« VorigeDoorgaan »
for my long imprisonment and other wrongs received by the lord bishop, will also now again by your honours' good help, move her to set down, according to the christian clemency God hath engrafted in her, and the righteousness he hath endued her with, some sure good order of recompensing me by the said lord bishop, for the great wrong he hath done me. So shall I have great cause still to praise God for the same, with thanksgiving always to him for his bigh government over me and my enemy, and all your honours' good done at all times towards me. I bless Almighty God, who has done great things for you, in spite of all your enemies, and to other poor Christians here, who pray for your honours; so in the resurrection of the righteous, to crown you again with double grace and everlasting honour in heaven. Amen.
“Your honours' most suppliant,
“ BARNABY Benison, Student in Divinity."* Mr. Benison, we are also informed, humbly and importunately moved the Lords of the Council, “ for the everlasting love of God, and for the pity they cherished to true Protestants, to be a means that his pitiful cry might be heard, and just cause with some credit be cleared, to the honour of God and her Majesty, whom he esteemed more than all the bishop's blessings or bitter cursings; and that he, being half dead, might again rerover to get a poor living with the little learning God had given him, to his glory, to the discharge of some part of his duty, and to the profit of his country.”+
The Lords of the Council were so moved with Mr. Benison's case, that they addressed a letter to the bishop, dated November 14th, 1584, styling his usage of Mr. Benison “ hard dealing,” and “ false imprisonment,” and reminding him that by law he might “ recover damages.” They, moreover, required his lordship " to use some consideration towards him, by giving him a sum of money to repay him for the wrong he had done him, and to supply the hindrance he had incurred by his lordship's hard dealing.” The bishop, however, begged to be excused from making compensation, for these remarkable reasons, because of his own “ poor estate," though possessed of great riches; and because of the great vaunt the man would make of the conquest of a bishop !"I
Another important instance may be deemed worthy of the reader's attention. The learned and celebrated Mr. Cartwright, having for many years been an exile in a foreign land, found his health in a very declining state ; and being recommended by learned physicians to try his native air as the only means of saving his life, he ventured upon a visit to this country. But, remarkable as it may appear, he had no sooner landed in England, than Bishop Aylmer apprebended him, and cast him into prison! By this rash and barbarous measure, which no plea on earth could justify, he not only betrayed a total want of sympathy and humanity, but proclaimed to the world, the cruel, persecuting spirit by which he was governed. The infatuated prelate, in this affair, greatly overshot the mark; having committed the afflicted exile by her Majesty's commandment, when he had received no command whatever! While, by this episcopal artifice, he attempted to crush the learned puritan divine, he incurred
* Lansdowne's MSS. Vol. xlii. No. 86.
Ibid. p. 589. Strype's Aylmer, pp. 172–194.
the Queen's displeasure against himself; and in this painful dilemma, he addressed the following humiliating letter to Lord Burghley, imploring his friendly interposition to appease her Majesty's indignation:
“My singular good Lord, “ I understand myself to be in some disgrace with her Majesty about Mr. Cartwright; because I sent word to your lordships, by the clerk of the council, that I committed him by her Majesty's commandment. Alas! my lord, in what a dilemma stood I, that if I had not showed that warrant, I should have had all your displeasures, which I was not able to bear; and using it for my shield, being not forbidden by her Majesty, I am blamed for not taking upon me a matter wherein she herself would not be seen. Well, I leave it to God, and to your wisdom, to consider in what a dangerous place of service I am ; but God, whom I serve, and in whose hands the hearts of princes are, as the rivers of waters, can and will turn all to the best, and stir up such honourable friends as you are to appease her Highness's indignation. In the mean time, my good lord, I will vow myself to you, as my chief patron under God and her Majesty; and surely you shall find me neither undutiful nor unthankful. Thus I humbly take my leave of your good lordship, with my prayer to God for your long and prosperous life, and the continuance of your good inclination towards me, which is much to my comfort. June 22, 1585. “ Your Lordship's at command,
" John LONDON."* The Lord 'Treasurer, to whom this epistle was addressed, reminded Bishop Aylmer how reprehensible was the conduct of the bishops, and how strangely they had degenerated from their original institution. He stated to him these cutting facts :-“ Of the common jurisdiction of bishops, chancellors, commissarics, summoners, and such like, I said with grief of mind, that I see therein no true use of what was meant at the first erection of those offices which I allow well of; but a corrupting of them to private gain, and not to the public benefit, and edifying of the church! And it grieveth me to see the pretended reformers have occasion ministered to condemn your offices, when they should condemn the mistakes thereof.”+
This sharp rebuke, from so high an anthority, was peculiarly appropriate and seasonable, yet without effect on the callous mind of Bishop Aylmer, who was one of the severest persecutors in the puritanic age. He treated the worthiest ministers with wanton cruelty, and was seldom sparing in bitter invectives, styling them“ ass, and idiot, and fool!" He proved, from multiplied facts, that he had very little compassion in his nature; and, without bowels of mercy, he inflicted the severest sentences on the victims of his malignity, who could not sacrifice their principles and consciences on the altar of conformity. He openly declared, “ that he would surely and severely punish them, or lie in the dust for it!" He also recommended to the university of Cambridge to expel all who scrupled conformity, adding, “ the folly that is bound up in the heart of a child, is to be expelled by the rod of discipline!"
* Lansdowne's MSS. Vol. xlv. No, 44. t Ibid. Vol. civ. No. 17. 1 MS. Regis, p. 798.- Parte of Regis. p. 383. Strype's Aylmer, pp. 64
DUTY OF WEALTHY TRADERS: IN ANSWER TO A QUERY.
In answering the query of an Inquirer respecting the line of conduct to be pursued by a christian tradesman or merchant, who, through the blessing of God, has obtained a competent share of worldly wealth, and therefore doubts the propriety of continuing his gainful occupation, unless it be by devoting its proceeds to the cause of God and general benevolence, we must, I think, view the case as it stands in particular instances, rather than lay down any absolute rule. Take, for instance, the case of an individual who has, for many years, been an active and very efficient member of a christian church-one who, by his gifts and graces, has obtained the well-merited respect of his pastor and fellow members, but whose time for usefulness is very much diminished, by the constant demand made on him from his occupation; that such an individual should retire from the more active duties of business to devote his undivided energies to God's service, and the well-being of his fellow men, is, we imagine, quite clear: to continue adding to the store of wealth wonld be sinful, and even the devotion of much, or all that is acquired, would not compensate for the loss of moral poner (that is far greater than mere pecuniary gifts) which the church would sustain by the continuance of such a person in business.
But, again, we may suppose a case, and there are many such, where a most excellent man has, for twenty or thirty years, steadily and successfully followed his occupations, but its constant demands on his time has rendered him quite inadequate to the filling any post of importance, beyond, perhaps, the Sabbath-school, or engaging in prayer at social meetings. Now for such an individual to retire entirely from business, and think to engage himself, as he sees many of his friends around him, in public speaking, visiting the sick, and attending committees, would be (however much we may admire the motive) an entire failure, since it is well known that, after a certain time of life, we are so governed by our habits as to render it quite impracticable altogether to change them ; and all attempts to do so, end in disappointment.
We rejoice to think how many christian tradesmen there are, in our various churches, whose hearts are filled with benevolent intentions, and who, although they have not the gift of utterance, have what, in the sight of God, is far better, real affection for all men; and noble, indeed, are the contributions of such to our various religions societies.
To such, we say, labour for God; let your profits in business be entirely devoted to his cause; be seeking out fresh channels for your benevolence to flow in, and thus shall you experience what Solomon did two thousand years ago, “ there is that scattereth, and yet increaseth.”
Let, then, our christian friends of this order see to it, that they use the talent God has given them; let them distribute nobly, prayerfully, constantly, and by so doing, put to silence the ignorance of foolish
men, and show to all that religion is an operative principle ; that theirs is not a dead faith, but one that walketh by love, and purifies the heart. Bristol, April 8, 1840.
HEADS OF THE LAST SERMON PREACHED BY THE REV, PHILIP HENRY, AT CHESTER, JULY 28, 1695.
( To the Editor.) Rev. Sir,-A volume of MS. Sermons and Expositions in the handwriting of Mrs. Sarah Savage, eldest daughter of the Rev. Philip Henry, having lately come into my hands, I have selected the following, preached by him at the Presbyterian Chapel, Crook Lane, Chester, as a first contribution from it to your useful publication. I shall in a short time send you his “ last Exposition in the family the last morning of his life, June 23, 1696.”
G. L Wrexham, March 9, 1840.
The Heads of a Sermon preached by my dear Father at Chester, the last time of his being there, viz. July 28, 1695. He died June, 1696.
Epist. to Philemon the last verse, " The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, Amen."
This is an epistle written to a particular friend of Paul's about a secular concern, and it consists of two grand petitions or requests.
1. To Philemon on the behalf of Onesimus.
2. To God on the behalf of Philemon. Doctr. That the choicest gift we can ask of God for our friends is, that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may be with their spirits.
And if it be so desirable for our friends, it must of necessity be so for ourselves.
Shew I. What is meant by grace. Grace signifies, 1. The good-will of God towards us. 2. The good work of God in us-called grace for two reasons :
1. Because it is the free gift of God.
2. Because it makes us gracious. Now there are several parts of grace.
1. Habitual grace. 2. Actual grace. 3. Aiding and assisting grace. 4. Crowning, persevering grace. Shew II. Why is it called the grace of our Lord Jesus.
1. Because he is the author and finisher of it.
2. He is the pattern and sampler of it. Shew III. What is meant by the spirit, with thy spirit, either the bumane soul, or the upper regions of y' soul, or it is sometimes put for the temper and disposition of the man.
I shall shew in eight scriptural expressions that grace is a choice gift.
1, It is the one thing needful. Luke x. 42.
6. It is the blessing indeed. 1 Cbron. x. 7. O that thou wouldst bless me indeed.
7. It is the more excellent way. 1 Cor. xii. last.
Then I am to prove that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is the choicest of all gifts.
1. From the choice companions that do accompany it. See 2 Cor. xiii. last. The love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost are joined with it.
Psal. xxxiv. 10. Grace and glory.
2. From the choice influences which it hath on the spirit wherever it is.
1. It doth enlighten and enliven the spirit.
5. The grace of Christ does sweeten and strengthen the spirit. 3. Consider what is with our spirit, if the grace of our Lord Jesns Christ be not.
Q. What is the spirit of a man or a woman like, if it be without the grace of Christ?
1. Like a field without a fence, or a fool without understanding.
2. Like a horse and mule without bit or bridle, or like a house without furniture.
3. Like a ship without tackling, anchor, rudder, or pilot.
You may further see in two scriptures the misery of those who want the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Eph. ii. 12.-1. He is without Christ.
2. An alien to the commonwealth of Israel.
5. Without God in the world.
2. Miserable, and wants comfort.
5. Naked, and wants clothing. Thus you have a description of that man who wants Jesus Christ and his grace, which is the choicest of all gifts.
Use 1. Hence conclude a graceless condition is a miserable condition.