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sence of religion in the ascent of the soul to God, in calling forth the hidden word, in fanning the divine spark that resides in the recesses of the human mind, and, in consequence
of this system,
“ That which I am now intimating is this ;-that the prophetical visions of the revelation have a main matter of mystery in them, beyond what is here or any where that I know by any interpreter directly insisted upon. For I conceive this which is here delivered, to be, indeed, a true opening of the mystical vision, as to one part of it, which is, the prediction of the historical events and changes of things, which should befal unto the government of the worldly empire and to the visible state of the church therein. But besides this part of the mystical vision, which I call the historical presignification of events, there is, in the matter presignified, a deeper mystery wrapt up, which requires another key to open it than that which shews the bare accomplishment of events; and this is the mystery of the kingdom of Christ, in opposition to the mystery of iniquity : for this is mainly to be taken notice of in the events which are foretold, and do fall out. Now he that reads, and hears, aud keeps the things written in this propbecy, concerning this mystery, is truly blessed indeed. But except we can read and hear the sense of this mystery in it, I know not what advantage the knowledge of the historical mystery can bring to us, further than to convict us, that the perman thereof was truly inspired by God when he wrote it, • because he did truly foretel things to come; and that the warniugs,
threatenings, promises, precepts and doctrines contained therein, deserve “to be beeded more, than the words of a bare man.' And truly, although I have much valued the gift and study of those that have set themselves to unfold, by the observation of histories, the mystical presignification of events, yet I could never bring my spirit much to apply itself to any such search; because I found, that both in the beginning of this book, (in the place fóre-mentioned,) and in the end thereof, the promise of blessedness is made to another kind of study than this; and the name and scope of the whole prophecy, which is the revelation of Jesus Christ, and a record of the testimony of Jesus Christ, doth import to me something more, than what is in the outward visible events; which every rational man, who can read histories and understand symbolical speeches,
is able to take votice of, and discern to be fulfilled as they were foretold. Therefore, although, to manifest the truth of God, the events are very useful, if not necessary, to be looked after ; yet I ain clear, that they are neither useful to us, nor necessary to be known, but as they are subordinate unto this mystery of the kingdom and testimony of Christ; the knowledge and keeping of which doth give us a right unto the tree of life, and an entry through the gates into the city. This then is the mystery which I look after; namely, to find the manifestation of the spiritual kingdom of Christ in the name of man, and in human societies so advanced, that the works of the devil are destroyed therein; and that the salvation of Israel doth thereby effectually come out of Sion, to bring back the captivity of the people of the Lord; and to make the whole creation partaker of the glorious liberty of the sons of God. For to shew unto the eye of our faith, by what means and ways this is to be brought to pass in the regenerate souls of men, and by the state of regeneration in the outward societies and professions of believers, I conceive the visions were mainly sent unto the prophet; and that it was his principal aim, by describing of them, to declare this unto us. If then, by the representation of bare ontward events, we are pot made capable of partaking this mystery, whereby Christ being apprehended in his testimony doth become in us the hope of glory, all our discoveries will be of vo great advantage unto our happiness, nor shall we reach the aim which the Holy Ghost had in sending this prophecy unto us. We must therefore consider what the key, is, whereby'the secret of that dispensation, which brings with it felicity doth stand, is opened. The key of the spiritual mystery of the visions must be the discovery of the parallel perfections which are found to be between Christ as the head, and the church as the body, which is the fulness of him that filleth all in all; and the understanding of the harmonical properties of things
was intimately persuaded, that differences merely in theological opinions did not at all concern the essence of true piety.”
But the reader will now be wishful to learn the grounds of Dury's plan of universal christian concord: I present the sum of them in the words of the Rev. Joseph Mede, who, it is seen, (page 496) was consulted when that plan was first formed, and whose judicious advice is copied, almost verbatim, by Dury in his Prodromus Tractat. Irenic. I have shewn, (page 741) the cause of Mr. Mede's early reluctance to tender his opinion on this subject; and his accomplished biographer has alluded to it in the subjoined paragraph: “ This, in general, was the way of peace which he chalked out for those whom the love of Christ should constrain heartily to seek the peace of the Reformed Religion, the happy uniting of divided Protestants. But, as for the more particular methods, for carrying on this pacific design, they are al large discoursed of by three reverend prelates of our Church, Bishops Morton, Hall, and Davenant.-Nor was our author altogether silent: For, though at first he declined, upon some prudential considerations, to express himself otherwise than in general upon this argument; yet, after his superiors had declared themselves, he was pleased to communicate also his particular instructions about this affair, as appears by several epistles of his written to Mr. Hartlib and Mr. Dury, wherein the judicious reader may observe his great prudence and equal moderation.” See the Note in page 741.
The quotations from Mr. Mede which I have already given, (page 496) exhibit his liberal opinions about the Church of visible, and invisible, wherein the correspondence between the outward and inward man; the temporary and eternal natures of things; and the state of true life, as it is present in the first-fruits, and as it is to come in the full harvest, are expressed.
“ Here the wonderful way aud manner of dispensing of that Divine Nature to the church, and working out the counsel of God in all the world, as this world is to be made subordinate to Christ and his saints, is laid open in the apocalyptical visions. We may not then call those visions dark mysteries, without injury to the Spirit of Christ; but they are lively figures of the truth of God's presence in his saints, and over the world, to represent it to those that have eyes to see it. And to help our weak eye-sight, wbich may be dazzled at the resplendency of the glory thereof, we should make use of the prospective ways which are offered unto us in the world elsewhere ; which are appliable to these visions, either as keys to unlock the dispensation of the mystery contained therein; or rather as directing and multiplying glasses, through which our understanding may be led, and enlarged to reflect upon the spiritual objects properly so called, which concern the state of the kingdom, which is inwardly everlasting iu itself, and, to the reasonings of men, invisible and incomprehensible.
** If I should enter upon this subject, to shew how a demonstrative scriptural analysis, by the spiritual use of right reason, is attainable, and will be the only way, (next to the gracious and immediate illumination of the Spirit, writing the law in the hearts,) to compose our controversies, to end our needless and sinful ways of disputing, and to banish out of Christ's church the high conceit of our doctoral school-divinity; if (1 say) I should enter upon these thoughts, you see that not a treatise only, ibut a volume sbould be written thereof to do it satisfactorily."
Rome, and about the Union of the Lutherans and Calvinists. He there declares, “ the matter aimed at in this business, is, not that either side should presently relinquish their opinions of difference, but only take notice, that, notwithstanding these differences, both sides do so far agree in other points, that they may and ought to acknowledge each other as BRETHREN.” Tắis was the principle on which Archbishop Laud founded his plan for preserving peace
betwen the Calvinists and Arminians in the Church of England, and for promoting it among the professing christians abroad; and, if ever the Papists had acceded to his pacificatory design, they must have been partakers of its benefits only on a condition that would have utterly destroyed the dominion which their Church had assumed over the consciences of mankind.
In July 1635, Dury transmitted a leter to Mede, a translation of which will be found in the appended note ;* and detailed to
* “ To Joseph Mede, Grace and Peace. " Reverend Sir, I am now ready to proceed on my voyage to Holland. I have taken leave of my Lord the Archbishop of Canterbury, and of my friends at Court, and am now busily engaged in bidding farewell to the rest. I was not forgetful of you, of whose polite courtesy I have recently had such ample experience. It is not possible for me to describe how much I am, and shall continue to be, gratified with the recollection of your conversation with me; For as often as I revolve in my mind, and that is very frequently, the chief topics which occurred in your very learned, prudent, and useful discourse, , I confess I have not for many years spent a quickly-passing hour with so much profit and pleasure, as I felt while enjoying your company:-Be pleased now to receive brief account of the design of my journey. 'In Holland I shall not be urgent, neither shall I make any immediate attempt. I will require nothing, except what they spontaneously offer to do; and, whatever that may be, it shall be converted to the advantage of the German (Lutheran) Churcb.-But the following are the chief points which I shall propose to the Germans, as subjects on which we may treat and persuade:
"1. That the decree passed by the States, [at Frankfort, in 1634,] contains most salutary advice respecting composing ecclesiastical differences.
“ 2. That all persons, both Magistrates and Divines, are bauud in couscience to promote to the utmost of their power the execution of this decree, by their uvited suffrages, studies, and attempts; and that, therefore, the appointment of a Convention must be no longer delayed.
*** 3. That, in this Convention, which is to be summoned for the abolition of schism, minute opinions and the thorny difficulties of scholastic controversies are to be removed from the discussions concerning peace: and that no dispute shall be raised about other points, but explanations shall be giveno about what is received and acknowledged by both parties.
66 4. That the concord which exists in the Symbolical Truth of the Primitive Church, and in the Fundamental Truth of the Christian Religion, and the mutual bond of Fraternal Union contained in it, shall be coufirmed by certain ecclesiastical Canons.
“ 5. That the Symbolical Truth,-which is contained in the Apostles' Creed, and is explained in that of St. Athanasius,-and which has been con: firmed in the Councils of Nice, the first Ephesian Council, and in those of Constantinople, Chalcedon, Mela, and Orange, held against the Pelagians, with whose decisions agree the Protestant Confessions of Faith, not only barmoniously among themselves, but likewise subordinately with the sacred Scriptures,—that this Symbolical Truth is of itself alone sufficient for the salvation of the souls of those persons who, in the simplicity of faith, derive it from the word of God, and on other points are obedient to his will without any admixture of idolatrous worship.
him the instructions he had received, and the course which he designed to pursue in his visit to Holland and Germany, on which he was then on the point of embarkiag. Mr. Mede retur
“ 6. That all controversies, beyoud this tenour of belief, shall be discussed by the learned men of both parties, with the preservation of charity; hut that of such controversies the more simple sort of people may safely and usefully remain in ignorance, and, therefore, they ought not by any means to be made contentious subjects of discourse in the pulpit : It is evident that this was the practice of the Fathers of the Primitive Church.
“ 7. That the causes of the schisms and of the inextricable confusions in the Christian Church have arisen, in the present age,-partly, from veglecting the limits in Faith and Practice between FUNDAMENTALS and NonFUNDAMENTALS;—partly, from an over-curious prying into mysteries, and the indiscriminate promulgation of private opinions about them ;-partly, from a contempt for the judgment of Primitive Antiquity respecting the meaning of the Holy Scriptures ;-„partly, from a preposterous and bitter itching to refute the sentiments of other people, rather than from an inoffensive desire to explain the truth according to their own perceptions of it; partiy, froin a tyrannical power of determination and censure, wbich one party usurps over the conscience and the understanding of the other ;partly, from having lost the rule of the Ancient Discipline ;-and, in the last place, partly from neglecting the duties of Holy Communion, and of fra: ternal communication between different churches, while the passions are appeased by their mutual edification in spiritual things.-From these sources has arisen every diversified species of opinious and rites, and from thence have proceeded the multiform appearance of churches that, on other points, are at complete agreement in the foundation of the faith: These circumstances have, in the eyes of unskilful estimators of things, borne the sem; blance of contrariety, aud have afterwards afforded a pretext for doubting, discussions, dissension, and schism.
“ 8. That, in the present calamitous state of affairs, no remedy for these evils can be devised of a more suitable kind than the Convention of Protestants which is here prescribed. The effect which it is desirable to obtain from such an Assembly, is this,-to confirm by general suffrage a fraternal concord in the Doctrinals conceded by both parties, a moderate and suitable explanation in matters of doubt and of utility, and, on the remaining topics, liberty of sentiment and mutual toleration ; but, in public worship and ecclesiastical rites, certain laws shall circumscribe such a conformity as may appear necessary for coufirming the affections of mutual edification and holy intercourse.
“You have here a display of my purpose : And though I acknowledge myself to be unequal to the attainment of it, yet, acccording to the small measure of my powers, I will leave nothing undone towards a great and sincere attempt. Most deservedly I ascribe much to your erudition, piety, and prudence: If, therefore, you consider it needful to tender me any advice on these points, you will perform an office which will be agreeable to a friend, and to a most respectful fellow-servant of your Lord Christ, and which will probably not prove useless to the public, &c.-LONDON, July 19th, 1635."
Every man conversaut with the ecclesiastical history of that period will trace, in this letter, no sentiment which could have been dictated by a Calvinist who approved of the decisions of the Synod of Dort; for the obvious tendency of the whole of Dury's instructions, of which the preceding is a good summary, was to counteract the pernicious effects of that Assembly, whose intolerant spirit had been imparted to every christian community in Europe, that had been so improvident as to admit or to admire its DECREES. The allusions to the early Fathers and to Christian Antiquity, which this letter contains, could be relisbed solely by the Protestants of the Church of England, and by those of the Augsburgh Confession ; from the former of whom the document itself actually emanated. Prom the preceding pote, (p:748,) the reader will bave learnt, that while the Calvinists have without just cause pointed with triumph to the pacific labours of Dury, the honour of which is claimed for the whole of their party, Archbishop Laud and his Arminian
ned a very polite answer, in which he “ advised Mr. Dury to urge men to devise a criterion according to which some judgment might be formed about Fundamental and Non-Fundamental Articles, and to think of such a definition, as a ground by which to examine the points of difference of what nature they are.” And he informs Mr. Hartlib, “ I intimated withal to Mr. Dury, how likely they (the zealots] would be to detrect it, and wherefore-namely, lest by that means they might either declare
some darling opinion of their own not to be Fundamental, and thereby prejudice their own cause; or else exclude out of that ' number some articles formerly determined by the Church, and
so incur a suspicion of, or be liable to be upbraided with, • favouring some condemned heresy.' In the same letter to Mr. Hartlib, he tries to define the nature of Fundamental Articles. His method is described in the subjoined note,* and
friends were almost the only active promoters of that scheme, and Dury bimself, at the first convenient opportunity, evinced his real disposition by joining the standard of the greatest enemies to a General Ecclesiastical Pacification, and by traitorously furnishing them with extracts from the private correspondence of Grotius.
* These are Mr. Mede's words “But what if we should go this way to work, make two sorts of FundamentalArticles, Fundamentals of salvation, and Fundamentals of ecclesiastical communion ? one, of such as are necessarii cognitu et creditu ad salutem simply and absolutely, and therefore no christiau soul that shall be saved, uncapable to understand them; another, of such as are necessarii creditu ad communicationem Ecclesiasticam in regard of the predecision of the church. The first not to be of such truths as are merely speculative, and contained only in the understanding ; but of such only as have a necessary influence upon practice : and not all those neither, but such as have necessary influence upon the act and function of christian life, or wbereon the acts, without which a christian lives not, necessarily depend. Such, namely, as without the knowledge and belief whereof we can neither invocate the Father aright, nor have that faith and reliance upon him, and his Son our Mediator Jesus Christ, which is requisite to remission of sins, and the hope of the life to come. How far this ratio of a fundamental article will stretch, I know not; but believe it will fetch in most of the articles of the Apostle's creed. And by it also those two main errors of the Socinians, the one denying the Divine Nature, the other the satisfaction of Christ, may be discerned to be fundamental. For, without the belief of the first, the Divine Majesty cannot be rightly, that is incommunicably worshipped, so as to have no other Gods besides him. For he that believes not Christ to be consubstantial with the Father, and yet honours him with the same worship, worships not the Father incommunicably: which is the formalis ratio of the worship of the true God, from whom we look for eternal life. And without the belief of the second, the Satisfaction of Christ, there can be, I suppose, po saving faith or reliance upon Christ for forgiveness of sin. After this manner, may other Articles be examined. Thus much of the first sort of fundamental truths, measured by the necessitude they have with those acts which are required to salvation. Concerning the second sort of fundamentals, viz. necessary ad communicationem Ecclesiasticam : it is not fit that the church should admit any to her communion which shall professedly deny or refuse their assent to such catholic truths as she bath anciently declared, by universal authority, for the symbol and badge of such as should have communion with her. And this sort of Articles without doubt fetches a greater compass and comprehends more than the other, as being ordinate and measured by another end, to wit, of discipline, and so contains not only such truths, the knowledge whereof and assent whereto is necessary unto the being of christian life, but also to the well-being thereof; and