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The system of Arminius being confessedly one that is consonant as well to Scripture as to Common Sense, those who espoused it smiled at these prophetic rhapsodies and puerile effusions of fanaticism ; and, it is to be lamented, that some of them, by a feeling of natural revulsion, proceeded much beyond this, and ran into a contrary extreme, by denying the very important doctrine of Divine Influence which is the glory of Christianity, or restricted the operations of the Holy Spirit within narrow and inefficient limits.* But this feeling, the origin of which is easily traced, was still more apparent at the Restoration, when the re-action of hypocrisy and enthusiasm, which had commenced under Cromwell, continued its devastations, and threatened at first the complete overthrow of all the vital doctrines of Christianity, which were common both to the system of Armi. nius and of Calvin. Yet even at that period, when Religion was weak and drooping from the wounds which she had receive ed in the house of her professed friends, many Arminians appeared as champions in the defence of gospel truth, practical godliness, and experimental religion ;t while, on the other hand, many Calvinists, ashamed of the sinister and low purposes to which their predecessors had applied certain evangelical doc
Hence in the cant of several of the old Puritans, Prelacy and Arminianism are not unusually associated with blasphemy, profaneness, and Atheism ! Such, however, was the power of conviction in the mind of Mr. Goodwin, that, with all these difficulties and discouragements before him, at the advanced age of fifty years, he abandoned the school of Calvinian theology, and boldly preached Christ as the infinitely gracious Redeemer of All Mankind." JACKSON's Life of Goodwin.
* The injurious effects which the general fanaticism of the Calvinists of that age produced for a season on the mind of RICHARD BAXTER, are thus described in the Narrative of the most memorable Passages of his Life and Times, which, like the Retractations of St. Augustine, are exceedingly curious and edifying :
"I am now therefore much more apprehensive than heretofore, of the necessity of well-grounding men in their religion, and especially of the witness of the indwelling Spirit : for I more sensibiy perceive that THE Spirit is the great witness of Christ and Christianity to the world. And though the folly of fanatics tempted me long to overlook the strength of this testimony of the Spirit, while they placed it in a certain internal affection, or enthusiastic inspiration ; yet now I see that the Holy Ghost in another manner is the witness of Christ, and his agent in the world. The Spirit in the prophets was his first witness; and the Spirit by miracles was the second and the Spirit by renovation, sanctification, illumination, and consolation, assimilating the soul to Christ and heaven, is the continued witness to all true believers : and if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his. (Rom. viji.9.) Even as the rational soul in the child is the inherent witness or evidence, that he is the child of rational parents. And therefore ungodly persons have a great disadvantage in their resisting temptations to unbelief and it is no wonder if Christ be a stumbling-block to the Jews, and to the Gentiles foolishness."
+ “I also remember," says Whiston. “ what my father told me, that, after the Restoration, almost all profession of seriousness in religiou would have been laughed out of countenance, under pretence of the hypocrisy of former times, had not two very excellent and serious books, written by eminent royalists, put some stop to it: I mean The Whole Duty of Man, and Dr. Hammond's Practical Catechism.” (Memoirs, vol. i. p. 10.)
trines, either entirely abandoned them, or modified them in such a manner as to deprive them of all their scriptural efficiency.*
A fine passage from the judicious Hooker, on the abuse of the doctrine of Divine Authority, has been quoted, (page 207,) and an equally pertinent and nervous passage on the abuse of Spiritual Influence occurs in the Humble Address to the Lord Fairfax and the Council of War, in 1648, by Dr. HENRY HAMMOND, one of the mildest and most loyal of Divines, when those self-constituted arbiters of fallen Majesty had made the dealh of his Royal MASTER the subject of their deliberations. This pathetic appeal, after the manner of Luther and Melancthon when contending against the principles of the German Anabaptists, grounds its strong arguments on that doctrine of Divine Influence which connects itself with God's written word, and refuses to acknowledge any of those pretended inspirations which could not produce such a scriptural voucher. In one part the Doctor says: “ My Lord, and Gentlemen, having among you some of the nearest of my blood, whose eternal weal must needs be very dear and precious to me, I am, in the fear of God, and in the prosecution and discharge of my duty and conscience, desirous to make this short address to you, to desire you, in the name and in the bowels of Jesus Christ and by all the obligations of christian duty and charity, to review some of the principles by which you seem to be acted, and whereon to ground the high enterprises which you have now in hand.
“ And 1. Whereas you seem to believe, that God by his Spirit hath put it into your hearts to do what hitherto you have done, and what now you profess to deliberate to do further against his Majesty, and ali others, who are now fallen into your hands; I beseech you to consider, in the presence of that God to whose directions and Spirit you pretend, what safe ground you have for so doing. For, I shall suppose that the plain words of scripture are not that voice of THE SPIRIT which is your only guide in this matter ; or if it be, I desire that charity from you, for myself and others, that you will point us out those scriptures. And I must profess to believe you bound in duty to God and man, and to yourselves, to satisfy this desire, to produce that voice of the Spirit in the received scriptures of God, which may say that to other christians also which it appears to do to you. But if God's Spirit be by you conceived to have spoken to you any other way than in or by some part of the written word, then my second request is, that you will declare to others the ground of this your persuasion, that you have received any such revelation from God; that so that pretended Spirit may, according to the rules prescribed by God in his acknowledged word, be tried and ex
* See a preceding note on their abandonment of the doctrine of the Assufrance of Salvation, page 141.
amined regularly, whether it be of God or no, before the subject. matter of such revelation be believed infallible, or accordingly built upon by you as your warrant or principle of acting any thing. For, there are evil spirits that come into the world, and which many times are by God permitted to seduce men, and, that they may do so the better, they constantly pretend to come from God, and assume Divine authority to recommend and authorize their delusions : a thing so ordinary in all ages, that the poet that would express the embroiling of a kingdom, thinks he can'not do it better than by bringing in Alecto, a Fury, with a mese sage from heaven, to avenge such or such an injury. And of these our Saviour forewarns us, and tells us, that we shall know them by their fruits ; and so directs us to judge of the truth of their pretensions by the goodness and commendableness, at least, justifiableness of their actions, and not to judge of their actions by their pretences.t And beside these evil spirits from without, there is also an evil spirit within, a great deal of disguised wickedness in the heart of man, which, when it remains unmortified in those who believe themselves to be God's chosen saints and taught by him, is very apt to be mistaken for an inclination of God's Spirit, and a flame of zeal, when it is really the most contrary to it. And because there is so much danger, that what is not fetched from the acknowledged word of God may thus flow from one of these contrary principles, my next request is, that it be considered, whether when an angel from heaven, in case he should teach any other doctrine than what had been by Saint Paul preached to his Galatians, were to be anathematized, and when the judgments are so fearful, which are pronounced against them which shall add to the words of that Prophecy which we now retain under the title of the Apocalypse or Revelation, which being the last writing which is known to be dictated by the Spirit, may very probably contain a severe denunciation against all those who pretend to any revelation or prophecy after that concerning the christian church,—whether I say, it be not a matter of . t In that fine sermon, The Christian's Obligations to Peace and Charity, which was preached in 1647 by Dr. Hammond, before his Majesty, then a prisoner in Carisbrooke Castle, this subject is treated with great ability. Take this extract as a specimen: “ The Gospel spirit is that which, after thre out-dating of prophecies, pretends to no other direction or incitation or impulsion of the Spirit, than that which lies visible in the New Testament, the Spirit that incites us to perform those duties that the Word bath prescribed us,-the Spirit which, when it comes to be tried whether it be of God or no, pretends 'not, like Mahomet, to be a-talking with God whilst be lies foaming in an epileptic fit; but is content to be judged and discerned by the old plain doctrines of the gospel,-a regulated, authorized, ordinary, sober spirit.
“ Our Saviour hath contributed toward this great work by the exemplariness of his own practice in this kind :-not only in refusing to have tbe fire from heaven, that the Boanerges would have helped him to, against the Samaritans,-in reprehending of St. Peter's zeal, when it drew the sword in his Master's defeuce against the high priest's servants,-in refusing the aid of angels from heaven against the heathens that attacked him ;-but, above all, by that answer of his to Pilate, If my kingdom were of this world, then should my servants fight,' &c. (John xviii, 36.) ; which was certainly part of that good confession before Pilate mentioned with such honour, 1 Tiin.vi, 13."
fear and just apprehension, to all those who shall affix or impose upon the SPIRIT OF GOD (or pretend to be revealed to them from that,) any matter of doctrine or practice which acknowledges not the SPIRIT OF GOD speaking in the scripture for its only warrant or foundation? Or lastly, if from the scriptures you conceive it may be proved, that any part of the unction mentioned there so far belongs to you that it shall surely lead you into all truth ; then, first, I beseech you to consider, whether you do not oblige yourselves, by the same or some other scripture, to prove to others, (and not only yourselves to be persuaded,) that you are those special saints of God to whom that privilege peculiarly belongs, and as clearly to demonstrate that all others, who conceive that that unction teaches them directly the contrary to that which you profess to be taught by it, are impious persons possest with that deluding spirit of which I now desire you to beware. And secondly, to examine whether this differencing of yourselves from others, this bearing witness to yourselves, and judging others,*beside that it will look like an act of most pharisaical presumption, and the very thing which, from Simon Magus downward, hath been observed in all hereticks, calling themselves
· * The following is a fair sample of the way in which the Calvinists were accustomed to esteem themselves the most orthodox and godly of professing christians, while others were regarded as heathen men and publicans ! It is in reference to Mr. Barlee that Dr. Pierce thus writes : " I said, It is not so good a task to make men ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS, as to make them HONEST AND SINCERE ONES. Upon which Mr. B. is very angry. If he thinks it is better to know much. than to do well, and prefers a clear head before a sound and upright heart, what a case is he in ! and how ill hath he done to commend his preaching ! He adds a little after, that I and the pious men of my way, are great admirers and followers of a practical catechism (Dr. Hammond's] the sixth time published.' What greater commendation could he have given us, than that we follow the good which we admire? Would he have us know our lesson, but not observe and keep it? orthodox christians, but not practically honest and sincere ones too? If he, and the godly men of his way, (as he and they are wont to word it,) do neither admire por follow that practical catechism, I wish they did, and beseech God they may. If they neither do nor will, I will rather be a pious than godly man: that is, (as he hath distinguished,) I will rather be of them whoin he calls the pious, than of them whom he calls the
“ He calls his opinions in these matters, the very fundamentals of the covenant of grace;' but in which of the three Creeds shall we find either of them? What Popery is this, to obtrude upon us new articles of faith? I see King James was a wise, as well as a learned and orthodox man : And so was he of the lower House, who told Mr. Speaker in his speech, (An. Dom. 1640.). That if they were listened to who would extirpate episcopacy, (speak. ing of the Presbyterians,) they would, instead of every Bishop put down in la diocess, set up a Pope in every Parish: And if the Presbyterian as
semblies should succeed, they would assume a power to excominunicate • Kings, as well as other men i And if Kings were once excommunicated, ' men would not care what became of them.' And Mr. Hooker (as I take it) doth say of such men, that they might do well enough to live in a Wilder
ness, but not in a Kingdom, or Common-wealth.' For all who differ from their opinions (that is, their mistakes,) shall be said to err in the very fun
damentals of the covenant of grace,' and so be looked upon as Heathens, and so be used as vessels of wraih."
the spiritual, and all others animal carnal men, whether it will not be also a great injustice at this time toward them who pretend not to learn any thing from this unction but what they receive from the doctrine of the gospel, in those books, which have, in effect and in the last result, the testimony of God from heaven that they are his true infallible word und dictate of his Spirit, and who desire to make no other use of this to their own advantage, but only to preserve them in a quiet possession of what by law belongs to them, and a capacity of making good their allegiance to him to whom they have often by law been required to swear it.*
This clause contains a brief but noble plea for the maintenance of the just rights and the loyal principles of the Arminian clergy. Instead of being vexed with sequestrations, they wished only for protection in the “ quiet possession of what by law belonged to them," and for “a capacity of making good their allegiance to him,” their king, “ to whom they had often by law been required to swear it :" And, for both these lawful requests, they could plead express scriptural authority, in opposition to the unchristiau purposes to which the Calvinists applied that Divine sanction.
Dr. Thomas Pierce, iu 1657, adopted the following method of shewing, that the Episcopal Church of England, though then in a state of captivity, was established by the common law of the land. His litigious opponent bad expressed his delight "that the British divines at the Synod of Dort were the visible lawful representers of our mother, the Church of England there." This circumstance, though false in fact, was one on which the Calvinistic Dissepters from our church delighted to expatiate. Dr. Pierce thus turns the inference which the author intended to deduce : “ Besides, if those very few of our men at the Synod of Dort were the visible LAWFUL representers of our mother the Church of England,' how much more were all those who composed the Catechism, the Communion Book, the thirty-nine Articles uf our English Church, to some of which some Articles of the Syuod at Dort have a most evident repugnance? If so few men at Dort, who were purposely called out by the same King James, are to denominate the judgment of the whole Church of England, how much more may be said for the Commonprayer, which was not only subscribed to by all our English Divines at Dort, but was established by law and Canon, since the times of our reformation, by no less than five acts of Parliament in the days of Edward the sixth, and Queen Elizabeth ?-compiled by those reformers who were not persecutors, but Martyrs ?-and held in practice during the time of no less than four Princes? How much more [may be said] for EPISCOPACY, which is not only as ancient as CHRISTIANITY itself in this very land, but was particularly confirmed by Magna Charta, and by no less than 32 acts of Parliament? And in the Forty-second of King Edward the third, the first chapter enacteth, that if any statute be made to the contrary, it shall be holden for none. And in the Twenty-fifth of Edward the First (Chap. 1.2.) Magna Charta is declared to be the common law of the land. And I bope an ecclesiastical constitution, whether divine or human, is not the less valid for being corroborated by the whole civil power.”
Such iutrepid conduct as this, in the arbitrary days of Cromwell, was in every respect worthy of a true son of the Church of England. He was molested in various ways by the commou disturbers of the peace of the Church; but he was too courageous to be intimi
courageous to be intimidated by threats of sequestration, when peaceably engaged in the performance of a lawful duty. In his Divine Philanthropy Defended, he says: “I am told Mr. Barlee is angry that I am not thought worthy of sequestration, and that (for my sake only) he would be revenged upon the memory of one that is dead. And to fill up the measure of his comparison, he will have me to deserve as cutting a reproof, as that which Elymas received from Paul! (Acts xiii, 10.) After a' wailing with floods of tears that my Triobulary Pamphlets' (as he was pleased