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will, to feel that they are responsible to God for their conduct. No fatal necessity, no decree of God, which does not imply invincible compulsion, or deprive men of their natural powers and faculties, or render them wicked by some positive effect; can prevent them from doing good or evil by their own free choice, or conscience from performing her office. And, in almost all the actions of life, the fate, or the decree, being wholly unknown, cannot be the motive of man's conduct, and therefore can be no excuse for it, if bad. I am indeed ready to concede, that Justin would have reasoned nearly in the same way against Christian predestination ; but in that case he would have argued still more illogically. Yet at last the question is, not whether we can prove or disprove the doctrine, by our reasonings, or at least think we can ; but whether it forms a part of “the “whole counsel of God," made known to us in the holy scriptures.]
Do you see how God speaks, and what laws he lays down ? Hear also how Fate speaks, and how it lays down contrary laws; and learn · how the former are declared by a Divine Spirit, 'but the latter by a wicked demon, and a savage 'beast. God has said, “ If ye be willing and obedi
ent,” making us masters of virtue and wickedness, ' and placing them within our own power. But ' what does the other say? That it is impossible 'to avoid what is decreed by Fate, whether we 'will or not. God says, “ If ye be willing ye shall * eat the good of the land ;” but Fate says, Although we be willing, unless it shall be permitted
us, this will is of no use. God says, If ye
will ' not obey my words, a sword shall devour you : * Fate says, Although we be not willing, if it shall 'be granted us, we are certainly saved. Does ' not Fate say this ? What then can be clearer ' than this opposition? What can be more evi
dent than this war which the diabolical teachers of wickedness have thus shamelessly declared
against the divine oracles? But, as I have said, * that demons and men like demons (I mean the 'Greeks) should believe these things is no won
der ; but that you, who were thus enjoying the 'divine and saving instruction, should despise ‘ these things and adopt those absurdities which * destroy the soul, this is of all things the most grievous.''
Is then heathen fate, and the predetermination of the infinitely wise, just, true, and merciful God, to be confounded by the ministers of Christianity? —The Latin word fatum signifies spoken ; and some persons have attempted to shew that it means the mandate or decree of the true God: but here Chrysostom is right. Fate, in this view, was the thing spoken by a wicked demon; and, as such, .contrary to the word of God. Predestination, predetermination, decree, counsel, purpose, prediction, appointment, are, expressly and frequently, in scripture, spoken of in respect of the one living and true God; whatever interpretation may be put on the words : and his purposes and decrees cannot be contrary to his commands and promises. -When the things predetermined shall all be accomplished, the consistency will be manifested, to
Ref. 458, 459, from Chrysostom.
the full satisfaction of all holy intelligences, and to the utter confusion and silencing of all the enemies of God.— Fate says, Although we be willing, * &c.' Christian predestination says no such thing. The decree, especially, implies the purpose of producing by special grace a willing mind to repent, and believe the gospel : they through grace obey 'the calling.' Now all who are willing to obey the calling' are made welcome. “ Him that “cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."Chrysostom certainly confounded Christian predestination with heathen fate; and, like many others in every age, in this instance “ spake evil of those things which he understood not:" but I am far from imputing bad motives to him. He was a better orator than a theologian, and a mere novice in this controversy. * Basnage blames Chrysos' tom for this one thing ; for allowing too much 'to human power, and human liberty, in the per'formance of religious actions. The charge is so 'far just enough, that John Chrysostom, to be
sure, did not talk on these subjects like John * Calvin, and the rest of the Christian fatalists.' Dr. Jortin.—This minister of our established church either knew, or ought to have known, that Chrysostom's language was equally contrary to that of those articles which he had repeatedly subscribed, as in the sight of God; and that liturgy which he read continually in the solemn worship of God. So learned a man might have known, (if he had searched the scriptures, as accurately as he did the classics,) that Christian predestination, the purpose and decree of infinite wisdom, justice, and
goodness, is a widely different thing from fatalism. And he should have considered, that a repartee is no argument; and highly improper to be introduced on an important religious topic.
ON THE REMAINING CHAPTERS OF THE REFUTATION.
ON THE FIFTH CHAPTER OF THE REFUTATION, CONSISTING OF QUOTATIONS FROM THE FATHERS.
I have already stated an opinion concerning the authority of the ancient fathers in general ;) and shall here merely subjoin a few quotations from learned writers not Calvinists, respecting some individuals among them, with a few remarks on them severally.
JUSTIN MARTYR. * Without detracting from * the merits of this worthy man, we ought to ‘acknowledge, what truth and plain matter of ' fact extort from us, that he, and the rest of the fathers, are poor and insufficient guides in things
of judgment and criticism, and in the interpre‘tation of the scriptures; and sometimes in points ' of morality also, and of doctrine, as Dallé, Whitby, Barbeyrac, and others have fully shewed. * The men themselves usually deserve much respect, and their writings are highly useful on several accounts : but it is better to defer too ' little than too much to their decision; and to 'the authority of Antiquity, that hand-maid to 'scripture, as she is called. She is like Briareus,
I See B. II. c. iv. $ 1.