« السابقةمتابعة »
ed faith of the reformed church- of Dissenters are not formed es; but it is such a perversion, upon such slight foundation, as as would have excited the resent- the unlearned and thoughtless ment of Laud himself.
In de may imagine. They were thornominating those Puritans, who oughly considered, and judiciousrefused compliance with their ly reduced to the standard of arbitrary requisition, Episcopal- Scripture, and the writings of anians had no reference to doctrin- tiquity, by a great number of al articles of faith ; nor the least men of learning and integrity, I suspicion, that by so doing they mean the Bartholomew divines, should in process of time sub- or the ministers ejected in the ject those articles to the stigma year 1662 ; men prepared to of being the creed of weak and lose all, and to suffer martyrdom ignorant bigots only, and not of itself, and who actually resigned Inen of enlarged and enlightened their livings (which with most of understandings. Every dissent. them were, under God, all that er from the worship and ceremo- they and their families had to nies of the church of England is subsist upon) rather than sin in reality a Puritan in the tech- against God, and desert the cause nical sense of the term. No of civil and religious liberty ; honest and well informed Dis- which, together with serious resenter, therefore, can feel him- ligion, would, I am persuaded, self at liberty to apply this op- have sunk to a very low ebb in probrious term in such a con- the nation, had it not been for nexion, as to bring the doctrines the bold and noble stand, these of grace into disrepute. Of this worthies made against imposieffect indeed there would be no tion upon conscience, profanedanger, if the character of the ness, and arbitrary power. They Puritans had not been grossly had the best education, England misrepresented. To remedy could afford; most of them were this evil, in part at least, as well excellent scholars, judicious dias to gratify and improve your vines, pious, faithful, and labori. serious and pious readers, be ous ministers ; of great zeal for pleased to insert in your very God and religion; undaunted useful publication a few extracts and courageous in their Master's from the lives of some Puritan work; keeping close to their ministers. With the same view, people in the worst times; diliand as a natural introduction to gent in their studies; solid, afthe extracts, the following testi- . fectionate, powerful, lively, amony is proposed for previous wakening preachers ; aiming at insertion ; being the opinion of the advancement of real, vital rea man distinguished by erudition ligion in the hearts and lives of and strength of mind, but cer. men, which, it cannot be denied, tainly not influenced by partiali- flourished greatly wherever they ty to the favourite doctrines of could influence. Particularly the Nonconformists.
they were men of great devotion Extract from the character of the eject- and eminent abilities in prayer, ed nonconformist ministers, by Dr. uttered, as God enabled them, JOHN TAYLOR, of Norwich. from the abundance of their
“ The principles and worship hearts and affections ; men of diVol. II. No. 9.
vine eloquence in pleading at the to one,* as long as was convenient throne of grace ; raising and for certain 'purposes; and how melting the affections of their frequent occasion he had of aphearers, and being happily instru- pearing (never unacceptably) bemental in transfusing into their fore another.t His grave and souls the same spirit and heaven- anriable aspect commanded both ly gift. And this was the ground reverence and love. A constant of all their other qualifications; Serenity reigned in his countethey were excellent men, because nance ; a visible sign of the diexcellent, 'instant and fervent in vine calm in his breast. His prayer. Such were the fathers, natural endowments were pruch The first formers of the Dissenting beyond the common rate. His interest. Those who knew them apprehension was quick and not, might despise thein; but clear; his reasoning faculty your forefathers, wiser and less acute and ready ; bis judgment prejudiced, esteemed them high- penetrating and solid ; his wit ly in love for their work's sake. never light or vain, though faThe presence and blessing of cetious and pleasant. His memGod appeared in their assem- ory was admirable ; nor was it blies, and attended their labours. impaired to the last. He deliv-Let my sonil forever be with the ered his sermons memoriter, souls of these men!**
which, as he said, he continued To this may be added the tes- to do, when in years, partly to timony of the great Mr. Locke, teach some, who were younger, who was well acquainted with to preach without nøtes. several of them. Speaking of was reputed one of the best orathe Act of uniformity he says, tors of the age. His voice was “ That BARTHOLOMEW Day was charming; his language always fatal 10 our church and religion, elegant ; his style inimitably poby throwing out a very great lite, yet easy, and to himself the number of WORTHY, LEARNED, most patural. PIOUS, and
di- His learning was a vast treasvines, who could
not come, ure, and his knowledge of books up to this, and other things in so extensive, that one of the that act."
brightest ornaments of the estab
lishment said, were he to colSKETCH OF WILLIAM BATES, D.D.
lect a library, he would as soon
consult Dr. Bates, as any man he Dr. Bates was born in 1625. • knew." He was well versed in He was educated in the Univer- the politer parts of learning, sity of Cambridge, where he took which rendered his conversation the degree of B. A. 1647, and of highly entertaining to the more D. D. 1660. His graceful mien and cornely person were adapted
Charles II. to whom he was chap
lain. to command respect in that pal
| Kirg WILLIAM III. To whom, lic station, for which Providence at his accession to the throne, he predesigned him. His concern lay sented the congratulatory address of not only with mean men; he was the dissenting ministers. He also to stand before kings. It is well presented their address of condolence known in what relation he stood
on the death of the Queen.
intelligent part of mankind, and capacity could hear his most fahis company was much coveted miliar discourses, without great by persons of quality. He was advantage, or great negligence. honoured with the friendship of To place religion in a morose the Lord-keeper Bridgman. The sourness was far froin his prac: Lord Chancellor Finch, and the tice, judgment, and temper. earl of Nottingham had a partic. But his mind was most intent on ular respect for him. Archbish- divine.things; and his discourse op Tillotson held him in high es- on other subjects was interwoven teem, and maintained an intima- with religion, and centered in it; cy with bim to the end of his life. especially what is most vital and if interest would have jaduced essential to it. “I never knew hiin to conformity, he could not any one (says Mr. Howe) more have wanted a temptation. He frequent or affectionate in the Inight have had any bishopric in admiration of divine grace, upon the kingdom, if he would have all occasions, than he was, as deserted his cause. His integri.e none had a deeper sense of the ty, modesty, and peaceable tem- impotence and depravity of huper are conspicuous in the close man nature. Into what transof his farewel sermon, Aug. 17, ports of admiration of the love 1662, (the Sabbath preceding the of God have I seen him break general ejectment of the dissent. forth! How easy a step did he ing clergy by the act of uniform- make it from earth to heaven! ity)" I knoy you expect me With what flights of thought and to say something as to my non- affection was he wont to speak of conformity. 'I shall only say the heavenly state! Even like a thus much ; it is neither fancy, man more akin to the other faction, nor humour, that makes world than this." me not comply ; but merely the He was ejected from St. Dun. fear of offending God. And if, stan's in the west, London. He after the best means used for my was many years one of the Tuesillumination ; as prayer to God, day lecturers at Salter's hall, discourse, and study, I am not where he preached to a thronged able to be satisfied concerning assembly. In the latter part of the lawfulness of what is require life he exercised his ministry at ed, it be' my unhappiness to be Hackney with great success. in error, surely men will have He died in 1699, aged 74. Mr. no reason to be angry with me Howe's funeral sermon for him in this world, and I hope God (founded on John xi. 16. Let us will pardon me in the next." also go, and die with him) contains
His piety was very conspicu- a inost passionate lamentation ous, and his private conversation over him, in a strength of lanso instructive and quickening, in guage characteristic of that great reference to religion and godli- writer. ness, that no man of ordinary
SURVEY OF NEW ENGLAND
to an enlightened conclusion on this subject, it is necessary to
consider, that the perfection (Continued from p. 365.) of the Scriptures consists in their
being completely adapted to the ANOTHER argument against ends, for which they were inconfessions of faith will now be tended. Their perfection must investigated.
not be made to consist in the ut. Objection II. Confessions of most degree of any one quality, faith are inconsistent with the ab- or in their being fitted to any solute perfection and sufficiency of one particular purpose ; but in the Holy Scriptures. It is in the the adaptedness of the whole to inspired writings only that we can the complex design of revelation. be sure to find the genuine doc. That complex design is to fur. trines of Christianity expressed nish mankind with a universal with perspicuity and a just ex- rule of faith and practice. Such tent. No phrases can be so well a design requires fulness, and adapted to the nature of divine perspicuity. There is a perfect things, or 80 well calculated to fulness in the Scriptures, if they preserve the purity of religion, reveal all that is necessary for us as those which the Holy Ghost has in the present state. And as to seen fit to use. And, therefore, their perspicuity, it is sufficient creeds, consisting of words of to answer all the cavils of infidels, man's wisdom, are a great disree - if they reveal necessary truths spect to the sacred writings, and with such plainness, that persons an affront to the divine Spirit of every capacity may attain the which inspired them. At the same knowledge of them, by a dilitime they show a presumptuous gent and pious use confidence in man, as if he could pointed means.
The perfection devise more proper expressions, of the Scriptures does not imply, than those of Scripture ; or as if that divine truth is always exthe purity of faith could be better pressed in the most obvious manmaintained by human inventions, ner, or that plainer expressions than by a steady adherence to our could not possibly be used ; but infallible standard. In short, that it is expressed so plainly, confessions are evident en- that every devout inquirer may croachment upon the authority of understand it, as far as God sees the Bible, and lead men to neglect to be necessary. The perspicuiits holy contents, and thus tend 10 ty of Scripture, it must be reundermine the foundation of reli- membered, is calculated for diligion.
gence, and not for sloth. Though Thís objection, which is almost the necessary truths of revelathe only one that remains to be tion may be easily understood by considered, claims for its support the attentive and impartial mind, the perfection of the Scriptures. they may be greatly misappreNow in order that we may come hended by a mind biassed with
prejudice, puffed up with pride, a mere man.
Two men may or clouded by any evil passion. subscribe certain passages of
Now if it can be made to ap. Paul's writings, when from those pear that confessions of faith, in very passages they derive differtheir nature and design, are by ent and irreconcileabie doctrines. no means incompatible with the Whence it clearly follows, that, perfection of Scripture, the ob- in the present state of things, a jection, stated above, will lose its person's owning his belief of the. force.
Scriptures, and assenting to par Let it, then, de constantly kept ticular passages is not, in itself, in mind, that creeds are to be the least proof of the sentiments considered neither as a substitute he embraces. for Scripture, nor supplementary This fact is easily accounted to it, nor as a rule, conformably for. It ought to be most thankto which Scripture ought to be fully acknowledged, that the sa: measured and understood by the cred oracles are adorned with a people, nor in any degree as a noble simplicity, and, considered standard of truth and falsehood in in themselves, are free from ar, matters of religion. So that the tifice and ambiguity. They are question before us is precisely an open, plain, and impartial re this ; whether creeds may be presentation of the doctrines con drawn up in any words, but those tained in them; so that, without of Scripture, not as rules of faith, any addition or explication, they but as deciarations of our own sen, may be truly, though not perfecte timents, and means of discovering ly understood by all, who sincere. the sentiments of others.
ly apply their minds to the disIn order to show the proprie, covery of divine truth. And ty and necessity of creeds, fram- whenever we speak of the plained and used in this manner, it is ness and perspicuity of Scripture sufficient to prove, that we can- phrases, we mean to consider not make a satisfactory declara- them, as they lie in the Scription of our own sentiments, or a tures, and as they are expresclear discovery of the sentiments sions of God's mind to his crea, of others, so long as we confine tures. But the words and phra, ourselves to the precise words ses of Scripture have, by one, and expressions of holy writ. party or another, been greatly The reason of this may soon ap- perverted from their true sense. pear. But whatever the reason, People ascribe different means the fact is plain.
ings to them, and whenever they Take a particular text. Two use them, intend to express difs persons may subscribe it, and yet ferent notions. As they are used contradict one another with res and understood by mankind, they pect to the very article which it are of an ambiguous and indetery 'contains. A Socinian will readi- minate signification. Hence it is ly assent to any passages of plain, they are not clear express Scripture, which assert the di- sions of a person's faith, even as vinity of Christ; and at the same to the most essential articles of time we know that, according to Christianity. If churches, fully the gloss which he puts upon persuaded that certain prevailing them, they represent Christ as sentiments are inconsistent with