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A Distorting Mirror: The Hales And Balcanquahall Letters And The Synod Of Dordt

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Chapter Summary

The letters written to Carleton by both Balcanquahall and John Hales have occupied a prominent place in accounts of the Synod ever since their first publication in 1659. In this chapter, the author notes the influence of the letters and of the message behind them, and also scrutinizes the circumstances of their initial publication and use. The chapter demonstrates how other materials relating to the Synod have helped to reveal the distortions and omissions in Haless and Balcanquahalls letters. Womock noted that the letters revealed that matters were carried by the provincials in an unjust manner: the President dictated the Canons, which were drawn up in private; obscure doctrines urged by provincial delegates were included in the Canons; the sense of the Remonstrants in their writings was misreported and perverted; and the Synod would not condemn extreme Contra-Remonstrant doctrines despite the most earnest importunity of the British Divines.

Keywords: Balcanquahall Letters; Contra-Remonstrant doctrines; draft canons; Laurence Womock; letters of Hales; synod of Dordt



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