תמונות בעמוד

siquidem id permittas, fratrem; sin id minus placeat, saltem id indulgebis, ut me vere et ex animo profitear, excellentissime Domine, tui amantissimum.




Nov. 6, 0. S. 1718.

Your last letter gives me some trouble, but more curiosity. I litile thought, when I wrote to your two doctors, that my letters should have been read, much less copies of them given to any such great persons as you mention. I write in haste, as you know, and trust no amanuensis to copy for me, because I will not be liable to be betrayed. And upon a review of my foul and only copy of them, since I had your account from Paris, I find some things might have been more accurately expressed, had I taken more time to correct my style. But I wish that be the worst exception against them. I fear the freedom I took in exhorting them to do somewhat in earnest, upon so fair a provocation, with regard to the papal authority, though excused as well as I could, will hardly go down so effectually as I could wish with them. This raises my curiosity, to know truly and expressly how that part of my letters operated on both your doctors; which, by a wary observation, you may in good measure gather from their discourse. I cannot tell whether they showed my letters to you; if they did, I am sure you will think I did not mince the matter with them in that particular.

Of your two doctors, Dr. Piers seems the more polite; he writes elegantly both for style and matter; and has the freer air, even as to the business of an union. Yet I do not despair of Dr. Du Pin, whom, thirty years ago, in his collection of tracts relating to church discipline, I did not think far from the kingdom of God.






Nov. 18, 1718.

At present, my more particular curiosity leads me to know the sentiments of the leading men in France with

regard to the court of Rome, from which, if we could once divide the Gallican church, a reformation in other matters would follow of course. The scheme that seems to me most likely to prevail, is to agree in the independence, as to all matiers of authority, of every national church on any others; and in their right to determine all matters that arise within themselves; and for points of doctrine to agree, as far as possible, in all articles of any moment, as in effect we either already do, or easily may; and for other matters, to allow a difference, till God shall bring us to an union in those also. One only thing should be provided for, to purge out of the public offices of the church such things as hinder a perfect communion in the service of the church, that so whenever any come from us to them, or from them to us, we may all join togethe in prayers and the holy sacraments with each other. In our liturgy, there is nothing but what they allow of, save the single rubic relating to the Eucharist; in theirs nothing but what they agree may be laid aside, and yet the public offices be never the worse, or more imperfect for want of it. Such a scheme as this, I take to be a more proper ground of peace, at the beginning, than to go to more particulars: it in such a foundation we could once agree, the rest would more easily be built upon it. If you find occasion, and that it may be of use, you may extract this project, and offer it to their consideration, as what you take to be my sense in the beginning of a treaty. Not thai I think we shall stop here; but that, being thus far agreed, we shall the more easily go into a greater perfection hereafter. I desire you to observe as much as you can, when it is I may the most properly write to the doctors. I took the subject of the Pope's authority in my last, as arising naturally from the present state of their affairs, and as the first thing to be settled in order to an union. How my freedom in that respect has been received, I desire you freely to communicate.



Dec. 2, 0. S. 1718.

I am glad the two doctors seem to receive my last letters so well. The truth is, that while they manage as they

do with the court of Rome, nothing will be done to any purpose. And all ends in trifling at the last. We honestly deny the Pope all authority over us; they pretend, in words, to allow him so much as is consistent with what they call their Gallican privileges; but let him never so little use it contrary to their good liking, they protest against it, appeal to a general council, and then mind him as little as we can do. In earnest, I think we treat his holiness not only with more sincerity, but more respect than they; for to own a power, and yet keep a reserve to obey that power only so far, and in such cases as we make ourselves judges of, is a greater affront than honestly to confess that we deny the power, and for that reason refuse to obey it. But my design was partly to bring them to this, and partly to see how they would bear, at least the proposal, of totally breaking off from the court and bishop of Rome.

What you can observe, or discover, more, of their inclinations in this particular, will be of good use; especially if it could be found out what the court would do, and how far that may be likely to countenance the clergy in such a separation. In the mean time, it cannot be amiss to cultivate a friendship with the leading men of that side, who

may in time be made use of to the good work of reforming in earnest the Gallican church. I am a little unhappy that I have none here I yet dare trust with what I do; though I am satisfied most of our high church bishops and clergy would readily come into such a design. But these are not men either to be confided in, or made use of, by Your assured friend,


P. S. Did cardinal De Noailles know what authority the archbishop of Canterbury has got by the reformation, and how much a greater man he is now than when he was the pope's Legatus Natus, it might encourage him to follow so good a pattern, and be assured, in that case, he would lose nothing by sending back his cardinal's cap to Rome. I doubt your doctors know little of these matters.

NO. X.


Jan. 23, 0. S. 1718. When you see my letter, for I conclude the doctor will show it you, you may do well to bring on the discourse of our episcopal rights and privileges in England; and particularly of the prerogatives of the archbishop of Canterbury, which I believe are greater than those of the archbishop of Rheims, or of all the archbishops in France. This may raise in them a curiosity to know more of this matter, which, if they desire, I will take the first little leisure I have to give them a more particular account of it. We must deal with men in their own way, if we mean to do any good with them. They have been used to a pompous ministry, and, like the Jews heretofore, would despise the Messiah himself, if he should come in a poor and low estate to them. And therefore, though for myself, I account all temporal grandeur as nothing; nay, I am afraid it has rather hurt the church of Christ, and the true spirit of piety and religion, than done any real service to either; yet it may be a means of disposing these gentlemen to a more favourable thought of, and inclination toward, a reformation; to convince them that they return to the truth of Christianity, and leave the corruptions of Rome, without losing any honour, any power, that a servant of Christ would desire to be troubled withal. Had the first reformers in France yielded to this scheme, as we in England showed them an example, the whole Gallican church had come in to them, and been at this day as we are now; we must therefore hit off the blot which they made; and satisfy their ambition so far as to show them, that they may reform, without giving up either their authority or revenues ; and he still as great, but much better bishops, under our circumstances, than under their own.

As to the Pope's authority, I take the difference to be only this ; that we may all agree, without troubling ourselves with the reason, to allow him a primacy of order in the episcopal college; they would have it thought necessary to hold communion with him, and allow him a little canonical authority over them, as long as he will leave them to prescribe the bounds of it. We fairly say we know of



no authority he has in our realm; but for actual submission to him, they as little mind it as we do.

At present he has put them out of his communion; we have withdrawn ourselves from his; both are out of communion with him, and I think it is not material on which side the breach lies.

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February 5, 1718-19. 0. S. I do not doubt but that mine of the 18th of January, with the two enclosed for my Lord Stair and Dr. Du Pin, are before this come safe to you. I should not be sorry if, upon this late transaction between the doctor and ministry, you have kept it in your hands, and not delivered it to him. I had just begun a letter to Dr. Piers, but have thrown aside what I wrote of it, since I received your last ; and must beg the favour of you to make my excuse to him, with the tenders of my hearty service, till I see a little more what the meaning of this present inquisition is. I am not so unacquainted with the finesses of courts, as not to apprehend, that what is now done, may be as well in favour of the doctor's attempt as against it. If the Procureur General be indeed well affected to it, he might take this method, not only to his own security, but to bring the affair under a deliberation, and give a handle to those whom it chiefly concerns, to discover their sentiments of it. But the matter may be also put to another use, and nobody can answer that it shall not be so; and till I see what is the meaning of this sudden turn, I shall write no more letters for the French ministry to examine, but content myself to have done enough already to men who cannot keep their own counsel, and live in a country where even the private correspondence of learned men with one another must be brought to a public inquiry, and be made the subject of a state inquisition. I am not aware that in any of my letters there is one line that can give a just offence to the court. I have always took it for granted, that no step should be taken toward an union, but with the knowledge and approbation, and even by the authority, of civil powers; and indeed, if I am in the right, that nothing can be done to any purpose in this case but by throwing off the

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