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which the Church of England maintains, because it is matter of controversy
what those views are. We shall, therefore, occupy this division of our miscellany, at present, with the republication of three works, which will most clearly define the sense of the Church in all matters necessary to salvation, and by which sense we wish our own sentiments to be inferred; we mean, the cateCHISM OF KING EDWARD, the DECLARATION OF DOCTRINES IN JEWELL'S APOLOGY, and the CATECHISM COMMONLY CALLED DR. NOWELL's.
The present bishop of Oxford, Dr. Randolph, republished the whole of these three pieces a few years since, in a collection of tracts, for the use of students in divinity. In his Lordship's Preface, he speaks of these works in the following terms: "The Catechism, published in the time of King Edward VI. was the last work of the reformers of that reign; whence it may fairly be understood to contain, as far as it goes, their ultimate decision, and to represent the sense of the Church of England as then established. In this, according to Archbishop Wake, the complete Model of our Church Catechism was first laid; and it was also, in some measure, a publick work;' the examination of it having been committed, as the injunction testifies, to certain Bishops and other learned men;' after which it was published by the King's authority. It was printed both in English and Latin, in the same year, 1553.
“ Jewell's Apology is an account of the grounds of our separation from the Church of Rome, as maintained after that separation had finally taken place: Nowell's Catechism, of the doctrines of the Church at the same period, when it had been restored and established under Queen Elizabeth. Both these works were publickly received and allowed. They have also a claim to the attention of the reader, both for clearness of argument, and for eloquence of language."
In speaking of his views in this compilation, the Bishop had said: “ It is another object of the present plan, to show the genuine sense of the Church of England in her earliest days, both as to the grounds of separation from the Church of Rome, and the doctrines which, after a long struggle, having entirely emancipated herself from that yoke, she at length finally adopted and ratified. For this purpose my choice has been principally directed to such works as had the sanction of publick authority, and which may, therefore, be relied on as containing the final and decided opinions of our Reformers, approved of, in the general, by the Church at large; whereas, in other cases they may have delivered opinions which they afterwards changed, or private opinions which they did not
venture to propose on the part of the Church. Of this kind, that is, thus
publickly received, were ' Jewell's Apology' and · Nowell's Catechism;' the former of which is said to have been published with the consent of the bishops, and was always understood to speak the sense of the whole Church, in whose name it was written; the latter had the express sanction of Convocation. The doctrines of the Church of England will thus, I trust, appear, upon a fair and candid interpretation, clear of many exceptions which have been rashly urged against them. The propriety, indeed, of thus understanding our church from its very foundation, first suggested this compilation.”
We entirely adopt these sentiments of his Lordship, and would only subjoin, that though the private sentiments of our Reformers were what are now termed Calvinistick, and many of their writings carry these points farther than the publick documents of the Church, as seems to be the case with Nowell's Catechism, which, though published by authority, was not established by law, yet these publick documents of the Church, to which she requires subscription as the terms of admission to the exercise of her ministry, are constructed with such singular wisdom and moderation, that all who hold upon these controverted questions the great and fundamental truths, THAT MAN'S SALVATION IS WHOLLY OF GRACE, and THAT HIS PERDITION IS OF HIMSELF, may conscientiously subscribe to her terms, however they may differ in their modes of speaking. She excludes, and to us it appears that she meant to exclude, none who hold the essential points of truth, though they who approach nearest to the known sentiments of the Reformers may find most congeniality in the language of her publick writings to their own modes of expression.
With regard, then, to our own views upon the points in controversy between Calvinists and Arminians, we take this occasion of stating, once for all, that though on the full disclosure of our private sentiments, some of us would be claimed by the one party and some of us by the other, yet, we would rather desire to lose the two appellations altogether in the more catholick term of Bible Christians, and would give the right hand of fellowship, as to true believers and true churchmen, so far as these points are concerned, to all who unequivocally and with the heart regard SALVATION AS ORIGINATING WHOLLY IN GRACE, APPLIED THROUGH THE INSTRUMENTALITY OF THAT FAITH WHICH IS THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND WHICH BRINGS THE BELIEVER INTO A STATE OF ACCEPTANCE WITH GOD, BY MAKING HIM PARTAKER OF THE MERITS OF CHRIST, AND PREPARES HIM FOR HEAVEN BY MATURING HIM IN LOVE AND OBEDIENCE.
HIS universal scholar and most excellent divine was a native of Dublin, and was born in 1580. His uncle, Dr. Henry Usher, was Archbishop of Armagh, and the principal promoter of the foundation of Trinity College in that city. Another uncle by the mother's side was Richard Stanihurst, a very learned man of the Romish persuasion who published some books against his nephew, but this difference in their sentiments did not embitter their disposition towards each other. On the contrary, they kept up a friendly correspondence, and were mutually assisting to each other in their literary pursuits.
James Usher had two aunts who were blind from their cradle, and so continued to their deaths, and yet were blessed with admirable understandings, particularly in religion, and of such tenacious memories, that whatever they heard read out of the Scriptures, or was preached to them, they always retained, and became such proficients, that they were able to repeat much of the bible by art
, and were the first who taught their nephew to read English. At the bottom of Vertue's portrait of the Archbishop, the two old ladies are represented in the act of instructing him, from a roll resembling a worked sampler.
He discovered an extraordinary strength of understanding in his earliest years, and we are told that before he had attained his thirteenth year he had acquired a considerable knowledge of history and antiquities, to which study he was prompted by that passage of Cicero, Nescire quid antea quam natus sis acciderit, id est, semper e880 Puerum.
Vol. I. No. I.
He was the first student who entered of Trinity College, and he made so quick a progress in learning there, that between the age of fifteen and sixteen he had drawn up in Latin an exact Chronicle of the Bible, as far as the Book of Kings, not much differing from the method of his great work entitled, Annals of the Old
and New Testament. When he was eighteen his father died, and he being the eldest son, the paternal estate of course descended to him; but he finding his brother and sisters indifferently provided for, gave up the inheritance to be divided between them, reserving only enough to maintain him at college and to purchase some necessary books.
It was at this time that he entered the lists of disputation with a learned Jesuit, one Henry Fitz-Symonds, then a prisoner in the castle of Dublin, who had sent out a challenge defying the greatest champion and best learned to dispute with him about those points then in controversy between the Roman and Reformed Churches. This challenge was accepted by Usher, and they accordingly met. The Jesuit made light of him at first, as being but a boy; and thinking it an easy task to baffle him, he consented to a publick disputation; and because the several matters in debate could not be despatched in one or two conferences, they appointed to meet once a week to argue the chief subjects in controversy. But it seems that the Jesuit had soon enough of it; for though he despised him at first, he did not care to have any more to do with him; for after the second conference, this boasting Goliath declined the contest with this stripling, and not without cause, for he bad felt the quickness of his wit, the strength of his arguments, and his skill in disputation, so that the Jesuit quickly left the field. Usher wrote a modest letter to hin, desiring a continuance of the conference, but he received no answer; and the Jesuit, when he was liberated from prison, said thus of him,. Prodiit quidam octodenarius, precocis sapientiæ juvenis, de abstrusissimis rebus Theologicis, cum adhuc Philosophica studia vix emensus, nec ex Ephebis egressus: i. e. “ There came to me once a youth of about eighteen years of age, of a ripe wit, when scarcely, as you would think, gone through his course of philosophy, or out of his childhood, yet ready to dispute on the most abstruse points of divinity." At another time the same Jesuit calls Usher, Acatholicorum doctissimus, “ The most learned of the non-catholicks."
At the age of twenty-one Mr. Usher was admitted both deacon and priest, contrary to the canons; but the excuse for this deviation from the rule in his case, was his extraordinary merit, and the necessity which the Church then had of such a labourer,
His powers as a preacher were very great, and he had such an insight into the times and the character of the Romanists, to whom more indulgence was then shown than he thought prudent or safe, that he ventured in a sermon preached before the court at Dublin, to utter a very remarkable prediction.
His text was Ezekiel iv. 6. And thou shalt bear the iniquity of che house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year. This relates to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation, which the preacher, having considered, proceeded to apply to existing circumstances, and in the course of his sermon expressed the following conjecture with regard to Ireland. " From this time (1601) I reckon forty years, and then those whom you now embrace shall be your ruin, and you shall bear their iniquity.” This passage, says the author of the archbishop's life, seemed to be only the present thoughts of a young man who was no friend to popery; but afterwards when it came to pass at the expiration of forty years, viz. in 1641, that the Irish rebellion broke out and so many thousands of protestants were slain, then those who lived to see that day, began to think he was a young prophet.*
On a sheet prefixed to a work of the archbishop, prin in London A. D. 1631, in possession of the editor of this Magazine, is the following manuscript, written in a character which indicates the 17th century:
“ The Bishop of Armagh's Prophecy. “Being asked his thoughts about the great persecution, which he had formerly spoken of, which was to fall on the Church of Christ; it was desired to know of him whether it was past, or not. He then, turning his eyes to the person asking the quesuion, and fixing thein after an awful manner, (as hic used to do when he spake not his own words, and when the power of God was upon him,) said, • Feed not yourself with vain hopes of its being past; for I tell you, all that you have seen is but the beginning of sorrows to that which is to come on all the Protestant Churches of Christ, which ere long will fall under a sharper persecution than ever yet they have had upon them; and therefore' said he to lier that spake to him, 'look you be not found in the outward court, but a worshipper in the temple before the altar, for Christ will measure all that confess his name and call themselves his people, and the outward court he will leave out to be trodden iwder foot, and swept away by the Gentiles; which outward court,' said he, is the formal Christian, whose religion stands in forming this outwarıl court without the inward life and power of faith and love aniting them to Christ. Those God will give up to be trodden down and swept away by the Gentiles. But the worshippers who are in the temple before the altar, are those, who indeed worship God in spirit and in truth; whose souls are made his temples, where he is loved and adored in the most inward thoughts they have, and who do sacrifice their lasts, their vile and corrupt affections, and their own wills to him; and those God will hide in the hollow ot' his hand, and under the shadow of his wings: and this shall be one great difference between this, and all other persecutions preceding; that whereas by the foriner, the most eminent saints were cut off, here the most eminent and faithful to God shall be preserved by God, as a seed of that glory which shall immediately follow to the churches, as soon as the storm shall be Wown over. For as it shall be the sharpest, so it shall be a short persecution, and sfiall take away but the dross, hypocritical forrnalists, whilst the true spiritual believers shall be preserved till the calamity be over.' It was then asked, by what iustrufuents the persecution should be carried on; he answered, “ The Papists. It was replied, • That seems impossible, since they were less countenanced, and less numemous in these nations, and people more against them.' He replied, " It should be by their hands, and in way of a sudden massacre, and that the Papists should be the in struments of it;' and these sings he spoke with assurance and awful look, which lad been observed in him, when he predicted several things, formerly things which came to pass accordingly in the observation, and to the knowledge of them lie spake them unto; and he added that “The Papists were in his esteem the Gentiles spoken of Rev. ii. 2. to whom the outward court should be left, that they might tread it under foot, they having retained the Gentile worship, and many mediators; and this,' said he, - is now designing among them, and will come; and therefore, look ye be watching and found ready. These are very near the words spoken by him, which are worth recording. The like he also spoke to the Lady Tyrrell, his daughter, about the same time, expressing himself as above: and the Lady Tyrrell adus, that