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Isaac. CASAUBON. in Epist. ad Card. PERRON. Regis JACOBI nomine scripta. Rex arbitratur, rerum absolute necessariarum ad salutem non magnum esse
Quare existimat ejus Majestas, nullam ad ineundam concordiam breviorem viam fore, quam si diligenter separentur necessaria a non necessariis, et at in necessariis conveniat, omnis opera insumatur : In non necessariis libertati Christianæ locus detur. Simpliciter necessaria Rex appellat, quæ vel expresse verbum Dei præcipit credenda faciendave, vel ex verbo Dei necessaria consequentia vetus Ecclesia elicuit.—Si ad decidendas hodiernas Controversias hæc distinctio adbiberetur, et jus divinum a positivo seu Ecclesiastico candide separaretur; non videtur de iis quæ sunt absolute necessaria, inter pios et moderatos viros, longa aut acris contentio futura. Nam et pauca illa sunt, ut modo dicebamus, et fere ex æquo omnibus probantur, qui se Christianos dici postulant. Atque istam distinctionem Sereniss. Rex tanti putat esse momenti ad minuendas Controversias, quæ hodie Ecclesiam Dei tantopere exercent, ut omnium pacis studiosorum judicet officium esse, diligentissime hanc explicare, docere, urgere.
Mr. William Chillingworth was son of William Chillingworth, citizen, and afterwards mayor of Oxford, and was born in St. Martin's parish in that city, in October 1602, and on the last of that month received baptism there.* William Laud, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, and then fellow of St. John's College, and master of arts,t was his godfather. He became a scholar of Trinity College, under the tuition of Mr. Robert Skinner, on the 2d of June, 1618, being then about two years standing in the University.ş June the 28th, 1620, he took the degree of bachelor of arts; || and March the 16th, 1623-4, that of master; and June the 10th, 1628, became fel
* Wood, Athen. Oxon. vol. ï. col. 40. 2d edit. Lond. 1721. + Diary of Archbishop Laud, published by Mr. H. Wharton,
low of his college.* “ He was then,” says Mr. Wood,+ “observed to be no drudge to his study; but, being a man of great parts, would do much in a little time when he settled to it.” He did not confine his studies to divinity, but applied himself with great success to mathematics; and, what shews the extent of his genius, he was esteemed likewise a good poet, in which capacity he is mentioned by Sir John Suckling, in his Sessions of the Poets. His intimate friends were Sir Lucius Cary, afterwards Lord Viscount Falkland; Mr. John Hales, of Eton, &c. but more particularly Mr. Gilbert Sheldon, who succeeded Dr. Juxon in the see of Canterbury.ỹ The study and conversation of the University scholars at that time turned chiefly upon the controversies between the church of England and that of Rome; and the great liberty, which had been allowed the popish missionaries in the end of the reign of King James I. being continued under King Charles I. upon the account of his marriage with Henrietta, daughter to Henry IV. of France. There was among them a famous Jesuit, who went under the name of John Fisher, though his true name was John Perse, or Percey, and was very busy in. making converts, particularly at Oxford; and, attacking Mr. Chillingworth upon the necessity of an infallible living judge in matters of faith, the latter forsook the communion of the church of England, and with an incredible satisfaction of mind embraced the Romish religion,* and soon after wrote the following letter to his friend Mr. Gilbert Sheldon.t
* Wood, Athen. Oxon. vol. ii. col. 40.
† Fragmenta aurea. A Collection of all the incomparable Pieces written by Sir John Suckling, p. 7. edit. London, 1646.
§ Des Maizeaux's Historical and Critical Account of the Life and Writings of William Chillingworth, p. 3. edit. London, 1725, in octavo. || Id. ibid.
See Bibliotheca Scriptorum Societatis Jesu: A Nathaniele Sotvello ejusdem Societatis Presbytero, p. 487, 488. Edit. Roma, 1676.
GOOD MR. SHELDON,
“ PARTLY mine own necessities and fears, and partly charity to some others, have drawn me out of London into the country. One particular cause, and not the least, was the news of your sickness, which had I found it had continued with you with any danger, no danger of my own should have kept me from you. I am very glad to hear of your recovery, but sorry that your occasions do draw you so suddenly to London. But, I a direction with Charles Green, where you may be spoke with, and how I may send to you; and you shall very shortly hear further from me. Meanwhile let me intreat you to consider most seriously of these two quæries :
“1. Whether it be not evident from Scripture, and fathers, and reason; from the goodness of God and the necessity of mankind, that there must be some one church infallible in matters of faith?
“2. Whether there be any society of men in the world, besides the church of Rome, that either can, upon good warrant, or indeed at all, challenge
* Wood, Athen. Oxon. vol. ii. col. 40. + Des Maizeaux, ubi supra, p. 7.
to itself the privilege of infallibility in matter of faith?
When you have applied your most attentive consideration upon these questions, I do assure myself your resolution will be affirmative in the first, and negative in the second. And then the conclusion will be, that you will approve and follow the way, wherein I have had the happiness to enter before you; and should think it infinitely increased, if it would please God to draw you after.
“I rest your assured friend, &c.”
Mr. Fisher, in order to secure his conquest, persuaded Mr. Chillingworth to go over to the college of the Jesuits at Doway; and the latter was desired to set down in writing the motives or reasons, which had engaged him to embrace the Romish religion. But Dr. William Laud, then bishop of London, hearing of this affair, and being extremely concerned at it, wrote to him; and Mr. Chillingworth's answer expressing a great deal of moderation, candour, and impartiality, that prelate continued to correspond with him, pressing him with several arguments against the doctrine and practice of the Romanists. This set Mr. Chillingworth upon a new inquiry, which had the desired effect. But the place where he was, not being suitable to the state of a free impartial inquirer, he resolved to come back to England, and left Doway in 1631, after a short stay there.* Upon his return to England he was received with great kindness and affection by Bishop Laud, who approved of his design of retiring to Oxford, (of
* Id. ibid. p. 9. See likewise The History of the Troubles and Tryal of William Laud, &c. published by Mr. H. Wharton, p. 227; and Wood, Athen. Oxon. vol. ii. col. 40.