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phemies against Messiah, has been ground to dust, and scattered to the four winds, the sport of tyrants; and while the other empires of Europe have been convulsed to their centres, and deluged with blood, Geneva has enjoyed comparative repose, under the protection of Messiah. Such views as these need no apology to those who are familiar with scripture history.
In Holland too, the seminaries of the Calvinistic school, maintained long their integrity, and indeed from the latest accounts, they do so in some measure even to the present time. The works of Witsius, Spanheim, Rivetus, Des Marets, Salmasius, Heinsius, Triglandius, Hornbeck, Hoton, Goetius, Amelius, and others, who were of the Genevan school, have been like salt in preserving the Belgic churches, and have in some measure saved them from the corruption which has almost ruined most other protestant churches on the continent.
In the north of Europe, we have reason to hope, that very considerable progress is making in the diffusion of a knowledge of divine truth. Platon, the late Metropolitan of Moscow, in his exhibit of the doctrines of the Russian Greek church, states, explicitly, his belief in the divinity of Christ Jesus, and his atonement as the only hope of the sinner, and also of the necessity of faith in him, in order to salvation. These views he gives, not merely as his own personal opinions, but as those of the Russian church, and the book is extensively read and referred to as a standard work in Russia*.
The opinions respecting the atonement, which have been held by the divines of the British empire, have not yet been mentioned. They have been purposely reserved that they might be presented in one connected view. Here a vast body of facts offer themselves, from which but a few can be selected.
Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, in his book concern
* Mr. Daschkoff the Russian ambassador informs me, that the greatest reliance may be placed on this book, as giving an accurate view of the doctrines of the Greek church, and that it is well translated.
ing the Virgin, and original sin, says:"Some say if all are not polluted by Adam's sin and chargeable with it, how can it be asserted that no one can be saved without a satisfaction made for the sin of Adam? For how can a just God demand from them a satisfaction, which they have not? To which I reply that God does not demand from any sinner more than he owes. But because no one has power to pay as much as he owes, Christ alone, has paid for all who shall be saved, more than is due.” Here we have the doctrine of atonement asserted in as plain terms as words can express it. We have also the extent of the atonement," for all who shall be saved,” from which we discover that he did not maintain that Christ, for all men as well those who are saved, as those who are damned, paid the price of redemption. He lived towards the end of the eleventh century, and considering the station which he occupied, the influence which he had over the church in Britain, and the attention which he paid to the subjects upon which he wrote, we cannot entertain a doubt but that the language, which he uses both here and in other parts of his book, expresses the opinions which were generally held at that time by British Christians,
But in Britain, as well as in nearly all other countries of Europe, most of the professors of religion, in a great measure lost sight of the efficacy of the atoning sacrifice of Messiah, and placed their reliance for salvation, upon the observance of unmeaning or criminal ceremonies, and the absolution of priests, until their eyes were opened by the reformation, which dawned early upon the British isles. The name of John Wickliff, is known to every one who has the least acquaintance with the history of Great Britain. He was celebrated by his contemporaries as a man of profound erudi. tion, and uncommon genius; and, for that age, he was doubtless an extraordinary man. He filled the theological chair in the college of Oxford; and his first appearance before the public in such a manner as to attract much public notice, was in the year 1360, one hundred and sixty years before Luther began his reformation in Germany. In that year hc
appeared as a champion for the privileges of the University. While engaged in this controversy he dared to utter some censures against the Roman pontiff, which provoked the vengeance of the catholic monks and bishops. In 1367 he was degraded from his office in the University. He appealed to Urban V. who confirmed the sentence that had been pronounced against him. He now threw off all restraint, attacked the monks, and exposed, with great boldness, the profligacy of their lives. He did not stop here, for though his views were rather obscure, yet he taught that men must rely upon the atonement of Christ Jesus alone for salvation, and that every other ground of hope must prove fallacious, He was persecuted, but his opinions spread extensively, and he had many followers, who were called Wickliffites. He died in 1387. All he did was but like the shedding of a few rays upon the darkness of the night, rendering the darkness visible.
What he effected, however, paved the way for the introduction of a more correct knowledge of the system of grace into the British empire, at the time of the reformation. The chief instrument in the hand of Providence for effecting this glorious work was John Knox, who, next to Luther, and Calvin, has been the most distinguished mark for the shafts of ridicule and calumny, by infidels, heretics, and other ungodly men. This illustrious reformer was born in 1505, five years after Charles V., emperor of Germany, at Haddington, in Scotland. He was descended of respectable parentage, and commenced his liberal education at the grammar school in Haddington. From this school he was transferred to the university of St. Andrews, where he commenced, at nineteen years of age, his collegiate course in the college of St. Silvador, at the same time with George Buchanan. He made great progress in his studies, and manifested peculiar facility in the study of languages, especially the Greek, in which be made uncommon proficiency. Both he and Buchanan were disgusted with the scholastic jargon, which occupied so conspicuous a place in the seminaries at that time, and betook themselves to other sources of improve
ment. Knox, read with great interest, the writings of Je. rome and Augustine, especially the former. He soon perceived that the doctrines of religion had been entirely corrupted, by the catholic clergy; that in Scotland, little more of Christianity than the name had been retained, and to this corruption, as its genuine source, he attributed the shameful profligacy of the clergy, which exceeded perhaps that of every other country in Europe. Before this time indeed a gleam of light had shone upon Scotland, through the preaching of Mr. Patrick Hamilton, a noble youth who had gone to Germany, induced by the fame of Luther, and had returned to Scotland to expose the corruptions of the church. He was persecuted, and received the crown of martyrdom in the year 1528. While Knox was employed in search of truth with a noble independence, he met with Mr. George Wishart, who was of a most amiable character, a very devout man, had embraced the protestant religion, and was of great use in giving Knox correct views of the system of grace. About the year 1549, he went to Geneva and heard the lectures of Calvin, whose views of the doctrine of the atonement, of the divine decrees, of faith, and of church government, he fully embraced. Upon his return to his native country, he proclaimed the doctrines of grace, as taught in the Geneva school, with a boldness, which excites a high degree of admiration in the mind of every enlightened Christian. His great theme was the excellency of the atonement, on which he descanted with a most commanding eloquence, and with astonishing effect. Thousands of all orders embraced his doctrines, became advocates for his plan of church government, and renounced the Roman catholic religion. The sword of persecution awoke, but nothing could check the progress of truth. The prospects of salvation through the atonement of Messiah, were like the cheering beams of the morning sun after a dark and tempestuous night, and as well might the enemies of the atonement have attempted to impede the progress of the car of day, as to check the march of the reformation. The result of the popish opposition to the truth, were civil wars which
agitated the whole nation, and the effect of the gospel was, in this case, what Christ predicted it should be, to set a man against his father, the daughter-in-law against the motherin-law, &c. But all hastened the progress of the light: Hundreds died upon the scaffold, exulting in the hope of a blessed immortality obtained through the mediation, obedience, death and intercession of Christ Jesus. Indeed all the martyrs, who laid down their lives for the truths of Christianity, from the proto-martyr Stephen, to the earl of Argyle, in Scotland, give testimony to the truth and value of the atonement; which supported them amidst all their cruel tortures, and enabled thousands to sing in triumph over death even in the midst of the flames.
While things were thus advancing toward the abolition of popery in Scotland, the head of the church was by the dispensations of his Providence, preparing the way in England for the promotion of truth. King Henry VIII. was upon the throne of that kingdom at the same time that Charles V. reigned in Germany, and Francis I. in France. He had married Catharine of Arragon, the sister of Charles V. Catharine, before her marriage to Henry had been contracted to his brother, which afforded him a pretext, when he formed an attachment to Ann Bolyn, to seek a divorce from her, which according to the notions of those times among catholics, could only be obtained from the Roman Pontiff. To the pope Henry made application, but he was unwilling to offend so powerful a monarch as Charles V., and refused to grant the dispensation. The king was resolved that he would not be thwarted in his project, but at the advice of Cranmer, whom he elevated about the same time to the rank of archbishop, to promote his views applied to the colleges and universities of Britain and of other kingdoms of Europe for advice. Th y were kaanimously of opinion, that a man could not legally marry his brother's wife. Henry proclaimed the British empire independent of the see of Rome, and divided between himself and his archbishop, that power over all ecclesiastical af