Page images
PDF
EPUB

In the long note on “the becoming reverence which the Church of England has always entertained for the authority of the Christian Fathers,” in a preceding page of this work, (429433,) I have given a brief account of the labours of Grotius in preparing the celebrated Edict of 1614, and the pleasure which King James received from a perusal of that document. That learned Monarch immediately resolved to adopt the basis of Grotius, and to apply his principles on a more extensive scale in effecting a fraternal concord between all the churches that had rejected the yoke of Popery : In this service he employed Peter Du Moulin; and, in 1615, after the scheme was completed, he transmitted a copy of it to each of the Reformed Churches in France and Holland. This proposal was exceedingly liberal, and happy had it been for the whole of Christendom if its principles had been embraced by all Protestant churches! I subjoin a portion of its contents : My meaning is not to commence a religious disputation: For as soon as the minds of men are put into a ferment, none will yield, and each will ascribe to himself the victory. But the object at which I aim is this—to lay on the table the Confession of the English and Scotch churches, with those of the French and Dutch churches, that of Switzerland and of the Palatinate, and others : Out of all these Particular Confessions a General one might be drawn up, in which many things might be tacitly passed by, the knowledge of which is not esteemed necessary to salvation. For instance, the dispute of Piscator, and several refined opinions which have been proposed by Arminius on the points of Free-will, the Perseverance of the Saints, and Predestination.* _With regard to ceremonies and church-govern

distinction which the Papists alone had till then claimed for their antichristian additions to the gospel,—they could not hope to succeed in their daring attempt to suppress the benevolent doctrine of God's good will to all mankind. For, as Grotius has shewn in the case of the Papists, (page 550,) when once these Predestinarian additions were allowed to hold

no place among the FUNDAMENTALS of the gospel, Calvinism would cease to have the pre-eminence to which it aspired, aud the concise yet benignant foundations of Arminianism would be immediately recognized, by the Common Sense of mankind, as those of genuine Christianity. To such a dangerous admission as this, it will be perceived, neither the rigid Papists nor the rigid Calvinists would agree; and, in Mr. Mede's days, (page 497,) the latter continued to object, that, if the Predestinarian points were “ declared NOT-FUNDAMENTAL, they « would lose part of their strength and be shaken."

* The goluen chains, and similar valuable trinkets, which " bis High and Puissant Majesty King James" bestowed upon Du Moulin and other literary drudges, of whom he had several that rendered him essential aid in his learned labours, were of great service to the individuals who received them, as their loyalty and attachment to the government of the country were frequently thus secured at a trifling expense. The good effects produced by the mere countenance and discourse of his Majesty upon the mind of the famous Camero, who had early been tinctured with the disaffection of his party, may be seen in page 205. His Majesty's presents and friendship were equally potent and benign when bestowed upon Peter du Moulin, who was uncommonly

NN

ment, a mutual declaration should be framed and appended to the Confession, in which the deputies should testify, in the name of their principals, that the churches do not condemn each other for such diversities as do not hinder us from still agreeing in the true faith and doctrine, and from embracing each other as true believers and members of the same body.*-The points on which the Lutheran church differs from us are twofold: (1.) Some are of such a nature as may easily be adjusted between us, viz. the ceremonies of the Lutheran church, which might be understood in the most favourable sense and tolerated, being matters which belong to the class of expedients rather than to that of necessaries. Of this kind also are some of the opinions about Predestination,t concerning which, I conceive, an article of the general Confession may be framed so as to be approved by all parties without scruple, if, avoiding a prying curiosity, we imitate the manner of the Augsburg Confession, in which that topic is mentioned with great caution and purposely passed over. obsequious, aud yielded a ready compliance with any of the monarch's pedantic humours. 'Indeed, much of that deleterious influence on the subject of religion, which has been ascribed exclusively to Archbishop Abbot, may be traced up to Du Moulin, who yet, on almost all the disputed points both of doctrine and discipline, was at perfect agreement with his Grace.

But after the death of King James, what a metamorphosis was effected in Du Moulin! The kind and liberal peace-maker became one of the most violent incendiaries in Europe ; and, not content with embroiling his native country in an unholy war,

he affected to wield in his own hand the religious destinies of Holland and Great Britain. An admirable specimen of his endeavours to kindle the flames of civil discord in this country, will be seen iu page 392, and requires no comment.

* How christian and pacific is this judicious plan! And what a contrast does it present to the malevolent productions of the same man, recorded in

ť In a preceding page (154) the iugenuous Mosheim has frankly acknowledged, "If the opinions contained in the well-known Five Points of the Arminians be simply regarded by themselves, no man can deny the fact that they are the same as those which the Lutherans embrace for DivINE VERITIES that are clearly revealed. Where can the man be found who will not confess, that the Lutherans were wounded,condemned, and excluded from salvation, at the Synod of Dort, through the sides of the Arminians ?"-At the heck of king James and of the Duke of Bouillon, four years afterwards Du Moulin wrote a letter approving of that intolerant conduct on the part of the Synod, although he had previously made the large admissions in the text. See page 242.

But, in enumerating other differences between the Calvinists and Lutherans, Du Moulin added, in his plan of pacification, “ There is also some difference about the necessity of Baptism, which, in a good sense, may be asserted to be necessary to salvation, that is, it is necessary baptism should • be used in the christian church, and it is no less necessary that each private

christian should not despise it,' without entering any further into the question of such necessity." In page 396, I have quoted the Ninth Article of the Augsburg. Confession, which declares the manner in which the Lutherans hold Baptism to be necessary to salvation ; and which is quite contrary to Du Moulin's Eighth Motion: Let the reader peruse that article, if he be desirous to observe the difference between Du Moulin in 1615 and in 1641. In the long quotation on the same page from Mosheim, allusion is made to Bishops Ward and Davenant's opinions concerning Baptism, on which the reader will find ample information in Dr. Parr's Life of Archbishop Usher, pages 434–438.

[ocr errors]

page 393.

(2.) There is the point of the Lord's Supper, which will cause
more trouble, &c.-For there are two sorts of errors : Some
consist only, of what we think or believe, others of some external
act beside the belief or opinion. Of the the first species are
those, which relate to the nature of Christ, to Predestination
and Free-will. Of the second are the doctrines concerning the
Communion in one kind, the Adoration of the Host, and Pray-
ing in a language unknown sometimes even to him that prays. The
errors of the latter sort, though they be often of less moment
than the others, do yet produce greater ferments and sometimes
schisms. For if I hold communion with any one who errs in
the business of Predestination or in that of Christ's nature, or
who maintains that Christ's body is every where, though these
errors be great, yet need they not disquiet the person that par-
takes of the Lord's Supper with him. But if I approach that
sacrament with a man who pays adoration to the bread, or who
believes he is then sacrificing Jesus Christ, such an act must
scandalize and drive me from thence, for fear of joining in his
idolatry or false oblation. Now it is a happy circumstance, that
our differences with the Lutherans are of the First kind; and
that with regard to externals, there is no difference but such as
might be easily adjusted between us.-In order to induce the
respective communities and churches to conform themselves to
the agreement which may be concluded, it will be absolutely
necessary for the several princes and states to promise, that they
will exert their authority for the purpose of abolishing the
names of LUTHERANS, CALVINISTS, and SACRAMENTARIANS,
and of causing all our churches to be called CHRISTIAN REFORMED
CHURCHES. Every one ought also under severe penalties to be
prohibited from inveighing against his brethren in sermons, or
writing against them: And the catalogues of those books which
are offered for sale at the Frankfort Fair must no longer be fil-
led with the titles of such scandalous libels and invectives as
have been commonly published.—The Protestant princes of
Germany shall also consent to send their ministers on an appointed
day to the principal churches of the neighbouring princes, who
shall be ready to receive them, and they may there partake
together of the Holy Communion on some solemn festival.-If
God would grant his blessing to this holy and laudable under-
taking, which would crown with everlasting honour the King
of Great Britain and those Potentates that assisted him, it
might then be a proper season to offer terms of peace to the
Church of Rome. And though I indulge doubts concerning
any
such

peace, because the Pope allows of no Council or Conference in which he is not permitted to preside, yet,* if it were

* This is the opinion of Grotius quoted page 550, and agrees with the following extract irom Bishop Gauden : “ Nor did the ancient Ecclesiastical laws and distinctions lay more to the Roman inspection or jurisdiction, than

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

once to be brought under discussion, we should attain a much higher reputation; and, when we were at length brought to an agreement among ourselves, we should be able to speak (to others] with greater authority."

Among those who entered with spirit into this amicable mode of composing religious differences, none was more distinguished than the famous Archbishop of Spalato. Of this individual, Dr. Heylin gives the following sketch in his Life of Archbishop Laud: “We will begin the next [year, 1623,] with the dismission of the Archbishop of Spalato, a man defamed by the Italians at his coming hither, and as much reproached by the English at his going hence: His name was Marcus Antonius. de Dominis, Archbishop of Spalato in fact, and Primate of Dalmatia in title: Such anciently and of right those Archbishops were, till the Bishop of Venice, being made a Patriarch by Pope Eugenius the Fourth, Anno 1450, assumed that title to himself, together with a superintendency over all the churches of that country, as subordinate to him. He had been long conversant with the Fathers and ancient councils ;* by this light he discerned the darkness of the Church of Rome, and the blind title which the Popes had for their supremacy. Inclining to the Protestant religion, he began to fear, that his own country would prove too hot for him at the last ; and therefore, after he had sat in the See of Spalato about fourteen years, he quitted his preferments there, and betook himself for sanctuary to the Church of England, anno 1616. Extremely honoured at his first coming by all sorts of people; entertained in both Universities with solemn speeches ; presented, complimented,

the sub-urbicariau regions, which extended 100 miles from the city. That the Roman Bishop was owned as the first or chief Patriarch in order and precedency, in place

or vote, was not a regard to the persons of the Bishops or their authority, as if it were more than other Bishops by any Divine or human right, but [it was] a regard to the pristine Majesty of the city, and to the Apostolic eminency of that church in which the two great Apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, had not only placed much of their pains but ended their lives. Lay aside the Roman pomp and insolency, po sober man but will allow the Bishop of Rome his civil and ecclesiastical primacy, as King James and other Protestant Princes offered long ago : Nor would any of the great reformers, Luther, or Calvin, or Cranmer, have grudged this, if the Bishop of Rome would have submitted either to a general council, or to the word of Christ.”

* It appears from the life of Bishop Bedell, that the Archbishop of Spalato was not acquainted with the productions of the Greek Fathers; for, after being requested to examine the Ten Books of the Archbishop's Ecclesiastical Republic, “Mr. Bedell corrected many ill applications of texts of scripture and quotations from the Fathers. For that Prelate, being utterly ignorant of the Greek tongue, could not but be guilty of many mistakes both in the one and the other." Mr. Bedell had been chaplain to Sir Henry Wotton, during the nine years of his embassy to the republic of Venice, and was the person who brought De Dominis over into England, and several of the famous Father Paul's manuscripts, particularly his History of the Council of Trent. This learned Italian professed, “ that he had learnt more from Mr. Bedell in all parts of divinity, whether speculative or practical, than from any one with whom he had ever conversed."

not so

feasted by the great Lords about the Court, the Bishops, and some principal persons about the city; happy was he that could be honoured with his company, and satisfied with beholding his comely presence, though they understood not his discourses ! Commended by King James at first for a constant sojourner and guest to Archbishop Abbot, in whose chapel at Lambeth he assisted at the consecration of some English Bishops. Made afterwards by the King the Master of the Savoy, and Dean of Windsor, and by himself made Rector of West-Illesby in the county of Berks; a revenue great as to bring him under the suspicion of coming hither out of covetousness, for the sake of filthy lucre ; nor so contemptible, but that he might have lived plentifully and contentedly on it. During his stay here, he published his learned and elaborate book, entituled, De Republica Ecclesiastica, never yet answered by the Papists, and perhaps unanswerable. He had given great trouble to the Pope by his defection from that Church, and no small countenance to the doctrine of the Protestant churches by his coming over unto ours. The founder ing of so great a pillar seemed to prognosticate, that the fabric of that Church was not like to stand. And yet he gave greater blows to them by his pen, than by the defection of his person; the wound so given being conceived to be incurable. In these respects, those of that church bestirred themselves to disgrace his person, devising many other causes by which he might be moved or forced to forsake those parts, wherein he durst no longer tarry: but finding little credit given to their libellous pamphlets, they began to work upon him by more secret practices, insinuating, That he had neither that respect nor those “advancements which might encourage him to stay; that the new Pope, Gregory the Fifteenth, was his special friend; that he might chuse his own preferments and make his own conditions, if he would return. And, on the other side, they cunningly wrought him out of credit with King James, by the arts of Gundamore,* Ambassador at that time from the King of

* This bold and clever catholic exercised at one period a complete control over the weak mind of King James. The reader will also recollect this am.. bassador's interference in the case of Sir Walter Raleigh, and the irresolute conduct of the pragmatical monarch. No one acquainted with the history of that period can entertain a doubt conceruing the pernicious consequences of Gondemar's residence in England: He and his agents excited within the mind of James the recollections of his royal mother's Catholicism; they brought the infatuated King within the reach of temptation, into which his Majesty would undoubtedly have fallen a willing prey, had all his able couusellors been as wavering in the Protestant Faith as himself; and they then introduced the seeds of Popery into the Royal Family, which were not eradicated even after King James the Second was under the necessity of abdicating the throne and quitting the Kingdomn. There cannot be a doubt, that Charles the First was the finest branch of the unfortunate family of the Stuarts : In strength of understanding, quickness of apprehension, and solidity of judg

« PreviousContinue »