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theological truth. It would be difficult to find any thing among the most injudicious declaimers of the present day, however illiterate, of a tendency more injurious to divine truth, or more dangerous to the souls of men, than this passage and the preceding quotations. To
produce expressions and sentiments like these, as the genuine divinity of the ancient Fathers, with a view to “refute” Calvinism, is nothing but to sink their reputation, and to destroy their influence in the public esteer.
§ 8. Nearly related to the last quotations is the following passage out of ORIGEN :
6- The • cause of the difference and variety in every * individual creature is shewn to arise from their
own motions being more ardent or more slow, ' towards virtue or toward wickedness, and not • from the inequality of him who dispenses." This Father has been often, and very justly, charged with corrupting Christianity by philosophy. But had his philosophy been good, he would not have corrupted but illustrated that religion which is founded in the highest wisdom, and which emanates from eternal truth. It is a philosophy or a science “ falsely so called,” that corrupts Christianity: and we may truly retort upon ORIGEN the counterpart of what
* Refut. p. 322.
has been said of him; that by religion, imperfectly understood in many points, he corrupted philosophy. Let us hear the language of St. Paul regarding “ the cause of the difference and variety” among some rational creatures. “ Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God, which worketh all in all.--For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of Spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every one severally as he will.” * How different is this doctrine from ORIGEN's false philosophy, that there is “no inequality of him who dispenses," and that the cause of the difference and variety in every individual creature arises from their own motions.” Though his assertion is universal,“ every individual creature," and therefore philosophically absurd, I will admit that he means “ every rational creature," and
* 1 Cor. xii. 4-11.
still the theology of the sentiment is both antiscriptural and in a high degree unreasonable. “ Who made thee to differ from another," for the better? Does it “ arise from thy own motion, as more ardent toward virtue?” In human characters, doubtless, there are differences and varieties, and some are more ardent, others more slow: but what is their cause? ORIGEN's answer, as above, can satisfy neither the scriptural divine, nor the sound philosopher.
§ 9. Another absurd sentiment we find among these quotations, is, that Free-will ceases with this life. Thus HILARY: “ For when we
depart out of this life, we depart at the same ' time from the right of will.—For when the * liberty of the will ceases, the effect also of the ' will, if there be any, will cease.”** I am willing to make every allowance that real candour can demand; and will suppose therefore that HILARY intended to convey the sentiment of probation being confined to this life. Even then, however, the statement is crude, and calculated to make false impressions on the mind. But if he meant what his words naturally express, the notion is alike unscriptural and absurd. Are not the celestial inhabitants free and voluntary agents? “ Thy will be done on earth, as it is
+ Refut. p. 358.
in heaven.” “ And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth-heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." * If these services in heaven are not voluntary, not the effects of free-will, it will be rather difficult to prove, I imagine, that there are any on earth of that description.
§ 10. Among these quotations we also learn that all mankind are redeemed from all their iniquities. Thus the last mentioned author : • " He is good in whom we hope; and hope is * to be placed in him, because he is merciful, * because there is abundant redemption with ' him, for he redeemed all mankind from all their
iniquities.”?+ This is to extend the notion of universal redemption far beyond that of the advocates for universal restoration! « Redemit ab omnibus iniquitatibus suis universos!" Surely this is a circle to which his Lordship's ideas of redemption, however universal, cannot expand themselves. Had HILARY said that the price of redemption is adequate for all mankind, we could listen to him; but what scriptural sentiment, what principle of common reason, or what view of human society, can justify the
representation as here quoted. What truth can be more certain, even to ocular demonstration, than the reverse of Hilary's assertion, that all mankind are not redeemed from all their iniquities: and that, on the contrary, a large proportion of mankind are willing captives to them.
§ 11. In these extracts from the Fathers we are told, that God is not the cause but the permitter of good. Thus JEROME teaches : «“Whether, therefore, with respect to good or
evil, neither God, nor the devil is the cause of ' it, because our persuasion cometh not of him * that calleth, but from ourselves, who either
consent, or do not consent to him that calleth '-he himself permitted us to will that which is good."'* It would, indeed, have been a great hardship imposed upon any creature, when inclined “ tọ will that which is good,” not to have been “ permitted” to do so. But what exalted views of self-sufficiency, and what degrading views of divine operations does this representation exhibit! One might be induced to think, from JEROME's language, that “ to will that which is good,” is a matter of course, if only “permitted.” JEROME was not destitute of learning or genius; but he was lamentably
* Refut. pp. 404, 407.