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the laws of God, and the common practice of all nations, to submit to princes in possession of the throne.” During the reign of William and his successor, he firmly rejected all offers of preferment: sincere and immoveable in his principles, he strenuously opposed all union with the Dissenting Protestants, as a measure likely to prove fatal to the mother church. One of his last public exertions we are not surprised to find was in favour of Sacheverell, who found in him an able and willing advocate. He closed a long and laborious life in 1716: he was buried in Westminster Abbey, near the tomb of Busby.
The character of this singular man will be best known from his sermons. His disposition, apparently open and ingenuous, stimulated by an ardent temper not always under the controul of prudence, prompted him to express his opinions without reserve or caution. He has laid himself completely open : his thoughts, his feelings, his animosities, and his predilections, are all exposed to the severest scrutiny.
In his political creed, South was the advocate of passive obedience and the divine right of kings, and these monstrous doctrines he sometimes lays down in their most enlarged and unlimited extent. He believed the Church of England to be not only the best ecclesiastical establishment on the face of the earth, but absolutely perfect and infallible, the express image of the primitive ordinances : kings, he affirmed, had their commission immediately from heaven : Charles I. was the king after his own heart ; he was “a king, and, what is more, a king not chosen, but born to be so ;" he was a blessed saint;". "the justness of his government left his subjects at a loss for an occasion to rebel,” but “ they were pampered to unruliness,” and,“ to finish this poor description of him,” “ he was a father to his country, if but for this only, that he was the father of such a son.” (Vide Sermon preached before Charles II., Jan. 30, 1663.) And can we believe that this son was then one of the doctor's hearers : or peradventure, he was sleeping, or perhaps laughing at the good preacher's extravagant zeal. If we can find no excuse for this gross and palpable adulation, South himself can furnish us with one: he was under the influence of part of the royal prerogative, which is now seldom exerted. For in a sermon preached at Westminster Abbey, 1675, setting forth “ the peculiar care and concern of Providence for the protection and defence of kings,” he tells us, that the “absolute subjection” men yield to princes comes from “ a secret work of the divine power, investing sovereign princes with certain marks and rays of that divine image, which overawes and controuls the spirits of men they know not how or why? But yet they feel themselves actually wrought upon, and kept under by them, and that very frequently against their will. And this is that property which in kings we call majesty," &c. There follows more of the same stuff.
In this discourse," for memory's sake, he sums up" a few things worthy to be observed of princes. The substance of his summing up is this, – kings are endowed with more than ordinary sagacity and quickness of understanding,—they have a singular courage and presence of mind in cases of difficulty, -the hearts of men are wonderfully inclined to them,-an awe and dread of their persons and authority is imprinted on their people, and, lastly, their hearts are disposed to virtuous courses. Leaving the reader these heads for “ memory's sake” and meditation, we will give his opinion of an old royalist in his own words, (vol. i. p. 452.) “I look upon the Old Churchof England royalists (which I take to be only another name for a man who prefers his conscience before his interest) to be the best Christians and the most meritorious subjects in the world ; as having passed all those terrible tests and trials which conquering domineering malice could put them to, and carried their credit and their conscience clear and triumphant through, and above them all, constantly firm and immovable by all that they felt, either from their professed enemies or their false friends."
One of the earliest public sermons we have of South's, was preached at Oxford, before the commissioners for rectifying abuses, a few months after Charles's restoration. (July 29, 1660.) It is entitled the “ Scribe instructed,” and ought to be read by every scribe "which is instructed into the kingdom of heaven.” South was then a young man, but he possessed all the wisdom and excellent good sense which mature age and experience can give. He had already amassed a treasure of rich and useful knowledge, which he produced at once to instruct, to astonish, and confound. In this discourse, with admirable perspicuity and unanswerable reasoning, he details the qualifications necessary for one who would be a preacher of the gospel, a scribe instructed : exhibiting in himself, at the same time, an example of what he so strenuously recommended. He perhaps felt now, as one who was no friend to him insinuates, the ground on which he stood, and, emboldened by security, he commenced that attack on the Sectarians which ended only with his life. With inimitable humour and pleasantry he ridicules those preachers in tubs and barns, those despisers of all human learning, those haters and proscribers of all decency and propriety of language. For the last qualification he declares to be as necessary as any other, observing“ that as by knowledge a man informs himself, so by expression he conveys that knowledge to others ; and as bare words convey, so the propriety and elegancy of them give force and facility to the conveyance.
South, a strong supporter of monarchy and episcopacy, of course hated the Puritans with no common hatred, and many of his sermons are particularly directed against them. And never had man a subject to exert his ingenuity on more congenial to his temper, and never were poor heretics so assailed with invective and ridicule.-He dwelt with delight on their meagre, mortified faces, their droning and snuffling whine, their sanctimonious hypocritical demeanour; but in the midst of his pleasantry he shot some shafts dipped in the bitterest gall, and pointed by the most inveterate hatred. With a proud consciousness of superior learning, and perhaps a pharisaical conceit of superior integrity-with the keenest sarcasm and the most undisguised contempt, he held up to the detestation of mankind, these impudent pretenders to the gifts of the Spirit. We have two sermons on the nature and influence of the Holy Spirit, in which South exhibits, in a clear and intelligible manner, the doctrine of his own church on this important point. In doing this, he is naturally led to notice the opinions of his schismatical enemies, who defended their enormities by numerous examples of Holy Writ, and alleged that the “Spirit led them by an inward voice speaking to them, and known only to themselves.” Thus, in the words of their powerful and exasperated adversary, “they ascribed those villainies, which were done by the instigation of the devil, to the impulse and suggestion of the Holy Spirit.”
There are several other sermons written professedly against these fanatics; and, indeed, he is always glad of an opportunity of vilifying them whenever he can possibly find it. We have thus a picture of a singular race of men exhibited in the most striking, but yet the darkest colours, by the hand of a master : for the
painter was himself a bigot, and a declared foe to those whom he pourtrayed. It is, however, useful to have the portrait drawn even by an enemy: we must look elsewhere for the more pleasing lights and colors. It appears probable, that one who has made the collected treasures of past ages his own by rescuing them from obscurity, and adorning them with new beauties, is no stranger to this portion of our literature. The author of Old Mortality has given body and life to the strong and characteristic outline of the Divine; and done some justice to the intrepidity and constancy of the supporters of a persecuted kirk and broken covenant. The fanatics of that time preferred the books of the Old Testament to the new : their eastern phraseology and strong metaphorical language captivated an over-heated imagination; the obscurity and mystery of the prophetic writings found a ready reception in a confused intellect; and their vague and indeterminate meaning gave facility to the perverse construction of the artful and in
terested. We will give the following specimen of their logic and conclusions :
“But was there any thing in the whole Book of God to warrant the rebellion ?-any thing which, instead of obedience, taught them to sacrifice Him whom they were to obey? Why, yes: Daniel dreamed a dream; and there is also something in the Revelation concerning a beast, a little horn, and the fifth vial, and therefore the King undoubtedly ought to die.—But if neither you nor I can gather so much from these places, they will tell us it is because we are not inwardly enlightened.”
“ He would have reconciled himself to your fate,” said Claverhouse to Martin, "by a single text: for example, And Phineas executed judgment.””.
We cannot refrain from giving the following extract, as a specimen of South's satirical and humorous powers of description: he is still speaking of his old friends :
“Bodily abstinence, joined with a demure, affected countenance, is often called and accounted piety and mortification. Suppose a man infinitely ambitious, and equally spightful and malicious; one who poisons the ears of great men by venomous whispers, and rises by the fall of better men than himself; yet if he steps forth with a Friday look and a lenten face, with a blessed Jesu! and a mournful ditty for the vices of the times : Oh! then he is a saint
upon earth: an Ambrose or an Augustine (I mean not for that earthly trash of book-learning; for, alas ! such are above that, or at least that's above them), but for zeal and for fasting, for a devout elevation of the eyes, and a holy rage against other men's sins. And happy those ladies and religious dames characterized in the 2d of Timothy, c. iii, v. 6. who can have such selfdenying, thriving, able men for their confessors! and thrice happy those families where they vouchsafe to take their Friday-nights' refreshments! thereby demonstrate to the world what Christian abstinence, and what primitive, self-mortifying vigor there is in forbearing a dinner, that they may have the better stomach to their supper. In fine, the whole world stands in admiration of them : fools are fond of them, and wise men are afraid of them—they are talked of, they are pointed out: and, as they order the matter, they draw the eyes of all men after them, and generally something else."-Vol. 6. p. 110.
For the mode of manufacturing a conventicle sermon, and drawing a crowd of gaping hearers, see Vol. 4, p. 50.
South's notions of church government were as narrow and contracted as his views of civil polity.–Fire and faggot, the sword and the halter, were the rough means by which he would govern men. He was a great admirer of that “ blessed saint and martyr, Archbishop Laud;" and well was it, both for the nation and himself, that he did not succeed both to that
prelate's place and principles. The love for the surplice descended, like the prophet's mantle, from the Archbishop to the Prebendary; and that detested garment which Laud tried in vain to fix on the shoulders of the Scottish clergy, his zealous follower would have twisted round their necks..
South, of course, hated the Toleration Act, for he was an enemy to all toleration. He could tolerate neither papist, nor puritan, nor indulgences, nor forbearances; he could tolerate nothing but a “ strict adherence to the constitutions of our Church, and an absolute refusal to part with any of them.” In a sermon entitled “ The false methods of governing and establishing the Church of England exploded,” South, with all the ardour of a devoted attachment to the established hierarchy, combated the pretences alleged by the dissenters for the Church of England making concessions in order to bring about an accommodation. His arguments may, perhaps, convince some, though we confess that to us they are far from seeming conclusive. Nothing less than the overthrow of the national church could ultimately ensue, he affirmed, “ from the Jesuitical principles of the Sectarians : for the Jesuit then knew his trade too well to assume his own name and profession.” One consequence of this "something like a law” (he meant the Toleration Act) he declares to be “certain, obvious, and undeniable, and that is the vast increase of sects and heresies among us, which, where all restraint is taken off, must of necessity grow to the highest pitch that the devil himself can raise such a Babel to; so that there shall not be one bold ring-leading knave or fool who shall have the confidence to set up a new sect, but shall find proselytes enough to wear his name, and list themselves under his banner; of which the Quakers are a demonstration past dispute. And then what a vast party of this poor deluded people must of necessity be drawn after these impostors!”
It is needless to say, that knaves and impostors will always exist in religion as in every thing else, whether they are tolerated or not.-And fools will follow them, and stupid multitudes will listen, whose pious ravings it would be as absurd to attempt to curb by law, as it is impossible to regulate by reason. Amidst all the vehemence and strong prejudice which this sermon displays, the good sense of the author is often most conspicuous. The Papacy, he says, grew, by taking advantage of grants and favours, like courtesy passed into claim, and what was got by petition was held by prerogative.
“ Thus grew the Papacy, and by the same ways will also grow other sects,”—and yet sects must grow by other ways, such for instance as persecution-what follows is worthy of notice: “For there is a Papacy in every sect or faction; they