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The Lutheran



1. We have already seen the calamities and vexations the Lutheran church suffered from the persecuting spirit of the Roman pontiffs, and the intemperate ground zeal of the house of Austria, which, on many oc- The Helgiant casions, showed too great a propensity to second contrace Caltheir ambitious and despotic measures; we shall therefore, at present, confine our view to the losses it sustained from other quarters. The cause of Lutheranism suffered considerably by the desertion of Maurice, landgrave

esse, a prince of uncommon genius and learning, who notonly embraced the doctrine and discipline of thereformed church, but also in the year 1604, removed the Lutheran professors from their places in the university of Marpurg, and the doctors of that communion from the churches they had in his dominions. Maurice, after taking this vigorous step, on accountof the obstinacy with which the Lutheran clergy opposed his design, took particular care to have his subjects instructed in the doctrine of the Helvetic church, and introduced into the Hessian churches the form of public

a In the History of the Romnish Church. See above.

Do The reader must always remember, that the writers of the Continent generally use the denomination of reformed in a limited sense, to distinguish the church of England and the Calvinistical churches from those of the Lutheran persuasion.

worship that was observed at Geneva. This plan was not executed without some difficulty; but it acquired a complete degree of stability and consistence in the year 1619, when deputies were sent by this prince to the synod of Dort, in Holland, with express orders to consent, in the name of the Hessian churches, to all the acts that should be passed in that assembly. The doctors of the reformed church, who lived at this period, defended strenuously the measures followed by Maurice, and maintained, that in all these transactions he observed the stricest principles of equity, and discovered an uncommon spirit of moderation. Perhaps the doctors of modern days may view this matter in a different point of light. They will acknowledge, perhaps, without hesitation, that if this illustrious prince had been more influenced by the sentiments of the wisest of the reformed doctors, concerning the conduct we ought to observe toward those who differ from us in religious matters, and less by his own will and humour, he would have ordered many things otherwise than he actually did.

11. The example of the landgrave of Hesse was follow: The new refor- ed, in the year 1614, by John Sigismund, elector place in Blaces of Brandenburg, who also renounced Lutheranism

and embraced the communion of the reformed churches, though with certain restrictions, and without employing any acts of mere authority to engage his subjects in the same measure. For it is observable, that this prince did not adopt all the peculiar doctrines of Calvinism. He introduced, indeed, into his dominions the form of public worship that was established at Geneva, and he embraced the sentiments of the reformed churches concerning the person of Christ, and the manner in which he is present in the eucharist, as they appeared to him much more conformable to reason and Scripture than the doctrine of the Lutherans relating to these points. But, on the other hand, he refused to admit the Calvinistical doctrine of divine grace, and absolute decrees; and, on this account, neither sent deputies to the synod of Dort, nor adopted the deci


c The reader will find a more ample account of this matter in the controversial writings of the divines of Cassel and Dermstadt, published at Cassel, Marpurg, and Giessen, in the years 1632, 1636, 1647; and of which Salig speaks largely in his Hist. Aug. Confess. tom. i. lib. iv. cap. ii. p. 756. Those who understand the German language may also consult Garth's Historischer Bericht von der Religions IVesen in Furstenthum Hessen, 1706, in 4to. Cyprian's Unterricht von Kirchlicher Vereinigung der Protestanter, p. 263, and Appendia, p.'101. As also the Acts published in the Un. schuldigen Nachrichten, A. 1749, p. 25.

sions of that famous assembly on these intricate subjects. This way of thinking was so exactly followed by the successors of Sigismund, that they never would allow the opinion of Calvin concerning the divine decrees, to be considered as the public and received doctrine of the reformed churches in their dominions. It must be particularly mentioned, to the honour of this wise prince, that he granted to his subjects an entire liberty in religious matters, and left it to their unrestrained and free choice, whether they would remain in the profession of Lutheranism, or follow the example of their sovereign; nor did he exclude from civil honours and employments, or from the usual marks of his protection and favour, those who continued in the faith of their ancestors. This lenity and moderation, which seemed so adapted to prevent jealousy and envy, and to satisfy both parties, did not however produce this natural and salutary effect; nor were they sufficient to restrain within the bounds of decency and charity several warm and inconsiderate votaries of Lutheranism. These over-zealous

persons, who breathed the violent spirit of an age, in which matters of consequence were usually carried on with vehemence and rigour, looked upon it as intolerable and highly provoking, that the Lutherans and Calvinists should enjoy the same honours and prerogatives; that all injurious terms' and odious comparisons should be banished from religious debates; that the controverted points in theology should either be entirely omitted in the sermons and public discourses of the clergy, or explained with a spirit of modesty and Christian charity ; that certain rites which displeased the Calvinists should be totally abolished ; and that they who differed in opinions, should be obliged to live in peace, concord, and the mutual exchange of good offices. If it was unreasonable in them to be offended at injunctions of this nature, it was still more so to discover their indignation, in a manner that excited not only sharp and uncharitable debates, but also civil commotions and violent tumults, that disturbed considerably the tranquillity of the state, and nourished a spirit of sedition and revolt, which the labour of years was employed to extinguish in vain. In this troubled state of things, the divines of Saxony, and more especially those of Wittemburg, undertook to defend the Lutheran cause; but if it be acknowledges, on the one hand, that their views were good, and their intentions

tween the Lutheran and reformed churches.

upright; it must be owned, on the other, that their style was keen even to a degree of licentiousness, and their zeal warm beyond all measure. And indeed, as it generally happens, their want of moderation hurt, instead of promoting, the cause in which they had embarked; for it was in consequence of their violent proceedings, that the Form of Concord was suppressed in the territories of Brandenburg, and the subjects of that electorate prohibited, by a solemn edict, from studying divinity in the academy of Wittemburg. 111. It was deplorable to see two churches," which had

discovered an equal degree of pious zeal and formade toward titude in throwing off the despotic yoke of Rome,

divided among themselves, and living in discords that were highly detrimental to the interests of re

ligion, and the well-being of society. Hence several eminent divines and leading men, both among the Lutherans and Calvinists, sought anxiously after some method of uniting the two churches, though divided in their opinions, in the bonds of Christian charity and ecclesiastical communion. A competent knowledge of human nature and human passions was sufficient to persuade these wise and pacific mediators, that a perfect uniformity in religious opinions was not practicable, and that it would be entirely extravagant to imagine that any of these communities could ever he brought to embrace universally, and without limitation, the doctrines of the other. They made it therefore their principal business to persuade those, whose spirits were inflamed with the heat of controversy, that the points in debate between the two churches were not essential to true religion; that the fundamental doctrines of Christianity were received and professed in both

✓ The edicts of Sigismund and his successors, relating to this change in the state of religion in Brandenburg, have been several times republished in one collection. Beside these, there are many books, treatises, and pamphlets, which give an account of this remarkable transaction, and of which the reader will find a complete list in the German work, entitled, Unschuldigen Nachrichten, An. 1745, p. 34. A. 1746, p. 326. compared with Jo. Carol. Kocheri Bibliotheca Theologicæ Symbolicæ, p. 312. The reader who desires to attain to a perfect acquaintance with this controversy, and to be able to weigh the merits of the cause, by having a true state of the cause before him, will do well to consult Arnoldi, Hislor. Eccles. et Hæret. p. ij. lib. xvii. c. vii. p. 965. Cyprian's 'Unterright von der Vereinigung der protestant,' p. 75, and in ' Append. Monum.'

Unschuldigen Nachrichten,' A. 1729, p. 1067, and A. 1732, p. 715. They who affirm that the elector's ultimate end, in changing the face of religion in bis dominions, was not the prospect of augmenting and extending his authority, found their opinion rather on conjecture ihan on demonstration; nor do they confirm this assertion by testimonies that are sufficient to bring full conviction. It must, however, be acknowledged on the other hand, that their conjectures have neither an absurd nor an improbable aspect.

p. 225.

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