Page images

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

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

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 so 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 of 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 scholars 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 took him under his protection. His Grace knew the source from which Hales's aversion to church-authority sprung, and which he had imbibed through disgust 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 Chilling. worth is satisfactorily explained.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

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 per. suasions, 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 Arminiaris, 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 gene. rally 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 IS. THE RELIGION OF PROTESTANTS," and the absence of an infallible interpreter; they naturally learned and gave expression to the most liberal sentiments.t 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, et 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, (p. 467,) Dr. Hammond than Dr. John Owen,

siuce he formerly defended PERKINS and his Reformed Catholic. How 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, Generals, 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 true difference between Christian Subjection and Unchristian Rebellion. I have 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 such 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."

(pp. 413, 416, 654,) and even Archbishop Laud (pp. 575, 577,) than that lusty pleader for Presbyterian Toleration, Stephen Marshall! 6.Specimen of an Arminian Sermon before the Long Parliament.

AMONG the numerous anomalies perceptible in the fashionable Calvinism of the Civil Wars, was that of its being suddenly transformed into a system of powerful motives to activity. The stirring and astute preachers before the Republican Senators, with scarcely one exception, called them to the diligent performance of public duties; and, instead of encouraging them to rely on their personal irrespective election, (as they had formerly been accustomed to encourage others, they saw it to be their province, as well as their interest, to give plain and broad intimations to their political superiors, that their acceptance with the Almighty, and consequently their future salvation, depended · materially upon the conscientious and able manner in which they

discharged their high functions. Several traces of this strange yet wily transformation of Calvinism may be seen in the preceding pages, and a still greater number might readily be produced. In some instances, the system seemed to be absolutely changed into the ancient legal one of “ Do this, and live;" and the attempts to prevent its assuming such an appearance were exceedingly clumsy and awkward.* This strenuous mode of exciting men to the performance of their duties, had those duties been of a lawful kind, would have been strictly Arminian; and the men by whom

• To give one instance out of many,_Thomas VALENTINE, preaching before the House of Commons, Sept. 29, 1647, took for his text, Rev. iii, 18, I counsel thee to buy of me gold, and white raiment,” &c., applied the doctrine in the following manner :

“ To counsel us is a rational way, and fit to work upon a man ; and God, that tries always to do us good, takes this course to counsel us. I have draren thee with cords of a man and bands of love.' (Hos. xi, 4.) I have dealt with thee, · more humano; for man is counselable, but so is not a beast. Coge pecus, you force a beast ; but man is to be persuaded. Speak reason and express love, and you cannot be despised or slighted ; reason cannot be gainsayed. Though the man will not confess he is conquered by your argument, yet the understanding secretly must assent, and love cannot be contemned ; the party may, but love cannot. But when the wise God shall speak reason, and manifest his love, we should not despise his counsel.-It is very fit and proper for the action of buying, you should not be compelled to buy the commodities heré offered ; but you shall use your reason, whether a poor man should not do all he can to get good gold, and a naked man clothing." · This is all very good, and strictly Arminian. But, to remove all misappre

hension on the subject, Valentine adds, in the next sentence: “ But here I must needs explain this point, lest we should think that a man were left to his own liberty in the point of his conversion ; and this simile of counselling to buy must not be extended beyond the scope. And we say, that the will of man is

over-ruled and overpowered by the Spirit of Christ, so as it cannot but come in - upon the offer of grace; and the will is determined to one thing, not left to itself i to take or refuse what is tendered to it. And it is no absurdity, (whatever Ar.

minians think,) to say, - In the conversion of a sinner, there is a violence offered fic to the corruption of the will, and yet the will not wronged; a suspending of

the liberty of the will, and no destroying of it!'”

they were inculcated, really, though undesignedly, assisted in the propagation of a religion of motives, conditions, and duties, and of corresponding , rewards and punishments,—which, when severally propounded according to the lively oracles of God, constitute pure and unsophisticated Arminianism.* On many subsequent

• This remarkable circumstance is mentioned in the following eloquent and humourous manner, by John Goodwin, in his very able pamphlet entitled The Banner of Justification displayed, which was published in 1659:

“ Christian Reader, I well know with which of my hands these papers are offered unto thine : But I am somewhat doubtful with which of thine they will be received. For I am far from judging thee unworthy the salutation of Christian, because my thoughts may not be thine in matters of a more arduous and difficult contemplation. Only the evil genius of these times worketh so effectually, acteth so imperiously, yea, tyrannically in the minds and fancies of many, that it permits them not the use of their right hand in receiving any thing from another, which is not already an ingredient in the composition or body of their faith. But persons of this character seem, not so much to desire to be free from error, as to presume themselves so to be. The cross of Arminius is grown so heavy amongst us, and the generality of professors so weak, that the greater part of them are not able to take it'up, though TRUTH be tied fast to it, and the burden of it hereby made much more easy and light. Yet, if many of those who occupy the places of the learned, were not more contradictious than their opinions, or, at least, than many of their sayings, the cross we speak of would soon be abolished, and the offence of the innocent doctrine, disguised with the vizard of ARMINIANISM put upon the face of it, would presently cease. And the certain truth is, that the unhappy dividing character_between those who, measuring themselves by themselves, call themselves orthodox,—and those whom, because they cannot and do not measure them. selves by their measure, they vote Arminian,-doth not stand in this, (as most men take for granted,) viz. that the latter hold or teach things contrary unto or • inconsistent with the doctrines or opinions, delivered and taught by the former ;' but rather in this, that the latter, the Arminians,] in their judgment and doc. trine, are Yea and Amen, the former (the Calvinists] YÉA and Nay. My meaning is, that the latter (the Arminians are more uniform, steady, and coherent with themselves in their notions and doctrines; whereas the former (the Calvinists: are desultory, and themselves as it were possessed of a spirit of Amphibology, which sometimes taketh and casteth them into the fire of Calvinism, and otherwhile into the waters of Arminianism so called. And this declaring of themselves, toties quoties and from time to time, for the Contra-remonstrant tenets, is their exípiatory sacrifice, to cleanse them from the guilt of being thought Arminian, notwithstanding their never so palpable and clear asserting the Remonstrant prin ciples at other times. Yea, let the minister commit the foal crime of Arminianism never so openly in one part of his sermon, and but do penance in a fair contra. diction in another part of it, hereby he stands rectus in curia : ORTHODOXISM and SOUNDNESS IN THE Faith are imputed unto him. Yet it is no great matter of commendation for such men to be orthodox, who, if truth lieth in either part of the contradiction, (as it always doth, and of necessity must,) will be sure, I cannot say so properly to hold it, but to teach it. Whereas they who shall, in their doctrine, deliver the express matter and substance of what was taught by the other, yea, though they should deliver it in the self-same words and expres sions, yet, unless they shall ever and anon be pulling down with their left hand what in this kind they build up with their right, they shall be debtors, and be compelled to bear the cross of CHRIST, under the name and notion of Arminius. That whosoever believeth in Jesus Christ shall be saved, is the frequent, constant, and most avouched doctrine of those men whose eye is so evil, against their brethren, for standing at the left hand, as they suppose, of the Truth in the

« PreviousContinue »