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The Works Of James Arminius Vol 1 by James Arminius

7. What occurred relative to the same subject in the Preparatory Convention.

To these it is also necessary to add a report which has been spread abroad by means of letters, not only within these provinces, but far beyond their confines: it is, |that, in the preparatory convention which was held at the Hague, in the month of June, 1607, by a company of the brethren who were convened by a summons from their high mightinesses, the States General, after I had been asked in a manner the most friendly to consent to a disclosure, before the brethren then present, of my views on the subject of the Christian faith, I refused; and although they promised to endeavour, as far as it was possible, to give me satisfaction, I still declined to comply with their wishes.| But since I find by experience that this distorted version of the matter has procured for me not a few proofs of hatred and ill will from many persons who think that far more honourable deference ought to have been evinced by me towards that assembly, which was a convention of Divines from each of the United Provinces. I perceive a necessity is thus imposed upon me to commence at the very origin of this transaction, when I am about to relate the manner in which it occurred:

Before my departure from Leyden for the convention at the Hague which has just been mentioned, five articles were put into my hands, said to have been transmitted to some of the provinces, to have been perused by certain ministers and ecclesiastical assemblies, and considered by them as documents which embraced my sentiments on several points of religion. Those points of which they pretended to exhibit a correct delineation, were Predestination, the Fall of Adam, Free-will, Original Sin, and the Eternal Salvation of Infants. When I had read the whole of them, I thought that I plainly perceived, from the style in which they were written, who was the author of them; and as he was then present, (being one of the number summoned on that occasion,) I accosted him on this subject, and embraced that opportunity freely to intimate to him that I had good reasons for believing those articles to have been of his composition. He did not make any attempt to deny the correctness of this supposition, and replied, ,that they had not been distributed precisely as my articles, but as those on which the students at Leyden had held disputations.| In answer to this remark, I told him, |of one thing he must be very conscious, that, by the mere act of giving circulation to such a document, he could not avoid creating a grievous and immediate prejudice against my innocence, and that the same articles would soon be ascribed to me, as if they had been my composition: when, in reality,| as I then openly affirmed, |they had neither proceeded from me, nor accorded with my sentiments, and, as well as I could form a judgment they appeared to me to be at variance with the word of God.|

After he and I had thus discoursed together in the presence of only two other persons, I deemed it advisable to make some mention of this affair in the convention itself, at which certain persons attended who had read those very articles, and who had, according to their own confession, accounted them as mine. This plan I accordingly pursued; and just as the convention was on the point of being dissolved, and after the account of our proceedings had been signed, and some individuals had received instructions to give their high mightinesses the States General a statement of our transactions, I requested the brethren |not to consider it an inconvenience to remain a short time together, for I had something which I was desirous to communicate.| They assented to this proposal, and I told them |that I had received the five articles which I held in my hand and the tenor of which I briefly read to them; that I discovered they had been transmitted by a member of that convention, into different provinces; that I was positive concerning their distribution in Zealand and the diocese of Utrecht; and that they had been read by some ministers in their public meetings, and were considered to be documents which comprehended my sentiments.| Yet, notwithstanding, I protested to the whole of that assembly, with a good conscience, and as in the presence of God, |that those articles were not mine, and did not contain my sentiments.| Twice I repeated this solemn asseveration, and besought the brethren |not so readily to attach credit to reports that were circulated concerning me, nor so easily to listen to any thing that was represented as proceeding from me or that had been rumored abroad to my manifest injury.|

To these observations, a member of that convention answered, |that it would be well for me, on this account, to signify to the brethren what portion of those articles obtained my approbation, and what portion I disavowed, that they might thus have an opportunity of becoming acquainted in some degree with my sentiments.| Another member urged the same reasons; to which I replied, |that the convention had not been appointed to meet for such a purpose, that we had already been long enough detained together, and that their high mightinesses, the States General were now waiting for our determination,| in that manner, we separated from each other, no one attempting any longer to continue the conversation, neither did all the members of the convention express a joint concurrence in that request, nor employ any kind of persuasion with me to prove that such an explanation was in their judgment quite equitable. Besides, according to the most correct intelligence which I have since gained, some of those who were then present, declared afterwards, |that it was a part of the instructions which had been previously given to them, not to enter into any conference concerning doctrine; and that, if a discussion of that kind had arisen, they must have instantly retired from the convention.| These several circumstances therefore prove that I was very far from being |solicited by the whole assembly| to engage in the desired explanation.

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