HotFreeBooks.com
The Literary Remains Of Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Edited By Henry Nelson Coleridge
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Ib. p. 66. A.

Some of the later authors in the Roman Church ... have noted ('in several of the Fathers') some inclinations towards that opinion, that the devil retaining still his faculty of free-will, is therefore capable of repentance, and so of benefit by this coming of Christ.

If this be assumed,—namely, the free-will of the devil,—as a consequence would indeed follow his capability of repenting, and the possibility that he may repent. But then he is no longer what we mean by the devil; he is no longer the evil spirit, but simply a wicked soul.

Ib. p. 68. C.

As though God had said 'Qui sum', my name is 'I am'; yet in truth it is 'Qui ero', my name is 'I shall be'.

Nay, 'I will or shall be in that I will to be'. I am that only one who is self-originant, 'causa sui', whose will must be contemplated as antecedent in idea to or deeper than his own co-eternal being. But 'antecedent,' 'deeper,' &c. are mere 'vocabula impropria', words of accommodation, that may suggest the idea to a mind purified from the intrusive phantoms of space and time, but falsify and extinguish the truth, if taken as adequate exponents.

Ib. p. 69. C.

We affirm that it is not only as impious and irreligious a thing, but as senseless and as absurd a thing, to deny that the Son of God hath redeemed the world, as to deny that God hath created the world.

A bold but a true saying. The man who, cannot see the redemptive agency in the creation has but a dim apprehension of the creative power.

Ib. D. E. p. 70. A.

These paragraphs exhibit a noble instance of giving importance to the single words of a text, each word by itself a pregnant text. Here, too, lies the excellence, the imitable, but alas! unimitated, excellence of our divines from Elizabeth to William III.

Ib. D.

O, that our clergy did but know and see that their tithes and glebes belong to them as officers and functionaries of the nationalty,—as clerks, and not exclusively as theologians, and not at all as ministers of the Gospel;—but that they are likewise ministers of the Church of Christ, and that their claims and the powers of that Church are no more alienated or affected by their being at the same time the established clergy, than they are by the common coincidence of being justices of the peace, or heirs to an estate, or stockholders! [6] The Romish divines placed the Church above the Scriptures; our present divines give it no place at all.

But Donne and his great contemporaries had not yet learnt to be afraid of announcing and enforcing the claims of the Church, distinct from, and coordinate with, the Scriptures. This is one evil consequence, though most un-necessarily so, of the union of the Church of Christ with the national Church, and of the claims of the Christian pastor and preacher with the legal and constitutional rights and revenues of the officers of the national clerisy. Our clergymen in thinking of their legal rights, forget those rights of theirs which depend on no human law at all.

Ib. p. 71. A.

This is the difference between God's mercy and his judgments, that sometimes his judgments may he plural, complicated, enwrapped in one another; but his mercies are always so, and cannot be otherwise.

A just sentiment beautifully expressed.

Ib. C.

Whereas the Christian religion is, as Gregory Nazianzen says, 'simplex et nuda, nisi prave in artem difficillimam converteretur': it is a plain, an easy, a perspicuous truth.

A religion of ideas, spiritual truths, or truth-powers,—not of notions and conceptions, the manufacture of the understanding,—is therefore 'simplex et nuda', that is, immediate; like the clear blue heaven of Italy, deep and transparent, an ocean unfathomable in its depth, and yet ground all the way. Still as meditation soars upwards, it meets the arched firmament with all its suspended lamps of light. O, let not the 'simplex et nuda' of Gregory be perverted to the Socinian, 'plain and easy for the meanest understandings!' The truth in Christ, like the peace of Christ, passeth all understanding. If ever there was a mischievous misuse of words, the confusion of the terms, 'reason' and 'understanding,' 'ideas' and 'notions,' or 'conceptions,' is most mischievous; a Surinam toad with a swarm of toadlings sprouting out of its back and sides.

Serm. VIII. Mat. v. 16. p. 77.

Ib. C.

Either of the names of this day were text enough for a sermon, Purification or Candlemas. Join we them together, and raise we only this one note from both, that all true purification is in the light, &c.

The illustration of the name of the day contained in the first two or three paragraphs of this sermon would be censured as quaint by our modern critics. Would to heaven we had but even a few preachers capable of such quaintnesses!

Ib. D.

Every good work hath faith for the root; but every faith hath not good works for the fruit thereof.

Faith, that is, fidelity—the fealty of the finite will and understanding to the reason, 'the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world', as one with, and representative of, the absolute will, and to the ideas or truths of the pure reason, the supersensuous truths, which in relation to the finite will, and as meant to determine the will, are moral laws, the voice and dictates of the conscience;—this faith is properly a state and disposition of the will, or rather of the whole man, the I, or finite will, self-affirmed. It is therefore the ground, the root, of which the actions, the works, the believings, as acts of the will in the understanding, are the trunk and the branches. But these must be in the light. The disposition to see must have organs, objects, direction, and an outward light. The three latter of these our Lord gives to his disciples in this blessed sermon on the Mount, preparatorily, and, as Donne rightly goes on to observe, presupposing faith as the ground and root. Indeed the whole of this and the next page affords a noble specimen, how a minister of the Church of England should preach the doctrine of good works, purified from the poison of the practical Romish doctrine of works, as the mandioc is evenomated by fire, and rendered safe, nutritious, a bread of life. To Donne's exposition the heroic Solifidian, Martin Luther himself, would have subscribed, hand and heart.

Ib. p. 78. C.

And therefore our latter men of the Reformation are not to be blamed, who for the most, pursuing St. Cyril's interpretation, interpret this universal 'light that lighteneth every man' to be the light of nature.

The error here, and it is a grievous error, consists in the word 'nature.' There is, there can be, no light of nature: there may be a light in or upon nature; but this is the light that shineth down into the darkness, that is, the nature, and the darkness comprehendeth it not. All ideas, or spiritual truths, are supernatural.

Ib. p. 79.

Throughout this page, Donne rather too much plays the rhetorician. If the faith worketh the works, what is true of the former must be equally affirmed of the latter;—'causa causae causa causati'. Besides, he falls into something like a confusion of faith with belief, taken as a conviction or assent of the judgment. The faith and the righteousness of a Christian are both alike his, and not his—the faith of Christ in him, the righteousness in and for him. 'I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet, not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me'. [7]

Donne was a truly great man; but, after all, he did not possess that full, steady, deep, and yet comprehensive, insight into the nature of faith and works which was vouchsafed to Martin Luther. Donne had not attained to the reconciling of distinctity with unity,—ours, yet God's; God's, yet ours.

Ib. D.

'Velle et nolle nostrum est', to assent, or to dis-assent, is our own.

Is not this, even with the saving afterwards, too nakedly expressed?

Ib.

And certainly our works are more ours than our faith is; and man concurs otherwise in the acting and perpetration of a good work, than he doth in the reception and admission of faith.

Why? Because Donne confounds the act of faith with the assent of the fancy and understanding to certain words and conceptions. Indeed, with all my reverence for Dr. Donne, I must warn against the contents of this page, as scarcely tenable in logic, unsound in metaphysics, and unsafe, slippery divinity; and principally in that he confounds faith— essentially an act, the fundamental work of the Spirit—with belief, which is then only good when it is the effect and accompaniment of faith.

Ib. p. 80. D.

Because things good in their institution may he depraved in their practice—'ergone nihil ceremoniarum rudioribus dabitur, ad juvandam eorum imperitiam?'

Some ceremonies may be for the conservation of order and civility, or to prevent confusion and unseemliness; others are the natural or conventional language of our feelings, as bending the knees, or bowing the head; and to neither of these two sorts do I object. But as to the 'adjuvandam rudiorum imperitiam', I protest against all such ceremonies, and the pretexts for them, 'in toto'. What? Can any ceremony be more instructive than the words required to explain the ceremony? I make but two exceptions, and those where the truths signified are so vital, so momentous, that the very occasion and necessity of explaining the sign are of the highest spiritual value. Yet, alas! to what gross and calamitous superstitions have not even the visible signs in Baptism and the Eucharist given occasion!

Ib. p. 81. E.

Blessed St. Augustine reports, (if that epistle be St. Augustine's) that when himself was writing to St. Hierome, to know his opinion of the measure and quality of the joy and glory of heaven, suddenly in his chamber there appeared 'ineffabile lumen', says he, an unspeakable, an unexpressible light, ... and out of that light issued this voice, 'Hieronymi anima sum', &c.

The grave recital of this ridiculous legend is one instance of what I have called the Patristic leaven in Donne, who assuredly had no belief himself in the authenticity of this letter. But yet it served a purpose. As to Master Conradus, just above, who could read at night by the light at his fingers' ends, he must of course have very recently been shaking hands with Lucifer.

Ib. p. 83. D.

Eve's recognition upon the birth of her first son, 'Cain I have gotten, I possess a man from the Lord.'

'I have gotten the Jehovah-man', is, I believe, the true rendering and sense of the Hebrew words. Eve, full of the promise, supposed her first-born, the first-born on earth, to be the promised deliverer.

Ib. p. 84. D. E. Serm. IX. Rom. xiii. 7. p. 86, Admirable passages. Ib. p. 90. A.

That soul that is accustomed, &c.

Ib. p. 94. A. B.



Serm. XII. Mat. v. 2. p. 112. Ib. B. C. D.

The disposition of our Church divines, under James I, to bring back the stream of the Reformation to the channel and within the banks formed in the first six centuries of the Church, and their alienation from the great patriarchs of Protestantism, Luther, Calvin, Zuinglius, and others, who held the Fathers of the 'ante'-Papal Church, with exception of Augustine, in light esteem, this disposition betrays itself here and in many other parts of Donne. For here Donne plays the Jesuit, disguising the truth, that even as early as the third century the Church had begun to Paganize Christianity, under the pretext, and no doubt in the hope, of Christianizing Paganism. The mountain would not go to Mahomet, and therefore Mahomet went to the mountain.

Ib. p. 115. A.

An excellent passage.

Ib. p. 117. E.

And therefore when the prophet says, 'Quis sapiens, et intelliget haec? Who is so wise as to find out this way'? he places this cleanness which we inquire after in wisdom. What is wisdom?

The primitive Church appropriated the name to the third 'hypostasis' of the Trinity; hence 'Sancta Sophia' became the distinctive name of the Holy Ghost; and the temple at Constantinople, dedicated by Justinian to the Holy Ghost, is called the Church—alas! now the mosque—of Santa Sophia. Now this suggests, or rather implies, a far better and more precise definition of wisdom than Donne's. The distinctive title of the Father, as the Supreme Will, is the Good; that of the only-begotten Word, as the Supreme Reason, ('Ens Realissimum', [Greek: Ho_O N], the Being) is the True; and the Spirit proceeding from the Good through the True is the Wisdom. Goodness in the form of truth is wisdom. Wisdom is the pure will, realizing itself intelligently, or the good manifesting itself as the truth, and realized in the act. Wisdom, life, love, beauty, the beauty of holiness, are all 'synonyma' of the Holy Spirit.

6, December, 1831.

Ib. p. 121. A.

The Arians' opinion, that God the Father only was invisible, but the Son 'and the Holy Ghost' might be seen.

Here we have an instance, one of many, of the inconveniences and contradictions that arise out of the assumed contrary essences of body and soul; both substances, and independent of each other, yet so absolutely diverse as that the one is to be defined by the negation of the other.

Serm. XIII. Job xvi. 17, 18, 19. p. 127. Ib. p. 129. A. B. C. Ib. pp. 134. 135.

Truly excellent.

Serm. XV. 1 Cor. xv. 26. p. 144. Ib. D.

Who, then, is this enemy? an enemy that may thus far think himself equal to God, that as no man ever saw God, and lived; so no man ever saw this enemy, and lived; for it is death.

This borders rather too closely on the Irish Franciscan's conclusion to his sermon of thanksgiving: "Above all, brethren, let us thankfully laud and extol God's transcendant mercy in putting death at the end of life, and thereby giving us all time for repentance!"

Dr. Donne was an eminently witty man in a very witty age; but to the honour of his judgment let it be said, that though his great wit is evinced in numberless passages, in a few only is it shown off. This paragraph is one of those rare exceptions.

N. B. Nothing in Scripture, nothing in reason, commands or authorizes us to assume or suppose any bodiless creature. It is the incommunicable attribute of God. But all bodies are not flesh, nor need we suppose that all bodies are corruptible. 'There are bodies celestial'. In the three following paragraphs of this sermon, we trace wild fantastic positions grounded on the arbitrary notion of man as a mixture of heterogeneous components, which Des Cartes shortly afterwards carried into its extremes. On this doctrine the man is a mere phenomenal result, a sort of brandy-sop or toddy-punch. It is a doctrine unsanctioned by, and indeed inconsistent with, the Scriptures. It is not true that body 'plus' soul makes man. Man is not the 'syntheton' or composition of body and soul, as the two component units. No; man is the unit, the 'prothesis', and body and soul are the two poles, the positive and negative, the 'thesis' and 'antithesis' of the man; even as attraction and repulsion are the two poles in and by which one and the same magnet manifests itself.

Ib. p. 146. B.

For it is not so great a depopulation to translate a city from merchants to husbandmen, from shops to ploughs, as it is from many husbandmen to one shepherd; and yet that hath been often done.

For example, in the Highlands of Scotland in our own day.

Ib. p. 148. A.

The ashes of an oak in the chimney are no epitaph of that oak, to tell me how high or how large that was. It tells me not what flocks it sheltered while it stood, nor what men it hurt when it fell. The dust of great persons' graves is speechless too, it says nothing, it distinguishes nothing. As soon the dust of a wretch whom thou wouldst not, as of a prince whom thou couldst not, look upon, will trouble thine eyes, if the wind blow it thither; and when a whirlwind hath blown the dust of the churchyard unto the church, and the man sweeps out the dust of the church into the church-yard, who will undertake to sift those dusts again, and to pronounce;—this is the patrician, this is the noble, flour, and this the yeomanly, this the plebeian, bran. [8]

Very beautiful indeed.

Ib. p. 149. C.

But when I lie under the hands of that enemy, that hath reserved himself to the last, to my last bed; then when I shall be able to stir no limb in any other measure than a fever or a palsy shall shake them; when everlasting darkness shall have an inchoation in the present dimness of mine eyes, and the everlasting gnashing in the present chattering of my teeth, and the everlasting worm in the present gnawing of the agonies of my body and anguishes of my mind; when the last enemy shall watch my remediless body, and my disconsolate soul there,—there, where not the physician in his way, perchance not the priest in his, shall be able to give any assistance; and when he hath sported himself with my misery, &c.

This is powerful; but is too much in the style of the monkish preachers: 'Papam redolet'. Contrast with this Job's description of death, [9] and St. Paul's 'sleep in the Lord'.

Ib. p. 150. A.

Neither doth Calvin carry those emphatical words which are so often cited for a proof of the last resurrection,—'that he knows his Redeemer lives, that he knows he shall stand the last man upon earth, that though his body be destroyed, yet in his flesh and with his eyes shall he see God'—to any higher sense than so, that how low soever he be brought, to what desperate state soever he be reduced in the eyes of the world, yet he assures himself of a resurrection, a reparation, a restitution to his former bodily health, and worldly fortune which he had before. And such a resurrection we all know Job had.

I incline to Calvin's opinion, but am not decided. 'After my skin', must be rendered 'according to, or as far as my skin is concerned.' 'Though the flies and maggots in my ulcers have destroyed my skin, yet still, and in my flesh, I shall see God as my Redeemer'. Now St. Paul says, that flesh and blood cannot ([Greek: sarx kai aima—ou dynantai]) inherit the kingdom of heaven, that is, the spiritual world. Besides how is the passage, as commonly interpreted, consistent with the numerous expressions of doubt and even of despondency in Job's speeches? [10]

Ib. B. C. (Ezekiel's vision xxxvii.)

I cannot but think that Dr. Donne, by thus antedating the distinct belief of the Jews in the resurrection, "which you all know already," destroys in great measure the force and sublimity of this vision. Besides, it does not seem, in the common people at least, to have been much more than a mongrel Egyptian-catacomb sort of faith, or rather superstition.

In fine. This is one of Donne's least estimable discourses; the worst sermon on the best text. Yet what a Donne-like passage is this that follows!

P. 146. A.

Let the whole world be in thy consideration as one house; and then consider in that, in the peaceful harmony of creatures, in the peaceful succession, and connexion of causes and effects, the peace of nature. Let this kingdom, where God hath blessed thee with a being, be the gallery, the best room of that house, and consider in the two walls of that gallery, the Church and the state, the peace of a royal and religious wisdom. Let thine own family be a cabinet in this gallery, and find in all the boxes thereof, in the several duties of wife and children, and servants, the peace of virtue, and of the father and mother of all virtues, active discretion, passive obedience; and then lastly, let thine own bosom be the secret box and reserve in this cabinet, and then the gallery of the best home that can be had, peace with the creature, peace in the Church, peace in the state, peace in thy house, peace in thy heart, is a fair model, and a lovely design even of the heavenly Jerusalem, which is visio pacis, where there is no object but peace.

Serm. XVI. John xi. 35. p. 153. Ib. C.

The Masorites (the Masorites are the critics upon the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament) cannot tell us, who divided the chapters of the Old Testament into verses: neither can any other tell, who did it in the New Testament. [11]

How should the Masorites, when the Hebrew Scriptures were not as far as we know divided into verses at all in their time? The Jews seem to have adopted the invention from the Christians, who were led to it in the construction of Concordances.

Ib. p. 154. E.

If they killed Lazarus, had not Christ done enough to let them see that he could raise him again?

Malice, above all party-malice, is indeed a blind passion, but one can scarcely conceive the chief priests such dolts as to think that Christ could raise Lazarus again. Their malice blinded them as to the nature of the incident, made them suppose a conspiracy between Jesus and the family of Lazarus, a mock burial, in short; and this may be one, though it is not, I think, the principal, reason for this greatest miracle being omitted in the other Gospels.

Ib. p. 155. B.

Christ might ungirt himself, and give more scope and liberty to his passions than any other man; both because he had no original sin within to drive him, &c.

How then is he said to have 'condemned sin in the flesh'? Without guilt, without actual sin, assuredly he was; but [Greek: egeneto sarx], and what can we mean by original sin relatively to the flesh, but that man is born with an animal life and a material organism that render him temptible to evil, and which tends to dispose the life of the will to contradict the light of the reason? Did St. Paul by [Greek: homoi_omati sarkos hamartias] mean a deceptive resemblance? [12]

Ib. D.

I can see no possible edification that can arise from these ultra-Scriptural speculations respecting our Lord.

Ib. p. 157. A.

Though the Godhead never departed from the carcase ... yet because the human soul was departed from it, he was no man.

Donne was a poor metaphysician; that is, he never closely questioned himself as to the absolute meaning of his words. What did he mean by the 'soul?' what by the 'body?' [13]

Ib. D.

And I know that there are authors of a middle nature, above the philosophers, and below the Scriptures, the Apocryphal books.

A whimsical instance of the disposition in the mind for every pair of opposites to find an intermediate,—a 'mesothesis' for every 'thesis' and 'antithesis'. Thus Scripture may be opposed to philosophy; and then the Apocryphal books will be philosophy relatively to Scripture, and Scripture relatively to philosophy.

Ib. p. 159. B.

And therefore the same author (Epiphanius) says, that because they thought it an uncomely thing for Christ to weep for any temporal thing, some men have expunged and removed that verse out of St. Luke's Gospel, that 'Jesus, when he saw that city, wept'. [14]

This, by the by, rather indiscreetly lets out the liberties, which the early Christians took with their sacred writings. Origen, who, in answer to Celsus's reproach on this ground, confines the practice to the heretics, furnishes proofs of the contrary himself in his own comments.

Ib. p. 161. D.

That world, which finds itself in an authumn in itself, finds itself in a spring in our imaginations.

Worthy almost of Shakspeare!

Serm. XVII. Matt. xix. 17. p. 163. Ib. E.

The words are part of a dialogue, of a conference, between Christ and a man who proposed a question to him; to whom Christ makes an answer by way of another question, 'Why callest thou me good?' &c. In the words, and by occasion of them, we consider the text, the context, and the pretext; not as three equal parts of the building; but the context, as the situation and prospect of the house, the pretext, as the access and entrance into the house, and then the text itself, as the house itself, as the body of the building: in a word, in the text the words; in the context the occasion of the words; in the pretext the purpose, the disposition of him who gave the occasion.

What a happy example of elegant division of a subject! And so also the 'compendium' of Christianity in the preceding paragraph (D). Our great divines were not ashamed of the learned discipline to which they had submitted their minds under Aristotle and Tully, but brought the purified products as sacrificial gifts to Christ. They baptized the logic and manly rhetoric of ancient Greece.

Ib. p. 164. A. B.

Excellent illustration of fragmentary morality, in which each man takes his choice of his virtues and vices.

Ib. D.

Men perish with whispering sins, nay, with silent sins, sins that never tell the conscience they are sins, as often as with crying sins.

Yea, I almost doubt whether the truth here so boldly asserted is not of more general necessity for ordinary congregations, than the denunciation of the large sins that cannot remain 'in incognito'.

Ib. p. 165. A.

'Venit procurrens, he came running'. Nicodemus came not so, Nicodemus durst not avow his coming, and therefore he came creeping, and he came softly, and he came seldom, and he came by night.

Ah! but we trust in God that he did in fact come. The adhesion, the thankfulness, the love which arise and live after the having come, whether from spontaneous liking, or from a beckoning hope, or from a compelling good, are the truest 'criteria' of the man's Christianity.

Ib. B.

When I have just reason to think my superiors would have it thus, this is music to my soul; when I hear them say they would have it thus, this is rhetoric to my soul; when I see their laws enjoin it to be thus, this is logic to my soul; but when I see them actually, really, clearly, constantly do thus, this is a demonstration to my soul, and demonstration is the powerfullest proof. The eloquence of inferiors is in words, the eloquence of superiors is in action.

A just representation, I doubt not, of the general feeling and principle at the time Donne wrote. Men regarded the gradations of society as God's ordinances, and had the elevation of a self-approving conscience in every feeling and exhibition of respect for those of ranks superior to their own. What a contrast with the present times! Is not the last sentence beautiful? "The eloquence of inferiors is in words, the eloquence of superiors is in action."

Ib. B. and C.

He came to Christ, he ran to him; and when he was come, as St. Mark relates it, 'he fell upon his knees to Christ'. He stood not then Pharisaically upon his own legs, his own merits, though he had been a diligent observer of the commandments before, &c.

All this paragraph is an independent truth; but I doubt whether in his desire to make every particle exemplary, to draw some Christian moral from it, Donne has not injudiciously attributed, quasi per prolepsin, merits inconsistent with the finale of a wealthy would-be proselyte. At all events, a more natural and, perhaps, not less instructive interpretation might be made of the sundry movements of this religiously earnest and zealous admirer of Christ, and worshipper of Mammon. O, I have myself known such!

Ib. D.

He was no ignorant man, and yet he acknowledged that he had somewhat more to learn of Christ than he knew yet. Blessed are they that inanimate all their knowledge, consummate all in Christ Jesus, &c.

The whole paragraph is pure gold. Without being aware of this passage in Donne, I expressed the same conviction, or rather declared the same experience, in the appendix [15] to the Statesman's Manual. O! if only one day in a week, Christians would consent to have the Bible as the only book, and their minister's labour to make them find all substantial good of all other books in their Bibles!

Ib. E.

I remember one of the Panegyrics celebrates and magnifies one of the Roman emperors for this, that he would marry when he was young; that he would so soon confine and limit his pleasures, so soon determine his affections in one person.

It is surely some proof of the moral effect which Christianity has produced, that in all Protestant countries, at least, a writer would be ashamed to assign this as a ground of panegyric; as if promiscuous intercourse with those of the other sex had been a natural good, a privilege, which there was a great merit in foregoing! O! what do not women owe to Christianity! As Christians only it is that they do, or ordinarily can, cease to be things for men, instead of co-persons in one spiritual union.

Ib. p. 166. A.

But such is often the corrupt inordinateness of greatness, that it only carries them so much beyond other men, but not so much nearer to God.

Like a balloon, away from earth, but not a whit nearer the arch of heaven. There is a praiseworthy relativeness and life in the morality of our best old divines. It is not a cold law in brass or stone; but "this I may and should think of my neighbour, this of a great man," &c.

Ib. p. 167. A.

Christ was pleased to redeem this man from this error, and bring him to know truly what he was, that he was God. Christ therefore doth not rebuke this man, by any denying that he himself was good; for Christ doth assume that addition to himself, 'I am the good shepherd'. Neither doth God forbid that those good parts which are in men should be celebrated with condign praise. We see that God, as soon as he saw that any thing was good, he said so, he uttered it, he declared it, first of the light, and then of other creatures. God would be no author, no example of smothering the due praise of good actions. For surely that man hath no zeal to goodness in himself, that affords no praise to goodness in other men.

Very fine. But I think another—not, however, a different—view might be taken respecting our Lord's intention in these words. The young noble, who came to him, had many praiseworthy traits of character; but he failed in the ultimate end and aim. What ought only to have been valued by him as means, was loved, and had a worth given to it, as an end in itself. Our Lord, who knew the hearts of men, instantly in the first words applies himself to this, and takes the occasion of an ordinary phrase of courtesy addressed to himself, to make the young man aware of the difference between a mere relative good and that which is absolutely good; that which may be called good, when regarded as a mean to good, but which must not be mistaken for, or confounded with, that which is good, and itself the end.

Ib. B. C. D.

All excellent, and D. most so. Thus, thus our old divines showed the depth of their love and appreciation of the Scriptures, and thus led their congregations to feel and see the same. Here is Donne's authority (Deus non est ens, &c.) for what I have so earnestly endeavored to show, that Deus est ens super ens, the ground of all being, but therein likewise absolute Being, in that he is the eternal self-affirmant, the I Am in that I Am; and that the key of this mystery is given to us in the pure idea of the will, as the alone Causa Sui.

O! compare this manhood of our Church divinity with the feeble dotage of the Paleyan school, the 'natural' theology, or watchmaking scheme, that knows nothing of the maker but what can be proved out of the watch, the unknown nominative case of the verb impersonal fit—et natura est; the 'it,' in short, in 'it rains,' 'it snows,' 'it is cold,' and the like. When, after reading the biographies of Walton and his contemporaries, I reflect on the crowded congregations, on the thousands, who with intense interest came to their hour and two hour long sermons, I cannot but doubt the fact of any true progression, moral or intellectual, in the mind of the many. The tone, the matter, the anticipated sympathies in the sermons of an age form the best moral criterion of the character of that age.

Ib. E.

His name of Jehova we admire with a reverence.

Say, rather, Jehova, his name. It is not so properly a name of God, as God the Name,—God's name and God.

Ib. p. 169. A.

Land, and money, and honour must be called goods, though but of fortune, &c.

We should distinguish between the conditions of our possessing goods and the goods themselves. Health, for instance, is ordinarily a condition of that working and rejoicing for and in God, which are goods in the end, and of themselves. Health, competent fortune, and the like are good as the negations of the preventives of good; as clear glass is good in relation to the light, which it does not exclude. Health and ease without the love of God are plate glass in the darkness.

Ib. p. 170.

Much of this page consists of play on words; as, that which is useful as rain, and that which is of use as rain on a garden after drouth. There is also much sophistry in it. Pain is not necessarily an ultimate evil. As the mean of ultimate good, it may be a relative good; but surely that which makes pain, anguish, heaviness necessary in order to good, must be evil. And so the Scripture determines. They are the wages of sin; but God's infinite mercy raises them into sacraments, means of grace. Sin is the only absolute evil; God the only absolute good. But as myriads of things are good relatively through participation of God, so are many things evil as the fruits of evil. What is the apostasy, or fall of spirits? That that which from the essential perfection of the Absolute Good could not but be possible, that is, have a potential being, but never ought to have been actual, did nevertheless strive to be actual?—But this involved an impossibility; and it actualized only its own potentiality.

What is the consequence of the apostasy? That no philosophy is possible of man and nature but by assuming at once a zenith and a nadir, God and 'Hades'; and an ascension from the one through and with a condescension from the other; that is, redemption by prevenient and then auxiliary grace.

Ib. p. 171. B.

So says St. Augustine, 'Audeo dicere', though it be boldly said, yet I must say it, 'utile esse cadere in aliquod manifestum peccatum', &c.

No doubt, a sound sense may be forced into these words: but why use words, into which a sound sense must be forced? Besides, the subject is too deep and too subtle for a sermon. In the two following paragraphs, especially, Dr. Donne is too deep, and not deep enough. He treads waters, and dangerous waters. N. B. The Familists.

Serm. XVIII. Acts, ii. 36. p. 175. Ib. B.

I would paraphrase, or rather lead the way to this text, something as follows:—

Truth is a common interest; it is every man's duty to convey it to his brother, if only it be a truth that concerns or may profit him, and he be competent to receive it. For we are not bound to say the truth, where we know that we cannot convey it, but very probably may impart a falsehood instead; no falsehoods being more dangerous than truths misunderstood, nay, the most mischievous errors on record having been half-truths taken as the whole.

But let it be supposed that the matter to be communicated is a fact of general concernment, a truth of deep and universal interest, a momentous truth involved in a most awe-striking fact, which all responsible creatures are competent to understand, and of which no man can safely remain in ignorance. Now this is the case with the matter, on which I am about to speak; 'therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ!'

Ib. p. 176. A. B. C.

True Christian love not only permits, but enjoins, courtesy. God himself, says Donne, gave us the example.

Ib. p. 177. A. C. E.

All excellent, and E. of deeper worth. All that is wanting here is to determine the true sense of 'knowing God,'—that sense in which it is revealed that to know God is life ever-lasting.

Ib p. 178. A.

Now the universality of this mercy hath God enlarged and extended very far, in that he proposes it even to our knowledge; 'sciant', let all know it. It is not only 'credant', let all believe it; for the infusing of faith is not in our power; but God hath put it in our power to satisfy their reason, &c.

A question is here affirmatively started of highest importance and of deepest interest, that is, faith so distinguished from reason, 'credat' from 'sciat', that the former is an infused grace 'not in our power;' the latter an inherent quality or faculty, on which we are able to calculate as man with man. I know not what to say to this. Faith seems to me the coadunation of the individual will with the reason, enforcing adherence alike of thought, act, and affection to the Universal Will, whether revealed in the conscience, or by the light of reason, however the same may contravene, or apparently contradict, the will and mind of the flesh, the presumed experience of the senses and of the understanding, as the faculty, or intelligential yet animal instinct, by which we generalize the notices of the senses, and substantiate their 'spectra' or 'phaenomena'. In this sense, therefore, and in this only, I agree with Donne.

'No man cometh to Christ unless the' 'Father lead him'. The corrupt will cannot, without prevenient as well as auxiliary grace, be unitively subordinated to the reason, and again, without this union of the moral will, the reason itself is latent. Nevertheless, I see no advantage in not saying the 'will,' or in substituting the term 'faith' for it. But the sad non-distinction of the reason and the understanding throughout Donne, and the confusion of ideas and conceptions under the same term, painfully inturbidates his theology. Till this distinction of the [Greek: nous] and the [Greek: phronaema sarkos] be seen, nothing can be seen aright. Till this great truth be mastered, and with the sight that is insight, other truths may casually take possession of the mind, but the mind cannot possess them. If you know not this, you know nothing; for if you know not the diversity of reason from the understanding, you know not reason; and reason alone is knowledge.

All that follows in B. is admirable, worthy of a divine of the Church of England, the National and the Christian, and indeed proves that Donne was at least possessed by the truth which I have always labored to enforce, namely, that faith is the 'apotheosis' of the reason in man, the complement of reason, the will in the form of the reason. As the basin-water to the fountain shaft, such is will to reason in faith. The whole will shapes itself in the image of God wherein it had been created, and shoots on high toward, and in the glories of, Heaven!

Ib. D.

If we could have been in Paradise, and seen God take a clod of red earth, and make that wretched clod of contemptible earth such a body as should be fit to receive his breath, &c.

A sort of pun on the Hebrew word 'Adam' or red earth, common in Donne's age, but unworthy of Donne, who was worthy to have seen deeper into the Scriptural sense of the 'ground,' the Hades, the multeity, the many 'absque numero el infra numerum', that which is below, as God is that which transcends, intellect.

Ib. p. 179. B.

We place in the School, for the most part, the infinite merit of Christ Jesus ... rather 'in pacto' than 'in persona', rather that this contract was thus made between the Father and the Son, than that whatsoever that person, thus consisting of God and Man, should do, should, only in respect of the person, be of an infinite value and extension to that purpose, &c.

O, this is sad misty divinity! far too scholastical for the pulpit, far too vague and unphilosophic for the study.

Ib. p. 180. A.

'Quis nisi infidelis negaverit apud inferos fuisse Christum?' says St. Augustine.

Where? [16] Pearson expressly asserts and proves that the clause was in none of the ancient creeds or confessions. And even now the sense of these words, 'He descended into hell', is in no Reformed Church determined as an article of faith.

Ib. p. 182. D.

'Audacter dicam', says St. Hierome, 'cum omnia posset Deus, suscitare virginem post ruinam non potest.'

One instance among hundreds of the wantonness of phrase and fancy in the Fathers. What did Jerome mean? 'quod Deus membranam hymenis luniformem reproducere nequit?' No; that were too absurd. What then?—that God cannot make what has been not to have been? Well then, why not say that, since that is all you can mean?

Serm. XIX. Rev. xx. 6. p. 183.

The exposition of the text in this sermon is a lively instance how much excellent good sense a wise man, like Donne, can bring forth on a passage which he does not understand. For to say that it may mean either X, or Y, or Z, is to confess he knows not what it means; but that if it be X. then, &c.; if Y. then, &c.; and lastly if it be Z. then, &c.; that is to say, that he understands X, Y, and Z; but does not understand the text itself.

Ib. p. 185. B.

Seas of blood and yet but brooks, tuns of blood and yet but basons, compared with the sacrifices, the sacrifices of the blood of men, in the persecutions of the primitive Church. For every ox of the Jew, the Christian spent a man; and for every sheep and lamb, a mother and her child, &c.

Whoo! Had the other nine so called persecutions been equal to the tenth, that of Diocletian, Donne's assertion here would be extravagant.

Serra. XXXIV. Rom. viii. 16. p. 332. Ib. p. 335. A.

But by what manner comes He from them? By proceeding.

If this mystery be considered as words, or rather sounds vibrating on some certain ears, to which the belief of the hearers assigned a supernatural cause, well and good! What else can be said? Such were the sounds: what their meaning is, we know not; but such sounds not being in the ordinary course of nature, we of course attribute them to something extra-natural.

But if God made man in his own image, therein as in a mirror, misty no doubt at best, and now cracked by peculiar and in-herited defects—yet still our only mirror—to contemplate all we can of God, this word 'proceeding' may admit of an easy sense.

For if a man first used it to express as well as he could a notion found in himself as man 'in genere', we have to look into ourselves, and there we shall find that two facts of vital intelligence may be conceived; the first, a necessary and eternal outgoing of intelligence ([Greek: nous]) from being ([Greek:to on]), with the will as an accompaniment, but not from it as a cause,—in order, though not necessarily in time, precedent. This is true filiation.

The second is an act of the will and the reason, in their purity strict identities, and therefore not begotten or filiated, but proceeding from intelligent essence and essential intelligence combining in the act, necessarily and coeternally.

For the coexistence of absolute spontaneity with absolute necessity is involved in the very idea of God, one of whose intellectual definitions is, the 'synthesis, generative ad extra, et annihilative, etsi inclusive, quoad se,' of all conceivable 'antitheses;' even as the best moral definition—(and, O! how much more godlike to us in this state of antithetic intellect is the moral beyond the intellectual!)—is, God is love.

This is to us the high prerogative of the moral, that all its dictates immediately reveal the truths of intelligence, whereas the strictly intellectual only by more distant and cold deductions carries us towards the moral.

For what is love? Union with the desire of union. God therefore is the cohesion and the oneness of all things; and dark and dim is that system of ethics, which does not take oneness as the root of all virtue.

Being, Mind, Love in action, are ideas distinguishable though not divisible; but Will is incapable of distinction or division: it is equally implied in vital action, in essential intelligence, and in effluent love or holy action.

Now will is the true principle of identity, of selfness, even in our common language. The will, therefore, being indistinguishably one, but the possessive powers triply distinguishable, do perforce involve the notion expressed by a Trinity of three Persons and one God.

There are three Persons eternally coexisting, in whom the one Will is totally all in each; the truth of which mystery we may know in our own minds, but can understand by no analogy.

For "the wind ministrant to divers at the same moment"—thence, to aid the fancy—borrows or rather steals from the mind the idea of 'total 'in omni parte',' which alone furnishes the analogy; but that both it and by it a myriad of other material images do enwrap themselves 'in hac veste non sua,' and would be even no objects of conception if they did not; yea, that even the very words, 'conception,' 'comprehension,' and all in all languages that answer to them, suppose this trans-impression from the mind, is an argument better than all analogy.

Serm. XXXV. Mat. xii. 31. p. 341. Ib. p. 342. B.

First then, for the first term, 'sin,' we use to ask in the school, whether any action of man's can have 'rationem demeriti;' whether it can be said to offend God, or to deserve ill of God? for whatsoever does so, must have some proportion with God.

This appears to me to furnish an interesting example of the bad consequences in reasoning, as well as in morals, of the 'cui bono? cui malo?' system of ethics,—that system which places the good and evil of actions in their painful or pleasurable effects on the sensuous or passive nature of sentient beings, not in the will, the pure act itself.

For, according to this system, God must be either a passible and dependent being,—that is, not God,—or else he must have no interest, arid therefore no motive or impulse, to reward virtue or punish vice.

The veil which the Epicureans threw over their atheism was itself an implicit atheism. Nay, the world itself could not have existed; and as it does exist, the origin of evil (for if evil means no more than pain 'in genere', evil has a true being in the order of things) is not only a difficulty of impossible solution, but is a fact necessarily implying the non-existence of an omnipotent and infinite goodness,—that is, of God.

For to say that I believe in a God, but not that he is omnipotent, omniscient, and all-good, is as mere a contradiction in terms as to say, I believe in a circle, but not that all the rays from its centre to its circumference are equal.

I cannot read the profound truth so clearly expressed by Donne in the next paragraph—"it does not only want that rectitude, but it should have that rectitude, and therefore hath a sinful want"—without an uneasy wonder at its incongruity with the preceding dogmas.

Serm. LXXI. Mat. iv. 18, 19, 20. p. 717. Ib. p.725. A.

But still consider, that they did but leave their nets, they did not burn them. And consider, too, that they left but nets, those things which might entangle them, and retard them in their following of Christ, &c.

An excellent paragraph grounded on a mere pun. Such was the taste of the age; and it is an awful joy to observe, that not great learning, great wit, great talent, not even (as far as without great virtue that can be) great genius, were effectual to preserve the man from the contagion, but only the deep and wise enthusiasm of moral feeling. Compare in this light Donne's theological prose even with that of the honest Knox; and, above all, compare Cowley with Milton.

Serm. LXXII. Mat. iv. 18, 19, 20. p. 726. Ib. p.727. A.-E.

It is amusing to see the use which the Christian divines make of the very facts in favour of their own religion, with which they triumphantly battered that of the heathens; namely, the gross and sinful anthropomorphitism of their representations of the Deity; and yet the heathen philosophers and priests—Plutarch for instance—tell us as plainly as Donne or Aquinas can do, that these are only accommodations to human modes of conception,—the divine nature being in itself impassible;—how otherwise could it be the prime agent?

Paganism needs a true philosophical judge. Condemned it will be, perhaps, more heavily than by the present judges, but not from the same statutes, nor on the same evidence.

'In fine.'

If our old divines, in their homiletic expositions of Scripture, wire-drew their text, in the anxiety to evolve out of the words the fulness of the meaning expressed, implied, or suggested, our modern preachers have erred more dangerously in the opposite extreme, by making their text a mere theme, or 'motto', for their discourse. Both err in degree; the old divines, especially the Puritans, by excess, the modern by defect. But there is this difference to the disfavor of the latter, that the defect in degree alters the kind. It was on God's holy word that our Hookers, Donnes, Andrewses preached; it was Scripture bread that they divided, according to the needs and seasons. The preacher of our days expounds, or appears to expound, his own sentiments and conclusions, and thinks himself evangelic enough if he can make the Scripture seem in conformity with them.

Above all, there is something to my mind at once elevating and soothing in the idea of an order of learned men reading the many works of the wise and great, in many languages, for the purpose of making one book contain the life and virtue of all others, for their brethren's use who have but that one to read. What, then, if that one book be such, that the increase of learning is shown by more and more enabling the mind to find them all in it! But such, according to my experience—hard as I am on threescore—the Bible is, as far as all moral, spiritual, and prudential,—all private, domestic, yea, even political, truths arid interests are concerned. The astronomer, chemist, mineralogist, must go elsewhere; but the Bible is the book for the man.



[Footnote 1: The LXXX Sermons, fol. 1640.—Ed.]

[Footnote 2:

"Mr. Coleridge's admiration of Bull and Waterland as high theologians was very great. Bull he used to read in the Latin 'Defensio Fidei Nicoenoe', using the Jesuit Zola's edition of 1784, which, I think, he bought at Rome. He told me once, that when he was reading a Protestant English Bishop's work on the Trinity, in a copy edited by an Italian Jesuit in Italy, he felt proud of the Church of England, and in good humour with the Church of Rome."

'Table Talk,' 2d edit. p. 41.—Ed.]

[Footnote 3: Rom. vi. 3, 4, 5.—Ed.]

[Footnote 4: John i 14. Gal. iv 4. Ed.]

[Footnote 5: See the whole argument on the difference of the reason and the understanding, in the 'Aids to Reflection', 3d edit. pp. 206-227. Ed.]

[Footnote 6: See the author's entire argument upon this subject in the 'Church and State'.—Ed.]

[Footnote 7: Galat. ii 20.—Ed.]

[Footnote 8: Compare 'Hamlet', Act V. sc. 1. This sermon was preached, March 8, 1628-9.—Ed.]

[Footnote 9: C. iii. 13, &c.—Ed.]

[Footnote 10: See, however, the author's expressions at, I believe, a rather later period.

"I now think, after many doubts, that the passage; 'I know that my Redeemer liveth', &c. may fairly be taken as a burst of determination, a 'quasi' prophecy. I know not how this can be; but in spite of all my difficulties, this I do know, that I shall be recompensed!"

'Table Talk', 2d edit. p. 80.—Ed.]

[Footnote 11: How so? Is it not admitted that Robert Stephens first divided the New Testament into verses in 1551? See the testimony to that effect of Henry Stephens, his son, in the Preface to his Concordance.—Ed. ]

[Footnote 12: 'Rom'. viii. 3. Mr. C. afterwards expressed himself to the same effect:

"Christ's body, as mere body, or rather carcase (for body is an associated word), was no more capable of sin or righteousness than mine or yours; that his humanity had a capacity of sin, follows from its own essence. He was of like passions as we, and was tempted. How could he be tempted, if he had no formal capacity of being seduced?"

'Table Talk', 2d edit. p. 261.—Ed.]

[Footnote 13: See Hooker's admirable declaration of the doctrine:—

"These natures from the moment of their first combination have been and are for ever inseparable. For even when his soul forsook the tabernacle of his body, his Deity forsook neither body nor soul. If it had, then could we not truly hold either that the person of Christ was buried, or that the person of Christ did raise up itself from the dead. For the body separated from the Word can in no true sense be termed the person of Christ; nor is it true to say that the Son of God in raising up that body did raise up himself, if the body were not both with him and of him even during the time it lay in the sepulchre. The like is also to be said of the soul, otherwise we are plainly and inevitably Nestorians. The very person of Christ therefore for ever one and the self-same, was only touching bodily substance concluded within the grave, his soul only from thence severed, but by personal union his Deity still unseparably joined with both."

E. P. V. 52. 4.—'Keble's edit'. Ed. ]

[Footnote 14: xix. 41.—Ed. ]

[Footnote 15: (C.) which should be (B.)

"The object of the preceding discourse was to recommend the Bible as the end and centre of our reading and meditation. I can truly affirm of myself, that my studies have been profitable and availing to me only so far, as I have endeavored to use all my other knowledge as a glass enabling me to receive more light in a wider field of vision from the Word of God."

Ed.]

[Footnote 16: Ep. 99. See Pearson, Art. v.—Ed. ]



HENRY MORE'S THEOLOGICAL WORKS. [1]

There are three principal causes to which the imperfections and errors in the theological schemes and works of our elder divines, the glories of our Church,—men of almost unparalleled learning and genius, the rich and robust intellects from the reign of Elizabeth to the death of Charles II,—may, I think, be reasonably attributed. And striking, unusually striking, instances of all three abound in this volume; and in the works of no other divine are they more worthy of being regretted: for hence has arisen a depreciation of Henry More's theological writings, which yet contain more original, enlarged, and elevating views of the Christian dispensation than I have met with in any other single volume. For More had both the philosophic and the poetic genius, supported by immense erudition. But unfortunately the two did not amalgamate. It was not his good fortune to discover, as in the preceding generation William Shakspeare discovered, a mordaunt' or common base of both, and in which both the poetic and the philosophical power blended in one.

These causes are,—

First, and foremost,—the want of that logical [Greek: propaideia dokimastikae], that critique of the human intellect, which, previously to the weighing and measuring of this or that, begins by assaying the weights, measures, and scales themselves; that fulfilment of the heaven-descended 'nosce teipsum', in respect to the intellective part of man, which was commenced in a sort of tentative broadcast way by Lord Bacon in his 'Novum Organum', and brought to a systematic completion by Immanuel Kant in his 'Kritik der reinen Vernunft, der Urtheilskrajt, und der metaphysiche Anfangsgruende der Naturwissenschaft'.

From the want of this searching logic, there is a perpetual confusion of the subjective with the objective in the arguments of our divines, together with a childish or anile overrating of human testimony, and an ignorance in the art of sifting it, which necessarily engendered credulity.

Second,—the ignorance of natural science, their physiography scant in fact, and stuffed out with fables; their physiology imbrangled with an inapplicable logic and a misgrowth of 'entia rationalia', that is, substantiated abstractions; and their physiogony a blank or dreams of tradition, and such "intentional colours" as occupy space but cannot fill it. Yet if Christianity is to be the religion of the world, if Christ be that Logos or Word that 'was in the beginning', by whom all things 'became'; if it was the same Christ who said, 'Let there be light'; who in and by the creation commenced that great redemptive process, the history of life which begins in its detachment from nature, and is to end in its union with God;—if this be true, so true must it be that the book of nature and the book of revelation, with the whole history of man as the intermediate link, must be the integral and coherent parts of one great work: and the conclusion is, that a scheme of the Christian faith which does not arise out of, and shoot its beams downward into, the scheme of nature, but stands aloof as an insulated afterthought, must be false or distorted in all its particulars. In confirmation of this position, I may challenge any opponent to adduce a single instance in which the now exploded falsities of physical science, through all its revolutions from the second to the seventeenth century of the Christian aera, did not produce some corresponding warps in the theological systems and dogmas of the several periods.

The third and last cause, and especially operative in the writings of this author, is the presence and regnancy of a false and fantastic philosophy, yet shot through with refracted light from the not risen but rising truth,—a scheme of physics and physiology compounded of Cartesian mechanics and empiricism (for it was the credulous childhood of experimentalism), and a corrupt, mystical, theurgical, pseudo-Platonism, which infected the rarest minds under the Stuart dynasty. The only not universal belief in witchcraft and apparitions, and the vindication of such monster follies by such men as Sir M. Hale, Glanville, Baxter, Henry More, and a host of others, are melancholy proofs of my position. Hence, in the first chapters of this volume, the most idle inventions of the ancients are sought to be made credible by the most fantastic hypotheses and analogies.

To the man who has habitually contemplated Christianity as interesting all rational finite beings, as the very 'spirit of truth', the application of the prophecies as so many fortune-tellings and soothsayings to particular events and persons, must needs be felt as childish—like faces seen in the moon, or the sediments of a teacup. But reverse this, and a Pope and a Buonaparte can never be wanting,—the molehill becomes an Andes. On the other hand, there are few writers whose works could be so easily defecated as More's. Mere omission would suffice; and perhaps one half (an unusually large proportion) would come forth from the furnace pure gold; if but a fourth, how great a gain!

EXPLANATION OF THE GRAND MYSTERY OF GODLINESS.

Dedication. 'Servorum illius omnium indignissimus.'

'Servus indignissimus,' or 'omnino indignus', or any other positive self-abasement before God, I can understand; but how an express avowal of unworthiness, comparatively superlative, can consist with the Job-like integrity and sincerity of profession especially required in a solemn address to Him, to whom all hearts are open, this I do not understand in the case of such men as Henry More, Jeremy Taylor, Richard Baxter were, and by comparison at least with the multitude of evil doers, must have believed themselves to be.

Ib. V. c.14. s.3.

This makes me not so much wonder at that passage of Providence, which allowed so much virtue to the bones of the martyr Babylas, once bishop of Antioch, as to stop the mouth of Apollo Daphneus when Julian would have enticed him to open it by many a fat sacrifice. To say nothing of several other memorable miracles that were done by the reliques of saints and martyrs in those times.

Strange lingering of childish credulity in the most learned and in many respects enlightened divines of the Protestant episcopal church even to the time of James II! The Popish controversy at that time made a great clearance.

Ib. s. 9.

At one time Professor Eichorn had persuaded me that the Apocalypse was authentic; that is, a Danielitic dramatic poem written by the Apostle and Evangelist John, and not merely under his name. But the repeated perusal of the vision has sadly unsettled my conclusion. The entire absence of all spirituality perplexes me, as forming so strong a contrast with the Gospel and Epistles of John; and then the too great appearance of an allusion to the fable of Nero's return to life and empire, to Simon Magus and Apollonius of Tyana on the one hand (that is the Eichornian hypothesis), and the insurmountable difficulties of Joseph Mede and others on to Bicheno and Faber on the other. In short, I feel just as both Luther and Calvin felt,—that is, I know not what to make of it, and so leave it alone.

It is much to be regretted that we have no contemporary history of Apollonius, or of the reports concerning him, and the popular notions in his own time. For from the romance of Philostratus we cannot be sure as to the fact of the lies themselves. It may be a lie, that there ever was such or such a lie in circulation.

Ib. c. 15. s. 2.

Fourthly. The 'little horn', Dan. vii, that rules 'for a time and times and half a time', it is evident that it is not Antiochus Epiphanes, because this 'little horn' is part of the fourth beast—namely, the Roman.

Is it quite clear that the Macedonian was not the fourth empire;

1. the Assyrian; 2. the Median; 3. the Persian; 4. the Macedonian?

However, what a strange prophecy, that, 'e confesso' having been fulfilled, remains as obscure as before!

Ib. s. 6

'And ye shall have the tribulation of ten days',—that is, the utmost extent of tribulation; beyond which there is nothing further, as there is no number beyond ten.

It means, I think, the very contrary. 'Decent dierum' is used even in Terence for a very short time. [2] In the same way we say, a nine days' wonder.

Ib. c. 16. s. 1.

But for further conviction of the excellency of Mr. Mede's way above that of Grotius, I shall compare some of their main interpretations.

Hard to say which of the two, Mede's or Grotius', is the more improbable. Beyond doubt, however, the Cherubim are meant as the scenic ornature borrowed from the Temple.

Ib. s. 2.

That this 'rider of the white horse' is Christ, they both agree in.

The 'white horse' is, I conceive, Victory or Triumph—that is, of the Roman power—followed by Slaughter, Famine, and Pestilence. All this is plain enough. The difficulty commences after the writer is deserted by his historical facts, that is, after the sacking of Jerusalem.

Ib. s. 5.

It would be no easy matter to decide, whether Mede plus More was at a greater distance from the meaning, or Grotius from the poetry, of this eleventh chapter of the Revelations; whether Mede was more wild, or Grotius more tame, flat, and prosaic.

Ib. c. 17. s. 8.

The Old and New Testament, which by a 'prosopopoeia' are here called the 'two witnesses.'

Where is the probability of this so long before the existence of the collection since called the New Testament?

Ib. vi. c. l. s. 2.

We may draw from this passage (1 'Thess'. iv. 16, 17.) the strongest support of the fact of the ascension of Christ, or at least of St. Paul's (and of course of the first generation of Christians') belief of it. For had they not believed his ascent, whence could they have derived the universal expectation of his descent,—his bodily, personal descent? The only scruple is, that all these circumstances were parts of the Jewish 'cabala' or idea of the Messiah by the spiritualists before the Christian aera, and therefore taken for granted with respect to Jesus as soon as he was admitted to be the Messiah.

Ib. s. 6.

But light-minded men, whose hearts are made dark with infidelity, care not what antic distortions they make in interpreting Scripture, so they bring it to any show of compliance with their own fancy and incredulity.

Why so very harsh a censure? What moral or spiritual, or even what physical, difference can be inferred from all men's dying, this of one thing, that of another, a third, like the martyrs, burnt alive, or all in the same way? In any case they all die, and all pass to judgment.

Ib. c. 15.

With his 'semi'-Cartesian, 'semi'-Platonic, 'semi'-Christian notions, Henry More makes a sad jumble in his assertion of chronochorhistorical Christianity. One decisive reference to the ascension of the visible and tangible Jesus from the surface of the earth upward through the clouds, pointed out in the writings of St. Paul or in the Gospel, beginning as it certainly did, and as in the copy according to Mark it now does, with the baptism of John, or in the writings of the Apostle John, would have been more effective in flooring Old Nic of Amsterdam [3] and his familiars, than volumes of such "maybe's," "perhapses," and "should be rendered," as these.

Ib. viii. c. 2. c. 6.

I must confess our Saviour compiled no books, it being a piece of pedantry below so noble and divine a person, &c.

Alas! all this is woefully beneath the dignity of Henry More, and shockingly against the majesty of the High and Holy One, so very unnecessarily compared with Hendrick Nicholas, of Amsterdam, mercer!

Ib. x. c. 13. s. 5, 6.

A new sect naturally attracts to itself a portion of the madmen of the time, and sets another portion into activity as alarmists and oppugnants. I cannot therefore pretend to say what More might not have found in the writings, or heard from the mouth, of some lunatic who called himself a Quaker. But I do not recollect, in any work of an acknowledged Friend, a denial of the facts narrated by the Evangelists, as having really taken place in the same sense as any other facts of history. If they were symbols of spiritual acts and processes, as Fox and Penn contended, they must have been, or happened;—else how could they be symbols?

It is too true, however, that the positive creed of the Quakers is and ever has been extremely vague and misty. The deification of the conscience, under the name of the Spirit, seems the main article of their faith; and of the rest they form no opinion at all, considering it neither necessary nor desirable. I speak of Quakers in general. But what a lesson of experience does not this thirteenth chapter of so great and good a man as H. More afford to us, who know what the Quakers really are! Had the followers of George Fox, or any number of them collectively, acknowledged the mad notions of this Hendrick Nicholas? If not——



INQUIRY INTO THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY.

Part II. ii. c. 2.

Confutation of Grotius on the 17th chapter of the Apocalypse.

Has or has not Grotius been overrated? If Grotius applied these words ('magnus testis et historiarum diligentissimus inquisitor') to Epiphanius in honest earnest, and not ironically, he must have been greatly inferior in sound sense and critical tact both to Joseph Scaliger and to Rhenferd. Strange, that to Henry More, a poet and a man of fine imagination, it should never have occurred to ask himself, whether this scene, Patmos, with which the drama commences, was not a part of the poem, and, like all other parts, to be interpreted symbolically? That the poetic—and I see no reason for doubting the real—date of the Apocalypse is under Vespasian, is so evidently implied in the five kings preceding (for Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, were abortive emperors) that it seems to me quite lawless to deny it. That [Greek: Lateinos] is the meaning of the 666, (c. xiii. 18.) and the treasonable character of this, are both shown by Irenaeus's pretended rejection, and his proposal of the perfectly senseless 'Teitan' instead.



[Footnote 1: Folio. 1708.—Ed.]

[Footnote 2: 'Decem dierum vix mihi est familia'. Heaut. v. i.—Ed.]

[Footnote 3: Hendrick Nicholas and the Family of Love.—Ed.]



HEINRICHS'S COMMENTARY ON THE APOCALYPSE. [1]

P. 245.

It seems clear that Irenaeus invented the unmeaning 'Teitan', in order to save himself from the charge of treason, to which the 'Lateinos' might have exposed him. See Rabelais 'passim'.

P.246.

'Nec magis blandiri poterit alterum illud nomen, Teitan, quod studiose commendavit Irenoeus'.

No! 'non studiose, sed ironice commendavit Irenaeus'. Indeed it is ridiculous to suppose that Irenaeus was in earnest with 'Teitan'. His meaning evidently is:—if not 'Lateinos', which has a meaning, it is some one of the many names having the same numeral power, to which a meaning is to be found by the fulfillment of the prophecy. My own conviction is, that the whole is an ill-concerted conundrum, the secret of which died with the author. The general purpose only can be ascertained, namely, some test, partaking of religious obligation, of allegiance to the sovereignty of the Roman Emperor.

If I granted for a moment the truth of Heinrichs's supposition, namely, that, according to the belief of the Apocalypt, the line of the Emperors would cease in Titus the seventh or complete number (Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, being omitted) by the advent of the Messiah;—if I found my judgment more coerced by his arguments than it is,—then I should use this book as evidence of the great and early discrepance between the Jewish-Christian Church and the Pauline; and my present very serious doubts respecting the identity of John the Theologian and John the Evangelist would become fixed convictions of the contrary.

P. 91. Rev. xvii. 11.

Among other grounds for doubting this interpretation (that 'the eighth' in v.11. is Satan), I object, 1. that it almost necessitates the substitution of the Coptic [Greek: aggelos] for [Greek: ogdoos] against all the MSS., and without any Patristic hint. For it seems a play with words unworthy the writer, to make Satan, who possessed all the seven, himself an 'eighth', and still worse if 'the eighth': 2. that it is not only a great and causeless inconcinnity in style, but a wanton adding of obscurity to the obscure to have, first, so carefully distinguished (c. xiii. 1-11.) the [Greek: drakon] from the two [Greek: thaeria], and the one [Greek: thaerion] from the other, and then to make [Greek: thaerion] the appellative of the [Greek: drakon]: as if having in one place told of Nicholas 'senior', Dick and another Dick his cousin, I should soon after talk of Dick, meaning old Nicholas by that name; that is, having discriminated Nicholas from Dick, then to say Dick, meaning Nicholas!

Rev. xix. 9.

These words might well bear a more recondite interpretation; that is, [Greek: outoi] (these blessed ones) are the true [Greek: logoi] or [Greek: tekna Theou], as the Logos is the [Greek: huios Theou].

Ib. 10.

According to the law of symbolic poetry this sociable angel (the Beatrice of the Hebrew Dante) ought to be, and I doubt not is, 'sensu symbolico', an angel; that is, the angel of the Church of Ephesus, John the Evangelist, according to the opinion of Eusebius.

P. 294. Rev. xx. 'Millennium'.

'Die vorzueglichsten Bekenner Jesu sollen auferstehen, die uebrigen Menschen sollen es nicht. Hiesse jenes, sie sollen noch nach ihrem Tode fortwuerken, so waere das letztere falsch: denn auch die uebrigen wuerken nach ihrem Tode durch ihre schriften, ihre Andenken, ihre Beispiel.'

'Euge! Heinrichi'. O, the sublime bathos of thy prosaism—the muddy eddy of thy logic! Thou art the only man to understand a poet!

I have too clearly before me the idea of a poet's genius to deem myself other than a very humble poet; but in the very possession of the idea, I know myself so far a poet as to feel assured that I can understand and interpret a poem in the spirit of poetry, and with the poet's spirit. Like the ostrich, I cannot fly, yet have I wings that give me the feeling of flight; and as I sweep along the plain, can look up toward the bird of Jove, and can follow him and say:

"Sovereign of the air,—who descendest on thy nest in the cleft of the inaccessible rock, who makest the mountain pinnacle thy perch and halting-place, and, scanning with steady eye the orb of glory right above thee, imprintest thy lordly talons in the stainless snows, that shoot back and scatter round his glittering shafts,—I pay thee homage. Thou art my king. I give honor due to the vulture, the falcon, and all thy noble baronage; and no less to the lowly bird, the sky-lark, whom thou permittest to visit thy court, and chant her matin song within its cloudy curtains; yea the linnet, the thrush, the swallow, are my brethren:—but still I am a bird, though but a bird of the earth.

"Monarch of our kind, I am a bird, even as thou; and I have shed plumes, which have added beauty to the beautiful, and grace to terror, waving over the maiden's brow and on the helmed head of the war-chief; and majesty to grief, drooping o'er the car of death!"



[Footnote 1: Goettingen, 1821. The few following notes are, something out of order, inserted here in consequence of their connection with the immediately preceding remarks in the text.—Ed.]



LIFE OF BISHOP HACKET. [1]

Ib. p. 8.

Yet he would often dispute the necessity of a country living for a London minister to retire to in hot summer time, out of the sepulchral air of a churchyard, where most of them are housed in the city, and found for his own part that by Whitsuntide he did 'rus anhelare', and unless he took fresh air in the vacation, he was stopt in his lungs and could not speak clear after Michaelmas.

A plausible reason certainly why A. and B. should occasionally change posts, but a very weak one, methinks, for A.'s having both livings all the year through.

Ib. p. 42-3.

The Bishop was an enemy to all separation from the Church of England; but their hypocrisy he thought superlative that allowed the doctrine, and yet would separate for mislike of the discipline. ... And therefore he wished that as of old all kings and other Christians subscribed to the Conciliary Decrees, so now a law might pass that all justices of peace should do so in England, and then they would be more careful to punish the depravers of Church Orders.

The little or no effect of recent experience and sufferings still more recent, in curing the mania of persecution! How was it possible that a man like Bishop Hacket should not have seen that if separation on account of the imposition of things by himself admitted to be indifferent, and as such justified, was criminal in those who did not think them indifferent,—how doubly criminal must the imposition have been, and how tenfold criminal the perseverance in occasioning separation; how guilty the imprisoning, impoverishing, driving into wildernesses their Christian brethren for admitted indifferentials in direct contempt of St. Paul's positive command to the contrary!



HACKET'S SERMONS.

Serm. I. Luke ii. 7.

Moreover as the woman Mary did bring forth the son who bruised the serpent's head, which brought sin into the world by the woman Eve, so the Virgin Mary was the occasion of grace as the Virgin Eve was the cause of damnation. Eve had not known Adam as yet when she was beguiled and seduced the man; so Mary, &c.

A Rabbinical fable or gloss on Gen. iii. 1. Hacket is offensively fond of these worse than silly vanities.

Ib. p. 5.

The more to illustrate this, you must know that there was a twofold root or foundation of the children of Israel for their temporal being: Abraham was the root of the people; the kingdom was rent from Saul, and therefore David was the root of the kingdom; among all the kings in the pedigree none but he hath the name; and Jesse begat David the king, and David the king begat Solomon; and therefore so often as God did profess to spare the people, though he were angry, he says he would do it for Abraham's sake: so often as he professeth to spare the kingdom of Judah, he says he would do it for his servant David's sake; so that 'ratione radicis', as Abraham and David are roots of the people and kingdom, especially Christ is called the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.

A valuable remark, and confirmative of my convictions respecting the conversion of the Jews, namely, that whatever was ordained for them as 'Abrahamidae' is not repealed by Christianity, but only what appertained to the republic, kingdom, or state. The modern conversions are, as it seems to me, in the face of God's commands.

Ib.

I come to the third strange condition of the birth; it was without travel, or the pangs of woman, as I will shew you out of these words; 'fasciis involvit', that 'she wrapt him in swaddling clouts, and laid him in a manger. Ipsa genitrix fuit obstetrix', says St. Cyprian. Mary was both the mother and the midwife of the child; far be it from us to think that the weak hand of the woman could facilitate the work which was guided only by the miraculous hand of God. The Virgin conceived our Lord without the lusts of the flesh, and therefore she had not the pangs and travel of woman upon her, she brought him forth without the curse of the flesh. These be the Fathers' comparisons. As bees draw honey from the flower without offending it, as Eve was taken out of Adam's side without any grief to him, as a sprig issues out of the bark of a tree, as the sparkling light from the brightness of the star, such ease was it to Mary to bring forth her first born son; and therefore having no weakness in her body, feeling no want of vigor, she did not deliver him to any profane hand to be drest, but by a special ability, above all that are newly delivered, she wrapt him in swaddling clouts. 'Gravida, sed non gravabatur'; she had a burden in her womb, before she was delivered, and yet she was not burdened for her journey which she took so instantly before the time of the child's birth. From Nazareth to Bethlem was above forty miles, and yet she suffered it without weariness or complaint, for such was the power of the Babe, that rather he did support the Mother's weakness than was supported; and as he lighted his Mother's travel by the way from Nazareth to Bethlem that it was not tedious to her tender age, so he took away all her dolour and imbecility from her travel in child-birth, and therefore 'she wrapt him in swaddling clouts'.

A very different paragraph indeed, and quite on the cross road to Rome! It really makes me melancholy; but it is one of a thousand instances of the influence of Patristic learning, by which the Reformers of the Latin Church were distinguished from the renovators of the Christian religion.

Can we wonder that the strict Protestants were jealous of the backsliding of the Arminian prelatical clergy and of Laud their leader, when so strict a Calvinist as Bishop Hacket could trick himself up in such fantastic rags and lappets of Popish monkery!—could skewer such frippery patches, cribbed from the tyring room of Romish Parthenolatry, on the sober gown and cassock of a Reformed and Scriptural Church!

Ib. p. 7.

But to say the truth, was he not safer among the beasts than he could be elsewhere in all the town of Bethlem? His enemies perchance would say unto him, as Jael did to Sisera, 'Turn in, turn in, my Lord', when she purposed to kill him; as the men of Keilah made a fair shew to give David all courteous hospitality, but the issue would prove, if God had not blessed him, that they meant to deliver him into the hands of Saul that sought his blood. So there was no trusting of the Bethlemites. Who knows, but that they would have prevented Judas, and betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver unto Herod? More humanity is to be expected from the beasts than from some men, and therefore she laid him in a manger.

Did not the life of Archbishop Williams prove otherwise, I should have inferred from these Sermons that Hacket from his first boyhood had been used to make themes, epigrams, copies of verses, and the like, on all the Sunday feasts and festivals of the Church; had found abundant nourishment for this humour of points, quirks, and quiddities in the study of the Fathers and glossers; and remained a 'junior soph' all his life long. I scarcely know what to say: on the one hand, there is a triflingness, a shewman's or relique-hawker's gossip that stands in offensive contrast with the momentous nature of the subject, and the dignity of the ministerial office; as if a preacher having chosen the Prophets for his theme should entertain his congregation by exhibiting a traditional shaving rag of Isaiah's with the Prophet's stubble hair on the dried soap-sud. And yet, on the other hand, there is an innocency in it, a security of faith, a fulness evinced in the play and plash of its overflowing, that at other times give one the same sort of pleasure as the sight of blackberry bushes and children's handkerchief-gardens on the slopes of a rampart, the promenade of some peaceful old town, that stood the last siege in the Thirty Years' war!

Ib. Serm. II. Luke ii. 8.

Tiberius propounded his mind to the senate of Rome, that Christ, the great prophet in Jewry, should be had in the same honour with the other gods which they worshipped in the Capitol. The motion did not please them, says Eusebius; and this was all the fault, because he was a god not of their own, but of Tiberius' invention.

Here, I own, the negative evidence of the silence of Seneca and Suetonius—above all, of Tacitus and Pliny—outweigh in my mind the positive testimony of Eusebius, which rested, I suspect, on the same ground with the letters of Pontius Pilate, so boldly appealed to by Tertullian. [2]

Ib. Serm. III. Luke ii. 9.

But our bodies shall revive out of that dust into which they were dissolved, and live for ever in the resurrection of the righteous.

I never could satisfy myself as to the continuance and catholicity of this strange Egyptian tenet in the very face of St. Paul's indignant, 'Thou fool! not that, &c.' I have at times almost been tempted to conjecture that Paul taught a different doctrine from the Palestine disciples on this point, and that the Church preferred the sensuous and therefore more popular belief of the Evangelists' [Greek: kata sarka] to the more intelligible faith of the spiritual sage of the other Athens; for so Tarsus was called.

And was there no symptom of a commencing relapse to the errors of that Church which had equalled the traditions of men, yea, the dreams of phantasts with the revelations of God, when a chosen elder with the law of truth before him, and professing to divide and distribute the bread of life, could, paragraph after paragraph, place such unwholesome vanities as these before his flock, without even a hint which might apprize them that the gew-gaw comfits were not part of the manna from heaven? All this superstitious trash about angels, which the Jews learned from the Persian legends, asserted as confidently as if Hacket had translated it word for word from one of the four Gospels! Salmasius, if I mistake not, supposes the original word to have been bachelors, young unmarried men. Others interpret angels as meaning the bishop and elders of the Church. More probably it was a proverbial expression derived from the Cherubim in the Temple: something as the country folks used to say to children, Take care, the Fairies will hear you! It was a common notion among the Jews, in the time of St. Paul, that their angels were employed in carrying up their prayers to the throne of God. Of course they must have been in special attendance in a house of prayer.

After much search and much thought on the subject of angels as a diverse kind of finite beings, I find no sufficing reason to hold it for a revealed doctrine, and if not revealed it is assuredly no truth of philosophy, which, as I have elsewhere remarked, can conceive but three kinds; 1. the infinite reason; 2. the finite rational; and 3. the finite irrational—that is, God, man, and beast. What indeed, even for the vulgar, is or can an archangel be but a man with wings, better or worse than the wingless species according as the feathers are white or black? I would that the word had been translated instead of Anglicised in our English Bible.

The following paragraph is one of Hacket's sweetest passages. It is really a beautiful little hymn.

By this it appears how suitably a beam of admirable light did concur in the angels' message to set out the majesty of the Son of God: and I beseech you observe,—all you that would keep a good Christmas as you ought,—that the glory of God is the best celebration of his Son's nativity; and all your pastimes and mirth (which I disallow not, but rather commend in moderate use) must so be managed, without riot, without surfeiting, without excessive gaming, without pride and vain pomp, in harmlessness, in sobriety, as if the glory of the Lord were round about us. Christ was born to save them that were lost; but frequently you abuse his nativity with so many vices, such disordered outrages, that you make this happy time an occasion for your loss rather than for your salvation. Praise him in the congregation of the people! praise him in your inward heart! praise him with the sanctity of your life! praise him in your charity to them that need and are in want! This is the glory of God shining round, and the most Christian solemnizing of the birth of Jesus.



SERMONS ON THE TEMPTATION.

As the Temptation is found in the three Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it must have formed part of the 'Prot-evangelion', or original Gospel;—from the Apostles, therefore, it must have come, and from some or all who had heard the account from our Lord himself. How, then, are we to understand it? To confute the whims and superstitious nugacities of these Sermons, and the hundred other comments and interpretations 'ejusdem farinae', would be a sad waste of time. Yet some meaning, and that worthy of Christ, it must have had. The struggle with the suggestions of the evil principle, first, to force his way and compel belief by a succession of miracles, disjoined from moral and spiritual purpose,—miracles for miracles' sake;—second, doubts of his Messianic character and divinity, and temptations to try it by some ordeal at the risk of certain death;—third, to interpret his mission, as his countrymen generally did, to be one of conquest and royalty;—these perhaps—but I am lost in doubt.



SERMON ON THE TRANSFIGURATION.

Luke IX. 33.

'I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh'.

Rom. ix. 3.

St. Paul does not say, "I would desire to be accursed," nor does he speak of any deliberated result of his consideration; but represents a transient passion of his soul, an actual but undetermined impulse,—an impulse existing in and for itself in the moment of its ebullience, and not completed by an act and confirmation of the will,—as a striking proof of the exceeding interest which he continued to feel in the welfare of his countrymen, His heart so swelled with love and compassion for them, that if it were possible, if reason and conscience permitted it, 'Methinks,' says he, 'I could wish that myself were accursed, if so they might be saved.' Might not a mother, figuring to herself as possible and existing an impossible or not existing remedy for a dying child, exclaim, 'Oh, I could fly to the end of the earth to procure it!' Let it not be irreverent, if I refer to the fine passage in Shakspeare—Hotspur's rapture-like reverie—so often ridiculed by shallow wits. In great passion, the crust opake of present and existing weakness and boundedness is, as it were, fused and vitrified for the moment, and through the transparency the soul, catching a gleam of the infinity of the potential in the will of man, reads the future for the present. Percy is wrapt in the contemplation of the physical might inherent in the concentrated will; the inspired Apostle in the sudden sense of the depth of its moral strength.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse