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human impotence, were never carried to a more excessive length, or maintained with more violent obstinacy, than they were by Luther*: and that Calvin maintained, that the everlasting condition of mankind in a future world was determined from all eternity by the unchangeable order of the Deity; and that this absolute determination of his will and good pleasure was the ctaly source of happiness or misery to every individual f: and that God, in predestinating from all eternity one part of mankind to everlasting happiness, and another to endless misery, was led to make this distinction by no other motive than his own good pleasure and free will J. All that Mosheim advances is entirely confirmed in the 21st, 22d, and 23d chapters of Calvin's Institution of the Christian Religion. Alas! poor human nature! that a man of such eloquence, learning, genius, and piety, of such temperance in diet, of such disinterestedness, and contempt for wealth, (as the best writers of his age ascribe to Calvin,) either by the perusal of any book, by any association of his own ideas, or by any suggestions from
* Vol. ii. p. 173. Mackurin's translation.
those of other men, should have been induced to allow his great mind to imbibe such erroneous opinions as he did respecting the mercy and goodness of his gracious Creator 1 This indeed is a subject for just lamentation; such as should make men of lesser talents tremble, least they should err and misinterpret the word of God as he did; and should influence them to pray earnestly and fervently to God to give them a right judgment in all things, and, above all, with respect to a knowledge of his truth and attributes.
One of the capital errors of Calvin was his applying to the whole human race parts of Scripture intended only for partial application: thus the arguments he has chiefly adverted to in support of his doctrine of election and reprobation are selected from St. Paul's 9th chapter to the Romans; which whole chapter, in the judgment of Grotius, Whitby, Hammond, and Locke, is not of general application, and by no • means applies or refers to the universal election or reprobation of the human species, but is entirely applicable to the election of those heathens into Christ's Church, who sought that election by faith in Christ, and to the rejection of such unbelieving Jews, as trusted for
their justification in the legal ordinances of the Mosaic law: men who despised Jesus Christ and his doctrine, persecuted his religion, stumbled at it, and would not believe in it, or that he was the Messiah, because he lived and died among them in a mean condition; and who filled up the measure of their iniquity and infidelity by resisting the preaching of the Apostles after Christ's resurrection; these profane men were given up by God to obduration, to a reprobate mind, and the Apostles departed from them to the Gentiles. That St. Paul never intended what he wrote in the above chapter should be applied generally to all mankind, is abundantly to be collected from what he writes in the subsequent chapter to 'the Romans, in these words, which are and were meant to be of universal application: "If thou shalt confess with "thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt be"lieve in thine heart that God hath raised him "from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For "with the heart man believeth unto righte"ousness; arid with the mouth confession is "made unto salvation. For the Scripture "saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not "be ashamed. For there is no difference be"tween the Jew and the Greek: for the same
"Lord over all is rich unto all that call "upon him. For whosoever shall call upon "the name of the Lord shall be saved." And this assertion of St. Paul's is strongly corroborated and confirmed by our blessed Saviour himself, in these words, at the 16th chapter of St. Mark's Gospel; "Go ye into "all the world, and preach the Gospel to "every creature. He that believeth and is "baptized shall be saved; but he that beu lieveth not shall be damned." So that election to the kingdom of God is not restricted or confined to any particular class of men, but is offered indiscriminately to all who are baptized into the Church of Christ, are believers in his divine mission, and obey his commandments*.
Calvin has again grossly misinterpreted
* Every man, without respect of persons, I apprehend to be so fer an Elect of God by the act of baptism, that by virtue of this sacrament he becomes a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven: and ever continues to be so, if to the best of his power he complies with the stipulated conditions of this rite, which requires him to believe in the divine mission of Jesus Christ, and to lead a virtuous and pious life. But if by a contrary conduct he violates these stipulated conditions, he ceases to be an Elect of God; because no man who does not love, honour, and obey God, or at least does not heartily set his mind to do so, can pretend to any holiness of character; and without holiness no man shall see God.
St. Paul's meaning, in asserting that man is justified by faith without works. St. Paul means without the works of that ritual or ceremonial law, which was originally prescribed peculiarly to the Jews: but that he never meant to affirm that man could be saved or justified without moral works, is evident beyond all dispute; because in the 13th chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians, after most eloquently celebrating the virtue and excellency of moral works, under the general denomination of charity, he concludes by asserting, that the performance of these moral works, and especially of love and philanthropy towards our fellow-creatures, is of more efficacy, and of greater virtue, than even to possess faith. "And now abid"eth faith, hope, charity, these three; but "the greatest of these is charity." "Zea"lots in religion," Lord Bacon observes, "are apt, if a man does not concur with "their false and intemperate zeal, to term "him in derogation, a civil and moral man "only, and compare him to Socrates, or "some heathen philosopher: whereas the "wisdom of the Scriptures teacheth us other"wise; namely, to judge and denominate "men religious, according to their works of