Page images
PDF
EPUB

all his defects of temper, and his obviously low views of the eco. : nomy of God's grace, I prefer his testimony, on every affair of importance, to that of his virulent revilers; some of whom, though eulogized as “ moderate men,” I have found to be guilty of the vilest misrepresentations. ; I know only of a single fact in which Dr. Heylin's information is proved to have been essentially erroneous, and that is, the conversation which he reports between Archbishop Laud and “the EverMemorable Hales of Eton," and in which the latter is said to have been reclaimed from the errors of Socinianism. Mr. Des Maizeaux, in his “ Historical and Critical Account” of that great man; has very satisfactorily controverted Dr. Heylin's premises and conclusion: Yet, after all, the two Socinian publications, of which Hales had then been wrongfully considered as the author, afforded strong grounds for Heylin's assertion. To those who have perused the collection of letters in PARR's Life of Archa bishop Usher, (Letter 181,) and similar publications, it will be unnecessary to say, that one of these pamphlets (written by Stegman, a Socinian Minister,) was charged to the account of John Hales. The other, written by Przipcovius, a Polish Knight and a great Unitarian, was also ascribed to him by common report; and in the virulent pamphlets and minor Church-histories of that period, his Patron the Archbishop was indirectly assailed as giving some encouragement to noted heretics. Knowing all this, Dr. Heylin, who appears to have been made very imperfectly acquainted with the substance of their conversation, naturally inferred that it had been on the charge of Socinianism then current against Hales, and seized that opportunity for vindicate ing the eminent Prelate against Socinian imputations.

The following paragraph from “ the Life of Lord CLARENDON," who likewise relates, in a different manner, the very interesting conversation which passed between him and the Archbishop, is in reality somewhat confirmatory of Heylin's suspicions: * He was chaplain in the house with Sir Dudley Carleton, Ambassador at the Hague in Holland, at the time when the Synod of Dort was held, and so had liberty to be present at the consultations in that Assembly; and hath left the best memorial behind him of the ignorance, and passion, and animosity, and injustice of that convention; of which he often made very pleasant relations, though at that time it received too much countenance from England. He would never take any cure of souls, and was a great contemner of money; yet, besides his being very charitable to all poor people even to liberality, he had made a greater and better collection of books than were to be found in any other private library that I have seen; as he had sure read more, and carried more about him in his excellent memory, than any man I ever knew, my Lord Falkland only excepted, who I think sided him. He had, whether from his natural temper and constitution, or from his long

T

retirement from all crowds, or from his profound judgment and discerning spirit, --contracted some opinions which were not received nor by him published except in private discourses, and then rather upon occasion of dispute than of positive opinion. And he would often say, his opinions, he was sure, did him no harm; but he was far from being confident, that they might not do others harm who entertained them, and might entertain other results from them than he did: And therefore he was very reserved in communicating what he thought himself, in those points in which he differed from what was received."--See a continuation of this character of Hales, in a preceding page, (xciv.) .

On another subject, that of “the Christian Sabbath,” I shall prove, in the second volume, that his information was essentially correct, and especially in relation to the open and allowed profanation of that sacred day by the early Calvinists at Geneva. Some vituperative remarks on the Doctor will be found in a succeeding page, (455,) and the reader will afterwards perceive that the ground on which the English Puritans argued this question, was the same as that assumed by the celebrated Indepenpendent, Robert Robinson of Cambridge, in his low and scurrilous tract, “ The History and Mystery of Good Friday,” which he wrote against that pious, mild, and excellent Prelate, the late Bishop Porteus. od suti. 2.-_BISHOP GAUDEN. anatomie

This eminent man has furnished me with some good quotations, (pp. 540, 560, 655, 680, 700, 703,) which are the more valuable on account of his connection with some of the highest Puritanic families among the nobility. (Page 700.) At the commencement of the Civil Wars, he was nearly in the same predicament as Dr. Featly, (p. 463,) for he was a great admirer of the pacific method of Archbishop Usher ; but he, as well as the amiable Primate, and other Episcopalians who were then moderate Cal. vinists, soon perceived the futility of such a plan of proceeding with those who hated peace, and they became sound converts to Arminianism and better friends to Episcopacy,* when both were 1. In his Liturgical Considerations, Dr. GAUDEN observes: “ A Liturgy is a great defence to true doctrine, and a means to prevent the spreading of corrupt opinions.” To this consideration old Giles FIRMIN replies, 6 Not every Liturgy: Some may be bad enough. This was the first reason, (as some conceive, with laziness, which first brought in Liturgies,—the Arian and Pelagian heresies. In which time yet ministers did compose and use their own prayers, though they were first reviewed. But, it may be, the Doctor hath an honest design in this : For, he knows well, that abundance of the Episcopal men, now preferred, are stout Arminians, of the same blood with Pelagius; and he fears these men will spread Pelagianism under a little finer dress, and so would have the Liturgy imposed, to keep them from doing this mischief. Ah, Doctor! This will not do! Such men call for the Liturgy more than any : But if this were your only intent, we thank you for your honesty.”_Such were the sarcastic remarks, which the good Doctor was forced to endure from some of his former friends.

13

in their low estate, and when neither of them could confer any present earthly emolument on their professors. When the licen tious soldiers had the murder of the King under contemplation, the Doctor wrote a bold Address to the Army, though it does ; not exhibit as great ability as that by Doctor Hammond. What; ever opinion may be formed of him, with regard to the part: which he is said to have acted in the composition of King Charles the First's Eikon Basilike, his conduct in every other particular is unexceptionable, and entitled to high commendation. · He was intimate with those Presbyterian ministers who managed the dispute, with King Charles, concerning Episcopacy;a and heard from their own lips the indissembled wonder to which they gave utterance at that unfortunate monarch's unanswerable arguments in favour of Episcopal regimen. Dr. Gauden was also privy to those “ hortatory though concealed letters," which were addressed by “ Diodati from Geneva and by Salmasius “ from Leyden,* to the chief sticklers of late for Presbytery in England, advising them to acquiesce in and bless God for such “a regulated Episcopacy, as had obtained, and might best be “ retained, in England.” Gauden took the Covenant. He also tells us, “I was as fully chosen as any to the Assembly of Divines; : and never gave any refusal to sit with them, further than my judgment was sufficiently declared, in a Sermon preached at the first sitting of the Parliament, to be for the ancient and Catholic Episcopacy.t Although myself were, by I-know-not-what sleight . * For a larger account of these communications, consult the note in page lxxix. , it Cornelius Burges and Stephen Marshall had preached before the House of Commons, at their Solemn Fast, Nov. 17th, 1640 ; and, in their joint dedication of Burges's Sermon, they thus addressed the honourable members on the subject of Parliamentary assistance in the establishment of Calvinism : “ The God of Heaven make you the most accomplished, best united, and most successful and glorious House of Commons that ever sate in that High Court ; but chiefly in the perfecting of the Reformation of Religion; in the erecting, maintaining, protect. ing, and encouraging of an able, godly, faithful, zealous, profitable, preaching ministry, in every parish-church and chapel throughout England and Wales ; and in the interceding to the King's Sacred Majesty for the setting up of a faithful, judicious, and zealous Magistracy, where yet the same is wanting, to be ever at.. hand to back such a Ministry : Without either of which, not only the power of Godliness will soon degenerate into formality and zeal into lukewarmness, but POPERY, ARMINIANISM, SOCINIANISM, PROFANENESS, APOSTACY, and ATHEISM itself, will more and more crowd in upon us and prevail against us, do you all you can by all other means."

On the 29th of the same month, “John GAUDEN, Bachelor in Divinity," preached on a sacramental occasion before the Honourable House, from Zech. viii, 19. After severely animadverting on the undue stress which had been laid upon ceremonies, the preacher expressed himself in the following language, in which, without doubt, “his judgment was then sufficiently declared to be for the ancient and catholic Episcopacy," and could not therefore be relished by those who loved to hear such doctrine as Burges and Marshall delivered : '

“Not that I am ignorant, how far pious antiquity did use these, and such like words innocently, without ill mind or meaning, and without offence to the church, as

of hand, shuffled out of that Assembly, yet the zeal of some men to put Presbytery into its throne and exercise was such, that I was twice sent to by some members of both Houses, and summoned by the Committee of the County where I live, to preach at the consecration and installing of this many-headed Bishop, the new PRESBYTERY: Which work I twice (and so ever humbly) refused to do, as not having so studied its genealogy and descent, as to be assured of the legitimation, right, and title of sole Presbytery to

then times were: Yet let me tell you: (1.) Such swerving from the form of sound words used in the primitive and purest times, occasioned, and strengthened after errors. (2.) They were not then engaged to maintain truth against such erroneous and pernicious doctrines as we now are of the Reformed Church: Which doctrines are now eagerly maintained by a proud faction, who seek to abuse antiquity, and patronize their own errors by using those names and words, to other intents and things, than ever was dreamed of by the ancient Church. (3.) By such dangerous symbolizing with them in words and some outward forma. lities, we do but prepare our minds, and sweeten them, with less distaste to relish their doctrines and tenets ; and, as it were, in a civil way, we com. pliment ourselves out of our truth; giving the adversaries strong hopes and presumptions, as they have discovered, that we are inclining towards them : To be ashamed of frequent, serious, and conscientious preaching, which was the work of Christ and the holy Apostles, the honour and chief employment of the primitive and best Bishops, and Ministers in all ages, -as that desery. edly famous Bishop Jewel, in his Apology proves out of the Fathers suffici. ently against the Pope, and other idle bellies, which count preaching as a work below their greatness, as indeed it is above their goodness -Is this to love the truth?

Certainly, had divines both small and great been more busied in preaching and practising those great, weighty, and necessary truths, that are able to save their own and others' souls, they would not have had such leisure to have been so inventive and operative in poor beggarly toys and trifles, which neither bring honour nor profit to God, themselves, or others. Nothing, I say nothing,will restore the Church and Churchmen to their pristine honour, love, and authority in men's hearts and minds, but a serious setting of themselves to the study, preaching, and practising of Truth and peace in a holy life. These were the arts, these the policies, these the pious frauds and stratagems by which anciently they won people's hearts to love God, his truth, and of themselves the witness of it: To such a height of honour and ecstasy of love, that they received them as Angels of God, Embassadors from heaven, counting them dear as their right eyes ! Humility, piety, and industry laid the foundation of all those mag. nificent structures, dignities, titles, places, revenues, privileges, wherewith Churchmen were ancient y endowed : What hath or is likely to waste and demolish them is easy to conjecture. Iisdem artibus metinenda quibus olim para. bantur.

Gauden, in those days, like his friend Archbishop Usher, considered himself a Cameronist ; and, as the persons of that persuasion were accounted to be a kind of middle-men between Calvinists and Arminians, so may the former part of the following paragraph from this Sermon be recognized as partaking of the kindly nature of the quotation from Cudworth, in page lxiii, while the latter part of it savours a little of the persecuting spirit of the more resolute Calvinists, quoted in pages Ixi, lxv :

Contend then earnestly for the truth ;' (Jude 3 ;) but with the power of God," not man's arm of flesh; with a contention of love, not of force ; such as may not destroy men, but their errors, which otherwise will destroy them. Truth

W

succeed, nay to remove, its ancient father Episcopacy, not as then quite dead, nor (I think) fully deposed. Yet such was the double diligence then of many English Divines, (men otherwise of useful abilities,) that they did as officiously attend on the Scotch Commissioners to set up Presbytery, and to destroy Episcopacy, as the maid is wont in pictures to wait on Judith, with a bag for Holofernes his head. Besides this, Presbytery had then fortified itself with a special piece of policy, in order to its prevalency. and perpetuity; which was, to engage the better sort of common people (or the Masters of every Parish, and so, in effect, the whole Populacy,) to that party, by indulging them, as Mr. Cala vin did in Geneva, a formal or titular share of Consistorian or Ecclesiastical Power, under the glorious name of RULING ELDERS, on whom, as on less comely members, they were pleased to bestow more abundant honour, at least in words: For few of them could really be fit for, or even capable to use, any actual authority beyond that of Sides-men, Constables, Church-wardens, or Overseers for the Poor.”

Such a valiant and disinterested defender, therefore, of Episa copacy and Good Order, in the worst of times, may assuredly be permitted to speak boldly in his own behalf, as he did, at the conclusion of his Suspiria, in 1659: “ If what I have written may do any good to the present or after ages, I have my design ; if not, I shall, by God's help, hereafter redeem this waste of time and labour, by applying to studies more suitable to my genius, spirit, and age, which may more improve those graces which are least in dispute among good Christians: Yet in this I have not wholly lost my labour; because I have hereby further discharged my own soul, my conscience and reputation, from any approbation of what I judge to be either the sins or imprudences, the wickedness or weakness of this age, in which I do not so much live, as die daily, weary that my soul finds so little hope of an happy rest or composure, unity or harmony, in our Church; which I had rather see and enjoy before I die, than to have the greatest preferment in the world. I envy no men that. have wrapped up their worldly interests in their religious policies, and daily gain by the shrines of godliness they have made."

6 Episcopacy is now far from being the object of any sober men's flattery or ambition; yet I cannot but look upon it with is so sufficiently armed with its own power, that it needs not the assistance of the sword or canon, which reach not the minds of men, nor can divide them from their errors, nor batter down the strong-holds of prepossessed false opinions. That

excellency of power' which is in the Word of God and his Spirit, is only able to subdue the understanding. Yet must not the Magistrate so far be wanting to God's glory and the Church's good, as to fail to defend truth against those that by cunning or force seek to subvert it, setting up the just terror of those laws which may chase away those owls, and bats, and feral birds that love darkness and portend a night wherever they appear ; that cannot endure the light, because their works are evil, as well as their doctrine false.”

« PreviousContinue »