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of a powerful influence of the Holy Spirit, renewing the heart, and turning it to God, would be pure extravagance*.
The doctrine on which the reformers laid the greatest stress, it is well known, was that of justification by faith without the works of the law. Hence the church has been at great solicitude to set, in a clear and steady light, this important article. The language of the church is : 'We are accounted righteous be..fore God, only for the perit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings.' To prevent all mistakes about the nature of this faith, it is said: 'the true christian faith is not only to believe that . holy scripture is true, but also to have a sure trust and 'confidence in God's merciful promises to be saved from
everlasting damnation, by Christ; whereof doth follow a • loving heart to obey his commandments:' and by this it is affirmed, we are justified; it is "the mean whereby we 'must apply the fruits and merits of Christ's death unto us,
so that it may work our salvation. After this, comes Dr. Tomline, talking of procuring justification by faith and repentance, of faith and obedience being the same thing,of faith standing in the place of obedience,-of justification being attributed to good works,—and of endeavours to do their duty, recommending ineu to the favour of God t..
From this comparison, which it would be easy to en. large, it is plain that his Lordship is very deeply infected with heretical pravity, and very far gone from the genuine creed of the church. It may now be worth while to consider how far the learned prelate has succeeded in fising a charge of heresy, on the calvinistic or evangelical preachers;' since they may evidently dissent from him, and yet remain true to the established doctrine.
The progress of some opinions to maturity is slow and insensible; and is, to the philosopher, a matter of equal curiosity with the growth of animal or vegetable nature. Archbishop Laud, though he had a violent predilection in favour of anticalvinistic tenets, was yet content with im. posing silence on the Calvinists. Bishop Burnet undertook to shew that, though the literal sense of the articles was evidently favourable to the Calvinistic doctrines, they set admitted of such a latitude of interpretation, that those of opposite principles might subscribe them with a safe conscience. Finally, Dr. Kipling and the Bishop of Lincoln, have attempted to convince the world that the formularies of the church are decidedly hostile to Calvin's tenets, * P. 93.
+ Pp. 142, 112, 161, 174.
Pinild and mitigats of this kind; yet several
even in their inild and mitigated form. Now, though it is certainly the proper way in cases of this kind, to consid. r what has been, rather than what may be effected, yet several little circumstances occurred to us, on the mere mention of this project, which excited a strong suspicion that these learned persons were engaged in a desperate undertaking. The testimony of contemporary and subsequent historians--domestic and foreign--and of all parties--is explicit in affirming, that the founders of the church, the authors of the articles and homilies, had embraced the tenets of Augustin and Calvin. If this unanimous testimony were liable to suspicion, it might be confirmed by the declarations of the reformers themselves, and a reference to their public and private writings. In a petition, presented by the most moderate of the English protestants, to the Convocation that settled the articles, we meet with the precise and avowed doctrine of tbe modern Calvinists. It was the professed design of the celebrated Jewel, in his famous apology, to evince the agreement, in matters of faith, of the English church, with the Helvetic, German, and other reformed churches of the continent. With all this, the general as well as particular doctrines of the articles and homilies wonderfully accord. So commonly was it supposed thet the doctrine of the church was that of Augustin, and so generally did the primitive inembers of the English reformed church lean to the tenets of Calvin, that the most minute and la. borious inquiry has not been able to discover, for the first half century after it's establishment, more than four or five theologians in its communion, who opposed the system of that eloquent reformer. The more eminent immediate successors of the reformers were themselves Calvinists : and strenuously maintained the Calvinism, both of the church, and her founders. Those of the clergy, who, in modern times, have renounced Augustin's doctrine have been, for the inost part, unanimous in admitting the literal and obvious sense of the articles and homilies to be unfavourable to their principles ; and have been perfectly contented with accounting for the bias of the reformers, in favour of the system, which they, for their own part, were compelled to discard. All these things put together, led us to suppose, that no learning, no acuteness-not even the subtlety of Bossuet hiỉnself-could possibly make out the anticalvinism of the English church.
Confident assertions, however, and high-sounding words, have a tendency to make even sober persons distrust conclusions apparently legitimate. His Lördship's book is not an attempt to refute; it is a refutation;' and we are there
fore placed under the necessity of reducing to the test of particular examination, the proofs which he employs to establish the heresy of the modern Calvinists. To begin with the corruption of human nature. Because some persons, in the reign of Charles the First, wished to alter the ninth article, bis Lordship infers that this article is at variance with the creed of his opponents. Since, in the same article, it is said, that' inan, of his own nature inclineth' to evil, so that
the flesh always lusteth against the spirit,' the Calm vivisis, it seems, who pronounce that ' man of his own nature can perform nothing but evil', are insufferably heretical. And it being added, that this infection of nature doth "remain in them that are regenerated,' -- it cannot be pre.. tended,' says Dr. T. That this article gives any countenance to the Calvinistic notions of sinless obedience and unspotted purity in the elect ;'* though, where he learnt that these nctions were Calvinistic we are not informed. Having given such an explanation of the words of the ninth article as he thought proper, our learned author adds: “ We can by no means allow the inferences attempted to be drawn from them by modern Calvinistic writers, namely, that “ of our own nature we are without any spark of goodness in us,” and that inan has no “ ability or disposition whatever with respect either to faith or good works.”+ Now, to our dull intellects, there really appears no difference between this last expression, and the followiug words of his Lordship-man. has not the disposition, and consequently not the ability to do what in the sight of God is good ;'I and we are sure the expression he condemns is to be found in the homilies.
So similar, indeed, is the doctrine of the modern Cal. vinists to that of the church, that this learned dignitary, in the vehemence of his zeal, condemns them together, without once suspecting what he is doing. In attempting to prove the. opposition of the church, on the subject of human weakness and divine influence, to the tenets of his adversaries, he. betrays a total misapprehension of their principles, and argues against opinions which they would readily assist him to demolish. The same may be said of what he has written to prove them at variance with the doctrine of the church on the subject of regeneration. In treating of faith and good works, where he seems to have put forth all his strength, his arguments are lamentably inconclusive. Indeed in refuting the Calvinists he refutes himself. They will readily agree with him, that to be justified is to be accounted righteous in the sight of God, -that the procuring cause of
* P. 51. St P. 54. P.61.
this blessing is not any goodness in us, but the merit of the Lord Jesus Christ,- that we obtain this blessing not hy a barren belief of divine truth, but such a faith as is the source of devout feelings and virtuous actions, and that of the existence of this faith, good works are the only sufficient and satisfactory evidence. But the misfortune is, that the R. R. author has a habit of forgetting bis own positions. He entertains, in fact, a great reverence for the decisions of the church; and as it is hardly possible to mistake her mind on the subject of justification, while his attention is fixed on one topic, he keeps pretty clear of error. But he appears to have no compass of thought. He cannot take in the whole of a subject at a view. Hence be destroys with one hand and builds up with another. No sooner does the dispute begin to grow dusty, than he turns round to combat bis own arguments; and in the eagerness to throw his antagonist, falls himself. He is, in short, a controversial suicide.
In considering whether the Calvioists of this age, express the mind of the church, in their notions of God's decrees, it should be remembered, that no inferences, deduced from passages which hare no relation to this particular subject, can set aside the plain and obvious sense of the passages in which it is expressly treated. 'While this remark scatters the rubbish of argument, which his Lordship has so diligently piled up against his opponent., it confines our attention solely to che serenteenth article. Now, it may in some measure conduce to the decision of the question to observe, · that the Calvinists would make use of the article without any alteration, as fully and fairly expressing their meaning; and that his · Lordship would make use of words to express his notion of predestination, that convey (to us at least) a sense totally different from what the words of the article convey. Of the former assertion no proof seems necessary.; the Calvinists prosessing to acquiesce in the literal sense of the words. Of the truth of the latter, it will, we think, satisfy all our readers, to set down the words of the article, fo!lowed by the words in which his Lordship espresses his sense of it. " Predestination to life,' says the church, " is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before "the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel, secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation, those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation. But,' says his Lord hip, Predestination to life is not an absolute decree of eternal happiness to cer: tain indivividuals, but a gracious purpose of God, to make a conditional offer of salvation to men.'* If we understand the meaning of words, this is not only. contrary to the sense of the article, but irreconcileable with what he says a few lives before : • Predestination to life, is here declared to be the eternal purpose of God, to deliver from curse and damnation, and to bring to everlasting salvation :--but who are to be thus delivered and saved ?" Those whom God hath chosen in Christ out of mankind,” that is, those to whom God decreed to make known the Gospel of Christ.' We might here, also, adduce the cautions added to this article, as indubitable proofs that the Calvinistic sense of it is literal and genuine, but we hasten to close this branch of the subject, by two very short extracts. It is not to be denied,' says Bishop Burnet, but that the article seems to be framed 'according to St. Augustin's doctrine. It is very probable,
that those who penned it, meant that the decree was ab• solute.' • The calvinistic doctrines of election and reprobation,' avers Bishop Tomline, are not only not maintained in this article, but they are disclaimed and condemned in the strongest terms' t.
His Lordship having thus failed in establishing the hostility of the church to the tenets of modern Calvinists, perhaps our readers will not be surprised if it be added, that he has been equally unsuccessful in bearing them down by the authority of scripture. In attempting, however, to make good this assertion, let us not be. misunderstood. We neither mean to insinuate that even moderate calvinism is incapable of refutation, nor undertake to defend the peculiarities of that system. We merely intend to shew that they are not refuted in the work before us.
It is unfortunate for this writer, that, in arguing against the Calvinistic notion of human corruptions, he proves too much. , His argument obviously supposes, that man is, in every sense, able to comply both with the precepts of the law and the exhortations of the gospel. It proves, as he uses it, that man is not at all corrupt. How greatly sorver this may embarrass his Lordship, who seems to think that a total aversion to do the will of God, would form a proper excuse for disobedience, it does not in the least affect the modern Calvinists; who cannot persuade themselves, that the more wicked and perverse accountable beings are, the more they are exempt from the controul of divine authority. They believe, indeed, that human nature is incorrigible so long as it is left to itself. But when God prevents us by his grace, when he operates by his spirit on the mind, the cor* P. 266.
+ P. 269