« AnteriorContinuar »
we can hope to turn it to the advancement of our purposes, in many ways. We must induce them to give, to be seen of men ; and then to employ what is given in such a way as to please men.
If we can once infuse this spirit through these institutions, and get those who have the management of them thoroughly imbued with it, they will do much less injury to our cause. When the opinion is once embraced, that it is all important to have an institution great and popular, in order to do good, it will be easy for us to suggest, on every occasion, that all its concerns must be so managed as not to give offence to those of our friends whose patronage is desired. And in proportion to the pumber and influence of our friends who are connected with these institutions we may expect will be the degree of influence we can acquire over them, till they shall be gradually modified to our wishes, and become useful auxiliaries in promoting our cause.
Spirit of Error. I am particularly pleased with the suggestions of the last speaker. Let us by all means avail ourselves of them. It is yet too soon to put down these institutions by direct opposition; but it is not too soon to endeavor to corrupt them. And it is easy to show how almost every one of them, if it can be gained over to our interest, may be made to advance our cause, and be better for us, than if it were destroyed. There is, indeed, one, that for distributing the King's book, which is more difficult for us to control than the rest. But let us once get all the rest under our control, and we can easily destroy the influence of that. For if copies of the King's book are multiplied, to ever so great an extent, that will do us no harm, if it is not read. Or if it should be read, as it is now by many, with minds prepared to interpret it according to our wishes, it will rather help than hinder the advancement of our cause. For those who can be made to believe that they find there the sentiments which we wish them to embrace, will be more likely to put confidence in them, than if they knew they had no such support. And the way to make them believe so, is first to get the other institutions under our control. Let us therefore, according to the suggestions of the last speaker, do our utmost to fill the minds of those, who have the direction of these in. stitutions, with the desire of distinction. Let us persuade them, that it is of vast importance to make their institutions great, and showy, and popular. Let us induce them to court such of our friends as are men of wealth and influence, and give them a prominent place, and a considerable share in the management of their institutions. As soon as great men and rich men become necessary to them, it will be equal. ly necessary for them to accommodate the spirit and principles of their institutions, in a greater or less degree, to the spirit and principles of our friends. Take, for instance, the institution for preparing young men to be ambassadors of the King. We must make it believed, that, in order to be a great institution, it must be so catholic
REVIEW. ARTICLE V. A Warning against Hopkinsianism, and other allie
errors, addressed by the Associate Reformed Synod of the West, lo ta Churches under their care. To which is prefired a short Narratir of the state and progress of such errors.-Hamilton, Ohio, James B Camron, 1825. pp. 37 and 6. 8vo.
An unknown, distant friend, lately favoured us with this curiosity through the medium of the Post Office. We never paid so heavy : postage with more gratitude to the donor, as we had not before heard of the pamphlet, which contains things of no little “pith and moment, and which gives us some information respecting the doctrinal views of the “ Associate Reformed Church," a denomination of which, at this distance, we had a very imperfect knowledge.
The Synod express a “hope, that none will mistake their intention, so far as to suppose, that in this paper they design an attack on Christians of any name:' They will, however, not deny, that they did intend to pass a severe censure upon the tenets of Hopkinsians i whether they regard them as Christians or infidels. We might, therefore, be thought deficient in respect, not only to the donor of the pamphlet, but to ourselves as Hopkinsians, should we take no notice of the “Warning," of which we can no longer plead ignorance, and which denounces us as Errorists, as "enemies under the garb of friends,' and as holding sentiments nearly allied to Socinianism, .notions, which ape the gospel dexterously, and contradict it impudently.' Still we were in doubt, whether it would not be a waste of time, on our part and that of our readers, to occupy our few pages with strictures upon a pamphlet which represents President Edwards' work on the Will, as “written in a style too metaphysical for the mass of his readers,” and says that he incorrectly taught that Christ was subject to the law merely as a man'—which represents Dr. Hopkins' System of Divinity as teaching many tenets which differ widely from the received faith of the Church of God'-which denounces Dr. Watts as an Anti-Trinitarian—and which advocates such absurd and antiscriptural sentiments as 'the Eternal Generation of the Son of God;' the Eternal Procession of the Holy Ghost; that Christ performed for the Elect all the obedience which the law required of them, and that there was a “real transfer of guilt and liability to punishment” from him to them, so that he actually endured "that suffering to which they were bound in law;" that the liberation of the elect from punishment is a “ matter of justice” to Christ; that Christ "purchased the influence of the Spirit to make men able and willing to embrace the offer of mercy ;" and that the salvation of the elect does not depend on any condition to be performed by them. A bare statement of doctrines like these, is a sufficient refutation of them, in view of well instructed and well established Hopkinsians, such as we presume most of the readers of the Hopkinsian Magazine are. Those
who are familiar with the works of the Edwardses, of Dr. Bellamy, of Dr. Hopkins, of Dr. Smalley, of Dr. West, and of Dr. Emmons, well know that sentiments such as those above named, are the ground work of Antinomianism, and a perversion of the genuine doctrines of Calvinism.
But as the pamphlet before us, is written in a spirited and generally correct style, with an air of conviction and assurance, and comprises not a little ingenious sophistry; it is thought that some strictures upon it may be useful. We have not room, if we had time and talents, for an extended and labored defence of the doctrines denounced, or refutation of the doctrines advanced in the “Warning.” We shall, therefore, attempt nothing more, at present, than a few cursory observations.
The pamphlet consists of two parts: The Narrative and the Festimony.
THE NARRATIVE. The first thing of much importance, that meets us in the Narrative, is the Statement of Hopkinsian Sentiments, pp. 4, 5. and which is as follows:
" In its present degree of perfection, this system of doctrines contains, among many others of minor importance, the following tenets, all of which, are either such as minister questions rather than godly odifying, or such as are manifestly subversive of the gospel of Christ.
1. That all true holiness consists in disinterested benevolence.
2. That sin and holiness are immediateiy created by God; and he is as much the author of sinful as of holy volitions.
3. That there are no means of grace, nor promises of regenerating grace to the doings of the unregenerated, and consequently it is idle to exhort sinners to pray or use any of the ordinances of God as means of grace.
4. That the heart of man only is affected by the fall; and that fallen man possesses all the requisite natural ability to believe in Christ, and obey the commands of God.
5. That although Adam's sin was the occasion of the sinfulness of his future offspring, yet they did not sin in him and fall with him; but by a divine constitution it was made certain or declared to be so, that if he sinned, they should in like manner sin ; so that sin is neither imputed nor conveyed from Adam to his posterity, but he simply proved the occasion of God's bringing all his posterity into the world in a state of moral depravity.
6. That Christ did not represent the elect in the covenant of grace, so as to obey and suffer in their room ; nor is his righteousness imputed to believers so to become their justifying righteousness.
7. That faith is a modification of love, and the condition of gospel justification.
8. That Christ did not by his obedience and sufferings satisfy the law and justice of God, so as to purchase pardon, reconciliation and eternal salvation for his people; but merely suffered as a general substitute for the sinful race of mankind, that the real disposition of God towards sin might be seen. In this manifestation of the disposition of God, atonement consists. The way is, therefore, now opened for God to be reconciled to sinners; and the situation and circumstances are such, that he may consistently bestow or withhold mercy, just as shall tend most effectually to answer the purposes of Divine goodpess; while he is not brought under any covenant engagement to Christ, to save any of the human race. Consequently the idea of Christ being legally charged with the guilt of the representees, and of their sins being removed by the atonement, is excluded.
9. It is requisite to the existence of faith and of every saving grace, that the sinner should have such a disposition as implies a willingness to be damned for the glory of God; if it be more for his glory, that lie should be damned than saved.
10. To which now, at least, may be added, That Christ is not the dernal Son of God.”
Upon this statement, we would observe, that it is both deficient and redundant; and in some particulars, incorrect. It is deficient, as it leaves out many doctrines which Hopkinsians believe, and consider as by no means of “minor importance,” and includes such only as differ from the creed of the Associate Reformed Synod.” It would have been but candid, if the Synod had mentioned, that they made such a selection from our system of doctrines. It is redundant, as it contains some things, which Hopkinsians do not profess to believe. When and where have Hopkinsians said, that “there are no means of grace?” We do not deny, that there are means of grace; but only that they can be acceptably used with an unholy heart. Where are the Hopkinsians who say, that “Christ did not represent the elect-in the covenant of grace ?" Hopkinsians make a wide distinction between the covenant of grace, and the covenant of redemption. They do not consider Christ as a party to the covenant of grace, which they hold to be a transaction between God and every true believer. The above statement is incorrect in several particulars. The second article is ex. pressed in a manner, which is calculated to convey a wrong ides. Hopkinsians believe, that God “creates evil," as he says; and that de creates a clean heart,' as David prays; but they do not suppose, that either sin, or holiness, is a material, or spiritual substance, distinct from the free, voluntary affections and exercises of men, created as the element of light was " in the beginning.” Instead, therefore, of saying, that holiness and sin are “inmediately created,” they say, that creatures are dependant, and without a self-determining powerthat God turns their hearts, moves them, and works in them to will
and to do. The third article would lead some readers to suppose, that we do not exhort sinners to pray, or do any other duty ; whereas we contend, that they “possess all the requisite natural ability to obey the commands of God," and therefore urge upon them their whole duty. We know of no Hopkinsians, who would say, without qualification, as in the seventh article, that “ faith is a modification of love." The doctrine of faith, as held by Hopkinsians, is, that a living and saving faith is neither simply love, nor simply belief, but a complex exercise, including both a belief and love of the truth, or that it is a 'believing with the heart,' and that it works by love.'
In the eighth article, Hopkinsians are represented as holding, that "God is not brought under any covenant-engagement to Christ, to save any of the human race; whereas they believe, that, in the covenant of redemption, the Father gave Christ a people, and engaged that they should be willing in the day of his power.'
To the ninth article, we suppose Hopkinsians will all assent, with proper explanations. They do believe, that self-denial is involved in every“ saving grace;” and that one who possesses true love, prefers the glory of God to his own interest, feels unconditional submission to the Divine will, and loves the Justice, as well as the Grace of God.
The tenth article is a negative, not found, to our knowledge, in any Hopkinsian symbol, or confession of faith ; but we have no objection to its being added; as it no doubt expresses the belief of most Hopkinsians on the subject.
We shall only add, respecting this mutilated and distorted creed, imposed upon Hopkinsians, that it is but fair, to leave sect and denomination, to make a creed for themselves, and to express their own sentiments, in their own language.
The remaining eight pages of the Narrative, contain miscellaneous observations upon Professor Stewart's Letters to Professor Miller; Professor Miller's reply, Dr. Priestley's works, Dr. Watts's Glory of Christ,” which “ turned the head of the Rev. John Shearman of Mansfield, Conn.” the work of Barton W. Stone, “ the great apostle of the Western New-Lights,” Prof. Murdock's Sermon, Dr. Griffin's “ views of the Atonement,” Wilson Thompson's “Simple Truth,” and “ Dr. Ely himself,” who is in favour of a union between different Denominations, and who has lost sight of his dignity, and become known both to the Christian and un-Christian public by his opposition to his Hopkinsian brethren ; and has risen to an eminence as a controvertist, which he probably never would otherwise have acquired, by arranging himself under a hostile standard against those with whom he is living in the most close and sacred communion.'The question, whether Dr. Watts was a Unitarian, is agitated ; a question, which we thought had been sufficiently discussed, and