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minion of motives. The third is, that the mind turns itself, without any action of God but that which presents motives; without any motives but those which the mind is in all respects competent to resist, and which many do finally resist. The cause then certainly lies in the selfdetermining power. Here is nothing but the illuminating Spirit, the light, and the mind deciding for itself whether to fall in with the motives or not. This is exactly the self-determining power maintained by Whitby, and this is precisely the New-Haven theory,
I suppose Dr Taylor and Dr Fitch to agree in their theory; but as each has exhibited a different part, I shall examine their writings separately. As Dr Fitch has spread out the system more at large, I shall give him the first place: and as his Review of Dr Fisk’s Sermon has been set up by some of the leading advocates of the new doctrines, as a fair exposition of their opinions, I shall attend chiefly to that,
Dr Fitch's Theory, as exhibited in his Review of Dr Fisk’s Discourse on Predestination and Election. Christian Spectator, Dec. 1831.
THE theory exhibited in this Review is, one half of the way, pure Arminianism; and the other half, it assumes the high language of Calvinism, with an Arminian meaning two thirds of the way, and for the other third, a Calvinistic meaning wholly at variance with the rest of the system. I will first spread out the theory so plainly that every one can understand it, and secondly, show by copious extracts that it is indeed what I represent.
Dr Fitch says, (putting his thoughts into my own language,) that if God should attempt to make men holy by efficient power, they would not be holy after all, for they would not be moral agents; that all he can do is to throw truth upon their understanding and conscience by his illuminating Spirit, and leave the result to the self-determining power, which is capable of yielding to the motives and capable of resisting any influence which God can bring; that God does the best he can by his Spirit for every individual, and therefore, (if I understand him,) as much for one as another; that he has taken the best measures he
could to keep out sin, and could not succeed any further without destroying the freedom of creatures and rendering them incapable of sinning; that he has taken the best measures he could to recover men from the ruins of the fall, and has done all he could for each individual consistently with the general interest of holiness in our world, and could not succeed with a greater number; that God foresaw that if he gave being to creatures, and brought forward such a system of government and grace, Peter and John, by the self-determining power, would accept his offers, and that Judas would reject them; that this foreseen preponderance of good, (say, two to one,) was the motive which induced God to create and to bring forward such a system of government and grace; that his determination to do all this when he foresaw the result, was itself the predestination of all things, even of sin, and particularly was the election of Peter and John and the rejection of Judas. Thus far the system, (except the language of the last proposition,) is pure Arminianism. At this point he turns short about, and employs the highest Calvinistic language, but with a meaning entirely Arminian. He says that, by the word and Spirit, God ensures the regeneration of Peter and John, and, according to an eternal purpose, selects them from the ruins of the apostacy. He presses the doctrine of election in the strongest possible terms. But how does God ensure regeneration? and what is the election contended for Why, he ensures the regeneration of Peter and John by urging upon them motives to which he foresaw that they, by the self. determining power, would yield. In this way alone he selects them from the ruins of the apostacy; and his mere determination to do this, was the eternal decree of election. This is no other regeneration or election than any Arminian would agree to if he would consent to use such language. Indeed Dr Fitch plainly tells Dr Fisk, (a consistent and highly respectable Arminian Methodist,) that he ought to believe in the same election if he holds to foreknowledge: and Dr Fisk in his answer tells him that he does, but reproves him for the illusory language in which he has wrapt it up. Thus two thirds of the last half of the way, viz. through regeneration and election, he uses high Calvinistic language with an Arminian meaning. The other third of the last half of the way, viz. through perseverance, he holds Calvinistic language and supports the Calvinistic theory, but with entire inconsistence with the rest of the system. If God does nothing for Peter but offer motives which the self-determining power is to yield to or reject, there are a million of chances to one that Peter will fall away. Satan fell away. from perfect holiness; Adam sell away from perfect holiness: a million to one that Peter will fall away from imperfect holiness, in a world full of temptations, with all his appetites and former habits set against him, unless he is “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” I beg to know what makes it eertain that a single Christian will persevere. God's foreknowledge? That foresees a thing already certain, but does not make it certain. How comes it then to pass that every regenerated man, from Adam to his youngest