« ForrigeFortsæt »
farian to overthrow those passages whose obvious meaning we ad. «luce to maintain the Divinity of Christ, the Trinity, and every doctrine of Grace. This is the charge, and it is a very plain one. He who meets this charge must shew, either that it is right, in the Arminian, to stand with the Unitarian, the Deist, and the Atheist, upon the maxim of the Jewmor, it must be proved, that he does not stand upon that maxim. Any attempt at speaking or writing against what we have said, which comes short of this, however it may serve to delude the unthinking, for all the purposes of truth, is an idle shower of words. So far froin considering this charge uncharitable, we beg to be heard again in support of it. Paul did not scruple to accuse Peter of dissimulation, while he knew him to be an inspired and holy man; and Protestants besitate not to hold up to abhorrence the blasphemy of the Roman Catholic Church, and to denounce it as Antichrist, although they admit that the fundamental doctrines of the cross are acknowledged in the creed of that church, and embraced in holy faith by many in its communion. It is on this ground we stand. We consider it duty to God, and duty to man, to testify against the Arminian, if he is found, in his opposition to predestination, upon the foundation of the Unitarian, for it is the maxim of infidelity. Does he stand there? That is the question.
Various facts have already been given to maintain the position that has just been stated. We will give others, and still shall have many inore in reserve to render us even tedious in the number of our proofs. We deem the question highly important, and mean to be tedious.
To be perfectly plain, we will give the evidence to support our charge upon the two parts of it, in the order in which they stand.
The Arminian, we have said, is upon the wrong maxim when he opposes the doctrine of Predestination--becausc
1. He denies the plain and obvious meaning of the Scripture, brought to support that doctrine, from his inability to see how it can be made
agree with his ideas of the justice of God, the free moral agency of man, and the sincerity of God in his offers of salvation to all men. In proof of this declaration the reader is requested to peruse the following extract froin Dr. Clarke's preface to the Epistle to the Romans, page 4, first Amer. Roy. Oct. Edit.
"From the manner in which this Epistle has been interpreted and applied, various most discordant and conflicting opinions have ori. ginated. Many commentators, forgetting the scope and design of it, have applied that to men in general, which most obviously belongs to the Jews, as distinguished from the Gentiles, and to them only.
From this one mistake, the principal controversies that have agitated and divided the church of Christ, concerning the doctrines of unconditional reprobation and election, have arisen. Men eminent for their talents, learning and piety, have interpreted and applied the whole on this mistaken ground. They have been opposed by others, not at all their inferiors either in religion or learning, who, not altending properly to the scope of the Apostle, have rather argued from the perfections of the Divine nature, and the general concurrent sense of Scripture, and thus proved that such doctrines cannot comport with those perfections, nor with the analogy of Faith; and that the apostle is to be interpreteil according to these, and not according to the apparent grammatical import of the phraseology which he employs."
We really think this statement contains the very thing we have said. For here we are told that Arminians have rejected the apperent grammatical import of the phraseology" the Apostle employa upon the subject of Election, because it did not comport with their ideas of the perfections of the Divine nature, the general concurrent sense of Scripture," and "the analogy of Faith.” Now, the charge we have made, is, that he, the Arminian, denies the plain and obvious meaning of the Scriptures, brought to support the doctrine of Election, from his inability to see how it can be made to agree with his ideas of the justice of God, the free moral agency of man, and the sincerity of God in his offers of salvation to all men. The idea conveyed by Dr. Clarke, is precisely that meant to be conveyed by us. For, his "grammatical import,” is the same as our plain and obvious meaning; and his expressions-perfections of the divine nature,' 'general concurrent sense of Scripture,' and 'analogy of Faith,' carry the same sense we attach to the phraseology-justice of God,' 'free moral agency,' and «divine sincerity.” We have said this is standing upon the wrong masim, because it is the ground occupied, among other holders of error, by the Unitarian. It is literally the foundation stone of the Unitarian. What more does he want to accomplish his scheme than to be allowed to make the apparent grammatical import of the language of the Bible yield to his ideas of the perfections of the Divine nature, and the general concurrent sense of Scripture? He asks nothing more. Give him this liberty, and he is able to prove that such doctrines as original sin. the divinity of Christ, and the atonement, cannot comport with those perfections, nor with the analogy of Faith. Let us hear him. Dr. Channing, (Unitarian,) in his sermon delivered at the ordination of the kev. Jared Sparkes, after reasoning with great plausibilit
against what he considers the “unnatural and unscriptural doctrine of the Trinity,” and after declaring the doctrine of the Divine and hunan nature in the person of Christ, sorepugnant to common sense and the general strain of Scripture,” continues_“I am aware, that these remarks will be met by two or three texts, in which Christ is called God, and by a class of passages, not very numerous, in which divine properties are said to be ascribed to him. To these we offer one plain answer. We say, that it is one of the most established and obvious principles of criticism, that language is to be explained according to the known properties of the subject to which it is applied. Now we maintain that the known properties and circumstances of Christ-his birth—sufferings—and death—his constant habit of speaking of God as a distinct bring from himself, his praying to God, his ascribing to God all his power, and offices, these acknow. ledged properties of Christ, we say, oblige us to interpret the consparatively few passages, which are thought to make him the supreme Go:l, in a manner consistent with his disiinct and inferior natures It is our duty to explain such texts by the rule, which we apply to other texts, in which human beings are called Gods, and are said to de partakers of the Divine nature, to know and possess all things, and to be filled with all God's fullness. “These latter passages we do not hesitate to modify, and restrain, and turn from the most ob. rious sense, because this sense is opposed to the known properties of the beings to whom they relate; and we maintain, that we adhere to the saine principle, and use no greater latitude in explaining, as we do, the passages which are thought to support the Godhead of Chrisi."
Unitarians then feel it their duty to modify, and restrain, and turn from the inost obvious sense,” “the passages which are thought to support the Godhead of Christ,” and to interpret them in a manner consistent with their ideas of his distinct and inferior pature." And we have the testimony of Dr. Clarke, that Arminians have ar. gued that the apostle Paul, upon the subject of Election, is to be in. terpreted according to their ideas of the perfections of the Divine nature," "the general concurrent sense of Scripture," and "the analogy of faith, and not according to the apparent grammatical import of the phraseology which he employs."
It is impossible, we think, for language to shew more clearly than in the passages we have compared, that the Arminian and the Unitarian stand upon the same maxim—that the one denies the Divinity of Christ, and the other denies the doctrine of Predestination, be. cause tbey cannot reconcile the plain and obvious meaning of the
Scriptures, upon these doctrines, with other things known or be lieved by them to be true. This substantiates the first part of our charge.
It is true, Dr. Clarke tells us, in the passage quoted, tha: the scope and design of the epistle is obviously to apply the term election to the Jews as distinguished from the Gentiles, and to them only. But this scope, and design, and obvious application, he asgures us, has not been "p:operly attended to,” by "men eniten: for their talents, learning and piety," among the Calvinists, nor by soothers, not at all their inferiors either in religion or learning," in the Arminian belief. Where then has Dr, Clarke himself found this scope and design? In the plain and obvious incaning of the words? In the apparent grammatical import of the phraseology" employed by the apostle? No. This scope and design is the Uni tarian interpretation of Paul's Epistle to the Romans! This brings us to consider the second part of our charge against the Arminian. viz: That
2. He, in order to make those passages upon which we rely as teaching the doctrine of Predestination, suit his scheme, explains away the plain and obvious meaning upon the identical interpretation chosen by the Unitarian to overthrow those passages vious meaning we adduce to maintain the Divinity of Christ, the Trinity, and every doctrine of grace. The passage we have alreads extracted from Dr. Channing, might be fairly adduced to maintain this position. But we copy again the language of Dr. Clarke. It is the immediate continuation of his statement already quoted:
“On both sides,” Calvinistic and Arminian, the disputes have run high; the cause of Christ has gained little, and christian charity and candor have been nearly lost. Dispassionate men, on seeing this, have been compelled to exclaim
Tantæne animis cæicstibus irix !
Can such fierce zcal in heavenly bosoms dwell? To compose these differences, and to do justice to the Apostle, and set an important portion of the Word of God in its true and genuine light, Dr. John Taylor, of Norwich, a divine who yielded to few in command of temper, benevolent feeling, and deep acquaintance
. with the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, undertook the elucidation of this much controverted Epistle. The result of his labors was e paraphrase and notes on the whole book, to which is prefixed 4.4 Key to the Apostolic Writings; or an Essay to explain the Gospei Scheme, and the principal words and phrases the Apostles bave used in describing it.” 40. 1709, fourth edition. This Kesis
the main, is a most invaluable work; and has done great justice to the subject. Christians, whether advocates for general or particular redemption, might have derived great service from this work, in explaining the cpistle to the Romans: but the author's creed, who was in Rrian, (for he certainly cannot be ranked among inodern Unitaríans) lias prevented many from consulting his book.
"To bring the subject of this epistle before the reader into the fainest and most luminous point of view in my power, I think it right to inake a large extract froin this Key, steering as clear as possible of chose points in which my own creed is certainiy at variance with that. of my author; especially in the articles of original sin, the Atonement and deity of Christ: but as these points are seldom directly touched in this introductory Key, the reader need be under no apprehension that he shall meet with any thing in hostility to the orthoz Joxy of his own creed. And it is thus far only I intend to quote or adopt any part of this key."
This is the proof of the second part of our charge against the Atminian. For Dr. Taylor, of Norwich, England, was a Unitarian, of that class called Arians; and the object of his Key, &c. was to explain the gospel scheme in such a manner as to deny, and prove to be false, every fundamental doctrine of grace. Original sin, the donement, the deity of Christ, the Trinity, and every truth which Methodists as truly as Calvinists hold essential, are denied or explained away. That he denies these all-important doctrines we Lear Dr. Clarke adınit. And Dr. Taylor's view of Election, it must be kept in mind, was made to suit his whole gospel scheme. He, like all other Unitarians, did not consider the doctrine of Election as standing by ilscif. No, he viewed it as forming an harmonious part of that other gospel which he denies. He therefore labors to destroy the doctrine of Election by that very process of glossing aver plain passages, and explaining away positive declarations of the Bible, which he had employed to destroy the doctrines of original sin, the atonement, and deity of Christ. Yet it was here, in this Key, that Dr. Clarke found that “scope and design” of the Apostle in his Epistle to the Romans, which we are told “most obviously makes the subject of Election belong to the Jews as distinzuisined from the Gentiles, and to them only.” And it is this gloss put upon the doctrine of Election, and thus forining a necessary part of Dr. Taylor's false gospel scheme, Dr. Clarke himself being the judge of its falsehood, on the all important doctrines of "original sin, the atonement, and the deity of Christ”-it is this gloss upon the doctrine of Election, written by a Unitarian, and with such a