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ly show, that the Episcopal Church disclaims the doctrine of absolute and particular election and reprobation. Let the above quotations, together with the 31st article, be compared with the Calvinistic doctrines, as expressly laid down in their Confessions of Faith, and it must appear strikingly evident, that they are entirely opposed to, and utterly inconsistent with each other. The Presbyterian Confession of Faith says, "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others fore-ordained to everlasting death." "Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, or saved, but the elect only. The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withdraweth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonour and wrath, for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice."-Pres. Conf. of Faith, ch. S, sec. 3, 6, 7.
And now, I would say, in the language of
a writer in the Churchman's Magazine, the above quotations are made, and the above remarks" dictated, by no sentiment of disrespect for those denominations, who, in the exercise of an acknowledged right, maintain the tenets of Calvinism. With many individuals of these denominations, the writer is in habits of intimate acquaintance and friendship." He is induced to make these remarks and comparisons, " by the charge assiduously propagated, that, while the articles of the Episcopal Church maintain the tenets of Calvinism, the clergy of this church in America, maintain opposite doctrines; and are therefore guilty of opposing the standards of their Church. This charge, so materially affecting the consistency, the reputation, and the character of the Episcopal clergy, could in no other way be (so clearly) refuted, as by comparing the Confessions of Faith of the Calvinistic Churches, with the Articles (and Liturgy) of the Episcopal Church; and thus ascertaining their dissimilarity and opposition."
But it is said, that in England, a number of
the Episcopal clergy hold strictly to the Calvinistic doctrines, and constantly inculcate them. Admitting this to be true, what does it prove? Certainly it does not prove that the articles or doctrines of the Church of England, as generally received and understood by Episcopalians there, are calvinistic. I have known several Congregational clergymen, who did not believe the Calvinistic doctrines of Election and Reprobation, and who preached pointedly against them, &c. (and there are a number of such now in this country.) I do not, however, from thence infer, that the doctrines of the Congregational churches, as generally received and understood among them, are not Calvinistic. The deviation of some individuals, in any denomination of Christians, from the doctrines generally received by such denomination, does not alter the character of that denomination, as to its religious doctrines.
The great body of the Episcopal clergy in England, have been, and still are opposed to the distinguishing doctrines of Calvinism. And if there have been, and still are, some in
dividuals who believe in, and inculcate those doctrines, this does not prove that the Church of England in its doctrines and articles, is Calvinistic.
Very few of the theological writers of the Episcopal church in England, have favoured the Calvinistic doctrines; while those who have been its greatest ornaments, both for abilities and piety, have constantly inculcated the opposite doctrines, as both agreeable to scripture and the articles of the church. In proof of this, I might weary both myself and the reader with quotations. I will, at present, introduce but one or two, and they are from the works of Archbishop Tillotson. The first is from the ninth volume of his sermons, 281st page, as follows : "No man hath reason either to charge his fault, or his punishment, upon God: he is free from the blood of all men; he sincerely desires our happiness; but we wilfully ruin ourselves: and when he tells that he desires not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live; that he would have all men to be saved, and to come
to the knowledge of the truth; that he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance; he plainly means as he says; he doth not speak to us with any reserve, or dark distinction between his secret and revealed will; he does not decree one thing, and declare another. And if this be so, no man hath reason to be discouraged from attempting and endeavouring his own happiness, upon a jealousy and surmise that God hath, by any fatal decree, put a bar to it from all eternity: for if he had so absolutely resolved to make the greatest part of mankind miserable, without any respect to their actions in this world, he would never have said that he desires that all should be saved; he would not have exhorted all men to work out their own salvation. Had he taken up any such resolution, he would have declared it to all the world: for he hath power enough in his hand, to do what he pleaseth, and none can resist his will; so that he did not need to have dissembled the matter, and to have pretended a desire to save men, when he was resolved to ruin them."