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fix it to the contemplation of ideal and unseen perfection. But as this speculative disposition of the mind towards what is abstractedly good, is found, by experience, to be consistent with much that is vicious in practice; and as real practical virtue, such as we are concerned with in this life, does, in fact, consist in an habitual subjection of the mind to the conclusions of reason, where revelation bas not been made, and where it has, to the commands issued by the creator of the world, it is evident that this habitual subjection of the will must be acquired, like other habits, by repeated acts, and to its formation must be presupposed, of course, frequent opportunities of executing those acts, or the contrary. The existence of moral evil, and the liability to fall into it, are necessary therefore to that developement and discipline of human character which is the purpose of our temporary appearance on the stage of life, and the difficulties resulting from the permission of sin are not so inexplicable as is sometimes pretended by Calvinists, and alleged as an argument for our abstaining entirely from any attempt to weigh the divine decrees in the balance of human reason.
Long as the importance of these subjects has already detained us, we feel that any discussion of them would be incomplete which failed to account for those passages of Scripture which, it is said, so strongly favour the doctrine of personal election, that ' frequent quotations from them, in a sermon, without some attempt to explain away their obvious meaning, would subject the preacher to the charge of Calvinism.' And it is quite certain, that without these passages as a support, Calvinism never would have found its way into the church. But we appeal to the candid author of Remarks on the Bishop of Lincolo's volume, if five chapters* of St. Paul's epistles tend to establish a doctrine which, generally applied, would be inconsistent with the whole tenor of the Bible, whether we have not fair and rational cause for doubting the justice of applying that doctrine universally? To us, at least, it appears most evident, that the object of the apostle, in the much disputed chapter to the Romans, is to prove, that the adoption of the Jews was not owing to any merits of their pation, not even of their patriarchs, which might be supposed to entail upon them a claim to the continuance of divine favour after their rejec
* Romans 8, 9–11. Ephes. 1, 2. There are a few occasional expressions, as the terms in which Pharaoh is spoken of, those or lained to eternal life,' (for we cannot agree with Whitby and Mr. Mant, in their explanation of the word Telayusvo:) or the ungodly men foretold by St. Jude, as ' ordained of old to this condemnation,' which seein designed to preserve a constant sense of the divine superintendance. So it is related in Genesis, (ch. 28, v. 7,) that. Er, Judah’s first borni, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord slew him.' A A Q
tion of the Gospel, but that their election could only be resolved into the free choice and purpose of God. To shew this, he cites the declaration of the Almighty to Moses, recorded in Exodus, (cap. 33,) where he gave him this assurance of his having separated to himself the Jewish nation, that, of his sovereign will, he would be gracious to whom he would be gracious, and would have mercy on whom he would have mercy.' The subsequent verses declare of the Jews, that their exaltation, like the temporary power of Pharaoh, was not of debt but of grace; that God, having it in his counsels to deposit his oracles with some nation, had chosen theirs, whose obstinacy and apostacy he had long borne with, that he might make their nation, according to his prophetic intimations, the instrument of conveying his mercy to the gentiles. It would be tedious to pursue this farther, and to shew how the peculiar call of the Jews is kept perpetually in view ; but we have read the chapters in question, as recommended by Mr. Scott, and our conclusion is, that St. Paul's language may certainly be applied to the doctrine of personal election, supposed to be established on other grounds, but that the apostle himself applies it to national election; neither can we approve of reasoning which would transfer this argument to God's general agency towards mankind.
As language is properly addressed to the Jews, who were without dispute an elect, a chosen, a peculiar people, which would be inapplicable to any other nation; so it may be justly affirmed of those to whom the Gospel was first preached, that they were chosen before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blame, and that they were predestinated into the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to God, according to the good pleasure of his will. The choice of those to whom the Gospel should first be committed was as much a call, as that of Abraham ; as much an election, as that of the Jews. With regard to the apostles, our Saviour himself says, • You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.' So after the command had been issued, “Go and teach all nations :' we find that the journies of the apostles were still under the divine direction. Paul and Silas, if left to themselves, would have evangelized Asia propria and Bithynia, but were preyented by special intimations of the Holy Spirit.' Now though it is probable that they were directed to those parts where they would tind most who were worthy,' most who would receive the word
with an honest and faithful heart;' yet we cannot reasonably believe that in those districts from which they were at first precluded, all would have rejected the tidings of grace if offered to their acceptance; or that the distinction of moral characters should have been so exactly preserved, as that there was much to chuse between
the worst man who was converted to the Gospel, and the best who was excluded. That certain individuals should have advantages over others, is necessary in the constitution of things, and is no inore an impeachment of God's justice than bis becoming, exclusively, the lawgiver of the Jews, or enlightening one portion of the globe with Christianity in preference to another. Unless, however, we suppose that at the very first promulgation of the Gospel, all were called to partake of it, who had fit qualities for its reception, we must allow that those to whom opportunity was given to be among the early converts, were called to peculiar privileges, and really obtained inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of God.' St. Paul asserts this of himself: no one will deny it of him; or of any of the apostles, or of the Ethiopian eunuch, whom Philip was expressly sent to meet; or of Cornelius; or of the Philippians, to whom St. Paul directed his course, when specially diverted from his original intention of visiting Bi. thynia. But all these cases are as much exceptions to the providence of God in respect to the other individuals in the world at large; as his dispensation with regard to the Jews was different from the case of all other nations. Such exceptions neither place other nations, nor other individuals, under the anathema of Calvin, Quos Deus præterit, reprobat; any more than a king can be said to dishonour those of his subjects, whom he does not advance to a station near his person, or employ upon any special mission. The purpose of God required that the records of the creation should be preserved with some particular nation, till the fulness of time when his glory should be more generally manifested. He selected the Jews. So it required that some individuals, and families, and towns, and districts should first receive the Gospel, and then become his instruments in communicating it through the world. These he quickened, when they were dead in trespasses and sins :' these he selected as' vessels of mercy' from the general corruption of the heathens. But unless it be assumed that every sentence which finds a place in the apostolical writings is applicable, without limitation, to all future Christians; it cannot be argued from the case of the Ephesians, that no individual will be saved, who is -not' predestinated into the adoption by Jesus Christ according to the good pleasure of God's will' alone, and called according to such a special election, and converted by 'grace attended by a moral necessity.'
If it has appeared from these considerations, that there are no invincible obstacles either in reason or Scripture, against a rejection of the Calvinistic scheme, the arguments which Mr. Mant has urged on the other side from the tenor of Revelation, and the nature of the divine attributes become irresistible. We shall
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our readers with a specimen of the forcible style and skilful illustration which Mr. Mant has employed in support of his opinions.
. It will be elucidating by a beautiful example the scriptural notions of assurance and perfection, to which the Christian is daily drawing more near, and of assurance not vouchsafed unto him until the close of his mortal life; if I call to your recollection the last moments of a “ most learned, most humble and holy man," a man of saintlike and apostolical simplicity. “ I have lived,” said he, “ to see this world is made up of perturbations, and I have been long preparing to leave it, and gathering comfort for the dreadful hour of making my account with God, which I now apprehend to be near. And though I bave by his grace loved him in my youth, and feared him in mine age, and laboured to have a conscience void of offence to him and to all men ; yet, if thou, O Lord, be extreme to mark what I have done amiss, who can abide it? And therefore where I have failed, Lord, show mercy to me: for I plead not my righteousness, but the forgiveness of my unrighteousness, for his merits who died to purchase a pardon for penitent sinners. And since I owe thee a death, Lord, let it not be terrible, and then take thine own time: I submit to it! !.et not mine, () Lord, but let thy will be done! With which expression,” acids bis biographer," he fell into a dangerous slumber, dangerous as to his recovery ; yet recover he did, but it was only to speak these few words: God hath heard my daily petitions; for I am at peace with all men, and he is at peace with me: from which blessed assurance I feel that inward joy, which this world can neither give nor take from me. More he would have spoken; but his spirits failed him; and after a short conflict between nature and death, a quiet sigh put a period to his last breath, and so he fell asleep."
Such were the dying sentiments of a man, whom his biographer characterizes by great learning, remarkable meekness, godly simplicity, and Christian moderation : whom his contemporaries esteemed as most capable of teaching learning by instruction, and virtue by example;' whom not this University alone, but our Church and Nation, have uni. formly esteemed, as one of their brightest luminaries; and to whose merits the testimony of two successive monarchs has been sanctioned by the approbation of the good, the wise, and the great; who have concurred in adopting the appellation, that his sovereigns had bestowed, and in transmitting his honour to posterity as • the learned, or judicious, or reverend, or venerable Hooker.'
• Virtually disclaiming the modern doctrine of assurance, by declaring that “ the strongest in faith that liveth on the earth, has always need to labour, strive, and pray, that his assurance concerning heavenly and spiritual things may grow, increase, and be augmented :" and disclaiming the modern doctrine of perfection by an humble acknowledge ment of his own unrighteousness, he bore his testimony to the truths, which I have been endeavouring to establish, even before the opposite heresies had taken root amongst us. With singular gratification I close the present discourse by such an attestation to the soundness of the tenets, wbich I have been deducing from the Oracles of God: for I can
not consider it as a matter of trifling moment, that they are thus incidentally supported by one, whose heart was the living picture of that poorness of spirit, to which is promised the blessing of the kingdom of heaven ; and whose mind was of a capacity to trace the operations of law, emanating from the bosom of the Creator, and diffusing harmony throughout his works.'--pp. 491 --494.
It is no uncommon mistake to imagine, that the persons whose opinions dissent from our own, on certain known points, believe and teach every thing except what we ourselves teach and believe, To this notion, which is more universal than either its justice or charity render desirable, Mr. Mant, unintentionally no doubt, gives some countenance; by an occasional want of selection in the author whom he confutes, and a want of discrimination in his application of their peculiar tenets. But we must have done.
The remarks with which Mr. Mant winds up his last discourse, are, however, too excellent and too important to be withheld from our readers.
* First, considering the activity of our enemies, and the propensity, which they diligently foster, to disparage the clerical character, we should be stimulated more than ever, to take heed to ourselves' by a diligent discharge of the duties of our profession, and by a strict attention to our personal conduct. Of our parishioners, and of mankind in general, the great bulk are not capable of deciding on controverted topics, but they are all able to judge of external conduct. By careful attention to their interests, both temporal and spiritual, we may attach them to our persons; and thus, by natural consequence, to our ministry: and it will be no difficult conclusion for them to draw, that inasmuch as we labour to “ do the will of God, we know of the doctrine, whether it is of God.”
Secondly, The same consideration should operate on us as an additional caution, to“ take heed to the doctrine;" to preach the Gospel of Christ in its original purity and simplicity. Truth lies between the several extremes of Antinomian licentiousness, and mere morality; of irresistible grace, and unassisted free-will. This is the path, in which we should endeavour to walk; ever remembering, that the right method of confuting erroneous opinions is not by maintaining the opposite errors, but by setting forth, and contending for, the true evangelical faith. Conduct, such as this, is best adapted, under the favour of a bountiful Providence, to establish our friends, and to defeat our enemies. They, who accuse us with an honest conscience and a meek and Christian spirit, may thereby be induced to withdraw their opposition, at least to be temperate in urging it; to forbear from being active adversaries, if they cannot be prevailed on to become cordial friends. Whilst, as to others, provided we afford them no just occasion of offence, the responsibility of the divisions and heart-burnings, which they promote, will fall upon their own heads, “ Wo unto him," saith our Lord,“ by whom the offence cometh !" God forbid, my brethren, that it should come by