Sivut kuvina
[ocr errors]

to be reprobate ; but to use diligently the means of grace, and ardently to desire, and reverently and humbly to expect the period of more abounding (or fruitful, uberioris) grace. And much less should those persons be terrified by the doctrine of reprobation, who, when they desire to be truly (serio) converted to God, to please him only, and to be delivered from the body of death, cannot yet attain so much as they wish in the path of faith and piety; because the merciful God hath promised that he will not “quench the smoking

flax, nor break the bruised reed.” But this doctrine is justly for a terror to those who, forgetful of God and the Saviour Jesus Christ, have delivered themselves wholly to the cares and carnal pleasures of the world, so long as they are not in earnest (serio) converted unto God.

17. Seeing that we are to judge of the will of God by his word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not indeed by nature, but by the benefit of the gracious covenant, in which they are comprehended along with their parents ; pious parents ought not to doubt of the election and salvation of their children, whom God hath called in infancy out of this life. 2

18. Against those who murmur at this gratuitous election, and the severity of just repro

" Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise, * as they be generally set forth to us in holy scripture: and, in our doings, that will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared to us in the word of God.'-Art. xvii. John vi. 37-40.

• The salvation of the offspring of believers, dying in infancy, is here scripturally stated, and not limited to such as are baptized. Nothing is said of the children of unbelievers dying in

grace of


[ocr errors]


bation, we oppose this word of the apostle : “ man who art thou that repliest against God?” Rom, ix. 20 : and that of our Saviour: “ Is it not " lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?" Matt. xx. 15. We indeed, piously adoring these mysteries, exclaim with the apostle: “ Oh the

depths of the riches both of the wisdom and “ knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his

judgments, and his ways past finding out! For “ who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who “ hath been his counsellor! or who hath first given “ to him, and it shall be recompensed to him

again! For of him, and through him, and to

him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. “ Amen."1 Rom. xi. 33–36.



These eighteen articles concerning predestination are abbreviated by Dan. Tilenus, into the following single article, which is accordingly reported by P. Heylin, and adopted by the author of the Refutation of Calvinism as a fair representation of them.

Art. I. Of divine Predestination.

That God, by an absolute decree, hath elected infancy; and the scripture says nothing. But why might not these Calvinists have as favourable a hope of all infants dying before actual sin, as Anticalvinists can have?

A more appropriate and scriptural conclusion of these 'articles cannot even be imagined.


[ocr errors]

'to salvation a very small number of men, without

any regard to their faith and obedience whatso' ever; and secluded from saving grace all the rest of mankind, and appointed them by the same decree to eternal damnation, without any regard to their infidelity and impenitency.''

I have long been aware that there is “no new “ thing under the sun ;”? and that “ speaking all “ manner of evil falsely,” of the disciples of Christ, is no exception to this rule: and that misrepresenting and slandering men called Calvinists has been very general, ever since the term was invented: but, I own, I never before met with so gross, so barefaced, and inexcusable a misrepresentation 3 as this in all my studies of modern controversy. It can only be equalled by the false testimony borne against Jesus and his apostles, as recorded in holy writ. But is that cause likely to be in itself good, and of God, which needs to be supported by so unhallowed weapons ?



The orthodox doctrine of election and reprobation, having been stated, the Synod rejects the errors of those, 1 Ref. of Calv. 567.

? Ecc. i. 9, 10. * Is not this much too weak a word? Is it less than deliberate falsehood, where the articles say, ' Not only on account of their

unbelief,' (or infidelity, infidelitatem,) but also of all their • other sins,' for the abbreviator to substitute, ' Without any re

gard to their infidelity and impenitency?'-J. S.

1. Who teach, “That the will of God concerning the saving of those who shall believe, and persevere in faith and the obedience of faith, is the whole and entire decree of election unto salvation; and that there is nothing else whatever concerning this decree revealed in the word of God.' For these persons impose upon the more simple, and manifestly contradict the sacred scripture, which testifies, not only that God will save. those who shall believe, but also that he hath chosen certain persons from eternity to whom, in preference to others, (præ aliis) he may, in time, give faith and perseverance : as it is written : “I “ have made known thy name unto the men whom “ thou hast given me.” John xvii. 6. Also, “ As

many as were ordained unto eternal life be“ lieved.” Acts xii. 48., And, “ He hath chosen 6 us before the foundation of the world, that we “should be holy, &c.” Eph. i. 4.

2. Who teach, “That the election of God to eternal life is of different kinds (multiplicem): one, general and indefinite ; another, singular and definite: and again, this either incomplete, revocable, not peremptory, or conditional; or else complete, irrevocable, peremptory, or absolute.' In like manner, 'That one election is to faith, another to salvation; so that there may be an election to justifying faith, without a peremptory election to salvation. This is indeed a figinent (commentum) excogitated by the human brain without the scriptures, corrupting the doctrine of election, and dissolving this golden chain of salvation: “Whom he predestinated, them he also “ called; whom he called, them he also justified ;

“and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Rom. viii. 30.1

3. Who teach, “That the good pleasure and purpose of God, which the scripture mentions in the doctrine of election, does not consist in this, that God before selected certain men above the rest (præ aliis); but in this, that God chose, that from among all possible conditions, (among which are also the works of the law,) or from the order of all things, the act of faith, ignoble in itself, and the imperfect obedience of faith, should be the condition of salvation; and willed (voluerit) graciously to account this instead of perfect obedience, and to judge it worthy of the reward of eternal life. For, by this pernicious error, the good pleasure of God and the merit of Christ are enervated, and men are called away, by unprofitable disputations, from the truth of gratuitous justification and the simplicity of the scriptures; and that of the apostle is accused of falsehood : “ God hath called us with a holy calling; not of “ works, but of his own purpose and grace, which

was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began.” 2 Tim. i. 9.2

! • They be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit working in due season; they through grace obey the calling; they be justified freely; they be made children of God by . adoption ; they be made like the image of the only begotten • Son Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works; and • at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.' -Art. xvii.

• We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit • of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our • own works or deservings.'-Art. xi. Faith is the only hand which putteth on Christ unto justification; and Christ the

[ocr errors]
« EdellinenJatka »