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highly applauded for their vigilance, and their efforts to prevent or banish what the synod denominates, “ heresies in the articles of predestination and its dependencies.” It does not appear that, in the adoption of these measures, there was one dissenting voice, either in the synod or in the reformed church in France. The first person who subscribed the oath was the celebrated Du Moulin.
All these measures, however, were not sufficient to guard the Church, against inroads from the Arminian errors, which like noxious effluvia spread their sickening influence over all the Reformed Churches in Europe. The whole of the Lutheran Church was soon tainted, and the Gallic was not exempt. Mr. John Cameron, Bishop of Norwich, originally a Scottish clergyman, had been settled, before the synod of Alez, in a congregation at Bourdeaux, and thence transfered to the divinity professorship at Saumur. Cameron was an eloquent and popular man, who had a talent of recommending himself to those with whom he became acquainted. At this synod a petition was presented from his former charge at Bourdeaux, requesting his restoration to them, and also one from the College of Saumur, for his continuance in the Theological chair. The latter was fortified by a recoinmendatory letter from lord du Plessis Marley, and prevailed, as the synod continued him one year longer in the professorship. This man was destined to be instrumental in preparing the way for destroying the interests of Reformation in France. He had embraced and taught in the divinity school, the opinion, that there are several kinds of election: that some men are elected to faith, who are not peremptorily elected to everlasting salvation; and also some views relative to the extent of the atonement, which were nearly related to those of Arminius. What these were will probably be ascertained with more precision, from the creed of the professor who succeeded him in the theological chair at Saumur. This was Moses Amyraut, who was born at Bourguil, a small town of Turaine, in September, 1596. He was destined for the practice of the law, which he read at Poitiers, prosecuting his studies with extraordinary assi
duity. The reading of Calvin's Institutes, and the persuasions of his friends, especially of the pastor of the Reformed church at Saumur, induced him to relinquish the profession of the law, and engage in that of divinity. He entered himself as a student under Cameron. The semi-arminian views of his teacher he adopted, and entered into them with a zeal which in him was constitutional. He was settled in the pastoral charge of a congregation at St. Aignon, in 1626; but on the removal of the Rev. Dr. Daille, pastor of the reformed Church at Saumur, to Charenton, Mr. Amyraut was invited to take his charge at the former place, and accepted the invitation. In 1633 he was inaugurated into the professorship of theology, in the college, in which he was associated with two of the most distinguished scholars in France, Lewis Cappell, and Joshua de la Place. Amyraut was himself a man of great industry, and no ordinary share of learning; his manners were courtly in a high degree and his eloquence persuasive. Three such men were sufficient to give celebrity to any literary institution and to make it fourish. No school in France, under the direction of the reformed church, was at this time so powerful as the university of Saumur, and the character of the three professors now associated in it, increased greatly its reputation. In addition his learning, Amyraut had cultivated, successfully, the favour of the great, and soon extended his fame beyond that of all his predecessors. He espoused and taught, to the pumerous youths who crouded his school, all the doctrines which he had imbibed from his master, and probably extended further his inroads upon the system of reformed truth. He taught boldly that Christ had died equally for all men, that from eternity God willed the salvation of the whole human race, under the condition of faith; but had, at the same time, decreed that he would bestow faith upon those only who should be saved. Thus we see, that within thirtythree years after the death of Arminius, one half at least of his errors are introduced among the reformers of France, under the most powerful patronage, and pressed with extraordinary eloquence and much learning, upon the youth
who were prosecuting their theological studies at this seminary. To embrace these doctrines and preach them, were comparatively easy. They were much less obnoxious to the Roman Catholic bishops, noblemen and princes, than those of the Genevan school, introduced into the French reformed confession of faith. That Cameron himself was swayed by these motives, to a certain extent, is highly probable, nay almost certain; and youth at all times, before they are fully confirmed in the way of truth and holiness, are too ready to adopt that system which will afford them an oppor. tunity of accommodating the world, especially the great. The cardinals who were the prime ministers of the king of France, used every effort and every artifice, that ingenuity could devise, and their influence effect, to overawe and crush the protestants, or to allure them from their duty. The edict of Nantz, which was then esteemed sacred, tied up their hands from persecution; besides, it would have been a hazardous experiment to attack in this way, so powerful a body. In these circumstances, what course would such profound politicians as Richlieu and Mazarin be likely to adopt? Address themselves, certainly, to the heads of the protestant church, in the way of flattery and seduction; especially to the theological professors. This course precisely, we find them pursuing. They knew, as well as we know, that the doctrines of Arminius, which Cameron had embraced and taught at Saumur, were different from those taught by the early reformers and that they approximated to popery. They early discovered the talents, growing reputation, and influence of Amyraut and his associates, Cappell and La Place. They knew that this school must produce a powerful effect on the state and affairs of the protestant church in France, and that the cause of reformation must make rapid progress, when promoted by a combination of such learning and eloquence. To Amyraut, therefore, they determined to address themselves.
The year after his inauguration into the professorship, we find Amyraut dining with the archbishop of Chartres, a person high in the friendship and confidence of the minister, cardinal Richlieu, at whose suggestion the invitation is sup.
posed to have been given. A French catholic nobleman of elevated rank, was one of the party. After dinner the subject of religion was introduced, by the nobleman, who charged the protestants with teaching harsh things on the subject of predestination, and a slight controversy ensued. Amyraut was, no doubt, inclined to soften some of those features of the Calvinistic system, which were thought to be harsh, and said precisely such things as the cardinal, the bishop, and his noble friend anticipated. On the following day, as the professor returned to Saumur, he called by invitation, at the house of the nobleman, with whom he had dined at the bishop's; and afterwards said that “he found the noble personage well affected towards the protestant religion.” He, however, ventured to express some doubts of Calvin's views relative to the divine decrees, the extent of the atonement, &c. These scruples Amyraut endeavoured to remove and promised to write a book, containing such views as he had exhibited on that day, and the preceding, with which the gentleman was much pleased. In the following year 1634, the book appeared,-a book which set the whole protestant Church of France on flame. A large body of the reformed clergy, especially those beyond the river Loire, considered the doctrines which he taught relative to conditional predestination, and indefinite atonement, as at war with the standard of the Gallic reformed Church, and of the doctrines of the Genevan school, all which they believed to be founded on the Holy Scriptures. A charge was brought against him, by Du Moulin, of violating the decrees of the synod of Dort, and those of the general synod of Alez, respecting them. No man stood higher among the ministers of the reformed Church than Du Moulin, and he adhered, as we have before seen, firmly, to the doctrines taught in their Confession of Faith. The synod, before which those charges were exhibited, met at Charenton in 1637. All the divines from the south of the Loire were instructed, by their respective presbyteries, to use their influence, to have the censures of the Church inflicted upon Amyraut; and many contended that if he would not abandon his errors, he should be
degraded from his ministerial office, and from the professor's chair. Bayle in his Biographical Dictionary, represents all this opposition, as proceeding from the influence of Du Moulin. But if the views of those divines were not the same with those of their confession of Faith, and of Calvin, why should the innovations of Amyraut have alarmed them? Were the assertion of Bayle true it would be highly honorable to that illustrious divine. No censure, however, was inflicted on the innovator. It was now more than seventeen years, since Cameron had begun to teach the doctrines of hypothetical decrees and general atonement, and four years since Amyraut from the same chair, had been employed in disseminating the same opinions among the students who were educating for the ministry at Saumur. Great numbers of the young clergy had embraced, and openly taught them, while doubtless, many who would not risk the teaching of them publicly, were secretly well disposed to them. Amyraut possessed very great popularity, and the ruling powers were friendly to him. On all these accounts, the interests of truth were compromitted. He was indeed enjoined by the synod not to disturb the repose of the church, with his novel opinions, and with this injunction he promised to comply--but his promise he did not fulfil. To preserve the peace of the church also, as they said, the opposers of the hypothesis, as Amyraut's view of the Christian system was called, were ordered not to write against him. A strange injunction truly, prohibiting the ministers of the church from defending the doctrines embodied in their standard, which they were all sworn to maintain!
At the synod of Charenton, which met 1645, Amyraut was charged with having violated the injunction of silence, as to the disputed points; to which he replied, that he received provocation from the attacks of his opponents, which he thought himself bound to repel. The synod passed an act of "holy amnesty" as they called it, by which all that had passed, was to be buried in oblivion, and both Amyraut and his antagonists were ordered not to touch in public