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The Lord was seen by St. John, as the sun shining in his strength,” and in another place, 6.With the Lord the former forms, which were from the material principle, were altogether destroyed and extirpated, and divine forms received in their place; for the Divine Love doth not
agree with but a Divine form ; all other forms it absolutely casts out ; hence it is, that the Lord, when glorified, was no longer the Son of Mary.”
Here then we see the root of Socinianism is deeply struck into the whole Christian Church, and we are not to wonder if it spread from land to land in the bosom of the Church, not only among the people but with the clergy, and in high places. “ Thus saith the Lord, remove the diadem and take off the crown." « Perverted, perverted, perverted will I make it, and it shall be no more until he come whose right it is, and I will give it him.” Ez. xxi. 27.
But to develop the signs of the times. The Council of Nice was called by the Emperor Constantine, for the purpose of condemning the heresy of Arius, who denied the divinity of the Lord. The members of this Council decreed, that three divine persons existed from eternity. Since that time, a belief in three divine persons hath been generally received, and thence has naturally flowed the doctrine, that God the Father ought to be implored to impute the Righteousness of his Son, and to send the Holy Ghost to operate the immediate and ultimate effects of Salvation. The reason of the Council's introducing three divine persons as existing froin eternity, was because they did not rightly search into and examine the WORD, and consequently could find no other asylum against the Arians. This doctrine of imputation however, assumed, among the Catholics, a milder form than it afterwards received from those who were termed Reformers. It was even maintained, by a Cardinal, that one drop of the blood of Christ being sufficient to redeem the whole human race, the remainder was left as a legacy to the Church, which might be distributed by the Roman Pontiff. Indeed, the same principle was extended to the good works of the Saints, over and above what was necessary for their own justification, the merit of which might, by the Church, be imputed to other individuals. To the doctrine of imputation, Luther added that of justification by faith alone, not allowing good works to be the conditions or means of Salvation, nor even a preparation for receiving it, and Amsdorf, one of his disciples, maintained that good works were an impediment to salvation (2 Mosh. 172, 4to. ed. Sec. 3, part 2, $ 29.) Calvin at length pushed the matter to the acme of absurdity, and whilst the Church of Rome were for extending the benefits of imputed righteousness, restricted it to certain individuals, and taught that “ the atonement was made in the room of a definite number of sinners given of the Father from eternity to Messiah.” (Wils. p. 24.) This is the doctrine which Mr. Wilson considers as the palladium of Religion. But notwithstanding all the exertions of Calvin and his followers, it never attained, in the Christian world, to any but a sickly life, and from its birth has been only panting for breath. Like some nauseating drug taken into the stomach, it has, maugre all the exertions of learned doctors, been rejected by the common sense of mankind, wherever it had, for a time, obtained a temporary admission. The book already mentioned is full to this purpose.
After telling his reader that the whole fabric of the Lutheran Church, from the middle of the sixteenth century to the present time, has been gradually sinking into ruins, and that Arminianism (as opposed to Calvinism) has been embraced by millions, he proceeds to give an account of the course which the Calvinistic doctrines took in France. The condition of the Reformed Church in that kingdom, A. D. 1571, (Calvin died in 1564) was in a high degree flourishing, and its increase had been surprisingly rapid. There were two thousand one hundred and fifty congregations, in which were six or seven ministers, as was the case at Orleans, where there were seven thousand communicants. Such was their wealth and their power, and so many princes and princesses espoused the cause, that the government, though Popish, was compelled to respect them. Yet in 1669, thirty-six years after the commencement of Amyraut's labours, who taught boldly (it required courage, after the burning of ServETUS) that Christ had died equally for all men, the number of Protestants was diminished to one-third of what it had been. They were no longer an object of respect to the crown. In reality, the whole fabric sunk into complete ruin. This lamentable catastrophe the author ascribes to a departure from rigid Calvinism. Unprejudiced reason would say, that the common sense of mankind having been shocked by the pretensions of the Church of Rome, and the dissoluteness of her priests, whilst their attention was devoted to a contemplation of those enormities, they were ready, under the
influence of bold and ingenious men, who opposed them, to take up with any absurdities offered by such successful assailants. But when, in cooler moments, they came to consider dispassionately what they had received in place of former errors, many, disgusted at what they found to be worse, returned to the Church they had abandoned, and having nothing offered worthy of rational acceptance, were content to acquiesce in errors which were received by numbers, and which they knew not how to rectify. A few, of bolder character, not dismayed, continued their search after truth. But in this pursuit, unfortunately, still driven to opposites, as is too often the case with human reason, they have now come to a denial of the Divinity of the Lord.
Thus ended the definite atonement in France, and we shall find it has continued to produce the same progeny throughout the Christian world. The same track has ended in the same result in Germany, except that it has terminated in Deism-perhaps
In Holland and Geneva, the author flatters himself with small hopes for Calvinism.
Mr. W. passes to Great Britain, and here a most important secret is disclosed. In speaking of the Westminster confession of faith, we have these remarkable words :
“ There were two reasons which prevented it from possessing stability of character. One was the character of Charles II. and his courtiers, who were so hypocritical as to express, in a most solemn manner, a belief in what they did not embrace. The other was the state of the people, whose minds had not been sufficiently enlightened.”
“ ALL HAD BEEN EFFECTED through the instrumentality and influence of a FEW CHOICE MINDS, possessing great illumination."
A most precious confession! This great monument of orthodoxy was received neither by king, nobles, or people, but was “ all the work of a few choice minds, possessing great illumination."
What must have been the light in which they could see as true the sixth and seventh articles of that creed? If the reader can call it light, let him ever after mistake the scream of the nighthawk for the herald of the morn, the hootings of the owl for the carol of the lark, the darkness of Erebus for the splendour of noon. If this be the work of reformers, my soul enter thou not into their secrets.
« Art. VI. As God hath appointed the ELECT unto glory, so hath he by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted and sanctified, and kept by his power through faith unto salvation ; neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually justified, called, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the ELECT only.”
« Art. VII. The REST OF MANKIND GOD was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.”
Horrible, horrible, most horrible!
To such a creed the cruelties of JUGERNAUT are tender mercies. These kill the body,—that would destroy the soul.
MERCIFUL REDEEMER! shall the blessed effects of the mystery of thy holy incarnation; thy holy nativity and circumcision; thy baptism, fasting, and TEMPTATION; thine agony and bloody sweat; thy cross and passion; thy precious death and burial ; thy glorious resurrection and ascension; and the coming of the Holy Ghost, be intercepted by such doctrines as these, in their beneficent and merciful diffusion among thy erring and feeble creatures, who, with sincerity of repentance, and devoutness of heart, Ay for refuge unto thee! Arise Jehovah, and let thy enemies be scattered.
(To be continued.)
EXTRACTS FROM THE WRITINGS OF EMANUEL SWEDENBORG,
ON CHARITY AND FAITH.
Apocalypse Explained, Chap. III. Verse 14.
No. 229. “The beginning of the workmanship of God.That hereby is signified faith derived from the Lord, which is the first principle of the Church as to appearance, appears from VOL. 1.
the signification of beginning, as denoting what is first; and from the signification of the workmanship of God, as denoting the Church, of which we shall speak presently. The reason why faith is understood by the beginning of the workmanship of God, is, because this is the subject treated of in what is written to the angel of this Church ; but that faith is the beginning of the workmanship of God, that is, the first principle of the Church as to appearance, shall now be explained. By faith is here understood faith from the Lord, for faith which is not from the Lord is not the faith of the Church, and faith from the Lord is faith originating in charity; this faith is the first principle of the Church as to appearance, because it appears first to the man of the Church, nevertheless charity itself is actually the first principle of the Church, inasmuch as this maketh the Church with man. There are two things which make the Church, charity and faith ; charity is of affection, and faith is of thought thence derived; the very essence of thought is affection, for without affection no one can think; the all of life, which is in thought, being from affection; hence it is evident that the first principle of the Church is affection, which is of charity or love; but the reason why faith is called the first principle of the Church, is, because it first appears, for what a man believes, this he thinks, and by thought sees, whereas that with which man is spiritually affected, he doth not think, nor therefore doth he see it in thought, but he perceiveth it in a certain sense, which hath no reference to sight, but to another sensitive principle, which is called the sensitive principle of delight, which delight, inasmuch as it is spiritual, and above the sense of natural delight, man doth not perceive, unless when he is made spiritual, that is when he is regenerated by the Lord; hence it is, that those things which are of faith, thus which are of sight, are believed to be the first things of the Church, although they are not the first, except as to appearance : this therefore is called the beginning of the workmanship of God, because the Word in the letter is according to appearance ; for the appearance in the letter is for the simple; but spiritual men, like the angels, are elevated above appearances, and perceive the Word, such as it is in its internal sense, consequently that charity is the first principle of the Church, and that faith is thence derived ; for, as was said above, faith which is not derived from charity, and which doth not appertain to charity, is not faith; concerning