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Preliminary Dissertation upon the

Offices of Coronation, Drdination,

Consecration of Bishops,

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Preliminary Dissertation.


HE consecration of sovereigns by the ministers of religion, reaches to an antiquity higher than the Christian æra: but I need not enter here into the history of the unction and coronation of the ancient Jewish kings. The accounts which we have in the Sacred Scriptures will readily occur to the recollection of the reader; and if he would enquire further, there are many writers. who, having investigated that part of the subject, will afford him very full information upon it.2


S. Augustine has declared that the anointing of kings was a rite always peculiar to the people of God: and not adopted at any time by the heathens. "Unctus

est," he says, "Deus a Deo: unctum audis, Christum intellige: etenim Christus a chrismate. Hoc nomen quod appellatur Christus, unctionis est: nec in aliquo alibi ungebantur reges et sacerdotes, nisi in illo regno,

1 The reader will not forget the remarkable parable of Jotham, in the Book of Judges: and the speech given to the bramble.

Besides the authors more

usually referred to, the student will do well to consult the 8th ch. §. 1. of Selden's Titles of Honour, and the third book of Scacchus, Sacrorum elæochrismaton myrothecia.

ubi Christus prophetabatur et ungebatur, et unde venturum erat Christi nomen : nusquam alibi omnino, in nulla gente, in nullo regno.'



We know not who was the first Christian prince, either anointed or crowned by the bishops of the Church. Theodosius the younger is supposed to have been the first, who was crowned by the patriarch of Constantinople; and Habertus acknowledges that he cannot find any authority for such a solemnization before his time: A. D. 408. "Nemo mihi a patriarcha coronatus legitur ante Theodosium jun. de quo Theodorus Lector, lib. 2. ὁ νέος Θεοδόσιος στεφθεὶς ὑπο του Πρόκλου Патçiάgxou." Shortly after the time of that emperor πατριάρχου.” there appears to be little reason to question the fact, in the case of the emperor Justin: concerning whom Baronius quotes an epistle from John, the then patriarch of Constantinople: "Ideo coronam gratiæ super eum cœlitus declinavit, ut affluenter in sacrum caput ejus misericordia funderetur: omnique annuntiationis ejus tempore cum magna voce Deum omnium Principem glorificaverunt, quoniam talem verticem manibus meis tali corona decoravit."5

But before this date, we have the famous history of Clovis in the West, of whom it has been asserted, that he was both crowned, and anointed. And more than

3 Enarrat. cit. Habert. Pontif. Græc. p. 626.

4 Pontif. Græc. p. 627.

5 Annal. an. 519. Compare the account of the second coronation of the same emperor, by pope John I. in the Liber pontif. tom. 1. p. 192.

6 For there seems to be no evi

dence, that in the earliest coronations of the Greek emperors, unction formed a part of the solemnity. It has been supposed so: but the proof appears to rest upon an expression of Onuphrius, cited by Selden. "Constantinopoli, vel sub Justiniano, vel post ejus statim obitum, electioni imperatoris addi

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