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those seasons, love the one more than he loves the other. If it be said that he loves them because he designs to render them holy, and save them; it is obvious to reply, he had these designs when they were unrenewed; and yet he had, then, no more complacency in them, than in any other persons of the same moral character, not comprehended in his designs of salvation. Heb. vi. 4, 5, 6. It is impossible for those, who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and have been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance. LUTHER tells us, that these words relate to real saints, and not, as some have supposed, to awakened sinners, partially reformed. Between these two opinions we make no decision; but would ask how this sense of the text coincides with the doctrine under consideration? The apostle, if speaking to renewed persons, tells them what would be the consequence should they fall away. It would be impossible to renew them again again to repentance. This is LUTHER'S explanation of the passage: but he still believes, that David did fall away, and that every regenerate person frequently falls away, and yet is renewed again to repentance. How is this? Somebody must be wrong. Will it be said, that by falling away, the apostle did not mean simply falling away, however complete, but an irrecoverable falling away? Then the text will amount precisely to this; "Those, who fall irre
coverably, it is impossible to recover;" which would be true indeed, but not much in the apostle's way of writing. Did any person need to be informed, that if he remained impenitent till death, he could not be renewed, by repentance, before death? Pray what defection was it, against which these Hebrews were so solemnly warned? Did the apostle mean to convey this sentíment; "If you are once excluded from the covenant of grace, it will be impossible to introduce you into it again"? How could they be excluded from this covenant? Not in consequence of total apostasy, according to LUTHER's doctrine; for David is supposed, by him, to have been in the same moral state, during his fall, as Paul, or John before his conversion. If, therefore, apostasy could have excluded him, he would have been excluded.
LUTHER very justly observes, that "it is the method of inspiration, to shew saints, on the one hand, the crown of righteousness which awaits the faithful; on the other, the certain ruin which will overtake them, if they turn again to folly." But do not they turn again to folly, who lose every particle of holiness, and become perfectly sinful? Yet he does not suppose, that certain ruin awaits such. Nay, he supposes that many such will certainly be saved. We are told again, that "the doctrine of perseverance ought never to be viewed in such a light, as to render persevering diligence in well doing less necessary, than it would be, if the doctrine were not true." We are by no means disposed to controvert this: But does not
what LUTHER would have us consider as the doctrine of perseverance render this less necessary, than it would be, if the doctrine were not true? The Arminian says, "If there is in myself nothing of holiness, I am in a state of condemnation." The Calvinist says the same. Whereas the doctrine in question asserts, that David, when absolutely destitute of holiness, was, nevertheless, in the covenant of grace; and, of course, that a person's finding in himself, at present, no exertion nor principle of piety, proves nothing a gainst his being in the covenant of grace, nothing against his being an heir of glory. The Calvinist tells a professor, "If you entirely lose holiness, you are lost." The abetter of the new doctrine tells him, or may tell
him, consistently with his principles, "Every believer frequently becomes divested of all his holiness; and therefore your finding yourself destitute of holiness, at present, is no proof of your being unregenerate." The one makes perseverance in well doing necessary to salvation; the other does not.
The writer assures the public, that the above remarks are by no means intended directly or indirectly to operate against the doctrine of saints' perseverance, but against an attempt to defend that doctrine on grounds, that he cannot but consider as unscriptural. J. C.
"Ir has been often suggested, that the Reformers themselves were at variance on the most important doctrines of the gospel; and that Luther and Calvin differed greatly in the fundamental articles of their creed. Whereas, except in the matter of Christ's presence in the Eucharist, all the eminent men among the reformers of that day, concurred in the same fundamental truths. As I have been charmed myself (says Dr. Haweis) with the plainness and sim
See this doctrine more particu larly considered by a writer in the Panoplist for December last, page 299.
LUTHER'S LETTER TO ERASMUS.
To the life of Luther, already published, it is thought proper to subjoin the following extract of his letter to Erasmus, which is here introduced, with some of the remarks which accompany it in Dr. Haweis' Church History.
plicity of the testimony of Lu ther, exhibited in the following extract, I have produced it as the most conclusive proof of the sentiments of this great reformer.
"It is among our deepest miseries, and the proof of our sad declensions, that we, of latter times, have departed from "the faith once delivered unto the saints;" revived in that day in all its primitive glory and, thanks be to God, after long obscurity, again rising in its bright
ness in the present generation. May its great Revealer manifest his own almighty influence, and cause the word of truth to run and have free course, and be glorified throughout the world. "Erasmus had attacked Luther on the doctrines of predestination and grace; and according to the present cant of objectors, he urged, "What can be more useless than to publish this paradox to the world? namely, that whatever we do, is done, not by virtue of our own free will, but in a way of necessity, &c. What a wide gap does the publication of this tenet open among men, for the commission of all ungodliness? What wicked person will reform his life? Who will dare to believe himself a favourite of Heaven? Who will fight against his own corrupt inclinations? Therefore, where is either the need or the utility of spreading these notions from whence so many evils seem to flow?"
"To this Luther triumphantly replies, "If, my Erasmus, you consider these paradoxes (as you term them) to be no more than the inventions of men, why are you so extraordinarily heated on the occasion? In that case your arguments affect not me; for there is no person now living in the world, who is a more avowed enemy to the doctrines of men than myself.
But, if you believe the doctrines in debate between us to be, (as indeed they are) the doctrines of God; you must have bid adieu to all sense of shame and decency, thus to oppose them. I will not ask, whither is the modesty of Erasmus fled? but, which is much more important, where,
alas! are your fear and revere ence of the Deity, when you roundly declare, that this branch of truth, which he has revealed from heaven, is at best useless, and unnecessary to be known? What! shall the glorious Creator be taught by you his creature, what is fit to be preached, and what to be suppressed? Is the adorable God so very defective in wisdom, and prudence, as not to know, till you instruct him, what would be useful and what pernicious? Or could not HE, whose understanding is infinite, foresee, previous to his revela, tion of this doctrine, what would be the consequences of his re vealing it, till those consequences were pointed out by you? You cannot, you dare not, say this. If then it was the divine plea sure to make known these things in his word; and to bid his messengers publish them abroad, and to leave the consequences of their so doing to the wisdom and providence of him in whose name they speak, and whose messages they declare; who art thou, O Erasmus, that thou shouldest reply against God, and say to the Almighty, what doest thou? St. Paul, discoursing of God, declared peremptorily, whom he will he hardeneth: and again, God willing to shew his wrath, &c. And the apostle did not write this to have it stifled among a few persons, and buried in a corner; but wrote it to the Christians at Rome: which was, in effect, bringing this doc. trine upon the stage of the whole world; stamping an universal imprimatur upon it: and publishing it to believers at large, throughout the earth. What can sound harsher in the un
circumcised ears of carnal men, than those words of Christ, many are called, but few are chosen? and elsewhere, I know whom I have chosen. Now these, and similar assertions of Christ and his apostles, are the very posi tions which you, O Erasmus, Brand as useless and hurtful. You object, if these things are so, who will amend his life? I an swer, without the Holy Ghost no man can amend his life to purpose. Reformation is but var nished hypocrisy, unless it pro ceed from grace. The elect and truly pious are amended by the Spirit of God: and those of mankind, who are not amended by him, will perish. You ask moreover, who will dare to believe himself a favourite of Hea, ven? I answer, it is not in a man's own power to believe himself such, upon just grounds, till he is enabled from above. But the elect shall be so enabled: they shall be enabled to believe themselves to be what indeed they are. As for the rest, who are not enducd with faith, they shall perish; raging and blaspheming, as you do now. But, say you, these doctrines open a door to ungodliness. I answer, whatever door they may open to the impious and profane, yet they open a door of righteous ness to the elect and holy, and shew them the way to heaven, and the path of access unto God. Yet you would have us abstain from the mention of these grand doctrines, and leave our people' in the dark, as to their election of God. The consequence of which would be, that every man would bolster himself up with a delusive hope of a share in that salvation, which is supposed to
lie open to all: and thus genuine humility, and the practical fear of God, would be kicked out of doors. This would be a pretty way indeed of stopping up the gap Erasmus complains of! Instead of closing up the door of licentiousness, as is falsely pretended, it would be in fact opening a gulph into the nether. most hell. Still you urge, where is either the necessity or utility of preaching predestina tion? God himself teaches it, and commands us to teach it: and that is answer enough. We are not to arraign the Deity, and bring the motives of his will to the test of human scrutiny, but simply to revere both him and it. He who alone is all-wise and alljust, can in reality (however things appear to us) do wrong to no man; neither can he do any thing unwisely or rashly. And this consideration will suffice to silence all objections of truly religious persons. However, let us, for argument's sake, go a step farther. I will venture to assign, over and above, two very important reasons why these doctrines should be publicly taught: 1st. For the humiliation of our pride, and the manifestation of divine grace. God hath assuredly promised his favours to the truly humble. By the truly humble, I mean those who are endued with repentance," and despair of saving themselves: for a man can never be said to be truly penitent and humble, till he is made to know that his salvation is not suspended, in any measure whatever, on his own strength, machinations, endeavours, free will, or works: but entirely depends on the free pleasure, purpose, determina
sarily liable to damnation. Now these are some of the unseen things whereof faith is the evi, dence. Whereas, was it in my power to comprehend them, or clearly to make out how God is both inviolably just, and infinitely
tion, and efficiency of another, even of God alone. Whilst a man is persuaded that he has it in his own power to contribute any thing, be it ever so little, to his own salvation, he remains in carnal confidence: he is not a self despairer, and therefore he is not duly humbled before God; so far from it, that he hopes some favourable juncture or opportunity will offer, when he may be able to lend an helping hand to the business of his salvation. On the contrary, whoever is truly convinced that the whole work depends singly and absolutely on the will of God, who alone is the author and finisher of salvation, such a person despairs of self-assistance: he renounces his own will and his own strength: he waits and prays for the operation of God: nor waits and prays in vain. For the elect's sake therefore, these doctrines are to be preached: that the chosen of God, being humbled by the knowledge of his truths; self emptied and sunk into nothing as it were in his presence, may be saved in Christ, with eternal glory. This then is one inducement to the publication of the doctrine; that the penitent may be made acquainted with the promise of grace, and plead it in prayer to God, and receive it as their own. 2d. The nature of the Chris-. tian faith requires it. Faith, has to do with things not seen. And this is one of the highest degrees of faith, stedfastly to believe that God is infinitely merciful, though he saves (comparatively) but few, and condemns so many ; and that he is strictly just, though of his own will he makes such numbers of mankind neces
merciful, notwithstanding the display of wrath, and seeming inequality in his dispensations, respecting the reprobate, faith would have little or nothing to do. But now since these matters cannot be adequately comprehended by us, in the present state of imperfection, there is room for the exercise of faith. The truths, therefore, respecting predestination in all its branches should be taught and published. They, no less than the other mysteries of Christian doctrine, being proper objects of faith, on the part of God's people."
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM DR. DODDRIDGE, ΤΟ MR. PEARSALL, OF TAUNTON, CONT TAINING A REMARKABLE RELATION.
"THERE was a German, who laid himself out for the conversion of the Jews, lately in London, one of the most surprising linguists in the world: he formed a resolution, when but five years of age, of learning the languages, in use amongst the Jews, without any reason that could be assigned; so that the. pure Hebrew, the Rabbinical, the lingua Judaica, which differs from both, and almost all the modern languages of the then European nations, were as familiar to him as his own native tongue. With this furniture,