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to “ the law and the testimony," than to be bandied from author to author, or doomed to explore and reconcile the endless contradictions and jarrings of human authority. &
At the end of his work on Infant Baptism, published in 1650, the year after his Aphorisms, Baxter requested the animadversions of his brethren on them, and was soon furnished with their remarks to the full extent of his desires. Besides those already referred to as noticing this book, Mr. Blake, of Tamworth, made some exceptions to it in a work on the Covenants, which was published soon after. Kendall, in his defence of the doctrine of perseverance against John Goodwin, added an appendix of animadversions on Baxter. William Eyre, of Salisbury, attacked him in a book on Justification; ushered into the world with a preface by Dr. Owen. But the most extended work in reply to him was by John Crandon, minister at Fawley, in Hampshire, under the affected title of “ Baxter's Aphorisms exorized and anthorized,” a huge quarto of 700 pages, with a prefatory letter by Caryl.
Baxter, nothing daunted by the appearance and front of so many adversaries, produced, in 1654, what he calls his ApoLOGY,' containing his reasons of dissent from Mr. Blake's exceptions;' The Reduction of a Digressor,' in reply to Kendall; an "Adinonition to Mr. William Eyre;' and Crandon Anatomized; or, a Nosegay of the choicest Flowers in that Garden presented to Joseph Caryl.' Not satisfied with repelling his antagonists in this volume, he goes out of the way to produce a “Confutation of a Dissertation for the Justification of Infidels,
a For an account of the part which Owen took in this controversy, see Memoirs of Owen, pp. 119–122. Beside the persons mentioned in the text, who wrote against the Aphorisms, and of whom Mr. Baxter himself takes notice, John Tombes, the Baptist, wrote Animadversiones Quædam in Aphorismos, Richardi Baxter, de Justificatione.' 1658.
by Ludiomæus Colvinus, alias Ludovicus Molinæus, professor of history, in Oxford.
The following notices of several of these opponents are fura nished by Baxter, and will perhaps amuse the reader. .“ As for Ludiomæus Colvinus, it is Ludovicus Molinæus, a doctor of physic, son to Peter Molinæus, and public professor of history in Oxford. He wrote a small Latin treatise against his own brother, Cyrus Molinæus, to prove that justification is before faith. I thought I might be bold to confute him who chose the truth and his own brother to oppose. Another small assault the same author made against me (instead of a reply), for approving of Cameron's and Amiraldus's way about universal redemption and grace; to which I answered in the preface to the book; but these things were so far from alienating the esteem and affection of the doctor, that he is now at this day, one of those friends who are injurious to the honour of their own understandings, by overvaluing me; and would fain have spent his time in translating some of my books into the French tongue. . «Mr. Crandon was a man that had run from Arminianism, into the extreme of half-antinomianism; and having an excessive zeal for his opinions (which seem to be honoured by the extolling of free grace), and withal being an utter stranger to me, he got a deep conceit that I was a Papist, and in that persuasion, wrote a large book against my Aphorisms, which moved laughter in many, and pity in others, and troubled his friends, as having disadvantaged their cause. As soon as the book came abroad, the news of the author's death came with it, who died a fortnight after its birth. I had beforehand got all, save the beginning and end out of the press, and wrote so much for an answer as I thought it worthy, before the publication of it. ; ; “Mr. Eyre was a preacher in Salisbury, of Mr. Crandon's opinion, who having preached there for justification before
faith, that is, the justification of elect infidels, was publicly confuted by Mr. Warren, and Mr. Woodbridge, a very judicious minister of Newbury, who had lived in New England. Mr. Woodbridge printed his sermon, which very perspicuously opened the doctrine of justification, after the method that I had done. Mr. Eyre, being offended with me as a partner, gave me some part of his opposition, to whom I returned an answer in the end; and a few words to Mr. Caryl, who licensed and approved Mr. Crandon's book, for the Antinominians were commonly Independents. No one of all the parties replied to this book, save only Mr. Blake, to some part of that which touched him.”
The Apology containing so many parts, is a thick quarto, full of that subtle and acute reasoning for which its author was eminently distinguished. The main point in the controversy, the subject of justification, is often lost sight of in the strife of words, and the multifarious discussions perpetually occurring. He generally treats his adversaries respectfully, with the exception of Crandon, who had assailed him with intolerable insolence and abuse. He prefixed to the volume, an admirable dedication to his old friend and companion in the army, “ the Honourable Commissary-General Whalley.” As it is not my intention to dwell in detail on the contents of this volume, I shall extract a passage from the dedication, where the author defends his engaging in controversy by an ingenious reference to the wars in which Whalley and himself had reluctantly engaged, and concludes with a beautiful address to the veteran soldier.
« The work of these papers has been, to my mind, somewhat like those sad employments wherein I attended you: of themselves, grievous and ungrateful ; exasperating others, and not pleasing ourselves. The remembrance of those years is so little delightful to me, that I look back upon them as the saddest part
of my life; so the review of this apology is but the renewing of my trouble; to think of our common frailty and darkness, and what reverend and much-valued brethren I contradict; but, especially, the fear lest men should make this collision an occasion of derision, and, by receiving the sparks into combustible affections, should turn that to a conflagration, which I intended but for an illumination. If you say, I should then have let it alone, the same answer must serve as, in the former case, we were wont to use. Some say, that I, who pretend so much for peace, should not write of controversies. For myself, it is not much matter; but must God's truth stand as a butt for every man to shoot at ? Must there be such liberty of opposing it, and none of defending ? One party cannot have peace without the other's consent. To be buffeted and assaulted, and commanded to deliver up the truth of God, and called unpeaceable, if I defend it and resist, this is such equity as we were wont to find. In a word, both works were ungrateful to me, and are so in the review; but in both, as Providence and men's onset imposed a necessity, and drove me to that strait, that I must defend or do worse, so did the same Providence clear my way, and draw me on, and sweeten unusual troubles with unusual mercies, and issue all in testimonies of grace, that as I had great mixtures of comfort with sorrow in the performance, so have I in the review; and as I had more eminent deliverances, and other mercies, in those years and ways of blood and dolor, than in most of my life besides, so have I had more encouraging light since I was engaged in those controversies. For I speak not of these few papers only, but of many more of the like nature that have taken up my time; and as I still retained a hope that the end of all our calamities, and strange disposings of Providence, would be somewhat better than was threatened of late, so experience hath taught me to think that the issue of my most ungrateful labours shall not be in vain ; but that Providence which extracted them, hath some use to make of them better
than I am yet aware of; if not in this age, yet in times to come. The best is, we now draw no blood : and honest hearts will not feel themselves wounded with that blow which is only given to their errors. However, God must be served when he calls for it, though by the harshest and most unpleasing work. Only, the Lord teach us to watch carefully over our deceitful hearts, lest we should serve ourselves, while we think and say we are serving him; and lest we should militate for our own honour and interest, when we pretend to do it for his truth and glory!
“I hope, sir, the diversity of opinions in these days will not diminish your estimation of Christianity, nor make you suspect that all is doubtful, because so much is doubted of. Though the tempter seems to be playing such a game in the world, God will go beyond him, and turn that to illustration and confirmation which he intended for confusion and extirpation of the truth. You know it is no news to hear of men, ignorant, proud, and licentious, of what religion soever they be : this trinity is the creator of heresies. As for the sober and godly, it is but in lesser things that they disagree; and mostly about words and methods, more than matter, though the smallest things of God are not contemptible. He that wonders to see wise men differ, doth but wonder that they are yet imperfect, and know but in part; that is, that they are yet mortal sinners, and not glorified on earth! Such wonderers know not what man is, and are too great strangers to themselves. If they turn these differences to the prejudice of God's truth or dishonour of godliness, they show themselves yet more unreasonable than those who blame the sun, that men are purblind; and, indeed, were pride and passion laid aside in our disputes, if men could gently suffer contradiction, and heartily love and correspond with those that in lower matters do gainsay them, I see not but such friendly debates might edify.
“For yourself, sir, as you were a friend to sound doctrine, to unity, and to piety, and to the preachers, defenders, and prac