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They must feel what dishonourable thoughts of Christ's undertaking, truth, and love they have entertained. They must see that the great sin and the principal disease which tliey are to pray against, is a mean, low way of thinking of the adorable Immanuel. And the more any one compares himself with the thief saved on the cross, supposing he has indeed made application himself for salvation to Christ, the more he will perceive what a contradiction it is to his principles, and to Scripture, not to be confident that his warfare is accomplished, his iniquity pardoned, and his sin covered.
I cannot conclude without remarking upon the extreme depravity of our nature, visible in the general manner in which the case of the thief saved on the cross has been treated. We can overlook every thing it was recorded to teach us; we can pervert it most horridly to a purpose it was never designed. to answer. Instead of collecting, from this instance, that salvation is all of grace; that the chief of sinners are encouraged by it to come immediately to Christ; and that the utmost strength of sin or corruption must fall before His power,— proud corrupted man can deny that any such glorious lessons are taught by it, whilst he can strengthen himself in his wickedness from this instance, and presume he shall have time enough, even upon a bed of death, to secure his eternal salvation. Was there the least trace of this presumption in the thief hinted at? No; by no means. Is it the doctrine of Scripture, that those who put off their repentance to the last shall then find their profane purpose succeed? Quite the contrary. To deter men from yielding to such an accursed imagination of their evil hearts, our Lord and Judge has expressly declared that when that evil servant shall say in his heart, " My Lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to eat and drink and to be drunken; the Lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers." In another place He saith, "If thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief."
May these, and all the other Scriptures of God, be rightly understood and duly improved by you and Lady Smythe; and, however odd it may sound, I can wish you to die in no other frame of mind, and with no other hope or ground of confidence towards God, than what this once infamous malefactor, but now glorified saint, departed this life in. By the power of true faith may Christ, crucified for you, be manifest before your eyes; and when your flesh is utterly failing, may you feel what this thief did when he said, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom."—I am, Sir, your much obliged and most humblo and obedient servant,
HISTORY OF THE REFORMATION IN ENGLAND.
Sketch of the Reformation in England. By the Rev. J. J.
The Reformation of the Church of England. Its History, Principles, and Results. A.J). 1514—1547. By the Rev. John Henry Blunt, M.A., F.S.A., Vicar of Kennington, Oxford. Rivingtons. 18G8.
We must now direct the attention of our readers to a series of blunders in Mr. Blunt's account of Tyndale's translation of the New Testament, unparalleled, probably, in so small a compass, in the pages of any History of the Reformation proceeding from the pen of a clergyman of the English Church, and especially of one who, though not educated in either of her two great seats of learning, might fairly be presumed to have profitedby his opportunities of access to those literary treasures of one of them, to some of which the foot-notes of the volume under review direct the attention of his readers. "To the popular imagination," writes Mr. Blunt (p. 546), "Tyndale is a martyr who was burned at the stalie for daring to translate the New Testament into English, in which language it is supposed to have been hitherto altogether unknown." We have already had such convincing proof of Mr. Blunt's profound ignorance on the subject of early English versions of the Scriptures, that we were not altogether unprepared for any revelation which he might have occasion to make of the density of the literary atmosphere by which he ha3 been surrounded. We were scarcely prepared, however, to find that there is any part of England, much less that part which is the seat of an University which "spectat in septentriones et orientem solem," wherein the reign of darkness is broken only by such meteor flashes of light, that persons, whilst ignorant of the very existence of WycliflWs translation of the New Testament, are yet better acquainted than a learned historian of the Reformation with the occasion and the circumstances of Tyndale's death.
We shall now notice seriatim some of Mr. Blunt's assertions respecting the early editions of Tyndale's New Testament, leaving it to our readers to decide for themselves how far the critical accuracy of Mr. Blunt's statements warrants his sweeping condemnation of the loose and incorrect notions which have been hitherto floating in "the popular imagination."
I. Mr. Blunt informs us, as of a fact "well known," that "Tyndale's translation of the New Testament was printed in 1525, at Cologne." It is "well known" by all who have taken the trouble to examine the evidence which exists on this subject, that ten sheets only of the quarto edition of Tyndale's New Testament were printed at Cologne; and that the smaller edition, which appeared in England simultaneously with the larger one, and is said to have been completed before it, was printed at Worms, at the press of Peter Schceffer.*
II. Mr. Blunt informs us that "the first edition obtained some circulation; but the whole of the second edition was bought up by Archbishop Warham, through Tunstal, Bishop of London, in 1529, before it had reached England." Every particular contained in this paragraph is either suggestive of error, or is positively incorrect.
(1.) Whereas Mr. Blunt informs ns that "the first edition" (i.e., according to him, the quarto edition, with the prologues and glosses) "obtained some circulation, but the whole of the second edition was bought up before it reached England," it appears that both the edition with the "glosses," and that without them, were simultaneously introduced into England early in the year 1526 A.D., and that both editions were eagerly purchased, and as eagerly proscribed, f
(2.) Whereas Mr. Blunt represents Archbishop Warham as buying up the whole of the second edition in 1529, through Tunstal, it appears that the Archbishop's purchase of a part of both the quarto«and octavo editions (together with a portion, probably, of a third edition) was made in 1527; and in a letter written to him by Nix, Bishop of Norwich, dated June 14 of that year, he is congratulated on his zeal and success as regards both editions. J Tunstal'8 purchase, on the other hand, which was made two years afterwards, i.e. in 1529, appears to have been effected on his own account, and, in all probability, it was a later edition which was bought up by him.
(3.) Whereas Mr. Blunt states, in a footnote to this passage, that the sum paid by Archbishop Warham was £64. 9s. 4d., it appears that the actual amount was £66. 9s. 4d.; and whereas he cites as his authority Ellis's Original Letters, iii. 2. 87, he would, had he referred to the book, instead of quoting from it at second-hand, have found the blunders which he (in common with others) has made, exposed, the two purchases accurately distinguished, their respective dates stated, and also the sum paid by Archbishop Warham in 1527.§
• See the evidence adduced on this J Anderson, pp. 88, 89.
subject in Mr. Francis Pry's interest- § The words are as follows :—
ing Introduction to his Facsimile Re- "The world has been led to be
print of Tyndale's "First New Testa- lieve, on the authority of Hall, Fox,
ment." Bristol, 1862. Burnet, Lewis, and others, that Bishop
t So widely were both editions of Tunstal was the person who first
the Testament now («. e., March, 1526) bought the copies. The date they
circulated, that even " the Archbishop give to tho purchase is 1529 and 1530.
of Canterbury must examine his Pro- The present letter from the Bishop of
vince." Anderson's Annals of the Norwich to Archbishop Warham is
English Bible, p. 70, 1862. dated Juno 14th, 1527." Ibid. p. 86.
III. Mr. Blunt says,—" There was much justification for this (t. e. the buying up of the second edition by Archbishop Warham) in the 'prologues,' the 'glosses/ and the false renderings of Tyndale's translation (the first alone occupying as much space as the translation itself)."
With regard to the space occupied by the prologues, we will only observe that, had Mr. Blunt taken the trouble to examine any edition of Tyndale's New Testament containing the prologues, he could not have been guilty of the extravagant and preposterous assertion which we have just quoted.
As regards their contents, we can readily believe that, had Mr. Blunt read these prologues—which, as far as we have opportunity of judging, he has condemned unseen—he would have found but little which would have been in accordance with his own theological system, in the exposition which they contain of that Gospel which Tyndale had found to be the power of God unto his own salvation, and in order to the communication of which to others he was willing to spend and be spent, not counting his life dear unto himself, so that others might be partakers with him of that " like precious faith," the nature and results of which are set forth in the short extracts which follow from the prologue to the Epistle to the Romans:—
"All our justifying then cometh of faith, and faith and the Spirit come of God, and not of us. When we say, faith bringoth the Spirit, it is not to be understood that faith deserveth the Spirit, or that the Spirit is not present in us before faith; for the Spirit is ever in us, and faith is the gift and working of the Spirit, but through preaching the Spirit beginnetk to work in us. And as by preaching the law he worketh the fear of God, so by preaching the glad tidings he worketh faith. And now when we believe and are come under the covenant of God, then are we sure of the Spirit by the promise of God, and then the Spirit accompanieth faith inseparably, and we begin to feel his working. And so faith certifieth us of the Spirit, and also bringeth the Spirit with her, unto the working of all other gifts of grace, and to the working out of the rest of our salvation, until we have altogether overcome sin, death, hell, and Satan, and are come unto the everlasting life of glory. And for this cause we say, Faith bringeth the Spirit."*
Again Tyndale describes the working of a living faith thus :—
"But right faith is a thing wrought by the Holy Ghost in us, which changeth us, turneth us into a new nature, and begetteth us anew in God, and maketh us the sons of God, as thou readest in the first of John; and killeth the old Adam, and maketh us altogether new in the heart, mind, will, lust, and in all our affections and powers of the soul; the Holy Ghost ever accompanying her and ruling the heart. Faith is a lively thing, mighty in working, valiant, and strong, ever doing, ever fruitful; so that it is impossible that he who is endued therewith should not work always good works without ceasing. He asketh not whether good works are to be done or not, but hath done them already, ere mention be made of them; and is always doing, for such is his nature; for quick faith in his heart, and lively moving of the Spirit, drive him and stir him thereunto. Whosoever doth not good works is an unbelieving person, and faithless, and looketh round about Mm, groping after faith and good works, and wotteth not what faith or good works mean, though he babble never so many things of faith and good works."*
* Tyndale's Doctrinal Treatises, pp. 488, 489 (Parker Society Edition). Vol. 68.-N0. 379. 3 R
Once more Tyndale concludes this instructive prologue in the words which follow :—
"Now go to, reader, and according to the order of Paul's writing, even so do thou. First, behold thyself diligently in the law of God, and see there thy just damnation. Secondly, turn thine eyes to Christ, and see there the exceeding mercy of thy most kind and loving Father. Thirdly, remember that Christ made not this atonement that thou shouldest anger God again; neither died He for thy sins that thou shouldest live still in them; neither cleansed he thee that thou shouldest return, as a swine, unto thine old puddle again; but that thou shouldest be a new creature, and live a new life after the will of God, and not of the flesh. And be diligent, lest through thine own negligence and unthankfulness thou lose this favour and mercy again. Farewell."t
In whatever light, however, these extracts may be regarded by Mr. Blunt, few of our readers will, we believe, discern in them "much justification" for the relentless animosity with which not only Warham and Tunstal, but also Wolsey, Mr. Blunt's "real leader of the Reformation," persecuted, as destroyers of the faith, those who were employed in the circulation of the purest English version of the New Testament then existing, even had that version been invariably acewnpanied by the prologues from which we have quoted. But whatever difference of opinion may exist upon the merit or demerit of Tyndale's Prologues, there can be none as regards the verdict which must be pronounced upon the fidelity of Mr. Blunt as an historian, when we assert, as an indisputable fact, that this socalled "second edition" of Tyndale's New Testament, the destruction of which Mr. Blunt justifies on the ground of the pernicious character of its contents, contained neither the Prologues nor the Glosses which have incurred so severe a condemnation.J
* Tyndale's Doctrinal Treatises, p. edition, Mr. Blunt's" Second Edition,"
498 (Parker Society Edition). contained neither the Prologues nor
t Ibid. p. BIO. * the Glosses. See Mr. Fry's Introdnc
J It was the quarto edition, pro- tion to his Facsimile Reprint of Tyn
bably that begnn at Cologne, and dale's New Testament; also Anderson's
which is described by Mr. Blunt as Annals, p. 39, and Westoott's History
the " first," which contained the Pro- of the English Bible, p. 40, note, logncs and the Glosses. The octavo