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the Bishops and other clergy of the Church of England, were doctrinal Calvinists, for more than half a century after the articles were formed. And we have found a modern Episcopal clergyman asserting, on undeniable evidence, that “ Calvin's Institu* tions were read and studied, in both the Uni“ versities, by every student in divinity, for a con" siderable portion of a century; nay, that by a “ Convocation held at Oxford, that Book was re
commended to the general study of the nation.”
All the Delegates from the Church of England to the Synod of Dort, among whom were Bishop Carleton, Bishop Hall, and Bishop Davenant, formally subscribed to the five Calvinistic Articles drawn up and adopted by that venerable Synod. On their return home, they were attacked by a certain writer, and charged with having given countenance to error, and also with having departed from the public standards of their own Church. Against this attack they thought proper to defend themselves, and accordingly wrote a Joint Attestation, which contains the following passage.
66 Whatsoever there was assented unto, and subscribed " by us, concerning the five articles, either in the
joint synodical judgment, or in our particular collegiate suffrage, is not only warrantable by the
holy Scriptures, but also conformable to the re“ ceived doctrine of our said venerable Mother;
are ready to maintain and justify “ agaivst all gainsayers*."
* See their Foint Attestation.
66 which we
Again, Bishop Hall, in a work of his own, ad. dressing some who had charged him and other Bishops of his day, with entertaining Arminian sen.. timents as to the doctrine of Election, thus indignantly replies to the charge_“You add, “ Elec“ tion upon faith foreseen.” What! nothing but
gross untruths ? Is this the doctrine of the Bi.
shops of England? Have they not strongly con“ futed it, in Papists and Arminians* ? Have they
not CRIED IT DOWN TO THE LOWEST PIT OF “ HELLT 2
The same pious Prelate himself tells us, that, after his return from the Synod of Dort, where he had been an advocate of Calvinistic doctrine, and a warm opponent of Arminianism, he was distressed to find that heresy gaining ground in England. “ Not many years," says he, “ after settling
at home, it grieved my soul to see our own “ Church begin to sicken of the same disease, " which we had endeavoured to cure in our neigh
It seems, then, that Bishop Hall was not only a Caluin. ist himself; but that he considered the body of English Bi. shops, until his time, as having been Calvinists also. But perhaps Dr. Bowden and Mr. How understand this matter, better than the good Bishop !
† Defence of the Humble Remonstrance. Works. Vol. III. 246.
# Some Specialities of the Life of Joseph Hall, Bishop of Norwich, written by himself- Prefixed to the 3d. vol. of his Works.
If all this be not conclusive testimony, that the Thirty-nine Articles, which Mr. How has recently subscribed, are Calvinistic; that the Reformers were Calvinistic; and that the great body of the English Bishops and other Clergy, were Calvinistic until the time of Archbishop Laud, then I know not what evidence can be called conclusive. And yet, Mr. How, with the highest praises of those Articles, and Reformers, and Prelates, and Clergy, in his mouth, does not scruple to speak of Calvin. ism in language which could scarcely be more contemptuous, or more abhorrent, if it were acknowledged to be a system of the most undisguised blasphemy! I am happy that it is not incumbent on me, either to account for this fact, or to frame an apology for it.
But you will, perhaps, ask, are there no difficulties to be encountered in embracing that system of evangelical truth, which is usually styled Calvinism? It ought not to be disguised that there are in this system real difficulties, which, probably, no human wisdom will ever be able to solve. But are the difficulties which belong to the system of Arminianism, either fewer in number, or less in magnitude? Instead of this, they are more numerous, and more serious ; more contradictory to reason, more inconsistent with the character of God, and more directly opposed both to the letter and the spirit of his word. I rest in the Calvinistic system, with a confidence daily increasing, not only because the more I examine it, the more clearly it
appears to me to be taught in the Holy Scriptures, but also because, the more frequently and the more carefully I compare the amount of the difficulties, on both sides, the more heavily they seem to me to press against the Arminian doctrine.
It is easy and popular to object, that Calvinism has a tendency to cut the nerves of all spiritual exertion ; that, if we are elected, there is no need of exertion, and if not elected, it will be in vain. But this objection lies with quite as much force against the Arminian hypothesis. Dr. Bowden, and Mr. How, and all Arminians, though they reject the doctrine of Election, explicitly grant that, while some will, in fact, be saved, others will, in fact, as certainly perish. Now it is perfectly plain that this position is just as liable to the abuse above stated, as the Calvinistic doctrine. For a man may say, 66 I shall either be saved, or I shall not .
If I am to be saved, no anxiety about it is necessary; 6 and if I am to perish, all anxiety about it will be “ useless." Would these gentlemen consider this objection as a valid one against their creed? I pre.
But it has no more validity against ours. Another objection is equally common and popular. It is said, if none but the elect will be saved, how can God be considered as sincere in making the offers of mercy to all? The Arminian is just as much bound to answer this question as the Calvinist. He grants that all men will not, in fact, be saved; he grants, moreover, that God foreknew this from eternity; and that he not only foreknew the
general fact; but also the particular persons who will, and who will not, partake of salvation. How, then, we may ask the Arminian, is God sincere, on his plan, in urging and entreating all to accept of mercy? Again, it has been frequently asked, “ If
none but the elect will be saved, is not God a
partial master, and a respecter of persons ?” But it may be quite as plausibly and confidently asked, “ How can we reconcile it with the impar- tiality and the benevolence of God to save only a
part of mankind ?" If salvation be his work, then, why does he not save all? Why does he make a distinction ? And if it be not his work, then men save themselves. Will even Mr. How, with all his inveteracy against Calvinism, go this length ?
But while all the objections which our Arminian brethren urge against Calvinism, lie with full as much force against their own system ; there are others, of a still more serious nature, to which that system is liable, and which, if I were compelled to admit, would plunge me into darkness and despair.
Yes, mny brethren, if I could bring myself to believe, that the infinite and eternal God has laid no plan in the kingdom of his grace, but has left all to be decided by chance, or accident, not knowing the end from the beginning-If I could believe that the purposes of Jehovah, instead of being eternal, are all formed in time; and instead of being immutable, are all liable to be altered by the changing will of his creatures--If I could suppose that,