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sinner is either raised to heaven, or let down to hell. two points are so wide asunder, that the sweeping of the whole course between the two extremes must necessarily require considerable time.
Cal. I was astonished at the quotation to which you allude; but if I do not mistake, it is the design of two whole sermons, in the second volume of Strong; and of two sermons in Emmons, doctrinally to establish it; that sin and holiness are, more or less regularly, "alternating in exercise." Were this expression designed for a figure of speech, I would allow it to pass; but since it is designed for a doctrinal proposition, I think it should be reprobated. It is calculated to do no good; but to cherish the fallacious hopes of a man who has no government of his passions, whose heart is not subjected to Christ, and whose religious feelings are capricious, whose love and hatred are "alternating in exercise."
Hop. Spare your philippics, my dear Doctor, and give us your own theory.
Cal. When I say, man is a sinner," I design to convey the idea, not that man's will is a sinner; but that the complex being, composed of several constituent faculties, is a sinner. The actions of this being are all complex. He cannot choose without perception; he could neither love nor hate without the co-operation of intellect: he could not act without motives. As objects of sight are themselves complex, so are the motives by which a man is actuated in the imperfect spiritual life. The motives which influence us to action are all good, or all bad, or mixed motives. Now who is not sensible of the co-operation of many motives, in producing the common actions of life? What believer can refrain from confessing, "selfishness mingled with my charity and self-denial; my affections do not yet perfectly resemble the pure stream, proceeding from the throne of God and the Lamb; my righteousnesses are as filthy rags?"
At the same time, the believer can say, "I do not act as I once did. The love of God has some prevailing influence over my life. My spiritual discernment, thoughts, hopes, fears, de
sires, and exercises universally, are changed. I have some faith, some love: new principles of conduct, and a seed of grace.”
Sin has blinded the understanding. When therefore, I love any good thing, my affection has some connexion with my views ; and because my view is imperfect, as well as my will disordered, my exercises of love, when directed towards proper objects, must all be imperfect.
Arm. You say, however, that this weak, partially blind, and imperfect creature, can never utterly fall away from his gracious state?
Cal. I say, that the Lord will have respect to the work of his hands; that he will water what he has planted; and perfect what he has begun.
Hop. Concerning the fact, that the work of sanctification shall be continued, until completed, you and I, Doctor C. are agreed. In this at least, you will grant, that I am orthodox.
Arm. I clearly see that you Hopkinsians are neither for nor against any system but your own.
Here the discussion ceased.
The passages of scripture which both the Calvinists and Hopkinsians consider decisive proof of the perseverance, or divine preservation of every believer, to eternal life, shall now be stated.
"He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved." Mark xvi. 16. Here is a promise of final salvation made to every believer; to one, who now, for the first time believes, as well as to him, who has continued to believe, to the last hour of life. It implies another promise; that he who believes with his heart in the Lord Jesus, shall be kept through faith to salvation.
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall he shall not be utterly cast
down; for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand." Ps. xxxii. 23, 24. This gives us glorious confidence. Although the good man sin, yet God will not leave him to commit the sin of final apostacy. He may fall into grievous sins, but God will uphold him, so that he shall not utterly fall away from holiness. If the good work of sanctification is delayed for a while, God will, nevertheless, renew it again, and finally perfect it in the day of the Lord Jesus. "The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants; and none of them that once trust in him shall be desolate." "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do thein good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” Jer. xxxii. 40. "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Prov. iv. 18. Except it is certain, that he who has some knowledge of God, and some love, will through life make advances in holiness, this representation cannot be true.
"Whosoever shall drink of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." John iv. 14. "Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." John vi. 35.
Nearly the whole of this sixth chapter is full of assurances, that every one, who once believes on the Lord Jesus, shall never die, but shall have eternal life.
"The righteous shall hold on his way." Job xvii. 9.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my words and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation." John v. 24.
"Who are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation." 1 Pet. i. 5.
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never
perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no one is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." John x. 27, 28, 29.
"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." It is sufficient here to observe that God pardons and justifies every believer so soon as he believes. deny then, that every believer shall be saved, we must suppose the eternal God to revoke his decisions, and condemn those whom he has pronounced free from condemnation. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom. viii. 28-39.
These are passages, which prove that all believers shall be preserved unto eternal life. Those who are once pardoned shall never be punished; once justified, never condemned; once heirs to eternal life, never disinherited; once sons, no more aliens.
"Being confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good work in you will perform it, until the day of the Lord Jesus." Phil. i. 6.
CALVINISM AND HOPKINSIANISM CONTRASTED, BY COM
PARING EACH WITH SEVERAL HERESIES.
Many matters of inferior importance, on which a difference of opinion exists, might have been introduced into the Contrast, but it was deemed not expedient. From the fundamental principles, which have been already opposed to each other, the discerning mind can easily imagine how the opponents would reason upon the various ramifications of their respective systems. It is proposed in this chapter to give a summary contrast, by comparing both Calvinism and Hopkinsianism with several heresies. If we wish to see the difference between any two objects, it is well not only to examine them in relation to each other, but also to compare each with a third object. By pursuing this course in the present case, a double advantange will be gained; for we shall be able more clearly to discern the difference between the two, and at the same time, to judge of the tendency of each.
It will be made evident, that some of the doctrines of Hopkinsianism have originated in a collision between the advocates for a general atonement and the universalists; while others, if they have not sprung from deistical objections, or from a desire of compromise with the enemies of our God, Christ; and from the pride of "philosophy, falsely so called;" may certainly be traced down in their consequences, through various erroneous systems, to deism, and in some instances from deism to atheistical fatality.
Those persons, who profess to derive their doctrine of universal salvation from the scriptures, said, THE ATONEMENT IS UNIVERSAL. The Hopkinsians said the same.