Jansson, Hillebrand

Jansson, Hillebrand a Dutch theologian, was born at Zandeweer April 20, 1718. He was fitted for the university by his father, who was also named Hillebrand, and who was successively settled at Sebaldeburen, Noordhorn, and Zandeweer. The younger Hillebrand first settled at Noordhorn, where he remained from 1741-50; then removed to Kropswolde, where he labored till 1753, when he accepted a call to Veendam. This was at the time one of the largest and most populous parishes of Holland. Here he labored for nearly half a century with zeal and fidelity. He died Oct. 12, 1789. His name is famous in the history of the Reformed Church of Holland by reason of the conspicuous part he took in the controversy on the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Francis Gomar, noted as the opponent of Arminius, was one of the first to give a latitudinarian interpretation to what is said on this point in the Confession of Faith (Article 35), and in the Heidelberg Catechism (81st Q. and A.). According to him, every one who openly acknowledged the Christian religion might come to the table of the Lord irrespective of personal piety. This view was adopted by many, and from time to time found public advocates. In 1764 E. Van Eerde defended it against J. K. Appelius. He appealed to the standards, and he is said to have maintained his views with decided ability. Jansson entered the lists on the side of Van Eerde, and henceforth became the principal combatant. The position he took was this: "Every one who has a historical faith confesses the same, and deports himself inoffensively and exemplarily, and in accordance with his confession not only may, but also must come to the Supper; and in so far as he does it in obedience to Christ's command, in expectation of his blessing, promised in connection with the administration of the Word and the seals of the covenant, he does not sin in the thing itself, although he always does it ill as to the manner so long as he does not do it spiritually." He seems to have placed the observance of this ordinance on the same footing with that of hearing the Word preached and other acts of divine worship, such as singing and prayer. Appelius, on the contrary, maintained "that the Supper was, according to the teaching of the Scriptures and that of the Reformed Church, instituted for the regenerate, who possess spiritual life and its attributes." This controversy greatly agitated the Church, and its effect was hi some places to restrain men from a public profession of their faith, and to deter those who had already made a profession from coming to the communion. A somewhat intermediate view, presented and advocated by the accomplished P. Bosveld, served to allay the agitation, and finally prevailed in the Church. His view is substantially this: All who have made a public profession of their faith, whether they possess the internal evidence of having been truly converted or not, must be regarded as believers, and, as such, entitled to and bound to observe this ordinance; and the minister must invite all such to come to the communion, as being their privilege and duty. This view is substantially in harmony with the theory and practice of most evangelical denominations in this country. See Geschiedenis van de Christelijke Kerk in de 18de eeuw, door A. Ijpeij, 7:401 sq.; Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Hervornade Kerk, door A. Ijpeij en J. Dermout, 3:612 sq.; Glasius, Godgeleerd Nederland, 2, 175 sq. (J. P. W.)

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