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S. JOHANNIS CHRYSOSTOMI DE SACERDO
Tio Libri VI. Græcè & Latinè. Quibus
STOME Concerning the CHRISTIAN
Notes of the fame Author. The Second Edition, more Correct and Larger than the firft. To which is added, Ano APOLOGETICAL ORATION of S. GREGOR Y NAZLANZEN, Archbishop of the same See, relating to the Same Subječt. By S. THIRL BY, A. B. of the same College. Cambridge, 1712. in Octavo. Pagg. 159. and 455.
VT. CHRYSOSTOME's Treatise concerning the
Christian Priesthood, is written by Way of Dialogue between himself and his friend Bafil ; bur Chrysostome is che chief Interlocutor. That Father and Basil, having contracted an intimate Friendship from their younger Years, resolved to live together, and to follow the same Course of Life. Whilst they entertained those Thoughts, there went a Report that both of them were to be promoted to the Episcopal Dig. nity. This unexpected News made Chrysostome very uneasy : He was afraid, on the one side, of being forced to accept a Bishoprick ; and on the other, he was sensible that he wanted the necessary Qualifications to discharge the Duties of fuch a high Scation. Basil came to him, and cold him, he would either conceal himself, or yield to the Defire of the People,' as he should be directed by his Example Chrysostome pera ceiving that his friend had a mind to be made a Bi. Ihop, and being unwilling to deprive the Church of an excellent Pastor, did not think fit to give him a positive Answer. He said, he would consider of it ; and express'd himself in such a manner, that Bafil could hardly guess he was of a different Mind fromi him. In the mean time Chrysostome retired into a Solitude. I must observe, that it was an usual thing in those Times to run away from a Bishoprick: The Readers will find several Instances of it in one of Mr. Thirlby's Notes upon the Apologetick. Oration of St. GreVol. IV.
gory Nazianzen. On the Day appointed for the Ordination, Bafil was carry'd to a Church, and tamely submitted to the Yöke, (dézetai ñ Ï Cuziòv,) not doubting but that his Friend would do the same.
Basil having found out Chrysostome, 'complained of his unfair Dealing, and told him, that every Body said, he had refused a Bifhoprick out of Vanity; that their Friends and Relations declared they would have found a way to bring him into the Net, if they had been acquainted with his Delign'; that others were sorry they had laid aside fome Men of great Me. rit, to pitch upon Two raw Youths, (uglegria que es rej magánu,) who could not so much as dream of being promoted to fo great a Dignity.
Chrysostome undertakes to make an Apology for hima felf. He owns that he has deceived his Friend; but he adds, that he has done it with a good Intention, and for the Good of the Church. He observes that Stratagems are Lawful in War; that Phyficians are allowed to deceive their Patients; that St. Paul caused Timothy to be circumcifed, tho' he told the Galatians that Christ availed nothing to those that received the Circumcision, &c. In the next Place, St. Chryfoftomě thews, that nothing can be more Glorious than to have the Government of Christ's Church; from whence he infers that Bafil cannot. justly complain of having been deceived. Afterwards he makes several judici. ous and folid Obfervations upon the Manner of Re. claiming Sinners; whereby it appears that he had a grear Knowledge of Humane Nature. That Excel lent Father was an Enemy to Persecution, as one may fee from the following Words, which I fall insert in Latin, for the Sake of those who do not understand Greek. “ Si vero à recto Christianæ fidei tramite di
berraverit quis; hic pastori magnum certè opus
incumbit, magnum negotium, magna tolerantia. “ Neque enim vis illi inferenda, neque 'terrore ille
cogendus. Verum fuadendus tantum, ut de inte
gro ad veritatem redeat, unde inicio delapsus est ”. I am so well pleased with this Passage that I cannot forbear setting down the Original Words. Sce the
Margin *. The Fathers are always against Persecurion, when they write in cold Blood.
St. Chrysostome goes on with his Apology, and alledges several Reasons to shew that he is unjustly accused of Pride and Vain-glory. The Design of that Father is to set off the Excellence of the Christian Priesthood, and to make it appear how difficult it is to discharge the Duties of Epilcopacy; from whence he concludes, that he ought rather ro be commended for Refusing to be made a Bihop, being sensible that he is not sufficiently qualified for such a Dignity.
The Christian Priesthood, says he is a Heavenly Ministry, tho' it be performed on Earth; and therefore no less Purity is required in a Priest, than if he was in Heaven among the Heavenly Powers. “ When you see the Lord sacrificed, and lying upon “ the Altar, when you see the Priest standing by the
Sacrifice, and offering up Prayers, and all those that
are present sprinkled with that most precious Blood; “ do you think you are upon Earth, and conversant a
mong Men? Are you not transported into Heaven?
And, putring off all worldly Thoughts, don't you “ see with a pure Mind what is done in the Hea“ venly Places? What a wonderful Thing is this !
How great is the Goodness of God! He who firs “ above with his Father, is at that very time hand“ led by every Body, and delivers himself to those “ who are willing to receive him. Every Body sees “ this with the Eyes of Faith. ” &c. The Learned Editor makes an Excellent Note upon this paffage, and shews that St. Chryfoftome did not believe Transubstantiation, nor a Corporeal Presence of Christ in
Ει 3 της ουθάας άνθρωπG- Αποπλανηθάη πίσεως, πολλής δε τω ποιμνι της πραγμαλίας, της καριερίας, tñs ouovas. Oj 78 saxữool Tens Giay bav, ofi αναγκάσαι φόζω. πάσανία και πάλιν προς την αλήTady dyasy 83EVEETEE Tiv d'exhv. Pag. 52. See the Note upon this Passage. See also a fine Passage of another Father (St. Auguftin) against Perfecution, in the third Volume, Arcicle LXXXVII,
the Sacrament, but only a Spiritual one; which is the Doctrine of many Protestant Churches. I add, that this Passage is somewhat Rhetorical; and there fore too great a Stress ought not to be laid
upon If it be laid, that St. Chrysostome calls the Eucharift a dreadful Mystery: I Answer, Thar moft Protestants look upon it as a Great, Supernatural, and Incomprehensible Mystery ; which is much the same thing. And I dare affirm that the Passage of St. Chrysostome, notwithstanding all its Rhetorick, is more intelligible than a Canon of a National Synod of the Reformed Churches of France, relating to the fame Subject, which I have inserted in my Account of the Synods of those Churches. Thus it frequently happens, that the Fathers are blamed without a good Reason for it. A Dreadful Mystery, in the Language of those Ancient Writers, fignifies a Great and Venerable Mystery:
Sr. Chrysostome highly extols the Dignity of the Christian Priesthood, so far as to say that Priests are more to be dreaded than Kings and Princes; which seems to be a Rhetorical Flight. He shews how difficult it is for a Bishop to discharge the Duties incumbent upon him; and what he says upon that subject, dilcovers his great Judgment and Eloquence. That excellent Man gives a lively Description of the Vices and Passions of several Bishops; and then observes, that fome out of Complaisance for Women, did many things not proper to be mentioned. Tho' Women
(says he) are excluded from the Holy Ministry by “ the Law of God, yet they break into it with great
Violence; and because they can do nothing by them. “ selves, they do every thing by others ; and have “ so great a Power, that they bring in, or expel as
many Bishops as they think fit, and, as the Pro“ verb says, Turn every thing topsy-turvy.” St. Cbryfostome adds, That he does not pretend to charge all the Bishops with the Faults mentioned by him: He acknowledges that the Prelates, who were free from those Vices, exceeded the Number of those that were guilty of them.