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Lest that sad story should excite
Their dire delight!
Their pleasure flow :
You offerings pay;
Clothe you with flowers :
Great battles won;
With slaughter red.
They lived with men!
Than lions are:
Lament his fall,
And crown'd with peace;
Of war devour'd!
Of my torn heart!
To man, man bore !
Loved at that rate!
They and their glory set in night! The following is a part of his preface to his travels, admirable alike for the beauty and piety of its spirit, and for the vigor of its style :
THE FALL OF ANCIENT EMPIRES. The parts I speak of are the most renowned countries and kingdoms : once the seats of most glorious and triumphant empires ; the theatres of valor and heroical actions; the soils enriched with all earthly felicities; the places where nature hath produced her wonderful works; where arts and sciences have been invented, and perfected; where wisdom, virtue, policy, and civility have been planted, have flourished: and, lastly, where God himself did place his own commonwealth, gave laws and oracles, inspired his prophets, sent angels to converse with men; above all, where the Son of God descended to become man; where he honored the earth with his beautiful steps, wrought the work of our redemption, triumphed over death, and ascended into glory. Which countries, once so glorious and famous for their happy estate, are now, through vice and ingratitude, become the most deplored spectacles of extreme misery. They remain waste and overgrown with bushes, receptacles of wild beasts, of thieves and murderers; large territories dispeopled, or thinly inhabited; goodly cities made desolate ; sumptuous buildings become ruins, glorious temples either subverted or prostituted to impiety ; true religion discountenanced and oppressed; all nobility extinguished; no light of learning permitted, nor virtue hed; violence and rapine insulting over all, and leaving no security save to an abject mind and unlooked-on poverty ; which calamities of theirs, so great and deserved, are to the rest of the world as threatening instructions. For assistance wherein, I have not only related what I saw of their present condition ; but, so far as convenience might permit, presented a brief view of the former estates and first antiquities of those people and countries: thence to draw a right image of the frailty of man, the mutability of whatsoever is worldly; and assurance that as there is nothing unchangeable saving God, so nothing stable but by his grace and protection.
WILLIAM CHILLINGWORTH. 1602-1644.
One of the most distinguished divines of the church of England, and one of the ablest opposers of the doctrines of the church of Rome, is William Chillingworth. He was born in Oxford, in 1602, and studied there. Soon after taking his degree, a Jesuit, by the name of Fisher, argued him into a belief of the doctrines of Popery, and he consequently went to the Jesuits' college at Douay, and there studied for some time. But his friends induced him to return to Oxford, where, after additional study of the points of difference between the Papists and Protestants, he was convinced of his error, and in his great work, soon after published, entitled “The Religion of Protestants a Safe Way to Salvation,” showed himself to be one of the most able defenders of the Protestant church that England ever produced. In it, he maintains that the Scriptures are the only rule of faith and practice, and the only rule to which appeals ought to be made in theological controversies. These points he proves conclusively, and the work has ever been considered as a model of perspicuous reasoning.
Locke, in one of his works, after setting forth the great importance of per
spicuity in the art of speaking, says, “ There must also be right reasoning, without which perspicuity serves but to expose the speaker. And for attain. ing this end, I should propose the constant reading of Chillingworth, who by his example, will both teach perspicuity and the way of right reasoning, better than any work I know.” And Gibbon, the historian, alluding to our author, on his recantation from popery, says, “His new creed was built on the principle, that the Bible is our sole judge, and private reason our sole interpreter; and he most ably maintains this position in the Religion of a Protestant,' a book which is still esteemed the most solid defence of the Reformation.”
THE NECESSITY OF AN UNADULTERATED SCRIPTURE. He that would usurp an absolute lordship and tyranny over any people, need not put himself to the trouble and difficulty of abrogating and disannulling the laws, made to maintain the common liberty; for he may frustrate their intent, and compass his own designs as well, if he can get the power and authority to interpret them as he pleases, and add to them what he pleases, and to have his interpretations and additions stand for laws: if he can rule his people by his laws, and his laws by his lawyers. So the church of Rome, to establish her tyranny over men's consciences, needed not either to abolish or corrupt the Holy Scriptures, the pillars and supporters of Christian liberty : but the more expedite way, and therefore more likely to be successful, was, to gain the opinion and esteem of the public and authorized interpreter of them, and the authority of adding to them what doctrine she pleased, under the title of traditions or definitions. The matter being once thus ordered, and the Holy Scriptures being made in effect not your directors and judges, (no farther than you please,) but your servants and instruments, always pressed and in readiness to advance your designs, and disabled wholly with minds so qualified to prejudice or impeach them; it is safe for you to put a crown on their head, and a reed in their hands, and to bow before them, and cry,
Hail, King of the Jews !" to pretend a great deal of esteem, and respect, and reverence to them, as here you do. But to little purpose is verbal reverence without entire submission and sincere obedience; and, as our Saviour said of some, so the scripture, could it speak, I believe would say to you, Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not that which I command you ?” Cast away the vain and arrogant pretence of infallibility, which makes your errors incurable. Leave picturing God, and worshipping him by pictures. • Teach not for doctrine the cominandments of men. Debar not the laity of the testament of Christ's blood. Let your public prayers, and psalms, and, hymns, be in such language as is for the edification of the assistants. Take not from the clergy that liberty of marriage which Christ hath left them. Do not impose upon men that humility of worshipping angels which St.
Paul condemns. Teach no more proper sacrifices of Christ but one. Acknowledge them that die in Christ to be blessed, and “to rest from their labors." Acknowledge the sacrament after consecration to be bread and wine, as well as Christ's body and blood. Let not the weapons of your warfare be carnal, such as are massacres, treasons, persecutions, and, in a word, all means either violent or fraudulent: these and other things, which the scripture commands you, do, and then we shall willingly give you such testimnony as you deserve ; but till you do so, to talk of estimation, respect, and reverence to the scripture, is nothing else but talk.
SCRIPTURE ALONE THE RULE OF FAITH. This presumptuous imposing of the senses of men upon the words of God, the special senses of men upon the general words of God, and laying them upon men's consciences together, under the equal penalty of death and damnation ; this vain conceit that we can speak of the things of God better than in the words of God: this deifying our own interpretations, and tyrannous enforcing them upon others : this restraining of the word of God from that latitude and generality, and the understandings of men from that liberty, wherein Christ and the apostles left them, is, and hath been, the only fountain of all the schisms of the church, and that which makes them immortal; the common incendiary of Christendom, and that which (as I said before) tears into pieces, not the coat, but the bowels and members of Christ. Take away these walls of separation, and all will quickly be one. Take away this persecuting, burning, cursing, damning of men for not subscribing to the words of men, as the words of God; require of Christians only to believe Christ, and to call no man master but him only ; let those leave claiming infallibility that have no title to it, and let them that in their words disclaim it, disclaim it likewise in their actions; in a word, take away tyranny, which is the devil's instrument to support errors, and superstitions, and impieties, in the several parts of the world, which could not otherwise long withstand the power of truth ; I say, take away tyranny, and restore Christians to their just and full liberty of captivating their understanding to scripture only, and as rivers, when they have a free passage, run all to the ocean, so it may well be hoped, by God's blessing, that universal liberty, thus moderated, may quickly reduce Christendom to truth and unity.
THE SIN OF DUELLING.
We are so far from seeking that honor which is of God, from endeavoring to attain unto, or so much as countenancing such virtues, which God hath often professed that he will exalt and
glorify, such as humility, and patiently bearing of injuries, that we place our honor and reputation in the contrary; that is counted noble and generous in the world's opinion, which is odious and abominable in the sight of God. If thy brother offend or injure thee, forgive him, saith Christ; if he proceed, forgive him : what, until seven times ? Ay, until seventy times seven times. But how is this doctrine received now in the world? What counsel would men, and those none of the worst sort, give thee in such a case? How would the soberest, discreetest, well-bred Christians advise thee? Why thus: If thy brother or thy neighbor have offered thee an injury, or affront, forgive him ? by no means; of all things in the world take heed of that: thou art utterly undone in thy reputation then, if thou dost forgive him. What is to be done then? Why, let not thy heart rest, let all other business and employment be laid aside, till thou hast his blood. What ! a man's blood for an injurious passionate speech, for a disdainful look! Nay, this is not all: that thou mayest gain amongst men the reputation of a discreet well-tempered murderer, be sure thou killest him not in passion, when thy blood is hot and boiling with the provocation, but proceed with as much temper and settledness of reason, with as much discretion and preparedness, as thou wouldst to the communion : after some several days' meditation, invite him, mildly and affably, into some retired place; and there let it be put to the trial, whether thy life or his must answer the injury.
Oh most horrible Christianity! That it should be a most sure settled way for a man to run into danger and disgrace with the world, if he shall dare to perform a commandment of Christ's, which is as necessary to be observed by him, if he have any hope of attaining heaven, as meat and drink is for the sustaining of his life! That ever it should enter into the heart of a Christian, to walk so exactly and curiously contrary to the ways of God; that whereas he every day and hour sees himself contemned and despised by thee, who art his servant, his creature, upon whom he "might (without any possible imputation of unrighteousness) pour down the phials of his fierce wrath and indignation; yet He, notwithstanding, is patient and long-suffering towards thee, hoping that his long-suffering may lead thee to repentance, and earnestly desiring and soliciting thee by his ministers to be reconciled unto him! Yet, that thou, for all this, for a blow in anger, it may be, for a word, or less, shouldst take upon thee to send his soul, or thine, or, it may be, both, clogged and pressed with all your sins unrepented of, (for thou canst not be so wild as to think thou canst repent of thy sins, and yet resolve upon such a business,) to expect your sentence before the judgment-seat of God; wilfully and irrecoverably to deprive yourselves of all those blessed means which God had contrived for your salvation, the