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indeed, severely censured by many of the reformed cent. xviii.
divines in Switzerland, Germany, and more especially in Holland, who lament, in the most sorrowful strains, the decline of the ancient purity and strictmess that characterised the doctrine and discipline of the church, and sometimes attack, with the strongest marks of indignation and resentment, these modern contemners of primitive orthodoxy. But, as the moderate party have an evident superiority in point of number, power, and influence, these attacks of their adversaries are, in general, treated with the utmost indifference.
Latin, and rendered the passage as if Dr. Mosheim had represented the reformed churches as diminishing the weight and importance of those controversies that ‘ separate them from the ‘church of Rome;’ whereas he represents them (and, indeed, what he says is rather an encomium than a reproach) as diminishing the weight of those controversies which “separate them “from each other.” One of the circumstances that made me fall more easily into this mistake, was my having read, the moment before I committed it, Dr. Mosheim’s insinuation with respect to the spirit of the church of England in the very next page, where he says, very inconsiderately, that we may judge of that spirit by the conduct of Dr. Wake, who formed a project of peace and union between the English and Gallican churches, founded upon this condition, that each community should retain the greatest part of its peculiar doctrines. This is supposing, though upon the foundation of a mistaken fact, that the church of England, at least, is making evident approaches to the church of Rome.—When I had made the mistake, which turned really an encomium into an accusation, I thought it incumbent on me to defend the reformed church against the charge of an approximation to popery. For this purpose, I observed (in note * of the 4to edition), “that the reformed churches were never at such a “distance from the spirit and doctrine of the church of Rome “as they are at this day; and that the improvements in science, “that characterise the last and the present age, seem to render “a relapse into Romish superstition morally impossible in those “who have been once delivered from its baneful influence.” The ingenious author of the Confessional did not find this reasoning conclusive; but the objections he has started against it, do not appear to me insurmountable. I have, therefore, thrown upon paper some farther thoughts upon the present state of the reformed religion, and the influence of improvements in philosophy upon its advancement; and these thoughts the reader will find in the third part of the Appendix.
XXII. Whoever considers all these things with due attention, will be obliged to acknowlege that neither the Lutherans nor Arminians have, at this day, any farther subject of controversy or debate with the reformed church, considered in a general point of view, but only with individual members of this great community"; for the church, considered in its collective and general character, allows now to all its members the full liberty of entertaining the
cEnt. xviii. —oProjects of re-union between the Reformed and the Lutherans.
(or * Even if we grant this to be true with respect to the Arminians, it cannot be affirmed, with equal truth, in regard to the Lutherans, whose doctrine concerning the corporal presence of Christ in the eucharist, and the communication of the properties of his divine to his human nature, is rejected by all the reformed churches, without exception. But it is not universally true, even with respect to the Arminians; for, though the latter are particularly favored by the church of England; though Arminianism may be said to have become predominant among the members of that church, or at least to have lent its influence in mitigating some of its articles in the private sentiments of those who subscribe them; yet the thirty-nine Articles of the same church still maintain their authority; and, when we judge of the doctrine and discipline of any church, it is more natural to form this judgement from its established creeds and confessions of faith, than from the sentiments and principles of particular persons; so that, with respect to the church of England, the direct contrary of what Dr. Mosheim asserts is strictly true; for it is rather with that church, and its rule of faith, that the Lutherans are at variance, than with private persons, who, prompted by a spirit of Christian moderation, mitigate some of its doctrines, in order charitably to extend the limits of its communion. But, if we turn our view to the reformed churches in Holland, Germany, and a part of Switzerland, the mistake of our author will still appear more palpable; for some of these churches consider certain doctrines both of the Arminians and Lutherans, as a #. cause of excluding them from their communion. The question ere is not, whether this rigor is laudable; it is the matter of fact that we are examining at present. The church of England, indeed, if we consider its present temper and spirit, does not look upon any of the errors of the Lutherans as fundamental, and is therefore ready to receive them into its communion; and the same thing may, perhaps, be affirmed of several of the reformed churches upon the continent. But this is very far from being a proof, that the “Lutherans have at this day (as Dr. Mosheim ‘asserts) no farther subject of controversy or debate with these ‘ churches;" it only proves, that these churches nourish a spirit of toleration and charity worthy of imitation.
- sentiments which they think most reasonable, in cent. xviii. relation to those points of doctrine that formerly `T excluded the Lutherans and Arminians from its communion, and looks upon the essence of Christianity and its fundamental truths as in no wise affected by these points, however variously they may be explained by the contending parties. But this modera– tion, instead of facilitating the execution of the plans that have been proposed by some for the re-union of the Lutheran and Reformed churches, contributes rather to prevent this re-union, or at least to render it much more difficult; for those among the Lutherans who are zealous for the maintenance of the truth, complain, that the reformed church has rendered too wide the way of salvation, and opened the arms of fraternal love and communion, not only to us (Lutherans), but also to Christians of all sects and denominations. Accordingly, we find, that when, about twenty years ago, several eminent doctors of our communion, with the learned and celebrated Matthew Pfaff at their head, employed their good offices with zeal and sincerity in order to our union with the reformed church, this pacific project was so warmly opposed by the majority of the Lutherans, that it was soon rendered abortive *. XXIII. The church of England, which is now the The post chief branch of the great community denominated:... ." the Reformed Church, continues in the same state, England.
63rt The project of the very pious and learned Dr. Pfaff for uniting the Lutheran and Reformed churches, and the reasons on which he justified this project, are worthy of the truly Christian spirit, and do honor to the accurate and sound judgement of that most eminent and excellent divine *; and it is somewhat surprising, considering the proofs of moderation and judgement that Dr. Mosheim has given in other parts of this valuable history, that he neither mentions the project of Dr. Pfaff with applause, nor the stiffness of the Lutherans on this occasion with any mark of disapprobation.
(or * See this learned author's Collectio Scriptorum Irenicorum ad Unionem inter Protestantes facientium, published at Hall in 1723.
cent.xviii, and is governed by the same principles, that it
assumed at the Revolution. The established form of church-government is episcopacy, which is embraced by the sovereign, the nobility, and the greatest part of the people. The Presbyterians, and the numerous sects that are comprehended under the general title of Non-conformists, enjoy the sweets of religious liberty, under the influence of a legal toleration. Those, indeed, who are best acquainted with the present state of the English nation, confidently affirm that the dissenting interest is declining, and that the cause of non-conformity owes this gradual decay, in a great measure, to the lenity and moderation that are practised by the rulers of the established church. The members of this church may be divided into two classes, according to their different ideas of the origin, extent, and dignity of episcopal jurisdiction. Some look upon the government of bishops as founded on the authority of a divine institution, and are immoderately zealous in extending the power and prerogatives of the church; others, of a more mild and sedate spirit, while they consider that form of government as far superior to every other system of ecclesiastical polity, and warmly recommend all the precautions that are necessary to its preservation and the independence of the clergy, yet do not carry this attachment to such an excessive degree, as to refuse the name of a church to every religious community that is not governed by a bishop, or to defend, with intemperate zeal, the prerogatives and pretensions of the episcopal order".-These two classes are some
(or “ The learned and pious archbishop Wake, in a letter to Father Courayer, dated from Croydon-House, July 9, 1724, ol. himself thus: “I bless God that I was born and have “been bred in an episcopal church, which, I am convinced, has “been the government established in the Christian church from “the very time of the apostles. But I should be unwilling to “affirm, that, where the ministry is not episcopal, there is no “church, nor any true administration of the sacraments; and “very many there are among us who are zealous for episcopacy, “yet dare not go so far as to annul the ordinances of God per“formed by any other ministry.”
times involved in warm debates, and oppose eachoenixviii. other with no small degree of animosity, of which To this century has exhibited the following remarkable example. Dr. Benjamin Hoadly, bishop of Winchester, a prelate eminently distinguished by the accuracy of his judgement, and the purity of his flowing and manly eloquence, used his utmost endeavours, and not without success, to lower the authority of the church, or at least to reduce the power of its rulers within marrow bounds. On the other hand, the church and its rulers found several able defenders; and, among the rest, Dr. John Potter, archbishop of Canterbury, maintained the rights and pretensions of the clergy with great eloquence and erudition. As to the spirit of the established church of England, in relation to those who dissent from its rules of doctrine and government, we see it no where better than in the conduct of Dr. Wake, archbishop of Canterbury, who formed a project of peace and union between the English and Gallican churches, founded upon this condition, that each community should retain the greatest part of its peculiar doctrines ".
(or " Archbishop Wake certainly corresponded with some learned and moderate Frenchmen on this subject, particularly with M. Du-Pin, the ecclesiastical historian : and no doubt the archbishop, when he assisted Courayer in his Defence of the Validity of the English Ordinations, by furnishing him with unanswerable proofs drawn from the registers at Lambeth-Palace, had it in his view to remove certain groundless prejudices, which, while they subsisted among catholics, could not but defeat all projects of peace and union between the English and Gallican churches. The interests of the protestant religion could not be in safer hands than those of archbishop Wake. He who had so ably and so successfully defended protestantism, as a controversial writer, could not surely form any project of peace and union with a Roman catholic church, the terms of which would have reflected on his character as a negociator. £3’ This note has been misunderstood and censured by the acute author of the Confessional. This censure gave occasion to the fourth Appendix, which the reader will find in this volume, and in which the matter contained in this note is fully illustrated, and the conduct of archbishop Wake set in its true light.