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the French churches, obscurely hinted in a letter from his majesty of March 15th, 1614; and fully explained, on his authority, by Mr. David Hume, * "for reuniting the churches of divers nations into one and the selfsame confession and doctrine." At their general Synod, held at Tonneins the May following, they drew the outlines of a detailed plan of union, in which the following are conspicuous features :
1. To avoid the Arminian controversy.
For they say, that instead of disputes about religion, “it were better to lay on the table, before the assembled delegates, the several confessions of the reformed churches of England, Scotland, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the Palatinate, &c.; and, that out of all these eonfessions, there might be framed one in common to them all, in which divers points may be omitted, the knowledge whereof is not needful to our everlasting happiness. Among which, the controversy moved by Piscator, and several subtil opinions broached by Van Armin,” (Arminius,
* Not the celebrated historian of that name, who lived more than a century later ; but a countryman and probably kinsman of his: a man of quite " another spirit,” which seems to have entirely evaporated before the family-blood found its way into the veinrs of the unbelieving philosopher
“about free will, the saints' perseverance, and predestination, may be reckoned.”
2. To avoid contentions about ceremonies and church-government—which they call “quillets :"} i. e. subtleties, niceties: in regard to which they say “A mutual declaration should be made, and added unto the said confession, by which the said deputies, in the names of their principals, do declare, that the churches shall not judge nor condemn one another for this difference, it not hindering our mutual agreement in the same faith and doctrine ; and that for all this, we may cordially enbrace each other as true believers and joint-members of one and the sanie body.”
Thus far the business was to proceed among deputies from the reformed churches only. They were to conclude after 6 a most religious fast," with the celebration of the Lord's supper,
wherein the pastors from England and the other nations should all communicate together." And then to disperse, after appointing another day for a new meeting within the year, that they might have an opportunity of consulting their respective constituents.
During the interval, means were to be used for securing the attendance of some Lutheran divines at this second assembly: and in such an expectation it was agreed,
3. To wave the points in debate between the reformed and the Lutherans: i. e. to express the doctrine on these points in terms which might be' safe for conscientious, and satisfactory to modest men: and, for this end, to model their agreement after the Poloniæ consensus, or “concordat of the Polish churches, made at Sendomir, in the
This second assembly, like the first, was to open with a solemn fast, and to close with the celebration of the holy supper of our Lord, at which, both the Lutheran and other ministers should communicate together.")*
On this plan for Protestant union, it may be proper to remark,
First. That it did not contemplate merely the reciprocation of ministerial and Christian fellowship in the several churches, for that had been in regular practice among Protestants all along : the majority of the Lutherans excepted. It went much further; even to the organization of the whole Protestant interest in a publick federative union; each of the component churches retaining, however, its own independence and internal order. It was, in fact, Calvin's plan revived, or
* Quick, Vol. I. p. 454, 437.
rather prosecuted; for it does not appear to have been ever abandoned.
Secondly. That it furnished no proof of the French churches, which were the most active in promoting it, having at all declined from their soundness in the faith, or their zeal in maintaining it. For, three years afterwards, their general Synod of Vitré, appointed commissioners to attend the Synod of Dordt for the purpose of dea ciding on the several points of the Arminian controversy ; and, three years after this, viz. at their general Synod held in the town of Alez, 1620, they unanimously approved the articles agreed upon at Dordt; incorporated them with their own canons, and ordered them to be “ sworn and subscribed to by the pastors and elders of their churches, and by the doctors and professors in their universities ; and, also by all those that were to be ordained and admitted into the ministry, or into the professor's chair, in any of their universities; with a proviso, that if any one of these persons should reject, either in whole or in part, the doctrine contained in, and decided by, the canons of the said council,” of Dordt; “Or refuse to take the oath of consent and approbation, he should not be admitted into any office or employment, either in their churches or univer
sities.* Thus unequivocally did they assert, and take care to perpetuate in their schools and pulpits, the pure doctrine of the gospel. But to show how well they could unite catholicism with fidelity—the love of the brethren with the love of truth ; and how cordially they could take to their bosom the very persons against whose errours they raised the voice of their testimony, provided those errours subverted not the foundation of their faith, the following extract from the minutes of the second Synod of Charenton, in 1631, will amply suffice:
"An act in favour of the LUTHERAN brethren.”
“The province of Burgundy demanding, Whether the faithful of the AUGUSTANE confession might be permitted to contract marriages in our churches, and to present children in our churches unto baptism, without a previous abjuration of those opinions held by them contrary to the belief of our churches ? this Synod declareth that, inasmuch as the churches of the confession of Ausbourg do agree
with the other reformed churches in the principal and fundamental points of the true religion, and that there is neither superstition nor idolatry in their worship; the faithful of the said
* Qurek, Vol. II. p. 37, 38..