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than these gracious commands to renew our own hearts prove Pelagian Free Will ?, “Circumcise the fore-skiu of yonr, heart, and be no more stiff-necked.-Niake you a new heart and a new spirit.— Turn yourselves, aud live ye?' Who does not see, that the evangelical aniou of such passages gives birth to the scripture doctrine of assisted Free Will, which stands at an equal distance from Calvinian Necessity, and from Pelagian, self-sufficient Exertion ?
ARG. LVIII. (p. 73.)—But, God “worketh ALL things according to the counsel of his own will. (Eph. i. 11.)”—By putting the word "all” in very large capitals, Mr. T. seems willing to insinuate, that God's decree causes all things; and, of consequence, that God absolutely works the good actions of the righteous, and the bad deeds of the wicked. Whereas the apostle means only, that all the things which God works, he works them according to the counsel of his owu' inost wise, gracious, and righteous "will.' But the things which God works are, in many cases, as different from the things which we work, as light is different from darkness. This passage, therefore, does not prove Calvinian Necessity : For, when God made man, 'according to the counsel of his will, he made him a Free-agent, and ‘set before him life and death ;' bidding him choose life. Now, to include Adam's eating of the forbidden fruit, and choosing death, among the things which God worketh,' is to turn Manichee with a witness': It is to confound Christ and Belial; the acts of God, and the deeds of sinners. It is to suppose (horrible to think!) that God wi!! send the reprobates to hell for his own deeds; or, if you please, for what he has wrought absolutely in them, and by them, according to the counsel of his own necessitating will.' This dreadful doctrine is that capital part of Calvinism which is called Absolute Predestination to death. If Mr. T. denies, that itis the secoud pillar of his doctrine of grace,
o Sect. II, where he will find his peculiar gospel “upon its legs."
I hope I need say no more upon this head, to convince the unprejudiced reader, that Mr. T.'s arguments in favour of Calvinian Necessity are frivolous; and that Mr. Wesley advances a glaring truth, when he asserts, that, on the principle of Absolute Predestination, there can be no future Judgment; (upon any known principle of Wisdom, Equity, and Justice ;) and that it requires miore pains than all rational creatures will be ever able to take, to reconcile the doctrine of (Calvinian) Reprobation, with the doctrine of a Judgment-day.
An Answer to the Argument taken from God's PRE
Science, whereby Mr. Toplady tries to prove, that
Mr. Toplady is a spirited writer. He not only tries to reconcile Calvinian Reprobation with Divine Mercy, but he attempts to retort upon us the charge of holding a cruel doctrine.
ARG. LIX. (p. 47.)-"But what, if, after all, that very cruelty, which Mr. Wesley pretends to charge on Calvinism, be found really chargeable on Arminianism? I pledge myself to prove this_before I conclude this tract.”—And accordingly (p. 86, 87) Mr. Toplady, after observing in his way, that, according to Mr. Wesley's doctrine, God offers his grace to many who 'put it from them,' and gives it to many who receive it in vain,' and who, on this account, are coudemned : Mr. Toplady, I say, sums up his argument in these words : “ If God knows that the offered grace will be rejected, 'twould be mercy to forbear the offer. Prove the contrary if you are able.”
I have answered this objection at large. (Scripture Scales, Vol. III. Sect. vi.) However, I shall say soinething upon it here.-(1.) God's perfections shine in such a manner as not to eclipse one another. Wisdom, Justice, Mercy, and Truth, are the adorable and wellproportioned features of God's moral face, if I may venture upon that expression. Now, if, in order to magnify his Mercy, I thrust out his Wisdom and Justice, as I should do if I held a lawless Calvinian Election; -or, if, in order to magnify his Justice, I thrust out his Mercy and Wisdom, as I should do if I consistently held Calvinian Reprobation ; should I not disfigure God's moral face, as much as I should spoil Mr. Toplady's natural face, if I swelled his eyes or cheeks to such a degree, as to leave absolutely no room for his other features ? The Calvinists forget, that, as human beauty does not consist in the monstrous bigness of one or two features, but in the harmonious and symmetrical proportion of all; so Divine Glory does not consist in displaying a Mercy and a Justice, which would absolutely swallow up each other,
ther with Wisdom, Holiness, and Truth. This would, however, be the case, if God, after having wisely decreed to make Free-agents, in order to display his Holiness, Justice, and Truth, by judgivg them according to their works,' necessitated them to be good or wicked, by decrees of Absolute Predestination to life and heaven, or of absolute Reprobation to hell and dam- . nation.
2. Do but allow, that God made rational creatures in order to rule them as rational, namely, by laws adapted to their nature ;—do but admit this truth, I say, which stands or falls with the Bible; and it necessarily follows, that such creatures were made with an eye to ' a day of judgment : And the moment this is granted, Mr. Toplady's argument vanishes into smoke. For, supposing that God had displayed more mercy towards those who die in their sins, by forbearing to give them grace and to offer them more grace : -Or, in other words, supposing that God had shewn
the wicked more mercy, by shewing them no mercy at all, (wbich, hy the by, is a contradiction in terms,) yet, such a merciless mercy (if I may use the expression,) would have blackened his Wisdom, overthrown his Truth, and destroyed his Justice. What a poor figure, for instance, would his Justice have made among his other attributes, if he had said, that he would judicially cast his unprofitable servants into outer darkness, for burying a talent which they never had, or for not l'eceiving a Saviour who was always kept from them? And what rationals would not hare wondered at a Governor, who, after having made moral agents in order to rule them according to their free nature, and to judge them in righteousness according to their works,' should nevertheless shew himself-(i.) So inconsistent, as to rule them by efficacious decrees, which should absolutely pecessitate some of them to work iniquity; and others, to work righteousness: (ii.) So unjust, as to judge them according to the works, which his own binding decrees had necessitated them to do: And, (ii.) so cruel and unwise, as to punish them with eternal death, according to a sevtence of Absolute Reprobation to death, or of Absolute Election to life, which he passed beforehand, without any respeot to their works, thousands of years before most of them were born ? By what art could so strange a conduct have been reconcilerl with the titles of Lawgiver, and · Judge of all the earth,' which God assumes; or with his repeated declarations, that Justice and Equity are the basis of his throne, and that, in point of Judgment, his ways are perfectly equal ?
If Mr. T. should try to vindicate so strange a proCeeding, by saying, that God could justly reprobate to Eternal death myriads of unborn infants for the sin of ddum; would he not make a bad matter worse; since, upon the plan of the Absolute Predestination of all events, Adam's sin was necessarily brought about by the decree of the means, which decree, if Calvinism be true, God made in order to secure and accomplish the two grand decrees of the end, namely, the eterval
decree of Finished Damnation by Adam, and the eternal decree of Finished Salvation by Christ?
The absurdity of Mr. Toplady's argument may be placed in a clearer light by an illustration :- The king, to display his royal benevolence, equity, and justice ; to maintain good order in his army, and excite his troopers to military diligence, promises to give a reward to all the men of a regiment of light-horse, who shall ride so many miles without dismounting to plunder : And he engages himself to punish severely those who shall be guilty of that offence. He foresees, indeed, that many will slight his offered rewards, and incur his threatened punishment: Nevertheless, for the abovementioned reasons, he proceeds. Some men are promoted, and others are punished. A Calvinist highly blames the king's conduct. He says, that his majesty would have shewn himself more gracious, and would have asserted his sovereignty much better, if he had refused horses to the plunderers, and bad punished them for lighting off horses which they never had : And that, on the other hand, it became his free grace to tie the rewardable dragoons fast to their saddles, and by this means to necessitate them to keep on horseback, and deserve the promised reward. Would not such a conduct have marked his majesty's reputation with the stamp of disingenuity, cruelty, and folly? And yet, astonishing ! because we do not approve of such a judicial distribution of the rewards of eternal life, and the punishments of eternal death, Mr. Toplady fixes the charge of crueLTY upon the gospel which we preach! He goes on:
ARGUMENT LX. (p. 85.)—“According to Mr. Wesley's own fundamental principle of Universal Grace; Grace itself, or the saving influence of the Holy Spirit on the hearts of men, does and must become the ministration of eternal death to thousands and millions."---(p. 89.) " Level therefore your tragical exclamations, about unmercifulness, at your own scheme, which truly and properly deserves them,"