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deservedly held in universal esteem.* It is also well known, that, even at this present time, the Church of England is chiefly
* The reader must not, from Mosheim's brief narrative, be induced to believe, that “ these great men, who had takeu the system of the famous Episcopius for their model in the doctrinal part of religiou,” were, immediately after the Restoration, “ raised to the first dignities of the Church, and deservedly held in universal esteem.” The fact is, they had much unde. served obloquy to encounter, and many prejudices to combat, before they attained to the high estimation to which Mosheim alludes. Tudeed, their triumph can only be said to have been complete at the period of the Revolution in 1688. The reader will obtain much information concerning these men and the Arminian origin of their opinions, by the subjoined extracts from a very scarce pamphlet published in 1662, and entitled " A brief Account of the new Sect of LATITUDE-MEN, &c. By S. P. of Cambridge:"
“ The greatest part of the men that seem to be pointed at under that name, are such, whose fortune it was to be born so late, as to have their education in the University since the beginning of the unhappy troubles of this kingdom, where they ascended to their preferments by the reg election, not much troubling themselves to inquire into the titles of some of their electors. They are such as are behind none of their neighbours, either in learning or good manners, aud were so far from being soured with the leaven of the times they lived in, that they were always looked upon with an evil eye by the successive usurping powers, and the general outcry was, that
the whole University was over-run with ARMINIANISM, and was full of men . of a prelatical spirit, that had apostatized to the onions and garlick of Egypt,' because they were generally ordained by Bishops: And in opposition to that hide-bound strait-laced spirit that did then prevail, they were called LATITUDE-MEN; for that was the first original of the name, whatever sense hath since been put upon it. This was a certain bar to their preferment, as they were sure to find, if any of them came before the Committee of Tryers, whó (as it was reported) had gotten a list of all those that were ordained by the Bishop of Norwich. And truly if they that were turned out of their preferments, were esteemed Martyrs, I know not why these that were debarred thereof upon the same grounds may not be called Confessors.--And now, this being the state of the University, can it be wonderful, if, upon the happy restitution of the Church, there were a general readiness in most men to conform to the commands and injunctions thereof? And yet I am sorry to hear some men, even in those discourses wherein they should be careful to deliver nothing but the sacred oracles of God, talk at such a rate, as if they were offended to see so general a conformity. It seems very strange, that any son of the Church should be displeased to see the number of ber children to encrease beyond expectation. I do not find that the grave heads, or other prudent persons of the University, give any countenance to this peevish talk of some few, who, for distinction sake, (if Latitude be a name of reproach,) will not, I hope, be offended to be called Narrow-Men, notwithstanding. But that there may remain no suspicion of their disaffection to the Church in any respect, I will give you a brief account of what I conceive to be their sentiments in each point relating thereunto; which are the Liturgy, the Ceremonies, the Government, and the Doctrine of the Church.-As for thf FIRST, they conceive there ought, by all means, to be a settled Liturgy, it having always been the practice both of the Jewish and Christian, and more or less retained by all Reformed Churches; that there can be no solemnity of public worsbip without it; that it is the greatest check to devotion that can be, to hear men mix their private opinions with their public prayers, which are for the most part false, and have an evil influence on the lives of men; yet this hath been almost the universal practice for these twenty years. The like may be said of those absurd, ridiculous, blasphemous expressions that do so frequently occur in extempore prayers, under the pretence of being familiar with God Almighty; to say nothing of those seditious and traitorous principles, craftily thereby insinuated into the minds of people, with greater authority than in their sermons could be done, forasmuch as there is a greater awe and solemnity in the one above the other ; which also shews how
governed by Latitudinarians of this kind, though there be among them both bishops and clergy, from time to time, ecclesiastics
uncome a thing it is for men to ostentate their parts and abilities erein, as they were wont to do by their empty rhetorications and tedious prolixity. Our Latitudinarians, therefore, are by all means for a Liturgy, and do prefer that of our own Church before all others, admiring the solemnity, gravity, and primitive simplicity of it, its freedom from affected phrases, or mixture of vain and doubtful opinions : In a word, they esteem' it to be sr good, that they would be loth to adventure the mending of it, for fear of marro ing it.-As for the Rites and CEREMONIES of divine worship, they do highlyapprove that virtuous mediocrity which our Church observes, between the meretricious gaudiness of the Church of Rome, and the squalid sluttery of fanatick conventicles. Devotion is so overclad by the Papists, that she is oppressed and stifled, with the multitude of her owu garments. Pars minima est ipsa puella sui. Some of our modern Reformers, to make amends, bave stripped her stark vaked, till she is become in a manner cold and dead. The Church of England only hath dressed her, as befits an honourable and virtuous matron. There are few men so abstractedly intellectual, but that their devotion had need to be advanced with something that may strike upon their outward senses, aud engage their affections; and, therefore, while we live in this region of mortality, we must make use of such external helps, and recommend religion to the people by those ornaments which the Church hath, according to her prudence, thought fittest for those ends. The Church of Rome is a luxuriant vine, full of superfluous branches, and over-run with wild grapes, from whence many a poisonous and intoxicatiog potion is pressed forth. But the greatest part of Reformers have done like the rude Thracian in the Apologue, who, instead of moderate pruning and dressing his vines, as his more skilful Athenian neighbours did, cut them up by the roots; but the Church of England is the only well-ordered vineyard. In like manner they have a deep veneration of her GOVERNMENT, which they steadfastly believe to be in itself the best, and the same that was practised in the times of the Apostles. They did always abhor both the usurpation of Scottish Presbytery, and the confusion of Independent anarchy; and do esteem it one of the methods which the Prince of Darkness useth, to overthrow the Church and Religiou, by bringing the Clergy into contempt, which experience tells us will necessarily follow upon the removing of the several dignities and pre-eminence among them; for when the Bishops are once levelled with ordinary Presbyters, the Presbyters will soon be trampled ou by the meanest of the laity; and when every preacher would needs be a Bishop, every rustic and mechanic took upon him to be a preacher.-Lastly, for the Doctrine of the Church, they do cordially adhere to it, as doth sufficiently appear by their willingness to subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles, and all other points of doctrine, contained either in the Liturgy or Book of Homilies; and particularly (whatsoever may be privately whispered to the contrary) they do both devoutly adore the blessed Trinity in the Litany, and make solemn profession of their orthodox faith, both concerning it and other poiots, in the ihree Creeds, not excepting that which is commonly ascribed to Athanasius; nor is there any article of doctrine held forth by the Church, which they can justly he accused to depart from, unless absolute Reprobation be one, which they do not think themselves bound to believe.-Nor is it credible they should hold any other doctrine than the Church, since they derive it from the same fountains, not from the spinose Schoolmen or Dutch Systematics, neither from Rome nor Geneva, the Council of Trent, nor Synod of Dort, but from the sacred writings of the Apostles and Evangelists; in interpreting whereof, they carefully attend to the sense of the ancient Church, hy which they conceive the modern ought to be guided ; and, therefore, they are very conversant in all the genuine monuments of the Ancient Fathers, those especially of the first and purest ages, not to gather out fine phrases and quaint sentences, but that they may discern between the modern corruptions and ancient simplicity of the Church ; to distinguish between the doc
who breathe the narrow and despotic spirit of Laud, and who, in the language of faction, are called High-churchmen or ChurchTories."
trines received in these latter ages, and those which the primitive Christians received from Christ and bis Apostles. For those opinions in religion, how specious soever, are justly to be suspected, whereof there are no footsteps to be discerned in that golden age of Christianity, that was tried and purified in the fire of persecution.
“ And now let no man accuse them of hearkening too much to their own reason, since their reason steers hy so excellent a compass,—the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church. For reason is that faculty whereby a man must judge of every thing; nor can a man believe any thing except he have some reason for it, whether that reason be a deduction from the light of pature, and those principles which are the candle of the Lord, set up in the soul of every man that hath not wilfully extinguished it; or a branch of Divine Revelation in the oracles of Holy Scripture; or the general interpretation of genuine antiquity; or the proposal of our own Church consentaneous thereto; or lastly the result of sonie or all of these. For be that will rightly make use of bis reason, must take all that is reasonable into consideration. And it is admirable to consider how the same conclusions do naturally flow from all these several principles; and what, in the faithful use of the faculties that God hath given, men have believed for true, doth excellently agree with that revelation that God hath exhibited in the Scripture, and the doctripe of the ancient Church with them both. Thus, the freedom of our wills, the universal intent of Christ's death and sufficiency of God's grace, the conditions of justification, and many other points of the like vature, which have been almost exploded in these latter degenerate ages of the world, do again begin to obtain, though with different persons upon different accounts: Some embrace them for their evidence in Scripture, others for the concurrent testimony of the primitive Church for above four hundred years; others, for the reasonableness of the things themselves, and their agreement both with the Divine Attributes, and the easy suggestions of their own minds. Nor is there any point in divinity where that which is most ancient doth not prove the most rational, and the most rational the ancientest; for there is an eternal consanguiuity between all verity: And nothing is true in divinity which is false in pbilosophy, or on the contrary : and, therefore, what God hath joined together let no map put asunder. But these men are generally suspected to be for liberty of conscience, and that's a principle of dangerous
consequence, that will undermine the very foundations of any Church whatsoever. A Church cannot be without unity and uniformity. An unlimited discord of opinions and practices will as much obstruct the edification of God's temple, as the confusion of languages did the building of the Tower of Babel.' - Verily this is true; and the most part of them who, while they are under the hatches deny it, do by their practices confirm it wbenever they get power into their bands. But how far the men charged with it are concerned therein, remains to be inquired. Though, in the first place, I cannot but take notice, that this very objection confutes the vulgar calumny cast upon them, as if they were men of no conscience; for I dare say, by how much the less of conscience any man hath, by so much the less will he care what impositions are laid on it; though, for my own part, I shall always think biin most conscientious who leads the most unblamable life, though he be not greatly scrupulous about the externals of religion; and for their lives, I think the Latitude-men were never taxed by their greatest enemies. And now let us suherly consider what was before said: They sincerely embrace all the Articles of doctrine held forth by the Church, they cheerfully use and approve her Liturgy and Ceremonies, they cordially love and obey her Government: How then can they pursue any Liberty that can be danger. ous to her? For in all other things, ihe Church herself leaves them to their liberty, and who shall blame them for using it? But there are some men, it may be, are offended that the Church is so indulgent a mother, that will not unnecessarily impose upon the judgment or practice of her children; they
To this just description I have only to add a wish, that some of these great divines had been in every respect as sound in the faith as Arminius was ;* and that they had derived their knowledge
would have all things bound up, and nothing free; they would fain be adding some cypbers to the significant articles she now propounds, and instead of 39 would make 39000. And it is well if they would content themselves with cyphers, and not add falsities to make up the tale. They have, it may be, an ambition to out-do the Assembly's Confession; they would be content that Aquinas's Sums were put into the Creed, and all the janglings of the schools into the prayers of the Church; that so by their longitude, they might be even with their neighbours of the latitude. Others, it may be, think we have not ceremonies enough; and if they can find any antiquated rite in some moth-eaten author, they have an itcb presently of bringing it into the Church, without considering wbether there be the same reason or use of it vow, that may have been in other times and places ; and then, if their neighbours will not follow their example, but think it eúough to do what the "Rubric and Canons require, they shall be cried out on for disaffected. This is all that liberty of couscience they can justly be accused of, unless I should add that they are so merciful as not to think it fit to knock people on the head, because they are not of our Church. The Church of England hath never yet embrued her bands in blood ; and I hope the zeal of none of her sons will ever kindle such fames as her step-mother of Rome delights to warm her hands at.
“ And now having taken an impartial view of this so much exagitated company of men, we fiod them so far from being any ways dangerous to the Church, or fit to be disowned by her, that they seem to be the very chariots and horsemen thereof; for, by their sober aud unblamable conversation, they conciliate respect and honour 10 her; by ibeir learning and industry they defend her; by their moderation they are most likely to win upon the minds of Dissenters, who are too many to be contemned; by their accommodating themselves to the people, who (as is too palpable) are possessed for the most part by the Presbyterians, tbey may in time bring ihem over to the Church, and prevent her becoming a society of shepherds without any sheep. For really I fear, if the Fathers of the Church were not wiser than some of their angry sons, who must needs be thrusting some of their younger brethren out of doors ; if, I say, all that have been reproached with tħe pame of Latitude, should be disowned by the Church, they that remain would be the least party of men of any one denomination in England.”
*" The system of Arminius appears to have been the same with that which was generally maintained in the Reformed Churches at that time; except in so far as the doctrine of the divine decrees was concerned. But the most emineut of those who became Arminians, or ranked among his professed followers, by embracing aud avowing his peculiar tenets with respect to election and redemption, soon begau to depart widely from the other tenets of his theological creed. They adopted views of the corruption of mau, of justification, of the righteousness of Christ, of the nature of faith, of the province of good works, of the necessity and operations of grace, that are quite contrary to those which he had entertained and published. Many of them, in process of time, differed more or less from one another, on some or all of these points. And so diversified are the forms which Arminianism, as it is called, has assumed in the course of its progress, that to describe precisely what it has been since the Synod of Dort, or what it is at the present day, would be a most difficult, if not an impossible task. Even the Confession of Faith, which was drawn out for the Arminians by Episcopius, and is to be found in the second volume of his works, canuot be referred to as a standard. It was composed merely to counteract the reproach of their being a society without any commou principles. It is expressed chiefly in the words and phrases of scripture, to which, of course, every one would annex his owu meaning. Besides, no person, not even a pastor, was obliged, by any form, to adhere strictly to it ; but every one was left entirely at liberty to interpret its language in the manner that was most agreeable to his own private sentiments. Accordingly, so various and inconsistent are their opinions, that could Arminius
of Arminianism from the master himself, in preference to his later disciples: In that case, the very laudable prejudices of peruse the unnumbered voluines which have been written as expositions and illustrations of Arminian doctrine, he would be at a loss to discover bis own simple system, amidst the heterogeneous mass of error with which it has been rudely mixed; and would be astonished to find, that the controversy which he had unfortunately, but conscientiously, introduced, had wandered far from the point to which he had confined it, and that with his name dogmas were associated, the unscriptural and dangerous nature of wbich he had pointed out and condemned.-At the same time it must be acknowledged, that of this state of things, by which bis memory is injured and thoughtless people are deceived, he himself laid the foundation. The samne temper of mind which led him to renounce the peculiarities of Calvinism, induced him also to adopt more enlarged and liberal views of church-commuuion than those which had bitherto prevailed. While he maintained that the mercy of God is not confined to a chosen few, he conceived it to be quite inconsistent with the genius of Christianity, that men of that religion should keep at a distance from each other, and constitute separate churches, merely because they differed in their opinions as to some of its doctrinal articles. He thought that Christians of all' denominations should form one great community, united and upheld by the bouds of charity and brotherly lore; with the exception, however, of Roman Catholics, who, on account of their idolatrous worship and persecuting spirit, must be unfit members of such a society. That this was not only agreeable to the wishes of Arminius, but one chief object of his labours, is evident from a passage in his last will, which he made a little before his death : Ea proposui et docui quæ ad propagationem., &c."[' I also testify before God, that all the doctrines advanced by me have been such as might conduce to the propagation and increase of the truth of the Christian Religion, of the true worship of God, of general piety, and of a holy conversation among men,-and such as might contribute, according to the word of God, to a state of tranquillity and peace well befitting the CHRISTIAN NAME; and that from these benefits I have excluded the Papary, with which no unity of faith, no bond of piety, or of christian peace, can ! be preserved.'] ”–Edinburgh Encyclopædia.
I have in another place quoted various parts of the very able article ARMINIANISM in this Encyclopædia, and have justly designated it, though evidently the composition of a Calvinist, “one of the most impartial, correct, moderate, and comprehensive accounts of the scriptural system of Arminius, that have been published in the English language.” My object in giving this extract is, to shew that Arminius is no more to be charged with the glaring errors of several of the Dutch divines, who subsequently sheltered themselves and their heterodoxies under his honoured name, than the Church of Eng. land is to be blamed for the Semi-Pelagianism of some, who, in these enlightened days, claim countenance for their opinions from her liberal Articles, and venture likewise to style themselves ARMINIANS. The animadversions, therefore, on the Remonstrants' Confession of Faith, which occur at the commeucement of this note, are, with regard to the practical consequences in each, equally applicable to the Articles of the English Church.-But the principal value of this quotation consists in the just allusion which it contains to the real source, in the mind of Arminius, of " more enlarged and liberal views concerning church-communion than those which then prevailed :" The writer properly ascribes the origin of those views to "the same temper of mind which led Arminius to renounce the peculiarities of Calvinism." This grand feature in the results from his system has always distinguished bis genuine followers in all countries, whether under Episcopal or Presbyterian regimen ; and as it has in various parts of the present volume obtained due notice, I refer the reader for further information to the Oration On composing religious Differences, and to the philanthropic Declaration which Arminius delivered before the States of Holland. (Works, vol. i, pp. 370—670.)
The able writer, whose Articles forms the subject of this note, has correctly observed, respectiog the progress of Arminianism in Holland,— We