« ZurückWeiter »
these distinctions, as a mere " strife of words,” may disregard them; but we think them essential to the doctrine of Christianity: and though most of us, contented with using the language of Scripture, and of the reformers of our church, on these subjects; “if we might
do it without offence;' are little disposed to enter into disputes with those, who adopt another phraseology: yet, when our whole system is directly assaulted; we must either stand forth, and show what we do, and what we do not maintain, and explain our views, and assign our reasons for our conduct; or we must tacitly plead guilty to all the charges brought against us, and
, indefensible. But whether they, who retain, or they, who depart from, the language of Scripture, and of our articles and homilies, most resemble the • philosophiz*ing Greeks in the days of the apostles;' and are justly exposed to the censure which they pronounced upon them;* must be left to the judgment of the public. And let the quotations made from the works of the re. formers, and from the homilies, determine whether the language above objected to, or that which states, that good works are essential as the evidences of true faith, and for many other important purposes, but not the condition of our salvation, be the most proper to find the way. into protestant pulpits.' Of this there can be no doubt, to those who are acquainted with the history of the times, between Edward the Sixth and James the First; that the propositions before animadverted on, could never have been brought forward, in a protestant pulpit, without being protested against as direct papery,
the name of direct absurdity and contradiction, surely it is at least "a “ strife of words,” “ a perverse disputing,” “ which minister questions, “ rather than godly edifying."
• 1 Tim. i. 4. vi. 4, 5. 20, 21.
in the grand article of a standing or falling church.• As for such as hold, with the church of Rome, that ' we cannot be saved by Christ alone without works, • they do not only, by a circle of consequence, but directly, deny the doctrine of faith; they hold it not, no not so much as by a single thread.'-'We never meant to • exclude either hope or charity, from being always · joined, as inseparable mates of faith, in the man, who • is justified; or, works from being added, as necessary * duties, required at the hands of every justified man: but * to show, that faith is the only hand, which putteth on
Christ for justification; and Christ the only garment, · which being so put on, covereth the shame of our de. . filed natures, hideth the imperfection of our works; ' preserveth us blameless in the sight of God; before • whom otherwise, the weakness of our faith were cause • sufficient to make us culpable, yea, to shut us from
the kingdom of heaven, where nothing, that is not perfect * can enter."* In this passage, the judicious Hooker is expressly vindicating the doctrine of justification, held by Protestants, against the objections of Papists; yet now his views, and distinctions on the subject, 'ought
never to find their way into the pulpits of a Protestant • church! We hold no other doctrine as to justification than what he held, and we make no other distinctions, but those which he made. If we do, let it be clearly shown.t
Hooker. + The words, “Works are clearly made the grand hinge, on which our " justification and salvation turn;' are in fact, as I have since discovered, Mr. Overton's, as comprising the substance of Mr. Daubeny's doctrine, in this respect: but the manner, in which kis Lordship has introduced them, not as an unfair inference from Mr. Daubeny's words; but as a proposition, which ought not to be denied, amounts, as it appears to me, to an adoption of them; and this does not alter the argument.
REMARKS ON CHAPTER. IV.
ON UNIVERSAL REDEMPTION, ELECTION, AND
I PURPOSE to be something more general in my remarks on this chapter, than on the preceding: as only a part of that body, whose cause I advocate, coincide with me in judgment on the subject of it. Yet many remarks must be made, on the misapprehensions which are formed of our doctrines. Whether these be true or false, we have a right to fair and impartial treatment; and certainly ought not to be misrepresented: indeed, if our opinions be openly avowed, in clear and intelligible language, they ought not to be understood. No one can, without violating the golden rule, (“ Whatsoever ye
would that men should do unto you, do ye even “ so unto them,”) write against us, till he has carefully perused our works, and does indeed know what we do hold, and what we do not; but if this had been adhered to, much labour might have been spared on both sides. Though, for reasons, which will afterwards
I do not willingly assume, or even receive the name of Calvinist: yet I fully avow, that I believe and maintain the leading doctrines, which are generally, though inaccu. rately, called Calvinistical.
P. clxxxiv. • The doctrine, &c.'* I am not fully
* " The doctrine of universal redemption, namely, that the benefits of • Christ's passion extend to the whole human race; or, that every man is en
abled to attain salvation through the merits of Christ, was directly opposed .by Calvin, who maintained, that God from all eternity decreed that certain • individuals of the human race should be saved, and that the rest of mankind should perish everlastingly, without the possibility of attaining salva
compétent to say, exactly,' what Calvin held or opposed: but were he now living, he would, I am confident, have some remarks to make on this statement of his sentiments. He would, for instance, object to the clause, without the possibility of attaining salvation:' because the language implies, that some, at least, of the non-elect, are truly desirous of the salvation revealed in the gospel, and disposed to use earnestness and diligence, in all means of attaining it; exerting themselves to the utmost, using all needful self-denial, and parting with whatever they are required to renounce: and yet, are excluded and perish everlastingly, through a natural impossibility, unconnected with their own sin and depravity. Whereas Calvin held, as most modern Calvinists do, and as we think, the apostles, and the Lord him. self did; that there is no impossibility, except that which arises, from the unwillingness of men to accept of the humbling and holy salvation of Christ, through the pride, selfishness, and enmity to God, which is seated in the human heart: and that this unwillingness constitutes a moral inability, which nothing, except regenera. tion, a new creation unto holiness, can remove: that this act of omnipotence, in “quickening the dead in “ sin,” is no debt due to a rebel; that“ as the wind blow“eth as it listeth—so is every one that is born of God:” that “ he doeth all things according to the counsel of * his own will;” and, for reasons infinitely wise, holy, just, and good, though not revealed to us, does work in
* tion. These decrees of election and reprobation suppose all men to be in 'the same condition in consequence of Adam's fall, equally deserving of punishment from God, and equally unable of themselves to avoid it; and that God, by his own arbitrary will, selects a small number of persons, ' without respect to foreseen Faith or good works, and infallibly ordains to
bestow upon them eternal happiness through the merits of Christ, while 'the greater part of mankind are infallibly doomed to suffer eternal misery! VOL. I.
one man, by his preventing grace, this great change; and does not work it in another. The one becomes willing; and the other remains unwilling, to be saved in the way, which God has appointed, for his own glory. “ If any man thirst,” says the Redeemer, “ Let him “come to me and drink.” We give the same invitation,'and so did Calvin, without in the least thinking it inconsistent, with “the secret things, which belong to “ the LORD our God."
Again, Calvin would have said, all men alike are
by nature children of wrath,” and “ vessels of wrath “ fitted for destruction:" but he would not have said,
all men are equally deserving of punishmet from God:' for he would have allowed, that some are vastly more criminal than others; and that some will be beaten " with few, and others with many stripes:” though none beyond what they justly deserve.
It will appear, when we come to the quotations from Calvin,* that he did hold some opinions, which I, for one of the body now called Calvinists, cannot approve: but Calvin, if alive, would indignantly object to the expression, arbitrary will, as spoken by him of the only wise God. Arbitrary will, in the common use of words, means the will of one, who is determined to have his own way, being possessed of power to enfore his decisions. '' Sic volo, sic jubeo; stet pro ratione voluntas.' This, in general, is unreasonable, capricious, tyrannical; often, in direct opposition to wisdom, justice, truth, goodness, or mercy. Such thoughts of God's sovereignty were far removed from Calvin's views of the subject; and so they are from ours. God does not, indeed, inform us of the reasons and motives of his decrees or dispensations: but he assures us, that he is “ righteous