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1. Account of a Conference proposed to me, but which I refused.

On the 30th of June, in the year 1605, three Deputies of the Synod of South Holland came to me at Leyden; they were Francis Lansbergius, Libertus Fraxinus, and Daniel Dolegius of pious memory, each of them the minister of their respective churches at Rotterdam, the Hague, and Delft. Two members of the Synod of North Holland accompanied them-John Bogardus, minister of the Church at Haerlem, and James Rolandus of the Church at Amsterdam. They told me, "they had heard, that at the regular meetings of certain of their classes, in the examination to which candidates for holy orders must submit prior to their admission into the Christian ministry, some of the students of the University of Leyden had returned such answers to the questions propounded to them as were of a novel description and contrary to the common and received doctrine of the Churches. Those novelties," it was said, "the young men affirmed to have been instilled into them while under my tuition." In such a situation of affairs, they desired me "to engage in a friendly conference with them, by which they might have it in their power to perceive if there were any truth in this charge, and that they might afterwards be the better qualified to consult the interests of the Church." To these suggestions I replied, "that I could by no means approve of the mode of proceeding which they recommended: For such a course would inevitably subject me to frequent and almost incessant applications for a friendly interview and conversation, if any one thought it needful to pester me in that manner whenever a student made use of a new or uncommon answer, and in excuse pretended to have learned it from me. The following therefore appeared to me a plan of greater wisdom and prudence: As often as a student during his examination returned any answer, which, according to his affirmation, had been derived from my instructions, provided the brethren considered such answer to stand in opposition to the confession and catechism of the Belgic Churches, they should immediately confront that student with me; and, for the sake of investigating such an affair, I was ready to proceed at my own expense to any town, however distant, which it might please the brethren to appoint for that purpose. The obvious consequence of this method would be, that, after it had been resorted to a few times, it would cause it clearly and evidently to appear whether the student’s assertion were the truth or only a calumny.

But when Francis Lansbergius, in the name of the rest of his brethren, continued to urge and solicit a conference I gave it as a further reason why I could not see the propriety of entering into a conference with them, that they appeared before me in the character of deputies, who had afterwards to render to the Synod an account of all their proceedings; and that I was not therefore at liberty to accede to their wishes, unless, not only with the knowledge and consent, but at the express command of others who were my superiors, and whom I was equally with them bound to obey. Besides, it would be connected with no small risk and danger to me, if, in the relation of the event of our conference which they might hereafter give to the Synod, I should leave that relation entirely to their faithfulness and discretion. They had likewise no cause for demanding any thing of this kind from me, who was quite unconscious of having propounded a single doctrine, either at Leyden or Amsterdam, that was contrary to the word of God or to the Confession and Catechism of the Churches in the Low Countries. For no such accusation had ever yet been brought against me by any person; and, I was confident, no attempt would be made to substantiate against me a charge of this description, if he who preferred such a charge were bound at the same time either to establish it by proofs, or, in failure of his proofs, to confess his uncharitable offense."

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