« הקודםהמשך »
rists and Hattemists resemble each other in their religious systems, though there must also be some points in which they differ; since it is well known, that Van Hattem could never persuade the former to unite their sect with his, and thus to form one communion. Neither of the two have abandoned the profession of the reformed religion ; they affect, on the contrary, an apparent attachment to it; and Hattem, in particular, published a treatise upon the Catechism of Heidelberg. If I understand aright the imperfect relations that have been given of the sentiments and principles of these two communities, both their founders began by perverting the doctrine of the reformed church concerning absolute decrees, so as to deduce it from the impious system of a fatal and uncontrollable necessity. Having laid down this principle, to account for the origin of all events, they went a step further into the domain of atheism, and denied “the difference between moral good andevil, and the corruption of human nature.” From hence they concluded, “ That mankind were under no sort of obligation to correct their manners, to improve their minds, or to endeavour after a regular obedience to the divine laws; that the whole of religion consisted, not in acting, but in suffering; and that all the precepts of Jesus Christ are reducible to this single one, that we bear with cheerfulness and patience the events that happen to us through the divine will, and make it our constant and only study to maintain a permanent tranquillity of mind.”
This, if we are not mistaken, was the common doctrine of the two sects under consideration. There were however certain opinions or fancies, that were peculiar to Hattem and his followers, who affirmed, " That Christ had not satisfied the divine justice, nor made an expiation for the sins of men by his death and sufferings, but had only signified to us, by his mediation, that there was nothing in us that could offend the Deity.” Hattem maintained, 6 that this was Christ's manner of justifying his servants, and presenting them blameless before the tribunal of God." These opinions seem perverse and pestilential in the highest degree; and they evidently tend to extinguish all virtuous sentiments, and to dissolve all moral obligation. It cloes not however appear, that either of these innovations directly recommended immorality and vice, or thought that men might safely follow, without any restraint, the
The disputes in Switzerland concerning the Consensus or Form of
impulse of their irregular appetites and passions. It is at least certain, that the following maxim is placed among their tenets, That God does not punish men for their sins, but by their sins; and this maxim seems to signify, that, if a man does not restrain his irregular appetites, he must suffer the painful fruits of his licentiousness, both in a present and future life, not in consequence of any judicial sentence pronounced by the will, or executed by the immediate hand of God, but according to some fixed law or constitution of nature. The two sects still subsist, though they bear no longer the names of their founders.
xxxvII. The churches of Switzerland, so early as the year 1669, were alarmed at the progress which the opinions of Amyraut, De la Place, and Cappel, were making in different countries; and they were apprehensive that the doctrine they had re- Concord. ceived from Calvin, and which had been so solemnly confirmed by the synod of Dort, might be altered and corrupted by these new improvements in theology. This apprehension was so much the less chimerical, as at that very time there were, among the clergy of Geneva, certain doctors eminent for their learning and eloquence, who not only adopted these new opinions, but were also desirous, notwithstanding the opposition and remonstrances of their colleagues, of propagating them among the people. To set bounds to the zeal of these innovators, and to stop the progress of the new doctrines, the learned John Henry Heidegger, professor of divinity at Zurich, was employed in the year 1675, by an assembly, composed of the most eminent Helvetic divines, to draw up a form of doctrine, in direct opposition to the tenets and principles of the celebrated French writers mentioned above. The magistrates were engaged, without much difficulty, to give this production the stamp of their authority; and to add to it the other confessions of faith received in the Helvetic church, under the peculiar denomination of the Form of Concord. This step, which seemed to be taken with pacific views, proved an abundant source of division and discord. Many declared, that they could not conscientiously subscribe this new form; and thus unhappy tumults and
x See Theod. Hasæ Dissert. in Museo Bremensi Theol. Philolog. vol. ii. p. 144. Billiotheque Belgique, tom. ii. p. 203.
y See Leti Istoria Genevrina, part iv, book v. p. 448, 488, 497, &c.
contests arose in several places. Hence it happened, that the canton of Basil, and the republic of Geneva, perceiving the inconveniences that proceeded from this new article of church communion, and strongly solicited, in the year 1686, by Frederic William, elector of Brandenburg, to ease the burdened consciences of their clergy, abrogated this form. It is nevertheless certain, that in the other cantons it maintained its authority for some time after this period; but, in our time, the discords it has excited in many places, and more particularly in the university of Lausanne, have contributed to deprive it of all its authority, and to sink it into utter oblivion."
F z It must not be imagined, from this expression of our historian, that this form, entitled the Consensus, was abrogated at Basil by a positive edict. The case stood thus ; Mr. Peter Werenfels, who was at the head of the ecclesiastical consistory of that city, paid such regard to the letter of the elector, as to avoid requiring a subscription to this form from the candidates for the ministry; and his conduct, in this respect, was imitated by his successors. The remonstrances of the elector do not seem to have had the same effect upon those that governed the church of Geneva; for the Consensus, or Form of Agreement, maintained its credit and authority there until the year 1706, when, without being abrogated by any positive act, it fell into disuse. In several other parts of Switzerland, it was still imposed as a rule of faith, as appears by the letters addressed by George I. king of England, as also by the king of Prussia, in the year 1723, to the Swiss cantons, in order to procure the abrogation of this form or Consensus, which was consider ed as an obstacle to the union of the reformed and Lutheran churches. See the Memoires pour servir a l'Histoire des troubles arrivees en Suisse a l'occasion du Consensus," published in 8vo. at Amsterdam, in the year 1726.
a See Christ. Matth. Pfaffii Schediasma de Formula Consensus Helvetica,' published in 4to. at Tubingen, in the year 1723. 'Memoires pour servir a l'Histoire des troubles arrivees en Suisse a l'occasion du Consensus.'
. CHAPTER III.
CONCERNING THE ARMINIAN CHURCH.
THERE sprung forth from the bosom of the reformed church, during this century, two new sects, whose birth and progress were, for a long time, I painful and perplexing to the parent that bore nians, whence. them. These sects were the Arminians and Quakers, whose origin was owing to very different principles; since the former derived its existence from an excessive propensity to improve the faculty of reason, and to follow its dictates and discoveries; while the latter sprung up, like a rank weed, from the neglect and contempt of human reason. The Arminians derive their name and their origin from James Arminius, or Harmensen, who was first pastor at Amsterdam, afterward professor of divinity at Leyden, and who attracted the esteem and applause of his very enemies, by his acknowledged candour, penetration, and piety. They received also the denomination of Remonstrants, from an humble petition, entitled, their Remonstrances, which they addressed, in the year 1610, to the states of Holland, and as the patrons of Calvinism présented an address, in opposition to this, which they called
The denomination of Armi
a The most ample account we have of this eminent man is given by Brandt, in his Historia Vitæ Jac. Arminii, published at Leyden in 8vo. in 1724; and the year after by me at Brunswick, with an additional Preface and some Annotations. See also Nouveau Dictionaire Histor. et Critique, tom. i. p. 471. All the works of Arminius are comprised in one moderate quarto volume. The edition I have now before me was printed at Francfort, in the year 1634. They who would form a just and accurate no. tion of the temper, genius, and doctrine of this divine, will do well to peruse, with particular attention, that part of his works that is known under the title of his Disputationes publicæ et privato. There is, in his manner of reasoning, and also in his phraseology, some little remains of the scholastic jargon of that age ; but we find nevertheless in his writings, upon the whole, much of that simplicity and perspicuity which bis followers have always looked upon, and still consider, as among the principal qualities of a Christian minister. For an account of the Arminian confession of faith, and the historical writers who have treated of this sect, see Jo. Christ. Koecherus, Biblioth. Theol. Symbolicæ, p. 481.
their Counter Remonstrances, so did they, in consequence thereof, receive the name of Counter Remonstrants. · II. Arminius, though he had imbibed in his tender years
the doctrines of Geneva, and had even received
i his theological education in the university of that Arminianism city, yet rejected, when he arrived at the age of manhood, the sentiments concerning predestination and the divine.decrees, that are adopted by the greatest part of the reformed churches, and embraced the principles and communion of those, whose religious system extends the love of the Supreme Being, and the merits of Jesus Christ, to all mankind." As time and deep meditation had only served to confirm him in these principles, he thought himself obliged, by the dictates both of candour and conscience, to profess them publicly, when he had obtained the chair of divinity in the university of Leyden, and to oppose the doctrine and sentiments of Calvin on these heads, which had been followed by the greatest part of the Dutch clergy. Two considerations encouraged him, in a particular manner, to venture upon this open declaration of his sentiments; for he was persuaded, on the one hand, that there were many persons, beside himself, and, among these, some of the first rank and dignity, that were highly disgusted at the doctrine of absolute decrees; and, on the other, he knew that the Belgic doctors were neither obliged by their confession of faith, nor by any other public law, to adopt and propagate the principles of Calvin. Thus animated and encouraged, Arminius taught his sentiments publicly, with great freedom and equal success, and persuaded many of the truth of his doctrine; but as Calvinism was at this time in a flourishing state in Holland, this freedom procured him a multitude of enemies, and drew upon him the severest marks of disapprobation and resentment from those that adhered to the theological system of Geneva, and more especially from Francis Gomar, his colleague. Thus commenced that long, tedious, and intricate controversy that afterward made such a noise in Europe. Arminius died in the year 1609, when it was just
The commencement of
b Bertius, in his Funeral Oration on Arminius, Brandt, in his History of his Life, p. 22, and almost all the ecclesiastical historians of this period, mention the occasion of this change in the sentiments of Arminius. It happened in the year 1591, as appears from the remarkable letter of Arminius to Grynæus, which bears date that same year, and in which the former proposes to the latter some of his theological doubts. This letter is published in the Biblioth. Brem. Theol. Philolog, tom. jii. p. 384.