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the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, owes its present form to Flavian of Antioch, a zealous opposer of the Arians, at the end of the fourth century; the original form, or that in use before his time having been, "Glory to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Ghost.*
The writer of one of the recent Oxford Tracts, (No. 75,) thinks that the Athanasian creed forms a very good " psalm or hymn of praise.” We shall not dispute his taste; but as the creed cannot lay claim to so venerable an antiquity as the time of Athanasius, and was not heard of till the sixth century or later, we do not feel ourselves called upon, at present, to enter into any discussion of its merits as a musical composition. We leave it to the Oxford divines to settle that point, and to say or sing the creed as may most tend to elevate their thoughts, and warm and enlarge their affections. “By using it weekly, " says the writer just referred to, “ its living character and spirit are incorporated into the Christian's devotions, and its influence on the heart, as far as may be, secured. The time, too, should be observed. The dawn of the first day of the week.” Truly, a very hopeful beginning. The feelings must be put in a sweet, charitable tone for the week.
ART. II. - History of the Great Reformation of the Sixteenth
Century, in Germany, Switzerland, &c. By J. H. MERLE D'AUBIGNE, President of the Theological School of Geneva, and Member of the “Societé Evangeliqué. Vol. I. 1838 : vol. II. 1839. London.
THESE books are translations from the French, though there is nothing upon the title-page to indicate the fact, and we are left in ignorance of the Translator. The author is a distinguished Calvinistic divine, president of a Theological School lately set up at Geneva, to oppose the influence of the ancient institution in which sentiments akin to our own prevail. M. D'Aubigné has received honor from his friends for his earnest endeavors to restore to the faith of Calvin a revival of influence, in the famous city where he preached the Reformation. The duties of his office make the History of the Church his great study, and his zeal for certain sentiments, which have been called, improperly, as we think, the doctrines of the Reformation, has led him to devote his time to telling anew the story of that German monk, who in his own words) “inflicted a wound upon the Pope, from which he will never recover.” His story has never before been told with equal philosophy, truth, and interest. The History has all the intense interest of a story of fiction, in which the hero wades through dangers, and it is moreover thoroughly imbued with the spirit of piety and charity. Candor, discrimination, and generous feeling, and a reverence for faith are its best characteristics. The great value of the history consists in its faithful delineation of Luther, bis own early groping in the darkness, his wrestlings with sin and error, his struggles against seeming presumption, his gradual light and conviction of mind, his honest utterance, his natural hesitation, his successive declarations of his convictions, his boldness, his constancy, his unflinching fidelity, his growing influence from the moment when he met the wants of a brother monk, who had passed through similar struggles, to that when with impunity he burnt the Papal Bull, and plunged all Germany into religious discord. Luther is now vindicated from the insulting charge of self-interested motives, by the exposure of his own dire conflicts. The Reformation is now vindicated from the charge of being a mere political rebellion. Luther and his work are proved to have grown up together, with their age, both being the result of true faith contending with error, whose issue is truth.
* L. III. c. 13.
The whole History will fill four volumes. Only two are yet published. Of these we intend to give a minute analysis, presenting every fact of interest in the story up to the time when Luther, having set all Germany in a blaze, was a prisoner in the custody of devoted but trembling friends. This is as far as the volumes before us carry him. They leave him at a momentous period, when having denounced the Pope as Antichrist, and defied his power, he dared to encounter alone the august majesty of the Diet of Imperial Germany.
The author takes as the “guiding star” of his work, the truth, that “God is in History.” So said Luther at a dinner conversation. “The world is a vast and grand game of cards, made up of emperors, kings, and princes. The Pope for several centuries has beaten them. They have been put down and taken up by him. Then came our Lord God; he dealt the cards; he took the most worthless of them all, (Luther,) and with it he has beaten the Pope, the conqueror of the kings of the earth. There is the ace of God.”
The author gives first a prefatory Essay of one hundred and twenty-eight pages, on the State of Europe prior to the Reformation, containing a rapid and philosophical Sketch of the rise of the Papacy. Its errors are identified with those which characterize human nature. Christianity came into the world, a breath of life moving over the vast field of death. The new religion had two distinguishing features : 1. “One is your Master, and all ye are brethren." 2. “ The gift of God is eternal life.” The first abolished living and dead idols; the second
bolished earthly salvation, its price, and its human mediums. One of these principles was to govern the history of Christianity, the other, its doctrine. We may trace that corruption of both which resulted in the Papacy.
First; the Church was composed of brethren. Paul founded a church at Rome, composed of Jews, Greeks, and Romans; in the beginning it was pure and bright; its spiritual dominion arose and increased, as the political and military power of the city had done before. The little communities of believers, in the neighboring towns and villages of Rome, looked to the city for friendly aid ; she was the richest, most powerful and splendid city in the world ; the mother of nations. She was the Queen of Cities; why should not her pastor be the King of Bishops ? The bishops of the other parts of the Empire first yielded her honor without dependence. Then a jealousy of the East, and a preference of spiritual to political subjection favored the gradual encroachments of the Roman pastors. The various theological sects which distracted the East, looked in turn for aid to Rome. She carefully recorded these requests, and smiled to see the nations throwing themselves into her arms. Mark how titles and documents of authority increase ! The constitution of the patriarchate next contributed to the exaltation of Rome. In the first three centuries, the churches of the Metropolitan cities were especially honored. The Bishops of Alexandria, Antioch, and Rome, were called Exarchs, like their political governors. The Council of Nice decreed to the churches of these cities authority over the provincial churches, [A. D. 315.] The Council of Constantinople changed their title to that of Patriarchs, and made that city a
fourth Patriarchate. Rome at first shared an equal power with the others. Constantinople fell away and separated herself from the West. Rome remained in glory ; others rallied around her; she was without a rival. Then were invented the doctrines of Divine Right, and of the Supremacy of St. Peter, never before heard of. Ignorance and superstition came in to her aid. Particular churches, especially in Proconsular Africa, and the East, remonstrated. But Rome found new allies in princes, whose thrones tottered, who purchased secular dominion by spiritual subjection. Theodosius II., Valentinian III., and Justinian, issued decrees, that the Bishop of Rome was ruler of the whole Church. The Emperors of Italy gradually losing their power, the bishops of the city withdrew from allegiance. Meanwhile, Northern Savages and Vandals, Ostrogoths, Burgundians and Visigoths, Lombards and Anglo Saxons, who had invaded and settled in the West, bowed themselves in a half heathen state of mind before the chief priest of Rome.
“ It was the sturdy shoulders of the idolatrous children of the North, which elevated to the supreme throne of Christendom, a pastor of the banks of the Tiber.” So far had the work of the Papacy progressed by the beginning of the seventh century. Then in the midst of the political contests between the East and West, Leo III. puts upon Charlemagne the crown of the Roman emperors. The priest distributes sceptres. In the ninth century, disunion had destroyed the feeble successors of Charlemagne, and Rome seized the occasion. Then was invented the monstrous falsehood of the decretals of Isidorus, in which the bishops, who were contemporaries of Tacitus and Quintillian, were made to speak the barbarous Latin of the ninth century. Popes quoted from the Vulgate of St. Jerome, which was made two or three centuries after them; and Victor, Bishop of Rome, in 192 writes to Theophilus, Archbishop of Alexandria, in 385. For ages this barefaced fabrication was the arsenal of Rome. The filth of vice deformed still more the usurping priesthood. Rome was one vast scene of debauchery. The Tuscan counts placed on the throne Benedict IX., twelve years old, brought up in scandalous vice. Another party placed against him Sylvester III., and Benedict, stained with adultery and homicide, sold the Papacy to a Roman priest. The German emperors, maddened with these enormities, purged Rome by the sword. Leo IX.,
the Pope, in 1047, brought to notice the monk Hildebrand, who afterwards, as Gregory VII., was the loftiest and proudest soul of the Papacy; a daring spirit who aimed to establish a visible theocracy on earth, himself the head. He enforced the celibacy of the clergy, and forbade them to receive their offices from princes; he released subjects from allegiance, and placed kingdoms under interdicts, without a prayer at birth, baptism, marriage, or burial. He was humbled, though Rome was established. All nations became her serfs. Luther saw at Erfurth a picture, which represented the Church as a ship sailing to heaven; on board was no layman, not even king or prince; in front were pope and cardinals
, around were priests and monks, above was the Holy Spirit. The clergy thus sailed comfortably to heaven. T'he wretched laymen were swimming around, some hanging to the sides, some sinking, some catching at ropes thrown out by the Holy Fathers. To this had come the first principle of Christianity ; “One is your Master, and all ye are brethren.”
2. The second principle, that salvation was free by grace, was gradually corrupted into a salvation purchased by some power
the root of all errors. St. John had said in the time of Vespasian, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Tertullian, one hundred and twenty years after, makes sackcloth and ashes, and the intercession of the priest necessary. Then up to the thirteenth century, we have a successive heaping of the pile on man's foundation, fasts, pilgrimages, hermits, and flagellants. Then the priest said, "you are unable to bear all these fastings and penances, we will do it for you.” Hence came Indulgences. Alexander de Hales, the “irrefragable doctor, invented in the thirteenth century, and Clement VII. adopted the doctrine of “Supererogation." The merits of Christ being infinite, and those of the Saints exceeding, more than an atonement had been made for human sins; a spiritual treasury had been endowed by them; the Pope had the key of it. He made a scale of sins, and of the time required for penance. Men said the periods annexed were so long, they should die and be rid of them. No! said Aquinas, who then set his wits at work, and invented Purgatory. Out of this, men must buy themselves. Then it was added, that the dead, who were already in Purgatory, might be benefited in the same way. John XXII. laid the tax for Indulgences, so much for murder, incest, adul