« PreviousContinue »
have also stated it as our opinion, that Mr. Daubeny, in the first section of this chapter, has given a sufficient reply to every thing, which Mr. O. has said on the subject. We promised, however, to enter a · Jittle into the merits of this section, in order to notice a gross misrepre. sentation of Bishop Hooper's meaning, of which Mr. 0. has been con, victed by Mr. Daubeny, and a palpable self-contradiction, of which, if we mistake not, we shall ourselves convict him. · The first of these particulars we shall do, by giving the following extract from Mr. Daubeny. After pursuing Mr. O. through various wanderings from his proposed subject, Mr. Daubeny proceeds thus:
" At length one of our reformers, Bishop Hooper, is bronght for, ward for the purpose of furnishing the reader with a passage from his writings, which Mr. O., through the mediun of his own comment, endeavours to make speak a Calvinistic language. My reader will judge of the success of the experiment. The fundamental tenet of Calvinism, as my reader has seen above, is, that " the final condition of every man is absolutely determined, before he is born into the world."* Bishop Hooper is brought forward for the purpose of an experiment being made on his writings, whether he may not be con. sidered as having subscribed to this principle. The Bishop says, “It is not a Christian's part to attribute his salvation to his own free will:"_therefore, the Bishop was no Pelagian. “Nor to extenuate original sin:''-therefore, the Bishop maintained that doctrine :is nor to make God the author of evil, or our damnation :"-therefore the Bishop was no Manichee. "Nor to say God hath wrote fatal laws, as the Stoics, and with necessity of destiny violently pulleth one by the hair into heaven, and thrusteth the other headlong into hell:" therefore, Hooper was no Calvinist or fatalist. “The cause of any man's rejection, or damnation,” according to Hooper, “is sin in man who will not hear nor receive the promise of the Gospel."? The cause of any man's rejection, according to Calvin, is, because, God having determined his condition before he was born, He prepares him for it accordingly, by giving him ears that he shall not hear, and consequently shall have no will to receive the Gospel : but that be. ing by God's determined purpose, renderer deaf and blind, and stupid, he might, as an organ of Divine wrath, "come to his proper end.? In finem suum perveniat. Instit. lib. iii. c. 24, p. 12.
* There can be no doubt thus far, then, with respect to the AntiCalvinistic principles of Bishop Hooper. But the bishop is a favourer of the Calvinistic scheme, Mr. O. inaintains, although he is neither a Manichee or a Stoic. Because, “ Calvinists do not hold that there is an independent evil principle, nor do they ascribe what happens in human affairs to an immutable destiny, resulting from the influence of matter, or from no man knows what, by which God 'hinselt is restrained ; but to the appointment of a Supreme Governor, of infinite wisdom, power, goodness, and perfection, with a view to his own glory, and the greatest possible ultimate good of his creatures." P. 89. "We call (says Calvin) predestination the eternal decree of God, by which He has determined with himself, what he would have done with every man. For all are not created under the same circuiristances; to some life eternal, to others eternal damnation, is pre-ordained. Therefore, as every one is created to one or other of these ends, so we say, that he is predestinated
*“ Antequam nascantur homines, sua cuique sors arcano Dei'arbitrio assignatur." Calv. Con. or koin. ix. 14. *..
. . . . ..." .. .. eühes
either to life or death."* The only difference, then, between the sup- . posed immutable destiny of the Stoics, and that of J. Calvin, appears, to be in the cause of it; for the effects of immutable destiny must be the same. The immutable destiny of the Stoic " results from the influence of matter, or from no man knows what ;' whilst the immutable destiny of Calvinists is, “ ascribed to the appointment of a Supreme Governor of infinite wisdom." But it is immutable destiny still. And it must be, left to Calvinists to make out, how this immutable destiny, by which far the greatest part of mankind are doomed by their Creator to endless destruction, can promote " the greatest possible ultimate good of bis creatures." P. 89.
" But Bishop Hooper says, that "the cause of our election is the mercy of God in Christ; for therefore we are elected, because afterward we are made members of Christ." P. 89. Therefore, concludes Mr. O., 1 Bishop Hooper must be a Calvinist. Mr. O. takes it for granted, then, that there can be no other election, but Calvinistic election. This, by the way, is exactly the same stile of proof Mr. Toplady, of Calvinistic memory, used to adopt; who, wherever he met with the words, our, , elect, chosen, predestinate, will, purpose, &c. never failed to affix to . them a Calvinistic sense. This it is to see the Bible through a Cal-'. vinistic medium, which possesses the faculty of making, as occasion may require, straight things crooked, and crooked things straight.
" But the decided Anti-Calvinism of Bishop Hooper has been already proved: therefore, the election here spoken of by him, whatever it may mean, certainly cannot mean Calvinistic election. It, probably, referred to the original plan laid in the Divine councils before the world began, relative to the redemption of fallen man, the whole of which turns on the mercy of God' in Christ; and, according to which, some nations and people have been elected to the privileges of the Gospel Covenant, whilst others have been passed by. According to this idea, our Church considers every person by baptism as admitted into the number of Cod's “ faithful and elect children,” and as therebý s made a member of Christ."
" But to prevent a shadow of doubt from remaining on this subject, I. will furnish my reader with another muotation from Hooper's writings, t which Mr. 0. must have seen in the Appendix, p. 208, but of which he has taken no notice ; because, apparently, it did not so well suit his purpose; upon which my reader shall be left to make his own comment; * As far as extendeth the virtue and strength of God's promise to save men, as the rigour and justice of the law for sin to damn men; for as by the sin and offence of one man death was extended and made common uinto all men, unto condemnation ; (as Paul saith, Rom. v.) so, by the justice of one, is derived life unto all men, unto justification of all; then, shall be saved, what is to be said of those that St. Peter speaketh ot, that shall perish for their false doctrine ? And likewise Christ saith that the gate is straight that leadeth to life, and few enter. Matt. vii. Thus the scripture answereth; that the promise of grace appertaineth unto every sort of men in the world, and comprehendeth them all; howbeit, within certain limits and bounds, the which if men neglect or pass over, they exclude themselves from the promise in Christ; as Cain was
* « Prædestinationem vocamus æternum Dei decretum, quo apud se constitum habuit, quid de unoquoque homine fieri vellet. Non enim pari conditione creantur omnes: sed aliis vita æterna, aliis damnatio eterna præordinatur. Itaque prout in alteratrum finem quisque conditus est, ita vel ad vitam vel ad mortcm predestinatum dicimus." inst. lib. iii. c. 21, 7 + Preface to his Exposition.
no more excluded, till he excluded himself, than Abel ; Saul, than David ; Judas, thin Peter ; Esau, than Jacob.”
Near the end of the chapter, Mr. Overton, after taking a great deal of pains to show, from the supposed privale, sentiments of our Reformers, that they were Calvinists, suddenly grows ashamed of the name, and exclaims, “ Nothing is further from our purpose than to infer, from what has been advanced in this section, that the precise theological system of Jolin Calvin, in all its parts, and to its full extent, was intended to be established in the thirty-nine Articles, to the exclusion of every milder sentiment." To prove this, he observes, “ To say the least, our established forms do not teach directly several doc. trines, which are contained in Calvin's Institutes. They do not, with * this work, affirin, that the full of Adam was the effect of a dirine de. cree. They do not use the language it does respecting the extent of Christ's redemption. They are silent concerning absolute reprobacion, which is here taught expressly.” The fornis of our Churchi, then, it seems, are drawn up with a great deal of art and cunning. They do not teach directly those unpalatable doctrines, which only those, who are initiated, can relish and digest; but they teach them covertly and. indirectly. This, we believe, they would have done, if Mr. O. and his friends had been concerned in drawing them up; but, fortunately for us, they were drawn up by men, who were accustomed to speak a plain, open, and honest language. The only reason, why our reformers did not insert these doctrines into the public forms, was, either that they did not hold them themselves, or that, holding them, they did not think it necessary to prescribe their being holden by others. They never intended, that more should be meant than met the ear. They had no idea of establishing a distinction, similar to that of the antient philosophers of the heathen world, between acroatic and eroteric doctrines, or of at all departing from the “ simplicity that is in Christ.” A zealous supporter of Mr. O's opinions, who assumes the title of Academicus, less cautious in this particular than Mr. Overton, boldly asserts, that “ it appears, from the very words of the 17th Article, that our re. formers held the doctrine of predestination, both with respect to the elect and the reprobate.”* The Editors of the Christian Observer too seem doubtful, whether our reformers did not hold that doctrine, though their discretion will not permit them to assert, that the fact of their holding it appears from the words of the Article.t While Mr. O. is under this impression, he is obliged, of course, to change bis mode of defence. Accordingly, he asserts, “ It is not either the name or the nature of Calvinism, as such, to which our opponents confine their attack. It is the doctrine of salvation by gruce, through faith in the Redeemer, under whatever form or name it is professed, to which, in reality, they at the bottom object.” Indeed! will Mr. O. seriously, assert, that he is so well acquainted with the hearts of the respectable
* If this genuine Calvinist be right, we should be glad to know, supposing him to have the same sentiments with Mr. O. respecting a strict interpretation of the Articles, how he can defend such a degenerate Calvinist as Mr. O. in subscribing to the spornteenth Article. to see the Christian Observer for Feb. 1803, p. 97.
writers, whose names appear in his title page, as to know, that they really object to this doctrine, thoughi, in their writings, they pretend to defend it? If so, is not this to practise the procedure, which he so justly condemns in others? Is not this to “ assume the prerogative of knowing men's hearts, and to insist upon it, in spite of themselves, that they hold doctrines, which they say and believe they do not?” But, adinitting this assertion to be true, this, at least, we may be permitted to say, that Mr. O. might then have spared himself the trouble of writing this section, and been content with proving, as he might have done in few words, that our reformers held this doctrine, and that therefore his opponents were at variance with the reformers in a most important point. Mr. O. also says, “ Whether the Church of England has determined this way, or the other, or neither, on some of the abstruse points agitated between the Calvinists and Arininians, is not our determining point.” This appears to us a very extraordinary de: claration. We thought, that it had been the express design of this chapter to settle the sense of the Articles of the Church of England. respecting the points in debate between Calvinists and Arminians, (for those certainly are the points in debate between Mr. O. and his opponents) and to settle it from the known sentiments of the reformers. But now it comes out, that all this labour might have been spared. It is, Mr. O. thinks, of but little consequence what the Church of England has determined on the matter; for he and his friends, as he now says, have some other determining point. All this seems to us very like a surrender of the question in debate. Mr. Overton, as if aware of this, and of having too hastily given up the cause of Calvin. ism, tumos round again, before he concludes the chapter, and insists upon it, that " in proportion as Calvinism prevailed, when our Articles were established, and as the private sentiments of the compilers, revisers, and imposers of these Articles, were Calvinistic, a strong argument is furnished in favour of his and his friends' interpretation of them, and in opposition to that of their opponents," i. e, in proportion as our reformers were Calvinistic, they establisher forms, which agree with the opinions of him and his friends, who are not Calvinists.
(To be continued.)
A Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Lincoln, at the triennial
Visitation of that Diocese, in May and June 1803. By George Pretyman,
D. D. F. R. S. Lord Bishop of Lincoln. 410. pp. 26. W H ILE we view with deep concern the extraordinary efforts
which are now making to propagate Calvinism as though it were exclusively the genuine doctrine of the Scripture and of the Church of England, it affords us great relief to see the pillars and ornaments of the Church, repelling the insidious and dangerous attempt, with the weapons of truth and moderation. To the labours of Kipo LING, DAUBENY, and PEARSON, we have now the gratification of adding this excellent charge of the bishop of Lincoln, in which the
whole controversy is reduced to a point, and as we should think, decided for ever.
His Lordship begins by shewing, that Universal Redemption is invariably maintained and displayed throughout the sacred writings of both testainents. This is going at once to the very root, for it is obvious that if Universal. Redemption be the doctrine of the Bible, the Calvinistic Election and Preterition cannot be true. From the divine economy, as well as from an accumulation of particular texts, it is here satisfactorily established that Redemption is of universal extent.
With equal strength and clearness has the bishop vindicated the Church of England from the unjust charge of Calvinism. Had our Reformers paid any regard to Calvin's sentiments, it would certainly have appeared in the Homilies, where, on the contrary, general redemption, and the possibility of falling from grace, 'two positions totally adverse to his gloomny scheme, are repeatedly and most explicitly. maintained.
" The fact is," as his Lordship observes, “ that the introduction of Calvinism, or rather its prevalence in any considerable degree, was subsequent to the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign, when all our public Formularies, our Articles, our Liturgy, and our Homi. lies, were settled as they now are, with the exception of a few alterations and additions to the Liturgy, not in the least affecting its genes ral spirit and character. Qur Reformers followed no human authority, they had recourse to the Scriptures themselves as their sole guide. And the consequence has been what might have been ex. pected, that our Articles and Liturgy do not exactly correspond with the sentiments of any of the eminent Reformers upon the Continent, or with the Creeds of any of the Protestant Churches, which are there established. Our Church is not Lutheran-it is not Calvinistic-it is not Arminian--it is Scriptural. It is built upon the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself, being the chief corner stone." p. 22.
The bishop then proceeds to urge upon his reverend auditory the duty and urgent necessity of guarding “ this most pure and reformed part of the Christian Religion against the attempts of schism and enthusiasm."---“I contend,” he says, “ that Calvinism is a system peculiarly liable to abuse. The perversion of its tenets has in former times, been made by wicked and designing men,, the 'instrument of great mischief; and I fear, that at the present moment, the esta. blished Church is in no small danger from the active hostility of those who profess Calvinistic doctrines. p. 25.
We might with pleasure and profit have lengthened our quotations from this excellent and seasonable charge ; but we have been brief in this respect, for the purpose of noticing the laboured and splenetic critique which appeared upon it in the Christian Observer for Septem. ber last.
The conductors of that publication affect peculiar moderation, and.would fain have the world believe that they are not themselves Calvinists; and yet every piece which has appeared in the present controversy on that side of the question, has received from them full and unqualified approbation, while the productions of Dr, Kipling, the