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tangible volumes, like the present, are capable of no little mischief. The real merits of the question are comprehended by few; -and he who is understood to have proved, that, in the first centuries of the Saxon æra, the doctrines and discipline of our national church were, with few exceptions, those of Rome, will also be understood to have, at least, authority and antiquity on his side. Meanwhile the unwary and uninformed will fail to perceive, that there is, properly speaking, no authority where there is no inspiration, and that while the Catholic refers to the dark ages, the religion of Protestants appeals to the authority of apostles, and to the antiquity of the first century.
While we are thus assailed from without, it is foolish to be squabbling about metaphysical and often unintelligible points of doctrine among ourselves. Let us unite to repel that enemy against whom Luther and Calvin were united. For this purpose some short, clear and popular refutation of the errors of the church of Rome would have great effect. Of this kind we have nothing at present. The old version of Jewell's apology would not be endured; and no man of taste or modesty would undertake to transfuse into a modern translation the vigour and graces, the indignant declamation and heartfelt earnestness of the original. Both parties, we rejoice to say, have equal command of a free and unlicenced press; but in the mean time, we rejoice still more in the reflexion that the established clergy have the ear of nine-tenths of the people, and though they should ordinarily be employed on better things than routing Bellarmine and confounding Baronius;' yet clear and simple expositions of the scriptural principles of our own church, confronted with the errors and absurdities of Popery in places where the propagandists are at work, would be neither unseasonable nor ineffectual.
In the present circumstances of the country, we cannot suppress our apprehensions that the watchmen slumber while the city is threatened. Death has indeed recently deprived us of many able men; but a proper stimulus, we are convinced, might even yet bring forward others, with talents not inadequate to the task at which we hinted. Great emergencies produce great abilities: but in common prudence, something short of the actual establishment of a religion like that of Rome, ought to arouse us; and, while its ministers, after a concealment of more than two centuries, obtrude themselves on the public, and avow the wildest absurdities of the darkest ages, it surely concerns us to see that our countrymen are not deceived. The unread and almost unreadable volumes of our Reformers contain mines of precious materials, unwrought indeed, but capable of being moulded into symmetry and grace. Their qualifications were pertinacious industry and laborious accumula
tion: qualifications not then misplaced; for they had readers like themselves. If attention is now to be awakened, compression, brevity, arrangement, lively illustration, and elegance, will be necessary: such however are the attainments of the present race of scholars, that these attractions may be united with the utmost precision and severity of reasoning. To men of such powers we earnestly commend the catholic controversy.
ART. V. History of the Reformation in Scotland; with an Introductory Book and an Appendix. By George Cooke, D. D. Minister of Laurence Kirk. 3 vols. 8vo. Edinburgh, Constable. London, Murray. 1811.
THAT Scotland has more abounded in valuable historians than any other country of equal extent is partly to be imputed to the spirit and intelligence of the people, and partly to the genius of liberty, which, during a period of three centuries, prompted them first to resist the aggressions of civil or ecclesiastical tyranny, and afterwards to record with truth and spirit their own exploits or those of their forefathers. But as in national struggles men of genius and research, whether from interest or principle, will always be found to range themselves on both sides, the hierarchy and the presbytery, the court and the commons, have had their respective advocates. In the first contest for the overthrow of popery, the fire and genius of Buchanan were opposed by the subtle sophistry of Lesley; and, at a later period, the calm and courtly Spottiswood was employed to counteract the rude and persevering, but sometimes justifiable, opposition of the presbytery to the restoration of the episcopal order. In one respect the historians of Scotland stand pre-eminent and alone. The rugged and unformed state of their native tongue at the most interesting period of their history, drove them to the adoption of a foreign idiom, while their superlative taste and talents, from imitating, gradually taught them to rival the great models of antiquity. The unfortunate Mary is calumniated by her powerful detector in language which would not have disgraced the accuser of Verres, while the regent Murray is recorded and deplored in a style, little inferior to that which has immortalized the elder Scipio. On the other side Lesley and Dempster, though far inferior to Buchanan, may be permitted to rank with Camden and Thuanus, the best contemporary writers of historical Latinity in the other countries of Europe. This talent did not expire in the reigns of Mary or the sixth James, nor was it born with them. Almost a century before, when the first effort was made in Scot
land to improve the sterility of the ancient chronicle, Hector Boece produced a singular and not unpleasing medley, resembling the architecture of his age and country, where a Grecian column was sometimes employed to sustain a gothic canopy, while forms the most grotesque spouted out water from the tops of flying buttresses, and astonished the spectator by the contrast which they afforded to the truth of proportion exhibited beneath. The neglect into which historical Latinity has been permitted to fall in the present age, is neither creditable to the taste nor erudition of our countrymen; but where philological learning, excepting in one narrow department, is obviously on the decline, it is no matter of wonder that the oblivion which has overspread the great originals should have enveloped the copies. To the gradual disuse, however, of a foreign and ancient idiom may be imputed that high polish which the language of North Britain has received from Hume and Robertson, as well as the universal diffusion of intelligence on a most interesting and important subject, the history of their country, in a struggle which, with some temporary deviations, has moulded the form of its ecclesiastical constitution from that day to the present.
So well known indeed had that period become, such an unwearying topic was it of historical criticism and passionate controversy, and so deformed has it been, under the management of some later hands, by invective and scurrility, that the charm which had been thrown over the reformation in Scotland by the matchless powers of Robertson, had been well nigh dissipated, and delight converted into disgust. Under these impressions we opened the volumes before us. What! more last words of John Knox? More apologies for Mary, or more invectives against her? Yet, such exclamations might have been spared. It could not be denied that a work of another nature than had yet appeared was wanting on the subject. What prudent man ever placed implicit confidence in the rude railings of Knox, (if indeed they belong to him,) or the classical billingsgate of Buchanan? Lesley, in the very threshold of his mistress's reign, prudently cut short the thread of his story. Spottiswood, while he carefully relates the turbulent and pertinacious conduct of the kirk, is known to have suppressed the duplicity and tergiversation, the private cabals and correspondence of his master James with the Catholics, which excited all their jealousies. Robertson, who is now generally understood to be right in his leading facts, spared himself the trouble of much ' research by adopting the theory of Buchanan. But the object of this matchless writer was evidently to adorn his subject, rather than to clear the doubts or remove the difficulties with which it was incumbered: as a teacher of political morality, an elevation
to which, from his ecclesiastical character and profound understanding, he might and ought to have aspired, the historian of Scotland is lamentably defective. His moral sense is abundantly cool; he seems to consider a certain portion of craft and dissimulation as an allowable and almost indispensible ingredient in the character of men of business: of manly simplicity he appears either to have been ignorant or careless; in short, when we recollect the school in which he was bred, the society with which he mingled, and even the nation to which he belonged, we are led to the irresistible conclusion, that Dr. Robertson was born a Jesuit.
Dr. Cooke, to whom it is now time to advert, is eminently gifted as a moral and political historian; his understanding is clear and discriminating, his researches have been ample, and his industry unwearied. It is impossible not to bestow a double portion of honour on the established clergy of Scotland, when we see them capable under so many disadvantages of producing such works as the present. The general extent of their parishes, their indefatigable exertions in public and private, and that very moderate provision which places few of them above the necessity of a very minute attention to their private concerns, might seem to leave little leisure and perhaps less inclination for elaborate and critical investigations. But to some minds, as well as bodies, change of labour is relaxation. One advantage, however, the minister of Laurence-kirk has enjoyed in the use of an ample parochial library, founded in his parish by a wealthy and liberal judge. But it is not the intellectual power displayed in this work which we are most inclined to applaud; in this respect, some of the author's predecessors in the same department have surpassed, and none perhaps have fallen greatly beneath him; but there shines in almost every page of the work, a purity, we had almost said, a sanctity of political principle, an impartiality which the prejudices of education and profession can scarcely be perceived to warp, together with a moral sense, originally warm and apprehensive, but improved to the highest degree of acuteness by cultivation and exercise. It is truly edifying to observe the dignity and independence of spirit with which a Presbyterian minister can expose and censure the duplicity occasionally displayed by the founders of his own church, can justify, if not applaud, the conduct of James V. in refusing, at the requirement of Henry VIII. to dissolve the monasteries of Scotland, can speak of episcopacy with respect, and maintain the cause of law and order against the first insurgents of his country in favour of the Reformation. All this, it is true, might have been done by a cool and crafty man on the popular principle of modern indifference; but Dr. Cooke is evidently a
man of feeling and conscience: with all the attachment to his own church and country, which becomes a patriot and a clergyman, he has little of the blind nationality of a Scotsman, and less of the old rigour and sourness of a minister.' If there exist in the whole work a vestige of partiality, (unobserved, we are persuaded, by the author himself,) it will be found, not in his representations of his own countrymen, but in his character of Calvin, and in his views of the conduct of Elizabeth.
The work commences with an introductory book, in which the author traces the successive usurpations of popery with a bold and indignant hand. On this subject a Scottish minister is never at a loss. But throughout this discourse we descry more or less of the powerful hand of Dr. Campbell, to whose school, as an ecclesiastical historian, the minister of Laurence-kirk evidently belongs. It was specifically on this account, that we selected the History of the Reformation in Scotland, and assigned to it a place in immediate opposition to the last article, in order to confront, to the flimsy sophistry, the misapplied erudition, the servile subjection of understanding, the malignant bigotry displayed in that wretched work, a plain and candid statement of the successive steps by which the Christian world was subdued under that enormous tyranny, and from which, by the blessing of Providence, one half of Europe was, as we hope and trust, finally emancipated from it. Useful, however, as this deduction is, we hesitate not to pronounce it, as specifically applied to the Reformation in Scotland, the least satisfactory portion of the whole work. This ground of complaint is more particularly applicable to the concluding part. Who knows not the last and most audacious corrup tions of popery which took place under Leo X.? the profligate exactions of Tetzel and Arcemboldi? the integrity and intrepidity of Luther? In udo est Mænas et Attin. But even here, whatever is original in our author's work is excellent. It is impossible not to applaud the force and clearness with which he exposes the sophistry of Mr. Hume on the doctrine of indulgences, and the flimsy apologies of Mr. Roscoe for the character of Leo. On the one he bestows an elaborate argument, on the other a slight, but effective stroke; for he knew that he had to encounter two writers immeasurably distant from each other in point of intellect; the poison of the former, though artificially concealed, being drastic and masculine; while that of the latter, like some vegetable bane, is at once feeble and soporific.
Still however it might have been expected, from the active and inquisitive spirit of Dr. Cooke, that he would have narrowed his views to a point more immediately connected with the following work, that, antecedently to the introduction of the Scriptures or