Project Canterbury

Missive in Support of Relief for the Episcopal Reformed Churches
of Greater Poland and Polish Prussia.

By W. Cant. (William Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury)
July 10, 1716

London: no publisher, [1716]

Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Diocese of New York, 2010

THE Brief which His Majesty has been pleased to grant, for the Relief of the poor Episcopal Reformed Churches, beyond Sea, gives such a full account of the distressed Estate to which they have been reduced, and of the fatal consequences that will attend their present Wants, if not speedily, and effectually supplied; as far surpasses any Arguments that could have been offered to excite your Care, and the Charity of your People, for the succouring of them.

YOU will see how the once flourishing Churches of Bohemia, driven thence by the persecutions of their Enemies into the Greater Poland, and Polish Prussia, have by War and Pestilence, by Fire and Sword, by Cold and Hunger, by all the Miseries that can befall a wretched People, been ruined and laid waste: Their Metropolitan Church, and University, reduced to ashes; their Pastors destroyed; their Schools of Education deprived of their Masters and Instructors; in a word, their Congregations reduced from seventy to fifteen; and those fifteen ready to sink after the rest, if not timely supplied by your Bounty and Liberality.

YOU are told by what a terrible Invasion the Protestants of Transylvania have in like manner lost their Churches, and University in the Town of Enyed; and thereby been deprived of more than one hundred Professors, Masters, and Fellows, of that famous University; besides about three hundred Scholars, supported and maintained out of the yearly revenue of that Foundation: And how by these means they must want the necessary supply of two hundred Ministers, who were want to be bred in, and furnished from, this great Seminary of Piety and Learning, unless this College and University be again restored.

THESE Protestant Churches, as they were originally founded by the Disciples of our Wickleffe, so have they all along continued the same Episcopal Government among them, which has been so happily preserved by us: By reason whereof they seem to come the most nearly to our own Constitution of any of the Reformed Churches in Europe. And therefore we should the rather esteem our selves concern’d in the preservation of them; but especially at a time when our common Enemies are so busy, if it were possible, to root out both them and us, from off the face of the Earth.

IF there be therefore any Consolation in Christ, if any comfort of Love, if any Bowels and Mercy; If you have indeed any regard to that Communion of Saints, which in your Creeds you profess to believe; if any Gratitude to God for our own wonderful Preservation; if any Concern for our distressed and suffering Brethren, who have fallen under those Calamities which we have hitherto happily escaped: Let all these considerations move you, and your Congregation, to contribute freely, and bounteously, to the Needs of these poor Protestants now recommended to your Charity. And may the God of Mercy and Compassion reward your Work, and Labour of Love, a hundred fold into your Bosom now, in this present time; and remember it to your eternal Reward in the Great Day of Account. I am.

Your very affectionate Friend,
and Brother in Christ,
Westminster July 10, 1716


HIS Majesty’s Gracious Brief, and the foregoing Copy of his Grace the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury’s Letter, do so fully and pathetically set forth the distressed State of the Episcopal Reformed Churches in Poland and Transylvania, and the Necessity of their Relief, that depending upon the Impression they needs must make upon yours, and all charitably disposed Minds, I should have added nothing to them, were it not that His Majesty has declared his Royal Pleasure that the Bishops in their respective Diocesses do give particular Directions and Command for the Advancement of this so charitable and good a Work.

For this reason I heartily recommend to you, to give a serious Attention to the Motives urg’d with so much Zeal and Charity in the foregoing Letter, and do require you to make the most efficacious Use of them, as well from the Pulpit, as in your private Discourses with those you apply to, as also that you endeavour to promote, as much as possibly you may, the speedy Dispatch of this Collection; to which I join my humble Prayers that your Success on this Occasion may tend to the Glory of God, the Honour of our Holy Religion, and to the everlasting Comfort of all those that shall administer to the pressing Necessities of these our Fellow-Members in Christ. I am,

Your very affectionate Brother,
and Servant in Christ Jesus,
Fulham, Aug. 22d, 1716.

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