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it, in detail : the quantity is really surprising: and hence we may learn with what caution and limitation it is necessary to receive the doctrine,--which is now so incessantly repeated and pressed upon us by those, who are purposing in their hearts to go over to Romanism, taking with them as many as they can,that the Church of Rome has all the true principles of Christianity, however hidden or overlaid by superadded error. This statement, as it is sometimes made, however it may admit of being defended in a certain sense, is most delusive and deceptive. From some of the numerous documents which Popery has put forth, during the many hundred years of its existence, there certainly may be picked out statements, which would amount to a recognition of Divine truth in most of its leading features. But then how many direct denials of these truths might be selected also! “The Church of Rome contains within itself the principles of genuine Christianity,” we are told. And the exercising ground behind those barracks contains a target. But it is shot through and through, completely riddled with bullets from the circumference to the centre, pierced over and over in the bull's eye;—and there it stands, to be pierced, riddled, and shot at, again and again. And so stands truth in the Church of Rome: and such is the value of the assertion, that she contains in herself the principles of true religion. Better, had she never known the way of righteousness! -In our author's preface, his work is thus described :
"57. For my
self (most Reverend Father in God) what my thoughts be of the religion in this realm at this instant professed, and of all these articles, if the premisses do not, that which here followeth will sufficiently demonstrate. Twenty, yea, two and twenty years ago, voluntarily, of mine own accord, and altogether unconstrained, I published my subscription unto them, my faith is not either shaken or altered, but what it then was, it still is: years have made those hairs of mine gray, which were not ; and time, much reading, and experience in theological conflicts and combats have bettered a great deal, but not altered one whit my judgment, I thank God.
Nothing have I denied, nothing gainsaid, which afore I delivered. “ The propositions are (and yet not rany) more; the method altered ; quotations added, both for the satisfaction of some learned and judicious friends of mine, requesting it at mine hands, and for the benefit both of the common, and unlearned, and of the studious and learned reader.
“ The whole work expresseth as well my detestation, and renuncia. tion of all adversaries, and errours, opposite, crossing, or contradicting the doctrine professed by us, and protected by our king, or any article, or particle of truth of our religion; as my approbation of that truth,
which in our church by wholesom statutes, and ordinances, is confirmed.
“ There is not an heretick, or schismatick (to speak of) of any special mark, that from the Apostles time hitherto, hath discovered himself, and his opinions vulgariy in writing, or in print against our doctrine, but this heresie, fancy, or phrensie may be here seen against one proposition or other. The sects, and sect-masters adversaries unto us, either in the matter, or main points of our doctrine, or discipline, to one of our articles, or other, wholly, or in part, which here be discovered to be taken heed of, and avoided, are many hundreds.
“ 38. This, and whatsoever else here done, either to the confirmation of the truth, or detestation of heresies and errours, I do very meekly present unto your grace, as after God and our king, best meriting the patronage thereof."
We were much struck with the manner in which this staunch and sturdy veteran breaks up or divides the articles, into separate propositions. Some examples we here offer; concluding with that of the seventeenth, on predestination and election, the consideration and proof of which, together with the exposure of false doctrines opposed to it, take up between twelve and thirteen pages of his work. “ ARTICLE II.- Of the Word of God, which was made very man.
“ The Son, which is (1) the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, (2) took mans nature in the womb of the blessed virgin, of her substance: so that (3) two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the God-head and man-hood were joyned in one person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very man:(4) who suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not onely for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.
“ The Propositions. ul. Christ is
God. “ 2. Christ is very man. “3. Christ is God, and man, and that in one Person. “ 4. Christ is the Saviour of mankind.”
“ ARTICLE XIII.--Of Works before Justification. “Works done before the grace of Christ, and the inspiration of his Spirit, (1) are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ, (2) neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the school authors say) deserve grace of congruity : (3) yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.
“ The Propositions. “1. Works done before justification please not God.
“ 2. Works done before justification deserve not grace of congruity. “ 3. Works done before justification have the nature of sin."
“ARTICLE XVII.-Of Predestination, and Election. (1) Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, (2) before the foundations of the world were laid, he hath (3) constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation, (4) those, whom he hath chosen (5) in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour : wherefore they, which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, (6) be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit working in due season ; (7) they, through grace obey the calling, they be justified freely : they be made sons of God by adoption : they be made like the image of his onely begotten Son Jesus Christ : they walk religiously in good works: and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity. (8) As the godly consideration of predestination, and our election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such, as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things: as well because it doth greatly establish, and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ; as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: so for curious, and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's predestination is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them into desperation, or into wretchlesness of most unclean living, no less perilous then desperation. Furthermore, (9) we must receive God's promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth unto us in Holy Scripture: and in our doings that will of God is to be followed, which we have expresly declared unto us in the word of God.
“ The Propositions. “ 1. There is a predestination of men unto everlasting life. “ 2. Predestination hath been from everlasting. “3. They, which are predestinate unto salvation, cannot perish. “4. Not all men, but certain, are predestinate to be saved.
“5. In Christ Jesus, of the meer will, and purpose of God some are elected, and not others, 'unto salvation.
“6. They, who are elected unto salvation, if they come unto years of discretion, are called both outwardly by the word, and inwardly by the Spirit of God.
“7. The predestinate are both justified by faith, sanctified by the Holy Ghost, and shall be glorified in the life to come.
“8. The consideration of predestination is to the godly wise most comfortable; but to curious, and carnal persons very dangerous.
“9. The general promises of God, set forth in the Holy Scriptures, are to be embraced of us.
“ 10. In our actions the word of God, which is his revealed will, must be our direction."
With respect to the doctrine of predestination and election, as set forth in this Seventeenth Article of the Church of England, various views have been entertained. Some hold it to be false and pernicious; others, to be true and salutary; but others again, to be true, yet pernicious nevertheless. This last view is a remarkable specimen of what may be called the moderate, or middle course. In these days, however, we believe that it is by no means uncommon. We will not say that we ever heard it stated in so many words. Yet certainly it is the view upon which some moderate persons seem to act. That is, they admit, or do not deny, the truth of the doctrine : yet keep it back, as one hurtful to the hearer and unfit to be named ; and cannot conceal their uneasiness when it is brought forward by others. Now which alternative are we to take ? Are we, in such cases, to suppose, that persons so acting do, after all, doubt the truth of the doctrine ? Or is it that they have defective views of the nature of truth? For, if they think that a doctrine which is scripturally true is an unsafe doctrine to preach, what possible ideas can they have concerning scriptural truth itself? We have ever held the tendency of Divine truth to be salutary. “Sanctify them through thy truth. Thy word is truth.” But, according to them, the truth is to be kept back. What is this,-we put it to the conscience of any minister, who believes the doctrine of predestination and election to be, as it is, the doctrine of the Bible, what is this, but to distrust the instrument which God has put into our hands, for the edification and sanctification of his people ?-If it be held, not that the doctrine is pernicious, but simply that it is useless, inefficacious, “ merely speculative,” and so forth, we come to the same thing; there is a distrust of the power
and virtue of Divine truth. Preachers have no RIGHT to hold back a portion of Divine truth on such pleas.
“ The wicked,” it will be said, “ abuse this doctrine." And what doctrine is there that they do not? If we are to keep back every truth which the wicked wrest to their own destruction, we must come at length to keeping back the whole Gospel. To prove that a doctrine is really bad, it is not sufficient to prove that evil arises from its misapplication, or from its perversion, or from taking it apart from the other truths of Scripture. It is not sufficient, to prove that it is a dangerous downfal to those who have it continually before their eyes by itself, and all other Gospel doctrines behind their backs. We must prove that, taken in its proper place, it does harm. We must prove that, taken in its scriptural meaning and tendency, it does harm. But this can never be proved of the doctrine of predestination and election, which like all other doctrines of the Gospel, tends, being rightly taken, to sanctification here, and to glory hereafter. To prevent that abuse of the doctrine to which the article refers, our author sunis up the Scripture proofs of his ninth proposition under five heads, as follows:
“ That men the better may avoid both desperation, and carnal security, they are always to have in mind, that,
"1. The promises," i. e. offers, “of grace, and favour to mankind, are universal."
“2. The doctrine of the Gospel for the free remission of sins, is to be preached not unto a few, but universally and generally unto all men."
“ 3. The seals of the covenant be appointed to be given to all men which are members of the visible church, or desirous to be incorporated thereinto.”
“4. As the disobedience of Adam brought condemnation upon all men: so the bloud and obedience of Christ is able, and all-sufficient to wash away all sins, and that of all men.”
“5. No man ever truly repented, but he was received again, into favour ; so was David after his adultery, Manasses after his idolatry, Peter after his apostasie, the thief upon the cross, the Ninevites."
THE CATHOLIC QUESTION NOT SETTLED, We look for the final settlement of this question, when the kingdom of Christ shall be manifestly established in the earth, and not before. If, under present circumstances, we can realize the idea of settlement in any of the objects that surround us, it is only in the assurance that He reigns already, a spiritual King, over his church, and ordereth all things according to the purpose of his own will.-- Those, however, who said that they would settle the Catholic question, have not done so yet. By the Lord's good hand upon us, we have now reached the close of another quarter: and we repeat the words, which, in defiance of all existing circumstances, against hope, against probability, we spake of repeating, three months since: THE CATHOLIC QUESTION IS NOT SETTLED.
We regard the state of Popery, in its present exaltation, as that foreshewn by the word of the Lord, in the eighteenth chapter of the book of Revelations : “ And a mighty angel TOOK UP a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylou be THROWN