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bishop of Lincoln and others have not passed without animadversion. Whence this extremne partiality, if the editors have not a fellowfeeling for their Calvinistic brethren, and a lively concern for the success of their cause? Mr. Overton's book has been reviewed by them to an immoderate length, its most striking passages have been prominently exhibited, and the whole work has received from them a profusion of compliments. But Mr, Daubeny's reply has not yet been noticed, and why? because it has given to Calvinism its death-wound. In their review of their present charge, the Christian Observers say, that, “ While each disputant seems to gain more or less from his opponent, the main point still remuins undecided.” This main point is the supposed Calvinism of the Church of England. These Reviewers, therefore, are of opinion thut the bishop of Lincoln, the dean of Peterborough, and Mr. Daubeny, have not succeeded in disproving the charge brought against the Church by Mr. Overton and his allies. Indeed, they afterwards say that, “ The founders of our Church in framing articles of doctrine or articles of discipline, were not swayed by the reputation or authority of any reformer on the continent: they drew from the pure and original sources of Christian knowledge those tenets, the truth of which they attested with their blood.” We shall pass over the inaccurate, and not altogether harmless expression of
. founders of our Church," which the reformers in fact were not, as the
very word reformers implies, but we shall confine our remarks to this seeming concession made by the Observers to the bishop. Though they appear to agree with his Lordship in the position that the framers of our articles, &c. were unbiased by a regard to Calvin, yet it is evident enough they are of opinion that Calvin's doctrines are those of the “pure and original sources of Christian Knowledge.” Many champion's for Calvinism who have gone before these reviewers have maintained the same point, particularly Dr. John Edwards in his Veritas Redux, and Augustus Toplady in his Historical Proof. Those zealous writers asserted that our Reformers in common with those of the continent, all drew the same sentiments, on what are called the five points from the scriptures and antient fathers. But this is fallacious, for we contend that Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, the principal instruments in the great work, were not moved by the example of their foreign brethren at all: and we moreover contend that the sentiments of those great men, with regard to the decrees and their consequences, totally differed from those of Luther and Calvin.
The German reformer carried the notion of election and irresistible grace to an extreme and very dangerous length, as appears from several of his writings, but particularly from his angry pieces against Erasmus. What the opinions of Calvin upon these points were need not be specie fied, for he drew them into a systematic orcier in his institutions, and thereby gave them a wider circulation. These examples were in the view of our reformers when engaged in the compilation of the Liturgy, Articles and Homilies of the Anglican Church ; and if they had been of the same mind, on these questions, with their forcign brethren, they would gladly have shewn it on this public occasion. Their caution on the article of predestination, and their explicit declaration of universal
redemption, must, therefore, be decisive evidence that they did not hold the Calvinistic sense of the five points.
The Christian observers, however, maintain that a belief of general redemption is reconcileable with an assent to the doctrines of Calvin. Such a reconciliation in our opinion is as arrant a paradox as an attempt to unite the two poles. If Christ died for all men, it is manifest that an eternal decree confining the benefits of that passion to a select number of mankind, and exclurling the rest, is not true. It is impossible to reconcile the universality of the atonement with the doctrine of particular election; and those Calvinists act certainly the most consistently with their system who reject utterly the expression of general redemption, and strenuously maintain the irresistibility of grace.
The Christian observers affect "lo vindicate Calvinism only from misconceptions," and not to decide the main question. They bring forward again the authority of the bishop of St. Asaph by way of opposing it to the charge of the bishop of Lincoln. That learned prelate has mentioned Calvin with respect, and these criticks expand the compliment into a covering for theinzelves and their calvinistical friends. We have the profoundest reverence for the virtues and the talents of the worthy bishop, but with his permission we will not suffer *so unbecoming a use to be made of his authority. It may be true that Calvin would have held in abhorrence the detestable doctrines of the Antinomians, and would have readily professed he never intended that such consequences should have been drawn from his principles: But the question is, does not the belief of an absolute irrespective decree, such as Calvin explicitly maintains, tend directly to Antinomianism ; and will not corrupt minds when lulled into security by this enchanting theme, make use of it as an excuse for sin ?
We are sick of heating the distinction so artfully made between rigid and moderate Calvinism. If the primary principle, absolute election be admitted, all the consequences will necessarily occupy their places in the mind, and have a consequent effect upon the outward actions. A man who believes that the time of his calling by grace is determined, knows that it is secure, and that nothing, whether external or internal can deprive him of that glory to which he is predestined. How such a nocion can produce a devout and a humble frame of mind, or a circumspect course of life, we shall leave to be determined by those who have more opportunities of observing such characters than we have.
The Christian Observers are offended with the bishop of Lincoln for charging the Calvinists as holding, the necessity of" sensible impulses of the spirit," which notion they would wish to confine to the Quakers and the Wesleian Methodists.
We should be glad to know whether those of the Church of England commonly called evangelical ministers, do not lead their hearers to look for some such impulses, when they dwell so strongly and particularly upon spiritual experiences ? Some, perhaps, may be more cautious than others, but Calvinism most undoubtedly has a more direct tendency to generate this species of enthusiusm than even Wesleian methodism. According to this scheme the believer is always in a greater or less degree under the direction and influence of the holy pirit, and he is taught to nieasure his stature or growth in grace, by the state of his mind
which will unavoidably lead him oftentimes to depend upon the most dangerous of all fallacies, the fights of imagination. The Christian Observers express their unwillingness to impute Pelagianism to the bishop of Lincoln, and yet the very remark itself tends to insinuate that his lordship inclines to that heresy, because “ he has not told us whether grace be given before faith, or after the exercise of it.” This is wonderfully ingenuous, and would have furnished the author of the canons of criticism with an excellent rule, with which we shall conclude, namely “ A professed critic has a right, where his author does not express his opinion upon a subject, to charge him with holding an absurd or heretical one."
The Constitution and Erample of the Seven Apocalyptic Churches. A Sermon preached in Lambeth Chapel
, at the Consecration of the Right Reverend Thomas Burgess, D. D. Lord Bishop of St. David's, and the Right Rev. John Fisher, D.D. Lord Bishop of Exeter, on Sunday, July 17, 1803.
By Ralph Churton, M. A. 410, p. p. 22. DR.
R. SOUTH, in the plenitude of his wit, vented this indecent sar
casm, which scepticks have made frequent use of by way of ridiculing the scripture prophecies," that the Revelations either find a man mad or make him so." Mr. Churton, on the contrary, in the exordium to this excellent discourse on Rev. ii. 7. observes, that, “ scarcely one in these latter ages, ever studied the book attentively, whose labour was not crowned with some discovery worth knowing *; and that “those who have peculiarly devoted their time and talents to the subject, have been the brightest ornaments of their days. The prophecy was revealed by Jesus
Christ to his beloved disciple John : and the character of the penman, the patience, humility, and devout affection of him that leaned on the bosom of his Lord, have been visible in the scholars and interpreters of his work 7."
In this discourse two things are considered, the “constitution and the conduct of the Apocalyptic Churches."
Their episcopal government is thus clearly and concisely determined ; “it is observable that the epistles from Christ' to these seven Churches are addressed to the angels of those Churches ; and the angels are represented as stars in the right hand of the Son of Man," whose counetnance was as "the sun shineth in his strength.” Of these stars there is no one of greater magnitude and lustre than the rest, communicating to them light and heat; the seven are equally and alike in the hand of Christ, replenished with radiance by him alone. He walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks," and is alike present, without any intervening vicegerent, in all the Churches denoted by them.
• Sir I. Newton on Daniel and the Apocalypse, p. ii. c. i. p. 253.
+ I will mention three only, Mr. Mede, Bishop Bagot, and his esteemed friend (“'O name for ever honoured, erer dear") Dr. Townson, Vol. V. Churchm. Mag. Nov. 1803.
“ The testimony of Jesus is directed to his servants on earth, not to the blessed angels' in heaven. The angels, therefore, here are the ministers of the churches; a circumstance which was so obvious, that this part of the vision was not, like the rest, explained to St. John. The churches are seven, and the angels also seven; and the epistles are ad. dressed respectively to the angels of the Churches; to the angel of the Church of Ephesus, to the angel of the Church in Smyrna, and so on. The Churches, therefore, were governed, not by several co-ordinate pastors, but each of them by one superintending minister, whose authority, under Christ, wasindependent and supreme."
It is next shewn, from the description of the Church of Ephesus, by St. Paul, which had many congregations and pastors; and from the writings of Clement and Ignatius that “the primitive Churches were severally governed by one chief pastor, who held immediately from Christ hini self, not by an assembly of equal ministers."
Speaking of the Church of England, as possessing happily this primilive and apostolical order, Mr. Cherton adverts to " the reformer of Geneva, who was so well satisfied, that had not the insidious arts of the emissaries of Rome intervened and prevented it, there is reason to believe he himself would have adopted episcopacy, and the great and lamented anomaly of a Church without a bishop, would probably, to this hour, have been unknown in the world.
of this fact we have the following curious account in a note in which we shall here give entire.
“See in Foxes and Firebrands, 1682, part ii. p. 11–13.extract of a let. ter“ directed to the Bishops of Winchester and Rochester,” (Gardiner and Ponett, as the margin says) in which it is said, “ It is the opinion of our learned men now at Trent, that the schisms in England by Ed. ward's council established, will reclaim all the foreign sects into their discipline, and thereby be one body united. For Calvin, Bullinger, and others have wrote unto Edward, to offer their service to assist and unite; also to make Edward and his heirs their chief defender, and so have bishops as well as England; which, if it come to pass, that heretick bishops be so near and spread abroad, Rome and the clergy utterly falls. You must therefore make these offertures of theirs, odious to Edward and his council. Receive N. $. and E. L. from Rotterdam; their lessons are taught them; take you their parts if checked by the other hereticks ; for these be for re-baptising, and not for infant baptism. Reverend Fathers, it is left to you to assist, and to those you know are sure to the Mother.Church. From Delph, the 4th Ide of May, Anno Christi, 1549. D. G."
When Sir Henry Sidney shewed Queen Elizabeth this letter, found among her sister's papers, it " caused her to express these very words: I had rather than a year's revenue that my brother Edward and his council had seen this letter, nay, ruther than twice my revenue I had seen it sooner.The council, upon her bigliness's discourse, concluded that Calvin would have established episcopacy beyond seas, had he been consulted herein; and that the hindrance of this offerture caused much animosity between the reformers.”
In further confirmation of this, we may be allowed to cite CALVIN himself, in his confession of faith, written in the name of all the French
churches, wherein he gives it as their express opinion, that the authority orcharge of governing the Church, as vested in the bishops, was not to be taken away; but that, on the contrary, even Popish Bishoj.s were to be heard with reverence, in regard to their functions. These are his words : Interea tamen ecclesiæ authoritatem vel pastorum el superintendium quibus ecclesiæ regendæ provincia mandata est, sublatam nolumus. Fatemur ergo EPISCOPOS zive PASTOREs reverenter audiendos quatenus pro suæ functionis ratione verbum Dei docent. Confess. Fidei, Gall, Eccles,
The general example of these early Churches is next considered, and applied with much force and solemnity to the occasion. With the following extract from this part of the discourse, we shall conclude.
" In looking back to the Churches to which St. John wrote, and others contemporary with them, we have cause for unfeigned thanks to God, whose mercy, in Christ, has given and preserved to us a Church, which, in form as well as doctrine, agrees with those Churches which were planted by the apostles, and watered with the blood of saints and martyrs. If the same blessed Providence has extended to us what these early Christians did not enjoy, civil protection; if he hath raised up kings to be the nursing fathers, and queens the nursing mothers, of our Sion; if he inspires senators and statesmen to watch over her welfare, and secure her peace; these accumulated benefits do not lessen the debt of gratitude to God, nor cancel the obligation of good-will and service to men."
A Sermon preached on the duty of paying Tribute with fidelity; preached in
Tunbridge-wells, Chapel, October 23, 1803; by Martin Benson, A. M.
svn. pp. 20. WE TE cannot but most highly applaud the reasonable and prominent
example which Mr. Benson has set to his brethren, in selecting this important, but too much neglected subject for a public exhortation at this momentous crisis. If it be necessary that our countrymen should be roused to the defence of all that is near and dear to them as men and as Britons, it is equally proper that they should have the line of duty expressly pointed out to them; and particularly that they should be warned against practices which though common, are extremely injurious to our national honour and safety. While men are called upon earnestly to rally round the throne of the King, and the altar of God; it behoves all who have it in their power to set before them the sinfulness and even danger of withholding “ tribute from those to whom tribute is due; and custom to whom custom." It is upon that plain and expressive text the present judicious discourse is founded, and the author has most clearly proved that no man can deserve the name of patriots or a lover of his country who does not act fully up to the precept. We have been highly gratified in reading this Sermon, and we most earnestly wish to see it printed in so cheap a form, as to be easily put into the hands of the lowest members of the community. Of so much moment,