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scriptis responderent. - Etsi voluntas Dei in se sit simplicissima, tamen ratione objecti duplex est; ·
“ Absoluta prædestinatio primo directe invertit Sacram Scriptaram. Vide Mar. xvi. 16; Joan.
“ Sententiam Augustini iisdem plane difficultatibus gravatam fuisse, quibus prædestinatorum sen-
curam resurgendi adimit, et sanctis occasionem torporis adfert, eo quod in utramque partem superfluus labor sit, si neque rejectus ullâ industriâ possit intrare, neque electus ullâ negligentiâ possit excidere. Quoquo enim modu se egerint, non posse aliud erga eos quam Deus definivit accidere, et sub incerta spe cursum non posse esse constantem; cum si aliud habeat prædestinantis electio, cassa sit annitentis intentio. Removeri itaque omnem industriam, tollique virtutes, si Dei consti. tutio humanas præveniat voluntates, et sub hoc prædestinationis nomine fatalem quandam induci necessitatem, aut diversarum naturarum dici Dominum conditorem, si nemo aliud possit esse quam factus est.” Episcop. Resp. ad Def. Cam. c. ii.
“ Si historia omnium retro sæculorum videatur, omnes qui vocantur orthodoxi patres ita adstruxerant divinæ gratiæ necessitatem, ut libertati arbitrii nihil derogaverint, et contra libertati arbitrii ita sunt patrocinati, ut gratiæ divinæ primas semper ac potiores partes in conversione hominis dederint. Unde consequenter deinde elicitur eos omnes prædestinationcm ad gloriam nullam aliam statuisse, quam quæ secundum præscientiam aut prævisionem fidei est. Neque vero Origini recte hanc sententiam, ut primo Authori, attribuit Beza, tanquam si reliqui patres ab eo velut hæresiarcha in errorem abducti fuissent, aut Pelagio multo post secuturo imprudentes famulati essent. Fuit enim hæc unanimis et constans adeoque seria omnium pæne patrum, qui ante Pelagium, imo ipsum Origenem , vixerunt, sententia; imprimis quoties Magis, Grosticis, Valentinianis, Marcionitis, aliisque fati patronis, sese opponebant. Ita Prosper: “ Pæne omnium par invenitur et una sententia, quâ propositum et prædestinationem Dei secundum præscientiam receperunt, ut ob hoc Deus alios vasa honoris, alios vasa contumeliæ fecerit, quia finem unicujusque præviderit, et sub ipso gratiæ adjutorio, in qua futurus esset voluntate et actione, præscieret. – Augustinum etiam ipsum quod attinet, etsi is, ut a Pelagio quam longissime recederet, nonnunquam in alterum extremum abreptus videatur, tamen certum est ab eo nunquam hoc caput aut negatum aut oppugnatum fuisse; alioquin enim quorsum liberum arbitrium tam aperte tam constanter adseruisset, aut quo titulo illud adserere potuisset? Sed quicquid sit de Augustini mente quæ adeo obscura videtur multis in locis, ut nullæ nunc fere in lucem exeart sententiæ, licet distantes toto cælo, quæ illius authoritate sese non venditent ac commendent, nemini unquam crimen hæreseos Pelagianæ impactum fuit a synodo ulla, eo nomine quod prædestinationem secundum præscientiam factam statuerit.” Episcop. in Rom. c. xi. 33.
« It is not to be denied, but that the seventeenth Article seems to be framed according to St Austin's doctrine, and it is very probable that those who penned it meant that the decree was absolute; but yet, since they have not said it, those who subscribe the Articles do not seem to be bound to any thing that is not expressed in them. The three cautions, that are added to it, do likewise intimate that St Austin's doctrine was designed to be settled by this Article. Though others do infer, from these cautions, that the doctrine laid down in the Article must be so understood as to agree with these cautions; and therefore they argue, that, since absolute predestination cannot consist with them, that therefore the Article is to be otherwise explained. The remonstrant side have this farther to add, that the universal extent of the death of Christ seems to be very plainly affirmed
Burnet on the Articles.
See p. 322,
in the most solemn part of all the offices of the Church,” remark on Eveleigh.
“Our Articles appear liable to some objections ; the particulars of them are too numerous, the subjects of some of them of a most obscure and disputable kind, where it may seem unnecessary, and perhaps improper, to go so far in defining. On both these accounts the assent required from our clergy may appear too strict, and other Christians may be discouraged from joining in communion with us. And, notwithstanding all the abilities of the persons who compiled them, they had not formed just notions of religious liberty, and toleration was neither understood or practised. A revision, therefore, of our Articles and forms, undertaken at a proper time, when the public situation of our country will admit of attention to these internal concerns of it, under the authority of the state, by the governors of our Church, the successors of these venerable reformers, and conducted, as it would then be, with sobriety and good sense, would much contribute to her interests and honour: the ease of her ministers would be consulted by it, many objections removed, and the good opinion of reasonable and moderate men of all parties conciliated. And, as the forms of public worship will necessarily contain in them, either expressed or implied, all the doctrines which are meant to be the subjects of public instruction, the confession of faith and the liturgy of a church should be counterparts to each other: if the former contains less than the latter it is deficient, if more, it is redundant; and it is from this redundancy that reasonable objections. are most likely to arise.” Sturges's Letters, p. 27, &c..
It may be inferred from this passage that our Articles and Liturgy are at variance, or, at least, that the former want to be much abridged; but see Dr Kipling's Observations, farther on, p. 325.
“ The Church of England professeth to found all her doctrines upon the Holy Seriptures alone; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. — And as our religious establishment is founded on the right of private judgement, so it freely allows to others that liberty which it hath vindicated to itself: it disclaims all coercive methods, neither forcing others into subjection, nor retaining its own members by violence : it gives all reasonable indulgence to weak and scrupulous consciences, and treats with charity and forbearance those who think themselves obliged to dissent from it." Lowth's Assize Sermon, August 15th, 1764.
“ The article of predestination has been vainly enough urged in favour of the Calvinistical tenets ; for, not to mention the saving clause 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 Plaifere 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 absolutely, but with respect to faith in Christ, faith working by
love, and persevering : 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, is a most dangerous downfall, leading either to security or desperation.” Waterland.
“Our Liturgy, Catechism, and Homilies, the treatises drawn up for the instruction of the people, and the reformation of the ecclesiastical laws, under the authority of Henry VIII. and Edward VI. and the private writings of our original reformers themselves, all prove, decisively, that they sided with Erasmus and Melancthon, and not with Luther and Calvin, in the doctrines which relate to the Divine decrees. And, indeed, our Articles, which have not been materially altered in this respect, prove also the same. For, whatever little concession appears to have been made concerning predestination, in the seventeenth Article, it is immediately after withdrawn by the concluding clause of the same Article : a clause which, undoubtedly, is not to be construed in a Calvinistical sense, and which, from the beginning, has been justly deemed to convey the determination of the Church of England on this important doctrine; as, indeed, was declared and admitted in the religious conference held in the first year of the next reign after the final establishment of these Articles. But the Lambeth Articles, which were proposed as an addition to the established Articles of our Church, and the subscription of our delegates to the decisions of the Synod of Dort, prove that Calvin's tenets, concerning the Divine decrees, obtained afterwards, for a time, among some of the rulers of our Church. Our divines were brought back to the opinions of our first reformers on predestination, &c. by Archbishop Laud and Bishop Bull. Waterland ascribes it to the writings of the latter." Eveleigh's Bampton Lectures, Sermon 4th.
But, if the concluding clause of the setenteenth Article is undoubtedly not to be construed in a Cal. vinistic sense, why should it be supposed that any concession was made in the former part of the Article, with respect to predestination, and not rather be concluded that predestination there was not to be taken in the sense of Calvin, and that this clause was intended to be a bar against it? See Heylin and Kipling, farther on, p. 324, 325, and Daubeny's Appendix, 596.
.“ It has been often shewn, that the Creed, Homilies, Liturgy, Articles, and Catechism, of our Church, do not, in their general construction, support the Cultinian rigours, whatever ambiguous expressions some of them may contain. They admit the redemption of the whole world by Christ, the freedom of the human will, the acceptable nature of good works, and the possibility of a fall. from grace. They decide not, with St Austin, on the fate of infants unbaptized; but it is stated in the Rubric, that those who are baptized, and die before actual sin, are undoubtedly saved. There is, therefore, at least reason to doubt, whether those, who framed the serenteenth Article, designed, as Bishop Burnet deems probable, to assert the doctrine of absolute decrees; and it is a plausible opinion, at least, tha: “ by those whom he hath chosen in Christ," from Eph. c. i. 4, may be meant only those whose obedience in Christ God foresaw, “elect according to the foreknowledge of God.” 1 Pet. c. i. 2. The words admit of a construction consistent with the doctrine of conditional decrees, and the annexed cautions require that they should be so interpreted. It is certain
that the reformers were fully impressed with the necessity of moral righteousness, and inculcate its precepts with unwearied diligence ; and, if the Articles are Calvinistical, it may be inquired why the Calvinists petitioned against the literal and grammatical sense, on the appearance of Charles's declaration, and have so often wished to alter them." Gray's Sermons on the Reformation, p. 247, &c.
To suppose that any of the Articles maintain the doctrine of absolute predestination, is to make the compilers of them to have acted with the utmost inconsistency, and to have asserted in one what they deny in another. See p. 326.
“Ex Articulo 17mo de prædestinatione liquido constat clerum Anglicanum. id maxime sibi cavere voluisse, ne doctrinam illam Cutrini credendam urgerent, scilicet Deum posse ita eligere aliquos ex mero arbitrio, ut eos in vitæ sanctitatem restitueret, qui non secundum illud S. Pauli Phil. ii. 12, cum metu et tremore suam salutem operantur : id quod vetat etiam nos credere ordo verborum in Epist ad Romanos, viii. 29, 30 : õuç aquéyww, Topoagroa, öùs argougos, éxámece, quos præscivit, et prædestinavit, quos prædestinavit, hos et vocavit.” Episc. Cestri. in Nowelli Catechis. p. 98, vid. etiam Amb:os. in Vossii Hist. Pelag. p. 738.
“ Every regularly-esta! lished Church must, to be consistent, maintain a uniformity in doctrine. It has been before proved, that the composers of our Articles and Liturgy were not Calvinists, (Cranmer, Ridiey, Latimer, Hooper, &c.) ergo, the Calvinistic sense of the Articles is not the true sense. The serenieenth Article, in the Calzinistic sense of it, teaches the doctrine of partial redemption and absolute unconditional election to eternal life. The Liturgy of the Church teaches, in every part of it, universal redemption and conditional salvation. But the Articles and Liturgy of the same church cannot be in contradiction to each other. This consideration makes it appear more than probable, that, at the time of framing the article, though the Calvinistic doctrine might have got some footing in England, before it had been opposed by Van Armin, yet the English Church, so justly esteemed the bulwark of the reformation, had not been thoroughly infected with it; and, if at all inclined to the Calvinistic view, had chosen to present to her children only the sweet and comfortable side of it, as more reconcileable to the general tenor of Scripture, and more consonont to the humane feelings of the Christian heart, which, in imitation of the Divine pattern, can have no pleasure in the death and destruction of a sinner.” Daubeny's Appendix to the Guide to the Church, p. 212, 213, 215. See p. 327.
“ It must be acknowledged that original guilt is a difficult and abstruse subject ; and, as the Scriptures do not inform us what were the full and precise effects of Adam's disobedience upon his posterity, it is, perhaps, scarcely to be expected that there should be a uniformity of opinion among divines upon that point; we may, however, observe, that the difference between those who confipe original guilt to a mere liability to death and sin, and those who extend it to a liability of punishment also, is not very material, since both sides admit that Christ died as a propitiation for