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or the Church thought or what they taught, but what they ought to think and teach, according to the divinely appointed standard of Christian doctrine and practice? What church is there in the world, however corrupt, but pretends that its doctrines are founded either on the scripture, or on apostolic tradition united to it? As to the supposition of the baptized being “ conscious” of receiving grace and the Spirit as the immediate effect of baptism, it would come with a very
who are for ever de. claiming against modern enthusiasts. Ought they not rather to infer, that there were enthusiasts in ancient times, than adopt the supposition, as an example worthy of imitation? I admit that a subject of real vital Christianity may be conscious of the effects of divine operation in his own mind. He may be able to say from consciousness, as one did on another occasion, “ whereas I was once blind I now see.” " He that believeth has the witness in himself.” “ If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.” He has new apprehensions, new judgments, a new mode of drawing conclusions, a new method of regulating his thoughts, affections, and conduct, of all which he must be more or less « conscious” when he reflects. But why such effects should be supposed by the baptized to be produced by the baptismal rite,
I have yet to learn. Have these baptized individuals, or any in modern times testified this? Or if they have, what credit is due to them? Suppose they say, that they have experienced peculiar delight, or were much animated in devotion and obedience after, immediately after, the ceremony of baptism; is this any legitimate evidence of this ordinance having conveyed to them divine grace and the Holy Spirit? May not the same effect attend any other divine ordinance, as preaching, the holy supper, or private devotion? In short, they who can imbibe the sentiment of ChrYSOSTOM in the
passage quoted, need only be placed in favourable circumstances, in order to become as good enthusiasts as any of their neighbours; at least their principles will not retard the event.
§ 29. CHRYSOSTOM advances another sentiment which must not be overlooked; which is, that graces given have no crowns.
6“ Such is * the nature of graces given, that they have no
crowns, no rewards. For a gift is not the • merit of those who receive, but the liberality • of him who gives." '* So then, infants who are not, according to JEROME, born without Christ, and who according to Chrysostom, if baptized, have divine grace and the Holy Spirit,
* Refut. p. 460.
must be cast into a limbus infantium, for they can have no crowns of happiness, nor the reward of a Saviour's merits, in heaven, because they had not at death the merit of faith, and good works to support them! A professor, indeed, who pretends that he is a child of grace, who“ boasts of a false gift,” and is as “a cloud without water," or a tree having leaves without good fruit, has just cause to tremble at the judgment which awaits him. But how improper, not to say absurd, to advance the above quoted sentence as an oracular maxim! Why may not persons be crowned for what they are, as well as for what they have done? Surely he who has a renewed spirit and a cleansed heart, though he has not had an opportunity of shewing his fruit of good works, is a proper subject of a crown of glory from God the righteous judge.
30. Again, CHRYSOSTOM maintains that grace does not prevent our choice. 6" For neither * God, nor the grace of the Spirit, prevents our choice; but it calls and waits, so that we go
of our own accord and willingly; then after we ' have thus gone, it supplies all assistance from itself." '*
To the same purpose is a remark in THEODORET: “« The God of the universe, as God, knows all things, at a distance; he does
* Refut. p. 462.
• not however necessitate one man to practice • virtue, and another to work wickedness. For · if he himself forced to either, he could not
justly applaud and crown the one, and decree 'punishment against the other.”' * “God does not prevent our choice, -does not necessitate
any one.” Here we recognize something more than rational liberty, even a supposed power in the will to determine. itself; a sentiment which I have repeatedly had occasion to notice, as inconsistent with religion and the nature of things. It is observable how different were the sentiments of the compilers of the English Common Prayer, from that which is here avowed by CHRYSOSTOM. There we find, in “a Prayer for the Clergy and People,” these words : “ Send down upon our Bishops and Curates, and all Congregations committed to their charge, the healthful Spirit of thy grace; and that they may truly please thee, pour upon them the continual dew of thy blessing.” And in “ the second Collect at Evening Prayer” we read, “ O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed, &c.” Also in “ a Prayer for the King's Majesty,”—“ and so replenish him with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that he may alway incline to thy will, and walk in thy way.” În “ a Prayer for the Royal
* Refut. p. 506.
Family” the Minister and Congregation supplicate, saying, “ endue them with thy Holy Spirit; enrich them with thy heavenly grace.” And even in a prayer ascribed to CHRYSOSTOM himself, it is said, “ Almighty God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee.” Surely he cannot mean to acknowledge merely the outward favour of assembling together, which was common to the pious and the profane, to the sincere and the hypocrite. He must rather intend inward grace which is given to those who are true Christians, and which, by charitable construction, was ascribed to the Church as an assembly of Christian people. ,
§ 31. As this point is of great moment, and is in a manner the very hinge on which his Lordship’s controversy with the Calvinists turns, I shall produce a few more witnesses out of the Formularies of the English Church, which ought to have no small weight with its true members. The tenth Article seems to have been drawn up on purpose to oppose the notion of CHRYSOSTOM and THEODORET held out in the passages above cited. “We have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God, by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will.” In this Article we