תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

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,

W. CANT.

P.S. Did cardinal de Noailles know what authority the archbishop of Canterbury has gotten 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 cardinals cap to Rome. I doubt your doctors know little of these matters.

No. X.

EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM ARCHBISHOP WAKE TO

MR. BEAUVOIR.

Jan. 23, O. S. 1718. WHEN you see my letter (for I conclude the doctor will shew 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 à 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, and 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 the means of disposing these gentlemen to a more favourable thought of, and inclination towards a reformation; to convince them that they may return to the truth of Christianity, and leave the corruptions of Rome, without losing any honor, 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 shewed 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 shew them that they may reform, without giving up either their authority or revenues, and be 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.

[ocr errors]

No. XI.

A LETTER FROM ARCHBISHOP WAKE TO MR. BEAUVOIR.

Feb. 5, 1718-19, 0. S.

I do not doubt that mine of the 18th of January, with the two inclosed for my lord Stair and Dr. DuPin, 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 writ of it, since I received your last; and must beg the favor 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 favor 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 enquiry, 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 always took it for granted, that no step should be taken toward an union, but with the knowlege 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 pope's authority, as the first step to be made in order to it, it is impossible for any such attempt to be made by any power less than the king's. All therefore that has passed hitherto, stands clear of any just exception as to the civil magistrate ; it is only a consultation, in order to find out a way how an union might be made, if a fit occasion should bereafter be offered for the doing of it. Yet still I do not like to have my letters exposed in such a manner, though satisfied there is nothing to be excepted against in them; and think I shall be kind to the doctors themselves, to suspend, at least for a while, my farther troubling of them. I hope you will endeavour, by some or other of your friends, to find out the meaning of this motion ; from whom it çame ; how far it has gone ; what was the occasion of it; and what is like to be the consequence of it; what the abbé Du-Bois says of my letters, and how they are received by him and the other ministers. I shall soon discover whether any notice has been taken of it to our ministry; and I should think, if the abbé spoke to your lord about it, he would acs quaint you with it.

No. XII. EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM ARCHBISHOP WAKE TO MR. BEAUVOIR.

Feb. 24, 1718. I do not at all wonder that the cardinals Rohan and Bissi should do all they can to blacken the good cardinal de Noailles, and in him the party of the Anti-Constitutionists, but especially the Sorbonne, their most weighty and learned adversaries; and I am sensible that such a complaint is not only the most proper to do this, but to put the court itself under some difficulties, which · way soever it acts upon it. But I am still the more curious to learn, if it were possible, not only the proceedings of the ministry above board hereupon, but their private VOL. VI,

N

thoughts and opinions about it. I am under no concern upon my own account, farther than that I would be unwilling to have my letters scanned by so many great men, which will scarcely bear the judgement of my very friends. You must do me the favor to get out of your doctors what will be most obliging to them, whether to continue to write to them, or to be silent for a while, till we see what will be the effect of this enquiry. In the mean time, it grows every day plainer what I said from the beginning, that no reformation can be made but by the authority, and with the concurrence of the court; and that all we divines have to do, is to use our. interest to gain them to it, and to have a plan ready to offer to them, if they would be prevailed upon to come into it.

I am at present engaged in two or three other transactions of moment to the foreign protestants, which take up abundance of my time; God knows what will be the effect of it. Nevertheless, if I can in any way help to promote this, though I am at present without any help, alone, in this project, I shall do my utmost, both to keep up my poor little interest with the two doctors and their friends, and to concert proper methods with them about it. The surest way will be, to begin as well, and to go as far as we can, in settling a friendly correspondence one with another; to agree to own each other as true brethren, and members of the catholic Christian church; to agree to communicate in every thing we can with one another (which, on their side, is very easy, there being nothing in our offices, in any degree, contrary, to their own principles); and would they purge out of theirs what is contrary to ours, we might join in the public service with them, and yet leave one another in the free liberty of believing transubstan. tiation or not, so long as we did not require any thing to be done by either in pursuance of that opinion. The Lutherans do this very thing; many of them communicate not only in prayers, but in the.

« הקודםהמשך »