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deriving from him all his jurisdiction. The election of that officer by any other persons must, therefore, be considered merely as the designation of a person by whom that delegated jurisdiction should be exercised. And this is the more evident as there is reason to believe, that in the ninth century the people, in some places on the continent, shared in the election of the rural archpresbyters. But to return to our own country. In the king's declaration concerning ecclesiastical affairs, (1660,) the nomination of rural deans is recognised as vested in the bishop: “rural deans, as heretofore, to be nominated by the bishop of the diocese." In the proceedings in Convocation about rural deans, A. D. 1710, the Upper House seems to have been desirous of restoring to district clergy the power of electing their rural deans, subject to episcopal confirmation alone; but they proposed that the rural deans should be appointed only for three years, unless the bishop should see cause to alter that term. The latter part of the projected Canon was pertinaciously resisted by the Lower House, who wished the archdeacon to share with the bishop jointly the power of removing rural deans.

As for decanal appointments in modern days, they are much influenced by local usages. There is no general rule' of election and institution, and every diocese adheres to its own customs.

“ In some places,” says Mr. Dansey, “ the mandate of election proceeds by the bishop's grant from the archdeacon alone, as (to quote from our insular usages) formerly in the diocese of Canterbury, and at one time, seemingly, in that of Lincoln ; in others, from the bishop and the archdeacon jointly, that is, from the bishop, through the archdeacon, as now-a-days in the diocese of Exeter, where the clergy are the actual electors. 'In others, again, from the bishop alone, as in the dioceses of London, Bangor, Bath and Wells, Chester, Chichester, Ely, Hereford, Lichfield, Llandaff, Norwich, Oxford, Peterborough, Winchester, Gloucester, and Bristol, St. Asaph's, St. David's, Worcester, and Salisbury ; in the latter of which the office is, on the authority of our venerated diocesan himself, entirely dependent on the personal jurisdiction of the bishop, the archdeacon having nothing to do with the appointment, except so far as the bishop may desire him to mention the names of clergymen eligible to the duty, which has been occasionally done by the rural presbyters themselves, but in neither case with any power of nomination, as in official right. Such, likewise, was the constitution of the office in the days of Bishop Ward, and also in those of Bishop Fisher, in the diocese of Sarum. And yet to show how much the usages of the Church have varied at different periods, in relation to the economy of this office, even in the same diocese, we find traces of an opposite custom to that now prevalent, in the early constitutions of the diocese of Sarum. . . . Clearly showing that, in the days of Bishop Poore (A.D. 1222), and Bishop Bridport (A.D. 1256), the institution of deans rural was, partially at least, a matter of archidiaconal concernment in our diocese. Nor, indeed, in that of Winchester has the act of appointing been always with the bishop, to the exclusion of the archdeacon, though in the present age the latter is no party to it.”.

With respect to the duration of the office, we are informed by Mr. Dansey that it is held now in England generally durante episcopi beneplacito. In the diocese of Exeter it is an annual appointment, and in that of Winchester it is the same, in the instance of the older institution (still nominally kept up), while in the new foundation, under Bishop Sumner, it is of unlimited duration, as in the other dioceses of England.t

We recommend particular attention to the very judicious observations of our author on this part of the subject. He recommends that rural deans should not be annually changed, on the ground that an annual officer is not likely to be so efficient as one whose tenure is more permanent. The annual rural dean ceases to be in office at the very time when he has become fully acquainted with all the churches under his jurisdiction, and thoroughly used to his duties; besides which, he, in many instances, has not time to carry out and finish measures which he has commenced. He cannot acquire experience, which must be required for the thorough performance of the duties of an office of trust. These reasons are well worth consideration.

We will proceed now to a very important division of Mr. Dansey's book—that which relates to the functions of rural deans.

The Canonists call them Pastores Pastorum, because they have the care of all the clergy within their district. They are vice-bishops within their deaneries, for the maintenance of discipline, and of the due performance of all ecclesiastical functions. But they are not ordinaries with respect to their clergy, as the parochial clergy are with respect to their parishioners. The rural deanery is a mere office, and neither a dignity nor a benefice, and its jurisdiction arises entirely by delegation from the bishop. These are the general principles regarding the functions of rural deans.

Bishop Gibson denies the right of parochial visitation to rural deans; but that learned prelate clearly refers only to visitation as ordinary, for our author abundantly shows, that rural deans have visited, as the bishops' delegates, for a thousand years, in every part of the Church. Van Espen, indeed, commences his chapter on the Visitation of Archpriests, by saying

As the archpriests are bound to superintend and watch over all the pastors and ecclesiastics in their districts, they must take notice * Horæ Dec. Rur. vol. i. p. 127-129.

# Ibid. p. 156. I Van Esp. par. i. lit. vi. cap. ii. p. 83.

Ś Ibid. p. 83.

"*

whether any thing is neglected relating to the due government of the parishes subject to them, and the cure of souls: it is, therefore, evident, that the exact and frequent visitation of the parishes under their authority, is among the first duties of the archpriests, whereby they may acquire a knowledge of the parishes, and correct those things which require correction, or report them to the bishop. And, in all the synods, the archpriests are enjoined to visit every parish in their district, at least once in every year.'

This annual visitation seems to have been onerous to the clergy, who were bound to entertain the archdeacon and his attendants; and Mr. Dansey has collected some curious regulations of divers synods, limiting their liability in this respect, that the visitations might not be rendered less frequent, and also requiring the archpriests to visit in person and not by officials. Among the documents relating to this subject, not the least curious is an indulgence granted to the clergy of Berkshire, by Pope Alexander III. in the year 1271, exempting them, among other things, from presenting hounds and hawks to their archdeacon. We must not, however, necessarily infer that the archdeacons of Berks, in those days, were what would now be called “sporting characters," for hawks and hounds were, in the feudal days, used as part of the paraphernalia of rank and dignity, as well as for more obvious purposes, and the presents referred to were probably usual marks of respect to a superior.

Mr. Dansey gives a very interesting account of the articles of inquiry, which rural deans were required to observe in their visitations, and we cannot refrain from laying before our readers one of these regulations, regarding the duties of foraneous vicars, made by St. Charles Borromeo, in the fifth Council of Milan, A.D. 1579. It demands that profound respect to which all the writings of that great saint are entitled. The foraneous vicars are to inquire :

.... Qui parochorum in primis zelus in animarum salute procuranda; quæ in sacramentis ministrandis sedula diligentia ; quam frequens in pascendis verbo Dei fidelibus officium; quæ denique in omnibus parochialis muneris partibus vigilantia quæve assiduitas. Quæ populi in Christianæ charitatis operibus exercitatio, quam religiosus festorum dierum cultus, quam pia in ecclesiis conversatio, quæ in doctrina Christianæ scholis frequentia : tum denique de reliqua omni ejusdem populi disciplina, et in via Domini progressu. Post videant qui singularum ecclesiarum præsertim parochialium status, an si quæ instau

• Van Esp. par. i. tit. vi. cap. iii. p. 85.

# It may be noticed, however, that in the well-known case of Archbishop Abbot, the common lawyers cited the Carta de Foresta, and argued that the old custom by which a bishop's hounds were escheated to the crown, implied that he might use . them. Spelman, however, denied the inference: and it does not seem a necessary conclusion that possession involves a personal use.

rationem desiderant; an debito cultu fraudantur; an sacris vestibus, ornamentis, supellectileque ecclesiastica ad cultum necessaria instructæ sunt; an denique ulla ex parte inculta.

“ Postremo an si aliqua sint provincialium diocesanarumque synodorum decreta et edicta, visitationum præscripta, aliave episcopalia jussa quæ executionem non habent; quid item impedimenti aut difficultatis, aut denique causa sit quamobrem eorum executioni non sit locus, &c.”*

This charge to the rural vicars of the diocese of Milan contains a beautiful summary of the duties of rural deans in their visitations, and of the species of superintending influence which they should exercise over their clergy, and the congregations entrusted to their care.

We come now to the synodical duties of rural deans. They were necessary attendants on episcopal synods, to report concerning matters within their inspection, and thence, according to Somner, Kennett, Atterbury, and others, they are called Testes Synodales, from the information communicated by them to the synod as witnesses. But it is necessary to observe that Gibson mentions other Testes Synodales, properly so called, who were persons appointed in each deanery to report to the synod whatever they thought worthy of animadversion.

The functions and influence of the rural deans in episcopal synods were formerly very important. “ The Canons of the Church,” says Mr. Dansey, “

vary in their injunctions as to the frequency of holding episcopal synods, (still existing, Bishop Stillingtleet tells us, under the type of diocesan visitations.)† at which deans rural heretofore made their attestations and presentments. Once a year, at least, such a convention of the clergy, under their diocesan (the most ancient form of synod, though not the most dignified) was assembled.

At this council of the district, the rural deans of England were rightful coadjutors for deliberating on the affairs of the Church : and when duly constituted, the synod consisted of the bishop, as president, the cathedral deans, in the name of their collegiate body of presbyters, the archdeacons as deputies or proctors of their inferior order of deacons, and the rural deans, in the name of the parochial clergy, as the proper delegates and standing representatives of that body, to consult with the bishop upon all matters connected with the Church and its local discipline. [ *Ut qua ex ipsorum judicio reformatione opus habere comperientur communi consilio emendentur.' ....

“ The number of these synods in each year varied as above stated, at different periods and places, once, twice, thrice—no general rule prevailed. Once, however, may be said to have been the most frequent usage.

In council assembled, the deans deli. * Huræ Dec. Rur. vol. i. p. 193.

+ Sullin:f. Eccl. Cases, p. 2. Kennet, Paroch. Antiq. vol. ii. p. 363. SS. CC. tom. xix. col. 2292. Can, xviii. $ Horæ Dec. Rur. vol. i. p. 215.

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vered to the presiding bishop their acta visitationis, attesting the same by oath; and otherwise informed him orally, or by letter, of the temporal and spiritual circumstances of their respective decanatesparticularly delivering to him formal presentments in scriptis of all that was amiss in the rural districts under their charge; and availing themselves of the opportunity of paying the several taxes due on account of the parochial clergy to the diocesan, of which imports, as we shall hereafter show, they were the official collectors. Such was the usual routine in obedience to the oft-repeated injunctions that bade them to be diligent in their delegate responsible overseership, and to report everything to the bishop. But when the matter of their presentment was urgent, and required immediate episcopal interference, they waited not for the slow formality of the periodical synod, but went at once with their complaint to the bishop in private, and received his instructions thereon."*

We cannot but admire the ancient institution of diocesan synods. There the bishop sat in the midst of his clergy, assisted by them in the decision of the important affairs of the diocese. There, in the presence of the whole ecclesiastical parliament, the reports of the rural deans were made concerning the condition of each deanery. The clergy were thus made acquainted with the affairs of the whole diocese; they had the opportunity of consulting with their bishop, and with each other, and seeking whatever assistance they might require. The bishop, on the other hand, was enabled to act with the advice and concurrence of his priests, according to the ancient apostolical constitution of the Church,—not as a despot, or an autocrat, but with the mildness and the modesty of a christian prelate, who desires rather to find wisdom in the multitude of counsellors, than to indulge his own will by acting by his own unaided judgment. This is very different from the formality of a modern visitation, which consists in little besides hearing the bishop's charge after the morning prayers. But institutions have been allowed, in this and many other particulars, to dwindle down to mere form. Business is doubtless transacted more speedily, and with less trouble now when it is confined to a very few hands, than it was under the ancient system of diocesan government. But this is the common trite argument in favour of despotism; and it cannot stand for a moment against the undoubted fact that the autocratic form of Church government is directly contrary to the constitution of the Church in the first century, and even to the practice of the apostles themselves. Thus, however well a bishop may govern his flock under the modern system, that system cannot be really good and sound. We do not blame the bishops, for they take the system as they

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