Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of truth; but if he have such a determination, though his creed is right, his faith is wrong: especially if it lead him to despise others who think differently, and glory over them as being confuted. On the other hand, he may meet with that which contradicts his sentiments, he may reject it with abhorrence, and in so doing think his heart very much established with grace, so as not to be carried away with every wind of doctrine; and yet all may amount to nothing but a being wise in his own eyes.

We are never so safe as when we go about these matters with prayer, fear, and trembling. The subject here discussed is not a mere matter of speculation. It enters deeply into our spiritual concerns, relating both to this life, and that to come. It is a matter, therefore, that is well worthy of earnest prayer, and of serious and impartial attention. If truth is but sought in this manner, it will be found. The meek he will guide in judgment, the meek he will teach

his way.

A Reply

TO THE

OBSERVATIONS OF PHILANTHROPOS.

IT

T may appear somewhat extraordinary that the same sentiments should be liable to opposition from two gentleman of such contrary principles as Mr. BUTTON and PHILANTHROPOS. It may be less surprizing, however, when it is considered, that there are certain points in which the most opposite extremes are known to meet. An attentive reader will perceive a great affinity in the tendency of their rea. sonings on various subjects. If I am not greatly mistaken, they both particularly agree in denying faith in Christ to be a duty required by the moral law, and in excusing the sinner, unless grace is bestowed upon him, in his non-compliance with every thing spiritually good.

As to the spirit of PHILANTHROPOS, he has treated me with candour and respect. Though I quite disapprove of many of his sentiments; and though I think he has written in some places in a manner bordering on irreverence;* yet, so far as it concerns

* P. 88, 92, 93.

myself, what he has advanced has never, that I remember, “ given me a moment's pain.” He has examined what I advanced with freedom. I

respect. him for so doing. I can, with the less fear of offence, use a like freedom in return.

Complaint is made of the use of the terms Arminian, Calvinist, &c. (p. 52-56.) When I have used the former of these terms, I am not conscious of ever having used it as "a term of reproach.” As to calling P--s, or any other person an Arminian, I never desire to affix a name to an honest man by which he would not call himself. For my own part, though I never mean to set up any man as a standard of faith; and though in some things I think differently from Calvin: yet, as I agree with him in the main, particularly in the leading sentiments advanced in the former treatise; and as it served to avoid unnecessary circumlocution; I have used the term Calvinist, and have no objection to being so called by others. Whether P. is an Arminian or not, is of very little account with me; it is not very difficult, however, to discern the leading features of his scheme in the works of those who have chosen to be called by that name.

But complaint is farther made of the Arminian divines being misrepresented. (52,-) Though I have no better an opinion of Arminius's doctrine of the Spirit's work, as given us by P. (53.) than I had before; and though I believe it would be no difficult matter to prove that the generality of Arminian divines have carried matters farther than Arminius

himself did, as P. seems in part to admit;* yet I acknowledge what I said on that subject, in the passage referred to, was too strong, though at the time I wrote I was not aware of it.

To what is said in p. 10, I have no material objection. What I meant was merely to disown that any sinner was encouraged by the gospel to hope for eternal life, without returning home to God by Jesus Christ. The omission of part of Isai. lv. 7. as also the mistake respecting the prayer of the publican, were altogether without design.

There are some remarks which I think are made merely for want of considering that those with whom I was in debate were professed Calvinists. Thus, in p. 30, I am corrected for taking that for granted which should have been proved. Had the controversy been with P. or those of his sentiments, the observation had been just; or had I called any sen

If I am not misinformed, the remonstrants, in their apology, maintained, that “ that ought not to be commanded which is wrought in us; and cannot be wrought in us which is command. cd-that he foolishly commandeth that to be done of others, who will work in them what he commandeth.” Cap. 9. p. 105. And to the same purpose Episcopius, " That it is a most absurd tħing po affirm, that God either effects by his power, or procureth by bis wisdom, that the elect should do those things that he requireth of them.” Disp. pri. 8. Thes. 7.-These sentiments, if I understand them, amount to the same thing as THE NECESSITY OF THE SPIRIT OF GOU TO ENABLE US TO DO OUR DUTY." The above passages are taken from Dr. Owe:i's Display of Arminianism, ch. X.

DIYYING

timent, which was professedly a subject in debate, a “gospel doctrine,” as P. has done, (38) perhaps the complaint had been made with greater propriety:

I need not have any dispute with P. concerning the definition of faith: for though he tells his correspondent, that I “ do not suppose faith to include in it confidence;" yet he knows I all along maintain confidence, or trust, to be incumbent on men in general. God ought, no doubt, to be trusted or confided in for the fulfilment of whatever he has promised, be that what it may. I acknowledged before, that "faith in Christ, as generally used in the New Testament, was to be taken in a large sense; as including not only the belief of the truth, but the actual outgoing of the soul towards Christ in a way of dependence upon him.' (p. 23.) My views of trust, or confidence, will be seen more fully in the third section of this Reply

By what I said of believing the gospel report, and of this report extending not only to general truths, but, to the particular description of their intrinsic nature; I certainly did not mean, as P. has understood me," that all poor sinners who are brought to the enjoyment of salvation, must have the very same ideas of whatever God hath reported concerning Christ, and his salvation, and this to the very same extent." (17.) My intention was to prove, that a real belief of the gospel-report carried in it a belief of its glory and importance; and so included more than it was frequently supposed to do. Many persons observing that people would avow the general

« AnteriorContinuar »