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R E VI E W.
Ta full length Portrait of Calvinism. By an old
fashioned Churchman. The second edition, with additions and corrections. New York, T. & J. Swords, 1809. pp. 55. 12mo.
(Concluded from p. 496.) W E shall now conclude our review of the Old Fashioned Churchman's Portrait, by examining his quotations from Scripture, and from the Liturgy of his own Church, together with assertions concerning some of her chief reformers, and also concerning Melancthon. The same general character of misrepresentation marks these, which marked those alrea. dy noticed in the previous numbers. Indeed, a pamphlet so short, and yet so unfair, not to say false, in its leading views of the system which is attacked, professedly written by “ a Churchman” too, we have never read. We hope all Churchmen' are not like our author ; for if so, we cannot help exclaiming, Lord have mercy on their Christianity,
In the quotations from Scripture, there is, first of all, not a little inconsistency manifested in the use made of, and sense given, to some passages of the same nature. For instance; Deut. 5. 29. O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me,' &c. Ps. 81. 13. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways.' Isaiah 65. 2. I have spread out my hands all day unto a rebellious people,' &c. Jer. 44. 4, 5. ! Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, O do not this abominable thing,' &c.-all, according to our author, (p. 18.) refer to the salvation of individuals, and clearly prove that God intended the death of Christ for all men. But the whole of Romans ix.“ the great store of Calvinian election and reprobation," as he calls it, (p. 34.) together with the passages from the Old Testament quoted in it, viz. (in v. 7.) Gen. 21. 12. In Isaac shall thy seed be call, ed; (v. 12.) Gen. 25. 23. The elder shall serve the younger ; (v. 13.) Mal. 1, 2, 3. Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hat. cd; (v. 15.) Exod. 33. 19. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compasaion, (v. 17.) Exod. 9. 16. Even for this same purpose have I raised thee, (Pharaoh,) up, that I might show, &c.
(v.21.) Jer. xviii. 6. Hath not the potter power over the clay, to make of the same lump, one vessel to honour, and another to dishonour, &c.all these passages indubitably prove a national election, and reprobation; p. 35–42 ; As « it is impossible by another interpretation to clear him, (i. e. the Apostle,) from impertinence and inconsistency.” Such is the language of our author, p. 42. little thinking when he penned it, that this interpretation of Rom. ix. completely overturned his interpretation, of the passages he has adduced, as proving by logical reasoning, that Christ has died for all77 men. If the reader will take the trouble of comparing Jer. 45. 4, 5. as used p. 18. by our author, with Jer. 18. 6. as used p. 40.; he will clearly perceive the correctness and force of the remark. The former is addressed to the Jews, who, after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and the captivity of Zedekiah, having fled to Egypt, dwelt at. Migdol, &c. They are reminded of their fathers, to whom God sent his prophets ; · But they hearkened not, said God : wherefore, my fury and mine anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, and they are wasted and desolate as at this day. Thus then, it is evident, God sent his prophets to the Jewish nation, exhorting them to national obedience, and threatening them with national destruction. The Churchman, however, applies this passage to individual Jews, whose salvation God desired: And finds fault with Calvin in his explanation of this passage, for flying in the face of his own system. And what explanation has Calvin given ? Why, that God was solicitous of the people's safety* ; the very explanation which any man of sense would give of it. He applies it to the people, the nation, and their safety as a nation ; their temporal prosperity. And because he thus applies it, the Churchman says, he contradicts his own system of individual or personal election to eternal life. The latter passage, (Jer. xviii. 2.) our author declares, “ indisputably refers to the whole Jewish nation, and not to individuals," because God addresses the house of Israel. True, but he also addresses the Jewish nation in the other passage ; for he is speaking of the cities of Judah, and of the streets of Jerusalem. By what rule of construction, do the Jews dwelling in Egypt, the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt; as the prophet, speaks of them in v. 12. of the 44th chapter, mean indi. viduals ; and the house of Israel, in the 18th chapter, mean the whole nation? Or the wasting and death of that remnant, incan the future and eternal fate of individuals; but the threat
.* The Churchman bas translated this correctly.
ening made to the house of Israel, only national destruction? Simply by the rule of high Church selfishness, which in the language of the partial Judge in the fable, alters the case, however plain in itself, and which makes it lawful for Churchmen to do evil, that good may come from it. :
But the Churchman not only manifests inconsistency; he manifests something worse in his construction of the pas. sages quoted, p. 17. and noticed by us already ; as also of Rom. ix. and the passages therein quoted. Take one instance of the former, Dent. v. 29. This he applies to the fue ture salvation of the individuals addressed. Therefore, as their carcasses fell in the wilderness, (Heb. üi. 17.) in conse quence of their unbelief, to make the passage in point, he must consider that all those who fell in the wilderness were damned ! And this from a man who objects to Calvinism on account of its cruelty! We, who are Calvinists, with Dr. Owen, dare not to say, or even think, that they were all
. With respect to the use he makes of Rom. ix. roundly saying, “ that the Apostle throughout is speaking of the eleco tion of nations to covenant privilege; he plumply contradicts the Apostle," who in the 23d and 24th verse, expressly designates the election to be of individuals, taken from among the Jews and Gentiles : for he says, “ that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory; even us, whom he hath call. ed, not af, og out of from amongst the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles." The reader perceives that not the Jewish nation, or Gentile nations, are meant; but some individuals, viz. “ Us whàm he, (i. e. God) hath called,” out of both Jewish and Gentile nations. Consistent with this view of the truth, the Apostle explicitly states, v. 7. all which are of Israel are not, (i. e. do not constitute, Israel, (i. e. the children of the promise. These children of the promise, he says, are counted for the seed, v. 8. What then is the promise ? and who are the children of the promise ? The promise, v. 9. is that Sarah should have a son; which, in the 4th chapter of this Epistle, and v. 13. is called, “ the promise that he should be heir of the world:“ and in v. 18. the father of many nations. Does this promise, then, merely refer to his having a nume. rous race of decendants ? Assuredly not, for his faith in this promise was imputed to him for righteousness. Nay, more, such faith as he possessed shall be imputed to us for righteousness, v. 24; even that faith which regards the word of God, who raised up Jesus Christ our Lord, who was deliver. ed for our offences, and raised again for our justification, r.
24, 25. Abraham's faith, then, according to the Apostle's conclusion, regarded Jesus Christ ; and the promise, of consequence, in which he believed, was this : “ In thy seed, i. e. Christ, shall all the families of the earth be blessed." This is the promise to which the Apostle refers in this 9th chapter, and not, that he should be merely the progenitor of Christ. The children of the promise, the seed who were to be called in Isaac, the children of God, are not Abraham's children according to the flesh, but those who possessed the faith of Abraham : for, saith the Apostle, if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and children according to the promise. Gal. iii. 29. Thus the children of the promise were not the Jewish nation, but believers chosen from among that nation ; clearly proving the Apostle's declaration already noticed, all are not Israel who are of Israel.
This view of the chapter also accords with the previous chapters, in which the Apostle considers Jews and Gentiles equally as sinners; and as such, equally under the wrath of God. To both,' he unfolds the doctrine of justification by faith in the righteousness of Christ, and urges upon both, the necessity of such justification for eternal life. The same great truth he introduces in the conclusion of this 9th chap. ter, and enlarges upon it in the 10th and 11th chapters. Thus, then, his train of reasoning is correct, uniform, unbroken, conclusive. We find personal guilt laid to the charge of all sinners ; the necessity of personal justification pressed upon all sinners; the source of such a blessing, unfolded to be personal election ; and the reason why the blessing is not enjoyed by some, personal unbelief. Here is unity of design, connexion of argument, force of reasoning, and clearness of illustration, all combined in exhibiting the essential truth of the Gospel, justification by faith in the righteousness of Christ.
The Churchman, besides contradicting his own authorities, by constructing some passages different from what the apostle himself has done, quotes other passages which have no reference to the subjects for which they are quoted. All the passages in page 17, already noticed, refer to the national prosperity and ruin of the Jews, and not to the future state of individuals, as has been shown. Thus also, to disprove the doctrine of final perseverance, he adduces the parable of the wicked servant, Matt. xviii. 32. This servant he maintains was justified and accepted, (p. 28.) because his Lord forgave him his debt. This forgiveness is merely a staying of execution, for according to the 34th verse, the whole debt was finally exacted from him. If it be what the
Vol. IV.-No 12. 40
Churchman makes it, God may justify and accept a mas, and yet damn him for an act committed previous to such justification and acceptance. But this cannot be, because it ex. hibits God as untrue, and unjust to his own decisions. The fact, however, is, that the parable has nothing to do with the doctrine of final perseverance or apostacy, but simply with the doctrine of forgiving our enemies.
Thus, Rom. xiv. 15. • Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died i' and I Cor. viii. 11. ' And through the knowledge shall the weak brother perish for whom Chris: died,' have no reference to the final perseverance or apostacy of saints. Our author assumes for fact, that the words de. stro?', and perish, must mean eternal perdition; whereas, from the meaning of the original a «TOXQve, and aroneitai, and the connexion, it is evident they only refer to such a loss, which is temporal, and may be retrieved. In Rom. xiy. the first part of the verse explains the last. « If thy brother be grieved, (297fitat,) with thy meat, how walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat," &c. The verb λυκειται preceding απoλλυε, gives us the true meaning, * do not cause trouble and displeasure by thy use of meat.” The meaning of 1 Cor. viii. 11. is explained by the 13th verse. " Wherefore if meat make my brother to offend, (xardoai (Eng) I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend," (oxavdana(w.) From this verse it appears unquestionable, that atoarItai, and Travdaning are synonimous terms. And thus the best lexicographers explain the verb απολλυμι Οι απoλλυω, as referring to the production of trouble and disgust in any one.
We might also particularly notice those passages on which false glosses are put, such as Heb. ii. 9. that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man, which does not mean all mankind, but every one of the sons whom Christ is to bring to glory. And Heb. x. 29. where the reader is taught to believe that the sanctification, of which the Apostle speaks, refers 1o him who bath trodden under foot the Son of God; whereas, it refers to the Son of God himself, and others : but enough has been said about his quotations, to show with what fairness, or ability, or honesty, they are made.
We will now briefly notice his reasonings on election, reprobation, and final perseverance ; reasonings which he profcsses to deduce from Scripture passages. As many of these passages have been shown to be irrelevant and misapplied, or falsely glossed, it cannot be expected that the reasonings
* See Scleusner.