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to our confidence that Christ's blood fully applied by his Spirit, and apprehended by perfect faith, can cleanse our hearts from all unrighteousness before we go into the purgatory of the Calvinists, or into that of the Papists; that is, before we go into the valley of the shadow of death, or into the suburbs of hell ;-with respect to this belief and confidence, I say, Mr; Hill calls us Perfectionists; and appearing once more upon the stage of our controversy, he has lately presented the public with what he calls, “ A Creed for Arminians and Perfectionists," which he introduces in those words : “ The following confession of faith, however shocking, not to say blasphemous, it may appear to the humble Christian, must inevitably be adopted, if not in express words, yet in substance, by every Arminian and Perfectionist whatsoever ; though the last article chiefly concerns such as are ordained ministers in the Church of England.” And as among such ministers, Mr. J. Wesley, Mr. W. Sellon, and myself, peculiarly opposc Mr. Hill's Calvinian doctrines Self absolute election and reprobation, and of a deathpurgatory; he has put the initial letters of our names to his Creed; hoping, no doubt, to make us peculiarly ashamed of our principles. And indeed so should we be, if any “ blasphemous" or shocking''. consequence “ inevitably" flowed from them.
But how has Mr. Hill proved that this is the case ? Kas le supported his charge by one argument? No: But among some consequences of our doctrine, which are quite harmless and scriptural, he has fixed upon us some shocking consequences, which have no necessary connexion with any of our doctrines of grace. We apprehend, therefore, that by this method, Mr. Hill has exposed his inattention more than our heresy."
If Mr. Hill had said, before a thousand witnesses, I hold ten guineas in my right hand, and ten in my left, could the author of the Checks wrong him, or expose his own candour, if he insisted upou the truth of this consequence, " Then Mr. Hill holds twenty
guineas in both his hands?" And if Mr. Hill protested ever so long, that he holds but fifteen in all, and that I am a “ calumniator,” for saying that he holds lwenty ; would not all the witnesses, who are impartial, and acquainted with the proportion of numbers, clear me of the charge of calumny, and accuse Mr. Hill of inattention ? Again : if I had said, before the same witnesses, that I have two guineas in my right hand, and two in my left; and if Mr. Hill, to keep his error in countenance, by bringing me in guilty of as great a mistake as his own, fixed the following consequence apon my assertions, “ Then you hold seven guineas in both your hands !” would he not expose himself more than me ? And would not all the candid spectators declare, that although I have a right to maintain that ten and ten make twenty, my opponent cannot reasonably assert that two and two make seven. The justness of this illustration will appear to the reader, if he cast a look upon the Creed which I have composed for an Antinomian with Mr. Hill's principles. The doctrines that it contains are all his own, and they are expressed chiefly in his own words, as appears from numerous quotations, in which I refer the reader to the pages where he has publicly maintained the tenets which I expose. But Mr. Hill has not produced in his Arminian Creed one line out of my Checks, from which any shocking or blasphemous doctrine flows by “unavoidable” consequence. If he had, I protest, as a lover of truth, that I would instantly renounce the principle on which such a doctrine might be justly fathered ; being persuaded that the pure light of a pure doctrine, cau never be necessarily productive of a gross darkness : Although it may accidentally be obscured by occasional difficulties, as the sun may be darkened by interposing clouds.
Some readers will probably think, that I have made the Calvinists too many concessious in the following pages : But I am persuaded that I have granted them nothing but what they have a scriptural right to; and God forbid that any Protestant should grant them less !
-At the Synod of Dort, the Arminians beiug sensible, that a gratuitous election can be defended by reason and scripture, would debate first the doctrine of gra. tuitous, Calvinian reprobation, which is flatly contrary to reason and scripture. The Calvinists, on the other hand, being conscious that the strength of their cause lay in maintaining a gratu itous election, and hoping that the gratuitous reprobation would naturally skulk under that election, insisted that the doctrine of election should be debated first. The Arminians would not consent to it, so that nothing was properly dis-, cussed : And the Calvinists, having numbers, and the sword on their side, deposed their opponents as obsti-, nate heretics. Whilst we disapprove the severity of the Calvinists, we blame the Arminians for provoking that severity by refusing to clear up the doctrine of election. And improving by the mistakes of both parties, we make the reconciling concessions which follow.
1. We grant that there is an election of distinguishing grace : But we shew that this election is not Calvinian election; thousands being partakers of the partial election of distinguishing grace, who have no share in the impartial election of distributive justice ; two distinct elections these, the confouuding of which has laid the foundation of numberless errors. See Scripture Scales, Sect. XII.
2. We grant the Calvinists, that initial salvation is merely by a decree of divine grace through Jesus Christ. But we assert that eternal salvation is both by a decree of divine grace and of distributive justice ; God rewarding in Christ, with an eternal life of glory, those believers who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory, honour and immortality.'
3. We grant, that although God, as a judge, 'is no respecter of persons ;' yct, as a benefactor, he is,
and of consequence has a right to be, so far a' respecter of persons, as to bestow his favours in various degrees upon his creatures ; dealing them to some with a more sparing hand than he does to others.
4. We grant, that although God punishes oo oue with eternal death for original and necessary sin ; yet when sin, which might have been avoided by the help of creating or of redeeming grace, has been voluntarily and personally committed : God does punish (and of consequence has a right to punish) with eternal death some offenders more quickly than he does others; his shewing, in such a case, Mercy and Justice upou gospel terms to whom he pleases, and as or late as he pleases, being undoubtedly the privi. lege of his sovereign goodness or justice: An awful privilege this, which is perfectly agreeable to the evangelical law of liberty, and with which the Calvinists have absurdly built their twin doctrines of finished salvation and finished damnation ; not considering that such doctrines stain the first gospel axiom, and totally destroy the second.
The nature of this concession may be illustrated by an example. Two uuconverted soldiers march up to the enemy. Both have unavoidably trapsgressed the third commandment : The one by calling fifty times * for his damnation; and the other. five hundred times,
Now, both have personally forfeited their initial salvation, and continuing impenitent, God, as a righteous avenger of profaneness, may justly suffer the fifty-pence debtor to fall in the battle and to be instantly hurried to the damnation he had madly prayed for : And, as a long-suffering, merciful Creator, he may suffer the five hundred-pence debtor, I mean the soldier who has sinned with a higher hand, to walk out of the field unhurt, and to be spared for years ; following him still with new offers of mercy, which the wretch is so happy as to embrace at last. Here is evidently a higher degree of the distinguishing grace which was manifested towards Manasses, as it has also been to many other grievous sinners. But by this peculiar favour, God violates no promise, and he acts ia perfect consistency with himself : For, when two people have personally forfeited their eternal salvation by
one avoidable sin, of which they do not repent when they might : He does no injustice to the fiftypence debtor, when he calls him first to an account; and he greatly magnifies his long-suffering, when he continues to reprieve the five hundred-pence debtor,
By this sparing use of astonishing mercy, God strongly guards the riches of his grace. This inferior degree of forbearance makes thoughtful sinners stand in awe : As not knowing but the first sin they shall commit, will actually fill up the measure of their iniquities, and provoke the Alınighty to swear in his righteous anger, that their day of grace is ended. To justify therefore God's conduct towards men in this respect, we need only observe, that, if distinguishing grace did not make the difference which we grant to the Calvinists, perverse free will would draw anazing strength from the unwearied patience of free grace. Suppose, for instance, that God had ensured to all men a day of grace of four. score years, would not all siuners think it time enough to repent at the age of three-score years and nineteen? Therefore, through the clouds of darkness which surrounds us, reason sees far into the propriety of the partiality with which distinguishing grace dispenses its superior blessings. But all the partiality which that grace ever displayed, never amounted to one single grain of Calvinian reprobation. Because God, as a righteous judge, lets erery man have a fair trial for his life. Nor will all the sophisms in the world reconcile the ideas, which the scriptures and rectified reason give us of divine justice, with a doctrine which represents God as condemning to eternal torments a majority of men, for the necessary, un. avoidable consequences of Adam's sin :-A sin this, which, upon the scheme of the absolute predestination of all events, was also made unavoidable and neces. sary. To return;
5. We grant, that although Christ died to purchase a day of [initial] salvation for all men, yet he never died to purchase ETERNAL salvation for any adults,