"My sheep, saith Christ, hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish. O, most worthy Scriptures! which ought to compel us to have a faithful remembrance, and to note the tenor thereof; which is, the sheep of Christ shall never perish.
"Doth Christ mean part of his elect, or all, think you? I do hold, and affirm, and also faithfully believe, that he meant all his elect, and not part, as some do full ungodly affirm. I confess and believe assuredly, that there shall never any of them perish: for I have good authority so to say; be- cause Christ is my author, and saith, if it were possible, the very elect should be deceived. Ergo, it is not possible that they can be so deceived, that they shall ever finally perish, or be damned: wherefore, whosoever doth affirm that there may be any (i.e. any of the elect) lost, doth affirm that Christ hath a torn body."1
The above valuable letter of recantation is thus inscribed: "A Letter to the Congregation of Free-willers, by One that had been of that Persuasion, but come off, and now a Prisoner for Religion:" which superscription will hereafter, in its due place, supply us with a remark of more than slight importance.
To occupy the place of argument, it has been alleged that "Mr. Wesley is an old man;" and the Church of Rome is still older than he. Is that any reason why the enormities, either of the mother or the son, should pass unchastised?
It has also been suggested, that "Mr. Wesley is a very laborious man:" not more laborious, I presume, than a certain active being, who is said to go to and fro in the earth, and walk up and down in it:2 nor yet more laborious, I should imagine, than certain ancient Sectarians, concerning whom it was long ago said, "Woe unto you Scribes, hypocrites; for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte:"3 nor, by any means, so usefully laborious, as a certain diligent member of the community, respecting whose variety of occupations the public have lately received the following intelligence: "The truth of the following instance of industry may be depended on: a poor man with a large family, now cries milk, every morning, in Lothbury, and the neighbourhood of the Royal Exchange; at eleven, he wheels about a barrow of potatoes; at one, he cleans shoes at the Change; after dinner, cries milk again; in the evening, sells sprats; and at night, finishes the measure of his labour as a watchman."4
Mr. Sellon, moreover, reminds me (p. 128.) that, "while the shepherds are quarrelling, the wolf gets into the sheep fold;" not impossible: but it so happens, that the present quarrel is not among "the shepherds," but with the "wolf" himself; which "quarrel" is warranted by every maxim of pastoral meekness and fidelity.
I am further told, that, while I am "berating the Arminians, Rome and the devil laugh in their sleeves." Admitting that Mr. Sellon might derive this anecdote from the fountain head, the parties themselves, yet, as neither they nor he are very conspicuous for veracity, I construe the intelligence by the rule of reverse, though authenticated by the deposition of their right trusty and well-beloved cousin and counsellor.
Once more: I am charged with "excessive superciliousness, and majesty of pride:" and why not charged with having seven heads and ten horns, and a tail as long as a bell-rope? After all, what has my pride, or my humility, to do with the argument in hand? Whether I am haughty, or meek, is of no more consequence either to that, or to the public, than whether I am tall or short: however, I am, at this very time, giving one proof, that my "majesty of pride" can stoop; that even to ventilate the impertinences of Mr. Sellon.
But, however frivolous his cavils, the principles for which he contends are of the most pernicious nature and tendency. I must repeat, what already seems to have given him so much offence, that Arminianism "came from Rome, and leads thither again." Julian, bishop of Eclana a contemporary and disciple of Pelagius, was one of those who endeavoured, with much art, to gild the doctrines of that heresiarch, in order to render them more sightly and palatable. The Pelagian system, thus varnished and paliated, soon began to acquire the softer name of Semipelagianism. Let us take a view of it, as drawn to our hands by the celebrated Mr. Bower, who himself, in the main, a professed Pelagian, and therefore less likely to present us with an unfavourable portrait of the system he generally approved. Among the principles of that sect, this learned writer enumerates the following:
"The notion of election and reprobation, independent on our merits or demerits, is maintaining a fatal necessity, is the bane of all virtue, and serves only to render good men remiss in working out their salvation, and to drive sinners to despair.
"The decrees of election and reprobation are posterior to, and in consequence of, our good or evil works, as foreseen by God from all eternity."5
Is not this too the very language of modern Arminianism? Do not the partizans of that scheme argue on the same identical terms? Should it be said, "True, this proves that Arminianism is Pelagianism revived; but it does not prove, that the doctrines of Arminianism are originally Popish:" a moment's cool attention will make it plain that they are. Let us again hear Mr. Bower, who, after the passage just quoted, immediately adds, "on these two last propositions, the Jesuits found their whole system of grace and free-will; agreeing therein with the Semipelagians, against the Jansenists and St. Augustine."6 The Jesuits were moulded into a regular body, towards the middle of the sixteenth century: toward the close of the same century, Arminius began to infest the Protestant churches. It needs therefore no great penetration, to discern from what source he drew his poison. His journey to Rome (though Monsicur Bayle affects to make light of the inferences which were at that very time deduced from it) was not for nothing. If, however, any are disposed to believe, that Arminius imbibed his doctrines from the Socinians in Poland, with whom, it is certain, he was on terms of intimate friendship, I have no objection to splitting the difference: he might import some of his tenets from the Racovian brethren, and yet be indebted, for others, to the disciples of Loyola.
Certain it is, that Arminius himself was sensible, how greatly the doctrine of predestination widens the distance between Protestantism and Popery. "There is no point of doctrines (says he) which the Papists, the Anabaptists, and the (new) Lutherans more fiercely oppose, nor by means of which they heap more discredit on the reformed churches, and bring the reformed system itself into more odium; for they (i.e. the Papists, & etc.) assert, that no fouler blasphemy against God can be thought or expressed, than is contained in the doctrine of predestination."7 For which reason, he advises the reformed world to discard predestination from their creed, in order that they may live on more brotherly terms with the Papists, the Anabaptists, and such like.
The Arminian writers make no scruple to seize and retail each other's arguments, as common property. Hence, Samuel Hoord copies from Van Harmin the self same observation which I have now cited. "Predestination (says Samuel) is an opinion odious to the Papists, opening their foul mouths, against our Church and religion:"8 consequently, our adopting the opposite doctrines of universal grace and freewill, would, by bringing us so many degrees nearer to the Papists, conduce to shut their mouths, and make them regard us, so far at least, as their own orthodox and dearly beloved brethren: whence it follows, that, as Arminianism came from Rome, so "it leads thither again."
If the joint verdict of Arminius
himself, and of his English proselyte Hoord, will not turn the scale, let us add
the testimony of a professed Jesuit, by way of making up full weight. When
archbishop Laud's papers were exam- ined, a letter was found among them, thus
endorsed with that prelate's own hand: "March,
The "Sovereign drug, Arminianism," which said the Jesuit, "we (i.e. we Papists) have planted" in England, did indeed bid fair "to purge our Protestant Church effectually. How merrily Popery and Arminianism, at that time, danced hand in hand, may be learned from Tindal: "The churches were adorned with paintings, images, altar-pieces, & etc. and, instead of communion tables, alters were set up, and bowings to them and the sacramental elements enjoined. The predestinarian doctrines were forbid, not only to be preached, but to be printed; and the Arminian sense of the Articles was encouraged and propagated."10 The Jesuit, therefore, did not exult without cause. The "sovereign drug," so lately "planted," did indeed take deep root downward, and bring forth fruit upward, under the cherishing auspices of Charles and Laud. Heylyn, too, acknowledges, that the state of things was truly described by another Jesuit of that age, who wrote: "Protestantism waxeth weary of itself. The doctrine (by the Arminians, who then sat at the helm) is altered in many things, for which their progenitors forsook the Church of Rome: as limbus patrum; prayer for the dead, and possibility of keeping God's com- mandments; and the accounting of Calvinism to be heresy at least, if not treason."11
The maintaining of these positions, by the Court divines, was an "alteration" indeed; which the abandoned Heylyn ascribes to "the ingenuity and moderation found in some professors of our religion." If we sum up the evidence that has been given, we shall find its amount to be, that Arminianism came from the Church of Rome, and leads back again to the pit whence it was digged.
For further study: Christopher Ness, An Antidote Against Arminianism; J. Warne, Arminianism: The Back Door to Popery; John Knox, On Predestination in Works vol. 5; John Owen, A Display of Arminianism; Pink, The Sovereignty of God; Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will; C. Van Til, The Defense of the Faith; Gary North, 75 Bible Questions Your Instructors Pray You Won't Ask; W. MacLean, Arminianism Another Gospel; and Spurgeon's Sovereign Grace Sermons. This newsletter is an ex- cerpt from The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publ.,  1987, pp. 54-55). Subtitles in the body of this newsletter and all emphases have been added by the editor, Reg Barrow.
REFORMATION HISTORY NOTES is published periodically by Still Waters Revival Books (4710-37A Ave. Edmonton, AB. Canada T6L 3T5) and there is no copyright on this material, so please copy and distribute it freely, copiously and with great zeal! This is issue number 1, released in August of 1993. ALSO,
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1. Strype, u.s. 2. Job 1:7 with 1 Peter 5:8. 3. Matt. 23:15. 4. Bath Chronicle, for Feb. 6, 1772. 5. Bower's Hist. of the Popes, vol. 1, p. 350. 6. Bower ibid. 7. Arminius, in Oper. P.115. Ludg. 1629. (See book for Latin.) 8. Hoord, In Bishop Davenant's Animadversions, Camb. 1641. 9. Hidden works of darkness, p. 89, 90. Edit. 1645. 10. Tindal's Contin. of Rapin, vol. 3 octavo, 1758. 11. Life of Laud, p. 238.
An Antidote Against Arminianism (1700)
Recommended by John Owen, John Gill, and Augustus Toplady. An easy-to-read but devastating critique of the Arminian heresy. A treatise to refute all five points of Arminianism, setting forth predestination and the five points of Calvinism clearly and forcefully, along with numerous Scripture proofs. "As blessed Athanasius sighed out in his day," writes Ness, "‘the world is overrun with Arianism;' so it is the sad sigh of our present times, the Christian world is overrun, yea, overwhelmed with the flood of Arminianism; which cometh, as it were, out of the mouth of the serpent, that he might cause the woman (the Church) ‘to be carried away of the flood' thereof (Rev. 12:15). And lest this overflowing deluge of Arminianism should bring destruction upon us, there is great need that some servants of Christ should run to stop the further spreading of this plague and leprosy." This book will be a great help in containing the contagion of this devilish delusion!
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The Sovereignty of God
This is the best contemporary book explaining the foundations of Calvinism. This book is like a key that, by God's grace, opens the door of understanding to some of the most blessed truths in Scripture. From the myriad of testimonies that we have heard concerning how God has used this book, we think that we can safely say that this is also the best book to pass on to those that you want to introduce to Calvinism. This is the full, unedited Baker Book House edition. Indexed.
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The Sovereignty of God
This is the edited Banner of Truth edition of Pink's book.It leaves out the three following chapters: "The Sovereignty of God in Reprobation;" "God's Sovereignty and Human Responsibility;" "Difficulties and Objections." It also does not contain the four following appendices: "The Will of God;" "The Case of Adam;" The Meaning of "Kosmos" in John 3:16;""I John 2:2." However, it does contain some very helpful editorial footnotes that the Baker edition does not contain.
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God's Sovereignty, A Practical Discourse
A Puritan work recommended by Charles Spurgeon, John Owen, Thomas Goodwin and William Romaine. Owen especially marvels at Coles' singular reliance on Scripture alone to vindicate God's sovereignty, as it relates to election, redemption, effectual calling, and the perseverance of the saints. Originally published in 1673, this is the 1831 edition.
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A Display of Arminianism:Being A Discovery of the Old
Pelagian Idol of Free Will, With the New Goddess Contingency Advancing
Themselves Into the Throne of the God of Heaven, to the Prejudice of His Grace,
Providence, and Supreme Dominion Over the Children of Men...
This was Owen's first publication (1642) and immediately brought him into notice. It contains numerous useful charts contrasting Arminian doctrines, from some of their major teachers, with those of Scripture (Calvinism) in a side-by-side format. Owen leaves no room for compromise with Arminianism as he shows why this is, when sincerely believed, a dangerous, devilish and damnable heresy! This position is simply in keeping with Luther, as C.H. Spurgeon points out, "... and I will go as far as Martin Luther, in that strong assertion of his, where he says, 'If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.' It may seem a harsh sentiment; but he who in his soul believes that man does, of his own free will turn to God, cannot have been taught of God, for that is one of the first principles taught us when God begins with us, that we have neither will nor power, but that He gives both; that he is 'Alpha and Omega' in the salvation of men." (from the sermon 'Free Will A Slave,' 1855, also see Luther's Reformation classic, The Bondage of the Will).
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Indwelling Sin in Believers
A detailed work about the battle for holiness against the remaining indwelling corruption in believers.
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