« PreviousContinue »
“(and am now declaring it in an epistle to the Romans, and so " to all the world,) that it is thine absolute will and good plea“sure, utterly and irrevocably to abandon this people under an
“ immutable decree of reprobation: yet I do most heartily desire i “and beseech thee, to grant that they may be saved.” Such a
prayer had been directly against his faith, and therefore Chad been] sin, (Rom. xiv, 23.) and against the very rule* of prayer, and obedience in that kind, and so sin too. Sure the Apostle, after his conversion, was not wont thus to break his faith, and cross the counsel of his Maker.
3. To this we may add all other his endeavours and stratagems, E to gain them to the faith of Christ, and consequently to salvation, ; of which we read in Rom. xi, 14, and elsewhere. All which had
been as ridiculous as the encounters of the Knight-errant in Don Quixote, if the Apostle had believed these men to be absolutely
excluded from all possibility of salvation, by such a decree as some í fancy to be treated of in that Ninth Chapter.
4. I conceive my doubt more reasonable, when I consider the Apostle's way of arguing, in Rom. xi, 1. For, to intimate (at least according to my apprehension) that the ground of his sor
row was not their absolute, irrespective and irrevocable reprobation, 1 but the danger of their rejection from the covenant and divine grace,
wherein they had hitherto stood, as God's peculiar adopted peo
ple, (1.) He makes their own wilful unbelief the cause and ground Sense of this their rejection and misery: “ Because of unbelief
they were broken off;” (Rom. xi, 20.) which cannot be said of the decree of Reprobation. For the maintainers of that decree do not make unbelief the cause of reprobation, but rather reprobation the cause of unbelief.—(2.) He saith, there is a pos
sibility and hope of their restitution. This is intimated in Romans j xi, 11 and 29, and expressed in verse 23: “ If they abide not
still in unbelief, they shall be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again.” And this cannot be said with respect to the decree of Reprobation : For, “the decree of God is God himself,” as Maccovius and others do affirm; and so did Gomarus,* till, being impugned by Arminius, he changed his opinion in this particular. And “ God cannot deny himself.” (2. Tim. ii, 13.) Besides, the men of that opinion lay the FOUNDATION of all mercy and judgment to come, in those their absolute decrees of election
# “ Thy will be dyne.” + Vide Gomar. Tom.3, Disp. 9, Thes. 28, &c.-See them in the Preface to this Examination of Tilenus, page 20.
and reprobation; and make Christ but a part of the superstruction cr the Executor of those decrees; whereas this Apostle saith, “ Other Foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. jii, 11.) And we may observe, that, consonantly hereunto, he shutteth up that his discourse: “ What shall we say then?” (Rom. ix, 30.) Or, What is the sum of all that hath been spoken? Namely this: “ That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which fol. lowed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore?” Not because they were excluded by an absolute and irresistible decree, as the Apostle should have said if he had argued regularly according to that opinion ; but “because they sought it not by faith,” as they were taught, enabled and obliged to do, “but, as it were, by the works of the law : for they,” quitting the only foundation, “ stumbled at the stumbling-stone; as it is written, Behold I set up in Zion" the deliverer of Jacob, whom they shall take occasion to make “a stumbling-stone, and,” through their wilful infidelity and perverseness, he shall become to them “a rock of offence: but whosoever buildeth upon him,” by a lively faith and a holy obedience, “ shall not be confounded.” (Verses 31, 32, 33.) For “ as he hath tasted death for every man,” † according to the Scriptures, even for them that perish; and bought, with the price of his heart's-blood, them that deny him, as St. Peter saith, so the Father “would not that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and be saved.” (2 Pet. iii, 9. 1 Tim. ii, 4.) And to that end “ He now commandeth all men every where to repent,” (Acts xvii, 30.) and to “kiss the Son,” (Psalm ii, 12.) and submit to his sceptre, who is “the propitiation for their sins, and for the sins of the whole world,” (1 John ii, 2.) having made our atonement and our peace, (Col. i, 20.) and “purchased grace and eternal redemption for us ;t sufficient abilities and glorious privileges, whereby we might be enabled and encouraged to serve him “ acceptably, with reverence and godly fear, who is the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him.” (Heb. v, 9.) These are all express parts of the Divine Revelation, and therefore part of the object of our faith, and
+ Heb. ii, 9. 1 Cor. viii, 11. 2 Pet. ii, 1.
therefore infallible assertions of Sacred Truth. What slender distinctions are invented and what texts of Scripture wrested, to elude some of them, I shall take my opportunity to represent, when you will vouchsafe to give me a friendly meeting, to debate these and other emergent doubts touching these great points of controversy. In the mean time, I could wish you would not exclude, from the exercise of their ministry, men legally ordained thereunto, if they be otherwise well-qualified, though they differ somewhat from you in these matters. But I am single, and must submit my vote to the suffrages of my brethren.
CHAIRMAN.—Brother Doctor, we may think upon your advice and doubts hereafter; but, for the present, we must agree as one man to carry on the great work of Reformation [which] we have in hand; and therefore, gentlemen, what say you to Mr. Tilenus ? Do you approve of him as a man well-gifted and fitly-qualified for the Ministry ?
No! By no means! We do not like: INDEFECTIBLE.
his principles. and the rest.
CALL HIM IN. CHAIRMAN.-Sir, The Commissioners are not satisfied in your Certificate. You may be a godly man,—we do not deny ; but we have not such assurance of it as we can build upon; and, therefore, we cannot approve of you for the Ministry. And, that you may be at no more expence of purse or time in your attendance, we wish you to return home, and think upon some other employment.
TILENUS.—Sir, I could wish I might be acquainted with the reason of this my reprobation, unless the Decree that governs your votes, or proceeds from them, be irrespective. I think I am not 60 ill-beloved amongst the most learned of the Godly Clergy, (though differing a little in judgment from me,) but I can procure a full Certificate from the chiefest and most moderate of them.
CHAIRMAN.—That is not all the matter we have against you. What have we to do with moderate men? We see your temper and want of modesty in that expression, and therefore you may be gone.
Tilenus.—Then, gentlemen, I shall take my leave, and commend you to more sober counsels and resolutions.
END OF THE EXAMINATION OF TILENUS.
The leaders of this people (Heb. they that call them Blessed] cause them to err. (Isa. ix, 16.)
Therefore behold, I am against the Prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my word every one from his neighbour. (JER. xxiii, 30.)
Ye take away the key of knowledge. (Luke i, 52.)
Behold I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies and their lightness. (Jer. xxiii, 32.)
Thus have ye made the word of God of none effect by your tradition. (Mat. xv, 6. & Mark vii, 13.)
The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost, but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd. (Ezek. xxxiv, 4, 5.)
If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, from such withdraw thyself: For if the blind lead the blind, they shall both fall into the ditch. But they shall proceed no further ; for their folly shall be manifeșt unto all men. (1 Tim. vi, 3-5. Matt. xv, 14. 2 T'im, iii, 9.)
When those points of doctrine maintained by Melancthon and other moderate Lutherans, came to be managed by the acute wit, solid judgment and great learning of JAMES HERMINE, Public Reader in the University of Leyden, they appeared to the unprejudiced examiners so much more consonant as well to the Sacred Scriptures and right reason as to primitive Antiquity, and so much more agreeable to the Mercy, Justice and Wisdom of ALMIGHTY GOD, and so much more CONDUCING Unto Piety, than the tenets of the rigid Calvinists, that they quickly found a cheerful reception and great multitudes of followers in the Belgic Churches. Hereupon their adversaries, (having so passionately espoused the contrary opinions, and being so vehemently carried on with a prejudice against these,) that they might the more effectually decry and suppress the propugnators of them, caused some of their confidants to represent