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own life under foot, would he be reckoned otherwise than a madman? The Holy Ghost, by the mouth of Solomon, commands us on some occasions to put a knife to our throats; Prov. xxiii. 2: would any man advise us, in his sober senses, to obey this injunction in its proper and literal sense? God is said to harden the hearts, and blind the eyes of men; John xii. 40: shall we attribute these things, as proper and immediate effects, to him? To God, then, must be left his own mode of speech: what he has chosen to express in all the loftiness of figurative language, should not on that account be drawn by us into the pattern of a simple proposition.

There may be some of these expressions, again, which the very persons who censure them would admit in a proper sense: there may be many, which, were but charity applied, might be rightly and profitably explained. But what, meanwhile, that right and proper sense is, there will be the greatest contention among the parties; and how can the charity we speak of find its place, where contentions have once begun to wax warm? Those who prefer litigation, are not wont to deal so tenderly with their opponents, as to desire to elicit the most amicable sense (if such a thing there be) of the proposition in debate. The way of safety, then, is so to speak, that, if possible, he who seeks to cavil, may have no room to fix either his hook or his foot. The disease is one, which none but charity can heal.

But now I ask, as well I may, whether charity would have employed herself more beneficially in removing or accommodating these forms of expression? There is a pit, not far from the high-road; deep, and dangerous to him that is on his journey: which will be acting the more friendly part by the traveller; he who covers it over with stones and rubbish; or he who directs the inhabitants to admonish those that pass, to take care lest they fall into it? A disease threatens my life: I know by what medicine I can at length assuage the fever, and escape the risk of death, which perhaps would otherwise ensue: shall I think of allowing the malady to grow worse and worse, when, by taking it in time, I can provide a remedy?

For my part, were it just a case of my own, I would first take care to have the noxious humours either corrected or purified betimes; and then to have stomachics administered, by which nature might be strengthened against the attack of the enemy. So should it be done in the things which threaten danger to the Church, whether they be actual errors, or only questionable opinions and hazardous expressions: and so, no doubt, those most grave and learned Theologians would have done, had they then been able to foresee that departure of toleration, which we now witness. For whereas they wished that, by the measures then pursued, a sacrifice should be

evenit, jurgiorum ac discordiarum semina, (quod maximoperè dolendum est,) hinc inde per agros Ecclesiæ infeliciter jacta, ubique pullulâsse. Neque deerit unquam, si quid ergo hariolari possum, contentionum materia, donec ista litium infausta seges authoritate publicâ radicitùs evelli possit: quod uti fiat, exorandi sunt orbis domini, ut, conventu doctorum Theologorum tempestivè habito, communi consilio, interveniente ipsorum imperio, tollantur ista, sive calami sive mentis, σpáλμara qualiacunque.

Quod dum fieri possit, monendi rogandíque sunt doctissimi quique viri, fratres nostri charissimi, eoùsque uti paci studeant omnes, ut, posthabitâ verborum curâ, rebus ipsis componendis operam suam toti impendant. Id nimirum solicitos nos habet, ut veritas Dei in cordibus hominum, nobis suasoribus, locum invenire possit. Hoc, verò, si quo suaviore ac blandiore modo effici queat, nonne multò gratius aptabiliúsque foret, quàm ut, rigidiore ac duriusculâ agendi ratione, bilem scandalúmve infirmiori cuique moveremus? Ulcus meum qui leviore tractaverit manu, modò non minus citò sanaverit, dignus est quem amiciùs excipiam.

At at, nisi in re ipsâ paululùm hæreremus, non ita nimium de verbis laborare pretium operæ duceremus. De ipsis quidem, fateor, notionum quarundam momentis, aliquid litigii est: sed, quod vix cernat oculatus arbiter, vix curet pacificus. Ad eundem video exitum veritatis theologicæ tendere utriúsque partis sententiam; non sine aliquo, interim, in viâ, discrimine: non est quòd de unoquoque vestigio nimiùm soliciti simus, quin post passûs unius alteriusve divertiunculam idem omnino stadium emetimur. Mollior placet huic semita; illi, calcata vel silicea: recta ducit utraque ad metam eandem: quis istic jurgio locus?

Quòd si sua cuique (uti fit) placuerit sententia, nec quis cedere velit alteri, paulò aliter animi sui sensum exprimenti, litésque adhuc inter partes infeliciter continuentur; illud ego fratribus meis cum primis suaserim, quod in omnibus hujus generis controversiis tutissimum utilissimúmque semper

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offered to the public peace; it happened, just the contrary, (an event greatly to be deplored!) that from that very source the seeds of altercation and discord, unhappily scattered throughout the field of the Church, sprang up on every side. Nor, if I may venture to prognosticate, will there be ever a deficiency of materials for dissension, till that disastrous harvest shall have been rooted out by public authority: to which end, the princes of the earth should be petitioned, that an assembly of learned Divines may be convened without delay, and that, with submission to the authorities of the land, their deliberations may be allowed for the removal of all offences, whether of word or sentiment.

Moreover, till this can be accomplished, the most learned men among our dear brethren should be all admonished and intreated, so far to study peace, as to postpone their zeal for words, and to exert their whole endeavours on the settlement of real and actual differences. For ourselves, our solicitude is this, that, by our persuasions, the truth of God may find its place in the hearts of men. Now, if this can be effected by any kinder and gentler method, were it not far more pleasant and suitable, than that, by a sterner and harsher mode of action, we should excite the displeasure and reluctance of the weaker sort? He who handles my wound most tenderly, provided he effects as speedy a cure, this is the man I should most esteem my friend.

Well, but were it not that we hesitated a little about the thing itself, we should scarcely think it worth our while to make so much ado about words. Some part of our controversy, I confess, may refer to the principles that give life and motion to our thoughts; but it is so small a part, that while an eyewitness can hardly perceive it, a peace-maker need scarcely notice it. I observe that the sentiment of either party tends equally to the result of theological truth, though not perhaps without some disagreement by the way: but there is no reason why we should be so very scrupulous about every single footstep, when, after a separation of a mile or two, we are sure of pursuing the same course to the end. One prefers the softer path; another the hard and flinty: each leads straight to the same goal: what occasion here for altercation?

But if each of them (as is the case) will maintain his own opinion, and neither of them consent to give place to the other, when expressing the sentiment of his mind with some small variation; the strife hitherto existing between the parties should be unhappily continued, I would recommend my brethren, above all things, to adopt a rule, which, in all controversies of this kind, I have ever found the safest and most useful: to betake ourselves to more general forms

expertus sum: ut ad generaliores quasdam enuntiandi formulas confugiamus; neque ultra terminos, ita fixos, sinatur alterutrius partis discursus evagari. Quod de doloso communiter dici solebat olim, liceat mihi de pacifico dicere; versatur ille in generalibus: nec quid pensi habet ad specialissima quæque descendere. Nempe, ex imis illis conceptuum humanorum fractionibus ac divisiunculis, nimiò quàm accuratis, oriri solent discordiæ inter illos, qui vel de proximis rerum capitibus perpacatè consentirent. Hâc profectò ratione, plurimæ, quibus Orbis Christianus miserè conflictatur, lites sopirentur.

Cautè tamen istic, et non sine summâ fide ac sanâ discretione, procedendum est; ne, fortè, dum paci nimiùm intenti sumus, veritatis integritatem vel violemus vel iniquè supprimamus. Ubi, ergo, de ipsis Christianæ Fidei capitibus, deque summâ religionis quæstio est, nihil non urgeri debet, in quo salus vertitur hominis Christiani: nihil istic non momentosum, et quovis dignum certamine videri debet. Sed, ubi de dogmatibus quibusdam ferè adiaphoris, deque tricis (uti fit) scholasticis, à salutis sive spe sive periculo longè alienis, disputatur; non est quòd nimis anxiè singula disquiramus, et de minimis quibúsque opinionum apicibus curiosiùs contendamus: sat erit in generalioribus quibusdam exprimendi modis conspirâsse.

Quòd si qui sint opinionum suarum paulò tenaciores, qui de levissimis quibúsque controversiarum particulis, veluti pro aris ac focis, digladiari malunt; valdè expediens fuerit, illud unum præcipuè accurare, ut isti, moderatis quibúsque agendi rationibus, si fieri possint, convincantur. Inter quas nulla mihi, seriò cogitanti, occurrit probabilior, quàm ut certæ quædam figantur regulæ dogmaticæ, irrefragabiles illæ quidem, et utrique parti in confesso; ad quarum veluti examen utrorumque sententiæ reducantur exigantúrque.

Certum est, enim, vera quæque ubique ovvaλn@eveiv. Quæ, ergo, inter se comparata, ab indubitatè veris dissonare deprehenduntur, in falsi suspicionem justissimè incurrunt.

Ut in hisce, quas modò sub manibus habemus, controversiis, sunto, si placet, hujusmodi.

1. Fieri non potest, ut voluntatis Dei, quæ omnium causa est, causa detur ulla: nempe hoc foret, præter curiosam quandam insolentiam, ultra infinitum procedere.

in the statement of our propositions; and beyond the bounds, so fixed, to allow no digression in the discourse of either party. What used to be commonly affirmed of an artful man, I would beg leave to affirm of a peaceful man: he deals in generals. Nor is he at all concerned to enter into all the details of his subject. For so it is, out of the minute fractions and divisions of human sentiment, too elaborately refined, discords are apt to arise among those, who would perfectly agree together on the heads of doctrine, even where most liable to disputation. By the adoption of this rule, many of the contentions, by which the Christian world is miserably harassed, would quietly sink into repose.

Yet even here, we must proceed with caution, and not without the strictest honesty, and most resolute discernment; lest by chance, while too intent on peace, we either violate, or unfairly suppress, the integrity of truth. When, therefore, the question concerns the heads of the Christian Faith, and the principles of religion, nothing ought to be suppressed or qualified, on which the salvation of a Christian man depends; nothing should be there regarded as otherwise than momentous, and worthy of conflict to the last. But when a dispute arises on doctrines generally indifferent, and on trifles (as they are apt to prove) of the schools, having little or nothing to do either with the hope or hindrance of salvation; there can be no occasion to discuss particulars too anxiously, or to contend with unnecessary fastidiousness for every extreme point of opinion: it will be sufficient for us to have found agreement in some more general modes of expression.

Should there be some, however, more tenacious of their opinions, who would draw the sword for every trifle of controversy, however light, as if home and altar were at stake; it might become a matter of urgent expediency, to regard chiefly this one point, how they might be themselves convinced, if possible, by moderate ways of treatment. Among which, there is none I can devise, on serious consideration, more likely to succeed than this: that certain dogmatical rules, of a plain and irrefragable character, and allowed on either side, be fixed; to the test of which, if I may so speak, the opinions of both the disputants should be reduced for examination.

For certain it is, that all things which are true, agree in truth throughout. Whatever things, therefore, when compared among themselves, are discovered to disagree with things undoubtedly true, incur most justly a suspicion of falsehood.

In the controversies we have now in hand, for instance, let the rules be, if you like, to this effect.

1. It is impossible to assign any cause to the will of God; which is itself the cause of all things: to do this, were not only to betray an impertinent curiosity, but to attempt to proceed beyond infinity.

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