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formation. This revolution of public opi nion seems to have been both essential, and effectual, to the establishment of a radical reform. The temporal encroachments of the Pope and the prelacy had long excited the indignation and resentment of our Kings; and various methods of counteraction had at cliffe rent times been employed. But it is probable that these, if successful, would have gone little further than to remove the immediate evil. The spiritual oppression, although in other hands, would have remained the same, and all the abuses of doctrine and discipline would bave been perpetuated, had nog opposition arisen to these also from another quarter..
Wickliff was the first who made any spirited remonstrance against the corruptions practised in worship, and the errors which had crept into the articles of faith. He may be considered as the morning star of the reformation. Various per:ons continued to suffer for adhering to his opinions till the reign of Henry VIII.; when a bolder and more general attempt was made, to liberate the minds of men from the load of superstition under which they groaned.
The notice taken at the Court of Rome of Luther's vigorous opposition to the sale of indulgences, stimulated him to i further exposure of its depravity. His works, being sent into this country, excited the attention of the thinking part of the nation, already in a great measure disposed to receive and correspond to their impression. The discontent arising from the sale of indulgences had ihe same effect in Switzerland, and a reformation had been there set on foot by ZuingJius. The first effort of these reformers toward satisiying their own minds, was to compare the popish doctrines with the scriptures; and, when they were themselves convinced, their next step was to encourage the spirit of inquiry among the people at large. In order to facilitate this inquiry, they translated the bible, and put the rule of faith within the reach of every one who could read. The first attempt of this kind in English was made by Tindal, who printed his translation of the New Testament at Antwerp, and sent it over to England in 1527. He also published a variety of tracts against the prevailing errors, pilgrimages, the worship of saints, relics, and images, but especially against the merit of works as a ground of justification. « These Books," says Fox, " being compiled, published, and sent over into England, it cannot be spoken what a door of light they opened to the eyes of the whole English nation, which before were many years shut up in darkness."' Afterwards, Frith wrote on the doctrine of Por gatory. He also first introduced in England the question of the actual presence in the Sacrament, which was not agitated here at first, owing perhaps to the books of Zuinglius and Ecolampadius being broug'it over subsequent to those of Lu.here
Different opinions having arisen respecting the interpretation of some of the articles in the confession of the Established Church, and the mutual bearing of the articles and liturgy 'on each other, it is clear that no documents of auxiliary evidence can be produced, more authentic than such as are comprised and referred to in the present work. It contains a chronological series of extracts from the writings of the first reformers, exhibiting the historical progress of those sentiments, which were ultimately modified and condensed into the public records of the English Church. It also shows, that their views of doctrine were the result of an unfeigned reception of the Gospel in their own minds, and that they were free from all interested motives in what they undertook. Their lives and doctrine will mutually illustrate each other, and prevent their being confounded with men of their own times, who joined their cause from motives less pure, or with religious views less distinct: and it will also preserve their sentiments from being identified with the tenets of men in later terms, who, adopting their general expressions, have given the sanction of their venerable names to doctrines which they virtually or expressly disavowed.
The practical nature of these writings will make them generally useful, as they not only accurately describe that genuine Christian faith which expands itself into a life of holy obedience, but have traced the evolution of the seed into its fruits. They exhibit an actual application of the principle of love to fulfilling the law, in all relations of life. Besides, though the persecution of fire and faggot is happily over, yet the example of those who resisted it with meekness and endured it with constancy, has still its use, while the true followers of Christ have to meet the torture of ridicule, and the weapons of calumny, more formidable and fatal to some minds than the arm of the secular power. There is also another important circumstance, which the writers of that period display more clearly than is customary with those of a later date. Though the work of reformation is by many attributed wholly to the advancement of learning at the time, yet it will appear that there is a genuine and remarkable difference between those who joined the reformed cause from mere literary motives, and such as were animated by real religious principle and sealed their testimony with their blood. Many of these men were fully sensible of the advantages of learning, and able to appreciate those adyantages, as well as the great facility for diffusing it afforded by the newly discovered art of printing, which they speak of in terms of ardent gratitude. But they knew that they were committing to this vehicle a treasure of inestimable price. We are not to involve their objects with those of the political men and measures which favored the external reception of their doctrine; nor to suppose that the faith of heaven. ly origin can be made individually effective, by an establishment of the purest creed or the wisest ritual.
But notwithstanding the intrinsic yalue which may be ascribed to the writings of the English reformers, several causes have operated to prevent their being generally known at present. When the object to which they were directed was accomplished, controversy became less interesting, and the eagerness of curiosity subsided. The progress and establishment of the reformation offered men the continual and stated dispensation of God's word in their own language, a liturgy agreeable to the Scriptures, and instruction both in doctrine and practice. They were therefore no longer obliged to seek for practical divinity in works of a controversial nature.
The same cause, joined to their scarceness, operates still more strongly at this distance of time to remove them from general notice.
The extensive acquaintance of the editors of this publication with the works of our early protestant writers, has enabled them to prepare a selection so large as to afford great scope for ascertaining the characteristic opinions and spirit of each author, by their recurrence in different forms and combinations. At the same time they are cleared of much that was interesting only at the period in which they were written, and have retained little which is not decidedly of a practical description or ten. dency. The object of the work will appear from the short but perspicuous address which introduces it.
• The design of this publication is to exhibit, in a regular series, the 'sentiments, doctrines, and practical views of religion which were adopted by that venerable body of men' to whom, under God, we are indebted for the commencement and carrying on of the great work of the Reformation, and the consequent establishing of that sound body of Protestant and scriptural truth, which is at once the support and ornament of the Church of England.' p. iii.
« An acquaintance with the original works of the Reformers appears to be peculiarly desirable in the ministers of the Church, to whom it is presumed this publication will prove highly acceptable ; the more so, as many of the books, from which the present selection will be made, are become very scarce and difficult of access. Much difference of opinion subsists, with respect to the doctrinal interpretation of the articles and liturgy of the established Church : this work, by facilitating the means of reference to the general body of the other public and private writings of the same men, who were employed in the composition and vindication of the esta blished standards of doctrine, must, from the very nature of the come parison, throw much light on those controverted questions. And as the Conductors are determined that the Tracts and Extracts shall be selected with impartiality and integrity, so as to exhibit the respective authors, in their own original style and matter, with respect to all controverted doco Vol. IV,
třines ; the public will be enabled to appeal to this work as a faithful re. cord of the genuine sentiments which the early Protestant divines of the English Church held.
• In this publication, the serious reader, of every description, will find a truly valuable and interesting selection of Protestant divinity, adapted to every class of the community, as well for the information of the understanding as the amendment and growth of the heart in holy affections. This will appear more evident, from the recollection that the work will exclusively consist of an impartial selection from the very materials which were prepared and circulated throughout every part of this kingdom, for the avowed purpose of reviving and establishing the religion of the primitive Church of Christ on the ruins of Papal superstition and error. The value of these writings is much enhanced, and they are rendered doubly interesting to the English Protestant, from the reflection that so many of these holy men, after a life spent in the defence of the truth, died as. Martyrs to the sacred cause, and witnesses to the power and effin cacy of the doctrines which they taught.
• The work is conducted by Clergymen of the established Church, anxious to unite their efforts in order to promote her prosperity and welfare. They feel a confidence in recommending the work to the patronage not only of their brethen, the Clergy, but to the Christian community at farge, from a full conviction that it is calculated to prove of essential service to the Church of Christ.
The Second Volume will proceed with the writings of Dr. LANCELOT. RIDLEY and Bishop LATIMER : it will also contain the Catechism published by the authority of King Edward VI. The succeeding volumes will consist of the works of CRANMER, HOOPER, NICHOLAS RIDLEY, BRADFORD, Jewel, &c. &c. pp. vii. viii.
The execution of the work, and the sentiments which prevail in it, afford no small grounds for the character of jmpar, Ciality to which the editors lay claim. The doctrines contained in the selection are stated with decision, but with equal caution. Those readers, who wish to find support for the exclusive superiority of peculiar sentiments, and who think they have found that support here, will in the course of their perusal discover their mistake. The impressions made by de. tached parts, are so limited and corrected by others, that no authority can be draw), from a comprehensive view of the whole, for compressing the substance of diyine truth into such a form as to serve the interest of a party ; much less is any support furnished for the flame of controversy at the ex. pence of practical piety. For a work thus conducted we wish and hope success. To sincere Christians of all denominations it wants no recommendation but an attentive perusa). To such as may take it up on partial views, it may be beneficial, by exhibiting their own sentiments with all the distioctness that scripture authorizes, and at the same time their necessary connexion with the Gospel at large. Doctrine is $0 combined with precept, so 'embodied by practical illustration,
and so much pursued into practical deductions, as to offer a powerful antidote to those habits of abstract speculation which set aside the claims of 'active duty. To the members of the church of England, in particular, it is highly desirable to have access to writings, so authentic, and so congenial to the spirit of that church as expressed in the public records of her belief, ber liturgical worship, and the instruction sanctioned by her authority: their adherence to the establishment is thus furnished with the materials of reply, to those who, on points of doctrine, would question its foundation. The retorm of the established church was conducted with care, with moderation, and by slow degrees. It was not thoroughly settled til? after the establishment of other protestant churches. It experienced many checks, and severe trials of its doctrines. Hence it was exempt from many effects of that hasty and indiscriminate zeal which adopts the language of any single divine howeyer illustrious, and followed neither Luther, Calvin, nor Zuinglius, except so far as they appeared to be followers of Christ.
From the important tendency of the work, and the scarceness of the originals, we shall hope for the indulgence of our readers, if we enter a little more at large into the examination of it than is usual with articles of mere republication, The reformers from whose writings the most extensive selections are made, are William Tindal, John Frith, and Dr. Robert Barnes. A short space is allotted to a treatise by Patrick Hamilton, and a copious extract is given from George Joy, who published a spirited confutation of the Papistical Errors on Justification in answer to some articles exhibited by Bishop Gardiner against Dr. Barnes. In a preface, written by John Fox the martyrologist, to an edition of the joint works of Tindal, Frith, and Barnes, he speaks of his three authors in a passage which we shall extract, as a specimen of his simplicity and good sense, and a testimony to their merits.
In opening the Scriptures, what truth, what soundness can a man require more, or what more is to be said, than is to be found in Tindal ? In his Prologues upon the five books of Moses, upon Jonas, upon the Gospels, and Epistles of St. Paul, particularly to the Romans; how perfectly doth he hit the right sense, and true meaning in every thing? In his obedience, how fruitfully teacheth he every person his duty! In his Expositions, and upon the parable of the wicked mammon, how pithily doth he persuade ; how gradual doth he exbort; how lovingly doth he comfort ! Simple without ostentation, vehement without contention. Which two faults, as they commonly are wont to follow the most part of writers, so how far the same were from him, and he from them, his replies and answers to Sir
Thomas More, do well declare. In doctrine sound, in heart humble, in life unrebukeable, in disputations modest
, in rebuking charitable, in truth fervent, and yet no less prudent in dispensing the same, and bearing with time, and with weakness of men, as much as he might; saving only, where