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the establishment of the reformation here, Dr. Laurence speaks thus :
“ In this country, where the light of literature could not be concealed, nor the love of truth suppressed, Lutheranism found numerous proselytes, who were known by the appellation of “the men of the new learning." This was particularly the case after the rupture with the See of Rome. For when Henry had shaken off the Papal yoke, and undertaken to reform the doctrine of the English Church, it began to spread with rapidity. It then boldly 'sought and obtained not only protection but patronage from the cravi itself. Henry, 'who is usually represented as having almost always acted from the suggestion of the moment, and as having enthroned his passions above bis reasún, but who certainly never sacrificed what he conceived to be his conscience or prerogative to the will of others, fostered and supported its general principles; ani), the more effecțually to propagate them in his dominions, and to accelerate the arduous task in which he had engaged, invited hither a Divine, in whose admirable erudition, as he remarked, and sound judgment all good mon placed their hopes, the ever memorable Melancthon.
That he solicited not the assistance of Luther on this occasion should not perhaps be solely attributed to his personal dislike of that reformer; he well knew, that the protestant princes themselves at the most critical period had manifested a greater partiality for Melancthon. Luther, than whom no one was more capable of infusing energy into the cause, in which he had embarked, was of all men the worst -adapted to conduct• it with moderation : he was calculated to commence, but not to complete reformation. Prompt, resolute, and impetuous, he laboured with distinguished success in the demolition of long established error; he also hastily threw together the rough and cumbrous materials of a better system:, but the office of selecting, modelling, and arranging them was consigned to a correcter hand, Melancthon was of a character directly opposite to that of Lu. ther, possessing every requisite to render truth alluring and reformation respectable; and hence upon him in preference the princes of Germany.conferred the honour of compiling the publie profession of their faith. When Henry therefore applied for the assistance of this favourite Divine, by seeking the aid of one, to whom Lutheranism had been indebted for her creed, he placed beyond suspicion the nature of that change, which lieme> ditated.”
Every one knows, or at least ought to be informed, thai the articles and hómilies were, if not absolutely the composition of Craniner, yel passed under his scruti nising eye, and revising hand. What were his opinions, and what was his theological character we are here told:
“ He, (says Dr. Laurence) translated a Lutheran catechism, which he edited in his own name, dedicated to the king, and recommended in the strongest terms, as a treatise admirably adapted to improve the principles as well as morals of the rising generation
“ The opinions therefore of the primate were at this time lua theran; and although he afterwards changed them in one single point, in other respects they remained unaltered. And it should be recollected, that he it was, who principally conducted our reformation from its earliest commencement under Henry to its termination in the reign of Edward, exerting his influence over the mind of the former, and his credit in the councils of the lat ter; to effect that which it was the prayer of his heart and the pride of his life to behold advancing towards perfection...Almost the whole merit of our ecclesiastical renovation must be imputed to him, who, stilling the chaos of theological contention, produced harmony from discord, and beauty from defor. mity. To ascertain his peculiar attachments is to ascertain those of the reformation ; for under his direction, and with much of his individual aid, were prepared the offices of our Church and the articles of her Creed.
“If his conduct, connexions, and writings are duly considered, little doubt will exist with regard to the tendency of his principles; nor ought his zeal for Lutheranism to be deemed questionable, because he patronized talents, wherever he found them, and respected good men of all persuasions. For his views were enlarged and liberal beyond his times; his heart and his purse were open to ability of every description; nor, although a strenuous advocate of truth, was he ever uncharitably and inflexibly severe towards those who persisted in error, but exercised on all occasions a patience and forbenrance, which his very enemies applauded, but which few of his friends were disposed to imitate. Actuated by a conviction, that what he advanced in the cause of Christianity his conscience, as he energetically expressed himself, would be able to defend at the great day in the sight of the everliving God, he was by no means wavering and unsteady in his sentiments; yet at the same time, experiencing how reluctantly the human mind relinquished inveterate habits, he felt compassion instead of resentment for the prejudices of Papists, relieving them by his bounty when distressed, and honouring them with his friendship when deserving it. Towards Protestants, as might have been expected, his munificence was unlimited. Neither was he scrupulously solicitous to discriminate between those, who supported different tenets on inferior points: to Zuinglians no less than Lutherans, uncharitable towards cach other, his hand was incessantly extended, and his house afforded a common asylum in calamity.”
* Published in 1547.
Dr. Laurence then ably vindicates that great prelate's abilities from the hasty and injudicious inisrepresentations of Burnet, in his history of the reformation. His stýle is thus characterised with a discrimination, judgment, and force of expression, which would not have disgraced a Johnson.
• Writing for popular instruction, he was always plain and perspicuous; his ideas being generally clothed in language, which the most learned might admire, and which the most ignorant could comprehend. If his diction possessed not always splendour, it nevertheless had chastity to recommend it. If it seldom displayed that richness of metaphor and glow of colouring, which is most suited to the taste of those who approve only adorned and luminous composition, it was nevertheless far from being destitute of grace; it was neat without affectation, of ornament rather frugal than profuse, yet in every instance preserving an unostentatious decency and dignity peculiar to itself. Among the few distinguished writers therefore of his day, he should be considered as holding no contemptible rank; and he lived in times, the taste of which was not inferior but far preferable to that of those, which succeeded them. The influx of Latin words, which soon after overwhelmed the English language, had then made but little progress; nor had that absurd fondness become general for puerile refinements, for the constant recurrence of strained metaphors, and pedantic conceits, which disgraced the productions of a later period. Hence we are not at a loss to accocnt for the superiority of style discoverable in our Liturgy, the masterly performance of Cranmer and his associates, which has always been admired, but seldom successfully imitated, and never equalled; which is full without verbosity, fervid without enthusiasm, refined without the appearance of refinement, and solemn without the affectation of solemnity."
The importance of this article will, we trust be our excuse for deferring the farther continuation of it until our next.
A serious Examination of the Roman Catholic Claims, as
set forth in the Petition now pending before Parliament. By the Rer. THOMAS LE MESURIER, Rector of Neunton Longvilte, late Fellow of New College, Oxford. 8vo. pp. 66. 1s. 6d. Rivingtons. HOUGH the catholic claims have been rejected in both Houses of Parliament, we are well assured that
they will be repeatedly renewed and urged with fresh forces, and with superior interest. The petitioners with their advocates, and all who feel a concern in their des mand are confident of ultimate success. They do not even scruple to speak of it as a thing absolutely certain, and their language is in such a tone as to shew that they are not without the expectation of possessing the ballance of power, at least in Ireland if not in England.
It therefore behoves every protestant who has any real regard for our civil and religious liberty, to be on his guard, and as far as his voice and influence can extend, to endeavour to counteract a measure which would open a door to the most serious evils.
The author of the present pamphlet has gone over all the positions contained in this famous petition, in a spirit of calm, close, and impartial investigation. He has shewn very clearly, that in most points the petition is at variance with the real principles of Roman Catholics, that in others it supplies artfully by inflated and exaggerated language the want of argument, and that upon the whole it « shews a desire in the petitioners not fairly to meet the question, but rather to divide the attention of the legislature to topics that are general, and which by their popularity and speciousness, may throw a cover over the real merits."
The following observations on the danger of encouraging hopes in the Irish Catholics as to the ultimate success of their preposterous and dangerous claims, deserve the serious consideration of all our senators and statesmen:
" I repeat it, as long as the Roman Catholics have a hope, that by the ascendancy which they may regain in Ireland, (and which they now appear to be confident of attaining) they have a way opened to them of restoring the dominion to their church they are not likely to be peaceable subjects, nor cordially attached to their government. On the contrary, their attacliment to Rome will be fed by their hopes, and it is only by cutting off those hopes that we can bring them to fix their views at home, and seriously to consult what the constitution has declared, and I firmly believe, to be the true interest of the state and of the petitioners themselves.
“ Perhaps this can never actually take place so long as they continue in any the least degree to acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope; but certainly the less of probability they see of establishing that supremacy in these kingdoms, the less will their mind be occupied by it. If they could be brought to dismiss all hopes of it, we might then have a reasonable prospect of seeing them united to us, not only in allegiance to their sovereign, but in religious faith. Once eut off from the See of Rome lam pert, suaded that they could not long persist in the schisty whích sepa.. ratės thein from the national Church. And this is, indeed, what the Popes themselves have shewn them to be their opinion; for it should never be forgotten that, during the early period of the reformation, and for the first nine or ten years of the reign of Elizabeth, the Roman Catholics went to our churches and joined in our service*.
* There is indeed, no reason why they should not, for there is nothing in our belief but what they believe; no prayer in our liturgy but they may put up; not even any act or ceremony of ours but they may join in, except thre'taking of the cup in the communion; the denying of which to the laity is avowedly and confessedly å mere modern invention of thieir church. Nothing, therefore, could be more natural than their falling in with us in all respects.. But it is for this reason that the Popes expressly forbid any communion with us; it is on this very account that such pains have been taken to keep them separate from us, and in a state of hostility to the government. T'he one has always in the views of the Popes, gone with the other."
Upon the whole, we cannot but consider the present pamphlet as the very best and most impressive which we have read upon this important subject.
The Speech of Mr. Deputy Birch, in the Court of Common Council, at the Guildhall of the City of London, on Tuesday, April 30, 1805, against the Roman Catholic Petition, now before both Houses of Parliament. 8vo.
THIS'speechi does 'great credit to the talents of the
wörthy: Deputy, who deserves the thanks of all Protestănts for bringing forward, in the Common Council Chamber of the capital of the empire, 4. petition against the Roman Catholic demands; for,, in fact, the Roman Catholic petition, which, das occasioned so much obser
See Fuller's Church:History, and Ileylin's Tracts. Preface to 1st. Trata