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church, and restraining the corruption and licer-CENT. XVII. tiousness of the clergy; and for this purpose, in 1725, he held a council in the palace of the Latéran, whose acts and decrees have been made public. But the event did not answer his expectations; nor is it probable that Benedict XIV. who is attempting the execution of the same worthy purpose, though. by different means, will meet with better success.
We must not omit observing here, that the modern bishops of Rome make but an indifferent figure in Europe, and exhibit little more than an empty shadow of the authority of the ancient pontiffs. Their prerogatives are diminished, and their power is restrained within very narrow bounds. The sovereigne princes and states of Europe, who embrace their communion, no longer tremble at the thunder of the Vatican, but treat their anathemas with contempt. They, indeed, load the holy father with pompous titles, and treat him with all the external marks of veneration and respect; yet they have given a mortal blow to his authority, by the prudent and artful distinction they make between the court of Rome and the Roman pontiff; for, under the cover of this distinction, they buffet him with one hand, and stroke him with the other; and, under the most respectful profession of attachment to his person, oppose the measures, and diminish still more, from day to day, the authority of his court. A variety of modern transactions might be alleged in confirmation of this, and more especially the debates that have arisen in this century, between the court of Rome and those of France, Portugal, Naples, and Sardinia, in all of which that ghostly court has been obliged to yield, and to discover its insignificancy and weakness.
VIII. There have been no serious attempts made All prospect in recent times to bring about a reconciliation between iktionele the Protestant and Romish churches; for, notwith-tween the standing the pacific projects formed by private per-and Romish sons with a view to this union, it is justly consi-communions
entirely redered as an impracticable scheme. The difficulties moved
CENT. AVIx. that attend its execution were greatly augmented by
the bull Unigenitus, which deprived the peace-makers
IX. The intestine discords, tumults, and divisions, the Romish that reigned in the Romish church, during the pre
ceding century, were so far from being terminated in
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This assertion is too general. It is true, that the greatest part of the catholics in the United Provinces are Jansenists, and that there is no legal toleration of the Jesuits in that republic. It is, nevertheless, a known fact, and a fact that cannot be indifferent to those who have the welfare and security of these provinces at heart, that the Jesuits are daily gaining ground among the Dutch papists. They have a flourishing chapel in the city of Utrecht, and have places of worship in several other cities, and in a great number of villages. It would be worthy of the wisdom of the rulers of the republic to put a stop to this growing evil, and not to suffer, in a protestant country, a religious order which has been suppressed in a popish one, and declared hostile to the state *.
ess, onion ich
* This note is left for the purpose of shewing the state of affairs, at the time when Dr. Maclaine inserted it; but its purport is superseded by the effects of the French revolution. EDIT,
CENT. xvii.or to reduce them to a state of subjection and obedi
X. The cause of the Jansenists acquired a peculiar Pocasioned, degree of credit and reputation, both in this and the New Testa. preceding century, by a French translation of the
New Testament, made by the learned and pious Pasquier Quesnel, a priest of the Oratory, and accompanied with practical annotations, adapted to excite lively impressions of religion in the minds of men. The quintessence of Jansenism was blended, in an elegant and artful manner, with these annotations, and was thus presented to the reader under the most pleasing aspect. The Jesuits were alarmed at the success of Quesnel's book, and particularly at the change it had wrought in many, in favor of the doctrines of Jansenius; and, to remove out of the way an instrument which proved so advantageous to their adversaries, they engaged that weak prince Louis XIV. to solicit the condemnation of this production at the court of Rome. Clement XI.
Clement XI. granted the request of the French monarch, because he considered it as the request of the Jesuits; and, in 1713, issued the famous bull Unigenitus, in which Quesnel's New Testament was condemned, and a hundred and one propositions contained in it were pronounced heretical 8. This bull, which is also known by the
I s To shew what a political weathercock the infallibility of the holy father was upon this occasion, it may not be improper to introduce an anecdote which is related by Voltaire in his Siecle de Louis XIV. vol.ii. The credit of the narrator, indeed, weighs lightly in the balance of historical fame; but the anecdote as well attested, and is as follows: • The abbé Renaudot, a “ learned Frenchman, happening to be at Rome in the first year “ of the pontificate of Clement XI., went one day to see the pope, " who was fond of men of letters, and was himself a learned
man, and found his holiness reading Father Quesnel's book. “ On seeing Renaudot enter the apartment, the pope said, in a “ kind of rapture, · Here is a most excellent book: we have " no-body at Rome that is capable of writing in this manner; « • I wish I could engage the author to reside here !'” And yet this same book was condemned afterwards by this same pope.
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name of The Constitution, gave a favorable turn to CIENT. XVIII.
XI. The dissensions and tumults excited in France Commotions