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absurdity; because, if published in reproved and condemned; the ministers Latin, few Portuguese would either un- to whom we humbly present it, are not derstand, serve, or obey the king, so as as the inquisitors, despotic; our will is to comply from the reason and cause of law, so we judge it, and so we will have such laws, without which, no obedience it, say the inquisitors, persecuting the can be esteemed legitimately true and innocent, and hiding from us the book obligatory.
of truth, without troubling themselves at “The pope and the inquisition having the just murmurings of this nation, and hitherto hindered us the reading the the just criticisms of foreign nations, Holy Scriptures in the vulgar language, nor of the general scandal which their we are obliged to declare, confess, and arbitrary proceedings haye carried protest, before Almighty God, and in throughout the whole prudent, learned, the face of all the world, that we are and orthodox world; the inisery and Christians without law, for excepting a poverty they have brought on this nation, few learned inen, wbo understand Latin, making or causing us to be esteemed, all other Portuguese are totally ignorant not only as ignorant, but as barbaof the law of God; calling themselves rians. Christians, without having seen or read “Our petition being in every respect the precepts, counsels, and doctrines just, and tending to a good end, we hope which Jesus Christ has given them, and that all the ininisters of which this board what the holy Evangelists left in deposite consists, will be favourable to us, counselin the New Testament. The remedy to ling and determining, without delay, and this great evil, and very great error, is unanimously, that the reading of the very necessary, and ought to be very Holy Scriptures shall be amply and fully quick; so that from what has been re- permitted us. lated with so much truth, sincerity, bre- . “ In case this favour should not be vity, and clearness, the Portuguese pray granted, which we think impossible, the and beg, that the free reading of the Portuguese nation, with justice hope, Holy Bible may be granted and con- that the gentlemen ministers will produce ceded, without any restriction, in the solid, convincing, and demonstrative same manner as was practised in the reasons, to shew all the world, and the first ages of the church; ages truly Portuguese nation in particular, what we blessed with learned and pious men, think still more impossible, and that is, and in which Christianity made the evidently to prove that men may see greatest and most rapid progress; and without light or eyes; and that they may until the Bible is translated into the observe the law of God, and follow the Portuguese language, we desire and doctrine of Jesus Christ, without the hope, that a free permission, and free least knowledge of the sacred books, recourse to all the versions of the Old wherein this doctrine is divinely deand New Testament, in whatever lan- posited. guage, may be suffered and permitted in “Truth is the daughter of God, and Portugal, and its dominions.
should be the guide for all mortals; all “ This request and desire being men living cannot deny or refute what founded in truth, reason, and justice, is contained in this petition ; for this no arguments are necessary to patronize reason we make it public, desiring that them, neither do we allege or point out all Europe may have knowledge of our any of the many proofs which authorize just requests, hoping, that our superiors them, being certain, that all of them are will attend to us with the justice they well known to the wise and intelligent owe to God, themselves, their own naministers to whom we have recourse: tion, and all the universe. we only offer, that if the laws of the “ Lisbon, April 25, 1768." prince, on the knowledge and observance of which depend our temporal in
numun terests, are made known to us in the
REFLECTIONS WRITTEN AFTER mother and vulgar language, the law of
READING MILNER'S HISTORY God, on the intelligence and observance of which depends the salvation of our
OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST. souls, ought in consequence to be al
ECCLESIASTICAL History prolowed, without the least obstacle, in the
poses to record the rise and prosame language, and in all the known and vulgar idioms. We did not pre- gress of Christianity, and the lives sume to make this petition to the inqui- of its most eminent professors. In sition, well knowing it would have been such a narrative, we might expect scenes to arise, and events to oc- most abominable deeds."* Such cur, which would illustrate the were the impudence of the priests, nature of evangelical virtue, and and the credulity of the people, exemplify the spirit of true re- that the former could hardly invent ligion. We might expect the any thing too absurd for the latter prominent characters to be the to believe.t It is truly painful excellent of the earth, and the and disgusting to see men corrupt principal facts to be the exertions in opinion, and profligate in pracof benevolence in propagating tice, who should shine as lights in Divine truth, and in promoting the world; ignorant when favoured human happiness. At the apos- with better opportunities than tolic æra, and in the inspired others of acquiring knowledge; writings, these expectations are and wicked under the strongest realized in their full extent; but obligations to duty. There was they gradually fail in succeeding indeed “a remnant according to times, and are lamentably disap- the election of grace" in the worst pointed as we descend into the of times, but those inestimable dark ages. During a long period characters, when they can be disthe real Christian church scarcely covered at all, appear like twinkexisted; and the nominal church ling stars in a dark hemisphere. was divided into parties, and agi. The feelings of a pious mind do tated by disputes. Those disputes not suffer so much in reading the often related to subjects trifling work of Joseph Milner, as in other and absurd; and those parties con- ecclesiastical histories, because the tended with each other from per- author has exonerated himself verseness, "and persecuted each from the necessity of entering into other with rancour and cruelty, many odious details, of delineating We search for real Christians, many detestable characters, and and apostolic teachers, but we of relating many infamous transacfind the people sunk in super- tions, by writing his book on a stition, and the clergy governed peculiar plan, in conformity to by a spirit of avarice and ambition, which he passes by, without no
The tenth century conducts us tice, all secular concerns, all hedown to “the ultimate point of resies and corruptions, all the inChristian depression,” and presents trigues, machinations, and conto our view a dreadful vacuum of tentions of ambitious priests; and all true piety, and an awful scene confines his attention to the cause of darkness, disorder, and de- of real religion. In his researches pravity. “ The history of the into the affairs of the true church, Roman pontiffs that lived in that and in his efforts to compose a spicentury is a history of so many ritual history of genuine Christians, monsters, and not of men, and he is never content with dubious exhibits a horrible series of the or borrowed information, but almost flagitious, tremendous, and ways traces that information to its complicated crimes, as all writers, source. He says, “how delusive, even those of the Romish com- and yet how common a thing is it, munion, unanimously confess. The to form our idea of characters from clergy, both in the eastern and the report of others, rather than western provinces, were, for the from our own knowledge and caremost part, composed of a most ful investigation. To the best of worthless set of men, shamefully my ability I have formed my judgilliterate and stupid, ignorant more ment on original evidences, and especially in religious matters, equally enslaved to sensuality and
* Mosheim, Vol. ii. p. 399, 400, superstition, and capable of the + De Henry, Vol. iii. p. 257.
not on the opinions and reasonings give importance to everything of any modern whatever. Labo- connected with it; and he every rious task ! compared with the where represents it as worth all the ease of copying other historians : exertions which holy zeal could invidious also, because it often ever make, and all the sacrifices obliges one to oppose modern re- and sufferings which human fortipresentations. But it is the task of tude could ever endure. To exà real historian.”—(Vol.ii. p. 430. hibit the nature of real Chris446.) This task he has performed tianity historically, is the plan of most assiduously. With patient his work, and in the execution of attention, and persevering dili- the plan, he makes history subgence, he has consulted and com- servient to instruction, and takes pared the original authors, and has every opportunity to show the cominunicated the result of his in- connexion between principle and quiries with fidelity and accuracy. practice, between the doctrines of His reflections on the several sub- grace and the fruits of righteousjects which pass under his review, ness. Vital religion is his great prove that he was in the habit of object of inquiry, and his great thinking for himself, and they often delight is to display its influence display much wisdom, as well as in producing exemplary virtues, strength and independence of mind. and in forming such characters as This originality of thinking, and approve themselves to the closest independence of mind, have led scrutiny, bear the hardest test of him to correct many common er- adversity, and shine most brightly rors, and current ruisrepresenta- in the furnace of persecution. His tions, and to vindicate many ex- narrative teaches us the infinite cellent men from the flippant and obligations we are under, and the malignant censures of infidel wri- debt of gratitude we owe, to those ters. His sketches of character, illustrious men who resisted the his narratives of events, and his corruptions of former times; who opinions upon them, are entitled devoted themselves to the service to all the deference which learn- of God, and the promotion of bis ing, industry, and integrity can de- cause in the world; and who beserve. But sometimes his histo- queathed to us, as an inestimable rical materials are defective; and legacy, those privileges which they this deficiency has induced him to purchased at the price of their load his work with heavy quota- blood. tions from old theological treatises, From his own declarations we and has reduced him to the neces- might suppose that Mr. Milner sity of writing the biography of claimed for himself the merit of individuals, rather than a general impartiality, and expected that his history of the church.
labours would be acceptable to The learning, integrity, and di- evangelical dissenters as well as to ligence of the late Joseph Milner, good churchmen. In the first page however conspicuous and unques- of his Introduction, after shortly tionable, do not constitute his describing the character of real highest praise. His grand excel- Christians, he says, “ It is the lencies are fervent piety, sound history of these men which I projudgment, and decided attachment pose to write. It is of no conseto the Gospel. That blessed sys- quence with respect to my plan, tem enlightened his understanding, nor of much importance, I believe, animated the best feelings of his in its own nature, to what EXTERheart, and directed the whole NAL church they belonged. I incourse of his studies. In his esti- tend not to enter with any nicety mation its value was such as to into an account of their rites and ceremonies, or forms of church his plan, has made our author sugovernment." And again; “As I perficial and indistinct in marking am convinced that the Almighty the rise and progress of ecclesiashas not limited his creatures to tical domination ; and tender and any particular and strictly-defined indulgent towards some of the inmodes of church government, Inovations and corruptions of the cannot be under much temptation bishops of Rome. It has made to partiality.”—(Vol. i. p. 376.) bim hesitate in his opinion of the After reading such declarations as earliest protestant martyrs, as these, who would expect to see though he doubted whether the the spirit of sectarianism very pro- state of the church of Rome was minent in this otherwise valuable then bad enough to justify their work? Who would expect the separation from it, and to vindicate author to watch every opportunity them from the charge of schism. of introducing his own peculiar It has made him so zealous in praise opinions and partialities as a of such a lord over God's heritage churchman, with a vigilance that as Pope Gregory the first, and never goes to sleep? Who would such a saint as Bernard; and so expect from him such a defence lukewarm in the praise of such a of ecclesiastical establishments as reformer as Wickliffe. And it has will support those that are Popish made him ascribe to Luther, among as well as those that are Protes- other distinguishing qualities, “an tant? Or who would expect to see exemplary spirit of submission to various reasons urged in proof of legal and established authorities, the expediency of those establish- and a profound veneration for ments, when the whole course of them."-(Vol. iv. p. 409.) This his history demonstrates their in- is passing strange from an hisjurious influence, and their mis- torian who informs his reader of chievous operation? How much Luther's upsparing censures of may a wise and a good man be Duke George of Saxony, of his mistaken about himself! and even contemptuous book against King to such how often may it be said, Henry the Eighth, and that Henry “ Ye know not what spirit ye are reproached him with “ sparing no
dignity, divine or human, civil or Cyprian, from bis arrogant and ecclesiastic.”—(Vol. v. p. 358.) foolish notions about the power It is marvellous in the extreme and prerogatives of bishops, and to read of Luther's profound venethe dampable nature of schism, is ration, and exemplary submission held the great apostle of high to legal and established authorities, church; but he does not seem very in the same work which relates likely to he a favourite with an that he charged the princes of Gerhistorian who tells us that it is not many with “ intolerable oppression of much importance to what exter of the poor peasants" (Vol. v. p. nal church real Christians belong. 221.)--that he accused bishops, He is, however, ardently eulo- kings, and princes of “an insane gized; his history is written more outrageous conspiracy against the largely than that of any other man rising light of the Gospel"—(Vol. in the primitive ages, though his v. p. 180.)-that he praised “ all Christian life continued only thir- persons who spend their lives and teen years; and he is even “re. fortunes, and every faculty they commended as a model to all pas- possess, in endeavouring to overtors, and particularly to those of turn and extinguish the present dia. rank and dignity.”—(Vol.i. p. 468.) bolical constitution and govern
The SPIRIT OF CHURCHISM, ment of the bishops"-(Vol. v. p. quite as much as conformity to 93) that he carried his rebellion
against the sovereign pontiff to the are compelled to go from place to highest pitch, and affronted the place, and exert all their influence majesty of the pope with the gross with their friends to obtain a situaest instances of contempt and de- tion, their respectability, and confiance."-(Vol.iv. p.499.) It seems sequently their usefulness, will be utterly unaccountable that the necessarily diminished. The tensame writer would transcribe these dency of this state of things must passages, and many more such like, be to increase the fastidiousness and yet could say, that “ Luther and captiousness of congregations, was always distinguished by a spirit and to produce dejection and disof respect and obedience towards couragement in the ministers' of its superiors, whether in church or Christ. state."-(Vol. iv. p. 392.) After B ut it will be said in opposition all the pains which churchmen to the remarks of Vigil, that the have taken to assimilate this emi- supply of candidates for the Chrisnent reformer to themselves, it is tian ministry does not exceed the palpably evident that he was dis- demand. From the reports of our tinguished by all the characteristics theological institutions, we hear, of a dissenter of the old school. almost every year, of their inade
The admirers of this history of quacy to supply the congregations the church of Christ say, that it that are looking to them for Chrishas superseded Mosheim's; but the tian pastors. Where an institution plans on which they are written of this kind is established, its tutors are so different, that there is little and managers, for obvious reasons, interference. Each may supply are anxious that the numbers of the the defects of the other, and they students should not diminish but may be very advantageously read increase. May not this anxiety together.
FABIUS. lead them sometimes to make out a
stronger case in their reports than
the real state of things would jusFURTHER REMARKS ON THE
tify ? Besides, they who preside NUMBER OF THEOLOGICAL over these institutions are deceived STUDENTS,
as to the demand there exists for GENTLEMEN-I was exceedingly ministers by the conduct of our pleased with the article of Vigil churches. When a congregation, in your number for May, on the from any cause, becomes destitute present supply of candidates for of a minister, the almost invariable the Christian ministry. He speaks practice is to make immediate apout on a subject which has occu- plication to an academy for a stupied the anxious attention of many dent. This is the known source of of your readers for some time, who supply. Here they understand their have not ventured to give publicity application will speedily be attento their opinions. Now the sub- ded to. To this source, therefore, ject is brought forward, I sincerely they repair, while ministers more hope it will be fully and candidly advanced in years, and who are considered. When the supply of destitute of situations, are passed any article exceeds the demand, over unnoticed. The frequency of the invariable consequence is a di- these direct applications to academunition of its value. If ministers mies keep up the idea in their supshould increase in a much greater porters that ministers are greatly ratio than the necessities of the wanted, and therefore efforts are churches require, the inevitable made to send them forth, while consequence will be a degradation respectable men, who might be met of the ministerial character. If, with in other directions, are cominstead of being sought after, they pelled to engage in secular busiN. S. No.30.