« PreviousContinue »
ble views of Unitarianism settled on a the propositions and reasonings adsolid base. I cannot but wish that vanced by Dr. S. ; calculated to make Mr. Belsham's Optimism were as sound every thinking mind serious, and to as it is pleasing ; and Dr. Southwood induce the ingenuous Unitarian to Smith's 'speculations as true as they pause on his creed, and feel diffident are amiable. But when great men of its strength and correctness. I bekill themselves, (in a very vulgar man- lieve the Eclectic has made but an ner too,) and the former gentleman indifferent figure in former Numbers will moralize from the pulpit on the of your excellent Miscellany, and has occasion, and virtually tell us, it is given itself a notorious celebrity for all for the best, just as it should be, deficiency of candour and liberality and just as Providence designed it to towards us : I have still the same conbe; however profound such observa- fidence in your own superior temper, tions, I cannot but suspect there is to admit the observations I send you unsoundness about them somewhere ; on a very important subject; and it and though philosophy cannot answer would be a great relief to myself to him, I am perverse enough to think see a satisfactory reply to them from such views and sentiments not quite some one or other of your intelligent scriptural, and therefore no better readers. Dr. Smith observes : “ The than they should be. There is, I am misery produced by sin is designed to aware, no gordian knot in the moral answer the same benevolent purpose world which Mr. B. cannot, with great in the moral world, which the pain case, untic in the cool speculations of occasioned by hunger accomplishes his Necessarian philosophy: and whe- in the animal.” The Reviewer obther a man dies by his own hand, by serves upon this : “ The reader will that of the executioner, or quietly remark the evasion of the subject in in the domestic bed, he does, I sup- this sentence. Let it be granted that pose, through the glass of that phi- the misery consequent upon sin is a losophy, look on with the same moral purely beneficent infliction upon the complacency and satisfaction. For subject of it; the question is not what my own part, Mr. Editor, (and many good the misery does him, but what others, I believe, share my weakness good the sin does him. He is made here,) I cannot avoid, in regard to cer- miserable, it seems, that he may betain moral phenomena in the world, come good; but, is he made wicked thinking and feeling with the vulgar; that he may be made miserable, that and I fear I shall never be sufficiently he may become good ?” On the folenlightened to imagine that, on the lowing definition of punishment by subject of moral agency and moral Dr. Smith ;–“ Punishment is the inevil
, a subtile metaphysical argument fiction of pain, in consequence of the is to be set against common sense, neglect or violation of duty, with a moral consciousness, general consent view to correct the evil ;" the Reof mankind, and plain and powerful viewer remarks, –“ Granting both assertions of Holy Writ. These four the justness and the appositeness of voices seem to be in opposition to a this definition, the hypothesis progood deal advanced by Dr. S. Smith posed to us as alone worthy of a rea
Illustrations of the Divine sonable credence, is this (as we have Government:" a book of so amiable before expressed it): Men are made a spirit and delightful sentiments, that wicked, that they may be punished, that I regret there should seem to lie any they may become good. Now, let the objection to its grateful argument and reader observe, that that evil which consolatory conclusion. My atten- terminates in its own ultimate cortion was drawn to his book a second rection or destruction, adds nothing time by the circumstance of meeting to the well-being of the universe; with a Review of it in the Tenth Vol. but, to the whole extent of it, is sim(New Series) of the Eclectic Review; ple evil. Nor does it make any difand I beg permission, Mr. Editor, tó ference if we choose to call the former ask Dr. Smith (by the pages of your portion of this evil, cause, and the Repository) if he has seen that article? latter, consequence ; the former, sin; To my own judgment it is, Sir, a very and the latter, punishment. Dr. Smith powerful and impressive piece of writ- asserts, that he who chooses simple ing, containing strong objections to evil for its own sake, and rests in it
in his "
as an end, is a malevolent being. But tional intention of a sentence, to the evil that only cures itself, is simple power of the words of which it coneril. Here, then, again we perceive, sists, language will be deprived of its that to support the doctrine of a bene- faculty to convey any determinate colent causation of evil, it must be proposition ; it is resolved into an believed that sin will produce, to the enigmatical mass, in which all meansubject of it, a positive additional ad- ings may float, indifferently and at vantage beyond what could result large. Now, this is the very treatfrom an uninterrupted course of virtue. ment to which the language of the A little reflection will convince any Bible is every day subjected by theoone, that if evil does not produce a rists.”—“ God, in speaking to men higher good, it is pure evil; and to by man, as bis instrument, must unchoose pure evil, we are told, is the questionably be understood as subproperty of a malevolent being. But mitting his message to the established if it be said that evil produces a higher usages of human communication. On good, it must do so either to the sub- this principle it is affirmed, that the ject of it, (that is, the sinner will be Divine veracity and our correlative the better for his sin,) or it must responsibility, are involved in the rule, procure this higher good to other that the opinion or intention which creatures ; but this is a supposition we should not fail to attribute to a which, we imagine, the favourers of profane writer, using such or such this final restitution could by no ineans expressions, are, without reference to allow, for there would then inevitably the nature of the doctrine therein follow the ideas of partiality, of the implied, to be received as the opinion subordination of individual interests or intention of the inspired writer who and of the Divine sovereignty. Indeed, does employ them. In proportion to it would be impossible, after such an the infinite moment of revealed truth, admission, to resist even Calvinism is the importance of adhering to the itself.” In pages 553 and 554 of the principle, that inspired persons spoke Review, there is some reasoning (on and wrote under the presumption that the acknowledged principles of human they should be heard and read as other nature) that might seem almost unan men are heard and read; so that when swerable. I hope you will authorize they employ those uncompounded me to present it to the serious consi- forms of speech, which are ordinarily deration of your readers. Towards understood to convey an absolute the close of the article the Reviewer sense, they also shall be allowed to observes :--“We must briefly remark intend an absolute sense,” &c. &c. upon that part of Dr. Smith’s volume, I fear trespassing on your pages, in which he adduces and discusses the Mr. Editor, and, therefore, cannot do evidence of Scripture upon the subject justice to the Reviewer's reasoning. I in hand. He employs many pages to should be happy to have your permisvery little purpose, as we think, in a sion to present to your readers more critical examination of the terms aion, of wbat appears to myself a very foraionios, apollumi, olethros, thanatos, midable argument on the interpretaand kolasis. No peculiar obscurity ap- tion of Scripture phraseology. pears to attach to any one of these Bearing in mind the almost unqueswords. The power of language is by tionable conventional meaning of the no means solely or chiefly derived from terms used by our Lord, and his knowthe individual signification of words. ledge of the circumstances of his The intention of a writer or speaker is hearers, can we make the supposiprimarily ascertained on the ground tion that Jesus would use the lanof the ConventIONAL sense of words guage he did use in speaking of the taken in combination. The conven- future destinies of men, knowing the tional sense of certain phrases and truth of the doctrine of Universal Remodes of expression, is, of course, storation ? The Reviewer justly remore determinate than that of indivi- marks, p. 558, “The passages of the dual words : if it were not so, as all gospel, whose apparent sense it is words have more or less extent of atteinpted to invalidate, should be meaning, thought could never be perused under the supposition that communicated. If we rust ever be our Lord, who is surely free from the retrograding from the obvious conten- imputation of a sinister design, ut
tered the threatenings recorded by the state ; namely, objects of faith and Evangelists, with the intention to sug- hope ; motives to vigilance and exergestor to favour the doctrine of tion; clear precepts and positive comUniversal Restoration ; at least, if that mands; proinises, for present comfort, doctrine be true, it could never be his of future rest and recompence. design to generate in the minds of his
QUERO. hearers an idea, not only absolutely false, but, as is pretended, highly in
ITALIAN REFORMATION. jurious to the Divine character, and
The Nonconformist. quite destructive of all the sanctions
No. XXIII. of morality,” &c.
(Continued from p. 6.) Dr. Smith and others speak in un Although some progress was made qualified terms of the impartiality of in the work of Reformation in the God's providence to the children of South of Italy, yet the success of the men: permit me, Mr. Editor, in con- cause, if it be measured by the numcluding this paper, to ask Dr. S., how ber and celebrity of the converts, was the frightful disparity of men in the much greater in the northern states. most important point, moral character The territories of Venice, in particular, and the means of its improvement, is became, at an early period, honourreconciled with any definite sense of ably distinguished by the attention the term impartial ? Dr. Smith has that was excited in them to the relialso, in his delightful views of Provi- gious inquiries and controversies of dence, and his illustrations of its wis- the age. It appears, from a letter dom and benevolence, boldly asserted, written to Luther by Frobenius, a that, with respect to the moral world, printer at Basle, which is dated in every man is placed in circumstances, February, 1519, that, even previously adjusted with infinite nicety to his na- to this period, the writings of that tural powers and propensities. Where Reformer had been conveyed in conis the proof of this in fact? And if siderable numbers to Italy, where true, in fact, why does the moral they had been extensively dispersed, world exhibit its present motley as- and read with avidity and approbapect; why all its discordancy, its folly, tion. In the following year was its madness, its vices, its crimes ? issued the first Bull of Leo the Tenth Whence all the unfortunate results of against Luther and his writings, which birth, parentage and education? Why was sent to the Senate of Venice, with thousands and tens of thousands un- instructions to have it proclaimed in happy consequences of concomitant that city. The Senate were, however, circumstances, if the Deity has always in no haste to render themselves a good in view, and his providence with party in the quarrel. They thought it unerring wisdom has adapted every prudent, nevertheless, to make a show circumstance in the moral world to of compliance, and immediately a strict produce good? This may be true in search was instituted by the ecclesiasthe final issue of things, and our pre- tical authorities, after the publications sent ignorance and limited views pre- of Luther in the houses of the bookvent us knowing it; but I submit to sellers : but, with the exception of a Dr. S., do present facts and appear- single imperfect copy of one of his ances bear out a proposition so per- works, which was seized, they found fectly satisfactory? Much would that all that had been imported had many minds, besides my own, be relieved, Sir, by a clear proof of it. It * Gerdes, Specimen Italiæ Reformatæ, appears to myself, Sir, that when we
Calvus bibliopola Papiepsis, travel an inch out of the record, that vir eruditissimus, et musis sacer, bonam is, when we stir a step from Scrip- libellorum partem in Italiam deportavit, ture tuition and guidance in our rea
per omöes civitates sparsurus. Neque soning on the ways of God, we are at renascenti pietati suppetias ferre, et qua:
enim tam sectatur lucrum, quam cupit once in a labyrinth, with endless error and perplexity before us: and it might omnibus eruditis in Italia viris Epigram
tenus potest, prodesse. ls promisit ab seem a beautiful character of the wis- mata se missurum in tui laudem scripta, dom and excellence of Scripture, that usque adeo tibi favet, Christique negotio, it comprises precisely what human quod tanta constantia, tam viriliter tamnature appears to want in the present que dextrè geris.
pp. 4, 5.
been disposed of. This proceeding but apparently served rather to extend did not, however, suppress the spirit and strengthen it. In 1524, Cardinal of inquiry which had been excited, Campejus, who attended the Diet of
Nuremburg that year as the Pope's • The circumstance is thus related by in respect to Germany, that it had
Nuncio, bitterly complained, not only Bernardus Shenkius, a German monk, embraced the doctrine of Luther, but residing at the time at Venice, in a letter also of Italy, because, even at that to George Spalatinus, the Secretary of Frederick, Elector of Saxony, dated the period, the writings of Luther were 19th September, 1520 : Legi quæ de generally read at Venice. And he seems domino Martino Luther petiisti, et certė to have considered the case of the bona fama viri diù apud nos fuit ; dicunt Italians as even more hopeless than autem : Careat sibi à Pontifice. Ante that of the Germans: for such, he duos meuses decem libri de suis appor- remarks, was the genius of the Gertati, et statin venditi fuerant, antequam mans, that whilst they readily received norissem. In principio verd hujus mensis novel opinions, they as readily abansapervenit mandatum Papæ, et domini doned them; but that what the ItaPatriarchæ Veneti, inhibens libros, quos lians had once embraced they steadily dominus Patriarcha apud librarios inves. retained. * That the Cardinal's latigando unicum imperfectum invenit, et abstulit. Ego habere desideravi, sed præ
mentations were not without good timore librarius non vult adducere. – grounds, may be collected from some Gerdes, ubi supra, p. 7.
documents relating to this period; Notwithstanding this show of vigour, from which it appears that numerous the publication of the Bull was post converts had been gained over to the poued; and, indeed, it seems doubtful cause of the Reformation in the Venewhether the first Bull was ever published tian States. Luther was apprised so at Venice. In the year following (1521) the early as the year 1528 of the existence publication of a Bull took place, but this of these Italian Reformers; and, in was probably the second Bull, which was · 1542, he received a communication issued on the 6th January, in that year. from them, in a letter which was writThe reluctance of the Senate to give their sanction to this instrument, which ex
ten by Balthasar Alterius, at that time communicated Luther, and all who pos- Secretary to the English legation at sessed his books, or favoured his opi- Venice, " in the name of the brethren," pions, is evident from the manner in as they are styled, “ of Venice, Vinwhich they caased it to be made public cenza and Trevigio.” + Melancthon, in their city; for they would not suffer it to be read until after the people had been confessed, and nearly the whole of in 1522. The date of the Pontificate is the congregation had quitted the church. right, being the eighth year, The circumstance is thus related by Shen- octavo.” Leo was made Pope in 1513. kius, in a letter to Spalatinus, dated the * Bock, Hist. Antitrip. II. p.396 ; Ger5th April, 1521 : Unum dolens dico, des, ubi supra, p. 8. Germanos eo esse quonian Patriarcha Venetiarum secunda ingenio, ut nova cupide accipiant, sed et feria Paschæ, jussu Papæ, ab omnibus facile deponaut; Italos pertinaciter inprædicatoribus, fecit excommunicari Ma- hærere semel acceptis. gistram Martinum Lather, et omnes ha + Seckendorf, L. ii. & xcvii. pp. 401, bentes libros suos, quoscunque et fau- et seqq. ; Gerdes, pp. 61, et seqq. From tores ipsius cujuscunque gradus et status, this letter it appears that the friends of cum magna totius Germaniæ divisione, the Reformation in the Venetian States tanquam consentientis. In hoc tamen were at this time very narrowly watched, Domini Veneti prudenter egerunt, quod and that some of them had already been noluerunt hoc publicari, nisi postquam driven into exile.- Proscribuntur, the populus fuerat confessus, dimisso nempe writer states, multi, quorum aliqui in cætu, aut maxima ejus parte.-Gerdes, Cenobates (forte Genabates) secessisse ubi supra, p. 7; Seckendorf, Hist. Lu- dicuntur, quidam Basileam, et in Helvether, Lib. i. pp. 115, 116. A copy of tias, alii in finitimas regiones, plurimi the second Bull against Luther, printed capiuntur, ut perpetuo tandem carcere by the authority of the Papal Government contabescant: nullus tamen est qui eriat Rome, in 1546, is now before me. piat innocentem, qui judicium faciat pauThere is a singular error of the press in peri et orphano, qui patrocinetur gloriæ the date of this instrument, vigesimo Christi. Omnes in unum conspirarunt, TERTIO being inserted for vigesimo PRIMO, ut opprimant Dominun et Unctum ejus, Leo the Tenth was succeeded by Adrian, nullibi autem magis sævit aut prævalet
in 1538, addressed a letter to the Se- ficient reason, that the members of nate of Venice, from which it has been that venerable body were not unfriendly inferred, though probably without suf- to the cause of the Reformation. In
this epistle, the writer gives a brief
exposition of the principal doctrines hæc calamitas, quam hic, ubi totus viget which were professed by himself, and Antichristus.
the other German Reformers : but he In consequence of the dauger, and the subjoins to this statement an admoposed, these Reformers supplicate Luther nition to the Senators against the to intercede for them with the German tenets of Servetus, warning them not Protestant princes, in order to induce to permit such heresies to be promulthem to take up their cause and prevail gated in their territories.* on the Senate to allow them the free There is extant a curious document exercise of their religion, while they ab- which, if it be, as it purports, the stained from political offences :
genuine production of a sincere CaNam, cum tanta passi fueritis, ob eain tholic, may serve to shew, on the duntaxat causam, ut nomen Christi ad authority of its adversaries, the extent dos usque perveniret, pon est credendum, and strength of the feeling which exquod cum agnoverimus illum, et sequa- isted in the North of Italy in favour mur, in medio pene cursu deseramur à vobis, quorum voce ad id vehementer in of the Reformation. This professes to citati sumus, et ad hunc usque diem be a letter addressed by Gerardus Busmirificè impellimur. Id autem est, quan- dragius, a suffragan Bishop in the diotum huc usque è Spiritu Christi colligere cese of Padua, to Cardinal Pisano. potuimus, et fortasse vobis quoque non The writer expresses his serious apdisplicebit, ut, quamprimum fieri poterit prehensions that the whole of Italy at Serenissimos Germaniæ Principes, qui would be shortly infested with what he ex nostra supt parte, et eorum bonus est calls “ the plague of Lutheranism;" numerus, auspice Christo, sicut à multis the inquisitors finding themselves, it accepimus, hanc rem totam deferatis, seems, unequal to the task of staying eosque per Christum rogetis, ut litteras the rarages of the malignant disease commendatitias ad Senatum Venetiarum which was threatening the very existpro nobis conscribant, rogando monendoque ut sese temperent ab ea decernendi
ence of the Papal authority. This letlicentia, atque judicandi libidine, quam ministris Papæ tam inconsulto conceszere ac quotidie sævius impertiuntur in prisillos Satan, were kuowingly fighting against Christi sub prætextu fidei et religionis the truth. This language was afterwards impiè cruciandos, sed, permittant quem- severely censured by Melancthon. Besides libet ritu suo vivere, dum tamen seditio, the references above noted, see De Porta, et publicæ quietis perturbatio caveatur, Hist. Reform. Eccles. Räticarum, Tom. eamque rem ad generale concilium, quod I. Pt. ii. p. 10. ajunt, in promptu esse, licet nunquam * It has been doubted whether Mefuturum esse arbitremur, omnino referant, lancthon did actually address such a letinterim neminem cogi aut trahi ad fidem ter to the Venetian Senate, it appearing sinant.
unlikely that he should write in such In the course of this letter, the learned terms and upon such a subject to a body and pious writer took occasion, in the known to be attached to the interests of spirit of charity, to lament the disunion the See of Rome; and it has been conand the angry disputes which had been jectured that the report might have arisea excited among the Protestant Reformers from his having addressed a letter “ to in Germany and other places on the sub some Venetians devoted to the study of ject of the Lord's Supper, and to recom the gospel.” Ad Venetos quosdam Evanmend to his correspondent to put an end gelii studiosos. But Bock saw the origito such dissensions. He learnt, however, nal edition of the letter referred to in the from Luther's answer, that his berevolent library of the University of Konigsberg. wish, on this head, was not likely to be It was printed at Nuremburg, in 1539, soon accomplished. The notice of the by Jerom Formschneider, and is intituled subject seems to have roused all the angry Epistola Philippi Melancthonis ad Senatum feelings of the Saxon Reformer against Venetum. Oratio publice habita Wittenhis opponents in this controversy ; for he bergæ in promotione Doctoris Juris. De particularly cautions the Italiaus against scripto Jure et Dignitate Veterum Interthe “pestilent errors" of Bullenger, Bu- pretum Juris. Bock, ut supra, 11. pp. 397, cer and others, whom he stigmatizes as 398. De Porta, Hist. Reform. Eccles. false prophets, who, at the instigation of Ræticarum, Tom. I. Lib. ii. p. 63,