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that the will of man is controlled by external force, from choosing good, justly enough encounters this declaration with another, and affirms that the will of man, though fallen, is as free to good as the will of Adam, in the state innocence. But let the Calvinist declare that which probably was all he meant to declare, that the will of man as a sinner, never chooses what is good, till it is purified by Divine grace, both agree in the statement; for both agree that the bias to evil is wholly in the depravity of man's nature.
We may observe that the doctrine of a double justification, one by faith now, being forgiven our sins upon our profession of Christianity, and another, being justified before God by our works at the last day, was equally unknown to Arminius, and to Calvin. Both of them consider justification as one act, by which the sinner is pardoned and accepted, through faith in the redemption, that is Jesus Christ. Nor does Arminius represent justification to be by faith, as the aggregate of all Christian virtues; as many persons have done who take the name of Arminians. This doctrine is very justly reprobated by Mr. John Wesley, a genuine disciple of that celebrated theologian.--"I went to church at ten, and heard a remarkable discourse, asserting that we are justified by faith alone; but that this faith, which is the previous condition of justification, is the complex of all Christian virtues, including all holiness and good works, in the very idea of it.'
“ Alas! How little is the difference between asserting, either, First,—That we are justified by works, which is Popery bare-faced, and indeed so gross that the sober Papists, those of the council of Trent in particular, are ashamed of it); or Second,- That we are justified by faith and works ; which is Popery refined or veiled ; (but with so thin a veil, that every attentive observer, must discern it is the same still); or Third,- That we are justified by faith alone, but by such a faith as includes all good works. What a poor shift is this? • I will not say, we are justified by works ; nor yet by faith and works : because I have subscribed articles and homilies which maintain just the contrary. No, I say we are justified by faith alone.But then, by faith, I mean works!'"*
Upon the whole it is evident that on the subjects of original sin and justification, the real followers of Armi. nius and of Calvin are in perfect harmony. That, upon the doctrines of grace or the influences of the Holy Spirit of God, they are both agreed in the necessity of this grace to prevent men, that they may have a good will, and to work with them when they have that good will. Both of them therefore believe in the doctrine of regeneration, and that Christians are born not of the will of man, but of God. It is evident that while
you keep absolute election out of the view of both, there seems scarcely to be a perceptible line of distinction. Their faith is the same, their experience is the same, and both ascribe to free grace the rise, the progress, and the final perfection of the souls of men in holiness.' But, if the doctrines of absolute election and the final perseverance of the saints be introduced, the line of distinction appears to be plainly marked, and they retire from one another on the different sides of it, though slowly, yet so effectually that they are soon at a considerable remove. The Calvinist presses the Arminian with the consequence of the
• Journal, Vol. XXVIII, p. 81.
doctrine he has admitted, and tells him that in acknowledging the work begun by the grace of God, which sought the sinner when he was not inquiring after God, he has admitted in substance the doctrine of election, though he is offended at the word which expresses it. Here the controversy begins to be extremely subtle, till both parties lose, perhaps, not only their tempers, but themselves, in metaphysical labyrinths and mazes. The Arminian in his turn presses 'the Calvinist with the consequences of absolute decrees, till both of them forgetting a maxim which should always be present before the eyes of disputants who contend, for the truth and not for victory, "To use strong arguments and moderate language,” have recourse to strong, and sometimes even violent language, and weak arguments; and provoke one another to every thing but love, The Calvinist charges it as the consequence of his opponent's denying absolute election, that he rejects the Divine Sovereignty, and the Arminian, in his turn charges the Calvinist with destroying human liberty. “The common fault of both sides,” says Bishop Burnet, (Expos. of the 17th Article,) “is to charge one another with the consequences of their opinions, as if they were truly their tenets. Whereas they are apprehensive enough of these consequences: they have no mind to them, and they fancy that by a few distinctions they can avoid them. But each thinks the consequences of the other are both worse, and more certainly fastened to that doctrine, than the consequences that are urged against himself are.
And so they think they must choose that opinion that is the least perplexed and difficult; not but that ingenuous and learned men of all sides confess, that they feel themselves very often pinched in these matters."
That mutual irritation of spirit, which is the consequence of protracted debate, removes the Calvinist and Arminian further from each other, than they probably would be inclined to go, were they strictly watchful of their rising tempers and fretted minds, and each of them thinks himself the advocate of truth, when perhaps he is only the guardian of his own importance. The arrogance of superiority in one of the parties is extremely repulsive to the other, and if each thinks he sees it in his antagonist, the distance will widen every hour. A spirit of conciliation and gentleness is of much importance to the attainment of unity in the faith; and charity is the most powerful attraction to bring men to be of one mind, and the most effectual bond to keep them in it. This is particularly exemplified in the early part of that controversy which Mr. Westley had with Mr. Whitefield about the doctrines of Calvinism. We shall, from the Journal of the former, give the following extract: “ Having found for some time a strong desire to unite with Mr. Whitefield, as far as possible to cut off needless dispute, I wrote down my sentiments, as plain as I could, in the following terms: There are three points in debate, First, Unconditional election. Second, Irresistible grace. Third, Final per
“ With regard to the first, unconditional election,-I believe, that God before the foundation of the world did unconditionally elect certain persons to do certain works, as Paul to preach the Gospel : that he has unconditionally elected some nations to receive peculiar privileges, the Jewish nation in particular : that he has unconditionally elected some nations to hear the Gospel, as England and Scotland now, and many others in past ages : that he has unconditionally elected some persons, to many peculiar advantages, both with regard to temporal and spiritual things: And I do not deny (though I cannot prove it is so) that he has unconditionally elected some persons to eternal glory. But I cannot believe, that all those who are not thus elected to glory must perish everlastingly; or that there is one soul on earth, who has not ever had a possibility of escaping eternal damnation.
“ With regard to the second, irresistible grace,—I believe that the grace which brings faith, and thereby salvation into the soul, is irresistible at that moment : that most believers may remember some time when God did irresistibly convince them of sin: that most believers do at some other times find God irresistibly acting upon their souls: yet I believe, that the grace of God both before and after those moments, may be and hath been resisted: and that, in general it does not act irresistibly, but we may comply therewith or may not. And I do not deny, that in some souls the grace of God is so far irresistible, that they cannot but believe and be finally saved. But I cannot believe, that all those must be damned, in whom it does not thus irresistibly work: or that there is one soul on earth, who has not, and never had
other grace, than such as does in fact increase his damnation, and was designed of God so to do.
“ With regard to the third, final perseverance,-I incline to believe, that there is a state attainable in this life, from which a man cannot finally fall : and that he has attained this, who can say, 'old things are past away; all things in me are become new.
Mr. Wesley was at this time almost a moderate Calvinist. He did not altogether deny unconditional e
• Journal, Vol. XXVIII, p. p. 157, 158, 159.