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XXIV. The unbounded liberty which every c E N T. individual in England enjoys of publishing, with an out restraint, his religious opinions, and of wor- Various shipping God in the manner he thinks the most conformable to reason and scripture, naturally wbitefield. produces a variety of sects, and gives rise to an uninterrupted succession of controversies about theological matters. It is scarcely possible for any historian, that has not resided for some time in England, and examined with attention, upon the spot, the laws, the privileges, the factions, and opinions of that free and happy people, to give a just and accurate account of these religious sects and controversies. Even the names of the greatest part of these sects have not as yet reached us, and many of those that are come to our knowledge, we know but imperfectly. We are greatly in the dark with respect to the grounds and prin. ciples of these controversies, because we are destitute of the sources from whence proper information must be drawn. At present the ministerial labours of GEORGE WHITEFIELD, who has formed a community, which he proposes to render supe
cularly with Du Pin, the ecclesiastical historian: and no doubt the archhishop, when he assisted COURRAYER in his Defence of the Validity of the English Ordinations, by furnishing him with unanswerable proofs drawn from the registers at Lambeth, had it in his view to remove certain groundless prejudices, which, while they subsisted amongst Roman Catholics, could not but defeat all projects of peace and union between the English and Gallićan churches. The interests of the Protesta ant 'religion could not be in safer hands than Archbishop WAKE's. He who had so ably and so successfully defended Protestantism, as a controversial writer, could not surely form any project of peace and union with a Roman Catholic Church, the terms of which would have reflected on his character as a negociator. $ This note has been misunderstood and censured by the acute author of the Confessional. This censure gave occasion to the Third Appendix, which the reader will find at the end of this volume, and in which the matter contained in this note is fully illustrated, and the conduct of Archbishop WAKE set in its true light.
CENT. rior in sanctity and perfection to all other Chris.
land, and are not altogether destitute of success,
of XXV. The Dutch church is still divided by the Dutch the controversies that arose from the philosophy church.
of Des Cartes and the theology of CoccEis; though these controversies be carried on with less bitterness and animosity at present than in former times. It is even to be hoped that these contests will soon be totally extinguished, since it is well known, that the Newtonian philosophy has expelled Cartesianism from almost all the academies and schools of learning in the United Provinces. We have already mentioned the debates that were, occasioned by the opinions of ROELL. In the year 1703, FREDERIC VAN LEENHOF was suspected of a propensity towards the system of SPINOZA, and drew upon him a mulutude of adversaries, on account of a remarkable book, entitled Heaven upon Earth; in which he maintained literally, that it was the duty of Christians to rejoice always, and to suffer no feelings of affliction and sorrow to interrupt their gaiety. The same accusations were broughi against an illiterate man, named WILLIAM DEURHOFF, who, in some treatises composed in the Dutch language, represented the Divine Nature under the idea of a certain force,
or energy, that is diffused throughout the whole C E N T. universe, and acts in every part of the great fabric. * The most recent controversies that have made a noise 'in Holland, were those that sprung from the opinions of Mr JAMES SAURIN and Mr PAUL MATY, on two very different subjects. The former, who was minister of the French in the Hague, and acquired a shining reputation by his genius and eloquence, fell into an error, which, if it may be called such, was at least an error of a very pardonable kind. For, if we except some inaccurate and unwary expressions, his only deviation from the received opinions consisted in his maintaining that it was sometimes lawful to swerve from truth, and to deceive men by our speech, in order to the attainment of some great and im. portant good [x]. This sentiment was not re. lished, as the most considerable part of the re. formed churches adopt the doctrine of AUGUSTIN, “ That a lie or a violation of the truth can never “ be allowable in itself, or advantageous in the “ issue.” The conduct of Maty was much more worthy of condemnation; for, in order to explain the mystery of the Trinity, he invented the following unsatisfactory hypothesis : " That " the Son and the Holy Ghost were two finite “ Beings, that had been created by God, and at " a certain time were united to the Divine na"ture [y].”
[x] See Saurin's Discours Historiques, Thiologiques, Critiques, et Moraux, sur les evenements les plus memorables du Vieux et du Nouveau Testament, tom. i. of the folio edition.
E [y] Dr Mosheim, in another of his learned productions, has explained in a more accurate and circumstantial manner the hypothesis of MATY, which amounts to the follow propositions : “ That the Father is the pure Deity; and " that the Son and the Holy Ghost are two other persons, in each “ of whom there are two natures ; one divine, which is the “ same in all the three persons, and with respect to which they
SUS, or TORM OF AGREEMENT.
CE N T. XXVI. The particular confession of faith, that XVIII. .
we have already had occasion to mention under The dis- the denomination of the Formulary of agreement putes in
land or concord, has, since the commencement of this concerning century, produced warm and vehement contests
in Switzerland, and more especially in the canton CONSEN. of Bern. In the year 1718, the magistrates of
Bern published an order, by which all professors and pastors, particularly those of the university and church of Lausanne, who were suspected of entertaining any erroneous opinions, were obliged to declare their assent to this Formulary, and to adopt it as the rule of their faith. This injunction was so much the more grievous, as no demand of that kind had been made for some time before this period; and the custom of requiring subscription to this famous confession had been suspended in the case of several who were promoted in the academy, or had entered into the church. Ac
“ are one and the same God, having the same numerical divine
cordingly, many pastors and candidates for holy CENT. orders refused the assent that was demanded by the magistrates, and some of them were punished for this refusal. Hence arose warm contests and heavy complaints, which engaged the King of Great Britain, and the States-general of the United Provinces, to offer their intercession, in order to terminate these unhappy divisions; and hence the Formulary under consideration lost much of its credit and authority. -Nothing memorable happened during this period in the German churches. The Reformed church that was established in the Palatinate, and had formerly been in such a flourishing state, suffered greatly from the persecuting spirit and the malignant counsels of the votaries of Rome.
XXVII. The Socinians, who are dispersed Socinians. through the different countries of Europe, have Arians. never hitherto been able to form a separate con. gregation, or to celebrate publicly divine worship, in a manner conformable to the institutions of their sect; though it is well known that, in seve. ral places, they hold clandestine meetings of a religious kind. The person that made the principal figure among them in this century, was the learn. ed SAMUEL CRELLIUS, who died in an advanced age at Amsterdam ; he indeed preferred the denomination of Artemonite before that of Socinian, and really departed, in many points, fro n the received doctrines of that sect.
The Arians found a learned and resolute patron in WILLLAM WHISTON, professor of mathematics in the university of Cambridge, who defended their doctrine in various productions, and chose rather to resign his chair, than to renounce his opinions. He was followed in these opinions, as is commonly supposed, by Dr SAMUEL CLARKE, a man of great abilities, judgment, and learning, who, in the year 1724, was charged with altering and