« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
signed the hammering of such a reformation both in doctrine and discipline, as might unite them in a perpetual bond and confederation with their Scottish brethren. And that they
Appeudix to the Second Volume of Gataker's Critical Works. (P.79-160.)For; in that production, Ward coutends for this efficacy, while Gataker in some measure defends the contrary opinion, which I have stated to be the that of the Dutch Divines. From Gaiaker's Preface to that Disputation it is evident that Davenant and Ward agreed in sentiment.
“ Such being the conflicting opinions of the two parties, the reason must be apparent to every man, why Hales blames with such severity the decree of the Synod on this subject, and why the British divines thought baptism ought by all means to be conferred on those infauts. Because it baptism be an instrument of regeneration and renovation, it ought to be denied to none except to those whom it is manifest God is unwilling to receive into his covenant. But this unwillingness cannot be ascertained by us concerning any individual, because God makes an offer of his grace to all men. Neither is it necessary that he who wishes to be made a partaker of baptism should previously be in the covenant, because accordiug to this opinion (of the Church of England] baptism itself concludes for us a covenant with God, and constitutes us partakers of its benefits. It would not be difficult to prove, from the writings of Louis Crocius and of others of the members, that the divines of Bremen, and others who were at that time in the Dutch Synod, propounded the same doctrine as the British: But the proof of this assertion would require too much space.
"I will therefore only add this single consideration-that I do not comprehend how the Euglish, the Bremen, and the rest of the patrons of this opinion, should notwithstanding have declared, that some distinction ought to be observed with regard to infants; and why they denied the administration of the rite of baptism to those infants that had been obtained in an uulawful
For God has never said, that he has confined his grace and its salutary effects within any such conditions, laws or restrictions. If my suspicions be correct, beneath this very sentiment lurked some mystery which had its origin in the opinion of those who were desirous of holding baptism merely as a seal of the covenant.”—This conjecture on the part of Mosheim is very plausible ; for the British deputies at ihat Synod, being of a mild and conciliating disposition, would seize upon any slight distinction, such as that of heathen children that had been kidnapped, 'in order to bring their decisions as nearly as possible within the doctrinal boundaries of their Calvinistic compeers. Of this their love of concord, many instances will occur to the recollection of those who are acquainted with the anomalous proceedings of the Dutch Synud.
XI. The Eleventh Motion contains the chief grievances in the whole catalogue: Let the modern Calvinists disguise the representation of these matters as they choose, their ancestors employed all nieaus, lawfuland unlawful, to have" Arminian books called in question,” and to compel the Church of England “ to be bound by the decisions made at the Synod of Dort,” after a new Calvinistic “ Confession of faith had been framed” for her, according to the tenour of the Fourth Motion. The artful and obnoxious mention of Popery, in connection with Arminianism, has beeu a subject of animadversion in another portion of this volunie.
The manner in which the elder Du Moulin procured the adoption of the Dort decrees in the French Churches, is detailed in page 290 ; no surprize therefore can exist at this attempt, on his part and that of his son, to impose the Canons of Dort on the Church of England. In the Works of Arminius, (vol. i, pp. 417, 486,). I have exposed some of the designs of King James in that Quixotic enterprize, and have corrected the mis-representations which have been generally circulated respecting the British divines sitting in that Calvinistic Synod as the accredited representatives of the Church of England. To prove“ King James of blessed memory” to have had no intention * that the Church of England afterwards should be bound by the decisions made at the Synod of Dort,"which is Du Moulin's erroneous assertion,it is only veressary to quote the following passage from Balcanqual's Latin Journal of the
might be furnished with such men, the Knights of every Shire must make choice of two to serve as members for that County ; Acts of the Synod, which he regularly transmitted to the King's Ambassador at the Hague. In the discussions which arose in the 133d Session, on the 22d April, 1619, it is stated : “ To save time, therefore, and to preserve peace, the British signified their acquiesceuce [in the unreasonable prejudices of the Dutch divives, who would not allow to be added to their list of REJECTIONS this heretical dogma,-a man can do no more good than that which he actually does ; ]-at the same time they reminded the Synod, that this clause,
the doctrine contained in these Canons is to be considered as that of the Reformed Churches,'-must be entirely altered : For they declared, that they, being deputed by his Most Serene Majesty, and NOT BY THEIR CHURCHES, had no authority committed to them by which they were empowered to explain the Confessions of their Churches; that they had delivered only their owii private judgments, which they thought to be true; and that in the Canons they had concluded many things as true, concerning which not a single expression occurs in the Confessions of their churches, &c.; but that they know nothing is contained in those Canons which is contrary to their Confessions,” &c.Here then is put in a regular public disclaimer on the part of the British divines themselves, before the whole Synod, that they were not the representatives either of the Church of England or of Scotland; that they delivered only their own private sentiments; and that not a single expression occurs, in the Confessions of their churches, concerning several of those matters which are decided in the Canons of the Synod of Dort. What can be more explicit than this disavowal of their implied consent as the deputies of the National Church?. Yet, though published in the year 1659, in Hales's Golden Remains, this express description of the uuofficial character which they bore has beeu studiously concealed or suppressed by alınost every Calvini tic writer, who, from the days of Du Moulin and Owen down to those of Augustus Toplady and Thomas Scott, have pretended to favour the world with correct and authentic information respecting that venerable Synod, and the obligations which it imposed on the Church of England in regard to doctrinal matters. The British Deputies received directions through Sir Dudley Carlton to make this solemn declaration, as soou as the main purposes were fulfilled for which they had been sent to Dort; and King James afterwards plumed himself vo the grand “ piece of king-craft” which he had been enabled to exbibit on that extensive theological arena, but which the brief limits of this note will not allow me to particularize.
XII & XIII. The order in which this pamphlet details the work of reformation, is exactly that which was subsequently pursued by the levellers in Church and State, who were thus goaded on to deeds of cruelty and oppression by one of the most violent Calvinists of that age. This very man and his family felt no scruple whatever about receiviug liberal support from the Church of England; though, like other vile ingrates, as soon as he bad an opportunity, he raised his envenomed weapon and plunged it into the vitals of bis benefactress. (See page 282.) Arminianism was the first object on which his vengeance and that of his 'Calvinistic associates wished to wreak itself; and they finally sated their fury on Episcopacy and Monarchy. All these things were accomplished, and in the very order which is here prescribed, even down to the expression in the Thirteenth Motion, that a certain number of deputies from the National Synod (theWestminsterAssembly of Divines] be assisting both in the higher and lower House, for delivering their advices upon any clauses of Acts that may intrench upon the Church's privileges, or are contrary to doctrine or good manners.”—Those who are acquainted with the private history of Hugh Peters, Stephen Marshall, John Owen, and other republican divines remarkable chiefly for the warmth of their expressions, the violence of their gesticulations, or the strength of their lungs, will recollect low frequently they performed the office suggested in this quotation from the prophecies of Du Moulin, and tendered their sage counsel to the legislature at particular junctures, either from the pulpit or in the solemn acts of social prayer.
I know of no part of the advice of the Du Moulins, which in the subsequent acts of desolation was neglected by the Calvinists,-except it be the part
most of them Presbyterians, some few Royalists,* four of the Independent faction, and two or three to represent the Kirk of Scotland: Which ploughing with an ox and an ass, (as it was no other,) was anciently prohibited by the law of Moses. And yet these men, associated with some members of either House, as
which attempted to elevate the ecclesiastical power exercised "by the novel preshyters, to a higher pitch than that to which it had ever attained under ihe King, as Head of the Established Church. The civil rulers, vile as they generally were in many respects, prevented this extraordiuary assumption of church-power; and kept the triumphant predestinarian ecclesiastics, as far as practicable, within regular Presbyterian limits.
* " About this time he became a membur of the convocation called with the short parliament in 1640; as after this he was named w be of the Assembly of divines; his invincible loyalty to his prince and obedience to his mother the church vot being so valid arguments against his nomination, as the repute of his learning and virtue were on the other part to have some title to him." Fell's Life of Dr. Hammond.
to " What Bear-garden Synods must we expect, if God permits our enemies to triumph in the silence of our Convocation, and in the ruin of our churchdiscipline ?-What a botch-potch of heresy and ignorance conspired in the composition of an Assembly of Divines, in the late times of usurpation ?Their character take in the words of the noble Lord Clarendon : So that of about one hundred and twenty of which that Assembly was to consist,
they were not above twenty who were not declared and avowed enemies to the doctrine or discipline of the Church of England; some of them infamous in their lives and conversations, and most of them of very mean parts in Jearning; if pot of scandalous ignorance, and of no other reputation than
that of malice to the Church of England.' (Volume First, page 415.) And much the same character is likewise given of them by the incomparable Archbishop Laud, whose first martyrdom was his living to see this Assembly convened. • A great part,' saith he, if not the greater part of them, were
Brownists or Independents, or New England ministers, if not worse; or at • best refractory persons to the doctrine, or discipline, or both, of the Church 6 of England established by law, and now brought together to reform it: An
excellent conclave! This, without God's infinite mercy, will bring forth a • schism, fierce enough to rend and tear religion out of this kingdom.'(Comp. Hist. vol. jii. p. 135.)
“ Such was the English Assembly of learned and godly divines, the like to which certainly had never met in the christian world before ! especially if it be considered, that the Assembly began with a manifest invasion of the rights of the Clergy, as well known as any other laws of the kingdom : was subslituted in the room of a regular and legal Synod, at that time in being, to which they were, on all accounts of life and learning, utterly inferior: That they submitted (contrary to their own private opinions of that matter) to be called together in such a manner, and on such ignominious conditions, as destroyed the very essentials of a Synod, and were at last their own destruction, and, in effect, that of Christianity itself, as making religion a pure matter of state, and all this to complete the ruin of that very order of bishops which had always composed the first and greatest councils of the Christian Church,and presided in all the other Synods of it for fifteen centuries of years together ; that they were interspersed with Browuists, Independents and others of such strange opinions and principles, as I believe were never before brought into a Synod of the Christian Church. Add to this, that the greater part of them had not only been refractory and disobedient to all the orders of their spiritual governors, but had also their hands stained with the blood of a most wicked and execrable rebellion, and some of them afterwards in that of their price also; that they were not countenanced with the authority or presence of one single Bishop, (without which the christian world never saw à Synod for fifteen hundred years,) who sat among them in any other capacity than that of a private divine. That they were never permitted to do the very thing for which, it was pretended, they were summoned, but despised,
before is said, no ways empowered or authorised by the rest of the Clergy, must take upon them all the powers and privileges of a convocation ; to which they were invited by an ordinance of the Lords and Commons, bearing date June the 12th. His Majesty makes a start at this encroachment on his royal prerogative, and countermands the same by his proclamation of the 22d. In which he takes notice, amongst other things, that the far greatest part of those who had been nominated to the present service, were men of neither learning nor reputation, eminently disaffected to the government of the Church of England, *
controlled, and kept uniler by their lay-assessors and masters, and made use of as mere tools by the most wicked combination of men that ever met in any nation, to serve the vilest purposes ; such as promoting an oath and confederacy of the blackest nature, countenancing the other proceedings of a most horrible rebellion, and working the ruin of that very church to which they were engaged by so many oaths and subscriptions, and which, it was pretended, they were only to reform. In a word, a Synod, (if it be not an abuse of that name,) which never seemed to have any sense of what usually was the business of other christian councils, or to have any regard to the orders and decrees of the councils of the first Christian ages! A Synod of godly men, which was more divided than those scandalous persons whom they supplanted, who, instead of advancing the purity of the gospel, did the greatest disservice to the christian name; having in plain terms promoted atheism in the nation, and who at last suok away, the contempt and derision of their own makers, the scandal of that and the abhorrence of all future ages!"-English Presbyterian Eloquence.
The character at:ributed in the text to the majority of that Assembly, is certainly a very just one: For, with the exception of Twisse, Gataker, Selden, and Lightfoot, the rest,—when compared with the immense body of the learned, pious aud loyal Bishops and clergy,-appeared as pigmies in learning and reputation. That they were likewise eminently disaffected to the government of the Church of Evgland,” will be very apparent to any one who peruses the productions of four of their most learned members, whom I have now excepted. To every man conversant with the more minute events of that era, the names of several others will be familiar, ouly as public agitators and “ preachers of rebellion.”
Baxter tells us : “ They were men of eminent learning, and godliness, ministerial abilities and fidelity : And the christian world, since the days of the apostles, has never had a synod of more excellent divines, than this synod and that of Dort.” This good man, we all know, was not qualified to form a correct estimate concerning. " the eminent learuing” possessed by, those whom he thus highly extols. With regard to their godliness and ministerial abilities," they were pre eminent in Baxter's estimation; whose praise and censure, it will be found, were generally regulated by the degree of approximation which the tenets of the individuals made towards Calvinism. But the best criterion by which to form an estimate of the value of Baxter's eulogy, is, to compare the qualities which he ascribes to particular members of the Assembly, with the violent and unchristian courses which they pursued.-It will be afterwards shewn how appropriately this Assembly of Divines and the Synod of Dort have been associated together.
Scarcely on any subject have the Calvinists displayed a greater degree of sensitiveness, than on the exalted character which they have fruitlessly
endeavoured to obtain, from an unbiassed posterity, in behalf of those reforming representatives of their august body. Memoirs of their Lives and Writings were published a few years ago, in two volumes, octavo : The author was the Rev. James Reid, a Scotch Calvinist, who, in the genuine spirit of his venerable predecessors, utters the following doleful lament at the close of his feeble production : “ After the British Revolution in 1688, the Westminster Confession of Faith was established as the standard of orthodoxy, and the Presbyterian form of church-government was also established in all its extent in Scotland. But, alas,! the CovenaNTS were overlooked or forgotten.
and such as had openly preached rebellion, by their exciting of the people to take arms against him; and therefore were not like to be proper instruments of peace and happiness, either unto the Church or State : For maintenance whereof, and for the preservation of his own authority, he inhibits them from meeting at the time appointed, declares their acts to be illegal,* and threatens them with the punishments which they had incurred by the laws of the land.
“But they go forwards howsoever, hold their first meeting on the first of July, and elect Dr. Twisse of Newbury, (a rigid Sabbatarian, but a professed Calvinian in all other points,) for their prolocutor. Called to this journey-work by the Houses, they were dispensed with for non-residence upon their livings, against the laws, preferred to the best benefices of the sequestered Clergy, (some of them three or four together,) and had withal four shillings a man for their daily wages, besides the It was one design of this publication, to keep these solemn deeds in remembrance, and excite mankind to turn their attention to the covenanted work of reformation. But, alas !, that glorious work seems at this time to occupy very little of our attention. The time, however, of favouring Zion will come; even the time which Jehovah himself has unalterably fixed.”- Every one whó understands the meaning of this prophecy, as dictated by the enthusiastic Scotchman, will pray, that it may not receive such an accomplishment as that which he thus fervently desires.
Reid's futile attempt to ennoble the Calvinistic champions of the Assembly cannot be compared to any similar enterprize more appropriately, than to that of his countryman Mr. Orme, who, in his Life of Dr. John Owen, to demonstrate the astonishing benefits of his hero's scholastic rule in Oxford, gravely informs his readers, “ It may be doubted, whether that university ever enjoyed a greater number of persons eminent in their respective professions, or more distinguished for character, talents and learning. They afford indubitable evidence of the truth of Thurloe's account of Cromwell, - that he sought
out men for places, and not places for men;' a remark by no means generally applicable to the king's of the earth.--Nor will our opinion of the learning and celebrity of Oxford during this period be lowered, if we run over a few of the persons who then received a part or the whole of their academical education." But, on perusing both his lists, every man of learning will be amazed at the ignorance of the person that could venture to make two such unfounded assertions: For, on separating those who were members of the University and were expelled from their collegiate preferments before Owen was constituted the Republican Vice-Chancellor, and those who had been entered on the books immediately prior to Owen's disgrace, we shall have a very slender muster of “persons distinguished for character, talents and learning.” Indeed, a catalogue of AcademicalWorthies cannot be conceived more meagre, than that furnished by Orme will appear to be when it has thus been pruned and curtailed. Some of the erudite Episcopalians whom he has inserted at the close of his first list, as the co-adjutors of Walton iu his Polyglott,” are egregiously misplaced; it being a notorious fact, that they were permitted to reside there, only at the intercession and through the patronage of such men as Selden, who had a larger portion of learning and good sense than their fanatical brethren.
*“ In the year 1643, the two houses of parliament took upon them to make an ordinance, and call an Assembly of Divines, to debate and settle church controversies, (of which many that were elected were very unfit to judge :) in which Dr. Sanderson was also pamed by the parliament, but did not appear; I suppose for the same reason that many other worthy and learned men did forbear,'the summons wanting the King's authority.” 'WAL, TON's Life of Bishop Sanderson.