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as, as absolutely to beget all our good and bad works? And if it be not unreasonable to say, “ that God endued one man with a power to determine himself ;" why should we be considered as enemies to the gospel, because we assert, that he has made all men in some degree capable of determining themselves ; the scriptures declaring, that he treats all adult persons as freeagents, or persons endued with the power of self. determination ?
5. Mr. Toplady and all the rigid Calvinists suppose indeed, that God's necessitation extended to the commission of Adam's sin ; and yet they tell us, that God is not the author, but only the permitter of sin. But they do not consider, that their doctrine of absolute necessity leaves no more room for permission, than the absolute decree, that a pound shall always exactly weigh sixteen ounces, leaves room for a permission of its weighing sometimes fifteen ounces and sometimes seventeen. Should Mr. Toplady reply, that “ such a decree, however, leaves room for the permission, that a pound shall always exactly weigh sixteen ounces :" I reply, that this is playing upon words ; it being evident that the word permission, in such a case, is artfully put for the plainer word necessity or absolute decree. It is evident, therefore, that although Mr. Toplady ains at being more consistent than the moderate Calvinists, he is in fact as inconsistent as they, if he denies that, upon the scheme of the absolute decrees preached by Calvin, and of the absolute necessity which he himself maintains, God is properly the contriver and author of all sin and wickedness.
6. It is dreadful to lay, directly or indirectly, all sin at the door of an omnipotent Being, who is fearful in holiness, and glorious in praises.' Nor is it less dangerous to make poor deluded Christians swallow down, as gospel, some of the most dangerous errors that were ever propagated by ancient or modern infidels. We hara already seen, that the capital error of Manes doctrine of necessity. This doctrine wa grand engine with which Spinosa in Ik
Hobbes in England, attempted to overthrow Christianity in the last century. Those two men, who may be called the apostles of modern Materialists and Atheists, tried to destroy the Lord's vineyard, by letting loose upon it the very error which Mr. T. recommends to us as the capital doctrine of grace. “ Spinosa," says a modern author, “ will allow no Governor of the Universe but Necessity.” As for Mr. Hobbes he built his Materialism upon the ruins of free will, and the foundation of necessity : Hear the above-quoted author giving us an account of the monstrous system of religion, kuown by Hobbism ;_" Freedom of will it was impossible that Mr. Hobbes should assert to be a property of matter; but he finds a very unexpected way to extricate himself out of the difficulty. The proposition against him stands thus : “ Freedom of will cannot be a property of matter; but there are beings which have freedom of will; therefore there are substances which are not material.' He answers this at once, by saying the most strange thing, and the most contradictory to our knowledge of what passes within ourselves, that perhaps was ever advanced; namely, that there is no freedom of will. 'Every effect,' he says, [and this is exactly the doctrine of Mr. Toplady, as the quotations I have produced from his book abundantly prove,] “Every effect must be owing ' to come cause, and that cause must produce the effect ' necessarily. Thus, whatever body is mored, is moved,
by some other body, and that by a third, and so on • without end.' In the same manner he [Mr. Hobbes] concludes, ' The will of a Voluntary Agent must be
determined by some other external to it, and so on without end : Therefore that the will is not determined
by any power of determining itself, inherent in itself; ? that is, it is not free, nor is there any such thing as * freedom of will; but that all is the act of necessity.'”. --This is part of the account, which the author of the Answer to Lord Bolingbroke's Philosophy gires us of Mr. Hobbes's detestable scheme of necessity: And it behoves Mr. Toplady and the Calvinists, to see, if while they contend for their absolute decrees, and for the
doctrine of the absolute Necessity and Passiveness of all our willings and motions, they do not inadverteutly confound matter and spirit, and make way for Hobbes's Materialism, as well as for his scheme of Necessity.
7. The moinent the doctrine of Necessity is overthrowo, Manicheism, Spinosism, Hobbism, and the spreading religion of Mr. Voltaire, are left without foundation; as well as that part of Calvin's system which we object against. And we beseech Mr. Toplady, and the contenders for Calviuian decrees, to consider, that, if we oppose their doctrine, it is not from any prejudice against their persous, much less against God's free grace; but from the same motive which would make us bear our testimony against Manes, Spinosa, Hobbes, and Voltaire, if they would impose their errors opon us as “ doctrines of grace." Mr. Wesley and I are ready to testify upon oath, that we humbly submit to God's sovereignty, and joyfully glory in the freeness of gospel-grace, which has mercifully distinguished us from countless myriads of our fellow-creatures, by gratuitously bestowing upon us numberless favours, of a spiritual and temporal nature, which he has tħought proper absolutely to withhold from our fellow-creatures. To meet the Calvinists on their own ground, we go se far as to allow, there is a partial, gratuitous Election and Reprobation. By this Election, Christians are admitted to the enjoyment of privileges far superior to those of the Jews: And, according to this Reprobation, myriads of Heathens are absolutely cut off from all the prerogatives which accompany God's covenants of peculiar grace. In a word, we grant to the Calvinists every thing they conteud for, except the doctrine of
Absolute Necessity : Nay, we even grant the necessary be anavoidable salvation of all that die in their infancy.
And our love to peace would make us go farther to
sentences of absolution and condemnation, which the righteous Judge will then pronounce. We hope, therefore, that the prejudices of our Calvinian brethren will subside, and that, instead of accounting us inreterate enemies to 'Truth, they will do us the justice to say, that we have done our best to hinder them from inadvertently betraying some of the greatest truths of Christianity into the hands of the Manichees, Materialists, Infidels, and Antinomians of the age. May the Lord hasten the happy day, in which we shall no more waste our time in attacking or defending the truths of our holy religion ; but bestow every moment in the sweetest exercises of divine and brotherly love! In the mean time, if we must contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, let us do it with a plainness, that may effectually detect error; and with a mildness, that may soften our most violent opponents. Lest I should transgress against this rule, I beg leave once more to observe, that, though I have made it appear that Mr. Toplady's Scheme of Necessity is inseparably connected with the most horrid errors of Manicheism, Materialism, and Hobbism, yet I am far from accusing him of wilfully countenancing any of those errors. I am persuaded he does it undesignedly.. The badness of his cause obliges him to collect, from all quarters, every shadow of argument to support his favourite opinion. And I make no doubt, but, when he shall candidly review our controversy, it will be his grief to find, that, in his hurry, he has contended for a scheme, which gives up Christianity into the hands of her greatest enemies, and has poured floods of undeserved contempt upon Mr. Wesley, who is one of her best defenders.
REV. MR. TOPLADY'S
“ VINDICATION OF THE DECREES,”
BY THE AUTHOR OF THE CHECKS.
"The (absolute] predestination of some to LIFE, &c.” cannot be
maintained without admitting the [absolute) reprobation of some others to DEATH, &c.; and all who have subscribed the said article (the Seventeenth, in a Calvinian sense) are bound in honour, conscience, and law to defend (Calvinian, absolute] reprobation, were it only to keep the Seventeenth article (taken in a Caluinian sense) upon its legs.”—The Rev. Mr. TOPLADY's Historic Proof of Calvinism, p. 574.