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in which toward the conclusion, he intimates his desire of an union between the English and Gallican churches, and observes, that the difference, in most points, between them, was not so great as to render a reconciliation impracticable; and that it was his earnest wish, that all christians were united in one sheepfold. His words are; “Unum addam cum bona venia tua, me vehementer optare, ut unionis inter Ecclesias Anglicanam et Gallicanam ineundæ via aliqua inveniri posset : non ita sumus ab invicem in plerisque dissiti, ut non possimus mutuo reconciliari. Atque utinam Christiani omnes essent unum ovile.” The archbishop wrote an answer to this letter, dated February 13-24, 171718, in which he asserts, at large, the purity of the church of England, in faith, worship, government, and discipline, and tells his correspondent, that he is persuaded that there are few things in the doctrine and constitution of that church, which even he himself, Du Pin, would desire to see changed: the original words are; “Aut ego vehementer fallor, aut in ea pauca admodum sunt, quæ vel tu -immutanda velles; and again, Sincere judica, quid in hac nostra Ecclesia invenias, quod jure damnari debeat, aut nos atra hereticorum, vel etiam schismaticorum nota inurere.” The zeal of the venerable prelate goes still farther; and the moderate sentiments which he observed in Dr. Du Pin's letter induced him to exhort the French to maintain, if not to enlarge, the rights and privileges of the Gallican church, for which the present disputes, about the constitution Unigenitus, furnish the most favourable occasion. He also expresses his readiness to concur in improving any opportunity, that might be offered by these debates, to form a union; that might be productive of a further reformation, in which not only the most rational protestants, but also a considerable number of the Roman Catholic churches should join with the church of England; “si exhinc,” says the archbishop, speaking concerning the commotions excited by the constitution, " aliquid amplius elici possit ad unionem nobiscum Ecclesiasticam ineundam; unde forte nova quædam reformatio exoriatur in quam non solum ex protestantibus optimi quique, verum etiam pars magna ecclesiarum communionis Romano catholicæ una nobiscum conveniant."
and concord, as far as was possible, with all that bear the Christian name. And this disposition, so suitable to the benevolent genius of Christianity, will always reject & true and solid glory upon his character as a Christian bishop.
Hitherto we see, that the expressions of the two learned doctors of the English and Gallican churches relating to the union under consideration, are of a vague and general nature. When they were thus far advanced in their correspondence, an event happened, which rendered it more close, serious, and interesting, and even brought on some particular mention of preliminary terms, and certain preparatives for a future negotiation. The event I mean, was a discourse delivered, in an extraordinary meeting of the Sorbonne, March 17-28, 1717-18, by Dr. Patrick Piers de Girardin, in which he exhorts the doctors of that society to proceed in their design of revising the doctrines and rules of the church, to separate things necessary from those which are not so, by which they will show the church of England that they do not hold every decision of the pope for an article of faith. The learned orator observes farther, upon what foundation it is difficult to guess, that the English church may be more easily reconciled than the Greek was; and that the disputes between the Gallican church and the court of Rome, removing the apprehensions of papal tyranny, which terrified the English from the Catholic communion, will lead them back into the bosom of the church, with greater celerity than they formerly fled from it: “Facient,” says he, “profecto offensiones, quæ vos inter et Senatum Capitolinum videntur intervenisse, ut Angli, deposito servitutis metu, in ecclesiæ gremium revolent alacrius, quam olim inde quorumdam exosi tyrannidem, avolarunt. Meministis ortas inter Paulum et Barnabam dissentiones ani. morum tandem eo recidisse, ut singuli propagandæ in diversis regionibus Fidei felicius insudaverunt sigillatim, quam junctis viribus fortasse insudassent." This last sentence, in which Dr. Girardin observes, that Paul and Barnabas probably made more converts in consequence of their separation, than they would have done had they travelled together and acted in concert, is not a little remarkable ; and, indeed, the whole passage discovers rather a desire of making proselytes, than an inclination to form a coalition founded upon concessions and some reformation on the side of popery. It may, perhaps, be alleged in opposition to this remark, that prudence required a language of this kind, in the infancy of a project of
union, whatever concessions might be offered afterward to bring about its execution. And this may be true.
After the delivery of this discourse in the Sarbonne, Dr. Du Pin showed to Girardin archbishop Wake's letter, which was also communicated to cardinal De Noailles, who admired it greatly, as appears by a letter of Dr. Piers de Girardin to Dr. Wake, written, I believe, April 18-29, 1718. Before the arrival of this letter, the archbishop had received a second from Dr. Du Pin, and also a copy of Girardin's discourse. But he does not seem to have entertained any notion, in
notion, in consequence of all this, that the projected union would go on smoothly; On the contrary, he no sooner received these letters, than he wrote to Mr. Beauvoir, April 15, 1718, that it was his opinion, that neither the regent nor the cardinal would ever come to a rupture with the court of Rome; and that nothing could be done in point of doctrine, until this rupture was brought about. He added, that fundamentals should be distinguished from matters of lesser moment, in which differences or errors might be tolerated. He expresses a curiosity to know the reception which his former letter to Du Pin had met with; and he wrote again to that ecclesiastic, and also to Girardin, May 1, 1718, and sent both his letters toward the end of that month.
The doctors of the Sorbonne, whether they were set in motion by the real desire of an union with the English church, or only intended to make use of this union as a means of intimidating the court of Rome, began to form a plan of reconciliation, and to specify the terms upon which they were willing to bring it into execution. Mr. Beauvoir acquaints the archbishop, July 16, probably N.S. 1718, that Dr. Du Pin had made a rough draught of an essay toward an union, which Cardinal De Noailles desired to peruse before it was sent to his Grace; and that both Du Pin and Girardin were highly pleased with his Grace's letters to them. These letters, however, were written with a truly protestant spirit; the archbishop insisted, in them, upon the truth and orthodoxy of the articles of the church of England, and did not make any concession, which supposed the least approximation to the peculiar doctrines, or the smallest approbation of the ambitious pretensions, of the church of Rome; he observed, on the contrary, that it was now the time for Dr. Du Pin, and his brethren of
the Sorbonne, to declare openly their true sentiments, with respect to the superstition and tyranny of that church; that it was the interest of all Christians to unmask that court and to reduce its authority to its primitive limits; and that, according to the fundamental principle of the Reformation in general, and of the church of England in particular, Jesus Christ is the only founder, source, and head of the church. Accordingly, when Mr. Beauvoir had acquainted the archbishop with Du Pin's having formed a plan of union, his Grace answered in a manner which showed that he looked upon the removal of the Gallican church from the jurisdiction of Rome as an essential preliminary article, without which no negotiation could even be commenced. “ To speak freely,” says the prelate, in his letter of the 11th of August, to Mr. Beauvoir,“ I do not think the regent, the duke of Orleans, yet strong enough in his interest, to adventure at a separation from the court of Rome. Could the regent openly appear in this, the divines would follow, and a scheme might fairly be offered for such an union, as alone is requisite, between the English and Gallican church. But, till the time comes when the state will enter into such a work, all the rest is mere speculation. It may amuse a few contemplative men of learning and probity, who see the errors of the church, and groan under the tyranny of the court of Rome. It may dispose them secretly to wish well to us, and think charitably of us; but still they must call themselves catholics, and us heretics; and, to all outward appearance, say mass, and act so as they have been wont to do. If, under the shelter of Gallican privileges, they can now and then serve the state, by speaking big in the Sorbonne, they will do it heartily; but that is all, if I am not greatly mistaken.”
Soon after this, the archbishop received Du Pin's commonitorium, or advice relating to the method of reuniting the English and Gallican churches; of the contents of which it will not be improper to give here a compendious account, as it was read in the Sorbonne, and was approved of there, and as the concessions it contains, though not sufficient to satisfy a true protestant, are yet such as one would not expect from a very zealous papist. Dr. Du Pin, after some reflections, in a tedious preface, on the reformation, and the present state of the church of England, reduces the controversy between the two churches to three
heads, viz. articles of faith, rules and ceremonies of ecclesiastical discipline, and moral doctrine, or rules of practice; and these he treats, by entering into an examination of the xxxix articles of the church of England. The first five of these articles he approves. With regard to the vi'', which affirmsthat the Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation, he expresses himself thus: “This we will readily grant, provided that you do not entirely exclude tradition, which doth not exhibit new articles of faith, but confirms and illustrates those which are contained in the sacred writings, and places about them new guards to defend them against gainsayers,” &c. The doctor thinks that the Apocryphal Books will not occasion much difficulty. He is, indeed, of opinion, that “they ought to be deemed canonical, as those books concerning which there were doubts for some time; yet since they are not in the first, or Jewish canon, he will allow them to be called Deuterocanonical. He consents to the xth article, which relates to free-will, provided by the word power be understood what school divines call potentia proxima, or a direct and immediate power, since without a remote power of doing good works, sin could not be imputed.
With respect to the xt article, which contains the doctrine of justification, Dr. Du Pin expresses thus the sentiments of his brethren; “We do not deny that it is by faith alone that we are justified; but we maintain thať faith, charity, and good works, are necessary to salvation; and this is acknowledged in the following, i. e. the xii“ article."
Concerning the xiii'h article, the doctor observes, “that there will be no dispute, since many divines of both communions embrace the doctrine contained in that article," viz. that works done hefore the grace of Christ are not pleasing to God, and have the nature of sin. He indeed thinks “it very harsh to say, that all those actions are sinful which have not the grace of Christ for their source;" but
i The original words are; “Hoc lubenter admittemus, modo non excludatur Traditio, quæ Articulos Fidei novos non exhibet, sed confirmat et explicat ea, quæ in Sacris Literis habentur ; ac adversus aliter sapientes munit eos novis cautionibus, ita ut non nova dicantur, sed antiqua nove."
k The original words are ; " Fide sola in Christum nos justificari, quod Articulo XImo exponitur, non inficiamur ; sed fide, charitate, et adjunctis bonis operibus, quæ omnino necessaria sunt ad salutem, ut articulo seguenti agnoscitur."