« السابقةمتابعة »
itent with everlasting destruction, and to save the true believer with an ererlasting salvation.
Note.—The remaining six sections of the Westminster Confession, which contain the knotty points of Calvinism, are entirely omitted. Instead of them an official explanation is attached, as follows:
“We think it better, under the head of Decrees, to write what we know to be incontrovertible from the plain Word of God, than to darken counsel by words without knowledge. We have elsewhere acknowledged the doctrine of predestination to be a high mystery. We are free to acknowledge that in our judgment it is easier to fix the limits which man should not transcend, on either hand, than to give an intelligent elucidation of the subject. We believe that both Calvinists and Arminians have egregiously erred on this point: the former by driving rational, accountable man into the asylum of fate; the latter by putting too much stress on man's works, and leaving too much out of view the grace that bringeth salvation, and thereby cherish[ing] those legal principles that are in every human heart. We think the intermediate plan on this subject is nearest the whole truth; for surely, on the one hand, it must be acknowledged, the love of God, the merits of Christ, and the operation of the Holy Spirit are the moving, meritorious, and active causes of man's salvation ; that God is a sovereign, having a right to work when, where, how, and on whom he pleases; that salvation, in its device, in its plan, and in its application, is of the Lord; and that without the unmerited agency and operation of the Spirit of God not one of Adam's race would or could ever come to the knowledge of the truth—for God is the author as well as the finisher of our faith. Therefore God, as a sovereign, may, if he pleases, elect a nation, as the Jews, to preserve his worship free from idolatry; many nations for a time, as Christendom, in which to spread his gospel ; individuals, as Cyrus and others, to answer a particular purpose ; Paul and others for apostles ; Luther and Calvin to promote the Reformation. But as it respects the salvation of the soul, God as a sovereign can only elect or choose fallen man in Christ, who is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. But it appears to us incontestible, from God's Word, that God has reprobated none from eternity. That all mankind become legally reprobated by transgression is undeniable, and continue so until they embrace Christ. “Examine yourselves," etc. “Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates ?" (2 Cor. xiii. 5). Now this can not mean eternal reprobates, or all who have not Christ in them would be such, the absurdity of which will at once appear to every common capacity. Teprobation is not whut some have supposed it to be, viz., a sovereign determination of God to create millions of rational beings, and for his own glory damn them eternally in hell, withont regard to moral rectitude or sin in the creature. This would tarnish the divine glory, and render the greatest, best, and most lorely of all Beings most odious in the view of all intelligences. When man sinned he was legally reprobated, but not damned: God offered, and does offer, the law-condemned sinner mercy in the gospel, he having from the foundation of the world so far chosen mankind in Christ as to justify that saying in 1 Tim. iv. 10, “Who is the Saviour of all men, especially of them that believe.” This is a gracious act of God's sovereign electing love, as extensive as the legal condemnation, or reprobation, in which all mankind are by nature. But, in a particular and saving sense, none can be properly called God's elect till they be justified and united to Christ, the end of the law for righteousness (none are justified from eternity), as appears evident from the following passages of God's Word: “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? Who is he that condemneth ?” (Rom. viii. 33, 34). Now it is certain [that] the unbeliever is chargeable and condemned. Again, “If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matt. xxiv. 24). It is evident that a man must be enlightened in the knowledge
11 Thess. v. 9 ; v. 3; Mark xvi. 16.
Et pourtant nous prions bien Therefore we humbly entreat humblement toutes les Églises all the Evangelical and Protestant Evangeliques et Protestantes, de Churches, notwithstanding our povnous tenir, nonobstant notre pau- erty and lowness, to look upon us vreté et petitesse, pour vrais mem- as true members of the mystical bres du corps mystique de Jesus body of Christ, suffering for his Christ, soufrans pour son Saint name's sake, and to continue unto Nom ; et de nous continuer l'as- us the help of their prayers to sistance de leurs prieres envers God, and all other effects of their Dieu, et tous autres bons offices charity, as we have heretofore de leurs charités, comme nous les abundantly experienced, for which avons déja abondamment experi- we return them our most humble mentés, dont nous les remercions thanks, entreating the Lord with avec toute l'humilité, qui nous est all our heart to be their rewarder, possible, et suplions de tout nôtre and to pour upon them the most caur le Seigneur qu'il en soit luy precious blessings of grace and même le remunerateur, versant sur glory, both in this life and in that elles les plus precieuses benedic- which is to come. Amen. tions de sa grace et de sa gloire, et en cette vie, et en celle qui est à venir. Amen.
ADDITIONS À LA SUS-DITE CONFESSION. ADDITIONS TO THIS CONFESSION.'
Brieve justification touchant les points, Brief justification concerning the points or ou articles de Foy, que nous imputent les articles of faith which the doctors of Rome Docteurs de Rome, en commun avec toutes impute to us and to all the Reformed Churches. les Églises Reformées. Nous accusans de They accuse us of believing the following articroire,
cles : 1. Que Dieu soit autheur du Peché.
1. That God is the author of sin ; 2. Que Dieu n'est pas tout Puissant.
2. That God is not omnipotent; 4.° Que Jesus Christ s'est desesperé en la 3. That Jesus Christ fell into despair upon Croix.
the cross; 5. Que dans les cuvres du salut, où l'home 4. That man, in the work of salvation, est mû par l'Esprit de Dieu, il n'y coopere non where he is moved by the Spirit of God, is plus qu'une piece de bois, ou une pierre. no more active than a log or a stone;
6. Qu'en vertu de la Predestination, il n'im- 5. That, according to our notion on the porte que l'on face bien ou mal.
subject of predestination, it is of no consequence whether we do good or evil ;
? Omitted by Henderson and Hazlitt.
? The error in numbering (4 for 3, etc.) is Leger's.
7. Que les bonnes auvres ne sont pas neces
6. That good works are not necessary to saires au salut.
salvation ; 8. Que nous rejettons absolument la Con- 7. That we entirely reject confession of sins fession des pechés, et la Penitence.
and repentance; 9. Qu'il faut rejetter les Júnes, et autres 8. That fasting and other mortifications of mortifications de la chair, pour vivre dans la the flesh must be rejected, in order to lead a dissolution.
dissolute life; 10. Que chacun peut expliquer l'Ecriture 9. That any one may explain the Holy Sainte comme il luy plait, et selon les inspira- Scripture as he pleases, and according to the tions de son esprit particulier.
fanciful suggestions of his own mind; 11. Que l'Église peut de tout defaillir, et 10. That the Church can entirely fail and estre anneantie.
be destroyed; 12. Que le Baptéme n'est d'aucune necessité. 11. That baptism is not necessary;
13. Que dans le Sacrement de l'Eucharistie, 12. That in the sacrament of the eucharist nous n'avons aucune reelle communion avec Je we have no communion with Christ in fact, sus Christ, mais seulement en figure.
but in a figure only; 14. Qu'on n'est pas obligé d'obeir aux 13. That obedience is not due to magisMagistrats, Rois, Princès, etc.
trates, kings, princes, etc.; 15. Parce que nous n'invoquons pas la Sainte 14. That we despise, because we do not Vierge, et les hommes déja glorifiés, on nous invoke, the most holy Virgin and glorified accuse de les mépriser, au lieu que nous les saints; while in fact we pronounce them publions bienheureus, dignes, et de louange, et blessed and worthy both of praise and imitad'imitation, et tenons sur tout la Sainte tion, and hold above all the boly Virgin Mary Vierge Bienheurense entre toutes les Fem- to be blessed amongst women.'
Or tous ces Chefs qui nous sont ainsi mali- All these articles maliciously imputed to cieusement imputés, bien loin de les croire ou us, far from believing or teaching them, we enseigner parmi nous, que nous les tenons pour hold to be heretical and damnable, and we heretiques et damnables, et denonçons de tout denounce from all our heart every one who nôtre cæur anatheme contre quiconque les vou- would maintain them. droit soutenir.
time therein;' yet now, since life and the neglect of the means of and iinmortality are brought clearer their preservation, fall into grievto light by the gospel, and espe- ous sins;' and for a time continue cially since the effusion of the Holy therein:? whereby they incur God's Ghost on the day of Pentecost, displeasure, and grieve his Holy we may not expect the true Chris- Spirit;" come to be deprived of tian to fall into such gross sins." some measure of their graces and Nevertheless they may, through the conforts ;' have their hearts hardtemptations of Satan, the world, ened, and their consciences woundand the flesh, the neglect of the ed;' hurt and scandalize others, means of grace, fall into sin, and and bring temporal judgments incur God's displeasure, and grieve npon themselves." his Holy Spirit;' come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts, and have their consciences wounded; but the real Christian can never rest satisfied therein.*
12 Sam. xii. 9, 13, 14.
' Matt. xxvi. 70, 72, 74. : 2 Tim. i. 10.
* Psa. li. title and verse 14; [Am. ed. 2 Sam. * Luke xxiv. 49; Acts ii. 4.
xii. 9, 13]. • Acts xvii. 30, 31; Matt. xi. 11.
* Isa. Ixiv. 5, 7,9; 2 Sam. xi. 27. s Eph. iv. 30; Rev. ii. 4.
* Eph. iv. 30.
ed. Psa. xcv. 8].
• Psa. Ixxxix, 31, 32; 1 Cor. xi. 32. * NOTF.—To this section the following note is attached in the official edition :
* This doctrine, although it is certainly supported by incontestable proof from the Word of God, as well as by the reason and nature of the union between Christ and his people, yet, like all other truths, has been and may be perverted. The idea of eternal justification and conseqnent perseverance is unscriptural : the way perseverance is insisted on by some preachers in connection with the preceding parts of their sermons is certainly dangerous. Example : First preach a superficial experience, then make a great many more allowances for weakness and wickedness, stumbling, straying, etc., than God's Word admits, then press perseverance, and you have the formalist or hypocrite confirmed.
On the other hand, press the doctrines of final apostasy, if the creature does not so and so, making the perseverance of the creature depend chiefly upon his doings: you raise in the mind of the unregenerate professor the fear of hell, as a high excitement to duty; confirm him in his legality; prepare his mind, indirectly at least, to give glory to himself for his perseverance; settle him down in a self-confident and deplorable situation. What God's Word
VOL. III.-D DD
hath joined together, let not his ministers put asunder ; but first let them give a clear, definite description of the new birth, and then let them press the doctrine of heart and practical holiness as the sure consequence (“For by their fruit ye shall know them "), and daily evidences (not the cause) of that gracious state which will insure their final perseverance.
*Then this true and comfortable doctrine will not be perverted, neither will it have a tendency to licentiousness in him “whom the love of Christ constraineth," or the real Christian: no, he serves and desires to serve God with more zeal, and from pure evangelical principles, still laying the foundation in his own mind, and cherishing the principle of ascribing all the glory to God for his conversion, his perseverance, and his final and complete redemption.'