Page images
[ocr errors]

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,

66 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 infalible guidance of the Spirit, will ultie; 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 abo:

minable licentiousness is a fair inference from Cal- vinism, 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.

P. PLxxII. 1. 5. Note. 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 ; " " bụt "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

[ocr errors]

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

* Page 579.

Page 570.



“ 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. DLXXII. I. 5. The peace, &c. 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. i John v. 3—5. 2 Remarks on book vi, Refutation.

s. The peace of the church seems to have been very little dis• turbed by any dissension opon 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 overy christian working out his salvation, are treated in the passages I have quoted, as fundamental and andisputed truths.

necessary to salvation. If this be so, it is of no 1) manner of consequence, whether the doctrines, called e 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 is authority; and if they are, from thence they derive

: all their authority.--As far as the New Testament is of concerned, the question has been fairly met and

debated: but, in introducing my remarks on this the chapter, I must take the liberty of going back, in sit the date of the history, to times preceding those of is the evangelists and apostles themselves. out . It is not to be supposed, that any exact or full i proof can here be adduced, concerning the history

of those doctrines, which are now called Çalvinistick, from the Old Testament; especially in the

close of this work. But do we hear no report of ac them? Nothing suited to excite the expectation of gi a more full enunciation of thein, 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 eo those tenets of Calvinism, which he undertook to * refute, several doctrines, that are not generally re

garded as Calvinistical : and this will rather increase the labour of what is here intended. Some sub

jects, however, treated of separately, appear to be its coincident, as far as our argument is concerned. I it shall advert, 1. To the doctrine of original sin.

1 Article xvi.

2 2 2 2

« God

2. Free-will, - special grace, or regeneration. 3. Juseification by faith. 4. Election, or the decrees of God. 5. Final perseverance. If any notices are given us, on these subjects, favourable to the Calvinistical doctrines; we must of course date the history of these doctrines, very far back, in the annals of the church, and assign them a very remote antiquity.'

1. Original sin, or the entire depravity of human nature, as engendered of Adam's fallen race. “saw that the wickedness of man was great in the to earth; and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." — And “ God looked upon the earth; and behold it was

corrupt; för all flesh had corrupted his way upan u the earth." “ The imaginations of man's heart is “evil from his youth.” “Who can bring a clean " thing out of an unclean ? Not one.” ( What is

man that he should be clean? And he that is born

of a woman, that he should be righteous? Behold « he putteth no trust in his saints ? yea the heavens “ are not clean in his sight. How much more abo«minable and filthy is man, who drinketh iniquity “ like water !” “How can man be justified with “God? Or how can he be clean, who is born of a « woman?"2 « The Lord looked down from heaven upon

the children of men,” (or of Adam,) “to see, if there were any that did 'understand, and « seek after God. They are all gone aside, they are "altogether become filthy, there is none that doeth

[ocr errors]

! Gen. vi. 6, 12. yüi. 21.

Job xiv. 4. xy. 14-16. xxv. 4.


[ocr errors]

good, no not one." “ Behold, I was shapen in wickedness, and in sin did my mother conceive

Lo, this have I found, that God hath s made man upright; but he hath found out many “ inyeptions.": “He that trusteth in his own heart, " is a fool." “The heart is deceitful above all

things, and desperately wicked: who can know < "

it.”' Is there no intimation in these texts of man's depravity ? of any material alteration, sipce God created him in his own image, and pronounced him very good? Is there no preparation made, for the full declaration of the doctrine, by the apostle ;

By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon


men; because « all have sinned :" " By one man's disobedience many became sinners ? &c." Can

Can stronger and more unqualified language, on the subject, be used by Calvinists?. And, if this doctrine belong to the tenets of Calvinism, in giving an historical account of these tenets, ought this most important part of the history, to have been wholly kept out of sight?

2. Free-will, special grace, or regeneration.. The LORD thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the “ heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God, with “all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou “ mayest live. Compare this with what had been before spoken ; ” The Lord hath not given you an “ heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to “ hear unto this day.” “ That he may incline our

[ocr errors]

1 Ps. xiv. 2, 3. li. 5. 2. Prov. xxviii. 26. 3 Ec, vii. 29. Rom. ii. 9-20. . Jer, xvii. 9. s Deut. xxix. 4. XXX. 6.

« EelmineJätka »