Imatges de pàgina

exhibit the real difficulties of the sub- harmless in these times, and under ject; lessen the surprise and anger these circumstances. We must be which are apt to be excited by oppo- aware, too, that we do not mistake sition; and by these means, promote recollections for apprehensions, and that forgiving one another, and for. confound together what has passed bearing one another, which are so with what is to come, - history with powerfully recommended by the words futurity. For instance, it would be of my text.

the most enormous abuse of this reA great deal of mischief is done by ligious institution to imagine that such not attending to the limits of inter- dreadful scenes of wickedness are to be ference with each other's religious apprehended from the Catholics of the opinions,—by not leaving to the power present day, because the annals of this and wisdom of God, that which belongs country were disgraced by such an to God alone. Our holy religion con- event two hundred years ago. It sists of some doctrines which influence would be an enormous abuse of this practice, and of others which are purely day to extend the crimes of a few speculative. If religious errors be of desperate wretches to a whole sect; the former description, they may, per- to fix the passions of dark ages upon haps, be fair objects of human inter- | times of refinement and civilisation. ference; but if the opinion be merely All these are mistakes and abuses of theological and speculative, there, the this day, which violate every principle right of human interference seems to of Christian charity, endanger the peace end, because the necessity for such in- of society, and give life and perpetuity terference does not exist. Any error to hatreds, which must perish at one of this nature is between the Creator and time or another, and had better, for the the creature, — between the Redeemer peace of society, perish now. and the redeemed. If such opinions It would be religiously charitable are not the best opinions which can be also, to consider whether the objectionfound, God Almighty will punish the able tenets, which different sects proerror, if mere error seemeth to the Al- tess, are in their hearts as well as in mighty a fit object of punishment. their books. There is unfortunately so Why may not man wait if God waits? much pride where there ought to be so Where are we called upon in Scripture much humility, that it is difficult, if not to pursue men for errors purely specu- almost impossible, to make religious Jative?-to assist Heaven in punishing sects abjure or recant the doctrines those offences which belong only to they have once professed. It is not Heaven?-in fighting unasked for what in this manner, I fear, that the best and we deem to be the battles of God, -of purest churches are ever reformed. that patient and merciful God, who But the doctrine gradually becomes pities the frailties we do not pity,—who obsolete; and, though not disowned, forgives the errors we do not forgive, ceases in fact to be a distinguishing - who sends rain upon the just and characteristic of the sect which prothe unjust, and maketh his sun to shine fesses it. These modes of reformation, upon the evil and the good.

-this silent antiquation of doctrines,Another canon of religious charity this real improvement, which the parties is to revise, at long intervals, the bad themselves are too wise not to feel, opinions we have been compelled, or though not wise enough to own, must, rather our forefathers have been com- I am afraid, be generally conceded to pelled, to form of other Christian sects; human infirmity. They are indulgences to see whether the different bias of the not unnecessary to many sects of Chrisage, the more general diffusion of in- tians. The more generous method telligence, do not render those tenets would be to admit error where error less pernicious: that which might prove exists, to say these were the tenets and a very great evil under other circum- interpretations of dark and ignorant stances, and in other times, may, per- ages; wider inquiry, fresh discussion, haps, however weak and erroneous, be superior intelligence have convinced us we are wrong; we will act in future if you wish to forbear and to forgive, upon better and wiser principles. This it will then occur to you that you is what men do in laws, arts, and should seek the true opinions of any sciences; and happy for them would sect from those only who are approved it be if they used the same modest of, and reverenced by that sect; to docility in the highest of all concerns. whose authority that sect defer, and But it is, I fear, more than experience by whose arguments they consider their will allow us to expect; and therefore tenets to be properly defended. This the kindest and most charitable method may not suit your purpose if you are is to allow religious sects silently to combating for victory; but it is your improve withont reminding them of, duty if you are combating for truth; it and taunting them with, the improve- is the safe, honest, and splendid conment; without bringing them to the duct of him, who never writes nor humiliation of formal disavowal, or the speaks on religious subjects, but that still more pernicious practice of de he may diffuse the real blessings of fending what they know to be inde- religion among his fellow-creatores, fensible. The triumphs which proceed and restrain the bitterness of controfrom the neglect of these principles are versy by the feelings of Christian charity not (what they pretend to be) the and forbearance. triumphs of religion, but the triumphs Let us also ask ourselves, when we of personal vanity. The object is not are sitting in severe judgment upon to extinguish dangerous error with as the faults, follies, and errors of other little pain and degradation as possible Christian sects, whether it be not barely to him who has fallen into the error: possible that we have fallen into some but the object is to exalt ourselves, and mistakes and misrepresentations? Let to depreciate our theological opponents, us ask ourselves, honestly and fairly, as much as possible, at any expense to whether we are wholly exempt from God's service, and to the real interests prejudice, from pride, from obstinate of truth and religion.

adhesion to what candour calls uron There is another practice not less us to alter, and to yield? Are there common than this, and equally un- no violent and mistaken members of charitable; and that is, to represent our own community, by whose conduct the opinions of the most violent and we should be loth to be guided, — by cager persons who can be met with, as whose tenets we should not choose our the common and received opinions of faith should be judged? Has time, that the whole sect. There are, in every improves all, found nothing in us to denomination of Christians, indivi- change for the better? Amid all the duals, hy whose opinion or by whose manifold divisions of the Christian conduct the great body would very world, are we the only Christians who, reluctantly be judged. Some men without having anything to learn from aim at attracting notice by singu- the knowledge and civilisation of the larity; some are deficient in temper; last three centuries, have started op, some in learning; some push every without infancy, and without error, principle to the extreme; distort, into consummate wisdom and spotless overstate, pervert ; till every one to perfection? whom their cause is dear with concern To listen to enemies as well as friends that it should have been committed to is a rule which not only increases sense such rash and intemperate advocates. in common life, but is highly favourable If you wish to gain a victory over your to the increase of religious candour. antagonists, these are the men whose You find that you are not so free from writings you should study, whose faults as your friends suppose, nor so opinions you should dwell on, and full of faults as your enemies suppose. should carefully bring forward to You begin to think it not impossible notice; but if you wish, as the elect of that you may be as unjust to others as God, to put on kindness and humble- they are to you; and that the wisest

38, meekness, and long-suffering, and most Christian scheme is that of

mutual indulgence; that it is better to surely submit to some little softness put on, as the elect of God, kindness, and relaxation ; honest difference of humbleness of mind, meekness, long. opinion cannot fall for such entire suffering, forbearing one another, and separation and complete antipathy; forgiving one another.

such zeal as this, if it be zeal, and not Some men cannot understand how something worse, is not surely zeal they are to be zealous if they are candid according to discretion. in religious matters; how the energy, The arguments, then, which I have necessary for the one virtue, is com- adduced in support of the great principatible with the calmness which the ples of religious charity are, that vioother requires. But remember that lence upon such subjects is rarely or the Scriptures carefully distinguish be- ever found to be useful; but generally tween landable zeal and indiscreet zeal; to produce effects opposite to those that the apostles and epistolary writers which are intended. I have observed knew they had as much to fear from that religious sects are not to be judged the over-excitement of some men, from the representations of their ene. as from the supineness of others; and mies ? but that they are to be heard in nothing have they laboured more for themselves, in the pleadings of than in preventing religion from arm their best writers, not in the represening human passions, instead of allaying tations of those whose intemperate zeal them, and rendering those principles a is a misfortune to the sect to which source of mutual jealousy and hatred they belong. If you will study the which were intended for universal principles of your religious opponents, peace. I admit that indifference some- you will often find your contempt and times puts on the appearance of can- hatred lessened in proportion as you dour; but though there is a counterfeit, are better acquainted with what you desyet there is a reality; and the imitation pise. Many religious opinions, which proves the value of the original, be- are purely speculative, are without the cause men only attempt to multiply limits of human interference. In the the appearances of useful and impor- numerous sects of Christianity, intertant things. The object is to be at preting our religion in very opposite the same time pious to God and manners, all cannot be right. Imitate charitable to man; to render your own the forbearance and long-suffering of faith as pure and perfect as possible, God, who throws the mantle of his not only without hatred of those who mercy over all, and who will probably differ from you, but with a constant save, on the last day, the piously right recollection that it is possible, in and the piously wrong, seeking Jesus spite of thought and study, that you in humbleness of mind. Do not drive may have been mistaken, - that other religious sects to the disgrace (or to sects may be right,—and that a zeal in what they foolishly think the disgrace) his service, which God does not want, of formally disavowing tenets they is a very bad excuse for those bad once professed, but concede something passions which his sacred word con- to human weakness; and when the demns.

tenet is virtually given up, treat it as Lastly, I would suggest that many if it were actually given up; and aldifferences between sects are of less ways consider it to be very p ssible importance than the furious zeal of that you yourself may have made many men would make them. Are mistakes, and fallen into erroneous the tenets of any sect of such a de opinions, as well as any other sect scription that we believe they will be to which you are opposed. If you put saved under the Christian faith? Do on these dispositions, and this tenor of they fulfil the common duties of life? mind, you cannot be guilty of any Do they respect property? Are they religious fault, take what part you will obedient to the laws? Do they speak in the religious disputes which appear the truth? If all these things be to be coming on the world. If you right, the violence of hostility may choose to perpetuate the restrictions

upon your fellow-creatures, no one has | Bishop Taylor in his “Holy Living a right to call you bigoted; if you and Dying." I have not now access choose to do them away, no one has to that book, but I quote it to you any right to call you lax and indif- from memory, and should be made ferent: you have done your utmost to truly happy if you would quote it to do right, and whether you err, or do others from memory also. not err, in your mode of interpreting “As Abraham was sitting in the the Christian religion, you show at door of his tent, there came unto him least that you have caught its heavenly a wayfaring man; and Abraham gave spirit,- that you have put on, as the him water for his feet, and set bread elect of God, kindness, humbleness of | before him. And Abraham said unto mind, meekness, long-suffering, for- him, 'Let us now worship the Lord bearing one another, and forgiving one our God before we eat of this bread.' apother.

And the wayfaring man said unto I have thus endeavoured to lay be- Abraham, . I will not worship the Lord fore you the uses and abuses of this thy God, for thy God is not my God; day; and, having stated the great but I will worship my God, even the mercy of God's interference, and the God of my fathers. But Abraham blessings this country has secured to was exceeding wroth; and he rose up itself in resisting the errors and fol- to put the wayfaring man forth from lies, and superstitions of the Catholic the door of his tent. And the voice Church, I have endeavoured that this of the Lord was heard in the tent, — just sense of our own superiority should Abraham! Abraham! have I borne not militate against the sacred princi. with this man for threescore and ten ples of Christian charity. That charity years, and canst not thou bear with which I ask of others, I ask also for him for one hour ?” myself. I am sure I am preaching before those who will think (whether • This beautiful Apologue is introduced they agree with me or not) that I by Bishop Taylor in the second edition of have spoken conscientiously, and from his Liberty of Prophesying. (See Bishop

Heber's Life of Bishop Taylor, vol. vii. p. good motives, and from honest feel. 232.) ings, on a very difficult subject, - not Bishop Taylor says, “I end with a story sought for by me, but devolving upon which I find in the Jer's Books." (The me in the course of duty ;-in which I story is almost word for word a translation

from the Persian poet, Saadi, in his poem of should have been heartily ashamed of the Büstan; translated into Latin by (curre myself (as you would have been Gentius, a Jew, and published by him st ashamed of me), if I had thought only of the Liberty of Prophesying was previous

Amsterdam in 1651. Taylor's first edition how to flatter and please, or thought to that date; his second edition was sekun of anything but what I hope I always after it.] do think of in the pulpit, - that I am the story) Abraham' fetched him bels

Bishop Taylor adds, “ Upon this (saith placed here by God to tell truth, and again, and gave him hospital entertainment to do good.

and wise instruction."

“Go thou," says I shall conclude my sermon (ex. Bishop Taylor, and do likewise, and thy

charity will be rewarded by the God of tended, I am afraid, already to an Abraham !" The original of Sandi ends unreasonable length), by reciting to with the reprimand of the Almighty, Gene

tius has added the suhsequent sentence. you a very short and beautiful


The Persian poet, Saadi, was born at Shi. logue, taken from the Rabbinical

raz, A. H. 571 (A.D. 1193). writers. It is, I believe, quoted by raz, A. 1. 691 (A.D. 1313), aged 120 years.

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He died at Shi





(Preached at St. Paul's Cathedral.]



people which his virtues deserved. O king, thy kingdom is departed from thee. And I will state to you what those

virtues were,- state it to you honestly I do not think I am getting out of the and fairly ; for I should heartily defair line of duty of a Minister of the spise myself, if from this chair of truth Gospel, if, at the beginning of a new I could utter one word of panegyric of reign, I take a short review of the the great men of the earth, which I moral and religious state of the coun- could not aver before the throne of try; and point out what those topics God. are which deserve the most serious The late Monarch, whose loss we consideration of a wise and a Chris- have to deplore, was sincere and tian people.

honest in his political relations ; he The death of a King is always an put his trust really where he put his awful lesson to mankind; and it pro- trust ostensibly -- and did not attempt duces a solemn pause, and to undermine, by secret means, those creates more profound reflection, than to whom he trusted publicly the con. the best lessons of the best teachers. duct of affairs ; and I must beg to

From the throne to the tomb- remind you that no vice and no virtue wealth, splendour, flattery, all gone! are indifferent in a Monarch : human The look of favour - the voice of beings are very imitative ; there is a power, no more;- the deserted palace fashion in the higher qualities of our

- the wretched monarch on his fune- minds, as there is in the lesser conral bier — the mourners ready- the siderations of life. It is by no means dismal march of death prepared. Who indifferent to the morals of the people are we, and what are we? and for at large, whether a tricking pertidious what has God made us ? and why are king is placed on the throne of these we doomed to this frail and unquiet realms, or whether the sceptre is existence ? Who does not feel all swayed by one of plain and manly this ? in whose heart does it not pro- character, walking ever in a straight voke appeal to, and dependence on line, on the firm ground of truth, under God? before whose eyes does it not the searching eye of God. bring the folly and the nothingness of The late King was of a sweet and all things human?

Christian disposition: he did not treaBut a good King must not go to his sure up little animosities, and indulge grave without that reverence from the in vindictive feelings : he had no ene

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