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Chapter XII.—The Explanation of the Passage Offered by the Psychics Considered.

Listen, withal, to the very subtle argumentation on the contrary side.  “So true is it,” say (our opponents), “that the apostle has permitted the iteration of marriage, that it is only such as are in the Clerical Order that he has stringently bound to the yoke of monogamy.  For that which he prescribes to certain (individuals) he does not prescribe to all.”  Does it then follow, too, that to bishops alone he does not prescribe what he does enjoin upon all; if what he does prescribe to bishops he does not enjoin upon all? or is it therefore to all because to bishops? and therefore to bishops because to all?  For whence is it that the bishops and clergy come?  Is it not from all?  If all are not bound to monogamy, whence are monogamists (to be taken) into the clerical rank?  Will some separate order of monogamists have to be instituted, from which to make selection for the clerical body?  (No); but when we are extolling and inflating ourselves in opposition to the clergy, then “we are all one:”  then “we are all priests, because He hath made us priests to (His) God and Father.”  When we are challenged to a thorough equalization with the sacerdotal discipline, we lay down the (priestly) fillets, and (still) are on a par!  The question in hand (when the apostle was writing), was with reference to Ecclesiastical Orders—what son of men ought to be ordained.  It was therefore fitting that all the form of the common discipline should be set forth on its fore-front, as an edict to be in a certain sense universally and carefully attended to, that the laity might the better know that they must themselves observe that order which was indispensable to their overseers; and that even the office of honour itself might not flatter itself in anything tending to licence, as if on the ground of privilege of position.  The Holy Spirit foresaw that some would say, “All things are lawful to bishops;” just as that bishop of Utina of yours feared not even the Scantinian law.  Why, how many digamists, too, preside in your churches; insulting the apostle, of course:  at all events, not blushing when these passages are read under their presidency!

Come, now, you who think that an exceptional law of monogamy is made with reference to bishops, abandon withal your remaining disciplinary titles, which, together with monogamy, are ascribed to bishops.668668    See 1 Tim. iii. 1–7; Tit. i. 6–9.  Refuse to be “irreprehensible, sober, of good morals, orderly, hospitable, easy to be taught;” nay, indeed, (be) “given to wine, prompt with the hand to strike, combative, money-loving, not ruling your house, nor caring for your children’s discipline,”—no, nor “courting good renown even from strangers.”  For if bishops have a law of their own teaching monogamy, the other (characteristics) likewise, which will be the fitting concomitants of monogamy, will have been written (exclusively) for bishops.  With laics, however, to whom monogamy is not suitable, the other (characteristics) also have nothing to do.  (Thus), Psychic, you have (if you please) evaded the bonds of discipline in its entirety!  Be consistent in prescribing, that “what is enjoined upon certain (individuals) is not enjoined upon all;” or else, if the other (characteristics) indeed are common, but monogamy is imposed upon bishops alone, (tell me), pray, whether they alone are to be pronounced Christians upon whom is conferred the entirety of discipline?


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