Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

April, 1817.) The Life of Hugh Latimer.

117 on his head, his spectacles hanging to you, I was in prison, and ye visitby a string to his breast, and a staff ed me?' God grant us all to do and in one hand. In the other he had suffer while we are here, according the New Testament. He was allow- to his will and pleasure. Amen. ed to sit down, probably on account

« H. LATIMER." of his age and infirmities. The disputation went on for several days. On the sixteenth of October, fifteen Latimer and his friends were hissed hundred and fifty-five, Latimer and at and mocked by the court on these Bishop Ridley, who had lived togeoccasions, and every unfair advantage ther in the same prison, and both, was taken by their enemies. But God like Christ Jesus, witnessed a good gave to his faithful servants a mouth confession, were brought forth upon and wisdom, which nothing could the north side of the city of Oxford, gainsay nor resist.

over against Baliol College, to be His last examinations were before burnt to death. White, Bishop of Lincoln, Brooke, Latimer was dressed in a poor Bishop of Gloucester, and others. Bristol frieze frock, all worn, with After giving his reasons very forcibly his buttoned cap, and a handkerchief for rejecting the two first of the afore. on his head, a new long shroud hangmentioned articles, he was questioned ing over his hose down to the feet. on the third, viz. Whether the Catho- The hearts of all men began to pity lic mass be a sacrifice propitiatory for this great man, who a few years back the sins of quick and dead. To which had been a Bishop, but now was he replied, “ No, no, my Lord; Christ brought to such a desperate condimade one perfect sacrifice for all the tion. whole world, neither can any man Yet in the sight of God, who seeth offer him again, neither can the priest not as man seeth, Latimer never apoffer up Christ again for the sins of peared so honourable as in this moman, which he took away by offering ment, when he came forth to die in himself once for all (as St. Paul saith) the cause of Christ. As they passed upon the cross ; neither is there any by the place where Archbishop Cranpropitiation for our sins, saving his mer was confined, Ridley looked up, cross only."

hoping to have seen him at the winAgain, the same question being put dow, but was disappointed. Then to him a second time, he repliedam looking back, he saw Latimer behind « Christ made one oblation and sacri. him, and called out, “ Oh! are you fice for the sins of the whole world, there ?"_“Yes," said the venerable and that a perfect sacrifice; neither old man, cuming after you as fast needeth there to be any other, neither as I can follow." can there be any other propitiatory At length they both came to the sacrifice."

stake. Heré Ridley embraced LatiThe Bishop of Lincoln now exhort- mer, and said, “Be of good heart, ed Latimer to abjure his errors; to brother ; for God will either, assuage which he answered, that he would the fury of the flame, or else strengthnot deny his master Christ, nor his

en us to abide it." Then he went to truth. Upon this the Bishop read the stake, kneeled down by it, kissed aloud his condemnation.

it, and most earnestly poured forth He was taken back to prison, against lis soul in prayer. Behind him Latithe day of his martyrdom. From his mer kneeled, calling upon God with prison he wrote thus to a pious wo- equal earnestness. mañ, named Wilkinson, who had paid Smith, who for the space of a quarter

Now came forward one Doctor him much kind attention.

of an hour called upon these holy “ If the gift of a pot of cold water men to recant, that their lives miglit shall not be in oblivion with God, be saved. Ridley answered in the how can God forget your manifold name of both,“ So long as the breath and bountiful gifts, when he shall say is in my body, I will never deny my

DURING NE EIGHTEENTH CENTURI.

man.

Lord Christ, and his known truth.” FRENCH PHILOSOPHY,
Then rising up, he said, “ I commit
our cause to Almighty God, who shall
indifferently judge alí."

One naturally conceives of philosophers.

as of a serious reflective class of men: They now began to undress. All

the subjects about which they are converLatimer's clothes were taken away sant are both grave and important; the but his shroud : in this he stood forth, investigation of truth necessarily demands and seeming to rise above his age and

the exercise of the severer powers of the infirunities stood quite upright, and understanding; and the results of their

inquiries so nearly affect the happiness of appeared a most reverend figure.

the human race, that the alliance of frivo. Then the smith took an iron chain

lity with such pursuits exhibits an inconand put it round about both the holy gruity of ideas that would be ridiculous martyrs, to fasten them to the stake. if it were not shocking; a confusion of A faggot kindled with fire was then images too monstrous to be comical. In put at Ridley's feet. To whom La- perusing the works of the French writers

Who called themselves philosophers dur. timer thus called out:

66 Be of good

ing the last age, the first feeling is a sort comfort, brother Ridley, and play the of distressing amazement, a kind of hor

We shall this day light such a rible surprise ; such as overtakes us on candle, by God's grace, in England,

beholding an extravagance of nature, or

which travellers are said to experience as shall, I trust, never be put out."

on entering the mansion of the Prince The fire now began to rise around

Palagonia in Sicily, who has crowded in. them; upon which Ridley cried out, to his rooms every fantastic image which with a very loud voice," Lord, Lord, a depraved and unnatural fancy could as.

sort. These men write of God; of crea. receive my spirit!” Latimer cried out with equal earnestness, “ O Ta. tion, providence, redemption; of man and

virtue; of life, death, and eternity ;-ideas ther of Heaven, receive my soul !" He

of which the very names are awfal-to then seemed to embrace the flames. which the mind approaches purified and Soon after, he breathed his last. chastised by reverence;-and they are as

His dying words were wonderfully merry as monkeys. They chatter and grin, fulfilled. He did light up a flame in

and talk of the government of the uni.

verse, and jest a little, and come back England which has never gone out. with a light turn to the origin of morals, The friends of the. Reformed Reli- and then a clever story against priestgion throughout the kingdom, instead craft, and a merry pass at Providence, of being daunted by his death and and--adieu, mon cher philosophe! What

shall we say to reasoners such as these? that of his companion in the flames,

Were they sane? Is it rational for be. gathered fresh courage from the ex

ings who can think and feel, who hope, ample which both had set them, of and fear, and suffer,-for mortal beings, suffering fortitude and holy courage. who in a few years must mingle with the Daily more and more were brought dust they tread, to sport with the things over to the true faith of Christ.

in which they are the most vitally conImitate the noble example of these happiness or misery for ever? Is it de

cerned, and which may determine their holy martyrs. Never shrink, through cent for a feeble creaturè, crawling upon the fear of man, from showing your

the earth for a moment, and ready to sink selves to be the servants of Christ. under the pressure of the very atmosphere Fight the good night of faithig and lay ways of his Creator, and clap or hiss as if

he breathes, to canvass with levity the hold on eternal life.

it were a scene at the opera ? If this be The great doctrine which these the fruit of knowledge, indeed " ignoholy martyrs preached, was salvation rance is bliss." If this be philosophy, it through faith in the atonement of our

is that of the petites-maisons. crucified Saviour. On this founda

We always suppose philosophers to be tion they built their exhortations to

possessed of some fixed principles, wher.

ther right or wrong: a system, a centre that holy and pure life, which is the of opinions. Else why do they think? calling of every servant of Christ. what is the value of reflection, if they He died for us (was their language), are exactly as ignorant as their neighthat we which live might no longer existing institutions or sentiments, though

bours? If philosophers therefore attack live unto ourselves, but unto Him

we may doubt their wisdom, we at least who died for us and rose again. give them credit for wishing to substi

some

April, 1817.]
French Philosophy.

119 tute notions which they think sounder great masters of wisdom were content to and more valuable. But the philosophers live and die in a willing and senseless of France had no opinions at all; they scepticism respecting every thing which were mere haters; they attacked every best deserves to be investigated-which thing and recommended nothing. We speaks in accents the most thrilling to have difficulties enough to perples us our hopes and our fears. upon any hypothesis ; but these men, in- Philosophers should be humble. Those, stead of applying their skill to unravel

more especially, who question rather than the entanglement, only wove new laby. decide, should recommend their doubts rinths in every direction. They contra. by a tone of caution and modesty. The dicted one another, and they contradicted new academy never dogmatized: but the themselves :

philosophers of France were superior to " Cliaos umpire sits,

precedent and authority. If a prize were And by decision more embroils the fray."

offered to the most imperious, irritable, Neither in the works of the philosophical scornful, dogmatic, and polemical body writers of France considered as a body, that has ever existed among lettered men, nor in the productions of the individuals, the authors of the Encyclopædia would is there any thing to be found worthy of bear away the palm. Not their brethren the name of a religious and moral system; the old Epicureans, not the followers of unless Helvetius's paradoxes, which they Abelard and Ockham among the schoolall laughed at, are to claim such a cha- men, not the pedants of the sixteenth racter. They dismissed, indeed, Revela. century, not the colleges of the Jesuits tion by general consent, as quite unwor- or the doctors of the Sorbonne, could in thy of the just ideas of a Deity; and such a contest maintain a rivalry with having mastered so easily the great des. that illustrious fraternity. Touch but one pot which had subdued mankind, it was of the brotherhood

and all the corporation to be imagined that they would open was in arms; neither virtue, nor talents, peculiarly noble and comprehensive views nor character, nor station could protect of God and his government, and furnish a the miserable offender from the stings of solution to some of the great moral ques. the exasperated hive. Almost all who tions that had so long distressed the con- were not their friends were treated as templative part of mankind. How did their enemies; and their enemies were they answer to these expectations? The fools or hypocrites. They despised every more daring spirits, such as Diderot and thing and every body (themselves escept. Condorcet, shot up boldly into atheism; ed); and at last they despised one ano. defied religion, and insulted morality.- ther. It is quite amusing to see how by D'Alembert, more cool and cautious, continually living in their own little circle seems to have oscillated long, but at last of antipathies they acquired the true sec(as La Harpe tells us) judged that proba- tarian spirit; and though they began with bility was in favour of the existence of exclaiming against want of charity in the a God. However, he had so little respect churchmen, learnt to discard even the ap. for his probable divinity, that he could pearance of charity towards all but men sneer bitterly at the moral administration of their own party. It was thus towards of the world; and declare, in one of his Frenchmen, it was thus towards foreignletters, that he was much of the same Hume and Gibbon were tolerated, mind with Alphonsus, who said, that if but Johnson was a superstitious dog;" he had been in the divine councils at the and Mr. Burke complains that there was commencement of things, he could have an air of contemptuousness about them shown how to make a better 'creation. which greatly detracted from the pleasure Voltaire and Rousseau clung stoutly to of their society. Among all the European their theism; but the former, who furi. communities they seem to have respected ously assailed the Pentateuch, because it none but this country; and one of the dishonoured God by the representations principal reasons for this partiality ap. it gives of his character, has more pas. pears to have been given by the learned sages in his writings of scandalous impie. Marquis de Condorcet, who tells us, that ty and profaneness than could, we verily * the philosophy of Bolinbroke commentbelieve, be collected from all the works ed on by Pope, had established in Engof Jews and Christians during three thou. land a system of rational theism, with sand years : and the latter, though less morals suited to firm and reflective spiimpious, has done more to recommend rits.” However, as Frenchmen are apt to licentiousness and confound all moral ridicule without reason, so for once they sentiments than perhaps any other author applauded without knowledge: for Bolinthat ever lived. So it was in substance broke's pompous inanities never deceived with the rest. They patronised negatives. any body but his scholar, who was frightAnd though our very instincts direct us ened out of his wits when he heard they to the attainment of knowledge, and truth meant infidelity; and in spite of Bolin. has been the object most ardently pursued broke, and of men much abler than he; by the liighest minds in every age, these Christianity has at all times been heartily

ers.

[ocr errors]

of one ;

believed and loved by the mass of the pany suited to her character; murder, population in this country.

profligacy, proscription; and civil anarChristianity, considered apart from its chy and military despotism. divine credentials, was a great experiment

And yet some feelings of compassion upon mankind; and no one, we think, will

are due to the men and to the nation whom deny that it materially exalted the gene- we have condemned. They saw not the ral tone of morals, and produced the best religion of Christ such as it proceeded specimens of individual excellence which from the hands of its divine Author, lowly the world has witnessed. The rejection and self-denied, benevolent and spiritual, of Christianity and return to a more natu. separated from sin, and superior to the ral condition was also an experiment; vanities and the sufferings of this transiand it was fairly made, though upon a

ent scene. They saw it debased by its smaller scale. Let its value be estimated alliance to a superstitious establishment, by its results. ' Revelation was first re

and sustained by a civil authority at once jected in France by men of education and arbitrary and contemptible. They saw the reflection; by the literary and scientific profession of Christianity often united to members of the community. Can a single the practice of vice, or the policy of a individual of the body be mentioned who worldly ambition; its dogmas peremptoaccredited his principles by a strict and rily enforced, and its precepts habitually consistent morality? We have never heard

relaxed. The rapid progress of infidelity and all the most considerable cha- in France sufficiently proves the decay in racters among them were notoriously sul. that country of essential religion. The Jied with great and fagitious vices. Vol. Gospel in all its power, appealing to the taire told the most deliberate falsehoods, consciences of men, and carrying its crewhich even his biographer, M. de Condor. dentials in the practice of those who accet, does not attempt to excuse; though knowledge it, is alone capable of contend(to show the severity of his own morals) ing long against the pride and passions of he maintains that lying is justifiable if a people who have once thrown off the oppression makes it expedient. Rousseaui bondage of an ignorant and implicit faith; abandoned his own offspring. D'Alembert and those who have the weakness to place insulted his Creator. Diderot cheated his their reliance on the authority of ancient patroness; and his writings are an out- institutions, or the seemly pomp of rituals age on all decency. Marmontel deserted and services, will assuredly discover, when the object of his early affections, who had it is too late, that these are but the perishbeen faithful to him through years of ab. able forms in which religion is enshrined, sence and silence; and he had the heart. not the living and immortal spirit which lessness to put his infamy upon record can alone protect itself and us in the hour for the amusement of his grandchildren, of danger. This is a truth which the guilt without breathing a single sigh of contri. and the sufferings of France are peculiartion or regret. In the midst of all these ly calculated to enforce. While we reprothings they continued to applaud each bate the men who conspired against Chris. other abundantly, and talked loudly of tianity, and deplore their success, let us reason and virtue. By degrees the prin- never forget that there were other conspi. ciples of the philosophers were diffused rators still more formidable, and to whom among the people, and at length the whole that success is chiefly to be attributed nation, by a general effort, threw off the the unfaithful ministers and professors of yoke, and publicly renounced Christiani- religion, who rendered it. weak by the ty. What ensued? What bright gleams dissensions, odious by their bigotry, and of opening glory and happiness illumi. contemptible by their crimes. nated the auspicious enterprise? What new constellations arose to shed their inAuence on a happier ära ? All was dark. The LABOURS OF THE CLERGY OF THE ness and horror. The heavens seemed to CHURCH OF ENGLAND IN DEFENCE be “ hung with black.” France was for OF CHRISTIANITY~From a Sermon a moment blotted out of Europe; and then

preached at Wakefield, May 30, reviving, like a bedlamite from his trance, poured out her frantic rage on every sur.

1816, at the Visitation of the Rev. rounding nation. The fall of Christianity,

Archdeacon Maricham, M. A. By instead of being hailed like its birth by the Rev. C. Bird, M. A. Rector of angelic voices, speaking peace and love, High Hoyland. was proclaimed by the groans of widows and orphans, and the savage bowlings of We are at liberty to call to mind, demons. The Gospel descended' upon and to form a just estimate of the earth attended with a heavenly train of important services which learning, graces and virtues, with the charities which soften and embellish this life, and combined with piety, has rendered to prepare us for a better. The religion of Christianity, in every period since its nature ascended from beneath with a com. establishment, and more particularly

[ocr errors]

April, 1817.]
in Defence of Christianity.

121 to the reformed, Protestant commu- entific attainments; not less profound

What other instrument, since in research, ingenious in argument, inspiration and its miraculous signs are and eloquent in_language - Hurd,

withdrawn, could have been powerful Watson, Paley, Burke; who were enough to beat down the consolidated able, by their extensive erudition, to strength of the Roman hierarchy, and meet the adversary on every fresh the inveterate bigotry and idolatry of ground he took; whether he chose to the laity, but that union of erudition dive into the remotest depths of antiand piety which shone forth in the quity, in search of historical means Wickliffes, Cranmers, Jewels, Lati- of offence-whether he sought to set mers, Ridleys, and other distinguish- the Scripture in opposition to itself, ed champions and martyrs of the or the works of God at variance with truth, whom our Church gratefully his word,-our defenders were every enumerates among her first reform- where prepared to frustrate his iaters and founders ?

tacks, and guard every approach to And at a subsequent period, when the sacred citadel. that religious - liberty for which they The authority, therefore, of the had so successfully contended and so heaven-taught Apostles-the example profusely bled, ran wild into licenti- of those studious and pious men, who ousness and fanatical phrenzy, it was were, partly, the reformers and foundthe enlightened faith, the rational zeal, ers, partly, the advocates and defendthe well-grounded conviction and con- ers of the Protestant faith-the very stancy of Juxon, Hall, Taylor, and a spirit itself of our venerable Church, host of learned and pious divines, -call aloud on her sons to stand forwhich maintained the contest amidst ward, as their predecessors have done, persecution and penury, bonds and ba- in the very foremost ranks of those nishment; till at length “ the sword who have made literature and science of the Spirit

, which is the word of subsidiary to the diffusion of religious God,” unsheathed by learning, and knowledge, and to the maintenance guided by discretion, triumphed over of the faith which was once delivered the hydra of fanaticism, as it had for. unto the saints. That by whatever merly done over the monster of papal instrument the truth is assailed, whetyranny and superstition.

ther by the perverted philosophy of Or to descend to times nearer our the literary infidel, or the mistaken own, and to events still fresh in the zeal of the unlettered schismatic, or memory

who hear me.- the injudicious interference of seemWhen infidelity and sedition com- ing friends, defenders may never be bined their united efforts to subvert wanting, ready and able to protect the foundations of religious faith and her cause and support her authority. civil society, who can refuse to ac- So if it should please God to grant knowledge the advantage derived to the enemies of our Church a tempothis country from having in its bosom rary triumph, by disguising from her an educated ministry, ready and able, members the true source of the danon every emergency, to give a rea- ger, or blinding her eyes to her real sonable account of the faith that is in interests, then, being well satisfied, by them? It was therefore, that although patient and strict examination, of the an infidel philosophy had to boast a certainty of those things that are beVoltaire, a Condorcet, a Hume, and lieved among us, we may the more a Gibbon among its advocates-men, confidently hope, through divine help, it must be confessed, adorned and to follow those noble examples of dofortified with all the advantages of ing and suffering, with which the hisscience and literature, yet, accom- tory of Christianity abounds; and plished and formidable as they were, prove ourselves not unworthy to be our venerable and learned establish- the successors of those saints and ment was able to single out from her martyrs, to whom we owe the profesown ranks, men not less distinguished sion of a pure and Protestant faith. by literary accomplishments and sci- But if, as we rather pray and hope

of many

« PoprzedniaDalej »