« PrécédentContinuer »
AXTITHESIS. No one is reprobated, no 'For original sin alone there is damnation, one damned for orginal which is the wages of all sin, even of that sin alone. Therefore there which is not actual, Rom. v. 12, 14,21. Thereis no reprobation of infants. fore the infants of unbelieving parents who Grevinchovius against A- are aliens from the covenant of God, not mes, 142, 145, 150. Episcop. born again, are by nature children of wrath, Thes. p. 28.
without Christ, without hope, without God, Ephes. ii. 3, 12., even as in the deluge the INFANTS of the world of the ungodly, and in the conflagration the infants of the wicked Sodomites PERISHED, AND WERE JUSTLI SUBJECTED TO THE WRATH OF GOD WITH
THEIR PARENTS, 2 Peter ii. 5, 6.'* Another distinguished member of this famous Synod was Antony Walæus, professor of theology at Leyden, one of the authors of the Belgic version of the Bible, and as distinguished for his moderation as Gomarus and the President Bogerman for their harshness and intolerance. To the question, What is the object of reprobation, and whether any one is damned for original sin alone, he answers ;
• 1. If original sin alone makes any deserving of death, it may also make them proper subjects of reprobation.'— 2. Otherwise there would be no distinction between the children of believers and unbelievers, which latter the apostle calls IMPURE, 1 Cor. vii. 14. But nothing impure enters the kingdom of heaven, Rev. xxi. 27. And, “ Unless a man be born of water, and of the spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John, iïi. 5. But that this grace is granted to all the infants of unbelieving parents, the scripture never said; but of those who are without, God will judge.'t
This, Dr Beecher will say, is leaving the future condition of such infants to the divine discretion. But there are two emergences, of very different characters, in which Calvinists take refuge in the divine discretion,' or, as it is oftener called, the secret council of God. First, when their system compels them to believe what in itself seems unreasonable or irreconcilable with all common notions of the divine goodness or justice, and second, when they do not pretend to know what is the will of God, in consequeuce of its being unrevealed. It was in the first predicament, we are persuaded, that Walaus found himself in regard to the infants above spoken of. For, in treating the subject of eternal death, he asks · Whether among the damned there can be a punishment of loss, without the punishment of sense. His reply is as follows.
Some of the schoolmen affirm this of infants who die in original sin only, and without baptism.
Gomarus, Disputt. Theolog. p. 279.
But the scripture nowhere says this. WE BELIEVE, indeed, with Augustin, in his Enchiridion and elsewhere, that those wHO SHALL PERISH on account of original sin alone, will receive the mildest punishment.?-• But it does not follow that there will be any punishment of loss without the punishment of sense ; for in the first place, to be forever excluded from the assembly of the blessed and the presence of God, of itself would bring a sense of grief. Even for original sin alone, we are " children of wrath,” Ephes. ii. 3. and therefore worthy to feel God's wrath ; and of all sin the "wages is death,” Rom. vi. 23. But of the whole nation of the Sodomites and Gomorrites, among whom there were MANY INFANTs, it is said in Jude, vs. 7., that they THAT THEY ARE SUFFERING THE VENGEANCE OF ETERNAL FIRE; but in what manner or degree, we leave to the judgment of God.' *
Again, in his answer to Corvinus,
How do these things agree with your other hypotheses? You maintain in your [Arminians Confession,-and that with Socinus, “that this imputation is, (or constitutes) the guilt of eternal death ;” and then, " that no infant is in fact punished with this death on account of this sin.” How then shall the apostle argue from the kingdom of death to prove sin in infants, when neither death nor sin reigns in them? Do you see therefore that you speak after your own will, but not what the apostle affirms ?'t
Another member of the Synod of Dort was Henry Alting, a deputy from the Palatinate, and professor of Divinity at Heidelberg and Groningen. Among the calumnies' against the Orthodox doctrine on the punishment of sin, he reckons the following, which we give with his answer.
The Calumny. "That we indifferently exempt all infants, dying without baptism, from the punishment of original sin, and place them with the happy in heaven.
The Answer. No TRULY ORTHODOX THEOLOGIAN has said that or written it; not Zuingle, not Calvin, nor any other of the same stamp. But we distinguish between the infants of believers and unbelievers. Those indeed who are born in the covenant, if they are cut off by death so that they cannot be baptized, we number among those to be saved, and that because of the covenant promise which was made alike to parents and children. But THE OTHERS, since not less than their parents they have no lot in the covenant, and are aliens from the promises of grace,-WE LEAVE TO THE MERITED JUDGMENT OF GOD.'
The writer goes on to combat the notion of the Papists that the punishment of loss is separable from that of sense, and maintains that infants are the subjects of both. He then discusses the question. Whether the punishment of original sin is eternal death? or, Whether infants on account of original sin only, adults for that and actual sin too, are in the judgment of God obnoxious to eternal death?' At the opening of the discussion he has a
* Walæus, Op. Tom. I. pp. 534, 535. + Id. Tom. II. p. 153.
Alting, Theolog. Elench. Loc. ix. p. 385, Ed. 1654,
passage, in which he speaks for himself and his party, too important to be omitted. It is this.
The Socinians and others, 'twist this question so as to bear indefinitely, without distinction, upon infants or little ones; not so much because they are not capable of any other sin on account of their age, as that, from an outward show of innocence which is wont to be commended in that age, they may fasten upon the Orthodox doctrine a charge of horrible cruelty, and among the ignorant they draw upon the asserters of it an incredible odium. But we have learned to think and speak of the punishment of original sin, not from the dictates of human reason, according to civil laws, but from the word of God according to his law. Besides, we do not subject to the punishment of original sin, all infants promiscuously, but THOSE ONLY, who, born of unbelieving parents, are aliens from the grace of the covenant, and do not partake of righteousness of life in Christ. *
This passage needs no comment, and we shall pass directly to other evidence that the Synod held the doctrine thus openly avowed by the distinguished members of it just quoted. Dr Beecher tells us that there is no indication of the doctrine of infant damnation, either in their doctrine of predestination, or of original sin.' This is begging the whole question. We contend that no Calvinistic creed was ever written without giving such an indication, and though in the digested articles of this Synod, we do not find the doctrine expressed, it is indicated,' and nothing can be plainer than that it was so considered by those members who themselves held the doctrine. Nay, it is made extremely probable, if not indeed indisputable, that those members fairly represented the sentiments of the majority of their party, if not of their whole party, by the two facts we are about to mention. The Ever Memorable John Hales of Eton, as is well known, was a constant attendant on their sessions, and has left us an account of them, not very creditable, to say the least, to the dominant party. From this we give the following extract, which we make the longer for the reason that the introductory part of it may be somewhat soothing to our learned author, because of its presenting so many points of resenıblance between this celebrated Synod, the most ample representation of the whole Calvinistic world, and a certain Convention which held its meetings in New Lebanon.
• Martinius who goes in æquipace with Gomarus in Learning, and a little before him for his Discretion, easily digested [Gomarus's) affront, and after some few words of course, by the wisdom of the Præses matters seemed to be a little pacified, and so according to the custom, the Synod with Prayer concluded. Zealand Devotion had not so well allayed Gomarus his choler, but immediately after Prayers he renewed his Challenge and required Combat with Martinius again; but they parted for that night
Alting, Theol. p. 392.
without blowes. Martinius, as it seemes, is somewhat favourable to some Tenents of the Remonstrants concerning Reprobation, the latitude of Christs merit, the SALVATION OF INFANTS, &c. and to bring hin to some conformity was there a private meeting of the Forreign Divines upon Wednesday morning in my Lord Bishops Lodging, in which thus much was obtained, that though we would not leave his Conclusions, yet he promised moderation and temper in such manner, that there should be no DISSENTION IN THE Synod by reason of any opinion of his.'*
To be somewhat favorable to the salvation of infants,' then, was in this Synod to break with the Foreign Divines' at least, and a fit occasion for a “private meeting,' to hush the matter up, so that the enemy,' in the phraseology of New Lebanon, might not take advantage of an appearance of dissention,' or insubordination, in the Orthodox ranks. This is one fact. The other is, that the writers in highest repute at the Synod, were alınost without exception, believers in infant damnation. For who were these writers? The following anecdote, given by Brandt, will at once inform us, and give an example of scenes which were of no unfrequent occurrence in that dignified representation of the whole Calvinistic world.' The President Bogerman, when he came to the clause in a certain paper of the Remonstrants' in which they said, “That they would refute in every article the opinions of those whom the Contraremonstrants held to be Orthodox,'
Stopt there, and with great warmth asked, as the Remonstrants relate it, “ Pray whor do you mean by those teachers that are esteemed Orthodox by the Contraremonstrants ?”. Episcopius made answer, in the name of his brethren, that this was not a proper time to put such a question; but, however, they would name those teachers, when they came to enter upon the business itself. This did not satisfy the President; he insisted upon the naming them immediately; but the more he pressed for it, the more averse were the others to complying ; for they thought they could discover, that he only endeavoured by urging them to name those teachers, to animate and imbitter the foreigners against them, as people that were minded to expose their greatest Doctors, to the end that there might be the less notice taken of their written answer. At last, observing that the Remonstrants would not be persuaded to name those teachers, he burst out into a great passion with the following expressions: “If you will not name them, I will. They are Zwinglius, Bucer, Calvin, Beza, Marlorat, Martyr, Zanchy, Piscator, Perkins, and Whitacre;—those venerable men, those brave heroes ; those noble lights of the church; those happy souls, whose memory is blessed both by God and man. These are they whom you intend to expose.” The Remonstrants say, that the President thundered out
* Hale's Golden Remains, Letters from the Synod of Dort, pp. 87, 88. The same thing is stated in Brandt's History of the Reformation, if our memory serves us. VOL. 1,- -NO. VI.
this speech with so much earnestness, and in such a tone, that his countenance changed, his joints trembled, and his words had no coherence.'*
Now, as we believe, every one of these · happy souls,' with the exception of Zuinglius, whose heresy in regard to original sin forbade it, held to the doctrine of infant damnation. Calvin, Beza, and Zanchius, we have already quoted. Marlorat, Martyr, Piscator, and Whitacre, if we remember rightly, are referred to by Arniinian writers as sound on this point, but we have not examined their writings. Perkins, however, is quite as important an authority as any or all of them. He was a leading writer in the controversy with Arminius, and what may perhaps weigh more than all with the exclusive followers of the Pilgrims, a chief instrument in the conversion of our celebrated John Cotton, who became so enamoured of the Genevan theology as to say, that he could never go to bed without first sweetening his mouth with a bit of John Calvin.'+ Yet Perkins, concerning the execution of the decree of reprobation,' writes as follows.
• REPROBATES ARE EITHER INFANTS, or men of riper age.
'In REPROBATE INFANTS, the execution of Gods decree is this: As soon as they are born, for the guilt of original and natural sin, being left in God's secret judgment unto themselves, they dying ARE REJECTED OF GOD FOR EVER.' I
David Paræus also, was a writer, whose attachment to the Heidelberg Catechism, is of itself enough to prove that he stood well with the Synod, to whom, however, he addressed a letter and memoir giving his sentiments against the Remonstrants, which were treated with great respect.
But what will be of greater importance with our learned author, he has been quoted, we believe, as good Calvinistic authority, by the Panoplist. Still, he was a believer in infant damnation, as any one may satisfy himself by consulting his comments upon the destruction of the infants of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the Heidelberg Catechism, which he edited. $
* Brandt. History of the Reformation, Book XXXV. Session xliii. + We quote from recollection.
| Works of that Famous and Worthie Minister of Christ, in the Universitie of Cambridge, M. W. Perkins, vol. i. p. 107. English Copy, Fol. 1608.
§ See the Heidelberg Catechism, Genev. Ed. 1623, pp. 47, where are mentioned the punishments and death of infants, who, although they do nothing good or evil, and do not sin after the similitude of Adam's transgression, are nevertheless possessed of sin, on account of which death reigns over them.' Salvation according to this catechism is confined to the christian church. In harmony with this, in an oration recited by Joshua Zevelius, at Heidelberg, we meet with the following pathetic exclamation against some who thought differently; '0 immanes Briareos, O huge Briareuses, who do not hesitate to place the infants of Turks born out of the church, within the grace and bosom of God!' Miscell. Catechet. &c., the last work of David Paræus, &c. appended to the Catechism,