Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ad is valame; .

las been propagated
li estay, by the circu-

performance in
There the Roman Cs.
*mes, and which,
siad the chief sup-
z papal cause; we
ay depisre the ori-
in which it sprung.
** mest painful sen
!! 3 rolame, relates to
zagate. Oar author

2 stasea of recording
ai luglius and Eco-

[ocr errors]

46 Review of Scott's History of the Church of Christ.

[JAN. that body and blood being received formation, grieved the Spirit of grace, by the ungodly as well as the true and split the infant church, was believer. Here Luther was the most that in which he was most clearly violent of all. The same mind wrong ; so wrong, that, after three which mastered by its gigantic pow. centuries, the Lutheran and Calers almost every other subject, which vinistic churches have admitted the penetrated the mysteries of popish charge, by agreeing to bury the resuperstition, and which, in the ge- collection of it in an ecclesiastical neral exposition of Scripture, could union. Let those who are in dan. unravel with the utmost sagacity the ger of magnifying points of dispute varying laws of human language, and be warned by this example. Let the just rules of interpreting figura- them see bow prone to error are tive expressions, was incapable of the greatest and purest minds; let perceiving a point which for two them be slow in committing themcenturies past hardly any tyro in selves beyond the exact prescripScripture criticism has for a moment tions of revealed truth; and, above doubted. But this was not the all, let them dread creating such worst of the case. The first pro- points into terms of communion, posal of the true and simple inter- and erecting a lasting division in the pretation came from so suspicious a affections of Christians. quarter, and was connected with so Mark only the fatal consequences much enthusiasm and violence, and in the case before us. When the even folly (we allude to Carolstadt), league of Smalkald was formed by that our reformer unhappily pledged the Protestant princes, after the himself at once, and without any re- unjust decree of the diet of Augsserve, to his own view of the question; burg, and most of the cities wished and, when once committed, main- the Swiss to be admitted as parties tained his opinion with a pertinacity to it, Luther refused, on the ground and severity, and a want of charity of this one speculative difference on which were quite indefensible. Had the subject of the sacrament. From a little more wisdom and love go- this time, asperity, estrangement of verned Luther and his associates on mind, and dispute, too much prethis topic from the first, as was really vailed ; and all intercourse between the case on almost every other, they churches engaged in a common might bave imposed just as firmly cause, and sincerely loving the same their own sense on our Redeemer's Master, was cut off. Then, after a words, but they would have left to lapse of years, when an opening for

the Swiss churches (to which the "reconciliation took place, ambiguity English joined herself on this point) and insincerity were unhappily adthe same liberty which they claimed mitted in the partial concord of Witthemselves: they would not have temberg-—infinitely more injurious made this subordinate matter pro- than if each party, retaining its own minent and essential; nor would they views without any dishonest comhave separated and estranged the promise, had united on the common Protestant communities, and ex- ground of charity and peace. In hibited them to the popish body as the mean time, the Church of Rome divided by controversy, and weaken- gloried in the rupture, and unknown ed by schism.

injury was done to souls inquiring No historical topic can be more after truth, at that important juncture, instructive to every class of readers, by the plausible advantage thus given and especially to those whose opi- to the papal divines. Indeed, if we nions may have weight in a revival weigh calmly the one single misof religion, than this lamentable dis- chief arising from Bossuet's use of cussion. The only question on which this schism in his work on the Va, Luther lost his temper, betrayed his rieties of the Protestants, to which cause, injured the progress of re- our author has frequently referred,

Os, the censure bere *** es to the series r., bez eren to many of in and in some de122 med; for be abstamed exurt und mcharitatie

ei of these two perKied from him on the

are to see the length to *** be carried among are in a common ense; 21: Dedicther than a hea is at a minor point muschi pass,' says Scule taon nang of those to the Reformation), able de masses of Zunglius kiss, regarding them as betes; and whatever

at they condemned un

tuen'* p. 13.
te tn the truth to sub.
anlating topic-
borce, Lather wrote

bei aber be bad met
tapes, be thought hin
m; and that he had the

Leikepedits; and that aparazzated their death."

an are been earacteristie tip says a strong utteryox beings concerning

in that particular view

a sugo his character tonet expressing that limia strets

, which certainly ated by perhaps bad of other

daracter. This will na to does not allow for

pre the appearance of ve te rentiments which be Press. p. 125.

han end of that compen

a word on the

ficted by Almighty Ventable defect of beste has seen it in

in the course of his volume; a the detail of the consequences of the mischief which has been propagated schism itself. for above a century, by the circu- We pass on to the last head of lation of that artful performance in this division of our subject : for no every country where the Roman Ca- one can lay down the volume withtholic religion prevails, and which, out receiving a new impression of to this day, is one of the chief sup- the anti-Christian character of the ports of the whole papal cause; we Church of Rome, and the important cannot sufficiently deplore the ori- effects of the Reformation, directly ginal fault from which it sprung. and incidentally upon it. It is dif

Perhaps the most painful sen- ficult to conceive, in a Protestant and tence in all this volume, relates to enlightened period like the present, , this miserable dispute. Our author and with the backwardness of men to says, on the occasion of recording recal scenes of past times, the almost the death of Zuinglius and Eco-incredible ignorance, imposition, lampadius,

idolatry, and vice, which covered al" I regret to say, that the censure here most the whole of Christendom at conveyed applies not only to the enemies the moment when Luther first drew the followers of Luther, and in some de forth primitive Christianity, from its gree to Luther himself; for he abstained long concealment, to the view of an Rot altogether from harsh and uncharitable awakened and astonished world. remarks on the removal of these two per- The pope was ANTI-Christ himsons, who had differed from him on the self

, the opponent of the person subject of the sacrament.”

* It is lamentable to see the length to and glory of Christ; not of course which prejudice may be carried among in a way of open infidelity, but by good men embarked'in a common cause; the corruption of the Christian faith; and seldom is it carried further than when by a blasphemous usurpation of the * Things come to such a pass,' says Scal authority of Christ; by a virtual detetes, that numbers' (meaning of those throning of the Divine Saviour, in who had embraced the Reformation), the merit of his blood, and the effi

could not endure the names of Zuinglius cacy of his Spirit; and by intrading most pestilent heretics; and whatever in his stead the adoration of the proceeded from them they condemned un- Virgin Mary, and the intercession read, unheard, and unseen.'

of the saints. Christ was considered It is but due to the truth to sub- as an angry Judge, and Mary as join on this humiliating topic

the fountain of grace. The sinner “ Subsequently, however, Luther wrote fled from Christ as a minister of to Bullinger, that, after he had met Zuinglius at Marpurg, he thought him vengeance, and transferred his conan excellent man; and that he had the fidence to the Virgin and the saints. same opinion of Ecolampadius ; and that The best gift of God to man, the

" It appears to have been characteristic religion of Jesus Christ, was conof Lother, to give always a strong utter-verted into the very reverse of all ence to his present feelings concerning the ends for which it was designed. say person, and in that particular view The princes of the Roman empire, which he was then taking of his character infatuated by the “ cup of abomior conduct; without expressing that limi, tation of his sentiments, which certainly nations," to use the emphatic lanexisted in bis own mind, or that compen- guage of prophecy, and “ given up sating view which he perhaps had of other to a strong delusion to believe the parts of the same character. This will he" of the Babylonish sorceress, often, to the reader who does not allow for the circarstatice, give the appearance of agreed with one consent to give inconsistency in the sentiments which he their power to the beast.” Over a different times expresses.” p. 125. the kings of the earth the mother

We will not add a word on the of harlots reigned, partly by force punishment inflioted by Almighty and partly by artifice and craft. God, for this lamentable defect of The light of truth was almost excharity. The reader has seen it in tinguished. The grossest ignorance

p. 125.

[blocks in formation]

as to the first principles of Chris- the reformers and herself were
tianity prevailed. Secret scepticism merely verbal ; and her admissions
and even Atheism spread amongst and treaties at another, made with
the ecclesiastics. The few sermons the purpose of violating them, as
delivered were declamations on soon as circumstances would allow.
vows, pilgrimages, and the merits In short, imagine only in what
of saints. The morals of the people way a church, corrupted as the
from the highest to the lowest, not Apocalyptical visions reveal, would
excepting the clergy, were sunk in be likely to act when a reformation
the most flagrant vices : harlots, was begun ; and in that precise
for example, were publicly escorted manner will it be found that
by the equipage of cardinals in the Papal Rome did actually proceed
streets of Rome, and were allowed against Luther and his noble asso-
to follow prelates and legates, when ciates. It was the kingdom of dark-
deputed to attend ecclesiastical ness disturbed by the kingdom of
councils, whilst the office of the light, and resisting the disturbance.
Confessional was employed to re- And yet the Papacy was, in
concile and patronise více by pur- thirty short years, shaken to its
chases and commutations and su- very base by a feeble monk. Half
perstitious impositions. In the mean Europe espoused the Reformed
time, the Bible had been first closed, tenets; and of the other half, the
then discountenanced, then forgot- larger part testified no doubtful in-
ten, then superseded by the authori- dications of inquiry and desire of
tative comments of the fathers, and, change. The chief leaders of the
lastly, prohibited to the people. In Papacy themselves were compelled
the controversies of the day, not the by the force of truth to admit, from
Scriptures but the schoolmen were time to time, the existence of the
the sources of truth, and the corruptions of the church, and the
arbiters of doctrine. It is, in short, need of reform. The Archbishop of
impossible to conceive of a state of Saltsburg, for example, after the
things more exactly fulfilling the reading of the Confession of Augs-
predicted apostasy of the latter day burg, told every one,
-a state so fatally destructive and “ That the reformation of the mass was
ruinous to souls, that the outward becoming, the liberty of meats proper,

and the demand to be disburdened of so tyranny and persecution, and the

many commandments of men, just ; but resistance to the progress of know- that a poor monk should reform

all, was ledge and happiness, by which it was not to be endured.” pp. 24, 25. produced, are only to be considered In the year 1537, a commission as appendages and instruments of was at length actually issued by the spiritual defection.

Paul III. to several cardinals, to In such a state of corruption, we inquire into the corruptions and wonder not that the Church of abuses of the Roman court-from Rome roused herself to indignation which, though nothing whatever was at the proceedings of Luther. Nor ultimately done, we deduce clearly do we wonder that she afterwards enough the actual state of the doconfirmed all the charges advanced minant hierarchy. Nor did the against her, by the very manner in mighty effects on the Papacy prowhich she conducted her defence; duced by the Reformation itself, by her threats and favours, her fall short of what these admissions bribery and

contrivances, her would lead one to anticipate. On worldly spirit and profligate poli- the direct results, however, in the tical schemes—by her open disre- establishment of so many pure gard of all care for truth, and her churches after the model of the trifling with the souls of men; by apostolic doctrine, in the distribuher assertions at one time that the tion of the Bible, and books of differences between the doctrine of evangelical instruction, and the

tindihe is truly • 1 * I atrasy to che! Te what has 4* it evet, as it

be, intermediate Bebes teng pro

bi? E bus 1 232 tice Lutber had in a long esta.

so beseit, it is proba Ertenor thought

it sot been fut LA -U observes, that 27, tma be thus lars assed, and Dearly in

a Luder bimself; & neustomed me to

: A might not ti a farmuaries of

lat besert. His tem for ear..ple, bere

U asutations,

essantay that
* Ouly arhere

eng buran Becuon, and a bat

pert for wbuch all mat raus of the -Internet res, to which 22. Fereast Letter's, but

ased i frem. So Sei commentator on

, 61. Fears farther on

sions of the papal op doctrine of justi

Taping, and ace foundation for an

bad been sin

Persement of the

[ocr errors]

conversion of souls, we need not and the Romish doctors were comsay a word, after the remarks scat- pelled, by the movements of men's tered throughout this article: we ra- minds and the spirit of inquiry, to ther would advert to those effects on enter far more into the questions the popedom, which, though inciden- of Christianity, to attend more to tal, were of the greatest importance, essential truths, and to discharge and continue in operation to the the functions of the Christian present day. As early as the year ministry with somewhat more of 1530, Luther observes, that "the piety and diligence. The light Catholic doctors borrowed from him, penetrated in every direction. In and learned to preach in quite a fact, we should never have heard of different manner than they had such men as Jansenius and his fol. heretofore done.” Three years af- lowers in France, or of Borromeo terwards Erasmus, the fickle, timid in Italy, or of the affecting and Erasmus, appears as a witness of powerful writings produced by the the tacit effects of Lutheranism. Roman-Catholic ecclesiastics on the After extracts from his work on great foundations of our common Concord, our author justly and Christianity, or of the partial re. acutely observes,

vivals of religion in different spots of “ Almost all this, no doubt, is truly the popedom, or of the salvation of excellent: but, then, was it contrary to svuls, if Luther had not first disthe doctrine of Luther? was it what his pelled the darkness by the widewould perhaps purport to be, intermediate spread illumination of his flaming between the two?' Rather its being pro

torch. pounded in this manner by Erasmus is a

These incidental effects were no proof of the extent to which Luther had doubt partial and inadequate. The prevailed in his attacks upon long.esta- vast mass of the popish body remainblished error. Erasmus himself, it is pro. ed in the same, or nearly the same, bable, would never have written or thought as he here does, had it not been for depth of superstition and idolatry; Luther. Seckendorf justly observes, that and the ostensible church, the leadmost of the positions, which he thus lays ing hierarchy, contrived by the dethe same words, from Luther himself'; crees of the council of Trent to rivet though Erasmus was accustomed so to the old chains by which their vassals temper his language, that it might not had been bound, and to forge many directly offend against the formularies of a party which he dared not desert. His

new ones. But the main and importdoctrine of free will, for example, here ant consequences of throwing open proposed, avoiding all thorny disputations, truth, asserting the principle of the as he calls them, is substantially that religious liberty of mankind, appealto what is thus taught concerning human ing to the public only, proclaiming impotency and imperfection, and what the abuses and corruptions of the becomes of the sort of merit for which existing superstition, proposing the Eecius, Paber, and all that class of men contended ? –The sentences, to which Christianity, maintaining the pecu

fair and simple form of genuine Erastus objects, were not Luther's, but were calumniously imputed to him.” So liar doctrines of the merits and grace far the learned historical commentator on of Christ, exposing to view the disLutheranism." pp. 160, 161.

tortions of the popish rule of faith Then, eight years further on and morals, and recalling men to (1541), the concessions of the papal the few and mighty principles and advocates on the doctrine of justi- precepts of the Gospel ; -all these fication were surprising, and ac- effects did follow, not only directly tually laid the foundation for an but incidentally, tacitly, by insinuaagreement, if that had been sin- tion, in a thousand secret channels. cerely sought.

These principles are working still,and The gradual improvement of the will yet increasinglywork, in proporgeneral tone of morals kept pace tion to the purity of the Protestant with the silent victories of truth; churches, the spirit of love and con. CHRIST. Obsery. No. 301.

H

[ocr errors]

obstant's potice, hu : Scott has resta a Ettle the ¿Le passage is thus *11etary debates

the report of the sr(eg, on the 21st

section stich has
on, and it is one

Si not expect to

z de Roman Ca
datereening Berit
Dobozan actions. Be
Z# old are considering
ents only as they af-
13. m pertaps be per-

i let those who lay so
3.1 Erka, likely to be
2

nad works are of 1 baith alone is all Bare not to decide

ts than thoseة لا

cord which unites them, and the vity with which the differences be-
holy lives and conduct which they tween the Protestant and Popish
exhibit. We care little for the creeds are sometimes treated by
boasted infallibility of the popish our public men, and this even in
church; we care little for itsvaunted our senate. With an abstinence
unchangeableness of character. The from political heats, we would com-
last thing to which any public bodies bine the most wakeful jealousy of
are brought, is a formal retractation. the portentous folly, superstition,
Truth is invincible. Education and and tyranny of the anti-Christian
the Bible must, and will, and do, church. We would have men doubly
sap, by the grace of God, the very alive to the unutterable evil of ido-
foundations of papal ignorance and latry; the guilt of human inventions
superstition, and this in the bosom for pardon; the danger of uninspired
of their own communities. The commandments; the certain demo-
bulls issued of late against the ralization which is created by indul.
Bible societies will recoil upon the gences, satisfactions, and the merits
framers of them. The members of of saints; and the total denial of
the popish communion will and must, all effective Christianity, which flows
individually, drop off and join their from a heap of unmeaning ceremo-
Protestant brethren, as light is dif- nies, adapted to fascinate the senses,
fused. The one thing, we are some. ~from a blind acquiescence in hu-
times inclined to think, which con- man authority,--from ignorance the
spires, with many others, to hold to- most profound, joined with dogma-
gether the Papists in these Protestant tism the most presumptuous,-from
dominions, is not so much the love of the exclusion of the Bible and the
truth, or conscience, as that high po. extinction of free inquiry. What
litical party-spirit which so unhappily the torpor and ignorance of Pro-
mixes with their religion. Let that testant statesmen, combined with
unnatural bond of union be loosened, the incredible zeal of Papists, may
and man left, in the present state of effect, we know not. But the main
Europe, to the unimpeded effects of preventative we conceive to be not
truth and knowledge, and the pope political heats and animosities, but
will soon totter on his ill-sustained an aroused conviction of the spiri-
throne, and the nations and indi- tual enormities of the one system,
viduals still adhering to his absurd and of the holy life-giving doctrines
and antiquated errors, will be only of the other; Popery presenting,
those who, deluded by their love of on all sides, a direct contrast to the
unrighteousness, are reserved for doctrines and precepts of the Go-
destruction at the coming of the spel - Protestantism founded on the
Lord. The danger, accordingly, word of God, and that only.
which threatens us as a Protestant All the declarations made at dif-
people is, we are disposed to think, ferent times in or out of parliament
not so much from the arguments or by public men, that we are not
craft which Popery may employ, as greatly accountable for our opinions
from our own apathy and indifference that we have no better reason to
to religion generally; from infidelity assign for our adherence to the Pro-
and deism insinuating themselves testant church than that we were
under the guise of a loose and un- born in a Protestant country-that
defined Christianity; from the for. questions about transubstantiation
getfulness of the main characters are of no more importance than the
and controuling discoveries of the idle disputes agitated by the school-
Gospel ; from provoking the God men-are of the worst tendency,
of mercy and truth by ungrate- and directly go to dig up the foun-
ful returns to him for all his good- dations of Christianity itself.
ness, and by a contemptuous dis- In this view, the

very erroneous regard of his Word and Spirit. Our impression whicha celebrated statesdanger arises from the indecent le- man lately gave of the Protestant

2 ombodox opinion; sul subject of a state cias provide for, I,

odd wrquestionably 13. vto insists on the ai sad works as part of

ed to him who con

carolled in all his i preordained and inex55 and who, provided

the thinks himself ger bis actious." Mr. Oratisapprebends this re's obsttes, ze of the merit of works," sit pronounced, and

an office, is less o juofication by

e of the statesman was

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »