« PreviousContinue »
pious parents had long been members. Soon afterwards, a most liberal offer was made to me of a partnership in the bookselling business, by a person as ignorant of it as myself. But, as business of no kind had ever been in my contemplation, and as my pursuits had lain altogether in a contrary direction, I did not attempt to accept of it till I had consulted those of my friends on whose judgment and concern for my welfare I could safely rely : “Accept of the offer," was the kind but injudicious answer of all, except my prudent father, who, in words that proved ultimately prophetic, foretold the unfortunate issue of such an enterprize as that upon which I was about to enter. In justice, however, to those friends, whose advice I followed with a degree of reluctance and hesitation, I must observe that they were professional men, and almost as little acquainted as myself with those requisites which form a complete tradesman.
When I had contended about five years with the difficulties connected with the occupation of a retail bookseller, and with a large and unwieldy stock, and had, under the influence of a morbid sort of feeling, discarded all thoughts about the contend. ing forms of church-government, my attention was once more umexpectedly attracted to them in the year 1811, by the Rev. Robert Cox, Perpetual Curate of Bridgnorth, at that time Minister of St. James's Church in Leeds. Although my doctrinal views differed from those of this philanthropic clergyman, yet he made me a generous proposal, to clear me entirely of all the incumbrances and engagements in which I was involved by my partnership, provided I would enter into Holy Orders. With an earnest affection, that is quite characteristic of the man of God, he tried to remove the scruples which I had unfortunately imbibed. Not satisfied with his own benevolent endeavours, he engaged his judicious and amiable friend, the Rev. John MERRY, then Curate of Rawden in Yorkshire, but now of Chettle, near Salisbury, to argue the case with me. Though at that time my understanding was not convinced by their arguments, yet their endearing behaviour won my affections; and the manner in wbich these truly Evangelical Clergymen demonstrated to me, from their own experience, the mildness and liberality of the Episcopal Regimen, and the advantages of a national establishment, gave the first clue to my subsequent researches, which I pursued at such intervals as business would permit. It was not, however, till a short time after the unfortunate crisis in my affairs to which I have briefly alluded, that I became fixed and decided in my attachment to Episcopacy.
Having now been settled some years as a printer in London, and entirely unconnected with any other religious denomination than that of the Church of England, I entertain such oldfashioned prejudices as to believe, that the vows of God are still upon me; and that it is my duty, though in an inferior capacity to that of a minister, to do good to all men as often as I have opportunity. These my first-fruits and earliest offerings in behalf
of that Church in which I was first captivated with the loveliness of religion, may seem to be of too polemical a character to be acceptable. But those who are best acquainted with me, know, that controversy is not the element in which I delight. The rise of Arminianism, however, in the Church of England, and its subsequent obligations to that of Holland, could not be elucidated without controverting many of the reproachful and untrue accounts of its most bitter adversaries. Since, therefore, this page of English ecclesiastical History required the aid of one to whom Dutch affairs, and the constitution of the different States which composed that Republic, were familiar,-and my studies, especially in my youthful days, having been turned much in that direction - I resolved to take this burden upon myself; and, amidst numerous impediments, have been enabled, by the kindness of Heaven, to finish the First Volume of my arduous under taking. As its multifarious contents will require, from all parties, a long time for digestion; and as the Second Volume will, like this, consist at least of 1,000 closely-printed pages; the latter (also in two parts) must not be expected till I have completed the publication of the Works of Arminius. 7. A few of the reasons for giving this short account of myself, are here subjoined: I wish to shew,-that, though attached from principle to the doctrines and institutions of the Church of England, I am no bigot, but love and reverence good men of every denomination ;-that, from my early scruples on ceremonial and minute matters, while I have learnt to respect those of other persons and to treat them with tenderness, I feel desirous to be instrumental in removing them ;-that the indulgence and subsequent removal of my own scruples, (which, be it remembered, were never about doctrinal matters,) led me into a course of read. ing, that afforded me many advantages for the execution of the work in which I am now engaged ;-that, I have no party or sinister purposes to serve by this publication, having nothing whatever to hope or to fear from men of any religious persuasion;
and that, on several important points, my evidence, corroborated as it generally is by more competent authorities, must be viewed as tolerably impartial and unprejudiced. Indeed, I may venture, with due humility and in a qualified sense, to adopt one of “the ever-inemorable Hales's" expressions, and say: “ The “ pursuit of Truth hath been my only care, ever since I first “ understood the meaning of the word. For this, I have for“ saken all hopes, all friends, all desires, which might bias me " and hinder me from driving right at what I aimed. For this, I
have spent my money, my means, my youth, and all I have, that I or might remove from myself that censure of Tertullian, suo vitio « quis quid ignorat. If with all this cost and pains my purchase s is but ERROR, I may say, to err hath cost me more than it hath “ many to find the truth; and Truth itself shall give me this testior mony at last, that if I have missed of her, it is not my fault, “ but my misfortune.”
Α Π Ο ΚΡΙΣΙΣ ΠΡΟΣ ΥΠΟ ΚΡΙΣΙΝ.
EXAMINATION OF TILENUS
BEFORE THE TRIERS,
IN ORDER TO HIS INTENDED SETTLEMENT IN THE OFFICE
OF A PUBLIC PREACHER, IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF UTOPIA:.
WHEREUNTO ARE ANNEXED
"THE TENENTS OF THE REMONSTRANTS,
TOUCHING THOSE FIVE ARTICLES
VOTED, STATED, AND IMPOSED, BUT NOT DISPUTED,
Synod of Bort.
TOGETHER WITH A SHORT ESSAY, BY WAY OF ANNOTATIONS,
UPON THE FUNDAMENTAL THESES OF MR. THOMAS PARKER.
LONDON: PRINTED FOR R. ROYSTON, AT THE ANGEL IN IVY LANE,
REPRINTED BY JAMES NICHOLS, 22, WARWICK SQUARE,
PREFACE BY THE EDITOR.
Of the Life of Dr. Laurence WOMACK, the learned and ingenious author of “the Examination of TILENUS,” the reader will find a brief sketch in the beginning of the second volume of “Calvinism and Arminianism Compared.” I hope to procure materials for a more copious account of this excellent Prelate, to prefix to a new edition of his CalvinISTS' CABINET UNLOCKED, which I have in contemplation. He was one of many hundred divines, who, when through an attachment to Episcopacy they were ejected from their benefices, directed their attention, during the Civil Wars, to the important differences between Calvinism and Arminianism, which had been studiously depicted as one of the chief ostensible causes of the contest between the monarch and his people. Dr. Womack, in common with other great and eminent men of that age, had been full of zeal for the system of Calvin ; and nothing more strikingly displays the beneficial results of the change produced in his mind, than a contrast between his sentiments in 1640 and 1860, in two works which he wrote at those periods in behalf of the Episcopal Church. Many eloquent passages, in praise of Episcopacy, I have had the satisfaction of perusing ; but never any so eloquent and nervous as those of Bishop Womack.
Every man of feeling will be captivated with the simplicity of style in which he relates his secession from Calvinism, in one of the following pages, (10,) which was effected by his perusal of the writings of the persecuted Dutch Remonstrants: “ The greater the prejudices were which had been « instilled into me against these doctrines, the greater you " ought to conclude the light to be which hath wrought this “ my present conviction of their truth, and hath induced me « to embrace them, against all the charms of interest and “ secular advantages, wherewith the world tempts us to the “ contrary.” This was the way in which multitudes of the Episcopal clergy became converts to Arminianism, during the