« PreviousContinue »
Phenix 10. The Answer of the States General of the United Provin-
ces of the Low Countries, to the Declaration of War.
A Letter of Resolution
concerning ORIGÉN and the chief of bis Opinions.
Written to the Learned and most Ingenious
C. L. Esq; and by him publisl’d.
To the READER.
'N conformity to Custom, which sends few Books into the World,
be they never so mean, without forne fair bespeaking of the Reader, or giving him an account of the Author or his works
it was thought convenient that some little thing in that kinds Sonu'd be prefixʼd to these few Sheets, and that I shou'd do it, who may reasonably be presum'd
to have a greater Knowledg and Interest in this Affair than any other. Know therefore, Reader, that some while ago, upon a certain Occasion, which would be to no purpose here to mention, there was begot in me a Curiosity to know the Opinions of that pious Father of the Church, the learned Origen: and being neither by natural Temper, nor the way of my Studies, nor condition of Life, either lo pun&tually inform's what was in general Esteem accounted Orthodox, or much'avo'd by the word; I suffer'd that Curiosity to grow so great in me, that I wx even afflicted tik it was fatisfyd.
But having neither Time enough to Spare from my own secular Imploya ments, nor Philosophy enough to pierce into those recondite Mysteries, I quickly perceivid I could not by my own Industry and Meditation come to the end of my Defores. I therefore wrote unto a Friend of mine, competently well enabled with those Advantages of Leisure and metaphysical Knowledg, conjuring him, by our long Acquaintance and Friend Ship, to give bimself the Trouble of Sending me an account of some Queries I there put to him, tending to my Contentment and Satisfa&tion in this particular. He, by good hap, having just before finishida Treatise, which may one day see the Light to the benefit of the Church, and having nothing new in the Forge, pity'd my Anxiety, and promis'd to do something for the Ease of my mind, and accordingly Shortly after did me the Honour to send me the following Papers. Thou may ft easily imagine I receiv'd so obliging a Present with all due Resentment, and entertain'd the fair Conceptions in it with extraordinary Emotion of Spirit : For reaúty several Things before lay so cross and scurvily in my Soul, that I took no pleasure to look into it, nay I was sensibly pain'd and prick'd when I had the Hardiness fo'to do : But I quickly felt all those Unevennesses begin to wear away, and every thing to range it self in its right
place and Order, Principles and Conclusions fairly accorded, and a lasting Peace and Calm for so I boldly presagd) popless'd me throughout. Having receiv'd so great & Benefit my self, and conjeturing that in this inquisitive Age, the Minds of other Men, as well as mine, might need, and would
joyfully receive Relief by the same means which ministred to my Tranquillity, and having by Trial aloof off, upon some capable Persons, found that my Conje&ture was real, I thought I would be envious if i did not endeavour to obtain leave of my friend to make his Papers publick. Whereupon, after some time, I resolved to give him a Visit at his Hermitage as be is wont to call the Place of bis Retirement for the effe&ting of my purpose. Where amongst many learned and pleasant Entertainments, the clear Witnesses of a benign Nature, an innocent Conscience, and satisfy'd Understanding, I mov'd my Design unto him. He with an amaz'd Look, ask'd me what I meant? I plainly told him that i meant to do what was in me, that others might receive that Ease and Benefit which I my self bad felt by his Labour ; for others there were in the World, I doubted not, in the Same Condition I was then in, when I requested his Affistance ; and in exchange for his Queftion, i asked him, why he fou'd be so unwilling to it as his Looks shew'd him to be? To which, after some little Recolle&ion, The Questions discuss'd in those inconsiderable Papers you talk of Creply'd he) are great and bold, and you mistake the World if you imagine they will find an equal Hearing ; but are certainly much out in your account, if you think Mon will be conuinc'd of their Truth by so mean an handling as mine is. For tho I thought that wou'd be enough to entertain your Curiosity a little til tbe Fif pous over, and to offer fome Hints to your more deliberate
Meditations ; yet I did not then while it to as Scribling of them, much less now in my cooler Thoughts, conceive them convi&tive to any who were not in a very forward Preparation to the Belief of them already. For neither are the Foundations of my Reasonings laid low enough, nor firma
settled ( being I was to follow Origen rather than my own In. vention) nor is the Order of my Conceptions upon any of the Opinions Juch as it ought to be : for I remember very well upon my reading the Papers over after I had finiß'd them, I discern'd some things in the entrance of a Question or an Argument, which by the right Laws of Discourse ought to have come bebind; and others I sawo were cast into the close of it, wbicb wou'd have done better service thiore forwardly placd. To tell you the Truth, I did not scrupulously set my self any, mnetbod, but took all Thoughts that came, and as they came rif hoa mogeneous to the whole ) and there upon the spot fetter'd them ith Words, left they might not have been at band when I needed them, nor I been able to recal such fugitive Things when their Turn came. My Answers to Obje&tions have the same Carelesness in them, no applying this or that to such or such a Proposition, but a diffuse. Speaking to the whole ; being loth, as it shou'd seem; to lose any good Words that came in thy Mind, which must needs render my Answer weak and oba fcure to ftri& Logical Readers. Many of my Interpretations of Scrip ture are rather extravagant or pleasant, than the serious Confirmations of a weighty Cause, and which affe&t to make the Holy Penmen of Sa. cred Writ Speak Notions where in all likelihood they never meant it. I am also much too mort in most of the Points debated : Which Faults; tho they be pardonable in a private Letter to a familiar Friend, will be fottish and ridiculous in a publiß'd Piece. Do you then impartially judg whether to short a Discourse, full of so many and such monstrong Defe&s, pretending the Defence of high and rais’d Mysteries against strong inveterate Prejudices, be not thing rather to be laugh'd at, than receiv'd is useful to any better Purpose. To this I Stilingly
, reph'd, that he might be as bold as be pleas'd with bis own; yet if be spou'd that I fou'd be of his mind for the present, and acknowled with him these Faults as he cal’d them I was content, upon cona dition that his wou'd take bis Papers back, and mend them in all the Particulars he was pleaf?d to say they were defe&tive in, and then give me that leave which I then came to beg. This I press'd him to with all earnestness possible, hoping that either be wou'd do it, and so I inight receive bis second and as the Proverb says) better Cogitations, whose first plead me so much ; or else that he wou'd be forc'd out of Civility to grant my first Request, if he was resolu'd to deny the second. And it fell out dccording to my Hope; for being obstinately fet against all Review, partly because he was now more seriously ima, ployd, partly because that wou'd look like an Approbation of Origen's Opinions, he at last unwillingly permitted me to do what I dond with ibat i bad. Which I here offer to thy candid Acceptance; being conta
dent thou wilt not be offended with any thing in it, if thou best of my Humour, to think no Opinion formidable which does Honour to God, renders him most amiable to Men, and a sure Obje&t of our Faith and Hope, which justifies the Ways of his Providence, and reconciles them with his most precious Attributes, Equity and Benignity. Farewel.
A Letter of Resolution concerning ORIGEN
and the chief of bis Opinions.
F the partial Judgment which your Friendship makes of
me, and the heat of your commendable Curiosity would
suffer you equally and coolly to consider the Undertaker and his Work; you would, out of Pity to me, and Honour to the great Personage you enquire of, expect no other Letter from me at this time than one of humble Thanks, for releasing me from the Burden your Commands had laid upon me: For verily I much need your Pity and Relief, who am combated with two mighty contrary Paffions; the one an infinite Desire to do the Father Right, the other as great a Despair of doing it, from the most certain Consciousness of my own Inability. And tho by my undertaking of it I shall reap this Fruit of having given you an evidence of what Authority your Commands are with me, and how ready I am in the greatest Disadvantages to obey them ; yet I shall neither satisfy you nor my self in the Performance, and possibly be injurious to his venerable Name, in adding more Envy to his Opinions thro my unskilful Representation of them. But to be bold with you upon the warrant of our Friendlhip, I think you are not at present capable of any equitable contideration as to thi: Particular; and therefore I do resolve to bear the Neceffity, as well as I may, hoping it will prove a Benefit to me, and Security for the future: for certainly you will not be very forward to impose a second Task of this nature upon me, who have so ill acquitted my self in the first. And to fhew you how little Power I have over my own Inclinations and Actions, where you are pleas'd to direct then, I shall, even contrarv to my own Judgment, omit nothing of the Method you have set me;, but give you an Account, such as it will be, of all the Particulars you desire to know, and according to the Order they are in in your Letter ; tho otherwile, being left free, I should certainly have wav'd the first +