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beloved.” Instead of professing unspotted purity, we lament our momentary imperfection.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us; but if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Whatever some of the ancient Calvinists have advanced about" incorrigible pollution' and 'inevit
able wickedness in the reprobate,' I hope none of the moderns approve either of the language or the sentiment.
ý 13. His Lordship records the following as an error of the Calvinists, viz. that man
has no concern whatever in working out his • salvation :'* but as he produces no evidence; a direct and explicit denial of the charge is sufficient. I may, however, observe, that some preachers, and perhaps writers, have used the phrase "a finished salvation' in reference to Christ's obedience unto death, and in allusion to his own words “It is finished.” And why should the Calvinist alone be denied the common privilege of a candid interpretation? In such connexion, the word ? salvation' must intend the basis of salvation, as the word redemption is used for the price or the fundamental consideration of redemption.
§ 14. An unguarded reader of the Refutation might be induced to apply the following language to Calvinists indiscriminately. The equally erro.
neous and baneful doctrine of moral incapacity, * in the extent unhappily adopted by CALVIN, • tends to produce hopeless melancholy, or hard* ened profligacy.** By 'moral incapacity' we are naturally led to understand a disinclination, a dislike, or a want of good will to what is right or excellent, in a moral sense. Now it would be difficult to find in the writings of CALVIN a greater moral incapacity than is expressed in the formularies of the Church of England, especially in the Article “ On original sin.” However, neither Calvin nor any other person, ever expressed it in stronger terms than St. Paul, when he said, that “ the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." + "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”I Is it possible for language to express a greater degree of “ moral incapacity?” Indeed I allow and lament it, that CALVIN and soine others after him, have illegitimately inferred an incapacity beside what is "moral;" I mean, an incapacity
* Refut. p. 78. + Rom. viii. 7, 8. i 1 Cor. ii, 14.
implied in a supposed decree of reprobation. X Nothing, I am persuaded, has more impeded the
progress of theological and moral truth, or set the sentiments of real Christians more at variance, than an attempt to establish this unfounded dogma. And to speak my mind impartially, I freely concede to his Lordship that its tendency is to produce hopeless melancholy or hardened
profligacy.' But then, his Lordship ought to have known, that very few modern Calvinists ever advance it, and with the great body of them it is a sentiment utterly exploded. After all, too, it is a totally different thing from a
§ 15. I am at a loss how to make any conciliatory concessions on such charges as the following. "If he be told that he has only to
cherish faith in his mind, and he will be eternally happy, he will be apt to persuade himself that he has this faith, while he is guilty of every 'vice within his means to which he feels any * temptation.
He will remember that the preacher only told him to have faith, and that he did not enjoin him to abstain from lying, drunkenness, theft, and fornication and who ever has lived in the neighbourhood of certain preachers, will testify that it [this mode of reasoning] has taken place.'*. I would fain
* Refut. p. 165.
discover a scintilla of candour in this statement, but am unable. If there be any such preachers in. our country, why class them with Calvinists; why not give them their proper denomination, Solifidians or Antinomians? The Calvinists, indeed, after the sacred scriptures, consider genuine, operative faith,--the faith that worketh by love, purifies the heart, and overcomes the world, and by which, it is recorded, “ the just shall live,"—of unspeakable moment. For by a believing consideration of revealed truthsboth promises and precepts — doctrines and duties
every Christian grace is improved, and every obligation to obedience appears more important; a believing view of God and his glorious perfections, of Jesus Christ in his person, offices, and mediatorial work, of the Holy Spirit and his promised aids, in short, of the divine law and the blessed gospel, must be rationally supposed to have a decisive influence on a man's mind and conduct. But we utterly disown and condemn the practice-if there be any such-of telling an audience that they have
only to cherish faith' in order to be eternally happy.
X: 16. There are indeed individuals in most
audiences, who are " servants of corruption," and such will be ever disposed to “pervert the scriptures,” to “ hold the truth in unrighteous
ness,” to “turn the grace of God (i.e. gracious truths) into lasciviousness,” (i. e. lascivious practices.) Such characters there were in the apostolic churches, and in every age.
But I will venture to affirm, without fear of being fairly contradicted, that the presumptuous doctrine of human ability, or the power of free-will, in connexion with the mode of preaching recommended and adopted in opposition to the importance of faith, is far less efficacious in forming the conscientious and consistent Christian. Viewing the evil consequences of each extreme, if one has “ slain its thousands," the other has “ slain its ten thousands." Facts are stubborn things, and they are the best evidence that the cáse affords. To these we appeal; and let any true and impartial witness who lives in the * neighbourhood of certain preachers' decide, under what ministry "lying, drunkenness, theft,
and fornication' prevail most. If one presumés, through criminal ignorance or perverseness, that « faith only” will save him; the other presumes, through ignorance no less criminal, that some fancied good works will counterbalance all his vices. We are told that even a doubt of the * efficacy of virtue will lead to a disregard to its • laws.'* But the counterpart is at least equally true, that even a doubt of the efficacy of faith
* Refut. p. 172.