††††††††† And this is the plain, simple, and natural explication of the Orthodox Doctrine, concerning the five Articles controverted in the united Provinces of the Low-countries, as also the rejection of those errors, wherewith the Churches of the said Netherlands, have for a time been much troubled. Which their determination, the Synod holds to be taken out of Godís word, and agreeable to the Confessions of the Reformed Churches. Whereby it manifestly appears, with how small truth, equity, or charity, some, whom such dealings least beseemed, have labored to beat into the peoples heads,
††††††††† That, the doctrine of the Reformed Churches, concerning Predestination and the other points thereon appendant, doth, of its own bent, and inclination, call off menís minds from all religion, and piety: that it is the cushion, which the Devil lays under our flesh, the very castle of Satan, out of which he lays watch for all, wounds most men, and strikes dead very many, with the darts, as well of despair, as of security.
††††††††† That, this doctrine makes God the author of sin, unjust, a tyrant, a hypocrite; and that it is nothing else, but a patched composure of Stoicism, Manichaeism, Libertinism, and Turkism.
††††††††† That, it makes men carnally secure, as being thereby persuaded, that the elect, live they how they list, must needs be saved, and therefore may on Godís name run through all the outrageous villainies in the world: and contrariwise, that it boots not the reprobates for their salvation, though they should sincerely perform all good works, which any Saint hath done.
††††††††† That, by it we are taught, that God, out of his own absolute will, and mere purpose, without any respect at all of sin, hath for-ordained, and created the far greatest part of men in the world, to be damned forever.
††††††††† That, as election is the fountain and original cause of faith, and good works, so in like manner reprobation is the cause of infidelity and wickedness.
††††††††† That, many of the children of the faithful are in their infancy, without any guilt at all, taken from their motherís breasts, and tyrannously cast headlong into hell-fire; so that neither the sacrament of baptism, nor the prayers of the Church at their baptizing, can at all avail them.
†††††††† And many other obloquies of this strain, which the Reformed Churches not only do not admit, but also detest with all their heart.
††††††††† Wherefore this Synod, held at Dort, requests, and in the name of the Lord adjures all, whosoever in godly zeal call upon the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, that they would be pleased to judge of the doctrine of the Reformed Churches, no out of the calumnies raked up here and there, no nor out of the private Tenets of some, whether old or new, doctors, and those oftentimes either sinisterly cited, or corrupted, or strained to a sense never intended by the authors, but out of the published Confessions of the Churches themselves, and (for these points) out of this declaration of the orthodox doctrine agreed upon, and enacted by the joint consent of all and every the members of this whole Synod.
††††††††† And, as for rash, and slanderous traducers, the Synod earnestly advertises them to look unto it, and consider how heavy an account they are to give unto God, that bear false witness against so many Churches, and so many Church confessions, trouble the consciences of the weak, and labor to draw the society of true believers into suspicion with many.
††††††††† Lastly, this Synod exhorts all their fellow ministers of the Gospel, to have a pious, and religious care, in handling of this doctrine, whether in schools, or pulpits; and whensoever they undertake it by word, or pen, discreetly to accommodate the same to the advancement of Godís glory, to the promoting of holiness of life, and to the comforting of the afflicted, and affrighted souls: to frame not only their judgment, but also their style of speech, to the square of the Scriptures, and suitably to the analogy of faith: Lastly to forebear all such phrases, or manner of speech, as pass the bounds, set out unto us, of the right meaning of the holy Scriptures, and withal give wayward wranglers just occasion of traducing, or slandering the doctrine of the Reformed Churches.
††††††††† The Son of God Jesus Christ, who sitting at the right hand of the Father, bestows gifts on men, sanctify us in his truth, bring back into the way of truth those that are gone astray, stop the mouths of those, that slander sound doctrine, endue the faithful ministers of his word, with the spirit of wisdom and discretion, that all they utter, may tend to the glory of God, and edification of their hearers. Amen.