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brain in the cfieerless gulpli of mactheixiatics , may , perhaps , be conceded without disgrace \ or , let the disgrace rest upon that truly monastic policy * which closes the avenues to the
liter&fy honours and rewards of our splendid Universities , against those who cannot submit to be ** hamstringed and manacled by early oaths and subscriptions" to unexamined dogmas , and who prefer the free and unshackled use of Jive talents to the
acquisition of ten , which must be suppressed or stored away , lest they should " plague the inventor . " At least in the fearless application of their literary acquirements to the
best and noblest purposes , Nonconformists may boldly claim the preeminence over their more richly-endowed neighbours , whose literary wreaths are ** sadly mixed , half flowery half chains . " + ¦
Although the more detailed view of this subject is recommended and willingly devolved to abler pens , it may be permitted to the present writer to take a transient notice of a few of those literary worthies who have been enrolled in the records of English Nonconformity . To the honour of his country , our Wickliffe } . ushered
* Sir Richard Baker , that garrulous chronicler , uttered more truth than he was aware of , when , speaking' of Cardinal Wolsey ' s erection of colleges at Oxford and Ipswich out of the revenues of the
smaller monasteries , a pernicious president , " says our Author , though , indeed , there be great difference between converting" of monasteries into colkg-es , and utter subverting them . "—Baker ^ s Chron .
p . 273 . -f The hope may be indulged that , ere long- , enlightened and liberal Dissenters will unite their efforts in establishing * an institution upon a more enlarged scale , ahft under more fortunate auspices than hitherto , from which our students for the ministry , and the sons of our opulent
families , may derive every advantage which literature can bestow , without paying the degrading- price of University subscriptions . To nurse tlsis hope , and aid in bringing it into action , would be a noble employment of the faculties of a society instituted to forward the interests of Nonconformity .
t T < lo not overlook the services of the Albi ^ ehses and Waldenses , who were still earlier engurged in bringing lig * ht out of darkness .
in " the morming beam of Reformation , "'* upwards of a century before its brighter effulgence in the days of Luther , and from the professor ' s chair at Oxford , emboldened the theological
student to burst asunder the fetters of scholastic jargon , and draw his tenets from the pure fountain of Scripture . Bis transcendent learning * was acknowledged by his' most inveterate enemies : it was , indeed , insufficient
to protect him against the manoeuvres of the regular ciergv and the bulls of the pope ; but his degradation from University honours invigorated his daring attacks upon that mystic Baby *
Ion , to which he seems to have been the first to apply the merited epithet of Antichrist . His translation of the Bible into English was the greatest and most important of his works , though , until the establishment of the
* Milton thus beautifully describes the gradual triumph of the reforming spirit : " For he ( God ) being equally near to his whole creation of mankind , and of free power to turn his beneficent and fatherly regard to what region or kingdom he pleases , hath . yet ever had this island under
the special , indulgent eye of his providence 5 and pitying us the fiist of all other nations , after he had decreed to purify and renew his church that lay wallowing lu idolatrous pollutions , sent first
to us a healing messenger to tuuch softly our sores , and cany a gentle hand oyer our wounds he knocked once , and twice , and came again , opening our drowsy eyelids leisurely by that glimmering lig'ht , which Wickliffe and his followers
dispersed ; and still taking off " , by degrees , the inveterate scales from our nigh perished sight , purged also our deaf ears , and prepared them to attend his second warning trumpet in our grandsites' days , flow else could they have been able to have received the sudden assaults of his reforming spirit , 1
warringagainst human principles , and carnal sense , the pride of flesh , that still cried up antiquity , custom , csiiions , councils and laws ; and cried down the truth for novelty , schism , profarienosx- and sacrilege ? Whereas , we that have lived so long . in abundant li »* ht , besides the sunny
reflection of all the neighbouring * churches , have yet our hearts riveted with those old opinions , and so obstructed and benumbed with the same fleshly reasonings which in our forefathers soon melted and ga-ve a ^ vay , againstthe morning benrii of Reformation *" Milton * s Prose Worksy by St / mmons , I . 182 .
Cause ofNonconformity , as cotmecfed with Literature * 2 S
VOL . XIV . E
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1819, page 25, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1768/page/25/