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Calvinism and Arminianism Compared in Their Principles and Tendency

Calvinism and Arminianism Compared in Their Principles and Tendency

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Excerpt from Calvinism and Arminianism Compared in Their Principles and Tendency: Or the Doctrines of General Redemption, as Held by the Members of the Church of England, and by the Early Dutch Arminians

"Do the Elect believe?" Or, "Are Believers the true Elect?" These are the two questions, which, long before Arminius was known, were proposed to all Predestinarian adversaries, by the learned and amiable Lutheran Professor Hemmingius, who justly asserts, that in the manner in which these simple but opposing Queries are solved, consists the real difference between the favourers of Particular and General Redemption. He says, "those persons who maintain the former position, hold sentiments agreeable to the doctrine of the Manichees and Stoics; and those who maintain the latter point, are in obvious agreement with Moses and the Prophets, with Christ and his Apostles."

If, according to the spirit of the First Question, men regard themselves as Believers because they have been elected, the consequences which they deduce from such a fatal doctrine are very obvious: Not only is their eternal felicity thus inevitably secured, without any personal exertion on their part, but the means of this spiritual security are also permanently fixed; and "the righteousness divine" with which a renewed man becomes invested, is, through an abuse of the doctrine of Imputation, rendered inefficacious by being viewed as a relative and not a real qualification. In this manner the whole of the Five Points and their concomitants are represented absolutely and unconditionally; and being thus independent of all personal considerations, they produce none of that salutary influence upon the conduct of individuals which the various scriptural promises and threatenings are intended to inculcate.

On the contrary, when, in the spirit of the Second Question, men regard themselves as the Elect of God, because they believe and obey his commandments, the consequences which they deduce from such a doctrine are equally apparent: Not only are their present religious enjoyments and their eternal felicity thus rendered certain, and yet contingent upon the continued exercise of their faith, and upon their acts of evangelical obedience, - but "the righteousness divine," with which, as renewed persons, they are endowed, is viewed as a real qualification, a fructifying principle; and "the Grace of God" which they receive, is one of those "talents" concerning which their Blessed Lord commands, "Occupy (or trade) till I come."

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