Part 3 out of 7
uniformity it is to be.
Ib. p. 368.
We must needs believe that when your Majesty took our consent to a
Liturgy to be a foundation that would infer our concord, you meant not
that we should have no concord but by consenting to this Liturgy
without any considerable alteration.
This is forcible reasoning, but which the Bishops could fairly leave for
the King to answer;--the contract tacit or expressed, being between him
and the anti-Prelatic Presbytero-Episcopalian party, to which neither
the Bishops nor the Legislature had acceded or assented. If Baxter and
Calamy were so little imbued with the spirit of the Constitution as to
consider Charles II. as the breath of their nostrils, and this dread
sovereign Breath in its passage gave a snort or a snuffle, or having led
them to expect a snuffle surprised them with a snort, let the reproach
be shared between the Breath's fetid conscience and the nostrils'
nasoductility. The traitors to the liberty of their country who were
swarming and intriguing for favor at Breda when they should have been at
their post in Parliament or in the Lobby preparing terms and
conditions!--Had all the ministers that were afterwards ejected and the
Presbyterian party generally exerted themselves, heart and soul, with
Monk's soldiers, and in collecting those whom Monk had displaced, and,
instead of carrying on treasons against the Government 'de facto' by
mendicant negociations with Charles, had taken open measures to confer
the sceptre on him as the Scotch did,--whose stern and truly loyal
conduct has been most unjustly condemned,--the schism in the Church
might have been prevented and the Revolution of 1688 superseded.
N.B. In the above I speak of the Bishops as men interested in a
litigated estate. God forbid, I should seek to justify them as
Ib. p. 369.
'Quaere'. Whether in the 20th Article these words are not
inserted;--'Habet Ecclesia auctoritatem in controversiis fidei'.
Strange, that the evident antithesis between power in respect of
ceremonies, and authority in points of faith, should have been
Some have published, That there is a proper sacrifice in the Lord's
Supper, to exhibit Christ's death in the 'post-fact', as there was a
sacrifice to prefigure it in the Old Law in the 'ante-fact', and
therefore that we have a true altar, and not only metaphorically so
Doubtless a gross error, yet pardonable, for to errors nearly as gross
it was opposed.
Some have maintained that the Lord's Day is kept merely by
ecclesiastical constitution, and that the day is changeable.
Where shall we find the proof of the contrary?--at least, if the
position had been worded thus: The moral and spiritual obligation of
keeping the Lord's Day is grounded on its manifest necessity, and the
evidence of its benignant effects in connection with those conditions of
the world of which even in Christianized countries there is no reason to
expect a change, and is therefore commanded by implication in the New
Testament, so clearly and by so immediate a consequence, as to be no
less binding on the conscience than an explicit command. A., having
lawful authority, expressly commands me to go to London from Bristol.
There is at present but one safe road: this therefore is commanded by
A.; and would be so, even though A. had spoken of another road which at
that time was open.
Ib. p. 370.
Some have broached out of Socinus a most uncomfortable and desperate
doctrine, that late repentance, that is, upon the last bed of
sickness, is unfruitful, at least to reconcile the penitent to God.
This no doubt refers to Jeremy Taylor's work on Repentance, and is but
too faithful a description of its character.
Ib. p. 373.
A little after the King was beheaded, Mr. Atkins met this priest in
London, and going into a tavern with him, said to him in his familiar
way, "What business have you here? I warrant you come about some
roguery or other." Whereupon the priest told it him as a great secret,
that there were thirty of them here in London, who by instructions
from Cardinal Mazarine, did take care of such affairs, and had sat in
council, and debated the question, whether the King should be put to
death or not;--and that it was carried in the affirmative, and there
were but two voices for the negative, which was his own and another's;
and that for his part, he could not concur with them, as foreseeing
what misery this would bring upon his country. Mr. Atkins stood to
the truth of this, but thought it a violation of the laws of
friendship to name the man.
Richard Baxter was too thoroughly good for any experience to make him
worldly wise; else, how could he have been simple enough to suppose,
that Mazarine would leave such a question to be voted 'pro' and 'con',
and decided by thirty emissaries in London! And, how could he have
reconciled Mazarine's having any share in Charles's death with his own
masterly account, pp. 98, 99, 100? Even Cromwell, though he might have
prevented, could not have effected, the sentence. The regicidal judges
were not his creatures. Consult the Life of Colonel Hutchinson upon this.
Ib. p. 374.
Since this, Dr. Peter Moulin hath, in his Answer to 'Philanax
Anglicus', declared that he is ready to prove, when authority will
Call him to it, that the King's death, and the change of the
government, was first proposed both to the Sorbonne, and to the Pope
with his Conclave, and consented to and concluded for by both.
The Pope in his Conclave had about the same influence in Charles's fate
as the Pope's eye in a leg of mutton. The letter intercepted by Cromwell
was Charles's death-warrant. Charles knew his power; and Cromwell and
Ireton knew it likewise, and knew that it was the power of a man who was
within a yard's length of a talisman, only not within an arm's length,
but which in that state of the public mind, could he but have once
grasped it, would have enabled him to blow up Presbyterian and
Independent both. If ever a lawless act was defensible on the principle
of self-preservation, the murder of Charles might be defended. I suspect
that the fatal delay in the publication of the 'Icon Basilike' is
susceptible of no other satisfactory explanation. In short it is absurd
to burthen this act on Cromwell and his party, in any special sense. The
guilt, if guilt it was, was consummated at the gates of Hull; that is,
the first moment that Charles was treated as an individual, man against
man. Whatever right Hampden had to defend his life against the King in
battle, Cromwell and Ireton had in yet more imminent danger against the
King's plotting. Milton's reasoning on this point is unanswerable: and
what a wretched hand does Baxter make of it!
Ib. p. 375.
But if the laws of the land appoint the nobles, as next the King, to
assist him in doing right, and withhold him from doing wrong, then be
they licensed by man's law, and so not prohibited by God's, to
interpose themselves for the safety of equity and innocency, and by
all lawful and needful means to procure the Prince to be reformed, but
in no case deprived, where the sceptre is inherited! So far Bishop
Excellent! O, by all means preserve for him the benefit of his rightful
heir-loom, the regal sceptre; only lay it about his shoulders, till he
promises to handle it, as he ought! But what if he breaks his promise
and your head? or what if he will not promise? How much honester would
it be to say, that extreme cases are 'ipso nomine' not generalizable,
--therefore not the subjects of a law, which is the conclusion 'per
genus singuli in genere inclusi'. Every extreme case must be judged by
and for itself under all the peculiar circumstances. Now as these are
not foreknowable, the case itself cannot be predeterminable. Harmodius
and Aristogiton did not justify Brutus and Cassius: but neither do
Brutus and Cassius criminate Harmodius and Aristogiton. The rule applies
till an extreme case occurs; and how can this be proved? I answer, the
only proof is success and good event; for these afford the best
presumption, first, of the extremity, and secondly, of its remediable
nature--the two elements of its justification. To every individual it is
forbidden. He who attempts it, therefore, must do so on the presumption
that the will of the nation is in his will: whether he is mad or in his
senses, the event can alone determine.
Ib. p. 398.
The governing power and obligation over the flock is essential to the
office of a Pastor or Presbyter as instituted by Christ.
There is, [Greek: hos emoige dokei], one flaw in Baxter's plea for his
Presbyterian form of Church government, that he uses a metaphor, which,
inasmuch as it is but a metaphor, agrees with the thing meant in some
points only, as if it were commensurate 'in toto', and virtually
identical. Thus, the Presbyter is a shepherd as far as the watchfulness,
tenderness, and care, are to be the same in both; but it does not follow
that the Presbyter has the same sole power and exclusive right of
guidance; and for this reason,--that his flock are not sheep, but men;
not of a natural, generic, or even constant inferiority of judgment; but
Christians, co-heirs of the promises, and therein of the gifts of the
Holy Spirit, and of the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. How then
can they be excluded from a share in Church Government? The words of
Christ, if they may be transferred from their immediate application to
the Jewish Synagogue, suppose the contrary;--and that highest act of
government, the election of the officers and ministers of the Church,
was confessedly exercised by the congregations including the Presbyters
and Arch-presbyter or Bishop, in the primitive Church. The question,
therefore, is:--Is a national Church, established by law, compatible
with Christianity? If so, as Baxter held, the representatives (King,
Lords, and Commons,) are or may be representatives of the whole people
as Christians as well as civil subjects;--and their voice will then be
the voice of the Church, which every individual, as an individual,
themselves as individuals, and, 'a fortiori', the officers and
administrators appointed by them, are bound to obey at the risk of
excommunication, against which there would be no appeal, but to the
heavenly Caesar, the Lord and Head of the universal Church. But whether
as the accredited representatives and plenipotentiaries of the national
Church, they can avail themselves of their conjoint but distinct
character, as temporal legislators, to superadd corporal or civil
penalties to the spiritual sentence in points peculiar to Christianity,
as heretical opinions, Church ceremonies, and the like, thus destroying
'discipline', even as wood is destroyed by combination with fire;--this
is a new and difficult question, which yet Baxter and the Presbyterian
divines, and the Puritans of that age in general, not only answered
affirmatively, but most zealously, not to say furiously, affirmed with
anathemas to the assertors of the negative, and spiritual threats to the
magistrates neglecting to interpose the temporal sword. In this respect
the present Dissenters have the advantage over their earlier
predecessors; but on the other hand they utterly evacuate the Scriptural
commands against schism; take away all sense and significance from the
article respecting the Catholic Church; and in consequence degrade the
discipline itself into mere club-regulations or the by-laws of different
lodges;--that very discipline, the capability of exercising which in its
own specific nature without superinduction of a destructive and
transmutual opposite, is the fairest and firmest support of their cause.
20th October, 1829.
Ib. p. 401.
That sententially it must be done by the Pastor or Governor of that
particular Church, which the person is to be admitted into, or cast
This most arbitrary appropriation of the words of Christ, and of the
apostles, John and Paul, by the Clergy to themselves exclusively, is the
[Greek: proton pseudos], the fatal error which has practically excluded
Church discipline from among Protestants in all free countries. That it
is retained, and an efficient power, among the Quakers, and only in that
Sect, who act collectively as a Church,--who not only have no proper
Clergy, but will not allow a division of majority and minority, nor a
temporary president,--seems to supply an unanswerable confirmation of
this my assertion, and a strong presumption for the validity of my
argument. The Wesleyan Methodists have, I know, a discipline, and the
power is in their consistory,--a general conclave of priests cardinal
since the death of Pope Wesley. But what divisions and secessions this
has given rise to; what discontents and heart-burnings it still
occasions in their labouring inferior ministers, and in the classes, is
no less notorious, and may authorize a belief that as the Sect
increases, it will be less and less effective; nay, that it has
decreased; and after all, what is it compared with the discipline of the
Quakers?--Baxter's inconsistency on this subject would be inexplicable,
did we not know his zealotry against Harrington, the Deists and the
Mystics;--so that, like an electrified pith-ball, he is for ever
attracted towards their tenets concerning the pretended perfecting of
spiritual sentences by the civil magistrate, but he touches only to fly
off again. "Toleration! dainty word for soul-murder! God grant that my
eye may never see a toleration!" he exclaims in his book against
Ib. p. 405.
As for the democratical conceit of them that say that the Parliament
hath their governing power, as they are the people's representatives,
and so have the members of the convocation, though those represented
have no governing power themselves, it is so palpably
self-contradicting, that I need not confute it.
Self-contradicting according to Baxter's sense of the words "represent"
and "govern." But every rational adult has a governing power: namely,
that of governing himself.
Ib. p. 412.
That though a subject ought to take an oath in the sense of his rulers
who impose it, as far as he can understand it; yet a man that taketh
an oath from a robber to save his life is not always bound to take it
in the imposer's sense, if he take it not against the proper sense of
This is a point, on which I have never been able to satisfy myself.--The
only safe conclusion I have been able to draw, being the folly,
mischief, and immorality of all oaths but judicial ones,--and those no
farther excepted than as they are means of securing a deliberate
consciousness of the presence of the Omniscient Judge. The inclination
of my mind is at this moment, to the principle that an oath may deepen
the guilt of an act sinful in itself, but cannot be detached from the
act; it being understood that a perfectly voluntary and self-imposed
oath is itself a sin. The man who compels me to take an oath by putting
a pistol to my ear has in my mind clearly forfeited all his right to be
treated as a moral agent. Nay, it seems to be a sin to act so as to
induce him to suppose himself such. Contingent consequences must be
excluded; but would, I am persuaded, weigh in favour of annulling on
principle an oath sinfully extorted. But I hate casuistry so utterly,
that I could not without great violence to my feelings put the case in
all its bearings. For example:--it is sinful to enlarge the power of
wicked agents; but to allow them to have the power of binding the
conscience of those, whom they have injured, is to enlarge the power,
&c. Again: no oath can bind to the perpetration of a sin; but to
transfer a sum of money from its rightful owner to a villain is a sin,
&c. and twenty other such. But the robber may kill the next man!
Possibly: but still more probably, many, who would be robbers if they
could obtain their ends without murder, would resist the temptation if
no extenuations of guilt were contemplated;--and one murder is more
effective in rousing the public mind to preventive measures, and by the
horror it strikes, is made more directly preventive of the tendency,
than fifty civil robberies by contract.
Ib. p. 435.
That the minister be not bound to read the Liturgy himself, if
another, by whomsoever, be procured to do it; so be it he preach not
Wonderful, that so good and wise a man as Baxter should not have seen
that in this the Church would have given up the best, perhaps the only
efficient, preservative of her Faith. But for our blessed and truly
Apostolic and Scriptural Liturgy, our churches' pews would long ago have
been filled by Arians and Socinians, as too many of their desks and
pulpits already are.
Part III. p. 59.
As also to make us take such a poor suffering as this for a sign of
true grace, instead of faith, hope, love, mortification, and a
heavenly mind; and that the loss of one grain of love was worse than a
Here Baxter confounds his own particular case, which very many would
have coveted, with the sufferings of other prisoners on the same
score;--sufferings nominally the same, but with few, if any, of Baxter's
almost flattering supports.
Ib. p. 60.
It would trouble the reader for me to reckon up the many diseases and
dangers for these ten years past, in or from which God hath delivered
me; though it be my duty not to forget to be thankful. Seven months
together I was lame with a strange pain in one foot, twice delivered
from a bloody flux; a spurious cataract in my eye, with incessant webs
and networks before it, hath continued these eight years, * * * so
that I have rarely one hour's or quarter of an hour's ease. Yet
through God's mercy I was never one hour melancholy, &c.
The power of the soul, by its own act of will, is, I admit, great for
any one occasion or for a definite time, yea, it is marvellous. But of
such exertions and such an even frame of spirit, as Baxter's were, under
such unremitting and almost unheard-of bodily derangements and pains as
his, and during so long a life, 1 do not believe a human soul capable,
unless substantiated and successively potentiated by an especial divine
Ib. p. 65.
The reasons why I make no larger a profession necessary than the Creed
and Scriptures, are, because if we depart from this old sufficient
Catholic rule, we narrow the Church, and depart from the old
Why then any Creed? This is the difficulty. If you put the Creed as in
fact, and not by courtesy, Apostolic, and on a parity with Scripture,
having, namely, its authority in itself, and a direct inspiration of the
framers, inspired 'ad id tempus et ad eam rem', on what ground is this
to be done, without admitting the binding power of tradition in the very
sense of the term in which the Church of Rome uses it, and the
Protestant Churches reject it? That it is the sum total made by
Apostolic contributions, each Apostle casting, as into a helmet, a
several article as his [Greek: symbolon], is the tradition; and this is
holden as a mere legendary tale by the great majority of learned
divines. That it is simply the Creed of the Western Church is affirmed
by many Protestant divines, and some of these divines of our Church. Its
comparative simplicity these divines explain by the freedom from
heresies enjoyed by the Western Church, when the Eastern Church had been
long troubled therewith. Others, again, and not unplausibly, contend
that it was the Creed of the Catechumens preparatory to the Baptismal
profession of faith, which other was a fuller comment on the union of
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, into whose name (or power) they
were baptised. That the Apostles' Creed received additions after the
Apostolic age, seems almost certain; not to mention the perplexing
circumstance that so many of the Latin Fathers, who give almost the
words of the Apostolic Creed, declare it forbidden absolutely to write
or by any material form to transmit the 'Canon Fidei', or 'Symbolum' or
'Regula Fidei', the Creed [Greek: kat' hexochaen], by analogy of which
the question whether such a book was Scripture or not, was to be tried.
With such doubts how can the Apostles' Creed be preferred to the Nicene
by a consistent member of the Reformed Catholic Church?
Ib. p. 67.
They think while you (the Independents) seem to be for a stricter
discipline than others, that your way or usual practice tendeth to
extirpate godliness out of the land, by taking a very few that can
talk more than the rest, and making them the Church, &c.
Had Baxter had as judicious advisers among his theological, as he had
among his legal, friends; and had he allowed them equal influence with
him; he would not, I suspect, have written this irritating and too
egometical paragraph. But Baxter would have disbelieved a prophet who
had foretold that almost the whole orthodoxy of the Non-conformists
would he retained and preserved by the Independent congregations in
England, after the Presbyterian had almost without exception become,
first, Arian, then Socinian, and finally Unitarian: that is, the
'demi-semi-quaver' of Christianity, Arminianism being taken for the
Ib. p. 69.
After this I waited on him (Dr. John Owen) at London again, and he
came once to me to my lodgings, when I was in town near him. And he
told me that he received my chiding letter and perceived that I
suspected his reality in the business; but he was so hearty in it that
I should see that he really meant as he spoke, concluding in these
words, "You shall see it, and my practice shall reproach your
diffidence" * * *. About a month after I went to him again, and he had
done nothing, but was still hearty for the work. And to be short, I
thus waited on him time after time, till my papers had been near a
year and a quarter in his hand, and then I advised him to return them
to me, which he did, with these words, "I am still a well-wisher to
those mathematics;"--without any other words about them, or ever
giving me any more exception against them. And this was the issue of
my third attempt for union with the Independents.
Dr. Owen was a man of no ordinary intellect. It would be interesting to
have his conduct in this point, seemingly so strange, in some measure
explained: The words "those mathematics" look like an innuendo, that
Baxter's scheme of union, by which all the parties opposed to the
Prelatic Church were to form a rival Church, was, like the mathematics,
true indeed, but true only in the idea, that is, abstracted from the
subject matter. Still there appears a very chilling want of
open-heartedness on the part of Owen, produced perhaps by the somewhat
overly and certainly most ungracious resentments of Baxter. It was odd
at least to propose concord in the tone and on the alleged ground of an
I have been twenty-six years convinced that dichotomizing will not do
it, but that the divine Trinity in Unity hath expressed itself in the
whole frame of nature and morality * * *. But he, Mr. George Lawson,
had not hit on the true method of the 'vestigia Trinitatis', &c.
Among Baxter's philosophical merits, we ought not to overlook, that the
substitution of Trichotomy for the old and still general plan of
Dichotomy in the method and disposition of Logic, which forms so
prominent and substantial an excellence in Kant's Critique of the Pure
Reason, of the Judgment, and the rest of his works, belongs originally
to Richard Baxter, a century before Kant;--and this not as a hint, but
as a fully evolved and systematically applied principle. Nay, more than
this:--Baxter grounded it on an absolute idea presupposed in all
intelligential acts: whereas Kant takes it only as a fact in which he
seems to anticipate or suspect some yet deeper truth latent, and
hereafter to be discovered.
On recollection, however, I am disposed to consider 'this' alone as
Baxter's peculiar claim, I have not indeed any distinct memory of
Giordano Bruno's 'Logice Venatrix Veritatis'; but doubtless the
principle of Trichotomy is necessarily involved in the Polar Logic,
which again is the same with the Pythagorean 'Tetractys', that is, the
eternal fountain or source of nature; and this being sacred to
contemplations of identity, and prior in order of thought to all
division, is so far from interfering with Trichotomy as the universal
form of division (more correctly of distinctive distribution in logic)
that it implies it. 'Prothesis' being by the very term anterior to
'Thesis' can be no part of it. Thus in
we have the Tetrad indeed in the intellectual and intuitive
contemplation, but a Triad in discursive arrangement, and a Tri-unity in
Ib. p. 144.
Seeing the great difficulties that lie in the way of increasing
charities so as to meet the increase of population, or even so as to
follow it, and the manifold desirableness of parish Churches, with the
material dignity that in a right state of Christian order would attach
to them, as compared with meeting-houses, chapels, and the like--all
more or less 'privati juris', I have often felt disposed to wish that
the large majestic Church, central to each given parish, might have been
appropriated to Public Prayer, to the mysteries of Baptism and the
Lord's Supper, and to the 'quasi sacramenta', Marriage, Penance,
Confirmation, Ordination, and to the continued reading aloud, or
occasional chanting, of the Scriptures during the intervals of the
different Services, which ought to be so often performed as to suffice
successively for the whole population; and that on the other hand the
chapels and the like should be entirely devoted to teaching and
Ib. p. 153.
And I proved to him that Christianity was proved true many years
before any of the New Testament was written, and that so it may be
still proved by one that doubted of some words of the Scripture; and
therefore the true order is, to try the truth of the Christian
religion first, and the perfect verity of the Scriptures afterwards.
With more than Dominican virulence did Goeze, Head Pastor of the
Lutheran Church at Hamburg, assail the celebrated Lessing for making and
supporting the same position as the pious Baxter here advances.
This controversy with Goeze was in 1778, nearly a hundred years after
Baxter's writing this.
Ib. p. 155.
And within a few days Mr. Barnett riding the circuit was cast by his
horse, and died in the very fall. And Sir John Medlicote and his
brother, a few weeks after, lay both dead in his house together.
This interpreting of accidents and coincidences into judgments is a
breach of charity and humility, only not universal among all sects and
parties of this period, and common to the best and gentlest men in all;
we should not therefore bring it in charge against any one in
particular. But what excuse shall be made for the revival of this
presumptuous encroachment on the divine prerogative in our days?
Ib. p. 180.
Near this time my book called A Key for Catholics, was to be
reprinted. In the preface to the first impression I had mentioned with
praise the Earl of Lauderdale. * * * I thought best to prefix an
epistle to the Duke, in which I said not a word of him but truth. * *
* But the indignation that men had against the Duke made some blame
me, as keeping up the reputation of one whom multitudes thought very
ill of; whereas I owned none of his faults, and did nothing that I
could well avoid for the aforesaid reasons. Long after this he
professed his kindness to me, and told me I should never want while he
was able, and humbly entreated me to accept twenty guineas from him,
which I did.
This would be a curious proof of the slow and imperfect intercourse of
communication between Scotland and London, if Baxter had not been
particularly informed of Lauderdale's horrible cruelties to the Scotch
Covenanters:--and if Baxter did know them, he surely ran into a greater
inconsistency to avoid the appearance of a less. And the twenty guineas!
they must have smelt, I should think, of more than the earthly brimstone
that might naturally enough have been expected in gold or silver, from
his palm. I would as soon have plucked an ingot from the cleft of the
[Greek: Taut' elegon perithumos ego gar misei en iso Lauderdalon echo
kai kerkokeronucha Satan.]
Ib. p. 181.
About that time I had finished a book called Catholic Thoughts; in
which I undertake to prove that besides things unrevealed, known to
none, and ambiguous words, there is no considerable difference between
the Arminians and Calvinists, except some very tolerable difference in
the point of perseverance.
What Arminians? what Calvinists?--It is possible that the guarded
language and positions of Arminius himself may be interpreted into a
"very tolerable" compatibility with the principles of the milder
Calvinists, such as Archbishop Leighton, that true Father of the Church
of Christ. But I more than doubt the possibility of even approximating
the principles of Bishop Jeremy Taylor to the fundamental doctrines of
Leighton, much more to those of Cartwright, Twiss, or Owen.
Ib. p. 186.
Bishop Barlow told my friend that got my papers for him, that he could
hear of nothing that we judged to be sin, but mere inconveniences.
When as above seventeen years ago, we publicly endeavoured to prove
the sinfulness even of many of the old impositions.
Clearly an undeterminable controversy; inasmuch as there is no
centra-definition possible of sin and inconvenience in religion: while
the exact point, at which an inconvenience, becoming intolerable, passes
into sin, must depend on the state and the degree of light, of the
individual consciences to which it appears or becomes intolerable.
Besides, a thing may not be only indifferent in itself, but may be
declared such by Scripture, and on this indifference the Scripture may
have rested a prohibition to Christians to judge each other on the
point. If yet a Pope or Archbishop should force this on the consciences
of others, for example, to eat or not to eat animal food, would he not
sin in so doing? And does Scripture permit me to subscribe to an
ordinance made in direct contempt of a command of Scripture?
If it were said,--In all matters indifferent and so not sinful you must
comply with lawful authority:--must I not reply, But you have yourself
removed the indifferency by your injunction? Look in Popish countries
for the hideous consequences of the unnatural doctrine--that the Priest
may go to Hell for sinfully commanding, and his parishioners go with him
for not obeying that command.
Ib. p. 191.
About this time died my dear friend Mr. Thomas Gouge, of whose life
you may see a little in Mr. Clark's last book of Lives:--a wonder of
sincere industry in works of charity. It would make a volume to recite
at large the charity he used to his poor parishioners at Sepulchre's,
before he was ejected and silenced for non-conformity, &c.
I cannot express how much it grieves me, that our Clergy should still
think it fit and expedient to defend the measures of the High Churchmen
from Laud to Sheldon, and to speak of the ejected ministers, Calamy,
Baxter, Gouge, Howe, and others, as schismatics, factionists, fanatics,
or Pharisees:--thus to flatter some half-dozen dead Bishops, wantonly
depriving our present Church of the authority of perhaps the largest
collective number of learned and zealous, discreet and holy, ministers
that one age and one Church was ever blest with; and whose authority in
every considerable point is in favor of our Church, and against the
present Dissenters from it. And this seems the more impolitic, when it
must be clear to every student of the history of these times, that the
unmanly cruelties inflicted on Baxter and others were, as Bishops Ward,
Stillingfleet, and others saw at the time, part of the Popish scheme of
the Cabal, to trick the Bishops and dignified Clergy into rendering
themselves and the established Church odious to the public by laws, the
execution of which the King, the Duke, Arlington, and the Popish priests
directed towards the very last man that the Bishops themselves (the
great majority at least) would have molested.
Appendix II. p. 37.
If I can prove that it hath been the universal practice of the Church
'in nudum apertum caput manus imponere', doth it follow that this is
essential, and the contrary null?
How likewise can it be proved that the imposition of hands in Ordination
did not stand on the same ground as the imposition of hands in sickness;
that is, the miraculous gifts of the first preachers of the Gospel? All
Protestants admit that the Church retained several forms so originated,
after the cessation of the originating powers, which were the substance
of these forms.
If you think not only imposition to be essential, but also that
nothing else is essential, or that all are true ministers that are
ordained by a lawful Bishop per 'manuum impositionem', then do you
egregiously 'tibi ipsi imponere'.
Baxter, like most scholastic logicians, had a sneaking affection for
puns. The cause is,--the necessity of attending to the primary sense of
words, that is, the visual image or general relation expressed, and
which remains common to all the after senses, however widely or even
incongruously differing from each other in other respects. For the same
reason, schoolmasters are commonly punsters. "I have indorsed your Bill,
Sir," said a pedagogue to a merchant, meaning he had flogged his son
William.--My old master the Rev. James Bowyer, the 'Hercules furens' of
the phlogistic sect, but else an incomparable teacher,--used to
translate, 'Nihil in intellectu quod non prius in sensu',--first
reciting the Latin words, and observing that they were the fundamental
article of the Peripatetic school,--"You must flog a boy, before you can
make him understand;"--or, "You must lay it in at the tail before you
can get it into the head."
Ib. p. 45.
Then, that the will must follow the practical intellect whether right
or wrong,--that is no precept, but the nature of the soul in its
acting, because that the will is 'potentia caeca, non nata ad
intelligendum, sed ad volendum vel nolendum intellectum'.
This is the main fault in Baxter's metaphysics, that he so often
substantiates distinctions into dividuous self-subsistents. As
here;--for a will not intelligent is no will.
Appendix. III. p. 55.
And for many ages no other ordinarily baptised but infants. If Christ
had no Church then, where was his wisdom, his love, and his power?
What was become of the glory of his redemption, and his Catholic
Church, that was to continue to the end?
But the Antipoedo-Baptists would deny any such consequences as
applicable to them, who are to act according to the circumstances, in
which God, who ordains his successive manifestations in due
correspondence with other lights and states of things, has placed them.
He does not exclude from the Church of Christ (say they) those whom we
do not accept into the communion of our particular Society, any more
than the House of Lords excludes Commoners from being Members of
Parliament. And we do this because--we think that such promiscuous
admission would prolong an error which would be deadly to us, though not
to you who interpret the Scriptures otherwise.
There are two senses in which the words, 'Church of England,' may be
used;--first, with reference to the idea of the Church as an estate of
this Christian Realm, protesting against the Papal usurpation,
comprising, first, the interests of a permanent learned class, that is,
the Clergy;--secondly, those of the proper, that is, the infirm poor,
from age or sickness;--and thirdly, the adequate proportional
instruction of all in all classes by public prayer, recitation of the
Scriptures, by expounding, preaching, catechizing, and schooling, and
last, not least, by the example and influence of a pastor and a
schoolmaster placed as a germ of civilization and cultivation in every
parish throughout the land. To this idea, the Reformed Church of England
with its marriable and married Clergy would have approximated, if the
revenues of the Church, as they existed at the death of Henry VII., had
been rightly transferred by his successor;--transferred, I mean, from
reservoirs, which had by degeneracy on the one hand, and progressive
improvement on the other, fallen into ruin, and in which those revenues
had stagnated into contagion or uselessness,--transferred from what had
become public evils to their original and inherent purpose of public
benefits, instead of being sacrilegiously alienated by a transfer to
private proprietors. That this was impracticable, is historically true;
but no less true is it philosophically, that this impracticability,
arising wholly from moral causes, (namely, the loose manners and corrupt
principles of a great majority in all classes during the dynasty of the
Tudors,) does not prevent this wholesale sacrilege, from deserving the
character of the "first and deadliest wound inflicted on the
Constitution of the kingdom; which term, in the body politic, as in
bodies natural, expresses not only what is and has been evolved, but
likewise whatever is potentially contained in the seminal principle of
the particular body, and which would in its due time have appeared but
for emasculation in its infancy. This, however, is the first sense of
the words, Church of England. 
The second is the Church of England as now by law established, and by
practice of the law actually existing. That in the first sense it is the
object of my admiration and the earthly 'ne plus ultra' of my religious
aspirations, it were superfluous to say: but I may be allowed to express
my conviction, that on our recurring to the same ends and objects, (the
restoration of a national and circulating property in counterpoise of
individual possession, disposable and heritable) though in other forms
and by other means perhaps, the decline or progress of this country
depends. In the second sense of the words I can sincerely profess, that
I love and honour the Church of England, comparatively, beyond any other
Church established or unestablished now existing in Christendom; and it
is wholly in consequence of this deliberate and most affectionate filial
preference, that I have read this work, and Calamy's historical
writings, with so deep and so melancholy an interest. And I dare avow
that I cannot but regard as an ignorant bigot every man who (especially
since the publicity and authentication of the contents of the Stuart
Papers, Memoirs and Life of James II. &c.) can place the far later
furious High Church compilations and stories of Walker and others in
competition with the veracity and general verity of Baxter and Calamy;
or can forget that the great body of Non-conformists to whom these great
and good men belonged, were not dissenters from the established Church
willingly, but an orthodox and numerous portion of the Church. Omitting
then the wound received by religion generally under Henry VIII., and the
shameless secularizations clandestinely effected during the reigns of
Elizabeth and the first James, I am disposed to consider the three
following as the grand evil epochs of our present Church. First, The
introduction and after-predominance of Latitudinarianism under the name
of Arminianism, and the spirit of a conjoint Romanism and Socinianism at
the latter half or towards the close of the reign of James I. in the
persons of Montague, Laud, and their confederates. Second, The ejection
of the two thousand ministers after the Restoration, with the other
violences in which the Churchmen made themselves the dupes of Charles,
James, the Jesuits, and the French Court. (See the Stuart Papers
'passim'). It was this that gave consistence and enduring strength to
Schism in this country, prevented the pacation of Ireland, and prepared
for the separation of America at a far too early period for the true
interest of either country. Third, The surrender by the Clergy of the
right of taxing themselves, and the Jacobitical follies that combined
with the former to put it in the power of the Whig party to deprive the
Church of her Convocation,--a bitter disgrace and wrong, to which most
unhappily the people were rendered indifferent by the increasing
contrast of the sermons of the Clergy with the Articles and Homilies of
the Church itself,--but a wrong nevertheless which already has avenged,
and will sooner or later be seen to avenge, itself on the State and the
governing classes that continue this boast of a short-sighted policy;
the same policy which in our own days would have funded the property of
the Church, and, by converting the Clergy into salaried dependents on
the Government 'pro tempore', have deprived the Establishment of its
fairest honor, that of being neither enslaved to the court, nor to the
congregations; the same policy, alas! which even now pays and patronizes
a Board of Agriculture to undermine all landed property by a succession
of false, shallow, and inflammatory libels against tithes.
These are my weighed sentiments: and fervently desiring, as I do, the
perpetuity and prosperity of the established Church, zealous for its
rights and dignity, preferring its forms, believing its Articles of
Faith, and holding its Book of Common Prayer and its translation of the
Scriptures among my highest privileges as a Christian and an Englishman,
I trust that I may both entertain and avow these sentiments without
forfeiting any part of my claim to the name of a faithful member of the
Church of England.
N. B. As to Warburton's Alliance of the Church and State, I object to
the title (Alliance), and to the matter and mode of the reasoning. But
the inter-dependence of the Church and the State appears to me a truth
of the highest practical importance. Let but the temporal powers protect
the subjects in their just rights as subjects merely: and I do not know
of any one point in which the Church has the right or the necessity to
call in the temporal power as its ally for any purpose exclusively
ecclesiastic. The right of a firm to dissolve its partnership with any
one partner, breach of contract having been proved, and publicly to
announce the same, is common to all men as social beings.
I spoke above of "Romanism." But call it, if you like, Laudism, or
Lambethism in temporalities and ceremonials, and of Socinianism in
doctrine, that is, a retaining of the word but a rejecting or
interpreting away of the sense and substance of the Scriptural
Mysteries. This spirit has not indeed manifested itself in the article
of the Trinity, since Waterland gave the deathblow to Arianism, and so
left no alternative to the Clergy, but the actual divinity or mere
humanity of our Lord; and the latter would be too impudent an avowal for
a public reader of our Church Liturgy: but in the articles of original
sin, the necessity of regeneration, the necessity of redemption in order
to the possibility of regeneration, of justification by faith, and of
prevenient and auxiliary grace,--all I can say with sincerity is, that
our orthodoxy seems so far in an improving state, that I can hope for
the time when Churchmen will use the term Arminianism to express a habit
of belief opposed not to Calvinism, or the works of Calvin, but to the
Articles of our own Church, and to the doctrine in which all the first
Note--that by Latitudinarianism, I do not mean the particular tenets of
the divines so called, such as Dr. H. More, Cudworth and their compeers,
relative to toleration, comprehension, and the general belief that in
the greater number of points then most controverted, the pious of all
parties were far more nearly of the same mind than their own
imperfections, and the imperfection of language allowed them to see: I
mean the disposition to explain away the articles of the Church on the
pretext of their inconsistency with right reason;--when in fact it was
only an incongruity with a wrong understanding, the faculty which St.
Paul calls [Greek: phronaema sarkos], the rules of which having been all
abstracted from objects of sense, (finite in time and space,) are
logically applicable to objects of the sense alone. This I have
elsewhere called the spirit of Socinianism, which may work in many whose
tenets are anti-Socinian.
Law is--'conclusio per regulam generis singulorum in genere isto
inclusorum'. Now the extremes 'et inclusa' are contradictory terms.
Therefore extreme cases are not capable subjects of law 'a priori', but
must proceed on knowledge of the past, and anticipation of the future,
and the fulfilment of the anticipation is the proof, because the only
possible determination, of the accuracy of the knowledge. In other words
the agents may be condemned or honored according to their intentions,
and the apparent source of their motives; so we honor Brutus, but the
extreme case itself is tried by the event.
[Footnote 1: 'Relliquiae Baxterianae': or Mr. Richard Baxter's Narrative
of the most memorable passages of his life and times. Published from his
manuscript, by Matthew Sylvester.--London, 'folio'. 1699.]
[Footnote 2: See Hooker E. P. V. xviii. 3. Vol. II. p. 80. Keble. Ed.]
[Footnote 3: See Table Talk, p. 162. 2nd edit. Ed.]
[Footnote 4: See the Church and State, p. 73, 3rd edit.--Ed.]
* * * * *
NOTES ON LEIGHTON. 
Surely if ever work not in the sacred Canon might suggest a belief of
inspiration,--of something more than human,--this it is. When Mr. Elwyn
made this assertion, I took it as the hyperbole of affection: but now I
subscribe to it seriously, and bless the hour that introduced me to the
knowledge of the evangelical, apostolical Archbishop Leighton.
Next to the inspired Scriptures--yea, and as the vibration of that once
struck hour remaining on the air, stands Leighton's Commentary on the
1st Epistle of St. Peter.
Comment Vol. I. p. 2.
--their redemption and salvation by Christ Jesus; that inheritance of
immortality bought by his blood for them, and the evidence and
stability of their right and title to it.
By the blood of Christ I mean this. I contemplate the Christ,
1;--As 'Christus agens', the Jehovah Christ, the Word:
2;--As 'Christus patiens', The God Incarnate.
In the former he is 'relative ad intellectum humanum, lux lucifica, sol
intelligibilis: relative ad existentiam humanam, anima animans, calor
fovens'. In the latter he is 'vita vivificans, principium spiritualis,
id est, verae reproductionis in vitam veram'. Now this principle, or 'vis
vitae vitam vivificans', considered in 'forma passiva, assimilationem
patiens', at the same time that it excites the soul to the vital act of
assimilating--this is the Blood of Christ, really present through faith
to, and actually partaken by, the faithful. Of this the body is the
continual product, that is, a good life-the merits of Christ acting on
the soul, redemptive.
Ib. pp. 13-15.
Of their sanctification: 'elect unto obedience', &c.
That the doctrines asserted in this and the two or three following pages
cannot be denied or explained away, without removing (as the modern
Unitarians), or (as the Arminians) unsettling and undermining, the
foundations of the Faith, I am fully convinced; and equally so, that
nothing is gained by the change, the very same logical consequences
being deducible from the tenets of the Church Arminians;--scarcely more
so, indeed, from those which they still hold in common with Luther,
Zuinglius, Calvin, Knox, and Cranmer and the other Fathers of the
Reformation in England, and which are therefore most unfairly entitled
Calvinism--than from those which they have attempted to substitute in
their place. Nay, the shock given to the moral sense by these
consequences is, to my feelings, aggravated in the Arminian doctrine by
the thin yet dishonest disguise. Meantime the consequences appear to me,
in point of logic, legitimately concluded from the terms of the
premisses. What shall we say then? Where lies the fault? In the original
doctrines expressed in the premisses? God forbid. In the particular
deductions, logically considered? But these we have found legitimate.
Where then? I answer in deducing any consequences by such a process, and
according to such rules. The rules are alien and inapplicable; the
process presumptuous, yea, preposterous. The error, [Greek: to proton
pseudos], lies in the false assumption of a logical deducibility at all,
in this instance.
First:--because the terms from which the conclusion must be
drawn-('termini in majore praemissi, a quibus scientialiter et
scientifice demonstrandum erat') are accommodations and not
scientific--that is, proper and adequate, not 'per idem', but 'per quam
maxime simile', or rather 'quam maxime dissimile':
Secondly;--because the truths in question are transcendant, and have
their evidence, if any, in the ideas themselves, and for the reason; and
do not and cannot derive it from the conceptions of the understanding,
which cannot comprehend the truths, but is to be comprehended in and by
them, ('John' i. 5.):
Lastly, and chiefly;--because these truths, as they do not originate in
the intellective faculty of man, so neither are they addressed primarily
to our intellect; but are substantiated for us by their correspondence
to the wants, cravings, and interests of the moral being, for which they
were given, and without which they would be devoid of all meaning,--'vox
et praeterea nihil'. The only conclusions, therefore, that can be drawn
from them, must be such as are implied in the origin and purpose of
their revelation; and the legitimacy of all conclusions must be tried by
their consistency with those moral interests, those spiritual
necessities, which are the proper final cause of the truths and of our
faith therein. For some of the faithful these truths have, I doubt not,
an evidence of reason; but for the whole household of faith their
certainty is in their working. Now it is this, by which, in all cases,
we know and determine existence in the first instance. That which works
in us or on us exists for us. The shapes and forms that follow the
working as its results or products, whether the shapes cognizable by
sense or the forms distinguished by the intellect, are after all but the
particularizations of this working; its proper names, as it were, as
John, James, Peter, in respect of human nature. They are all derived
from the relations in which finite beings stand to each other; and are
therefore heterogeneous and, except by accommodation, devoid of meaning
and purpose when applied to the working in and by which God makes his
existence known to us, and (we may presume to say) especially exists for
the soul in whom he thus works. On these grounds, therefore, I hold the
doctrines of original sin, the redemption therefrom by the Cross of
Christ, and change of heart as the consequent; without adopting the
additions to the doctrines inferred by one set of divines, the modern
Calvinists, or acknowledging the consequences burdened on the doctrines
by their antagonists. Nor is this my faith fairly liable to any
inconvenience, if only it be remembered that it is a spiritual working,
of which I speak, and a spiritual knowledge,--not through the 'medium'
of image, the seeking after which is superstition; nor yet by any
sensation, the watching for which is enthusiasm, and the conceit of its
presence fanatical distemperature. "Do the will of the Father, and ye
shall 'know' it."
We must distinguish the life and the soul; though there is a certain
sense in which the life may be called the soul; that is, the life is the
soul of the body. But the soul is the life of the man, and Christ is the
life of the soul. Now the spirit of man, the spirit subsistent, is
deeper than both, not only deeper than the body and its life, but deeper
than the soul; and the Spirit descendent and supersistent is higher than
both. In the regenerated man the height and the depth become one--the
Spirit communeth with the spirit--and the soul is the 'inter-ens', or
'ens inter-medium' between the life and the spirit;--the 'participium',
not as a compound, however, but as a 'medium indifferens'--in the same
sense in which heat may be designated as the indifference between light
and gravity. And what is the Reason?--The spirit in its presence to the
understanding abstractedly from its presence in the will,--nay, in many,
during the negation of the latter. The spirit present to man, but not
appropriated by him, is the reason of man:--the reason in the process of
its identification with the will is the spirit.
Ib. pp. 63-4.
Can we deny that it is unbelief of those things that causeth this
neglect and forgetting of them? The discourse, the tongue of men and
angels cannot beget divine belief of the happiness to come; only He
that gives it, gives faith likewise to apprehend it, and lay hold upon
it, and upon our believing to be filled with joy in the hopes of it.
Most true, most true!
Ib. p. 68.
In spiritual trials that are the sharpest and most fiery of all, when
the furnace is within a man, when God doth not only shut up his
loving-kindness from its feeling, but seems to shut it up in hot
displeasure, when he writes bitter things against it; yet then to
depend upon him, and wait for his salvation, this is not only a true,
but a strong and very refined faith indeed, and the more he smites,
the more to cleave to him. * * * Though I saw, as it were, his hand
lifted up to destroy me, yet from that same hand would I expect
Bless God, O my soul, for this sweet and strong comforter! It is the
honey in the lion.
Ib. p. 75.
This natural men may discourse of, and that very knowingly, and give a
kind of natural credit to it as to a history that may be true; but
firmly to believe that there is divine truth in all these things, and
to have a persuasion of it stronger than of the very things we see
with our eyes; such an assent as this is the peculiar work of the
Spirit of God, and is certainly saving faith.
'Lord I believe: help thou my unbelief!' My reason acquiesces, and I
believe enough to fear. O, grant me the belief that brings sweet hope!
Ib. p. 76.
Faith * * causes the soul to find all that is spoken of him in the
word, and his beauty there represented, to be abundantly true, makes
it really taste of his sweetness, and by that possesses the heart more
strongly with his love, persuading it of the truth of those things,
not by reasons and arguments, but by an inexpressible kind of
evidence, that they only know that have it.
Either this is true, or religion is not religion; that is, it adds
nothing to our human reason; 'non religat'. Grant it, grant it me, O
Ib. pp. 104-5.
This sweet stream of their doctrine did, as the rivers, make its own
banks fertile and pleasant as it ran by, and flowed still forward to
after ages, and by the confluence of more such prophecies grew greater
as it went, till it fell in with the main current of the Gospel in the
New Testament, both acted and preached by the great Prophet himself,
whom they foretold to come, and recorded by his Apostles and
Evangelists, and thus united into one river, clear as crystal. This
doctrine of salvation in the Scriptures hath still refreshed the city
of God, his Church under the Gospel, and still shall do so, till it
empty itself into the ocean of eternity.
In the whole course of my studies I do not remember to have read so
beautiful an allegory as this; so various and detailed, and yet so just
Ib. p. 121.
There is a truth in it, that all sin arises from some kind of
ignorance * * *. For were the true visage of sin seen at a full light,
undressed and unpainted, it were impossible, while it so appeared,
that any one soul could be in love with it, but would rather flee from
it as hideous and abominable.
This is the only (defect, shall I say? No, but the only) omission I have
felt in this divine Writer--for him we understand by feeling,
experimentally--that he doth not notice the horrible tyranny of habit.
What the Archbishop says, is most true of beginners in sin; but this is
the foretaste of hell, to see and loathe the deformity of the wedded
vice, and yet still to embrace and nourish it.
Ib. p. 122.
He calls those times wherein Christ was unknown to them, 'the times of
their ignorance'. Though the stars shine never so bright, and the moon
with them in its full, yet they do not, altogether, make it day: still
it is night till the sun appear.
How beautiful, and yet how simple, and as it were unconscious of its own
Ib. p. 124.
You were running to destruction in the way of sin, and there was a
voice, together with the Gospel preaching to your ear, that spake into
your heart, and called you back from that path of death to the way of
holiness, which is the only way of life. He hath severed you from the
mass of the profane world, and picked you out to be jewels for
O, how divine! Surely, nothing less than the Spirit of Christ could have
inspired such thoughts in such language. Other divines,--Donne and
Jeremy Taylor for instance,--have converted their worldly gifts, and
applied them to holy ends; but here the gifts themselves seem unearthly.
Ib. p. 138.
As in religion, so in the course and practice of men's lives, the
stream of sin runs from one age to another, and every age makes it
greater, adding somewhat to what it receives, as rivers grow in their
course by the accession of brooks that fall into them; and every man
when he is born, falls like a drop into this main current of
corruption, and so is carried down it, and this by reason of its
strength, and his own nature, which willingly dissolves into it, and
runs along with it.
In this single period we have religion, the spirit,--philosophy, the
soul,--and poetry, the body and drapery united;--Plato glorified by St.
Paul; and yet coming as unostentatiously as any speech from an innocent
girl of fifteen.
Ib. p. 158.
The chief point of obedience is believing; the proper obedience to
truth is to give credit to it.
This is not quite so perspicuous and single-sensed as Archbishop
Leighton's sentences in general are. This effect is occasioned by the
omission of the word "this," or "divine," or the truth "in Christ." For
truth in the ordinary and scientific sense is received by a spontaneous,
rather than chosen by a voluntary, act; and the apprehension of the same
(belief) supposes a position of congruity rather than an act of
obedience. Far otherwise is it with the truth that is the object of
Christian faith: and it is this truth of which Leighton is speaking.
Belief indeed is a living part of this faith; but only as long as it is
a living part. In other words, belief is implied in faith; but faith is
not necessarily implied in belief. 'The devils believe.'
Ib. p. 166.
Hence learn that true conversion is not so slight a work as we
commonly account it. It is not the outward change of some bad customs,
which gains the name of a reformed man in the ordinary dialect; it is
new birth and being, and elsewhere called 'a new creation. Though it
be but a change in qualities', yet it is such a one, and the qualities
so far distant from what they before were, &c.
I dare not affirm that this is erroneously said; but it is one of the
comparatively few passages that are of service as reminding me that it
is not the Scripture that I am reading. Not the qualities merely, but
the root of the qualities is trans-created. How else could it be a
Ib. p. 170.
This natural life is compared, even by natural men, to the vainest
things, and scarce find they things light enough to express it vain;
and as it is here called grass, so they compare the generations of men
to the leaves of trees. * * * 'Man that is born of a woman is of few
days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower and is cut
down. Job' xiv. 1, 2. Psalm xc. 12; xxxix. 4.
It is the fashion to decry scholastic distinctions as useless
subtleties, or mere phantoms--'entia logica, vel etiam verbalia solum'.
And yet in order to secure a safe and Christian interpretation to these
and numerous other passages of like phrase and import in the Old
Testament, it is of highest concernment that we should distinguish the
personeity or spirit, as the source and principle of personality, from
the person itself as the particular product at any one period, and as
that which cannot be evolved or sustained but by the co-agency of the
system and circumstances in which the individuals are placed. In this
latter sense it is that 'man' is used in the Psalms, in Job, and
elsewhere--and the term made synonymous with flesh. That which
constitutes the spirit in man, both for others and itself, is the real
man; and to this the elements and elementary powers contribute its bulk
([Greek: to] 'videri et tangi') wholly, and its phenomenal form in part,
both as co-efficients, and as conditions. Now as these are under a law
of vanity and incessant change,--[Greek: ta mae onta, all' aei
ginomena],--so must all be, to the production and continuance of which
they are indispensable. On this hangs the doctrine of the resurrection
of the body, as an essential part of the doctrine of immortality;--on
this the Scriptural (and only true and philosophical) sense of the soul,
'psyche' or life, as resulting from the continual assurgency of the
spirit through the body;--and on this the begetting of a new life, a
regenerate soul, by the descent of the divine Spirit on the spirit of
man. When the spirit by sanctification is fitted for an incorruptible
body, then shall it be raised into a world of incorruption, and a
celestial body shall burgeon forth thereto, the germ of which had been
implanted by the redeeming and creative Word in this world. Truly hath
it been said of the elect:--They fall asleep in earth, but awake in
heaven. So St. Paul expressly teaches: and as the passage (1. 'Cor'. xv.
35--54,) was written for the express purpose of rectifying the notions
of the converts concerning the Resurrection, all other passages in the
New Testament must be interpreted in harmony with it. But John,
likewise,--describing the same great event, as subsequent to, and
contra-distinguished from, the partial or millennary Resurrection--which
(whether we are to understand the Apostle symbolically or literally) is
to take place in the present world,--beholds 'a new earth' and 'a new
heaven' as antecedent to, or coincident with, the appearance of the New
Jerusalem,--that is, the state of glory, and the resurrection to life
everlasting. The old earth and its heaven had passed away from the face
of Him on the throne, at the moment that it gave up the dead. 'Rev'.
Ib. pp. 174-5.
'But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.'
And with respect to those learned men that apply the text to God, I
remember not that this 'abiding for ever' is used to express God's
eternity in himself.
No; nor is it here used for that purpose; but yet I cannot doubt but
that either the Word, [Greek: Ho Logos en archae], or the Divine
promises in and through the incarnate Word, with the gracious influences
proceeding from him, are here meant--and not the written [Greek:
rhaemata] or Scriptures.
Ib. p. 194.
If any one's head or tongue should grow apace, and all the rest stand
at a stay, it would certainly make him a monster; and they are no
other that are knowing and discovering Christians, and grow daily in
that, but not at all in holiness of heart and life, which is the
proper growth of the children of God.
Father in heaven, have mercy on me! Christ, Lamb of God, have mercy on
me! Save me, Lord, or I perish! Alas! I am perishing.
Ib. p. 200.
A well-furnished table may please a man, while he hath health and
appetite; but offer it to him in the height of a fever, how unpleasant
it would be then! Though never so richly decked, it is then not only
useless, but hateful to him. But the kindness and love of God is then
as seasonable and refreshing to him, as in health, and possibly more.
To the regenerate;--but to the conscious sinner a source of terrors
Ib. p. 211.
These things hold likewise in the other stones of this building,
chosen before time: all that should be of this building are
fore-ordained in God's purpose, all written in that book beforehand,
and then in due time they are chosen, by actual calling, according to
that purpose, hewed out and severed by God's own hand from the quarry
of corrupt nature;--dead stones in themselves, as the rest, but made
living by his bringing them to Christ, and so made truly precious',
and accounted precious by him that hath made them so.
Though this is not only true, but a most important truth, it would yet
have been well to have obviated the apparent carnal consequences.
Ib. p. 216.
All sacrifice is not taken away; but it is changed from the offering
of those things formerly in use, to spiritual sacrifices. Now these
are every way preferable; they are easier and cheaper to us, and yet
more precious and acceptable to God.
Still understand,--to the regenerate. To others, they are not only not
easy and cheap, but unpurchaseable and impossible too. O God have mercy
Ib. p. 229.
Though I be beset on all hands, be accused by the Law, and mine own
conscience, and by Satan, and have nothing to answer for myself; yet
here I will stay, for I am sure in him there is salvation, and no
"Here I _will_ stay." But alas! the poor sinner has forfeited the powers
of willing; miserable wishing is all he can command. O, the dreadful
injury of an irreligious education! To be taught our prayers, and the
awful truths of religion, in the same tone in which we are taught the
Latin Grammar,--and too often inspiring the same sensations of weariness
Vol. II. p. 242.
And thus are reproaches mentioned amongst the sufferings of Christ in
the Gospel, and not as the least; the railings and mockings that were
darted at him, and fixed to the Cross, are mentioned more than the
very nails that fixed him. And ('Heb'. xii. 2,) the 'shame' of the
Cross, though he was above it, and despised it, yet that shame added
much to the burden of it.
I understand Leighton thus: that though our Lord felt it not as 'shame',
nor was wounded by the revilings of the people in the way of any
correspondent resentment or sting, which yet we may be without blame,
yet he suffered from the same as sin, and as an addition to the guilt of
his persecutors, which could not but aggravate the burden which he had
taken on himself, as being sin in its most devilish form.
Ib. p. 293.
This therefore is mainly to be studied, that the seat of humility be
the heart. Although it will be seen in the carriage yet as little as
it can * * *. And this I would recommend as a safe way: ever let thy
thoughts concerning thyself be below what thou utterest; and what thou
seest needful or fitting to say to thy own abasement, be not only
content (which most are not) to be taken at thy word, and believed to
be such by them that hear thee, but be desirous of it; and let that be
the end of thy speech, to persuade them, and gain it of them, that
they really take thee for as worthless a man as thou dost express
Alas! this is a most delicate and difficult subject: and the safest way,
and the only safe general rule is the silence that accompanies the
inward act of looking at the contrast in all that is of our own doing
and impulse! So may praises be made their own antidote.
Vol. III. p. 20. Serm. I.
'They shall see God'. What this is we cannot tell you, nor can you
conceive it: but walk heavenwards in purity, and long to be there,
where you shall know what it means: 'for you shall know him as he is'.
We say; "Now I see the full meaning, force and beauty of a passage,--we
see them through the words." Is not Christ the Word--the substantial,
consubstantial Word, [Greek: ho on eis ton kolpon tou patros],--not as
our words, arbitrary; nor even as the words of Nature phenomenal merely?
If even through the words a powerful and perspicuous author--(as in the
next to inspired Commentary of Archbishop Leighton,--for whom God be
praised!)--I identify myself with the excellent writer, and his thoughts
become my thoughts: what must not the blessing be to be thus identified
first with the Filial Word, and then with the Father in and through Him?
Ib. p. 63. Serm. V.
In this elementary world, light being (as we hear,) the first visible,
all things are seen by it, and it by itself. Thus is Christ, among
spiritual things, in the elect world of his Church; all things are
'made manifest by the light', says the Apostle, 'Eph'. v. 13, speaking
of Christ as the following verse doth evidently testify. It is in his
word that he shines, and makes it a directing and convincing light, to
discover all things that concern his Church and himself, to be known
by its own brightness. How impertinent then is that question so much
tossed by the Romish Church, "How know you the Scriptures (say they)
to be the word of God, without the testimony of the Church?" I would
ask one of them again, How they can know that it is daylight, except
some light a candle to let them see it? They are little versed in
Scripture that know not that it is frequently called light; and they
are senseless that know not that light is seen and known by itself.
'If our Gospel be hid', says the Apostle, 'it is hid to them that
perish': the god of this world having blinded their minds against the
light of the glorious Gospel, no wonder if such stand in need of a
testimony. A blind man knows not that it is light at noon-day, but by
report: but to those that have eyes, light is seen by itself.
On the true test of the Scriptures. Oh! were it not for my manifold
infirmities, whereby I am so all unlike the white-robed Leighton, I
could almost conceit that my soul had been an emanation from his! So
many and so remarkable are the coincidences, and these in parts of his
works that I could not have seen--and so uniform the congruity of the
whole. As I read, I seem to myself to be only thinking my own thoughts
over again, now in the same and now in a different order.
Ib. p. 68.
The Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews calls him (Christ) [Greek:
apaugasma], 'the brightness of his Father's glory, and the character
of his person', (i. 3.) And under these expressions lies that
remarkable mystery of the Son's eternal relation to the Father, which
is rather humbly to be adored, than boldly to be explained, either by
God's perfect understanding of his own essence, or by any other
Certainly not by a transfer of a notion, and this too a notion of a
faculty itself but notional and limitary, to the Supreme Reality. But
there are ideas which are of higher origin than the notions of the
understanding, and by the irradiation of which the understanding itself
becomes a human understanding. Of such 'veritates verificae' Leighton
himself in other words speaks often. Surely, there must have been an
intelligible propriety in the terms, 'Logos', Word, 'Begotten before all
creation',--an adequate idea or 'icon', or the Evangelists and Apostolic
penmen would not have adopted them. They did not invent the terms; but
took them and used them as they were taken and applied by Philo and both
the Greek and Oriental sages. Nay, the precise and orthodox, yet
frequent, use of these terms by Philo, and by the Jewish authors of that
traditionalae wisdom,--degraded in after times, but which in its purest
parts existed long before the Christian aera,--is the strongest extrinsic
argument against the Arians, Socinians, and Unitarians, in proof that
St. John must have meant to deceive his readers, if he did not use them
in the known and received sense. To a Materialist indeed, or to those
who deny all knowledges not resolvable into notices from the five
senses, these terms as applied to spiritual beings must appear
inexplicable or senseless. But so must spirit. To me, (why do I say to
me?) to Bull, to Waterland, to Gregory Nazianzen, Basil, Athanasius,
Augustine, the terms, Word and generation, have appeared admirably, yea,
most awfully pregnant and appropriate;--but still as the language of
those who know that they are placed with their backs to substances--and
which therefore they can name only from the correspondent shadows--yet
not (God forbid!) as if the substances were the same as the
shadows;--which yet Leighton supposed in this his censure,--for if he
did not, he then censures himself and a number of his most beautiful
passages. These, and two or three other sentences,--slips of human
infirmity,--are useful in reminding me that Leighton's works are not
On a second consideration of this passage, and a revisal of my marginal
animadversion--yet how dare I apply such a word to a passage written by
a minister of Christ so clearly under the especial light of the divine
grace as was Archbishop Leighton?--I am inclined to think that Leighton
confined his censure to the attempts to "explain" the Trinity,--and this
by "notions,"--and not to the assertion of the adorable acts implied in
the terms both of the Evangelists and Apostles, and of the Church before
as well as after Christ's ascension; nor to the assent of the pure
reason to the truths, and more than assent to, the affirmation of the
Ib. p. 73.
This fifth Sermon, excellent in parts, is yet on the whole the least
excellent of Leighton's works,--and breathes less of either his own
character as a man, or the character of his religious philosophy. The
style too is in many places below Leighton's ordinary style--in some
places even turbid, operose, and catechrestic;--for example,--"to
trample on smilings with one foot and on frownings with the other."
Ib. p. 77. Serm. VI.
Leighton, I presume, was acquainted with the Hebrew Language, but he
does not appear to have studied it much. His observation on the 'heart',
as used in the Old Testament, shews that he did not know that the
ancient Hebrews supposed the heart to be the seat of intellect, and
therefore used it exactly as we use the head.
Ib. p. 104. Serm. VII.
This seventh Sermon is admirable throughout, Leighton throughout. O what
a contrast might be presented by publishing some discourse of some Court
divine, (South for instance,) preached under the same state of affairs,
and printing the two in columns!
Ib. p. 107. Serm. VIII.
In all love three things are necessary; some goodness in the object,
either true and real, or apparent and seeming to be so; for the soul,
be it ever so evil, can affect nothing but which it takes in some way
to be good.
This assertion in these words has been so often made, from Plato's times
to ours, that even wise men repeat it without perhaps much examination
whether it be not equivocal--or rather (I suspect) true only in that
sense in which it would amount to nothing--nothing to the purpose at
least. This is to be regretted--for it is a mischievous equivoque, to
make 'good' a synonyme of 'pleasant,' or even the 'genus' of which
pleasure is a 'species'. It is a grievous mistake to say, that bad men
seek pleasure because it is good. No! like children they call it good
because it is pleasant. Even the useful must derive its meaning from the
good, not 'vice versa'.
The lines in p. 107, noted by me, are one of a myriad instances to prove
how rash it is to quote single sentences or assertions from the
correctest writers, without collating them with the known system or
express convictions of the author. It would be easy to cite fifty
passages from Archbishop Leighton's works in direct contradiction to the
sentence in question--which he had learnt in the schools when a lad, and
afterwards had heard and met with so often that he was not aware that he
had never sifted its real purport. This eighth Sermon is another most
Ib. Serm. IX. p. 12.
The reasonable creature, it is true, hath more liberty in its actions,
freely choosing one thing and rejecting another; yet it cannot be
denied, that in acting of that liberty, their choice and refusal
[A] follow the sway of their nature and condition.
[A] I would fain substitute for 'follow,' the words, 'are most often
determined, and always affected, by.' I do not deny that the will
follows the nature; but then the nature itself is a will.
As the angels and glorified souls, (their nature being perfectly holy
and unalterably such,) they cannot sin; they can delight in nothing
but obeying and praising that God, in the enjoyment of whom their
If angels be other than spirits made perfect, or, as Leighton writes,
"glorified souls,"--the "unalterable by nature" seems to me rashly
The mind, [Greek: phronaema]. Some render it the prudence or wisdom of
the flesh. Here you have it, the carnal mind; but the word signifies,
indeed, an act of the mind, rather than either the faculty itself, or
the habit of prudence in it, so as it discovers what is the frame of
I doubt. [Greek: Phronaema] signifies an act: and so far I agree with
Leighton. But [Greek: phronaema sarkos] is 'the flesh' (that is, the
natural man,) in the act or habitude of minding--but those acts, taken
collectively, are the faculty--the understanding.
How often have I found reason to regret, that Leighton had not clearly
made out to himself the diversity of reason and the understanding!
Ib. Serm. XV. p. 196.
A narrow enthralled heart, fettered with the love of lower things, and
cleaving to some particular sins, or but some one, and that secret,
may keep foot a while in the way of God's commandments, in some steps
of them; but it must give up quickly, is not able to run on to the end
of the goal.
One of the blessed privileges of the spiritual man (and such Leighton
was,) is a piercing insight into the diseases of which he himself is
clear. [Greek: Eleaeson Kyrie!]
Ib. Serm. XVI. p. 204.
Know you not that the redeemed of Christ and He are one? They live one
life, Christ lives in them, and if 'any man hath not the Spirit of
Christ, he is none of his', as the Apostle declares in this chapter.
So then this we are plainly to tell you, and consider it; you that
will not let go your sins to lay hold on Christ, have as yet no share
But on the other side: the truth is, that when souls are once set upon
this search, they commonly wind the notion too high, and subtilize too
much in the dispute, and so entangle and perplex themselves, and drive
themselves further off from that comfort that they are seeking after;
such measures and marks they set to themselves for their rule and
standard; and unless they find those without all controversy in
themselves, they will not believe that they have an interest in
Christ, and this blessed and safe estate in him.
To such I would only say, Are you in a willing league with any known
An admirable antidote for such as, too sober and sincere to pass off
feverous sensations for spiritualities, have been perplexed by Wesley's
assertions--that a certainty of having been elected is an indispensable
mark of election. Whitfield's ultra-Calvinism is Gospel gentleness and
Pauline sobriety compared with Wesley's Arminianism in the outset of his
career. But the main and most noticeable difference between Leighton and
the modern Methodists is to be found in the uniform selfishness of the
latter. Not "Do you wish to love God?" "Do you love your neighbour?" "Do
you think, 'O how dear and lovely must Christ be!'"--but--"Are you
certain that Christ has saved 'you'; that he died for 'you--you--you
--yourself'?" on to the end of the chapter. This is Wesley's doctrine.
Lecture IX. vol. IV. p. 96.
For that this was his fixed purpose, Lucretius not only vows, but also
boasts of it, and loads him (Epicurus) with ill-advised praises, for
endeavouring through the whole course of his philosophy to free the
minds of men from all the bonds and ties of religion.
But surely in this passage 'religio' must be rendered superstition, the
most effectual means for the removal of which Epicurus supposed himself
to have found in the exclusion of the 'gods many and lords many', from
their imagined agency in all the 'phaenomena' of nature and the events
of history, substituting for these the belief in fixed laws, having in
themselves their evidence and necessity. On this account, in this
passage at least, Lucretius praises his master.
Ib. p. 105.
They always seemed to me to act a very ridiculous part, who contend,
that the effect of the divine decree is absolutely irreconcilable with
human liberty; because the natural and necessary liberty of a rational
creature is to act or choose from a rational motive, or spontaneously,
and of purpose: but who sees not, that, on the supposition of the most
absolute decree, this liberty is not taken away, but rather
established and confirmed? For the decree is, 'that such an one shall
make choice of, or do some particular thing freely. And whoever
pretends to deny, that whatever is done or chosen, whether good or
indifferent, is so done or chosen, or, at least, may be so, espouses
I fear, I fear, that this is a sophism not worthy of Archbishop
Leighton. It seems to me tantamount to saying--"I force that man to do
so or so without my forcing him." But however that may be, the following
sentences are more precious than diamonds. They are divine.
Ib. Lect. XI. p. 113.
For that this world, compounded of so many and such heterogeneous
parts, should proceed, by way of natural and necessary emanation, from
that one first, present, and most simple nature, nobody, I imagine,
could believe, or in the least suspect * * *. But if he produced all
these things freely, * * how much more consistent is it to believe,
that this was done in time, than to imagine it was from eternity!
It is inconceivable how any thing can be created in time; and production
is incompatible with interspace.
Ib. Lect. XV. p. 152.
The Platonists divide the world into two, the sensible and
intellectual world * * *. According to this hypothesis, those parables
and metaphors, which are often taken from natural things to illustrate
such as are divine, will not be similitudes taken entirely at
pleasure; but are often, in a great measure, founded in nature, and
the things themselves.
I have asserted the same thing, and more fully shown wherein the
difference consists of symbolic and metaphorical, in my first Lay
Sermon; and the substantial correspondence of the genuine Platonic
doctrine and logic with those of Lord Bacon, in my Essays on Method, in
the Friend. 
Ib. Lect. XIX. p. 201.
Even the philosophers give their testimony to this truth, and their
sentiments on the subject are not altogether to be rejected; for they
almost unanimously are agreed, that felicity, so far as it can be
enjoyed in this life, consists solely, or at least principally, in
virtue: but as to their assertion, that this virtue is perfect in a
perfect life, it is rather expressing what were to be wished, than
describing things as they are.
And why are the philosophers to be judged according to a different rule?
On what ground can it be asserted that the Stoics believed in the actual
existence of their God-like perfection in any individual? or that they
meant more than this--"To no man can the name of the Wise be given in
its absolute sense, who is not perfect even as his Father in heaven is
Ib. Lect. XXI. p. 225.
In like manner, if we suppose God to be the first of all beings, we
must, unavoidably, therefrom conclude his unity. As to the ineffable
Trinity subsisting in this Unity, a mystery discovered only by the
Sacred Scriptures, especially in the New Testament, where it is more
clearly revealed than in the Old, let others boldly pry into it, if
they please, while we receive it with our humble faith, and think it
sufficient for us to admire and adore.
But surely it having been revealed to us, we may venture to say,--that a
positive unity, so far from excluding, implies plurality, and that the
Godhead is a fulness, [Greek: plaeroma].
Ib. Lect. XXIV. p. 245.
Ask yourselves, therefore, 'what you would be at', and with what
dispositions you come to this most sacred table?
In an age of colloquial idioms, when to write in a loose slang had
become a mark of loyalty, this is the only L'Estrange vulgarism I have
met with in Leighton.
Ib. Exhortation to the Students, p. 252.
Study to acquire such a philosophy as is not barren and babbling, but
solid and true; not such a one as floats upon the surface of endless
verbal controversies, but one that enters into the nature of things;
for he spoke good sense that said, "The philosophy of the Greeks was a
mere jargon, and noise of words."
If so, then so is all philosophy: for what system is there, the elements
and outlines of which are not to be found in the Greek schools? Here
Leighton followed too incautiously the Fathers.
[Footnote 1: Works of Leighton, 4 vols. 8vo. London 1819. Ed.]
[Footnote 2: 'Statesman's Manual', p. 230. 2nd edit. Friend, III. 3d
* * * * *
NOTES ON SHERLOCK'S VINDICATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY. 
Sect. I. p. 3.
Some new philosophers will tell you that the notion of a spirit or an
immaterial substance is a contradiction; for by substance they
understand nothing but matter, and then an immaterial substance is
immaterial matter, that is, matter and no matter, which is a
contradiction; but yet this does not prove an immaterial substance to
be a contradiction, unless they could first prove that there is no
substance but matter; and that they cannot conceive any other
substance but matter, does not prove that there is no other.
Certainly not: but if not only they, but Dr. Sherlock himself and all
mankind, are incapable of attaching any sense to the term substance, but
that of matter,--then for us it would be a contradiction, or a
groundless assertion. Thus: By 'substance' I do not mean the only notion
we can attach to the word; but a somewhat, I know not what, may, for
aught I know, not be contradictory to spirit! Why should we use the
equivocal word, 'substance' (after all but an 'ens logicum'), instead of
the definite term 'self-subsistent?' We are equally conscious of mind,
and of that which we call 'body;' and the only possible philosophical
questions are these three:
1. Are they co-ordinate as agent and re-agent;
2. Or is the one subordinate to the other, as effect to cause, and which
is the cause or ground, which the effect or product;
3. Or are they co-ordinate, but not inter-dependent, that is, 'per
Ib. p. 4.
Now so far as we understand the nature of any being, we can certainly
tell what is contrary and contradictious to its nature; as that
accidents should subsist without 'their subject', &c.
That accidents should subsist (rather, exist) without a subject, may be
a contradiction, but not that they exist without this or that subject.
The words 'their subject' are 'a petitio principii'.
These and such like are the manifest absurdities and contradictions of
Transubstantiation; and we know that they are so, because we know the
nature of a body, &c.
Indeed! Were I either Romanist or Unitarian, I should desire no better
than the admission of body having an 'esse' not in the 'percipi', and
really subsisting, ([Greek: auto to chraema]) as the supporter of its
accidents. At all events, the Romanist, declaring the accidents to be
those ordinarily impressed on the senses ([Greek: ta phainomena kai
aisthaeta]) by bread and wine, does at the same time declare the flesh
and blood not to be the [Greek: phainomena kai aisthaeta] so called, but
the [Greek: noumena kai auta ta chraemata]. There is therefore no
contradiction in the terms, however reasonless the doctrine may be, and
however unnecessary the interpretation on which it is pretended. I
confess, had I been in Luther's place, I would not have rested so much
of my quarrel with the Papists on this point; nor can I agree with our
Arminian divines in their ridicule of Transubstantiation. The most
rational doctrine is perhaps, for some purposes, at least, the 'rem
credimus, modum nescimus'; next to that, the doctrine of the
Sacramentaries, that it is 'signum sub rei nomine', as when we call a
portrait of Caius, Caius. But of all the remainder, Impanation,
Consubstantiation, and the like, I confess that I should prefer the
Transubstantiation of the Pontifical doctors.
Ib. p. 6.
The proof of this comes to this one point, that we may have sufficient
evidence of the being of a thing whose nature we cannot conceive and
comprehend: he who will not own this, contradicts the sense and
experience of mankind; and he who confesses this, and yet rejects the
belief of that which he has good evidence for, merely because he
cannot conceive it, is a very absurd and senseless infidel.
Here again, though a zealous believer of the truth asserted, I must
object to the Bishop's logic. None but the weakest men have objected to
the Tri-unity merely because the 'modus' is above their comprehension:
for so is the influence of thought on muscular motion; so is life
itself; so in short is every first truth of necessity; for to comprehend
a thing, is to know its antecedent and consequent. But they affirm that
it is against their reason. Besides, there seems an equivocation in the
use of 'comprehend' and 'conceive' in the same meaning. When a man tells
me, that his will can lift his arm, I conceive his meaning; though I do
not comprehend the fact, I understand 'him'. But the Socinians say;--We
do not understand 'you'. We cannot attach to the word 'God,' more than
three possible meanings; either,
1. A person, or self-conscious being;
2. Or a thing;
3. Or a quality, property, or attribute.
If you take the first, then you admit the contradiction; if either of
the latter two, you have not three Persons and one God, but three
Persons having equal shares in one thing, or three with the same
attributes, that is, three Gods. Sherlock does not meet this.
Let me repeat the difficulty, if possible, more clearly. The argument of
the philosophic Unitarians, as Wissowatius, who, mistaken as they were,
are not to be confounded with their degenerate successors, the
Priestleyans and Belshamites, may be thus expressed. By the term, God,
we can only conceive you to suppose one or other of three meanings.
1. Either you understand by it a person, in the common sense of an
intelligent or self-conscious being;--or,
2. a thing with its qualities and properties;--or,
3. certain powers and attributes, comprised under the word nature.
If we suppose the first, the contradiction is manifest, and you
yourselves admit it, and therefore forbid us so to interpret your words.
For if by God you mean Person, then three Persons and one God, would be
the same as three Persons and one Person. If we take the second as your
meaning, as an infinite thing is an absurdity, we have three finite
Gods, like Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto, who shared the universe between
them. If the latter, we have three Persons with the same attributes;
--and if a Person with infinite attributes be what we mean by God, then
we have either three Gods, or involve the contradiction above mentioned.
It is unphilosophic, by admission of all philosophers, they add, to
multiply causes beyond the necessity. Now if there are three Persons of
infinite and the same attributes, dismiss two, and you lose nothing but
a numerical phantom."
The answer to this must commence by a denial of the premisses 'in toto':
and this both Bull and Waterland have done most successfully. But I very
much doubt, whether Sherlock on his principles could have evaded the
Unitarian logic. In fact it is scarcely possible to acquit him
altogether of a 'quasi-Tritheism'.
Sect. II. p. 13.
'For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge
every Person by himself to be God and Lord';--
(That is, by especial revelation.)
'So are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say, There are three
Gods, or three Lords.'
That is, by the religion contained in, and given in accompaniment with,
the universal reason, 'the light that lighteth every man that cometh
into the world'.
Ib. p. 14.
This Creed (Athanasian) does not pretend to explain how there are
three Persons, each of which is God, and yet but One God, (of which
more hereafter,) but only asserts the thing, that thus it is, and thus
it must be if we believe a Trinity in Unity; which should make all
men, who would be thought neither Arians nor Socinians, more cautious
how they express the least dislike of the Athanasian Creed, which must
either argue, that they condemn it, before they understand it, or that
they have some secret dislike to the doctrine of the Trinity.
The dislike commonly felt is not of the doctrine of the Trinity, but of
the positive anathematic assertion of the everlasting perdition of all
and of each who doubt the same;--an assertion deduced from Scripture
only by a train of captious consequences, and equivocations. Thus, A.:
"I honour and admire Caius for his great learning." B.: "The knowledge
of the Sanscrit is an important article in Caius's learning." A.: "I
have been often in his company, and have found no reason for believing
this." B.: "O! then you deny his learning, are envious, and Caius's
enemy." A.: "God forbid! I love and admire him. I know him for a
transcendant linguist in the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and modern European
languages;--and with or without the Sanscrit, I look up to him, and rely
on his erudition in all cases, in which I am concerned. And it is this
perfect trust, this unfeigned respect, that is the appointed criterion
of Caius's friends and disciples, and not their full acquaintance with
each and all particulars of his superiority." Thus without Christ, or in
any other power but that of Christ, and (subjectively) of faith in
Christ, no man can be saved; but does it follow, that no man can have
Christian faith who is ignorant or erroneous as to any one point of
Christian theology? Will a soul be condemned to everlasting perdition
for want of logical 'acumen' in the perception of consequences?--If he
verily embrace Christ as his Redeemer, and unfeignedly feel in himself
the necessity of Redemption, he implicitly holds the Divinity of Christ,
whatever from want or defect of logic may be his notion 'explicite'.
Ib. p. 18.
'But the whole three Persons are co-eternal, and co-equal'. And yet
this we must acknowledge to be true, if we acknowledge all three
Persons to be eternal, for in eternity there can be no 'afore, or
It must, however, be considered as a serious defect in a Creed, if
excluding subordination, without mentioning any particular form, it
gives no hint of any other form in which it admits it. The only 'minus'
admitted by the Athanasian Creed is the inferiority of Christ's Humanity
to the Divinity generally; but both Scripture and the Nicene Creed teach
a subordination of the Son to the Father, independent of the Incarnation
of the Son. Now this is not inserted, and therefore the denial in the
assertion 'none is greater or less than another', is universal, and a
plain contradiction of Christ speaking of Himself as the co-eternal Son;
'My Father is greater than I'. Speaking of himself as the co-eternal
Son, I say;--for how superfluous would it have been, a truism how
unworthy of our Lord, to have said in effect, that "a creature is less
than God!" And after all, Creeds assuredly are not to be imposed 'ad
libitum'--a new Creed, or at least a new form and choice of articles and
expressions, at the pleasure of individuals. Now where is the authority
of the Athanasian Creed? In what consists its necessity? If it be the
same as the Nicene, why not be content with the Nicene? If it differs,
how dare we retain both?  If the Athanasian does not say more or
different, but only differs by omission of a necessary article, then to
impose it, is as absurd as to force a mutilated copy on one who has
already the perfect original. Lastly, it is not enough that an abstract
contains nothing which may not by a chain of consequences be deduced
from the books of the Evangelists and Apostles, in order for it to be a
Creed for the whole Christian Church. For a Creed is or ought to be a
'syllepsis' of those primary fundamental truths that are, as it were,
the starting-post, from which the Christian must commence his
progression. The full-grown Christian needs no other Creed than the
Scriptures themselves. Highly valuable is the Nicene Creed; but it has
its chief value as an historical document, proving that the same texts
in Scripture received the same interpretation, while the Greek was a
living language, as now.
Sect. III. p. 23.
If what he says is true: 'He that errs in a question of faith, after
having used reasonable diligence to be rightly informed, is in no
fault at all'; how comes an atheist, or an infidel, a Turk, or a Jew,
to be in any fault? Does our author think that no atheist or infidel,
no unbelieving Jew or heathen, ever used reasonable diligence to be
rightly informed? * * * If you say, he confines this to such points as
have always been controverted in the churches of God, I desire to know
a reason why he thus confines it? For does not his reason equally
extend to the Christian Faith itself, as to those points which have
been controverted in Christian Churches?
And the Notary might ask in his turn: "Do you believe that the
Christians either of the Greek or of the Western Church will be damned,
according as the truth may be respecting the procession of the Holy
Ghost? or that either the Sacramentary or the Lutheran? or again, the
Consubstantiationist, or the Transubstantiationist? If not, why do you
stop here? Whence this sudden palsy in the limbs of your charity? Again,
does this eternal damnation of the individual depend on the supposed
importance of the article denied? Or on the moral state of the
individual, on the inward source of this denial? And lastly, who
authorized either you, or the pseudo-Athanasius, to interpret Catholic
faith by belief, arising out of the apparent predominance of the grounds
for, over those against, the truth of the positions asserted; much more,
by belief as a mere passive acquiescence of the understanding? Were all
damned who died during the period when 'totus fere mundus factus est
Arianus', as one of the Fathers admits? Alas! alas! how long will it be
ere Christians take the plain middle road between intolerance and
indifference, by adopting the literal sense and Scriptural import of
heresy, that is, wilful error, or belief originating in some perversion
of the will; and of heretics, (for such there are, nay, even orthodox
heretics), that is, men wilfully unconscious of their own wilfulness, in
their limpet-like adhesion to a favourite tenet?"