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fession of Faith and Catechism had been complied with, when it appeared that nothing of this kind had been done ; upon which the former injunction was renewed, in more peremptory terms.
It was at this meeting made known to the Synod, that every where in the churches dissensions had increased
; and that most of the pupils of Arminius coming from the University of Leyden, when they came before the classis, concealed their true opinions, but as soon as they were introduced to the ministry, moved new disputations, and contended earnestly for their opinions; and openly avowed that they had various objections to make to the received doctrine. And now disputations between pastors in different parts of the country became common; and these contentions were not confined to the pastors, but agitated the people also. The prospect of a national Synod being now distant, for reasons already mentioned, the Synod applied to the States General to permit the two Synods of north and south Holland to unite, and to take cognizance of these matters. But Arminius, dreading to have his cause brought before an Ecclesiastical court, applied to the States General to permit the supreme civil court of the nation, to hear it; and accordingly, both he and his learned colleague Gomar, who also was his antagonist in this controversy, were required to appear before this court; and the persons composing the Ecclesiastical convention, already mentioned, were invited to be present. The deputies of the churches were greatly dissatisfied with this arrangement, and again carnestly entreated that a Synod might be called; as being the proper tribunal before which a cause of this nature should be tried. The States answered, that although they had commited the cognizance of the affair to the supreme court, the final decision should be reserved for a provincial or uational Synod.
After much altercation between Arminius and Gomar, as to the proper method of proceeding, the conference took place; but the writings which were communicated on both sides, the States General ordered to be sealed up, and not made known to any mortal, until the meeting of a national Synod. The churches were therefore more disturbed after this conference had taken place than before; for they were generally of opinion that this concealment was in favour of Arminius, that his true sentiments might not be generally known. pliance with the urgent entreaties of the deputies of the churches, the States General promised, that a provincial Synod
oonfr rth and south Holland should be called in the next October, A. D. 1603, which should be convened for the trial of this cause; but when the time arrived, the convocation of the promised Synod was postponed for two months, and Arminius being exceedingly pressed to bring forth his animadversions on the Confession of Faith, took an opportunity of delivering an oration against the doctrines of the Belgic churches, in the presence of a convention of the States General, in which he inveighed against these doctrines, “as repugnant to the nature of God, his wisdom, justice, and goodness; as inconsistent with the nature of man and his free-will;—with the work of creation with the nature of life and death eternal-and with the nature of sin;—that they took away the divine gracewere inimical to the glory of God, and pernicious to the salvation of men—took away all pious solicitude-lessened the desire of doing good—extinguished the ardour of prayer-removed salutary fear-made way for desperation-subverted the gospel--hindered the ministry of the word, and finally, subverted, not only the foundation of Christianity, but of all religion.”
Gomar having heard this discourse, thought it incumbent on him to answer it, lest the minds of the States General should become prejudiced against the truth. He undertook, therefore, to exhibit the real opinions of Arminius, and to show how egregiously he erred, on several important points; and pointed out the disingenuous methods by which he disseminated his tenets; artfully concealing them in public, and assiduously propagating them in private; showed how industriously he had laboured to enervate the arguments adduced in favour of the truth by orthodox theologians, and how completely he had followed in the steps of the Jesuits and other errorists. He also exposed his insidious policy in seeking pretexts for delaying an impartial examination of his opinions, in order that he might have the opportunity of drawing over a greater number of pastors to his opinions, and of occupying the churches with his adherents. In the close of his discourse, he again earnestly entreated the STATES GENERAL to provide a remedy for the continually increasing evils of the church, by calling as soon as possible the promised national Synod. In which petition, he was joined by the deputies of the churches; but through the influence of Útenbogard and others, the thing was still further deferred. Another thing which increased the solicitude of the churches, was, that Peter Bertius, the regent of the theological college had evidently declined from orthodoxy to the opinions of Armipius, and pursued the same disingenuous course, in relation to the concealment of his true sentiments.
In consequence of the unhappy state of things, described above, the pastors who were attached to the party of Arminius, became every day more bold, in avowing and disseminating their erroneous tenets; and some of them began to inculcate opinions, which evidently appertained to the systems of Pelagius and Socinus. The deputies, therefore, did not cease to press upon the government the necessity of calling speedily a provincial Synod; but Utenbogard and his associates, to prevent this, and create a still further delay, proposed a conference between Gomar and Arminius before the convention of the States General; each being permitted to call to his aid and counsel four pastors of his own party.
When the parties met, Gomar and his friends made two requisitions: 1. That the conference should be carried on entirely in writing. 2. And that these writings should be afterwards delivered to a national Synod for their judgment. The States General, however, determined that the conference should be in the first place viva voce; and that afterwards, the arguments on both sides should be committed to writing and reserved for the consideration of a provincial Synod, Here again, a difficulty arose respecting the order in which the points in dispute should be taken up. Arminius insisted, that the subject of predestination should first be examined; but Gomar thought, that it was more proper first to consider the subject of justification; and this opinion was agreeable to the States General. This subject was then first brought under discussion; next, that of predestination; thirdly, they disputed respecting grace and free-will; and finally, concerning the perseverance of true believers. Arminius, however, declared that he never had opposed the doctrine of perseverance; nor was he now willing to oppose it; since there were testimonies of Scripture in favour of it, which he was not yet able to answer.
Having gone over these points, they were asked whether there were any other subjects of disagreement between them; to which Gomar replied, that there were, and mentioned the doctrine of original sin; of Providence; the authority of the sacred Scriptures; assurance of salvation; the perfection of man in this life, and some others. But the health of Armi.
VOL. IV. No. II.-2 I
nius not admitting of a longer continuance of the conference, it was broken off; but Gomar and his friends were assured, that they should have an opportunity of fully discussing these points in a provincial Synod, which was still promised, but still delayed. It was enjoined on the parties respectively that they should commit their arguments to writing within fourteen days, that they might be submitted to the provincial Synod. Gomar had his ready within the time prescribed; but Arminius excused himself on account of declining health; and his disorders of body so increased upon him, that he departed this life, October 19, 1609. As he, in his lifetime, had been the chief occasion of the disturbances in the Church, it was hoped, that at his death they would have ceased; but this hope was not realized; for so many pastors had embraced his opinions, that the evil could not be so easily exterminated. These men at length formed themselves into a body distinct from the other pastors, and prepared and presented to the States General a supplication, which they called a remonstrance; whence, afterwards, the whole party were denominated Remonstrants. In this paper, they greatly misrepresented the doctrines of the Reformed Churches, concerning predestination and the perseverance of the saints; and so disguised their own errors, by wrapping them up in ambiguous words, that the dangerous tendency of them was, in a great measure, concealed. The particular object of this paper was, to solicit from the government protection against the ecclesiastical censures to which they had exposed themselves.
These proceedings, amounting to open schism, greatly affected the Belgic churches; and when they endeavoured to obtain a copy of the remonstrance, they were unable to accomplish it. And what greatly aggravated their affliction was, the prospect of having Conrad Vorstius, a man strongly suspected of Socinianism, introduced into the chair of theology at Leyden, as successor to Arminius.
In the remonstrance above mentioned, the points in dispute were reduced to five, and the Arminians endeavoured to obtain an order from the government, that no candidate for the ministry should be urged, on his examination, to go further than was expressed in these five articles.
These articles were as follows:
1. “That God, from all eternity, determined to bestow salvation on those, who, as he foresaw, would persevere unto the end in their faith in Christ Jesus, and to inflict everlasting
punishment on those who should continue in their unbelief, and resist to the end of life his divine succours."
2. “That Jesus Christ, by his death and sufferings, made an atonement for the sins of mankind in general, and of every individual in particular; that, however, none but those who believe in him can be partakers of that divine benefit.
3. “That true faith cannot proceed from the exercise of our natural faculties and powers, or from the force and operation of free-will; since man, in consequence of his natural corruption, is incapable of thinking or doing any thing good; and that, therefore, it is necessary to his conversion and salvation, that he be regenerated and renewed by the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God through Jesus Christ.
4. “That this divine grace or energy of the Holy Ghost, which heals the disorders of a corrupt nature, begins, advances, and brings to perfection every thing that can be called good in man; and that, consequently, all good works are to be attributed to God alone, and to the operation of his grace; that, nevertheless, this grace does not force the man to act against his inclination, but may be resisted and rendered ineffectụal by the perverse will of the impenitent sinner.
5. “That they who are united to Christ by faith, are furnished with abundant strength, and with succours sufficient to enable them to triumph over the seductions of Satan, and the allurements of sin and temptation; but that the question, whether such may fall from their faith, and forfeit, finally, the state of grace, has not yet been resolved with sufficient perspicuity."
Afterwards, however, the Arminians adopted the opinion positively, that the saints might fall from a state of grace. It is easy to see, that in these five articles, as here expressed, the poison of error which lurks underneath a heap of ambiguous words, does not appear in its true character.
It was now determined to hold another conference at the Hague, on the five points; and six distinguished theologiang were chosen by each party, who met March 11, 1611. The remonstrants refused to enter into a conference with the other six pastors, as with the deputies of the classes of Holland, lest they should seem to be the adversaries of the churches. When this obstacle was removed, it was agreed that each party should express, in writing, the arguments in favour of his own opinion, and afterwards discuss the points viva voce. But before they entered on the conference, the pastors of the