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a considerable proportion of evangelical clergymen and their congregations.
'In tracing the coherence among the systems 'of modern theology, we may observe that the 'doctrine of absolute decrees has ever been inti'mately connected with the enthusiastic spirit; 'as that doctrine affords the highest subject of joy, 'triumph, and security to the elect, and exalts 'them by infinite degrees above the 'rest of 'mankind.' 'x
I should not have previously supposed, that a protestant bishop would deign to quote the infidel scoffer Hume, in such an argument; who, as it easily might be proved, shewed as much ignorance, when he presumed to write about religion, as he did sound discernment and accurate information on other subjects; and who never, throughout his whole history, meets with any thing like Christianity, among papists or protestestants, Calvinists or Arminians, churchmen or dissenters, without shewing most clearly his bitter enmity and sovereign contempt of it; and that always in proportion as the enemy to be assailed approximates to the religion of the New Testament. I disdain to answer Hume's accusation of enthusiasm. I only deny its truth; and I rejoice that his testimony is against us : it is the highest applause which such a man was capable of bestowing on religious characters.
'I do not however deny, that these doctrines 'have been adopted and maintained by some per'Quoted from Hume Ref. 283, Note.
'sons eminent for their learning and in high sta'tions of the church ; but I think that the adoption
* of these opinions may in general be traced, in 'writers of an early period, to the abhorrence of 4 the impious doctrine of human merit, which, it 'has been frequently observed, was one of the 'chief points of controversy with the church of 'Rome, rather than to their unbiassed judgment of 'the sense of scripture. I am most ready to allow 'that many Calvinists have been pious and ex'cellent men; and I am fully satisfied that there 'are in these days zealous Christians of that per'suasion, who would be among the first to deplore 'any evil, which might befal our constitution in
* church or state. But I contend that Calvinism
* is a system peculiarly liable to abuse.''
The concessions in the former part of this quotation make a sort of honourable amends to the Calvinists, who before were classed with avowed infidels and atheists, as not less dangerous to our church than they. St. Peter was fully aware that these doctrines, as stated and enlarged on by " his "beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom "given unto him," were peculiarly liable to abuse.2 We also are aware of the same; and bestow great pains to distinguish between the genuine use of the doctrines, in rendering the believer humble, thankful, patient, meek towards all men, and joyful in temptations and afflictions; and the perversion of them, in feeding the pride of self-preference, buoying up carnal minds in false confidence; giving needless discouragement to the unestablished; and fostering a hardness of spirit in those who 'Ref. 283, 284. '2 Pet. iii. 15,16.
take them up in a speculative and unscriptural manner, and not experimentally and practically.
'The perversion of its tenets has in former 'times been made, by wicked and designing men, 'the instrument of great mischief; and I fear 'that at the present moment the interests of real 'Christianity suffer not a little, and that the estab»lished church is ih no small danger, from the 'active hostility of those who profess Calvinistic 'doctrines'.'l
'The perversion' of these doctrines has been, and will be made the instruments of ' great mis'chief, by wicked and designing men;' and so will be every tenet of Christianity, when perverted. But I apprehend that the established church is at present as much in danger from the active hostility of men professing Anticalvinistic doctrines, as from Calvinists. The Socinian and Arian dissenters are zealous for the dissenting interest, and comprehend a large number; the Wesleyan Methodists, that very numerous body, are Anticalvinists; and the success of the Calvinistic dissenters is not owing to their principles on these subjects, but to their evangelical doctrines in other respects, and their zeal in promoting them, along with their peculiar opinions concerning church-government, and against all establishments. This is fully known to those who are well acquainted with facts: for they who are the most systematical Calvinists are far from being the most zealous persons, cither in promoting village-preaching, or in the other means, by which
numbers are drawn off from the established church. Indeed they who are decidedly Calvinists in judgment seldom introduce their principles very prominently, except among such as are already gained to their side: for if, going into villages, and among those who are strangers to the peculiar doctrines of Calvinism, instead of shewing men their need of repentance, faith, renewing grace, forgiveness, in short, of the salvation of Christ, and urgently pressing them to accept of it; they should begin with predestination, election, nonelection, and topics of this kind; they would not only act unscripturally, but would be left in empty rooms. Since those whom they proselyte, by preaching familiarly and zealously the simpler parts of Christianity, could not at present receive these doctrines, and would almost universally revolt against them. How far the general interests of real Christianity suffer by this, I am not prepared to say; but the church of England is in no small danger, not so much from the active hostility of Calvinists, as from the zealous exertions and evangelical tenets of men who, however they may be thought inferior in all other respects, are certainly more earnest and active and intent in preaching, and in "teaching from house to house," than the parochial clergy in general are; and from these exertions being left to their full scope by the negligence of the clergy.
'Let the parochial clergy, by persevering zeal, 'combined with knowledge, and tempered by cha'rity, be instant in their endeavours to heal the 'divisions which rend the church of Christ. Let 'them labour to understand and set forth the 'gospel in its original purity; not by dwelling 'on a few detached passages, which have been, 'and ever will be, the subjects of controversy, "' when considered without reference to the gene'ral tenor of scripture, or the peculiar circum'stances and opinions to which they allude: but, 'guided by the light afforded them by our truly 'venerable reformers, in the Articles, the Liturgy, 'and the Homilies of our church, let them take a 'comprehensive view of the whole of scripture; 'and, "rightly dividing the word of truth," let 'them explain its doctrines and enforce its pre'cepts in a manner consistent with the general 'design of Christianity, and the known attributes 'of God. Let them, while they exhort men to 'remember that schism is not become the less 'criminal from its being more common, exert 'themselves to check its progress, by a diligent 'discharge of the various duties belonging to their 'several stations; and, conformably with that spi'rit of forbearance, by which our church is so 'especially distinguished, and which so clearly * appears in the declaration prefixed to our Arti'cles, let not those, who are of one mind respect'ing the fundamental principles of our faith, suffer 'differences upon certain curious points' to break 'the bonds of peace and unity, so necessary, in 'this hour of common danger, for the preservation 'of true religion in these dominions. Thus by 'temperate zeal, sound knowledge, persevering 'diligence, and fervent charity, they will best 'evince themselves genuine members of a church, 'founded upon apostolical authority. Thus," shew