« PreviousContinue »
the analogy of faith; and, finally, that they would abstain from all those phrases which exceed the prescribed limits of the genuine sense of the holy scriptures, and which might afford a just handle to perverse sophists of taunting, or even calumniating the reformed churches. May Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who, sitting at the right hand of the Father, bestows gifts on men, sanctify us in truth; lead those to the truth who err; shut the mouths of those who calumniate the holy doctrine; and endow the faithful ministers of his word, with a spirit of wisdom and discretion, that all their discourses may tend to the glory of God and the edification of the hearers.
BY THE TRANSLATOR.2
[To the Articles under each of the preceding
'Can any thing be more wise, pious, and scriptural, than this concluding counsel and prayer? Who can deny, that many called Calvinists, by neglecting the counsel here exhibited, have given much occasion of misapprehension, prejudice, and slander to opposers, which might have been avoided? Who can object to this counsel? What pious mind will refuse to add his hearty Amen, to the closing prayer?
The following paragraph, in the former edition of this work, immediately succeeded Tilenus's 5th article, on Perseverance: but it has been transferred to this place for the purpose of annexing to it the extracts from Bishop Hall, which were subjoined to the Articles of the Synod in the author's Remarks on the Refutation of Calvinism.' These Articles being, in the present edition (to avoid repetition,) referred to this place, this appendage, of course, accompanies them. The extracts are here reprinted from the first edition of the were given most at large.-J. S.
Remarks,' where they
heads of doctrine, I have subjoined Tilenus's ' Abbreviation' of them, concerning which Heylin says,] This is the shortest, and withal the most 'favourable summary which I have hitherto met 'with of the conclusions of this Synod: that ' which was drawn by the Remonstrants, in their ''Antidotum,' being much more large, and comprehending many things by way of inference, ' which are not positively expressed in the words 'thereof.'-I am not able to annex the Anti'dotum' of the Remonstrants; yet I cannot but be disposed to think, that it does not contain a more 'unfavourable' statement of the conclusions made by the Synod of Dort, than the 'Ab'breviation' in five articles, though doubtless it is more 'prolix.' But would it not have been far more like a fair and equitable treatment of the Synod, to produce or comment upon the very articles published by it, than to substitute for them any abbreviation or antidotum drawn up by avowed opponents? I trust the former would have been the course pursued by most Calvinists in recording the proceedings of an Anticalvinistic synod: but, it seems, Calvinists are exceptions to all rules, and must not expect fair and equitable treatment like other men. I shall here set before the reader some passages from Bishop Hall, who was one of King James's delegates at this Synod; though his health would not allow him to remain long there. He however formed an acquaintance, during that time, with some eminent foreign divines; and some Latin letters from him to them, relating to these subjects, are still extant, from which the following extracts are chiefly taken.—
'Refut. of Calv. p. 568.
'Though God might have justly used his absolute power towards his creatures, yet he both 'useth and willeth to proceed according to a cer'tain appointed and revealed right (ordinatum jus 'ac revelatum.) As God is essential goodness, wisdom, justice, and so the fountain and source ' of all goodness, justice, and wisdom; nothing 'can flow from him, which is not perfectly good, wise, and just: his creatures therefore ought 'most humbly to acquiesce in his good pleasure (Eudoxia). Hence it follows, that nothing of good 'can be in any creature, which was not implanted by him, and derived from him, the principle (principio) of all good. But also thus further, 'that God is not the author of sin: that God 'condemns no one, except for sin; because con'demnation (damnatio) is an act of punitive jus'tice; but punishment supposes crime; for what 'just person punishes the innocent? that God in ' earnest (serio) invites all, in every part of the earth, to faith and repentance, and under that 'condition to salvation, not only with the intention that they should by that means become 'inexcusable; (which certainly does not at all 'sound philanthropic; 1) but that, if indeed they 'shall perform his commands, they may attain 'what he graciously proposes. In the affair of 'predestination, we have no business with the
secret counsels of God; but we ought to judge,
concerning ourselves and others, according to 'his revealed will. We ought therefore so to be' have ourselves, in the whole conduct of our life, and in working out our salvation, as if we were 'subject to no hidden decree of God. What is it Tit. iii. 4. Gr.
'to thee, O man, what has been determined (sta'tutum) in heaven? Look to it, that thou per
form what thy most holy and most righteous 'Creator and Redeemer hath enjoined; and thou 'canst not but be safe, and saved (tutus et salvus). . Otherwise thou wilt be disappointed who pro'misest thyself salvation. Therefore diligence 'should be applied to faith and good works; as if on these alone salvation depended, and immunity from all danger of reprobation. Thus should ́ all unbelief, and every certain and willing violation of the divine law, be shunned; as if, setting ' aside every consideration of the hidden decree, ' damnation would thence follow. He who acts differently from this, and forms, a priori, a judg'ment of his eternal condition, miserably perverts 'the secret counsels of God, which he ought silently to revere.'1
"Thou most justly inveighest against their explication, being rigid and evidently unjust, who ' think that absolute reprobation, proceeding from ' mere hatred, is to be opposed to free and gra'tuitous election. For indeed what can God hate except sin; and his creature, not in itself, but because of sin? For, this being set apart, God saw all things which he had made, and pro'nounced them very good. But how can God shew himself, a lover of man, (pixávpwnov,) if he hate man, as man? Thou wilt therefore go before 'me also, as to those words to which I most will
ingly assent; that the sentence is eminently
pious, and most sweet, that we were elected in ⚫ Christ unto salvation, gratuitously, of mere 'Epistola Ludovico Crocio.
mercy, and the good pleasure of God: but that the other is not sufficiently pious, nor indeed tolerable, (namely) that others perish deservedly, ' even if they had not been lost in Adam, because 'God so placed Christ as head over his church, 'that not all, but we who are elect should be saved.' I wish that odious forms of speech of 'this kind, had never fallen from any pious and 'learned professor of the reformed religion: or, if ' at any time they had rashly passed the fence of his teeth, (pxos dovτwv,) being condemned, they ' had been immediately consigned to eternal oblivion. Of this kind of chaff, there were certain improper speeches, which not a few of the divines ' at Dort desired to have rejected and corrected; which would then have been done, had not perhaps too much indulgence been given to the ' opinion (or estimation, estimationi) of certain 'persons. Concerning which I wrote somewhat 'more largely to my illustrious colleague D. 'Crocius.'1
'All men, within the pale of the church especially, have from the mercy of God such common Whelps to salvation, that the neglect of them 'makes any of them justly guilty of their own 'condemnation. Besides the general will of God, 'he has eternally willed and decreed to give a special and effectual grace to those, that are predestinate according to the good pleasure of his will;" whereby they do actually believe, obey, and persevere, that they may be saved. 'So that the same God, that would have all men to be saved if they believe, and be not wanting
'Epistola D'Hermanno Hildebrando.