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grace alone the praise of this benefit : and it is opposite to the apostle, who declares, that “ It is “God who will confirm us even to the end, “ blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. i. 8.1
3. Who teach, “That true believers and regenerate persons may not only fall from justifying · faith, and in like manner from grace and salvation, totally and finally, but likewise that in fact (re
ipsa) they not seldom do fall from it, and perish ' eternally.' For this opinion renders vain the grace itself of justification and regeneration, and the perpetual guardian care (custodiam) of Christ, contrary to the express words of the apostle Paul, Rom. v. 8,9: “ If Christ died for us while we
were yet sinners, much more, then, being now justified through his blood, we shall be saved “ from wrath by him.” And contrary to the apostle John, 1 John iii. 9: “Every one that is “ born of God doth not commit sin, (non dat
operam peccato,) because his seed remaineth in “ him ; neither can he sin, because he is born of “ God.” Also, contrary to the words of Jesus “ Christ, John x. 28, 29 : “ I give eternal life to
my sheep, and they shall never perish, neither “ shall any one tear them out of my hand : my “ Father who gave them me is greater than all, “ neither can any one tear them out of my 5 Father's hand."
Being confident of this, that he who hath begun a good “ work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil. i. 6. If it depend absolutely on the freedom of man's will, whether he will persevere or not, his reliance must and ought to be placed on that, on which the whole event depends; and is not this to trust our own hearts?
4. Who teach, That true believers and the regenerate may sin the sin unto death, or against the Holy Spirit. Whereas the same apostle John, chap. V., after he has, in the 16th and 17th verses, mentioned those who sin unto death, and forbidden to pray for them, immediately, ver. 18. adds, “We know, that whosoever is “ born of God, sinneth not,” (namely, with that “ kind of sin) “but he that is begotten of God, “ keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth « him not."
5. Who teach, ' That no certainty of future per'severance can be had in this life, without special ' revelation. For, by this doctrine, solid consolation is taken away from true believers in this life and the doubting of the papists (pontificiorum) brought back into the church. But the holy scripture every where requires this certainty, not from special and extraordinary revelation, but from the peculiar marks of the children of God, and the most constant promises of God: especially the apostle Paul, Rom. viii. 39: “ No created thing
can separate us from the love of God which is “ in Christ Jesus our Lord :" and 1 John iïi. 24: “Whoso keepeth his commandment remaineth “ in him, and he in him; and hereby we know “ that we remain in him by the Spirit which he “ hath given us."
' 1 John ii. 3, 4. iii. 14, 18, 19. Not a single instance can be adduced from the scripture, in which any prophet or apostle ascribes his own assurance of salvation to special revelation, or to any thing different from what he exhorts others to, in order to obtain and retain the same assurance.
This concludes at least as strongly against those who ground their assurance on dreams, 6. Who teach, That the doctrine of perseverance and the assurance of salvation, from its nature and tendency, (indole,) is a pillow for the ' flesh, and injurious to piety, good conduct,
prayers and other holy exercises; but that on ' the contrary to doubt concerning it is laudable.' For these persons shew themselves to be ignorant of the efficacy of divine grace, and of the operation of the indwelling Holy Spirit : and they contradict the apostle John affirming the contrary in express words, 1 John iii. 2, 3: “ Beloved, now are we the “ Sons of God; but it doth not yet appear what “ we shall be: we know however, that when he “ shall be revealed, we shall be like him, because “ we shall see him as he is. And whoso hath this - hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. They are moreover, confuted by the examples of the saints in the Old as well as in the New Testament, who, though they were certain of their own perseverance and salvation, were nevertheless assiduous in prayers, and other pious exercises.
7. Who teach, “That the faith of temporary • believers doth not differ from justifying and ‘ saving faith, except in duration alone.' For Christ himself, Matt. xiii. 20, and Luke viii. 13, &c, hath, besides this, manifestly constituted a threefold distinction between temporary and true believers, when he says, those received the seed in stony ground, these in good ground, or“ an honest “ heart ;” those are without root, these have a firm root; those are destitute of fruit, these bring visions and impressions, of whatever kind: as against those who say, it can only be enjoyed by immediate revelation.
men carnally secure, as being persuaded by it • that it does not hinder the salvation of the elect, * in what manner soever they live; and that they
can with safety perpetrate the most atrocious * crimes ; but that it does not profit the reprobate, ' as to salvation, if they should truly do all the ' works of the saints ; That by the same (doc'trine) it is taught, that God by the bare and 'mere determination (nudo puroque arbitrio) of ' his will, without any respect, or view (intuitu) to 'the sin of any man, predestinated and created 'the greatest part of the world to eternal damna• tion : That in the same manner as election is the ' fountain and cause of faith and good works,
reprobation is the cause of infidelity and impiety: * That many unoffending (innoxiæ) infants of * believers are torn away from the breasts of their ‘mothers, and tyrannically precipitated into hell;
so that neither baptism, nor the prayers of the 'church at their baptism, can profit them. Also very many other things of the same kind, which the reformed churches not only do not acknowledge, but which with their whole soul (pectore) they detest.
of England among the rest. That doctrine, as held in these churches, was not only Manicheism, but heathen Stoicism, infidel Libertinism, and Mohammedism. But it is far more easy to bring accusations against any tenet or body of men, than satisfaetorily to prove them. The Synod of Dort did not at all shrink from proclaiming, that such charges had been brought; and they were satisfied, and on good ground, that they had fully demonstrated them to be unfounded. '. 'The language of these accusations is so horridly irreverend, that if it had not been actually used by the Remonstrants, it could hardly have been thus brought forward : and nothing but to shew the real spirit of these controversialists, could excuse the repeating of it, either by the Synod, or in this publication.
Wherefore this Synod of Dort obtests, by the name of the Lord, all, as many as piously call on the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ, that they would judge concerning the faith of the reformed churches, not from the calumnies heaped together from this and the other, quarter, (hinc inde,) nor even from the private sayings of certain individuals, as well ancient as modern doctors often either quoted unfaithfully, or corrupted, or wrested (detortis) into a strange meaning ; but from the public confessions of those churches, and from this declaration of the orthodox doctrine, confirmed by the unanimous consent of all and every one of the members of this whole Synod.—It next (deinde) seriously admonishes the calumniators themselves, to consider how heavy a judgment of God they may be about to suffer, who, against so many churches, against so many confessions of churches, bear false witness, disturb the consciences of the weak, and diligently employ themselves (satagunt) to render the society of true believers suspected. Lastly, this Synod exhorts all their fellow ministers (symmystas) in the gospel of Christ, that, in the treating (pertractione) of this doctrine, in the schools and in the churches, they would walk piously and religiously; apply it, whether by tongue or pen, to the glory of the divine name, to holiness of life, and to the consolation of alarmed souls: that they would not only think, but speak, with the scripture, according to
'This solemn warning is quite as seasonable in Britain at present, as it was in Belgium in the seventeenth century.