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nor will ever cease to cast this reproach upon us; which, I grieve to say, is not so easily wiped away. O! how much better would it be to use our utmost endeavours, to lessen, make up, and, if it could be, put an end to all ' o controversy to Make this reverend and learned Sirs, your great concern. This all the godly who mourn for the breaches in Joseph; this the churches who are committed to your care; this Jesus himself, the king of truth and peace, require and expect from you; in the most earnest manner they entreat it of you. “If therefore there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the spirit, if an bowels, and mercies: fulfil ye my joy, fulfil ye the joy of s saints, fulfil ye the joy of our Lord Jesus himself, that ye may be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” There have been already more than enough quarrels, slanders, and suspicions; more than enough of contentions amongst brethren, which, I engage for it, will afford no just cause of triumph; more than enough intestine divisions, by * which we destroy one another; and more than enough of passion. Let the love of divisions, a thirst after pre-eminence, and schismatical names be henceforward banished from amongst us. Let all litigious, satirical, and virulent writings be blotted out; “as they only serve to revive the fires of hurtful questions.” . But if we must write on those controversies, let us lay aside all evil dispositions, which are hinderances to us in our enquiries, and mislead our readers. Let us fight with arguments, not railings, bearing in our minds this saying of Aristophanes, “it is dishonourable, and by no means becoming poets, to rail at each other.” How much less does it become Christians to do so? The streams of divinity are pure: they rise only from the fountain of sacred learning, and should be defiled with none of the impure waters of the ancient or modern philosophy. Let us abstain from harsh and unusual expressions, and from crude and rash assertions; from whence arise envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings. . The instruments of both covenants should be handled diligently by all, but with sacred fear and trembling. Let none please himself with his commentaries, because they contain something new and un- known by our predecessors. Let him who thinks he has found out something preferable to the received opinion, offer it to the public with modesty, without vilifying the brethren; not asserting or determining rashly, but submitting his thoughts to the censure of the learned, and the judgment of the church; not forcing them on the common people to the distraction of their minds; nor hastily offering them to incau
tious youth, who are improperjudges of such weighty matters.
it into the heart of any pious persons to search the scrip- .
tures night and day, without opening to them those treasures
of his sacred wisdom. .”
late the church on account of ; and make the best use of
them ourselves we can Let no one who has in general ex-
Let some liberty also be given to learned men, in explain-
These, reverend and learned. Sirs, are my earnest wishes;
Your fellow-labourer, and
* of Arminianism, continued, above many, stedfast in the faith. . And . it was a place noted for trade and navigation, - yet it produced men famousin every branch of literature; so
that Witsius, even in his native place, had illustrious patterns
26 LIFE OF THE AUTHOR.
The care which these pious parents took of young Witsius during his tender infancy, was not intermitted as he began to grow; for, being still mindful of their vow, they brought him up in a very pious manner, instructing him in the principles and precepts of religion and Christian piety. In his sixth year they sent him to the public school of the town, to learn the rudiments of the Latin tongue; from which, after spending three years, and being advanced to the highest form there, his uncle by the mother, Peter Gerhard, took him under his own private and domestic tuition; a person well skilled in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and philosophy. But his principal study had been divinity. This man, then disengaged from all public business, and being as fond of his nephew as if he had been his own son, taught him with that assiduity, that, before he was fifteen, he made no small proficiency in ło, Greek, Hebrew, and acquired such knowledge in logic and other parts of philosophy, that, when he was afterwards removed to the university, he could study without a master. At the same time he learned the ethic compendiums of Wallaeus and Burgersdicius, with so much care, as to be able to repeat most of the sentences, very frequent in Burgersdicius, from the ancients, whether go. or Latin. He also perused his elements of physics, and dipped a little into metaphysical subtilties, and committed to. memory most of the theological definitions and distinctions from Wendelin. As his uncle was a man of exemplary piety, and was wont to apply almost to every common occurrence of life, some striking passages of both Testaments, which he often repeated either in Hebrew or Greek, while rising, dressing, walking, studying, or otherwise employed; so, by his example and admonitions, he stirred up his nephew to the same practice. Whence it was, that at those tender years he had rendered familiar to himself many entire of the Hebrew and Greek Testament, which he was far from forgetting when more advanced in life.
Being thus formed by a private education, in 1651, and the fifteenth year of his age, it was resolved to send him to some university : Utrecht was pitched upon, being furnished with men very eminent in every branch of literature, with a considerable concourse of students, and an extraordinary strictness of discipline. What principally recommended it were the famous ão, Gisbert Voetius, Charles Maatsius, and John Hoornbeekius, all of them great names, and ornaments in their day. Being therefore received into that university, he was, for metaphysics put under the direction of Paul Voetius, then professor of philosophy; and being, moreover, much taken