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principal causes and motives of schisms and divisions. For whilst,' he says, the bishops and governors of the church continue full of knowledge and good works; whilst they feed the flock indeed; whilst they deal with the secular states in all liberty and resolution, according to the majesty of their calling, and the precious care of souls imposed upon them, so long the church is “situated," as it were, “upon a hill; man maketh question of it, or seeketh to depart from it; but when these virtues in the fathers and leaders of the church have lost their light, and that they wax worldly, lovers of themselves, and pleasers of men, then men begin to grope for the church as in the dark.'
The second occasion of controversies is the nature and humour of certain men: 'The church, says Bacon, never wanteth a kind of persons, which love the salutation of Rabbi, master; not in ceremony or compliment, but in an inward authority which they
seek over men's minds, in drawing them to depend upon their opinions, and to seek knowledge at their lips. These men are the true successors of Diotrephes, the lover of pre-eminence, and not lord bishops. Such spirits do light upon another sort of natures, which do adhere to these men; quorum gloria in obsequio"; stiff followers, and such as zeal marvellously for those whom they have chosen for their masters. This latter sort, for the most part, are men of young years, and superficial understanding, carried away with partial respects of persons, or with the enticing appearance of godly names and pretences: few follow the things themselves, more the names of the things, and most the names of their masters.'*
The third occasion of controversies, 'I observe,' says Bacon, 'to be, an extreme
* "Pauci res ipsas sequuntur, plures nomina rerum, plurimi nomina magistrorum.'
urged in support of the two opinions, that it is against good policy to innovate in church matters, and that all reformation must be after one platform or model.
It is true,' he says, 'that with all wise and moderate persons, custom and usage obtaineth that reverence, as it is sufficient matter to move them to make a stand, and to discover and take a view ; but it is no warrant to guide and conduct them: a just ground, I say, it is of deliberation, but not of direction. But on the other side, who knoweth not, that time is truly compared to a stream, that carrieth down fresh and pure waters into that salt sea of corruption which environeth all human actions? And therefore, if a man shall not by his industry, virtue, and policy, as it were, with the oar row against the stream and inclination of time, all institutions and ordinances, be they never so pure, will corrupt and degenerate. But I would ask why the civil state should be purged and restored by good and whole
some laws, made every third or fourth year, in Parliament assembled ; devising remedies as fast as time breedeth mischief; and contrariwise, the ecclesiastical state should still continue upon the dregs of time. If it be said that there is a difference between civil causes and ecclesiastical, they may as well tell me that churches and chapels need no reparations, though castles and houses do.'
• There remaineth,' continues Bacon, 'yet an objection, rather of suspicion than of reason; and yet such as I think maketh a great impression in the minds of very wise and well-affected persons; which is, that if way be given to mutation, though it be in taking away abuses, yet it may so acquaint men with sweetness of change, as it will undermine the stability of even that which is sound and good. This had been a good and true allegation in the ancient constitutions and divisions between the people and the senate of Rome, where things were carried at the appetites of multitudes, which
never keep within the compass
of any moderation; but these things being with us to have an orderly passage, under approved judgment, it is surely a needless fear.'
For the second opinion, that there should be but one form of discipline in all churches, and that imposed by necessity of a commandment and prescript out of the word of God, Bacon confesses that, in revolving the Scriptures, he could never find any such thing, and contends that it was left open, like civil government, to be varied according to time, and place, and accidents.
He then examines the government of bishops, the liturgy, ceremonies, and subscription, offering also some admirable observations on a preaching ministry; but these topics we must pass over, in order to find room for his remarks on non-residents, pluralities, and church-maintenance:
· For Non-residence,' says Bacon, ' except it be in case of necessary absence, it seemeth