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nexion with vital principles, the reviewer meant only that original sin is “ certainly a vital principle of Calvinism," and that infant damnation is certainly somehow connected with it”—not as proving it, but as a mere antecedent, inasmuch as if there had been no original sin, there could have been no infant damnation. As if the state's attorney should first convict a man, by positive testimony, of high-way robbery, and then, to corroborate the positive evidence, should prove that the criminal believed in the existence of high-ways, all for to show how naturally his crime followed from bis faith, not indeed as a necessary consequence, but as an antecedent without which the consequence could not have existed.
We wonder the reviewer did not multiply quotations, to prove that Calvinists believe in the being of God, and in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and of Adam and Eve, as manifestly these also are vital doctrines, and it is alike manifest that infant damnation is connected with them; for if the world had not been made, or Adam and Eve had never been created, how could infants have been damned ?
But the reviewer must certainly have forgotten his early purpose, in supposing that he did not set out to prove insant damnation by quotations which prove only infant depravity and desert, and is mistaken in supposing that he did not need to be told that they prove no such thing. For of Turrettin who, as at first quoted, has testified only, as we have shown), to infant depravity and desert, he says, that “ he did not hesitate to advance il," (the doctrine of infant damnation ;) and of a quotation from Edwards, which taught only infant depravity and desert, he says, “it is directly and completely to our purpose.” How could he call such a quotation “ directly and completely to his purpose,” is, at the time, he did not regard proof of infant desert, as equivalent to the proof of insanı damnation? He must have thought so, for alluding to the some quotation, he says, that “the authority of Edwards is perhaps alone sufficient to decide the point at issue." But the point at issue is, whether the Calvinistic system includes, or most approved authors leach, the doctrine of infant damnation. How then could he think the authority of Edwards alone decisive, when his quotations taught only infant depravity and desert, had he not himself regarded insant damnation as a logical and inseparable conclusion from these premises ?
“ Bellamy (he says) certainly an approved writer, we mean to show, maintained the doctrine of insant damnation.” But we have shown that the passages quoted from Bellamy teach only infant depravity and desert of punishment. And Bostou's short testimony, “ Surely we are not born innocent. These chains of wrath, wbich by nature are upon us, speak us to be born criminals. The swaddling bands, wherewith infants are bound hand and foot as soon as they are born, may put us in mind of the cords of wrath with which they are held prisoners, as children of wrath," unquestionably teaches nothing but insanı depravily and desert. But the testimony of Boston, the reviewer thinkis“ Dr. B. passed over in silence, probably because it was short, pointed, and to the purpose ;" and he refers to bimt as one of the Sublapsarian divines who taught infant damnation. And having closed his array of quotations, most of which proved only original sin and liability to punishment, he says, “ Such is Calvinism, which iis ablest and most approved supporters have themselves expressly stated and enforced.” And to show how and where he supposed them expressly to state the doctrine, he put the passages, sometiines in italics, and sometimes in capitals, just as he did ibose passages from Twiss and Gill, wbich really did ieach the doctrine. But as most of the writers he had quoted expressly stated only infant depravity and desert, it is manisest that he did consider original sin, and desert of punishment, to be logical evidence of insant damnation. So I understood the reviewer, and so he understood himself, if bis language or bis arguments have any meaning.
And yet, not withistanding all these undertakings and vauntings of success, no sooner did our arguments, exposing the fallacy of bis reasoning from his premises, take him aback, ihanbe never advanced the proof of infant depravily and desert of punishment to prove actual infant damnation !'“With a single exception, not one of the quotations of wbich Dr. B. has given the substance, was brought forward to prove more than he allows them to establish.” And lie “ did not need to be told that original sin proves only desert of damnation, and does not leach that infants actually are damned,” but “quoted them merely to show how naturally infant damnation results from, and is connected with, vital, essential principles of Calvinism.”
But it is not, aster all, bis fixed opinion, that even these proofs are not express and conclusive. For when I challenged the reviewer to point out coolly and clearly the logical connexion between any doctrine of Calvinism and infant damnation, · He does not think it best 10 labor much, in his own person, to point out ihat connexion,' but turns me over to the writers, most of whom, as I have shownl, tauglit only infant depravily and desert, as having done the work thoroughly. That is, the authors, en masse, most of whoin teach, as quoted, only insanı depravily, are referred to as proving infant damnation. “What we have already said or cited,” says the reviewer, “ from the authorities just named, we DID Think, and THINK Still, was enough to set the point we meant to prove forever at rest.” And yet the reviewer has condescended to tell us, that these passages on original sin do not teach infant damnation, but that "it is the doctrine of reprobation, which, 10 the praise of Calvinistic justice, casis the little ones into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” But having now traced the monster to his den, to our demand, how he knows that he is within, and what are his proofs, he does not think it best to labor much, in his own person, to answer that question, “ when the task has been so thoroughly done by Calvin, and Turrettin, and the Westininster Assembly, and Twiss, and Boston, and Gill, and Edwards, and Bellamy-all of whom he permitted to speak for theinselves, and for him too." Now, we cannot but think that the reviewer does violence to his gentle nature. Why will he not condescend to tell me how infant damnation follows necessarily from predestination, having bimself seen so long, and asserted so often, that connexion. It would take but a moment just to put his finger on it. It could be told in five lines. Why then send me back to authors ? Does he think one so ignorant as he takes me to be, can work such a traverse? There is not a problem in all the sciences so difficult. In the first place, be quotes bis authors, both singly and collectively, as teaching expressly infant damnation, who taught only infant depravity and desert. Secondly, he insists, that he knew from the beginning that they taught only depravity and desert, and did not quote them to prove infant damnation, and that they do not prove it. And yei, thirdly, he asserts that these very authors, calling them by name, one by one, have given ine all needed light, and that he did think, when be cited them, and does think still, that their testimony is enough to settle the point at issue forever.
We ask whether it is possible for a man, who saw the connexion between reprobation and infant damnation, to shuffle and founder in this manner; and whether the internal evidence is not conclusive, that he saw that there was no logical connexion, and had not magnanimity enough to retract a false accusation ?
It was my opinion, at the time the reviewer replied to my note, that he did confide, unhesitatingly and chiefly, in his proofs of infant damnation from the quotations which prove infant depravity and desert. But my reply took away his armor in which he trusted, and then be endeavored to shift the question, by charging that artifice on me. He meant to retreat from his irrelevant proof-texts, and hang the whole evidence upon reprobation, by the same form of assertion, taking good care, by giving no explanation, and reiterating bold assertions, to keep out of the range of a return fire ; while, to help his escape, he raised a great smoke, by multiplying quotations from ancient Calvinistic writers.
That he has left out, in bis little volume purporting 10 contain the controversy, the whole of bis first attack on me, to which I replied, and published only bis strictures on my desence, seems inexplicable on the part of one so prone to triumph, if he did not himself consider my reply as fatal to his argument. Now, as the event would seem to indicate, and as charity itself would devoutly hope, the shock was so astounding that he has not perfectly recovered himself from its bewildering effect, and affirms and denies, remeinbers and forgets, in the manner I have stated.
I have no pleasure in this exposure ; but it is doubtless as just that the community should see what sort of a controvertist I have to deal with, as what sort of one he has to deal with.
I have only to say again, that "I deny unequivocally, that the Calvinistic system teaches or implies the doctrine ihat infants are damned; and I challenge the reviewer to name a single doctrine of the system from which it follows logically. I call upon him to state a doctrine of Calvinism which implies that infants are damned, and to point out, coolly and clearly, the connexion between the premises and the conclusion; and if he cannot do it, then I call upon him to make such amends, openly, for misrepresenting the doctrinal opinions of a large denomination of Christians, as public justice demands: as honor, magnimity, and conscience cannot fail to make."
Should he refuse to do this, then, before turning me over to those authors who have so satisfactorily done the work for him, but concerning whose testimony he is so settled and unsettled, so sure that they do, and so sure that they do not, teach infant damnation, I would only crave that he tell me, once sor all, on which side of the contradiction lies his honest opinion—or whether he has no opinion, only as one is pushed out by exigence, sometimes on one side, and sometimes on the other.
(To be continued.)
THE STAR IN THE West; being Memoirs of the Life of Ridson
Darracott, Minister of the Gospel at Wellington, Somerset ; with Exıracts from his Correspondence. By James BENNETT. First American Edition. Brookfield : E. and G. Merriam. 1829. pp. 216.
Ridson DARRACOTT was born at Swanage, in the isle of Purbeck, on the coast of Dorsetshire, in February, 1717. His father was the dissenting minister of that retired place; but, as Mr. Bennett remarks,
“ Neither the obscurty of the situation, nor the smallness of his charge, ever generated in his mind the lazy, arrogant conceit, that his callow thoughts were good enough for bis audience. With great care he prepared, not only for the pulpit, where he inight soinetimes expect to address strangers attracted by bis talents, but also for those private meetings of the members of his church, held after the Lord's supper, from which all strangers were excluded. The nutes of the addresses he delivered on these occasions—when the pastor usually pours out the fulness of his heart without an attempt to shine_excite the highest ideas of his intellectual powers, and of the solicitude with which he studied, on every occasion, to promote the edification of his flock.”
When the subject of these “ Memoirs ” was about five years old, his father removed to Chumleigh, in Devonshire. In this town, where young Ridson received the first rudiments of learning, under parental tuition, he asterwards consecrated to Christ the first labors of his ministry, as his father's successor.
“From school young Darracott went, at the age of about fifteen, to a dissenting college, to study for the ministry. The serious reader of his life will now naturally look for an account of the commencement of his religion. Of this, however, none but very slight and defective records remain. No doubt can be entertained of the divine blessing having so far accompanied the care of his pious father to train him up in the way in which he should go, that he never openly departed from it. His correct morals left him less reason than many have to lament the sins of his youth: and his early attention to the duties of religion rendered it impossibly for others to mark the period of his conversion. But the best early cultivation and the most skilful pruning leave the nature of the tree unchanged. Nor did Darracott imagine that it is the privilege of such favored youths as himself to be exempted from the necessity of regeneration. He ever inculcated, with the zeal of conviction, and the skill of experience, the doctrine of the new birth."
Mr. Darracott was placed, at the age above mentioned, in the seminary at Northampton, over which the Rev. Dr. Doddridge presided—a man whose memory is dear to thousands of Christians in this country, and whose praise is in all our churches.
“ While in the seminary, young Darracott lost his father, but found another in his tutor. The affectionate heart of ihe Doctor soon formed a strong attachment to the youth, in whom he perccived a soul panting for the noblest distinction. The frankness of his mind, the purity and strength of principle manifest in all his conduct, and the ardor of his devotion, so fixed the affections of Doddridge, as to induce him to say, 'I hope this young friend will be the guardian of my widow and orphans, should I be called away by death.””
His intimate companions at this period were afterwards eminent among the faithful ministers of Christ. Fawcett, the successor of Baxter, Hervey, author of “ Contemplations,” and Pearsall, the pious pastor of the church at Taunton, were among bis early and steadfast friends. In 1737, he received a license “to enter upon the office of preaching." He was then but twentyone years old. He had previously attempted to preach in a village near Northampton, where the spirit of persecution (which formerly disgraced England, and even now occasionally bursts forth from the cold, formal pretenders to pharisaical righteousness,) gave him a specimen of the trials he must expect to encounter. The house, in which his auditory assembled, was attacked by a mob; but he was assisted by his hearers to escape unhurt. He went from the seminary to Chumleigh, to preach to the church of which his father had been the pastor, and which was then destitute.
“ Standing over his father's ashes, and leading the devotions of that church with which he had first learned to join in the worship of God, he labored with much approbation, and not without some effect. But as the congregation was divided in its choice between him and another young minister, he determined to relinquish the advantages he possessed, and retiring, sought another field of usefulness. In this he affords a salutary lesson to those who are entering on the pastoral care. He removed from Chumleigh to Penzance, in Cornwall."