brilliant constellation formed by the master-spirits of the Reformation, there were those who, in some respects, shone with brighter lustre than Calvin, yet, as a Commentator on Holy Scripture, he far outshines them all.
There is scarcely anything in which the wisdom of God has been more conspicuous, than in his choice of instruments for carrying into execution the different parts of that mighty revolution of sentiment, which affected, more or less, every portion of Europe during the sixteenth century.
Long before the issue of the movement was seen or apprehended, we behold Erasmus, the most accomplished scholar of the age, acting unconsciously as the pioneer of a Reformation, which at length he not only opposed, but apparently hated. He had been raised up by God to lash the vices of the Clergy, to expose the ignorance, venality, and sloth of the Mendicant Orders, and to exhibit the follies of Romanism in sarcastic invectives rendered imperishable by the elegant Latinity in which they were clothed. But he did still more. The world is indebted to him for the first edition of the entire New Testament in the Original Greek. He had also thehonour of being the first modern translator of the New Testament into Latin. He published a valuable critical Commentary on the New Testament, which was early translated into English, and ordered to be placed in the Churches. Yet, great as the service undoubtedly was which he rendered to the cause of truth, he never dared to cast the yoke of
- Horne's Introduction, vol. v. Part I. chap. i. sect. iv. London, 1846.
- Ibid. vol. v. Part I. chap. i. sect. vii.
- The Editor has now before him "The first tome or volume of the paraphrase of Erasmus upon the Newe Testamente," printed in 1548, with a dedication to King Edward VI., and another to Queen Catherine Parr, by Nicolas Udal. It appears that Udal translated the Gospels of St Matthew, St Luke, and St John; and Thomas Key, that of St Mark.