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Life, as to give his Son to them alone, and by an irresistible force to produce within them faith on him,'" &c.
Though this was no more than what had been frequently said by others who maintained General Redemption, yet no one can imagine the uproar and confusion that the repetition of it excited amongst the querulous race of high Predestinarians in Holland and in the different states and kingdoms in which Calvinism flourished, as soon as it was delivered by an eminent man of their own profession. The calmness and moderation of Arminius communicated an importance to all the arguments which he produced; and the fine character of him which Bishop Womack has drawn in a succeeding page (91), will be acknowledged by all competent judges to be exceedingly appropriate. When the more prudent and judicious in the enemy's camp saw their idol, Unconditional Predestination, fall down before the ark of God's truth, 'they severally gathered a few of the scattered fragments together, and with them each attempted to form another less objectionable image according to his own fancy. Before that event the Calvinists were divided only into two great parties, SUPRA and SUB-LAPSARIANS, who were very loving and agreeable towards each other. But as soon as their favourite system was overturned, scarcely one Predestinarian divine of eminence could be found throughout Europe who adhered strictly to the old doctrines; each of them attempted to amend that which he deemed the most reprehensible, and to communicate, to its " more uncomely parts," a plausible if not a consistent appearance. Thus, among these great enemies to the diffusive Benevolence of Heaven, a discord arose, which has not subsided to this day, and which has been the means of bringing many of them within the hallowing precincts of scriptural Arminianism, before they were aware of being near its abhorred approaches.
Those who are acquainted with the secret history of the Synod of Dort, know, that palpable and obvious as were the political designs of the Princes and Potentates who appeared by their proxies on that occasion, there were certain purposes which had long been in the contemplation of the chief divines of Calvin's party, and which they hoped to effect in that convention. While many of the hot and short-sighted members of the Assembly indulged in the charming idea, that the condemnation and banishment of the Arminians would be the best method of restoring peace to the great body of Calvinists, the aim of their chiefs, whose views, if not more liberal, were undoubtedly more extensive, was, the devising of a grand formulary of Calvinism, so comprehensive in its nature as to compose within itself their various differences. But in the latter intention they completely 'failed. Certain Canons or Articles were indeed signed by all the members of the Synod; but their signatures to that document could be obtained, only on the condition, that to those Canons
should be appended the large exposition of the sense in which they se verally subscribed those Formularies of Calvinistic concord. Thus "the Acts of the Synod" contain the widely different meanings given to those Articles by the foreign Divines of Great Britain, the Palatinate, Hesse, Switzerland, Wedderau, Geneva, Bremen, and Embden,*—and by the Dutch Divines from the Provinces and
From this exact enumeration of the several petty principalities and small towns, that deputed Calvinistic representatives to the Dutch Synod, the reader will perceive the narrow constitution of that notorious Assembly. The only Protestant kingdom in Europe that sent deputies to it, was Great Britain: The rest of the members of the Synod, with the exception of the Dutch Divines and those from Geneva and Switzerland, were the delegates of a few inconsiderable States in Germany; in which extensive empire, the Lutherans constituted above threefourths of the Protestant population, but deputed no Divines to Dort. It was therefore a good specimen of the bold and towering spirit of Calvinistic self-election, when this small number of Divines issued their Canons, which they hoped to employ as fetters for binding the opinions of all the Reformed in Europe, and which some of their admirers tell us, have never been equalled since the days of the Apostles," except," say the English Calvinists," by the decisions of the Westminster Assembly of Divines!"
The same vain-glorious practices, which are, indeed, natural results of those Predestinarian principles that foster human pride, were displayed in England at the commencement of our Civil Wars, in 1640, when the Solemn League and Covenant" was invented, by which all men were required to swear that they would "endeavour a reformation of religion, in the kingdoms of England and Ireland, according to the word of God, and the examples of the best Reformed Churches." Dr. Hooper has given us a just description of what the Calvinists meant by this phrase:
"Good men, who know the grounds and reasons of our reformation, were at a loss, what the late design might mean of bringing our Church nearer to the PROTESTANTS ABROAD, to those of our brethren of Calvin's way, we suppose, they intended. We hope the intention was not to insinuate an unjust reproach, as if we had not the amity or affection for them which we ought, did not rejoice in their edification, or compassionate their affliction; but only this, to alter our constitution into a nearer resemblance with theirs. But if any of ours desired this for amendment, as a farther reformation and greater perfection, it was because they were not pleased to consider their own frame well: Nor could any honest man of our Church, and who understood her right, have ever con sented. And if the design was only political, (though the policy appears not,) yet why might it not be as fit for those Protestants to come nearer to us? But, not to stand on such terms, how could we have gone nigher to the Calvinists, without departing from the Lutheran? Our Church is already in the middle, and reaching out her hands on either side; settled there long ago, by weighty reason, and upon mature deliberation: For, although the word PROTESTANT has been here at home appropriated to a party, and the REFORMED CHURCH abroad has been still understood only for those of one way [the Calvinists]; yet every one knows, that the Lutheran is the first Reformed, and that the term PROTESTANT is only proper to them, and particularly to those only of the German nation. This then is the first fallacy endeavoured to be put upon the people,
that those to whom some of our Dissenters pretend a nearer approach, are the only Reformed and Protestants in the world:' As if the Lutheran were not to be understood by his own name. The other is this, that the Calvinist is so great, that the other deserves not to be mentioned:' Whereas the other [the Lutherans] have still been the far greater number, and the much more considerable. Our trade, indeed, makes us look into Holland, (where, though, the
Dependencies of Guelderland and Zutphen, South Holland, North Holland, Zeland, Utrecht, Friezland, Overyssel, Groningen, the Ommelands, and Drent, and by the Walloon Churches. The expla natory and often opposite significations, given by each of these parties, occupy a far larger space in the Acts than the Canons themselves, and contain curious apologies for every contradictory grade of Calvinism.* The failure of their grand scheme of Pre
true Calvinist makes not above a third of the people !,) and our fashions, into France, (and would to God, their numbers increased there !,) we speak much of Switzerland and the Lower Palatinate: But we forget to take notice of the large countries that are entirely of the other profession; as Denmark, Sweden, the dominions of the Elector of Saxony and Brandenburgh, of the great House of Lunenburg, and the many Imperial Cities. So, that the design, mentioned before, of coming nearer to the Reformation abroad,' was nothing else but this;-to persuade us to go farther from the universal church primitive, from the major part of the moderns Reformed, from our innocent agreement with general Christianity, and from those of ourselves who are much edified by our present constitution; to come nearer to those abroad, who, to speak in the fairest language, are not better constituted than ourselves; and to comply with those at home who are, certainly, neither the greater nor the best part of us; to give way to the falsest and most destructive prejudice, opposite to all catholic agreement; and to countenance and encourage a most causeless and seditious separation."
* I have briefly described "the discord which arose among these great enemies to the diffusive benevolence of Heaven;" and the following quotation, from the able reply which Grotius made to RIVET's Apology, will further illustrate this Calvinistic disagreement, and the spirit which animated the Dutch members of the Synod of Dort and their immediate successors. At the commencement he alludes to the collection of blasphemous and indiscreet expressions which the Remonstrants produced from the writings of some of the most eminent Calvinists, both Dutchmen and foreigners.
"Those noxious dogmas," says Grotius," which the Romonstrants objected against the men who called themselves THE REFORMED, these nominal Reformed have not yet been able to remove from themselves, and never will be able. For they were not mere inferences, but the very expressions, not only of one or two individuals, but of many persons of great eminence,-who pointed out to the [members of the] Synod of Dort the way into which they entered,—who constituted no inconsiderable portion of that Synod,-and who gave such interpretations of [the decisions of] that Synod as accorded exactly with the meaning of Bogerman's spirit. I will not use the authority of the men [the Remonstrants] who made those collections [of injudicious expressions]: For they are poor, destitute, and were, not long ago, driven into banishment by these very Synodists. Let the passages which they quoted be inspected, and it will appear that they are exact nothing is added, nothing subtracted. But Richelicu has adduced a smaller number of passages [from the writings of the Calvinists] of the same import: When he first wrote them, he was only a Bishop; when he caused them to be republished, he had been invested with a Cardinal's purple, and was at the helm of the government. The well-known prudence of the Cardinal does not allow us to suppose, that he would utter any thing without consideration; and the great benefits, which he has bestowed on the pastors of Charenton and their associates, will not permit us to view him as under the influence of hatred.
"But these are not the only persons who urge such objections against Rivet and his colleagues: The same objections are made by the greater portion of the Roman Catholics, the Greek Church, and of the Protestants,-not only by those of the latter denomination who adhere to the Augsburgh Confession in Sweden, Denmark, and the largest regions of Germany, but by those likewise who occupy
destinarian concord was rendered still more apparent, after the termination of the Synod, when hot disputes arose among the Calvinists in several countries about the kind of Predestination sanctioned by the Synod,-some of them asserting it to have been SUPRA and others SUB-LAPSARIANISM.
By the perusal of the following extract, relative only to a single subject of their disagreement, the reader will form some tolerable judgment concerning the dreadful schism which Arminius made in the Calvinistic phalanx:
"That the decrees of Election and Reprobation levied by our brethren, are shadows of mountains not men, human and not divine conceptions, those endless digladiations and irreconcilable divisions amongst themselves, about assigning or stating the object of these decrees, are an abundant confirmation unto us. Some of them hold, that men, simply and indefinitely considered, are the ' object of these decrees.'-Others contend, that men, considered as yet to be created or made, are this object.'-A third sort the chief stations in the Church of England, or who, I ought rather to say, have occupied those stations. But the men, who, by such a general concurrence of Christians, are accused of these great evils, act a most iniquitous part: For they neither condemn those sentiments which are produced from the writings of the chief men of their party, through a fear of deserting their leaders; nor do they venture to defend those sentiments, lest their ulcers should become apparent to all persons. They wish to have no perception of their diseases, and yet they do not try to lay aside the use of those soothing medicines which physicians call
"Docs any one wish to know, to which of the parties in this controversy the charge of NOVELTY attaches? Let him set aside St. Augustine, and the few writers who imitate his sayings; let him separate them on this account-because their words admit of an ambiguous interpretation. Let him consult Augustine's Christian predecessors in Asia, Africa, Greece, and throughout the whole of Western Christendom,-writers, who have been most conspicuous for exemplary living and sound judgment, who have perused and examined the Holy Scriptures with diligence, have expressed the doctrines in their manners, and some of whom have sealed their testimony with their blood. What peril is there in [the Arminians] following such numerous and great guides as these? It is the belief of those who co-incide in opinion with Rivet, and this belief they constantly inculcate, that every believer ought to be assured of his final salvation or of his present predestination. This doctrine is their principal consolation, both in life and in death; it is likewise the foundation of the whole of their instruction. These are not crude declarations of ours, but they are crude articles of their belief. 'Predestination,' in the sense in which St. Augustine understood it, remains a 'secret in the bosom of the Almighty: There are no certain marks of it in this world, unless God be pleased to reveal it to some person,-which He is not accustomed to do.' Those indications of it which have been fabricated, are the dreams of those who wish to have it so. The Spirit of adoption is a seal only to present experience, and not necessarily [as the Calvinists maintain,] of that which is future: For it is possible to quench the Spirit. But,' says Rivet, we do * not assert that sins are forgiven before they are committed.' What then does be assert? Does he not say, that the pardon of sins was absolutely and from all 'eternity decreed by God?' And what real difference is there between these two assertions, especially when it is the wish of the Calvinists to inculcate, on all those who have believed in Christ, the necessity of being personally assured of this decree!" Then follows the paragraph about Moses Amyraut, which I have quoted in a subsequent page, 750.
stands up against both the former with this notion, that men, considered as already created and made, are this object.'-A fourth disparageth the conjectures of the three former, with this conceit, that men, considered as fallen, are the said object.'Another findeth a defect in the singleness or simplicity of all the former opinions, and compoundeth this in opposition to them, 'that men, considered both as to be created and as being created,
and as fallen, together, are the proper object of those trouble'some decrees.'-A sixth sort formeth us yet another object, and this is, men considered as salvable, or capable of being saved.'A seventh, not liking the faint complexions of all the former opinions, delivereth us this, as strong and healthful; viz, that men, 'considered as damnable or capable of damnation, are this object.' -Others yet again, super-fancying all the former, conceit men, considered as creable, or possible to be created, to be the object so highly contested about.'-A ninth party gives the pre-eminence to their sense, who disciple the world with this doctrine, 'that men considered as labiles, or capable of falling, are the ob'ject of those men-confounding and God-abasing decrees.'-A tenth squadron, coming up in the rear of all the former, supposeth that they all left the Truth behind them, and that themselves have gathered it up, in this notion, viz. that men, considered as repairable or capable of restauration, are the object of that Pre'destination which men have laboured to build up, and yet could 'never agree about the materials.'-And whether all the scattered and conflicting opinions about the object of our Brethren's decrees of Election and Reprobation, be bound up in this bundle, or no, we cannot say; we are rather negatively inclined. However, by those uncouth distractions and interferings in opinion amongst them, where, or how, to bottom their said pretended decrees, we are jealous with a very great jealousy, that neither they, nor any others, are able to find so much as an inch of firm ground whereon to build them."-GOODWIN'S Agreement and Distance of Brethren.
Such were the manifold disputes among the Calvinists, concerning one of the most simple matters in their heterogeneous scheme, and one about which they ought to have been at agreement before they attempted to raise upon it their fatal superstruc ture. The contrast, in this respect, between them and the Arminians, is very remarkable: For, how much soever the latter differ among themselves in the more or less gracious quality of the materials of which their SUPERSTRUCTURE is formed, (and the difference is to this day great both among the Dutch and English Arminians,) all of them agree in laying the FOUNDATION of the Divine Decrees, concerning man's salvation, in FAITH AND PER-SEVERANCE FORESEEN. In reference to this topic, the celebrated Limborch observes, in his Historical Relation of the Origin and Progress of the Controversies about Predestination in the United Provinces: "But, that the Calvinists [after the Synod], might be