Abbildungen der Seite

cial in example, they ought to be done away, He concluded by an exhortation to temperance, and to self-denial with respect to the customs and fashions in question, as the true

means of preparing the way to eternal rest. These were, as concisely as I have been able to give them, the great heads of the first part or division of the work, which took up no less than eighteen chapters. But no just idea can be formed of the merits of it by so partial an account: for each chapter was a regular dissertation of itself on the subject it contained; in which, as opportunity offered, he explained the nature and origin of the evil complained of; in which he exhibited a picture of its effects; in which he contrasted this picture, with that which might have been drawn where there had been self-denial; in which he reasoned, drew his inferences, and gave his warnings, enforcing all. he said by a copious appeal to history, apostolical usage, and holy writ. In those chapters where he touched upon the practices of the world, from which he and his own religious society had departed, he took occasion. to defend their conduct in so doing; first, by exhibiting the reasons which they themselves gave for it; and secondly, by maintaining its consistency both with the letter and the spirit of the Gospel. He considered too this their departure from such practices, by which they submitted to become singular and therefore more liable to ridicule, as that proper public declaration of their testimony against corruptive example, which was implied in the proper denial of self, or in the bearing of the cross of Christ. The second part or division of the work consisted of a voluminous collection of the living and dying sayings of men eminent for their greatness, learning, or virtue, in divers periods of time, and in divers nations of the world. First, he noticed the Greeks and Persians, making quotations concerning Cyrus, Artaxerxes, Agathocles, Philip, Alexander, Ptolomy, Xenophanes, Antigonus, Themistocles, Aristides, Pericles, Phocion, and twanty others. Secondly, he gave anecdotes of the following persons among the Romans: of Cato, Scipio Africanus, Augustus, Tiberius, Vespasian, and Trajan. Adrian and eight others

were also included in this account. E 2 Thirdly,

Thirdly, he appealed to the lives and doctrines of some of the Heathen philosophers both among the Greeks and the Romans ; of Thales, Pythagoras, Solon, Chilon, Socrates, Plato, Quintilian, Seneca, and Epictetus: This appeal was of considerable length, as it contained biographical memoirs of no less than twenty-three philosophers of the same description, besides those just mentioned.

Fourthly, he quoted the accounts handed down to us of the conduct of virtuous Heathen women. He selected twelve for this purpose, among whom were Penelope, Lucretia, and Cornelia.

From the Heathen he went to Scripture history and that of the primitive Christians. He quoted sayings from Solomon, the doctrine of Christ as recorded by Matthew about denial of self, the example of John the Baptist, the testimonies of the apostle Peter, and the exhortation of Paul against pride, cpvetousness, and luxury. To this he added an account of the nonconformity of the primitive Christians to the world, sayings and observation's by the Fathers of the church from Ignatius down to Augustine, quotations

[ocr errors]


from canons and epistles, and the examples of some of the ancient Christian bishops.

Lastly, he gave an account of the lives and sayings of many of those who lived in more modern times : of Charles the Fifth, Min chael de Montaigne, Cardinal Woolsey, Sir Philip Sidney, Secretary Walsingham, Sir John Mason, Sir Walter Rawleigh, and twenty-six others, among whom were Kings, Princes, Chancellors, Counts, Cardinals, and others, who had distinguished themselves in England, France, Spain, Italy, Holland, and other parts of the world.

His great object in making the above collection was to corroborate and enforce all that he had laid down in the first part or div sion of his work, namely, that a life of strict virtue, that is, to do well and to bear or suffer ill, was the way to everlasting happiness; or that, where there was no bearing of the cross of Christ, there would be no wearing of the crown of glory.

Such then were the contents of “No Cross, No Crown," as consisting of its two divisions, of which it may be truly said, that taking it altogether, it was a great work, and more especially when we consider the youth of

the the author, and the short time in which he composed it. It was rich in doctrine, rich in scriptural examples, and profuse in a display of history. It discovered great erudition, extensive reading, and a considerable knowledge of the world.

Among other employments of William Penn, while in the Tower, he wrote to the Lord Arlington, then principal secretary of state, by whose warrant he had been sent there. Having reflected upon his own case, during his confinement, he was of opinion, the more he considered it, that the Government, by depriving him of his liberty, had acted upon principles not to be defended either by the laws of the Christian religion or by those of the realm. He therefore wrote to him to desire his release. We find in this letter several just and noble sentiments. He tells the Lord Arlington, “ that he is at a loss to imagine how a diversity of religious opinions can affect the safety of the State, seeing that kingdoms and commonwealths have lived under the balance of divers parties. He conceives that they only are unfit for political society, who maintain principles subversive of industry, fidelity, justice,


« ZurückWeiter »