« PreviousContinue »
Answer to a Book entitled 'An humble Re. monstrance.' In which the Original of Liturgy and Episcopacy is discussed ; and Quæries propounded concerning both,” &c. London, 1641, 4to.
3. In reply to Smectymnuus, the bishop published the same year, “A Defence of the humble Remonstrance against the frivolous and false Exceptions of Smectymnuus ; wherein the Right of Liturgy and Episcopacy is clearly vindicated from the vain cavils and challenges of the Answerers. Se conded (in way of appendance) with the judgment of the famous Divine of the Palatinate, Abrahamus Scultetus, late Professor of Divinity in the University of Heidelberg; concerning the Divine Right of Episcopacy, and the No-right of Lay-eldership.” London, 1641. Smectymnuus again rejoined in “A Vindication of the Answer to the humble Re. monstrance, from the unjust Imputation of Frivolousness and Falsehood; wherein the cause of the Liturgy and Episcopacy is further debated." London, 1641. Hall concluded the dispute by “A short Answer to the tedious Vindication of Smectymnuus, by the Author of the humble Remonstrance," London, 1641, 4to,
On this occasion Milton wrote his two tracts; 1. Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence against Smectymnuus. 2. An Apology for Smectymnuus.
It should be observed, that in this controversy the bishop shews greater moderation and urbanity of language than any of his antagonists.
It were needless to particularize any more of the writings of bishop Hall, since his works complete have lately been thought deserving of republication. They are comprised in 10 vols. 8vo. 1806.
As controversial theology cannot be supposed very interesting to the generality of readers, particularly on topics which have , lost much of their former interest, I shall not select any passages from the treatises abovementioned. Perhaps a few extracts from the bishop's "Occasional Meditations,” will be thought to exhibit as fair a specimen of his characteristic qualities as a writer and as a man, as any extracts that could be chosen, Hall has been stiled the Christian Seneca, from his sententious manner of writing, and from the particular resemblance of his “ Meditations," to “ Seneca's Morals,"
Upon the Sight of a Tree full-blossomed.
Here is a tree overlaid with blossoms ; it is not possible that all these should prosper; one of them must needs rob the other of moisture and growth; I do not love to see an infancy over-hopeful; in these pregnant beginnings one faculty starves another, and at last leaves the mind sapless and barren ; as therefore we are wont to pull off some of the too frequent blossoms, that the rest may thrive; so, it is good wisdom to moderate the early excess of the parts, or progress of over-forward childhood. Neither is it otherwise in our Christian profession; a sudden and lavish ostentation of grace may fill the eye with wonder, and the mouth with talk, but will not at the last fill the lap with fruit.
Let me not promise too much, nor raise too high expectations of my undertakings; I had rather men should complain of my small hopes, than of my short performances.
Upon Occasion of a Red-breast coming into his Chamber.
Pretty bird, how chearfully dost thou sit and sing, and yet knowest not where thou art, nor where thou shalt make thy next meal; and at night must shrowd thyself in a bush for lodging! What a shame is it
for me, that see before me so liberal provisions of my God, and find myself sit warm under my own roof, yet am ready to droop under a distrustful and unthankful dulness. Had I so little certainty of my harbour and purveyance, how heartless should I be, how careful; how little list should I have to make music to thee or myself. Surely thou comest not hither without a Providence. God sent thee not so much to delight, as to shame me, but all in a conviction of my sullen unbelief, who, under more apparent means, am less chearful and confident; reason and faith have not done so much in me, as in thee mere instinct of nature; want of foresight makes thee more merry, if not more happy here, than the foresight of better things maketh me.
O God, thy providence is not impaired by those powers thou hast given me above these brute things; let. not my greater helps hinder me from an holy security, and comfortable reliance on thee.
Upon the kindling of a Charcoal Fire.
There are not many creatures but do naturally affect to diffuse and enlarge themselves; fire and water will neither of them rest contented with their own bounds; those little sparks that I see in those coals, bow they spread and enkindle their next brands.
It is thus morally both in good and evil; either of them dilates itself to their neighbourhood ; but espeeially this is so much more apparent in evil, by how much we are more apt to take it. Let but some spark of heretical opinion be let fall upon some unstable, proud, busy spirit, it cateheth instantly; and fires the next capable subject; they two have easily inflamed a third; and now the more society the more speed and advantage of a public combustion. When we see the church on a flame, it is too late to complain of the flint and steel ; it is the holy wisdom of superiors to prevent the dangerous attritions of stubborn and wrangling spirits; or to quench their first sparks in the tinder.
But, why should not grace and truth be as successful in dilating itself to the gaining of many hearts ? Certainly these are in themselves more winning, if our corruption had not made us indisposed to good: O God, out of an holy envy and emulation at the speed of evil, I shall labour to enkindle others with these heavenly flames; it shall not be my fault if they spread not.
Upon the Sight of two Snails.
There is much variety even in creatures of the same kind. See there, two snails; one hath an house, the