A famous letter written by a Jesuit to the Rector of Brussels and endorsed by Laud himself was found in his study at Lambeth. A copy of this letter was found among the papers of a society of priests and Jesuits at Clerkenwell in 1627. The following is an extract: ‘
Now we have planted the Sovereign Drug Arminianism which we hope will purge the Protestants from their heresy; and it flourisheth and beareth fruit in due season… I am at this time transported with joy to see how happily all instruments and means, as well as great or smaller, cooperate with our purposes. But to return to the main fabric: OUR FOUNDATION IS ARMINIANISM.’ (S.G.U. Publication No. 173, p. 142)
Dr. Kennedy states,
“The new style of teaching made it seem such an easy thing to be a Christian. To find oneself easily persuaded to believe what was presented in the gospel, and to think that by this faith salvation was secured, and that all cause of anxiety was for ever gone, gave a new and pleasing sensation, which thousands were willing to share.”
On unscriptural worship:
In connection with unscriptural devices resorted to in order to advance the movement, Dr. Kennedy mentions first excessive hymn-singing as one of these. “The singing of uninspired hymns even in moderation, as part of public worship, no one can prove to be scriptural; but the excess and the misdirection of the singing in this movement were irrational as well. Singing ought to be to the Lord; for singing is worship. But singing the gospel to men has taken the place of singing praise to God…. Many professed to have been converted by the hymns.
“The use of instrumental music was an additional novelty, pleasing to the kind of feeling that finds pleasure in a concert. To introduce what is so gratifying there, into the service of the house of God, is to make the latter palatable to those to whom spiritual worship is an offence. The organ-sounds effectively touch chords which nothing else would thrill….
“And yet it is not difficult to prove that the use of instrumental music, in the worship of God, is unscriptural, and that therefore all, who have subscribed to the[Westminster] Confession of Faith, are under solemn vow against it. There was a thorough change, in the mode of worship, effected by the revolution, which introduced the New Testament dispensation. So thorough is this change,that no part of the old ritual can be a precedent to us. For all parts of the service of the house of God there must be New Testament precept or example. No one will pretend that for instrumental music, in the worship of God, there is any authority in New Testament Scripture. ‘The fruit of the lips ‘issuing from hearts that make ‘melody to the Lord,’ is the only form of praise it sanctions….“But we use the organ only as an aid, it is said. ‘It is right that we should do our best in serving the Lord; and if the vocal music is improved by the instrumental accompaniment, then surely the organ may be used.’ On the same ground you might argue for the use of crucifixes and pictures, and for all the paraphernalia of the Popish ritual. ‘These,’ you might say, ‘make an impression on minds that would not otherwise be at all affected. They vividly present before worshippers the scenes described in Scripture, and if, as aids, they serve to do so, they surely cannot be wrong.’ To this, there are three replies, equally good against the argument for instrumental music. (1) they are not prescribed in New Testament Scripture, and therefore they must not be introduced into New Testament worship. (2) They are incongruous with the spirituality of the New Testament dispensation. (3) These additions but help to excite a state of feeling which militates against, instead of aiding, that which is produced by the Word. An organ may make an impression, but what is it but such as may be made more thoroughly at the opera? It may help to regulate the singing, but does God require this improvement? And whence arises the taste for it? It cannot be from the desire to make the praise more fervent and spiritual, for it only tends to take attention away from the heart, whose melody the Lord requires. It is the craving for pleasurable aesthetics, for the gratification of mere carnal feeling, that desires the thrill of organ sounds, to touch pleasingly the heart, that yields no response to what is spiritual. If the argument, against the use of the organ, in the service of praise, is good, it is, at least equally so against its use in the service of preaching. If anything did ‘vanish away,’ it is surely the use of all such accessories in connection with the exhibition of Christ to men. [Hebrews 8.]
On the Sabbath:
Arminian church bodies of our day have removed the ancient landmarks set by the godly fathers in the past as safeguards and bulwarks of the sanctity of the sabbath. The result is obvious. The curse of the Popish or “continental Sunday” has overspread the land like a flood. Is it any wonder that Dr. Kennedy of Dingwall said that Voluntaryism and Arminianism must be pioneers of Rationalism, for they are both the off-spring of unbelief?
The Need for an Uncompromising and Vigilant Witness Against Arminianism:
“Warnings from the pulpit and denunciation of the errors of Arminianism are not now heard as once they were. Even in pulpits where the truth is preached, it is to be feared that, in some cases, a faithful witness is not raised against Arminianism. The cause of this may be due in a measure to the fact that in defending the cause of truth new forms of error have to be exposed and assailed, with the result thatthe old enemy is left so far unmolested as if it were dead. Unfortunately this is not so; Arminianism is very much alive in the pulpit, in the theological and religious press, and in the modern evangelistic meeting…. When we bear in mind the horror with which our forefathers regarded Arminianism, the modern attitude to it indicates how far the professing Church has drifted from the position of the theologians of those days.” (‘The Reformed Faith’ by the Rev. D. Beaton, p. 18).