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It has been ingenuously confessed, not only by all the Ancients, but likewise by Modern Divines, (among whom let it suffice to have praised Thomas as one witness,) that the Free Will of man is incompetent to the performance of any good thing, except so far as it is moved and aided by God. Nor is there so much impiety as certain persons think in those assertions about Free Will which some of the Fathers and of the Moderns have made,—provided their expressions be received in a right manner, and in such a sense as it was the wish of the writers themselves that they should be received. Bucer.
In his lapsed and sinful state, man is not capable, of and by himself, either to think, to will, or to do that which is really good; but it is necessary for him to be regenerated and renewed in his intellect, affections or will, and in all his powers, by God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, that he may be qualified rightly to understand, esteem, consider, will, and perform, whatever is truly good—I ascribe to Divine Grace The Commencement, The ContinuAnce, And The Consummation Of All Good; and to such an extent do I carry its influence, that a man, though already regenerate, can neither conceive, will, nor do any good at all, nor resist any evil temptation, without this preventing and exciting, this following and co-operating Grace.
Arminius. The Bishops of Ely and Lichfield, [Andrews and Overal,] were always accustomed to say, " that, as long as men maintained the true doctrine of the Antece"dent Will [of God] or of Conditional Decrees, there could not be much danger "in disputing about Predestination and Free Will." The correctness of this sentiment appears to me more and more evident. Grotius.
The sum of that which I contend for is briefly this: That the God of Heaven hath not Appointed any creature to do wickedly, but hateth sin with an unfeigned and perfect hatred, and doth not give a necessity to all events, but to those alone which are agreeable to his holiness and are the objects of his absolute unconditional decrees: That God's Decree Of Reprobation was eternally respective, and respective of sins as well actual as original: That God's Decree Of Election was eternally respective of our being in Christ, and of our abiding in Him unto the end: That God's execution of his Decrees are in a just conformity to his Decrees: That Jesus Christ is a General but a ConDitional Saviour,—a Saviour to all who do the duties by him required, to none without it: That they who stand may fall for ever, and must therefore very watchfully take heed lest they fall, ever " giving all diligence to make their calling and election sure." Dr. Thomas Pierce.
J. J/. /t%f.
THEIR PRINCIPLES AND TENDENCY:
OF GENERAL REDEMPTION,
AS HELD BY THE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND,
AND BY THE EARLY DUTCH ARMINIANS,
EXHIBITED IN THEIR SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE,
AND IN THEIR CONNECTION WITH THE CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS
LIBERTIES OF MANKIND.
BY JAMES NICHOLS.
MiUruMhtmis ae Johannis Arndi discipulos ferme videas bonos ac lenes: Contra, CcUvini
If it must be Armirwmim to teach, that *• the Ecclesiastical Power is subjected to the
PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, BROWN
I. BRIEF VIEW OF ARMINIANISM.
"Do The Elect believe?" Or, "Are Believers the true Elect?" These are the two questions, which, long before Arminius was known, were proposed to all Predestinarian adversaries, by the learned and amiable Lutheran Professor Hkmmingius, who justly asserts, that in the manner in which these simple but opposing Queries are solved, consists the real difference between the, favourers of Particular and General Redemption. He says, "those persons who maintain the former position, hold sentiments agreeable to the doctrine of the Manichees and Stoics; and those who maintain the latter point, are in obvious agreement with Moses and the Prophets, with Christ and his Apostles."
If, according to the spirit of the First Question, men regard themselves as Believers because they have been elected, the consequences which they deduce from such a fatal doctrine are very obvious: Not only is their eternal felicity thus inevitably secured, without any personal exertion on their part, but the means of this spiritual security are also permanently fixed; and " the righteousness divine" with which a renewed man becomes invested, is, through an abuse of the doctrine of Imputation, rendered inefficacious by being viewed as a relative and not a real qualification. In this manner the whole of the Five Points and their concomitants are represented absolutely and unconditionally; and being thus independent of all personal considerations, they produce none of that salutary influence upon the conduct of individuals which the various scriptural promises and threatenings are intended to inculcate.
On the contrary, when, in the spirit of the Second Question, men regard themselves as The Elect Of God, because they believe and obey his commandments, the consequences which they deduce from such a doctrine are equally apparent: Not only are their present religious enjoyments and their eternal felicity thus rendered certair, and yet contingent upon the continued exercise of their faith, and upon their acts of evangelical obedience,—but " the righteousness divine," with which, as renewed persons, they are endowed, is viewed as a real qualification, a fructifying principle; and "the Grace of God" which they receive, is one of those "talents" concerning which their Blessed Lord commands, "Occupy (or trade) till I come." In this manner, all the Five Points and their appurtenances are exhibited conditionally; and, being made to