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he, “ do ye abhor grey hairs, and deteft “ those white locks which make you resem" ble our Saviour ? Pray, are not such of you as are guilty of this afraid that
Maker " should not know you again at the resure so rection ? and left, removing and excluding
you from the benefit of his promises, he " should reprove you with the awful sternness “ of a censor and a judge, saying, This is not
my work, nor is it my image? You have
polluted your skin with deceitful paint, " and dyed your hair with adulterous colours;
your face is destroyed by fraud, your figure “ is corrupted, and your countenance quite " altered. You cannot see God, since you s have not those eyes which God made you, « but those which the devil hath corrupted.'
St. Cyprian also pretends, that the church should implicitly obey the dictates of bishops chosen with the ordinary formalities, as the only way to prevent heresies; and whoever, says he, disobeys them, disobeys God; unless any one be so ralhly facrilegious and distracted, as to imagine, that a bishop is made without the approbation of God, though he, himself has said, that a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his permission. In another place he makes the falvation of the people to depend on the validity of the
bifhop's election, and that
his moralo . Have hot the people then a fine time of it? : TERTULLIAN absolutely condemns all war, and every art, employment, profession, ör commerce, relating to things whereof the pagans could possibly make any idolatrous ufe And Lactantius thinks all trade, as being the effect of avarice, unbecoming that contentment and tranquillity, and that contempt of the world, which ought to reign in the heart of a christian. He likewife dirallows the putting money out to interest, tho' never so small, which he looks upon as a sort of robbery. This father also pretends, that God has absolutely forbid the taking away of any man's life, either judicially, or in war, or in self-defence .
St. Bafil is as patient as Lactantius : for his opinion is, that whoever gives another a mortal wound, be the cause or provocation ever so great or just, is guilty of murder ; that every layman, who defends himself againft a robber, ought to be excommunicated, and a clergyman deposed; for, says he, all who use the sword, shall perish by the sword, açcording to our Saviour's words. Now, ale though these fathers have carried this point to a manifest extreme, yet surely mens lives are commonly held a great deal too cheap; the destroying them by duelling of unneceffary wars is a moft execrable action; and the taking them away for mere robberies seems unjusțifiable, and bordering at least upon cruelty, Doth not humanity require, that only murder, and a few other crimes of the most malignant and atrocious nature, should be punished by death? And would not the inflicting this dreadful punishment for those crimes only be a means greatly to deter men from committing them? But to proceed; St. Bahl extends christian patience so far as to think it unlawful to sue for one's right, and of consequence utterly condemns the lawyers. These opinions he founds upon mistaken texts of scripture, making a general . rule of the literal sense of these words: If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him bave thy cloke alf. He likewife absolutely forbids all swearing upon any occafiona. Are not many of these the very principles of the quakers? And yet those people, who pay the highest honours to the fathers, hold the quakers in the lowest degree of contempt for entertaining the same notions.
the * Ibid. c. viii,
y C. vi,
2 C. ix,
TERTULLIAN, before-mentioned, cen. sures those severely, who accept of public employments, especially in courts of justice,
a Ibid. c. xi.
looking upon it as inconsistent with the profeffion of a christian to have the least hand in condemning or punishing any criminal; and this, because the purple robe, the prætextæ, trabeæ, laticlavi & fafces, were all originally consecrated to idolatry. He makes all magistrates the collegués of devils, who, he says, are the magistrates of this world. The fathers, tho' they generally chimed in with Tertullian 'till Constantine's reign, yet then readily changed their note, and employed all their eloquence to Thew, that he might be the governor of this world, as they called him, and a good christian too.
St. Chryfoftom extols Abraham's prudence and resolution in overcoming his jealousy fo far as to exposé Şarab's chastity; and highly commends her good-natured complaisance for her husband, in fubmitting to commit adultery in order to save his life. “ You “ see,” says the father, “ what a proposal he “ ventured to make to her, and how she accepted it. She does not refuse, or thew
any manner of reluctance to it, but plays “ her part in the comedy admirably well.
Who can sufficiently praise her, who, after so long continence, and in so ad“vanced an age, freely consented to expose “ herself to adultery, and to deliver her body
b Ibid. c. v.
si to barbarians, in order to save her husband's “ life ?". But perhaps this good woman's advanced
age, which is computed to have been at that time fixty-five years, might rather diminish than augment her praise; especially as many of these barbarians doubtless were young: at least it seems; by the following · lines on the story of Sufanna and the two Elders, as tho' our excellent poet, Prior, would have thought so: Fair Şụsan did her wif-hede well menteine, Algates assaulted fore by letchours tweine : Now, and I read aright that auncient song, Olde were the paramours, the dame full yong. Had thilke fame tale in other guife been tolde ; Had they been yong (pardie) and she been olde; - That, by St. Kit, bad wrought much forer tryal ; Full marveillous, I wote, were swilk denyal “.
of the absurd interpretations of fcripture by
some of the primitive fathers. .
HE foregoing articles in this supple
ment being drawn to a greater length than was at first designed, this article will therefore be contracted into a narrow com
pass; c C. xiv.
d Poems on several occasions, p. 290, folio edit.