« PreviousContinue »
mit, save only that I shall venture to leave a few brief memorandums with civil governors (instead of directions) for securing the interest of Christ, and the church, and men's salvation; yet assuring the reader that I omit none of this out of any contempt of the matter, or of magistracy, or as if I thought them not worthy of all our prayers and assistance, or thought their office of small concernment to the welfare of the world and of the church; but for those reasons, which all may know that know me and the government under which we live, and which I must not tell to others.
Memorandums to Civil Rulers for the Interest of Christ, the Church, and Men's Salvation.
Mem. 1. REMEMBER that your power is from God, and therefore for God, and not against God". You are his ministers, and can have no power except it be given you from above. Remember therefore that as constables are your officers and subjects, so you are the officers and subjects of God and the Redeemer; and are infinitely more below him, than the lowest subject is below you; and that you owe him more obedience than can be due to you; and therefore should study his laws (in nature and Scripture) and make them your daily meditation and delight. And remember how strict a judgment you must undergo when you must give account of your stewardship, and the greater your dignities and mercies have been, if they are abused by ungodliness, the greater will be your punishment.
e Finis ad quem rex principaliter intendere debet in seipso et in subditis, est æterna beatitudo, quæ in visione Dei consistit. Et quia ista visio est perfectissimum bonum maxime movere debet regem et quemcunque dominum ut hunc finem subditi conseqnantur. Lib. de Regim. Principum Thomae adscript. Grot. de Imper. Sum. Pot. p. 9. Even Aristotle could say, Polit. vii. c. 1, 2. et eadem fine, that each man's active and contemplative life, is the end of government and not only the public peace; and that is the best life which conduceth most to our consideration of God, and that is the worst, which calleth us off from considering and worshipping him. Vide Grot. de Imper. sum. Pot. p. 10. Quam multa injuste fieri possunt, quæ ne
Mem. 11. Remember therefore and watch most carefully that you never own or espouse any interest which is adverse to the will or interest of Christ; and that you never fall out with his interest or his ordinances; and that no temptation ever persuade you that the interest of Christ, and the Gospel, and the church, is an enemy to you, or against your real interest: and that you keep not up suspicions against them; but see that you devote yourselves and your power wholly to his will and service, and make all your interest stand in a pure subservience to him, as it stands in a real dependance on him o.
Mem. 111. Remember that under God, your end is the public good; therefore desire nothing to yourselves, nor do any thing to others, which is really against your end.
Mem. Iv. Remember therefore that all your laws are to be but subservient to the laws of God, to promote the obcdience of them with your subjects, and never to be either contrary to them, nor co-ordinate, or independent on thein; but as the bye-laws of corporations are in respect to the laws and will of the sovereign power, which have all their life and power therefrom.
Mem. v. Let none persuade you that you are such terrestrial animals that have nothing to do with the heavenly concernments of your subjects; for if once men think that the end of your office is only the bodily prosperity of the people, and the end of the ministry is the good of their souls, it will tempt them to prefer a minister before you, as they prefer their souls before their bodies; and they that are taught to contemn these earthly things, will be ready to think they must contemn your office; seeing no means, as such, can be better than the end. There is no such thing as a temporal happiness to any people, but what tendeth to the happiness of their souls; and must be thereby measured, and thence be estimated. Though ministers are more immediately employed about the soul, yet your office is ultimately for the happiness of souls, as well as theirs; though bodily things (rewards or punishments) are the means, by which you may promote it; which ministers, as such, may
mo possit reprehendere. Cicero de fin. Read Plutarch's Precepts of Policy, and that old men should be rulers.
e Read often Psal. ii. and ci.
not meddle with. Therefore you are 'custodes utriusque tabulæ,' and must bend the force of all your government, to the saving of people's souls. And as to the objection from heathen governors, distinguish between the office, and an aptitude to exercise it: the office consisteth, 1. In an obligation to do the duty: 2. And in authority to do it. Both these, a heathen ruler hath (else the omission were a duty, and not a sin). But it is the aptitude to do the duty of his place which a heathen wanteth; and he wanteth it culpably; and therefore the omission is his sin; even as it is the sin of an insufficient minister that he doth not preach. For the question is of the like nature, and will have the like solution: Whether an ignorant minister be bound to preach, who is unable or heretical? It is aptitude that he wanteth, and neither authority or obligation, if he be really a minister; but he is obliged in this order, first to get abilities, and then to preach: so is it in the present case'.
Mem. vi. Encourage and strengthen a learned, holy, self-denying, serious, laborious ministry; as knowing, that the same Lord hath commissioned them in the institution of their office, who instituted yours; and that it is such men that are suited to their work, for which their office was appointed; and that souls are precious; and those that are the guides and physicians of souls, can never be too well furnished, nor too diligent. And the church hath nowhere prospered on earth, but in the prosperity of the abilities, holiness, and diligence of their pastors: God hath always built by such, and the devil hath pulled down, by pulling down such.
Mem. vII. Remember that the people that are seriously religious, that love, and worship, and obey the Lord, with all their heart, are the best of your subjects, and the honour of your dominions: see therefore that serious godliness be every where encouraged, and that the profane and ignorant rabble be never encouraged in their enmity and opposition to it and that true fanaticism, hypocrisy, and schism, be so prudently discountenanced and suppressed, that none may have encouragement to set themselves against godli
Read Bilson of Subjection, p. 129. to the end of the Second Part, especially p. 140-142. The laws of Charles the Great. And Grotius de Imperio Sum. Pot. circa Sacra. c. 1. et per totum.
ness, under the slander or pretension of such names. Christianity be better than heathenism, those Christians then are they that must be countenanced, who go further in holiness, and charity, and justice, than heathens do, rather than those that go no further (besides opinions and formalities) than a Cato, a Plato, or Socrates have done. If all religion were a deceit, it were fit to be banished, and atheism professed, and men confess themselves to be but brutes. But if there be a God, there must be a religion; and if we must be religious, we must sure be so in seriousness, and not in hypocrisy and jest. It being no such small, contemptible matter, to be turned into dissembling compliment .
Mem. VIII. Endeavour the unity and concord of all the churches and Christians that are under your government, and that upon the terms which all Christ's churches have sometime been united in; that is, In the Holy Scriptures implicitly, as the general rule; in the ancient creeds explicitly, as the sum of our credenda;' and in the Lord's prayer, as the summary of our expetenda;' and in the decalogue, as the summary of our agenda:' supposing, that we live in peaceable obedience to our governors, whose laws must rule us not only in things civil, but in the ordering of those circumstances of worship and discipline, which God hath left to their determination.
Mem. Ix. Let all things in God's worship be done to edification, decently, and in order, and the body honour God, as well as the soul; but yet see that the ornaments or garments of religion, be never used against the substance; but that holiness, unity, charity, and peace, have alway the precedency.
Mem. x. Let the fear of sinning against God be cherished in all, and let there be a tenderness for such as are over scrupulous and fearful in some smaller things; and let not
Jul. Capitolin. saith of the Antonines, That they would not be saluted by filthy persons. And Lampridus of Alexander Severus that, Nisi honestos et bonæ famæ homines ad salutationem non admisit. Jussitque ut nemo ingrediatur, nisi qui se innocentem novit: per præconem edixit, ut nemo salutaret principem qui se furem esse nosset, ne aliquando detectus capitali supplicio subderetur. Read Sebastian. Foxius de Regno Regisque institutione. Even Croesus, Dionysius, and Julian were liberal to philosophers, and ambitious of their converse. Vera civitatis fœlicitas est, ut Dei sit amans et amata Deo; illum sibi regem, se illius populum agnoscat. August. de Civit. Dei, l. v. c. 14.
things be ordered so, as shall most tend to the advantage of debauched consciences, that dare say, or do any thing for their carnal ends. For they are truest to their governors, that are truest to their God; and when it is the wrath of God and hell, that a man is afraid of, it is pity he should be too eagerly spurred on: the unconscionable sort will be true to their governors, no longer than it serves their interest; therefore conscientiousness should be encouraged.
Mem. x1. If the clergy or most religious people offend, let their punishment be such as falleth only on themselves, and reacheth not Christ, nor the Gospel, nor the church. Punish not Christ for his servants' failings, nor the Gospel for them that sin against it; nor the souls of the people for their pastors' faults; but see that the interest of Christ and men's souls be still secured..
Aug. Ep. Bonifac. Omnes Reges qui populo Dei non prohibuerunt nec everterunt quæ contra Dei præcepta fuerunt instituta, culpantur. Qui prohibuerunt et everterunt, super aliorum merita, laudantur.
i When Hunnerichus the Arian Vandal king, was resolved to banish, imprison, and otherwise persecute the orthodox bishops and pastors, he first trieth them by threatenings and divers cruelties, and after appointeth a public disputation; where his bishops and officers having no better pretence, cruelly beat the people and pastors, and then falsely tell the king, That by tumult and clamor they avoided disputing. And at last he calleth together all the pastors that were met for the disputation, and to insnare them, putteth an oath upon them, That after the king's death, they would take his son for their king; and that they would send no letters beyond sea.’ This oath divided the orthodox among themselves. For one part of the bishops and pastors said, 'If we refuse a lawful oath, our people will say that we forsake them, and the dissolution of the churches will be imputed to us.' The other part perceiving the snare, were fain to pretend Christ's command, 'Swear not at all.' The king having separated them, and the officers took all their names, sendeth them all to prison. To those that took the oath, they said, 'Because that contrary to the command of the Gospel, you would swear, you shall see your cities and churches no more, but be sent into the country to till the ground; but so, that you presume not to sing psalms, or pray, or carry a book, or baptize, or ordain, or absolve.' To those that refused the oath, they said, Because you desired not the reign of the king's son, and therefore refused the oath; you shall be banished to the Isle of Corsica, to cut wood for the ships.' Victor. Utic. p. (mihi) 456, 457. Generalis Jesuitarum ex nimio absoluti imperii amore, delaturas in scrinia sua admittit, iisque credit, non audito co qui accusatur: quod injustitiæ genus ab ethnicis ipsis improbatur. Imperando non bonis regibus se facit similem, qui senatum magni fecerunt; sed tyrannos mavult imitari, e. g. Tarquinium superbum, qui ante omnia conatus est debilitare senatus numerum et authoritatem, ut omnia suo libitu facere posset; similiter generalis cum assistentibus suis odit synodos generales, omniaque experitur, ne tales instituantur conventus, quibus rerum gestarum reddere rationem necesse habeat.Generalis Jesuiticus in eligendis officialibus non curat quod sit cujusque talentum aut dotes eminentiores, sed quam bene secum aut cum provinciali suo conformetur. Quæ