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by the sentence of these judges that the Arminians lost their cause, and were declared corrupters of the true religion. It must be observed, at the same time, that the doctors of Geneva who embraced the sublapsarian system, triumphed over their adversaries in this synod. For though the patrons of the sublapsarian cause were far from being contemptible either in point of number or of abilities, yet the moderation and equity of the British divines prevented the - synod from giving its sanction to the opinions of that presumptuous sect. Nor indeed would even the sublapsarians have gained their point, or obtained to the full the accomplishment of their desires, had the doctors of Bremen, who for weighty reasons were attached to the Lutherans, been able to execute their purposes.
XII. It is greatly to be doubted, whether this victory, gained over the Arminians, was, upon the whole, The effects of advantageous or detrimental to the church of Ge- this schism. neva, in particular, and to the reformed church in general. It is at least certain that, after the synod of Dort, the doctrine of absolute decrees lost ground from day to day; and its patrons were put to the hard necessity of holding fraternal communion with those whose doctrine was either professedly Arminian, or at least nearly resembled it. The leaders of the vanquished Arminians were eminently distinguished for their eloquence, sagacity, and learning; and being highly exasperated by the injurious and oppressive treatment they met with, in consequence of their condemnation, they defended themselves and attacked their adversaries with such spirit and vigour, and also with such dexterity and eloquence, that multitudes were persuaded of the justice of their cause. It is particularly to be observed, that the authority of the synod of Dort was far from being universally acknowledged among the Dutch ; the provinces of Friesland, Zealand, Utrecht, Guelderland, and Groningen, could not be persuaded to adopt its decisions; and though, in the year 1651, they were at length gained over so far as to intimate, that they would see with pleasure the reformed religion maintained upon the footing on which it had been placed and confirmed by the synod of Dort, yet the most eminent adepts in Belgic ju
e We shall give, in the History of the Arminians, a list of the writers that appeared in this controversy ; as also a more particular account of the transactions of the synod of Dort.
risprudence deny that this intimation has the force or character of a law...
· In England, the face of religion changed considerably, in a very little time after the famous synod now mentioned; and this change, which was entirely in favour of Arminianism, was principally effected by the counsels and influence of William Laud, archbishop of Canterbury, This revolution gave new courage to the Arminians; and, from that period to the present time, they have had the pleasure of seeing the decisions and doctrines of the synod of Dort, relating to the points in debate between them and the Calvinists, treated, in England, with something more than mere indifference, beheld by some with aversion, and by others with contempt. And, indeed, if we consider the genius and spirit of the church of England during this period, we shall plainly see, that the doctrine of the Gomarists, concerning predestination and grace, could not meet there with a favourable reception, since the leading doctors of that church were zealous in modelling its doctrine and discipline after the sentiments and institutions that were received in the primitive times, and since those early fathers, whom they followed with a profound submission, had never presumed, before Augustine, to set limits to the extent of the divine grace and mercy.
The reformed churches in France seemed, at first, disposed to give a favourable reception to the decisions of this famous synod; but, as these decisions were highly displeasing to the votaries of Rome among whom they lived, and kindled anew their rage against the protestants, the latter thought it their duty to be circumspect in this matter; and, in process of time, their real sentiments, and the doctrines they taught, began to differ extremely from those of the Gomarists. The churches of Brandenberg and Bremen, which made a considerable figure among the reformed in Germany, would never suffer their doctors to be tied down to the opinions and tenets of the Dutch divines. And thus it happened, that the liberty of private judgment, with respect to the doctrines of predestination and grace, which the spirit that prevailed among the di
f See the very learned and illustrious president Bynkershoek's Quæstiones Juris publici, lib. ii. cap. xviii.
g Sev. Lintrupii Dissertatio de Contemptu Concilii Dordrac in Anglia, in Dissert. Theologicis Hect. Godofr. Masi, tom. i. n. ix.
vines of Dort, seemed so much adapted to suppress or discourage, acquired rather new vigour, in consequence of the arbitrary proceedings of that assembly; and the reformed church was immediately divided into Universalists, Semiuniversalists, Supralapsarians, and Sublapsarians, who indeed, notwithstanding their dissensions, which sometimes become violent and tumultuous, live generally in the exercise of mutual toleration, and are reciprocally restrained by many reasons from indulging a spirit of hostility and persecution. What is still more remarkable, and therefore. ought not to be passed over in silence, we see the city of Geneva, which was the parent, the nurse, and the guardian of the doctrine of absolute predestination and particular grace, not only put on sentiments of charity, forbearance, and esteem for the Arminians, but become itself almost so far Arminian, as to deserve a place among the churches of that communion.
XIII. While the reformed churches in France yet subsisted, its doctors departed, in several points, from the common rule of faith that was received in the the partice other churches of their communion. This, as ap- thereformed pears from several circumstances, was, in a great France measure, owing to their desire of diminishing the prejudices of the Roman Catholics against them, and of getting rid of a part of the odious conclusions which were drawn by their adversaries from the doctrines of Dort, and laid to their charge with that malignity which popish bigotry so naturally inspires. . Hence we find in the books that were composed by the doctors of Saumur and Sedan, after the synod of Dort, many things which seem conformable, not only to the sentiments of the Lutherans, concerning grace, predestination, the person of Christ, and the efficacy of the sacraments, but also to certain peculiar opinions of the Romish church. This moderation may be dated from the year 1615, when the opinion of John Piscator, pastor at Herborn, concerning the obedience of Christ, was tacitly adopted, or at least pronounced free from error, by the synod of the isle of France ;' though it had been formerly condemned and rejected in several preceding assemblies, of the same nature. Piscator maintained, that it was not
b Aymon, 'Actes de tous les Synodes Nationaux des Eglises Reformees de France, tom. ii, p. 275, 276. • i See Aymon, loc. cit, tom. i. p. 400, 401, 457, tom. ij. p. 13. Bossuet, 'Histoire des Variations des Eglises Protestantes,' livr. xii. tom, ii. p. 268, where this prelate,
by his obedience to the divine law that Christ made a satisfaction to that law in our stead, since this obedience was his duty, considered as a man; and therefore, being obliged to obey this law himself, his observance of it could not merit any thing for others from the Supreme Being. This opinion, as every one may see, tended to confirm the doctrine of the Romish church, concerning the merit of good. works, the natural power of man to obey the commands of God, and other points of a like nature. These less important concessions were followed by others of a much more weighty and momentous kind, of which some were so erroneous, that they were highly disliked and rejected, even by those of the French protestants themselves, who were the most remarkable for their moderation, charity, and love of peace."
with his usual malignity and bitterness, reproaches the Protestants with their inconstancy. The learned Basnage has endeavoured to defend the Reformed Churches against this charge, in the second volume of his Histoire de l'Eglise, p. 1533. But this defence is not satisfactory. b To Dr. Mosheim, who speaks more than once of the Reformed Church and its doctors with partiality and prejudice, this defence may not appear satisfactory; it has nevertheless been judged so by many persons of uncommon discernment; and we invite the reader to judge for himself.
b ü It does not appear to me that any one, who looks with an unprejudiced eye, can see the least connexion between the opinion of Piscator, which I shall not here either refute or defend, and the popish doctrine which maintains the merit of good works ; for though we are not justified, i. e. pardoned or treated as if we had not offended, in consequence of Christ's active obedience to the divine law, yet we may be so by his death and sufferings; and it is really to these, that the Scriptures, in many places, ascribe our acceptance. Now a person who ascribes his acceptance and salvation to the death and mediation of Christ, does not surely give any countenance to the doctrine of the strict and rigorous merit of works, although he should not be so sharpsighted as to perceive the influence which certain doctors attribute to what is called Christ's active obedience. But let it be observed here, in a particular manner, that the opinion of Piscator is much more unfavourable to popery than our author ima. gined, since it overturns totally, by a direct and most natural consequence, the popish doctrine concerning works of supererogation, which is as monstrous an absurdity in morals, as transubstantiation is in the estimation of common sense. For if Christ, in his universal and perfect obedience to the divine laws, did no more than he was morally obliged to do by his character as a man, is it not absurd, if not impious, to seek in the virtue of the Romish saints, all of whom were very imperfect, and some of them very worthless mortals, an exuberance of obedience, a superabundant quantity of virtue, to which they were not obliged, and which they are supposed to deposite in the hands of the popes, who are empowered to distribute it, for love of money, among such as bave need of it to make up their accounts ?
KP'k This affirmation is groundless, and I wish it were not liable to the charge of malignity. The accusation that Dr. Mosheim brings here against the Reformed Churches in France is of too serious a nature not to require the most evident and circumstantial proofs. He has, however, alleged none, nor has he given any one instance of those weighty and momentous concessions that were made to popery. It was not indeed in his power either to give arguments or examples of. a satisfactory kind; and it is highly probable, that the, unguarded words of Elias Saurin, minister of Utrecht, in relation to the learned Lewis Le Blanc, professor of Sedan, which dropt from the pen of the former, in his Examen de la Theologie de M. Jurieu, are the only testimony Dr. Mosheim had to allege, in support of an accusation, which he has not limited to any one person, but inconsiderately thrown out upon the French churches in general. Those who are desirous of a full illustration of this matter, and yet have not an opportunity of consulte ing the original sources of information, may satisfy their curiosity by perusing the ar
versy excited by the hypothetical uni
XIV. The doctors of Saumur revived a controversy, that had for some time been suspended, by their attempts to reconcile the doctrine of predestination. The contro. as it had been taught at Geneva, and confirmed, benefice bumpo at Dort, with the sentiments of those who repre- versalists. - sent the Deity as offering the displays of his goodness and mercy to all mankind. The first person, who made this fruitless attempt, was John Cameron, whose sentiments were supported and further illustrated by Moses Amyraut, à man of uncommon sagacity and erudition. The latter applied himself, from the year 1634, with unparalleled zeal, to this arduous work, and displayed in it extraordinary exertions of capacity and genius; and so ardently was he bent on bringing it into execution, that he made, for this purpose, no small changes in the doctrine commonly received among the reformed in France. The form of doctrine he had struck out, in order to accomplish this important reconciliation, may be briefly summed up in the following propositions ; " That God desires the happiness of all men, and that no mortal is excluded, by any divine decree, from the benefits that are procured by the death, sufferings, and gospel of Christ. . “That, however, none can be made a partaker of the blessings of the gospel, and of eternal salvation, unless he believe in Jesus Christ;
That such indeed is the immense and universal goodness of the Supreme Being, that he refuses to none the power of believing ; though he does not grant unto all his assistance and succour, that they may wisely improve this power to the attainment of everlasting salvation;
“ And that, in consequence of this, multitudes perish, through their own fault, and not from any want of goodness in God.”
ticles of Beaulieu and Amyraut, in Bayle's Dictionary; and the articles Pajon and Papin, in M. de Chauffepied's supplement to that work. Any concessions that seem to have been made by the Protestant doctors in France to their adversaries, consisted in giving an Arminian turn to some of the more rigid tenets of Calvin, relating to original sin, predestination, and grace ; and this turn would undoubtedly have been given to these doctrines, had popery been out of the question. But these concessions are not certainly what our historian had in view; nor would he, in effect, have treated such concessions as erroneous. I See Jo. Wolfg. Jaegeri Historia Eccles. et Politicæ, Sæcali xvii. Decenn. iv. p. 522..
of This mitigated view of the doctrine of Predestination has only one defect; but it is a capital one. It represents God as desiring a thing, i. e. salvation and happiness, for all, which, in order to its attainment, requires a degree of his assistance and succour, which he refuseth to many. This rendered grace and redemption universal only in words, but partial in reality ; and therefore did not at all mend the matter. The