To the noble and most potent the states of Holland and West Friezland, my Supreme Governor, my most noble, potent, wise and prudent Lords:
After the conference which, by the command of your mightinesses, was convened here at the Hague, between Gomarus and myself, had been held in the presence of four ministers and under the superintendence of their Lordships the Counselors of the Supreme Court, the result of that meeting was reported to your highnesses. Some allusion having been made in that report to the nature and importance of the controversy between us, it soon afterward, seemed good to your highnesses to cite each of us, with those four ministers, to appear openly before you in your honourable assembly, and in that public manner to intimate to all of us whatever you then judged to be expedient. After we had appeared before Your mightinesses, Gomarus affirmed, |that the controversy between him and me, was of such immense importance, that, with the opinions which I professed, he durst not appear in the presence of his maker.| He likewise asserted, |that, unless some mode of prevention were promptly devised, the consequence would be, that the various provinces, churches, and cities of our native land, and even the citizens themselves, would be placed in a state of mutual enmity and variance, and would rise up in arms against each other.| To all those allegations I then made no reply, except |that I certainly was not conscious of entertaining any such atrocious sentiments in religion, as those of which he had spoken; and I confidently expressed a hope, that I should never afford either cause or occasion for schism and separation, in the Church of God or in our common country.| In confirmation of which, I added, |that I was prepared to make an open and bona fide declaration of all my sentiments, views, and designs on every subject connected with religion, whenever I might receive a summons to appear before this august assembly, and even prior to my retiring at that time from your presence.| Your highnesses having since deliberated upon the proposal and offer which I then made, deem it proper now to summon me before you, for the purpose of redeeming, in this hall, the pledge which I had previously given. To fulfill that promise, I now appear in this place, and will with all due fidelity discharge my duty, whatever it be that is demanded of me in relation to this affair.
Yet since a sinister report, has for a long time been industriously and extensively circulated about me, not only among my own countrymen but also among foreigners, in which report, I am represented to have hitherto refused, after frequent solicitations, to make an open profession of my sentiments on the matter of religion and my designs concerning it; and since this unfounded rumor has already operated most injuriously against me, I importunately intreat to be favoured with your gracious permission to make an ingenuous and open declaration of all the circumstances which relate to this business, before I proceed to the discussion of other topics.