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of the subjects, would but little conduce, I apprehend, either to instruction or edification. By the classification of their sentiments contained in this examination, the reader has a tolerable specimen of what might be expected in a larger collection on controverted subjects. Valuable and edifying extracts, indeed, might be made from their writings, digested under proper heads; but for that purpose the translation should be free, and their inconsistencies excluded. And even such a work, in proportion to the success of its accomplishment, might circulate too high an estimate of their general merit, and lead the injudicious to infer that they are really deserving of all that indiscriminate respect which the ages of superstition have been disposed to confer upon them.
AN ENQUIRY INTO THE GROUNDS OF THE INCON.
SISTENCIES APPARENT IN THE BISHOP'S AVOWED
The misapplication of TERMs which are equivocal in their
$1. Inconsistencies in the “ Refutation,” from a misapplication of
the Terms power, ability, being enabled, &c. § 2, 3. Exemplified in his Lordship's account of Cain and Abel ; and § 4. Io his
account of the Sin of Adam and the Merits of Christ. $ 5.. The' misapplication of cause for occasion. $ 6. Of. Salvation
for the Means of Salvation. $7,8. Of being elected to means,
for being elected to happiness. $ 9-11. Inconsistencies arising from the misapplication of the terme
denial, preterition, and reprobation. § 12. Observations on equivocal and undefined Terma in controversy.
THINK it has been fully shewn, in the preceding parts of this volume, that there are many inconsistencies in the Bishop's own avowed sentiments, as well as in the quotations he has produced from the Fathers. A scheme of thoughts may be, at least in a considerable measure, consistent with itself, without being consistent with the true standard, God's revealed will: but when a systematic view of doctrines fails in self-inconsistency, it must be wrong in
some of its parts. Such a failure may be owing to several causes; and, after an attentive examination of his Lordship's book, it appears to me that one of these causes is the misapplication of terms which are equivocal in their meaning. This appears in the frequent employment of the term power--ability-being enabled, &c. It being a plain case that without these, in one sense, man could not be the subject of divine law, or be responsible for his actions, though destitute of them in another sense, his Lordship often argues from the one to the other.
§ 2. When speaking of Cain and Abel, and God's address to the former, his Lordship says, May we not hence infer, that the immediate
sons of Adam lived under a divine law, which * they had the power of obeying and disobeying?'* They had no doubt á physical power,' a good rule, a merciful promise, and favourable opportunities; these were common to Cain and Abel; but had they alike that power' which consists in“ a good inclination,” or “ a good and honest heart?" If each had this power,' then is not
every man of his own nature inclined to evil,” a point which his Lordship acknowledges. He allows, too, that 'a sincere disposition to obey the
* "Refut. p. 5.
divine will was all that was necessary, to enable, a person to judge whether the doctrine preached
by Christ was the invention of man or a reve·lation from God.'* Consequently, the Scribes, and Pharisees, and Rulers, who rejected Christ's doctrine, notwithstanding they had “a practicable
rule,' a plain testimony, convincing miracles, and favourable opportunities 'to obey the divine
will,' were not enabled to obey it, even in his Lordship's own sense of the term.
§ 3. His Lordship asserts, that Cain had ' the power of obeying, '—and yet he states, that
a man cannot, by his own natural faculties and "unassisted exertions, so counteract and correct • the imperfection and corruption derived from " the fall of Adam, as to be able of himself to * acquire that true and lively faith which would
secure salvation.'? What is become, then, of Cain's ' power?' It is resolved into divine assistance. But if he was divinely assisted, where is the evidence of the fact? And if divine assistance does not secure'' a sincere disposition to obey the divine will,' why should man pray for that assistance, as his Lordship recommends, that he may be obedient? If Cain had divine assistance, which enabled him to obey, and yet did not obey, of what use is it to
pray for that which produces no effect? And if he had not effectual assistance, in what sense had he power,' or was enabled to obey,' except in another sense of power, which annihilates his Lordship’s argument?
§ 4. Again, when speaking of the sin of Adam and the merits of Christ as co-extensive, his Lordship observes, the force of the arguément is destroyed, and the most acknowledged
rules of language are violated, by so interpret*ing this passage, as to contend, that all men are liable to punishment on account of the sin of Adam, and that a few only are enabled to • avoid that punishment through the death of Christ.'* Here the word "enabled' is confounded with having objective or moral means of avoiding punishment through the death of Christ. Taking the word in this sense, which his argument requires, how could his Lordship consistently oppose even Calvin himself, who adınitted that every man to whom the gospel is presented is enabled,' in this acceptation of the term, to avoid punishment, through the death of Christ. His Lordship’s quotation from the reformer proves this: "“God indeed affirms,
that he wills the conversion of all men; and he destines his exhortations in common to all :
* Refut. p. 190.