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be accompanied by so sober and intelligent a traveller as Mr. Scott. In reading the Bishop of Lincoln's work, it is scarcely possible to avoid concluding, that all who are called Evangelical clergymen are also Calvinists; and that they may not only be generally and popularly so denominated, but that they hold all the opinions of Calvin, and in the manner in which he held them. This is evidently (to say the least) the impression intended to be made on the public mind by that performance; but, as we have often said, nothing can be much farther from the truth than such a representation. In entering, therefore, on the subjects of “ universal redemption, election, and reprobation,” Mir. Scott observes, that he must be more general in his remarks than in his first volume; because a part only of that body whose cause he advocates, coincide with him in judgment on those points. This is undeniable, and perfectly hotorious to those who have any tolerable acquaintance with the present state of the church; and can only be unknown to those who are either unwilling to take pains to be informed of the fact, or who are determined to remain ignorant of it. For himself, however, Mr. Scott declares, that though, for reasons which afterwards appear, he does not willingly assume, or even receive, the name of Calvinist; and though he shews, in a subsequent part of his work, that Calvin held some opinions which he, for one, of the body now called Calvinists, cannot approve, yet he fully avows, that he believes and maintains the leading doctrines which are generally, though inaccurately, called Calvinistical. “My grand object, however,” says Mr. Scott, “is not to proselyte men to Calvinism, but to exonerate Calvinists from a load of criminality which they now bear, because their sentiments are misunderstood.” And again, in a subsequent passage: “I would desire to be considered rather as an apologist for those who hold the doctrine
of personal election to eternal life, and such other tenets as are inseparable from it, than as an eager disputer for Calvinism. I would wish to make it understood, what we really do believe, and what we do not, and on what grounds; to obviate misapprehension and misrepresentation ; and, if it might be, to procure for us somewhat more candour, and fairness, and equity, from our opponents, than we generally meet with.” Vol. ii. pp. 70–136.
This is surely the language of sobriety and modesty; and though we lament, as Mr. Scott also does, that too many Calvinists have held a different tone, we cannot, at the same time, but think, that it may be very advantageously compared with the exaggerated and intolerant statements of many Anti-calvinists. The view which the Bishop of Lincoln has given of the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination, is well known, and has been already considered by ourselves. Mr. Scott justly objects to it, as inaccurate in various particulars, even as it respects the opinions of Calvin, and still more so as referring to the great body of the Evangelical Clergy. We shall notice some of his remarks on the Bishop's statements, which will serve also to exhibit Mr. Scott's own sentiments; and then offer some general observations on this mysterious and much controverted subject.
In the first place, Mr. Scott remarks, that it seems to be the established opinion of the Bishop of Lincoln, that the Evangelical Clergy, especially such of them as believe the doctrine of personal election, hold what is called particular redemption; whereas, in fact, very few of them adopt it: and that he himself, above four and twenty years since, was led to avow his dissent." from it; and was surprised, and rather amused, to find, that, on this point, his lordship deduces nearly the same conclusions, from many of the same premises, which he before had done! The term, indeed, which Mr. Scott had used to express his
view of the subject, was general, instead of universal, redemption; as he thought the latter word might possibly be understood to include other intelligent beings, not of Adam's race, and might be misunderstood to imply universal salvation. After quoting several passages of Scripture, which unequivocally declare the universality of the redemption wrought out by the Saviour for the whole race of mankind, Mr. Scott observes, that wherever we meet with a human being, we can, consistently, feel no other embarrassment in saying to him “Believe in the Ilord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” than in calling to those who are asleep after the sun is risen, and exhorting them to rise, and go forth to their labour; for the natural light of the world shines and suffices for all. “Every circumstance,” he says, “respecting redemption, shews it to be a general benefit, from which no one of the human race will be excluded, ercept through unbelief. Every exhortation, invitation, and encouragement, imaginable, may, therefore, be used without reserve, in addressing men of any nation and description. Yet some line,” he adds, “must be drawn by all, who do not hold universal salvation. “He that believeth not shall be damned.' The difference then is, in this respect, less between Calvinists and others, than it is supposed. Calvin himself says, “Redemption is sufficient for all, effectual only to the elect." His opponents say, “sufficient for all, effectual only for believers.’ ‘Faith is the gift of God;’ and the only question is, whether he determines to give faith to one inan, and not to another, at the moment; or whether he previously decreed to do it: and whether he gives faith to one and not to another, because of some seen, or foreseen, good disposition or conduct, in one above the other, previous to his special preventing grace. If he do no injustice to those who are left to themselves, and continue unbelievers, it could not be unjust to decree, from eternity, thus to leave them. Some of us think, that none ever truly believe, except the elect: others suppose us in this to be mistaken, perhaps interpreting the terms elect and election, differently than we do. But all who allow the truth, and abide by the plain meaning of the Scripture, agree, that through this general redemption, believers, and none except believers, among adults, shall be saved." Vol. ii.
pp. 7, 8.
To this explanation of Mr. Scott, we shall have occasion to advert. hereafter. We shall only, therefore, observe upon it at present, that, although it cannot be supposed to satisfy an Anti-calvinist, it ought at least to rescue all those who agree with it, from the charge of denying that redemption through Christ is a benefit sufficient for, and offered indiscriminately to, all.
The second point on which we shall notice Mr. Scott's Remarks, respects some of the terms by which the Bishop of Lincoln has chosen to represent the doctrines of Calvin, and of his later adherents. For instance, he speaks of their asserting the existence of a decree which renders the conversion of some men impossible, and of “a condition which it is impossible for them to perform;” and, consequently, of maintaining that some shall perish everlastingly, “without the possibility of attaining salvation;” implying, as it would seem, says Mr. Scott, that some of the non-elect are truly desirous of the salvation revealed in the Gospel, and disposed to use the appointed means of obtaining it; but that they are excluded, and perish for ever, through some impossibility distinct jrom, and unconnected with, their own sin and depravity. This Calvin, and his reasonable followers, deny; alleging that there is no impossibility, except that which arises from the natural unwillingness and enmity of the human heart; and that this unwillingness constitutes a moral inability, which nothing, except regeneration, a new creation unto holiIless, can remove.
“If," says Mr. Scott, “men will confound this disinclination, with natural inability; and so make excuse for all the wickedness of devils, (whose incorrigible disinclination to love God, and whose obstinate enmity against him, is their only inability), the determination of the question must be referred to God alone. But let it be observed, that Calviuists (at least all those for whom I would plead), allow no other than moral inability, or total disinclination to good, which his lordship has expressly allowed concerning men in general. Hence it is, that repentance, faith, and obedience, are the gifts of God,
and ‘the fruits of the Spirit: because, however active we may be in what is good (and very active and indefatigably diligent we ought to be in every good work), “it is God that worketh in us, to will and to do of his good pleasure.’ It is in respect of the same
kind of inability, that God “cannot deny
himself;’ not for want of power, but from his infinite perfection in holiness.” Vol. ii. p. 18. “Let a man be found earnestly desirous of complying with the requirements of the Gospel, diligently using every appointed means, submitting to every needsul privation and self denial, exceedingly afraid of coming short of salvation from sin and all its consequences; who yet is excluded, through some impossibility, independent of his own disposition and conduct, and which nothing he might do, however willing or earnest, could at all remove: then the objection would be valid. But adduce a proud, ambitious, covetous, sensual, ungodly man, who has nothing to prevent his repentance, faith, and salvation, except his own wicked heart and bad habits, with the temptations of the devil, and the allurements of worldly objects; yet, who
is totally averse to the humbling holy saiva
tion of the Gospel, in itself; and wholly disinclined to use the appointed means of grace, with diligence, earnestness, and perseverance; who cleaves to his idols, and refuses to forsake them; who shrinks from self-denial; and whose enmity of heart against God is irritated by the very denunciations and requirements of his word, and the declarations of his justice and holiness; in short, who “loves darkness rather than light, because his deeds are evil:" and then let it be illquired, whether God is bound, in justice, to give that special efficacious grace to this rebel, without which he must continue a proud rebel and enemy for ever. This is the statement,whetherwell-founded or not, which we make of the subject.” Vol. ii. pp. 18, 19. “Let it also be understood, that we do not suppose the influence, or special grace, of the Holy Spirit, to be vouchsated to us, either to incline or enable us to do any thing which was not previously our duty, but which we were wholly disinclined to perform.” Vol. ii. p.20. We are perfectly aware of the reply which Anti-calvinists would make to this statement, as to moral inability: it is not, however, our present purpose to examine the truth of the opposite opinions which are held on this subject, but to ascertain what those opinions really are; and cer.
tainly it is impossible not to admit, that, as they respect the Calvinists, they have been altogether mistated by the Bishop of Lincoln. We are free to own, at the same time, that we remain as little satisfied with Mr. Scott's endeavours to disembarrass his system of its difficulties, as with those of former writers. Those difficulties are inherent in the subject, and must continue to perplex it while the human mind is constituted as it is. Would it not, therefore, be the true wisdom of both parties to confess their ignorance, and to cease from the construction of systems, and the entanglements of controversy, which may do much harm, but can do little good? Another objection, which Mr. Scott makes to the representations of the Bishop of Lincoln, relates to the frequent application of the term “arbitrary” to that will of God which is concerned in predestination; a term, says Mr. Scott, to which Calvin would doubtless have indignantly objected, as spoken by him of the only wise God. “Arbitrary will, in the common use of words, means the will of one who is determined to have his own way, being possessed of power to enforce his decisions. “Sic role, sic jubčo ; stet pro ratione voluntas.” This, in general, is unreasonable, capricious, tyrannical; often in direct opposition to wisdom, justice, truth, goodness, or mercy. Such thoughts of God's sovereignty were far removed from Calvin's views of the subject, and so they are from ours. God does not, indees, inform us of the reasons and motives of his decrees or dispensations; but he assures us, that he is ‘righteous in all his ways. and holy in all his works;’ that “all his works are done in wisdom;’ that “God is Love.”. We cannot, indeed, see the wisdom, justice, truth, and goodness, of many things, which undeniably he does: and it is not wonderful, that his decrees are a depth which we cannot fathon: but faith takes it for granted, that ‘righteousness and judgment are the basis of his throne, even when * clouds and darkness are round about him.” In the mysterious and awful subject before us, we cannot see the reasons which induce the only wise God, the God of holiness and love, to choose one in preserence to another,
, or to new create one rather than another:
but let it not be supposed that there is no
reason, or no adequate reason. Now, if it consist with infinite wisdom and perfection, to change the heart of one man, and not that of another; how does it alter the case, whether we suppose, that, being infinite in knowledge and foreknowledge, he determined to do this from all etermity; or whether he formed the determination at the moment when he effected it? On the other hand, if, either in the present dispcusations of God, or in the decisions of the great day, any thing be done inconsistent with perfect wisdom, justice, truth, and love, will the circumstance, that it was not predestinated, make any difference in the opinion to be formed of it?" Vol. ii. pp. 4, 5. The same objectionable language occurs in another passage of the Bishop of Lincoln's book, where he speaks of the Calvinistic doctrine as representing men “under the control of an irresistible destiny;” a term, Mr. Scott observes, “ inore suited to heathen fatalism, or to the modern necessarian system, than to the wise and righteous decrees and appointments of the eternal God.” Simoilar objections lie against the bishop's assertion, that “the very idea of a covenant is inconsistent with the Calvinistic system.” Upon which Mr.Scott inquires, what were the conditions of the covenant made with Noah and his posterity after the deluse or of that other covenant with the church of God, of which it is expressly said, “this is as the waters of Noah unto me * *”— as if, on the principles of the Bishop of Lincoln, a covenant could only be of one kind f ; and that which the great God has vouchsafed to make with his falien and helpless creatures, must in every respect be similar to those which men of equal powers are accustomed to make with 40ne another. Again, when the bishop observes with his usual harshness of representation upon this subject, “absolute decrees say, that it is irreversibly determined by the arbitrary will
* Isaiah liv. 9, 10. See also Jer. xxxi. 31, 32, and 37. Ez. xvi. 60.
t see upon this point our Review of the lcarned and candid Archdeacon Pott's Considerations on the Christian Covenant, in the third volume of our work.
Chaist. Observ. No. 127.
of God, that you shall or shall not be saved, without any respect to your conduct,” Mr. Scott remarks, that it would throw much light on the subject, if his lordship would quote from some modern Calvinists, any passage in which this exceptionable sentino ent occurs.
“When this is done,” he adds, “I will cordially join in reprobating the doctrine." “The decree to leave any to themselves
and their own wicked inclinations, to fill
up the measure of their crimes, cannot be without respect to their conduct; nor (it indeed it be, as no doubt it is, just and wise), can it be arbitrary. The decree which chooses some to salvation, through sancts. ' cation of the Spirit and belief of the truth. is indeed not made for our foreseen works; for none could beforeseen but evil works, except as ‘the fruits of the Spirit, given to us according to this decree: our renewal to holiness and fruitfulness in good works, is one grand object of the decree; it is effectually provided for in the covenant; and only by giving diligence, and abounding in them, can we make our calling and electiou sure. Low, then, can this be, “without any repect to our conduct?’”
monies of Scripture. For instance, the view which is given by the bishop of the well-known parallel between the first and second Adam, and the effects of the disobedience of the one, and of the obedience of the other, as drawn by St. Paul in the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, though sanctioned by many commentators, “is liable,” says Mr. Scott, “to insurmountable objections: especially it most clearly admits, that the righteousness of one came upon all men to “justification of life:’ and how then can universal salvation be denied ? Indeed, his lordship's words, if rigorously interpreted, might seem to admit this consequence : * universal righteousness and pardon the effect of Christ's obedience.’” But Mr. Scott is persuaded that the bishop does not intend universal salvation ; and interpreting the passage in question by the clause in the 17th verse, which seems to limit the actual benefit to those “who receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousmess,” he does not object to the universality of the redemption in the sense before explained. The same reasoning applies to the 20th verse of this chapter, as to the superabounding of grace; where the bishop's argument, by proving too much, shews that it is not conclusive; and, it may be added, to the latter part of the 15th chapter of the 1st Epistle to the Corinthiaas, which must evidently be restrained to the resurrection of the just. Another set of texts, introduced by the Bishop of Lincoln with considerable confidence, respects the supposed incompatibility of decrees with commands, and exhortations to duty, with conditions, and voluntary actions, His lordship instances, in the case both of the Jews and Gentiles, who were called upon to believe and obey the Gospel; and his argument is this : “If God had decreed that the Jews” (mentioned in the 6th of St. John) “should not believe, it could not have been said, that it was his work that they should;” and that if those who are mentioned
by St. Peter, in his first Epistle, chap. i. 8, were “ appointed by God to disobedience, then disobedience would be compliance with the Divine appointment or will, and the same act would be both obedience and disobedience.” Now there certainly is much force in these statements; but then his lordship must be aware, that those who believe the doctrine of the Divine decrees do not affect to know who are the objects of them If it be said, that this cannot refer to our Lord, who knew all men, and who they were that would believe, Mr. S. replies, that as man, and as a preacher, he has left us an example, for our imitation; that he used proper means tor the salvation of those who heard him, and that even in the case of some” of whom he knew and declared, that they would not believe. As for all other preachers and hearers of the Gospel, he affirms it to be the duty of the one, to deliver their message in the plainest and most earnest terms of invitation to all; and of the other, to receive and obey it; and “we have no fear,” adds Mr. Scott, “ of being condemned for opposition to a secret decree, while diligently obeying a revealed and express command.” Vol. ii. p. 15. The alleged absurdity of “ the same act being,” upon the Calvinistic hypothesis, “both obedience and disobedience,” Mr. Scott endeavours to explain by the same distinction between the revealed and the secret will of God. Obedience is compliance with the known command of God; not acting according to his decree or appointment, whether secret or revealed. Certainly men, in disobeying the command of God, fulfil his appointments, and often accomplish his predictions. “Did decrees,” observes Mr. Scott, “even when revealed, warrant the conduct of those, who break God's commandments, in fulfilling them, the accursed slave trade might have found a better justification #. prophecy, than it ever had in the British senate from its most able, eloquent, and zealous advocates.” * See John vi, 64; and x. 26.