Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

actual sins of men :" original guilt belongs to all men, and therefore the actual sins of all men nust likewise be understood : and consequently, according to this Article, Christ died, to be a sacrifice for the sins of the whole human race. In the 15th Article, it is said, “Christ came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself once made, should take away the sins of the world;" an expression taken from the New Testament, and too comprehensive to be adopted by those who meant to assert the doctrine of partial Redemption. And in the 31st Article the doctrine of Universal Redemption is plainly and unequivocally asserted, “ The offering of Christ once made, is that perfect Redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual :” Words cannot be more comprehensive than those which are here used, "all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual,"—every sin, of every sort, of every human being can then any one, after reading these words, contend, that it is consistent with our Articles, to maintain that Christ died for the sins of only a part of the world, and that it is absolutely impossible for the rest of mankind to attain salvation, through the merits of his death?

The 17th Article is entitled, “ of Predestination and Election," and it begins with a definition

of

of Predestination; " Predestination to life (a) 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, as vessels made to honour:" " Predestination to

life"

(a) No persons, either in Scripture or in our Public Formularies, are said to be predestinated to death, or to punishment, or to unbelief. Nefas est dicere Deum aliquid nisi bonum prædestinare. Aug. de Præd. cap. 2. Nunquam usurpatur apoopuseuy (prædestinare) nisi de bonis rebus. Grot. Even the Authors of the Centuriæ Magdeburgenses, who were Calvinists, say, Quoties Apostoli verbo Predestinationis utuntur, nihil aliud co indicant, quain ut inquirentem causas cur ad Salutem æternam consequendam nulla alia sit via, quam ea quæ Christo est nobis parata, docent sic Deo in arcano suo consilio, quo voluit miseriis generis humani mederi, placuisse, eumque ut eo modo fieret ordinasse, et velle ut a se præscriptum da Salutein compendium agnoscamus et apprehendamus. Cent. Magd. cent. 1. lib. 2. cap. 4. p. 238. The truth is, that the word Predestination does not occur in Scripture, and the word predestinate is used in our Version only in two passages, namely Rom. c. 8. and Eph. c. I. both of which have been explained in this Chapter, and from which the former part of our seventeenth Article is taken. The Greek word translated predestinate in these two passages, is used by St. Luke, Aas, c.4.v.28, where it istranslated “ determined before;" and by St. Paul, 1 Cor. C. 2. v.7. where it is translated “ordained.” It occurs, I believe, in no other part of the New Testament,

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, that part of mankind to whom God, in his inscrutable counsels, has, from all eternity, decreed to make known the Gospel, which is, as we have seen, the Scriptural sense of the word chosen or elect (a); and consequently “to bring them by Christ to everlasting Salvation” does not mean actually saving them, but granting them the means of Salvation through Christ, which is also a signification authorized by Scripture (b). The Article proceeds to describe those who profit by this "everlasting purpose of God," " Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the Calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by Adoption: they be made like the Image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ : they walk religiously in Good Works; and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity :” Salvation, which is attainable by all

Christians, (a) It will afterwards appear, that the word Elect is used in the same sense, in the Form of Baptism, and also in the Catechism of our Church.

(6) Vide pages 38 and 244 of this work.

Christians, is actually attained by those only, who

through Grace obey the Calling, and walk religiously in Good Works :" God foreknew who would be thus obedient, and upon them he decreed to bestow Eternal Life. “Predestination to Life” therefore is not an irrespective decree of Eternal Happiness to certain individual Christians exclusively, but a gracious purpose of God to make a conditional offer of Salvation to all who shall embrace the Gospel, through the merits of his blessed Son, and to save those who he foreknew would obey. This “godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons,” because, from a consciousness of their own obedience and religious walking in Good Works, “their Faith of eternal Salvation is greatly established and confirmed,” and they are supported under all the distresses and calamities of this mortal life, by looking forward to the prize of their high calling in Christ. Such are the Predestination and Election which our Church maintains, and recommends to its members as replete with comfort. But in the same Article it tells us, that “for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before

eyes the sentence of God's Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into

wretchlessness

their eyes

wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation." What is this sentence of God's predestination? It cannot be the sentence of Predestination we have been considering, by which God purposed and decreed to save all who shall believe and obey the Gospel; this merciful and consolatory doctrine cannot be the suggestion of the great enemy of mankind; it cannot drive men to “desperation,” because it says to every one, Repent, and you shall be saved ; it cannot lead men to “ wretcblessness of most unclean living,” because it says, that without Good Works no man can be saved; and a real "everlasting purpose of God” cannot be a “dangerous downfall” to any part of his rational creaturcs. Where then are we to find this supposed “ sentence of God's Predestination," which is attended with so much mischief and danger? - In the works of Calvin.—We there read, Prædestinationem vocamus æternum Dei decretum, quo apud se constitutum habuit, quid de unoquoque homine fieri veliet. Non eniin pari conditione creantur omnes; sed aliis vita æterna, aliis damnatio æterna, præordinatur... Quod ergo Scriptura clare ostendit dicimus æterno et iminutabili consilio Deum semel constituisse quos olim semel assumere vellet in Salatem, quos rursum exitio devovere. Hoc cousilium quoad electos in gratuita ejus misericordia fundatum esse asserimus, nullo humanæ digni

tatis

« ElőzőTovább »