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pietists were carried on in some places with ani
mosity, in others with moderation, according to the characters of the champions, and the temper and spirit of the people. These contests however have gradually subsided in process of time, and seem at present to be all reduced to the following question, “ Whether a wicked man be capable of acquiring a true and certain knowledge of divine things, or be susceptible of any degree or species of divine illumination.” The controversy that has been excited by this question is considered by many as a mere dispute about words; its decision, at least, is rather a matter of curiosity than importance. Many other points, that had been more or less debated in the last century, occasioned keen contests in this, such as the eternity of hell torments ; the reign of Christ upon earth during a thousand years ; and the
final restoration of all intelligent beings to order, perfection, and happiness. The mild and indulgent sentiments of John Fabricius, professor of divinity at Helmstadt, concerning the importance of the controversy between the Lutherans and Roman Catholics, excited also a warm debate; for this doctor, together with his disciples, went so far as to maintain, that the difference between the two churches was of so little consequence, that a Lutheran might safely embrace popery. The famous controversies that have been carried on between certain divines and some eminent civilians, concerning the rites and obligations of wedlock, the lawful grounds of divorce, and the nature and guilt of concubinage are sufficiently known. Other disputes of inferior moment, which have been of a sudden growth, and of a short duration, we shall
pass over in silence, as the knowledge of them is not necessary to our forming an accurate idea of the internal state of the Lutheran church. XXI. The reformed church still carries the same external
aspect under which it has been already descriThe statemed bed." For though there be every where extant
certain books, creeds, and confessions, by which the wisdom and vigilance of ancient times thought proper to perpetuate the truths of religion, and to preserve them from the contagion of heresy; yet in most places, no person is obliged to adhere strictly to the doctrines they contain; and
IT 1 This description the reailer will find above, at the beginning of the last century.
those who profess the main and fundamental truths of the Christian religion, and take care to avoid too great an intimacyo with the tenets of Socinianism and popery, are deemed worthy members of the reformed church. Hence, in our times, this great and extensive community comprehends, in its bosom, Arminians, Calvinists, Supralapsarians, Sublapsarians, and Universalists, who live together in charity and friendship, and unite their efforts in healing the breach, and diminishing the weight and importance of those controversies that separate them from each other. This moderation is indeed severely censured
ipo Nīmiam consuetudinem. The expression is remarkable and malignant; it would make the ignorant and unwary apt to believe, that the Reformed Church allows its members certain approaches toward popery and Socinianism, provided they do not carry these approaches too far, even to an intimate union with them. This representation of the Reformed Church is too glaringly false to proceed from ignorance ; and Dr. Mosheim's extensive knowledge places him beyond the suspicion of an invoiuntary mistake in this matter. It is true, this reflection bears hard upon bis candour ; and we are extremely sorry that we cannot, in this place, do justice to the knowledge of that great man, without arraigning his equity.
bop Nothing can be more unfair, or at least more inaccurate, than this representation of things. It proceeds from a supposition that quite chimerica, even that the Reformed Churches in England, Scotland, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, &c. form one general body, and have, beside their respective and particular systems of government and discipline, some general laws of religious toleration, in consequence of which they admit a variety of sects into their communion. But this general hierarchy does not exist. The friends of the Reformation, whom the multiplied horrors and absurdities of Popery obliged to abandon the communion of Rome, were formed, in process of time, into distinct ecclesiastical bodies, or national churches, every one of which has its peculiar form of government and discipline. The toleration that is enjoyed by the various sects and denominations of Christians arises in part from the clemency of the ruling powers, and from the charity and forbearance which individuals think themselves bound to exercise, one toward another. See the following note.
1' q If the different denominations of Christians here mentioned live together in the mutual exercise of charity and benevolence, notwithstanding the diversity of their theological opinions, this circumstance, which Dr. Mosheim seems to mention as a reproach, is, on the contrary, a proof, that the true and genuine spirit of the gospel, which is a spirit of forbearance, meekness, and charity, prevails among the members of the Reformed Churches. But it must be carefully observed that this charity, though it discovers the amiable bond of peace, does not, by any means, imply uniformity of sentiment, indifference about truth, or suppose that the reformed churches have relaxed or departed from their system of doctrine. Indeed, as there is no general reformed church, so there is no general reformed Creed or Confession of Faith. The established church of England has its peculiar system of doctrine and government, which remains still unchanged, and in full force ; and to which an assent is demanded from all its members, and in a more especial, solemn, and express manner from those who are its ministers. Such is the case with the national relormed churches in the United Provinces. The dissenters in these countries, who are tolerated by the state, have also their respective bonds of ecclesiastical union; and such of them, particularly in England and Ireland, as differ from the establishment only in their form of government and worship, and not in matters of doctrine, are treated with indulgence by the more moderate members of the national church, who look upon them as their brethren.
Fr In the 4to. edition of this work, I mistook, in a moment of inadvertency, the construction of this sentence in the original Latin, and rendered the passage as if Dr. Mosheim had represented the reformed churches as diminishing the weight and importance of those controversies that separate them from the church of Rome ; whereas he represents them, and indeed what he says is rather an encomium than a reproach,
by many of the reformed doctors in Switzerland, Germany, and more especially in Holland, who lament, in the most sorrowful strains, the decline of the ancient purity and strictness that characterized the doctrine and discipline of the church, and sometimes attack, with the strongest marks of indignation and resentment,these modern contemners of primitive orthodoxy. But as the moderate party has an evident superiority in point of numbers, power, and influence, these attacks of their adversaries are, generally speaking, treated with the utmost indifference. XXI. Whoever therefore considers all these things with
due attention, will be obliged to acknowledge, Projects of re. that neither the Lutherans nor Arminians have at and the this day, any further subject of controversy or de
bate with the reformed church, considered in a general point of view, but only with individuals, with private persons that are members of this great community.
union between rans.
as diminishing the weight of those controversies which separate them from each other. One of the circumstances that made me fall more easily into this mistake, was my having read, the moment before I committed it, Dr. Mosheim's insinuation with respect to the spirit of the church of England in the very next page, where he says very inconsiderately, “that we may judge of that spirit by the conduct of Dr. Wake, wbo formed a project of peace and union between the English and Gallican churches, founded upon this condition, that each of the two communities should retain the greatest part of their peculiar doctrines." This is supposing, though upon the foundation of a mistaken fact, that the church of England, at least, is making evident approaches to the church of Rome. When I had made the mistake, which turned really an encomium into an accusation, I thought it incumbent on me to defend the reformed church against the charge of an approximation to popery. For this purpose I observed, in note z of the 4to. edition," that the reformed churches were never at such a distance from the spirit and doctrine of the church of Rome as they are at this day; and that the improvements in science, that characterize the last and the present age, seem to render a relapse into Romish superstition morally impossible in those who have been ouce delivered from its baneful influence.” The ingenious author of the Confessional did not find this reasoning conclusive ; and the objections he has started against it do not appear to me unsurmountable. I have therefore thrown upon paper some far. ther thoughts upon the present state of the resormed religion, and the influence of im. provements in philosophy upon its advancement; and these thoughts the reader will find in the second appendix.
Ips Granting this to be true, with respect to the Arminians, it cannot be affirmed with equal truth, in regard to the Lutherans, whose doctrine concerning the corporal presence of Christ in the eucharist, and the communication of the properties of his divine, to his human nature, is rejected by all the reformed churches, without exception. But it is not universally true, even with respect to the Arminians ; for though these latter are particularly favoured by the church of England; though Arminianism may be said to bave become predominant among the members of that church, or at least to have lent its influence in mitigating some of its articles in the private sentiments of those who subscribe them; yet the Thirty-Nine Articles of the church of England still maintain their authority; and when we judge of the doctrine and discipline of any church, it is more natural to form this judgment from its established Creeds and Confession of Faith, than from the sentiments and principles of particular persons. So that, with respect to the church of England, the direct contrary of what' Dr. Mosheim asserts is strictly true ; for it is rather with that church, and its rule of faith, that the Lutherans are at variance, than with private persons, who, prompted by a spirit of Chris. tian moderation, mitigate some of its doctrines, in order cbaritally to extend the limits of its communion. But, if we turn our view to the reformed churches in Hol.
For the church, considered in its collective and general character, allows now to all its members the full liberty of entertaining the sentiments they think most reasonable, in relation to those points of doctrine that formerly excluded the Lutherans and Arminians from its communion, and looks upon the essence of Christianity and its fundamental truths as in nowise affected by these points, however variously they may be explained by the contending parties. But this moderation, instead of facilitating the execution of the plans that have been proposed by some for the reunion of the Lutheran and Reformed churches, contributes rather to prevent this reunion, or at least to render it much more difficult. For those among the Lutherans, who are zealous for the maintenance of the truth, complain, that the Reformed church has rendered too wide the way of salvation, and opened the arms of fraternal love and communion, not only to us, Lutherans, but also to Christians of all sects and all denominations. Accordingly we find that when, about twenty years ago, several eminent doctors of our communion, with the learned and celebrated Matthew Pfaff at their head, employed their good offices with zeal and sincerity in order to our union with the Reformed church; this pacific project was so warmly opposed by the greatest part of the Lutherans, that it came to nothing in a short time.
XXII. The church of England, which is now the chief and leading branch of that great community that goes under the denomination of the Reformed state of the church, continues in the same state, and is govern
The present church of Eng. land,
land, Germany, and a part of Switzerland, the mistake of our author will appear still more palpable; for some of these churches consider certain doctrines, both of the Arminians and Lutherans, as a just cause of excluding them from their communion. The question here is not, whether this rigour is laudable; it is the matter of fact that we are examining at present. The church of England indeed, if we consider its present temper and spirit, does not look upon any of the errors of the Lutherans as fun damental, and is therefore ready to receive them into its communion ; and the same thing may, perhaps, be affirmed of several of the reformed churches upon the continent. But this is very far from being a proof, that the Lutherans have at this day, as Dr. Mosheim asserts, no further subject of controversy or debale with these churches ; it only proves, that these churches nourish a spirit of toleration and charity worthy of imitation.
It The project of the very pious and learned Dr. Pfaff for uniting the Lutheran and reformed churches, and the reasons on which he justified this project, are worthy of the truly Christian spirit, and do honour to the accurate and sound judgment of that most eminent and excellent divine.* And it is somewhat surprising, considering the proofs of moderation and judgment tbat Dr. Mosheim has given in other parts of this valuable history, that he neither mentions the project of Dr. Pfaff with applause, nor the stiffness of the Lutherans on this occasion, with any mark of disapprobation.
D* See this learned author's Collectio Scriptorum Irenicorum ad Unionem inter Protestantes facientium, published in 4to. at Hall in Saxony, in the year 1723.
ed by the same principles, that it assumed at the revolution under the reign of king William III. The established form of church government is Episcopacy, which is embraced by the sovereign, the nobility, and the greatest part of the people. The Presbyterians, and the numerous sects of different denominations that are comprehended underthe general title of Nonconformists, enjoy the sweets of religious liberty under the influence of a legal toleration. Those indeed who are best acquainted with the present state of the English nation, tell us, that the dissenting interest declines from day to day, and that the cause of Nonconformity owes this gradual decay, in a great measure, to the lenity and moderation that are practised by the rulers of the established church. The members of this church
be divided into two classes, according to their different ideas of the origin, extent, and dignity of Episcopal jurisdiction. For some look upon the government of bishops to be founded on the authority of a divine institution, and are immoderately zealous in extending the power and prerogatives of the church; others, of a more mild and sedate spirit, while they consider the Episcopal form of government as far superior to every other system of ecclesiastical polity, and warmly recommend all the precautions that are necessary to its preservation and the independence of the clergy, yet do not carry this attachment to such an excessive degree, as to refuse the name of a church to every religious community that is not governed by a bishop, or to defend the prerogatives and pretensions of the Episcopal order with an intemperate zeal." These two classes are sometimes involved in warm debates, and oppose each other with no small degree of animosity, of which this present century has exhibited the following remarkable example. Dr. Benjamin Hoadley, the present bishop of Winchester, a prelate eminently distinguished by the accuracy of his judgment, and the purity of his flowing and manly eloquence, used his utmost endeavours, and not without success, to lower the authority of the church, or at least to
Pu The learned and pious archbishop Wake, in a letter to father Courrayer, dated from Croyden House, July 9, 1724, expresseth himself thus : “I bless God that I was born and have been bred in an Episcopal church ; which I am convinced has been the government established in the Christian church from the very time of the apostles. But I should be unwilling to affirm, that where the ministry is not Episcopal, there is no church nor any true administration of the sacraments. And very many there are among us who are zealous for Episcopacy, yet dare not go so far as to annul the ordinances of God performed by any other ministry.