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THE

TWO MAIN QUESTIONS

IN CONTROVERSY BETWEEN THE

CHURCHES OF ENGLAND AND ROME,

STATED, &c.

Introductory remarks on Dr. Doyle's project for re-uniting the Churches of England and Rome. Main points in controversy stated; viz. 1st. the Rule of Faith; and 2ndly. the Nature and Authority of the Church of Christ.

THE

following observations are addressed equally to Protestants and to Romanists. Both parties, it is trusted, will find in them a candid exposition of the main principles which separate the Churches of England and Rome. Both parties will be thence the better enabled to judge of the importance of their differences, and of the practicability of re-uniting the members of the two communions.

Such a statement of the principal matters in controversy seems to be the more called for, as it has been broadly and confidently asserted by an

B

active champion and Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, that the union which is so much to be desired, is not difficult to be effected. In what consistency with the avowed principles of this prelate the assertion has been made, and what reasonable hopes of ultimate agreement can be formed on that basis of discussion, on which alone he subsequently professes himself willing to treat, I proceed in these introductory remarks to consider.

"The union on which so much depends," says Dr. Doyle (the prelate alluded to) in a letter to Mr. Robertson, which, however, breathes a spirit very different from that of conciliation, "is not, as you have justly observed, so difficult as appears to many. . . . It is not difficult; for in the discussions which were held, and the correspondence which occurred on this subject early in the last century; as well that in which Archbishop Tillotson was engaged, as the others which were carried on between Bossuet and Leibnitz; it appeared, that the points of agreement between the Churches were numerous, those on which the parties hesitated, few, and apparently not the most important." Again, in another part of the same letter, this prelate goes on to say:-"It may not become so humble an individual as I am, to hint even at a plan for effecting so great a purpose, as the union of Roman Catholics and Protestants, in one great family of christians; but as the difficulty does not appear to me to be at all proportioned to the magnitude of the object to be

attained, I would presume to state, that if Protestant and Catholic Divines of learning and a conciliatory character, were summoned by the crown to ascertain the points of agreement and difference between the churches, and that the result of their conferences were made the basis of a project to be treated on between the heads of the Churches of Rome and of England; the result might be more favourable, than at present would be anticipated. The chief points to be discussed are, the Canon of the sacred Scriptures, Faith, Justification, the Mass, the Sacraments, the Authority of Tradition, of Councils, of the Pope, the Celibacy of the Clergy, the Language of the Liturgy, Invocation of Saints, Respect for Images, Prayers On most of these, On most of these, it appears to me, that there is no essential difference between the catholics and protestants; the existing diversity of opinion arises, in most cases, from certain forms of words which admit of satisfactory explanation, or from the ignorance or misconceptions which ancient prejudice and illwill produce and strengthen, but which could be removed :—they are pride and points of honour which keep us divided on many subjects, not a love of christian humility, charity, and truth." Ibid.

for the Dead.

The concession is important, whatever may be thought of the project of union, or of the temper and moderation of the proposer of it, as evinced in this very letter to Mr. Robertson, and in his other writings. The plain inference

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