« PreviousContinue »
and opposed the doctrine of predestination, which he held and taught, by the same identical cavils which have been since so greedily licked up, and so plentifully disgorged, by Messrs. Wesley, Sellon, and others of that fraternity. These gentlemen blush not to whet their bills on the door posts of popery itself, rather than not be enabled to peck at Those protestant doctrines, to which they (I will not say, for divers good, but) for divers weighty causes, have themselves most solemnly, though most hypocritically, subscribed.
Next after the testimony of John Huss, naturally follows that of his intimate friend and faithful fellow martyr, Jerom of Prague. As they were united, in their lives, by the most sacred ties of religious and learned regard, so in their deaths they were almost undivided : for they were both executed within a twelvemonth of each other.
VI. Jerom, surnamed of Prague, from the place of his nativity, was a lay gentleman, of competent fortune, and of very extraordinary learning. Having taken his master of arts degree, in the university of his native city, he visited most of the countries in Europe. In the course of this tour, the universities of Paris, Cologne, and Heidelberg, successively complimented him with the same degree which he had taken at Prague. The writers of the Biographical Dictionary (1) seem to think it probable, that the university of Oxford likewise favoured
mur aut præmiamur, nisi de iis quæ sunt in potestate nostrâ ad utramque partem contradictionis flexibilia. Fascic. vol. i.
288. i. e. “ If,” say the Romish confessors, “all things come to pass by an absolute necessity, then, 1. all precepts and prohibitions are vain. 2. The very nature of sin is taken away. There can, 3. be no such thing as a laudable, virtuous, meritorious, or even rewardable action. Consequently, 4. we can neither be praised, nor blamed, we can neither merit by, nor be rewarded for, any thing we do.” So spake the popish doctors, in the year 1415. And so speak the Arminians, in the year 1771.
(1) Vol. vii. p. 39.
him with the same mark of respect. It is, however, certain, that, during his progress, he was over in England; where he copied out the books of Wickliff, and returned with them to Prague (m).”
In proving the Calvinism of Dr. John Huss, I have proved the Calvinism of his brother in the faith, the learned and pious Jerom. "I knew him,” said Jerom, speaking of Huss, “ to be a just and true preacher of the holy gospel : and whatsoever things Mr. Huss and Wickliff have held or written, I will affirm, even unto death, that they were holy and blessed men (n).” In pursuance of this declaration, delivered before a full meeting of the council of Constance, he was condemned to death : and, in the very sentence of condemnation, the council alleged this reason, among others, why they proceeded against him to the ultimate severity, viz. because he had “ affirmed, that he never, at any time, had read any errors or heresy in the books and treatises of the said Wickliff and Huss, and because the said Jerom is an adherent and maintainer of the said Wickliff and Huss and their errors, and both is and hath been a favourer of them (o).” As he suffered for the same blessed cause, so he suffered on the same spot of ground where his friend Huss had been executed: and his persecutors gave the strongest proofs they were able of their meanness and malice, by fixing him to a stake which had been shaped into an image, resembling his brother martyr, who had so lately and so gloriously set his life as à seal to the truth in that place (p). Yet, though no circumstance was omitted, which might tend to shake his fortitude, and to disconcert him in his last moments; “ be suffered with all thế magnanimity of
(m) Rolt's Lives of the Reformers, p. 19.
723. (p) See Fox, ibid. p. 724.
Huss. He embraced the stake, to which he was fastened with the peculiar malice of wet cords. When the executioner went behind him, to set fire to the pile, Come here, said Jerom, and kindle it before my eyes; for if I dreaded such a sigbt, I should never have come to this place, when I had a free opportunity of escaping. The fire was kindled, and he then sung a hymn, which was soon finished by the incircling flames (9).
VII. John de Wesalia was another eminent witness for the doctrines of grace, and suffered much for his adherence to them. “ He was,” says Monsieur Bayle, “ a doctor of divinity; and was very ill treated by the inquisition in Germany, for having taught some doctrines which disgusted the catholics (r).” Another writer informs us more particularly what those doctrines were, which gave the church of Rome so much disgust. Diether Isenburgh, archbishop of Mentz, convened an assembly of popish doctors, A. D. 1479. to sit in judgment on this pretended heretic, who was then, on account of his religious principles, a prisoner in a convent of that city. A long catalogue of articles was laid to his charge : of which, the following were some.
“ God hath, from everlasting, written a book, wherein he hath inscribed all his elect: and whosoever is not already written there, will never be written there at all.
“ Moreover, he that is written therein, will never be blotted out of it.
“ The elect are saved by the alone grace of God: and what man soever God willeth to save, by enduing him with grace, if all the priests in the world were desirous to damn and excommunicate that man, he would still be saved. Whomsoever, like
(9) Rolt, p. 21.
wise, God willeth to condemn, if the whole clan of pope, priests, and others, were desirous of saving that man, he still condemned would be.
“ If there had never been any pope in the world, they, who are saved, would have been saved notwithstanding.
“ They who undertake pilgrimages to Rome, are fools.
“ I will not look upon any thing as sinful, which the scripture does not call so.
“I despise the pope, his church and his councils. But I love Christ. Let the word of Christ dwell in us abundantly
“ It is a difficult thing to be a [true] Christian (s).”
The church of Rome took fire at these propositions. The affair was carried before the tribunal of the inquisition. In the course of bis examination, another heinous heresy was laid to his charge : viz. that he had given it as his opinion, that St.' Paul contributed nothing toward his own conversion by the help of his own free-will(t). A man need but look into the 9th chapter of the Acts, to be
(s) “ Deus, ab æterno, condidit librum, in quem scripsit omnes suos electos. Quicunque autem in eo non est scriptus, nunquam inscribetur in ipsum in æternum. Et qui in eo scriptus est, nunquam ex eo delebitur.
“ Sola Dei gratia salvantur electi. Et quem Deus vult salvare, donando sibi gratiam, si omnes sacerdotes vellent illum damnare aut excommunicare, adhuc salvaretur ille. Et quem Deus vult damnare, si omnes Presbyteri, Papa, et alii, vellent hunc salvare, adhuc este damnaretur.
“ Si nullus unquam Papa fuisset, adhuc salvati fuissent bi qui salvati sunt.
Peregrinantes Romam fatui sunt.
Quecunque non dicuntur esse peccata in sacra scriptura, ea non pro peccatis habebo.
“ Contemno Papam, Ecclesiam,' et Consilia. 66 Res est difficilis esse Christianum."
Fascic: Rerum, vol. i. p. 325, 326. (t) “ Opinatur quod beatus Paulus, in sua conversione, nihil fecit suo libero arbitrio pro sua conversione." Ibid. p. 331.
fully convinced that Dr. Wesalia was in the right. How exactly by the bye, does Mr. Sellon jump with these Romish inquisitors, who has declared, totidem verbis, that, in converting St. Paul, “ The Lord did wait for St. Paul's compliance and improvements!" i. e. at the very time when God struck Saul to the earth, he waited for Saul's consent to fall! Had the Almighty waited for the compliance of him who was breathing out threats and slaughters against the gospel, he might bave waited long enough, and waited for nothing at last.
Wesalia, it seems, was extremely old and infirm, when he underwent the above inquisitorial examination. Being, says Mr. Bayle, “broken by age and diseases, he was not able to express his thoughts before such a dreadful tribunal.” Hence proceeded the retractation, into which he was trepaned. It is plain, that his retractation was not considered as sincere, from his being condemned to perpetual confinement and penance " in a monastery of the Augustins; where he died soon after (u).”
The Judgment of several eminent Persons, who flou
rished in England, antecedently to the Reformation.
From among the ancient worthies, natives of our own land, and remarkable for having been led into an acquaintance with the distinguishing doctrines of the gospel ; Bede, Grosthead, Wickliffe, Bradwardin, and lord Cobham, may be selected as rone of the least conspicuous. If our island be disgraced with having given birth to Pelagius, she is
(u) Bayle, u. s. p. 542.