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that Augustine, who took the calvinistic side against Pelagius, was hailed as the champion of the ancient faith ; though it must be admitted, that he introduced a more rigorous statement of the doctrines of grace than had ever before prevailed. For as controversy gives us a clearer perception of our own system, which is sometimes understood not before, but because we have written in its defence, so it enflames our attachment to a cause in which we have spent our power, if not spilt our blood, excites a horror of that against which we are studying to say strong things, and a fondness for the object of our patronage which we are desirous of presenting to the world in the most amiable and defensible form. Augustini. anism was, from the time of the celebrated father, the creed of the church ; but like the catholic doctrine of the Trinity, it gained such a triumph as extinguished the dispute, and left us much in the dark concerning the sentiments of subsequent ages. That the thick night, which enveloped the Christian world 'during the ninth and tenth centuries, obscured the doctrines of grace is manifest by the martyrdom of Godeschalcus for maintaining the sentiments of Augustine ; though the cause of the condemned monk was afterwards espoused by an assembly of bishops, and his eulogium pronounced by fourteen provinces. · The Waldenses and Wickliffites were charged by the papistical party with holding the doctrines which were afterwards termed calvinistical; but the reformation so directed the general attention to other objects that this controversy was for a time abandoned. Luther, whose hostility to Calvin has been exaggerated, first among reformer's maintained the teading sentiments of the pastor of Geneva, in a book
entitled, “6 de Servo Arbitrio," written in answer to Erasmus, who had maintained the Romish doctrine of freewill. While, however, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find any thing more calvinistic than these pages of Luther, it has fallen to the lot of Calvin to embody the system, and stamp it with his name. His Christian institutes have entered so fully into this most awfully profound department of theo. logy, that they are considered as the standard of these sentiments; though many who firmly maintain their general truth, consider them capable of a more defensible statement. Calvin saw his system received as the creed of protestants; for the doctrines which bear his name were adopted, not only in Geneva, but in Switzerland, France, Holland, England, and Scot. land. That the articles of the church of England are calvinistic can only be disputed by the same perverse logic as would make the apostle Paul an arminian; for as the objections of pelagians confirm the doctrines against which they are levelled, because the apostle anticipates the same replies, so the seventeenth article shows what kind of election it was intended to teach by the objections which its compilers deemed it necessary to confute.
The first grand attack upon calvinism by a protestant, was in answer to Beza on predestination. James Arminius, having been requested to defend the successor of Calvin, chose rather to become his antagonist. . To extinguish the controversy thus kindled, the synod of Dort was held, and as the arminians remonstrated against its sentence of condemnation, they received the denomination of remona strants. The persecutions which followed, and in which the celebrated Grotius felt the consequences
of taking the unpopular side, did more injury to the calvinistic cause than all the arguments of the remonstrant brethren. Arminianism, having been introduced into England by archbishop Laud, took care to repay the crueltjes which it had suffered in Holland, but as his semi-popery soon rendered his theology odious, calvinism regained the ascendant in the time of the commonwealth. John Goodwin must be mentioned as a solitary, but brilliant exception to the general character of those times; for he, though a zealous republican and independent, maintained the doctrines of the arminians with as much ardour and ability as were ever displayed on that side of the question. Dr. Owen, who had been brought into notice and raised to the highest posts of literary honour by his attack on arminanism, triumphantly confuted Goodwin's “ Redemption redeemed,” in a treatise on the Perseverance of the Saints.” Richard Baxter attempted to strike out a middle way, but though he has been considered as the founder of a school of theologians, who avoid the difficulties of both the opposing systems, he has said such things as seem to involve the admission of the calvinistic doctrine to all its extent. The boasted unity of the church of Rome was invaded by this controversy. The jesuits, who were rising to unbounded power and influence, were as determined arminians as they were devoted papists; while the jansenists, the only remaining vital spark in “ the body of death,” espoused the opposite system, which they called by the name of Augustin, a revered father, rather than by that of Calvin, a reputed heretic. The letters of Pascal have given the calvinistic catholics the palm of honour, but the authority of hal naar rede poin
the pope was the tool which the craft and power of the jesuits employed to crush their adversaries, and render pelagianism triumphant within the pale of the catholic church.
The restoration of royalty in England was that of arminianism. Hammond had endeavoured to make the New Testament speak the language of this system ; and Whitby, in the next century, attempted to enlist on the same side the ancient fathers, in his book on the five points, by which are meant election, particular redemption, efficacious grace, free will, and final perseverance. He was opposed by Dr. Gill, in his “ Cause of God and Truth." The first part of this work, consisting of an examination of the texts of Scripture urged by arminians, is not so good as might be wished, but is quite sufficient for an answer to Whitby; the second adduces abundant proofs from Scripture in support of the five points ; the third defends them by the arms of reason, shewing, that if calvinişts are accused of agreeing with Hobbs and the ştoics, the stoics were the best among the heathens, for whose salvation arminians are accustomed to contend, and that the worst tenets of the obnoxious philosophers, that we get virtue for ourselves, is the doctrine of arminianism. The fourth part of the “ Cause of God and Truth,” shews that Whitby had no reason to boast of the fathers, whose language is largely quotęd in defence of calvinistic grace,
But the heat of the battle in this country was excited by the separation between the calvinistic and arminian methodists. The breach of the peace between the two brothers in zeal, Whitefield and Wesley, has been deemed so serious an evil, that each has thrown the blame on the other, To us
the difference between them appears so wide, that to withdraw from a hollow union, and honestly avow all his sentiments, was no disgrace to either. As, however, Mr. Wesley's sermon on free grace was the first publication in this controversy, it fastens upon him whatever blame attaches to the rupture; for it is as decided a declaration of war as was ever made by a herald. Whitefield might well say, “ I find it has had expected success, it has set the nation a disputing.” The pleonastic title of free grace, seems designed to steal a march upon the calvinists, and to snatch from them a popular expression which they claimed as exclusively their own. But if the text which Mr. Wesley chose, be taken as the criterion of the meaning of that term, it decides for the right of the calvinists. “He that spared not his Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? By the style of the sermon it seems intended for popular effect, to render his adversary's system odious'. But as Mr.
• Rom, viji. 32,
+ The following extract from the sermon may afford a sufficient proof of its spirit. " O how would the enemy of God and man rejoice to hear these things were so! How would he cry aloud and spare not! How would he lift up his voice and say, ' to your tents, O Israel! Flee from the face of this God, or ye shall utterly perish. But whither will ye flee? Into heaven? He is there, Down to hell? He is there also. Ye cannot Alce from an omnipresent almighty tyrant. And whether ye flee, or stay, I call beaven, his throne, and earth, his footstool, to witness against you: ye shall perish, ye shall die eternally. Sing, O hell, and
rejoice ye that are under the earth. For God, even the mighty · God, hath spoken and doomed to death thousands of souls, from
the rising of the sun to the going down thereof. Here, O death, is thy sting. They shall not, cannot escape, For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken. Here, C grave, is thy victory. Nations