Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

welfare of my fellow-creatures, it be possible for this calamity to be turned aside, if it be possible that the end thou dost design may be accomplished by other means, .. I pray that so it may be.' Who knows, but that your life, or death, your happiness, or misery, may depend upon the contingency of your praying! Of the councils of the Most High we know but little; but this we do know, that they are not such, as that they cannot be influenced by the prayers of the righteous. The effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous man, availeth much.

But it may be otherwise; it may be, that the cup of sorrows is not to pass away, unless you drink it then, then it is, that the spirit of Christ will speak in your soul, and meekly say, Father, not my will, but thine, be done!

129

NOTES TO LECTURE III.

NOTE (1), page 105.

"THE word of God became man, in deed and in truth; and truly he did all things, that became a man. Thus, at the time of his passion, he deprecated the cup; showing thereby, that we ought not, on the one hand, to rush into danger; but, that, when once danger is incurred, we ought to bear it with fortitude. He himself prayed against the cross, which was designed for him; but, when once he was condemned to bear it, he took it on his shoulders, and bare it like a victor."-Isidore of Pelusium. Lib. i. epist. 289. De Poculi Recusatione.

[ocr errors]

NOTE (2), page 106.

"Farewell to Socrates, the Athenian buffoon*, who confessed that he knew nothing, though he boasted of the testimony of a most sophistical demon. Let Arcesilaus, and Carneades, and Pyrrho, and all the crowd of academics, doubt on; and let Simonides procrastinate for ever, in the delivery of his opinion. The haughty looks

He was so called by Zeno.

K

of the philosophers we contemn; for we know them to be overbearing adulterators of the truth; ever eloquent against those vices, which they are themselves the first to commit. We wear not our wisdom in our garb; but we carry it in our minds. We talk not great things; but we live them. We glory, to have found, what the philosophers sought for, but, with all their diligence, never could discover. Why are we ungrateful? Why do we grudge to ourselves, the fact, that the knowledge of divine truth has come to maturity, in our own age? Let us rather enjoy the blessing vouchsafed to us; let us govern our knowledge with discretion; let superstition be restrained; let impiety be expiated; let true religion be cherished."-M. Minucius Felix. Octavius, cap. xxxviii.

NOTE (3), page 106.

The following interesting anecdote is handed down to us, by Socrates Scholasticus, the historian:-"Just before the bishops came together at the Council of Nice, the dialecticians amused themselves with certain discussions; and were seducing others, to take delight in disputations. But, at length, a certain person, who, though a confessor, was a layman, and who was endowed with good common sense, remarked to them, that, not the art of disputing was delivered to us, by Christ and his apostles, but a plain doctrine, which was to be vindicated by faith and good works. What he said, met with the approbation of all who heard him; and the dialecticians having acquiesced in this plain and honest declaration of the truth, the tumult which had been raised by their disputations was composed."- Lib. i. cap. 8.

It is wisely observed by St. Chrysostom, that, "of dogmas, our Saviour, Christ, but rarely treats; because they require no labour: but concerning life, he discourses often, yea, every where; for, in this matter, there is a perpetual warfare, and, consequently, unceasing labour."- Hom. lxiv. in S. Matt.

NOTE (4), page 107.

"Oh, beware of misapplying Scripture! It is a thing easily done, but not so easily answered. I know not any one gap, that hath let in more, and more dangerous errors, into the Church, than this: that men take the words of the sacred text, fitted to particular occasions, and to the condition of the times wherein they were written, and then apply them, to themselves and others, as they find them; without due respect had, to the differences that are between those times and cases, and the present. Sundry things spoken in Scripture, agreeably to the infancy of the Church, would sort very ill with the Church in the fullness of her strength and stature: and sundry directions, very expedient in times of persecution, and when believers lived mingled with infidels, would be very unseasonably urged, when the Church is in a peaceable and flourishing estate, enjoying the favour, and living under the protection, of gracious and religious princes."― Bp. Sanderson. Ad Clerum, Serm. iv. p. 76.

NOTE (5), page 107.

The exordium to the Bishop of Limerick's eighth sermon, must be well known to all who are acquainted

with his Lordship's works: and those works ought to be the study of every one, who wishes to imbibe the spirit of unsophisticated, primitive, and catholic Christianity. To the writings, the advice, and the almost paternal kindness, of the Lord Bishop of Limerick, the author is very deeply indebted. But he forbears to express his sense of obligation more fully, lest he should seem to be actuated by other feelings than those of gratitude.

I cannot forbear from transcribing the following practical and judicious remarks:—

"In times like the present, there is much to divert us from our own business and bosoms. It is, therefore, the more indispensable, that, in the first instance, we look narrowly into ourselves; that we first make the Word of God our own familiar study; and, having felt its holy influence within, that we proceed wisely and affectionately to diffuse its influence around; beginning with those whom God and nature have committed to our especial care, and extending our exertions in those quarters, where we shall be most able to mark every stage of procedure. It is, indeed, a Christian duty to disseminate the Scriptures, wherever the demand and the preparation give room to hope, that the Scriptures will be profitably and piously used. But it is a superior duty, and a duty no less prior in time, than superior in importance, that, by all means in our power, by study, by reflection, by vigilance, and, above all, by fervent prayer, we labour, through divine assistance, ourselves to become a living commentary on the Sacred Word. The peace of God would then tranquillize our hearts and minds; and the tranquillity within, would infallibly diffuse itself abroad. There never yet lived a good and

« AnteriorContinua »