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teous by his own works, neither in part nor in the whole,” &c.—“The true understanding of this doctrine, We be justified freely by faith without works, or that we be justified by faith in Christ only, is not, that this our own act, to believe in Christ, or this our faith in Christ which is within us, doth justify us, and deserve our justification unto us (for that were to count ourselves justified by some act or virtue that is within ourselves), but, that although we hear God’s word, and believe it, although we have faith,” &c. “ yet we must renounce the merit of all our said virtues,” &c. &c., “trust only in God's mercy, and that sacrifice which our High Priest,” &c.
“Chapter the Fourth. Of universal Redemption, Election, and Reprobation.”—We are sorry, that in the first of these articles there should be any disagreement among members of the church of England. Here this church is un.doubtedly opposed to the doctrine of Calvin, as Mr. Overton and others have pointed out. Concerning election, the Bishop has taken his i. on the merely corporate application of the term, as most po.pularly taught by Dr. Taylor;- for a view, and we think refutation, of whose scheme, the reader is reserred to a course of papers in our volume for 1807. Our hearts really sickened at the prospect of a hundred and more pages on the subjects of this chapter; and, like a traveller condemned to pass a desert of the same number of miles, with a dry, withering, east-wind in his face, and no verdure to refresh his eye, we sunk at the thought of labouring through pages of polemics, enlivened by nothing of a practi. cal, or even of a conciliatory, tendency, and with no direction but that of a guide whom, we think, we have reason to mistrust. In truth, the subjects here discussed are not to be confided to any mere parolzan. The views of the person fit for the employment should be deeply laid, and well matured; they
..should be large and liberal. Such
a person should, above all, so ar. range his argument, as to put his reader in the capacity of an independent judge. Scripture is so untractable to human systems, that, on many important points, it will appear to favour and oppose two adverse hypotheses; and he' alone is likely to arrive at the truth, who is bumbly sensible of this fact, and is content to know but in part, that is, as far as is revealed. On the darker subjects of revelation, he will not hastily say, These propositions are inconsistent, and, this is a necessary consequence of that; but he will inquire, Is it written, and what is its plain meaning? The Bishop of Lincoln has said, p. 226, that “the very idea of a covenant is inconsistent with the Calvinistic system.” Is the Right Reverend writer ignorant of the work entitled “The Economy of the Covenants," by that amiable, holy, and candid Calvinist, Witsius * How widely must these two writers differ in their notion of the meaning of the word covenant ' But are two or three sentences sufficient to determine, I am right and you are wrong? Bishop
Tomline acknowledges the irrecor
cilcableness, to his comprehension, of the free agency of man with the [...". of God, p. 249: but be olds them both, because he sees “in them no contradiction to each other,” p. 250. No contradiction, when irreconcileable l—But let us read his assertion, p. 252: “I reject the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination, not because it is incomprehensible, but because I think it irreconcileable with the justice and goodness of God.”—Irreconcileable r This is a very trite subject; and
every reader or thinker knows the
geography (if we may so speak) of the whole question at a glance. It is truly a terra incognita, with boundaries which, excepting the few traced by inspiration, we allought to know that we can never know in this world. With respect to the Seven
* See also the Westminster Catechism.
teenth Article, which would, of course, be introduced, so much has been said, and by ourselves too, that we forbear entering into the argument any farther than to say, that the explanation which the Bishop has given will, we conceive, satisfy no party, perhaps not even an individual; that the operation of this explanation is perfectly neutralizing, and would, we firmly believe, go to expunge the whole article; that if the article be non-Calwinistic, it surely is not anti-Calvimistic; and that we heartily wish to abide ourselves, and that all others would abide, by the simple words of the article, without any comment whatever. We quote with pleasure the fol. lowing admission: “ I am most ready to allow, that many Calvinists have been pious and excellent men; and I am fully satisfied that there are, in these days, zealous Christians of that persuasion, who would be among the first to deplore any evil which might befal our constitution in church or state.” p.284. We shall have a future occasion of alluding to this passage. On chapter the Fifth, containing “quotations from the ancient sai. thers of the Christian church, in chronological order, for the purpose of proving that they maintained doctrines in direct opposition to the peculiar tenets of Calvinism,” we shall satisfy ourselves with a few general reflections. We confess we have not leisure at present to follow the Right Reverend author through nearly seventy folio volumes (Pref. p. v.); although those who know how volumes of the fathers are generally edited, and the facilities of reference with which they are accompanied, will be less terrified than the generality at such an array. In the first place, then, we observe, that the author, of course, is the judge of what is in direct opposition to Calvinism; and from some of the quotations alleged we must say, that he is not a judge that satisfies us. For we have
little doubt, that many of the propositions adduced, would, without hesitation, be affirmed both by Calvin and his followers. Again, we contend that the testimonies of the fathers are to be applied to modern controversies with much caution and qualification. It is a very rational observation of Augustine somewhere, that the ancients improved in the accuracy of their creed, in the time and order in which different orthodox doctrines were attacked. The diversity of the adversaries and errors, which the primitive Christians had to contend with, from those which have agitated modern times, render their testimony perhaps irrelevant. And it deserves peculiarly to be noticed, that, at the commencement of Christianity, and for some time after, the doctrine of fatalism was held and professed by the heathen philosophers, and by heretical Christians, (a doctrine which wilful injustice alone can impute to Calvinism); and that, in the zeal to oppose this doctrine, and particularly its injurious consequences, the freedom and power of the human mind were likely to be injudiciously asserted. The awle:grow of the fathers, and their reasonings, may often be explained on this supposition. Upon the whole, had the extended collection of ecclesiastical quotations embraced both sides—that is, the entire of the subjects which they concern—it would, we think, have been a van luable present to the world. As it is, we have only to regret the necessity of adding the caution, “audi alteram partem,” and to refer our readers to a collection of an opposite tendency, subjoined to the “Corpus Confessionum Ecc. Ref,” particularly the sixth article, “De libero Arbitrio,” and in it more particularly the quotations from Tertullian, Cyprian, and Ambrose. The next chapter of quotations, “for the purpose of proving that the earliest heretics maintained opinions greatly resembling, the peculiar tenets of Calvinism,” is, we think. as unfortunate as any in the book. The expression “ greatly resembling,” at once exposes the fallacy and unfairness which might be expected. Who knows not, what a romptuary of sophistical reasoning is resemblance In the first quotation from Irenaeus, concerning the Valentinians, these heretics are said to “affirm that they themselves Whall be entirely and , completely saved, not by their conduct, but be. cause they are spiritual by nature.” Spiritual by nature | resembling a peculiar tenet of Calvinism, one of whose peculiar tenets is affirmed to be, and is, that all men are by nature, their present nature, corrupt! Again: * They say that some are by nature good, and some by nature bad,” p. 514. An equal resemblance 1 and, indeed, as accurate a resemblance to our own church. — But it will be asserted, that by nature is here intended an absolute fatality, the very thing which we urged on the preceding chapter; and this, Calvinists, if they may be heard, steadily dislaim. We think that this popular mode of exciting odium against a party ought not to have been sanctioned by episcopal authority. The following chapter consists of uotations from the works of Calvin. f this chapter had stood at the head of the work, and been used as a criterion to determine who are, and who are not, Calvinists, it would have answered an useful purpose, not only in saving much trouble both to writer and reader, but more importantly in relieving many respectable individuals from unmerited obloquy.' We are little concerned with the peculiarities of Calvinism, except as we wish Justice to be done to every sect, and every founder of a sect. And when the Bishop of Lincoln turns Calvin’s expression, horribile decretam, respecting the doctrine of reprobation (a doctrine for which we certainly have no particular predilection), against him, we think it proper to *ggest, that the word horribile pro
perly signifies no more than, awful, or solemn. Certainly the doctrine of everlasting punishment would bear the application of the same epithet with nearly equal propriety. But we proceed in our notice of the note which contains the objection (p. 541), because it likewise contains the important admission, which we wish our readers to bear in mind: “And yet it must be acknowledged, that Calvin was a man of piety,and of considerable talent and attainment.” It appears, from p. 569, that the Bishop of Lincoln adopts the machinery of Dr. Kipling respecting Calvinism. We must trust to our past labours and our indexes, on the one hand, and to professed answerers of the Refutation to come, on the other, for what we otherwise might have been tempted to add on this most hopeless and ungrateful subject”. The last chapter, “ containing a brief historical Account of what are now called Calvinistic Doctrines,” is
so 580, will not be read, even by any iberal non-Calvinist, without regret. In the short detail of English history referring to this point, the author has adopted the common story of Cranmer's declining the offered assistance of Calvin. We could never find any proof of this assertion, except what is afforded by the low authority of Peter Heylin, and his copyist, Jeremy Collier. But there is sufficient proof, from Cranmer's own letters.that he held the Reformer of Geneva, the successor of Simon Magus, in very high esteem. That “our Articles more nearly coincide with the Augsbourg Confession, which is decidedly anti-Calvinistic, than with any other public declaration of faith ”(p. 581), is, in our opinion, so far from being an accurate statement, that it appears to us to agree as completely with almost any other of the Protestant public confessions. They were published together, and even article by article on the same subject, without excepting the professedly Calvinistic Confession of the Gallican Protes. tant church, for the express purpose of proving their harmony, and with that very title. And we must add, that if to the reformers of any foreign church particular deference was paid by the English in the formation of their creed, it was to the Helvetic. Although we do not go (as has been seen) to the full extent of Mr. Jesse's conclusion, in his useful work, entitled Primitive Faith, this point he seems to have fairly established. We object likewise to the talking of the anti-Calvinism of sentiments before any such a thing as Calvinism existed. The assertion, “our church is not Lutheran : it is not Calvinistic: it is not Arminian: it is Seriptural:” &c. with which the work concludes, has been reechoed, ever since its first appearanee, in one of his i. charges, as conveying a new, as well as flattering, view of the Established Church in this empire. It always appeared to us to have more of sound than meaning. 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 reproached with any human origin, would indignantly disclaim the charge, and affirm, that they were not Lutheran, not Calvinistic, not Arminian, but Scriptural : and this, with the greater reason, as Calvinism was not then founded, nor Arminianism till about a century after. Had the present work, in the substance of it, adhered more tenar ciously to what the title-page proposed, and refuted what is purely and properly Calvinism alone, we should not have felt ourselves materially concerned; since it is well known, that, in this controversy, we have sustained the character, and endured most of the hardships, of being mediators; and have the same ground of complaint as the poet, “While Tories call'd him. Whig, and Whigs a Tory.” But the object of the writer, as he proceeds, has grown so diversiform, that the doubts which we at first felt respecting the success of what was announced, a Refutation, were frequently dissipated; and we were often pleased to accompany his lordship in his triumphs over Pharisaism, Antinomianism, and Libertinism. Although a work, which brings, together many passages of Saripture on one subject, whatever the object may be, and in spite of that object, if it be wrong, will acquire a spiritual savour, a fact strikingly illustrated by the writings of Dr. Taylor of Norwich—we do not mean to make this deduction from the merits of many passages occurring in the Refutation, which assert doctrines, and breathe aspirit, eminently Christian. But it is a sacrifice, to the performance of which we wish we were not called, to say, that these are the few stars which enlighten the clear part of the sky in a cloudy night, and that the predominant character of the work is of a different description. Some parts of the reasoning we have examined. There is a fallacy very common to superior talents; and that is, to imagine that they can be transferred at pleasure from subjects on which they have been long exercised, and with the more success on account of the paucity of their number, to any other, however new to them, of however different character. This may perhaps account for the sanguine expectations often discovered in such persons, of settling questions, which others, more experienced in that department, are disposed to resign as interminable. Hence, likewise, an alert air of self-complacency in the progress of such discussions, and an apparent confidence of being able to give the world information of considerable importance, and such as it had in vain sought for before. Hence, further, those flexibilities of reasoning, which, with all our propensity, and almost determination, to make an author consistent with himself, betray him into repeated self-contradictions, and make his arguments, like troops, possibly very good, and commanded by a very good general, but, under the disadvantage of a nocturnal fight, fall foul of each other. We do not say that these characters are drawn with the strongest lines on the work which we have been reviewing, but we were certainly at times reminded of them. These, however, are not what we consider the most promiment defects of the Refutation. It is evident, that it is the principal object of the writer to bring under condemnation, and odium likewise, that whole body who, in whatever sense, whether they are so or not, whether they avow it or disavow it, are called Calvinists. And although we are perfectly ready to admit, that the language of the Bishop of Lincoln is much more decorous, and much more really candid, than that of some others who have signalized themselves in the same warfare, vet we think it must be owned, by every
impartial reader, that the reflections made on these characters are expressive of strong, although chastised, asperity. The general complexion of the work likewise impresses on us the suspicion, that it is not Calvinism as Calvinism, nor Calvinists as Calvinists, that are the only or the chief objects of attack. Be this, however, as it may, it is enough for us, that the author has made those free admissions, which have been noticed, of the piety, not only of many Calvinists, but even of Calvin himself. It appears, then, that the strictest Calvinism is not inconsistent with piety. We forbear to put the string of questions which now suggest themselves: but we cordially wish and pray, that when the Bishop of Lincoln again undertakes the labour of the pen, he will employ that sacred and powerful instrument, not to transfix the characters, and impede the success, of men whose chief labout it is to bring the souls of their fellow sinners to repentance, faith, holiness, and heaven; but to confound and, if possible, convert, those very persons, who, many of them we confess with far more sinister views, will give the whole energy of their assent, consent, and acclamations to the Refutation, and will exert all their powers to carry its worst tendencies into execution. We fear the effect of the Bishop's work, particularly on the minds and professional exertions of that class of the younger clergy, who have entered into holy orders from secular motives alone, and who, finding in Christianity nothing properly to interest them, will find what they want, a subject, and, what is more, a subject suitable to the prejudices and antipathies, not only of themselves, but of the generality likewise, in violent philippics against Calvinism and Calvinists. Something of this kind, we understand, was displayed on a late celebrated occasion. Although there was nothing very congenial in angry polemics, except by way of contrast, with the festivities comr