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3. Again, church history is the best and most complete defence of Christianity, and so is eminently fitted to establish our faith, and minister comfort and edification largely to our souls. It is a perpetual commentary on that word of the Lord: "Lo, I am with you alway, to the end of the world." He moves with the fulness of his grace through all Christian centuries, he reveals himself in the most different personalities, employing them as organs of his spirit, his will, his truth, his peace. The apostles and martyrs, the apologists and church fathers, the schoolmen and mystics, the reformers and all those countless witnesses, whose names are indelibly traced on the pages of church history, form themselves into one choir, which sings an everlasting doxology to the Redeemer, and proclaims with loud voice that the Gospel is no fable, no fancy, but power and life, peace and joy, all in one word that man can desire in the way of good or glory. Such examples, in which the life of the God-man comes to actual and as it were corporeal expression, speak far more forcibly than all intellectual proofs and abstract theories. In the same way church history furnishes the strongest argument for the indestructibility of Christianity. To the word of the Lord: "On this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," every century responds, Yea and Amen! There is no hostile power on the earth, or under it, which has not already conspired against the congregation of the redeemed, and bent its whole force for its annihilation. But it has overcome them all. Stiff-necked and blinded Judaism laid its hand on the Anointed of the Lord and his servants; but the Lord has risen from the dead, his followers have adored his wonderful judgments over the desolate ruins of Jerusalem, the chosen people wanders dispersed, without shepherd and without sanctuary, through all nations and times, a perpetual living proof of the truth of the threatenings of the divine word, and "this generation shall not pass away" till the Lord come again in his glory. Greece applied all its art and philosophy, to confute the doctrine of the cross and make it ridiculous in the eyes of the cultivated world; but her wisdom was turned into folly, or made to serve as a bridge to Christianity. Rome, proud mistress of the world, devised the most unnatural torments, to torture Christians to death and root out their name from the earth; but tender virgins showed more courage in face of eternity than tried soldiers and Stoic philosophers; and, lo, after a couple of centuries of the most bloody persecution, the Roman emperor himself cast his crown at the feet of the despised Nazarene, and was baptized into his name. The crescent of Islam sought to overshadow the sun of Christianity, and moved blood-red along the horizon of the Oriental and the African Church, nay passed over even into


Triumphant Progress of the Church.


Spain and France; but the messengers of the Lord have driven back the false prophet, and his kingdom resembles now a decaying corpse. All sorts of heresies and schisms rose in the bosom of the Church itself, even with its earliest history, and seemed for a time to have forced aside the pure doctrine of the gospel; but this has still always recovered its ground again, and brought the army of errorists to shame. The popes surrounded the simple doctrine of salvation with so many human additions, that it was hard any longer to get at it, and they exercised despotic rule over the whole Western Christian world; but the inmost life-force of the Church worked itself powerfully through the rubbish, placed the light of the pure word again in its place, and set conscience free from the oppressive chains of the hierarchy. Deists, materialists and atheists, in the 17th and 18th centuries, set themselves to undermine the Bible; nay, the heroes of the French Revolution went so far, in their mad fanaticism, as to set aside the God of Christians, and place the goddess of reason on the throne of the world, and the most frightful scenes of cruelty accompanied the act; but in a short time they had to revoke their own folly; the Lord in heaven laughed at them and had them in derision. Napoleon, the greatest potentate and captain of modern times, proposed to substitute for the universal dominion of Christianity, the universal dominion of his own sword, and to degrade the church into an instrument for his own political ends; but the Lord of the Church hurled him from his throne, and the giant spirit, that had thrown all Europe out of joint, must die, a prisoner on a lonely rock of the ocean, of a broken heart. In the bosom of Protestantism has risen, since the close of the last century, a Rationalism, which armed with learning and philosophy, has proceeded gradually to the denial even of a personal God and of immortality, turning the history of the Saviour into a mythological book of fables; but over against it has appeared also already a believing theology, which has triumphantly driven its objections from the field, while in the camp of the foe itself division has taken place, and one system of unbelief is found actively refuting another. Spiritual death and indifference, in the train of Rationalism, spread itself over whole sections of the Church; but the Christian life already celebrates again its own resurrection, banished out of one country it flourishes with fresh vigor in another, and extends its activity out to the farthest limits of the heathen world. The most important kingdoms, the best constructed systems of human wisdom, have perished; while the simple faith of the Galilean fishermen shows itself at this day as powerful as ever, regenerating the most hardened sinners, imparting strength for good, joy in affliction, and triumph in death. The Lord of hosts has ever been a wall round about his Zion.

The gates of hell, through eighteen centuries, have not prevailed against the Church; as little will they prevail against it in time to come. To have stood so many and such various storms, and to have come forth from all only more pure and strong, she must indeed be formed of indestructible material. This church history raises to an absolute certainty, for him who studies it with a truth loving spirit. It is therefore, next to the word of God, the best and richest book of devotion, that will not allow us even then to faint, when thick darkness covers the present, and the walls of Zion are beset with foes on every side.

4. Finally, church history, in proportion as it serves to confirm our faith in the divine origin and indestructible nature of Christianity, must exert a wholesome moral influence also on our own character and life, and so prove an important help to practical religion. It is morality in the form of facts, Christ and his gospel preached from the annals of his own kingdom.29 The shining examples of godly men, which it causes to pass before our spirit, powerfully challenge us to imitation, that we like them may consecrate our thoughts and actions to the honor of the Lord and the welfare of man, and so continue to be felt with happy influence long after our death. Especially is the study of history adapted also, to free our minds from all sorts of prejudice, narrowness, party and sect feeling, and to fill us with true catholic spirit; with that love which joyfully acknowledges the most manifold forms of the Christian life in their proper right, in the blooming variety of flowers that deck the garden of God adores the wonderful wisdom of the heavenly gardener, and feels itself in living union with the pious of all ages and nations; with that love, which must be poured out in large measure upon the Church, before her present mournful divisions can be brought to an end, accomplishing thus the precious promise of the One Shepherd and one flock, and the prayer of our great High Priest: "That they all may be one, as Thou Father, art in me, and I

29 Luther says admirably: “It is a rare worth that belongs to histories; for all that philosophy, wise men and general reason can teach or think out, that is profitable for good life, this history forcibly presents by examples and cases, and sets it at once before the eyes, as though we were by and saw it so happen. And when we look at it deeply, we find that from histories and annals have flowed, almost all rights, art, good counsel, warning, threatening, terror, consolation, strengthening, instruction, providence, prudence, along with all virtues, as out of a living spring. In this view, histories are nothing else than the advertisement, monument and mark, of God's work and judgment, how he upholds, governs, hinders, enlarges, punishes and honors the world, men especially, as every one may deserve, be it evil or good."


Talvj on the Colonization of New England.

in thee; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."


Here indeed all depends on the mind and spirit with which church history is studied; for like the Bible itself it may be, and often has been, scandalously abused in the service of bad ends, as may be sufficiently inferred from the foregoing history of this science.



By Prof. C. E. Stowe, D. D., Cincinnati.

Geschichte der Colonisation von New England, von den ersten Niederlassungen daselbst im Jahre 1607, bis zur Einführung der Provinzialverfassung von Massachusetts im Jahre 1692. Nach den Quellen bearbeitet von Talvj. Nebst einer Karte von New England im Jahre 1674. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus. 1847.

History of the Colonization of New England, from the first Settlements there in the year 1607 to the Introduction of the Provincial Government of Massachusetts in the year 1692. Investigated from the Original Sources by Talvj. With a Map of New England in the year 1674. Leipsic: F. A. Brockhaus. 1847.

"Perversi difficile corriguntur et stultorum infinitus est numerus," says the wise Preacher, according to the Vulgate, Eccl. 1: 15. Every day we have occasion to notice the justness of this remark, and in nothing more strikingly than in what is said and written respecting the Puri


Should some typographer of our day examine the printing apparatus of Guttenberg and Faust, notice how unwieldy and clumsy it was, how very slowly and imperfectly it executed its work, and on comparing it with the more perfect machinery of these times, should pour contempt on the inventors of the art, pronounce them entirely unworthy the gratitude of posterity, and hold them up to ridicule as mere bunglers and impudent pretenders, what should we think but Perversi difficile corriguntur?

If some little dapper fellow should climb upon the Kentucky giant, and placing one foot on each shoulder should stand upright, and with

the most innocent simplicity, exclaim: "How tall I am is this famous Kentucky giant compared with me head reaches only to my knees what better

what a dwarf

see! the top of his could we say than

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stultorum infinitus est numerus?

Some verdant arithmetical genius might take Newton's Principia, examine it carefully, find in it nothing which is not now regarded as elementary, familiar to every student, and set forth far more comprehensively and clearly — and wonder why it is that Newton has so great a name for an amount of knowledge scarcely up to the level of what are now ordinary attainments, and with no small self-gratulation and self-conceit, publish his wonderment abroad, and put down the worldrenowned Sir Isaac Newton as quite below the average stature of scientific men.

Some bustling mechanician might hunt up the ghost of Robert Fulton's first steam-boat, that with great noise and puffing and infinite pulling and tugging, was able to move some four or six miles an hour, when wind and tide were favorable, and compare that with the noiseless, swift-working, faultless machinery of our speedy steamers, and gravely conclude that Fulton was a senseless blunderer, wholly undeserving the credit which had been awarded him. This would be the more noticeable if the fellow were himself a descendant of Fulton, and took pride and pleasure in tearing to pieces the well-earned reputation of his ancestor, and endeavoring on all occasions to hold him up to ridicule and contempt.

If any should venture on such a course in regard to Sir Isaac Newton or Robert Fulton, they would be treated by the whole community of mathematicians and mechanicians with the utmost contempt; they would be too much despised to be able to excite even a respectable feeling of indignation; and the unscientific public would regard them as lunatics or idiots.

It is well known and should be well considered, that the beginning of a new idea is the difficult part of it—that in its first launching into the world it is necessarily feeble and imperfect; and yet precisely here is the great labor and the great merit; and that when it is once fairly afloat, the subsequent developments and improvements are comparatively easy and the work of far inferior minds. Who despises the infant because it is not a full grown man, or says contemptuously to the rejoicing mother, what hast thou brought forth, because the product of her throes and pangs is but a small and helpless child? who but a fool, of whom the number is infinite, as the wise man said?

Now this is precisely the way in which many judge and speak of the Puritans, and yet pass for decent, intelligent men; - many even of

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