תמונות בעמוד

text, or in consequence of what accusations or crimes, is unknown to us.' As the Arminians were not charged with any violation of the laws, but merely with departing from the established religion, their cause was not of such a nature as rendered it cognisable by a civil tribunal. That however this cause might be regularly condemned, it was, judged proper to bring it before an ecclesiastical assembly or national synod. This method of proceeding was agreeable to the sentiments and principles of the Calvinists, who are of opinion that all spiritual concerns and religious con

the times, defended their religious opinions in a manner that was far from being consistent with the dictates of moderation and prudence, no rational conclusion can be drawn from this, either against them or the goodness of their cause. For it is well known, both by observation and experience, that unjustifiable things have often been done by men, whose characters and intentions, in the general, were good and upright; and that a good cause has frequently been maintained by methods that would not bear a rigorous examination. What I have said with brevity on this subject is confirmed and amplified by Le Clerc, in his Histoire des Provinces Unies, and the Biblioth. Choisie, tom. ii. p. 134, and also by Grotius, in his 'Apologeticus eorum, qui Hollandiæ et Westfrisiæ, et vicinis quibusdam nationibus præfuerant ante mutationem quæ evenit,' An. 1618. The life of Oldenbarneveldt, written in Dutch, was published at the Hague in 4to. in the year 1648. The history of his trial, and of the judgment pronounced on the famous triumvirate, mentioned above, was drawn by Gerard Brandt, from authentic records, and published under the following title: Histoire van de Rechtspleginge gehouden in den jgaren 1618, et 1619, omtrent de drie gevangene Heeren Johann Van Oldenbarneveldt, Rombout Hoogerbeets, en Hugo de Groot;' a third edition of this book, augmented with annotations, was published in 4to. at Rotterdam, in the year 1723. The ‘History of the Life and Actions of Grotius,' composed in Dutch by Caspar Brandt and Adrian Van Cattenburgh, and drawn mostly from original papers, cast a considerable degree of light on the history of the transactions now before us. This famous work was published in the year 1727, in two volumes in folio, at Dort and Amsterdam, under the following title : Histoire van het leven des Heeron Huig de Groot, beschreven tot den Anfang van zyn Gesandchap wegens de Koninginne en Kroon evan Zweden aanit Hof van Vrankryck door Caspard Brandt, en vervolgt tot zyn dood door Adrian Van Cattenburgh.' Those who desire to form a true and accurate notion of the character and conduct of Grotius, and to see him as it were near at hand, must have recourse to this excellent work ; since all the other accounts of this great man are insipid, lifeless, and exhibit little else than a poor shadow, instead of a real and animated substance. The life of Grotius, composed by Burigni in French, and published successively at Paris and Amsterdam, in two volumes 8vo. deserves perhaps to be included in this general censure; it is at least a very indifferent and superficial performance. in There appeared in Holland a warm vindication of the memory of this great man, in a work published at Delft, in 1727, and entitled, 'Grotii Manes ab iniquis obtrectationibus vindicati; accedit scriptorum ejus, tum editorum tum ineditorum, Conspectus Triplex.' See the following note.

D l Dr. Mosheim, however impartial, seems to have consulted more the authors of one side than of the other; probably because they are more numerous, and more universally known. When he published this history, the world was not favoured with the Letters, Memoirs, and Negotiations of sir Dudley Carleton ; which lord Royston, now earl of Hardwick, drew forth some years ago from his inestimable treasure of historical manuscripts, and presented to the public, or rather at first to a select number of persons, to whom he distributed a small number of copies of these Negotiations, printed at his own expense. They were soon translated both into Dutch and French; and though it cannot be affirmed, that the spirit of party is nowhere discoverable in them, yet they contain anecdotes with respect both to Oldenbarneveldt and Grotius, that the Arminians, and the other patrons of these two great men, have been studious to conceal. These anecdotes, though they may not be at all sufficient to justify the severities exercised against those eminent men, would, however, have prevented Dr. Mosheim from saying, that be knew not under what pretext they were arrested.

troversies ought to be judged and decided by an ecclesiastical assembly or council.“

vi. Accordingly a synod was convoked at Dort, in the year 1618, by the counsels and influence of prince The synod of Maurice," at which were present ecclesiastical Dort." deputies from the United Provinces, as also from the churches of England, Hessia, Bremen, Switzerland, and the Palatinate. The leading men among the Arminians appeared before this famous assembly, to defend their cause; and they had at their head, Simon Episcopius, who was, at that time, professor of divinity at Leyden, had formerly been the disciple of Arminius, and was admired, even by his enemies, on account of the depth of his judgment, the extent of his learning, and the force of his eloqüence. This eminent man addressed a discourse, full of moderation, gravity, and elocution, to the assembled divines; but this was no sooner finished, than difficulties arose, which prevented the conference the Arminians had demanded, in order to show the grounds, in reason and Scripture, on which their opinions were founded. The Arminian deputies proposed to begin the defence of their cause by refuting the opinions of the Calvinists, their adversaries. This proposal was rejected by the synod, which looked upon the Arminians as a set of men that lay under the charge of heresy; and therefore thought it incumbent upon them first to declare and prove their own opinions, before they could be allowed to combat the sentiments of others. The design of the Arminians, in the proposal they made, was probably to get the people on their side, by such an unfavourable representation of the Calvinistical system, and of the harsh consequences, that seem deducible from it, as might excite a disgust, in the minds of those that were present, against its patrons and abettors. And it is more than probable, that one of the principal reasons, that engaged the members of the synod to reject this proposal,

IF m The Calvinists are not particular in this ; and indeed it is natural that debates, purely theological, should be discussed in an assembly of divines.

I n Our author always forgets to mention the order, issued out by the states general, for the convocation of this famous synod; and by his manner of expressing himself, and particularly by the phrase, Mauritio auctore, would seem to insinuate, that it was by the prince that this assembly was called together. The legitimacy of the manner of convoking this synod was questioned by Oldenbarneveldt, who maintained that the states general had no sort of authority in matters of religion, not even the power of assembling a synod; affirming that this was an act of sovereignty, that belonged to each provinces separately and respectively. See Carleton's Letters, &c.

was a consideration of the genius and eloquence of Episcopius, and an apprehension of the effects they might produce upon the multitude. When all the methods employe ed to persuade the Arminians to submit to the manner of proceeding, proposed by the synod, proved ineffectual, they were excluded from that assembly, and returned home, complaining bitterly of the rigour and partiality with which they had been treated. Their cause was nevertheless tried in their absence, and in consequence of a strict examination of their writings, they were pronounced guilty of pestilential errors, and condemned as corrupters of the true religion. This sentence was followed by its natural effects, which were the excommunication of the Arminians, the suppression of their religious assemblies, and the deprivation of their ministers. In this unhappy contest, the candid and impartial observer will easily perceive that there were faults committed on both sides. Which of the contending parties is most worthy of censure, is a point, whose discussion is foreign to our present purpose."

VII. We shall not here appreciate either the merit or deThe judg. merit of the divines, that were assembled in this

e famous synod; but we cannot help observing that formed come their sanctity, wisdom, and virtue, have been exsynod. alted beyond all measure by the Calvinists, while their partiality, violence, and their other defects, have been exaggerated with a certain degree of malignity by the Arminians. There is no sort of doubt, but that, among the members of this assembly, who sat in judgment upon the Arminians, there were several persons equally distinguished by their learning, piety, and integrity, who acted with up

o The writers who have given accounts of the synod of Dort are mentioned by Jo. Albert. Fabricius, in his Biblioth. Græc. vol. xi. p. 723. The most ample account of this famous assembly has been given by Brandt, in the second and third volumes of his * History of the Reformation in the United Provinces ;' but, as this author is an Arminian, it will not be improper to compare his relation with a work of the learned Leydekker, in which the piety and justice of the proceedings of this synod are vindicated against the censures of Brandt. This work, which is composed in Dutch, was published in two volumes 4to. at Amsterdam, in the year 1705 and 1707, under the following title ; 'Eere van de Nationale Synode, van Dordrecht voorgestaan en bevestigd tegen de beschuldingen van G. Brandt. After comparing diligently these two productions, I could see no enormous error in Brandt; for in truth, these two writers do not so much differ about facts, as they do in the reasoning they deduce from them, and in their accounts of the causes from whence they proceeded. The reader will do well to consult the Letters of the learned and worthy Mr. John Hales of Eaton, who was an impartial spectator of the proceedings of this famous synod, and who relates with candour and simplicity what he saw and heard.

p All that appeared unfair to the Arminians in the proceedings of this synod, has been collected together in a Dutch book, entitled 'Nulliteten, Mishandelingen, ende anbyllike Procedurin, des Nationalen Synodi gehouden binnen Dordrecht,' &c.

ment that ought to be formed concerning this synod.

right intentions, and had not the least notion, that the steps they were taking, or encouraging, were at all inconsistent with equity and wisdom. On the other hand, it appears with the utmost evidence, that the Arminians had reason to complain of several circumstances that strike us in the history of this remarkable period. It is plain, in the first place, that the ruin of their community was a point not only premeditated, but determined even before the meeting of the national synod;" and that this synod was not so much assembled to examine the doctrine of the Arminians, in order to see whether it was worthy of toleration and indulgence, as to publish and execute, with a certain solemnity, with an air of justice, and with the suffrage and consent of foreign divines, whose authority was respectable, a sentence already drawn up and agreed upon by those who had the principal direction in these affairs. It is further to be observed, that the accusers and adversaries of the Arminians were their judges, and that Bogerman, who presided in this famous synod, was distinguished by his peculiar hatred of that sect; that neither the Dutch nor foreign divines had the liberty of giving their suffrage according to their own private sentiments, but were obliged to deliver the opinions of the princes and magistrates, of whose orders they were the depositaries ;" that the influence of the lay deputies, who appeared in the synod, with commissions from the states general and the prince of Orange, was still superior to that of the ecclesiastical members, who sat as judges; and lastly, that the solemn promise, made to the Arminians, when they were summoned before the synod, that “they should be allowed the freedom of explaining and defending their opinions, as far as they thought proper, or necessary to their justification," was manifestly violated.

Boq This assertion is of too weighty a nature to be advanced without sufficient proof. Our author quotes no authority for it.

bor Here our author bas fallen into a palpable mistake. The Dutch divines had no commission but from their respective consistories, or subordinate ecclesiastical assemblies; nor are they ever depositaries of the orders of their magistrates, who have lay deputies to represent them both in provincial and national synods. As to the English and other foreign doctors that appeared in the synod of Dort, the case perbaps may have been somewhat different.

t Soe Le Vassor, Histoire du Regne de Louis XII. tom. ii. livr. xii. p. 365, 366. And Mosheim's preface to the Latin translation of Hale's account of the synod of Dort, p. 394-400. VOL. IV. .


VIII. The Arminians, in consequence of the decision of The fate of the synod, were considered as enemies of their einer ahe synod country and of its established religion ; and they of (Dort. were accordingly treated with great, severity. They were deprived of all their posts and employments, whether ecclesiastical or civil; and, which they looked upon as a yet more intolerable instance of the rigour of their adversaries, their ministers were silenced, and their congregations were suppressed. They refused obedience to the order, by which their pastors were prohibited from performing, in public, their ministerial functions, and thus drew upon themselves anew the resentment of their superiors, who punished them by fines, imprisonment, exile, and other marks of ignominy. To avoid these vexations, many of them retired to Antwerp, others fled to France ; while a considerable number, accepting the invitation sent to them by Frederic, duke of Holstein, formed a colony, which settled in the dominions of that prince, and built for themselves a handsome town called Frederickstadt, in the dutchy of Sleswyck, where they still live happy and unmolested, in the open profession and free exercise of their religion. The heads of this colony were persons of distinction, who had been obliged to leave their native country on account of these troubles, particularly Adrian Vander Wael, who was the first governor of the new city.' Among the persecuted ecclesiastics, who followed this colony, were the famous Vorstius, who, by his religious sentiments, which differed but little from the Socinian system, had rendered the Arminians particularly odious, Grevinckhovius, a man of a resolute spirit, who had been pastor at Rotterdam, Goulart, Grevius, Walters, Narsius, and others. IX. After the death of prince Maurice, which happened

in the year 1625, the Arminian exiles experiThey are re- enced the mildness and clemency of his brother

and successor, Frederic Henry, under whose ad

called from exile.

u The history of this colony is accurately related in the famous letters published by Philip Limborch and Christian Hartsoeker, entitled Epistolæ præstantium et eruditorum virorum Ecclesiasticæ et Theologicæ, of which the last edition was published in folio, at Amsterdam, in the year 1704. See also Jo. Molleri Introductio in Histor. Chersohesi Cimbricæ, p. č. p. 108, and Pontoppidani Annales Ecclesiæ Danicce Diplomatici, tom. iii. p. 714.

w For an ample account of Vorstius, see Jo. Molleri Cimbria Literata, tom. ii. p. 931, as also p. 242, 247, 249, 255, 576, where we find a particular account of the other eccle: siastics above mentioned.

« הקודםהמשך »