Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

fended by controversy. We have considered them well, and love them cordially. As it has been said respecting the seventeenth Article, so I would also say concerning the Homilies: Let them but speak without comment, and we are ready to abide by their decision.

'The peculiar opinions of Calvin are not found'ed in the written word of God, or reconcilable to our Articles, Liturgy, and Homilies.'1

The peculiar opinions of Calvin (such as were peculiar to him exclusively,) cannot be founded in the word of God, or found in the writings of others, public or private, except his avowed disciples: but the doctrine of personal election to eternal life, including the perseverance of all true believers; as well as those of original sin, regeneration, justification by faith, salvation by grace, good works the fruit and evidence of faith; these, as held by him, I am confident have been proved to be the doctrines of scripture, and of our ar'ticles, liturgy, and homilies.' What peculiar opinions of Calvin are intended might, with advantage to perspicuity, have been here explicitly stated by his Lordship.

SECTION. IV.

Concluding Remarks.

"It has been observed, that there are Christians 'who assert that Adam's nature was not corrupted by the fall, and who admit no degree of moral

' Ref. 279.

[ocr errors]

incapacity in the present race of men; and that, on the contrary, there are others, who assert that the sin of Adam produced so complete a change in his own nature, and in that of all his posterity, that God's rational creatures, who were 'made but a little lower than the angels, are now

a mere mass of corruption and wickedness, susceptible of no amendment or correction from 'their own voluntary efforts. But the church of England, keeping clear of both extremes, declares, that the nature of Adam was greatly impaired and corrupted by his transgression of 'the divine command, and that he transmitted

6

this weak and depraved nature to every indi'vidual of his descendents; but it does not say 'that the moral powers of men are entirely de'stroyed, or that their corrupt dispositions are totally incorrigible; it allows the perverseness ' of the will, and the violence of the passions, but it does not discourage every laudable and vir'tuous exertion, by representing men as utterly 'incapable of checking their inclination to evil, 'or of putting any degree of restraint upon their 'sinful lusts.'1

[ocr errors]

"There are Christians, &c. Men who profess ' and call themselves Christians,' and who have been baptized, assert the tenet here stated; but I must use Dr. Young's words, and call them 'bap'tized infidels:' for to disbelieve every peculiar doctrine of revelation, and yet to profess to believe the Bible, is real infidelity in the assumed garb of transparent hypocrisy. 'Genuine Christianity can never be grafted on any other stock than the

'Ref. 280, 281.

[ocr errors]

apostacy of man. The design to reinstate beings 'who have not fallen; to propose a restoration ' without a previous loss; a cure where there was 'no radical disease; is altogether an incongruity, 'which would seem too palpable to require confutation, did we not so frequently see the doc'trine of redemption maintained by those, who ' deny that man was in a state to require redemp'tion. But would Christ have been sent, "to preach deliverance to the captive," if there had 'been no captivity? and the "opening of the prison to them that were bound," had there been 'no prison had men been in no bondage?'1 The rest of the subject, referred to in this quotation, has been fully considered in the remarks on the first chapter of the Refutation.2 It would be difficult to find stronger language in any writer, concerning human depravity, than in our Homilies. ، Of ourselves we be crab-trees, that can

bring forth no apples. We be of ourselves of 'such earth, as can but bring forth weeds, nettles, brambles, briers, cockle, and darnel. Our fruits be declared in the fifth chapter of Galatians.3 We have neither faith, charity, hope, patience, nor any thing that is good in us; and 'therefore these virtues be called there," the

[ocr errors]

fruits of the Holy Ghost;" not the fruits of man.' 'Hitherto we have heard, what we are of our'selves; very sinful, wretched and damnable.

1

Mrs. H. More's Practical Piety.

2 Book 1. chap. i. sect. 1. On original sin: sect. 2. Incorrigible depravity : sect. 5. Whether some degree of righteousness remains in fallen man.

3 Gal. v. 19-21.

Gal. v. 22, 23.

[ocr errors]

Again we have heard, how that of ourselves,

' and by ourselves, we are not able either to think

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

' a good thought, or work a good deed: so that we can find in ourselves no hope of salvation, but rather whatsoever maketh for our destruction. Now, how can they be susceptible of ' amendment or correction from their own volun'tary efforts,' who are not able of themselves, ' either to think a good thought, or work a good ' deed?'-' As who should say, man of his own 'nature is fleshly and carnal, corrupt and naught, sinful and disobedient to God; without any spark of goodness in him, without any virtuous or godly motion, only given to evil thoughts and wicked deeds.'2-Whence then are those voluntary efforts to arise, by which man may correct or amend himself? Let the opposers of our doctrine, on this subject, as overcharged, produce from any of our writings, stronger passages on the subject, than these are, if they be able to do it. Thus man is very far gone (quam lon'gissime distet) from original righteousness, and 'is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the 'flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit.'3 'There is no health in us.' We have no power 'to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to "God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will; and 'working with us, when we have that good will."4 Are not then our corrupt dispositions incorrigible, except by the grace of God? But this by no means tends to discourage laudable and vigorous

2

'Second part of the Homily on the misery of man. Homily on Whitsunday. 3 Art. ix. ♦ Art. x.

[ocr errors]

exertions, in those who are willing to make them. "Work out your own salvation with "fear and trembling; for it is God which work"eth in us both to will and to do, of his good pleasure."1

66

'One set of Christians denies all influence 'whatever of the Holy Spirit upon the human 'mind, and another considers it as constant, sen'sible, and irresistible; but the church of Eng'land, while it acknowledges the influence of the 'Holy Spirit, contends, that the grace of God may be given in vain; that it does indeed co'operate with the good desires of men, and strengthen their pious resolutions but not in a 'manner which may be perceived, or in a degree ⚫ which cannot be withstood.'2

[ocr errors]

The influence of the Holy Spirit on the minds and hearts of true Christians must be constant, if they are to be constant," - steadfast, unmoveable, "always abounding in the work of the Lord." For, if he leave any one, or even suspend his influences, either as grieved by a man's perverseness, or to "try him, that he may know all that is "in his heart; "3 some deplorable fall or misconduct will be the consequence. Because the

[ocr errors]

frailty of man, without thee, cannot but fall.'4— The influences of the Spirit are sensible in their effects; for all holy desires, all good counsels, ' and all just works' must be ascribed to him. And when "the love of God is shed abroad in the

"heart by the Holy Spirit; ""when we abound

Phil. ii. 12, 13.
2 Ref. 281.
* 2 Chr. xxxii. 31.
Col. 15th Sunday after Trinity.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »