« AnteriorContinuar »
flate been a
the rec of our t hat I ca ders the 's
charate objects, an
t to be
Review of Scott's History of the Church of Christ.
I, for one, am not averse to a reformation of whatever may really
need reform among us; but when I look at the signs of the times, I confess that I tremble to see the instrument of amputation rashly wielded, lest it should fall into unskilful hands, which would not distinguish members from excrescences, and might wound the vitals of Christianity in removing a supposed blemish on the surface of our Established Church. It would give me no pleasure to see our church after such an algebraical reformation, with minus and plus as follows:minus what the world calls Calvinism, including several essentials of Christianity,-sacraments, as too Popish,- our authorised version of the Scriptures, especially our Articles and Homilies; with plus a reformed Prayer book, an Unitarian Bible, and a race of Watsonian bishops and clergy as expounders. of its doctrines, and setters forth of its discipline.
A REAL REFORMER.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
The History of the Church of Christ,
The first portion of the volume contains the story of the Reformation in its Lutheran branch, down to the Peace of Religion in 1555, with notices of Melancthon, and the proceedings of the Council of Trent, from its opening in 1515, to its close in 1563. The second portion is devoted to the rise and progress of the Reformation in Switzerland, to the year 1527. Our limits forbid our giving an adequate sketch of both sections of the volume: we have therefore thought it better, on consulting the aforesaid phrenological organ, to confine our attention to the latter half, which comprises a complete subject. We need only add of the pretérmitted portion, that its contents are highly interesting; but as it has been longer before the public, and is therefore better known than the other, we prefer selecting the latter. 5 F
THIS continuation of Mr. Scott's valuable work comprises two portions of ecclesiastical history, and was published in two parts, though now paged consecutively as one volume. The first part has been some time before the public; but whether from its offending our craniological organ of completeness to review half a volume, or from a multiplicity of new works dividing our attention, we have not hitherto noticed it. The publication of the second part has recalled to our minds Mr. Scott's claims upon our respectful regards, and we take the earliest opportunity of gratifying our readers with some account of his labours.
CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 336.
In his preface, amongst other valuable matter, our author gives an account of some of the writers from whom he derives his information. The account of the historian Thuanus, or De Thou, is very interesting. He was born in 1553, and died in 1617. He was the president, as his father had been, of the parliament of Paris, during a period when that parliament was the only surviving bulwark of liberty in France. As an author, his name is distinguished by the history of his own times. His house was the resort of men of letters his library was one of the best in Europe. His integrity, courage, and talents, were such as to commend him to the general regard of his countrymen. Though he remained to the end a Roman Catholic, he treated of the Protestants, and the proceedings of the French government against them during the period, especially of the great massacres and the civil wars, with such moderation, as to gain him the title of a heretic at Rome, and to place his history among the number of prohibited works. The preface to his great work is as much celebrated in the annals of literature, as Calvin's dedication of his Institutes, and Causabon's introduction to Polybius. How rare, in any writer connected with the Church of Rome, is such language as the following! "Experience has taught us that fire and sword, exile and proscription, rather irritate than heal the distemper that has its seat in the mind. These affect only the body; but judicious and edifying doctrine, gently distilled, descends into the heart.... Religion is not subject to command, but is infused into well prepared minds by a conviction of the truth, with the concurrence of Divine grace. Tortures have no influence over her; in fact, they rather tend to make men obstinate than to subdue or persuade them. Confiding in the support of God's grace, the religious man is content to suffer. Let the executioner stand before him; let him
prepare tortures, whet the knife, and kindle the pile; he will still persevere, and his mind will dwell, not on the tortures he is to endure, but on the part he is to act. Tortures, therefore, by no means repress the ardours of the innovators of religion. France has tried them for forty years, and the Netherlands nearly as long. Mild persuasion and amiable intercourse may still conciliate those whom force cannot subdue."
De Thou speaks as follows of himself in the third person, in a memoir which he has left of his life. We quote the passage for the benefit of statesmen, lawyers, and authors of the present day,-men who have not more pressing occupations to detach them from devotional employments than the presi dent of the parliament of France. "Besides," he says, "the daily prayers which every Christian ought to offer at his rising, he has told me that he made one applicable to his work, and never sat down to composition without first beseeching God to enlighten him with the knowledge of the truth, and then enable him to follow its dictates without flattery or detraction."
But we must no longer detain our readers, even to contemplate this Sir Matthew Hale of Popery, from the subject of the work before us.
It is unnecessary to dilate upon the general circumstances and character of the Swiss as a nation. From the times of Julius Cæsar to those of our modern tourists, all their annalists and voyagers have concurred in representing them as a hardy, vigorous, independent race, carrying into their daily transactions much of the ruggedness, loftiness, and immoveableness of their native mountains. It is natural also, that liberty should find an asylum in a country where from the loftiness of surrounding barriers, each state found it comparatively easy to maintain its independence of every other.
The following account of the
prepare tortures, whet av
and kindle the pile; le ▾
⚫ not on the tortures hea
dure, but on the partit
e Tortures, therefore, by a
De Thou speaks a Las
1829.] Review of Scott's History of the Church of Christ.
more hopeless than the moral eman.
which we have to treat, as the Roman
Catholic cantons, namely, Lucerne, Uri,
series of heroic conflicts, the liberty of
But we must no longs » our readers, even to cas this Sir Matthew Hale of from the subject of the m fore us. It is unnecessary to die. the general circumstances racter of the Swiss 28 17 From the times of Julia Le those of our modern ta their annalists and vo concurred in representi a hardy, vigorous, indepeats carrying into their day much of the ruggednes and immoveableness of the mountains. It is natural liberty should find an country where from the it of surrounding barriers, ¿AS » found it comparatively e tain its independence of esers following account
The state of Switzerland, at the
It has been often observed that, in the history of religion, as in that of arts and science, the recognised authors of great changes and discoveries have had precursors, to whom a great part of the praise is fairly due.
It was then in the case of the Swiss Reformation. Zuinglius was preceded by Geiler and Wyttenbach; the former, a native of Schaffhausen, who faithfully sowed the seeds of Divine truth at Strasburgh, from 1477 to 1510; the latter, the tutor, at Basle, of Zuinglius himself, and from whom the Reformer may be conceived to have derived much of his own light on the subject of religion.
Zuinglius was born, probably in 1481, at Tockenburgh, a dependency of the abbey of St. Gallen, was the son of the chief magistrate of the district, and studied successively at Basle, Berne, Vienne, and then again at Basle. He was first called to his pastoral office at Glaris in 1506. At Glaris he spent ten years, and there probably his eyes began to open to the errors and evils of the church to which he belonged. Here also, it appears, that the Spirit of God first made known to him the wants and corruptions of his own heart, and the necessity and all sufficiency of a Redeemer. A manuscript is still found in the library of Zurich, of the Epistles of 5F2
Luther or from God? Ask Luther himself. I know he will say it is from God. doctrines to Luther, when Luther himWhy then do you ascribe other men's
self ascribes his doctrine to God? Luther introduces no novelty: he only brings forth freely what is treasured up in the immutable and eternal word of God;
If modern Protestants thus studied the Scriptures, we hazard nothing in saying it would greatly pointing out and displaying the heavenly
improve the quality of reformers at home; and if Papists thus studied them, it would as largely multiply the number of reformers abroad. Zuinglius afterwards pursued the same course as to the other books of the New Testament. Myconius thus describes the devout pursuit of his studies at this time: "After he had learned from Peter that Scripture is not of private interpretation,' he directed his eyes to Heaven, seeking the Spirit for his teacher." Referring to the close of this period, Zuinglius himself says, "I began to preach the Gospel in the year 1516, where the name of Luther had never been heard of in these parts;" "thus counting for nothing," says Ruchat," the labours of the preceding years, because, during these, he had preached human traditions, and not the word of God."
Mr. Scott, at this point of his history, enters upon some discussion of the not uninteresting question of the precedency of Luther and Zuinglius in the work of reform. The following quotation gives us Zuinglius's own testimony on the subject. "I began to preach the Gospel before I ever heard the name of Luther. And, in order that I might do so, I ten years before applied myself to the study of Greek, that I might draw the doctrine of Christ from the original source. What success I have had, I leave it to others to judge but certainly Luther gave me no assistance, for I was ignorant of his very name when I learned to place all my reliance exclusively on the Sacred Scriptures. Luther, as far as I can judge, is a most gallant soldier of Jesus Christ, who studies the word of God with a zeal and diligence which have had no parallel for this thousand years. I care not if the court of Rome now pronounce me a heretic along with him. I say there has been no one (though I would not depreciate others,) who has attacked the pope with such a determined and undaunted spirit, since the popedom had an existence. But to whom is this noble proceeding of his to be ascribed? Is it from
treasures to Christians who have been led to seek it from wrong sources." p. 335.
"All then, I think, may now understand why I am unwilling to be called a Lutheran, though no man esteems Luther more highly than I do. I will say also, that I never wrote a line to Luther, directly or indirectly; nor he to me. And why have I not? Certainly not for the fear of any man: but that it might appear to all men how consistent and uniform is the Spirit of God, when we two, placed at such a distance from each other, and teach the doctrine of Christ in such and holding no intercourse together, write perfect harmony. I compare not myself to Luther: every one has what the Lord gives him: each one achieves that to which God leads him on." p. 337.
We entirely acquiesce in the view taken by Mr. Scott himself of this controverted point.
"Dr. Milner has introduced part of the above-cited passage in discussing the question of the priority of Luther or Zwingle, as a reformer. Their indepen
dence one of the other it must be allowed
to establish; which is the point of much the greatest importance, not only as it may concern their honour, (for which we ought not to indulge too much jealousy,) but especially for the purpose insisted upon by Zwingle himself at the close of the passage,-leading us to admire the wonderful works of God in raising such mighty instruments of his grace to cooperate with
out mutual communication; and the consistency and uniformity of his Spirit,' in leading them to teach the doctrine of Christ in perfect harmony,' the one with the other." With respect to the question of priority between them, it appears to me that those, who would deprive Luther of the honour of taking the lead in the great work of Reformation, do not properly distinguish between knowing, and even teaching the truth in a comparatively quiet way, and publicly raising the standard against reigning error, so as to draw general attention, and commence a revolution. In the former way Zwingle might perhaps precede Luther; in the latter Luther certainly took the lead of Zwingle. Both of them had the knowledge of Divine truth-of the doctrine of justification, in particular--before the year 1517: in 1516 Zwingle preached the Gospel at Glaris, and Luther, I apprehend, unquestionably taught it in his lectures at Wittemberg: for some time, I conceive,
of the Church of Christ.
Review of Scott's History
In 1518, a vacancy took place in
During the residence of the Re-
He preached his first sermon