Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

be exploded as that used to be in these words :~" I do anathematize the blasphemy of Mahomed, which saith, that God deceiveth whom he will, and whom he will be leadeth to that which is good. Himself doth what he willeth, and is himself the cause of all good and evil. Fate and destiny govern all things.” Nicetus Saracenita.

Pred. Nay, our doctrine is more ancient than Mahomed. It was maintained by St. Augustine. Friend. Augustine speaks sometimes for it, and sometimes against it. But all antiquity for the four first centuries is against you, as is the whole eastern church to this day; and the Church of England, both in her catechism, articles, and homilies. And so are divers of our most holy martyrs, Bishop Hooper and Bishop Latimer in particular.

Pred. But does not antiquity say, Judas was predestinated to damnation ?

Friend. Quite the contrary. St. Chrysostom's express words are; “ Judas, my Beloved, was at first a child of the kingdom, and heard it said to him with the disciples, Ye shall sit on twelve thrones. But afterwards he became the child of hell."

Pred. However, you will own Esau was predestinated to destruction.

Friend. Indeed I will not. Some of your own writers believe he was finally saved ; wbich was the general opinion of the ancient fathers. And that scripture, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated, plainly relates not to their persons, but their posterities. But supposing Esau or Judas to be damned, what is he damned for?

Pred. Without question for unbelief. For as we are saved by faith alone, so unbelief is the only damning sin.

Friend. By what faith are you saved ?
Pred. By faith in Christ, who gave himself for me.

Friend. But did he give himself for Esau and Judas? If not, you say, they are damned for not believing a lie. This consideration it was which forced Archbishop Usher to cry out, “ What would not a man flee unto, rather than yield, that Christ did not die for the reprobates; and that

[ocr errors]

none but the elect had any kind of title to him: and yet many thousands should be bound in conscience to believe that he died for them, and tied to accept him for their Redeemer and Saviour ? Whereby they should have believed that which in itself is most untrue, and laid hold of that in which they had no kind of interest."

Pred. But what then do you mean by the words, Election and Reprobation?

Friend. I mean this. 1st. God did decree from the beginning to elect or choose (in Christ) all that should believe to salvation. And this decree proceeds from his own goodness, and is not built upon any goodness in the creature. 2dly. God did from the beginning decree, to reprobate all, who should obstinately and finally continue in unbelief.

Pred. What then do you think of absolute unconditional election and reprobation ?

Friend. I think it cannot be found in holy Writ, and that it is a plant which bears dismal fruit. An instance of which we have in Calvin himself; who confesses that he procured the burning to death of Michael Servetus, a wise and holy man, purely for differing from him in opinion, in matters of religion.

[blocks in formation]

1. Mr. Toplady, a young, bold man, lately published a pamphlet, an extract from which was soon after printed, concluding with these words:

“ The sum of all is this: one in twenty (suppose) of mankind are elected; nineteen in twenty are reprobated. The elect shall be saved, do what they will : the reprobate shall be damned, do whạt they can.”

2. A great outery has been raised on that account, as though this was not a fair state of the case : and it has been vehemently affirmed, that no such consequence follows from the doctrine of absolute predestination.

I calmly affirm, It is a fair state of the case; this consequence does naturally and necessarily follow from the doctrine of absolute predestination, as here stated and defended by bold Mr. Augustus Toplady.

Indeed I have not leisure to consider the matter at large. I can only make a few strictures, and leave the young man to be farther corrected by (one that is full his match) Mr. Thomas Olivers.

3. “ When love is predicated of God, it implies, 1. His everlasting will, purpose, and determination, to save his people.” (Mr. T.’s Tract, chap. 1.) I appeal to all men, whether it is not a natural consequence even of this that 6 all these shall be saved, do what they will.”

You may say, “0, but they will do only what is good.” Be it so. Yet the

Yet the consequence stands.

1

Election signifies, that sovereign, unconditional, immutable act of God, whereby he selected some to be eternally saved.” Immutable, unconditional! From hence then it undeniable follows, “ These shall be saved, do what they will."

“ Predestination, as relating to the elect, is that irreversible act of the divine will, whereby God determined to deliver a certain number of men from hell.” Ergo, That certain number shall infallibly be saved do what they'will. Who can deny the consequence ?

“ Not one of the elect can perish, but they mụst all necessarily be saved.” (chap. 3.) Can any assert this, and yet deny that consequence, therefore all the elect shall be saved, do what they will?. Unless you would say, it is the proposition itself, rather than a consequence from it.

4. So much for the former part of the question: let us now consider the latter.

“ Hatred, ascribed to God, implies, a resolution not to have mercy on such and such men. So Esau huve I hated; that is, I did from all eternity determine, not to have mercy on him.” (chap. 1.). In other words :

I by my dire decree did seal

His fix'd unalterable doom;
Consign'd his unborn soul to hell,

And damn'd him from his mother's womb.

Well then, does it not foHow by unavoidable consequence, that such and such men, poor, hated Esau in par-, ticular, “shall be damned, do what they can ?”

“ Reprobation denotes God's eternal preterition of some men, and his predestination of them to destruction.” And is it possible for them, by, any thing they can do, to prevent that destruction ? You say, no. It follows, they " shall be damned, do what they can.

“ Predestination, as it regards the reprobate, is that immutable act of God's will, whereby he hath determined to leave some men to perish.” And can they avoid it by any thing they do? You affirm, they cannot. Again,

therefore it follows, these “shall be damned, do what

they can.”

“ We assert, there is a predestination of particular persons to death: which death they shall inevitably undergo.” That is, “ They shall be damned, do what they can.

“ The non-elect were predestinated to eternal death." (chap. 2.). Ergo, “ They shall be damned, do what they

can.'

66 The condemnation of the reprobate is necessary and inevitable.” Surely I need add no more on this head. You see, that “the reprobate shall be damned, do what they can,” is the whole burden of the song.

5. Take only two precious sentences more, which include the whole question.

“ We assert, that the number of the elect, (chap. 4,) and also of the reprobate, is so fixed and determinate, that neither can be dugmented nor diminished :and

“That the decrees of election and reprobation are immutable and irreversible."

From each of these assertions, the whole consequence follows, clear as the noon-day sun. Therefore, “The elect shall be saved, do what they will : the reprobate shall be damned, do what they can.”

6. I add a word, with regard to another branch of this kind, charitable doctrine.

Mr. Toplady says, “ God has a positive will to destroy the reprobate for their sins.” (chap. 1.) For their sins ! How can that be? I positively assert, That (on this scheme) they have no sins at all. They never had: they can have none. For it cannot be a sin in a spark to rise, or in a stone to fall. And the spark or the stone is not more necessarily determined either to rise or to fall, than the man is to sin, to commit that rape, or adultery, or murder. For “ God did before all time, determine and direct to some particular end, every person or thing, to which he has given, or is yet to give being." God himself did“ predestinate them to fill up the measure of their ini.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »