Page:Historical account of Lisbon college.djvu/42

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

undertook to reply, and acquitted himself to the entire satisfaction of his brethren. Never was victory more complete; the friends of Dr. Hammond acknowledged this, and shame and remorse are said to have shortened the days of this adversary.

By order of the Chapter, Sergeant returned to Lisbon, in August, 1654, where he resumed the offices of Procurator and Prefect of Studies till the following March, when he was appointed Professor of Philosophy. About three months after, news arrived of the death of Bishop Smith, and Sergeant was deputed to assist at a new election, in the name of the College, as also to attend to some matters connected with the establishment. Immediately after his arrival in England, he was appointed Canon and Secretary to the Chapter, and his discharge of the duties connected with this position gave universal satisfaction. About the same time, 1654, he published his second controversial work entitled Schism Despatched, which was a rejoinder to the reply which Dr. Hammond and Bishop Bramhall had given to his first publication. We may gather how great was the influence of Sergeant s writings, from the fact that the most learned members of the Established Church entered the lists against him.

It will suffice to mention the names of Piercy, Taylor, Casaubon, Tenison, Stillingfleet, Whitby and Tillotson, all of them antagonists practised in the field of controversy, to prove the intellectual calibre of him, who faced successively each one of them in the contest, and bore away from all the palm of victory. His publications, which amount to no less than forty, are remarkable for clear and conclusive argument, a style correct and, considering the age in which he lived, not deficient in elegance. The impetuosity of his genius, and his fondness for the daring metaphysics of Dr. Blacklow, sometimes unfortunately led him into modes of expression which gave offence to his brethren, and three propositions extracted from his works were censured in an assembly of Parisian Theologians.

Dr. Sergeant urged in his defence that the propositions