Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tion by the Holy Spirit, (or, "a new heart and a new "spirit,") is not needful, though it might facilitate the amendment. We are able, without it, to make endeavours not totally ineffectual, to amend our nature, or that of our fellow sinners. But St. Paul says, "We "are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto "good works."* Our depraved nature is 'utterly in

corrigible,' except by special grace: and whenany one is persuaded, or convinced, that he cannot correct the obliquities of his nature, and overcome his evil inclinations, without the grace of God; and yet that this must be done, or he must perish: hearing and reading, that "God has promised to give the Holy Spirit to them "who ask it;"† he will be led earnestly to pray for this most needful blessing; and, in answer to these prayers, he will be preserved both from profligacy and despair. Thus he will, after a time, learn, that though "he can "do nothing of himself," or " without Christ;" he "can "do all things through Christ who strengtheneth him.”‡ Instances might be produced of persons, under terrors of conscience, but total strangers to evangelical or calvinistick doctrine, attempting to conquer bad habits and strong evil propensities, in their own strength; who, being repeatedly baffled, have given up the hope of success, and have sought refuge in a kind of infidelity: but afterwards, hearing the promises of effectual assistance, proposed in the sacred scripture, and depending on them, and praying for the promised blessing, they have renewed their efforts, and have been rendered successful and happy.

'cannot arrive at any degree of goodness, they will be apt either to yield to ' every temptation, because they fancy resistance useless, and thus become 'profligate in the extreme; or, anticipating the pains of future punishment, they will suffer all the miseries of religious despair.' * Eph. ii. 10. † Luke xi. 13.

John xv. 5. Phil. iv. 13.

6

(

(

P. lxxvii. l. 13. The clergy, &c.'* If any preach, that man is irrecoverably sunk in sin and wickedness,' they certainly should be shunned. But do any preach this doctrine of desperation? Do any say, that man is so sunk in sin, and so incorrigibly wicked, that he is irrecoverable, even by the grace of the gospel? And if this be not meant, what is it, which is opposed? It is ac'knowledged, that man has not the disposition, and con'sequently not the ability, to do what is good in the 'sight of God, till he is influenced by the Spirit of "'God:'t and I apprehend no evangelical clergyman, and scarcely any Calvinist, denies, that when influenced by the Spirit of God, he has both the disposition and the 'ability to do what is good in the sight of God.' But surely, Christian ministers ought not to teach men, that their malady is not so great, but that they may heal themselves, without the great and good Physician's interposition! God, in his infinite mercy, has appointed one Physician, and provided one infallible remedy, for the distempered soul of fallen man: He has declared all others to be "physicians of no value," all other remedies to be utterly inefficient. He hath promised healing and salvation, to all who seek them from Jesus Christ according to the gospel, however desperate and inveterate their malady has become. Now the evangelical clergy, as well as other sober-minded Calvinists; bestow pains to convince their hearers, that there is no recovery

[ocr errors]

'The clergy therefore cannot caution their parishioners too strongly ' against listening to those preachers, who are continually describing man as 'irrecoverably sunk in sin and wickedness; they should impress upon their ' minds the duty and necessity of exertion; and teach them, that the frailty and corruption derived from our first parent will not be admitted as an ex. 'cuse for criminal indulgences, since we are assured that we shall always 'be assisted by divine grace in our struggles to withstand the evil proper'sities of our nature. †P. 61, Refutation.

VOL. I.

T

<

for them, except in this way of the gospel; and that, if they refuse and neglect this Physician, they will be found absolutely irrecoverable. They earnestly desire to induce despair, not of salvation itself, but of salvation in any way, except that of the gospel. They endeavour to show the desperate nature of the disease, in itself; in order to recommend the good Physician and his healing grace. For so long, as men think, that they are not diseased, or but slightly; that the disease will depart of itself; that they are able to be their own healers, or that other Physicians and remedies can recover them: so long as they think, that there is some health and soundness ' of constitution in them;' their pride, their love of sin and the world; and their aversion to the holy humbling truths of the gospel; will incline them to refuse the Saviour's invitations; or at least to say, "Go thy way at "this time;" at a future opportunity, I may perhaps seek help from thee. Now the day of Christ will discover, whether they, who oppose our endeavours to convince men, that they are incorrigible and irrecoverable, except by the grace of the gospel; have any other more effectual, or equally effectual, way of recovery and salvation, or not. "I am the Way, and the Truth, and "the Life; no man cometh to the Father, but by me."* "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is "none other name under heaven given among men, "whereby we must be saved." They also are to be 'had accursed, that presume to say, that every man 'shall be saved by the law or sect which he professeth, 'so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that law, and the light of nature. For holy scripture 'doth set out unto us, only the name of Jesus Christ, whereby we must we saved.'-"The scripture hath

† Acts iv. 12.

John xiv. 6.

[ocr errors]

Art. xviii,

"concluded all under sin; that the promise, which is by "faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that be"lieve."* We perfectly agree with his Lordship, that ministers' should impress upon the minds of their hear. 'ers, the duty and necessity of exertion; and teach them that original depravity will not excuse their crimi. nal indulgences: and we only desire and pray that all parties may vie with one another, which shall most zealously and successfully inculcate these truths, and apply them to the hearts and consciences of their congregations.

P. lxxviii. 1. 4. 'The obnoxious, &c't I should not have expected, that a Protestant would deem even the supposed errors of Calvin, equally obnoxious with the doctrine of human merit, held by the church of Rome. Whether Calvin carried the erroneous and 'baneful doctrine of moral incapacity,' beyond the line marked out in scripture, I shall not decide; and whether modern Calvinists use more energetical language, than that of the articles, liturgy, and homilies of our church, others must judge." You who were dead in trespas"ses and sins."‡ "When we yet were without "strength."} 'There is no health in us.' I need not repeat the quotations from the homilies. Jude indeed speaks of some apostates, as "twice dead:"** but no other expression, relating to man's moral incapacity, that I can recollect, is stronger than what has been pro

⚫ Gal. iii. 22.

†The obnoxious and unfounded doctrine of human merit, held by the 'church of Rome, fosters pride and presumption. The equally erroneous ' and baneful doctrine of moral incapacity, in the extent unhappily adopted 'by Calvin, tends to produce hopeless melancholy, or hardened profligacy. The former exalts too high, the latter depresses too low, the powers of

'man.'

¶ Conf.

See on p. 54 72,

+ Eph. ii. 1. Refutation.

§ Rom. v. 6. ** Jude 12.

duced from the scripture and from the Prayer-Book, and homilies, relating to the condition of men in gen. eral. The tendency of our doctrine to produce hope'less melancholy or hardened profligacy;' has already been considered.*

(

P. lxxviii. Note from Calvin. Non equidem, &c.'t "In which are some things hard to be understood; "which they that are unlearned and unstable, wrest, as "they do also the other scriptures, to their own de"struction."‡

6

P. lxxviii. 1. 21. " Obedience, &c.' If after the words practicable duty, the clause from the liturgy had been added, by thy special grace preventing us, to 'put into our hearts good desires; and by thy continual 'help to bring the same to good effect;'¶ few of the evangelical clergy would hesitate to adopt the passage.

P. lxxix. 1. 11. 'An action performed from a sin'cere desire to obey the will of God, is partly the effect ' of our own voluntary exertion.' Such an action is wholly the effect of our own voluntary exertion; but “it "is God that worketh in us to will and to do." The idea of God doing one part, and the creature another part, in the action of a voluntary agent, seems to us unscriptural and unphilosophical.

P. lxxix. 1. 13. It is, &c.'|| The general state

See on p. 75, Refutation.

† 'I do not indeed deny, that many hearing, that there is nothing good in

♦ us, indulge themselves more freely in their own vices.'

2 Pet. iii. 16.

Obedience is commanded, and it is therefore our duty; our practicable 'duty, or it would not have been commanded.'

¶ Col. Easter Sunday.

U It is one thing to trust to the goodness of God, as declared in Scrip" ture, for the effectual assistance of the Holy Spirit; and another to assert, that from our own intrinsic merit we have a right to divine favour here, and ' to reward hereafter. The "promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come, "the means of grace, and the hope of glory, we owe sole

« AnteriorContinuar »