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body, on which he proceeded, must be derived either from our publications, or from report; (as he has not much opportunity of hearing our sermons ;) and the author is, as far as he knows, the senior writer
of this company, in his Lordship’s diocese. He · therefore felt himself peculiarly called upon “ to give
“ a reason of the hope that is in him ;" and either to retract, or defend, the doctrines maintained in his numerous publications. He trusts, however, he has not forgotten, that his remarks are made on his superior and his diocesan ; that he has in nume. rous places spoken as an apologist, where in other . circumstances he would have taken a higher ground; and that he has uniformly paid as much respectful deference to the author of · The Refutation, as he could consistently with faithfulness to divine truth, “ even to the word of the truth of the gospel.” .
It is with unaffected humility, that the author confesses, he has not executed his undertaking, in a manner worthy of so good a cause. It was necessary, that the answer should not be very long delayed : his other engagements are numerous: he has indeed laboured indefatigably; yet as many years almost, as months could be allowed him, would have been necessary to an adequate publication on such multifarious, such difficult, and such infinitely important suljects ; even if he had possessed adequate learning and talents. Indeed could he have re.
served the whole copy, till the work had been finished, before he gave it to the printer, many inaccuracies, and still more repetitions, might have been prevented; which the memory of an old man could not otherwise exclude. His distance from the printer also has occasioned many little inaccuracies, and some of more iniportance, which will be noticed in the Errata ; and to which he trusts that the goodness of the reader will specially attend." His distance also from publick libraries, and the scantiness of his own-stock of books, have been a considerable impediment to him.-He has, however, no doubt of the gracious acceptance, which his feeble attempt will meet with, from his Lord and Master : and he trusts, that the same gracious Lord will incline the hearts of his brethren, whose cause he has attempted to advocate, to give it a favourable reception, notwithstanding its imperfections; and to unite in prayer with him, that it may be crowned with great and lasting usefulness.
Before he concludes, he would state a few particulars, by keeping which in mind, the reader will be better enabled to understand the argument of some chapters...... .
In the first chapter his chief object is to prove, that original sin is a total, not a partial, defect, derived from fallen Adam, of all that is spiritually good, or good in the sight of God; though not of all which is naturally good in respect of men: that man is indeed a free agent, in the fullest sense, being under no necessity, or external restraint, or compulsion, whatever : but that the evil dispositions and inclinations of the heart, induce a slavery into the will, rendering it incapable of choosing, what the heart cannot love, even what is good in the sight of God, till liberated from this bondage by the special grace of God in Christ. In outward things man chooses most freely; in evil things he chooses most freely; and in things spiritually good nothing hinders him from doing the same, but a total want of love to them. The special preventing grace of the Holy Spirit, or regeneration, must therefore first produce this love, these desires, this willingness; before there can be any thing to cooperate with his further gracious influences ; according to the doctrine of our ninth and tenth articles.
O God, our Refuge and Strength, who art the * Author of all godliness.'—- Almighty and everlastsing. God, who makest us both to will and do those things which are good. . .
In the second chapter it is his object to prove, that baptism is only the sacramental sign and seal of regeneration ; (as circumcision was under the Old Testament ;) and not regeneration itself, nor inseparably connected with it: that adults, sincerely 10 "I l Col. 23 after Trinity. Confirmation Service. . .
professing repentance and faith, are already regenerate; and in baptism receive the sign and seal of “the righteousness of faith, which they had yet “ being 'unbaptized :” that the event, as to each baptized infant, must determine, whether it was or was not regenerated in baptism: that baptism is not universally and indispensably necessary to salvation ; but that regeneration is : and that ungodly and wicked persons, who have been baptized, need regem neration : even as all wicked Israelites needed the circumcision of the heart, and the Jews in our Lord's days needed regeneration. ..., - In the third chapter, it is the author's object to shew, that justification before God is wholly of unmerited mercy, in Christ and his righteousness and atonement, and by faith in him alone: that repentance, though always accompanying salvation, has no share in our justification : that good works follow after justification; and are the only scriptural evi- , dence of a living and justifying faith, and are for various purposes indispensably necessary, and highly useful; but in no degree conducive to our justification, or to our continuance in a justified state.
The argument in the fourth chapter assumes such various forms, that a brief and clear abstract of it cannot easily be stated. In general, the author attempts to shew, that the doctrines on these subjects, commonly called Calvinistick, are both scrip
tural, and contained in our articles : but this does not go to prove, that every tenet of Calvin is scriptural. . In the fifth chapter on the quotations from the ancient fathers, the author's principal object is to shew, that in very many of the passages adduced, the opposition is not so much to the tenets of Calvinism, as to the grand doctrines of our common Christianity; and, except Augustine, almost all, either directly or indirectly, introduce Pelagianism. These, therefore, by attempting to prove too much, prove nothing at all.
In the sixth chapter, the author endeavours to shew, that the odious tenets of the ancient hereticks, which our sentiments are stated to resemble, are so far distant from resemblance with our's, that contrariety may be far more justly predicated concerning them.
On the seventh book, containing quotations from Calvin, it has been his grand object to prove, what positions of this eminent man were scriptural and tenable; and what speculations must be considered as unscriptural, or at least as intruding improperly into things not revealed: and also, that our being called Calvinists, not by our own free consent, does not bring us under any obligation, to embrace all Calvin's sentiments, or make us liable to have them imputed to us for our condemnation ; unless