Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

lection. Irresistible

grace

he in some instances acknowledged, and the doctrine of final perseverance he was inclined to believe with respect to certain persons. It is worthy of our remark, because it tends to show that Evangelical Calvinists and Evangelical Arminians approximate nearer to each other than they suppose, that in one point they meet " That the destruction of those who perish in their sins, is wholly of themselves; and the salvation of all who are saved, wholly of God.” Mr. Simeon, a very respectable moderate Calvinist, in the preface to his Five Hundred Skeletons of Sermons, relates, in a note, a very pleasing anecdote, which we shall here give the reader.

“A young Minister, about three or four years after he was ordained, had an opportunity of conversing familiarly with the great and venerable leader of the Arminians in this kingdom; and wishing to improve the occasion to the uttermost, he addressed him nearly in the following words: • Sir, I understand that you are called an Armi. nian; and I have sometimes been called a Calvinist; and therefore I suppose we are to draw daggers. But before I consent to begin the combat, with your permission, I will ask you a few questions, not from impertinent curiosity, but for real instruction.'

Permission being very readily and kindly granted, the young Minister proceeded to ask, · Pray, Sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so depraved, that you would never have thought of turning unto God, if God had not first put it into your heart ?' 'Yes,' says the veteran, I do, indeed.' . And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself to God by any thing that you can do; and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ ? -- Yes, solely through Christ.'- But, Sir, supposing you were at first saved by Christ, are you not, somehow or other, to save yourself afterwards by your own works?' -No, I must be saved by Christ from first to last.'-—• Allowing then that you were first turned by the grace of God, are you not, in some way or other, to keep yourself by your own power ?'— No.'—- What then are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother's arms ?'— Yes, al. together.'— And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God, to preserve you unto his heavenly kingdom ?'—Yes; I have no hope but in him.'—“Then, Sir, with your leave, I will put up my dagger again; for this is all my Calvinism ; this is my election, my justification by faith, my final perseverance : 'it is, in substance, all that I hold, and as I hold it; and therefore, if you please, instead of searching out terms and phrases, to be a ground of contention between us, we will cordially unite in those things wherein we agree.'

6 The Arminian leader (Mr. Wesley) was so pleased,” says Mr. Simeon, “ with the conversation, that he made particular mention of it in his journals; and notwithstanding there never afterwards was any connexion between the parties, he retained an unfeigned regard for his young inquirer to the hour of his death.”

There was time when, even among pious men, and men of evangelical sentiments the dispute about absolute and conditional decrees seemed to engross almost the whole attention of those who had engaged in the controversy ; and when it was in vain, not only to expect any compromise between the parties, but even any cooperation in promoting the general interests of religion. It must give pleasure to every good man to know, that when unity of sentiment is not perfect, even there unity

VOL. II.

G

" It

of heart and affection may be found to exist in a high state of perfection. Mr. Scott, speaking of the mutual intercourse, which subsists between the Moderate Calvinists and the Evangelical Arminian Clergy of the Church of England, gives the following pleasing account. would really surprise those, who imagine that our chief earnestness is about the high points of Calvinism, to be present incog. in the company of a select number of the evangelical clergy; who are aware, that on this doctrine of personal election and final perseverance, they differ from each other; to observe, that in a conversation, wholly on some select religious subject, intimately connected as they suppose, with their ministerial usefulness, and continued during two or three hours; these subjects are never once mentioned, and often not hinted at. Nay, I verily believe, that in the earnestness of the inquiry how they may best make progress in personal religion, and in doing good to their congregations, they scarcely occur to the thought of any present. If, however, any thing be brought forward respecting them, it generally passes off by some one saying •We know each others' sentiments on that point; and we agree to differ ami. cably: dismiss the subject.' Thus we often meet and converse, and pray together; and part, more cordially united than before ; even though we must think each other mistaken on this point. But we are agreed in so many other matters of prime and essential importance; that unless we are called on to deliver our sentiments on these doctrines, we seldom mention them."*

In the year 1618, was held the famous synod of Dort: Of this synod three divines of the Church of England

Remarks, Vol. 11, p. p. 464, 465.

were members, of whom the celebrated Hall, afterwards Bishop of Norwich, was one. By this synod the opinions of the Arminians were condemned, and themselves excommunicated. Two political factions at that time existing in Holland, the Arminians united themselves to the one, and the Calvinists to the other. Religious zeal gave an edge to political animosity. The intrigues of Barnevelt, Grotius, and the Arminian party, being defeated by the superior address of Maurice, to whom the Calvinists had joined themselves, the latter exercised a severe and unrelenting tyranny over the former. Barnevelt lost his head, and Grotius was condemned to perpetual imprisonment. He escaped from his prison and took refuge in France. When opposite sentiments in religion are blended with political feuds, animosities the most inveterate and fierce may be expected to tear society in pieces. The same union of religion with politics, in the time of Charles the First, produced in this country the persecution of the country and puritan party; and when that party had become triumphant, they adopted the same measures of rigour and injustice towards the monarchical and church party, which they had suffered from them. The Arminians are called the Remonstrants, from a Remonstrance they presented to the States General, in which they stated their grievances, and petitioned for redress.

Among the most eminent divines of the Arminian system in this country, may be ranked Latimer, Tillotson, Burnet, Secker, Sherlock, Wilson, Lowth, Horsley, Porteus, &c. &c. &c. Many of this school have been distinguished equally by their piety and their learning ; by the cultivation of every Divine and of every human virtue. The Methodists, lately in connexion with Mr.

Wesley are, almost universally Arminians, and their Arminianism is generally more pure than that of many others who take the name. Many writers who are commonly called Arminians, possess very inadequate opinions of original sin, or at least express themselves in a very inaccurate manner on this subject; and with respect to Evangelical religion, fall far short of Arminius himself.

Arminians should be carefully distinguished from Pelagians, and Semi-Pelagians, with whom Calvinists have often very unjustly classed them. Pelagius was a native of Britain, who began to propagate his principles at Rome, in the beginning of the fifth century. He taught that all men come into the world as pure as Adam; that our original sin is nothing but our imitation of Adam's transgression; that man stands in no need of Divine influences; but has in himself sufficient powers for his sanctification; that infants need no remission of sins: and that our good works merit eternal happiness. These doctrines are evidently subversive of the Gospel. His system was a little modified by Cassian, a monk who taught that the first conversion of the soul to God was merely the effect of its own free choice, and who consequently denied preventing grace. Those who adopted his opinion were called Semi-Pelagians. They admitted indeed the necessity of supernatural aids, after men had turned to God, to carry them on to perfection.

“ Nothing but mere prejudice,” says a respectable writer, “or the grossest ignorance, can lead any to confound it,” (the Arminian doctrine) “ with that of Socinus, or even with that of Pelagius; and of course to associate its professors with Pelagians and Socinians, as is not unfrequently done by many Calvinists and others, from whom better things might be expected.

For this sys.

« AnteriorContinuar »