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sincerely desire, and earnestly seek the blessings of salvation, through the merits of Christ, in God's own way, and on his appointed terms, who was not thus enabled' to do so? If these questions could be answered, and proved in the affirmative, something to good purpose might be effected against the Calvinists.
Ø 27. If a modern Calvinist uses the terms ' possibility” or “impossibility,” in reference to the attainment of salvation, we should not immediately infer that a decree of prevention is implied. The actual state of man forms the barrier. That Calvin's notion of a reprobating decree was an unfounded conclusion, will be noticed under the next subject of examination. We are now to advert to his Lordship’s remaining argument in favour of universal redemption, in his sense of the term, founded on a comparison between the extent of the evil and the supposed extent of the remedy. If this argument prove any thing, it renders itself useless by proving too much, on the one hand, and by opposing plain fact on the other. The evil consisted not only in guilt incurred, which might be removed by righteousness; but in great depravity. If therefore the remedy were 'commensurate to the evil,' all that depravity which was introduced, ought also to be removed. But this proves more than his Lord
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ship can intend; and, in reality, forms a contradiction; for it would be the same as to prevent that evil which at the same time is supposed to exist. The argument also militates against plain revealed and experienced facts; for much of the evil introduced by Adam's delinquency, continues from age to age, and will continue for ever.
r 28. If the meaning be, that the remedy
proposed,' though not applied, may be expected from 'a Being of infinite power and 'mercy,' to be "commensurate to the evil ;' it appears from the preceding pages, that this is not disputed; and modern Calvinists, both in the church of England and out of it, give the most cogent proof of this as their prevailing sentiment, by taking a very active part, in sending missionaries and bibles to every quarter of the globe. As the evil is universal, they endeavour, according to the will of God, that the proposed’ remedy should be equally unlimited,—that repentance and remission of sins should be preached among all nations, in the name, and through the merits, of Jesus Christ : but alas how few receive the message; for “ darkness hath covered the earth, and gross darkness the people.” Were the influence of the Holy Spirit, however, which is an important part of the remedy, conferred upon every man,
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the gospel remedy would experience a far different reception in the world. That 'a Being
of infinite power and mercy' could effect this, as that he could send his Son into the world to become a sacrifice for sin, and a price of redemption, and could ensure the reception of the remedy, and salvation by it, who can doubt? But he is a Being of infinite Wisdom and Justice, as well as of Power and Mercy.
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The Bishop's avowed Sentiments on PREDESTINATION
and ELECTION, examined,
can doubt m and
$1. The subject stated.
and Justice, examined.
in Preterition, $ 9. The Non-predestinated are not denied, re
pulsed, or hindered. $ 10. Remarks on the term Reprobation, $ 11 + 13. An enquiry, Why CALVIN and some others inferred a decret
of Reprobation, and Preterition, or Non-Election. $ 14, 15. The notion of a voluntary restriction of Prescience, con
sidered. 16--20. Whether there be any other ground of certain futurition beside a divine decree, discussed. § 21. Inferences from the preceding discussion. $ 22-25. That we cannot reconcile Prescience with other divine perfections; and § 24., With
Free-agency, examined. 25. That the actions of Free-agents are only permitted, examined.'
$26, 27. His Lordship's account of divipe decrees and appointments, and of Electios, examined,
$ 1. The remarks made by his Lordship on the subject under present examination, are so numerous, that it is no easy task to reduce them to any general heads. However, the most prominent are the following: That Predestination is irreconcilable with the divine goodness and justice that absolute election and reprobation are inseparable—that we cannot reconcile prescience with other divine attributes and free agency--that the actions of free agents are only permitted—that God did appoint the power of believing and obeying to all who hear
the gospel--but did not appoint that the benefits of Christ should be enjoyed by some only— that the prescience of our being ordained to eternal life, is founded on our compliance-that the idea of a covenant is inconsistent with the Calvinistic system-that there was no difference between Judas and the other apostles, except good works - that an exhortation to walk worthily, is incompatible with certainty and salvation—that the general terms of God's love, are irreconcilable with his electing some and leaving others to perish—that election is not confined to those who will actually be saved—that to choose in Christ, is to make known the gospel of Christ--that the “ predestination" of the 17th Article, is God's gracious purpose to make a conditional offer of salvation to men—and, finally, that Calvinistic Election is disclaimed and condemned in the strongest terms in the 17th Article.
In the first place, his Lordship supposes, that predestination is irreconcilable with divine goodness and justice. "I reject the Calvinistic doctrine of Predestination, not because it is incomprehensible, but because I think it ' irreconcilable with the justice and goodness of * God."* In another place it is said, “It is not
* Refut. p. 252.