Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

in love and quietnefs on this Chriftian fimplicity of faith and practice, but vex and turmoil the church with these needlefs and hurtful fuperfluities; fome by their decifions of words, or unneceffary controverfies; and fome by their restless reaching after their own worldly interest, and corrupting the church, on pretence of raifing and defending it; fome by their needlefs ceremonies, and fome by their fuperftitious and causeless fcruples. But he was especially angry at them that would fo manage their differences about fuch things, as to fhew, that they had a greater zeal for their own additions, than for the common faving truths and duties which we were all agreed in; and that did fo manage their feveral little and felfifh caufes as wounded or injured the common cause of the Christian and reformed churches. He had a great dif taste of the books called, A Friendly Debate, &c. and Ecclefiaftical Polity, as from an evil fpirit, injuring fcripture phrase, and tempting the atheifts to contemn all religion, fo they might but vent their spleen, and be thought to have the better of their adverfaries; and would fay, how easy is it to requite fuch men, and all parties to expofe each other to contempt? (Indeed, how many parishes in England afford too plenteous matter of reply to one that took that for his part, and of tears to ferious obfervers?)

His main defire was, that as men fhould not be peevishly quarrelfome against any lawful circumftances, forms or orders in religion, much lefs think themselves godly men, because they can fly from other men's circumstances, or fettled lawful orders, as fin; fo especially, that no human additions of opinion, order, modes, ceremonies, profeffions, or promifes, fhould

'It may be proper to remark by way of caution, lest the book here alluded to should be understood of Hooker's immortal work, that he here alludes to a discourse of ecclesiastical policy, written by Samuel Parker, a papist, afterwards bishop of Oxford, and appointed president of Magdalen College, by James, to the exclusion of Hough. Wood's Athen. Oxon.

EDITOR.

ever be managed to the hindering of Chriftian love and peace, nor of the preaching of the Gofpel, nor the wrong of our common caufe, or the ftrengthning of atheifm, infidelity, prophanenefs, or popery; but that Chriftian verity and piety, the love of God and man, and a good life, and our common peace in these, might be firft refolved on and fecured, and all our additions might be used, but in due fubordination to thefe, and not to any injury of any of them; nor fects, parties, or narrow interefts be fet up against the com mon duty, and the public intereft and peace.

I know you are acquainted how greatly he valued Mr. Selden, being one of his executors; his books and picture being ftill near him. I think it meet therefore to remember, that becaufe many Hobbifts do report, that Mr. Selden was at the heart an infidel, and inclined to the opinions of Hobbs, I defired him to tell me the truth herein: and he oft profeffed to me, that Mr. Selden was a refolved ferious Chriftian; and that he was a great adversary to Hobbs's errors; and that he had feen him openly oppofe him fo earneftly as either to depart from him, or drive him out of the room. And as Mr. Selden was one of thofe called Eraftians (as his book de Synedriis, and others fhew), yet owned the office properly minifterial; fo moft lawyers that ever I was acquainted with, taking the word jurifdiction to fignify fomething more than the mere doctoral, prieftly power, and power over their own facramental communion in the church which they guide, do use to fay, that it is primarily in the magiftrate (as no doubt all power of corporal coercion, by mulets and penalties, is). And as to the accidentals to the proper power of priesthood, or the keys, they truly fay with Dr. Stillingfleet, that God hath fettled no one

form.

Indeed, the lord chief juftice thought, that the power of the word and facraments in the minifterial office, was of God's inftitution; and that they were the proper judges appointed by Chrift, to whom they them

felves fhould apply facraments, and to whom they fhould deny them. But that the power of chancellors' courts, and many modal additions, which are not to the effence of the priestly office, floweth from the king, and may be fitted to the ftate of the kingdom. Which is true, if it be limited by God's laws, and exercised on things only allowed them to deal in, and contradict not the orders and powers fettled on by Chrift and his apostles.

On this account he thought well of the form of government in the church of England (lamenting the miscarriages of many perfons), and the want of parochial reformation; but he was greatly for uniting in love and peace, upon fo much as is neceffary to fa vation, with all good, fober, peaceable men.

And he was much againft the corrupting of the Chriftian religion (whofe fimplicity and purity he juftly took to be much of its excellency), by men's bufy additions, by wit, policy, ambition, or any thing else' which fophifticated it, and maketh it another thing, and caufeth the lamentable contentions of the world.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

What he was as a lawyer, a judge, a Chriftian, is fo well known, that I think for me to pretend that my teftimony is of any ufe, were vain. I will only tell you what I have written by his picture, in the front of the great Bible which I bought with his legacy, in memory of his love and name; viz. Sir Matthew Hale, 'that unwearied ftudent, that prudent man, that folid 'philofopher, that famous lawyer, that pillar and bafis of justice, (who would not have done an unjuft act for any worldly price or motive), the ornament of his majefty's government, and honour of England; the highest faculty of the foul of Weftminster-hall, and pattern to all the reverend and honourable judges; that godly, ferious, practical Chriftian, the lover of goodness and all good men; a lamenter of the clergy's felfifhnefs, and unfaithfulnels, and difcord, and of the 'fad divifions following hereupon; an earneft defirer of ⚫ their reformnation, concord, and the church's peace, • and

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

VOL. I.

[ocr errors]

' and of a reformed act of uniformity, as the best and 'neceffary means thereto; that great contemner of the riches, pomp and vanity of the world; that pattern of 'honeft plainnefs and humility, who while he fled from 'the honours that pursued him, was yet Lord Chief Juf❝tice of the King's Bench, after his being long Lord Chief 'Baron of the Exchequer; living and dying, entering "or, ufing, and voluntarily furrending his place of ju'dicature, with the most univerfal love, and honour, and praise, that ever did English fubject in this age, or any that just history doth acquaint us with, &c. &c. &c. This man, fo wife, fo good, fo great, bequeathing me in his teftament the legacy of forty fhillings, merely ' as a teftimony of his refpect and love, I thought this book, the teftament of Chrift, the meeteft purchase by that price, to remain in memorial of the faithful love which he bare and long expreffed to his inferior ' and unworthy, but honouring friend, who thought to ⚫ have been with Chrift before him, and waiteth for the day of his perfect conjunction with the fpirits of the juft made perfect.'

.

RICHARD BAXTER.

A

CONTINUATION OF THE APPENDIX,

(BY THE EDITOR.)

WHAT paffed during the infancy and boyish days of Hale, till he entered at the University, nothing is known beyond what Burnet has told. But the charge, which his biographer alleges against him, that he neglected his ftudies in the latter part of his refidence at College, is pofitively denied by Mr. Stephens, who publifhed his Contemplations. This gentleman, who profeffes to have occupied a diftinguished place in his esteem and friendship, and poffeffed a correct knowledge of his early habits, expreffes himself with a degree of warmth at this imputation on the memory of his honored friend. It is, however, but a tribute of justice that is due to Burnet, to acquit him of an intention to mifrepresent a fact to the prejudice of Hale, on whom he lavishes, at every opportunity, the warmest encomiums for his diligence and affiduity, no less than his piety and virtue.

The natural gaiety of his difpofition and sprightli nefs of his imagination, too eafily inclined the inexperienced youth to indulge in the levities of the times, and partake of the pleasures which presented themfelves. It was not to be wondered at, therefore, that on the arrival of the players at Oxford, the exhibitions of the stage fhould prove a species of amusement too captivating to withstand; and overpower by a temporary violence the dictates of his prudence, and better judgment. It was not long, however, before he discovered that in proportion as thefe entertainments gained upon his affections, his habits of

1 2

feriouf

« AnteriorContinuar »