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the formation of two sorts of men by the angels ! An attempt to defend Calvinism from this charge, would be an insult to the readers' knowledge and common sense. But we may just put the question, Is there any existing sect of Christians that holds an opinion bearing any resemblance to this heresy?
6 “ Sub
§ 5. Again, The Calvinists are charged with resembling the heresy of the Valentinians, by maintaining, That some men are yood and others bad, by nature. The following are two complete quotations brought for this purpose.
dividing souls themselves, they say that some ' are by nature good, and some by nature bad."* ““They (the Valentinians) say, that some men
are good by nature, and some bad." 'f But where or when have the Calvinists, or even any one of them, maintained any thing resembling this notion ? Need I repeat our sentiments, that “God made man upright,” but that since the fall of Adam, all his descendants are depraved, and their corrupted nature is “inclined to evil?” We never say, that any men since the first apostacy are by nature "good.” 'If they are made “good,” it is by a gracious influence from God. Why excite the odium of one part of Christians against another, by feigning a
• Refut. p. 514.
+ Ib. 515. From IRENEUS.
resemblance to the Valentinian heresy, while no sect in the present day bears to it any degree of similarity?
6. The Calvinists are charged with maintaining, That men have earthly, spiritual, and middle natures. $. When
• “When you hear the expression to whom it is given,' do not adopt any • heretical notion; do not fancy that there are • different natures, earthly, spiritual, and middle
natures. For certain persons are so ill disposed,
as to imagine that some are of a nature which 'must absolutely perish, others of a nature which 'must be saved; and that a third sort are so • circumstanced, according as their will may
lead them to vice or to virtue." ** persons are so ill disposed,” they must of course be the Calvinists of the present day: but as among these we seek in vain for this crude, stale, ancient and long exploded philosophic dogma, among what existing sect of Christians shall we find it? Truly, no where. It has disappeared for many ages, and it is to be expected that it never will reappear, whatever dignified náme may attempt to conjure up its ghost.
$. 7. Calvinists must needs be heretics, it
* Refut. p. 522. From GREGORY of Nazianzen.
secms, because they hold, after the example of the odious Basilidians, that they are authorized to sin because of their perfection. For thus writes CLEMENS of Alexandria : "" I have quoted these words in reproof of the followers
of BASILIDES, who lead incorrect lives, as per. sons who are authorized to sin because of their ' perfection; or who will certainly be saved by nature, even though they sin now, because of
an election founded in nature."* Is it possible for every Calvinistic reader, not instantly to recognize his own likeness in this picture of the Basilidians drawn by CLEMENS, framed and set up by the Bishop of Lincoln, to be viewed by all the world as a 'great resemblance?'. Undoubtedly no reprobation can be too severe for those, if any such there are, who with the followers of BASILIDES, “ authorize themselves to sin because of their perfection”--that imagine, under whatever pretence, that they“will certainly be saved by nature.” But for the Calvinists-his Lordship may rest assured that they abominate the Basilidian fraternity, and these monstrous dogmas, equally with himself. I will venture to affirm indeed that they would find it difficult to point out any other sect of the present age bearing any resemblance to them, - or even to form any charitable guess, how the right
reverend prelate came to imagine a resemblance? Seriously, by such modes the pen of contro
versy becomes an instrument of discord among • brethren, and he who employs it, to use a
homely but not unapt expression, '" lets himself down."
Some things imputed to Calvinists in a SENSE which they
$ 1,2. That all Christian graces are communicated by the sole operation
of the Spirit, without any concurrence on the part of Man. $ 3. That Faith does not require any voluntary steps, or exercise, but is forced. $ 4. That the control of sinful passions, is physically. impossible. $ 5: That irresistible grace vecessarily and solely
produces a godly life. 136. That Calvinists lay claim to private revelations. $7. Pretend to
instantaneous and forcible conversions. $ 8. To the sensible operation of the Spirit. $9-11. To Experiences, as suggestions or
perceptions by immediate inspiration. $ 12. That they maintain sinless obedience and incorrigible pollution.
$ 13. That man has no concern in working out salvation. $ 14. A moral incapacity tending to melancholy or profligacy. § 15, 18. Preach Faith so as to encourage licentiousaess. & 17. Are incon. sistent in holding salvation through Faith alone.
§ 1. His Lordship imputes to Calvinists this notion,—that all Christian graces are communicated by the sole operation of the Spirit. This he states as one of their positions, as constituting an extreme opposite to the Socinians:
that faith and all the Christian graces are com'municated by the sole and irresistible opera* tion of the Spirit of God, without any endeaóvour or concurrence on the part of man.'* Our sentiments are not here fairly stated, because the terms "faith' and 'Christian graces,
* Refut. p. 2.