Obrazy na stronie

whether in answering prayer, God whenever a right prayer was made; always bestows the very thing it would seem that he would still which was asked for; or whether be bound, sometimes, to grant he does not sometimes answer it, what is not for the best, if such a by withholding the thing asked thing should be prayed for in a for, and bestowing something bet-right manner. ter in its stead. This question I

The writer of the letter seems should like to see discussed. I to think, that we ought to pray for wish some of your correspondents temporal blessings, with submiswould take it up, and inform us sion; but for spiritual blessings, how it is. The prayers which are

without submission. His words recorded in the Bible, appear gen-are, “ Our brethren generally beerally, if not always, to have been lieve, that when temporal blessings answered by giving the very thing are asked for, the petitions should which was asked. And this ap. be made in entire subordination to pears also to be the most natural the Divine will, and with resignaconstruction of the language in

tion to the allotments of his proviwhich the promises are made. An dence; but when we ask for an objection to this, seems to arise, effusion of his Holy Spirit, and for however, from the consideration, a revival of religion among us, we that we are not very well qualified are to come


to the throne to judge what is on the whole best of grace, with no reservation, with for us, or best for the church, or no hesitation, for we know the most for the glory of God. And will of God on this subject.” The consequently, that if God has contrast certainly seems to imply, bound himself to grant, in all cas

that the same submission is not to es, what we ask, he may be oblig- be exercised, in praying for spirited to grant some things which are ual as for temporal blessings. But not for the best, or else violate his I do not see why there should be promise. Some have thought, that this difference. Temporal blesthe proper way to obviate this ob sings are not, indeed, so valuable jection, is, by directing us to pray as spiritual blessings. But if they for those things which appear to

are not blessings, they are not us most likely to be for the best, proper subjects of prayer at all. but to pray always with submis-And if they are blessings, if they sion. That is, that we should may lawfully be desired, if they consider what appears, as far as

can be desired with right motives, we can judge, to be best for the if they are proper subjects of praychurch, and most for the glory of er, I do not see the difference in God; and then go to God in pray- | the principle, between these and er, and ask for those things: but, spiritual blessings. They are both that we should always ask with a valuable. They may both be lawdisposition to give up our own will fully desired. They may both be to the will of God, and to take prayed for. All the difference is pattern from our Lord, who said, in the degree of their value. Spir“not my will but thine be done." itual blessings are more valuable. It is probably right to pray with They are more to be desired. submission; but whether this obvi- They should be prayed for with ates the objection, is not so clear. more fervency. But there is no If it is essential to a right prayer, reason in all this, why they should that it be made with submission; be prayed for without submission, and yet, if God has promised to any more than temporal blessings. grant the very thing prayed for, | But perhaps the reason for this.

difference is contained in the last, no pleasure in the death of the clause quoted above: We know wicked; but that the wicked turn the will of God on this subject." from his way and live.” What Is this true? Do we know that does this mean? Does it mean, that God has determined to convert God does, on the whole, desire the this or that individual ? Do we salvation of every sinner? If so, why know that he has determined to does he not save every sinnert He grant a revival of religion in this certainly can, if he chooses. It apor that place? How do we know pears plain to me, that the meanit? Will the writer say, that by ing is, that God has no pleasure in the will of God, he does not mean the death of the sinner, in itself his determination, but something considered; but has pleasure in the else? But if he means any thing sinner's turning and living, in itelse, I do not see why the propri- self considered; and that it does ety of submission is removed. Sub not express his wish on the whole, mission has for its object “ the that every sinner should be saved. divine will” (of decree) “ the al. He certainly does not wish, on the lotments of his providence.” God whole, that every sinner shuuld has decreed what is best on the be saved; for of some he says, whole. He knows what is best on John xii. 40, " He hath blinded the whole. We do not know. their eyes, and hardened their And hence, the reasonableness of heart; that they should not see submission. The conversion of with their eyes, nor understand an individual appears to us ex. with their heart, and be converted, ceedingly desirable. It is proper, and I should heal them.” God therefore, to pray for it, with great desires the salvation of every sinearnestness." But it may be, that ner, in itself considered; and so the conversion of that individual ought we. We ought, therefore, is not on the whole best; God to pray for the salvation of every knows how it is; but we do not. sinner; but we ought to do it with If God should see, that the conver- submission, and be willing to have sion of that individual is not God do what is best on the whole, for the best, and yet we ask it in this matter, as well as in every ““ with no reservation, with no other. hesitation,” what is it, but asking The writer then goes on to say, him to do that which is not for the “ We feel, therefore, that there is best? And if he has promised to no doubt upon this subject, but grant what we thus ask, he must that we may pray for this immense do that which he knows is not for blessing with full confidence that the best, or he must violate his it will be granted; and we believe promise.

that it always will be granted, But, to confirm his declaration, where the prayers and the labours that " we know the will of God on are accompanied with faith.this subject," the writer adds, Here, the question arises, what is “ He has expressly said, and with faith? Is it the "full confidencean oath, " that he has no pleasure that our request will be granted? in the death of the sinner, but Perhaps I mistake the meaning of would rather that he should turn the writer, but this seems to be and live." I cannot find the place implied. I could wish the writer where this is said, exactly in these had told us, more clearly, what is words; but I find something simi- the faith necessary to prevailing lar, in Ezek. xxxiii. 11, “ As I prayer; for this is one of the most live, saith the Lord God, I have ' important points of the present

enquiry. If any of your corres True; but that promise is made to pondents can answer this question, the prayer of faith, and I have not and set the subject in a ciear and yet made the prayer of faith, for I convincing light, they will confer have not the faith which is necesa very great favour upon the Christ.sary. This promise, then, affords ian public. This idea, that the me no evidence, and so, I cannot faith necessary to prevailing pray- | yet believe. Where, then, is the er, is a “full confidence” that our evidence, upon which I can ground request will be granted, is not for

my faith? Is it said, any where in the first time suggested by this scripture, that this individual will writer. We have heard it fre be saved? No. I see not, then, quently of late. But, is it true? how I can ever make the prayer of The following difficulties have oc faith for this individual, unless I

curred to me : Faith must be have an immediate revelation from - founded on evidence. What is God that this individual will be

the evidence that the thing I ask saved? But, does God make such for, will be granted? Is it the pro- revelations now? Has the age of mise of God to hear and answer prophecy and of miracles returnprayer? But that promise is made edi If this is so, it is important to the prayer of faith. I must be that we should be informed of it. conscious that I make the prayer Besides, if this is the way we are of faith, before I can take hold of to obtain the faith necessary to that promise. Here, then, I have prevailing prayer, if it is made by got into a circle. I must believe immediate revelation from God, I that the thing will be granted, be feel excused for my unbelief, so fore I can pray aright. But I long as I have no revelation. But must be conscious that I pray this cannot be so, for faith is a duaright, before I can believe that ty. I am bound to pray, and to the thing will be granted. I wish pray aright; and while I neglect for the conversion of a particular to pray aright, through unbelief, individual. I wish to pray for it, I sin against God. What, then, in such a manner as to prevail. must I do? Must I shut up my First, then, I must believe that he eyes, and lock up my senses, and will be converted. But I must believe with full confidence," have evidence that he will be, be without any evidence, from scripfore I can believe. Where is the ture, sense or reason? No. This evidence? Why, God has said, he cannot be required. My concluhas no pleasure in the death of a sion, then is, that if this is the sinner. What then? This is said right kind of faith, it must be of every sinner, and all will not founded upon some of the Divine

be saved. This is no evidence declarations. But where are those 1 that the individual in question will declarations? Will not some one

be saved; and therefore, is no rea of your correspondents, who unson for my believing that he will derstands this subject, give us be. What more? God has pro some further light? mised to hear and answer prayer.


[ocr errors]


at the commencement of these es

says, I shall now attempt to obviESSAYS UPON HOPKINSIANISM. ate a few of the popular objections, No. VII.

which are made to that scheme of OBJECTIONS ANSWERED. religious sentiments, which has According to the plan proposed, been delineated. The objections

made to the Hopkinsian system, | material points; it might not from are many and diverse. There is hence follow, with absolute cernot a single doctrine of the system, tainty, that it is unscriptural and which has not been controverted. erroneous. Calvin, it is admitted, It requires much less time to state, was a learned and good man. than to answer an objection. Ful. But, he was no more than a manly to answer all the objections, an uninspired man. It would be which have been made against unreasonable to attribute to him Hopkinsian sentiments, would re such an infallible knowledge of quire volumes. I shall have time Divine truth, as excludes all liaand room to take notice of a few bility to mistake and errour. Calonly of the most general and plau- vin had but just emerged from the sible objections, which are made darkness of Popery: He was, it is to the system at large; leaving it said, but twenty-five years old, to the other numerous writers for when he wrote his principal work, the Magazine, to remove objec- the Institutes: and though his taltions against particular doctrines, ents, learning and piety, enabled as they may occur, in the course him to state and defend the docof this essay.

trines of revealed religion, with OBJECTION I.

much clearness and force, for the The Hopkinsian scheme of sen- day; yet, it is more than possible, timents is not Calvinistick.

that, with all his acuteness and This objection is frequently learning, he neither escaped all alleged, with much confidence, errour, nor engrossed all truth. and, no doubt, has great weight in While, therefore, we cherish all the minds of many, who venerate due respect for the memory of the the name of Calvin, while, proba- great Genevan reformer; we ought bly, they have but a slight ac not to call hin father, and resolve quaintance with his system of sen that we will go no farther in the timents, and still less with that, investigation of Divine truth, than which is supposed to be in oppo- his works lead us.

If we do so; sition to it.

while we may extol the name, we In reply to this objection, per- shall manifest a great want of the mit me to observe,

spirit of Calvin, But, 1. If it were true, that the Hop 3. It is not a fact, that the Hopkinsian scheme is essentially dif-kinsian and Calvinistick systems ferent from the Calvinistick; one of doctrine, are materially differwould suppose, that this, instead ent; and much less, opposite to of being an objection against Hop- each other. On the contrary, it kinsianism, would rather be a rec may be demonstrated, that all the ommendation of it, in the appre- | leading and essential doctrines of hension of most of those, who dis the Hopkinsian scheme, are found card and oppose Hopkinsian sen

in the Institutes of Calvin. The timents. A great majority of the plenary inspiration of the sacred opposers of Hopkinsianism, are scriptures, the Trinity of Persons equally opposed to Calvinism, in in the Godhead, the universal deevery form and degree. For such crees, providence and agency of to object against Hopkinsian sen God, the apostacy of Adam and timents, as not being Calvinistick, the consequent total moral deis not very consistent.

pravity of all his posterity, the 2. If it were true, that the Hop- predestination of a part of mankinsian scheme is different from kind to eternal life, the Divinity the Calvinistick, even in some / and atonement of Christ, the Per.

sonality and special influence of vinistick faith; while the real senthe Holy Spirit, the disinterested timents of Calvin, when fairly nature of holy love, the final per stated, are branded as Anticalvinseverance of saints, and the end istick and new divinity, by those, less happiness of the righteous and who lay claim to the exclusive use the endless misery of the wicked, of the term Calvinism. are doctrines as strongly main In the year 1811, the Rev. EZRA tained in the Institutes of Calvin, STILES ELY (now Dr. Ely, of as in the System of Hopkins. The Philadelphia) published what he difference between the writings of was pleased to call “ A Contrast these two eminent divines, where between Calvinism and Hopkinsthere is any, lies, principally, in ianism.” This singular work was their different modes of answering highly recommended by Dr. Smith, objections against the doctrines President of Princeton College, they teach, and in the inferences, by Dr. Wilson, Professor in Colwhich they deduce from them, and umbia College, by Dr. Mason, not in the doctrines themselves, Principal of the Theological Semiwhich they maintain. When those, nary in New York, and since Prewho profess to approve of Calvin- sident of Dịckinson College, by ism, object against Hopkinsianism, Dr. Livingston, President of Newas being a different and opposite Brunswick College, by Drs. Millesystem; it is apprehended, that dollar, Kuypers, McLeod, Rothey have imbibed wrong notions meyn, and several other distinof one scheme or the other, if not guished clergymen of the modern of both; or else, have not been at Calvinistick school. It may, therethe pains, carefully and candidly fore, be fairly presumed, that the to compare them.

sentiments advanced and advocatIt is not denied, that Hopkins- ed in Mr. Ely's Contrast, are the ianism does materially differ from sentiments, which, at this day, in a certain scheme of sentiments, this country, are reputed genuine which, at this day, arrogates to it- Calvinism. To show how much self the name of Calvinism, and these sentiments differ from anwhich is sometimes called, Mod. cient Calvinism, and at the same ein Calvinism. And modern, in time, how nearly ancient Calvindeed, it is: for it differs, as wide- ism coincides with Hopkinsianism, ls, and more essentiaily, from the I will here exhibit, on a few points, real sentiments of Calvin, than

A CONTRAST, from those of Arminius or Wes- Consisting of extracts from Ely's ley. As the appellation, Calvin Contrast and Calvin's Institutes. ist, has been growing venerable


Calvis. by age, and honourable by the in

I. “Original sin is I. “ When it is creasing numbers and respecta conveyed from our said, that, by the bility of those, who have assumed

parents unto their sin of Adam, we are it; there has been a gradual de posterity by natural made subject to the parture from the principles of the

generation. Allmen judgment of God; Reformers; whích, small and

are guilty of origi- it is not to be taken,

nal sin. -No being as if we, innocent imperceptible at first, has, at

can be a sinner, un. and

undeserving, length, spread to such a width, til he has sinned. did bear the blame that what would have been de- / QUEBI. Is this Cal- of his fault.– From nounced as heretical Arminianism, i vinism?'pp. 72,266. him, not the pun.

ishment only came or Antinomianism, in the time of

upon us, but also Calvin, is now preposterously pro

the infection distil. nounced the only Orthodox, Cal

ed from him, abid.

« PoprzedniaDalej »