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little after, Profileor intereà me Pelagiana dogmata, quæ ipsis imponuntur à Synodis supra nominatis, ex unimo detestari, et si quis commonslrare possit, ex iis quæ dico, quidpiam sequi, quod illis affine est, sententiam mutaturum et correcturum. * If the protestation of this person be not sufficient to clear the innocency of these tenets, then take Vossius's Historia Pelagiana, and GroTius's Disquisitio on that very argument, for their compurgators. Withal, let us remember the caveat, which Arminius gives, (loco citato,) Neque id solum studio habendum, ut à Pelagi. ano dogmate recedatur quâm longissimè: Cavendum etiam ne in Manichæismum, aut quod Manichæismo est intolerabilius, ratione saltem consequentiæ suæ incidatur. +
But you object further, that “these tenets are not agreeable to the doctrine of St. Augustine, The MAUL OF HERETICS, as he is styled.”—St. Augustine must give us leave to depart from him, where he takes leave to depart from all that went before him, and from bimself also; (and which of you will follow him in all he held ?) for it is observed, that he changed bis batteries, as he changed his enemies; and employed other principles against the Pelagians, than those he used in combating the Manichees: And from the variety of his opinions in these points it proceeds, that his followers express themselves in such different terms, that, though taught in the same school, and of the same master, yet they seem, as he saith, not to have learnt the same lesson. And yet we must not deny what Arminius observed (ubi supra) “that St. Augustine might have confuted the Pelagians sufficiently, and yet have omitted that way of Predestination which he taught.” And yet the doctrine of Predestination, as it is handled by Gomarus and the rest of his persuasion, differs much from that of St. Augustine, and lays down many things which Augustine would by no means grant, though the greatest adversary the Pelagians had.
"In the mean time, I profess that I detest from my beart the dogmas of Pelagius, which are assigned to him and his followers by the beforementioned Synods; and if any person be able to prove, from any thing which I say, that such consequences ensue as are at all allied to those dog. mas, I will instautly change and correct my sentiments."-Ibid, 157.
* " It is not only necessary, that we be desirous of receding as far as possible from the Pelagian doctrine ; we must at the same time be cautious not to run into the opposite extreme of Manicheism,-or into that which is more intolerable than Manicheism itself, at least with respect to its consequences which are in these pages the subject of controversy."
And therefore your objection, that “these tenets are against the doctrine of the Synod of Dort,”—is of value; for, beside their dissent from all the Ancients and from St. Augustine himself, the manner of their proceedings, in carrying on that business against the Remonstrants, were enough alone to beget an aversation to their doctrine. Take it in their words, who had most reason to be sensible of the injury, Scrip. Hist. Rem. (mihi p. 211,); where they refer us to their Historica Narratio, et Antidotum, in which they say, Iniquitas (Dordrac. Synodi,) imprimis autem fraudes, imposturæ, et equivocationes in Canonibus Synodicis ad horrendam illam Absolutæ Predestinationis sententiam colore aliquo fucandam et incrustandam usurpatx, clarissime deteguntur. *_Tilenus, who was present there, an eye and an ear witness of those transactions, could discover something: bụt he spares you. And yet he cannot but tell you, that the many pitiful shifts, and thin distinctions, and horrid expressions, which he observed to be frequently made use of, by persons of that persuasion, have contributed very much to the rectifying of his judgment.
Would it not startle a man, that were well in his wits, sadly to consider that opinion so stiffly maintained by Piscator, Maccovius, and divers others?, viz. f “That God hath so predetermined the will of every man to every action, that he cannot possibly do any more good than he doth, nor omit more evil than he omitteth.” What sad inferences may be drawn, and properly enough, from this doctrine? Will it not (in the consequence of it,) take off the wheels of duty, and furnish the careless with an excuse, and lay all sin at the door of the most Holy God? Some of you, indeed, to decline the odium of this assertion, do tell us the quite contrary; and affirm 'roundly, that men may do more good, and commit less evil, if they will. But (see the fallacy!) they hold withal, that for them to will either, the decree of God hath made impossible. You may as well say, that “a dog can fly, and a horse become an excellent philosopher, if they will.” You cannot but take notice, when you are treating of these points, how your doctrines and uses do interferé; and when it hath cost you much noise and sweat to confute, what you account an error, in the doctrine,-how you are fain to court the very same opinion to come in, to help you at a dead lift, in your exhortation. You deliver it for sound Divinity, that “Christ died only for a few;" and yet you vehemently urge all men to believe in him, which they cannot rationally do unless they be persuaded of the contrary. Have you heard the preacher inveigh against apostacy; and yet, almost in the same breath, tell his audience, “the Elect can never fall away, and the rest never stood ?” What is this but to take away the , very subject of that sin? What construction have I known some men put upon those particles, in those texts,—“Let him that thinketh he standeth,” (1 Cor. x, 12,) and “What he seemeth to have,” (Luke viii, 18.)—as if they signified nothing but a bare appearance or misconceit, when it is most evident, they are either a redundance in the phrase,orimply reality! (Heb.iv, 1.)
*" In wbich are most clearly disclosed the iniquity of the Synod of Dort, but particularly the frauds, impostures, and the equivocations which its members employed in their Synodical Cauons, for the purpose of disguising by specious colours and plaistering over that horrid sentiment of Absolute Predestination."
f In summa se tueri fatetur Deum absolute decrevisse ab æterno et efficacter, ne quispiam hominum plus boni faciat, quam reipsa facit, aut plus mali omittar, quam reipsâ omittit.-Piscator ad Amic. Dupl. Vorstii, p. 175. - ["Io short, he confesses himself the defender of this doctrine,--that God has efficaciously and from all eternity decreed absolutely, that no mortal man shall do more good than he actually does, or shall neglect the commission of more wickedness than he actually omits."]---See the doctrine of these Divines recited, Act. SYNODAL. par. 2, par. 36, 37.
One while you cry Broos! and declaim against prying into God's secrets; anon you are as definitive, as if you had been of God's Counsel, and seem to be angry that others should pretend to have as good a key to open that cabinet as yourselves. You ascribe much to God's Omniscience, and yet you will not allow him to see future events but by the perspectives and optics of such decrees as yourselves fancy him to have made to that purpose. * You set up his Sovereignty to confront his other attributes, viz. his Justice and Mercy, and think you do much honour him in assigning him a power to command perjury, lying, blasphemy,t and a prerogative to cast poor inno
* See the note in the 15th page, and particularly that passage, Ideo prasciverit quia decreto suo sic ordinaverai,-" The reason of his fore- . knowing is, because he had so appointed it by his decree."
+ Fateor et ipse, quod ad communem sentiendi consuetudinem crudum nimis hoc videri ; Deum posse blasphemiam, perjurium, mendacium, &c. imperare : quod tamen verissimum est in se.–Vid. Szydlovium apud STEPH. CURCELLÆUM, de jure Dei in Creaturas, p. 25, 26. This is bound up with ARMINII Examen Thesium Gomari, in octavo, of small price, and great profit.-" I myself acknowledge, that, according to the common custom
cent babes into hell-torrents; a piece of doctrine which the great Patriarch certainly never dreamt of, when he expostulated
of thinking, it seems too crude or open to say, God can command blasphemy perjury, lies, c.: He can also command, that He shall not himself be worshipped, loved, honoured, fc. Yet all this is most true in itself ; and from our general question this necessarily follows as a special consequence, and it cannot be denied withont admitting a number of absurdities."-SZYDLOVNI Vindiciæ Quæst. aliquot &c.
In a preceding passage he says, “ These are subjects of enquiry, Is any thing antecedently good given to the wilt of God ? Or, Are things just and good, on account of God having willed them ? Or, Does he will them, because they are just ? It is denied that any thing antecedently good is presented to the will of God;' and it is affirmed, that things are just and goud, on account of God having willed ihem,'—but not, ou the contrary, that God wills them, because they are just and good.'”
In a subsequent paragraph he says, “Some one will object, . It will therefore be possible for God to command blasphemy, perjury, lies, • &c.; which seems an absurdity !'-1 answer, Even in those matters which relate to the worship of God, inen are placed under obligation in no other way, than by command and through law : For if it had been God's good pleasure, then he might have ordered other worship, or another mode of it, to be performed to Himself. God, therefore, most freely commanded even those matters which relate to his worship, and in such a manner as it was possible for him to have commanded otherwise : and therefore it is only from the hypothesis of the Divine command, that these are vices. And it seems here to be presupposed, as though lies and blasphemy affected God in some measure,—which is entirely false. It is certain then, that it was possible for God to have commanded a contrary mode of worship to be performed to himself. For those things which he has once freely commanded, he could have commanded otherwise: But this it was not possible for God to do, on the principles of our adversaries, if this be essential and natural to him. For natural things are immutable, and always proceed in an uniform manner.”
In the Eighth Chapter he says, “ This question is asked, “Can God command any thing coutrary to all the precepts of the Decalogue,-but • priucipally against the first, second, and third commandment?'--A certain famous Divine rejects the affirmative opinion of some of the school-men who say, Offences against the Decalogue are evils, solely because God has prohibited them; and it is possible, therefore, for God to dispense with all the precepts of the Decalogue. Yet, I confess, I am not only incapable of perceiving any strong reason in the disputation of that famous man, but, on the contrary, it is possible to produce solid reasons and principles by which that opinion may be refuted."
In the Ninth Chapter Szydlovius says, “ It is objected, It is repugnant to the Divine Nature to deny itself; and it follo's, therefore, from the force of this proposition, that it is impossible for (ind to command that He shall not be worshipped, invoked, &c.--I answer, We deny the consequence. It is one thing, For God to deny Himself; it is another, For God to be able to command, that he be deniell. The First of these things it is, without doubt, impossible for God to do, without destroying his nature; but it is possible for Him to do the Second."
with his Maker, and said, “Shall not the Judge of all the world do right?" (Gen. xviii, 25.)—Indeed you seem to magnify
the riches of Divine Grace; but when we come strictly to ..examine it, it is by a false glass. For when we look through
the other end of the perspective, we find that grace infinitely extenuated, by the flat and absolute denial of it to the far greater number of mankind. And that you may have it the more free to yourselves, you render it very illiberal to the most part of Christians, who equally share with you in the common invitations and dispensations of it. And that you may make it serve your own turns in all cases whatsoever, you have laid the great excommunication (of Reprobation) upon the rest of Adam's posterity, to exclude them, utterly and for ever, from the benefit thereof. Nay, you think you cannot sufficiently extol, as to some persons, that special grace which is God's free gift, unless you extinguish, as to others, (as far as your opinions
These are extracts from a work entitled, A Vindication of some Difficult Questions in Theology, that have been Subjects of Controversy, wbich Szydlovius had published at Franeker, about two years prior to the appearance of Professor Curcellæus De Jure Dei in Creaturas, who adds, “I judged it proper to make these few extracts, from a multitude of other opinions, (not only absurd but blasphemous,) with which that pamphlet abounds, that they may serve as examples of the doctrine which resounds in the pulpits of the University of Franeker; and that I might shew what large camels the reverend Fathers of the Synod of Dort could swallow in their own MacCovius, who was Professor of Divinity in that University, and from wbose instruc. tion Szydlovius imbibed these sentiments; while they strained, with tenacious scrupulosity, even at the least gnats in the Remonstrants. I congratulate the University of Saumur, [in which Amyraldus was Theological Professor,] such [doctrical] monsters are banished from it, and I humbly pray God, that they may remain there buried in eternal oblivion. It is pleasing' to me to hope, that Amyraldus will hereafter exert the force of his genius and the powers of his eloquence against those portentous doctrines, rather than against men [the Arminians] against whom he cannot frame any objection that is in the slightest degree repugnant to piety and the Divine Glory."
The Friezland University of Franeker was in those days the grand hotbed of the rankest Calvinism. It is only necessary to mention the dames of three of the Theological Professors,-Sybrandus LUBBERTUS, John MacCovius, and the English Puritan William AMES !!!,--and the intelligent reader will instantly recognize three of the greatest Calvinistic sticklers and most pragmatical Divines of that age. Bishop Womack has given a concise but just description of Maccovius and his opinions in his CALVINISTS' CABINET UNLOCKED,-a work which abounds with the most interesting religious information respecting the Predestinarian disputes that agitated the Christian Church at that period. For the character of Lubbertus and Ames, consult the English translation of The Works of ARMINIUS, Vol. I, pp. 452, 465, 469,-EDITOR.