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says the pious expostulator, “is able to turn the congregation of the elect from the faith : because all things that shall come to pass, are eternally, in God, devised and ordained for the best unto the elect Christians. Like as the mystical body of Christ is the congregation of all the elect; so Antichrist, mystically, is the church of the wicked and of all the reprobates (x).” So true is it, that the doctrine of absolute predestination was held and maintained by the very first protestants, long before the actual establishment of that doctrine at the reformation,
The Charge of Mahometanism refuted. The reader may, if he pleases, consider himself as entered, at present, on a kind of historical voyage. Mr. Sellon pretends to think, that we are in full sail for Constantinople; and that Calvinism is at once the compass by which we steer, and the breeze by which we are carried, plump into the Grand Seignor's harbour. Predestination, and the ineluctabilis ordo rerum, are, according to this sage Arminian geographer, situate only in the latitude of Mahomet: and every man, who believes, with scripture, that God worketh all things after the counsel of his own will; and, with our church, that all things, both in heaven and earth, are ordered by a never-failing providence; every man, who thus believes, is, in my redoubtable adversary's estimation, a Mahometan.
I must acknowledge, that such a contemptible cavil as this, is too low and ridiculous to merit a single moment's attention. However, as it has been urged formerly by the wretched authors of Cal
(«) Fox's Aets and Mon, vol. i.
yino-Turcismus (y); and now repeated, with an air of seeming seriousness, by Mr. John Wesley's advocate; I beg permission of my readers, to touch at Constantinople in earnest : not with a view to stay there for good, but just to look about us, and determine for ourselves, whether Calvinism and Mahometanism are the same, or not. i Dean Prideaux shall set us on shore. This learn. ed historian observes, that the religion of Mahomet is “made up of three parts : whereof one was borrowed from the Jews, another from the Christians, and the third from the heathen Arabs (z).” A whole third, then, of the Mahometan system, is nei. ther more nor less than Christianity at second hand. But shall we therefore disclaim a dozen or twenty articles of our Christian creed, because those articles were adopted by Mahomet ? What a prodigious gap such absurd conduct would make in our Confession of Faith, may be easily judged of, from the ensuing specimen.
“ The first doctrine that Mahomet propagated among them [i. e. among his followers at Mecca], was, That there is but one God, and that he only is
(y) A book was published under this title at Antwerp, in the year 1569, and again at Cologne, in 1603. It was the joint work of two English papists (William Reynolds and William Gifford), who had fled their country. Its drift was to prove the conformity of Calvinism and Mahometanism. Gifford, who finished and published it, was a priest; and had several times encouraged some assassins to murder queen Elizabeth. To the above book, the learned Dr. Sutcliffe, dean of Exeter, published an answer: the title to which ran thus ; De Turco-Papismo, &c. i. e. “ Of the Mahometan Popery; or a Treatise of the Conspiracy of Turks and Papists against the church and faith of Christ; of their agreement and resemblance in religion and morals. To which are added, four books concerning the slanders and calumnies of the Mahometan-Papists; in answer to that most defamatory libel, entitled Mahometan" Calvinism, written by William Gifford, a notorious and vile flatterer of the popes and Jesuits.” See Bayle, vol. v. art. Sutcliff.
(z) Prideaux's Life of Mahomet, p. 49. Edit. 1713.
to be worshipped; and that all idols were to be taken away, and their worship utterly abolished (a).
“ He allowed both the Old and the New Testa. ment; and that Moses and Jesus Christ were pro. phets sent from God (6).
“ They [i. e. the Mahometans] own that there are angels, executioners of God's commands, designed for certain offices both in heaven and earth (c).
“ They believe a general resurrection of the dead (d).
They hold both a general judgment, and a particular one [at death (e)].
“ If a person ask, Why God hath created the infidels and wicked? Their answer is, That we ought not to be over curious to search into the secrets of God (f).
“ The morals of the Mahometans consist in doing good, and shunning evil (9).
“ Their casuists hold, that actions, done without faith in God, are sins (h).
They forbid to judge of uncertain things ; because it doth not belong to us to judge of the things which God hath concealed from us ().
“ Their devotion extends even to the sacred names. When they pronounce the name of God, they make a bow; and add, most high, most blessed, most strong, most excellent, or some such epithet (k). “ The Mahometans tolerate all religions (1).
They are commanded to pray, at the appointed times :
“ And to give alms (m).
(9) Ibid. (h) Ibid. (1) Salmon's Geographical Grammar, p. 431. (m) Salmon, ibid. p. 437.
“ They hold a heaven and hell (n), “ Mahomet forbad adultery to his followers (0).
They assert the immortality of the soul (P). Among the maxims of the Alcoran, are;
“ Forgive those who have offended thee. Do good to all (9)."
Now, would any reasonable Christian strike out these articles from his creed, only because Mahomet has inserted them in his? And does it follow, that the most respectable persons in the world, who are influenced by these excellent principles of faith and practice, are, for that reason, to be dubbed Mahometans? But the plain truth is, Mr. Sellon knows no more of Constantinople, than he does of Geneva. He is equally unacquainted with the real systems both of Turcism and Christianity. Even a superficial survey of his subject would have sufficed to inform him, that “ The questions, relating to predestination and free grace, have been agitated, among the Mahometan doctors, with as much heat and vehemence, as ever they were in Christendom (r).” The Mahometans have their sort of Arminians, no less than we. If Mr. Sellon asks, “ How goes the stream of doctrines at Constantinople ?” I also can ask, in my turn, How goes the stream at Ispahan? If the Mahometan Turks, of the sect of Omar, believe an absolute predestination and providence; it is no less certain, that the Mahometan Persians, of the sect of Halis, deny predestination, and assert free-will, with as much outrageous fervour, as Mr. John Wesley himself. But shall I from hence infer, that Mr. Wesley is a Mahometan? I cannot, in justice, pay the Mahometans so bad a compliment. I rather say to
(n) Martin's Philolog. Library, p. 85.
(p) Martin, ibid. (9) Voltaire's Essay on Universal History, vol. i. p. 44. Dr. Nugent's edition, 1761.
(r) Brown's Travels, p. 361.
Mr. Wesley, what the excellent Mr. Hervey said to him long ago,
“ Before you turn Turk, or deist, or atheist, see that you first become an honest man. They will all disown you, if you go over to their party, destitute of common honesty. Out of zeal to demolish the doctrine of election, you scruple not to overleap the bounds of integrity and truth (s).”
After all, there is not that conformity between the Christian and the Turkish doctrine of predestination, which Mr. Wesley and his consistory would have us believe. Do Mahometans assert an election in Christ to grace and glory? Do they maintain, that, in the preordination of events, the means are no less preordained, than the end ? Do they consider the Son of God as joint agent with his father, in the providential disposure of all things below? Do they hold the eternal covenant of grace, which obtained among the persons of the godhead, in behalf, and for the salvation of a peculiar people, who shall, by the regenerating efficacy of the Holy Ghost, be made zealous of good works ? Do the Mahometans believe any thing about final perseverance, and the inamissibility of saving grace? No such thing. I can easily prove their denial of these gospel doctrines, whenever that proof shall be necessary. And even as to the predestination of temporal events, the disciples of Omar (so far as I can hitherto find, and unless their doctrine be greatly misrepresented) seem to have exceeding gross and confused ideas. They appear to consider predestination as a sort of blind, rapid, overbearing impetus, which, right or wrong, with means or without, carries all things violently before it, with little or no attention to the peculiar and respective nature of second causes. Whereas, according to the Christian scheme, predestination forms a wise, regular, connected plan; and providence con
(s) Hervey's Eleven Letters to Wesley, p. 285.