« ПредишнаНапред »
pressam et virtutum principia menti insita, admittantur.” The controversies respecting conversion and justification, and the merit of good works, are thus pronounced upon : “Quamvis a Deo sit excitatio et auxilium tamen in homine semper est aliqua cooperatio, alioqui dici non posset, eum egisse. Utrum autem ipsæ vires bonos motus efficiendi in irregenitis sint fractæ an tantummodo impeditæ, valde inutiliter et frigide disputatur—omnibus hominibus gratiam dat Deus sufficientem hactenus, ut posita modo ipsorum voluntate seriâ nihil amplius ad salutem eorum desideratur, quod non sit in potestate." The Calvinistic doctrine on this subject is controverted, and the dispute whether justification consists in imputatione meriti satisfactionisque Christi, or in justitid habituali infusá, he pronounces useless, as both are equally necessary. A similar decision is passed on the controversy respecting the relative value of faith and charity—“ fides est caritatis requisitum, caritas fidei complementum.” Good works are essential to salvation; “quatenus in seriâ Foluntate consistunt.” Of ascetic practices and monastic orders it is observed, that the world might derive great benefit from the existence of an order of men devoted to contemplation and works of mercy or public instruction, provided abuses were restrained and the controul of the Supreme Pontiff exerted to make them subservient to the design of their founders and the benefit of the universal church. The charge of idolatry is repelled from those who use images only in the way which the author allows, referring every thing to God; and reasons of prudence are urged why the attempt to put them away from the churches would be unadvisable. On the same ground, and with the same explanations, the reverence of saints and reliques may be allowed, and the use of the prayers of the former in aid of our own.
Upon the whole, it will be evident, we think, that this work is rather curious a connected with the personal history and character of Leibnitz, than valuable as throwing any new light upon the important subjects of which it treats. It proves that Mr. Butler was right in attributing to Leibnitz a sincere desire to promote the reconciliation of the Romish and Lutheran Churches; and, indeed, it is hard to see what should have prevented such a reconciliation, supposing Leibnitz fairly to represent the feelings of the Lutherans, but the unwillingDess of the Romanists themselves to accept that rational interpretation of their own doctrines, which Leibnitz labours to devise for them. There have always been enlightened men among them, who have held the doctrines of the Church in that moderate and comparatively unobjectionable form in which they are here exhibited; but they are widely different in the minds of the generality, and even Bossuet must have found them fall short of his own standard of Orthodoxy, as the project of a re-union failed when carried on between Leibnitz and himself. We must doubt, however, if the great body of the Lutherans even in that age could have been brouglit to sanction the concessions which the courtly philosopher was willing to make on their behalf
. Reconciliation appears to have been both in theology and philosophy a favourite scheme of Leibnitz, and he had before endeavoured to make peace between Plato and Aristotle, as now between Luther and the Pope. In the pursuit of this latter object, he labours to diminish as much as possible the existing differences and represent them as being in themselves what, in all probability, they were to him, unimportant differences in words; but though some Lutheran princes might from motives of policy wish to see the sclism closed which weakened the force of Germany, and some Protestants, ignorant of the true principle of their own secession, might wish to find themselves again in communion with the ancient Church, we cannot believe that a general re-union could even then have been accomplished. Every
year which has since elapsed has shewn more strongly the impractibility of such schemes of comprehension; and the only union to which the Christian philosopher now allows himself to look forward is in the spirit and practice of the gospel-not in rites, discipline, or even doctrine.
To the Editor. Sir, I REJOICE to see a spirit of curiosity respecting the religious history of Ireland manifesting itself so early in the New Series of your Repository; and I am willing to infer, from your insertion in the number for February of your Correspondent's queries on the subject of the Convocation and Articles of the Church of Ireland, that you will admit into your pages such information, in reply, as may be found correct in itself, and conveyed in a spirit consistent with the tenor of your valuable Miscellany. Guided by these views, I therefore send you a few gleanings on the subject of the Irish Convocation.
I may be permitted to premise, that the materials for illustrating the ecclesiastical history of this country are extremely scanty. The general histories of Ireland that are published touch but slightly on this branch of the subject, and that too in a most partial manner. The lives and state papers of our chief governors, prelates, or statesmen, that have been given to the world, supply a few incidental notices that materially correct the prejudiced and defective accounts of professed historians. But this is all that an inquirer into this important portion of his country's history has to guide him in his search. We have not the invaluable treasures of unpublished manuscripts which the British Museum presents to the student of English, and the Advocates' Library to that of Scottish History, and which so amply reward their most laborious investigations. Trinity College in Dublin, indeed, possesses a very extensive and valuable collection of manuscripts : such, at least, is the popular belief. But we must remember “ omne ignotum pro magnifico;" and never was a treasure more warily guarded and more successfully withdrawn from general circulation. Even this magnificent library of books is inaccessible to the stranger or the uninitiated for any useful purpose.
It is closed most rigorously on every saint's day and holiday through the year; not a venerable martyr, or confessor, or impostor, is there in all the Popish calendar, that is not thus honoured by this Protestant university; and before you make use of the books, an oath or two of reasonable dimensions must be first digested. But its manuscript-room is the Corinth which it is permitted to few to enter; and if it be rich, but few of its treasures can be detected even in the works of those who had daily access to it :-witness Leland, the historian of Ireland, who was himself a Fellow of the College, but whose work presents few traces of minute or diligent research. We are, therefore, much cramped and bounded in our illustration of any portion of our ecclesiastical history on which a stranger may seek information. We can do little more than bring before him extracts from what has been already published, without pretending to add any thing new. This will appear more clearly in the following gleanings; and it must plead my excuse if they prove insuficient to satisfy the laudable curiosity of your correspondent on the subject to
which they refer. In that case I trust this attempt will only be the precursor of some fuller and more satisfactory account than my limited reading enables me to compile.
In England, in the earlier stages of the Reformation, convocations sat regularly with each new parliament that was assembled; but it was a considerable time before any were summoned to meet in Ireland. When the Irish Parliament met in 1536, there were not in the kingdom Protestant clergymen sufficient to constitute an ecclesiastical assembly, and the statesmen accordingly legislated for the infant church with a severity and intolerance that would not have disgraced the most zealous convocation. During the reign of Edward VI. the Lord Deputy was averse to calling a parliament, and the Reformalion was pressed forwards by royal proclamations alone; and the parTraments that met in the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth were deemed fully sufficient to regulate all religious matters. The reformed doctrines had, indeed, acquired such a limited ascendancy by reason of the injudicious measures employed in their propagation, that there existed no necessity for the expedient of a convocation where there were few to govern, and still fewer to assemble. At length, in 1615, the Reformation had advanced so far, and the Church acquired so much stabiliiy, that a convocation was directed by James 1. to be held at Dublin. This assembly, the first of the kind in Ireland, was called principally with the view that the Church might be furnished with that necessary and inseparable appendage of an establishDent-a confession of faith! The Irish clergy would not adopt that of the English church, lest this might imply a subserviency to its authority, or compromise their honour and independence. But a new confession was proposed to be drawn up, and this task was assigned to Dr. James Usher, afterwards the celebrated Archbishop of Armagh. When completed, it consisted of no less than one hundred and four articles; it was unanimously adopted, and is singular from its comprising many of those tenets that were then characteristic of Puritanism. I refer the reader to the observations made on these articles by Neal in the second volume of his History of Dissenters; and to the confession itself as given at large in the appendix to the same work. Leland, in bis History of Ireland, seems to reflect on Usher for introducing his Calsinistic principles into the confession, and makes this characteristic remark" And without any condescension to the sentiments of King James, he (Tsher) declared in one article, that the Lord's-day was to be wholly dediCated to the service of God.” Weak and presumptuous man! To dare to think differently from the Head of the Church, even on a point of such inferior importance! This certainly is high-church doctrine.
This convocation, however, left its legitimate work very imperfect. For it enacted no canons, those clerical expedients for persecution; and its only penal clause was the last, which declared, “ that if any minister should publicly teach any doctrine contrary to the articles agreed upon, he should be silenced and deprived of his promotions.” What was defective, however, in the proceedings of this assembly, was not long after amply supplied. In 1633, Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, was made Lord Deputy of Ireland; a promotion which he owed as much to the patronage of Laud as to bis own abilities. One of the first objects of his administration, according to the suggestion of his patron, whose abhorrence of Calvinism and Puritanism is well known, was to obtain the abolition of the obnoxious confession of Usher, and bring the Church of Ireland to adopt the articles and discipline of that of England. A convocation, the second in Ireland, was therefore
summoned for this purpose in 1634; and by it, through the dexterous management of Strafford, and contrary to the inclinations of the majority of the clergy, the XXXIX Articles were adopted, and a selection of the English canons, to the number of a hundred, made for the regulation of the Irish Church. In this assembly many non-conforming divines sat as members. Indeed, were it not foreign to the object of this paper, it could be easily shewn, that the majority of the clergy, especially in the province of Ulster, were of Presbyterian principles. Mr. James Hamilton, nephew to Lord Clanaboy and minister of Ballywalter in the Co. Down, afterwards of Dumfries and Edinburgh, was a member of this Convocation; and Joshua Hoyle, D. D., afterwards a member of the Assembly at Westminster, also sat in it. Summary accounts of its proceedings may be found in Leland, Book v. chap. i., and in Neal, Vol. II. page 231, last edition. But they who would wish to look behind the scenes, and get a glimpse of the secret springs of its public acts, will find ample gratification in the first volume of Strafford's State Letters. The letter of the Deputy to Laud, describing the manner in which he cajoled the Lower House into his measures, is worthy of insertion in the Repository on several accounts, but its great length prevents me giving it a place here. In addition to its interest as exhibiting a singular specimen of political maneuvering and clerical tameness and submission, it is this letter that contains the celebrated clause afterwards produced, I believe, with great effect on his trial," so as now I can say the king is as absolute here as any prince in the whole world can be, and may be still, if it be not spoiled, on that side.”
The ecclesiastical authorities were not slow in bringing into operation the penal enactments passed by this assembly. The northern bishops in particular soon began the work of silencing, fining, and imprisoning all who disobeyed their orders or refused to render entire conformity to the newlyformed canons of the church. Their dominancy, however, was of short duration. The rebellion in 1641 destroyed the influence of that party; nor did it revive till the restoration placed them on their former footing, and gave them power to lord it once more over God's heritage. Scarcely had that event iaken place, when a convocation, the third in Ireland, was summoned to meet with the Irish Parliament'in May, 1661. It sat but a short time, and again assembled in July, 1662, as we learn from the following letter written to the Primate by two ministers in the city of Derry. These desired to be excused from attending the convocation because of the cathedral not otherwise in this scarcity of ministers likely to be supplied, and for the herding of schismatics who run about predicants in this diocese. Some fourteen days since I seized upon a squinted fellow, one Smith, who had played his conventicling freaks in the street the week before. Examined him before the Mayor; but such a piece of ignorance and impudence (though I have met with
many thick-skinned foreheads in my time) I never grappled with before. He slipt our bands and ran the diocese; wherever he comes I fear he is of pernicious aspect. I have heard since that he was Corbet's chaplain who was lately hanged, drawn, and quartered.” Note.Miles Corbet sat at King Charles' trial, and signed the warrant for his death, for which he was executed this year at Tyburn. Of the proceedings of this convocation we have no record, though it continued to sit occasionally to 1666.
The revival of convocations in England in the commencement of Queen Anne's reign, led to the same measure in Ireland. In September, 1703, the Irish Convocation was, for the fourth time, summoned with parliament; and
though it continued to meet at intervals for six years, its only public act was a Declaration vindicating themselves from the growing suspicions of their being disaffected to the cause of the Queen. Their sittings were mostly employed in those frivolous discussions, conducted in that intemperate tone, which is so proverbial in clerical assemblies. They were for a long time occupied in discussing the question, whether the verger or the actuary of the Cpper House was the proper person to bring messages to the Lower. It is singular that the Archbishop of Tuam was the only member of this assembly who sat in the one held in the reign of Charles II. The convocation was again constituted in July, 1711, under the patronage of the Tory administration that had just entered on the government of Ireland, and their addresses to the throne, their only acts, were worthy of the party that had given them this brief existence. When a new parliament assembled in November, 1713, the convocation was, for the sixth and last time, summoned ; and on this occasion its members distinguished themselves by becoming the champions of the Lord Chancellor Phipps, the great abettor in Ireland of Sacheverell's party, They presented an Address to the Lord Lieutenant in favour of the Chancellor, in order to counteract one that had been presented by the House of Commons for his removal from office. At the presentation of this Address, a circumstance occcured which shews the temper of those times. On their entering the presence-chamber at the castle, Mr. Molesworth, a privy counselos, who happened to be present, said to some gentlemen near him" They who have turned the world upside down are come hither also." He was overheard by the clergy, who took fire and complained of the aspersion to the Lords. The Lords desired a conference with the Commons on this supposed breach of privilegé; but the latter treated the matter with indifference. The ministry, however, viewed it in a different light, and, to the disgrace of their party, removed Mr. M. from the privy council. Since this period I do not find that the Irish Convocation ever again met for business. The Bangorian controversy in England, in 1718, appears to have convinced the House of Hanover of the inexpediency of continuing these turbulent and unmanageable assemblies either there or in Ireland. How the rights of the Irish Church in the matter of their convocation were disposed of at the Union, I am not civilian enough to ascertain or illustrate.
In this rapid survey of Irish convocations your correspondent“ Clericus Anglicus" will, I trust, find satisfactory answers to his late queries on the subject. He will learn the number and nature of the original articles of the Irish Church-the time and manner of their being summarily exchanged for those of the English hierarchy- the periods at which the Irish convocations lave sat since the Reformation, and the fact of their authority, though still existing de jure, having been, as in England, silently superseded de facto.
Hoping this communication may be worthy of a place in your Repository, and be the means of exciting further curiosity respecting the ecclesiastical history of this country; I remain your obedient servant,
CLERICUS HIBERNUS. Carrickfergus, February 17, 1827.