« הקודםהמשך »
evidence, and writing the Review, it is not impossible that we have, in the omission by the reviewer of “ absque remedio,” the joint wisdom of them both.
It should not be forgotten, that the Institutes were published by Calvin both in Latin and in French, and that Allen had the benefit of both, and that the translation was made while a keen controversy about Calvinism was going on, when any prominent mistake would be sure to be detected. Far be it from me to insinuate a suspicion of the Professor's integrity. Much less of his ability to translate an easy passage in John Calvin. I have only to regret the fact, without being required to account for it, that there should be but one light in the text to redeem it from perversion, and that the Professor and the reviewer should both, though in a different manner, put it out; the one by a wrong collocation of the words in his translation, and the other by omitting them altogether.
The reviewer is so hot upon the track of Calvin, in quest of the doctrine of infant damnation, that he ever overruns his game, and would fain prove that Calvin held that some infants of believing parents, dying in infancy, are damned. Grotius, it seems, had slandered Calvin, as Unitarians now do, representing it as his doctrine, “that, from the breast of the same Christian mother, one child was conveyed to heaven, and another to hell.” And Rivet, as we now do, vindicated Calvin, maintaining that “ Calvin, and Calvinists in general, taught that the infants of believers, dying before they were capable of any moral act, were saved.” And, really, we should have supposed Rivet's express testimony, and Calvin's express words, to be as good evidence as the reasoning of the reviewer to the contrary. Not so the reviewer. Rivet, he seems to admit, did hold to the salvation of the infants of believers. But Calvin, he thinks, cannot have believed as Rivet does, because “it implies a hereditary succession to the aristocracy of the saints; of the contin- ual transmission of the privilege of election by birthright; of the being born an heir of salvation, in virtue of natural descent. When thus stated, the doctrine cannot be believed by any one. It is too gross, and too inconsistent with obvious facts." But Rivet, it seems, believed it, although “it cannot be believed by any one." And why might not Calvin? Did Calvin believe nothing which the reviewer is pleased to call absurd ? But Calvin, he insists, puts the children of believers son no better ground than the infants of Jews, or rather than all Jews during the whole period of. their history.” And, as many of the Jews perished in every period of their history, if Calvin places infants on no better ground, it would seem, that he must have taught the damnation of all the infants of believers, dying in infancy.
What then did Calvin hold, on this subject ?
1. That the children of believers are “ so exempted from the fate of the human race, as to be separated to the Lord;” by which
be meant, not that all others were damned, or that all the children of believers would, of course, be saved; but that they becarne, in such a sense members of the visible church as to be entitled to baptism.
2. That such children as are engrasted by baptism, and fail in adult age to obey the Gospel, are cut off; and
3. That all the children of believers, dedicated to God, and dying in infancy, are saved.
The reviewer says, that he (Calvin) speaks of predestination as applying equally to infants and adults. He does; but he does not say that any are actually reprobated. The discrimination between Jacob and Esau, has no relevancy to the future state of infants. Had Esau died in infancy, it would have been to the purpose ; but then, it would not be Calvin, but the Bible, with whom the reviewer would be at war.
I have followed the reviewer through his windings, and mistranslations of Calvin, not because I could not wipe off, by a shorter course, the aspersion cast on him; but that the public may have an opportunity to decide what degree of credit is due to this anonymous Unitarian partizan writer; with what limited knowledge of his subject, and with what unauthorised confidence, he has spoken of the sentiments of Calvin concerning the future state of infants. I subjoin the following letter from Calvin to Knox, the Scotch reformer.*
“But, because, in a proper use of baptism, the authority of God and his institution ought to be a sufficient reason for us, it is proper for us to inquire whom God, by his own voice, invites to baptism. Now, the promise comprehends, not only the offspring of each of the faithful in the first degree, but is extended to a thousand generations. Whence it happens that the interruption of piety which takes place under popery, will not have taken away the vigor and efficacy of baptism; for the origin and reason of baptism, and its nature, are to be e:timated from the promise. I do not, therefore, at all doubt, but that the offspring of holy and pious ancestors, although their parents and grandparents were apostate, do still pertain to the body of the church.” . Cal. Letters, p. 322.
Now, 1. Calvin did believe in the salvation of all infants, dying in infancy, who are within the compass of the promise which is made to believers and their children. And, 2. He did believe that the promise extended to children of the thousandth generation, though some of the intervening links of pious descent had been broken. He, of course, believed in the salvation of all infants, dying in infancy, who are within a thousand generations of a pious ancestor. This is Calvin's belief in the damnation of insants.
* It is in answer to the question, whether the children of Roman Catholics may be baptised.
Calvin, it would seem then, came nearer to teaching the actual salvation of all infants, than the damnation of any. For, sweep a compass round all infants who die within a thousand generations of a pious ancestor, and how many will fall without the blessed circumference of mercy ?
Not a syllable, then, has been produced from Calvin, which proves that he taught that infants are damned. Hitherto, the reviewer has made the charge without evidence. And I now call upon him, by all the sanctions of violated justice, to retract the slander which he has so wantonly cast upon the memory of the holy dead.
TURRETTIN, as quoted by the reviewer, teaches the following things.
1. That the guilt of original sin is sufficient for the condemnation of infants.
2. That infants have been infected with original sin.
3. That infants, though not subjects of law as regards action, are as regards disposition; and that volition in infants is not necessary to the contagion and guilt of original sin.
This is all the evidence which the quotation from Turrettin surnishes that infants are, in fact, damned; and it is gravely quoted as if too plain to need a comment, and too irresistible to be denied. But we take the liberty to suggest to the reviewer, that his quotation from Turrettin is nothing to his purpose. He might as well have quoted “Adam, Seth, Enoch,” to prove that infants are damned. And, lest he should doubt our word, we will try again to show him, by the help of a syllogism, what an incorrigible arersion his premises and his conclusion have to come together :
Original sin deserves damnation. And whoever deserves damnation, will certainly be damned. But Turrettin teaches that infants, as corrupted by original sin, do deserve damnation. Therefore, as we have abundantly proved, Turrettin teaches the actual damnation of infants.
And now, elated by such a victory, in true Bonapartean style, he follows us up in our discomfiture, to make an end of us, by pouring in upon us the testimony of · AUGUSTINE, a man who lived some ten centuries before Calvin was born, in order to prove that the Calvinists of New England and the United States, between whom and Augustine fifteen centuries have intervened, do believe, nevertheless, that infants are damned. This is the greatest march of mind that I have met with in these marching days; the most fearless act of mental agility, I cannot but think, ever attempted to make the premises and conclusion leap a ditch of fifteen centuries to come together. Now let us see how they succeed. At two leaps it is done. Calvin thought highly of Augustine, and constantly (often) cited him as the highest authority; therefore, on the subject of infant dananation, Calvin must have believed as Augustine did. But Calvinists of the present day think highly of Calvin, and often quote him as the highest authority ; therefore, they believe, on the subject of infant damnation, as Calvin believed.'
Now then for the syllogism: He that highly esteems and almost constantly quotes an author as of the very highest authority, must be supposed to believe exactly as he does on all points. But Calvin thus esteemed and quoted Augustine; therefore, as Augustine believed in the damnation of infants, so did John Calvin. But modern Calvinists highly esteem and often quote Calvin as of the highest authority; therefore, modern Calvinists, like him, believe in the damnation of infants.
Now if we were in a court of justice, we should be permitted to cross-question these witnesses. And, as a “deep stain” is likely to be fixed on our character, should we be convicted, I know not why legal evidence should not be demanded. I would take the liberty, therefore, to ask John Calvin a few questions.
Ques. Has your high estimation of Augustine led you anywhere to avow, that you believed in every sentiment which he taught?
Ques. Have you anywhere avowed your belief in the particular sentiment ascribed to Augustine—that infants are damned?
Ans. Never. “The strongest passages” in my writings, however tortured, cannot be made to teach any such opinion.
We would now put a few questions also to Augustine.
Ques. Did you, Sir, believe and teach that infants are damned; meaning by the term damnation, what it is now in common use understood to mean—a condition of excessive and unmingled suffering, bodily and mental ?
Aug. Horresco! Nunquam, nunquam. Dixi“ Contra Julianum, lib. i. cap. 16. Potest proinde recte dici parvulos sine baptismo de corpore exeuntes in damnatione omnium mitissime futuros;" et lib. v. cap. 8, dixi “Ego non dico parvulos sine baptismo Christi morientes, tanta pæna esse plectendos ut eis non nasci potius expediret.” Miror! Indignor! O tempora! O mores !*
You see, Sir, how Augustine feels at your misrepresentation of him—as if he taught that infants were sent to the gloom and torments of a “Calvinistic hell;" when what he taught in fact was, the damnation of infants as consisting chiefly, if not entirely, in the loss of that holy enjoyment in heaven for which their depravity disqualified them; and if they suffered a positive evil at all, it was of the very mildest kind; and such as rendered their eternal existence, on the whole, a blessing. A state much happier than that in which thousands and millions of infants have lived in this world; for there have been multitudes so circumstanced in time as that their existence was no blessing to them. And yet this sentiment of Augustine you have quoted to prove that Calvin believed, and that those who are called by his name, now believe, that infants not a span long are sent to the fierce torments of an eternal hell! And it is after such splendid exhibitions of knowledge in ecclesiastical history, and of skill in translation, and accuracy in reasoning, that the reviewer celebrates his triumph in the following strains of exultation :
* I am horror struck! Never, never. I said in my book, Contra Julianum, lib. i. cap. 16, “It may, therefore, be truly said, that infants, departing from the body without being baptized, will be in a condemnation of all most mild;" and in lib. v. cap. 8. I have said, “I do not say that infants, dving without Christian baptism, will be filled with sueh punishment as will make it
ke it expedient rather that they had never been born." I am as. ionished-I am indignant--that I should be represented as having taught that infants sufior the full torinents of hell. Oh, the degeneracy of the times !
So much for Calvin, his master, and one of his ' most approved' expositors. How a man ambitious of being considered a leader of the Calvinistic party in this country, could hazard such assertions as those contained in the Note under review, it is difficult to imagine. The damnation of infants is a doctrine so revolting to all the better feelings of our nature, a doctrine so‘monstrous,' to use Dr. Beecher's own word, that we do not wonder Calvinists are anxious to have it considered aóslander' to charge it upon them or their system; and, if it were a mere remote inference drawn by their opponents from some acknowledged part of their belief, the denial of it might be accounted for and excused. But in the present instance, it is disavowed in the name of a party, the very head of which preached it, and the most approved' apostle of which did not hesitate to advance it; and the case is to us inexplicable.
The next evidence relied on is to be found in the extracts “from the most approved Calvinistic writers of later date,” quoted in the “ very heat of the late Unitarian controversy, when it is not to be supposed for an instant, or by any stretch of charity, they did not meet the eye or ear of him who had never seen nor heard of any book which contained such a sentiment." These quotations from approved Calvinistic writers of later date are contained, we suppose, in Professor Norton's Views of Calvinism. Whether we bad read it or not, we shall not now stop to say. We certainly have read it since, with a full purpose, if such quotations as he alleges were contained in it, to admit frankly our mistake. But we find no such passages; and Professor Norton is hereby requested to state the passages on which he relies, and to state, in logical form, the manner in which, to him, they appear conclusive. Especially do I call for the proof that EDWARDS gives up infants 10 “ the full torments of hell.” The passage quoted from Edwards in proof contains no such sentiment. He is replying to two “dissenting divines, of no inconsiderable note," one of whom supposed that only so much sin of Adam was imputed, as justified the miseries of this life, and of death, or annihilation ; the other supposing that no imputation can be consistent with the divine perfections which avers that the future state of infants should be worse than nonexistence.
“ But this to me,” he says, “ appears plainly to be giving up that grand point of the imputation of Adam's sin, both in whole and in part. For it supposes it to be not right for God to bring any evil VOL. I.