« AnteriorContinua »
not deliver to the Church any doctrine different from that which is contained in the writings of the Prophets, but will deliver the very same, according to the exposition of those writings in the Catechism and Confession, and as such doctrine is generally taught in the Reformed Churches; that he • will have regard to the same regulation in his sermons and
exhortations, (which he thinks he has already had,) that just 'cause of suspicion may never be afforded to any one, of his
entertaining any sentiments respecting doctrine and ecclesias: Stical discipline, varying in the least from those which are comprehended in the Confession and Catechism and in the articles of the last general Synod ;-that, should scruples afterwards * occur concerning any articles of doctrine, he will be cautious not to speak of them in his sermons or in any other public manner ;--that in . such case he shall be permitted to confer with his brethren ;-and that, if he do not find himself satis"fied by their arguments, and think that his scruples are not “thereby removed from his mind, in such a state of things he
will of his own accord impose silence on himself, till a General • Council of the Churches be convened by whose advice and judgment he is willing to abide.
Lastly, for the purpose of causing mutual peace and con“cord to flourish the more and to remain unimpaired among the
ministers of the sanctuary, although the colleagues of Armi“nius consider such a measure superfluous on their part, since they have at no time afforded occasion to any person to indulge
in the least doubt concerning their fidelity and their duty, - yet they vow and promise, that they will be especially careful both in the delivery of their public discourses and in private conversation, not to afford any person grounds to suspect that there is a disagreement among them ;—yet on this condition, “that when, for the defence of the true faith, they employ “themselves in refuting the arguments of their opponents according to the formulary of Reformed doctrine which is in use in the Low Countries, they shall be considered to have fulfilled their promise.
“These stipulations having been made and heard, the Eccle“siastical Senate, on account of these impeding causes, have, in
their care for the peace of the church, judged it proper to “suspend their judgment upon the protestation of Arminius, which is mentioned in the first part of this document, and to commit to silence the whole of this matter; at the same time they earnestly beseech Almighty God to command felicity and
suecess to attend this attempt, to the glory of his name and the edification of his Church
When this form of restoring concord had been drawn up and delivered, no impartial person felt any doubt respecting both parties readily agreeing to these conditions and promises, and thus concluding the matter. But in this hope they were deceived. Arminius was ready to embrace these laws with both arms, but the Ecclesiastical Senate rejected them by a great majority. After Taffinus and Uitenbogardt had encountered all these labours for the peace of the Church, to such a small degree of commendation did some persons think them entitled, that they spread insidious reports about them through the city, and represented them as friendly to heterodox opinions. Although both of them perceived that they had spent their labour in vain, and that they could derive no hopes from the great body of the Clergy of restoring peace, yet, for the purpose of vindicating their reputation, they resolved once more to convoke the Ecclesiastical Senate. When it was assembled, they maintained by various arguments the innocence and impartiality of their conduct, and animadverted with great spirit and boldness upon the injurious treatment which they had received from those foul slanderers who had thus egregiously misrepresented their mediation. They likewise beseeched the brethren, and required of them to regard their design with kindness and to receive it as the expression of candid minds: They added, that it was their determination to proceed no further with their well-intended labours, and to commit the whole affair to the decision of Divine Providence.*
• During tbis pacificatory visit, Uitenbogardt had heard from some of the Amsterdam Ministers, that little attention was paid to his advice, principally on account of the particular intimacy which subsisted between him and Armi. nius. The following narrative will confirm the truth of their remark :
A few days previous to the arrival of Uiteubogardt, when it was determined to present Jeremiah Bastingius with a call to the Church in Amsterdam, the Magistrates strongly intimated that they had no bigher wish than to behold the commencement of a serious deliberation on the part of the Ecclesiastical Senate respecting giving a call, not only to Bastiogius, but also to the very eloquent Uitenbogardt, at that time minister at the Hague, and one whom they had then some expectations of obtaining. The Presbytery was convened for this purpose, on the 14th of January; and when each of the ministers was asked to deliver his sentiments, according to the dictates of his conscience, concerning the advice of the magistrates, Plavcius rose up and declared, " that he had beard some reports concerning Uitenbogardt, which might indace one to suspect that he hesitated about some doctrines of the Christian faith; and chiefly about the doctrine of Original Sin, for the confirmation of which the fifth chapter of Genesis, and some other passages are commonly cited, and yet Uitenbogardt was said to have intimated that they are not applicable to that subject. Besides, he had in his presence occasionally given a
In this state of ecclesiastical matters, the magistrates of Amsterdam were pleased to invite Taffinus and Uitenbogardt, who was making preparations for returning home, to the council-chamber, and to learn from them the progress of this affair and to what point they had brought it. Those two ministers most promptly complied with this request; and having disclosed to their worships every thing which seemed to relate to the amicable termination of the affair, they obtained leave to depart, after thanks had been mutually tendered.
Uitenbogardt returned to the Hague; and soon afterwards, at the annual election of magistrates, the new Burgomasters, Reiner Cantius, William Bardesius, C. F. Teilingius, and N. F. Octgenius a Waveren, cited together before them all the
few suspicious hints about certain questions that occur in the Catechism ; had once declared, when a work on Arianism was mentioned, that it was incapable of refutation; and had expressed a desire that it were allowed him to behold a solid refutation of Coornhert's book. In addition to these things it had been whispered, that he maintained the same sentiments as Arminius on the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. For these reasons, it appeared to him as not making in the least for the interests of the Church, to present such a man with a call on that occasion."-When Arminius heard these and similar defamatory expressions concerning an absent friend whom he most affectionately regarded as a brother, he opposed himself to such slanders, and shewed that these accusations had no better foundation than the mere suspicions of the speaker, and would speedily vanish into airy nothing as soon as Uitenbogardt should be heard in his own defence. Arminius therefore and some other members of the Preshytery delivered it as their advice, that they should comply with the wishes of the magistrates and treat with Uiteubogardt. But a majority voted against this advice; and it was resolved to ask the magistrates, by a deputation from that meeting, to grant their permission for completing the call which had been given to Bastingius; and to intimate to them, at the same time, that the Presbytery had their own reasons for omitting to promote a call to the Pastor of the Church at the Hague. That deputation consisted of two elders, Thomas Kronenburgius and John de Vry, both of them respectable men and of the senatorial order; and they were empowered to disclose those reasons, if the magistrates appeared solicitous to know them.
After Uitenbogardt had received an intimation of this circumstance, although the first object of his journey to Amsterdam was principally for the sake of Arminius and the Church in that city, yet he thought the opportunity of vindicating his own reputation was not to be neglected. With this object in view, he waited immediatelv upon P. Plancius, the principal fabricator of those ipjurious surmises in which some persons had indulged themselves against him; and, having seriously expostulated with him concerning all the reports which had been industriously retailed to his disadvantage, he reduced him to such difficulties, tbat he confessed he had been guilty of great imprudence, and faithfully promised to acquaint the Ecclesiastical Senate with all those particulars which had then transpired in conversation. This promise he fulfilled before the whole Presbytery, on the twenty third day of the same month; and to those two meu who had before been deputed to meet the magistrates, was committed the province of assuring their worships, in the name of the whole assembly, that all those scruples and doubts which were entertained by some people against Uitenbogardt, had disappeared as soon as he and Plancius had come to an explanation.
ministers of religion, on the eleventh of February, at three o'clock in the afternoon ; and, that this affair might be conducted with greater authority and to better effect, they invited those most respectable individuals, P. Bomius, C. P. Hoofdius, and B. Cromhoutius, who had recently discharged the office of chief magistrates of the city. The ministers met the magistrates at the time appointed, and Cantius, who executed the office of President, addressing the reverend gentlemen in the name of his brother magistrates, said, he had been much
grieved to perceive, both from the public discourses which had been delivered some time before, and from the complaints of some citizens, that the ministers of religion did not agree well among themselves; that such dissensions must be resisted in their commencement, lest they should some time or other 'break out and prove destructive to the church and to the commonwealth; that it was the wish and the command of the magistrates, in accordance with the duty which their office imposed, to see them hereafter apply themselves to the study of 'peace and concord, for which they had been distinguished and cited asexamples for the imitation of other churches, and nolonger to give occasion by their declamatory expressions for any person to suspect that some grievous animosities were cherished among them; that if there happened some discrepancy of ‘judgment among them on certain subjects, they were at liber
ty to institute among themselves private and friendly conferences; that, above all things, they must be careful not to allow these dissensions to proceed from the Ecclesiastical "Senate to the pulpit, and from thence to the people; and if
they should prove deficient in this their own duty, the magistrates would be compelled to employ other remedies, that neither the Church nor the commonwealth might sustain any injury.
The ministers, having retired for a few minutes to advise together, on their return gave the following answer, by the Rev. J. Ambrosius, “They thanked the magistrates for the - care which they manifested for the welfare of the Church of * Amsterdam ; that they were impressed with a most ardent - desire of preserving peace, which they had not ceased sacredly * to cultivate during a period of thirteen years, and had at no
time given any man just reason for thinking otherwise con6 cerning them; that if any member of their body should * think his conduct resembled that which had been described, it 6 was his duty to free himself from the imputation; that they had hitherto taken uncommon pains by means of friendly conferences to compose the differences which had arisen between · Arminius and the Presbytery; and that they would exercise great watchfulness in this affair and would sedulously labour for
the restoration of peace.' · Arminius having then obtained leave to speak, addressed his discourse to the magistrates and solemnly assured them, that, - in his interpretation of the seventh chapter of the Epistle to “the Romans, which was a little different from the exposition of it given by many of the Reformed, he had taught and wished to teach nothing that was in any wise repugnant to the Confession and the Palatine Catechism ; that in conformity with the liberty of treating on sacred subjects which belonged to every private christian and to every teacher of Christianity, - he had felt no doubt concerning his right to expound any
passage of the sacred volume according to the dictates of his conscience; that, since the point on which this controversy principally turned, was, the opinion of some ministers that - his sentiments on that chapter were opposed to those formularies of consent, and that he might be easily proved guilty of that charge, he was prepared, for the further defence of his character, to enter into a conference with his brethren in the ministry, but he earnestly begged that such conference might
be held in the presence of the magistrates or of their dele. gates; and that he should form greater hopes of the success ,"ful issue of this affair, if such respectable individuals would
not only become witnesses of the arguments which might be adduced on both sides, but would have the goodness to act as moderators and just judges.'
As soon as Arminius had ceased, the Rev. J. Kuchlinus animadverted on some of his expressions, and prefaced his speech with a few observations on the fidelity which he had himself displayed during thirteen years, in the discharge of his ministerial functions. He also begged in opposition to Arminius, that the conference which had been mentioned, and which was an object of much importunity to many persons, might be held in the presence of the Presbytery alone, according to the received usage of the Churches.
At length, when both parties had been heard with the greatest attention, and after the ministers had been requested to withdraw for a season, the magistrates seriously deliberated on the whole affair ; and on the ministers being called in again, the respectable Cantius intimated to them, in the name of all