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But it is partiality that undoes all. It seems by this objection I have now answered, you supposed the argument of my book to be the Reverence of Holy Places, which is only the Antiquity of them. I think I have no more to make answer to, and I confess I have done this not without some tediousness. For you must pardon me, if, judging as a stander-by, I am not persuaded you are by nature so prone and liable, as you think, to the way which you say I take. Thus, with my heartiest affection, which I never found myself prone to change for mere difference of opinion, I commend you and yours to the Divine blessing."
In the long quotations which I have introduced on this subject, it has been my intention to shew the perfect harmlessness and propriety* of several of those decent rites and ceremonies
* Though I call several of these ceremonies “ harmless and proper,” I would not be understood by such an expression to intimate my entire approval even of those of them wħich Mr. Mede here defends. St. Paul, in reference to a different topic, has given us this general axiom : “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient : All things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” In this view we may satisfactorily account for the conduct of Bishop Bedell, as thus narrated by Bishop Burnet : “ He thought CONFORMITY was é an exact adhering to the Rubric;' and that the adding auy new rite or ceremony' was as much NonCONFORMITY, as " the passing over those which were prescribed.' So that he would not use those bowings or gesticulations which grew so much in fashion that men's affections were measured by them. He had too good an understanding not to conclude, that these things were not unlawful in themselves; but he had observed, that when once the humour of adding new rites and ceremonies got into the church, it went on by a fatal increase, till it had grown up to that bulk to which we find it swelled in the Church of Rome. This began so early and grew so fast, that St. Austin complained of it in his time, saying, “that the
condition of Christians was then more uneasy by that yoke of observations, than that of the Jews had been.' And therefore our Author thought the adhering to established laws and rules was a certain and fixed thing; whereas superstitiou was infinite. Upon this account he was against all innovations, or arbitrary and assumed practices; and so much the more, when men were distinguished and marked out for preferment by that which, in strictness of law, was a thing which deserved punishment. For, in the Act of Uniformity, made in the first year of Queen Elizabeth's reign, it was made highly penal to use • any other rite or ceremony, order or form, either in the sacraments,
or in morning or evening prayers, than what was mentioned and set forth ' in that book.' Aud this was particularly intended to restrain some who were leavened with the former superstition, and yet, for saving their benefices, might couforın to the new service, but retain still (with it) many of the old rites in sacred offices. And it seems our legislators were of the same mind, when the last Act of Uniformity was past in the year 1662; for there is a special proviso in it, • That no rites or ceremonies should be openly used in any Church other than what was prescribed and appointed to be used in and
by the said book. Our author therefore continued to make the Rubric the measure of his conformity as well before his promotion as after it. He went constantly to the common prayer in his cathedral, and often read it himself, and assisted in it always with great reverence and affection. He took care to have the public service performed strictly according to the Rubric; so that a curate of another parish being employed to read prayers in the cathedral, who added somewhat to the collects, the Bishop observing that he did this. once or twice, went from his place to the reader's pew, took the book out of his hand, and, in the hearing of the congregation, suspended him for his presumption, and read the rest of the office himself. He preached constantly
against which the great body of high Calvinists directed all their argumentative artillery, and which were generally defended by persons that held the tenets of Arminius, or whose twice a Suuday in his cathedral on the Epistles and Gospels for the day, and catechized always in the afteruoon before sermon; and he preached always twice a year before the Judges, when they made the circuit. He observed the Rubric so exactly, that he would do nothing but according to it; su that, in the reading of the Psalms and the Anthems, be did not observe the common custom of the minister and the people reading the verses alternately : for he read all himself, because the other was pot enjoined by the Rubric."-Thus it is seen, Mr. Mede and Bishop Bedell, who were divines of exemplary piety and moderation, ran in opposite courses, with regard to some of the new ceremonies, though both of them were very far removed from the restless factiousness of the Puritans. But the rules by which Mr. Mede regulated his behaviour, were certainly more correct and defensible than those by which the Bishop walked. On the introduction of fresh rites, Mr. Mede says, in page 537 : “ This belongs to the discretion of our superiors, and the authority of the Church, to appoint, not to me to determine," &c.
Such a principle is plain and intelligible, and very different from Bishop Burnet's strange reasoning about the immutability of the Rubric, and his declaration that NoncoNFORMITY consists “ as much in the adding any new rite or ceremony, as in the passing over those which were prescribed.” The Bishop's arguments in the whole of the paragraph, if pursued to their consequences, would conclude quite as well for a Romau Catholic priest's stedfast adherence to his Creed, (immutable since the Council of Trent,) and would furnish as many plausible pretences for his commencing a schism in that church when any new rite was ordained by his ecclesiastical superiors, as they do for Mr.Bedell's principles and practice both before and after he became a Bishop. In making out a case, Bishop Burnet has used one of those great liberties for which he is rendered famous as a historian : He has taken a long leap from the Act of Uniforinity in the first year of Queen Elizabeth". to that " in the year 1662;" leaving the reader, if ignorant, to conjecture, that in the intervening 104 years no additioual regulations were framed for the government of the Church, under the auspices of King James or his ill-fated successor,-when the contrary was the fact. All this, however, agrees well with the Bishop's design, which was,-on every occasion to produce arguments iu defence of what he had advanced respectiv g some of the circumstances attending the revolution of 1688, the justification of which, in the Bishop's bands, approximated two closely, in the judgment of many persons, to the principles avowed by the successful republicans.-But on the subject of con. formity we shall receive much safer counsel from Bishop SANDERSON's celebrated Preface to his Sermons : “1 know no true sou of the Church of England, that doteth upon any, ceremony, whatsoever opinion he may have of the decency or expediency of some of them. If any do, let him answer for himself. Amung wise men, be will hardly pass for a wise man, that doteth upon any. Nor will he, doubt, prove a much wiser man, that runs into tl.e contrary extreme, and abhorreth all. It is true, that there have been long and unkind quarrels about these things. More is the pity! but where is the fault? To whom is the beginning, and to whom the continuance of a quarrel ratherim. putable-to him that demandeth his right,-or to him that withholdeth it from him ? For this is the plain case, in short, The Bishops (under the King) require obedience to the laws Ecclesiastical ; these men refuse to give it. So began the quarrel at first; and upon the same terms it continued. They have been told a thousand times over in the sermons and writings of private men, which is also attested and affirmed by the public declaration of our Church, (the most authentic assurance a question of this nature is capable of,) that we place no necessity at all in these things, but hold them to be merely indifferent: That when, for decency, order, or uniformity's sake, any constitutions are made concerning them, there is the same necessity of obeying, such constitutions as there is of obeying other laws made for the good of the commonwealth concerning any other indifferent things: That such necessity, either in the oue or the other, ariseth not properly from the authority of the imme
reading in Christian Antiquity rendered them liberal and tolerant in their principles. These circumstances relative to the public worship of God were maintained, by three or four party writers, in a less learned but more violent manner than that which Mr. Mede has adopted : But he is produced as an example of the great body of the Episcopal Clergy of that period, who, when superior decency and splendour were communicated to some parts of the public service of the Church,* did not diate law-giver, but from the ordinance of God, who bath commanded us to obey the ordinances of men for his sake : That, such necessity of obedience notwithstanding, the things remain in the same indifferency as before ; every way in respect of their nature and quoad rem, (it being not in the power of accidental relations to change the natures of tbings, and even in respect of their use; and quoad nos thus far, that there is a liberty left for men, upon extraordinary and other just occasions, sometimes to do otherwise thau the constitution requireth, extra casum scandali et contemptus ; a liberty which we dare not either take ourselves, or allow to others, in things properly and absolutely uecessary.”
* It has been before stated as a just ground of complaint, among moderate men both now andiu former days, that the levelling spirit of Norconformity, unler a pretence of introducing primitive purity into the worship of God, wished to destroy many of the chastest observances of the Ancient Christian Church. The following remarks occur in Bishop Sanderson's Episcopacy not prejudicial to Regal Power.
“ Because the Papists by the multitude and pompousness of their ceremonies had taken away much of the inward vigour of God's public worship, by drawing it too much outward; the Puritans in opposition to them, and to reform that error, by stripping it of all ceremonies have left it so bare, that (besides the unseemliness) it is well nigh starved for want of convenient clothing. It is in the distempers of the body politic, in this respect, not much otherwise than it is in those of the body natural. In an ague, when the cold fit hath bad his course, the body doth not thence return to a kiudly natural warmth, but falleth speedily into a burving preternatural heat, nothing less (if not rather more) afflictive than the former. And how often have physicians, (not the unlearned Empericks ouly, but even those best renowned for their skill and judgment,) 'by tampering with a crazy body to master the predominancy of some noxious bumour therein, cast their patients ere they were aware under the tyranny of another and contrary humour as perilous as the former : or, for fear of leaving too much bad blood in the veins, have letten out too much of the vital spirits withal ? Ouly the difference is, that in bodily diseases this course may be sometimes profitably experimented, and with good success; not only out of vecessity, when there is no other way of cure left, as they use to say, desperate diseases must have desperate remedies,) but also out of choice, and in a rational way. But for ihe reinedying of moral or politic distempers, it is neither warrantable nor safe to try such experiments : Not WARRANTABLE ; because we have no such rule given us in the word of God whereby to operate. Nor SAFE ; because herein the mean only is commendable, all extreams (whether in defect or excess) vicious.
“. Whereas the Papists unjustly charge the Protestant Churches with schism for departing from their communion, it could not but be a great scandal to them to confirm them in that their uncharitable opinion of us, if we should utterly condemn any thing as unlawful, or but even forbid the use of it as inexpedient, upon this ouly ground or consideration, that the same had been used in the times of Popery, or that it had been abused by the Papists. And truly the Puritans have, by this this very means, given a wonderful scandal and advantage to our adversaries, which they ought to acknowledge and repent of; when, transported with an indiscreet zeal, they have cried down sundry harmless ceremonies and customis as superstitious and Autichristian, only for this-thut Papists use them. Whereas godly and
manifest any symptoms of horror on account of such rites having obtained the sanction and patronage of an Archbishop who was reputed an Arminian. The ungrateful return which Mr, Mede received from Dr. Twisse for his pacific services, has been already detailed in various parts of the notes; a summary of it is contained in the following lines addressed to one of his friends: "I can be content to satisfy myself without troubling others, unless I see them seriously desirous to be informed. But no man, I find, loves any speculations but such as he thinks will advance his profitable ends, or advantage his side or faction.” The ingratitude of Dr. Twisse was not confined to those instances of fretfulness and impatience which occur in the preceding correspondence: He published some of Mr. Mede's papers without his privity, after they had been lent to him in the unsuspecting confidence of friendship. Of this unhandsome trick Mr. Mede complains in a letter addressed, four months before his death, to a worthy friend,” an extract from which, inserted in the note,* displays to advantage the regular Protestants think it agreeable to christian liberty, charity and prudence, that in appointing ceremonies, retaining ancient customs, and the use of all other indifferent things, such course be held as that their moderation might be known to all men; and that it might appear to their very adversaries, that, wherein they did recede from them or from any thing practised by them, they were not thereunto carried by a spirit of contradiction, but either cast upon it by some necessity of the times, or induced for just
reasons of expediency so do.” The Rev. J. W. Cunningham, the amiable Vicar of Harrow-on-the-Hill, has also, in his “ VELVET CUSHION,”
remarked with no less terseness than truth concerning a Popish church : “ The vast Gothic arches, the solemn light, the general air of majesty—all inspired the most lofty ideas of the Being to whom the temple was dedicated. And here, Sir, as I am likely to say a few hard things of Popery presently, I wish, by way of set-off, to remind you good Protestants, that you owe to Popery almost every thing that deserves to be called by the name of a Church. Popery is the religion of Cathedrals, Protestantism of Houses, Dissenterism of 'Barns !"
It detracts nothing from the high estimation in which the character of this active and benevolent clergyman is held, that, notwithstanding his belief in the general truth of the proposition which he thus briefly states, he expunged the whole passage from the succeeding, editions, because it had given huge offence to many Dissenters, who in this particular seem by their practice to have disowned both the opinions and the deeds of their ancestors. For, while several of them have been blessed “ in their basket and in their store" by the bounty of heaven, and have been evabled to erect superb mansions for their personal accommodation, they have, in the unaffected spirit of ancient piety, repeated the words of king, David, See now, ! dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains." Not content with a listless repetition of the noble sentiment, they have erected magnificent structures in various parts of the kingdom, and, more blessed than the royal Psalmist, have lived to see them dedicated to the public worship of the Living God. This is as it should be. It is a holy service, which deserves commendation, by whomsoever it may be performed.
*“ There are some papers of mine, walking I know not wbere, concerning bowing towards the altar; which were written by way of answer to somebody, (and a man of note, demanding of me what I thought thereof. One was my first answer: Another more large, replying to the exceptions he made against that first and the whole opinion and practice, being somewh at larger than I use to write letters, and written with some intention of mind,
unsubdued goodnature of this eminent divine. Many were the artifices, invented by the Doctor and others, to induce the good man to transgress the usual bounds of his moderation, and to shew himself a warm and decided partizan: But this they could not accomplish. For, as it is well observed by his biographer, “ To conceal his judgment, not to divulge every thing that was truth to him, he was not hard to be persuaded. But neither friends, nor interests, nor any worldly allurements whatsoever, were of force to corrupt his affections, or pervert his judgment: Much less could they prevail with him, unworthily to deny any truth, how unplausible soever it was to some men, and therefore disadvantageous to himself. For a proof of his constant and unremovable affection to truth, as also of his patient enduring the contradiction of others against himself, take this instance: In the revolution of about twenty years by-past, (the saying was his own,) he had by the self-same persons been looked upon, and accordingly reported of, as • Popish, PROTESTANT, and Puritan: And yet he would protest it as in the presence of God, that to his knowledge he (had not in the least receded from his very first persuasions ! So that all the while he was the same without wavering, although varied to their appearance; because they, sailing with the tide and wind, varied towards him.”
But another point of difference between Dr. Twisse and Mr. Mede, that ultimately became a test of the party to which a man belonged, was the defining of FUNDAMENTAL ARTICLES, to which allusion has been made in page 497, where Mr. Mede, with the liberal feeling then generally exhibited by the the English Arminians,* declares that the Romish Church holds
after my thoughts that way had been long asleep: 1, by chance, kept a copy of it, which how it came to be so much dispersed, I profess I know not. That so-long-since-written discourse of mine, "De Sanctitate Relativa, 8-c., savours too much of my infancy in divinity, and first thoughts, and affection of style, ever to see the public light. And indeed I had resolved to enjoy myself, and such contentment as I could find in my cell, and never to have come in print again, either to please or displease any man ; but only to vent such notions as I had conceived
privately by a new way I took of common-placing, changing my theme qualibet vice. When now on a sudden before I was aware, and little expected any such matter, one of my stragglers is perked into the press, telling the world he was one of those common places. What his destiny is, I know not : but if it be good, somebody can say, · He bath fung many a stone in his days, but never bit the mark till now, and that too hy mere chance, and not so much as intending it.'”
*“ It caunot seem strange, that a man in my case, removed by the force of the war from the service of the church, should dedicate his time to the consideration of those controversies which cause divisions in the church. For, what could I do more to the satisfaction of mine own judgment, than to seek a solution, what truth it is, the oversight whereof hath divided the church; and therefore, the sight whereof ought to unite it? The title of Reformation which the late war pretended, mentioned only Episcopacy and the Service. The effect of it was a new Confession of faith, a new Catechism, a new Directory, all new; with chapter and verse indeed, quoteil in the margin, but as