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And when this measure had been carried into effect by the most illustrious the Prince of Orange, with incredible fortitude of soul, prudence, dexterity and promptitude, without any effusion of blood j and their principal officers, who had endeavoured by force to resist this disbanding of them, had been committed to custody ; John Utenbogardus, James Taurinus, and Adophus Venator, conscious in themselves of criminality, (male sibi conaeifp having deserted their churches, fled out of federated Belgium; as likewise did a short time after Nicolas Grevinchovlus, having been cited by the court of Holland to plead his own cause. And, a particular synod in South Holland having been called at Delpht, most of the Remonstrants, despising the before mentioned decree of the illustrious the States, refused to depute any person to the synod; and presenting a suppliant writing (libello mpplice) to the illustrious the States of Holland and West Friesland, petitioned that, instead of the national synod now proclaimed, another convention instituted according to the same twelve conditions which those who were cited afterwards laid before the national Synod, might be called; the illustrious the States, having heard the judgment of the synod of Delpht concerning this demand, (which also was inserted in these acts,) commanded them to obey the constituted order, and the mandates of the illustrious the States} and moreover fully to state their opinion comprised in writing, concerning the articles proposed in the conference at Delpht, in the year 1613; and to add all their considerations, which they had re* specting the Confession and Catechism of these
churches. They exhibited the declaration of their opinion on the before mentioned articles, which afterwards, having been translated into Latin by the delegates of this synod, was communicated to the national synod: but, in the place of considerations, they sent some things gathered out of the writings of certain learned men, as if opposite to the Confession and the Catechism.
Before this Synod, John Utenbogardus, and Nicolas Grevinchvius were cited; and when the former, as a fugitive, (profugus) dared not to appear, but the latter contumaciously refused, the accusations produced against them having been examined, each of them was, by the«judgment of this Synod, removed from the ecclesiastical ministry. But when in South Holland, besides these two, there were many others, of whom the most, in these dissentions, had been obtruded on unwilling churches, without a lawful vocation; and others' who, besides these five articles, had moreover scattered many Socinian errors, others had grievously offended the churches by wicked and turbulent actions, and others finally led a profane life; it was judged necessary, in order that the churches should be purified from these scandals, and the discipline of the clergy as it is called, which had fallen into decay, should at length be restored, that all these disorderly (drdnr^) pastors should be cited, that they might render before the synod, an account, as well of their vocation, as of their doctrine, and also of their life ; which seemed proper to be done, even for this cause also, before the national synod, that if perhaps any should deem themselves aggrieved by the sentence of the synod, or its deputies, they might appeal to the judgment (of the national synod). Certain of these appeared, whose causes having been duly examined, some of them were suspended from their office, and other wholly set aside. But as to those, who because of the shortness of the time, having been cited, could not be heard, and those who, having been cited, had not appeared; five pastors were deputed, to whom the illustrious the States joined also three deputies, who might take cognizance of their cause, and give sentence unto it in the name of the synod. But it was expressly enjoined to these deputies, not to fix any censure on any one because of the opinion expressed in the five articles of the Remonstrants ; forasmuch, as the judgment concerning the same had been reserved entire to the national synod. But they, though they every where, on the afore mentioned most weighty causes, even during the national synod, suspended many, partly from the office of teaching, and partly entirely set them aside ; yet marked no one with any censure because of the opinion of the five articles, as it may be evidently shewn from their very Acts.1—In North Holland, matters were conducted after the same method, in the synod of Horn, in which the pastors of Horn, John Valesius, John Rodingenus, and Isaac Welsingius, having been suspended from the office of teaching, appealed to the national synod. Arid when the deputies of this synod, along with the delegates of the illustrious States, examined, in the class of Alcmaar, the cause of John Geystran, a pastor of Alcmaar, and of Peter Geystran, his brother, a pastor of Egmond; it was detected, that they had been evidently addicted to the blasphemous and execrable errors of Socinus, as it appears from their own confession; which, because it was publicly read in the national synod, with the horror of all men, is likewise inserted in these Acts.—In the synod of the churches of Overyssel, some of the Remonstrants were commanded to render an account of their doctrines and actions; and when among them four pastors of the church of Campe, Thomas Goswin, Assuerus Matthisius, John Scotlerus, and above all Edward Vosculius, had been accused of many errors, and of various turbulent actions; the cause having been examined, it seemed good to reserve it for the national synod; even as it was afterwards brought before the same. In the other provinces, because no manifest Remonstrants were found, the synods there held duly prepared all things with less labour, after the accustomed manner, for the national synod.
1 The appeal is thus made to the registered Acts of these deputies, evidently because they had been or were likely to be misrepresented by the favourers of the Remonstrants: a» beyond doubt, they generally have been to this very day.
In the mean time, the most illustrious and powerful the States General had addressed letters to the most serene and powerful James I. King of Great Britain, to the deputies of the reformed churches of the kingdom of France, to the most serene the Elector Palatine, and the Elector tof Brandenburg; to the most illustrious the Landgrave of Hesse; to the four reformed republics of Switzerland) Zurich, Berne, Basil, and Schaffhausen; to the illustrious and generous the counts
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of Correspondentia and Wedevarica; to the republics of Geneva, Bremen, and Emden; in which they requested, that they would deign to send from them to this synod some of their own theologians, excelling in learning, piety, and prudence, who might earnestly labour by their counsels and decisions, along with the rest of the deputies of the Belgic churches, to settle those controversies, which had arisen in these Belgic churches, and to restore peace to the same.
All these things having been duly prepared and completed, when at the appointed time as well the deputies of the Belgic churches, as also the foreign theologians, a few excepted, had met together at Dort, that national Synod was begun in the name of the Lord, on the thirteenth day of November, 1618. But in this Synod, what now was actually done, the prudent reader may know at length (prolixt) from the Acts of the same, which now are published for the favour (satisfaction, gratiam) and use of the reformed churches. It hath seemed good also, that to these Acts should be joined, besides other writings exhibited to this Synod, the judgments also of the theologians concerning the five articles of the Remonstrants, as they were proposed in the Synod; by which they may more fully know, by the same, on what passages of scripture, and on what arguments, the canons of the reformed church do rest. It is not to be doubted, that the prudent reader will discover in these judgments the highest and most admirable agreement. If perhaps in less matters a certain diversity appear, even this will be an argument, that a due liberty of prophesying and