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view of the subject, was general, instead of universal, redemption; as he thought the latter word might possibly be understood to include other intelligent beings, not of Adam's race, and might be misunderstood to imply universal salvation. After quoting several passages of Scripture, which unequivocally declare the universality of the redemption wrought out by the Saviour for the whole race of mankind, Mr. Scott observes, that wherever we meet with a human being, we can, consistently, feel no other embarrassment in saying to him Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved," than in calling to those who are asleep after the sun is risen, and exhorting them to rise, and go forth to their labour; for the natural light of the world shines and suffices for all. "Every circumstance," he says, "respect ing redemption, shews it to be a general benefit, from which no one of the human race will be excluded, except through unbelief. Every exhortation, invitation, and encouragement, imaginable, may, therefore, be used without reserve, in addressing men of any nation and description. Yet some line," he adds, "inust be drawn by all, who do not hold universal salvation. He that believeth not shall be damned.' The difference then is, in this re
spect, less between Calvinists and others, than it is supposed. Calvin himself says, Redemption is sufficient for all, effectual only to the elect.' His opponents say, ⚫ sufficient for all, effectual only for believers.' Faith is the gift of God; and the only question is, whether he determines to give faith to one man, and not to another, at the moment; or whether he previously decreed to do it: and whether he gives faith to one and not to another, because of some seen, or foreseen, good disposition or conduct, in one above the other, pre vious to his special preventing grace. If he do no injustice to those who are left to themselves, and continue unbelievers, it could not be unjust to decree, from eternity, thus to leave them. Some of us think, that none ever truly believe, except the elect: others suppose us in this to be mistaken, perhaps interpreting the terms elect and election, differently than we do. But all who allow the truth, and abide by the plain meaning of the Scripture, agree, that through this general redemption, believers, and none except believers, among adults, shall be saved." Vol. ii. PP. 7, 8.
To this explanation of Mr. Scott, we shall have occasion to advert hereafter. We shall only, therefore, observe upon it at present, that, although it cannot be supposed to satisfy an Anti-calvinist, it ought at least to rescue all those who agree with it, from the charge of denying that redemption through Christ is a benefit sufficient for, and offered indiscriminately to, all.
The second point on which we shall notice Mr. Scott's Remarks, respects some of the terms by which the Bishop of Lincoln has chosen to represent the doctrines of Calvin, and of his later adherents. For instance, he speaks of their asserting the existence of a decree which renders the conversion of some men impossible, and of " a condition which it is impossible for them to perform ;" and, consequently, of maintaining that
shall perish everlastingly, "without the possibility of attaining salvation;" implying, as it would seem, says Mr. Scott, that some of the non-elect are truly desirous of the salvation revealed in the Gospel, and disposed to use the appointed means of obtaining it; but that they are excluded, and perish for ever, through some impossibility distinct from, and unconnected with, their own sin and depravity. This Calvin, and his reasonable followers, deny; alleging that there is no impossibility, except that which arises from the natural unwillingness and enmity of the human heart; and that this unwillingness constitutes a moral inability, which nothing, except regeneration, a new creation unto holiness, can remove.
"If," says Mr. Scott, "men will confound this disinclination, with natural inability; and so make excuse for all the wickedness of devils, (whose incorrigible disinclination to love God, and whose obstinate enmity against him, is their only inability), the determination of the question must be referred to God alone. But let it be observed, that Calvinists (at least all those for whom I would plead), allow no other than moral inability, or total disinclination to good, which his lordship has expressly allowed concerning men in general. Hence it is, that repentance, faith, and obedience, are the gifts of God,
and the fruits of the Spirit:' because, however active we may be in what is good (and very active and indefatigably diligent we ought to be in every good work), it is God that worketh in us, to will and to do of his good pleasure.' It is in respect of the same kind of inability, that God cannot deny himself;' not for want of power, but from his infinite perfection in holiness." Vol. ii.
"Let a man be found earnestly desirous of complying with the requirements of the Gospel, diligently using every appointed means, submitting to every needful privation and self denial, exceedingly afraid of coming short of salvation from sin and all its conse
quences; who yet is excluded, through some impossibility, independent of his own disposition and conduct, and which nothing he might do, however willing or earnest, could at all remove: then the objection would be valid. But adduce a proud, ambitious, cove tous, sensual, ungodly man, who has nothing to prevent his repentance, faith, and salvation, except his own wicked heart and bad habits, with the temptations of the devil, and the allurements of worldly objects; yet, who is totally averse to the humbling holy salvation of the Gospel, in itself; and wholly disinclined to use the appointed means of grace,
with diligence, earnestness, and perseverance; who cleaves to his idols, and refuses to forsake them; who shrinks from self-denial; and whose enmity of heart against God is irritated by the very denunciations and requirements of his word, and the declarations of his justice and holiness; in short, who ⚫ loves darkness rather than light, because his deeds are evil:' and then let it be inquired, whether God is bound, in justice, to give that special efficacious grace to this rebel, without which he must continue a proud rebel and enemy for ever. This is the statement, whether well-founded or not, which we make of the subject." Vol. ii. pp. 18, 19.
Let it also be understood, that we do not suppose the influence, or special grace, of the Holy Spirit, to be vouchsafed to us, either to incline or enable us to do any thing which was not previously our duty, but which we were wholly disinclined to perform." Vol. ii. p. 20.
tainly it is impossible not to admit, that, as they respect the Calvinists, they have been altogether mistated by the Bishop of Lincoln. We are free to own, at the same time, that we remain as little satisfied with Mr. Scott's endeavours to disembarrass his system of its difficulties, as with those of former writers. Those difficulties are inherent in the subject, and must continue to perplex it while the human mind is constituted as it is. Would it not, therefore, be the true wisdom of both parties to confess their ignorance, and to cease from the construction of systems, and the entanglements of controVersy, which may do much harm, but can do little good?
Another objection, which Mr. Scott makes to the representations of the Bishop of Lincoln, relates to the frequent application of the term "arbitrary" to that will of God which is concerned in predestination; a term, says Mr. Scott, to which Calvin would doubtless have indignantly objected, as spoken by him of the only wise God.
“ Arbitrary will, in the common use of words, means the will of one who is determined to have his own way, being possessed of power to enforce his decisions. Sic nolo, sic jubeo; stet pro ratione voluntas.' This, in general, is unreasonable, capricious, tyrannical; often in direct opposition to wisdom, justice, truth, goodness, or mercy. Such thoughts of God's sovereignty were far removed from Calvin's views of the subject, and so they are from ours. God does not, indeed, inform us of the reasons and motives of his decrees or dispensations: but he assures us, that he is 'righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works;' that all his works are done in wisdom;' that God is Love.. We cannot, indeed, see the wisdom, justice, truth, and goodness, of many things, which undeniably he does: and it is not wonderful, that his decrees are a depth which we cannot fathom: but faith takes it for
We are perfectly aware of the reply granted, that righteousness and judgment which Anti-calvinists would make to this statement, as to moral inability: it is not, however, our present purpose to examine the truth of the opposite opinions which are held on this subject, but to ascertain what those opinions really are; and cer
are the basis of his throne, even when clouds and darkness are round about him.' In the mysterious and awful subject before us, we cannot see the reasons which induce the only wise God, the God of holiness and love, to choose one in preference to another, or to new create one rather than another: but let it not be supposed that there is no
reason, or no adequate reason. Now, if it consist with infinite wisdom and perfection, to change the heart of one man, and not that of another; how does it alter the case, whether we suppose, that, being infinite in knowledge and foreknowledge, he determined to do this from all eternity; or whether he formed the determination at the moment when he effected it? On the other hand, if, either in the present dispensations of God, or in the decisions of the great day, any thing be done inconsistent with perfect wisdom, justice, truth, and love, will the circumstance, that it was not predestinated, make any difference in the opinion to be formed of it?" Vol. ii. pp. 4, 5.
The same objectionable language occurs in another passage of the Bishop of Lincoln's book, where he speaks of the Calvinistic doctrine as representing men "under the control of an irresistible destiny;" a terin, Mr. Scott observes, "more suited to heathen fatalism, or to the modern necessarian system, than to the wise and righteous decrees and appointments of the eternal God." Similar objections lie against the bishop's assertion, that "the very idea of a covenant is inconsistent with the Calvinistic system." Upon which Mr.Scott inquires, what were the conditions of the covenant made with Noah and his posterity after the deluge? or of that other covenant with the church of God, of which it is expressly said, "this is as the waters of Noah unto me?" as if, on the principles of the Bishop of Lincoln, a covenant could only be of one kind; and that which the great God has vouchsafed to make with bis fallen and helpless creatures, must in every respect be similar to those which men of equal powers are accustomed to make with one another.
Again, when the bishop observes with his usual harshness of representation upon this subject, "absolute decrees say, that it is irreversibly determined by the arbitrary will
Isaiah liv. 9, 10. See also Jer. xxxi. 31,
32, and 37. Ez. xvi. 60.
+ See upon this point our Review of the learned and candid Archdeacon Pott's Considerations on the Christian Covenant, in the
third volume of our work.
CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 127.
"When this is done," he adds, "I will cordially join in reprobating the doctrine." "The decree to leave any to themselves and their own wicked inclinations, to fillup the measure of their crimes, cannot be without respect to their conduct; nor (if indeed it be, as no doubt it is, just and wise), chooses some to salvation, through sanctifi· can it be arbitrary. The decree which cation of the Spirit and belief of the truth, is indeed not made for our foreseen works; for none could be foreseen but evil works, except as the fruits of the Spirit,' given to us according to this decree: our renewal to holiness and fruitfulness in good works, is one grand object of the decree; it is effectually provided for in the covenant; and only by giving diligence, and abounding in them, can we make our calling and election
sure. How, then, can this be, without any respect to our conduct ?"
Various other instances of similar inaccurate or unfair representation of the Calvinistic doctrine are noticed by Mr. Scott; but we must hasten to the main arguments on this very difficult and intricate subject. Of these, the first in order, as in importance, are of course derived from Scripture. In support of his view of the question respecting redemption, the Bishop of Lincoln very naturally brings forward those passages which appear most plainly to favour it; but while Mr. Scott distinctly and repeatedly allows their force as to the universality of redemption, so far as its sufficiency is concerned, he contends, that in many instances both of texts adduced by the bishop, and of others which his lordship does not adduce, in which the terms, "all" or "every," occur, some exception or limitation must be admitted, as to the actual efficacy or event, either to avoid manifest error or absurdity in the interpretation, or contradiction to other express testi
monies of Scripture. For instance, the view which is given by the bishop of the well-known parallel between the first and second Adam, and the effects of the disobedience of the one, and of the obedience of the other, as drawn by St. Paul in the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, though sanctioned by many commentators, "is liable," says Mr. Scott, "to insurmountable objections: especially it most clearly admits, that the righteousness of one came upon all men to justification of life and how then can universal salvation be denied? Indeed, his lordship's words, if rigorously interpreted, might seem to admit this consequence universal righteousness and pardon the effect of Christ's obedience."" But Mr. Scott is persuaded that the bishop does not intend universal salvation; and interpreting the passage in question by the clause in the 17th verse, which seems to limit the actual benefit to those who receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteous ness," he does not object to the universality of the redemption in the sense before explained. The same reasoning applies to the 20th verse of this chapter, as to the superabounding of grace; where the bishop's argument, by proving too much, shews that it is not conclusive; and, it may be added, to the latter part of the 15th chapter of the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, which must evidently be restrained to the resurrection of the just.
Another set of texts, introduced by the Bishop of Lincoln with considerable confidence, respects the supposed incompatibility of decrees with commands, and exhortations to duty, with conditions, and voluntary actions. His lordship instances, in the case both of the Jews and Gentiles, who were called upon to believe and obey the Gospel; and his argument is this: "If God had decreed that the Jews" (mentioned in the 6th of St. John) should not believe, it could not have been said, that it was his work that they should;" and that if those who are mentioned
by St. Peter, in his first Epistle, chap. i. 8, were "appointed by God to disobedience, then disobedience would be compliance with the Divine appointment or will, and the same act would be both obedience and disobedience." Now there certainly is much force in these statements; but then his lordship must be aware, that those who believe the doctrine of the Divine decrees do not affect to know who are the objects of them If it be said, that this cannot refer to our Lord, who knew all men, and who they were that would believe, Mr. S. replies, that as man, and as a preacher, he has left us an example, for our imitation; that he used proper means for the salvation of those who heard him, and that even in the case of some* of whom he knew and declared, that they would not believe. As for all other preachers and hearers of the Gospel, he affirms it to be the duty of the one, to deliver their message in the plainest and most earnest terms of invitation to all; and of the other, to receive and obey it; and "we have no fear," adds Mr. Scott, "of being condemned for opposition to a secret decree, while diligently obeying a revealed and express command." Vol. ii. p. 15.
The alleged absurdity of "the same act being," upon the Calvinistic hypothesis, “both obedience and disobedience," Mr. Scott endeavours to explain by the same distinction between the revealed and the secret will of God. Obedience is compliance with the known command of God; not acting according to his decree or appointment, whether secret or revealed. Certainly men, in disobeying the command of God, fulfil his appointments, and often accomplish his predictions. "Did decrees," observes Mr. Scott, "even when revealed, warrant the conduct of those, who break God's commandments, in fulfilling them, the accursed slave trade might have found a better justification from prophecy, than it ever had in the British senate from its most able, eloquent, and zealous advocates."
* See John vi. 64; and x, 26.
"If any event ever was absolutely decreed, and most expressly predicted, the crucifixion of Christ was that event: yet that did not at all excuse any of the parties concerned in it."
In concluding that those who hold the argument of the Bishop of Lincoln must either disavow the belief of the Divine prescience and of all prophecy, or excuse an immense proportion, if not the whole, of the wickedness which has ever been committed, Mr. Scott evidently falls into the error, of which, however, he is far less guilty than some of his opponents, of charging on an adversary consequences which he expressly disclaims; but we cordially agree with him, as to the importance of firmly adhering to this fundamental tenet, that the law and command of God, without respect to any Divine purposes or predictions, are the only rule by which our conduct must be regulated, and by which it will be judged. We would join with him, too, in the earnest wish, which is suggested by some expressions in the "Refutation," that they who engage in religious controversy would reverently avoid all language that even seems to impeach the conduct of God, on the supposition that their own tenets are not true. For himself, Mr. Scott solemnly promises to retract any expression to this effect which may be pointed out to
“Whether Calvinism," he adds, in that spirit of genuine and profound piety which pervades every part of his work, "be true or false, God is infinitely wise, righteous, holy, faithful, good, merciful; worthy of all reverence, adoration, love, confidence, honour, and obedience, from all rational creatures, to all eternity. It would indeed be a blessed effect of this publication, if it should render Calvinists, as well as their opponents, more reverently cautious, what words they use, in the warmth of controversy, when, on any account, the glory of God, in his dispensations or decrees, is even remotely concerned."
With respect to the observation of the Bishop of Lincoln, that "the
rejection of the Gospel by the Jews was their own voluntary act, and not in consequence of any decree of God;" Mr. Scott replies, that it was undoubtedly so; and so was the act of Judas, in betraying Christ. None of them did wickedly as compelled by a Divine decree, but as instigated by their own sinful passions; nor as induced by a Divine decree, of which they neither knew nor thought any thing; but this does not prove that God did not decree to "give them up to their own hearts' lusts," and to "send them a strong delusion," as a punishment for the preceding crimes of which he foresaw they would be guilty."
It is evident that much of the reasoning in the "Refutation," and in some other Anti-calvinistic productions, is built upon the supposition, that God is in some way bound to do certain things, if not all that he is able, for the salvation of his rebellious creatures: so that, if he do not this, it is inconsistent with his love, if not with his justice. This is an argument which, with whatever force it may be pressed in the case of persons dying in infancy, yet is, like many others on each side of this intricate question, clogged, in the case of adults, with great and perhaps insuperable difficulties. It seems, in the first place, directly to militate against that view of salvation which meets us in Scripture at every turn; viz. that it is in all its parts, relations, and circumstances, wholly of grace; and that if any nation, or any individual, differ from another, it is by the grace of God.”
The reasoning in question seems, also, to be at variance with the evidence of facts. It is very natural and easy to exclaim, with the Bishop of Lincoln, "can we suppose that God seeth his rational creatures not only in need, but obnoxious to death and misery, and yet refuses his aid to rescue them from impending ruin?" with much more to the same purport. But the point to be considered is this; what has the Almighty actually been pleased to do as to