Page images
PDF
EPUB

Hammond, then newly made a Chaplain in ordinary to his Sacred Majesty ; which though it might have satisfied all equal and unbiassed men, yet neither learning nor reason could be

This ungracious attack upon Grotius I shall take another opportunity to repel. One circumstance, however, is very evident: Mr. Orme has, in the judgment now delivered, proved himself to be as ill-informed about the facts in the case of Grotius, as about those which relate to Dr. Hammond. His remarks on this great man's “ deference to the authority of Fathers and Councils” receive an easy reply in the notes, pages 395 and 430; but when he says, that Dr. Hammond's * deference" to these human authorities was “ GREATER than to that of Christ aud his Apostles," he begins to act the part of a public defamer, and to blame what he does not understand. Mr. Orme, aud others of his class, cannot be too frequently reminded, that when the great and learned divines of our Church produce authorities from the Ancient Fathers for the doctrines which they advance, they exhibit the greatest proof of their diffidence and humility in not obtruding upon other men the crude inventions of their own spirits, but those evangelical doctrines which have received the suffrage of Christian Antiquity. When the Denomination of christians to which Mr. 0. belongs shall be able to produce and substantiate such a claim as the following, by Bishop Atterbury, he and his friends may be allowed to become competent witnesses in this case, and to deliver their unbiassed testimony respectiug the quantum of deference that is due to Fathers and Councils; till that period arrives, he must submit to be told, that, on this subject, “A LITTLE LEARNING is a dangerous thing !” Bishop Atterbury says: “ Ye are the sons of a clergy, whose undissembled and unlimited veneration for the holy scriptures hath not hindered them from paying an inferior, but profound regard to the best interpreters of scripture, the primitive writers; in whose works, as none have been more conversant than they, so none have made a better use of them towards reviving a spirit of primitive piety.in themselves and others. And their searches and endeavours of this kind have been blessed with a remarkable success : For, as to the earliest and most valuable remains of pure antiquity, (such are those of Barnabas, and Clement, and Ignatius, and Polycarp,) 'I inay safely venture to say, 'that the members of this church bave done more towards either bringing them to light, or freeing them from corruption, or illustrating their doctrine, yr asserting their authority, than, the members of any church, orindeed of all the churches in the world.'The extracts from Dr. Hammond which have been already quoted, will stand as proofs, that he possessed no mean share of imagination. Concerning this accomplished divine, who is here said to bave displayed “ learning than judgment,” Mr. Orme further says, “ He had no serious objections to his royal master's “love of power and of Popery.” On this point I join issue with Mr. Orme, and challenge him to'shew, that Dr. Owen, who is depicted by him as the first and greatest champion of constitutional liberty in England, had at that early period made any such liberal concessions in favour of religious toleration, or bad pleaded with such propriety the just liberties of subjects, as Dr. Hammond bas done in the porduction against the Papists which Bishop Fell describes at the commencement of this note. Yet this is far from being the sole instance of the doctor's aversion to arbitrary power and Popery:

Few of my readers will require to be told, ihat, at the commencement of the Civil War, the Papists insinuated themselves as church-members or as preachers among all the new-fangled sects and parties, and ivflicted a serious injury on Protestantism, by inculcating this doctrine, “that the only remedy for all existing evils and differences,

was, their adherence to an infallible head and guide in matters of faith.” Lord' Falkland wrote an essay against “ the Infallibility of the Church of Rome.”. A Roman Catholic attempted to refute this able pamphlet in a Treatise Apologetical, in which the following is one of the specious arguments which he employs: “ Besides, if we (the Papists] were to yield, to whom were it to be done? There is a world of distracted sectaries now in this kingdom, allsprung from the same rull, or from

more

heard in the new assembly; or, if it were, the voice thereof was drowned by the noise of the ordinances. For on the 23d of

the rule of faith wbich is common to you all, of which one sort imagines there is no Papacy, and these were the first ring-leaders of all the rout; auother, that there is no episcopacy; a third, that there is no clergy, but that layelders is all in all, and must rule the roast; a fourth, that there is uo church nor church-goverumeut at all, but that the church is like a school of philosophers, where every man may believe and do what he pleases without being accountable to another or any obligation of conformity: And, peradventure, the inquirer was one of this number, together with his confederate, Mr.Chillingworth; a fifth sort, that there is no Trinity; a sixth, that there is no sacrament, or at least none necessary or effectuaf. Is it not fit, think you, that these divided christians should come and write laws to others, or punish any man for non-conformity ? Nothing more improbable! It is a comedy, to see Dr. Fearly a Protestant, and Page a Puritan, make catalogues of heretics; and, when they bave done, can find no way whereby to exempt themselves, nor give a reason why they themselves should not be of the number, as much sectaries as any others of the catalogue !"

Dr. Hammond engaged in a reply to this Popish performance, and produced his View to some Exceptions, in 1645. The Preface says: “ The sad effects of the present differences and divisions of this broken kingdom having made peace, and unity, and infallibility, such precious desirable things, that if there were but one wish offered to each man among us, it woull certainly, with a full consent, be laid out on this one treasure, the setting up some Catholic umpire or days-man, some visible, infallible definer of controversies ; the pretenders to that infallibility,having the luck to be alone initbat pretension, have beeu looked on with some reverence, and, by those who knew nothing of their grounds or arguments, acknowledged to speak, if not true, yet seasonably; and having so great an advantage upon their auditors, and šo a fair probable entrance, by that inlet of their affections, to their minds, they began to redouble their industry, and their hopes; and, instead of the many particulars of the Romish doctrine, for which they were wont to offer proof in the retail, now set all their strength upon this one in gross.”. Describing the arts of his author, he adds : “By all this, [I am) endeavouring to lay grounds for all men to judge, how little truth there is in that so epidemical persuasion, that there is vo middle betwixt

asserting an infallible judge and the falling headlong into all the schisms and heresies of this present age. My conscience assuring me, that the grounds on which the established Church of England is founded, are of so rare and excellent mixture, that as none but intelligent truly christian minds can sufficiently value the composition, so there is no other in Europe so likely to preserve peace and unity, if wbat prudent laws had so long ago designed, they now were able to uphold: For want of which, and which only, it is, that at present the whole fabrie lies polluted in confusion and in blood, and hopes not for any biuding up of wounds, for restoration of any thing that looks like christian, till the faith of the reformed English bave the happiness to be weigbed prudently, and, the military sword being timely, sheathed, the power and laws of peace be returned into those bands which are ordained by God the defenders of it.” He commences the refutation of some of the Papist's arguments in favour of burning heretics, in the following manner : “ As for that of burning men here for religion, you seem unwilling to be tried by antiquity in this point, • Because,' say you, antiquity did not all it might, but left somewhat to

posterity to add. Yet, sure, this was a little unlucky that your additions to antiquity should be of this bloody complexion. Christ's addition to the ancients was, to love and bless and pray for enemies, not to retaliate injuries upon any terms: and your improvement of the ancient doctrine and practice is of somewhat a distant making ; your Sermon on the Mount, (EBAL, it seems,) to your disciples, is persecuting and massacring of friends which never provoked you, but by not being entirely of your opinion.He concludes his remarks on this part of his adversary's argument, in the following words: “ Then, if you will make the comparison to go no farther than ourselves, what shoals of persons (far enough from the teaching illegal things, even

6

August, Anno 1645, another ordinance comes thundering from the Lords and Cominons, from the more effectual execution of

from teaching at all,) were in Queen Mary's days, whole hecatombs at once, offered up to your fury: So remarkable are your proceedings herein, that i fear it was not a jest of him that said at Geneva, Servetus occidendus est, ne apud exteros ecclesiæ nostre male audiant ; ' That Servetus was to be burnt,

that their churches might not hear ill abroad,' that is, that the Papists might not be scandalized, which if it were the consideration that moved in that matter, then have you more blood lying at your door, than what you have spilt ; even that which, in care and caution, those, whom you recriminate, shed by your example, and that you might not be scandalized at their mercy and lenity. This were, I confess, an ill excuse to them (the Calvinists] that were so careful to transcribe that bloody lesson, (and which is worse, if you will have mine opinion, they have no better,), but yet will be an argumeut that you are not over fit to accuse them for it. ERASMUS among you, and CASTELLIO among us, were, about the beginning of the Reformatiou, very bitter against such dealing. The former you may see in his notes upon St. Jerome, (Ep. ad Læt., t. i, p. 39,) where he can hardly allow them the name of Christians that fight for religion, (kill for religion, though against the Turk; as tore geramus, when the very using of this violence is a prime piece'or"

lurcism. The latter wrote a book on purpose against that practice. I wish the whole christian world of both parties would suffer themselves to be represented by a couple of such meek and honest proxies.,,. Be you pleased to convert as many as you can to the doctrine of neither killing nor damning, and I will promise you to do the like ; and that will be better employment for us than this debate. And, because examples are the most popular arguments, I will help you to one of this nature and leave you to apply it: Nero went through Greece a-contending in the Musica Certamina, with all that pretended to that skill. If he had the better of it, he was crowned ; if not, he took care that they that had the better of him were put to death. The issue of it was, that they that had skill did on purpose play as ill as they could ; he conquered wherever he came, was crowned when he was there, and, wheu he was gone, was counted a madman.”

On the subject of toleration, his sentiments are thus on record against his Popish antagonist : “ Your restraint or exception is, ' that where a kingdom

is in a peaceable possession of Catholic religion, there it is no cruelty to in' flict these punishments on the teachers of new doctrines.'—And for this, you say, there is reason, which cannot probably be contradicted; but you are so very uncourteous and contemptuous to us as not to think us worthy tu partake of the least syllable of such reason, unless that must go for one,

that wicked men aim at temporal contents, and are consequently with-held by temporal punishments,' which shall be acknowledged a reason, when difference in opinion appears to be an impiety of so much design, and when all whom you call heretics, are, by you, proved to be worms of the earth, deep worldly desiguers also. For truly, I confess, to all those things which are committed by any who may justly be presumed to commit them against conscience, for some worldly interest, I should give my willing suffrage that some temporal bitterness should be apportioned; that so seeing their error, and finding temporal pains instead of temporal advantages to be their portion, they may be disciplined to better and more honest thoughts. Nay, if the doctrines tend to liberty, I mean either as Mahomet's did to all kind of voluptuous living, or that other liberty, the shaking off the yoke of civil obedience to the magistrate set over them by God, (of which some of your friends, and some others that call themselves reformed, but in my opinion are very far from it, have been guilty,)-it is then lawful to co-erce such innovators, if the prudence of the state shall think fit. But difference in opinion, (though it be in a kingdom never so peaceably possest of the Catholic religion,) if it tend not to any af these dangers, nor be convincible of those impieties and designs, WILL BY NO REASON OR CONSEQUENCE BE INVOLVED IN THAT NUMBER.'

His adversary endeavoured to give a less exceptionable view of his senti. ments, by saying, “ My sepse is, that religion may not be PLANTED by arms,

[ocr errors]

the Directory for public worship; with several clauses in the same, not only for dispersing and use thereof, but for calling in but, being once planted and in quiet possession, it may.To this Dr.Hammond replies : ” At an adventure shall make a plain state: If your doctrines were in quiet possession here, and you should know of any mau that taught the contrary to them, must your sword be drawn against him, or no? I þeseech you, answer out of the sense of your brethren, that we may know what to expect from you. For my own part, I shall make no seruple to tell you, that, though the defender of the faith have the power of the sword given him by God to that end, to govern in godliness and quiet, and may therefore draw it effectually against any that raise sedition to bring in some other religion against that which is by law established, or (against any] that vent doctrines that are in themselves seditious, yet ought he not only (merely) in case of any single doctrine or difference in religion, (where none of the civil interests are concerned, no violent assault made or feared from the dissenters,) to unsheath his slaughtering sword against any such dissenter, provided always that that doctrine be not blasphemous. And they that, consenting to this truth, will yet tyrannize over meu's souls in ordine ad temporalia, as you and some others have done over men's bodies and estates in ordine ad spiritualia, shall never be excused by me. And of this opinion I couceive there might be vouched as learned and as primitive-tempered christians as any that are more zealously and so more bloodily minded.” Many passages, still more catholic and tolerant, might be selected from the good Doctor's pamphlet.

These noble sentiments, though not in every point unexceptionable, will yet be allowed to hold the pre-eminence over those of Dr. Owen, which have been thus pourtrayed by a writer of the greatest accuracy, judgment, and moderation : “ With all deference, however, to the admirers of Dr. Owen, we presume that his merits as a friend and advocate of religious liberty have been somewhat over-rated. It does not appear that he renounced the narrow and intolerant views of the Presbyterians on this subject, till about the year 1645.;, and for a considerable time after that period, his principles, compared with those which had been avowed by many of his contemporaries, were not at all remarkable for liberality and catholicism. While he held the Vice-Chancellorship of the University of Oxford, he was concerned in condemning two Quaker women to be publicly whipped for addressing a congregation in one of the churches, 'after the celebration of Divine service; notwithstanding they had been already treated with more than brutal violence by some of the students, in consequence of which one of them died soon afterwards. The conduct of these misguided females, however, may be considered as a civil offence: they certainly had no right to occupy the church for any such purpose, and they might have cast unwarrantable reflections upon the officiating minister ; a case which was not unconimon in those times. Yet, considering their sex, their conscientious motives, and the treatment they had just received, it would have required no very singular stretch of forbearance in the Doctor, to have been saiisfied with the infiction of a punishment less severe; especially as the Mayor absolutely refused to interfere, expressing his conviction that the women, though mistaken, were sincerely religious, and had no evil intention. Besides, the execution of such a sentence was illegal, when unsanctioned by the chief magistrate of the city. But waiving this circumstauce, the Doctor did not publish any thing expressly on the subject of toleration till the latter end of the year 1648, when the licentious army had dispersed the parliament, and murdered the King; and when every man was at liberty to write what he pleased against religious persecution with perfect impunity. But even then, speaking of what he conceived to be the duty of the civil magistrate, he says, • Outward monuments, ways of declaring and holding out false and

idolatrous worship, he is to remove: as the Papists' images, altars, pictures, and the like;...

. Prelates' Service Book :' that is, the Book of Common Prayer. In another publication, which bears the date of 1653, though he expresses his disapprobation of capital punishments in cases of heresy, he intimates that the burning of Servetus was an exception, and coolly thinks that the zeale of them that put him to death may be acquitted.'

.

[ocr errors]

the Book of Common-prayer, under several penalties.* Which coming to his Majesty's knowledge, as soon as he returned to his winter-quarters, he published his proclamation of the 13th of November, commanding in the same the use of the CommonPrayer, notwithstanding any ordinance to the contrary from the Houses of Parliament.. For taking notice, first, of those nota*ble benefits which had for eighty years redounded to this na

tion by the use of the Liturgy ; he next observes, that by abolishing the said Book of Common-Prayer, and imposing the « Directory, a way would be left open for all ignorant, factious, and evil men, to broach their fancies and conceits, be they never so erroneous, to mislead people into sin and rebellion

against the King, to raise factions and divisions in the church ;+ Now if Dr. Owen's vie of religious freedom were so liberal and correct as his frien as bave often represented them, how is it that he should have expressed himself in language so highly objectionable? If liberty of conscience is one of the most sacred rights of human nature, it is a universal right. A Protestant magistrate therefore can have no legitimate authority to interfere with the peculiarities of Catholic worship, any more than a Catholic has to interfere with those of a Protestant. And on what ground could Dr. Owen justify an Independent or a Presbyterian magistrate in wresting from an Episcopalian the Book of Common Prayer, which would not equally, justify an Episcopalian in the prohibition of extemporaneous worship? And if the unhallowed' zeal' of those men who burnt Servetus alive may be acquitted,' upon what principle shall the zeal' of Gardiner and Bonner be condenined ? To Dr. Owen the Christian Church is under some obligation for his writings on the subject of religious liberty, but he certainly was not one of the first of our countrymen who entertained just and liberal notions of the right of private judgment and of toleration ;''much less can he be ranked among the first of those by whom they were openly avowed and consistently defended.”—Jackson's Life of Goodwin.

* “ Bishop Sanderson seemed to lament that the Parliament had taken upon them to abolish our Liturgy, to the grief and scandal of so many devout and learned men, and the disgrace of those many martyrs, who had sealed the truth and necessary use of it with their blood : and that no minister was now thought godly that did not decry it; and, at least, pretend to make better prayers extempore : and that they, and only they that could do so, prayed by the Spirit, and were godly; though in their sermons they disputed, and evidently contradicted each other in their prayers. And as he did dislike this, so he did most highly commend the Common Prayer of the church, saying, The Holy Ghost seemed to assist the composers; and

that the effect of a constant use of it would be, to melt and forın the soul into holy thoughts and desires, and beget habits of devotion. This he said: and • that the Collects were the most passionate, proper, and most elegant comprehensive expressions that any language ever afforded; and that there was in them such piety, and that so interwoven with instructions, that they taught us to know the power, the wisdom, the majesty, and mercy of God, and much of our duty both to him and our neighbour; and that a congregation behaving themselves reverently, and putting up to God these joint and known desires for pardon of sins, and their praises for mercies received, could not but be more pleasing to God than those raw unpremeditated expressions which many, understood not, and to which many of the hearers could not say Amen. WALTON's Life of Bishop Sanderson.

t.“ If any question be moved concerning the doctrine of the Church of England, expressed in the Thirty-Nine Articles, give not the least ear to the movers thereof, that is so soundly and so orthodoxally settled, as cannot be questioned without extreme danger to the honour and stability of our religion, which hath been sealed with the blood of so many martyrs and confessors as are famous through the christian world. The enemies and underminers

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

6

« PreviousContinue »