A Letter, by the Rev. James Arminius, D. D. &C. &C. To his Excellency, the Noble Lord, Hippolytus a Collibus, Ambassador, from the Most Illustrious Prince, the Elector Palatine, to the Seven United Dutch Provinces, James Arminius Wisheth Health and Success Most Nonourable Sir:
When I was lately admitted to a conversation with you, you had the kindness to intimate to me the reports which you understood had been circulated at Heidelberg about my heterodoxy in certain articles of our faith; and you gave me this information, not only that you might yourself hear from me personally the whole truth about the matter, but, much more, that, by the intervention of your good offices, the suspicions concerning me, which have been so unhandsomely conceived and propagated, might be removed from the minds of other persons, since this is a course which truth requires. I endeavoured at that interview, with diligence and seriousness to comply with your obliging request, and by returning a frank and open reply to each of those questions which your excellency proposed, I instantly disclosed my sentiments about those several Articles. For, in addition to my being bound to do this, by my duty as a Christian man, and especially as a divine, such a course of conduct was demanded from me by the great candour, condescension and benevolence which you exhibited towards me. But my explanation was so agreeable to your excellency, (which I ascribe to an act of the divine Benignity towards me,) as to induce you, on that occasion, to think it requisite that those propositions of mine should be committed to writing and transmitted to you, not only for the purpose of being thus enabled the more certainly and firmly to form your own judgment about the matter when you had maturely reflected upon it, but also with the design of communicating my written answers to others, that they might confute the calumny and vindicate my innocence. Having followed the counsel of your prudence, and firmly relying on the same hope, I now accede to your further wishes, in this letter; and I intreat your excellency to have the goodness to peruse its contents with the same candour and equanimity as were displayed when you listened to their delivery. Unless my mind greatly deceives me, your excellency will find in this letter that which will not only be able to obliterate, but also completely to eradicate, every unjust suspicion concerning me, from the minds of those good men who know that every one is the best interpreter of his own sentiments, and that the utmost credit is to be given to him who sacredly, and in the presence of God, bears testimony to his own meaning. The articles of doctrine about which your excellency made inquiries, were, as far as my memory serves me, the following: the Divinity of the Son of God, Providence, Divine Predestination, Grace and Free Will, and Justification. Beside these, you inquired about the things which concerned our opinions, in answer to the interrogatories of the States of Holland, concerning the mode of holding the proposed synod. But as the latter relate to that most eminent man, the Revelation John Uytenbogard, minister of the church at the Hague, as much as to me, I leave them to be explained by him, whose residence is much nearer to that of your excellency. With regard to all these doctrinal Articles, I confidently declare that I have never taught anything, either in the church or in the university, which contravenes the sacred writings, that ought to be with us the sole rule of thinking and of speaking, or which is opposed to the Dutch Confession of Faith, or to the Heidelberg Catechism, that are our stricter formularies of consent. In proof of this assertion I might produce, as most clear and unquestionable testimonies, the theses which I have composed on these several Articles, and which have been discussed as Public Disputations in the university; but as those theses are not entirely in readiness for every one, and can be with difficulty transmitted, I will now treat upon each of them specially, as far as I shall conceive it necessary.