The Calvinist preacher Augustus Toplady saw Arminianism as a pathway to the Roman Catholic Church. Was he correct? Are there any facts to support this claim, or is it an unfair smear against the doctrine of man’s free will? Can the Jesuits benefit from the doctrine of Arminianism being spread among Protestants? Are there any historical documents to support this accusation?
“Father Rector, let not the damp of astonishment seize upon your ardent and zealous soul, in apprehending the sodaine and unexpected calling of a Parliament. We have now many strings to our bow. We have planted that soveraigne drugge Arminianisme, which we hope will purge the Protestants from their heresie; and it flourisheth and beares fruit in due season. For the better prevention of the Puritanes, the Arminians have already locked up the Duke’s (of Buckingham) eares; and we have those of our owne religion, which stand continually at the Duke’s chamber, to see who goes in and out: we cannot be too circumspect and carefull in this regard. I am, at this time, transported with joy, to see how happily all instruments and means, as well great as lesser, co-operate unto our purposes. But, to return unto the maine fabricke:–OUR FOUNDATION IS ARMINIANISME. The Arminians and projectors, as it appeares in the premises, affect mutation. This we second and enforce by probable arguments.” –“When archbishop Laud’s papers were examined, a [above] letter was found among them, thus endorsed with that prelate’s own hand: ‘March, 1628. A Jesuit’s Letter, sent to the Rector at Bruxels, about the ensuing Parliament.’ The design of this letter was to give the Superior of the Jesuits, then resident at Brussels, an account of the posture of civil and ecclesiastical affairs in England…” -Augustus Toplady