« AnteriorContinuar »
the cords of his tongue are loosened, and he in turn, is taught to speak for God, and say, “ worthy is the Lamb, who was slain.”
Through such means God has already effectually called multitudes into his kingdom. By such feeble instrumentality he has caused his grace to extend from heart to heart, from house to house, and from land to land.
From this exhibition of the means of grace, all the children of God should take encouragement to plant and water the seeds of truth. Use the word of God like an instrument to break the rocky heart. Cultivate the Lord's vineyard If any “fig-tree' has been unfruitful for many years, “ dig about it” once more, and possibly it may abundantly reward you for all your labour. “ He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap." “In th: morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” Eccl. xi. 6.
ON THE ARAINIAN TENDENCY OF HOPKINSIANIŞA.
It has been often asserted, and never disproved, that many of the doctrines of Hopkinsianism tend directly to support the theory of Arminius. If any one doubts upon this subject, let him compare Emmons with any Arminian writer, upon the subject of original sin, imputation, and effectual calling; or regeneration, by the change of exercises.
Since many of the Eastern divines are fond of colloquial discussions, it may not be improper to adopt their method, and introduce
THREE REVEREND BRETHREN OF DIFFERENT
“ Thank you! thank you, brother," said an Arminian Doctor, drawing his long pipe from his mouth, and putting his hand on the knee of his friend, the Hopkinsian, “ you have made me appear orthodox to the world, for you vindicate my proscribed sentiments in the most decisive manner.”
Hopkinsian. “ You have long been orthodox, so far as smoķing is concerned."
Arminian. “ Yes, yes, you have given that severe old John of Geneya a home thrust under his fifth rib, of which he will never recover."
On hearing this speech, the follower of Calvin wrinkled his brow, and emitted two puffs of smoke with one breath.
Hop. You know, man, that I am a strict Calvinist.
Arm. Far be it from me to say, that I know any such thing: You think so : but, verily you no more agree with Calvin than I do; for you affirm, that Adam's sin was never imputed to any one of his posterity ; that the first man alone was guilty of original sin ; and that no corruption is derived by natural ge
Hop. I do affirm all these things ; but what then ?
Arm. Why! you will run your system a little further, parallel with mine. You will grant that conversion to God, which is the effect of regeneration, consists in a change of moral exer, cises; and that God is as much the author of a sinful as of a holy volition.
Hon. All this. I teach, both in public and private.
Calvinist. Therefore, since you contradict the plain language of the scriptures, you both teach heresy, every Lord's day.
Arm. Pray, brother Calvinist, be at peace, while I prove that his reverence who claims your name, is actually one of my fraternity. What do I more than deny the doctrines of original sin, imputation, and --- ?
Hop. And regeneration and predestination, which I do not deny.
Arm. Were you to preach from Ephesians iv. 23, “be re. newed in the spirit of your mind,” would you not first, show what is implied in being renewed ; secondly, prove that all men are commanded to be renewed ; and thirdly, establish the doctrine, that all men have all necessary natural ability to make themselves new creatures in Christ Jesus ?
Hop. A better division of the subject, or more appropriate language, I could not desire. On the last Sabbath I handled that text precisely in the manner you propose.
Cal. You handled it very roughly then! I do not wonder that your people, in spite of all your Calvinism, are thorough Arminians.
Hop. One at a time, if you please.
Arm. We should treat that text in the same manner. What then, is it, to be renewed in the spirit of the mind ? You will say with me, ist, That it does not imply any change in any thing derived by birth, or which God gave us in the formation of our bodies, or in the texture of our souls.
Hop. So far as this I can certainly proceed with you, because sin cannot enter into the composition of matter or spirit.
Cal. That moral depravity may not, is more than either of you can prove ; for men " are by nature children of wrath :" and every child of Adam, is “ wholly an unclean thing.” The man, who will pretend that the body and soul, in all their faculties, have not suffered by the fall, is bound to prove, that Adam before his transgression was subject to inordinate animal passions, to disease, to obscure perceptions, to false reasonings, to a perverted conscience, and an uncontrolable heart. He must prove that man, in the image of God, was as weak, wretched and wicked, as he now is without it.
Arm. Let me follow the train of reasoning, which we have already commenced. Regeneration does not imply, 2dly, The implantation of a new principle, taste, nature, faculty, power, or seat of the affections. So far as these are concerned, we were made right at first; we were created beings capable of intellectual and moral action, and having the same natural ability for good and evil. Man is able to reflect upon the objects of perception, and act in view of motives. He has the same freedom of will now, which his progenitor had in his first estate. If this animal and rational nature should be renewed a thousand times, that would not constitute regeneration, so long as sin and holiness consist entirely in the nature of volitions.
Hon. I could not more clearly state my own sentiments, Proceed.
Cal. Pray adduce your scripture, gentlemen, before you charge all these doctrines to the Holy Spirit.
Arm. “ Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright.” “ There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding."
Cal. and Hop. Your quotations are not to the purpose. The. first declares the uprightness of man before the apostacy ;
and the second is simply a declaration that God is the Father of: spirits.
Hon. I should answer, that "love is the fulfilling of the law;" and since God requires nothing but that which fulfils the law, no new principle or nature is required, because love is an exercise.
Cal. God, indeed, requires good fruits, but will they ever be produced without the implantation of their root, and the growth of the tree which bears them? When love is required, all which is necessarily presupposed in order to it is likewise required. However, I am impatient to hear in what you twin Arminians will make regeneration consist.
Arm. It implies nothing but a change in our moral exercises, and consequently in our habits of feeling. “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind," is of the same import with this command; * change your vile dispositions.” A good disposition is the combination of benevolent exercises. An evil disposition is the re
He, who exercises kind affections, is said to be a man of a kind disposition. Disposition is sometimes called heart. Any one, therefore, who has a right disposition has a new heart.
Hon. You have become very much of a Hopkinsian, Sir: for thus far I agree with you.
Cal. You should rather say, that you and all of your divinity college have become subtle Arminians.
Arm. It follows, from what has been already mutually established, that regeneration implies a change, not in any thing natural, but in something acquired ; in the disposition. The man, who has indulged hatred towards God, must love his Maker; and produce, in view of every proper motive, holy volitions.
Hop. You have gone too far. The evil disposition is neither native nor acquired, but created ; and because all natural, or unrenewed men possess such a heart, it may be termed natural. Against nothing else, which you have said, do I object.
Arm. Your doctrine of created sin is an abomination. At present, however, I will state the second general proposition,