Some Account of the Life of Jerom Zanchius

It has been asserted[1] that this great divine was born at Alzano, a town of Italy, situate in the valley of Seri, or Serio. But the learned John Sturmius, who was not only Zanchy’s contemporary, but one of his most intimate friends, expressly affirms, in a speech[2] delivered on a public and important occasion, that he was nobili natus jamilia Bergomi, born of an illustrious family at Bergamo, the capital of a little province, in the north-west of Italy, anciently a part of Gallia Cispadana, but A.D. 1428 made a parcel of the Venetian territory, as it still continues.[3] I look upon Sturmius’s testimony as decisive, it being hardly credible that he could mistake the native place of a colleague, whom he so highly valued, who was living at the very time, and with whom he had opportunity of conversing daily. Sturmius adds that there was then remaining, at Bergamo, a fortress (built probably by some of Zanchy’s ancestors), known by the name of the Zanchian Tower.


In this city was our author born, Feb. 2, 1516. At the time of his birth part of the public service then performing was “A light to lighten the Gentiles,” etc., and, by God’s good providence, the Reformation broke forth the very next year, in Germany, under the auspices of Luther, and began to spread far and wide.

At the age of twelve years Zanchy lost his father,[4] who died of the plague, A.D.1528. His mother[5] survived her husband but three years. Deprived thus of both his parents, Zanchy resolved on a monastic life, and accordingly joined himself to a society of canons regular.[6] He did this partly to improve himself in literature, and partly for the sake of being with some of his relations, who had before entered themselves of that house. Here he continued nineteen years, chiefly devoting his studies to Aristotle, the languages, and school-divinity.

It was his happiness to become acquainted, very early in life, with Celsus Maximian, Count of Martinengo, who from being, like Zanchy, a bigoted papist by education, became afterwards a burning and shining light in the Reformed Church. Of our author’s intimacy with this excellent nobleman and its blessed effects, he himself gives us the following account:[7] “I left Italy for the Gospel’s sake, to which I was not a little animated by the example of Count Maximian, a learned and pious personage, and my most dear brother in the Lord. We had lived together, under one roof and in a state of the strictest religious friendship, for the greater part of sixteen years, being, both of us, canons regular, of nearly the same age and standing, unisons in temper and disposition, pursuing the same course of studies, and, which was better still, joint hearers of Peter Martyr, when that apostolic man publicly expounded St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, and gave private lectures on the Psalms to us his monks.” From this memorable period we are, evidently, to date the era of Zanchy’s awakening to a true sight and experimental sense of Divine things. His friend the Count and the learned Tremellius were also converted, about the same time, under the ministry of Martyr.

This happy change being effected, our author’s studies began to run in a new channel. “The Count,” says he, “and myself betook ourselves to a diligent reading of the Holy Scriptures, to which we joined a perusal of the best of the fathers, and particularly Augustine. For some years we went on thus in private, and in public we preached the Gospel, as far as we were able, in its purity. The Count, whose gifts and graces were abundantly superior to mine, preached with much greater enlargement of spirit and freedom of utterance than I could ever pretend to, and it was, therefore, no wonder that he found himself constrained to fly his country before I was. The territory of the Grisons was his immediate place of retreat, from whence, removing soon after, he settled at Geneva, where he commenced the first pastor of the Protestant Italian Church in that city. Having faithfully executed this sacred office for some years, he at length comfortably fell asleep in Christ[8], A.D. 1558, after having on his death-bed commended the oversight of his flock to the great Calvin.”

It was in the year 1550 that Peter Martyr himself was obliged to quit Italy, where he could no longer preach nor even stay with safety. Toward the latter end of the same year eighteen of his disciples were forced to follow their master from their native land, of which number Zanchy was one. Being thus a refugee, or, as he himself used to express it, “delivered from his Babylonish captivity,” he went into Grisony, where he continued upwards of eight months, and then to Geneva, where, after a stay of nearly twelve months, he received an invitation to England (upon the recommendation of Peter Martyr, then in this kingdom) to fill a divinity professorship here, I suppose at Oxford, where Martyr had been for some time settled. Zanchy embraced the offer and began his journey, but was detained on his way by a counter invitation to Strasburgh, where the divinity chair had been lately vacated by the death of the excellent Caspar Hedio.

Zanchy was fixed at Strasburgh A.D. 1553, and taught there for almost eleven years, but not without some uneasiness to himself, occasioned by the malicious opposition of several, who persecuted him for much the same reason that Cain hated righteous Abel (1 John 3:12). Matters however, went on tolerably during the lifetime of Sturmius, who was then at the head of the university, and Zanchius’s fast friend. It was at Strasburgh that he presented the famous declaration of his faith concerning Predestination, Final Perseverance and the Lord’s Supper. He gave it in to the Senate on October 22nd, 1562. Of this admirable performance (i.e., of that part of it which respects the first of these points) the reader may form some judgment by the following translation.

In proportion as the old senators and divines died off one by one, Zanchy’s situation at Strasburgh grew more and more uncomfortable. Matters at length came to that height that he was required to subscribe to the Augsburgh confession on pain of losing his professorship. After mature deliberation he did indeed subscribe, but with this declared restriction, modo orthodoxe intelligatur. Notwithstanding the express limitation with which he fettered his subscription, still this great and good man seems, for peace sake, to have granted too much concerning the manner of Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Supper, as appears by the first of the three theses maintained by him at this time: (1) Verum Christi corpus, pro nobis traditum; et verum ejus sanguinem, in peccatorum nostorum remissionem effusum; in Gcenavere manducari et bibi, though the other two positions do effectually explain his meaning. (2) Verum id, non ore, et dentibus corporis, sed vera fide. (3) Ideoque, a solis fidelibus. I shall here beg leave to interpose one question naturally arising from the subject. What good purpose do the imposition and the multiplication of unnecessary subscriptions to forms of human composition tend to promote? It is a fence far too low to keep out men of little or no principle, and too high sometimes for men of real integrity to surmount. It often opens a door of ready admission to the abandoned, who, ostrich like, care not what they swallow, so they can but make subscription a bridge to secular interest, and for the truly honest it frequently either quite excludes them from a sphere of action, wherein they might be eminently useful, or obliges them to testify their assent, in such terms and with such open professed restrictions, as render subscriptions a mere nothing.

Not content with Zanchy’s concessions, several of the Strasburgh bigots[9] persisted in raising a controversial dust. They tendered accusations against him of errors in point of doctrine, particularly for his supposed heterodoxy concerning the nature of the Lord’s Supper, his denial of the ubiquity of Christ’s natural body, and his protesting against the lawfulness of images, etc. Nay, they even went so far as to charge him with unsound opinions concerning predestination and the perseverance of the truly regenerate; so early did some of Luther’s pretended disciples, after the death of that glorious reformer (and he had not been dead at this time above fifteen years), begin to fall off from the doctrines he taught, though they still had the effrontery to call themselves by his name!

A grand occasion of this dissention was a book concerning the Eucharist and in defence of Consubstantiation, written by one Heshusius, a fierce, invidious preacher, who lavished the opprobrious names of heretic and atheist on all without distinction whose religious system went a hair’s breadth above or below his own standard. In his preface he grossly reflected[10] on the Elector Palatine (Frederic III.), Peter Martyr, Bullinger, Calvin, Zuinglius, (Ecolampadius, and other great divines of that age. Zanchy, in mere respect to these venerable names, did, in concert with the learned Sturmius, prevail with the magistrates of Strasburgh to prohibit the impression. Mr. Bayle is so candid as to acknowledge that “Zanchy caused this book to be suppressed, not on account of its doctrine, which he left to the judgment of the Church, but for the calumnies of the preface.” Zanchy was a zealous friend to religious liberty. He had too great a share of good sense and real religion to pursue any measures which simply tended either to restrain men from declaring their principles with safety, or to shackle the human mind in its inquiries after truth. But he ardently wished to see the contending parties of every denomination carry on their debates with Christian meekness, modesty and benevolence, and where these amiable ingredients were wanting he looked upon disputation as a malignant fever endangering the health, peace and safety of the Church. When candour is lost, truth is rarely found. Zanchy’s own observations[11] subjoined below exhibit a striking picture of that moderation, detachment from bigotry, and liberality of sentiment which strongly characterise the Christian and the Protestant.

Notwithstanding the precautions taken by the magistrates, Heshusius’s incendiary piece stole through the press, and Zanchy’s efforts to stifle its publication were looked upon by the author’s party as an injury never to be forgiven. They left no methods unessayed to remove him from his professorship. Many compromising expedients were proposed by the moderate of both parties. The chapter of St. Thomas (of which Zanchy was a canon) met to consider what course should be pursued. By them it was referred to a select committee of thirteen. Zanchy offered to debate the agitated points in a friendly and peaceable manner with his opponents, which offer not being accepted, he made several journeys to other churches and universities in different parts of Germany and requested their opinions, which he brought with him in writing. Things, however, could not be settled till the Senate of Strasburgh convened an assembly from other districts, consisting partly of divines and partly of persons learned in the laws. These referees, after hearing both sides, recurred to the old fruitless expedient of agreeing on certain articles, to which they advised each party to subscribe. Zanchy, desirous of laying these unchristian heats, and at the same time no less determined to preserve integrity and a good conscience, subscribed in these cautious terms: Hanc doctrincc formulum ut piam agnosco, ita etiam recipio: “I acknowledge this summary of doctrine to be pious, and so I admit it.” This condescension on Zanchy’s part was not followed by those peaceful effects which were expected. The peace was too loosely patched up to be of any long duration. His adversaries began to worry him afresh, and just as measures were bringing on the carpet for a new and more lasting compromise, our divine received an invitation to the Church of Chiavenna, situate on the borders of Italy and in the territory of the Grisons.

Augustin Mainard, pastor of that place, was lately dead, and a messenger arrived to let Zanchy know that he was chosen to succeed him. Having very slender prospect of peace at Strasburgh, he obtained the consent of the Senate to resign his canonry of St. Thomas and professorship of divinity. Whilst the above debates were depending, he had received separate invitations to Zurich, Geneva, Leyden, Heidelberg, Marpurg and Lausanne, but till he had seen the result of things at Strasburgh he did not judge any of these calls sufficiently providential to determine his removal.

He left Strasburgh[12] in November, 1563, and entered on his pastoral charge at Chiavenna the beginning of January following. But he had not long been there before the town was visited by a dismal pestilence, which, within the space of seven months, carried off twelve hundred of the inhabitants. Zanchy, however, continued to exercise his ministry as long as there was an assembly to preach to. At length the far greater part of the townsmen being swept away, he retreated for a while with his family to an adjoining mountain. His own account is this (Tom. VII., Part I., col. 36, 37): “Mainard, my pious predecessor, had often foretold the calamity with which the town of Chiavenna has been since visited. All the inhabitants have been too well convinced that that holy man of God did not prophesy at random. When the plague actually began to make havoc, I enforced Repentance and Faith while I had a place to preach in or any congregation to hear. Many being dead, and others having fled the town (like shipwreck’d mariners, who, to avoid instant destruction, make toward what coast they can), but very few remained, and of these remaining few some were almost terrified to death, others were solely employed in taking care of the sick, and others in guarding the walls. They concurred in advising me to consult my own safety by withdrawing for a time ’till the indignation should be overpast. I betook myself, therefore, with all my family, to a high mountain, not a vast way from the town, yet remote from human converse, and peculiarly formed for contemplation and unmolested retirement. Here we led a solitary life for three months and a half. I devoted my time chiefly to meditation and writing, to prayer and reading the Scriptures. I never was happier in my own soul nor enjoyed a better share of health.” Afterwards, the plague beginning to abate, he quitted his retreat and resumed the public exercise of his function.

After four years’ continuance at Chiavenna, Frederic III. (Elector Palatine) prevailed with him to accept a divinity professorship in the University of Heidelberg upon the decease of the famous Zachary Ursin. In the beginning of the year 1568 Zanchy entered on his new situation, and shortly after opened the chair with an admirable oration, De conservando in ecclesia puro puto verbo Dei. In the same year he received his doctor’s degree, the Elector Palatine and his son, Prince Casimir, honouring the ceremony with their presence.

He had not been long settled in the Palatinate when the Elector (one of the most amiable and religious princes of that age) strongly solicited him to confirm and elucidate the doctrine of the Trinity by writing a professed treatise on that most important subject, desiring him, moreover, to be very particular and explicit in canvassing the arguments made use of by the Socinians, who had then fixed their headquarters in Poland and Transylvania, and were exhausting every artifice of sophistry and subterfuge to degrade the Son and Spirit of God to the level of mere creatures. Zanchy accordingly employed his leisure hours in obeying this pious command. His masterly and elaborate treatise “De Dei Natura ” and that “De Tribus Elohim Uno Eodemque Jehova,” were written on this occasion—treatises fraught with the most solid learning and argument, breathing at the same time the amiable spirit of genuine candour and transparent piety. Among a variety of interesting particulars, he does not omit to inform his readers that Lselius Socinus, and other favourers of the Servetian hypothesis, had spared neither pains nor art to pervert his judgment and win him over to their party, but that, rinding him inflexible, they had broke off all intercourse with him, and from artful adulators commenced his determined enemies—an event, this, which he even looked upon as a blessing, and for which he conceived himself bound to render his best thanks to the Supreme Head of the Church, Christ Jesus. He retained his professorship at Heidelberg for ten years, when, the Elector Frederic being dead, he removed to Newstadt, the residence of Prince John Casimir, Count Palatine. Here he chose to fix his station for the present in preference to two invitations he had just received—one from the University of Leyden, then lately opened, the other from the Protestant Church at Antwerp. The conduct of Divine Providence respecting Zanchy’s frequent removals is very observable. He was a lover of peace, and passionately fond of retirement. But he was too bright a luminary to be continued always in one place. The salt of the earth must be sprinkled here and there, in order to be extensively useful and to season the Church throughout. Hence God’s faithful ministers, like the officers in a monarch’s army, are quartered in various places, stationed and remanded hither and thither, as may most conduce to their Master’s service.

The Church of Newstadt enjoyed our author upwards of seven years. Being by that time far advanced in life, and the infirmities of age coming on him very fast, he found himself obliged to cease from that constant series of labour and intenseness of application, which he had so long and so indefatigably undergone. He was, at his own request, dismissed from public service at Newstadt by the Elector Casimir, receiving at the same time very substantial marks of respect and favour from that religious and generous prince.

From Newstadt he repaired once more to Heidelberg, chiefly with a view to see some of his old friends. This proved his last removal on earth, for, shortly after, his soul, now ripe for glory, dropped the body and ascended to heaven about six in the morning of November 19th, 1590, set. 75. His remains were interred at Heidelberg, in the College Chapel of St. Peter, where a small monumental stone was set up to his memory, with this inscription:—Hieronymi hio sunt condita ossa Zanchi, Itali; exulantis, Christi amore, a patria: Qui Theologus quantus fuerit et Philosophus, Testantur hoc, Libri editi ab Eo plurimi; Testantur hoc, quoa voce docuit in Scholia; Quique audiere Eum docentem eccleaias. Nunc ergo, quamvis hinc migrant Spiritu, Claro tamen nobis remansit nomine.[13] Decessit A. MDXC. Die 19. Novemb.

I cannot help lamenting that no more is to be collected concerning this incomparable man than a few outlines of his life, comprising little else but a dry detail of dates and removals.

As to his person, I can find no description of it, except from some very old and scarce prints, most of which were struck from engravings on wood. These represent him as extremely corpulent, even to unwieldliness. And yet, from the astonishing extent, profoundness, and exquisite activity of his learning, judgment, and genius, one might well nigh be induced to imagine that he consisted entirely of soul, without any dead weight of body at all. For of his mind his writings present us with the loveliest image. He seems to have been possessed, and in a very superior degree, of those graces, virtues and abilities which ennoble and exalt human nature to the highest elevation it is capable of below. His clear insight into the truths of the Gospel is wonderful, especially considering that the Church of God was but just emerging from the long and dismal night of Popish darkness, and himself, previous to his conversion, as deeply plunged in the shades as any. It is a blessing which but few are favoured with, to step, almost at once, out of midnight into meridian day. He was thoroughly experienced in the Divine life of the soul, and a happy subject of that internal kingdom of God, which lies in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. This enabled him to sustain that impetus of opposition which he almost constantly met with. Few persons have ordinarily borne a larger share of the cross, and perhaps none ever sustained it better. In him were happily centred all the meek benevolence of charity and all the adamantine firmness of intrepidity—qualities, alas! not constantly united in men of orthodoxy and learning.

He was intimately conversant with the writings of the fathers, and of the philosophers of that and the preceding times. His modesty and humility were singular. No man was ever more studious to preserve peace in the Church of Christ, nor more highly relished the pleasures of learned and religious friendship. For some time before his decease it pleased God to deprive him of his eyesight, for this I take to be the meaning of the excellent Melchior Adamus,[14] to whom I am indebted for much of the preceding account. His Works, which, with his letters and some other small pieces included, are divided into nine tomes, were collected and published by his executors some years after his death, and are usually bound together in three volumes folio. He was twice married and had several children, none of which, so far as I can find, appear to have survived him.

He is said by Mr. Leigh[15] to have been one of “the most scholastical among the Protestants,” which, however, may be questioned, his style and manner of treating an argument being rather plain and solid than subtle and metaphysical. If scholism be an excellence in a writer, it is certain that the elder Spanheimius and the great Francis Turretin have since much exceeded Zanchy in that respect. Our learned countryman, Mr. Matthew Poole, terms him[16] Theologies non e mvltis; cujus com- mentaria, singulari ernditione atque acumine composita, auctorem suum doctissimum referunt: “A divine of the first class, whose expositions, written with extraordinary learning and ability, prove him to have been a most accomplished scholar.” Even Mr. Boyle, who never seems to have been better pleased than when he could pick a hole in the gown of an ecclesiastic, though himself was the son of one, yet allows our author to have been “one of the most celebrated Protestant divines, and that few ministers have been so moderate as he.”

Nor must I omit the honour put upon him by our University of Cambridge within five years after his death. One William Barrett[17], fellow of Gonville and Caius College, ventured, on April 29th, 1595, to preach an Arminian sermon, in the face of the University, at St. Mary’s. I say ventured, for it was a bold and dangerous attempt at that time, when the Church of England was in her purity, for any man to propagate Arminianism[18], and, indeed, Barrett himself paid dear for his innovating rashness, which ended in his ruin.

The University were so highly offended, both at his presumption in daring to avow his novel, heterodox opinions, and for mentioning some great divines (among whom Zanchy was one) in terms of the highest rancour and disrespect, that he was enjoined to make a public recantation in that very pulpit from whence he had so lately vented his errors. This he did on the 5th of May following. Part of his recantation[19] ran thus: “Lastly, I rashly uttered these words against John Calvin (a person than whom none has deserved better of the Church), namely, that he had presumed to exalt himself above the Son of God, in saying which I acknowledge that I greatly injured that most learned and truly pious man, and I do most humbly intreat that ye will all forgive this my rashness. I also threw out, in a most rancorous manner, some reflections against P. Martyr, Theodore Beza, Jerom Zanchy, Francis Junius, and others of the same religion, who were the lights and ornaments of our Church, calling them by the malicious name of Calvinists, and branding them with other reproachful terms. I did wrong in assailing the reputation of these persons, and in endeavouring to lessen the estimation in which they are held, and in dissuading any from reading their most learned works, seeing our Church holds these divines in deserved reverence.”

I would hope, as our Articles of Religion have not been changed, but stand just as they did at that very time, that the Church of England, in the year 1769, still considers the above great men (and Zanchy among the rest) as some of her ancient lights and ornaments, and that she holds them and their writings in the same deserved reverence as did the Church of England in the year 1595.

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[1] Melch. Adam. Vit. Theolog. Exteror., p. 148, and Bayle’s Hist. Diet, under the article Zanehius.
[2] Addressed by Sturmius to the Senate of StraBburgh, March 20th, 1562, and inserted afterwards into the works of Zanchy, Tom. vii., Part 2, col. 408.
[3] Complete Syst. of Geog., Vol. L, p. 843.
[4] Francis Zanchius, who seems to have been a native of Venice, and was by profession a Counsellor.
[5] Barbara, sister to Marc Antony Mutius, a nobleman of great worth and distinction.
[6] At Lucca. See the Biogr. Diet., Vol. viii., p. 267, under the article ” Peter Martyr.”
[7] Zanchii Epist. ad Lantgrav. Operum. Tom. vii. part 1, col. 4.
[8] Zanch. ut supra.
[9] Particularly John Marbach, native of Schawben or Swabia, a turbulent, unsteady theologist, pedantic, and abusive, a weak but fiery disputer, who delighted to live in the smoke of contention and virulent debate. He was, among the rest of his good qualities, excessively loquacious, which made Luther say of him on a very public occasion, Ori hujus suevi nunquam aranccn poterunt telas texere: “This talkative Swabian need not be afraid of spiders, for he keeps his lips in such constant motion that no spider will ever be able to weave a cobweb in his mouth.”
[10] Vide Zanch. Op. Tom. vii., part 2, col. 250-251.
[11] Si liber iste non fuisset refertus tot caluinniis et convitiiB, turn in ipsum principem Palatinuin, turn in tot prroclaras ecclesias et earum doctoree : ego non curassem in ejus impressionem impediri. Licet enim unicuique suam sententiam scribere et explicate. Sed cum audirem tot ecclesias in libro isto damnari haareseos et atheismi; idque non propter unum aut alterum articulum fidei, qui impugnaretur, sed Bolummodo propter interpretationem aliquam verborum, in qua neque tota religio consistit, neque Balus periclitatur;—adductua fui, ut libri istiua impressionem, &c.—Zanch. ubi supr.
[12] Attended by his servant, Frideric Syllaepurg, a native of Hesse, concerning whom Zanchy thus writes : Discessi Argentina, una cum fido, non tarn famulo, quam amico et fratre, Friderico Syllcepurgio, Hesso; juvene bonorum literarum studioso, & sanm doctrines amanti: “A learned youth, and a lover of the Gospel, whom I look upon not so much in the light of a domestic as of a faithful friend and a Christian brother.”—Oper T. vii. part i. col. 36.
I hardly know which were most extraordinary—the good qualities of the servant or the gratitude and humility of the master.
[13] Here Zanchy rests, whom love of truth constrain’d To quit his own and seek a foreign land. How good and great he was, how formed to shine, How fraught with science human and divine; Sufficient proof his num’rous writings give. And those who heard him teach and saw him live. Earth still enjoys him, though his soul is fled : His name is deathless, though his dust is dead.
[14] His words concerning Zanchy are: In senecta, qua nunquam sola venit, fato Isaaci obnoxius.
[15] Account of Eel. and Learn. Men, p. 370.
[16] Synops. Criticor. vol. iv. pars. 2 in Prasloqu. ad Lect.
[17] See Fuller’s History of Cambridge, p. 150.
[18] As every reader may not have a clear, determinate idea of what Arminianism precisely is, it may, to such, be satisfactory to know that it consists, chiefly, of five particulars: (1) The Arminians will not allow Election to be an eternal, peculiar, unconditional and irreversible act of God. (2) They assert that Christ died equally and indiscriminately for every individual of mankind, for them that perish no less than for them that are saved. (3) That saving grace is tendered to the acceptance of every man, which he may or may not receive, just as he pleases. Consequently (4) that the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit is not invincible, but is suspended for its efficacy on the will of man. (5) That saving grace is not an abiding principle, but that those who are loved of God, ransomed by Christ, and born again of the Spirit, may (let God wish and strive ever so much to the contrary) throw all away and perish eternally at last.
To these many Arminians tack a variety of errors beside. But the above may be considered as a general skeleton of the leading mistakes which characterise the sect.
[19] Postremo, temere hose verba effudi adversus Johannem Calvinum, virum de ecclesia Christi optime meritum; Eum nimirum ausum fuisse sese attollere supra altissimi et omnipotentis Dei vere altissimum et omnipotentern Filium. Quibus verbis me viro doctissimo, vereque pio, magnam injuriam fecisse fateor : teineritatemque banc meam ut omnes condonetis, humilliine precor. Turn etiam quod nonnulla adversus P. Matyrem, Theodorum Bezam, HIERONYMUM ZANCHIDM, Franciscum Junium, et cmteros cjusdem religionis, Ecclesia) nostras lumina et ornamenta, acerbissime el Tuderim; eos odioso nomine appellans Calvinistas, et aliis verbis ignominiao gravisaimam infamioj notarn inurens. Quos quia ecclesia nostra merito reveretur, non erat eequum, et ego eorum famam violarem, aut existimationem aliqua ratione imminuerem; aut aliquos e nostris dehortarer, ne eorum doctissima Scripta legerent.—Strype’s Life of Whitgift, Appendix, p. 186.
I cannot help observing one more particular respecting this famous recantation, wherein the recanter thus expressed himself: Secundo, Petri fidem deficere non potuisse, asserui; at aliorum posse, &c, i.e., “I asserted that Peter’s faith, indeed, could not fail, but that the faith of other believers might, whereas now, being, by Christ’s own word, brought to a better and sounder mind, I acknowledge that Christ prays for the faith of each believer in particular, and that, by the efficacy of Christ’s prayer, all true believers are so supported that their faith cannot fail.” Barrett asserted, rank Arminian as he was, that Peter’s faith did not actually fail. But we have had a recent instance of an Arminian preacher who avers, without ceremony, that Peter’s faith did fail. The passage verbatim, without adding a jot or diminishing a tittle, stands thus, “Peter’s faith failed, though Christ Himself prayed it might not.”
(See a Sermon on 1 Cor. 9:27, preached before the University of Oxford, Feb. 19, 1769, by John Allen, M.A., Vice-Principal of Magdalen Hall, p. 17).
This is Arminianism double-distilled. The common, simple Arminianism that served Barrett, and Laud, and Heylin will not do now for our more enlightened divines. Whether Peter’s faith failed or not, that Mr. Allen’s modesty has failed him is, I believe, what nobody can deny.



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