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Review of the Life and Times
to God, even the Father," he will no
"This we will now shew by some plain
fellowship has an union antecedent to the same Apostle, it appears, that this itself: these are his words, If that which main in you, ye also shall continue in the ye have heard from the beginning shall reSon, and in the Father.' (1 John ii. 24.) What! shall the union between Christ and his church cease at a period when he spouse sanctified to himself by his own shall place before his glorious sight his blood? Far be the idea from us! For the union, which had commenced here mated and perfected. on earth, will then at length be consum
ing the vision of Christ, let him listen to "If any one entertain doubts concernloveth me shall be loved of my Father; Christ in this declaration:-' He that and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.' (John xiv. 21.) Will he thus disclose himself in this world only? Let us again hear Christ, when he inter. cedes with the Father for the faithful:
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me that they may behold my glory, which xvii. 24.) Christ, therefore, promises to before the foundation of the world.' (John something salutary to them; and his his followers the sight of his glory, as Father is entreated to grant this favour. when he says, Then we shall see him as The same truth is confirmed by John, he is.' (1 John iii. 2.) This passage may without any impropriety be understood of Christ, and yet not to the exclusion of distinctly desire than that Christ may God the Father. But what do we more become, what it is said he will be, the city, and in whose light the nations Light' that shall enlighten the celestial shall walk?' (Rev. xxi. 23, 24.)
ciently established by the same passages "Although the fruition of Christ is suffifirmed, yet we will ratify it by two or as those by which the sight of him is conthree others. Since eternal felicity is called by the name of the supper of the Lamb,' and is emphatically described by this term the marriage of the Lamb,' I think it is taught with adequate clearness in these expressions, that happiness consists in the fruition or enjoyment of the Lamb. But the Apostle, in his Apocalypse, has ascribed both these epithets to joice, and give honour to him; for the Christ, by saying, 'Let us be glad and remarriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.' (Rev. xix. 7.) And a little afterwards he says, the marriage supper of the Lamb.' (verse 'Blessed are they which are called to 9.) It remains for us to treat on the glory of Christ, which is inculcated in these numerous passages of Scripture in Father on his throne,' and is adored and which it is stated, that he sits with the heaven." Arminius, pp. 300-303. glorified both by angels and by men in
Early in the year 1604, Arminius entered on his public lectures on the doctrine of predestination; and Gomarus his colleague opposed him. It by no means appears that his choice of this subject was voluntary; but his manner of handling it seems to have been conscientious. That he considered it as perfectly orthodox will be seen at large in the sixth document given in this volume; namely, the "declaration of the sentiments of Arminius on Predestination, Divine Providence, the Freedom of the Will, the Grace of GoD, the Divinity of the Son of GOD, and the Justification of Man before GOD, delivered before the States of Hol land, in a full assembly of their lordships, on the 30th of Oct. 1608, in their hall of session at the Hague." (Arminius, p. 516.) In this declaration Arminius opens his objections in full to the ordinarily received notions of predestination, under twenty heads of argument. And in finally subjoining his own views, which make the grant of election expressly conditional, "ex fide prævisâ," he expresses his own conscientious conviction of their agreement with the Confession and Catechism, which had only been in very general terms brought against him in argument. After appealing likewise for this protest against the ordinary state ment respecting predestination to the Harmony of Confessions, containing those of Bohemia, England, (Query, which does he so designate?) Wirtemburg, the first Helvetian, and another of Strasburg, &c. those of Basle and Saxony, and the Augustan Confession, with even the last Helvetic Confession*, he proceeds:
"The last of the Helvetian [Swiss] Confessions, to which a great portion of the Reformed churches have expressed their assent, and which they have subscribed, likewise speaks of it in such a strain as makes me very desirous to see what method can possibly be adopted to give it any accordance with that doctrine of predestination which I have just now advanced. Yet this [Swiss] Confession is that which has obtained the approbation of the churches of Geneva and Savoy." Arminius, p. 558.
"Without the least contention or cavilling, it may very properly be made a question of doubt, whether this doctrine agrees with the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism; as I shall briefly demonstrate.
Confession, these expressions occur: Man knowingly and willingly subjected himself to sin, and, consequently, to death and cursing, while he lent an ear to the deceiving words and impostures of the devil,' &c. From this sentence I conclude, that man did not sin on account of any necessity through a preceding degree of predestination: which inference is diametrically opposed to that doctrine of predestination against which I now contend. Then, in the 16th Article, which treats of the eternal election of God, these words are contained: God shewed himself merciful, by delivering from damnation, and by saving, those persons whom, in his eternal and immutable counsel and according to his gratuitous goodness, he chose in Christ Jesus our Lord, without any regard to their works; and he shewed himself just, dition into which they had precipitated in leaving others in that their fall and perthemselves.' It is not obvious to me, how these words are consistent with this doctrine of predestination.
"1. In the 14th Article of the Dutch
"2. In the 20th question of the Heidelberg Catechism, we read; Salvation through Christ is not given [restored] to all them who had perished in Adam, but to those only who are ingrafted into Christ by true faith, and who embrace his
benefits. From this sentence I infer, that God has not absolutely predestinated any men to salvation; but that he has in his decree considered [or looked upon] them as believers. This deduction is at open conflict with the first and third points of this predestination. In the 54th question of the same Catechism, it is said; I believe that, from the beginning to the end of the world, the Son of God out of the entire race of mankind doth by his word and Spirit gather or collect unto himself company chosen unto eternal life and agreeing together in the true faith.' In this sentence election to eternal life,' and
agreement in the faith,' stand in mutual juxta-position; and in such a manner, that the latter is not rendered subordinate to the former-which, according to these [Supralapsarian] sentiments on predestination ought to have been done. In that case the words should have been placed in the following order: The Son of God calls and gathers to himself, by his word and Spirit, a company chosen to eternal life, that they may believe and agree together in the true faith.'
"Since such are the statements of our Confession and Catechism, no reason whatever exists, why those who embrace and defend these [Supralapsarian] sentiments on predestination, should either violently
endeavour to obtrude them on their colleagues and on the church of Christ; or why they should take it amiss, and put the worse construction upon it, when any thing is taught in the church or university that is not exactly accordant with their doctrine, or that is opposed to it" Arminius, pp. 558, 559.
Presuming this to have been the first, as it was the ultimate, length to which Arminius proceeded in his lectures, we have no wonder at the reception heet with from the whole body of the Calvinistic clergy, and from Gomarus, it is said, amongst them; though Gomarus himself was kindly disposed towards him at heart, but was incited by the more rigid in temper, whose infection he seems at length to have fully caught. His first dispositions are somewhat shewn by the fact that in the following year, 1605, on an application to the Synods of North and South Holland from some inferior churches or classes, a document was signed by the professors Arminius and Gomerus themselves, with Trecaltius their fellow-professor, stating, in substance, "that they could have wished such classes to have acted more regularly; that they believed that among the students there were more disputes than were fit; but that they knew of no difference of opinion among the professors of Divinity, so far as related to fundamental points, &c."* At other times
"I am at peace with Gomarus," said Arminius at this time, in a private letter to Uitenbogardt, "unless he should lend an ear to him that seems to aim at nothing else than not to be found a false prophet himself. I will, on the contrary, do my best to make my moderation and equanimity appear to all men, that I may prevail both by the goodness of my cause, and the.
Gomarus betrayed a testy mood; as den exclamation, "Why, they say when he met Arminius, with a sudyou are more learned than Junius himself." We shall give, in the words of Brandt, as quoted by Mr. Nichols, the picture of one of those theological disputations which belonged to the spirit of the times. It was on the calling of men to salvation, in which Arminius had said, "That he neither could nor durst define the method which the Holy Spirit uses in the conversion and regeneration of man: the proof would rest with that individual: that, if any one else durst define the mode, that he could say how conversion was not effected, that it was not by an irresistible force; but not how it was: that this is deep things of God." Arminius, p. 300. known to Him alone who searches out the
After which a Papist, priest or Jesuit, said to have challenged Ar
sentiments on this subject. While Ar"and by many arguments attacked his minius was engaged in reply to each of them seriatim, the countenance of Gomarus changed colour, and, that he might auditor, he occasionally varied his geshave the semblance of being only an idle tures, sometimes scribbling a little, at other times whispering something into the ears of Everard Vorstius, the professor of medicine, who sat next to him,-one modience, that was very numerous, and the ment casting his eyes rapidly over the aunext moment muttering something between his teeth. He appeared desirous of the disputation; but he restrained himof contradicting what was said in the midst self, though he suffered these or similar expressions to fall from his indignant lips, What impudence is this?' At the close of passed out of the divinity hall when he the disputation, scarcely had Gomarus exclaimed, The reins have been given up to the Papists in fine style to-day!' and presently joining Arminius, he said to him Jesuit, that he had never before heard such in the presence and within hearing of the speeches and disputations, by which the door was so widely opened to the Papists. Arminius replied, that he had satisfied there was any thing in the disputation his own conscience;' but he denied that of the Papacy. Gomarus then said, that which could at all promote the interests he would publicly refute what had been thing be spoken in opposition to my conadvanced. Arminius rejoined, ‹ If any science, I promise likewise to give it a public contradiction.' Gomarus pro atly
manner of treating it." Brandt, vol. ii. p. 35.
declared, I will not be wanting to the cause.' Arminins answered, I also hope, that I shall not be wanting. But we will make an experiment at the proper time; and I am fully persuaded, that the doctrine of irresistible grace [which had formed a part of the disputation] is repugnant to the sacred Scriptures, to all the ancients,
and to our own Confession and Catechism." Arminius, pp. 301, 302.
The spirit of conference was not much superior to this-a new and doubtless inquisitorial process, by which it was attempted to get at the opinions of teachers, with a view to ascertain, prejudge, and, if necessary, cite and accuse opponents, rather than meet them on equal terms at a General Synod, was the very expedient adopted at the Synod of Dort. And it was by this species of conference in the first instance; by appeals to the Provincial Synod in the second; and at last, by the distant view in a cycle of years of a National Synod, that these Dutch Presbyterians looked for the settlement of all the differences in their inferior churches, classes, and consistories. Arminius was naturally very slow in lending himself to such expedients. He was appealed to this very year, 1605, by certain deputies of the church of Leyden, to confer on the topics in question: but he declined, without first receiving the sanction of the curators of the university. Again, the Provincial Synod of South Holland exhibited articles against the university of Leyden, of certain disputed points on which they wished to be resolved. These inquiries were also declined by the curators themselves, on the ground that a National Synod would shortly meet. A petition was at length presented to the States General of the United Provinces, for a summons of the expected National Synod. This petition again was met by a condition on the part of the States General, probably at the instance of Barnevelt, and other adherents of Arminius, that in the body of the summons should be in troduced a clause, intimating that the Confession and Catechism must undergo a similar revision as on for
mer occasions; not with an express view to alterations, but as a fit subject, being merely human, for such free observations as advancing light and reflection might throw on those yet but recently established and received formularies of the churches. It were too much to say that the whole remainder of Arminius's history is occupied in bandying about reasons, for and against, on these several points of circumstance and ceremony. Pity was it that at this early period, in 1608, difficulties prevented the calling of the National Synod then proposed. That prevention is not well accounted for, as Arminius had conceded the main point last adverted to; although very jealous of the claim of prescription set up by those formularies, which had scarcely been framed when these discussions began. But perhaps even then Arminius may probably have seen that nothing was to be obtained by such methods, and was on the whole satisfied that things should remain as they were, rather than hazard a change, considering the tone and temper of the times; and he might be disposed to rely rather on the slow but sure progress of free inquiry, which began now to rise on the world, than to crush it in the bud by hasty and ill measured appeals to human authority in divine matters. Even our venerable friend Mr. Scott, when commenting on the Historical Preface, makes the following remarkable concession,amidst pages of an opposite description :"The enlightened and decided friend to free inquiry will see, even in the causes of these complaints (the dissensions occasioned by Arminian pastors), the dawn of that more enlarged state of things in which free investigation of both received, and exploded, and novel opinions, proves ultimately and highly beneficial to the cause of truth; and he will agree that the arm of authority, secular or ecclesiastical, could not beneficially be exerted against it; except so far as to require those who voluntarily
belong to and minister in any church to conform to the rules of that church, or to recede from it without further molestation. But this does not prevent the propriety of doing justice to the character of wise and pious men, to whom no views of this kind had as yet ever been presented." Historical Preface, pp. 26, 27.
Perhaps not except by Arminius himself; of whom their severe treatment first, and then their unfair representation, form one of the most instructive though painful morals to be deduced from this whole "historical document."
It is not to be wondered at that a mind of sensibility, at once pacific, and, we cannot doubt, conscientious, like that of Arminius, should have prematurely sunk under the growing weight of irremediable perplexities. His anxieties, his sorrows, as may fairly be inferred from history and his own writings, were for the church of God. It is impossible indeed to peruse his truly "charming" oration, the fifth in this volume, delivered in 1606,
This is the very point of the whole controversy, and it ought not to have been assumed. The Arminians pleaded conformity to the rules of the church, with an appeal to a synod to alter them if necessary. How did their opponents meet them? Was it simply by requiring them to sign the Confession and Catechism? No-but by devising new tests, and tendering them for signature as the new condition of conformity. This petitio principii, the resort of all arbitrary ecclesiastical power, cost Mr. Scott only (and inadvertently we are sure) a little unsound logic; but it cost the unhappy Remonstrants their liberty, their country, and their lives! Whatever were their tenets, that does not alter the state of facts.
hind him as a testimony against those who should hereafter violate those principles; and, as if for the only practical purpose of amusing Mr. Nichols, with contrasting at the bottom of the page, and in his supplement, through one hundred and ten of the fullest and most minutely printed octavo pages we ever had the labour of surveying, the sad reality at Dort with every particular in the pleasing ideal prototype of Arminius. We could offer abundant quotations from this oration, confirmatory of its author's disposition, but we have much yet to do; and we cannot longer keep back the closing scene, at once, of our pro fessor's labours, sorrows, and life in 1609, at the early age of forty-nine years. Could any thing satisfy us more fully than before of the temper and feeling of the "Historical Preface;" it would be the cold and heartless allusion to that event which for the most part closes the mouth of all invective, and opens the heart of the most inveterate adversary. It sufficiently satisfied the prefacer's feelings to notice the disappointment of a conference, occasioned by the sinking state of Arminius's health: and his death would have passed without a comment, but that the visionary hope of ensuing tranquillity, stultified by the immediate aggravation of every evil which the' peaceableness of Arminius alone restrained, was too tempting a recollection, of a ten years' standing, not to be again brought up, and shewn to have been the single impression made on his enemies by his death.
Very different was the impression made, by his early removal from the world, upon those who knew him well enough to appreciate his chaWhilst his complication of
was growing upon him,