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and fairness, the tenets of their church, and made moreover many concessions, which the Lutherans themselves could scarcely expect; yet the latter, suspicious and fearful, and always apprehensive of schemes, formed by artifice under the mask of candour, to betray and ensnare them, did not dare to acknowledge, that they were satisfied with these explications and offers; and thus the conference broke up without having contributed in any respect to promote the salutary work of peace. To form a true idea of these pacific deliberations, of the reasons that gave rise to them, and of the principles by which they were conducted, it will be necessary to study the civil his. tory of this interesting period with attention and care.
v. Uladislaus IV. king of Poland, formed a still more extensive plan of religious union than those hi- .. therto mentioned; he proposed a reconciliation, ences at Thorn not only between the reformed and Lutheran churches, but also between these two communions and that of Rome. For this purpose, he ordered a conference to be held at Thorn, in the year 1645, the issue of which, as might naturally have been expected, was far from being favourable to the projected union; for the persons employed by the three churches to heal their divisions, or at least to calm their animosities, returned from this conference with a greater measure of party zeal, and a smaller portion of Christian charity, than they had brought to it.
The conference held at Cassel in the year 1661, by the order of William VI. landgrave of Hesse, between Musæus and Henichius, professors at Rintelen, on the side of the Lutherans, and Curtius and Heinsius, of the university of Marpurg, on that of the reformed, was attended with much more success; and, if it did not bring about a perfect uniformity of opinion, it produced what was much better, a spirit of Christian charity and forbearance. For these candid doctors, after having diligently examined the nature, and weighed the importance of the controversies that divided the two churches, embraced each other with reciprocal marks of affection and esteem, and mutually declared that their respective doctrines were less different
. Tinianni Gasselii Historia Sacra et Ecclesiastica, p. ii. in addendis, p. 597-613, in which the Acts of this conference are published. Jo. Wolfg. Jaegeri Historia Sæculi xvii. Decenn. iv. p. 497. LPThis testimony of Dr. Mosheim, who was himself a Lutheran, is singularly honourable to the reformed doctors.
sure used eaches;
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from each other than was generally imagined; and that this difference was not of sufficient moment to prevent their fraternal union and concord. But it happened unluckily, that these moderate doctors of Rintelen could not infuse the same spirit of peace and charity that animated them, into their Lutheran brethren, nor persuade them to view the difference of opinion, that divided the protestant churches, in the same indulgent point of light in which they had considered them in the conference at Cassel. On the contrary, this their moderation drew upon them the hatred of almost all the Lutherans; and they were loaded with bitter reproaches in a multitude of pamphlets, that were composed expressly to refute their sentiments, and to censure their conduct. The pains that were taken after this period by the princes of the house of Brandenburg, and more especially by Frederic William, and his son Frederic, in order to compose the dissensions and animosity that divide the protestants, and particularly to promote a fraternal union between the reformed and Lutheran churches in the Prussian territories, and in the rest of their dominions, are well known; and it is also equally notorious, that innumerable difficulties were formed against the execution of this salutary design. VI. Beside these public conferences, held by the authori
ty of princes, in order to promote union and conexploits of . cord among protestants, à multitude of individu
u als, animated by a spirit of true Christian charity, embarked in this pious cause on their own private authority, and offered their mediation and good offices to reconcile the two churches. It is true indeed that these peacemakers were, generally speaking, of the reformed church; and that those among the Lutherans, who appeared in this amiable character, were but few, in comparison with the great number of Calvinists that favoured this be- . nevolent but arduous design. The most eminent of the Calvinistical peacemakers was John Dureus, a native of Scotland, and a man justly celebrated on account
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i The writers who have given accounts of the conferences of Thorn and Cassel are enumerated by Sagittarius, in his Introd. ad Hist. Ecclesiast. tom. ii. p. 1604.' See also Jaegeri Historia Sæculi xvii. Decenn. v. p. 689, and Decenn. vii. p. 160, where the facts of the conferences of Cassel and Thorn are extant. Add to these, Jo. Alphons. Turretini Nubes Testium pro moderato in rebus Theologicis judicio, p. 178. There is an ample account of the conference of Cassel in the life of Musæus given by Mollerus in his Cimbria Literata, tom. ii. 566. The reader will find in the same work, an accurate Index of the Accounts of this conference published on both sides.
of his universal benevolence, solid piety, and extensive learning; but, at the same time, more remarkable for genius and memory, than for nicety of discernment and accuracy of judgment, as might be evinced by several proofs and testimonies, were this the proper place for discussions of that nature. Be that as it will, never perhaps was there such an example of zeal and perseverance as that exhibited by Dureus, who, during the space of forty years, suffered vexations, and underwent labours, which required the firmest resolution, and the most inexhaustible patience; wrote, exhorted, admonished, entreated, and disputed; in a word, tried every method that human wisdom could suggest, to put an end to the dissensions and animosities that reigned among the protestant churches. For it was not merely by the persuasive eloquence of his pen, or by forming plans in the silence of the closet, that this worthy divine performed the task which his benevolence and zeal engaged him to undertake; his activity and industry were equal to his zeal; he travelled through allthe countries in Europe where the protestant religion had obtained any footing; he formed connexions with the doctors of both parties; he addressed himself to kings, princes, magistrates, and ministers; and by representing, in lively and striking colours, the utility and importance of the plan he had formed, hoped to engage them more or less in this good cause, or at least to derive some succour from their influence and protection. But here his views were considerably disappointed; for though his undertaking was generally applauded, and though he met with a favourable and civil reception from the greatest part of those to whom he addressed himself, yet he found very few who were seriously disposed to alleviate his labours, by lending him their assistance, and seconding his attempts by their influence and counsels. Nay, some suspecting that the fervent andextraordinary zeal of Dureus arose from mysterious and sinister motives, and apprehending that he had secretly formed a design of drawing the Lutherans into a snare, attacked him in their writings with animosity and bitterness, and loaded him with the sharpest invectives and reproaches. So that this well-meaning man, neglected at length by those of his own communion, opposed and rejected by the followers of Luther, involed in various perplexities and
k From the year 1631 to 1674.
mainder not be uding the eficient touciliation
distress, exhausted by unsuccessful labour, and oppressed and dejected by injurious treatment, perceived, by a painful experience, that he had undertaken a task which was beyond the power of a private person, and spent the remainder of his days in repose and obscurity at Cassel."
It may not be improper to observe here, that Dureus, who, notwithstanding the uprightness of his intentions in general, was sometimes deficient in frankness and ingenuity, had annexed to his plan of recouciliation certain doctrines, which, were they susceptible of proof, would serve as a foundation for the union, not only of the Lutherans and Calvinists, but also of all the different sects that bear the Christian name. For, among other things, he maintained, that the Apostles' Creed was a complete body of divinity; the Ten Commandments a perfect system of morals.; and the Lord's Prayer a comprehensive series of petitions for all the blessings contained in the divine promises. Now if this notion, that these sacred compositions contain all that is essential to faith, obedience, and devotion, had been universally entertained, or evidently demonstrated, it would not have been a chimerical project to aim at a reconciliation of all Christian churches upon this basis, and to render these compositions the foundation of their coalition and the bond of their union. But it would have been highly chimerical to expect that the Christian sects would universally adopt this notion, or be pleased to see the doctrines of Christianity reduced to such general principles. It is further to be observed, with respect to Dureus, that he showed a peculiar propensity toward the sentiments of the mystics and quakers, on account of their tendency to fa
I See Coleri Historia Joh. Duræi, published in 4to. at Wittemberg in 1716, to which, however, many important additions might be made from public records, and also from documents that have not as yet seen the light. Some records and documents, of the kind here referred to, have been published by Hasæus, in his Bibliotheca Bremens. Theologica Philologica, tom. i. p. 911, and tom. iv. p. 683. A still greater number are given by Gesselius, in the Addenda Irenica, that are subjoined to his Historia Ecclesiastica, tom. ii. p. 614. The transactions of Duræus at Marpurg are mentioned by Schenk, in his Vitd Professorum Theologiæ Marpurg, p. 202. His attempts in Holstein may be learned from the letters of Lackman and Lossius, wbich are joined together in the same volume. His exploits in Prussia and Poland are recorded by Jablonsky, in his Historia Consensus Sendomiriensis, p, 127, and his labours in Denmark, the Palatinate, and Switzerland, are mentioned respectively by Elswich, in his Fasciculus Epistol. Theolog. p. 147. Suelen's Deliciæ Epistol. p. 353, and in the Museum Helvet. tom. ij. iv. v. See also Jaegeri Historia Seculi xvii. Decenn. vii. p. 171. Bohmius, Englische Reformations Historie, and more especially an account of Duræus, published under my direction at Helmstadt, in the year 1744, by Benzelius, and entitled, Dissertatio de Johan. Duræo, maxime de Actis ejus Suecanis. This Dissertation contains a variety of anecdotes drawn from records not yet made public.
o of Strenger of divinity at his charitable ang
vour his conciliatory and pacific project. Like them he placed the essence of religion in the assent of the soul to God, in calling forth the hidden word, in fanning the divine spark that resides in the recesses of the human mind, and, in consequence of this system, was intimately persuaded, that differences, merely in theological opinions, did not at all concern the essence of true piety.
VII. Those among the Lutherans that appeared the most zealous in this pacific cause, were John Mat- all thiæ, bishop of Strengnes in Sweden, and Calixtus. George Calixtus, professor of divinity at Helmstadt, whom Dureus had animated with a portion of his charitable and indulgent spirit. The former was a man of capacity and merit, the latter was eminently distinguished among the doctors of this century, by his learning, genius, probity, and candour ; but they both failed in the arduous undertaking in which they had engaged, and suffered considerably in their attempts to promote the cause of unity and concord. The Olive Branches“ of Matthiæ, who entitled thus his pacific productions, were, by a royal edict, publicly condemned and suppressed in Sweden; and their author, in order to appease the fury of his enemies, was obliged to resign his bishopric, and pass the rest of his days in retirement. The zeal of Calixtus, in calming the tumultuous and violent spirit of the contending parties, drew upon him the bitterest reproaches, and the warmest animosity and resentment from those who were more bent on maintaining their peculiar opinions, than in promoting that charity which is the end of the commandment; and while he was labouring to remove all sects and divisions, he appeared to many of his brethren in the light of a new sectary, who was founding the most pernicious of all sects, even that of the syncretists, who were supposed to promote peace and concord at the expense of truth. We shall, before we finish this chapter, endeavour to give a more particular and circumstantial account of the sentiments and trials of this great man, to whose charge many other things were laid, beside the crime of endeavouring
g m Matthiæ had been chaplain to Gustavus Adolphus, and was afterward appointed, by that prince, preceptor to his daughter Christina, so famous in history, on account of the whimsical peculiarities of her character, her taste for learning, and her desertion of the Swedish throne, and the Protestant religion.
n Rami Olive Septentrionalis.
o See Schefferi Suecia Literata, p. 123, and Joh. Molleri ad eam Hypomnemala, pri 317. Arkenholtz, Memoires de la Reine Christine, tom. i. p. 320, 505, tom. ii. p. 63.