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sermons of persons newly baptised, mentioned in Bede; unto which they gave very poor solutions, but made such long harangues, that we could not come to allege the testimonies of Eusebius, Theodoret, Facundus, Gelasius, &c.
I should have noted, that the king in the beginning desired to know of us what the faith of our Church was about the sacrament of Christ's body and blood. We answered him both out of our catechism and out of the articles of our religion, which he said contradicted each other; but we plainly shewed they did not. So the fathers began again to press us to shew how the body of Christ was present in the sacrament; and we told them, after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And we quoted for this Irenæus, who speaks of a "terrena pars," and a "cœlestis ;" and then Origen: unto which they knew not what to say, for I believe they understood not the Greek words.
After a great deal of wrangling, we were desired to shew when their doctrine came into the Church; and we produced the history of it from Paschasius down to the council of Trent, shewing that several great men all along declared that this doctrine of transubstantiation was not the faith of the Church. And at last I instanced in two ancient customs which continued a long time, that shew as much. One was that of burying the sacrament with the dead; the other was, signing solemn instruments with ink mixed with the sacramental blood. At last we produced Bertram's book, which the king took into his hand and read in it awhile. Here they shuffled miserably, and affirmed confidently things that were false; as we desired the lord treasurer to satisfy himself at his leisure by reading the book, which was short.
Then the king interposed, and said he perceived there would always be a great deal to be said on both sides, and therefore we must be determined by the Church; to which we replied, that we humbly thought we had shewn this was not the faith of the Church till of late, and that it could not make a new faith.
Hereupon he began to discourse of an infallible guide; which not being the business we came about, the lord treasurer broke off the conference by thanking his majesty for giving him the opportunity of hearing so much as he had done for his instruction, which indeed was more than he knew before; but it was impossible for him to determine himself presently, because he could not remember all things; and he thought both sides had said some things which needed further explication. Then father Giffard earnestly beseeched him to declare that it appeared the Church did not teach our doctrine; which he told him he could not do, but before he resolved, must deliberate upon what he had heard.
Then the father made another long harangue, wherein he repeated a great deal of what had been said, urging this very much, that we had not shewn what council condemned this doctrine of transubstantiation when it began to be taught; to which Dr. Jane made a short reply; and it being about nine o'clock, we broke up, with commendations of our learning and fair carriage on both sides from the king, who went himself to the door and opened it for us to let us out, giving us a strict charge not to say a word to any body of this conference.
lord had declared to him the satisfaction he had in our religion; blessing God that his parents had bred him up in it; adding, that we had done it much service, and that the king himself, when he came out from the conference, commended us, and said he did not think there had been two such learned men in our Church, and that he never heard any thing managed with more learning or temper.
When we were in the closet ready to read prayers, he came and told us the lord treasurer desired to speak with us, that he might give us his thanks for the service we had done him. As soon as prayers were done, we went both into the treasury-chamber, where his lordship received us very kindly, and told us not only himself, but the king also, was pleased with our management. And now he hopes we would not repent our undertaking this conference, which had much confirmed him in his religion; and he would express his thankfulness to us for the pains we had taken, as long as he lived, both in his words and in his actions. One thing more he desired of us, that we would put down in writing, as near as we could remember, what we had said, that he might be the better able to answer if he should be farther pressed by them. I had so many interruptions by my waiting at court, that it was a week before we could finish that report, which was presented him on the 8th of December.
On the 11th I met with Dr. Jane in Whiteball, who told me father Giffard had desired him to meet him at the lord treasurer's in the evening; and the next day came to my house, and acquainted me their discourse was upon the old subject, in which he cavilled at many things, but proved nothing, and absolutely refused to do any thing in writing.
The lord treasurer desired we would give a particular account of those passages which they quoted out of "Nubes testium," about transubstantiation. Accordingly Dr. Jane and I met the next morning at my house, and we considered the greatest part of them before dinner, and the rest in the afternoon, which being fairly transcribed, we presented them to him the next day. But we were not yet quiet; for Dr. Jane being gone to Oxford, the lord treasurer sent to me on the 23d of December, in the morning, to meet Dr. Giffard at his house about seven o'clock that night, he having something to say about infallibility, which he desired my lord to hear. I went thither at the time appointed, and was sent for into my lord's closet, where I found three men (which much surprised me) sitting by my lord. A chair being set for me over against them, he that sat next to my lord began a long discourse, to demonstrate, as he called it, that the Christian faith was revealed and received before the Scriptures were extant; and therefore he did not depend on the Scriptures, but on the fidelity of the Church, which infallibly delivered it, and can do it, without the Scriptures. I told him this seemed to me to overthrow the Christian faith, which would soon be lost if the Scriptures were laid aside; for while the apostles lived, they taught men, without the Scriptures of the New Testament (which was not presently written), what the Christian faith was. Yet when they were gone, and left no such men as they were behind them, innumerable impostors would have started up, if they had not left in writing what they had preached; besides, the apostles and Christ himself appealed to the Scriptures, and declared they said nothing but what the prophets had delivered. Then he affirmed that the religion of Moses was before it was written; about which it would be too long to relate what I replied; but after long discourse, Dr. Giffard took up the matters, and laboured to shew that this way of conveying truth, by word of mouth, was more certain than by writing: at which the lord treasurer lift up his hands, and said "it was the strangest proposition that ever he heard." I will not relate all that I replied to this; but only mention one thing, which was, What moved men to be at the trouble to
I should have added, that towards the conclusion his majesty said he saw the truth of what his brother had said in his papers-that it was best not to enter into the vast ocean of particular disputes, but inquire only after the Church; which papers, and the defence of them, the lord treasurer told us, when he first sent for us, the king had given him and obliged him to read them, which occasioned afterwards, as I shall relate, a conference about the infallibility of the Church.
On the next day but one, December the 1st, I began my waiting at Whitehall, where I met Dr. Hickman, the lord treasurer's chaplain, who told me with what joy his
make deeds and conveyances of their estates, if they might be as well settled to all posterity by word of mouth? This touched the first gentleman that disputed with me, who I understood afterward was a lawyer-no less man than Judge Allabon.
We came at last to discourse of the infallibility of the Church, but they could not tell me where it was placed, only asserting there must be such a thing in
all was uncertain:
I shewed was false; for God had given us all the certainty that human nature and fallible creatures could have; and they could tell us of no means of certainty which we had not. About these things we wrangled till nine o'clock, and then broke up; after which Dr. Giffard came privately to me, and talked a great deal of the report that was abroad about the conference we had before the king, in which it was said they had the disadvantage. I protested solemnly that I had never said a word of it to any person whatsoever, much less boasted of a victory. The lord treasurer also came to have discoursed me upon the same subject, to whom I gave the same assurance, that though I had been often asked about it, I never said any thing to make them believe it.
But, some way or other, it did take air; for some time after, the Earl of Clarendon and the bishop of Ely (my predecessor) came to my house, and gave me thanks for the pains I had taken to preserve the lord treasurer in our religion.
THE CHOICE OF MOSES:
BY THE REV. ELLIS B. WERE, M.A.
HEB. xi. 24-26.
"By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choos
ing rather to suffer affliction with the people of
the first magnitude, we select the name of Moses, for the purpose of exhibiting the great principle of faith, a principle eminently displayed in his character and conduct; and with this view we will take for our consideration the particular act which is recorded of him in our text, and which the apostle himself has chosen to illustrate the principle for which that faithful servant of God was so distinguished.
I imagine, my brethren, that you are all well acquainted with the early history of Moses. You have read how, on a certain occasion, for reasons of state policy, Pharaoh, the cruel king of Egypt (the type, as it were, of Herod, the savage king of Judea), issued a proclamation, commanding the destruction of all the infant children of the Israelites; and you know that just as our blessed Lord was miraculously rescued from the slaughter of the innocent babes of Judea, so the infant Moses (who was his type and forerunner) was wonderfully preserved by God from the destruction to which he was doomed; you will remember that in consequence of the tyrant's decree, he was placed by his mother in an ark formed of bulrushes, and exposed on the great Egyptian river, the Nile; there he was found by the daughter of Pharaoh, as she came down with her attendants to the river's side to bathe. When she opened the ark, she was struck with the beauty of the babe (for Moses was "exceeding fair"); but when the little innocent looked up in her face and wept, her woman's heart was touched with pity and compassion, and she determined to rescue the lovely child from the devouring flood. She did so, and she engaged his own mother to be his nurse, and adopted him as her own son. The future history of Moses is described in the words of the text, " By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward." Here, then, we have an account of a signal act, a most re
God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward." THE chapter, my brethren, from which these words are taken bears a noble testimony to the power of religion in general, and especially to the efficacy of one of its most important principles-faith: indeed, it may be called a catalogue of the triumphs of faith, from the earliest period of the world to the age of the apostles. In the first verse we find the following definition of that grace: faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." And then follows a long list of pious worthies who were distinguished for this grace, and of the memorable deeds which it enabled them to per-markable event, in the life of Moses. We form. The names of Abel, Enoch, and Abraham, stand conspicuous in that list; and, coupled with them, appears the name of that illustrious man whose faith and works are celebrated in our text. And infinitely brighter to the Christian eye do the names of those worthies shine in the sacred calendar than those of the greatest heroes or philosophers that were ever emblazoned on the roll of earthly fame. From that brilliant constellation we select one star, and that a star of
see him renouncing a royal connexion and
I. The advantages which Moses relinquished.
II. The cause or reason which induced
him to act in so uncommon and decided a |
I. We may form a general estimate of the advantages which Moses relinquished, by considering his particular rank or position in life. He had been adopted (as we have seen) by the daughter of Pharaoh as her own son, and consequently held a high and brilliant station in the court of that monarch. His personal graces, accomplishments, and natural and acquired abilities (for his works prove him to have been a man of great genius, and the testimony of Scripture recorded of him is, that he was learned in all "the wisdom of the Egyptians"), these qualifications, aided by his elevated rank, would naturally insure for him the highest offices in the state, and conduct him to the pinnacle of riches and honour. In the eyes of worldly men, who judge of happiness by the measure of luxury, rank, and splendour, who could occupy a more enviable position in society? who could be what is termed a more fortunate and happy man than Moses? Caressed by princes, lying in the lap of voluptuousness and ease, with a boundless field before him for the exercise of his ambition, and the most flattering prospect of success, who, in the opinion of the world, was more blessed with the gifts of fortune, possessed more of the elements of happiness, than Moses? And what would be generally said and thought of a man who should turn his back upon such splendid prospects, who should voluntarily relinquish such uncommon advantages? We fancy we can see the upraised eyes and incredulous countenances of some; and that we can hear the words of astonishment and contempt poured forth by others," What folly! what insanity!" are echoed round. "The man is blind to his own interest!" "Who that knew any thing of the world, who that was in his right senses, would act in so simple and absurd a manner?" But Moses did so; he turned his back upon those splendid prospects; he voluntarily relinquished those uncommon advantages; "he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;" and all for what? wonder and pity him, ye children of the world! -he gave up all, because he chose rather to "suffer affliction with the people of God; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt."
In the midst of his prosperity and grandeur Moses could not but cast a frequent eye on his afflicted countrymen, and sigh over the wrongs and iron bondage which they endured. When he saw them insulted and oppressed by the proud Egyptians, his Hebrew blood would boil with indignation, and he would long to rescue them from the grasp of their oppressors. And when he compared the ab
ject condition of his countrymen with his own prosperous and sunny lot, his heart would almost smite him at the contrast, and bid him leave the palace of Pharaoh, and go and share the chains and labours of his captive brethren. And while he pondered on these things, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of counsel and might, shed his enlightening influence upon his soul, and revealed to him the purposes of Heaven, the destinies of the chosen seed, and the office and duties to which he himself was divinely called; and so, pitying the condition of his countrymen, listening to the voice of justice and humanity, obeying the dictates of conscience and religion, and following the guidance of the eternal Spirit, he resolved to sacrifice his worldly prospects, to leave his royal mother and the Egyptian court, to share the toils and sorrows of his brethren, with the view of delivering them at some future period from the hands of their oppressors. It would be unreasonable and puerile to imagine that this resolution could be formed without a severe struggle, without much sacrifice of feeling. On the one side, there would rise before the mind of Moses the royal splendour, the voluptuous joys, and dazzling honours, which awaited him in the court of Pharaoh ; on the other side, the solemn and stern visage of duty met his gaze, whilst her thrilling voice sounded in his ears, "this is the waywalk thou in it." And then she would remind him of the guilty and transitory nature of many of those goods and pleasures which solicited his stay. She would remind him that the pleasures of sin were but for a season; that though sweet as honey in the mouth, they were bitter as gall in the belly; that their end was destruction; that the wages of sin was death. And then she would point to the service of God, and tell him that, laborious and painful as it might seem, it was perfect freedom; and she would remind him of those pleasures which are at God's right hand for evermore; and of those good things which neither eye hath seen, nor ear heard, that God has prepared for those who love him. These considerations fixed his wavering mind; he felt that he was called upon to decide between God and Baal, between the people of God and the court of Egypt. And he had counted the cost; he had weighed the pleasures of sin in the balance of the sanctuary, and found them lighter than vanity; and he had weighed in the same scale the favour of God and the rewards of his service, and found them to be an eternal weight of glory; and therefore he deliberately resolved to cast in his lot with his despised brethren, "refusing any longer to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; and choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people
of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for
But besides the honours and pleasures of Egypt, there was another consideration which might have been an obstacle and stumblingblock to Moses in the path of duty. It was a feeling of pride, a sense of false shame. The thought would sometimes occur to him, that if he persisted in his design, and quitted his present elevated station to mingle with a degraded and despised people, he should forfeit the good opinion of society, who would be ashamed to own him, and become a by-word of ridicule and contempt among his proud contemporaries. If he had become the leader of a great people or a distinguished party, the case would have been quite different; but to become the patron and advocate of a set of slaves, of the wretched, despicable Israelites, it was intolerable, it was perfectly low and disgraceful. And let it not be imagined that this is an unreal and fanciful consideration. Every one who has studied the human heart must be aware of the extraordinary influence which a sense of shame exercises over the feelings and conduct of men. So strong is it, that many a gallant spirit who has encountered with fearless breast the face of death on the battle-plain, has shrunk and quailed before the sneers and ridicule of a few contemptible witlings. And it is possible that Moses might have experienced somewhat of this feeling, and that it caused him a painful struggle to sacrifice the good opinion of those whom he loved and honoured, and to endure to be esteemed by others a poor, weak, and misguided individual. But he was enabled to overcome and trample on this proud and truly despicable feeling, and to such a degree, that, in the words of our text, he "esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt." He felt that, whatever men might think, there was such real honour and true happiness in the service of God, that he would not leave it for all the treasures of Egypt; he would rather be a doorkeeper (humble as the office was) in the house of God, than dwell in the sumptuous tents of wickedness. He felt that he was blessed, and ought to rejoice and be exceed ing glad when men reviled and persecuted him, for that he had the approbation of God, and that great was his reward in heaven.
II. But it is time that we should turn our attention more particularly to the great motive or principle which induced and enabled Moses to act in so noble and heroic a manner. That principle was faith, operating upon conscience, or a sense of duty, and a conviction of the advantages attending the performance of it, "for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward." The definition of faith given by the
apostle is, that it is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen;" and this definition exactly describes the faith of Moses. He saw by faith "Him who is invisible," the great Jehovah; i. e. he was enabled to realise in a most vivid manner his being and presence; he felt the propriety and necessity of submitting to his most holy will, and believed most firmly the certainty of his promises and threatenings; and in this sense faith was to him "the evidence of things not seen." This it was which caused and enabled him to sacrifice his splendid prospects and spurn the transitory pleasures of sin, for he felt that God and his laws were unknown in the Egyptian court; and he believed that Divine vengeance would inevitably overtake the guilty: and this it was which decided his choice "to suffer affliction with the people of God;" for he saw that God was with them; he saw the image of God in them; and he felt that "every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him."
Again; it was faith, vivid and realising faith, which enabled Moses to reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt;" faith revealed to him the excellence and glory of God, and the promised redemption by his blessed Son; faith taught him to despise the fear of man, and to cast behind him his childish taunts and malicious censures; faith gave to his enraptured sight the future blessings of the people of God; it placed him, as it were, on Mount Pisgah, and unveiled to him a glorious prospect of the heavenly Canaan, the eternal inheritance, the rest that remaineth for the people of God. And what wonder that his bosom swelled and his pulse beat high with elevated joy and triumph? What wonder, that, in comparison with those heavenly riches, he despised the treasures of Egypt, and counted them but dross and nothingness? What could the treasures of Egypt do for him? They might, indeed, minister to his earthly comfort; they might invest him with splendour and applause; they might pamper his sensual appetites, and smooth the pathway to the tomb; but could they buy the favour of God? could they purchase one hour of solid peace and happiness? No, they could not; and this Moses felt; for he well knew that he that "loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase; for that it is all vanity." Can we wonder, then, that under the vivid and realising power of faith, Moses made the choice in question-that he despised the treasures of Egypt, and gloried in the reproach of Christ, regarding, as he did, the recompense of the reward? For what is earth
accursed chain which sin has cast around us, and brings us nearer to the glorious liberty of the sons of God. The struggle, we grant, may be severe; it may be painful to flesh and blood; it may be like dividing the joints and marrow, or plucking out a right eye,but is heaven not worth a struggle? is heaven to be obtained without a struggle? are we to be wafted thither on beds of down, and to open the gates of the heavenly city by some charmed voice? For God's sake, my brethren, rouse you from your lethargy; gird on your armour; endure hardness as good soldiers; fight the good fight of faith; strive to enter in at the strait gate. Be assured, it is no easy thing to be a true servant of God, a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Much must be done, and much must be undone; much must be relinquished, and much must be acquired. But difficult as is the task, and heavy as is the yoke, the task may be made easy, and the yoke light. The grace of God, the assistance of the Holy Spirit (which all who pray for it may obtain), is the Divine spell which effects this transformation, this mysterious change. "My grace," says God,
But we must deduce some inferences, my brethren, we must derive some practical lesson, from this history of Moses; for it is not enough to read and study it with our minds, we must apply it to our hearts, and pray God to give us grace, that we may inwardly digest it. Let us learn, then, from this narrative, first, the mighty and victorious power of faith. Be assured, that if ever men despise and speak lightly of this principle, it is because they are ignorant of its nature, and strangers to its power. Faith is the very foundation of religion; and without it, it is impossible to please God. Faith is the secret spring of every good work, of every holy and heroic deed, that has been done on earth. Faith is the source of every pious thought, of every heavenly hope, of every prayer, whether of praise or supplication. Faith enables us to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. The foe which Moses had to conquer was the world;"is and the apostle says, "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." And be assured, my brethren, we never shall overcome the world-i. e. we never shall renounce its sinful pleasures and connexions, its sinful pomps and vanities we never shall be able to perform our baptismal vow,until by faith we are enabled with Moses, on the one hand, to perceive the insufficiency, the hollowness, the danger of such things; and, on the other, the security, the comfort, and satisfaction, which result from the service and favour of God. O, then, let us earnestly beseech God to bestow on us the gift of faith (for his gift it is), that we may behold things in their true light, that we may make a correct estimate of their value, that we may see Him who is invisible, that we may esteem the reproach of Christ before all the riches of the world; and endure affliction with the people of God, rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
Let us learn, in the second place, from the history of Moses, the duty of resigning whatever is inconsistent with our holy profession, and at variance with the will of God. And what a powerful motive to such resignation should we have, were we but firmly persuaded that every sinful idol which we keep back, will only cause us pain and sorrow; whilst each one that we cast down and break in pieces, will add to our joy and happiness. Yet so it is; every guilty thing that is renounced, every sacrifice of forbidden pleasures, strikes off a link in the
sufficient for thee." "When I am weak, then am I strong," says St. Paul. "They that wait on the Lord," says the prophet, "shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
Consider, for your encouragement, the case of Moses: he was a man of like passions with ourselves, and yet what difficulties he was enabled to overcome, what temptations to resist, what advantages to relinquish! Put yourselves in his situation, my brethren; and say how would you have acted? I fear the love of the world, the pleasures of sin, and the fear of reproach, would have induced many of you to remain in the court of Pharaoh, and to prefer the treasures of Egypt. Nothing but faith, my brethren, could enable you to act otherwise; for remember it was by faith that Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, and chose rather to endure affliction with the people of God. Let us, then, realise by faith the immeasurable superiority of the things unseen and eternal over those which are seen and temporal; let us count their cost; let us weigh them honestly in the balance of the sanctuary; let us be decided in our choice by the recompense of the reward." But if this consideration be not sufficient; if the advantages of piety, and the glory of heaven, be not availing to impart life and energy to our cold and earthy hearts; if this be not strong enough to break the fetters which the love of this present evil world has rivetted around them,-let us take a different view of the