September 8, 2008

John Quick (1636–1706) on the Synod of Alançon

I have taken the liberty to modernize some of the language and spelling.

Article 12.

The Determination and Decision of that Affair concerning the Doctrine and Writings of the Sieurs Amyraud and Testard, Pastors, and Professor of Divinity in the University of Saumur.

The Sieurs Testard Pastor of the Church of Blois, and Amyraud Pastor and Professor of Theology in the Church and University of Saumur, came in Person unto this Synod, and declared, That they understood from common Fame, how that both at home and abroad, and by the Consultations and Proceedings of sundry Provinces, as also from divers Books written against them and their printed Labours, they were blamed for that Doctrine

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which they had published to the World; that therefore at the first opening of the Synod they presented themselves before it, not knowing but that their Cause might be debated whenas the Confession of Faith came to be read, and that they appeared to give an account of it, and such Explanations of their Doctrine, as the most Reverend Synod should judge needful; and to submit themselves unto its Judgment, and consequently to demand its Protection for the support of their Innocence, hoping that this Favour would not be denied them; because they were fully persuaded in their Consciences, that they had never taught, either by Word or Writing, any Doctrine repugnant to the Word of God, to our Confession of Faith, Catechism, Liturgy, or Canons of the National Synods of Alez and Charenton, which had ratified those of Dort, and which they had signed with their Hands, and were ready to seal even with their Heart-Blood.

13. And the Sieur de la Place, Pastor and Professor in the Church and University of Saumur, reported also from the said University, That he was charged by it to render an account of the Grounds and Reasons which induced him to approve and license the Works and Writings of the Monsieur Amyraud, which he did, according to the Priviledge granted by the discipline unto our Universities. Moreover, the Sieur Ouzan, Elder in the said Church of Saumur, being admitted into the Synod, declared that the said Church understanding that Monsieur Amyraud, one of its Pastors, was brought into trouble for his Doctrine, though both by it, and his most exemplary and godly Conversation, they had been always exceedingly edified, had given him an express Charge to testify unto it before this grave Assembly, and most humbly to commend unto their Reverences the Innocency and Honour of his Ministry.

14. There were also tendered unto the Lord Commissioner the Letters, but not opened, which were sent unto the Synod from the Churches and Universities of Geneva and Leyden, and from the Sieurs du Moulin Pastor and Professor in Theology at Sedan, and Rivet Pastor and Professor at Leyden, together with the Treatises composed by them, and the collationed Copies of the Approbations given by the Doctors in the Faculty of Theology at Leyden, Franequer and Groningen, unto the Treatise of the said Professor Rivet: Which Letters being opened by the Lord Commissioner, and their Contents perused by him, he allowed the reading of them unto the Assembly. The Assembly did likewise read the Letters writ by Monsieur Vignier Pastor in the Church of Blois, and by Monsieur le Faucheur Pastor in the Church of Paris, in which they offer their Sentiments for reconciling the Controversies arisen about the Writings of the said Testard and Amyraud, and their Opponents.

15. Moreover, the Apologetical Letters of the Sieurs Vignier and Garnier, Pastors of the Churches of Blois and Marchenoir, were read, who informed the Synod, that by virtue of a Commission given them by the Province of Berry to examine the Theological Writings which might be composed either by the Pastors or others of their Province, they had given their Attestation and Approbation to the Book of the said Monsieur Testard, and had given an account of this their Judgment unto the Provincial Synod assembled in the Year 1634; and the Extracts of those their Writings were produced.

16. Those Papers having been all read, and the aforesaid Sieurs Testard and Amyraud having been divers times heard, and the Assembly having in a very long Debate considered the Difficulties of those Questions raised by them, did constitute the Sieurs Commare Pastor in the Church of Vertueil, Chaples, Pastor in the Church of Montauban, de L' angle Pastor in the Church

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of Roan, Petit Pastor and Professor in the Church and University of Nismes, le Blanc Pastor and Professor in the University of Die, de Bons Pastor in the Church of Chaalons upon Saone, and Dalle Pastor in the Church of Paris, a Committee to digest and reduce into Order the Explications which had been given, or might hereafter be given by the before-mentioned Testard and Amyraud, and that they should accordingly as soon as it was finished bring in their Report.

17. And the said Committee having discharged their Trust, and made their Report unto the Synod, the before-mentioned Mr. Testard and Amyraud were again introduced, and did with the deepest Seriousness protest before God, that it was never in their Thoughts to propound or teach any Doctrine whatever, but what was agreeable to the known and common Expositions of our Creed, and contained in our Confession of Faith, and in the Decisions of the National Synod held at Charenton, in the Year 1623; all which they were ready to sign with their best Blood.

18. And pursuant hereunto, explaining their Opinions about the Universality of Christ's Death, they declared, That Jesus Christ died for all Men sufficiently, but for the Elect only effectually: and that consequentially his Intention was to die for all Men in respect of the Sufficiency of his Satisfaction, but for the Elect only in respect of its quickening and Saving Virtue and Efficacy; which is to say, that Christ's Will was that the Sacrifice of his Cross should be of an infinite Price and Value, and most abundantly sufficient to expiate the Sins of the whole World; yet nevertheless the Efficacy of his Death appertains only unto the Elect; so that those who are called by the Preaching of the Gospel, to participate by Faith in the Effects and Fruits of his Death, being invited seriously, and God vouchsafing them all external Means needful for their coming to him, and showing them in good earnest, and with the greatest Sincerity by his Word, what would be well-pleasing to him, if they should not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, but perish in their Obstinancy and Unbelief; this cometh not from any Defect of Virtue or Sufficiency in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, nor yet for want of Summons or serious Invitations unto Faith or Repentance, but only from their own Fault. And as for those who do receive the Doctrine of the Gospel with Obedience of Faith, they are according to the irrevocable Promise of God, made Partakers of the effectual Virtue and Fruit of Christ Jesus's Death; for this was the most free Counsel and gracious Purpose both of God the Father, in giving his Son for the Salvation of Mankind, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, in suffering the Pains of Death, that the Efficacy thereof should particularly belong unto all the Elect, and to them only, to give them justifying Faith, and by it to bring them infallibly unto Salvation, and thus effectually to redeem all those and none other, who were from all Eternity from among all People, Nations and Tongues, chosen unto Salvation. Whereupon, although the Assembly were well satisfied, yet nevertheless they decreed, that for the future, that Phrase of Jesus Christ's dying equally for all, should be forborn, because that term equally was formerly, and might be so again, an Occasion of stumbling unto many.

19. And as for the Conditional Decree, of which mention is made in the aforesaid Treatise of Predestination, the said Sieurs Testard and Amyraud declared, that they do not, nor ever did understand any other thing, than God's Will revealed in his Word, to give Grace and Life unto Believers; and that they called this in none other Sense a Conditional Will than that of Anthropopeia, because God promises not the Effects thereof, but upon condition of Faith and Repentance. And they added farther, That although the Propositions resulting from the Manifestation of

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this will be conditional, and conceived under an if, or it may be; as, if thou believest thou shalt be saved; if a Man repent of his Sins, they shall be forgiven him; yet nevertheless this doth not suppose in God an Ignorance of the Event, not an Impotency as to the Execution, nor any Inconstancy as to his Will, which is always firmly accomplished, and ever unchangeable in itself, according to the Nature of God, in which there is no Variableness nor Shadow of turning.

20. And the said Sieur Amyraud did particularly protest, as he had formerly published unto the World, that he never gave the Name of Universal or Conditional Predestination unto this Will of God than by way of Concession, and accomodating it unto the Language of the Adversary: Yet forasmuch as many are offended at this Expression of his, he offered freely to raze it out of those places, where ever it did occur, promising also to abstain from it for the future: and both he and the Sieur Testard acknowledged, that to speak truly and accurately according to the Usage of sacred Scripture, there is none other Decree of Predestination of Men unto eternal Life and Salvation, than the unchangeable Purpose of God, by which according to the most free and good Pleasure of his Will, he hath out of mere Grace chosen in Jesus Christ unto Salvation before the Foundation of the World, a certain number of Men in themselves neither better nor more worthy than others, and that he hath decreed to give them unto Jesus Christ to be saved, and that he would call and draw them effectually to Communion with him by his Word and Spirit. And they did, in consequence of this Holy Doctrine, reject their Error, who held that Faith, and the Obedience of Faith, Holiness, Godliness and Perseverance, are not the Fruits and Effects of this unchangeable Decree unto Glory, but Conditions and Causes, without which Election could not be passed; which Conditions or Causes are antecedently requisite, and foreseen as if they were already accomplished in those who were fit to be elected, contrary to what is taught us by the sacred Scriptures, Acts 13.48. and elsewhere.

21. And whereas they have made distinct Decrees in this Counsel of God, the first of which is to save all men through Jesus Christ, if they shall believe in him; the second to give Faith unto some particular Persons: they declared, that they did this upon none other account, than of accommodating it unto that Manner and Order, which the Spirit of Man observeth in his Reasonings for the Succour of his own Infirmity; they otherwise believing, that though they considered this Decree as diverse, yet it was formed in God in one and the self-same Moment, without any Succession of Thought, or Order of Priority and Posteriority. The Will of this most supreme and incomprehensible Lord, being but one only eternal Act in him; so that could we but conceive of things as they be in him from all Eternity, we should comprehend these Decrees of God by one only Act of our Understanding, as in Truth they be but one only Act of his eternal and unchangeable Will.

22. The Synod having heard these Declarations from the Sieurs Testard and Amyraud, it injoined them and all others to refrain from those terms of conditional, frustratory, or revocable Decree; and that they should rather choose the Word Will, whereby to express that Sentiment of theirs, and by which they would signify the revealed Will of God, commonly called by the Divines Voluntas Signe.

23. And whereas in sundry Places marked in the Writings of the before-mentioned Monsieur Testard and Amyraud, they have ascribed unto God, as it were, a Notion of Velleity, and strong Affections, and vehement Desires of Things which he hath not, nor never will effectuate; they having declared, that by those figurative Ways of speaking, and anthropopathical,

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they designed, to speak properly, none other thing than this, that if Men were obedient to the Commandments and Invitations of God, their Faith and Obedience would be most acceptable unto him, according as was before expressed by them. The Assembly hearing this their Explication, did injoin them to use such Expressions as these, with that Sobriety and Prudence, that they might not give the least Occasion of Offence unto any Person, nor cause them to conceive of God in any way unsuitable to his glorious Nature.

24. Monsieur Testard and Amyraud declared farther, that although the Doctrines obvious to us in the Works of Creation and Providence, do teach and preach Repentance, and invite us to seek the Lord, who would be found of us; yet nevertheless, by reason of the horrible Blindness of our Nature, and its universal Corruption, no Man was ever this way converted; yea, and it is utterly impossible that any one should be converted but by the hearing of the Word of God, which is the Seed of our Regeneration, and the Instrument of the Holy Ghost, whose Efficacy and Virtue only is able to illuminate our Understandings, and to change the Hearts and Affections of the Children of Men.

25. And forasmuch as the Word of God hath always revealed the Knowledge of the Lord our Redeemer, the said Sieurs did farther protest, that no one Man was ever, nor can be saved, without some certain Measure of this Knowledge, less indeed under the old Testament, but greater under the New, the Death and Resurrection of the Son of God being most plainly and distinctly manifested in the Gospel; and they hold it as an undoubted Truth, that now under the New Covenant, the distinct Knowledge of Christ is absolutely necessary for all Persons who are come unto Years of Discretion in order to their obtaining of eternal Salvation: And they do from their very Heart anathamatize all those who believe or teach that Man may be saved any other way than by the Merit of our Lord Jesus Christ, or in any other Religion besides the Christian.

26. And whereas divers Persons were much offended at the Professor Amyraud for calling that Knowledge of God, which Men might gain from the Consideration of his Works and Providence (unless their Corruption were extreme) by the Name of Faith: The said Professor declared, that he did it, because he reckoned that the Persuasion which some have, that there is a God, and that he is a Rewarder, may bear that Name; he owning however that St. Paul did simply and plainly stile it the Knowledge of God, 1 Cor. 1.21. The Assembly injoined him not to give the Name of Faith to any other Knowledge of God, but unto that which is ingendred in us by the Holy Ghost, and by the Preaching of his Word, according as the Scripture uses it, whether thereby to point out unto us the Faith of God's ancient Saints, or this which is now under the New Testament, and necessarily accompanied with a distinct Knowledge of Christ.

27. And as for Man's natural Impotency, either to believe, or to desire and do the things that belong to Salvation; both the said Sieurs Amyraud and Testard protested, that Man had none other Power than that of the Holy Spirit of God, which is only able to heal him, by an interior illuminating of his Understanding, and bending of his Will by that gracious, invincible and uneffable Operation, which he only exerts upon the Hearts of those Vessels of Grace which are elect of God.

28. They did farther declare, that this Impotency was in us from our Birth, for which Cause it may be called natural; and they have called it physical or natural, nor ever did refuse so doing, unless when they would signify that it is voluntary, and conjoined with Malice and Obstinacy;

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whenas Man despiseth and rejecteth the Invitations of God, which he would receive and imbrace, provided his Heart were well and fittingly disposed within itself.

29. And Monsieur Testard added particularly, that this doth not in the least derogate from what he had asserted concerning two Callings, the one real, and the other verbal, given by God unto Men, whereby they may be saved if they will, sith that he intended thereby to signify nothing else, but that their Impotency to convert themselves was not of the same kind with that of a Man, who having lost his Eyes or Legs, was willing with all his Heart to see and walk, but that this Impotency sprung from the Malice of the Heart itself. The Assembly having heard him thus express himself, injoined him to abstain from these terms; and not to use them unless with very much Prudence and Discretion, and to join with them such needful Glosses and Explications, as thereby it may appear, that Man is so depraved by Nature, that he cannot of himself will any Good without the special Grace of God, which may produce in us by his Holy Spirit both to will and to do according to his good Pleasure.

30. And those afore-mentioned Minister and Professor, Testard and Amyraud, having acquiesced in all, as above declared, and having sworn and subscribed to it, the Assembly gave them the right Hand of Fellowship by the Hand of their Moderator, and they were honourably dismissed to the Exercise of their respective Charges.
John Quick, Synodicon in Gallia Reformata (London: Printed for T. Parkhurst and J. Robinson, 1692), 2:352–357.


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