« הקודםהמשך »
support the cause of Jansenism in France.
suspended than terminated, and of kindling anew a flame that is covered without being extinguished.
XII. Amidst the calamities in which the Jansenists have The circum- been involved, they have only two methods left clamebulten to of maintaining their cause against their powerful
adversaries, and these are their writings and their
useful to them; the latter gave them only a transitory reputation, which, being ill founded, contributed in the issue to sink their credit
. The writings in which they have attacked both the Pope and the Jesuits are innumerable; and many of them are composed with such eloquence, spirit
, and solidity, that they have produced a remarkable effect. The Jansenists, however, looking upon all human means as insufficient to support their cause, turned their views toward supernatural succours, and endeavoured to make it appear, that their cause was the peculiar object of the divine protection and approbation. For this purpose they persuaded the multitude, that God had endowed the bones and ashes of certain persons, who had distinguished themselves by their zeal in the cause of Jansenius, and had, at the point of death, appealed a second time from the pope to a general council, with the power of healing the most inveterate diseases. The person whose remains were principally honoured with this marvellous efficacy, was the abbe Paris, a man of family, whose natural character was dark and melancholy ; his superstition excessive beyond all credibility; and who, by an austere abstinence from bodily nourishment, and the exercise of other inhuman branches of penitential discipline, was the voluntary cause of his own death. To the miracles which were said to be wrought at the tomb of this fanatic, the Jansenists added a great variety of visions and revelations, to which they audaciously attributed a divine origin; for several members of the community, and more especially those who resided at Paris, pretended to be filled with the Holy Ghost; and, in consequence of this prerogative, delivered instructions, predictions, and exhortations, which, though frequently extravagant, and almost always insipid, yet moved the passions, and attracted the admiration, of the ignorant multi
i The imposture that reigned in these pretended miracles has been detected and exposed by various authors; but by none with more acuteness, perspicuity, and penetration, than by the ingenious Dr. Douglas, in his excellent Treatise on Miracles, entitled The Criterion, which was published by Millar in the year 1754.
tude. The prudence however of the court of France, put a stop to these fanatical tumults and false miracles; and, in the situation in which things are at present, the Jansenists have nothing left but their genius and their pens to maintain their cause.k
XIII. We can say but very little of the Greek and eastern churches. The profound ignorance in which they live, and the despotic yoke under which they the eastern groan, prevent their forming any plans to extend church. their limits, or making any attempts to change their state. The Russians, as we had formerly occasion to observe, assumed, under the reign of Peter the Great, a less savage and barbarous aspect than they had before that memorable period; and in this century have given some grounds to hope that they may one day be reckoned among the civilized nations. There are nevertheless immense multitudes of that rugged people, who are still attached to the brutish superstition and discipline of their ancestors; and there are several in whom the barbarous spirit of persecution still so
far prevails, that, were it in their power, they would cut off the Protestants and all other sects that differ from them, by fire and sword. This appears evident from a variety of circumstances, and more especially from the book which Stephen Javorski has composed against heretics of all denominations.
The Greek Christians are said to be treated at present by their haughty masters with more clemency and indulgence than in former times. The Nestorians and Monophysites in Asia and Africa persevere in their refusal to enter into the communion of the Romish church, notwitstanding the earnest entreaties and alluring offers that have been made from time to time by the Pope's legates, to conquer their inflexible constancy. The Roman Pontiffs have frequently attempted to renew, by another sacred expedition, their former connexions with the kingdom of Abyssinia; but they have not yet been able to find out a method of escaping the vigilance of that court, which still persists in its abhorrence of
popery Nor is it at all probable that the embassy, which is now preparing at Rome for the Abys
k Things are greatly changed since the learned author wrote this paragraph. This storm of just resentment that has arisen against the Jesuits, and has been attended with the extinction of their order in Portugal, France, and in all the Spanish dominions, has disarmed the most formidable adversaries of Jansenism, and must consequently be considered as an event highly favourable to the Jansenists.
sinian emperor, will be attended with success. The Monophysites propagate their doctrine in Asia with zeal and assiduity, and have not long ago gained over to their communion a part
part of the Nestorians who inhabit the maritime coasts of India, xiv. The Lutheran church, which dates its foundation
from the year 1517, and the confession of Augscame the theme! burg from the year 1530, celebrated in peace and theran burch, prosperity the secular return of these memorable periods in the years 1717 and 1730. It received, some years ago, a considerable accession to the number of its members, by the emigration of that multitude of Protestants which abandoned the territory of Saltzburg and the town of Berchtolsgaden, in order to breathe a free air, and to enjoy unmolested the exercise of their religion. One part of these emigrants settled in Prussia, another in Holland, and many of them transplanted themselves and their families to America, and other distant regions. This circumstance contributed greatly to propagate the doctrine, and extend the reputation, of the Lutheran church, which thus not only obtained a footing in Asia and America, but also formed several congregations of no small note in these remote parts of the world. The state of Lutheranism at home has not been so prosperous, since we learn, both from public transactions, and also from the complaints of its professors and patrons, that, in several parts of Germany, the Lutheran church has been injuriously oppressed, and unjustly deprived of several of its privileges and advantages, by the votaries of Rome.
xv. It has been scarcely possible to introduce any change Its internal into the system of doctrine and discipline that is
received in that church, because the ancient confessions and rules that were drawn up to point out the tenets that were to be believed, and the rites and ceremonies that were to be performed, still remain in their full authority, and are considered as the sacred guardians of the Lutheran faith and worship. The method however of illustrating, enforcing, and defending the doctrines of Christianity, has undergone several changes in the Lutheran church. Toward the commencement of this century, an artless simplicity was generally observed by the ministers of that communion, and all philosophical terms and abstract reasonings were entirely laid aside, as more adapted to ob
scure than to illustrate the truths of the gospel. But in process of time a very different way of thinking began to take place; and several learned men entertained a notion, that the doctrines of Christianity could not maintain their ground, if they were not supported by the aids of philosophy, and exhibited and proved in a geometrical order.
The adepts in jurisprudence, who undertook, in the last century, the revision and correction of the body of ecclesiastical law that is in force among the Lutherans, carried on their undertaking with great assiduity and spirit; and our church government would at this day bear another aspect, if the ruling powers had judged it expedient to listen to their counsels and representations. We see indeed in several places, evident proofs that the directions of these great men, relating to the external form of ecclesiastical government, discipline, and worship, are highly respected; and that their ideas, even of the doctrinal part of religion, have been more or less adopted by many. Hence it is not at all surprising, that warm disputes have arisen between them and the rulers of the church, concerning several points. The Lutheran doctors are apprehensive that, if the sentiments of certain of these reformers took place, religion would become entirely subservient to the purposes of civil policy, and be at length converted into a mere state machine ; and this apprehension is not peculiar to the clergy alone, but is also entertained by some persons of piety and candour, even among the civilians.
xvi. The liberty of thinking, speaking, and writing, concerning religious matters, which began to prevail in the last century, was, in this, still further confirmed and augmented ; and it extended so far as to encourage both infidels and fanatics to pour forth among the multitude, without restraint, all the effusions of their enthusiasm and extravagance. Accordingly we have seen, and still see, numbers of fanatics and innovators start up from time to time, and, under the influence of enthusiasm, or of a disordered brain, divulge their crude fancies and dreams among the people, by which they either delude many from the communion of the established church, or at least occasion contests and divisions of the most disagreeable kind. We mentioned formerly several of these disturbers of the tranquillity of the church, to whom we may add here the notorious names of Tennhart, Gichtelius, Uberfeld, Rosenbach, Bredel, Seizius, Roemeling
and many others, who either imagined that they were divinely inspired, or, from a persuasion of their superior capacity and knowledge, set up for reformers of the doctrine and discipline of the church. Many writers drew their pens against this presumptuous and fanatical tribe ; though the greatest part of those who composed it were really below the notice of men of character, and were rather worthy of contempt than of opposition. And indeed it was not so much the force of reason and argument, as the experience of their bad success, that convinced these fanatics of their folly, and made them desist from their chimerical projects. Their attempts could not stand the trial of time and common sense; and therefore, after having made a transitory noise, they fell into oblivion. Such is the common and deserved fate of almost all the fanatical ringleaders of the deluded populace; they start up all of a
all of a sudden, and make a figure for a while; but, generally speaking, they ruin their own cause by their imprudence or obstinacy, by their austerity or perverseness, by their licentious conduct or their intestine divisions. XVII. Many place in this fanatical class the brethren of
Herrenhut, who were first formedinto a religious Horrenbutters
. community, in the village so named, in Lusatia, by the famous count Zinzendorff; and afterward grew so numerous, that their emigrants were spread abroad in all the countries of Europe, reached even as far as the Indies, and formed settlements in the remotest quarters of the globe. The Herrenhutters call themselves the descendants of the Bohemian and Moravian brethren, who, in the fifteenth century, threw off the despotic yoke of Rome, animated by the zealous exhortations and heroic example of John Huss. They may however be said, with more propriety, to imitate the example of that famous community, than to descend from those who composed it; for it is well known that there are very few Bohemians and Moravians in the fraternity of the Herrenhutters; and it is extremely doubtful, whether even this small number are to be considered as the posterity of the ancient Bohemian brethren, that distinguished themselves so early by their zeal for the reformation.
If we are to give credit to the declarations of the Herrenhutters, they agree with the Lutherans in their doctrine and opinions, and only differ from them in their ecclesiastical discipline, and in those religious institutions and rules