Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

with two Anabaptists of Kent.-votion and honour, and affirmed So at the same time that Ridley that in it there was truly and verily exhorted Gardiner to receive the the body and blood of Christ, effec true doctrine of justification, a- tually by grace and spirit." Ridgainst which he was very refrac- ley's biographer, the Rev. Gloces tory, he prayed him to be very ter Ridley, even writing so lately diligent in confounding the Ana- as 1763, commends the bishop baptists in his diocese ; and that he (P. 664,) for having" always be would be steady in the defence lieved and maintained a real preof the sacrament against them." sence by grace to faith, and not a Thus Pilate and Herod were made mere figure only: although there friends, that Jesus might be effec. were some English fanaticks, such tually persecuted. This coalition as John Webb, George Roper, and of papist and protestant, was surely Gregory Paske, who believed that nothing better than an union of the sacrament was only a bare sign guides, alike blind to the rights of of Christ's body, and nothing more conscience and the requirements than a remembrance of it" the of religion. These scrupulous, and very doctrine maintained with great probably conscientious churchmen, ability, but I know not with what could warmly differ, in expound- consistency, by a late successor of ing a conundrum of the schools, Ridley's colleague, in the see of and yet cordially agree to perse- Winchester. I refer to Bishop cute-strain out a gnat and swal- Hoadley's Plain Account of the Na. low a camel; violate mercy, one of ture and Design of the Lord's Sup the weightier matters of the law, per. It will here be not uninter. and yet pay tithe of mint and an- esting to add, that these three Enise and cummin. glish fanatics, as to whom bigotry and superstition may still account their lives madness, and their end without honour, after escaping the fire of protestant persecution, were burned together at Canterbury, in the reign of Mary. Clarke, in his Martyrologie, (P. 159,) having mentioned the burning of Ridley and Latimer, in 1555; says,

The Anabaptists who were thus subjected to the ecclesiastical censures of Gardiner and Ridley, ap. pear to have professed more ra tional and truly scriptural views of that religious usage, unhappily entitled the sacrament, than even the latter prelate entertained. Ridley had, in 1544, been converted from a belief in transubstantiation, "About the same time, John chiefly by meeting with "the Book of Bertram, or Ratramaus, priest and monk of Corbey, concerning the body and blood of the Lord;" written in latin, about 840, a translation of which, by Ridley, or under his direction, was printed in 1549. Thus, as Strype remarks,

Webb, was brought before the Bishop of Dover, Doctor Harpsfield, and some others, where such common articles were objected to him as against others, to which he answered, that he did believe that the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, was left in commemora though Ridley were not for that tion of his death, and not that it gross corporal presence in the sa- was transubstantiated into his bocrament, yet he approved of treat- dy. After which he, with George ing that holy mystery with all de Roper and Gregory Paske and

two other godly men, were all protestant council, who, as Luther brought forth together; who all said of himself, should be always constantly adhering to the truth, learners, "to put an end to all were condemned, and carried to controversies in religion," to the place of their martyrdom. By the way they said divers psalms. Roper, at the stake, putting off his gown, fetched a great leap. And so they all three were consumed in the flames, at Canterbury, abiding their torments most patiently, and rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for Christ's gospel sake."

We presently find a goodly company of Protestant persecutors, among whom were Cranmer, Latimer and Sir Thomas Smith, sit. ting in judgment, April 27, 1548, "in the chapel of the blessed Mary in St. Paul's," upon one John Champnies, of Stratford on the Bow, in the county of Middlesex. This clergyman appears, by Strype's narration of his opinions, to have refined upon the doctrines of grace, as the harsh and exclusive dogmas of Calvin are improperly. called, till he published a book in favour of the system called Antinomian. He was, however, now brought "utterly to abjure the said errors, and all other heresies, false doctrines, and damned opinions contained in his book, and all other Anabaptists' errors, and By the assistance of the same all other heresies in general, conindustrious enquirer, Strype, I find trary to the faith of Christ." that in the next year, 1548, an at- Jortin has remarked (Eccl. Hist. tempt was made to engage the Pref.), as quoted by Wakegrowing mind of the young king, field (Mem. 1. 123), "Men now eleven years of age, on the will compel others, not to think side of persecution. William with them, for that is impossible, Thomas, Esq. (afterwards execu- but to say they do, upon which ted for treason in the reign of they obtain full leave not to think Mary)" drew up for the special use or reason at all; and this is called of Edward, a large collection of thoughts, on civil and ecclesiasti- With such unity, persecutors of cal government, entitled "Ques- every age and description have tions of State Policy." Of these, been obliged to be content, though the following is the tenth. "Whe- no doubt, they have often regretted ther religion, beside the honour of the imperfection of "human laws," God, be not also the greatest stay that, as Young well expresses it, of civil order, and whether the they cannot take vengeance on unity thereof be not to be preserved the mind." Cranmer and his aswith the sword and rigour ?" (Id. sociates accepted the submission ii. 101.) This useful hint was of their prisoner, imposing the folsoon followed by a proclamation lowing sentence. First, a prohi set forth, most consistently by a bition to preach these errors.

Unity."

These were probably Anabaptists, and two of them might be those with whom Gardiner and Ridley were appointed to deal, in 1547. There was, about the same time, one Robert Cook, expressly called an Anabaptist, by Strype, who" denied original sin, and concerning the Lord's Supper dispersed divers odd things," by which he "created trouble to Parkhurst and Coverdale."

Secondarily, that the said Champ- damps and putrefaction; pale, nees with all speed convenient, torpid, spiritless and helpless; and with all his diligence, procure and were at last whelmed in pits, as many of his books as are past without notice and without reYet from a very forth in his name, to be called in membrance. again and utterly destroyed, as unfeeling passage in Latimer's 4th much as in him shall lie.' Next sermon, preached before King Edappears their Christian method of ward VI. it may be inferred that restoring a brother in the spirit of even the executions were not few. meekness. "Thirdly, that the said Champnees, on Sunday next, shall attend at Paul's cross upon the preacher, all the time of the sermon, and there penitently stand before the preacher aforesaid with a faggot on his shoulder." (Con. cil. Mag. Brit. iv. 39).

He says, the Anabaptists that were burnt here, in many towns in England, as I heard of credible men, I saw them not myself, went we will say, to their death, as without any fear in the world, cheerfully. Well, let them go." Latimer then compares them to " another kind of poisoned heretics, 66 went to called Donatists," who their execution, as though they should have gone to some jolly recreation or banquet, to some belly cheer, or to a play." Latimer's Sermons, 1758, ii. 140.

We are now arrived again at the year 1549, where I find contemporary with the commission for Protestant persecution, a session of Parliament ending with "an act of grace and general pardon," excepting those who said "that The records preserved of proseinfants were not to be baptized, and if they were baptized, that cutions and sentences under this they ought to be rebaptized when commission are, however, very they come to lawful age-that scanty, yet considering the im Christ took no bodily substance of pending fate of the principal comour blessed lady." Strype, from missioners themselves, and their whom I quote this passage (Ec. zeal for God, though not accord. Mem. ii. 189) adds, "Those ing to knowledge, we may consiwho held these tenets were those der them as strikingly exhibiting, called Anabaptists, whereof seve- according to Shakespeare, ral were now in prison." Man! proud man, Drest in a little brief authority; Most ignorant of what he's most assured.

These prisoners must have been confined to await the sentence of the so often mentioned commission. The names and stories of very few of them have been preserved, though they were probably numerous. For the well-known passage of Johnson on war may, with a slight alteration of terms, be applied to persecution. "Of the thousands and tens of thousands that perished, a very small part ever felt the stroke of an executioner. The

rest languished in dungeons, amidst

VOL. VII.

2 R

I have pursued a more circuitous course than I expected, and must again propose in another letter to conclude the sketch of Protestant persecution in England during the reign of Edward. R. G. S.

Unitarians in Transylvania.
SIR,

I lament that the inquiries of
Senex (p. 32) have not called forth

some account of the Unitarians in perhaps a translation of it, or at Transylvania; though I confess I least of the substance of the infor am not surprised at the silence of mation relating to Unitarians, your correspondents; for where would be acceptable on your nothing is known there is nothing pages. JUVENIS.

to tell. I suspect that the author

Bath, April 3, 1812.

of "The Religious World display- Mr. Matthews on the new Unitaed," was himself acquainted with rian Academy. Professor Markos's book only at second hand, and even that is higher authority for a quotation, than I fear most of our sectographers are able to produce.

SIR, Having read and considered the circular letter, containing "The Resolutions of the Friends of the In Maty's New Review for the Unitarian cause, and the plan of year 1783 (Vol. IV. p. 477), I the new Unitarian Academy," I find a brief account of the follow. would beg leave to offer a few re ing work: "Transilvania, sive marks thereon, through the me magnus Transilvaniæ principatus dium of the Monthly Repository. olim Dacia Mediterranea dictus,' The reasons assigned for attemptorbi nondum satis cognitus. Nunc ing such an establishment, I premultifariam ac strictim illustratus. sume will be generally approved, Auctore Josepho Benko, Transil- and the object deemed highly vano-Siculo, &c. Tom. 2. 8vo. worthy of encouragement. The Vindobinæ, 1778." commencement of the subscription is auspicious, and we may hope the result of due endeavours to extend it will be-complete success.

But the accomplishments, and the public benefit, may not be

"The account of Unitarians," "takes says Maty, up from p. 215 to p. 229 of vol. 2. We have here a short abridgment of their history, their confession of faith, and their church government. In so speedy in their arrival as we the year 1776, their numbers could wish. In the mean time, were 28,697, and their churches it concerns the friends of the Uni117." tarian cause, to be doing all they This assessment gives upwards can for its advancement, if they of 253 persons to a congregation; believe, as I trust they do, that it according to which rate, Professor is the reviving, growing cause of Markos represents them as up- primitive Christianity. The scripwards of 40,000 in number in tural admonition to believers for. 1787-an increase of more than merly was, that they should be 11,000 in eleven years. "diligent in business, fervent in "There is a supplement to the spirit, serving the Lord:" and work," adds Maty, "which con- though some professed believers in tains some curious things about our days are prone to call in questhe Unitarians, particularly with tion any good effects of Unitarian respect to their coming into Tran. fervency, or religious exertion, sylvania, taken from a manuscript yet is this no good reason why its tract, entitled, Notanda quædam advocates should be discouraged, de fratribus e Polonia exulibus.” or why they should not be zealous in promoting the practice of Uni

If this work could be procured,

tarian worship, as the Lord's ser- a brotherly and Christian work, vice. The particular promotion and I am seriously of opinion it which I now have in view, is, in would be crowned with abundant situations where Unitarian te- success. lievers have not the aid of a learnSuch has been the consequence ed or regular minister. The cause of free inquiry on religious subof religious truth may be advanced jects for many years, such the by sincere and sober endeavours, demonstrations of Christian doc where the learning of the schools trines by a succession of pious and is wanting and indeed the simple learned men, that light has gone dignity of Christian truth is such, forth abundantly; the sacred that large, or fresh supplies of scriptures have become more exhuman learning are not absolutely tensively than ever understood, essential to its best interests. and their genuine import prized. From the printed address above Reading and reflection have prealluded to, it appears that many pared the minds of many, throughof the societies, in different places, out our country, to estimate the "both of those that have existed value of religious truth and liberty. for a long period, and of those Ecclesiastical and interested systhat have newly sprung up, have tems have been freely appreciated. been kept together only by the The pomp and splendour of naoccasional services of urinisters in tional establishments, of spurious their neighbourhood, or by the Christianity, have lost their zeal and activity of individuals, charm. The public mind has not ministers, among themselves, largely revolted from the darkness who have officiated in reading the and imposition of former times, scriptures and carrying on Divine and has a strong bias towards ra. Worship." This part of the state. tional simplicity and scripture ment, I cannot but deem so im- truth. The large increase of po. portant as to require very particu- pulation seems to have been at. lar notice. From such examples tended with a proportionate in ́of usefulness, due encouragement crease of knowledge, and a love of should be drawn: such auspicious Christian, not of licentious free. beginnings may well be expected dom. This complexion of our to become influential and happy. times is manifest in various ways, Nor can I think that the present and especially in the secession of ministers and superintendants of multitudes from the national Unitarian affairs, in London, could church. Nor is the anxiety of be better employed than in pro- many of the beneficed teachers of moting an extension of such reli- that church, lest their supremacy gious offices, where regular minis. should be gradually lost, the least ters are not settled. Serious, remarkable proof of the salutary sensible, and benevolent men, of effects of free inquiry. In such the same faith, are not uncommon times we have cause to hope that

in towns and districts where no settled minister resides. To admonish and excite such brethren to the best use of their faculties, and religious dispositions, must be

"the corruptions of Christianity," in Trinitarian worship especially, may be happily lessened, and the genuine truth and simplicity of primitive Christianity become re

« AnteriorContinua »