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quisition of every important subject there taught. Secondly, That it is the part of modesty, duty, and wisdom, to confine himself to the circle of attainments, prescribed by the academical corporation. Thirdly, That the special and appropriate preparations for the ministry, and the active labours of the same, should not be anticipated at this important period.
The details of the foregoing observations may appear to some of our readers to be unimportant and uninteresting, yet nothing should be so considered which bears directly upon the training of the ministry. The noble resolution of the Assembly's Board of Education, to take on their funds every qualified young man who shall apply to them for aid, will call forth at once an army of youthful candidates. Many of them will be placed in our colleges, and be exposed to the temptations which have been mentioned. Those who are specially charged with their supervision will be the last to consider these suggestions unimportant.
ART. VII.-ARTICLES OF THE SYNOD OF DORT.
The Articles of the Synod of Dort, and its rejection of er
rors, with the history of events which made way for that Synod, fc. Translated from the Latin, by Thomas Scott, rector of Aston and Sandford, Bucks. Utica, William Williams, Genesee street.
The history of the Synod of Dort, from which Dr. Scott translated this work, was drawn up by the delegates from South Holland, at the request of the Synod; and when the Acts of the Synod were published by authority, this narrative was prefixed. It was probably written by Festius Hommius, who was one of the deputies from South Holland; and a man of great worth ard learning; who, from the commencement, had as much to do with this controversy as any other person. No Synod has ever met in the Reformed Churches, the proceedings of which were so important and interesting as that of Dort. It was not merely a national Synod, but received delegates from most of the Reformed Churches in Europe. Those who were about to attend from France, were, for some political reasons, prevented from taking their seats in the Synod: but from Great Britain, from Germany, and Switzerland, theologians of the highest reputation for learning and piety, were sent, who patiently and laboriously assisted in the discussions and transactions of the Synod, until the business was brought to a close.
Seldom has there been a more truly venerable, orthodox, and learned body of divines. The papers which were read before the Synod, on the five points of controversy, contain a body of sound theology, and solid scriptural argument, which has seldom been exceeded.
The doctrinal articles agreed upon, and established by this Synod, are such as are admitted by all consistent, moderate Calvinists: and when we use the word moderate, we do not mean, that any one article of this scriptural system of faith, is obscured or denied ; but that they are not pushed to such extreme consequences as they have been by some supralapsarian theologians formerly, and by some who pretend to have improved the Calvinistic scheme, in our own times.
The theologians who composed the Synod of Dort, were not agreed among themselves in every particular. On several points of some importance, the views expressed by the deputies, in the papers read before the Synod, were different; yet this discrepance, in minor matters, did not in the least interrupt their harmony; and their general articles were so word. ed as to accord with the sincere belief of every individual; while, if either party had insisted on a perfect conformity in every particular, there could have been no agreement in adopting a creed which they could all subscribe. To give an example of the diversity alluded to, we would mention, the eztent of the atonement. On this subject, the learned and highly respectable theologians who attended as delegates from the British churches, while they agreed with their brethren from the churches on the continent, on every other point, yet on this explicitly expressed their opinion in favour of a general atonement. Therefore, in drawing up the article on the subject of redemption, care was taken to express the doctrine in terms to which all could subscribe. After speaking of the substitution of Christ, and the vicarious nature of his sacrifice, they say, “This death of the Son of God, is a single and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sins; of infinite value, and price; abundantly sufficient to ex. piate the sins of the whole world”_"Moreover, the promise of the gospel is, that whosoever believeth in Christ crucified,
shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Which promise ought to be announced and proposed, promiscuously and indiscriminately, to all nations and men, to whom God in his good pleasure, hath sent the gospel, with the command to repent and believe. But because many who are called by the gospel do not repent nor believe in Christ, but perish in unbelief, this doth not arise from any defect or insufficiency of the sacrifice offered by Christ on the cross, but from their own fault.”
The narrative which Dr. Scott has faithfully translated from the Preface to the Acts of the Synod of Dort, goes back to the origin of those troubles and controversies, which at length induced the StateS GENERAL to call a national Synod; and to invite to it learned theologians from all the Reformed Churches in foreign countries.
The conduct of James Arminius was the primary occasion of all the disturbances which for so many years agitated the churches of Holland. And he has the honour-if it may be so considered—of giving his name to a system of doctrines, which has been received with great favour by a large portion of nominal Christians.
Arminius, a man of cultivated mind and various learning, pursued his theological studies at Geneva; but seems early to have taken up strong prejudices against the rigid opinions of Calvin and Beza, respecting the decrees of God, and some other abstruse subjects. His doubts on these points he communicated to Grynæus his preceptor. After completing his studies, he travelled into Italy as far as Rome; and, on his return to Holland, was called to the pastoral office over one of the principal churches of Amsterdam. Here, in a course of lectures on the seventh chapter of the epistle to the Romans, he began to broach some of his new doctrines; but being resolutely opposed by the Presbytery with which he was connected, he ceased to inculcate his erroneous opinions any longer in public, but still privately propagated his favourite tenets among his particular friends, and among the pastors of some of the Dutch Reformed Churches. pears to have been seized with such an itch for novelty, that it was enough to discredit an opinion with him, if it was commonly received. The errors which he embraced were akin to those of Pelagius; or rather, agreed exactly with the system which had been denominated semi-pelagianism. He paved the way for his errors, by depreciating the cha
VOL. IV. No. II.-2 H
racters of such celebrated men as Calvin, Beza, Zanchius, and Martyr; and he was so confident in his own opinions, that he challenged Francis Junius, the most celebrated professor of theology at Leyden, to a conference on the disputed points.
But when, A. D. 1602,-Junius, to the great grief of all the Belgic Churches, was snatched away by death, Arminius was strongly recommended by Utenbogard to the trustees of the University of Leyden, as a suitable person to fill the vacant chair of theology. This proposal, however, gave much uneasiness to the deputies of the churches; for they greatly feared, that if a man whose orthodoxy was so suspicious, should be placed in a situation so important as that of professor of theology at Leyden, the effects would probably be contentions and schisms in the churches; they, therefore, earnestly entreated the curators, that they would not expose the churches to those perils, but would rather think of appointing some other suitable person. And they also admonished Utenbogard, to desist from recommending a person who did not enjoy the confidence of the churches; but he disregarded their admonitions, and did not cease until he had accomplished his object, and Arminius was invited to the vacant theological chair in the University of Leyden. At first, the classis or presbytery of Amsterdam hesitated to dismiss Arminius, lest a man whom they knew to be so fond of innoYation by being advanced to be a professor in an institution in which so many youth were trained for the holy ministry, might be the cause of incalculable evils. But the curators of the University, and Utenbogard the special friend of Arminius, pressed their suit with so much earnestness, that, at length, all obstacles were overcome, and it was agreed that he should be translated to Leyden, on condition that he should consent to hold a conference with Francis Gomar, a learned and orthodox professor of theology in the University, in which he should remove from himself all suspicion of heterodoxy, by an explicit declaration of his opinion, on all the principal heads of doctrine; and, also, that he should solemnly promise that if he held any peculiar opinions, he would never attempt to propagate them among the students. To all this, Arminius readily consented, and the conference was held in the presence of the trustees of the University, in which he, in the most solemn manner, renounced the errors of Pelagius, respecting grace, freewill, predestination, original sin, persection in this life, &c. and declared his agreement with Augustin and the other fathers who had written against Pelagius. He, at the same time, solemnly promised, that he would never inculcate any doctrine different from that received by the churches; upon which he was admitted to the professorship of theology. And in the course of this same year, he laboured to remove from himself all suspicion of heterodoxy, by holding public disputations in favour of the doctrine of the Reformed Churches.
But after Arminius had been established in his office a year or two, he began, both in public and private, to attack the commonly received doctrines of the Reformed Churches, with the same arguments which were used to impugn them, by the Jesuits and Socinians; and it has been ascertained, that he circulated among the students compositions of his own in manuscript, in which he treated contemptuously the characters of Calvin, Beza, Zanchius, and Ursinus; while he extolled the writings of certain authors who were suspected of being inimical to orthodoxy. And he now openly avowed, that he had many animadversions to make on the commonly received doctrines; and his scholars, when they left the University, petulantly insulted the Reformed Churches, by disputing, contradicting, and reviling their doctrine.
When these things were understood, the deputies of both north and south Holland, to whom the care of the churches had been committed, went to Arminius and told him what rumours were every where circulated about him and his doctrines; and entreated him, if he had discovered any thing defective or erroneous in the system received by the churches, that he would sincerely and ingenuously open his mind to his brethren, that there might be an opportunity of removing his difficulties, by a friendly conference, or by carrying the whole affair before a lawful Synod. To which he answered, that he had never given any just cause for these rumours; nor did he deem it expedient to enter into any conference with them, in their official capacity, although he had no objection to confer with them as private pastors, on condition, that if there should be found some difference of opinion between them, no report of their conversations should be made to the Synod. But this the deputies declined, as no how calculated to remove the uneasiness which existed in the churches; and so they departed without accomplishing their object; but they learned from the other professors of the University, that since the coming of Arminius, various questions were agitated