Page images
[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]


in these days, and above descending to inculcate Christian principles upon the minds of youth; for which reason, among others, our young people are so pious, ceeart, and virtuous ; are so full of good notions, and so ready to follow them; as we find them in talle present age.

Were nine tenths of the nation examined, it would be found that they had not so much as once read through their bibles : And as to catechisms, it seems as if they were very well for parish-boys and charity children ; but as to the offspring of other people, it appears to be a settled point, that they shall know no more of God and his gospel than their parents before them.-Such are the times; and such our

! As we have mentioned the subject of catechisms, we will only add upon this head, that the present catechism of the church of England was, at the command of king James the first, revised by the bishops, and that an addition was made to it, giving the explanation of the sacra

This was done by the pen of bishop Overal, then dean of St Paul's, and approved, When

queen Mary came to the crown), and gave a bloody earnest of what protestants may ever expect to receive froni bigotted papists ; Dr Poner, with some other great and good men, thought it prudent to quit the kingdom. He accordingly retired to Strasburgh in Germany, where he departed this life, on the eleventh of April, aged only forty years.

Bishop Godwin mentions, that Ponet published several works in Latin and English, which were extant in his time, but which we have not seen. Trey are however supposed to be chiefly upon theolgical subjects.




THIS celebrated divine, who was one of the wisest

greatest men of his age, was born, on the six



neglect their duties, as the ene furi in zot causing iben to come, and the sther in refusing to learn as aforesaid, they are to be fojpeinted by the ordinary lif tbey be not Bildren), and if they fe perfil by the space of a month, they ar. io be cecommunicafed. And by the canonis 1571, every minister was yearly, within twenty days after Ealter, to present to the billep, &c. the names of all those in his parith, who had aot feet their children or servants at the times appointed. And to enforce this, it was one of the articles which was exhibited, in order to be admitted by authority, that he whole child of Ten years old or upwards, or his fervant at fourteen or upwards, ceuk not lay the catechism, should pay ten flailings to the poer's box.' SLATLY 2002 ile CORIALS Prayer. p. 396. 4th edit.

teenth of February, 1497, at Bretten, in the palatinate of the Rhine. His father was George Schwartserd, which signifies black earth in German, and Melancthon in Greek; therefore, Reuchlin gave Philip the name of Melancthon, in the same manner as Hermolaus Barbarus changed the name of Reuchlin into that of Capnio, from Capnos, which in the Greek signifies smoak, as the word Reuch does in the German language. It was customary among the learned men of that time to express their names in Greek, whert they could find any word in that language into which they could turn them. Thence come Oecolampadius, Erasmus, Chytræus, Reuchlin, Melancthon, and others : But Reuchlin was the only man whom Germany had, in his time, to put in competition with all the learned men in Italy ; and it was he that advised Frederic duke of Saxony to send for Melancthon to Wittenberg, in 1518, to be the Greek professor in that university.

Melancthon gave very early marks of his capacity : But his instruction and education were chiefly committed to the care of his grandfather Reuterus; because his father's time was taken up with the affairs of the elector palatine, whom he served as engineer, or commissary of the artillery. He studied first in the place of his nativity, at a public school; and then under a tutor. He was afterwards sent to Pfortsheim, a small city in the marquisate of Baden, where there was a famous college ; and he lodged with one of his relations, who was sister to Reuchlin. Upon this occasion, he became known to that learned man, who loved him with great tenderness. He went to the university of Tubingen, in the ruchy of Wirtemberg, and from thence to Heidelberg, that of the metropolis of the palatinate, in 1509, where he was matriculated on the thirteenth of October, and made such considerable improvement, that he was intrusted to teach the sons of count Leonstein, and was made batchelor, though he was under fourteen years

But he was refused his degree of master of philosophy, on account of his youth ; which, together with the air of Heidelberg, which did not agree with his constitution, occasioned him to leave that university in 1512, and return to that of Tubingen, where he continued six years.

Melancthon has been justly reckoned among illustrious youths; and Mr Baillet has justly bestowed a chapter upon him in his historical treatise of young men, who • became famous by their studies or writings.' He was employed to make the greatest part of the harangues and discourses of eloquence, that were publicly spoke in the university of Heidelberg. He studied divinity, law, and


of age.

mathematics, at Tubingen, where he heard the lectures of all sorts of professors ; and publicly explained Virgil, Terence, Cicero, and Livy. He also found time to serve Reuchlin in his quarrel with the monks; and diligently applied himself to the reading of the word of God. Reuchlin made him a present of a copy of the bible which John Frobenius had lately printed at Basil in a small volume. Melancthon always carried this bible about him, and chiefly when he went to church, where those, who saw him hold it in his hands during divine service, believed he was reading quite another thing, than what the time and place required of him, because it was much larger than a prayer. book; and those, that envied him, took occasion from hence to make him odious with others.

He taught at Tubingen, both in public and private, with great applause and admiration ; and published some works as first fruits, from which it sufficiently appeared what a crop might be afterwards expected. He was so remarkable, in 1515, that Erasmus then said of him, Good • God, what hopes may we not conceive of Philip Me- lancthon, though as yet very young, and almost a boy,

equally to be admired for his knowledge in both lan"guages ! What quickness of invention! What purity of • diction! What vastness of memory! What variety of • reading! What modesty and gracefulness of behaviour ! John James Grynæus made a parallel between the prophet Daniel and Melancthon, in which he introduced this fine encomium of Erasmus.

In 1518, he accepted the Greek professorship in the university of Wittenberg, which Frederic the elector of Saxony offered him upon the recommendation of Reuchlin. His inauguration speech was so fine, that it removed the contempt to which his stature and mien exposed him, and raised great admiration of himself. He soon contracted a friendship with Luther, who taught divinity in that university; and Andrew Carolostadius, archdeacon of Wittenberg, joined their acquaintance, and was of their opinion.

Erasmus had heard, that Melancthon had censured his paraphrases; for which this learned man, in 1519, wrote a very civil letter to justify himself to Erasmus, who accepted of these excuses, but told Melancthon, that men of letters ought to love each other, and be united to defend themselves against their common enemies. Erasmus spoke very kindly to Melancthon; and told him all the world was agreed in commending the moral character of Luther; but there were various sentiments touching his doctrines. Luther had a great love and esteem for Melancthon; and



Jovius, after having abused Luther in a most scandalous manner, pays a compliment to Melancthon. Melancthon had so much scrupulous honour and disinterestedness, that he refused to receive his salary, as a reader in divinity, because he could not bestow such close attendance, as he thought that office required.

Melancthon read lectures at Wittenberg upon Homer, and upon the Greek text of the epistle of St Paul to Titus, which drew a great crowd of auditors, and excited in them an earnest desire of understanding the Greek tongue. He reduced the sciences into a system, which was then difficult, as they had then been long taught in a very confused manner.

In the year 1529, Jerom Alexander, the pope's nuncio, solicited the emperor, and Frederic elector of Saxony, to punish Luther : In consequence of which, the diet of Worms was held on the sixth of January, 1521, when Luther nobly vindicated his doctrine. The remarks of Melancthon upon these transactions, and upon the conduct of Frederic, are judicious and important: “So far, says he, was Luther, « from being suborned and instigated by the courtiers and “ princes, as the duke of Brunswick affirmed, that, on the “ contrary, the elector of Saxony was much concerned at “ the foresight of the contests and disorders which would

ensue, though the first attacks made by Luther were upon very plausible grounds. By his own sagacity and

judiciousness, and by long experience in the art of “ reigning, he knew well how dangerous all changes were “ to government. But, being truly religious, and one “ who feared God, he consulted not the dictates of mere “ worldly and political wisdom, and was determined to “ prefer the glory of God, to all other considerations, and " at the hazard of any public or private detriment. Yet “ he presumed not to rely entirely upon his own judg“ ment concerning an affair of so great importance; but “ took the advice of other princes, and of men venerable “ for age, experience, learning, and probity.” Speaking of these troubles to J. Jonas, says, "What a deplo• rable thing would it be, that Philip Melancthon, an ' amiable youth of such extraordinary abilities, should, • be lost to the learned world upon this account ! And, in 1522, Erasmus was apprehensive of being at:acked by Melancthon, with whom he was very unwilling to have any dispute : But in 1523, Erasmus was well pleased to find, that both Luther and Melancthon were offended at the behaviour of Hutten, who had wrote a furious libel against

Erasmus :

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »