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tain that faith includes good works in its own nature ; if he reject the doctrine of original sin ; if he deny that divine grace
alone he can enter, and will carry him farther and farther in a wrong direction. His good works will never bring him to Christ, but if he lay hold on Christ in sincerity of faith, He will easily and quickly bring him to good works. He is the way, the truth and the life. He is emphatically called the door of the kingdom of heaven. No man cometh to the Father but by Him. If then there be in any man's breast a secret longing after self-righteousness if there be a disposition, however faint, to justify himself by his own performance any lurking conceit that he, being so much better than others, stands less in need of that atoning merit than the worst of his fellow-creatures, let not such an one think that he will receive any thing from the Lord. He may, perhaps, upon examina. tion find, that he has exercised himself in doing what he thinks his duty—that he has abstained from excess—that he has dealt justly, and worked diligently for the good of mankind that he has even practised many of those virtues which are most truly Christian--that he has been kind, patient, humble, charitable, meek, forgiving-yet if his heart be a stranger to God, giving its affections not to things above, but to things on the earth, if he suffer it to plead any one of these services as entitled to reward from God, or as fit even to bear his inspection, he is still in his sins-he will be left to wander on according to his own wayward fancies, and will never find the gate of salvation. .“ In thus turning from the lying vanities of self-righteousness to the true and living God, he must not flatter himself that the change is his own work. He must not take credit to himself for the victory, but must give God the praise for having called him out of darkness into his marvellous light. No man cometh
to me,' said our Lord, except my Father draw him.' To God then be our thanks and praise rendered, as the giver not only of our natural, but of our spiritual life. He is, as our Church often confesses, the Author of all godliness. • Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth. It is God that worketh in • us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.' His grace brought us to the knowledge of the truth, and unless we resist or neglect his gracious influence, in spite of all the powers of darkness, his grace will preserve us in it.
“ Here then we may seem to have arrived at a point where the difficulties of the Christian pilgrimage are to end. And here, if we accept the Calvinistic doctrine of indefectible grace and final perseverance, they do end. But how contrary is this not only to the natural light of reason which God has implanted in us, but to the whole tenor and complexion of the Christian doctrines as revealed by our Lord and as inculcated by the Apostles ?
" Does not our blessed Lord himself, in his character of Son of Man, express all that feeling of uncertainty about the faith of his followers, which is so natural to the human heart, and so descriptive of the contingency of what is to come ? • Simon, Simon, I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou
art converted, strengthen thy brethren. - “ Or again, if we pursue the whole train of St. Paul's reasoning, or of any one of the Apostles, shall we not find the same anxiety for the future, both in the case of themselves individually, and of those whom they address, which indicates the still undetermined nature of their spiritual condition? • Be not high-minded,
but fear.-Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. If he draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. If ye live after the flesh, ye shall
die. -I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection ; lest that by any • means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away.' .“ It is, in this point of view, that the Calvinistic doctrine appears to be most dangerous, and most at variance with the example of Apostolical teaching. They continually represent election in Christ as a reason why the true Christian is zealous of good works. Undoubtedly it is a reason, and a powerful one-but the Apostles
is requisite for the whole work of sanctification; if he speak of human virtue as meritorious in the sight of God ;* it is very genea
take pains to represent it as a reason not why he is so, but why he ought to be.
Put on therefore,' says St. Paul to the Colossians, put on as the elect of God, • holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering.'”
• To these monstrous doctrines, with which Arminianism has been often branded, the writer might have added, “the great antipathy, evinced by many members of “ the Church of England, against the bare mention of the abiding and comfortable “ influence of the Holy Spirit, though such scriptural indwelling and consolation " are recognized in every portion of the public formularies of the Church, and “ especially in her Seventeeth Article."-According to the doctrine of that Article, “ the godly consideration of Predestination and Election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons,” Arminians as well as Cal. vinists, “ and such as feel in themselves the working of the SPIRIT OF CHRIST, mortifying the works of the flesh and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things: as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God," &c.
When I peruse the theological tirades uttered by several modern writers against this immediate Divine Influence on the hearts of men, both in the work of Conversion and in that of Sanctification, an influence which is one of the numerous scriptural “ promises” that are '“ YEA and AMEN in Christ Jesus," and which is amply recognized in the public formularies of every Protestant Church in Europe, but which is stigmatized by these imprudent and unskilful divines as “ Enthusiasm,'—when I peruse their curious productions, I am sometimes tempted to think, that were St. Paul deputed to put to them the question which he once addressed to the early disciples at Ephesus, “ Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed ?,'" (if the mere historical faith in the general truth of the Scriptures of these moderns may be dignified with the appellation of “ Christian belief,”') the blessed A postle would receive nearly a similar answer to that which the Ephesians delivered, “ We have not so much as heard (except from a few misguided enthusiasts, whether there be any Holy Ghost !” In one sense at least, the reply would be appropriate ; for such men ingenuously acknowledge, that they have never had any personal experience of the hallowing impulses of the Holy Spirit,—without which, nothing human is holy, nothing is strong,—and without which, Christianity itself, as explained by these frozen moralizers, would be only a skeleton of doctrines very little superior to the abstract theories of moral virtue invented by Plato, Seneca, or Epictetus. But, on this subject, one of the inspired interpreters of the will of God has well remarked, " The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him. Neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Few men have marked with greater abhorrence, than I have done in various parts of this volume, the perversion of this Divine Influence, when it is no longer applied to the spiritual interests of the man and his actual progress in personal holiness, but is extended to matters beyond himself, and erroneously confounded with the sanguine wishes and the inward persuasion of his own spirit respecting a change in Church or State, or other subjects equally alien to the sanctifying. purposes, for the accomplishment of which the aids of the Holy Spirit have been promised. But though I have strongly reprehended such perversions of the doc. trine of DivinE GUIDANCE AND COMFORT, yet it is no test of “ true philo. sophy," (a distinction to which these objectors aspire,) to repudiate a revealed verity, because it is liable to be abused either by the weak or the wicked. There is not a blessing, of this or any other class, which Heaven in its illimitable bounty has bestowed on man, that might not be rejected with as great a sem.
Tally concluded, that he is an Arminian. But the truth is, that a man of such sentiments is more properly a disciple of the Pelagian and Socinian schools. To such sentiments pure Arminian. ism is as diametrically opposite as Calvinism itself is. The genuine Arminians admit the corruption of human nature in its full extent. They admit, that we are justified by faith only. They admit, that our justification originates solely in the grace of God. They admit, that the procuring and meritorious cause of our justification is the righteousness of Christ. Propter quam, says Arminius, Deus credentibus peccatum condonet eosque pro justis reputat non aliter atque si legem perfecte implevissent. They admit in this way, that justification implies not merely forgiveness of sin, but acceptance to everlasting happiness. Junctam habet adoptionem in filios, et collationem juris in hereditatem vitæ eternæ. They admit, in fine, that the work of sanctification, from its very com. mencement to its perfection in glory,* is carried on by the oper.
blance of reason. Indeed, after a careful examination of the testimony both of living witnesses and of books, I find this doctrine, when applied in the manner which the Scriptures direct to the furtherance of personal holiness, is, of all others, the least capable of being rendered pernicious : It becomes hurtful, chiefly when it is made to testify positively concerning an individual's absolute election to life eternal, and his assured final perseverance. Such persons soon make the discovery that they are spiritual ; and since their eternal interests are thus permanently secured, they require none of that :ne exhortation, (2 Pet. i, 5,)“ Beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue ; and to virtue knowledge, &c. : Por if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The same Apostle immediately exhorts them “ to make their calling and election SURE,” but appends to it a condition respecting their final perseverance which cannot be relished by Calvinists, “ If ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”
• The Arminians ascribe far greater efficacy to the grace of God, in the work of sanctification, than the Calvinists. While the latter confine the experience of mature Christians to that expression of a man under the law, O wretched man that I am l, and while they account it the height of presumption for any one to talk about going on to perfection, (though exhorted so to do by an Apostle, Heb. vi, 1, in addition to the higher authority of Christ himself, Matt. v, 48,) the Arminians think they cannot put too much honour on Divine Grace, or fall into error by trying to fulfil all the evangelical commands of their “ Father who is in heaven.”
When, contrary to the explicit declarations of nearly the whole of the New Testament, the modern Predestinarians fixed upon certain phrases in the seventh chapter to the Romans as the low standard of Christian experience, they discarded the authority of their former favourite, St. Augustine, and brought his unfledged system into contempt. That good old Father has, on this subject, some strong passages, which will not be relished by the modern school of Fatalists. On the 56th Psalm he says, “ God would never command us to do that thing, if He “ judged it impossible to be done of man : If thou, therefore, considering thine « infirmity, faintest under the precept, be comforted by example ; for He that “ gave us his example is at hand, that He may also afford us his aid.” In his 191st Discourse on Time, he likewise says: “ I execrate the blasphemy of those men who assert, that any thing is impossible to be done which God commands man to do. Each of God's commands can be fulfilled, not merely by a single individual, but by all men in general.”-Few sentences contain so much sound divinity in few
ation of the Holy Spirit, which is the gift of God by Jesus Christ. So sound, indeed, are the Arminians with respect to the
words, as the following, which Prosper has given us from St. Augustine : “ The . “ Law is given, that Grace may be sought; Grace is given, that the Law may « be fulfilled."-One of the numerous paradoxes in the history of these opinions, is, that the very men who admire St. Augustine for the species of particular Predestination which he taught towards the close of life, reprehend their Arminian. brethren, and stigmatize them as “ Pelagians," for adopting the sentiments of this great antagonist of Pelagius on the subject of Christian Perfection. On this point, Episcopius has written an able dissertation, in the 17th chapter of his Apology for the Remonstrants' Confession, and proyes by unanswerable arguments, " that man dan perform the commands of God by the aid of Grace Divine." See also the use which Arminius has made of St. Augustine's authority. (Vol. i, p. 614.)-King James, who was a better Divine than Politician, had this father's avowed opinions in view when he delivered the following just sentiment on the Lord's Prayer : “ It is blasphemy to say, that any of Christ's precepts are impose “sible : For that were to give Him the lie who told us out of his own mouth, « that his yoke is easy and his burden light: And Christ's intimate disciple saith, « that his commandments are not grievous. (1 John v, 3.)”
Io the answer, given by Episcopius to the 19th of thé 64 Questions which his Theological Students addressed to him while he was Professor at Amsterdam, he has explained the meaning of this passage, Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father who is in heaven is perfect; (Matt. V, 48.) and at the conclusion of his explanation, he resolves two other questions, the first of which is the following: “ Is it pos. sible for man, when assisted by Divine Grace, to perform all the commands of God, even according to a perfect method of performance? That is, using now the word LOVE (dilectio) in a general sense för an observance of the Divine com. mands, is it possible for a man to evince as much love, as he ought to do according to the requisitions of the Gospel, or according to the covenant of Grace ?" “ About the affirmative of this matter," Episcopius says, “ I entertain no doubt. My reasons are: (1.) God requires no other love than that which may be exercised by the whole mind, and soul, and strength. God, therefore, demands nothing which is above or beyond the strength of man to perform.-- (2.) God promises, that He will circumcise the heart of his people, that they may love him with all their heart and with all their soul. (Deut. xxx, 6)-(3.) God himself bears testi. mony, that there have been those who have, al the days of their lives, observed all his commandments with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all their strength ; and this have they done in the sight of God, as we may perceive by what is said concerning Asa, in 1 Kings xv, 14:-concerning all the people, in 2 Chron. xv, 12;--concerning David, in 1 Kings xi, 34; xiv, 8; & xv, 11;concerning Josiah, in 2 Kings xxii, 2, because he returned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of : Moses. (2 Kings xxiii, 25.) We find all these things ascribed, by God, under the old covenant, to the individuals already enumerated: What man, therefore, can doubt . concerning the same excellences finding a place under the new covenant ?" He then proceeds to discuss “the vulgar distinction between a perfection of paris and a perfection of degrees ; and observes at the close, “ No mortal can rise to the degree of the Divine Perfection, which is incapable of increase. It is the nature of love not to rest or stand still, but always to be desirous of making progress; and this love never thinks about what is finished, but always about that which is to come.”
The second Question is proposed in these terms: “ Is a most intense perfection of this kind absolutely necessary to salvation ?” To this Episcopius replies : “We are not here treating about legal perfection, which embraces all and every kind of unsinning obodience in the highest degree, which also is perpetual, and which excludes through life every imperfection, infirmity, and inadvertence; for
doctrine of justification, (a doctrine so important and essential in the opinion of Luther, that he scrupled not to call it Articulus ecclesiæ stantis vel cadentis,) that those who look into the writings of Arminius, may bé disposed to suspect him of having even exceeded Calvin in orthodoxy.* It is certain, at least, that he declares his willingness to subscribe to every thing that Calvin has written on that leading subject of Christianity, in the third book of his Institutes. And with this declaration, the tenor of his writ. ings invariably corresponds."+- Edinburgh Encyclopædia.
we believe this perfection to be morally impossible. But evangelical perfection comprises two things : (1.) A perfection proportioned to the powers (or strength) of each individual. (2.) 'A desire of always making advances towards what is better, and of increasing that strength still more and more. This perfection varies in the ratio of those who are commencing, of those who are proficients, and of those who are perfect, in the knowledge of Divine Truth and Charity as commanded. On this account, one perfection is more intense than another, or the perfection of some persons is more intense than that of others. The same perfection neither is nor can be in all and in each, nor can it belong to all and each: Yet the most intense perfection of all and of each is necessary to salvation, according to the unequal powers (or strength). This intense perfection we have placed in the circumstance of the inequality of their powers, that no one may omit or commit any thing which he knows he ought, and has it in his power, not to omit or commit, that is, that he may not sin against his own conscience, of whatever kind his conscience may be Thus, the desire of making constant advances towards what is better, is common to all ; and, therefore, this ought to be equal and alike in all and in each, accord. ing to their several powers. It is also absolutely necessary to salvation, and ought to precede even penitence itself, or to follow all penitence ; both of which may be proved by numerous scriptural testimonies, which it is no part of our present desiga
to produce." * 5
• Of the superior orthodoxy of Arminius in the sense of the Church of England and of the Ancient Fathers, the reader will find cogent proofs in a succeeding page. (274.)
+ To this extract succeeds the paragraph quoted by me in page 801. I add as a curious piece of church-history, the same writer's account of the manner in which Arminianism has infused itself into Scotland :
*** From England, Arminianism travelled into Scotland, where, however, it made no great impression for a long series of years, having to contend with a strong and rooted attachment to the doctrine and discipline of Geneva, and being gene rally united with episcopacy, of which the Scottish nation has been always and utterly abhorrent. Since the middle of the last century it has been rapidly gaining ground, particularly among that class of the higher ranks in which there is still left a serious and practical belief of the truth of Christianity. Of the Clergy, a few venture to preach it openly in some of its most corrupted forms. There are a great many, too, who so far acquiesce in it, as never to meddle with the doctrines of Election and Reprobation in their public or private ministrations ; some from a decided disbelief of them, and others from a mere conviction of their inexpediency. Such of them as carefully avoid, or openly oppose it, (and these form a body respectable both for number and for character,) are certainly best entitled to the praise of honesty, the Confession of Faith which they subscribe being rigidly Cal. vinistic, and each of them being required at his ordination to renounce the Armi. nian heresy. A great proportion of the common people are still so fond of the dogma of Absolute Predestination, which they too often abuse, that they look on those who deny it with anger, or with pity; and seem to have the same sentiments, with regard to Arminianism, which were declared by Mr. Rouse, in the English