« ПредишнаНапред »
season, you must be willing to be damned yourself, and cannot but be willing, if you feel according to reason, and love your neighbour as well and as much as yourself. You must, therefore, if you would not be inconsistent, either disapprove of your neighbour's damnation, and object to it, refusing your consent ; or you must be willing to be damned, there being the same reason and necessity, for it, as there is that your neighbour should be thus punished, who deserves it no more than you. Nothing but an unreasonable selfishness, and disregard to your neighbours welfare, can make you object to your own damnation, and consent to his.
Semi. I confess I see no way out, and have nothing to reply to this at present. But I have one thing to say that will prove your arguments must be defective some where though I do not see it at present. For the damned will be persectly wioked and enemies to God forever ; and it cannot be right to be willing to be abandoned to sin and enmity against God, and blaspheme his name forever. Therefore nô man ought to be willing to be damned, unless he ought to be willing to be God's enemy, and like the devil forever ; to assert which would be shocking, and no man surely can believe it.
Calv. This, I confess is a plausable objection, and has so much seeming weight in it, that no wonder it should appear to many, at the first view at least, insuperable and unanswerable. But since it seems to be!proved, beyond contradiction, by what has been said above, that a man ought to be willing to be damned, on the suppositions which have been made; and it is impossible that two contradictory propositions should be both true; we must not admit this objection to be unanswerable, without carefully reviewing and examining it. And if, upon examination, it shall appear to be without foundation, and contrary to the truth, what has been before proved, will be yet more confirmed.
You have granted, and all must grant, that we ought to be willing that some of our fellow men should be abandoned to sin and ruin, and be confirmed enemies to God forever : And it is plain that to acquiesce in this is so far from being a friend to sin, or sinful, or implying any emnity against God in our hearts, that thus to consent to it, because it is the revealed will of God, for his own glory and the general good, is an exercise of love to God and bis law; and of benevolence to being in general: And not to be willing, in this case, and to refuse cordially to consent to it, would be rebellion against God. So that there is no other way for us not to turn enemies to God ourselves, but to be willing that some of our fellow men should be enemies to him forever. And why must not this be just as true in our own case, or supposing it is most for God's glory and the general good that we should be given up to eternal enmity against God; and therefore, God hath determined we should be thus given up, and sent to hell, with others? Not to consent to it, on this supposition, would be an act of enmity against God and to be an enemy to him: But to consent to it, and be willing that God's will should be done, for bis own glory and the general good, would be so far from being friends to sin, that it would be an exercise of love and friendship to God, and benevolence to being in general. And so long as we continue willing to be ourselves with others, abandoned to sin and ruin forever, for the reasons and ends mentioned, we shall not, we cannot be enemies to God or friends to siis, for this implies a plain contradiction: But as soon as we cease to be willing to be tbus given up to sin, we are given up, and turned enemies to God and all good: And the evil never can come upon us until we withdraw our submission, and refuse to acquiesce in the will of God. Hence it appears that all the foregoing reasons to prove that we ought to be willing to be damned, if this be the will of God, and for bis glory and the general good, stand good, and equally prove that we ought to consent to this, on this supposition; even though damnation includes a being given up to sin and enmity against God forever.
Perhaps this point may be farther illustrated, and set in a more convincing light to some, by the instance of the angels, who were all created perfectly holy. It was best, on the whole, most for God's glory and the general good, that vast numbers of them, should rebel and continue in sin and ruin forever: And therefore it was God's will that this should take place. Suppose this had been revealed to them, when they were all perfectly holy, and each one could not know but he was the person, who among others was to be given up to sin and destruction; for the glory of God, and the good of the whole. How ought they to have felt on such an occasion? They must all consent to the will of Jehovah, and say 'let it take place however many of us, or wboever of us, must fall into this sinful state, or wbatever becomes of us.' If they did not thus willingly submit to the will of Jehovab, they would by that, turn enemies to him, and fall into that very state, and bring that evil upon themselves, which they opposed, or to wbich they refused to submit for the glory of God, and the general good. But so long as they had such a supreme regard for the will of God, his glory and the general good as to say, “thy will be done, let what will come upon us,” they would secure from the evil; and this wouid be the only way to aviod it. So long as they all continued of this disposition, they continue happy and holy. They, who fell into a state of endless sin and woe, did it by giving up such a disposition and indulging a contrary one; and they who continue holy and happy, do continue and persevere in this state and character, by persevering in a submission to the will of God, and such a regard for his glory and the general good, that they are willing to be given up to the eternal sin and ruin, if this were necessary to answer these ends, or if they could not remain in this holy and happy state, consistently with God's glory, and the greatest good of the whole.
In a word, God thought it best, and therofore was willing that great numbers of angels should become sinful and miserable forever ;,and all the angels before any of them fell, were like God in their disposition, and choice, and therefore were disposed to acquiesce in his will and choice, when made known to them. Consequently had God's will been discorered with respect to this, they
would all have acquiesced in it, so long as they were holy as God is boly. And if any one should feel the least reluctance to it even though he knew he was one that was to fall into sin and ruin, he would by that reluctance and opposition of heart to God's will, be an enemy to God, and fall into ruin. And none could fall into that state, in any possible way, but by opposing God's will or by being unwilling that his will should be done.
Semi. This is more puzzling yet. You carry us away to the angels, concerning whom we know but little; I choose to keep Dearer home, and mind my own business.
Calv. If you are determined not to think, and will not range into any quarter of the universe to get light, you will remain in darkness, and always be puzzled, with a thousand things, while a child of fourteen years old, who has a right taste and disposition, and improves his understanding, as he vught, will be at no loss about them; but will see them in the light of demonstration.
Your last objection was, that for a man to be willing to be a confirmed enemy to God, if necessary for the glory of God and the general good, would be a sinful volition; and therefore he ought not to be willing. I have undertaken to show, that this is so far from being true, that not to be willing, in the case proposed, as to oppose this, would be a sinful volition ; and there is no other way, in under to aviod sin, but to be willing, in this case,
it being necessary to answer these ends, to be cast off into a state of perfect wickedness and ruin. And I think what has been said amounts to a clear demonstration, and wish you to review it with calmness and attention, and shew, if you can, where the argument fails, or else yield to the force of it, and think of it until it becomes easy and familiar to you.
Semi. Your reasonings on the subject seem to be elear and conclusive, I confess. At least, I see no way at present to confute them. But I do not choose to have this matter settled by metaphysical reasoning only. I want scripture proof and evidence ; for when we go by this, we are on sure ground. I observe you have made but little use of the bible in your arguing on this point ; from which I concluded you can find little to your purpose in that.
[To be concluded.]
CALVINISTIC ARMINIANS AND ARMINIAN CALVINISTS.
We give the following remarks of Dr. Ely, Editor of the Philadelphian, as they appear in a late number of the New York Evangelist.
“Calvinists have correctly taught, ever since they had a name, that God from everlasting has decreed all his own actions and foreordained all events. Some of those events are the free moral exercises of the souls of men. In attempting to show how God thus foreordains all human moral exercises, some Hopkinsian Calvinists have really taught the doctrine of fatalism, and made God the efficient cause of all man's exercises of mind, both good and evil.
The Arminians have ever taught that man is a free moral agent, whose actions are the result of bis own efficiency, and for which he must give account. They expressed this truth in unpbilosophical language, especially when they talked about the self determining power of the will. These words imply an absurdity; but the Arminians really intended that man has a faculty called the will, by which he actually and freely determines, purposes, chooses, intends, or wills in a great variety of ways. This truth was held with some errors, which militated against the sovereignty of God as much as the errors of the old fashioned Hopkinsians do against the real free agency of man.
Now the scriptural Calvinists hold to the divine foreordination of all events, and at the same time to the real, finite, accountable efficiency of man in all his moral actions; and to distinguish them from the fatalists among the Calvinists of the Hopkinsian school and from those Arminians who really deny the foreordination of all events, we have called them Calvinistic Arminians, or Arminian Calvinists. That there is any thing monstrous or absurd in this compound appellative, we have yet to learn.
The source from which, and the medium through which the above observations come, seem to entitle them to some notice. In the first place, we are at a loss to divine, what sort of an idea Dr. Ely has of Calvinism. It seems that his idea of it, wbatever it may be, is so latitudinarian, as to take in at least three kinds of theologians, very diverse from each other; as 1st Hopkinsians, who, in bis estimation, teach the doctrine of fatalism, 2d, Arminians, 'who really deny the foreordination of all events,' and 3d, such as are neither Hopkinsians nor Arminians, but a sort of mongrels, half one and half the other; who hold to decrees with the Hopkinsians, and deny the Divine agency with the Arminians. Surely the name Calvinist, must be a very generick term, and very convenient (so long as it continues reputable) for various sorts of professing christians; and for ought we can see, must have a surprising influence in forwarding the great work of amalgamating all the various Orthodox sects into one great Evangelical Denomination; for which, when formed, Dr. E. has already coined an appropriate name, viz. Calvinistic Arminians and Arminian Calvinists. Such a use of the term Calvinist, should hush the little disputes and bickerings between Hopkinsians and Presbyterians and Methodists of every school; and as that most liberal statesman, Mr. Jefferson, said in his inaugural message,' We are all Federalists; we are all Republicans;' so the almost equally liberal Doctor may say, 'We are all Calvinists; we are all Arminians!'
But, in the second place, we are led to inquire, Who are those Hopkinsian Calvinists, who have taught the doctrine of fatalism?' Happily, to this enquiry, the Dr. has furnished us with an answer: they are all such as 'make God the efficient cause of all man's exercises of mind, both good and evil.' The doctrine of fatalism,' then, is the doctrine, that God is the efficient cause of all man's exercises of mind. Here is a new idea, which it would be gratifying to have the Dr. explain. We wish to know, which is here the subject of the fatality, God, or man? If God is the ellicient cause of man's exercises, by working all in all-working in men to will and to do, according to his good pleasure—and working all things after the counsel of his own will;' we do not perceive liow He is the subject of fatality, in this his providential agency, in which He is perfectly voluntary and free. We find it equally difficult to see how man should be the subject of fatality, when caused to choose and will by Divine agency; unless fatalism, and the efficient will of God, are one and the same thing. But we have been taught that Fate is an imaginary something, independent of God, and beyond the control of the Divine will. Dr. E. seems to have made a new discovery, and found that futalism consists in man's having his exercises caused by some efficient agent without himself. He commends the Arminians for having ever taught, that'man is a free moral agent, whose actions are the result of his own efficiency.' Well, if the Dr. is correct bere; we should be glad to have him show how the Arminians used ' unphilosophical language,' when they talked about the self-determining power of the will.' It seems to us, that on his own principles, he does his brethren of the Arminian school, great injustice, when he says, that these words (i. e. a self-determining power of the will) imply an absurdity.' If man's 'actions are the result of his own efficiency;' then man has a self-determining power, somewhere: and if that power is not seated in the will; the Doctor would do a favor, to tell us where it is seated. But, it seems, Dr. E. does hold, that the self-determining power is in the will; notwithstanding his thinking it absurd to say so ; for he says, “ The Arminians really intended that man has a faculty called the will, by which he actually and freely determines, purposes, chooses, etc.—This truth was held etc.? 'Man's own efficiency,' then, of which his free actions are the result,' lies in his 'faculty called the will.' Dr. E. therefore, holds to the absurdity' of a self-determining power of will.' And we are willing, that the Doctor should call his new denomination, comprising himself and all who with him