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John Hales, an English Representative at Dort, commenting on the emergence of extremist Calvinism

November 21, 2007

Right Honourable and my very good Lord,

Upon Friday the 8th of January in the Evening, the Synod being met, Doctor Gomarus answered some parts of Scripture, laid host of by the Remonstrants, after the same manner as Dr Silvandus had one the Night before, the places by him discussed were for the most part the same which in the former Session had been handled. The order of discussing these arguments is by continued Discourse after the manner of Latin Sermons, or rather of Divinity Lectures, such as are read in our Schools. In one thing the discretion of both these Doctors was much approved. For both of them hold that extreme and rigid Tenent, which Beza and Perkins first of all acquainted the World with, yet notwithstanding they held impartial Course and never struck upon it.   John Hales, “Mr. Hales’s Letters from the Synod of Dort, To the Right Honourable Sir Dudley Carlton, Lord Embassador, &c,” in Golden Remains of the ever Memorable Mr. John Hales of Eaton College, (London: Printed by T.B for George Pawlet, at the Sign of the Bible in Chancery-Lane, 1688), 451-452.

Ive posted this at the C&C blog but it keeps appearing and disappearing on me.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2007 6:10 pm

    Thats fantastic. It completely removes the idea that moderates who claim Beza was the first to move into extreme Calvinism is a modern fairy tale.

    Either this kind of information is/was totally ignored and we have an age of theological ignorance, or it was suppressed and we are fighting against theological tyrants and legalists. I suspect it is a combination of both.

  2. Flynn permalink
    November 24, 2007 8:36 pm

    Hey Josh,

    It turns out Hales became an Arminian. That’s a shame as the value of this information will be downgraded in the minds of some perhaps. I was fully aware that in all probability he was biased against Beza and Perkins, but the historical information is what I am interested in. He was able to spot this supralapsarian shift and wrote his letter expecting his reader to see the point too. Notice Hales is not arguing the point, just stating it rather simply. That tells me that he expected his reader to concur. The Reformed community were seeing differences and were spotting shifting trends. So the question is, if Hales saw it, did anyone else?

    The letters where Marty got this from contain lots of information on Martinus and the arguments and issues wrapped around him in Martinus’ response to Gomarus. That alone is worth reading. There is very little information on the discussion and issues hammered out at Dort in English. Hales will be important for this information alone. And btw, if the only version of Calvinism available was Perkins or Beza, I think I would exit it too.

    Thanks for all the heads-up info from the various sources.


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