« AnteriorContinuar »
ing of Dr. Clarke, and his easy chcerful disposition, earned for him the highest admiration and esteem of his contemporaries. As a metaphysician, he was inferior to Locke in comprehensiveness and originaliiy, but possessed more skill and logical föresight, the natural result of his habits of mathematical study; and he has been justly celebrated for the boldness and ability with which he placerl himself in the breach against the Necessitarians and Fatalists of his times. His moral doctrine-which supposes virtue to consist in the regulation of our conduct according to certain fitnesses which we perceive in things, or a peculiar congruity of certain relations to each other-being inconsequential unless we have previously distinguished the ends which are morally good from those that are evil, and limited the conformiry to one of those classes, has been condemned by Dr. Thomas Brown and Sir James Mackintosh.* His speculations were over.refined, and seem to have been coloured by his fondness for mathematical studies.
Natural and Essential Difference between Right and Wrong. The principal thing that can, with any colour of reason, seem to countenance the opinion of those who deny the natural and eternal difference of good and evil, is the difficulty there may sometimes be to define exactly the bounds of right and wrong; the variety of opinions that have obtained even among understanding and learned men, concerning certain questions of just and unjust, especially in political matters; and the many contrary laws that have been made in divers ages and in different countries concerning these matters. But as, in painting, two very different colours, hy diluting each other very slowly and gradually, may, from the highest intenseness in either extreme, terminate in the midst ipsensibly, and so ruin one into the other, that it shall not be possible even for a skilful eye to determine exactly where the one ends and the other begins; and yet the colours may really differ as much as can be, not in degree only, bat entirely in kind, as red and blue, or white and black : so, though it may perhaps be very difficult in some nice and perplexed cases-which yet are very far from occurring frequently-to define exactly the bounds of right and wrong, just and unjust-and there may be some latiiude in the judgment of different men, and the laws of divers nations-yet right and wrong are nevertheless in themselves totally and essentially different; even altogether as much as white and black, light aud dark
The Spartan law, perhaps, which permitted their yo:th to steal, may, as absurd as it it was, bear much dispute whether it was absolutely unjust or no ; because every man, having an absolute right in his own goods, it may seein that the members of auy society may agree to transfer or alter their own properties upon what conditions ihey shall think fit. Bit if it could be supposed that a law had been made at Sparta, or at Rome, or in Irdia, or in any other part of the world, whereby it had been con minded or allowed that every man rob by violence, and murder whomsoever he met with, or that no faith should be kept with any man, por any equitable compacts performed, no man, with any tolerable use of his reason, whatever diversity of jicgment might be among them in other matters, would have thought
* Sec Brown's Philosophy and the Dissertations of Stewart and Mackintosh. War. burton in his note3 uu Pope, thus sums up tbe inoral doctrine: •Dr. Clarke and Wollas. ton considered moral obligation as arising rom the essential differences and relations of things; Sha'tesbur7 und Hutcheson, as arising from the moral sense: and the generality of divines, as arising solely from the will of God On these three principles, practical morality has been but by these different writers.'., •Thus has God been pleased.: adds Warburton, to give three different excitements to the practice of virtue: that men of all ranks, constitutions, and educations. might find their account in one or other of them: something that would hit their palate, satisfy their reason. or subdue their will. But this admirable provision for the support of virtue hath been in some measure defe: ted by its pretended advocates, who have sacrilegiously untwisted this threefold cord, and each running away with theirt he esteemed the strongest, hath affixed that to the throne of God, as tbe golden chaiú hat is to unite and draw all to it.'--Divine Legution, Book i
that such a law could have authorised or excused, much less have justified such actions, and have made them become good : because 'tis plainly not in men's power to make falsehood be truth, though they may alter the property of their goods as they please. Now if, in flagrant cases, the natural and essential difference between good and evil, right and wrong, cannot but be confessed to be plainly and undeniably evident, the difference between them must be also essential and unalterable in all, even the smallest, and nicest and most intricate cases though it be not so easy to be discerned and accurately distinguished. For if, from the difficulty of determining exactly the bounds of right and wrong in many perplexed cases, it cou d truly be coucluded that just and unjust were not essentially different by nature, but only by positive constitution and custom, it would follow equally, that they were not really, essentially, and uuulterably different, even the most flagrant cases that can be supposed; which is an assertion so very absurd, that Mr. Hobbes himself could hardly vent it without blushing, and discovering plainly, by his shifting expressions, his secret self-condemnation. There are therefore certain necessary and eternal d fferences of things, and certain fitnesses or unfitnesses of the application of different things, or d fferent relatioas one to another, or depending on any positive consti-utions, but founded unchangeably in the nature and reason of things, and unavoidably arising from the difference of the things themselves.
DR. WILLIAM LOWTH.
DR. WILLIAM LOWTH (1661–1732) was distinguished for his classical and theological attainments, and the liberality with wbich be communicated his stores to others. He published a Vindication of the Divine Authority and Inspiration of the Old and New Testaments,' (1692), ‘Directions for the Profitable Reading of the Holy Scriptures,' Commentaries on the Prophets,' &c. He furnished notes on Clemens Alexandrinus for Potter's edition of that ancient author, remarks ou Josephus for Hudson's edition, and annotations on the ecclesiastical historians for Reading's Cambridge edition of those authors. He also assisted Dr. Chandler in bis ' Defence of Christianity from the Prophecies His learning is said to have been equally extensive and profound, and he accompanied all his reading with critical and philological remarks. Born in London, Dr. Lowth took his degrees at Oxford, and experiencing the countenance and support of the bishop of Winchester, became the chaplain of that prelate, a prebend of the cathedral of Winchester, and rector of Buriton.
DR. BENJAMIN HOADLY.
DR. BENJAMIN HOADLY, successively bishop of Bangor, Hereford, Salisbury, and Winchester, was a prelate of great controversial ability, who threw the weight of his talents and learning into the scale of Whig politics, at that time fiercely attacked by the Tory and Jacobite parties. Hoadley was born at Westerham, in Kent, in 1676. In 1706, while rector of St. Peter's-le-Poor, London, he attacked a sermon by Atterbury, and thus incurred the enmity and ridicule of Swift and Pope. He defended the revolution of 1688, and attacked the doctrines of divine right and passive obedience with such vigour and perseverance, that, in 1709, the House of Commons recommended him to the favour of the queen. Her majesty does not appear to have complied with this request; but her successor, George I. elevated him to the see of Bangor. Shortly after his elevation to the bench, Hoadly published a work against the non-jurors, and a sermon preached before the king at St. James's, on the Nature of the Kingdom or Church of Christ. The latter excited a long and vehement dispute, known by the name of the Bangorian Controversy, in which forty or fifty tracts were published. The Lower House of Convocation took up Hoadly's works with warmth, and passed a censure of them, as calculated to subvert the government and discipline of the church, and to impugn and impeach the regal supremacy in matters ecclesiastical. The controversy was conducted with unbecoming violence, and several bishops and other grave divines the excellent Sherlock among the number-forgot the dignity of their station and the spirit of Christian charity in the heat of party warfare. Pope alludes sarcastically to Hoadly's sermon in the 'Dunciad:'
Toland and Tindal, prompt at priests to jeer,
Yet silent bowed to Christ's no kingdom here. The truth, however, is, that there was nothing whatever in Koadly's sermon injurious to the established endowments and privileges, nor to the discipline and government of the English Church, even in theory. If this had been the case, he might have been reproached with some inconsistency in becoming so large a partaker of her lonours and emoluments. He even admitted the usefulness of censures for open immoralities, though denying all church authority to oblige any one to external communion, or to pass any sentence which should determine the condition of men with respect to the favour or displeasure of God. Another great question in this controversy was that of religious liberty as a civil right, which the convocation explicitly denied. And another related to the much-debated exercise of private judgment in religion, which, as one party meant virtually to take away, so the other perhaps unreasonably exaggerated.'* The style of Hoadly's controversial treatises is strong and logical, but without any of the graces of composition, and hence they have fallen into oblivion. He was author of several other works, as · Terms of Acceptance,''Reasonableness of Conformity,' Treatise on the Sacrament,' &c. A complete edition of his works was published by his son in three folio volumes (1773). There can be no doubt that the independent and liberal mind of Hoadly, aided by his station in the church, tended materially to stem the torrent of slavish submission which then prevailed in the church of England. He died in 1761.
The Kingdom of Christ nnt of this world. If, therefore, the church of Christ be the kingdom of Christ, it is essential to it that Christ himself be the sole lawgiver and sole judge of his subjects, in all points relating to the favour or displeasure of Almighty God; and that all his subjects, in what station soever they may be, are equally subjects to him; and that no one of them, any more than another, hath authority either to make new laws for Christ's subjects, or to impose a sense upon the old ones, which is the same thing; or to
* Hallam's Constitutional History of England.
judge, censure, or punish the servants of another master, in matters relating purely to conscience or salvation. If any person hath any other notion, either through a long use of words with inconsistent meanings, or through a negligence of thought, let him but ask himself whether the church of Christ be the kingdom of Christ or not; and if it be, whether this notion of it doth not absolutely exclude all other legislators and judges in inatters relating to conscience or the favour of God, or whether it can be his kingdom if any mortal meu have such a power of legislation and judge ment in it. This inquiry will bring us back to the first, which is the only true account of the church of Christ, or the kingdom of Christ, in the mouth of a Christian ; that it is the number of men, whether small or great, whether di-persed or united, who truly and sincerely are subjects to Jesus Christ alone as their lawgiver and judge in matters relating to the favour of God and their eternal salyation.
The next principal point is, that, if the church be the kiugdom of Christ, and this • kingdom be not of this world,' this must appear from the nature and end of the Jaws of Christ, and of those rewards and punishments which are the sanctions of his laws. Now, his laws are declaratious relating to the favour of God in another state after this. They are declarations of those conditions to be performed in this world on our part, without which God will not make us happy in ibat to come. And they are almost all general appeals to the will of that God; to his nature, known by the common reason of mankind, and to the imitation of that nature, which must be our perfection. The keeping his commandments is declared the way to life, and the doing his will the entrance into the kingdom of heaven. The being subjects to Christ, is to this very end, that we inay the better and more effectually perform the will of God. The laws of this kingdom, therefore, as Christ left them, have nothing of this world in their view ; no tendency either to the exaltation of some in worldly pomp and dignity, or to their absolute dominion over the faith and religious conduct of others of his subjects, or to the erecting of any sort of temporal kingdom under the covert and name of a spiritual one.
The sanctions of Christ's law are rerrards and punishments. But of what sort ? Not the rewards of this world; not the offices or glories of this state; not the pains of prisons, banishments, fines, or any lesser and more moderate penalties; nay, not the much lesser and negative discouragements that belong to human society. He was far from thinking that these could be the instruments of such a persuasion as he thought acceptable to God. But as the great end of his kingdom was to guide men to happiness after the short images of it were over here below, so he took his motives from that place where his kingdom first began, and where it was at last to end; from those rewards and punishments in a future state, which had no relation to this world; and to shew that his kingdom was not of this world,' all the sanctions which he thought fit to give to his laws were not of this world at all.
St. Paul mderstood this so well, that he gives an account of his own conduct, and that of others in the same station, in these words :: Knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men :' whereas, in too many Christian countries since his days, if some who profess to succeed bim were to give an account of their own conduct, it must be in a quite contrary strain : ‘Knowing the terrors of this world, and have ing them in our power, we do not persuade m3, but force their outward profession against their inward persuasion.
Now, wherever this. is practised, whether in a great degree or a small, in that place there is so far a change from a kingdom which is not of this world, to a kingdom which is of this world As soon as ever you hear of any of the engines of this world, whether of the greater or the lesser sort, you must immediately think that then, and so far, the kingdom of this world takes place. For, if the very essence of God's worship be spirit and truth, if religion be virtue and charity, under the belief of a Supreme Governor and Judge, if true real faith cannot be the effect of force, and if there can be no reward where there is no willing choice-then, in all or any of these cases, to apply force or flattery, worldly pleasure or pain, is to act contrary to the interests of true religion, as it is plainly opposite to the maxims npon which Christ founded his kingdom; who chose the motives which are not of this world, to support a kingdom which is not of this world. And indeed it is too visible to be hid, that wherever the rewards and punishments are changed from futnre to present, from the world to come to the world now in possession, there the kingdom founded by our Saviour is, in the nature of it, 80 får changed, that it is become, in such a degree, what he professed his kingdom was not,--that is, of this world; of the same sort with other common earthly kingdoms, in which the rewards are worldly honours, posts, offices, poinp, attendance, dominion; and the punishments are prisons, fincs, banishments, galleys and racks, or something less of the same sort.
CHARLES LESLIE. CHARLES LESLIE (1650–1722) author of a work still popular, 'A Short and Easy Method with the Deists,' was a son of a bishop of Clogher, who is said to have been of a Scottislı family. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, Charles Leslie studied the law in London, but afterwards turned his attention to divinity, and in 1680 took orders. As chancellor of the cathedral of Connor, he distinguished bimself by several disputations with Catholic divines, and by the boldness with which he opposed the pro-popish designs of King James. Nevertheless, at the Revolution, he adopted a decisive lone of Jacobitism, from which lie never swerved through life. Removing to London, lie was chiefly engaged for several years in writing controversial works against Quakers, Socinians, and Deists, of which, however, none are now remembered besides the little treatise of which the title has been given, and wbich appeared in 1699. He also wrote many occasional and periodical tracts in behalf of the House of Stuart, to whose cause his talents and celebrity certainly lend no small lustre. Being for one of these publications obliged to leave the couuiry, he repaired, in 1713, to the court of the Chevalier at Bar-le-Duc, and was well received. James allowed him to have a chapel fitted up for the English service, and was even expected to lend a favourable ear to his arguments against popery; but this expectation proved vain. It was not possible for an earnest and bitter controversialist like Leslie to remain long at rest in such a situation, and we are not therefore surprised to find him return in disgust to England in 1721. He soon after died at his house of Glaslough, in the county of Monaghan. The works of this remarkable man lave been collected in seven volunies (Oxford 1832), and it must be allowed that they place their author very high in the list of controversial writers, the ingenuity of the arguments being only equalled by the keenness and pertinacity with which they are pursued.
BISHOP PATRICK-DR. WATERLAND. SYMON PATRICK (1626–1707) successively bishop of Chichester and Ely, was author of a series of Paraphrases and Commentaries on the historical and poetical portions of Scripture, from Genesis to the Song of Solomon, which extended to ten volumes, and were published between 1697 and 1710.
DANIEL WATERLAND (1683–1740) was elected a fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, in 1699. He was a controversial theologian of great ability and acuteness, and successfully vindicated the doctrines of the Church of England from Arian and Deistic assailants. His several publications on the Trinity constitute a valuable series of treatises. He published also two volumes of 'Sermons.' Waterland