« הקודםהמשך »
distress, exhausted by unsuccessful labour, and oppressed and dejected by injurious treatment, perceived, by a painful experience, that he had undertaken a task which was beyond the power of a private person, and spent the remainder of his days in repose and obscurity at Cassel. It
may not be improper to observe here, that Dureus, who, notwithstanding the uprightness of his intentions in general, was sometimes deficient in frankness and ingenuity, had annexed to his plan of reconciliation certain doctrines, which, were they susceptible of proof, would serve as a foundation for the union, not only of the Lutherans and Calvinists, but also of all the different sects that bear the Christian name. For, among other things, he maintained, that the Apostles' Creed was a complete body of divinity; the Ten Commandments a perfect system of morals ; and the Lord's Prayer a comprehensive series of petitions for all the blessings contained in the divine promises. Now if this notion, that these sacred compositions contain all that is essential to faith, obedience, and devotion, had been universally entertained, or evidently demonstrated, it would not have been a, chimerical project to aim at a reconciliation of all Christian churches upon this basis, and to render these compositions the foundation of their coalition and the bond of their union. But it would have been highly chimerical to expect that the Christian sects would universally adopt this notion, or be pleased to see the doctrines of Christianity reduced to such general principles. It is further to be observed, with respect to Dureus, that he showed a peculiar propensity toward the sentiments of the mystics and quakers, on account of their tendency to fa
I See Coleri Historia Joh. Duræi, published in 4to. at Wittemberg in 1716, to which, howerer, many important additions might be made from public records, and also from documents that bave not as yet seen the light. Some records and documents, of the kind here referred to, have been published by Hasæus, in his Bibliotheca Bremens. Theologica Philologica, tom. i. p. 911, and tom. iv. p. 683. A still greater number are given by Gesselius, in the Addenda Irenica, that are subjoined to his Historia Ecclesiastica, tom. ii. p. 614. The transactions of Duræus at Marpurg are mentioned by Schenk, in his Vitæ Professorum Theologice Marpurg, p. 202. His attempts in Holstein may be learned from the letters of Lackman and Lossius, which are joined together in the same volume. His exploits in Prussia and Poland are recorded by Jablonsky, in his Historia Consensus Sendomiriensis, p, 127, and his labours in Denmark, the Palatinate, and Switzerland, are mentioned respectively by Elswich, in his Fasciculus Epistol. Theolog. p. 147. Seelen's Deliciæ Epistol. p. 353, and in the Museum Helvet. tom. iii. ix. v. See also Jaegeri Historia Sæculi xvii. Decenn. vii. p. 171. Bohmius, Englische Reformations Historie, and more especially an account of Duræus, published under my direction at Helmstadt, in the year 1744, by Benzelius, and entitled, Dissertatio de Johan. Duræo, maxime de Actis ejus Suecanis. This Dissertation contains a variety of anecdotes drawn from records not yet made public.
vour his conciliatory and pacific project. Like them he placed the essence of religion in the assent of the soul to God, in calling forth the hidden word, in fanning the divine spark that resides in the recesses of the human mind, and, in consequence of this system, was intimately persuaded, that differences, merely in theological opinions, did not at all concern the essence of true piety.
vir. Those among the Lutherans that appeared the most zealous in this pacific cause, were John Matthiæ," bishop of Strengnes in Sweden, and valixtus. George Calixtus, professor of divinity at Helmstadt, whom Dureus had animated with a portion of his charitable and indulgent spirit. The former was a man of capacity and merit, the latter was eminently distinguished among the doctors of this century, by his learning, genius, probity, and candour; but they both failed in the arduous undertaking in which they had engaged, and suffered considerably in their attempts to promote the cause of unity and concord. The Olive Branches of Matthiæ, who entitled thus his pacific productions, were, by a royal edict, publicly condemned and suppressed in Sweden; and their author, in order to appease the fury of his enemies, was obliged to resign his bishopric, and pass the rest of his days in retirement. The zeal of Calixtus, in calming the tumultuous and violent spirit of the contending parties, drew upon him the bitterest reproaches, and the warmest animosity and resentment from those who were more bent on maintaining their peculiar opinions, than in promoting that charity which is the end of the commandment; and while he was labouring to remove all sects and divisions, he appeared to many of his brethren in the light of a new sectary, who was founding the most pernicious of all sects, even that of the syncretists, who were supposed to promote peace and concord at the expense of truth. We shall, before we finish this chapter, endeavour to give a more particular and circumstantial account of the sentiments and trials of this great man, to whose charge many other things were laid, beside the crime of endeavouring
Dom Matthiæ had been chaplain to Gustavus Adolphus, and was afterward appointed, by that prince, preceptor to his daughter Christina, so famous in history, on account of the whimsical peculiarities of her character, her taste for learning, and her desertion of the Swedish throne, and the Protestant religion.
n Rami Olive Septentrionalis. . See Schefferi Suecia Literala, p. 123, and Joh. Molleri ad eam Hypomnemata, p. 317. Arkenholtz, Memoires de la Reine Christine, tom. I. p. 320, 505, tom. ii. p. 63.
happened to the Lutheran cburch.
to unite the disciples of the same master in the amiable bonds of charity, concord, and mutual forbearance; and whose opinions and designs excited warm contests in the Lutheran church. VIII. The external state of the Lutheran church at this
period was attended with various circumstances of True love generous prosperity, among which we may reckon its stand
ing firm against the assaults of Rome, whose ar
tifice and violence were in vain employed to bring on its destruction. It is well known, that a very considerable number of Lutherans resided in those provinces where the public exercise of their religion was prohibited. It has more especially been shown, by the late memorable emigration of the Salzburgers, that still greater numbers of them lay concealed in that land of despotism and bigotry, where the smallest dissent from popery, with whatever secrecy and circumspection it may be disguised, is considered as an enormous and capital crime; and that they preserved their religious sentiments and doctrines pure and uncorrupted amidst the contagion of Romish superstition, which they always beheld with aversion and horror. In those countries which are inhabited by persons of different communions, and whose sovereigns are members of the Romish church, we have numberless instances of the cruelty and injustice practised by the papists against those that dissent from them; and these cruelties are exercised under a pretext suggested by the most malevolent bigotry, which represents these dissenters as seditious subjects, and consequently as worthy of the most rigorous treatment. And yet it is certain, that, amidst all these vexations, the Lutheran church has stood its ground; nor has either the craft or fury of its enemies been able, any where, to deprive it entirely of its rights and privileges. It may further be observed, that the doctrine of Luther was carried into Asia, Africa, and America, by several persons, who fixed their habitations in those distant regions, and was also introduced into some parts of Europe, where it had hitherto been unknown.
p For an account of the persecuted Lutherans in the archbishopric of Saizburg, see Burnet's Travels. See more especially a famous Latin discourse, published at Tubingen, in the year 1732, under the following title ; Commentariolus Theologicus de non tolerandis in Religione Dissentientibus, quam Præside Christ. Matth. Pfaffio defendet Wolf. Lud. Letsching.
IX. When we turn our view to the internal state of the Lutheran church during this century, we shall find it improved in various respects; though several of caring blemishes yet remained that clouded its lustre. It Lutherans. must be acknowledged, to the honour of the Lutherans, that they cultivated all the various branches of literature, both sacred and profane, with uncommon industry and success, and made several improvements in the sciences, which are too well known to stand in need of a particular mention; and of which a circumstantial enumeration would be inconsistent with the brevity we propose to observe in this history. But if it cannot be denied, on the one hand, that the cause of religion gained by these improvements in learning, it must be owned on the other, that some branches of science were perverted by injudicious or illdesigning men, to corrupt the pure simplicity of genuine Christianity, and to render its doctrines abstruse and intricate. Thus it too often happens in life, that the best things are the most egregiously abused.
About the commencement of this century, the sciences chiefly cultivated in the schools were logic and metaphysics ; though the manner of treating them was almost entirely destitute of elegance, simplicity, and precision. But, in process of time, the scene changed in the seminaries of learning; and the more entertaining and agreeable branches of literature, that polish wit, excite taste, exercise judgment, and enrich memory, such as civil and natural history, philology, antiquities, criticism, and eloquence, gained the ascendant. Both these kinds of knowledge acquired also a more graceful, consistent, and regular form than that under which they had hitherto appeared. But it happened most unluckily, that while the boundaries of science were extended from day to day, and new discoveries and improvements were constantly enriching the republic of letters, the credit of learning began sensibly to decrease,
and learned men seemed gradually to lose those peculiar • marks of veneration and distinction that the novelty of
their character, as well as the excellence and importance of their labours, had hitherto drawn from the public. Among the various circumstances that contributed to this decline of literary glory, we may particularly reckon the multitude of those, who, without natural capacity, taste, or inclination, were led, by authority or a desire of applause, to
The state of
literary pursuits; and by their ignorance or their pedantry,
Lutheran schools, during the greatest part of this per are the century, was that of Aristotle, dressed up in that liaps triumph. scholastic form that increased its native intricacy and subtilty. And such was the devout and excessive veneration entertained by many for this abstruse system, that any attempt to reject the Grecian oracle, or to correct its decisions, was looked upon as the most dangerous consequence to the interests of the church, and as equally criminal with a like attempt upon the sacred writings. Those who distinguished themselves in the most extraordinary manner by their zealous and invincible attachment to the peripatetic philosophy, were the divines of Leipsic, Tubingen, Helmstadt, and Altorf. The enchantment however was not universal; and there were many who, withdrawing their private judgment from the yoke of authority, were bold enough to see with their own eyes; and of consequence discerned the blemishes that were indeed sufficiently visible in the pretended wisdom of the Grecian sage. The first attempt to reduce his authority within narrow bounds was made by certain pious and prudent divines, who, though they did not pretend to discourage all philosophical inquiries, yet were desirous of confining them to a few select subjects; and complained, that the pompous denomination of philosophy was too frequently prostituted,9 by being applied to unintelligible distinctions, and words, or rather sounds, destitute of sense. These were succeeded in their dislike of the peripatetic philosophy by the disciples of Ramus, who had credit enough to banish it from several seminaries of learning, and to substitute in its place the system of their master, which was of a more practical kind, and better adapted to the purposes of life." But if the philosophy of Aristotle met with adversaries who opposed it upon solid and rational principles, it had also enemies of a very different character, who imprudently declaimed against philosophy in general, as highly detrimental to the cause of religion and the interests of society.
q Such, among others, was Wenseslas Schillingius, of whom a particular account is given by Arnold,
in his Histor. Eccles. et Hæret. p. iilib. xvii. cap. vi. r See Jo. Flerman ab Elswich, De varia Aristotelis fortuna, ý xxi. p. 54, and Walchius, Historia Logices, lib. ii. cap. ii. sect. ni. v. in Parergis ejus Acmenicis, p. 613,