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tained him for a considerable time in France. During the civil war which raged at that time, he was in the family of the prince of Condé. After Condé was taken prisoner at the battle of Dreux, he lived with admiral Coligni. By these means he had an opportunity of diffusing extensively among the French nobility, correct views of the doctrine of the atonement, and the nature of Messiah's mediatorial character. The effects of his stay in France were lasting, and highly important. He returned to Geneva in 1563, where his divinity school flourished, not only during his life, but for more than one hundred years after his death, which happened in the year 1600, when he was eighty-one years of age.
While Beza lectured at Geneva, John Arminius, of the United Provinces, attended the theological class. Arminius was born at Audwater, in Holland, in 1560. He received his education at the college of Marburg, where he was entered at the age of fifteen. At that time, his native country was sacked by the Spaniards, and nearly all his family put to the sword. He lost his father, when very young. From Marburgh he went to Geneva. Bayle, in his Biographical Dictionary, says, that, while at Geneva, Arminius offended some members of the academy, by embracing and teaching the philosophy of Ramus, in consequence of which, he was compelled to leave the school, and that he retired to Basil. Peter Paræus, as quoted by Bayle, says, that "he discovered in him, too great a disposition to refine upon things that Beza advised one of his (Arminius') friends to check the subtilty of his genius, as a thing which Satan had made use of in several instances, to exclude great persons." The opinion which Beza formed of Arminius, was chiefly from a lecture that he read in the academy, where he was permit. ted to deliver a course, during the holy-days. He took him. self an opportunity to advise Arminius, in relation to this character of his mind. “Do not engage yourself in vain subtilties,” said he, “and if sometimes certain new thoughts arise in your mind, approve them not, without having first sounded them to the bottom, how pleasing soever they may appear at first sight. Calvin gave me this counsel, and I have
found great benefit in it.” This advice ought to be most deeply impressed on the mind of every student of theology. James Grynæus tells us, that he discovered the same trait in the character of Arminius, while at Basil. It would have been happy for the church, had be followed the advice which Beza gave him. He is the author of those opinions, which from his name have been called Arminianism-opinions which have been embraced by millions, and which still continue to disturb the repose of the church.
Before his return to the United Provinces he travelled through Italy, and it is said, that at his return he found the affections of his friends much cooled towards him. Martin Lydius, professor of theology at Leyden, requested him to write an answer to a book which had appeared against Beza on Predestination. While employed in this work, the subtile speculations of the opponent, being well adapted to please such a mind as his, induced him to go over to the other side of the question, and he came out with an elaborate performance against Beza. He ransacked all the archives of the Pelagian heresy, and filled his book with the substance of their contents. In doing this he took the popular side. He taught that God had not decreed whatsoever comes to pass, but left every thing to the freedom of the human will, which he said possessed full power to choose either good or evil that in order to the former, there is no need of any special aid from the Spirit of God, and that by the common operations of the Holy Spirit, all men have power given them to believe, repent, and perform all other good works. He also taught chat Christ Jesus was not appointed a Mediator and Redeemer for a particular number of the human family; and that he died for all men indiscriminately. All these doctrines fatter the pride of human nature, and give men grounds for boasting before God. Hence many pious people, (and Arminius himself was probably one,) together with the whole multitude of the irreligious world, both carnal professors and those who make no profession, have embraced these errors. All, indeed, since the fall, are by nature Arminians. Hence his errors, enforced by many
plausible arguments, and great subtilty of reasoning, spread extensively. Many even in Holland espoused them. They were too, more favourable to the Roman Catholic church, than the doctrines of the Genevan school. The great body of the popish clergy had long held doctrines, not substantially different from those of Arminius. Those who embraced them among the protestants, rendered themselves less obnoxious to the potentates of Europe, who were nearly all Romanists, and consequently of the Arminian creed. The whole protestant church in the United Provinces was soon thrown into a state of agitation. The doctrines of the reformation had taken deep root there. The protestants had a powerful body of learned and truly orthodox clergy. Their theological seminary in Leyden, was in a highly respectable state, and had embraced fully the creed of the Genevan school. The state government was protestant. The nature of civil liberty, and the rights of men were better understood in Geneva, in the Swiss cantons, and Holland, than in any other countries in Europe at that time. And in these states the great truths of christianity, radiating from the doctrine of the atonement as from a common centre, were also more clearly understood than in any other part of the world. In countries where the christian religion is professed, these two generally go hand in hand. Banish the doctrine of the atonement with the truths which flow from it, and you pave the way either for anarchy or despotism. The whole of the civil rights of men, indeed, are no more than branches of the system of grace, which God has revealed to man. Hence when violent controversies on points of faith are agitated, civil commotions are generally excited. It was so in Holland.
In order to quell these religious disturbances, the head of the government resolved to convene a synod of delegates, from the churches in the provinces, and to invite the attendance of representatives from all the protestant countries in Europe. This synod met at Dort, Nov, 18, 1616. It was composed of the most learned and distinguished divines of Holland, both of the Arminian and Genevan school.
There were present delegates from Great Britain, Landaven, Davenant, Vardus, Goadh and Balcanquall; from the Low Countries; from Hesse; from the Palatinate; from Switzerland; from Genoa; and from the French Belgic provinces. Delegates were appointed by the reformed church in France, but they were prevented from attending, by the interference of the government. There never was a more learned, or enlightened body of divines assembled, nor on a more important occasion. The wisdom, of nearly all protestant Europe, was collected together, to express its views relative to the doctrine of the atonement, the divine decrees, the condition and moral powers of fallen men. After much preliminary discussion, as to the forms of procedure, it was resolved that the parties should be heard at length. The argument was protracted and luminous. After the Arminians and the orthodox divines had been heard at great length, the delegates from other churches, as well as those from the ecclesiastical bodies of the several provinces, were ordered to lay before the synod their opinions in writing, on the points in controversy.
We present an abstract of some of their views.
The following taken from the proceedings of this famous synod, is the opinion of the British divines:
“ By the special love and intention of both God the Fa. ther and of Christ, Messiah laid down his life for the elect, that he might procure for them eternal life, and infallibly confer it upon them. Christ is the Saviour of one body, even of the church, Eph. 5. 21. therefore, he not only has procured salvation for his church, but he actually puts them in possession of it. He is the mediator of the new covenant, of which mention is made, Jer. 31. 31. which he has ratified by his death. The blessings promised in this covenant, are pardon of sin and sanctification, through the Spirit, which are really the application of that salvation which he hath procured. All those for whom Jesus died, shall experience the efficacy of his death, for the mortification of sin; and they shall become kings and priests unto God.'”
To the same effect is the statement exhibited by the delegates from Transylvania.
“ The absolute will and purpose of God the Father, in delivering up his Son to death, and of his Son in enduring it, was that reconeiliation with God, and eternal life, might be procured for all those who were, from eternity, elected to eternal life, and for those alone. According to this unaltera, ble purpose of the Father and the Son, Christ the Mediator has procured remission of sin, reconciliation with God and everlasting life, for the elect alone, who shall be saved by his death on the cross; and this procurement of salvation and its application are of the same extent.”
The deputies from the synod of Belgic Gaul, give their suffrage to the same doctrines in the following words:
“ The price of redemption, which Christ paid to his Father, is of such dignity and value, that it would have been sufficient to have redeemed the whole human race, had it been destined by the Father for that purpose; but agreeably to the Scriptures, he died for those only who actually believe. Such was the will of the Father in sending his Son, and of the Son in dying."
“ The death, resurrection and intercession of Christ, as well as the blessings which flow from such a reconciliation, justification, pardon of sin, sanctification and life eternal, are indissolubly connected together. They ought not to be, they cannot be separated. Christ was made a propitiation for sin, not without faith, but through faith; nor is there any effect represented in the Scriptures as flowing from it, but to those who believe in Christ and have communion with him.”
The divines from the Palatinate express themselves as follows:
“ God the Father set apart Christ to redeem and make reconciliation for our sins, by the same love, through which he destined the elect to everlasting life. Christ died, rose again, and he intercedes in Heaven for elect believers, both in their stead and for their good.”
The delegates from Hesse give their opinion as follows:
“The second proposition" (of the Arminians) " which asserts that Christ, by his death on the cross, merited reconciliation and pardon of sin, may be admitted if understood