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propositions in a manner thus crude and rigid, and without the least mitiga'tion or exception ; and when they immediately add, that there is nothing • dificult in any of these sentiments, and that all those objections which can be 'urged in opposition are futile and unworthy of an answer.' (Sermons, T. 1, ser. 4.) Peter Poiret, (the famous French Mystic,] who certainly was not deficient in shrewdress and acumen, asserts, in lís Divine Economy,' (Tom. vii, chap 13,) that the noteon of the Deity which the Supralapsarians obtrude upon us, is rather that of an INFERNAL DEMON. To ihe preceding extract from Sanrin I would subjoin Poiret's entire expressions, were I not afraid that he would be immediately rejected as a fanatic ;-although, in reference to this particular affair, he is any thing rather than a fanatic.
“ That which above all other things renders the cause of the Supralapsariaus infamous and vdious, is this,- It makes God the sole Cause and Author of all moral evil and sin. For this consequence flows so manifestly from tbeir sentiments, that it has often seemed most surprising to me how it was possible for men of learning to allow themselves to contend, that • such a consequence has no connection whatever with their opinions.'. ! am fully persuaded, that no man would be so dull or clownish, (provided this doctrine were correctly explained to him,) as not instantly to perceive that the origin of all wicked actions must be sought in the Supreme Being, whom, notwithstanding, reason itself teaches us to consider as endowed with the greatest benignity and holiness. For if the glory of God demanded an immense multitude of men to be adjudged to eternal punishment, that same glory likewise required God to be the Author of 'sin to men, without whicb,' these persons say, “it would be an act of injustice to purish them.' Therefore, if we receive these men as interpreters, : to cause men to sin, is • so far from being an act derogatory to God, that, on the contrary, (unless
it had been his pleasure, for his glory to remain in concealment,) he could • not possibly have done otherwise than instigate men to the perpetration of Scrimes and offences. Is not be the cause aud author of the deed which is done, who is concerned that it be done, or who aptly disposes every circumstance for its accoinplishment? But it was of consequence to the glory of] God, that a great number of mortals should fall into sio and should
never be delivered from that calamity; wlierefore, if we may give credit to this sect, “ He likewise ordained for disposed} all things in such a way,
that neither could our first parents by any means whatever avoid sin, nor could the greater portion of their posterity clear themselves from the stain ' which they had contracted.'-What therefore remaius, but that we refer this, if there be any truth in it, to God, as the origin and cause of all sin ? Uuless perhaps we may wish to state, what appears to me most absurd and inconsistent,--that he who desires the death of an enemy aud lays poison • before him, who also persuades or even compels him to receive that deadly
poison into bis stomach as a salutary medicine, in all this does nothing amiss, nor is the cause of the death of that person who against his own o inclination kills himself. I feel a pleasure in elucidating this topic by a similitude which that illustrious individual, the late G. W. LEIBNITZ, whose testimony the Supralapsarians are less likely to reject, because some of them have expressed their confident persuasion that he was favourable to the sentiments of their faction. He says, 'I can by no means comprehend, how • he can possibly be acquitted of all blame and criminality, who not only
makes it possible for man to fall, but who likewise disposes of all circumstances in such a manner as to cause them to conduce towards his fall !" (Essais de Theodicée, p. 418.)"
The reader who is acquainted with the high character for candour and impartiality which this eminent ecclesiastical historian has obtained, will know how to appreciate the preceding statements and remarks: They are all corroborated by authentic documents, and were written above a bundred years after the occurrence of the transactions to which they allude. They will be recognized as the just and obvions reflections of a cool and accurate observer, who calmly looked back upon the events connected with the Synod of Dort, which, whether regarded as matters of history or of theology, reflect merited and lasting disgrace on the chief actors in that inemorable Assenibly.---Ecitor.
ARTICULIS PERPENDENDIS, SAITH
1. That opinion which denies, that “true believers can or ever do fall from faith totally and finally,”—was never accounted for Catholick from the times of the Apostles to these our times; nor was the contrary opinion esteemed heretical; yea, the affirmative part had ever more for it.
2. “ That a believer can be assured, without special revelation, that he shall not fall from faith,"--and “that a believer is bound to believe that he shall not fall from faith,” are two points, which were never accounted for Catholick in the Church of Christ; nor was the denial of them ever judged heresy by the Catholick Church.
3. That persuasion, whereby a believer doth certainly persuade himself that he cannot or shall not fall from faith, serves, not so much for comfort against despair, as for to breed security, directly contrary to that most wholesome fear, wherewith we are commanded to work out our salvation, and which is very needful in this place of temptation.
4. He that thinks he way fall from faith, anıl thereupon fears lest he should fall therefrom, is neither destitute of neeitful comfort, nor tormented with anxiety of mind: † It being sufficient for comfort and freedom from anxiety to know, that he shall not by any power of Satan, sin, and the world, or by any affection and imfirmity of his own flesh fall from faith, unless himself shall willingly, of his own accord, yield to temptation and neglect conscionably to work out his salvation.
This doctrine (according to the undeniable consequence thereof) will uphold the necessity of an industrious duty, and the usefulness of a settled Ministry, and the peace of a good Conscience.
And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and mercy, and upon the Israel of God! Gal. vi, 16.
See Heb. xii, 15; Rom. xi, 20; 1 Cor. x, 12; 1 Thess. v, 3; Heb. vi, 11; Gal. vi, 1 ; Pbil. ii, 13; 1 Peier i, 17; Rev. iii, 11; Job ix, 28; 1 Cor. ix, 27; I Cor. iv, 4.
* He that gives comfort and security upon any other terms doth sew pillows, as in Ezek. xiii, 18; &c. See Jerem. vi, 14; Ezek. xii, 10.
I See John x, 28; Rom. viii, 35, to the end; 1 John v, 18; James iv, 7; Rom. vi, 16; 2 Peter ii, 19.
TO THE FIRST PART,
Tilenus thinks fit to give this further account of his design in the foregoing paper : He resolved at first only to give the true state of the questions, and nakedly to lay down the tenets, as well negative as affirmative, in as few, significant and clear expressions as was possible. Afterwards he met with some temptation to affix quotations out of Scripture, in the Margin, to prove the several branches of these tenets. Then considering, that most men pass over such proofs as are orily referred unto, though they have their bibles lying by them, (which are not always at hand, neither !) rather than give themselves the trouble to turn to them; he thereupon concluded, it would be for the reader's greater ease and advantage, if he cited the very words of Scripture, out of which such proofs are to be made: And he had not gone far in this method, but it came into his mind to be a little more distinct in setting down the grounds of his Proofs and Reasons for his affirmative and negative tenets respectively; which is done accordingly in the later Articles. And yet, in the former as well as these, are contained such topicks and heads of arguments, as a little skill (to reduce them to the rules of Art) will be sufficient to improve, to thy impregnable establishment in the present truth.
And now, reader, before Tilenus can dismiss thee, lie thinks himself obliged to make thee satisfaction for having imposed upon thee in two or three particulars, when he personated the INFIDEL and the Carnal man. One was in effect, that God is not serious when he forbids the wicked (“ REPROBATES” as they call them) to sin, and invites them to repentance and amendment of life. [Pages 44, 50.7 “He doth this," they say, " by his revealed will,” which indeed they account not his will ; " but by his secret will (which is his will, properly so called) he wills the contrary.” Celari interdum á Deo, saith Beza, aliquid ei, quod in verbo pate facit, repugnans. Resp. ad Acta Colloq. Mom. pel. Part 2. p. 173.—And Piscator in his Disp. contra Schufin. saith, Deum interdum verbo significare se relle, quod rcverá non
vult : aut nolle, qutil reverá vull.* Now because God's intercourse with Abraham about his offering up of Isaac, (Gen. xxii,) is the great instance usually produced to prop up that opinion, (so dangerous to piety, and so dishonourable to the sacred veracity and sincerity of Almighty God, if not taken cum grano salis, and qualified by some commodious interpretation, according to that saying of Luther, Deus dixit ad Abrahamum : Occide FILIUM &c. Quomodo? Ludendo, simulando, ridendo: And a little after, Atqui apud Deum est lusus, et, si liceret ita dicere, mendacium est ?+ Therefore Tilenus thought it an acceptable service
* Beza says, “ God occasionally conceals something which is contrary to that which he manifests in his word.”—Piscator says, " In his word God sometimes intimates, that he wills what He in reality does not will; or, that he does not will what He in reality does will."
+ Luther was a bold Divine, though not always one of the most discreet, It was a remarkable instance of God's kind and watchful Providence over the rising interests of the Protestant Church, when He voucbsafed to Luther the assistauce of such a mild, enlightened, and judicious compeer as Melanethon. Luther's talent lay in rough handling,-in pulling down the strong-holds of Satan: Melancthon's gifts were most conspicuous when employed in building up the jufant Church, in establishing believers, and in tendering moderate advice for the progress of Reformation in other countries.
The intention of Luther in his comment upon this passage of scripture, was very excellent; but his curious and excursive manner of executing that intention, must not be imitated. It becomes us indeed, to speak of God with the greatest reverence, and only as he is pleased to reveal himself in scripture. The connection in which the quotation stands, is as follows : “Is God then contradictory to himself, aud does he lie? At first he commanded bis (Abraham's] sou to be sacrificed, now he forbids it. But we who are christians, must both think and speak of these matters with reverence and godly fear: And our God must be owned to be such a Being as can produce contrary effects in things that are contrary. This most wonderful government over his saints affords to us several sweet topics of instruction, and is replete with consolation. Yet if the saints were allowed to speak of the Divine Majesty and Truth, with a salvo in favour of reverence [for those attributes], they might use these forms of speaking : ‘God feigos, lies, pretends, and • mocks us.' And thus, when they have to encounter death, they might say to God, It is not death, but life. Thou dost tantalize or trifle with me, as a father with his child: for while thou speakest one thing, thy thoughts and intentions are about another !-Such a species of falsehood as this is salutary (savivg] to us. Happy indeed shall we be if we can learn this art from God. He attempts and proposes the work of another, that he may be able to accomplish his own. "By our affliction, he seeks his own gratification (or sport) and our salvation. Thus, God said to Abraham, Slay thy son, &c. How? By tantalizing, pretending, and mocking. This sport is certainly of a happy and pleasant kind.
“ He likewise occasionally feigns, as though he would depart to a great distance from us and kill us. Which of us believes, that this is all a pretence? Yet, with God, this is only sport, and (were we permitted thus to speak,) it is a falsehood. It is a real death which all of us have to suffer. But God does not act seriously, according to his own showing or representation. It is dissimulation; and he is only trying whether we be willing to lose present things, and life itself, for his sake or on his account."
Omitting all allusiou to the dangerous and unhallowing tendency of Luther's exposition, we must account it a clumsy method of solving a difficulty, -especially when viewed in contrast with that of Bishop Womack.-EDITOR.
WAS COMMANDED BY HIS
to God and good men, if he could offer any thing to clear the reputation of that passage from the suspicion of being accessary to that doctrine in whose behalf it is so often pleaded.
To this end let us examine the plea, Gen. xxii, 2, “ God said unto Abraham, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest; and get thee into the land of Moriah: and offer him there for a burnt offering, upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Where, by the way, the reader may take notice, that Abraham was to expect further orders from Almighty God before the utmost execution of this affair. But to the plea, “ Here," say they, “ we have God's REVEALED WILL signified by a command, that Isaac should be slain : But by his secret will, that he would not have it so, appears as well by the event, as by the Angel's voice, • Lay not thine hand upon the lad, &c. Therefore God commands wbat he nilleth,” &c.—But Tilenus sees no such matter, no contradiction, no opposition betwixt God's secret and revealed will in this passage, being confident to affirm that God WILLED, WITH HIS SECRET WILL, ALL THAT REVEALED; which was not the occision or slaughtering of Isaac, (to which single act they usually restrain God's revelation and command,) but it was Abraham's voluntary and free obedience, in devoting, consecrating and rendering up his son for a sacrifice at God's command. Some particulars whereof are set down, Take thy son, go into the land of Moriah ; carry wood and fire, make an altar, and bind Isaac and expose him upon it. That God willed this, is clear by the event according to the adversaries' own rule, Ex eventu judicandum est de Dci Voluntale. * And that God's command, or revealed will, intended the same and no more, appears by all those scriptures which, speaking of this matter, do positively affirm, that Abraham did fully perform what God had commanded.-So Hebr. xi. 17; “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: And he that had received the promises offered up his only son."-So James ji. 21; “ Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?" And so God himself interprets it, Gen. xxii. 16; " Because thou hast done this thing," &c. To which purpose also it is observable, that God does not use the same phrase of speech in the prohibition, verse 12, that he used in the injunction, verse 2. Here God's will revealed, is offer eum in holocaustum [“ offer him for a burnt offering"]; but there the will of God forbidding is, not ne offeras “ do not offer him,” (for that [the offering) was done already according to God's interpretation and requiry,) but ne injicias manum tuam super puerum, [“ Jay not thine hand upon the lad").
OBJECTION.-" The phrase and word of command in ordinary “construction seemed to imply THE SLAYING OF Isaac; because
* “We must judge of God's will by the event."