« PreviousContinue »
those who hold that men are good by force, in opposition to choice. (“Since he has made us ' masters of the choice of bad and good actions, * and wishes us to be voluntarily good; therefore . if we be not willing, he does not
force, he does 'not compel; for to be good by force is not to ' be good at all.” ?* Nothing can be more decidedly Calvinistic. Through what medium then, it is natural to ask, could his Lordship look at the doctrine of modern Calvinism, when he imagined that this quotation had any bearing against them? With equal astonishment they will find their learned Refuter adducing from the same Father, the following passage containing a censure on some professing Christians who had imbibed the Heathen absurdities about fate. "« God says, If ye be willing, ye shall eat the good of the land; but Fate says, although we be willing, unless it shall be permitted us, this will is of no use. * If ye will not obey my words, a sword shall devour you; Fate says, although we be not willing, if it shall be granted us, we are certainly saved. Does not Fate say this? What . then can be clearer than this opposition? What
can be more evident than this war, which the • diabolical teachers of wickedness have thus shamelessly declared against the divine oracles?
* Refut. p. 456.
But, as I have said, that demons and men like • demons (I mean the Greeks) should believe ' these things, is no wonder: but that you, who
were thus enjoying the divine and saving: instruction, should despise these things, and
adopt those absurdities, which destroy the soul, this is of all things the most grievous.”' What reader can his Lordship expect to apply this language in opposition to modern Calvinists, except one here and there profoundly ignorant of their principles? Does even the Bishop really wish for his readers to regard them as “ the diabolical teachers of wickedness,” resembling those who are here opposed, by Chrysostom? Where is knowledge, where is candour, where is common equity? I believe we have not a member nor a catechumen in our societies, who would not cordially approve of CHRYSOSTOM's reasoning
§ 13. An unsuspecting reader of the “ Refutation” would be induced to regard the following quotation, also, from the writings of the same Father as adverse. to our principles, from the mere circumstance that it is inserted there for that purpose; while at the same time it is , perfectly consonant with our professed opinions. It relates to the certainty of divine promises to those who are willing. 66 But some one may
# Refut. p. 458.
say, that if acting rightly depends upon the
assistance of God, and it is not in my power '' to act rightly, I ought not to be blamed: for
when I shall have done every thing in my power, and shall have willed, and chosen, and . entered upon the business, but he upon whom ' the success depended shall not have assisted
me, or stretched out his hand, I am freed from all blame. But this is not the real case. For ' it is impossible if we will, and choose, and resolve, that God should desert us. For if he encourages, and exhorts those who are unwilling, to be willing, much more does he not desert those who choose of their own accord. "" For look, says he, at the generations of old, * and sce, did ever any trust in the Lord, and ''was confounded? or did any abide in his fear, and was forsaken?”. And again, Paul says, "“ Hope maketh not ashamed;" that is, hope in • God; for it is impossible for any one to fail, whọ hopes in God with all his mind, and exerts
himself to the uttermost.-And again, we are • told, “ He that endureth to the end shall be saved." These are all rules, and laws, and • decrees; and this ought to be fixed in your mind, that it is impossible that any one who is diligent, and takes care for his own salvation; and makes all the exertion in his power, should ever be deserted of God."** Many
* Refut. p. 477
pages to the same purpose might be here inserted from CHRYSOSTOM, (were I not desirous of avoiding needless prolixity,) as fully consentaneous to our views on this subject: and really when we find the Bishop swelling his pages with them against us, it is difficult to assign any probable motive which would not impeach either his integrity or his discrimination.
§ 14. There are some quotations, still from CHRYSOSTOM, produced against the Calvinists, relating to the divine permission, which, notwithstanding, we must take leave to regard as pious and conclusive. 6“ This is the peculiar * language of scripture- God gave them over
to a reprobate mind,' and 'God hath divided *unto all nations ;' that is, he has permitted, " allowed. For he does not here introduce him ' acting, but lie shews that these things happen by the wickedness of others. For when we are deserted by God, we are delivered up to 'the devil; but when given up to the devil, we ' suffer ten thousand evils. Therefore, that he
may alarm the hearer, he says, he hardened, ' he gave up. For that he not only does not give us up, but does not desert us except from the want of our own will, learn from these
expressions ;-Do not your sins separate me ' and you?' And again — They that forsake thee shall perish.' Hosea says, “Thou hast
forgotten the law of thy God, and I will forget • thee? and he himself in the g spel says — • How often would I have gathered thy children together, and ye would not !'
And again · Isaiah - I came, and there was no man;
when I called, there was none to answer.' * These things he says, to shew that we are
ourselves the origin of our being deserted, and • the cause
our own destruction.”
§ 15. Were it not that I consider the preceding quotations as orthodox, and calculated to instruct and edify the pious reader, an apology would be necessary for detaining him so long on subjects which have no bearing on the points in controversy. I have given the quotations in the Bishop's own translation of them, to preclude all suspicion of unfair design. There is no doubt his Lordship might have conveyed their meaning in language far more perspicuous and elegant, had he thought proper to deviate from so literal a rendering: but, where controversy is concerned, he was perfectly right in preferring faithfulness to elegance, if the union of both was really incompatible.
* Refut. p. 496. CHRYSOST. opera, vol. viii.