« AnteriorContinuar »
him supported by princes and states, moderate that undue degree of exmingled with the affairs of nations, pectation in the reader, which all and struggling with the rising dis- the circumstances connected with orders to which the corruption of the preceding volumes tend to geman gave occasion. We shall nerate, and which it might be very have now to deal with popes, and difficult to satisfy. To every reasonlegates, and emperors, and princes, able expectation, however, we conand councils, and states; and it is ceive Mr. Scott to have answered ; quite impossible to pursue our course
and we doubt not that each suc. safely, without keeping within sight ceeding volume will lessen the disof land, so to speak, and paying tance between his illustrious predesome regard to those external and cessors and himself. He is already secular circumstances, in which the advantageously known to the public. finger of Divine Providence was His work on the baptismal contromost conspicuous, and the true versy, which has been already nocharacter of the Reformers most ticed at large in our pages, (Christian strongly displayed. These very Observer, 1816, pp.162, 228, )though points make the story perhaps more all pious churchmen may not agree instructive, upon the whole, to us in in the author's solution of this much the present day; but they necessa- agitated question, shews strongly his rily deduct something from that clearness of judgment and powers of spiritual and exclusive character, reasoning ;-his sermon before the which the Milners were enabled to Prayer.book and Homily Society(also impress on their own History. reviewed by us, Christian Observer
Further, the extraordinary talents for 1820, p. 539) evinced the calmand piety of the authors of the ness and discrimination of his reliformer volumes must be borne in gious sentiments; whilst the life mind. We say this without in the of his venerable parent manifested least depreciating the attainments (see Christian Observer for 1822, or labours of Mr. Scott. On the pp. 636, 703,) the soundness of his contrary, as will be seen, we judge religious opinions, and his capacity his volume to be an instance of for writing judiciously and feelingly successful effort. But we make the on historical and practically devoremark as a matter of common jus- tional subjects. The present work tice. The Milners were no ordinary was undertaken at the repeated sugmen. Their pure and elevated stand- gestion of friends; and whoever ard of scriptural truth, their dis. reads the modest and sensible precrimination and acuteness of judg- face which introduces it will be ment, their bold avowal of Chris- prepared to expect that a task, so tian doctrine, their disregard of the congenial to the mind of the writer, passing taste of the times, their ori- and conducted with so much diligent ginality and independence of mind, research and self-distrust, and upon their knowledge of the human heart, principles so completely in unison their thorough understanding of with those of his predecessors, would their subject, their long previous scarcely fail of being well performed. stores of information on all the pre
We learn from his preface that ceding periods of the church, their it is Mr. Scott's intention to procombination, in short, of great qua- ceed in his following volumes, first lities both natural and acquired, with the history of Lutheranism to have placed their volumes very high the peace of religion in 1555; then in the ranks of religious productions, to trace the Swiss Reformation, and and have of course proportionably that of the countries bordering upon increased the difficulty of following it, to somewhat about the same in their steps.
and after that, to enter on The design of these remarks will the history of the rise and progress be accomplished, if they somewhat of the reformed institutions in Great
des of his ene-
Providence, for ad crection to the 12 'a sart, inbemerable Fasth in smaller and pants of the hand ir first vouchsafed mes.be ng stretched pretend the reaal of the
Britain. The plan is judicious and arts by which she uniformly attemptsatisfactory; and we trust he willed to overthrow the blessed labours lose no time in preparing for the of Luther and his associates, is execution of his purpose.
highly instructive. The present volume embraces a We shall not enter further into period of sixteen years; from the the general history, for the particudiet of Augsburg in 1530, to the lars of which we refer to the volume death of Luther and the eve of the itself, but proceed to give some spewar of religion in 1546; a period cimens of the execution of the work which, though not so interesting in under such heads as appear to us some respects as the first years of to be most likely to interest our the Reformation, is yet replete with readers, and convey a just impresimportant instruction. It compre- sion of the character of the whole hends that eventful time when the narrative. Emperor Charles V., restrained by One of the first things which political considerations, allowed the occurs to a considerate mind, in cause of religion to gather strength reflecting upon the contents of this by delay and compromise ;—when publication, is, the admirable prodiet after diet was convened to vidence of Almighty God, in guardcrush, by force, the rising principles ing and conducting the Reformation. of reform, and was defeated in its The extraordinary infatuation of the object by quarrels between the pa- papal advocates in almost every pal advocates, by the invasion of step they took, conspired, with Hungary by the Turks, by the war the almost incredible corruption of with France, and the mighty sway morals which the leading ecclewhich truth gradually acquired over siastics scarcely troubled themthe minds of the princes and elec- elves to conceal, to enlighten the tors of Germany. It was during minds of men in the most effectual these sixteen years that we find the manner, as to the enormous evils of diets of Augsburg, of Nuremberg, the popedom, and to loosen the of Frankfort, and of Ratisbon, ulti- prejudices of education and habit. mately conducing to the further. The gradual process by which Luance of Lutheranism, and the storm ther was himself led on, quite conof war, so long threatening, not al- trary to his first intertions, to dislowed actually to burst forth till cover the whole antichristian chathe great leader of the Reformation racter of Popery, and to break had been removed to his heavenly entirely with the Church of Rome, rest, and the seeds of truth had conduced, with the conduct of the taken such deep root as to be able papal prelates, and the illumination to flourish without the care of the of men's minds, to produce the hand that planted them.
desired result and marked the finThe history of this great struggle ger of Providence. To the same fills the present volume. The nar- effect tended all those defeats of a rative is richly interspersed with hollow and dangerous reconciliaselections from the writings of the tion which, for twenty years or more, reformers, with details of the effects the reformers in their sincerity would of the evangelical doctrine in the gladly have accepted from their states of Europe, with accounts of crafty adversaries. Again, the timely the various disorders and contri. support raised up for Luther, was vances which tarnished and impeded exactly adapted to bring about the the Reformation, and with reports of same end; a support suddenly and the dying testimonies of many of mysteriously springing up in the the leading characters of the time. very moments of exigency, and yet The view also which is presented of not beyond the occasions that called the almost incredible corruptions of for it, or of a kind to provoke open the Church of Rome, and the base hostility; but only such as baffled
We select, as speMae unic, three passages; : sting the providen2* en a less consider
econd, in a highly * rta point ; and the
une reiections of F te is the nexpected proPA ATTIRE governance. Ste to the forbidquestant divines to
e det of Augsburg. ot, some degree of
ed even before Chic Augsburg It bas
Pruterat princes some of their principal
both in the
and read, and after they
z partai irequenur e aoibey ab-tal. eihe tour controfessy,
sem orectly to the Min made, the proceeding
to the enemies. pentingit, before be noted Fiscai tro pleasure that se be withstandson, the prearby
tactile De days after
Di frea then by sa Tenderber only be compte as the Popásti as well
vey, è all mitt There is the consciences.
ng to impose si.
Et and to appoint
s, therefore, which em ter rap.d and bar.
* echter from ail
xement, as the
the immediate designs of his ene- ing poisoned by the invectives of such mies, and gave time for the Refor. preachers as Faber and Cochlæus." pp.
14-16. mation to take root and spread. The
But this was not all ; for Luther permission likewise of the chief evils remarks as follows, on the public and dissensions, which have since reading of the Augsburg Confesdisturbed the reformed churches, to nion :arise in its first and most vigorous “ He thus writes to the elector the and spiritual period, as well as the very day on which he had received his chastisement of those evils by na- highness's letters: Our adversaries think tional judgments, are further pro
they have succeeded to admiration, in provisions of a Divine Providence, for curing the preaching to be stopped by an our warning and direction to the do not perceive, that, by the exhibition of present day. In short, innumerable & written confession to the emperor, more are the proofs, both in smaller and is done to make known and propagate our more momentous points, of the hand have effected. "Islebius, it is true, and the of that God which first vouchsafed other divines are silenced; but forth come to us Christianity, being stretched the elector of Saxony and the other princes forth to protect the revival of the and lords, with a written confession of faith
in their hands, and preach, with all posDivine doctrine. We select, as spe- sible freedom, before his imperial majesty cimens on this topic, three passages; and the whole empire, in the view of all the first illustrating the providen- the world, so that they are forced to hear, tial care of God in a less consider and can say nothing against it! Truly able matter ; the second, in a highly that accomplished which is written, “The important and vital point; and the word of God is not bound!" No: if it is third offering some reflections of prohibited in pulpits, it shall be heard in our author, on the unexpected pro
the palaces of kings.' ceedings of the Divine governance.
The second relates to the man. The first relates to the forbid ner in which the iniquitous decrees ding of the Protestant divines to of the diet of Augsburg were virpreach during the diet of Augsburg. tually annulled ; decrees which, had
they been acted upon, the Reform« On another subject, some degree of contention had commenced even before ation, so far as man can judge, the emperor's arrival at Augsburg It has would have at once expired, togebeen observed, that the Protestant princes ther with its first movers. But in brought with them some of their principal what way did a merciful Providence divines. These ministers, both in the defeat them? The injustice and places they passed through, and after they arrived at Augsburg, preached frequently violence of this recess of the diet, in the churches: and, though they abstain- induced the Protestant princes and ed as much as might be from controversy, cities to join in a defensive alliance, and applied themselves directly to the Seven princes and twenty-four cities edification of the people, the proceeding formed the league of Smalkald. naturally gave umbrage to their enemies. The emperor, accordingly, before he moved The emperor therefore could not from Inspruck, signified his pleasure that enforce the decrees, without the the practice should cease... Notwithstand- imminent risk of civil commotions. ing the emperor's letters, the preaching was not discontinued till some days after In this state of things, let us read his own arrival, and not even then by an the following narrative. absolute surrender, but only by compro. “ But it pleased Providence for the premise--the emperor engaging to impose si. sent to relieve the Protestants from their lence on the divines of the Popish as well apprehensions in an unexpected manner, as of the Protestant party, and to appoint The emperor was by no means prepared such preachers, exclusively, as all might to engage in a civil war. That with the hear without offence to their consciences, Turks was of itself sufficiently urgent. Though the sermons, therefore, which They had again invaded Hungary with an were preached, were very vapid and bar- immense army, and for the avowed purren of scriptural truth, yet Seckendorf pose of dethroning Ferdinand, and advancthinks the Protestants were rather gainers ing another person in his place: and the than losers by the arrangement, as the Protestants, before the late diet separated, minds of the persons assembled from all had declared, that they could neither fura parts of Germany were prevented from be- nish any'aid against the Turks, unless CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 301.
in algúst en in de part of Egripe; I. hot of the tea0 very creek and in
man of the poredom; ot *the truths of of me that demanded as to hearing in the bu
ad eectors and
s from dark.
they were themselves protected, and peace have led us to expect a speedy de-
the pope, cut off before they could reach Lewis, elector palatine, who offered to
the scene of action; all which had well mediate between him and the Protestants, nigh taken place, and, bumanly speaking, By this means, after many difficulties and might easily have been effected. Thus protracted conferences, a pacific arrange- the liberty of Gerinany might have been ment was at length effected, on terms established, and the Protestant religion highly advantageous to the Protestants.
placed in security: This would have exThis pacification, called, from the place
actly met our wishes : but to that higher where it was agreed upon, the pacification wisdom which controls all occurrences, of Nuremberg, was settled in that city in and watches with an eye of special regard the month of July, 1532, and solemnly over the affairs of the church, it seemed ratified the month following, in the in- good to permit a widely different course perial diet held at Ratisbon.
of events. It pleased Him, indeed, ulti“« In this treaty it was stipulated, That mately to establish the cause of the Geruniversal peace be established in Germany,
man Protestants in safety; but, according until the meeting of a general council,
to the anticipations which we have rethe convocation of which within six months peatedly seen the leading reformers enterthe emperor shall endeavour to procure; taining, their church was to be previously that no person shall be molested on ac
humbled and purified. It was his good count of religion ; that a stop shall be put pleasure also to bring down the pride, and to all processes begun by the imperial to disappoint the ambition, of Charles V. chamber against Protestants, and the sen
as effectually, and in as mortifying a tences already passed to their detriment
manner, as if it had been accomplished shall be declared void. On their part, the by the elector and the landgrave; but Protestants engaged to assist the emperor it was to be by the hand of a man of far with all their forces in resisting the inva- less principle than either of them, whom sion of the Turks. Thus,' says the bis- the emperor himself was, with the most torian whose words I am here using,' by unsuspecting confidence, nourishing up to their firmness in adhering to their princi
execute both these great designs of Proples, by the unanimity with which they vidence. Here then we are strikingly urged all their claims, and by their dexte- taught to commit our ways to God, to rity in availing themselves of the emperor's leave all with hin, and in faith and pasituation, the Protestants obtained terms
tience to wait the unfolding of His diswhich amounted almost to a toleration of pensations, who will infallibly bring about their religion : all the concessions were the events most be desired, in the time made by Charles, none by thein ; even the and by the means which are the best to favourite point of their approving his be chosen.” pp. 438, 439. brother's election was not mentioned ; and the Protestants of Germany, who had The second topic to which the bitherto been viewed only as a religious mind of an attentive reader of this seçt, came henceforth to be considered as
volume would probably be directed a political body of no small consequence.
is, the large effusion of the grace of
the Holy Spirit, together with the Our third quotation will save us wide spread of the reformed docthe necessity of a single additional trines which it exhibits. It is quite remark on the course of God's wise delightful, when we close the voand holy providence. It relates to lume, to reflect on the evident proofs the consequences of the diet of it contains, of that peculiar gift of Ratisbon in 1546, when the mean- the
grace of the Holy Ghost which ness, the deceit, and even treachery prepared the minds of men for the of the emperor's conduct, might reception of truth; which excited
e in the power 0 cond The principal in are companied the Ca at the Gospel were, R. Der a lapse of 1. the awakening of usof men, in the Lean of the healing med Saviour, in the izay and decision of
a and in the holyet ste deportuent, and es eren upto death, a darches. In a
co the irresistible lo by the New Testadocey for the first aceleten centuries, restag and writings of
Is in Tepid associates,
pe aices of ages led from the toute, and a new era Loa wa introduced. es nichts effect to and the Holy Spirit, be
perpetually to the reformers, were tortizate and incidental
nany modern di2 Trustely dwell, but tee of the Chris
hatit fall and ruin and KENT of man, the Die sinner by faith area and sacrifice of da entification of all the
*The mal by the ene, and the supreme and Scrinture in mattal practice. Such in. rendendiced ita blessed
an of the same
inquiry and insinuated doubts as to Spirit who scattered it for this very the existing superstitions in almost end. every mind in every part of Europe; Let our readers peruse, for the ilwhich pushed the tide of the hea- lustration of this topic, the followvenly doctrine into every creek and ing brief description of the effects recess, as it were, of the popedom; of the Gospel in Saxony, in a letter which proclaimed the truths of of Luther to his prince, during the Christ with a voice that demanded agitations of his residence in Augsand obtained a hearing in the burg in 1530. audience of kings and electors and “* Truly,' he says,
" there are more princes and prelates ; and which numerous and more excellent pastors and turned innumerable souls from dark, teachers in your highness's dominions, ness to light, and from the power Our youth of both sexes grow up so well
than in any other country in the world. of satan unto God. The principal instructed in the holy Scriptures and the phenomena which accompanied the Catechism, that it affords me the most first propagation of the Gospel were,
sensible pleasure to see children learn in fact, renewed, after a lapse of fit more, and enabled to believe and arow
more, concerning God and Christ, than teen centuries, in the awakening of all the papal colleges, monasteries, and the lethargic souls of men, in the schools heretofore knew, or
know. rapid promulgation of the healing
These tender plants form a most doctrine of a crucified Saviour, in the pleasant paradise, planted by God himself,
in your highness's territories, which has spiritual simplicity and decision of not its like in all the world beside. The the new converts, and in the holy children of God are protected and daily
fed love, consistent deportment, and with the bread of life in your dominions:
the very reverse of which is the case in patient sufferings even unto death, those of the popish princes. In those of the evangelical churches. In a countries, however, there are many who few brief years, by the irresistible look to the sacred land, under your highforce of truth, by the New Testa- ness's sway, with ardent affection and fer
vent prayer.'” ment circulated widely for the first time after ten or eleven centuries, Luther, by the nobles of Austria,
Next, let the following address to by the preaching and writings of be considered. We quote it as a Luther and his intrepid associates, specimen of the diffusion of grace the systematic prejudices of ages in a country whence Protestant were almost obliterated from the doctrines have, in our day, been minds of multitudes, and a new era of light and grace was introduced. systematically excluded. We attribute this mighty effect to the calamities suffered from the
presented in the year 1541, after the effusion of the Holy Spirit, be- Turks. It was signed by twentycause the main tenets perpetually four noblemen, and ten cities enforced by the reformers, were not those subordinate and incidental those of Stiria and Carniola.
(among which was Vienna), besides points on which many modern di
“ It was high time therefore, they urged, vines often exclusively dwell, but to look out for remedies; and especially the grand peculiarities of the Chris- that the wrath of God might be appeased, tian revelation the fall and ruin and which, being provoked by the sins of men, spiritual impotency of man, the They set forth the evils that prevailed ; justification of the sinner by faith that all discipline, public and private, was only in the merits and sacrifice of at an end; but that the contempt of the Christ, the sanctification of all the word of God was the chief cause of all."
From both sacred and profane history faculties of the soul by the power
they shewed, 'that God had many times the Holy Ghost, and the supreme severely punished the most flourishing authority of holy Scripture in mat- kingdoms for false worship and the conters of faith and practice. Such in. tempt of his word.' They pointed out corruptible seed produced its blessed the formidable indications which appeared fruits by the influences of the same and proceeded: Truly we know no,
pp. 65, 66.