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distant, is given of this. Calvin is no more considered in the Article, than if he had never existed ; much less is there any reference made to his works. The same doctrine is indisputably spoken of from the beginning to the end of the article.
What is this sentence of God's predestination: . It cannot be the sentence of predestination, which we have been considering, by which God purposed and decreed to save all, who shall believe and obey the gospel. Certainly it cannot be the doctrine of his Lordship's comment: but it can be, and undoubtedly is the doctrine stated in the preceding part of the Article. His Lordship having, in fact, substituted another Article in the place of the seventeenth, by his comments on it, reasons from his own Article, as if it were that of the church ; and, as far as his comment is concerned, he reasons plausibly, if not conclusively.—“This merciful and consolatory doctrine cannot be the suggestion of the great
enemy of mankind.' Does the article then affirm, that the doctrine of predestination, that any doctrine of which it speaks, or to which it alludes, is 'the suggestion of the great enemy of mankind ?' It only affirms that for curious and carnal persons, ' lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually
before their eyes the sentence of God's predes'tination, is a most dangerous downfal, by which
the Devil doth thrust them, &c.:' and this is in the same sentence in which the godly consideration of predestination' is declared to be
full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort 'to godly persons, such as feel in themselves the ' working of the Spirit of Christ, &c.' No inti
mation is given of a different doctrine being intended than in the former part of the sentence : the different uses made of the same doctrine by differently disposed minds,' the godly' and the ' carnal,' are alone declared. It is true, the great enemy of mankind knows well how to suggest false, but plausible inferences from the doctrines of revelation in general, and from this in particular, but the doctrines themselves are not his suggestions. “Even as our beloved brother Paul “ also, according to the wisdom given unto him, “ hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, “ speaking in them of these things, in which are “ some things hard to be understood, which they “ that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they “ do the other scriptures, to their own destruc“ tion.”] The doctrine may be scriptural, wholesome, nutrimental, nay, essential : yet an unstable and uninstructed mind, either with, or even without the devil's suggestions, “may wrest it” to the man's own destruction. The mischief arises not from the doctrine, but from the state of men's hearts, as the Article has most clearly stated. There is no doctrine, however consolatory or . practical, that the proud, carnal, ungodly heart will not thus pervert: so that nothing can possibly be admitted, on this ground, against the indisputable certainty, that this latter part of the Article speaks of the same predestination as the former part does.--How far the compilers of our Articles would have objected to the quotation from Calvin, (of which I have given his Lordship's translation,) is another question ; and cer
! 2 Pet iii. 15, 16.
tainly it is here adduced as one of the most exceptionable passages in his writings. But they could not intend, in drawing up. Articles for the church of England, to combat and condemn this, or any other passage, in Calvin's works, without making even the smallest allusion to them.---In what follows, as a comment on the quotation from Calyin, it is said, 'to consign others to eternal 4,misery, without any regard to their merit or
demerit.' But, whatever Calvin believed, or did not believe, our Article has nothing at all to do with his creed. If the compilers of our Articles intended to oppose Calvin's doctrine, why did they not say so? And why did they leave their doctrine so obscure, that for much above two hundred years no one, either Calvinist or Anticalvinist, ever thought of their real meaning? They evidently shew, (what all who have had enlarged opportunity of making observations must know,) that the doctrine in question, though scriptural, and very useful to humble, pious Christians, is capable of being perverted by the carnal heart, and the devil's temptations, to the most perilous and mischievous purposes of dire desperation, or licentious presumption. And thus the gospel itself, as preached by St. Paul, was “a savour of “ death unto death " to some, as well as “a savour « of life unto life"I to others. The words from 'a persuasion that they belong to the chosen few,' are a comment on Calvin's doctrine, which he would most decidedly have protested against: for he would have explicitly declared, that every such persuasion, unattended by holy obedience, was an
* 2 Cor. 7. 15–17.
unfounded presumption, and a delusion of the devil.— It appears then,' his Lordship confidently infers, that the Calvinistic doctrines of election
and reprobation are not only not maintained in 'this Article, but that they are disclaimed and
condemned in the strongest terms.'-It may be admitted that the Calvinistic doctrines, that is, all that Calvin held, are not maintained in this * Article: but where are they disclaimed and condemned at all, even by the most distant intimation? And, surely, if his Lordship had been employed to disclaim and condemn them he would have done it, in much clearer and stronger terms; terms much less in danger of being mistaken for. the affirmation and approbation of the substance : of the doctrines! The doctrine of personal election to eternal life is, as I must think every impartial man will allow, greatly countenanced, if not fully declared, in this Article. Reprobation is not spoken of; they who are not elected are passed by: “ The Lord hath not chosen these.”! But I would maintain no kind or degree of Calvinism, either as to personal election to eternal life, or of the final perseverance of true Christians, beyond what this Article expresses : and the same method of commenting, if applied to our works, would prove, quite as conclusively, that we ' disclaim and condemn’Calvinism, 'in the strongest terms.'-His Lordship has not adduced the conclusion of the Article, which distinguishes between the revealed will of God in the scriptures, and his counsel secret to us. Furthermore, we must receive God's prornises in such wise as they be
'I Sam. xvi. 7--10.
generally set forth to us in holy scripture : and ' in our doings that will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared to us in the word of God.' “ The secret things belong unto “ the Lord our God; but those things which are “ revealed belong unto us and to our children for “ ever; that we may do all the words of this law."! This distinction, on the Calvinist's principles, is of great importance; but it vanishes out of sight on the principles of our opponents.
I shall now give the Article, as it stands in the Refutation,' by collecting together the comments made on each part of it. Predestination to life is
- the eternal purpose of God to deliver from * wrath and damnation, and to bring to everlasting salvation, those to whom God decreed to make known the gospel of Christ.—Those who are en
dued with so excellent a benefit of God, be * called according to God's purpose, by his Spirit working in due season ; they on their part conform to the conditions of the gospel-covenant, by obeying the calling, and walking religiously in good works, under the influence and assistance of
the Holy Spirit; and, as a reward, they are justi‘fied in this world, are made sons of God by adop
tion, are made like the image of Christ, and at length attain everlasting felicity.--This godly
consideration of predestination, and our election "in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons : because, from a consciousness of their own obedience and religious walking in good works, their faith of eter'nal salvation is greatly established and confirmed;
'Deut. xxix, 29.