« PreviousContinue »
ment of their Canons as the sole rule of the Protestant Faith in Europe.*
Notwithstanding the irksomeness of the employment, and his great desire to appear again in a large assembly of Protestant States as a plenipotentiary of peace on the part of the British Nation, Dury proceeded for some time gradually to overcome the prejudices of the Lutherans, in Germany and in the North of Europe. But none contri. buted to his success so much, as Grotius and Archbishop Laud, who permitted him to employ their names and influence in his private conferences with those who withstood his pacific solicitations, though both of them perceived the unseasonableness of the period between 1634 and 1638 for making any attempts at pacification by an actual Convention of the Protestant States. The Lutherans received the Archbishop's name as the sanction which the Church of England afforded to Dury's project, and had begun to give credence to the liberal professions of the Calvinists, when Dury, in common with others of his predestinarian brethren, who for various reasons had left their native country either willingly or through compulsion, hastened to England in 1641, to take his share in the spoils of the Church that had supported him, and abandoned for a season the pursuit of universal concord by becoming as strenuous an assertor of Presbyterian uniformity, as Archbishop Laud or any of his predecessors had been for conformity to the Episcopal regimen. "It is with regret I add my confirmation to the ungrateful character of himt which
* It was Mr. Mede's opinion, that these obstinate Dutch Calvinists, who were unwilling to diminish the authority which their Predestinarian decisions had gained at the Synod of Dort, should be shamed out of their selfishness, In a letter to Mr. Hartlib, dated April 1, 1635, he says : “ Mr. Dury desires me to give my judgment of his manner of address and treatises with those of the Batavian Churches : What may be expected from them ?" and What • course were best to be takeu in case they grant or deny?' But wbat were this but for Phormio to teach Hannibal stratagems of war? For the place I live in, could, perhaps, tell something; but the condition of those churches and their humours I know no farther than hy hear-say. Methinks the deferring of them to the last, and uot dealing with them till all other. churches had declared themselves, will, if any thing, bring thein off, at least in some degree, to shew their concurrence. For, in such a case, singularity cannot be without a blur, which, perhaps, they will consider, though their home contentions have made them, I believe, resty enough. But, Lord ! is there any hope of a pacificatiou, whilst each party studies to maintain their advantage against the other entire ? A joiner cannot set two pieces of timber together without paring something from either."
+ The baseness of Þury towards Grotius was early displayed. I have stated, (p. 284,), that, in his pamphlets against Grotius, “Rivet was aided by the whole Calvinian phalanx in Europe :" Dury, being one of the most busy of these Calvinistic sticklers, contributed his portion to the common stock of public invective, of which Rivet was “the accredited organ.' By the letter of Vossius in the text, (p. 751,) it will be seen, that Dury, in 1641, was on his return through Holland to England ; and I am inclined to believe, from several collateral circumstances, that he was deputed by the English Calvinists, towards the close of 1642, to manage some of their special affairs in Holland,-a commission which he was well qualified to execute by the skill that he had previously acquired in his numerous negotiations. Certain it is, that he was at Leyden in December, 1642, when Rivet composed his
Dr. Heylin has depicted in a preceding page: (725) For, during the subsequent troubles * he proved himself to be as true a Scot,” and as an intolerant a Calvinist, « as any of that Reply to De GROOT's Wishes for the Peace of the Church; and, in open violation of the sacred ties of friendship, delivered to that shameless and scurrilous calumniator, copies of two letters which Grotius had confidentially addressed to bipy in 1637, and from which Rivet culled the extracts specified in a precediog page (745). The motives which induced Dury to act in the same disreputable manner towards his benefactor the Archbishop, when he was apprized of bis fall, is pithily described hy Heylin, (p. 724,) - Welcome at all times to his table, and speaking honourably of him upon all occasions, till the times were changed," &c. (See a different course of conduct on that occasion, by a good old Arminian, in page 632.) But, froin the attachment which be displayed to his own visionary interpretations of the Apocalypse, it is apparent, that there was as much of enthusiasm as of ingratitude in the motives of Djury's conduct to Grotius, Laud, and the Episcopal Church of Eng. land : For, in the anticipated triumph of Calvinism in Great Britain, by the native quickpess of his second-sight, he could perceive many of those glorious consequeuces which had been predicted by Comenius, and others of the prophesying brotherhood. He saw Grotius standing almost alone, and manfully vindicating the cause of the English Church and Clergy, Arminianism, the benevolent labours of universal pacificators, and social order itself, against the seditious and desecrating attacks of the sanguine predestinarian innovators. When this brave man, single-handed, maintained the fight against those revolutionary maniacs, Dury forgot his obligations to him, and, through his supreme attachment to Calvinism, became a traitor to the very cause of which he had bimself been for many years the professed advocate. The cause of general pacification he betrayed into the hands of the Leyden Professors, of whom Rivet was one, and who, it will subsequently appear, were the greatest enemies even to the union of Protestants ainong themselves. Every one may know what a recreant to his former avowed principles Dury speedily became, by comparing his speculations on the Apocalypse, and his baseness to his benefactors, with the philanthropic sentiments of his private letter to Mede, a translation of which is given in page 760.
But the malevolence of Rivet and of his counsellors in this instance, as well as in many others, overshot its destined mark ; for the two quotations, which he triumphantly gave from the letters of Grotius, could produce no other effect, on every reader possessed of common candour, than that of enhancing the character of the illustrious writer. It deserves to be noted, as a species of remarkable moral retribution, that Dury was, after the Restoration, compelled to adopt the method, (of admitting the Roman Catholics into his intended ecclesiastical union,) on account of which, he and Rivet had vilified Grotius, and exposed him as an arrant Papist! The reader will also have perceived, that both Rivet aud Dury had too much cunning to quote any part of the letter which Grotius addressed to Dury in 1641, and which had then been long in Dury's possession. But, on perusal, (p. 753,) that letter will be found to contain some plain and apposite truths, the promulgation of which would not have been creditable to the principles or the practices of the Calvinists.
In animadverting upon the objection which, Grotius says, (p. 273,) was urged by the Lutherans against Dury's pacific attempts, thai they were as much condemned at the Synod of Dort as the Arminians had been," Rivet says, in his Apologetical Reply: “We have here among us [iv 1642] this reverend and very learned man, John Dury; with whom I bave frequently conferred about this matter, and who is able to testify that, as often as he has treated with me about it, I have, with the best intentions,' desired greatly to behold this very concord. But he does not say, that the Lutherans objection was the principal hindrance. Nay, if any of them objected the Anathemas, which had been hurled against themselves under the name of the ARMINIANS, be shewed that even the latter were not anathematized ; but that, without any indication of particular persons who must stand or
nation." When his party were frustrated in their expectations of obtaining complete spiritual dominion in England, he was desirous at the Restoration to commence the blessed work of
fall by the judgment of God, rejections alone were added to the Canons ;
and that the Syuod had not wished to exercise any jurisdiction over those • who held different sentiments in foreign countries, and who bad neither formerly received the same Confession as themselves, nor had been united together in the same ecclesiastical discipline; that, therefore, the transactions of the Synod did not hinder the possibility of both parties agreeing • in many points, by means of an amicable conference, after they had entered into mutual explanations; and, in case of any difficulty remaining which could not be immediately adjusted, that this peace might notwithstanding • he cultivated, where the foundation of Christianity remains unshaken, if,
according to the direction of the Apostle, whereto we have already attained, we walk by the same rule and mind the same thing.' (Pbilip. iii, 16.)" Rivet next undertakes to soften down the HORROR of " the horrible decree," as Calvin styles it, by the old expedient, that is in our days occasionally revived, of acquainting Latin scholars with a circumstance of which they were previously ignorant, and about which they will long demur," that HORROR signifies a sort of gladness according to the poets, and, in another sense, is equivalent to the word tremendous."
There is much craftiness in the sentiments which are here ascribed to Dury; for they are expressed in such a guarded manner as to render it doubtful whether they be his own or those of Rivet. . They were not, however, those of the latter, as the reader will already have ascertained from other sources. But, as it is necessary to expose the paltry subterfuge which was the joint invention of Dury and Rivet to disguise the real Anathemas of the Synodists, I here insert part of the replication of Grotius, written in 1643, of which the first paragraph contains some information elucidatory of the preceding Appendix C, p. 220-240:
“ It is unnecessary for any man to refute Moses Amyraut: Let his books be compared with those of Calvin, and it will instantly be apparent with what fruitless toil he has washed Calvin's side. Cardinal Richelieu never uttered a greater truth than wben he said, ' Calvin had some sane (good] intervals ;' but he ought to have added, "Such intervals were rare. Jn Amyraut and the other disciples of Camero, such intervals are not only more frequent in their occurrence, but likewise much brighter : But while these men act according to their present practice, they will never be accordant in sentiment either with Calvin or with themselves. This has been shewn in a remarkable mavner by Dionysius Petavius, in his sixth chapter, (tom.i, lib. 10,) and in many subsequent passages. If Amyraut would reply to that Dissertation, which is appropriately addressed to himself, he would perform a service that is áesired by several persons. But he should be admonished to beware, lest he divulge such truths as are repugnant to the common notions: thus, 'An action is free, which is necessary and inevitable ;-Adam
was not empowered to resist temptation, and therefore he sinned neces• sarily, as did also the devil ;-those meu are justly damned who might
perform good actions if they would, when it is not in their power to WILL ;. God would not be chargeable with injustice, were He to condemn innocent
creatures to eternal TORMEŅts !'But what dare not the men deuy who assert, that they do not condemn those who, on these points, hold different • sentiments to themselves?' Yet how often does that word DAMNAMUS [we condemn occur in the Rejections of the Synod of Dort, the Articles of which the Dutch and the French have sworn to observe! Other expressions are added, of no less atrocity, such as, This savours of Pelagius; they recal . from hell a Pelagiau error, &c. and others of the same kind, which plainly impose the opprobrious mark of Heresy upon the Fathers of the three first ages [of the Christian Church), and afterwards upon the Greek Church aud those
who adhere to the Augsburg Confession. “Those who were then the chief magistrates banished the Lutherans from the Palatinate, but it was done at the instigation of the Calvinist ministers;
general pacification among the Churches of Christ. But his conduct had been such as to disqualify him from receiving any of that high patronage with which Archbishop Laud and others of his episcopal brethren had honoured him; and he was compelled to propound his plan on a broader basis, and to trust for success to the testimonials in his favour which he had formerly received. The following communication from Vossius to Grotius, in January, 1641, will serve to elucidate this subject: “ It is now nearly a week since John Dury arrived in this city [Amsterdam] out of Germany, having been recalled by his friends into Great Britain. From his letters, which I forward to you at his request, you will learn the degree of success which he has experienced. But I am exceedingly apprehensive, that his labours among the Lutherans, whatever the extent of them may
and, at the instigation of the same class of ministers, those who held sentiments similar to Melancthon's were banished out of the Dutch territories.The divines of Sweden and of Strasburgh, and those who in other places are of similar sentiments, ought to know their own doctripes. And they in reality do know them; and it is on this account they profess, that their doctrines are at opeu variance with the decrees of the Synod of Dort.-But even John Dury himself will not deny, that to the concord between the two kinds of Protestants, of which he has been laying the foundation, no greater opponents have been found than the PROFESSORS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF LEYDEN : No one can be surprised at this, sioce the Professors saw, that such a concord cannot comport with the determinations of the Dutch Synod !"
The dreadful spirit of dissension which then (1643) animated the Calvinists of Europe, is briefly, but eloquently, described by Grotius in a subsequent paragraph;.“ Grotius does not enjoy so much leisure, as to be able to read all the productions of every writer, particularly all the writings of Calvin, of wbom one may obtain a sufficient knowledge from his Institutes, and a few of his other treatises. Indeed, Grotius formed no unadvised opinion about him when he said, that the pamphlet (wbich is now fully ascertained to be Calvin's production,) • breathed the spirit of Calvin.' If we follow him, there will be no peace, unless all meu pass over to the Genevan dogmas, rites, and severities : This transition will never be attempted by the Catholics of the Latin and Greek Churches, or by the wiser part of the Protestants; and for their abhorrence of such a change [in their religious sentiments and worship,] they have important reasons.-Rivet, in a scoffing manner, calls the peace to wbich Grotius invites Christians an Interim peace, [in allusion to the celebrated ad Interim edict of the Emperor Charles V.]. But Rivet was acquainted with this relation given by the great Thuanus, in the 26th Book of his Annals : 'In Germany arose the faction of those men who, in order ' to demonstrate their deeper concern for the interests of religion, spurned every method of concluding a reconciliation and concord, and condemned the rest, who were studious of peace, as deserters and lukewarm on the subject of piety, and whom they called INDIFFEREnts and INTERIM-ISTS epithets calculated to excite hatred.' Rejecting, therefore, all expressions of this description, the character of the affair must be decided by its own merits. Melancthon writes thus in one of his letters :-- Indeed, these con'clusions of unlearned men do not move me, and I have already received • frequent stripes for being concerned in siipilar pacific actions.:-Bucer expresses in his English writings his approbation of that kind of Episcopacy which the authority of Calvin has removed throughout all France, wherever it possessed the power. The same Bucer was a member of that communion which is now ahandoned by those in England who profess themselves to be followers of the GENEVAN PURITY, and who, on that account, put all things into commotion, both sacred and profane.”
have been, will be rendered fruitless and unavailing.* Ten years ago, before Dury took this province upon himself, the Lutherans had no stronger objection than this to make that all peace-makers prosecuted that measure with sinister views and for some crafty purpose. But although, when Dury first went among them, the opinions of the Lutherans on this point were not entirely altered, yet a large portion of them entertained somewhat more favourable sentiments concerning him, because he had been sent on this service by the English Clergy. But what disposition must we suppose they will evince to enter into union with the French and Dutch Churches, when they shall have learnt, that the sole business now transacted in England, is,-the accusation, condemnation, and ejection of those [Arminian Clergymen] whom they believed to be not far removed from themselves in sentiment, and to be greater lovers both of modesty and peace, and the triumph and exaltation of those alone whom they style Calvinians, but who are called PURITÁNS in England ?” The
* Grotius was familiar with all the objections which the Lutherans made to the pacific overtures of Dury; for on the 22d of October, 1637, he writes thus to his brother: “ I have lately seen a great mass of correspondence which has been exchanged between certain Lutherans in Germany and Dury, who is a promoter of peace among the Evangelicals, and I have extracted from it all the objectious which the Lutherans wake against the definitive judgment of the Synod of Dort, and against the mode of convening and conducting that assembly: I have also extracted the answers which Dury returned to their objections. The purposes to which they may be applied, are not to be contemned.
Those who have perused the pamphlets which Grotius wrote against Rivet, (page 273) will understand the very proper use which Grotius made of those Lutheran objections.
+ Prior to the Civil Wars, this was a great recommendation; but when the ebullition of that unballowed warfare had spent itself, the Lutherans could cast upon the English clergy the reproachful advice of the Jews, “ Physicians, heal yourselves !" This intimation is given by Bishop BURNET, in his Exposition on the Thirty-nine Articles : “ I shall conclude this Preface with a reply, that a very eminent divine among the Lutherans in Germany made to me when I was pressing this matter of union with the Calvinists upou him, with all the topics with which I could urge it, as necessary upon many accounts, and more particularly with relation to the present state of affairs. He said, "He wondered much to see a divine of the Church of England press that so much on him, when we, notwithstanding the dangers we were then in, (it was in the year 1686,) could not agree our differences. • They [the Lutheraus and Calvinists] differed about important matters,
concerning the Attributes of God and his Providence ; concerning the • Guilt of Sin, whether it was to be charged on God, or on the Sinner; and whether men ought to make good use of their FACULTies, or if they ought
to trust entirely to an IRRESISTIBLE Grace?! These were matters of great moment : * But,' he said, “We in England differed only about Forms of • Government and Worship, and about things that were of their own nature indifferent : and yet we had been quarrelling about these for above an
huudred years, and we were not yet grown wiser by all the mischief that • this had done us, and by the imminent dauger we were then in.' He concluded, “Let the Church of England heal her own breaches, and then all
the rest of the Reformed Churches will with great respect admit of her mediation to heal theirs. I will not presume to tell how I answered this : But I pray God to enlighten and direct all men, that they may consider well how it ought to be answered.”