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the sight of all men, is as necessary as ever; and indeed these general principles are well laid down in the Canon.—To act according to these principles, is the true intent and meaning of our engagements, and that must always be observed; that is wholly indispensible. In all changes and relaxations, we must be extremely cautions that our principles of honesty and sincerity do not get weakened or relaxed. And, if doubtful cases arise, it must be our constant care to keep on the safe side, and never to venture nearer than we cannot avoid, to the limits and boundaries of our duty.
СНАР. CHAP. IX.
OF THE USE OF HISTORY, IN DETERMINING THE
SENSE OF ARTICLES OF RELIGION.
First, let us take a general view of the subject of this Chapter
1. We now seem to have treated sufficiently on such senses of Forms, as may sometimes be acquired by time and change of circumstances; let us return to the primitive sense, against which no prejudice is entertained: which seems the most common, and most free from evil.
It is an important mistake which men are apt to make concerning the primitive sense of ancient forms, that they are to apply themselves wholly to Grammar and Etymology, in order to understand them; whereas, some of the greatest difficulties, which attend the construction of them, are to be obviated by History. To illustrate this, is now our proper business: but, before we wholly quit our connexion with the foregoing Chapter, let us observe, that History must be of great use in giving us a right idea of the new and acquired meaning of words, when any change has taken place : this is too evident to need any full explanation; it must be History, which must shew us the nature of each tacit reformation, its causes and effects; and on these must the new and acquired sense of words always depend.
Nor shall we have a better opportunity than the present to observe, that there is one way, in which words acquire, or, more strictly, seem to acquire new senses, not yet mentioned; by readers attend
ing to grammar and etymology and custom, while they neglect history: etymology may make a sense seem to be a right one, which really was not the sense of the writer : and modern customs may make us affix modern meanings to old words, when those meanings were not really in the minds of the persons, who used those words. These are not so properly new senses, as mistakes of the primitive sense: and these mistaken senses are always taken for primitive senses:-A man might use the terms Knave and Villain with modern ideas, and think he used them in the primitive sense
This observed, we may proceed to our proper business.-In what way History is wanted for investigating the primitive sense of ancient forms, has been already in some degree explained. All expressions contain references to circumstances, which History only can point out. Indeed, History can only point them out imperfectly, but it can approximate nearer to a right conception of them, than any thing else can. The word “accursed” occurs in one of our Articles: if we depend upon Etymology to teach us its meaning, we shall be misled: but, if we apply to History, we may get a competent notion of it. History will teach us the customary manner of condemning errors, and custom is the jus et norma" loquendi. We shall see, that anathemas usually accompanied such condemnation, especially when Heretics were excommunicated; and therefore, that “ accursed” means only unworthy, on account of some supposed error, to be a member of some Christian Church supposed to be particularly pure.- Bishop Pearson shews us“, that we are to consider the History of the Septuagint, in order to acquire a right notion of the word Kuptos. --The title Defender of the Faith is not taken in its true sense by those, who are not aware, that it was given by Pope Leo x. to Henry vill. for defending the Popish Religion by a small treatise. We may add, that the true meaning of the King's Declaration prefixed to our 39 Articles is to be investigated by considering the occasion of it.Calvinism seems to have been growing, from the time of Queen Mary, when several Protestant Divines were obliged to take refuge in foreign countries, where it flourished, down to the reign of Charles 1st; in the third year of which, (l take for granted) the Declaration, or injunction, was published. About this time, the Calvinists found, that our Articles were not strong enough for them, in favour of predestination, irresistible grace, and other doctrines heightening the divine agency in the salvation of man. They began to enlarge their meaning, and turn it to their own purpose, in various ways; which caused strong opposition from other Divines; I cannot say, that I know very particularly how far they went beyond any thing, which is found in the Articles; nor might it be proper to dwell upon the subject in this place; but the declaration was made to prevent such freedoms; and, as it was prefixed to a fresh publication of the Articles, there is an appearance, as if they were coming to be much neglected or abused. —Archbishop Laud was an Arminian, and he, with some other Bishops, framed the declaration : the expressions therefore contained in it about plain, literal, grammatical sense; about Preachers and Readers (or those who read Lectures) in the Universities affixing their own meaning, drawing aside articles, &c. are all to be understood with a particular reference to what the authors had in view.--What confirms this notion is, that we find the Puritans (who were rigid Calvinists) a complaining of this declaration, as abridging their
municated; · People who read the English Bible sometimes affix modern ideas to ancient words ;- pwvri, Voice, Act. xxiv. 21.-i oồos, Way, Act. ix. 2. Lust, passim; Ps. lxxviii. 18. meat for your lust: the lust of the eye, world.-Kapdía, Heart, for conception, 1 Cor. ii. 9.-ôòaKTIKOS, apt to teach, 1 Tim. iii. 2. 2 Tim. ii. 24.– Nomikos, a Lawyer, Matt. xxii. 35. Tit. iii. 13.– provide things, kala, honest? Rom. xii. 17.-Worship (with my Body, &c.) Luke xiv. 10.
♡ Chap. vi. Sect. 1. referring to B. i. Chap. x.
a On the Creed: under “ Our Lord," p. 146, fol.
6. This title is used in the King's Declaration prefixed to the Articles; and in Bp. Burnet's Dedication of his Exposition of the Articles ;—but it can only be proper by some kind of analogy: it misleads.
c Chap. vii. Sect. 5. See the end of the Oxford Pamphlet on the 17th Art.
Liberty of Preaching. -Neal, in his History of the Puritans, says, “surely there was never such a confused, unintelligible declaration printed.”—It does indeed use general expressions with particular meanings: it speaks also as if some teachers neglected the articles, and yet maintained, that they were favourable to them; but this was an inconsistency in the Puritans, rather than in the Declaration; it thwarts the Puritans, and yet forbids affixing new senses “ either way, that is, either in favour of Calvinists or Arminians; but this might be for the sake of appearing impartial, and of promoting silence on inexplicable doctrines.
An additional reason for concluding, that Predestination, &c. are particularly aimed at in this declaration, is the quotation from the 17th Article, and the expression “ curious points, in which the present differences lie:” the word "curious” occurs several times.
The declaration relates to discipline as well as doctrine; but the parts of discipline, infringed by
« See Collier's Eccles. Hist. vol. II. p. 746. Vol. II.