Imatges de pàgina

holy and acceptable.” (Rom. xii, 1.) Even while remaining in these lower regions, we will sing, with the four-and-twenty elders that stand around the throne, this heavenly song to the God and Father of all : “ Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power: For thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Rev. iv, 11.) To Christ our High Priest and the Lamb, we will, with the same elders, chant the new song, saying, “ Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests : And we shall reign on the earth.” (v, 10.) Unto both of them together we will unite with every creature in singing, “ BLESSING, AND HONOUR, AND GLORY, AND MIGHT BE TO HIM WHO SITTETH UPON THE THRONE, AND UNTO THE LAMB FOR EVER AND EVER.”—I have finished.

After the Academic Act of his promotion to a Doctor's degree was completed, Arminius, according to the custom at Leyden, which still obtains in many Universities, briefly addressed the same audience in the following manner: Since the countenance necessary for the commencement of

every prosperous action proceeds from God, it is proper that in him also every one of our actions should terminate. Since therefore his Divine clemency and benignity have hitherto regarded us in a favourable light, and have granted to this our act the desired success, let us render thanks to Him for such a great display of his benevolence, and utter

praise to his holy name. “O thou Omnipotent and Merciful God, the Father of our

Lord Jesus Christ, we give thanks to thee for thine infinite benefits conferred upon us miserable sinners. But we would first praise thee for having willed that thy Son Jesus Christ should be the victim and the price of redemption for our sins; that thou hast out of the whole human race collected for thyself a church by thy word and Holy Spirit ; that thou hast snatched us also from the kingdom of darkness and of Satan, and hast translated us into the kingdom of light and of thy Son; that thou hast called Holland, our pleasant and delightful country, to know and confess thy Son and to enjoy communion with him ; that , thou hast hitherto preserved this our native land in safety

against the machinations and assaults of a very powerful adversary; that thou hast instituted, in our renowned city, this university as a seminary of true wisdom, piety and righteousness; and that thou hast to this hour accompanied these scholastic exercises with thy favour. We intreat

thee, O holy and indulgent God, that thou wouldst for · ever continue to us these benefits; and do not suffer us, by

our ingratitude, to deserve at thy hands, to be deprived of them. But be pleased rather to increase them, and to confirm the work which thou hast begun. Cause us always to reflect with retentive minds on these things, and to utter eternal praises to thy most holy name on account of them,

through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!” I thank you, Doctor Francis Gomarus, and am grateful to : you, most illustrious man and very learned promoter, for

this great privilege with which you have invested one who is undeserving of it. I promise at all times to acknowledge with a grateful mind this favour, and to strive that you may never have just cause to repent of having conferred

this honour upon me. To you also, most noble Lord Rector, and to the very honour

able the Senate of the University, (unless I should desire to defile myself with the crime of an ungrateful spirit,) I owe greater thanks than I am able to express, for the honourable judgment which you have formed concerning me, and for your liberal testimony, which by no deed of mine have I ever deserved. But I promise and bind myself to exert my powers to the utmost, that I may not at any time be found to be entirely unworthy of it. If I thus exert myself, I know that you will accept it as a payment in full of all the debt of gratitnde which you have a

right to demand. I now address you, most noble, honourable, and famous men,

to all and to each of whom I confess myself to be greatly indebted for your continued and liberal benevolence towards me, which you have abundantly demonstrated by your wish to honour this our act with your most noble, honourable, famous, and worthy presence. I would promise to make you a requital at some future period, did not the feebleness of my powers shrink from the magnitude of the undertaking implied in that expression, and did not the eminence of your stations repress the attempt.

In the duty of returning thanks which I am now discharging,

I must not omit you, most noble and studious youths : For I owe this acknowledgment to your partial and kind inclination to me, of which you have given a sufficiently exuberant declaration in your honourable appearance and modest demeanour while you have been present at this our act. I give my promise and solemn undertaking, that if an occasion hereafter offer itself in which I can render myself serviceable to you, I will endeavour in every capacity to compensate you for this your kind partiality. The occurrence of such an opportunity is at once the object of my hopes and my wishes.

Vol. I.




This very judicious oration was pronounced on the 8th of February 1606, in the

Hall of the University, when Arminius resigned the honourable annual office of RECTOR MAGNIFICUS, which, at Leyden, ansuers in some respects to that of the head of one of our Colleges, and in others to that of ViceChancellor in an English University. In this most admirable and spirited production, our author not only exhibits an accurate and profound acquaintance with the human heart and of the motives which bias it, but developes those sound principles of religious liberty which were espoused and defended by his successors, and on account of which the Dutch Remonstrants acquired the best portion of their just celebrity. Indeed, whatever was subsequently written by them on this interesting subject, is little more than an expansion

of the sentiments here propounded in the nervous language of Arminius. At that period the great body of the Calvinistic Clergy of Holland were desirous

of obtaining leave from the States General to hold a National Synod : They pressed the adoption of this measure the more earnestly, because, knowing themselves to be the stronger party, they hoped to obtain, in an assembly composed almost exclusively of Calvinists, a condemnation of the tenets of their opponents. Several of them suspected, that Arminius and Vytenbogardt secretly endeavoured to prevent the convening of the Synod. But their suspicions were groundless : for both these good men were decidedly in favour of that object, on condition that the Confession and Catechism were subjected to Synodical revision. In a Public Document, the States of Holland testify, that the most aged ministers who had appeared in the former national Synod, freely owned, that it was usual at the beginning of such a Synod, to eramine, first of all, in the fear of the Lord, the aforesaid Confession and Catechism, and to receive the remarks or objections of the brethren, and, after having weighed them, to proceed as the members determined." These however were terms which did not at all accord with the views of the Calvinists, many of whom were either so blinded by passion and prejudice, or cherished such low conceptions of the authority of the IPord of God, as to assert, that those tuo formularies, the composition of erring mortals, were the only rules by which the scriptures of Eternal Truth ought to be interpreted.-Such being the state of public affairs at that period, Arminius with great modesty, clearness, and eloquence, delivers his opinion about the holding of a Synod and the principal objects which ought to engage the attention of its members. But (alas !) what a woeful difference is discernible between the Synod which was ultimately convened at Dort, and the heavenly Council which, in these pages, is depicted by the hand of a master. This difference will appear still more distinctly, by the copious

notes appended to that part of the Oration. In a letter which Arminius wrote to his young friend Narsius four days afterwards, he thus expresses himself: “According to the custom usually observed in this University, I resigned my office of Rector on the eighth

instant. My successor is Pavius. The oration which I pronounced was on

Religious DISSENSION ; and I explained its nature and effects, its causes . and remedies, with that freedom wbich the subject itself, and the state of

the Church, require. Many people highly approve of what was said, while it is a copious source of blame and grief to others. I hope to be able to afford you a sight of this oration, the next time you come to Leyden; when you will confess, that it is not the production of a timid orator. For I perceive that the suspicions and calumnies of these men have the effect of imparting fresh courage to me, which is much strengthened by the Synod that is soon to be convened. If any one has any thing tu allege against me or my sentiments, I challenge him to bring forward his allegations at the approaching Synod." Such was the manner in which one of the most modest men wrote to an intimate friend! The injurious treatment of his adversaries had transformed his diffidence into courage, and had compelled him to speak plain things, to shew those persons their transgression, and all intolerant professors of Christianity their sins.

parallel of etween them," of these diffevery

Never since the first entrance of sin into the world, have there been any ages so happy as not to be disturbed by the occurrence of some evil or other; and, on the contrary, there has been no age so embittered with calamities, as not to have had a sweet admixture of some good, by the presence of the divine benevolence renewed towards mankind. The experience of all ages bears witness to the truth of this observation; and it is taught by the individual history of every nation. If, from a diligent consideration of these different histories and a comparison between them, any person should think fit to draw a parallel of the blessings and of the calamities which have either occurred at one and the same period, or which have succeeded each other,-he would in reality be enabled to contemplate, as in a mirror of the greatest clearness and brilliancy, how the BENIGNITY of God has at all times contended with his JUST SEVERITY, and what a conflict the GOODNESS OF THE Deity has always maintained with the PERVERSITY OF MEN. Of this a fair specimen is afforded to us in the passing events of our own age, within that part of Christendom with which we are more immediately acquainted. To demonstrate this, I do not deem it necessary to recount all the EVILS which have rushed, like an overwhelming inundation, upon the century which has been just completed: for their infinity would render such an attempt difficult and almost impossible. Neither do I think it necessary, to enumerate, in a particular manner, the BLESSINGS by which those evils have been somewhat mitigated.

To confirm this truth, it will be abundantly sufficient to mention one very remarkable BLESSING, and one EVIL of great

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