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the chair of theology at Oxford, a prebendal stall, and a parochial rectory. Of the value of these preferments, we are in no condition to form any satisfactory estimate; they must, however, in all probability, have been considerable: at any rate, they must have been far beyond the measure of what was needful to supply the moderate necessities of life, at a time when the sacred office doomed its professors to celibacy ; and, therefore, far beyond what his system would seem to allot, as the legitimate provision of a Christian minister. The truth is, that Wiclif seems to have regarded all the endowments of the Church as a manifest departure from the original spirit of the Christian system. Had he been allowed to remodel our ecclesiastical policy, he would, probably, have made the clergy dependent on the voluntary offerings of the people. However, he found a different scheme actually established; and he, doubtless, considered himself at liberty to conform to it, provided the funds entrusted to his stewardship were administered by him according to the intention of the original donor. This intention, he understood to be, that the holder of those funds should retain for his own use so much as might be required for his own support, upon a frugal and moderate scale; but that, for every thing beyond his own personal wants, he should stand in the place of perpetual almoner to the founder, and perpetual trustee for the poor.
Now there appears no reasonable cause to question that Wiclif acted faithfully up to this principle. His adversaries have never breathed a syllable to the disparagement of his integrity in this particular. He has never, that I am aware, been charged, by those who most cordially hated him, with inconsistency, for accepting or retaina ing his preferments, or with avarice and selfishness in the disposal of his emoluments. And when we combine this consideration with the traditional accounts of him, which still survive at Lutterworth, the almost irresistible inference is, that he did actually regard all his superfluities as strictly consecrated to the relief of indigence.
. With regard to the private life and personal habits of Wiclif, it has never been denied by his adversaries, that, in these respects, he was altogether above impeachment or suspicion. But it requires no inconsiderable exercise of patience, to observe the spirit which seems to have presided over the representations given of him by some whom we might naturally expect to find among his friends. By these, he is pictured to us rather in the light of an unquiet political agitator, than of a devout and spiritual servant of Christ *. The foundation for this charge, it is beyond my capacity to discover. It is true, that his great reputation fixed the eyes of the country upon him as the fittest person to vindicate his country from the ignominy and the oppression of the Papal tribute ;—that the same cause despatched him among other illustrious men, as the representative of her ecclesiastical interests in the embassy to Bruges ;--and, lastly, that the Parliament of England resorted to the sanction of his judgement, when they resolved, that the very marrow of the realm should no longer be drained out, to pamper the greediness and ambition of a foreign court. Services like these
* Milner's Church History.
would seem to demand of Englishmen no other sentiments than those of gratitude and reverence; and that eye must, indeed, be keen to « pry into abuses,” which can discover in the performance of such services, any grievous departure from the sacredness of the spiritual functions. An English ecclesiastic, of distinguished sagacity and erudition, was employed to defend the Church and State of England against the rapacity of aliens; and this too, in an age, when the talents and accomplishments of Churchmen were constantly in requisition for all the most arduous responsibilities of secular office. This is the whole truth and substance of the case. If, indeed, it could be shewn, that the days and nights of Wiclif had been wholly, or chiefly, consumed in occupations and engagements of this description,-and that his powers were thus diverted from the peculiar channel in which the main current of a Churchman's exertions ought indisputably to flow,there might be some pretence for this invidious exhibition of his character. But the fact is not so. The occurrences in question were nothing more than short episodes in his life. We have only to look into his writings, or even into a catalogue of his writings, to see how small a portion of his time on earth was absorbed by matters in which politics had the slightest concern. And the more rigorously those writings are scrutinized, the more clearly will it appear, that no confessor was ever animated by a more disinterested, unworldly, and devotional spirit, than the man who enjoyed the friendship of John of Gaunt, and the confidence of the British Parliament *.
• The imperfect justice hitherto rendered to the memory of Wiclif, as a man of deep religious affections, may, in part, be the natural effect of that peculiar interest which attaches to his character as the antagonist of a corrupt hierarchy. We have been accustomed to regard him, chiefly, as the scourge of imposture,—the ponderous hammer that smote upon the brazen idolatry of his age; and our thoughts have thus been too much withdrawn from the work which was constantly going forward within the recesses of his own spirit. A more just and patient consideration of his writings will shew us, that the demolition of error and of fraud was not more constantly present to his mind, than the building up of holy principles and affections. These two objects are, for the most part, closely interwoven with each other ; and this it is, together with his use of the vernacular tongue, which gave his writings their wide and powerful influence.' pp. 294-301.
In noticing the immediate predecessors of Wiclif, Protessor Le Bas does justice to the two illustrious names of Bradwardine and Fitzralph. "The latter', he remarks, 'was an object of the • deepest veneration with our Reformer.' It is next to impossible
* The limits of this work forbid the introduction of passages from the works of Wiclif in support of this assertion. They, however, who may be desirous of satisfying themselves upon this point, have only to peruse the more diffuse volumes of Mr. Vaughan, whose laborious ex
has enabled him, in this particular, irresistibly to vindicate his memory.'
that the former also, who was divinity-professor at Oxford not long before Wiclif entered upon his studies there, should not have exerted a most powerful influence in the formation of his character and writings; and he has been represented as Wiclif's spiritual father. Mr. Le Bas thus speaks of him:
- Well would it have been for the Christian world, if all the fol. lowers of Augustine had imbibed from his writings a temper as meek and humble as that of Bradwardine! A predestinarian in theory, he undoubtedly was. But what was the practical efficacy of this ingredient in his divinity? We may read the answer to this question in the following words : “ Why do we fear to preach the doctrine of predestination of saints, and of the genuine grace of God? Is there any cause to dread, lest man should be induced to despair of his condition, when his hope is demonstrated to be founded on God alone? Is there not much stronger reason for him to despair, if, in pride and unbelief, he founds his hope of salvation on himself?" Whatever may be the merits of the predestinarian doctrine, as tried by the principles of sound philosophy, or by the language of Scripture, one thing, at least, is certain,—that the Church might regard it with comparative tranquillity, if its fruits had always been as mildly flavoured as those which it produced in the good and honest heart of this holy man! Uncharitable austerity and spiritual arrogance are the plants which are apt to thrive in the soil of what is now called Calvinism. But this was a growth which could not live in the soul of such a being as Bradwardine. As an adversary of Pelagins, he denounced the freedom of the human will; but it is obvious, after all, that his warfare, in reality, is not against the perfect free agency, but against the selfsufficiency of man.' pp. 76, 7.
This passage, which we suppose we must receive as a concession from a non-Calvinist, bears the stamp of most amiable candour. Yet, is it possible that Professor Le Bas can be so little acquainted with what is now called Calvinism', as not to know that he has most truly described it, when he says of Bradwardine's theology, that it wars not against the free agency, but against the self-sufficiency of man? We would willingly believe of Professor Le Bas, that, as Whitfield is reported to have remarked of La Flechiere, he is a Calvinist, and does not know it.' He must be, in some sense, a believer in predestination, as having subscribed to the xviith Article. A few other indications of obscure theological notions have surprised us: for instance, the nice and impalpable distinction intimated at p. 33, between witnesses of the truth and authorities for it. We had supposed, that no higher authority than that of a witness could be claimed by any church; and that the only decisive authority recognized by Protestants, was the Bible. We had imagined too, that the
sanctity of apostolical succession’ was conveyed by the transmission of apostolic doctrine, not by ecclesiastical genealogies * which minister questions', or by 'sacerdotal rank', -an exVOL. VII.-N.S.
pression essentially anti-Christian. But these are high matters, which we cannot now enter into ; and we must take our leave of this volume, with cordially recommending it to all those of our readers to whom Mr. Vaughan's Memoirs are inaccessible, or who, possessing them, wish to have the biographical matter lucidly compressed in an unbroken narrative, very vigorously and beautifully written.
By the way, why did not the Library of Ecclesiastical Knowledge folk start with such a volume as this from the pen of Mr. Vaughan himself, who would not have objected, probably, to abridge his own work for such a purpose ? And why did they commit the indiscretion of beginning the publication of their little numbers, before they had digested their scheme, and secured their writers, and prepared some half dozen stirring volumes, accredited by names of weight, to start with ? These questions will occur as we cast our eye over the prospectus of this · Theological · Library. The second volume, which has already appeared, has for its subject “ The Consistency of the whole Scheme of Revelation with itself and with Human Reason,” by P. N. Shuttleworth, D.D. To this, we design to devote a separate article in a future Number. Among the other volumes announced, are, a Life of Luther, by Mr. Rose, co-editor with Archdeacon Lyall of the whole series ; a History of the Inquisition, by the Rev. Blanco White; • The Later Days of the Jewish Polity,' by Thomas Mitchell, Esq. M.A.; History of the Reformed Religion in France, by Edward Smedley, M.A.; a Life of Grotius by James Nichols, F.S.A.; and Ilustrations of Eastern Manners, &c., by Professor Lee. All these, we must say, are well chosen subjects and attractive names. Had A. J. Valpy bit upon such a scheme as this, it would have realized his ' Epitome of Litera'ture' in a much better shape, and proved, we imagine, a better speculation, in the end, than the mere reprint of divines.' All that we have to regret is, that this Theological Library promises to be so little of a library of theology. Highly respectable, indeed, as are the names of the Editors and those of the Authors associated in this laudable undertaking, they all bear the stamp of a certain school, yclept High-church, of which the divinity is proverbially misty, cold, and meagre.
In a • Christian's Family Library,' under the editorship of Mr. Bickersteth, we may expect to find a more evangelical theology; and a Life of Luther from the pen of the Continuator of Milner, might be expected to vie in popularity with Le Bas's Life of the great English Reformer. But the Publishers seem not to have been well advised in the plan they have announced. A library' of mere reprints, is but a printer's job, an advertising title, a stale expedient for reviving old publications. What purpose can be answered by announcing new editions of popular
works already in circulation ? Who wants another new edition of Bishop Hall's Contemplations? In point of selection, moreover, we cannot but deem the list of works announced as open to exception. At the head of it stands a new edition of Payson's Life, a work which never ought to have been reprinted in this country without excisions and judicious corrections, and the selection of which from the copious treasures of evangelical biography, would reflect little credit on the judgement of an editor. We speak frankly: the publishers will do well to reconsider their plan, and take advice.
We have taken this opportunity of noticing the Anthologia Sacra, as being, if not a theological library of itself, a very good apology or succedaneum for one. The work owed its commencement, we are told, to an idea which struck one of the Editors during a long residence in India.
• It occurred to him, that in that country, where neither Christian society, extensive libraries, nor experienced ministers can be frequently expected, a work imbodying in one volume the views and feelings of eminent divines on the most important points of faith and practice, might be found exceedingly interesting, and indeed, by the blessing of God, extensively useful. Further reflection, together with the encouragement he has derived from the concurrent opinion of many highly esteemed friends in England, have induced him to hope that, in this country also, a work of this nature may prove acceptable.'
Of this our readers will be able to judge from the plan of the work. It is divided into three Parts ; Doctrinal, Practical, Experimental. Each of these is subdivided into sections as under.
'I. . 1. Revelation. 2. Of God. 3. Of God the Son. 4. Of God the Holy Ghost. 5. The Trinity. 6. On Man. 7. The Law and the Gospel. 8. On Regeneration and Conversion. 9. On the Sacraments. ¡0. On Baptism. 11. On the Lord's Supper. 12. On the Sabbath. 13. On Justification by Faith only. 14. On Adoption. 15. On Sanctification. 16. On the Future State.
II. $. 1. Specious and deceptive Views of Religion. 2. What genuine Religion is. 3. On Holiness. 4. On the Christian Character. 5. On the World. 6. Nature and effect of Sin, with its Remedy. 7. On Self-righteousness and Self-dependence. 8. On Repentance. 9. Wherein true Knowledge consists. 10. On Prayer. 11. On Christian Duties.
· III. $. 1. Some considerations suited to the various cases of Discouragement. 2. On Faith. 3. Cautions and Instructions to the Christian. 4. The Christian Warfare. 5. On AMiction. 6. The Privileges of the Christian.'
It will not be necessary to give a list of all the writers from whom these extracts are selected: the names of a few leading ones will sufficiently indicate the spirit which has guided the