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Title: The Christian Recorder Vol. 2, Issue 11 (1821-January)

Date of first publication: 1821

Author: Various

Date first posted: July 24, 2020

Date last updated: July 24, 2020

Faded Page eBook #20200733

This eBook was produced by: Marcia Brooks, David Edwards, David T. Jones, Cindy Beyer & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net


On Episcopacy,
Rev. W. Berrian’s Travels in France and Italy,
Antiquities of the Jews,
Unpublished Letters of Parker, Ridley, Coverdale, &c.
Bishop of Peterborough’s Questions,
On the state of man “by nature.”



Vol. II. JANUARY, 1821. No. 11.



      I am one of those old fashioned persons, who are not given to change, but am content to make the Scriptures my guide in matters of faith and the practice of the primitive Church in matters of discipline. You will not therefore be surprised, Mr. Editor, when I tell you that I attribute the greater number of the divisions which affect the Christian Church, to a departure from the usage and practice of the Apostolic times. During that period the Churches were governed by the Apostles, and after their departure by Bishops; and convinced of this fact I must believe that the origin of Episcopacy is divine. It is not my intention to enter very minutely into the subject of the government of the Church, or to disturb your readers with a critical examination of the Fathers. I shall content myself with mentioning a few particulars which must carry great weight with every considerate man. Much stress has been justly laid by the friends of Episcopacy upon the sentiments of Clemens and Ignatius, as expressed in their writings; but in my humble opinion, the functions discharged by those holy-men, bring stronger conviction than any thing they have said. What were Clemens, Polycarp and Ignatius? They were Bishops. When did they flourish? In the days of the Apostles. What functions did they discharge? They censured, confirmed, and ordained. Can those who speak against Episcopacy, shew a single Church without Bishops till Calvin established one at Geneva?

The mention of this eminent man naturally excites a desire to know his sentiments upon the subject, but the desire is more easily raised than gratified, for there is no part of his Theological system which he changed so often as that concerning the government of the Church. At one time he praised the Church of England beyond measure, and declared that no curse could be too bad for those who rejected an Episcopacy so moderate. His friend Beza expresses himself in much the same manner. Both indeed, lived to eat their own words on this, as well as on many other subjects, but it was when interest and ambition had perverted their understandings. In no part of his Christian Institutes does Calvin reason so weakly as in book 4th, where he treats of the government of the Church. Here he tries to prove that Bishops, Elders, and Pastors are appellations without any distinction; but he is forced to have recourse to St. Jerome, a Father of the 4th Century, to give even a shadow of support to this strange opinion. “A Presbyter,” says St. Jerome, “is the same as a Bishop, and before dissensions in Religion were produced by the instigation of the devil, and one said I am of Paul, and another I am of Cephas, the Churches were governed by a common council of Presbyters. Afterwards, to destroy the seeds of dissension, the whole charge was committed to one. Therefore, as the Presbyters know that according to the custom of the Church they are subject to the Bishop, who presides over them, so let the Bishops know that their superiority to the Presbyters is more from custom than the fear of the Lord, and they ought to unite together in the government of the Church.”

It is evident that St. Jerome here alludes to the dissensions among the Corinthians mentioned by St. Paul, which induced him to appoint Bishops or Rulers to preserve discipline and order. There is a great want of candour in considering this quotation, favourable to an equality among Bishops and Presbyters, as the same Father asserts in many places the existence of Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons, as separate Orders in the Church: he calls the Bishops, the sons of the Apostles, and asserts that without the Bishop’s licence, neither Presbyter nor Deacon has a right to baptise; and he farther allows, that Episcopacy was in his time universally established. At first the appointment of Rulers or Bishops was not required, for the Apostles had the charge of the Churches, and so long as they were in the habit of frequently visiting them, matters proceeded decently and in order; but when the time of their departure drew nigh, they set Bishops over each Church, to govern with the advice of the Elders, but with a marked pre-eminence. That a distinct form of Church government is not laid down in the New Testament, may be easily accounted for from the gradual manner of communicating the will of Heaven. The Apostles were taught to extend their labours to the Gentiles; to desist from requiring their adherence to the Law, but these things were not revealed till they became necessary, and in the same manner the government of the Church was consolidated by gradual communications. Elders were first appointed, and while the Evangelists and Apostles made them frequent visits, matters proceeded very well, but after the first fervour of conversion passed away, difficulties and dissensions arose. The Elders or Presbyters contended for pre-eminence, and to restore order the Apostles found it necessary to ordain Bishops or Overseers over each Church.

The history of Christianity shews that no other government than that by Bishops ever prevailed in the Church, and recent discoveries have demonstrated that Episcopacy has been preserved among Christians insulated from their Brethren, and living for centuries in the midst of Pagans and Mahomedans. A Church of this description has lately been found in Mesopotamia, under the direction of an Archbishop and several Suffragans, which has flourished for many ages. And in the East, the late Dr. Buchanan gives a most interesting account of a large body of Christians, who inhabit the mountains of Malabar, with some extracts from which I shall conclude.

“The Syrian Christians inhabit the interior of Travancore and Malabar, in the South of India; and have been settled there from the early ages of Christianity. The first notices of this ancient people in recent times are to be found in the Portuguese histories. When Vasco de Gama arrived at Cochin on the coast of Malabar, in the year 1503, he saw the sceptre of the Christian King; for the Syrian Christians had formerly regal power in Malay-Ala.[1] The name or title of their last King was Beliarte; and he dying without issue, the dominion devolved on the King of Cochin and Diamper.

“When the Portuguese arrived, they were agreeably surprised to find upwards of a hundred Christian Churches on the coast of Malabar. But when they became acquainted with the purity and simplicity of their worship, they were offended. “These Churches,” said the Portuguese, “belong to the Pope.” “Who is the Pope?” said the natives, “we never heard of him.” The European priests were yet more alarmed, when they found that these Hindoo Christians maintained the order and discipline of a regular Church under Episcopal Jurisdiction; and that, for 1300 years past, they had enjoyed a succession of Bishops appointed by the Patriarch of Antioch. “We,” said they, “are of the true faith, whatever you from the West may be; for we come from the place where the followers of Christ were first called Christians.”

“When the power of the Portuguese became sufficient for their purpose, they invaded these tranquil Churches, seized some of the Clergy, and devoted them to the death of heretics. Then the inhabitants heard for the first time that there was a place called the Inquisition; and that its fires had been lately lighted at Goa, near their own land. But the Portuguese, finding that the people were resolute in defending their ancient faith, began to try more conciliatory measures. They seized the Syrian Bishop, Mar Joseph, and sent him prisoner to Lisbon, and then convened a Synod at one of the Syrian Churches called Diamper, near Cochin, at which the Romish Archbishop Menezes presided. At this compulsory Synod, 150 of the Syrian Clergy appeared. They were accused of the following practices and opinions, “That they had married wives; that they owned but two Sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; that they neither invoked Saints, nor worshipped images, nor believed in Purgatory: and that they had no other orders or names of dignity in the Church, than Bishop, Priest, and Deacon.” These tenets they were called on to abjure, or to suffer suspension from all Church benefices. It was also decreed that all the Syrian books on Ecclesiastical subjects that could be found, should be burned; “in order,” said the Inquisitors, “that no pretended apostolical monuments may remain.”

“The Churches on the sea coast were thus compelled to acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope: but they refused to pray in Latin, and insisted on retaining their own language and Liturgy. This point, they said, they would only give up with their lives. The Pope compromised with them: Menezes purged their Liturgy of its errors: and they retain their Syriac Language, and have a Syriac College unto this day. These are called the Syro-Roman Churches, and are principally situated on the sea coast.

“The Churches in the interior would not yield to Rome. After a show of submission for a little while, they proclaimed eternal War against the Inquisition; they hid their books, fled to the mountains, and sought the protection of the Native princes, who had always been proud of their alliance.

“Two centuries had elapsed without any particular information concerning the Syrian Christians in Malay-Ala. It was doubted by many whether they existed at all; but if they did exist, it was thought most probable that they must possess some interesting documents of Christian antiquity. The Author conceived the design of visiting them, if practicable, in his tour through Hindoostan. He presented a short memoir on the subject in 1805, to Marquis Wellesley, then Governor General of India; who was pleased to give orders that every facility should be afforded to him in the prosecution of his inquiries. About a year after that Nobleman had left India, the Author proceeded on his Tour. It was necessary that he should visit first the Court of the Rajah of Travancore, in whose dominions the Syrian Christians resided, that he might obtain permission to pass to their country. The two chief objects which he proposed to himself in exploring the state of this ancient people, were these: First, to investigate their literature and history, and to collect Biblical manuscripts. Secondly, if he should find them to be an intelligent people, and well acquainted with the Syriac Scriptures, to endeavour to make them instruments of illuminating the Southern part of India, by engaging them in translating their Scriptures into the Native Languages. He had reason to believe that this had not yet been done; and he was prepared not to wonder at the delay, when he reflected how long it was before his own countrymen began to think it their duty to make versions of the Scriptures, for the use of other nations.

‘From the palace of Travancore I proceeded to Mavelycar, and thence to the hills at the bottom of the high Ghauts which divide the Carnatic from Malay-ala. The face of the country in general, in the vicinity of the mountains, exhibits a varied scene of hill and dale, and winding streams. These streams fall from the mountains, and preserve the vallies in perpetual verdure. The woods produce pepper, cardimoms and cassia, or common cinnamon; also frankincense and other aromatic gums. What adds much to the grandeur of the scenery in this country is, that the adjacent mountains of Travancore are not barren, but covered with forests of teak wood (the Indian oak) producing, it is said, the largest limber in the world.

‘The first view of the Christian Churches in this sequestered region of Hindoostan, connected with the idea of their tranquil duration for so many ages, cannot fail to excite pleasing emotions in the mind of the beholder. The form of the oldest buildings is not unlike that of some of the old Parish Churches in England; the style of building is of Saracenic origin. They have sloping roofs, pointed arch windows and buttresses supporting the walls. The beams of the roof being exposed to view are ornamented; and the ceiling of the choir and altar is circular and fretted. In the Cathedral Churches, the shrines of the deceased bishops are placed on each side of the altar. Most of the Churches are built of a reddish stone,[2] squared and polished at the quarry; and are of durable construction. The bells of the Churches are cast in the foundaries of the country; some of them are of large dimensions, and have inscriptions in Syriac and Malay-alun. In approaching a town in the evening, I once heard the sound of the bells among the hills; a circumstance which made me forget for a moment that I was in Hindoostan, and reminded me of another country.

‘The first Syrian Church which I saw was at Mavelycar: but the Syrians here are in the vicinity of the Romish Christians; and are not so simple in their manners as those nearer the mountains. They had been often visited by Romish emissaries in former times: and they at first suspected that I belonged to that communion. They had heard of the English, but strangely supposed that they belonged to the Church of the Pope in the West. They had been so little accustomed to see a friend, that they could not believe that I was come with any friendly purpose. Added to this I had some discussions with a most intelligent priest, in regard to the original language of the Four Gospels, which he maintained to be Syriac; and they suspected from the complexion of my argument, that I wished to weaken the evidences for their antiquity.[3]

‘I attended divine service on Sunday. Their Liturgy is that which was formerly used in the Churches of the Patriarch of Antioch. During the prayers, there were intervals of silence: the priest praying in a low voice, and every man praying for himself. These silent intervals add much in the solemnity and appearance of devotion. They use incense in the Churches; it grows in the woods around them, and contributes much, they say, to health, and to the warmth and comfort of the Church, during the cold and rainy season of the year. At the conclusion of the service, a ceremony takes place which pleased me much. The Priest (or Bishop, if he be present) comes forward, and all the people pass by him as they go out, receiving his benediction individually. If any man has been guilty of any immorality, he does not receive the blessing; and this, in their primitive and patriarchal state, is accounted a severe punishment. Instruction by preaching is little in use among them now. Many of the old men lamented the decay of piety and religious knowledge: and spoke with pleasure of the record of ancient times.—They have some ceremonies nearly allied to those of the Greek Church. Here, as in all Churches in a state of decline, there is too much formality in the worship. But they have the Bible and a Scriptural Liturgy; and these will save a Church in the worst of times. These may preserve the spark and life of religion, though the flame be out. And as there were but few copies of the Bible among the Syrians, (for every copy was transcribed with the pen) it is highly probable that, if they had not enjoyed the advantage of the daily prayers, and daily portions of Scripture in their Liturgy, there would have been, in the revolution of ages, no vestige of Christianity left among them.[4]

‘The doctrines of the Syrian Christians are few in number, but pure, and agree in essential points with those of the Church of England: so that, although the body of the Church appears to be ignorant, and formal, and dead, there are individuals who are alive to righteousness, who are distinguished from the rest by their purity of life, and are sometimes censured for too rigid a piety.

‘The following are the chief doctrines of this ancient Church:

‘1. They hold the doctrines of a vicarious Atonement for the sins of men, by the blood and merits of Christ, and of the justification of the soul before God, “by faith alone,” in that atonement.

‘2. They maintain the Regeneration, or new birth of the Soul to righteousness, by the influence of the Spirit of God, which change is called in their books, from the Greek Meta-Noia, or change of Mind.

‘In regard to the Trinity the creed of the Syrian Christians accords with that of St. Athanasius, but without the damnatory clauses. In a written and official communication to the English Resident at Travancore, the Metropolitan states it to be as follows:

“We believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three persons in one God, neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance, one in three, and three in one. The Father generator, the Son generated, and the Holy Ghost proceeding. None is before or after the other; in majesty, honour, might, and power co-equal; Unity in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.” He then proceeds to disclaim the different errors of Arius, Sabellius, Macedonius, Manes, Marcranu, Julianus, Nestorius, and the Chalcedonians; and concludes, “That in the appointed time, through the disposition of the Father and the Holy Ghost, the Son appeared on earth for the salvation of mankind: that he was born of the Virgin Mary, through the means of the holy Ghost, and was incarnate God and man.”

[1] Malay-Ala is the proper name for the whole country of Travancore and Malabar, comprehending the territory between the mountains and the sea, from Cape Cormorin to Cape Illi or Dilly. The language of these extensive regions is called Malayalim, and sometimes Malabar. We shall use the word Malabar, as being easier of pronunciation.

[2] This stone possesses a singular property. It is so soft at the quarry that it may be pared with a knife, and modelled in any fashion with ease; but when exposed for a time, to the air it indurates like adamant.—Dr. Francis Buchanan of Bengal requested that it would bring to England a specimen of this stone, which he had not seen in any of the British Collections.

[3] “You concede,” said the Syrian, “that our Saviour spoke in our language; how do you know it?” From Syriac expressions in the Greek Gospels, it appears that he spoke Syriac when he walked by the way (Ephphatha), and when he sat in the house (Tahtha Cumi), and when he was upon the cross (Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani). The Syrians were pleased when they heard that we had got their language in our English books. The priest observed that these last were not the exact words, but ‘Ail, Ail, lamono sabachthani.’ I answered, that the word must have been very like Eli, for one said ‘He calleth Elias.’ “True,” said he, “but yet it was more likely to be Ail, Ail (pronounced Il or Eel) for Hil or Hila, is Syriac for Vinegar; and one thought he wanted Vinegar, and filled immediately a sponge with it. But our Saviour did not want the medicated drink, as they supposed. But,” added he, “if the parables and discourses of our Lord were in Syriac, and the people of Jerusalem commonly used it, is it not marvelous that his Disciples did not record his parables in the Syriac Language; but that they should have recourse to the Greek?” I observed that the Gospel was for the world, and the Greek was then the universal language, and that Providence selected it. “It is very probable,” said he, “that the Gospels were translated immediately afterwards into Greek, as into other languages; but surely there must have been a Syriac original. The poor people of Jerusalem could not read Greek. Had they no record in their hands, of Christ’s parables which they had heard, and of his sublime discourses recorded by St. John, after his ascension?” I acknowledge that it was believed by some of the learned that the Gospel of St. Matthew was written originally in Syriac. “So you admit St. Matthew? You may as well admit St. John. Or was one Gospel enough for the inhabitants of Jerusalem?” I contended that there were many Greek and Roman words in their own Syriac Gospels. “True,” said he, “Roman words for Roman things.” They wished however to see some of these words. The discussion afterwards, particularly in reference to the Gospel of St. Luke, was more in my favour.

[4] In a nation like ours, overflowing with knowledge, men are not always in circumstances to perceive the value of a scriptural Liturgy. When Christians are well taught, they think they want something better. But the young and the ignorant, who form a great proportion of the community, are edified by a little plain instruction frequently repeated. A small Church or Sect may do without a form for a while. But a national Liturgy is that which preserves a relic of the true faith among the people in a large empire, when the Priests leave their ARTICLES and their CONFESSIONS of FAITH. Woe to the declining Church which hath no Scriptural Liturgy! For when the Bible is gone, or when reading the scriptures to the people ceases, what is there left? Witness the Presbyterians in the West of England, and some other sects, who are said to have become Arians and Socinians to a man. Eight chapters of Scripture, on an average, including the Psalms, are read to the people in the course of every Sabbath day, in the Church of England. Four chapters are recommended to be read on every Sabbath day in the “Directory for public worship” of the Kirk of Scotland, viz. “one chapter of each Testament at every meeting.” But, in consequence of its not being positively ordained, not one chapter is now read. When therefore a minister of that Church chooses to deviate from the doctrines of the “Confession of Faith” (which will sometimes happen) what, we would ask, is there left for the people?[A]

The Puritans of a former age in England did not live long enough to see the use of an evangelical Formulary. By them, the experiment of a pure church devoid of form, was made under the most favourable auspices; I know not what was wanting of human and local circumstance, to give peculiar doctrines perpetuity; according to their principles, for they assumed that an establishment and human ordinance are of no service in supporting or perpetuating the spiritual church of Christ. But yet, with the first generation of men, (who had their education in Halls and Colleges) the spiritual fervor seemed to pass away. Instead of increasing, it decreased and declined in most places, till little more than the name was left. For when the spirit is gone, (in a church having no form) nothing is left. In the mean time, primitive Christianity revived in England (not amongst them, but in Halls and Colleges, and in the midst of rational forms and evangelical articles:) “FOR SO IT SEEMED GOOD UNTO GOD;” and from that source derived the greater part of pure religion new professed in this land, under whatever form it may exist.

These observations are not made in a spirit of disrespect for any mode of Christian worship, every form, we know, is human and, therefore, imperfect: nor is perfection required; that form being best for the time, which is best administered. Christ left no form: (though he approved of the forms which he found because Churches in different climates, must have different forms.) There are differences of “administrations, saith the Apostle, but the same Lord.” I Cor. i. 12. “One man esteemeth one day above another. He that regardeth the day, (as “Easter and Pentecost”) regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.” Rom. xiv, 6. We are not to despise a weak brother, for whom Christ died.” (I Cor. viii. 11.) though he be destitute of learning, and think he possesses all that is necessary for forming a new Church, when he has got the leaves of the New Testament; when the truth is, that a knowledge of contemporary history and languages is as necessary to understand certain facts of the New Testament, as the facts of any other book. But the above remarks have been made with this view; to qualify the contempt, which ignorant person in small sects frequently express for the established worship of a Christian Empire.

[A] The Kirk of Scotland is, we believe, the only National Church in the world in which the Holy Scriptures are not read. When its ministers are asked why they do not conform to the authorised Directory for the public Worship of the nation and read the Scriptures to the people, they answer, that “the people do not like it.” But if it be true that the people do not like to hear the Scriptures read in the house of God, this extraordinary fact is the strongest argument that can be adduced for reading them; and for beginning to read them without delay. How can it be expected that the blessing of God should continue to accompany the ministrations of any Church, where his holy word ceases to be read in a solemn manner to the people?


Within a few paces stands the Coliseum, or amphitheatre of Titus. It is the most majestic ruin in the world. Will it not then appear like extravagance to say, that it did not correspond with my expectations? I had heard that the amphitheatre at Nimes sunk into insignificance when compared with it; and this work had appeared to me so great, that my imagination had magnified the Coliseum beyond the gigantic attempts of the Roman power. Three ranks of arches encircled the building, and the spaces between them were ornamented with Doric pillars in the first story, with Ionic in the second, and with Corinthian pilasters in the third. An attic rose above the whole. It contained seats for nearly eighty thousand spectators, and room for twenty thousand more. The circumference of this vast edifice if one thousand six hundred and twenty-one feet, and the height one hundred and seventy. Nearly one half of the outer wall remains entire; the rest has fallen; but the circle is completed with a lower elevation by the wall of the next corridor within. On entering the arena we saw no seats, but merely the naked and crumbling arches which supported them. The two upper slopes are already destroyed, and the wall which rises above is only sustained by its own solidity. The rest are in a great measure preserved, but stripped of their covering, and broken into a variety of forms; and the interior has one face of decay and ruin. Grass and weeds cover those parts which have suffered most from time and violence, and this solitary monument of fallen greatness inspires a deeper interest now than it could have done when it was perfect and uninjured.

When we consider the form and simplicity of this structure, so well calculated to resist the influence of the ordinary agents which destroy the works of man, the durability of the materials, the massiveness of the work, we cannot be surprised at the exclamation of the northern pilgrims, who saw it in the eighth century, recorded by the venerable Bede:—“As long as the Coliseum stands, Rome shall stand; when the Coliseum falls, Rome will fall; when Rome falls, the world will fall”. But what neglect and the ravages of time could not have done, the struggles of contending factions, who intrenched themselves within its walls, the sale of the materials by some popes, the licensed plunder of the nobles, and the continual depredations of the people, have accomplished; and neither the lofty buttress which is raised against the falling wall, nor the new supports which are built to sustain the tottering arches, by the liberality of the present pope, can save it, for many generations, from utter ruin.

From the Coliseum we went to St. Peter’s. Before we entered it we found ourselves surrounded with wonders. A double colonnade, formed by four extensive ranges of lofty pillars, sweep around, on each side, in a semi circle, and leave between them a beautiful and spacious court. From the inner extremities of these open porticos, two close galleries extend almost in a direct line, to the front of the church. In the centre of the court, an Egyptian obelisk, eighty feet in height and nine feet square at the base, rises upon an elevated pedestal; and two superb fountains, at equal distances from it, throw up streams of water, which fall around in perpetual showers. The view is closed by the vast front of St Peter’s, the lesser cupolas, and the stupendous dome. It is difficult to give any suitable idea of these extraordinary objects, or to express the feelings which they successively excited.

We then enter, by a fine marble staircase, of three flights, into a grand and elegant vestibule, about fifty feet in breadth and four hundred and fifty in length, graced with the equestrian statue of Constantine the Great at one end, and Charlemagne at the other.

But when we passed into the Church itself, all that we had seen seemed to be nothing. So vast in dimensions, so just in symmetry, so rich and gorgeous, and yet so sublime!—it surpassed all that we had conceived of this world’s grandeur. We stood sometime fixed in amazement, uttering nothing but exclamations of wonder and delight. The vault, glittering with gilded bronze, rose one hundred and fifty feet above our heads, and the grand nave stretched out to the length of a furlong. We walked up this aisle till we came under the dome, which hangs over the transept, where it is intersected by the nave. The extreme point of the lantern is between four and five hundred feet from the pavement.—The light admitted from above throws a soft lustre over the rich mosaics with which the dome is inlaid; and while we gaze at the representation of our Lord in his glory, surrounded by apostles and martyrs, “the spirits of just men made perfect, and all the company of heaven;” the striking emblem can scarcely fail to awaken more lively ideas of the reality. The greatness, the elevation, the unrivalled sublimity of this work, draw the eye from the rest of the edifice, and fix it, with increased admiration, on this noblest part of the noblest building in the universe. The columns only which support the dome are sixty five feet square. The arm of the cross is five hundred feet long, and even wider than the middle aisle.

The grand altar, at the central point of intersection is covered by a high canopy of bronze, resting on twisted pillars. Around the tomb of St. Peter, immediately beneath, a hundred and twelve silver lamps are always kept burning. At the upper end of the nave is the chair of St. Peter. The four doctors of the Latin and Greek churches are supporting it. Angels stand at the side; two above hold the tiara and the pontifical keys, and cherubim and seraphim worship it. This presumptuous monument is likewise of gilded bronze. The Holy Spirit, blessing and crowning the work, appears above all, in the form of a dove, on a ground of yellow crystal; and the light which comes through is so brilliant, and yet so subdued, that it throws around the dove a kind of celestial splendour.

It would be an endless work to describe the stately sepulchral monuments which fill the recesses; the various marbles with which the walls are covered; the columns scattered through the aisles and about the altars; the paintings, in mosaic, which ceil the numerous domes; the copies of celebrated pictures, taken by artists skilful in mosaic work, to perpetuate their beauties; the statues and other embellishments which enrich this magnificent temple. These give it the finishing graces, but it owes its incomparable majesty to the bold and simple features already described. Every thing here is on a colossal scale; but whether it be from the numerous ornaments of the building, or from the perfect harmony between the details and the general plan, I could never realize the vastness and extent of St. Peter’s. As we came in, one of the company called my attention to the statues of two angels which are placed by the fonts of holy water on each side of the middle aisle. They seemed, only a few paces off, to be about the size of a chubby infant, just out of the mothers’ arms; but, on drawing near, we found them larger than men. So also the bronze canopy over the altar, viewed from the entrance of the church, looks like a diminutive object, though it is nearly one hundred feet high. All that we see around us is grand and elevating beyond conception, and yet, from the actual dimensions, we would expect the aisles to appear longer, the roof more aspiring, and the dome dim and indistinct from distance.

When Julius II. ascended the papal throne Michael Angelo was invited to Rome. After some deliberation, it was determined that he should exert his skill in the erection of a mausoleum, which might associate the fame of the patron with the genius of the artist, and be a lasting memorial of both. He conceived a plan which was too vast to be executed in the church of St. Peter without enlarging the building. But as it was already very old, Sangallo advised the pope to raise a chapel expressly for the mausoleum; and this is the origin of that edifice, which exceeds every other in glory.

The vanity of Julius was, perhaps, then, the immediate cause of the Reformation. For it was in the eager exaction of monies, through the sale of indulgences, to build St. Peter’s, that men determined to shake off their burdens, and break the fetters which bound them.

We confined ourselves, for the rest of the morning, to the gallery of pictures in the Vatican. As an apology for an appearance of presumption in the following remarks, I ought to state, that my design in this loose journal is only to describe, with simplicity, the objects that pass before me, and to record the impressions which they make on my own mind. Knowing little or nothing of statuary and painting, or of their rules and technical language, I judge of them only by their effects on a common and untutored observer.

On entering the gallery, the first picture that we saw was the Transfiguration by Raphael. It is the master-piece of the author, and the most famous painting on earth. My expectations were proportioned to its reputation, and in this instance, as in many others, I experienced a degree of disappointment. The excellencies are so great as to justify the most enthusiastic praise, but yet I was rash enough to find fault with it. Our Saviour, surrounded by a cloud of glory, is raised a little above the mount, as well as Moses and Elias on each side of him. This is a liberty with the narration of the evangelists which some may think justifiable, but, to me it did not seem natural. The same objection might also be made against the introduction of two other personages on the mount besides the apostles. For a similar reason I was not pleased with another group below, which is the admiration of all connoisseurs. It is the father and lunatic son, with the crowd of people which Jesus met the next day after he had come down from the mountain.

I cannot help thinking, where facts are the subject of a picture, any thing else which is brought in merely for effect, without a shadow of authority from the history itself, or any connexion of distinct incidents, differing both in time and place, is a blemish which no excellence in the execution can atone for or excuse.

If, however, we could for a moment suppose that the painter had copied the real account of the transfiguration, then our admiration of the piece would be unbounded. Our Saviour appears to be more than man; and Moses and Elias seem like glorified spirits. The apostles are wrapt in a kind of ecstatic trance; they are disturbed by the scene which is passing before them, though they see it imperfectly and comprehend it less; they are bent down in attitudes of awe and astonishment, with their hands before their eyes to shield them from the dazzling and insupportable brightness. The agitation and workings of the evil spirit in the person of the possessed; the ghastly appearance of his eyes, uplifted and turned aside; the demoniacal expression of the countenance, and the convulsive struggles of one tormented in body and mind; the surprise and horror in the wild gaze of the man who supports him; the just attitudes and natural looks of the whole group, are all proofs of the strong conceptions and exalted genius of the painter. Every figure in the piece is finished. Every head, when examined singly, is viewed with admiration. The coloring is rich and deep, but yet it is the colouring of life. No part of it that has not some striking beauty or excellence, and if in the representation of an historical fact fidelity to the story be not required and painting be allowed a license which poetry can only use with reserve, then the transfiguration may justly be considered the first piece in the world.

Excepting the Fortune of Guido, the only picture besides in this valuable collection which left a strong impression on my mind, was the Communion of St. Jerome, by Domenichino.

He is on the bed of death, and on the eve of expiring. He is sitting up, and just ready to receive from the hands of the priest the bread of life. His looks are divided between this memorial of salvation and that heaven which it assures him. Weak, pale, emaciated, and ready to give up the ghost, his countenance is nevertheless lightened with faith and hope. A friend, kneeling at his side, is melted by a sight so affecting. A woman is clapping one of his arms, and kissing his hand, in an agony of grief. An air of solemnity and sadness is spread over the faces of all the attendants. The dying man alone is unmoved—all earthly affections are gone—he is occupied only with the cross and the crown of glory.

Some familiarity with such scenes in the exercise of my ministry made me, in this instance, more confident in my judgment; and I should have had no hesitation in pronouncing it a master-piece, though I had not known the reputation of the painter.


Carefully compiled from Authentic Sources; and their Customs illustrated from Modern Travels, by William Brown, D. D. Minister of Eskdalemuir.

The Jews, low and degraded as they have now become, were confessedly the most interesting nation of antiquity. Not only “because to them were committed the oracles of God” did they enjoy peculiar advantages, but had, as St. Paul declares, “much every way.” The situation of their country, its contact and intercourse with those states that had been the cradles of empire, with Assyria and Persia, Egypt, and Arabia, its varied surface and contrasted features, its cedar crowned mountains looking down on one side to the fertile vale of Jordan and the “cities of the plain,” on the other to the sea that was loaded with the merchandize of Sidon and of Tyre: all these local circumstances are strongly attractive to the curious eye, and give a value of their own to that land of Revelation, the birth place of our Saviour. But still more remarkable was this singular people for the rites and customs that distinguished them from their neighbours. In the common habits of life while they resembled so closely other eastern nations, that in Syria, Egypt, and India, we trace those very habits prevailing at this day; in all religious rites and ceremonies we find them so directly opposed, that the very contrast reveals a powerful light upon the ancient vestiges of healthier superstition, its monstrous polytheism and fantastic fable. Of the various injunctions of the ceremonial law not a few, which appear so unaccountable to the most acute reasoner, and so ludicrous to the profane critic, will be found upon inquiry, to have been directed against the superstitions that corrupted and degraded those heathen countries with which the Jews had much communication. If they were ordered to enter their temple from the east, it was that they might not, like the heathen, be tempted to worship the rising sun, but contemptuously turn their backs upon that object of idolatry; if forbidden to “eat with the blood,” it was because the blood was accounted by various heathen nations the food of dæmons, with whom they thus had communion and became prescient of futurity; if “to seethe a kid in its mother’s milk,” it was because the animal was thus accounted to be an acceptable sacrifice to the Dii Rustici; if “to sow their fields or vineyards with divers seeds,” it was to counteract the superstitious custom of thus propitiating Bacchus, Ceres, and other rural deities. In short, the restrictions imposed upon the Jews, shew forcibly the multifarious corruptions of the Gentiles; and scarcely a vestige of remote antiquity discovered by modern research, or handed down in the records of literature, but in return throws some light upon the Jewish history, either exemplifying a proverb, or explaining an allusion, or illustrating an obscurity.

We can scarcely open a page of the work before us that does not bear ample testimony to the truth of these observations. The objects to be effected by such a work seem to have been seen by its author in their true light, and constantly kept in view.

“Few subjects,” he remarks in the preface, “are more interesting to the Christian scholar than the antiquities and customs of the Jews. They gratify a laudable curiosity concerning a people who have long made a conspicuous figure in history, and throw much light upon the sacred oracles. Yet the information to be obtained has hitherto been confined in a great measure to a few; for the volumes which treat of them are either written in a language not generally understood, or so large as to be beyond the ability of many to purchase; or the subjects are explained in such a way, and accompanied with such quotations from the Hebrew especially, as to render the understanding of them difficult or impossible. The design, therefore, of the following work is to obviate this difficulty so far as its subject is concerned; and to present the reader with a considerable portion of information in a simple form, at a moderate expense.”

This object, we conceive, he has satisfactorily attained, by not only taking a wider range of inquiry and condensing his materials, but also by adhering to a luminous and methodical arrangement. It is this union of accuracy with extent, that, in our opinion, gives it so decided a preference, for general use, over every other book in our language upon the same subject.

“Should any take the trouble,” says our author, “to compare this publication with Godwin’s Moses and Aaron, and Jennings’ Jewish Antiquities, the books which are generally consulted, they will find the line of research widely different. For while the plan of Godwin, which is very systematic and condensed, did not allow of that diversity of subject and illustration; and Dr. Jennings, who commented upon a part only of Godwin’s plan, professes to despise Rabbinical learning, the author of the present publication has taken a wider range; he has accepted with gratitude the labors of the Talmudical writers, in the absence of more authentic information, and has endeavored to make the discoveries of science, and the information of travellers subservient to the elucidation of his subject. It is more than probable that amidst such a variety of materials, he may have been sometimes mistaken as to the use he has made of them; but he can honestly say, that no pains have been spared to ascertain the truth, and to render the subject generally interesting to the Christian inquirer.”

He has indeed drawn most copiously from every quarter, has ransacked the stores of ancient learning with unwearied industry, and has laid under contribution every modern traveller in the East, who could in any way either illustrate or embellish his work. He has consequently collected a mass of information that cannot fail to instruct and amuse the general reader; while the Theologian finds statements the most accurate and authentic, with references for procuring still more ample explanation upon the important topics brought under review. It is a manual to which the theological student will often have occasion to refer; and with ourselves he will feel grateful to Dr. Brown, for having placed such a treasure within our reach.

The work commences with a description of the tabernacle, after which follows that of the temple, then of the ministers of the temple, the Jewish festivals, the synagogue and its officers, with an account of Jewish idolatry, sects, and proselytes. The learning, laws, and customs of the Jews, their domestic habits, connubial and funeral rites, their commercial and military affairs come next under review. The work closes with an account of the geographical situation, limits, capital, climate, and agriculture of Judea. Upon these various topics our limits will not allow us to give specimens in any degree adequate to impress the minds of our readers with a just idea of this excellent treatise. It well merits, and will amply repay the most attentive perusal.

The description both of the tabernacle and temple, (though descending into calculations and measurements too minute to be interesting to the general reader) is given in geographic style, with a distinctness and precision that cannot fail to interest the most fastidious antiquary. Two plates have been constructed, exhibiting the ground plans of the temple and its courts, upon a principle that appears to us successfully to remove the supposed discrepancy between the descriptions given by Josephus and the Talmud. Of the temple of Solomon the account is very concise, but though sufficiently distinct, scarcely perhaps authorises the conclusion that it “had a considerable resemblance to our ancient cathedrals, which probably copied from it.” But of the temple of Herod, which was a greatly more magnificent structure, and honored also by the presence of our blessed Saviour, the account is full and perspicuous.

“The rock, on which the temple was built, had several ascensions or places where, after continuing level for some time, it immediately rose higher. Thus the court of the Gentiles was a large level space; but when a person entered the Hil or sacred fence (which surrounded the sacred ground) he rose twelve steps or six cubits. When he went from the Hil into the court of the women, he rose five steps or two cubits and a half; from the court of Israel into the court of the priests, four steps only but two cubits and a half; and from the court of the priests to the threshold of the porch of the temple, properly so called, twelve steps more, or six cubits. Thus from the court of the Gentiles to the threshold of the porch of the temple, properly so called, twelve steps more, or six cubits. Thus from the court of the Gentiles to the threshold of the porch there were no fewer than forty-eight steps, or twenty-four cubits and a half of elevation. Consequently, as the outer wall of the court of the Gentiles was twenty-five cubits high, a person standing on the threshold of the porch would find his feet within half a cubit of the height of the outer wall, were he not prevented from seeing it by the intervening walls which stood at the east and west ends of the court of the women. It is easy to conceive the effect which these different degrees of elevation would have on the beholder. The man of taste would be struck with the ideas of grandeur which they excited: and the pious soul would perhaps be reminded of the necessity of rising from one degree of grace unto another, until he reached his father’s house.”

Such was the splendid situation of the temple and its courts, which occupied the whole summit of Mount Moriah. Nor were either the materials or the workmanship unworthy of the site. For the temple itself,

“Was built of white marble, beautifully variegated, and with stones of large dimensions, some of them twenty-five cubits (forty-four feet) long, eight cubits high, and twelve cubits thick;”

While in the court of the Gentiles were several rows of pillars also of white marble, a large number of which were about eighty feet high and above thirty feet in circumference; of which says Josephus “the effect was incredible to those who never saw them, and an amazement to those who did.” What was the amount of the sum expended upon this structure does not appear; but the lowest calculation of that expended upon Solomon’s temple, which was greatly inferior, is £7,087,791. In the course of these descriptions are introduced various remarks illustrating texts of Scripture; from which we select the two following.

“Persons stoned to death, commonly received their doom in the following manner: they were brought to a little eminence without the city, two cubits high, with their hands bound, where was a large stone at bottom; and when four cubits from it they received the stupifying draught, were stripped almost naked and dashed backwards, by the first witness who had condemned them, on the stone at the bottom of the eminence; if not killed by that, the second witness was ready with another large stone, to throw it upon their breasts while they lay; and if still alive after all this, the people present rushed forward and stoned them with stones till they died. This may lead us to understand what is meant by the witnesses laying down their garments or upper robes, at Saul’s feet, when they were going to stone Stephen; and also what our Saviour meant when he said, Whosoever shall fall upon this stone shall be broken, and on whosoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”

It is curious that Dr. Brown, without his usual accuracy, here omits an important circumstance of illustration, which he elsewhere mentions, (vol. ii. p. 180.) “That the witnesses who condemned the criminal also stripped themselves of their upper garments:” and likewise declares that the “eminence was twice the height of a man,” a circumstance evidently at variance with his other statement. The other illustration which we mentioned is the following:

“Sometimes, in notorious offences, they tied sharp bones, pieces of lead, or thorns to the end of the thongs, called by the Greeks” * * * * * * *, flagra taxillata: but in the scriptures they are termed scorpions: and it is to them that Rehoboam alluded when he told the Israelites that his government would be more strict than his father’s: “my father chastised you with rods, but I will correct you with scorpions.” Vol. i. p. 218.

The account of the celebration of the passover, both as observed in the time of our Saviour, and at the present day, differing widely from the first institution of it, is exceedingly interesting; but we must confine ourselves to the following observations, which appear to us equally original and just.

“It was observed above, that I supposed the Lord’s Supper to have been instituted not between the second and third paschal cup, as is usually done, but between the third and fourth; and my reasons for thinking so are the following: 1. It keeps it quite distinct from the paschal feast, and makes it correspond better with the hymn or portion of the Hallel that is said to have been sung. Strictly speaking, the paschal feast ended with the third cup, when the person presiding returned thanks. There was neither any of the paschal lamb nor unleavened bread usually eaten between the third and fourth cup, for that cup was intended merely to accompany the hymn of praise. When, therefore, our Saviour took up a portion of the bread during that interval, the very unusualness of the act would arrest the attention of his disciples, and give it greater effect. He blessed it, brake it and gave it them to eat as a bond of communion with them, and with each other. He then poured out the fourth cup, and gave it them with similar solemnities; concluding the whole with the remainder of the Hallel that was usually sung. Thus was the supper made a test of Christianity, as the paschal feast had been of Judaism. 2. A second reason for adopting this opinion is, because it corresponded completely with the following account of the institution, as given by St. Luke: ‘Jesus said unto them (immediately after eating the paschal lamb,) with desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof until (the meaning of) it be fulfilled (by my death,) in the kingdom of God (or the Gospel dispensation.) And (after they had drunk the third cup) he took (some of the unleavened) bread (that had been left from the passover,) and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave it unto them, saying, This is (a symbolical and sacramental representation of) my body, which is (about to be) given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise, also, the cup after supper, (or the fourth cup,) saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is (about to be) shed for you.’ After which they sang a hymn, as St. Matthew informs us, or the rest of the Hallel, and then went out to the Mount of Olives, at the foot of which Gethsemane was.” Vol. i. p. 464.

Nor will the following remarks be less interesting to our readers.

“We know little of the ideas of the Jews concerning the relations of the heavenly bodies to each other; both, on account of the distance of time, and because Scripture was given for other ends than to teach men philosophy: but, from what we can collect, they appear to have been nearly the same with what is accounted at present the true system of astronomy. For Job speaks of stretching out the north over the empty place, and hanging the earth upon nothing. The diurnal and annual motions of the earth are not only hinted at, but contained in the word by which they described that body. For * * * arets, the earth, is derived from * * rets, a wheel, which not only moves round its own axis, but has a progressive motion like that of the earth round the sun.—It hath been objected, that there are parts of Scripture which speak of the stability of the earth, and of the motion of the sun and heavenly bodies. But it may be answered, that such expressions might only have been used in accommodation to visible appearances; and as they are still used by philosophers in their common conversation every day, who talk of the rising and setting of the sun, and of the stability of the earth, as readily as the unlettered peasant. From the hints given us in the book of Job, one would be inclined to consider the system of Pythagoras, or, as it is now called, of Copernicus, as only a more complete development of that which was anciently known to that Patriarch. Perhaps, also, the same belief was entertained by the more intelligent among the Jews, in the earliest period of their history, who draw their information from the sacred oracles, rather than from the erroneous and extravagant cosmogonies of their heathen neighbours. And who knows but the philosophers who went to the East in search of truth may have received, while in their neighbourhood, those hints which, when reported to others, or improved by themselves, may have laid the foundation of those theories which have excited the admiration of posterity? One thing is certain, that Pythagoras travelled into Egypt and Chaldea in quest of knowledge; that he resided in those countries so many years, that in passing and repassing to Chaldea he could scarcely fail to become acquainted with so singular a people as the Jews; and it is not as likely that the hints he may have received of their political, religious, and astronomical systems, may have served to perfect those views which he was afterwards pleased to communicate to the world. If the above reasoning be true, the land of Canaan has been the cradle both of religion and philosophy: and from it, as from a centre, have the rays of science and religion diverged among the nations.”

After various other arguments in support of this theory, he observes that,

“The system of Pythagoras consisted in placing the sun in the centre, and making all the planets revolve round it in elliptical orbits. Neither Greece or Rome, however, were prepared to receive it. And it was accordingly superseded by one diametrically opposite, which was broached by Ptolemy.”

In a note he remarks that

“The school of Pythagoras was no stranger to that declination of the earth’s axis from a perpendicular to its orbit, on which the seasons depend. Thus Philolaus thought * * * * * * that the earth was carried round the fire or sun, in an oblique circle. (Plutarch de Plac. lib. 3. cap. 13.) And Aristarchus taught that the heaven was immovable, * * * * * * * * * * but that the earth moved in an oblique circle, revolving at the same time round its own axis.” (Plutarch de Facie in Orbe Lunce, tom. 2. p. 933.)

Of the modes of living among the ancient Jews, the nature of their habitations, their private and domestic habits, since little is recorded in history, little can be said with certainty by our author: but as the customs of the East are proverbially fixed almost without shadow of change, he supposes them to resemble those of the present inhabitants of Palestine and of the neighboring countries. Upon this principle he gives us a view of them by reference to modern travellers, and by a variety of extracts so judiciously selected, as to render this the most entertaining part of the whole work. With a few of such extracts taken at random, with this only peculiarity, that they all tend to illustrate portions of Holy Writ, we shall close these remarks.

“The same person who mentioned to the author of this work the scooping out so many pounds of eyes as a Persian punishment, in the case of rebellion, also added, that for the same offence, a pyramid of heads, of a certain number of feet in diameter, is sometimes exacted, (like the two heaps which Jehu made of the heads of the seventy sons of Ahab, 2 Kings x. 8.) and so indifferent are the executioners to the distress of others, that they will select a head of peculiar appearance, and long beard, to grace the summit of the pyramid.”

Sir John Malcolm, in his History of Persia, says,

“That when Timour stormed Ispahan, it was impossible to count the slain, but an account was taken of 70,000 heads, which were heaped in pyramids, as monuments of savage revenge.”

We are shocked at the conduct of Herod, with respect to John the Baptist, when at the request of the daughter of Herodias, he gave the good man’s head in a charger, to gratify the malice that the mother extended against him. But we have several instances in history, that such conduct was not unusual. Thus, in the above mentioned history of Persia,

“Seljirk, king of Persia, in a fit of intoxication, ordered one of his slaves to strike off the head of his Queen. The cruel mandate was obeyed, and the head of this beautiful but ambitious princess was presented in a golden charger to her drunken husband, as he sat carousing with his dissolute companions.” Vol. II. p. 182.

For a superior to give his own garment to an inferior, was reckoned a great mark of regard. Hence Jonathan gave his to David; and the following extract from Sir John Malcolm may serve to throw some light on Elisha’s request to have the mantle of Elijah.

“When the Khalifa,” says he, “or teachers of the Sooffees dies, he bequeaths his patched garment, which is all his worldly wealth, to the disciple whom he esteems the most worthy to become his successor; and the moment the latter puts on the holy mantle, he is invested with the power of his predecessor.” (P. 362.) “We formerly noticed the conduct of Shimei to David, in throwing the dust in the air, and may now add, that the Jews insulted Paul, many centuries after, in a similar manner: for it is said of them, that they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices and said, away with such a fellow from the earth—and they cried, and threw dust into the air.”

On which conduct of theirs the following extract from Captain Light’s Travels, forms an excellent commentary:

“They (viz. the inhabitants of Galabshee, a village on the Nile,) seemed more jealous of my appearance among them than any I had seen. I was surrounded by them, and ‘a present, a present,’ echoed from all quarters, before they would allow me to look at their temple. One more violent than the rest threw dust into the air, the sign both of rage and defiance, ran for his shield, and came dancing towards me, howling and striking his shield with the head of his javelin, to intimidate me. A promise of a present, however, pacified him.” P. 365.

In his account of Jewish sepulchres and inscriptions, he makes the following extract from Dr. Shaw’s account of the cryptæ at Latikea or Laodocea.

“The rocky ground where we found the sarcophagi, is hollowed out into a number of cryptæ, or sepulchral chambers, some ten, others twenty or thirty feet square; but the height is low, and never proportionable. A range of narrow cells, wide enough to receive one coffin, sarcophogus, or * * *, and long enough sometimes for two or three, runs along the side of these sepulchral chambers, and appears to be the only provision that was made for the reception of the dead. This account of their sepulchres easily explains how the demoniac lived among the tombs, and also an apparent difficulty in the Gospel history, viz. how Lazarus could come forth from his grave when he was bound? He lay extended on one of the stone tables in the family vault; at the command of Jesus he sat up, moved himself to the end of the table, slipped from it, and stood upright on the floor; when Jesus said to the astonished spectators, ‘loose him, and let him go.’ Thus the apparent difficulty is only the effect of ignorance as to eastern customs.”

We shall conclude this critique with adverting to that singular appearance in the atmosphere, called by the Arabians the serab, and by the French the mirage.

“Mr. Macdonald Kinneir, in his Geographical Memoir of the Persian Empire, says that the sahrab, literally, the water of the desert, or watery appearance so common in all deserts, and the moving sands, were seen at the same time, and appeared to be perfectly distinct, the one having a luminous, the other a cloudy appearance.”

To which Lieutenant Porringer, in his travels in Beloochistan and Sinde, in the year 1810, adds some singular particulars.

“I have seen bushes and trees,” says he, “reflected on it with as much accuracy as though it had been the face of a clear and still lake; and once in the province of Kerman, in Persia, it seemed to rest like a sheet of water upon the face of the hill, at the foot of which my road lay, exhibiting the summit, which did not overhang it in the least degree, by a kind of unaccountable refraction.”

A philosophical explanation of this phenomena has been given by several writers, and especially by Monge. It is several times alluded to in the Old Testament. Thus it is to this rather than to brooks which become dry in the summer, that the prophet Jeremiah seems to refer, when in penning out his plaint to God for mercies deferred, he says, “Wilt thou be altogether unto me as the waters that fail?” And the very word is to be found in Isaiah xxxv. 7 where the passage which is translated, “the parched land shall become a pool,” literally signifies the “serab, * * *, or illusory lake of the desert shall become a pool.”—With regard to the style of our author, if it is occasionally inaccurate, nor entirely free from the idiom of his native tongue, it is in general unaffected, manly, and perspicuous, and peculiarly adapted to the nature of his subject.

Unpublished Letters of Parker, Ridley, Coverdale, Nowell, &c. copied from the Original MS. in the British Museum.



For that I intend by God’s grace to visit my diocese shortly after mid-summer, thinking thereby to know the state thereof personnally; and to take order among them, I would gladly that the Queen’s Majesty would resolve herself in our book of Homilies, which I might deliver to the parishes as I go on. And for that I am altogether spoiled of my venison; I am compelled impudently to crave a couple of bucks at your hand; not as thinking that you have any parks in Kent; but doubting not that you may with half a word to our friends soon speed my request. And as I crave of your honour, so I intend to essay my Lord Robert, and other of my friends, to avoid the shame of my table, if I should not have to bid my neighbours to a piece of flesh; when most part of my brethren be better furnished in this provision than I am; and if I might as boldly speak to the Queen’s Majesty, for taking away my park in Sussex, to recompense me with three or four bucks in her park at Canterbury; as I did find grace in Queen Ann’s favour in such like request, I would offer my suit. Marry, because I doubt in these days, neither bishops or ministers may be thought worthy to eat venison; I will hold me to my beef, and make merry therewith, and pray for all my benefactors, &c. Your honour must pardon importune beggars.

Yours at all times,

Matt. Cantuar.

Endorsed by Cecil, Jan. 3, 1563.

Myles Coverdale to Sir W. Cecil, 1563.

My duty considered in right humble wise unto your honour, these are in like manner to beseech the same, that whereas my lord bishop of London tendering as well my age, as my simple labours in the Lord’s harvest, hath very gently offered me the pastoral office and benefice of St. Magnus, in London, therefore so it may please your honour to be means for me unto the Queen’s most excellent Majesty, that in favorable consideration not only how destitute, I have been ever since my bishoprick was taken from me, and that I never had pension, indemnity or stipend of it this ten years and upwards, but also how unable I am either to pay the first fruits or long to enjoy the said living; I going upon my grave, and not able to live over a year, her majesty at the contemplation thereof may most graciously grant me the first fruits of the said benefice. When her highness nevertheless might receive them again anew when I am gone.

Heretofore, I praise God for it, your honour hath ever been my special help and protector in all my rightful suits: if now, (that poor old Myles may be provided for) it please your honor to obtain this for me, I shall think this enough to be unto me as good as a feast. Thus most humbly beseeching your honour to take my boldness in good part, I commit you and all yours to the most gracious protection of the Almighty.

M. COVERDALE, quondam, Exon.

From London, 6th February.

Grindal, Bishop of London, to Sir W. Cecil.

I pray you if it chance any suit be made for one Evans to be bishop of Llandaff, help to stay it till some examination be had of his worthiness. If any means might be found that things wickedly alienated from the See might be restored, it were well. If any comfortable stay of living might be made of it, I would wish it to Father Coverdale, now lately recovered of the plague. Surely it is not well that he qui ante nos omnes fuit in Christo, should be now in his age without stay of living. I may not herein excuse us bishops; somewhat I have to say for myself, for I have offered him divers things which he thought not meet for him.

Your warrant in Hatfield Park or Enfield Chase, might serve my turn very well. God bless you.

Yours in Christ,


From Fulham, 20th Feb. 1563.

Bishop Grindal to Sir W. Cecil, Feb. 22, 1563.

Mr. Calfhill this morning shewed me your letter to him, wherein you wish some politic order to be devised against infection. I think it very necessary, and will do my endeavor both by exhortations and otherwise. I was ready to crave your help for the purpose afore, as one not unmindful of the parish.

By search I do perceive that there is no one thing of late more like to have renewed this contagion than the practice of an idle sort of people, who have been infamous in all good and common works. I mean these Histriones, common players, who now daily but specially on holydays set up booths, whereinto the youth resorteth excessively, and there taketh infection. Besides that God’s word by their impure mouthing is profaned, and turned into scoffing. For remedy whereof in my judgment, you should do very well to be a means that a proclamation were set forth further to inhibit all players for one whole year (and if it were forever, it were not amiss,) within the city, or three miles round about, and applying as well to the players as to the owners of the house where they play their lewd interludes.

I wrote to Mr. D. Humfray, of Oxford, to keep the day appointed him by my lord Rochester, which he will observe I doubt not.

As I compelled Mr. Calfhill to know your pleasure for his repair to court, so shall I, pray you to let me understand your advice for my own case concerning my coming, whether I remaining here may be admitted, and the like for my chaplain Mr. Walters. I was compelled to remove hither, both for the better discharge of my office; and also for that I was destitute of necessary provision at Fulham, yet I thought that the city would have been clean ere now. God keep you.

From my House at Powley, 22d Feb. 1563.

Edwin Sandys, Bishop of Worcester to Sir W. Cecil.

What way I may declare any part of my bounden duty towards you, for the manifold benefits received certainly I wot not; for as you have been the means to bring me into the place of honesty, so have you been the chief worker to preserve my honesty from malice which minded to impeach it. Which benefit of all others I esteem the most, and can no otherwise recompense, but only by bearing of good will, which when seasonable time will make bud forth and yield fruit, you may of right claim the same as your due.

Such is the barrenness of this country that it bringeth nothing forth fit to remember you withal; and therefore I am bold to present you with an old clock in the stead of a new year’s gift. Which I hope you will the rather accept, because it was your old master’s of happy memory, King Edward’s; and afterwards your loving and learned brother’s, Mr. Cheeke’s; and since his, who thinketh himself in many respects most bounden unto you, whose prayer you shall ever have; whose service you may ever use: as knoweth the Almighty. Who grant you many happy years with much increase in the knowledge of Christ, unto whose merciful governance I commend you. From my house at Hartelbury.

Yours in Christ most bounden,


28th Dec. 1563.

Edmund Schambler, Bishop of Peterborough, to Cecil, shewing when a name may be changed at Confirmation.

After my humble commendations to your honour premised, these are to signify unto you, that whereas your honor and Sir Ambrose Cave wrote unto me concerning the changing of a name at the confirmation; I have learned that I may not change usual or common names but only strange and not common; and further if the name be changed at confirmation it taketh effect but from the confirmation. And thus wishing your honour preservation and health, I commit you to God, who ever preserve you.

Your honour’s to command,


From Peterborough, this

xxxth of May, 1563.

Mr. Al. Nowell, Dean of St. Paul’s, to Sir W. Cecil.

After my most humble commendations to your Lordship, these are to certify the same, that whereas the copy of the catechism which I caused to be written out for your honour, to whom the book is dedicated, came to the hands of the bishops and clergy assembled in the late convocation; and by reason that certain places were by their judgment altered and interlined, and somewhat blotted, I have caused it to be copied out again, and sent it to your honour, not now in my name as afore but in the name of the clergy of the convocation, as their book, seeing it is by them approved and allowed. And I would have sent it sooner, but that I thought your honour to be so occupied with certain most weighty public affairs, by occasion rising and necessary in the mean time, that you could have no leisure to view this or any other book. Which great public business, seeing they do not so speedily as I trusted draw towards an end, but continue and augment still, I thought it well that the copy of the book at the beginning appointed and dedicated to your honour, should remain with the same; that when opportunity should serve, your honour by leisure might view it and judge whether it were not unworthy by your honour’s help, to be made public by the Queen’s majesty’s authority. For how expedient it were that some treatise of religion should be set forth, publicly in the name of the country, your honour doth well understand, seeing the opinion beyond the seas is that nothing touching religion is with any authority of consent of any number of the learned here in this country taught or set forth, but that a few private persons teach and write their opinions without any authority at all. For my part I have taken pains as well about the matter of the book, that it might be conformable unto the true doctrine of the Scriptures, as also that the style might agree with the purity of the latin tongue. And as the book hath not misliked their judgments whom I do both most allow and reverence; so if it might likewise be approved to your honour, to whose patronizing in my purpose I appointed it when I first begun it; I should think my pains most happily bestowed; as knoweth God who ever preserve your own and all yours.

From London, 22d June, 1563.

Questions proposed to Candidates for Holy Orders, in the Diocese of Peterborough, so arranged under Heads or Chapters, that they may exhibit a connected View of God’s Dealings with man under the New Covenant.


Of Redemption by Jesus Christ.

1. Did Christ die for all men? or did he die only for a chosen few?

2. If Christ died for all men, and the free gift of God therefore came upon all men to justification, may we thence conclude that all men will be actually saved?

3. Is not God himself willing that all men should be saved?

4. If then Christ died for all men, and God is willing that all men should be saved, must not they who fail of salvation fail through their own fault?

5. Does it not then behove us to inquire into the terms of our redemption, that we may learn to do what is necessary on our parts towards the obtaining of everlasting salvation?

6. Is it not necessary, in order to acquire a knowledge of those terms, to examine, first, the state in which we were left by the fall of Adam; and, secondly, our deliverance from that state, through the death of Christ?

Consult Rom. viii. 32—2 Cor. v. 15—1 Tim. ii. 6—James ii. 2—See also the consecration prayer in the Communion Service, and the Church Catechism, in answer to the question, “What dost thou chiefly learn in these articles of thy belief?” Rom. v. 18—1 Tim. ii. 4.

CHAP. II—Of Original Sin.

1. Did the fall of Adam produce such an effect on his posterity, that mankind became thereby a mass of mere corruption, or of absolute and entire depravity? or is the effect only such, that we are very far gone from original righteousness, and of our own nature inclined to evil?

2. Does the notion of man’s total corruption, or absolute depravity, produce in general (what is considered its chief recommendation,) a deep sense of humility?

3. Has not the frequent repetition of the doctrine, that we are not only far gone from righteousness, but are nothing better than a mass of mere corruption and depravity, a tendency to destroy all sense of virtue or moral goodness?

4. Is it possible, that a doctrine, which tends to destroy all sense of virtue, or moral goodness, should be a doctrine that comes from God!

5. Do we exalt the Creator by degrading the creature?

6. What advantage, then, can we derive from a doctrine, which converts mankind into a mass of absolute and entire depravity?—See Art. IX.

CHAP. III.—Of Free Will.

1. Is it in the power of man, without the assistance of God, to do what is pleasing and acceptable to God? Art. X.

2. Is not divine assistance necessary, even to obtain the will, to do so?—Art. X.

3. But when we have the will to do what is pleasing to God, is not the grace of God “working with us, and thus helping our infirmities?” Art. X.—Rom. viii. 26.

4. Would it not be absurd to say, that the grace of God is working with us, ‘if we ourselves had no share in the work?’

5. Is it not, then, contrary to our Tenth Article, to declare, that man has no share in the work of his own salvation?

6. Though the power which we possess is derived from God, yet when God has given us power, does it not rest with ourselves to exercise that power?

7. Does not St. Paul declare, that where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty?—2 Cor. iii. 17.

8. Though it is God who enables us both to will and to do, are we not required in scripture to exert that ability, and to work out our own salvation?—Philip ii. 12.

9. Is it not, then, contrary to say, that man has no share in the work of his salvation?

10. Are any advantages to be derived from the doctrine that God is the sole agent in the work of man’s salvation?

11. Is not the power of God equally manifested, whether he operates on man immediately, as in a mere passive object, or whether he acts mediately through the agency of man himself, and by means which, as Creator of all things, he must have previously imparted?

12. Is it necessary, then, to deny the agency of man, in order to promote the Glory of God?

13. Has not the doctrine, that man himself has no share in the work of his own salvation, a tendency to make him indifferent in regard to his moral conduct?

14. Can a doctrine, which renders men indifferent with respect to their moral conduct, be a doctrine that comes from God?

CHAP. IV.—Of Justification.

Section I.—Of Justification in reference to everlasting Salvation.

1. Does not the Church of England distinguish justification from everlasting salvation[5]?

2. Do not our Articles represent justification as preceding the performance of all our good works[6]?

3. Does not therefore, our justification (as the term is used in our Articles) take place in this present world[7]?

4. Is not everlasting salvation the same as everlasting life or happiness in the world to come?

5. Is not then our justification the mere commencement of that of which in the general scheme of redemption everlasting salvation is the end?

Section II.—Of Justification in reference to its Cause.

1. Does not the Eleventh Article declare, that we are “justified by faith only?”

2. Does not the expression faith only, derive additional strength from the negative expression in the same Article, and not for our own works?

3. Does not, therefore, the Eleventh Article exclude good works from all share in the office of justification! or, can we so construe the term faith, in that Article, as to make it include good works?

4. Do not the Twelfth and Thirteenth Articles further exclude them; the one, by asserting that good works follow after justification; the other by maintaining that they cannot precede it?

5. Can that which precedes an effect be reckoned among the causes of that effect?

6. Can we, then, consistently with our Articles, reckon the performance of good works among the causes of justification, whoever qualifying epithet be connected with the term cause?

Section III.—Of Justification in reference to the time when it takes place.

1. When we are justified, are we not, in the words of the Eleventh Article, accounted righteous before God?

2. When we are accounted righteous before God, and so accounted for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, are we not then admitted to the benefit of the Christian covenant?—Art. XI.

3. Is not, therefore, our justification our admission to the Christian Covenant?

CHAP. V.—Of Everlasting Salvation.

1. Though we are justified or admitted into covenant with God, through the merits of Christ, if we have but faith in these merits, and though we are thus admitted even before our faith has produced good works, does not the performance of good works, when we are admitted into covenant, become thenceforth a bounden duty?

2. Do all men, who have been admitted into covenant with God, perform that bounden duty?

3. Does not, then, experience show, that faith, which had been sufficient for our admission to the Christian covenant, is not always productive of that fruit which is wanted in order to remain there?

4. Though the Twelfth Article declares, that good works spring out necessarily of a lively faith, are they a necessary consequence of faith in general?

5. Is there not a dead faith as well as a lively faith? and does not St. James give the former appellation to the faith which remaineth unproductive of good works?

6. Though good works, then, are the natural fruits of faith, are they the necessary fruits of faith, or fruits which follow of necessity?

7. If our faith should not be productive of good works, will our admission to the Christian covenant ensure our arrival at the completion of it? In other words, will the justification which takes place in the present life, ensure our everlasting salvation or happiness in the life to come?

8. Does not the Sixteenth Article declare that we may depart from grace and fall into sin?

9. Does the same Article say more than that “we may arise again and amend our lives”? and does it not thus imply that we may not arise again and amend our lives?

10. Does it not then follow from the Sixteenth Article, that justification leads not of necessity to everlasting salvation?

11. Is not then the performance of good works, a condition of everlasting salvation though not of justification, viz. as the term justification is used in St. Paul’s Epistles and in our Articles? St. James takes it in a different sense; and therefore does not contradict St. Paul.

12. Are conditions of salvation incompatible with the doctrine, that salvation is the free gift of God? or must we not rather conclude from the very circumstance, that though, on the part of God, the gift is free, he may annex to the offer whatever conditions he may think proper to prescribe[8]?

13. Are not those conditions repeatedly declared in Holy Scripture?

14. Has not Christ himself declared that we are to be rewarded every man according to his own works,[9] and that they only who have done good shall come to the resurrection of life[10]?

15. Has not St. Paul also declared that God will render to every man according to his deeds?—Rom. ii. 6.

16. Does not St. James ask the question—Can faith save us? And does he not himself answer the question, by saying that “faith, if it hath not works, is dead”?—James ii. 14, 17.

CHAP. VI.—Of Predestination.

1. Does not the Seventeenth Article enumerate various qualities as belonging to those persons who are predestined to everlasting life?

2. Is it not one of those qualities, that “they walk religiously in good works?”

3. Is not, therefore, the walking religiously in good works, a criterion by which they who are predestined to eternal life may be distinguished from those who are not so predestined?

4. Does not our Saviour declare that we shall be known by our works, as a tree is known by its fruit?—Matt. vii. 16-21; xii. 33-55. Luke vi. 43, 45.

5. Does not St. Peter declare that we are elect according to the foreknowledge of God, unto obedience? I. Pet. i. 2.

6. Is it not, therefore, a contradiction, both to Scripture and to the Seventeenth Article, to assert that the decrees of God are absolute? or that election on the part of God has no reference to foreseen good conduct on the part of man?

7. If we believe that, in respect to a future state, neither our good conduct can excite any reasonable hope, nor our bad conduct any reasonable fear, is there any thing beyond the dread of temporal punishment to deter us from the commission of crimes?

8. Is not the law of God (which, when rightly understood, affords us an additional sanction to the law of man) so perverted by such a belief, as to become the means of counteracting the law of man?

9. Is not such a belief injurious also to the individual, as well as to society, by exciting ungrounded hopes in the confident hypocrite, and driving modest virtue to despair.

10. Though the Creator is not accountable to the creature, and his will alone determines who shall be elected to eternal life, is it credible that a Being of infinite wisdom, justice, and goodness, should elect on any other principles than such as are consistent with those attributes?

11. And does not absolute or indiscriminate election annul the distinctions of good and evil, of virtue and vice?

12. Is, therefore, such election possible on the part of a Being who is infinitely wise, just, and good?

CHAP. VII.—Of Regeneration, or the New Birth.

1. Is not our new birth distinguished from our first, or natural birth, by being a spiritual birth?

2. Are we not spiritually born when we enter into covenant with God?

3. Do we not enter into covenant with God, through Christ, at our Baptism?

4. When the outward sign is duly accompanied with the inward grace, are we not then born (in the words of our Saviour, John iii. 5.) “of water and the Spirit”?

5. Does not our baptismal service accordingly declare that we are regenerated at our baptism?

6. Does it make any exception or reservation on that head?

7. Is not our new or spiritual birth, as well as our first or natural birth, an event which happens only once in our lives?

8. If, then, we believe in the doctrine of our Church, that the new birth takes place at baptism, can we believe that they who have been baptized according to the rites of our Church will be regenerated at any other period?

CHAP. VIII.—Of Renovation.

1. Though at our baptism we became regenerate, and were made the children “of God by adoption and grace,” does not the infirmity of our nature still require that we should daily be renewed by the same Spirit?—See Collect for Christmas Day.

2. Does the assistance which we thus receive from the Holy Spirit display itself by sensible impulses, or do we discover this assistance only from the effects which it produces?

3. Does not St. Paul describe the fruits of the Holy Spirit? And do not those fruits consist in goodness and righteousness and truth?—Eph. v. 9.

4. If we wish, then, to know whether we are assisted by the Holy Spirit, must we not examine whether we have attained to goodness and righteousness and truth?

5. And if we have not these fruits of the Spirit, is it not presumptuous to imagine that the Spirit dwelleth in us?

6. Do not even the best of men require, during the whole course of their lives, the aid of the Holy Spirit to secure them from the danger of sin?

7. Is it not then presumptuous to suppose that, at any period of our lives, we can have become either so perfect or so secure as to have no longer need of renovation?

CHAP. IX.—Of the Holy Trinity.

See the Articles I.—V.; and the Church Catechism.

1. Are not there Three Persons in the Holy Trinity, equal in power, though different in office?

2. What is the office of God the Father?

3. What is the office of God the Son?

4. What is the office of God the Holy Ghost?

[5] In the very first Homily, and in the very wording of that Homily, we find the expression, “justification and everlasting salvation.” If the disjunctive particle had been employed, the terms might have been considered as of similar import. But in such a case it would be tautolgy to employ the conjunctive particle.

[6] According to Art. XII. good works follow after justification; and according to Art. XIII. we are even incapable of doing good works, before we are justified.

[7] It is used also in the same sense by St. Paul.

[8] The word used by St. Paul, clearly shows that it is the giver, not the receiver, who is free from obligation.—See Rom. v. 15, 16.

[9] Matt. xvi. 27.

[10] John v. 29.


It is usual for those, who see in the rudiments of Christianity grounds for depreciating the human character, to appeal to arguments seemingly arising from the authority of Scripture; in order to shew that we are essentially depraved; and all in consequence of our descent from Adam: sinful ourselves, because he sinned.—Thus having described the race of mankind as radically corrupt, * * *, by the very nature which God gives us; after stating that the “seeds of vicious principle are implanted in every bosom,” “that mankind is totally depraved in consequence of the fall of the first man; a mere mass of corruption extending over the whole soul, and exposing it to God’s righteous displeasure, both in this world and in that which is to come”—they usually have recourse to passages in the Scriptures to confirm their assertions; without regarding the per contra evidences which may be drawn from the same authority.

I shall not here bring forward the clear statement which might be given of much seemingly innate good principle even in very young children, so as to prove, at least, some early good in them, if others would from hence contend sometimes for early evil:—nor the acknowledged fact, that, so far from the human heart being “naturally hostile to God, and adverse to religion,” hardly any nation in all the world, at any period of time, has been discovered, which has not made some advance towards religion, and shewn some reference to a God, however feeble and imperfect:—nor the consideration that in whatever degree such a preponderance toward evil were natural, we may well assure ourselves it would receive an adequate allowance from the Almighty, when his equitable sentence shall be finally pronounced: but in reply to those who found their Christianity in these degrading assertions concerning the state of man, and for their authority appeal to texts of Scripture, I would observe, first,

That there is either ignorance or some apparent disingenuousness very frequently observable in the arguings of those persons respecting the native history of man, and the words “image of God,” as referred to him, (Gen. i. 27.) And it is by no means uncommon with such to represent the case as follows:—that Adam was indeed made in the “image of God,” (whatever high excellence may be imagined to be thus implied) but that Adam begat a son “in his own image;” whereby a supposed jingle of antithesis, “image of God,” and “Adam’s own image,” it is inferred, (not merely that all mankind are to be deduced from Adam, but) that the race of men was so made to lose sight of its high original, as to be no longer entitled to that estimation which the words “image of God” seem to imply:—whereas a continuance of this very same high quality and character was preserved, and is repeated by God himself in his command to Noah against murder: (Gen. ix. 6.) “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he him:”—the continuance of this very “image of God” in man, being that which should constitute the crime of killing him, and make the difference of offence between destroying a man and any other animal. And the very same high attribute, or character in man, is preserved still later in the holy writings; St. James, (iii. 9.) speaking of the tongue, and saying “therewith bless we God; and therewith curse we men who are made after the (image or) similitude of God.”

A late writer on this subject appealing to scriptural authorities, to prove the radical depravity of man, brings forward the following instances: Gen. vi. 4. “the wickedness of man was great upon the earth: and every imagination of men’s hearts was only evil continually.” Spoken no doubt with inclusive reference to the state of the world before the Flood: and if true then, and in whatever degree true still, yet implying nothing as to the origin of such depravity; nor what Adam had to do with it; nor as if the aversion from God and righteousness, here stated, implied any incapacity to be otherwise, and any necessity to be sinful; which in such a case would not produce sin. Again, he instances in Rom. iii. 9. “there is none that doeth good no not one.” Certainly, as a general expression, very allowable; not absolute good, unmixed with any alloy of evil. But how is this to be traced as from a necessary cause in Adam? So, in Rom. viii. 7. “The carnal mind is enmity against God,” or more properly “A carnal mind is enmity against God,” that is, a mind or thought influenced by carnal propensities; which is very true; but carries nothing of necessity in it, nor any thing more than a general moral assertion. So in 1 Cor. ii. 14. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; neither can he know them; because they are spiritually discerned.” A truth indisputable. The things of God which are attainable only by revelation, cannot be thoroughly received, known, or entered into, by merely natural perception: if the word natural is the proper rendering of the original, * * *, animalis homo; qui humanæ, tantum ratione lucis ducitur. And if we add his other references, “By nature children of wrath,” and “in my flesh dwelleth no good thing; these and other like passages, whatever of actual depravity they may imply, yet have no connecting cause in them from Adam, so as to make it a necessary intimation that we are totally corrupt, wholly evil by descent from him.” (See Simeon’s Appeal, &c. p. 25.)

On the contrary, some strong inferences and declarations are to be met with in the Scripture, of original goodness, as ascribed to man by his very nature, however often checquered with appearances of a worse kind. And goodness, even very real goodness, is frequently ascribed to individuals who are pronounced “holy” and “righteous.” And if “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit,” we still read of the spirit’s acting against those fleshly propensities. (Matt. xxvi. 41.) Though the flesh may be weak, the spirit of man is said to be willing to follow duty, (Rom. vii. 22.) St. Paul says

[Transcriber Note: To be continued and produced in its entirety in Issue 12.]


Misspelled words and printer errors have been corrected. Where multiple spellings occur, majority use has been employed.

Punctuation has been maintained except where obvious printer errors occur.

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[The end of The Christian Recorder Vol. 2, Issue 11 (1821-January) by Various]