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punish, for the pleasure of punishing.
Now if this be the meaning of our opponents, we have no dispute with them. We do not suppose the Almighty to punish sinners, for the sake of putting them to pain. Neither the language of Scripture, nor the system of Calvinists conveys any such idea. Vindictive punishment, as it is here defended, stands opposed to that punishment which is merely corrective; the one is exercised for the good of the party, the other not so, but for the good of the community.”*
The Westminster Confession certainly contains the doctrine of Reprobation, though it does not use the word, and with the exception of the two words we have mentioned, the quotation is fair enough. It is also certain that Calvin, in his Institutes, teaches the same doctrine (Liber. 3). Of modern Calvinists, some seem to think that this, or something like it, is a legitimate inference from the doctrine of Particular Election. They think that the chusing of some, necessarily supposes the passing by of others. “ It has been stated that the word reprobation is not found in Scripture, nor any original word answering to it; and that reprobate, and reprobates are never used with relation to this subject. The opposite to elect, and election, ought not, therefore, to be called reprobation ; but some other word should be employed to convey the idea. Some have used the term preterition, which is more exactly expressive of our meaning; but neither is this scriptural.
The truth is, the Scriptures say a great deal about the elect and election, and predestination to life, but are nearly silent as to those who are not chosen unto salvation.” 6. If Calvinists had been as
Calvinistical and Socinian Systems Compared, Letter vir.
reserved in speaking on the awful subject, as the sacred writers are, only dropping a few occasional intimations in respect of it; probably it would have abated the odium which, by some means or other, has been attached to these sentiments."*
Other modern Calvinists, who believe in the doctrine of Particular Election, entirely separate it from any decree of reprobation, or of preterition. To the argument, that Particular Election includes any decree of this kind, a respectable writer replies, “That it takes for granted, what can never be proved, that non-election implies a decree. Non-election is a negative idea, not electing; but to decree a negative is as absurd as to decree nothing; or to decree not to decree. The notion of decreeing to permit, involves the same absurdity; for to permit in this connexion, is not to hinder; but to decree not to hinder, is the same as to decree to do nothing; or as before, to decree not to decree. The fallacy consists in the supposition that non-election is a positive idea, and therefore requires a positive determination, by way of decree. The truth of the case is, that on the supposition” (he argues upon the supposition, that the number of mankind were two millions, and of these one million only elected) “of one million being elected to holiness, as the means, and happiness as the end, the other million is not elected to holiness and happiness. These two things are as opposite, as doing, and not doing; but to suppose an infinitely perfect being to decree what he does not do, is in. compatible; for it supposes him to decree to do what he decrees not to do. It is indeed, perfectly scriptural
• Mr. Scott's Remarks on Bisliop Tomline's Refulation of Calvinism, P. p. 154, 155, 156.- Vol. 2.
and rational to say, that whatever is done by an infinitely wise Being, is done according to design, an unvarying purpose, which is commonly termed a decree. But what meaning can there be in his designing to do the contrast to his doing? The same reasoning is applicable to preterition.”* “ The great majority of those who pass under the general denomination in modern times, regard some of Calvin's positions as mere exceptionable inferences, which he has drawn from parts of his own system, with too much haste, or too little caution. They consider these inferences (especially some deduced from the doctrine of Divine decrees) as injurious excrescences, which deform the general beauty of his theological scheme, and which do not contribute to its real strength. In brief, they considered his fundamental premises, viewed in their proper light, as neither requiring nor admitting some of his conclusions, which have given just offence to a large portion of Christians, who still retain his name, -and who are induced to retain it (as a term of distinction) because they apprehend that no other of the Reformers, of whatever country, nor even any of the Christian Fathers, have so beautifully exhibited, or so ably defended, the scripture doctrine of Sovereign Grace.”+ The seventeenth Article of the Church of England makes no mention whatsoever of either reprobation or preterition, though some Calvinists have supposed that the following expressions are not without some reference to something of this kind : “ For curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's predestination, is a
• Defence of Modern Calvinism, by E. Williams, D.D. p. 206.
most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.”Most of those who are members of the Church of England, and have embraced the doctrine of Particular Election, consider this as perfectly sufficient, with its necessary consequence, the final perseverance of the saints; and contending for nothing more, disencumber themselves from the other appendages of Calvin's system. From the statement of Dr. Williams, it appears that sentiments of the same kind are generally prevalent among the Inde. pendent dissenters, and indeed these are known to have been the sentiments of Dr. Watts, of Dr. Dodridge, and of many other excellent men, who were ornaments to the dissenting churches. In the Established Church of Scot. land, though it is known that a considerable majority are in no respect whatever, calvinistical, and that many fall far short of the evangelical sentiments of Arminius, yet it is understood that there are a number of pious men, who, while they believe in Particular · Election and final Perseverance, wish, for reasons such as those mentioned by Mr. Scott, to carry the doctrine of Predestination no further; and would, on this subject, give a decided preference to the language of the seventeenth Article of the Eng. lish Church, when compared with that of the third chapter of the Westminster Confession. Comparatively few of those who assume the name, or of those upon whom the name of Calvinists is imposed, embrace any more of Cal. vin's system upon the subject of Predestination, than what is here stated. Even these doctrines which they acknowledge, are seldom made by the Ministers of the Gospel, the topics of public discussion, or brought into prominence, in the course of religious instruction delivered from
the pulpit. Of the religious instructions they dispense, the great subjects are those which they receive, in common with all who believe in the evangelical doctrines of the Gospel. It is certain that Lother carried the doctrine of Predestination to as high a point as Calvin, and embraced those parts of the system, which most modern Calvinists consider as objectionable. Whoever reads the answer of Luther to Erasmus (who had attacked Luther on the subjects of Predestination and Grace) entitled “ De Servo Arbitrio,” will find a defence of High Calvinism, written with great spirit, and much eloquence, accompanied sometimes by intemperate personal reflections.
Those who declare themselves hostile to absolute and particular election, in the most guarded state of the doctrines, generally attack it on the side of reprobation, which they contend is, whatever modifications you please to adopt, inseparable from it, and its necessary and obvious consequence. To this argument, the reply of modern Calvinists is in substance as follows. They allow that Calvin himself thought so, and affirmed it to be so.
Many," says he, " as it were to excuse God, own election, and deny reprobation. But this is silly and childish. For election cannot stand without reprobation. Whom God passes by, those he reprobates. It is one and the same thing."-Inst. Liber. 3, Cap. 23, Sect. 1. But as they consider themselves bound, not by the decisions of Calvin, but by those of scripture, they adopt his conclusions, only so far as they are founded on its declarations. They can, they say, see no connexion between the certainty of the salvation of some, and the necessary reprobation of others. Suppose, say they, that with respect to twenty men on the same journey, God has decreed that ten of them shall arrive, in safety, at the