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der the difference obvious to every eye; and others approximate so nearly, as to render it difficult precisely to draw the line. Yet a line there is; and every christian should endeavour to discover it; because they, that are not in the truth, may well doubt whether they are of it, and because it is not a matter of indifference in the essentials of religion (whatever men of loose or latitudinarian principles may think or say under the specious pretext of moderation) how men enjoy the truth or know it. It was the advice of the wise, “ Buy the truth, and sell it not:" it must not be lost, or parted with, or pared away, for ungracious accommodations, , at any rate. Every particle is precious, because it originates from God. In questions of real indifference indeed, or in matters merely circumstantial, it is right to “ think and let think;" but, in momentous and radical points, which affect the honour of God, the vitals of Christianity, the edification or salvation of souls; indifference or unconcern is a vice and crime, founded in Laodicean lukewarmness at best, but often in a deplorable absence of the power of godliness.

With the above sects another should be noticed, which in every age of the church has been more or less rife, and is but too abundant in the present day: I mean that of the ANTINOMIANS. The first Protestant or reformed divine, who was entitled to this name, was John Islebius Agricola, a man of learning and eminence, an intimate friend of Luther, and a great assistant in the reformation. He himself was soon reclaimed by Luther, and, under the full conviction of his error, published a retractation. Happy for many would it have been, who have since imbibed his opinions, if they had followed him in this

instance

a

instance of his candor. There have been many gradations of these down to the most atrocious and libertine ranters; but all have been accused, and many of them at least with too sufficient reason, of turning the grace of God into licentiousness, and of perverting Christian liberty to looseness of life, or to the vile unbridled liberty of the flesh.

Without meaning to offend any one whom truth may not offend, I have thought it might not be unwelcome to some readers at least, if I should attempt to draw into parallel the general opinions, as nearly as possible, in very few words, of the above mentioned sects, or sorts of persons, upon the two leading points I first proposed, namely, the FALL and DEPRAVITY of nature, and the GRACE of God. As I would not wilfully misrepresent any thing, I will endeavor to state their respective principles as clearly and faithfully as I can, leaving it to the candid and intelligent reader to correct me, if I am in the least instance mistaken, and only reminding him of the difficulty of drawing the opinions even of persons of the same denomination into propositions, that

may comprize or satisfy them all. With respect to the doctrine, which God's word and Spirit teaches his people, I have less difficulty: they will confirm it, as others cannot, by their own experience. Such a synopsis, or close and comparative view of the matter, may help to point out the strait line of truth from the deviations of error. I mean this for edification, not for disputation ; for the exhibition of sound doctrine, not for the promotion of discord; for the glory of God, and for the help of Christian men.

1. A Suma

I 3

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1. A Summary of Opinions upon the Fall and DEPRAVITY of NATURE. 1. Antinomians. 2. Pelagians. 3. Semi-Pelagians.

4. Arminians.

5. Semi-Arminians.
These are various in That there is That though man fell, yet] That there was no co- That man by the fall became
their opinions; but no original sin; he lost not all his powers, but venant of works with the so depraved, stunned, or loaded,
they generally own the that children are that he still hath a natural first man ; that man in- in the faculties of his soul, as
fall of man and conse-born in the perfec-will and strength towards deed fell, and depraved not only to lose the right use of
quent depravity of hu- tion of the first good, a capacity of asking, shimself and posterity by its moral powers, but, through
man nature, which dis-parent at his cre- by the use of which capacity sin, so as to make re-sin, to contract in them enmity
ables him from work-ation; that both he may render himself fit for demption needful; butand opposition towards God;
ing out such a righte-lhe and they would grace ex congruo, or meet that there still remains a that notwithstanding there yet
ousness, as may justify have died, had to receive it; and that then part of the divine image, remains a natural capacity or
him before God. They there been no sin ; by the use of this grace hela natural power of obey- ability inherent in the soul, that,
affirm, however, for and that man hath may obtain salvation ex con- ing God's commands to upon the removal of the load or
the most part, that it now a vis naturæ, digno or of merit and desert : believe and do spiritual stupefaction of sin, and the in-
is in every man's ownlor natural power, in a word, that the potency things, an innate capa-troduction of light and strength
will and power to ex both avoid of faith is in a man's self, be-city to receive the gospel by grace, it obtains a restored use
ercise faith (by which sin and to fulfilling only the exertion of a na- and offers of salvation on of its moral powers, so as ra-
they mean only the na. the commands of tural faculty; and that God's the one hand, or to resist tionally to embrace the truth of
tural assent of the mind God.

election doth not arise from and reject them altoge- the gospel, to give faith or credit
without any inherent

his own eternal counsel and ther on the other. to the promises, to trust in them
alteration, or renova
will, but from the foresight

because of their moral evidence
tion, or adhibition of
Jonly of the right use of free

and certainty, and to proceed to
new and spiritual life,
will in the creatures.

final salvation, through the same . or any divine 'help su

grace and means continuing for pernaturally

that purpose to the end. nicated to him.

6. Orthodox.

che

That Adam was created under a covenant of works, by obedience to which he would have been happy, but by disobedience became miserable, and also ruined and corrupted all his faculties, by bringing present spiritual death (or separation from the life of God) upon his soul, subjecting to natural death his body, and exposing both to death everlasting; that being, not metaphorically only, but truly and spiritually dead to God, he hath no ability whatever spiritually and savingly to see, know, love or receive the things of God, before he is quickened by a new birth; that, being totally averse and of contrary materials to goodness through corruption, he must be changed, renewed, or regenerated in the spirit of his mind, receiving in such change the adhibition of spiritual and divine faculties, called the unction from the Holy One or the divine nature, before he can be one with God, or be built up as a part of his temple; that this entire corruption and aversation of Adam from God was naturally transmitted to all his posterity, who, in him, both sinned and fell, and who, with him, are naturally, morally, and spiritually, capable of nothing but sin, being only the “ children of wrath,” and “ deserving only God's wrath and damnation;" that the leopard might sooner change his spots, a clean thing be brought out of an unclean, or any contrary be produced from another, than they, who thus “ of their own nature are inclined to nothing but evil,” can exert a good will, power, or affection towards God, or by any principle in themselves, or from any other creature, reach the true knowledge and enjoyment of heavenly things.

14

II. A Sum

II. A Summary of Opinions upon Grace.
1. Antinomians.
12. Pelagians. |3. Semi-Pelagians. 4. Arminians.

5. Semi-Arminians.
That grace means only the free favor of God,

That na- That the grace That grace suffi- Those of them, who come nearest
in providing Christ to pay man's debt of sin and ture, being of God is necessa- cient is given to all to truth, say, That the doctrines of
to obey the law in his stead; that, on these truths in its pristinery, as without itsmen, but that its grace are to be admitted, and that the
being reported to the ear, he has sufficient power, condition, all man cannot do good efficiency depends whole of the salvation of the elect de-
if his will be so inclined, left in his nature to the use of works; but that he upon themselves; pends upon God; that, according to
yield faith, or assent, to them, and thereby right-grace must must come to God that it comes by his own election, God bestows both
fully obtains pardon of sin, and the imputation be to co-o- first, believing in way of rational illu- sufficient, efficient, and even invinci-
of Christ's righteousness; that this benefit, so perate with him of his own mination, or moral ble light to the understanding by his
received, delivers him absolutely from the lawit, in order will and strength, suasion of the mind, Spirit, proposing rational motives and
of God, not only as a covenant of works, but to render the without any grace and not by commu- enforcing their impressions upon the
also as a rule of life; that there is therefore to work due for that purpose, nication of the par- mind, either by or without the word,
be no more conscience of sin under the most from nature because grace is the ticular and special and determining the natural will by
enormous transgressions, these being all swal-more easy ; reward of previous gift of faith, with these, but without imparting new
lowed up in Christ, and the soul brought into a that grace is faith, not faith the new and spiritual and divine faculties; that the sup-
liberty froni legal bondage; that thus sin can do universal, or fruit of grace; that faculties, by the posed agency of the Holy Spirit in
a believer no harm, because it is all pardoned, God would grace, when given, Spirit of God; and changing the heart, in regenerating
nor acts of goodness any service, because he is be partial is imparted to the that grace, not be the mind, in new creating to spiritual
justified without them; that, conseqnently, the and unjust to rational and natural ing the omnipotent, life, (excepting in hyperbole or figure)
inward operation of the Spirit is as well unne-grant it to faculties, in order but only the physi- and in maintaining that life by a real
cessary, as derogatory to the freedom and com-one and deny to enable them to cal, or co-operating, union with Christ, both against and
pleteness of Christ's obedience; and that all the it to another; work out and merit action of God upon above the corrupt life of nature, is
scriptures, which mention this, are either to be and that this salvation; and that man, a man may, enthusiastic and fanatical ; and, in a
referred to the power and life of the written grace works electing grace is an by

the natural word, that the natural or rational fa-
word, or are to be understood figuratively, as only in the impious doctrine, power of the will, culties of the soul, by the Spirit's re-
the change of a man's state only in point of ac- improvement tending to establish receive grace, or,moval of moral impediments, and by
ceptance, and not virtually or inherently as a of man's na- the stoical notion by the same power, his own moral influence, suasion and
new life bestowed with new powers, or what is tural facul- of Fate or Neces- resist, frustrate, and impression, are restored to that ability,
usually signified by imparted grace, sanctified ties.

sity.

reject it, so as even- which acts faith, performs obedience, experience, the internal witness of the Holy Spirit, and the like.

tually to make it no pleases God, and, through Christ, Holy

Tobtains glory.

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Igrace at all.

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