« PreviousContinue »
had been one of the parties at the Conference held at Leipsic in 1631, at which Duræus was likewise present. The numerous extracts which I have given from Mosheim's scarce pamphlet, will manifest the jealousy felt by the Lutherans respecting the designs of the Calvinists; and, after the scenes described in pages 240-265, it is not wonderful if they received with caution the overtures of those who had adopted the intolerant Canons of the Synod of Dort, without any modification or token of disapproval.* (Page 290) This feeling of distrust was not
ledge of the important discussions and events of that æra, the men who treat them as insulated occurrences are mere theorists, that draw inferences without adequate data. In an extract from his own treatise, in page 153, Mosheim says, “ There can hardly be the shadow of a doubt, that the hatred which the Dort Fathers evinced towards the Arminians, belonged also to us in no inferior degree.” The high Predestinarian decisions and iặtolerance of that Synod might well render the Lutherans “ suspicious and fearful.” See pages 246—250.
* That inan who wishes to trace the baneful political and religious consequences of the Synod of Dort, may discover some of them in the conduct of the Elector of Saxony, when the Elector Palatine was crowned King of Bohemia. (Page 243.) On that occasion the former prince united hitoself with the members of the Roman Catholic League, and contributed much to the final triumph of the Emperor Ferdinand. Mosheiın justly observes : “ The triumph of the Austrians would neither have been só sudden nor so complete, nor would they have been in a condition to impose such rigorous and despotic terms on the Bohemians, had they not been powerfully assisted by John George I, Elector of Saxony, who, partly from a principle of hatred towards the Calvinists, and partly from considerations of a political kind, re-inforced with his troops the Imperial army.” In a note it is added by this ecclesiastical bistorian : “ It is well known, that the Roman Catholics, and more especially Martin Becan, a Jesuit, persuaded Matthew Hoë, who was an Austrian by birth and the Elector's chaplain, to represent to his prince the cause of the Elector Palatine, (which was the cause of the Reformed Religion,) as not only unjust, but also as detrimental to the interests of Lutheranism, and to recommend to him
the cause and interests of the House of Austria." Dr. Maclaine subjoins, " What Dr. Mosheim says may be true," It is true as far as it goes ; but it does not give the real cause of the Elector's disgust. In various parts of this volume I have detailed the horror which many of the German princes felt, not only at the intolerance displayed by the Synod of Dort, but also at the political purposes which that religious assembly was intended to promote. No wonder, therefore, if some of the Jesuits depicted Calvinism, and its aspirings, in colours more odious than correct. If the Synod of Dort was upwards of a century the grand bar to
, ecclesiastical concord, can it be surprising that it was employed as a pretence to hinder political union among the members of the Protestants of Europe? The marked displeasure of heaven, towards the chief States that had sent representatives to that iniquitons Synod, was displayed within a few years after its conclusion. See pages 246—248.
But even after the Elector of Saxony had broken off his unnatural connection with a cruel Popish confederacy, who were vigorously engaged in destroying or proselytizing his fellow Protestants, he did
not enter with such zeal and cordiality into the measures of the Protestant combination, to which he at length attached himself, as might have been expected from a lineal, descendant of the first of the Lutheran Princes. The ambitious designs, and the former premature exultation, of the Calvinists, had implanted many prejudices in the mind of the Elector, which never were fully eradicated. Grotius, in his letters, frequently complains of the selfish and temporizing conduct of the Elector, (page 610,) and in one addressed to James Puteanus in 1634, gives the following description the man and his measures at Frank
without foundation, as Grotius found by his own experience within a year after he had made that remark: The Calvinist pastors at Charenton had transmitted to the Frankfort Convena tion, in 1634, a letter confirming Dury in his sacred design, and had in their synod in 1631 passed a resolution, in which they declared "the Lutheran System of religion to be conformable with the spirit of true piety, and free from pernicious and fundamental errors.” Yet, at the suggestion of Rivet, (page 222,) who, after being transplanted from the French Churches into the university of Leyden, considered himself placed there for the strenuous defence of Dort Calvinism, these very men refused to receive Grotius into their Chapel, after they had given him a pressing invitation. This conduct of theirs induced him to say, (page 607) “ I am amazed at the inconstancy of the men, who, after having invited the Lutherans to them, now deny that they can admit the Swedish Ambassador, in his quality of Ambassador, on account of the difference which subsists between the religious sentiments which they maintain, and those professed by the Kingdom of which he is representative.”—This is not the only example of the insincerity of the Calvinists of that age; the reader will find others in various parts of this volume.
But Archbishop Laud did not, on account of this Calvinistic tergiversation, with-hold his patronage from such a pacific plan as that of Dury. Though himself a great patron of the doctrines of General Redemption, and aware of Dury's Calvinistic partiafort: “ This Convention, which, after the German fashion, is of itself suffi-' ciently tardy, is likewise peedlessly disturbed by the Elector of Saxony, who has sent his represeutatives, not to fill (or form a part of) the Assembly, but to act as spies on its proceedings. He demands the restitution, to his son, of the Duchy of Magdeburgh, possession of which the Swedes had gained by conquest, and he entertains suspicions about all foreign alliances as likely to prove disadvantageous to the Empire. He has consulted his oracle, Dr. Hoë, and has received this answer, It will really be an act of impiety in the Lutherans to grant to others the freedom of their sacred communion; and the offers of peace are despised, solely for the benefit of Calvin's disciples.' Immediately subsequent to this sentence, is that which I have quoted in page 610.-But whatever portion of blame is made to attach to Hoë, he was neither
a great fool,” nor“ a great knave,” though stigmatized as both by Dr. Maclaine, for the alleged offence of baving listened to such insinuations
as the Jesuit conveyed.” Unfortunately, if Becan ever did convey these insinuations, the Calvinists had afforded him, and all the world besides, too many legible data from which they might be deduced : But Hoë would have been a much greater simpleton than Maclaine has represented him, had be not been able without Popish aid to draw these inferences himself.-The truth is, Hoë was both a clever and an amiable man; but, in common with many divines of other denominations in that age, he was tied down by the politic instructions of his superiors whenever he was deputed to public conferences or conventions. Whoever will examine all the accusations which he preferred against the Calvinists, will soon be convinced, that they are peither so numerous, nor so strong, as those produced by Mosheim himself, in the pamphlet recommended in his Ecclesiastical History, and wbich he entitled “ Considerations respecting the Authority of the SYNOD OF DORT, an Assembly destructive of sacred peace.” See pages 152—156, 396, 580.
líties, he did not yiew either of these circumstances as presenting even a plausible objection against the promotion of that blessed object. But in this, as well as in several other of his ministerial acts, he was not master of his own motions. The performance of the Archbishop's public duty had perfectly co-incided with his private wishes, when, in 1634, he transmitted credential letters by Dury to the Frankfort Convention. Though this was on his part an act of the greatest sincerity, it was not so on that of his colleagues, nor even of the court itself: They had afforded countenance to that Assembly, apparently for the sole purpose of assisting the Elector Palatine, in the recovery of his hereditary dominions from the Popish conquerors into whose hands they were fallen : This attempt was a measure that was exceedingly popular to the whole of the British nation. But the Queen, and her Popish creatures in the ministry, soon turned the current of royal sympathy into another channel, and made it contribute to the advantage of Spain, to whose interests her Majesty was cordially attached, “out of revenge,” it is said, “ of the unhandsome treatment her royal mother Mary de Medicis had received from her son the French monarch.” Archbishop Laud, being in all matters of national importance
6 but one of many," could not more publicly interest himself in that great Protestant association when the Court was averse to such a method of äiding the Elector, whose restoration, it is believed, King Charles sincerely desired to effect; but his majesty was instructed by his Queen and her crafty Popish advisers, to seek it only among those persons who were most concerned in refusing his requests : Yet on those personages the misguided Charles waited several years, with unbecoming obsequiousness and a sort of Quixotic simplicity. During that period, when nearly all true Protestant interests were most shamefully abandoned by the English ministry,* of which the Archbishop was only an unit, his Grace gave repeated assurances to his private friends, that, at a proper opportunity, he would shew himself a still more open and decided patron of the good cause, and lend it his powerful assistance. The first sentence in the following paragraph of Mr. Mede's letter to Mr. Hartlib, written in the 1635, is generally understood to apply to Archbishp Laud. If that reference be correct, the cause of it has been already related :
* The more dceply this subject is investigated, the more highly will the result redound to the honour of Archbishop Laud and to his zeal for Protestantism. He seems never to have varied in his views of the propriety of granting prompt and effectual assistance to the Elector Palatine, although few members of his Majesty's Council were favourable to that measure. Neither was his antipathy to Calvinism so over-charged, as to prevent him from employing, during many years, a person of high Predestiwariar principles in the divine work of a general Protestant pacification, and this too at the very time when he was falsely charged by his enemies at home with manifesting a strong propensity to Popery!
“ It grieves me not a little, yea perplexes me, to hear that Mr. Dury is come off with no better success from my Lord—I am loth male augurari [to prognosticate evil]; but I like it not. I fear it is mali ominis, and that our State and Church have no mind to put their hands to this work. Deus avertat omen! [May God avert the ill omen!] But our Church, you know, goes upon differing principles from the rest of the Reformed, and so steers her course by another rule than they do. We look after the Form, Rites, and Dicipline of ANTIQUITY, and endeavour to bring our own as near as we can to that pattern. pose, the Reformed Churches have departed farther there from than needed, and so we are not very solicitous to comply with them. Yea, we are jealous of such of our own as we see overzealously addicted to them, lest it be a sign they prefer them before their mother. This, I suppose, you have observed; and that this disposition in our Church is of late very much increased. Well, then; if this union sought after be like to further and advantage us in the way we affcct, we shall listen to it. If it be likely to be prejudicial, -as namely, to give strength and authority to those amongst us who are enamoured with the foreign platform, or to bring a yoke upon our own by limiting and making us obnoxious, we will stand aloof and not meddle with it, lest we infringe our liberty. This, I have always feared, would be no small remora on our part; and, I
fall out beyond my expectation."*
pray God, it
* It is seen in the text, that Archbishop Laud could not himself do all that he wished to effect. Mr. Mede seems to have been aware of this circumstance; and, when Dury applied to him, through Mr. Hartlib, for bis advice in the management of his pacificatory efforts by means of FUNDAMENTAL ARTICLES, like a prudent man, be returned the following modest answer, which forms a part of the letter quoted in the text: “1 am afraid you have made Mr. Dury take me for another njan than I am. I pray, therefore, let bim know, that I am a private man, one that the Church wever took notice of, having no place or dignity in the same, nor any condition or means of living but a poor fellowship, not known to any of the greater Clergy, vor acquainted with those that are of note in any special manner; in a word, one of the least esteemed in the Church, as St. Paul speaks; (1 Cor. vi, 4 ;) and, therefore, I see not how my verdict should of any moment in this
I live in the University, where we move only ad motum primi mobilis; and that discretion is expected at our hands, who are of the inferior orbs, as not to move without our superiors. If any one transgress this rule, and offer to meddle in aught that concerns the public, before the State and those in place declare themselves, he is taken notice of for factious and a busy-body; and if he be once thus branded, all the water of the Thames will not wash him clean, if it be objected to his prejudice, though many years after, as we see by daily experience.".
It is one of those amusing assumptions, of which we meet with many in the labours of Dissenting Historians, that Brook, in his Lives of the Puritans, after quoting the paragraph which I have given in the text, immediately subjoins : “ Thus Mr. Mede expressed his Puritanical dissent from the spirit and principles of the ecclesiastical establishment!" And after quoting the conclusion of the extract in this note, the same ill-instructed biographer adds the sage remark, “ Here Mr. Mede justly exposes and censures, the intolerant proceedings of the ecclesiastical governors !" He also
In this paragraph Mr. Mede expresses his fears, " that our State and Church have no mind to put their hands to this work” of ecclesiastical union: The truth is, those who governed the State were then averse to this measure; while the head of the Church, under God and the King, was greatly in its favour, although several circumstances respecting it had recently occurred which might have alienated the mind of a less sincere lover of Protestantism than the Archbishop proved himself to be. In a subsequent note I have inserted the translation of a Latin letter which Mr. Dury addressed to Mr. Mede in 1635, when, after having explained to the Archbishop's satisfaction the issue of his former christian embassy to the Frankfort Convention, he
informs his readers, that Mr. Mede (? iś justly denominated one of the Puritans;" and that, “in one of his letters to a learned friend, though expressed in very modest language, he discovers his Puritanical opinions.”
-The letter to which he refers, is the one from which he and I have presented these extracts; and when they are compared with his own expressions in pages 494—547 of this volume, the reader will be at once enabled to decide upon his reputed Puritanism. In fact, his mildness and moderation constituted him the most formidable adversary whom the Puritans encountered. Mr. Brook tells
us, “ His sentiments relative to the Established Church, and its persecuting severities, are sufficiently manifest from his own writings.” When this sentence was written, Mr. B. can scarcely be supposed to have seen the following paragraph in Mr. Mede's Life : “ To that old complaint, Is it not great pity that men should be silenced and laid aside only for their not subscribing"?, Mr. Mede's answer was, So it is great pity, that some
goodly fair houses in the midst of a populous city should take fire, aud therefore must of necessity be pulled down, unless you will suffer the whole • town to be on a flame and consume to ashes.'"
But against this anecdote Mr, Brook will, perhaps, urge his absurd and unfounded objection, " Mr. M. did not so decidedly approve of the discipline and government of the Established Church, as the writer of his Life has endeavoured to represent.". I shall, therefore, transcribe part of another letter, which Mr. Mede addressed to Mr. Hartlib in 1636, and in which he manifests his peculiar aversion to the vilifiers of the ecclesiastical establishment: “ For the book you speak of, I like it not. I knew by hear-say much of the author and his condition some years before the High Commission took notice of bim, and wondered he escaped so long. For in every company he came, he took an intolerable liberty of invectives and contumelies against the Ecclesiastical State, when no occasion was offered him. Such books as these vever did good in our Church, and have been as disadvantageous to their party who vent them, as they have been prejudicial to the common
I durst almost affirm, that the alienation which appears in our • Church of late from the rest of the Reformed bath grown for a great part from such intemperancy and indiscretion as this is, and will be still increased more and more, if those who seem to be the chief favourers of them go on in this manner. He hath too ready a faculty in expressing himself with his pen, unless he would employ it better. For who can excuse him from a malignant disposition towards his own mother, thus to publish her faults in Latin, of purpose to discover her shame to strangers, and to call her sisters to see it, as Cham did his brothers? Think what kind of crime it is for a man, that is Civis and a member, to traduce the Rulers of his people among foreigners; and what little goud affection they are like to expect from ours, who are made partisans in such a kind.”
If this able advocate of the doctrines and the constitution of the Church of England must be reckoned among the Puritans, (and Mr. Brook's list contains other men as far from Puritanism as Mr. Mede,) then Archbishop Laud and Bis hop Cosins must augment their party-coloured ranks.