by Augustus Toplady
Actually the title given to my article is not mine, it belongs to Augustus Toplady; the famous Calvinist pastor and hymn compositor. Everyone knows his famous hymn: “Rock of ages”. Many people praise Toplady as a good author of Christian classics in music but the great majority, even Calvinists, bear grudge against him because they consider him very unfair toward Arminians and especially John Wesley, the great Methodist preacher of that time. It is not fair at all to criticise the man who was the best defender of the true doctrine, and who had no respect of persons in this holy fight for the faith once given to the saints. Nowadays whosoever is aware of the present predicament wherein Protestant churches find themselves, ought to praise Toplady more for his theological stance than for his beautiful hymns! He did perceive the wiles of Satan through the deceit of Arminianism, and that is why he came to the correct conclusion that Arminianism is the road to Rome!
First let us see the sum of what he said, I will give you the whole article at the end for the way it is written is not very clear because it is more a kind of “last news report” than a treaty about Arminianism, and these last news are almost 300 years old, so it is not easy to follow him... There are 3 main facts according to Toplady, which make appear Arminianism an ally to popery.
John Wesley is not a pastor who gathers the sheep but rather a wolf that scatters them because he is busy destroying the doctrine of predestination and replacing it by the false doctrine of free will. In others words Wesley fights Calvinism and preaches Arminianism.
Toplady reports that Jacob Arminius was formerly a Calvinist before he made a trip to Rome. As a matter of fact Arminianism is just a copy of Pelagianism or mild Pelagianism that rules the Roman Catholic soteriology. Therefore knowing that the Jesuits had already declared that Calvinism is utterly irreconcilable with Catholicism, Jacob Arminius really looks like an undercover agent working for the Jesuits. True it is rigid predestinarian Calvinism is the antithesis of Catholicism, because in Reformed soteriology the whole scheme of salvation is based upon God’s eternal decrees. Unconditional election and predestination are the roots of salvation, whereas membership of the “holy mother church of Rome” is the foundation of salvation for all Catholics. Arminius was the man who introduced this “new” Pelagianism in Protestantism.
All these apparent suspicions become reality, when you happen to know that a certain letter was found in the belongings of William Laud, the archbishop of Canterbury, after he passed away. It must be pointed out that Laud was a fervent Arminian and during his ministry the faithful were told to treat their church’s communion table as an altar, and they were now forced whether they like it or not to kneel to receive the bread and wine at the communion rail... This letter that was in his possession was dated by his own hand: March 1628, and the design of this letter was to give the Superior of the Jesuits, then resident at Brussels, an account of the posture of civil and ecclesiastical affairs in England; an extract from it I shall here subjoin: "Father Rector, let not the damp of astonishment seize upon your ardent and zealous soul, in apprehending the sudden and unexpected calling of a Parliament. We have now many strings to our bow. We have planted that sovereign drug called Arminianism, which we hope will purge the Protestants from their heresies; and it flourisheth and beareth fruit in due season. For the better prevention of the Puritans, the Arminians have already locked up the Duke's (of Buckingham) ears; and we have those of our own religion, which stand continually at the Duke's chamber, to see who goes in and out: we cannot be too circumspect and careful in this regard. I am, at this time, transported with joy, to see how happily all instruments and means, as well great as lesser, co-operate unto our purposes. But, to return unto the main point: OUR FOUNDATION IS ARMINIANISM...”
This article is solid evidence that a plot has been going on since the beginning of the Church. Paul already spoke of the mystery of iniquity in 2 Thes.II; 7: “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work...” Since the beginning Satan has been sending his workers to the churches so as to destroy them from within by introducing false doctrines that destroy the gospel of grace, blending grace and works of the law or of the tradition of the elders. But Romans XI; 6 says: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work”. In the beginning of the Reformation, all Protestants held the orthodox and Augustinian dogmas of grace, predestination, total depravation of man. Martin Luther averred that his best book, he ever wrote, was: “The bond will”. It was the answer he gave unto Erasmus of Rotterdam, in 1525 to his “Diatribe of free will”. In his preface, Martin gratefully thanks Erasmus, because he did not bother him with trifle matters like indulgencies, mass, purgatory and so on, for the real issue of the whole matter was to know if man can obey God’s commandments in his own strength. In his diatribe, Erasmus upheld that man was able to some extent to obey his Creator, whereas Luther maintained the dogma of man’s total disability to do any good at all. Therefore in his book, Luther ascribes man’ sanctification and salvation solely to grace, and grace is ascribed to predestination. 200 years later, most protestant churches were still holding sound doctrines, and Calvinism had flourished all over, meanwhile Lutheranism had lost its purity. But the mystery of iniquity was working, and had his champion to defile the doctrine inside the Protestant churches, his name was: Jacob Arminius, 1560-1609.
Arminius was a Dutch man, instructed in the Calvinist faith that he rejected later, and henceforth reintroduced a kind of Pelagianism under a new name: Arminianism. Since then new doctors of this heresy sprang everywhere, the most famous in England has been till now: John Wesley. I do not think of course that Wesley was an agent of the pope, but he did a great job for him unconsciously. Notwithstanding I believe that Arminius was an agent of the Jesuits. I do believe in the theory of the great plot, the so called mystery of iniquity! There has always been a crucial struggle for the truth of the gospel: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly issues”. Paul started struggling with Judaism, later Augustine against Pelage, then Luther against Erasmus, Calvin against Arminius, Toplady against Wesley, Spurgeon against the liberals, and today we continue in the same struggle. Time and actors change, but we still fight for the same doctrines: predestination, sovereign grace, total depravation, limited atonement etc. On one side we can see the defenders of human dignity proclaiming: “Man can do and must do something to get close to God”; we call them Arminians, on the other side we are the detractors of human dignity and we know that “man is a world of darkness and a bottomless pit of lewdness”; we are called Calvinists.
Since the days of Toplady, 250 years ago, the mystery of iniquity has been very successful in the Protestant churches. What is the situation today? First of all, churches are no more called Protestant, for this an offence to Christian charity and ecumenism! They are called evangelical. These evangelical churches are 90% Arminianist. There should be 10% Calvinist churches left, but anyway most of them turned evolutionist or feminist, i.e., women speak and even teach in the congregations. The sovereign drug the Jesuits implanted has been working indeed for 3 centuries: Christendom is now Arminianist. The gospel available today is the one that teaches unlimited atonement and conditional election. Nevertheless the Jesuits do know that classical Arminianism still requires a complementary process and that in spite of holding a Roman Catholic doctrine in soteriology. As a matter of fact, Arminians are not keen on gross idolatry; they would not break easily the second commandment. John Wesley himself said about the pope: “He is obviously the man of sin, because he increases all kind of sins without any measure”. During the last decades, Jack Chick, who is Arminian, has been the worst enemy of Rome, and has brought to light very useful information to supply us with ammunitions in this war against the Antichrist’s hosts. The best of all are Alberto Rivera’s revelations, a former Spanish Jesuit, converted to Christ, whose testimony Jack Chick published massively. A. Rivera’s testimony corroborates Toplady’s charges against the Jesuit’s plot, and even adds many more charges and evidences against them. Thus Arminianism comes from Rome and brings back to Rome, but not so directly, for we see Arminian brothers fighting valiantly against Roman Catholicism.
Being a Christian does not mean necessarily being a Calvinist. To be a Christian is to believe in Jesus as the only mediator between God and man, it is to know that Jesus is God made man, and that our salvation is by personal faith in the death of the cross and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Being a Calvinist is a Christian who holds these 5 points:
1, unconditional election
2, limited atonement
3, total depravation
4, irresistible grace
5, perseverance of the saints
Arminians reject these 5 points, but many are still brothers in Christ. Luther spoke about that kind of brothers saying: “If any men ascribe any part of his salvation, even the most insignificant one to free will, he definitely knows nothing about grace, and he has not assimilated Jesus Christ properly”. A Calvinist is the only believer who has assimilated Jesus Christ’s doctrines properly!
Arminianism is the road to Rome, but not as direct as Toplady believed. Rome built that road to absorb Protestantism, but the Jesuits realised that they had to turn that road into a high way in the last kilometres, by Montano’s doctrines. Montano was a heretic who during the 3rd century disturbed the churches proclaiming that the ministries of miracles and prophecies were still alive as in the first century, and were to continue until the second coming of Christ. Therefore a council was held and condemned that heresy, stating that these ministries had ended once the Bible was finished, because they were a kind of scaffolding for the establishment of the New Testament. Afterward God removed it, for Abraham said in L.XVI; 31: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, (the Scriptures), neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead”. Thus the holy Bible is the only way to know God through the Holy Spirit. Montano’s heresy is called today: new Pentecostalism.
Notwithstanding I myself do not deny that Jehovah is a God of surprises and miracles, and therefore He does sometimes a miracle, He can heal a disease without drugs and doctors, make you walk on the water, or cancel any law that rules in the nature realm. He is free to do what He will, and He is not subject to any law; His will is the law: “And who may say unto Him: what doest thou?”. But I do not believe in a new era for these ministries. There are no more prophets; only false prophets, no more ministries of tongues and miracles. God doing a miracle is an exception, and an exception to a general rule does but the more establish it. The rule is that God uses only the Scriptures to deal with man; SOLA SCRIPTURA is the Protestants’ fundament.
I have said that (new) Pentecostalism is the last part of the Arminian road, built by the Jesuits, to bring back the modern evangelical people to Rome on a speed way. I do aver it, because ALL Pentecostal churches share the same Arminian soteriology, (doctrines of expiation), there is not one which is Calvinist, none of them! Arminianism teaches that man can get close to God and walk in his statutes up to some extent, in his own natural strength. Pentecostalism is the next step; it teaches that man can already enjoy the glory of the divine nature in this world, concerning health or material riches, and meet God physically, face to face. Both schools over estimate the power of man; they exalt man, they fall in pride and arrogancy. The only power man has is to sin, and fall every day lower in the pit of the desire of his eyes and of his flesh. Arminianism deceives man making him believe that he can walk with God if he wants. Pentecostalism deceives man making him believe that he can enter into the fourth dimension, as boasts Yonghi Cho, and satisfy his worldly desires by supernatural means. Arminianism pretends that we can walk toward God in the strength of the flesh, and Pentecostalism that we can enjoy the divine nature in this filthy flesh of ours. Pentecostalism is the logical outcome of Arminianism. A big road usually, in a modern nation, becomes a high way before it reaches the capital. Arminianism exalts man in a certain measure; Pentecostalism exalts man beyond any measure, with its visions of God, angelical tongues, new prophecies; it buries the Bible exactly as Roman Catholics do under tradition and priesthood ! This highway has to be connected with the Catholic Charismatical outskirts of Rome, and then the Jesuits’ plan will be consumed. Evangelicals will be brought into subjection to the Antichrist: the pope of Rome, because the authority of the Bible will not prevail upon their visions of a false Christ and a false Mary.
I have recently heard about a very famous Pentecostal preacher, called Benny Hin, who committed adultery with another famous female TV Pentecostal evangelist. But this not the point, we are not fond of gossips! The point is that he did it in Rome where he is involved with the renewal of the Vatican library, and at that time he came in order to deliver an offering he gathered from his disciples to the pope Benedict XVI! I do not know the sum, but the fact in itself is solid evidence that I am not dealing with theories. Some “moderate” Pentecostal evangelists, when they heard about Benny’s affair, claimed that their Pentecostalism is not the same, and that they would never fall in so shameful a situation. They boast of a sounder and more biblical Pentecostalism but: “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump”. They ought not to say so, because they are just at the beginning of the highway, whereas Benny has arrived at the end! If they do not take the exit, they will arrive themselves at the toll very soon!
Now I will say something to my brothers who have been caught in that Pentecostal snare: “He that is of God heareth God’s word”. Thus I am talking to the ones who consider Holy Writ as their supreme authority. There is no hope for people who cling to the interpretation of their pastor or of their church, or tradition, and have no personal conviction. I always repeat that I am a Calvinist, because I am thoroughly convinced of the truth of the 5 points of Calvinism. I am a Calvinist by conviction, not by tradition. Wherefore as Luther said, so I say: “I preach to the elect”. I do not care about the Pharisees’ opinions; the truth that is committed unto me, is for the chosen ones exclusively. And the truth is that the era of the churches is over. I am not the first one to proclaim it. The first one was Harold Camping, president of Family radio, Oakland, California, USA. What I hardly perceived, Harold made it clear for me. His testimony was determinative to make me accept that sad reality: the end of the church era. The Holy Spirit has abandoned the local congregations, and He is working outside using radio broadcasts, individuals, massive publication of Bibles and Protestant literature by modern means of communication like internet. Wherefore Daniel XII; 4 says: “…the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased”. Today, you can read by internet the best of Augustine, Wycliff, Luther, Calvin, Gurnall, Spurgeon, Owen, Bunyan, Whitefield, Pink, Bates, Lloyd Jones etc. For 1 o 2 dollars you have access to so great a knowledge, which had been reserved during the past centuries for rich people and Bible seminaries. On the other hand, sadly enough, it is true that the communion of the saints is decreasing, notwithstanding where 2 o 3 meet to pray and read the Bible together; Jesus is here amidst them. Moreover, our Lord prophesized in Luke XVIII; 8: “…nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” So we should not be startled and discouraged to find ourselves in a barren land. Now I must say that I am sorry about the falling apart of Harold Camping who is now denying that our redemption was actually made on the Calvary cross, and that the reprobates shall be raised again and not annihilated as he avers. The same for Russellists who in spite of being real antichrists, (1J.II; 22), say the truth when they proclaim that Jehovah is the name of God, although the wrath of Jehovah- Jesus abide on them! Therefore I will repeat to my brothers who are still members of a local church, what the Bible says about the religious system of today: “Get out of Babylon, and do not share in her sins”! Get out for the doctrine sake, because since the days they have abandoned the apostolic doctrines of grace, sovereignty of Jehovah, predestination, depravation of human nature, supremacy of the Scriptures, of faith as the solely and exclusive means of salvation, since that day churches entered on the Arminian road, and today they are on the Pentecost highway, which shall be soon connected to the Catholic Charismatic outskirts of Rome. This Charismatic movement was designed to absorb the so called “separate brothers”; the former foes; the Protestants.
One issue may help you to find the exit, if you start to feel uneasy with the doctrines wherewith you were deceived. This is the main issue; the substantial dogma of Protestantism: predestination. Is predestination a biblical doctrine? I am not talking about God’s foreknowledge of the fate that a man will choose freely, because this is the Arminian concept of predestination. Fancy concept based upon preposterousness, for if man is free to choose his own way, as they claim, how is it possible that God knowing beforehand that millions of them will choose the way of perdition, will let them go on, when the same Arminian theologians, teach that the Almighty does not want any of them to perish? Nevertheless He can do nothing, because He must respect their free will! The absurdity is that in this case, God’s foreknowledge reveals that his power is limited; He is not the Almighty God! But the Bible says: “Whatsoever Jehovah pleased, that did He, in heaven above, in the earth beneath, and in the waters under the earth”. I am talking about predestination as a program God predetermined in past eternity. Everything was planned by God before it happens. This does not suppress man’s will, neither moral responsibility, it just incline it for the eternal and anticipate purpose. Man has a will, but he has no free will, his will is bound to his nature, and his nature is left in its depraved condition or transformed so as to participate of the divine nature, according to God’s predestination. If there is predestination, then there is no free will, for all was decided by God before it comes to pass. If there is free will, then God may be omniscient, but He is not omnipotent, because he cannot do what He wants, or maybe He is all mighty but He wants what He does not want! This is the Arminian concept of God: His Majesty has decided to be submitted to his sinful creatures ‘will for the achievement of his eternal purpose. Man chooses God, we are no more the chosen people; God is chosen by us! But Scripture says in R.IX; 11 “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand not of works but of him that calleth”. Are we vessels in the hands of the Almighty potter who does what he wants with the clay, or are we co authors of our fates? Search the Scriptures, and get the answer, but bear in mind that let your yes be yes and your no be no; one must stand and the other must fall: either man’s free will or God’s sovereignty in all, even in man’s will. If you cling to the human dignity and freewill, you are bound to stay in the road back to Rome. If your conclusion is that God is the controller, even of your will, as says Holy Writ:”For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”,(Phi.II; 13), then you are to get out of that road to hell! He that loves more his congregation than the Word of God is not fit for the Kingdom of God.: “Thou shalt not have other gods than me”. The communion is first with God Himself, and afterward with our brothers.
In the days of Jeroboam, there was a national cult to Jehovah. It was an abomination to the Lord. Their priests, their altars, their holocausts were not conformed to the Law of Moses. Their golden calves were an open and blasphemous rebellion against God. Nothing new under the sun; today we are in the same situation. Most evangelicals bow down themselves before the golden calves of their egocentric dogmas. Man’s will has been declared free to make the sacrifice of Christ on the cross a failure or a success. Christ does not choose us, but we choose him, contrary to what he said: “I chose you, you did not choose me”. Will you keep worshipping a false Christ who loves all men, but is not able to save them all, by reason of their sacred free wills and by respect to the human rights, or will you leave Jeroboam’s churches, as Elijah, to serve even in the desert, the living and almighty God? If you are a chosen one you will find the exit of that Highway to Vatican. The Holy Spirit will work in you this will. I hope that it will be before you reach the toll, where a famous employee called Benny Hin, dressed in a white uniform, is already collecting the money for his boss: the pope!
Some quoting the Scriptures, Mat.XVI; 18, will plead that the gates of hell shall never prevail against the church. They are right, but they confound the invisible Church, whose members are the elect through all ages and denominations, and the local churches which have fallen in the great Apostasy by the injection of the Arminian drug, which lead them first to Pentecostalism and afterward to Rome. They all agree that salvation is not of faith only but of works also. Like Wesley they find that the doctrine of predestination is a horrible decree, which ignores the human rights! They have all adopted a conditional salvation, and at the end, when they reach the toll, they will realize that the only condition to be saved according to that kind of gospel is to bow down before the Roman Antichrist, and to worship his image and to receive his mark…
As I have said before, there is still a very small percentage of congregations which hold the sound Calvinist doctrine, without falling into the evolutionist and feminist abominations. Still there are faithful and efficient pastors at the pulpits, waiting for a revival. They preach good sermons full of faith, doctrine, exhortations, rebukes, in order to bring salvation and edification to the members of their congregations. They are hoping for a new Luther, or Whitefield, or Spurgeon to wake up the churches from their worldly sleep and “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”. Their hope is right and holy, but is not according to what the Scriptures tell us to do and hope in these very last days. As a matter of fact, the Gospel has been preached to all nations, we are in again in the time of Lot where the world is turned into a great Sodom, and the hope is not of the appearing of a new Luther, but of the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ who shall descend from heaven after this great Apostasy defiles the churches all over the world. Those pastors’ ministries are still useful, as long as they can preach the sound doctrine, but it will not be a long time before they have their backs against the wall. Right now, meanwhile they preach the Calvinism at the pulpit, their deacons teach Arminianism at the Sunday school, but soon it will harder; they will have to betray openly their Lord or leave the ministry, and loose their pensions, their social security, and the honour to be called “Reverend”. This is not theory; we have seen it with our own eyes, my wife and I, when we congregated at a Baptist church, whose pastor dismissed at that time. Romans XVI; 17, 18 says: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE that ye have learnt, and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ but their own belly, and with good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple”. Avoiding these people means leaving the church because they are therein the great majority and they rule it…
Brothers, Protestantism owes its name from the formal protest that Luther’s followers raised at the second Diet of Spire in 1529 against the arrogant Catholic proposals. Today the churches are not protestant, now they are evangelical, ecumenical and Arminian; they are on the road back to Rome, and most of them have entered the Pentecostal speedway. The true Christians, the real Protestants, are getting out of this snare, they are waking up from the slumbering effect of the Arminian doctrines and cling to the Bible which says unto us in 2 Thes.II;3: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first…”wherefore let’s follow Clements’s advise, a famous bishop during the third century, who said: “The Scripture; the criterion by which truth is revealed against lie”. Therefore search the Scripture, and you will definitely find out that the falling away is real and universal: Apostasy is here! So let‘s remember that concerning our salvation; “we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in the glory of God”. Remember Solomon, who could not stand in this grace because he married women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians and Hittites. Solomon started his spiritual life with the most conspicuous success, but his love for heathen women brought him to such a shameful end, as to build altars to abominable idols. If you stay in these churches which preach a universal expiation based on the free will, because you love, you esteem yourself to have some ability and moral qualities; you will end bowing down at the feet of the pope. Depart from self-confidence and cleave only to Jesus as your all in all.
Leave Babylon and live!
ARMINIANISM: THE ROAD TO ROME.
Whose Voice Do You Hear?
"My sheep, saith Christ, hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish. O, most worthy Scriptures! which ought to compel us to have a faithful remembrance, and to note the tenor thereof; which is, the sheep of Christ shall never perish.
"Doth Christ mean part of his elect, or all, think you? I do hold, and affirm, and also faithfully believe, that he meant all his elect, and not part, as some do full ungodly affirm. I confess and believe assuredly, that there shall never any of them perish: for I have good authority so to say; be- cause Christ is my author, and saith, if it were possible, the very elect should be deceived. Ergo, it is not possible that they can be so deceived, that they shall ever finally perish, or be damned: wherefore, whosoever doth affirm that there may be any (i.e. any of the elect) lost, doth affirm that Christ hath a torn body."1
The above valuable letter of recantation is thus inscribed: "A Letter to the Congregation of Free-willers, by One that had been of that Persuasion, but come off, and now a Prisoner for Religion:" which superscription will hereafter, in its due place, supply us with a remark of more than slight importance.
John Wesley, a Friend of Rome?
To occupy the place of argument, it has been alleged that "Mr. Wesley is an old man;" and the Church of Rome is still older than he. Is that any reason why the enormities, either of the mother or the son, should pass unchastised?
It has also been suggested, that "Mr. Wesley is a very laborious man:" not more laborious, I presume, than a certain active being, who is said to go to and fro in the earth, and walk up and down in it:2 nor yet more laborious, I should imagine, than certain ancient Sectarians, concerning whom it was long ago said, "Woe unto you Scribes, hypocrites; for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte:"3 nor, by any means, so usefully laborious, as a certain diligent member of the community, respecting whose variety of occupations the public have lately received the following intelligence: "The truth of the following instance of industry may be depended on: a poor man with a large family, now cries milk, every morning, in Lothbury, and the neighbourhood of the Royal Exchange; at eleven, he wheels about a barrow of potatoes; at one, he cleans shoes at the Change; after dinner, cries milk again; in the evening, sells sprats; and at night, finishes the measure of his labour as a watchman."4
The Quarrel is With the Wolf
Mr. Sellon, moreover, reminds me (p. 128.) that, "while the shepherds are quarrelling, the wolf gets into the sheep fold;" not impossible: but it so happens, that the present quarrel is not among "the shepherds," but with the "wolf" himself; which "quarrel" is warranted by every maxim of pastoral meekness and fidelity.
I am further told, that, while I am "berating the Arminians, Rome and the devil laugh in their sleeves." Admitting that Mr. Sellon might derive this anecdote from the fountain head, the parties themselves, yet, as neither they nor he are very conspicuous for veracity, I construe the intelligence by the rule of reverse, though authenticated by the deposition of their right trusty and well-beloved cousin and counselor.
Once more: I am charged with "excessive superciliousness, and majesty of pride:" and why not charged with having seven heads and ten horns, and a tail as long as a bell-rope? After all, what has my pride, or my humility, to do with the argument in hand? Whether I am haughty or meek, is of no more consequence either to that, or to the public, than whether I am tall or short: however, I am, at this very time, giving one proof, that my "majesty of pride" can stoop; that even to ventilate the impertinences of Mr. Sellon.
Arminianism at Home in Rome
But, however frivolous his cavils, the principles for which he contends are of the most pernicious nature and tendency. I must repeat, what already seems to have given him so much offence, that Arminianism "came from Rome, and leads thither again." Julian, bishop of Eclana a contemporary and disciple of Pelagius, was one of those who endeavoured, with much art, to gild the doctrines of that heresiarch, in order to render them more sightly and palatable. The Pelagian system, thus varnished and paliated, soon began to acquire the softer name of Semipelagianism. Let us take a view of it, as drawn to our hands by the celebrated Mr. Bower, who himself, in the main, a professed Pelagian, and therefore less likely to present us with an unfavourable portrait of the system he generally approved. Among the principles of that sect, this learned writer enumerates the following:
"The notion of election and reprobation, independent on our merits or demerits, is maintaining a fatal necessity, is the bane of all virtue, and serves only to render good men remiss in working out their salvation, and to drive sinners to despair. "The decrees of election and reprobation are posterior to, and in consequence of, our good or evil works, as foreseen by God from all eternity."5
Is not this too the very language of modern Arminianism? Do not the partizans of that scheme argue on the same identical terms? Should it be said, "True, this proves that Arminianism is Pelagianism revived; but it does not prove, that the doctrines of Arminianism are originally Popish:" a moment's cool attention will make it plain that they are. Let us again hear Mr. Bower, who, after the passage just quoted, immediately adds, "on these two last propositions, the Jesuits found their whole system of grace and free-will; agreeing therein with the Semipelagians, against the Jansenists and St. Augustine."6 The Jesuits were moulded into a regular body, towards the middle of the sixteenth century: toward the close of the same century, Arminius began to infest the Protestant churches. It needs therefore no great penetration, to discern from what source he drew his poison. His journey to Rome (though Monsicur Bayle affects to make light of the inferences which were at that very time deduced from it) was not for nothing. If, however, any are disposed to believe, that Arminius imbibed his doctrines from the Socinians in Poland, with whom, it is certain, he was on terms of intimate friendship, I have no objection to splitting the difference: he might import some of his tenets from the Racovian brethren, and yet be indebted, for others, to the disciples of Loyola.
Papists and Predestination
Certain it is, that Arminius himself was sensible, how greatly the doctrine of predestination widens the distance between Protestantism and Popery. "There is no point of doctrines (says he) which the Papists, the Anabaptists, and the (new) Lutherans more fiercely oppose, nor by means of which they heap more discredit on the reformed churches, and bring the reformed system itself into more odium; for they (i.e. the Papists, & etc.) assert, that no fouler blasphemy against God can be thought or expressed, than is contained in the doctrine of predestination."7 For which reason, he advises the reformed world to discard predestination from their creed, in order that they may live on more brotherly terms with the Papists, the Anabaptists, and such like.
The Arminian writers make no scruple to seize and retail each other's arguments, as common property. Hence, Samuel Hoord copies from Van Harmin the self same observation which I have now cited. "Predestination (says Samuel) is an opinion odious to the Papists, opening their foul mouths, against our Church and religion:"8 consequently, our adopting the opposite doctrines of universal grace and freewill, would, by bringing us so many degrees nearer to the Papists, conduce to shut their mouths, and make them regard us, so far at least, as their own orthodox and dearly beloved brethren: whence it follows, that, as Arminianism came from Rome, so "it leads thither again."
The Jesuits and Predestination
If the joint verdict of Arminius himself, and of his English proselyte Hoord, will not turn the scale, let us add the testimony of a professed Jesuit, by way of making up full weight. When Archbishop Laud's papers were examined, a letter was found among them, thus endorsed with that prelate's own hand: "March, 1628. A Jesuit's Letter, sent to the Rector at Brussels, about the ensuing Parliament." The design of this letter was to give the Superior of the Jesuits, then resident at Brussels, an account of the posture of civil and ecclesiastical affairs in England; an extract from it I shall here subjoin: "Father Rector, let not the damp of astonishment seize upon your ardent and zealous soul, in apprehending the sudden and unexpected calling of a Parliament. We have now many strings to our bow. We have planted that sovereign drug Arminianism, which we hope will purge the Protestants from their heresies; and it flourisheth and beares fruit in due season. For the better prevention of the Puritans, the Arminians have already locked up the Duke's (of Buckingham) ears; and we have those of our owne religion, which stand continually at the Duke's chamber, to see who goes in and out: we cannot be too circumspect and careful in this regard. I am, at this time, transported with joy, to see how happily all instruments and means, as well great as lesser, co-operate unto our purposes. But, to return unto the main fabric: OUR FOUNDATION IS ARMINIANISM. The Arminians and projectors, as it appears in the premises, affect mutation. This we second and enforce by probable arguments…"
The Sovereign Drug Arminianism
The "Sovereign drug, Arminianism," which said the Jesuit, "we (i.e. we Papists) have planted" in England, did indeed bid fair "to purge our Protestant Church effectually. How merrily Popery and Arminianism, at that time, danced hand in hand, may be learned from Tindal: "The churches were adorned with paintings, images, altar-pieces, & etc. and, instead of communion tables, alters were set up, and bowings to them and the sacramental elements enjoined. The predestinarian doctrines were forbid, not only to be preached, but to be printed; and the Arminian sense of the Articles was encouraged and propagated." The Jesuit, therefore, did not exult without cause. The "sovereign drug," so lately "planted," did indeed take deep root downward, and bring forth fruit upward, under the cherishing auspices of Charles and Laud. Heylyn, too, acknowledges, that the state of things was truly described by another Jesuit of that age, who wrote: "Protestantism waxeth weary of itself. The doctrine (by the Arminians, who then sat at the helm) is altered in many things, for which their progenitors forsook the Church of Rome: as limbus patrum; prayer for the dead, and possibility of keeping God's commandments; and the accounting of Calvinism to be heresy at least, if not treason."11
Arminianism from the Pit
The maintaining of these positions, by the Court divines, was an "alteration" indeed; which the abandoned Heylyn ascribes to "the ingenuity and moderation found in some professors of our religion." If we sum up the evidence that has been given, we shall find its amount to be, that Arminianism came from the Church of Rome, and leads back again to the pit whence it was digged.