« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Another circumstance which comes under the head of decorum, is your charging me with alluding to my own superior scholarship and reading. I could hardly believe my own eyes when I read this. What shadow have I given you for this assertion? You make it in page 384 [454, 2d ed.] after a long quotation from my second volume. I had been offering reasons, to show the moral impossibility of an early change from presbyterianism to epis copacy. Had I not a right to do so? Did not the point in hand require them? You certainly had no right to do any thing more than to show, if you were able, that my reasons were not well founded. But instead of that, you preface your observations with a declaration, that I affect a superior degree of learning and reading. There is not the least appearance of learning in the quotation; nothing but a few plain observations addressed to the common sense of my readers. What must people think of such conduct? and what apology can you make for such indecorum? Does it come well from a man who is so extremely sensible that he cannot bear to hear the word 'cavil' applied to the most frivolous objections, without expressing displeasure? You, forsooth! may intimate that I am vain and ostentatious of learning, when there is not a shadow to justify it; and you may call me uncharitable, a bigot, and an abettor of Popish doctrine; but not the least hint must be given by me, or any body else, that Dr. Miller can argue weakly, offer idle objections, or say any thing that does not imply profound sense. Pray, my good Sir, what entitles you to use such lofty language? Is it that you possess such pre-eminent talents, or that you have gained a victory? If these imaginations have raised you above your real standard, I must declare that I pity you.f And as I am bound, upon Christian principles, to be charitable, and hope for the best, I will ascribe these occasional swellings of heart to-infirmity and then I can readily forgive you; for I also have my infirmi ties.
The next thing which I shall mention as coming under the head of decorum, is, your intimation of my want of command over my own temper. You say, 'It is exceedingly to be lamented, that gentlemen (Mr. How and Dr. B.) of their station should indulge in a style so scrupulously banished from all dignified what he had to censure in Erasmus, he said, that this man whom they affected to extol so much, was a notorious eater of fowls; and that he knew it to be true, not from the testimony of others, but of his own eyes. Did Erasmus buy them or steal them? said Pirckheimer. He bought them; answered the Monk; it is the sin of gluttony and it becomes the more heinous, when it is committed, and frequently repeated by churchmen. Perhaps, said Pirckheimer, he eats them on fast days. No, said the Monk; but we ecclesiastics ought to abstain upon all days from such delicacies. Ah, my good father, said Pirckheimer, it is not by eating bread that have got that huge paunch of yours; and if all the fowls that have gone into it, could lift up their voice at once, and cackle in concert, they would make noise enough to drown the drums and trumpets of an army." The application is easy. CHANDLER'S Appeal further defended, p. 165.
f The Doctor is full of pity towards us, as the reader will see in several passages of
and polished society; that a person so long employed, as one of them has been, in forming the moral principles and character of youth, should discover so little success in the discipline of his own temper.' This is a charge which does not indicate much modesty or decency, and has no little appearance of a design to injure. My temper, it seems, is not well disciplined, because I have applied the terms 'cavil' and 'puerility' to some of your objections and arguments, and, in one instance, (I do not recollect more) the term 'nonsense' to a hypothesis, which evidently implies, in its consequences, a total want of consistency and sense. But your temper, no doubt, is well disciplined, although you use the term 'cavil' more than once, and hold up to your readers Mr. How and myself, as calumniators, as uncharitable, as bigots, as abettors of Popish doctrine. Some of these terms are personally injurious to us, and are therefore calculated to excite a high degree of indignation in our breasts. Yet from your pen they indicate nothing but "the milk of human nature."
I, Sir, expected no charge from you of using improper language, not only as yourself had used language much more unfit for polished and dignified society;' but also, as I had in the close of my work, bespoke your candour, and deprecated your displeasure at any improper expression that might have fallen from my pen, during the earnestness of a long controversy. My words are- Although my patience has been severely tried by your manner of quoting authors, by several provoking hints and expressions, and by a management strikingly partial and unfair; yet, I hope that I have not been hurried into any transgression of decorum. I certainly wished, while I spoke plainly, to avoid every thing that would unnecessarily hurt your feelings. That I am faulty in this respect, I am not conscious; but if you, Sir, perceive any thing of the kind, point it out, and it shall be immediately retracted.' After having read this, were you as candid a man as you wish to be thought, you would not have charged me with indecorum, even if it had, in the heat of controversy, occurred in a small degree; especially, when you yourself were not immaculate on this point.
I must now settle one or two more accounts with you, before I come to your arguments.
You seem to be highly pleased, that I have, in four or five instances, transgressed a rule which I myself had prescribed. It relates to the manner of quoting authors, as will be seen by referring to my first volume, page 58. When, Sir, you advert to the great number of quotations which I have made from Greek, Latin, and English authors, (the number is about three hundred and thirty) it will not be deemed strange that I should have been guilty of a few omissions; especially when you take into consideration the circumstances in which I wrote my letters,
Continuation, p. 35, 83, [241, 271, 2d ed.]
h p. 55. [254, 2d ed.]
as I have detailed them in the close of the work. My wonder is not, that I have been in a few instances negligent: but that I have not afforded you numerous instances for triumph. But while I acknowledge a trifling negligence in this particular, you, on the contrary, attempt to justify your conduct by a reason which is certainly a curiosity. Your justification shall be produced, after I have examined the instances, on which you ground your triumph.
The first instance you produce, is my quotation from Archbishop Usher's Tract on Episcopacy. Here indeed the page is not marked. But when you consider that all Usher says on the origin of episcopacy, is comprised in seventeen duodecimo pages (the rest of the tract being on other points) you certainly would have lost no time worth speaking of, had you begun the tract and read on to the eighth page, where you would have found the quotation. This then comes pretty well within the spirit of my own rule, the design of which is to prevent needless trouble to an opponent. I did not find fault with your neglect in this particular, for the sake of finding fault; but because it was a very serious inconvenience, as it needlessly wasted my time and spirits. For I can assure you, whatever you may think of the matter, that it sometimes cost me an hour, and sometimes more, to find a single quotation. Had not this been the case, I never should have noticed your omissions. But you are now finding fault, either from a captious disposition, or from a spirit of resentment; most probably from the latter.
Your next instance is in page 179 of your Continuation. You observe, that I refer you to Jerome's Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Writers, without pointing to the page, and that the work is interpolated and suspicious.'
With respect to the latter particular, I will settle it with you in another place; but as to the former, I would appeal to the candour of our readers, whether, in a catalogue, there is any advantage in referring to the page, when nothing more is necessary than to turn to the initial of a person's name, and immediately you find the place you are in search of. Had you turned to the letter P, you would have found Polycarp, and, conse quently, the words to which you were referred. This then I cannot acknowledge as a violation of my own rule.
The third instance of neglect which you note is in page 66 of my second volume. It has a reference to a declaration of Luther's, to which I added a quotation from Melancthon. The authority I give is Dr. Chandler's Appeal defended, p. 239. Here I evidently intended to refer you to that page for both the quotations; for the conclusion of Luther's declaration, and the beginning of Melancthon's, stand upon the same line; so that you could not possibly perceive the one, without, at the same time, perceiving the other. What an instance is this of your [ Vol. I. p. 217 of this ed.]
[k This charge is omitted in the 2d ed.]
candour! You really seem to be perpetually on the watch to catch at "trifles light as air." To this charge of negligence, therefore, I can by no means plead guilty.
The last instance (at least I do not see any more) you score up against me, is in page 410 of your Continuation. It relates to my quotations from Chamier and Du Moulin. Although I have given the words, yet I have not given the reference.
Now, Sir, this arose from the concessions of these learned men being so notorious, and so often quoted, and even in the present controversy, that I did not think it worth while to give a reference. I could easily have done it, for I had my authority at hand. That authority is Sage's Cyprianic Age vindicated, page 67."
Let us now sum up this account. My two volumes contain three hundred and thirty quotations; and out of this mass, four instances have been produced, in which I have not given a reference to the page of the author. Two of these instances, however, I do not admit; and the other two come fairly within the spirit of my own rule.
But this is not the point of view which I consider of the most importance. You may, if you please, add twenty more chalks to the score. I should not value it one straw. The circumstance to which I wish to turn my reader's attention, is simply this— Having prescribed a rule for conducting the controversy, as to a particular point, it is evident to common sense, that I would not violate my own rule on purpose; and candour would immediately say, this must be altogether owing to inattention. But nothing of this kind is plead by you. You did it on purpose, as you yourself tell us; for thus you endeavour to justify yourself- I would ask this gentleman whether, in writing plain, didactic, pastoral addresses, such as my letters were intended to be, it is either customary, or proper, to attend with as much care to references, and to detail with as much exactness the history of every quotation, as in works of a controversial nature."
What an astonishing gloss is here given! Who that has not read your letters could possibly suppose, from your account, that they contain any thing but wholesome advice, practical instruction, and cordial exhortations to virtue and piety? Who would suppose that this was not their nature; but that, on the contrary, they are altogether controversial? And into whose head, Sir, do you suppose it ever entered, that a book, designed to prove episcopacy a usurpation, a corruption of the Church,
m [Page 471, 2d ed.]
n Inequalitatem esse vetustissimam ac vicinam Apostolorum temporibus, quod nos ultro fatemur. CHAM. Tom. II. lib. x. c. 6. § 24. as quoted by SAGE. Constitu, tum est statim post tempora Apostolorum, aut etiam eorum tempore, ut in una urbe, unus inter cæteros Presbyteros Episcopus vocaretur, qui in suos Collegas haberet præeminentiam, ad vitandam confusionem quæ ex equalitate nascitur. PET, MOLIN To. III, p. 179.
o Continuation, p. 28, 29. [The whole of this paragraph is omitted in Dr. M.'s 2d ed.]
a limb of Popery, would pass unnoticed? Is it possible that you could have thought so? If you entertained such an idea, you must have supposed that our clergy are a set of illiterate blockheads, or totally devoid of zeal for the honour and interests of their Church. No, no, Sir: You were at no loss to judge that your book would be answered. And how was a controversial work given to the public, and which was intended to impress on the minds of your readers, an idea of the corruption of the Episcopal Church, to be answered conveniently without references? I am sure I cannot, from my own experience, say how. This then is a miserably lame excuse; or rather, it is a weak, contemptible shift to get rid of a palpable impropriety.
I really, Sir, should not have ventured to pronounce myself so accurate in this particular, as your liberal and candid investigation proves me to be. I would have compounded for five times the number of omissions. But your kindness has relieved me; and I begin to feel confidence in my own minute attention.
There are two other particulars to be noted before I come to your arguments.
You have made, Sir, in your third letter, a dreadful outcry against my manner of arranging the testimonies and arguments exhibited against you. You began with the Scriptures. I began with the fathers of the fourth century. Against this mode, you enter your protest. You say, 'Instead of assigning the Scripture the first and highest place; instead of beginning with it, and permitting it to stand upon its own proper eminence, he begins with the fathers. As if afraid of examining and exhibiting the testimonies of the fathers in their natural order, from the apostolical age downwards, he begins with the fathers of the fourth century; reasons backwards; assumes the corrupt principles and language of that age as genuine, and then employs them to interpret the primitive writers; and thus endeavours to make his readers believe that the order of the Church was the same in the fourth, that it had been in the first century; and that the words Bishop, Elder, Deacon, meant exactly the same thing in the days of Eusebius, Basil, and Jerome, that they had done in the days of the Apostles. I thank Dr. Bowden for the important concessions which this course of reasoning tacitly discloses. I thank him for the unwillingness which he discovers to encounter either the testimony of Scripture alone, or the testimony of the early fathers alone. His very arrangement of evidence speaks more than volumes. Of the fairness of this arrangement I say nothing. No reader of the smallest discernment wants a single remark to aid him in judging of this point. But I could scarcely have asked for a more humiliating confession of the weakness of his cause, and of his distressing consciousness that neither Scripture nor early antiquity will bear him out in his claims, than is to be found in this management, which he, no doubt, considered as a master-stroke of policy.'
p Continuation, p. 75. [p. 265, 2d ed.]