Limborch, Pinup

, a celebrated professor of divinity in Holland, of the Arminian persuasion, was of a good family, originally of Maestricht, and born at Amsterdam, June 19, 1633. He passed the first years of his life in his father’s house, going thence daily to school; and then, attending the public lectures, became the disciple of Gaspar Barlaeus in ethics, of Gerard John Vossius in history, and of Arnold Sanguerd in philosophy. This foundation being laid, he applied himself to divinity under Stephen Curcellseus, who succeeded Simon Episcopius in that chair, among the remonstrants. From Amsterdam he went to Utrecht, and frequented the lectures of Gilbert Voetius, and other divines of the reformed religion. In May 1654, he returned to Amsterdam, and made his first probationsermon there in Oct. following. He passed an examination in divinity in August 1655; and was admitted to preach publicly, as a probationer, which he did first at Haerlem. The same year he was invited to be stated minister of Alcmaer, but declined it, not thinking himself yet qualified for that important task. In 1657 he published a course of sermons in Dutch, by Episcopius, his greut uncle by the mother’s side, and the same year was invited to be minister of the remonstrants at Gouda, where there was a numerous congregation of that sect. He accepted this vocation, and exercised the ministerial function in that town till he was called to Amsterdam.

Having inherited the papers of Episcopius, he found Among them a great number of letters relating to the affairs of the remonstrants; and, communicating these to Hartsoeker, minister of the remonstrants at Rotterdam, they joined in disposing them into a proper order, and then published them under the title of “Epistolae praestantium et eruditorum Virorum, &c.” at Amsterdam, in 1660, 8vo. These being well received by the public, Limborch collected more letters, and published a second edition, corrected and enlarged, in 1684, fol. After which, the copy | feomlng into another bookseller’s hands, a third edition came out, 1704, at Amsterdam, in folio, with an appendix, by Limborch, of twenty letters more; the whole containing a complete series of every thing which relates to the history of Arminianism, from the time of Arminius to the synod of Dort, ad afterwards. In 1661 our author published a little piece in Dutch, by way of dialogue upon the subject of toleration in religion. Curcellseus having printed, in 1650, the first volume of Episcopius’s works, which had beea communicated to hi<n by Francis Limborch, our author’s father, the second volume was procured by Philip the son in 1661; to which he added a preface in defence of Episcopius and the remonstrants. In 1667 he became minister at Amsterdam, where Pontanus, the professor of divinity, whose talent lay chiefly in preaching, appointed Limborch his deputy; first for a year, and then resigned the chair absolutely to him in 1668. From this time he turned all his studies that way, and acquired a great reputation, not only among those of his own party at home, but among foreigners too, to which his mild and modest temper contributed not a little. Soon after, he published, in Flemish, several sermons of Episcopius, which had never been printed before.

In 1660 he had married; and, his wife being dead, in 1674 he engaged in a second marriage, and had two children. The ensuing year he procured an edition of all the works of his master Curcellseus, several of which had never appeared before. But, as neither Episcopius nor Curcellseus had leisure to finish a complete system of the remonstrant theology, Limborch resolved to undertake the task, and to compose one which should be entirely complete; some disorders, however, and several avocations, hindered him from finishing it before 1684, and it did not come out till 1686. This was the first system of divinity, according to the doctrine of the remonstrants, that had appeared in print. The work was undertaken at their request, received with all eagerness by them, and passed through four editions*. The same year, 1686, he had a dispute, at first

* The title of the first edition is, PrscdestinationeTractatusposthumus."

"Theologia Christiana ad Praxim Pie- This posthumous piece wan printed

tatis ac Promotionem pacis Christians separately the same year atAmsterunice directa, Amst. 1686,"4to; the dam, 8vo, in Low Dutch or Flemish,

fourth,17 15, fol. to which is added, "Re- with a long preface in defence of the

latio bisterica de Origine et Progressu remonstrants, against a piece in Low

Controversiarum in Fcederato Belgio de Dutch, under the title of the “| Comviva voce, and afterwards in writing, with Isaac Orobio, -a Jew of Seville in Spain, who had made his escape out of the inquisition, and retired to Amsterdam, where he practised physic with great reputation. This dispute produced a piece by our author, entitled” Collatio arnica de Veritate Religionis Christiana cum erudito Judaso.“A friendly conference with a learned Jew concerning the Truth of the Christian Religion." In it he shewed, that a Jew can bring no argument of any force in favour of Judaism which may not be made to militate strongly in favour of Christianity. Orobio, however, contended that every man ought to continue in the religion, be what it would, which he professed, since it was easier to disprove the truth of another religion than it was to prove his own; and upon this principle he averred, that, if it had been his lot to be born of parents who worshiped the sun, he saw no reason why he should renounce their religion and embrace another. To this piece against Orobio, Limborch added a small tract against Uriel Acosta, a Portuguese deist, in which Limborch answers very solidly his arguments, to shew that there is no true religion besides the religion of nature. (See Acosta.) Shortly after, Limborch published a little piece of Episcopius, in Flemish, containing an account of a dispute between that remonstrant and one William Borne, a Romish priest, shewing, that the Roman church is not exempt from errors, and is not the sovereign judge of controversies. In 1692 the book of sentences passed in the inquisition at Thoulouse, in France, coming into the hands of a friend, and containing all the sentences passed in that court from 1307 to 1323, Limborch resolved to publish it, as it furnished him with an occasion of adding the history of that dreadful tribunal, drawn from the writings of the inquisitors themselves *. In 1693 our author had the care of a new edition, in one large folio volume, of the sermons of Episcopius, in Dutch; to

bats of Sion, by James Fruitier.“There the translator has prefixed a large inis a long extract of the” Theologia troduction concerning the rise and proChristiana,“by Le Clerc, in Bibl. gress of persecution, an4 the real and Univ. torn. II. p. 21, et seq. pretended causes of it. In this edition, * The title i,” Historia Inquisi- Mr. Chandler had the assistance of tionis, cui subjungitur Liber Senten- some papers of our author communitiarum Inqumtiouis Tholosanas ab An- cated to him by Anthony Colling, esq. no 1307 ad 13-23, Araste!. 1692," fol. and the corrections and additions of It was translated into English by Mr. Francis Limborch, a relation of our Sam. Chandler, and printed at Lon- author. See Chandler’s preface, don, 1731, in vols. 4to; to which | which he. added, not only a preface, but also a very long history of the life of Episcopius, in the same language, this has been since translated into Latin, and printed in 8vo at Amsterdam, 1701. (See Episcopius.)

In 1694 a young gentlewoman at Amsterdam, of twenty-­two years of age, took a fancy to learn Hebrew of a Jew; and was by frequent conversations with her tutor, induced to quit the Christian religion for Judaism. As soon as her mother understood this, she employed several divines, but in vain; because they undertook to prove Christianity from the Old Testament, omitting the authority of the New; to which she, returning the common answers she had learned from the Jews, received no reply that gave her satisfaction. While the young lady was in the midst of this perplexity, Dr. Veen, a physician, happened to be sent for to the house; and, hearing her mother speak, with great concern, of the doubts which disturbed her daughter, he mentioned Limborch’s dispute with Orobio. She immediately applied to Limborch, in hopes that he would be able to remove her scruples, and bring her back to the Christian religion. Limborch accordingly used the same train of argument which he had pursued with Orobio, and quickly recovered her to her former faith. In 1698 he was accused of a calumny, in a book concerning the Xo’yog in St. John’s gospel, by Vander Waeyen, professor of divinity at Franecker, because he had said, that Francis Burman, a divine and professor at Leyden, had, in his “Theologia Christiana,” merely transcribed Spinoza without any judgment. Limborch, producing passages from both, endeavoured to prove that he had said nothing which was not strictly true; but when this was printed at Amsterdam in 1699, the two Burmans, one professor of history and eloquence at Utrecht, and the other minister at Amsterdam, published a book in viiulication of their father’s memory, entitled “Burmannorum Pietas,” “The Piety of the Burmans;” to which Limborch made no reply. la 1700 he published, in Dutch, at Amsterdam, a book of piety, containing instructions for dying persons, or means of preparing for death; with a discourse upon the death of John Owens, minister of the remonstrants at Gouda. At the same time he began a -commentary upon the Acts of the Apostles, and upon the Epistles to th.e Romans and Hebrews, which was published in 1711.

Having pursued the strictest temperance through life, | he preserved the vigour of his mind, and health of his body, to a considerable age, but in the autumn of 1711 he was seized with the St. Anthony’s fire which, growing more violent in the winter, carried him oft, April So, 1713. His funeral oration was spoken by John Le Clerc, who gives him the following character: “Mr, Limborch had many friends among the learned, both at home and abroad, especially in England, where he was much esteemed, particularly by archbishop Tillotson, to whom his history of the inquisition was dedicated, and Mr. Locke. With Mr, Locke he first became acquainted in Holland, and after-> wards held a correspondence by letters, in which, among other things, he has explained the nature of human liberty, a subject not exactly understood by Mr. Locke. He was of an open sincere carriage, which was so well tempered with humanity and discretion as to give no offence. In his instructions, when professor, he observed the greatest perspicuity and the justest order, to which his memory, which retained whatever he had written, almost to a word, contributed very much; and, though a long course of teaching had given him an authority with those about him, and his advanced age had added a reverence to him, yet he was never displeased with others for differing from him, but would both censure, and be censured, without chagrin. Though he never proposed the understanding of languages as the end of his studies, yet he had made large advances in them, and read over many of the ancient and modern writers, and would have excelled in this part of literature, if he bad not preferred that which was more important. He bad all the qualifications suitable to the character of a divine. Above all things, he had a love for truth, and pursued the search of it, by reading the Scriptures with the best commentators. As a preacher, his sermons were methodical and solid, rather than eloquent. If he had applied himself to the mathematics he would undoubtedly have excelled therein; but he had no particular fondness for that study, though he was an absolute master of arithmetic. He was so perfectly acquainted with the history of his own country, especially for 150 years, that he even retained the most minute circumstance?, and the very time of each transaction; so that scarce any one could deceive him in that particular. In his manner he was grave withput pride or sullenness, affable without affectation, pleasant and facetious, upon occasion, without sinking into a | vulgar lowness, or degenerating into malice or ill-nature. By these qualifications he was agreeable to all who conversed with him; and his behaviour towards his neighbours was such, that all who knew him, or had any dealings with him, ever commended it.1


Life, by Le Clerc in Bibl. Choisie, vol. XXIV. Gen. Dict. —Moreri. —Niceron, vol. Xl.-—Saxii Onomast. Chandler’s Preface to the History of the Inquisition.