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Whether the Usherian chronology, according to which Jesus was born 4,004 years after the creation of Adam, is correct, or whether it shall be found to require emendations; whether the six days of creation were ordinary days of twenty-four hours each, or whether each day was a period of unknown length,--about these and similar questions there may be differences of opinion, and we shall be greatly obliged for all the light that science may shed on these subjects, and this light will teach us to understand the Bible itself better. But if we have given to us, in the name of science, propositions which are palpable absurdities, involving the absence of a specific difference between man and beast, the descent of man from a “learned gorilla,” the dingdong and the bow-wow theory of the origin of language, including, at the same time, a renunciation of all faith in the Bible: then it is high time to stand still and to ponder the subject well with all the consequences it involves, before we take a decisive step. We intimated above, that there is absolutely nothing in the nature of matter, or of the natural world, which could have suggested the idea of the one or the other of the subjects considered. For what does science, what do astronomy and geology in the second half of the nineteenth century say about the future fate of this earth? That it cannot remain in its present state, that it cannot exist forever. On this point all are agreed ; but what will become of it no one knows, although both geology and astronomy demonstrate the possibility of two diametrically opposite ways by which the final destruction or utter uninhabitableness of our planet will be effected. According to geology our earth may become a perfect desert, every drop of water disappearing from its surface--by sinking into the interior, thereby creating, perhaps, such an amount of steam as would shatter the whole body to atoms, or the earth may be completely set under water, so that its whole surface forms one uninterrupted ocean. According to astronomy the earth may be drawn into the sun, causing, perhaps, some wind for a few hours on its surface, or the sun may exhaust its heat as the planets have done, or are supposed to have done, thereby converting our earth, as well as all the other planets, into
masses of ice, where neither animal nor vegetable life can exist. Any other way of destruction science does not know, and how radically different are they all from the ultimate fate of the earth as predicted in the Bible and the universal expectation of our race ?
Art. III.-Life and Writings of Juan de Valdés, Spanish Reformer in the Sixteenth Century. By BENJAMIN B. WIF
With a translation from the Italian, of his Hundred and Ten Considerations, by John T. BETTS. London: 1865.
SPANISH civilization has not been particularly admired by the heirs of Protestant liberty. No free people cherishes gratitude to Spain for any great blessing that she has bestowed upon society during the last three centuries. Only at this late day have we the sample of a free press in that country. On our table lies the fifth number of a small weekly paper, entitled “El Eco del Evangelico," the first Protestant journal ever published in Spain, and it bearing the date of the last year. It is refreshing to see that it comes from Seville, once so notorious for the Inquisition. If the stones of that city could cry out, what revelations would be made! And yet, three hundred and fifty years ago, on Spanish soil, there was growing up a literature in advocacy of that same Reformation, which gave a new civilization to Germany, the Netherlands, and Great Britain. It surprises many of us to learn the quantity and quality of the Reformed writings then and there produced.
The world knows little of the late Don Luis de Usoz i Rio, but the results of his labors may yet be enjoyed with gratitude by goodly numbers of Protestant readers in Christendom. He collected and edited the “Reformistas Antiguos Españoles”—the various writings of the early Spanish Reformers. “He was,” says Mr. Wiffen, "like Valdés, by birth uno caballero, a gentleman; and, like him, a person of sound and exact learning, of great simplicity and modesty, of genuine truthfulness both in his life and writings. He loved his country, lamented its historical decline, and disinterestedly sought its highest welfare. With the exception of two of them, the twenty volumes of the 'Reformistas,' besides others not included in the series, were edited by his own labor during five and twenty years; and, with the exception of a single small volume, they were printed entirely at his sole cost and charges, without connection with any society or association, religious or literary; and one private friend alone aided him to procure the recondite materials." We learn also that but a limited number of copies were published, and these not intended for public sale. It is to be hoped that some of our libraries in this country may be enriched with these historical treasures.
This scholar, in concert with Dr. Edward Boehmer, of Halle, and Mr. Benjamin Wiffen, a Quaker gentleman of England, has brought to light very much interesting matter relative to the brothers Valdés. It is not long since the historian Ranke said, “unfortunately the writings of [Juan] Valdés have wholly disappeared.” His most important work, the “CX. Divine Considerations,” is now put forth in an elegant English dress, as one of the several modern editions and translations. An English version ran through two editions in the seventeenth century. Nicholas Ferrar translated it, and “the sainted George Herbert” added his notes. They knew almost nothing of Valdés. He was to them a mythic personage, who, with veiled face, had exercised a surprising influence in Italy at the dawn of the Reformation.
Izaak Walton, in his “Life of Herbert," thus drew the portrait, to us quite amusing: “This Valdesso was for his learning and virtue much valued and loved by the great Emperor Charles V., whom Valdesso had followed as a cavalier all the time of his long and dangerous wars; and when Valdesso grew old and weary of the world, he took a fair opportunity to declare to the emperor that his resolution was to decline his majesty's service and betake himself to a quiet and contemplative life, because there onght to be a time between fighting and dying. The emperor had himself, for the same or other reasons, taken
the like resolution, but God and himself only knew them, and he desires Valdesso to consider well of what he had said, but keep his purpose within his own breast till they two had another opportunity of a friendly discourse, which Valdesso promised. In the mean time, the emperor appoints privately a day for him and Valdesso to receive the sacrament publicly, and appointed an eloquent friar to preach a sermon on Contempt of the World, and the happiness and benefit of a quiet and contemplative life, which the friar did most affectionately. After which sermon the emperor declared openly, that the preacher had begot in him a resolution to lay down his dignities, to forsake the world, and to betake himself to a more monastic life. And he pretended he had persuaded John Valdesso to do the like; but this is most certain, that after the emperor had called his son Philip out of England, and resigned to him all his kingdoms, the emperor and John Valdesso did perform their resolution."
This pleasant episode never happened. Nor was the genial angler much farther astray from the facts than most other writers down to the time of Dr. Thomas McCrie, whose brief notices of Juan Valdés are in the main correct. Several scholars have recently made Valdés the subject of earnest research, bringing to light facts long concealed, and recovering books supposed to be lost. Some of the results of their investigations may be of interest to the present circle of readers, especially as a Spaniard has been considered so rare among the Reformers of the sixteenth century.
About the close of the twelfth century Hernando de Valdés founded the town of Cuenza, in New Castile, nearly half-way between Madrid and Valencia. Built on the terraces, tier above tier, this town grew into the capital of a nountainous district, peopled with traders, and thick with woollen mills. There also the higher arts and literature flourished. This land proprietor won the honors of nobility. He left behind him magnificent houses, a chapel, and entailed estates. One of his numerous descendants, in the latter part of the fifteenth century, bore his name, and sustained the reputation of the family. He sympathized with the popular party in a futile resistance to the policy of Charles V. in giving foreigners the
VOL. XLII.--NO. III.
chief offices in the church and state. He expressed his independent spirit in the following lines :
* Ten marks of gold for the telling,
And of silver I have nine score;
And I have a rent-roll more :
Ten squires I count at my call-
Which pleases me more than all."
Among other sons of this hidalgo and regidor, were the twin brothers, Alfonso and Juan, who were born near the beginning of the sixteenth century. Being twins, they have often been regarded as one person, or the deeds of one have been ascribed to the other. By two letters of the period their distinct personality and twinship are established. Erasmus, in 1528, wrote thus from Basle to Juan :
“Most accomplished youth: Your brother, Alfonso Valdés, has conferred such obligations upon me, that I ought to love whoever in any way belongs to him. But [besides this] you, as I hear, are so like him both in personal appear. ance and readiness of mind, that you seem not be twins, but one individual. I think it very proper, therefore, to love you both alike. I hear that you are given to liberal studies, in order that you may embellish your naturally virtuous disposition with every sort of adornment. Why then should any one exhort you to study, when of your own accord you follow this excellent pursuit? It is more to the purpose to congratulate and praise you."
Three years later the historian Sepulveda wrote from Rome to Alfonso; “You ask me to receive your brother, should he come to me, in the same manner as yourself. Can I receive him otherwise, when as I look at him—whether he is standing or sitting, speaking or silent, in action or doing nothing-I fancy that I am looking upon yourself? And, what is no less remarkable, he so closely represents you, not in features alone but also in talents, learning, manners, and even in pursuits, that again and again he appears to be your very self and not
Upon the education of these twins, we have scarcely more certain light than these letters furnish. It is supposed that one of Juan's descriptions of a noble woman was intended to be that of his grandmother. In one of his Dialogues, she is