Page images
PDF
EPUB

"6

'men are saved, according to the grace of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ,' and not according to 'just works,' 'contains the essence of Calvinism,' and of Christianity. If this is the Calvinism, of which his Lordship is about to give the history, he must begin from the first promise, or prophecy: "I "will put enmity between thee and the woman, and "between thy Seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel:"1 and trace it through all the Scriptures to the last chapter of Revelation. "Let him that is athirst, "6 come; and whosoever will, let him take of the "water of life freely." But to be saved by the grace of Simon Magus and his Helena, is a widely 'different thing:' and Irenæus might well consider it as an heretical, or rather a most blasphemous, opinion. The original of this train of hereticks,' (Valentinus, Basilides, Saturninus, the Manichees, &c.) is to be fetched from Simon Magus, 'whose assertion was: that Christ had neither come,

2

"

[ocr errors]

of salvation; and contended that the nature of man is inca

pable of improvement or change. These and other heretics

' of the second and third centuries, who maintained similiar

"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

opinions, were all of the Gnostic sect; and their religion was a mixture of the tenets of the Eastern philosophy with the

"

truths of divine revelation. The absurd notions which they

held concerning the origin of evil, and the creation and govern

ment of the world, were so manifestly contrary to the principles

" of the Gospel, that very little notice is taken of them by the early 'orthodox fathers; but enough is said to shew, that they con

sidered their doctrines concerning grace, faith, election, and salvation, as heretical and unscriptural.'

'Gen. iii. 15. 2 Remarks on vi. ch. Refutation.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

'hor suffered any thing of the Jews. Wherefore, 'making himself the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, "he affirmed, that he had appeared, only in shew, (putativè,) in the person of the Son; and so that he had suffered as the Son among the Jews; that in truth he suffered hot, but in appearance only. Now what Simon Magus said of himself, 'when he made himself the Son, those who followed said of Christ:" that is, they said, that Christ did not suffer in reality, but in appearance .only. Hence it is manifest, that Simon meant, ' that men are saved by his grace, and not according

to just works. He was the Messiah, by whose grace, and that of his Helena, men must be saved;

and might be saved, if they trusted in them, however wicked they had been, and continued.-What Calvinist ever considered faith as the gift of na⚫ture?' Unless nature and grace, nature and God, be the same. 'Confined to their own sect,' I verily believe, that thousands and ten thousands, who dissent from my creed, as to those doctrines, which are more properly called Calvinistick, are in the way of salvation; and shall be "kept by the power "of God, through faith unto salvation :" and that thousands and ten thousands, who profess and contend for these doctrines, will not be saved: because, however sound their creed, they have only a dead faith.-Do Calvinists say, that one part of mankind is naturally good? That some are ordained by nature to be saved, others to perish?' It seems,

[ocr errors][merged small]

from hence, that Nature does mean the same as GOD, in this argument! None have a right to deem themselves the elect seed, except those who shew their effectual calling by their holy lives: and this many Calvinists fail to do. But to all who do, whether Calvinists or not, we may say, "Ye are a "chosen generation, &c." Elect persons, who 'could not sin. His Lordship has lately spoken of Calvinists, as persons, who cherish the persuasion, "that the infallible guidance of the Spirit, will ulti"mately lead them to heaven, though they may occasionally sin." And just before, he has sanctioned, by quoting, a passage from Heylin, which implies, that encouragement to the most abominable licentiousness is a fair inference from Calvinism, either supralapsarian or sublapsarian: yet here the Calvinists resemble the Manichæans, who said, that elect persons could not sin! Thus, inconsistency is not peculiar to Calvinists.

เรื

P. DLXXII. 1. 5. Note. Works are • Works are of no avail 'to salvation, but that it depends solely on the 'knowledge of things above;'—that is, merely on barren speculation. We hold, "that nothing avail"eth in Christ Jesus but a new creation;"" "but "faith which worketh by love;" "but keeping the "commandments of God." "For this is the love "of God, that we keep his commandments, and his "commandments are not grievous: for whatsoever

30 15

is born of God overcometh the world; and this is "the vietory which overcometh the world, even our

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

"faith. Who is he that overcometh the world; "but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of "God." But enough has been said on our contrariety to these ancient hereticks."

P. DLXXIII. 1. 5. The peace, &c.3 In this "Historical Account of what are now called Calvin'istic doctrines;' the whole Scripture is passed over: but if the doctrines in question are not contained "in the oracles of God;" they ought to be expunged from our creed, at whatever time they were introduced. 'Holy Scripture containeth all things neces

sary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read 'therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be ' required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or

1 Cor. vii. 19. Gal. v. 6. vi. 15. 1 John v. 3—5.

2 Remarks on book vi, Refutation.

‹ The peace of the church seems to have been very little disturbed by any dissension upon these points during the first four centuries; and as a proof of this, it may be observed, that there is nothing of a controversial spirit in the exposition the <fathers have given of the texts in Scripture, which have since 'been the subject of so much dispute. They explained not only

"

the true sense of these passages, but the sense which was admitted and understood to be the true one by all the members ⚫ of the catholic church. The principal object of their writings was, to establish the divine origin and superior excellence of the gospel-dispensation; and to enforce the duty and necessity of lively faith and practical obedience. The universality of the redemption purchased by the death of Christ, the assistance of divine grace vouchsafed to every sincere believer of the 'gospel, the freedoin of the human will, and the possibility of

every christian working out his salvation, are treated in the passages I have quoted, as fundamental and undisputed truths."

[ocr errors]

' necessary to salvation." If this be so, it is of no manner of consequence, whether the doctrines, called Calvinistick, were broached, in the first, second, third, or fourth century; or not till the days of Calvin; or even, not till the synod of Dort. If they are not found in the Scripture, they have no authority; and if they are, from thence they derive all their authority.-As far as the New Testament is concerned, the question has been fairly met and debated: but, in introducing my remarks on this chapter, I must take the liberty of going back, in the date of the history, to times preceding those of the evangelists and apostles themselves.

It is not to be supposed, that any exact or full a proof can here be adduced, concerning the history of those doctrines, which are now called Calvinistick, from the Old Testament; especially in the close of this work. But do we hear no report of them? Nothing suited to excite the expectation of a more full enunciation of them, in the days of the * Messiah, the Fulfilment of all the prophecies, and the Substance of all the types and shadows of the old dispensation?-His Lordship has included, in those tenets of Calvinism, which he undertook to refute, several doctrines, that are not generally regarded as Calvinistical: and this will rather increase the labour of what is here intended. Some subjects, however, treated of separately, appear to be coincident, as far as our argument is concerned. shall advert, 1. To the doctrine of original sin.

I

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1 Article xvi.

« EelmineJätka »