« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
of the early days of Christianity. On this subject, one of the most eminent men among them published the following remarks in the days of Cromwell: “Since the latter spring of REFORMATION in England, I am confident there is not one instance of any one Bishop or Episcopal Divine, that either wrote or instigated any christian subjects to act, upon any religious pretensions, contrary to the rules of civil subjection to that Prince or State under which they lived; no, not to bring in or restore Episcopacy itself, which hath far more pleas for it from Catholic antiquity and universal prescription, &c. together with its own ancient, catholic and national rights, which aggravate its injuries, and exasperate men's spirits. Yet these are not enough to animate or heighten Episcopacy, so far as to make or restore its way into any Nation, Church, State, or Kingdom, by armed power or tumultuary violence, against the will of the Chief Magistrate or the laws in force. It humbly attends God's time, and the sovereign's pleasure, for its reception or restitution.”
Mr. Scott's remark is exceedingly just, (p. xlvii.) these
designing sagacious leaders knew how to avail themselves of the prejudices of the different Calvinistic pastors: And when one Republican General or Erastian member of Parliament was allowed to nominate the preacher of a Fast-day sermon before either of the Houses, as an expounder of the principles of the Independent persuasion, a similar privilege was claimed and exercised on the next solemn occasion by a Presbyterian divine, under the patronage of some General or Statesman of his denomination. Though much artifice was apparent in thus opposing the liberal and occasionally licentious opinions of the Independents to the intolerance of the Presbyterians, yet many benefits resulted from the practice. The violent conflicts, between the extreme opinions of the two parties, produced at length a happy medium; and Christian moderation about things indifferent began to find some countenance. These, however, were but the infant struggles of British Liberty; and, in the twenty years immediately succeeding the Restoration, the legal rights of a free people were better understood, and gained a glorious triumph at the Revolution in 1688.* (See page 692.)
The Episcopal Clergy of those days shewed themselves the consistent and intrepid admirers of " the new sect of the LATITUDE-MEN.” Even some of those who had been eminent Tories, were, on that occasion, carried out beyond the narrow principles which they had imbibed ; they loudly declaimed against, and manfully resisted, the attacks of Popery and Tyranny. The following extraet from Bishop HEBER will prove, that those eminent Whig Divines have still able successors in the Church of England :
** Taylor, however, makes another admission, which, if his life had been prolonged a few more years, might have involved him in a very serious difficulty of conscience; and would have divided him, if he had acted on it, from all the best and wisest of his own order and religion : The unlawful proclamations * and edicts of a true prince may be published by the Clergy in their several · In a succeeding page, (690,) I have said, “ It would be singular, indeed, and a circumstance altogether anomalous in the moral history of mankind, were those narrow principles which are peculiar to Calvinism accounted the parents of a liberal Toleration, either civil or religious.” One of the best-informed of modern Calvinists, (p. 802,) has on this subject made the following just reinark: “ The same temper of mind which led Armi. “nius to renounce the peculiarities of Calvinism, induced him
also to adopt more enlarged and liberal views of church-govern"ment than those which had hitherto prevailed. While he main“ tained, “ that the mercy of God is not confined to a chosen few,' "he conceived it to be quite inconsistent with the genius of “ Christianity, that men of that religion should keep at a distance “ from each other, and constitute separate churches, merely “ because they differed in their opinions as to some of its doctrinal of articles.”—This is the principle which runs through “the ever memorable Hales's" tract on Schism, and which that great mandefended, both in person and by letter, * to Archbishop Laud :
charges !'~I wish I had not found this in Taylor; and I thank heaven, that this principle was not adopted by the English Clergy in 1687. Yet, for Taylor, many allowances may be made ; and many excuses offered for this and the other ultra-monarchical features of his creed. Accustomed as he was to see and feel all the tyranny which then plagued the land, from those who, under the colour of freedom, had disturbed and enslaved their country, it was hardly to be expected that his attention could be equally alive to the possibility of the same evils
occur. ring under a legitimate Sovereign. And, above all, let it be remembered, that his inclination for absolute monarchy, if it were unwise, was, at least, not interested or servile ; that if he carried too high the power of a lawful king, it was when that lawful king was in exile. The Ductor Dubitantium, though published at the moment of the Restoration, was written and printed while no such event could be looked for, and when all that could be gained by an unlimited loyalty, was the suspicion or persecution of the ruling powers - imprisonment, fine, and aggravated indigence.”.
• As every fact connected with this small treatise is important, I subjoin the narrative, which Lord Clarendon has given us in the account of his own LIFE, of the personal interview between Hales and Archbishop Laud : “ Nothing troubled him more than the brawls which were grown from religion ; and he therefore exceedingly detested the tyranny of the Church of Rome, more for their imposing uncharitably upon the consciences of other men, than for the errors in their own opinions ; and would often say, that he would renounce the religion • of the Church of England to-morrow, if it obliged him to believe that any other
Christians should be damned ; and that nobody would conclude another man to be damned, who did not wish him so.' No man more strict and severe to himself; to other men so charitable as to their opinions, that he thought that other men were more in fault for their carriage towards them, than the men them selves were who erred ; and he thought that pride and passion, more than conscience, were the cause of all separation from each other's communion ; and he frequently said, that that only kept the world from agreeing upon such a • Liturgy, as might bring them into one communion ; all doctrinal points upon * which men differed in their opinions, being to have no place in any Liturgy.' Upon an occasional discourse with a friend, of the frequent and uncharitable reproaches of fleretick and Schiematick, too lightly thrown at each other, amongat men who differ in their judgment, he writ a little Discourse of Schism, contained
His boldness and consistency did not alienate the affections of the Prelate from him, nor did they prevent him from obtaining high ecclesiastical patronage. That tract had been very extensively circulated, especially among his Arminian friends, either in manuscript or in print, without Hales's privity or consent, five in less than two sheets of paper : which, being transmitted from friend to friend in writing, was at last, without any malice, brought to the view of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Laud, who was a very rigid surveyor of all things which never 80 little bordered upon schism ; and thought the Church could not be too vigilant against and jealous of such incursions.
« He sent for Mr. Hales, whom, when they had both lived in the University of Oxford, he had known well; and told him, that he had in truth believed him to be long since dead ; and chid him very kindly for having never come to him, having been of his old acquaintance ; then asked him, whether he had lately writ a short Discourse of Schism, and whether he was of that opinion which that discourse implied ? He told him, that he had, for the satisfaction of a private friend, (who was not of his mind,) a year or two before, writ such a small tract, without any imagination that it would be communicated ; and that he believed
it did not contain any thing that was not agreeable to the judgment of the • primitive Fathers.' Upon which, the Archbishop debated with him upon some expressions of Irenæus, and the most ancient Fathers ; and concluded with saying, that the time was very apt to set new doctrines on foot, of which the
wits of the age were too susceptible; and that there could not be too much care "taken to preserve the peace and unity of the Church ;' and from thence asked him of his condition, and whether he wanted any thing, and the other answering, that he had enough, and wanted or desired no addition, so dismissed him with great courtesy; and shortly after sent for him again, when there was a Preben. dary of Windsor fallen, and told him, the King had given him the preferment, because it lay so convenient to his Fellowship of Eton ; which, (though indeed the most convenient preferment that could be thought of for him,) the Archbishop could not, without great difficulty, persuade him to accept; and he did accept it rather to please him than himself, because he really believed he had enough before. He was one of the least men in the kingdom, and one of the greatest seholars in Europe. Mr. Chillingworth was of a stature little superior to Mr. Hales, and it was an age in which there were many great and wonderful men of that size."
- It is probable, that, in this conversation, the Archbishop had pointed out to him the disregard which he had evinced towards Christian Antiquity in that tract, and the undue slight which he had put upon Church-authority. On both these points be explained himself in a letter, which is supposed to have survived the wreck of the learned Prelate's papers. “ Whereas," he says, “ in one “ point, speaking of church-authority, I bluntly added, which is none ; I must “ acknowledge it was incautiously spoken ; and, being taken in a generality, is "false,-though, as it refers to the occasion which I there fell upon, it is (as I “think I may safely say,) most true.--I count, in point of decision of church" questions, if I say of the authority of the Church that it is none, I know no " adversary that I have, the Church of Rome only excepted. For this cannot * be true, except we make the Church judge of controversies ; the contrary of * which we generally maintain against that Church.”
The Archbishop, who loved frankness and hated an untruth even when uttered with a jocose intent, (p. 709,) admired Hales for his meek, yet manly, spirit, and teok him under his protection. His Grace knew the source from which Hales's aversion to church-authority sprung, and which he had imbibed through dingust at what he had seen of the unwarrantable assumptions of the Dort Synodists. See page 579, in which the Archbishop's conduct towards Hales and ChillingForth is satisfactorily explained.
years prior to the Archbishop's downfall and the beginning of the Civil Wars. The salutary effects which it produced on the mind of Jeremy Taylor, who was then a mere youth, were soon afterwards manifest in his “Liberty of Prophesying:" an able defence of which, from the nervous pen of Bishop Heber, will be found in page 808. What effects Hales’s tract produced upon the minds of many other moderate men of different religious persuasions, during the Commonwealth, is apparent in the numerous quotations which they gave from its pages; but its fruits were most conspicuous in the writings and opinions of the new race of Arminians, who then arose in England, and who are well described by Mosheim under the name of “ Latitudinarians.”--(See pages 789-800.)
But those earlier Episcopal Divines whose theology was applied to practical purposes, rather than to nice Predestinarian disquisitions, were more decided friends to religious liberty than their Calvinistical cotemporaries. Such great men as Bishops Hooper, Bilson, Andrews, and Overal, Dr. Saravia, and Richard Hooker, might with the strictest propriety have been called “ Arminians," had Arminianism, in their youthful days, had an existence as a system of religious doctrines. But they, and multitudes of other moderate and learned Divines, who were generally styled “ Augustinians,” thought it quite sufficient if they adhered to the first and sounder opinions of St. Augustine on Predestination, which had a sanctifying and practical tendency, and which Arminius himself never exceeded. The grand enemy, with whom the chief of these great men were compelled to contend, was the Papist; and in managing the usual arguments against him, especially that first of rational Protestant axioms, « THE BIBLE ALONE THE RELIGION OF PROTESTANTS," and the absence of an infallible interpreter, they naturally learned and gave expression to the most liberal sentiments. These tole
• It is said, by Wood, to have been written at the particular desire of his friend Chillingworth, when the latter was engaged in the composition of his immortal book, the Religion of Protestants, which was commenced in 1634, and printed in 1637. Hales's tract must therefore have been in circulation, at least nine years before the murder of the Archbishop.
+ In the year 1617, the amiable Bishop Overal, having congratulated Grotius, in a letter, on “ the bright prospect, which then shone, of greater concord and more Christian toleration among the Dutch Divines,” added the following just remarks: “ But I am unable adequately to express my astonishment, that there are some persons among us in England who indulge such a dreadful antipathy against your party, (the Arminians,] since it was long ago acknowledged, in our arguments against the Papists, as is sufficiently manifest among us from the publication of JEWEL's Apology,—that these dissensions of Protestants do not relate to the principles, foundations, or heads of our own religion, but to lighter matters and questions of less importance.' I hear that a certain treatise by the present Bishop of Salisbury, who is the Archbishop of Canterbury's brother, has been some time in the press. It is written against the Arminians and Thomson's Diatribe. At this circumstance I am not much surprised,
rant-opinions, however, became somewhat reduced in Catholic amplitude when the same individuals were under the necessity of defending the Church, of whose unity in too restricted a sense they were profound admirers, against the incroachments of the Presbyterians and Brownists. Yet it is remarkable, that Richard Hooker, who wrote against both parties, (the Papists and the Disciplinarian brethren, is far more liberal and tolerant in his views of Religious Liberty than Richard Baxter, * Bishop Overal than Dr. Lightfoot, ip. 467,) Dr. Hammond than Dr. John Owen, siuce he formerly defended Perkins and his Reformed Catholic. Ilow desirable, that we should discuss and determine Theological matters, and those questions which concern the Christian Faith, not according to party prepossessions and private opinions or feelings, but according to the sure Word of God, and the consent of the Ancient Church! We might then entertain better hopes about Evangelical Truth and Concord.”
• In BAXTER's Second Admonition to Bagshaw, he enumerates some of the faults committed by himself during the Civil Wars, of which he then saw cause to repent:
“ I do repent, (again,) that I no more discouraged the spirit of peevish quarrelling with Superiors and Church-orders ; and (though I ever disliked' and opposed it, yet) that I sometimes did too much encourage such as were of this temper, by speaking too sharply against those things which I thought to be Church-corruptions, and was too loth to displease the contentious, for fear of being uncapable to do them good, (knowing the profane to be much worse than 'they,) and meeting with too few religious persons that were not too much pleased with such invectives.
“ I do repent also, that I had not more impartially and diligently consulted with the best Lawyers that were against the Parliament's cause; (for I know of no controversy in Divinity about it, but in Politics and Law ;) and that I did not use all possible means of full acquaintance with the case :-And that, for a little while, the authority of such writers as Mr. RICHARD HOOKER, (Lib. i, Eccles. Polit.,) and Bishop Bilson, and other Episcopal Divines, did too much sway my judgment toward the principles of POPULAR POWER :-And, seeing the Parliament Episcopal and Erastian ; and not hearing, when the war began, of two Presbyterians among them all, nor among all their Lord Lieutenants, Gencrals, Major-Generals, or Colonels, till long after; I was the easilier drawn to think, that Hooker's Political Principles had been commonly received by all; which I discovered soon after, upon stricter enquiry, to be unsound, and have myself written a confutation of them !"
This quotation is exceedingly important, for other reasons than that of shewing the more tolerant character of the writings of Hooker and Bilson : It corroborates the remarks which I have made (page 379) upon Baxter's casuistry, about the authority to which the allegiance of the people was due. It is likewise highly confirmatory of the correct view which I have given, (in pages 563 and 728,) of the trué difference between Christian Subjection and Unchristian Rebellion, I bave there shewn how - the Puritans and the minor sects, in 1640, in the capacity of Christians, enrolled themselves under the banners of sedition." Baxter, though full of subterfuges on this point in several of his. writings, here plainly owns, “ that the controversy about the Parliament's Cause “ was not in Divinity, but in Politics and Law.” If Richard, therefore, had again entered on his republican career, and had resumed his former fighting attitudes, he would have done so, not on principles of Divinity, (for by suck rebellious acts he would have unchristianised himself, according to his own shewing,) but on principles of Law and Politics ; that is, merely as “a man of the world.”