CHURCH OF HOLLAND;
A SKETCH OF ITS EARLIER ANNALS,
AND SOME ACCOUNT
BROTHERS OF THE COMMON LIFE.
REV. J. M. NEALE, M.A.,
AUTHOR OF THE “HISTORY OF THE HOLY EASTERN CHURCH”
Transcribed by Peter Owen, 2006
Introduction: A Sletch of the Rise and progress of So-Called Jansenism in France.
1. The Church of Holland before the Reformation.
2. The Brothers of the Common Life.
3. The Church of Holland in the Reformation.
4. From the death of Frederick Schenk, Archbishop of Utrecht, to the death of Sasbold Vosmeer, second  Archbishop of Utrecht under the title of Archbishop of Philippi, 1580 — 1614.
5. The See vacant, 1614 — 1620. Philip Bovenius, third Archbishop of Utrecht, under the title of Archbishop of Philippi, 1620 — 1651.
6. James de la Torre, fourth Archbishop of Utrecht, under the title of Archbishop of Ephesus, 1651 — 1661.
7. Baldwin Catz, Vicar-Apostolic, 1661 — 1663. John Van Neercassel, fifth Archbishop of Utrecht, under the title of Bishop of Castoria, 1663 — 1686.
8. The See vacant, 1686 — 1689. Peter Codde, sixth Archbishop of Utrecht, under the title of Archbishop of Sebaste, 1689 — 1710.
9. The Schism commences. The National Clergy appeal to the Future General Council. Proceedings of the Bishop of Babylon, 1710 — 1723.
10. Cornelius Steenoven, seventh Archbishop of Utrecht, 1723 — 1725.
11. Cornelius John Barchman Wuytiers, eighth Archbishop of Utrecht, 1725 — 1733.
12. Theodore van der Croon, ninth Archbishop of Utrecht, 1733 — 1739.
13. Episcopate of Peter John Meindaerts, tenth Archbishop of Utrecht, till the Second Council of Utrecht, 1739 — 1763.
14. Second Council of Utrecht, till the death of Archbishop Meindaerts, 1763 — 1767.
15. Walter Michael van Nieuwenhuisen, eleventh Archbishop of Utrecht, 1767 — 1797.
16. John Jacob Van Rhijn, twelfth Archbishop of Utrecht, 1797 — 1808.
17. The See vacant, 1806 — 1814. Willibrord van Os, thirteenth Archbishop of Utrecht, 1814 — 1825.
18. John van Santen, fourteenth Archbishop of Utrecht, 1825.
1. List of Historical Works on the Church of Utrecht.
2. That Sasbold Vosmeer and his Successors were Diocesan Archbishops, and not simply Vicars-Apostolic.
3. That the Vicariate of Utrecht was and is the True Chapter.
4. Statistical Tables: —
a. List of Archbishops and Bishops since the Schism.
b. List of Cures in 1736 and 1853.
c. List of Baptisms in the Archdiocese.
d. List of Deans: and the present Chapter.
Errata and Corrigenda
[These have been incorporated into the text.]
 These numbers would more properly have been reckoned, as they usually are by Dutch writers, one higher; S. Willebrord being counted as the first Archbishop.
“And I see the good ship riding, all on a perilous road;
The low reef booming on her lea; the swell of ocean poured,
Sea after sea, from prow to stern; the mainmast by the board;
The bulwarks down; the rudder gone; the boats stove at the chains:
But courage still, brave mariners! the ANCHOR yet remains;
And that will flinch — no, never an inch! until ye pitch sky-high;
Then it gently moves, as if it said, ‘Fear nought, for here am I!’”
The Forging of the Anchor.
THE LORD BISHOP OF SALISBURY,
THIS HISTORY OF A CHURCH
WHICH, CUT OFF FROM THE COMMUNION OF ROME,
HAS CLUNG FAST TO THE CATHOLIC FAITH,
FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF PRIMITIVE DOCTRINE,
IS, BY HIS LORDSHIP’S PERMISSION,
It was in the spring of the year 1851 that, during the course of a visit at Utrecht, I became acquainted with the venerable Archbishop of that See, and interested in the history of the Church over which he presides. At that time there was, I believe, not a single work in English which treated of the subject; nor was there any book, not out of print, whether French or Dutch, which gave any detailed account of the fortunes of the so-called Jansenists of Holland. The information generally possessed by English Churchmen, with respect to the Church of Utrecht, was about as full and as accurate as that contained in Murray’s “Handbook of Holland:” — “Utrecht is the head-quarters of the Jansenists, a sect of dissenters from the Roman Catholic Church, who object to the Bull of Pope Alexander VII. condemning as heretical certain doctrines of Jansenius, Bishop of Ypres. They scarcely exist in any number, except in Holland, where they are now reduced to five thousand.”
From the time that I first became acquainted with the story of its afflictions and its endurance, it has always been my wish to give English Churchmen the opportunity of becoming better acquainted with the history of the Church of Holland; and having, through the kindness of the Archbishop himself, and several of his ecclesiastics, amassed a considerable number of the most important and rarest books on the subject, I have kept my plan in view from that time to this, and the result is now presented to the reader.
Shortly after my first visit to Utrecht, Dr. Tregelles, so well known for his works on Biblical criticism, published a short general history of the “Jansenists,” some pages of which were devoted to their proceedings in Holland. In a review of that work for the “Christian Remembrancer” of January, 1852, I endeavoured to give a more detailed account of that body than had before appeared in English; and some passages in the following pages are quoted from that and from another article contributed by me to the same Review, on the “Mystic Theology of Holland.”
In the October of 1854, I spent a week at Utrecht, for the purpose of examining the Archives, which were most unreservedly placed at my disposal by the kindness of the Archbishop. Of the great value and importance of those Archives I shall have occasion to speak more at length hereafter.
I have in the Appendix given so very full a list of the works which treat of the history of the Church of Utrecht since the great schism, that I need here only mention a few of the subsidiary helps which I have employed in my task.
The Introduction contains a sketch — for it professes to be nothing more — of the annals of French “Jansenism,” some acquaintance with which is absolutely necessary to the right understanding of the more immediate subject of my work. In this I have been under greater obligations to the Abbé Guettée’s noble Histoire de l’Église de France than to any other book, — not forgetting, however, the works of S. Cyran, Nicole, and Arnauld, and the Nouvelles Ecclésiastiques.
Mr. Dalgairns has published a work entitled “The Devotion to the Heart of Jesus,” with — what he calls — an Introduction on the History of Jansenism. I only mention the book because it would be difficult to find a single page in the Introduction which does not contain the grossest, and sometimes positively ludicrous, errors. To take an example or two. It is said that — ” the principal evidence on which S. Cyran was sent to Vincennes was that of S. Vincent de Paul.” S. Vincent was never even interrogated regarding S. Cyran till after the imprisonment of the latter, and remained, as we shall see at p. 6, his friend till his death. A little further on, Mr. Dalgairns says, “In one of S. Vincent’s letters the following passage occurs;” and he then quotes an extract not to be found in S. Vincent’s letters anywhere, but taken from his biography by Abelly, and which the biographer himself had to retract. Again, he says, p. 27, “One of the chiefs of the Jansenist party wrote a book against frequent Communion.” It is only to be hoped that Mr. Dalgairns has never opened the work of Arnauld’s to which he alludes, or such a statement would be worse than an error. Once more: “It was one of their opinions that absolution was invalid if it were given before the penance imposed were performed.” Compare this with the formal statement of the Articles of Louvain, and the second Council of Utrecht: “The procrastination of absolution is sometimes necessary, sometimes useful, sometimes pernicious.” I have said enough to give an idea of the general amount of truthfulness which characterizes the “Introduction.”
In the history of Utrecht itself I have principally followed the thread of De Bellegarde’s narrative, (Histoire Abregée de l’Église Metropolitaine d’Utrecht,) the third edition of which having been commenced by the Abbé Van der Hoeven, now with GOD, was published in 1852, by my friend the Abbé Karsten, rector of the Seminary at Amersfoort. But it is the thread of narration only which I have followed, — having dwelt on some subjects at much greater length, and on others with far more brevity, than De Bellegarde. Thus, the acts of the Second Council of Utrecht, which I have related with considerable fulness, are dismissed by him in a few lines: thus, also, I have compressed into a few pages the events which occurred previous to the disestablishment of the National Church, and the elevation of Sasbold Vosmeer to the Vicariate Apostolic. The Batavia Sacra, the Historia Episcopatuum foederati Belgii, and its enlarged translation, the Kerkelijke Historie en Outheden der zeven vereenigde Provincien, have always been at my side; and the works mentioned in the Appendix have, with scarcely an exception, been consulted either in England or in Holland.
Of books not mentioned there I may specify: — For the History of the Brothers of the Common Life, the very interesting Verhandeling over de Broederschap van Geert Groote, by G. H. M. Delprat (Second Edition, Arnheim, 1856). The author, though a Protestant, enters well into his subject, and has produced a very instructive book. Several papers in the Nederlandsch Archief voor Kerkelijke Geschiedenis, published by Professors Kist and Royaards. The works of Thomas à Kempis, Henry Herph, and Gerlach Petersen. The Athenae Belgicae of Francis Sweertius, (Antwerp, 1628). For the main body of the history, the superb edition of the works of Arnauld, edited by De Bellegarde, in 49 volumes, (1775 to 1781). The edition of Van Espen, in three folio volumes (Louvain, 1767). The Mémoires Historiques sur l’affaire de la Bulle “Unigenitus” dans les Pays-Bas Autrichiens, &c. (1755). The Dictionnaire des Livres Jansénistes, (4 volumes, Antwerp, 1752,) one of the most furiously Molinist books ever printed, but valuable from its references to the contents of scarce and forgotten pamphlets. I may add the Leven van Martinus Steyaert, bestryder van het Jansenistendom, by E. A. Dobbelaere, Ghent. Bellegarde’s History ends in 1784. The works on which I thenceforth depend are given in the Appendix. To these I must add the Handelingen van de Regering en de Staten-Generaal over de Grondwets-Bepalingen nopens de Godsdienst, (Schiedam, Roelants, 1854,) which gives an excellent account of the troubles occasioned by the intrusion of the new Roman hierarchy in that year.
I have now to express my thanks, in the first place, to the venerable Archbishop of Utrecht, Monseigneur Van Santen, for his kindness in supplying me with books, directing me by letter to sources of information which I could not have discovered for myself, and assisting me in every way during my visits to Utrecht. For similar kindness I should have had to thank the late Canon Van Werckhoven, had he lived to read a book which I think he would have perused with interest; as I now have to thank the Abbé Karsten, of Amersfoort, and the Canon Mulder, pastor of the Church of S. Gertrude in den Hoek at Utrecht. Nor must I forget the kindness of the Ven. Archdeacon Otter, and of F. H. Dickinson, Esq., in supplying me with “Jansenist” works from their libraries. Whatever importance the Annals of the Church of Utrecht must always have possessed, they undoubtedly have acquired increased interest now, when the Ultramontanism of such works as the Univers, and the new school of French theologians, and also the promulgation of the Bull Ineffabilis, has revived the ardour and the devotion of the old Gallican party, the party of Gerson, Pierre d’Ailly, and Bossuet. The sympathy felt by this school with the oppressed Church of Holland is not obscurely expressed in its historical masterpiece, the Abbé Guettée’s History; in the respect and veneration with which he speaks of the present head of that communion, Archbishop Van Santen.
One more remark may not be out of place. The part which the Jesuits have played in the oppression of the Church of Utrecht obliges an historian of that communion to dwell on the dark, with scarcely any reference to the bright, side of that wonderful Society. The Ubi male, nemo pejus is certainly demonstrated in the following pages; but GOD forbid that we should forget the other part of the same proverb, when we remember the exertions of the Company in Japan, in Cochin-China, in Paraguay, in North America, — Ubi bene, nemo melius.
Nov. 20, 1857.