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well as the English (cannot contain], which you have learned to cavil at, reaches it here. But now, sir, why must this word [cannot] be said to be devised by us in favour of the flesh. For neither was it devised; nor if it were, does the sense which it gives the place, provide chiefly for marriage, but rather by that for the avoiding of heinous sin, as any one, I think, might see, unless he believes fornication to be more tolerable in some people than matrimony. The end of St. Paul's counsel in this place is visibly the same with that of his advice, verse 5, for which he gives this reason, “that Satan tempt you not,' drã rhv åkpariav ůpôv, which I would thus paraphrase, “by the unruliness of your desires.” Get your masters to do it better; but mark what I say ; if this be well, as I am reasonably assured it is, it will be in vain any longer to cavil at the translation of the place under debate. And now let us go on.
“Likewise the words of Christ, Matthew xix. 11, are corrupted in favour of the flesh, · Non omnes capiunt verbum istud, sed quibus datum est. •All men cannot receive this saying, but such to whom it is given.' It ought to be ; ‘All men do not receive this saying.'
But notwithstanding your vulgar Latin, our translation is already as it ought to be : for the Greek word* does not only signify, to receive, but as frequently, to be capable of receiving. And there is this reason for translating it so in this place, because in the very next verse, our Saviour, speaking of the same matter, expressly says, “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” Now I should think, that this at least implies, that some cannot receive it; and yet, as forward a man as you are, I
suppose you will hardly say, our Saviour put in the word (ablet) in favour of the flesh.
“Also the words of Job, chapter vii. and many other texts, especially Exodus xx. 4, in hatred of the picture of our Saviour, Non facies tibi sculptile; which word sculptile is, by the seventy interpreters, translated idol, as indeed it ought to be, because God did not forbid images, but idols.”
As for Job vii. 1, it is rendered without the least liberty of paraphrase, and word for word, excepting only the addition of the necessary expletives to express an interrogation in English. But what do I trouble myself to find out some colour of a fault, when you set me to seek one? The place concerns no manner of controversy between us : and I am apt to think, that
borrowed it out of a book that was false printed, and then had not judgment enough to correct it.
At last we have, it seems, corrupted Exodus xx. 4, by putting the words graven image in the second commandment ; for is not that it you would have ? And pray, why should we not do so, since not only the Hebrew* but even your own vulgar has the same: which you here confess to be, “ Non facies tibi sculptile.” For what is a graven thing here but a graven image? Oh! but this word sculptile is, by the seventy interpreters, translated idol. Thou hast a lucky brain ? Belike then, the seventy had the vulgar Latin before them, and followed it in this place. To what purpose is it to spend time upon such stuff as this? Look, sir, this is the short of the business, the Septuagints’ translation is good, and the vulgar translation is good, and that because it will hold good to the world's end, that graven images, or any likenesses whatever that are worshipped are idols, not excepting the picture of our Saviour, if we had it; which I do not say, in hatred of the picture of our Saviour, unless I must needs hate every thing which I do not worship. But I know no necessity of that, for I am far enough from worshipping your own self, and yet I cannot find in
heart to hate you : but I wish you well, and shall therefore give you a little good advice.
Do not for the future, as I hinted to you before, meddle with kings or queens, cardinals, archbishops or noblemen, for they are persons too high for you ; nor with the Septuagint, or the comparing of originals and translations, as I add now; for these are things too high for you too. And for the same reason, meddle no more between Churches, trouble
head no more about questions relating to holy orders, mission, succession, and the
power of reformation : give not yourself to controversies ; and, above all things, write no more queries. And if this distemper be once cured, I will not despair, but that
ingenuity may direct you to an employment more suitable to your capacity, so that you may be able to give a tolerable account of your time. Farewell.
A DISCOURSE WHEREIN IS HELD FORTH THE OPPOSITION OF THE DOCTRINE, WORSHIP, AND PRACTICE OF THE ROMAN CHURCH, TO THE NATURE, DESIGNS, AND CHARACTERS, OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH.
“He that increaseth knowlege, increaseth sorrow,” is an observation which holdeth true of no part of knowledge, so much as of the knowledge of mankind : it is some relief to him, who knows nothing of foreign wickedness, to hope there are other nations wherein virtue is honoured, and religion is in esteem, which allays his regrets, when he sees vice and impiety abound in his own country ; but if by travelling or reading, he enlarge his horizon, and know mankind better, his regrets
when he finds the whole world lies in wickedness. It argues a cruel and inhuman temper, to delight in beholding scenes of horror and misery ; and certainly none, who either honours his Maker and Redeemer, or is a lover of mankind, can without sorrow look on, and ee the indignities done to God, and his Son Christ, and see the enemy of the human race triumphing over the world with such absolute authority, and so much enraged cruelty; and that not only in the dark region of it, which the Sun of Righteousness hath not yet visited with his Gospel, but that where Christ should have a throne, Satan's seat should also be, is justly surprising and astonishing. That almost all Christendom hath fallen from their first love, is what none, whose eyes are open, can deny ; and it is little less evident, that the greater part of it hath made shipwreck, and erred from the
and that the Church, whose faith was once spoken of throughout the world, is now become the mother of the fornications of the earth. It is true, the Scriptures warned us of a “falling away,” of a "mystery of iniquity," of an "Antichrist” to be revealed in due time, and of a Babylonish Rome, which should bewitch the earth with her sorceries, but should be varnished over with fair colours and specious pretences, so that “Mystery" should be on her forehead: being then warned of so much danger to the Christian religion, it is a necessary (though painful) inquiry to see if this Antichrist be yet come, or if we must look for another.
But because some have stretched the notion of antichristianism so far, that things harmless and innocent come within its compass ; and others have so much contracted it, that they might escape free; we are to take a view of the nature and designs of the Christian religion, and to conclude from that, what must be antichristianism: it being not only a bare contradiction to some branches or parts of the Gospel, (for then every error or heresy were antichristianism) but a design and entire complex, of such opinions and practices, as are contradictory to, and subversive of the power and life of Christianity : and if we find any such thing to be broached and received into the world, we may, with the least hazard of uncharitableness, pronounce it to be antichristianism; and if it be acted or animated by any head, he may be concluded Antichrist.
The designs of the Christian religion run betwixt these four heads: the first is, to give us right apprehensions of the nature and attributes of God, that we may conceive aright of him, and adore him suitably to his nature, and according to his will, and thereby be admitted to a free converse with him, and become partakers of the divine nature. How little of God was known by the twinklings of nature's light, even to the better and wiser part of the world, Tully's books of the nature of the Gods do sufficiently inform us.
But if the philsophers were so much to seek in it, what shall we expect from the vulgar? And indeed, Homer's “Iliads," and Ovid's
Metamorphoses,” were wretched systems of divinity ; and yet such, and such like, were the sentiments of the nations about the Godhead. It is true, the seed of Abraham were delivered from that darkness, and knew God by his name Jehovah, and had laws and ordinances given them by God; yet their worship was so carnal, and did so strike upon, and affect the senses, that we will be soon satisfied it was not so sublime and free as became the spirituality of the divine nature, and so was only fitted for the infancy of the people of God; but by Christ the mystery that lay hid from ages and generations, was revealed; for he declared the Father and revealed him, and taught us to renounce idols and vanities, and to serve the living God, commanding all men every where to repent, the times of ignorance wherein God winked at idolatry, being then over. That so mankind being God's offspring, might feel after him, and not worship him any more in the blinding grossness of idolatry, but in a pure spiritual manner ; and whereas the law came by Moses, by Christ came grace and truth-grace in opposition to the severity of the law; and truth, as opposed (not to falsehood) but to the figures and shadows of Moses's law; and therefore God is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth, in opposition to the carnal ordinances, and typical rites, which shadowed out the truth in the law.
The second branch of the Christian religion is, to hold forth the method of man's reconciliation with his Maker. For the sense of all mankind agrees in this ; that sin is an indignity done God, which deserveth punishment, and cannot be expiated by any service man can do: it was therefore necessary there should be a mean found for encouraging sinners to embrace a religious life ; of which all had reason to despair, without pardon were offered to penitents, upon the change of their lives. Now this was what the heathen could not dream how to procure : it is true, the Jews had sacrifices for expiating of sin, but these could never quiet their consciences, since the common sense of mankind tells, that the blood of beasts cannot appease God. The mystery therefore of the reconciliation of sinners to God, is the proper character of the Christian religion; which holds forth to us how the Eternal Word was made man, and endured unspeakable sufferings for the sins of men, even to the death of the cross ; and was raised up by God, and carried to heaven, where he is vested with all power and authority, and by the merits of his death hath a right to grant pardon, give grace, and confer eternal life on all that believe on him ; by whom God conveys all things to us, and through whom we are to offer up all our worship to God, he being the mediator betwixt God and man.
The third head of the Christian religion, is to teach the perfectest, clearest, and most divine rules, for advancing of the souls of men to the highest perfection of their natures. It is true, noble pieces of morality were acknowledged and taught by the heathen philosophers; and the books of the old Testament have the doctrine of virtue, purity, humility, and meekness laid open very fully; but without derogating from these, it must be acknowledged, that as the doctrine of Christianity teaches all these precepts with clearer rules, and fuller directions ; so they were in it recommended by the example of its author, backed with the strongest motives, and enforced with the greatest arguments. In these are the lessons of purity, chastity, ingenuity, humility, meekness, patience, and gene