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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


an established custom or law; a precept, maxim, or principle. Institutions may be considered as positive, moral, and human.

1. Those are called positive institutions or precepts which are not founded upon any reasons known to those to whom they are given, or discoverable by them, but which are observed merely because some superior has commanded them.

2. Moral are those, the reasons of which we see, and the duties of which arise out of the nature of the case itself, prior to external command.

3. Human are generally applied to those inventions of men, or means of honoring God, which are not appointed by him, and which are numerous in the Church of Rome, and too many of them in Protestant churches. See Butler's Analogy, p. 214; Doddridge's Lect. lect. 158; Robinson's Claude, 1. 217; 2, 258; Burroughs, Disc. on Positive Institutions;' Bp. Hoadley's Plain Account, p. 3. INSTITUTION in Church law means the final and authoritative appointment to a church benefice-more especially a bishopric- by the person with whom such right of appointment ultimately rests. Thus, in the Roman Catholic Church-even after the election of a bishop by the chapter, or his nomination by the crown, when that right belongs to the crown-it is only the pope who confers institution. In English usage, institution is a conveyance of the cure of souls by the bishop, who, or whose deputy, reads the words of the institution, while the clerk kneels. The institution vests the benefice in the clerk, for the purpose of spiritual duty, who thereupon becomes entitled to the profits thereof. But the title is not complete till induction (q.v.).

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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Institution'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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