Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

any such

is ill use made of our charity this way, by those willing mistakers who turn it to our disadvantage; that we pass so favourable censures upon their Churches, while they pass so cruel and merciless censures upon ours : yet, my conscience bids me to say, that I cannot repent of this just sentence; wherein I know I shall find comfort in my appearance, before the dreadful Tribunal of God, when the uncharitableness and injustice of these bloody men, that send their charitable opposers to a remediless damnation, shall be adjudged to that hell, which they have presumptuously doomed unto others. As for them, let them see how they can answer it to that Just Judge of the World in that great day, that they have presumed to blot out of the book of life so many millions of faithful Christians, only for dissenting from them in such points, as God never gave them warrant to impose.

From the force then of this relation, it is easily subinferred, that it is not lawful for Christian Churches, upon differences about points not essential to the faith, either voluntarily to forsake the communion of each other, or forcibly to abdicate and thrust out each other from their communion : there being the same reason in this behalf, of a Church, and a several Christian : as, therefore, one Christian may not abandon another for differences of opinion, in matters not necessary to be believed; so neither may one Church, upon such ground, either leave or expel another; but, if act be done, it is to be enquired, both where the fault is, and what may be the remedy.

In a mere simple dereliction of a Church thus differing, and supposed so to err, the faults must needs be in the Church forsaking : but, where the departure is accompanied with such circumstances, as may be supposed to be incident in such cases, there the state of the business may be altered, and the blame of either part, either taken off or aggravated. To instance in the prosecution of this relation which we have in hand : two sisters are appointed by their mother to look to her house: the charge is given equally to both: the mother is no sooner out of sight, than the elder begins to domineer over the younger; and requires her to do something in the family, which she conceives may tend to the prejudice of the common profit, and cross the mother's intention : the younger, finding herself grieved with this carriage, and disliking the task enjoined, both forbears to do it, and seriously expostulates with her sister; laying before her the inconveniences, which will follow upon such an act: the elder, impatient of a contradiction, not only gives sharp language, but thrusts her sister out of doors; neither will admit her to come in again, except she submit herself to her authority, and perform that chare which she formerly refused : the younger bolds off, as thinking she may not yield without wrong to herself

, and to her mother's trust. The sisters are now thus parted: but, where is the blame? The younger is gone away from the elder; but she doth it upon the elder's violence : on the one side, she had not gone, if she had not been thrust out; on the other side, she had not been thrust out, if she had not refused to do the thing re

quired : on the one side, the elder might not be so imperious, nor enjoin a thing unfit; on the other side, the younger might not upon such a command voluntarily forsake the elder : but, if the elder shall unjustly challenge such authority, and shall thereupon impose unmeet services, and shall put the younger out of doors for not performing them, it is olear where the fault rests.

I appeal to God, and the consciences of all just men, if this be not the state of the present differences, of the Romans and Reformed Churches. The remedy whereof must therefore begin from those parties, which have given cause of the breach. If they shall remit of their undue height and rigour; and be content with those moderate bounds, which God hath set them, both for doctrine and government; and yield themselves but capable of error; there may be possibility of reunion and peace: but, while they persist to challenge an infallibility of judgment and uncontrolableness of practice, they do wilfully block up the way to all reconciliation and concord; and stand guilty of all that grievous schism, under which the Church of God, thus long and miserably suffers.

And this, upon full deliberation, is my settled and final Resolution, concerning the main difference in religion : wherein my soul doth so confidently rest, that I dare therewith boldly appear before the face of that great Judge of the Quick and Dead, as knowing it infallibly warranted by his own UNDOUBTED WORD.

JOS, EXON.

JOSEPHI EXONIENSIS HENOCHISMUS:

SIVE,

TRACTATUS

DE MODO AMBULANDI CUM DEO.

ENOCH;

OR, A

TRE ATIS E

ON THB

MANNER OF WALKING WITH GOD.

WRITTEN ORIOINALLY IN LATIN

BY JOSEPH HALL, D.D.

SOMETIME LORD BISHOP OF EXETER.

TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH

BY HENRY BROWN, M. A.
VICAR OF NETHER-SWELL, IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE :

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

294

DOCTO AC CELEBRI CLERO DIOCESEOS EXONIENSIS ;

PACEM ET GRATIAM.

V ACABAT miki pridem, uti nostis, per menses aliquot, durante Reverendissimi Archipresulis visitatione Metropolitica.

Non potui interea nihil agere. Meditatiunculas, igitur, meas vertendas non illibens suscepi : hunc etiam, præter alia quædam, meditatus insuper Henochismum ; quo nihil cogitari potuit utilius, nihil salutarius.

Soluti nunc ferè sunt calami omnes in polemicas quasduin 24TVGEIS, Mapas quidem illas, plerasque, ucie wundeútes : et, ubi nihil est litium, cum Plautinis leguleiis, lites serunt. Friget, interim, pietas! sanctèque vivendi ratio, quasi dapodióvurov quiddam, vulgò negligitur !

Tædet me planè miseretque harum turbarum, quibus miserè agitatur orhis Christianus : utinam verò opis nostre foret, illas, non dico, votis, suspiriis, lachrymis, sed quovis aut sudore aut sanguine, demum sedare!

Deus, Deus, qui solus potest, istoc accuret scilicet! Demus nos, interim, Fratres, quantum possumus, operam, ut ad verum practice pietatis studium, hominum animos, à vanis hisce vitilitigationibus, revocemus. Illud est, quod me istic videtis moliri ; quodque, quamdiu superstitaverit mihi Deus hanc provinciam, moliturum deinceps sanctè. spondeo. Vos, quod olim suis commilitonibus Gideon, facite pariter, ac me fecisse cernitis.

Cælum est, quod quærimus : illà autem non disputando quidem, sed credendo et benè vivendo, pervenitur. Pauca sunt illa fidei capita, quæ Christiano cuique ad salutem crulitu necessaria sunt ; nec verò difficilia. 0, si in illis humiliter tacitèque acquiescere disceret plebs Christiana ; de reliquis haud nimis interim solicita : quodque superest temporis, pis officiis, bonisque operibus, fæliciter impenderet!

Illud, Fratres Charissimi, strenuè navemus operam, ut fiat : curemusquo sedulò, ut sanctissiinis probæ vile exemplis ita populo præliceamus, ut, vel sic, nostros cum Deo ambulare doceamus ; cum ipso, deinum, und æternùm regnaluros.

TO THE

LEARNED AND FAMOUS CLERGY OF THE DIOCESE

OF EXETER;

GRACE AND PEACE.

You know very well, that I have had some leisure time upon my hands, for several months, during the Archbishop's Metropolitical Visitation.

This time I could not spend in idleness. I, therefore, very willingly set myself to translate my Occasional Meditations into Latin : and, besides some other things, I also composed this short treatise, which I entitle Enoch; than which subject nothing can be conceived that may be more useful, or more seasonable.

The pens of almost all writers are now employed on certain polemical questions, foolish indeed, for the most part, and unlearned : and, where there is no cause for strife, they, like Plautus's lawyers, endeavour to gender strifes. In the mean time, piety starves and a holy and religious course of life is generally contemned, as of no kind of importance or value

I am utterly weary of, and sorry for, those wranglings, by which the Christian world is miserably agitated : and I wish it could be possible to appease them by any means in my power, I

say

not by my prayers, sighs, or tears only, but by any labour or fatigue of mine, or even at last by my blood!

May God, may God, I say, who alone can, in his good time provide a remedy for these disorders ! Let us, Brethren, in the mean time, use our utmost diligence, to draw off the minds of men from these vain wranglings and disputes, to the deep study of practical piety. This it is, which you see me labouring to accomplish ; and I do so lemnly promise, that I will never cease to direct my labours to this end, so long as it shall please God to continue me in this diocese. And, as Gideon formerly gave in command to his soldiers, do you, as you see I have done.

It is heaven, that we seek : but heaven will never be attained by contests and disputes, but by faith and a godly life. The articles of faith, which are necessary to be believed by every Christian in order to his salvation, are but few; nor are they difficult to be understood. Oh, that the whole congregation of Christian people would learn to acquiesce in them with all humility and quietness; and not be too solicitous about other points : and that they would employ the remainder of their time, in pious duties, and good works !

To accomplish this end, let us, my Dearest Brethren, strenuously exert ourselves : and let it be our constant care, so to walk before our people here, like burning and shining lights, by the most holy examples of an upright life, that, even so, we may teach them to walk with God here, and that we, together with them, may reign with him in eternal bliss and glory hereafter.

[ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »