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Blunt's estimation, the essential condition of martyrdom, we observe only, that whilst there is, as far as we are aware, no controversy on the mode of Tyndale's death, we venture to anticipate, in spite of the verdict of so distinguished an authority as Mr. Blunt, the adherence of our readers to the truth of the old saying, as applicable to the many struggles through which the crown of martyrdom has been won : "ubi multæ coronæ, multa certamina.”
If, on the other hand, as Mr. Blunt's words seem to imply, it be his intention to deny Tyndale's claim to be enrolled amongst the number of those who laid down their lives for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus, we emphatically protest against Tyndale's exclusion from the ranks of the noble army of the martyrs-whether regarded as consisting of those who were such in will, or of those who were such in deed.
We will only add, with reference to Mr. Blunt's extraordinary assertion respecting the death of Tyndale, that when he has succeeded in convincing us that the imprisonment and death of John the Baptist were in no way connected with his rebuke of Herod, and when he has proved that the imprisonments and death of St. Paul were altogether independent of the witness which he bore to the gospel of Christ Jesus, we shall then be prepared to listen to whatever evidence Mr. Blunt may have to adduce in support of his assertion, that Tyndale's death “had nothing to do with his translation of the New Tes. tament."
One more illustration of the character of Mr. Blunt's preReformation discoveries must suffice. In p. 502, Mr. Blunt enlightens his readers on the subject of the "mediæval knowledge of Holy Scripture" in the following terms:-" The clergy studied the Word of God, and made it known to the laity; and those few among the laity who could read had abundant opportunity of reading the Bible, either in Latin or in English, up to the Reformation period.” The concluding words of this paragraph, “either in Latin or in English,” might possibly strike a superficial reader as inconsistent with Mr. Blunt's account of the abundance of vernacular copies of the Scriptures, both in part and in whole, as ranging from the 9th to the 16th century. It behoves such a thoughtless censor, however, to remember, that many a genuine ancestor of the destructive Puritans may have lurked beneath the guise of a monkish habit, and that amongst Mr. Blunt's recently exhumed mediæval treasures he may yet have the satisfaction of discovering the original draft of “The Wise Men of Gotham,” in the form of some palimpsest MS. still disclosing the half effaced characters of “The Wisdom of Solomon.” Concerning this representation of the clergy and laity of the English Church, in other
leathLave to adhepared to me to the altogeth that the with his
tudio. Thality than ide to adducen rette tehliko so
mamme,the Reformalispute, icon
respects, we will only observe that it is a portrait alike so novel and so interesting, that we trust, when next Mr. Blunt appears in print, he may be able to adduce some further corrobo. ration of its fidelity than the fact that it emanated from his own studio. The words on which alone we shall now remark are those with which the paragraph concludes; viz., “up to the Reformation period.” Dating the commencement of this period, in accordance with an authority which Mr. Blunt will not be disposed to dispute, from the time when the “real leader of the Reformation” began to conceive his " noble programme,”-i.e., A.D. 1514, or perhaps more correctly, in accordance with the same authority, from the expiration of the fifteen years during which that scheme was gradually becoming matured,-we may regard, as the true commencement of the Reformation period, the year A.D. 1529.* Premising, then, only that the date of the publication of Cranmer's “ great Bible” was 1540-1, we proceed to adduce, from a passage in the Preface to that Bible to which Mr. Blunt himself appeals, in the page following that in which the paragraph in question occurs, a corroboration, such as Mr. Blunt seems to take pleasure in supplying, of the truth of his authoritative statement. “For," writes Cranmer, “it is not much above one hundred years ago since Scripture hath not been accustomed to be read in the vulgar tongue within this realm."
We will only add, to what we have already advanced, an invitation to our readers to look on both sides of Mr. Blunt's faithful portrait of the condition of the English Church, as re
# See Mr. J. H. Blunt's Reformation it did not suit Mr. Blunt's purpose, as of the Church of England, p. 50. it seems, to insert :-.
+ As an illustration of the probi. “Periculosa quoque res est testante bition of Bibles in the vernacular beato Hieronymo textum sacræ Script. tongue at the beginning of the 16th de uno in aliud idioma transferre, eo century, we insert the following lines quod in ipsis translationibus non de from the Shepherd's Calendar, printed facili idem in omnibus sensus retinetur, by Pynson in the year 1506, contrast prout idem beatus Hieronymus, etsi ing the difference in this respect be. inspiratus fuisset, se in hoc sæpius tween the French and English na fatetur errasse; statuimus igitur et tions:
ordinamus ut nemo deinceps aliquem “In theyr mother tongue they be so textum sacræ Script. auctoritate sua in fortunate
linguam Anglicanam vel aliam trans. They have the Bybyll and the Apo. ferat per viam libri, libelli, aut tractatus, calyps of Devynyte
nec legatur aliquis hujusmodi liber, li. With other nobyll bokes that in bellus aut tractatusjam novitertempore Englyche may no be."
dicti Johannis Wycliff sive citra com. The Edition of 1604 has the last positus, sive componendus in posterum, line altered thus :-“With other noble in parte vel in toto publice vel occulte bookes that now in English be.” (See sub majoris excommunicationis poenâ Notes and Queries, 24th March, 1860.) quousque per loci diæcesanum, seu si
We subjoin the well known prohi. res exegerit per concilium provinciale bition of Archbishop Warham, dis ipsa translatio fuerit approbata, qui tinguishing by italics the portion which contra fecerit ut fautor hæresis et
erroris similiter puniatur.”
gards the reading of the Bible in the vulgar tongue,"up to the Reformation period.”
Having now laid before our readers some of the grounds on which we have arrived at the conclusion that Mr. Blunt is not entitled to credit as an historian of the English Reformation, we proceed to point out some few of the fundamental theological errors which pervade his History, and which render it, in our judgment, a fitting stepping-stone to Rome, instead of being, as we might reasonably have inferred from its title, an account of the deliverance of England's Church and nation from Rome's errors and superstitions. We have already directed the attention of our readers to the fact, and it is one which serves as a key to the right understanding of the character of this book, that Mr. Blunt employs the word “Reformation” in a sense against which we desire to record our emphatic protest. The English Reformation, in accordance with Mr. Blunt's definition of it, was “a readjustment of the Constitutional, Doctrinal, and Ritual system of the Church of England.” (p. 3.) It is not very easy to understand, according to Mr. Blunt's views, wherein this “readjustment” consisted, or what was its precise nature and extent. We could understand his position, widely as we should differ from his opinion, had he distinctly affirmed that the doctrine of the English Church neither needed nor underwent any change at the Reformation. To those, however, who believe that, whilst error is multiform, truth is ever one and the same, there appears a fundamental error, so far as doctrine is involved, in Mr. Blunt's assertion that “such variations as are apparent between the ancient and modern Church of England do not necessarily indicate error in either.” It appears to us that no change of doctrine can be made without either the introduction or the rejection of error. Either the doctrine of the pre-Reformation Church was in accordance with the one unerring standard of truth, and the Reformation-so far as it involved doctrinal change-involved also the admission of error; or, as we believe, the truth had been overlaid with an accumulation of wood, hay, and stubble, and the doctrinal changes effected at the Reformation consisted in the rejection of the corrupt dogmas of man's invention, and the restoration, in their place, of the faith once for all delivered to the saints — the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, -purged from the dross of Roman error and superstition.
Nor is it difficult, we think, to determine whether the balance of doctrinal truth is to be found, in Mr. Blunt's judgment, on the side of the pre-Reformation or the postReformation Church. With regard to many of those illustrious men who, in our own and in other countries, were the precursors and the instruments of the Reformation, Mr. Blunt can
scarcely find words sufficiently strong to expose the wildness of their errors, or the extravagant excesses of their writings. Widely as our own estimate of the labours and sufferings, both of the pioneers and of the chief instruments of the Re. formation, differs from that of Mr. Blunt, we are not only ready to allow, but prepared to maintain, that the Refor. mation of the English Church, as directed and controlled by men like Cranmer, Ridley, and Jewel, was characterized by a degree of sobriety, moderation, and self-restraint, which could scarcely have been anticipated, had men like Wycliffe, Knox, or even Luther occupied the same position. We are constantly reminded, however, in the perusal of Mr. Blunt's book, that the difference between the writer and ourselves is a difference rather of principle than of detail; rather as to the necessity for the real work of the Reformation, in that sense in which we understand the word, than as to the manner in which the work might best have been accomplished.
We will take, by way of illustration, Mr. Blunt's representation of the abuses which had grown out of mediæval statements respecting the efficacy of the Eucharist viewed in the light of a propitiatory sacrifice, alike for the living and for the dead. Instead of striking at the very root of the error, as our Reformers did, when brought, by the light of Holy Scripture, to a true perception of the nature of this Holy Sacrament, and eliminating from “The Order for the Administration of the Lord's Supper,” every allusion to the consecrated elements as a sacrificial offering, Mr. Blunt, as far as we understand his views, would have been satisfied, or more than satisfied, with such regulations as would have served to restrain the abuses of chantries and private masses; nay, further, he expressly vindicates the doctrine of which, as we believe, these abuses are the natural and necessary offspring, in words in which one of the errors of Mr. Blunt's school of Theology is assumed, in a characteristic manner, as an indisputable portion of primitive truth; viz., that “ the Holy Eucharist or Mass had, of course, from the most primitive times, been considered to benefit, though in some unknown way, the dead as well as the living.” (p. 31.)
Again, Mr. Blunt, having expounded at considerable length (pp. 439—443) the doctrines affirmed in the first five of the Ten Articles of 1536, observes, with reference to the fourth of those Articles, viz., that touching “the Sacrament of the Altar,” that this is “ a full and firm assertion of the doctrine of the Real Presence as it is, and always has been, held by High Church divines in the Church of England.” (p. 442.)
But what, we ask, is the doctrine contained in the words which Mr. Blunt has just quoted, and to which, in language, not of palliation, in consideration of the prevailing errors of the Vol. 68.–No. 379.
times, but of absolute and unqualified approbation, he here refers? Why, it is doctrine not only diametrically opposed, as we confidently assert, to the prevailing tone and spirit of the Liturgy, Articles, and Homilies of the Reformed English Church, but so distinctly condemned by the so-called Black Rubric appended to the Communion Office, that we need but to present the two statements to the eye of our readers in parallel columns, in order to exhibit, in the strongest light, their absolute incompatibility. Extract from the fourth of the Ten Extract from the so-called Black Articles of 1536.
Rubric. “ Under the same form and “No adoration is intended or figure of bread and wine, the ought to be done either unto the very self-same body and blood of Sacramental bread or wine there Christ (i.e., which was born of bodily received, or unto any corthe Virgin Mary and suffered poral presence of Christ's natural upon the Cross) is corporally, flesh and blood .... and the nareally, and in the very substance tural Body and Blood of our exhibited, distributed, and received Saviour Christ are in heaven and of all them which receive the said not here." Sacrament."
Compare also the terms of Art. 29: “ Yet in no wise are they (the wicked) partakers of
Christ.” If any further evidence be needed of the entire divergence of Mr. Blunt's theology from that of the Reformed English Church, we may refer our readers to the judgment which he has pronounced (p. 487) upon the remaining five of the Ten Articles of 1536, viz., those which treat of Images, of Honouring of Saints, of Praying to Saints, of Rites and Ceremonies, and of Purgatory. These Articles, whilst discouraging and repressing certain superstitious practices, nevertheless approve of the erection of "images of Christ and our Lady” in churches, represent the kneeling and offering to them, with other like worshipping, although done before the Images, as rightly done to God and in His honour—they speak of the saints as already reigning in glory with Christ—they commend praying to saints as intercessors as very laudable—and they commend as a very good and charitable deed, the praying for souls departed, and causing others to pray for them in masses and exequies, whereby they may be relieved, and holpen of some part of their pain.
It would be a work of supererogation, as regards the readers of the Christian Observer, to expose the inconsistency of the doctrines contained in these Articles, and of the Rites and Ceremonies which they enjoin or sanction, with the Formu. Jaries of the English Church. To those Formularies, Mr. Blunt, with a discretion which he does not commonly exercise, has