Imatges de pÓgina
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cellency and perfection that is in himself, how can he be thankful to God, who is the author of all excellency and perfection? Nay, if a man hath too mean an opinion of himself, it will render him unserviceable both to God and man.

3. Pride may be allowed to this or that degree, else a man can not keep up his dignity. In gluttons there must be eating, in drunkenness there must be drinking; it is not the eating, nor it is not the drinking, that is to be blamed, but the excess. So in pride.

We select the following fine passage from the preface to Selden's History of Tithes.'

FREE INQUIRY.

For the old skeptics that never would profess that they had found a truth, yet showed the best way to search for any, when they doubted as well of what those of the dogmatical sects too credulously received for infallible principles, as they did of the newest conclusions. They were, indeed, questionless, too nice, and deceived themselves with the nimbleness of their own sophisms, that permitted no kind of established truth. But, plainly, he that avoids their disputing levity, yet being able, takes to himself their liberty of inquiry, is in the only way that in all kinds of studies leads and lies open even to the sanctuary of truth; while others that are servile to common opinion and vulgar suppositions, can rarely hope to be admitted nearer than into the base court of her temple, which too speciously often counterfeits her inmost sanctuary.

JAMES USHER, archbishop of Armagh, in Ireland, a prelate equally illustrious for his piety and other virtues, as for his great abilities and profound learning, was descended from a very ancient family, and was born in Dublin, on the fourth of January, 1580. His father was one of the clerks in chancery, and is memorable for having been the first to move Queen Elizabeth to found and endow Trinity College, in his native city. James discovered unusual talents, and a strong passion for books, even from his childhood; and having been taught to read by two blind aunts, he was placed, when only eight years of age, under the care of a young Scotch gentleman, named Hamilton, who had settled in Dublin to follow the profession of schoolmaster. In 1593, at the age of thirteen, he entered Trinity College, being one of the first three students that were admitted, the college having been completed that same year. Hamilton, meantime, becoming one of the professors in the new college, Usher continued to enjoy the advantages of his instructions. During his studies at college, he became a fine classical scholar, though his chief attention was devoted to history and chronology. At that early period he collected and arranged most of those materials which he afterward elaborated in his Annals. He was early designed for the law, but the death of his father, whose wishes inclined to that profession, allowed him to follow his own inclinations for theology. He succeeded to his father's estate, but wishing to devote himself uninterruptedly to study, he gave it up to his brother, reserving for himself only a sufficiency for his maintenance at college, and the purchase of books. He early displayed great zeal against the Roman Catholics; and notwithstanding the mildness

1 Such a thing as a faulty excess of humility.

of his personal character, continued, throughout his life, to manifest a highly intolerant spirit toward them. In 1606, he visited England, and became acquainted with Camden and Sir Robert Colton, to the former of whom he communicated many valuable particulars about the ancient state of Ireland, and the history of Dublin; which were afterward inserted by Camden in his 'Britannia.'

For thirteen years subsequent to 1607, Usher filled the chair of divinity in the university of Dublin, in performing the duties of which he confined his attention chiefly to the controversies between the Protestants and Romanists. At the convocation of the Irish clergy, in 1615, when they determined to assert their independence as a national church, the articles drawn up on the occasion emanated chiefly from his pen; and by asserting in them the Calvinistic doctrines of election and reprobation in their broadest aspect, as well as by his advocacy of the rigorous observance of the Sabbath, and his known opinion, that bishops were not a distinct order in the church, but only superior in degree to presbyters, he exposed himself to the charge of being a favorer of Puritanism. Having been accused as such to the king, he went over to England, in 1619, and in a conference with his majesty, so fully cleared himself, that he was soon after appointed to the see of Meath, and, in 1624, to the archbishopric of Armagh. Bishop Usher had scarcely reached his elevated position before he gave evidence of his intolerant spirit toward the Romanists, by acting as the leading man at the drawing up of a protestation commencing as follows:-The religion of the Papists is superstitious and idolatrous; their faith and doctrines erroneous and heretical; their church, in respect of both, apostatical. To give them, therefore, a toleration, or to consent that they may freely exercise their religion, and possess their faith and doctrine, is a grievous sin.' At a later period, Usher's zeal showed itself in a more creditable shape on the occasion of a letter from the king to the Irish archbishops, complaining of the increase of Popery in Ireland. He invited persons of the Romish persuasion to his house, and endeavored to convert them by friendly argument, in which attempt his great skill in disputation is said to have given him considerable success.

During the political convulsions of Charles's reign, Usher, in a treatise entitled The Power of the Prince, and Obedience of the Subject, maintained the absolute unlawfulness of taking up arms against the king. The Irish rebellion, in 1641, drove him to England, where he was well received by King Charles, whose residence was, at that time, at Oxford. Here Usher settled; but the civil war which soon followed, compelled him frequently to change his abode, until it at last became fixed at the Countess of Peterborough's seat at Ryegate, where he died, on the twenty-first of March, 1656, and was buried, by order of Cromwell, the Protector, with great pomp and magnificence, in Westminster Abbey.

Most of the writings of Archbishop Usher relate to ecclesiastical history and antiquities, and were mainly intended to furnish arguments against the Romanists; but the production for which he is chiefly celebrated is a great

chronological work entitled Annales, or Annals, the first part of which was published in 1650, and the second, in 1654. It is a chronological digest of universal history, from the creation of the world to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, in the seventieth year of the Christian era. In this work, which was received with great applause by the learned throughout Europe, and has been several times reprinted on the continent, the author, by fixing the three epochs of the deluge, the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, and their return from Babylon, has reconciled the chronologies of sacred and profane history; and down to the present time, his chronological system is the one which is most generally received. A posthumous work, which he left unfinished, was published in 1660, under the title of Chronologia Sacra. It shows the grounds and calculations of the principal epochs of the 'Annals,' and as a guide to the study of sacred history, is a very valuable production. Usher and Selden contributed more, perhaps, than any other scholars of the age, to extend the reputation of English learning on the continent of Europe.

The following letter, the only specimen of Usher's style that we shall present, was written when he was not yet twenty years of age, and has reference to a public disputation between him and one Fitz-Symonds, a prominent Jesuit of that day.

'I was not purposed, Mr. Fitz-Symonds, to write unto you, before you had first written to me, concerning some chief points of your religion, as at our last meeting you promised; but seeing you have deferred the same, for reasons best known to yourself, I thought it not amiss to inquire further of your mind, concerning the continuation of the conference began betwixt us. And to this I am the rather moved, because I am credibly informed of certain reports, which I could hardly be persuaded should proceed from him, who in my presence pretended so great love and affection unto me. If I am a boy, as it hath pleased you very contemptuously to name me, I give thanks to the Lord that my carriage toward you hath been such, as could minister unto you no just occasion to despise my youth. Your spear belike is in your own conceit a weaver's beam, and your abilities such, that you desire to encounter with the stoutest champion în the host of Israel; and therefore like the Philistine, you contemn me as being a boy. Yet this I would fain have you know, that I neither came then, nor now do come unto you, in any confidence of any learning that is in me; in which respect notwithstanding I thank God, I am what I am: but I come in the name of the Lord of hosts, whose companies you have reproached, being certainly persuaded, that even out of the mouths of babes and sucklings he was able to show forth his own praises. For the farther manifestation thereof, I do again earnestly request you, that, setting aside all vain comparisons of persons, we may go plainly forward, in examining the matters that rest in controversy between us; otherwise I hope you will not be displeased, if, as for your part you have began, so I also for my own part may be bold, for the clearing of myself and the truth which I possess, freely to make known what hath already passed concerning this matter. Thus entreating you in a few lines to make known unto me your purpose in this behalf, I end; praying the Lord, that both this and all other enterprises that we take in hand may be so ordered, as may most make for the advancement of his own glory, and the kingdom of his son Jesus Christ.

Tuus ad Aras usque

JAMES USHER.'

JOHN HALES, usually called the Ever Memorable, was born at Bath, Somersetshire, in 1584. At thirteen years of age he was sent to Corpus Christi College, Oxford; and in 1605, was chosen fellow of Merton, through the interest of the warden of that college, Sir Henry Saville. His knowledge of the Greek language was so consummate, that, in 1612, he was appointed professor of Greek in the university. Sir Thomas Bodley, founder of the Bodleian library, at Oxford, dying in 1613, Hales was chosen by the university to deliver his funeral oration; and the same year he was admitted a fellow of Eton College. In 1618, he accompanied Sir Dudley Carleton, the king's ambassador to the Hague, in the quality of chaplain, and by this means he obtained admission to the synod of Dort, then in session there. Witnessing all their proceedings and transactions, he gave Sir Dudley an account of them in a series of letters afterward published among his Golden Remains. Farinden, his friend, tells us, in a letter prefixed to this collection, that Hales 'in his younger days was a Calvinist; but the arguments of the Armenian champion, Episcopius, urged before the synod, made him 'bid John Calvin good night." His letters from Dort are characterized by Lord Clarendon as the best memorial of the ignorance, and passion, and animosity and injustice of that convention.'

The eminent learning and abilities of Hales would, certainly, on his return to England, have led to high preferment in the church; but he chose rather to live in studious retirement, and accordingly withdrew to Eton College, where he enjoyed the fellowship to which we have already alluded. Of this, after the defeat of the royal party, he was deprived, for refusing to take the oath of fidelity to the Commonwealth of England, as then established without a king or a house of lords. His ejection, by cutting off the means of subsistence, reduced him to such straits, that he was at length under the necessity of selling the greater part of his library for less than one third of its original cost. This event and his death are touchingly noticed by his intimate friend Farinden, in the following extract from one of his letters :— 'Paying him a visit, a few months before his death, I found him in very mean lodgings at Eton, but in a temper gravely cheerful, and well becoming a good man under such circumstances. After a very slight and homely dinner, some discourse passed between us concerning our old friends, and the black and dismal aspect of the times; and at last he asked me to walk out with him into the churchyard. There his necessities compelled him to tell me that he had been forced to sell his whole library, save a few books, which he had given away, and six or eight little volumes of devotion which lay in his chamber; and that for money he had no more than seven or eight shillings which he then showed me: 'and besides,' said he, 'I doubt I am indebted for my lodging. When I die,' he proceeded, 'which I hope is not far off, for I am weary of this uncharitable world, I desire you to see me buried in that place of the churchyard,' pointing to a particular spot. 'But why not in the church,' said I, 'with the provost, Sir Henry Saville, Sir Henry Wotton, and the rest of your friends and predecessors?' 'Be

cause,' said he, 'I am neither the founder of it, nor have I been a benefactor to it.'' Hales died on the nineteenth of May, 1656, and the day following he was buried, in accordance with his own desire, in Eton College churchyard. He is reported to have said in his former days, that he thought he should never die a martyr;' but he suffered more than many martyrs have suffered, and certainly died little less than a martyr to unwavering integrity and principle.

Besides sermons and miscellanies, the former of which compose the chief portion of his works, Hales wrote a famous Tract concerning Schism and Schismatics, in which the causes of religious disunion, and, in particular, the bad effects of Episcopal ambition, are freely discussed. The style of his sermons is clear, simple, and correct; and the subjects are frequently illustrated with quotations from the ancient philosophers and Christian fathers. The following extract is from a sermon, Of Inquiry and Private Judgment in Religion:

PRIVATE JUDGMENT IN RELIGION.

It were a thing worth looking into, to know the reason why men are so generally willing, in point of religion, to cast themselves into other men's arms, and, leaving their own reason, rely so much upon another man's. Is it because it is modesty and humility to think another man's reason better than our own? Indeed, I know not how it comes to pass, we account it a vice, a part of envy, to think another man's goods, or another man's fortunes, to be better than our own, and yet we account it a singular virtue to esteem our reason and wit meaner than other men's. Let us not mistake ourselves; to contemn the advice and help of others, in love and admiration to our own conceits, to depress and disgrace other men's, this is the foul vice of pride: on the contrary, thankfully to entertain the advice of others, to give it its due, and ingenuously to prefer it before our own if it deserve it, this is that gracious virtue of modesty: but altogether to mistrust and relinquish our own faculties, and commend ourselves to others, this is nothing but poverty of spirit and indiscretion. I will not forbear to open unto you what I conceive to be the causes of this so general an error amongst men. First peradventure the dregs of the church of Rome are not yet sufficiently washed from the hearts of many men. We know it is the principal stay and supporter of that church, to suffer nothing to be inquired into which is once concluded by them. Look through Spain and Italy; they are not men, but beasts, and Issachar-like, patiently couch down under every burden their superiors lay upon them.

Secondly, a fault or two may be in our own ministry; thus, to advise men, (as. I have done,) to search into the reasons and grounds of religion, opens a way to dispute and quarrel, and this might breed us some trouble and disquiet in our cures, more than we are willing to undergo; therefore, to purchase our own quiet, and to banish all contention, we are content to nourish this still humour in our hearers; as the Sibarites, to procure their ease, banished the smiths, because their trade was full of noise. In the mean time we do not see that peace, which arise th out of ignorance, is but a kind of sloth, or moral lethargy, seeming quiet because it hath no power to move. Again, maybe the portion of knowledge in the minister himself is not over great; it may be, therefore, good policy for him to suppress all busy inquiry in his auditory, that so increase of knowledge in them might not at length discover some ignorance in him. Last of all, the fault may be in the people themselves, who, because they are loath to take pains (and search into the grounds of knowledge is evermore painful), are well content to take their

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