Project Canterbury

A History of the So-Called Jansenist Church of Holland;
with a Sketch of Its Earlier Annals,
And some Account of the Brothers of the Common Life.

By the Rev. J.M. Neale, M.A.

Oxford: John Henry and James Parker, 1858.










1. On a winter’s evening of the year 1630, two personages, both learned, both zealous, both reformers, were seated in a student’s room in Paris, and discussing the state of the Church. The one, tall, stern, pale, harsh, commanding, looked every inch an ascetic; the other, words, eyes, manner impregnated with love, the true missionary to a miserable people. The name of the former was Jean du Verger de Hauranne, Abbat of S. Cyran; that of the latter, Vincent de Paul: the one the great saint, the other, according to Ultramontane teaching, the great heresiarch, of the seventeenth century.

2. Who were these two men, and what their past life? Let us begin with the saint. A priest, yet directing the holiest bishops of his time; a roturier, yet the companion of nobility; a saint, yet the favourite of a corrupt court; a Catholic, yet beloved by heretics; how did he acquire his name and his influence in the Church? He had been a slave in Morocco, and there his heart was touched with that love which became the guiding principle of his life. Hence that most blessed institution, the Sisters of Charity. Hence, when the armies of this world swept and re-swept over miserable Lorraine, — when fields lay fallow for years, — when wolves boldly entered villages and [4] towns, — when the hearths of cottages and mansions were alike fireless during the winter, — when mice, rats, and adders were publicly sold, and bought at enormous prices, — when the starvation in the villages was so fearful, that men shut their eyes as they passed, — when, to use the words of an eye-witness, the peasants that wandered about were like “skeletons covered with tanned sheep’s-leather,” — when highborn ladies sold their honour to the brutal soldiers of Germany or France, that their children might not die before their eyes, — then this true servant of God poured his army of missionaries over the devoted country. They, taking their lives in their hands, in perils from pestilence, marauders, wild beasts, went out into the highways and hedges. Alms were absolutely rained in upon them from Paris. Death thinned their ranks; but Vincent, like a determined general, maintained his post, and poured in fresh soldiers to supply the place of the fallen. They took the infant from the breast of the dead mother; they set free the ecclesiastic from drawing the plough like a beast; they rescued women from perilling their salvation for a piece of bread; they lived the lives of angels; and “they died,” says a contemporary, “as I pray and beseech God that I may die.” The expenses of this holy war were reckoned at £400,000. The same charity planted missionaries in Harris and Lewis, in Benbecula and the Uists, in islands that since the Reformation had never seen a minister of any sect; consoled the Roman Catholics of Ireland under the savage persecution of Cromwell; entered the dark and fetid holds of the galleys, and turned many a prisoner from darkness to light; solaced the captives of Algiers and Tunis; ransomed them for their return, or fortified them for their martyrdom. Thence, [5] too, foundlings, rescued from the horrors of the Rue S. Landri, became the special charge of the Ladies of Charity; thence, when the funds of the new institution were totally inadequate to the work in hand, Vincent called together its supporters, and “I appeal to you,” said he, “no longer as their mothers, but as their judges: pronounce, if you will, the sentence of their death: I proceed to take your votes.” Necklaces, bracelets, jewels, rings, caskets then, — broad lands and fair houses afterwards, — were poured in to the succour of the helpless children; and to that decision, and to that priest, a million of infants owe their lives annually in all parts of the world. Such was the great saint of the seventeenth century.

3. We now come to him whom Ultramontanes call its great heresiarch — the Abbé de S. Cyran. His fortunes are so interwoven with those of his ally, Cornelius Jansen, Bishop of Ypres, that we must pursue them together. Jansen, born in 1585, near Leerdam, in Holland, was educated first at Utrecht, and then at Louvain, where he formed an acquaintance with Jean du Verger, with whom he visited Paris, and afterwards Bayonne, the native place of his friend. Hence he returned to Louvain, was made Principal of the College of S. Pulcheria, Professor of Holy Scripture, and finally Bishop of Ypres. This see he only held six months, being carried off by the plague in 1636. Hauranne became Vicar-General of Poictiers, and obtained the abbey of S. Cyran, by the name of which he is generally known. Here he formed the acquaintance of Robert Arnauld d’Andilly, with whose family he removed to Paris, and became intimate with their connexions. The elder Arnauld was manager of the estates of the Abbey of Port Royal, and by his means De Hauranne was there introduced, and acquired [6] great influence. Agnes and Angelica, in particular, the daughters of Arnauld, received his instructions with avidity, and venerated him as a saint. Accused of false doctrine, he was imprisoned in the Chateau de Vincennes, and after seven years’ confinement, was released only to die, in 1643.

4. But it was Vincent de Paul who consoled De Hauranne in his long imprisonment; who was constantly subjected to interrogatories intended to draw from him some censure of the prisoner’s doctrines; and who, when the corpse was lying in the Church of S. Jacques de Hautpas, was the first to sprinkle it with holy water. And the literary organ of that day, the Gazette de France, tells us that the dying man “received the viaticum with a piety worthy of his eminent virtue: the prelates who are at present in town, wishing to give a public testimony of their esteem for so great a personage, recognised by all as one of the most learned men of the present day, attended his funeral; the Bishop of Amiens performing the service, and the Archbishop of Bordeaux, and the Bishops of Valence, Chalcedon, Aire, and the coadjutor of Montauban, assisting at the ceremony.”

5. It was Jansenius and S. Cyran who had early agreed to dedicate their talents to the exposure and overthrow of the entire system of the Jesuits as regarded the Doctrine of Grace on the one hand, and the Discipline of the Church on the other. The question of Discipline was undertaken by S. Cyran, and treated at full length in his celebrated work called Petrus Aurelius. The immediate occasion of its composition was as follows. Urban VIII. had, in the year 1625, sent into England Dr. Smith, with the title of Archbishop of Chalcedon, and with jurisdiction overall English Roman Catholics. The Jesuits attacked the [7] Bishop in every possible way; one of their number, named Floyd, published a work which was completely subversive of all episcopal rights whatever, and which was denounced by the Roman clergy in England, and by the University of Douay. The question was warmly agitated in France; and it was then that the Petrus Aurelius appeared, and immediately became the grand object of attack to the whole Company. They were compelled, however, to disavow Floyd’s book; while S. Cyran’s work, which acquired a continually-increasing reputation, was formally approved by the assembly of the French clergy in 1642, ordered to be printed in a handsome manner at their expense, and to be presented to every Bishop and Chapter throughout the kingdom. One may still see in the cathedral libraries of France those three huge folios, bound, according to the Assembly’s order, in tooled calf; and probably eliciting from the ecclesiastical librarian the simple remark, Mais cest tout-à-fait Janséniste. Thus was S. Cyran’s part of the compact performed; and it will be observed that the name Aurelius is also that of the great Bishop of Hippo, whose sworn disciples both the friends were. But the work of Jansenius, if not more learned than that of his coadjutor, became far more celebrated; and produced an effect on the whole history of the Western Church for the succeeding 150 years which probably no other volume ever occasioned. I allude, of course, to his Augustinus; in which he endeavoured to restore the theology of the seventeenth century to the doctrine of the saint who has always been regarded as the Doctor of Grace, — Augustine. Before speaking further of this work itself, it will be necessary to give a brief sketch of the then state of the controversy.

6. We shall see, in the second chapter of this History, [8] that the great reformers of Holland in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Ruysbroek, Geert Groote, Herph, Thomas à Kempis, and their companions, brought most prominently forward the Augustinian Doctrine of Grace. Partly in consequence of their labours, the same tendency had long characterized the University of Louvain. Baius, a predecessor of Jansenius in his professorial chair, had openly accused the Jesuits of Pelagianism, and was in his turn accused by them of Calvinism. Seventy-six propositions extracted from his works, though not ascribed to him by name, were condemned by Pope Pius V., and the Professor himself had been compelled to sign the condemnation.

7. The Augustinian party were not slow in returning the attack; and it was resolved to make an example of Molina, a Spanish Jesuit, Professor of Theology at Evora in Portugal, whose work “On the Concord of Free-will with Grace and Predestination,” published in Lisbon in 1588, was supposed to be the most Pelagian of any composition of the Jesuits. The Dominicans were the principal assailants; the Franciscans and Jesuits resolved to make the doctrine their own. The affair was brought before the Inquisition. The Universities of Louvain, Douay, and Salamanca stood forward in defence of Augustinianism. Baronius in vain besought the Jesuits not to defend Molina. “I confess,” he writes, under date of March 15, 1603, “that I cannot read the books of Molina without indignation: one might say that his sole aim was to condemn S. Augustine, to reproach him with negligence, and to prove that, on these questions of Grace, his own lights were far superior to those of that great bishop, to whom he affects never to give the name of Saint. Can one see such ostentation without disgust? He glides like a serpent from the hands that [9] would grasp him, so that it is easier to prove his temerity than to convince him of heresy. However, I have marked more than fifty expressions or propositions that savour of Pelagianism or Semi-Pelagianism.” But bolder counsels prevailed. The work of Molina had obtained the approbation of the General Aquaviva, and to desert one was to condemn the other. The Jesuits built their hopes on the condemnation of Baianism, and on the fourth canon of the sixth session of the Council of Trent. The question was referred by Clement VIII. to the memorable Congregations de Auxiliis.

It is not necessary to our purpose to enter into the history of those congregations. Carried on under Clement till 1605, the year of that Pope’s death, they were resumed under Paul V., and finished in 1607. They censured the delated propositions of Molina as severally Pelagian, Semi-Pelagian, or approaching to Pelagianism; and a Bull, which is still extant, for their condemnation was prepared. But the Pope — who, like a successor of his in the next century, “wished to live” — dared not publish it. “It was reserved,” he said, “till a convenient time:” which convenient time has never yet arrived.

8. The system of Molina, if very charitably expounded, as it is by Ultramontanes of the present day, resolves itself into the following propositions: — 1. God, by the knowledge of simple intelligence, sees all that is possible, and consequently all the orders of possible things. 2. By His hypothetical knowledge, He foresees certainly what, in each of these possible orders each created will, using its own liberty, will do, if God gives it such and such a grace. 3. He wills, with an antecedent and true will, to save all men, on condition [10] that they are willing to save themselves, — that is, to act in correspondence with the graces which He shall give them. 4. He gives to all as much help as is necessary and sufficient to their salvation, though He gives more to some than to others. 5. The grace given to angels and men in the state of innocence is not efficacious in and by itself: in a part of the angels it became efficacious by the good use made of it; in man it was inefficacious, because resisted. 6. So it is in fallen nature. No absolute decrees, efficacious by themselves, and antecedently to God’s prevision of free consent on the part of the human will: therefore no predestination to eternal life before prevision of merits, no predestination to eternal damnation before prevision of sins. 7. The will of God to save all men, even in the state of fallen nature, is true, sincere, and active; it sent Jesus Christ to be the Saviour of man; and it is by virtue of this will, and of the merits of Jesus Christ, that He gives to all, in a greater or less degree, grace sufficient to salvation. 8. God, by His hypothetical prescience, sees with absolute certainty what man, placed in such and such circumstances, and assisted by such and such grace, will do or will not do; by consequence He foresees who would use grace ill, and who well. When He determines, absolutely and efficaciously, to convert any soul, or to dispose it to perseverance, He forms in Himself the decree to give to that soul the graces to which He foresees that it will consent, and with which it will persevere. 9. By the knowledge of vision, involved in this decree, He sees who they are that will persevere in well-doing; who they are that will do ill, or will not persevere in doing well. In consequence of this prevision, He predestines the former to eternal glory, and the latter to [11] eternal damnation. To which[1], in fairness, must be added, 10. The sufficient grace, which is, as it were, a watchword of the party, means grace which is insufficient, until, by its adhesion, the will of man renders it efficacious. And this is the venom of the whole system, because, however the fact may be glossed over, it subjects, in fact, the will of God to the will of man. We shall have occasion to recur to this subject a little further on.

9. About twelve years after the suspension of the Papal Bull de Auxiliis, Jansenius commenced his great work the Augustinus. In this he attempted to develope the teaching of S. Augustine on grace. He devoted to it the patient labour of twenty years, and is said to have read the entire works of that father as many times. Modern “improvements” at Louvain have destroyed the tower in which he was traditionally said to have occupied himself in the labour of his life. The work was still manuscript when the author was seized with the plague, and he recommended it to his chaplain, to his friend, the Doctor Libert-Fromond, and to Henry Calenus. Arrangements were made by them with the leading bookseller at Louvain, by name Zegers, (I suppose of the same family which gave one of his Christian names to the great Van Espen,) for its publication. By the treachery of a workman, some of the proof-sheets were seen by the Jesuits. Representations were made both to Rome and to the faculty of theology at Louvain, that both Paul V. and Urban VIII. had expressly forbidden the publication of any work on the subject of grace. The University summoned the printer, and forbad his proceeding further. Zegers represented the injustice of leaving him with [12] two-thirds of so enormous a work on his hands, and demanded a formal hearing. Temporising with the University, he made his men work by relays night and day, and to the surprise of every one the Angustinus was one morning exposed for sale, with a dedication to the Cardinal Infant, Governor of the Low Countries. This was in 1640, and shortly afterwards a reprint appeared in Paris.

10. A brief outline of this celebrated work is almost necessary, and may at least give a truer idea of its nature than the character bestowed on it by a late pretended historian of the Church: “Mahomet, Spinosa, Jansenius — it is all one and the same thing[2].” In the first volume, which contains eight books, Jansenius examines the tenets of the Pelagians and the Semi-Pelagians, and enquires in what exact points their heresy consisted, thus shewing that their dogmas, and those of the Molinists, were in point of fact one and the same.

In the second volume he proves, as a preliminary consideration, 1. That the truths and mysteries of Christianity, and especially that of grace, are not to be judged by natural reason, but depend on a superior authority; that they cannot therefore be decided by human ratiocination, but by the purest and most certain light, — Holy Scripture, Councils, and Fathers: 2. That the Church acknowledges S. Augustine as her Doctor on the matter of grace, and that she has no other doctrine than that of this great saint: 3. That consequently we are bound to follow that which Holy Scripture has discovered, that which the Councils have defined, that which S. Augustine, and the other Fathers who follow him, have taught. He next treats [13] of the grace bestowed on, and the blessedness enjoyed by, angels, and by man before his fall, reducing into its due order all that S. Augustine has written on the subject. He proceeds to dwell, in the same way, on the miserable consequences of the fall, and the bondage and darkness of concupiscence and ignorance in which men were held till the grace of God, which bringeth salvation, had appeared. Lastly, he treats of the state which theologians call of pure nature; and shews that to admit the possibility of such a state is to overthrow all the principles of the doctrine which S. Augustine maintained till his death, against the Pelagians, and to deny the necessity of grace.

In the third volume he treats of the cure of man, and of the re-establishment of the liberty which he had lost by sin. He arranges, with great clearness and skill, everything that S. Augustine has said of the necessity and efficaciousness of grace, and argues in defence of absolute and gratuitous predestination against the Pelagians and the Semi-Pelagians.

11. As soon as the Augustinus had appeared, the Jesuits lost no time in attacking it by a series of theses. Both the book and the theses were condemned by Urban the Eighth, in his Bull In Eminenti, of March 6, 1642: but this Bull was never legally published in France, and was not accepted by the Sorbonne. Jansenius was also attacked by Habert, afterwards Bishop of Vabres, and the editor of the Greek Pontifical; and defended by Antoine Arnauld, on whom the mantle of S. Cyran appeared to have descended.

This great man, known in his own age as the Doctor, was the twentieth and youngest son of the advocate Arnauld, who had distinguished himself by opposing, before Henri IV., the re-establishment of the Jesuits [14] in France. That Society was not in the habit of forgetting an injury, and the whole family was regarded by them as their natural enemies. He early attached himself to S. Cyran, and before the appearance of the Augustinus, had distinguished himself in his various theses for academical degrees, by his defence of the doctrine of grace, as well as his opposition to the corrupted casuistry of the age. In December, 1641, he received his Doctor’s bonnet from the Sorbonne, and shortly afterwards published his celebrated work “On Frequent Communion.”

12. Eight years previously, a young and rising advocate, by name Le Maistre, nephew to Antoine Arnauld, had, touched by the exhortations of S. Cyran, resolved on renouncing the world, and leading a life of retirement and penitence. One can imagine the astonishment and good-natured contempt with which, in that luxurious and worldly age, the Chancellor, one winter’s morning, received the letter which contained his resolution, and how strongly he deprecated the loss to the Parisian bar. When S. Cyran was imprisoned in Vincennes, Le Maistre, with one or two friends who had joined him. and Singlin, a priest, who was their director, retired to the then deserted, afterwards world-famous, convent of Port-Royal-des-Champs. Here, with him, came also Arnauld d’Andilly, eldest brother of the Doctor, Arnauld himself, Le Maistre de Sacy, brother of the advocate, Pascal, Nicole, Tillemont, — names, every one, that will never die; Hamon, Dufossé, Fontaine, and others of equal piety: and the life of austerity, and piety, and learning that they led in a place which to Parisians must have seemed a distant exile, recalled the better ages of the Church. A violent effort was made by the Jesuits to procure the censure of the work “On Frequent Communion;” [15] it was subjected to a rigid examination at Rome, and came forth scatheless. The Society was not disposed to acquiesce in its defeat, and resolved to retaliate on the Augustinus.

13. It was on the first day of July, 1649, that the struggle really began. On that day Nicolas Cornet, Syndic of the Faculty of Theology, laid before the Sorbonne seven propositions, which he affirmed to be extracted from the Augustinus. These, afterwards reduced in number, became the Five famous Propositions, the Lambeth Articles of the Roman Church. They were as follows: —

(1.) Some commandments of God are impossible to some righteous men, even when, with all their might, they are endeavouring to keep them, according to the present strength which they have: also the grace, by which they may become possible, is wanting to them.

(2.) Internal grace, in the state of fallen nature, is never resisted.

(3.) To merit and demerit, in the state of fallen nature, liberty from necessity is not required in man, but only liberty from constraint.

(4.) The Semi-Pelagians admitted the necessity of internal prevenient grace for all good works, even for the commencement of faith: but it was in this that they were heretical — that they would have that grace to be such as the human will could either resist or obey.

(5.) It is Semi-Pelagian to affirm that Christ died or shed His blood absolutely, for all men.

14. A surreptitious semi-censure having been obtained from the Sorbonne, and forwarded to Rome, the Augustinian party appealed to the Parliament. Matters seemed in a fair way of being composed, when the Bishop of Vabres addressed a letter to the Pope, [16] requesting him to take cognizance of the affair; and having obtained the assistance of S. Vincent de Paul, who, with the charity that thinketh no evil, believed the Jesuit party on their own words, he procured the signatures of about ninety bishops[3]: the whole affair was carried on in an underhand manner, and excited the greatest indignation when discovered. The Archbishops of Sens and Toulouse, and eleven bishops, wrote to Innocent X., and protested against the step that had been taken: the cause, they said, should be heard and determined, at least in the first instance, on the spot where it had arisen.

For Innocent X. then filled the chair of S. Peter. Of an easy, jovial disposition, he made little pretensions to be a theologian. Leaving that sort of affairs to his secretary, Cardinal Chigi, afterwards Alexander VII., he was sufficiently occupied with the hospitalities of the Papal court, with his alms, which were considerable, and with composing the quarrels of his sister-in-law and niece. By him, five cardinals and thirteen consultors were appointed to examine the propositions. It will be well that the reader should have a distinct idea of the questions really at stake, and I could hardly state them so briefly and so lucidly, as by employing the words of the Abbé Guettée[4], in his admirable history: —

“It is well known that the two schools of S. Augustine and S. Thomas are opposed to that of Molina on the question of grace. The Thomists make its efficacity depend on external circumstances, to which they apply the general name of physical premotion: but they admit that grace infallibly attains its effect by itself; that is to say, without any need that man should render it efficacious by the free adhesion of [17] his will. The action of grace is nevertheless such, according to this system, that the will adheres without constraint, and that the free will of man is not violated.

“The Augustinians agree with the Thomists, but with this difference: instead of physical premotion, they admit a moral, or interior premotion, to which they attribute the same effects as those allowed by the Thomists.

“Besides efficacious grace, that is, the grace which infallibly produces its effect, the Augustinians, like the Thomists, recognise another, — actual and interior grace, — to which man does not always yield: the Thomists call it sufficient; the Augustinians, following their teacher, term it excitant. They regard the expression of the Thomists as incorrect, since it is impossible, say they, to call that grace sufficient which is not sufficient to determine, in an infallible manner, the will of man. Still, under different names, the two schools admitted the same thing.

“The Jesuit Molina undertook to substitute for these two systems a new theory, which from his name has been termed Molinism.

“According to this theologian, man, in the state of regenerate nature, is in the same condition, so far as free will is concerned, as that in which he was before the fall. He has an equal power to decide for himself between the grace which excites him to good, and the concupiscence which stirs him up to evil. If he gives his adhesion to grace, this grace becomes efficacious; while, if he listens to concupiscence, it is simply sufficient. It is plain that, while using the word efficacious, Molina absolutely rejected the grace so called by the Thomists and Augustinians, and in reality only admitted that which, in the language of the two schools, was sufficient or excitant. The doctrine of efficacious grace, in the sense of S. Thomas and S. Augustine, had always been that of the Roman Church; and the Popes, whatever concessions they made to the Jesuits, never abandoned that traditional doctrine.”

16. Both the Molinists and the Augustinians were heard by their agents: the most famous among the latter were the Abbé de la Laune, Gorin Saint Amour, [18] and the Abbé Bourzeis. After thirty-six congregations, the consultors divided, nine for the condemnation, four for the acquittal, of the propositions. Of the minority, Luke Wadding, the historian of the Franciscan Order, is the most remarkable; both on account of his learning, and because his natural tendency must have been in favour of the Jesuits, on account of the alliance between this order and his own. All had been done by the deputies that zeal, talent, and learning could effect. S. Vincent de Paul, who distinguished himself from the beginning by the most persevering opposition to Jansenism, was in constant communication with the Molinist commissioners, the Doctors Hallier, Joisel, and Lagault, of the Sorbonne; he had used his immense influence in stirring up the bishops of France to the struggle, and he now exulted in its conclusion. For on the 31st of May, 1653, appeared the famous dogmatic constitution of Innocent X., Cum occasione, in which the Five Propositions were condemned as temerarious, impious, blasphemous, and heretical, — each in its own modification of language. This constitution came on the Jansenists like a thunder-clap; and for a moment the party was completely confounded. Amable de Bourzeis, their own deputy, ceased to defend them; the great and pious Cardinal Thomasius, then a young ecclesiastic, who had maintained that the Five Propositions were tolerable, now gave in his retractation, and a few of lesser note followed his example. The constitution was at once accepted by twenty-eight bishops, hastily convened for that purpose, and presided over by Mazarin, — not, however, without some opposition. A peremptory mandate from the King (then in his sixteenth year) settled the matter. The Sorbonne acquiesced a fortnight later, and the Bull was quietly [19] received, where opposition was chiefly expected, in Brabant.

17. Antoine Arnauld and his friends, together with the greater part of the Dutch ecclesiastics, then under the Archbishop of Philippi and Utrecht, Jaques de la Torre, received the Bull with submission. The Pope had declared that he left the doctrine of S. Augustine inviolate; they might therefore declare it also. The dogma of efficacious grace was undoubtedly a main feature of the system of that Doctor, and must therefore be still held; and it was the duty of all defenders of grace to be definite on this point, because it was easy to foresee the abuse which the Molinists would make of the Cum occasione. To this effect were the mandements of several bishops, especially those of Orleans, Comminges, and Beauvais, of Henri Arnauld (brother of the Doctor), Bishop of Angers, and the Archbishop of Sens. The adversaries failed not to accuse them of gross duplicity. “You defended,” said they, “the Five Propositions before they were condemned; after their condemnation you are willing to anathematize them; — before the 31st of May, 1653, you defended them because they were of Jansenius; since that time you attack them because they are not of Jansenius.” But surely the answer to this is sufficiently easy. “We defended the propositions,” the party replied, “because we considered them capable of a good sense; we condemn them when taken in a bad sense: we did not deny that, considered in the former light, they expressed, to a certain degree, the doctrine of Jansenius; considered in the latter, we deny that, either words or sentiments, they are his.”

18. The controversy, however, now raged on the question whether the Five Propositions were, or were not, to be found in the Augustinus. Even Cornet, [20] their first delater, had not formally asserted that they came from Jansenius; nor had the Papal See pronounced any further decision on the subject than the expression in a brief to the Bishop of Tulle, “the five controverted propositions which appeared to be taken out of the book of Cornelius Jansenius.”

At a somewhat later period it was that Louis XIV. desired the Count de Grammont to read the book, and to tell him whether they really existed there. One may easily imagine the style in which the unfortunate nobleman performed the enjoined task. “I have read the book, if it please your Majesty,” said he, after some weeks had elapsed. “And the propositions?” — “I have not been so fortunate as to find them, but they may be there, for all that, incognito.” The French bishops assembled at Paris, to the number of thirty-nine, for the purpose of discussing this question. A committee of eight was appointed to investigate the matter. Ten sessions were employed in comparing the book itself with the propositions; and it was at length voted that the Constitution had condemned them as being of Jansenius, and in the sense of Jansenius; and that the Pope should be informed of this resolution. The result of such a communication was a brief, addressed by Innocent X. to the general assembly of the clergy of France, in which he declared that he condemned the propositions as being of Jansenius, and in the sense of Jansenius.

Here the See of Rome evidently committed a fatal error. The Universal Church, even assembled in an Oecumenical Council, though infallible on matters of doctrine, may err, and has erred, on matters of fact. The seventh Council is a remarkable example. Here the great cause of Christian Art was victoriously asserted; although the proofs on which the decree of [21] the Synod was based have been shewn by a more enlightened criticism to be for the most part erroneous. That S. Athanasius said this, or S. Basil said that, the Council might assert, and might assert mistakenly; but the doctrine delivered on that mistaken assertion nevertheless was infallible. If, then, the Church itself could be deceived in a question of fact, how much more, said the Jansenists, the Pope!

This it was endeavoured to meet by a distinction between a fact and a dogmatic fact; a distinction embraced by the assembly of the French clergy in 1656. A fact is one which has no connection whatever with doctrine; a dogmatic fact one which is in some way or other connected with some question of dogma. The difficulty naturally occurs, what question of fact is ever likely to come before the Church which is not so connected.

19. But we must return to Arnauld. In the November of 1655 he was charged with having, in his second Letter to a Duke and Peer, maintained doctrine condemned by the Holy See. The points were reduced to two: the one, that the Five Propositions were not to be found in the Augustinus, and had never really been held by anyone; the other, this sentence: — “The grace without which we can do nothing, was wanting to a righteous man in the person of S. Peter, on an occasion in which it is impossible to say that he did not sin.” Never did the Jesuits make greater efforts than to procure a censure on both these propositions. They procured all the influence of the court, but even with that found themselves unable to carry the day. They next attempted, and with better success, to enlist the Dominicans on their side. The Dominicans, sworn disciples of S. Thomas to a man, and therefore vigorous defenders of efficacious grace, [22] used, as we have seen, the term sufficient grace, which term was also employed, though in a different sense, by the Molinists. But on the strength of this phrase an accommodation was brought to pass between the two schools; and the censure of the first proposition was, after countless intrigues, carried by 130 to 71. But among the majority were forty monks, most of whom, according to the ancient constitutions of the Sorbonne, had no right to vote; as well as seven bishops, who were known to be the creatures of the court: there were also eight or nine doctors, called the Indifferents, who, had they been compelled to vote on either side, would have joined the party of Arnauld. Fifteen days were allowed that theologian to sign his own censure; and on the expiration of that term he was deprived of his doctor’s bonnet. In the course of two years, more than sixty doctors of the Sorbonne were ejected from that body for refusing to set their names to that which they considered an act of the grossest injustice.

20. It was while the fate of Arnauld yet hung undecided, that Paris was one morning electrified by the appearance of the first of the Provincial Letters. Blaise Pascal was at this time in the thirty-fourth year of his age, and intimately connected, not only with Arnauld, but with Nicole, Lemaistre, Le Maistre de Sacy, and the rest of the recluses at Port-Royal-des-Champs. The exquisite raillery which in that first letter he employs against the proximate power and the sufficient grace of the Dominicans must be here quoted:

“I went,” says he, “straight to the Jacobins,” (the Dominicans were so called from their house in the street of S. Jacques,) “where I found, at the door, one of my friends, a great Jansenist (for I have friends in all parties), who was looking for some other father than him for whom I was enquiring. [23] But I prevailed on him by force of entreaty to accompany me, and I asked for one of the New Thomists. He was delighted to see me. ‘Why, my father,’ said I, ‘it is not enough that all men have a proximate power, by which, however, in reality, they never do anything; they must also have sufficient grace, with which they do just as little. Is not that the opinion of your school?’ — ‘Yes,’ said the good father, ‘and I have said as much this morning in the Sorbonne. I spoke all my half-hour; and had it not been for the glass, I would soon have changed the unlucky proverb which has got about in Paris.’ — ‘And what do you mean by your half-hour and your glass?’ answered I: ‘do they cut down your lucubrations to a certain limit?’ — ‘Yes,’ said he, ‘they have done so now for some days,’ ”

(This was one of the regulations introduced to hasten on the censure, the procrastination of which might have been equivalent to its rejection.)

“ ‘And are you obliged to speak for half an hour?’ — ‘No, one may speak for as short a time as one pleases,’ — ‘But not for as long as one pleases?’ said I. ‘Oh, the excellent rule for ignoramuses! Oh, the capital pretext for those who have nothing worth saying! But now, my father, this grace given to all men, is it sufficient?’ — ‘Yes,’ said he. — ‘And yet it has no effect without efficacious grace?’ — ‘That is true,’ said he. — ‘And all men have the sufficient,’ continued I, ‘ and have not the efficacious?’ — ‘True,’ said he. — ‘That is to say, all have enough grace, and all have not enough; that is to say, it is sufficient in name, and insufficient in fact. In good truth, my father, this doctrine is very subtle. Have you forgotten, in quitting the world, what the word sufficient signifies there? That it includes everything which is necessary to render action possible? To make use of a comparison which you may well understand, suppose that they only gave you two ounces of bread and a glass of water every day for your dinner, would you be pleased with your Prior if he were to tell you that it was sufficient for your support, — meaning thereby, that with something else, which he did not intend to give you, you would have all that [24] was necessary for your nourishment? How, then, can you allow yourselves to say that all men have sufficient grace to act, since you confess that there is another grace absolutely necessary to render action possible, and which all men have not? Is it that the matter is of trifling importance, and that you leave men to believe as they please, that efficacious grace is necessary or is not necessary? Is it an indifferent thing to say that by means of sufficient grace one can really act?’ — ‘How?’ said the good man; ‘indifferent! It is a heresy; it is a formal heresy. The necessity of efficacious grace to act is of the faith; it is heresy to deny it.’ — ‘Well, then,’ said I, ‘whereabouts are we, and which side am I to take? If I deny sufficient grace, I am a Jansenist; if I admit it in the sense of the Jesuits, meaning thereby that efficacious grace is not necessary, I am, you say, a heretic; and if I admit it in your sense, so as to assert that efficacious grace is nevertheless necessary, I offend against common sense, and I am a fool, say the Jesuits. What am I to do, then, in this inevitable necessity of being either a fool, or a heretic, or a Jansenist?”

21. It is probable that Pascal’s first intention was only to defend his friends and himself from the machinations of their enemies. But the astonishing success of the Provincials drew him on to a general attack on the Jesuits. He was the first to arouse public attention and to excite public horror, by dragging out from the enormous and countless volumes of the casuists the depths of iniquity which they recognised and allowed. In the words of the historian of the Jesuits, “they endeavoured to bring about some kind of agreement between infinite perfection and the vices of humanity; they popularised religion in combining its practices with the sentiments of the world.” Hence the morality, or rather the immorality, of such authors as Lessius, Escobar, Diana, Busenbaum, and, above all, Bauny; of the last of whom it was so truly and so very profanely said, Ecce qui tollit peccata mundi.

[25] It is because the corrupted morals of the Jesuits lie at the root of the great struggle between that society and the Church of Utrecht, that I may be excused for quoting one or two passages more from the Provincials, in order that the obligation due to the great men who laboured and suffered in opposing the new casuistry may be the better appreciated. Let us take that which lies at the root of all religion, the Love of God: —

“I see plainly,” says the Jesuit father to the writer, “that you wish to know what is the doctrine of our fathers with respect to the love of God. It is the last point of their morals, and the most important of all. Listen to Escobar, who relates the different opinions of our ancestors on this matter in his Practice of the Love of God according to our Society, Tr. i. Ex. 2, No. 21; and again, Tr. v. Ex. 4, No. 8, on this question: — ‘When is a man obliged to feel actual love for God? Suarez says that it is enough if we love Him before the article of death, without determining any precise time. Vasquez, that it is sufficient if we even love Him in the article of death. Others, at baptism. Others, when we are bound to feel contrition. Others, on holidays. But our father Castro Palao combats all these opinions, and with reason. Hurtado de Mendoza asserts that we are obliged to love God once every year, and are treated very favourably to be let off with that. But our Father Coninck thinks that the obligation binds us every three or four years. Henriquez, every five years; and Filiutius says that, speaking rigorously, we are not obliged to love God once every five years. And when are we then? He leaves it to the judgment of those that are wiser. But,’ continues he, ‘our Father Anthony Sirmond, who writes excellently on this subject, in his admirable book the ‘Defence of Virtue,’ when, as he says to the reader, he speaks plain French in France, thus discourses, in sec. i. p. 12: — ‘S. Thomas says that we are obliged to love God as soon as we have the use of reason; that is a little early. Scotus, every Sunday; — how did he know that? Others, when we are grievously tempted; — yes, in case there [26] is no other way of avoiding the temptation. Sotos, when we receive any mercy from God; — it is a good way of thanking Him. Others, at death; — that is, somewhat late. Nor do I think that it is necessary at each reception of any sacrament: attrition with confession (if one has the opportunity) is sufficient. Suarez says that we are bound to love God at some time: but at what time? He makes you the judge, and knows nothing of the matter. Now what this doctor does not know, I cannot tell who does know.’ And so he concludes that, rigorously speaking, one is only bound to observe the other commandments without any love for God, and without giving our heart to Him, provided we do not hate Him.’ .... ‘So that,’ he says, ‘(see the goodness of God,) we are not so much commanded to love Him as to abstain from hating Him.’ It is thus that our fathers have discharged men from the painful obligation of actually loving God. And this doctrine is so advantageous, that our Fathers Annat, Pintero, Lemoine, and even Sirmond, have defended it vigorously when it has been attacked. You have only to see their replies in the moral theology, and that of Pintero will enable you to judge of the value of this dispensation by the price which he says that it cost, namely, the Blood of Christ Jesus. This is the crown of the whole doctrine. You see, then, that this dispensation from the vexatious duty of love to God is the privilege of the Evangelical above the Judaic law.”

The fury which these immortal letters excited in the universities is scarcely to be described. The writer was beyond their reach, but their vengeance might be wreaked on Port-Royal.

22. It was resolved to destroy the stronghold of Augustinian theology which had been implanted in it by S. Cyran, when confessor of the parent house in Paris, and now flourished in the country Convent, whither, in 1648, a portion of the sisters, under the conduct of the Mère Angélique, sister of Arnauld, had retired. The recluses then retired to a place [27] called Les Granges, in the immediate neighbourhood, where they pursued their holy life of prayer and study. I shall not dwell on the violences which were exercised against the defenceless sisters: it is enough to observe that an order in council was obtained for the removal of every postulant from the convent. But these proceedings were unexpectedly stopped. One evening in March, 1656, Paris was startled by the announcement that a miracle, as astonishing as indisputable, had been wrought in Port-Royal. The subject, Mademoiselle Marguerite Perrier, a child of ten years old, the niece of Blaise Pascal, whose earlier Provincial Letters were then in every one’s hands and mouth: the disease, an inveterate ulcer in the left eye; the means of cure, a thorn from our Lord’s crown. The effect was absolutely electric. The Molinists were thunderstruck. Cardinal Mazarin caused the miracle to be officially published. Public opinion, already owning the force of Pascal’s letters, veered rapidly round. We, at a distance, and viewing the subject without prejudice, may form a calmer judgment: much may be said for and against the reality of this miracle; but the positive evidence seems to preponderate slightly. The facts of the disease and of the sudden cure are not denied. But it is urged, 1. That the very opportune time in which the miracle was wrought is in itself suspicious. To which it is replied, What other period, à priori, so likely for a supernatural interference? And by the same rule, the invention of SS. Gervasius and Protasius, and the cure of the blind man, must be set down to a pious fraud on the part of S. Ambrose. The second objection is more formidable, — That Flavie Passart, to whose sole charge the young lady had been entrusted, afterwards became a getter-up of false miracles. She, it is said, [28] might have caused the disease, and might have cured it by natural means. At the time, however, no traces of collusion were discovered; and it may not be improbable that the fact of having seen one true miracle suggested to the unfortunate nun the possibility of counterfeiting them. Mademoiselle Perrier herself, who lived for nearly eighty years afterwards, was always convinced of the reality of the miracle.

23. Alexander VII., the same Cardinal Chigi who had been so instrumental in procuring the Constitution of Innocent X., now filled the Roman chair. He renewed, by a brief of Oct. 16, 1656, the condemnation of the Five Propositions, and the explanation that they were condemned as being of Jansenius, and in the sense of Jansenius. The Church of France at once received the brief.

This brief gave rise to the celebrated Formulary. In the general assembly of the French clergy of 1657, it was determined that the following formula should be signed by all candidates for ecclesiastical preferments: —

“I submit sincerely to the Constitution of Pope Innocent X. of the 31st of May, 1653, according to its true sense, which has been determined by the Constitution of our venerable father Alexander VII., of the 16th of October, 1656. I acknowledge that I am obliged in conscience to obey these Constitutions; and I condemn with my heart and mouth the doctrine of the Five Propositions of Cornelius Jansenius, contained in his book entitled Augustinus, which these two Popes and the Bishops have condemned; which doctrine is not that of S. Augustine, whom Jansenius has explained ill, against the sense of this holy doctor.” The miracle, however, and the Provincial Letters, caused the definite promulgation of this formula to be deferred till 1661. But matters were carried on with a high hand; and on the night of the 10th of December [29]  1656, the monument of Jansenius, in the Cathedral of Ypres, was broken down by the Bishop, in defiance of the remonstrances of the Chapter, and the opposition of the citizens.

24. And here it is that the teaching of Gerson, of the Council of Basle, of De Dominis, takes a definite connexion with that of Arnauld and Nicole. The two were conjoined by the Abbé de S. Cyran, — were to be held more definitely by the great doctor, Ellies Dupin, and, to a certain extent, by Tillemont. And the natural explanation of such a connexion is this: — Here was the Pope asserting for himself not only that doctrinal infallibility which the Church does claim, but that historical infallibility which she does not claim. Here were articles of faith laid down, without reference to a Council, and articles of fact which no Council would have dared to promulgate. The natural question arose, as we have seen, — What right has the Pope to claim infallibility on a point of fact? And then came another question close behind, — What right has the Pope to claim infallibility, without appeal, on a point of doctrine?

Arnauld came forward with his case, proposed by a doctor, with respect to the Formulary. In it he considers these three questions: — A theologian, persuaded that the Five Propositions are not in the Augustinus, is called on to sign the Formulary. 1. Is he bound to change his previous belief? — The answer is in the negative. 2. May he sign the document, though he retains that belief? — This question also is answered in the negative. 3. Is he obliged to speak out, under actual circumstances, or may he content himself with a respectful silence? — Arnauld considers him obliged to speak out. He addressed this work to one of the holiest French prelates of the day, Pavilion, Bishop of Aleth, [30] a disciple of S. Vincent de Paul, and by him persuaded, or rather compelled, to undertake the pastoral superintendence of his wild and mountainous diocese. At that time, Pavilion entertained opposite sentiments to those of Arnauld, and affirmed that the doctor in question was bound, on papal authority, to believe, and thus to sign, the Formulary.

24. In 1661, the Jesuits prevailed on the King to press the signature under all the tyrannical powers that the Grand Monarque knew so well how to wield. The Bastille was crowded with Jansenists; seventy-five nuns and postulants were carried, almost by force, from Port-Royal. The Mère Angélique, after years of trial, breathed her last on the 6th of August, 1661, and her sister, the Mère Agnes, had to bear the brunt of the storm. Flavie Passart, the perfidious guardian of Mademoiselle Perrier, proposed that the House of Port-Royal de Paris should be taken from its possessors; and the minority, who, yielding to the persuasions and threats of Perefixe, Archbishop of Paris, signed the Formulary, were accordingly put in possession of it. Mère Agnes, with the rest, was confined to Port-Royal-des-Champs.

Alexander VII., in the February of 1665, published another Bull for the acceptation of the Formulary, making no distinction between fact and right, and demanding for this decision, as for the former, the same kind of faith that the Church requires for the doctrine of Revelation. The King hastened to register this Bull in Parliament, and to render the acceptance obligatory. This at length revived the spirit of the French Episcopate. Four prelates, bearing all of them the highest character for sanctity of life and for learning, distinguished in their mandements the questions of fact and right, and for the Pope’s declaration as to [31] the former demanded only a respectful silence. These were, Nicolas Pavilion, Bishop of Aleth; Henri Arnauld, Bishop of Angers; François Etienne de Caulet, Bishop of Pamiers; and Nicolas de Buzenval, Bishop of Beauvais. The royal indignation burst forth; Louis XIV. demanded from the Pope two briefs: the one, commanding the recusant bishops to sign the Formulary purely and simply; the other, appointing a tribunal of twelve bishops to judge them without appeal. The Pontiff made some difficulties about the latter proposition, but finally carried nine, the Archbishop of Bourges being President. Two refused to act; and the President was more desirous of accommodating than of judging the difference.

The 22nd of May, 1667, saw Alexander VII. on his death-bed. After having received extreme unction, he signed with a trembling hand the brief which condemned the four protesting bishops. His successor was Cardinal Rospigliosi, who took the name of Clement IX. It was understood that he was no friend to Molinist views; and the Duchess of Longueville, the cousin of Louis XIV., a warm protector of the Jansenists, interested that monarch in their sufferings, and by his means brought about the celebrated Pacification of Clement IX.

25. Nineteen prelates now came forward in defence of their brethren: they were headed nominally by the Archbishop of Sens; but their real leader was Felix Vialart, Bishop of Chalons, one of the holiest and ablest prelates of his age. They addressed a most respectful and cordial letter to Clement IX., felicitating him on his accession, and representing how gloriously he would distinguish that event by giving peace to the Church. The four bishops, they said, had most willingly condemned the Five Propositions, whether [32] found in the writings of Jansenius or elsewhere: the only charge against them was, that they denied the infallibility of the Pope, as they would that of the Church itself on questions of fact, — an infallibility which could only belong to God alone. Their letter was well received, and in a very short time twenty more bishops gave in their adherence to it. The indignation, on the contrary, of Louis XIV. was excessive. He used such menaces to the four (as he termed them) refractory prelates, that the Bishop of Pamiers was disposed to yield; and it was as much as could be done by the more energetic Pavilion, and by Vialart, who joined his brethren heart and soul, to keep him steady. After a variety of negotiations, it was resolved that the four bishops should address a letter to the Pope, in which they should distinctly condemn the Five Propositions, while saving their own distinction between fact and right; and that the accommodation should embrace, not only themselves, but all who had been troubled on the same subject, and especially Arnauld, and the writers of Port-Royal. By a brief of January the 19th, 1669, Clement IX. accepted their letter, and by tacitly allowing the distinction between fact and right, restored peace to the Church of France. The medal struck on this occasion has always been the subject of annoyance to the Jesuits, who have rendered it very scarce, and the Concordat is known as the Pacification of Clement IX.

26. The recluses of Port-Royal had now liberty to return to their favourite retreat; and there they occupied themselves with those works which have rendered their names immortal. Nicole and Arnauld laboured at their “Perpetuity of the Faith of the Church concerning the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist;” in which the ablest of the Calvinist authors, Claude, [33] Aubertin, and Blondel, were so thoroughly crushed and overwhelmed, that they never ventured to make head on that subject again. Arnauld was also employed in his “Practical Morals of the Jesuits,” and Nicole in his Latin translation of the “Provincials,” his Essays on Morality, and his Reflections on the Epistles and Gospels of the Church’s Year. There, too, Tillemont engaged in his Ecclesiastical History, the wonderful fulness and accuracy of which has wrung so striking a testimony from Gibbon; Lemaistre de Sacy, in his translation of, and commentaries on, the Bible; Arnauld d’Andilly, in his translations of the Confessions of S. Augustine, and of Josephus; and Hamon, the pious physician of the Convent, in his explanation of the Canticles, his Practice of Continual Prayer, and his Soliloquies. There, also, the Mère Angélique composed her “Conferences;” her “Reflections,” written with the view of preparing her sisters for persecution; and her “Spiritual Letters.” It was during the Peace of Clement IX. that Pasquier Quesnel published the first edition of his “Moral Reflections on the New Testament,” that book which eventually gave rise to so horrible a turmoil in the whole Western Church, and to all the troubles of the Unigenitus. Henceforth the Augustinus became a tedious subject; it was replaced, as a butt for the Jesuits, by the “Moral Reflections;” and the very name of Jansenism nearly gave way to that of Quesnelism.

The condemnation of sixty-five Jesuit propositions by Innocent XI., successor to Clement X., was the last triumph, and the precursor of the downfall, of the first series of French Jansenists. Arnauld and the school of Port-Royal sided with the See of Rome in disputes between the Pontiff and Louis XIV., [34] which led to the celebrated assembly of 1682, and the Gallican Articles. Before the Synod took place, Arnauld had retired into Holland, whence he kept up a large correspondence in France, and continued in high favour with the Court of Rome.

27. It is now time to return to Quesnel. Born at Paris in 1634, he was educated in the Congregation of the Oratory, and there imbibed the Augustinian sentiments for which it was celebrated. Named, at the age of 28, director of its school in Paris, he composed for the use of the youth under his charge, his Pensées Chrétiennes sur les quatre Evangelistes. This was adopted by Felix Vialart as a text-book for his diocese; and Quesnel employed himself in elaborating what he had already written, and in extending his labours to the rest of the New Testament. Before long, however, he was desired by De Harlay, then Archbishop, to leave Paris; and he took up his residence at Orleans. Here, in 1684, his signature was demanded to a formulary which the General Assembly of the Oratory imposed on all its members. The philosophical part of this document contained some principles of Cartesianism. Quesnel refused its signature, joined Arnauld at Brussels, continued with him till his death, and was then regarded as the chief of the party.

28. His Refléxions Morales appeared in 1694, and now embraced the whole of the New Testament. De Noailles, then Bishop of Chalons, finding that the former edition of the work was popular in his diocese, approved this also; and was shortly afterwards transferred to the Archbishopric of Paris. Here he condemned, in the course of the next year, a treatise of Barcos, the nephew of S. Cyran, which had for its title, Exposition de la Foi de lEglise, touchant la Grâce [35] et la Prédestination, as containing doctrine “false, temerarious, scandalous, impious, blasphemous, injurious to God, worthy of anathema, and heretical; also as renewing the doctrine of the Five Propositions of Jansenius, with a temerity the more intolerable, that the author dares to set forth as being of the Faith that which is not only not so, but which the Faith abhors, and which is detested by all the Church.” The Cardinal, however, had better have left this performance alone. In a few weeks appeared the famous “Ecclesiastical Problem: whether one ought to believe M. Louis Antoine Noailles, Bishop of Chalons in 1695, or M. Louis Antoine Noailles, Archbishop of Paris in 1696.” A parallel is drawn between the Réflexions which the Bishop approved, and the Exposition which the Archbishop condemned; and the absolute identity of their doctrine, is set forth. The author was Thierry de Viaixnes, of whom we shall hear more hereafter; and the satire was as cutting as that of the “Provincials.” Poor de Noailles obtained an Arrêt from the Parliament of Paris, which condemned the “Problem” to the fire. This was easy enough; but the Cardinal’s character, both as an honest man and a theologian, was seriously damaged. A new edition of the Réflexions appeared in 1699, but without the approbation of the Archbishop.

29. In 1700, the celebrated “Case of Conscience” reopened the whole controversy. A priest having refused to absolve a penitent who condemned the Five Propositions, but declared that a “respectful silence” was a sufficient acquiescence in the pontifical authority as to facts, forty Doctors of the Sorbonne affirmed its sufficiency, grounding themselves on the Pacification of Clement IX., and other papal documents. Forth came the Vineam Domini Sabaoth of [36] Clement XI., (July 15th, 1703,) the passive instrument of the Molinists, who now filled the chair of S. Peter, condemning the decision of the Sorbonne in the strongest terms, renewing all the doctrines of the Formulary, and making no account whatever of the Pacification of Clement IX. The general assembly of the French clergy received this Bull, and hence a new series of troubles. Encouraged by the submission of the clergy, Clement XI. condemned, on the 13th, of July, 1708, the Réflexions Morales, as infected with the Jansenian heresy. At the same time the destruction of Port Royal was carried into execution. A Bull having been obtained for that purpose, Cardinal de Noailles was compelled to issue his instructions for the suppression of the convent. It was in vain that the sisters used every means in their power to avert the stroke. They signed the Vineam Domini Sabaoth, with the reservation, however, of the privileges conferred on them by the Peace of Clement IX.; and when that was in vain, they appealed from the Archbishop of Paris to his Primate, the Archbishop of Lyons, but fruitlessly.

30. On the 29th of October, at half-past seven in the morning, D’Argenson, a lieutenant of the police, entered the village with three hundred men, drew them up outside the convent, and set a guard at every entrance to it. The sisterhood were just coming out from mass. D’Argenson summoned them before him, counted them, to see that none were absent, and then read a part of his commission, requiring the instant surrender of all papers and documents into his hands. While these proceedings were going on the bell rang for tierce. The sisters went into choir, not knowing that it was to be for the last time. The lieutenant, when they came out, assembled them [37] again, and read them the remainder of his commission, by which it was ordered that the community was instantly to be broken up, and its members to be dispersed in different convents, and out of the diocese of Paris. The Prioress, (for the election of an abbess had been forbidden by the king,) Louise Du Mesnill de Courtiaux, enquired how long a time for preparation could be given them. “Ten minutes,” replied D’Argenson. The sisters having received the blessing of the Prioress for the last time, returned into the choir, knelt before the Blessed Sacrament, and so went out to make their preparations. In the meantime the peasants of the neighbouring villages came thronging round the convent, with exclamations that they should be left to perish of hunger: and it was as much as the soldiers could do to prevent them from breaking into open violence. The lieutenant himself, a man of iron nerves, declared afterwards that he could hardly fulfil his commission, when he saw the sisters passing out of the great gate of the convent without one tear; and the Prioress, coming last of all, surrendered to him the keys, and recommended to his care the servants and the sick who had been supported by the sisterhood.

The treacherous Flavie Passart obtained for Port Royal in Paris everything which was worth removing from the deserted monastery; and then, on Jan. 22nd, in the following year, commenced the demolition of the whole edifice. Yet even this did not satisfy the revenge of the Jesuits. In 1711 the bodies in the burial-ground were disinterred, with the grossest circumstances of brutality and indecency; and two years after the church itself was destroyed. It was remarked — as it has so often been remarked in cases of sacrilege — that none of the principal actors [38] in this tragedy ever prospered afterwards, and that almost all of them were in the course of a very few months summoned to render in their account to God.

The disinterment of the bodies in the burial-ground of Port Royal, the cemetery of the nuns for five hundred years, is undoubtedly the most disgraceful act which the Molinists ever perpetrated. Nor, when we read of the horrible outrages perpetrated on the corpses of women, must we forget that they were carried on by command of a woman — one, too, professing piety — Madame de Maintenon. The penitence of De Noailles, his bitter self-reproach, his vacillation to the end of his life, and final Molinism — these things are a wonderful lesson to those who love the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Thus fell Port Royal; but the spirit of Port Royal lived on, and lives still.

31. But to return. In February, 1712, Clement; XI. appointed a congregation of five cardinals and eleven theologians to consider the Réflexions Morales. After the deliberations of a year and a half — the assemblies having been for the latter part of the time held twice a-week, and the Pope generally being present — the work was ended. On September 8, 1713, appeared the famous Constitution Unigenitus, in which one hundred and one propositions, extracted from the writings of Quesnel, were condemned, not separately, (as is usually the case,) but in the lump.

This dogmatic Constitution, the occasion of such innumerable troubles, so long openly rejected by so large a portion of the Roman Church, even now secretly abhorred by vast numbers who have not the courage openly to protest against it, — and some future day to be withdrawn, as other less important Bulls have been withdrawn, — may be considered the work [39] of three persons — Louis XIV., Madame de Maintenon, and Le Tellier, the king’s confessor. It is said that one hundred and one propositions were condemned, because Le Tellier had pledged himself that the “Moral Reflections” contained more than a hundred heretical propositions[5]. Though, as I have mentioned, the extracts were condemned in globo, each was separately characterised by the censors: and the Abbé Guettée has done singular service to ecclesiastical history by publishing for the first time, from papers preserved in Rome, the separate qualifications of each. Thus we find that twelve only were condemned as heretical; that the rest were either “erroneous,” “suspected of heresy,” “approaching heresy,” “as it stands, to be suspected of heresy,” or, “offensive to pious ears.” It is further to be remembered that, in the judgment of Clement XI., twelve of the propositions were not worthy of censure; yet these twelve go to make up the one hundred and one condemned by the actual Unigenitus.

32. As, in point of fact, it is this Constitution beyond everything else against which the Church of Utrecht has for a century and a half struggled, and is still struggling, it will be necessary to enter a little more minutely into its details. And that the account may be as fair as possible, I will first give the abstract of it published by a most zealous Ultramontane, the Abbé Rohrbacher, in the work which he calls a “History of the Catholic Church:” —

[40] “1. It teaches that no commandment of God is impossible, and it condemns those who maintain that the commandments of God are impossible, when not obeyed. This is the sense of the first five propositions of Quesnel.

“2. It teaches that we may resist grace, and condemns those who maintain that we can never resist it. — (Props. 6 — 39.) It teaches, according to the words of Jesus Christ, that He came to seek and to save that which is lost, and condemns those who restrain the benefit of redemption to the elect alone. — (Props. 30 — 33.) It defines that grace is necessary and gratuitous, and condemns those who, in attacking this doctrine, renew the Pelagian heresy as regards unfallen nature, in Props. 34 — 37. It teaches that free will exists in fallen nature, and condemns those that deny it. — (Props. 38 — 43.)

“3. It teaches that there are good actions which do not spring from a motive of love, and condemns those who maintain the contrary; because all that God commands is good, but He commands other acts besides love. These acts, then, are good. On this principle, it condemns the Propositions 44 — 67, which suppose that God can command acts which are not good, but evil; which is to agree with hell in its most horrible blasphemies.

“4. It teaches, after Jesus Christ, that if we would enter into life, we must keep the commandments; that thus there are other means of salvation than faith and prayer; and it condemns those who reduce all means of safety to these two, as Prop. 68 does, which thus provokes fanaticism and illusion.

“5. It teaches that first grace is gratuitous; that, if we merited it, it would not be grace; that glory is, nevertheless, a crown of righteousness as due to merits, and condemns the error which teaches that first grace and glory are equally gratuitous, as Prop. 69, which supposes that man, not being free, merits no more than an automaton.

“6. It teaches, after the Scriptures and tradition, that God sometimes afflicts us to prove us, and condemns the error which teaches that God never afflicts except for the sake of punishing or purifying the sinner, (Prop. 70): whence it might impiously be concluded, that if the Blessed Virgin, the Patriarch Job, and so many martyrs, have suffered more [41] than others, it was because they were greater sinners than others.

“7. Following this saying of Jesus Christ, ‘If any man destroys one of the least of these commandments, he shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven,’ the Constitution teaches that man cannot dispense with the observation of the commandments of God, and rejects the error which asserts that every one, for his preservation, may dispense with their observation. This is the error of Prop. 71, which opens the door to all kind of relaxation, even to anarchy, and condemns implicitly the conduct of confessors and martyrs.

“8. It teaches, as Jesus Christ in several passages of the Gospel, that in the Church the good are mingled with the bad, and rejects the error which affirms that the Church consists of the good and righteous only. (Props. 72 — 78.) As inherent righteousness is an invisible thing, this is to make the Church in like manner invisible, and so to destroy all hierarchy, all subordination.

“9. As religion was established by oral teaching, and before the Scriptures were in being, the Constitution teaches that the reading of Holy Scripture in the vulgar tongue is not necessary to every one for salvation, and condemns the contrary error expressed in Propositions 79 — 86, which are so many outrages on the Church of God, as practising and teaching the opposite.

“10. It teaches that, in conformity with the practice of all the Church at all times, although it is proper to defer reconciliation or absolution of certain sinners, nevertheless there are others whom it is right to absolve at once, and before satisfaction. It teaches that all sinners, not excommunicated, ought to assist at the sacrifice of the Mass; and it proscribes the opposite error, contained in Props. 87 — 89, which blames the father of the family for receiving so promptly the prodigal son, and restoring to him his first robe; which blames Jesus Christ Himself, who said to the penitent thief, ‘To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.’

“11. It teaches that Jesus Christ, in giving to the apostles and to their successors the power to loose, gave them also the power to excommunicate; and that, as excommunication [42] deprives of many benefits, it is always to be feared; consequently it condemns the opposite error contained in Propositions 90 — 93, which, supposing each individual the judge whether the sentence which condemns him be just or not, weaken the authority of the Church and render it contemptible.

“12. It teaches that, since Jesus Christ has promised to be with His Church alway, even unto the end, her administration is always holy, as being directed by the Holy Ghost, and it condemns those who deny and outrage it, as Props. 94 — 101, which teach that the Church, become old and decrepit, is ignorant of, and can even persecute, the truth; whence it may be impiously concluded that Christ, not having fulfilled His promise, is not only not God, but is not even a Man of His word; and that God, if there be one, does not meddle with the affairs of the world, and that all goes by chance.”

33. We will now take some of the actual propositions, with the passages alleged by Quesnel and his supporters in their favour, and the Qualification attached to them by the Bull: —

Proposition 1. “What does there remain in a soul which has lost God and His grace, except sin and its consequences, a proud poverty, and idle indigence; that is to say, a general impotence to work, to prayer, to everything that is good?” Texts. ‘Without Me ye can do nothing,’ (S. John xv. 5). ‘ Who then can be saved?’ ‘The things that are impossible with men, are possible with God,’ (S. Matt. xix. 26). ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God,’ (2 Cor. iii. 5). ‘No man has in himself anything but falsehood and sin.’ — Council of Orange, Can. 22. Qualification: heretical.

Proposition 2. “The grace of Jesus Christ, the efficacious principle for every kind of good, is necessary for every good action. Without it not only we do nothing, but we can do nothing.” Texts. ‘No man cometh unto Me, except the Father draw him, (S. John vi. 44). It is God that worketh in us both to will and to do,’ (Philipp. ii. 13). ‘Without grace we can do nothing, achieve nothing, commence nothing.’ [43] — S. August. ad Bonifac., ii. cap. 9. Qualification: as it stands, heretical; from the context, suspected of heresy and near akin to it.

Proposition 3. “In vain Thou commandest, O Lord, if Thou dost not give that which Thou commandest.” Texts. ‘Except the Lord build the house, their labour is but lost that build it.’ (Psalm cxxvii. 1). ‘Every time that we do any good thing, it is God Who acts in us and with us, to the end we should do it.’ — Council of Orange, Can. 9. Qualification: ill-sounding, and offensive to pious ears.

Proposition 12. “When God determines to save a soul, in every time, in every place, the indubitable effect follows the will of a God.” Text. This proposition is literally translated from S. Prosper in his poem Contra ingratos. Qualification: suspected of heresy, — unless, indeed, these are the very words of S. Prosper.

Proposition 13. “When God determines to save a soul, and touches it with the hand of His grace, no human will resists Him.” Texts. ‘When God wills to save anyone, no will of man resists Him.’ — S. August. de Correct. et Gratiâ, cap. xiv. ‘ No man is saved, save he whom God wills to be saved; it is therefore necessary to pray that He may will it, because, if He wills it, it must come to pass.’ — S. August. Enchiridion, cap. cii. Qualification: His Holiness suspends his judgment.

Proposition 25. “God enlightens and heals the soul as well as the body by His will alone.” He commands and is obeyed. Texts. ‘As the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will.’ (S. John v. 21). ‘Turn thou me, and I shall be turned, for Thou art the Lord my God: surely, after that I was turned, I repented.’ (Jeremiah xxxi. 18). ‘There are certain properties of the soul which perish through an evil will, and this so that they cannot be recovered by a good will, unless God does that which man cannot do; — God, who could restore to a man the eyes which he should wilfully have put out, or the limbs which he should wilfully have cut off.’ — S. August., Opus imperfect, vi. 18. Qualification: suspected of heresy.

Proposition 28. “The first grace which God grants the [44] sinner is the pardon of his sins.” Texts. ‘The first grace which the sinner receives is that by which his sins are pardoned.’ — S. August. Tractat. iii. in S. Joan. sec. 8. ‘There are three degrees of the justification of a Christian; the first is the remission of sins by baptism.’ — S. Fulgentius, de Remissions Peccatorum, i. 5. Qualification: suspected of heresy.

Proposition 31. “The will of Jesus has always its effect; He bestows His entire peace on the heart, when He desires it for that heart.” Texts. ‘Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me, and I know that Thou hearest Me always.’ (S. John ii. 41, 42). ‘It is impossible that, when the Almighty Son declares to His Almighty Father that He desired a certain thing, that thing should not come to pass.’ — S. August. Tract. iii. in S. Joan. i. Qualification: ill-sounding, and akin to heresy.

Proposition 50. “It is in vain that we cry to God, My Father, if it is not the Spirit of love that cries.” Text. ‘We cry, but it is by the Holy Ghost, that is to say, by the love which He sheds abroad in our hearts, without which, whosoever cries, cries in vain.’ — S. August. Serm. 71, in S. Matt. Qualification: pernicious in practice, and offensive to pious ears.

Proposition 54. “It is love alone that speaks to God, it is love alone that God hears.” Texts. ‘Though I speak with the tongue of men and angels and have not love, I am become as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal,’ (1 Cor. xiii. 1). ‘It is the heart that God hears; men have ears only for the voice; the ears of God attend only to the voice of the heart.’ — S. August, on Psalm cxix. Qualification: scandalous, temerarious, impious, and erroneous.

Proposition 71. “Man may dispense for his preservation with a law which God has made for his benefit.” Texts. The Maccabees fought on the Sabbath-day. David ate the shewbread, and our Lord approved that action. The apostles gathered the ears of corn and ate them on the Sabbath-day. Qualification: scandalous and pernicious in practice.

Proposition 81. “The holy obscurity of the Word of God is no reason why the laity should be dispensed from reading it.” Text. ‘We may still derive benefit from Holy Scripture, [45] though we do not understand its hidden meaning; besides, it is impossible that all can be unintelligible, for the Holy Ghost, Who inspired it, took care that it was written in such a manner as that publicans and sinners, artizans, shepherds, and other illiterate persons, might be saved by these books.’ — S. Chrysos., Serm. iii. on Lazarus. Qualification: His Holiness passes over this proposition as dubious.

Proposition 82. “Sunday ought to be hallowed by the reading of good books, and above all things, of Holy Scripture.” Text. ‘We assemble together to read Holy Scripture; and by its sacred words we nourish our faith, we confirm our hope, and we increase the knowledge which we have of the commandments of God.’ — Tertullian, Apolog. ‘Ignorance of Holy Scripture is the source of all evil.’ — S. Chrysos., 9th Homily on the Galatians. Qualification: either to be passed over, or at the utmost to be censured as suspected of error, contained more clearly in preceding propositions, and dangerous in practice.

34. It was the Bull, then, of which the above propositions represent the fair average of doctrine, which now came before the clergy of France. Louis XIV. assembled a certain number of bishops of his own choice, appointed Cardinal de Noailles president by his own authority, and gave them to understand that his royal pleasure was the acceptation of the Bull. Any opposition by Quesnelists was denounced as opposition to the royal will. Before the final acceptation, Cardinal de Rohan, Archbishop of Strasbourg, gave a banquet to the assembled prelates, which surpassed in its luxury everything that had up to that time been seen in France. Some unfortunate Jansenist ventured to observe that, in primitive times, bishops were accustomed to prepare themselves for the promulgation of a dogmatic creed by a solemn fast. Forty bishops resolved to go along with the court; fourteen, afterwards reduced to nine, were more or less opposed to the acceptation, — De Noailles being at their head: and thus the Unigenitus [46] was received by the clergy, registered in parliament, and accepted by the Sorbonne. Several of the opposing bishops published pastoral letters against the Bull; several of these were suppressed by the king in council, and censured by Rome. The prelates themselves were commanded to retire to their dioceses. One only, the Bishop of Laon, De Clermont-de-Chaste-de-Roussillon, had the weakness to withdraw his signature from the protest which he, in common with the Cardinal, had signed.

35. But the scene was about to change. In the following year, at ten o’clock on a stormy August night, Louis XIV. entered his death-agony. The next morning, with the herald’s proclamation, Le Roi est mort! Vive le Roi! fell the reign of Madame de Maintenon, and of the Molinists. Cardinal de Noailles reappeared at court; and it was seriously debated in what way to oppose the publication of the Unigenitus.

“Appeals to the future council,” says a modern author, “had always been usual. We find that even Nestorius remained unmolested between the convocation and the assembly of the Council of Ephesus. Innocent III. had said, on a subject of far less importance than the Unigenitus, ‘If we should endeavour to decide anything on this point without the deliberation of a general council, besides the offence to God, and the infamy in the eyes of man, we should perchance incur danger to our order and office.’ But this doctrine of appeal to a future council did not suit more modern pontiffs. Therefore Martin V. forbade all such appeals, in a Bull of 1418; Pius II. (1459), in the Bull Execrabilis; Julius II. (1509), in the Bull Suscepti regiminis; Gregory XIII., in the Bull Consueverunt; Paul V., in the Bull Pastoralis; and, lastly, the famous Bull, In Coena Domini. On the other hand, we find that in 1239, Frederic II. appealed from Gregory IV. to a general council; in 1246, the Church of England made the same appeal from Alexander IV.; in [47] 1264, the bishops, in the Council of Reading, sanctioned an appeal ‘to the Pope in better times, or to a general council, and the Judge of all.’ And after these appeals were forbidden, they still continued. In 1418, six weeks after the publication of the Bull mentioned above, the Polish ambassadors appealed from a decision of its author to a general council. In 1427, Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury, did the same; so, in 1460, did Sigismund, Duke of Austria, when excommunicated by Pius II.; so, in 1472, did the Elector of Mayence, from the same Pius II.; in 1478, the bishops of the Duchy of Florence from Sixtus IV.; in 1509, the Venetian Republic from Clement VII. As late as 1688, Archbishop de Harlay, and the University of Paris, had appealed from Innocent XI. to a general council.”

It is clear that, if every one is to appeal about everything from the existing authority, the Church can never be governed but while a general council is sitting. But it is equally clear that, if such an appeal is never to be allowed, the most extreme Ultramontane theory is the only true one. Nor does it concern us now to determine what is the least occasion, or who the least important personage, that may authorize or may originate such an appeal. We may content ourselves with this remark: — If any circumstances could make it lawful, those of the Church under Clement XI. might. Great uneasiness, even where the Unigenitus was accepted, — in France, sixteen bishops, one of them the Archbishop of the metropolis, ready to become appellants, — the first theological school in Europe, the Sorbonne, joined with them, — canons, abbats, clergy innumerable, ready to follow their example: it needed only the courage to lead the way.

For three years France was torn by the disputes between the Constitutionalists, as they were called, [48] and the opposers of the Bull. The faculty of theology, followed by several provincial faculties, revoked its acceptation of the Unigenitus; and then a long series of useless negotiations went on. At length the more energetic opposers of the Bull became weary of inaction, and of the vacillation of the Regent Duke of Orleans.

36. The morning of the 5th March, 1717, was cold and sleety; nevertheless, at an early hour two bishops, Labroue, of Mirepoix, and De L’Angle, of Boulogne, might have been seen approaching the Sorbonne on foot by the so-called House of Navarre, and two others, Colbert of Montpellier, and Soanen of Senez, by the Rue S. Jacques. Arrived in the great hall, they found the members of the faculty assembling; and having informed the bedell that they had matters of importance to propose, they were received by eight Doctors, ushered with great solemnity into the common hall, and placed immediately below the Dean of the Faculty. Labroue made a short address, in which he described the dissensions created by the Unigenitus, and the wound which it inflicted on the Catholic faith. Soanen then read a formal document, in which the four bishops, after reciting the nature and the consequences of the Bull, and nevertheless professing all due and canonical obedience to Rome, formally appealed from it to the next general council, legitimately assembled, and to which they should have free access. Scarcely was this document concluded, when there arose a confused shout from the Doctors of Adhaeremus! Adhaeremus! Voices being called for, ninety were for adherence to the appeal, while twelve only pronounced themselves against it. ‘The prelates, escorted with a suitable body of Doctors, next waited on the Procurator-General, who refused to allow [49] them to lodge their appeal with him; they then went to demand the Apostoli, by which, on appeal made, the cognizance of a cause is transmitted from the lower to the higher tribunal; in this case, from the Pope to the Council. Somewhat to their surprise, these letters were most graciously given; and such was the ardour for adhesion to the appeal, that the officiality was, for some time, kept open both by night and by day; and in comparatively a few hours two thousand ecclesiastics had signed their names to the Protest of the four bishops. In the meantime the news had already reached the palace. One Vivant, curate of S. Merry, as soon as he saw the turn which matters were taking at the Sorbonne, had hastened to inform the Regent.

37. The opposition to Rome increased daily. The appellants were now joined by De Noailles, the Bishops of Verdun, Pamiers, Agen, Condom, Châlons, and S. Malo; the three former, indeed, put forward an appeal of their own to the Pope better informed, and to a general council. Clement XI. issued his Bull Pastoralis Officii, whereby he cut off the appealing prelates from his communion. The appellant bishops appealed again; they were now eighteen or nineteen in number: whole religious communities joined them; chapters, isolated parish priests, laity, all united. The various parliaments suppressed the mandemens of the Ultramontane bishops against the Appeal.

38. Amidst these commotions, the Cardinal de Noailles did not forget the Surviving nuns of Port-Royal. Six only remained; they were received, five in the House of Malnoue, one into that of Etrées. To the latter, Madame de Valais, the Cardinal wrote on the subject of her reception to Communion. His crime had been public — so should his penitence be; and he fixed the church of S. Geneviève for her reception, that it [50] might be performed in the most solemn manner. The nun agreed to the place; but, to spare the Cardinal’s feelings, appointed four in the morning as the time.

Had Clement XI. lived, it is difficult to guess what might have been the end of the controversy. The same Faculty of Theology which had obliged John XXI. to retract his errors on the Beatific Vision, might have overthrown the Molinism of an Albani. But the timely concessions of Innocent XIII. and Benedict XIII., preceded as they had been by the accommodation of 1720, by which, in a measure, the Unigenitus was explained, weakened the party of the Jansenists. One by one, the principal appellants withdrew their Appeal.

39. The infamous Dubois, who united the most disgusting debauchery to the wildest dreams of ambition, he who destroyed his marriage register to obtain, in his wife’s lifetime, an archbishopric, — he who refused the Viaticum, and died, from the effects of his licentious life[6], cursing and blaspheming, — threw the whole [51] weight of his corruption on the Ultramontane side. The Bishops of Mirepoix and Boulogne had been taken away from the evil to come; Colbert of Montpellier, with inflexible resolution, persevered in his appeal, and defended himself so well that, eager as his superior, the Archbishop of Narbonne, was to censure him, it was not thought desirable to proceed to a Council. The fury of the storm burst on Soanen, whom I have already mentioned as one of the four original appellants, and whom we shall hereafter find one of the great supporters of the distressed Church of Utrecht. He, now in the eighty-first year of his age, afforded his opponents an opportunity, by his Pastoral Instruction of August 18, 1726. He expressed himself so strongly, in this document, against Papal Infallibility and the Unigenitus, that the royal licence for a provincial council was obtained.

Tencin, a man of infamous character, and an ally of the Molinists, was now Archbishop of Embrun, and Metropolitan of Soanen. In the letters which convoked the council not one word was said of the [52] real object; and the good old Bishop expressed his joy at the meeting of a provincial synod, and his resolution, notwithstanding his great age, to be there. Others, longer sighted, if less charitable, than the prelate, warned him of his danger. He disregarded the warning, yet he took the precaution of protesting beforehand against recognising in the council any judge of matters connected with the Constitution and his own appeal, as a body incompetent to entertain this kind of questions. In the beginning of August he commenced his journey, and toiling over the rugged passes of the Basses Alpes, reached Embrun on the 11th. He had scarcely taken up his residence there, when an earnest of the intended proceedings was given by the violent seizure of some packets of papers sent him by a friend at Digne, as necessary for his defence.

40. On Saturday, the 16th of August, the council was opened with great solemnity. There were five bishops present: Tencin himself, Soanen, De Bourchenu of Vence, whose mind was weakened by repeated fits of epilepsy, De Crillon of Glandeve, educated for the sea, but removed from the service as unfit for it, and Anthelmy of Grasse, a prelate who was the creature of the court. The other suffragans were, the Bishop of Digne, who was ill, and the Bishop of Nice, who was not consecrated, and who besides was not a French subject. In his opening address, Tencin spoke of “a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” “a gross liar,” and “persevering rebellion;” but no actual steps were taken against Soanen till everything had been prepared for the blow that was to be struck. In the second general congregation, the Archbishop called on the promoter of the council to bring forward any business that might be waiting its consideration. This personage, who was Vicar-general of the diocese, [53] then, in a set speech, full of the most fulsome flattery of Tencin, his Christian virtues and austere morals, (Tencin, whose debaucheries were as notorious as revolting, — Tencin, who had been engaged in all the vile negotiations which elevated the monster Dubois to the cardinalate, — Tencin, judicially convicted of perjury to conceal simony, — Tencin, whose sister, with his full approbation, originally a nun, and expelled from her convent for unchastity, then a canoness, was Cardinal Dubois’s avowed mistress, and the builder of her brother’s fortunes,) brought Soanen’s Pastoral Instruction before the council, and demanded that he should either disavow it, or that the synod should condemn it.

41. The aged Bishop was ordered to withdraw. “Your protest against the incompetency of the council,” whispered one of his theologians. The demand was insisted on by the President; Soanen did not persevere in his wish to present his act, and went out. Recalled at the end of an hour, he acknowledged the Pastoral Instruction, signed a copy of it, and then demanded that his Act of Incompetence should be considered. He retired a second time, and when readmitted was informed that the synod rejected his protest. Untouched by the evident tendency of the proceedings, Soanen read and left on the table a new act, by which he refused every single member of the council as his judges, — Tencin as publicly and notoriously guilty of simony; the others as avowed partisans, and as having prejudged the case they were about to try: —

“We therefore,” he concluded, “declare to you, Monseigneur Guérin de Tencin, Archbishop of Embrun; to you, Monseigneur Bourchenu, Bishop of Vence; to you, Monseigneur de Crillon, Bishop of Glandeve; to you, Monseigneur [54] Anthelmy, Bishop of Grasse; and to you, M. de Puget, as representing the Bishop of Digne, — 1. That we renew our former act of refusing the council as our judges, on account of its notorious incompetency to judge of our person and writings, — for reasons alleged in the said act. 2. That even were the said council competent to judge us, which it is not, we refuse you, all and each, as our judges, for the reasons we have stated; beseeching, requiring, and demanding that you abstain from all judgment, and protesting the nullity of all that you may do or attempt to the prejudice of our said recusation, and reserving to ourselves the right to procure, by all lawful ways, the reversal of your judgment. “Done at Embrun, this 18th of August, 1727.”

In the succeeding days, attempts were made to bring the resolute Bishop to submission, or, at least, to a recognition of the authority of the council. As his deprival was predetermined, the only question now was, how to effect it — twelve bishops being necessary. It was agreed to request the attendance of some prelates from the neighbouring provinces of Aries, Aix, Besancon, Lyons, and Vienne: the most strenuous supporters of the Unigenitus were selected, two being actually Jesuits. Ten accepted the invitation: it would have been difficult to find an equal assembly of Constitutionaries in France. While they were on their way some general resolutions were adopted, to pass the time.

42. When the bishops had arrived, Soanen was canonically cited, — the first time on the 9th, the second and third on the 11th, of September. He obeyed the last summons, went to the synod, and then and there appealed to the Pope and to the Future Council. Belzunce, Bishop of Marseilles, — the same who had more happily distinguished himself in the great plague, — yawned ceaselessly, and fanned himself with a roll of paper; Anthelmy chattered to his neighbour. At [55] the conclusion of this appeal, the venerable prelate again refused the five original bishops as his judges; and, in addition, four of the new-comers. He appealed, in defence of his civil rights, to the Parliament, and notified to the invited prelates that they could only be his judges in a general or national council, not in a provincial council out of their own province. The appeal to the Parliament staggered some of the bishops, but Tencin produced a document from Cardinal Fleury, then prime minister, by which, according to the abuse of those days, he evoked all questions connected with the Synod of Embrun to the council, — that is to say, to himself.

43. Every difficulty being thus removed, the council proceeded with extraordinary speed. In the final report, Belzunce had the good taste to decline acting as judge; the rest signed the sentence, condemning the Pastoral Instruction as schismatic, full of heretical spirit, abounding with errors, and fomenting heresy; and suspended Soanen from all episcopal power and jurisdiction, and from the exercise of every sacerdotal function. Soon came the judgment of the court: a lettre de cachet consigned the illustrious prisoner to the Chaise Dieu[7]. Passing through Grenoble, he breakfasted with the Bishop of that city, and with the Bishop of Vence, who was there on a visit. The latter, a good-hearted sort of man, asked for Soanen’s [56] blessing. “You have broken,” he said with a smile, “my arms and my legs, — how can I give you the benediction? Allow me rather to embrace you.” On entering the Chaise Dieu, — “This,” he said, “shall be my rest for ever; here will I dwell, for I have a delight therein.” Hence he went, thirteen years afterwards, to the freedom of which a tyrannical monarch had deprived him on earth. He was not, however, left without advocates in the hour of his distress: thirty-one prelates approved the council; but twelve, one of whom was De Noailles, rejected it, and they were followed by 2,000 priests. The Instruction of the Bishop of Montpellier on the occasion, in which he proves the invalidity of the sentence, is a very able work. De Tencin, president of the Council of Embrun, whose sister ruled the counsels of Dubois, was rewarded with the archbishopric of Lyons, and a cardinal’s hat. It cannot, however, be denied that the party was much shaken by this proceeding; and still more so by the acceptation of the Unigenitus, which De Noailles, never a strong minded man, and now apparently in his dotage, published during the course of the next year.

44. We may fix 1727 as the period at which French Jansenism began to decline, — though from another cause. In that year, a deacon, by name Paris, a man, it would seem, of holy life, and of some name among the opposers of the Unigenitus, was buried in the cemetery of S. Medard. It soon began to be reported that miracles were performed at his tomb. Whatever may now be said to the contrary, the belief was very general, and the witnesses unsuspected. Rollin, so well known in our schools, was convinced of the reality of the cures; and it must be confessed that, if anyone will take the trouble of looking into De [57] Montgeron’s large quarto on the subject, it does seem extremely difficult to allow sufficient evidence for any miracle, if we deny it to these. But it is also most certain that false miracles began to be got up, and that with very little skill. A glazier, who had spoken ill of Paris, had his windows broken, by invisible hands, at night. The Duke of Anjou was poisoned by earth taken from the tomb. Soon a frenzy seized the most devoted adherents of the party. Men and women resorted in numbers to the cemetery. There they worked themselves up to a pitch of fanaticism; they leapt wildly about, they foamed at the mouth, they tore their hair and their clothes; there were groans, sobs, hysterics, and finally the most frightful contortions and convulsions. Sometimes a hundred of these devotees were fanaticising themselves at one time. The spectacle was most revolting; and the king very wisely caused the cemetery to be closed. The Jansenist epigram has more wit than truth: —

“De par le Roi. — Défense à Dieu
De faire miracles en ce lieu.”

45. The chief supporters of the cause in the middle of the eighteenth century were, Colbert of Montpellier, who may be regarded as, while he lived, its leader; Fitz-James of Soissons, a son of the Duke of Berwick; Bossuet of Troyes, a nephew of the great Bossuet; and De Montazet of Lyons, the latter of whom upheld to the French Revolution the same tenets for which S. Cyran and Soanen suffered. He died in 1788. But of all the prelates who remained firm to Augustinian teaching, De Caylus of Auxerre was the most celebrated. During his long episcopate of fifty years he pursued one consistent course; and he never retracted his appeal. While he believed in the miracles of Paris and others, — as Levier, of the parish of S. Leu, Noe-Menard of the diocese of Nantes, and Duguet, — [58] he strongly reprobated Convulsionism. For fourteen years he was the only survivor of the appellants; and he maintained most friendly connections with the Church of Utrecht.

46. On the closing of the cemetery of S. Medard, at once, by one of those strange contagions which physiology cannot as yet explain, Convulsionists appeared all over the country. They plunged more and more wildly into every kind of madness, and, it is to be feared, licentiousness; and a set of men appeared who, under the name of sécouristes, gave their assistance to the actors. Of the unhappy Convulsionists — almost always women — some caused themselves to be publicly scourged, some threw themselves into water, and barked like a dog; some took upon themselves to confess men; till at length a young girl, as the delusion was wearing out, was actually persuaded to be crucified. This was on the Good-Friday of 1758; and the spectacle was more than once repeated. The Pere Cottu was the principal performer on these occasions; and the Soeur Françoise on one occasion remained for three hours on the cross. In the diocese of Lyons, as late as 1787, a girl was crucified in the parish church of Fareins, near Trevoux. Truly, when one calls to mind the names of Jansenius, De Hauranne, Arnauld, and Nicole, and the works by which they supported the cause of Augustinianism, and then turns to the extravagance of their miserable followers, one cannot but exclaim, “How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!”

47. The party, in the latter half of the eighteenth century, split off into various sects, each vieing with the other in profanity and fanaticism. There were the Figurists, who in the cries of the Convulsionists saw and explained a type of the sufferings of the Church; the Discernants, akin to the last; the Vaillantists, disciples [59] of one Vaillant, who appeared in Provence, and expected the immediate coming of Elias; the Marguillistes, infamous for their debaucheries; the Eliasites, who during the French Revolution renewed the belief of the Vaillantists. Some ecclesiastics who had defended Convulsionism were alive under the reign of Napoleon I.

Another mark of the decline of Jansenism was the unholy alliance it now made with the various parliaments who persecuted those that refused communion to the appellants from the Unigenitus. It is the same scene over and over again. A priest refuses the viaticum, to a Jansenist; the bishop supports him; the Parliament make an arrêt against the prelate; the King annuls the arrêt. In 1754 matters came between Louis XV. and the Parliament of Paris to that open rupture, which not obscurely heralded the French Revolution.

And here we may well draw the veil over French Jansenism.

48. Ultramontane writers see in it the germ of the social disunion of France. They regard Robespierre, Marat, and Danton as three distinguished Jansenists. The murder of Louis XVI. is in their eyes a Jansenist outrage. The worship of Reason is the mere development of Jansenist theology. We may, perhaps, come to a somewhat opposite conclusion. The Molinist king, Louis XV., in the intervals of the seductions of La Pompadour and the revolting licentiousness of the Parc-aux-Cerfs, persecutes Jansenist ecclesiastics and condemns Jansenist tenets. The Molinist ecclesiastic Terray, one of the ministers of state, employs his utmost ability to stifle the remorse of the king in fresh scenes of, and incitements to, debauchery. The Molinist minister Dubois lives an infidel, dies blaspheming; Cardinal, Archbishop, [60] Abbat of seven abbeys[8], postulant of Citeaux and Premontre. A nobility that stigmatised Jansenism as belonging to the canaille, would not allow Lange to become the king’s mistress till one of themselves had married her for the purpose of ennobling her. Molinist abbés, that had never taken orders, vied with each other in applauding the wit of Voltaire or the sentiment of Rousseau. The Molinist head of a celebrated branch of the Cistercians, Nicolas Chanlatte, fifty-second Abbat of Pontigny, and Primarius Pater of the order, was remarkable for the extreme elegance of the bouquets which he prepared for the boudoirs of his lady visitors, and for the charming manner in which he accompanied himself to the song, Du moment quon aime. De Monsigny and De Gretry never heard their airs more delicately given than in the abbatial drawing-room. I have seen it in its ruins at Pontigny, — that drawing-room which looks out on the church, so tremendous in its Cistercian and Transitional sternness, — the church which Hugh of Macon had founded, — where S. Thomas of Canterbury had prayed, and where S. Edmund rests. Are we, after all this, to look to Jansenism, or to the corrupted morals of Molinism, for the cause of the horrible dissolution of civil and ecclesiastical relations which shewed itself so awfully around the dying bed of Louis XV.?

[1] The first eight propositions are given as interpreted by Rohrbacher, who adroitly slurs over the last in the 4th and 6th

[2] This sage observation is to be found in the fifth section of the eighty-seventh book of the Abbé Rohrbacher’s History.

[3] The number is variously reckoned at from 70 to 98: the names were not given till long afterwards. Guettée, x. 311.

[4] Histoire, x. 309.

[5] Saint Simon gives the words of the Pope thus: — “ Eh! Monsieur Amelot, Monsieur Amelot, que vouliez-vous que je fisse? je me suis battu à la perche pour en retrenches; mais le P. Tellier avait dit au roi qu’il y avait dans ce livre plus de cent propositions censurables; il n’a pas voulu passer pour menteur, et on m’a tenu le pied sur la gorge pour en mettre plus de cent, pour montrer qu’il avait dit vrai, et je n’en ai mis qu’une de plus. Voyez, voyez, Monsieur Amelot, comment j’aurais pu faire autrement.”

[6] It is thus that Saint Simon relates the history of this awful death-bed, — an account the more important, because Rohrbacher endeavours to represent Dubois as a respectable kind of person, after all. His licentious life had rendered an operation necessary, which his terror induced him to procrastinate to the last moment: — “After having left him in repose for a short time, the physicians and the surgeons proposed to him to receive the Sacraments, and to undergo the operation immediately afterwards. He received the announcement with great discomposure. He had scarcely been out of a passion since the commencement of his illness, and his rage had increased on the Saturday, when the necessity of the operation was first announced. Nevertheless, a short time afterwards he sent for a Recollet of Versailles, with whom he was alone for a quarter of an hour only. For a man who had led so pious a life, and who was so well prepared, no further time was surely necessary. Besides, this is the ordinary privilege of the last confessions of prime ministers. When the attendants re-entered his chamber, they proposed to him to receive the Viaticum; he cried out, that that was very easily said, but that there was a ceremonial for cardinals, with which he was not acquainted, and that it would be right to procure it from the Cardinal Bissy, at Paris. The bystanders looked at each other, and saw that he wished to procrastinate; but, as the operation was urgent, they again proposed to him to receive it instantly. He told them in a fury to go about their business, and would have no more said to him on the matter. The faculty, who saw imminent danger in the least delay, sent to the Duke of Orleans at Meudon. He came at once to Versailles in the first carriage on which he could lay hands, entreated the Cardinal to undergo the operation, and enquired from the faculty if it could be performed with safety. The surgeons and physicians replied, that they could give him no assurance of the kind; but that, unless it were performed at once, the Cardinal could not live two hours. The Duke of Orleans returned to the bed-side, and obtained the sufferer’s consent. The operation then took place, at 5 o’clock, in five minutes, by La Peyronnie, first surgeon of the king. The Cardinal cried and stormed strangely. When the Duke of Orleans again entered the room, the faculty told him that, from the nature of the wound, the sick man was not long for this world. He died precisely twenty-four hours afterwards, on the 10th of August, grinding his teeth at his surgeons, to whom he had never ceased to use the most villainous language. They brought him extreme unction. Nothing further was said about Communion; no priest remained with him: he thus finished his life in the greatest despair and rage at having to quit it. So it was that fortune mocked him. She made him buy his prosperity dearly by all kinds of troubles, cares, projects, intrigues, disquietness, and torment of spirit, and at length poured in upon him a torrent of greatness, power, and immeasurable wealth, which he only enjoyed for four years.”

[7] I have seen the desolate and gloomy piles of building, now of course desecrated, to which the Bishop of Senez was thus consigned, standing on the high backbone of a mountain which almost bisects the department of La Haute Loire. It is bitterly cold, even in the height of summer; and to the aged prelate, accustomed to sunny Provence, must have been as great a physical trial as the laxity of its inmates and the non-residence of its abbat — a fine gentleman in Paris — were, no doubt, to one whose great effort during his whole life had been the restoration of discipline. I have seen also, in the public library at Clermont Ferrand, several letters of his, written with the trembling hand of a very aged man from the place of his imprisonment, and, without exception, signed Jean, Evêque de Senez, Prisonnier de Jésus-Christ.

[8] It is thus that S. Simon sums up his wealth, prefacing the detail by the text, “I myself have seen the ungodly in great power, and flourishing like a green bay-tree. I went by, and lo, he was gone; I sought him, but his place could no more be found.” The figures represent francs: — Post of prime minister, 150,000; direction of the Post, 100,000; pension from England, 960,000; archbishopric of Cambray, 120,000; pension, as Cardinal, from the French clergy, 20,000; abbey of Nogent, 10,000; abbey of S. Just, 10,000; abbey of Arivaux, 12,000; abbey of Bourgueil, 12,000; abbey of Berg S. Vinox, 60,000; abbey of S. Bertin, 80,000; abbey of Cercamp, 20,000. Total, 1,554,000.


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