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sentiments which they think most reasonable, in CENT. XVIII. relation to those points of doctrine that formerly 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 moderation, 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 denomi. nations. 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 abortivet
XXIII. The church of England, which is now the The present chief branch of the great community denominated state of the the Reformed Church, continues in the same state, England.
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.
K * See this learned author's Collectio Scriptorum Irenicorum ad Unionem inter Protestantes facientium, published at Hall in 1723
CENT. Xvin. 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 4.—These two classes are some
au The learned and pious archbishop Wake, in a letter to Father Courayer, dated from Croydon-House, July 9, 1724, expresses 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 each CENY. XVIII.
IF" 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. 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.
XXIV. The unbounded liberty which every indi
vidual in England enjoys of publishing, without in Engiand. restraint, his religious opinions, and of worshiping
God in the manner which he deems the most con-
drawn. At present the ministerial labors of George Whitefield. Whitefield, who has formed a community, which he
proposes to render superior in sanctity and perfection
If there is any consistency in this man's
feeling, which it is impossible to explain; and that
XXV. The Dutch church is still divided by the
The state of the Dutch cburch.
even to be hoped that these contests will soon be CENT. XVIU. totally extinguished, since it is well known, that the Newtonian philosophy has expelled Cartesianism from almost all the seminaries of learning in the United Provinces. We have already mentioned the debates that were occasioned by the opinions of Roell. In 1703, Frederic Van Leenhof was suspected of a propensity toward the system of Spinosa, and drew upon himself a multitude of adversaries, by á remarkable book, entitled Heaven upon Earth, in which he maintained literally, that it was the duty of Christians to rejoice always, and to suffer no feelings of affliction and sorrow to interrupt their gaiety. The same accusations were brought against an illiterate man, named William Deurhoff, who, in some treatises composed in the Dutch language, represented the Divine Nature under the idea of a certain force, or energy, that is diffused throughout the whole universe, and acts in every part of the great fabric. The more recent controversies that have made a noise in Holland, were those that
sprang from the opinions of James Saurin and Paul Maty, on two very different subjects. The former, who was minister to the French at the Hague, and acquired a shining reputation by his genius and eloquence, fell into an error, which, if it may be called such, was at least an error of a very pardonable kind; for, if we except some inaccurate and incautious expressions, his only deviation from the received opinions consisted in his maintaining, that it was sometimes lawful to swerve from truth, and to deceive men by our speech, in order to the attainment of some great and important good *. This sentiment did not please, as the most considerable part of the reformed churches adopt the doctrine of Augustin, “ That a lie or a violation of the truth can never
K. * See Saurin's Discours Historiques, Theologiques, Critiques, et Moraux, sur les Evenements les plus memorables du Vieux et du Nouveau Testament, tom. i. of the folio edition. VOL. VI.