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adverse to Mysticism as to Popery; there was nothing of that dreamy quietism about the heralds of the reformation, which would have marked them out as the true sons of illumination in the eyes of the mystics; no still whispers from the inner shrine of Pantheism; nothing but forcible appeals to the obvious sense of Scripture, fervid eloquence, and vehement action. The truth of the Bible was strongly enforced, and strongly defined, chasing away before it the errors alike of the polytheist, and the pantheist; and the One true God, and the One Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus, was preached, and held forth to all men in the infinity of his love, but also with the severity of his justice, and the purity of his holiness. The mystics, like every other class of men who felt the existing state of the world adverse to their peculiar views, looked forward to the commencement of the French Revolution, as a new era of hope and emancipation. “Tout nous porte sans doute” as St. Martin observes “a espérer un rêgne sabbatique sur la terre pour terminer le temps, comme nous en voyons un terminer la formation de l'univers.” The very crimes of France, its utter demoralisation, and its undisguised atheism, inspired St. Martin with hopes, that in his native country that sabbatical reign would first commence, since evil there appeared to have reached its utmost height, and since the severest judgments were impending upon them in consequence; and these judgments, he doubted not, would terminate in the French all becoming mystics. That sabbatical reign he considered as progressive; first individual, then national,—lastly universal. The complete establishment of the spiritual kingdom upon earth he thought would not take place in less than two hundred years after the convulsions in France. St. Martin and his followers are erroneously accused of taking any active share in the Revolution, or of looking with any degree of favour on those who promoted it; the infidel philosophers they considered as “brigands” who ought to be repressed and punished for the good of society, and the only part they thought it right to take in political affairs, was continually to pray that all changes might tend to the furtherance of mysticism. Mysticism does not thrive in Protestant countries; it still finds the ignorance of Popery, and the indolence of a monastery most favourable to its growth. The ceremonies of Romish superstition, much as it may despise them, are more pliant to its reveries than the imperativeness of Protestant truth. Whilst it shelters in the shade of Popery, and reposes itself under its protection, it often dreams, as we have remarked, that the power that protects it shall be cast down by some of the approaching changes which are coming over the world, that Mysticism shall step into its vacant place, that an “interior” reform shall change the face of the earth, and that the predicted reign of Christ shall be the triumph of mysticism. But though Popery must fall, the Mystics will not survive to profit by it. Truth is lifting up the veil, both from the works, and from the word of God; the impious dream of worshipping either a part, or the whole of creation, will vanish, and every remnant of Pantheism, as well as Polytheism, will be swept away.
HERESIES AFTER THE REFORMATION.
I. DIFFERENCE OF HERESIES BEFORE AND AFTER THE REFORMATION.—II. CONTINUAL PROTEST AGAINST THE CHURCH OF ROME.-III. DIFFERENT POINTS OF PROGRESS IN THE REFORMATION.—IV. ARTIFICIAL SYSTEMS OF TRUTH.—W. SCRIPTURAL SYSTEM.– VI. USE OF REASON IN RELIGION.—WII. ABUSE OF REASON.—VIII. GRADUAL EXPLAINING AWAY THE DOCTRINES OF THE GOSPEL.—IX. ALL ERROR ON A PRECIPICE.-X. PROCESS OF DR. PRIESTLEY’s CHANGES.—XI. LATITUDINARIANISM UNFAWOURABLE TO MORALS AND PHILOSOPHY.—XII. “ RATIONAL” DIVINITY UNTENABLE IN ALL ITS CHANGEs. —XIII. SOCINIANISM RAPIDLY TERMINATING IN INFIDELITY.
I. THERE is a great difference between the heresies before and after the Reformation. Early errors in religion arose from preconceived opinion; but Popery had swallowed all other errors, and interposed the great gulf of the dark ages between ancient and modern times. Those who opposed Popery could only appeal to reason or to Scripture, or to the authority of the first Fathers; the only prejudices they had were necessarily derived from the Romish superstition itself, and the mistakes they were in danger of committing, proceeded from imperfect reasoning, or from an imperfect acquaintance with the Scriptures. Thus, if we except the errors occasioned by retaining some of the tenets, or principles, or ceremonies of Popery, the great source of modern heresy amongst Protestants must be attributed to partial induction; either to not laying a broad enough foundation of their creed in the Scriptures, or to not raising the superstructure of their belief according to the rules of legitimate reasoning. The human mind was again to exhibit itself as averse to divine truth under the most favourable circumstances; the Gospel had been preached by the first reformers with great power, and with considerable simplicity; but each succeeding generation seemed to depart further from the pure model of the Scriptures, religion again became technical and disputative, even where its essential articles of faith were best preserved; and in most cases it became first formal, and then erroneous. The copious influence of the Spirit, which had characterised the early days of the revival of religious knowledge, was gradually withdrawn, and the doctrines of the reformers continued to possess a nominal authority, merely that they might brand with