Imatges de pÓgina

flatter ourselves, that a just regard to the general interest of the Church, will prevail over every private consideration, and induce the patrons and readers of the Magazine to apologize for editorial defects from motives of general utility.



(Concluded from Vol. V. page 446.) On the NECESSITY of the CHRISTIAN RELIGION. “Not only is the intervention of Christ necessary to obtain salvation from God, and to impart it unto men, but the faith of Christ is also necessary to qualify men for receiving this salvation at his hands :--not that faith in Christ by which he


apprehended under the general notion of the wisdom, power, goodness, and mercy of God, but that faith which was announced by the Apostles, and recorded in their writings, and in such a Saviour as was preached by those primitive heralds of salvation.

“I am not in the least influenced by the arguments by which some persons profess themselves induced to adopt the opinion, that à faith in Christ thus particular and restricted, which is required from all that become the subjects of salvation, agrees neither with the amplitude of God's mercy, nor with the conditions of his justice, since many thousands of men depart out of this life, before even the sound of the Gospel of Christ has reached their ears. For the reasons and terms of Divine Justice and Mercy are not to be determined by the limited and shallow measure of our capacities or feelings; but we must leave with God the free administration and just defence of these his own attributes. The result, however, will invariably prove to be the same, in what manner soever he may be pleased to administer those divine

properties---for 'he will always overcome when he is judged.” (Rom. iii. 4.) Out of his word we must acquire our wisdom and information. At the head of those things which are most indispensable, and of those which rank next to them in importance, this divine word describes the necessity of faith in Christ, according to the appointment of the just mercy and the merciful justice of God. * He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.' (John iii. 36.) This is not an account of the first kindling of the wrath of God against this wilful unbeliever; for he had then deserved the most severe expressions of that wrath by the sins which he had previously committed against the

lay; and this wrath' abides upon him on account of his continued unbelief, because he had been favoured with the opportunity as well as the power of being delivered from it, through faith in the Son of God. Again : 'If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins. (John viii. 24.) And, in another passage, Christ declares, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.' (John xvii. 3.) The apostle says, 'It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.' That preaching thus described is the doctrine of the cross, 'to the Jews a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishness: but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.' (1 Cor. i. 21, 23, 24.) This wisdom and this power are not those attributes which God employed when he formed the world, for Christ is here plainly distinguished from them; but they are the wisdom and the power revealed in that Gospel which is eminently 'the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.' (Rom. i. 16.) Not only, therefore, is the cross of Christ necessary to solicit and procure redemption, but the faith of the cross is also necessary in order to obtain possession of it.

The necessity of faith in the cross does not arise from the circumstance of the doctrine of the cross being preached and propounded to men; but, since faith in Christ is necessary according to the decree of God, the doctrine of the cross is preached, that those who believe in it may be saved. Not only on account of the decree of God is faith in Christ necessary, but it is also necessary on account of the promise made unto Christ by the Father, and according to the covenant which was ratified between both of them. This is the word of that promise: 'Ask of me, and I will give thee the Heathen for thine inheritance.' (Psalm ii. 8.) But the inheritance of Christ is the multitude of the faithful; the willing people that in the day of his power shall be spontaneously present with him in the beauties of holiness.' (Psalm cx. 3.) In thee shall all nations be blessed ; so then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.' (Gal. iii. 8, 9.) In Isaiah it is likewise declared, “When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed. He shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself (which is faith in him) shall my righteous Servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.' (Isa. liii. 10, 11.) Christ adduces the covenant which has been concluded with the Father, and founds a plea upon it when he says, ' Father glorify thy Son; that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life, eternal,' &c. &c. (John xvii. 1-4.)

“Christ therefore by the decree, the promise, and the covenant of the Father, has been constituted the Saviour of all that believe on him, according to the declaration of the Apostle : And being made perfect, he became the Author of eternal salvation, to all them that obey him.” (Heb. v. 9.) This is the reason why the Gentiles without Christ are said to be aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. Yet through faith those who some time were thus afar off and in darkness' are said to be made nigh, and ' are now light in the Lord.' (Eph. ii. 12, 13, and v. 8.) It is requisite, therefore, ear, nestly to contend for the NECESSITY of the Christian Religion, as for the altar and the anchor of our salvation, lest, after we have suffered the Son to be taken away from us and from our faith, we should also be deprived of the Father :

-For whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.' (1 John ii. 23.) But if we in the slightest degree connive at the diminution or limitation of this NECESSITY, Christ himself will be brought into contempt among Christians, his own professing people ; and will at length be totally denied and universally renounced. For it is not an affair of difficulty to take away the merit of salvation, and the efficacy of saving, from him to whom we are not compelled by any necessity to offer our oaths of allegiance. Who believes, that it is not necessary to return thanks to him who has conferred a benefit? Nay, who will not openly and confidently profess, that he is not the Author of salvation whom it is not necessary to acknowledge in that capacity? The union, therefore, of both the objects, God and Christ, must be strongly urged and enforced in our Christian Theology; nor is it to be endured that under any pretext they be totally detached and removed from each other, unless we wish Christ himself to be separated and withdrawn from us, and that we should be deprived at once of him and of our own salvation."


From the New Edinburgh Encyclopædia.


Thomas CRANMER, archbishop of Canterbury, was born at Aslacton, in Nottinghamshire, July 2, 1489. His father, who bore the same name, was a gentleman of a family which for many ages possessed Cranmer Hall in Lincolnshire, and is said to have been able to trace his pedigree to the time of the conquest. The advantages of a well-directed education, which young Cranmer improved, formed at a very early period his manly character, and


laid the foundations of his future fame. His admittance into Jesus College, Cambridge, when only fourteen years of age, opened up a wide field for the exertion of his keen and piercing intellect; but though the range of his understanding was only bounded by the whole circle of science, yet religious, and, in particular, biblical knowledge, was his favourite pursuit. A fellowship, and a degree of master of arts, were the honourable rewards of his abilities and industry; but the former he forfeited by marrying a lady to whom he was tenderly attached ; and he immediately after became reader in Buckingham College. The happiness which he enjoyed in the fond affection of a kindred spirit, was cruelly terminated by the death of his wife, which took place a short time after his marriage; but if his affliction could have been soothed by the love and esteem of the good, he must have found some consolation in the admiration of his friends, who again dignified him with his fellowship in the university, an honour almost unprecented. Refusing a fellowship at Oxford, which Cardinal Wolsey offered him, he took the degree of doctor in divinity, 1523, and, in consequence of his integrity and learning, was appointed to give lectures on theology, and to examine the candidates for academical honours. Even in that age of comparative darkness, the penetrating mind of Cranmer, though still entangled with the bewildering dogmata of papal superstition, had learned, from an intimate acquaintance with the scriptures in their original language, not merely to despise as useless, but to detest as destructive of the beauty and the power of religion, all those distinctions without difference, all those technical phrases without meaning, and all those definitions of things undefinable, which composed the lifeless body of school divinity, and which, in some degree, are blended with the systematic religion of the present day. Hence, as he refused degrees in divinity to every person who was ignorant of the language and doctrines of scripture, he became, at first, obnoxious to the ignorant and the ambitious; but, in a short time, many of those who most bitterly reproached him, were filled not only with admiration of his virtues, but with gratitude for the happiness which he had conferred upon them.

To fulfil Cranmer's future destiny, he was forced by the plague, which broke out at Cambridge, to visit a Mr. Cressy, an intimate friend of his, who resided at Waltham Abbey. Whilst he enjoyed there the pleasures of literary friendship, Henry VIII. who, in 1529, sought to divest his mind from the disappointment which he experienced in his divorce from Catharine of Arragon, took a tour through part of his kingdom, and happened on his return to stop at the house of Mr. Cressy. Here Dr. Fox, the king's almoner, and Dr. Gardiner, then secretary, afterwards bishop of Winchester, met with Cranmer at supper, and as the king's divorce became the subject of conversation, Cranmer, from that acute discernment which he naturally possessed, observed, that whilst they paid such unlimited regard to the ecclesiastical law; the business would never be terminated : the question was sinply, “whether a man may marry his brother's wife ?” This could be decided by scripture only ; and if the universities of Europe were consulted respecting the doctrine of scripture on this point, the affair would soon be over; for if the scriptures permitted it, the conscience of the king would be at rest; and if they did not permit it, the authority of scripture, supported by the suffrages of all the learned bodies in Christendom, would compel the pope to pronounce a definitive sentence agreeable to scripture. Fox and Gardiner, struck with the force of the observation, resolved to communicate the information to the king; and justice requires that we should state, that whilst the latter invidiously proposed to conceal the author, and take the merit of the discovery to themselves, the former generously rejected the unmanly proposal, and fairly revealed the scheme and its author to Henry.

From this moment, Cranmer's history becomes, in a great measure, identified with the history of England. As the narration of public events belongs much more properly to the annals of the kingdom, than to the biography of the man, we shall touch but slightly upon those circumstances which must compose a prominent part of the history of that important period, and confine ourselves chiefly to the private events of the individual.

Cranmer had left Waltham before Henry was informed of his advice; but the king was so enraptured with the design, that he sent an express for him to Nottinghamshire. He, with that modesty which was natural to him, reluctantly obeyed; and soliciting in vain to be excused from appearing before the king, had an interview with his majesty. Pleased with his candour and discernment, the king made him one of his chaplains, requested him to write upon the divorce, and desired the father of Anne Boleyn, now Earl of Wiltshire, to allow him, at Durham Place, to pursue his design. From every source of legitimate reasoning, Cranmer established the important truth, that the pope possessed no power to dispense with the word of God, and not only by the unanswerable work which he published, but by public disputations, he gained almost every person of discernment to his opinion.

When the English universities had declared the marriage unlawful, an embassy, composed of the most learned men of the nation, among whom was Cranmer, was sent to Rome, to obtain, if possible, the pope's consent. This proved unsuccessful, from the political views of his Holiness, who, however, to conciliate all parties, as far as his double policy could go, bestowed upon Cranmer the office of penitentiary. From Rome, Cranmer went through Italy, France, and Germany, where, according to the custom of the age, he maintained the cause of his master in many public disputations. At Nuremberg, he married a second wife,

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