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tions, which have been considered, and even in my own remarks on them, opinions, which resemble many doctrines maintained by the papists; and some of these, in a great degree resembling them.' No heretick or papist renounces all truth, by running into error, in some particulars; nor does any heretick or papist spoil the truth, which he retains with his errors: else we must renounce the doctrine of the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, the atonement, and many other essential principles of christianity, as “in a high dregree resembling the doctrines held • by the papists.' On the other hand, that man approaches far nearer, in his self-confidence, to infal. libility, than any one ought to do; who thinks, that he himself is quite clear of mixing error with the scriptural truths, which he zealously maintains. But if hereticks retained one single truth, and if Calvinists inaintain one single error ; two distinct cases occur, in which the tenets of both, however opposite in other things, may coincide. As we ought not to renounce the great doctrines of christianity, retained in the church of Rome, and almost buried under the mass of her corruptions : so we must not renounce the doctrines of original sin, regeneration, justification by faith alone, no, not even personal election to eternal life, and the final preservation of every true believer : even if it should appear that certain hereticks, and those of the vilest sort, held the same tenets in some particulars. No one will say, that any man ever was so heretical, as not to hold one true doctrine. Must then that one true doctrine be given up by all christians, because such and such detestable hereticks maintained it? This is a species of argumentation, which ought never to be adopted by any person, who would impartially debate contro. verted questions. It ought not to be enquired, who did, or who did not, inaintain the doctrine; but whether it be, or be not, according to “ the oracles “ of God.” He, who goes off from this ground, shrinks from the enquiry, "What hath God said ?' and endeavours to support himself, either against “ the oracles of God,” or independently of them: by claiming credit from human authority; or by loading his opponent with odium, from coincidence, real or supposed, with reprobated characters.--If: a protestant, so called, avow those doctrines, in which popery essentially consists, he may justly be classed with papists: and if Calvinists maintain those tenets, in which the heresy of the proscribed hereticks consisted, let them be proscribed along with them: but not so, if either the one, or the other, agree in those things, in which the essence of popery or heresy does not consist. No one, in the least degree conversant with ecclesiastical history, even in the earlier times, much more in subsequent ages, can doubt; but that, when any man, of influence and authority, or learning and eloquence, chose to render his com, petitor or opponent odious, and to persecute him even unto death; either from personal resentment, or the odium theologicum: he had little to do but to call him by the name of some reprobated heretick; and he would soon be hunted out of the world, as not fit to live. The fable of the man and the lion, in those days when beasts coyld converse and reason
is well known. Had lions been painters, instead of men, it would not have been so common, for pic-tures to represent men victorious over lions : and if the writings of the hereticks, had not been destroyed by those, who called themselves orthodox ; (as confident a name at least, as evangelical clergy;) we might have had a very different history of the church. But almost all our information, concerning hereticks, is from their avowed opposers and persecutors; and if all the information, which may reach posterity, concerning the Calvinists, should be derived from their opposers; (though not direct persecutors ;) what dreadful ideas would our descendants form of us! I speak not this, in exculpation of ancient hereticks, especially of those, whom his Lordship thinks we greatly resemble: but to shew, that we must abide, exclusively, by the oracles of God; and the ministers of the establishment, as such, must be judged by our authorized books,
IRENæus. P. DXI, DXI. I must refer the reader to the Refutation itself, for the quotation of these pages, which contains, as far as I can judge, an unintelligible jargon. Thus far I can find no one shade of resemblance, between the sentiments of the Valentinians, and the tenets of Calvinism; and I have some hope, the reader will give me credit, that if I did, I would adduce it. We read indeed," They affirm, that they themselves shall be entirely and com
Page 518. 114
*pletely saved, not by their own conduct, but be
cause they are spiritual by nature.' But is this the opinion of Calvinists? The apostle expresses our sentiments : let the reader compare them, with those of the Valentinians. “ Among whom we all had our “ conversation in times past, in the lusts of our * flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the “ mind; and were by nature children of wrath, even
others; but God, who is rich in mercy, of his great love, wherewith he loved us, even when we “ were dead in sin, hath quickened us together with “ Christ."-" By grace are ye saved, through faith, " and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; “ not of works, lest any man should boast: for “ we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus “ unto good works; which God has before ordained " that we should walk in them."! Now, this is the only shade of resemblance: We say, "not of works, “ lest any man should boast;" they say 'not of • their own conduct, because they are spiritual by
nature;' in order to introduce boasting. We allow the dutiful necessity of good works, though we ascribe the will and the power of doing them to a new creation; and place no dependence on them, as to our justification : they wholly exclude them. I might multiply quotations, but surely it is needless. The Valentinians, suppose, that by nature, there are several differences between one man and another : we declare, that “there is no difference," except by the special new-creating grace of God. Surely this is not resemblance, but contrariety!
Eph. ii. 3—10.
P. DXI. I. 18. It is, &c." Calvinists are far from holding, that they who are not Calvinists are • incapable of salvation ;' in general, they avow the belief, that many, who cannot receive their peculiar doctrinal tenets, will participate with them in their invaluable privileges'; and that numbers, who are zealous and eager contenders for their doctrines, will perish, as having only a notional and dead faith. If the abominable antinomianism stated in the rest of the 'quotation, be indeed supposed to be the feature, in which Calvinists' highly resemble these • ancient hereticks :' I can only appeal to our books, from Calvin to the less renowned writers, on this
"It is impossible that the material should partake of salvation (for they say it is not capable of it), so again it is impossible that the spiritual, meaning themselves, should be subject to corruption, whatever conduct they pursue. For as gold placed in mud, does not lose its excellence, bat preserves it own nature, the mud not being able in any respect to injure the gold; so they say that they themselves, whatever material
actions they do, are not at all hurt, nor do they lose the spiri• tual substance. Wherefore, those of them who are the most * perfect, do without fear all things which are forbidden, of which • the Scriptures affirm, that "they who do such things, shall not " inherit the kingdom of God." • After enumerating a great ' variety of dreadful crimes, of which these men were guilty,
he adds--' And doing many other abominable and ungodly
things, they inveigh against us, who, from the fear of God, • are cautious not to sin even in thought or word, as idiots and • fools: but they extol themselves, calling themselves perfect, • and the eloct seed. For they say that we receive grace for use, • and that therefore it will be taken away from us; but that they • themselves hare grace as their own possession, derived from
above by an union which cannot be described or expressed, and " that therefore an addition will be made to them. P. 28.'