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patiently and meekly bear the consequences. Its • forbidding aspect.' That which has a 'forbidding
aspect,' in one circle, assumes a very attractive aspect in another: and the author of these remarks has been in situations, where a Calvinistick creed, and the character of being a most decided Calvinist, were essential to popularity, to favour, and to worldly interest : and he has experienced far more painful effects, in opposing what he deemed the errors of professed Calvinists, or rather, Antinomians who called themselves Calvinists, and who branded him as an Arminian, than he has the least fear of experiencing from Anticalvinists.
But he can truly say, before God, that he never “ shunned to de“ clare," what he thought “ the whole counsel of “ God," either from the pulpit or the press; for fear of incurring reproach, contempt, or opposition from either party. He knows nothing of reserves, where faithfulness in his ministry, and where the glory of God is concerned: as, it is probable, this publication will prove. So far from thinking that Calvinism, or the doctrines now called Calvinism, have in themselves a forbidding aspect;' except to the pride and corrupt passions of the human heart: he firmly believes, that they are most glorious and lovely in themselves, and will appear so, to all holy creatures, in the bright world of light and felicity. But they are “ strong meat," and not meet food for babes : they are not proper to be dwelt on, very particularly, in publick preaching; and still less, in tracts or discourses, intended to excite the attention of the careless and ignorant. “I have many things
“ to say unto you,
but ye cannot bear them now."“ I have fed you with milk, and not with meat; for “ hitherto ye were not able to bear it; neither yet
now are ye able, for ye are carnal, &c.” “Strong “ meat belongeth to them who are of full age; even “ to those, who by reason of use have their senses
exercised to discern good and evil.”—.“ Also in all “ his epistles,” (Peter's “ beloved brother Paul, who “ wrote according to the wisdom given to him,")
are some things hard to be understood, which " they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they “ do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.". These Scriptures shew, that there may be good reasons, for speaking on what we really believe, in respect of these subjects, with caution, and with respect to circumstances, and the capacity of the recipients : reasons, perfectly distinct from the fear of reproach from man; from the many, from the wise, from the learned, from the powerful. But if we do not believe, what our predecessors, (from whom we inherit the title of Calvinists, whether we will or not,) believed: are we bound to come forward and avow those parts of the system, which we are convinced are unfounded and unscriptural ?--Did I really believe all that is contained in the quotations from Calvin, in the Lambeth-articles, or those of the synod of Dort: no fear of stigma, however deep, should deter me from avowing my belief, in the most perspicuous language, which I'am capable of using. But I do not believe several things contained
• ! Joho xvi. 12. 1 Cor. ii. 1-3. Heb. v. 12-14. 2 Pet. iji. 15, 16,
in these; (whether my assertion be credited or not;) and therefore, I plainly declare, that I do not; though I am aware, I shall not escape censure from other quarters, foë this avowal. Their Master. Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri. “ One is our "Master, even Christ; and all we are brethren." The writer of these remarks was as much what is called a Calvinist, as he is at present, before he ever saw one line of Calvin, or Augustine, or Beza, or almost of any Calvinism, except that of the Scriptures, and of our articles. Nor had hie at all learned it from either préaching or converse: of the former he had scarcely Heard any thing; and as to the latter, his evangelical friends made a point of not speaking on the subject, unless interrogated upon it. In 1777, he adopted the outlines of his present creed. In 1779, he published: The Force of Truth, an authentick narra“tive;' in which he avowed his sentiments on this subject. In 1786, he published a Sermon on Election and Final Perseverance, (when exposed to stigma as an Arminián,) which accords exactly to his present sentiments: he never saw one line of Calvin, till after the first edition of that sermon was published: nor has he at all altered his sentiments on these subjects, by what he has since read of Calvin, and Calvinistick writers. It may be indecorous to speak thus concerning myself: but with what justice can I be called a disciple of Calvin ? Such a charge on the whole body demands an explicit answer. It may also be fairly apprehended, that many of the evangelical clergy, could, if called to it, make a statement, not dissimilar on the subject : and it
may confidently be said, that none of them believe these doctrines, because contained in the works of Calvin; but because they judge, that they are contained in the holy Scriptures; and are confirmed in this conclusion by those articles, which they have ex animo subscribed. We have no need to quote the words of any human, or foreign, author ; when we can prove our tenets sufficiently from the word of God, and from our authorized books. We appeal to the authority of no master : for Christ alone is our Master; and Calvin has no authority, except what he derives from the word of God. We do not shrink from avowing the articles of the Calvinistick creed; except where we count any positions unscriptural. We not only virtually, but openly, allow a few things in Calvin, and many in some persons called Calvinists, to be indefensible. We do not say, that · Calvinism is not to be judged of by the
doctrines of Calvin :' but that our doctrines are to be judged of by the word of God, and as ministers of the establishment, by our articles, &c, and not by the writings of Calvin. We only allow the name of Calvinists, to prevent circumlocution : but if being Calvinists implies having Calvin, instead of Christ, for our Master, we indignantly disclaim it. “ Calvin crucified for us? Or were we baptized in 6 the name of Calvin ?" Veneration for so eminent a man, and humble consciousness of inferiority, may, and often does, keep ys silent, eyen when we disapprove of some of his positions; but we must speak fully what we think, when thus called to do it.We profess a sort of moderate Calvinism; purged
of its most offensive tenets :' and do we not believe, what we profess? We would“ prove all things" by the touchstone of Scripture; " and hold fast that " which is good," and that only. Our appeal is not to reason and common sense, to determine what is, and what is not, derogatory to the perfections of the Deity, but to the holy Scriptures; to "the law and
to the testimony." Nor do we regard whether our views be any longer Calvinism or not; provided they accord to the oracles of God: but even these are deemed by multitudes liable to most serious objections; and must they also be modified and explained away, for fear of these objections ?
P. Dlxix. Note. * Heylin, &c.'' How can any man know his election, except by his conversion? Or his conversion, except by his holy life? If his Lordship could have brought such a passage from Calvin, or if any of our opponents can produce such an one from our writings, it would be to the purpose. But do modern Calvinists avow and live according to the tenour of this abominable Antino
1 Heylin says, that it is related by Heistibachius, that the * Landgrave of Turing being by his friends admonished of his ' vicious conversation and dangerous condition, he made them • this answer, viz. Si prædestinatus sum, nulla peccata poterunt ' mihi regnum cælorum auferre; si præscitus, nulla operá niibi • illud valebunt conferre; that is to say, If I be elected, no sins
can possibly bereave me of the kingdom of heaven; if reprobated, no good deeds can advance me to it. “An objection, says Heylin, not more old than comnion, but such, I must confess, to which I never found a satisfactory answer from the
pen of Supralapsarian or Sublapsarian, within the small com. pass of my reading.'