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cal clergy and the Calvinistic dissenters are dangerous to the Establishment, asserts of the former, what we have no doubt is strictly true, that they are peculiarly useful in promoting its genuine interests, and would be more so, were they not systematically thwarted and counteracted by powerful opponents: and as to the dissenters, that many of the Anti-calvinists amongst them are as hostile to the church as the Calvinists; that the systematic Calvinists among them are far from being the most zealous, either in preaching, or otherwise propagating their sentiments; and that the only effectual mode of counteracting any description of dissenters is, according to the well-known recommenda-. tion of a great prelate, to "outpreach, out-pray, and out-live them." Mr. Scott, therefore, strongly approves of the concluding advice, in the bishop's fourth chapter, to the parochial clergy, on the best means of recovering and establishing such a desirable preponderance; but justly observes, that if only a part of them do this, so that the total number shall form by far the minority of the whole body, they will soon be either classed with the evangelical clergy, so called, or will receive some other name of opprobrious distinction by the majority which continues to neglect their duty.
Having thus given a brief view of the principal points at issue on the controverted questions discussed in this chapter of Mr. Scott's work, we must still trespass on the indulgence of our readers, for a few general observations on these very abstruse and difficult subjects. It has been our uniform aim and endeavour, on the various occasions on which we have been, as it were, compelled to engage in arguments similar to the present, to hold that moderate and impartial course, to which we think the Scriptures, fully and fairly interpreted, evidently lead; and to which, we are satisfied, that it is the design of our Church to direct her members. In taking CHRIST. OBSERv. No. 127.
this course, we are perfectly aware, that the strong partisans on each side will be dissatisfied; but of this consequence we have long since counted the cost, and are quite contented to share in a charge of inconsistency and want of syste matic accuracy, which, after all, must, as we think, finally light upon a quarter, where, to say the least, it is harmless-namely, on the Scriptures themselves. We proceed, therefore, in our purpose; and notwithstanding what we have just said, we cannot but hope that the following remarks will not be found, either by Calvinists or Anti-calvinists, to be without some solid foundation.
We observe, then, in the first place, that there is a mystery hanging over this whole subject of predestination, which, as it has not been fully unfolded by Divine revelation, no human reasonings will ever be able to penetrate. eternal purpose of the Almighty, concerning mankind, has depths which no mortal line can fathom, and heights to which no mortal wing can soar. The wisest and the best of men in all ages have acknowledged this; and happy would it have been for the Christian Church had the points in question been left in the obscurity in which they must continue to be involved, until a clear and satisfactory light shall hereafter be shed upon them. There is, in this view, a very important observation by Luther:"The common distinction," says this great reformer, in his controversy with Erasmus*, " is a good one: there are three lights; one of nature, another of grace, and a third of glory. The light of nature cannot explain why a good man should suffer, and a bad man should flourish; but the light of grace solves the difficulty." Now, " if the light of the Gospel, by a single word, with faith, has so very easily resolved a difficulty which has proved distress* See Milner's Church History, vol. iv. part ii. p. 891.
ing to thinking men in all ages, how clear will every thing be, when faith and the written word shall be no more, and the Divine Majesty itself shall be revealed!" "The light of glory" will teach us at the last day, "that the ways of God, which are incomprehensible at present," have been strictly just and holy in the very highest degree." We have quoted this admirable sentiment of the Saxou reformer, for the purpose of urging the duty of abstaining from dogmatism in this controversy. He who does not perceive the difficulties with which it is surrounded, certainly has taken but a very imperfect view of it; and he who thinks that they do not press pretty equally on all sides, is not, in. our opinion, much more clear-sight ed. We wish particularly, in this view, to enter our decided protest against the too frequent custom, amongst eager controversialists on this question, of charging inconsistency and contradiction on the system of an opponent. This is, in the first place, a charge which may be, and commonly is, with equal justice, retorted on the other side; and in the next, unless it be demonstrative, which in the present case is generally impossible, it proves nothing. And yet the reductio ad absurdum is a favourite argument in most discussions on the subjects of predestination and grace. It is, doubtless, resorted to occasionally on both sides; but we cannot help observing, that we have seldom seen it brought forward in a more revolting and illiberal form than in the Refutation of Calvinism." We may make the same remark on the declamation which is so often poured forth on the difficulty of reconciling certain doctrines with our ideas of the Divine perfections and government. But how very inconclusive are all arguments drawn from our conceptions of subjects so far removed from buman comprehension! Almost every part of revealed truth, to say nothing of the origin of evil, which is the grand mystery of all,
appears to labour under this difficulty to some description of men or other; and this is, in fact, the very principle on which the Socinian builds many of his heresies, and rejects the plainest declarations of the word of God. Though Calvinists, too, have often been guilty of the error we are now reprehending; and we are far from affirming the truth of their system; it is but doing justice to Mr. Scott to add, that he has repeatedly expressed himself on this point in a spirit of humility, wisdom, and piety, which cannot be too strongly recommended to disputants on each side of the controversy in question.
"We have all," says he, " our difficulties, and some things meet us, in the Scriptures, which we cannot reconcile with our ideas of the Divine perfections. Few have experienced this, more than I have done. But shall we, on this ground, reject any revealed truth? Shall we hesitate about cre
diting the sure testimony of God? We may, indeed, carefully and humbly examine the language of inspiration, that we may be satisfied of its real import; but that being ascertained, we must bòw our understand
ing to the declaration and testimony of God. I am a fool, a child, a rebel : I am too partial in my own cause, to be a competent judge how it behoves the Sovereign of the world to deal with rebels: I must sit at the feet of Him, who is the Truth, to learn the first truths of heavenly wisdom; and especially I must learn to adore the depths, which I cannot fathom." Vol. ii. pp. 149,
Though we may appear to some unduly to favour the Calvinistic hypothesis throughout our account of Mr. Scott's work, we cannot avoid risking some farther imputation of this kind, by a second observation, which naturally flows from the view we have ever taken of this subject. This is no other than the following: That notwithstanding the "Refutation of Calvinism" by the Bishop of Lincoln, we are fully of opinion, that Calvinists, such as Mr. Scott has represented himself so be, need no apology for professing their tenets as members of the Church of England. We assert, as strongly as the Bishop himself can
do, that our church is strictly and perfectly neither Calvinistic nor Arminian, but entirely scriptural: and it is on this very ground that we rest the opinion which we have just expressed. For if any one will gravely maintain, that there is no thing which looks like the general outline of the Calvinistic doctrine in the Bible-nothing that can even be plausibly adduced in its support from that sacred volume, we should certainly decline any farther argument with him. For ourselves, we must say, that, independently of all the reasoning of St. Paul, in the 8th, 9th, and 11th chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, and in the two first of that to the Ephesians; the declarations of our Lord himself, in some parts of the 6th, 10th, and 17th chapters of the Gospel by St. John, form a foundation on which we can readily conceive that many pious minds might build the doctrine of personal election. And, indeed, if there be really no more ground for such a doctrine than some Anti-calvinists assert, it will be for them to explain how the above passages have found their way into a book intended not merely for the study of the learned, but for the perusal of the unlettered Christian. In fact, we all know, that many of the founders and brightest luminaries of the English church actually entertained this reprobated view of the subject. This is unquestionable. "Historical evidence," says a learned writer in the second volume of our work, under the signature of A Curate of the South (p.276), "testifies that Archbishops Whitgift and Usher, and Bishops Carleton, Hall, Davenant, and Sanderson, and many of their episcopal contemporaries, declared the Calvinistic interpretation of the Articles to be, in their estimation, most consentaneous to the design of the original imposers; and several Arminian expositors," as we shall presently observe, "have made a similar admission. There is not, therefore, a single epithet of opprobrium due to that minister of the Church of Eng
land who now holds Calvinistic sentiments, which ought not first to be applied to those ancient divines, whose writings have very materially contributed to strengthen his conscientious persuasion, that these sentiments are perfectly reconcileable to the articles, liturgy, and homilies."
The writer, whom we have just quoted, mentioned the admissions of certain Arminian expositors on this question. That of Bishop Burnet will immediately occur to many of our readers. That learned and pious prelate candidly acknowledges; that the 17th Article of our church appears to have been framed according to the doctrine of St. Austin, which scarcely differs at all from that of Calvin; and though, as we shall shortly notice, it be expressed with a certain latitude, which renders it susceptible of a mitigated interpretation, yet thinks it "very probable that those who penned it" were patrons of the doctrine of absolute decrees. For a later admis sion of a similar, though not of so extensive a kind, but equally corroborative of our present argument, we would only refer to the testimony of Bishop Horsley, in his last Charge, which has already been so often quoted, but which can never be too highly valued, or too frequently brought forward. Now, what says this very learned prelate, and this acute and powerful Anti-calvinist? "The Calvinists, indeed, hold some opinions, which the Church of England has not gone the length of asserting in her Articles. But neither has she gone the length of explicitly contradi ting those opinions.' Speaking afterwards of " Supralapsarian Calvinists," the bishop adds, "Such was the great Usher! Such was Whitgift! Such were many more burning and shining lights of our church in her early days (when first she shook off the papal tyranny), long since gone to the resting-place of the spirits of the just!
"The Methodists, therefore, of the Calvinistic, are not, more than those of the Arminian persuasion, dissen
ters from the Established Church in doctrine. The Calvinists contradict not the avowed dogmata of the church; nor has the church, in her dogmata, explicitly condemned or contradicted them."" Any one may hold all the theological opinions of Calvin, hard and extravagant as some of them may seem, and yet be a sound member of the Church of England and Ireland: certainly a much sounder member than one, who, loudly declaiming against those opinions (which, if they be erroneous, are not errors that affect the essence of our common faith †), runs into all the nonsense, the impiety, the abominations of the Arian, the Unitarian, and the Pelagian heresies, denying in effect the Lord who bought him. These are the things against which you should whet your zeal, rather than against opinions which, if erroneous, are not sinful."-We will not add a line which may have a tendency to weaken the impression of these just and forcible sentiments of the learned prelate. Let this decided testimony be added to the facts already stated concerning the opinions of many of the early bishops and doctors of the Church of England; and then let impartial men determine whether doctrinal Calvinists belonging to that church, in the present day, are bound, by the authority of any person whomsoever, even to apologize for holding and avowing, in a serious and temperate manner, the tenets by which they are distinguished.
We procced, however, in the last place, to an observation of a more
It is curious to observe the difference between two prelates of the same church; one of whom insisting upon it that he who holds the general outline of the Calvinistic doctrine must necessarily, whether he will or not, hold every sentiment of Calvin, and then denouncing him as an unsound and dangerous churchnian; and the other, admitting more
than modern Calvinists require, and yet alJowing to them the claim of sound church manship!
+ Here again! "Who shall decide when doctors disagree?"
pleasing and profitable nature, which naturally follows from the preceding considerations. If the doubts and difficulties in which the subject of predestination is confessedly involved be, indeed, so perplexing that "it is hard to say on which side they are the greatest;" while the difference of opinion upon it among the very best Christians can never cease, because these difficulties never can be cleared up;-again, if the Holy Scriptures appear to men of equal wisdom and piety to favour these directly opposite and conflicting opinions; and if the Church of England be neither decidedly Calvinistic nor Arminian, but, according to Bishop Burnet, has "not defined the knot in which the whole difficulty lies," "has not been peremptory,
"but that a latitude has been left to different opinions," and, according to Bishop Horsley," upon all the points of doctrine characteristic of the two sects, maintains an absolute neutrality;"-surely the conclusion to which moderate and reasonable men should come, is that which the great prelate, last referred to, has recommended, in what may be not improperly termed his dying chargenamely, not that either Calvinists or Arminians should be indifferent to their respective opinions, but that neither should venture to be "confident and peremptory in the condemnation" of the other, but agree to "walk together in the Church of England and Ireland, as friends and brothers."
There are, indeed, various grounds for this mutual charity and forbearance on these controverted points. They, both sides, appear to be zealous for the Divine glory; both lay down certain general maxims which in general, argue justly from their can scarcely be disputed; and both, Calvinists, if they be truly pious, first principles. Both Arminians and and disposed to receive the truth as it is simply and generally declared in Scripture, agree in acknowledging that those who are saved will be in debted, from first to last, to the free
and unmerited grace of God; and that those who are lost, will be selfcondemned and 66 speechless *" This is distinctly declared by Mr. Scott, in various passages of his work; and we cannot doubt that his Right Reverend diocesan would agree in that conclusion. The former writer, too, has assured us, that it is the practice of himself and of his brethren to attempt every thing (according to their ability) which argument can urge, or compassion and affection suggest, to awaken sinners to repentance, and to lead them to believe the Gospel. We earnestly wish that this were the universal practice both of Arminians and Calvinists; that the one would remember, that God has not promised to save all men; nor will, whatever his Divine decrees may be; and that without Him we can do nothing,and that the other would bear in mind, what they profess to acknowledge, that God makes use of our natural faculties to instruct, convince, and correct mankind; and that much is in consequence left to the exercise of proper means, and to the performance of every man's duty. The" secret things belong unto the Lord our God;" and it has, we think, been one of the grand errors of many Calvinists, an error which Mr. Scott joins in condemning, to pry too curiously into these arcana of Heaven, and to speak too boldly and too frequently, as well as to act too systematically, upon them. We deem it to be much more safe and scriptural, to say, that the Divine determinations respect states and characters rather than persons; and to direct our chief attention and concern, as parents, tutors, ministers, or in any other station of influence and responsibility, to the diligent and conscientious use of the most probable means of producing religious impressions; la
This point is well stated by Mr. Simeon, in the preface to his Helps to Composition, and repeated in that to his Four Sermons on the Liturgy; and we cannot but wish that the scriptural mode of preaching, which he has there recommended, were universally adopted.
bouring faithfully and assiduously, "through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ," and by the renewal of the mind to the image of God, "in righteousness and true holiness," to ascertain "our election of God." This is the "godly consideration of predestination, and our election in Christ," which is "full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons," and which our church maintains and recommends to all her members. For what is more than this, and for the removal of the veil which now presents an impenetrable barrier to any deeper researches into the counsels of the Almighty, we must wait for that light of the eternal world to which we have already referred. In that glorious light, we shall, indeed, see light." We shall behold Him face to face, whom no man either hath seen, or now can see; and shall know, even as also we are known.
We regret that the length to which we have been unavoidably led in our comments on this chapter, obliges us, though reluctantly, to postpone the conclusion of our review to another number.
(To be continued.)
Letters to the Right Hon. Sir William Letters to the Right Hon. Sir William
Drummond, relating to his Observations on Parts of the Old Testament, in his recent Work, entitled Edipus Judaicus. By GEORGE D'OYLY, B.D. Fellow of Corpus Christi, Cambridge, and Christian Advocate in the University. London: Bulmer. 1812.
WHEN our monarchs were Nimrods, and, unocccupied by foreign wars, exhausted their courage upon the quadrupeds and bipeds of their coun try, large forests were appropriated to the royal huntsinen, and no priVate individual dared to hurl a dart or fire an arrow upon the royal demesne. But when the bird or beast once overleapt the fence of royalty, then it became the common prey of all his majesty's subjects. This