Billeder på siden

" their attempt to destroy the sovereign and all “ the nobility, inasmuch as such doctrines prohibit

the condemnation of the principles, on which “ those men relied to justify their attempt ? I “ know that this cannot be justly inferred ; but I “ also know that our countrymen make the infer“ence. If they had seen, that the pope had pub“ lished any decree which condemned both that “ detestable attempt, and the principles, on which “ it was endeavoured to be justified, they would “ have passed a very different judgment on that most “unfortunate deed, they would have thought that “ it proceeded wholly from the criminality of the

persons engaged in it, and not from the doctrines of the catholic teachers. Hitherto, you have be“ lieved those advisers, who, being ignorant of the “ true spirit of Christ, of that spirit, by which they “ought to have been guided, invoked the thun“ ders of excommunication, and the lightnings of “ these prohibitory decrees, on the kingdom of

England. From these, what has followed, but “ that load of suffering, by which the much-endur

ing catholics have been almost quite oppressed?

Yield, at length, to those, who suggest to you, “ the ways of mildness, and who remark to you,

(as is said in the vision of Elias), that, it is not " in the whirlwind, nor in the storm that breaks the “'rocks, but in the whisper of the gentle breeze, “ in the spirit of meekness, that the Lord appears. “ I am perfectly convinced, that mildness and con“ descension are more likely to obtain from our king and the persons in power, that relief in a “ few months, which, for so many years, the vio“ lence of these men has been unable to force from " them.”

Father Leander accompanied this letter by a full statement of the objections made to the oath, and of the answers given to them : these we shall insert in the Appendix *. He premises an important observation : “ That the prohibitory briefs of Paul “ had been issued before James had given his ex

planation of the oath, and had therefore con“ demned it, in a sense, which, after those expla“ nations had been given, the oath ought not to “ bear; that these explanations had been adopted “ by Charles, and that he sanctioned a work t, in “ which they had been fully and clearly expressed, “ so that it was then manifest, that, in the sense of “ those, who propounded it, the oath was intended “ to profess no other, than that civil obedience and “ civil allegiance, which are due to his majesty, “ by the word of God, by the law of nature, and “ by the ancient laws and usages of the realm.”

He concludes by repeating his recommendation, that the popes should prohibit future publications, and suspend the operation of the damnatory briefs:such suspensions, he observes, had been frequently issued, -not, says he, that by suspending the operation of a brief which condemns a particular

* See App. note 1.

+ The work of Mr. Howard, the title of which we have transcribed.

[ocr errors]

practice, the practice itself is justified; but that the brief restores it to the condition, in which it stood, before the brief was issued.

The most important document in the correspondence of father Leander, is the account which he gives to cardinal Barberini of the state of the English mission*

I. He begins it by a view of the protestant church: The protestant church in England retains," he says,

“ an external appearance of the ecclesias“ tical hierarchy, which was in force during the “ time of the catholic religion : it has its arch

bishops, bishops, deans, archdeacons, chapters of “ canons in the cathedrals of the ancient sees, and “ most ample revenues.

It preserves its ancient edifices, the names of the ancient parishes, priests “and deacons; a certain form of conferring orders, “ which agrees, in most respects, with the forms

prescribed in the Roman pontifical ; the clerical “ habits and gowns, the pastoral crook, copes, and “ the ancient temples, parish churches, and colleges " of magnificent structure : attendance in these is “ still enjoined. -The English protestants deem

that, without this form of hierarchical govern

ment, the church of Christ is not only obscured, “ but that its nature and substance are taken away. “ In England, they actually believe, that, the other

protestant churches, spread over the continent of Europe, are become schismatical, in consequence

* Apostolicæ missionis status in Anglia. Cla. State Papers, vol. i. p. 197


“ of their having repudiated and rejected this most “ ancient hierarchy.”

He proceeds to state the approach, -much nearer than is generally supposed, -of the doctrines of the church of England to those of the church of Rome. “ In the greater number of the articles of faith, says father Leander, , “ the English protestants of “the established church, are truly orthodox ; as

the sublime mysteries of the Trinity and Incar“ nation ; on the economy of the redemption of “ man, and on satisfaction through Christ; on the “ whole, almost, of the controversy respecting pre“ destination, grace and freewill; the necessity and “ merit of good works, and the other articles ex

pressed in the creed of the apostles, in the Nicene “ and Athanasian creeds, as these stand in the

roman-catholic liturgy),and in the four first gene“ ral councils. The greater part of the learned “ and modest members of the church of England “ do not look upon the tenet of the supremacy

of the pope

with so much abhorrence, but that they “would acknowledge him to be the bishop of the “ first see, and the patriarch of all the western “ church, if the other points in difference respect“ing his authority could be settled. Add to this, “ that the great majority of them think as we do, “ on the real presence, on the reason and name of the “ venerable sacrifice, and on the use of the orna“ments of the altars in churches, though, on the “ manner of transubstantiation they have some diffi“ culties; nor would they refuse to admit sacra

mental confession, either auricular or particular,


“ In respect to the articles, in which there is a differ“ence, this, they say, lies, for the greater part, either “ in the mode of expression, (which, beyond all “ doubt, they should rather receive from the mother“ church and the established formulas of sound “ expression, than presume to prescribe to her, “ whose children they are,)---or, if the difference, “ is in the things themselves, they say it is not in “ the fundamental articles of faith, or in points, “ the belief of which is necessary to salvation ; but “on questions, in which error may be tolerated, “ and is merely venial ; that it is neither an im

pediment in the road to salvation, nor does it put “ the dissenter beyond the substance of the cove"

They contend, continues Leander, that they have been treated, unworthily, by the Roman see, as heretics or schismatics; that greater differences than theirs from the Roman church were tolerated in regard to the Greek church, by the council of Florence; and that the importance of Great Britain and its dependencies renders it an object of as much moment to reconcile her to the Roman see, and as much worth while to call a special council for that purpose, as it could have been, to obtain the reconciliation of the Greeks.

Of the puritans, Leander expresses himself harshly: he describes them as equally hostile to the church of Rome and the established church; and intimates, that, if they were out of the way, an arrangement between the churches of Rome and England would be much more practicable.

« ForrigeFortsæt »