Imatges de pàgina

in the Lord. But the reflection is consoling to me, that those also are blessed who are compelled, by the public discharge of their holy duties, seriously to think upon their own private sanctification. Whatever may be the occasion and the cause of an entrance into a Divinity Professorship, neither of them can be equally powerful and efficacious, in this respect, (with the exercise of the Christian ministry.] I declare to you, that my too intense desire to investigate different subjects has deprived me of much of that time, which I might have devoted with more propriety, and, I am sure, with greater profit, to the edifying and hallowing of my own soul. What will become of me, when I shall have dedicated myself to that employment, which prefers far larger demands for the contemplation and discussion of difficulttopics?-I live also in a Republic, to the Supreme Magistracy of which I can, with the greatest ease and without any stain of conscience or molestation, give complete satisfaction. I leave you to determine, whether I ought to change my situation under such a government, for one under any other. I am resolved always to preserve an upright and unbiassed spirit, and not to force my conscience for the sake of any man living: Yet, not to be able to please Christ without displeasing the magistrates, is occasionally a matter of regret. This unshaken resolution contributes to impart extreme joy and gladness to one's spirit.--To these inducements for my continuance at Amsterdam, may be added a regard for my family affairs, which deservedly affects the most excellent of men, in this view at least—that they may consult the future prospects of those who are dear to them,-and not that they may scrape together immense riches: The latter course, you and all who know me can testify, I have never pursued. Yet it is necessary, that this care should not fill me with anxiety, when I ought to have my mind engaged in contemplating matters of the greatest importance. While I remain at Amsterdam, I persuade myself that I can preserve my mind free from this extreme solieitude.. For I am in the enjoyment of an honourable stipend ; an augmentation of which I think I could readily obtain, if the necessity for such an increase should ever occur. For the Republic is well able to defray these charges; and, unless I have grievously deceived myself, [suscitavi istam existimationem the magistrates have conceived such a high opinion of me, as to . induce me, while I am content with things necessary, not to indulge in wishes for more. And since I neither exert myself to raise an inheritance for my children, nor should I be able were I with much anxiety to make the attempt; still I am not a little refreshed by the circumstance, (in the hopes of which I may

certainly be permitted to indulge,) that the Church [in this city) will have a due regard to my offspring, and will make a needful provision for them, for the sake of their father, how feeble soever his ministrations may have been.— These considerations produce the effect, (nay they have long since produced it,) of discarding from my mind all desires for a change ; indeed, I never cherished a settled thought about any such thing. I have certainly wished at some seasons to have a little more time and leisure for pursuing my studies; but I have learnt by degrees to place a less value upon this privilege, and to prefer to it the edification of my conscience. I have breathed many fervent wishes for the nearer presence and society of you and Thysius : To the present moment, I cherish the same wishes, the fulfilment of which I should esteem a greater prize than the treasures of the Arabs and Lydians. I should prefer the acquisition of your company, before any thing dear and acceptable which could befal me in this life, in whatever region of the earth it might possibly happen.

“ Yet the motives which I have now enumerated, have not such a powerful influence over me, as to make me desirous of despising the judgment of pious and learned men, and especially of the Churches of Christ, if they should consider that my labours might be more usefully applied in that situation than they can be at Amsterdam. But a slight additional importance is given to my view of this matter, from the fact of our Republic possessing the entire right over me; for she afforded me maintenance while I pursued my studies, and has till now educated and brought me up, that I may be able to perform for her some useful service. The principal persons in the government [of the city) might probably be induced with considerable difficulty to yield me up to those of Leyden, or, as that very learned person expresses it, 'to Batavia herself.' This opinion of mine does not depend on a consciousness of my own sufficiency; for I know that such a noble church as this deserves to possess better and more learned ministers than I am ; but I am also aware, that it is usual with men in eminent stations to evince an excess of attachment towards those upon whom they have bestowed their benefits. For as they know that they have firmly engaged and bound sych persons to themselves, they look in return for a grateful recollection of the benefits conferred, and for a reciprocity of affection. If the matter be referred to the Church, no less a difficulty will arise. And who am I, that such a stir should be created on my account?

“ These things I was desirous to transmit to you, not because the mention of them was necessary, but because I can refuse no

thing which you may require. For I understand, that the person whom you describe in your letter will, in the course of a few days, enter upon the vacant situation for the sake of experiment. He has my good wishes in his enterprize, though for many reasons I should have preferred the vocation of Thysius* to that office; to whom indeed, I think, a direct application ought to be made, if that which I have heard respecting him is not successful.

“ Behold, my Uitenbogaert, what a long epistle I have written! Yet, I know, from it you will receive with much gladness the intelligence, that I am still alive, and in the enjoyment of good health, by the great blessing of God my most Merciful Father, who, by his own right hand, has hitherto powerfully preserved me and my family, in the midst of the excessive carnage and masses of dead bodies. I do not cease to intreat Him by ardent prayers, still to grant me his protection. Unite your prayers to mine, as I know you do, not for me only and for mine, but for the whole of our Republic. The necessity of the case demands such intercessions: For the plague not only does not abate, but daily rages with equal fury, and continues its terrible devastations. May the Lord Jesus preserve you in safety to his Church, to your family and to me; and may He endue you yet more with his gifts to the glory of his Divine Name and to the profit of his Church! Farewell, my prudent friend, anima dimidium meæ ! Cease not to love me, and be mindful of me before the Lord.-AMSTERDAM, Oct. 1, 1602.”

The epistolary correspondence on this subject between Arminius and Uitenbogaert, of which the preceding letter affords a pleasing specimen, is of the most interesting description, and highly indicative of the modesty, evangelical sentiments, and moderation of our author.--I now proceed to give an account of the progress of the call of Arminius, as related by the younger Brandt.

When certain ecclesiastics beheld the predilection for Arminius which was evinced by the Curators and others, they could not

• Anthony Thysius bad then recently accepted the Divinity Professorship at Harderwick, and was occupying that situation when Arminius removed to Leyden. Thysius is here recommended as a fit person to succeed to one of the vacant DivinityProfessors' Chairs at Leyden ; in a preceding letter to Uitenbogaert, dated May 26, 1600, Arminius says: “ You know that our Thysius has returned from France. I wish him to be appointed to some office in our neighbourhood, and, if possible, at Leyden : The propensity of his mind is towards Hebrew Literature. I am of opi. nion, if that Professorship were assigned to him, he would endeavour to discharge its duties in an honourable manner. He is a most diligent as well as a curious enquirer into those things which relate to Hebrew learning.”

endure the sight, and left nothing unattempted by which they might divert their thoughts and affections from him to a foreign divine. One of “the deputies of the Churches," as these meddling personages were honourably styled, came about this time to the Curator Neostadius [Newstead], and tried in every possible way to detract from the praises of Arminius, by saying, “ I never “ discovered any great thing in him, except that he was an ex6 pert logician ; but I do not know, that he is such an excellent “divine as it would be proper to entrust with the occupancy of " the Academical Chair.”

But the intended appointment of Arminius was opposed with far greater violence and acrimony by John Kuchlinus, the principal Moderator of the Theological College, who was his uncle by marriage, and had formerly been his colleague at Amsterdam.* He expostulated most vehemently with Uitenbogaert about this matter, and began to express his doubts, “ that Arminius was infected with the heresy of Coornhert;"+ and concluded his harangue with the confident affirmation, “ that his father-inlaw, Laurence Real, I was too much addicted to that heresy."Soon afterwards he inveighed, even before the Curators of the University, against the inclination for novelties, which, he said, was manifested by Arminius; and having made many rash assertions concerning his alleged itch for disputation, he concluded with these words, “ What can I do, an aged man? Can I suffer “ my students to attend the University, to hear new doctrines “ every day and to bring them home? I will not allow it, I will “ not endure it! I should prefer shutting up my college !" But a most judicious man, John Hauten, who was at that time Secretary to the University, repressed the indignation of Kuchlinus, by his sudden arrival; which was in this case most opportune, since his arguments brought back the old man within the limits of moderation, and induced him afterwards to adopt a milder mode of discourse.

On the same day, too, being that on which the Academical Convocation was held respecting the call of Arminius to the Divinity Chair, the celebrated Gomarus requested permission to speak, and, after presenting to the Curators of the University a Funeral Oration,g which he had delivered in honour of Junius at the time of his interment, he informed their Lordships, “ that Junius had requested of him, almost in the very article of death, that he would commend in his name to their Lordships the Curators the care of the University, and of the Professorship of The

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

ology.” “Having now executed the commission with which I was charged,” added Gomarus, “ I cannot with a good conscience so far dissemble as not to express my apprehensions, that the call of Arminius, for the promoting of which I understand you are now convened, will in my judgment be the cause of most serious injury to the University, on account of the heterodoxy which he maintained, and which he had openly avowed, not merely in his sermons on the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, but likewise in his very grievous dissensions with Junius on the subject of Predestination. Junius himself had not entertained favourable sentiments concerning Arminius, who, while he remains at Amsterdam, can infect only one Church; but on his removal to Leyden, he will have it in his power to infect many churches,' not only in this country but also in other regions. The former city contains many persons who can contradict his assertions and oppose themselves to his attempts; but the number is very small of such persons in Leyden. In an University greater latitude is allowed for disputations, than in the church ; on this account, therefore, contentions will undoubtedly arise. To raise himself the more easily to the Professorship, Arminius will probably promise (meliora] amendment: But no confidence must be reposed in his words, and it is necessary to act with the utmost caution in an affair of such great moment, lest the introduction of such a man and of his novel dogmas conduce to the detriment of this most worthy University.”—The judgment formed by this eminent divine seemed to their Lordships the Curators much too virulent and intemperate, especially when it was applied to a celebrated minister who had, up to that period, lived in the highest estimation among the people of his charge, and who had never manifested the most distant appearance of aspiring after the situation. Those honourable personages therefore asked Gomarus “ if he was himself well acquainted with Arminius, and had read the conference which he had held with Junius?” To which he candidly replied, “that he had paid his personal respects to Arminius only once, and that was when he saw him at a distance. But that, with regard to the disputation with Junius, he certainly had not read it through, but had been made acquainted with it by ministers who were highly deserving of credit.”—Being further pressed and asked “ who were the fabricators of these charges?,” he at length named Plancius.

But the Supreme Governors of the University, having considered that no great reliance was to be placed on such testimony as this, proceeded no further with the affair at that time, till they enquired more accurately into all those accusations with which

« AnteriorContinua »