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in the New Testament of the question "What "readest thou?" "Have ye not read ?" &c. Man must learn the truth, as it comes from God, by reading, understanding, and believing the word of God; and not by abstract reasoning and speculation.

'As there is a foolish wisdom, so there is a wise

* ignorance, in not prying into God's ark, nor in'quiring into things not revealed. I would know { all that I need, and all that I may; but I leave 'God's secrets to himself. It is happy for me, if 'God makes me of his court, though not of his 'council.'l—It is obvious enough for each party to * suspect,' that those of the other party 'deceive

* themselves :' but it would be more salutary to suspect ourselves, and to pray earnestly to God to preserve us from the fatal effects of our disposition to " trust in our own hearts," " which are deceit"ful above all things and desperately wicked." It is equally natural to charge one another 'with

* pride and self-complacency:' but God alone is able to determine on which side pride and selfpreference most predominate; and with him we leave our cause.—If some of us ' have not a com'plete view of our own system,' it must be owing either to natural incapacity, or to some judgment of God in leaving us to be blinded. The author, for one, has studied theological subjects, and the scriptures especially, (he trusts he may say without arrogance,) most indefatigably, and almost to the entire exclusion of all other subjects and pursuits, for nearly forty years: he has endeavoured to view each part, minutely and separately, and also in con

'' Bp. Hall. VOL. VIII. Z

nexion with every other part: and he who searches the heart knows, that in all his studies his prayer has constantly been offered to the Giver of all wisdom, to free and purify his intellectual eye from all the darkening effects of prejudices and corrupt passions; and to make him ' of good understand'ing in the way of godliness.'—' A just and mer'ciful God cannot consign' any part, either greater or smaller, of' his rational creatures to inevitable 'and eternal torment,' or to the least degree of punishment, except they deserve it by their sins: and, if they do, he might justly consign the whole to eternal misery: indeed nothing but mercy and grace rescues any of them from it. Provided we use the appointed means, we may expect that our conduct will be guided and governed by divine grace, though it be denied to others, who do not use the appointed means. But, if the special preventing grace of God, which inclined us to use these means, should incline others also, the same divine guidance and assistance will be equally vouchsafed to them.

I shall conclude my remarks on this chapter with the following quotation from Bishop Horsley. 'If ever you should be provoked to take a part in 'these disputes, of all things I entreat you to 'avoid, what is now become very common, acri'monious abuse of Calvinism and of Calvin. Re'member, I beseech you, that some tenderness is 'due to the errors and extravagancies of a man, 'eminent as he was in his day, for his piety, his 'wisdom, and his learning; and to whom the 'reformation, in its beginning, is so much in'debted. At least, take especial care, before you 'aim your shafts at Calvinism, that you know

* what is Calvinism, and what is not; that, in that 'mass of doctrine, which it is of late become the 'fashion to abuse under the name of Calvinism,

* you can distinguish, with certainty, between

* that part of it, which is nothing better than Cal'vinism, and that which belongs to our common 'Christianity, and the general faith of the re'formed churches: lest, when you mean only to 'fall foul of Calvinism, you should unwarily attack

* something more sacred, and of a higher origin. 'I must say that I have found a great want of 'discrimination in some late controversial writ'ings on the side of the Church, as they were

* meant to be, against the Methodists: the au'thors of which have acquired much applause and 'reputation, but with so little real knowledge of 'their subject, that, give me the principles upon 'which these writers argue, and.I will undertake 'to convict, I will not say Arminians only, and 'Archbishop Laud; but, upon these principles, I 'will undertake to convict the fathers of the

* Council of Trent of Calvinism. So closely is a

* great part of that which is now ignorantly called 'Calvinism interwoven with the very rudiments 'of Christianity. Better were it for the church if

* such apologists would withhold their services.

'Non tali auxilio, nee defensoribus istis.—

'But the true lesson to be drawn from the failure 'of such disputants is, that it is not for every 'one, who may possess somewhat more than the 'ordinary share of learning, to meddle with these 'difficult subjects.''

1 Bp. Horsley'slastcharge to the clergy of thedioceseof St. Asaph. 'Ref. 573.

CHAPTER IV.

ON THE EIGHTH CHAPTER OF THE REFUTATION, CONTAINING A BRIEF HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF WHAT ARE NOW CALLED CALVINISTIC DOCTRINES.

'The peace of the church seems to have been 'very little disturbed by any dissention upon these 'points during the first four centuries; and, as a 'proof of this, it may be observed, that there is 'nothing of a controversial spirit in the exposition 'the fathers have given of the texts in scripture, 'which have since been the subject of so much 'dispute. They explained not only the true sense 'of these passages, but the sense which was ad'mitted and understood to be the true one by all 'the members of the catholic church. The prin'cipal object of their writings was, to establish * the divine origin and superior excellence of the 'gospel-dispensation; and to enforce the duty 'and necessity of lively faith and practical obe'dience. The universality of the redemption pur'chased by the death of Christ, the assistance of 'divine grace vouchsafed to every sincere believer 'of the gospel, the freedom of the human will, 'and the possibility of every Christian working out 'his salvation, are treated in the passages I have 'quoted, as fundamental and undisputed truths.' l In this 'Historical Account of what are now 'called Calvinistic doctrines,' the whole scripture is entirely passed over: but, if the doctrines in question are not contained in "the oracles of "God," they ought to be expunged from our creed, at whatever time they were introduced. 'Holy scripture containeth all things necessary to 'salvation: so that whatsoever is not read there'in, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be re'quired of any man, that it should be believed as 'an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or 'necessary to salvation.' If this be so, it is of no manner of consequence, whether the doctrines called Calvinistic were broached in the first, second, third, or fourth century; or not till the days of Calvin; or even not till the synod of Dort. If they are not found in the scripture, they have no authority; and if they are, from thence they derive all their authority. If what has already been attempted has effected any thing, it has proved that several, if not all the doctrines which his Lordship undertook to refute, are contained in the holy scriptures, nay, in the Old Testament as well as in the New; and, if so, to give a history of the doctrines which are called Calvinism, omitting the sacred scriptures, as if quite out of the question, is, in fact, to assume as truth the very point which ought to have been proved.1

I shall not bestow pains in disproving the statement, that the fathers, till the time of Augustine, were not engaged in controversies on these subjects; or that most of them were, so to speak, Anticalvinistic in several particulars; but a few hints may be dropped on this subject.

''Here in the first edition the Author detailed the evidence of the Old Testament as given in the Appendix, No. I.

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