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praise of toleration, and of liberal treatment towards their opponents. Though free inquiry was the motto of the remonstrants, yet, in the part of the Union where they prevailed, in Holland especially, they were guilty of great oppression, with respect to the teachers who retained the former doctrines of the Belgic churches. The reformed, also, in their turn, for they were greatly superior in numbers throughout the confederacy of the Seven United Provinces taken together, were too intolerant in their treatment of the Arminians. This sect, however, it should be remembered, by their great influence in Holland, and their union with the heads of the republican party in that province, threatened danger to the Union, and had even enlisted soldiers for the defence of their faction. Maurice, prince of Orange, the military head of the Union, took decisive measures against them, and shewed great favour to the orthodox; from ambitious motives, according to the opinions of some, they being the more numerous party.

The issue, so far as it relates to the concerns of the church, was the calling of a national council of the Belgic churches, by the authority of the States General. This synod was held in the city of Dort, in the years 1618 and 1619, and, as far as circumstances would admit, was rendered a general council of the reformed churches. To twenty-six divines of the United Provinces, were added twenty-eight foreign divines; and there were also five professors of divinity, and sixteen laymen. Five divines were sent by king James from Great Britain, among whom were Carleton, bishop of Llandaff, Hall and Davenant, afterwards bishops of Norwich and Salisbury. The reformed church of France also had chosen their representatives at the synod, but they were prevented from attending by the French king. Deputies attended from the Palatinate, Hesse, Geneva, Bremen, Embden, and from the churches of some other places. The synod of Dort may therefore be considered, though not strictly such, as approaching to the character of a general council of the reformed churches, and, in an historic point of view, may be justly regarded as manifesting the standard of their faith in this age.

The articles of this synod, which are drawn up with great care, supported by authorities from Holy Writ, the opposite errors at the same time being stated, and, according to the views of the synod, refuted by the same authority, are best entitled, at least of any public document, to be considered as the standard of the doctrines of grace, as held by the reformed churches at the beginning of the seventcenth century - those

doctrines which have since been generally denominated Calvinism.

It may, I think, justly be called a common standard of Calvinism, for the three varieties of Calvinists, supralapsarians, sublapsarians, and the universal Calvinists, who differ from the last mentioned by connecting the Divine decrees with the work of the Spirit, rather than with the gift of a Saviour, were all concerned in drawing up these articles, and none obtained the statement of their own views exclusively.

I believe it may be admitted, without prejudice of the truth, whether we approve these doctrines, or prefer the alterations introduced by the remonstrants and a few more early reformers, that the synod of Dort presents a fair general exhibition of the religious system of the reformers of the fifteenth century. Its decisions were, at the time, declared to be in unison with the former Belgic confession, with the standard of the other reformed churches on the Continent, and with the doctrinal articles of the churches of England and Scotland. The French church even adopted them by a national council held at Alais in the following year. On the other hand, the greater part of the Lutherans, with the professors of Wittemberg, declared for the doctrinal system of the Arminians; and these opinions, though proscribed and persecuted in the United Provinces for five years, still maintained their ground and won the approbation of many, so that in the next generation they obtained the ascendency in most of the churches of the reformed; and the truth — if we admit that it was with the first reformers - was exchanged for a new system of divinity.

The synod of Dort may be compared, in one respect, to the council of Nice, - it served to mark the orthodoxy of that

generation; but it marked, at the same time, the period of the rise of an opposite system, which, though condemned, was almost immediately to supplant it. Arminianism certainly triumphed very generally, in the reformed churches, over the decrees of the synod of Dort; and that assembly served only to collect the opinions of the former age, and to mark this new era in the religious sentiments of the greater part of the Protestant world.

Other and farther departures from the former faith of Protestants followed, indeed, in the train of Arminianism. A system of ethics, which was almost silent on the peculiar doctrines of Revelation, and might well stand without them Arianism, Socinianism, and Deisin, which even destroyed its fundamentals

was openly professed or secretly embraced by many. Faithful

witnesses to the truths of Revelation, however, have not been wanting in all the churches. The metaphysical system of Leibnitz and Wolf, which was for a period the leading one among the learned, reconciled some of the great reasoners of mankind to the statements even of Calvinism ; but during the next century and a half, it was said, and sometimes said with truth, that more of the peculiarities of the Gospel were retained in the Roman Catholic churches, than in assemblies held by the successors of the evangelical reformers. Geneva itself was certainly not one of the exceptions; her teachers first became Arminian and Latitudinarian, and afterwards descended in the scale almost to Deism itself.

In the age in which we live, we trust things are altering for the better in Geneva and many of her offspring; but at the time he took his survey, there was too much truth in the estimate of the infidel historian Gibbon: “ The doctrine of a Protestant church is far removed from the knowledge and belief of its private members; the forms of orthodoxy, the articles of faith, are subscribed with a sigh or a smile by the modern clergy. Yet the friends of Christianity are alarmed at the boundless impulse of inquiry and scepticism. The predictions of the Catholics are accomplished, and the web of mystery is unravelled by the Arminians, Arians, and Socinians, — whose numbers must not be computed from their separate congregations; and the pillars of Revelation are shaken by those men,

the name without the substance of religion ; who indulge the license without the temper of philosophy 1.”

With respect to Geneva, Voltaire's boast - that in Calvin's own town only a few of the very meanest of the populace acknowledged the principles of Revelation — will not be soon forgotten.

In another modern author, we read respecting Geneva, that “ Luxury and idleness exerted their usual influence; a universal relaxation had taken place ; but the French Revolution coming towards the latter end of this wicked age, swept away together vices and virtues, property and life.”

who preserve

· History, chap. lii. end.

Simond's Switzerland.

SECT. V.

CHURCHES OF THE BRITISH ISLES.

In the former part of our history we saw the reformation fully established in England, by the accession of Elizabeth. Through her assistance, and the ardour of the Scottish reformers, the yoke of the papacy had also been broken in Scotland. Ireland seemed to follow the destinies of Great Britain. The northern parts received an impression from Scotland, while the main part of the island obeyed the impulse of the English government. But it was rather the oppressing of popery and the spoiling of its wealth, than the conversion of the people to the knowledge of the truth. The Scotch and English settlers were Protestants; beyond this pale, Ireland was still Roman Catholic.

The church of England differed from the other churches of the reformed or Helvetian persuasion, only in the retention of the ancient government, and of some few institutions of the primitive church. She was, properly speaking, an ancient church reformed and recovered from the Roman apostasy, without a dissolution of her ancient society or complete revolution in the institutions of her government.

With most of the other reformed churches it was different; they originated as new societies, formed afresh amidst the convulsions of the reformation, which had in many places overturned all established order and authority, both civil and ecclesiastical.

The reader is acquainted with the state of the English government at this period, and the circumstances of our history, which had concentred all the power of the state in the person of the princes of the house of Tudor. Accordingly, when the councils of the monarch were influenced to give ascendency to the reformed religion in opposition to popery, he claimed the right of interposing with a regulating hand.

Indeed, the principles of the first English reformers were very favourable to this exercise of royal authority. They understood from the precepts of the New Testament, that, as the servants and ministers of Christ, their submission to the civil power, in all things not contrary to the will of God, was most scrupulously to be rendered “ for conscience' sake,” as to a paramount ordinance of God; and they charged upon the partisans of Rome -- as a mark noted in Scripture, of their antichristian apostasy - their encroachments on the power of the

magistrates, and their despising of the temporal governments. Hence, the doctrines of "passive obedience” and “non-resistance,” which so peculiarly distinguish the earlier days of the reformed church of England. And however these doctrines may sound in this age of liberty,— and disgusting as they appear, when, from interested motives, they are offered as the incense of fattery to princes,- or however they may be sometimes too partially applied, under a mixed form of government,— they still demand the serious consideration of all denominations of Christians who desire to learn and practise the will of Christ, and must command our respect, in those who “ for conscience towards God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.”

Perhaps all who are acquainted with history will, at least, allow that it were better for the world and for religion, were all those who addict themselves to the work of the ministry, for that reason, to have done with worldly politics, and, as far as positive duty permits, to consider themselves of no party and of no country, satisfied to " submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake,” and to seek the things that make for peace, believing that “ the powers that be are ordained of God," and that “ He ruleth the kingdoms of men,” and “setteth over them whomsoever He will." Had these maxims been observed, the place of worship, at least, would have enjoyed a truce from the turmoil of political contests; and “the patient abiding of the meek" might have formed a claim, sooner respected by their countrymen, for the rights of conscience, than all the tumults kindled by the fiery zeal of well-meaning, though sometimes very factious divines.

The character of the two national churches established in Great Britain, differed much in their notions respecting the limits of that submission which was due to the civil power. This arose in part, perhaps, from the different circumstances in which the reformation was introduced into the two kingdoms. But it is well known that the political principles of the early Scottish reformers, with respect to the nature of the sovereign power, were very different from those entertained by the reformers in England. They seem to have approximated, in some of their leading sentiments, to those which have been laid down as maxims in this revolutionary age. One advantage, however, Scotland possessed over the more southern part of the island : the great mass of her population were more deeply impressed and interested by the doctrines of the Protestant faith ; so that the clergy of the Scottish church were strong through the attachment of the people, and formed a

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