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the entire Church Catholic; a scheme of doctrine, which set forth the language of the Apostle Paul, when addressing the Romans, in such sort as it had never before been understood by any of the ecclesiastical writers.

Here, we may observe, Augustine is directly attacked upon the plain and simple score of a mere


Whatever, abstractedly, might be the merits or demerits, the truth or falsehood, of his system, it is roundly charged, at the beginning of the fifth century, with being a PALPABLE NOVELTY.

To such a charge, any metaphysical defence of the system itself, or any confident adduction of the words of Scripture when in truth the real question at issue was the import of those words, were clearly no legitimate answer.

The allegation of a FACT, by whomsoever that fact may be alleged, can only, through the medium of direct historical testimony, be disposed of by a satisfactory denial of that FACT.

Augustine, in the abstract, might be very right, or he might be very wrong, in his speculation: but Augustine was charged with NOVELTY.

Certainly, therefore, his sole business was to

overwhelm his censurers with a mass of citations, which should distinctly and triumphantly prove : that, from the very first, and on the express sanction of the Apostles, the scriptural terms elect and predestinate had been uniformly understood, by the earlier Fathers and by the entire Catholic Church, precisely as he himself, agreeably to the wellremembered instructions which he had received from his Catechist, still understood them at the beginning of the fifth century.

Such, plainly, was his sole business: for any other reply were an utterly irrelevant travelling out of the record.

But how does the great Bishop of Hippo act under the present allegation?

(1.) Truly, so far as the first part of the asserted FACT is concerned, namely the contrariety of his doctrinal scheme to the opinion of all antecedent Fathers, he at length, after much superfluous discussion and (I fear) with a too evident reluctance to meddle with the appeal to antiquity, claims to produce exactly three witnesses in his favour: Cyprian to wit, and Ambrose, and Gregory of Nazianzum.

Now, with respect to this woefully meagre tale

of authorities, even were such authorities pertinent and distinct and full to his purpose; still, to carry any real weight, they would all be far too modern: for Cyprian flourished not until the middle of the third century; and Ambrose and Gregory lived during the latter part of the fourth century.

But, in truth, with the scanty exception of nine words written by Ambrose, their several testimonies are altogether nugatory and irrelevant: so that, in point of historical evidence as afforded by those Fathers who preceded Augustine, the whole mighty fabric of Calvinism or Austinism rests upon the single Ambrosian sentence; Deus, quos dignatur, vocat: et, quem vult, religiosum facit.

(2.) Still, however, Augustine does not despair of making the' Church Catholic his auxiliary: though his contemporaries had declared his new system to be notoriously contrary to the received sense of the Church.

It is really painful to observe the mode, in which this great man would invalidate the second part of the FACT alleged against him.

The Church, he admits, was not wont to bring forward, in preaching, his own peculiar view of election and predestination: because, formerly,

there were no adversaries to answer. But then the Church, however silent she might be, clearly shews, that she held, all the while, his own precise doctrinal system. For the Church, says he, directs us to pray with Cyprian, that believers may persevere to the end. Therefore the Church plainly inculcates the doctrine of predestined final perseverance and thence, by a necessary circle of consequences, she must doubtless be understood, as always holding, and as virtually inculcating, the argumentatively antecedent doctrines of election and predestination, as those doctrines were received and explained by Augustine; because predestined final perseverance of course depends upon and presupposes, according to the regular progress of the five points, the doctrine of irreversible election to eternal glory.

2. We must say, I fear, that the alleged FACT remains, after all the efforts and all the dexterity of Augustine, wholly uncontradicted by the testimony of history.

Augustine, therefore, at the beginning of the fifth century, confessedly stands forth, as the original inventer of that scheme of interpretation, which, in our days, is usually denominated Calvinism.


To this negative testimony, let us add the positive evidence which may easily be collected, that the primitive Church, from the time of St. Paul's apostolic friend and fellow-labourer the venerable Clement of Rome, down to the very age of Augustine himself, always understood the scriptural terms vocation and election to mean ecclesiastical vocation and ecclesiastical election, that is to say, a successive vocation and election of individuals, from the great mass of the Jewish and Gentile World, into the visible Church of Christ, with the intention and for the purpose of their becoming holy, though with a possibility of their not making their vocation and election certain let us, I say, add positive evidence to negative testimony; and the system, first struck out by Augustine, will, I fear, not stand the test required by the canon of Tertullian. It existed not from the beginning, on the universally avowed and acknowledged ground of its setting forth the publicly declared mind of the Apostles: but it commenced with the fifth century, under the authority of mere human uninspired teaching; it was immediately charged with being a palpable and hitherto unheard of novelty; and, that charge,

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