It was unfortunately constituted: they always sought a chief-a political head-while all their pastors were on an equality. Besides their national synod, and their particular synods, they had their political assemblies, national and provincial, which always met, whereby they seemed to separate their interests from the common interest around them, and showed themselves as an empire within an empire.

In consequence of this we find them, even while in the full enjoyment of their privileges under the edict of Nantes, ready to join in conspiracies and confederacies, whereby they imagined they might derive an increase of advantage and security. Witness that treaty with the Prince of Condé, preparing to appear in arms in 1615 or 1616. Hence they were enabled, through a political assembly in 1620, to offer to place Lesdiguières at the head of 20,000 men, and to guarantee for their maintenance a monthly subsidy of 100,000 crowns.

Ever prompt to have recourse to arms, they organized themselves militarily. At the levée de boucliers, which neither the pacific counsels of Duplessis, nor the refusal of the Duc de Bouillon and of Lesdiguières to command their armies, could deter them from engaging in; they made a new military division of the kingdom, distributing the provinces into eight circles, each placed under a separate general of their own; the assembly reserving for itself a paramount authority; and to its ordinances and commissions was appended a seal emblematic of independence. Too like the parliament of England, they set at defiance the royal authority, met the belligerent inclination of the court with an equally martial disposition; they declined accommodation, and all this was done in the character of a religious body! Such an imperium in imperio must necessarily give umbrage. At another time, in order to support themselves as a political party, they did not fear to seek the alliance of the King of Spain. Such a system could not conciliate authority, in whatsoever hands it might be placed—one or the other necessarily must yield. We very much question whether it could ever have maintained itself in Scotland, if the seat of government had not been transferred to this side the Tweed. Nor could it have been prevalent in Switzerland without the aid of republicanism and the circumstances of a very circumscribed territory.

How often, in their unhappy history, do the representations of their assembled ministers appear unavailing-they seem as a body to have had no weight. The Reformed have been able to remonstrate only with arms in their hands. In the absence of ecclesiastics invested with dignity, they had recourse to their Protector; they called in laymen to treat for them, and were re

presented by seigneurs who, not unnaturally, made the spiritual interests of the Huguenot body yield to their secular interests and temporal projects. Between the year 1559 and 1660 there assembled twenty-nine national synods, consequently there was abundant scope for their system. What did it produce? To what state had they brought either the mind of the country or their own particular feeling ?* The objects with which they occupied themselves when they assembled in national synod were really so futile, so unlike the great church interests of a nation, that we can quite understand the impotency of their ecclesiastical censure and discipline in general-the sad consequences that ensued when that discipline was actually put into execution. We have said that the body was not sufficiently ecclesiastical. It never took the proper church stand: they never had confidence in their right to prevail; they felt the absence of regular ecclesiastical authority, and always stood prepared themselves for a struggle. Even Duplessis, at the period when their hopes might be considered strongest and their pretensions at the highest, he limits his stipulations to this: "that the Huguenot service may be celebrated, if not in the interior of towns, at least in their faubourgs"-what an idea of nationality in church matters does this convey! Even Henry IV., in declarations prior to the edict of Nantes, spoke of them as "en dehors."

What was wanted when Beza held his controversy with the Cardinal de Lorraine at St. Germains, manifesting, indeed, the power of godliness with the gifts and graces of a believer? There was wanting a church body, to the standing and importance of which the advantages he gained could be available. Is it too much to say, that if the Reformed body, instead of relying upon political chieftains and secular leaders, had had an imposing body of clergy, invested with authority, power, and dignity, to represent them in their religious interests-that their franchises would have been less encroached upon, their treaties less disregarded? Had there been a clerum imposing from its order, venerated for its spiritual descent and inspiring awe from the respect rendered to its sacerdotal character, the detestable massacre of St. Bartholomew might have been divested of much of its atrocities. It might not have been so easily planned, nor perpetrated in the way in which the sanguinary tools of fanaticism thought they might sacrifice laymen without a church, and ministers in whom they did not recognize the priestly office.

* For some very striking details on the state of the Huguenots at the beginning of the 17th century, see Rev. E. Smedley's "History of the Reformed Churches in France," vol. iii. chap. 22.

Had the Church at that time been episcopal, is there not room to presume that the destiny of the Huguenot body would have been very different?

We cannot without anguish of heart contemplate the venerable Duplessis Mornay abandoned in his old age, when he engaged in the controversy with the Cardinal Duperron. The part which Henry IV. took in humiliating one who had been so faithful a servant and friend was in the last degree disgraceful to him, as a man and as a prince. But in what terms does he speak of the transaction? Writing to the Duc d'Epernon, the morning after the conference, Henri says, "In truth, it was one of the greatest blows which has been, for a long time, struck in behalf of the Church of God." It is clear that the prevailing idea in the King's mind was, to consider the Romish communion as the Church, and the Huguenot body as no Church.

Henry had then renounced the Reformed creed for Romanism -an act upon which, more perhaps than upon any other, has turned, humanly speaking, the destinies of France. A right estimation of the motives upon which that act was founded, as far as human judgment can investigate, would lead to take into account the prevailing bias of his character, and to allow something for the lure of enjoying an undisputed throne; but we should also have to regard the experience which the King had of the working of the Huguenot system-the intimate acquaintance he had acquired with the nature of that body: his sense of what was necessary for administering the religious interests of a kingdom so large as France-these considerations called on him to judge, not as an individual only, nor as King of Navarre only, but as King of France and Navarre. The constant fluctuation attendant upon a religious body unsanctioned by apostolic succession, unconnected with the primitive Christian Church, unprotected by an hierarchy, must evidently have led that prince to ponder which system was better suited to the well-being of his whole empire-the Calvinistic or the Romanist, and to consider, in the words of Sully, that the latter was "the more certain of the two."

It cannot be denied that Henry had been, up to that time (notwithstanding some circumstances at the St. Bartholomew massacre), a staunch and sincere supporter of his partyhe had often jeopardised his life for it: he might, indeed, know that the men who composed it sought another protector, when, on succeeding to the crown, Henry received (too graciously for the Huguenots) a deputation of Romanists. He might be aware that they wished to reject him, and to dissolve the con

nexion; nor could the change be owing to any renewed besetment of the Romish priesthood, for he had shown himself proof against that. But now, as sovereign, the matter came more closely home to him, and in conforming to the Romish Church, it was not because it was Romaine, but because it was Catholique.

Had Henry found an ecclesiastical body capable of maintaining its right, both on the ground of doctrine and of discipline, to the title of Catholic and Apostolic Church-had he found a Reformed Episcopal institution in France, by means of which he could have consolidated real reforms, and in which he might have entertained a reasonable hope that the two conflicting parties among his subjects might one day merge; in which he might personally have taken refuge, and have been spared what he must unquestionably have felt as an act of humiliation—his abjuration; then, however small that body might have been at first, it cannot be deemed presumptuous to say that this disastrous event would never have taken place. But with the materials he had around him, this, melancholy though it be and deeply to be lamented, was the only result to which he was likely to come. The magnitude of the Huguenot party only manifested the more forcibly its want of union, cohesiveness, and durability. After all that precedes in the history of the Huguenots, it seems to surprise us less, though it does not make us deplore it the less bitterly.

With the abjuration of Henry IV. doubtless ended the prospect of Calvin's system obtaining as the universal religion in France. The Huguenots were, by a series of iniquitous usurpations, cruelly oppressed; left without money, without leaders, and without political influence. They had no ecclesiastical officers carrying a sufficient weight and dignity to sustain their cause, none to protect their rights, or to preserve this unfortunate people from gradual obliteration. Thus Romanism went on working out its ruinous consequences, until the tremendous convulsion of the great Revolution. Afterwards, when Buonaparte collected together the scattered elements of order and society, he re-established the Roman Catholic religion, and with it Protestantism; the former curtailed of its prerogatives, the latter increased and strengthened in its influence. We learn, by a passage in Las Cases' Memoirs, his predeliction for establishing Protestantism as the universal religion in France; but we feel that what then was wanting to that end, is what Protestantism had been deficient in before, namely, the sanction of spiritual descent, the authority and succession of the primitive Church: and this is what is still wanting to give it the position it ought to occupy, and to confer upon it to any unity of faith or of action.


The founders of the system under consideration maintained the right of independent setting apart," without any transmitting of the apostolic authority, and (notwithstanding one or two sentences of regret, doubtless very sincere, on the part of Calvin, at the loss of Episcopacy,) it does not appear that they ever sought to obtain that proper commission. They were satisfied with their own authority; they cut themselves off and separated themselves from the fellowship of that body which, by the right of orders, and through the episcopal institution, essentially composed and continued the visible universal Church. They saw the result, and had to endure the consequences. Nor would it be wondered at, if there were some pasteurs to be found, who may be convinced in their hearts that it is by apostolic order alone that their Churches can be rescued from their present lamentable state?

In the mean while the Separatists, it appears, are signing and adopting the Confession de Foi de la Rochelle, which the Nationalists repudiate as being in its feeling bitter and hostile, in its doctrine exclusive and ultra-Calvinistic, even to reprobation, therefore in no way adapted to the present state of mind and of society in France.

And lamentably does this discussion evidence the absence of some recognised standard of belief. The discussion which began upon points of administration, has gradually shifted its ground to points of doctrine, disclosing to us the most distressing divisions of opinion in the Protestant body. In this chaos of sentiment, where the language of piety is constantly, as it were, traditionally used-while, often, it is but too evident that true faith or true charity are deficient, it is truly painful to be obliged to notice, that those who would advocate the interests of order and discipline should at the same time come so deplorably short in the orthodox doctrines of the universal Church. That, while maintaining the right of private judgment and of individual interpretation in as unlimited and crude a manner as can be conceived, they should afford such a deplorable example of its results.* May not the truth be that they have been driven into these errors by contemplating those exclusive doctrines established at the time of theReformation, to the neglect of those held by the primitive Church?

It is certainly not a little remarkable, however, that we should

* Another feature displayed in this controversy-is, that courtesy, real liberality, and gentlemanlike feeling are found with those who are the supporters of an Established Church; while narrowness, bitterness, denunciation and morgue, are on the side of the Separatists, who would style themselves liberals par excellence.

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