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' wicked thoughts and evil deeds.'1 What is there here that God could have respect to, in communicating to man his preventing grace? No doubt ministers are bound to exhort, and all are bound in duty to obey : but this does not prove that man is disposed to comply with the exhortation, or to do his duty, or even to welcome the holy motions of the sanctifying Spirit, except as God by grace puts into his heart such “ good desires,' as of himself he never should have.
Our opponents will never gain near so much ground against Calvinism, by quoting from the Homilies, as by quoting from the fathers. Of this they seem fully aware, and therefore are very cautious and select in quoting from the former, and very copious and indiscriminate in appealing to the latter. But we, who are ministers in the establishment, so far allow the authority of the Homilies, while we all protest against that of the fathers, in every respect. “To the law and to the “ testimony."
The compilers of the Homilies were decided on this point, and there needs no further proof of it, than their language being inadvertently taken for that of modern Calvinistic writers." Yet they considered this as perfectly consistent with exhortations, admonitions, and calls to repentance ; in
First Homily for Whitsunday. ? • We can by no means allow the inferences attempted to be • drawn from them by modern Calvinistic writers, namely, that . of our own nature we are without any spark of goodness in us.' Refutation, p. 54.--The words in Italics are those of our Homily! See preceding quotation.
which a majority of modern Calvinists are entirely agreed with them.
In one place his Lordship unites the word irrespectively with partial, 2 but it is in connexion with redemption, not with preventing grace. It' may however not be improper, before we close this section, to take some notice of this compound expression, irrespectively partial. The word partial means 'Inclined to favour without 'reason :'3 and partially, 'with unjust favour or · dislike.'4 In this meaning of the terms, we utterly diclaim them, in respect of the dealings of the only wise and righteous God with his creatures : and, if irrespectively imply partiality, we must disclaim that also. We do not mean that God has no reason, in making one of our fallen race “ to differ from another,” by working in him the willing mind (50? Gédelv,) but that we do not know his reasons ; for he hath not revealed them. We know however that the reason of his conduct was not taken from any thing truly good in fallen man ; and therefore, though his conduct is not partial, yet it is irrespective of man's deservings, or natural good dispositions.—The conclusion of our Lord's parable of the labourers in the vineyard explains and illustrates our meaning. (these first hired) “murmured against the house“holder, saying, These last have wrought but one “ hour, and thou hast made them equal to us, “ who have borne the burden and heat of the day. “ But he answered one of them and said, Friend,
See Serm. on Election, &c. by the author. ? Ref. 586.
“I do thee no wrong (injustice, our adixw oɛ,) didst “ not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that “ thine is, and go thy way; I will give to this last “ even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do “ what I will with my own ? Is thine eye evil “because I am good ?”] Now, if men will call this partiality, though it pervades all the providential dispensations of God, and the distribution of the means of ‘ grace,' as well as the communication of grace itself ; and, though it also entirely coincides with what they claim a right to do in their own concerns; the decision must be left to the judgment of the last day. If we do no injustice to any, we all suppose, that we have a right to confer unmerited favours on whom we please. We indeed seldom exercise this right wisely and benevolently ; and we are accountable to God for the whole : but shall we presume to object to this same right, in the infinitely wise, just, holy, and merciful God ? Shall wé venture to call it partiality ? Or will any man say, that the blessings of salvation are not wholly unmerited ?—Let Calvin for once be heard. “I speak not of the absolute will of God, as the sophisters babble, separating by wicked and profane disagreement, his justice ' from his power: but I mean the providence which governs all things, from which proceedeth nothing but right, though the causes be hidden from ' us.'2_In these objections men forget, or lead others to forget, that the right of “ doing what he “ will with his own” cannot be exercised by God otherwise than in perfect wisdom, justice, truth and goodness.
Matt. xx. 1-16. ; Calvin's Inst. Book I. chap. xvii. sect 2.
On the Evangelical Clergy
The Socinians, in modern times have denomi‘nated themselves Unitarians ; to which title they
have no more an exclusive right, than Calvinists · have to that of Evangelical divines.''
Similar intimations are frequently made against a body of the clergy in the establishment, called
the evangelical clergy ;' which it is not requisite particularly to adduce. The fact is sufficiently known, that such a distinction exists, and that it is considered by many as highly objectionable, and even invidious and arrogant.
The Socinians indeed appear to have studiously assumed to themselves the title of Unitarians; to which they certainly have no exclusive right. It, however, admirably answers their purposes. How far any part of the clergy, have assumed to themselves the title of evangelical; and how far this title has been restricted to Calvinists ; or how far some of the clergy have a right to it, more than others ; are questions which require some consideration.
The title of evangelical ministers was given to a certain description of preachers, some of them clergymen, others dissenters, but far more methodists, (both Calvinistic and Arminian methodists,) before any of the evangelical clergy now living had joined that company.
I will not decide,
I Ref. 49.
whether any of this multifarious company arrogated it to themselves, and bestowed pains to acquire it; or whether they were so denominated by those, who noticed a marked difference in their style of preaching from that of other ministers. The latter indeed is most probable. It is certain, however, that the present race of men thus distinguished did not devise it for themselves. They have no option, whether they will be so called or not; except they choose to renounce or conceal their sentiments. The term is, in so very many instances, misapplied ; and publicity is given to their ministrations in such incongruous associations of individuals, and through such channels of information; that in fact many of the company, especially in the church, are tempted to be ashamed of the distinction, even among those who favour their doctrine : while the prejudice and odium, which it excites in other quarters, are sufficient to render them afraid of it. Yet, whether it be our honour or our infamy, we cannot avoid it. If it be our cross, we must bear it, both from our indiscriminating favourers, and equally indiscriminating opposers.
Indeed I feel great indifference as to my own concern, on the subject: I neither claim the title, nor am ashamed of it. However misapplied, its meaning is highly important. It has no direct connexion with Calvinism, unless Calvinism be synonymous with the gospel of Christ. It implies what all the ministers of religion ought to be ; which all are not ; and which many are, who yet in the grand points of discrimination are decidedly Arminians, nay sometimes perhaps too eager Anticalvinists. Many who bear it have a right to it: