Page images

and pave their way to glory, being part of that medium conducing to the execution of the decree of Election in them.

Belides, this Doctrine empties hell of a part of its torments, which confift in anguish and remorfe of conscience, proceeding from reflexion upon loft advantages. Now this must needs be taken away by that doftrine which implies that God's decree hath, from all eternity, fet heaven, and fufficient means to lead to it, out of the 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 fervants,) are for such actions only as himself hath irresistibly produced, in men, who could not do otherwife.



Have seriously confidered Mr. Baxter's Vindication of the Synod of Dort, against the Examination of young Tilenus, and proceed to make fome Remarks on every part of it.

The different Opinions of the Members of the Synod, one of them Antonius Walaus, ftates thus: There must be fome common state pitched upon, out of which God made a fegregation of mankind, by his eternal predeftination, and diftri buted them into two claffes, viz. of fuch as are to be faved, and such as are to be damned.

Touching this there are four Opinions. Either God confidered men, 1. As to be created; or 2. As created, and not fallen or 3. As created and fallen in Adam; or 4. As refored in Chrift.

Here are three feveral Opinions acknowledged to be amongst the Calvinists, viz. Supra-lapfarians of two forts, and


Sublapfarians. The whole process of the doctrine of the firft fort of Supra-lapfarians hath been reduced to four heads; which are thefe,

First, That God hath abfolutely and precisely decreed the falvation of fome particular men by his mercy, and the condemnation of others by his juftice, 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 fo be deprived of original righteoufnefs, and become guilty of eternal condemnation.

Thirdly, That God hath decreed thofe (whom he would fave) as to falvation, fo to the means to bring them to faith in Jefus Chrift, and perfeverance in it; and this by his irrefiftible power, fo as they cannot but believe, perfevere, and be faved.

Fourthly, That God hath decreed to deny to them whom he hath preordained to deftruction, that grace which is ne ceffary to falvation: so as they are not able to believe, neither can they be faved.

[To be continued.]

[ocr errors]



M. A.


By the Rev. JOHN WESLEY,


On HEBREWS i. 14.

Are they not all mixiflering Spirits, fent forth to minifter unto them that fhall be heirs of falvation?

ANY of the ancient Heathens had (probably from tradition) fome notion of good and evil angels. They had fome conception of a fuperior order of beings, be



[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

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 confufed; being only frag ments of truth, partly delivered down by their fore-fathers, and partly borrowed from the inspired Writings.

2. Of the former, the benevolent kind, feems to have been the celebrated Demon of Socrates, concerning which so many and fo various conjectures have been made in fucceeding ages. This gives me notice, faid 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 prove, That the Demon of Socrates was only his Reason. But it was not the manner of Socrates to speak in fuch obfcure and ambiguous terms. If he had meant his Reason he would doubtlefs have faid fo: but this could not be his meaning. For it was impoffible his Reafon fhould 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 fuch notice of future contingencies. Neither does this odd interpretation in any wife agree with the inference which he himself draws from it." My Demon, fays 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 fome fpiritual Being: probably one of these ministering Spirits.

3. An ancient Poet, one who lived feveral ages before Socrates, speaks more determinately on this fubject. Hefiod does not fcruple to say,

"Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth unfeen."


Hence, it is probable, arofe the numerous tales about the exploits of their demigods, and gods minorum Gentium. Hence their Satyrs, Fauns, Nymphs of every kind, wherewith they fuppofed both the fea 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 fupply 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 defign to speak at prefent only of the former, of whom we have a full, though brief account in these words. Are they not all miniftering fpirits, fent forth to minifter unto them that shall be heirs of falvation?

I. 1. The question is, according to the manner of the Apofile, equivalent to a strong affirmation. And hence we learn, Firft, that with regard to their effence 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 grofs and earthly like ours, but of a finer fubftance, refembling fire or flame, more than any other of thefe lower elements. And is not fomething like this intimated in thofe words. of the Pfalmift, Who maketh his angels fpirits, and his minifters a flame of fire! Pfalm civ. 4. As fpirits he has endued them with Understanding, Will, or Affections, (which are indeed the fame thing, as the Affections are only the Will exerting itself various ways) and Liberty. And are not thefe, Underftanding, Will, and Liberty, effential to, if not the effence of a fpirit?

[ocr errors]

2. But who of the children of men can comprehend, what is the understanding of an Angel? Who can comprehend how far their fight extends? Analogous to fight in men, though not the fame; but this we are conftrained to fpeak


[ocr errors]

through the poverty of human language! Probably not only over one hemifphere of the earth, yea, or

"Tenfold the length of their Terrene,"

or even of the Solar Syftem; but fo 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 must in no wife imagine, that they creep from one truth to another, by that flow method which we call Reasoning. Undoubtedly they fee at one glance whatever truth is presented to their understanding: and that with all the certainty and clearness, that we mortals fee the most selfevident 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 circumftances, actions, 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 undergo, from the beginning of the world: yet we cannot doubt but his angels know the hearts of thofe to whom they more immediately minifter. Much lefs can we doubt of their knowing the thoughts that are in our hearts at any parti cular time. What fhould hinder their feeing them as they arife? Not the thin veil of flesh and blood! Can thefe in. tercept the view of a spirit? Nay,

"Walls within walls no more its paffage bar,
Than unoppofing fpace of liquid air.”

Far more eafily then, and far more perfectly than we can read a man's thoughts in his face, do these fagacious beings read our thoughts, juft as they rife in our hearts: inafmuch they see their kindred fpirit, more clearly than we see the body. If this feem strange to any, who had not adverted to VOL. VI. B it

« PreviousContinue »