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that "the world lieth in the wicked one;" and, if God's servants are fully tolerated in such a world, it is an immense benefit and mercy.
Let it be noticed to Luther's honour, that he was the uniform opposer of persecution for things simply religious. On one or two points, however, I shall produce quotations, respecting some of the persons concerned in the Reformation, as bearing on the subjects discussed in this Treatise. In general, I cannot but think that there was much true wisdom, (though occasionally it was tarnished with worldly policy,) in effecting the reformation, as far as possible, without a violent and sudden subversion of all that men had been accustomed to; and in grafting, as it were, the intended alterations, where it could be done, on the existing state of things, distinguishing between the precious and the vile. For, where large bodies of men are suddenly, by entire and extensive innovations, unsettled from all former usages, it is no easy matter to keep them within any bounds of moderation, or to bring them to any settlement; as late events have shewn. Devastation and destruction are the inevitable consequences, which nothing but miracles can prevent: and the opposition of rulers and princes, in self-defence, must have a tendency (apart from direct malignant or suspicious persecution,) to increase exceedingly the difficulty and danger.-It seems also to me, that even the apostles themselves, and their coadjutors, introduced the Christian dispensation, in various particulars, and as far as the case could possibly admit, in the same manner; and with no violent innovation; none, not absolutely necessary. "The
"wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated, full of cc mercy and good fruits, without partiality and "without hypocrisy : and the fruit of righteousness " is sown in peace of them that make peace." In this silent manner Christian baptism gradually superseded circumcision, as the initiatory ordinance, the sacramental sign and seal of regeneration; the Lord's day succeeded to the sabbath of the Mosaic law; and many similar changes took place, by a leisurely process, without unsettling the minds of multitudes, not capable of acting properly at once in a new situation, which must have excited all their prejudices and passions, in the highest degree. These things, indeed, were conducted under the guidance and counsel of inspired men; and were altogether right, and models for imitation; but those of the reformation were managed by very wise and excellent, yet uninspired men; and therefore not in all respects right, but to be judged of according to the apostolical models.
In respect to provision for the ministers of religion, we may learn the matured judgment of Luther from the following quotation: Luther 'with great seriousness admonished the Elector,' (John, Elector of Saxony,) to make some pro'vision for the poor labouring clergy. The Elector 'took all in good part; but appears to have been 'startled at the idea of augmenting the salaries of 'the clergy out of his own treasury: That, he 'said, would be a matter of great difficulty: and ' he asked Luther what he had to propose on the
f James iii. 14-18.
subject. The answer was simply this: "In the general visitation of the whole country, let there be taken an accurate account of all the ancient revenues; and, if these be found insufficient for 'the purpose, then let the suitable payments to 'the officiating clergy be made from new imposts on the respective towns and parishes, which they may well bear, being now relieved from popish oppressions." Likewise, to a similar inquiry 'concerning the augmentation of the academical 'salaries, Luther replied: "There is an abundance ' of means for this purpose from the many vacant 'offices; for the number of the clergy in the 'collegiate church of All Saints is now reduced 'from eighty to eighteen. All the rest are dead, or have left their situations." The most expe'rienced financier could scarcely have returned a 'better answer to the question. This redundant 'wealth was become very considerable, from the 'abolition of private masses, and many other protestant innovations. But it is allowed by historians, that not one halfpenny of it was ever ' applied by Frederick (the father of John,) to his ' own specific emolument.'1
Luther and Melancthon, and the reformers in general, considered the academies, or universities, as properly seminaries of instruction in the sacred scriptures, and in that learning which was suited to qualify men for the sacred ministry, or for filling up other situations in the community, as the well-instructed servants of Christ. In this
'Dean Milner's Continuation of the Rev. J. Milner's. Eccl. Hist. vol. iv. p. 965–967.
view, these would be equally intitled to support, on religious principle, as the labouring clergy.
Neither Luther, nor the other pious reformers in general, seem to have thought that the tithes, and other emoluments of the clergy, however, at that time, enormous and perverted, ought to be wholly alienated from the sacred use to which they had at first been given. These formed no part of the estates out of which they had been paid time immemorial; and could not be due to the possessors of those estates. Kings and nobles had no right to seize on them for secular purposes. They were far too large for the support, in any due moderation, of the officiating clergy, under any form of church government: but the general education of youth, according to their station, and the endowing or supporting of schools of learning, especially sacred learning, in every country of Europe, adequate to the emergency of the times, might have profitably employed the whole of them; at least with a proper reserve for the support of the pious and destitute aged: and thepresent and future generations may lament, that the princes and nobles, in the different countries concerned, did not follow the counsel of the reformers in this important matter, or imitate the noble disinterested conduct of the wise Frederick, Elector of Saxony.
It remains to be inquired, whether these reformers were, or were not, in this particular, wiser than those who, in modern times, would have the whole expenses of all such matters, and of every thing connected with them, left to voluntary contribution; because, in the primitive times, when
there had not been, nor could be, any funds freely assigned, or divinely appointed, these expenses were thus defrayed. And let it be re
membered, that they who argue for this have to contend, not only with human wisdom in moderns, not only with the wisdom of God in Hezekiah, Josiah, and Nehemiah, but with the express institution of the divine law, as soon as the professors of true religion were become a nation.
How far voluntary contributions, without an establishment, or any permanent fund or revenue, could support, through populous nations, all the expenses for providing for ministers and their families, for erecting and keeping in repair places for public worship, and for seminaries of education, at present generally allowed to be expedient, if not necessary; the straitened, not to say distressed, circumstances of too many pious dissenting ministers, and the contributions raised, from many others besides dissenters, for several of these purposes, may enable the impartial reader to judge.
I shall add but one more quotation, in order to introduce a few observations on the subject: John, the new Elector of Saxony, conducted the religious concerns of his dominions in a manner quite different from that of his brother and pre'decessor, Frederick. The latter connived at and 'tolerated, rather than avowed and established, 'the alterations introduced by Luther and his ' associates. But the former no sooner found 'himself in possession of the sovereign authority, ' than he exercised it with resolution and activity, 'by forming new ecclesiastical constitutions,