Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

Where persevering faith and obedience are found, I conceive tha: peace and joy are almost invariably known ultimately to follow.

Long-Island, 16th Sept. 1806.

CASTELLIO'S TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE.

ISAIAH vii. 16-For before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. The word land in scripture as well as in common discourse, often signifies a nation or kingdom. Of what nation then speaks the Prophet? The people of Israel, after the scparation of the ten tribes, had indeed two kings; but of that land the words cannot be understood, for they are addressed to the house of David, who could hot have abhorred their own land.

Towards solving this difficulty the rendering of Castellio affords at least a conjectural clew. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land, on account of whose two kings thou art troubled, shall be desolate. To know how to refuse the evil and choose the good, is a well known expression in the word of God, signifying maturity. If then we should understand the passage as referring not the person of the Messiah, which is commonly done, but to the profession of the Gospel, (a sense not inconsistent with the latitude of prophetic language,) and recollecting that kings are in scripture, very often put for magistrates in general, we may well understand the Prophet as pointing to the Roman Empire in these words, which was governed by two chief magistrates, called Consuls ; by whom and that nation, the people of Israel were long troubled ; by whom they were cruelly oppressed, trodden down, and finally dispersed to be no more a nation.

If this conjecture be right, the prophecy is confirmed by known historical verity. It has received, and is receiving a fulfilment. Rome has long since been desolated ; and the Gospel has not yet Teached its maturity, being professed only in a part of the world, the knowledge of the true God not yet covering the earth as the waters do the sea; which we are assured shall one time be the case, when all nations shall have come into the fold of Messiah, and enlisted un. der the banner of the PRINCE OF PEACE.

FROM THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.

THE LIFE OP DR. NICOLAS RIDLEY,

BISHOP OF LONDON. THIS great and blessed martyr, whom I may justly style the glory of our English reformation, was born in Northumberland, near the Scottish borders; and trained up in the first rudiments of learning in the grammar-school at Newcastle upon Tyne. From thence he was sent to Cambridge, and admitted scholar of Pembroke

Hall; and having taken his first degree in arts, he was elected fellow in 1524. His proficience in learning was so great, that young as he was, he was so well known, and so highly esteemed at Oxford, that they coveted to transplant so precious a jewel into their own University; and to that end he was elected to a vacant fellowship at University College ; but he refused to accept it. In 1525 he commenced master of arts; and about this time it is most probable that he travelled into foreign parts; and after having spent some time at Paris, among the dactors of the Sorbonne, and made a short stay at. Louvain, he returned again to Cambridge.

In 1534, he was proctor of the University; and in 1537, took the degree of bachelor of divinity; he was also chaplain to the University, and one of the public readers. During his residence at Pembroke Hall, he applied himself carefully to the study of the Holy Scriptures; and was so well versed in them, that he could say almost all St. Paul's epistles, and a great part of the other general epistles, without book. He was one of the most celebrated preach, ers, and the best disputant of his time, and so noted for his extraordinary proficience in theological learning, that Abp. Cranmer thought it highly expedient not to suffer so great an ornament to the Church to lie longer buried in a private college; but having sent for him, gave him the vicarage of Herne, in the east part of Kent, and a prebend of Canterbury. He was also, by his interest, made chapa Jain to King Henry; and in 1540 was chosen master of Pembroke. Hall, and commenced doctor of Divinity.

The first occasion of his conversion from the Romish errors, was the reading Bertram's book of the Sacrament. This staggered him in his belief of transubstantiation; and gave him just cause to doubt whether it had that foundation in scripture and antiquity which was generally pretended. He immediately set himself to examine the doctrine of the Eucharist, by Scripture, and the writings of the first ages, and, with the utmost exactness, weighed every material pasSage in the New Testament, and the earliest fathers, relating to it a and the result of this enquiry was, that he discovered transubstantia tion to be an absurd invention of those later and dark ages; and son well grounded himself in the true doctrine of the real and spiritual presence of Christ in the Eucharist, that he was afterwards very serviceable to Abp. Cranmer, in setting him right on this head; which he never had a clear understanding of till Ridley rectified his confused notions, and opened to him, in a most perspicuous mannery the sense of scripture, and the purest antiquity concerning that are ticle. He examined many other of the then received opinions, by the same test, and with the same impartiality; and finding them to be contrary to Holy Writ, and the uncorrupted doctrinesof the primi itive Church, he set himself, with an undauntǝd courage to oppose and confute them. And in all his sermons, he so justly and exactly stated the question in dispute, so solidly and unanswerably confirm ed the true primitive doctrines, and with such strength and perspi. cuity overthrew the Romish corruptions and innovations, that mul titudes were by his ministry brought off entirely from their supersti

tious prejudices, and convinced of the reasonableness and necessity of a reformation.

At Abp. Cranmer's visitation in 1543, complaints were made against him by some of the Popish faction, for preaching in Roga. tion week, against Auricular Confession, charging the ceremonies of the Church with superstition, and suffering Te Deum to be sung in his Church in English: but this was so far from prejudicing his interest in the Archbishop, that it raised him in his esteem, and made him the readier to serve and promote him. Accordingly, about the same time that he was presented, by his college, to the living of Soham, in the diocese of Norwich, he procured him to be made Prebendary of Westminster.

In the beginning of the reign of Edward the sixth, when the royal visitation was appointed, to prepare the way for the intended re. formation, Dr. Ridley was singled out to be preacher to the visitors of the northern circuit; and his labours were blessed with great success. And now it was thought proper to reward his great merits with an higher station in the Church; and accordingly he was nominated to the see of Rochester, vacant by the translation of Dr. Holbech to Lincoln. There was a scandalous custom then prevailing, of the Bishops taking out commissions for their sees, during the king's pleasure. But this gross abuse Ridley would by no means comply with ; and so vigorously opposed it, that he prevailed to have his patent run, durante vita naturali. On September 5, 1547, he was consecrated in a chapel of Dr. May, the then dean of St. Paul's, by Dr. Henry Holbech, Bishop of Lincoln, and the suffragan Bishops of Bedford and Sidon. His consecration was performed, according to the office then in use, by the unction of Holy Chrism, as well as by imposition of hands.

His advancement to this station did not make him neglect the duties of the ministry; he continued a constant and zealous preacher; and being blessed with a most graceful elocution, a sound judgment, and uncommon strength of memory, he drew after him crowd. ed auditories, and brought over multitudes of proselytes from the Romish errors. This success of his, Gardiner beheld with an envious eye; and Bishop Ridley having preached a Lent-sermon at court, against the Popish superstitions, about holy-water, images, and rel. iques, Gardiner, who was one of the audience, shewed himself much offended at it ; and wrote him a letter, in which, with all the sophistry he was master of, he endeavoured to put a specious gloss on the abuses censured in the sermon, and to defend the practice of them. But Bishop Ridley, who regarded neither his smiles nor frowns, continued to expose the corruptions of popery, and to exhort all to use their utmost zeal, in promoting a reformation : and when some rash bigots ran too far into the opposite extreme, and began not only to speak irreverently of the sacrament of the altar, but to commit many very indecent and unjustifiable actions, in contempt of it; he with a becoming zeal, and just indignation, publicly, in a sermon at St. Paul's Cross, rebuked the profane and irreligious spirit, from whence those unwarrantable actions proceeded; and taught them, with what great reverence, and profound veneration, they ought to approach so sacred a mystery and so holy an institution.

In 1549 there was a visitation at Cambridge, and Bishop Ridley was appointed to be one of the visitors, and ordered to open the visitation with a sermon. Upon this, he wrote to Dr. May, the Dean of St. Paul's, desiring him to inform him of the design of the vis. itation, that he might accommodate his sermon to the occasion. The Dean's reply was, that the visitation was intended only to remove some superstitious practices and Popish rites, and to make such statutes, as should be found necessary. But in this, both the Bishop and the Dean were imposed on: for when Ridley came to Cambridge, he found the instructions went much further; the commissioners being required to procure resignations of some colleges, to convert some fellowships, erected for the encouragement of theo. logical studies, to the study of the civil law, and to suppress Clare. Hall in particular. The master and fellows of that Hall made a no, ble stand against those pernicious designs; and would not yield to the most pressing solicitations of some of the visitors, who earneste ly laboured for two days to persuade them to a resignation ; but without effect; for they absolutely refused to submit to it. Bishop Ridley who began now to perceive the base designs of some of the cours tiers, (who not content with the miserable spoil and ravage they had already made in the Church, seemed to have formed a resolution to plunder and take away all the encouragements of learning and reli. gion in the nation) declared he could not with a safe conscience, exe

cute this commission, nor concur in such unlawful proceedings; and 5 therefore desired leave to be gone. This the other visitors resent

ed, and sent a complaint against him to the protector, charging him with throwing in unnecessary scruples, to retard their proceedings, and hindering them from going on in the King's service, by his perpetual barking at them ; for so they scurrilously called his strict ada herence to his conscience. They also pretended that it was not any real scruple against the lawfulness of the thing, but a partial affection to his own countrymen, of whom Clare Hall was full, that put him upon these measures. Upon this, the protector wrote him a chiding letter; to which he immediately replied, with the courage

of a truly Christian Bishop, vindicating himself from the slander. 2 ous imputations of his accusers, and declaring his readiness to obey

without reserve, in all things lawful; but positively refusing, either, 3 for favor or fear of any mortal man, to comply with such things as

would make him loose the peace of his conscience, and incur the ** displeasure of Almighty God.

During his stay at Cambridge he presided at a public disputation concerning the sacrament, which lasted three days; and often interposed to answer the Popish objections; which he did with great strength and clearness. At the close of the whole, according to the cusi. m of the schools, he read his own judgement of the question, by way of determination; in which he entirely confuted and overthrew the Popish doctrine of transubstantiation ; first by proofs from scripture, secondly, by citations from the fathers, thirdly, by

IX

arguments drawn from the nature and definition of a sacrament, fourthly, from the Eutychian heresy's being a necessary consequence from that doctrine ; and lastly, from that article of the Creed, “ He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Fa. ther," as understood by Austin and other ancient writers.

On his return to London, he was appointed to examine certain Anabaptists in Kent; Gardiner being in commission with him ; and in 1550, he was preferred to the see of London, vacant by the deprivation of Bonner. He was enstalled on the twelfth of April. At his entrance, he shewed himself exceeding cautious, not to do his predecessor the least injury : he gave him free licence to take away all his effects, and preserved them for him with great care till he had removed them; and having made use of some lead, a great quanti. ty of which Bonner had then by him, for the necessary repairs of the house and the Church, he paid him to the full value for it. He also paid near three score pounds to Bonner's servants, so much being due to them for wages; that they might not suffer by the mis. fortunes which their master, through his wilfulness and obstinacy, had brought upon himself. He was exceeding kind and generous to Bonner's mother and sister, and often entertained them at his own table. The old lady he always placed at the upper end of the table, calling her his mother Bonner : and was as ready to do good offices for her, and paid her as much respect as if she had been his mother indeed. And when any of the lords of the council came to dine with him, he would not suffer her to be displaced ; but would tell them, « by your lordship’s favour, this place by right and custom, belongs to my mother Bonner.”

And now observe the difference between the spirit of a Popish and a reformed Bishop. When Bonner was reinstated, by the mere lay power and authority of Queen Mary, he requited Bishop Ridley's unparralleled goodness, with the most inhuman barbarity. That ungrateful wretch would not allow of the leases which Ridley had made, though it tended to the utter ruin of many poor men; he detained all his plate, and other goods, turned his sister out of all she had. without any regard to law or conscience; and did all he could to get her husband put to death : which he had certainly effected, if not prevented by the interposition of Bishop Heath; who took this opportunity to shew his gratitude to Bishop Ridley, for his kind and Christian usage of him when prisoner in his house.

But to return from this digression. On the accession of Bishop Ridley to this see, it was expected, that according to the prevailing custom of those times, he should alienate divers of the richest manors belonging to his Bishoprick, to the king: but he would by no means comply with sounwarrantable an injunction; nor do any thing by which he might seem to give the least countenance to the sacrilegious proceedings of some leading men at court. When they found he could not be prevailed with, to give away the smallest part of the Church's patrimony, they consented to let him have an equivalent for the manors he was to alienate, thinking to over-reach him in the exchange. But in this they were again deceived; for he was so caresul not to

« PoprzedniaDalej »