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for the conversion of their protestant subjects : III. The correspondence of Bossuet and Leibnitz, under the auspicies of Lewis the fourteenth, for the re-union of the lutheran churches to the church of Rome : IV. Some account of an attempt made in the reign of George the first, to reunite the church of England to the church of Rome: V. And some general remarks on the re-union of Christians.-Under the first of these heads, a short mention will be made of the members of the protestant church of the united brethren, called vulgarly Moravians.
Attempts to unite the Lutheran and Calvinist
Churches. The great division of protestant churches is into the Lutheran and Calvinist communions. The abbé Tabaraud relates in the work, which we have just cited, not fewer than fifteen different attempts to effect a re-union of their churches. In reading his account and the account given by Mosheim of these attempts, there appears to the writer, to have been on each side something to commend and something to blame. It seems to him, that the lutherans deserve credit for the open and explicit manner, in which, on these occasions, they propounded the tenets of their creed to the calvinists; that the conduct of the calvinists was more liberal and conciliating ; but that, on the other hand, the conduct
of the lutherans towards the calvinists was generally repulsive and sometimes deserving a much harsher name; while the conduct of the calvinists was sometimes chargeable with ambiguity. was deplorable,” says Mosheim, (Cent. xvii. sect. 2. part 2, art. 3, “ to see two churches, which had “ discovered an equal degree of pious zeal and “ fortitude in throwing off the despotic yoke of “ Rome, divided among themselves, and living in “ discords, that were highly detrimental to the “ interests of religion, and the well-being of society.
Hence, several eminent divines and leading men “ both among the lutherans and calvinists, sought “ anxiously after some method of uniting the two “ churches, though divided in their opinions, in the “ bonds of christian charity and ecclesiastical com66 munion. A competent knowledge of human “ nature and human passions was sufficient to per“ suade these wise and pacific mediators, that a “ perfect uniformity in religious opinions was not “ practicable, and that it would be entirely extrava
gant to imagine that any of these communities “ could ever be brought to embrace universally, " and without limitation, the doctrines of the other.
They made it, therefore, their principal business “ to persuade those, whose spirits were inflamed “ with the heat of controvery, that the points in “ debate between the two churches were not es“ sential to true religion ;--that the fundamental “ doctrines of christianity were received and pro“ fessed in both communions; and that the dif« ference of opinion between the contending par" ties, turned either upon points of an abstruse and
incomprehensible nature, or upon matters of in“ difference, which neither tended to make man“ kind wiser or better, and in which the interests of
genuine piety were in no wise concerned. Those, “ who viewed things in this point of light, were
obliged to acknowledge, that the diversity of
opinions between the two churches was by no “ means a sufficient reason for their separation; and “ that of consequence they were called, by the “ dictates of that gospel, which they both professed, “ to live, not only in the mutual exercise of chris, “ tian charity, but also to enter into the fraternal 66 bonds of church communion. The greatest part “ of the reformed doctors seemed disposed to ac
knowledge, that the errors of the lutherans were “ not of a momentous nature, nor of a pernicious “ tendency; and that the fundamental doctrines “ of christianity had not undergone any remarkable " alteration in that communion; and thus, on “ their side, an important step was made towards “ peace and union between the two churches. But " the greatest part of the lutheran doctors declared, “ that they could not form a like judgment with
respect to the doctrine of the reformed churches; “ they maintained tenaciously the importance of " the points which divided the two communions, “ and affirmed, that a considerable part of the “ controversy turned upon the fundamental prin
ciples of all religion and virtue. It is not at all
surprising, that this steadiness and constancy of “ the lutherans was branded by the opposite party “ with the epithets of morose obstinacy, super“ cilious arrogance, and such like odious denomina“ tions. The lutherans were not behind hand with “ their adversaries, in acrimony of style; they re“ criminated with vehemence, and charged their
accusers with instances of misconduct, different “ in kind, but equally condemnable. They re
proached them with having dealt disingenuously, “ by disguising, under ambiguous expressions, the “ real doctrine of the reformed churches; they “ observed further, that their adversaries, notwith“ standing their consummate prudence and circum
spection, gave plain proofs, on many occasions, “ that their propensity to a reconciliation between “ the two churches arose from views of private in“ terest, rather than from a zeal for the public
good.” It is observable that Mosheim applies these observations to a late stage of the reformation, when much of its first violence had subsided.
The nearest approach to a re-union between any protestant churches seems to be that, which took place at Sendomir, in the year 1570. In a former part of this work, mention was made of this convention, of its dissolution, and of the subsequent union of the Helvetian and Bohemian protestant congregations in the synods held at Astrog, in the year 1620, and 1627. The original settlement of these churches was in Bohemia and Moravia. Persecution scattered the members of them : a considerable number of the fugitives settled at Hent renhut, a village in Lusatia. There, under the protection and guidance of count Zinzendorf, they formed themselves into a new community, which was designed to comprehend their actual and future congregations, under the title of “ The Protestant Church of the Unitas Fratrum, or United Brethren of the Confession of Augsburgh.” That confession is their only symbolic book ; but they profess great esteem for the eighteen first chapters of the synodical document of the church of Berne in 1532, as a declaration of true christian doctrine. They also respect the writings of count Zinzendorf, but do not consider themselves bound by any opinion, sentiment, or expression which these contain. It is acknowledged, that, towards the middle of the last century, they used, in their devotional exercises particularly in their hymns, many expressions justly censurable : but these have been corrected. They consider lutherans and calvinists, to be their brethren in faith, as according with them in the essential articles of religion ; and therefore, when any of their members reside at a distance from a congregation of the united brethren, they not only attend a lutheran, or calvinist church, but receive the sacrament from its ministers, without scruple. In this, they profess to act in conformity to the con