« PredošláPokračovať »
tended work of my devotion; it being a felicity I can neither think to deserve nor scarce in modesty to expect. For these two ends of us all, either as rewards or punishments, are mercifully ordained and disproportionably disposed unto our actions; the one being so far beyond our deserts, the other so infinitely below our demerits.
Sect. LIV. There is no salvation to those that believe not in Christ; that is, say some, since his nativity, and, as divinity affirmeth, before also; which makes me much apprehend the end of those honest worthies and philosophers which died before his incarnation. It is hard to place those souls in hell, whose worthy lives” do teach us virtue on earth. Methinks, amongst those many subdivisions of hell, there might have been one limbo left for these. What a strange vision will it be to see their poetical fictions converted into verities, and their imagined and fancied furies into real devils ! How strange to them will sound the history of Adam, when they shall suffer for him they never heard of! When they, [that] derive their genealogy from the gods, shall know they are the unhappy issue of sinful man! It is an insolent part
reason, to controvert the works of God, or question the justice of his proceedings. Could humility teach others, as it hath instructed me, to contemplate the infinite and incomprehensible distance betwixt the Creator and the creature; or did we seriously perpend that one simile' of St. Paul, “shall the vessel say to the potter, why hast thou made me thus?" it would prevent these arrogant disputes of reason; nor would we argue the definitive sentence of God, either to heaven or hell. Men that live according to the right rule and law of reason, live but in their own kind, as beasts do in theirs; who justly obey the prescript of their natures, and therefore cannot reasonably demand a reward of their actions, as only obeying the natural dictates of their reason. It will, therefore, and must, at last appear, that all salvation is through Christ; which verity, I fear, these great examples of virtue must confirm, and make it good how the perfectest actions of earth have no title or claim unto Heaven.8
5 whose worthy lives do] All the MSS. they derive;" and this evidently erronand Edts. 1642 read, “whose life doth." eous reading is followed in most of the -Ed.
Editions ; some insert, who.-- Ed. 6 when they (that) derive ] That is 7 simile] MS. W. and Edts. 1642 inserted on the authority of all the MSS. read, principle.---Ed. and Edis. 1642. Ed. 1643 reads, " when
8 There is no salvation, &c.] On the plain and satisfactory evidence for the interesting question discussed in this sec- truth of the doctrine of universal redemption, viz. “what will be the future state tion. The two things are described as of those who have died in ignorance of the being in their operation upon mankind christian dispensation ?”—the first chap- absolutely co-extensive ; and as it is true, ter of Mr. Gurney's Observations on the without limit or exception, that all men Religious Peculiarities of the Society of are exposed to death through the sin of Friends contains so interesting a train of Adam, so it is true, without limit or exargument, that we shall without hesita- ception, that all men may obtain eternal tion make the following extracts :-- life through the righteousness of Christ."
“Let us in the first place endeavour “As men participate in the disease aristo form some estimate of the breadth of ing from the sin of Adam who are totally that foundation in religion, on which we ignorant of its original cause, so, we may are standing in common with mankind with reason infer, that men may also parin general. God is the Creator and mer- ticipate in the remedy arising from the ciful Father of us all. Christ died for us obedience of Christ who have received no all. A measure of the influence of the outward revelation whatever respecting Holy Spirit enlightens and, if obeyed, that obedience.” would save us all. Upon these succes- “What was the remark suggested by sive positions I will venture to offer a few the case of Cornelius to the apostle Peter ? remarks.
* Of a truth I perceive,' said he, that “ The attributes of God, as the Creator God is no respecter of persons; but in and Father of all mankind, were admi- every nation, he that feareth him and rably unfolded by the apostle Paul, in his worketh righteousness is accepted with address to the philosophical Athenians; him; ver. 34, 35. When the apostle Acts xvii. 24-28." Let it not be im- used these words, the truth which he conagined that God is the merciful Father of templated appears to have been this: that all mankind, only inasmuch as he makes amongst the nations of the Gentile world, his rain to fall, and his sun to shine for ignorant as they generally were, both of them all, and bestows upon them all a the institutions of the Jews and of the variety of outward and temporal benefits. offices of the Messiah, there were indiviThe Scriptures plainly declare that he duals who, like Cornelius, feared God wills for them a happiness of a far more and worked righteousness--who had exexalted and enduring nature. Fallen and perienced, THEREFORE, in some degree, corrupt as they are, and separated by their the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spiiniquities from the Holy One of Israel, rit-and that such individuals were ache willeth not that any should perish, cepted by the Father of mercies, who is but that all should come to repentance;' no respecter of persons.” “And such 2 Pet. üi, 9.” “ He who offers deliver- also we may believe to have been the ance to all men, has appointed for all men happy experience of all those Gentiles a way of escape. "God sent not his Son whom the apostle was considering, who into the world to condemn the world; might be so influenced by the power of but that the world through him might be the Lord's Spirit, as to live in the fear of saved ;' John ii, 17."
God, and to work righteousness. That “ This observation naturally leads to this was, to a great extent, the character my second proposition, that Christ died of some of the most virtuous of the ancient for all — a proposition in order to the Gentile philosophers, their recorded senproof of which I need do nothing more timents and known history afford us than simply cite the explicit declarations, strong reasons to believe: and that it on this subject, of inspired writers; 1 John was the character also of many besides ii, 1, 2; 1 Tim. ii, 5, C; Heb. ii, 9; Rom. them, who were destitute of an outward v. 18—21. The complete parallelism ob- revelation, we may learn without difficulty served in this last passage between the from the apostle Paul; Rom. ii, 13-15. effects of Adam's transgression on the one “ As the Gentiles to whom the apospart, and those of the righteousness of tle was here alluding were, according to Christ on the other, appears to afford a their measure of light, sanctified through
Sect. LV.-Nor truly do I think the lives of these, or of any other, were ever correspondent, or in all points conformable, unto their doctrines. It is evident that Aristotle transgressed the rule of his own ethicks;' the Stoicks, that con
the Spirit, and when sanctified accepted; theless enabled to fear God and work so I think every christian must allow that righteousness, I consider there is nothing they were accepted not because of their in the way to prevent our coming to a own righteousness, but through the merits sound conclusion, that, as, on the one and mediation of the Son of God. Now hand, God is merciful to all men, and the benefit of those merits and that me- Christ is a sacrifice for all men; so, on diation, is offered according to the decla- the other hand, all men have received a rations of Scripture, only to those who measure of that spiritual influence, through believe; for “ without faith it is impossi- which alone they can permanently enjoy ble to please God.” The doctrine that the mercy of God, or participate in the we are justified by faith, and that with- benefits of the death of Christ.” – Ed. out faith none can obtain salvation, is to It is evident that Aristotle, fc.] And be freely admitted as a doctrine revealed 80 they did all, as Lactantius hath obto mankind on the authority of God him- served at large. Aristotle is said to have sell. Let it, however, be carefully kept been guilty of great vanity in his clothes, in view, that God is equal. It is unques- of incontinency, of unfaithfulness to his tionably true in great as well as in little master Alexander, &c. But 't is no wonthings, that“ if there be first a willing der in him, if our great Seneca be also mind, it is accepted according to that a guilty, whom truly notwithstanding St. man hath, and not according to that he Jerome would have inserted into the cahath not;" 2 Cor. viii, 12. The extent talogue of saints, yet I think he as little of faith required in man in order that he deserved it, as many of the heathens who may be accepted with the supreme Being, did not say so well as he did ; for I do not will ever be proportioned to the extent of think any of them lived worse. To trace light communicated. Those to whom the him a little.--In the time of the Empemerits and mediation of the Son of God rour Claudius we find he was banished are made known, are undoubtedly re- for suspicion of incontinency with Julia quired to believe in the merits and me- the daughter of Germanicus. To look diation of the Son of God. Those from upon him in his exile, we find that then whom the plan of redemption is concealed, he wrote his epistle De Consolatione to and to whom the Deity is made manifest Polybius, Claudius's creature, and thereonly by his outward works, and by his in he extols him and the emperour to law written on the heart, may neverthe- the skies; in which he did grossly preless so believe in God, that it shall be varicate, and lost much of his reputation, counted to them “ for righteousness.” by seeking a discharge of his exile by so
“ The reader will observe that I have sordid a means. Upon Claudius's marriage already deduced the universality of saving with Agrippina, he was recalled from banlight from the declarations of Scripture, ishment by her means, and made prætor; that God's tender mercies are over all his then he forgets the emperour, having, no works, and that Christ died for all men. need of him, labours all he can to depress The most plausible objection to this infer- him, and the hopeful Britannicus, and ence, arises from the notion, so prevalent procured his pupil Nero to be adopted amongst some christians, that the Spirit and designed successor, and the empeof God operates on the heart of man only rour's own son to be disinherited; and in connexion with the outward knowledge against the emperour, whom he so much of the Scriptures and of Christ, and that praised when he had need of him, after consequently such outward knowledge is his death he writes a scurrilous libel. In indispensable to salvation. Having, there- Nero's court, how ungratefully doth he fore, endeavoured to remove this objec- behave himself towards Agrippina! who tion, and to shew on apostolic authority, although she were a wicked woman, yet that there were individuals in the Gentile she deserved well of him, and of her son world who had no acquaintance with the too, who yet never was at rest till he had truths of religion as they are revealed in taken away her life, and upon suspicion the Holy Scriptures, but who were never- cast in against her by this man. After
demn passion, and command a man to laugh in Phalaris's bull, could not endure without a groan a fit of the stone or colick. The scepticks, that affirmed they knew nothing, even in that opinion confute themselves, and thought they knew more than all the world beside. Diogenes I hold to be the most vainglorious man of his time, and more ambitious in refusing all honours, than Alexander in rejecting none. Vice and the devil put a fallacy upon our reasons; and, provoking us too hastily to run from it, entangle and profound us deeper in it. The duke of Venice, that [yearly) weds himself unto the sea, by [casting thereinto] a ring of gold, I will not accuse of prodigality, because it is a solemnity of good use and consequence in the state: but the philosopher, that threw his money into the sea to avoid avarice, was a notorious prodigal.3 . There is no road or ready way to virtue; it is not an easy point of art to disentangle ourselves from this riddle, or web of sin. To perfect virtue, as to religion, there is required a panoplia, or complete armour ; that whilst we lie at close ward against one vice, we lie not open to the veneys of another. And indeed wiser discretions, that have the thread of reason to conduct them, offend without a pardon; whereas under heads may stumble without dishonour. There go so many circumstances to piece up one good action, that it is a lesson to be good, and we are forced to be virtuous by the book. Again, the practice of men holds not an equal pace, yea and often runs counter to their theory; we naturally know what is good, but naturally pursue what is evil: the rhetorick wherewith I
wards, not to mention that he made great tion to their Doge: “Que la mer vous haste to grow rich, which should not be soit soumise comme l'épouse l'est à son the business of a philosopher, how well époux, puisque vous en avez acquis l'emdid it become his philosophy to play the pire par la victoire." It was in commemotraitor against Nero himself, and to be- ration of this event that the annual ceremocome an accomplice in the conspiracy of ny here alluded to was established - Ed. Piso ?---Now let any man judge what a The Duke and Senate yearly, on Asprecious legacy it is that he bequeathes cension-day, used to go in their best atby his nuncupative will to his friends, in tire to the haven at Lio, and there, by Tacitus “ Conversus ad amicos (saith throwing a ring into the water, do take he) quando meritis eorum referre gratiam the sea as their spouse. Vid. Hist. Ital. prohiberetur, quod unum jam tamen et by W. Thomas, Cambro-Brit. Busbepulcherrimum habebat, imaginem vitæ quius reports that there is a custom suæ relinquere testatur. It cannot be amongst the Turks, which they took denied of him, that he hath said very from the Greek priests, not much unlike well; but yet it must as well be affirmed, unto this. “ Cum Græcorum sacerdotibus that his practice hath run counter to his mos sit certo veris tempore aquas consetheory, to use the author's phrase.--R. crando mare clausum veluti referare, ante
1 The scepticks, fc.] Their maxim was, quod tempus non facile se cummittunt “ Nihil sciri siqnis potat, id quoque nescit.
fluctibus; ab ea ceremonia nec Turcæ An sciri possit, quodi se nil scire fatetur."-K. absunt ” Busb. ep. 3, Legat. Turcic.--K.
2 [yearly] weds himself, &c.] The 3 But the philosopher, &c.] This was words between brackets are from all the Apollonius Thyaneus, who threw a great MSS. and Edts. 1642.
quantity of gold into the sea with these Towards the close of the thirteenth words, “ Pessundo divitias, ne pessunder century, the Venetians compelled the ab illis ” Polycrates, the tyrant of Samos, neighbouring states to acknowledge their cast the best jewel he had into the sea, that right of sovereignty over the Adriatick thereby he might learn to compose himSea ;-a right which they have since con- self against the vicissitudes of fortune.-K. tended was confirmed to them by Pope at close ward ] MSS. W. 2 & R. Alexander 111, in his celebrated declara- read," at a close guard."- Ed.
persuade another cannot persuade myself. There is a depraved appetite in us, that will with patience hear the learned instructions of reason, but yet perform no further than agrees to its own irregular humour. In brief, we all are monsters; that is, a composition of man and beast: wherein we must endeavour to be as the poets fancy that wise man, Chiron ; that is, to have the region of man above that of beast, and sense to sit but at the feet of reason. Lastly, I do desire with God that all, but yet affirm with men that few, shall know salvation,—that the bridge is narrow, the passage strait unto life: yet those who do confine the church of God either to particular nations, churches, or families, have made it far narrower than our Saviour ever meant it.
Sect. LV1.7– The vulgarity of those judgements that wrap the church of God in Strabo's cloak, and restrain it unto Europe, seem to me as bad geographers as Alexander, who thought he had conquered all the world, when he had not subdued the half of any part thereof. For we cannot deny the church of God both in Asia and Africa, if we do not forget the peregrinations of the apostles, the deaths of the martyrs, the sessions of many and (even in our reformed judgement)
3 veneyl Or venew ;-- the technical Europe, but the known part of the world term used by fencers for a hit. See Love's that Strabo resembleth to a cloak, and Labour's Lost, act v, scene 1.--Ed. that is it the author here alludeth to; but 6 under ]
Used adjectively, in the we have no reason to think that the resense of inferiour.- Ed.
semblance of Strabo is very proper: Vid. 7 Sect. Lvi.] This section is not in Sir Hen. Savil, in not. ad Tac. in vita any of the MSS., nor in Edts. 1642. Agricola.-K. -Ed.
The passage alluded to, in which Strabo & Strabo's cloak,] 'T is Strabonis tunica compares the exterior configuration of the in the translation, but chlamydi would then known habitable world to that of a do better, which is the proper expression cloak, is to be found, lib. ii, c. 5, tom. i, of the word that Strabo useth: it is not p. 315, in ed. Siebenkees.-Ed.