ARMENIANS

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ARMENIANS ; a religious sect, which has its name from its founder, Arminius. (q. v.) In Germany and Holland, they are more generally called Remonstrants, on account of the title Remonstrantia, which they gave to a document presented to the statesgeneral of Holland, in which they endeavored to prove the opinions of the reformed church, in respect to predestination, erroneous. Diversity of opinion on this subject was the chief reason church. They maintained, 1, that God had, indeed, resolved from eternity on the salvation and damnation of men, but with the condition, that all those who believed should be saved, while the unbelievers should be damned ; 2, that Christ died for all men, but nobody could partake in his salvation, except he believe; 3, that nobody can have saving faith from himself, but must be born again of God, in Christ, through the Holy Ghost, in order to attain it; 4, that nobody can, without the grace of God, think, will, nor do any thing good, because all our good works have their origin in God's grace; 5, that the faithful can struggle against Satan, the flesh and the world, and conquer them, by the assistance of the Holy Ghost. This is the genuine doctrine of Arminius and his sect. From these original Remonstrants, however, are to be distinguished those who were not satisfied with these 5 articles, but proceeded farther in the contest with the reformed or Calvinistic church. As, even before the Arminian dispute, several writings of Socinus had been circulated secretly in Holland, particularly among the men of learning, who were almost all Arminians, it was natural that the later Arminians should coincide, in many points, with the Socinians. They were therefore accused of Socinianism. The states of Holland issued an ordinance, in 1614, directing the Remonstrants and Counterremonstrants (the latter were also galled Gomarists, from their leader, Francis Gomarus, professor of theology at Ley den) to live in love and charity with each other. But, as both parties doubted the obligation of such a decree in respect to spiritual affairs, the famous synod at Dort was held from Nov. 13,1618, to May 9,1619, in order to adjust the differences. The fecision of the synod is very remarkable, it made reason the servant of the fear of God, subjecting it to the control of faith, and declared, with much piety and theological consistency, that the doctrine of predestination is very hard, but cannot be avoided; let the Holy Scriptures stand fast, and the opinion of the opposing world perish. The Counterremonstrants, so called, gained the ascendency by the decree of this synod, in which they were accusers and judges. The opposite party have accused them of unjust and cruel behavior on this occasion, and they have not yet been able to disprove the accusation. Though the former were obliged to yield to the decision of the synod, they trines. The decree of this synod was highly prejudicial to the sect of the Arminians, and they were particularly in danger when some of their members took part in a conspiracy against prince Maurice. He was, however, soon convinced, that the sect, as such, had nothing to do with the plot, and, after his death, in 1625, they received from Hemy, his brother, the liberty to erect churches and schools in all parts of Holland. In Amsterdam, they established an academy for education, which became very famous. The congregations at Rotterdam and amsterdam were the most numerous. They did not endeavor to increase their sect. Any one who joined them was not obliged to accept their creed, but only to declare, generally, that he was a believer in Christianity according to the apostolic symbolum, and endeavored to regulate his life according to Christ's commands. Their public service was almost entirely like that of the Calvinistic church, only they did not require, like this church, from the parents of a child about to be baptized, a profession of belief in their doctrines, and a promise to educate the child in the same, but demanded only a promise to educate the child in the Christian faith, without mentioning the creed of any sect. The Arminians were veiy numerous as long as they were persecuted, but rather decreased, when they had gained liberty and peace.