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rally concluded, that he is an Arminian. But the truth is, that a man of such sentiments is more properly a disciple of the Pelagian and Socinian schools. To such sentiments pure Arminianism is as diametrically opposite as Calvinism itself is, The genuine Arminians admit the corruption of human nature in its full extent. They admit, that we are justified by faith only. They admit, that our justification originaies solely in the grace of God. They admit, that the procuring and meritorious cause of our justification is the righteousness of Christ. Propter quam, says Arminius, Deus credentibus peccatum condonet eosque pro justis reputnt non aliter atque si legem perfecte implevissent. They admit in this way, that justification implies not merely forgiveness of sin, but acceptance to everlasting happiness. Junctam habet adoptionem in filios, et collationem juris in hereditatem vitæ eternæ. They admit, in fine, that the work of sanctification, from its
very commencement to its perfection in glory,* is carried on by the oper.
blance of reason. Indeed, after a careful examination of the testimony both of living witnesses and of books, I find this doctrine, when applied in the manner which the Scriptures direct to the furtherance of personal holiness, is, of all others, the least capable of being rendered pernicious: It becomes hurtful, chiefly when it is made to testify positively concerning an individual's absolute election to life eternal, and his assured final perseverance. Such persons soon make the discovery that they are spiritual ; and since their eternal interests are thus permanently secured, they require none of that fine exhortation, (2 Pet. 1, 5,) “Beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue ; and to virtue knowledge, &c. : For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”. The same Apostle immediately exhorts them “ to make their calling and election SURE,” but appends to it a condition respecting their final perseverance which cannot be relished by Calvinists, “ If ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”
• The Arminians ascribe far greater efficacy to the grace of God, in the work of sanctification, than the Calvinists. While the latter confine the experience of mature Christians to that expression of a man under the law, O wretched man that I am!, and while they account it the height of presumption for any one to talk about going on to perfection, (though exhorted so to do by an Apostle, Heb. vi, 1, in addition to the higher authority of Christ himself, Matt. v, 48,) the Arminians think they cannot put too much honour on Divine Grace, or fall into error by trying to fulfil all the evangelical commands of their “ Father who is in heaven."
When, contrary to the explicit declarations of nearly the whole of the New Testament, the modern Predestinarians fixed upon certain phrases in the seventh chapter to the Romans as the low standard of Christian experience, they discarded the authority of their former favourite, St. Augustine, and brought his unfledged system into contempt. That good old Father has, on this subject, some strong passages, which will not be relished by the modern school of Fatalists. On the 56th Psalm he says, “ God would never command us to do that thing, if He “ judged it impossible to be done of man : If thou, therefore, considering thine “ infirmity, faintest under the precept, be comforted by example ; for He that “ gave us his exomple is at hand, that He may also afford us his aid.”_In his 191st Discourse on Time, he likewise says : “ I execrate the blasphemy of those men who assert, that any thing is impossible to be done which God commands man to do. Each of God's commands can be fulfilled, not merely by a single individual, but by all men in general.”—Few sentences contain so much sound divinity in few
ation of the Holy Spirit, which is the gift of God by Jesus Cnrist. So sound, indeed, are the Arminians with respect to the
words, as the following, which Prosper has given us from St. Augustine: “ The “ Law is given, that Grace may be sought ; Grace is given, that the Law may “ be fulfilled.''
_One of the numerous paradoxes in the history of these opinions, is, that the very men who adınire St. Augustine for the species of particular Predestination which he taught towards the close of life, reprehend their Anninian brethren, and stigmatize them as “ Pelagians,” for adopting the sentiments of this great antagonist of Pelagius on the subject of Christian Perfection. On this point, Episcopius has written an able dissertation, in the 17th chapter of his Apology for the Remonstrants' Confession, and proves by unanswerable arguments, " that man can perform the commands of God by the aid of Grace Divine." also the use which Arminius has made of St. Augustine's authority. (Vol. i, p. 614.)-King James, who was a better Divine than Politician, had this father's avowed opinions in view when he delivered the following just sentiment on the Lord's Prayer : “ It is blasphemy to say, that any of Christ's precepts are impos.. “sible : For that were to give Him the lie who told us out of his own mouth, " that his yoke is easy and his burden light: And Christ's intimate disciple saith, “ that his commandments are not grievous. (1 John v, 3.)”
In the answer, given by Episcopius to the 19th of the 64 Questions which his Theological Students addressed to him while he was Professor at Amsterdam, he has explained the meaning of this passage, Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father who is in heaven is perfect ; (Matt. v, 48.) and at the conclusion of his explanation, he resolves two other questions, the first of which is the following: “ Is it possible for man, when assisted by Divine Grace, to perform all the commands of God, even according to a perfect method of performance? That is, using now the word LOVE (dilectio) in a general sense for an observance of the Divine commands, is it possible for a man to evince as much love, as he ought to do accord. ing to the requisitions of the Gospel, or according to the covenant of Grace ?”“ About the affirmative of this matter,” Episcopius says, “ I entertain no doubt. My reasons are: (1.) God requires no other love than that which may be exercised by the whole mind, and soul, and strength. God, therefore, demands nothing which is above or beyond the strength of man to perform.(2.) God promises, that He will circumcise the heart of his people, that they may love him with all their heart and with all their soul. (Deut. xxx, 6)-(3.) God himself bears testi. mony, that there have been those who have, all the days of their lives, observed all his commandments with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all their strength ; and this have they done in the sight of God, as we may perceive by what is said concerning Asa, in 1 Kings xv, 13:--concerning all the people, in 2 Chron. xv, 12 ;-concerning David, in 1 Kings xi, 34; xiv, 8; & xv, 11 ;concerning Josiah, in 2 Kings xxii, 2, because he returned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses. (2 Kings xxiii, 25.) We find all these things ascribed, by God, under the old covenant, to the individuals already enumerated: What man, therefore, can doubt concerning the same excellences finding a place under the new covenant ?" He then proceeds to discuss “the vulgar distinction between a perfection of parls and a perfection of degrees ; and observes at the close, “ No mortal can rise to the degree of the Divine Perfection, which is incapable of increase. It is the nature of love not to rest or stand still, but always to be desirous of making progress ; and this love never thinks about what is finished, but always about that which is to come.”
The second Question is proposed in these terms: “ Is a most intense perfection of this kind absolutely necessary to salvation ?” To this Episcopius replies : “ We are not here treating about legal perfection, which embraces all and every kind of unsinning obedience in the highest degree, which also is perpetual, and which excludes through life every imperfection, infirmity, and inadvertence ; for
doctrine of justification, (a doctrine so important and essential in the opinion of Luther, that he scrupled not to call it Articulus ecclesiæ stantis vel cadentis, that those who look into the writings of Arminius, may be disposed to suspect him of having even exceeded Calvin in orthodoxy.* It is certain, at least, that he declares his willingness to subscribe to every thing that Calvin has written on that leading subject of Christianity, in the third book of his Institutes. And with this declaration, the tenor of his writings invariably corresponds."+-Edinburgh Encyclopædia.
we believe this perfection to be morally impossible. But evangelical perfection comprises two things : (1.) A perfection proportioned to the powers (or strength) of each individual. (2.) A desire of always making advances towards what is better, and of increasing that strength still more and more. This perfection varies in the ratio of those who are commencing, of those who are proficients, and of those who are perfect, in the knowledge of Divine Truth and Charity as commanded. On this account, one perfection is more intense than another, or the perfection of some persons is more intense than that of others. The same perfection neither is nor can be in all and in each, nor can it belong to all and each: Yet the most intense perfection of all and of each is necessary to salvation, according to the unequal powers (or strength). This intense perfection we have placed in the circumstance of the inequality of their powers, that no one may omit or commit any thing which he knows he ought, and has it in his power, not to omit or commit,—that is, that he may not sin against his own conscience, of whatever kind his conscience may be Thus, the desire of making constant advances towards what is better, is common to all; and, therefore, this ought to be equal and alike in all and in each, according to their several powers. It is also absolutely necessary to salvation, and ought to precede even penitence itself, or to follow all penitence ; both of which may be proved by numerous scriptural testimonies, which it is no part of our present design to produce."
• Of the superior orthodoxy of Arminius in the sense of the Church of England and of the Ancient Fathers, the reader will find cogent proofs in a succeed. ing page. (274.)
† To this extract succeeds the paragraph quoted by me in page 801. I add as a curious piece of church-history, the same writer's account of the manner in which Arminianism has infused itself into Scotland :
From England, Arminianism travelled into Scotland, where, however, it made no great impression for a long series of years, having to contend with a strong and rooted attachment to the doctrine and discipline of Geneva, and being generally united with episcopacy, of which the Scottish nation has been always and utterly abhorrent. Since the middle of the last century it has been rapidly gaining ground, particularly among that class of the higher ranks in which there is still left a serious and practical belief of the truth of Christianity. Of the Clergy, a few venture to preach it openly in some of its most corrupted forms. There are a great many, too, who so far acquiesce in it, as never to meddle with the doctrines of Election and Reprobation in their public or privato ministrations ; some from a decided disbelief of them, and others from a mere conviction of their inexpediency. Such of them as carefully avoid, or openly oppose it, (and these form a body respectable both for number and for character,) are certainly best entitled to the praise of honesty, the Confession of Faith which they subscribe being rigidly Calvinistic, and each of them being required at his ordination to renounce the Armi. nian heresy. A great proportion of the common people are still so fond of the dogma of Absolute Predestination, which they too often abuse, that they look on those who deny it with anger, or with pity; and seem to have the same sentiments, with regard to Arminianism, which were declared by Mr. Rouse, in the English
In the celebrated “ Address to the Christian Reader," which Professor Poelenburgh prefixed to the second volume of the Theological Works of Episcopius, the following judicious and discriminating observations occur : “ Besides, I am accustomed to admire the consummate equity and moderation of our men [the Arminians], in forming their sentiments about those matters which are at this day subjects of controversy among Christians. For, while some parties seem generally to diverge to certain extremes, or are hurried down precipices, our people, with prudent moderation, have held the way in which nothing might be found that savoured of asperity, that conveyed an unusual sound to Christian ears, or that might seem offensively to oppose the general taste either of divines or of other believers, whether they lived in former ages, or are our cotemporaries.
(1.) Disputes are maintained concerning the FOREKNOWLEDGE OF God, and it has been asked, Does Divine Prescience comprehend, among other things, future contingencies ? On this point many persons have proceeded so far as daringly to decide even on the mode of God's foreknowledge, and have said, “God • foreknows things contingent, because He has already pre-deter*mined all things from all eternity by an immutable decree :' According to this mode, then, it follows as a necessary consequence, that God has before determined that even sins should be committed.-Others, in their desire to avoid this rock, have fallen upon one equally erroneous, and, that God may not be represented by them as the author of sin, have entirely divested Him of this foreknowledge of things contingent: In this manner, therefore, in the estimation of almost all Christians, these persons detract greatly from the Divine Perfections.—What then is the opinion of our Remonstrants on this point? They neither deny the Divine Foreknowledge, nor yet do they derive it from an eternal decree, lest they should deprive God of that which is his, or lest they should ascribe to Him any thing incongruous: But occupying a middle way, and that a very safe one, they acknowledge foreknowledge in God; and yet they account the mode, by which God comprehends those future things, to be altogether incomprehensible and beyond human investigation.
“ (2.) Discussions have likewise arisen concerning CHRIST'S
parliament, when he said, that it makes the grace of God lackey after the will of man ; that i was no better than the Trojan horse ; that an Arminian is the spawn of a Papist; and that he is ready to turn into one of those frogs that rose • out of the bottomless pit.' It must be acknowledged, however, and we state it from personal observation, that this sort of bigotry, for which our native land has been long remarkable, is gradually yielding its place to more liberal senti. ments; and that the time seems to be fast approaching, when a man may be, without incurring any reproach, either a Calvinist or an Arminian, if he be only sincere in his belief, and conscientious in his regard to the ordinances and duties of Christianity."-Edinburgh Encyclopedia.
SATISFACTION FOR OUR SINs; on which point some persons have asserted, that Christ bas so satisfied, as to render our repentance unnecessary for obtaining pardon, although the Scriptures eloquently admonish us in the following words: • Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,' &c.-On the contrary, other persons, when they perceive this doctrine to be destructive of the very sinews of repentance, have entirely discarded all satisfaction, nay they have banished from Theology the very term, as the hiding-place of a most grievous error.—What is the course which the Remonstrants pursue? They neither reject the word 'SATISFACTION,' because it is capable of being employed in a correct sense ; nor do they urge the use of it as necessary, because it is not to be found in any part of Scripture. But the matter itself they explain thus : Christ abundantly satisfied that love which God bore towards justice, so as not only to render it POSSIBLE for Him, without any obstacle, to remit to us the punishment due to us for our sins, but likewise to render Him in the fullest sense willing,—but yet on this condition, that we cannot obtain this remission of sins which has been obtained for us and proposed to us, unless we betake ourselves by repentance and • faith to an observance of the Divine commands.'
(3.) While some persons affirm GRACE to be irresistible, and others that there is none, the Remonstrants, placing themselves on safer ground, neither deny grace, lest they should be injurious towards God,-nor describe it as irresistible, lest they should destroy every command to obedience : But they acknowledge it as a gift conferred most freely upon us by God,* which yet may
• The late Rev. Thomas Scott, having presented to the readers of his Remarks on the Refutation of Calvinism, a lame translation of a passage from Grotius, which the Bishop of Winchester had quoted, appends to it the following animad. version : “ In respoet of Grotius, I would, once for all, say, that I consider ! “ him as one of the most able and plausible, yet most decided, enemies of genuine ; “ Christianity, that modern times have produced.”—In Mr. Scott's vocabulary, “ genuine Christianity” and “ Calvinism” are terms synonimous, though with the latter system, which he warmly defended, it will afterwards be shewn, he had a very confused and imperfect acquaintance, especially with that modification of it which the Synod of Dort promulged. That he should account the learned and pious Grotius “ a most able and decided enemy” to CALVINISM, will not appear wonderful when the reader is told, that the passage, upon which Mr. Scott animad. verts, commences thus : “ Incautious expressions produce dangerous consequences. After hearing or reading such words as these, We are justified by faith alone without any works, many persons continue in a course of sinning, and do not amend their lives, yet they promise themselves salvation,” &c.
For the very same reason, the celebrated Bucer and MELANCThon might, with equal injustice, be traduced, as two of the most plausible, yet decided, cnemies of “ genuine Christianity,” if the followers of Calvin be allowed with their characteristic arrogance to apply exclusively to their own system this sacred title. For those two great meng-who, by their piety, prudence, and talents, contributed more than any of their cotemporaries to the success of the Reformation,-made dreadful havoc of some of Calvin's dogmas, as is apparent by the following extract from GROTII Volum pro Pace Ecclesiastica: “ The honour and glory of all the