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of Port-Royal, from the year 1656, downward, in the supposed cure of several persons, by means of a thorn preserved from the crown of our Saviour. About the year 1725, new developments of these miraculous influences were made, when a woman was cured of a dangerous malady, by supplicating relief from a consecrated host in the hands of a Jansenist priest. But these and other wonders were cast into the shade, by the superior splendor of the achievements which were performed at the grave of the Abbé de Paris. Without enumerating these, we may add, that other dead ornaments of the sect, such as Quesnell, Levier, and Tournas, were supposed, subsequently, to have performed miraculous cures, for the benefit of the faithful, and the honor of their order; the reality of which was, for a time, preached and believed by those favorable to Jansenism.
Other members of this community now yielded to fanatical excitements, spasmodic throes, and ecstatic emotions of various kinds, as being promotive of true piety; and obtained for themselves the title of Convulsionists. Others contrived to bring on these favorite emotions by cruel kicks, blows, and cuts. These, by insuring their superior feelings in this way, were termed Securists. The heavenly impulse was vouchsafed to others, by indecently exposing their persons, to show the weaknesses of human nature. These were very appropriately called Naturalists and Figurists. And lastly, some persons called Discernants and Melangists, appeared, who heartily disputed among themselves, whether all these divine ecstacies were brought about through the agency of God or of the devil.
These unfortunate excesses of course brought the cause of Jansenism into great contempt. The French court soon put a forcible stop to them. Yet after the immediate influence of these weaknesses passed away, the pure morality and better theology of the society gradually secured more and more respect from pious and well-disposed persons, who regretted the still greater evils connected with the dominant church. There is but one association of Jansenists, who, according to the decree of the Synod of Utrecht in 1763, do not separate from the church of Rome. They all agree to acknowledge the Pope as their spiritual head. They reject the bull Unigenitus, and appeal to a future council, for the adjustment of their claims and rights. They maintain the doctrines of Augustine, and exalt in wardness of feeling in religious exercises, in opposition to reliance on outward observances. These remarks are applicable to the main body of Jansenists, who are usually designated by their doctrinal peculiarities, as Augustinians. Since the year 1723, they have had an archbishop of their own at Utrecht, besides two bishops at Haarlem and Deventer. They possess a well-educated clergy, who are under the control of the civil power, while, at the same
time, they are unsupported by wealth or influence. This has led to the exercise of greater diligence in the performance of their pastoral duties, and greater consistency in their private life. A portion of their civil and ecclesiastical security they owe to the influence of Protestants. They remain under the formal condemnation of the Pope, though merely as a dead letter, which is not rigidly executed.
From the extracts which have been given of the doctrines held by Jansenists, it will be sufficiently plain, that they comprise the most pure and spiritual portion of Gospel truth. We need not wonder, then, that they should have been so fiercely opposed on these grounds, by the Romish hierarchy. They also loudly and justly complained, that the regular established clergy had forsaken and neglected the duties of their office. Could any charge have been more unanswerably just and true than this? Does not such a bold and dangerous avowal, on the part of these persecuted men, prove a fearlessness in the discharge of duty, and a boldness in the exposure of error, which recommend them to our highest regard ? They, moreover, denounced those innumerable herds of torpid, and useless monks, who infested Europe, as apostates from their own primitive rules, as well as an injury to society and religion. And we may well ask, whether this denunciation is not true ?—whether there has ever existed, on this earth, a more widely extended, as well as more injurious pest to any community, than those numerous orders of hypocritical and impure impostors, who, with one hand upon their hearts, and their heads bowed in reverential humility, have always succeeded in introducing their other hand into the pockets of their dupes, and defrauding them of their wealth? And were not the Jansenists to be commended, for resisting their influence, and exposing the evils produced by a multitudinous class of men, who, wherever they have existed, have rested like a fatal incubus upon society, have exhausted and absorbed its very life-blood, and have crushed, to a great degree, its temporal as well as spiritual existence ?
The Jansenists also labored to have the people instructed properly in the truths of Christianity. They contended for the great and cardinal doctrine, that the Bible should be disseminated and read, throughout every community, in the vernacular tongue. They maintained that the forms and exercises of public worship, and the books containing the ceremonies of religion, should all be promulgated and made known, in the language familiar to every worshipper. That the Romish hierarchy should condemn such doctrines and movements as these, was natural enough; but does not such a condemnation redound to the credit of those upon whom it was inflicted? The Jansenists not only themselves believed, but they held that the people should be taught, THIRD SERIES, VOL. II. NO. 4.
that true religion did not consist merely in the observance of rites and ceremonies, however instructive and appropriate in themselves, but that the heart should be affected; that it should be pervaded with divine love and purity. All these doctrines, as held by this community, are accordant with scripture, and cannot but exalt the merit of any association of men, who, in the midst of so much and such great darkness, could arrive at and maintain them.
Nor can it be urged with much propriety, that the superstitious excesses of the Jansenists at one period of their existence, detract from their credit as regards their general standing. For these were more the results of the age and generation in which they occurred; and of influences which pervaded the community universally in which they were enacted. There was nothing inherent in the ingredients of Jansenism, calculated to produce them; on the contrary, all of these possessed a contrary tendency. It is true, that at one period this society approximated much toward the Mystics, and were themselves branded by their adversaries with the epithet of Rigorists. It is true that St. Cyrau wrote a polemical work against Protestants; but it should be observed, that this was in self-defence, to repel at one and the same time, the attacks of both Romanists and Protestants. He was constrained to enter the field even against the latter in self-defence; and besides, his work has more the general character of an apologetical, rather than a polemical production. Mysticism is the natural and opposite extreme of formalism in religion; and its existence in this case is to be attributed to the evils, whether in Romanism or Protestantism, from opposition to which Jansenism arose.
Having thus traced the outward history of this chapter in the progress and fortunes of the church, we proceed to glance at those important truths in reference to Romanism, and its relation to Christianity, which may legitimately be deduced from it.
I. The first of these is the absurdity and falsehood of the position which Romanists sometimes maintain, that if appropriate efforts for reform were made within their church, without involving the heinous crime of schism, such movements would be regarded with favor, and would be respected as legitimate and commendable. They complain that whenever evils, the existence of which they do not deny, are to be removed, and engage the reforming zeal of the members of that church, they go to extremes, sever the sacred ties which bound them to their ecclesiastical parent, and as outlaws and aliens, complete their endeavors, and consummate their revolutions. It is affirmed that such rash measures justly exclude those who are guilty of them, from all sympathy and co-operation from the mother church. But here we have presented to our view the most remarkable
instance of the opposite character, which is exhibited by the whole history of Romanism; and we have also the kind of regard and assistance, which it received from that quarter. It is true, that less important and extensive endeavors had been made, at different periods previously, to purify the corrupt doctrines, and remove the moral evils which had infested the old church. Some feeble efforts for reform had even been made at the council of Constance. The illustrious John Gerson, as well as Nicholas of Clamenge, had fearlessly called for decisive action on the subject; but they had called in vain. The fanatical, though well-meant zeal of Jerome Savonorola had been expended in laboring for this end in Italy; but he had paid his life as a forfeit for his boldness. At different intervals before the dawn of the Reformation, and as worthy precursors of that illustrious event, the names and labors of John von Goch, Gregory of Heimberg, John de Wesalia and John Wessel, attest that the necessity for reform was deeply felt by members of the Romish church, and a few endeavors put forth to realize it. Even at the council of Trent, there was at the beginning, a strong party favorable to improvement. But though that assemblage pretended constantly to pass " decreta de reformatione," they were only and always decreta de confirmatione ; powerfully calculated to establish and consolidate the errors which had already secured extensive prevalence; so that in the end not any improvement of any consequence was attained.
But here, in the praise worthy endeavors of the Jansenists, we behold the few particles of truth which are contained in the degenerate mass of Romanism, by some strange and unexpected impulse, called forth into action, and exhibiting a disposition to leaven the whole lump. The Jansenists, if not Romanists, were Catholics. They acknowledged that the Catholic church was the true church. Jansenius wrote powerfully and conscientiously against the Protestants. Here there was a rare instance of men, who were reared and educated under Catholic influences and associations; who trembled at the thought of deserting their church; who only labored to improve its character, to exalt its reputation, and remove its corruptions; who consecrated to her true interests their noblest energies; who toiled and prayed that her merits might be appreciated, and all her genuine foes, whether within her sacred pale, or beyond it, might be silenced and discomfited; who had every right to be regarded with confidence and gratitude by that church, as bone of its bone and flesh of its flesh; and whose efforts were, under the circumstances, the most honorable which adorn the whole history of Romanism; and yet these are the very men, and these are the very efforts, which have been met with a virulence, persecution and tyranny, second only to that which Romanism has apportioned to pure Protestantism itself. As long as the record of Jansenism endures on the page of ecclesiastical history, so long will this most unanswerable proof survive, that efforis for improvement, when made by members of the Romish church, will never receive any more sympathy and support from the hierarchy, ihan the unauthorized interference of heretics. If the force of circumstances is such, as to make any such agitations dangerous, or too potent and formidable to be despised, they will be tampered with for a while; they will be partially entertained; they will be met by compromises, and eventually by direct evasions; and this process will be continued, until the renovating zeal which has called them forth, has exhausted itself and has disappeared, and all things and all corruptions will remain as they were afore
This has ever been the policy which has been employed during past ages, in such emergencies; and it doubtless will ever continue to be the favorite device in the ages to come. The reason of it is plain. The Romish system, as it now exis , is best adapted in every particular and feature of it, for accomplishing the purposes for which it is continued in being. These purposes are widely different from those for which Christ established his church. These purposes are the aggrandizement of the clergy, the promotion of their glory, their influence, their ease, and the advancement of all their interests. Hence the papal establishment is the most powerful instrument which could have been devised, for the elevation of any one order or confederacy of men. There is not on this earth to be found an institution so skilfully contrived and so energetically administered, as well as so widely diffused, as is the Romish hierarchy. The experience, the misfortunes and the triumphs of centuries have all been treasured up, and made to contribute to the perfection of a fabric, a rival to which, for solid and permanent organization, cannot be found in any of the social, religious, or political institutions of the world. Not one change in this system could now be made, without impairing its excellence, and disarranging its operation, in its intended sphere. No alteration could add an improvement which the penetration of the selfishness of departed generations had not detected. No change could be made which would not produce disaster, and which their shrewdness and caution had not long evaded. Why then should the defenders of such an institution, so precious to them, and so perfect, aid any endeavor from any quarter, which was intended to effect a change? Why should they mar their own beauteous handiwork; dash the cup of bliss from their own lips, or else at least embitter its ingredients; and by one rash act in the furtherance of truth, overturn the immense edifice of error, in which were collecied all their own glory, and profit and joy? The subtle genius of Romanism will have deserted its own votaries, when they are discovered to be acting in this manner.
II. Jansenism shows, that it is a cardinal principle of Roman