Imágenes de páginas

in it for the warm, and sunshine for those of a cold constitution; that with youthful readers the facetious parts would be profitable to make the serious more palatable ; while some reverend old readers might fancy themselves in his History of the Church, as in a flower garden, or one full of evergreens.” “And why not,” said Fuller, “the Church History so decked as well as the Church itself at a most holy season, or the tabernacle of old at the Feast of Boughs 2" “That was but for a season,” said Walton; “in your Feast of Boughs, they may conceive, we are so overshadowed throughout, that the parson is more seen than his congregation, and this sometimes invisible to its old acquaintance, who may wander in the search, till they are lost in the labyrinth.” “Oh ” says Fuller, “the very children of our Israel may find their way out of this wilderness.” “True,” returned Walton, “as indeed they have here such a Moses to conduct them.” His next work was “The Life of Mr. Richard Hooker,” which first appeared in 1662. It was composed at the earnest request of Dr. Sheldon, then Bishop of London; and with the express purpose of correcting some errors committed by Dr. Gauden, from mere inadvertency and haste, in his account of “that immortal man,” as he has been emphatically styled, “who spoke no language but that of truth dictated by conscience.” Gauden seems to have been extremely deficient in his information, and, dying soon afterward, had no opportunity of revising and amending his very imperfect and inaccurate memoir. This was followed by “The Life of Mr. George Herbert,” usually called “the Divine Herbert,” in 1670. In 1678, he concluded his biographical labors with “The Life of Dr. Robert Sanderson.” Previous to the publication of this last work he received the following interesting letter from Dr. Thomas Barlow, then Bishop of Lincoln, who had been for many years the intimate friend of Dr. Sanderson during his residence at Oxford, and after his retirement into the country.

“My worthy FRIEND, MR. WALToN,

“I am heartily glad, that you have undertaken to write the Life of that excellent person, and, both for learning and piety, eminent prelate, Dr. Sanderson, late Bishop of Lincoln; because I know your ability to know, and integrity to write truth. And sure I am, that the life and actions of that pious and learned prelate will afford you matter enough for his commendation, and the imitation of posterity. In order to the carrying on your intended good work, you desire my assistance, that I would communicate to you such particular passages of his life, as were certainly known to me. I confess I had the happiness to be particularly known to him for about the space of twenty years; and, in Oxon, to enjoy his conversation, and his learned and pious instructions while he was Regius Professor of Divinity there. Afterwards, when (in the time of our late unhappy confusions) he left Oxon, and was retired into the country, I had the benefit of his letters; wherein, with great candor and kindness, he answered those doubts I proposed, and gave me that

satisfaction, which I neither had, nor expected from some others of greater confidence, but less judgment and humility. Having in a letter named two or three books, writ (‘ex professo’) against the being of any original sin; and that Adam, by his fall, transmitted some calamity only, but no crime to his posterity; the good old man was exceedingly troubled, and bewailed the misery of those licentious times, and seemed to wonder (save that the times were such) that any should write, or be permitted to publish any error so contradictory to truth and the doctrine of the church of England, established (as he truly said) by clear evidence of Scripture, and the just and supreme power of this nation, both sacred and civil. I name not the books nor their authors, which are not unknown to learned men (and I wish they had never been known), because both the doctrine and the unadvised abettors of it are, and shall be, to me apocryphal.” “Another little story I must not pass in silence, being an argument of Dr. Sanderson's piety, great ability, and judgment, as a casuist. Discoursing with an honorable person f (whose piety I value more than his nobility and learning, though both be great,) about a case of conscience concerning oaths and vows, their nature and obligation; in which, for some particular reasons, he then desired more fully

o * The writer principally alluded to in this part of the Letter, was the excellent Dr. Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down and Conner.

* Robert Boyle, Esq.

to be informed; I commended to him Dr. Sanderson's book, “De Juramento”; which having read with great satisfaction, he asked me, “if I thought the doctor could be induced to write Cases of Conscience, if he might have an honorary pension allowed him, to furnish him with books for that purpose.’ I told him “I believed he would'; and, in a letter to the Doctor, told him what great satisfaction that honorable person, and many more, had reaped by reading his book, “De Juramento'; and asked him, “whether he would be pleased, for the benefit of the church, to write some tract of Cases of Conscience.’ He replied, “that he was glad that any had received benefit by his books;’ and added further, “that if any future tract of his could bring such benefit to any, as we seemed to say his former had done, he would willingly, though without any pension, set about that work.’ Having received this answer, that honorable person, before mentioned, did, by my hands, return fifty pounds to the good Doctor, whose condition then (as most good men's at that time were) was but low ; and he presently revised, finished, and published that excellent book, * De Conscientiá’; a book little in bulk, but not so if we consider the benefit an intelligent reader may receive by it. For there are so many general propositions concerning conscience, the nature and obligation of it explained, and proved with such firm consequence and evidence of reason, that he who reads, remembers, and can with prudence pertinently apply them “hic et nunc' to particular cases, may, by their light and help, rationally resolve a thousand particular doubts and scruples of conscience. Here you may see the charity of that honorable person in promoting, and the piety and industry of the good Doctor, in performing that excellent work. “And here I shall add the judgment of that learned and pious prelate concerning a passage very pertinent to our present purpose. When he was in Oxon, and read his public lectures in the schools as Regius Professor of Divinity, and by the truth of his positions and evidences of his proofs gave great content and satisfaction to all his hearers, especially in his clear resolutions of all difficult cases which occurred in the explication of the subject matter of his lectures; a person of quality (yet alive) privately asked him, ‘what course a young divine should take in his studies to enable him to be a good casuist P’ His answer was, ‘that, a convenient understanding of the learned languages, at least of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and a sufficient knowledge of arts and sciences presupposed, there were two things in human literature, a comprehension of which would be of very great use, to enable a man to be a rational and able casuist, which otherwise was very difficult, if not impossible: 1. A convenient knowledge of moral philosophy; especially that part of it which treats of the nature of human actions: To know, “quid sit actus humanus (spontaneus, invitus, mixtus), unde habeat bonitatem et malitiam moralem? an ex genere et objecto, vel ex circumstantiis; ” How the variety of circumstances varies the goodness or evil of human actions 2 How far knowledge c

« AnteriorContinuar »