2. About proving Christianity by Argument; of which I have heard from none since I published my papers against Infidelity. 3. About the universality of redemption: and 4. About the controversies of this book.
For the former of these last I find a reverend learned man endeavoring to load me with some note of singularity, I mean Dr Ludovicius Molinæus, in his Preface to his Parænesis ad ædificatores Imperii in Imperio (a book that has much learning, and more truth than is fairly used, the face of it being written to frown upon them that own it, and parties wronged even where truth is defended, though through the unhappiness of the distinctions oft clouded when it seems to explicated, and through–I know not what, the controversy seldom truly stated). This learned man has thought it meet, for the disgracing of Amyraldus, by the smallness of his success to mention me thus, as his only proselyte in England [Forsan eo consilio Amyraldus cudit suam Methodum, ut Lutherans subpalparet, & gratiam apud eos iniret, sperans per eam Lutheranos reconciliatum iri Calvinistis: sed revera dum falsam studet iniri gratiam, nulli parti eo nomine gratus est, nec ulla parte ha ret apud lutheranos, ut censet Calovius Clarissimus Wittenergæ Theologus; nec devincit sibi Anglos aut Belgas: In Belgio enim nulli nisi Arminiano; in Anglia uni Baxtero, apprime placet ejus Methodus] And three leaves later, [Sed in solatium Dallæo, ut Amyraldus Baxterum Anglum, sic Dallæus Woodbridgium itidem Anglum, peperit proselytam & admiratorem.] It is an ungrateful task to answer a writer, whose error is a multiplication of palpable untruths in matter of fact; for they are usually more unwillingly heard of than committed. But I shall lay these following considerations in the way of this learned man, where is conscience may find them.
1, If in England Amyraldus’ Method do please uni Baxtero, and yet Dallæus have proselyted Woodbridg also and Amryaldus and Dallæus’ Method be the same, Quær. Whether Baxter and Woodbridge are not the same man?
2. Qu. Whether this learned man know the judgment of all England?
3. I meet with so many of Amyraldus’ mind in the point of universal redemption, that if I might judge of all the rest by those of my acquaintance, I should conjecture that half of the divines in England are of that opinion.
4. Is not a thing famously known in England, that this middle way of universal redemption has been by writing and disputing and preaching maintained by as excellent divines for learning, judgment, holiness, and powerful preaching (as far as we can judge) as ever England bred? It’s famously known that Bp. Usher was for it, that Bp. Davenant, Bp. Carleton, Bp. Hall, Dr. Ward, Dr Goad, Mr Balanquall, being all the divines that were sent to the Synod of Dort from Britain, were for it: and Davenant, Hall, and Ward have wrote for it: that those holy renowned preachers, Dr. Preston (of which read Mr. Thomas Ball in his Life), Dr. Stoughton, Mr William Whateley, Mr William Fenner, Mr John Ball,1 Mr. Ezekiel Culverwell, Mr Rich. Vines, &c., were for it. And many yet living do ordinarily declare their judgment that way. And are not these more than unus Baxterus? An excellent writing of Joannus Bergius to that end, was lately translated here into English and published by Mr. Mauritius Bohemus, a divine residing in Leicestershire.
5. Is it not famously known that the divines of Breme go this way, and that the Duke of Brandenburgus’ divines, and Wendeline complains to Spanhemius of it. And that Ludovius Crocius, Matth. Martinius, and Iselburge (besides the British divines) gave it as their judgment at the Synod of Dort, is that the Synod has nothing against it, and nothing but what this unus Baxterus, and all of his mind, do readily subscribe to herein. Nay, is it not manifest that Dr. Twisse, himself, has frequently written for it?
6. Can he be that knows the Lutheran and Arminian doctrine believe both these, that the Arminians in Belgia are pleased with Amyraldus’ Method, and yet that nulla parte hærer apud Lutheranos?
7. Can he that has read what Davenant, Camero, Amyraldus, Lud. Crocius, &c., have written against the Arminians, and what Crocius, Tilenus, & others of them have written against them, be yet persuaded that the Arminians are pleased with Amyraldus’ Method, any further than to be less displeased with it than with some others?
8. When Mr. Woodbridg does profess but that he is for universal redemption in Davenant’s sense, [especially since he read Daile, &c.], does this learned man well infer thence, that he was Daile’s proselyte, when the contrary is intimated, yea is the [fatetur se nondum concoquentem amyraldi Methodum] true or false?
9. When this unus Baxterus did write a book for universal redemption in this middle sense, before ever he saw either Amyraldus, Davenant, or any writer (except Dr. Twisse) for that way, and was ready to publish it, and stopped it on the coming forth of Amyraldus, and was himself brought to this judgment by reading Dr. Twisse, and meditating of it, and had in print so long ago professed these things, whether this learned man should after all this publish to the world that I am Amyraldus’ proselyte? I speak but as to the truth of the report: for as to the reputation of the thing, I should think it a great benefit if I had the opportunity of sitting at the feet of so judicious a man as perceive Amyraldus to be.
10. Whether Calovius a competent witness to the judgment of the Lutherans in general, or a witness capable of dishonoring Amyraldus, when he so unpeaceably and voluminously pours out his fiery indignation against the moderate Lutherans themselves, that are but willing of peace, under the name of Calixtians, seeking to make them odious from the honorable name of Georgius Calixtus, who when with them in that peaceable way?
11. If it be David Bloudell that he mean, when he says of Daile’s book [Obstretricante magno illic viro, sed, Arminianorum cultore] and (bloudell only prefaces to it) whether any that has read the writings of Bloudell, and heard of his fame, should believe this accusation? Or rather–
12. Is it a certain truth or a calumny that is thus expressed of Dallæus, [Certum est tamen hac apologia maluisse Arminianorum ordinibus inseri quam sedem inter contra-remonstrantes tenere]? And is it certain that Dr. Molin knows the mind of Dallæus better than he does his own, or is sooner than himself to be believed in the report of it?
13. Whether the desire which he expresses that Camero had been expelled, & the words that he pours forth against him, do more dishonor Camero or himself? And if that article of justification were sufficient ground of his condemnation and expulsion, and consequently Olevian, Scultetus, Ursinus, Paræus, Piscator, Alstedius, Wendeline, Gataker, and abundance more should have tasted of the same sauce, whether these persecuting principles favor not of too high an esteem of their own judgment, and tend not either to force an implicit faith in the ministry, or to depopulate the church, and break all in pieces? And whether more credit is to be given to the judgment of this learned man, against Camero, or to the general applause of the learned, pious, and peaceable divines of most Protestant churches? For instance, as Bp. Hall’s, who in his Peace-Maker, p. 49, says of him, that he was [the learnedest divine, be it spoken without2 envy, that the Church of Scotland has afforded in this last age.].
14. Whether the learned man had not forgotten his former triumph in the supposed unsuccessfulness of Amyrald’s Method, and the paucity of his partakers or approvers, when he wrote this in deep sorrow for the churches of France, [serio ingemisco Patræ & Ecclesiis in eâ reformatis, quod jam totos viginti annos Methodus Amyraldi impune regnaverit; nemine inta Galliam hiscere audente, aut ullo vindice Veritatis ibi exurgente] and do these words show his desire of peace or contention in the church?
15. Whether it be a truth that he says, that all the divines of the assembly of Westminster were against Amyraldus’ Method, when Mr. Vines has often and openly owned Davenant’s way of universal redemption; and others yet living are known to be for it?
16. Whether it be proved from the cited words of their confession cap. 8.§.5., that such was their judgment, when they express no such thing? And I have spoken with an eminent divine, yet living, that was of the assembly, who assured me that they purposely avoided determining that controversy, and some of them professed themselves for the middle way of universal redemption.
17. Is there one man in Oxford or Cambridge (besides himself) that believes his next words, [pari obelo confodiunt hanc Methodum quotquot sunt hodie doctores & professores Oxoniæ and Catabrigiæ.] except on supposition that the foregoing words be untrue which pari relates to?
18. Is it probable that Dr. Twisse was an enemy of that doctrine of redemption which he has so often asserted, viz., [That Christ died for all men, so far as to purchase them pardon and salvation on condition they would repent and believe; and for the Elect, so far further as to procure them faith and repentance itself]: which he has oft in many writings. As to Mr. Cranford’s charge, concerning his severe accusation of Dallæus, and judging his very heart to be guilty of dissimulation, as [that he wrote not seriously, but contrary to what he thought, and that nothing could be more illiterate]. I shall not put the question, whether it it be probable that these words could pass from such a man, because he is alive to vindicate himself, if the report be false, or to own it, if true.
19. Do all contemptuous expressions of a dissenter, as this dissenter own praise of his former writings dishonor it, when he says of him [A quo nihil hactenus prodiit quod non esset judicii acerrimi, eruditionis reconditissmæ, & doctrinæ santisismæ, aut candidissimum pectus non referret; in quo nulla suspicio malignitatus insideret; multo multo minus eâ ætate seria & sera erupturæ, cum lenit albescens animos capillus]. This is enough to make a stranger conjecture, that the man is not grown either such a fool as to err so grossly as is pretended, or such a knave as to write in the matters of God against his own judgment. And, indeed, he will prove himself a wiser, a much wiser man in these matters than Dallæus, Blondell, Amyraldus, &c., must bring another kind of evidence for the honor of his wisdom, than Dr. L. Molin’s Preface or Parænesis is.
20. Is it no an indignity to the dead, which the living should hear with a pious indignation, for this learned man to feign that Bp. Usher thought so contempuously of Amyraldus’ Method? Whatever he might say of him in any other respect, it’s well konwn that he owned the substance of his doctrine of redemption. The high praises therefore which Dr. Molin does give to this reverend bishop, do dishonor his own judgment, that makes the bishop’s doctrine so contemptible and gross. The like dealing I understand, from Arminian divines (I am loath the name them) have used against this reverend man: one of great note has given out and he heard him preach universal redemption, and afterwards spoke to him, and found him owning it; therefore, he was an Arminian: and I hear a Northamptonshire Arminian has so published him in print. O the unfaithfulness of men seeming pious! The good bishop must be what every one will say of him. Though one feigns him ot be of one extreme, and the other of the other extreme, when (alas!) his judgment has been commonly known in the world about this 30 years to be neither for the one nor the other, but for the middle way. Do you call for proof? If I give you not better than either Dr. Molin, or the two Arminian divines give, let me be branded for a factious calumniator of the dead, whose name is so honorable, that the forgery is the greater sin. First there is a manuscript of his own in many men’s hands, dated March 3, 1617, at Dublin, (Which I intend to print if no one else do it first) which asserts this doctrine in the same middle way as Davenant and Camero do. And I ask him whether he yet owned it, (not long before his death), and he said he did, and he was firm in his judgment; I asked him to whom he wrote it, and he told me (as I remember) to Mr. Culverwell (I am certain it was to him or to Mr. Eyre, who, he told me, was the man that fell foul on Mr. Culverwell.).
21. If my own word be not sufficient, Dr. Kendal can bear witness that he was present once when he heard him own this judgment of universal redemption in the middle way, and intimated that Dr. Davenant and Dr. Preston were minded of it by him; (as rejoicing that he sooner owned it), and that we cannot rationally offer Christ to sinners on other grounds. Now because the bishop went this middle way, when he speaks against the Arminians, some feign him to speak against his own doctrine. And when he spoke for universal satisfaction, the Arminians say he was turned to them. This is the faithfulness of the world! It shames and grieves me to say, of siding divines; as much as almost to say, of a public professor of history in Oxford: For the principal honor of a Historian, is his veracity, and impartial fidelity; and how much of that this Preface to the Parænesis is guilty of, I leave to consideration upon the last that is been given. But enough of this.
Richard Baxter, Certain Disputations of Right to Sacraments and the true nature of Visible Christianity (London: Printed by William Du-Gard for Thomas Johnson at the Golden Key in St Pauls Church-yead, 1657), Preface, [vi-xvi; pages numbered manually]. [Some reformatting; some spelling modernized; footnotes mine; and underlining mine.] [Corrections to the Latin transcription most welcome.]
1It is more probably the case that John Ball was not a Hypothetical Universalist, nothwithstanding is moderate readings on certain verses and theological points of doctrine.]