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their attention solely to modern controversies, some have conjet
Tured, that it is entirely Calvinistical; others, thawe it at least steess a middle course between the two extremes of Calvinisin on one side, and Arminianism on the other. Although in these cullateral tvpics, the discussion of which would leadine foo far from the track proposed, I mean not to interfere; it may neveritarless be proper,' &c.
* Upon a general review then of these articles (the 10th and 13th) we perceive, that both were sulety framed with an eye to Romish error, and are in uo respect connectd with the Calvinistical controversy of free will, as the hinge upon woich principally turns the doctrine of an absolute prelestination.' P. 112, 113.
As our views on this subject coincide very much with those which we have attributed to Dr. Laurence, before we proceed further, we shall mention one fact which we have noticed in the controversy, as it is now conducted by the anti-calvinistical writers, for the purpose of remarking its correspondence with our own sentiments of right, and of exhorting them to a stedfast perseverance in the same. It is, that the writers to whom we rcier, bave of late (in opposition to what, according to Dr. Laurence's obsei vation, has heretofore occasionally taken place, we believe in variably disclaimed the name of Arminians; and surely they do 50 with very great reason.
Shall it become the churcb of England, forgetting its ancient guides, instructors, and, patterns, forgetting the scriptures, forgetting her reverence to primitive antiquity, forgetting the labours and sufferings of her own illustrious martyrs and confessors, to turn her eyes and affections to, and borrow her name from an obscure Dutch professor, who was hardly born till the period of those labours and sufferings was over? Let her be branded with the name, with unwearied pertinacity; yet we trust that no provocation will induce her to adopt it from the moutus of her adversaries. The wise and temperate conduct which we · here applaud and recommend, might afford a salutary lesson
for the imitation of the opposite party; who by perpetuaily disclaiming, and by as olten claiming the name of Calvinists, leave us in inextricable perplexity, and are themselves debtors in a great part of that responsibility which is undoubtedly ever incurred by the propagation of opprobrious appellations, and needless dissensions and subdivisions.
But If the articles in question be ueither Calvinistical nor Arminian, the question returns upon us again, what are they? If we will hear Dr. Laurence, they are protestant against
popery, they are Lutheran against Romish and scholastical
corruptions and superstitions. It is his judurment, that far from being framed according to the systein of Calvin in preference to all others, they were modelled after the Lutheran, in opposition to the Roinish tenets of the day. And he is of opinion, that instead of endeavouring to investigate and ascertain their design and meaning, by proceeding upwards through the long train of contending opinious in the reigo of Elizabeth, a satisfactory and much better mode of illustration may be had, by advancing in a contrary order downwards, from the early struggles of Luther and the other German, reformers, to the æra of their first compilation in the reign of King Edward,
Of the eight serinons contained in this voluine, the first two are occupied in shewing ibat the English reformation in general was of a Lutheran tendency, and that the same tendency appears and prevails in the articles collectively considered. The remaining six are designed to establish the same conclusion with regard to those particular articles which are selected for Di. Laurence's illustration, and in an attempt to declare and expound their precise objects and ineaning
The argument respecting the general tendency is grounded principally upon the following foundations :
From the first moment when the reformation began to make any progress in this country, we find a continual recurrence to the recent protestant establishment in Germany. An unceasing correspondence was maintained with their divines, and above all with the ever mild and ainiable Melancthon. His advice was sought unreinittingly, and his pres sence in this country was courted and importuned through a long succession of years, in the most urgent manner. In the actual reforms which took place, we trace without diffi. culty the principles and practices of the German churches. The Articles of 1536, the Institution of a Christian Man in the year following, and the Necessary Doctrine in 1543, all are testimonies of the general truth of this statement. In the reign of Edward this influence became still more apparent. The homilies bear a close resemblance to the doctrines of Melanctbon: and when in the following year (1548), the church-services were to be reformed, next to the ancient liturgies, by far the greatest regard was paid to a Lutheran reformation book, which had been recently compiled or revised by Melancthon and Bucer.* The influence
* This work was translated into English, and published A.D. 1547, under the title 'A religious Consultation of Hetman, Archbishop of Cologne,' &c. &c.
of Cranmer, it cannot be doubted, was pre-eminent in the English reformation. Nor can there be any greater doubt of the prevailing tendency of the sentiments of this illustriolls man. His foreign embassies, his alliance with the sister of an eminent German reformer, bis constant correspondences with that country, bis selecting for the instruction of youth, and revising, translating, and publishing under his own name an extensive Lutheran catechisin, in addition to the evidence which may be collected from his other writings, and from the works of public authority already enume. rated, in the composition of all of which it is well known that he had a large share-evince sufficiently the required tendency. But now, Cranmer, though not the sole, was by far the principal compiler of the articles. Again, besides the inferences' which might therefore be deduced from the known character and sentiments of Cranmer, the articles theinselves in every forin in which we meet with thein, display a remarkable correspondence with the boast and pride of Lutherans, the celebrated Augsburg confession. Nor can it be said that the tide afterwards turned, and that a change took place in the reign of Q. Elizabeth, from the intercourse of our exiled countrymen with Genevair and Italian divines. For, whatever might be the case in this respect, with regard to the sentinents of individuals, the wisdom of the directors of the new establishinent under that queen, effectually precluded the possibility of such an imputation upon the established doctrine, by adopting the confession of King Edward, with a few unimportant alterations; or, if the alterations be any where important, it is very observable, that they too are derived from another Lutheran document, the Wirtemburg confession.
In the course of this general argument, Dr. Laurence vindicates at great length and with much zeal, (but not to a greater extent or with more zeal than the inportance of the subject, and the interests of truth have long ago demanded) the character, talents, and influence of Craniner against the loose and ignorant reflections of Burnet. We read this part of the book with very great satisfaction and' complacency; for we have often seen with regret and indig. nation how inuch injury has been done to the memory of that great man : and we are prepared to maintain, that' Di. Jaurence has not in any one particular of his apology and eulogium overstepped the limits of strict truth and justice. He has also found opportunity to expose some other ima portant mistakes of the Bishop, as well as some of less moci ment of the faithful and industrious Strype.
But, let us mest inquire whether this general argument of Dr. Laurence be or be not liable to certain material objectious. This reasoning, it may be said, proves indeed what the articles were ; but will it equally shew what they were not? Let it be granted, that they were Lutheran against popery, is this şuthicient to prove that they could not be Calvinistical ?' The main object of the reformation, no doubt, was the abolition of Romish corruptions. And was not Calvin as zealous against these as were Luther or Melancthon ? Besides, did nui Calvin, 100, maintain a correspondence with Cranmer, and with the Protector? Tiere not Bucer and Martyr in actual possession of the theological chairs in our universities, to one of which lelancthon was only invited ; and were not those men known advocates of the more rigid opinions? Were not craumer and Ridley the friends and patrons of the Italiau Ochine, and the French Veron, men who were exceedingly zealus for the like doctrines ?
These interrogatories we have taken the liberty to suggest, not because we do not think that they admit of a very satisfactory solution, but to lead our readers into a close and clearer understanding of the nature and properties of Dr. Laurence's arqument, and to express our opinion, that it would have lose nothing, or rather would have been materially illustrated, had he expressly introduced these and similar objections to the contemplation of his hearers and readers in some sich manner as is done above, and had shewn in a separate division of his scheme, in what inanner they do or do not affect his priucipal reasonings.
It must not be supposed, however, that Dr. Laurence has not, eren at present, supplied us withi materials from which we lay glean a sufücient solution of these apparent difficul. ties.
There was, prelty early, a very discernible discordance in sentiment between Melancthon and Calvin, on those points which respected the doctrine of predestination : nor is it difficult to determine to which side in this variance, the leading English reformers were disposed to incline. The very expressions of Melancthon, which were, no doubt, and were by Calvin understood to be, directed against himself, with others perhaps of similar opinions, were adopted by Hooper, a very eminent English reformner, and published as his own, in the important years 1548 and 1550. The correspondence with Calvin was only occasional and unfre. quent, and was nothing more than was due in strict justice to his eminent services in the common contest against popery. He himself complains of his want of influence in our proceedings, and betrays an evident dislike and dissatisfaction with their progress. The like complaints were made also by Bucer and Martyr. The respect paid to Ochine and Veron is sıfficiently accounted for by their general attachment to the principles of the reformation, and needs no more explanation than that we should recall to mind, that' the errors of the church of Rome were then almost the sole objects of religious altercation.' P. 45.
The desideratuin which we regret in this general argument does still obtain, (though not perhaps in an equal degree,) when Dr. Laurence descends to the consideration of particular articles. We are never indeed left altogether without materials to shew as well what they were not, as what they were ; but the former are seldom brought before us, so much as we could have desired, in the character of an important and principal part of the argument. They are left rather to be collected and made out froin the noies by the industry and sagacity of the reader.
At the conclusion of the general argument on the prerailing Lutheran tendency of the Englishi retorination, and in the English articles, the second sermon is closed, and the subjects to be examined in the remaining six are specified.
As we regard Dr. Laurence's work as of first-rate importa, ance, we shall proceed further to display the nature and value of the instruction which it will convey, by an examination of the contents of the third sermon, which respects the doctrine of original sin.
The opinions of the schoolmen on this subject, which, according to Dr. Laurence, not only domineered in the schools, but prevailed also in the temple and the closet, are first stated in the following terms,
Upon original sin, the subject of our present consideration, their doctrine was no less fancitul and remote from every scripturalidea, than flattering to human pride. This they assumed as the groundwork of a system, which wholly concealed from view what they professed to enshrine, the glory of the Lord, the bright nanifestation of Deity displayed in the gospel covenant. They contended, that the infection of our nature is not a mental, but a mere corpo. real taint; that the body alone receives and transmits the contagion, while the soul in all instances proceeds immaculate from the hands of her Creator. This disposition to disease, such as they allowed it to be, was considered by some of them as the effect of a pea culiar quality in the forbidden fruit; by others, as having been colle tracted from the poisonous breath of ihe infernal spirit, which inhabited the serpent's body. On one point they were all united : by preserving to the soul the bright traces of her divine origin un