Page images
PDF
EPUB

extraordinary and peculiar), micans were not vouchsafed." -True : Because according to the election of grace, God uses more means and more powerful ineans to convert some cities, than he does to convert others : Witness the case of Nineveh, compared with that of Jericho. This is strongly maintained in my Essay on the Partial Reprobation i lof Distinguishing Grace, where this very passage is produced. But still we affirm two things (1.) God always uses means sufficient to demonstrate, that his goodness, parience, and mercy, are over all his works, (though in different degrees,) and to testify that he is unwilling that sinners should die; unless they have first obstinately, and without necessity, refused to work out their own eternal salvation with tbe talent of temporary salvation, which is given to all, for the sake of him whose saving grace has appeared to all men,' and who

enlightens [in various degrees] every man that comes into the world.:-(2.) As the men of Sodom were not absolutely lost, though they had but one talent of means, no more were the men of Capernaum absolutely saved, though God, favoured them with so many more talents of means, thau he did the meu of Sodom. Hence it appears that Mr. T. has rnn upon the point of his own sword; the passage which he appeals to proving, that God does not work so irresistibly upon either Jews or Gentiles, as to secure his absolute Approbation of some, and his absolute Reprobation of

[ocr errors]

others.

ARGUMENT XLIII. (Page 52.) Mr. T., to prop up Calvinian Reprobation, quotes these words of Christ, Fills

I ge up the measure of your fathers,' (Matt. xxiii. 32,) and he takes care to produce the words “ Fill ye up,' in capitals; as if he would give us to understand, that Christ is extremely busy in getting reprobates to sin and be damned. For my part, as I believe that Christ never preached up sin and wickedness, I am persuaded that this expression is nothing but a strong, ironical reproof of sin, like that in the Revelation, 'Let him that is unjust, be unjust still ;'--or that in the gospel, · Sleep on now, and take your rest ;'or that in the Book of Ecclesiastes, • Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, &c., but know,' &c. I shudder when I consider “Doc. trines of Grace," so called, which support themselves by representing Christ as a preacher of wickedness. Calvinism may be compared to that insect, which feeds on putrefying carcases, lights only upon real or apparent sores, and delights chiefly in the smell of corruption. If there be a fault in our translation, Calvinism will pass over an hundred plain passages well translated, and will eagerly light upon the error. Thus, (pp. 53 and 57,) Mr. Toplady quotes, being disobedient, whereunto they were appointed.' (1 Pet. ii. 8.) He had rather take it for granted, that the God of Manes absolutely predestinates some people to be disobedient, than do the holy God the justice to admit this godly sense, which the original bears, 'Being disobedient, whereunto they have set, or disposed themselves. See the proofs, Scules, Vol. iii. pp. 115, 158.

ARGUMENT XLIV. (Page 52.)-Mr. T., still pleading for the “ horrible decree" of Calvinian Reprobation, says, "St. Matthew, if possible, expresses it still more strougly: 'It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaveu ; but to them it is not given.' (Matt. xiii. 11.)”-I answer, (1.) If, by the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, you understand the mysteries of Christianity, it is absurd to say, that all who are uot blessed with the knowledge of these mysteries are Calvinistically reprobated. This I demonstrate by verses 16, 17, and by the parallel place in St. Luke: * All things are delivered to me of my Father; and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. [That is, the mystery of a relative personality of Father and Son in the Godhead has not been expressly revealed to others, as I choose to reveal it to you, my Christian friends :] Avd, [to shew that this was his meaning] he turned him uuto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the

eyes

which

see the things which ye see: For I tell you that many prophets (such as Samuel, Isaiah, Daniel, &c.] and kings (such as David, Solomon, Josiah, Hezekiah, &c. St. Matthew adds, and righteous mei,' such as Noah, Abraham, &c.] have desired to see the things which ve see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things which ye hear, and have not heard them.' (Luke x. 22, 23, 24 ; Matt. xiii. 17.)— Is not Mr. T. exces. sively fond of reprobating people to death, if he supposes, that, because it was not given to those prophets, kings, and righteous men, to know the mysteries of the Christian Dispensation, they were all absolutely doomed to continue in sin, and be damned ?

But, (2.) Should it be asserted, that, by 'the mysteries of the kingdom,' we are to understand here every degree of saving light, then the Reprobation mentioned in Matt. xiii. 11, is not the partial reprobation of Grace, but the impartial reprobation of Justice: And, in this case, to appeal to this verse in support of a chimerical reprobation of Free Wrath, argues great inattention to the context; for the very next" verse fixes the reason of the reprobation of the Jews, who heard the gospel of Christ without being benefited by it :-A reason this, which saps the fouudation of Absolute Reprobation. But unto them it is not given :'--For they are Calvinistically reprobated ! – No.- Unto them it is not given : For, who. soever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance : But whosoever hath not (to purpose] from him shall be taken away, even that he liath. (Matt. xiii. 12.) This Anti-Calvinian sense is strongly confirmed by our Lord's words two verses below : « To thein it is not given, &c., for this people's heart is waxed gross : [NOTÉ : It is waxed gross, therefore, it was not so gross at first as it is now:] And their ears are dall' of hearing, and their eyes they have closed ; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.' (Matt. xiii. 15.1-To produce, therefore, Matt. xiii. 11, as a capital proof of Calviniau Reprobation, is as daring an imposition upon the credulity of the simple, as to produce Exodus xx, in defence of adultery and murder. However, such arguments will

Il not only be swallowed dowu in Geneva as tolerable, but the author of P. O. will cry them up as most masterly."

[ocr errors]

ARGUMENT XLV.-(Page 53.)-Mr. T. concludes his scripture proofs, of Calvinian Reprobation by these words : “ Now, I leave it to the decision of any unprejudiced, capable man upon earth, whether it be not evident from these passages, &c., that God hath determined to leave some men to perish in their sins and to be justly punished for them? In affirming which I only give the scriptnre as I found it."-That the scriptures produced by Mr. T. prove this, is true; we maintain it. as well as he: And if he will impose no other reprobation upon us, we are ready to shake hands with him. Nor needs he call his book, “ More Work for Mr. Wesley," but, A Reconciliation with Mr. Wesley : For, when we speak of the reprobation of Justice, we asa sert' that is. God hath determined to leave some men, [namely thie wise and prudent in their own eyes; the proud and disobedient, who do despite to the Spirit of grace to the end of their day of salvation) to perish in their sins,and to be justly purished for them." But, according to Mr. T.'s system, the men « left to perish in their sins,” are not the men whom the scripturest which he has quoted, describe ; but poor creatures: absolutely sentenced to necessary, remediless sin, and to unavoidable, eternal damnation, long before they had an existence in their inother's womb. And, in this case, we affirm, that their endless torments can never be just : And of consequence, that the Calvinian Reprobation of unborn men, which Mr T. has tried to dress up in scripture phrases, is as contrary to the scripture Reprobation of stubborn offenders, as Herod's ordering the barbarous destructiou of the Holy Innocents, is different from his ordering the righteous execution of bloody murderers.

SECTION VII.

4R Answer to the Arguments by which Mr. 7. tries to

reconcile Calvinism with the Doctrine of a future Judgment, and ABSOLUTE Necessity with MORAL Agency.

THEY, who indirectly set aside the day of judgment, do the cause of religion as much mischief as they, who indirectly set aside the immortality of the soul. Mr. Wesley asserts, that the Calvinists are the men. His words are, “On the principle of Absolute Predestination, there can be no future judgment. It requires more paius than all the men upon earth, and all the devils in hell will ever be able to take, to reconcile the doctrine of [Calvinian] Reprobation, with the doctrine of a Judgment-day.”—Mr. T. answers :

ARGUMENT XLVI. (Page 82.) “The consequence is false ; for Absolute Predestination is the very thing that renders the future judgment certain : ‘God hath APPOINTED à day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ORDAINED."" -If Mr. T. had put the words ' in righteousness' in capitals, instead of the words appointed' and 'ordained' (which, he fondly hopes, will convey the idea of the Calvivian Decrees,) he would have touched the knot of the difficulty: For the question is not, Whether there will be a day of judgment; but, Whether, on the principle of Absolute Predestination, there can be a day of judgment, consistently with divine equity, justice, wisdom, and sincerity : Aud that there can, Mr. T. attempts to prove by the following reasoning :

ARGUMENT XLVII. (P. 83.)—“The most flagrant sinners sin voluntarily, notwithstanding the inevitable accomplishment of God's effective and permissive decrees. Now they who siu voluntarily, are accountable: And accountable sinners are judicable; and if judicable, they are punishable."

« PreviousContinue »