History And Theology Of The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church -- By: Elbert S. Porter

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 023:90 (Apr 1866)
Article: History And Theology Of The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church
Author: Elbert S. Porter


History And Theology Of The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church

Elbert S. Porter

[Note. — This is the Fifteenth of the Series of Articles representing the peculiar views of different theological sects or schools.]

The Puritans of England and the Calvinists of Holland were friends. In the evil days when both civil and religious liberty were contending for existence against the rage of kings and priests, they stood up together, counting not their lives dear unto themselves. They were heroes and martyrs. While the Puritans protested against the combined insolence and bigotry of a narrow-minded despot, Charles I., the Dutch Calvinists defied the cruel craftiness and vindictive power of the Spaniard. Those giants in the Christian church became its benefactors for all subsequent times. Their faith, their principles, and their aims live to-day in the hearts of their descendants, and compose a sacred pledge that the heritage bequeathed them by illustrious ancestors will never be squandered through selfish indolence, nor basely betrayed through lack of constancy.

With the progress of liberty in the world, England and Holland were once closely identified. The marriage of William Henry of Nassau, Stadtholder of Holland, with

Mary, elder daughter of James the Duke of York, in October, 1677, was an event which deserves to be regarded as of an unspeakable historical importance. It united the interests, the sympathies, and the strength of the two then most powerful of all the nations wherein the Protestant faith had taken root. When the Prince of Orange left Holland to become William III. of England, “his flag,” says Macauley, “was immediately hoisted. It displayed the arms of Nassau quartered with those of England. The motto, embroidered in letters three feet long, was happily chosen. The House of Orange had long used the elliptical device, ‘I will maintain.’ The ellipse was now filled up with words of high import: ‘The liberties of England and the Protestant religion.’”

At that time the Batavian Republic had attained its highest pitch of glory. It had humbled Spain, resisted France, expelled from its borders the janizaries of the Inquisition, founded its immense universities, achieved victories by sea and land, and was acknowledged as the chief patron of literature, art, commerce, and religious liberty. Its conjunction of political interest, through its great Stadtholder, with England was advantageous to both countries, and in the very highest degree beneficial to the interests of Protestantism. “For the authority of law,” says the historian already quoted, “for the security of property, for the peace of our streets, for the happiness of our homes, our gra...

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