Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Buring his retirement, he was often applied to for resolution in cases of conscience; so that his genuine correspondence by letters took up the proportion of a day in each week, and more. In 1658, the honourable and most generous Robert Boyle, having read his lectures concerning the Obligation of Oaths, sent him a present of fifty pounds; which was a very seasonable gift, his circumstances, as most of the royalists at that time were, being very low. The restoration of king Charles II. made a great change in them for the better; and therefore to express his joy and thankfulness for that memorable event, he presented to his majesty, on the 23d of July, 1660, a congratulatory address from bimself and his brethren, the loyal clergy of the county of Lincoln.

In the beginning of August following, he was reinstated in his professorship and canonry. Soon after, at the recommendation of Dr. Sheldon, he was nominated to the bishopric of Lincoln, and consecrated the 28th of October, 1660. He was then upwards of seventy-three, and enjoyed his new dignity about two years and a quarter; during which time he did all the good in his power, by repairing the palace at Bugden, augmenting small vicarages, and performing acts of charity. A friend tuking notice of his bounty, took the liberty to advise him to remember that he was under his first fruits, and that he was old, and had a wife and children yet but meanly provided for, especially if his dignity were considered. To whom he made a mild and thankful answer, saying, “ It would not 6 become a Christian bishop to suffer those houses built by his pre**decessors to be ruined for want of repair; and less justifiable to

any

of those that were called to so high a calling as to sackrifice at God's altar, to cat the bread of sorrow constantly, when * he had a power, by a small augmentation, to turn it into the bread “ of cheerfulness; and wished, that, as this was, so it were also in “his power to make all mankind happy; he desired nothing more; to and, for his wife and children, he hoped to leave them a compe- tence, and in the hands of a God that would provide for all that “kept innocence, and trusted his providence and protection, which * he had always found enough to make and keep him happy."

In 1661 he was one of the commissioners, or rather the moderator, at the Savoy conference. In the account of that conference, R. Baxter calls him a very worthy man, and commends his learning, worth, and gravity; but pretends that injuries, partiality, temperature, and age, had caused great freevisliness in him; which he repcats elsewhere. The bishop was even with him; for it is reported that Baxter appeared to him to be so bold, so iroublesome, ani! so illogical in the dispute, as forced him to say, with an unusual earnestness, “ that he had never met with a man of more pertina4 cious confidence, and less abilities, in all his conversation.”'

He died Jan. 29, 1662-3, in the 76th year of his age, and was buried the third day after, in the chancel of Bugden Church, with as little noise, porip, and charge as possible, according to his own direction. His behaviour had in it much of a plain comeliness; ceremony he disregarded. He was endowed with great wisdom integrity, and innocence. His memory was firm, but sometimes

suffer

could not be duly exerted by reason of his 'excessive bashfulness and modesty. His learning is universally allowed; and his writings, for good sense, clear reasoning, and a manly and lasting style, have, and always will be esteemed. Besides his great knowledge in the fathers, schoolmen, and casuistical controversial divinity, he was exactly versed in the history of our nation, whether ancient or mod. ern; was a most curious antiquary, and an indefatigable searcher into records; he was also a complete herald and genealogist. The most worthy, as well as the most learned of his contemporaries, speak of him in the most respectful terms. Bishop Prideaux calls him « that clear and solid man, Mr. Sanderson; none states a question “ more punctually, resolves it more satisfactorily, or answ rs all "objections more fully.” Archbishop Usher styles him the judicious Dr. Sanderson; and says, that in a case he had proposed to him, he returned a happy answer, that satisfied all his scruples, and cleared up all his doubts.

“ That staid and well-weighed man, Dr. Sanderson,” says Dr. Hammond, “ conceives all things deliberately, dwells upon them « discreetly; discerns things, and that differ, exactly; passeth his “ judgment rationally, and expresses it aptly, clearly, and honestly.”

Mr. R. Baxter professes he honoured him for his learning, judgment, moderation, and piety. Bishop Hall styles him “the most exact and faithful casuist living." And Dr. Fuller, "a no less plain and profitable, than able and profound casuist."

EXTRACT FROM BISHOP SANDERSON's works.

“IT was Simon Magus's error to think that the gift of God might be purchased with money; and it hath a spice of his sin, and so may go for a kind of simony, to think that spiritual gifts may be purchased with labour. You may rise up early and go to bed late, and study hard, and read much, and devour the marrow of the best authors, and when you have done all, unless God give a blessing unto your endeavours, be as thin and meagre in regardof true and useful learning, as Pharaoh's lean kine were after they had eaten the fat ones. It is God that both ministereth seed to the sower, and multiplieth the seed sown; the principal and the increase are both his.

" It is clear that all Christian virtues and graces, though wrought immediately by us, and with the free consent of our own wills, are yet the fruit of God's spirit working in us. That is to say, they do not proceed originally from any strength of nature, or any inherent power in man's free will; nor are they acquired by the culture of philosophy, the advantages of education, or any improvement whatsoever of natural abilities by the helps of art or industry: but are in truth the proper effects of that supernatural grace which is given unto us by the good pleasure of God the Father, merited for us by the precious blood of God the Son, and conveyed into our hearts by the sweet and secret inspirations of God the Holy Ghost. Love, joy, and peace are fruits, not at all of the flesh, but merely of the spirit.

“All those very many passages in the New Testament which ei

ther set forth the unframableness of our nature to the doing of any thing that is good, (not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think a good thought; in me, that is in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing ; and the like,) or else ascribe our best performances to the glory of the grace of God, (without me you can do nothing. All our sufficiency is of God.

Not of yourselves ; it is the gift God. It is God that worketh in you both the will and deed; and the like,) are so many clear confirmations of the truth. Upon the evidence of which truth it is that our mother, the Church, hath taught us in the public service to beg at the hands of Almighty God that he would endue us with his Holy Spirit, to amend our lives according to his holy word: and again, (consonantly to the matter we are in hand with, almost in terminis,) that he would give to all men increase of grace to hear meekly his word, and to receive it with fure affection, and to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit. As without which grace it were not possible for us to amend our lives, or to bring forth such fruits, according as God requireth in his holy word.

“And the reason is clear: because as the tree is such must the fruit be. Do men look to gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles ; Or can they expect from a salt fountain other than brackish water? Certainly, what is born of flesh can be no better than flesh.

Who can bring a clean thing out of that which is unclean? Or how can any thing that is good proceed from a heart, all the imaginations of the the thoughts whereof are only and continually evil? If we would have the fruit good, reason will (and our Saviour prescribeth the same method) that order be taken, first to make the tree good.

“ But you will say, it is impossible so to alter the nature of the flesh as to make it bring forth good spiritual fruit; as it is to alter the nature of a crab or thorn, so as to make it bring forth a pleasant apple. Truly, and so it is: if you shall endeavour to mend the fruit by altering the stock, you shall find the labour altogether fruitless; a crab will be a crab still, when you have done what you can: and you may as well hope to wash an Ethiopian white, as to purge the flesh from sinful pollution.

“ The work therefore must be done quite another way: not by clteration, but ADDITION. That is, leaving the old principle to remain as it was, by superinducing ab extra a new princifile, of a different and more kindly quality. We see the experiment of it daily in the grafting of trees; a crabstock, if it have a cion of some delicate apple artfully grafted in it; look what branches are suffered to grow out of the stock itself, they will all follow the nature of the stock, and if they bring forth any fruit at all, it will be sour and stiptic.--But the fruit that groweth from the graft will be pleasant to the taste, because it followeth the nature of the graft. We read of logos emphutos, an engrafted word. Our carnal hearts are the old stock; which, before the word of God be grafted in it, cannot bring forth any spiritual fruit acceptable to God: but when, by the powerful operation of his Holy Spirit, the word which we hear with our outward ears is inwardly grafted therein; it then bringeth forth the fruit of good living. So that all the bad fruits that appear in our lives come from the old stock, the flesh: and if there be any good fruit of the spirit in us, it is from the virtue of that word of grace that is grafted in us."

What modern philosopher or divine can rival this great prelate? His Prælectiones rank him with Aristotle ; his piety, with the chief of the apostles.

ON ENTHUSIASM.

ENTHUSIASM is commonly used and understood in a bad sense; but if its real meaning be attended to, it may certainly admit of a very fine one. It means a consciousness.or persuasion that the Deity is actually present, by an immediate emanation or impuise on the mind of the enthusiast; the reality of which, in certain cases, is the doctrine of the Church and of the gospel; a doctrine sufficiently consonant to reason, and not necessarily connected with self-delusion, foily, madness, or fanaticism.

But because many have made pretensions to the privilege of God's immediate presence in their hearts, whose lives and conduct gave reason to suspect that they were not thus favoured, the word enthusiasın, which, in common language, expressed their false pretensions, has fallen into disgrace, and now often implies no more than the idea of a bigot, or a devotee, weakly deluded by the fond visions of a disordered imagination.

But let not enthusiasm of the better kind, a modest confidence of being assisted, as the gospel promises, by the agency of the Holy Spirit, be involved in undeserved disgrace. We are taught that the divinity resides in the pure heart. The belief of it is indeed enthusiasm, but it is enthusiasm of the noble, the virtuous,,the necessary kind. The ardour which it inspires is laudable. Like that of all other good things, the corruption and abuse cf it is productive of great evil; but still it is not itself to be exploded.

There is, indeed, a cold philosophy, which seems to discourage all the warm sentiments of affection, and will hardly allow them in any thing which concerns religion. It aims at reducing theology to a scholastic science, and would willingly descant on the love of God, and the sublimest discoveries of the gospel, in the same frigidity of temper as it would explain the metaphysics of Aristotle. But there is a natural and laudable ardour in the mind of man, whenever it contemplates the magnificent objects; and which is certainly to be expected, when that object is the Lord God omnipotent, and the human soul, the particle of Deity, aspiring at re-union with the Supreme Being, and meditating on immortality.

Is there not an ardour of enthusiasm which admires and produces excellence in the arts of music, painting, and poetry? And shall it be allowed in the humble province of imitative skill, and exploded in contemplating the GNEAT ARCHETYPE of all; the source of life, beauty, order, grandeur, and sublimity? Shall I hear a symphony, or behold a picture, a statue, or a fine prospect, with rapture, and at the same time consider God, who made both the object and the sense that perceives it, with the frigid indifference of abstracted philosophy? Shall I meditate on heaven, hell, death, and judgment, with all the coolness with which a lawyer draws a formal instrument, an arithmetician computes a sum, or a logician forms a syllogismig mood and figure?

Such cpolness, on such subjects, arises not from superiority of wisdom, but from pride and vain philosophy, from acquired calosity or natural insensibility of temper. God has bestowed on man a liveliness of fancy, and a warmth of affection, as well as an accuracy and acuteness of reason and intellect; he has bestowed a HEART vibrating with the tender cords of love and pity, as well as a brain fur nished with fibres adapted to subtle disquisition,

The scriptures afford many examples of a laudable and natural en: thusiasm. My heart was hot within me, says David; and the warm poetry of the psalms, the rapturous style of prophecy, are proofs that those who have been singularly favoured by God, were of tempers which the modern philosophers wouldcall enthusiastical. Their fire was kindled at the altar. St. John was a burning and a shining lights St. Paul was avowedly of an ardent temper, and a glowing imagination; nor did our Saviour himself express his sentiments in the cold language of the Aristotelian school, but with emphasis and pathos.

They who rail at enthusiasm, in general terms, and without making a due distinction between the scriptural and the false kind, cona sist either of those who laudably endeavour to discredit the preten: sions of the hypocrite, and the weak brother; or of those who, from their speculative habits, their cold tempers, or irreligious lives, las bour to discountenance all pretensions to an excellence and purity, which they never felt, and to which they could not rise.

Whoever believes what the scriptures indisputably affirm, that the body is the TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, and that he actually resides in it, when it is purified sufficiently for his reception, is so far an ENTHUSIAST: but let him glory in the appellation, for he is such an one as every Christian, who thinks and feels in conformity to the gospel he professes, must be of necessity. If he denies the agency of the Spirit of God on the soul of man, he denies the most important doctrine of revelation, and must be a stranger to its finest effects on the human bosom.

But since such is the case, let those who very laudably write against enthusiasm of the false kind, take care not to confound truth with falsehood; and not to proceed to such an extreme in refuting the pretensions of hypocrites, fools or knaves, as to infringe on the genuine and sublime doctrine of grace, the glory of the everlasting gospel.

KNOX's CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY.

THE HAPPINESS OF HEAVEN.

IT is the peculiar felicity of heavenly pleasure, that, on our entrance upon it, it shall be new to us, infinitely exceed our expecta ation, and is such as eye hath not seen; nor ear heard ; neither hath been conceived by the human heart. )

Though language is not competent to express, nor our finite capacities able to comprehend the delights of heaven, the Almighty, in condescension to our limited conceptions, hath been pleased to shadow them forth by several metaphorical expressions, and earthly similitudes.

How invaluable in our estimation is life? To preserve which, who

« VorigeDoorgaan »