The Life of Hugo Grotius
by Charles Butler
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To reduce the Hugonots, to lower the nobility, to elevate France to be the preponderating power in Europe, were the three objects, which the Cardinal proposed to himself. In each, he had difficulties to encounter, which extraordinary talents only could surmount. By a strict administration of justice, and severely punishing, without respect to rank or connections, those, who engaged in treasonable practices, he completely subdued the towering spirit of the nobility; by victorious armies and a vigorous dispensation of the laws, he reduced the Hugonots; and, by calling forth all the energies of his country, and arraying half the Continent against Austria and Spain, he gave to France an almost irresistible ascendant in the concerns of Europe.

[Sidenote: CHAP. XI 1634-1645.]

To the last only of these three designs our present subject leads us.

Sweden had long been engaged in a war against Denmark, and highly dissatisfied with Austria. By the persuasion of Richelieu, she made peace with the Danes, and entered into an offensive and defensive alliance with France. In consequence of it, Gustavus Adolphus was placed at the head of the Protestant confederacy: a large army of Swedes entered Germany; Gustavus was invested with the command of the confederate forces, and his brilliant campaigns turned the tide of success in their favour. At Lutzen he obtained a complete victory, but lost his life.

[Sidenote: Embassy of Grotius to the Court of France.]

After the death of Gustavus, the States assembled, and the Mareschal of the Diet proposed, that the celebrated Christina, the only child of Gustavus, then an infant of very tender years, should be crowned: the Mareschal carried her in his arms into the midst of the assembly. On observing her, all were struck with her likeness to her father. "Yes!" they cried, "it is she herself! she has the eyes, the nose and the forehead of Gustavus! We will have her for our queen!" She was immediately seated on the throne, and proclaimed queen. The regency of the kingdom, during the minority of Christina, was conferred on the Chancellor Oxenstiern: he had been the confidential minister and friend of Gustavus, and shewed through life that he deserved that confidence, by his wisdom, eminent talents, and spotless integrity. Both the monarch and his minister entertained a high opinion of the abilities and virtue of Grotius: His treatise De Jure Belli et Pacis was found, after the death of Gustavus, in the royal tent.

4. Not long after the disastrous victory of the Swedes at Lutzen, the Austrian and confederate armies conflicted at Nordlingen, in one of the most obstinate and bloody battles recorded in history: the confederates were completely defeated. The blame was thrown on the Swedes; they were deserted by almost all their Protestant allies, and the weight of the war devolved almost entirely upon the Swedes and the French. Till this time, they had acted and negociated on an equality: the loss of this battle made the Swedes dependent upon France, and the haughty genius of Richelieu made them severely feel it.

[Sidenote: CHAP. XI. 1634-1645.]

The first object of Oxenstiern was to renew the treaty with France: a skilful negociator on the part of Sweden was necessary. Oxenstiern fixed his eye upon Grotius: the penetrating minister had several conversations with him. The embassy to France was certainly the most important commission, with which a minister from Sweden could be charged: Oxenstiern's appointment of Grotius to it, demonstrated the minister's high opinion of him. Some time in July 1634, he declared Grotius councillor to the Queen of Sweden, and her ambassador to the court of France. Grotius made his public entry into Paris on Friday the 2d of March 1635. Nothing of the customary ceremonial or compliment was omitted in his regard, by the court of France.

Unfortunately for the success of the embassy of Grotius, two envoys from some of the Protestant states in Germany had previously signed a treaty with France, which was generally considered by the confederates to be injurious to their interests.

[Sidenote: Embassy of Grotius to the Court of France.]

The first interview of Grotius with the Cardinal took place on the 28th March. During their conference, a dispatch arrived from Oxenstiern to Grotius: it was immediately put into his bands, by the Cardinal's desire. It announced a resolution, taken by the Chancellor, to repair to Paris, and that he was actually on his journey thither. Richelieu was displeased: but he determined to give the chancellor the most honourable and flattering reception. On the 21st of April, Grotius met Oxenstiern at Soissons: they proceeded together to Paris. Conferences between the Cardinal and the Chancellor immediately took place. The matter in discussion between the courts were soon arranged: France undertook to declare war against the emperor, to subsidize Sweden, and to send an army to co-operate with her forces in Germany. It has always been considered highly creditable to the firmness and talents of Oxenstiern, that, in the reduced condition of the Swedes, he could obtain for them such advantageous terms. Immediately after the treaty was signed, the Chancellor quitted France. During his stay, he shewed a marked attention to Grotius, and expressed unqualified approbation of his conduct and views.

The arms of Sweden again triumphed. In Pomerania, General Bannier obtained important advantages over the imperialists; in Alsace, the arms of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar were equally successful. In the following year, the two victorious generals carried their arms into the heart of the Austrian territories, and, were almost uniformly successful.

[Sidenote: CHAP. XI. 1634-1645.]

But it is foreign to these pages to dwell further on the military achievements or political intrigues of the times of which we are speaking. Humanity shudders at the perusal of the events of this war. Through the whole of its long period, Germany was a scene of devastation. In its northern and central parts, the ravages of advancing and retreating armies were repeatedly experienced in their utmost horrors: many of its finest towns were destroyed; whole villages depopulated; large territories laid waste. Frequently the women, the children, and the aged, naked, pale, and disfigured, were seen wandering over the fields, supporting themselves by the leaves of trees, by wild roots, and even grass. The war extended itself into Lorraine: an affecting account of the calamities, which it produced in that beautiful province, was published by Father Caussin, who accompanied Lewis XIII into it, as his confessor.

[Sidenote: Embassy of Grotius to the Court of France.]

Struck with the scene of woe, St. Vincent of Paul, an humble missionary priest, who, at that time, resided at Paris, requested an audience of Cardinal de Richelieu. Being admitted, he represented to his eminence, with respect, but with firmness, the misery of the people, the sins, and all the other enormities, which are the usual consequences of war: he then fell upon his knees, and in a voice, equally animated by grief and charity, "Sir!" he said to the Cardinal "have mercy upon us! Have compassion upon the world! Give us peace!" The stern and vindictive genius of the Cardinal sunk before the man of God. He raised Vincent from the ground. He told him, with much apparent benignity, that "the general pacification of Europe was his great object, but that unfortunately it did not depend on him alone; there being, both within and without the kingdom, those who sought the contrary, and prevented peace." Few ministers have shewn greater ability, or produced greater public or private misery, than Richelieu. It may, on the other hand, be doubted, whether, at the day of general retribution, when every child of Adam will have to account for his works, even one will appear with more numerous deeds of useful and heroic charity than St. Vincent of Paul.[042]

[Sidenote: CHAP. XI. 1634-1645.]

The affairs of the important embassy entrusted to Grotius, prospered in his hands. In his conduct, there was an uniform assemblage of prudence, activity, moderation, and firmness. To the French monarch, he was always acceptable—not always so to the cardinal minister. It was the constant object of the latter, to delay the payments of the subsidies promised to Sweden, or to make deductions from them; and to lessen the number of soldiers, which France was bound, by treaty to supply. Sometimes by blandishments, sometimes by loftiness, the minister or his agents endeavoured to induce Grotius to sanction these irregularities: but Grotius was always true to the interests of the country which he represented: it does not appear, that the Cardinal gained a single point against him. Towards the close of his embassy, Grotius succeeded in renewing the treaty between Sweden and France, on terms which were considered to do great honour to his diplomatic talents.

In the discharge of his embassy, Grotius had to sustain other unpleasantnesses. His pension was not regularly paid: this often subjected him to great inconveniences. He had disputes respecting rank and ceremonial, both with the French ministry and the ambassadors of other states. It must surprise an English reader to find, that Grotius questioned the right of the English ambassador to precedence over him: the French court often played one ambassador, against the other.

[Sidenote: Embassy of Grotius to the Court of France.]

In the midst of these troubles, Grotius preserved the serenity of his mind; and his attachment to sacred and profane literature. He cultivated the acquaintance of the learned and the good, of every communion; and possessed their esteem and regard. His conduct as ambassador was always approved by the Chancellor Oxenstiern, while he lived, and after his decease, by his son and successor in his office. The Queen of Sweden was equally favourable to Grotius; but she unadvisedly took an adventurer into her confidence, and sent him, in an ambiguous character, to Paris. This disgusted Grotius: and age and infirmities now thickened upon him. He applied to the Queen for his recall. She granted it in the most flattering terms, and desired him to repair immediately to Stockholm, to receive, from her, distinguished marks of her favour. She wrote to the Queen of France, a letter, in which she expressed herself in a manner highly honourable to Grotius: she acknowledged her obligations to him and protested that she never would forget them. This was towards the month of March 1645.

[Sidenote: CHAP. XI. 1634-1645.]

About three years after this event, the war of thirty years was concluded by the peace of Westphalia. France and the Protestant princes of Europe dictated the terms: the Swedes were indemnified for their charges of the war, by Pomerania, Steten, Rugen, Wismar and Verden: the house of Brandenburgh obtained Magdeburgh, Halberstad, Minden and Camin; Alsace was conquered, and retained by France; Lusatia, was ceded to Saxony. The history of the treaty of Westphalia has been ably written by Father Bougeant, a French Jesuit: some critics have pronounced it the best historical work in the French language. Till the late revolution of France, it was the breviary of all French aspirants to political distinction.



1. Subsequent History of Arminianism. 2. Grotius's Religious Sentiments. 3. His Projects of Religious Pacification.

XII. 1.

Subsequent History of Arminianism.

We left the Arminians under the iron arm of Prince Maurice:—He died in 1625:—We have mentioned, that Prince Frederick-Henry his brother, and successor in the Stadtholderate, adopted more moderate councils in their regard; that he recalled the Remonstrants, with some exceptions, from banishment; that many settled at Amsterdam and Rotterdam; and that the Arminians founded a college in the former city:—Episcopius was its first professor of theology:—it has never been without teachers, of eminence for learning, as Courcelles, Pollemberg, Limborch, Le Clerc, Cottemburgh, and Wetstein.

[Sidenote: CHAP. XII.]

It should be added, that the authority of the Synod of Dort insensibly declined:—its authority was never formally acknowledged by the provinces of Friesland, Zealand, Utrecht, Gueldreland and Groeningen: In 1651, they were induced to intimate that they would see with pleasure, the reformed religion maintained upon the footing, upon which it had been maintained and confirmed by the Synod of Dort; but this intimation was never considered to have the force of a legislative enactment.[043]

[Sidenote: XII.1. History of Arminianism.]

The theological system of the Arminians, after their return to Holland, underwent, if we credit Dr. Mosheim,[044] a remarkable change. They appear, by his account, to have almost coincided with those, who exclude the necessity of divine grace in the work of conversion and sanctification; and think that Christ demands from men, rather virtue than faith; and has confined that belief, which is essential for salvation, to very few articles. Thus the modern Arminians, according to Dr. Mosheim, admit into their communion,—1st. All, with an exception of Catholics, who receive the holy scriptures; and more especially the New Testament; allowing at the same time to every individual, his own interpretation of the sacred books:—2dly. All whose lives are regulated by the law of God:—3dly. And all, who neither persecute nor bear ill will towards those who differ from them in their religious sentiments. Their Confession of Faith was drawn up by Episcopius in 1622: four divines of the established church of Holland published a Refutation of it: the authors of the Confession replied to it in the following year, by their Apology.

[Sidenote: CHAP. XII.]

James I. of England directed his theological representatives in the Synod of Dort, to join the members in the condemnation of the doctrines of Arminius:—but, when the English divines returned from that assembly, and gave a full account of its proceedings, the King and the greatest part of the English clergy expressed their dissatisfaction with them, and declared that the sentiments of Arminius on the divine decrees, was preferable to those of Calvin and Gomarus. By the exertions of Archbishop Laud, and afterwards, in consequence of the general tendency of the public mind to doctrines of mildness and comprehension, an Arminian construction of the English articles on predestination and free-will was adopted:—it has since prevailed,—and the Arminian creed, by the number of its secret or open adherents, has insensibly found admittance into every Protestant church.

[Sidenote: History of Arminianism.]

If we believe the celebrated Jurieu[045], Arminianism even in its Socinian form, abounded, in less than a century, after the death of Arminius, in the United Provinces, and among the Hugonots of the adjacent part of France. By his account, the dispersion of the French Hugonots, in consequence of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, revealed to the terrified reformers of the original school, the alarming secret of the preponderance of Socinianism in the reformed church. Its members, according to Jurieu, being no longer under the controul of the civil power, spread their Socinian principles every where, with the utmost activity and success: even in England, Jurieu professed to discover the effect of their exertions. He mentions that in 1698, thirty-four French refugee ministers residing in London addressed a letter to the synod, then sitting at Amsterdam, in which they declared, that Socinianism had spread so rapidly, that, if the ecclesiastical assemblies supplied no means for checking their growth, or used palliatives only, the mischief would be incurable.

[Sidenote: CHAP. XII.]

This charge, however, the Arminians have indignantly rejected. A writer in the Bibliotheque Germanique[046] relates, that

"the celebrated Anthony Collins called on M. Le Clerc of Amsterdam: He was accompanied by some Frenchmen, of the fraternity of those, who think freely. They expected to find the religious opinions of Le Clerc in unison with their own, but, they were surprised to find the strong stand which he made in favour of revelation. He proved to them, with great strength of argument, the truth of the Christian religion. Jesus Christ, he told them, was born among the Jews; still, it was not the Jewish religion which he taught; neither was it the religion of the Pagan neighbourhood; but, a religion infinitely superior to both. One sees in it the most striking marks of divinity. The Christians, who followed, were incapable of imagining any thing so beautiful. Add to this, that the Christian religion is so excellently calculated for the good of society, that, if we did not derive so great a present from heaven, the good and safety of men would absolutely demand from them an equivalent."

Throughout the conversation, M. Le Clerc reproached the Deists strongly, for the hatred, which they shewed to Christianity. He proved, that, by banishing it from the world,

"they would overturn whatever was most holy and respectable among men; break asunder the surest bonds of humanity; teach men to shake off the yoke of law; deprive them of their strongest incitement to virtue, and bereave them of their best comfort. What," (he asked them) "do you substitute in its place? Can you flatter yourself, that you will discover something better? You expect, no doubt, that men will erect statues to you, for your exertions to deprive them of their religion! Permit me to tell you, that the part you act makes you odious and despicable in the eyes of all honest men."

He finished the conversation by requesting Mr. Collins to bring him no more such visitors.

[Sidenote: XII. 1. History of Arminians.]

From the close of the 17th century, till the present time, Arminianism has been continually on the increase. It is a just observation of Mr. Gibbon, that "the disciples of Arminius must not be computed by their separate congregations."

Doctor Maclaine says, it is certain, that the most eminent philosophers have been found among the Arminians. "If both Arminians and Calvinists," says Mr. Evans, in the excellent work we have cited,

"claim a King (James I.), it is certain that the latter alone can boast of a Newton, a Locke, a Clarke, or a Boyle. Archbishop Usher is said to have lived a Calvinist; and died an Arminian. The members of the episcopal church in Scotland; the Moravians, the general Baptists, the Wesleyan Methodists, the Quakers or Friends, are Arminians; and it is supposed that a great proportion of the Kirk of Scotland teach the doctrines of Arminius, though they have a Calvinistic confession of faith. What a pity it is that the opinions either of Calvinists or Arminians,"

—(we beg leave to add: or any other Catholic or Protestant opinions whatsoever)—

"cannot in the eyes of some persons be held without a diminution of Christian charity!"

XII. 2.

Grotius's Religious Sentiments.

[Sidenote: CHAP. XII.]

To the milder form of Arminianism, Grotius always inclined. During his embassy in France, he adopted it without reserve. He was soon disgusted with the French Calvinists. The ministers of Charenton accepted the decisions of the Synod of Dort, and, in conformity with them, refused, when Grotius repaired to Paris, after his escape from Louvestein, to admit him into their communion. On his arrival at Paris, in quality of ambassador, they offered to receive him: Grotius expressed pleasure at the proposal; and, intimated to them, that if he should go into any country, in which the Lutherans, knowing his sentiments on the sacrament of our Lord's Supper, should be willing to receive him into their communion, he would make no difficulty in joining them. Thus every thing appeared to be settled; but the ministers then objected to receive Grotius as ambassador from Sweden, because that kingdom was Lutheran. Grotius, upon this, resolved to have the divine service performed in his house. Lutherans publicly attended it. "We have celebrated," he writes to his brother, "the Feast of the Nativity in my house: the Duke of Wirtemberg, the Count de Saxenburgh, and several Swedish and German lords, attended at it." His first chaplain was imprudent, his second gave him great satisfaction.

[Sidenote: XII. 2. Grotius' Religious Sentiments.]

Burigni has collected, in the last chapter of his Life of Grotius, a multitude of passages, which shew his gradual leaning to the Roman Catholic faith. He produces several passages from his works, which prove,—

That he paid high regard to decisions of the councils, and the discipline of the primitive church; and thought the sentiments of the antient church should be deferred to, in the explanation of the Scriptures: [047]

That, the early reformers were held by him in no great esteem:[048]

That, mentioning Casaubon's sentiments, Grotius said that this learned man thought the Roman Catholics of France better informed than those of other countries, and came nearer to truth than the ministers of Charenton:—

"It cannot," says Grotius, "be denied, that there are several Roman Catholic pastors here, who teach true religion, without any mixture of superstition; it were to be wished that all did the same:"[049]

That the Calvinists were schismatics, and had no mission:[050]

[Sidenote: CHAP. XII.]

That the Jesuits were learned men and good subjects. "I know many of them," he says, in one of his writings against Rivetus, "who are very desirous to see abuses abolished, and the church restored to its primitive unity."—We shall hereafter see that Father Petau, an illustrious member of the society, possessed the confidence of Grotius:[051]

That, Grotius looked upon the abolition of episcopacy and of a visible head of the church, as something very monstrous:[052]

That, he acknowledged that some change was made in the eucharistic bread; that, when Jesus Christ, being sacramentally present, favours us with his substance,—as the Council of Trent expresses its doctrine on the Eucharist,—the appearances of bread and wine remain, and in their place succeed the body and blood of Christ: [053]

[Sidenote: XII. 2. Grotius's Religious Sentiments.]

That, Grotius did not approve of the sentiments of the Calvinists concerning the Eucharist, and reproached them with their contradiction.

"You will hear them state in their confessions," says Grotius, "that they really, substantially and essentially partake of Christ's body and his blood; but, in their disputes, they maintain that Christ is received only spiritually, by faith. The antients go much further: they admit a real incorporation of Jesus Christ with us, and the reality of Christ's body, as Saint Hilarius speaks."

It must however be remarked that, although Grotius thought that the term Transubstantiation adopted by the council of Trent, was capable of a good interpretation, it is not clear, what was his precise opinion respecting the Eucharist. He proposed the following formulary:

"We believe that, in the use of the supper, we truly, really, and substantially,—that is to say,—in its proper substance,—receive the true body and the true blood of Jesus Christ, in a spiritual and ineffable manner: [054]"

That, Grotius justified the decision of the Council of Trent, concerning the number of the sacraments:[055]

That, after the year 1640, he took no offence at the use of images in churches, or at prayers for the dead:[056]

That, he thought the bishops of Rome may be in error, but cannot long remain in it, if they adhere to the universal church;—this seems to presuppose the church's infallibility:[057]

[Sidenote: CHAP. XII.]

That in the opinion of Grotius; fasting was early used in the church; the observance of Lent was a very early practice: the sign of the cross had something respectable in it; the fathers held virginity a more perfect state than marriage; and the celibacy of the priests conformable to the antient discipline of the church:[058]


"that those, who shall read the decrees of the Council of Trent, with a mind disposed to peace, will find that every thing is wisely explained in them: and agreeable to what is taught by the Scriptures and the antient fathers."[059]

It is certain, that Grotius was intimate with Father Petau, a Jesuit, inferior to none of his society, in genius and learning; that the good father used all his endeavours to convert Grotius to the Roman Catholic religion; and was, at length, so much persuaded of his friend's catholicity, that, when he heard of his death, he said prayers for the repose of his soul.[060]

[Sidenote: XII. 3. His Project of Religious Pacification.]

As the religion of Grotius was a problem to many, Menage wrote the following Epigram upon it: the sense of it is, that—

"As many sects claimed the religion of Grotius, as the towns, which contended for the birth of Homer."

Smyrna, Rhodos, Colophon, Salamis, Chios, Argos, Athenae, Siderei certant vatis de patria Homeri: Grotiadae certant de religione, Socinus, Arrius, Arminius, Calvinus, Roma, Lutherus.

XII. 3.

Grotius's Project of Religious Pacification.

A wish for religious peace among Christians grew with the growth and strengthened with the strength of Grotius. It was known, before his imprisonment at Louvestein, that he entertained these sentiments: he avows them in the dedication to Lewis XIII. of his treatise de Jure Belli et Pacis.

"I shall never cease," he says in a letter to his brother,[061] "to use my utmost endeavours for establishing peace among Christians; And, if I should not succeed, it will be honourable to die in such an enterprise." "I am not the only one, who has conceived such projects," he writes in another letter to his brother:[062] "Erasmus, Cassander; Wicelius and Casaubon had the same design. La Meletiere is employed at present in it. Cardinal de Richelieu declares that he will protect the coalition; and he is such a fortunate man, that he never undertakes any thing, in which he does not succeed. If there were no hopes of success at present, ought we not to sow the seed, which may he useful to posterity?[063] Even if we should only diminish the mutual hatred among Christians, and render them more sociable, would not this be worth purchasing at the price of some labour and reproaches?"[064]

Grotius expressed himself in similar terms to Baron Oxenstiern: Surely it is the true language of the Gospel.

[Sidenote: CHAP. XII.]

In the first appendix to this work,—we shall insert, an account

"of the Formularies, Confessions of Faith, and Symbolic Books, of the Roman Catholic, Greek, and principal Protestant churches:"—

In the second appendix,—we shall insert an account of the principal attempts made, since the Reformation, for the re-union of Christians.—The former is abridged from the "Historical and Literary Account of the Confessions of Faith," which was formerly published by the present writer;—the second is an essay appended to that work:—both have been before referred to in the present publication.

[Sidenote: XII. 3. His Project of Religious Pacification.]

Grotius[065] thought that the most compendious way to produce universal religious peace among Christians, would be to frame, with the concurrence of all the orthodox Eastern and Western churches, a formulary which should express, briefly and explicitly, all the articles of faith, the belief of which they agree in thinking essential to salvation. In a letter addressed from Paris in 1625,[066] he mentions that Gustavus Adolphus had entertained projects of religious pacification, and had taken measures to effect it; that he had procured a meeting of divines of the Lutheran and Reformed churches and that they had separated amicably: Grotius says that the differences between them were as slight as those between the Greek and Coptic churches.

For some time, Grotius flattered himself that he should succeed in his project of pacification. In one of his letters to his brother, he mentions distinguished Protestants, who approved and encouraged them

"I perceive," he says, "that by conversing with men of the most learning among the reformed, and explaining my sentiments to them, they are of my opinion; and that their number will increase, if my treatises are dispersed. I can truly affirm, that I have said nothing in them from party spirit, but followed truth as closely as I could."[067]

[Sidenote: CHAP. XII.]

He imagined that some Catholics entered into his views.

"The ablest men among the Catholics," he thus writes to his brother, "think that what I have published is written with great freedom and moderation, and approve of it."[068]

These pacific projects of Grotius cemented the union between him and Father Petau.

"I had," says that most learned Jesuit, in his 12th Letter, "a great desire to see and converse with Grotius. We have been long together, and very intimate. He is, as far as I can judge, a good man, and possesses great candour. I do not think him far from becoming a Catholic, after the example of Holstenius as you hoped. I shall neglect nothing in my power to reconcile him to Christ, and put him in the way of salvation."[069]

[Sidenote: His Project of Religious Pacification.]

[Sidenote: CHAP. XII.]

[Sidenote: XII. 3. His Project of Religious Pacification.]

[Sidenote: CHAP. XII.]

As Grotius lays so much stress on the pacific labours of Erasmus, Wicelius, Cassander and Casaubon, we shall briefly mention, in the present chapter, the labours of the three first: Casaubon's we shall notice, in the second appendix to this work.

[Sidenote: XII. 3. His Project of Religious Pacification.]

[Sidenote: CHAP. XII.] It appears that Erasmus had it in contemplation to compose three dialogues, upon the important subject of religious pacification: the speakers were to have been Luther, under the name of Thrasimacus, and a Catholic divine, under that of Eubolus. In the first dialogue, they were to have discussed the proper methods of terminating the religious controversies of the times; in the second, to have investigated what were the points in controversy, the belief of which was essential to a member of the church of Christ; in the third, they were to have inquired what were the best means to procure a good understanding between the contending parties, and to effect their union. It is to be lamented that Erasmus did not execute his design. His general sentiments appear in his Paraphrase upon the 83d Psalm; they are expressed with great wisdom and moderation.[071]

[Sidenote: XII. 3. His Project of Religious Pacification.]

Wicelius,—who is next mentioned by Grotius, had been professed in a religious order: had quitted it, and embraced Lutheranism: he afterwards forsook that communion, and returned to the Catholic: upon this, he was appointed to a curacy; and, in the discharge of his functions, obtained general esteem: he was much regarded by the Emperors Ferdinand and Maximilian. In 1537, he published at Leipsic a Latin work, "On the method of procuring Religious Concord,—Methodus Concordiae Ecclesiasticae." He addressed it to the pope, to all sovereigns, bishops, doctors, and generally to all christians, exhorting them to peace, and to desist from contention. He assumed in it, that the true religion had been preserved in the Catholic church; but he allows that modern doctors had involved it in numerous scholastic subtleties, unknown to antiquity. He complains that on one hand the reformers left nothing untouched; that, on the other, the scholastics would retain every abuse, and every superfluity: Wisdom, he thought, lay between them; the reformers should have respected what antiquity consecrated; the Catholics should have abandoned modern doctrines and modern practices to the discretion of individuals.

The "Royal Road," or Via Regia of Wicelius, a still more important work, was published by him at Helmstadt in 1537. Both works were approved, and the perusal of them warmly recommended, by the emperors: they have been often reprinted; they are inserted, with a life of their author, in the second volume of Brown's Fasciculus.

"If all the divines of those times," says Father Simon the oratorian,[073] "had possessed the same spirit as Wicelius, the affairs of religion might have taken a different turn."

[Sidenote: CHAP. XII.]

[Sidenote: XII.3. His Project of Religious Pacification]

Cassander, another peacemaker, mentioned with praise by Grotius, is the subject of a long and interesting article in Dupin's Ecclesiastical History:[074]

"He was," says Dupin, "solidly learned; and thoroughly versed in ecclesiastical antiquity and the controversies of his own times. The flaming zeal, which he had for the re-union and peace of the church, made him yield much to the Protestants, and led him to advance some propositions that were too bold. But he always kept in the communion of the Catholic church. He declared that he submitted to its judgments, and openly condemned the authors of the schism and their principal errors. He was a gentle, humble and moderate man; patient under afflictions, and entirely disinterested. In his disputes, he never returned injury for injury; and neither in his manners nor in his writings were presumption or arrogance ever discoverable. He avoided glory, honor, or wealth; and lived private and retired, having no other thought or wish, but to promote the peace of the church; no employment, but study; no business, but to compose books, which might be profitable to the public; and no passion, but knowing and teaching the truth."

His character procured him universal respect. The emperor and several Catholic princes in Germany fixed upon him as a mediator in the religious disputes, by which the empire was, at that time, agitated. In conformity with their views he published his celebrated, "Consultatio de Articulis Religionis inter Catholicos et Protestantes Controversis."

"In this work," says Mr. Chalmers, "he discusses the several articles of the Augsburgh Confession, stating their difference from the doctrines of the Catholic church, and the concessions that might safely be made in respect to them. This work was written with great liberality, was much applauded by those, who were desirous of a coalition: they were too soon convinced that every attempt of this kind was nugatory. Cassander presented it to the Emperors Ferdinand I. and Maximilian II. They received it favourably; the former invited Cassander to Vienna, but his infirmities prevented his accepting the offer."

[Sidenote: CHAP. XII.]

In 1542, Grotius published his "Road to Religious Peace,—Via ad Pacem Ecclesiasticam:" he inserted in it Cassander's "Consultation," and accompanied it with notes.

All pacific persons reverenced Grotius, and still reverence his memory, for his attempts to restore the religious peace of Christendom: all the violent condemned him, and opposed his projects. The contradictions, which he met with, chagrined him; so that he sometimes lost that tranquillity of mind, which he had possessed in his deepest adversity. But, to use his own words, he looked to the blessed Peacemaker for his reward, and trusted that posterity would do justice to its intentions.—

"Perhaps, by writing to reconcile such as entertain very opposite sentiments, I shall," says Grotius, "offend both parties: but, if that should so happen, I shall comfort myself with the example of him, who said, If I please men, I am not the servant of Christ."

[Sidenote: XII. 3. His Project of Religious Pacification.]

"Grotius," says Burigni, "content with gratifying his pacific desires, expected his reward from posterity. This he clearly intimates in the following verses, written by him on the subject:

"Accipe, sed placide, quae, si non optimo, certe Espressit nobis non mala pacis amor. Et tibi dic, nostro labor hic si displicet avo, A gratia pretium posteritate feret."

The projects of religious pacification did not cease with Grotius: several divines of distinction adopted it; and attempted, some with more prudence and ability than others, to carry it into effect. The principal of these are noticed in the second appendix to the present work. None succeeded: One description of persons, who engaged in this design, was denominated Syncretists, or Calixtines, from George Calixtus their leader: the other, from their calling men from controversy to holiness of life, received the appellation of Pietists: A third party,—perhaps we may style them, the Ultra-orthodox,—more hostile to the former than to the latter—arose in opposition to both, and accused them of sacrificing the doctrines of faith to a mistaken zeal for union and sanctity.[075]

It is certain[076] that the friends of union too often erred in this,—that they aimed rather at an uniformity of terms than of sentiments; and thus seemed satisfied, when they engaged the contending parties to use the same words and phrases, though their real difference in opinion remained the same. This could not be justified: it tended evidently to extinguish truth and honour, and to introduce equivocation.




[Sidenote: CHAP. XIII. 1645.]

Every thing respecting the recall of Grotius being settled, he embarked at Dieppe for Holland. He was extremely well received at Amsterdam and Rotterdam: the constituted authorities, of the former city fitted a vessel, which was to take him to Hamburgh: there, after along and harassing journey, he arrived on the 16th of May. From Hamburgh he proceeded to Luebec: the magistrates of that city gave him an honourable reception. He proceeded to Wismar; where Count Wismar, the admiral of the Swedish fleet, gave him a splendid entertainment, and afterwards sent him in a man-of-war to Colmar: thence, he went by land to Stockholm. When he arrived there, Queen Christina was at Upsal; but, hearing that Grotius was at Stockholm, she returned to that city to meet him. On the day after her arrival, she favoured him with a long audience: she expressed to him great satisfaction at his conduct, and made him large promises. These audiences were often repeated; and once she permitted him to have the honour of dining with her. She assured him, that if he would continue in her service, as Councillor of State, and bring his family into Sweden, he should have no reason to complain of her. But Grotius was anxious to leave Sweden; and his passport being delayed, he resolved to quit it without one, and actually proceeded to a seaport about seven leagues distant from Stockholm. The Queen, being informed of his departure, sent a gentleman to inform him, that she wished to see him once more. On this invitation he returned to Stockholm, and was immediately admitted into the Queen's presence; he then explained to her his reasons for wishing to quit Sweden. The Queen appeared to be satisfied with them: she made him a present in money of twelve or thirteen thousand Swedish imperials, of the value of about ten thousand French crowns; she added to the present, some plate, the finishing of which had, she told him, been the only cause of the delay of his passport. She then put it into his hands, and a vessel was appointed to carry him to Luebec. On the 12th August he embarked for that city.

[Sidenote: The Death of Grotius.]

What were his real motives for refusing Christina's offers, or in what place he ultimately intended to fix himself, is not known.

The vessel in which he embarked had scarcely sailed from Luebec, when it was overtaken by a violent storm, and obliged, on the 17th August, to take shelter in a port fourteen miles distant from Dantzic. Grotius went from it in an open wagon to Luebec, and arrived very ill at Rostock[077] on the 26th August. No one, there, knew him: his great weakness determined him to call in the aid of a physician: one accordingly attended him: his name was Stochman. On feeling Grotius's pulse, he said his indisposition proceeded from weakness and fatigue, and that, with rest and some restoratives, he might recover; but, on the following day he changed his opinion. Perceiving that the weakness of Grotius increased, and that it was accompanied with a cold sweat and other symptoms indicating an exhaustion of nature, the physician announced that the end of his patient was near. Grotius then asked for a clergyman. John Quistorpius was brought to him. Quistorpius, in a letter to Calovius, gives the following particulars of Grotius's last moments:

"You are desirous of hearing from me, how that Phoenix of Literature, Hugo Grotius, behaved in his last moments, and I am going to tell you. He embarked at Stockholm for Luebec, and after having been tossed for the three days, by a violent tempest, he was shipwrecked, and got to shore on the coast of Pomerania, from whence he came to our town of Rostock, distant above sixty miles, in an open wagon through wind and rain. He lodged with Balleman; and sent for M. Stochman, the physician, who observing that he was extremely weakened by years, by what he suffered at sea, and by the inconveniences attending the journey, judged that he could not live long. The second day after Grotius's arrival in this town, that is, on the 18th of August, O.S. he sent for me, about nine at night, I went, and found him almost at the point of death: I said, 'There was nothing I desired more, than to have seen him in health, that I might have the pleasure of his conversation.' He answered, 'God had ordered it otherwise.' I desired him: to prepare himself for a happier life, to acknowledge that he was a sinner, and to repent of his faults: and, happening to mention the publican, who acknowledged that he was a sinner, and asked God's mercy; he answered, 'I am that publican.' I went on, and told him that he must have recourse to Jesus Christ, without whom there is no salvation.'

"He replied, 'I place all my hope in Jesus Christ.'

[Sidenote: The Death of Grotius.]

"I began to repeat aloud in German, the prayer which begins Herr Jesu:[078] he followed me in a very low voice; with his hands clasped. When I had done, I asked him, 'if he understood me.' He answered, 'I understand you very well.' I continued to repeat to him those passages of the word of God, which are commonly offered to the remembrance of dying persons; and asking him, 'if he understood me,' he answered, 'I heard your voice, but I did not understand what you said.'

"These were his last words; soon afterwards he expired; just at midnight. His body was delivered to the physicians, who took out his bowels. I easily obtained leave to bury them in our principal church, which is dedicated to the Virgin."

His corpse, was afterwards carried to Delft, and deposited in the tomb of his ancestors. He wrote this modest epitaph for himself,


Burigni informs us that Grotius had a very agreeable person, a good complexion, an aquiline nose, sparkling eyes, a serene and smiling countenance; that he was not tall, but very strong, and well built. The engraving of him prefixed to the Hugonis Grotii Manes answers this description.

It is needless to give an account of his descendants, or their prosperous or adverse fortunes: they are noticed at length by Burigni. In Mr. Boswell's Life of Johnson, mention is made of one who was then in a state of want. Dr. Johnson, in a letter to Dr. Vyse,

"requests him to recommend, an old friend, to his grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. His name," says the Doctor, "is De Groot. He has all the common claims to charity; he is poor and infirm in a great degree. He has likewise another claim, to which no scholar can refuse attention: he is, by several descents, the nephew of Hugo Grotius; of him, of whom every man of learning has perhaps learned something. Let it not be said, that, in any lettered country, the nephew of Grotius, ever asked a charity, and was refused."

The reader must be pleased, to be informed, that the application,—it was for some situation, in the charter-house,—was successful. Dr. Vyse informed Dr. Johnson of it, by letter. In his answer,

"Dr. Johnson," by Dr. Vyse's account, "rejoiced much, and was lavish of the praise he bestowed upon his favourite Hugo Grotius."[079]

[Sidenote: The Death of Grotius.]

Three points were united in Grotius, each of which would strongly recommend him to Dr. Johnson: he was learned, pious, and opposed to the doctrines of Calvin. It is still more unnecessary to mention the various encomiums, which the learned of all nations have made of Grotius, in prose and verse. That he was one of the most universal scholars, whom the world has produced, and that he possessed sense, taste, and genius in a high degree, is universally confessed. It is equally true, that both his public and his private character, are entitled to a high degree of praise.

When Queen Christina, heard of his death, she wrote to his widow, a letter of condolence, and requested, that the manuscripts which he had left, might be sent to her:

"My ambassador," the Queen says in this letter, "has made you acquainted, with my high esteem, for his learning, and the good services he did me; but he could not express, how dear I hold his memory, and the effects of his great labours. If gold, or silver, could do any thing towards redeeming such a valuable life, I would gladly employ all, I am mistress of, for that purpose."

She concludes by asking his widow, for all the manuscripts "of that learned man, whose works had given her such pleasure." The Queen assures her, that "they could not fall into better hands," and that, "the author, having been useful to her in his lifetime, it was not just that she should be deprived, after his death, of the fruits of his labours."

It remains to mention, that, after the death of Grotius, his wife communicated with the Church of England: this, it is said, she did in conformity to the dying injunctions of her husband: it is certain, that Grotius respected the Church of England. His wife died at the Hague, in the communion of the Remonstrants. Through life, she was uniformly respected; and, whenever the services of Grotius, to sacred and profane literature, are recorded, her services to him, should be mentioned with praise.




In some of the preceding pages, the principal events in the history of the Seven United Provinces, till the death of William II, in 1680, have been briefly mentioned: in the present chapter, we shall insert a summary account of the revolutions of their government, till the present time.

XIV. 1.

William III.


William III. was born after the death of William II. his father. Immediately after that event, his mother claimed for him the stadtholderate, and all the other dignities, pre-eminences, and rights, which his father and grandfather had enjoyed; but, so great, at that time, was the public jealousy of the ambitious views of the house of Orange, that the States General would not even take her claims into deliberation. A general assembly of the States was held in 1661. They confirmed the Treaty of Union, of 1579; attributed to themselves, the appointment of all civil and military offices; placed the army under the authority of the provinces and municipalities, and invested the council of state with the general direction of the military concerns of the nation. A war with England, which was then governed by Cromwell, soon followed; it was the commencement of the naval glory of the United States. But the government was distracted by the contests and dissensions between the republican and the Orange factions. The former were headed by John de Witt. He possessed transcendent abilities, was a true lover of his country, and, on every occasion, advised the wisest measures. Some of the military operations of the States proving unsuccessful, the Orange faction endeavoured to persuade the people, that this reverse of fortune was owing to the want of a Stadtholder; and exhorted them to confer this dignity on the young prince, to be exercised, during his minority, by one of the family. This proposition was successfully resisted by De Witt. Peace between England and the United Provinces being concluded, Cromwell endeavoured to unite them to England by a federative alliance; but they rejected the proposition. At the suggestion of De Witt, the States of Holland passed an Act, by which they bound themselves never to appoint the Prince of Orange, or any of his descendants, to the office of Stadtholder, or Captain General; and to prevent, to their utmost power, the other States from making such an appointment. This measure displeased the other States. In 1665, the office of Commander in Chief becoming vacant, the opposite party endeavoured to procure it for one of the Orange family; this attempt also proved abortive. In 1661 a war broke out between England,—which was then governed by Charles II., and the United States; these displayed in it, chiefly under the command of De Ruyter, prodigies of valour and naval skill; the year 1667 was famous in their annals, by their fleet's sailing up the river Thames, and burning the English fleet at Chatham. The peace of Breda immediately followed.

[Sidenote: XIV. 1. William III.]

Still, the civil discord continued. The States of Holland renewed the Edict of Exclusion, with the addition of a clause, that, whenever a person should be invested, with the office of Captain, or Admiral General, he should swear never to aspire to the office of Stadtholder, and to refuse it, if it should be offered to him.

[Sidenote: CHAP. XIV 1650—1702.]

The year 1671 is remarkable for the league entered into by Louis XIV. and Charles II. against the United States, and by their vigourous resistance to it. The circumstances into which it drove the United States, compelled them to appoint the Prince of Orange Captain General and Admiral: he took the oath prescribed by the Perpetual Edict, not to aspire to the stadtholderate, and to reject it, if offered. He was at this time in his twenty-second year: he owed his elevation to the critical situation in which the United States were then placed; but it was also owing to the great prudence with which he had conducted himself when fortune was opposed to him; and to the talents and application to business which he then discovered.

At sea, the navy of the United States was generally successful. At land, the arms of Lewis XIV. triumphed; he conquered Gueldres, Overyssell, and the city and province of Utretcht. This maddened the populace. They massacred John De Witt, and Cornelius De Witt, his brother, after having subjected them to the cruellest tortures and the most brutal indignities. To the indelible reproach of William III. he did not interfere to prevent or stop these horrors. His measures for obtaining the stadtholderate succeeded.

[Sidenote: XIV. 1. William III.]

On the 4th of July 1672, it was re-established in the person of William III.; and all the dignities and rights enjoyed by his predecessors were conferred upon him. These, in 1674, were made hereditary in his family. His subsequent conduct is entitled, on many accounts, to the warmest praise. The success of the United States at sea compelled Charles II. to make peace with them, so that Lewis XIV. was their only enemy. The war with him was terminated by the peace of Nimeguen in 1678. Ten years after it, the Stadtholder, on the abdication of James II. became King of England. In 1690, England, Spain, Austria, and the United Provinces, entered into the Grand Alliance against France. The Duke of Savoy and several Princes of Germany afterwards joined it. In general, the proceedings of the confederacy were unsuccessful; the war was terminated in 1697 by the peace of Ryswick. In 1700, the disputes on the succession to the Spanish monarchy, in consequence of the death of Charles II. of Spain, without issue, called the world again to arms. William III. died in 1702.

XIV. 2.

John William Count of Nassau Dietz, 1702-1711; William IV. 1711-1751.

The government of William III. was generally displeasing to the United States: they accused him of sacrificing them to the interests of his English monarchy, and to the hatred which he always bore to the French. He was also suspected, and not without reason, of a design to acquire the independent sovereignty of the provinces. At first, his influence within them was so great, that he was said to be King in the United States, and Stadtholder in England; but it declined gradually; and an attempt by him to obtain the succession to the stadtholderate for John Friso, Prince of Nassau and Hereditary Stadtholder of Frizeland, absolutely failed. He made, by his will, that prince his testamentary heir.

Upon the decease of William III. a general wish to discontinue the stadtholderate was expressed in most of the provinces; those of Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, Gueldres, and Overyssell, came to a formal resolution to this effect They recognised the supreme power of the States General, and conferred the direction of their political concerns on Heinsius, the actual Grand Pensionary, a person of great learning, uncommon talents for business, and acknowledged integrity.

[Sidenote: XIV. 2. John William Count of Nassau Diets, 1702-1711; William IV. 1711-1749.]

As testamentary heir of William III., John-William assumed the title of Prince of Orange: he died in 1711, without having exercised the power of the stadtholderate, except in the province of Frizeland.

The war of the succession terminated in 1713, by the peace of Utretcht: it was succeeded in 1715 by the Barrier Treaty, and in 1719 by the Quadruple Alliance, ever memorable for the triumphant campaigns of Marlborough, by which it was followed. The pensionary Heinsius died in 1720. In his life-time, several weak attempts had been made, in different provinces, to restore in them the stadtholderate. They succeeded only at Gueldres; and even there, it was restored with great limitations.

Upon the decease of Prince William-John, his rights and pretensions descended to Prince William, his son. In 1733, he married Mary, the daughter of George II. of England. This strengthened his cause; but the general spirit of the United Provinces was so averse to the Stadtholderate, that it was not till the invasion of Holland, by the French, in 1747, that the prince's party judged it advisable to bring forward his claim. At first they met with resistance, but finally prevailed, and Prince William of Orange became the sole Stadtholder of every province: until his time each of the provinces of Frizeland and Groningen had its particular Stadtholder. The dignities of Captain General and Admiral were also conferred on him; and, in addition to these, some rights and privileges which no former Stadtholder had enjoyed.

The reverses of the United Provinces continued, and the aggrandisement of the Stadtholderate increased proportionally. As yet William IV. had no male issue. In 1748, the Orange faction proposed that the Stadtholderate should be declared hereditary; and that, in default of males, females should be admitted into the succession. After some opposition the measure was carried in all the provinces, except Frizeland and Groningen. From this time the United Provinces ceased to be a republic, and became a monarchy, limited by the antient usages and institutions. William IV. died in 1749.

XIV. 3.

From the Death of William IV. till the Erection of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


At the death of William IV. William, his son, and afterwards his successor in the Stadtholderate, was an infant, in very tender years. His mother was named by the states Governess of the United Provinces. She appointed the Duke of Brunswick to the command of their armies; thus, after all their exertions and sacrifices for liberty, the United Provinces became subject to the government of an English princess and a German prince; and an English party became predominant in their politics; William V. married a princess of Prussia, and thus the Orange party was strengthened by Prussian influence.

[Sidenote: XIV. 3. From the death of William IV. till the erection of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.]

These opposite, and conflicting interests, filled every province, with dissension; and, on some occasions, armed one body of citizens against another. The English party, sided with the Orange faction; the French, with the republicans. At first the latter prevailed; they led the states into measures, which forced England to declare war against them. In 1782, they acknowledged the independence of the United States of America. Still, the dissensions continued. After a long conflict, the republican party acquired the ascendant; they suspended the Prince of Orange from his functions, and filled all the principal places of trust with their own adherents. But the Orange party soon rallied; the Duke of Brunswick entered Holland at the head of a victorious army, and, in 1787, re-established the Stadtholderate.

[Sidenote: CHAP. XIV. 1749-1816.]

His victorious career, was soon terminated. In 1799, the revolutionary army of France made themselves masters of the whole territory of the United States; and established The Batavian Republic. It was successively governed, but always under the overpowering controul of France, by a Convention, a Directory, and a Consul, with the appellation of Grand Pensionary. In 1806, even these forms of her antient government were abolished; Napoleon sending Louis, one of his brothers, to reign over the United Provinces, with the title and powers of royalty; but with an intimation, that France was entitled to his first attentions and a priority of duty. The demands of Napoleon for attentions and duties were so exorbitant, that rather than be instrumental in the infliction of the miseries which a compliance with them must occasion, Louis resigned his throne. Napoleon then incorporated the United Provinces into his empire, "as an alluvion," for such he termed them, "to the Rivers of France." Scenes of the most grinding oppression followed: the Batavians were relieved from it by the fall and abdication of Napoleon.

[Sidenote: XIV. 3. Establishment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.]

Before this event, William V. died, leaving a son, called from his pretensions to the stadtholderate, William VI. We have seen that, on the death of the Emperor Charles V. all the seventeen provinces, composing the Netherlands, devolved to Philip II. his son; the successful defection of the Seven United Provinces has been mentioned; the ten remaining provinces were afterwards transferred to the House of Austria, and were inherited by the Emperor Joseph II. The French made an easy conquest of them in an early stage of the Revolution.

We now reach the ultimate fate of both the divisions of the Netherlands. The congress of Vienna, by an act of the 9th June 1815, created and conferred upon this prince, THE KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS, consisting of the seventeen provinces, and a portion of Luxemburgh. It is confessedly the first among the kingdoms of the second order.

* * * * *

It was our wish to present our readers with a sketch of the literary history of the Netherlands, during the period treated of in this chapter; but after most diligent and extensive searches, both in the British and foreign markets, we have not been able to discover materials for it; persons of acknowledged learning, both in Germany and the Netherlands, have assured us that no such history exists.

* * * * *





The constitutions of the Roman Catholic, and Protestant Churches, differ in nothing more, than in the following important points: The Catholic Church, acknowledges the authority of the Scriptures, and, in addition to them, a body of traditionary law. She receives both under the authority, and with the interpretation of the Church, and believes that the authority of the Church in receiving and interpreting them is infallible. The Protestant Churches generally profess to acknowledge no law but the Scriptures, no interpreter of the Scriptures, but the understanding and conscience of the individual who peruses them.

That the Roman Catholic Church should propound a formulary of her faith, enlarge this formulary from time to time, as further interpretation is wanted, and enforce acquiscence in it by spiritual censures, is consistent with her principles. Whether such a pretension can be avowed, without inconsistency, by any Protestant Church, has been a subject of much discussion. In point of fact, however, no Protestant Church is without her formulary, or abstains from enforcing it by temporal provisions and spiritual censures. To enforce their formularies by civil penalties, is inconsistent with the principles, of every christian church. All churches howsoever have so enforced, and have blamed the others, for so enforcing them.

Such formularies, from the circumstance of their collecting into one instrument, several articles, of religious belief, are generally known on the Continent, by the appellation of SYMBOLIC BOOKS.

I. The symbolic books, received by ALL TRINITARIAN CHRISTIAN CHURCHES,—are,

1. The Symbol of the Apostles; and

2. The Nicene Symbol.

II. The symbolic books, received by the ROMAN CATHOLIC Church,—are,

1. The General Councils;

2. Among these,—the Council of Trent,—as immediately applying to the controversies between the Catholic and Protestant Churches, is particularly regarded;

3. The Symbol of Pope Pius IV.;

4. The Catechism of the Council of Trent.

III. The symbolic books of the GREEK CHURCH,—are,

1. The Confession, of her true and sincere faith, which, on the taking of Constantinople, by Mahomet II, in 1453, Gennadius, its patriarch, presented to the conqueror;

2. The Orthodox Confession, of the Catholic and Apostolic Greek Church, published in 1642, by Mogilow, the Metropolitan of Kiow.

IV. The symbolic books of the LUTHERAN CHURCHES, are

1. The Confession of Augsburgh;

2. The Apology of the Confession of Augsburgh;

3. The Articles of Smalcald;

4. And, (in the opinion of some Lutheran Churches),—The Form of Concord;

5. The Saxon, Wirtenburgian, Suabian, Pomeranian, Mansfeldian, Antwerpensian, and Copenhagen Confessions, possess, in particular places, the authority of Symbolic books:—the two first are particularly respected.

V. The symbolic books of the REFORMED CHURCHES. The reformed Church, in the largest extent of that expression, comprises all the religious communities, which have separated from the Church of Rome. In this sense, it is often used by English writers: but, having, soon after the Reformation, been used by the French Protestants to describe their church, which was Calvinistic, it became, insensibly, the appellation of all Calvinistic churches on the Continent. The principal symbolic books of these churches,—are,

1. The Confession of the Helvetian Churches;

2. The Tetrapolitan Confession,—signed by the four cities of Strasburgh, Constance, Memmingen, and Lindau;

3. The Catechism of Heidelbergh;

4. The Gallic Confession of Faith;

5. The Belgic Confession of Faith;

6. The Canons of the Council of Dort.

VI. The symbolic books of the WALDENSES,—are,

Their original and reformed Creeds.

VII. The symbolic books of the Bohemians,—are,

1. The Confession of faith of the Calixtines and Taborites, signed at the Synod of Cuttenburgh in 1541;

2. The Confession of the faith of the Bohemians,—inserted in the "Harmony of Confessions," published at Cambridge in 1680.

3. The Consent of faith at Sendomer.

VIII. The symbolic book of the ARMINIANS,—is

The Declaration of the Remonstrants, drawn up by Episcopius, and signed in 1622.

IX. The symbolic book of the SOCINIANS is The Catechism of Racow;—the best edition of it was published in 1609, reprinted at Frankfort, in 1739. An English translation of it has been published by Mr. Rees.

X. The UNITARIANS have no symbolic book. To Doctor Lardner's Letter on the Logos they shew universal respect.

XI. The symbolic books of THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND,—are,

1. The Theological Oaths,—containing a Declaration of the belief of the Monarch's spiritual supremacy;—and Declarations against Transubstantiation,—the invocation of Saints,—and the sacrifice of the Mass;

2. The Thirty-nine Articles.


"The Articles of Religion approved and passed by both Houses of Parliament after advice had with an assembly of divines, called together for that purpose." These were sent into Scotland, and immediately sanctioned by the General Assembly, and Parliament of that kingdom; and thus became a law of the Church and State.

XIII. The symbolic books of the Anabaptists may be said to be,—

THEIR SEVERAL CONFESSIONS OF FAITH:—Five were published at Amsterdam, in 1675, in one volume 8vo.

XIV. The symbolic books of the Quakers,—are,

1. Barclay's Catechism and Confession of Faith, published in 1675;

2. His Theses Theologicae;

3. His Apology,—a logical demonstration of the propositions in the Theses. It was translated into almost every language and presented to all the ministers assembled at Nimeguen;

4. But some persons assert that the real doctrines of the Quakers are more easily discoverable from The Christian Quaker and his divine testimony, vindicated by Scripture reason and authorities against the injurious attempts that have been lately made by several adversaries.—This work appeared in 1674; the first part of it was written by Penn, the second by Whithead, one of his most distinguished disciples.

XV. It may be added, that the symbolic book of the Jews,—is

The Schelosch aikara ikkarim,—the Thirteen Articles of Faith framed by Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon in the 12th century: it is frequently inserted in the Jewish prayer books. Sebastian Munster published it with a Latin translation and an abridgment of the History of Josephus, in one vol. 8vo. at Worms in 1529.

Many Christian Catechisms have been translated into Hebrew for the benefit of the Jews.

* * * * *

An historical and literary account of all these Confessions of Faith, and of several works and circumstances connected with them, is attempted to be given, by the Author of these pages, in his "Historical and Literary Account of the Formularies, Confessions of Faith, and Symbolic Books, of the Roman Catholic, Greek, and principal Protestant Churches."

THE SYLLOGE CONFESSIONUM printed at the Clarendon Press in 1804, contains the Professio Fidei Tridentinae, Confessio Helvetica, Augustana, Saxonica, Belgica."

"The Harmony of the Confessions of the Faith of the Christian and Reformed Churches" published at Cambridge in 1586, 8vo. attempts to reconcile the Confession of Augsburgh, the Confession of the Four Cities, the Confession of Basle, the first Confession of Helvetia; the Confession of Saxony, the Confession of Wirtemburgh, the French Confession, the English Confession, the latter Confession of Helvetia, the Belgic Confession, and that of Bohemia.

On the general subject, Walchius's Bibliotheca Theologica Selecta, may be usefully consulted.




The attempts, made at different times for the re-union of Christians, are the subject of a learned and interesting work, published at Paris, with the title of "Histoire critique des projets formes depuis trois cents ans pour la Reunion des communions Chretiennes, par M. Tabaraud, ancien Pretre de L'Oratoire, Paris, 1824." An excellent sketch of these attempts had been previously given by Doctor Mosheim, in his Ecclesiastical History, Cent. XVI. Ch. III. sect. 3. part 2. c. 1. and Cent. XVII. Cha. I. sect. 2. p. 1. To these publications the reader is referred:—the present Essay may be found to contain,

I. A general view of the attempts made after the Reformation, to unite the Lutheran and Calvinist churches:

II. Some account of the Attempts made at different times by the sovereigns of France for the conversion of their protestant subjects:

III. The correspondence of Bossuet and Leibniz, under the auspices of Lewis the Fourteenth, for the reunion 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 Reunion of Christians.


Attempts made to unite the Lutheran, and Calvinist Churches.

The great division of Protestant Churches is, into the Lutheran, and Calvinist communions. The Abbe Tabaraud relates in the work, which we have just cited, not fewer than fifteen different attempts to effect a reunion of their churches. In reading his account and that given by Mosheim of these attempts, the writer thinks that, on each side, there was 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.

"It 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 communion. A competent knowledge, of human nature, and human passions, was sufficient, to persuade these wise, and pacific mediators, that a perfect uniformity in religious opinions, was not practicable, and that it would be entirely extravagant, 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 controversy, that the points in debate between the two churches, were not essential, to true religion;—that the fundamental doctrines, of Christianity, were received, and professed, in both 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 make mankind 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 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, 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 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."

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[080] to a reunion, between any Protestant churches, seems to be that, which took place at Sendomer, in the year 1570.


Attempts for a Reunion of the Calvinist Churches to the See of Rome.

Having thus summarily noticed, the unsuccessful attempts, to effect an union, between the Lutheran, and Calvinist churches, we proceed to a similar summary mention of the attempts, equally unsuccessful, to effect the reunion of the Calvinists, to the church of Rome, which were made,

1st, during the reign of Henry the Fourth:

2dly, during the reign of Lewis the Thirteenth: and

3dly, during the reign of Lewis the Fourteenth:

4thly, we shall afterwards notice, the Revocation of the edict of Nantes, and the complete restoration of the protestants of France, to their civil rights, in the reign of Lewis the Eighteenth.

II. 1.

An attempt to reunite the Calvinists to the church of Rome was made at the celebrated Conference held at Poissi in 1561. In the work which we have cited, the Abbe Tabaraud gives a short and clear account of this conference. It failed of success, and a long civil war of religion ensued. It was closed by the conversion of Henry the Fourth to the Roman Catholic religion. He was no sooner quietly seated on the throne, than he conceived the arduous, but certainly noble project of pacifying the religious contests of the world. It appears that he was induced to entertain hopes of the success of this measure, by the assurances given him by the Calvinist ministers, when his change of religion, was in agitation, that salvation might be obtained in the church of Rome; and from his expectation of finding a spirit of conciliation, and concession, in the see of Rome.

"I have heard, from persons of distinction," says Grotius[081], "that Henry the Fourth declared that he had great hopes of procuring for the King of England, and the other protestant princes, who were his allies, conditions, which they could not honorably refuse, if they had any real wish of returning to the unity of the church; and that he had once an intention of employing bishops of his own kingdom on this project; but that this project failed by his death."

It is said, that with these views he had sent for Isaac Casaubon, a protestant divine of equal learning and moderation, and appointed him his librarian; and that he intended confidentially employing him in preparing means for the success of the measure, and smoothing the obstacles which might impede its progress. Grotius[082] mentions, as a saying of Casaubon, that "the catholics of France had a juster way of thinking than the ministers of Charenton:" these were the most rigid of the French Hugonot ministers. It is observable that the French government always considered the Hugonots of a much more refractory disposition than the Lutherans.

II. 2.

The pacific views of Henry the Fourth, were terminated by his decease. The capture of la Rochelle by the arms of Lewis the XIIIth, was a fatal blow to the political consequence of the Protestant party in France. Cardinal Richelieu immediately set on foot a project, for the general conversion, of the body: two persons, of very different characters, were employed by him, in this measure; Father Joseph, a capuchin friar, the confident, of all the cardinal's political and private schemes, and Father P. Dulaurens, an oratorian, who lived in retirement, wholly absorbed in the exercises of religion. They began the work of reunion by holding frequent conferences, on an amicable footing, with several of the protestant ministers; and it was resolved, that, with the permission of the pope, and the authority of the king, an assembly, should be convened, of ecclesiastics of each communion. Father Dulaurens, recommended that the intended communications with the ministers, should not take place, till they reached, the capital; but, the cardinal, thought it more advisable, that the ministers, should be separately informed, of the project, before they left the provinces. It was accordingly communicated to them, and favourably received, by the ministers, of Languedoc, and Normandy, but met with an unfavourable reception, from the ministers of Sedan. It was resolved, that the assembly, should meet, and begin their deliberations, with the differences in the opinions, of the two churches, respecting the Sacraments. Father Dulaurens recommended, that for some time, at least, the Bible, even in the Calvinist version, of Olivetan, should be the only book appealed to, on either side, as authority: but the Cardinal insisted, on a resort to tradition. Grotius mentions that in several articles, (as communion under both kinds, and the invocation of saints), the Cardinal was willing, that concessions, should be made to the Protestants; and suggested, that, as a medium, to reconcile them to the Pope, a patriarchate should be established, in France, and he himself, be the first patriarch[083].

Notwithstanding the general loftiness, and overbearing nature, of his manners, it appears, particularly from M. de Rullhieres[084] (6.) that the Cardinal, acted on this occasion, with great moderation, and recommended to his royal master, a similar line of moderation, in all his conduct, towards his Protestant subjects.

II. 3.

The Cardinal's project, was suspended, by his decease; and resumed, under Lewis the Fourteenth. In 1662, a plan, drawn up by M. le Blanc de Beaulieu, a professor of Divinity, at Sedan, singularly esteemed, both by the Roman Catholics, and Protestants, by which the essential articles, in dispute, were reduced to a small number, was adopted, by the Court, to serve as the basis of discussion. It was resolved, that different synods of Protestant ministers, should be convened; that these, should be composed, of ministers of known moderation, and pacific views, and the articles, drawn up by M. le Blanc de Beaulieu, presented to them. Three years were employed, in negotiations for effecting this project: several ministers in the lower Languedoc, and the Isle of France, expressed themselves, in terms favourable, to the measure, but the synod of Charenton, took the alarm, and the project, was abandoned.

The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, a measure equally unwise, and unjust, too soon followed. It is more to be attributed, to his ministers and advisers, than to Lewis the Fourteenth himself. From the Eclaircissemens Historiques of M. de Rullhieres, and the life of Bossuet, by M. Bausset[085], it seems evident, that Lewis the Fourteenth, had been induced, to believe, that the number of Protestants was much smaller; that the conversions of them, would be much more rapid, general, and sincere; and that the measures, for hastening their conversion, would be much less violent than they really were. It is also due, to the monarch, to add, that from the authors, whom we have cited, it is evident, that when he began to perceive the true state, of the transaction, though from false principles of honour, and policy, he would not revoke the edict, he wished it not to be put into great activity, and checked the forwardness, of the Intendants general in its execution.

It is whimsical, (if on so serious a subject such a word may be used), that the dragonade, or employment of the dragoon troops, in forcing the conversion, of the Hugonots, was owing to the wish of Louvois, the minister, of Lewis the Fourteenth, to become himself, a missionary. Observing how much the apparent success, of the missionaries, recommended them, to Lewis the Fourteenth, he began to consider them as dangerous rivals for the favour of his royal master, and determined, therefore, to become himself, a principal performer. With this view, he instituted the dragoon missions, and thus brought a material part, of the work of conversion, into the war department.

II. 4.

The death of Lewis, and the known disposition of the Regent, appeared to the Protestant party, in France, to afford a proper opportunity of recovering their rights. Duclos, in his Memoires secrets sur les regnes de Louis XIV. et de Louis XV., says, that the Regent himself wished to restore the Protestants, to their civil rights, but was dissuaded by his council. Still, he seldom permitted the edicts against them to be executed; and speaking generally, the Protestants seem to have suffered no active persecution in any part of the reign of Lewis, the XVth. One intolerable grievance, however, they unquestionably suffered in every part of it. Their religious principles did not permit them to be married by a Roman Catholic priest, in the manner prescribed by the law of the state, and that law did not recognize the legal validity of a marriage, celebrated in any other form. The consequence was, that in the eye of the law, the marriage of Protestants was a mere concubinage, and the offspring of it illegitimate. To his immortal honour, Lewis the XVIth, by his edict of the 17th of November, 1787, accorded to all his Non-catholic subjects the full and complete enjoyment of all the rights of his Roman-catholic subjects. On a division in the Parliament, this edict was registered by a majority of 96 votes against 16.

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