« PreviousContinue »
it is odds but he will take his desire that it should be so, for an ussurance that it is so. But I for my part, unless I deceive myself, was and still am so affected as I have made profession : not willing I confess to take any thing upon trust, and to believe it without asking myself why; no, nor able to command myself (were I never so willing) to follow, like a sheep, every shepherd that should take upon him to guide me; or every flock that should chance to go before me: but most apt and most willing to be led by reason to any way, or from it ; and always submitting all other reasons to this one, God hath said so, therefore it is true. Nor yet was I so unreasonable as to expect mathematical demonstrations from you in matters plainly incapable of them, such as are to be believed, and if we speak properly, cannot be known ; such therefore I expected not. For as he is an unreasonable master, who requires a stronger assent to his conclusions than his arguments deserve ; so I conceive him a froward and undisciplined scholar, who desires stronger arguments for a conclusion than the matter will bear. But had you represented to my understanding such reasons of your doctrine, as being weighed in an even balance, held by an even hand, with those on the other side, would have turned the scale, and have made your religion more credible than the contrary : certainly I should have despised the shame of one more alteration, and with both mine arms and all my heart most readily have embraced it."
Our limits will not allow us to notice the numerous minor controversies in which Chillingworth was engaged previous to the publication of his great work, · The Religion of Protestants a safe way to Salvation.' We can only remark generally that in all of them, his mildness and equanimity of temper were as conspicuous as his honest love of truth, and the energy and clear-sightedness with which he pursued it through every maze of error and sophistry. The origin of the work for which Chillingworth's memory will ever be venerated by every sound protestant and lover of free and rational inquiry, was as follows:- The Jesuit, Knott, had put out, in 1630, a little work entitled · Charity mistaken, with the want whereof Catholiques are unjustly charged, for affirming--as they do with grief-that Protestancy unrepented destroies salvation.' This book was answered by Dr Potter, provost of Queen's college, Oxford, in 1623 ; and Knott replied next year. Chillingworth undertook the task of finishing the controversy with Knott, and towards the latter end of the year 1637, published his work, under the title, • The Religion of Protestants a safe way to Salvation, or, an answer to a book entitled “Mercy and Faith, or Charity maintained by Catholiques," which pretends to prove the contrary. The work was received with general applause, and two editions of it were published within less than five months—the first at Oxford, in 1638, in folio,—the second, with some small improvements, at London, the same year. A third edition appeared in 1664. The tenth and last edition is of the year 1742, with a life of Chillingworth, by Dr Birch, prefixed. It would be difficult to speak in terms of too high commendation of this performance. As a piece of argumentative divinity, it is certainly not surpassed in the whole compass of English theology. We cannot resist the opportunity now afforded us of inaking one noble quotation from this immortal work. The great principle maintained in it, that the Bible, and the Bible only, is the religion of protestants, ought to be indelibly impressed on the minds of every professor of the protestant faith. “When I say,” says he in his 6th chapter, “ the religion of protestants, is in prudence to be preferred before yours : as on the one side I do not understand by your religion, the doctrine of Bellarmine or Baronius, or any other private man amongst you, nor the doctrine of the Sorbon, or of the Jesuits, or of the Dominicans, or of any other particular company among you, but that wherein you all agree, or profess to agree, the doctrine of the council of Trent: so, accordingly, on the other side, by the religion of protestants, I do not understand the doctrine of Luther, or Calvin, or Melancthon; nor the confession of Augusta, or Geneva, nor the catechism of Heidelberg, nor the articles of the church of England, no nor the harmony of protestant confessions; but that wherein they all agree, and which they all subscribe with a greater harmony, as a perfect rule of their faith and actions, that is, the Bible. The Bible, I say, the Bible only is the religion of protestants. Whatsoever else they believe besides it, and the plain, irrefragable, indubitable consequences of it, well may they hold it as a matter of opinion, but as matter of faith and religion, neither can they with coherence to their own grounds believe it themselves, nor require the belief of it of others, without most high and most schismatical presumption. I, for my part, adds he, after a long (and as I verily believe and hope,) impartial search of the true way to eternal happiness, do profess plainly that I cannot find any rest for the sole of my foot, but upon this rock only. I see plainly, and with mine own eyes, that there are popes against popes, councils against councils, some fathers against others, the same fathers against themselves, a consent of fathers of one age against a consent of fathers of another age, the church of one age against the church of another age. Traditive interpretations of scripture are pretended, but there are few or none to be found. No tradition but only of scripture can derive itself from the fountain, but may be plainly proved, either to have been brought in, in such an age after Christ; or that in such an age it was not in. In a word, there is no sufficient certainty but of scripture only, for any considering man to build upon. This, therefore, and this only, I have reason to believe : this I will profess, according to this I will live, and for this, if there be occasion, I will not only willingly, but even gladly lose my life.”
Knott himself, and two other Jesuits, Floyd and Lacy, attempted to answer Chillingworth's performance; but, as might have been anticipated, they found the task too hard for them.
On the promotion of Dr Duppa, chancellor of Salisbury, to the see of Chichester, the vacant chancellorship was conferred on Chillingworth, with the prebend of Brixworth, in Northamptonshire, annexed to it. At the breaking out of the civil war, Chillingworth adhered to the king's party. He was taken prisoner in Arundel castle, on the surrender of that fortress to Sir William Waller, in 1643, and died soon after, at the palace of the bishop of Chichester, having been in bad health for some time previous to the surrender of the garrison. Clarendon represents the latter moments of this great man as having been embittered by the malevolence of some of the parliamentary party. Nothing could be more false. It is true that Ür Cheynell, in his anxiety to promote the spiritual welfare of Chillingworth, paid him frequent visits while on death-bed, and behaved in rather an extraordivary manner at his funeral ; but it is not true that either Cheynell, or any one else, consciously added to the sufferings of the dying man. On the contrary, it was at Cheynell's express request that Chillingworth was removed to Chichester, for change of air and quiet; and Sir William Waller's own physician was charged to wait upon him, and do every thing in his power to promote his restoration to health.
Besides his controversial tracts, there are extant nine sermons of Chillingworth's, on occasional subjects, and a tract, entitled, The Apostolical institution of Episcopacy.'
BORN A. D. 1578 —DIED A. D. 1648.
HENRY BURtox was born in the year 1578, at Birdsall, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. He received the degree of M.A. at St John's college, Cambridge, where he enjoyed the ministerial services of Chatterton and Perkins. Upon leaving the university, he became tutor to the sons of Lord Carey of Lepington, afterwards earl of Monmouth, by whom he was subsequently recommended to Prince Henry, whom he served as sole officer in his closet during the life of his royal highDess. This latter situation affording him considerable time for study, he composed a Latin treatise on Antichrist, which he presented to the prince in manuscript. After the death of Prince Henry, he continued in the same office under his brother Charles. About this time he wrote his treatise called “A Censure of Simony,' and likewise another, entitled, 'Truth's Triumph over Trent,' wherein, to use his own language, he “unfolded the mystery of iniquity packed up in the sixth session of that council, encountering therein those two champions of the council, Andreas Vega, and Dominicus Soto.” These works, with some difficulty, he got licensed by Archbishop Abbot's chaplain, who afterwards refused to license another of Burton's treatises, being a reply to a book entitled, “The Converted Jew.'
On Charles's accession, Burton took it upon him to inform his majesty by letter, how popishly Neile and Laud were inclined. Charles regarded the advice as impertinent, and desired its author to discontinue his attendance in office, until he should be sent for, whereupon Burton sent in his resignation. He now devoted himself zealously to the ministry of the word, and to polemical controversy. Among the works to which he at this time sent forth an answer, were Montague's 'Appeal to Cæsar,' and Cosen's Private Devotions.' A work by Bishop Hall, in which he affirmed the church of Rome to be the true church, was replied to by Burton in a treatise on the seven vials. For thus writing against the church of Rome, and for publishing without a license, he was twice brought before the high-commission court, but he succeeded in procuring a prohibition. In December 1636, he was cited to appear before Dr Duck, one of the ecclesiastical commissioners, to answer to certain articles brought against him for what he had recently advanced in his sermons. Burton appealed to the king, but was suspended by a special commission court, on which he thought fit to abscond, but published the two offensive sermons under the title of For God and the King,' together with an apology justifying his appeal. The consequence of this conduct was, that he soon found himself longed in the Fleet prison, where he remained shut up from his wife and friends for half-a-year before being brought before the star-chamber. Judgment was pronounced at the same time against Burton, Prynne, and Bastwick, but the two latter were only fined in £5000 each, while poor Burton, in addition to the fine of equal amount, was sentenced to be deprived and degraded, to stand in the pillory two hours, to lose both his ears, and to be kept a perpetual close prisoner in the castle of Lar.caster. He bore the exccution of his sentence with all the courage and transport of a martyr: "While I stood in the pillory,” says he, " I thought myself to be in heaven, and in a state of glory and triumph ; if any such state can possibly be on eartlı. I found these words of Peter verified on me in the pillory, “If ye be reproached,' &c. 1 Pet. iv. 14. For my rejoicing was so great all the while, without intermission, that I can no more express it than Paul could his ravishment in the third heaven." His journey from the Fleet to Lancaster resembled more the progress of a triumphant king than of a persecuted and despised criminal. Above 40,000 persons assembled to witness his departure from the city, and nearly 500 of his friends accompanied him on the road.
After twelve weeks imprisonment in the common jail at Lancaster, during which he was visited by hundreds of sympathising friends, he was removed to Cornet castle, in the isle of Guernsey, where he was kept a close prisoner for three years. There, notwithstanding the strict injunctions which had been laid upon his gaolers to keep him from all access to writing materials, he contrived to write several pamphlets, some of which found their way to the public and some did not. At last, this scene of suffering and degradation was exchanged for one of honour and comparative tranquillity. On the 15th of November, 1640, an order for his enlargement arrived from the house of commons. Hlis fellow.prisoner, Prynne, was enlarged at the same time, and proceeded with him to London, their cortege increasing at every town and village through which they passed, until it had swelled to some thousands, who rent the air with their acclamations as these eminent sufferers for conscience sake entered the city. Mr Burton made directly for his own house at Chelsea, but such was the throng of people in the streets, occasioned by his arrival, that he was three hours in passing from the Mews to Aldermanbury. In a few days thereafter, the house of commons declared the whole proceedings of the high-commission and the star-chamber, in the cases of Burton, Prynne, and Bastwick, to be illegal, reversed their sentences, and restored the several sufferers to all degrees, orders, or benefices, which they formerly held, Burton was also ordered a gratuity of £6,000, as a recompense for bis personal sufferings under an unjust sentence ; but we believe that he never received any portion of this money,
Burton now recommenced his ministerial labours. Soon after he declared himself an independent, and wrote his · Vindication of Churches commonly called Independent,' in reply to two works by his fellow. sufferer Prynne, who was of the presbyterian persuasion. Burton bas been often accused of extreme violence and turbulence of temper, and represented as a leadstrong and furious fanatic, whom no consideration either of Christian forbearance or worldly prudence could tame. One detractor affects to say of Burton, that punishment made him an object of pity who never was an object of esteem. In reply to the last of these calumnies, it is sufficient to instance the enthusiastic public welcome which he received on his return from Guernsey. As to the former charge, it is too much to expect that a man whose profession was that of polemics, should have, in such times as he lived in, and with such provocations as he received, uniformly observed the language of courtesy and forbearance towards his antagonists. But we are bold to affirm, that many of his writings exhibit a truly Christian spirit; and that bis whole life gave evidence that he not only knew the truth, but felt and acted under its power, and that with much more uniform consistency than many of his bitterest traducers.
BORN A. D. 1582.-DIED A. D. 1650.
This distinguished prelate, the youngest son of a Welsh gentleman of Carnarvonshire, was born at Conway in 1582. After acquiring the rudiments of learning at an endowed school at Ruthin, he was sent to St John's college, Cambridge, where he took the degree of A.B. 1602. His family being wealthy, he was enabled to live in a very comfortable manner while pursuing his studies, and thus to form that ostentatious taste which distinguished him in after life; he was a hard student, however, and is said never to have spent above three or four hours in sleep out of the twenty-four. By close application, and a methodical distribution of his time, he soon acquired a high reputation for scholarship, and obtained the notice of Archbishop Bancroft, Lord Lumley, and the chancellor Ellesmere. The prelate presented to him an archdeaconry, and the chancellor placed him on his own establishment in the quality of domestic chaplain,—a situation described in the quaint but expressive phrase of Williams's biographer, Hacket, as a nest for an eagle.' Williams had discernment and ambition enough to avail himself of all the advantages which his 'nest afforded him, and so suc. cessfully did he cultivate the good graces of the chancellor, that his lordship, upon the day of his death, called Williams to bim and told him, “that if he wanted money, he would leave him such a legacy in his will as should enable him to begin the world like a gentleman." “Sir,” replied Williams, “ I kiss your hands, but you have filled my cup so full, that I am far from want; unless it be of your lordships directions how to live in the world if I survive you." “Well,” said the chancellor, “I know you are an expert workman, take these tools to work with, they are the best I have." And with these words he placed in his hands a number of books, papers, and memoranda, relating to the high courts of the nation, which the chancellor had drawn up for his own guidance, and from which Williams's biographer does not doubt but the archbishop drew his own system of politics.
The new lord-keeper, Bacon, wished Williams to act as his chaplain, but he declined the proposal, and was preparing to remove to one