« הקודםהמשך »
hopes, well founded, or illusory, is not my business to examine here, that he at first entertained of a considerable reforınation in that church, and from an expectation that its most absurd doctrines would fall to the ground, if they could once be deprived of their great support, the papal authority; the destruction of which authority was the very basis of this correspondence.
It will further appear, that Dr. Wake considered union in external worship, as one of the best methods of healing the uncharitable dissensions that are orien occasioned by a variety of sentiments in point of doctrine, in which a perfect uniformity is not to be expected. This is undoubtedly a wise principle, when it is not carried too far; and whether or no it was carried too far by this eminent prelate, the candid reader is left to judge, from the following relation.
In ihe month of November, 1717, archbishop Wake wrote a letter to Mr. Beauvoir, chaplain to the earl of Stair, then ambassador at Paris, in which his grace acknowledges the receipt of several obliging letters from Mr. Beauvoir. This is manifestly the first letter which the prelate wrote to that gentleman, and the whole contents of it are matters of a literary nature. In answer to this letter, Mr. Beauvoir, in one dated the 11th of December, 1717, 0. S. gives the archbishop the information he desired, about the method of subscribing to a new edition of St. Chrysostom, which was, at that time, in the press at Paris, and then mentions his having dined with Du Pin, and three other doctors of the Sorbonne, who talked as if the whole kingdom of France was to appeal, in the affair of the Bull Unigenitus, to a future general council, and who “wished for an union with the church of England, as the most effectual means to unite all the western churches." Mr. Beauvoir adds, that Dr. Du Pin had desired him to give his duty to the archbishop. Here we see the first hint, the very first overture that was made relative to a project of union between the English and Gallican churches; and this hint comes originally from the doctors of the Sorbonne, and is not at all occasioned by any thing contained in preceding letters from archbishop Wake to Mr. Beauvoir, since the one only letter, which Mr. Beauvoir had hitherto received from that eminent prelate, was entirely taken up in inquiries about some new editions of books that were then publishing at Paris.
f The perusal of this letter, which the reader will find among the pieces here subjoined, No. I. is sufficient to remove the suspicions of the author of the Confes. sional, who seems inclined to believe, that archbishop Wake was the first mover in the project of uniting the English and Gallican churches. This author having mentioned Mr. Beauvoir's letter, in which Du Pin's desire of this union is communicated to the archbishop, asks the following question ; Can any man be certain that Beauvoir mentioned this merely out of his own head, and without some previous occasion given, in the archbishop's letter to him, for such a conversation with the Sorbonne doctors ?* I answer to this question, that everyone who reads the arcbbi. shop's letter of tbe 28th of Noveinber, to which this letter of Mr. Beauvoir's is an answer, may be very certain that Dr. Wake's letter did not give Mr. Beauvoir the
least occasion for such a conversation, but relates entirely to the Benedictine edition · of St. Chrysostom, Martene's Thesaurus Anecdotorum, and Moreri's Dictionary.
Bul, says our author, there is an gc. in this copy of Mr. Beauvoir's letter, very suspi. ciously placed, as if to cover something improper lo be disclosed.t But really if any thing was covered here, it was covered from the archbishop as well as from the public, since the very same &c. that we see in the printed copy of Mr. Beauvoir's letter, stands in the original. Besides, I would be glad to know what there is in the placing of this &c. that can give rise to suspicion? The passage of Beauvoir's letter runs thus ; They, the Sorbonne doctors, talked as if the whole kingdom was to appeal to the future General Council, &c. They wished for a union with the church of England, as the most effectual means to unite all the Western churches. It is palpably evident, that the &c. here has not the least relation to the union in question, and gives no sort of reason to suspect any thing but the spirit of discontentment, which the insolent proceedings of the court of Rome had excited among the French divines.
* See the 2d edition of the Confessional, Prer. p. lxxviii. Note W.
+ The other reflections that the author has there matle upon the correspondence between archbishop Wake and the doctors of the Sorbonne, are examined in the tollowing note.
Upon this the archbishop wrote a letter to Mr. Beauvoir, in which he.makes honourable mention of Du Pin as an author of merit; and expresses his desire of serving him, with that benevolent politeness which reigns in our learned prelate's letters, and seems to have been a striking line in his amiable character. Dr. Du Pin improved this
g See the Letters subjoined, No. II.
li This handsome mention of Dr. Du Pin, made by the archbishop, gives new sub. ject of suspicion to the author of the Confessional. He had learned the fact from the article Wake, in the Biographia Britannica ; but, says he, we are left to guess whut this handsome mention was ; had the biographer given us this leller, logether with that of November 27, they wight PROBABLY, (it would have been more accurate to have said POSSIBLY) have discovered what the biographer did not want we should know, namely, the share Dr. Wake had in FORMING the project of an union between the two churches.* This is guessing with a witness; and it is hard to imagine how the bold. est calculator of probabilities could conclude from Dr. Wake's handsome mentica of Dr. Du Pin, that the former had a shart, of any kind, in forming the project of union now under consideration. But the ingenious guesser happens to be quite mistaken iu his conjecture ; and I hope to convince him of this, by satisfying his desire. He desires the letter of the 27th, or rather the 28th of November; I have referred to it in the preceding note, and he may read it at the end of this account.t He desires the letter in which handsome mention is made of Du Pin; and I can assure him, that in that letter there is not a single syllable relative to an union. The passage that regards Dr. Du Pin is as follows; I am much obliged 10' you, says Dr. Wake, in his letter to Mr. Beauvoir, dated January 2, 1717-18, for making my name known to Dr. Du Pin. He is a gentleman by whose labours I have profited these many years. And I do really admire how it is possible for one man to publish so much, and yet so correctly, as he has generally done. I desire ny respects to him; and that if there be any thing here whereby I may be serviceable to him, he will freely command me. Such was the archbishop's handsome mention of Du Pin; and it evidently * Confessional, 2d. edit. Pref.p. Ixxviii.
† No. I.
favourable occasion of writing to the archbishop a letter of thanks, dated January 31, (February 11,) 1717–18;
shows that, till then, there never had been any communication between them. Yet these are all the proofs which the author of the Confessional gives of the probability that the archbishop was the first mover in this affair.
But his grace accepted the party, a formal treaty commences, and is carried on in a correspondence of some length, &c. says the author of the Confessional. And I would candidly ask that author upon what principles of Christianity, reason, or charity, Dr. Wake could have refused to hear the proposals terms, and sentiments, of the Sorbonne doctors, who discovered an inclination to unite with his church? The author of the Confessional says elsewhere, that it was, at the best officious and presumptuous in Dr. Wake to enter into a negotiation of this nature without authority from the church or the government.* But the truth is, that he entered into no negotiation or treaty on this bead; he considered the letters that were written on both sides as a personal correspondence between individuals, which could not commerice a negotiation, until they had received the proper powers from their respective sovereigns. And I do thivk the archbishop was greatly in the right to enter into this correspondence, as it seemed very likely, in the then circumstances of the Gallican church, to serve the protestant interest, and the cause of reformation. If, indeed, in the course of this correspondence, Dr. Wake had discovered any thing like what Mosheim imputes to hini, even a disposition toward an union, founded upon the condition that each of the two churches should retain the greatest part of their respective and peculiar doctrines, I should think his conduct liable to censure. But no such thing appears in the archbishop's letters, which I have subjoined to this account, that the candid examiner may receive full satisfaction in this affair. Mosheim's mistake is palpable, and the author of the Confessional seems certainly to have been too hasty in adopting it. He alleges, that the archbishop might bave maintained the justice and orthodoxy of every individual article of the church of England, and yet. give up some of them for the sake of peace.t But the archbisbop expressly declares in his letters, that he would give up none of them, and that though he was a friend to peace, he was still a greater friend to truth. The author's reflection, that without some concessions on the part of the archbishop, the treaty could not have gone a step farther, may be questioned in theory; for treaties are often carried on for a long time, without concessions on both sides, or perhaps on either; and the archbishop might hope, that Du Pin, who had yielded several things, would still yield more ; but this reflection is overturned by the plain fact. Besides, I repeat wbat I bave already insinuated, that this correspondence does not deserve the name of a trealy. Proposals were made only on Du Pin's side ; and these proposals were positively rejected by the archbishop, in his letters to Mr. Beauvoir. Nor did he propose any thing in return to either of the Sorbonne doctors, but that they should entirely renounce the authority of the pope, hoping, though perhaps too fancifully, that when this was done, the two churches might come to an agreement about other matters, as far as was necessary. But the author of the Confessional supposes that the archbishop must have made some concessions ; because the letters on both sides were sent to Rome, and received there as so many trophies gained from the enemies of the church. This supposition, however, is somewhat hasty. Could nothing but concessions from the archbishop make the court of Rome consider them in that light? Would they not think it a great triumph, that they had obliged Du Pin's party to give up the letters as a token of their submission, and defeated the archbishop's design of engaging the Gallican church to assert its liberty, by throwing off the papal yoke? If Dr. Wake made concessions, where are they? And if these were the trophies, why did not the partisans of Rome publish authentic copies of them to tbe world ? Did the author of the Confessional ever bear of a victorious general, who carefully hid under ground the standards he had taken from the enemy? This, indeed, is a new method of dealing with trophies. Our author, however, does not, as yet, quit his hold, he alleges that the French divines could not have acknowledged the catholic benevolence of the archbishop, if he made no concessions to them. This reasoning would be plausible, if charity toward those that err, consisted in embracing their errors ; but this is a definition of charity, that, I fancy, the ingenious author will give up, upon second thoughts. Dr. Wake's catbolic benevolence consisted in his esteem for the merit and learning of bis correspondents, in his compassion for their servitude and their errors, in his desire of the reformation and liberty of their church, and his propensity to live in friendship * Id. ib. p. İxxxv.
+ Id. ib. p. Ixxix. See below, pote (y), and the letters subjoined, No. X..
in which toward the conclusion, he intimates his desire of an union between the English' and Gallican churches, and observes, that the difference, in most points, between them, was not so great as to render a reconciliation impracticable; and that it was his earnest wish, that all christians were united in one sheepsold. His words are; “Unum addam cum bona venia tua, me vehementer optare, ut unionis inter Ecclesias Anglicanam et Gallicanam ineur dæ via aliqua inveniri posset: non ita sumus ab invicem in plerisque dissiti, ut non possimus mutuo reconciliari. Atque utinam Christiani omnes essent unum ovile." The archbishop wrote an answer to this letter, dated February 13-24, 1717-18, in which he asserts, at large, the purity of the church of England, in faith, worship, government, and discipline, and tells his correspondent, that he is persuaded that there are few things in the doctrine and constitution of that church, which even he himself, Du Pin, would desire to see changed; the original words are ; " Aut ego vehementer failor, aut in ea pauca admodum sunt, quæ vel tu
-immutanda velles; and again, Sincere judica, quid in hac nostra Ecclesia invenias, quod jure damnari debeat, aut nos atra hereticorum, vel etiam schismaticorum nota inurere.” The zeal of the venerable prelate goes still farther; and the moderate sentiments which he observed in Dr. Du Pin's letter induced him to exhort the French to maintain, if not to enlarge, the rights and privileges of the Gallican church, for which the present disputes, about the constitution Unigenitus, furnish the most favourable occasion. He also expresses his readiness to concur in improving any opportunity, that might be offered by these debates, to form a union; that might be productive of a further reformation, in which not only the most rational protestants, but also a considerable number of the Roman Catholic churches should join with the church of England; "si exhinc," says the archbishop, speaking concerning the commotions excited by the constitution, “ aliquid amplius elici possit ad unionem nobiscum Ecclesiasticam ineundam ; unde forte nova quædam reformatio exoriatur in quam non solum ex protestantibus optimi quique, verum etiam pars magna ecclesiarum communionis Romano catholicæ una nobiscum conveniant."
and concord, as far as was possible, with all that bear the Christain name. And ais disposition, so suitable to the benevolent genius of Christianity, will always reflect a true and solid glory upon his character as a Christian bishop.
Hitherto we see, that the expressions of the two learned doctors of the English and Gallican churches, relating to the union under consideration, are of a vague and general nature. When they were thus far advanced in their correspondence, an event happened, wbich rendered it more close, serious, and interesting, and even brought on some particular mention of preliminary terms, and certain preparatives for a future negotiation. The event I mean, was a discourse delivered, in an extraordinary meeting of the Sorbonne, March 17-28, 1717-18, by Dr. Patrick Piers de Girardin, in which he exhorts the doctors of that society to proceed in their design of revising the doctrines and rules of the church, to separate things necessary from those which are not so, by which they will show the church of England that they do not hold every decision of the pope for an article of faith. The learned orator observes farther, upon what foundation it is difficult to guess, that the English church may be more easily reconciled than the Greek was; and that the disputes between the Gallican church and the court of Rome, removing the apprehensions of papal tyranny, which terrified the English from the Catholic communion, will lead them back into the bosom of the church, with greater celerity than they formerly fled from it: “ Facient,” says he, 6 profecto offensiones, quæ vos inter et Senatum Capitolinum videntur intervenisse, ut Angli, deposito servitutis metu, in ecclesiæ gremium revolent alacrius, quam olim inde, quorumdam exosi tyrannidem, avolarunt. Meministis ortas inter Paulum et Barnabam dissentiones animorum tandem eo recidisse, ut singuli propagandæ in diversis regionibus Fidei felicius insudaverunt sigillatim, quam junctis viribus fortasse insudassent." This last sentence, in which Dr. Girardin observes, that Paul and Bar. nabas probably made more converts in consequence of their separation, than they would have done had they travelled together and acted in concert, is not a little remarkable; and, indeed, the whole passage discovers rather a desire of making proselytes, than an inclination to form a coalition founded upon concessions and some reformation on the side of popery. It may, perhaps, be alleged, in opposition to this remark, that prudence required a language of this kind, in the infancy of a project of VOL. IV.