The Life of Dr. Robert Sanderson
by Izaak Walton
I dare neither think, nor assure the Reader, that I have committed no mistakes in this relation of the Life of Dr. Sanderson; but I am sure, there is none that are either willful, or very material. I confess, it was worthy the employment of some person of more Learning and greater abilities than I can pretend to; and I have not a little wondered that none have yet been so grateful to him and posterity, as to undertake it. For it may be noted, that our Saviour hath had such care, that, for Mary Magdalen’s kindness to him, her name should never be forgotten: and doubtless Dr. Sanderson’s meek and innocent life, his great and useful Learning, might therefore challenge the like endeavours to preserve his memory: And ’tis to me a wonder, that it has been already fifteen years neglected. But, in saying this, my meaning is not to upbraid others,I am far from that,but excuse myself, or beg pardon for daring to attempt it. This being premised, I desire to tell the Reader! , that in this relation I have been so bold, as to paraphrase and say, what I think hewhom I had the happiness to know wellwould have said upon the same occasions: and if I have erred in this kind, and cannot now beg pardon of him that loved me; yet I do of my reader, from whom I desire the same favour.
And, though my age might have procured me a Writ of Ease, and that secured me from all further trouble in this kind; yet I met with such persuasions to begin, and so many willing informers since, and from them, and others, such helps and encouragements to proceed, that when I found myself faint, and weary of the burthen with which I had loaden myself, and ready to lay it down; yet time and new strength hath at last brought it to be what it now is, and presented to the Reader, and with it this desire; that he will take notice that Dr. Sanderson did in his Will, or last sickness, advertise, that after his death nothing of his might be printed; because that might be said to be his, which indeed was not; and also for that he might have changed his opinion since he first writ it. And though these reasons ought to be regarded, yet regarded so, as he resolves in that Case of Conscience concerning Rash Vows; that there may appear very good second reasons why we may forbear to perfo! rm them. However, for his said reasons, they ought to be read as we do Apocryphal Scripture; to explain, but not oblige us to so firm a belief of what is here presented as his.
And I have this to say more; That as in my queries for writing Dr. Sanderson’s Life, I met with these little Tracts annexed; so, in my former queries for my information to write the Life of venerable Mr. Hooker, I met with a Sermon, which I also believe was really his, and here presented as his to the Reader. It is affirmed,and I have met with reason to believe it,that there be some Artists, that do certainly know an original picture from a copy; and in what age of the world, and by whom drawn. And if so, then I hope it may be as safely affirmed, that what is here presented for theirs is so like their temper of mind, their other writings, the times when, and the occasions upon which they were writ, that all Readers may safely conclude, they could be writ by none but venerable Mr. Hooker, and the humble and learned Dr. Sanderson.
And lastly, I am now glad that I have collected these memoirs, which lay scattered, and contracted them into a narrower compass; and if I have, by the pleasant toil of doing so, either pleased or profited any man, I have attained what I designed when I first undertook it. But I seriously wish, both for the Reader’s and Dr. Sanderson’s sake, that posterity had known his great Learning and Virtue by a better pen; by such a pen, as could have made immortal, as his Learning and merits ought to be.
Doctor Robert Sanderson, the late learned Bishop of Lincoln, whose Life I intend to write with all truth and equal plainness, was born the nineteenth day of September, in the year of our Redemption 1587. The place of his birth was Rotherham in the County of York; a Town of good note, and the more for that Thomas Rotherham, some time Archbishop of that see, was born in it; a man, whose great wisdom, and bounty, and sanctity of life, have made it the more memorable: as indeed it ought also to be, for being the birth place of our Robert Sanderson. And the Reader will be of my belief if this humble relation of his life can hold any proportion with his great Piety, his useful Learning, and his many other extraordinary endowments.
He was the second and youngest Son, of Robert Sanderson, of Gilthwaite-Hall, in the said Parish and County, Esq. by Elizabeth, one of the daughters of Richard Carr, of Butterthwaite-Hall, in the Parish of Ecclesfield, in the said County of York, Gentleman.
This Robert Sanderson, the Father, was descended from a numerous, ancient, and honourable family of his own name: for the search of which truth, I refer my Reader, that inclines to it, to Dr. Thoroton’s "History of the Antiquities of Nottinghamshire," and other records; not thinking it necessary here to engage him into a search for bare titles, which are noted to have in them nothing of reality: for titles not acquired, but derived only, do but shew us who of our ancestors have, and how they have achieved that honour which their descendants claim, and may not be worthy to enjoy. For, if those titles descend to persons that degenerate into Vice, and break off the continued line of Learning, or Valour, or that Virtue that acquired them, they destroy the very foundation upon which that Honour was built; and all the rubbish of their vices ought to fall heavy on such dishonourable heads; ought to fall so heavy, as to degrade them of their titles, and blast their memori! es with reproach and shame.
But our Robert Sanderson lived worthy of his name and family: of which one testimony may be, that Gilbert, called the Great Earl of Shrewsbury, thought him not unworthy to be joined with him as a Godfather to Gilbert Sheldon, the late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury; to whose merits and memory, posteritythe Clergy especiallyought to pay a reverence.
But I return to my intended relation of Robert the Son, who began in his youth to make the Laws of God, and obedience to his parents, the rules of his life; seeming even then to dedicate himself, and all his studies, to Piety and Virtue.
And as he was inclined to this by that native goodness, with which the wise Disposer of all hearts had endowed his; so this calm, this quiet and happy temper of mindhis being mild, and averse to oppositionsmade the whole course of his life easy and grateful both to himself and others: and this blessed temper was maintained and improved by his prudent Father’s good example; and by frequent conversing with him, and scattering short apophthegms and little pleasant stories, and making useful applications of them, his son was in his infancy taught to abhor Vanity and Vice as monsters, and to discern the loveliness of Wisdom and Virtue; and by these means, and God’s concurring grace, his knowledge was so augmented, and his native goodness so confirmed, that all became so habitual, as it was not easy to determine whether Nature or Education were his teachers.
And here let me tell the Reader, that these early beginnings of Virtue, were by God’s assisting grace, blessed with what St. Paul seemed to beg for his Philippians; namely, "That he, that had begun a good work in them, would finish it." And Almighty God did: for his whole life was so regular and innocent, that he might have said at his deathand with truth and comfortwhat the same St. Paul said after to the same Philippians, when he advised them to walk as they had him for an example.
And this goodness, of which I have spoken, seemed to increase as his years did; and with his goodness his Learning, the foundation of which was laid in the Grammar-school of Rotherhamthat being one of those three that were founded and liberally endowed by the said great and good Bishop of that name.And in this time of his being a Scholar there, he was observed to use an unwearied diligence to attain learning, and to have a seriousness beyond his age, and with it a more than common modesty; and to be of so calm and obliging a behaviour, that the Master and whole number of Scholars, loved him as one man.
And in this love and amity he continued at that School till about the thirteenth year of his age; at which time his Father designed to improve his Grammar learning, by removing him from Rotherham to one of the more noted Schools of Eton or Westminster; and after a year’s stay there, then to remove him thence to Oxford. But, as he went with him, he called on an old friend, a Minister of noted learning, and told him his intentions; and he, after many questions with his Son, received such answers from him, that he assured his Father, his Son was so perfect a Grammarian, that he had laid a good foundation to build any or all the Arts upon; and therefore advised him to shorten his journey, and leave him at Oxford. And his father did so.
His father left him there to the sole care and manage of Dr. Kilbie, who was then Rector of Lincoln College. And he, after some time and trial of his manners and learning, thought fit to enter him of that College, and, after to matriculate him in the University, which he did the first of July, 1603; but he was not chosen Fellow till the third of May, 1606; at which time he had taken his degree of Bachelor of Arts: at the taking of which degree, his Tutor told the Rector, "That his pupil Sanderson had a metaphysical brain and a matchless memory; and that he thought he had improved or made the last so by an art of his own invention." And all the future employments of his life proved that his tutor was not mistaken. I must here stop my Reader, and tell him that this Dr. Kilbie was a man of so great learning and wisdom and was so excellent a critic in the Hebrew Tongue, that he was made Professor of it in this university; and was also so perfect a Grecian, that he was! by King James appointed to be one of the Translators of the Bible; and that this Doctor and Mr. Sanderson had frequent discourses, and loved as father and son. The Doctor was to ride a journey into Derbyshire, and took Mr. Sanderson to bear him company: and they going together on a Sunday with the Doctor’s friend to that Parish Church where they then were, found the young Preacher to have no more discretion, than to waste a great part of the hour allotted for his Sermon in exceptions against the late Translation of several words,not expecting such a hearer as Dr. Kilbie,and shewed three reasons why a particular word should have been otherwise translated. When Evening Prayer was ended, the Preacher was invited to the Doctor’s friend’s house; where after some other conference the Doctor told him, "He might have preached more useful doctrine, and not have filled his auditors’ ears with needless exceptions against the late Translation: and for that word, for whic! h he offered to that poor congregation three reasons why it ought to have been translated as he said; he and others had considered all them, and found thirteen more considerable reasons why it was translated as now printed;" and told him, "If his friend, then attending him, should prove guilty of such indiscretion, he should forfeit his favour." To which Mr. Sanderson said, "He hoped he should not." And the preacher was so ingenious as to say, "He would not justify himself." And so I return to Oxford. In the year 1608,July the 11th,Mr. Sanderson was completed Master of Arts. I am not ignorant, that for the attaining these dignities the time was shorter than was then or is now required; but either his birth or the well performance of some extraordinary exercise, or some other merit, made him so: and the reader is requested to believe, that ’twas the last: and requested to believe also, that if I be mistaken in the time, the College! Records have misinformed me: but I hope they have not.
In that year of 1608, he wasNovember the 7thby his College chosen Reader of Logic in the House; which he performed so well, that he was chosen again the sixth of November, 1609. In the year 1613, he was chosen Sub-Rector of the College, and the like for the year 1614, and chosen again to the same dignity and trust for the year 1616.
In all which time and employments, his abilities and behaviour were such, as procured him both love and reverence from the whole Society; there being no exception against him for any faults, but a sorrow for the infirmities of his being too timorous and bashful; both which were, God knows, so connatural as they never left him. And I know not whether his lovers ought to wish they had; for they proved so like the radical moisture in man’s body, that they preserved the life of virtue in his soul, which by God’s assisting grace never left him till this life put on immortality. Of which happy infirmitiesif they may be so calledmore hereafter.
In the year 1614 he stood to be elected one of the Proctors for the University. And ’twas not to satisfy any ambition of his own, but to comply with the desire of the Rector and whole Society, of which he was a Member; who had not had a Proctor chosen out of their College for the space of sixty years;namely, not from the year 1554, unto his standing;and they persuaded him, that if he would but stand for Proctor, his merits were so generally known, and he so well beloved, that ’twas but appearing, and he would infallibly carry it against any opposers; and told him, "That he would by that means recover a right or reputation that was seemingly dead to his College." By these, and other like persuasions, he yielded up his own reason to theirs, and appeared to stand for Proctor. But that election was carried on by so sudden and secret, and by so powerful a faction, that he missed it. Which when he understood, he professed seriously to his friends, "That! if he were troubled at the disappointment, it was for their’s, and not for his own sake: for he was far from any desire of such an employment, as must be managed with charge and trouble, and was too usually rewarded with hard censures, or hatred, or both."
In the year following he was earnestly persuaded by Dr. Kilbie and others, to review the Logic Lectures which he had read some years past in his College; and, that done, to methodise and print them, for the ease and public good of posterity. But though be had an averseness to appear publicly in print; yet after many serious solicitations, and some second thoughts of his own, he laid aside his modesty, and promised he would; and he did so in that year of 1615. And the book proved as his friends seemed to prophesy, that is, of great and general use, whether we respect the Art or the Author. For Logic may be said to be an art of right reasoning; an Art that undeceives men who take falsehood for truth; enables men to pass a true judgment, and detect those fallacies, which in some men’s understandings usurp the place of right reason. And how great a master our Author was in this art, will quickly appear from that clearness of method, argument, and demonstration, which is so cons! picuous in all his other writings. He, who had attained to so great a dexterity in the use of reason himself, was best qualified to prescribe rules and directions for the instruction of others. And I am the more satisfied of the excellency and usefulness of this, his first public undertaking, by hearing that most Tutors in both Universities teach Dr. Sanderson’s Logic to their Pupils, as a foundation upon which they are to build their future studies in Philosophy. And, for a further confirmation of my belief, the Reader may note, that since his Book of Logic was first printed there has not been less than ten thousand sold: and that ’tis like to continue both to discover truth and to clear and confirm the reason of the unborn world.
It will easily be believed that his former standing for a Proctor’s place, and being disappointed, must prove much displeasing to a man of his great wisdom and modesty, and create in him an averseness to run a second hazard of his credit and content: and yet he was assured by Dr. Kilbie, and the Fellows of his own College, and most of those that had opposed him in the former Election, that his Book of Logic had purchased for him such a belief of his learning and prudence, and his behaviour at the former Election had got for him so great and so general a love, that all his former opposers repented what they had done and therefore persuaded him to venture to stand a second time. And, upon these, and other like encouragements, he did again, but not without an inward unwillingness, yield up his own reason to theirs, and promised to stand. And he did so; and was the tenth of April, 1616, chosen Senior Proctor for the year following; Mr. Charles Crooke of Christ Church being then! chosen the Junior.
In this year of his being Proctor, there happened many memorable accidents; namely, Dr. Robert Abbot, Master of Baliol College, and Regius Professor of Divinity,who being elected or consecrated Bishop of Sarum some months before,was solemnly conducted out of Oxford towards his Diocese, by the Heads of all Houses, and the chief of all the University. And Dr. Prideaux succeeded him in the Professorship, in which he continued till the year 1642,being then elected Bishop of Worcester,and then our now Proctor, Mr. Sanderson, succeeded him in the Regius Professorship.
And in this year Dr. Arthur Lakethen Warden of New Collegewas advanced to the Bishopric of Bath and Wells: a man of whom I take myself bound in justice to say, that he has made the great trust committed to him, the chief care and whole business of his life. And one testimony of this proof may be, that he sate usually with his Chancellor in his Consistory, and at least advised, if not assisted, in most sentences for the punishing of such offenders as deserved Church-censures. And it may be noted, that, after a sentence for penance was pronounced, he did very rarely or never, allow of any commutation for the offence, but did usually see the sentence for penance executed; and then as usually preached a Sermon of mortification and repentance, and did so apply them to the offenders, that then stood before him, as begot in them a devout contrition, and at least resolutions to amend their lives: and having done that, he would take themthough never so poorto! dinner with him, and use them friendly, and dismiss them with his blessing and persuasions to a virtuous life, and beg them to believe him. And his humility and charity, and other Christian excellencies, were all like this. Of all which the Reader may inform himself in his Life, truly writ, and printed before his Sermons.
And in this year also, the very prudent and very wise Lord Ellesmere, who was so very long Lord Chancellor of England, and then of Oxford, resigning up the last, the Right Honourable, and as magnificent, William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, was chosen to succeed him.
And in this year our late King Charles the Firstthen Prince of Wales, came honourably attended to Oxford; and having deliberately visited the University, the Schools, Colleges, and Libraries, he and his attendants were entertained with ceremonies and feasting suitable to their dignity and merits.
And this year King James sent letters to the University for the regulating their studies; especially of the young Divines: advising they should not rely on modern sums and systems, but study the Fathers and Councils, and the more primitive learning. And this advice was occasioned by the indiscreet inferences made by very many Preachers out of Mr. Calvin’s doctrine concerning Predestination, Universal Redemption, the Irresistibility of God’s Grace, and of some other knotty points depending upon these; points which many think were not, but by interpreters forced to be, Mr. Calvin’s meaning; of the truth or falsehood of which I pretend not to have an ability to judge; my meaning in this relation, being only to acquaint the Reader with the occasion of the King’s Letter.
It may be observed, that the various accidents of this year did afford our Proctor large and laudable matter to dilate and discourse upon: and that though his office seemed, according to statute and custom, to require him do so at his leaving it; yet he choose rather to pass them over with some very short observations, and present the governors, and his other hearers, with rules to keep up discipline and order in the University; which at that time was, either by defective Statutes, or want of the due execution of those that were good, grown to be extremely irregular. And in this year also, the magisterial part of the Proctor required more diligence, and was more difficult to be managed than formerly, by reason of a multiplicity of new Statutes, which begot much confusion; some of which Statutes were then, and others suddenly after, put into an useful execution. And though these Statutes were not then made so perfectly useful as they were designed, till Archbishop Laud’s tim! ewho assisted in the forming and promoting them;yet our present Proctor made them as effectual as discretion and diligence could do; of which one example may seem worthy the noting; namely, that if in his night-walk he met with irregular Scholars absent from their Colleges at University hours, or disordered by drink, or in scandalous company, he did not use his power of punishing to an extremity; but did usually take their names, and a promise to appear before him unsent for next morning: and when they did, convinced them, with such obligingness, and reason added to it, that they parted from him with such resolutions, as the man after God’s own heart was possessed with, when he said, "There is mercy with thee, and therefore thou shalt be feared:" Psal. cxxx. 4. And by this and a like behaviour to all men, he was so happy as to lay down this dangerous employment, as but very few, if any, have done, even without an enemy.
After his speech was ended, and he retired with a friend into a convenient privacy, he looked upon his friend with a more than common cheerfulness, and spake to him to this purpose: "I look back upon my late employment with some content to myself, and a great thankfulness to Almighty God, that he hath made me of a temper not apt to provoke the meanest of mankind, but rather to pass by infirmities, if noted; and in this employment I have hadGod knowsmany occasions to do both. And when I consider, how many of a contrary temper are by sudden and small occasions transported and hurried by anger to commit such errors, as they in that passion could not foresee, and will in their more calm and deliberate thoughts upbraid, and require repentance: and consider, that though repentance secures us from the punishment of any sin, yet how much more comfortable it is to be innocent, than need pardon: and consider, that errors against men, though pardoned both by God and t! hem, do yet leave such anxious and upbraiding impressions in the memory, as abates of the offender’s content:when I consider all this, and that God hath of his goodness given me a temper that hath prevented me from running into such enormities, I remember my temper with joy and thankfulness. And though I cannot say with DavidI wish I could,that therefore ‘his praise shall always be in my mouth:’ Psal. xxxiv. 1; yet I hope, that by his grace, and that grace seconded by my endeavours, it shall never be blotted out of my memory; and I now beseech Almighty God that it never may."
And here I must look back, and mention one passage more in his Proctorship, which is, that Gilbert Sheldon, the late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, was this year sent to Trinity College in that University; and not long after his entrance there, a letter was sent after him from his god-father,the father of our Protectorto let his son know it, and commend his godson to his acquaintance, and to more than a common care of his behaviour; which proved a pleasing injunction to our Proctor, who was so gladly obedient to his father’s desire, that he some few days after sent his servitor to intreat Mr. Sheldon to his chamber next morning. But it seems Mr. Sheldon havinglike a young man as he wasrun into some such irregularity as made him conscious he had transgressed his statutes, did therefore apprehend the Proctor’s invitation as an introduction to punishment; the fear of which made his bed restless that night: but, at their meeting the next morning, that fe! ar vanished immediately by the Proctor’s cheerful countenance, and the freedom of their discourse of friends. And let me tell my Reader, that this first meeting proved the beginning of as spiritual a friendship as human nature is capable of; of a friendship free from all self ends: and it continued to be so, till death forced a separation of it on earth; but it is now reunited in Heaven.
And now having given this account of his behaviour, and the considerable accidents in his Proctorship, I proceed to tell my Reader, that, this busy employment being ended, he preached his sermon for his Degree of Bachelor in Divinity in as elegant Latin, and as remarkable for the matter, as hath been preached in that University since that day. And having well performed his other exercises for that Degree, he took it the nine and twentieth of May following, having been ordained Deacon and Priest in the year 1611, by John King, then Bishop of London, who had not long before been Dean of Christ Church, and then knew him so well, that he became his most affectionate friend. And in this year, being then about the twenty-ninth of his age, he took from the University a license to preach.
In the year 1618, he was by Sir Nicholas Sanderson, Lord Viscount Castleton, presented to the Rectory of Wibberton, not far from Boston, in the County of Lincoln, a living of very good value; but it lay in so low and wet a part of that country as was inconsistent with his health. And health beingnext to a good consciencethe greatest of God’s blessings in this life, and requiring therefore of every man a care and diligence to preserve it, he, apprehending a danger of losing it, if he continued at Wibberton a second Winter, did therefore resign it back into the hands of his worthy kinsman and patron, about one year after his donation of it to him.
And about this time of his resignation he was presented to the Rectory of Boothby Pannell, in the same County of Lincoln; a town which has been made famous, and must continue to be famous, because Dr. Sanderson, the humble and learned Dr. Sanderson, was more than forty years Parson of Boothby Pannell, and from thence dated all or most of his matchless writings.
To this livingwhich was of no less value, but a purer air than Wibbertonhe was presented by Thomas Harrington, of the same County, and Parish, Esq. who was a gentleman of a very ancient family, and of great use and esteem in his country during his whole life. And in this Boothby Pannell the meek and charitable Dr. Sanderson and his patron lived with an endearing, mutual, and comfortable friendship, till the death of the last put a period to it.
About the time that he was made Parson of Boothby Pannell, be resigned his Fellowship of Lincoln College unto the then Rector and Fellows; and his resignation is recorded in these words:
Ergo Robertus Sanderson perpetuus, &c.
I Robert Sanderson, Fellow of the College of St. Mary’s and All-Saints, commonly called Lincoln College, in the University of Oxford, do freely and willingly resign into the hands of the Rector and Fellows, all the right and title that I have in the said College, wishing to them and their successors all peace, and piety, and happiness, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
May 6, 1619.Robert Sanderson.
And not long after this resignation, he was by the then Bishop of York, or the King sede vacante, made Prebend of the Collegiate Church of Southwell in that Diocese; and shortly after of Lincoln by the Bishop of that See.
And being now resolved to set down his rest in a quiet privacy at Boothby Pannell, and looking back with some sadness upon his removal from his general acquaintance left in Oxford, and the peculiar pleasures of a University life; he could not but think the want of society would render this of a country Parson the more uncomfortable, by reason of that want of conversation; and therefore he did put on some faint purposes to marry. For he had considered, that though marriage be cumbered with more worldly care than a single life; yet a complying and a prudent wife changes those very cares into so mutual a content, as makes them become like the sufferings of St. Paul, Colos. i. 24, which he would not have wanted because they occasioned his rejoicing in them. And he, having well considered this, and observed the secret unutterable joys that children beget in parents, and the mutual pleasures and contented trouble of their daily care and constant endeavours to bring up those littl! e images of themselves, so as to make them as happy as all those cares and endeavours can make them: he, having considered all this, the hopes of such happiness turned his faint purposes into a positive resolution to marry. And he was so happy as to obtain Anne, the daughter of Henry Nelson, Bachelor in Divinity, then Rector of Haugham, in the County of Lincoln, a man of noted worth and learning. And the Giver of all good things was so good to him, as to give him such a wife as was suitable to his own desires; a wife, that made his life happy by being always content when he was cheerful; that divided her joys with him, and abated of his sorrow, by bearing a part of that burden; a wife that demonstrated her affection by a cheerful obedience to all his desires, during the whole course of his life; and at his death too, for she outlived him.
And in this Boothby Pannell, he either found or made his parishioners peaceable, and complying with him in the decent and regular service of God. And thus his Parish, his patron, and he lived together in a religious love and a contented quietness; he not troubling their thoughts by preaching high and useless notions, but such plain truths as were necessary to be known, believed and practised, in order to their salvation. And their assent to what he taught was testified by such a conformity to his doctrine, as declared they believed and loved him. For he would often say, "That, without the last, the most evident truthsheard as from an enemy, or an evil livereither are not, or are at least the less effectual; and do usually rather harden than convince the hearer."
And this excellent man did not think his duty discharged by only reading the Church prayers, catechising, preaching, and administering the Sacraments seasonably; but thoughtif the Law or the Canons may seem to enjoin no more,yet that God would require more, than the defective laws of man’s making can or do enjoin; the performance of that inward law, which Almighty God hath imprinted in the conscience of all good Christians, and inclines those whom he loves to perform. He, considering this, did therefore become a law to himself, practising what his conscience told him was his duty, in reconciling differences, and preventing law-suits, both in his Parish and in the neighbourhood. To which may be added his often visiting sick and disconsolate families, persuading them to patience, and raising them from dejection by his advice and cheerful discourse, and by adding his own alms, if there were any so poor as to need it: considering how acceptable it is to Almighty God! , when we do as we are advised by St. Paul, Gal. vi. 2. "Help to bear one another’s burden," either of sorrow or want: and what a comfort it will be, when the Searcher of all hearts shall call us to a strict account for that evil we have done, and the good we have omitted, to remember we have comforted and been helpful to a dejected or distressed family.
And that his practice was to do good, one example may be, that he met with a poor dejected neighbour, that complained he had taken a meadow, the rent of which was 9l. a year; and when the hay was made ready to be carried into his barn, several days constant rain had so raised the water, that a sudden flood carried all away, and his rich Landlord would bate him no rent; and that unless he had half abated, he and seven children were utterly undone. It may be noted, that in this age there are a sort of people so unlike the God of Mercy, so void of the bowels of pity, that they love only themselves and children: love them so, as not to be concerned, whether the rest of mankind waste their days in sorrow or shame; people that are cursed with riches, and a mistake that nothing but riches can make them and their’s happy. But it was not so with Dr. Sanderson; for he was concerned, and spoke comfortably to the poor dejected man; bade him go home and pray, and not load himself! with sorrow, for he would go to his Landlord next morning; and if his Landlord would not abate what he desired, he and a friend would pay it for him.
To the Landlord be went the next day, and, in a conference, the Doctor presented to him the sad condition of his poor dejected Tenant; telling him how much God is pleased when men compassionate the poor: and told him, that though God loves sacrifice, yet he loves mercy so much better, that he is pleased when called the God of Mercy. And told him the riches he was possessed of were given him by that God of Mercy, who would not be pleased, if he, that had so much given, yea, and forgiven him too, should prove like the rich steward in the Gospel, "that took his fellow servant by the throat to make him pay the utmost farthing." This he told him: and told him, that the law of this nationby which law he claims his rentdoes not undertake to make men honest or merciful; but does what it can to restrain men from being dishonest or unmerciful, and yet was defective in both: and that taking any rent from his poor Tenant, for what God suffered him not to enjoy, th! ough the law allowed him to do so, yet if he did so, he was too like that rich Steward which he had mentioned to him; and told him that riches so gotten, and added to his great estate, would, as Job says, "prove like gravel in his teeth:" would in time so corrode his conscience, or become so nauseous when he lay upon his death-bed, that he would then labour to vomit it up, and not be able: and therefore advised him, being very rich, to make friends of his unrighteous Mammon, before that evil day come upon him: but however, neither for his own sake, nor for God’s sake, to take any rent of his poor, dejected, sad Tenant; for that were to gain a temporal, and lose his eternal happiness. These, and other such reasons were urged with so grave and compassionate an earnestness, that the Landlord forgave his Tenant the whole rent.
The Reader will easily believe that Dr. Sanderson, who was so meek and merciful, did suddenly and gladly carry this comfortable news to the dejected Tenant; and we believe, that at the telling of it there was a mutual rejoicing. It was one of Job’s boasts, that "he had seen none perish for want of clothing: and that he had often made the heart of the widow to rejoice." Job xxxi. 19. And doubtless Dr. Sanderson might have made the same religious boast of this and very many like occasions. But, since he did not, I rejoice that I have this just occasion to do it for him; and that I can tell the Reader, I might tire myself and him, in telling how like the whole course of Dr. Sanderson’s life, was to this which I have now related.
Thus he went on in an obscure and quiet privacy, doing good daily both by word and by deed, as often as any occasion offered itself; yet not so obscurely, but that his very great learning, prudence, and piety, were much noted and valued by the Bishop of his Diocese, and by most of the nobility and gentry of that county. By the first of which he was often summoned to preach many Visitation Sermons, and by the latter at many Assizes. Which Sermons, though they were much esteemed by them that procured, and were fit to judge them; yet they were the less valued, because he read them, which he was forced to do; for though he had an extraordinary memory,even the art of it,yet he had such an innate invincible fear and bashfulness, that his memory was wholly useless, as to the repetition of his sermons as he had writ them; which gave occasion to say, when they were first printed and exposed to censure,which was in the year 1632,"that the best Sermons tha! t were ever read, were never preached."
In this contented obscurity he continued, till the learned and good Archbishop Laud, who knew him well in Oxfordfor he was his contemporary there,told the King,’twas the knowing and conscientious King Charles the First,that there was one Mr. Sanderson, an obscure country Minister, that was of such sincerity, and so excellent in all casuistical learning, that he desired his Majesty would make him his Chaplain. The King granted it most willingly, and gave the Bishop charge to hasten it, for he longed to discourse with a man that had dedicated his studies to that useful part of learning. The Bishop forgot not the King’s desire, and Mr. Sanderson was made his Chaplain in Ordinary in November following, 1631. And when they became known to each other, the King did put many Cases of Conscience to him, and received from him such deliberate, safe, and clear solutions, as gave him great content in conversing with him; so that, at the end of his month’s attenda! nce, the King told him, "he should long for the next November; for he resolved to have a more inward acquaintance with him when that month and he returned." And when the month and he did return, the good King was never absent from his Sermons, and would usually say, "I carry my ears to hear other preachers; but I carry my conscience to hear Mr. Sanderson, and to act accordingly." And this ought not to be concealed from posterity, that the King thought what he spake; for he took him to be his adviser in that quiet part of his life, and he proved to be his comforter in those days of his affliction, when he apprehended himself to be in danger of death or deposing. Of which more hereafter.
In the first Parliament of this good King,which was 1625,he was chosen to be a Clerk of the Convocation for the Diocese of Lincoln; which I here mention, because about that time did arise many disputes about Predestination, and the many critical points that depend upon, or are interwoven in it; occasioned as was said, by a disquisition of new principles of Mr. Calvin’s, though others say they were before his time. But of these Dr. Sanderson then drew up, for his own satisfaction, such a schemehe called it Par Ecclesiae— as then gave himself, and hath since given others such satisfaction, that it still remains to be of great estimation among the most learned. He was also chosen Clerk of all the Convocations during that good King’s reign. Which I here tell my Reader, because I shall hereafter have occasion to mention that Convocation in 1640, the unhappy Long Parliament, and some debates of the Predestination points as ! they have been since charitably handled betwixt him, the learned Dr. Hammond and Dr. Pierce, the now Reverend Dean of Salisbury.
In the year 1636, his Majesty, then in his progress, took a fair occasion to visit Oxford, and to take an entertainment for two days for himself and honourable attendants; which the Reader ought to believe was suitable to their dignities. But this is mentioned, because at the King’s coming thither, Dr. Sanderson did attend him, and was thenthe 31st of Augustcreated Doctor of Divinity; which honour had an addition to it, by having many of the Nobility of this nation then made Doctors and masters of Arts with him; some of whose names shall be recorded and live with his, and none shall outlive it. First, Dr. Curle and Dr. Wren, who were then Bishops of Winton and of Norwich,and had formerly taken their degrees in Cambridge, were with him created Doctors of Divinity in his University. So was Meric the son of the learned Isaac Casaubon; and Prince Rupert, who still lives, the then Duke of Lenox, Earl of Hereford, Earl of Essex, of Berkshire, and very many other! s of noble birthtoo many to be namedwere then created Masters of Arts.
Some years before the unhappy Long Parliament, this nation being then happy and in peace,though inwardly sick of being well,namely in the year 1639, a discontented party of the Scots Church were zealously restless for another reformation of their Kirk-government; and to that end created a new Covenant, for the general taking of which they pretended to petition the King for his assent, and that he would enjoin the taking of it by all of that nation. But this petition was not to be presented to him by a committee of eight or ten men of their fraternity; but by so many thousands, and they so armed as seemed to force an assent to what they seemed to request; so that though forbidden by the King, yet they entered England, and in their heat of zeal took and plundered Newcastle, where the King was forced to meet them with an army: but upon a treaty and some concessions, he sent them back,though not so rich as they intended, yet,for that time, without bloods! hed. But, Oh! this peace, and this Covenant, were but the fore-runners of war, and the many miseries that followed: for in the year following there were so many chosen into the long Parliament, that were of a conjunct council with these very zealous and as factious reformers, as begot such a confusion by the several desires and designs in many of the members of that Parliament, and at last in the very common people of this nation, that they were so lost by contrary designs, fears, and confusions, as to believe the Scots and their Covenant would restore them to their former tranquility. And to that end the Presbyterian party of this nation did again, in the year 1643, invite the Scotch Covenanters back into England: and hither they came marching with it gloriously upon their pikes and in their hats with this motto; "For the Crown and Covenant of both Kingdoms." This I saw, and suffered by it. But when I look back upon the ruin of families, the bloodshed, the decay of ! common honesty, and how the former piety and plain dealing of this now sinful nation is turned into cruelty and cunning, I praise God that he prevented me from being of that party which helped to bring in this Covenant, and those sad confusions that have followed it. And I have been the bolder to say this of myself, because, in a sad discourse with Dr. Sanderson, I heard him make the like grateful acknowledgment.
This digression is intended for the better information of the reader in what will follow concerning Dr. Sanderson. And first, that the Covenanters of this nation, and their party in Parliament, made many exceptions against the Common Prayer and ceremonies of the Church and seemed restless for a Reformation: and though their desires seemed not reasonable to the King, and the learned Dr. Laud, then Archbishop of Canterbury; yet, to quiet their consciences, and prevent future confusion, they did, in the year 1641, desire Dr. Sanderson to call two more of the Convocation to advise with him, and that he would then draw up some such safe alterations as he thought fit in the Service-book, and abate some of the ceremonies that were least material for satisfying their consciences:and to this end they did meet together privately twice a week at the Dean of Westminster’s house, for the space of three months or more. But not long after that time, when Dr. Sanderson had made the r! eformation ready for a view, the Church and State were both fallen into such a confusion, that Dr. Sanderson’s model for Reformation became then useless. Nevertheless, his reputation was such, that he was, in the year 1642, proposed by both Houses of Parliament to the King, then in Oxford, to be one of their trustees for the settling of Church-affairs, and was allowed of by the King to be so; but that treaty came to nothing.
In the year 1643, the two Houses of Parliament took upon them to make an ordinance, and call an Assembly of Divines, to debate and settle some Church-controversies, of which many were very unfit to judge; in which Dr. Sanderson was also named, but did not appear; I suppose for the same reason that many other worthy and learned men did forbear, the summons wanting the King’s authority. And here I must look back, and tell the Reader, that in the year 1642, he was, July 21st, named by a more undoubted authority to a more noble employment, which was to be Professor Regius of Divinity in Oxford: but, though knowledge be said to puff up, yet his modesty and too mean an opinion of his great abilities, and some other real or pretended reasons,expressed in his speech, when he first appeared in the chair, and since printed,kept him from entering into it till October, 1646.
He did, for about a year’s time, continue to read his matchless Lectures, which were first de Juramento, a point very difficult, and at that time very dangerous to be handled as it ought to be. But this learned man, as he was eminently furnished with abilities to satisfy the consciences of men upon that important subject; so he wanted not courage to assert the true obligation of Oaths in a degenerate age, when men had made perjury a main part of their religion. How much the learned world stands obliged to him for these, and his following Lectures de Conscientia, I shall not attempt to declare, as being very sensible that the best pens must needs fall short in the commendation of them: so that I shall only add, that they continued to this day, and will do for ever, as a complete standard for the resolution of the most material doubts in Casuistical Divinity. And therefore I proceed to tell the Reader, that about the time of his reading those Lectures,the ! King being then prisoner in the Isle of Wight,– the parliament had sent the Covenant, the Negative Oath, and I know not what more, to be taken by the Doctor of the Chair, and all Heads of Houses; and all other inferior Scholars, of what degree soever, were all to take these Oaths by a fixed day; and those that did not, to abandon their College, and the University too, within twenty-four hours after the beating of a drum; for if they remained longer, they were to be proceeded against as spies.
Dr. Laud, then Archbishop of Canterbury, the Earl of Strafford, and many others, had been formerly murdered by this wicked Parliament; but the King yet was not: and the University had yet some faint hopes that in a Treaty then in being, or pretended to be suddenly, there might be such an agreement made between King and Parliament, that the Dissenters in the University might both preserve their consciences and subsistence which they then enjoyed by their Colleges.
And being possessed of this mistaken hope, that the Parliament were not yet grown so merciless as not to allow manifest reason for their not submitting to the enjoined Oaths, the University appointed twenty delegates to meet, consider, and draw up a Manifesto to the Parliament, why they could not take those oaths but by violation of their consciences: and of these delegates Dr. Sheldon,late Archbishop of Canterbury,Dr. Hammond,Dr. Sanderson,Dr. Morley,now Bishop of Winchester,and that most honest and as judicious Civil Lawyer, Dr. Zouch, were a part; the rest I cannot now name: but the whole number of the delegates requested Dr. Zouch to draw up the Law part, and give it to Dr. Sanderson: and he was requested to methodise and add what referred to reason and conscience, and put it into form. He yielded to their desires and did so. And then, after they had been read in a full Convocation, and allowed of, they were printed in Latin, that the! Parliament’s proceedings and the University’s sufferings might be manifested to all nations: and the imposers of these oaths might repent, or answer them: but they were past the first; and for the latter, I might swear they neither can, nor ever will. And these Reasons were also suddenly turned into English by Dr. Sanderson, that those of these three kingdoms might the better judge of the loyal party’s sufferings.
About this time the Independentswho were then grown to be the most powerful part of the armyhad taken the King from a close to a more large imprisonment; and, by their own pretences to liberty of conscience, were obliged to allow somewhat of that to the King who had, in the year 1646, sent for Dr. Sanderson, Dr. Hammond, Dr. Sheldon,the late Archbishop of Canterbury,and Dr. Morley,the now Bishop of Winchester,to attend him, in order to advise with them, how far he might with a good conscience comply with the proposals of the Parliament for a peace in Church and State: but these, having been then denied him by the Presbyterian Parliament, were now allowed him by those in present power. And as those other Divines, so Dr. Sanderson gave his attendance on his Majesty also in the Isle of Wight, preached there before him, and had in that attendance many, both public and private, conferences with him, to his Majesty’s great satisfaction. At whic! h time he desired Dr. Sanderson, that, being the Parliament had proposed to him the abolishing of Episcopal Government in the Church, as inconsistent with Monarchy, that he would consider of it; and declare his judgment. He undertook to do so, and did it; but it might not be printed till our King’s happy Restoration, and then it was. And at Dr. Sanderson’s taking his leave of his Majesty in his last attendance on him, the King requested him to betake himself to the writing Cases of Conscience for the good of posterity. To which his answer was, "That he was now grown old, and unfit to write Cases of Conscience." But the King was so bold with him as to say, "It was the simplest answer he ever heard from Dr. Sanderson; for no young man was fit to be a judge, or write Cases of Conscience." And let me here take occasion to tell the reader this truth, not commonly known; that in one of these conferences this conscientious King told Dr. Sanderson, or one of them t! hat then waited with him, "that the remembrance of two errors did much afflict him; which were, his assent to the Earl of Strafford’s death, and the abolishing Episcopacy in Scotland; and that if God ever restored him to be in a peaceable possession of his Crown, he would demonstrate his repentance by a public confession, and a voluntary penance,"I think barefootfrom the Tower of London, or Whitehall, to St. Paul’s Church, and desire the people to intercede with God for his pardon. I am sure one of them that told it me, lives still, and will witness it. And it ought to be observed, that Dr. Sanderson’s Lectures de Juramento were so approved and valued by the King, that in this time of his imprisonment and solitude he translated them into exact English; desiring Dr. Juxon,then Bishop of London,Dr. Hammond, and Sir Thomas Herbert, who then attended him,to compare them with the original. The last still lives, and has declared it, wit! h some other of that King’s excellencies, in a letter under his own hand, which was lately shewed me by Sir William Dugdale, King at Arms. The book was designed to be put into the King’s Library at St. James’s; but, I doubt, not now to be found there. I thought the honour of the Author and the Translator to be both so much concerned in this relation, that it ought not to be concealed from the Reader, and ’tis therefore here inserted.
I now return to Dr. Sanderson in the Chair in Oxford; where they that complied not in taking the Covenant, Negative oath, and Parliament Ordinance for Church-discipline and worship, were under a sad and daily apprehension of expulsion: for the Visitors were daily expected, and both City and University full of soldiers and a party of Presbyterian Divines, that were as greedy and ready to possess, as the ignorant and ill-natured Visitors were to eject the Dissenters out of their Colleges and livelihoods: but, notwithstanding, Dr. Sanderson did still continue to read his Lecture, and did, to the very faces of those Presbyterian Divines and soldiers, read with so much reason, and with a calm fortitude make such applications, as, if they were not, they ought to have been ashamed, and begged pardon of God and him, and forborne to do what followed. But these thriving sinners were hardened; and, as the Visitors expelled the Orthodox, they, without scruple or shame, possessed themse! lves of their Colleges; so that, with the rest, Dr. Sanderson was in June, 1648, forced to pack up and be gone, and thank God he was not imprisoned, as Dr. Sheldon, and Dr. Hammond, and others then were.
I must now again look back to Oxford, and tell my Reader, that the year before this expulsion, when the University had denied this subscription, and apprehended the danger of that visitation which followed, they sent Dr. Morley, then Canon of Christ-Churchnow Lord Bishop of Winchester,and others, to petition the Parliament for recalling the injunction, or a mitigation of it, or accept of their reasons why they could not take the Oaths enjoined them; and the petition was by Parliament referred to a committee to hear and report the reasons to the House, and a day set for hearing them. This done, Dr. Morley and the rest went to inform and fee Counsel, to plead their cause on the day appointed; but there had been so many committed for pleading, that none durst undertake it; for at this time the privileges of that Parliament were become a Noli me tangere, as sacred and useful to them, as traditions ever were, or are now, to the Church of Rome; their number mus! t never be known, and therefore not without danger to be meddled with. For which reason Dr. Morley was forced, for want of Counsel, to plead the University’s Reasons for non-compliance with the Parliament’s injunctions: and though this was done with great reason, and a boldness equal to the justice of his cause; yet the effect of it was, but that he and the rest appearing with him were so fortunate, as to return to Oxford without commitment. This was some few days before the Visitors and more soldiers were sent down to drive the Dissenters out of the University. And one that was, at this time of Dr. Morley’s pleading, a powerful man in the Parliament, and of that committee, observing Dr. Morley’s behaviour and reason, and inquiring of him and hearing a good report of his morals, was therefore willing to afford him a peculiar favour; and, that he might express it, sent for me that relate this story, and knew Dr. Morley well, and told me, "he had such a love for Dr. Morley ! that knowing he would not take the Oaths, and must therefore be ejected his College, and leave Oxford; he desired I would therefore write to him to ride out of Oxford, when the Visitors came into it, and not return till they left it, and he should be sure then to return in safety; and that he should, without taking any Oath or other molestation, enjoy his Canon’s place in his College." I did receive this intended kindness with a sudden gladness, because I was sure the party had a power, and as sure he meant to perform it, and did therefore write the Doctor word: and his answer was, "that I must not fail to return my friend,who still liveshis humble and undissembled thanks, though he could not accept of his intended kindness; for when the Dean, Dr. Gardiner, Dr. Paine, Dr. Hammond, Dr. Sanderson, and all the rest of the College, were turned out, except Dr. Wall, he should take it to be, if not a sin, yet a shame, to be left behind with him only. Dr. Wall I! knew, and will speak nothing of him, for he is dead.
It may easily be imagined, with what a joyful willingness these self-loving reformers took possession of all vacant preferments, and with what reluctance others parted with their beloved Colleges and subsistence: but their consciences were dearer than their subsistence, and out they went; the reformers possessing them without shame or scruple: where I will leave these scruple-mongers, and make an account of the then present affairs of London, to be the next employment of my Reader’s patience.
And in London all the Bishop’s houses were turned to be prisons, and they filled with Divines, that would not take the Covenant, or forbear reading Common Prayer, or that were accused for some faults like these. For it may he noted, that about this time the Parliament set out a proclamation, to encourage all laymen that had occasion to complain of their Ministers for being troublesome or scandalous, or that conformed not to Orders of Parliament, to make their complaint to a committee for that purpose; and the Minister, though a hundred miles from London, should appear there, and give satisfaction, or be sequestered;and you may be sure no Parish could want a covetous, or malicious, or cross-grained complainant;by which means all prisons in London, and in some other places, became the sad habitations of conforming Divines.
And about this time the Bishop of Canterbury having been by an unknown law condemned to die, and the execution suspended for some days, many of the malicious citizens, fearing his pardon, shut up their shops, professing not to open them till justice was executed. This malice and madness is scarce credible; but I saw it.
The Bishops had been voted out of the House of Parliament, and some upon that occasion sent to the Tower; which made many Covenanters rejoice, and believe Mr. Brightmanwho probably was a good and well-meaning manto be inspired in his "Comment on the Apocalypse," an abridgment of which was now printed, and called Mr. "Brightman’s Revelation of the Revelation." And though he was grossly mistaken in other things, yet, because he had made the Churches of Geneva and Scotland, which had no Bishops, to be Philadelphia in the Apocalypse, the Angel that God loved; Rev. iii. 7-13, and the power of Prelacy to be Antichrist, the evil Angel, which the House of Commons had now so spewed up, as never to recover their dignity; therefore did those Covenanters approve and applaud Mr. Brightman for discovering and foretelling the Bishops’ downfall; so that they both railed at them, and rejoiced to buy good pennyworths of their land which their friends of the Ho! use of Commons did afford them, as a reward of their diligent assistance to pull them down.
And the Bishop’s power being now vacated, the common people were made so happy, as every Parish might choose their own Minister, and tell him when he did, and when he did not, preach true doctrine: and by this and like means, several Churches had several teachers, that prayed and preached for and against one another: and engaged their hearers to contend furiously for truths which they understood not; some of which I shall mention in the discourse that follows.
I have heard of two men, that in their discourse undertook to give a character of a third person: and one concluded he was a very honest man, "for he was beholden to him;" and the other, that he was not, "for he was not beholden to him." And something like this was in the designs both of the Covenanters and Independents, the last of which were now grown both as numerous and as powerful as the former: for though they differed much in many principles, and preached against each other, one making it a sign of being in the state of grace; if we were but zealous for the Covenant; and the other, that we ought to buy and sell by a measure, and to allow the same liberty of conscience to others, which we by Scripture claim to ourselves; and therefore not to force any to swear the Covenant contrary to their consciences, and lose both their livings and liberties too. Though these differed thus in their conclusions, yet they both agreed in their practice to preach do! wn Common Prayer, and get into the best sequestered livings; and whatever became of the true owners, their wives and children, yet to continue in them without the least scruple of conscience.
They also made other strange observations of Election, Reprobation, and Free Will, and the other points dependent upon these; such as the wisest of the common people were not fit to judge of; I am sure I am not: though I must mention some of them historically in a more proper place; when I have brought my Reader with me to Dr. Sanderson at Boothby Pannell.
And in the way thither I must tell him, that a very Covenanter; and a Scot too, that came into England with this unhappy Covenant, was got into a good sequestered living by the help of a Presbyterian Parish, which had got the true owner out. And this Scotch Presbyterian, being well settled in this good living, began to reform the Church-yard, by cutting down a large yew-tree, and some other trees that were an ornament to the place, and very often a shelter to the parishioners; who, excepting against him for so doing, were answered, "That the trees were his, and ’twas lawful for every man to use his own, as he, and not as they thought fit." I have heard, but do not affirm it, that no action lies against him that is so wicked as to steal the winding-sheet of a dead body after it is buried; and have heard the reason to be, because none were supposed to be so void of humanity; and that such a law would vilify that nation that would but suppose so vile a man to be born! in it: nor would one suppose any man to do what this Covenanter did. And whether there were any law against him, I know not; but pity the Parish the less for turning out their legal Minister.
We have now overtaken Dr. Sanderson at Buothby Parish, where he hoped to have enjoyed himself, though in a poor, yet in a quiet and desired privacy; but it proved otherwise: for all corners of the nation were filled with Covenanters, confusion, Committee-men, and soldiers, serving each other to their several ends, of revenge, or power, or profit; and these Committee-men and soldiers were most of them so possessed with this Covenant, that they became like those that were infected with that dreadful Plague of Athens: the plague of which Plague was, that they by it became maliciously restless to get into company, and to joy,so the Historian saith,when they had infected others, even those of their most beloved or nearest friends or relations: and though there might be some of these Covenanters that were beguiled and meant well; yet such were the generality of them, and temper of the times, that you may be sure Dr. Sanderson, who though quiet and harmless, yet an emi! nent dissenter from them, could not live peaceably; nor did he; for the soldiers would appear, and visibly disturb him in the Church when he read prayers, pretending to advise him how God was to be served most acceptably: which he not approving, but continuing to observe order and decent behaviour in reading the Church-service, they forced his book from him, and tore it, expecting extemporary prayers.
At this time he was advised by a Parliament man of power and note, that valued and loved him much, not to be strict in reading all the Common Prayer, but make some little variation, especially if the soldiers came to watch him; for then it might not be in the power of him and his other friends to secure him from taking the Covenant, or Sequestration: for which reasons he did vary somewhat from the strict rules of the Rubric. I will set down the very words of confession which he used, as I have it under his own hand; and tell the Reader, that all his other variations were as little, and much like to this.
"O Almighty God and merciful Father, we, thy unworthy servants, do with shame and sorrow confess, that we have all our life long gone astray out of thy ways like lost sheep; and that, by following too much the vain devices and desires of our own hearts, we have grievously offended against thy holy laws, both in thought, word, and deed; we have many times left undone those good duties, which we might and ought to have done; and we have many times done those evils, when we might have avoided them, which we ought not to have done. We confess, O Lord! that there is no health at all, nor help in any creature to relieve us; but all our hope is in thy mercy, whose justice we have by our sins so far provoked. Have mercy therefore upon us, O Lord! have mercy upon us miserable offenders; spare us, good God, who confess our faults, that we perish not; but, according to thy gracious promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord, restore us! upon our true repentance into thy grace and favour. And grant, O most merciful Father! for his sake, that we henceforth study to serve and please thee by leading a godly, righteous, and a sober life, to the glory of thy holy name, and the eternal comfort of our own souls, through Jesus Christ our Lord." Amen.
In these disturbances of tearing his service-book, a neighbour came on a Sunday, after the evening service was ended, to visit and condole with him for the affront offered by the soldiers. To whom he spake with a composed patience, and said; "God hath restored me to my desired privacy, with my wife and children; where I hoped to have met with quietness, and it proves not so: but I will labour to be pleased, because God, on whom I depend, sees it is not fit for me to be quiet. I praise him, that he hath by his grace prevented me, from making shipwreck of a good conscience to maintain me in a place of great reputation and profit: and though my condition be such, that I need the last, yet I submit; for God did not send me into this world to do my own, but suffer his will, and I will obey it." Thus by a sublime depending on his wise, and powerful, and pitiful Creator, he did cheerfully submit to what God hath appointed, justifying the truth of that doctrine which he h! ad preached.
About this time that excellent book of "The King’s Meditations in his Solitude" was printed, and made public; and Dr. Sanderson was such a lover of the Author, and so desirous that the whole world should see the character of him in that book, and something of the cause for which they suffered, that he designed to turn it into Latin: but when he had done half of it most excellently, his friend Dr. Earle prevented him, by appearing to have done the whole very well before him.
About this time his dear and most intimate friend, the learned Dr. Hammond, came to enjoy a conversation and rest with him for some days; and did so. And having formerly persuaded him to trust his excellent memory, and not read, but try to speak a sermon as he had writ it, Dr. Sanderson became so compliant, as to promise he would. And to that end they two went early the Sunday following to a neighbour Minister, and requested to exchange a sermon; and they did so. And at Dr. Sanderson’s going into the pulpit, he gave his sermonwhich was a very short oneinto the hand of Dr. Hammond, intending to preach it as it was writ: but before he had preached a third part, Dr. Hammond,looking on his sermon as writtenobserved him to be out, and so lost as to the matter, that he also became afraid for him: for ’twas discernible to many of the plain auditory. But when he had ended this short sermon, as they two walked homeward, Dr. Sanderson said with much earnestnes! s, "Good Doctor, give me my sermon; and know, that neither you nor any man living, shall ever persuade me to preach again without my books." To which the reply was, "Good Doctor, be not angry: for if I ever persuade you to preach again without book, I will give you leave to burn all those that I am master of."
Part of the occasion of Dr. Hammond’s visit, was at this time to discourse with Dr. Sanderson about some opinions, in which, if they did not then, they had doubtless differed formerly: it was about those knotty points, which are by the learned called the Quinquarticular Controversy; of which I shall proceed, not to give any judgment,I pretend not to that,but some short historical account which shall follow.
There had been, since the unhappy Covenant was brought and so generally taken in England, a liberty given or taken by many Preachersthose of London especiallyto preach and be too positive in the points of Universal Redemption, Predestination, and those other depending upon these. Some of which preached, "That all men were, before they came into this world, so predestinated to salvation or damnation, that it was not in their power to sin so, as to lose the first, nor by their most diligent endeavour to avoid the latter. Others, that it was not so: because then God could not be said to grieve for the death of a sinner, when he himself had made him so by an inevitable decree, before he had so much as a being in this world;" affirming therefore, "that man had some power left him to do the will of God, because he was advised to work out his salvation with fear and trembling;" maintaining, "that it is most certain every man can do what he can ! to be saved;" and that "he that does what he can to be saved, shall never be damned." And yet many that affirmed this would confess, "That that grace, which is but a persuasive offer, and left to us to receive, or refuse, is not that grace which shall bring men to Heaven." Which truths, or untruths, or both, be they which they will, did upon these, or the like occasions, come to be searched into, and charitably debated betwixt Dr. Sanderson, Dr. Hammond, and Dr. Pierce,the now Reverend Dean of Salisbury,of which I shall proceed to give some account, but briefly.
In the year 1648, the fifty-two London Ministersthen a fraternity of Sion College in that Cityhad in a printed Declaration aspersed Dr. Hammond most heinously, for that he had in his Practical Catechism affirmed, that our Saviour died for the sins of all mankind. To justify which truth, he presently makes a charitable replyas ’tis now printed in his works.After which there were many letters passed betwixt the said Dr. Hammond, Dr. Sanderson, and Dr. Pierce, concerning God’s grace and decrees. Dr. Sanderson was with much unwillingness drawn into this debate; for he declared it would prove uneasy to him, who in his judgment of God’s decrees differed with Dr. Hammond,whom he reverenced and loved dearly,and would not therefore engage him into a controversy, of which he could never hope to see an end: but they did all enter into a charitable disquisition of these said points in several letters, to the full satisfaction of the learned; those be! twixt Dr. Sanderson and Dr. Hammond being printed in his works; and for what passed betwixt him and the learned Dr. Pierce, I refer my Reader to a Letter annexed to the end of this relation.
I think the judgment of Dr. Sanderson was, by these debates, altered from what it was at his entrance into them; for in the year 1632, when his excellent Sermons were first printed in quarto, the Reader may, on the margin, find some accusation of Arminius for false doctrine; and find that, upon a review and reprinting those Sermons in folio, in the year 1657, that accusation of Arminius is omitted. And the change of his judgment seems more fully to appear in his said letter to Dr. Pierce. And let me now tell the Reader, which may seem to be perplexed with these several affirmations of God’s decrees before mentioned, that Dr. Hammond, in a postscript to the last letter of Dr. Sanderson’s, says, "God can reconcile his own contradictions, and therefore advises all men, as the Apostle does, to study mortification, and be wise to sobriety." And let me add further, that if these fifty-two Ministers of Sion College were the occasion of the debates in these letters, they ! have, I think, been the occasion of giving an end to the Quinquarticular Controversy; for none have since undertaken to say more; but seem to be so wise, as to be content to be ignorant of the rest, till they come to that place, where the secrets of all hearts shall be laid open. And let me here tell the Reader also, that if the rest of mankind would, as Dr. Sanderson, not conceal their alteration of judgment, but confess it to the honour of God and themselves, then our nation would become freer from pertinacious disputes, and fuller of recantations.
I cannot lead my Reader to Dr. Hammond and Dr. Sanderson, where we left them at Boothby Pannell, till I have looked back to the Long Parliament, the Society of Covenanters in Sion College, and those others scattered up and down in London, and given some account of their proceedings and usage of the late learned Dr. Laud, then Archbishop of Canterbury. And though I will forbear to mention the injustice of his death, and the barbarous usage of him, both then and before it; yet my desire is that what follows may be noted, because it does now, or may hereafter, concern us; namely, that in his last sad sermon on the scaffold at his death, he having freely pardoned all his enemies, and humbly begged of God to pardon them, and besought those present to pardon and pray for him; yet he seemed to accuse the magistrates of the City, for suffering a sort of wretched people, that could not know why he was condemned, to go visibly up and down to gather hands to a petition, that the Parli! ament would hasten his execution. And having declared how unjustly he thought himself to be condemned, and accused for endeavouring to bring in Popery,for that was one of the accusations for which he died,he declared with sadness, "That the several sects and divisions then in Englandwhich he had laboured to prevent,were like to bring the Pope a far greater harvest, than he could ever have expected without them." And said, "These sects and divisions introduce profaneness under the cloak of an imaginary Religion; and that we have lost the substance of Religion by changing it into opinion: and that by these means this Church, which all the Jesuits’ machinations could not ruin, was fallen into apparent danger by those which were his accusers." To this purpose he spoke at his death: for this, and more of which, the Reader may view his last sad sermon on the scaffold. And it is here mentioned, because his dear friend, Dr. Sanderson, seems ! to demonstrate the same in his two large and remarkable Prefaces before his two volumes of Sermons; and he seems also, with much sorrow, to say the same again in his last Will, made when he apprehended himself to be very near his death. And these Covenanters ought to take notice of it, and to remember, that, by the late wicked war begun by them, Dr. Sanderson was ejected out of the Professor’s Chair in Oxford; and that if he had continued in it,for he lived fourteen years after,both the learned of this, and other nations, had been made happy by many remarkable Cases of Conscience, so rationally stated, and so briefly, so clearly, and so convincingly determined, that posterity might have joyed and boasted, that Dr. Sanderson was born in this nation, for the ease and benefit of all the learned that shall be born after him: but this benefit is so like time past, that they are both irrecoverably lost.
I should now return to Boothby Pannell, where we left Dr. Hammond and Dr. Sanderson together; but neither can be found there: for the first was in his journey to London, and the second seized upon the day after his friend’s departure, and carried prisoner to Lincoln, then a garrison of the Parliament’s. For the pretended reason of which commitment, I shall give this following account.
There was one Mr. Clarke, the Minister of Alington, a town not many miles from Boothby Pannell, who was an active man for the Parliament and Covenant; one that, when Belvoir Castlethen a garrison for the Parliamentwas taken by a party of the King’s soldiers, was taken in it, and made a prisoner of war in Newark, then a garrison of the King’s; a man so active and useful for his party, that they became so much concerned for his enlargement, that the Committee of Lincoln sent a troop of horse to seize and bring Dr. Sanderson a prisoner to that garrison: and they did so. And there he had the happiness to meet with many, that knew him so well as to treat him kindly; but told him, "He must continue their prisoner, till he should purchase his own enlargement by procuring an exchange for Mr. Clarke, then prisoner in the King’s garrison of Newark." There were many reasons given by the Doctor of the injustice of his imprisonment, and the inequality of the exchan! ge: but all were ineffectual; for done it must be, or he continue a prisoner. And in time done it was, upon the following conditions.
First, that Dr. Sanderson and Mr. Clarke being exchanged, should live undisturbed at their own Parishes; and if either were injured by the soldiers of the contrary party, the other, having notice of it, should procure him a redress, by having satisfaction made for his loss, or for any other injury; or if not, he to be used in the same kind by the other party. Nevertheless, Dr. Sanderson could neither live safe nor quietly, being several times plundered, and once wounded in three places: but he, apprehending the remedy might turn to a more intolerable burden by impatience or complaining, forbore both; and possessed his soul in a contented quietness, without the least repining. But though he could not enjoy the safety he expected by this exchange, yet, by His providence that can bring good out of evil, it turned so much to his advantage, that whereas as his living had been sequestered from the year 1644, and continued to be so till this time of his imprisonment, he, by the Ar! ticles of War in this exchange for Mr. Clarke, procured his sequestration to be recalled, and by that means enjoyed a poor, but contented subsistence for himself wife, and children, till the happy restoration of our King and Church.
In this time of his poor, but contented privacy of life, his casuistical learning, peaceful moderation, and sincerity, became so remarkable, that there were many that applied themselves to him for resolution in cases of conscience; some known to him, many not; some requiring satisfaction by conference, others by letters; so many, that his life became almost as restless as their minds; yet he denied no man: and if it be a truth which holy Mr. Herbert says, "That all worldly joys seem less, when compared with shewing mercy or doing kindnesses;" then doubtless Dr. Sanderson might have boasted for relieving so many restless and wounded consciences; which, as Solomon says, "are a burden that none can bear, though their fortitude may sustain their other infirmities;" and if words cannot express the joy of a conscience relieved from such restless agonies; then Dr. Sanderson might rejoice that so many were by him so clearly and conscientiously satisfied, for he ! denied none, and would often praise God for that ability, and as often for the occasion, and that God had inclined his heart to do it to the meanest of any of those poor, but precious souls, for which his Saviour vouchsafed to be crucified.
Some of these very many cases that were resolved by letters, have been preserved and printed for the benefit of posterity; as namely,
1. Of the Sabbath.
2. Marrying with a Recusant.
3. Of unlawful love.
4. Of a military life.
5. Of Scandal.
6. Of a bond taken in the King’s name.
7. Of the Engagement.
8. Of a rash vow.
But many more remain in private hands, of which one is of Simony; and I wish the world might see it, that it might undeceive some Patrons, who think they have discharged that great and dangerous trust, both to God and man, if they take no money for a living, though it may be parted with for other ends less justifiable.
And in this time of his retirement, when the common people were amazed and grown giddy by the many falsehoods, and misapplications of truths frequently vented in sermons; when they wrested the Scripture by challenging God to be of their party, and called upon him in their prayers to patronize their sacrilege and zealous frenzies; in this time he did so compassionate the generality of this misled nation, that though the times threatened danger, yet, he then hazarded his safety by writing the large and bold Preface now extant before his last twenty Sermons;first printed in the year 1655;in which there was such strength of reason, with so powerful and clear convincing applications made to the Non-conformists, as being read by one of those dissenting brethren, who was possessed with such a spirit of contradiction, as being neither able to defend his error, nor yield to truth manifest,his conscience having slept long and quietly in a good sequestered living,! 51;was yet at the reading of it so awakened, that after a conflict with the reason he had met, and the damage he was to sustain if he consented to it,and being still unwilling to be so convinced, as to lose by being over-reasoned,he went in haste to the bookseller of whom it was bought, threatened him, and told him in anger, "he had sold a book in which there was false Divinity; and that the Preface had upbraided the Parliament, and many godly Ministers of that party, for unjust dealing." To which his reply was,’twas Tim. Garthwaite,"That ’twas not his trade to judge of true or false Divinity, but to print and sell books: and yet if he, or any friend of his, would write an answer to it, and own it by setting his name to it, he would print the Answer, and promote the selling of it."
About the time of his printing this excellent Preface, I met him accidentally in London, in sad-coloured clothes, and, God knows, far from being costly. The place of our meeting was near to Little Britain, where he had been to buy a book, which he then had in his hand. We had no inclination to part presently, and therefore turned to stand in a corner under a penthouse,for it began to rain,and immediately the wind rose, and the rain increased so much, that both became so inconvenient, as to force us into a cleanly house, where we had bread, cheese, ale, and a fire for our money. This rain and wind were so obliging to me, as to force our stay there for at least an hour, to my great content and advantage; for in that time he made to me many useful observations, with much clearness and conscientious freedom. I shall relate a part of them, in hope they may also turn to the advantage of my Reader. He seemed to lament, that the Parliament had taken upon them to abolish! our Liturgy, to the scandal of so many devout and learned men, and the disgrace of those many martyrs, who had sealed the truth and use of it with their blood: and that no Minister was now thought godly that did not decry it, and at least pretend to make better prayers ex tempore; and that they, and only they, that could do so, prayed by the Spirit, and were godly; though in their sermons they disputed, and evidently contradicted each other in their prayers. And as he did dislike this, so he did most highly commend the Common Prayer of the Church, saying, "the Collects were the most passionate, proper, and most elegant expressions that any language ever afforded; and that there was in them such piety, and so interwoven with instructions, that they taught us to know the power, the wisdom, the majesty, and mercy of God, and much of our duty both to him and our neighbour; and that a congregation, behaving themselves reverently, and putting up to God these joint and k! nown desires for pardon of sins, and praises for mercies received, could not but be more pleasing to God, than those raw, unpremeditated expressions, to which many of the hearers could not say, Amen."
And he then commended to me the frequent use of the Psalter, or Psalms of David; speaking to this purpose: "That they were the treasury of Christian comfort, fitted for all persons and necessities; able to raise the soul from dejection by the frequent mention of God’s mercies to repentant sinners; to stir up holy desires: to increase joy; to moderate sorrow; to nourish hope, and teach us patience, by waiting God’s leisure; to beget a trust in the mercy, power, and providence of our Creator; and to cause a resignation of ourselves to his will; and then, and not till then, to believe ourselves happy." This, he said, the Liturgy and Psalms taught us; and that by the frequent use of the last, they would not only prove to be our soul’s comfort, but would become so habitual, as to transform them into the Image of his soul that composed them. After this manner he expressed himself concerning the Liturgy and Psalms; and seemed to lament that this, which was the devotion o! f the more primitive times, should in common pulpits be turned into needless debates about Freewill, Election, and Reprobation, of which, and many like questions, we may be safely ignorant, because Almighty God intends not to lead us to Heaven by hard questions, but by meekness and charity, and a frequent practice of devotion.
And he seemed to lament very much, that, by the means of irregular and indiscreet preaching, the generality of the nation were possessed with such dangerous mistakes, as to think, "they might be religious first, and then just and merciful; that they might sell their consciences, and yet have something left that was worth keeping; that they might be sure they were elected, though their lives were visibly scandalous; that to be cunning was to be wise; that to be rich was to be happy, though their wealth was got without justice or mercy; that to be busy in things they understood not, was no sin." These and the like mistakes he lamented much, and besought God to remove them, and restore us to that humility, sincerity, and singleheartedness, with which this nation was blessed, before the unhappy Covenant was brought into the nation, and every man preached and prayed what seemed best in his own eyes. And he then said to me, "That the way to restore this nation to a! more meek and Christian temper, was to have the body of Divinityor so much of it as was needful to be knownto be put into fifty-two Homilies or Sermons, of such a length as not to exceed a third, or fourth part of an hour’s reading; and these needful points to be made so clear and plain, that those of a mean capacity might know what was necessary to be believed, and what God requires to be done; and then some applications of trial and conviction: and these to be read every Sunday of the year, as infallibly as the blood circulates the body; and then as certainly begun again, and continued the year following: and that this being done, it might probably abate the inordinate desire of knowing what we need not, and practising what we know and ought to do." This was the earnest desire of this prudent man. And Oh that Dr. Sanderson had undertaken it! for then in all probability it would have proved effectual.
At this happy time of enjoying his company and this discourse, he expressed a sorrow by saying to me, "Oh that I had gone Chaplain to that excellently accomplished gentleman, your friend, Sir Henry Wotton! which was once intended, when he first went Ambassador to the State of Venice: for by that employment I had been forced into a necessity of conversing, not with him only, but with several men of several nations; and might thereby have kept myself from my unmanly bashfulness, which has proved very troublesome, and not less inconvenient to me; and which I now fear is become so habitual as never to leave me: and by that means I might also have known, or at least have had the satisfaction of seeing, one of the late miracles of general learning, prudence, and modesty, Sir Henry Wotton’s dear friend, Padre Paulo, who, the author of his life says, was born with a bashfulness as invincible as I have found my own to be: a man whose fame must never die, till virtue and learnin! g shall become so useless as not to be regarded."
This was a part of the benefit I then had by that hour’s conversation: and I gladly remember and mention it, as an argument of my happiness, and his great humility and condescension. I had also a like advantage by another happy conference with him, which I am desirous to impart in this place to the Reader. He lamented much, that in many Parishes, where the maintenance was not great, there was no Minister to officiate; and that many of the best sequestered livings were possessed with such rigid Covenanters as denied the Sacrament to their Parishioners, unless upon such conditions, and in such a manner, as they could not take it. This he mentioned with much sorrow, saying, "The blessed Sacrament did, by way of preparation for it, give occasion to all conscientious receivers to examine the performance of their vows, since they received their last seal for the pardon of their sins past; and to examine and re-search their hearts, and make penitent reflections on their faili! ngs; and, that done, to bewail them, and then make new vows or resolutions to obey all God’s commands, and beg his grace to perform them. And this done, the Sacrament repairs the decays of grace, helps us to conquer infirmities, gives us grace to beg God’s grace, and then gives us what we beg; makes us still hunger and thirst after his righteousness, which we then receive, and being assisted with our endeavours, will still so dwell in us, as to become our satisfaction in this life, and our comfort on our last sick beds." The want of this blessed benefit he lamented much, and pitied their condition that desired, but could not obtain it.
I hope I shall not disoblige my Reader, if I here enlarge into a further character of his person and temper. As first, that he was moderately tall: his behaviour had in it much of a plain comeliness, and very little, yet enough, of ceremony or courtship; his looks and motion manifested affability and mildness, and yet he had with these a calm, but so matchless a fortitude, as secured him from complying with any of those many Parliament injunctions, that interfered with a doubtful conscience. His learning was methodical and exact, his wisdom useful, his integrity visible, and his whole life so unspotted, that all ought to be preserved as copies for posterity to write after; the Clergy especially, who with impure hands ought not to offer sacrifice to that God, whose pure eyes abhor iniquity.
There was in his Sermons no improper rhetoric, nor such perplexed divisions, as may be said to be like too much light, that so dazzles the eyes, that the sight becomes less perfect: but there was therein no want of useful matter, nor waste of words; and yet such clear distinctions as dispelled all confused notions, and made his hearers depart both wiser, and more confirmed in virtuous resolutions.
His memory was so matchless and firm, as ’twas only overcome by his bashfulness; for he alone, or to a friend, could repeat all the Odes of Horace, all Tully’s Offices, and much of Juvenal and Persius, without book: and would say, "the repetition of one of the Odes of Horace to himself, was to him such music, as a lesson on the viol was to others, when they played it to themselves or friends." And though he was blest with a clearer judgment than other men, yet he was so distrustful of it, that he did over-consider of consequences, and would so delay and reconsider what to determine, that though none ever determined better, yet, when the bell tolled for him to appear and read his Divinity Lectures in Oxford, and all the Scholars attended to hear him, he had not then, or not till then, resolved and writ what he ment to determine; so that that appeared to be a truth, which his old dear friend Dr. Sheldon would often say, namely, "That his judgment was so much su! perior to his fancy, that whatsoever this suggested, that disliked and controlled; still considering, and reconsidering, till his time was so wasted, that he was forced to write, not, probably, what was best, but what he thought last." And yet what he did then read, appeared to all hearers to be so useful, clear, and satisfactory, as none ever determined with greater applause. These tiring and perplexing thoughts, begot in him an averseness to enter into the toil of considering and determining all casuistical points; because during that time, they neither gave rest to his body or mind. But though he would not be always loaden with these knotty points and distinctions; yet the study of old records, genealogies, and Heraldry, were a recreation and so pleasing, that he would say they gave rest to his mind. Of the last of which I have seen two remarkable volumes; and the Reader needs neither to doubt their truth or exactness.
And this humble man had so conquered all repining and ambitious thoughts, and with them all other unruly passions, that, if the accidents of the day proved to his danger or damage, yet he both began and ended it with an even and undisturbed quietness; always praising God that he had not withdrawn food and raiment from him and his poor family; nor suffered him to violate his conscience for his safety, or to support himself or them in a more splendid or plentiful condition; and that he therefore resolved with David, "That his praise should be always in his mouth."
I have taken a content in giving my Reader this character of his person, his temper, and some of the accidents of his life past; and more might be added of all: but I will with sorrow look forward to the sad days, in which so many good men suffered, about the year 1658, at which time Dr. Sanderson was in a very low condition as to his estate; and in that time Mr. Robert Boylea gentleman of a very noble birth, and more eminent for his liberality, learning, and virtue, and of whom I would say much more, but that he still liveshaving casually met with and read his Lectures de Juramento, to his great satisfaction, and being informed of Dr. Sanderson’s great innocence and sincerity, and that he and his family were brought into a low condition by his not complying with the Parliament’s injunctions, sent him by his dear friend Dr. Barlowthe now learned Bishop of Lincoln50l. and with it a request and promise. The request was, that he would revi! ew the Lectures de Conscientia, which he had read when he was Dr. of the Chair in Oxford, and print them for the good of posterity:and this Dr. Sanderson did in the year 1659.And the promise was, that he would pay him that, or a greater sum if desired, during his life, to enable him to pay an amanuensis, to ease him from the trouble of writing what he should conceive or dictate. For the more particular account of which, I refer my Reader to a letter writ by the said Dr. Barlow, which I have annexed to the end of this relation.
Towards the end of this year, 1659, when the many mixed sects, and their creators and merciless protectors, had led or driven each other into a whirlpool of confusion: when amazement and fear had seized them, and their accusing consciences gave them an inward and fearful intelligence, that the god which they had long served was now ready to pay them such wages, as he does always reward witches with for their obeying him: when these wretches were come to foresee an end of their cruel reign, by our King’s return; and such sufferers as Dr. Sandersonand with him many of the oppressed Clergy and otherscould foresee the cloud of their afflictions would be dispersed by it; then, in the beginning of the year following, the King was by God restored to us, and we to our known laws and liberties, and a general joy and peace seemed to breathe through the three nations. Then were the suffering Clergy freed from their sequestration; restored to their revenues, and to a libert! y to adore, praise, and pray to God in such order as their consciences and oaths had formerly obliged them. And the Reader will easily believe, that Dr. Sanderson and his dejected family rejoiced to see this day, and be of this number.
It ought to be consideredwhich I have often heard or readthat in the primitive times men of learning and virtue were usually sought for, and solicited to accept of Episcopal government, and often refused it. For they conscientiously considered, that the office of a Bishop was made up of labour and care; that they were trusted to be God’s almoners of the Church’s revenue, and double their care for the poor; to live strictly themselves, and use all diligence to see that their family, officers, and Clergy did so and that the account of that stewardship must, at the last dreadful day, be made to the Searcher of all Hearts: and that in the primitive times they were therefore timorous to undertake it. It may not be said, that Dr. Sanderson was accomplished with these, and all the other requisites required in a Bishop, so as to be able to answer them exactly: but it may be affirmed, as a good preparation, that he had at the age of seventy-three yearsfor he was so! old at the King’s Returnfewer faults to be pardoned by God or man, than are apparent in others in these days, in which, God knows, we fall so short of that visible sanctity and zeal to God’s glory, which was apparent in the days of primitive Christianity. This is mentioned by way of preparation to what I shall say more of Dr. Sanderson; and namely, that, at the King’s return, Dr. Sheldon, the late prudent Bishop of Canterbury,than whom none knew, valued, or loved Dr. Sanderson more or better,was by his Majesty made a chief trustee to commend to him fit men to supply the then vacant Bishoprics. And Dr. Sheldon knew none fitter than Dr. Sanderson, and therefore humbly desired the King that he would nominate him: and, that done, he did as humbly desire Dr Sanderson that he would, for God’s and the Church’s sake, take that charge and care upon him. Dr. Sanderson had, if not an unwillingness, certainly no forwardness to undertake it; and would often say, he had n! ot led himself, but his friend would now lead him into a temptation, which he had daily prayed against; and besought God, if he did undertake it, so to assist him with his grace, that the example of his life, his cares and endeavours might promote his glory, and help forward the salvation of others.
This I have mentioned as a happy preparation to his Bishopric; and am next to tell, that he was consecrated Bishop of Lincoln at Westminster, the 28th of October, 1660.
There was about this time a Christian care taken, that those whose consciences were, as they said, tender, and could not comply with the service and ceremonies of the Church, might have satisfaction given by a friendly debate betwixt a select number of them, and some like number of those that had been sufferers for the Church-service and ceremonies, and now restored to liberty; of which last some were then preferred to power and dignity in the Church. And of these Bishop Sanderson was one, and then chose to be a moderator in that debate: and be performed his trust with much mildness, patience, and reason; but all proved ineffectual: for there be some prepossessions like jealousies, which, though causeless, yet cannot be removed by reasons as apparent as demonstration can make any truth. The place appointed for this debate was the Savoy in the Strand: and the points debated were, I think, many; some affirmed to be truth and reason, some denied to be either; and these debates! being then in words, proved to be so loose and perplexed as satisfied neither party. For sometime that which had been affirmed was immediately forgot or denied, and so no satisfaction given to either party. But that the debate might become more useful, it was therefore resolved, that the day following the desires and reasons of the Nonconformists should be given in writing, and they in writing receive answers from the conforming party. And though I neither now can, nor need to mention all the points debated, nor the names of the dissenting brethren; yet I am sure Mr. Baxter was one, and am sure what shall now follow was one of the points debated.
Concerning a command of lawful superiors, what was sufficient to its being a lawful command; this proposition was brought by the conforming party.
"That command which commands an act in itself lawful, and no other act or circumstance unlawful, is not sinful."
Mr. Baxter denied it for two reasons, which he gave in with his own hand in writing, thus:
One was, "Because that may be a sin per accidens, which is not so in itself, and may be unlawfully commanded, though that accident be not in the command." Another was, "That it may be commanded under an unjust penalty."
Again, this proposition being brought by the Conformists, "That command which commandeth an act in itself lawful, and no other act whereby any unjust penalty is enjoined, nor any circumstance whence, per accidens, any sin is consequent which the commander ought to provide against, is not sinful."
Mr. Baxter denied it for this reason, then given in with his own hand in writing thus: "Because the first act commanded may be per accidens unlawful, and be commanded by an unjust penalty, though no other act or circumstance commanded be such."
Again, this proposition being brought by the Conformists, "That command which commandeth an act in itself lawful, and no other act whereby any unjust penalty is enjoined, nor any circumstance, whence directly, or per accidens, any sin is consequent, which the commander ought to provide against, hath in it all things requisite to the lawfulness of a command, and particularly cannot be guilty of commanding an act per accidens unlawful, nor of commanding an act under an unjust penalty."
Mr. Baxter denied it upon the same reasons.
These were then two of the disputants, still alive, and will attest this; one being now Lord Bishop of Ely, and the other of Chester. And the last of them told me very lately, that one of the Dissenterswhich I could, but forbear to nameappeared to Dr. Sanderson to be so bold, so troublesome, and so illogical in the dispute, as forced patient Dr. Sandersonwho was then Bishop of Lincoln, and a moderator with other Bishopsto say, with an unusual earnestness, "That he had never met with a man of more pertinacious confidence, and less abilities, in all his conversation."
But though this debate at the Savoy was ended without any great satisfaction to either party, yet both parties knew the desires, and understood the abilities, of the other, much better than before it: and the late distressed Clergy, that were now restored to their former rights and power, did, at their next meeting in Convocation, contrive to give the dissenting party satisfaction by alteration, explanation, and addition to some part both of the Rubric and Common-Prayer, as also by adding some new necessary Collects, and a particular Collect of Thanksgiving. How many of those new Collects were worded by Dr. Sanderson, I cannot say; but am sure the whole Convocation valued him so much, that he never undertook to speak to any point in question, but he was heard with great willingness and attention; and when any point in question was determined, the Convocation did usually desire him to word their intentions, and as usually approve and thank him.
At this Convocation the Common Prayer was made more complete, by adding three new necessary Offices; which were, "A Form of Humiliation for the Murder of King Charles the Martyr; A Thanksgiving for the restoration of his Son our King; and For the Baptizing of Persons of riper Age." I cannot say Dr. Sanderson did form, or word them all, but doubtless more than any single man of the Convocation; and he did also, by desire of the Convocation, alter and add to the forms of Prayers to be used at Seanow taken into the Service-Book.And it may be noted, that William, the now Right Reverend Bishop of Canterbury, was in these employments diligently useful; especially in helping to rectify the Calendar and Rubric. And lastly, it may be noted, that, for the satisfying all the dissenting brethren and others, the Convocation’s reasons for the alterations and additions to the Liturgy were by them desired to be drawn up by Dr. Sanderson; which being done by him, and a! pproved by them, was appointed to be printed before the Liturgy, and may be known by this title"The Preface;" and begins thus"it hath been the Wisdom of the Church."I shall now follow him to his Bishopric, and declare a part of his behaviour in that busy and weighty employment. And first, that it was with such condescension and obligingness to the meanest of his Clergy, as to know and be known to them. And indeed he practised the like to all men of what degree soever, especially to his old neighbours or parishioners of Boothby Pannell; for there was all joy at his table, when they came to visit him: then they prayed for him, and he for them, with an unfeigned affection.
I think it will not be denied, but that the care and toil required of a Bishop, may justly challenge the riches and revenue, with which their predecessors had lawfully endowed them; and yet he sought not that so much, as doing good both to the present age and posterity; and he made this appear by what follows.
The Bishop’s chief house at Buckden, in the County of Huntingdon, the usual residence of his predecessors,for it stands about the midst of his Diocese,having been at his consecration a great part of it demolished, and what was left standing under a visible decay, was by him undertaken to be erected and repaired: and it was performed with great speed, care, and charge. And to this may be added, that the King having by an Injunction commended to the care of the Bishops, Deans, and Prebends of all Cathedral Churches, "the repair of them, their houses, and augmentation of small Vicarages;" he, when he was repairing Buckden, did also augment the last, as fast as fines were paid for renewing leases: so fast, that a friend, taking notice of his bounty, was so bold as to advise him to remember "he was under his first-fruits, and that he was old, and had a wife and children yet but meanly provided for, especially if his dignity were considered." To wh! om he made a mild and thankful answer, saying, "It would not become a Christian Bishop to suffer those houses built by his predecessors to be ruined for want of repair; and less justifiable to suffer any of those, that were called to so high a calling as to sacrifice at God’s altar, to eat the bread of sorrow constantly, when he had a power by a small augmentation, to turn it into the bread of cheerfulness: and wished, that as this was, so it were also in his power to make all mankind happy, for he desired nothing more. And for his wife and children, he hoped to leave them a competence, and in the hands of a God that would provide for all that kept innocence, and trusted his providence and protection, which he had always found enough to make and keep him happy."
There was in his Diocese a Minister of almost his age, that had been of Lincoln College when he left it, who visited him often, and always welcome, because he was a man of innocence and openheartedness. This Minister asked the Bishop what books he studied most, when he laid the foundation of his great and clear learning. To which his answer was, "that he declined reading many; but what he did read were well chosen, and read so often, that he became very familiar with them;" and said, "they were chiefly three, Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Aquinas’s Secunda Secundae, and Tully, but chiefly his Offices, which he had not read over less than twenty times, and could at this age say without book." And told him also, "the learned Civilian Doctor Zouchwho died latelyhad writ Elementa Jurisprudentiae, which was a book that he could also say without book; and that no wise man could read it too often, or love or commend too much;" and to! ld him "these had been his toil: but for himself he always had a natural love to genealogies and Heraldry; and that when his thoughts were harassed with any perplexed studies, he left off, and turned to them as a recreation; and that his very recreation had made him so perfect in them, that he could, in a very short time, give an account of the descent, arms, and antiquity of any family of the Nobility or gentry of this nation."
Before I give an account of Dr. Sanderson’s last sickness, I desire to tell the Reader that he was of a healthful constitution, cheerful and mild, of an even temper, very moderate in his diet, and had had little sickness, till some few years before his death; but was then every winter punished with a diarrhoea, which left not till warm weather returned and removed it: and this distemper did, as he grew older, seize him oftener, and continue longer with him. But though it weakened him, yet it made him rather indisposed than sick, and did no way disable him from studyingindeed too much.In this decay of his strength, but not of his memory or reason,for this distemper works not upon the understanding,he made his last Will, of which I shall give some account for confirmation of what hath been said, and what I think convenient to be known, before I declare his death and burial.
He did in his last Will, give an account of his faith and persuasion in point of Religion, and Church-government, in these very words:
"I, Robert Sanderson, Doctor of Divinity, an unworthy Minister of Jesus Christ, and, by the providence of God, Bishop of Lincoln, being by the long continuance of an habitual distemper brought to a great bodily weakness and faintness of spirits, butby the great mercy of Godwithout any bodily pain otherwise, or decay of understanding, do make this my Will and Testanient,written all with my own hand,revoking all former Wills by me heretofore made, if any such shall be found. First, I commend my soul into the hands of Almighty God, as of a faithful Creator, which I humbly beseech him mercifully to accept, looking upon it, not as it is in itself,infinitely polluted with sin,but as it is redeemed and purged with the precious blood of his only beloved Son, and my most sweet Saviour Jesus Christ; in confidence of whose merits and mediation alone it is, that I cast myself upon the mercy of God for the pardon of my sins, and the hopes of eter! nal life. And here I do profess, that as I have lived, so I desire, andby the grace of Godresolve, to die in the communion of the Catholic Church of Christ, and a true son of the Church of England: which, as it stands by law established, to be both in doctrine and worship agreeable to the word of God, and in the most, and most material points of both, conformable to the faith and practice of the godly Churches of Christ in the primitive and purer times, I do firmly believe: led so to do, not so much from the force of custom and education,to which the greatest part of mankind owe their particular different persuasions in point of Religion,as upon the clear evidence of truth and reason, after a serious and impartial examination of the grounds, as well of Popery as Puritanism, according to that measure of understanding, and those opportunities which God bath afforded me: and herein I am abundantly satisfied, that the schism which the Papists on the one han! d, and the superstition which the Puritan on the other hand, lay to our charge, are very justly chargeable upon themselves respectively. Wherefore I humbly beseech Almighty God, the Father of mercies, to preserve the Church by his power and providence, in peace, truth, and godliness, evermore to the world’s end: which doubtless he will do, if the wickedness and security of a sinful peopleand particularly those sins that are so rife, and seem daily to increase among us, of unthankfulness, riot, and sacrilegedo not tempt his patience to the contrary. And I also further humbly beseech him, that it would please him to give unto our gracious Sovereign, the reverend Bishops, and the Parliament, timely to consider the great danger that visibly threatens this Church in point of Religion by the late great increase of Popery, and in point of revenue by sacrilegious inclosures; and to provide such wholesome and effectual remedies, as may prevent the same before it be too late! ."
And for a further manifestation of his humble thoughts and desires, they may appear to the Reader by another part of his Will which follows.
"As for my corruptible body, I bequeath it to the earth whence it was taken, to be decently buried in the Parish Church of Buckden, towards the upper end of the Chancel, upon the second, orat the furthest the third day after my decease; and that with as little noise, pomp, and charge as may be, without the invitation of any person how near soever related unto me, other than the inhabitants of Buckden; without the unnecessary expence of escutcheons, gloves, ribbons, &c. and without any blacks to be hung any where in or about the house or Church, other than a pulpit cloth, a hearse-cloth, and a mourning gown for the Preacher; whereof the formerafter my body shall be interredto be given to the Preacher of the Funeral Sermon, and the latter to the Curate of the Parish for the time being. And my will further is that the Funeral Sermon be preached by my own household Chaplain, containing some wholesome discourse concerning Mortality, the Resurrection of! the Dead, and the Last Judgment; and that he shall have for his pains 5l. upon condition that he speak nothing at all concerning my person, either good or ill, other than I myself shall direct; only signifying to the auditory that it was my express will to have it so. And it is my will, that no costly monument be erected for my memory, but only a fair flat marble stone to be laid over me, with this inscription in legible Roman characters, DEPOSITUM ROBERTI SANDERSON NUPER LINCOLNIENSIS EPISCOPI, QUI OBIIT ANNO DOMINI MDCLXII. ET AETATIS SUAE SEPTUAGESIMO SEXTO, HIC REQUIESCIT IN SPE BEATAE RESURRECTIONIS. This manner of burial, although I cannot but foresee it will prove, unsatisfactory to sundry my nearest friends and relations, and be apt to be censured by others, as an evidence of my too much parsimony and narrowness of mind, as being altogether unusual, and not according to the mode of these times: yet it is agreeable to the sense of my heart, and I do very much de! sire my Will may be carefully observed herein, hoping it may become exemplary to some or other: at least however testifying at my deathwhat I have so often and earnestly professed in my life timemy utter dislike of the flatteries commonly used in Funeral Sermons, and of the vast expenses otherwise laid out in Funeral solemnities and entertainments, with very little benefit to any; which, if bestowed in pious and charitable works, might redound to the public or private benefit of many persons."
I am next to tell, that he died the 29th of January, 1662; and that his body was buried in Buckden, the third day after his death; and for the manner, that it was as far from ostentation as he desired it; and all the rest of his Will was as punctually performed. And when I haveto his just praisetold this truth, "that he died far from being rich," I shall return back to visit, and give a further account of him on his last sick bed.
His last Willof which I have mentioned a partwas made about three weeks before his death, about which time, finding his strength to decay by reason of his constant infirmity, and a consumptive cough added to it, he retired to his chamber, expressing a desire to enjoy his last thoughts to himself in private, without disturbance or care, especially of what might concern this world. And that none of his Clergywhich are more numerous than any other Bishop’smight suffer by his retirement, he did by commission impower his Chaplain, Mr. Pullin, with Episcopal power to give institutions to all livings or Church-preferments, during this his disability to do it himself. In this time of his retirement he longed for his dissolution: and when some that loved him prayed for his recovery, if he at any time found any amendment, he seemed to be displeased, by saying, "His friends said their prayers backward for him: and that it was not his desire to live a usele! ss life, and by filling up a place keep another out of it, that might do God and his Church service." He would often with much joy and thankfulness mention, "That during his being a housekeeperwhich was more than forty yearsthere had not been one buried out of his family, and that he was now like to be the first." He would also often mention with thankfulness, "That till he was three score years of age, he had never spent five shillings in law, norupon himselfso much in wine: and rejoiced much that he had so lived, as never to cause an hour’s sorrow to his good father; and hoped he should die without an enemy."
He, in this retirement, had the Church prayers read in his chamber twice every day; and at nine at night, some prayers read to him and a part of his family out of "The Whole Duty of Man." As he was remarkably punctual and regular in all his studies and actions, so he used himself to be for his meals. And his dinner being appointed to be constantly ready at the ending of prayers, and he expecting and calling for it, was answered, "It would be ready in a quarter of an hour." To which his reply was, "A quarter of an hour! Is a quarter of an hour nothing to a man that probably has not many hours to live?" And though he did live many hours after this, yet he lived not many days; for the day afterwhich was three days before his deathhe was become so weak and weary of either motion or sitting, that he was content, or forced, to keep his bed: in which I desire he may rest, till I have given some account of his behaviour there, and immediate! ly before it.
The day before he took his bed,which was three days before his death,he, that he might receive a new assurance for the pardon of his sins past, and be strengthened in his way to the New Jerusalem, took the blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of his and our blessed Jesus, from the hands of his Chaplain, Mr. Pullin, accompanied with his wife, children, and a friend, in as awful, humble, and ardent a manner, as outward reverence could express. After the praise and thanksgiving for it was ended, he spake to this purpose: "Thou, O God! tookest me out of my mother’s womb, and hast been the powerful protector of me to this present moment of my life: Thou hast neither forsaken me now I am become greyheaded, nor suffered me to forsake thee in the late days of temptation, and sacrifice my conscience for the preservation of my liberty or estate. It was by grace that I have stood, when others have fallen under my trials: and these mercies I now remember with joy an! d thankfulness; and my hope and desire is, that I may die praising thee."
The frequent repetition of the Psalms of David, hath been noted to be a great part of the devotion of the primitive Christians; the Psalms having in them not only prayers and holy instructions, but such commemorations of God’s mercies, as may preserve, comfort, and confirm our dependence on the power, and providence, and mercy of our Creator. And this is mentioned in order to telling, that as the holy Psalmist said, that his eyes should prevent both the dawning of the day and night watches, by meditating on God’s word: Psal. cxix. 147, so it was Dr. Sanderson’s constant practice every morning to entertain his first waking thoughts with a repetition of those very Psalms that the Church hath appointed to be constantly read in the daily Morning service: and having at night laid him in his bed, he as constantly closed his eyes with a repetition of those appointed for the service of the evening, remembering and repeating the very Psalms appointed for every day; and as the month ! had formerly ended and began again, so did this exercise of his devotion. And if his first waking thoughts were of the world, or what concerned it, he would arraign and condemn himself for it. Thus he began that work on earth, which is now his employment in Heaven.
After his taking his bed, and about a day before his death, he desired his Chaplain, Mr. Pullin, to give him absolution: and at his performing that office, he pulled off his cap, that Mr. Pullin might lay his hand upon his bare head. After this desire of his was satisfied, his body seemed to be at more ease, and his mind more cheerful; and he said, "Lord, forsake me not now my strength faileth me; but continue thy mercy, and let my mouth be filled with thy praise." He continued the remaining night and day very patient, and thankful for any of the little offices that were performed for his ease and refreshment: and during that time did often say the 103rd Psalm to himself, and very often these words, "My heart is fixed, O God! my heart is fixed where true joy is to be found." His thoughts seemed now to be wholly of death, for which he was so prepared, that the King of Terrors could not surprise him as a thief in the night: for he had often said, he was pr! epared, and longed for it. And as this desire seemed to come from Heaven, so it left him not till his soul ascended to that region of blessed spirits, whose employments are to join in concert with him, and sing praise and glory to that God who hath brought them to that place, into which sin and sorrow cannot enter.
Thus this pattern of meekness and primitive innocence changed this for a better life. ’Tis now too late to wish that my life may be like his; for I am in the eighty-fifth year of my age: but I humbly beseech Almighty God, that my death may; and do earnestly beg of every Reader, to sayAmen.
Blessed is the man in whose spirit there is no guile, Psalm xxxii. 2.
DR. PIERCE'S LETTER.
Good Mr. Walton,
At my return to this place, I made a yet stricter search after the letters long ago sent me from our most excellent Dr. Sanderson, before the happy restoration of the King and Church of England to their several rights: in one of which letters more especially, he was pleased to give me a narrative both of the rise and the progress, and reasons also, as well of his younger, as of his last and riper judgment, touching the famous points controverted between the Calvinians and the Arminians, as they are commonly (though unjustly and unskillfully) miscalled on either side.
The whole letter I allude to does consist of several sheets whereof a good part had been made public long ago, by the most learned, most judicious, most pious Dr. Hammond, (to whom I sent it both for his private, and for the public satisfaction, if he thought fit,) in his excellent book, entitled, "A Pacific Discourse of God’s Grace and Decrees, in full accordance with Dr. Sanderson:" to which discourse I refer you for an account of Dr. Sanderson and the history of his thoughts in his own hand-writing, wherein I sent it to Westwood, as I received it from Boothby Pannel. And although the whole book, (printed in the year 1660, and reprinted since with his other tracts in folio) is very worthy of your perusal; yet, for the work you are about, you shall not have need to read more at present than from the 8th to the 23rd page, and as far as the end of section 33. There you will find in what year the excellent man, whose life you write, became a Master of Arts: how his ! first reading of learned Hooker had been occasioned by certain puritanical pamphlets; and how good a preparative he found it for his reading of Calvin’s Institutions, the honour of whose name (at that time especially) gave such credit to his errors: how he erred with Mr. Calvin, whilst he took things upon trust in the sublapsarian way: how, being chosen to be a Clerk of the Convocation for the Diocese of Lincoln, 1625, he reduced the Quinquarticular Controversy into five schemes or tables; and thereupon discerned a necessity of quitting the sublapsarian way, of which he had before a better liking, as well as the supralapsarian, which he could never fancy. There you will meet with his two weighty reasons against them both, and find his happy change of judgment to have been ever since the year 1625, even thirty-four years before the world either knew, or, at least, took notice of it; and more particularly his reasons for rejecting Dr. Twiss, (or the way he walks in,) although hi! s acute and very learned and ancient friend.
I now proceed to let you know from Dr. Sanderson’s own hand, which was never printed, (and which you can hardly know front any, unless from his son, or from myself,) that, when that Parliament was broken up, and the convocation therewith dissolved, a gentleman of his acquaintance by occasion of some discourse about these points, told him of a book not long before published at Paris, (A. D. 1623,) by a Spanish Bishop, who had undertaken to clear the differences in the great controversy De Concordia Gratiae et Liberi Arbitrii. And because his friend perceived he was greedily desirous to see the book, he sent him one of them, containing the four first books of twelve which he intended then to publish. "When I had read," says Dr. Sanderson, in the following words of the same letter, "his Epistle Dedicatory to the Pope, (Gregory XV.) he spake so highly of his own invention, that I then began rather to suspect him for a mountebank, than to hope I should find! satisfaction from his performances. I found much confidence and great pomp of words, but little matter as to the main knot of the business, other than had been said an hundred times before, to wit, of the coexistence of all things past, present, and future in mente divina realiter ab aeterno, which is the subject of his whole third book: only he interpreteth the word realiter so as to import not only praesentialitatem objectivam, (as others held before him,) but propriam et actualem existentiam; yet confesseth it is hard to make this intelligible. In his fourth book he endeavours to declare a twofold manner of God’s working ad extra; the one sub ordine praedestinationis, of which eternity is the proper measure: the other sub ordine gratiae, whereof time is the measure; and that God worketh fortiter in the one (though not irresistibiliter as well suaviter in the other, wherein the free will, hath his proper ! working also. From the result of his whole performance I was confirmed in this opinion; that we must acknowledge the work of both grace and free will in the conversion of a sinner; and so likewise in all other events, the consistency of the infallibility of God’s foreknowledge at least (though not with any absolute, but conditional predestination) with the liberty of man’s will, and the contingency of inferior causes and effects. These, I say, we must acknowledge for the οτι : but for the το πως, I thought it bootless for me to think of comprehending it. And so came the two Acta Synodalia Dordrechtana to stand in my study, only to fill up a room to this day.
"And yet see the restless curiosity of man. Not many years after, to wit, A. D. 1632, out cometh Dr. Twiss's, Vindicicae Gratiae, a large volume, purposely writ against Arminius: and then, notwithstanding my former resolution, I must need be meddling again. The respect I bore to his person and great learning, and the acquaintance I had had with him in Oxford, drew me to the reading of that whole book. But from the reading of it (for I read it through to a syllable) I went away with many and great dissatisfactions. Sundry things in that book I took notice of, which brought me into a greater dislike of his opinion than I had before: but especially these three: First that he bottometh very much of his discourse upon a very erroneous principle, which yet he seemeth to be so deeply in love with, that he hath repeated it, I verily believe, some hundreds of times in that work: to wit this; That whatsoever is first in the intention is last in execution, and e convers! o. Which is an error of that magnitude, that I cannot but wonder how a person of such acuteness and subtilty of wit could possibly be deceived with it. All logicians know there is no such universal maxim as he buildeth upon. The true maxim is but this: Finis qui primus est in intentione, est ultimus in executione. In the order of final causes, and the means used for that end, the rule holdeth perpetually: but in other things it holdeth not at all, or but by chance; or not as a rule, and necessarily. Secondly, that, foreseeing such consequences would naturally and necessarily follow from his opinion, as would offend the ear of a sober Christian at the very first sound, he would yet rather choose not only to admit the said harsh consequences, but professedly endeavour also to maintain them, and plead hard for them in large digressions, than to recede in the least from that opinion which he had undertaken to defend. Thirdly, that seeing (out of the sharpness of his wit! ) a necessity of forsaking the ordinary sublapsarian way, and the supralapsarian too, as it had diversely been declared by all that had gone before him, (for the shunning of those rocks, which either of those ways must unavoidably cast him upon,) he was forced to seek out an untrodden path, and to frame out of his own brain a new way, (like a spider’s web wrought out of her own bowels,) hoping by that device to salve all absurdities, that could be objected; to wit, by making the glory of God (as it is indeed the chiefest, so) the only end of all other his decrees and then making all those other decrees to be but one entire coordinate medium conducing to that one end, and so the whole subordinate to it, but not any one part thereof subordinate to any other of the same. Dr. Twiss should have done well to have been more sparing in imputing the studium partium to others, wherewith his own eyes, though of eminent perspicacity, were so strangely blindfolded, that he could not! discern how this his new device, and his old dearly beloved principle, (like the Cadmean Sparti,) do mutually destroy the one the other.
"This relation of my past thoughts having spun out to a far greater length than I intended, I shall give a shorter account of what they now are concerning these points."
For which account I refer you to the following parts of Dr. Hammond’s book aforesaid, where you may find them already printed: and for another account at large of Bishop Sanderson’s last judgment concerning God’s concurrence or nonconcurrence with the actions of men, and the positive entity of sins of commission, I refer you to his letters already printed by his consent, in my large appendix to my Impartial Enquiry into the Nature of Sin, § 68. p. 193, as far as p. 200.
Sir, I have rather made it my choice to transcribe all above out of the letters of Dr. Sauderson, which lie before me, than venture the loss of my originals by post or carrier, which, though not often, yet sometimes fail. Make use of as much or as little as you please, of what I send you from himself (because from his own letters to me) in the penning of his life, as your own prudence shall direct you; using my name for your warranty in the account given of him, as much or as little as you please too. You have a performance of my promise, and an obedience to your desires from
March 5, 1677–8.
THE BISHOP OF LINCOLN’S LETTER.
My worthy friend Mr. Walton,
"I am heartily glad, that you have undertaken to write the Life of that excellent person, and, both for learning and Piety, eminent Prelate, Dr. Sanderson, late Bishop of Lincoln; because I know your ability to know, and integrity to write truth: And sure I am, that the life and actions of that pious and learned Prelate will afford you matter enough for his commendation, and the imitation of posterity. In order to the carrying on your intended good work, you desire my assistance, that I would communicate to you such particular passages of his life, as were certainly known to me. I confess I had the happiness to be particularly known to him for about the space of twenty years; and, in Oxon, to enjoy his conversation, and his learned and pious instructions while he was Regius Professor of Divinity there. Afterwards, when (in the time of our late unhappy confusions) he left Oxon, and was retired into the country, I had the benefit of his letters; wherein, with great cando! ur and kindness, he answered those doubts I proposed, and gave me that satisfaction, which I neither had nor expected from some others of greater confidence, but less judgment and humility. Having, in a letter, named two or three books writ (ex professo) against the being of any original sin: and that Adam, by his fall, transmitted some calamity only, but no crime to his posterity; the good old man was exceedingly troubled, and bewailed the misery of those licentious times, and seemed to wonder (save that the times were such) that any should write, or be permitted to publish any error so contradictory to truth, and the doctrine of the Church of England, established (as he truly said) by clear evidence of Scripture, and the just and supreme power of this nation, both sacred and civil. I name not the books, nor their authors, which are not unknown to learned men (and I wish they had never been known) because both the doctrine, and the unadvised abettors of it are, and sha! ll be, to me apocryphal.
Another little story I must not pass in silence, being an argument of Dr. Sanderson’s piety, great ability, and judgment, as a casuist. Discoursing with an honourable person (whose piety I value more than his nobility and learning, though both be great) about a case of conscience concerning oaths and vows, their nature and obligation; in which, for some particular reasons, he then desired more fully to be informed; I commended to him Dr. Sanderson’s book ‘De Juramento;’ which having read, with great satisfaction, he asked me,‘If I thought the could be induced to write Cases of Conscience, if he might have an honorary pension allowed him to furnish him with books for that purpose?’ I told him I believed he would: And, in a letter to the Doctor, told him what great satisfaction that honourable person, and many more, had reaped by reading his book ‘De Juramento;’ and asked him, ‘whether he would be pleased, for the benefit of the Church, to write some tract! of Cases of Conscience?’ He replied, ‘That he was glad that any had received any benefit by his books:’ and added further, ‘That if any future tract of his could bring such benefit to any, as we seemed to say his former had done, he would willingly, though without any Pension, set about that work.’ Having received this answer, that honourable person, before mentioned, did, by my hands, return 50l. to the good Doctor, whose condition then (as most good men’s at that time were) was but low; and he presently revised, finished, and published that excellent book, ‘De Conscientia:’ A book little in bulk, but not so if we consider the benefit an intelligent reader may receive by it. For there are so many general propositions concerning conscience, the nature and obligation of it, explained and proved with such firm consequence and evidence of reason, that he who reads, remembers, and can with prudence pertinently apply them hic et nunc to particular cases, may, by thei! r light and help, rationally resolve a thousand particular doubts and scruples of conscience. Here you may see the charity of that honourable person in promoting, and the piety and industry of the good Doctor, in performing that excellent work.
And here I shall add the judgment of that learned and pious Prelate concerning a passage very pertinent to our present purpose. When he was in Oxon, and read his public lectures in the schools as Regius Professor of Divinity, and by the truth of his positions, and evidences of his proofs, gave great content and satisfaction to all his hearers, especially in his clear resolutions of all difficult cases which occurred in the explication of the subject-matter of his lectures; a person of quality (yet alive) privately asked him, ‘What course a young Divine should take in his studies to enable him to be a good casuist?’ His answer was, ‘That a convenient understanding of the learned languages, at least of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and a sufficient knowledge of arts and sciences presupposed; there were two things in human literature, a comprehension of which would be of very great use, to enable a man to be a rational and able casuist, which otherwise was very difficult, if not i! mpossible: 1. A convenient knowledge of moral philosophy; especially that part of it which, treats of the nature of human actions; To know, "quid sit actus humanus (spontaneus, invitus, mixtus,) unde habet bonitatem et malitiam moralem? an ex genere et objecto, vel ex circumstantiis?" How the variety of circumstances varies the goodness or evil of human actions? How far knowledge and ignorance may aggravate or excuse, increase or diminish the goodness or evil of our actions? For every case of conscience being only this"Is this action good or bad? May I do it, or may I not?"He who, in these, knows not how and whence human actions become morally good and evil, never can (in hypothesi) rationally and certainly determine, whether this or that particular action be so.2. The second thing, which, he said, ‘would be a great I help and advantage to a casuist, was a convenient knowledge of the nature and obligation of laws in general: ! to know what a law is; what a natural and a positive law; what’s required to the "latio, dispensatio, derogatio, vel abrogatio legis;" what promulgation is antecedently required to the obligation of any positive law; what ignorance takes off the obligation of a law, or does excuse, diminish, or aggravate the transgression: For every case of conscience being only this"Is this lawful for me, or is it not?" and the law the only rule and measure by which I must judge of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of any action; it evidently follows, that he, who, in these, knows not the nature and obligation of laws, never can be a good casuist, or rationally assure himself or others, of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of actions in particular.
This was the judgment and good counsel of that learned and pious Prelate; And having, by long experience, found the truth and benefit of it, I conceive, I could not without ingratitude to him, and want of charity to others, conceal it.Pray pardon this rude, and, I fear impertinent scribble, which if nothing else, may signify thus much, that I am willing to obey your desires, and am indeed,
Your affectionate friend,
London, May 10, 1678