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• Erastians: for the most part lawyers, that could not endure to hear of any thunderbolts of excommunication but what were heated in their own forge, in other words, that were not controled by some known rule of law.'
Perinchief, p. 32. We must confess ourselves quite unable to discern the boasted advantages of this system, this alliance between the Church and the State. On this hypothesis, the Inquisition Erastianized, when it disavowed all power to inflict ecclesiastical punishment, and gave over its victims to the secular arm. It seems to us hardly possible to devise a system that should more completely trammel the free exercise of religion, than this subjection of Christian discipline to the enactments 'of a secular tribunal, and this concession to the magistrate, of a' coercive power' in reference to Christian communities. Any thing, indeed, is better than the despotism of the priesthood. It is so entirely at variance with the whole character of the pastoral office, that when it prevails, it assumes a spirit of malignant and unrelenting persecution, peculiarly its own. But, though something might be gained in this respect by the substitution of lay authority, in all other respects the effect would be most mischievous, and the complete secularization of things sacred would be the inevitable result. Such, in fact, has been the effect, where not counteracted by circumstances, of the masked Erastianism of the English Establishment.
The present volume brings down the narrative of events, to the feeble efforts of King Charles after the decisive battle of Naseby, and his melancholy and disconsolate winter' at Oxford in 1645-6. Mr. Godwin appears to have taken great and successful pains in the use of his authorities ; his matter is well condensed and distributed ; and he has in general exercised a sound discretion in his views and reasonings. But his chief excellence appears to us to lie in the discrimination and description of character; and the frequency with which these interesting details are introduced, seems to shew that they are with the Author, a favourite exercise of his powers. We have already given a specimen or two of this kind, but we shall make room for one of a more highly finished cast than those which we have before referred to.
• Fairfax was an admirable officer ; but it will be decided by all posterity, as it was decided by their contemporaries, that it was impossible to name a man in the island, of so consummate a military genius, so thoroughly qualified to conduct the war with a victorious event, as Cromwell. He was also, whatever some historians have said on the subject, of scarcely less weight in the senate than in the field. Cromwell was, besides, an accomplished statesman. There was in this respect a striking contrast between him and Fairfax.
Fairfax, richly endowed with those qualities which make a successful commander, was in council as innocent and unsuspecting as a child. He had great coolness of temper, an eye to take in the whole disposition of a field, and to remark all the advantages which its positions afforded, and a temper happily poised between the yielding and severe, so as to command the most ready obedience, and to preserve a perfect discipline. Fairfax was formed for the executive branch of the art military in the largest sense of that term. But in all that related to government and a state, he seemed intuitively to feel the desire to be guided. He was not acquainted with the innermost folds of the human character, and was therefore perpetually liable to the chance of being led and misled. He was, guided by Cromwell; he was guided by his wife ; and if he had fallen into hands less qualified for the office, he would have been guided by them. But Crom. well saw into the hearts of men. He could adapt himself, in a degree at least exceeding every character of modern times, to the persons with whom he had dealings. He was most at home perhaps with the soldiers of his army ; he could pray with them; he could jest with them : in every thing by which the heart of a man could in a manner be drawn out of his bosom to devote itself to the service of another, he was a consummate master. It was not because he was susceptible only of the rugged and the coarse, that he was so eminently a favou. rite with the private soldier. He was the friend of the mercurial and light-hearted' Henry Marten. He gained, for a tine, the entire ascendancy over the gentle, the courteous, the well-bred, and the manly Earl of Manchester. He was the sworn brother of Sir Henry Vane. He deceived Fairfax; he deceived Milton.'
Did he deceive them ?-Or did he only deceive himself? The Republicans were disappointed in Cromwell; the Presbyterian leaders were his bitterest enemies; but, that he was a hypocrite either in his early patriotism or in his religion, has never been substantiated. Into this subject, however, we shall not further enter at present, having recently devoted an article to the Memoirs of this illustrious individual*, and having the prospect of a more suitable occasion for resuming the inquiry.
We shall wait with some impatience for the remaining volumes.
Eclectic Review, N.S. Vol. XV. Art. Cromwell's Memoirs.
Art. II. A Course of Lectures, containing a Description and Systematic Arrangement
of the several Branches of Divinity : accompanied with an Account both of the principal Authors, and of the Progress which has been made at different Periods in Theological Learning. By Herbert Marsh, D.D. F.R.S. and F.A.S. Lord Bishop of Peterborough, and Margaret Professor of Divinity.
Parts V., VI., and VII. 8vo. Cambridge, 1820, 2, 3. No great number of years has elapsed since the utmost
alarm was excited throughout the country, in reference to the prevalence of irreligion, and the diffusion of infidel sentiments by means of cheap publications, adapted to the capacities of the lower classes of society. Speeches were delivered, and addresses were got up, full of vehement declamations against the agents of infidelity and blasphemy; and the agitations and outcries of the period were such as might have induced the apprehension that the subversion of Christianity could be at no great distance. It might now be neither uninteresting nor unprofitable to institute an inquiry into the methods employed in those times, to counteract the spreading mischief, for the purpose of estimating the amount of the services rendered to the cause of Revelation by those who represented it as being in peril, and whose stations and connexions would have imparted to their efforts an extensively beneficial influence. The “ Apology for the Bible” of Watson, and the “ Evidences of Christianity” of Paley, not to advert to other contemporaneous publications, are highly honourable memorials of the zeal of those writers, and of their solicitude to preserve their fellow Christians from the contagion of infidelity. What parallel examples of authorship have the later times to produce? What defences of the Bible, what refutation of calumnies against the Scriptures, what expositions of its principles, what exhibitions of its facts, what representations of its utility, have come from the pens of mitred or unmitred Dignitaries, as demonstrations of their Christian zeal? “A child may “ write them.”
At Cambridge, however, the Bishop of Peterborough was rendering a service to the cause of truth, by the delivery of the Lectures which are comprised in the first two of the parts be
These Lectures are on the authenticity and credibility of the New Testament; and it is hardly possible,' the Author remarks, that these important questions should be ex• amined at a period more seasonable than the present, when
every effort has been made to shake the fabric of Christianity 'to its very basis.' In respect to the persons who composed the Professor's auditory, a concise, perspicuous statement of
the grounds on which the New Testament is received as of Divine authority, could not but be considered as desirable, and could not fail of being useful. Such a service the Professor was well qualified to perform. His extensive learning, his critical acumen, his practised skill in comparing testimonies and estimating authorities, the clearness and strergth with which his judgement can conduct an argumentative process, and the luminous order in which he is able to arrange the several branches of a subject, qualify him for treating with great advantage the several topics which this portion of his lectures includes. In this department, we willingly acknowledge his merits, and receive with pleasure these products of his labour.
To expect novelty in the pages of a writer who brings under discussion subjects already examined by the keenest minds, and viewed in every form and relation in which the advocates and the opponents of Christianity have for successive centuries been accustomed to consider them, would be most unreasonable. Such a writer accomplishes his own purpose, and satisfies every fair demand, if the information which he communicates be full and appropriate, though it may be repeated for the fiftieth time, and if the reasoning by which he endeavours to establish the ultimate facts for which such information is collected, be clear, compact, and convincing. No reasoner can be more attentive to the framing of his propositions, or the nicety of his expressions, than is Bishop Marsh : his advances are never made to new positions, till the points necessary for their defence have been secured.
The authenticity of the New Testament is the first of the questions which the Margaret Professor examines. He commences his inquiries by defining the sense in which he employs the term • Authentic,' in the use of which many preceding writers have been very inaccurate.
• Some writers use the term • authentic' in so extensive a sense, as to make it include both the question of authorship, and the question of fidelity and truth. In this acceptation of the term, a book, though genuine if written by the person to whom it is ascribed, is not authentic, unless the accounts which it contains are worthy of credit. With this distinction between the terms authentic and * genuine,' great caution is necessary to prevent confusion in the conduct of the argument. For, with this distinction, the proof of genuineness is one thing, the proof of authenticity another. And though we may often argue from the former to the latter, we cannot always do it. There are many books, both ancient and modern, of which no doubt is entertained in regard to the question of authorship, but of which doubts may be entertained in regard to the question, whether the authors have related what is worthy of credit. But 208
Marsh's Divinity Lectures. it too frequently happens, that writers who thus distinguish authenticity from genuineness, overlook the distinction in their mode of reasoning: and the very circumstance, that other writers have used the terms as synonymous, has led them more easily to the conclusion
, that when they have conducted the proof of genuineness, they have furnished also a proof of authenticity, even in their sense of the term. It is true, that when the question relates to the sacred writings
, a proof of the former affords a sure foundation, on which we may establish the truth of the latter. But the inference is not immediate, unless we take for granted, what it is our previous duty to prove. Another inconvenience arising from such an application of the terms . genuine' and authentic, is, that, though they are thus distinguished, they do not each for itself denote a separate quality, but are so far alike, that the latter includes the former, while it includes also an additional quality.
• These inconveniences will be avoided, by using the term authentic' in the confined sense, in which many English and most foreign writers use it; and by expressing the quality, otherwise included in the term “authentic, by a term which applies to that quality only. In this manner, all ambiguity will be avoided, and the argument may be conducted with precision. Instead, therefore, of employing the terms ' genuineness and authenticity,' I employ the terms authenticity and credibility;' the former to denote, that a book was written by the author to whom it is ascribed, the latter to denote, that the contents of the book are justly entitled to our assent. Lect. xxiii. pp. 3, 4.
Having in this manner settled the import of his terms, Bishop Marsh proceeds to examine the question of authenticity, which, he reminds his readers, is purely historical, to be determined on the same principles, and in the same manner, as the claims of any other ancient writings. The historical evidence
, consisting of the testimonies of ancient authors, he correctly disposes in point of order before the internal ; because where external evidence is so decisive as in the present case, and · where no preparation is wanted for its reception, we should • place it in the foremost rank. In the arrangement of testimonies, he has deviated from the general practice, adopting, not the descending, but the ascending series, and tracing the lines of evidence upwards from the Fathers of the fourth century to the apostolic age. The reasons which he assigns for this deviation, are very satisfactory, particularly the following.
• But there is another reason for not beginning with their works, (those of the Apostolic Fathers,) which is no less cogent than the preceding. When we appeal to one set of writings, for the purpose of establishing the authenticity of another, we should take especial care, that the writings to which we make our first appeal, should themselves be free from all suspicion. But the writings ascribed to