Obrazy na stronie
[blocks in formation]



liffe preached at Oxford with great LIFE OF JOHN WICKLIFFE. boldness, met with much support. A

large number of followers soon emJoun WICKLIFFE lived about the braced them; and so rapidly did the year thirteen hundred and severity- Aamne spread itself abroad, that great one, in the reign of Edward the alarm was quickly taken by the BiThird. He was Professor of Divinity shops, the Monks, and the richer sort at Oxford for many years. By dili- of priests. They raised a violent outgently studying the Scriptures, he cry against Wickliffe, and would cerwas convinced that the pure Gospel tainly have crushed him, had he not of Christ was almost wholly buried been supported by the Duke of Lanbeneath the load of errors and de- caster, one of King Edward the Third's ceits which the corruption, the pride, brothers and ignorance of the Pope and Ro- In the year thirteen hundred and mish Clergy had introduced. Being seventy-seven King Edward the Third much concerned at this sad state of died, and was succeeded by his grandthings, and desirous that others should 'son Richard the Second, who was then share in the light imparted to himself, only eleven years old. Wickliffe had he began to protest against the errors now a great many followers. They, of the times, and to direct the people as well as himself, went about the to Jesus Christ as the only Saviour. country preaching diligently to the

He denied the power of the Pope people, and were every where listento be beyond that of any other Bi- ed to most attentively. shop. He denied that the bread and The Duke of Lancaster had now wine in the Sacrament were turned lost much of his great power. About into the real body and blood of Christ. this time, the Pope becoming alarmed He declared the Gospel of Christ to at the progress of the new doctrines, be a sufficient rule of life for every directed a Bull (or letter of authority) Christian man. He taught, that if a to the University of Oxford, sharply man be truly penitent towards God, rebuking them for not having rid the it is sufficient, without making con- Church of the errors of Wickliffe. fession to the priests: that Friars (an He sent another to the Archbishop of order of men in the Romish Church, Canterbury and the Bishop of London, who, under pretence of religion, sup ordering them to have Wickliffe imported themselves by begging) are mediately taken up and cast into pribound to get their living

by the la. son. The Bishops accordingly again bour of their hands: that greatness ordered him to appear before them; among Christ's disciples does not con- but so many persons interested them sist in worldly dignity or honours, but selves in his favour, that they were in the near and exact imitation of afraid to do what they wished, and their Saviour: that Christ never meant were contented with charging him

no his Gospel to be locked up in a learn- more to preach his old doctrines. But ed language which the poor cannot all this had no effect upon him; for understand, but that it was to be read he still went on exactly in the same and understood by all.

These new doctrines, which Wick- Some time after, the enemies of VOL. I.



way as before.

Wickliffe prevailed to have a law clared that, “even from his youth passed, the object of which was to upwards unto the time of his death, erable them to imprison him and his his conversation was so praiseworthy followers. This was the beginning of and honest, that never, at any time, a furious persecution, which was after- was there any note or spot of suspicion wards carried on against him without noised of him. But in his answering, mercy.

reading, preaching, he behaved himWickliffe was the author of a vast self laudably, and as a stout and valinumber of books and tracts, all de- . ant champion of the faith ; vanquishfending or explaining his doctrines, ing, by the force of the Scriptures, and pointing out the errors of Popery. all such who blasphemed and slanBut his great work, and that which dered Christ's religion.” ought ever to make his name dear to This is the best answer to all the the people of England, was an Eng. slanders of his enemies, and a full lish translation of the Bible. They justification of that praise and honour who know the comfort of having a in which Wickliffe's name is held in Bible in the house, which they can all the Protestant churches. understand, and delight to read and The light of reformed Christianity, pray over, will best be able to ima- of which Wickliffe scarcely beheld the gine what a treasure Wickliffe thus dawn, has, since his time, under varipresented to his countrymen. The ous disadvantages, been making graRomish priests, however, did all they dual advances. We trust it will shine could to keep it out of the people's more and more to the perfect day. hands. Yet many did read it, and The doctrines which Wickliffe preachthereby became wise unto salvation. ed, were, in the main, the same as

The latter days of Wickliffe were those contained in our Liturgy and spent in peace and quietness. He had Homilies. been obliged to hide himself to escape

Let us then imitate the courage the fury of his enemies, but their at- and zeal of this good man in promottention being now directed another ing the glory of God, by walking in way, he returned to his parish at the light of pure, undefiled ChristiLutterworth. Here he quietly de- anity. Let us look for salvation, as parted this mortal life, in the year he did, only to the cross of Christ; thirteen hundred and eighty-four. and never be tempted to have re

Wickliffe's doctrines did not die course to any other hope, or to follow with him : all the efforts of his ene- any other guide. The word of God mies could not crush his followers in is truth. That word is now no longer England. Some they burnt, others looked upon in a foreign language. All they imprisoned, or barbarously tor- may understand it. Let us then study tured; yet still they, and others after it daily, praying for grace to receive them, boldly bore testimony to the it in the truth and in the love of it; truth. Things went on thus down to and so to lay it up in our hearts, that the very period of the Reformation. we may not sin against God, but walk

But it was not only in England in all his ordinances and commandthat Wickliffe's doctrines were spread' ments blameless. abroad:

: many of his books were dispersed in Germany and Bohemia, where they were read eagerly. This Extrast.-Christianity alone teaches us, prepared the minds of men for that in the words of our Saviour, to say, even great and glorious Reformation of which are commanded us, we are unpro

“ when we shall have done all those things Religion which afterwards was effect- fitable servants: we have done that whick ed by Martin Luther.

was our duty to do.” Nothing short of an In the year fourteen hundred and immediate revelation from heaven could six, the University of Oxford publish- assure us, that for those transgressions, of ed a testimony concerning the great times guilty, satisfaction has been made

which even the most perfect must be somelearning and holy life of Wickliffe, in by the sacrifice of our blessed Redeemer: which, among other things, it is de- that “ Christ was once offered to bear the

[ocr errors]

February, 1817.] A second Dialogue about going to Church.

35 sins of many; and that unto them that as no one refuses to sing a written look for him shall he appear the second psalm or hymn; and if we can praise time, without sin, unto salvation.

God by set forms, in singing, why not pray to him so too?

S. And it is very much to be wished A second Dialogue between THOMAS that church people would use their

STEADY Steady and WILLIAM CANDID, prayer books, and keep their eyes about going to Church. (Altered fixed on them through every part from a Religious Tract published of the service, even though they may in England.)

know the prayers. This is more deCandid. Well, neighbour Steady, vout and orderly, and would prevent I went to church yesterday, for the their minds from wandering. But first time these twenty years; and tell me more particularly what passed what was more, I determined to go at church yesterday; för I was not in an humble Christian spirit, and there, being obliged to stay at home without prejudice, to take things just with my wife, who was expected to as I found them.

die before the service was (ver. Steady. In that case, I am sure C. I was sure it was no slight cause you were not disappointed.

that kept you away. C. No indeed, I was not; on the S. No, Sir; a man who feels the contrary, I was highly delighted; and importance of his soul, will not,

, have resolved never to absent myself dare not neglect the means of grace. from church any more.

I often think with sorrow on my S. How is this sudden change ? younger days, when I was glad of

C. The prayers, the preaching, the an excuse to miss church. I prewhole service, were truly heavenly. ferred attending to my worldly ocI found particularly, that having a cupations and amusements to go book, so that I could see what was ing to the house of God. If I coming next, was a great advantage had been cut off by death in those in prayer.

days, what must have become of S. I have always thought so, be- me? But God in infinite mercy has cause it gives us time to consider, spared me, and, I trust, turned my and see the nature of the petition, heart. But return to what you were and our own need of the thing which saying we are about to ask for. It is not C. There was nothing new in the like a fine speech, in which we want service; it was just as it used to be something new and striking.

twenty years ago, when I was in the C. Very right; for as long as we habit of attending. But yet it was are in the body, we daily need the altogether new to me, for I enjoyed same things. And indeed, I never it exceedingly, which I never did be-. considered till now, how much the fore. How was that? Lord's Prayer teaches us this; for s. The change was in yourself. it is very remarkable, that Christ did To a person careless about his salvanot give his Apostles a new prayer tion, the prayers of the Church are for every day, but made the same do mere matters of form; but to a man for all, because our wants remain who feels the burden of his sins, and very much the same.

desires to be delivered from them, S. Very true; and if you want and to obtain the mercy and favour other examples, the children of Israel, of God, the prayers are very sweet on various occasions, joined in one and comfortable. form of prayer and praise; and the C. So I found them; and I am whole book of Psalms was a set of persuaded, that if many friends forms, inspired by the Holy Ghost for who are prejudiced against the the temple-service.

Church-service, because they used C. I begin to be much of your to hear it in their days of irreligion opinion on these subjects, especially and ignorance, when it was impor

of my

I was


sible for them either to understand tification by the merits of Christ or enjoy it, would be persuaded alone; and the minister showed that to attend seriously and without pre- this was the great doctrine of the judice, they would find it very suit- Bible. able and excellent. Many persons, S. So it is, and a very comfortable you know, speak against the Church, doctrine too; for how could guilty who know nothing of it; which is and helpless man be justified by his very childish and unfair.

own works? Why, you know, those much struck with the repeated and very works which men call good, are fervent prayers for mercy and for- not pleasing to God, unless they giveness.

spring from faith in Christ. God S. And so am I every time I hear requires the heart and the affections them. But did the congregation as well as the outward act. seem attentive?

c. The minister spoke much to c. Oh yes; and what pleased me that purpose; and what would have most was, that they all made the pleased you much, he proved all he answers to the minister; you know said to be the doctrine of the Church what I mean; for instance, when the of England. He exhorted us most minister says, “ The Lord be with earnestly to that holiness of heart and you," they all uttered, as if with one life, without which, he said, it was voice, " And with thy spirit.” impossible to see the Lord, or to have

s. Yes; those are called the Re- any evidence of our possessing justisponses. I have met with many ig. fying faith. 'He cautioned us against norant people, who thought it was trusting in a dead faith. He told us very rude to join in them, and used to judge of the tree by its fruits; and to laugh at several pious old gentle-' showed us how wicked it was to name men for it. You see, they thought the name of Christ, without departthe parish-clerk ought to do all, and ing from evil. the people to be silent. But you S. I am glad he said this; 'beknow such an opinion was very fool- cause I know several persons, who ish, for the Prayer Book particularly think that the doctrine of justificamentions the people's joining-tion by the merits of our Lord Jesus Whenever the clerk reads or sings, Christ, leads men to neglect good the people ought all to accompany works : but you know, the Apostle him.

St. Paul was astonished at such a C. No doubt; and I am sure every wicked thought, and answered good man will be glad to do this, for “God forbid.” " nothing can be more pleasing or de- C. I am sure such preaching will votional. They all sung at church never make men neglect good works, yesterday, and it really reminded me but rather abound in them. of heaven.

S. You say very true; and if exS. Well it might, for nothing is amples be wanted, I could point so like heaven as a congregation of out twenty persons or more in my Christians singing praises to God. own neighbourhood, who were once But what did you think of the ser- drunkards, or swearers, or dishonest, mon?

or openly vicious in other respects, C. I was much pleased with it; who, since they have embraced these and I liked it especially for this, doctrines, have led a new life, and that it was just the same doctrine are now among the most useful peras the rest of the service. This is sons in the parish. Such examples one comfort in the Church, that are among the strongest proofs of the you can find out whether a minister truth and unchangeableness of the preaches scripturally, by comparing Gospel. It suits · men now as much his sermon with the prayers, and as ever, and wherever it is embraced seeing how far they agree. The in sincerity, will produce as great sermon yesterday was respecting jus- offects as ever it did.

[ocr errors]

side ;

February, 1817.] Distresses in England.

37 C. It will indeed. But how aw- dislodged and lifted up, in another it ful must be the case of those who sinks; sounds inexpressible by language, profess to believe the Gospel, with- and wilder than the howlings of the wil

derness, are emitted on every

and out knowing any thing of this spi- thus the agitation continues for many ritual renovation which the Bible hours, till the whole has found its level, represents as essential to salvation ! and nature resumes in silence its ordinary is. Awful indeed!

May they, course. through divine grace, see their dan.

A like effect must always be occasioni. ger, before it be too late ; and ob- different in degree according as the war

ed by the transition from war to peace, tain that true faith which works by has been more or less protracted, accord. love, purifies the heart, and over- ing to the scale on which it has been comes the world.

carried on. The transition from peace to C. And may those who profess war, so infinitely deplorable in other re. this faith, evidence it more and more

spects, brings with it less disturbance

to the trading concerns of the commuby good works, and thus adorn the nity; those merchants whose dealings lie doctrine of God their Saviour in all with the enemy are ruined, and credit things.

receives a sudden shock, but the effects S. I pray God they may.

are partial and transitory; and an increased activity produces an increased circulation, and on all sides a demand

for labour. In the present case, many Distresses in England. causes concurred to aggravate the emFrom the last number of the Quarterly nied the return of peace. Aš the coun

barrassment which unavoidably accompaReview, not yet published here, we ex

try had never before been engaged in so tract the following interesting display of momentous a contest, the expenditure the causes of the present distresses in had been greater than any country had

ever before sustained, and the exertions England.

of every kind greater than ever had been Peace was at length effected. This was made before by any known nation. We a great and sudden change; and such a were at one time cut off from foreign supchange, however desirable, however ne. plies of grain, and we had to feed large cessary, however heneficial at last, could armies in an unproductive land. Extennot occur without much immediate in. sive tracts of ground which had hitherto convenience. It was not our military de. lain waste, were, therefore, at great ex. partments alone which were upon the war pense, but with the prospect of an adeestablishment, it was every branch of quate return, brought into cultivation in trade, and every kind of industry which all parts of Great-Britain; on a sudden was in any way connected with the war, the question came upon us, at the return or influenced by it. The ordnance, for of peace, whether we were to open the instance, employed the founderies, the ports, that provisions of every kind might gupsmiths, &c. &c. these manufactories become as cheap as possible for the good called upon the iron and brass works, of the whole community, or whether the and the furnaces kept the colliers in general good would not be better con. activity: thus it was in every part of the sulted by shutting them, and keeping up great political machine, (the most com. the price of agricultural produce, to save plicated that ever existed,) wheel within the agricultural interest from loss. Here wheel, and when one was checked, the was a question which at first sight apobstruction was felt througų all. The peared simple to every man, whether he whole annual war expenditure, to the saw the black or the white side of the amount of not less than forty millions, was shield, and as plain as his own direct at once withdrawn from circulation. But personal interest; but it belongs to the public expenditure is like the fountain. metaphysics of political economy, and is tree in the Indian paradise, which dif. in reality infinitely complicated and infifuses in fertilizing streams the vapours nitely difficult. And this point was not which it was created to collect and con. mooted for the discussion of speculative dense for the purpose of more beneficially men, to be considered at leisure, and dis. returning and distributing them. A va passionately investigated in indifferent cuum was inevitably produced by this times; it was brought forward as a pracsudden diminution, and the general dis. tical question of immediate vital impor. location which ensued may not unaptly tance, and debated with all the blind vebe compared to the settling of the ice hemence of private interest and popular upon a wide sheet of water: explosions prejudice. While the Corn Bill was in are made and convulsions are seen on all debate, the evil which the landholders sides ; in one place the ruptured ice is deprecated was going on; and when the


[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »