Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

might speedily have closed, her violerice rendered irreparable. In this kingdom more particularly, it cannot be doubted that the Protestant cause was greatly promoted by the blind fury of its antagonists. The foundations of the fabric which our Reformers raised, were laid in knowledge and in piety, but they were cemented with blood : the light which their good works and indefatigable labours diffused, was steady and brilliant; but it was at the estake, and by the bright example of suffering for righteousness sake which they there exhibited, that they kindled that holy zeal for the true faith of the Gospel, which opposition has never since been able to quench.

From them did our excellent Church receive the sacred deposit; and while their memory adorns her annals, will she labour to preserve her precious charge, uncorrupted by the fraud, uninjured by the violence of its enemies 10 But though such has been the spirit and conduct of the Roman Church, individuals have occasionally arisen in her communion, who have endeavoured, by the gen! tler inethods of persuasion and argument, to restore the dominion of peace. Among their labours, the well known consultation of Cassander will ever hold a conspicuous place. Whatever may be thought of the principles on which this work is composed, there can be no doubt that its pious author was actuated by a sincere desire of restoring peace to the Christian world !!!!!

He doubtless thought, that the tenets of bi

Church fairly admitted of such an explanation, as might satisfy the scruples, and allay the fears of those, who had departed from her communion. But although it may be allowed, that he has conceded all which a consistent Romanist could grant; yet his concessions, even had they received the sanction of authority, fall far short of that, which a consistent Protestant must require. And while he thought himself obliged to insist on the f supremacy of the

#

See Note CXXXII. Appendix.

1

Pope, as essential to the preservation of unity and order; the Reformers, who well knew how, deeply injurious the admission of this claim had already proved, could not be expected to accede to his proposals. . As a sincere advocate of

peace, as earnestly desirous of restoring it upon terms, which he conceived to involve no' sacrifice of truth, the name of George Cassander will ever stand high in the estimation of the pious and the good of every communion: and though his efforts were ineffectual; though they were never countenanced by his own Church ; though he himself might be mistaken in his estimate of their beneficial tendency; yet, as an example of a spirit uninfluenced by the

prejudices, untainted by the sophistry, and unembittered by the rancour which has too generally prevailed among the advocates of the Papacy, they should never be forgotten.

Far different is the judgment which we are compelled to pass upon the labours of & Bossuet. If indeed the cause of union could be effectually served by sophistry and deception; if the interests of Christianity could be promoted by clothing error in the garb of truth; by persuading the unwary Protestant, that the grounds of his separation from the Roman communion were laid in misconception and misrepresentation; that her idolatries were only imaginary; that the practices, which her adyersaries had denounced as superstitious, were innocent at least, if not laudable or useful; and that the doctrines, which they had rejected as unscriptural and antichristian, were only objected to because they were misunderstood: if success in such attempts could really benefit religion, or be acceptable to its divine founder, then might the exposition of Bossuet merit commendation : if otherwise, we may rejoice! that in our own Church, and among our own prelates, a champion arose to detect! the fallacies, and repel the attack of such an enemy.

While then such is the character, which the excellent Archbishop Wake has indelibly affixed to this celebrated work, we

must still look in vain for any sincere attempt on the part of the Roman Church, to repair the evil consequences of her own obstinacy and error.

In a better spirit, though with mistaken ingenuity, did "Grotius endeavour to give effect to the labours of Cassander. His wish for

peace, and his despair of effectually resisting the Papal power, evidently biassed him in favour of the Romish doctrines : but however we may pardon the motive which thus ' prevailed over his better judgment, yet we cannot lament that his project met with no support, and can be ranked only with the unprofitable speculations, to which many an active mind is occasionally devoted.

The only step towards a i negociation for reunion, upon terms alike beneficial to the cause of truth and peace, was taken by the same English Prelate, who so triumphantly repelled the sophistries of Bossuet. When the arrogance of the Roman Pontiff had provoked the Gallican Church h See Note CXXXIV. Appendix. .

« AnteriorContinuar »