Page images
PDF
EPUB

eloquence, and piety, renders of the world, uito eternal ed him respectable even in the glory, according to his immueyes of his enemies.

table purpose, and of his free The name of Calvinists grace and love, without the seems to have been given at least foresight of faith, good first to those who embraced works, or any conditions pernot merely the doctrine, but formed by the creature: and the church-government and that the rest of mankind he discipline established at Ge- was pleased to pass by, and neva, and to distinguish them ordain to dishonour and wrath from the Lutherans. But for their sins, to the praise of since the meeting of the synod his vindictive justice. of Dort, the name has been In proof of this, they allege chiefly applied to those who among many other scripture embrace his leading views of passages, the following: “Acthe gospel, to distinguish them cording as he hath chosen us from the Arminians.

in him before the foundation The leading principles taught of the world, that we should by Calvin were the same as be holy, and without blame those of Augustin. The main before him in love-For he doctrines by which those who saith to Moses, I will have are called after his name are mercy on whom I will have distinguished from the Armi- mercy, and I will have comnians, are reduced to five arti- passion on whom I will have cles; and which, from their compassion. So then, it is not being the principal points dis- of him that willeth, nor of cussed at the synod of Dort, him that runneth, but of God have since been denominated that sheweth mercy. Thou the five points. These are, wilt say then, Why doth he predestination, particular re- yet find fault; for who hath demption, total depravity, ef- resisted his will? Nay, but fectual calling, and the certain oh man, who art thou that perseverance of the saints. repliesth against God? Shall

The following statement is the thing formed say to him taken principally from the that formed it, Why hast thou writings of Calvin, and the made me thus ? Hath not the decisions at Dort, compressed potter power over the clay, of in as few words as possible : the same lump, to make one

1. They maintain that God vessel unto honour, and anbath chosen a certain number other to dishunour?-Hath of the fallen race of Adam in God cast away his people Christ, before the foundation whom he foreknew? Wot ye

as

not what the scripture saith enings, as if no decree exof Elias ? Even so at this isted.t The connexion in present time also, there is a which the doctrine is introremnant according to the elec- duced by the divines at Dort, tion of grace. And if by grace, is to account for one sinner's then it is no more of works. believing and being saved raWhat then? Israel hath not ther than another; and such, obtained that which he seeketh the Calvinists say, is the confor, but the election hath ob- nexion which it occupies in tained it, and the rest are blind the scriptures. ed-Whom he did predestinate, With respect to the condithem he also calledWe give tional predestination admitted thanks to God always for you, by Arminians, they say, that brethren, beloved of the Lord, an election upon faith or good because God hath from the works foreseen, is not that of beginning chosen you to salva- the scriptures; for that election, through sanctification of tion there made the cause the Spirit, and belief of the of faith and holiness, and cantruth-As many

were not, for this reason, be the ordained to eternal life believe effect of them. With regard ed."* They think also that the to predestination to death, they greater part of these passages, say, If the question be, Wherebeing found in the epistolary fore did God decree to punish writings, after the pouring out those who are punished? The of the holy Spirit, who was answer is, On account of their promised to guide the apostles sins. But if it be, Wherefore into all truth, is an argument did he decree to punish them in favour of the doctrine, rather than others? There is

They do not consider pre- no other reason to be assigned, destination, however, as affect- but that so it seemed good in ing the agency or accountable- his sight. ness of creatures, or as being 2. They maintain that though to them any rule of conduct. the death of Christ be a most On the contrary, they suppose perfect sacrifice, and satisfacthem to act as freely, and to tion for sins, of infinite value, be as much the proper sub- abundantly sufficient to ex. jects of calls, warnings, exhor- piate the sins of the whole tations, promises, and threat- world ; and though on this

Ephes, i. 4. Rom, ix. xi. 1–6. viii. 29, 30. 2 Thes. ii. 13. Acts xiii. 48. 1 Calvin's Inst. book 3, chap. 22, sect. 10 : also book 2, ch. 5, sect. 4. Ephes. i. 3, 4. Jobn vi. 37. Rom viii. 29, 30. Acts xiii 48 1 Pet. i. i. Roin. ix. 15, 16. xi, 5, 6. Calvin's Inst. book 3, pp. 22– 24, sect. 14.

ground the gospel is to be defect or insufficiency in the preached to all mankind in- sacrifice of Christ offered on discriminately; yet it was the the cross, but from their own will of God that Christ by the fault-As many as truly beblood of the cross should effi- lieve, and are saved by the caciously redeem all those, death of Christ from their sins, and those only, who were from and from destruction, have to eternity elected to salvation, ascribe it to the mere favour and given to him by the Fa- of God, which he owes to no ther,

one, given them in Christ from Calvin does not appear to eternity--For it was the most have written on this subject as free counsel, and gracious will a controversy ; but his com- and intention of God the Faments on scripture agree with ther, that the quickening and the above statement.* The saving efficacy of the most following positions are con- precious death of his Son tained in the resolutions of the should exert itself in all the synod of Dort, under this head elects to give unto them only of doctrine:-“ The death of justifying faith, and by it to the Son of God is the only conduct them infallibly to saland most perfect sacrifice and vation: that is, it was the will satisfaction for sins, of infinite of God that Christ by the value and price, abundantly blood of the cross, whereby he sufficient to expiate the sins of confirmed the new covenant, the whole world—The pro- should efficaciously redeem mise of the gospel is, that out of every people, tribe, whosoever believeth in Christ nation, and language, all those, crucified shall not perish, but and those only, who were from have everlasting life: which eternity elected to salvation, promise, together with the and given to him by the Facommand to repent and be ther." + lieve, ought promiscuously and These positions they appear indiscriminately to be pub- to have considered as not only lished and proposed to all peo- a declaration of the truth, but ple and individuals to whom an answer to the arguments of God in his good pleasure sends the Rémonstrants. the gospel-Whereas marry In proof of the doctrine, who are cailed by the gospel they allege, among others, the do not repent nor believe in following scripture passages : Christ, but perish in unbelief, “ Thou hast given him power this proceeds not from any over all Aesh, that he should

* See on John iü, 15. + Acta Synodi, Sess. 136, p. 250.

give eternal life to as many as follows:-“Original sin seems thou hast given him--The good to be the inheritable descendshepherd giveth his life for the ing perverseness and corrupsheep-1 lay down my life for tion of our nature, poured the sheep-He died not for abroad into all the parts of that nation only, but that he the soul, which first maketh might gather together in one us deserving of God's wrath, the children of God that are and then also bringeth forth scattered abroad-—-He gave those works in us, called in himself for us, that he might scripture the works of the redeem us from all iniquity, and flesh. These two things are purify unto himself a peculiar distinctly to be noted; that is, people, zealous of good works-- that being thus in all parts of He loved the church, and gave our nature corrupted and perhimself for it, that he might verted, we are now, even for sanctify and cleanse it, and such corruption only, holden present it to himself, &c.— worthy of damnation, and And they sang a new song, stand convicted before God, saying, Thou art worthy; for to whom nothing is acceptable thou wast slain, and hast re- but righteousness, innocence, deemed us to God by thy blood, and purity. And yet we are OUT OF every kindred, and not bound in respect of antongue, and people, and na- other's fault; for where it is

said that by the sin of Adam 3. They maintain that man- we are made subject to the kind are totally depraved, in judgment of God,t it is not consequence of the fall of the so to be taken, as if we,

innofirst man, who, being their cent and undeserving, did public. head, his sin involved bear the blame of his fault: the corruption of all his pos- but as in consequence of terity; and which corruption his offence we are ultimately extends over the whole soul, clothed with the curse, thereand renders it unable to fore it is said that he hath turn to God, or to do any bound us. Nevertheless from thing truly good, and exposes him not the punishment only it to his righteous displeasure, came upon us, but also the both in this world and that infection distilled from bim which is to come.

abideth in us, to the which the The explanation of original punishment is justly due." I sin, as given by Calvin, is as The resolutions of the di* John xvii. 2. . 11, 15. xi, 52 Tit. ii. 14. Ephes. v. 25-27. Rev. v.9.

t Ran. v. 18. # Inst. buok 2, chap. 1, sect. 8. .

tion.”*

[ocr errors]

1

vines at Dort on this head did understand, that did seek contain the following posi- God. Every one of them is tions :-“ Such as man was gone back; they are altogeafter the fall, such children ther become filthy; there is did he beget •

corruption none that doth good, no not by the righteous judgment of one-And you hath he quickGod being derived from Adam ened who were dead in tresto his posterity ...., not by passes and sins. Wherein in imitation, but by the propa- time past ye walked according gation of a vicious nature. to the course of this world Wherefore all men are con- ...... among whom also we ceived in sin, and are born all had our conversation in the children of wrath, unfit times past, in the lust of our for

every good connected with flesh, fulfilling the desires of salvation, prone to evil, dead the flesh and of the mind; in sins, and the servants of and were by nature the children sin; and, without the holy of wrath, even as others.”+ Spirit regenerating them, they 4. They maintain that all neither will nor can return to whom God hath predestinated God, amend their depraved unto life, he is pleased in his nature, nor dispose themselves appointed time effectually to for its amendment."* call by his word and Spirit,

In proof of this doctrine, out of that state of sin and the Calvinists allege, among death in which they are by other scripture passages, the nature, to grace and salvation following :-“By one man sin by Jesus Christ. entered into the world, and They admit that the holy death by sin ; and so death Spirit, as calling men by the passed upon all men, for that ministry of the gospel, may all havesinned—By one man's be resisted; and that where disobedience many were made this is the case, “ the fault is sinners—I was born in sin and not in the gospel, nor in Christ shapen in iniquity-God saw offered by the gospel, nor in that the wickedness of man God calling by the gospel, and was great upon the earth, and also conferring various gifts that every imagination of his upon them; but in the called heart was only evil continually themselves. They contend, -God looked down from hea- however, that where men ven upon the children of men, come at the divine call, and to see if there were any that are converted, it is not to be * Acta Synodi. † Rom. v. 12—19, Psal. li. 5. Gen, vi. 5,

Psal. liii. 2, 3. Rom. iii. Ephes. ii. 1-3.

1

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »