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REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.

P. 25.

Scott's History of the Church of On reporting the objection of the
Christ.

Archbishop of Salzbugh to the Re(Concluded from p. 51.) formation, as being proposed by a

poor monk, instead of being sugHAVING gone through the first gested by princes and dignitaries, general division of our remarks, Mr. Scott asks: which was to furnish such specimens “ When, almost, was it ever heard, that' of Mr. Scott's work as might con- extensive and thorough reformation provey a just impression of the period ceeded from those in high stations-too

generally the very beads of the corrupt of the history under review, we shall now proceed to shew the system, and owing their greatness to it?" manner in which the duties of an

The following mild but forcible ecclesiastical historian have been observation occurs respecting a letperformed by the author. With the ter of Melancthon, which was by main qualities required in an histo- far too favourable to the emperor's rian of the Church of Christ, Mr. character. Scott appears to us from this publi

“ This is really too much to have been cation to be well endowed. He has written after the battle of Pavia, the capbrought to his difficult task a mind ţivity of Francis, the sack of Rome, the stored with evangelical knowledge, imprisonment of the pope, &c. &c. It a calm and well-regulated judg

shews, however, how willing Melancthon

was to be pleased, and how unwise princes ment, a delight in his subject, a and great men are, who do not purchase facility in writing, and some skill in the esteem of mankind, when it may be disentangling perplexing questions. often bought by them at so low a price as The work is composed very much that of a little courtesy of manners and a

few gracious words." p. 73. in the spirit of his predecessors, the

A whole class of modern divines two Milners : we have the same

is silenced thus briefly in their misgeneral views of Christián doctrine; statements on the fundamental doca similar soundness of judgment, a similar anxiety to distinguish real ticed the expression of the Apostle,

trine of justification. Having novital piety, wherever it may lie hid, Gal. v. 6, - faith that worketh by from its mere accidents and ad- love,” which the Papists rendered, juncts, and the same direct aim to exhibit and to honour the grand fun. that it owed its power to justify to

“ faith formed by love ;” meaning damental doctrines of the Gospel of the love by which it was accomChrist. We observe no leaning to- panied; he subjoins the following wards the obliquities of party; but,

note : on the contrary, an impartial, evenhanded simplicity, reposing in well- little or nothing objectionable. He evi

“ In this Bishop Bull thinks there is ascertained truth, leaving secondary dently attributes all the efficacy of faith, matters where facts place. them, and even its very life,' to the love and dealing out commendation and cen- good fruits which are associated with it:

and, remarking that the Apostle, in his sure as each case seems to require, illustration, does not say, ' as a man withand rendering history the mild and out a spirit is dead, but, as a body withdignified judge of human conduct. out,' &c. he affirms, as a dead body is Mr. Scott occasionally throws out, truly and properly a body, so a dead faith in passing, a sententious and pointed compare our homily:" It is not now faith, observation, to expose a sophism, as a dead man is not a man.' to silence cavils, or to display to his Again, in his treatment of the reader truth as respects some contro- misrepresentations of the Jesuit verted topic. We give two or three Maimbourg, we have such brief, specimens.

but conclusive, rejoinders as the fol

p. 280.

lowing. The popish historian had Spirit from on high' upon his church.” been giving his own account of pp. 41, 42. the progress of the Reformation in We can only afford one illustraBrandenburg and Magdeburg. Mr. tion more of our author's practical Scott turns upon him, and says,

reflections, which, however, are “ This brief but striking statement tells somewhat clumsily expressed. important truths sorely contrary to the

“ Alas! how much has even that conwriter's wishes..... It furnishes an antidote sulting of their ministers, which is here to the misrepresentation of the sentences spoken of, fallen into disuse even among immediately preceding. There these the more religious part of their flocks! changes in religion were attributed to the The intercourse between ministers and caprice of princes, to which the fickleness their people has become, too frequently, of the people was ever ready to conform of that trite, general, and unprofitable, itself : but here we find that the popular kind, which is almost all that passes betorrent in favour of reformation was so tween the people themselves. They have strong, and that not only among the little to learn, little to ask of us; and lower orders, but even in the assembled they want confidence and earnestness of

states' of the provinces, that the most mind to ask even that little: and we ourpowerful and most zealous Catholic princes, selves, alas! unduly taken up

with litera. ecclesiastical as well as civil, were obliged ture, or with news, or with business, to give way to it!" pp. 257, 258. have too little to bring forth, from the In urging suitable practical re

fulness of the heart,' for the edification of

those with whom we converse. And this flections on the scenes which he de- is apt more especially to be the case where scribes, which is an important duty religion has become familiar, and the 'ferof a church historian, our conti. vour of spirit,' with which it was at first nuator follows closely in the steps both delivered and received, has gradually of his predecessors. The mercy that this growing lukewarmness should and power of God, and not the after all become the bane of religion in wisdom or the courage of man, are our highly favoured country, and particureferred to as the source of every the most abundant religious advantages !

larly in those places which have enjoyed good thing. The progress of vital May we remember, in a truly

impressive and sanctifying truth in the hearts and efficacious manner, that'' many who and lives of men, is ever kept in

are first shall be last !' May we'repent view; and the application of different and

do our first works,' that our candle

stick' incidents in history to the events of

may never be removed out of its

place.'” pp. 282, 283. the present times is not forgotten, On another point, on which a as in the following remarks on the reader would probably wish to be great doctrine of justification by informed, our author's success in faith.

answering the general misrepresen“This is the doctrine which, as Luther tations of popish or other historians, and his friends evermore so strikingly set forth,atonce brings peace to the conscience,

our impression is, that he has to a and holiness into the heart and life; gives very considerable degree succeeded. liberty in the service of God, not, as Maimbourg is followed, and desome would insinuate, from that service: tected with a sagacious fidelity, the doctrine which, blessed by the Spirit of God in the sixteenth century, over

as we have already in one instance threw the gainful, but corrupt and oppres- noticed. The defective. views, and sive system of austerities, indulgences, occasional errors, of Robertson are purgatory, and priestly domination, that exposed, and with such effect that had for ages been growing up, and sup- the success of the refutation goes planting true religion and righteousness in the world. It is the doctrine which per- far to reconcile us to those exsons unacquainted, or but imperfectly tended quotations from that distinacquainted, with Christian experience, guished writer, for which our author the hearts of men, are ever ready to think feels it necessary to make an apobig with a thousand dangers, and which logy or rather to assign his reasons, therefore is ever liable to be tampered in the preface. In several partiwith, and to fall into disuse; but which culars, Mr. Scott's judicious obserhas always been recovered again, to the vations will greatly aid the young establishment of peace in men's consciences, and righteousness in their lives, reader in forming a just judgment in proportion as God has poured his of that popular historian. The preCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 302.

O

judices of Beausobre, in his account follow our historian. They enter of Luther, are also noticed ; and into the essence of theological the perversions of Bossuet meet with questions, and open the fruitful their due animadversion.

sources of error, and of declension The public formularies which from the vital truths of the Gospel. were produced at the famous diet And we cannot here avoid offering of Augsburg, or prepared for other a remark, which Mr. Scott's examioccasions, in the course of the six- nation of the Augsburg Confession teen years comprised in this volume, forces from us, that our own church, are another branch of our author's so far from stopping short, in any re. subject in which he has laboured spect, of the full measure of evanwith considerable success. There gelical doctrine contained in the is no part of the volume which re- Lutheran formularies, unquestionquired more care and delicacy, and ably proceeds further than those which has been more judiciously documents. We have an express managed, than the review of the article, on preventing (or, as Mr. several parts of the Confession of Scott well expresses it, prevenient) Augsburg, and the comparison of grace; and we have an article also them with our own Thirty-nine Arti- on predestination; on neither of cles. We can only make room for which topics is the Augsburg Conthe following extract.

fession explicit ; to say nothing of “ The point, on which I should be in the greater strength of our expoclined to judge the Confession most de- sitions of the doctrines of original fective, is the work of the Holy Spirit; sin and justification, and our more particularly that part of it which relates to simple and scriptural view of the

the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will," and sacraments. Our church approaches not only working with us when we by far nearer to the Helvetic forhave that good will. Of this I find no mularies, than to the Lutheran, explicit mention : certainly, at least, it anxious as some divines have been would seem to be of those things which are justo mollius prolata.'

to establish a contrary conclusion. “ I notice this especially for the pur

In the decision of perplexing pose of remarking, that the fashionable questions, and the firm guidance of way of speaking of the grace of God as- his reader's mind to a sound judgsisting our endeavours, and of branding ment upon them, a farther experievery thing beyond this as fanatical, is a mere cover for practically excluding the ence in this species of writing grace of God altogether. When we speak may be expected to improve our of 'assisting a man's endeavours, it im- author's powers. The Milners came plies that he is already willing and active himself: but is this the state of fallen man

to the history of the Reformation with respect to the service of God, pre

with all the reading and the habits viously to the influence of Divine grace of discrimination which the study of upon his mind ? Prevenient grace must the fourteen centuries preceding had go before, and work in us to will,' or given them. They had thence ac, which to cooperate. The language now quired a promptness of decision and frequently in use also implies, that any a weight of authority which no one thing beyond assisting grace must be a could wish a writer in his first sup. compulsory influence. But it has been justly observed, that there is much said plemental volume to affect. Such in Scripture, and in all our best divines, of

a talent must not be assumed; it an influence inclining the heart, though must be acquired. We allude not not forcing it; all which is thus overlook- here to differences, whatever they tention than to admit, that the Confession may be, in natural powers ; but to of Augsburg countenances any such system that firm grasp of subjects, that bold as this: it has merely omitted to guard and decisive exposure of plausible against it so clearly and distinctly as our error, that uncompromising indepenArticles have done.” pp. 46, 47.

dence of mind, which lead an auSuch observations will convince thor to estimate every thing by the our readers, that they may safely word of God, and to perceive and denounce the first deviations from very different effect from mere abridgthat unerring standard. This is a ment. The first rises to the dignity faculty which, we doubt not, will be and importance of history; the semore and inore acquired by our cond partakes of the character of author as he proceeds in his investi- mere annals. The first leaves the gations. Further exercise will doubt- author at liberty to give a just imless facilitate his task, and enable pression of the whole of a given porbim to guide his readers, with less tion of events; the second shackles of hesitation, through the perplex- him with the opinions of others. ing mazes of controverted occur. The one is an original effort, the rences, disputed motives,and dubious other a mere copy. opinions. In adopting the mild and By this more unfettered course, cautious tone of the present volume, we conceive that Mr. Scott would we think Mr. Scott has erred, if he insensibly acquire greater freedom has erred at all, on the right side; and purity of style. The Milners and assuredly any appearance of were far from attaining to excellence assumption would have been quite in this respect. Still, in the portions misplaced. This first volume, if it of the work written by the Dean, fails, fails rather by defect than there is a nervousness, a vivacity, excess: it therefore allows of the and a clearness, which bear strongly author's assuming with advantage, the stamp of original thought, and in his future labours, a firmer voice frequently carry away the reader of decision, both on controverted by the force of the author's own points, and on cases of practical con- conceptions. The style is indeed duct, as well as a more mellow tone far too diffuse ; but the reader never of evangelical sentiment. These mistakes the writer's meaning, or the writer will naturally acquire, fails to receive a powerful impresand the reader as naturally be dis- sion of the subject which he urges; posed to admit, in the succeeding a point of prime importance in hisvolumes. To this end perhaps it torical composition. We recommight be desirable to limit more mend it to Mr. Scott to keep this the mere citations from the original hint full in view. There are parts historians, and rather to incorporate of his volume exceedingly well their statements into his own mind, written, and the defects of those as the materials from which to weave sentences which are so obscure as to his own narrative. Seckendorf and require to be reada second time before Sleidan and Father Paul have been their meaning is clearly perceived, possibly rather too much brought probably arise from the haste and inforward in their own persons, in- terruptions to which the composition stead of being used generally as the of a long work, by an active paroelements of a new and independent chial clergyman, must be exposed. composition. Nothing indeed can It is a point not wholly unimportant, be more important than perpetual to pay some regard to the selection references in the margin to such and just use of words: there are authorities; occasional quotations several scattered in this volume also are far from being inappro- which, though admitted into compriate. But, in the prosecution of mon colloquial use, are misplaced his work, we should be inclined to in the more elevated style which think that its value would be greatly becomes history. enhanced by first studying these We make these remarks, both on writers attentively, and then pouring the independence of the composition out from a well stored mind his own and the character of the style, with narration of events. Materials thus the more freedom, because the voincorporated with a writer's reflec- lume demands, and will bear any tions, and reproduced after their suggestions which may conduce to thorough appropriation, produce a the improvement of those that are to follow. And yet, after all, we and unwarrantable. The questions feel that the course pursued by our connected with the life of Erasmus, author is infinitely better than that a name so great among the revivers style of philosophical speculation of learning, and so little in the far in writing history, which, idly con- more elevated rank of religious retenting itself with a few prominent formers, are judiciously settled : his facts, proceeds to construct theories, dubious movements are well exposed, and to assign motives at pleasure, the tendency of his proposals of realmost converting history into ro- conciliation detected, and his real mance; and where the writer, in- character fairly estimated. Indeed, stead of reporting with faithfulness the views presented generally and impartiality the testimony of throughout the volume on the subcontemporary annals and authentic ject of the numerous conferences records, frames a narrative chiefly and attempts at concord between with a view to effect, or to some the Roman-Catholic and Protestant preconceived theory of his own; or, bodies, which uniformly failed of under the influence either of preju- success, are amongst the best dedice or of party feeling, enlarges, cisions of our author. We would contracts, or distorts, as suits his willingly quote a specimen or two purpose, the transactions he has on this topic, if we were not remindundertaken to record. With such ed, by our contracting limits, that an author as Mr. Scott, we feel that we must now confine ourselves to we are at least on safe ground. one or two citations, with which we We learn from him the true his. shall conclude this second division tory of the events we are solicit- of our subject. The two following ous to become acquainted with; and are striking passages. The calm, though desirous that more of that acute, and conclusive reasoning of purity and elevation of style, and the first, and the unambitious elevathat originality of composition, which tion of the second, are both equally distinguish the writings of some of excellent. our more secular historians, might After several pages of remarks on be infused into the subsequent Beausobre's letter of Melancthon, volumes, we should nevertheless and on the use made of that supstrongly press upon him the duty of posed letter by a modern Romanprosecuting, to its consummation, Catholic writer, Mr. Scott proceeds the work which he has so creditably to refute a misrepresentation of commenced.

Bossuet relating to Luther's imWe have adverted to the manner puted intercourse with the devil, in which Mr. Scott succeeds in the and then advances some general obdevelopment of perplexed and dif- servations full of sound sense on the ficult topics. The first which oc- drift of Bossuet's celebrated, but curs, the grave question respecting most unfair, work, directed against the lawfulness of resistance to the the Reformation, under the title of emperor, is well argued, and we “The History of the Varieties, &c." think safely determined. On the He concludes with the following able shameful event of the bigamy of the passage: Landgrave of Hesse, we think it

“It bas struck me, in reading the Bishop would have been better at once to of Meaux's work, that a writer equally have admitted that the reformers able, equally unflinching, and, in particular, acted erroneously in giving any acting under the influence of a misguided sanction, under any limitations, to

conscience, would find little difficulty in

compos much such a book, drawn from 80 grossly criminal a proceeding.– the New Testament itself, and directed The admission or approbation of a against Christianity, as he has composed direct sin, under the plausible ground professedly from the writings of the reforof a comparative case only being sub- chapter of St. Matthew would be made to

. mitted for judgment, is dangerous furnish specimens of the violent and un

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