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do towards his own salvation; 2nd, that God also exercises a direct agency, (works, puts forth his energy,) to accomplish that end; and 3d, that the part which divine agency sustains in this work, is to aid human effort;-"God worketh in you to will and to do," i. e. he puts forth his power or agency to help forward and bring to pass the result of willing and doing, or, in other words, to ensure the right exercise of those powers which man already possesses, and to crown with success man's own efforts to use those powers aright. The doctrine that an influence of this kind is essential to the actual event of conversion in every case, is, in our view, one of infinite importance. For a correct and realizing view of this doctrine will rouse the mind, if any thing can, to the highest exertion of its powers. Compliance with duty is seen to be, in the fullest sense, a possible event, even without divine grace, by the exercise of the powers God has given; this takes away all excuse, and lays the soul open to the weight of obligation. The actual event of compliance with duty is seen to be uncertain; for on the one hand, the sinner knows that, though perfectly capable of doing his whole duty, yet without divine grace, he certainly will forever keep his heart from God; and on the other hand, he does not know, nor can he know, that he shall ever put forth those efforts to repent, which it will be consistent for the honor of God, and But the good of his kingdom to aid, and to crown with success. he does know, and well may his heart leap at the assurance, that peradventure, if he takes advantage of the present favorable opportunity, and strives, as in an agony, to bring his whole mind and heart to the work of turning to God, the Holy Spirit may so act on his soul as to make the result a real conversion. He knows, also, that if he neglects the present opportunity, and continues to despise the kindly offered grace of God, he may be wholly and forever left to himself, and the bands of sin may become strong, and conscience fall into a lethargy like death, so that ever after he shall be utterly averse to the least effort to obtain personal religion. He knows that there is a fearful probability of this, and therefore an equal probability that if he does not repent now, he never will. There is then, in the doctrine of the influence of the Holy Spirit thus viewed, all the stimulus that can be derived from hope, and all that can be derived from uncertainty, combined. But according to the views which Pelagius entertained of the doctrine of grace, the actual event of conversion is not merely possible, or even probable, but certain, without divine interposition, if the sinner will but do that which he knows he can, and may, at any time, do. It is scarcely necessary to observe, that such a doctrine as this, is fraught with the most fatal consequences. We do not know whether, if this doctrine were now substituted for the truth
on this subject, in every human mind, and the influence of that truth all annihilated, there would ever be another conversion. It was an error in the system of Pelagius, the evils of which can be paralleled only by those which have resulted from the doctrine that men are, in every sense of the phrase, incapable of doing right.
Another error, into which Pelagius was led by the preceding, was his making election depend on God's foreknowledge of faith and good works in those whom he elects to salvation. He taught that men are not " elected to be saints ;" but that, becoming saints of themselves, without any direct interposition on the part of God, they are elected only to salvation. But in our view, conversion also, and all the fruits of it, depend upon a direct divine agency on the mind itself; and if so, God must unquestionably have decided from eternity, on whom he would exert that agency, and on whom he would not; which constitutes election. On this subject, we refer again to the review of Dr. Fisk's Discourse, in the preceding volume of this work. It will there be seen, that while we dissent from some explanations which have been given of the mode in which God accomplishes his purpose according to election, we nevertheless hold to the fact of such a purpose. We likewise maintain that this electing purpose implies as a part of it, a determination in God to interpose by a direct agency, prior to the conversion of the elect, and for that end; and that this deterinination is an essential part of election. Since then we hold, that the very object of this part of the electing purpose is to secure the commencement of holiness, we, of course, reject the scheme of Pelagius, according to which, that purpose is formed solely on account of holiness, or good desert, considered as already existing in the elect. The true reason why God elects some individuals rather than others, we suppose to be, not any foreseen excellence or goodness in them, for which they deserve to be chosen, but the fact, known to him, that the election and salvation of such individuals will be most consistent with, and best promote, the order and happiness of his kingdom. The former is the ground which Pelagius took; the latter is ours; and the difference between them, must be obvious to all. We shall strictly require, therefore, yet not we, but the eternal law of rectitude and truth rather, that if any one is disposed to call us Pelagians, he shall specify in what respect we coincide with their views; and we shall expect him to except the doctrine of election from the list of such coincidences. But if he shall find, on examination, that on the fundamental points of Pelagianism, to wit, the denial of any connection between Adam's sin, and that of his posterity, (which is Pelagianism, though possibly not a tenet of Pelagius;
the denial of a direct divine influence in conversion and sanctification, and of the doctrine of election to holiness, as well as to salvation,-if he shall find that on these points, which essentially constitute Pelagianism, we agree with the great body of Calvinists, and do not agree with the Pelagians, then we shall require more; we shall require him, yet not we, but the God and Defender of justice and truth rather, not to call us Pelagians at all, or to convey the idea that we have any leaning that way, by unmanly and unchristian insinuations.
Pelagius is likewise accused of having erred respecting justification. As he held that men are not indebted to God for conversion or for subsequent increase of holiness, so also he is supposed to have maintained that they are justified solely on account of their own merits, and not by faith, through the atonement. "That we are men," said he, "we owe to God; that we are righteous, we owe to ourselves." There are two meanings, which may be given to this language; one is, that man is indebted solely to his own unassisted efforts for personal holiness, on which we have remarked already; the other, that a sinner can attain to complete justification, or a state of acceptance with God, as a righteous person, without pardon of sin, and without sanctifying grace, merely by his own self-wrought works. The former is a denial of the direct influence of the Holy Spirit; the latter denies also the doctrine of justification by faith, and has been generally supposed to be the real meaning of Pelagius. We will take it for granted that it was. We agree then with Pelagius that good works, yea, entire personal holiness, is necessary to our final acceptance with God. But we do not suppose this to be all. In order to be accounted righteous, or to stand right, in the eye of the divine law, the sins of the believer must be forgiven through the atonement, the benefits of which are bestowed on condition of faith, or a cordial reliance upon Christ's blood, as the only means of forgiveness. Faith then, in our view, is essential to justification. And as the apostle states that "by works also is a man justified, and not by faith only," it is plain that both works and faith, are necessary to our acceptance with God. But Pelagius, according to that which we have now assumed to be the real meaning of his language, denies the necessity of the pardon of sin, through faith in the atonement, he denies justification by faith, and maintains the doctrine of justification by works alone. Here is another wide difference between his sentiments and ours, if we have rightly understood his meaning.
We do not profess to have here enumerated all the errors of Pelagius. In endeavoring to ascertain his opinions, great embarrassment is occasioned by the paucity of his writings, and by the
fact that much of what he wrote, is known to the world only through the representations of his adversaries, upon whose testimony in this matter we are not disposed to place implicit reliance. There is also considerable vagueness in the statements which Pelagius makes of his own opinions,-a circumstance which has brought upon him the charge of deception, from the time of Augustine down to the present day. Hence there is great danger of imputing to him sentiments which he never held. Many unquestionably have done this. We have endeavored to treat him fairly, though he was guilty of great errors; but we may perhaps, for the reasons stated above, have mistaken his views on some points.
Augustine, on the other hand, has left us in no doubt as to his real opinions; his writings are numerous, and his statements explicit. The main points of his system, therefore, we think we have not misrepresented.
Many of the same doctrines which were controverted between Augustine and Pelagius, have kept the church awake, in attacking or defending them, from those days to the present. We cannot now enter into their history. On this subject, we will make but one remark, in closing, viz. that this controversy, and those which sprung from it, had unquestionably a great and decisive influence in preserving the early Latin church, and much more, since the reformation, the protestant churches, from the blight which has so extensively fallen upon the Greek church. While christians in the West thought, and wrote, and reasoned about truth, those of the East gave themselves to the invention and observance of idle ceremonies. Hence to the Eastern churches, the true gospel, in its length and breadth, as a glorious system of divine truth, is as though it had never been; but in the Western, except perhaps in the very depth of the dark ages, there has always been more or less of a zeal for the true faith, and a right understanding of that faith,-the result, we believe, in no small degree, of that celebrated controversy, which we have been endeavoring to exhibit in these pages.
ART. VIII. THE FREE PEOPLE OF COLOR.
An Address delivered before the free people of color in Philadelphia, New-York, and other cities during the month of June, 1831. By Wм. LLOYD GARRISON. Published by request. Boston, 1831. 8vo. pp. 24.
THE reader of this pamphlet, whatever may be his prejudices, or passions, in respect to its subject, design and occasion, will be very likely to pass some strictures upon it as a piece of rhetoric. He will discover some unquestionable marks of talent. The author has vivid conceptions of whatever he looks at, and writes
with an unusual command of strong and expressive English. His faults, rhetorically considered, are the faults of genius, immature and undisciplined. Of these faults, the most offensive is an undignified frequency in using the pronoun in the first person and singular number, as if Mr. Garrison were to Mr. Garrison an object of much thought and consideration,—and the most blameworthy, is an ambitious straining after effect which sometimes violates the limits of strict prosaic accuracy.
Yet neither the ability with which this pamphlet is written, nor the strong interest which we feel in its subject, would have led us to bestow upon it the notice of this article, had not other circumstances given the author a notoriety greater than his merits alone could have acquired. Some three years ago, Mr. Garrison was one of the editors of an anti-slavery paper published at Baltimore. The vehemence and the pungency of the vituperation, which in that capacity he uttered and published against all and sundry persons, either directly or indirectly concerned in slavery and the domestic slave-trade, was there considered quite intolerable. A particularly violent, and we presume not altogether undeserved attack on certain individuals of the north, who were concerned in carrying a cargo of slaves to market from Baltimore to New Orleans, was made the occasion of a criminal prosecution. With a slaveholding judge to expound the law, and a slave-loving jury to pronounce upon his guilt, it was no difficult matter to secure his conviction. He was fined and imprisoned. Rarely has a man so young, with so few advantages of wealth or political connections, had so favorable an opportunity to become notorious. He lay in prison a martyr to the liberty of the press. He wrote stanzas, Sonnets and paragraphs, full of life and courage, and sent them forth from his cell to circulate as on the wings of the wind. He threw defiance at his oppressors, and recorded his determination to go on with his work as a champion for the rights of human nature. After a few weeks, he was released by the liberality of a gentleman in New-York, who generously redeemed the captive by paying the price which under the forms of justice, had been set upon his liberty. Thus inaugurated and installed in the presence of all the nation, as the enemy of oppressors and the friend of the oppressed, he immediately renewed his operations, by establishing in the city of Boston, a weekly publication devoted to the cause of immediate and universal emancipation. Of the style in which that paper has been conducted, we have no occasion to speak here. From the beginning, it was circulated extensively among the free people of color; and copies frequently found their way far southward. The presses in some of the slave states, made it the occasion of new denunciations against northern philanthropists. The