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theology. This view I give not rashly, nor without foundation ; it is more than justified by the quotations that I bring forward. Our faith is characterized as a blasphemous heresy : we employ no epithet, but we are not afraid to have it contrasted with Calvinistic orthodoxy.
Character of God. “Predestination is the everlasting purpose of God; whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel, secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour."From the 17th Article of the Church of England.
"By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death. These angels and men, thus predestined and fore-ordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.”
"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."
"As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous judge, for former sins doth blind and harden, from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts, but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had, and exposeth them to such objects as their conception makes occasion of sin ; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan ; whereby it cometh to pass, that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.”_Westminster Confession of Faith, ch. iii, $ 3, 4, 7; ch. v, $ 6.
"God, in his providence, permitted some angels wilfully and irrecoverably to fall into sin and damnation. limiting and ordering that and all their sins to his own glory; and established the rest in holimes and happiness, employing them all, at his pleasure, in the admi
cions of his power, wisdom, and justice.”- Larger Catechism,
“I grant, indeed,” says Calvin, " that all the children of Adam fell, by the will of God, into that misery of state whereby they be now bound; and this is it that I said at the beginning, that at length we must alway return to the determination of the will of God, the cause whereof is hidden in himself. The angels which stood fast in their uprightness, Paul calleth the elect. If their steadfastness was grounded on the good pleasure of God, the falling away of the others proveth that they were forsaken ; of which thing there can be no other cause alleged than reprobation, which is hidden in the secret counsel of God.”—Inst, note, b. iii, ch. 23, $ 4.
“ Predestination, whereby God adopteth some into the hope of life, and adjudgeth some to eternal death, no man, that would be accounted godly, dare deny.” “Predestination we call the eternal decree of God: he had it determined with himself what he willed to become of every man. For all are not created to like estate ; but to some eternal life, and to some eternal damnation, is fore-appointed. Therefore every man is created to one or the other end. So we say he is predestinated to life or to death.”—Ibid. b. iii, ch. 21, § 5.
“ The Scripture crieth out that all men were in the person of one man made bound to eternal death. Since this cannot be imputed to nature, it is plain it proceeded from the wondrous counsel of God. But it is too much absurdity that these, the good patrons of the righteousness of God, do so stumble at a straw and leap over beams. Again I ask, how came it that the fall of Adam did wrap up in eternal death so many nations, with their children, being infants, without remedy, but because it so pleased God ? Here their tongues, which are otherwise so prattling, must be dumb. It is a terrible decree, I grant ; yet no man shall be able to deny but that God foreknew what end man should have ere he created him, and therefore foreknew because he had so ordained by his decree.”—Ibid. b. ïïi, ch. 23, 7.
These quotations, did space permit, or the patience of my readers, might be multiplied to a much greater extent ; and might do something, perhaps, to illustrate the character of the persecutor of Servetus. His actions, as a man, were not inconsistent with his ideas of God as a theologian.
“Who can fully describe,” asks Boston, “ the wrath of an angry God ? None can do it.” “Wrath,” he says, “ is a fire in the affections of man, tormenting the man himself; but there is no perturbation in God. His wrath does not in the least mar that infinite repose which he hath in himself.” Then, speaking of man generally,
he says, “There is a wrath in the heart of God against him; there is a wrath in the word of God against him; there is a wrath in the hand of God against him.” We have here his statement of wrath in God as an agent; and, through pages of gloomiest description, he makes man its unsheltered object. “There is a wrath on his body. It is a piece of accursed clay, which wrath is sinking into, by virtue of the first covenant. There is a wrath on the natural man's enjoyments. Wrath is on all he has : on the bread he eats, the liquor he drinks, and the clothes he wears.”—Boston's Fourfold State.
Character and Condition of Man. "With such bondage of sin then as will is detained, it cannot move itself to goodness, much less apply itself.”—Calvin Inst., b. ii, ch. 3, § 5, London Edition, 634.
“Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others, yet because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith, nor are done in a right manner, according to the word, nor to a right end, the glory of God, they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God : and yet their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing unto God.”—Westminster Confession of Faith, ch. xvi. $ 7.
“Man in his depraved state is under an utter inability to do anything truly good.”—Boston.
The same doctrine is taught more leniently in the 13th article of the Church of England, so that amongst the theologians, "the natural man," as they call him, is in a sad condition, for act as he will he cannot but sin : if he does good works, he commits sin, and if he neglects them he is guilty of still greater sins. Quotations in the spirit of those already adduced might be swelled into volumes from the vast treasures of Calvinistic divinity. But I shall close these by an extract from the author I have before mentioned and quoted from, an author, as I have said, highly popular and largely circulated; and
18 a passage of his on Christ and the last judgment. —"The judge will pronounce the sentence of damnation on the ungodly mul
Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, · Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the de angels :' . .
........ The Lamb of God shall roar as a lion inst them; he shall excommunicate and cast them out of his pre
for ever, by a sentence from the throne, saying, Depart from
me, ye cursed.' He shall adjudge them to everlasting fire, and to the society of devils for evermore. And this sentence also we suppose, will be pronounced with an audible voice by the man Christ. And all the saints shall cry, 'Hallelujah! true and righteous are his judgments !' None were so compassionate as the saints when on earth, during the time of God's patience : but now that time is at an end; their compassion for the ungodly is swallowed up in joy in the Mediator's glory, and his executing of just judgment, by which his enemies are made his footstool. Though when on earth the righteous man wept in secret places for their pride, and because they would not hear, yet he shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance ; he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked (Ps. lviii. 10). No pity shall then be shown them from their nearest relations. The godly wife shall applaud the justice of the judge in the condemnation of her ungodly husband : the godly husband shall say Amen to the condemnation of her who lay in his bosom; the godly parent shall say Hallelujah at the passing of the sentence against their ungodly child; and the godly child shall, from the bottom of his heart, ap. prove the condemnation of his wicked parents,—the father who begat him, and the mother who bore him. The sentence is just, they are judged according to their work.”—Rev. xx. 12.
It were surely preferable to labour under the blindest mistakes concerning the essence of God, or the person of Christ, than be guilty of believing such atrocious representations as these of their moral character. The zealous may scout us if they choose, as infidels ; but if Calvinism and Christianity were identical, infidelity would be virtue, it would be but the righteous rebellion of human nature against creeds, in vindication of the truth of its own affections, and the rectitude of its God.