תמונות בעמוד

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
of the principal expedient they employed for the
accomplishment of this union, by putting it out of
their power to soften and mitigate the doctrines of
popery, that appeared the most shocking to the friends
of the Reformation. This expedient had been fre-
quently practised in former times, in order to remove
the disgust that the Protestants had conceived against
the church of Rome ; but that edict put an end to
all these modifications, and, in most of those points
that had occasioned our separation from Rome,
represented the doctrine of that church in the very
same shocking light in which it had been viewed by
the first reformers. This shews, with the utmost
evidence, that all the attempts the Romish doctors
have made, from time to time, to give an air of
plausibility to their tenets, and render them palata-
ble, were so many snares insidiously laid to draw the
Protestants into their communion; that the specious
conditions they proposed as the terms of a reconcilia-
tion, were perfidious stratagems; and that, conse-
quently, there can be no firm dependence upon the
promises and declarations of such a disingenuous set
of men.

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
this, that new fuel was added to the flame. These
divisions still subsist; and the animosities of the con-
tending parties seem to grow more vehement from
day to day. The Jesuits are at variance with the
Dominicans, and some other religious orders, though
these quarrels make little noise, and are carried on
with some regard to decency and prudence; the
Dominicans are on bad terms with the Franciscans ;
the controversy concerning the nature, lawfulness,
and expediency of the Chinese ceremonies, still con-
tinues, at least in Europe; and were we to mention
all the debates that divide the Romish church, which

Intestine di


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

ed by Bakers

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

out of ned ciends

fremore rainst nd to points Come, ,

very d by most ctors r of ata

the ious iliansethe

boasts so much of its unity and infallibility, the cENT. XVIII,
enumeration would be almost endless. The contro
versy relating to Jansenism, one of the principal
sources of that division which reigned within the
papal jurisdiction, has been carried on with great
spirit and animosity in France and in the Nether-
lands. The Jansenists, or, as they rather choose to
be called, the disciples of Augustin, are inferior to
their adversaries the Jesuits, in number, power, and
influence; but they equal them in resolution, pru.
dence, and learning, and surpass them in sanctity of
manners and superstition, by which they excite the
respect of the people. When their affairs take an
unfavorable turn, and they are oppressed and per-
secuted by their victorious enemies, they find an
asylum in the Low-Countries; for the greatest part
of the catholics in the Spanish Netherlands, and all
the Romanists who live under the jurisdiction of the
United Provinces, embrace the principles and doc-
trines of Jansenius f. The latter have almost re.
nounced their allegiance to the pope, though they
profess a warm attachment to the doctrine and com-
munion of the church of Rome; nor are either the
exhortations or threats of the holy father, sufficient
to subdue the obstinacy of these wayward children,

i set

ons, pred in hese on


the igh

on the

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



The debates

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.


eculiar nd the of the pious

and ed to ads of nded, ipota er the ?d at

It the

the the

[ocr errors]

is to ince pronted con713, nel's

name of The Constitution, gave a favorable turn to CIENT. XVIII.
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 can-
didly 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.

XI. The dissensions and tumults excited in France Commotions
by this edict were violent in the highest degree. A granica
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.
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 in-
juries 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

It was


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »