Imágenes de páginas

every opportunity, the propriety of scarce, but (in its way) valuable the measures in progress for modify- Chronicle of Yepes, we were struck ing or abolishing those superstitious with the multitudinous array of mirites and ceremonies which had still raculous interferences on behalf of too strong a hold on the public images which it presents. An outmind. His defence indeed of some lawed robber, pursuing his vocation of these, particularly the use of in one of those wild “ sieras " which images as books for the unlearned abound in this country, was, we are (while he professed, as every de- gravely assured, arrested in his fender of them will profess, to con- guilty career, by a vision similar to demn the idolatry to which they that which converted the perseled), shews in a very striking light cuting Saul of Tarsus ; but the pathe difficulties surrounding a ques- rallel goes no farther : the awakened tion which even the common sense sinner was not led to the true source of mankind, as well as the word of of mercy, but to an image of the God, demonstrates to be utterly Virgin concealed in a neighbouring untenable. That the use of ma- cavern. To this his adoration is terial objects of worship will ever directed; and from it he recives an lead to the grossest idolatry, expe- answer of pardon and peace. The rience sufficiently testifies. Our Lady miraculous efficacy which immediof Loretto in Italy, and our Lady of ately ensued in restoring the blind the Pillar in Spain, are melancholy to sight, causing the lame to walk, but instructive instances of the de- and even raising the dead to life, graded condition of their blinded (of which it seems there are many votaries. Nor is this the fruit duly authenticated instances) is adonly of ignorant zeal, abusing what duced as evident proofs of the dithe church to which the zealot be- vine power residing in this celestial longs, condemns, and endeavours to image *. And to this day, no amend; but the authorised and ac- doubt, our Lady of Valvanara ranks credited worship of the church itself, next to her sister image of the founded on formularies prepared by Pillar, in the estimation of every the highest authority, and stamped orthodox Castillian. with all the insignia of infallible ap- All this may appear to the Proprobation. In an Italian work en- testant reader, as certainly it is, titled “ Notizie della Santa Casa," puerile in the extreme; yet it is in and its wonder-working image, now Sober earnest, and under pontifical before us, published so late as the authority, that it is promulgated; year 1782, “ with approbation,” while its object is to support an and which, by appearing in the idolatrous worship, as gross and vernacular language of the country, as senseless, as ever disgraced the was evidently intended for popular“ eternal city" in the days of her edification, we find a long detail darkest heathenism. of indulgences, conferring the full But the principal topic of disand entire pardon of all sins to cussion at this period was the sathose who visit the holy place. This crifice (as it was termed) of the is followed by a list of miraculous altar. Mr. Soames has given, in cures, wrought upon a great num- the second chapter of his work, ber of individuals, and extending a detailed account of its origin their sanatory influences to almost and progress, and the opposition every disease to which the human

which for some ages it encountered. frame is subject. But, if Italy has Our early Saxon homilies are inreason to boast of this wonder- deed gratifying proofs of this, as working idol, Spain has no cause from the concealment afforded by to complain of any deficiency in the rude language of our ancesthis important part of papal wor

• Yepes Coronica general de la Orden ship. In looking over the very de San Benite.

tors, they escaped the expurgatory able to form some estimate of the process to which the Latin compo- blessings we derive from the Resitions of the Anglo-Norman times formation, and the feelings of devout were subjected, they are still pre- acknowledgment which it ought to served to us ; proving the very little produce in the Christian mind to claim to antiquity which appertains the Giver of all good, who raised to this peculiar tenet of Romanism. up his instruments in the times If abstracting the mind from the and places most appropriate for the spiritual worship of God by material completion of that great work. representations necessarily engen

One of the chief means employed dered inadequate and improper no- in evangelizing the world, was the tions of his perfections and attri- public preaching of the word of butes, still more must the doctrine of God. “Go ye into all the world, transubstantiation conduce to the and preach the Gospel to every same end. It is painful to read creature," was the last command of the speculations of the scholastic our blessed Lord ; a command which divines on this subject. The blas. his Apostles fully and faithfully phemous propositions which they obeyed. They declared and pubadvance, and the perverse ingenuity lished to their hearers “ the whole which they display for their support, counsel of God,” “ testifying both evince both the difficulties they had to the Jews and also to the Greeks, toencounter, and the awful departure repentance towards God, and faith tofrom scriptural truth to which they wards our Lord Jesus Christ.” As long were led, by these vain, and worse as the religion of the Gospel retained than idle, speculations. The rubrics any thing of its pristine purity, the appended to the Missal, and the duty of public exhortation was absurd and puerile ceremonies with never neglected by its ministers. which the supposed transformation It formed indeed one of the most of the sacramental elements is ac- important parts of public worship companied, while they shew the for many ages: and it was not unignorance of the ages in which they' til error had excluded the light of were invented, must increase the truth, and the notion of a sacrificial surprise of every thoughtful mind, service had superseded scriptural that men gifted with the power of simplicity, that the neglect of this reasoning, and that in many in- duty insinuated itself into the stances in no ordinary degree, Christian church. When therefore could advocate a proposition so un- the first reformers in the south of tenable in itself, and so derogatory France, in the twelfth century, to the Divine nature in its conse- raised their voices against the dark quences. If therefore, to these pe- superstition of their times, and culiar dogmata of the Romish sys- loudly proclaimed the almost fortem, we add the gainful impostures gotten doctrine of salvation through of purgatory and indulgences, and the one only Mediator, the supthe lying legends and miracles by porters of the established system which they are attempted to be felt called on for some effort, to consupported and upheld in public travene the impression which beestimation; the religious adoration gan to be rapidly produced. Hence paid to the saints, amounting in arose the order of preaching friars * ; innumerable instances to express supplication for their intercession

* “ It was indeed for the express purand mediation with God; together was raised up by the mercy of God,” says

pose of succouring the church, that Francis with pilgrimages, processions, and the historian of the religious orders. the outward glare and shew, thrown (Heylot, tom. vii. p. !:)-, most painround the acts of public worship; phemy, is connected with the history of while everything spiritual and this fanatic. Every prophetic declaration edifying was wanting ; we shall be concerning our Lord, and every event of CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 307.

3 Н

whose assumed garb of poverty and nerally speaking, incompetent to self-mortification, and the wild en- supply that increasing demand for thusiasm they promulgated and en- scriptural preaching, which the difcouraged, served in no trifling de- fusion of truth among the people gree, when aided by the fiery zeal had created. Aware of this deof the persecuting bigots of the day, ficiency, Cranmer and his associates to suppress the growing heresy (as prepared to supply it; and among it was termed) of the Albigenses. many other evidences of their great These efficient ministers of the research into the records of antireigning superstition soon spread quity, as well as the far more imthemselves over every country in portant acquirement of deep scripEurope ; and served to fill that place tural knowledge, the Book of Homiin the public estimation, of which the lies stands pre-eminent. It would overgrown riches and consequent de- far exceed our limits to enter into reliction of their rule, had deprived any detailed remarks on that invaluthe earlier monastic societies. Poor, able work; nor perhaps is it neceshowever, was the food with which sary, as we have often dwelt with these proclaimers of Romanism fed pleasure upon the subject, and as their hearers: their own lack of we hope our readers are no strangers scriptural knowledge, together with to its merits. We cannot however the system which they were bound refrain from pointing out in a few to advocate, sufficiently accounts for instances, often as we have done it the subjects they brought before before, its accordance with the doctheir congregations, and their mode trines of the Gospel, and the vein of handling them. Declamatory of scriptural and most impressive orations on the merits of the saints, piety with which it is enriched. especially those of their own order; The leading tenets of Christianity,the meritorious works of founding the fall of man, his restoration to the monasteries, contributing to the Divine favour, the means by which mendicant fraternities, and making this is accomplished, the change to pilgrimages to favoured shrines, be wrought in his soul by the agency were the modes of salvation which of the Holy Spirit, and the evi. they propounded, and by means of dences of that change,—are all which they both upheld their own brought before the reader or hearer, institutions, and fastened on the in language plain indeed, and which minds of their deluded followers perhaps our fastidious tastes might the chains of a dark and dreary term homely, but eminently fitted superstition. Such was the state of for the times in which these records pulpit instruction in England, as were composed, and for the persons to well as in other countries, at the whom they were addressed. How dawn of the Reformation. The se- very striking, for instance, are the cular clergy (as the parochial minis- directions for a profitable study of ters were termed) rarely made any God's holy word, which Mr. Soames attempt at publicly instructing their has very judiciously extracted from flocks; and consequently were, ge- the First Homily. “ Read it (the his blessed life, were attributed to him. holy Scripture) humbly, with a meek “ Born in a manger, and his birth fore- and lowly heart, to the intent you told by angels (Heylot), the Holy Spirit may glorify God, and not yourself, visibly descending upon him, and the with the knowledge of it: and read marks of our Saviour's sufferings imprinted it not without daily praying to God, on his body.” It is added, “B. Franciscus fuit bonus pastor, et vitam suam pro ovibus that he would direct your reading suis posuit.” (Alcor. Francis, tom. i. pp. to good effect; and take upon you 22_268.) Such were the profane ap- to expound it no farther than you plications of Scripture current at this period, not among the ignorant and illi

can plainly understand it. For, as terate only, but sanctioned and approved St. Augustine saith, the knowledge by their teachers.

of the holy Scripture is a great, large, and a high place; but the door those wretched and miserable deis very low, so that the high and vices, on which, under the name of arrogant man cannot run in; but he meritorious observances, the votary must stoop low, and humble him. of Rome was induced to rest his self that shall enter into it.” How hopes of salvation. The overflow. peculiarly applicable is this to everying treasures of merit with which class and condition of human so- the monastic orders abounded, and ciety; and what a mass of false doc- which, for a valuable consideration, trine and unscriptural opinion, which they were ever ready to transfer to the desire of being wise above what their more profane, or less religious is written has led men into, would neighbours, are thus described : have been avoided had these di- “ Sects and feigned religions were rections been more assiduously and neither so many among the Jews, generally followed ! Mr. Soames nor more superstitiously and ungoddoes not quote from the Second ly abused, than of late days they Homily; and though he eulogises have been among us; which sects it, he does so only in the restricted and religions had so many hypoand dubious remark, that “it con- critical and feigned works in their tains much excellent matter cal. state of religion, as they arrogantly culated to leave upon the mind a named it, that their lamps, as they thorough conviction of human un- said, ran always over, able to satisfy worthiness, both from a corrupt not only for their own sins, but also nature and from vicious habits.” for all other their benefactors; That Homily, however, is in ac- keeping in divers places as it were cordance with those scriptural de- marts or markets of merit, being scriptions of our lost and fallen race full of their holy relics, images, which declare “ that every ima- shrines, and works of overflowing gination of the thoughts of man's abundance ready to be sold.” While heart is only evil continually.” “We however he opposed these vain be of ourselves," says the Homily, superstitions, its venerated author “ such earth as can bring forth but was not less careful to insist on the weeds: our fruits be declared in the necessity of truly Christian works fifth chapter to the Galatians. We as fruits and evidences of faith; have neither faith, charity, hope, though strictly excluded as a meripatience, chastity, nor any thing torious cause of our acceptance else that good is, but of God; and with God. The rest of these truly therefore these virtues be called edifying and instructive discourses there, the fruits of the Holy Ghost, contain numerous and most impresand not the fruits of man." The sive exhortations to those practical fundamental doctrine of the Refor- duties which emanate from the mation, Justification by Faith only, doctrines previously inculcated. which subverts the whole system of Although the English clergy of Romanism, is admirably delineated that day needed the help thus proby the pen of Cranmer, in the third vided for them, we are not hence of these discourses. The rough to suppose that there were none draft of it was sent to Gardiner by competent to instruct the people in its author, to whom it appeared the simplicity of Christian doctrine highly objectionable; as indeed it and practice'; for there were some must to every one who has not been brilliant exceptions to the too taught practically, by the Holy Spi- general insufficiency. Prominent rit, to rest his hopes of justification among these stands the aged and and salvation only upon the merito- venerated Latimer; of whose resrious sacrifice of a crucified Saviour. toration to royal favour, and conThe Homily on Good Works, which sequent resumption of his ministewas also penned by Cranmer, con- rial labours, Mr. Soames gives the tains a very masterly display of following interesting account.

“ Among the means adopted in Lon— address, in the Communion Serdon, for disposing men's minds towards vice, where the minister confesses a decided change of religion, few, perhaps, his own and the people's unworwere more efficacious, than the restoration to public notice of Bishop Latimer. On thiness to draw near to God. But it the first Sunday in Lent, he was appoint were needless to point out to our ed to preach before the king, when the readers the sublime and truly papulpit was placed

for the first time in the thetic strains of genuine piety which privy garden, it being thought probable, that the chapel would be unable to con- abound in our established formutain the crowd, which the fame of his laries; or to allude to the rich store eloquence was likely to bring together. of evangelical doctrine which they Edward listened to his sermon from an open window of the palace, and was so

contain; or to mark how simply, much affected by the exemplary preacher’s yet how impressively, the different carnestness, that he presented him with wants of our fallen race are cona gratuity of twenty pounds. In subse- veyed to the Throne of Mercy, and quent Lents he was called upon to fill the the aspirations of a devout and pulpitin the privy garden: at that as well as at other places, crowds of anxious hearers humble 'mind are clothed in lanattended upon his ministry.” pp. 237– guage intelligible to every class of 240.

human intellect, yet sufficiently eleHaving thus amply provided for vated to meet the wishes of the a most important part of public most cultivated mind. The Liturgy worship, and ensured to those as- did not however at once attain its sembled in the house of God, in present form. In the latter part of addition to the reading of his holy this reign, some alterations were word, a form of sound doctrine con- made, by retrenching a few ceresonant with it, the next important monies and expressions which business which occupied the Arch- apparently afforded some support bishop and his fellow-labourers, was to exploded superstitions; and in preparing a formulary of devotion that of Elizabeth it was still farther in the vernacular language, freed improved, though in points of minor from the superstitious accompani. importance. ments with which the Roman ritual While the Reformation was thus was loaded. But although our re- gradually extending its benign informers were feelingly alive to the Auence over the kingdom, the Roerrors of the existing forms, they manists appear to have concentrated were not the less able to appreciate their strength at Oxford, in opposthe value of those portions of them ing the learned Peter Martyr ; who, which, derived from a high antiquity, having been for some time at Lamwere not contaminated by the su- beth, under the protection of Cranperstitions which modern times had mer, was nominated Regius Prointroduced. Neither would they fail fessor of Divinity in that university, to perceive, how desirable it was in the year 1548. to fall in with the habits of those The appointment of this amiable for whom they were preparing a foreigner caused an unusual compublic ritual, by retaining such motion, and gave great offence to parts of that previously in general the Papists, in consequence of his use as were agreeable to the word well-known adherence to scriptural of God, and indeed in themselves religion, and his enlightened views peculiarly beautiful as devotional of the much-controverted euchariscompositions. We consequently find tic question. The history of this that in our Book of Common Prayer eminent reforrner affords a remarkare retained such portions of the able instance of that directing Inancient liturgical effusions as were Auence which governs the mode of consonant to the views of pure reli- individual as well as national illugion embraced by its compilers. Of mination. Early impressed with a these the collects for the different distaste for worldly occupations, Sundays are beautiful specimens, and deeply imbued with a love of as well as that peculiarly impressive literature, he embraced the monastic

« AnteriorContinuar »