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he took his degree of B. D., and proceeded in 1609, to D. D., and was the same year elected, against seven competitors, Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity. He was also presented by Archbishop Abbot to the rectory of Cottenham, Cambridgeshire.
In 1613-14, a Royal party visiting Cambridge, on occasion of the marriage of the Princess Elizabeth with the Prince Palatine Frederic, Davenant was selected as Moderator, in the theological disputation, which, according to the custom of the age, then occurred. In the following year, on a similar occasion, another public disputation took place, between some chief divines of England and of the Palatinate; among whom the great Heidelburgh Professor, Abraham Scultetus, distinguished himself, and Davenant was again appointed Moderator. In 1614 he was chosen President of his college; and now standing in the highest rank of English divines for learning, eloquence, and judgment, he was selected, in 1618, by King James I., with four other theologians of the first name in the kingdom, to assist at the deliberations of the Synod of Dort; to which assembly his Majesty had been invited to send deputies as representatives of the British Church. Of the proceedings of that famous Council, and the circumstances which led to its convention, we need not say much, the subject having been repeatedly discussed in our pages.
The States of Holland no sooner established their freedom from the Spanish yoke, than they became embroiled in theological contentions, which were soon intermingled with political cabals. "The awful doctrine of the Divine decrees," Mr. Allport remarks, "had been placed by the Belgic Confession and Catechism, in common with most of the other creeds of the Reformed Churches, in the sacred and undefined simplicity of the Scriptures; but, in the period immediately subsequent to the Reformation, the prying curiosity of men anxious to be wise above what is written, proceeded to the attempt of accurate and precise explanation of what is evidently inexplicable. When, therefore, the Supralapsarian scheme began to take place of the moderate system hitherto adopted, it was opposed, on the other side, by those who, in their eagerness to sustain the freedom of the human will, dangerously entrenched upon the freedom of Divine grace."
These disputes, however, led to no important consequences, till, in 1591, they centered, as it were, in James Arminius, professor of divinity in the university of Leyden; "a man," says Mr. Allport, "who joined to unquestionable piety and meekness of spirit, a clear and acute judgment; and who had obtained no slight eminence by the talent with which he had extricated the doctrines of Christianity from the dry and technical mode in which they had hitherto been stated and discussed." As a pupil of Beza, he had embraced the extreme views to which that divine had carried the tenets advocated by Calvin. It happened that one Coornhert had advanced some opinions, to which the ministers of Delft published a reply constructed upon the generally received Sublapsarian hypothesis, which gave little less offence to the high Calvinists than the heterodox language of Coornhert himself. Arminius, as the most talented divine of the day, was applied to, on both sides, to settle the question. His friend Lydius solicited him to vindicate the Supralapsarian views of his former tutor, Beza, against the reply of the Ministers; and the Synod of Amsterdam, to defend this same reply against Coornhert. Thus circumstanced, Arminius felt compelled to enter into an examination of the whole question, and was induced gradually to change his sentiments, and to adopt that view of the Divine dispensations which now bears his name. This alteration of opinion," candidly remarks Mr. Allport, "would not have led to any serious consequences, had Arminius and the moderate part of the Church been left to themselves. The fundamental point of justification by faith,
with the doctrine of assurance, and even of final perseverance, were held by him to his death; and his exemplary piety and humility secured for him the attachment even of those who, when the dispute subsequently extended, became his most zealous opponents. The heat, however, of the less discreet part of the church, and the dangerous opinions of some who leaned to the Socinian and Pelagian heresies, (among whom may be designated Episcopius, Grotius, Limborch, &c.) being, as is no uncommon case at present, confounded with the tenets of Arminius, led to angry and uncharitable controversies, by which the peace of the church was grievously broken in upon." Still, the questions might have been amicably settled, had not the Class of Dort fanned the embers into a flame, which soon spread through the United Provinces. In the midst of the contest, in the year 1609, Arminius died, with a spirit completely broken by the calumny with which he was assailed. His followers abandoned many of the views which he held in common with Calvin, particularly on the vital point of Justification: they became lax both in their opinions and their society; aversion to Calvinism became their bond of union, and having presented a strong remonstrance to the States-General, in 1610, they obtained the name of Remonstrants; and their opponents having presented a counter-remonstrance, were termed Contra-Remonstrants.
To settle these disputes, the Remonstrants demanded a General Council of the Protestant Churches. This the States refused; but it was at length determined by four out of seven of the United Provinces, that a National Synod should be held at Dort-a town eminent for its hostility to the Arminians; and letters were sent to the French Huguenots, and to the different Protestant States of Germany and Switzerland, requesting them to send deputies to assist at the deliberations. The King of England, James I., was solicited in the same manner; and he, partly from political motives, and partly from his love of theological controversy, complied with the request, and selected for this purpose five of the most eminent theologians in his realm-namely, Carleton, Bishop of Landaff; Hall, Dean of Worcester; Dr. Davenant; Dr. Samuel Ward; and Walter Balcanqual, a presbyter of the Church of Scotland; and, when Hall on account of ill health returned home, Dr. Goad, chaplain to the primate Abbot.
In all the documents and histories of this Synod, it is allowed that the British divines conducted themselves with talent, dignity, and judgment. It had been strictly enjoined them before their departure, both by the King and Archbishop Abbot, to allow of no meddling with the doctrine or discipline of the English Church, and to be peremptory in introducing into the decisions of the Synod, the doctrine of universal redemption. To this they religiously adhered; and were extremely tenacious of the honour of their own church, enforcing her moderation as a model on these subjects. The determination of the British deputies to have general redemption admitted into the decrees, or else to withdraw from the Synod, led to some heated discussions; and nothing but the threatened loss of the English deputies induced its insertion. It led to so much unpleasant discussion, that it appears that Bishop Carleton would have given way: but Davenant declared he would sooner cut off his hand than rescind any word of it; in which he was supported by Ward, and it was ultimately agreed to. Davenant appears to have been peculiarly eminent in these proceedings. "What a pillar he was," says Bishop Hacket, "in the Synod of Dort, is to be read in the judgments of the British divines, inserted among the public acts: his part being the best in that work; and that work being far the best in the compliments of that Synod."
The proceedings of this assembly, in the opinion of Calvinists themselves of every shade, were disgraceful and injurious to the cause they were
designed to support. The Synod was partial in its constitution, and overbearing in its proceedings. The Remonstrants were summoned, not to be heard, but to be condemned; and were at length expelled with violence from the session, after which the Synod framed its decrees. Here, the share of the British deputies happily terminates, as they had no part in the subsequent transactions. The Synod immediately followed up its decisions by a sentence against the Remonstrants, depriving them of all their offices, and exhorting the States-General to enforce these canons with the secular arm. Nor did this recommendation slumber. Politics had intermingled with the proceedings; and a series of persecutions followed, in which some of the most virtuous and patriotic blood of Holland was shed; and this, doubtless, contributed to render the Synod generally odious, and to promote that decline of doctrinal Calvinism in England, which is commonly said to have resulted from this convention.
This Synod, however, as if not blameable enough in its real conduct, has been unjustly vituperated, and a treacherous copy of its decrees, under the shape of an abridgment, has passed current and called down many a burst of indignation. For instance, the Synod, in the first article of the first chapter asserts, that "God hath elected out of the common mass of sinners, a certain multitude of men;" but that he has left the rest to condemnation, “not only on account of their infidelity, but also all their other sins;" whereas the popular copy reads, that God hath elected to salvation "a very small number of men," and appointed the rest to condemnation, "without any regard to their infidelity and impiety." This garbled statement, or rather deliberate falsehood, originated with Tilenus, who, being a Remonstrant, and harshly used in common with his friends, repaid his sufferings by falsifying the documents of his enemies, under the cloak of a "favourable abridgment." From him it was copied by Bishop Womack, from Womack by Heylin, and from Heylin by Bishop Tomline; and thus passing current through so many hands, it continued to exasperate the enemies of the Synod, and even to excite the unqualified condemnation of its friends. Thus the late Mr. Scott, in the first edition of his reply to Dr. Tomline, not doubting the genuineness of the decree, exclaims, "Who told these presumptuous dogmatists that the elect were a very small number of men?"" We exposed the whole of this matter in our volume for 1812, pp. 525-528, in our review of Bishop Tomline's Refutation of Calvinism, in which the Right Reverend author had very carelessly or ignorantly, for we do not impute a wilful design, inveighed against Calvinism and the Synod of Dort, as putting forth the monstrosities which, conveniently for his purpose, he found exhibited in the above-mentioned caricature, and respecting which he did not take the conscientious pains of referring to the original documents. This, however, was very much of a piece with some other matters in Bishop Tomline's writings, which were so laudably cried up a few years since, on account of the party spirit of the writer, and his determined zeal against what he was pleased to call "the Calvinistic party" in the Church of England. Our exposition led Mr. Scott to examine into the whole matter, and the result of his researches was given to the world in 1819, in his work on the Articles of the Synod of Dort. Yet, to this hour, the misrepresentation does not appear to be generally known even to scholars; for we find, in a work on Predestination, by the present Bishop of Landaff (one of the most truth-loving and candid men in the world, and whom we are the more anxious not to implicate, because we remember the somewhat "hard measure" which he once met with, many years ago, by a critic in our pages), the forged copy cited, with the observation, that " in order that the wide disagreement between the Calvinistic doctrines and the Articles of the Church of England may be seen at one view, I have subjoined in a
note the Lambeth Articles, together with that summary of the decrees of the Synod of Dort which Heylin has given from Tilenus, as the most moderate and impartial account of their proceedings."
On the other hand, as Mr. Allport fairly observes, it ought to be remembered, that the account of the Synod of Dort published by Mr. Scott, is a mere translation of the Synod's own narrative of its proceedings; and its whole conduct entitles it to little respect when stating its own case, even were it less evident that truth is not very strictly adhered to. Mr. Scott himself remarks, "The proceedings of the Synod of Dort, and of the rulers of Belgium at that season, were more exceptionable than those of any other churches; at least as far as I can judge." It is, in truth, melancholy, as Mr. Allport observes, in reading the history of religious convocations, as well ancient as modern, Protestant as Papal, to observe how little truth or equity, has been regarded in their proceedings; how few proofs appear of the presence of the Holy Spirit in such assemblies; and how difficult it is for a candid mind to avoid approving the conclusion of an ancient father of the church, "I never saw any good in ecclesiastical councils, and am well nigh inclined to attend no more.
A controversy arose in England respecting the conduct of the British commissioners at Dort, in which it was alleged that they had compromised Episcopacy to Presbyterianism. This led them to set forth a joint attestation, that the doctrine of the Church of England was confirmed, and her discipline not impeached, by the Synod of Dort. It is an elaborate and most satisfactory manifesto. The writers state, that their commission extended only to points of doctrine; but that they had gone out of their way to reserve the prerogatives of Episcopal discipline as embraced by the Church of England; and that their protest had been received with respectful attention, and had not been attempted to be impugned :— 'We thought not fit to content ourselves with warrantable silence; but, upon our return from that synodical session to the place of our private collegiate meeting, we diligently perused the confession, not only for points of doctrine referred to our judgments, but also for those excepted articles touching discipline: and consulting together what was fit to be done in delivering our opinions next day, we jointly concluded, that, howsoever our church discipline had not been synodically taxed, nor theirs avowed, yet it was convenient for us, who were assured in our consciences that their presbyterial parity and laical presbytery was repugnant to the discipline established by the Apostles and retained in our church, to declare, in a temperate manner, our judgment, as well concerning that matter, though by them purposely excepted, as the other expressly referred to us. Accordingly, the next morning, when suffrages were to pass concerning the doctrine compromised in that confession, we, having by our place the prime voice in the Synod, gave our approbation of the substance of the doctrinal articles, with advice touching some incommodious phrases; and withal, contrary to the expectation of the whole Synod, we added express exception against the suppressed articles, with some touch also of argument against them. Which our contestation, or protestation, for so it may be styled, was principally performed by him, whom for priority of age, place, and dignity, it best became; and from whose person and gravity it might be the better taken, by the civil deputies of the States there present. Therein he professed and declared our utter dissent in that point; and further shewed, that by our Saviour a parity of ministers was never instituted; that Christ ordained twelve apostles and seventy disciples; that the authority of the twelve was above the others; that the church preserved this order left by our Saviour; and therefore, when the extraordinary authority of the Apostles ceased, yet their ordinary authority con
tinued in bishops who succeeded them; who were, by the Apostles themselves left in the government of the church to ordain ministers, and to see that they who were so ordained should preach no other doctrine; that, in an inferior degree, the ministers that were governed by bishops succeeded the seventy disciples; that this order hath been maintained in the church from the time of the Apostles: and herein he appealed to the judgment of antiquity, or of any learned man now living, if any could speak to the contrary, &c. In giving our several suffrages, the same exception was seconded by the rest of us colleagues, partly by other allegations, and partly by brief reference to this declaration, made communi nomine by our leader. To this our exception and allegation, not one word was answered by any of the Synodicks, either strangers or provincials: so that herein we may seem to have had either their consent implied by silence, or, at least, approbation of our just and necessary performance of our bounden duty to that church whereunto they all afforded no small respect, though differing in government from their several churches. Herein, perhaps, by some we might be deemed rather to have gone too far in contestation and upbraiding, quasi in os, the civil magistrate and ministry there, with undue form of government of that church, whose doctrine only was offered to our opinions."
"Peradventure, some hot spirits would not have rested in a formal recorded protestation, but would have charged those churches to blot those articles out of their confession, and forthwith to reform their government : otherwise not have yielded approbation to any article of doctrine, as there comprised; but renounced the Synod, and shaken off from his feet the dust of Dort,-'I have nothing to do with your conclusions; I have no part nor portion in them: what ends you have, how things are carried, I cannot tell nor care.' We confess we were and are of another mind; our own dispositions, and the directions of our blessed peace-making King, kept us from kindling new fires where we had work enough to quench the old. We then thought, and so still in our consciences are confident, that we forgot not our duty to our venerable and sacred mother, the Church of England, but took a course conformable to the rules as well of filial obedience as of Christian moderation."
We have thought it worth while to quote so much of the British Commissioners' defence of their conduct; because an accusation long lingered in the Church of England, and is scarcely yet worn out, that Calvinistic tenets and doctrinal Puritanism were hostile to Episcopacy, and the discipline of the Church of England. The statement was never true; many persons received Calvin's general views of theology, who disliked his opinions on church government; while others, who symbolized with him in the latter utterly rejected the former. Arminius was quite as zealous a Presbyterian as Calvin; while Hall, Hooker, Usher, Davenant, and a hundred other celebrated divines, cleaved as strongly to the doctrine of Episcopacy, as to that of Election or final Perseverance.
In 1621, the See of Salisbury becoming vacant, Dr. Davenant was raised to the episcopate; having, says his eulogist, Dr. Hacket, "been public reader in divinity in Cambridge, and adorned that place with such learning as no professor in Europe did better deserve to receive the labourer's penny at the twelfth hour of the day."
His consecration was delayed by an unhappy event. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Abbot, in using a cross-bow in Lord Zouch's park, accidentally shot the keeper. Four bishop's-elect were then waiting for consecration. Of these, Williams, elect of Lincoln, who, Heylin says, had an eye to the primacy in case it had been declared vacant; and Laud, elect of St. David's, who had a personal hatred to Abbot; stated their insuperable