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THE UNIVERSITY OF DUBLIN,
SHOWING BY WHAT MEANS THE SCHOLARS SHALL BECOME MOST LEARNED AND MOST USEFUL.
PUBLISHED AT THEIR DESIRE.
Ad majorem Dei gloriam.
TO THE READER.
PEACE is so great a blessing, and disputations and questions in religion are so little friends to peace, that I have thought no man's time can be better spent than in propositions and promotions of peace, and consequently in finding expedients, and putting periods to all contentious learning. I have already, in a Discourse before the Right Honourable the Lords and Commons assembled in this Parliament, proved that obedience is the best medium of peace and true religion; and laws are the only common term and certain rule and measure of it. "Vocatâ ad concionem multitudine, quæ coalescere in populi unius corpus nulla re, præterquam legibus, poterat," said Livy. Obedience to man is the external instrument, and the best in the world. To which I now add, that obedience to God is the best internal instrument; and I have proved it in this Discourse. Peace and holiness are twin-sisters; after which because every man is bound to follow, and he that does not, shall never see God, I concluded that the office of a bishop is in nothing so signally to be exhibited, as in declaring by what means these great duties and blessings are to be acquired. This way I have here described, is an old way; for it was Christ's way, and therefore it is truth and life; but it hath been so little regarded, and so seldom taught, that when I first spake my thoughts of it, in the following words, before the little but excellent University of Dublin, they consented to it so perfectly, and so piously entertained it, that they were pleased, with some earnestness, to desire me to publish it to the world, and to consign it to them as a perpetual memorial of their duty, and of my regards to them, and care over them in my station. I was very desirous to serve and please them in all their worthy desires, but had found so much reason to distrust my own abilities, that I could not resolve to do what I fain would have done, till by a second communication of those thoughts, though in differing words, I had published it also to my clergy, at the metropolitical visitation of the most Reverend and Learned Lord Primate of Armagh, in my own diocess. But when I found that they also thought it very reasonable and pious, and joined in the desire of making it public, I consented perfectly, and now only pray to God it may do that work I intended. I have often thought of those excellent words of Mr. Hooker, in his very learned Discourse of Justification: "Such is the untoward constitution of our nature, that we do neither so perfectly understand the way and knowledge of the Lord, nor so stedfastly embrace it when it is understood, nor so graciously utter it when it is embraced, nor so peaceably maintain it when it is uttered, but that the best of us are overtaken, sometimes through blindness, sometimes through hastiness, sometimes through impatience, sometimes through other passions of the mind, whereunto (God knows) we are too subject." That I find by true experience; the best way of learning and peace, is that which cures all these evils, as far as in the world they are curable, and that is the ways of holiness, which are, therefore, the best and only way of truth. In disputations there is no end, and but very little advantage; but the way of godliness hath in it no error and no doubtfulness. By this, therefore, I hoped best to apply the counsel of the wise man: "Stand thou fast in thy sure understanding, in the way and knowledge of the Lord, and have but one manner of word, and follow the word of peace and righteousness." I have reason to be confident that they who desired me to publish this Discourse, will make use of it, and find benefit by it: and if any others do so too, both they and I shall still more and more give God all thanks, and praise, and glory.
* Ecclus. v. 10. Vulg. Edit. Lat.
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.-John vii. 17.
ences of commentaries, then he understood it less than he did before, then he began not to understand it:" for, indeed, the truths of God are best dressed in the plain culture and simplicity of the Spirit; but the truths that men commonly teach, are like the reflections of a multiplying-glass; for one piece of good money, you shall have forty that are fantastical; and it is forty to one if your finger hit upon the right. Men have wearied themselves in the dark, having been amused with false fires; and instead of going home, have wandered all night v odoïç åßáraι, “ in untrodden, unsafe, uneasy ways;" but have not found out what their soul desires. But, therefore, since we are so miserable, and are in error, and have wandered very far, we must do as wandering travellers used to do, go back just to that place from whence they wandered, and begin upon a new account. Let us go to the truth itself, to Christ; and he will tell us an easy way of ending all our quarrels: for we shall find christianity to be the easiest and the hardest thing in the world: it is like a secret in arithmetic, infinitely hard till it be found out by a right operation, and then it is so plain, we wonder we did not understand it earlier.
THE ancients, in their mythological learning, tell us, that when Jupiter espied the men of the world striving for Truth, and pulling her in pieces to secure her to themselves, he sent Mercury down amongst them; and he, with his usual arts, dressed Error up in the imagery of Truth, and thrust her into the crowd, and so left them to contend still: and though then, by contention, men were sure to get but little truth, yet they were as earnest as ever, and lost peace too, in their importune contentions for the very image of truth. And this, indeed, is no wonder; but when truth and peace are brought into the world together, and bound up in the same bundle of life; when we are taught a religion by the Prince of peace, who is the truth itself; to see men contending for this truth, to the breach of that peace; and when men fall out, to see that they should make christianity their theme, that is one of the Christ's way of finding out of truth, is by "doing greatest wonders in the world. For christianity is the will of God." We will try that by and by, if ἥμερος καὶ φιλάνθρωπος νομοθεσία, a soft and possibly we may find that easy and certain: in the gentle institution ;” ὑγρὸν καὶ μείλιχον ἦθος ̇ it was mean time, let us consider what ways men have probrought into the world to soften the asperities of pounded to find out truth, and upon the foundation human nature, and to cure the barbarities of evil of that to establish peace in christendom. men, and the contentions of the passionate. The 1. That there is but one true way, is agreed eagle, seeing her breast wounded, and espying the upon; and therefore almost every church of one dearrow that hurt her to be feathered, cried out, nomination that lives under government, propounds ПтεрÓν με TÒν TтερWτоV ÖXXÚεL, "The feathered to you a system or collective body of articles, and nation is destroyed by their own feathers;" that is, tells you that is the true religion, and they are the a christian fighting and wrangling with a christian; church, and the peculiar people of God: like Brutus and, indeed, that is very sad: but wrangling about and Cassius, of whom one says, "Ubicunque ipsi 5 peace too, that peace itself should be the argument essent, prætexebant esse rempublicam," "They of a war, that is unnatural; and if it were not that | supposed themselves were the commonwealth ;" there are many, who are "homines multæ re- and these are the church, and out of this church ligionis, nullius penè pietatis," "men of much re- they will hardly allow salvation: but of this there ligion and little godliness," it would not be that can be no end; for divide the church into twenty there should be so many quarrels in and concerning parts, and in what part soever your lot falls, you that religion, which is wholly made up of truth and and your party are damned by the other nineteen ; peace, and was sent amongst us to reconcile the and men on all hands almost keep their own prosehearts of men, when they were tempted to uncharit-lytes by affrighting them with the fearful sermons ableness by any other unhappy argument. Dispu- of damnation : but, in the mean time, here is no setation cures no vice, but kindles a great many, and | curity to them, that are not able to judge for themmakes passion evaporate into sin: and though men selves, and no peace for them that are. esteem it learning, yet it is the most useless learning 2. Others cast about to cure this, and conin the world. When Eudamidas, the son of Archi- clude, that it must be done by submission to an damus, heard old Xenocrates disputing about wis- infallible guidę; this must do it or nothing; and this dom, he asked very soberly, "If the old man be yet is the way of the church of Rome; follow but the disputing and inquiring concerning wisdom, what pope and his clergy, and you are safe, at least as time will he have to make use of it ?" Christianity safe as their warrant can make you. Indeed, this is all for practice; and so much time as is spent in were a very good way, if it were a way at all; but quarrels about it, is a diminution to its interest. it is none; for this can never end our controversies: Men inquire so much what it is, that they have not only because the greatest controversies are about but little time left to be christians. I remember this infallible guide; but also because, 1. We cana saying of Erasmus, "that when he first read not find, that there is, upon earth, any such guide at the New Testament, with fear and a good mind, all. 2. We do not find it necessary that there with a purpose to understand it and obey it, he should. 3. We find that they who pretend to be found it very useful and very pleasant; but when, this infallible guide, are themselves infinitely deafterwards, he fell on reading the vast differ-ceived. 4. That they do not believe themselves to
be infallible, whatever they say to us; because they | ence, that few questions are well stated; and when do not put an end to all their own questions, that they are, they are not consented to; and when they trouble them. 5. Because they have no peace, but are agreed on by both sides that they are well stated, what is constrained by force and government. 6. it is nothing else but a drawing up the armies in And lastly: Because if there were such a guide, we battalia with great skill and discipline; the next should fail of truth by many other causes: for, it thing they do is, they thrust their swords into one may be, that guide would not do his duty; or we another's sides. are fallible followers of this infallible leader; or we should not understand his meaning at all times, or we should be perverse at some times, or something as bad; because we all confess, that God is an infallible guide, and that some way or other he does teach us sufficiently, and yet it does come to pass, by our faults, that we are as far to seek for peace and truth as ever.
3. Some very wise men, finding this to fail, have undertaken to reconcile the differences of christendom, by a way of moderation. Thus they have projected to reconcile the papists and the Lutherans and the Calvinists, the remonstrants and contraremonstrants, and project, that each side should abate of their asperities, and pare away something of their propositions, and join in common terms and phrases of accommodation,-each of them sparing something, and promising they shall have a great deal of peace for the exchange of a little of their opinion. This was the way of Cassander, Modrevius, Andreas Frisius, Erasmus, Spalato, Grotius, and, indeed, of Charles the Fifth, in part, but something more heartily of Ferdinand the Second. This device produced the conferences at Poissy, at Montpelier, at Ratisbon, at the Hague, at many places more: and what was the event of these? Their parties, when their delegates returned, either disclaimed their moderation, or their respective princes had some other ends to serve,- -or they permitted the meetings upon uncertain hopes, and a trial if any good might come; or, it may be, they were both in the wrong, and their mutual abatement was nothing but a mutual quitting of what they could not get, and the shaking hands of false friends; or, it may be, it was all of it nothing but hypocrisy and arts of craftiness, and, like Lucian's man, every one could be a man and a pestle when he pleased, And the council of Trent, though under another cover, made use of the artifice, but made the secret manifest and common for at this day the Jesuits, in the questions "de auxiliis Divinæ gratiæ," have prevailed with the Dominicans to use their expressions, and yet they think they still keep the sentence of their own order. From hence can succeed nothing but folly and a fantastic peace: this is but the skinning of an old sore; it will break out upon all occasions.
4. Others, who understand things beyond the common rate, observing that many of our controversies and peevish wranglings are kept up by the ill stating of the question, endeavour to declare things wisely, and make the matter intelligible, and the words clear; hoping, by this means, to cut off all disputes. Indeed this is a very good way, so far as it can go; and would prevail very much, if all men were wise, and would consent to those statings, and would not fall out upon the main inquiry, when it were well stated: but we find, by a sad experi
5. What remedy after all this? Some other good men have propounded one way yet; but that is a way of peace, rather than truth; and that is, that all opinions should be tolerated, and none persecuted, and then all the world will be at peace. Indeed, this relies upon a great reasonableness; not only because opinions cannot be forced, but because if men receive no hurt, it is to be hoped they will do none. But we find that this alone will not do it; for besides that all men are not so just as not to do any injury, for some men begin the evil; besides this, I say, there are very many men amongst us, who are not content that you permit them; for they will not permit you, but "rule over your faith," and say that their way is not only true, but necessary; and therefore the truth of God is at stake, and all indifference and moderation is carnal wisdom, and want of zeal for God; nay, more than so, they preach for toleration when themselves are under the rod, who, when they got the rod into their own hands, thought toleration itself to be intolerable. Thus do the papists, and thus the Calvinists; and, for their cruelty, they pretend charity. They will, indeed, force you to come in, but it is in true zeal for your soul; and if they do you violence, it is no more than if they pull your arm out of joint, when, to save you from drowning, they draw you out of a river; and if you complain, it is no more to be regarded than the outcries of children against their rulers, or sick men against physicians. But as to the thing itself, the truth is, it is better in contemplation than practice; for reckon all that is got by it when you come to handle it, and it can never satisfy for the infinite disorders happening in the government; the scandal to religion, the secret dangers to public societies, the growth of heresy, the nursing up of parties to a grandeur so considerable, as to be able, in their own time, to change the laws and the government. So that if the question be, whether mere opinions are to be persecuted,—it is certainly true, they ought not. But if it be considered how, by opinions, men rifle the affairs of kingdoms, it is also as certain, they ought not to be made public and permitted. And what is now to be done? Must truth be for ever in the dark, and the world for ever be divided, and societies disturbed, and governments weakened, and our spirits debauched with error, and the uncertain opinions and the pedantry of talking men? Certainly there is a way to cure all this evil; and the wise Governor of all the world hath not been wanting in so necessary a matter as to lead us into all truth. But the way hath not yet been hit upon, and yet I have told you all the ways of man, and his imaginations, in order to truth and peace; and you see these will not do; we can find no rest for the soles of our feet, amidst all the waters of contention and disputations, and little
gion is by doing of our duty; and theology is rather a Divine life than a Divine knowledge." In heaven, indeed, we shall first see, and then love; but here on earth, we must first love, and love will open our eyes as well as our hearts; and we shall then see, and perceive, and understand.
In the handling of which proposition, I shall first represent to you, that—the certain causes of our errors are nothing but direct sins,-nothing makes us fools and ignorants but living vicious lives; and then I shall proceed to the direct demonstration of the article in question, that-holiness is the only way of truth and understanding.
1. No man understands the word of God, as it ought to be understood, unless he lays aside all affections to sin; of which because we have taken very little care, the product hath been, that we have had very little wisdom, and very little knowledge, in the ways of God. Kakia έorì p0aprikǹ TÕS ȧPÕÕS, said Aristotle; "Wickedness does corrupt a man's reasoning;" it gives him false principles and evil measures of things; the sweet wine that Ulysses gave to the Cyclops, put his eye out; and a man that hath contracted evil affections, and made a league with sin, sees only by those measures. A covetous man understands nothing to be good that is not profitable; and a voluptuous man likes your reasoning well enough, if you discourse of “bonum jucundum," the pleasures of the sense, the ravishments of lust, the noises and inadvertencies, the mirth and songs of merry company; but if you talk to him of the melancholy lectures of the cross, the content of resignation, the peace of meekness, and the joys of the Holy Ghost, and of rest in God, after your long discourse, and his great silence, he cries out, "What is the matter?" He knows not what you mean. Either you must fit his humour, or change your discourse.
artifices of divided schools. "Every man is a liar," | into this proposition,-" The way to judge of reliand his understanding is weak, and his propositions uncertain, and his opinions trifling, and his contrivances imperfect, and neither truth nor peace does come from man. I know I am in an auditory of inquisitive persons, whose business is to study for truth, that they may find it for themselves, and teach it unto others. I am in a school of prophets and prophets' sons, who all ask Pilate's question, "What is truth?" You look for it in your books, and you tug hard for it in your disputations, and you derive it from the cisterns of the fathers, and you inquire after the old ways, and sometimes are taken with new appearances, and you rejoice in false lights, or are delighted with little umbrages and peep of day. But where is there a man, or a society of men, that can be at rest in his inquiry, and is sure he understands all the truths of God? Where is there a man, but the more he studies and inquires, still he discovers nothing so clearly as his own ignorance? This is a demonstration that we are not in the right way, that we do not inquire wisely, that our method is not artificial. If men did fall upon the right way, it were impossible so many learned men should be engaged in contrary parties and opinions. We have examined all ways but one, all but God's way. Let us, having missed in all the other, try this; let us go to God for truth; for truth comes from God only, and his ways are plain, and his sayings are true, and his promises "Yea and Amen;" and if we miss the truth, it is because we will not find it; for certain it is, that all that truth which God hath made necessary, he hath also made legible and plain; and if we will open our eyes, we shall see the sun, and if " will walk in the light, we shall rejoice in the light;" only let us withdraw the curtains, let us remove the "impediments, and the sin that doth so easily beset ns;" that is God's way. Every man must, in his station, do that portion of duty, which God requires of him, and then he shall be taught of God all that is fit for him to learn. There is no other way for him but this. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and a good understanding have all they that do thereafter." a And so said David of himself, "I have more understanding than my teachers; because I keep thy commandments." b And this is the only way which Christ hath taught us. If you ask, "What is truth?" you must not do as Pilate did-ask the question, and then go away from him that only can give you an answer; for as God is the author of truth, so he is the teacher of it; and the way to learn it is this of my text; for so saith our blessed Lord, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or no."
My text is simple as truth itself, but greatly comprehensive, and contains a truth that alone will enable you to understand all mysteries, and to expound all prophecies, and to interpret all scriptures, and to search into all secrets; all, I mean, which concern our happiness and our duty; and, it being an affirmative hypothetical, is plainly to be resolved a Psal. cxi. 10.
I remember that Arrian tells of a gentleman that was banished from Rome, and in his sorrow visited the philosopher, and he heard him talk wisely, and believed him, and promised him to leave all the thoughts of Rome, and splendours of the court, and retire to the course of a severe philosophy; but before the good man's lectures were done, there came πινακίδες ἀπὸ τοῦ Καίσαρος, “letters from Cæsar," to recall him home, to give him pardon, and promise him great employment. He presently grew weary of the good man's sermon, and wished he would make an end, thought his discourse was dull and flat; for his head and heart were full of another story and new principles; and by these measures he could hear only, and he could understand.
Every man understands by his affections more than by his reason: and when the wolf in the fable went to school to learn to spell, whatever letters were told him, he could never make any thing of them but "agnus;" he thought of nothing but his belly: and if a man be very hungry, you must give him meat, before you give him counsel. A man's mind must be like your proposition, before it can be b Psal. cxix.
entertained; for whatever you put into a man, it will smell of the vessel; it is a man's mind that gives the emphasis, and makes your argument to prevail.
And upon this account it is, that there are so many false doctrines in the only article of repentance. Men know they must repent, but the definition of repentance they take from the convenience of their own affairs: what they will not part with, that is not necessary to be parted with; and they will repent, but not restore: they will say, "Nollem factum," "they wish they had never done it;" but since it is done, you must give them leave to rejoice in their purchase: they will ask forgiveness of God; but they sooner forgive themselves, and suppose that God is of their mind: if you tie them to hard terms, your doctrine is not to be understood, or it is but one doctor's opinion, and therefore they will fairly take their leave, and get them another teacher.
What makes these evil, these dangerous and desperate doctrines? Not the obscurity of the thing, but the cloud upon the heart; for say you what you will, he that hears must be the expounder, and we can never suppose but a man will give sentence in behalf of what he passionately loves. And so it comes to pass, that, as Rabbi Moses observed, as God for the greatest sin imposed the least oblation, as a she-goat for the sin of idolatry; for a woman accused of adultery, a barley cake: so do most men ; they think to expiate the worst of their sins with a trifling, with a pretended, little, insignificant repentance. God, indeed, did so, that the cheapness of the oblation might teach them to hope for pardon, not from the ceremony, but from a severe internal repentance but men take any argument to lessen their repentance, that they may not lessen their pleasures or their estates, and that repentance may be nothing but a word,—and mortification signify nothing against their pleasures, but be a term of art only, fitted for the schools or for the pulpit,but nothing relative to practice, or the extermination of their sin. So that it is no wonder we understand so little of religion: it is because we are in love with that which destroys it; and as a man does not care to hear what does not please him, so neither does he believe it; he cannot, he will not understand it.
And the same is the case in the matter of pride; the church hath extremely suffered by it in many ages. Arius missed a bishopric, and therefore turned heretic ; ἐτάρασσε τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, saith the story; "he disturbed and shaked the church;" for he did not understand this truth,-that the peace of the church was better than the satisfaction of his person, or the promoting his foolish opinion. And do not we see and feel, that at this very day, the pride of men makes it seem impossible for many persons to obey their superiors? and they do not see what they can read every day, that it is a sin "to speak evil of dignities."
A man would think it a very easy thing to understand the thirteenth chapter to the Romans, "Whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance
| of God:" and yet we know a generation of men to whom these words were so obscure, that they thought it lawful to fight against their king. A man would think it easy to believe, that those who were "in the gainsaying of Korah," who rose up against the high priest, were in a very sad condition and yet there are too many amongst us, who are in the gainsaying of Korah, and think they do very well; that they are the godly party, and the good people of God. Why? What is the matter? In the world there can be nothing plainer than these words, "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers;" and that you need not make a scruple who are these higher powers, it is as plainly said, "There is no power but of God;" all that are set over you by the laws of your nation, these "are over you in the Lord:" and yet men will not understand these plain things; they deny to do their notorious duty, and yet believe they are in the right; and if they sometimes obey "for wrath," they oftener disobey for "conscience sake." Where is the fault? The words are plain, the duty is certain, the book lies open; but, alas! "it is sealed within," that is, "men have eyes and will not see, ears and will not hear." But the wonder is the less; for we know when God said to Jonah, " Doest thou well to be angry ?" he answered God to his face, "I do well to be angry unto the death." Let God declare his mind never so plainly, if men will not lay aside the evil principle that is within, their open love to their secret sin, they may kill an apostle, and yet be so ignorant as to "think they do God good service;" they may disturb kingdoms, and break the peace of a well-ordered church, and rise up against their fathers, and be cruel to their brethren, and stir up the people to sedition; and all this with a cold stomach and a hot liver, with a hard heart and a tender conscience, with humble carriage and a proud spirit. For thus men hate repentance, because they scorn to confess an error; they will not return to peace and truth, because they fear to lose the good opinion of the people, whom themselves have cozened; they are afraid to be good, lest they should confess they have formerly done amiss: and he,—that observes how much evil is done, and how many heresies are risen, and how much obstinacy and unreasonable perseverance in folly dwells in the world upon the stock of pride,-may easily conclude, that no learning is sufficient to make a proud man understand the truth of God, unless he first learn to be humble. But "Obedite et intelligetis," saith the prophet; "Obey," and be humble, leave the foolish affections of sin," and then ye shall understand." That is the first particular: all remaining affections to sin hinder the learning and understanding of the things of God.
2. He that means to understand the will of God and the truth of religion, must lay aside all inordinate affections to the world. St. Paul complained that there was at "that day a veil upon the hearts of the Jews, in the reading of the Old Testament;" d they looked for a temporal prince to be their Mesd 2 Cor. iii. 14.