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of heaven!". Were these truly evangelical sentiments more prevalent among professors of every description, the ravages of infidelity would cease-Christians themselves become more, united, and rapid advances would be thus making towards their moral and religious improvement.
In this imperfect state to see just alike, with respect to the doctrines of revelation, is impossible ; though surely it is in the power of every individual, acknowledging the divinity of the Saviour's Mission, to cherish the kind and charitable disposition, for which he was eminently distinguished. Indeed, by the cultivation of this temper alone, we shall most effectually diffuse the triumphs of GENUINE Christianity.
But the author having already fully stated the origin, nature, and design of this little publication in his Explanatory Dedtcation, will only add-this animating consideration--that notwithstanding the jarrings and contentions of parties, for their several opinions and modes of worship, which the subsequent pages attempt to pourtray, the Gospel of Jesus Christ undebased by the prejudices, and uncontrouled by the passions of frail humanity, continues to operate like the great powers of nature, with a silent but irresistible energy for the renovation of mankind.
The present impression, consisting of Five Thousand Copies, has undergone various alterations, the article of the Johnsonians being the only addition. The author has availed himself of the remarks both of friends and foes; and it is presumed, that the work now possesses greater correctness and impartiality. Nothing, indeed, has been omitted which might render it less unworthy of the extensive and almost unparalleled patronage it has received from the religious public. The Chronological Table was added with the view of interesting young people, and of inducing them to form a just idea of the leading and important facts of Ecclesiastical History. The well informed Christian seldom falls a prey to enthusiasm, superstition, or bigotry. The author's only object in drawing up the Sketch was to inform the understanding, and by informing the understanding, to promote the mild and quiet, the generous and unassuming spirit of SCRIPTURAL CHRISTIANITY.
ISLINGTON, dugust 26th, 1808.
JOHN WICKLIFFE' was born in the North of England about the year 1324, and educated at Oxford. He was the first person in this country who openly condemned the errors and corruptions of Popery. The Monks at the University excited his indignation : but the Pope taking their part against him, he was obliged to withdraw into the country. His place of retirement was Lutterworth, in Leicestershire, of which living he had for some time been in possession, and part of his pulpit may be seen standing at this day. Here he continued his opposition to the Romish Church with equal steadiness ; but had he not been patronized by the Duke of Lancaster, he must have fallen a victim to his fidelity. He died peaceably in his bed at Lutterworth, in 1384, leaving behind him many followers. The chief of his works is entitled Trialogus, being a dialogue with three speakers--Truth, a Lie, and Wisdom ! He wrote several things both in Latin and English, but this. is almost the only work which was printed. Agreeable to a decree of the Council of Constance, held in 1416, his bones were dug up and burnt, his books forbidden, and his memory branded with opprobrious heresy. But these fulmi
tiations served only to promote the glorious cause which Wickliffe espoused;
and hence he has obtained the honourable title, the Morning Star of the Reformation ! On this account it is, that his head stands first among the portraits prefixed to this publication.
MARTIN LUTHER, born 1483, at Isleben, a town of Saxony, "in Germany. After passing through the usual stages of education at one of their Universities, he entered the order of the Augustinian Monks. His learning was considerable, and his spirit unconquerable. Indulgencies being sold by Leo X. in order to obtain money for the building of St. Peter's at Rome, Luther set his face against a nieasure so inimical to the interests of virtue and piety. Au alarm therefore being sounded—the Romish Church was shaken to its foundation, and these convulsive throes term. inated in the REFORMATION. But, like Wickliffe, the Reformer would have failed in his attempt, had not some of the German princes (particularly. Frederick of Saxony) taken him under their protection. After having written wany books, and exerted himself on various occasions with a wonderful intrepidity, Luther died in the year 1546, lamented by his followers, and revered by the Protestant world. His temper, it must be confessed, was violent, but the times seem to have required such a disposition. He, indeed, appears to have been raised up by Providence for that stupendous work which he accomplished.
JOHN CALVIN was born at Noyon, iv Picardy, 1509 ; he received his education àt Paris and other places where different branches of literature were taught with celebrity. Disa covering early marks of piety, his father designed hin for the church, and accordingly he was soon preser ted to a living near Ncyjn, the place of his nativity. He, however, conceiving a dislike to the corruptions of Popery, quitted the
Charch, and turned his attention to the law. Visiting Paris, he made himself known to those who had privately embraced the Reformatiou. But a persecution arising against the Reformers, he went to Basil, where he published his famous work, Institutions of the Christian Religion, which spread abroad his fame, though, it is said, he was then desirous of living in obscurity. Not long after this he became Minister and Professor of Divinity at Geneva. In this department he acquitted hiinself with ability, and was indefatigable in promoting the Reformation. He died in the year 1564, continuing to discharge the duties of his station to the last, with his usual fidelity. However great and even good he may be pronounced by his followers, who are numerous, his burning Servetus, a Spanish physician, for writing against the doctrine of the Trinity, leaves an indelible stain on his memory.
JAMES ARMINIUS, founder of the sect of the Arminians, was born at Dude-Water in Holland, in 1560, educated at the university of Leyden, and finished his studies at Geneva. He was ordained minister at Amsterdam, 1588, where his sermons were much admired for their learning and solidity, Being appointed to defend the doctrine of Predestination, he, upon examining the subject, found himself under the necessity of relinquishing the doctrine, and of embracing the opposite opiniop. This raised a great clamour against him, but his integrity was unimpeachable. In 1603 Arminius was made Professor of Divinity at Leyden, and in 1607 he wrote an excellent letter to the Ambassador of the Elector Palatine, vindicating his opposition to Predestination and his opinions on other controverted topics. These contests however shortened his days, though he lived long enough to ex.jose the slander of his enemies. He died .1009, not having reached the fiftielh year of his age. He was distinguished for the evenness of his temper and the mildness of his manners. The