Amyraut (or Amyraldus), Moise

Amyraut (or Amyraldus), Moise a French Protestant theologian of the seventeenth century; born at Bourgueil, in Anjou, in 1596, and instructed in theology at Saumur. He was nominated to succeed John Daille, at Saumur, and was appointed professor of theology in that academy with Louis Cappel and Joshua de la Place (Placeeus) in 1633. In 1631 he was sent to attend the national synod of French Protestants at Charenton, who deputed him to deliver a harangue to the king, which is inserted in the Mercure Francais of 1631. His conduct in this affair gained him the esteem of Richelieu. The eminence of the three Saumur professors drew students from many parts of Europe; but it soon began to be reported that their teaching was subversive of the doctrines of Dort on Predestination and Grace. The views of Amyraut on these topics were derived from Cameron (q.v.), and were first published in a tract, De Predestinatione (Traiti de la Predestination et de ses principales dependances), in 1634. His views were called Universalist and Arminian, but they were neither. Amyraut asserted a gratia universalis, indeed, but he meant by it simply that God desires the happiness of all men, provided they will receive his mercy in faith; that none can obtain salvation without faith in Christ; that God refuses to none the power of believing, but that he does not grant to all his assistance, that they may improve this power to saving purposes; that none can so improve it without the Holy Spirit, which God is not bound to grant to any, and, in fact, only does grant to those who are elect according to his eternal decree. "In defending his doctrine of universal atonement, Amyraut appealed confidently to the authority of Calvin; indeed, he wrote a treatise, entitled Echantillon de la doctrine de Calvin touchant la Predestination, to show that Calvin supported his views concerning the extent of the atonement, and was in all respects a very moderate Calvinist" (Cunningham, The Reformers, p. 395). Uni. versal grace (as Amyraut held the doctrine of it) is of no actual saving benefit to any. He distinguished between objective and subjective grace. Objective grace offers salvation to all men on condition of repentance and faith, and is universal; subjective grace operates morally in the conversion of the soul, and is particular, i.e. only given to the elect. The aim of Amyraut was to reconcile the Lutherans and Calvinists; and his views were received widely, as seeming to soften down the rigid Predestinarianism of Dort. The true peculiarity of Amyraut's theology is the combination of a real particularism, in the full Calvinistic sense, with an ideal universality of grace, which, in fact, never saves a single soul (Schweizer, in Herzog,

Real-Encyclop. s.v.). Charges were brought against him by Du Moulin and others, but he was acquitted of heresy by the Synod of Alenvon (1637), and afterward at Charenton (1644). Daille and Blondel favored the views of Amyraut. He died Jan. 8, 1664. Eleven years after (1675) the Formula Consensus Helvetica (q.v.) was drawn up and published, chiefly against the socalled heresies of the Saumur professor. Amyraldism was, in substance, the theory adopted by Baxter (q.v.), and has been sustained, with various modifications, in recent times, by Williams (Essay on Sovereignty, 1813), Payne (Lectures on Sovereignty and Election, 1838), Wardlaw (On the Atonenment, 1844); by Fuller and Hinton among Baptists; by T. Scott and Milner in the Church of England; by many Congregationalists and New- School Presbyterians in America; and, of late, by many ministers of the U. P. Church of Scotland. Among his writings are,

1. Paraphrases on vai.ous books of the N.T. and of the Psalms (12 vols. 8vo, 1644-1662): —

2. De la Vocation des Pasteurs (Saumur, 1649, small 8vo): —

3. Morale Chretienne (Saumur, 1652-1660, 6 vols. 8vo): —

4. Traite des Religions (Saumur, 1631, 8vo; transl. into English, A Treatise concerning Religions, etc; Lond. 1660, small 8vo): —

5. In Symbolum Apostol. exercitatio (Saumur, 1663, small 8vo); besides various sermons and tracts on the disputed question of predestination and grace.

A list of his works is given by Haag, La France Protestante, 1, 72. — Nichols, Calvinism and Arminianism, 1, 220-230; Morrison, Lectures on Romans 9, p. 376; Neander, Hist. of Dogmas, 2, 680; Schweizer, in Baur u. Zeller's Jahrb. 1852, pV. 41, 155; Ebrard, Cristliche Dogmatik, § 43; Smith's Hagenbach, Hist. of Doctrines, § 225 a; Gass, Geschichte der Protest. Dogmatik, 2, 328 sq.; Cunningham, Hist. Theol. 2, 324 sq.; Watson, Insts. 2, 411., SEE BAXTER; SEE CAMERON.

 
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