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with terms of praise almost unqualified, by some of the most distinguished ornaments of English literature. Tillotson, and Locke, and Clarendon, have united in expressing their admiration of the high reasoning powers of this man, of whom we are informed by Anthony Wood, that“ it was the current opinion of the university, that he and Lucius Lord Falkland had such extraordinary clear reason, that if the Great Turk or Devil were to be converted, they were able to do it.”
Not so easy, however, was it to convince the redoubtable Cheynell. Six years after the appearance of Chillingworth’s great work, The Religion of Protestants a safe Way to Salvation, Dr. Cheynell produced his Rise, Growth, and Danger of Socinianism, in which he charged not Chillingworth alone, but Laud and Hales of Eton with this heresy. Unhappily for us, but most fortunately for Cheynell, his greatest opponent was dow declining in life and strength, and the beginning of the following year closed the tomb over that body which had been animated by a spirit of the purest intelligence. What was the real strength of the grounds on which Chillingworth was charged with Socinianism, we know not. of Cheynell's mind, it might be demonstration enough of Chillingworth's Socinianism, that he had dared to assert the prerogative and power of reason in determining the limits of some points of our belief. With a strange confusion of mind, he has seized upon the word, tradition, which Chillingworth had used; somewhat incautiously, to express that kind of evidence on which our belief of the authenticity of the Scriptures is founded, and forthwith charges upon him the sin of advocating tradition, in the sense in which our Saviour himself condemns it, as the means through which the Pharisees made the word of God of none effect. Perhaps this single misapprehension of Cheynell may furnish a principle on which to explain all the absurdities of the absurd catechism with which this little volume is closed. One of the questions of this same catechism, with the answer to it, “collected,” as Cheynell expresses it, " out of Mr. C.'s works,” we will here extract, and then proceed to the former and more interesting part of the book. "We must first premise, that Cheynell professes to “ collect” his imaginary catechism out of Chillingworth's works ; but to each brief answer he appends a brief annotation, in manner and form following. “ Q. But if this great point must be tried by reason,
what reason can you produce to prove the Scripture to be the word of God?
“An. There is as good reason for it, as there is to believe other stories or matters of tradition : he requires men to yield just such a kind or degree of assent to the gospel of Christ, as they yield to other stories or matters of tradition, (chap i. p. 37,) for God desires us only
to believe the conclusion as much as the premises deserve, (ib. sect. 8, p. 36.) And the Chronicle of England, joined with the general tradition of our acquaintance, deserves as much credit, in Mr. Chillingworth's conceit, as the gospel of Christ; for bis words are these, (chap. ii. sect. 159, p. 116, 117,) We have, I believe, as great reason to believe there was such a man as Henry the Eighth, King of Eng: land, as that Jesus Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate. The Lord rebuke that spirit of error, which moved the great men of Oxford to license this blasphemy! What have I no more reason to believe the three persons in the Holy Trinity, speaking in their glorious Gospel to my heart and conscience, than I have to believe Stowe's Chronicle, or the general tradition of my own acquaintance, or some such other fallible testimony !!!"
And thus triumphantly does the learned doctor lay his proud adversary prostrate.
Towards the close of the year 1643, after having, in the course of the autumn, accompanied the royal army to the siege of Gloucester, where he advised and directed the making of certain engines, after the manner of testudines cum pluteis, (of which engines we shall find Cheynell often reminding us) for assaulting the town, Chillingworth went with the Lord Hopton “ to Arundel castle in Sussex, and choosing to repose himself in that garrison, on account of an indisposition, occasioned by the severity of the season, he was taken prisoner, Dec. 9, by the parliamentary forces under Sir W. Waller, when the castle surrendered." Here Cheynell accidentally met him ; and at this period commences the “ brief and plain relation” which he has left us of what passed between himself and his antagonist.
Before, however, we proceed to the work itself, it will be proper to lay before our readers a very brief sketch of the life of our author.
Francis Cheynell, the son of a physician, was born at Oxford in 1608. "He became a member of that university in 1623. In 1629, he was, by the interest of his mother, at that time widow of Abbot Bishop of Salisbury, elected probationer's fellow of Merton College. Having taken orders, and officiated for some time in Oxford, he, in 1640, when the church began to be attacked, took the parliamentarian side. He embraced the covenant, was made one of the assembly of divines in 1643, and was frequently appointed to preach before the parliament. His great popularity with his party seems to have had its due effect upon his vanity, and accordingly we find him in his interviews with Chillingworth, which, as we have observed, happened about this time, treating his adversary with a condescension and self-complacency, which, to those who can estimate the vast superiority of Chillingworth's mind and principles, must be marvellously amusing. Nor is the entertainment dashed with any admixture of that bitterness which the general spirit of the times would lead us to expect. Cheynell really seems to have exerted himself with most active kindness for the good of both the soul and the body of his antagonist; and we think, that even the extracts which we are about to give will be sufficient to entitle the character of our worthy author to a place among those amiable exceptions, to which in the outset of this article we briefly alluded.
Chillingworth's great work having issued from the press with the imprimatur of Dr. Prideaux,. Dç, Fell, Dr. Potter, and other leading men at Oxford, Cheynell prefaces his Relation with an address to these persons, the whole of which is redolent of that mixture of compassion and self-satisfaction of which we have already spoken.
“You that were his patrons and encouragers, as he acknowledged ever, when he was in the height of his rebellion, do you beware Test a worse thing come unto you. You that were the licensers of his subtle atheism; repent, repent; for he was so hardened by your flattery, that (for ought the most charitable man can judge) he perished by your approbation : he ever appealed to his works even to his very dying day, and what was it which made him dote upon them, but your license and approbation?
“Sirs, the following history will testify my compassion towards your deceased friend, whom I ever opposed in a charitable and friendly way. I do not account it any glory to trample upon the carcase of Hector, or to pluck a dead lion by the beard.
“ I looked upon Mr. Chillingworth as one who had his head as full of scruples as it was of engines," and therefore dealt as tenderly with him as I use to do with men of the most nice and tender consciences : for I considered, that though beef must be preserved with salt, yet plums must be preserved with sugar. I can assure you, I stooped as low to him as I could without falling, &c."
The recollection of his losses and injuries at Merton College now comes upon him; and almost in the very sentence in which he disclaims all angry motives, his language rises to a pitch of sternness and bitterness which we scarcely expected from him.
“No, no,” he exclaims, “I have almost forgot the visitation at Merton College, the denial of my grace, the plundering of my house and little library: I know when and where, and of whom, to demand satisfaction for all these injuries and indignities.”
At the close of this part of his address, he vehemently quotes Ezekiel upon them, and then adds:
* Alluding to his “ testudines cum pluteis" at Gloucester.
“ Come, come away with this learned atheisme, your Judge looks upon you, the searcher of hearts and discoverer of secrets is acquainted with all your plots. The Lord sees what the ancients of Oxford do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery."
The worthy doctor seems to have been fond of thus playing on the language of Scripture; a curious instance of it will occur to be mentioned hereafter : for the present, we must listen to the conclusion of his address to the “ Unhappy licensers,” as he calls them.
“ I will not hold you longer upon the rack : learn the first lesson of Christianity, self-deniul; deny your own will, and submit yourselves to God's; deny your reason, and submit to faith : reason tells you, that there are some things above reason, and you cannot be so unreasonable as to make reason judge of those things which are above reason : remember that Master Chillingworth (your friend) did run mad with reason, and so lost his reason and religion both at once: he thought he might trust his reason in the highest points; his reason was to be judge, whether or no there be a God? Whether that God wrote any book? Whether the books usually received as canonical be the books, the Scriptures of God? What is the sense of those books ? What religion is best? What church purest? Come, do not wrangle, but believe, and obey your God, and then I shall be encouraged to subscribe myself,
Your friend and servant,
While reading such sentences as the preceding, we half expect that our readers will follow our example, and stop to enquire whether they are the expressions of a Papist or a Puritan. Yet they are the genuine offspring of a mind, far from the weakest among that stern assembly whose character was any thing but imbecility: they are from the pen of one, who, as we have seen, was highly honoured by the Parliament, and who was honoured still more highly afterwards,-for we find him in 1646, among those who were sent to convert the University of Oxford, and made a Visitor by the Parliament in the following year.
But to proceed.
We cannot do better than give the account of the meeting between Chillingworth and our author in the words of the latter, especially as it contains matters which may perhaps have furnished an article in a Gazette Extraordinary of the day.
“ Mr. Chillingworth and I met in Sussex by an unexpected providence : I was driven from my own house by force of times, only (as the cavaliers confessed) because I was nominated to be a Member of the Assembly : and when I heard that my living was bestowed upon a Doctor (who if some Cambridge-men deceive me not, became the stage far better than he doth the pulpit,) I resolved to exercise my ministry in Sussex, amongst my friends, in a place where there hath been little of the power of religion either known or practised. About the latter end of November I travelled from London to Chichester, according to my usual custom, to observe the monthly fast; and in my passage, with a thankful heart I shall ever acknowledge it, I was guarded by a convoy of sixteen soldiers, who faced about two hundred of the enemies forces, and put them all to flight. Upon the twelfth of December. I visited a brave soldier of my acquaintance, Captain James Temple, who did that day defend the Fort at Bramber against a bold daring enemy, to the wonder of all the country : and I did not marvel at it, for he is a man that hath his head full of stratagems, his heart full of piety and valour, and his hand as full of success as it is of dexterity: my grateful pen might well run on in his commendation, to the eternal shame of those who have been ungrateful to bim, to whom they do (under God) owe their preservation. But I intend not to defraud others of their deserved praise, who were present at that fierce encounter. There was present Colonel Harbert Morley, a gentleman of a nimble apprehension and vigilant spirit; but the cavaliers were kept at such a distance, that they never put the Colonel's regiment of horse to any trouble. There was present, likewise, Captain Henry Carleton, the antiprelatical son of a learned prelate, a man of a bold presence and fixed resolution, who loves his country better than his life. Capt. Simon Everden was there also, a man of slow speech, but sure performance, who deserves that motto of the old Roman, Non tam facile loquor, quum quod locutus sum præsto. You cannot expect that I should name all the rest of the commanders : but there were (you see) some difficulties in my way, which seemed insuperable, and yet the Lord of Hosts did bring me through these difficulties, safe from Bramber to Arundell, upon the twenty-first day of December, if I forget not. Master Chillingworth was at that time in Arundell Castle, which was surrendered to the much renowned commander, Sir William Waller, Serjeant-major-general of all the associated counties in the east and west, upon the sixth of January. As soon as the Castle was surrendered, I represented Master Chillingworth's condition to Sir William Waller, who commended him to the care of his worthy Chaplain, and his Chaplain showed so much charity and respect towards him, that he laid him upon his own bed, and supplied him with all necessaries which the place did afford. When the rest of the prisoners were sent up to London, Master Chillingworth made it evident to me, that he was not able to endure so long a journey; and if he had been put to it, he had certainly died by the way. I desired, therefore, that his journey might be shortened, and upon my humble motion he was sent to Chichester, where I interested the Governour that he might be secured by some officer of his acquaintance, and not put into the hands of the Marshal; the Governour gave order that Lieutenant Golledge should take charge of him, and placed him in the Bishop of Chichester's Palace, where he had very courteous usage, and all accommodations which were requisite for a sick man.”