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sage is that in which, having conceded that God may ANNIHILATE the most holy man upon earth, he denies the possibility of God inflicting hellish torments on an innocent man : In which, I confess, he proceeds with great plausibility and speciousness, while he philosophizes on the right or jurisdiction of God over his creatures and the foundations on which it is erected. But all his arguments are completely useless, vapid, and corrupt,-&c. * * * The sum of all is this: According to my judgment, Arminius is a man fashioned and formed for promoting [or increasing) the judgments of God against those who have not received the love of the truth; which judgments are, that such persons are delivered
up to strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.t (2 Thess. ii, 10.) **** I am fully persuaded, that there is scarcely one individual who is drawn aside by these Arminian errors, except it be through his attachment to a party, or through his superficial learning, at least on these points of Divinity.”
These extracts are among the less exceptionable specimens of the arrogant and vain-glorious manner of the redoubtable Dr. Twisse,
+ Dr. Twisse immediately adds: “ With regard to Perkins, his adversary generally desires to find greater accuracy in him; sometimes he disparages his arguments, at other times he censures their solutions as inefficient and ludicrous. Yet I do not see what there is in Perkins that could possibly excite the contempt of Arminius. Were any one to bring to the touch-stone of a scholastic examination the Theses which Arminius has composed on any topic, how slight soever may be its liability to be controverted, and were he to be as careful in the examination of them as Arminius has been in discussing those of Perkins, it is probable the result would be, that more and wider chasms might be found yawning in the productions of Arminius, and that they would on no account escape scholastic censure. There is no human writer, who can on all points give entire satisfaction to his reader, how indulgent soever he may prove; much less is it possible for him to avoid the accusations of an adversary, who is eagerly intent upon discovering faults where they do not exist : Notwithstanding, unless my mind greatly deceives me, the reader will find those matters to be exceedingly rare of occurrence in which Perkins bas exposed himself to deserved censure.”
The last clause was dictated in a tone somewhat subdued ; and had Dr. Twisse applied to the productions of his antagonist one half of the amenity which it breathes, he would never bave written a single paragraph against Arminius, who is entitled to no part of the animadversions contained in the first of the preceding sentences, except that which ascribes to him the expression of a “ desire to find greater accuracy in Perkins. In every part of his Modest Examination, be treats his opponent with all the courtesy and respect due to a gentleman, a scholar, a christian, and a minister. Indeed, for his exemplary conduct in this particular, Armiuius elicited from Sir Henry Wotton, who “ differed from him in some points,” the unbiassed encomium of being “a mau of most rare learning, whom, says this celebrated Ambassador, “ I knew to be of a most strict life and of a most meek spirit : And that he was so mild, appears by his proposals to our Master Perkins of Cambridge.”
With regard to the result which Dr. Twisse here triumphantly anticipates from a scholastic examination of other Theses of Arminius, a reference to the effects produced by the Doctor, in his vindictive and scurrilous Vindication, will demonstrate that Arminianism is founded on the rock of truth, from which, after all the sophistry, ridicule and arguments of Dr. Twisse, it cannot be displaced.
who is styled, by the men of his party, *
“a person of great and unaffected MODESTY!" Of the slender claims which he has to this title, the most inattentive reader may now form some conception.t To me it would be a considerable satisfaction to
* Far more exceptionable sentences may be found in his critical remarks on the Dedication prefixed by the nine orphan children of Arminius to the Modest Examination of their deceased parent.-If Dr. Twisse wrote thus like a fury against a dead adversary, with whom he had no other quarrel than the doctrinal one of Predestination, we may form some faint idea of the malignity of disposition and asperity of language which characterized his written productions and extempore speeches against those persons who differed from him on rites and ceremonies, in addition to Predestination.
+ Though he and Dr. Lightfoot were members of the same Assembly, they were exceedingly dissimilar both in their tempers and their attainments. Dr. Twisse's chief and almost exclusive excellence lay in Metaphysical and Scholastic Lore, in which several of his Arminian cotemporaries were vastly his superiors : His disposition also was exceedingly hasty and crooked, and he had too many opportunities of exposing its obliquities during the discussions which arose in the Assembly, particularly in those concerning discipline. Dr. Lightfont's attainments were of a higher character: They embraced an immense variety of oriental learning, wbich was applied with most admira. ble effect to the elucidation of the Sacred Records, and of several matters connected with the practice of the earliest Christian Antiquity. His confessed superiority to Dr. Twisse would have entitled him to the honour of the Chair, had he not been deficient in one essential requisite for such an appointment in a Calvinistic Synod, and that was a bad temper, with its concomitant of u senseless and irreconcilable hatred to the scriptural doctrines of General Redemption, both of which were possessed in great perfection by Dr. Twisse, and are understood to have been the principal qualifications that recommended him to the Prolocutorship. See note page 474.
Dr. Lightfoot was both a modest and a good-tempered man; and some plausible reasons have been rendered, (page 467) why a man of his mild and easy disposition might be led astray, as he undoubtedly was, by bad and designing individuals. 1 greatly admire the character of him which was drawn by the venerable Strype, and as it is highly illustrative of the spirit of the times in which he lived, I here subjoin it:
" The other thing which some will be apt to charge upon him is, that he seemed to be too much carried away with the late evil times. Consider, then, that he was but a man; and, so, subject to human slips and frailties, as well as others; and that even such who have enjoyed the greatest fame either for learning or goodness have, for the most part, had some abatement in their coat of arms. Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura. And those great endowments that were in him, and that emivent service he did the church and the commonwealth of learning, may justly, merit his pardou for any faults ipto which either his ignorance or infirmity betrayed him.
“ He was indeed a inember of the Assembly of Diviñes ; and, long after that, (I think,) one of those who, at the beginning of the king's joyful return, were appointed to confer with the Episcopal Divines at the Savoy : Whereby it appears, that be bended sometime towards Puritanism. It was indeed his unhappiness, as well as of many other pious well-meaning men, to live in those times of temptation ; whereinto if they fell, it was because they were not politicians enough to see the bad consequences of those smooth and fair pretences. I may plead for him, that it was his credulity, not his malice or any evil design, that made him err. He was carried away with their dissimulation, (and an Apostle once was so,) and that the more easily, heing a man of an innocent and unsuspicious nature, especially when such goodly things as religion and reformation were so much boasted. And I make no doubt, he was afterwards convinced how he had been trepanned, and saw his error, as appeared sufficiently by his ready compliance with the laws and orders Established Church upon the happy Restoratiun, and encouraging his sons also to the same, who were both conformable men of the Clergy. He never was a bigot, or a busy officious man; always rather
learn the result of a comparison instituted, by any unbiassed and duly qualified man, between the (truly) Modest Examination of Arminius and this boastful Vindication by Dr. Twisse : Respecting the issue I could entertain no fearful apprehensions. For if unhappily he should imbibe the recondite idea avouched by Dr. Twisse, that “ Arminius very seldom employs arguments in combat,” he would I am persuaded discover a fact, which is far more obvious, that while Arminius does not con
passive than active, unless in the Assembly: And then generally those matters wherein he stirred; were such points as in which the very locks of the Presbyterians' strength lay, which he for the most part opposed. And certainly when we consider how he thwarted their chief principles; arguing against Lay Elders, standing for general admittance to the Sacrument, for Forms of Prayer, and many such like; the Preshyterians could never reckon him truly theirs; and I am apt to think, they wished him, more than once, out of their Assembly. Indeed, he was then rather a man at large by himself that followed his own studies, than followed any party of men; and (that) promoted true goodness as far as in him lay. In those times he particularly made these three or four things his main drift, viz. To beat down enthusiasm, which, he plainly saw, tended to the enervating the authority of the holy scriptures ; to maintain the honour of learning aud a regular clergy; and to shew the necessity of keeping up, public communion with the National Church : Whereby'unquestionably be did excellent service to the Church in those evil days. He had an excellent faculty in wresting out of the hands of schismatics those weapons that they most confided in. For this, I might shew his way of dealing with Enthusiasts, Avabaptists, &c. But I will instance only in those who would justify their separation, from the word Saints in scripture, supposing that thereby were meant persons truly and inwardly holy. The ignorance of the latitude of this word was then the cause of many bitter contentions and wild opinions, nay, and of no small danger to all that were not Saints in their account. To this purpose be speaks, in a Latin sermon preached at Ely, at an Episcopal Visitation, that the Shibboleth of the Gileadites anciently sounded not
more dangerously than the title of Saints of late.' Whereas, as he shews in that sermon, and used to urge in the late times, that by Saints is meant • nothing but Christians, in opposition to Heathens or unbelievers.'-He could not patiently hear the ancient records of the Rabbins too much aspersed, as proceeding most commonly from ignorance of their admirable use in explaining the holy scripture. When Rutherford, in the Assembly of Divines, had said, that there was no vews of somewhat in controversy but in the • Rabbins,' (it was of a cup in the institution of the Passover,) seeming to speak contemptibly of them, Dr. Lightfoot replied, That there are divers
things in the New Testament, which we must be beholden to the Rabbins . for the understanding of, or else we know not what to make of them.'
Dr. George Bright also speaks thus of bim : “ He was for his temper, as far as I kuow or have heard from those that knew him better, of as great modesty as learning; bumble and mean in his own opinion, perhaps to an excess: Where the greatuess of that amiable virtue seems to have betrayed him to an error in judgment concerning himself and his own value, and too long commendations and eulogiums of others. He was educated in that age when the strain of opinions in Divinity ran generally another way, after the first Foreign Reformers, before things were so calmly, impartially, and perhaps judiciously examined. He lived, and publicly appeared, principally when factions grew high and were in great ferment; when the populacy, the worst of masters, all being done, the most iguorant, selfish, and ungenerous were courted; when public accusation was the fashion, and all things found fault with, right or wrong ; when affairs were carried with clamour, confidence and violence, with pretences and appearances of religion and reformation, backed with a present success,
Then follows the paragraph quoted in page 467.
sider it necessary to present Truth to the view of his readers in any
other garb than her own chaste and attractive simplicity, the doctor bedecks that which he terms “truth” in meretricious ornaments, and offers her supposed likeness in that illusive guise, and in those borrowed charms, in which it is usual for men
perverse minds to array error. Though a passionate admirer of Arminius and his scriptural system, I would be not merely content, but well pleased to abide by the result of such a comparison between the two books, as is here proposed, -being confident that the award would be in favour of the modest, manly, and cogent arguments of the Dutch Professor.
But some learned and competent men, in endeavouring to account for this studied depreciation of his opponent's talents, which runs through the whole of his performance, have resolved it into a real dread which Dr. Twisse entertained of the mental prowess and superiority of Arminius. In this view of the case, the Doctor had good and sufficient reasons for adopting his mystifying yet humorous expedient, for the purpose thus described by Mr. Read, “ He sometimes uses jocose or historical diversions, to animate the spirits of his readers.” If in this way he accounted it necessary to “ animate the spirits” of others, the sense of that necessity must have arisen from a personal consciousness of the want of such consolation for himself. Indeed it can scarcely be supposed, that any person of common sense would have wasted several years of his life in compiling a reply to a performance which “ contained no indications either of genius or learning,” the author of which was a
66 Hannibal, not only vincible, but an adversary of whom no one need be greatly afraid,” “ who very seldom employed arguments," though “ sometimes he appeared to be a subtle disputant,” &c. Seven hundred closely-printed folio pages in Latin must have been needlessly expended upon such a contemptible adversary as the old Doctor has here described; but, unfortunately, after all this waste of labour, the Calvinists could not be induced to march in one line as an undivided phalanx, but busied themselves in contriving still more plausible expedients for evading the frightful consequences with which the rigid scheme of Unconditional Predestination was found to be justly chargeable. The Doctor's elaborate performance communicated a vast impulse to the hopes of the Calvinists, respecting the establishment of an uniform standard, to the apex of which every man was expected to elevate and stretch his Predestinarian notions. But these expectations were not realized, even after the Assembly over which the Doctor was appointed to preside had fashioned its new Confession and Catechisms, and after the Independents had, more insidiously, directed all their energies to enforce a Calvinistic Uniformity by means of their unfair proceedings in the novel character of " TRIERS and EJECTORS."
I have given some further notices of the Doctor's varied production in a preceding page (223,) and in the Works of Arminius, (vol. i, p. 587,) and have in both those passages alluded to the old man's testy humour which was frequently excited, because he found that “men generally desire to regulate and temper the will of God to their own dispositions.” On this subject no Calvinist has spoken with less disguise than Dr. Twisse: He ascribes the formation of the milder and more merciful scheme of the Sublapsarians to the greater urbanity of their dispositions ; and frequently scolds them for not “restraining their obstreperous affections." This is a real though undesigned compliment to Arminians, who, in their scriptural displays of the benevolence of the Deity and of the grace which he mercifully extends to his offending creatures, are certainly under the influence of feelings and affections far more benignant and Divine, * than those which actuate either the supra or the sub-lapsarian Calvinists. While the followers of Arminius regard God, as he has been pleased to reveal himself, a Father who pitieth his children, who " is LOVING to every man, and whose TENDER MERCIES are over all his works;" they by no means neglect to “ set forth his sovereignty over all created beings :" But they describe the exercise of this sovereignty in harmony with all the other Divine Attributes, and know of none of them that is represented in scripture as effecting a triumph over the rest, except that passage be so interpreted in which Mercy is said to " rejoice against JUDGMENT.” (James ii, 13.)
* Such was the opinion of two of the greatest and most amiable men of that age; as the following extract will testify: “When that unhappy difference about the point of Predestination and its appendants was blown to so high a flame in the Low Countries, and began to kindle strifes here at home, he [the Rev. Joseph Mede) would often say, 'he wondered that men
would with so great animosity contend about those obscure speculations, • and condemn one another with such severity, considering that, as the wise 'man saith, We hardly guess aright at things that are upon earth, and • with labour do we find the things that are before us : But the things that
are in Heaven who hath searched out ? (Wisdom ix.) But if at any time his spirit was turned within him, (Acts xv,) it was when he observed some to contend with an unmeasurable confidence and bitter zeal for that black doctrine of ABSOLUTE REPROBATION: Upon which occasion he could not forbear to tell some of his friends, that it was an opinion he could never digest!' Being herein much of Dr. JACKSON's mind, that generally the propugpers of such tenets were men resolved in their affections of love and hatred, both of which they exercised constantly and violently, and, ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN TEMPERS, made a judgment of God and his decrees.'-To the like purpose he expressed himself, about two years before his death, in a letter to an ancient friend of his formerly of the same college: It seems
harsh that of those whom God hath elected ad media salutis, and calls by the preaching of his gospel, any should be absolutely and peremptorily
ordained to damnation. And afterwards, by way of reply to the objected authority of Saint Austin as to some part of the predestinarian controversy, he added : “ If those were heretics which followed not Saint Austin, the
most part of the Fathers before him were in heresy, and a part of the Church . after him. Zealots are wont to be over liberal in such charges.'. Thus would he sometimes in private reveal his judgment. But in his public performances he was reserved, and did purposely abstain from meddling with these matters." -Life of the pious and profoundly-learned Joseph Mede, A. B.