Page images

Major, and Schneppius, at the conference of Ratisbon in 1545. He greatly distinguished himself on both occasions against Cochlæus, and the other disputants for the Romanists : But he was much troubled to see the dispute between the Lutherans and Zuinglians hotter than ever. He wrote to Luther, to pacify him. He told him, that these divisions would not advance the Reformation; and assured him, that the ministers of the imperial cities and Switzerland, held to the terms of the act of agreement.

Bucer, at the same time, drew up a new confession of faith about the eucharist, in which he asserted, that we ought to acknowledge, that the body and blood of Jesus Christ are given us in the Lord's Supper, for our nourishment and drink; and that the eucharist bread and wine are the communion of his body and blood; so that we not only receive the Holy Spirit, or the virtue of the body of Jesus Christ, but Jesus Christ himself. After this explication, he added several other considerations, to let us know, that manducation is not real, and is only done by faith : But he acknowledged, that the body and blood of Jesus Christ are really and truly given in the Lord's Supper, if it is celebrated according to the institution of Christ, and we have a firm faith in the words in which it was given.

Bucer, in his discourses and writings, always made profession of Lutheranism, accommodated to the establishment in England. It is false, that he made a separate sect. He continued always united with one of the protestant communions; though the stricter part of each party did not approve his remissness.

He offended Luther, by inserting some things in his ecclesiastical postill, which made for the Helvetic opinion, concerning the Holy Supper ; therefore Luther, in his book de verbis institutiones,' vehemently complained of Bucer, that he had corrupted his book of homilies, which, he said, was the best of all that he had wrote, and which even pleased the papists. Bucer was at no loss for an excuse; and might have alledged the maxim which Erasmus attributed to him, " That a deceit which hurts “nobody, and is useful to many, is an action of piety." Erasmus endeavoured to refute him in this, on occasion of a work, which Bucer had dedicated to the Dauphin under a fictitious name.

Bucer had a great quarrel with Pomeranus, for having caused Luther's commentary on the Psalms to be printed with alterations. He was desirous to have his own commentaries on the Psalms read by the Romanists, and published them under the name of Arethius, which is a Greek word, answering to Martin ; and Felinus, a German word, expressing the signification of Bucer in Latin. If he had put his true name to them, which was hated by the monks, the reading of them would have been forbidden in the popish countries. The priests, in the inquisition in Spain, imagined that Bucer's book adversus merita bonorum operum,was published as a work of the bishop of Rochester, de miserecordiâ Dei.

mentaries those

It is said, the first Reformers clamoured loudly against the peripatetic philosophy, which was founded by Aristotle, commonly called the prince of philosophers. We are told, that Thomas Aquinas made use of Aristotle's method, with such great success, in explaining the doctrines of the church of Rome, that Bucer, one of the greatest enemies to the Roman church, used to say, “ Suppress Thomas's works, and I will destroy the church 66 of Rome.” If he said this, he said it with but very little reason; as a cursory examination of Aquinas is sufficient to shew.

It is well known, that the doctrines of the sacraments was purified from the Roman idolatry, and from scholastical phrases, by Zuinglius and Oecolampadius; and that the loss which the canton of Zurick sustained in the fight, wherein Zuinglius was killed, broke the league lately concluded between the cantons of Switzerland, the city of Strasburgh, and the landgrave of Hesse. Whereupon Martin Bucer, being too timorous, was afraid that the whole party would sink, unless he strengthened, with a new alliance, the towns of Upper Germany, and particularly Strasburgh, where he taught. He cast his eye upon the potent duke of Saxony; and the better to gain him, he endeavoured to make every body believe, that the opinions of Luther and Zuinglius, concerning the Lord's Supper, were the same in the main, and that a mere dispute about words had prevented their agreement. He further said, that it was better to use the expressions of Luther than of Zuinglius; because the latter spoke too meanly of the eucharist, and the other in a sublime man

He inspired the same thoughts into John Calvin, who had gone from France to Strasburgh. This intrigue of Bucer introduced the Lutheran expressions into the towns of Upper Germany, especially after the fatal concordate of Wittenberg. "The divines, who taught in Saxony, under the elector Christian, used themselves to 2


those phrases of consubstantiation, pbrasibus illis synusiasticis assueverant ; so that being expelled after that prince's death, and retiring into the palatine, they took the ministers who used Zuinglius's expressions in that country to be heterodox, which occasioned a dissension ; but it was so happily, and so quickly suppressed, that from that time forward there was visibly a better understanding between the divines of the university and the rest. + We are told, that Bucer repented of having mediated the formulary of concord in 1536. " Bucerus dixit se " poemas dare quod causam publicam bomo privatus voluisset « componere, & tam multa prava dogmata conciliare." Peter Martyr, who heard him say so in England, told Bullinger of it; Daniel Tossanus had it from Bullinger, and Pozelius from Daniel Tossanus, in the presence of Scultetus, who inserted it in the history of his life. Calvin's friends accused Bucer of introducing a new kind of popery, which they called Bucerism, in opposition to Calvinism. This Bucerism consisted principally in his approving episcopacy. But Calvin denied that he ever laid this to Bucer's charge ; and wished that he would not give a handle for calumny, while he followed the middle way, which was manifest from his writings, especially from the form of Reformation, prescribed to Herman, archbishop of Cologne, and what he wrote for the Reformation of England. As Bucer came nearer the church of Rome than Luther, Calvin departed farther from it than Luther; so that there arose two denominations besides Lutheranism; that is, Bucerism, and Calvinism. Calvin confessed that Bucerism was more tolerable than Calvinism, if the matter was not to be tried by the scriptures; and that Bucer studied peace too much : But he himself measured all things by truth. These are Calvin's words to Bucer : · You have no oc

casion to make any excuse to me, that you are not erecting a new popery ; but I would have your integrity so well known to all the world, that no room might be left for suspicion. It is also unnecessary for

you to endeavour not to take in any thing of Calvinsism: If we might vary from the scripture, I know

very well how much more tolerable Bucerism is than < Calvinism.'

Herman de Wida, archbishop of Cologne, having a mind to settle the Reformation in his diocese, sent for Martin Bucer in the

1542. Most of the canons opposed the enterprize, and published a work, wherein they mixed


: a great

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


a great many invectives against Bucer. Melancthon, in confuting that piece, did not forget this article: He maintained, that the nun, whom Bucer had married for his first wife, did well in forsaking the church of Rome, after she had discovered the idolatry of its worship. He added, that she had led a very exemplary life, by her chastity, modesty, and piety; that she had been brougat to-bed thirteen times; and that she died of the plague, which she might have escaped, if she would have left her husband. It would have been a pity so fruitful a woman should have remained in a nunnery: And as there are many others as fit to people the world, who are hindered by monasteries, one may easily judge of what prejudice these monastical vows are to the temporal good of the

Bucer married a second time to a widow; which gave the canons of Cologne occasion to reproach him with another · irregularity, because, according io St Paul, a bishop ought to be the husband of one wife only, that is, as they pretended, that he ought not to marry a second time, nor to marry a widow.

The word of God, say they, directs, that he who is called to the ministry, should be the husband of one wife, 1 Tim. iii. and Titus i. which the canons of the apostles, and apostolical fathers, have ever to this day understood in this sense, that he who enters into a second marriage, or marries a widow, cannot be one of those that serve in the holy ministry. Melancthon easily confuted this objection : But we are told, that Bucer was married a third time.

Martin Bucer, and Paulus Fagius, at the instance of archbisop Cranmer, were sent for by king Edward VI. from Strasburgh, to become professors in Cambridge. My author, a German, makes them to depart thence, Magistratus Argentinensis voluntate et consensul, whom the Jesuit Parsons will have both banished by that state. If so, thic disgrace is none at all, to be exiled for no other guilt than preaching the gospel, and opposing the Augsburgh confession, which that imperial city embraced. Besides, the greater the providence, if, when commanded from one place, instantly to be called to another. They came to England, and were fixed at Cambridge, where Bucer was made professor of divinity, Fagius of Hebrew. The former had the ordinary stipend of his place tripled unto him, as well it might, considering his worth, being of so much merit; his need, having wife and children ; and his condition, coming here a foreigner, and fetched from a far



[ocr errors][ocr errors]

country. So it was ordered, that Fagius should in Hebrew read the evangelical prophet Isaiah, and Bucer in Greek the prophetical evangelist St John.-But, alas ! the change of air and diet so wrought on their temper, that both fell sick together. Bucer hardly recovered; but Fagius, that flourishing tree (nature not agreeing with his transplanting) withered away in the flower of his age, at scarce forty-five, and was buried in the church of St Michael.

Calvin exhorted Bucer to order matters in such a manner, that the Reformation of England might be well purged of all remains of popery. He lets him know, that if he does not take pains, he will never be able to wipe out the ill suspicions, which several had conceived of his inclining to both sides.

Calvin writes to him thus : I shall endeavour according to your desire, to advise the Lord protector as • the present state of affairs require. It will be your • business to press him every way, if you can but gain • audience, as I am persuaded you do ; but chiefly, that « all ceremonies


be abolished, which any way savour • of superstition. This particularly, I recommend to you, that you free yourself from envy, which

you • know you labour under, without cause, among several

persons ; for they always call you the author or approver of indifferent [or, moderate] councils. I know that this suspicion is so deeply rooted in the minds of some people, that you would scarce be able to remove it, though

you omit nothing : And some there are who slander you, ( not out of mistake, but mere malice. In short, this evil • is, as it were, destined for you, and you will hardly be

able to escape it'; but you must take care not to give • the ignorant occasion to think ill of you, or a handle to • the wicked to reproach you.' It does not appear that Bucer took any notice of these admonitions : Yet Calvin testifies; that he expected great things from him, if death had not taken him away so soon.

Archbishop Cranmer, who had settled Bucer at Cambridge, wrote to him, for his opinion upon the point in dispute between his grace and doctor Hooper, who accepted the king's nomination to the bishopric of Gloucester, yet refused to be consecrated in the episcopal habit; and Cranmer would not consecrate him without it. The archbishop suspended Hooper: from preaching till he would conform himself to the laws. The king was then moved to write to Cranmer, and to discharge him from


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »