of the Synod concerning
††††††††† The truth, by Godís grace, being hitherto explained, errors rejected, and unjust calumnies removed out of the way; this Synod of Dort, (of whose task this part yet remains) doth seriously, vehemently, and by the authority (which according to Godís word, it obtains over all the members of her Churches) in Christís name entreat, exhort, warn, and enjoin all, and every Pastor of the Churches in the United Provinces, all Professors, Doctors, and Rectors of Universities, and Schools, and briefly all in general, to whom either the charge of souls, or instruction of youth is committed, that they abandon the five known articles of the Remonstrants (which are both erroneous in themselves, and lurking holes for other errors) for their parts, and as much as in them lies, preserve, clear, and untainted, this wholesome doctrine of saving truth, drawn from the most pure fountain of Godís word, that they propound, and expound it discreetly, and faithfully to the people and youth; and diligently declare the use of it, which will be most comfortable, and profitable both in life and in death unto them: that they instruct with mildness, and inform with the evidence of truth, such of the flock as wander, and are of another mind, being carried out of the way with new opinions (if at any time God shall give unto them repentance to acknowledge the truth) that, being restored to a better mind, they may with one spirit, mouth, faith, and love, return again unto the Church of God, and Communion of Saints. That so at the last, the wound of the Church being closed up, and grown together, all the members thereof may have one heart, and one soul in the Lord.
††††††††† And, forasmuch as there are some gone out from among us under the title of Remonstrants as also of Contra-Remonstrants, the Synod thinks fit henceforth forever to be forgotten and abolished) who, violating the discipline, and order of the Church, and contemning the admonitions, and judgments of their brethren, have by their factious projects, and unlawful means greatly, and very dangerously troubled, about these points of doctrine, the Netherland Churches, heretofore most flourishing, and linked together in faith, and love: have renewed old and noxious errors, and also forged new; dispersing them among the people both in public, and private, by word, and writing, and most eagerly maintaining them: moreover have, without measure, or cease, laid on load of slanders, and reproaches, to disgrace the doctrine hitherto received in these Churches: and filled all places far and near with scandals, dissensions, turmoils, and scruples of conscience: which heinous offenses against the faith, against charity, against good manners, and against the unity and peace of the Church, seeing they are not sufferable in any, certainly in Pastors they must of necessity be punished with a very severe censure, such as hath in all ages been inflicted by the Church in such cases.
††††††††† Hereupon the Synod, having called upon Godís most holy name, well knowing their own authority, warranted out of Godís word, insisting in the footsteps of all lawful Synods, as well ancient, as those of later times, and strengthened with the authority of most illustrious LL. the States General, declares, and judges those Pastors, who were leaders of factions, and parties, and teachers of errors, to be guilty and convict of corrupting religion, rending the unity of the Church, and raising most grievous scandals; and moreover those that were cited to this Synod, to be further guilty of intolerable contumacy against the decrees of the supreme Magistrate published in this Synod, and against this venerable Synod itself.
††††††††† For which causes the Synod first of all, straightly inhibits and debars the said cited persons, from all ecclesiastical function, discharges them of their places, and also holds them unworthy of any office in the Universities, until by serious repentance, fully evidenced by their contrary words, actions, and endeavors, they make satisfaction unto the Church, and be truly and fully reconciled unto her, and re-entertained into the communion thereof, which we most heartily wish in our Lord and Savior Christ, for their own good, and the joy of the whole Church.
††††††††† But as for the rest of whom this national Synod hath not taken notice, we commit them (according to the accustomed order) to the Provincial Synods, Classes, and Presbyteries: which are to provide with all diligence, that the Church may neither receive any hurt for the present, nor have cause to fear it for the time to come: to distinguish, with the spirit of discretion, between the followers of those errors, namely to deprive with all speed the stubborn, clamorous, factious, and turbulent, of their ecclesiastical and scholastic offices, which belong to the cognizance of those Synods: for which purpose we warn them presently, and without delay, upon the receipt of the judgment of this National Synod (the license and authority of the Magistrate being obtained thereto) to assemble and meet together, lest by lingering and slackness, the mischief gather strength, and get further ground. But as for those, that have fallen through weakness, being transported †by the storm of the times, and happily waver, yea or differ in matters of lesser moment, yet are modest, peaceable, of blameless conversation, and willing to be better instructed, they are to provoke and stir up such, with all gentleness, charity and patience, to true and perfect concord with the Church: yet with this proviso, that they be very cautious, that they admit none into the sacred ministry, who shall refuse to subscribe unto, and teach the doctrine declared in these Synodical Constitutions: and further, that they retain none in the ministry, by whose manifest dissention, the doctrine, with so universal a consent, approved in this Synod, may be impeached, and the concord of pastors, and tranquility of the Church again disturbed.
††††††††† Moreover, this venerable Synod, earnestly advises all ecclesiastical assemblies to be careful and watchful, over the flocks committed to their charge, in time to meet withal innovations, covertly springing up in the Church, and to pluck up such tares out of the Lordís field: likewise, that they have a special eye and care over schools, and the Governors of schools, lest by private and crooked opinions instilled into the youth, the like mischief hereafter grow again upon the Church, and Commonwealth.
††††††††† Finally, as this Synod yields humble thanks to the most illustrious, and mighty LL. the States General of the United Provinces, for that in so needful and seasonable a time, they have relieved the afflicted and decayed estate of this Church, by affording the remedy of a Synod, received into their protection the true and faithful servants of God; taken order to have the pledge of all blessings, and of Godís presence, namely the truth of his word, religiously, and holily preserved, in their Dominions, and spared neither cost, nor pains, to advance and perfect so great a work (for which good offices performed by them, the Synod most heartily wishes of God, a most plentiful both spiritual, and temporal reward, into the bosoms of them all in the public, and of everyone of them in their particular:) so also it earnestly, and humbly entreats the said most gracious LL. that they would be pleased, to will and command this wholesome doctrine, faithfully expressed by this Synod, according to Godís word, and the consent of the Reformed Churches, to be soley and publicly taught in their dominions; to nip in the head all upstarting heresies, and errors; to curb unquiet and turbulent spirits; still to approve themselves true and loving foster fathers of the Church; to ratify this Synodical Sentence decreed against the forementioned persons, according to the ecclesiastical authority, confirmed by the laws of the Land: and lastly, by their approbation, and strength of their authority thereto added, to confirm the determinations concluded by this Synod, and make them forever inviolable.
Subscribed in the name, and by the
appointment of the Synod.
Sebastianus Damman, Secretary of the Synod
Festus Hommius, Pastor of the Church of Leyden,
and Register of the National Synod
In witnessing of the enacting hereof,