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in 1533. The whole of this concise treatise is inserted into Mr. Fox's inestimable Martyrology. An extract from it will, I hope, both please and profit the reader.
Mr. Hamelton well knew, that half of our religious mistakes arise from not clearly ascertaining the difference between the law and the gospel, and from not exactly distinguishing the true nature of each. This he does, with great judgment and accuracy, in the following remarks.
“ The law'saith, pay thy debt. (viz. the debt of perfect obedience to God]. The gospel saith, Christ hath paid it.
“ T'he law saith, thou art a sinner; despair, and thou shalt be damned. The gospel saith, thy sins are forgiven thee, be of good comfort, for thou shalt be saved.
The law saith, make amends for thy sins. The gospel saith, Christ hath made it for thee.
" The law saith, the Father of heaven is angry with thee. The gospel saith, Christ hath pacified bim with his blood.
“ The law saith, where is thy righteousness, goodness, satisfaction? The gospel saith, Christ is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction.
“ The law saith, thou art bound (over] to me, to the devil, and to hell. The gospel saith, Christ hath delivered thee from them all.”
On the subject of faith, he observes, that this important term signifies, “ To believe in Christ, and to believe his word, and to believe that he will help thee in all thy need, and deliver thee from all evil." He affirms, that “Faith is the gift of God," which he thus proves :
Every good thing is the gift of God. “ Faith is good.
“ Ergò, faith is the gift of God.” fore, that Heylin should stare with affrigh+ment, at what he terms “ Frith's high-flying conceits of predestination.” See Heylin's Misc. Tracts, p. 544. and 547.
Nor does he stop here; but immediately adds this consecutory proposition: “ Faith is not in our power.” Which he likewise argues syllogistically:
“ The gift of God is not in our power.
“ Therefore, faith is not in our power.' On the doctrine of works, he expresses himself with great perspicuity and strength of reason. “ No man,” says he, " is justified by the deeds of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ. Moreover, since Christ, the Maker of heaven and earth and all that is therein, behoved to die for us; we are compelled to grant, that we were so far drowned and sunk in sin, that neither our deeds, nor all the trea. sures that ever God made or might make, could have holpen us out of it. Therefore, no deeds or works (of our own performing] may make us righteous." He then obviates an objection, which, he foresaw, either the ignorance or the perverseness of some might possibly allege: “If works make us neither righteous nor unrighteous, then (thou wilt say) it is no matter what we do. I answer: If thou do evil, it is a sure argument that thou art evil, and wantest faith. If thou do good, it is an argument that thou art good, and hast faith ; for a good tree beareth good fruit, and an evil tree evil fruit. Yet good fruit makes not the tree good, nor evil fruit the tree evil. A man is good, ere he do good deeds; and evil, ere he do evil deeds.
“ Whosoever believeth or thir keth to be saved by his works, denieth that Christ is his Saviour. For howy is he thy Saviour, if thou mightest save thyself by thy works or whereto should he die for thee, if any works [of thine] might have saved thee ?—What is this, to say Christ died for thee? Verily, that thou shouldest (else] have died perpetually; and that Christ, to deliver thee from death, died for thee, and changed thy perpetual death into his own death. For thou madest the fault, and he suffered the pain :
and that for the love he had to thee before thou wast born, when thou hadst done neither good nor evil. Now, seeing he hath paid thy debt, thou needest not, neither canst thou pay it; but shouldst be damned, if his blood were not [shed]. But, since he was punished for thee, thou shalt not be punished.
“ I do not say, that we ought to do no good deeds : but I say, we should do no good works to the intent to get the inheritance of heaven, or remission of sin. For if we believe to get the inheritance of heaven through good works, then we believe not to get it through the promise of God. Or if we think to get remission of our sins by our deeds, then we believe not that they are forgiven us; and so we count God a liar. For God saith, Thou shalt have the inheritance of heaven, for my Son's sake; thy sins are forgiven thee, for my Son's sake: and you say, it is not so, but I will win it through my works.
“ Thus, you see, I condemn not good deeds, but I condemn the false trust in any works : for, all the works, wherein a man putteth any confidence, are therewith poisoned, and become evil.
Wherefore, thou must do good works; but beware that thou do them not (with a view] to deserve any good through them; for, if thou do, thou receivest the good, not as gifts of God, but as debt to thee, and makest thyself fellow with God, because thou wilt take nothing of him for nought. And so shalt thou fall, as Lucifer fell for his pride.
Is it not astonishing, that so young a man, a native and inhabitant of Scotland, should write with such precision, and in so masterly a style, almost two hundred and fifty years ago ?
II. No person who knows any thing of the Scottish history, can be entirely unacquainted with the character and sufferings of the famous and venerable Mr. George Wishart, who was burned at St. Andrews, A. D. 1545. His remarkable history, and the spirit of prophecy with which he more than once proved
himself to be endued, are so well known, that I shall enter (0) directly on the evidence of his Calvinism.
On his examination, before the cardinal archbishop of St. Andrews, he was accused of representing God as the author of sin. Thou, false heretic, saidest, that man hath no free-will, but is like to the Stoics, who say, that it is not in man's will to do any thing; but that all concupiscence and desire cometh by God, whatsoever kind it be of (p).” Mr. Wishart in his : answer, utterly denied that the doctrine of salvation by grace is pregnant with so blasphemous a conse
(o) The description of Mr. Wishart's person, dress, and demeanor, drawn by one who had been his pupil at Cambridge (for Mr. Wishart received his education, and spent some years, in that university), presents us with an artless, but lively picture of antique simplicity, too singular to be overlooked. • He was a man of tall stature, pold-headed, and on the same a round French cap of the best : judged to be of a melancholy complexion, by his physiognomy.
Black haired, long bearded, comely of personage, well spoken after his country of Scotland, courteous, lowly, lovely, glad to teach, desirous to learn, and was well travelled. Having on him, for his habit, or clothing, never but a mantle, or frieze gown to the shoes; a black millian fustian doublet; plain black hosen ;
canvass for his shirts ; and white falling bands, and cuffs at his hands. All the which apparel he gave to the poor ; some weekly, some monthly, some quarterly, as he liked: saving his French cap, which he kept the whole year of my being with him. He was modest, temperate, fearing God, and hating covetousness: for his charity had never end, night, noon, nor day. He forbore one meal in three, one day in four, for the most part; except something to comfort nature. He lay hard, upon a puff of straw; and coarse new canvass sheets, wbich, when be changed, he gave away. He had commonly by his bed-side, a tub of water : in the which (his people being in bed, the candle put out, and all quiet), as I being very young, being assured, often heard him; and, in one light night, discerned him. He taught with great modesty and gravity; so that some of his people thought him severe, and would have slain him: but the Lord was his defence. And he, after due correction for their malice, by good exhortation amended them, and went his way. His learning was no less sufficient, than his desire : always prest and ready to do good in that he was able, both in the house privately, and in the school publicly; professing . and reading divers authors." See Fox, vol. ii. p. 521.
(p) Ibid. 524.
quence : “My lords, I said not so. I say, that as many as believe in Christ firmly, unto them is given liberty ; conformably to the saying in St. John, If the Son make you free, then shall ye verily be free. On the contrary, as many as believe not in Christ Jesus, they are bond-servants of sin. He, that sinneth, is bound to sin (9).” What is this, but to say? 1. That man's will is not free to good, until after he is converted to the faith of Christ. 2. That, prior to conversion, and in a state of nature, man cannot but offend God. 3. That man can only be made free indeed, by the grace of Christ, breathing faith into his heart. If this be not Calvinism, I am at a loss to know what is.
A clause, occurring in one of Mr. Wishart's last supplications to God, shall conclude this section : “ We desire thee heartily, that thou conserve, defend, and help thy congregation which thou hast chosen before the beginning of the world; and give them thy grace, to hear thy word, and to be thy true servants in this present life (ro)."
The Judgment of our English Reformers. Very little need be said, to prove the Calvinism of those illuminated divines, who were made by providence, the instruments of extending and fixing the English reformation. The whole series of our public service, the uniform tenor of our articles, and the chain of doctrine asserted in each book of homilies, are a standing demonstration, that the original framers and compilers believed in, and worshipped, the God of their fathers, after that way which papists and Arminians term heresy. (9) Ibid. 524.
(r) Ibid. 525.