Images de page
PDF
ePub

u of Rome; occasioned, as some say, by reading “ the works of Wickliffe, and by the diligence of " Picardus, a Fleming, as is affirmed by soine “ others, from whom they had the name of Picards. Cruelly persecuted by their own kings, “ and publicly cundemned in the Council of Con

stance, they continued constant, notwithstanding, “ to their own persuasions. In this condition they “ remained till the preaching of Luther, and the

receiving of the Augustan Confession in most

parts of the empire, which gave them so much " confidence as to purge themselves from all for“mer calumnies, by publishing a declaration of " their faith and doctrine; which they presented " at Vienna to the Archduke Ferdinand, about

ten years before chosen king of Bohemia; to“ gether with a large apology pre fixed before it.

By which Confession it appears that they ascribe no power to the civil magistrate in the concernments of the Church ; that they had fallen upon

a way of ordaining ministers amongst themselves, 6 without recourse unto the Bishop, or any such su

perior officer as a superintendent; and finally, " that they retained the use of excommunication, 66 and other ecclesiastical censures, for the chasti“ sing of irregular and scandalous persons.”

As to the observations made by Dr. Bowden, and his clerical friend in Philadelphia, on the testimony of Thuanus, Enæas Sylvius, and Walsingham, respecting the Waldenses and the Bohemian Brethren, I consider them as unworthy of notice. It would

[ocr errors]

be easy for me to show, that these writers really say what I ascribe to them; and that they are entitled to credit. It would also be easy to produce passages from Alphonso de Castro, Voetius, and other learned writers, who, in the most positive terms, give the same account of those celebrated witnesses for the truth. But it is unnecessary. The authority of their own historians and Confessions of Faith is paramount to every other*.

Dr. Bowden does not deny that Wickliffe held the doctrine of Presbyterian parity. But in order to diminish the weight of this fact, he endeavours to destroy the character of that illustrious Reformer, by repeating the accusations brought against him by some virulent Papists. I must say that I expected more prudence, if not more consistency, from this gentleman. It is really astonishing to find a Protestant Divine so often obliged to avail himself of the arguments, the cavils, and even the

Among the few gratifications which this controversy has afforded me, none of the least is, that it has led me to peruse, with particular care, the History and the Confessions of the Waldenses, who are allowed, by all Protestants, to have been the purest part of the Christian Church during the dark ages. Their coincidence with our Church, in almost all respects, both of doctrine and discipline, is really remarkable. Our Baptist brethren, among other advocates of error, have sometimes ventured to assert, with confidencc, that the Waldenses were Anti-pedobaptists. I take for granted that those who have made this assertion, never read the ancient Confessions of that celebrated people. In those Confessions, and other authentic documents concerning them, the Pædobaptist doctrine is unequivocally and strongly maintained.

violence of Papists, in order to support his cause. But his attempt, in this instance, is as impotent as it is reprehensible. Wickliffe will continue to be hailed as the “ Morning Star of the Reformation," and honoured as an eminent “ Witness for the Truth," and that by the great body of learned and pious Episcopalians, as well as others, when the slanders with which his character has been aspersed shall have 66

gone the way of all such mis-begotten things.”

With respect to Tyndal, Lambert, Barnes, Ham. ilton, and other distinguished martyrs for the truth in Great-Britain, before the time of Cranmer, it is notorious that they, with one voice, maintained the doctrine of Presbyterian parity. Dr. Bowden, indeed, denies this, with respect to Tyndal and Lambert, or rather endeavours to put an unnatural gloss on their language. It really surprizes me that such an attempt should be made by a gentleman who professes to be acquainted with the history of the Reformation in Britain.

But Dr. Bowden seems to be most of all offen. ded at my having asserted, that Archbishop Cranmer, and the Fathers of the Reformation in England, generally, believed that Bishop and Presbyter were the same, by divine right; and that ministerial parity was the doctrine and practice of the primitive Church. He denies this position with warmth and confidence; and insists that those venerable Reformers were firm believers in the divine institution of Prelacy. Mr. How takes the same ground, with even greater warmth, and with much acrimonious remark. On this point, my observations shall be few and short.

Dr. Bowden, in many of his statements concerning the Reformation in England, avowedly relies on the authority of Heylin and Collier. With res. pect to these writers, I think proper, once for all, to declare, that I place no reliance either on the candour or the truth of their representations. And of course that no alleged fact, which does not rest on some other testimony, will be acknowledged by me. The learned and able Editors of the Chris. tian Observer, who, as was before observed, are warm Episcopalians, speak of these writers in the following manner : “ Mr. Daubeny," say they, “ in many

of his references to historical facts, and in " the deductions made from them, professedly fol“ lows authorities of a highly exceptionable nature. “ Every reader who is conversant with the present “ subject of debate, knows how forcibly this re“ mark applies to the writings of Collier and Heylin. “ We speak from a careful comparison of what " they have written, with the sources from which “ they drew, or might have drawn their materials " when we affirm, that in all matters immediate

Ty bearing upon the Calvinistic controversy, they “ are most unsafe guides. Of Dr. Heylin, in partiu cular, we have no hesitation in saying, that we do

not know of any author, ancient or modern, in “ whose pages is to be found a larger portion of “ false reasonings, incorrect statements, and pal

In one

pable misrepresentations*” Bishop Burnet, in the preface to his History of the Reformation, declares, “ Either Heylin was very ill informed, or

very much led by his passions; and being wrought on by most violent prejudices, against some that were concerned in that time, delivers

many things in such a manner, and so strangely, 66 that one would think he had been secretly set on

to it by those of the Church of Rome.

thing he is not to be excused, that he never “ vouched any authority for what he writ, which is

not to be forgiven any who write of transactions “ beyond their own time, and deliver new things

not known before. So that upon what grounds “ he wrote a great deal of his book we can only “ conjecture, and many in their guesses are not

very

favourable to him.” Of the same wretched bigot and calumniator, Bishop Barlow uses this strong language--" Peter Heylin's angry, and (to our Church and truth) scandalous writingst."

I had stated, that the Bishop's Book composed by Cranmer, and several other Prelates, in 1537, and subscribed by nineteen Bishops, and by the lower house of Convocation, expressly declared that in the New Testament, there is no mention made of any

other ecclesiastical orders “ than Deacons or “ Ministers, and Presbyters or Bishops.I also

[ocr errors]

apt to be

* Christ. Obs. Vol. 111. p. 429. † Barlow's Genuine Remains, p. 181.

« PrécédentContinuer »