Sibel, Caspar

Sibel, Caspar, a learned Calvinist and active participant in the controversy of the Dutch Church with Arminianism, which eventuated in the Synod of Dort, was born near Elberfeld, June 9, 1590, and was reared in the practice of piety and study, and educated at Herborn and Leyden. When scarcely nineteen years old he assumed the pastorate of the communes Randerath and Geilenkirchen, in the duchy of Juliers, and, in the midst of the discouragements and dangers growing out of the war of succession to the ducal throne in which the country was then involved, he obtained remarkable success. A price of 3000 thalers was offered for his apprehension as one of the evangelical pastors of the neighborhood, and he thrice narrowly escaped the troops of the imperial party; but he nevertheless added three hundred and sixty adult members to his Church in the brief term of two years. In 1611 he became pastor of the military Church in the fortress of Juliers, and was again successful in adding to the strength of its membership, besides obtaining from the States-General the grant of a regular, appropriation for the support of its pastor. A visitation of the plague in 1616 afforded opportunity for the display, on his part, of indomitable courage and unflagging zeal. A call to one of the churches at Nimeguen was declined by him because of the opposition raised by the other pastors of that town, who were adherents of the Remonstrant party; but the incident turned the attention of a Church in Deventer, the important metropolis of the province of Overyssel, towards him, and he was installed its pastor in the autumn of 1617. In this position he spent the last thirty years of his life. His labors extended into many fields and gave evidence of the qualities which constituted his strength, e.g. a narrow orthodoxy which placed the Reformed Confession on an equal footing with the Bible an intolerant and energetic spirit, great learning, consummate skill as a controversialist, a profound devotion to duty, and a fervent piety. He assumed charge, for a time of an orthodox band in the town of Campen, who were dissatisfied with the ministry of their resident Remonstrant pastors. In 1618 he was delegated to the Synod of Dort, and took an active part in its deliberations until an attack of fever compelled his return to Deventer, May 19, 1619. At the same time he evinced a lively interest in the cause of education by the direct part he took in the founding and development of a paedagogium, and subsequently of an academical gymnasium. It was by his motion that the Synod of Overyssel adopted the canons laid down by the General Synod of Dort; and it was on his motion that a number of Remonstrants were suspended or expelled from their ministry by the latter authority. In the preparation of a new version of the Scriptures, as ordered, by the Synod of Dort, Sibel rendered to the Church the most important service of his useful life. One of the revisers for the province of Overyssel having died, he was chosen to fill the vacancy, and subsequently was made vice-secretary of the board of revisers. Eleven months from Oct. 30, 1634, to Oct. 10, 1635 — were given by the board to the final revision of the translators' work. (On the version thus prepared, see Kist en Royaard, Archief voor Kerkelyke Geschiedenis, pt. 2, p. 57- 176.) To these varied labors must be added the constant care for the temporal welfare of numerous churches and individuals which was imposed on him by the incessant wars of the time. Sibel married Maria Klocker, a daughter of the burgomaster of Randerath, and became the father of a daughter, Elizabeth, who was married to the pastor Lubbert Van Goor. In 1648 a stroke of paralysis compelled his retirement from active life. The magistracy of the town and the presbytery of his Church continued to him the salary and honorary rights of an active pastor, and when he died, Jan. 1, 1658, they voted an adequate pension for the support of his widow, and civil protection and guardianship for his grandson.

The productions of Sibel's pen are very numerous, and have often been published in monograph form.They contain nothing, however, of considerable importance to modern readers, and may be classed as follows: Sermons and homilies on parts of the Old Test. Scriptures: Sermons and homilies on sections of the New Test., and miscellaneous sermons: — Catechetical writings: Meditat. Catecheticarum (1646-50, four parts): — Proleg. et Paralipomena Catechetica (1650): — Epitome Catechismi (Dutch [1643]; a Latin ed. approved by classis in 1653): — A devotional manual, Christl. Gebeder ende Dankzeggingen (last ed. 1645; Latin ed. approved 1653): — Translations of the New Test. (Dutch, with Sibel's Marginalia [1640, and often]; Latin, with notes, approved, by classis in 1652 and 1653): — Fasciculus 204 Quoestionum et ad illas Francisci Junii Responsionum (not printed): — An autobiography, incomplete; it extends to 1653, in two volumes, but there is evidence that a third volume must have been written. See Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.

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