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against heresy abroad. And so Wycliffe went down to the grave, if not in peace, yet by the visitation of natural disease, and with his clerical robes upon him; stricken as he was ministering at the altar.
At first, and throughout the greater part of his career, the attacks of Wycliffe had been directed principally against certain palpable enormities of the Papal usurpation. He had stood forth as the champion of the University, the crown, and the people, vindicating their possessions, rights, and prerogatives, against robbery and insolent dictation. Early in 1381, he changed his tactics, turned his thoughts more towards doctrine, and challenged the members of the University to a public discussion of the dogma of transubstantiation. This challenge was not accepted. His opponents dared not meet him in debate. Instead of debate, they gave him sentence of condemnation. The Chancellor of the University and twelve doctors, in solemn conclave assembled, passed judgment upon him as a heretic for denying the bodily presence of Christ in the Supper, and declared that if any one, of whatever degree, state, or condition, should in future publicly teach this heresy, either in the schools or out of them, he should be suspended from all scholastic exercises, should be subjected to the “greater excommunication," and should be imprisoned.
This decree was brought to Wycliffe in the lecture-room, where he sat discoursing to his pupils. His enemies say, that he betrayed some confusion as he listened to the reading of the paper. But if so, it was only momentary, for no sooner was the reading of it finished, than he protested against the injustice of the procedure, and said he should take his appeal to Cæsar. For the present, however, he can only submit to the powers that be, and take his leave of the University, whose Chancellor has commanded him to shut his mouth.
He departs, accordingly, for Lutterworth, beyond the jurisdiction of the Chancellor, and there, in the pulpit and in his study, with voice and pen put to an activity at which we marvel, enters upon the last grand stadium of his eventful and stormy career. These last four years were crowded with
gigantic labors. Nothing but a divine fire shut up in his bones could have carried him through such labors, nearly sixty years of age, as he then was, and greatly worn by sickness, study, care, and sorrow. He preached to his plain rural congregation, bringing down the wealth and power of his genius to their capacities and wants; he showered England with tracts and treatises, having written enough to fill four or five folio volumes; and, most important of all, he translated the entire Bible, or caused it to be translated, into the English tongue. The Duke of Lancaster, it is true, abandons him, when he comes to turn from the more political to the more doctrinal and spiritual phase of his work. But the dauntless man holds on his way undiscouraged. Persecution arises against his followers, particularly against his “poor priests,” with the network of whose activity, like Wesley after him, he has covered the land; but, for one reason and another, the storm spares him. And so he strides and struggles on, his outward man perishing, but the inward man renewed day by day; his zeal for Christ, his love for man, and his faith in the final victory of right and truth, growing stronger and stronger, till, on the 29th of December, 1384, in the chancel of his church at Lutterworth, during the celebration of mass, just about the time for the elevation of the host, he was stricken speechless with paralysis, and two days afterwards yielded up his spirit unto God. Underneath the pavement of the chancel, devout men laid the Reformer to his rest. In 1428, as decreed by the Council of Constance thirteen years before, those sacred relics were disinterred, and reduced to ashes; and then the ashes were thrown into the river Swift, which, as Fuller says, “conveyed them into the Avon, the Avon into the Severn, and Severn into the narrow seas, they to the main ocean. And thus the ashes of Wycliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, which now is dispersed all the world over.”
Of Wycliffe's character, and the fruits of his labors, immediate and remote,—of his writings, printed and in manuscript,and of his theological opinions, there is now no room to speak. These topics may possibly be treated in another Number.
THE SETTLEMENT OF MARYLAND.
THE elements of civil and religious liberty, which are supposed to constitute the peculiar glory of our times, are all contained in the laws of the Hebrew people, given by divine direc• tion more than three thousand years ago. These laws are as follows:
“One law shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.” “And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born amongst you, and thou shalt love him as thyself: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” “One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance forever in your generations ; as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord. One law, and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.”*
These laws were uttered long before any principles of freedom were wrought out in the states of Greece, and were producing their silent effects centuries before those states had an existence. It is true that they do not contain all that we suppose to enter into just notions of liberty and equality; it is true that the laws of the Hebrew people did not make provision to permit the worship of any other than the true God; it is true that there was not contemplated in the commonwealth the existence of polytheism or any form of idolatry; but it is also true that these laws contain what Lord Bacon would call 6 seeds of thought” on political subjects, the elementary doctrines which, in all ages, must be laid at the foundation of liberty. The great principle of freedom involved essential equality between the home-born and the stranger. The stranger,--the foreigner,—was to be admitted freely to share the
* Ex. xii, 49. Lev. xix, 33, 4. Numb. xv, 15, 16.
blessings of the religion and liberty of the Hebrew people. He was to be regarded as on an equality with them. There were to be no hard, discriminating laws made against him; he was to be excluded from none of the privileges of public and private worship; whatever peculiar advantages they had over other nations, he was to be permitted freely to enjoy; their land was to be an asylum for the oppressed of all lands,- for all who were groaning under the tyranny of civil rulers, or who were burdened with the rites of a false religion, or who desired the privileges of the true religion, and for all who were held in bondage abroad, and who could make their escape to the land of the Hebrews. Even though the foreigner should be brought there as a slave, a process was immediately commenced qualifying him for freedom. He was admitted to the privileges of the true religion at once, and an arrangement was made which was designed to make every dweller in the land a freeman.
“ One law shall be to him that is home-born, and to the stranger that sojourneth among you;” “ye shall not vex him, but the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you.” These and kindred statutes were fundamental principles in the Hebrew commonwealth, and could not be fully acted out without leading to all that is desirable in civil and religious liberty. The fundamental doctrines of liberty as we understand them in the United States, are the best possible exposition which can be made of these laws.
Americans should often recall the series of events in our history, by which our peculiar character has been acquired, with a view to inquiring how it may be preserved and transmitted to future times. To do this wisely we must inquire into the elements which have gone into our institutions; the many combined causes which have made us what we are. For, though we are mainly of the Anglo-Saxon race, and mainly profess the same religion, the Christian religion, as distinguished from polytheism, and deism, and the religion of Mohammed, yet there has been scarcely any nation in which so many elements that might jar have been combined. There was not that homogeneousness which existed in the colonies which went out from Greece, or Phoenicia; nor in the people who went out to the conquest of Mexico and Peru. There were many elements in our early history apparently discordant, which required to be moulded to homogeneousness; there are more which have been introduced since, which must be moulded, and made to coalesce, in order that our liberties may be preserved.
Some specially interesting points, as we suppose, will come up in looking at the settlement of the colony of Maryland.
The line of thought to be pursued is the following:
The history of the colony, embracing a statement of the principles on which it was founded. The causes which introduced the principle of religious equality into a Roman Catholic colony; and the illustration to be drawn from the facts which will pass under review, in regard to the essential nature of our freedom, and the relation of the Roman Catholic people to our institutions.
The Province of Maryland* was included originally in the patent of the Southern or Virginia Company; and upon the dissolution of that Company it reverted to the crown. King Charles the First, on the 20th of June, 1632, granted it by patent to Cecilius Calvert, Lord Baltimore, the son of George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, to whom the patent was intended to have been made, but he died before it was executed. As the design was to have granted the charter to the first Lord Baltimore, George Calvert, and as all the essential features of the charter seem to have been framed in accordance with his wishes, a brief notice of that nobleman seems to be demanded. He was a native of Yorkshire, was educated at Oxford, was befriended in his entrance on life by Sir Richard Cecil, was advanced to the honors of knighthood, and was at length employed as one of the two Secretaries of State, and secured, says the historian, † not only the consideration of his patron and sovereign (James I), but the good opinion of the world. He was probably educated a Protestant, and continued to be a Protestant until he had been advanced to the principal offices which he held. When the increasing divisions among the Pro* Story, i, 92.
† Bancroft, i, ch. vii.