Page images

The flaw of this argument consists in the words “ does and must,” which Mr. T. puts in italics. (1.) In the word “ does ;' it is a great mistake to say, that, upon Mr. W.’s principles, grace itself does become the ministration of eternal death to any soul. It is not for grace, but for the abuse or neglect of grace and its sav. ing light, that men are condemned. This is the con. demnation,' says Christ himself, that light (the light of grace] is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light.'-And St. Paul adds, that the 'grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath [in different degrees] appeared to all men.' (John iii. 19; Tit. ii. 11.) There is no medium between condemning meu for not using a talent of grace which they had, or for not using a talent of grace which they never had. The former sentiment, which is perfectly agreeable to reason, scripture, and conscience, is that of Mr. Wesley ; the latter sentiment, which contradicts one half of the Bible, shocks reason, and demolishes the doctrines of justice, is that of Mr. Toplady.—(2.) When this gentleman says, that God's grace, upon Mr. Wesley's principles, must become the ministration of death to millions, he advances as groundless a proposition, as I would do, if I said, that the grace of creation, the grace of preservation, and the grace of a preached gospel, absolutely destroy millions ; because millions, by wilfully abusing their created and preserved power3, or by neglecting so great salvation as the gospel brings, pull down upon themselves an unnecessary and therefore a just destruc. tion.-(3.) We oppose the doctrine of Absolute Necessity, or the Calvinian must, as being inseparable from Manicheism : And we assert,that there is no needs must in the eternal death of any mau, because Christ imparts a degree of temporary salvation to all, with power to obey, and a promise to bestow eternal salvation upon all that will obey. How ungenerous is it then, to charge upon us the very doctrine which we detest, when it has no necessary connection with any of our principles ! How irrational to say, that, if our doctrine of grace be true, God's grace must become the ministration of death to millions !-Ten men have a mortal disorder : A physician prepares a sovereign remedy for them all: Five take it properly, and recover ; and five, who will not follow his prescriptions, die of their disorder. Now, who but a prejudiced person would infer from thence, that the physician's sovereign remedy is become the ministration of death’ to the patients who die, becanse they would not take it? Is it right thus to confound a remedy with the obstinate neglect of it? A man wilfully starves himself to death with good food before him. I say that his wilfulness is the canse of his death :"No," replies a Decretist,“ it is the good food which you desire him to take.” This absurd conclusion is all of a piece with that of Mr. Toplady.

ARG. LXI. (p. 89.)—“The Arminian system represents the Father of mercies as offering grace to them, who, he knows, will only add sin to sin, and make themselves two-fold more the children of hell by refusing it.”—Indeed, it is not the Arminian system only, that says this : (1.) All the Calvinists, who allow that God gave angelic grace to angels, though he knew that many of them would fall from that grace, and would fall deeper, than if they had fallen from a less exalted station :-(2.) Jesus Christ who gave Judas the grace of apostleship, and represents God as giving a pound to his servants who squander it, as well as to those who use it properly:--And (3.) Mr.Toplady himself,who (notwithstanding his pretended horror for so scriptural a doctrine) dares not deny, that God gave the grace of creation to those who shall perish. Now the grace of creation implies spotless holiness; and if God could once graciously give spotless holiness to Judas in the loins of Adam, why could he not graciously restore to that apostle a degree of free agency to good, that he might be judged according to his own works,' and not according to Calvinian decrees of " finished wickedness” and “ finished damnation " in Adam ? But,—(4.) What is still more surprising, Mr. T. himself (p. 51) quotes these words, which so abundantly

decide the question : “Thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven [by the peculiar farours and gospelprivileges bestowed upon thee] shalt be brought down to hell: For if the mighty works which have heen done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained unto this day.” (Matt. xi. 23.) Now, I ask, why were these "mighty works' done in Capernaum ? Was it out of love-to bring Capernaum to repentance ? Or, was it out of wrath-that it might be more tolerable in the day of judgment for Sodom thau Capernaum? There is no medium : Mr. Toplady must recant this part of the Bible, and of his book; or he must answer one of these two questions in the affirmative. If he say (as we do) that these 'mighty works, which might have converted Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom, were primarily wrought to bring Capernaum to repentance, he gives up Calvinism, which stands or falls with the doctrine of necessitating means used in order to bring about a necessary end. If he say (as Calvinism does) that these mighty works were primarily wrought to sink Capernaum into hell—into a deeper hell than Sodom, because the end always shews what the means were used for; he runs upon the point of his own objection ; he pulls, upon his doctrines of grace, the very unmercifulness which he charges upon ours; and he shows, to every unprejudiced reader, that the dilliculty arising îrom the Prescience of God, with which the Calvinists think to demolish the doctrine of General Grace, falis upon Calvinism with a double weight.- Mr. Toplady is sensible that God could never have appeared good and just, unless the wicked had been absolutely inexcusable; and that they could never have been inexcusable, if God had condemned them for burying a talent of grace which they never had: And therefore Mr. T. tries to overthrow this easy solution of the difficulty by saying :

ARG. LXII. (p. 88.)—“ Be it so," that the wicked! e made inexcusable by a day of grace and temporary

on, “yet, surely, God can never be thonght,

[ocr errors]

knowingly to render

Mercy and Love.

will leave the

such measures as will certainly load him with accumu

a man more inexcusable, by taking lated condemnation, out of mere love to that man?" We grantit; and therefore we assert that it is not out of “ mere love" that God puts us in a gracious state of probation, or temporary salvation ; but out of Wisdom, Truth, and distributive Justice, as well as out of we would give up the doctrine of Judicial Reprobation ; with no other perfection than that of Merciful Love,

If God, therefore, were endued for a God devoid of Distributive Justice could and would save all sinners in the Calvinian way, that is, with a salvation perfectly finished without any of their works. But then, he would neither judge them, nor bestow eternal salvation upon them by way of reward for their works, as the scriptures say he will.

Oh ! how much more reasonable and scriptural is it, to allow the doctrine of Free Grace, and Free Will, established in the Scripture Scales; and to maintain the Reprobation of Justice-'an avoidable reprobation this, which is perpetually asserted in the gospel, and

wicked entirely inexcusable, and God perfectly righteous :-How much better is it, I say, to Reprobation, which renders the wicked excusable and pitiable, as being condemned for doing what Omnipowhich stigmatizes Christ as a shuffler, for offering tepce necessitated them to do;-a Reprobation this, to all a salvation from which most are absolutely

;-a cruel Reprobation, which represents the such measures as will unavoidably load myriads of unFather of mercies as an unjust Sovereign, who takes Wrath to their unformed souls !

accumulated condemnation, out of Free

That, according to the gospel which we preach, the wicked shall certainly be but trifling after all ; seeing the Calvinists assert, that

therefore the difference between us is some men, namely those who are eternally reprobater? by divine Sovereignty, shall certainly and unavoi;

hold such


Reprobation, than to admit Calvinian


born men with





be damued ; and the Anti. calvinists say, that some men, namely, those who are finally repruvated by divine Justice, shall be certainly though avoidably damued :" --I reply, that, frivolous as the difference between these two doctrines may appear to those, who judge according to the APPEARANCE of words, it is as capital as the difference between avoidable ruin and unavoidable, destruction ; between Justice and Injustice ;-between initial Election and finished Reprobation ;-between saying that God is the first cause of the damnatiou of the wicked, and asserting that they are the first cause of their own damnation. In a word, it is as great, as the difference between the North and the Southbetween a gospel made up of Antinomian Free Grace and barbarian Free Wrath, and a gospel made up of scrip. tural Free Grace, and impartial, retributive Justice.

Upon the whole, from the preceding answers it is evident, if I am not mistaken, that, though the grand Calvinian objection, taken from God's Foreknowledge, may, at first sight, puzzle the simple ; yet it can bear neither the light of scripture, nor that of reason ; and it recoils upon Calvinism, with all the force with which it is supposed to attack the Saving Grace which has appeared to all men.'

[ocr errors]


An Answer to the Charges of robbing the Trinity, and

encouraging Deism, which Charges Mr. T. brings against the Doctrine of the Anti-Calvinists.

MR. T. thinks his cause so good, that he supposes himself able, not only to stand oli the defensive; but also to attack the gospel which we preach. From his Babel therefore, (his strong tower of Confusion,) he makes a bold sally, and charges us thus :

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »