« PreviousContinue »
its place a low species of CUNNING, which, to the degradation of the regal dignity, he designated “ king-craft.” In the motley garb in which his Majesty was desirous of bedecking the Engof those christians that are subjects to the Grand Seignior, than in the kingdoms of christian princes." Upon the objection of Bellarmine : “ That force may be opposed by force, and that, by the law of war, people may resist the persecutions of the Heathens or of Hereticks, if they are able,” De Domi. nis replies, " That a believer may justly save himself by flight, and so avoid persecution; and of this I never doubted, having learned this doctrine not only from the word of God, but also from the actions and apology of Atbanasius. But that it is lawful to withstand by force and with arms our own rightful sovereign, though he be a persecutor of the faitb, I have never yet learned : and especially have not been able as yet to satisfy myself that the ministers of Jesus Christ, by virtue of their office or authority, may take up or meddle with arms in order to make any such resistance. I know the opinion of Nazianzen, who speaks thus of Julian the apostate : • He was nevertheless compelled by the grace of God, and the tears of christians,
many of wbich were poured out, and by many, since they had no other re• medy against the persecutor, notwithstanding that his whole army in a mau
ner consisted of christians.' Now if tears and patience be the only remedy, theu may we not use any arms, any violence, any deposing of princes, any withdrawing of our fidelity and obedience. Certainly the argument of Bellarmine arms as well heretical subjects against those Catholic princes who have inflicted temporal punishments on them, as Catholic subjects against heretical princes. And by the same argument, all opposition, even the most unjust, may be excited, fomented and defended. For if ill' men have the power of opposing force against the magistrates, they will always pretend that they are unjustly persecuted. They that were hearers of the apostles (as Andrew Duditius writes to Beza,) brought forth for the most pari fruits worthy of the gospel, and of repentance. But they did not publicly arm the people, nor maintain that religion is to be propagated by, war or violence. Can we then say that they who do such thiugs, preach and practise things conformable to the apostles' doctrine?”
In the pamphlet which Bishop Burnet wrote against Dr. Hickes, he has not ouly tendered us his own opinions on the doctrine, but has affected to give us those of Archbishop. Tillotson, who was a much more consistent character than the Bishop. But it is safer to receive the Archbishop's testimony from himself. He and Dr. Burnet frequently visited Lord Russel while under coudemnation, in 1683, “ for his vigorous opposition to Pupery and arbitrary government;" and though his Lordship "bad ouce received satisfaction" from them that his principles of resistance were erroneous, yet Dr. Tillotson afterwards expressed his sorrow at having found a change" in the senti ments which they had inculcated, and therefore addressed an able letter to bis Lordship, of which the following is an extract: “ I do humbly offer, to your Lordship's deliberate thoughts, these following considerations concerning the points of resistance if our_religion and rights should be invaded, as your Lordship, puts the case. First. That the christian religion doth plainly forbid the resistance of authority. Secondly. That though our religion be established by law, (which your lordship urges as a difference between our case and that of the primitive christians, yet in the same law which establishes our religion it is declared, that it is not lawful upon any pretence whatsoever to take up arms, &c. Besides that, there is a particular law declaring the power of the militia to be solely in the king; and that ties the hands of subjects, though the law of nature and the general rules of scripture had left us at liberty; which I believe they do not, because the government and peace of human society could not well subsist upon those terms. THIRDLY. Your lordship's opinion is contrary to the declared doctrine of all Protestant churches; and though some particular persons have taught otherwise, yet they have been contradicted herein, and condemned for it by the generality of Protestants.”
Old Gerard Brandt was one of the most strenuous defenders of the civil and religious liberties of mankind in Europe, yet, in his Annotations on
lish Church, were many things to disgust the well-informed mind of De Dominis, who, in common with the best of our divines, entertained high ideas of the decisions of a Church United, and held in contempt the awards of mere sects and parties. His admiration of Grotius, and his attachment to the tenets of the Arminians, would not recommend him to the favour of Archbishop Abbot; yet during the whole of that agitated period, he confined himself within the bounds of neutrality far better than the greater part of the divines about the Court of England: And there cannot be a doubt, that his plan of universal pacification was in 1622 an object, the adoption of which by the royal knight-errant was nearly as much dreaded by Archbishop Abbot and the Calvinistic party, as it was by Count Gondomar and the Papists. The Venetian Archbishop was therefore made a sacrifice to two contending Court.factions, whose prospects would have been blasted, had
he been fostered and his scheme patronized. Who can be surprised if such a man was disgusted with the duplicity of a Court, in which he had been encouraged to write largely in favour of christian toleration and unanimity, at the very time when they were devising and executing measures for cutting off two important members (the Arminians and Lutherans,) from Christ's mystical body, by the arbitrary decisions of the Synod of Dort:* He subsequently
his own History, he speaks thus : “ But what then must a subject, a good man, and a christian do, in case the government neglects its duty? He ought, in my opinion, to wait for a public Reformation of the church, without giving offence by separations or schisms; and ought in the mean while to do all that in him lies towards promoting it, but by such methods alone as become him ; that is, by exhorting, advising, and praying; and, whenever the honour of God and the salvation of men's souls require it, by bearing his testimony openly (as often as it is necessary or proper) against those matters and things in religion to which he cannot give his consent, especially against the weightiest of those which he thinks need reformation. But, ahove all, let him in the mean time amend that in himself which he finds fault with in others. This is conformable to the nature of the christian religion; but by no means ought we to use force, or introduce reformation and drive out superstition by tumults or by arms. The churches aud public places of worship belong to the magistrates; and they may consign the use of them to whom they please, and take it away again from such as they judge have forfeited it. But if some things be practised in and by the established church, which are against our consciences, then must we quit it: And if such communities as belong to that church will not bear the representation of their abuses, or those mild attempts of reforming them at which we have now hirted, but will excommunicate the representer and eject him, he must bear it, aud join himself to other private christians or christian assemblies, that are more godly, reasonable, and moderate, and there hold spiritual communion and exercise external worship. But before we forsake any religious assemblies, whether public or private, we ought to take care not to depart from them causelessly or on slight occasions; and, even if we be cut off or excluded by them, not immediately to imagine that the band of spiritual brotherhood is entirely dissolved."
On this importaut subject, the reader will find a mass of information in FALKNER's Christian Loyalty, published in 1679.
* The learned Mosheim's remarks on this subject are quoted page 504. But his Majesty's versatility of opinion was conspicuous on many other public
gave utterance to his wounded feelings on this subject, in a Latin letter which he addressed to Bishop Hall, and in which he reproaches that excellent Prelate for the part which he had acted ocasions : No person would imagine, that one and the same man presided in the Hampton Court Conference, gave his sanction to the Articles of the Church of Ireland, or directed his clerical representatives in Holland to condemn the Arminians! The King knew very well, when he sent bis divines to the Synod of Dort, that the Church of England had iu her great wisdom not determined any of the points which were then brought under discussion : He was therefore wary enough to order them to disavow all authority from the English or Scotch church, as may be seen by Balcanqual's despatch to the Ambassador, quoted page 399," For they declared,” he says, " that, being deputed by his most Serene Majesty, and not by their churches, &c., they had delivered only their own private judgments," &c. In the celebrated “ Joint Attestation,” signed and published by the Five British Divines in 1626 against Mountagu, they candidly “ avow that the DISCIPLINE of the Church of England was not impeached by the Synod of Dort,” but that Bishop Carleton openly entered a salvo in favour of Episcopal regimen, and “ appealed to the judgment of antiquity and to the judgment of any learned man now living, and
craved herein to be satisfied, if any man of learning could speak to the contrary: To this there was no answer made by any." But on the subject of DOCTRINE they express themselves thus cautiously: “ As in that Synod our special care and perpetual endeavour, was, to guide our judgments by that sound doctrine which we had received from the Church of England; so were we far, and ever shall be, from usurping our mother's authority, or attempting to obtrude upon her children any of our Synodical conclusions as obligatory to them : yet remaining ourselves nevertheless resolved, that, whatsoever there was assented unto and subscribed by us concerning the Five Articles, either in the joint Synodical judgment, or in our particular collegiate suffrage, is not only warrantable by the Holy Scriptures, but also conformable to the received doctrine of our said venerable mother."
Thus, while they disavowed the act of usurping their mother's authority," they considered their own private opinions to be conform able to the venerable formularies of the English church, under which both Calvinists and Arminians may consistently shelter themselves. It is a remarkable circumstance, that, while some modern divines have expended all their energies in proving the doctrine of the Church of England to be similar to the decisions of the Dutch Synod, these more ancient and better-informed divines could not manage that argument at all, without calling to their aid the Articles of the Church of Ireland, which, they strenuously asserted, were closely allied to those of the English Chureh. For instance, Rous, in bis Testis Veritatis, when treating of the doctrine of the assurance of salvation, says, that it hath also been sealed up and settled in the Articles of the Church of Ireland ; between which church and the church of England, to make a contrariety and opposition, is a thing of extreme danger and absurdity:" A similar mode of argumentation may be seen in Goad, Featley, Carleton, Prynne, &c. In a preceding page 367 is recorded the Earlof Strafford's judicious advice to Archbishop Usher, about incorporating into the polemic articles of the Church of Ireland the plain and orthodox articles of the Church of England : and for no act of his life did Archbishop Laud incur so much censure, from the Calvinists of that period, as for his very commendable exertions in procuring the requisite alteration. In Dr. Heylin's
History of the Presbyterians the following remarks occur: " Iu the time of King James, some propositions had been offered by him in the Conference at Hampton-court, about sending preachers into Ireland, of which he was but half King, as himself complained, their bodies being subject unto his authority, but their souls and consciences to the Pope. Hereupon followed the plantation of Ulster, first undertaken by the city of London ; but it was carried on more vigorously, as more unfortunately withal, by some adventurers of the Scottish nation, who poured themselves into this country as the richer soil. They brought with them hither such a stock of
66 We see,
at the commencement of the Synodical tragedy. The venerable Brandt, after quoting that letter in his admirable History, adds this brief comment : “ These were the words of DE DOMINIS, that miracle of learning, whom this Synod furnished, if not with a true cause, at least with a fair pretence of quitting the Protestant religion, and returning to the Popish which once he had wisely forsaken.”
The next grand attempt to bring the doctrine of FUNDAMENTals into more general notice was early in 1616, when the States of Holland passed a further Resolution in confirmation of the tolerant doctrine contained in their famous Edict. The city Puritanism, such a contempt of Bishops, such a neglect of the public Liturgy, and other Divine offices of this church, that there was nothing less to be found amongst them, than the government and forms of worship
established in the Church of England. Calvinism by degrees had taken such deep root amongst them, that at the last it was received and countenanced as the only doctrine which was to be defended in the Church of Ireland. For, not contented with the Articles of the Church of England, they were resolved to frame a Confession of their own, the
drawing up whereof was referred to Dr. James Usher, then Provost of the College of Dublin, and afterwards Archbishop of Armagh and Lord Primate of Ireland ; by whom the book was so contrived, that all the Sabbatarian and Calvinian rigors were declared therein to be the doctrines of that church. For the Articles of Lambetb, rejected at the Conference at Hampton-Court, must be inserted into this confession, as the chief parts of it. 'No power ascribed to the church in making canons, or censuring any of those who either carelessly or maliciously do infringe the same. The Pope made Antichrist, &c. All wbich, being Usher's own private opinions, were dispersed in several places of the Articles for the Church of Ireland ; approved of in the convocation of the year 1615; and finally, confirmed by the Lord Deputy Chichester, in the vame of King James. What might induce King James to confirm these Articles, differing in so many points from his own opinion, is not clearly known; but it is probable, that he might be drawn to it on these following grounds: For, FIRST, he was much governed at that time, in all church-concernments, by Dr. George Abbot Archbishop of Canterbury, and Dr. James Mountague Bishop of Bath and Wells; who, having formerly engaged in maintenance of some or most of those opinions, might find it po hard matter to persuade the King to a like approbation of them. And, SECONDLY, the King bad so far declared himself in the cause against Vorstius, and so affectionately had espoused the quarrel of the Prince of Orange against those of the Remonstrant party in the Belgic churches, that he could not handsomely refuse to confirm those doctrines in the Church of Ireland, which he had countenanced in Holland. THIRDLY. The Irish nation at that time were most tenaciously addicted to the errors and corruptions of the Church of Rome, and therefore must be bended to the other extreme, before they could be straight and orthodox in these points of doctrine. FOURTHLY. It was an usual practice with that king, in the whole course of his government, to balance one extreme by the other ; countenancing the Papists against the Puritans, and the Puritans against the Papists; that, betwixt both, the true religion and the professors of it might be kept in safety. But whether I hit right or not, certain it is, that it proved a matter of sad cousequence to the Church of England; there being nothing. more ordinary amongst those of the Puritan party, when they were pressed in any of the points aforesaid, than to appeal unto the Articles of Ireland, and the infallible judgment of King James, who confirmed the same. And so it stood until the year 1634, when by the power of the Lord Deputy Wentworth [Earl of Strafford,] and the dexterity of Dr. John Bramhall, then Lord Bishop of Derry, the Irish Articles were repealed in a full convocation, and those of England authorised in the place thereof."-The ingenious reply, in PARR'S, Life of Usher, to some parts of this statement, is worthy of perusal by those who wish to know all that may be consistently said on both sides of a question.
of Amsterdam, in which the most violent of the Calvinistic ministers then resided, was one of the principal parts of the States that refused its sanction to this Resolution for accommodating the differences of the clergy. On that occasion, Grotius, and five other of the deputies of Holland, were sent, as the representatives of the States, to induce the Magistrates of Amsterdam to co-alesce with the majority; when that great man, in the name of his colleagues, delivered a speech, which every Senator ought to peruse for its political wisdom, and every Divine for the accurate knowledge of Theology which it displays. The following are a few extracts from the first English translation of this document, which does not felicitously express the richness and energy of the original :
“We shall now proceed, Gentlemen, to the second capital Article of the resolution of the States, consisting in an order for preserving unity, by a mutual toleration, notwithstanding the differences that have arisen in the churches under their jurisdiction, about the business of predestination, and the points which have a relation to it. This their order is founded upon a fixed rule, which we may justly call one of the pillars of our christian Reformation; for the Reformed Churches, being so taught from the word of God, have always asserted, that doctrinal points were of two kinds: The First, of such a nature, that all persons as
soon as they attained to years of discretion were bound to un•derstand and embrace them with a sincere faith, at the peril of their salvation. These doctrines were called FUNDAMENTALS;
and the Reformed churches always judged them to be but few
the FOUNDATION but of the SUPERSTRUCTURE only, which, if ‘proposed agreeably to God's Word, might (as the Apostle expresses it, 1 Cor. iii
, 11, 12,) be called gold and silver ; but if 'otherwise, hay and stubble. They further asserted with the same Apostle, that the ministers or teachers who build with such hay and stubble, do not, merely on that account, forfeit their salvation : From whence it follows, that they ought not to be shut out of the church, being owned by Christ himself for his members; but that we, on the contrary, are obliged to bear with the weakness of such persons, and not to judge them but to receive them among us, waiting till the day when the truth shall be revealed. The contrary practice of Popery, (in which communion, in consequence of an ecclesiastical decision, people are anathematized and declared heretics for all sorts of doctrines) was always affirmed, by our divines, to proceed, not from the Spirit of Christ, but from that of Antichrist. Accordingly, when the Papists reproached our people with the diversity of opinions about cer