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to stop the correspondence of which I have been now gi ing an account, and to nip the project of union in the bud.
The correspondence between the archbishop and the two doctors of the Sorbonne had been carried on with a high degree of secrecy. This secrecy was prudent, as neither of the corresponding parties was authorized by the civil powers to negotiate an union between the two churches; and, on Dr. Wake’s part, it was partly owing to his having nobody that he could trust with what he did. He was satisfied, as he says in a letter to Mr. Beauvoir, " that most of the high church bishops and clergy would readily come into such a design; but these, adds his grace, are not men either to be confided in, or made use of, by me.92
The correspondence, however, was divulged ; and the project of union engrossed the whole conversation of the city of Paris. Lord Stanhope and Lord Stair were congratulated thereupon by some great personages in the royal palace. The duke Regent himself, and abbe Du Bois, minister of foreign affairs, and Mr. Joli de Fleury, the attorney-general, gave the line at first, appeared to favour the correspondence and the project, and let things run on to certain lengths. But the Jesuits and Constitutioners sounded the alarm, and overturned the whole scheme, by spreading a report, that cardinal de Noailles, and his friends, the Jansenists, were upon the point of making a coalition with the heretics. Hereupon the regent was intimidated, and Du Bois had an opportunity of appearing a meritorious candidate for a place in the sacred college. Dr. Piers Girardin was sent for to court, was severely reprimanded by Du Bois, and strictly charged, upon pain of being sent to the Bastile, to give up all the letters he had received from the archbishop of Canterbury, as also a copy of all his own. The doctor was forced to obey; and all the letters were im inediately sent to Rome, as so many tro
y Dr. Wake seems to have been sensible of the impropriety of carrying on a negotiation of this nature without the approbation and countenance of government. « I have always," says he, in his letter to Mr. Beauvoir, which the reader will find at the end of this appendix, No. X s taken it for granted, that no step should be taken toward an union, but with the knowledge, approbation, and even by the authority of civil powers. All, therefore, that has passed hitherto, stands clear of any exception as to the civil magistrate. It is only a consultation, in order to find out a way how an union might be made if a fit occasion should hereafter be offered."
z See the letters subjoined, No. IX.
phies, says a certain author, gained from the enemies of the church. The archbishop's letters were greatly admired, as striking proofs both of his catholic benevolence and extensive abilities.
Mr. Beauvoir informed the archbishop, by a letter dated February 8, 171,. S. that Dr. Du Pin had been summoned, by the abbe Du Buis, to give an account of wbat had passed between him and Dr. Wake. This step naturally suspended the currespondence, though the archbishop was at a loss, at first, whether he should look upon it as favourable, or decimental, to the projected union. The letters which he wrote to Mr. Beauvoir and Dr. Du Pin after this, express the same sentiments which he discovered through the whole of this transaction. The letter to Dr. Du Pin, more especially, is full of a pacific and reconciling spirit; and expresses the archbishop's desire of cultivating fraternal charity, with the doctors, and his regret at the ill success of their endeavours toward the projected union. Du Pin died before this letter, which was retarded by some accident, arrived at Paris. Before the archbishop had heard of his death, he wrote to Mr. Beauvoir, to express his concern that an account was going to be published of what had passed between the two doctors and himself; and his hope, “that they would keep in generals, as the only way to renew the good design, if occasion should serve, and to prevent themselves trouble from the reflections of their enemies," on account, as the archbishop undoubtedly means, of the concessions they had made, which, though insufficient to satisfy true Protestants, were adapted to exasperate bigoted papists. The prelate adds, in the conclusion of this letter, “I shall be glad to know that your doctors still continue their good opinion of us. For, though we need not the approbation of men on our own account; yet I cannot but wish it as a means to bring them, if not to a perfect agreement in all things with us, which is not presently to be expected, yet to such an union as may put an end to the odious charges against, and conse
a These trophies were the defeat of the moderate part of the Gallican church, and the ruin of their project to break the papal yoke and unite with the church of England. See above note h, page 65, where the conclusion which the author of the Confessional bas drawn from this expression is shown to be groundless.
b See his letier to Mr. Beauvoir, in the pieces subjoined, No. XI. dated Febuary 5, 1718-19, 0, S. that is, Febuary 16, 1719, N. S.
c See ibid. No. XI. XVIII.
quential aversion of us, as heretics and schismatics, and, in truth, make them cease to be so."
Dr. Du Pin, whom the archbishop very sincerely lamented, as the only man, after Mr. Ravechet, on whom the hopes of a reformation in France seemed to depend, left behind him an account of this famous correspondence. Some time before he died, he showed it to Mr. Beauvoir, and told him, that he intended to communicate it to a very great man, probably the regent. Mr. Beauvoir observed to the doctor, that one would be led to imagine, from the manner in which this account was drawn up, that the archbishop made the first overtures with respect to the correspondence, and was the first who intimated his desire of the union; whereas it was palpably evident that he, Dr. Du Pin, had first solicited the one and the other. Du Pin acknowledged this freely and candidly, and promised to rectify it, but was prevented by death.
It does not, however, appear that Du Pin's death put a final stop to the correspondence; for we learn by a letter from the archbishop to Mr. Beauvoir, dated August 27, 1719, that Dr. Piers Girardin frequently wrote to his Grace. But the opportunity was past; the appellants from the bull Unigenitus, or the anticonstitutionists, were divided; the court did not smile at all upon the project, because the regent was afraid of the Spanish party and the Jesuits; and therefore the continuation of this correspondence after Du Pin's deaih was without effect.
Let the reader now, after having perused this historical account, judge of the appearance which Dr. Wake makes in this transaction. An impartial reader will certainly draw from this whole correspondence the following conclusions: That archbishop Wake was invited to this correspondence by Dr. Du Pin, the most moderate of all the Roinan catholic divines; that he entered into it with a view to improve one of the most favourable opportunities that could be offered, of withdrawing the church of France from the jurisdiction of the pope,'a circumstance which must have immediately weakened the power of the court of Rome; and, in its consequences, offered a fair prospect of a farther reformation in doctrine and worship. as the case happened in the church of England, when it happily threw off the papal yoke; that he did not give Du Pin, or any of the doctors of the Sorbonne, the smallest
reason to hope that the church of England would give up any point of belief or practice to the church of France; but insisted, on the contrary, that the latter should make alterations and concessions, in order to be reconciled to the former; that he never specified the particular alterations, which would be requisite to satisfy the rulers and doctors of the church of England; but only expressed a general desire of an union between the two churches, if that were possible, or at least of a mutual toleration of each other; that he never flattered himself that this union could be perfectly accomplished, or that the doctors of the Gallican church would be entirely brought over to the church of England; but thought, that every advance made by them, and every concession, must have proved really advantageous to the Protestant cause.
The pacific spirit of Dr. Wake did not only discover itself in his correspondence with the Romish doctors, but in several other transactions in which he was engaged by his constant desire of promoting union and concord among Christians. For it is well known, that he kept up a constant friendly correspondence with the most eminent ministers of the foreign Protestant churches, and showed a fraternal regard to them, notwithstanding the difference of their discipline and government from that of the church of England. In a letter written to the learned Le Clerc in the year 1716, he expresses, in the most cordial terms, his affection for them, and declares positively, that nothing can be farther from his th: ughts, than the notions adopted by certain bigoted and furious writers, who refuse to embrace the foreign Protestants as their brethren, will not allow their religious asseinblies the denomination of churches, and deny the validity of their sacraments. He declares, on the contrary, these churches to be the true Christian churches, and expresses a warm desire of their union with the church of England. It will be, perhaps, difficult to find, in any epistolary composition, ancient or modern, a more elegant simplicity, a more amiable spirit of meekness, moderation, and charity, and a happier strain of that easy and unaffected politeness which draws its expressions from a natural habit of goodness and humanity, than we meet with in this letter. We see this active and benevolent pre
e See an extract of it among the pieces subjoined, No. XIX.
late still continuing to interest himself in the welfare of the Protestant churches abroad. In several letters, written in the years 1718 and 1719, to the pastors and professors of Geneva and Switzerland, who were then at variance about the doctrines of predestination and grace, and some other abstruse points of metaphysical theology, the archbishop recommends earnestly to them a spirit of mutual toleration and forbearance, entreats them particularly to be moderate in their demands of subscription to articles of faith, and proposi's to them the example of the church of England, as worthy of imitation in this respect. In one of these letters, he exhorts the doctors of Geneva not to go too far in explaining the niture, determining the sense, and imposing the belief of doctrines, which the Divine Wisdom has not thought proper to reveal clearly in the holy Scriptures, and the ignorance of which is very consistent with a state of salvation; and he recommends the prudence of the church of England. which has expressed these doctrines in such general terms, in its articles, that persons who think very differently about the doctrines, may subscribe the articles, without wounding their integrity. His letters to professor Schurer of Berne, and the excellent and learned John Alfonso Turretin of Geneva, are in the same strain of moderation and charity, and are here subjoined, as every way worthy of the reader's perusal. But what is more peculiarly worthy of attention here is a letter. written May 22, 1719," to Mr. Jablonski of Poland, who, from a persuasion of Dr. Wake's great wisdom, discernment, and moderation, had proposed to hin the following question, viz.“ Whether it was lawful and expedient for the Lutherans to treat of an union with the church of Rome; or whether all negotiations of this kind ought not to be looked upon as dangerous and delusive ?" The archbishop's answer to this question contains a happy mixture of Protestant zeal and Chri-tian charity. He gives the strongest cautions to the Polish Lutherans against entering into any treaty of union with the Roman catholics, otherwise than on a footing of perfect equality, and in consequence of a previous renunciation, on the part of the latter, of ihe tyranny, and even of the superiority and jurisdiction, of the