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if not to a greater extent than hath been ftated, were the doctrine of Calvin himself, is a position, to which his own writings bear ụnquestionable testimony : nor hath a fyllable been here advanced, which those writings do not expressly warrant. The austere and rigor, ous character of the doctrine, (I wish to speak of it in the most unexceptionable and inoffenfive terms,) and its tendency withal to foster the most dangerous wickedness, most dangerous, because connected with an
erroneous principle, may have alarmed the more timid of his professed followers ; and have deterred them from adopting it with all its frightful consequences, however necessarily they may result from his fundamental tenets. There have not however been wanting those among his disciples, both in earlier and in recent times, who have been hardy enough to employ such language, as will fully justify us, not only in declining to propagate, but in deprecating the propagation of, tenets so preposterous in themselves, and of such manifest injury to the cause of pure religion. Such was the case at the period of the Reformation, when, as a late learned Divine remarks, “ Calvinism “ prevailed among a few Gospellers, who $ drew consequences from it, which Calvin $6 would willingly have guarded against ; but he had laid down the premises ; and note “ withstanding he stopped there, and would “ have persuaded others to do the fame, yet " the corrupt hearts of these men boldly drew 66 the conclusion for him "." Such also was the case in the time of Charles the First; and fuch it is in the present timeo.
What, for instance, shall we say of the flas grant Antinomian tendency of those expreffions, wherein a living Minister of.our Church, of great and extensive popularity, afferts the doctrines of unconditional election and irrefistible grace ?
6 Wisdom crieth aloud, not in " the temple only, and in the courts of the 6 Lord's house, but in the streets and the lanes “ of the city, among the graceless and the • idle ; those who are too graceless to attend " the ordinances of duty, and too idle to be
concerned for their falvation. And when “ Jesus calls, observe who they are he calls, “ He says, Ifany man thirst—if any man hear my
voice: he doth not fay, If any good “ man, or any moral man; but any man. As
* Winchester on the Seventeenth Article, chap. 4.
• The Author has thought it necessary to bring forward at some length the principal Calvinistic tenets in the words of professed Calvinifts, chiefly of the present day. Should the reader find this series of quotations irkfome, and be contented with Calvin's own representation of the doctrines characterized by his vame, he may pass on to page 144, where the moral tendency of the system is discussed.
« if he had faid, I will have my offer made
among such as the world may fancy too “ worthless to be made partakers of my
falva6 tion, and too far lost to be recovered. Go ye
into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. The fingle qualification " I expect is to believe the Gospel : for he 66 that believeth shall be saved. And even that " belief my Spirit shall bestow: He maketh my people willing in the day of his
power, “ All that the Father giveth me, shall come to “ me ; and him that cometh, I will in no wife 66 cast out.
Observe again the extensiveness, " the freedom, the sovereignty of his grace: " All that the Father giveth. Not one, or 6 two, or ten thousand : but all. And they
Shall come. What, if they do such and 66 fuch duties? Not a word of the kinds “ What, if they perform such obligations ? “ Not a syllable like it. It is an absolute pro« mise of the Lord Jesus, founded in his own 6 abfolute power.
Here are neither ifs nor “ buts. No conditions, nor terms. They shall
come: and if they themselves will not, the “ Lord will make them willing in the day of 66. his
power, It is he that worketh in them « both to will and to do of his own good « pleasure."
* Prop against all Despair, by Robert Hawker, D.D. Vicar of Charles, Plymouth, p. 15, 16.
What, again, shall we say of the gloomỹ and unhallowed picture of reprobation, exhibited by another of our brethren, not many years deceased', and still commemorated by his admirers as “an eminent fervant of Christ,"
a burning and a shining light•!" Who afferts concerning the reprobate, whom he elfewhere describes as “ neceffarily and inevitably • condemned to infernal death hereafter," and whose sentence he ascribes with Calvin « not “ to their foreseen fins, but to the sovereign “ will and determinate pleasure of God," that “ God did not barely fuffer, but positively in• tended and decreed them, to continue in a course of his providence, be puts them into “ circumstances of temptation, such as shall “ cause the persons fo tempted actually to “ turn aside from the path of duty to commit “ fin, and to involve both themselves and 66 others in evil.”'
their natural blindness and hardness of heart;" that they are “ vessels of wrath fitted to de“ ftruction," or, as he interprets the language of St. Paul, “ put together, made up, formed,
or fashioned for perdition;" that “ God “ chooses and pitches upon men to do the “ most execrable deeds ; and that “ he does “ not only negatively withhold from the wick" ed his grace, which alone can restrain them “ from evil; but that occasionally, in the
· See the Doctrine of Absolute Predestination, ftated and asserted, &c. by Augustus Toplady, A. B. late Vicar of Broad Hembury, Devon. edit. Glasgow, 1807. pages 109, 110, 111, 112, 160. Evangelical Magazine, August, 1809. p.
What again, with respect to the absolute impossibility of the non-elect attaining to falvation, shall we say of that monstrous position, that “ the sentence of God, which rejects the “ reprobates, is so fixed and immutable, that “ it is impossible they should be saved, thougla " they have performed all the works of the “ faints : and that therefore it is not true, that “ those, who perish through their own fault,
might have been saved through grace, if “ they had not ceased labouring for saving
What again, with reference to the doctrine of the impeccability and final perseverance of the elect, or in the phraseology of the system,
once a faint and always a faint, once a child % of God and always a child of God;" (a doc-trine, let me observe by the way after the
! See “ The Result of False Principles, or Error conviet« ed by its own Evidence, extracted from the original of " Dr. Womack, sometime Lord Bishop of St. David's." edit. 1790. p. 78. An admirable exposure of the mifchievous tendency of Calvinisin,