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METHOD OF GRACE
THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY.
To the Worshipful John Upton, of Lupton, Esq. and the most accomplished and virtuous Lady, his dear Consort, the Author wishes Grace, Mercy, and Peace.
HONOURED AND WORTHY FRIENDS, TT was a comfortable expression, which Ambrose used in his fuI neral oration, at the death of Theodosius ; * “ That though
he were gone, yet he was, not wholly gone; for he had left " Honorius, with others of his children, behind him, in whom " Theodosius still lived." Your renowned and worthy ancestors de gone, yet (blessed be God) they are not wholly gone ; whilst
ne prudence, piety, and publickness of their spirits, still live and muriih in you, the top branch of a renowned and religious fa
It is a great truth, which Philo Judæus recommends to the ervation of all posterity, « + That it is not a natural descent Tom the most honourable and illustrious progenitors, nor the
• Tbeodofius tantus liberas fuos, in quibus deben
peodofius tantus imperator receffit a nobis, fed non totus recesit ; reliquit enim nobis Os, in quibus debemus eum agnofcere. Ambrof. in obit. Theod.
5 δε υμνεσι την ευγενειαν ως μεγιςον αγαθον και μεγαλων αγαθων αιτιον, * Ρεες επιτιμητέον, ει πρωτον μεν οιονται τις εκ παλαιοπλατων και παλαιενδοξων
5» μήτε των προγονων αφων αυχεσι γενεσθαι.-Βαληθεις γαρ ο Θεος δια
Μια και φιλανθροπιαν και παρ ημιν τεθ ιδρυσασθαι, νεων αξιοπρεπεξερον επι 96 Exe vein
ευρε λογισμα κρειττω ο γαρ ν8ς αγαλμαθοφορει το αγαθον, καν απισωσι ** μη γευσαμένων σοφιας η χειλεσων ακροις. Ρhilo fudeus περι Ευγενειας,
it for the hands of all gentlemen, translated by Laurentius Humedus in his excellent tract de Nobilitate.
a book fit for the ha
greatest affluence of riches and pleasures that makes a man ei" ther honourable or happy, but the habitation of God in his “ fout, as in his temple, tho' (faith he) those that never tasted re" ligion, nor have seen its glory, will not credit this assertion." " The soul which is filled with God, (faith * Plotinus) and brings « forth the beautiful fruits of righteousness, this is the truly noble « foul :" Our new birth makes us more honourable than our natural birth, let our birth-right dignities be wliat they will. The children of nobles are, by nature, the children of wrath, even as others : Omnis Sanguis concolor, all blood is of one colour: it is all tainted in Adam, and mingled together in his pofterity. “There
~ is no king, faith + Seneca, which rose not from a servant; there . ~ is no fervant which rofe not from a king : these things have been
« blended, and jumbled to and fro in a long tissue of changes, « ever directed by an all-wise Providence.”
But though the privileges of natural birth signify nothing as to eternal salvation, yet in civil and political respects and confiderations, those that by birth, education, or estate, possess an higher station in the world, differ from the vulgar, as stars of greater magnitude and lusture : their interest and influence are great in these things, and the welfare of kingdoms I greatly depends upon them.
It is therefore a great design of the enemy of mankind, to corrupt persons of eminent rank and quality both in religion and mor. ality, and by their influence and example, to infect and poison the whole body politic; and his success herein deferves to be greatly lamented and bewailed. Persons of eminency are more especially ý obliged to shun base and fordid actions. Hierom profeiled || he saw nothing desirable in nobility, except this, that such persons are bound by a certain kind of necessity, not to degenerate from the probity, or fiain the glory of their ancestors. But alas !
* Turn tanares05% Goa yeria to xados, y:wa Tny doxologum. Plotinus. how many in our times have not only exposed Christianity to contempt, but obfcured * the glory of their own families, and the kingdom in which they had their birth and breeding ; so that if you will take right marks of your way to heaven you will have little direction from those of your own rank. As + mariners take their direction at fea, by looking up to the heavens, so must you. In this general corruption it is very hard to escape infection ; many (as Salvian complained) I are compelled to be 'evil, left they should be accounted vile, and incur the offence of God, to avoid the flights and censures of men. Although there is no more reason why they should be offended at the rational and religious pleafures you and other pious gentlemen take in the ways of godliness, than there is, that you should envy the sinful pleasures they take in the ways of wickedness. It was an excellent apology, that Tertullian made for the Christians of his time, against the Gentiles. « Wherein (Taith he) do we offend you, if we believe there are “ other pleasures ? If we will not partake with you in your de“ lights, it is only our own injury : we reject your pleasures, « and you are not delighted with ours."
+ Niminen regem son ex jervis eje oriundum, neminem fervum non ex regibus : omnia ja longa varietes nifeuit, et jurism durfum fortima verfavit. Sen. Ep. 44.
✓ Who manekes the reins of government, who is present at, and presides over, both private and public maters, but persons of eminent rank and quality? Who moderates in the icoate, presides in courts, commands at home and abroad? Chief mion und nobles surely. Who command and arrange, act and counteract, manage and canvass all afiairs, who make laws and recind them, who govern the state in the time of peace, and comand the forces in time of war, but great men and nobles? No wonder that the management of public affairs be committed to him, who both by personal merit and renown of his ancestors hath recommended himself to the good report and cftcem of mankind. Laurent. Humpbred on Nobility.
1:: iriz XI72 fordura, n:inimu esi licentia. Exalted stations ought to hedge up the way of these who kill them, from every vicious practica. Salutt.
l ibidice video in nobilitat a, Avus, nifi quod nobiles queriam realitate conftige garét:r, : awin68.1 Arcbi.it uegeuerent. Hieron.
But by how much the infection spreads and prevails among those of your order, by so much the more we have reason to value you, and all those that remain sound and untainted, both in religion and morality, as persons worthy of singular respect and honour: and blessed be God there is yet a number of such left.
Sir, It was a special happiness, which Chryfoftom earnestly recommended to perfons of quality, that they would so order their conversations, that their parents might rather glory in them, than they in their parents ; “ Otherwise (faith || he) it is better to rise
. God grant that the end proposed may be obtained, that the ancient and truly venerable nobility may at length return, who by the honour of prudence and knowledge, and lustre of renowned deeds, may obscure the same progenitors, and quite remove and wipe off the stain brought on its august name. Humph. on Nobility.
f In the same manner, you ought to seek the path of life, as the mariners at fea feck the designed course of their thips, who, if they observe not some luminary in the heavens, steer but an uncertain course, but whosoever is resolved to keep in the right path of life, must not look down to the earth but to heaven; and (to speak more plainly) he ought not to follow men but God; therefore if thou wouldit always keep thine eyes fixed on heaven, and observe the fun whence he ariseth, and take him as thy guide, thy feet of themselves will keep straight in the way. Lac. tant. lib. 1. c. 8.
$ Mali effe coguntur, ne viles babeantur. Salv, de Gubernat.
$ quo vos offendimus fi alias præfumimus voluptates ? fi oble&tari nolumus, nostra injuria eff : reprobamus que placent vobis, nec vos nofira deleétant. Tertul. Apolog. adv. Gent.
| Melius eft de contemptibili fieri clarim, quam de claro genere contemptibilem che, Chryfoft. in Mat. 4. Nec fieri poteft quin bunc comitetur ignobilitas etiamfi vel avis, cel preavis natus fit vita inculpatis, qui ab eorum ftudiis alienus eft, feque longisime tum dictis, fun factis a nobilitate disjungit. Nor can aught but ignominy pursue the wretch, who, though nobly defcended, bespatters the efcutchcon of his worthy ancestors by his unworthy conduct.
6 to honour from a contemptible parent, than to be contemptible o from an honourable parent ;” but blessed be God, you and your worthy ancestors reflect honour upon each other.
Had God suffered you to degenerate, as many do, it would have been but a poor confolation to have said, My progenitors were men · of honour, the love and delight of their country. This, as * one excellently expresseth it, would be the same thing, as if one that is blind himself, should boast what a sharp and piercing fight his father had ; or one that is lame himself, should glory in those feats of activity his grandfather performed; but God (to whose bounty therefore you are doubly obliged) hath made you the inheritor of their virtues, as well as of their lands, and therein fulfilled many thousand prayers, which have been poured out to God upon your account. But I must forbear, lest I provoke others to envy, and draw upon myself the fufpicion of Hattery. What hath been already said may serve for a fufficient reason of this dedication. I know the + agreeableness of such discourses to the pious dispositions of your souls, is of itself sufficient to make it welcome to you. It is a treatise of Christ, yea, of the Method of Grace, in the application of Christ; than which no subject can be more necessary to study, or sweet to experience. I All goodness is attractive, how powerfully attractive then must Jesus Christ be, who is the ocean of all goodness, from whoni all streams of goodness are derived, and into whom they all empty themselves ? Ş If Pindarus could say of the lovely Theoxenus, that whosoever faw that august and comely face of his, and was not surprized with amazeinent, and enflamed with love, must have an heart of adamant or brass ; what then shall we resemble that man's heart unto, that hath no ferverous affections kindled in it by the incomparable beauty of Christ! a beauty, which excels in lustre and brightness, that visible light which so dazzles our eyes), as that light doch darkness itself; as Plato fpcaks of the divine light Chritt is υπερβαλλοντως καλος, an
What profit is the sharp-lighieduels of ancestors to their offspring, deprived of fight? What help can it give the man that is dumb, for attaining the power of fpeech, that his parents and grand.thers had the voice of orators? In like manner, jutt parents cannot help their unjust children; nor the temporate those who are luxurious: nor at any rate, can the good communicate goodness to the bad. Pbilo. TEST Evyen. Oso
+ When the mind of the hearer is good and gracious, it easily assents to speeches of truth. Cbryfof. Hum. 26. in Mat.
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