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BR 45 .H84 1886

De Soyres, John, 1849-1905

Christian reunion

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HuLSEAN Lectures,






Christian Reunion.

(Ulic Cjulaeau Cectures for 1886.


Of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge;

Formerly Professor of History at Queen's College, London

Select Preacher at Cambridge (1885) ;

Rector of St. John's Church, St. John, N. B.


J. & A. McMillan, 98 Prince William Street.


Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada, in the year il
By rev. JOHN deSOYRES,
In the Office of the Minister of Agriculture, at Ottawa.


IN THE University of Cambkidge,

Brooke Foss Westcott, D.D.

Regius Professor of Divinity, Cation of lVest»iinster ;

F E N T o N John A n t h o n \- H o r t , D.D.

Hiilsean Professor of Diz)inity ;

Joseph Raw son Lumby, D.D.

Norrisian Professor of Divinity :

Charles Taylor, D.D.

Master of St. fohtt's College ;
Anu to the Memory of

Charles Anthony Swainson, D.D.

Formerly Lady Ma?garet Professor of Divinity, and Master of Christ' s College :

William H e p \v o r t h Thompson, D.D.

Formerly Master of Trinity College ; Lectures,

delivered by their appointment, are gratefully

and respectfully dedicated.


The subject of Christian Reunion, and the history of the
various efforts to promote it from the time of the Reformation,
have seldom been dealt with by English church historians. The
late Rev. H. B. Wilson, in his Hampton Lectures, was almost the
only writer to treat the topic scientifically, but his purpose pre-
vented him from more than .individual references in his notes to
the leaders of earlier movements. Hie work of Karl Hering,
published as far back as the year 1836, remains still the standard
history, and the present w'riter had planned to translate it,
adding the results of recent publications of the Leibnitz corres-
pondence, and dealing also with the relations in past time of the
Church of England and the foreign Reformed Churches.

An occasion for dealing separately with the last of these
topics presented itself when the writer was appointed Select
Preacher at Cambridge, almost on the exact bi-centenary of the
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in October 1885. The dis-
course then delivered, pointing out the old relations of cordial
sympathy and communion between the Anglican and Huguenot
Churches, is included in the present volume. The appeal was
received with assent by the members of the theological faculty
at Cambridge, and words of sympathy and approval came from
Drs. Hatch and Fairbairn at Oxford, Professor A. S. Farrar at
Durham, the venerable Bishop of Worcester, and many others.
Still more acceptable, as a testimony to the practical possibility
of the step advocated, was a communication from Dr. Eugene
Bersier. In this letter, the distinguished leader of the Reformed
Church in Paris declared not only his cordial assent to the plea,
but expressed his willingness to co-operate personally in any
effort to bring together the two Churches.* Having been ap-

* See Appendix.

vi Preface.

pointed Hulsean lecturer shortly afterwards, the writer found the
opportunity of discussing the history and rationale of Christian
Reunion from a wider standpoint, by investigating the progress
and results of the various endeavours made during the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries by Bucer, Melancthon, Durie, Calixtus,
Grotius, and Leibnitz. It was hoped that an outline, restricted
by the narrow limits of four lectures, and by the hindrances of
other duties, might be supplemented by later additions, including
an examination of the Durie MSS. at Cambridge, kindly offered
by Professor Mayor, and of the unpublished Leibnitziana in the
Archives of Hanover.

But circumstances prevented the fulfilment of this plan, and
the meagre and imperfect sketch would never have been pub-
lished but for the belief that it may induce some more capable
hand to achieve a work so important. For the Reunion of Chris-
tendom is no mere literary or academical topic, but a practical
question of the hour, calling for labourers, if not yet ripe for settle-
ment. On every side there is a consciousness that the hour is
near when all who profess and call themselves Christians must
remember their title and their cause, and that they are descend-
ants, however far removed, of those who were " of one heart and
of one soul." Not many years ago, in a humble Church, situated
in a distant land, an event took place more significant to the
student of history than many a Council. In the English Church
at Cronstadt, as a testimony indeed to the personal esteem in
which its minister was held by those of different creed, but in
itself none the less remarkable, there were gathered together,
at a service after restoration, the representatives of all the
Churches in the City. By the side of the Holy Table knelt the
Russian pope and the Roman priest, the Lutheran and the Re-
formed ministers, forgetting for an hour the wars of centuries,
and remembering only the "one Lord, one faith, one baptism. "f

f The details were verified by the writer on the spot, when occupying the same
chaplaincy in 1880, in succession to the Rev. J. McSwiney, in whose time (1874) it

Preface, vii

Surely it is impossible to disreg^ard such a sign of the times,
but rather should we feel that the obscure and remote phenom-
enon might soon be repeated on the widest scale, were present
hindrances removed. And those hindrances are to be found as
much in the efforts of those who advocate forms of Reunion, as
in the hostility of narrower minds. If those who long for union
with the East would remember how much nearer is the prospect
and the opportunity of reuniting with our Church the descendants
of those who were alienated by the narrowness and intolerance
of the post-reformational centuries ; if the advocates of Protestant
reunion would recognize that the features and claims of nation-
ality, as well as the landmarks of history, must influence the
religious development of the Latin and Sclavonic races, then
much might be achieved. Above all, the sober words of the
Church of England should be the motto of all efforts :

" In these our doings we condemn no other nations, nor pre-
scribe anything but to our own people only : for we think it
convenient that every country should use such ceremonies as
they shall think best to the setting forth of God's honour and
glory, and to the reducing of the people to a most perfect and
godly living."!

% Preface to Common Prayer.


Lecture I. — Introduction, pp. 1-14

Funeral of Martin Bucer at St. Mary's, Cambridge. — His life-work for
reunion at Marburg, Cassel, Cologne, Strasburg, and in England. — State of
disunion in Germany at comnaencement of the seventeenth century; the gains
of the Roman Church. — The systems of Bucer and Melancthon : the former
simply diplomatic, the latter based on deeper sympathy and intelligence of con-
ditions. His influence and his spiritual descendants. — The career of Cyril
I,ucaris, a practical example of Bucer's method, in its attempt and its failure. —

Notes on Lecture I, p. 15

Lecture II. — Protestant Reunion, pp. 21-2,^

The histories of Christian Reunion bj' Tabaraud and K. Hering : their
scope and results. — Plan of the present lectures : {a) Protestant Reunion before
1660; {b) Western Reunion. — Development of processes : recognition of the in-
sufficiency of Bucer's diplomatic method recognized. — Two causes affecting the
later development : (i) T.aymen begin to take part in theological controversy ;
(2) the ''academic travels" bring the representatives of opposite schools into
contact. — The Ireniciiiii of David Paraeus. — Career of John Durie and Calix-
• tus. — Misrepresentations of Grotius by Hallam. Grotius not inconsistent in
his respect for antiquity, nor irritated by Huguenot neglect. He aimed at prac-
tical results, and his sole error the belief that in his time a complete reunion of
the West was still possible. — Conclusion.

Notes on Lecture II, p. 37

Lecture III. — The Reunion of Western Christendom.

pp. 41-54

Causes of failure of efforts to promote Protestant Reunion. — Results of the
caesaro-papism in the German States before and after the treaties of Westphalia.
Efforts for reunion commenced by Church of Rome: irenical works published
after 1660. The work of Bishop Spinola mainly inspired by Austria and the
moderate school ; inheritors of Cassander's policy. The Austrian and Galilean
attitude. — Leibnitz: The first acquaintance with the reunion effort; visit to
Rome ; he turns to the Galilean Church. — Bossuet : The correspondence,
1691-1702. — Failure of the effort. Real value of the work of Leibnitz.

Notes on Lecture III, p. 55


X Table of Conte?its.

Lecture IV. — The Religion of Nationality , .. pp. 59-68

Causes of failure ; apparent and conjectural. — Examination of the princi-
ples of Leibnitz ; his philosophical conception of history and religious progress.
— He perceives the impossibility of imion with Rome, finally of anjj^ union with
Churches of the Roman obedience. — His conception of the State as embodied
in a Good Prince. His theorj' of nationality hampered by survival of idea of
iniiversal visible church. — Growth of the idea of Nationality in political and
spiritual conceptions. — All great movements have been national, not ecclesi-
astical. — Conclusion.

Notes on Lecture IV, p. 69

The Huguenots and the Church of England,

• PP- iz-^1

Decay of belief that Martyrdom was the criterion of a true faith, upheld by
Pascal and Paley. Two causes : (a) study of early martyrology; (<5) knowledge
that all beliefs have had martyrs : Yet survival of some elements in present
day. — The bi-centenary of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes ; generous
welcome of the exiles in England ; received as the confessors of a common
faith. Full recognition of the eminence of Huguenot scholars and divines :
Saumaise, Scaliger, Blondel, Rivet, Casaubon, Dumoulin, Bochart, Daille,
Durell, Brevint, Basire, Amyraut. — The loss of all intercourse at present day.
Causes suggested : {a) Dualism in Anglican Church ; {b) greater prominence
after Civil War to belief in episcopal succession as a note of Church ; (c)
decay of alliance against Church of Rome; {d) isolation of Huguenots during
eighteenth century. — Recognition of foreign Protestants by Church of F^ngland
in seventeenth century : by Overall, Cosin, Bramhall, Sanderson, Sancroft, .
Atterbury. — Decay of the Galilean Church. The appeal of the Reformed
Church of France to the Church of England and the University of Cambridge.

Notes on Sermon,, p. 89

Appendix, /. 96

Letter of Dr. Eugene Bersier upon the reunion of the Reformed Church of
France with the Anglican Church,


Christian Reunion.


MaKapLOL OL dp-qvoTTOioi on. vioi Ocov KX-qQ-qa-ovrai.

{Matth. V. 9.)

^HERE have been few incidents in the history of the
building in which we are assembled more memor-
able than when, in the year 1551, the whole uni-
versity was gathered together at the funeral of the Regius
professor of theology. Not even when, but recently, Cam-
brido-e rendered the last honours to one who for two
generations had taken representative share in every activity
and distinction of university life ;' not even when, just fifty
years ago, as some here still remember, a vast procession
followed to its last resting-place the remains of Charles
Simeon,' — not even these seem to have surpassed the in-
tensity of feeling displayed at the burial of a stranger,
of one whose face, two years before he died, was unknown
to all of those three thousand who followed the procession
to his grave.

And yet there seems to have been no rhetorical exag-
geration when the Public Orator, according to the custom
of the time, declared the virtues of the departed ; nor when
Matthew Parker, fit representative alike of the genius of
the university and of the Church of England, held up that
life in his sermon as the very example of the Christian char-
acter, and added to his bidding prayer the petition that all
of themselves might be admitted to that beatific vision " in
the which doth now rejoice that excellent and revereiid

2 Htilseaii Lechwes.

father, Martin Bucer, whom God hath called to his
restT'^ And all knew well the cause of this unexampled
honour, in life and in death. While others had been foremost
in the critical work of the Reformation, or in proclaiming
its doctrines, Bucer's work had been, from first to last, the
effort for Christian Reunion. If Luther had been pre-
eminently the Reformer, and Melancthon the " Preceptor"
of Germany, Bucer had been its peace-maker.

Throughout the great moments of the struggle (though
not among the authors of its supreme irenic effort, the
Augiistand), Bucer had been ever active, moving from
camp to camp ; at Marburg, striving in vain to reconcile
Luther and Zwingli ;* at Schweinfurt and Cassel building up,
with infinite pains, the structure of negociation and com-
promise which led to the short-lived Concordia of Witten-
berg." Then, turning to the wider interests of the whole
Church, side by side with Melancthon, and meeting a
congenial spirit in the legate Contarini, he had seemed
for a moment to have reached the goal of his life, and to
have found a way of peace for Western Christendom.*' And
last of all, before his call to England, he had laboured to
effect that broad and comprehensive reform in the territories
of the Archbishop of Cologne, which has so many links
with the historic development of the Church of England.^
But as, in time of theological strife, the peace-maker's work
is in every sense the forlorn hope, each effort had alien-
ated some unsatisfied partisan. The Swiss, whose cause
he had so largely helped, regarded him askance ; and in
his own city of Strasburg, where for a generation he had
labored, he experienced the prophet's fate. Even from
Luther himself had come at times hard words of reproach.

CJnnstian Reunion. 3

But with Luther there was always safe appeal to Philip
sober, and more than one fervid acknowledgment came
from the great reformer as to a work and a character so
different from his own.^

And yet, if we except his honourable share in the great
work of restoring, upon the old foundations, the structure
of the Church of England, there is not one of his irenical
efforts which did not seem to end in completest failure.
We are familiar, from the researches of Henke and Tholuck,
with the state of religious disunion in Germany at the
beginning of the 17th century.'' Not only was the chasm
between Rome and the Evangelical Churches fixed and
irretrievable, but those churches themselves waged against
one another an even more bitter internecine war. A hun-
dred years only had passed since Luther had proclaimed
the universal priesthood of believers ; and now Luther's
spirit — or at least the spirit of his earlier and greater
days — seemed lost and forgotten amongst those disciples
who struggled and squabbled over the shreds of his pro-
phetic mantle. And so Jacob Boehme, not the least philo-
sophic mind of that age, could see the very Tower of Babel
realized, not in Rome only, but in Protestant Germany/"
We have read how Lutherans asked indignandy what was
left to preach about, when an edict forbade polemical ser-
mons against the Reformed ; how the saintly Arndt was
the victim of intolerance ;" how, sadder still, Paul Gerhardt,
the singer of immortal strains, was himself infected with
the epidemic, and rather suffered deprivation than accept
an injunction to refrain from words of censure against his
fellow protestants.^' And if the Reformed Churches showed
a comparative moderation, which was often, perhaps, the

4 Hulsean Lectures.

virtue of necessity, we know that at Dordrecht the bitterest,
the most contemptuous treatment, was meted out to Epis-
copius and the Remonstrants, whose only crime it was to
have refused subscription to dogmas which, as they believed,
had neither certain warrant of Scripture nor had obtained
the complete assent of the undivided Church.

What wonder then that, in the face of a strife so suicidal,
the Church of Rome had not only regained much that she
had lost, but seemed more capable of aggressive action than
at any previous period in her history. It is customary to
speak of a " Catholic Reaction ;" but this phrase, though
consecrated by long and authoritative usage, seems but
imperfectly to connote the phenomena which history re-
cords. Not only in the Protestant countries, but throughout
Western Europe, there had been reformation ; and indeed
the Reformation of the sixteenth century would not have
been, as it was, an event of universal importance for the
whole Church, had it not beneficially affected, in some
measure, even those quarters where it was most vehemently
opposed. It is no exaggeration to declare that, from the
end of the sixteenth century, the progress which the Refor-
mation had exacted from its foes was so great that, in
proportion to the former condition, it represented a greater
relative advance than in the Protestant lands themselves.^*
The council of Trent, with all its vicissitudes, had yet learned
something in its experience of eighteen years. In place of
the contradictory chaos of traditional opinions, a system
had been defined, which cautiously steered a middle course
between the extremes of Pelagianism and Augustinianism,
which silently removed some patent errors, and as silently
passed over other but more dangerous topics, which recog-

Chdstian Rewiion. 5

nized as belonging to the pale of the Church all who did
not explicitly renounce her obedience, and which recom-
mended itself by seeming clearness and adaptability to
different minds and varied conditions.

For the Papal Court, since the separation, had ceased
to give glaring offence to public opinion by immorality and
nepotism. And this immunity from the old attacks encour-
aged to offensive measures, for which new allies were gained
and new methods of warfare employed. Whatever obloquy
has justly attached itself to the Society of Jesus on account
of the practical adoption and exaggeration of casuistical
methods — which, indeed, had been stated as theorems by
the schoolmen, or from the scurrilous attacks of a Scioppius
and his kindred upon the Scaligers and Casaubons, history
recognizes the immense impetus given, not only to the
Roman system, but even, in some measure, to the cause
of progress and civilisation. If the first protest against
the belief in witchcraft can no longer be vindicated (as
Leibnitz believed) for the Jesuit von Spec ; or the claim to
have perfected secondary education, and justified the proud
inscription on their seminaries, ''Deo et Musis',' yet the
missionary labors of a Xavier and a Ricci make as great
an epoch in the history of Chrisdanity as when Robert
Nelson and his friends created the great Anglican mis-
sionary society a century later. And if the fatal necessity
of being advocates and apologists, rather than searchers for
the truth, placed a Petau, a Sirmond, a Suarez, and an
Arias Montanus on a lower literary level than their great
Protestant rivals; yet within the Roman obedience there
were not wanting those whose memory lives in that calendar
which claims its saints from every church and nation, — a

6 Hulsean Lectures.

Cassander, true brother to Melancthon and Bucer, combin-
ing the highest form of humanistic culture with the fullest
sympathy for the spiritual and political needs of his age; a
Carlo Borromeo, the ideal of the Christian bishop ; and^
greatest of all, if indeed he may be claimed for that com-
munion, the obscure Neapolitan monk, whose book of the
'' B 6716 fit of Christ's D6ath'' was given once more to the
world by a Cambridge scholar after the Inquisition had
seemingly blotted it out for ever.'^

If, then, the Roman Church, at the beginning of the
seventeenth century, was strong in numbers, in reforms at
least partially effected, in the enthusiastic devotion of new
adherents, — while, on the other hand, the Protestant
churches on the continent were divided by bitter con-
troversies, repelled all free enquiry, and almost justified
the sneer of Joseph Scaliger that Lutheranism was the
" grave of science," — what hope was there for Christian
reunion ?

Bucer's work had found no successor ; and had there
been one, there was no longer a Cassander or a Contarini
to meet him in a kindred spirit. It was in the spiritual
heritage of another Reformer, greater than Bucer, and pre-
served in its purity and energy because it was limited by
no abstract system, that now was found the hope of Protest-
antism and of Reunion. Such a view of Melancthon's
influence may be contested by those who remember that
a so-called " Melancthonism " or " Philippism " is described
as a definite theological system in some of those analytic
histories of dogma which record each momentary phase of
party warlare. Or it may be urged, with more plausibility^
that Melancthon's own writings were the exclusive text

Christian Reimion. 7

books of the universities of Helmstiidt and Altdorf, and
of great part of Protestant Germany/' But those writings,
which were the reflection of the author's mind and char-
acter, represent in themselves the Reformation from its
irenical rather than its positive and didactic side. Just as
the great practical work of Melancthon's life, the '' Confessio
Augustana " was, in every sense, a declaration for peace
which he did not scruple to alter, confessedly and publicly,
when it seemed that by the publication of the Variata in
1540 a better hope of union might result ;^^' so his infinite
humility could make confession of error to his enemy
Flacius, or submit to blame and correction from those who
were unutterably his inferiors. The distinctive note of
character, as compared with Bucer, seems to be this : with
Bucer, all but the most cardinal dogmatic statements were
things indifferent, — everything was to him a matter for
accommodation, in the view of the one thing needful.
Reunion ; so that he sometimes scrupled not, in all sin-
cerity of mind, to attain his object by processes needing
that sort of casuistic " direction of the intention " which
gained an unenvied notoriety for a very different school
of theology. Now, Melancthon's theological sympathy
could think itself into the mental attitudes even of his
opponents ; to his philosophic mind the distinction of fun-
damentals and non-fundamentals was constantly present;
his accurate knowledge of antiquity recognised the value
of links with catholic institutions, deplored the inevitable
breach with them, and experienced the same repulsion as
Luther, though it was not expressed with equal vehemence,
to the crude iconoclasm of Carlstadt and his successors.
Above all, his life knew no finality. He never looked upon

8 Hulseaii Lectures.

his past words and actions as having created unalterable
precedents. Who can recollect without emotion the narra-
tive told by Andreii, belonging to those last sad years,
harassed by the controversies around him, and his life
embittered by the memory of its one mistake — how, when
asked once more to subscribe his name to one of those
*' Testimonia " which the school of Bucer considered to be
the equivalent of agreement, yet Melancthon refused. He
admitted that formerly he had given assent to the opinion
of others not his own ; but now this could no longer be.
^'' Many things have I writteit which 7iow I app7'ove not.
Thinkest ihon that in thirty years I have lear7ied noth-
ing?'''^' He had learned that more was needed to secure
Reunion than so many ambiguous phrases and so many
signatures on a parchment ; and to those who were now
his spiritual heirs he had bequeathed those attributes which
alone could give hope for it in the future. To them he
handed down that which had been noble in the Humanistic
movement, that passionate love of truth, but also a depth
of personal religion, too often lost in the mere antagonism
to superstition, seen only from its ludicrous side ; above all,

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