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nature, they must be performed in allegiance to him and in obedience to his injunctions. Such is the actual conclusion of reason.
But the Gospel, it is alleged, directing to the right performance of our duty from a right principle, by a right rule, and to a right end, gives the moral duties a new nature, and turns them into evangelical obedience. No; it does not change the nature of the action, but simply of the object for which it is performed. When Socrates dissuaded the youth of Athens from immoralities, as being unworthy of the purity of the soul, and when a Christian preacher reproves vice as being contrary to the revealed will of God, will it be affirmed that the different motive employed to sanction the same precept changes the nature of the action in one who conforms to it? Or will it be argued, that man, by common grace, can forbear from sin on such motives as an ancient philosopher might propose, but not on the higher motive enforced by the Christian, without the farther assistance of special grace? Surely it is not reason which leads to the conclusion, that the stronger the motive, the greater is the difficulty, and higher in proportion the degree of grace required to secure our obedience.
The doctrine of Scripture, to which we must now turn, is never contrary to the conclusions of our reason, though often above them. There we are told, not that by our natural powers we can discharge our relative duties, so as to be useful in society but not so as to satisfy the Almighty; but that we can do,' viz. accomplish and bring to execution, no good thing of ourselves ; that it is God who maketh us perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in us that which is well pleasing in his sight.' St. Paul accuses the heathen world, not because they were moral on wrong principles, for ' a man will be judged according to that which he hath,' but because they were immoral against their principles, and did not act up to the law written in their hearts,' being positively
filled with all unrighteousness. The distinction that is drawn between the works of the flesh and the fruits of the spirit is plainly between the virtues and the vices collectively, not between the effects of common and those of extraordinary grace. The converts were no where told tliat they were displeasing to God, as far as they did by nature the things contained in the law, but that they must now perform the same moral duties on a higher motive, as servants, and, after all,' unprofitable servants,' because they believed in Christ,' because Christ loved them, and because all is to be referred to the glory of God.' The tenor of Scripture, in short, is not that Cornelius feared God with all his house, and gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway' by a different sort of grace from that by which, after his conversion, he * worked out his salvation, but that the same grace co-operates
with the reason and natural powers of all, whether heathen or Christian, who do not reject the gift, different, indeed, in degree, but not in nature.
That the human will is not so entirely corrupt, but that it has still a principle or power left (we do not say 'to turn or prepare itself for good works,' but) to co-operate with divine grace towards spiritual things in a manner quite inconsistent with the moral inability ascribed to it by Calvinists, may be satisfactorily; gathered from Scripture, notwithstanding the strong expressions which only a Pelagian can resist, declaring its inherent pravity and inclination to evil. The much disputed passage of St. Paul cannot be received in any other sense without a total disregard of the context,* where he says, “ To will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not, but the evil which I would not that I do. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man. With the inward man, then, i. e, with reason, and the will resulting from the proper esercise of reason, grace co-operates, without which it could produce no effectual result, fruitlessly 6 warring against the law of sin which is in the members.' · In our view of the inatter the same doctrine is clearly laid down by the example of the prodigal son, who is represented, ' when he came to himself,' that is, when his reason led him to reflect on the situation to which he had been reduced by guilt and folly, as exclaiming, I will arise, and go to my father, and will say unto hin, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.' The assistance which these first motions of the will, arising from the sincere use of the understanding, instantly and continually receive, and by which, alone, they become effectual, is beautifully described in the following verse :- And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.'
No other conclusion can well be drawn from the parable of the sower; and it receives a strong corroboration from numerous detached passages which it would be tedious to dwell upou singly. Nor is there any thing unintelligible in the co-operation which is here intended. The Calvinist, indeed, would deny all moral exertion unless the natural will were previously renewed by grace. But those cannot be addressed by argument who think it a reply to assume the very point in question. Let then, then, appeal to
See Hammond in loco. who certainly cannot be considered as an interested witness. He plainly points out the difference between this passage and that in the epistle to the Galatians, cl. 5, which is cominonly considered as parallel.
authority, and attempt, by their view of the subject, to reconcile those passages of Scripture which, taken separately, on either side, would lead to opposite conclusions. On the supposition that man, by sincerely meditating on the motives set before him by the Gospel, may willingly incline to a corresponding course of conduct, and that this conviction of his understanding is accompanied and assisted by the Holy Spirit, in proportion to its sincerity and ardour, the different tone of these passages may be easily referred to the prominent impression on the writer's mind at the moment, either of the urgent necessity of man's so exerting his own faculties as to draw upon them the divine assistance, or (the more exact supposition perhaps) of his so far distrusting them as to preserve the consciousuess of his entire dependence on the Holy Spirit for their perseverance and effect. But it is impossible to account for the discrepancy, either under the Pelagian idea of man's unassisted powers becoming effectual, or under the opposite notion of grace superseding all his natural will and inclination.
It has sometimes been argued that the doctrine of justification by faith cannot be consistently maintained by any who deny the total and entire corruption of human nature. Holding that doctrine, as it will presently appear we do, to be the great essential of Christianity, to be the motto of that banner under which all who subscribe to it may justly range themselves, and reckon all other differences as comparatively trivial, we would instantly renounce any interpretation of Scripture with which that doctrine was irreconcileable. But is there no medium between the complete bondage of the will on one side and self-righteousness on the other? Does it follow by a necessary connection, that man must claim bis acquittal as a right from his Almighty Judge because he is free to chuse when good and evil are placed before him? As well might it be said that a drowning man was his own preserver because he had strength to turn his head towards the shore, or to cry out for assistance, as that the human race, weak and infirm of purpose as they are, cannot stand in need of an atonement whilst it is allowed that a single good principle remains within them.
This leads us to consider Mr. Mant's doctrine of justification, in which he seems to have fallen into error, or at least into obscurity, by not adhering to his own definition. That justification signities - the admission of Christians into favour and covenant with God, and not immediately their ultimate forgiveness and admission into everlasting happiness,' (p. 66,) we cordially agree; but when he proceeds, in the following page, to state, that he uses the words * justified' and saved'indiscriminately, he unawares falls into a contradiction of the position with which he set out. If justification does
not signify ultimate forgiveness, how can it be synonymous with salvation ? And when we are in possession of two such legitimate and significant terms as justification and salvation, what can we gain by confounding them, except perplexity? The fact is, that we are justified by faith, not including sanctification, and that we are saved by faith, followed by sanctification. Passages, no doubt, occur in Scripture where the words admit of mutual substitution, as when it is declared of a gentile received into the Gospel covenant, this day is salvation come to this house;' but where the object is to lay down doctrine, and an accurate attention to terms is required, they are carefully separated. Let a single instance suffice. The apostle says to the Corinthians, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, and in which ye stand. This we take to signify that the Corinthians, by their conversion and baptism, were placed in a state of justification; he then adds, by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain;' i.e. this justification will lead to everlasting happiness, if it be followed by its natural fruit-sanctification. Surely this is the exact doctrine which it is safe to embrace and unexceptionable to enforce; that by the free gift of God we are justified through faith ; that this faith leads to a holy life ; and that those who are thus justified and thus sanctified will finally attain salvation.
Mr. Mant is greatly and reasonably apprehensive of the erroneous deduction which the Solifidian has drawn from St. Paul's doctrine of justification. But it should be remembered that danger does not lie on that side exclusively. The passages, indeed, which he quotes from Romaine and Hawker, lead at once, if logically followed, to the vilest Antinomianism. But is this the only error among nominal Christians ? Does Mr. Mant, in the course of those ministerial duties which he so faithfully discharges, meet with none who practically depreciate the merits of their Saviour, and deny the necessity of his atonement, by trusting to themselves, and to what they vaguely call their sincere endeavours ? From the apostolical times to the present, those who have earnestly impressed the doctrine of justification by faith upon their hearers, have been accused of depreciating personal holiness, and they have uniformly replied by appealing to their practice. St. Paul himself foresaw the error and guarded against it; but his caution was not always sufficient, and the evil with which the early church was either threatened or actually infected, by an erroneous view of that apostle's doctrine, gave a principal occasion to the positive injunctions of St. James. When the corruptions of popery had utterly undermined this apostolical tenet, the few who, from time to time, appealed from ecclesiastical to evangelical authority, were assailed
with the same accusation. And the answer has been uniform from the early Christians, from the Lollards in this country, the Vaudois, the Hussites, and first reformers abroad. We hold, it is true, that faith alone justifies, but not that it is alone sufficient to salvation; and it is remarkable, that the persons who have been subjected to this reproof have, at the same time, been noted for denying themselves many of those amusements and gratifications of life which their opponents innocently indulge in; a fact which we must at least consider as successfully rebutting the charge of Antinomianism, since it shews not only no indifference, but, what is generally deemed an over zealous anxiety, with respect to the conformity of their lives to the purity of their profession.
In the fourth, fifth, and eighth sermons, Mr. Mant has proved, with unanswerable force, that Calvinistic predestination, personal election, and final perseverance, whatever foundation they may derive from metaphysical arguments, are as contrary to the tenor and doctrine of Scripture as they are inconsistent with the divine attributes and the condition of the Gospel covenant. He states it, with great justice, as a vital objection to the doctrines of Calvin, that they are grounded upon an imperfect and partial view of revelation, and rest upon a dubious, at least, if not a decidedly false, interpretation of detached passages, instead of being established on a comprehensive survey of holy writ. p. 177. In truth, had Calvinists .appealed to Scripture alone, their opinions would never have prevailed so extensively. But as the questions on which they come to so peremptory a decision involve subjects with which human reason has been always perplexed, such as he existence of evil, and the effects of absolute foreknowledge upon the liberty of man, they have taken advantage of these difficulties, and propped up their solution of them by detached passages of Scripture, which we shall briefly consider in the sequel. The book in which the metaphysical reasonings in favour of the predestinarian tenets, produced in such abundance during the century succeeding the Reformation, have been digested and brought within reasonable compass, is Edwards's Treatise on Free Will, and this is commonly referred to by modern Calvinists as containing both their sentiments and the confirmation of them. It will not be difficult to shew how little this treatise is able to sustain the weight thus laid upon it, for the benefit of those who may like to be convinced, that if they cannot find the Calvinistic tenets in Scripture they are not bound to believe them as inseparably connected with the divine attributes; and we undertake this with more readiness, because Mr. Mant's arguments, being derived froin Scripture only, will be considered by his adversaries as leaving their principal positions untouched.