Images de page
PDF
ePub

out truth, and to know the will of God, than to appear as one who has been ever drunk, or unjust, or profane, without one speculative error in his head.

And yet how lightly are these passed over, and how terribly is an erroneous person, or perhaps one no more than suspected of error, hampered, persecuted, and worried ? “Anciently,” says Mr Hales, in his sermon upon

Rom. xiv. 1. 6 heretical and orthodox Christians, many times, even in public holy exercise, conversed together without offence. It is noted in the ecclesiastical stories, that the Arians and right believers so communicated together in holy prayers, that you could not distinguish them till they came to the 1ool.oyia, the Gloria Patri, which the Arians used with some difference from other Christians. But those were times, quorum lectionem habemus, virtutem non habemus ; we read of them in our books, but we have lost the practice of their patience.” And presently afterwards, "SEVERITY against, and SEPARATIon from heretical companies, took its beginning from the heretics themselves.” This latter is plainly a mistake in this great man. For severity on religious accounts plainly took its beginning from the orthodox. But if

you

what I will not at present examine or refute, that the fact was otherwise, I shall ask, whence then is it that orthodox persons are so ready to follow the evil example of heretics, and what is more, the very worst part of their example ? Whence is it, that they so readily embrace the means

will say,

which were invented by erroneous persons to carry on a wrong cause? Do but consult experience and that will tell you, that since the time when force and temporal punishments were first used to propagate notions, it has been ten times, I might say ten thousand times, used to propagate errors, instead of once to propagate truth.

As to Schism, I shall only add, that from what has been said, nothing can be inferred that will encourage that; and I cannot but refer you to Mr Hale's tract upon that subject, which you cannot read without both pleasure and advantage.

If, Sir, you should think fit to make a public reply to what is here offered, I know you are too much a gentleman to catch at words, and let go my meaning. I persuade myself that you will believe me, when I assure you, that I love truth for its own sake, and am overjoyed when I find it, though it makes against me. I only allot to truth the first place in my heart; next to that, you have the preeminence in,

SIR,

Your most obedient Servant.

SELECTION

FROM THE WRITINGS

OF

ber
DR BENSON.

« PrécédentContinuer »