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opportunity, or even a pretext for it. His most pungent satire, his wittiest sallies, his occasional approaches to impassioned declamation, are reserved for this theme; and if by means of some spicy anecdote of Cromwell and his preachers, he can hold up the whole party to contempt, he is in his element. Now, it is well known that among the scriptural themes upon which the revolutionary ferment set the serious minds of all friends of the Commonwealth a-working was prophecy, and the Apocalyptic prophecies in particular occupied a chief place. The press teemed with works on this subject, some of them wild in the extreme ; and the fierceness of the revolutionary flame was unquestionably fanned to some extent by the Apocalyptic speculations in which some ardent supporters of the antimonarchical party indulged. Of course this was fitted to inspire such a mind as South's with distaste, not to say disgust, at the whole subject. This is one of the injuries which raw and wild speculations on prophecy invariably inflict upon the prophetical portions of Scripture, and it would be well if all students of prophecy would bear it in mind. That South meant simply to express this feeling, and to do it in a way which would inspire others with the same, seems quite plain from the context. Speaking of the defectiveness and dimpess of the light of conscience, and the difficulty of always distinguishing the internal voice of God's Spirit, he bids us, “above all, attend to the mind of God in his revealed Word ;' and then, repeating his words, he adds, “ By this I do not mean that mysterious, extraordinary, and of late so much studied book called the Revelation," &c. Now, as nobody could suppose that by God's revealed Word he meant the Apocalypse, it is plain that this unexpected reference to that book is just lugged in on purpose to have a hit at the crack-brained Apocalyptists, as he doubtless regarded them, whom he would have left to sink into oblivion had they not been guilty of the mortal sin of disliking the arbitrary government of the Stuarts. In saying this, we neither design to justify them nor to condemn South for his political principles ; but merely to show how, with South's intense political dislikes and caustic humour, the temptation to come out with one of his characteristic sallies would carry it over his sense of what was due to the pulpit, and to what he himself regarded and used as the Word of God.*

* In his third Apocalyptic sermon-which we had not observed till after we had expressed, in the above paragraph, our theory about the Commonwealth-men-the author puts it beyond all doubt that he had that party exclusively in view, by repeating, with more crushing severity, but without the witticism, the very sentiment which has been caught up and reiterated in so many circles to the prejudice of the Apocalypse. The text is, Rev. ii. 16, “ Repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly," &c. On this text, speaking of the opinion of a learned man, that the predictions of this book were all designed to have their completion within two hundred years after their NO. V.

2 1

Here we close our exposure of the recklessness of Sir William Hamilton, in his paragraph on the Apocalypse. With the single exception of Erasmus, the weight of whose doubts has been sufficiently considered, we have seen that he is wrong in all his authorities against the canonicity of the Apocalypse. Calvin owned it; Beza owned it; Scaliger owned it—if we may take his own word for it above the talk ascribed to him; Casaubon owned it ; " our countryman, Morus," owned it ; even Bodinus—if we may judge by his quotations from it in his “Dæmonomania"-had the same faith in it as in other portions of Scripture, which perhaps was none at all; and, finally, that "great Anglican authority,” Dr South, owned it. Such blundering is shaneful in one who professes such an intimate acquaintance with the literature of theology, and volunteers to act as a guide of the blind, a light of those that are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes. It is even ridiculous. Here is the case.

Some of the most distinguished theologians have found in the Apocalypse what Peter found in Paul's Epistles, δυσνόητα, things hard to be understood." While entertaining not a doubt of its canonical anthority, and repeatedly quoting it as Holy Scripture, they have been unable to find their way through it as a prophetic delineation of the fortunes of the church, and have been candid enough to say so. Sir William Hamilton meets with such acknowledgments, in the course of his multifarious, but in theology superficial and inaccurate, reading. He meets with them, in hardly one instance, in their own works—for we must suppose him

to be an honest man-but in the references made to them by other writers, some of them of the most second-rate and untrustworthy character; and these honest acknowledgments are stupidly confounded with “doubts or denials of the canonicity of the Revelation," proffered as information to an ignorant antagonist, and introduced with an expression of astonishment that he should need to be told such things—said things being, with one solitary exception, a series of bungling misstatements! Sir William's benevolent eagerness to enlighten the ignorant outruns his discretion. It did so rather notably once before, in the publication of a pamphlet at a memorable moment, full of learned illustrations, which somehow failed to convince the delivery, he says: “Now, if the judgment of this learned man stands, as it hath the countenance of reason and the express words of the text, then what must become of the bloody tenets of those desperate wretches who for these many years bave been hammering of blood, confusion, and rebellion out of this book, from a new fancy that they have of Christ's coming ? 'Thus ruling their lives not by precepts but prophecies, and not being able to find any warrant for their actions in the clear and express word of law or gospel, they endeavour to shelter their villanies in the obscurities and shades of the Revelation-a book intricate and involved, and for the most part never to be understood; and upon which, when wit and industry has done its utmost, the best comment is but conjecture.”—(Vol. ii. p. 304.)

parties for whose especial illumination it was intended. There was one formidable individual who did for Sir William then, what our slender power has been quite sufficient to do for him now—he showed him up as a theological pretender.

Nor will the Apocalypse suffer from this or a hundred such attacks. Even though the testimonies adduced against it had been genuine, as we have found them apocryphal, they are, with two exceptions, any thing but formidable. We could have furnished Sir William with a more serious list. But over against these we could easily have placed an array of authorities which every competent judge would allow to be triumphantly superior, in point of weight, down to the most recent and distinguished critics in Germany. Much has the Apocalypse suffered, on the one hand, from the wild comments which have been dignified with the name of “Keys" and "Expositions," and on the other from the severity with which the most modest attempts to clear up its difficulties are by some denounced—not to speak of the advantage taken of both by the enemies of this book to hold it up to contempt. But in spite of all this, it will vindicate its own claims, and continue to shine in its own lustre; it will command increasing interest, and derive light from the march of events; its incomparable scenes, its celestial strains, its soul-stirring encouragements and appalling denunciations, even the unearthly grandeur of its language, will inspire its unsophisticated readers, though unable to thread its mysterious mazes, with courage to fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold of eternal life—will nerve the hosts of the Lord for the great conflict between light and darkness, which is to issue in the rout and ruin of the phalanx of evil— will tide the church over the last brief wave of trouble, and see it into unclouded light, unruffled repose, and everlast

ing glory


History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century. Vol. V.-The

Reformation in England. By J. H. MERLE D'AUBIGNE, D.D.

The new volume of Dr Merle D’Aubigné's great work needs no recommendation from any one. Its own high merit will secure its universal reception. Yet in discharge of our duty to our readers we feel that we cannot withhold the statement of those thoughts on some topics which the perusal of a work so important has suggested.

We cannot venture to predict for D’Aubigné's History of the Reformation in England an equal measure of success with that already obtained by his previous volumes. Not that we regard the present volunie as less deserving of success than its predecessors, but because it cannot have to British readers an equal degree of freshness. British readers are already in some degree familiar with the History of the Reformation in their own country; and although they may be somewbat curious to know how an educated and intelligent foreigner views the subject, they will not expect any actually new information, and they will not be disposed to submit their previously settled opinions to his guidance. Be the reason what it may, it is at any rate the fact, that nothing which is not mainly of English growth will much or permanently affect the English mind. Before any thing can greatly affect England, it must be adopted and made English. For this, and various other kindred reasons, we do not expect that D'Aubigné's new volume will be as popular in Britain as its predecessors have been.

If, however, we had the power to guide the mind of England, we would most earnestly urge it to accept this work, to give it the utmost possible encouragement, to receive it into every household from palace to hut, and to welcome and adopt it as the first and only full and authentic history of the Reformation in England. There have long existed ample materials for such a history; but a rightly qualified historian was wanting. Nothing could surpass, in its own department, the work of Foxe, the martyrologist; and nowhere could better materials for history be found than in its pages, when these are in the hands of one who knows how to use them, as D’Aubigné has amply proved. Strype, as an annalist, is as accurate, comprehensive, minute in detail, and abundant in material, as could possibly be desired; but his writings are not history, till a true historian employs them. Bishop Burnet is candid, truthful, frank, well-informed generally, and sufficiently copious in some parts, though deficient in others. Little of importance has yet been added on any topic of which he has treated ; and in many instances, what he has stated as conjectural has been confirmed by subsequent research ; yet his whole mental tendencies led him rather to produce what may be called the gossip of history, than history itself.

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And of the numerous modern attempts to produce a history of the Reformation in England, nothing less can be said than that they have all been comparatively failures,-not one has succeeded in becoming a standard work. The truth is, that no man can write a successful bistory unless his own mental characteristics be those of a historian. The man of true historical genius may be said to live as really in the past as in the present. He cannot become cognisant of an important fact or event of ancient times without seeing in it a vital principle, and tracing it along the continuous life of the community, till he marks its reappearance in his own day. He cannot look on any thing that bears the aspect of antiquity without retracing it to that period and event from which it sprung: “ As for me," says D'Aubigné, in one of his works, “ I delight in going back into past ages, and, as I contemplate what I meet with in the places I visit, to seek out what happened there in times gone by. I inquire into the historical reminiscences. I cannot look upon a field of battle without marshalling armies upon it; on an ancient house, without bringing back its inhabitants; on a church, without placing in the pulpit the illustrious man who has preached there, and in the house the audience he was wont to animate with his words. I cannot pass through a cemetery without calling up its dead.” Such a man was needed to write the History of the Reformation in England. Let us now briefly glance at the first volume of that history which such a man has written.

It did not surprise us in the least to find that D'Aubigné could not begin the History of the Reformation in England with the reign of Henry VIII. England had attained a character and history as a nation long before that period, both in a political and in a religious aspect; and any intelligent person who should undertake to give an account of England in either of these points of view during that reign, would find it absolutely necessary to begin with a considerably long introduction. This was intuitively evident to D'Aubigné's historical genius, and was confirmed to his judgment by his historical experience. ** If we search,” he says, “ for the characteristics of the British Reformation, we shall find that, beyond any other, they were social, national, and truly human. There is no people among whom the Reformation has produced to the same degree that morality and order, that liberty, public spirit, and activity, which are the very essence of a nation's greatness. Just as the Papacy has degraded the Spanish peninsula, has the gospel exalted the British islands. Hence the study upon which we are entering possesses an interest peculiar to itself. In order that this study may be useful, it should have a character of universality. To confine the history of a people within the space of a few years, or even of a century, would deprive that history of both truth and life. History is a wonderful organization, no part of which can be restricted. To understand the present we must know the past.” With this conception in his mind, it is not surprising to find him stating his design thus :—“ We shall now proceed to trace the destinies of the church in England from the earliest times of Christianity. These long and distant preparations are one of the distinctive characteristics of its reformation. Before the sixteenth century this church had passed through two great phases. The first was that of its formation, the second that of its corruption. In its formation it was Oriento-aposto

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