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our public devotions, bring forward food to feed our souls, visit us in sickness, counsel us in difficulties, relieve our poor, warn our youth, and succeed to fill the pulpit, contend for the ancient faith and the good old way, open and explain the mysteries of the kingdom, and preach redemption alone by the cross? When a covenant and reconciled God shuts the door of access to himself, and gives no answer to prayers put up, covers the face of his throne, gives no success apparently to the word preached, permits error to spread, hypocrites to increase, and the wicked to triumph, and the faithful to fall—this very much tries the confidence of those who wish Zion's prosperity. Which will bring us,
Lastly. To speak of him—
"Who overrules all mortal things,
The prophet Amos, ix. 9, was commissioned from on high to publish this grand and glorious truth, "For lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth." Here we have the sovereignty of God set forth. "For lo, I will, and I will." 2. His electing love, "The house of Israel." 3. The great sifter, " I will sift," or separate, or scatter abroad. 4. How safely preserved—" not one of the least shall fall," nor a grain of grace be lost. The I toills of our God, are good security; they increase the safety of the saints. Not a trial or temptation permitted, but for the church's benefit. It was Satan's desire to sift Peter, and the Saviour suffered it; but this made way for his Lord to pray for him. Paul was buffeted by the same enemy, but with no better success on Satan's part; for the apostle's God gave him that never-to-be-forgotten promise, "My grace is sufficient for thee!" Thus "all things work together for good." We lose our chaff by the sieve; our graces are made to shine brighter: and the hand and heart of our God are visibly to be seen.
Grace and nature both act in a regenerate man; and both at once. Nature only acts in an unregenerate man. So that, though sin be directly contrary to the christian's walk, and as regenerate he hates it, and cannot commit it; yet the old nature in a believer can never love holiness, but is at perpetual enmity with it, and can only be reconciled to sin. Hence that continual, never-ceasing war, in a child of God, between flesh and spirit—sin and grace—the law in the members, and the law in the mind.
Vol. VII No. 85. 3 C
Remarks upon a Sermon, preached at St. Mary's, on Sunday, February 6, 1831. By the Rev. Edward Burton, D. D. Regius Professor of Divinity. Baxter, Oxford; Rivington, London.
A Reply to Dr. Burton's Remarks upon a Sermon, preached at St. Mary's, on Sunday, February 6, 1831. By the Rev. H. B.
Bulled, M. A. late Fellow of Exeter College, and Curate of St. Ebbe's, Oxford. Hatchard.
A Friendly Letter, addressed to the Rev. Mr. United, in consideration of his late University Sermon, on 1 Corinthians ii. 12. By Philippus Anti-Osinnder, S. T. P. Rivington.
Strictures on the Rev, Mr. Bulteel's Sermon, and the Rev. Dr. Burton's Remarks. By Oxoniensis. Vincent, Oxford.
One Reason for not entering into Controversy with an anonymous Author of Strictures. By Dr. Burton. Baxter, Oxford.
The Doctrine of the Church of England at the time of the Reformation, of the Reformation itself, of Scripture, and of the Church of Rome, briefly compared with the Remarks of the Regius Professor of Divinity. By Thydeis. Wheeler, Oxford.
The Sermon preached at St. Mary's, which occasioned the publication of the first pamphlet in our list, Remarks by the Regius Professor, was noticed in our review department last month, in which we designated it a faithful and honest testimony for the troth. The Rev. Dr. Burton in commencing his remarks, observes, that it was not his intention to notice the statements made in the Sermon, which, when delivered, he considered to be at variance with his own ideas of christian humility and christian charity, lest, in so doing, he might possibly bring the preacher into danger, as to the soundness of his tenets; but, by the publication of the Sermon, the case is materially altered ; and therefore, lest the public may be led to suppose that the doctrines advanced and defended in this Sermon are 'palateable' to the modern divines of Oxford, and to fully rescue the University from such suspicions, he feels himself called upon, though most unwillingly, to offer his remarks.
They are made in a temperate and mild spirit, but we regret extremely to observe, that the Divinity Professor should- be opposed to those grand and glorious doctrines which, however, he may attempt to refute them, were the leading characteristics of the Reformers of that Church to which he belongs.
The object of these remarks are to prove that the Articles of the Church of England are not calvinistic. Dr. B. contends for the defectibility of grace—universal redemption—the freedom of the will either to obey or disobey the Spirit—a conditional offer of salvation, and argues that Mr. Bulteel has confounded justification with salvation ; and with some ingenuity labours to prove, that though at different periods there have been members of the national Church who held the doctrines of Calvin, yet that they were always in a minority, and that the Reformers themselves, and that the framers of the articles, were not calvinistic. We here subjoin one extract from which our readers will see the orthodoxy of this dignitary of the Church.
"The doctrine of our Church, as of the German Reformers, was, that man of his own free will could never perform works, which would merit the favour of heaven, or remove the consequences of Adam's disobedience. The mercy of God alone removed these consequences by the death of his Son: and the grace of God alone moves us by his Holy Spirit to accept the terms which are offered: but the Church also holds, as did the German Reformers, that this spiritual grace is offered to all persons without distinction; and that all persons may accept or reject it. He, who accepts it, believes in Christ, and is taken into covenant with God by baptism. When he is baptized, he is figuratively said to have died with Christ: the penalty denounced upon him, as a child of Adam, is discharged: his past sins are blotted out: he figuratively, that is, spiritually, rises again a new creature, and at that moment is righteous in the sight of God: his own sins, or that of his first parents, condemned him to death : the mercy of God has restored, him to life; and this act of placing him in the covenant is termed justification. Every baptized person is justified: his past sins are forgotten: his faith is counted to him for righteousness: and if he should die before the commission of actual sin, he will undoubtedly be saved. This is the doctrine of the Church concerning justification. It is the first step in the application of God's scheme of redemption to a sinner: but the Church never confounded justification with salvation, as does the Sermon now before me. St. Paul clearly distinguishes them, "being now justified (or rather, having been justified) by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him," Rom. v. 9. Justification is a thing past, salvation is a thing future. Justification has no reference whatever to works, except that it removes their guilt, and that the person to be justified must believe in Christ, and repent of his evil works. "Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins," was the language of St. Peter at the first preaching of the gospel. Not that repentance procures the remission of sins: if Christ had not died, an ocean of penitential tears could not have washed away our guilt: but God has decreed that the penitent alone shall be able to apply to themselves the merit of Christ's death."
Mr. Bulteel, in his reply to Dr. Burton's remarks, has very ably defended and maintained the doctrines previously advocated, by descanting on the Doctor's quotations from the Sermon—his quotations from scripture—his assertions, arguments, and view of the gospel, upon the doctrine of the Reformers; and then, lastly, substantiates and maintains his former assertions concerning the Church and University. On each of these particulars he has fully answered and confuted the arguments of the Divinity Professor. From the first division we have taken an extract, because we consider the attempt made to subvert the preacher's meaning so glaring.
"One mistake more I cannot pass over, for it is indeed most gross. 'The reader,' says he, (p. 22.) ' may shudder at the assertion, that sorrow, and/ear, on account of sin, are suggested by the devil. And well he might, had any such declaration been made; but I rather shudder, that a man should be found, and a theologian too, who dares put his own words into another man's mouth, and say that they are his. My words are these, 'The devil tempts us to believe, through the medium of our feeling, that God takes notice, and is angry with us on account of sin ;" which no more contain the meaning the Professor attaches to them, than his 'Remarks,' contain a clear exposition of the doctrines of grace. But since Dr. B. is unable to expound these words, let me endeavour to do so for him. 1. All God's people have sin dwelling in them. 2. They know it, and feel it, and know that God hates sin. 3. By means of this feeling, they are tempted to believe that God is angry with them on account of this sin. 4. Though God hates sin, yet is he angry with no sinner that believes truly in Christ. For in that day (the gospel day) thou shalt say, " Though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away;" wherefore, in the whole of the New Tesment, we never hear a syllable about God's being angry with true believers in Jesus on account of sin. We hear of chastisements, and even judgments, but they are plainly not the fruits of anger, but of love. Wherefore I repeat, that every suggestion within, which would make a poor penitent look to God in any other light than a tender Father in Christ, who loves him with an everlasting and unchanging love, proceeds from the flesh, or the devil, or both."
On the doctrine of the Reformers, Mr. B. has fully shewn the fallacy of Dr. Burton's arguments, and has very clearly proved that they were decidedly calvinistic. His closing remarks on the Church and University, bear a gloomy aspect towards the Heads of Colleges. We sincerely pray that they may take warning, and correct what is wrong. Our limits will not allow us to extend our remarks; we would therefore refer our readers to the pamphlet itself, which will afford them much pleasure in its perusal.
The author of the ' Friendly Letter,' who has withheld his name, has openly avowed his hostility to calvinism, and has attempted to defend himself and others of the clergy, who entertain the same opinions from those charges which Mr. Bulteel has brought against them. The spiritual reader will discover in a very few pages that the author knows nothing of the Spirit's work in his own soul ; and therefore, all his arguments are in defence of that laxity of principles which are too often witnessed in many of the parochial clergy; to which, however, there are many exceptions: and in our national Church are found many able advocates for the truth, whose walk and conversation render them examples to their parishioners; may the Lord increase their number.
The writer of the 'Strictures,' who stiles himself ' Oxoniensis,' has commented on some parts of Mr. Bulteel's Sermon, and also on Dr. Burton's Remarks, with much self-confidence, which often leads young men to enter the field of controversy, and to publish what at an after period they would wish to see buried in oblivion. This self-opinionated author, who in this pamphlet advocates the doctrine of general pardon, while he professes to hold the doctrine of particular election, also attempts to apologize for those of the clergy, whose conduct is not quite so consistent as it ought to be, by quoting the apostle's words, 1 Tim. v. 22; and he infers from that passage, that the evils Mr. B. laments and exposes, always existed even in the purest of churches. He then justifies the appointment of bishops by the crown, defends an offered salvation, and censures the preacher of the Sermon, for discriminating between the free gift of God, and the offer of salvation on certain conditions. But we have already occupied too much space on this Oxonian's strictures: we sincerely desire, that he may be brought to the feet of Jesus, and be taught of him, and then he will attend to the apostolic injunction, "Be swift to hear, and slow to speak," (or write.)
Dr. Burton's 'One Reason for not entering into Controversy,' follows the Doctor's objection—is, that the Oxoniensis is chargeable with inexcusable ignorance, or wilful misstatement; and not having affixed his proper name to his * Strictures,' is unworthy a reply. We should doubt whether his name would have given any additional importance to his production.
We have now to notice the last of these controversial pamphlets, and we must be very brief in our remarks. The author in reviewing the doctrine of the Church of England, through the different periods of history, has shewn much judgment and research; and while he satisfactorily proves, that the national Church in her articles and homilies, is strictly calvinistic; he deplores, that the Regius Professor should have declared that Mr. Bulteel's Sermon, which professes to contain an exposition of that gospel which Jesus Christ delivered to his apostles, was not the gospel; and from that assertion of Dr. Burton's, feels himself peremptorily called upon to enter his protest; and we were much pleased with the boldness and strength of argument advanced by this writer. We wish he had affixed his name, we strongly recommend this pamphlet to our readers.
Christian Confidence; a Sermon preached in Providence Chapel, Sleaford, on Sunday, January 16, 1831, occasioned by the death of Mrs. Sarah Hackctt. By S. Cheffins. Palmer.
Mr. Cheffins founds his discourse on St. Paul's words, in the 2 Cor. v. 8. " We are confident, I say, and willing, rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." From which, he first describes the persons who can, in true and living faith, appropriate the words to their own individual cases;—he then describes their confidence ;—and lastly, shews the effects produced by this confidence. Speaking of the persons to whom the words will apply, after depicturing those to whom they would not refer, he thus remarks: