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gardless of all laws, human and divine, he revoked the edict of Nantes, and thereby deprived the protestants of the liberty of serving God according to their consciences. This revocation was accompanied indeed with the applause of Rome; but it excited the indignation even of many Roman catholics, whose bigotry had not effaced or suspended, on this occasion, their natural sentiments of generosity and justice. It was moreover followed by a measure still more tyrannical and shocking ; even an express order, addressed to all the reformed churches, to embrace the Romish faith. The consequences of this cruel and unrighteous proceeding were highly detrimental to the true interests and the real prosperity of the French nation, by the prodigious emigrations it occasioned among the protestants, who sought, in various parts of Europe, that religious liberty, and that humane treatment, which their mother country had so cruelly refused them. Those among them, whom the vigilance of their enemies guarded so closely as to prevent their flight, were exposed to the brutal rage of an unrelenting soldiery, and were assailed by every barbarous form of persecution that could be adapted to subdue their courage, exhaust their patience, and thus engage them to a feigned and external profession of popery, which in their consciences they beheld with the utmost aversion and disgust. This crying act of perfidy and injustice in a prince, who, on other occasions, gave evident proofs of his generosity and equity, is sufficient to show, in their true and genuine colours, the spirit of the Romish church and of the Roman pontiffs, and the manner in which they stand affected to those whom they consider as heretics. It is pe
s See the Life of Isaac da Beausobre, composed by the ingenious Armand de la Chapelle in French, and subjoined to Beausobre’s ‘Remarques Historiques, Critiques, et Philologiques sur le Nouveau Testainent,' p. 259.
DP Some late hireling writers, employed by the Jesuits, have been audacious enough to plead the cause of the revocation of the edict of Nantes. But it must be ob. served, to the honour of the French nation, that these impotent attempts, to justify the measures of a persecuting and unrelenting priesthood, have been treated almost universally at Paris with indignation and contempt. They, who are desirous of seeing a true state of the losses the French nation sustained, by the revocation of the famous edict now mentioned, have only to consult the curious and authentic account of the state of that nation, taken from memorials drawn up by intendants of the several provinces, for the use of the duke of Burgundy, and published in the year 1727, in two volumes in folio, under the following title ; ' Etat de la France, extra Comte de Boulainvillier des Memoires dressees par les Intendans du Royaume, par l'Ordre du Roi Louis XIV. a la Solicitation du Duc du Bourgogne.' See also Voltaire, Sur la Tolerance, p. 41 and 201. And, for an account of the conduct of the French court toward the Protestants at that dismal period, see the incomparable memorial of the leaaned and pious Claude, entitled, Plaintes des Protestans de France, p. 12–85, edit. of Cologn.
par M. le
culiarly adapted to convince the impartial and attentive
and had embraced the doctrine, discipline, and The best ten worship of the church of Geneva, were oppressen la moderne des ed and persecuted, in the most barbarous and
inhuman manner, during the greatest part of this century, by the ministers of Rome. This persecution was carried on with peculiar marks of rage and enormity in the years 1655, 1686, and 1696, and seemed to portend nothing less than the total destruction and entire extinction of that unhappy nation. The most horrid scenes of violence and bloodshed were exhibited on this threatre of papal tyranny; and the small numbers of the. Waldenses that survived them, are indebted for their existence and support, precarious and uncertain as it is, to the continual intercession made for them by the English and Dutch governments, and also by the Swiss cantons, who never cease to solicit the clemency of the duke of Savoy in their behalf.
The church of the palatinate, which had been long at the head of the reformed churches in Germany, declined apace from the year 1685, when a Roman catholic prince was raised to that electorate. This decline became at length so great, that, instead of being the first, it was the least considerable of all the protestant assemblies in that country. vi. The eminent and illustrious figure that the principal
· members of the reformed church made in the The state of learned world is too well known, and the reputaletophecim the tion they acquired, by a successful application to
the various branches of literature and science, is
t Leger, Histoire Generale des Eglises Vaudoises, p. ii. c. vi. p. 72. Gilles, Histoire Ecclesiast. des Eglises Vaudoises, ch. xlix. p. 353. There is a particular history of the * persecution suffered by these victims of papal cruelty in the year 1686, which was published in 8vo. at Rotterdam, in the year 1688.
IGP See also a pamphlet, entitled An Account of the late Persecutions of the Waldenses by the duke of Savoy and the French king in the year 1686, published at Oxford in 4to. in 1688. See likewise a particular detail of the miseries endured by these unfortunate objects of papal persecution in the years 1655, 1662, 1663, and 1686, related by Peter Boyer, in bis history of the Vaudois, ch. 12-21, p. 72, &c.
too well established to require our entering into a circumstantial detail of that matter. We shall also pass in silence the names of those celebrated men who have acquired immortal fame by their writings, and transmitted their eminent usefulness to succeeding times in their learned and pious productions. Out of the large list of these famous authors that adorned the reformed church, it would be difficult to select the most eminent; and this is a sufficient reason for our silence. The supreme guide and legislator of those that applied themselves to the study of philosophy had been Aristotle, who, for a long time, reigned unrivalled in the reformed, as well as in the Lutheran schools; and was exhibited, in both, not in his natural and genuine aspect, but in the motley and uncouth form in which he had been dressed up by the scholastic doctors. But when Gassendi and Des Cartes appeared, the Stagirite began to decline, and his fame and authority diminished gradually from day to day. Among the French and Dutch, many adopted the Cartesian philosophy at its first dawn; and a considerable number of the English embraced the principles of Gassendi, and were singularly pleased with his prudent and candid manner of investigating truth. The Aristotelians every where, and more especially in Holland, were greatly alarmed at this revolution in the philosophical world, and set themselves, with all their vigour, to oppose its progress. They endeavoured to persuade the people, that the cause of truth and religion must suffer considerably by the efforts that were made to dethrone Aristotle, and bring into disrepute the doctrine of his interpreters; but the principal cause of their anxiety and zeal, was the apprehension of losing their places in the public schools; a thought which they could not bear with
bu The list of the eminent divines and men of learning that were ornaments to the Reformed Church in the seventeenth century, is indeed extremely ample. Among those that adorned Great Britain, we shall always remember, witb peculiar veneration, the immortal names of Newton, Barros, Cudworth, Boyle, Chillingworth, Usher, Bedell, Hall, Pocock, Fell, Lightfoot, Hammond, Calamy, Walton, Baxter, Pearson, Stillingfleet, Mede, Parker, Oughtred, Burnet, Tillotson, and many others well known in the literary world. In Germany we find Pareus, Scultet, Fabricius, Alting, Pelargus, and Bergius. In Switzerland and Geneva, Hospinian, the two Buxtorfs, Hottinger, Heiddeger, and Turretin. In the churches and academies of Holland, we meet with the following learned divines; Drusus, Amama, Gomer, Rivet, Cloppenburg, Vossius, Cocceius, Voetius, Des Marets, Heidan, Momma, Burman, Wittichius, Hoornbeck, the Spanheims, Le Moyne, De Mastricht, and others. Among the French doctors, we may reckon Cameron, Chamier, Du Moulin, Mestrezat, Blondel, Drelincourt, Daille, Amyraut, the two Cappels, Du la Place, Gamstole, Croy, Morus, Le Blanc, Pajon, Bochart, Claude, Alix, Jurieu, Basnage, Abbadie, Beausobre, Lenfant, Martin, Des Vignoles, &c,
any degree of patience. However, the powerful lustre
made a figure in the reformed church about the word of Scrip. commencement of this century, followed scrupu
lously the method of Calvin in their illustrations of the sacred writings, and unfolded the true and natural signification of the words of Scripture, without perplexing their brains to find out deep mysteries in plain expressions, or to force, by the inventive efforts of fancy, a variety of singular notions from the metaphorical language that is frequently used by the inspired writers. This universal attachment to the method of Calvin was indeed considerably diminished, in process of time, by the credit and influence of two celebrated commentators, who struck out new paths in the sphere of sacred criticism. These were Hugo Grotius and John Cocceius. The former departed less from the manner of interpretation generally received than the latter. Like Calvin, he followed, in his commentaries both in the Old and New Testament, the literal and obvious signification of the words employed by the sacred writers; but he differed considerably from that great man in his manner of explaining the predictions of the prophets. The hypothesis of Grotius, relating to that important subject, amounts to this : “ That the predictions of the ancient prophets were all accomplished, in the events to which they directly pointed, before the coming of Christ; and
v See Baillet, Vie de Des Cartes, passim.
that therefore the natural and obvious sense of the words and phrases, in which they were delivered, does not terminate in our blessed Lord; but that in certain of these predictions, and more especially in those which the writers of the New Testament apply to Christ, there is, beside the literal and obvious signification, a hidden and mysterious sense, that lies concealed under the external mask of certain persons, certain events, and certain actions, which are representatives of the person, ministry, sufferings, and merits of the Son of God.
The method of Cocceius was entirely different from this. He looked upon the whole history of the Old Testament as a perpetual and uninterrupted representation or mirror of the history of the divine Saviour, and of the Christian church; he maintained moreover that all the prophecies have a literal and direct relation to Christ; and he finished his romantic system, by laying it down as a certain maxim, that all the events and revolutions that shall happen in the church, until the end of time, are prefigured and pointed out, though not all with the same degree of evidence and perspicuity, in different places of the Old Testament. These two eminent commentators had each his zealous disciples and followers. The Arminians in general, many of the English and French divines, together with those warm votaries of ancient Calvinism, who are called Voetsians, from their chief, Gisbert Voet, the great adversary of Cocceius, all adopted the method of interpreting Scripture introduced by Grotius. On the other hand, many of the Dutch, Swiss, and Germans, were singularly delighted with the learned fancies of Cocceius. There are however still great numbers of prudent and impartial divines, who, considering the extremes into which these two eminent critics have run, and disposed to profit by what is really solid in both their systems, neither reject nor embrace their opinions in the lump, but agree with them both in some things, and differ from them both in others. It is further to be observed, that neither the followers of Grotius nor of
x It is become almost a proverbial saying, that in the books of the Old Testament Cocceius finds Christ every where, while Grotius meets him nowhere. The first part of this saying is certainly true; the latter much less so ; for it appears, with sufficient evidence, from the Commentaries of Grotius, that he finds Christ prefigured in many places of the Old Testament, not indeed directly in the letter of the prophecies, where Cocceius discovers him, but mysteriously, under the appearance of certain persons, and in the secret sense of certain transactions. VOL, IV.