« AnteriorContinuar »
judging flourished, in this venerable convention; but that all, notwithstanding, by concording opinions, agreed in the doctrine expressed in the canons of this Synod; of whom all and every one, (not one indeed excepted, or declining to do it,) subscribed to testify this consent.
But all the reformed churches are requested willingly to embrace, preserve, and propagate this orthodox doctrine, so solemnly in this Synod explained and confirmed from the word of God; and to transmit it to all posterity, to the glory of divine grace, and the consolation and salvation of souls. And at the same time also favourably to receive the pious, and never sufficiently to be celebrated zeal and earnest endeavour of the most illustrious and mighty the States General of federated Belgium, for preserving the purity (sinceritate) of the reformed religion; and also to follow up with their favour the diligence and piety, in maintaining the same, of so many doctors, of distinguished churches, who were present at this Synod: and, above all things, it is requested, that they would earnestly intreat the most high and gracious God, (optimum, maximum,) that he would indeed benignly preserve the Belgic churches, and, in like manner, all others professing with them the same orthodox doctrine, in the unity of the faith, in peace and tranquillity; and that he would inspire a better mind into the Remonstrants themselves, and all others who are involved in error;' and, by the grace of his own Spirit, would at length, some time lead them to the knowledge of the truth, to the glory of his own divine name, the edification of the churches, and the salvation of us all; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; to whom with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, the one, true, and immortal God, be praise, and honour, and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.1
1 'That it may please thee to bring into the way of truth, all 'such as have erred and are deceived.'—Litany. The Calvinism of the Synod did not, it seems, prevent their prayers for those who, as they supposed, were in error. It did not lead them to treat their most eager opponents as reprobates, and to give them up as necessarily consigned to destruction; as many ignorantly suppose, or confidently assert, that decided Calvinists do, even with malignity and malignant satisfaction. So greatly are they calumniated!
1 • Accordingly a Synod was convoked at Dordrecht in the
• year 1618, by the counsels and influence of prince Maurice, '&c.'—Mosheim, vol. v. p. 450. 'Our author always forgets 'to mention the order issued 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 this prince, 'that the assembly was called together. The legitimacy of the 'manner of convoking this Synod was questioned by Olden'Barneveldt, who maintained that the States General had no 'sort of authority in matters of religion; affirming that this was 'an act of sovereignty, that belonged to each province sepa'rately, and respectively.'—Maclaine, Ibid.
It was by means of these disputes, about the ecclesiastical authority, (which all parties supposed to be possessed by some of them,) that the union of the confederated States was endangered in this controversy.
'Dr. Mosheim, however impartial, seems to have consulted 'more the authors of one side than of the other, probably 'because they were more numerous, and more generally known. 'When he published this history, the world had not been 'favoured with The Letters, Memoirs, and Negotiations of Sir 'Dudley Carleton, which Lord Royston (afterwards Earl of 'Hardwicke) drew from his 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, printed at his own expence. They were 'soon translated both into Dutch and French: and, though it 'cannot be affirmed, that the spirit of party is no where dis'coverable in them; yet they contain anecdotes with respect 'both to Olden-Barneveldt 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 sufficient to justify the severities exercised against these 'eminent men, would, however, have prevented Dr. Mosheim * from saying, that he knew not on what pretext they were 'arrested.'—Mosheim, vol. v. p. 449, 450. Note by Maclaine. In a political contest for authority, between prince Maurice and his opponents in the States General, the Remonstrants favoured his opponents, and the Contra-Remonstrants were attached to him. The prince's party at length prevailed, and, 'the men who sat at the helm of government were cast into 'prison. Olden-Barneveldt, a man of wisdom and gravity, 'whose hairs were grown grey in the service of his country, 'lost his life on the public scaffold, while Grotius and Hooger'berts were condemned to perpetual imprisonment; under 'what pretext, or in consequence of what accusations or crimes, 'is unknown to us.'—Mosheim, vol. v. p. 448,449.
CONTAINING THE JUDGMENT OF THE SYNOD ON THE FIVE CONTROVERTED POINTS OF DOCTRINE, AS DELIVERED IN THEIR 'ARTICLES * AND * REJECTION OF ERRORS;1' WITH THE PREFACE, AND THE TRANSLATOR'S REMARKS.
In the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Among very many comforts, which our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ hath given to his own church militant, in this calamitous pilgrimage, that which he left unto it, when about to go away to his Father, into the heavenly sanctuary, saying, "I am with you at all times, even unto the end of "the world," is deservedly celebrated. The truth of this most delightful promise shines forth in the church of all ages, which, whilst it has been assailed from the beginning, not only by the open violence of enemies, but also by the secret craftiness of seducers, truly if at any time the Lord had deprived it of the salutary guard of his own
1 The full title is: ' The judgment of the National Synod of 'the Reformed Belgic Churches, held at Dort in the years 1618, '1619, (at which many eminent Divines of the Reformed 'Churches of Great Britain, Germany, and France were present,) 'concerning the five heads of Doctrine controverted in the • Belgic Churches. Published May 6. 1619.'—J. S.
promised presence, had long since been either crushed by the power of tyrants, or seduced into destruction by the fraud of impostors.
But that good Shepherd, who most constantly loveth his flock, for which he laid down his life, hath always most seasonably, and often, by his own right hand stretched forth, most miraculously repressed the rage of persecutors; and hath also detected and dissipated the crooked ways of seducers, and their fraudulent counsels; in both (these ways) demonstrating himself to be most effectually present (presentissimum) in his church. Of this thing, an illustrious proof (documentmn) exists in the history of the pious emperors, kings, and princes, whom the Son of God hath excited so often for the assistance of his church; hath fired with the holy zeal of his house; and, by their help, hath not only repressed the furious rage (furores) of tyrants, but also hath procured to his church, when conflicting with false teachers, in various ways adulterating religion, the remedies of holy synods; in which the faithful servants of Christ, by united prayers, counsels, and labours, have-valiantly stood for the church, and for the truth of God; have intrepidly opposed themselves against the "ministers of Satan, though transforming themselves into angels of light;" have taken away the seeds of errors and discords ; have preserved the church in the concord of pure religion ; and have transmitted the genuine (sincerum) worship of God, uncorrupted, to posterity. With a similar benefit our faithful Saviour hath, at this time-, testified his own gracious presence with the Belgic church, for several years past very