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petitioned for permission to speak, he, in the same convention, copiously (prolixe) explained what was the genuine opinion of Arminius concerning the grace of God and the free-will of man, the justification of man before God, the perfection of man in this life, predestination, the origin of sin, and the perseverance of the saints ; and what just causes of suspicion, he (Arminius) had given, that he did not think aright, concerning the Holy Scripture, the sacred Trinity, the providence of God, the satisfaction of Jesus Christ, the church, faith, good works, and the other heads of doctrine. By what arts also he disseminated his own opinions ; namely, that when publicly asked and solemnly enjoined, he hath hitherto concealed his opinion from the churches; but had diligently inculcated it privately on the pastors, whom he hoped he should be able to draw over into it, and on his own pupils, (or scholars ;) that he enervated the principal arguments of our party, (nostrorum,) with which the orthodox doctrine used to be fortified; but confirmed those of the Jesuits, and of the other adversaries, with which they are accustomed to fight against the doctrine of the reformed churches ; that he suggested various doubts concerning the truth of the received doctrine, into the minds of the pupils; and (taught them) to hold the same at first, as in an equilibrium with the heterodox doctrine, and at length altogether to reject it; that hitherto he had not been willing to publish any declaration of sincerity and consent in doctrine, though very often lovingly, and in a brotherly manner, asked by the churches to do it; that he had earnestly labored by all means, that he might not lay open to the churches his errors, which had been detected before the
supreme court; and that he had aimed at this one thing, by delaying the time, to have the opportunity of drawing over the more persons into his own opinion, and of every where occupying the churches; that, having despised the decisions and decrees of Synods, classes, and presbyteries, he had in the first instance burst forth (prosiliisse) to the tribunal of the Supreme Magistrate, and had there proposed his complaints and accusations against the doctrine of the churches ; and by the arts of a courtier (aulicus) had industriously studied to conciliate favor to himself, but to bring hatred on the churches. Wherefore he (Gomarus) earnestly entreated the States, (seeing that the students of sacred theology in the University of Leyden, and every where the pastors, daily more and more revolted from the orthodox doctrine, discords and contentions spread abroad, the churches were disturbed,
and the citizens were drawn into parties,) that the promised national Synod might as early as possible be called; in which, the causes of these evils having been legally examined, a suitable remedy might at length be applied. The deputies of the churches also soon after petitioned for the same; but by the endeavors of Utenbogardus and others it was effected, that this calling of the Synod should always be deferred.
April 4, 1609.] They (the deputies of the churches) likewise several times admonished Arminius to send to them the considerations contained in the writing which he had promised; who at length answered by letter, that he did not deny that this had been promised by him, but, because he had understood that the Illustrious the States had ordered the pastors to send their considerations sealed up unto them, he had changed his mind, (consilium,) and that he would wait till the same also should be enjoined on him. Peter Bertius, the regent of the theological college, being admonished by the same deputies, that if he had any thing against the received doctrine of the churches, he would freely explain it, declared his own opinion concerning most of the heads of doctrine openly without any evasion; and shewed that, in the articles of the justification of man before God, of predestination, of the grace of God, of free-will, and finally, of the perseverance of true believers, (vere fidelium,) he thought differently from the doctrine of the Belgic churches.* This rendered the churches more and more anxious ; seeing they understood that not only Arminius in the University, but Bertius also, in the seminary of the churches of Holland, set before the youth entrusted to his fidelity, and destined to the ministry of the churches, heterodox doctrine : and, having drawn them aside from the sincerity (or purity) of the doctrine, instilled into them (imbuere) new opinions. The churches saw these things, and grieved ; yet they were not able to apply the lawful remedy to these evils, though it was that which they chiefly
* “There was not, however, any public law, or confession of faith, that obliged the pastors of the reformcd churches in any part of the world, to conform their sentiments to the theological doctrines that were adopted and taught at Geneva.” Mosheim, vol. v. p. 366. “Arminius knew that the Dutch divines and doctors, were not obliged by their confession of faith, nor by any public law, to adopt and propagate the principles of Calvin.” Ibid. p. 441. It might be supposed from this, that the opposers of Arminius, and all concerned in procuring the Synod of Dort, wanted Arminius and his party to adhere to the Geneva Confession and the creed of Calvin, &c: whereas in fact, these are never mentioned in the history prefixed to that of the Synod, but the received doctrine of the Belgic churches alone.
wished and judged necessary; Utenbogardus, and others, whose authority was at that time great among certain chief persons of the country, hindering with all their power, by their means, all synodical conventions and ecclesiastical judgments.
Hence the pastórs attached to Arminius were made more bold to propose their own heterodox opinions; and they began even publicly before the people, to defame the received doctrine with various calumnies, and to rage furiously (debacchari) against it, as horrid and detestable. Among these, a certain person, (called) Adolphus Venator, the pastor of the church of Alcmar in North Holland, was not the last; who, besides that he was of too little approved a life, (vitæ minus probatæ,) openly and by no means in a dissembling manner, scattered abroad Pelagián and Socinian errors, with incredible impudence, publicly and privately; for which cause, he was suspended from the office of teaching, by the legitimate judgment of the churches of North Holland. He (however) despising the judgment of the churches, persisted in the office of teaching, against the will of the churches. The orthodox pastors in the Class of Alcmar judged that this unholy man, (impurum,) having been lawfully suspended from the ministry, and a few other pastors whom he had drawn over into his opinion, and who pertinaciously refused to testify their consent to the doctrine of the reformed churches, by the subscription of the Confession, should not be admitted into their assembly. They, having complained of this matter to the Illustrious the States, by the aid of Utenbogardus, obtained a mandate, by which this admission for them was commanded; which when the orthodox could not do, because of their conscience; they submissively requested the Illustrious the States, that they might not be burdened by mandates of this kind, which they could not conscientiously obey. The deputies of the churches, when they saw that these dissensions and scandals were daily more and more increased, again earnestly entreated (or adjured, obtestati sunt) the Illustrious the States, in the name of the churches, that the promised provincial Synod might be called together at the earliest time, for the removal of these evils. But when Utenbogardus, and the rest of the pastors addicted to Arminius, observed the minds of the Illustrious lords the States to incline to this; in order that they might avoid the ecclesiastical decisions, they effected by certain individuals who seemed more attached to their cause, that, in the stead of the provincial Synod, a con
ference,concerning the controverted articles between Gomarus and Arminius, should be held, in the convention itself of the Illustrious States ; in the which each might take to himself four pastors, whose counsels they might be allowed to use. Arminius had taken Jannes Utenbogardus, of Hague, Adrian Borrius of Leyden, Nicholas Grevinchovius of Rotterdam, and the before mentioned Adolphus Venator of the Alcmarian church. But Gomarus, (took) Ricardus Acronius of Scheidam, James Roland of Amsterdam, John Bogardus of Harlem, and Festus Hommius of Leyden, pastors of the church.
When they had come together, Gomarus and the pastors, who had joined themselves to him, requested these two things: 1. That this conference should be instituted in writing to be exhibited on each side ; by which means, vain rumors of whatever kind might be counteracted. 2. That these writings should afterwards be delivered to a national Synod, to be examined and judged, by which the judgment of an ecclesiastical cause, might be reserved entire to the churches. * The Illustrious the States, willed that the conference should be instituted, by word of mouth, (viva voce) yet so that it might be allowed to use writing in aid of memory; and they promised, having given public letters for confirmation of the matter, that this cause, when they had known concerning the same from this conference, should be reserved to the judgment of a provincial Synod; and in order to this, that all things whatever, which should there be treated of by word of mouth, being afterwards sealed up in writing, those writings should be exhibited to the Synod.
The same persons also thought it a shameful thing, (indignum,) that Adolphus Venator who, on account of his doctrine and impure life, had been suspended from the ministry by the lawful censures of the churches, should be brought forward (or employed, adhiberi) in such a conference, to the great detriment of ecclesiastical censures. Wherefore they demanded, that another person should be taken in his place;
* That this cause might be regularly condemned, it was judged proper to bring it before an ecclesiastical assembly or 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 controversies ought to be judged and decided by an ecclesiastical assembly or council.” Mosheim, vol. v. p. 450. “The Calvinists are not particular in this; and indeed it is natural that debates, purely theological, should be disoussed in an assembly of divines." Note, Ibid. Maclaine.
which, as Arminius vehemently struggled against it, they were not able to obtain. In the beginning also, a disputation occurred concerning the order of handling the articles. For Arminius seemed to place the great defence of his cause in this, that the beginning should be made with the article of predestination. Gomarus thought, that because the article which respected justification seemed more necessary, the beginnings should be made with it; which also pleased the Illustrious the States. *
Concerning this article, there was the same controversy, which had previously been agitated before the supreme court, namely, Whether faith, inasmuch as it is an act according to the gracious estimation of God, be that_righteousness itself by which we are justified before God. In the second place, it was treated concerning the doctrine of divine predestination, which Arminius endeavored to render odious, by the same consequences, which he had lately brought forward in the convention of the Illustrious States. But Gomarus urged the principal point, namely, Whether faith were the antecedent cause or condition of election, or whether indeed the fruit or effect of the same. The third controversy was concerning the grace of God and free-will. Arminius professed that he acknowledged all the operations of divine grace, whatever could be assigned in the conversion of man; only that no grace should be assigned, which is irresistible. Gomarus shewed what ambiguity and what guile might be concealed under that word irresistible ; namely, that indeed under the same might be hidden the doctrine of the Semi Pelagians, and the Synergists (Cooperators) which had been condemned of old ; and he stated, that in the regeneration of man, that grace of the Holy Spirit was necessary; which works so efficaciously, that the resistance of the flesh being overcome, whosoever are made partakers of this grace, are certainly and infallibly converted to God by the same. Finally, they treated concerning the perseverance of the truly believing. Arminius declared, that he had never opposed the doctrine of the certain perseverance of the truly believing, nor thus far was he willing
* Arminius in this point, shewed his sound policy; for when declamations against predestination have prepared the way, a prejudice as to the other doctrines connected with it, or held by those who hold that offensive doctrine, will seldom be impartially considered. Some modern refuters of Calvinism either have not been so politic, or they have been more fair, in this respect than Arminius was.