« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
wise of the same opinion, and shall never repent of having maintained it.” If his Calvinistic friends in Holland were thus
Grotius not only practised but unceasingly inculcated the duty of prayer and thanksgiving to God Almighty, the Giver of every good and perfect gift ; this devotioval feeling is apparent in the letters to his friends, and in bis principal treatises. Nay, he ascribed far more to the potency of earnest and faithful prayer, than many of those persons in the present age who wish to be accounted his brethren in Arminianism, but not more than the seriptures of Truth and the writings of the Ancient Fathers teach us to expect. Some men of this class would call the following passage “highly enthusiastical," but every man of piety will style the doctrine propounded « truly scriptural.” Iu bis posthumous treatise on the Authority of the Supreme Powers with regard to Ecclesiastical Affairs, (chap. v, 9,) he thus expresses himself : “But a knowledge of sacred matters is not so intricate as some persons wish it to appear:
Theology or religion,' says Nazianzen, is a simple and naked affair, without great artifice, and consisting of Divine testimonies ;
and yet some people wickedly convert it into an art of much difficulty.' In those things which it is expedient for those in Supreme Authority to know, and the knowledge of which is sufficient, the Divine assistance will not be withheld; and, by this aid, what would otherwise bave been defective through want of time, will be very easily supplied. One of the Ancients has said, that he had derived far more instruction from prayer than from reading.' God is not inattentive to these prayers of his Church, Give the King thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness to the King's son. (Psalm lxxii, 1.) And David says, (Ps. li, 8, Thou hast taught me to know thy secret wisdom. The youthful Solomon confessed, that he did not know how to go outor come in :" He was overpowered by the multitude of his subjects and the weight of his affairs, and said, 'Who is able to judge this thy so great a people?' He therefore beseeches God to give him an understanding heart, to judge his people, and to discern between good and evil. What was God's answer ? He said, Because thou hast asked this thing, &c., lo, I have giveu thee a
wise and an understanding heart.' It is a common saying, 'that God and nature are not wanting in things that are necessary
Since therefore empires are ordained by God, and indeed principally for the defence of true religion, what can be so agreeable to the Divine Goodness as to supply, to those who piously pray for them, the things that are necessary for the right performance of their duties? For it cannot be credited, that He, who under the Old Testament often endued the Supreme Powers with the peculiar gift of prophecy, can deny any one those requisites without which it would be impossible for him to administer the affairs of government ?-But in these last days He has spoken to us by his Son,' in whom God the Father has unfolded all his counsel respecting the salvation of mankind. After Him, we have no longer many masters, but one is our Master, even Christ, and of his fulness have all we received. Wherefore no new revelation is now required, as was formerly the case ; but only the constant promulgation of the revealed will of heaven. Nor is there any thing, of whose obscurity or subtlety any man may complain; for the word is nigh unto us, in our mouth and in our heart.' (Rom. x, 8.). Nor is the doctrine of the gospel concealed from any one, except from him whose mind Satan has blinded. (2 Cor. iv, 4.) Therefore all are said to be taught of God, and to know God: and thus so far was fulfilled through Christ the wish which Moses breathed, Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets! (Numh. xi, 29.)
“ But if to understand the doctrine of the gospel be thús easy and accommodated to all christians, among whom many are illiterate and busy, and have to provide a maintenance for themselves by the constant labour of their hands,-what is there that can possibly exclude kings from such a general henefit? particularly when the Apostle applies specially to kings that universal proposition, God our Saviour will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. ii, 4.) Iuflamed with this confidence, when it was the duty of the emperor Theodosius to pronounce judgment in a matter of faith between several sects, he implored Divine aid in secret, and it was not withheld. Justinian obtained the same blessing, when he published such a Confession of Faith as Contius has truly called, a inore complete
exasperated against him for inculcating "an observance of Christ's commands," it is not wonderful that this calumny was ' aud perspicuous Confession than those which have been published by any of
the Fathers or Bishops. Few indeed in number, and obvious to the capacity of every man, are those things the belief and performance of which are necessary to salvation, as well as those things which, though not absolutely necessary, are nevertheless of great importance in the Church; for they clearly shine forth, first, in the holy scriptures, and then in the perpetual consent of the Church in the state of her purity. With regard to the rest that are not necessary, there is scarcely a single thing to cause any trouble to those who are in supreme authority. Yet if any thing should transpire that is unexpected and has never been the subject of premeditation, (an occurrence more frequent in profane than in sacred affairs,) let those in authority proceed leisurely and take faithful counsel.”
This treatise and several others were abridged and translated, from the Latin of Grotius, by Barksdale during the Inter-regnum; and they contributed much towards enlightening the British public on the principles of Arminianism. In the dedication of his translation to “ my Lord and Lady Chandos," he gives this brief but just character of Grotius :
• The Author, born in a low country, hath, by his excellent works both divine and human, ruised himself to the just repute of the most general and the wisest scholar of his time: So that it is become a character of an ingenuous student, (as it was said in the last age of his countryman, the great Erasmns,) to be well versed in the books of Grotius : Out of whose magazine our best English writers, to their praise, have horrowed some of their best furniture. The argument of this work is worthy the study of princes and great persons ; from whom certainly God expects a greater care of his church's peace and order. To which purpose the grave author hath here said some things first of all; some, with a better grace than any other ; and some, that, although they have been said very well by our own men, yet perhaps will be better taken (as the English humour is,) from the pen of a stranger. The translator's design is partly public, in this scribbling age, (wherein yet we bave need of more good books, to out the many bad ones, to cast in his mite into the treasury of the Church of England, whom, as the moderate author much honoured, so he professeth himself so he one of her poor children,” &c.
The letters of Grotius are an invaluable treasure to a young statesman, on account of the many sage maxims, founded upon the principles of sound jurisprudence, which they contain. His views of the different policy pur. sued by the Court of France, and by that of England, are very interesting. Cardinal Richelieu kept the hot spirits of the former nation long engaged in a foreign war; but a similar course was not adopted by the British ministry; It is scarcely necessary to advert to the results : France, which for several preceding years had been a prey to dreadful intestine broils, was preserved through the policy of its statesmen; while Great Britain was deluged with blood, in consequence of all the malcontents being pent up together in the British Isles, and having no foreign object on which to vent their overcharged zeal and impetuosity. In the note page 613, Grotius alludes to the importance of a foreign war, and the two subjoined quotations refer to the same topic.
Under the date of January 22, 1639, he says : “ The French are in reality waiting to see what the English will do about the treaty, and in this they act, with propriety. The commotions which are breaking out again in Scotland will cause some delay about the treaty; although, as I told the English, it is often a piece of prudence, under the pretence of a foreign war, to remove the heads of'a faction, and the flower of military men. It may likewise he readily believed, that several unjust suspicions will die away, when it beconies apparent that the English Court openly srauts its aid to the affairs of the Elector Palatine and of the Protestants. Aud on June 1, 1641, he wrote thus : “ I am also of your opinion, that the business is completed respecting the treaty between the Swedes and the French ; and that the report, about the treaty being in force till the conclusion of a mutual peace, is circulated for the purpose of affrighting the enemy; but that the Swedes
afterwards revived by the British Calvinists, for nearly the same reasons, when Grotius appeared in the ranks against their principles and practices.* Archbishop Laud, who shewed himhave stipulated in a separate article, if the affairs of Germany be restored to a better state, that they shall be allowed to conclude a separate peace. For it cannot be doubted, that it is the interest of the French Ministry to continue the war as long as possible. The King of England also would probably ha ve committed no great error, if he bad some time ago anticipated and preversted these domestic commotions by engaging in a foreign war. Wbat termination those hostile armies, daring seditions, and lameutable punishments will have, becomes now a question that is not easy of solution. All these events have undoubtedly occurred at a period the most inconvenient and prejudicial to the Elector Palatine.”
Born under a Republic, Grotius had, early in life, written with great ability in defence of that form of government, and yet with such caution as must extort admiration. But his own subsequent experience of the multiform tyrannies into which the corrupt Batavian Republic was ramified, and other collateral circumstances, had' taught him to entertain more enlarged views of general government, without abating a particle of his ardent attachment to the canse of genuine liberty. Without reflecting on the change that had been effected in the Republic itself, which had not retained the masculine integrity that it possessed when it first cast off the trammels of the Spanish tyranny, Rivet reproached him for this alteration in his political principles ; and part of the reply which Grotius returned to this charge is quoted in page 214. At the close of it he says, “ After all these concessions, Grotius may now surely be permitted to amend and grow better, after he bas by a more extensive course of reading and continued meditation become older, and attained to a state of life that is uninfluenced by partyinterests." The following extract, written in January, 1643, alludes to the same subject : “ I am not wishful to undertake the defence of those objections which are raised against me, from my treatise on the Antiquity of the Batavian Republic. For I transgressed the bounds of moderation, through my partiality for that Republic in which I lived ; and years consume within us much of this youthful impetuosity. Yet it is not equitable, that the king of England should be injured by what I have said in my earlier productions. For bis Majesty is the successor of a monarch, who obtained the kingdom by conquest of arms, and not by compact or treaty; and the kiug requires nothing, except what has been sanctioned by the usage and practice of his ancestors -according to which the king alone possesses the executive power of government: He has a right to declare war or conclude a peace, and to distribute civil, ecclesiastical and military rewards. The only thing which the king is not accustomed to do without the Parliament, nor the Parliament without the king, is the enactment of new laws or the imposing of taxes. Such are the opinions of all the Lawyers who wrote before the commencement of these commotions."
* This report was revived, not only at the period when Grotius wrote against the seditious attempts of the Scotch Calvinists, but subsequently wbeu Dr. Owen wrote his treatise on the Perseverance of the Saints. Baxter, who delighted in opposing Owen, wrote his Grotian Religion to prove, that Grotius was not a Socinian but a rank Papist. On the uncharitable and futile attempts of both these men, the Rev. Herbert Thorndike very justly observes :
“We have seen two men of repute, now amongst us, censure Grotius his labours upon the scriptures; from which I acknowledge to have received much advantage. The one of them hath made him a Sociuian, the other a Papist. Both could have given us no better argument that he was neither, than this, that he cannot be both. It is not my intent to bring men's persons into consideration with the common concernment of christianity and of God's church. To bis own master he stands or falls. I do but instance in an eminent
person, that must needs bea Papist, though never reconciled to the Church of Rome; that must needs be a Socivian, though appealing to the original consent of the whole church : Upon which terms, how should there be any such things as Papists or Socinians? I remember an admonition of
self on all occasions extremely solicitous about purity of doctrine, was both surprised and grieved at the charge thus preferred; and he confidentially requested from Grotius some explanation about it, the substance of which is thus related in a letter to his brother, under the date of June 4, 1639:
“ I am not much affected by the calumnies about Sociniane ism with which I am aspersed by some of the worst of men; for they will be easily refuted, before equitable judges, by those writings which I have already published or which are prepared for publication. In the doctrines which relate more to performance than to speculation, Socinus has happened to adopt such opinions as are correct and ancient: These I will not desert, and I think I conferred about them with Johnson when at Hamburgh. I have likewise had frequent conversations with Ruarus. I have defended the ancient opinions concerning the
Trinity, the Satisfaction of Christ, the infliction of punishments when this life is ended ; and I have refuted the contrary opinions from the sacred writings, from the consent of christian antiquity, and even from experience. Ruarus answered me, on the topic of Christ's Satisfaction, in such a manner as to leave his bitter adversary,Dr. Rivet, 'that the See of Rome will never thank him for what he writ.' And from thence I inferred, as charity obliged me to infer, that the common good of christianity, and of God's church, obliged him to that, for which he was to expect thanks on no side. This for certain : Grotius never lived by maintaining division in the church. Whether any body doth so or not, say not. Their Master will judge them for it, if they do."
If some persons be inclined to excuse Owen, who, when he made a large display of his borrowed materials, bad not the opportunity of consulting the letters of Grotius, which would have amply explained what he wished to exhibit as inexplicable ; such a palliating circumstance cannot be pleaded in favour of his biographer, who, instead of repeating " a thrice-refuted tale," ought to have informed himself more accurately of the facts, and not have told us about “ the evidence alleged against that celebrated man from his epistle to Crellius, and his conversation on his death bed.” For he ought to have kuown, that the letter to Crellius was given in a mutilated state; and that the alleged " conversation of Grotius on his death-hed" is the aboo minable fabrication by Rivet, to which I have alluded in page 285, and which is completely falsified, in the same page, by the letter of Quistorpius, the Lutheran clergyman who attended Grotius iu bis dying moments. Mr. Orme must feel ashamed ou perusing, in a subsequent note, au extract from the Magazine of bis own denomination, which shews the salutary effect of the kindness of Grotius on the mind of Crellius the Socinian. I cannot conclude this note more appropriately, than by the following brief quotation from Mede's Letters, that offers a shrewd explanation of the reasons which too frequently induced the Puritans to stigmatize with the name of Papists and Socinians those who differed from them in doctrinal sevtiments.
" To be nearer or further off from the man of sin, is not, I think, the measure of truth and falsehood : nor that, which would be most destructive of bim, always true and warrantable. If it be, there be some in the world, that would be more orthodox and reformed christians than any of us. The Socinians, you know, deny, that souls live after death, until the resurrection :' or “that Christ hath carnem et sanguinem now in heaven;' both as most destructive of the idolatrous errors of the man of sin; the first, of Purgatory and Invocation of Saints, (which, they say, cau never be solidly everted, as long as it is supposed souls do live,) the other of Transubstantiation of the elements of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Is not this to uudermine Antichrist with a vengeance, as they say?"
between us very little room for controversy. I have also brought completely over to my sentiments some other persons who had formerly been Socinians. I occasionally correspond with Ruarus, who frequently writes to me; I reply to him as one man does to another, and his claims for this civil treatment from me are far greater than those which induced St. Basil to maintain a correspondence with the heathen Libanius. For you may often by affability and kindness communicate instruction to such persons, as by your harshness and severity you would render still more hardened. I informed the Archbishop of these circumstances, through a divine of the name of Goffe, * who had called upon me: and I have written about them to the Senator Reygersberg and to Vossius, both of whom according to their own pleasure and discretion may shew to their friends my former letters, if there be any among them who are infected by the pestilential vapour of such silly falsehoods. But I wish them to exhibit THE WHOLE, and not to injure them by extracts. I know that it is impossible for me to satisfy River and others, who are designedly envious and malignant, and who often do not understand the very questions about which they are treating: I do not esteem them so highly, as either to engage myself in giving them satisfaction, or to request others to do it for
I have had some conversation about these matters with Bysterfield, who says, that you understood, what I had also heard, that Crellius declared, a short time before his death, he never would have written against me had he previously
read my sentiments on the participation of punishment, in my • book on the Laws of War and Peace.+ The Chancellor of Sweden has a surgeon who is a Socinian.”
* Grotius referred to Goffe's visit, on the 16th of Oct. 1638, in the subjoined letter: “A celebrated English divine has brought me [to Paris) some parts of a letter, which I addressed a long time ago 1o Crellius, who had most politely sent one to me, which I answered with equal politeness. The followers of Socinus, wishful to interpret this affability of mine into an argument of my concurrence with them, have distributed parts of that letter in England. I should have preferred their publication of the whole without curtailment; it would then have been made apparent, that I had not changed any of my former sentiments. This fact l' rendered evident to the English divine, both from my treatise on the Laws of War and Peace in the chapter concerning the participation of punishment, in more passages than one of my book on the Truth of the Christian Religion, and from my Adnotations on the Gospel of St. Matthew ; so that he will now be enabled completely to silence both the Socinians themselves, and those who wish me to become a Socinian. A new edition of my book on the Satisfaction of Christ in opposition to Socinus, and of the Defence of it which was written by Vosşius, has lately been published at Oxford, through the agency of that very learned man, Sampson Johnson, the Archbishop's domestic chaplain, who is now preparing to proceed to Holland as Chaplain to the Queen of Bohemia.”
+ In the Evangelical Magazine for October, 1822, is recorded the following anecdote concerning Crellius, as an extract from LATRobe's History of the United Brethren : “ Samuel Crellius was a Socinian, and a leader of that party. The endless mercy of our Lord was also manifest in him. He not only rejoiced to see his daughters bow their knees to the CRUCIFIED, but he himself, turning to that Lord, called upon him as his LORD and his God;