Imágenes de páginas

him up'; which' design would not have been so fully or so gloriously accomplished, if Pharaoh (as he had once and again undertaken to do) had let the people go on a first or second application. And wherefore was it that Jelrovah prevented him ? Was it not to shero in him (individually) his power, and that his name might be declared throughout all the earth?

On this subject, I feel myself called upon to observe, though with much regret, that our venerable translators, by the liberties taken in rendering certain texts, have countenanced some of those peculiar principles of the foreign reformers, which, it would appear, they were not averse from avowing; though I must not say, that they did avow them to any extent.

I shall merely instance the two following proofs. When in the beginning of several of St Paul's epistles, he addresses himself whyrois *Y1015—' to those,' literally, CALLED SAINTS,' the English version has it .CALLED TO BE SAINTS :' This rendering imposes a very different sense on the apostle's words; and points to what is termed ef'fectual calling;'as distinguished from common call

ing. Again, when St Paul says, “the just man • shall live by faith, but if he draw back, ó de donatios • εκ πισεως ζησεται και εαν υποσ αληται*, &c. our translators have rendered it, “if any man draw back,' &c. that they might ingeniously provide against the


1 Exod. ix. 16.

2 Heb. x. 38.

supposition of apostacy or drawing back in a justified believer.

These, and such like petty interpolations, tho' easily discovered by him who searches the scriptures as they were originally written, do yet escape, as it is meant that they should escape, the notice of the generality of readers, and no doubt contribute greatly to confirm them in the belief of the doctrine now under discussion. So much for the occasional slips of men, who notwithstanding were eminently qualified for the task prescribed to them; and who have, on the whole, produced a version of the Scriptures, superior to any of which Europe can boast, or which the world ever saw. As to those texts which have been brought forward in opposition to the arguments of the predestinarian, it is, to every serious enquirer, a matter of just surprise, not to say indignation, to witness the forced and confined interpretations which have been, and which at this day are put upon them, in order to do away or evade their plain and literal meaning. Thus where St Paul says, 'that God our Saviour ' wills ALL MEN to be saved'; and again, that • Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom for ALL *; thc predestinarian, by as nice a piece of sophistry as ever Jesuit produced, would have, in both these texts, the word ' ALL' to signity SOME of all sorts ;' forgetting, or rather, it would seem, not

willing willing to remember the parallel, which St Paul himself stated on this important subject—' as one offence brought ALL men into condemnation, so one righteousness has brought ALL men unto justi• fication of life';' thus completely excluding the worse than fanciful restriction of the word ALL to mean a part only. Nor ought it to escape our notice, that this direct exclusion of the predestinarian's customary mode of interpretation is the act and deed of that same apostle from whom, and is recorded in that very epistle of his to the Romans, from which he (the predestinarian) attempts to draw his favourite tenet-that tenet which besets him in every thought, word, and action of his life. But to have done with these partial remarks, which have been often and copiously urged, to the no small disquiet of the elect, there are three general considerations which operate, in my humble judgement, as insuperable objections to the doctrine in hand.

i i Tim. ii. 4.

2 1 Tim. v.6.

First-Wherever predestination, with its two handmaids, election and reprobation, is cherished, all other theological attainments are good for nothing. Like the lean kine of old, this one dogma eats up and devours every thing connected with the doctrine or discipline of the christian church. It leaves no room for discussion, no place for enquiry. It allows no examination of its intrinsic or extrinsic merits. It silences all argument; and locks up not


· Rom. v. 18.See the Greek original.'

only the intellectual powers, but even the christian graces, in a prison-house of one's own erection. Whether the imagination leads to the elect, or to the reprobate side of the doctrine, the effect is the same. The votary of fate irreversible becomes, like the deaf adder,' proof against all the charms' of persuasion, refusing to hear the voice of


and * of truth met together,"let that voice charm neverso

wisely.” This is not an opinion hastily formed; for, if we adduce all or any of the several distinguishing doctrines of our holy religion-doctrines of a practical, or of a controversial nature, doctrines which have for their object, the mental or the moral improvement of man; and, if we present them to the predestinarian for his judgement of their respective merits, we shall find him ready to assign them, one and all, to the touchstone of God's secret and irreversible decree»; insomuch, that the very positive institutions of christianity shall be denuded of their gracious efficacy, unless a man shall have previously obtained his own consent to his being in a state of grace, and shall have enrolled himself in the number of the elect.

The second consideration is, that the scheme of the predestinarian is different from that scheme, nay, even contrary to that scheme, which the Scripture, as we have seen, holds out to us; viz. the economy of man's redemption, founded upon the everlasting covenant of

mercy, into which the coequal and co-eternal Three, in the unity of one Je

grace and


hovah, did enter, for us men, and for our salvation. No doubt the scheme of the predestinarian is founded

upon what he is pleased to call the ' eternal decree of God; but wkat or whom the predestinarian means by his decreeing God, we are never by him distinctly told—whether he means the “ SU, *PREME BEING,' whom the votary of the religion of nature has fabricated to himself; whether the sole ONE God, whom the Unitarian worships; or whether he means the TRIUNE God, the JEHOVAH ALEIM of revelation. For my, own part, the cloven foot of Socinianism is to me so visible in this, I shall not say designedly restricted mode of expression, that I have ever, on this account, viewed the doctrine which countenances it with becoming abhorrence. Even when the predestinarian is con. strained to treat of Christ and the Holy Spirit, as connected with Deity, they are represented, for the most part, not as partners and coadjutors with the decreeing God, but rather as his agents,' and instruments'--the executors, in short, of the respec. tive parts assigned to them by the absolute decree of God's single and supreme will. This semblance of inferiority, although justifiable in its application to the second person in the holy Trinity, in so far as bis assumed humanity will justify it, ought by no means to be admitted as being applicable to the holy Spirit, to whom no such assumption, and of course no such semblance of inferiority belongs: And wben, in addition to all this, it is remembered what spirit Calvin was of, (the first moulder of predesti

« AnteriorContinuar »