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PRESIDENT OF THE Theological school of GENEVA, AND MEMBER of THE “ société
EVANGELIQUE.”

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PREFA CE,

The work I have undertaken is not the history of a party. It is the history of one of the greatest revolutions ever effected in human affairs, the history of a mighty impulse communicated to the world three centuries ago, and of which the operation is still everywhere discernible in our own days. The history of the Reformation is altogether distinct from the history of Protestantism. In the er all bears the character of a regeneration of human nature, a religious and social transformation emanating from God himself. In the latter, we see too often a glaring depravation of first printiples, the conflict of parties,<-a sectarian spirit, —and the operation of private interests. The history of Protestantism might claim the attention only of Protestants. The history of the Reformation is a book for all Christians, or rather for all mankind. An historian may choose his portion in the field before him. He may narrate the great events which change the exterior aspect of a nation, or of the world; or he may record that tranquil progression of a nation, of the church, or of mankind, which generally follows mighty changes in social relations. Both these departments of history are of high importance. But the public interest has seemed to turn, by preference, to those periods which, under the name of Revolutions, bring forth a nation, or society at large, for a new era,_and to a new career. Qf the last kind is the transformation which, with very feeble powers, I have attempted to describe, in the hope that the beauty of the subject will compensate for my insufficiency. The name of revolution which I here give to it, is, in our days, brought into discredit with many who almost confound it with revolt. But this is to mistake its meaning. A revolution is a change wrought in human affairs. It is a something new which unrolls itself from the bosom of humanity; the word, previously to the close of the last century, was more frequently understood in a good sense than in a bad one:—“a happy—a wonderful Revolution” was the expression. The Reformation, being the re-establishment of the principles of primitive Christianity, was the reverse of a revolt. It was a movement regenerative of that which was destined to revive; but conservatire of that which is to stand forever. Christianity and the Reformation, while they established the great principle of the equality of souls in the sight of God, and overturned the usurpations of a proud Priesthood, which assumed to place itself between the Creator and his creature, at the same time laid down as a first element of social order, that there is no power but what is of God, and called on all men to love the brethren, to fear God, to our the king. The Reformation is entirely distinguished from the revolutions of antiquity, and from the greater part of those of modern times. In these, the question is one of politics, and the object proposed is the establishment or overthrow of the power of the one or of the many. The love of truth, of liness, of eternal things, was the simple and o: spring which gave effect to that which we We to narrate. It is the evidence of a gradual ad

vance in human nature. In truth, if man, instead of seeking only material, temporal, and earthly interests, aims at a higher object, and seeks *. ritual and immortal .*. advances, h progresses. The Reformation is one of the most memorable days of this progress. It is a pledge that the struggle of our own times will terminate in favour of truth, by a triumph yet more spiritual and glorious. Christianity and the Reformation are two of the eatest revolutions in history. They were not imited to one nation, like the various political movements which history records, but extended to many nations, and their effects are destined to be felt to the ends of the earth. Christianity and the Reformation are, indeed, the same revolution, but working at different periods, and in dissimilar circumstances. They differ in secondary features:—they are alike in their first lines and leading characteristics. The one is the re-appearance of the other. The former closes the old order of things;-the latter begins the new. Between them is the middle age. One is the parent of the other; and if the daughter is, in some respects, inferior, she has, in others, characters, altogether peculiar to herself. The suddenness of its action is one of these characters of the Reformation. The great revolutions which have drawn after them the fall of a monarchy, or an entire change of political system, or launched the human mind in a new career o development, have been slowly and gradually prepared; the power to be displaced has long been mined, and its principal supports have #. way. It was even thus at the introduction of Christianity, But the Reformation, at the first glance, seems to offer a different aspect. The Church of Rome is seen, under Leo X., in all its strength and glory. A monk speaks,—and in the half of Europe this power and glory suddenly crumble into dust. This revolution feminds us of the words by which the Son of God announces his second advent: “As the lightning cometh forth from the west and shinesh unto the east, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” This rapidity is inexplicable to those who see in this at event only a reform; who make it simply an act of critical judgment, consisting in a choice of doctrines,—the abandoning of some, the preserving others, and combining those retained, so as to make of them a new code of doctrine. How could an entire people?—how could many nations have so rapidly performed so difficult a work? How could such an act of critical judgment kindle the enthusiasm indispensable to great and especially to sudden revolutions? But the Refor: mation was an event of a very different kind; and this its history will prove. It was the pourin forth anew of that life which Christianity ha brought into the world. It was the triumph of the noblest of doctrines—of that which animates those who receive it with the purest and most powerful enthusiasm, the doctrine of Faith—the doctrine of Grace. If the Reformation had been what many Catholics and Protestants imagine,— if it had been that negative system of a negative reason, which rejects with childish impatience All

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