Images de page

thus occasioned, continued long to divide the Christian church. Lelius Socinus, a nobleman of Sienna, revived and enlarged the doctrine of Arius, about the latter end of the sixteenth century. His nephew Faustus collected, arranged, and published his opinions, which have since had many followers. The Socinians teach the worship of one God, without distinction of persons ; affirming, that the Holy Ghost is but another expression for the power of God; and that Jesus Christ is only the Son of God by adoption. As they deny our Saviour's divinity, they disavow, of course, the doctrine of redemption, and consider him only as a prophet, gifted with a more than usual share of inspiration, and sealing his mission by his blood. This heresy has, at different times, and under various disguises and modifications, insinuated itself into the Christian church, forming, as it were, a resting place, though but a tottering one, between natural and revealed religion. Here, I fear, the author's lines apply:

To take up half on trust, and half to try,
Name it not faith, but bungImg bigotry ;
Both knave and fool the merchant we inay call,
To pay great sums, and to compound the small;
For who would break with heaven, and would not break for all ?

This heretical belief was adopted by the Protestants of Poland and of Hungary, especially those who were about this time in arms under Count Teckeli against the emperor. Flence Dryden bids the Fox,

Unkennelled, range in thy Polonian plains.

Note VII.
Let them declare by what mysterious arts
He shot that body through the opposing might,
Of bolts and bars, impervious to the light,

And stood before his train confessed in open sight.-P. 122. " Then the same day, at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut, where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus, and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”.

Again, “ And after eight days, again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them ; then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.”The Guse pel of St John, chap. xx. verses 19. 26.

From there passages of Scripture, Dryden endeavours to confute the objection to transuvstantiation, founded on the host being consecrated in various place at the same time, in each of which, however, the budy of Christ becomes present, according

to the Papist doctrine. This being predicated of the real body of our Saviour, the Protestants allege is impossible, as matter can only be in one place at the same time. Dryden, in answer, assumes, that Christ entered into the meeting of the disciples, by actually passing through the closed doors of the apartment; and as, at the moment of such passage, two bodies must have been in the same place at the same instant, the body of Jesus namely, and the substance through which he passed, the poet founds on it as an instance of a transgression of a natural law, proved from Scripture, as violent as that of one body being in several different places

But the text does not prove the major part of Dryden's proposition ; it is not stated positively by the evangelist, that our Saviour passed through the doors which were shut, but merely that he came and stood among his disciples without the doors being opened; which miraculous appearance might take place many ways besides that on which Dryden has fixed for the foundation ot his argument.

at once.


Note VIII.
More haughty than the rest, the Wolfish race
Appears with belly gaunt, and famished face ;
Never was so deformed a beast of grace.
His ragged tail betwixt his legs he weurs,
Close clapped for shame; but his rough crest he rears,

And pricks up his predestinating ears.- -P. 124. The personal appearance of the Presbyterian clergy was suited by an affectation of extreme plainness and rigour of appearance. A Geneva cloak and band, with the hair close cropped, and covered with a sort of black scull-cap, was the discriminating attire of their teachers. This last article of dress occasioned an unseemly projection of their ears, and procured those who affected it the nick-name of prick-eared fanatics, and the still better known appellation of Round-heads. Our author proceeds, with great bitterness, to investigate the origin of Calvinism. His account of the rise and destruction of a sect of heretics in Cambria may be understood to refer to the ancient British church, which disowned the

supremacy of the see of Rome, refused to adopt her ritual, and opposed St Augustin's claims to be metropolitan of Britain, in viriue of Pope Gregory's appointment. They held two conferences with Augustin ; at one of which he pretended to work a miracle by the cure of a blind man; at the second, seven Bri tish bishops, and a numerous deputation from the monastery of Bangor. disputed with Augustin, who denounced vengeance against them by the sword of the Saxons, in case they refused to submit to the see of Roine,

His prophecy, which had as little effect upon the Welch clergy as his miracle, was shortly afterwards accomplished : For Ethelfred, the Saxon king of Northumberland, having defeated the British under the walls of Chester, cut to pieces no fewer than twelve hundred of the monks of Bangor, who had come to assist their cuntrymen with their prayers. Our author alludes to this extermination of the British recusant clergy, by comparing it to the census, or tribute of wolves-heads, imposed on the Cambrian kings. It has been surmised by some allthors, that Augustin himself instigated this massacre, and thereby contributed to the accomplishment of his own prophecy. Other authorities say, that he died in 604, and that the monks of Bangor were slain in 613. Perhaps, however, our author did not mean to carry the rise of Presbytery so far back, but only referred to the doctrines of Wiccliff, who, in the reign of Edward III., and his successor Richard II., taught publicly at Oxford several doctrines inconsistent with the supremacy of the Pope, and otherwise repugnant to the doctrines of the Roman church. tected during his lifetime by John of Gaunt; but, forty years after his death, his bones were dug up and burned for heresy. His followers were called Lollards, and were persecuted with great severity in the reign of Henry V., Lord Cobham and many others being burned to death. Thinking, perhaps, eithe! of these too honourable and ancient a descent for the English Presbyterians, our author next refers to Heylin, who brings them from Geneva,

He was pro


* “ Bat separating this obliquity from the main intendment, the work was vigorously carried on by the king and his counsellors, as appears clearly by the doctrinals in the Book of Homilies, and by the practical part of Christian piety, in the first public Liturgy, confirmed by act of parliament, in the second and third year of the king; and in that act (and, which is more by Fox himself) affirmed to have been done by the especial aid of the Holy Ghost. And here the business might have rested, if Catin's pragınatical spirit had not interposed. He first began to quarrel at some passages in this sacred liturgy, and afterwards never left soliciting the Lord Protector, and practising by his agents on the court, the country, and the universities, till he had laid the first foundation of the Zuinglian faction ; who laboured nothing more, than innovation both in doctrine and discipline; to which they were encouraged by nothing more than some improvident indulgence granted unto John A Lasco; who, bringing with him a mixt multitude of Poles and Germans, obtained the privilege of a church for himself and bis, distinct in government and forms of worship from the church of England.

“ This gave powerful animation to the Zuinglian gospellers, (as they are called by Bishop Hooper, and some other writers) 10 practise first upon the church ; who being countenanced, if not headed, by the Earl of Warwick, (who then began to undermine the Lord Protector,) first quarrelled the episcopal habit, and afterwards inveighed against caps and surplices, against gowns and tippets, but fell at last upon the altars, which were left standing in all churches by the rules of lit The touching on this siring made excellent music to most of the grandees of the court, who had before cast many an envious eye on those costly hangings, that massy plate, and other rich and precious utensils, which adorned those altars. And what need all this waste? said Judas, when one poor chalice only, and perhaps not that, might have served the turn. Besides, there was no small spoil to be made of copes, in which the priest officiated at the holy sacrament; some of them being made of cloth of tissue, of cloth of gold and silver, or enubroidered velvet; the meanest being made of silk, or satin, with some decent trimming. And might not these be handsomely converted into private use, to serve as car. pets for their tables, coverlids to their beds, or cushions to their chairs or windows. Thereupon sonie rude people are encouraged under-hand to beat down some altars, which makes way for an order of the council-table, to take down the rest, and set up tables in their places; followed by a commission, to be executed in all parts of the kingdom, for seizing on the premises to the use of the king.”

where the reformed doctrine was taught by the well known Zuinglius, and the still more famous Calvin. The former began to preach the Reformation at Zurich about 518, and disputed publicly with one Sainpson, a friar, whom the Pope had sent thither to distribute indulgences. Zuinglius was persecuted by the bishop of Constance; but, being protected by the magistrates of Zurich, he set him at defiance, and in 1523 held an open disputation before the senate, with such success, that they commanded the traditions of the church to be thrown aside, and the gospel to be taught through all their canton. Zuinglius, in some respects, merited the epithet of fiery, which Dryden has given him ; he was an ardent lover of liberty, and dissuaded his countrymen from a league with the French, by which it must have been endangered; he vindicated, from Scripture, the doctrine of resisting oppressors and asserting liberty, of which he said God was the author, and would be the defender ; * and, finally, he was killed in battle between the inhabitants of Zurich and those of the five small cantons. The conquerors, being Catholics, treated his dead body with the most shameless indignity.

The history of Calvin is too well known to need recital in this place. He was expelled from France, his native country, on account of his having adopted the doctrines of the reformers, and, taking refuge in Geneva, was appointed professor of divinity there in 1536. But being afterwards obliged to retire from thence, on account of a quarrel about the administration of the communion to certain individuals, Calvin taught a French congregation at Strasburgh. He may be considered as the founder of the Presbyterian doctrine, diftering from that of Luther in denying consubstantiation, and, in a large extent, the doctrine of preilestination, founded upon election to grace. The poet proceeds to describe the progress of this sect:

Quo unimo ipsum quoque Paulum dicere existimo, si potes liber fieri utere potius, 1. Cor. 7. Quod eternum Dei concilium, patres nostri, fortissimi viri, infructo animo secuti, miris victoriarum successibus ut Sempachii, '&c. And again, “ Ipse Dominus libertatis author eastitit, et honestam libertatem querenti. bus adest."-Pia et Amica Paranæsis ad Suilensium rempublicam.

With teeth untried, and rudiments of claws,
Your first essay was on your native laws;
Those having torn with ease, ad trampled down,
Your tangs you fastened on the mitred crown,
And freed from God and monarchy your town.
What thongh our native kennel still be small,
Bounded betwixt a puddle and a wall;
Ye: your victorious colonies are sent
Where the north ocean gırds the content.
Quickened «ith fire beiow, your monsters breed
In tenny Holand, and in fruitful tweed;
And like the first the last affects to be,
Drawn to the dregs of a democracy.

The citizens of Geneva, before they adopted the reformed religin. were under the temporal, as well as the ecclesiastical, authority of a bishop. But, in 1528, when they followed the example of the city of Berne, in destroying images, and abolishing the Roman ceremonies, the bishop and his clergy were expelled from the city, which from that time was considered as the cradle of Presbytery. As they had made choice of a republican form of government for their little state, our author inters, that democracy is most congenial to their new form of religion. It is no doubt true, that the Presbyterian Church government is most purely democratical; which perhaps recommended it in Holland. It is also true, that the Presbyterian divines have always preached, and their followers practised, the doctrine of resistance to oppression, whether affecting civil or religious liberty. But if Dryden had looked to his own times, he would have seen, that the Scottish Presbyterians made a very decided stand for monarchy after the death of Charles I. ; and even such as were engaged in the conspiracy of Baillie of Jerviswood, which was in some respects the counter-part of the Ryehouse-plot, refused to take arms, because they suspected that the intentions of Sidney, and others of the party in England, were to establish a commonwealth. I may add, that, in latter times, no body of men have shewn themselves more attached to the king and constitution than the Presb: terian clergy of Scotland.

There is room for criticism also in the poetry of these lines. I question whether Jenny Holland and fruitful Tweed, in other words, a marsh and a river, could form a tavourable medium for communicating the influence of the quickening fire below.

« PrécédentContinuer »