Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

priesthood was to be separate, distinct, and put that maxim into his head, · No and removed from the secular concerns bishop, no king.".. If King James,' he of the world; and that they who assume farther remarks, had any principles of this office must be regularly admitted religion besides what he called kingthereto according to the practice which craft, or dissimulation, le changed them he has enjoined, as laid down by the with the climate, for, from being a rigid holy apostles.”-- pp. 37 -- 40.

Calvinist, he became a favourer of Ar

minianism in the latter part of his reign : Poor wight! he expects we from being a Protestant of the purest shall sneer at him, and is seen

kirk upon earth, a doctrinal papist : and, ingly conscious that he deserves

from a disguised Puritan, the most im

placable enemy of that people, putting it. But the drivelling and ab

all the springs of the prerogative in surdity of this passage do not motion to drive them out of both kingeven provoke a sheer, and they

doms.' And once more, to the same admit of no reply. We are quite accession,

purpose, in another place, about James's

The Scotch ministers did content to hand Mr. Lawson over

not approach him with the distant subto the Old Lady for whom he en- mission and reverence of the English tertains a very tender and natural bishops, and therefore within nine

months he renounced Presbytery, and attachment. For ourselves, we

established it for a maxim, no bishop, have no desire to be numbered no king : so soon did this pious monarch among her offspring or her ad renounce all his former principles, (if mirers. We are really “ hopeless

he had any,) and break the most awful subjects” in this matter; quite

and solemn oaths and vows.'

“ The above assertions are utterly “ beyond the reach of argument groundless from beginning to end, and or reason.” Mr. Lawson there this, even although I were not persuaded fore may feel no jealousy of use

that future generations will yet do justice we shall neither claim fraternity

to the too often misrepresented motives

and actions of James, when those times with him, nor rank among his arrive in which men will divest thenrivals.

selves of the prejudice of party, and Speaking of the accession of accustom themselves to calm and sober

reflection. These statements, however, James to the throne of England, he

are false, on three accounts: first, be. attacks Neal with his customary

cause they contain a dogmatic apology style of abuse and virulence. for the fanaticism of the Puritans, not

on facts, but on mere assumptions ; “ It is amusing to observe the opinions secondly, because they are libels on the which the Puritan historian indulges on character of James, which are disgraceJames's accession. That veracious wri- ful to the writer, in his lamentation for ter, determined to support his enthusi James's departure from the purest astic party at the expense of truth, kirk on earth ;' because they are not fears not to hazard any assertion, how supported ; and because some few ever absurd or contradictory; and as phrases which the monarch used in Laud is most conspicuous in his narrative ordinary conversation, are taken ad. of this period, for the public share he vantage of: thirdly, because they are sustained in the controversies of the denied by historical fact, and refuted day, a few remarks upon the following by the practice of modern times.”— passages may not be out of place. pp. 54–57. “There had been a cessation of con- In a note to part of the above troversy,' says Neal, ‘for some time before the death of 'Queen Elizabeth: passage, he asserts that “ Neal the Puritans being in hopes, upon the must have been aware that he accession of a king that had been edu- was here writing a falsehood :" cated in their own principles, to obtain thus offering the greatest insult an easy redress of their grievances; and certainly no prince ever had it so much to the character of a man that can in his power to compromise the differ. be shown to it-calling him a ences of the church as King James I. deliberate and self-convicted liar. at the Conference at Hampton Court; but being an indolent and vain glorious

t; He afterwards proceeds, in his

H. afterwards proceeds in his monarch, he became a willing captive to usual style, to establish the the bishops, who flattered his vanity, charge of falsehood preferred

against Neal's statements; but in The former was a person of a which we do not hesitate to pledge very feeble description, who had our character, that he entirely neither the understanding to comfails, as our readers may easily prehend, vor the patience necessatisfy themselves, if they choose sary for the research which his to consult the work itself. There subject required. The latter was is not a more just account of a man of more ability ; but quite the character of James I. in exis- as well qualified for illustrating tence, than that which is given Shakespeare and Hudibras, on by the historian of the Puri. both of whom he employed his tans. James was a poor, selfish, pen, as for defending the Church profane, pedantic, inconsistent, against the representations of the dogmatical, despotic mortal. We Dissenting historian. But both believe there are not two opinions, take up a great number of points, among men capable of forming an and publish a variety of docuopinion, that he deserves all this, ments. We have long been famiand more, to be said of him. liar with their works. Neal deYet our historian endeavours to fended himself successfully against defend his follies, and apologizes the charges preferred against his for his immoralities. James be- earlier volumes; and Dr. Toulcame an enemy to the Presby- min, in many of his notes to the terians, and an advocate of Armi. edition of Neal, published by nianism--this is enough to consti- him, has vindicated the chief tute him a saint in Mr. Lawson's passages which have been charged estimation.

as misrepresentations. Having adverted to the charac- Considering the extent of Neal's ter of Neal, as given by our bio work, the multiplicity and variety grapher, and to the offensive style of the facts which it details, the in which that historian is always difficulty in arriving at truth, spoken of by him, we shall em- amidst the conflicting statements brace the opportunity offered us of the contending parties, which of saying a word or two on that are the subjects of his history, the subject. Neal has been the ob. prejudices to which all men are ject of attack and vituperation liable who engage in such underfrom the appearance of his first takings as his; it appears to us volume to the present day. Ma extraordinary that he should have dox, Grey, and Warburton, la- succeeded so well as he has done, houred to destroy his reputation, and that so small a catalogue of and to discredit his work. errors, and those of a nature comOthers have followed their steps, paratively trifling, his lynx-eyed their equals in intemperate lan- adversaries have succeeded in furguage, however inferior in re- nishing. We have never consulted search. Southey has the auda- Neal, and the authorities to whom city to call him “ the most pre- he refers, without finding him judiced and dishonest of all his- borne out in his great facts, and torians.” It is easy to call pames, generally in his reasonings upon but a different matter to justify them. Occasionally a slight intheir application.

accuracy occurs, and subsequent To each of the four octavo vo discoveries have thrown new and lumes of the History of the Puri- additional light on some of the tans, a volume nearly equal in great questions which he discusses. size was produced in reply, by This is only what might be exBishop Madox and Dr. Grey. pected. The best proof of the

veracity and worth of our historian repress the progress of public is to be found in his having main- opinion, are idle and fruitless ; tained his ground, notwithstand- and that the greatest enemies of ing the numerous attacks which their country's peace and glory, have been made upon him. He have been unprincipled statesis referred to, as authority, not by men, such as Strafford, and perDissenters only, but by all who secuting churchmen, such as Laud, enter into the history of those whom the Rev.John Parker Lawtimes ; he is quoted, not by Brin son has the conscience to ask us · tish writers only, but by Foreigners, to fall down and worship. We with all the respect which integriare neither prophets, nor prophets' ty and candour must ever inspire, sons; but, for once, we will venin disinterested men. To an ac- ture to encroach on the seer's quaintance with the history of office. When Madox and Grey are religion in Great Britain, from the enjoying the slumbers, which, inReformation to the Revolution, deed, have long since commenced, no book is so essentially necessary and from which only the hand of as Neal. It contains the record the curious inquirer occasionally of a multitude of men, of whom disturbs them ; when the Book of the world was not worthy, who the Church is consigned to the suffered and bled for those rights moles and the bats, as destitute of and privileges which we now en. authority ; and when the Life and joy, and the glory of contending Times of Archbishop Laud has and suffering for which, a set of found its way to “ the tomb of all dastardly and ungrateful scribe the Capulets ;” the History of blers now seek to wrench from the Puritans will retain its origi. them. It has fixed the brand of nal freshness and undiminished inan indelible disgrace on persecu- fluence; and the name of BenJAtion for conscience-sake in all its MIN NEAL be loved, revered, forms and degrees; and advocated and honoured. the noblest rights of men on prin- We have not yet done with Mr. ciples which must be eternal. It Lawson, and the Life and Times has shewn that all attempts to of Archbishop Laud. force uniformity in religion, and

(To be continued.)

MEMOIRS OF THE CONTROVERSY RESPECTING THE THREE

HEAVENLY WITNESSES. 1 John v. 7.

(Continued from page 81.) We now come to the grand con- and authentic MSS. , It was first troversy on this important passage, alleged by the Catholic Bishops which originated in the following whom Huneric summoned to the paragraph in Gibbon's “ History Conference of Carthage. An al of the Decline and Fall of the Ro- legorical interpretation, in the man Empire.” Speaking of the form perhaps of a marginal note. Catholic frauds, he says, “ The invaded the text of the Latin memorable text which asserts the Bibles, which were renewed and unity of the THREE who bear corrected in a dark period of ten witness in heaven, is condemned centuries. After the invention of by the universal silence of the printing, the editors of the Greek orthodox Fathers, ancient versions, Testament yielded to their own

N. S. NO. 51.

prejudices, or those of the times; the Scripture into ribaldry, or of and the pious fraud, which was calling Jesus an impostor." embraced with equal zeal at Had the Decline and Fall of Rome and at Geneva, has been in- the Roman Empire, however, confinitely multiplied in every coun- tained nothing more injurious to try and every language of modern the doctrine or revelation of the Europe.” In a note to part of Scriptures, this statement, and this passage, he adds, « The the insinuation implied in it, three witnesses have been esta- might have been allowed to pass. blished in our Greek Testaments, Like many other things of a simiby the prudence of Erasmus ; the lar nature, it would have silently honest bigotry of the Compluten- floated down the current of time, sian editors; the typographical and would soon have been lost in fraud or error of Robert Ste- that oblivion to which all accusaphens, in the placing of a crot- tions against the Word of God are chet; or the deliberate fraud, or doomed. But, unfortunately, Gibstrange misapprehension of Theo- bon had a name, and his works dore Beza."*"

enjoyed celebrity. It was the On this last sentence volumnes fashion of the day to write apoof curious and angry controversy logies for the Bible ; and some have been written. It shows how men who would never have risen closely Gibbon had looked into to public notice otherwise, endeathe matter, while the choice of voured to write themselves into his epithets at once illustrate his fame or preferment by attacking knowledge of the subject, and the the infidel historian. delight he took in reproaching In an evil hour, and prompted the professors of Christianity. by some evil genius, the Rev. The infidelity of the writer is ill George Travis, Archdeacon of disgnised in the studied ambiguity Chester, took up his pen, to deof his phraseology, which insi- fend, not the doctrine of the Trinuates that the doctrine of the nity, but the testimony of the Trinity is established by worldly heavenly witnesses, against the prudence, bigotry, fraud, or mis- charges preferred in the above apprehension. He well knew passage. He addressed three that this was not the case. But letters to Mr. Gibbon on this subthat prejudiced enemy to Chris- ject, in the Gentleman's Magatianity was ever regardless of de- zine for 1782. These he reprinted cency and justice, where its claims separately, along with two more, and its character were concerned. in a quarto volume, in 1784. “ He often makes, when he can- In 1786, they appeared again not readily find, an occasion to with additions. In the same insult our religion, which he Magazine for 1788 and 1789, hates so cordially, that he might Professor Porson replied to Traseem to revenge some personal in- vis. In 1790, Travis wrote another jury. Such is his eagerness in letter on the subject, in the same the cause, that he stoops to the Magazine, to which Porson remost despicable pun, or to the plied in the following month. And most awkward perversion of lan- in 1794, the Archdeacon published ·guage, for the pleasure of turning the whole, in a large octavo vo

[ocr errors][merged small]

lume. This is the best edition, uncertainty and darkness. His and which has been consulted in account of the testimony of the writing these observations.

writers whom he quotes in supIn these letters it is the object port of the passage, is, in many of the writer to defend Erasmus, instances, not to be depended on, the Complutensian Editors, Beza, as it is often quoted at secondand Stephens, against Mr. Gib- hand, or some circumstance is left bon's charges; to maintain the out of view, which, when underauthenticity of the disputed pas- stood, either in a great measure, sage; to reply seriatim to the or entirely subverts it. His acleading writers who had disputed count of the MSS. of Valla and it; and to account for its omission Stephens is altogether erroneous; from so many MSS. and versions. and the impression which he laThat he undertook a herculean bours to produce, that a great task is very evident; that he sunk number of Greek and Latin MSS. under it, can excite no surprise. contain the verse, is directly the What he wanted in argument, he reverse of the truth. made up by boldness; and con- He makes a show, for it is often trived to maintain an appearance of little better, of replying to fiftytruth and victory, by carefully five arguments or objections of avoiding to meet his enemy in the Dr. Benson; and pronounces that face.

his Dissertation, “ for intrepidity He succeeds in defending the of assertion, disingenuousness of first Editors of the Greek New quotation, and defectiveness of Testament against the base insi- conclusion, has no equal, stands nuations of Gibbon; for though aloof beyond all parallel--as far the cause must be given against as his reading extends—either in Mr. Archdeacon Travis, no one ancient or in modern times.” This will concede to the historian of the is something like the ass kicking Roman Empire, that the learned the dead lion ; but which, as we editors were bigots, hypocrites, or shall find, was destined to refools. But, when from defending ceive no ordinary correction. The their character, he proceeds to character given to Dr. Benson's defend their text, the ground be- work, in the opinion of Porson, comes very different, and the more properly belongs to the protactics entirely of another order. duction of Travis. In the same Instead of pursuing a straight manner, he professes to meet fiftyforward course, in order to reach one arguments of Sir Isaac Newhis point, he is obliged to follow ton; whose arguments were not one the most indirect and cir- more powerful than Benson's, but cuitous. In place of beginning at who is treated with more courtesy the beginning, he begins at the than the Presbyterian divine. end. He commences with the Griesbach and Bowyer are diswriters and authorities next to the patched in a very few pages, and period of the Reformation, and not more satisfactorily than the endeavours to trace the stream up former. to the fountain head. Instead of . In short, Archdeacon Travis, the evidence becoming clearer and though a very respectable Clergystronger, however, it becomes the man, and an able “Tythe-Lawfeebler and more obscure the longer yer," was altogether disqualified he pursues it; till, at last, notwith- by his prejudices, his ignorance, standing his perpetual mistakes and his injudiciousness, from and mistatements, it is left in rendering any important service

« AnteriorContinuar »