« PreviousContinue »
TRACTS OF CYPRIAN,
BISHOP OF CARTHAGE.
IN TWO PARTS.
A CONSOLATORY EPISTLE ADDRESSED TO THE CHURCH
OF CARTHAGE DURING A SEASON OF PESTILENCE,
A LETTER TO THE GOVERNOR, DEMETRIAN, ON THE
CAUSES OF NATIONAL AFFLICTION.
SHORT TREATISES, DOCTRINAL AND PRACTICAL.
“ Whoever feels a desire to serve God in the most arduous and the most
ABRIDGED FROM MARSHALLS TRANSLATION,
A MASTER OF ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE.
PRINTED FOR F. WESTLEY AND A. H. DAVIS,
AND SOLD BY ALL BOOKSELLERS.
FROM MILNER'S REVIEW OF THE CHARACTER AND
WRITINGS OF CYPRIAN.
“ The affairs of Cyprian detain us long, because his eloquent pen continues to attract us; and because we would not lose an able and a faithful guide, till we are compelled to leave him. Probably there were many before his time whose christian actions would have equally deserved to be commemorated : But the materials of information fail us : The fine compositions of this Bishop are still, however, a capital source of historical instruction.
“ Cyprian was intended for very great and important services in the Church, and those of an active nature, and attended with an almost uninterrupted series of sufferings; such as no man could perform to the glory of God, but one, who knew assuredly the ground on which he stood, by a strong work of the divine Spirit on his soul. His reception of Christianity was not the effect of mere reasoning or speculation. It was not carried on in a scholastic or philosophical manner, but may truly be said to have been “ in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” He felt the doctrines of the Gospel, namely, the grace of God; forgiveness of sins by Jesus Christ; and the influence of the Holy Ghost,-powerful, exuberant, and victorious, and his soul was brought into the love of God, tempered ever with humility and godly fear.
“ In every fundamental principle he speaks as the oracles of God. His Tract on Patience, as a practical performance, and that on the Lord's Prayer, as a doctrinal one, deserve
the highest praise—and his pastoral exhortations, where they were received, left effects of unadulterated piety, through the divine influence that attended them The calamity of the Plague gave him an opportunity of impressing on the minds of his people what in truth had been the ruling object of his own life since his conversion, namely—a warm and active regard for the blessings of immortality, joined with a holy indifference for things below. In his letter to Demetrian, he preaches justification, by faith only, with an affectionate spirit and great clearness of doctrine, he appeals to the conscience as affording full proof of guilt before God, and exhibits, in lively colours, the all-important scenes of the last judgment. A truly regenerated person will not only relish his compositions, but also will not fail to be affected with a generous glow of the purest godliness upon reading them with care and attention.
“ As a Christian Bishop scarcely any age has seen his superior—in activity, disinterestedness, and steady attention to discipline. He was equally remote from the extremes of negligent remissness, and impracticable severity; and he possessed a charity and a patience unwearied, and ever consistent. He may safely be recommended as a model to all pastors, and particularly to those of rank and dignity throughout Christendom. Whoever feels a desire to serve God in the most arduous and the most important of all professions, may profitably,---next after the study of the sacred oracles,--give days and nights to Cyprian's writings.”
CONTENTS OF THE SECTIONS.
LETTER TO DEMETRIAN.