Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

which the Dr. shews that it gives no countenance to such doctrines, and this he evinces from the design and history of the article, and the sentiments of the principal compiler of it.

This section opens with our 17th article, as compiled by our reformers in the time of Edward VI, ene alterations made by the revisers of the articles under Elizabeth being subjoined in the margin. A comparison is then made of the several parts of the definition of predestination of election in the article, with the corresponding texts of scripture, and it is worthy our observation how nearly the compilers expressed themselves in scripture words. To this are added the judicious observations of Dr. Waterland*

upon this article, which Dr. Winchester remarks “no one has been able to confute," and which we shall now quote as deserving the attention of all, but more particularly of those whom the slanderers of our establishment may endeavour to seduce.

“ The article of predestination hias been vainly enough urged in favor of the calvinistical tenets. For not to mention the saving clauses in the conclusion, or its saying nothing at all of reprobation, and nothing in favour of ABSOLUTE predestination to life, there seems to be a plain. distinction (as Plaiseret has well observed) in the article itself of two kinds of predestination, one of which is recommended to us, the other condemned ---- predestination, rightly and piously considered, that is, considered (not IRRESPECTIVELY, not a BSOLUTELY) but with re. spect to faith in Christ, faith working by love, and preserving, such a predestination is a sweet and comfortable doctrine. But the sentence of God's predestination (it is not here said in Christ as before) that sentence SIMPLY or ABSOLUTELY considered (as curious and CARNAL persons are apt to consider it) is a most DANGEROUS DOWNFALL; leadă ing either to securITY or DESPERATION, as having no respect to foreseen FAITH, and a GOOD LIFE, nor depending upco it, but ANTECEDENT in order to it; the article then seems to speak of two subjects, first of predestination soberly understood with respect to faith in CHRIST, which is wholesome doctrine; secondly, of predestination SIMPLY considered, which is a dangerous doctrine. And the latter part seems to be intended against those gospellers whereof Bishop Burnett speaks how is it imaginable that any TRUE and sound doctrine of the gospel, should of itself have any aptness to become a DOWNFALL even to CAR

* Supplement to the case of Arian subscription, p. 57
† Plaiserc's analysis of the 17th article, :p 198, edit 1719.

“The doctrine of Predestination having been generally taught by the Rea formers, many of this sect (the Gospellers) began to make strange inferences from it; reckoning that since every thing was decreed, and the decrees of God could not be frustrated; therefore men were to leave themselves to be carried by these decrees. This drew some into great impiety of life, and others into, desperation. The Germans soon saw the ill effects of this doctrine. Luther changed his mind about it; and Melancihoa openly writ against it. And since that time, the whole stream of the Lutheran church has run the other way. But Both Calvin and Bucer were still for maintaining the doctrine of these decrees; only they warned the people not to think much of them, since they were secrets which men could not penetrale into. But they could not so clearly shew how these, consequences did not flow froin such opinions. Hooper, and many other good writers, did often dehort the prople from entering into these curiosities; aud a caveat to the same purpose was put afterwards into the article of the Church about predestination."--Tinrnet's History of the Reformution, vol.ii. p. 107.

Vol. V. Churclım. Mag. Nov. 1803.

Uu

NAL

NAL persons, but CARNAL persons are apt to corrupt a second doctrine, and suit it to their own lusts and passions, thereby falsifying the truth. This doctrine so DEPRAVEV and MISTAKEN our Church condemns. That is, slie condemns ABSOLUTE, IRRESPECTIVE predestination, not the other.”

The history of the formation of our articles is very interesting as it evinces the zeal, the Christian temper and moderation, and the caution of the compilers. They were drawn up by Cranmer with the assistance of Ridley-The good Archbishop having observed with concern, the differences that had arisen among Protestants on the doctrine of the Sacraments, on the divine decrees, on Church discipline and other points, and the contempt which they had drawn on themselves from the Papists in consequence of these dissensions, in 1519 proposed to Melancthon the important and weighty scheme of having one common confession of faith, for all the Protestant Churches, drawn up out of the pure word of God, which they might all own and agree in. 'He communicated his design to Bullinger and Calvin, the leading men among the reformers in Helvetia and France. From Calvin he received a letter signifying his entire approbation of his plan. Melancthon wrote to him also exhorting him to the good work he had in hand, and intermixing friendly cautions with respect to the execution of it. In one of his epistles he remarks Nimis horrida fuerunt intro stoice disputationes apud nostros de futo, & disciplinæ nocuesunt. Quare se rogo, ut de tuli aliqun formula doctrine cogites. And he had already in the Augustan confession, after assert. ing the preaching of repentance and promise of grace to be universal, and explaining the grounds of the remission of our sins and justification; remarked "Non est hic opus disputationibus de prædestinatione aut similibus hanc promissio est universalis, & nihil detrahit operibus, imo exuscitat ad fidem vere bona opera.” Cap, de Fide.

And it is probable that Cranmer, when our articles were compiled, inserted the 17th, in consequence of the above admonition of Melancthon.

But this grand design of Cranmer's, for a general comprehension of the Protestant Churches, being frustrated by troubles both at home and abroad; he proposed about the year 1550'to draw up a body of articles of religion, for the use of the Church of England only.” “In the drawing up of these articles, next to the scriptures and the doctrine of the Primitive Church, he had an eye to the AUGUSTAN CONFESSION... to the writings of Melanchon, whose assistance he desired, and whom King Edward invited over bither—to the works of ERASMUS and to the NECESSARY DOCTRINE AND ERUDITION FOR ANY CHRISTIAN MAN, which the Archbishop had so great a hand in drawing up—The doctrine of that book, as to the point we are upon will give us the earliest notice of his opinions concerning predestination, and the points necessarily connected with it, opinions which he entertained 10 the last.”—How different these opinions are from the rigid doctrines of Calvin, the following extracts will sufficiently evince. They are taken from the last three chapters of that work which were added by Cranmer, viz. those on FREE-WILI, JUSTIFICATION, AND GOOD works.

" In the first, after asserting free will in man, he adds,—It is surely of the grace of God onely, that first, we be inspired and moved to any good thing: but to resiste temptations and to persyst in goodnes; and go for

warde,

marde, it is both of the grace of God, and of our free will and endevonre. And finally after we have persevered to the ende, to be crowned with glo Jytherfore, is the gift and mercy of God, who of his bountifull goodnesse nath ordeyned that rewarde to be given after this life, according to suche good workes as be done in this life by his grace And again in the same chapter, "God is naturally good, and willeth all men to be saved, and careth for them, and provideth all thing, by whiche they may be sav. ed, excepte by their owne malice, they woli be evyl, and so by righreuous judgen:ent of God, perishe and be loste. For truely men be to them. selves the autours of sinne and damnation. God is neyther autour of sinne, nor the cause of damnation. And yet doth he mostę righteouusly damne those men, that do with vice, corrupte theyr nature, whiche he made good, and do abuse the same ro evyll desyres, against his mast holy wyll. Wherefore men be to be warned, that they do 'not impute to God theyr vice, or theyr damnation, but to themselves, whiche by free will have abused the grace and benefites of God.

“ All men be also to be monished, and chiefly preachers, that in this highe mater, they lokinge on both sides, so attempte and moderate them. selves, that neyther they so preache the grace of God, that they take away therby free will, nor on the other side so extolle free will, that in jury be done to the grace of God.”

"In the chapter on Justification, he says" And albeit God is the prin cipal cause, and chieie worker of this Justification in us, without whose grace no man can do no g od thyng, but following his free wyll in the stato of a synner, encreaseth his own'injustice, and multiplieth his synne : yet so it pleasetin the highe wisdome of God, that man prevented by his grace (which being offered, man may if he wyll refuse or receive) 'shall be also a worker by his free consent, and obedience to the same, in the atteyning of his own justification, and by Goddes grace and helpe, shall walke in such workes, as be requisite to his justification, and so conti. nuyng come to the perfect end thereof, by such meanes and waies as God hath ordeyned."

“ Wherin it is to be considered, that although our Saviour Christ hath offered hymselfe upon the crosse, a sufficient * redemption and satisfaction for the synnes of all the world, and hath made hyinselfe an open way and entre unto God the Father for all mankynd, onely by his worthy merite and deservyng, and willyng all men to be saved, cal. leth upon all the world, without respect of persones, to come and be partakers of the ryghtuousnesse, peace, and glory which is in hyın : yet for all this benignitie and grace, shewed universally to the hole worlde, none shall have the etiect of the benefyte of our Saviour Christe, and enjoye everlastinge salvation by him : but they that take such ways to atteyn the fame, as he hath tanght and appointed by his holy word." Again, in the saine chapter, And it is no doubt, but although we be ones justified, yet we may fall there fro, by oure owne free wyll and consentyng unto synne, and folowyag the desires therof. For albeit the hous of our conscience be ones made clene, and the foull spirit be ex: pelled from iis in baptisme, or penaunce : yet if we wax ydle and take not hede, he will returne with seven worse spirites, and possesse us agayn. And although we be illuminat, and have tasted the heavenly gyft, and be made partakers o the holy goste : yet may we fall and dis. please God. Wherfore as saint Paul sayeth, He that standerb, let him take bede that he fall not."

REDEMPTION,

See below, how uniform Cranmer was in this opinion of UNIVERS?I.
UU 2

“ And

And here all phantastical imagination, curious reasonyng, and vain trast of predestination, is to be laid apart. And according to the plain maner of speaking and teachyng of scripture in innumerable places, we ought evermore to be in dread of our owne frạielty, and natural pronity to fall to synne, and not to assure ourse!fe, that we be f elected any otherwise, than by felying of spiritual motions in our hart, and by the tokens of good and vertuous livying, in following the grace of God, and perseverying in the same to the ende.” And again, ib.

And whereas in certain places of scripture our justification is ascribed to fayth, without any further addition or mention of any other vertue or gift of God: it is to be understand of fayth in the second ac. ceptation, as before is declared in the article of faith, wherein the feare of God, repentance, hope, and charitie be included and conprised, all which must be joined togither in our justification : so that no fayth is sufficient to justification or salvation, but suche a fayth, as worketh by charity, as is plainly expressed by Saint Paul in his epistle to the Galatians."?

“ These were CRANMER's doctrines in the year 1543. How oppo. site to the rigid ones of Calvin I need not observe. That he continued in the same to the last will appear from the following quotations, wherein he asserts universal redemption through Christ; a doctrine, which pursued in its just consequence, will overthrow the whole of Calvin's system on these points.

"-Christ was suche an hygh byshop, that he ones offerying himself, was sufficient by ones effusion of his bloud, to abolyshe' synne unto the worldes end. He was so perfect a priest, that by one oblation he purged an infinite heape of synnes leavyng an easy and redy remedy for al synners, that his one sacryfice shulde suffise for many yeares unto all men that wolde not shew theimselves unwoorthye. And he toke unto hymself not onely their sinnes that many yeres before were dead, and put theyr trust in hym, but also the synnes of those, that untyl his comyng agayn, shuld truly beleve in his gospell. So that nowe we may loke' for none other priest nor sacrifice, to take away our synnes, but only hym and his sacrifice. And as he dying ones was offered for all, so as muchę as pertayned to hym, hạe toke all mens synnes unto hin self.”Cranmer on the Sacrament, Lond. 15:0. p. 106. b. 107. a.

“ Speaking before in his Preface to the saine, of the reason of Christ's coming into the world, he says,--" and to preach and give pardon and a full remission of synne to all his elected, and to perform the same, he made a sacrifice and oblation upon the crosse, which was a full re. demption and propitiation for the synnes of the whole world.” Again in his prayer at the stake

si o God the Son, thou wast not made man, this great mystery was not wrought, for few or small offences, nor thou didst not give thy Son unto death O God the Father, for our little and small synnes only, but for all the greatest synnes of the world: so that the sinner return unto thee with a penitent heart.

" If we add the words of bishop Ridley, in the Preface to his Disputarion at Oxford, a little before his martyrdom, we shall have reason to conclude from what quarter our XXXI Article and these words in the communion-service came-" Who made there (upon the cross) by his

+ Cranmer here expresses much the same, that the second paragraph of the ryth Article does, which evinces the truth of archbishop lancroit's observation at the Hampton-court conference, that concerning our election in Christ, we are npt to argue descendendo but ascendendo.--In these quotations from the necessary doctrine, we have plain traces of our X. XVI. and XXXI. Articles.

оре

one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacri. fice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.”

“ The Bishop's words are these-S Ex epistola ad Hebræos patet unicam esse oblationem et unicum verè vivificum sacrificium, oblatuin in ara Crucis, qui fuit, est et erit in perpetuum propitiation pro peccatis totius mundi."

(To be Continued.)

Britain's Defenc. A Sermon preached August 21, 1803, in the Protestuin:

Dissenting Meeting House Battersea. By Joseph Hughes, 1. M. 8vo. pp. 42, A MONGST the numerous patriotic discourses which the extra

ordinary situation of the country has called forth froin the pulpit and the press, we feel ng scruple in pronouncing the one before us as entitled to distinguished notice. Though the author admits the necessity of our becoming an armed nation ai this awful crisis, he admits it also to be a fearful necessity, as what may prove in too many respects injurious to our moral and religious character. His observations on this point are worth attending to:

“ He, who arms from the love of novelty, from an attachment to gaudy exhibition, or as the blind follower of a custom which he has not conscientiously examined, is an object, fellow-christians, whom I reconmend to your pity. For he is either effeminate, and will therefore render his country no service; or profligate, and will therefore do his companions much harm. "I am jealous over those of you,' who have associated for our defence,' with a godly jealousy ;' not that I blame you for associating ; but the very infidel confesses that militaty habits are, in a moral view, incalculably dangerous. The counteracting influence of good principles must be kept constantly on the stretch. You will have intercourse with persons both void of piety and addicted to all the vices. You will be assailed, as sume of you never were before, with indecent and profane language. From the field of exercise not a few, whom you are obliged to acknowledge as comrades, will adjourn to the ale-bench; there they will spend wliat common honesty requires them to save, there they will contract an aversion for home, there they will roar out their drunken loyalty, there they will rage and fight, and thence they will return to disturb the neighbourhood, and to fill their various families with lamentations at the midnight-hour. And are these the defenders of their country, these our patriots ? My brethren, they are Britain's burden and Britain's curse. " When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then, it is Heaven's command, keep thee from every wicked thing.' Q that my country would regard this solemn charge !”

The practice of Sunday drilling afterwards calls for our author's disapprobation, and we cannot but lament with him that such a practice should have received the sanction of the legislature.

Though Mr. Hughes approves of the measures taken for the defence of the nation, he yel properly calls upon his hearers, and he does soin very solemn and animated terms, lo cultivate the favour of God as that

« PoprzedniaDalej »