« PreviousContinue »
and pave their way to glory, being part of that medium conducing to the execution of the decree of Election in them.
Beldes, this Do&trine empties hell of a part of its torments, which consist in anguish and remorse of conscience, proceeding from reflexion upon lost advantages. Now this must needs be taken away by that doctrine which implies that God's decree hath, from all eternity, set heaven, and sufficient means to lead to it, out of che reach of the Reprobate.
It renders God's Commands irrational; for though he commands the work to others, yet he must do it himself; and his Euges (Well done good and faithful servants,) are for such actions only as himself hath irresistibly produced, in men, who could not do otherwise.
The CALVINIST-CABINET UNLOCKED.
Hase serioully considered Mr. Baxter's. Vindication of
the Synod of Dort, against the Examination of young Tilenus, and proceed to make some Remarks on every
part of it.
The different Opinions of the Members of the Synod, one of them Antonius Walæus, states thus : There must be some common state pitched upon, out of which God made a segregation of mankind, by his eternal predestination, and diftrie buted them into two classes, viz. of such as are to be saved, and such as are to be danned.
Touching this there are four Opinions. Either God considered men, 1. As to be created; or 2. As created, and not fallen : or 3. As created and fallen in Adam; or 4. As rekored in Chrift.
Here are three several Opinions acknowledged to be amongft the Calvinilts, viz. Supra-lapsarians of two sorts, and
Sublapsarians. The whole process of the doctrine of the first fort of Supra-lapsarians hath been reduced to four heads ; which are there,
First, That God hath absolutely and precisely decreed the salvation of some particular men by his mercy, and the condemnation of others by his justice, without any intuition of righteousness, or fin; obedience, or disobedience.
Secondly, That God, for the bringing to pass this his decree, determined the creation of Adam, and all men in him, in the fate of original righteousness, and further ordained that they should fin, and so be deprived of original righteoafness, and become guilty of eternal condemnation.
Thirdly, That God hath decreed those (whom he would save) as to falvation, so to the means to bring them to faith in Jesus Christ, and perseverance in it; and this by his irresistible power, so as they cannot but believe, persevere, and be saved.
Fourthly, That God hath decreed to deny to them whom he hath preordained to destruction, that grace which is ne cessary to salvation : so as they are not able to believe, neither can they be saved. [To be continued.]
C* OR I G I N A L SERMONS,
By the Rev. JOHN WESLEY, M. A.
Are they not all minisering spirits, fent forth to minister unto
them that shall be heirs of salvation ? 1. MAN
ANY of the ancient Heathens had (probably from
tradition) some notion of good and evil angels. They had some conception of a superior order of beings, be
tween men and God, whom the Greeks generally termed Demons (knowing ones,) and the Romans Genii. Some of these they supposed to be kind and benevolent, delighting in doing good; others to be malicious and cruel, delighting in doing evil. But their conceptions both of one and the other, were crude, imperfect and confused; being only fragmeats of truth, partly delivered down by their forefathers, and partly borrowed from the inspired Writings.
2. Of the former, the benevolent kind, seems to have been the celebrated Demon of Socrates, concerning which so many and so various conje&tures have been made in succeeding ages. This gives me notice, said he, every morning, of any evil which will befal me that day. A late Writer, in. deed (I suppose one that hardly believes the existence of either Angel or Spirit) has published a Dissertation wherein he labours to proye, That the Demon of Socrates was only his Reason. But it was not the manner of Socrates to speak in such obscure and ambiguous terms. If he had meant his Reason he would doubtless have said fo : but this could not be his meaning. For it was impossible his Reason should give him notice every morning, of every evil which would befal him that day. It does not lie within the province of Reason, to give such notice of future contingencies. Neither does this odd interpretation in any wise agree with the inference which he himself draws from it." My Demon, says he, did not give me notice this morning of any evil that was to befal me to-day. Therefore I cannot regard as any evil, my being condemned to die.” Undoubtedly it was some spiritual Being: probably one of these ministering Spirits.
3. An ancient Poet, one who lived several ages before Socrates, speaks more determinately on this subject. Hesiod does not scruple to say,
u Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth unseen.“
Hence, it is probable, arose the numerous tales about the exploits of their demigods, and gods minorum Gentium. Hence their Satyrs, Fauns, Nymphs of every kind, wherewith they fupposed both the sea and land to be filled. But how empty, childish, unfatisfactory, are all the accounts they give of them! as indeed accounts that depend upon broken, uncertain tradition can hardly fail to be.
4. Revelation only is able to supply this defect; this only gives us a clear, rational, confiftent account, of those whom our eyes
have not seen, nor our ears heard: of both good and evil angels. It is my design to speak at present only of the former, of whom we have a full, though brief account in these words. Are they not all minisering spirits, sent forth to mimter unto them that shall be heirs of salvation ?
· I. 1. The question is, according to the manner of the Apostle, equivalent to a strong affirmation. And hence we learn, First, that with regard to their essence or nature, they are all spirits ; not material, or corporeal beings; not clogged with flesh and blood like us; but having bodies, if any, not gross and earthly like ours, but of a finer substance, resembling fire or flame, more than any other of these lower elements. And is not something like this intimated in those words of the Psalmist, Who maketh his angels fpirits, and his ministers a flame of fire! Psalm civ. 4. As (pirits he has endued them with Understanding, Will, or Affections, (which are indeed the same thing, as the Affections are only the Will exerting itself various ways) and Liberty. And are not these, Under. ftanding, Will, and Liberty, ellential to, if not the ellence of a fpirit ?
2. But who of the children of men can comprehend, what is the understanding of an Angel ?' Who can comprehend how far their hght extends ? Analogous to fight in men, though not the same; but this we are constrained to speak
through the poverty of human language ! Probably not only over one hemisphere of the earth, yea, or
“ Tenfold the length of their Terrene,"
or even of the Solar System; but so far as to take in at one view, the whole extent of the Creation ? And we cannot conceive any defect in their Perception, neither any error in their Understanding. But in what manner do they use their UnderAtanding? We mult in no wise imagine, that they creep from one truth to another, by that Now method which we call Reasoning. Undoubtedly they see at one glance whatever truth is presented to their understanding: and that with all the certainty and clearnefs, that we mortals fee the most felfevident axiom.' Who then can conceive the extent of their Knowledge? Not only of the nature, attributes and works of God, (whether of creation or providence) but of the circumAtances, a&tionis, words, tempers, yea and thoughts of men. For although God only knows the hearts of all men ( unto whom known are all his works) together with the changes they un. dergo, from the beginning of the world: yet we cannot doubt but his angels know the hearts of those to whom they more immediately minifter. Much less can we doubt of their knowing the thoughts that are in our hearts at any parti. cular time. What should hinder their seeing them as they arise ? Not the thin veil of flesh and blood! Can these in. tercept the view of a spirit ? Nay,
• Walls within walls no more its passage bar,
Than unopposing space of liquid air.”
Far more easily then, and far more perfectly than we can read a man's thoughts in his face, do these sagacious beings read our thoughts, just as they rise in our hearts: inasmuch as they see their kindred spirit, more clearly than we see the body. If this seem strange to any, who had not adverted to Vol. VI. B