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subject, took a middle course between the operations of grace, and the freedom of will, and has had many followers and able defenders. To Cassian and his followers, the rigid party gave, on this account, the invidious appellation of Semipelagians.
For some time however, the controversy in a manner slept ; or, if any chose to revive it, they shewed a slight inclination to the side espoused by St Augustine ; being influenced by his unceasing labours, and profound piety. The ninth century was the period in which the flame was rekindled. For then was the doctrine of predestination, in all its modern rigour, espoused by the monk Godeschale, who, altho'on that account severely handled by his bishop, Hincmar of Rheims, was, on the same account, warmly supported by Remigius of Lyons, and other prelates. Some councils were held in these parts, for the purpose of deciding the matter; notwithstanding which it continued to agitate the churches for a considerable space of time. There is a period, however, when disputes do naturally subside. Accordingly it happened, that even the violence of this controversy abated ; insomuch that, from the ninth century, it may be said to have been dormant for no shorter period than 300 years, until the scholastic divinity, of which Peter Lombard, of Paris, was the inventor, came to be in universal esteem over all the west. Then it was, that the far famed Thomas Aquinas, a friar of the Dominican order, not only maintained the doctrine of predestination in its utmost extent, averring it to be the doctrine of St
Augustine, but also added many subtle inventions of his own. By his novel, not to call it nonsensical, distinction of sensu composito, and sensu divino,' (a distinction which I do not pretend to translate, much less to understand), his endeavour was to reconcile the freedom of the will, with the predetermination of an absolute divine decree ; while, in order to remove the ugly consequence with which this doctrine has ever been charged (whether justly or otherwise, I stop not at present to prove), he distinguishes between the act of sin, which, being something positive, could be produced, and the evil of sin, which, being something negative, could not be produced, and could not therefore be of God's doing. Surely the futility and danger of such metaphysical quibbling, when employed on a subject so sacred, has only to be mentioned to be severely reprobated.
The laboured system of the Angelic Doctor, as Thomas Aquinas was called, soon met with an opponent well qualified to contest with him its merits, in the celebrated John Duns Scotus, of the coeval order of Franciscans, denominated the Subtle Doctor. This intrepid Scotchman (whether from the impulse of conviction, or rather from that spirit of rivalship which existed between the Dominican and Franciscan orders, it is not easy to decide) boldly denied all the postulates of Aquinas, and confuted his positions on the subject of absolute decrees, with much acuteness, and a due proportion of animosity. The order of Jesuits, on its institution, declared itself of the Dominican side of the question; and Cardinal Bellarmine, said to be the best man of their order, adhered to it all his life. The Jesuits, however, as a body, shortly espoused the Franciscan principles, to which they did not fail to subjoin some peculiar casuistry of their own. In a little time, (after the influence of the disciples of Loyola, at the papal court, began to be alarıning), started
up the order of Jansenists ; who, out of spite to the Jesuists, revived St Augustine's doctrine, in all its branches, and with all its disgusting consequences. That they might succeed in their project the more effectually, the Jansenists, with great industry and fidelity, published a voluminous collection of Augustine's sentiments on the subject of predestination ; which, after much wrangling, the Jesuits succeeded in getting the Pope himself to condemn, though it was still declared at Rome, that nothing to the prejudice of Augustine's doctrine was intended. And thus, in the church of Rome, do matters stand to this day; the Dominican and Jansenist orders taking the rigid side of the predestinarian controversy ; the Franciscan and Jesuit orders the other; while the infallibility of the Pontiff is sustained, by his warily keeping aloof from both parties, and either not caring, or not daring to determine where the truth lies.
Among those who embraced the Reformation, things, I am sorry to say, with respect to this doctrine, are not on a much better footing. Luther having been an Augustinian monk, and early taught to reverence his patron's great reputation, clung stedfastly to St Augustine's predestinarian sentiments, and used every endeavour to instil them into others. These sentiments, however, his fellowlabourer, Melancthon, as carefully disavowed, and openly retracted the doctrine which flowed from them. For this conduct, Luther never blamed him ; and the consequence has been, that since that period, the Lutheran church has adhered to what is called the Semipelagian hypothesis, and has betrayed a • zeal, perhaps not altogether · according to • knowledge,' against the other persuasion.
John Calvin, the other illustrious foreign reformer, having carried St Augustine's sentiments to a height even beyond what the Dominicans had done, fixed his notion of predestination in the lapsed state of mankind after the fall; and declared it to be his belief, that God, having decreed to save some, by means of a Saviour, left the rest to the miserable consequences of that fall, without any capability of being benefited by all the offers of grace, made to them in common with others. Yet, dissatisfied with Calvin's unscriptural attempt to improve on Augustine's faith, his colleague and successor, Beza, carried the effects of God's absolute decrees up to the period before the fall; and taught, that the Deity did, from all eternity, decree the sin of Adam, the lapse of his posterity, and the death of
Christ; Christ ; together with the salvation,' or damna• tion’ of such persons, as should, by their fate in either way, contribute most to his glory: All of whom shall continue in grace, or in sin, and so be saved, or damned, in virtue of this eternal and irreversible decree. This strange flight of Beza's imagination was, shortly after his death, affirmed by the Synod of Dort to be the standard of doctrine, on this head, to all calvinistic protestants. In the Scottish · Confession of Faith, which the Lords
of the congregation, as they chose to denominate themselves, presented to Parliament in 1560, this Article is however expressed with due moderation. All that they have said regarding it, is contained in their eighth chapter of Election, and is as follows : · The same eternal God, who, of mere grače, • elected us in Christ Jesus his Son, before the founda
tion of the world was laid? There occur two or three other places, where the terms elect and reprobate are introduced; but still in such general language as Scripture warrants, and such as no unprejudiced christian need to take offence at. Nay, considering the influence which the famous John Knor, the slavish admirer of Calvin, and of all his nostrums, had over the compilers, it is truly matter of surprize, that through the whole of this
Confession of Faith, there does not occur one such term as “ PREDESTINATION. The consequence was, that in all the various forms which the Scottish Reformation assumed, this Confession was received, as containing the sum and substance of revealed