Authors which count those Officers (mentioned Rom. 16.) do make them Bishops (and some except not Narcissus nor Prisca, i. e. Priscilla, tho' her Husband also hath an Episcopal Chair assigned him) Now if they were not Bishops at Rome but other places, they are alledged to no purpose; if they were Bishops at Rome, there will be very many Bishops in that one Church (it may be more than Priscilla's Con­gregation consisted of) which rather than our Author will grant, I suppose he will quit his plurality of Con­gregations here. Indeed what he adds next doth no waies favour them, and this number was afterwards ‘in­creased considerably by the coming of Paul, who con­verted some of the Jews, and afterwards received all that came, whether Jew's or Gentiles, and preached to them the Kingdom of God for the space of two whole years, no man forbidding him, pag. 458.’

Paul preached at Rome in his hired house for two years, all this while he received all that came to him; there is no question but that all the Christians there did come to hear this most eminent Apostle: so that it seems from first to last there were no more Christians at Rome than a private House could receive.

He would prove what he intends from Nero's Per­secution, ‘who is said to have put an infinite multitude of Christians to death upon pretence that they had fired Rome, pag. 458. Tacitus speaks of the Christi­ans as guilty, and sayes they confessed the Crime, and detected many others.’

Now those who suffered, either confessed that they fired Rome and then they were no Christians; or they did not confess it, and then he wrongs them intolera­bly, and deserves no credit. But our Author to excuse him (against the sense of such who best understand him, Lipsius particularlay, besides Baronius and others) sayes, they confessed not that they burn't Rome, but that they were Christians. Whereas the inquiry being con­cerning the burning of Rome, the question was not whether they were Christians, but whether they fired the City, of this last Tacitus speaks, and will be so un­derstood by those who think he speaks pertinently. But for truth in those accounts he gives of Christians, it is no more to be expected than from other Heathen Authors of those Ages, with whom it is customary on that subject splendidè mentiri. Some other instances here­of we have in this report of Tacitus, which I suppose our Author will scarce offer to excuse, as when the Christian Religion is called Exitiabilis superstitio, and when the Christians are said per flagitia invisos vulgô fuisse.

But suppose he speaks truth, what is it he sayes? Nero put an infinite multitude of them to death, but ingens multitudo, which are his words, may be far less than an infinite multitude. Two or three hundred may pass for a great multitude, and extraordinarily great, when that which is spoke of them is extraordinary. The Martyrs burnt in Queen Mary's dayes were a great multitude; and few may be accounted very many, to [Page 80] suffer in such a manner, as these did by Nero's Cruel­ty, Ferarum tergis contecti ut laniatu canum interirent, aut crucibus affixi, aut flammandi, atque ubi defecisset dies in usum nocturni luminis uterentur, in the words of Taci­tus.

To this he adds the general account which Eusebius gives of the success of the Christian faith immediately after the first discovery of it, that presently in all Cities and Villages Churches abounding with innumerable multi­tudes were assembled, &c. pag. 459.

If he will not deal unkindly with Eusebius he must not set his expressions upon the Rack, nor stretch them be­yond his intention, nor forget what is observed to be usual with him; Oratorem more rem amplificare. These Churches consisting of innumerable multitudes are said to be not only in all Cities, but Villages; now I believe it will be an hard matter for our Author to shew us any Villages, even in Constantine's time, where there were a Thousand, yea, or 500 Christians. Those who will not abuse themselves or their Readers must give great allowance to such expressions, and not rely on them in strict arguing.

And here it may not be amiss to take notice of what he sayes of Rome in another Chapter, M. B. had decla­red, that he found no reason to believe that Rome and A­lexandria had for 200 years more Christians than some London Parishes (which have 60000 Souls) nor near, if half so many Church Hist. p. 7. Vindicat. p. 27.. The chief, if not the only argu­ment to prove them at Rome more numerous, is a pas­sage in Cornelius his Epistle shewing the number of the Officers and of the poor, this was in the middle of the third Age, and so not within these 200 years, but yet proves not what it is alledged for in Cornelius's time, near Anno 360. The number of Officers signifies no such thing, as hath been made evident, the number of [Page 81] the poor, being 1500 rather proves the contrary. This was cleared by comparing the proportions of the poor with the rest in other places, at Antioch in particular, as was shewed out of Chrysostome, who reckons the poor to be a tenth part of the Inhabitants, and if it was so at Rome in Cornelius's time, the Christians were about 15000. This will serve M. B's purpose well enough. But the time and circumstances being exceeding diffe­rent, makes it most probable that the Christians then at Rome did nothing near so much exceed the poor in number. It is far more likely that the proportions were nearer that at Constantinople, where Chrysostom sayes, the poor was one half, this would spoil all our Authors pretensions, and so he advisedly takes no notice of it.

However something he would say against M. B. if one, could understand it. It is about the word [...] in Cornelius's Epistle render'd the poor. Valesius observes the word is used by the Roman Clergy in an Epistle to those at Carthage, sive Viduae sive Thlibomeni, i. e. indi­gentes, saith he, as Rufinus translates it, and tells us also that Cyprian Ep. 4. calls them pauperes & indigentes qui labo­rant. These, sayes our Author, were not only poor, but sick and diseased, alledging that of the Roman Clergy for it after Valesius, and if he mean not only the poor, but the sick also and the diseased he is right, for Corne­lius signifies those that were maintained by the Church, Widows and Indigent whether sick or well. But when he sayes these poor were such only as were not able to come abroad, he seems to confine it to the sick and diseased, and then it contradicts the former, and is without rea­son, against the use and import of the word, as render'd by all Interpreters former and later that I meet with, and indeed against common sense; for the number Cornelius speaks of is fixed, as that of the Presbyters and Deacons, [Page 82] such as may be constantly known and a certain account given of it, whereas the number of the sick is not fixed, but such a contingency as is very uncertain and various.

But Cornelius sayes in the same Epistle that the people of his Church were innumerable. True, that is, accord­ing to the frequent use of the word, very many (it is granted they were more than in any other Church) as when Dio sayes the Nations conquered by Trajan were innumerable, and Socrates expresses those wounded in the fight between the Christians and Heathen in Alex­andria about the demolishing of an Idol Temple were [...] Lib. 5. c. 15., which in Sozomen is but many Lib. 7. c. 15.; and ano­ther antient Author sayes there were innumerable Bishops in Africa, which yet this Gentleman can easily count, and tells us that Schismaticks and all were but 466 Pag. 131:. M. B. may allow him what he falls short in this rec­koning, which is more than half, and may grant there were many more hundreds of Christians in Rome than any of these innumerables come to, and yet make good what he supposes.

The great liberality of the Roman Church is offered as no small argument of its greatness, they sent to a great many Churches, releiving those that were in want, and sending necessaries to such as were condemned to the Mines; thus in Severus's time, and in the time of Dionysius the Provinces of Syria with Arabia were thereby relieved eve­ry one, pag. 53.

M. B. need not doubt, but some one Parish near him might do what is equivalent to this, if the an­tient Charity were revived, which opened the hearts of Christians in those times further than their Purses could well extend.

But the words are odly stretched, for they did not relieve every one in all those places, but such as were in great want, and those particularly who were condemned [Page 83] to the Mines; and [...] must denote as it were the al­sufficiency of the Roman Church, which some would say is, as it were Blasphemy, but our Author meant better, the proper import of the word is no more than stipem conferre.

He alledges two passages in Eusebius Pag. 54., the former concerns not Rome more than any other place in the Empire, the import of it is this, not that every soul of every sort, but that many of all sorts were lead to the Christian Religion, if [...] be stretched to every soul Eusebius is made to speak what is in a manner no­toriously false, and monstrously extravagant. The later which concerns Rome does but signify, that more of Good quality for Riches and Birth with their Families and Relatives came over for Salvation Lib. 5. c. 21.. These he will have to be of the Nobility, but those were counted noble who descended from such as had been Magistrates in Cities or free Towns. How this can make that Church near so great as our Author would have it, or greater than M. B. supposes, I don't understand.

What he subjoyns is very surprizing and must seem Pag. 54. strange to those who are acquainted with the state of Church in those times, that the Christians were the better half of the Roman Empire, that they were the major part every where, but in Rome more eminently. This hath no good warrant from antient Authors, no, not from Ter­tullian, though he writ many years after Commodus. He like an Oratour draws something bigger than the life (as our Author sayes of Nazianzen, pag. 137.) and must have allowance on this account by those who will not be injurious to him. In that very Age wherein Commodus reigned, it is said the Christians were so often slaughtered that few could be sound in Rome who professed the name of Christ Platina v [...] Xysti.. And near 150 years after, when Constantine had reigned near 20 years in Rome the gene­rality [Page 84] of the Inhabitants shewed such disaffection to Christianity, as that is given for one reason why he transferred the seat of the Empire to Byzantium Zosimus, Hist. l. 2. p. 61..

He runs beyond M. B's bounds towards the middle of the third Century, and tells us the greatest part of Alex­ander Severus his Family were Christians. And so they might be, and yet no more Christians in Rome for that, if they were Christians before they came in­to his family, which is more likely than that they were converted in it. However many more such Ad­ditions will not increase that Church beyond M. B's Measures, nor make it near so numerous as that Parish to which Whitehall belongs.

What he next offers neither concerns Rome, being Pag. 55. general expressions, nor M. B. referring to the Ages af­ter those which he is concerned for, whether by [...] we understand the great multitudes which were gathered into the Christian Profession (as Valesius) or that assembled together for Christian worship (as our Author) is not material; though the former is more likely, unless we can think Eusebius, an elegant Writer, would use so much tautology in so few lines. That from which he may expect more service is the next expressi­on, which he renders the multitude of their Meetings in every City, but may with better reason be render'd, the numerousness or multitudes of those that assembled in several Cities. For it is so far from being true, that every City had many Congregations of Christians in it; that there were many Cities long after, which had no Christians in them. And two instances cannot be given of any Cities in the whole Empire that at this time had more Congregations than one; unless where they all might have assembled in one place, they thought it better in Prudence to disperse themselves into several Meetings. For in Alexandria, which was the greatest City next to [Page 85] Rome, and the most populous Church in the whole World, there is no appearance of more assemblies till the end of the tenth Persecution, and the death of Pe­ter Bishop there, who suffered in the ninth year of it Euseb. l. 7. c. 32.. And therefore the elegant gradation, in discovering of which this Gentleman would have us take notice that he has a more comprehensive faculty than Valesius, seems not very well founded.

That which follows is an hundred years or more be­yond Pag. 55. the time to which M. B. limits his Assertion, ‘About this time or not long after Rome had above 40 Churches, which we must not imagine to be built all at the same time, but by degrees, according as the number of Believers did require; &c. pag. 55.’

From the number of Churches he can't reasonably conclude such a multitude of Christians as he contends for. There were many Churches in Alexandria when Athanasius was Bishop of it, and yet there were no more Christians in his communion than could meet together in one place. Baronius tells us, that there was a City in Germany which had 400 Churches in it; and yet no rea­son Anno 108, [...], [...]. to think that Town was comparable for Circuit and Populousness, either to Rome or Alexandria. If I should say that in Optatus there were not so many Churches, but the number mistaken by the Transcribers, this would be as good an answer as that of our Author, who will have the 12 or 14 years of Athanasius his Banish­ment in Epiphanius not to be so many moneths, and that years are put instead of moneths by the mistake of the Copies, pag. 113. Or that other about the number of Bishops in the Council at Anticch, where he will have 30 in diverse Authors to be a mistake of the Transcri­bers for, 90 (or 97 or 99. pag. 123, 124▪ 125. Interpret vo [...]. Ecclos.) Onuphrius must have liked such an Answer to this of Optatus, who tho' he was as much concerned for the greatness of the Roman [Page 86] Church as any, and no less inquisitive into the antient state of it, yet delivers it as a thing manifest and cer­tain, that Rome had but 28 Titles, and this number not compleated till the fifth Age. But there's no need to insist on any thing of this nature, it is not so material how many Churches there was, as when there was so many, and about the time he will have Blondel to mi­stake, and M. B. to follow him therein; he had been nibbling at Blondell a little before upon a small occasion and with as little reason, as might be shew'd, if it were sit to follow one in his Vagaries. Let us see whether here he doth not follow Valesius in his mistake, who will have Optatus to speak of the Churches at Rome in the time of Diocletian's Persecution, tempore persecutionis Diocletiani In Euseb. lib. 6. c. 43.. But Optatus speaks of those Churches when extant and capable of receiving Congregation, as is plain by his words; but what Churches were at Rome or other places, in the very beginning of that Persecu­tion, were all quite demolished, and that in one day, sayes Theodoret Hist. l. 5. c. 38., or the Paschal dayes, as Eusebius Chron.; and there's no probability they could rebuild them while the Persecution lasted, or that so many could be raised in less than many years after. Nicephorus speaks but of 14 Churches at Constantinople in the reign of The­odosius junior, nor meet I with any Author that gives an account of more, yet this was about an hundred years after Byzantium was re-edifyed, and both Con­stantine and the succeeding Emperours endeavoured to make that City as populous as could be, and furnished it with Churches answerable to the numbers of the Inha­bitants. So that there's no likelihood there could be 40 Churches in Rome at any time nearer Dioclesian's than Optatus's.

But to help this our Author tells us out of Optatus, [Page 87] that there were three Donatists Bishops at Rome succes­sively before Macrobius, who was Contemporary with Optatus, and that the first of them was Victor Garbiensis, and he will have Optatus to speak of the State of Rome (the 40 Churches there) not as it was in his own time, but in that of this Victor, when this was, he sayes, is not easie to six. pag. 56.

Yet this is certain, it cannot be in the time of Diocle­sian's Persecution, for the Schisme of the Donatists did not break out till Majorinus was ordained (who was the first Bishop of the Faction made in Africa or else­where) and this was sometime after the Persecution was there ended, as Optatus and Valcsius after him, and o­thers declare De Schis. De­nat. cap. 3.; and sometime must be allowed after this for the Donatists settling in Rome, and such an in­crease of them there as to need a Bishop. Baronius makes this Victor to be Bishop in Silvester's time, which might be long enough after Dioclesian's Persecution, for he lived till 335. All which our Author hath to alledge for the more early date of Victor's Bishoprick, is that there were two or three Donatist Bishops between Victor and Optatus; but this will scarce serve his turn. For there were four Bishops of Rome in the former part of that very age wherein we are now concerned, who held not the Chair ten years among them, Marcellus, Eusebius, Melchiades and Marcus. But we may allow the three Donatist Bishop at Rome near ten years a piece from the time of Optatus, 378 (as both Blondel and Valesius agree) and yet Victor Garbiensis may not be Bi­shop till Anno 350 and so nearer to Optatus his time, than Dioclesians.

2dly, It is no proof of Diocesan Churches that those who belong to it, do occasionally divide themselves into distinct Meetings, A large Church, and some­times [Page 88] a small Congregation may have occasion to divide and meet in parcels for their convenience or security. Particularly in time of Persecution, that they may as­semble with more safety, and be the better concealed from those who would disturb or apprehend them. The people that belonged to Cyprian did meet all together on several occasions, as is apparent in his Epistles; yet when Persecution was hot, he thought it advisable, cautè non glomeratim nec per multitudinem simul junctam, conveniendum Ep. 5., they durst not in some parts [...], in the beginning of Constantine's Reign Soz. l. 1. c. 2..

Damasus, the supposed Author of the Pope's lives, sayes, Euaristus Titulos Presbyteris divisit, divided the Titles in Rome to the Presbyters, and by Titles some will have us to understand Parish Churches. But it is incredible that the Christians in Trajan's time when Euaristus was Bishop, could erect any structures in form of Churches, or had any distinguishable from other houses, so as the Heathen might take notice of them, as used or designed for the religious exercises of Christi­ans. Who can imagine that when it was death for any one to be known to be a Christian, they should fre­quent any known places for Christian Worship? It is far more reasonable which Platina sayes of Calistus's time, more than an hundred years after, that then the meeting of Christians were all secret, and rather in Chappels, and those hidden, and for the most part underground; than in open and publick places Cum eâ tempestate ob crebras persecutiones occulta essent omnia, & sacella potius, atque eadem abdita & plerumque subterranea; quam apertis in lo­cis ac publicis fierent. Dr. St. sayes, I confess it seems not probable to me that those Tituli were so soon divided as the Iren. pag. 357. time of Euaristus, who lived in the time of Trajan, when the Persecution was hot against the Christians; but Damasus [Page 89] seems not to believe himself, for in the life of Dionysius he saith, Hic Presbyteris Ecclesias divisit. His reason con­cludes as much or more against the Titles under this notion ascribed to Marcellus 200 years after (which some will have to be 25, but Onuphrius shews they could not be more than 15 Interpret. Voc. Eccles.) for Marcellus was Bishop of Rome for six years of the tenth Persecution begun by Dioclesian, which was the longest and fiercest that ever befel the Church; when the Christians were so far from erecting any Churches, that all before erected were by severe Edicts to be quite demolished. But what is said of Titles divided by Euaristus may be true in this sense, that since they could not safely meet toge­ther in the Persecution under Trajan, they dispersed themselves into distinct meetings, and had Presbyters assigned to officiate in each of them. And yet the Christians at Rome were then no more, nor long after, than might all meet together for Worship, and did so when it could be done in safety. In the time of Xystus who had the Chair at Rome under Adrian, it is said because of the frequent slaughters of the Christians, there were few found who durst profess the name of Christ, prop­ter frequentes caedes pauci reperirentur qui nomen Christi profiteri auderent Platina.. And there was an order in that Church that when the Bishop celebrated, all the Presby­ters should be present. Zepherinus voluit Presbyteros omnes adesse celebrante Episcopo, quod etiam Euaristo placuit, this is said to be made in the time of Euaristus to whom this division of Titles is ascribed, and it was in force an hundred years after, being renewed by Zepherinus who was Bishop till Anno 218 about 30 years before Corneli­us, who speaks of 46. Presbyters at Rome. Now the Lords Supper was frequently administred in those times, at least every Lords-day, and when the Bishop was pre­sent, he himself did celebrate, and if all the Presbyters [Page 90] were to be present when he did celebrate, then all the People likewise were to be present, or else they had no Publick Worship, for they could have none without Bishop or Presbyters.

3dly, A Church is not proved to be Diocesan by the numbers of Presbyters in it, this I have made evident before, and made it good against our Authors excepti­ons. But he brings a new instance Pag. 552., and will have E­dessa to have been a Diocesan Church because of the nu­merous Clergy, the Clergy, sayes he, of the City of E­dessa was above 200 persons, not reckoning that of the Countrey within his Diocese, and this was a Diocesan Bi­shop to purpose.

He did well not to reckon that of the Countrey in his Diocese: unless he had kown that something of the Countrey was within his Diocese. It was not unusual for the Bishops charge to be confined to a Town or City Rome it self is an instance of it Innocent. Ep. ad Decentium., Cum omnes Ecclesiae nostrae intra Civitatem constitutae sunt. But why it should be judged to be a Diocesan Church because 200 such Persons belonged to it, seeing the great Church at C. P. had above 500 Officers assigned it after Justinian had retrenched the numbers Novel. 3. c. 3., and yet was never coun­ed a Diocese, I do not well understand. But he hath some other reasons for it, and because he thinks they prove the Bishop of Edessa to have been a Diocesan to purpose, let us on the by a little examine them; these he gives in summarily, This was a Diocesan Bishop to pur­pose, who besides a large Diocese, had excommunicating Archdeacons, and a great revenue.

I find nothing alledged to shew he had a large Dio­cese or any at all, but this, the City of Battina was in the Diocese of Edessa, for Ibas is accused of having endeavour­ed to make one John Bishop of it, &c.

Battina had a Bishop of its own, how then can it be said to be in the Diocese of Edessa, unless Province and Diocese be confounded? Edessa was the Metropolis of Mesopotamia, the Bishop of it was the third Metropo­litan in the Patriarchate of Antioch, as they are ordered in the antient Notitia. The Bishop of Battina was one of the many Suffragans belonging to that Metropo­litan. How then comes the Diocese of Edessa to be any wayes large upon this account? Is the Diocese of Can­terbury one foot the larger, because there is a Bishop of Peterborough in that Province? These things are not easily apprehended nor can be well digested.

2dly, The greatness of his Revonue is no more appa­rent, there is nothing to prove it but the riches of that Church, and its great Revenues, and hereof our Author gives us no clear account, no value of the Numismata, nor is there any Evidence in the Council for the Man­nors he speaks of but only the felling of some wood in a certain place there named. But where there was a Diocesan and Archdeacons, decorum required there should be Mannors and vast Revenues for the Bishop. Nor do I quarrel with it, only this breaks the squares a little, and disturbs the correspondence between those and our times; that if the Revenues of that Church had a­mounted to ten times more, yet the Bishop would scarce have been one jot the richer for it. This will not seem strange to any, who take notice of the antient Orders, concerning the revenues of an Episcopal Church. The Bishop was to have nothing thereof if he could main­tain himself otherwise. When he was necessitous, no­thing was allowed him for himself but necessaries, food and raiment Con. Antioch C. 25.. He was to purchase nothing while he lived, nor to leave any thing got by his Bishoprick when he died, to his Relatives or others, but only to the Church that maintained him Code Justin. Lex 42. Sect. 2▪ c. de Episc. Nov [...] 131. c. 13. Con [...] Car. 3. Can. 49▪. The Bishop of [Page 92] Edessa, or any other in these Circumstances, must be a poor Diocesan, and one in a good English Rectory or Vi­caridge, is in a fairer way to be rich, than any in the antient Bishopricks, so ordered. And if Riches or Revenues be good Arguments to prove a Diocesan, one of our Vicars may be a better Diocesan than the Bishop of Edessa. It is true there is some intimation from Rome, that the Bishop should have the 4th. part of the Churches revenues, but there's no appearance of such a distribu­tion, till after the time of the four first general Coun­cils; nor in any Countrey but Italy till an hundred years after: Nor did it ever obtain (that I can discover after some inquiry) in the Greek Churches.

3. The other proof that Ibas was a Diocesan, viz. because he had excommunicating Archdeacons, our Author would make good by telling us, that one of his Arch­deacons excommunicated Maras. Now this though it prove not what it is alledged for, may prove more than he likes. An Archdeacon in the antient Church (though he be another thing now) was not so much as a Presbyter, he was but in the lower Order of Deacons, though chief amongst them, and chosen by them, as Jerome signifies Ep. ad Eva­grium., Diaconi eligunt de se quem industrium noverint, & Archidiaconum vocant, the Deacons chuse from amongst themselves one whom they know to be indu­strious, and call him Archdeacon. Now if a Deacon had the power to excommunicate, there can be no doubt but the Presbyters had it, being of a Superiour Order and Power. And excommunication being counted the highest act of Jurisdiction, it cannot be questioned but the other acts thereof belonged to them; and so the Presbyters having all the Jurisdiction of Bishops (all the power of Government) what did they want of being Bishops but the honour of presiding in their Assemblies? [Page 93] And if they were no farther from being Bishops, they will go near to be as much Diocesan, and so this Gentle­man may chuse, whether he will have all of both sorts to be Diocesans, or none of either.

4ly, It is no Argument to prove a Diocesan Church to shew that it consists of such who live at a good di­stance one from another. Dionysius had a great Con­gregation at Cephro, a Village in Lybia, but those which made up this Church were of another Countrey, coming partly from Alexandria, partly from other parts of Egypt, as Eusebius shews us, yet none ever esteemed that to be a Diocesan Church. In Justin Martyr's time those that were in the Countrey, and those that were in the City, when those were no more than made one Congregation, met together in one place, [...], the Meeting con­sisted of such as lived at a good distance, but none will imagine it to be a Diocesan Church, but those who will have a single Congregation to be such a Church. All the Christians in City and Countrey, says Dr. Downham, if they had been assembled together, would have made but a small Congregation. Defence l. 2. c. 4. p. 69..

Our Authour would prove the largeness of Basil's Diocess by the distance between Caesarea and Sasima. *. x pag. 546, 547 He makes much of it and takes the pains to measure the distance between these Towns, or rather, as he says, to make some guess at it out of an Itenerary and Putinger's Ta­bles; yet tells us the distance must be as great at least as between Hippo and Fussala, that so St. Basil's Diocess may be as great at least as that of St Austin's. I think they will prove much alike, for as I have shew'd that Austin's Diocess was not one foot larger for Fussala, so it will appear that St. Basil's had not the least enlarge­ment upon the account of Sasima. That he might not be out in his measures nor have lost all his labour, two [Page 94] things should first have been cleared, neither of which is (or I think can be proved; 1st, That Sasima was in Basil's Diocese, for if it was but only in his Province, how far soever it was from Caesarea, his Diocese can be nothing the larger for it, though his Province might. To prove it in his Diocese I find nothing but his own assertion, that Sasima is said expresly to be taken out of the Diocese of Basil; but where is this said expresly, or by whom, except by himself? The words in the Margin signify no such thing, but only some attempt to deprive a Metropolis of Sasima. For a Metropolis may be de­prived of a Town which is in any part of the Province, when another Metropolitan seizeth on it. And I believe our Author is yet more out in taking the Metropolis which Nazianzen speaks of to be Caesarea, when it ap­pears by the Epistle to be rather Tyana. For as the whole Epistle is writ to Basil, so these words cited, af­ter many others by way of sharp expostulation, are di­rected to him as endeavouring to deprive a Metropolis of this Town, called ironically [...]: Now Caesarea was not the Metropolis which Basil would have deprived of Sasima, he earnestly endeavoured to have it annext thereto; but he would have deprived Tyana of it, if Anthimus the Metropolitan there, had not made a stout opposition. 2dly, He should have prov­ed, that after this part of Cappadocia was divided into two Provinces, Sasima was in that Province which fell to Basil's share (for if it was not in his Province how could his Diocese be any larger for it?) but instead of this our Author offers what may serve to disprove it, telling us that in the antient Greek Notitia, Sasima is set down in the second Cappadocia (which belonged to Anthimus as the first did to Basil) and so, sayes he, it is not likely to be very near Caesarea. No indeed, it is thereby proved to be so far from Caesarea, that it did [Page 95] not enlarge Basil's Province, much less his Diocese. Thus it is also placed in the [...] of Leo Sophus un­der the Metropolitan of Tyana, not of Caesarea. It is true Basil laid claim to it, but after some contest he yeilded, and Anthimus carried it, placing Eulalius there as one of his Suffragans, when Nazianzen had quitted it.

He goes farther on to shew the largeness of Dioceses in Basil's Province.

‘It is plain by Nazianzen that Cappadocia had but 50 Bishops, for so many he sayes Basil had under him, and considering the extent of that Countrey the Dio­ceses must needs be large.’

He does not say Basil had no more under him, nor that he was making no more; he knew Basil was con­stituting more Bishops in that part of Cappadocia which was his Province, and Nazianzen commends him for it as an excellent undertaking on several accounts Orat. de Bal..

‘Considering the extent of that Countrey, the Dio­ceses must needs be large, for the Countrey as Strabo computes, is near 400 miles in length, and little less in breadth.’

If he means Basil's own Province, where he told us there were 50 Suffragans under him besides Sasima, &c Pag. 546.: (as I know not what he can mean else, if his Discourse be not impertinent and inconsistent; for Ba­sil as Metropolitan had no Bishops under him, but those in his proper Province) Strabo is strangely misrepre­sented to serve a turn; for it is the whole Countrey which passed under the name of Cappadocia, that the Geogra­pher gives us the dimensions of in the place cited, and tell us it was divided into ten Prefectures, Meletena, Cataonia, Cilica, Tyanitis, Isauritis, &c. whereof Ba­sil's Province was but one, viz. that called Cilica, and that of Anthimus, Tyanitis, another, &c. Mazaca [Page 96] (afterwards called Caesarea) being Metropolis of Basil's and Tyana of Tyanitis, &c. and after he hath given some account of these ten Praefectures, he adds the dimensi­ons of the whole Countrey, in these words, the extent of Cappadocia in breadth from the Euxine to Taurus, is 1800 Furlongs, in length 3000. So that our Author will have the extent of Basil's Province to be no less than that of the whole Countrey, when it is but the tenth part thereof. And as if this were not enough, he makes the breadth of the whole Countrey, to be near twice as much as it is in Strabo; but he hath some salvo for this, such as it is.

‘And little less in breadth, as Causabon restores the reading of 1800 Furlongs in the 12th. Book, by a passage in the second where the breadth is made 2800.’

It is true Causabon observes some difference in the places cited, but he shews how they may be easily re­conciled, without changing the Text here, or making the Countrey broader than it is here described, viz. by taking Pontus in one place for the Sea, in the other for the Region so called, separated from Cappadocia by mountains parallel to Taurus; and then concludes, Sic non erit discedendum à vulgatâ lectione. So that he hath no relief by Causabon without curtailing the Passage.

‘And in this compass Bishops may contrive 50 Dio­ceses of very competent extent, and not inferiour to many of ours.’

Let him try how in Basil's Province of about 40 miles in length, he can contrive room for above 50 Bishops, with as large Dioceses as those he pleads for. That which is now thought little enough for one Bishop Basil conceived too big for Fifty.

What Dioceses Basil (and others before him) thought sufficient for Bishops both then, and in formertimes, ap­pears by a passage which our Author next cites, where Amphilochius Bishop of Iconium, is directed to constitute Bishops for the Province of Iconium, in little Corporati­on, and Villages. Ep. 406. Hundreds of instances might be brought of Bishops elsewhere, in such little places and Villages, but I will go no further now, than the in­stance himself offers us, whereby it is manifest that a little Corporation, or a Village might furnish a Bishop with such a Diocese, as was then thought competent, both by Basil, and the Church before him. For in such lit­tle places there was Bishops before, as Basil there signi­fies, and he gives direction that it should be so still. Yet he, that would advise the reducing of Bishops to such Sees now, would be counted an enemy to Episco­pacy; and his advice destructive to Bishops. So much do we now differ, both from the judgment and prac­tice of the antient Church, and the most eminent Bi­shops in it.

Hereby also it appears that the multiplying of Metropo­litans was no such occasion of multiplying Bishops, but that their numbers increased, when there was not that occasion; And this in Cappadocia, which is our Au­thor's eminent instance. Pag. 545. For Bishops were multiplyed by erecting Episcopal Sees in Villages, and little places, this was done in Isauria, a Province in Cappadocia, as appears by these passages in Basil, before the contest between him and Anthimus, upon the constituting of a new Metropolitan: and after that difference was Composed, Basil thought it adviseable that it should be done still. And the like may be said of Africa, the instance he most insists on, and spends many Pages up­on it, pretending the occasion why Bishops were so numerous there, was the Schism of the Donatists, [Page 98] Whereas the rule by which the African Fathers proceed­ed in erecting Bishopricks in little places, and so increa­sing the number of Bishops, was as themselves declare, who best knew it, the increase of the number of Christi­ans: Concil. Carth. 2 Can. 5. Where these were multiplyed, and desired a Bishop, they thought themselves obliged to let them have one; not excepting the meanness or smalness of the places, where he was to be constituted. And we must believe (if we have any reverence for those Fa­thers) that they would have done, what they judged themselves obliged to, though there had been no Do­natists amongst them. And when there can be no such pretence of occasion from the Donatists, the practice was continued, as appears by St. Austin's procuring a Bishop for Fussala, which he calls a Castle, upon some increase of the Catholicks there, diverse years after the noted conference at Carthage, where the heart of the Donatists was broken; Nay, many years after the in­vasion of the Vandals, and the death of St. Austin they proceeded in the same methods, or rather exceeded their Predecessors in multiplying Bishops, by erecting Epis­copal seats in smaller, and more inconsiderable places, if Leo his Epistle may be credited. Ep. 85.

But to return to our Author, and the passage of Ba­sil, insisted on, by which sayes he, ‘it appears that Isauria was part of Basil's Province;’ How this appears by any thing therein, I cannot imagine, our Author signifies before that Isauria was a distinct Province, the Metropolis of it (as he supposes) Seleucia, which had a metropolitan and suffragans before, and being now destitute, the Bishops in the Vicinity were care­ful to provide others. Which being so, that it should be part of Basil's Province seems as incongruous, as if it were said, that the Province of York, is part of the Province of Canterbury: but if this could be digested, [Page 99] that one Province is part of another, yet Isauria would rather be part of Amphilochius his province, who (as he tells us) was to constitute a Metropolitan and other Bishops therein, than of Basil's, who is only represent­ed as giving advice about it. Or if giving advice and direction, would prove any thing of this nature, the Papists might think it a good argument, that Africa was part of the Roman Province, because Leo Bishop of Rome gives advise, how Bishops should be there con­stituted. Ibid.

Next he brings in the Chore-piscopi in order to his de­sign, and tells us Pag. 550. they were Countrey Bishops, and ‘their Church consisted of many Congregations, and those at a good distance one from another, and also that some of them had the inspection of a large Ter­ritory, no less it is like than the County of Fussala.

But not a word for proof of this, save Basil's men­tioning a Chor-episcopus [...] of some places; Where­as if he had been the Bishop of two or three Villages, this might be enough to satisfie the import of that ex­pression. Yet he knows there is some one Countrey Parish, that hath ten times as many, or more Villages in it, but never pretended to be a Diocesan Church, and that such a pretence would be now counted ridi­culous.

He adds, that which, if it were true, wouldgo near to dethrone these Countrey Bishops; (for Basil speaks of them, as having their Thrones in Villages) and ren­der them less than antient Presbyters, for all their large Territory, and there being Diocesans.

‘But yet these were but the Deputies or Surrogates of the City Bishops in point of jurisdiction, for they were to do nothing of moment without their Bishop.’

If this be so, it would be less wonder that the Pope will have Bishops to be but his substitutes; and that some Bishops will have the Pastors of Parochial Chur­ches to be but their Vicars or Curates. I hope our Au­thor intends better, however it is well that such odd Hypotheses have no better support than that which is add­ed, for sayes he, they were to do nothing of moment with­out their Bishop; this is his argument, and he is not alone in urging it. Let us see whether it will not do the Bishops (for whose advancement it is designed) as much disservice, as it can do the Chorepiscopi, or Presbyters; divesting them of that which is counted more necessary and advantagious to them, than a large Diocese. The Provincial Bishops were obliged to do nothing, [...], without the Bishop of the Metropolis, this the synod at Antioch decrees, according to an antient Canon of the Fathers. Can. 9. Can. Apost. 35. Con­cil. Milev. Can. 13. By this argument we must conclude, that the Bishops in a Province were but the Deputies and Surrogates of the Metropolitan. And it may proceed proportionably against the Metropolitans with respect to the [...] or Primates; and also to their prejudice in reference to the Patriarchs. It will go near to de­stroy the Bishops likewise, if we follow it downwards. In the antient Church the Bishops were to do nothing of moment, without the Presbyters, this the most judicious and Learned Asserters of Episcopacy acknowledge; B. Bilson, Dr. Field, Dr. Downham, B. Hall, M. Thorndike, B. Usher. Nay further, in the best Ages of the Church, the Bishops were to do nothing without the people, that is, without their presence and consent. This is most evi­dent in Cyprian's Epistles, and is acknowledged by such Prelatists as are otherwise reserved enough. Vide defence of Dr. St. Pag. 407. Now by this Argument we may conclude that Bishops were but the Deputies or Surrogates of the Presbyters; or which will be counted more intolerable, that Bishops [Page 101] had their jurisdiction from the people by Deputation and Vicarage. It may be this Gentleman will not like his argument so well, when he sees what improvement it is capable of, yet in pursuance of it he adds, Basil is so resolute upon his prerogative, that he will not en­dure they should ordain, as much as the inferiour Clergy, without his consent; and if they do, let them know, (sayes he) that whosoever is admitted without our consent shall be reputed but a Layman.’

I suppose the Prerogative for which he will have Ba­sil so resolute, is a Negative in ordinations upon the Countrey Bishops; but this cannot be concluded from the words cited. For the Council of Nice gives the Metropolitan a power, as to ordinations in the same words, Can. 6. declaring that if a Bishop be ordained by the Provincials, [...], without the judgment of the Me­tropolitan, the great Council will have him accounted no Bishop; and yet the Metropolitan had no Negative up­on the Provincials in Ordinations, for the same Council determines, that in ordinations plurality of Votes shall prevail, which is utterly inconsistent with any ones Ne­gative voice. What then is the import of Basil's [...]? take it in the words of a very Learned and Ju­dicious Dr. of this Church, it is indeed there said, that none should be ordained [...] without the opinion of the Metropolitan, but that doth not import a Negative voice in him, but that the transaction should not pass in his absence, or without this knowledge, advice and suffrage, &c. Barrow of the Popes Suprema­cy, Pag. 314

5. It is no proof of a Diocesan Church, to shew that a Town, besides the Clergy or Officers in it, had some Presbyters or Congregations in the Countrey belong­ing to it. The instances which signifie no more, or not so much, are produced as sufficient arguments to [Page 102] prove there were such Churches. As that of Gaius Diddensis Presbyter, supposed (with what ground I examine not) to have been a Countrey Presbyter be­longing to Carthage, and under Cyprian. Vindication. p. 504. And that of Felix said to do the Office of a Presbyter, under Decimus another Presbyter; a thing unheard of in those times, but let us take it as we find it; and upon the very slender reason alledged against Goulartius (who is of another Judgment) believe, that he was a Priest in some Village belonging to Caldonius his Diocese. Pag. 506. 507. And that order for the Presbyters from their Churches, to repair to their proper Bishop for Chrism in Africa, Con. 4. Can. 36. in Spain, Tol. 1. Cap. 20. and in France. Vascon. Can. 3. To these are added, for further evidences, the Churches (said without ground to be many,) belonging to Hippo Diaeritorum; Also the Church of Thyana, belonging to Alypius Bishop of Tagesta, which without reason, we must take to be a considerable City, Pag. 527. and the City Milevis, because Petilian sayes Tunca belonged to it once, though now it had a Bishop of its own; and by our Authors Art of computation, Towns, Villages and Cities must be­long to Milevis, upon the sole account of Tunca, some­time appertaining to it, Pag. 528. and these with Fussala, (of which before) are the chief instances to prove that Africa had very large Dioceses not inferiour to those of ours, in extent of Territory. Pag. 516. Besides in the Council of Neocaesarea Countrey Presbyters are distinguished from others; Can. 13. and that of Antioch provides that Countrey Presbyters shall not give Canonical Epistles, Can. 8. and allows the Bishop to order his own Church, and the C [...]trey places depending on it. Can. 9. Pag. 536. And Epiphanius speaks of a Church belonging to his charge, which we must understand to be his Diocese, though in the passage cited, it is twice called his Province, Pag. 555. in fine, Jerome speakes of some baptized by Presbyters or Dea­cons [Page 103] in Hamlets, Castles, and Places remote from the Bishop.

These and such like are used as good arguments for Diocesan Churches, whereas there are diverse Towns in England, which besides the Officers in them, have ma­ny Congregations and Presbyters in Villages belonging to them, and contained within the Parish; and yet our Author and those of his perswasion would think Diocesans quite ruined, if they were reduced, and confined to the measures of those Parish Churches, and left no bigger than some of our Vicarages and Parsona­ges, though such as Mr. Hooker affirms to be as large as some antient Bishopricks; he might have said most, there being not one in many greater or so large. I yet see no ground in antiquity, nor can expect to have it proved, that the larger sort of ordinary Bishopricks in the fourth age, and sometime after, were of more ex­tent than two such Vicarages would be, if united. Yet a Bishop of such a District in our times would be counted so far from having a competent Diocese, that he would scarce escape from being scorned as an Italian Episcopellus.

But his greatest argument, (in comparison of which his other Allegations, he tells us, are but accidental hints, Pag. 508..) which he most insists on, and offers many times over; so that it makes a great part of his dis­course on this subject. Pag. 508. to Pag. 555. to 539. Pag. 556. to 562. It is drawn from the number of Bishops in Councils, by which he would evince the largeness of antient Dioceses, when it no way proves Diocesan Churches of any size. He proceeds upon this supposition that there were great numbers of Christians in all parts and Cities, Pag. 530. in the first age: And that the Bishops were fewer in former times than afterwards. The former part of his Hypothesis, if he understands the num­bers of Christians to be any thing comparable to what [Page 104] they were after Constantine, when Bishops were much multiplied; (as he must understand it, if he expect any service from it) wants proof, and he offers none but some passages in Tertullian, strained far beyond what is agreeable to other antient Authors, of which before. Let me add that Nazianzen comparing the numbers of Christians in former times, with those in Julian's Reign, says, they were not many in former Persecutions, (Chri­stianity had not reached many, [...],) no, not in that of Dioclesian, &c. (though they were at that time, farr more numerous, than in Tertullian's age) but that Christianity was found only in a few [...] Orat. 3.. The other part which needs no proof, since it is granted, (and may be without any advantage to him) he at­tempts to prove largely and industriously; but by such a medium as makes that which is granted to be questi­onable, such a one which as it is ordered may conclude backward, and prove the contrary to what he designs. That this may be manifest, let it be observed, that he will have us take an account of the number of Bishops in the Church by their appearing in Councils, more or fewer; and accordingly judge in several periods, whe­ther they were less numerous, and consequently their Dioceses larger in former times than afterwards. And to this purpose we need view no other instances than himself produces. At Lambese in Africa there were 90 Bishops against Privatus; but not so many in any Council after (though not a few are mentioned in that Countrey) till the Donatists grew numerous pag. 509.. In Spain the Council of Eliberis had 19 Bishops in the be­ginning of the 4th. Age, and the first Council of Toledo had no more in the beginning of the age after. But the following Synods, at Saragossa, Gerunda, Ilerda, Valentia, Arragon, had not so many pag. 557. 558. In France the Council at Valence had 21 Bishops in the fourth Age, [Page 105] but those following them, in that and the after ages had still fewer, viz. That of Riez, Orange, the third of Arles, that at Angers, that at Tours, and Vennes and another at Arles. For General Councils, the first at Nice had 318 Bishops in the beginning of the fourth Age, that at Ephesus above an hundred yearsafter, had but two hundred, that at C. P. in the latter end of the fourth Age had but one hundred and fifty Bi­shops.

So that if we take account how many Bishops there were of old, as he would have us, by their numbers in Councils, there will be more before the middle of the third Age, than in the beginning of the fourth; more in the beginning of the fourth than in some part of the fifth; and more in the beginning of the fifth, than in some part of the sixth; quite contrary to the Hypothe­sis on which he proceeds. Whether by his argument he would lead us to think Dioceses did wax and wane so odly, as it makes Bishops to be more or fewer, I cannot tell. However since he grants that in the fourth and fifth Ages Dioceses were very small pag. 552., and crumbled into small pieces pag. 516., (and so nothing like ours): there's no expectation he can find any larger, if any thing near so great, in any former age: unless they can be larger when incomparably fewer Christians belonged to these Bishops; which will be no less a paradox than the for­mer. For it cannot but be thought strange, that the Bishops Diocese should be greater when his flock was undeniably far less. And they seem not to be Christian Bishopricks, whose measures must be taken by num­bers of Acres rather than of Souls; or by multitudes of Heathens rather than Christians.

He denies not, that the generality of Bishops, for a long while after the Apostles, had but one Congregation to Go­vern. Pag. 71. What then? says he, If all the Beleivers in and [Page 106] about a City would hardly make a Congregation, that is to be ascribed to the condition of those times. Dioceses with him, were largest in the first times; but Bishops being still multiplyed, they became less and less, and so were very small and crumbled into very little pieces in the fourth and fifth Ages. This is the tendency of his dis­course all along. Thus Dioceses must be largest, when a Bishop had but one Congregation; but in after ages when he had more Congregations under his inspection Dioceses were very small. If he will stand to this, our differences may be easily compromized. Let him and those of his perswasion, be content with the Dioceses in the first ages, when he counts them largest; and we shall never trouble any to reduce them to the measures of the fourth and fifth ages, when in his account they were so lamentably little, and crumbled so very small.

The particulars premised contain enough to satisfie all, that I have yet seen alledged out of Antiquity for Diocesan Churches, so that no more is needful, yet let me add another, which will shew there is a medium be­tween Congregational and Diocesan Churches. So that if some Churches should be shewed out of the Antients exceeding the Congregational measures (as some there were in the times of the four first General Councils) yet it cannot thence be immediately inferred that they were Diocesan, since they may prove a third sort of Churches, and such as will as little please those of this Gentleman's perswasion as Congregational.

6. It's no argument for a Diocesan Church, that there were several fixed Churches, with their proper Presby­ters in a City or its Territory; so long as these Chur­ches, how many soever were governed in common by the Bishop and Presbyters in such a Precinct. For though few instances can be given of such Churches, in or [Page 107] belonging to a City in the 4th. Age; yet wherever they were extant in that, or the following Age, in things of common concern to those Churches, they were ordered in common by a Presbytery, that is, the Bi­shop with the Presbyters of that Precinct. Jerome de­clares it de jure, they ought to be governed in common, in communi debere Ecclesiam regere. In Titus 1.

And Felix 3 Bishop of Rome, (than whom no Bi­shop was higher, or more absolute in those times,) de­clares it de facto, when he speaks of the Presbyters of that Church, as [...], ruling that Church with him. It is the same word that the go­verning of Churches by other Bishops, is expressed by [...], as Alex­ander saith of Narcissus, [...]. Euseb. l. 6. c: 11: It imports no less than praesidere, and is ascribed to Bishops and Presbyters, jointly by Tertullian, Apol. c. 39! Cypri­an Lib. 1. Ep. 3. and Firmilian. Ep. 75: Hence the Presbyters are fre­quently said to be [...] with the Bishop, Theod. Hist. l. 4. c. 8. Epi­phan. Her. 42. for then the Governing power of Bishops was but count­ed a Ministry, [...], Isidore Lib. 4. Ep. 260. and the Presbyters fellow Ministers with him, and joint Administrators in the Government. They are styled [...], Naz. Orat. 1. Orat. 7. fellow Pastors, they did not then dream that a Bishop was sole Pastor of many Chur­ches. They are also called [...], which is no less than [...], Ignat. ad Tral in Chrysost. Tom 7. Hom. ζ. a. for the Presbyters had their Thrones with the Bishop. So Nazianzen speaks of Basil when or­dained Presbyter, as promoted [...] to the Sacred Thrones of the Presbyters. Orat. 20. They are also called [...]. s Chyys. in Tim. Hom. 1.

But further evidence is needless, though abundance may be produced, since the great Patrons of Episco­pacy [Page 108] seems not to question it, that the Church was go­verned in common, and the Bishop was to do nothing of importance without the Presbyters, it is acknowledged by Bishop Bilson, Perpet Go­vern. Cap. 11. Bishop Downham, Defence. lib. 3. L. 1. c. 8. Bishop Hall asserts it, as that which is Ʋniversally accorded by all an­tiquity, that all things in the antient Church were ordered and transacted by the general consent of Presbyters. Iren. P. 47. Mr. Thorndike proves at large, that the Government of Churches passed in common; Prim. Go­vern. Primate Ʋsher more suc­cinctly but effectually. Reduct. of Episcopacy. Add but Dr. St. who both asserts and proves it, Iren. Pag. 354. 355. 356. there was still one Ecclesiastical Senate, which ruled all the several Congregations of those Cities in common, of which the several Presbyters of the Congregations were Members, and in which the Bishop acted as the President of the Senate, for the better Govern­ing the affairs of the Church, &c.

Let me add, when the Churches were so multiplyed in City and Territory, as that it was requisite to divide them into Parishes, and constitute several Churches; the Bishop was not the proper Ruler or Pastor of the whole Precinct, and the Churches in it, or of any Church, but one. The Parishes or Churches were di­vided among Presbyters and Bishop, they had their se­veral distinct cures and charges; the Bishops peculiar charge was the Ecclesia principalis, the chief Parish or Church so called, or [...]. The Presbyters performed all Offices in their several Cures, and order­ed all affairs which did particularly concern the Church­es where they were incumbents; those that were of more common concern were ordered by Bishop and Presbyters together, and thus it was in the Bishops Church or Parish, he performed all Offices, administred all Ordinances of Worship himself, or by Presbyters joyned with him, as Assistants. He was to attend this particular cure constantly, he was not allowed to be ab­sent, [Page 109] no, not under pretence of taking care for some other Church; if he had any business there which par­ticularly concerned him, he was to make quick dis­patch, and not ( [...], as Zonaras) stay there with the neglect of his proper flock; this is all evi­dent by a Canon of the Council of Carthage a, Rur­sum r In Zona. N. 77 in Code 71. placuit ut nemini sit facultas, relicta principali Cathe­dra, ad aliquam Ecclesiam in Diocesi constitutam se con­ferre, vel in re propria, diutius quam oportet constitutum, curam vel frequentationem propriae Cathedrae negligere. Of this Church or Parish he was the proper Pastor or Ru­ler, called there [...], and elsewhere Can. 53. [...], in contradistinction to other parts of the Precinct, called here Dioceses; and the people of it are called [...] by the ancient Canonist Zona. in loc., his proper flock or people, his own special charge. This was the particular Church under his personal Government, but he was not Ruler of the Precinct, or any other Churches in it, save only in common, and in conjunction with the other Pres­byters; who jointly took cognizance of what in his Church or theirs, was of greater or more general con­sequence, and concerned the whole, and gave order in it by common consent.

And while this was the form of Government, if there had been as many Churches there, thus associated, as Optatus in the fourth age says there was at Rome, or far more, they could not make a Diocesan Church, un­less a Diocesan and a Presbyterian Church be all one. For this is plainly a Presbyterian Church, the antient Presbyteries differing from the modern but in a matter of smaller moment. In those their President being fixed and constant, in these commonly though not al­ways circular. The Presbyteries in Scotland compri­zed some twelve, some twenty, some more Churches, [Page 110] their Moderators were at first, and for some years, cir­cular, King James afterwards, Anno 1606 Hist. p. 559., would have them to be constant, and so it was ordered; yet when they were fixed, no man ever counted these Presbyteries to be Diocesan Churches. The Church of Geneva consists of twenty four Parishes, governed in common by a Presbytery with a Moderator, who is sometimes changed, sometimes continued for Life. Calvin was President while he lived, yet that of Geneva is not wont to be taken for a Diocesan Church. Nor were those antient Churches such, while they were governed, not by one Bishop, but by a Senate of Pres­byters where he presided; as in the Council of Constan­tinople all things in the Province are said, to be governed, not by the Metropolitan, but by the Provincial Sy­nod Can. 2. Soc. l. 5. cap. 8..

Finally, the Presbyters are in the antient Church ac­knowledged to have had the power of the keys, both as to the ministration of the Word and Sacraments, and the exercise of Government and censures. This power they exercised either jointly in conjunction with the Bishop and Senate of Presbyters; or distinctly in the particu­lar Churches whereof they had the charge. The for­mer power concerning the Word and Sacraments is not questioned, nor is there any ground to question, the lat­ter, if some were not swayed more by the practice of their own times, than the principles and declarations of the antients. Chrysostom ascribes to Presbyters, not only [...], the power of order, but [...] the power of Government f, giving this as the reason why the In 1 Tim. Iom. 11. Apostle gives the same rules for the ordering both of Bishops and Presbyters, there is but little difference be­twixt them, says he, for they are ordained both to the [Page 111] teaching ( [...],) and ruling of the Church Now that [...], denotes jurisdiction or presidentiam cum pote­state, and is as Hesychius renders it, [...], is plain in Chrysostome himself; he tells us the Apostle Paul had [...], In 1 Cor. Hom. 23. & Hom, 25. which he elsewhere expresses by [...] In 2 Cor. Hom. 25.: and speaking of Moses, he says, it was wonderful, that he who was to be a Ruler, [...], should be born at such a time In Act. Hom. 16.. The­ophilact makes the difference as little between Bishop and Presbyters, and ascribes as much power to the later, almost in the same words In 1 Tim.. So Theodoret de­clares [...], jurisdiction to belong to every Presby­ter In 1 Tim. 5. 19., against an Elder especially, no less than two Witnes­ses must be admitted, because he having [...], the Government of the Church, and in the exercise of it often grieving Delinquents, they being ill affected to him, will be apt to bring false accusations. And this is the [...] included in the Presbyters Office, [...], as Nazzanzen speaks and much more to that purpose Orat. 1.. And besides many other passages of like import, the Title of Governours is all a long in antient Writers given to Presbyters; and all the expressions which signifie Authority and Go­vernment, are ascribed to them. Thereby those that would curtail their power, and make it no more of old than it is now, are not a little encumbred; to extricate themselves a distinction is devised of a power internal and external, the former they will allow to Presbyters in their respective Churches, not the later.

But this is devised to disentangle themselves, and salve the deviations and irregularities of later times, not that there is any ground for it in Antiquity. For the highest act of that external power of jurisdiction, is Excommunication; and if this was in the Presbyters power of old, no other act of that power will, or can [Page 112] in reason be denied them; but this the antients ascribe to them; So Jerome, Ad Heliodo­rum. Mihi ante Presbyterum sedere non licet, illi si peccavero licet me tradere satanae ad inter­ritum carnis, ut spiritus salvus sit. Chrysostome threat­ned some of his Auditory, while he was a Presbyter, to Excommunicate them, [...], Hom. 17. in Matth. to wave all of like nature insisted on by others; Justinian in the 6th Age signifies plainly, that not only Bishops, but Presbyters▪ might Excommu­nicate Offenders, in his Constitutions he forbids Bishops and Presbyters to exclude any from Communion, till such cause was declared, for which the Canons appointed it to be done, [...], &c. and will have the sentence of Excommunication rescinded, which was passed by Bishops or Presbyters without cause. Novel. 123. c. 11. In the Code both Bishops and Clergy are forbid to Excommunicate in certain ca­ses, and then mentions the cases for which they must not, [...], al­though they had been accustomed to it. Lex 39, Sec. 2. Tit. de Episc: & Clericis.

Now while Presbyters had this power there could be no Diocesan Churches, whether they exercised it in common, as was shewed before, or particularly in their several Churches, as will now be made apparent; For by virtue of these powers the Presbyters were really Bishops, though they had not alwayes the Title, yea, they are called Bishops, as a Learned Prelatist observes, by the antientest Authors, Clemens, Ignatius, Tertullian, Thornd. Prim. Govern. Pag. 73. 74. and have frequently the Names and Titles which some would appropriate to Bishops, and which the Fathers use to express the Office of Bishops by, [...] Praepo­siti, Antistites, Praesidentes, Idem. service. Pag. 68. &c. And so there was as many Bishops really in every Diocese, as there were particular Churches and Presbyters there; And well [Page 111] may they be said to be really the same, since they were of the very same Office; for Bishops in the antient Church, were not a superiour Order to Presbyters, but had only a Precedency in the same Order. This some of the most judicious and learned Defenders of Episco­pacy assert. And those who hold that Patriarchs, Me­tropolitans and Bishops differed not in Order, but in degree only, which is the common opinion of Episcopal Divines, and yet contend that Bishops and Presbyters were of a different order, will never be able to prove it. The difference they assign between Bishops and Me­tropolitans is, that these presided in Synode, and had a principal interest in Ordinations, and what more did the preeminence of antient Bishops, distinguishing them from Presbyters amount to? It consisted in nothing material but their presidency in Presbyteries, and their power in Ordinations. This last is most insisted on, as making the difference wider, between these than the other. But with little reason all things considered. For those to be ordained, were first to be examined and approved by the Presbyters, [...] Theophilus Commonitor. cap. 6., the ordaining of one to the Presbytery was to be [...] Clem. Constitut. lib. 8. cap. 18. It was a crime for which the greatest Bishop in the World was censurable, to preferr any, or make Ordinations [...], as appears by what Chrysostome was accused of, though it is like falsly Phot. in Chry Tom. 8. pag. 155 Concil. Carth. [...] cap. 22. Turon. 2, and this is counted by some the substance of Ordination, wherein the Pres­byters had no less share (to say no more) than the Bishop. And in imposing hands, which was the Rite of Ordaining, the Presbyters were to concurr with the Bishop, for which there is better Authority than the Canon of an African Council, for saith a very learned Do [...]or Iren. p. 27 [...], to this purpose, the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery 1 Tim. 1. [...]., is no ways impertinently alledged, although [Page 112] we suppose St. Paul [...]o concurr in the action; because if the Presbytery had nothing to do in the Ordination, to what purpose were their hands laid upon him? Was it only to be Witnesses of the fact, or to signifie their consent? Both these might have been, done without their use of that Cere­mony, which will scarce be instanced in, to be done by any but such, as had power to conferr what was signifyed by that Ceremony. And diverse instances are brought by the same hand to shew that Ordinations by Presbyters was valid in the antient Church pag. 379..

But if the Presbyters had been quite excluded from Ordination, and this power had been intirely reserved to the Bishops, yet this would not be sufficient to con­stitute them a superiour Order. For the Rite of Or­daining was so farr from being an act of Government or jurisdiction, that it did not inferre any superiority in the Ordainer; nothing being more ordinary in the prac­tice of the Antient Church, than for those were of a lower Degree and Station, to Ordain their Superi­ours.

While there was no more distance betwixt Bishop and Presbyters but only in Degree, so that as the Bi­shop was but primus Presbyter, (as Hilary under the name of Ambrose, and others In 1 Tim. Au­tor. Quest. in V. [...]t N. T.; or Primicerius as Op­tatus, defined by a Learned Civilian to be [...]) Gothofrid. in Code. the first Presbyter, so the Presbyter was a se­cond Bishop [...], as Nazianzen. As the Bishop was summus sacerdos, in the style of Tertullian and others, that is, cheif Presbyter, so the Presbyter was Bishop a degree lower; not that he had less pastoral power, but because he wanted that degree of dignity or preeminence, for which the other was styled chief. As the Praeter Ʋrbanus was called Maximus, yet he [Page 113] had no more Power than the other, Praetorum idem erat collegium, eadem potestas Bodin. lib. 3. c. 6., but only some more privi­ledge and dignity, dignitate coeteros anteibat propterea maximus dicebatur Fest. in verb. major., and the [...], at Athens was Praetor maximus, yet all the rest were pares potesta­et Ibid.; Bishops and Presbyters had idem ministerium as Jerome, eadem Ordinatio, as Hilary In 1 Tim. 3., they were of the same Order and Office, had the same power, the power of the Keys, all that which the Scripture makes essential to a Bishop. While it was thus, there could be no Dio­cesan Churches, that is, no Churches consisting of many Congregations which had but one Bishop only.


A Late Writer presumes he has detected a notable mistake in the Author, of No Evidence for Diocesan Churches (as­cribed to one who owns it not) about [...], which I suppose he would have Translated Ten Thousands definitely; but there it is rendred indefinitely thousands, as we are wont to express a great many, when the precise number is not known. Those who understand the Language, and have observed the use of the Word, will be farr from counting this a fault: and those who view the passage will count it intolerable, to render it as that Gentleman would have it. That of Atticus Bishop of C. P. may satisfie any concerning the import and use of the word, who sending mony for the releif of the poor at Nice to Calliopius, he thus [Page] writes, [...], where he tells him that by [...] he understands a multitude whose number he did not exactly know, thus (i. e. indefinitely) is the word most frequently used by Greek Writers, and particularly by Eusebius the Author of the passage cited. So he tells us, Nero killed his Hist. l. 2. c. Mother, his Brothers, his Wife, [...], of her Kindred: And Timotheus of Gaza, he [...] l. 8. C. 13. says, indured [...]. Many more might be added, where the word is not rendred by the best Translators (Valesius particularly) ten thousand; but still indefinitly innumerabi­les or infiniti, or sexcenti, &c. Nor have I met with one instance (though possibly there may be some) in him where it is used to ex­press ten thousand precisely.

However it had been an unpardonable in­jury to Eusebius, to have rendred it so in this place; as if he would have deluded the World with a most palpable untruth, which both he, and all men acquainted with the state of the Church in those times, know to be so. For this make him say that ten thousand Bi­shops [Page] met in Councel at Antioch in the third Age; when as he never knew a Synod of six hundred Bishops in the fourth Age, while he lived; though then Bishops were farr more numerous, and had all encouragement to meet in greatest numbers. This makes him signifie, that ten thousand Bishops as­sembled in the skirts of the East part of the Empire: When as their was not near so ma­ny (this Gentleman is concerned to maintain there was not one thousand) in the whole Chri­stian World.

This is more than enough to shew that there is sufficient warrant to Translate [...], Thousands more than once; though that it is in that discourse (which he stiles a little Pam­phlet) so translated more then once, is ano­ther of his mistakes. And a third (all in two lines) is that the Author grounds his Argu­ment on it. Whereas those that view the passage, and the occasion of it, will see it had been more for his advantage to have transla­ted it ten thousands. He that can allow him­self to write at this rate, may easily be volu­minous, and look too big to be despised, as a writer of little Pamphlets.

The Letter mentioned pag. 45. being communi­cated to me by M. B. that part of it which concerns Alexandria is here added, that it may appear how much it is mistaken, and how farr from being an­swered.

For Alexandria it was the greatest City in the Empire next to Rome, [...], says Josephus de bello Judaic lib. 5. c. cult. And Epi­phanius gives an account of many Churches in it assigned to several Presbyters, viz. besides Caesarea finished by Athanasius, that of Dionysi­us, Theonas, Pierius, Serapion, Perseas, Dizia, Mundidius, Annianus, Baucalas, adding [...]. Haeres 69. page 728: This notwithstanding that the Christians at Alexandria which held Communion with Athanasius, might and did meet together in one Church, he himself de­clares expresly in his Apology to Constantius, page 531. Tom. 1. Edit. Commelin. Anno 1601. The whole passage is too large to transcribe or translate, this is the sence of it. He being ac­cused for assembling the People in the great Church before it was dedicated ( [...]) makes this part of his defence. ‘The confluence of the People at the Paschal solem­nity [Page] was so great that if they had met in seve­ral assemblies ( [...]) the other Churches were so little and strait, that they would have been in danger of suffering by the crowd, nor would the universal harmo­ny and concurrence of the People have been so visible and effectual, if they had met in parcels. Therefore he appeals to him, whe­ther it was not better for the whole multi­tude to meet in that great Church (being a place large enough to receive them altogether [...]) and to have a concurrence of all the people with one voice ( [...].) For if says he according to our Savi­viours promise, where two shall agree as touching any thing, it shall be done for them of my Father, &c. How prevalent will be the one voice of [...] numerous a People assem­bled together and saying Amen to God? Who therefore would not wonder, who would not count it a happiness to see so great a People met together in one place? And how did the people rejoice to beh [...]ld one another, where­as formerly they assembled in several places?’

Hereby it is evident that in the middle of the fourth Age, all the Christians at Alexan­dria [Page] which were wont at other times to meet in several assemblies, were no more than one Church might and did contain, so as they could all join at once in the Worship of God and concurre in one Amen.

He tells him also that Alexander his Prede­cessor, (who died An. 325) did as much as he in like circumstances, viz. assembled the whole multitude in one Church before it was dedica­ted, pag. 532.

This seems clear enough, but being capa­ble of another kind of proof which may be no less satisfactory, let me add that also. This City was by Strabo his description of it, [...], like a Soldiers Coat, whose length at either side was almost 3 [...] Furlongs, its breadth at either end 7 or 8 urlongs, Geogr. lib. 17. pag. 546. so the whole compass will be less than ten Miles. A third or fourth part of this was taken up with publick Buildings, Temples, and Royal Palaces, [...]. ibid. two Miles and half or three and a quarter is thus disposed of. I take this to be that Region of the City which Epiphanius calls [...], (where he tells us, was the famous Library of Ptolomeus Philadelphus) and speaks [Page] of it in his time as destitute of Inhabitants, [...], de Ponder. & mensur, n. 9. p. 166 A great part of the City was assigned to the Jews, [...]. So Strabo indefinitely, as Josephus quotes him. Antiquit. Jud. l. 14. c. 12. Others tells us more punctu­ally, their share was two of the five divisions (Ushers Annals Latin, pag. 859.) Though many of them had their habitation in the other di­visions, yet they had two fifth parts entire to themselves, and this is (I suppose) the [...] which Josephus saith, the Successors of Alexander set apart for them ( [...], bello Jud. l. 2. cap. 21. Thus we see already how 6 or 7 miles of the 10 were taken up. The greatest part of the Citizens (as at Rome and other Cities) in the beginning of the 4th. Age were Heathens. Otherwise Antonius wrong'd the City, who, i [...] Athanasius's time, is brought in thus exclaiming by Jerom. vit. Paul. p. 243. Vae tibi Alexandria quae pro Deo portenta veneraris; vae tibi civitas mere [...]ix in quam totius orbis daemonia confluxere, &c. a Charge thus formed; supposes the prevailing party to be guilty. But let us suppose them equa, and their proportion half of the 3 or 4 miles remaining, Let the rest be divided amongst the Orthodox, the Arrians, [Page] the Novatians and other Sects▪ And if we be just a large part will fall to the share of Here­ticks and Sectaries. For not to mention others, the Novatians had several Churches and a Bi­shop there, till Cyrils time, vid. Socrat. Hist. l. 7. c. 7. The Arians were a great part of those who professed Christianity, [...], (Sozom. Hist. l. 1. c. 14.) and if we may judge of the followers by their leaders, no loss than half. For whereas there were 19 Presbyters and Deacons in that Church (Theod. Hist. l. 4. c. 23.) (12 was the number of their Presbyters by their Antient Constitution, as appears by Eutychius, and 7 their Deacons, as at Rome, and elsewhere) 6 Presbyters with Arius, and 5 Deacons fell off from the Catholicks. Sozom. Hist. l. 1. c. 14. But let the [...]rians be much fewer, yet will not the proportion of the Catholick Bishops Diocese i [...] this City, be more than that of a small Town, one of 8 or 12 Furlongs in compass. And so the num­bers of the Christians upon this account, will be no more than might well meet for Wor­ship in one place.


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