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America, he was now admitted ad eundem,* not only in the renowned university of Oxford, but in that of Cambridge also. But having been some time resident in Oxford, the English commissioners, then going into Scotland, were willing to carry with them some English ministers, whose eminent learning, wisdom, goodness and reputation, might be serviceable unto the interests of truth and peace in that nation. Accordingly, Mr. Mather, was one of the persons chosen for that service; and there he continued at Leigh, preaching the gospel of God our Saviour, for two years together.
$ 8. In the year 1655, he returned into England; and the Lord Henry Cromwel, then going over lord-deputy for Ireland, there were several ministers of great. note pitched upon to go over with him, for the service of the Christian religion there, whereof was Dr. Harrison, Dr. Winter, Mr. Charnock and our Mr. Mather. When Mr. Mather came to Dublin, he was made a senior fellow of Trinity Colledge; and from that university he had the offer of a baccalaureatus in theologia,t but he modestly declined it, and seemed inclinable to the Jewish rule, about the rabbinate, "love the work, but hate the rabbinship,” yet he that had already proceeded Master of Arts in so many universities, did here again proceed ad eundem. Of any further degrees our Mather was ready to say, with the great Melancthon, who would not accept an higher title than that of Master: Vides meum exemplurn; nemo me perpellere potuit, ut illum quamlibet honorificum i titulum doctoris mihi decerni sinerem. Nec ego gradus illos parvifacio, sed ideò, quià judico esse magna onera, et necessaria reipublicæ verecundè petendos esse, et conferendos sentio. But now, in preaching to that renowned city, and in the pastoral charge of the church there, he was joined as a colleague with Dr. Winter; and here preached every Lord's-day morning at St. Nichol's church; besides his turn, which he took once in six weeks, to preach before the lord-deputy and council. A preacher he now was of extraordinary esteem and success; and as the whole kingdom took notice of him, so he did service for the whole kingdom, in the eminent station where God had placed him. The more special excellencies for which his ministry was here observed, were—first, a most evangelical endeavour to make the Lord Jesus Christ the scope and sum of all that he said. Secondly, a most angelical majesty, wherewith his messages were still uttered, as coming from the throne of God; and thirdly, such a clearness of reason and method, that it was commonly remark'd Mr. Charnock's invention, Dr. Harrison's expression, and Mr. Mather's logick, meeting together, would have made the perfectest preacher in the world. And if the sloathful man in Prov. xix. 24, who “will not so much as bring his hand unto his mouth,” were by the ancients understood concerning the To the same degree. + Bachelor's degree in theology.
To the same degree. § You see what examples I have set : nothing hitherto could induce me to accopt of the honourable title of " Doctor:" not that I hold such honours in light esteem, but because I consider them great burdens, and to be aspired to and conferred only as necessary to the State.
unholy minister, who will not bring voci suæ vitam suam ;* our Mr. Mather was no sloathful preacher; for besides his being a preacher who, as Mel. chior Adam describes Jacobus Andrese, si quando opus erat, mera sonabat tonitrua,t he was also a preacher very eminent for holiness, and he taught the people, at other times besides when he “opened his mouth.”
$ 9. A certain writer who does continually serve the “Romanizing faction in the church of England" with all manner of malice and slander against the best men in the world, that were in any measure free from the spirit of that faction, yet mentioning our Samuel Mather, in his “Athena Oxonienses,” gives this account of him: “Tho' he was a Congregational man, and in his principles an high non-conformist, yet he was observed by some to be civil to those of the episcopal perswasion, when it was in his power to do them a displeasure. And when the lord-deputy gave a commission to him and others, in order unto the displacing of episcopal ministers in the province of Munster, he declined it; as he did afterwards to do the like matter in Dublin; alledging, that he was called into that country 'to preach the gospel, and not to hinder others from doing it.' He was a religious man in the way he profest, [this author confesses] and was valued by some who differ'd from him as to opinion in lesser and circumstantial points of religion.” Thus one of themselves, even a bigot of their own, has reported, and his report is true! For which cause, when the storm of persecution fell upon the non-conformists in Ireland, Mr. Mather, in his address to the lord-chancellor for his liberty, used these, among many other passages: “I can truly say, I desire no more, not so much favour for myself now, as I have showed unto others formerly, when they stood in need of it. But I will not say how much cause I have to resent it, and to take it a little unkindly, that I have met with so much molestation from those of that judgment, whom I have not provoked unto it, by my example, but rather have obliged by sparing their consciences, to another manner of deportment. For, indeed, I have always thought that it is an irksome work to punish or trouble any man, so it is an evil and sinful work trouble any good man with temporal coercions for such errors in religion as are consistent with the foundation of faith and holiness. It is no good spirit, in any form, to fight with carnal weapons; I mean, by external violence, to impose and propagate itself, and seek by such means the suppressing of contrary ways, which by argument it is not able to subdue.”— But let the merits of Mr. Mather have bin what they will, he could not avoid the hardships, which the historian proceeds to relate in these terms: "After his majesty's restauration, he was suspended from preaching, 'till his majesty's pleasure should be known, for two sermons, which were judged seditious." Thus writes the veriest Zosimus that ever set pen to paper; even that Zosimus the younger, who cannot mention any wellwisher to the reformation of the church of England, without giving one His life into conformity with his preaching.
+ Uttered thunder, when expediency required It.
occasion to think on Dr. Howel's observation upon the old Zosimus: “We know it to be the practice, in all reformations, of those who are addicted unto the old way, to render infamous such as have bin instruments in the alteration; and, by a prejudice against the persons, most ridiculously to insinuate an ill opinion of the thing or cause itself.”
§ 10. One principal character upon the spirit of Mr. Mather, and one remarkable in the studies and sufferings of his life, will be given to my reader, in an account of the two sermons which were the pretended occasions of his being silenced. Know, then, that the Episcopal party in Ireland, immediately upon the king's restauration, hastning to restore their spiritual courts, and summon the ministers of the gospel to appear before them, and submit unto those unscriptural impositions, which many years had bin laid aside ratione belli (as they expressed it) rabieque hæreticorum et schismaticorum,* and answer for the breach of canons, which (as the others answered) “We bless God, we have never kept, to his praise we speak it, and we hope, through his grace, we never shall:" it was thought necessary on this occasion that a publick testimony should be born against the revival of those dead superstitions. Accordingly Mr. Mather, being the fittest person on many accounts to be put upon that service, he did, in the capital city of the kingdom, in a great auditory, preach two sermons upon K. Hezekiah's breaking in pieces the brazen serpent, and calling it Nehaustan, and thence advance this assertion, "That it is a thing very pleasing in the sight of God, when the sin of idolatry, and all the monuments, all the remembrances and remainders of it are quite destroyed and rooted out from among his people:” wherein bis note upon the text was indeed but the very same with what his adversaries, who are usually great admirers of every thing said by Grotius, might have read in the commentary of that admirably learned (though frequently Socinianizing, and at last Romanizing) interpreter, upon the very same text; Egregium documentum regibus, ut quamvis benè instituta, sed non necessaria, ubi ési 76 godu, malè usurpantur, è conspectu tollant, nè ponant offendiculum cæcis.f In the prosecution of this assertion, he offered many arguments, why the ceremonies of the Church of England, which were but the old leaven of human inventions and popish corruptions remaining in the worship of a church, whose doctrine he yet approv'd, as generally owned by good men, should not be reassumed, and by the old cruel methods of pænal laws, rein. forced. Against the ceremonies in general, he argued, that the preface to the common-prayer-book, expressly declared them to be mystical and significant, and so they differed nothing from sacraments, but that they wanted a divine institution; and, said he, "The promoters of them do pretend only the authority of the church; but if the second commandment
On account of the cxisting war and the rage of heretics and schismatics.
+ A most excelent hint to sovereigns, to remove all unnecessary impositions, however well contrived they may be, and avoid placing the least stumbling-block in the way of the blind and unintelligent among their subjects.
was given to the church, "Thou shalt not make any graven image, or form of worship to thyself;' they are a manifest breach of that commandment.” He added, that, as they were the monuments of the old papal and pagan idolatry, and men did therein, but symbolize with idolaters, thus, by the greater weight almost perpetually laid upon them, than upon greater things, they were still made further idols. Particularly, he argued against the surplice, “That it was a continuation of the superstitious garments, wherein the false worshippers did use to officiate; That the Aaronical garments being typical of the graces attending the Lord Jesus Christ, they are by his coming antiquated; That the Scriptures give not the least intimation of any garments, whereby ministers are to be distinguished.” He added, "That among the first reformers, the most eminent were in their undistressed judgments, against the vestment; and that when the canons of 1571 forbad the 'gray amice, or any other garment defiled with the like superstition,' the æquity of that canon would exclude this also." He argued against the sign of the cross in baptism, that whatever was to be said against oyl, cream, salt, spittle, therein is to be said against the cross, which indeed never had bin used, in the worship of God, as oyl had been of old: that there is as much cause to worship the spear that pierced our Lord, as the cross which hanged him, or that it were as reasonable, to scratch a child's forehead with a thorn, to shew that it must suffer for him who wore a crown of thorns: that the cross thus employed is a breach of the second commandment in the very letter of it, being an image in the service of God of man's devising, and fetch'd, as Mr. Parker says, “from the brothel- house of God's greatest enemy.” He argued against kneeling at the Lord's-Supper, that it is contrary to the first institution, which had in it none but a table-gesture: that it is a gross hypocrisie to pretend unto more devotion, holiness, and reverence, in the act of receiving, than the apostles did, when our Lord was there bodily present with them; that it countenanced the error of the papists, who kneel before their breaden god, and profess, that "they would be sooner torn in pieces than do it, if they did not believe that Christ is there bodily present:” and that, since it was a rule in the common-prayer-book, set forth in K. Edward's time,
"As touching kneeling and other gestures, they may be used or left, as every man's devotion serveth," it was a shameful thing to be so retrograde in religion, as now to establish that gesture. He argued against "bowing at the altar, and setting the communion-table altarwise," that the communion-table is in the sacred oracles called a table still, and, no where, an altar; and if it were an altar, it would imply a sacrifice, which the Lord's Supper is not: yea, it would be greater and better than the Lord's Supper itself, and sanctifie it; that if it were an altar, yet it should not be fasten'd unto the wall, dresser-fashion, but so stand, as that it might be "compassed about;" that the placing of it at the east-cnd of the church, with steps going up to it, and especially the setting of images, or other
massing appurtenances over it, smells rank of paganism: and that, whereas, in the very beginning of the reformation, this abuse was one of the first things put down, it were a most Romish vergency now to conjure it up again. He argued against “bowing at the name of Jesus,” that the phrase of bowing sv TW óvo;4970,* in the text, wrested unto his purpose, is but very untowardly translated, “at the name of Jesus," instead of "in the name;" and it were as proper to speak of “baptizing at the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit," and of "believing at God the Father, and at Jesus Christ his Son our Lord, and at the Holy Ghost.” That by the "name of Jesus," is not meant the sound of the syllables in the word JESUS, but the power, majesty, dominion and authority of the person of the Lord Jesus; and it is a piece of cabalistical magic, to make an incurvation at the sound of this name, without paying the like respect unto other names of the blessed God, or particularly the name CHRIST, which is more distinguishing for our Lord, than that of JESUS; or why not at the sight as well as the sound? That the apostle speaks of such a name, to be acknowledged with bowing, as was given to our Lord after his resurrection, and as the effect and reward of his humiliation, which the name Jesus was not; it is the name of Christ exalted, or Christ the Lord; and by “bowing the knee," is meant the universal subjection of all creatures unto his Lordship, especially at the day of judgment. He argued against the stated holydays, that being feasts which the Jeroboam of Rome had devised of his own heart, yea, some of them, especially the December-festival, an imitation of an heathenish original, if the apostle forbad the observation of the Jewish festivals, because they were a “shadow of good things to come,” it could not but be amiss in us, to observe the popish ones, which were ethnic also; that it was a deep reflection upon the wisdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, our lawgiver, the Lord of time, and of the sabbath, to add unto his appointments, and it is an infringement of our Christian liberty; that an occasional designation of time for lectures, for fastings, for thanksgivings, which are duties required by God, is vastly different from the stating of times for holy, so that the duties are then to be done for the sake of the times. He added, the wish of Luther, then sevenscore years ago, in his book, "De Bonis Operibus ;t" that there were no other festival days among Christians, but only the Lord's-day:" and the speech of K. James to a national assembly in Scotland, wherein, "he praised God that he was king in the sincerest church in the world; sincerer than the Church of England, for their service was an ill-said mass in English; sincerer than Geneva itsell, for they observed Pasche and Yoole—that is Easter and Christmas—and (said the king) what warrant have they for that?” Against "holiness of places,” he argued, that they were the standing symbols of God's
presence, which made stated holy places under the law, and those places were holy because of their typical relation to the Lord Jesus Christ, and there was a
• In the name.
+ On Good Works,