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that the spirit of the great Prophet Elijah will inspire St. John the Baptist on his appearance on earth.
We have now closed our short examination of the Old Testament; and we venture to hope that all our readers have thus received an intelligible account of that holy volume. The entire history may now be so well understood, that when they turn to the Bible for those particulars which we have not had time to touch upon, they will not lose sight of the general course of events. The Prophecies are particularly important to be examined. We have therefore named the chapters that contain the most remarkable of those noticed; but, as the language of the Prophecies is often difficult to understand, in examining the Bible our readers are recommended to look to the top of the page, and to the heads of the chapters, for an account of what is therein foretold; which will much assist in finding them. The Old Testament contains the promises of our blessed Redeemer's coming, and foretels his character and office; when we have considered these with attention, we must turn to the New Testament, where we shall find these promises and predictions fulfilled in the most exact and wonderful manner. We must bear in mind, that the Old Testament was kept in the care of those very Jews who afterwards denied the Christ who was thus foretold to them. The New Testament supplies us with the particulars of our Saviour's life and ministry; it contains the whole of his invaluable instructions for our guidance, opening to mankind at large that volume of Divine knowledge, which, until his appearance on earth, was reserved by Almighty Wisdom to a particular people.
Amongst the number of those ancient prophecies upon which we have lately fixed our attention, none, I think, will strike our readers more forcibly than those which foretold the present state of the Jewish nation. This is a living miracle, which affords us hourly proof of the truth of revealed Religion. We refer to the 28th and 29th chapters of the Book of Deuteronomy especially; wherein Moses, who lived upwards of 3000 years ago, predicts that for their disobedience and ingratitude, their nation should be subdued, their King should be carried away, and the people made captives in a foreign land. Now, if we turn to the last chapter of the Books of Kings, of Chronicles, or of Jeremiah, we shall find this prophecy most exactly accomplished. Moses foretels likewise, that for their continued disobedience, the Lord would bring a nation against them at a future time from afar, whose tongue they should not understand, who should besiege them in their gates, until their high and fenced walls should come down. This was most wonderfully accomplished, as a punishment for the rejection of Jesus Christ many ages after the days of Moses, by the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, (a people whose tongue they did not understand). Josephus, their own historian, who was no friend to Christianity, describes the horrors of the siege to have been precisely what we read of in Deuteronomy. Moses further prophesied that the Lord would scatter them among all people, from one end of the earth to the
other; that they should become an astonishment, a proverb, a byword among all nations whither the Lord should lead them. Let it be remembered that these are the very words of Moses 3000 years ago and we all know how exactly they describe the peculiar condition of the Jews at this very hour. They have been driven out from Palestine, their proper country; they are dispersed through many other nations; they are without a prince or government; they are treated with contempt and dislike by all other people: yet they remain a distinct race; they have never fallen into the mass of other nations; and are at this moment an astonishment, a by-word, and a proverb throughout the world.
We have drawn your attention to this very remarkable prediction, as an inducement to examine the like accomplishment of the other Prophecies contained in the same Sacred Volume. It will be perceived that the books of the Old and New Testament are inseparably connected. Their high authority stands on the same foundation. They reflect on each other the heavenly light of truth and conviction. The prophecies contained in the one are fulfilled in the other. The books of the Old Testament are continually referred to by our blessed Saviour, who distinctly declared to the Jews that he came to fulfil those promises which were contained in the Book of the Law; while, on the other hand, the New Covenant of Christ is continually prophesied throughout the Old Testament.
In our next lecture we shall begin our examination of the New Testament; and I will only now repeat, that since these inquiries into the Sacred Writings have been shewn to be of the utmost importance to our eternal welfare, nothing can be more weak and unpardonable than to neglect any opportunity of pursuing them with zeal and diligence. They will most certainly bring down their own rich reward upon all who sincerely persevere in this pious duty.
Let us on this subject reflect on the last words of the Prophet Hosea: Who is wise, and he will ponder these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.'
LIFE OF CRANMER.
RELIGIOUS Toleration is a blessing of which we know not the full value so long as we enjoy it. In former times, when persecution raged, and men for conscience sake were insulted with the bitterest reproofs, and exposed to the loss of life and liberty, who was not ready to acknowledge the value of Christian freedom? who did not then anxiously hope that a time would come when the Church of Christ should have rest from her enemies, and every pious man be permitted to worship God according to his conscience?
Happy are we, and abundantly thankful to God should we be,
for so great a blessing; living, as we do in these days, under a Constitution in Church and State, which places no constraint upon Religion happy in the enjoyment of a Liturgy which conveys to us the doctrines of the Bible almost wholly in its own words; and yet leaves those who are dissatisfied with this beautiful Form of Prayer, to worship God after their own fashion, and to adopt any other mode more conformable to their peculiar opinions.
The history of England, like the history of all other countries, affords us many sad examples of that malignant spirit with which the great enemy of Christianity has from time to time assailed the Church, by fomenting discord and jealousies among its members, and exciting them to the wildest and most implacable contests. The mighty work of the Reformation, which released our countrymen from the errors of Popery, was not brought about without a severe struggle. Satan foresaw the great blow which was about to be given to his influence over the hearts of ignorant men, when the doctrines of purgatory, the sacrifice of the mass, and the other gross corruptions of the church of Rome were fully exposed; the illustrious founders of the Reformation in England had to contend against every artifice by which the minds of the people might be deluded. And nobly did they exert themselves to overthrow the dominion of ancient superstition.
Among these eminent men, Archbishop Cranmer has a distinguished claim to the gratitude of his countrymen : for to him we may look, as upon a bright example of Christian patience under the severest sufferings; and to him also we are mainly indebted for that Liturgy which is still used in the Church of England. Of the value of this noble gift most of us are now competent to judge; but there may be some of our readers who may have yet to learn how much it cost this learned and excellent man, in thus serving the cause of the Reformation.
Archbishop Cranmer was born of good parentage, in the year 1189, at Aslacton, in Nottinghamshire. He was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge; but marrying at an early age, he forfeited his fellowship there. His wife, however, soon after dying in child bed, he was re-elected to his College; and during his residence at the University was chosen, for his eminent learning, one of the Doctors in Divinity, to examine the candidates for degrees.
About this time King Henry VIII. was endeavouring to persuade the Pope (whose authority he then acknowledged) to grant him a divorce from his Queen, Katherine of Arragon. Two learned Doctors, who were employed in the business, falling accidentally into the company of Dr. Cranmer, consulted him on the subject; and though unprepared for so difficult a question, he gave it as his decided opinion, that the matter ought not to be referred to the Pope, but rather to the decision of the English Universities; it being, according to the King's assertion, a case of conscience; which our churchmen were most competent to determine. When this was reported to the King he was highly pleased, and ordered Dr. Cranmer to
appear before him, and was so much impressed with his good sense, his learning, and his amiable deportment, that he sent him on a mission to Rome; and soon after, on the demise of Archbishop Warham in 1533, conferred upon him at once the high dignity of the See of Canterbury. His sudden elevation gave great offence to the courtiers, and raised him up many enemies.
Cranmer had been educated in the errors of the Romish Church; and it was not until the writings of Martin Luther, and others of the German reformers were put into his hands by Ridley, Bishop of London, who afterwards became his fellow martyr, that he fully convinced himself of the gross corruptions of the true faith, and gradually adopted, upon the fullest evidence, the principles of the Protestant Religion. The Lord Cromwell was at that period looked up to by the Protestants as their chief patron, and Cranmer found in him a steady friend and colleague, in opposing those who laboured to support the interests of the Papacy in England.
Henry had now abjured the Pope's authority, and declared himself Supreme Head of the Church; he resisted all endeavours to revive the influence of the Pope within his dominions, and, prompted by those about the Court who sought to enrich themselves by the plunder of the Church, he by public edict suppressed all the monasteries, and confiscated their revenues. By thus abandoning the religious orders to poverty and contempt, he rendered a fatal injury to learning; which, amidst all the superstitions of that period, abode almost wholly in the retirement of the cloister.
Though Cranmer had no share in this transaction, and had endeavoured ineffectually to prevail on the King to spare them, he was suspected, by the Papists, as the secret adviser of those proceedings, in conjunction with the Lord Cromwell. Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, was the leader of a party against the Archbishop in the Privy Council; they had the address to persuade the King so far to change his religious opinions, as to discountenance the new principles of the Reformation which he had lately favoured, and to issue a declaration, pronouncing all the peculiar doctrines of the Romish Church to be true and conformable to Scripture, and compelling the people to adopt them, under the severest penalties. Every artifice was employed to shake the firmness of Cranmer, but in vain. They insisted that he should be cited before the Council, for contempt of the King's proclamation. Henry was the firm friend of the Archbishop, when all else seemed disposed to desert him. He sent for him and told him what was intended. Cranmer meekly answered, he was ready to meet his accusers; but the King, more serrsible of his danger, bid him not depend on the justice of his cause ; and taking a ring from his finger, desired him to produce that at the Council-table, and appeal to himself if matters should go hard against him. It fell out as the King expected. The Archbishop being treated with great indignity, found it necessary to exhibit the King's signet, to their entire confusion; and the day following Henry put them all to shame in the presence of the good Archbishop, say,
ing, I well perceive these things have been done against him maliciously, and if some of you had had your minds you would have tried him to the uttermost; but I protest, by the faith I owe to God, I take this man here, my Lord of Canterbury, to be of all other a most faithful subject unto us, and one to whom we are much beholding. Thus foiled in their malicious design, they professed their sorrow to the King; and Cranmer readily forgave them, and accepted their hands in token of reconciliation. But their hatred of this good man could not long rest. They endeavoured to establish charges against him for preaching doctrines at Canterbury contrary to the King's articles; and brought forward one Sir John Gostwicke as evidence against him. When the accusation reached the King's ear he exclaimed, Why where dwelleth Gostwicke? as I take it, either in Bedfordshire or Buckinghamshire: and hath he so open an ear that he can hear my Lord of Canterbury preaching out of Kent??He bid him immediately go and make his peace with the Archbishop, on pain of his heaviest displeasure; and soon after, when these charges were a second time revived, he appointed Cranmer to choose a commission for himself, to examine into the affair; by which he was enabled to bring to light the whole conspiracy of his seeret enemies, who had tampered with his own Chancellor and Registrar, the letters of the Bishop of Winchester and others being detected in their possession.
The simplicity and truth which distinguished the character of this wise and virtuous prelate defeated the designs of those wicked men, who were jealous of his influence. His affectionate demeanour endeared him to the whole nation; and in the true spirit of Christian charity, he was ever ready to return good for evil, after the example of his Divine Master, blessing them that persecuted him, insomuch that it grew into a well known proverb, Do unto my Lord of Canterbury a displeasure or any shrewd turn, and then you may be sure to have him for your friend while he liveth.'
Such was the King's confidence towards Cranmer, that although he never failed to remonstrate with him upon all his unjust and arbitrary proceedings, he retained the royal favour to the last hour of his life. Henry VIII., when near his end, bid those about him send for Cranmer, who was then at Croydon. He came with all dispatch; but on entering the apartment, the King was already speechless. The Archbishop solemnly addressing him, entreated his Majesty to shew some sign of his faith and dependance upon Christ's mercy. Upon which the dying Monarch forcibly squeezed his hand, and immediately expired.
It was about this time that Cranmer, having maturely adopted the principles of the Reformation, composed and put forth five books for the public instruction of the Church of England. Against these a feeble answer was published by Bishop Gardiner, then a prisoner in the Tower. The Archbishop was also principally concerned in the composition of our Liturgy, and in drawing up the Articles of Religion and the Church Catechism, in its present form; many of