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« forbidden by the divine law :' that is, it implies : direct accusation of the most gross and avowed antinomianism, against the whole body of Calvinists. To this it is sufficient for us again to plead .Not • guilty
P. DXXVI. 1. 1. • He, &c." The answer in the preceding remark is sufficient for this also.
P. DXXVI. 1. 9. • He, &c.' This sentiment has been proved to be wholly irreconcileable to the tenets of Calvinism.
It is so easy to select from writers, even of op. posite sentiments in most things, expressions, in which they appear to resemble each other; that more might have been expected in this chapter, than has been produced. Nothing, that so much as appears to resemble our sentiments, as avowed in our publications, has been alledged. Whatever similarity may at first glance be supposed, will, on careful consideration, be found to arise from the supposition, (which is most ungrounded,) that we deny man's free agency and responsibility: or that we are avoxed Antinomians, and claim to ourselves, as the fa
I He (Simon Magus) ordered those who believed in him, not to attend to them (the prophets) nor to fear the threats of • the law, but to do, as free persons, whatever they wished; for " that they would obtain salvation, not by good works, but by
grace. On which account his followers were guilty of every • licentiousness. Vol. iv. p. 192.'
2. He (Saturnilus) says, that there are two distinctions of nien, and that some are good, and some bad ; and that this • difference is derived from nature. Wicked demons co-operating ' with wicked men; the Saviour, he says, came to assist good
ren. Vol. ir. p. 194.'
vourites of heaven, the privilege, (if it be one,) of living in wickedness, without fear of damnation. I shall only add, that the whole accusation of this chapter is entirely unsubstantiated ; and every impartial person, (nay, many who are in some respects not wholly impartial,) will bring in the verdict * Not guilty.
Had his Lordship avowed the purpose of refuting Calvin, or such doctrines contained in Calvin's works, as he deemed erroneous, and of bad tendency : quo. tations from this author, either as here adduced in the mass, at the beginning of the work; or as prefixed to each chapter, containing the obnoxious tenets, which were about to be refuted, would have been highly proper ; and have given a lucid introduction to the whole design, or to each part of it. But, as it is most certain, that his Lordship did not intend to refute Calvin, or his immediate disciples, exclusively; but modern Calvinists, and the evangelical clergy in particular : it may be doubted, how far it is fair, thus to adduce the most objectionable passages from this writer, as uniformly maintained by us. But not to insist on this; it is, probably, the first instance, in the annals of literature, or of polemical divinity ; for an author to reserve the tenets, wn.ch he undertook to refute, till he had almost closed his refutation of them! Hitherto we have been in 3 measure of doubt and perplexity, what opinions the writer intended to refute ; but when the whole argument seems closed; then, and not before, come in the crimes, alledged against the culprits; and con
cerning which witnesses have been produced, and counsellors have pleaded, and the court and attendant company have listened, without clearly knowing; what was alledged, or of what crime the accused persons were supposed to be guilty. This is; I must think, an uncommon method of procedure : but, thoughi it seemed worthy of notice, I am by no means disposed to complain of it; since it certainly affords the prosecutor little advantage.
P. DXXVII. I. 8. In this, &c.'? Free-will, here,
"In this entire state (namely, before the Fall) man had the power of free-will, by which, if he had chosen, he might have obtained eteroal life. Here a question is unseasonably introduced, concerning the secret predestination of God; because
the point is not what might or might not have happened, but of 'what kind the nature of man was. Adam, therefore, might have
stood if he had chosen, since he did not fall except by his own ' will. But because his will might have been inclined either way,
and constancy to persevere was not given to him, therefore he fell so easily. There was, however, a free choice of good and
and not only that, but the greatest rectitude in the mind and will, and all the organic parts rightly formed for obedience, till, by destroying himself, he corrupted his good qualities. Hence philosophers were so enveloped in darkness, because they sought the building in the ruin, and the fit joints in the dissolui. tion ; [in dissipatione aptas juncturas.] They maintained this principle, that man would not be' a rational animal, if he had
not the free choice of good and evil. They also thought that the • distinction between virtue and vice was taken away, if a man
did not direct bis life by, his own counsel. This would have 'been so far well, if there had been no change in man, of which,
while they were ignorant, it is no wonder if they confounded • heaven with earth. But those, who professing themselves disciples of Christ, still seek for free-will in man, who is lost and sunk in spiritual destruction, by dividing between the maximg VOL. II.
means both free agency, and a will free from the slavery to evil passions.-As Adam fell, it is evident that constancy to persevere, was not given to him.' It may here be noted, that Calvin keeps in view our main principle, as to the final perseverance of true believers, in this statement concerning Adam. “Con'stancy to persevere,' is not ascribed to nature, how. ever perfect in knowledge and holiness; for a created being must be mutable; but to the gift of God
The philosophers, &c.' Every one, who has read, even cursorily, the writings of the heathen philosophers, must feel, in defiance of system, that Calvin has here, in a masterly manner, not attainable by ordinary writers, described their perplexity, obscurity, and inconsistency, as to the existence of moral and natural evil; and as to the real source of that perplexity. They sought the building of the Creator, in the ruins of it; and the orderly arrangement, in the dissolution of it;' in consequence of the fall, and the effects of original sin.-Indeed, it does not appear, how this can be doubted, respecting the perplexity of heathen philosophers; except by men who call themselves christian divines, and, who, either denying, or explaining away, or leaving out of sight, the fall of Adam and original sin ; in a far more inexcusable manner, involve themselves, and do all they can to involve others, in heathen obscurity on this important subject. The objections to the doctrine, which Calvin maintained, are exactly the same • of philosophers and the heavenly doctrine, are plainly guilty of
folly, so that they reach neither heaven nor earth. Inst. lib. i. cap.
15. sect. 8.'