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him proselytes from both. 2ndly. With the abstruse doctrines of fate and free-will, Zuingle had not meddled. Less wise than Zuingle, Calvin plunged into the abyss. The absolute decree of God, with respect to the future and everlasting condition of the human race, was an essential tenet in his creed. He maintained, without any qualification, that God, in predestinating from all eternity one part of mankind to everlasting happiness, and the other to everlasting misery, was led to make this distinction by no other motive than his own good pleasure and free-will. 3dly. Zuingle subjected the clergy to the controul of the magistrate ; Calvin made the clergy almost independent. 4thly. Zuingle admitted a considerable degree of subordination in the Hierarchy. Calvin admitted none in theory, and little in practice; and in direct opposition to Zuingle, held, that all ministers of the church were perfectly equal. This gave his form of ecclesiastical government its known appellation of Presbyterian.
From the circumstances which have been mentioned, Geneva soon acquired the first rank among the Reformed Churches. The second place was formerly assigned to the Reformed Church of the Palatinate. In 1560, Frederick, the third elector palatine of that name, had established the reformed religion in his territories. His son substituted the Lutheran in its stead; but John Casimer, who succeeded the son of Frederick, restored, in 1583, the discipline of the Reformed Church; and it acquired so much consideration, that the “ Form of Instruction,” which was composed for the use of John Casimer, under the title of The Catechism of “ Heidelburgh,” was almost universally adopted by the Calvinists. The first edition of it was published in 1563, and holds its place in the Sylloge Confessionum, printed at the Clarendon press,
The doctrines of Luther soon penetrated into France. But after the institutions of Calvin had obtained a legal settlement
at Geneva, his creed and discipline insensibly made their way into that kingdom; and were adopted, almost universally, by those French, who separated from the communion of the See of Rome. The first Synod of the reformed in France was held in 1559; there a Confession of Faith was adopted. It was printed in the same year; and this edition is in great request among the curious, as none of the translations, or subsequent editions, express it with perfect accuracy. At the memorable conference of Poissi in 1551, the celebrated Theodore Beza presented this Confession of Faith to Charles the Ninth. Being afterwards presented, in great form, to that monarch by the Queen Dowager of Navarre, Henry the Fourth, then King of Navarre, Henry Prince of Condé, Lewis Count of Nassau, Admiral Coligni, and several other persons of distinction, it acquired the character and importance of a Symbolic Book.
The Belgic Confession of Faith.
At an early period of the Reformation, the new doctrines reached the Netherlands. Some, who favoured them, adopted the principles of Zuingle ; others, those of the Reformed Churches of France. At the meeting of the States in 1571, for renewing their federation, the system of Calvin was publicly received, and the Belgic Confession of Faith approved. It is observable, that the Lutherans were considered, by the government of Spain, to be better subjects than the Calvinists. On this account, the Dutch Protestants, as long as they were subject to Spain, avoided the title of Reformed, and styled themselves « Associates of the Brethren of the Confession of Augsburgh." But, at the time of their federation, they assumed the title of Reformed, and generally signed the Belgic Confession of Faith. It has been translated into most of the languages of Europe, and even into the Arabic. It was composed in French, and first published in 1561. A translation of it into the Flemish
language was printed in 1579. A Latin translation is published by the editors of the Sylloge Confessionum, printed at the Clarendon press.
The Synod of Dort was convened to compose the troubles occasioned by the celebrated Arminian controversy
·Arminius, Professor of Divinity at Leyden, had received his theological education at Geneva. After much profound meditation on the abstruse subject of predestination, he became dissatisfied with Calvin's doctrine of the Absolute Decrees of God, in respect to the Salvation and Perdition of Man; and, while he admitted the eternal prescience of the Deity, he held, with the Roman Catholic church, that no mortal is rendered finally unhappy, by an eternal and invincible decree; and that the misery of those who perish, comes from themselves. Many, who were eminent for their talents and learning, and some who filled high situations in Holland, embraced his opinions ; but, apparently, at least, a great majority sided against them. The most active of these was Gomar, the colleague of Arminius in the professorship. Unfortunately, politics entered into the controversy. Most of the friends of Arminius were of the party, which opposed the politics of the Prince of Orange; while, generally, the adversaries of Arminius were favourable to the views of that prince. Barneveldt and Grotius, two of the most respectable partizans of Arminius, were thrown into prison for their supposed practices against the state. The former perished on the scaffold; the latter, by his wife's address, escaped from prison. While these disturbances were at the highest, Arminius died.
On his decease, the superintendance of the party devolved to Episcopius, who was, at that time, Professor of Theology at Leyden, and universally esteemed for his learning, his judgment, and his eloquence. The Arminian cause prospering under him, the opposite party took the alarm, and, in 1618, a Synod was called at Dort, by the direction, and under the influence, of Prince Maurice. It was attended by deputies from the United Provinces ; and from the churches of England, Hesse, Bremen, Switzerland, and the Palatinate.
The Synod adopted the Belgic Confession, decided in favour of Absolute Decrees, and excommunicated the Arminians. Its canons were published under the title of Judicium Synodi nationalis reformatarum ecclesiarum habiti Dordrechië anno 1618 et 1619, de quinque doctrinæ capitibus, in ecclesiis belgicis, controversis : Promulgatum VI. Maii MDCXIX. 4to. It concludes the Sylloge Confessionum, printed at the Clarendon press.
The Symbolic Books of the Waldenses.
Few works are more wanted, or, if executed by a religious, learned, and philosophic pen, would be more interesting or instructive, than a history of the second appearance of the Manichæans in the west, and the important consequences, both in church and state, with which it was attended.
It is known to every learned reader, that, some time after the death of Manes, the European Manichæans retreated, and carried their doctrines with them into the east. They returned into Europe about the beginning of the ninth century; and, during that and the following centuries, they and their disciples, under various appellations, as Paulicians, Albigenses, Bogards, and Brethren of the Free Spirit, spread themselves over Europe, in several sects, equally hostile to the church and state. .
The Waldenses are of a different extraction, and the horrid principles, with which the sects of Manichæan extraction have been charged, cannot with justice be imputed to the disciples of Waldo. The same exception may be made in favour of some other denominations of Christians, who, during the period we have mentioned, separated from the church of Rome. But, in the course of time, some portions of these adopted, in a greater or less degree, several of the obnoxious principles of the Manichæans ; so that, speaking generally, the two following