Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the superior excellency of their doctrine by the pre-eminent holiness of their lives. This would be the most effectual way to refute Calvinism and to reclaim Calvinists.

It may be considered as remarkable, that Jewell should be ranked with the martyrs, who were burned in Mary's reign, as not holding Calvinistic sentiments. He took shelter on the continent during queen Mary's persecutions: and, though not at Geneva, yet at Zurich he lived in the house with Peter Martyr; where he was almost as much in danger of 'imbibing Calvinistic sentiments,'! as if he had been at Geneva; especially, as they read Augustine together, with which father they were greatly delighted. Jewell is the only one of these refugees who is mentioned in the Refutation: and, though others imbibed Calvinistic . tenets' in Switzerland, Jewell is supposed to have returned uninfected! Perhaps our argument would not suffer, should this be allowed : yet I shall adduce one quotation from him shewing what were his real sentiments.—'God hath chosen you from the beginning. His election is sure for ever. The Lord knoweth who are his. You shall not be deceived with the power and subtilty of Antichrist. You shall 'not fall from grace. : You shall not perish. “This is the comfort which abideth with the

faithful, when they behold the fall of the wicked; when they see them forsake the truth, and de- light in fables ; when they see them return to

their vomit, and wallow again in the mire. When we see these things in others, we must say, Alas!

Ref. 582.

'they are examples for me, and they are lamentable examples. “ Let him that standeth take heed that he fall not.” But God hath loved me, and hath chosen me, to salvation. His mercy

shall go before me, and his mercy shall follow 'in me: his mercy shall guide my feet and stay 'me from falling. If I stay by myself, I stay by

nothing ; I must needs come to the ground..... * He hath loved me; he hath chosen me; he will • keep me. Neither the example nor the company

of others, nor the enticing of the devil, nor my own sensual imaginations, nor sword, nor fire, is able to " separate me from the love of God which ' is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is the com

fort of the faithful..... Whatsoever falleth upon * others, although others fall and perish, although

they forsake Christ and follow after Antichrist; ' yet God hath loved you, and given his Son for • you. He hath chosen you, and prepared you to

salvation, and hath written your names in the book of life. But how may we know that God hath chosen us? How may we see this ELECTION ?

Or how may we feel it? The apostle saith, 66. Through sanctification and the faith of truth." * These are tokens of God's election.—This (namely " the Holy Spirit) comforteth us in all temptations,

and " beareth witness with our spirit that we be the children of God;" that God hath chosen us, and doth love us, and hath prepared us to salva* tion; that we are the heirs of his glory; that

God will keep us as the apple of his eye; that he • will defend us, and we shall not perish.' .—Such

' Bp. Jewell's Exposition of the Epistles to the Thessalonians, p. 143, 144. Edit. 1611.

language as this from that eminent prelate, who at least was the principal person in compiling the second book of Homilies, if not in a great degree the author of it, may shew the reader the cogency of these words. If our great reformers,

the authors of these Homilies, Cranmer, Ridley, · Latimer, and Jewell, had themselves, as it is

pretended, held Calvinistic opinions, is it, &c.?' That they held those opinions which are now called Calvinistic, must be put out of all doubt: but they were wise enough, not to make the deeper doctrines of revelation the direct or prominent subject of the sermons, which were to be read to a multitude, “ unstable and unlearned," (in the school of Christ,) who, till more fully instructed, would be liable to wrest them, as well as the

other scriptures to their own destruction.'

“Our reformers followed no human authority; they had recourse to the scriptures themselves 'as their sole guide. And the consequence has been, what might have been expected, that our Articles and Liturgy do not exactly correspond with the sentiments of any of the eminent re‘formers upon the continent, or with the creeds e of any of the protestant churches which are there established. Our church is not Lutheran-it is not Calvinistic—it is not Arminian.-It is scriptural : “it is built upon the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone.'? ..

From the note on this page, it might appear that the reformers adopted the opinions of Luther and Zuingle, though not of Calvin. But, how

'Ref. 589.

ever that may be, I have no objection to his Lordship’s conclusion, though it has perhaps, ‘more of sound than meaning.' For we cannot imagine

it possible that any church or sect should not “ say the same thing concerning itself; and we have no doubt, that Calvin and the Institutes themselves, if they could speak, were they re'proached with any human origin, would indignantly disclaim the charge, and affirm, that they were not Lutheran, &c., but scriptural.'' And the evangelical clergy, before God, must continue to say the same concerning themselves and their tenets, till some more conclusive 'refutation' has been made of them.

And now, at the close of this work, I may perhaps assume a measure of confidence, not unlike what the very title of his Lordship's book exhibits. I am confident, that I have demonstrated the doctrines, commonly called Calvinistic, (though not every tenet of Calvin,) to be that of our liturgy, our articles, and our homilies ; and of those reformers, both before and after Queen Mary's reign, who compiled them : and I call on the opponents of Calvinism to disprove this, if they can, by fair quotations and substantial arguments; for assertions must go for nothing. I trust I have also shewn them to be the doctrines of the holy scriptures, both in the Old and New Testament. — But before I close I would drop one hint. If indeed the doctrines in question be those of our established church ; and if its rulers in general proceed on the plan adopted by some of them ;

'Chr. Observer, Sep. 1811, p. 593.

namely, that of discrediting, as much as they can, the most pious, laborious, and competent clergymen, who hold them : if, when one of this description is removed, they make a point of substituting in his place a man of discordant principles : if they discourage, as to ordination, the most exemplary, regular, and unexceptionable young men in all other things, even if only suspected, by reason of their connexions and friendships, of holding these sentiments, and prefer men of far inferior talents, learning, and even moral character: will they not, with their own hands, endeavour to subvert the establishment? Could a shrewd dissenter, if admitted as an unsuspected privy-counsellor, give them more appropriate advice, in order to accomplish his purpose of gaining the ascendancy to the dissenting interest? They who have been used to hear the doctrines called evangelical, in which the question, "What must I,” a lost sinner, “ do to be saved ?” is constantly asked and clearly answered ; if they at all pay attention to it, will never after endure another doctrine in which this question is not answered to their satisfaction. However attached to the establishment, they will at length seek at the meeting-house that instruction which they cannot find at church : and, though this at first be the only inducement, yet, becoming acquainted with dissenters, and hearing all their objections ; (having at the same time no person at hand to answer these objections ;) they will gradually imbibe the esprit du corps, and perhaps at length become more zealous dissenters than they are to whom they join themselves. Thus hundreds often become dissenters simply by

« AnteriorContinuar »