« AnteriorContinuar »
pleased to appear in the form of a falcon, or eagle, or any other bird of prey, but of a dove, the meekness and innocence whereof our Saviour recommended for a pattern to all his followers. Above all things put òn charity, which is the bond of perfectness, and let the peace of God rule in your hearts.
It was a worthy and just intimation that Saint Gregory Nazianzen gives, to this purpose, unto the Synod of Constantinople. What can be more absurd, faith he, than, while we decline the enemy's fight, to betake ourselves to mutual affaults of each other; and, by this means, to waste and weaken our own forces ? Or what can be a greater pleasure to adversaries than to fee us thus bickering with ourfelves ? But, if neither the respect to the glory of the God of peace, nor to the peace and welfare of the dear church and fpouse of Christ, nor of themselves, can prevail any thing, what remains but to mourn, in filence, for the irreparable breaches of the facred walls of Jerusalem; and, together with our zealous prayers for the opposed peace of Zion, to appeal to the justice of that holy and righteous Lord God of Israel, with
Increpa Domine beftias calami, Rebuke, O Lord, the beasts of the reed, and Scatter the people that delight in war.
Amen. Treatise on Christian Moderation.
JOHN HALES, OF EATON,
CANON OF WINDSOR.-DIED 1656 **, IT hath been the common disease of Christians,
from the beginning, not to content themselves with that measure of faith which God, and the Scriptures, have expressly afforded us; but, out of a vain defire to know more than is revealed, they have attempted to discuss things, of which we can have no light, neither from reason nor revelation : neither have they refted here ; but, upon pretence of church authority, which is none, or tradition, which, for the most part, is but figment, they have peremptorily concluded, and confidently imposed upon others, a necessity of entertaining conclusions of that nature; and, to strengthen theinselves, have broken out into divisions and factions, opposing man to man, fynod to fynod, till the peace of the church vanished, without all possibility of recal.
I do not yet see, that men of different opinions in Christian religion '
* This eminent Divine, living in the troublesome times of Charles the First and Oliver Cromwell, suffered more than many martyrs have fuffered. All writers and parties have agreed in giving him the character of one of the greatest, as well as best of men, that any age has produced. A few months before his death, he took an intimate friend into the Church Yard, near his house, and desired to be buried in a certain place, pointing to the spot, uttering, at the same time, these memorable words :-" I hope my death is not far off ; for I am tired of this uncharitable world !"
may not hold communion, and both go to one church. Why may I not go, if occafion require, to an Arian church, so there be no Arianism expressed in their liturgy? And were liturgies, and public forms of service, so framed as that they admitted not of particular and private fancies, but contained only such things as in which all Christians do agree, schisms on opinion were utterly vanished. For, consider, of all the liturgies that are, or ever have been, and remove from them whatsoever is scandalous to any party, and leave nothing but what all agree on, and the event shall be, that the public service and honour of God shall no ways suffer; whereas, to load our public forms with the private fancies upon which we differ, is the most sovereign way to perpetuate schism unto the world's end. Prayer, confession, thanksgiving, reading of scriptures, exposition of scripture, administration of facraments, in the plainest and simplest manner, were matter enough to furnish out a sufficient liturgy, though nothing, either of private opinion, or of church pomp, of garments, of prescribed gestures, of imagery, of music, of matter concerning the dead, of many superfluities which creep
into the churches under the name of order and decency, did interpose itself. For to charge churches and liturgies with things unneceffary, was the first beginning of all superstition; and when scruples of conscience began
to be made, or pretended, then fchifins began to break in. If the spiritual guides and fathers of the church would be a little sparing of incumbering churches with fuperfluities, and not over rigid, either in reviving obsolete customs, or impofing new, there were far less danger of fchisi or superstition; and all the inconvenience likely to ensue would be but this, they should, in so doing, yield a little to the imbecillities of inferiors; a thing which St. Paul would never have refused to do.
Look down, O Lord, upon thy poor dismembered church, rent and torn with discords, and even ready to fink. Why should the neutral, or Atheist, any longer confirm himself in his irreligion, by reasons drawn from our dissensions ? Or why should any greedy-minded worldling prophecy unto himself the ruins of thy fanctuary, or hope one day to dip his foot in the blood of thy church? We will hope, O Lord, in thee (for what hinders ?) that, notwithstanding all supposed impoflibilities, thou wilt one day in mercy look down upon thy Sion, and grant a gracious interview of friends, so long divided. Thou that wroughtest that great reconciliation between God and man, is thine arm waxen shorter? Was it possible to reconcile God to man? To reconcile man to man is it impossible ? Be with those, we beseech thee, to whom the prosecution of church controversies is committed; and, like a good Lazarus, drop one cooling drop into their tongues and pens, too, too much exasperated against each other. And, if it be thy determinate will and counsel that this abomination of defolation, standing where it ought not, continue unto the end, accomplish thou, with speed, the number of thine elect, and hasten the coming of thy son, our Saviour, that he may himself, in perfon, fit and judge, and give an end to our controversies, since it stands not with any human poffibility. Direct thy church, O Lord, in all her petitions for peace; teach her wherein her peace consists, and warn her from the world, and bring her home to thee; that all those that love thy peace inay, at last, have the reward of the fons of peace, and reign with thee, in thy kingdom of peace, for
HENRY HAMMOND, D.D. ARCHDEACON OF CHICHESTER, AND CANON OP
CHRIST-CHURCH, OXFORD.-DIED 1660 *.
who are in the right, no perverse obstinacy of those that are in the wrong, hinder the closing of our wounds; but let the one instruct in meek
* This great man is principally known by his Practical Catechism, and his Annotations on the New Testament. He died at the very time when Charles the Second was about to raise him to the Bishoprick of Worcefter,