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read that place of Titus iii. But since that time all men, and at that time some read it, after a first and second admonition,' reject a heretic. "Rejection from the community of saints after two warnings,' that is the penalty. St. John expresses it by not 'eating with them,' not • bidding them God speed, but the persons against whom he decrees so severely, are such as denied Christ to be come in the flesh, direct Antichrists. And let the sentence be as high as it lists in this case, all that I observe is, that since in so damnable doctrines nothing but spiritual censure, separation from the communion of the faithful was enjoined and prescribed, we cannot pretend to an Apostolical precedent, if in matters of dispute and innocent questions, and of great uncertainty and no malignity, we shall proceed to sentence of death.
“ Well, however zealous the Apostles were against heretics, yet none were by them, or their dictates, put to death. The death of Ananias and Sapphira, and the blindness of Elymas the sorcerer, amount not to this, for they were miraculous inflictions, and the first was a punishment to vow-breach and sacrilege, the second of sorcery and open contestation against the religion of Jesus Christ; neither of them concerned the case of this present question. Or if the case were the same, yet the authority is not the same; for he that inflicted these punishments was infallible, and of a power competent, but no man at this day is so. But as yet people were not converted by miracles, and preaching, and disputing, and heretics by the same means were endangered, and all men instructed, none tortured for their opinion. And this continued till Christian people were vexed by disagreeing persons, and were impatient and peevish by their own too much confidence, and the luxuriancy of a prosperous fortune ; but then they would not endure persons that did dogmatize anything which might intrench upon their reputation or their interest. And it is observable that no man nor no age did ever teach the lawfulness of putting heretics to death, till they grew wanton with prosperity; but when the reputation of the governors was concerned, when the interests of men were endangered, when they had something to lose, when they had built their estimation upon the credit of disputable questions, when they began to be jealous of other men, when they overvalued themselves and their own opinions, when some persons invaded bishoprics upon pretence of new opinions, when they, as they thrive in the favour of emperors, and in the success of their disputes, solicited the temporal power to banish, to fine, to imprison, and to kill, their adversaries.
“So that the case stands thus : In the best times, among the best men, when there were fewer temporal ends to be served, when religion and the pure and simple designs of Christianity only were to be promoted, in those times and amongst such men no persecution was actual nor persuaded, nor allowed towards disagreeing persons. But as men had ends of their own and not of Christ, as they receded from their duty, and religion from its purity, as Christianity began to be compounded with interests and blended with temporal designs, so men were persecuted for their opinions."
Admirable both in thought and expression is the following:
“As it was true of the martyrs, as often as we die, so often we are born, and the increase of their troubles was the increase of their confidence and the establishment of their persuasions; so it is in all false opinions ; for that an opinion is true or false is extrinsical or accidental to the consequents and advantages it gets by being afflicted. And there is a popular pity that follows all persons in misery, and that compassion breeds likeness of affections, and that very often produces likeness of persuasion; and 80 much the rather because there arises a jealousy and pregnant suspicion that they who persecute an opinion are destitute of sufficient arguments to confute it, and that the hangman is the best disputant. For if those arguments which they have for their own doctrine, were a sufficient ground of confidence and persuasion, men would be more willing to use those means and arguments, which are better compliances with human understanding, which more naturally do satisfy it, which are more human and Christian, than that way which satisfies none, which destroys many, which provokes more, and which makes all men jealous. To which add, that those who die for their opinion have in all men great arguments of the heartiness of their belief, of the confidence of their persuasion, of the piety and inuocency of their persons, of the purity of their intention and simplicity of purposes, that they are persons totally disinterested, and separate from design. For no interest can be so great as to be put in balance against a man's life and his soul; and he does very imprudently serve his ends, who, simply and foreknowingly, loses his life in the persuasion of them. Just as if Titus should offer to die for Sempronius upon condition he might receive twenty talents when he had done his work. It is certainly an argument of a great love, and a great confideuce, and a great sincerity, and a great hope, when a man lays down his life in attestation of a proposition. “Greater
love than this hath no man, than to lay down his life,' saith our blessed Saviour. And although laying of a wager is an argument of confidence more than truth; yet laying such a wager, staking of a man's soul, and pawning his life, give a hearty testimony that the person is honest, confident, resigned, charitable, and noble. And I know not whether truth can do a person or a cause more advantages than those can do to an error. And, therefore, besides the impiety, there is great imprudence in canonizing a heretic, and consecrating an error by such means, which were better preserved as encouragements of truth and comforts to real and true martyrs. And it is not amiss to observe, that this very advantage was given by heretics, who were ready to show and boast their catalogues of martyrs; in particular the Circumcillinis did so, and the Donatists; and yet the first were beretics, the second schismatics. And it was remarkable in the scholars of Priscillian, who, as they held their master in the reputation of a saint while he was living, so, when he was dead, they held him in veneration as a martyr; they, with reverence and devotion, carried him and the bodies of his slain companions to an honourable sepulture, and counted it religion to swear by the name of Priscillian. So that the extinguishing of the person gives life and credit to his doctrine, and when he is dead, he yet speaks more effectually.”
That is a fine saying of Taylor's, that God places a watery cloud in the eye, so that when the light of heaven shines on it it may produce a rainbow to be a sacrament and a memorial that God and the sons of men do not love to see a man perish. Such rainbows often shone across the clouds of Taylor's life. He experienced many seasons
of adversity, but they never failed to be lighted up by the glory of a true friendship. “When the north wind blows,” he says, “and it rains sadly, none but fools sit down in it, and cry; wise people defend themselves against it with a warm garment, a good fire, and a dry roof.” All these he found at Golden Grove, Lord Carberry's beautiful seat. Green woods, and the songs of birds, and the ripple of the Torvy combined their enchantments for his pleasure, and helped to stimulate his imagination. The fine metaphors and apposite similes with which he so freely ornamented his luxuriant prose were suggested to him by the broad uplands and the leafy hollows of the valley between Carmarthen and Llandovery. Conspicuous in the green landscape rose the wavy crest of Grongar Hill, which Dyer has celebrated in his pleasant pastoral poem. The picture was just such an one as Taylor, who, though he wrote in prose, was a true poet, loved to contemplate :“I am fallen,” he writes, “into the hands of publicans and sequestrators, and they have taken all from me; what now? Let me look about me. They have left me the sun and moon, fire and water, a loving wife, and many friends to pity me, and some to relieve me; and I can still discourse, and unless I list, they have not taken away my merry countenance, and my cheerful spirit, and a good conscience; they have still left me the providence of God, and all the promises of the Gospel, and my religion, and my hopes of heaven, and my charity to them too; and still I sleep and digest, I eat and drink, I read and meditate. I can walk in my neighbour's pleasant fields, and see the variety of natural beauties, and delight in all that in which God delights--that is, in virtue and wisdom, in the whole creation, and in God Himself.”