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in its beginning is so much indebted. At least take especial care, before you aim your shaft at Calvinism, that you know what is Calvinism, and what is not; that in that mass of doctrine, which it is of late become the fashion to abuse under the name of Calvinism, you can distinguish with certainty between that part of it which is nothing better than Calvinism, and that which belongs to our common Christianity, and the general faith of the Reformed Churches; lest, when you mean only to fall foul of Calvinism, you should unwarily attack something more sacred and of a higher origin. I must say that I have found a great want of discrimination, in some late controversial writings, on the side of the Church, as they were meant to be against the Methodists; the authors of which have acquired much applause and reputation, but with so little real knowledge of their subject, that give me the principles upon which these writers argue, and I will undertake to convict, I will not say. Arminians only and Archbishop Laud, but upon these principles I will undertake to convict the fathers of the Council of Trent, of Calvinism. So closely is a great part of that which is most ignorantly called Calvinism interwoven with the very rudiments of Christianity. Better were it for the Church if such apologists would withhold their services."
To suppose that Calvinists must nccessarily be persons of weak intellects, and destitute of learning aud philosophical talent, though it is a supposition that has often been made, is one that betrays a strange excess either of ignorance or of prejudice. Among them we find the second man and writer, whose abilities adorned this island, or perhaps the globe which we inhabit. Among them we find the names of Lord Bacon, Hooker, Sir M. Hale,
Cranmer, Hooper, Jewel, Ridley, Hall, South, Beveridge, Owen, Baxter, Watts, Doddridge, Witherspoon. Edwards, Erskine, Cowper, &c. &c. &c. All of them men of no mean powers, and some of them writers of the first rate that this, or any other country has produced. Nor have the walks of Calvinism been less distinguished for exemplary goodness, and the most diffusive charity, than for literary eminence.
Few in modern times will bear a comparison, in whatsoever things are pure, in whatsoever things are lovely, in whatsover things are of good report, with John Thornton, with John Howard, or with David Dale, and many other names that might be mentioned; and the history of the world, since the age of the Apostles, cannot furnish us with any whose virtues shone with a brighter light, or whose influences were attended with more healthful rays.
Though it is utterly inconsistent with our present plan, to enter further into the merits of the Calvinistic controversy, justice requires that when we treat of systems of religion and their adherents, we should endeavour to wipe away the unjust aspersions which have been cast
Let the controversy between Calvinists and Arminians he decided, not by an appeal to our own reasonings on this high subject, to determine what is the most fit and consistent system ; an appeal too often made by both parties; but by a patient and impartial examination of the doctrines of Revelation, and an humble submission to its decisions. There may be reason to suppose, from the imperfection of our knowledge, and the general fondness of men for system, that the questions on divinity are not many, in which there is nothing but truth on the one side, and nothing but error on the other.
OF ARMINIANISM AND ARMINIANS.
THOSE who assume the name of Arminians, are perhaps by much the most numerous body of Protestants, both in England and in most other parts of Europe ; but it is comparatively a small part of that body who closely adhere to all the doctrines believed and taught by Arminius. His sentiments have been shamefully misrepresented by some Calvinists, and even by many who professed to range themselves under his standard. Scotch Calvinists, forming their sentiments of Arminianism, rather from the writings of those in their own country who adopted some of his tenets, than from a complete investigation of the works of Arminius, have often committed themselves on this subject. English Calvinists have likewise repeatedly fallen into the same mistake. The former are certainly something more excusable than the latter. The number of pious men who have adopted and defended tbe Arminian hypothesis in Scotland, has been comparatively small.
Almost all its strenuous and open defenders, though they agreed with Arminius in opposing the doctrines of absolute election, agreed with him in nothing besides. Mr. Simson and Mr. Campbell, and many others who have been called Arminians, were nearly as much opposed, (the article of absolute decrees being excepted) to the sentiments of Arminias, as they were to those of Calvin. In England, there has long been a succession of men who, though not Calvinists, have been strenu
ous defenders of Evangelical doctrines; who believe man to be wholly corrupted by the fall ; who believe in the doctrine of justification by faith in the blood of Christ, and in sanctification by his Spirit ; and, as these carefully distinguish their tenets from the Pelagian and Semi-Pelagian heresies, those who have confounded them with such heretics, have been very defective either in attention or in candour. In extenuation of this error it may be justly pleaded, that some of those who have pretended to give an impartial statement of Arminianism, bave given one utterly false and unjust. We must then have recourse to the writings of Arminius himself, and learn his creed from his own works. It would be of no general use to give his sentiments in a language, known only to the learned ; and as we wish that nothing in a case so important should rest upon our judgment, we shall quote from a periodical publication of high respectability, the Editors of which take no part in the debate between Calvinists and Arminians, what is sufficient for our purpose. Let us first attend to his sentiments with respect to Original Sin, the source of that corruption which has universally spread itself over our diseased nature.
“ The immediate and proper effect of Adam's sin was the displeasure of God. For since sin is the transgression of the law, it first and immediately offends the Legislator, who conceives just wrath, which is the second effect of sin. From wrath follows the infliction of punishment, which is here twofold,First, the guilt of death, bodily and spiritual. Second, the privation of holiness and original righteousness, which being the effect of the Holy Ghost dwelling in man, ought not to remain in him who had fallen from the favour of God, and incur
red his wrath; for that Spirit is the sign of the favour and good will of God.
“ But this sin is not peculiar to the first of mankind, but common to the whole race, and to all their descendants, who at that time when they sinned were in their loins, and afterwards by the natural mode of propagation, descended from them, according to the primeval blessing. For all sinned in Adam, Whatsoever punishment therefore is brought upon the first parents, pervades and presses the whole posterity, so that all by nature are sons of wrath, guilty of condemnation and of death, both temporal and eternal, finally destitute of the original righteousness and holiness, with which evils they will continue oppressed to eternity, unless they are delivered from them by Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever."-Arminius's Public Disputations. Thesis vii.
“ As to the grace of God," observes this divine, “ I believe that it is First, The gratuitous affection by which God is well disposed towards the miserable sinner : according to which, he gives in the first place the Son, that whosoever believeth in him may have eternal life. Then, in and for Jesus Christ, justifies him and admits him into the right of a son for salvation. Secondly, that it (grace) is an infusion of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, both in the understanding, and in the will and affections which belong to his regeneration and renovation, such as faith, hope, charity, and that without these gifts man is not fit to think, will, or do any good thing. Thirdly, That it (grace) is the continual assistance of the Holy Ghost, by which the Holy Spirit urges and excites to good, the man after he is born again, by pouring into him wholesome thoughts, and inspiring good desires, that so he may actually will that which is good : by which moreover