« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
thy crown. Rev. iii, 11.-Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought. 2 John 8.—Have ye suffered so many things in vain? Gal. iii, 4.-And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven. Matt. xvi, 19.-For it is impossible (the laws of the Church permit it not] for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,—if they shall fall away,-to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Heb. vi, 4, 5, 6; and x, 26, &c.—Wherefore giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity: for if you do these things, ye shall never fall
. For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Pet. i, 6, 8.-See the Second and Third Affirmatives, (page 140,) and the First and Third Negatives, page 147.
These five last Negatives the Remonstrants do reject with their whole heart and soul, as enemies in piety and good life.
were admonished in the last session by his reverence the President, that
we should abstain from negative propositions, and should treat on Election • rather than on the odious subject of Reprobation,'-after having more accurately examined the matter as we proinised,—we have now proposed our sentiments on the before-mentioned Articles, as much as possible in affirmative terms. Yet we have occasionally rejected the contrary opinions, where necessity seemed to require us to adopt this course. That this may not appear to have been done without weighty reasons, we will present your Reverences with some of them for your consideration, which have induced us sometimes to express our sentiments in a negative form, and not to treat on Election alone, (which is only one part of Predestination,) but also on Reprobation which is the other part."
They then adduce fifteen powerful reasons why they should be allowed to discuss both parts of Predestination, and seven why they should expose the abuses of Absolute Reprobatien. After replying to some objections, they proceed thus:
“Of one thing alone we desire to be informed by this venerable Synod, that is, whether they own for their doctrine aud that of the Churcb those assertions which are contradictory to our propositions, and particularly those which afirm,the creation of the greater portion of the human race • for destruction; the reprobation of [some) infants, even though born of believing parents; the necessity of the fall; the Divine call [given to some men is] inefficacious through the will of God; the inevitable vecessity of all sins; the secret and revealed will of God; the operations and decrees of God for the existence of sin; the impossible defection of believers from • justifying faith, even when they fall into horrid crimes ; '-with otber points, which are maintained by many Contra-Remoustrants and those who are attached to their opinions, both in these provinces and in other countries, but which are rejected and disapproved by us in the Articles just recited.
“ We acknowledge with his reverence the President, the doctrine of Election to be sweet and full of consolation, and that of REPROBATION to be disagreeable. But we consider the consolation which is elicited from an Election that is absolute and unconditional, to be full of peril, and, if judged according to its nature, to grant man an encouragement to commit sin. We also consider the opposite doctrine of Absolute Reprobation to be truly and deservedly odious," because it is pregnant with despair and contrary to Divine Justice. The sole employment of the Pastors of the Church must not be the consolation of sinners; but it ought likewise to be their care and study to warn the wicked and ungodly to flee from the wrath to come which is consequent on Reprobation. The visible Church contains the children of God; it also contains the slaves of Satan, although they by profession seem also to be the children of God. In this state of things, therefore, both doctrines are needful: To the children of God must be announced the inheritance which was fore-ordained by an eternal Election; and to the wicked must be denounced those punishments which were fore-ordained by ån eternal decree of Reprobation.
“Your reverences easily perceive, that the present questions and controversies are not concerning the parings of nails or other matters of trivial importance : But they relate to those poiuts of Practical Divivity which tend greatly to illustrate the glory of God and to promote the exercise of piety, if correct sentiments coucerning them be entertained ; or, on the coutrary, if incorrect opinions be received, they detract materially from the Divine glory and impede the progress of true piety.-It is the duty of an evangelical teacher to pursue, above all others, those objects which promote the truth which is according to godliness; and to banish out of Christian schools and churches those dogmas which are believed to be capable of furnishing excitation and nourishment to ungodliness. If your venerable Synod pass by these [erroneous) dogmas in silence, we shall conclude, and our Churches will form the same judgment, that such dogmas are approved by the tacit assent of your reverences. If they do obtain your approbation, it will then be our duty diligently to warn the flock of Jesus Christ that is committed to our trust, 'seriously to avoid and guard against dogmas of this description. But if those dogmas be condemned by the public voice of the Synod, (which we hope will be the result,) we will return thanks to God Almighty for having begun to cleanse and purify his Church from such tares and errors."
It is scarcely necessary to add, because it is geverally known, that the result did not accord with the hopes, but with the fears, which the Remonstrants expressed. In a few days afterwards, that Calvinistic Synod excluded the Remonstrants from all further communication with their choice assembly; and, instead of employing themselves in carefully refuting the Five Articles which the Remonstrants had delivered, they culled seniences and expres. sions from the insulated productions of different individuals that had previously written in defence of General Redemption, or from the stateinents which three or four of them (unauthorized by the remainder) bad agreed to make, in a particular Conference between them and as many of the ContraRemonstrants. It is amazing, that in the lucubrations of the Synod, which occupy several hundred folio pages, very slight allusion is made to these plain and scriptural Articles,-a tolerably strong proof of the distant respect which the Synodical members felt for them, and of their unwillingness to attempt a confutation. It was not therefore without reason, that Bishop Womack in the title-page of this pamphlet employed these expressions : " The Tenets “ of the Remonstrants touching those Five Articles voted, stated, and “ imposed, but not disputed, at the Synod of Dort."-In the treatise entitled, “ ARCANA DOGMATUM ANTI-REMONSTRANTIUM, or The CALVINISTS' CABINET unlocked," which is a Vindication of this “ EXAMINATION of Tilenus," our author has most ably exposed the intolerant conduct and the desecrating doctrines of the Dort Synodists.
The judicious Mosheim published a Latin Dissertation on this subject, in 1724, which he entitled, " 4. Consultation respecting the Authority of the SYNOD OF DORT,--an Assembly destructive of Scered Peace;" and which he prefixed to his Latin version of “ The Rev. John Hales's Letters and Expresses concerning the SYNOD OF Dort."-After recounting several instances of intemperance and impetuosity in the judgments of the Foreign and Provincial Members of the Synod, Mosheiın says: “But, this warmth of spirit, with which the Fathers of the Synod were inflamed against the Arminians, was so far from abating, that, on the contrary, some of them proceeded to such a length as to determine that they should be punished by the sword, with penalties aud exile. Omitting the decisions of those who gave similar directions but in a manner somewhat more obscure, I will bere quote the suffrages and judgment of the Deputies of South Holland, and those of the Guelderland Divines, from both of which this fact will be rendered very apparent. The former of them address the Representatives of the States General who were preseut at the Council, in these words: We turn * to you, illustrious delegates, and by the precious name of Jesus Christ we
beseech you strongly to insist before their High Mightinesses, who are your Lords and ours, that those persons who have thus, like unskilful husbandnien or destructive hirelings, audaciously mixed tares with the 'good seed, may be restrained by ecclesiastical censures, and may be • visited with a lighter or inore severe degree of punishment, in proportion
to the extent of each of their offences.' (Acts of the Synod, pt. îii, 330.) — Those of Guelderland in like manner suggest iuflicting on them the punishment of perpetual exile, or something still more grievous : (Ibid. 325.) “We • are fully persuaded, that, unless all and each of these Five Articles and
those who teach them be ordered into perpetual banishment from the • Dutch Churches, it will be impossible for any Christian peace to be established among us, or, if once established, to be long preserved. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. I would they were even cut off which • trouble or have hitherto troubled you ! (Gal. v, 9, 12.)-I mentioned, in a preceding passage, that only some of the Fathers of the Synod wished the
Arminians to be visited with punishment:' But the man who may attribute such a disposition to the WHOLE ASSEMBLY, will be guilty of no great error. For, omitting all mention of the actual issue of the matter, (which is a sufficient proof of the wishes in which all the members indulged,) it has been placed beyond all doubt or controversy, that John BOGERMAN who presided over that Synod, and several others who were present, entertained the same sentiments as Beza and Calvin,-that the attempts of perverse teachers must be avenged by fire and faggot. Since therefore all these individuals accounted the Arminians to be little superior to the worst of heretics, there is no reason for proposing this enquiry, Did they (the Synodists)
desire to have a capital punishment inficted on the Arminians ?! We have, besides, an eminent authority in Sir Dudley Carleton, at that period Ambasa sador from the King of Great Britain to the States General, from whom we learn, that, a long time before judgment was pronounced on the doctrines of the Arminians, the punishment of exile with some other mark of infamy, bad been determined against the principal Divines of the Arminian party."
After baving quoted the Ambassador's letter to Dr. Abbut, Archbishop of Canterbury, Þr. Mosheim thus proceeds : “ It will now be the duty of Protestants, and especially of those among the Reformed who are more celebrated than their brethren for wisdom and moderation, to form from their own feelings an estimate of ours when we read these expressions, and at the same time reflected, that the men from whom these rigid decrees proceeded were still accounted characters in no respect inferior to THE AMBASSADORS OF OUR BLESSED Saviour! These are not the sayings of private persons, but of a Council which represented the whole of their Church, and the decrees of which they considered inviolable and on no account to be contemned. We do not deny, that some persons among us (the Lutherans) have acted with greater vehemeuce and warmth than was proper, (which concession has probably been made by the iudividuals themselves, but their violent conduct will not be ascribed to the whole of our body; and I do not think, there is one even among the violent of our Divines who will conclude, that men are to be molested and tormented on account of the doctrines which they hold in common with the Calvinists. But that Assembly of the gravest and most respectable Divines, who were collected together from the whole of their Church, expelled men [from their communion] merely in consequence of those Five Points which nearly coiạcide with our
doctrine, and ciassed them not only with heretics, but with malefactors and the worst of criminals. What would the Reformed [the Calvinists] have said, if we [the Lutherans] had not only ordered off to the shades, but had also sanctioned an order for punishing, the followers of Jansenius, when they deserted the communion of the Papists and placed themselves under our protection,-although the Calvinists are aware that the dogmas of the Jansenists are not on many points much dissimilar to their own! The Calvinists have also plainly and without any ambiguity confessed, that not only the cause of the Arminians, but ours' (the Lutherans] likewise, was adjudged and condemned by the members of the Dort Synod. At the very period when that Synod was sitting, Peter du Moulin became the bearer of the conditions on which peace and harmony were to be concluded between the Calvinists and the Lutherans : But John Bogerman, the President of that Assembly, did not think it proper that even a word should be mentioned about any such concord. Of this fact John Hales is witness, who related to the Ambassador of the King of Great Britain that such was the answer which was given to him by Bogerman. It was scarcely possible, therefore, that peace could have been refused to the Arininians, if ihe Lutherans were received into covenant and sacred alliance. That President was not ignorant or unconscious of the kind of disposition which the members of the Synod felt toward us. It is certain, that it was in the power of the Dort Fathers to repel from themselves a great part of that hatred which they incurred, if, after having rejected and condemned the disciples of Arminius, they had manifested a disposition inclined to cultivate amity with our body: For the Remonstrants had always asserted, that their cause and ours were identified together. Since, therefore, those Fathers acted differently, and chose to procure for themselves a greater portion of envy, in preference to the cultivation of a friendly affection for us, there can hardly be the shadow of a doubt that the hatred which they evinced towards the Arminians belonged also to us in no inferior degree. The same fact is rendered evident from the violent molestation which the Bremen and British Divines received in the Synod from the rest of the Fathers, and especially from those of the United Provinces, who treated them with discourtesy, abuse, and contumely, because, on the doctrines of Predestination and of the Grace and Merits of Christ, they were more favourable to our sentiments than to those of Calvin.
" Although they (the Calvinists] may believe, that the difference is very litile betwixt themselves and us on those matters which contain the foundation of religion, what man will engage on their behalf, that, if at a future period they obtain the supremacy, the same punishment will not be inflicted on us as on the Arminians, for sentiments which they at present number among errors of minor importance? The fate of the Arminians will be understood from the following paragraph, which is inserted in the Preface to their own Synodical Acts : Those of the Remonstrants who were cited
hefore the Synod are commanded either to be silent like dumb dogs, or to 'be banished with their wives and children out of their native country. On 'the rest of their pastors, nearly to the amount of two hundred, perpetual exile is imposed, or they are reduced to a monstrous silence in a free country. That nothing may be wanting to gratify the hatred of their adversaries, public edicts are issued, which forbid any man froin supplying these exiled and silenced ministers even with a farthing, with which they 'may prolong a miserable existence in banishment, may satisfy the craving's
of hunger or avoid the disgrace of beggary. A reward of Five Hundred 'Guilders is placed on the head of each of the Remonstrant Ministers, and they are prohibited from returning to the land of their birth under the penalty of perpetual imprisonment. --beside other culpable instances of • Albanian cruelty which are at this juncture brought into exercise!'-If the Calvinists consider it right thus to wreak their vengeance on those who are separated from them by a few errors of trifling importance, we, wbom they consider as involved in error, should deservedly appear foolish and entirely devoid of reason, by displaying any degree of solicitude to embrace that fellowship which they offer. And we must be permitted to imagine, that they consider their persecuting conduct extremely proper, as long as they persist to call the Synod of Dort A MOST HOLY ASSEMBLY!"
In a preceding paragraph, Dr. Mosheim had said: “ The sentiments which the Arminians defended, at the commencement of these controversies, were,
Election proceeding from faith which was foreseen by God, the GOOD-WILL and Love of God towards" ALL MEN whatever, the Death of Christ which possesses SAVING EFFICACY for ALL MEN unless they resist it, the GRACE which changes and converts no man except him whose will it is to be so converted, and the Loss of Faith AND GRACE.. If these opinions, and others which are contained in their well known Five Points, be simply regarded by themselves, no man can deny the fact that they are the same as those which we (the Lutherans) embrace for DIVINE VERITIES THAT ARE CLEARLY REVEALED. Since, therefore, it is certain, that the Synod of Dort not only rejected and trampled upon these doctrines, but reckoned them in the number of impious dog mas that are prejudicial to salvation and of a most dangerous description, where can the man be found who will pot confess, that we
(the Lutheraps] were wounded, condemned, and excluded from salvation,
through the sides of the Arminians? But that this was really the case, is a fact placed beyond all controversy."— For this assertion the learned Mosheim quotes authorities from the judgments of the Synodical Divines, both foreign and provincial.
Iu a subsequent chapter he states, that “ the dogmas of the Supra-lapsa rians are injurious to the Holiness, and to the rest of the Perfections of the Supreme Being.” He then adds: “I know, there are some among the Cal vinists, who admit of scarcely any difference between the Sub-lapsarians and the Supra-lopsarions, and who assert, that, if we bave regard to the foundation, they are both sufficiently at unity. This is the judgment of FRANCIS JÚNIUS, [the predecessor of ARMINIUS in the Divinity Chair at Leyden,] one of the most celebrated Divines of the Calvinistic School. His words are these : "Those who entertain different sentiments from each other ' on the object of Predestination, do not differ with regard to the circum
stances so much as many people suppose. For when the latter (the Sub• lapsarians] declare, that man alREADY FALLEN was considered by God as . the object of his predestination, they have vot properly any regard to the cause of Election and Reprobation, but to the order and series of causes upon which DAMNATION is consequent. But when the latter [the Supralapsarians] assert, that, in the act of predestinating God regarded man
as not then created, they do not on that account exclude God from the cou• sideration of man as fallen, but the only object which they wish to obtain is,-to find every cause of predestination in God, and none out of God in
Thus, THEY AGREE AS TO THE MATTER ITSELF, wbile they differ ' in their mode of explanation. (Theses de Predest., Cap. x.)-Similar to these are the sentiments delivered by Andrew Rivet in his Orthodox Catholic :' (Tract. iv, Quæst. 9.)-And in the article Paulicians' [or Manichees] in his Historical and Critical Dictionary, that very clever and acute man, Peter Bayle, seems to be of the same opinion.”
It is remarkable, that three great Divines, differing so much in senti| ment as did JUNIUS, (who was viewed by the Durch Calvinists as much too moderate in bis Predestinarian notions,) ARMINIUS, and Dr. Twisse, the famous English Supralapsarian, should all agree in regarding the two schemes as most intimately allied: The only difference between them which Dr. Twisse could perceive, was, that the Supralapsarians are more bonest and manly in boldly avowing their high notions, than their timid brethren.
After recounting some of these high but unballowing notions, Mosheim thus proceeds: “I declare, that unless the man who wishes to entertain the doctrine which I have now exposed, desire likewise to be completely at variance with himself; he must first lay aside all the ideas about God, justice, holiness, equity, and other matters, which we have derived from reason and the Sacred Scriptures. This is not my own solitary opiuion, but that of many others, even of the Calvinistic school, who are in bigh and deserved repuie for their wisdom. I will give a quotatiou equal to all of them in the words of that very ingenious and most eloquent man, James SAURIN, who says : I • frankly confess, that I cannot sutticientlywonder to perceive some men, who, ' with much coolness and gravity, tell us, God has formed this world with the
design of saving one man and damning a hundred thousand. No supplica. tions or prayers, tears or sighs, which they utter, can possibly cause this decree to be revoked: It is necessary to submit to the sentence of God, whose glory required him to create all these nations for eternal destruction. 'I cannot be sufficiently astonished when I hear these people maintain their