Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

1666*, for what reason I have not tinued in a state of suspenge until been able to learn; probably on ac- the next meeting of the synod, count of the distracied state of the when, after much serious deliber, times, and the great difficulty of ation and prayer, he undertook the procuring a man of talents and tem- office. per to moderate the rage of party. His advancement to the chair of Ever since the Reformation, that im- theology, at so early an age, withportant office had been filled up by out a dissenting voice in the synod, the votes of the clergy in the dio- and that too in a period of such turcese of Aberdeen, which was now bulence and distraction, is a suffiunder the government of Mr. Scou- cient testimony of his unrivalled gal's father, of whom Bishop Burnet, merit. Science and literature were in his History of his own Times, gives then cultivated with more success in the following character:-\" A man Aberdeen than in the other univerof rare temper, great piety, and pru- sities of Scotland. The clergy in dence.” A striking contrast this to that part of the kingdom far exthe character which the same prelate ceeded their brethren in the western gives of the majority of the Episco- and southern counties, in classical pal College in Scotland at that time. learning, and in every branch of

Wherever the vacant professor- theological science, more especially ship became the subject of conver- in the study of the fathers of the sation, all eyes were directed to the primitive church, and an acquaintminister of Auchterless; and when ance with ecclesiastical history. the matter came before the synod, Many of them, and those chiefly of in 1674, Mr. Scougal was elected, the episcopal persuasion, were aniby the unanimous voice of that re- mated by that pure and heavenly verend and venerable body, profes. flame which glowed in the breasts of sor of divinity, being only twenty- a Cyprian and a Jerome. «. Their four years of age. Far from being excellency,” to use the words of Bielated with so flattering a mark of shop Burnet, “lay in their sense of distinction, Scougal, in the true spiritual things and of the pastoral spirit of Ambrose and Gregory Nan- care." They were alive to their zianzen, shrunk froni' the appoint- heavenly Master, dead to the world, ment with fear and trembling. His and impressed with a deep sense of mind was so deeply impressed with the value of those souls that were the weight and importance of the committed to their charge. Of this charge, as well as with a sense of school were Forbes, Burnet, Gaira' his own unworthiness, that he con- den, and Scougal, men who would

The first professor of divinity in King's have done honour to the church in Cullege, after the Reformation, was Dr. Join her purest days; and had all the Fordes, son to the fourth Protestant bishop synods of Scotland, at the Restoraof Aberdeen. 'He had studied in several tion, contained as large a portion of Protestant universities abroad, and was a the good leaven as the synod of profuund theologian. After tilling the chair Aberdeen, in all probability episcoseveral years, with great ability, he resigned it pacy would have stood its ground. in 1635, and was succeeded by Dr. Andrew

Trojaque nunc stares--Priamique arx alta Sirachari, who died 'the year following, when

inaneres !" Dr. John Forbes was re-elected, and remained till 1643, when he was ejected for refusing

Scougal was such a burning and to sign the covenant, and was succeeded by shining light that no man despised his the Rev. W. Douglas, Minister of Forgue, in youth; and like the inimitable LeighAberdeenshire; a man of the greatest name ton, he enjoyed the rare felicity of among the Covenanters, next to the cele gaining the esteem of the zealots of brated Alexander Henderson. At the Re- all parties*. He had full credit storation, however, he joined the Episcopal party, and remained in the chair of divinity * "He did not confine his charity within until his death, in 1666.

a sect or party, but loved goodness wherever try, unmasked their plausible but passions, and sanctify all their affections. his pupils against all those evasive, The world lieth in sin, and it is our work to awaken men out of that deadly sleep. No equivocating, and accommodating thing below this should be our aim, we arts which had rendered Jesuitism a should never cease our endeavours until that synonimous term with falsehood and gracious change be wrought in every person hypocrisy, and which ought not sa committed to our charge; and this is so great • How near to sin they might lawfully and wonderful a charge, that as only Omni. come without sinning. This was the censure potence is able to produce it, so certainly passed by Sir Thomas More, himself a zeathey have a mighty task who are employed lous Papist, on the general run of Romish ca; as instruments in it."

given him for the purity of the mo- with a single eye to the glory of his tives by which he was actuated in divine Master and the good of his accepting the professorship: no one church. suspected him of grasping at prefer- The theological lectures of Scou. ment. Neither filthy lucre, nor va- gal embraced a wide field. As benity, nor ambition, were supposed came a Protestant divine, he directto have any share in determining ed the attention of the students, in his choice; and all who knew him the first place, to the sacred oracles, were convinced that he undertook as the grand furniture of a candidate the important charge, to which he for the Cbristian ministry. He enhad been called by the public voice, deavoured to obviate the chief diffi,

culties that occur in studying the he found it, and entertained no harsh thoughts of men merely upon their differing scripture system, and to vindicate from him in this or that opinion. He was them from the most weighty objecgrieved at the distractions and divisions of tions of sceptics and infidels. Hegare the church, and that religion, the bond of his pupils a clear and comprehenlove, should be made so much the bone of sive view of the principles of genuine contentions. The several sects among us Protestantism as opposed to the corlament his loss, and seem to confess that a ruptions which Popery had engraft. few like him would soon heal our sehisms, ed upon the written word, and took and that his pious life, and meek instruc- especial care to guard them against tions, if any thing, would soon bave recover. the delusive artifices of the Romish ed them from their errors.” Gairden's Funeral Sermon. In a sermon, preached before

priesthood to entangle their prosethe synod of Aberdeen, Scougal mentioned, lytes in the yoke of bondage, and to with approbation, the following declaration deprive them of the glorious liberty of an eminent and holy clergyman then live of the sons of God. He read leca ing, “ that he would rather be instrumental tures on casuistical divinity; a branch in persuading one man to be serious in re- of his course wherein he was truly ligion than the whole nation to be confor. excellent, being himself a man of a mists;" that is, to have no more than the out- a most scrupulous and tender cons ward form without the power ; " for,” as he science, and having an utter abhoradds, “ if a man continue a stranger to that, rence of the least deviation from the it is little matter whether he be Protestant or plain path of godly sincerity. His Papist, Pagan or Mahometan, or any thing whole system of theological casuiselse in the world; nay, the better his religion is, the more dreadful will his condemnation try was briefly comprehended in this be." Wbat he meant by “ persuadiug men

saying, namely, to have always a conto be serious" is thus expressed in the same

science void of offence toward God and sermon, in words that ought to be engraven

toward man. He gave no quarter to on the heart of every clergyman; “ The the casuistical dicinity of the sons of great business of our calling is to advance Loyola ; which seemed to have been ihe divine life in the world, 10 frame and framed, not to keep men from sin, mould the souls of men into a conformity to but 10 teach them, quam prope ad God, and 10 superinduce the beautiful linea. peccatum liceat accedere sinè peccato* ments of his blessed image upon them, to He unravelled their specious sophisenlighten their understandings, inform their judgments , rectify their wills, and order their licentious maxims, and cautioned much as to be named in Protestant jects of predestination and free-will, schools of theology.

uists

from the days of St. Austin down to In regard to the grand points of the present moment, seem only to controversy between the Lutheran shew the inadequacy of the human and Reformed churches abroad, as faculties to fathom the deep things well as between the Episcopalians of God. It were well if all Christian and Presbyterians at home, he mani. divines would learn from St. Paul fested a truly Christian spirit of mo. humbly to acquiesce in the sovederation and candour. "While he reignty, the wisdom, and the justice, firmly arowed his own conclusions, of the great Creator and Lord of the he forbore lo fulminate, er cathedra, voiverse, to avoid all questions which against those who were of the con- might lead the thing formed to say trary part; being aware that there to him that formed is, why hast thou were among them, men of unques made me thus? and to oppose the foltionable learning, wisdom, and piety, lowing devout exclamation to the whose right to abound in their own arrogance of " reasoning pride :" 0 sense of the holy Scriptures could the depth of the riches, both of the wisnot be denied, upon the original prin- dom and knowledge of God! how unciples of the Protestant Reformation. searchable are his judgments, and his

Many of your readers will, no ways past finding out ! doubt, peruse with great satisfaction, I have always admired the cau. the following passage from the pen tion with which the ever-memorable of his reverend friend Dr. Gairden, Melancthon handled this mysterious and which I transcribe as an index and incomprehensible subjeet*. The of his prudence, his peaceable spirit, Augsburg Confession, which reflects and his humble piety, in regard so much credit on the learning, the to the Predestinarian controversy. judgment, and the prudence, of that • There were no debates he was illustrious divine, is totally silent on more cautious to meddle with, than the article of predestination; and, in those about the decrees of God, being my humble opinion, it would have sensible how much Christianity had been well if ihe master builders of suffered by men's diving into things every other Protestant church had beyond their reach; secret things be- followed his example, although, it longing to the Lord, and things re- must be owned, that the seventeenth vealed to us and to our children. But article of the Church of England he had always a deep sense of the evinces a spirit of moderation and powerful efficacy of God's grace up- candour on the unfathomable subject on our souls ; and that all our good of the divine decrees, which we do was entirely to be ascribed to God, not find in the systematical conand all our evil unto ourselves.” The fessions of the Helvetic, Belgic, or caution with which Professor Scou- Scots churches, Had the article gal trod upon such tender ground, is been drawn up by Calvin, or Jerom well worthy the imitation of all who Zanchius, there is no doubt that it are raised to the dignity of masters in our Israel. Christian divines See the article de Prædestinatione, in should learn to exercise moderation Melancthon's Loci communes, the first proand charity, on certain points which, testant body of divinity that was published in all ages, have perplexed the rea in Germany. This book was a powerful son of the wisest and most inquisitive instrument in promoting the fundamental

doctrines of the Protestant Reformation. It among the sons of men-points on which men of acknowledged piety

was regarded, during the sixteenth century,

as a form of sound words, in doctrinal points, have differed, in every period of the in all the theological schools of the Lutheran, church, and will probably continue or (as they used to call themselves, without to do so till the end of time. In deeming it arrogant) of the evangelical fact, all the controversies on the sub- church.

would have worn a more rigid aspect; expedient to be silent*. Their senbut the reformers of the Anglican timents were perfectly in unison on church had been more in the habit the doctrines of original sin, freeof corresponding with Wittemberg willt, and justification, and whatever than with Geneva; and in the con- shades of difference there might be clusion of the seventeenth article, in their opinions respecting the dethey seem to have had their eye on crees of God, and some points of the following passage in the Saxonic ecclesiastical polity, there never was confession of Melancthon. “Quia anysuspension of their mutual esteem, conscientiis in pænitentia consola- no deviation in their controversial tionem proponimus, non addimus correspondence from the royal law quæstiones de prædestinatione, seu of love, without which, though we de electione, sed deducimus omnes speak with the tongues of men and of lectores ad verbum Dei, et jubemus angels, we are become as sounding ut voluntatem Dei er verbo ipsius brass or a tinkling cymbal; and withdiscant. Non quærant alias specu- out which, though we understand Jationes. Certissimum est prædicatio- all mysteries and all knowledge, we nem pænitentiæ ad omnes homines are nothing. pertinere, et accusare ornes homi. Scougal thought as the Wirtemnes, ita promissio universalis est, et berg Professor did, respecting the preomnibus offert remissionem pecca- destinarian controversy; and every torum. In hanc universalem pro- humble inquirer after truth, every missionem singuli se includant, et friend of Christian liberty and peace, non indulgeant diffidentiæ, sed luc- must wish that our divinity chairs tentur ut assentiantur verbo Dei, et may always be occupied by men of obsequantur Spiritui Sancto, et juvari their stamp. Had Gomar and Arse petant*.” Melancthon neverwould enter into controversy on the deep fathers of the Church of England, than any points of predestination and election, other foreign divine. notwithstanding Calvin frequently * In one of Calvin's letters to Afelancthon, urged him to be more explicit in his there is the following passage : “ Ac tibi declarations. It will readily be al. omnino videndum est quidem mature, ne tibi lowed, however, by every equitable apud posteros dedecori sit ninia laciturnitas;" and candid person who hath studied alluding not only to his silence on the subthe writings of these two burning and ject of the divine decrees, but to his caution

in regard to the doctrine of the real preshining lights, that the points on

sence, concerning which it is well known he which they agreed were of much did not altogetlier coincide in opinion with higber importance than those on

his master Luther. wbich they differed, or rather on which Melancthon thought it more lowing passage from the Augsbourg confes

+ On the subject of free-will, take the fol. * The Saxonic confession was drawn upsion : “ De libero arbitrio ecclesiæ apud nos in 1551, with a view to be presented to the decent quod humana voluntas habeat alicouncil of Trent. Let the reader compare quam libertatem ad efficiendam civilem jus. the above quotation froin Melancihon, wiih citiam, et diligendas res rationi subjectas." the last sentence in the seventeenth article. But as the same writer, namely, Melanethon, " Furtherinore, we must receive God's pro- expresses himself in the Saxonic Confession ; mises in such wise as they be generally set Homno nequaquam potest se liberare a pecforth to us in holy Scripture; and in our cato et morte æterna viribus naturalibus, sed doings, that will of God is to be followed hæc liberatio et conversio hiomiris ad Deumn, which we have expressly declared to us in el novitas spiritualis fit per Filium Dei vivifithe word of God.” Other instances of co- cantem nos spiritu suo sancto." I presume, incidence, no less plain and evident, miglit that if the bishop of Lincoln had perused the be pointed out, on a comparison of the Augs. writings of Luther and Melanctbon will burg and Saxonic Confessions with the thirty- sufficient diligence, his lordship would scarcenine Articles. Melancthon was, beyond all ly have pressed them into his service so question, in higher esteem with the early peremptorily as he has done.

minius imbibed the spirit of Melanc- Scougal preferred episcopacy 10 thon and Scougal, in all probability presbytery, in the first place, from a we should never have heard of a persuasion that it was most agreesynod of Dort: and with all due able to the word of God; and seconddeference to the memory of some ly, as having the sanction of primitruly pious men who formed part of tive authoriiy, as well as having the majority of that assembly, I can- generally prevailed in the Christian not but think that it might have been world, down to the æra of the Prohappy for the peace of the church, testant Reformation, but there is no in these last days, if they bad never ground to presume that he would been convened. Mutual forbear- have joined the disciples of Laud in ance should be exercised on a ques. unchurcbing the protestants abroad, tion which is not likely to be de- or leaving ihe dissenters at home to cided in this stage of our existence. uncovenanted mercy, It had been

Jo matters of ecclesiastical polity, bappy for Scotland if all her prelates, Scougal manifested a pacific and at ihat time, had displayed ihe canhealing spirit: and here it must be did and pacific spirit of Scougal. allowed, that, as a professor of di,

(To be continued.) vinity in Scotland, at that period, he had a difficult and delicaie task to perform. The two great religious Tothe Editor of the Christian Observer. parties in the nation, were the episcopalians and presbyterians: the You will allow the remark, that to zealots of the former party contende prove clearly and demonstrably, from ing for the divine right of episcopacy; the New Testament, the lineal dethose of the latter no less strenuously scent of our Lord Jesus Christ from for the divine right of presbytery, David, establishes one primary arScougal was decidedly in favour of ticle in proof of the true and unthe episcopal form of church govern- doubted Messiahship of Jesus. That ment, although it does not appear the Messiah should arise from the that he contended for the jure divino royal house of David,was well known right. He appears rather to have among the Jews in Christ's time: so been a disciple of the immortal the Pharisees acknowledge, Matt. Hooker, who, in the third book of xxii. 11. " While the Pharisees his Ecclesiastical Polity, hath laid were gathered together, Jesus asked down, in the clearest manner, those them, saying, What think ye of principles upon which alone a sound Christ? whose son is he? They say and consistent Protestant can rea- unto him, “The son of David. It son upon, this subject. The view was, therefore, one point in proof of which is there given of the church the Messiabship of Jesus, that he was of Christ as a body mystical, or a cone of the house and lineage of David, gregation of faithful men ; the clear according to the prophecies. This and broad line of distinction which is the Apostles every where taught and there drawn between matters of maintained; and especially St. Paul church polity and matters of faith not only testified that Jesus was the and salvation; the candour which is Messiah prophesied of in the Holy manifested towards those churches Scriptures, but also that "he was who had adopted the model of knox made of the seed of David, accordand Calvin, together with the excel- ing to the flesh.” Rom. ch.i. That lent writer's judicious vindication of is io say, Ile was truly and properly the episcopal form of church govern- bego!ten of the seed of David, and ment, render the whole book á pre- the fruit of his body. cious treasure to all who are desirous The commentators, I believe, uniof defending the Church of England formly admit, that the genealogy with weapons drawn from the ar: Matt. ch. i. is the genealogy of moury of God.

Joseph, recording his progenitors in

« PoprzedniaDalej »