Nicole On Phase 3: The Revenge Of The Amyraldians

In 1655 two works appeared in print in Amsterdam from the pen of Parisian pastors who had supported Amyraut from the start: David Blondel (1590–1655) produced a very partisan account of the course of events in the controversy, with supporting documents subjoined, entitled Actes Authentiques. A reply in detail appeared anonymously in Groningen in 1658 under the title Considérations Libres et Charitables sur le Recueit des Actes Authentiques. The author was Jacques Gautier, minister in Poitou. These two volumes provide interesting and important details concerning the course of the controversy.

Jean Daillé (1594–1670) produced a large work, running to more than 1,200 pages, Apology for the Synods of Alençon and Charenton (Apologia pro Synodis). It was a vast storehouse of all the main arguments used during the controversy, including a long series of quotations allegedly favoring Amyraut’s views and culled from authors ranging from the Apostolic Fathers to Twisse and P. du Moulin himself! This book stimulated a number of refutations. The son of Pierre du Moulin, Louis (1606–1680), professor of history at Oxford, attacked it vigorously in a lengthy preface to his defense of Congregationalism against Amyraut’s advocacy of synodal church government (Paraenesis ad Aedificatores Imperii in Imperio adversus M. Amyraldum, London, 1656). In Groningen, Samuel Desmarets (Maresius, 1599–1673) wrote a series of three critical discussions (Epicrisis Theologica et Amica ad Quaestiones de Gratia et Redemptione Universali, 1658).

When Daillé replied with a vindication of his book (Vindiciae pro Apologia, Amsterdam, 1657), a new sally broke forth. Louis du Moulin published a lengthy apologetic letter (… Epistola … in qua Gratiam Divinam seque Defendit, London 1658). Spanheim’s son, Frederic, Jr. (1632–1701), published a letter to Desmarets in defense of his father (Pro Parente, Heidelberg, 1658). Desmarets himself expanded his earlier work, adding seven new dissertations and a direct refutation of the Vindiciae. He called this the ‘controversial part’

(Pars Anaskeuastike) as contrasted with the ‘constructive part’ (Pars Kataskeuastike) of his Epicrisis. These appeared in Groningen, in 1658 and 1661 respectively, and constitute one of the most orderly and comprehensive presentations of the subject from the viewpoint of traditional Reformed orthodoxy. In 1659, a reconciliation on the personal plane was effected between Desmarets and Daillé by the good offices of Melle de la Tremoille, but Desmarets retained the right to write on this subject.

At the national Synod of Loudun in 1659, Daillé was elected moderator, Amyraut and Daillé were acknowledged to be orthodox, and an earlier condemnation of La Place’s view of mediate imputation was softened. Thus it was apparent that the spirit of Saumur was gaining ground.

—Roger Nicole, “Brief Survey on the Controversy on Universal Grace (1634–1661)