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* Although it has pleased God, in the unsearch'able counsels of his wisdom, to bestow upon a
* peculiar people, chosen in Christ, the sanctifying 'influence of his Holy Spirit.''
Here his Lordship grants the whole of what most of us request; and, as far as he is consistent with this concession, we concur in his doctrine of general redemption. Nay, we will not object to his calling it universal; provided it be understood, that none ultimately share the eternal blessedness arising from it except those that are renewed by the Holy Spirit, ' who sanctifies all the elect
* people of God.'
'This passage of our catechism proves incon'trovertibly that our.church is not Calvinistic. 'The Calvinist maintains that Christ redeemed 'only the elect, meaning only a small portion of 'Christians; but every member of our church is 'taught, before he takes upon himself his bap'tismal vow, that ' Christ redeemed all mankind.' 'The Calvinist says, I believe in God the Son, 'who hath redeemed me and the elect people of 'God: our catechumen says, 'I believe in God 'the Son, who hath redeemed me and all man'kind.' These two propositions cannot be recon'ciled, since ' the elect people of God' must be 'only a part of all mankind.'2
'This passage proves incontrovertibly that our 'church' does not, with Calvin, and very many Calvinists, hold the doctrine of particular redemption. Yet Calvin himself allowed, that the redemption of the Saviour's death, being infinite,
•Ref. 273. 'Ref. 273, 274.
was sufficient for all, though effectual only for the elect.—' Meaning only a small portion of Chris'tians.' Alas! I fear the fact proves, that only a small portion of nominal Christians are true Christians: but undoubtedly Calvin, and Calvinists, include all true Christians, according to their views of what constitutes real Christianity: and indeed many who are not at present true Christians, but who shall ' be called, according to God's 'purpose, by his Spirit working in due season, 'and through grace shall obey the call.' "Other "sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them "also must I bring, and they shall hear my "voice."l—I agree with his Lordship, that a Calvinist, who rigidly holds particular redemption, cannot consistently accede to the doctrine stated in this part of our Catechism. On an occasion before alluded to, in the year 1786, I maintained this opinion, amidst Calvinists who revolted at it, in a sermon which was then printed, and has been repeatedly reprinted: and, after thirty years study and reflection, I still, in this particular, agree with his Lordship, and so do the greater part of the evangelical clergy.2—' The elect people of God,' who are ' sanctified by the Holy Spirit/ arc, alas! to this day, only a part, a very small part of mankind and of professed Christians. May God increase their number a hundred fold, how many soever they be!—The quotations from the Homilies, being made without any comment, need no remarks. All I need say is this: that I earnestly request the reader, attentively and repeatedly to peruse the Homilies in general, and those especially from which his Lordship has made quotations ; namely,' The Homily on the nativity 'and birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ;' 'The 'Homily for Good Friday;' and ' The Homily of 'the worthy receiving, and reverent esteeming of 'the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ.' I and (I think I may answer for it) my brethren are perfectly willing, that our sentiments should he fairly judged according to the doctrine of these Homilies: and I do most sincerely and earnestly pray, that the same doctrine may sound, clearly and fervently, from every pulpit in the established church, in Great Britain, Ireland, and all dependent colonies, and throughout the whole visible church of Christ. I have no allowed desire superior to this, or that in any way rivals it; except that the same may be made known, by faithful missionaries and ministers, accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit, to all Jews, Mohammedans, and gentiles, even to the ends of the earth. I do not so much as desire, that any thing different from the doctrine of these Homilies should be published to mankind at large. There may indeed be subjects, treated on in the Homilies, which were more suited to the days in which they were written than to the present period; and to Britain, than to the nations of the earth at large: yet these also were 'wholesome * doctrines for those times,' and by no means unsuitable to our own. But the Homilies, ' On 'reading the Holy Scriptures;' 'Of the misery 'of all mankind;' 'Of the salvation of all man'kind;' 'Of a true and lively faith;' 'Of good 'works;' ' Of Christian love and charity ;' ' Of 'the nativity; * 'On Good Friday ;' ' On Easter 'Day;' 'On the worthy receiving of the sacra'ment;' ' On Whitsunday ;' 'On repentance 'and true reconciliation unto God ;' contain those views of Christianity which I would plead for: and those persons wholly mistake the sentiments, even of the more Calvinistical part of the evangelical clergy, who think that, by mere quotation, without the imposing effect of ingenious comments or observations, they can adduce anything from the Homilies which militates against our sentiments; at least against those sentiments which we think sufficiently important to be defended by controversy. We have considered them well, and love them cordially. As it has been said respecting the seventeenth Article, so I would also say concerning the Homilies: Let them but speak without comment, and we are ready to abide by their decision.
'John x. 16.
s See above, chap. i. of this Book.—After quoting the words of the Catechism, in the answer to the question on the belief, before mentioned, I subjoined in the sermon referred to: ' Here 'election is supposed to be connected immediately with sancti'Jication, not with redemption; and this appears to me most 'evidently the scriptural way of stating the subject, though it 'differs in some measure from many Calvinistic creeds and sys'tems.' 'Christ was—crucified—to reconcile the Father to us, 'and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for the 'actual sins of men.' (Art. 2.) 'The offering of Christ once 'made, is that pprfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction. 'for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual.' (Art. 31.) 'Hence it appears, that this was the deliberate judg'ment of our venerable reformers, and that it is the standard 'doctrine of our church. As I hope this day, previously to re'ceiving and administering the Lord's supper, to use the fol'lowing terms in solemn prayer, ' Christ, by his own oblation of 'himself once offered, made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacri'fice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world,' 'I would no more contradict this solemn profession from the 'pulpit, than I would preach against the seventeenth Article re'specting predestination. The compilers of our liturgy thought 'both true, and consistent with each other; and I am happy to 'coincide in sentiment with these venerable characters.'—Sermon on Election, &c. first printed 1786.
* The peculiar opinions of Calvin are not found'ed in the written word of God, or reconcilable to 'our Articles, Liturgy, and Homilies.'l
The peculiar opinions of Calvin (such as were peculiar to him exclusively,) cannot be founded in the word of God, or found in the writings of others, public or private, except his avowed disciples: but the doctrine of personal election to eternal life, including the perseverance of all true believers; as well as those of original sin, regeneration, justification by faith, salvation by grace, good works the fruit and evidence of faith; these, as held by him, I am confident have been proved to be the doctrines of scripture, and of ' our ar'ticles, liturgy, and homilies.' What peculiar opinions of Calvin are intended might, with advantage to perspicuity, have been here explicitly stated by his Lordship.
'It has been observed, that there are Christians 'who assert that Adam's nature was not corrupted 'by the fall, and who admit no degree of moral
• 'Ref. 279.