תמונות בעמוד

they judged of their expressions by their opinions. They maintained, that the Arminians designed, under these specious and artful declarations, to insinuate the poison of Socinianism and Pelagianism into unwary and uninstructed minds. The secret thoughts of men are only known to Him, who is the searcher of hearts; and it is his privilege alone to pronounce judgment upon those intentions and designs that are concealed from public view. But if we were allowed to interpret the five articles now mentioned in a sense conformable to what the leading doctors among the Arminians have taught in later times concerning these points, it would be difficult to show, that the suspicions of the Calvinists were entirely groundless. For it is certain, whatever the Arminians may allege to the contrary, that the sentiments of their most eminent theological writers, after the synod of Dort, concerning divine grace, and the other doctrines that are connected with it, approached much nearer to the opinions of the Pelagians and Semipelagians, than to those of the Lutheran church." v. The mild and favourable treatment the Arminians re

ceived from the magistrates of Holland, and from several persons of merit and distinction, encou

raged them to hope that their affairs would take a prosperous turn, or at least that their cause was not desperate, when an unexpected and sudden storm arose against them, and blasted their expectations. This change was owing to causes entirely foreign to religion ; and its origin must be sought for in those connexions,

which can scarcely be admitted as possible by the philosopher, but are perpetually presented to the view of the historian. A secret misunderstanding had for some time subsisted between the stadtholder Maurice, prince of Orange, and some of the principal magistrates and ministers of the new republic, such as Oldenbarneveldt, Grotius, and Hoogerbeets; and this misunderstanding had at length broke out into open enmity and discord. The views of this great prince are differently represented by different historians. Some al

Prince Vaurice declares against the Arminians.

E l This is a curious remark. It would seem as if the Lutherans were not Semipelagians; as if they considered man as absolutely passive in the work of bis conversion and sanctification ; but such an opinion surely bas never been the general doctrine of the Lutheran church, however rigorously Luther may have expressed himself on that head in some unguarded moments; more especially it may be affirmed, that in later times the Lutherans are, to a man, Scinipelagians; and let it not be thought, that this is imputed to them as a reproach.

lege, that he had formed the design of getting himself declared count of Holland, a dignity which William I. the glorious founder of Belgic liberty, is also said to have had in view. Others affirm, that he only aspired after a greater degree of authority and influence than seemed consistent with the liberties of the republic; it is at least certain, that some of the principal persons in the government suspected him of aiming at supreme dominion. The leading men above mentioned opposed these designs; and these leading men were the patrons of the Arminians. The Arminians adhered to these their patrons and defenders, without whose aid they could have no prospect of security or protection. Their adversaries the Gomarists, on the contrary, seconded the views, and espoused the interests of the prince, and inflamed his resentment, which had been already more or less kindled by various suggestions, to the disadvantage of the Arminians, and of those who protected them. Thus, after mutual suspicions and discontents, the flame broke out with violence; and Maurice resolved the downfal of those who ruled the republic, without showing a proper regard to his counsels; and also of the Arminians, who espoused their cause. The leading men, that sat at the helm of government, were cast into prison. Oldenbarneveldt, a man of gravity and wisdom, whose hairs were grown gray in the service of his country, lost his life on a public scaffold; while Grotius and Hoogerbeets were condemned to a perpetual prison, under what pre

i That Maurice aimed at the dignity of Count of Holland, we learn from Aubery's 'Memoires pour servir a l'Histoire de Hollande et des autres Provinces Unies,' sect. ii. p. 216, ed. Paris. If we are to believe Aubery, informed by his father, who was, at that time, ambassador of France at the Hague, Oldenbarneveldt disapproved of this design, prevented its execution, and lost his life by his bold opposition to the views of the prince. This account is looked upon as erroneous by Le Vassor, who takes much pains to refute it, and indeed with success, in his Histoire de Louis XIII. tom. ii. p. ji. p. 123. Le Clerc, in his Biblioth. Choisie, tom. ii. p. 134, and in his History of the United Provinces, endeavours to confirm what is related by Aubory; and also affirms that the project, formed by Maurice, had been formed before by his father. The determination of this debated point is not necessary to our present purpose. It is sufficient to observe, what is acknowledged on all sides, that Oldenbarneveldt and bis associates suspected prince Maurice of a design to encroach upon the liberties of the republic, and to arrogate to himself the supreme dominion. Hence the zeal of Barneveldt to weaken his influence and to set bounds to his authority ; hence the indignation and resentment of Maurice; and hence the downfal of the Arminian sect, which enjoyed the patronage, and adhered to the interests, of Oldenbarneveldt and Grotius.

k 'The truth of this general account of these unhappy divisions will undoubtedly be acknowledged by all parties, particularly at this period of time, when these tumults and coromotions have subsided, and the spirit of party is less blind, partial, and violent. And the candid and ingenuous Calvinists who acknowledge this, will not thereby do the smallest prejudice to their cause. For should they even grant, what I neither pretend to affirm nor deny, that their ancestors, carried away by the impetuous spirit of

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 aş rendered it cognisable by a civil tribunal. That however this cause might be regularly condemned, it was judged proper to bring it belore an ecclesiastical assembly or national sy nod. 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

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

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 bis 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 Jobann 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 Koningiune 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 exbibit little else than a poor shadow, instead of a real and animated substance. The lise 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. o 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.

Dl 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 Negotiaiions of sir Dudley Carleton ; which lord Royston, now earl of Hardwick, drew forth some years ago from bis 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 these eminent men, would, however, have prevented Dr. Mosheim from saying, that he knew not under what pretext they were arrested.

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

ví. 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 Oort. 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 eloquence. 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,

[ocr errors]

I 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.

In 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 province separately and respectively. See Carleton's Letters, &c.

[ocr errors]

was à consideration of the genius and eloquence of Episcopius, and an apprehension of the effects they might produce upon the multitude. When all the methods employ. 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 de

merit of the divines, that were assembled in this The judg.

famous synod ; but we cannot help observing that forme a lot their sanctity, wisdom, and virtue, have been ex

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 produetions, 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 Proecdurin, des Nationalen Synodi gebonden binnen Dordrecht,' &c.

ment that ought to be


« הקודםהמשך »