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sions of that famous assembly on these intricate subjects. This way of thinking was so exactly followed by the successors of Sigismund, that they never would allow the opinion of Calvin, concerning the divine decrees, to be considered as the public and received doctrine of the reformed churches in their dominions. It must be particularly mentioned, to the honour of this wise prince, that he granted to his subjects an entire liberty in religious matters, and left it to their unrestrained and free choice, whether they would remain in the profession of Lutheranism, or follow the example of their sovereign; nor did he exclude from civil honours and employments, or from the usual marks of his protection and favour, those who continued in the faith of their ancestors. This lenity and moderation, which seemed so adapted to prevent jealousy and envy, and to satisfy both parties, did not however produce this natural and salutary effect; nor were they sufficient to restrain within the bounds of decency and charity several warm and inconsiderate votaries of Lutheranism. These over-zealous persons, who breathed the violent spirit of an age, in which matters of consequence were usually carried on with vehemence and rigour, looked upon it as intolerable and highly provoking, that the Lutherals and Calvinists should enjoy the same honours and prerogatives; that all injurious terms and odious comparisons hould be banished from religious debates; that the controverted points in theology should either be entirely omitted in the sermons and public discourses of the clergy, or explained with a spirit of modesty and Christian charity; that certain rites which displeased the Calvinists should be totally abolished; and that they who differed in opinions, should te obliged to live in peace, concord, and the mutual exchange of good offices. If it was unreasonable in them to be offended at injunctions of this nature, it was still more so to discover their indignation, in a manner that excited not only sharp and uncharitable debates, but also civil commotions and violent tumults, that disturbed considerably the tranquillity of the state, and nourished a spirit of sedition and resolt, which the labour of years was employed to extiigoi-b in vain. In this troubled state of things, the divines of Sarouy, and more especially those of Wittemberg, undertook to defend the Lutheran cause ; but if it be acknowledged, on the one hand, that their views were good, and their in
upright; it must be owned, on the other, that their style
discovered an equal degree of pious zeal and for-
divided among themselves, and living in discords
ligion, and the well-being of society. Hence seve-
the gor thu
COLE 000 reli ste the
d 'The edicts of Sigismund and his successors, relating to this change in the state of religion in Brandenburg, have been several times republished in one collection. Beside these, there are many books, treatises, and pamphlets, which give an account of this remarkable transaction, and of which the reader will find a complete list in the German work, entitled, Unschuldigen Nachrichten, An. 1745, p. 34, A. 1746, p. 326. compared with Jo. Carol. Kocheri Bibliotheca Theologica symbolica, p. 312. The reader who desires to attain to a perfect acquaintance with this controversy, and to be able to weigh the merits of the cause, by having a true state of the case before him, will do well to consult Arnoldi, Histor. Eccles. et Haret. p. ii. lib. xvii. c. vii. p. 965. Cyprian's Unterright von der Vereinigung der Protestant,' p. 75, and in Append. Monum.'p. 225. • Unschuldigen Vachrichten,' A. 1729, p. 1067, and A. 1732, p. 715. They who affirm that the elector's ultimate end, in changing the face of religion in his dominions, was not the prospect of augmenting and extending his authority, found their opinion rather on conjecture than on demonstration ; nor do they confirm this assertion by testimonies that are sufficient to bring full conviction. It must, however, be acknowledged, on the other hand, that their conjectures have neither an absurd nor an improbable aspect.
communions; and that the difference of opinion between the contending parties, turned either upon points of an abstruse and incomprehensible nature, or upon matters of indifference, which neither tended to render mankind wiser nor 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 Christian charity, but also to enter into the fraternal bonds of church communion. The greatest part of the reformed doctors seemed disposed to acknowledge, 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 toward 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 principles 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, supercilious arrogance, and such like odious denominations. The Lutherans were not behind hand with their adversaries in acrimony of style; they recriminated with vehemence, and charged their accusers with instances of misconduct, different in kind, but equally condemnable. They reproached them with having dealt disingenuously by disguising, under ambiguous expressions, the real doctrine of the reformed churches; they observed further, that their adversaries, notwithstanding their consummate prudence and circumspection, gave plain proofs, on many occasions, that their propensity to a reconciliation between the two churches arose from views of private interest, rather than from a zeal for the public good.
iv. Among the public transactions relative to the pro
ject of a union between the reformed and Lutheran of the synod churches, we must not omit mentioning the at
tempt made by James I, king of Great Britain to accomplish this salutary purpose, in the year 1615. The person employed for this end by the British monarch, was Peter du Moulin, the most eminent among the Protestant doctors in France ;“ but this design was neither carried on with spirit, nor attended with success. Another attempt of the same pacific nature was made in the year 1631, in the synod of Charenton, in which an act was passed by the reformed doctors of that respectable assembly, declaring the Lutheran system of religion conformable with the spirit of true.piety, and free from pernicious and fundamental errors. By this act, a fair opportunity was offered to the Lutherans of joining with the reformed church upon honourable terms, and of entering into the bonds both of civil and religious communion with their Calvinistical brethren. But this candid and charitable proceeding was attended with very little fruit, since few of the Lutherans were disposed to embrace the occasion that was here so freely offered them, of terminating the dissensions that separated the two churches. The same year a conference was held at Leipsic between the Saxon doctors, Hoe, Lyser, and Hopfner, on the one side, and some of the most eminent divines of Hesse. Cassel and Brandenburg, on the other; to the end that, by exposing with fidelity and precision their respective doctrines, it might be more easily seen what the real obstacles were that stood in the way of the union projected between the two churches. This conference was conducted with decency and moderation, and the deliberations were neither disturbed by intemperate zeal, nor by a proud spirit of contention and dispute ; but that openness of heart, that mutual trust and confidence, which are so essential to the success of all kinds of pacification, were wanting here. For though the doctors of the reformed party exposed, with the utmost precision, • See La Vassor, Hist. de Louis XIII. tom. ii. p. ii. p. 21.
r King James, who would have abandoned the most important and noble design, at any time, to discuss a point of grammar or tbeology, or to gain a point of interest for himself or his minions, ne lected this union of the Lutheran and reformed churches, which he had begun to promote with such an appearance of piety and zeal.
& Benoit, Histoire de l'Edit de Nantes, tom. ii. p. 544. Aymon, Actes des Synodes Nationaux des Eglises Reformées de France, tom. ii. p. 500. Ittigii Dissert. de Synoda Carentoniensis indulgentia erga Lutheranos. Lips. 1705, 4to.
and fairness, the tenets of their church, and made moreover many concessions, which the Lutherans themselves could scarcely expect; yet the latter, suspicious and fearful, and always apprehensive of schemes, formed by artifice under the mask of candour, to betray and ensnare them, did not dare to acknowledge, that they were satisfied with these explications and offers; and thus the conference broke up without having contributed in any respect to promote the salutary work of peace. To form a true idea of these pacific deliberations, of the reasons that gave rise to them, and of the principles by which they were conducted, it will be necessary to study the civil history of this interesting period with attention and care.
v. Uladislaus IV. king of Poland, formed a still more extensive plan of religious union than those hitherto mentioned; he proposed a reconciliation, encent Thorn not only between the reformed and Lutheran churches, but also between these two communions and that of Rome. For this purpose, he ordered a conference to be held at Thorn, in the year 1645, the issue of which, as might naturally have been expected, was far from being favourable to the projected union; for the persons employed by the three churches to heal their divisions, or at least to calm their animosities, returned from this conference with a greater measure of party zeal, and a smaller portion of Christian charity, than they had brought to it.
The conference held at Cassel in the year 1661, by the order of William VI. landgrave of Hesse, between Musæus and Henichius, professors at Rintelen, on the side of the Lutherans, and Curtius and Heinsius, of the university of Marpurg, on that of the reformed, was attended with much more success; and, if it did not bring about a perfect uniformity of opinion, it produced what was much better, a spirit of Christian charity and forbearance. For these candid doctors, after having diligently examined the nature, and weighed the importance of the controversies that divided the two churches, embraced each other with reciprocal marks of affection and esteem, and mutually declared that their respective doctrines were less different
h Tinianni Gasselü Historia Sacra et Ecclesiastica, p. ii. in addendis, p. 597-613, in which the Aets of this conference are published. Jo. Wolfg. Jaegeri Historia Sæculi xvii. Deceon. iv. p. 497. This testimony of Dr. Mosheim, who was himself a Lu. theran, is singularly honourable to the reformed doctors. VOL. IV.