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AUTHOR OF “CALVINISM AND ARXINLANISS COMPARED IN THEIR PRINCIPLES AND TENDENCY."
WITH A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR,
BY REV. W. R. BAG NALL, A. M.
OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH,
AUBURN AND BUFFALO:
The scheme of theological doctrine, known, during the last two centuries, as Arminianism, received that appellation not because Arminius was its author, but from the fact that he collected, and embodied in a system, the scattered and frequently incidental observations of the Christian Fathers and the early Protestant Divines, and, more fully and definitely than any prerious writer, explained and defended that scheme. Its main points, conditional in opposition to absolute predestination, and general in opposition to particular redemption, were advocated by the Fathers who flourished before Augustine, by Chrysostom and other Greek Fathers contemporaneous with him, by Erasmus in Holland, Melancthon in Germany, Hemmingius in Denmark, Snecanus in Friesland, Latimer in England, and many other eminent divines in different parts of Europe, prior to 1589, when Arminius discarded the views of Calvin, and embraced those which he afterwards ably advocated. These views have been entertained by most of the Lutherans in Germany, the North of Europe and the United States, by the Church of England and the Protestant Episcopal Church of this country, and by that largest of denominations, not sustained by state patronage, which embraces, under various names, the followers of Wesley in all parts of the world, and by some smaller denominations. The opposite view has obtained in the churches of Switzerland, Holland, and Scotland, among the Independents of England, and the Presbyterians and Congregationalists (the Unitarians excepted) of this country. The largest denomination of Baptists is Calvinistic, while the General Baptists of England and the Free-Will Baptists of this country, both of them numerous and influential denominations, are decidedly Arminian.
It is not to be denied that many, claiming to be Arminian, but departing. farther from genuine Arminianism, than Arminius or Wesley did from Calvinism, have become Pelagians or Socinians, and have brought the odium of their errors on the system, which they adhere to only in name. On the other hand, it is equally true that Arminianism had exerted a very manifest influence, particularly within the last century, in modifying the views of professed Calvinists, or, if not their views, certainly their modes of presenting