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as well as to the Public in general. In the other parts. of the Magazine also we shall pay particular attention to the profit and entertainment of our Readers.
The Prints have of late years been juftly complained of: but the Editors are resolved to go to a greater expence in this respect than ufual ; and to use their best endeavours to have more acceptable Prints in future. They also purpose to give better Paper than has been given for a few years past. And, in short, to render the whole, not only pleasing and edifying to the present purchasers, but also useful to posterity. .
As many, perhaps, may desire to know how the profits of our Magazines and other books shall be applied in future; for their fatisfaction, we assure them, that the whole will be appropriated, jointly with the yearly collection, to supply the deficiencies in the little salaries of the Preachers, and of their wives and children, on those Circuits which cannot defray them, together with the expences of those that are fick : and also to support the work of God in every necessary point, in the North of Scoiland, the North of Ireland, Wales, France, (where God has been pleased to open a door lately for the preaching of the Gospel by us!) and also in such Circuits in England as the Conference (under whose direction the whole will be managed) shall think needsul,
Sub Fudice lis est. Should our endeavours come short of your expectations; we shall still have this consoJation, that the will was not wanting. But, if we are fo happy as to give you satisfaction, we shall give God the glory; and shall enjoy a pleasure ourselves, in serving and obliging you. We are, with great sincerity and respect, your humble and devoted Servants,
.nder whosch Circuit
The EDITOR S.
London, Nov, 1, 179.8.
The JUDGMENT of ARMINIUS, touching the
DIVINE DECRE E S.
1. THE firft abfolute Decree of God, concerning the salvation
of sinful man, is that whereby he decreed to appoint Jesus Christ to be a Saviour, Redeemer, Prophet, Priest, King and Mediator, who shall abolish sin by his death, recover (by his obedience) loft righteousness, and by his virtue communia cate the same.
The second absolute Decree is that whereby he determined to receive into favour, repenting and believing persons, and those continuing, and persevering to the end, to save in, for, and by Chrift. The impenitent, and unbelievers, to leave in fin and under wrath, and to destroy as aliens from Christ.
The third absolute Decree, is that whereby he ordained to administer fufficient means, necessary to repentance and faith, and these to be given according to his wisdom, whereby he knows what becomes his mercy and justice, by which he shall put the same in execution. VOL. XV.
· Hence the fourth absolute Decree is the falvation of persons, who, he knows from eternity, would, upon exercising preventing grace, receive faith ;, and by his subsequent assistance would persevere: and the condemnation of those who would not believe or persevere. This Doctrine has always been allowed by the greater part of Christians, and stands approved ; neither does it occasion ground of contention or occasion of abhorrence. It is much to be wished that men would proceed no farther in this matter, neither be inquisitive into the unsearchable judgments of God any farther than as they are re. vealed in Scripture.
2. Providence, I judge to be that careful and ever present eye of God, by which the care of the whole universe, and every creature, not one exempted, is upon him to the conservation and government of them in their essence, qualities, actions, and passions, as it beft becomes him, and suits them, to the glory of his name and salvation of believers. Herein I subtract nothing from Divine Providence, but yield to it the conservation, regulation, and direction of all things, even to the abolition of chance and fortune. Yea, I subject to Providence the will of man, and the very acts of the rational creature, so that nothing is done without his permissive will, though contrary thereunto, This is the only dillerence; God wills to do good, but only permits evil.
9. Man's Will. He was endued with knowledge, holiness, and other abilities at his creation, whereby he was able to understand, will, and perform all that was required of him, yet not without the allistance of divine grace. In the state of apostacy and sin, he is disabled, of and by himself to think, will, or do, any thing truly good; and stands in need of the renovating and regenerating power of God in Christ, by his Spirit, in his in. · tellects, affe&tions, will, and other faculties, to impower him hereunto: but participating hereof, as freed from sin, he is able to think, will, and do good, yet fill as under the supplies of God's grace.
4. The grace of God, I believe, is free and undeserved, whereby God is well affected towards a miserable finner ; by which first he gave his Son, thắt whosoever believeth in him might have eternal life; and then in and for Christ, justifics and adopts him into the right of his fons to falvation. Secondly, It is the infusion of spiritual gifts, into the understanding, will and affections of man, necessary to his regeneration and remillion, viz. faith, hope and charity, without which blessings man is not able to think, will, or do any thing truly good, Thirdly, It is the continued assistance of the Holy Ghost, by which the Spirit doth excite and stir up, a man (before re. generation) unto good defires, and willing of actual good; yea by this he works and wills together with man, that what man thus wills, he may accomplish; and I attribute to grace, the beginning, continuance, and confummation of all good.
Yea so far, that a man now regenerate is incapable to think, will, or do good, or to resist any temptation, without this pre, venting, exciting, subsequent, and co-operating grace. Hence it is apparent, that I am no ways injurious to the grace of God, by ascribing too much to the free-will of man, as some asperse me. The hinge upon which all the controversy turns, is, whether the grace of God is irresistible: (actions and observations, ascribable to grace, are not here disputed, none more ready than myself to confess and inculcate them all.) The manner of operation only is the debate, wherein I believe, according to the Scriptures, that many resist the Holy Ghost, and rejc&t grace offered them.
5. Juftification. I believe the justification of finners, to be by the sole obedience and death of Chrift; and that his righteousness is the only meritorious cause, for which the pardon of sin is granted to believers, and they are reputed justified, as if they had fulfilled the perfe&t law; but in as much as God imputes this righteousness to believers only, I judge in this sense, it may be properly said, that faith is imputed for righteousness, by grace to him that believeth; God having set forth his Son, a B3
mercy-Teat, or propitiation by faith in his blood; yea, my judg. ment is the same as Calvin's himself, in the third book of his Institutions.
. 6. Assurance. I judge he who believes in Jesus Christ, both by the act of the Holy Ghost moving, and the fruits of faith, and by his own conscience with the testimony of the Spirit witnesling with it, may have a certain persuasion and assurance, that he is a son of God, and stands in the love of Christ : yea more, may depart this life, with an unshaken confidence of the grace of God and mercy in Christ Jesus, and appear before the tribunal of God, free of all anxious fear or solicitude ; yet ought he always to pray, “ Lord, enter not into judgment with me." But in as much as God is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things, and man is not his own judge ; it is God that judgeth him; I dare not equal this certainty, with that wherewith we know there is a God, and that Christ is the Saviour of the world.
7. Perfection of believers. Augustin's opinion was (though the sharpeft adversary to the Pelagian doctrine) that it was pos. fible by the grace of Christ, in this life to be without sin; yea, he further adds, “let Pelagius confess man's possibility of being without fin, to be only by the grace of Christ, and we are agreed.” To this I entirely agree, and say, “ without Christ I can do nothing, but through him I can do all things."
Ś. Perseverance. My judgment is, persons ingrafted into Chrift by true faith, and participating of his quickning Spirit, have strength sufficient to encounter Satan, sin, the world, and their own corruption; and by the same assisting grace to gain the victory, Christ himself standing by them in their assaults, by his Spirit extending his favourable hand towards them (so they be found in a fighting posture, imploring his aid, and not wanting to themselves) to preserve them from falling, so that heither the devices or violence of Satan, &c. shall be able to seduce them, or pluck them out of his hand. But whether these very persons, by negligence, may not desert Christ, em.