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communions; and that the difference of opinion between the contending parties, turned either upon points of an abstruse and incomprehensible nature, or upon matters of indifference, which neither tended to render mankind wiser nor better, and in which the interests of genuine piety were in no wise concerned. Those who viewed things in this point of light, were obliged to acknowledge, that the diversity of opinions between the two churches was by no means a sufficient reason for their separation; and that of consequence they were called, by the dictates of that gospel which they both professed, to live not only in the mutual exercise of Christian charity, but also to enter into the fraternal bonds of church communion. The greatest part of the reformed doctors seemed disposed to acknowledge, that the errors of the Lutherans were not of a momentous nature, nor of a pernicious tendency: and that the fundamental doctrines of Christianity had not undergone any remarkable alteration in that communion; and thus on their side an important step was made toward peace and union between the two churches. But the greatest part of the Lutheran doctors declared, that they could not form a like judgment with respect to the doctrine of the reformed churches; they maintained tenaciously the importance of the points which divided the two communions, and affirmed that a considerable part of the controversy turned upon the fundamental principles of all religion and virtue. It is not at all surprising that this steadiness and constancy of the Lutherans was branded by the opposite party with the epithets of morose obstinacy, supercilious arrogance, and such like odious denominations. The Lutherans were not behind hand with their adversaries in acrimony of style; they recriminated with vehemence, and charged their accusers with instances of misconduct, different in kind, but equally condemnable. They reproached them with having dealt disingenuously by disguising, under ambiguous expressions, the real doctrine of the reformed churches; they observed further, that their adversaries, notwithstanding their consummate prudence and circumspection, gave plain proofs, on many occasions, that their propensity to a reconciliation between the two churches arose from views of private interest, rather than from a zeal for the public good.
IV. Among the public transactions relative to the pro
ject of a union between the reformed and Lutheran of the synod churches, we must not omit mentioning the at
tempt made by James I. king of Great Britain to accomplish this salutary purpose, in the year 1615. The person employed for this end by the British monarch, was Peter du Moulin, the most eminent among the Protestant doctors in France; but this design was neither carried on with spirit, nor attended with success. Another attempt of the same pacific nature was made in the year 1631, in the synod of Charenton, in which an act was passed by the reformed doctors of that respectable assembly, declaring the Lutheran system of religion conformable with the spirit of true piety, and free from pernicious and fundamental errors. By this act, a fair opportunity was offered to the Lutherans of joining with the reformed church upon honourable terms, and of entering into the bonds both of civil and religious communion with their Calvinistical brethren. But this candid and charitable proceeding was attended with very little fruit, since few of the Lutherans were disposed to embrace the occasion that was here so freely offered them, of terminating the dissensions that separated the two churches. The same year a conference was held at Leipsic between the Saxon doctors, Hoe, Lyser, and Hopfner, on the one side, and some of the most eminent divines of Hesse-Cassel and Brandenburg, on the other; to the end that, by exposing with fidelity and precision their respective doctrines, it might be more easily seen what the real obstacles were that stood in the way of the union projected between the two churches. This conference was conducted with decency and moderation, and the deliberations were neither disturbed by intemperate zeal, nor by a proud spirit of contention and dispute ; but that openness of heart, that mutual trust and confidence, which are so essential to the success of all kinds of pacification, were wanting here. For though the doctors of the reformed party exposed, with the utmost precision
Sce La Vassor, Hist. de Louis XIII. tom. ii. p. ii. 21. & P f King James, wbo would have abandoned the most important and noble design at any time, to discuss a point of grammar or theology, or to gain a point of interest for himself or his minions, neglected this union of the
Lutheran and reformed churches, which he had begun to promote with such an appearance of piety and zeal.
Benoit, Histoire de rEdit de Nantes, tom. ii. p. 544. Aymon, Actes des Synodes Nationaux des Eglises Reformées de France, tom. ii
. p. 500. Ittigii Dissert. de Syrodi Carentoniensis indulgentia erga Lutheranos, Lips. 1705, 4to.
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 history 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 hitherto mentioned; he proposed a reconciliation, entes 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 .
h 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 Seculi xvii. Decenn. iv. p. 497. IQ This testimony of Dr. Mosheim, who was himself a Lu-, theran, is singularly honourable to the reformed doctors, VOL. IV.
from each other than was generally imagined; and that this
ty of princes, in order to promote union and con-
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 benevolent but arduous design. The most eminent of the Calvinistical peacemakers was John Dureus, a native of Scotland, and a man justly celebrated on account
The pacific explolis of John Dureus.
i The writers who have given accounts of the conferences of Thorn and Cassel are enumerated by Sagittarius, in bis Introd. ad Hist. Ecclesiast. tom. ii. p. 1604. See also Jaegeri Historia Saculi xvii. Decenn. v. p. 689, and Decenn. vii. p. 160, where the Acts 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 accuratIndex of the Accounts of this conference published on !roth 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 all the 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.