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on the subject. Since the days of Laud (who was archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of Charles the First) by far the majority of the English clergy have taken this side of the question. Bishop Burnet has given a full account of the opinions of this sect, in his Exposition of the Seventeenth Article.
In the last century disputes ran very high in Holland between the Calvinists and the Arminians. On each side considerable talents and learning were displayed; but some shamefully called in the interference of the civil power, and thus terminated ą controversy, which for some years had agitated the religious world. For this purpose the famous synod of Dort was held, 1618, and a curious account of its proceedings may be seen in the series of letters written by the ever-memorable John Hales, who was present on the occasion. This synod was succeeded by a severe and scandalous persecution of the Armi. nians. The respectable Barnevelt lost his head on a scaffold, and the learned Grotius, condemned to perpetual imprisonment, escaped from the cell and took refuge in France. The storm, however, some time after abated; and Episcopius, an Arminian minister, opened a seminary in Amsterdam, which produced some able divines and excellent scholars.
The principal Arminian writers are, Episcopius, Vorstius, Grotius, Limborch, Le Clerc, Wetstein; not to mention many others of modern times, particulary Mr. John Wesley, in his Arminian Magazine, and Mr. Fellowes, in his Religion without Cant, and in his elegant work, entitled Christian Philosophy.
The Arminians are sometimes called the Remonstrants, because they, in 1611, presented a REMONSTRANCE to the States General, wherein they pathetically state their grievances, and pray for relief. See an interesting work, entitled An Abridgment of Gerrard Brandt's History of the Reformation in the Low Countries, 2 vols. 8vo.
. BAXTERIANS. THE Baxterian strikes into a middle path, between Arminianism and Calvinism, and thus endeavours to unite both schemes. With the Calvinist, he professes to believe that a certain number, determined upon in the divine councils, will be infallibly saved ; and with the Arminian he joins in rejecting the doctrine of reprobation as absurd and impious; admits that Christ, in a certain sense, died for all, and supposes that such a portion of grace is allotted to every man, as renders it his own fault if he does not attain to eternal life. This conciliatory system was espous, ed by the famous non-conformist. Richard Bax
ter, who died in the year 1691, and who was equally celebrated for the acuteness of his controversial talents, and the utility of his practical writings. Hence came the term Baxterians, among whom are generally ranked both Watts and Doddridge. In the scale of religious sentiment, Baxterianism seems to be with respect to the subject of the divine favour, what Arianism is with respect to the person of Christ. It appears to have been considered by some pious persons as a safe midulle way between two extremes, Baxter was an extraordinary character in the religious world. He wrote about 120 books, and had above 60 written against him! Though he possessed a very metaphysical genius, and consequently sometimes made a distinction without a difference, yet the great object of most of his productions was peace and amity. Accordingly his religious system was formed, not to inflame the passions and widen the breaches, but to heal those wounds of the Christian church, under which she had long languished*.
* For the particular detail given of the Calvinistic and Arminian sentiments, see a brief but useful history of the Christian Church, in 2 vols. by Dr. Gregory. The best and amplest ecclesiastical history is Mosheim's, in 6 vols. translated from the Latin into English by the late Dr, Maclaine, who has enriched it with many valuable notes. Dr. Priestley also published, in six octavo volumes, a History of the Christian Church, from the birth of the Messiah down to the present times. . ii
ANTINOMIANS. THE Antinomian derives his name from two Greek words, Arti, against, and Nonos, a law; his favourite tenet being, that the law is not å rule of life to believers. It is not easy to ascertain what he means by this position. But he seems to carry the doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ, and of salvation by faith without works, to such lengths as to injure, if not wholly destroy, the obligation to moral obedience. An. tinomianism may be traced to the period of the Reformation, and its promulgator was John Agricola, originally a disciple of Luther. The Papists, in their disputes with the Protestants of that day, carried the merit of good works to an extravagant length; anıl this induced some of their opponents to run into the opposite extreme. * This sect (says the Encyclopædia) sprung up in England during the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, and extended their system of libertinism much farther than Agricola, the disciple of Luther. Some of their teachers expressly maintained, that as the elect cannot fall froin grace, nor forfeit the divine favour, the wicked actions they commit are not really sinful, nor are they to be considered as instances of their violation of the divine law; consequently they have no occasion either to confess their sips, or to break then
off by repentance. According to them, it is one of the essential and distinctive characters of the elect, that they cannot do any thing displeasing to God, or prohibited by the law.” Luther, Rutherford, Sedgwick, Gataker, Witsius, Bull, Williams, (founder of the Dissenting Library in Red-Cross Street) &c. have written refutations ; whilst Crisp, Richardson, and Saltmarsh, put forth defences of the Antinomians, Wisgandus wrote “ A Comparison between Ancient and Modern Antinomians.” The late Rev. Mr. Fletcher, vicar of Madely, in Shropshire, published Four Checks to Antinomianism, which have been read and adınired.
The term Antinomian has been frequently fixed on persons by way of reproach; and therefore many who have been branded with this name have repelled the charge. There are many Antinomians, indeed, of a singular cast in Germany, and other parts of the continent; they condemn the moral law as a rule of life, and yet profess a strict regard for the interests of practical religion. Many persons, however, who reprobate the system of John Calvin, pronounce Antinomianism to be nothing more than Calvinism run to seed. Speculative sentiments of any kind ought not to be carried to a degree which might endanger even in appearance the sacred cause of morality..