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coroviii.or to reduce them to a state of subjection and obedi
X. The cause of the Jansenists acquired a peculiar degree of credit and reputation, both in this and the 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. 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 hereticals. This bull, which is also known by the
The debates eccasioned l's
(or * 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 is 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 } could engage the author to reside here !'” And yet this same book was condemned afterwards by this same
name of The Constitution, gave a favorable turn to corr. Kvitt. the affairs of the Jesuits; but it was highly detri- ~" mental to the interests of the Romish church, as many of the wiser members of that communion candidly acknowlege; for it not only confirmed the Protestants in their separation, by convincing them that the church of Rome was resolved to adhere obstinately to its ancient superstitions and corruptions, but also offended many of the catholics who had no particular attachment to the doctrines of Jansenius, and were only bent on the pursuit of truth and the advancement of piety. It must also be observed, that the controversy relating to Jansenism was much heated and augmented, instead of being mitigated or suspended, by this despotic and ill-judged edict. YI. The dissensions and tumults excited in France commotions by this edict were violent in the highest degree. A. considerable number of bishops, and a large body by the bull composed of persons eminently distinguished by their” piety and erudition, both among the clergy and laity, appealed from the bull to a general council. It was more particularly opposed by the cardinal Louis Antoine de Noailles, archbishop of Paris, who, equally unmoved by the authority of the pontiff, and by the resentment and indignation of Louis XIV., made a noble stand against the despotic proceedings of the court of Rome. These defenders of the ancient doctrine and liberties of the Gallican church were persecuted by the popes, the French monarch, and the Jesuits, from whom they received a series of injuries and affronts. Even their total ruin was aimed at by these unrelenting adversaries; but this inhuman purpose could not be entirely effected. Some of the Jansenists, however, were obliged to fly for refuge to their brethren in Holland; others were forced, by the terrors of penal laws, and by various acts of tyranny and violence, to receive the papal edict; while a considerable number, deprived of their places, and ruined in their fortunes, looked for subsistence and tranquillity at a greater distance from their
covir native country. The issue of this famous contest - was favorable to the bull, which was at length
rendered valid by the authority of the parliament, and was registered among the laws of the state. This contributed, in some measure, to restore the public tranquillity; but it was far from diminishing the number of those who complained of the despotism of the pontiff; and the kingdom of France is still full of appellants", who reject the authority of the bull, and only wait for an opportunity of reviving a controversy which is rather suspended than terminated, and of re-kindling a flame that is covered without being extinguished.
The circum- XII. Amidst the calamities in which the Jan
stances that contributed SenlS
ts have been involved, they have only two
**pport, methods left of maintaining their cause against their
powerful adversaries; and these are their writings and their miracles. The former alone have proved truly useful to them; the latter gave them only a transitory reputation, which, being ill founded, contributed in the issue to sink their credit. The writings in which they have attacked both the pope and the Jesuits are innumerable; and many of them are composed with such eloquence, spirit, and solidity, that they have produced a remarkable effect. The Jansenists, however, looking upon all human means as insufficient to support their cause, turned their
views toward supernatural succours, and endeavoured
to make it appear, that their cause was the peculiar object of the divine protection and approbation. For this purpose they persuaded the multitude, that God had endowed the bones and ashes of certain persons, who had distinguished themselves by their zeal in the cause of Jansenius, and had, at the point of death, appealed a second time from the pope to a general council, with the power of healing the most inveterate diseases. The person whose remains
(or h This was the denomination assumed by those who ap... from the bull and the court of Rome to a general Council. * . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -
m!: were principally honored with this efficacy, was the surr rvin. ngs abbé Paris, a man of a respectable family, whose o natural character was dark and melancholy; whose
superstition was excessive beyond all credibility;
o and who, by an austere abstinence from bodily o nourishment, and the exercise of other inhuman i branches of penitential discipline, was the voluntary o cause of his own death'. To the miracles which
were said to be wrought at the tomb of this fanatic, th: the Jansenists added a great variety of visions and g revelations, to which they audaciously attributed a |, divine origin; for several members of the community,
so and more especially those who resided at Paris, pre
- tended to be filled with the Holy Ghost; and, in
3|| consequence of this prerogative, delivered instruc
w tions, predictions, and exhortations, which, though
|Éls frequently extravagant, and almost always insipid,
g yet moved the passions, and attracted the admira
ed tion, of the ignorant multitude. The prudence,
3. however, of the court of France, put a stop to these
|- fanatical tumults and false miracles; and, in the
h6 situation in which things are at present, the Janse
o mists have nothing left but their genius and their pens
[s] to maintain their cause *.
| XIII. We can say very little of the Greek and The state of 6 Eastern churches. The profound ignorance in."
f i The imposture, that reigned in these pretended miracles,
| has been detected and exposed by various authors, but by none
f with more acuteness, perspicuity, and penetration, than by the ingenious Dr. Douglas, in his excellent treatise on miracles,
o entitled the Criterion, published in 1754.
| (or * Things are greatly changed since the learned author wrote this paragraph. The storm of just resentment that has arisen against the Jesuits, and has been attended with the extinction of their order in Portugal, France, and in all the Spanish dominions, has disarmed the most formidable adversaries r Jansenism, and must consequently be considered as an event highly favorable to the Jansenists *.
* In consequence of the French revolution, more important
* have taken place since the translator wrote the last note. DIT. - . . .
cent. xviii, which they live, and the despotic yoke under which T they groan, prevent their forming any plans to extend their limits, or making any attempts to change their state. The Russians, who, in the reign of Peter the Great, assumed a less savage and barbarous aspect than they had before that memorable period, have in this century given some grounds to hope that they may one day be reckoned among the civilised nations. There are, nevertheless, immense multitudes of that rugged people, who are still attached to the brutish superstition and discipline of their ancestors; and there are many in whom the barbarous spirit of persecution still so far prevails, that, were it in their power, they would cut off the Protestants, and all other sects that differ from them, by fire and sword. This appears evident from a variety of circumstances, and more especially from the book which Stephen Javorski has composed against heretics of all denominations. The Greek Christians are said to be treated at present by their haughty masters with more clemency and indulgence than in former times. The Nestorians and Monophysites in Asia and Africa persevere in their refusal to enter into the communion of the Romish church, notwithstanding the earnest intreaties and alluring offers that have been made from time to time by the pope's legates, to conquer their inflexible constancy.—The pontiffs have frequently attempted to renew, by another sacred expedition, their former connexions with Abyssinia; but they have not yet been able to find out a method of escaping the vigilance of that court, which still persists in its abhorrence of popery. Nor is it at all probable that the ambassy, which is now preparing at Rome for the Abyssinian emperor, will be attended with success'. The Monophysites propagate their doctrine in Asia with zeal and assiduity, and, not long ago, gained over to their
! See the Continuation.