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WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO BE ESSENTIAL
AND PUNISHMENT, PRAISE AND BLAME.
M.A.Wy Jind much fault with the calling firofessing Christians, that differ one from another in some matters of of inion, by distinct names; especially calling them by the names of farticular men, who have distinguished themselves as maintainers and fromoters of those oftinions ; as the calling some firofessing Christians Arminians, from Arminius; others Arians, from Mrius ; others Socinians, from Socinus, and the like. They think it unjust in itself; as it seems to suffiose and suggest, that the fiersons marked out by these names, received those doctrines which they entertain, out of regard to, and reliance on, those men after whom they are named ; as though they made them their rule ; in the same manner, as the followers of Christ are called Christians; after his name, whom they regard and defend usion, as their great Head and Rule. Whereas, this is an unjust and groundless imputation on those that go under the forementioned denominations. Thus (say they) there is not the least ground to suffiose that the chief Divines, who embrace the scheme of doctrine which is, by many, called Arminianism, believe it the more, Because ...Arminius believed it ; and that there is no reason to think any other, than that they sincerely and imflartially study the holy Scrifitures, and inquire after the mind of Christ, with as much judgment and sincerity, as any of those that call them by these names ; that they seek after truth, and are not careful whether they think exactly as Arminius did ; yea, that, in some things, they actually differ from him. This firactice is also esteemed actuclly injurious on this account, that it is suffiascal maturally to lead the multitude to imagine the difference between fiersons thus named and others, to be greater than it is ; yea, as though it were so great, that they must be, as it overe, another sflecies of beings. And they object against it as arising from an uncharitable, narrow, contracted shirit ; which, they say, commonly inclines fiersons to confine all that is good to themselves, and their own fiarty, and to make a wide distinction between themselves and others, and stigmatize those that differ from them, with odious names. They say, moreover, that the keesiing us, such a distinction of names has a direct tendency to usihold distance and disaffection, and kees, alive mutual hatred among Christians, who ought all to be united in friendshift and charity, however they cannot, in all things, think alike,
I confess these things are very filausible. And I will not deny, that there are some unhaffy consequences of this distinction of names, and that men's infirmities and evil disfiositions often make an ill improvement of it. But yet, I humbly conceive, these objections are carried far beyond reason. The generality of mankind are dishosed enough, and a great deal too much, to uncharitableness, and to be censorious and bitter towards those that differ from them in religious oftinions : Which evil temper of mind will take occasion to erert itself from many things in themselves, innocent, useful and necessary. But yet there is no mecessity to suffiose, that the thus distinguishing fiersons of different oftinions by different names, arises mainly from an uncharitable shirit. It may arise from the disposition there is in mankind (whom God has distinguished with an ability and inclination for sheech) to improve the benefit of language, in the firosher use and design of names, given to things which they have of. ren occasion to sheak of, or signify their minds about ; which is to enable them to easuress their ideas with ease and eachedition, without being encumbered with an obscure and difficult circumloeution. And the thus distinguishing hersons of different oftinions in religious matters may not imsily nor infer, any more than that there is a difference, and that the difference is such as we find ove have often occasion to take notice of, and make mention of. That which we have frequent occasion to sheak of (whatever it be, that gives the occasion) this wants a name ; and it is always a defect in language, in such cases, to be obliged to make use of a descrifrion, instead of a name. Thus we have often occasion to sheak ef those who are the descendants of the ancient inhabitants of France, who were subjects or heads of the government of that !and, and shake the language fleculiar to it ; in distinction from the descendants of the inhabitants of Shain, who belonged to that sommunity, and shake the language of that country. And therefore we find the great need of distinct names to signify these different corts of softle, and the great convenience of those distinguishing words, French and Spaniards; by which the signification of our minds is quick and easy, and our ofteech is delivered from the burden of a continual reiteration of diffuse descriptions, twith ov/ich it must otherwise be embarrassed. That the difference of the o/linions of those who, in their gen•ral scheme of divinity, agree with these two noted men, Calvin and Arminius, is a thing there is often occasion to sheak of, is what the firactice of the latter itself confesses; who are often, in their discourses and writings, taking notice of the suftflosed absurd and fiernicious oftinions of the former sort. And therefore the making use of different names in this case cannot reasonably be objected against, or condemned, as a thing which must come