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This is a small nip in our excellent author; for the Poet, xal &oxins is Homer, who hath said nothing concerning this Fable of Achilles,
SERMON xlii, &c. Tillotson printed these Sermons on the Divinity of Christ, to vindicate himself from the charge of Socinianisın : that is, from an accusation entirely groundless. I have been told, that Crellius, a Socinian, - and a descendant from the more celebrated Crellius, who used, when he came over hither, to visit the Archbishop, and to converse with him, justified him on this head; and declared that “ Tillotson had often disputed with him, in a friendly way, upon the subject of the Trinity; and that he was the best reasoner, and had the most to say for himself, of any adversary he had ever encountered.”
But then, Tillotson had made some concessions concerning the Socinians, which never were, and never will be forgiven him; and hath broken an ancient and fundamental rule of theological controversy; “ Allow not an adversary to have either common sense, or common honesty.”
Here is the obnoxious paffage :
“ And yet, to do right to the writers on that " side, I must own, that generally they are a pattern of the fair way of difputing, and of debat“ ing matters of religion without heat and un“ seemly reflections upon their adversaries. “ They generally argue matters with that temper “ and gravity, and with that freedom from pas“ fion and transport, which becomes a serious and “ weighty argument; and, for the most part,
they reason closely, and clearly, with extraor“ dinary guard and caution; with great dexterity “ and decency, and yet with smartness and sub “ tilty enough; with a very gentle heat, and few “ hard words : virtues, to be praised, wherever " they are found; yea even in an enemy, and
very worthy our imitation. In a word, they
are the strongest managers of a weak cause, and " which is ill founded at the bottom, that perhaps “ ever yet meddled with controversy; infomuch, " that some of the Protestants, and the generality “s of the Popish writers, and even of the Jesuits “ themselves, who pretend to all the reason and “ subtilty in the world, are in comparison of them " but mere scolds and bunglers. Upon the whole “ matter, they have but this one great defect, “ that they want a good cause, and truth on their
side; which if they had, they have reason, and “ wit, and temper enough to defend it.”
The thought, which is contained in the last feritence, resembles that of Quintilian, who says of Şeneca : “ Multa probanda in co, multa etiam admiranda sunt : eligere modo curæ fit, quod 7
utinami ipse feciffet! Digna enim fuit illa natura,quæ meliora vellet, quæ quod voluit effecit.” And again, “ Velles eum suo ingenio dixiffe, alieno judicio.
Now, by way of contrast, behold the character of the same persons, from the masterly and impartial hand of SouTu:
“ The Socinians are impious blasphemers, whose “ infamous pedigree runs back [from wretch to “ wretch] in a direct line to the devil himself; and “ who are fitter to be crushed by the civil magistrate, “ as destructive to government and society, than to “ be confuted as merely heretics in religion.”
Such is the true agonistic style and intolerant Spirit; such the courage of a champion, who challenges his adversary, and then calls upon the constable to come and help him.
An tibi Mavors
VOL. 11. “ Josephus flattered Vespasian so far, as to make him believe, that he was the man (the Messias]; and thereupon persuaded him to destroy the line of David, out of which the tradition was, that the Messias should spring, &c.”
Josephus did not give this wicked advice. Our Prelate perhaps had in his thoughts what Eusebius relates of Domitian, so that he ordered all the family of David to be destroyed; and that some Bb
of our Lord's kinsmen were seized, and brought before him; and upon examination dismissed, as poor and inconfiderable, persons.
Afterwards, in the time of Trajan, fome heretics laid an information against Symeon, the son of Cleopas, as being of the family of David, and also a Christian : and, for this, Symeon was pilt to death, when he wasan hundred and twenty years old. But these very accufers of the Martyr were also convicted of belonging to the royal tribe, diligent search being made at that time for such persons.
Eufebius had these accounts from Hegefippus,, and Hegesippus is far enough from infallibility. So the Stories rest upon his authority, such as is is. Eufeb. Evang. Hift. III. 19, 20, 32.
« We must be serious in our instructions : “ to which nothing can be more contrary, than
to trifle with the word of God; and to speak of “ the weightiest matters in the world, the great “ and everlasting concernments of the souls of simren, in fo flight and indecent a manner, as is
not only beneath the gravity of the pulpit, but “ even of a well-regulated stage. Can any thing “ be more unsuitable, than to hear a Minister of “ God, from this folenn place, to break Jefts
upon Sin, and to quibble with the vices of the
age? This is to shoot without a bullet; as if we " had no mind to do execution, but only to make " men smile at the mention of their faults: This
« is so nauseous a folly, and of so pernicious con
sequence to religion, that hardly any thing too • severe can be said of it.”
This was undoubtedly designed as a censure upon South, for saying, “ that there is no Auxing a soul out of its immortality," and a hundred things of the same kind,
“ The Being of God is so comfortable, fo con* venient, fo necessary to the felicity of mankind, " that (as Tully admirably says) Dii immortales " ad ufum hominum fabricati pene videantur : If God “ were not a neceffary being of himself, he might “ 'almoft seem to be made on purpose for the use
and benefit of men."
A learned person, --who shall not be named observed, that Tillotson, taking the verb fabricati in a passive sense, grossly misunderstood Cicero; whose words are these: “Sunc autem alii philosophi, et hi quidem magni atque nobiles, qui Deorum mente atque ratione omnein mundum administrari atque regi censeant: neque verò id solum, sed etiam ab iisdem vitæ hominum consuli et provideri : Nam, et fruges, et reliqua quæ terra pariat, et tempeftates, ac temporum varietates, cælique mutationes, quibus omnia quæ terra gignat, maturata pubescánt, a Dîs immortalibus tribui humano generi putant; multaque, quæ talia sunt, ut ea ipsa Di immortales ad ufum hominum fabricati pene videantur.” De Nat. Deor. L. I. 2. Bb 2