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* COLLECTION

OP

ESSAYS AND TRACTS

IN

THEOLOGY,

FROM VARIOUS AUTHORS,

WITH

BIOGRAPIIICAl. AND CRITICAL. NOTICES.



BY JARED SPARKS.



^^^i'' W- Y ( '^ ^'^ BOSTON,

PUBLISHED BY OLIVER EVERETT, 13 CORNHILL.

PRINTED BY JIILLIARD AND METCALF,
tr.viVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE.
1823.



TIP



THE REVEREND



JOHN THORNTON KIRKLAND,
D. D. LL. D.

PRESIDENT OF HARVARD UNIVERSITV,

AND

VICE PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY Of ARTS AND SCIENCES

THIS

COLLECTION OF ESSAYS AND TRACTS,

DESIGNED TO PROMOTE THE CAUSE

OF

SACRED LEARNING, OF TRUTH AND CHARITY, OF RELIGIOCS

FREEDOM, AND RATIONAL PIETY,

IS INSCRIBED, ...,•-.

AS A TOKEN 0£ GRATITUDE,
AFFECTIONATE REGARD5 A^N^E ;Rli;S-EFGTv

BY HIS MOST 6bL*10Z17,'\' ' " '•

AND MOST HUMBLE SERVANT,

THE EDITOR.



PREFACE.



Since the commencement of the Reformation,
books have been muhiplied to a very great extent
in ahnost every department of theology. No science
has laid a heavier tax on the industry of the learned,
or contributed more to fill the shelves of libraries.
The Scriptures have been examined, and their
meaning illustrated, by all the aids which talents
and erudition could command. Philology, criticism,
rhetoric, logic, and, indeed, all the arts of defining
language and analyzing thought, have been employed
to establish the foundation and ornament the structure
of theology.

In a science, which runs so far into the deep and
uncertain things of metaphysics, and which allows so
wide a range for the imagination, it is no wonder,
that much should be written, which is neither cal-
culated to instruct the plain inquirer, nor edify the
practical christian. It is no wonder, that reason
should sometimes be misled, the judgment perverted,
and truth obscured. The topics of theological dis
cussion are exhaustless, and christians of every form



Vlll PREFACE.

of belief have applied themselves with equal zeal,
if not with equal ability, to the task of developing
and enforcing their pecuhar sentiments. The con-
sequence has been, that the labours of many great
and wise men are now useless to the world. Lives
have been passed in decorating gaudy and unsub-
stantial theories, or wasted in the barren fields of
metaphysical controversy, or idly expended in the
wild dreams of enthusiasm.

From general causes like these, and from others
of a particular and local nature, theology has too
often been rendered cumbersome, uninteUigible, and
unprofitable. But after all, amidst a prodigious
waste of intellect and labour, some treasures remain
vvorthy of the great minds, which bequeathed them
to posterity, worthy of the rehgion of Jesus, and
worthy to be studied and admired by every sincere
behever. Among the numerous works on theological
subjects, a few may be found, which have an intrinsic
value distinct from the speculative opinions contained
in them, and from the dogmas, which it may be their
primary or subordinate object to inculcate. Practical
rehgion is the same every where, and with all persons.
Truth is uniformly the same, and so are the principles
of human nature, of reason, and of conscience. Wise
and enlightened men, however they may differ on
points of speculation, will think nearly alike on all
that is fundamental or important in religion, when
they submit to be guided by their understanding.



PREFACE. IX

In forming the present Collection of Essays and
Tracts in Theology, it is the purpose of the Editor
to select such articles from different writers, as in
some degree at least bear this uniformity of character.
Neither the particular tenets entertained by any
author, nor the sect with which it may have been his
pleasure to associate himself, will be taken into con-
sideration. The only undeviating rule of selection will
be, that every article chosen shall be marked with
rational and liberal views of Christianity, and suited
to inform the mind, or improve the temper and
practice. Nothing will be introduced, which violates
the protestant principles of christian liberty, free
inquiry, toleration, and the exercise of private
judgment in all the concerns of religion. If there
be a right more sacred than any other, it is that,
which gives every man an unlimited control over
the operations of his own mind, especially in those
inquiries, for the result of which he is accountable
only to God.

The work will be composed chiefly of pieces from
English authors. Many articles of merit, written
by men distinguished for learning and piety, have
become rare, and are not to be obtained without
difficulty. They are either concealed in voluminous
works, or their fame is passed away with the
memory of the events in which they originated.
Bishop Watson's excellent Collection of Tracts has
done much to rescue some treatises of this descrip-



X PREFACE.

tion from the state of unmerited forgetfulness into
which they were falHng. But his plan was widely-
different from the one here contemplated. It was
his aim to form several treatises into a methodical
arrangement, in such a manner that together they
should constitute a general system of divinity. In
pursuance of this design he took into his collection
some elaborate works, and he was therefore limited
in number and variety. The plan here instituted
allows a greater latitude, and will enable the Editor
to receive from any quarter whatever is deemed
valuable.

Some persons, who have assumed the liberty to
think for themselves, have written with a freedom
and independence on religious subjects, which have
not always been acceptable to those of a more
timid spirit and yielding temperament. Men of the
first eminence, and of unblemished character, have
deviated from the common track, and dared to make
their way by the light of reason and the Scriptures,
preferring the simple instructions and commands of
Christ to the intricacies of human creeds and
systems. They have beheved with Paley, that
*' whatever makes rehgion more rational, makes
it more credible ;" and with Young, that " when
faith is virtue, reason makes it so." It is not
surprising, that such men should not think in the
same train as those, who adopt the enthusiast's
short rule of believing a thing, because it is



IP

asses.



PREFACE. XI

impossible, or who look upon mysteries as con-
stituting essential parts of a christian's faith.

It is a maxim, as true in religion as in every
thing else, that opinions are as various as men.
^uot homines tot sententice. These opinions
christians are fond of dividing out into two class
under the general heads of orthodox and heterodox.
A classification so arbitrary, one would think, ought
to be made on the most exact and rigid principles ;
but, when we come to the reality, nothing is m.ore
loose and indefinite. It was a correct saying of
Locke, that " every man is orthodox to himself;"
and hence every one may range in the class of
heterodoxy all opinions which do not agree with his
own. In some cases a majority have harmonized
so far, as to assent to general formularies and
confessions, and then whoever followed them was
orthodox to all the rest, and whoever refused to
follow was heterodox to the same extent.

It has happened, nevertheless, that among these
dissenters from estabHshed creeds have been some
of the greatest and best men, who have adorned the
christian church. Their writings have done much
to establish the truth, authority, and consistency of
the Scriptures, and to fix just rules of criticism and
interpretation ; they have done much to recommend
Christianity by proving its simple and divine charac-
ter, and to encourage^ rehgious practice by founding
it on its proper basis of charity, toleration, and



Xll PREFACE.

personal goodness. There is no reason why a
name or an opinion, the narrowness of bigotry or
the tide of popular prejudice, should exclude such
writings from the publicity to which their merits
give them a claim, or from tlie good influence,
which they are eminently qualified to exercise.

It is intended not only to draw from the best
English authors, but also to translate occasionally
from divines, who have written in Latin, German,
or French. Several valuable articles may, it is
thought, be obtained from these sources, which
have never been presented to the English reader.
Something, no doubt, may be gleaned from the first
Reformers sufficiently free from the spirit, and
violence, and jargon of those times, to be read with
interest and profit at the present day. Whenever
christians have been attacked as avowing an erro-
neous faith, they have defended themselves in nearly
the same way. Equally indignant at oppression, they
have asserted the right of inquiry, judgment, and
belief, with equal earnestness and sound reasoning.
They have usually maintained the true principles
of scriptural Christianity.

Even Calvin, in his expostulation with the king
of France, was moved to plead the cause of liberty
and toleration most eloquently, v.hile he was suffer-
ing in exile under the odium of being a heretic. So
it was with Luther, Melancthon, and their associates.
When defending themselves against the commom



PREFACE. Xlll

adversaiy, they took rational grounds. It was only
on things of doubtful import, that they became en-
thusiasts, bigots, dogmatists, and persecutors. They
deserted reason, and then reason deserted them.
When they attempted to enforce what they could
neither explain nor understand, they quarrelled; be-
came furious, called names, excommunicated, ana-
thematized. With the voluminous repositories of
these feuds, we have no occasion to be acquainted ;
yet we may still listen with pleasure and advantage to
the eloquence and arguments of the first Reformers,
in support of the common principles of religious truth
and hberty.

Some good articles in theology are moreover con-
tained in the writings of the Polish Brethren. For
ability and learning they have never been surpassed ;
but it is to be regretted, that so large a portion of
their works is taken up in discussing the abstruser
points of controversy, and that they were so much
addicted to the school dialectics in use at the time in
which they wrote. This objection, however, does
not apply to their commentaries, which are perspicu-
ous and natural, and manifest great critical acumen
and sound judgment. They have served as a store-
house from which all sects and parties have drawn
with more freedom, than they have found it conven-
ient to acknowledge. Few commentaries on the
.Scriptures have appeared during the last century,
which have not profited either directly or indirectly
h



-MV PREFACE.

from these sources. Orthodox and heterodox have
been equally dependant, and equally cautious how
ihey gave credit, where credit was due. Archbish-
op Tillotson was more ingenuous ; but he paid dearly
for his honesty and frankness, by being branded as
a heretic and a Socinian. Many were ready to inflict
this censure, who were not ashamed to be plagiarists
and pilferers. But the time has happily come, when
names have lost their terror, and a man may confess
without fear through what channels he receives
knowledge and truth.

The celebrated theologians among the early Ar-
minians, such as Grotius, Episcopius, Wetstein, Le
Clerc, and Limborch, were the authors of valuable
works, founded on the broad principles of a liberal
and rational faith. Of these writers, perhaps, a
few pieces may be published, which will afford
light and assistance to inquirers at the present day.
Le Clerc, especially, among other works of formi-
dable magnitude, has left several short treatises,
which bear testimony to his piety, learning, and gen-
ius, as well as to his enlargement of mind and char-
itable spirit. The Arminians, like the first Reformers,
wrote in self defence. They maintained the hberty
of conscience, and used the weapons furnished by
reason and the Scriptures. The Calvinists had com-
bated the Catholics with the same weapons, but they
were now grown strong, and came down upon the de-
fenceless Remonstrants with the artillery of creeds and



PREFACE. XV

confessions, synods and councils, imprisonment and
civil penalties. Having no means of physical resis-
tance, the Remonstrants relied on their intellectual
strength and the justice of their cause. In this res-
pect they gained a conquest as complete and honour-
able, as it was on the other part ignoble and unchris-
tian. Their works written on this occasion, and
afterwards, contain excellent specimens of theologi-
cal discussion and criticism, which are in strict con-
formity with the spirit and original simplicity of the
Gospel.

In drawing from so large a number of writers,
whose opinions were various, it cannot be expected,
that a perfect consistency will be preserved in the
religious sentiments advanced in different parts of
this work. Much less can it be supposed, that the
Editor's opinions accord with all that may be pub-
lished. It will be a general rule to give the articles
entire, nor will an alteration or abridgment of them
ever be made in consequence of the sentiments, which
they express. Sometimes such parts may be omitted,
as are local, and have no immediate bearing on the
subject at large ; but this will seldom happen, and nev-
er unless it be notified to the reader. It is deemed
highly important that the language of the authors
should be faithfully and exactly retained.

The Editor will endeavour to comprise, in the
biographical and critical notices, such incidents and
facts, as may add to the interest and value of the



XVI PREFACE.

work. Suitable remarks will be annexed for ex-
plaining the object of each article, and for making
its purport and meaning clearly understood. If any
topic should be introduced, which, in the progress of
theological science, has received new light since the
article was written, an attempt may perhaps be made
to bring the subject down to the present state of
knowledge. In short, if proper discretion be exer-
cised in selecting articles, and the plan here propos-
ed be judiciously executed, it is confidently believed,
that the work will be an acceptable and useful acqui-
sition to the libraries not only of theologians and
biblical students, but of every class of readers.



CONTENTS

OP

THE FIRST VOLUME.
JOHN ALPHONSUS TURRETIN.

Page.

Biographical notice - - - 3

ON FUNDAMENTALS IN RELIGION.

Introduction i - - - 7

CHAP. I.

What we are to understand by Fundamental Articles^

and such as are not Fundamental - - - g

CHAP. II.

S^ome Articles in Religion are Fundamental^ and

others not Fundamental - - - - - 13

CHAP. III.

False Marh of Fundamental Articles rejected - - 20



CO-\TE.\i«.



CHAP. IV.



Principles by zvhich tve may be able to distinguish

Fundamental Articles 28



CHAP. V.

Oh the exact Number of Fundamental Articles - 37

CHAP. VI.

On Church Communion between those -who differ in

Fundamentals - - - - - -41

CHAP. VII.

On Church Communion and mutual Forbearance

between those who differ not in Fundamentals 44

CHAP. VIIL

Fundamental Difference between Protestants and the

Church of Rome - - - 63

CHAP. IX.

Differences between Protestants not Fundamental - 73

CHAP. X.

Advices to promote Agreement and Forbearance »• 88



XIX



FIRMIN ABAUZIT.

Biographical notice - - - 95

ES3AY3.

On mysteries in religion - - - 103

Honour due to jesus christ - - 121

Power of jesus christ - - - - 136

On the holy spirit - - - - 141

Christ's charge to his apostles - - 149

General v^iew of the lord's supper - 152

Remarks on john xiy. 28. - - - 160



FRANCIS BLACKBURNE.

Biographical notice - - . 17j

ON CONFESSIONS OF FAITH.

CHAP. I.

Rise, Progress, and Success of established Confes-
sions oj Faith in Protestant Churches - 179

CHAP. II.

On a Right to establish Confessions as Tests of Or-
thodoxy - - >■ - _ 0Q2



XX* CONTENTS.



CHAP. III.

On the Expedience and Utility of Confessions - 217



BENJAMIN HOADLY.

Biographical notice _ _ - - 239

Dedication to the pope - - - 255

On the nature of the kingdom of christ - 297

On divisions among christians - - 319^



ADVERTISEMENT.

The public is here presented with the first number
of the Theological Collection, the plan of which is
described in the preceding Proposals. This number
will serve as a specimen of the work, both in regard
to its character, and the style in which it will be exe-
cuted. The Editor has received warm encouragement
to engage in the undertaldng from gentlemen on whose
judgment he can rely ; but, as the time has not yet
come, when a work, whose professed object is to pro-
mote free inquiry, liberal sentiments, and a spirit of
toleration in religion, can be hoped to gain an exten-
sive patronage, its success must ultimately depend on
the active zeal of those, who feel a particular interest
in its objects Although the publisher has not ventured
on a large edition, yet the expense will be considerable,
and the work cannot be continued beyond the first vol-
ume, unless a subscription be obtained adequate to the
amount.

The next number will complete the first volume,
and will contain a title page, table of contents, and
preface.



^\'^v






3^ TURRETIN



FUNDAMENTAL ARTICLES



RELIGION.

0^



y,7MHf^§-



^'



TUEEETIN



The name of Turretin was long conspicuous
in the theological school of Geneva. Three persons
of this name, Benedict Turretin, Francis Turretin,
and John Alphonsus Turretin, father, son, and grand-
son, were successively professors of theology in thai
place. The last of the three was the most distin-
guished, and was the author of the Discourse op.
Fundamentals in Rehgion, with which the present
work commences.

He was born at Geneva, 1671, and after making,
with close application and under the best teachers, ex-
traordinary proficiency in his studies at home, he went
to Leyden, where he attended the lectures of Span-
heim, and completed his education. In this place he
wrote a treatise, pointing out the great varieties of
opinion in the Church of Rome, which was intended
to counteract the influence of Bossuet's work on the
Variations in the Protestant Churches. From Ley-
den he went to England, where he became acquainted
with Tillotson, Burnet, and Wake, and is said to
have done much towards correcting the erroneous



4 TURRETIN.

impressions under which the English clergy laboured
respecting the Genevan Church. He next visited
Paris, and held public disputations with the doctors
of the Sorbonne.

On his return to Geneva, he engaged in the min-
istry, and so much was he esteemed by his country-
men, that the magistrates, to testify their sense of his
merits, created for him a professorship of ecclesias-
tical history. He was afterwards appointed rector
of the Academy of Geneva, and then professor of
theology, which latter office he held till his death in
1737. He filled several other pubHc stations, the
duties of which he discharged with fidelity and
credit.

His theological writings are numerous, and equal-
ly remarkable for their learning and their moderation.
It was a favourite project with him to unite all
the Protestant Churches in one communion. He
deprecated the differences, which churches and
individuals were fond of thrusting forward as causes
of separation, and laboured to show, that the violent
controversies about metaphysical and abstruse points
in theology, which prevailed in his time, had no
alliance with the true spirit of Christianity. He
endeavoured to inculcate moderation and rational
inquiry, and to convince the contending parties, that
the religion of Jesus was designed to be a bond of
peace and union. In the prosecution of this purpose
he wrote his treatise on Fundamentals in Religion.



TURRETIN. O

This treatise was originally written in Latin, and
constituted part of a work, entitled JVubes Testium,
or Cloud of Witnesses, which was dedicated to
the Archbishop of Canterbury. It gained great
applause among the learned, and the part, which is
now offered to the public, was translated into English
and published in London in the year 1720. The
greater portion of the work, from which this article
is taken, is made up of copious extracts from ancient
and modern writers of high authority, which the
author adduces as testimonies, that his opinions res-
pecting fundamental articles are not new or rash, but
have been supported by the most enhghtened men
in all a2;es of the church. These testimonies are
arranged in four classes. The first contains the
sentiments of the ancient Fathers ; the second
embraces extracts from Luther and Lutheran di-
vines ; the third from Zuinglius, Calvin, and their
followers ; the fourth from the Acts of Synods and
Councils. " Yet," says the Enghsh translator, " our
author complains under each class, that, for the
most part, men have not been so uniform and con-
sistent with such expressions as might be wished ;
but produces them as testimonies extorted by the
force of truth, which has darted into men's minds
with irresistible light, when they have calmly and
impartially considered these things." And in regard
to the decisions of Synods and Councils, he argues,
that their failure has not been owing to any defect
1*



TURRETIN.

in the plan, but to the want of a proper disposition
in the parties concerned.

As these testimonies would add little weight to
the author's reasonings, in the estimation of the
Enghsh reader, they have not been translated. Few
persons at the present day, and especially in this
country, will respond to the zeal manifested against
Popery in the eighth chapter ; yet we must remem-
ber, that the author wrote in other times, and under
the influence of many exciting causes, of which we
can at present have but an imperfect conception.
We must, also, give credit to his own declaration, that
principles and not men, were the objects of his
remarks. But after all, it must be allowed, that it
is not easy to reconcile some of the sentim.ents ad-
vanced in this chapter with the hberal and tolerant
spirit, and rational views, which pervade all the
other parts of this treatise.

The translation here pubhshed is the one men-
tioned above ; and if it sometimes fails in elegance
of style, it is seldom without the greater merit of
being simple and perspicuous.



DISCOURSE

OIC

FUNDAMENTAL ARTICLES

m
RELIGION.



Introduction.

The subject of Fundamental Articles, being as
weighty and important as any in religion ; either that
our notions herein may be just and right, and that we
may be able to distinguish what is of the essence of
religion, from things which are not essential, nor of
equal importance ; or that we may know how to con-
duct ourselves with a pious and christian moderation
towards those who differ from us in things which are
not necessary ; and not venture to condemn them, to
exclude them from our communion, or, as is usual
with many, to send them to the very pit of destruc-
tion ; that we may treat of it as briefly and clearly as
possible, we shall divide this discourse into the fol-
lowing heads. First, we shall show what is com-



8 FUNDAMENTALS IN RELIGION.

monly understood by fundamental articles, and such
as are not fundamental. Secondly, that there is
really such a distinction. Thirdly, we shall reject
some false marks of fundamentals, and such as will
not hold. Fourthly, we shall produce those which
to us seem the best and fittest. Fifthly, we shall
consider, whether it be possible to fix a certain and
determinate number of fundamental articles. Sixthly,
how we ought to conduct ourselves towards those who
differ from us in fundamentals. Seventhly, how we
should behave towards such as differ from us in things
not fundamental. Eighthly, we shall bring an instance
of a fundamental difference in our separation from
the church of Rome. JVinthly, an instance of a
difference not fundamental, in the differences among
Protestants. Tenthly, we shall offer some pacific
and healing advices, which may be useful to promote
union among christians, leaving them to the consid-
eration of all good men, and lovers of peace.



CHAP. 1.

What we are to understand by Fundamental Articles,
and such as are not Fundamental.

Fundamental Articles are those principles of
religion, which so relate to the essence and foundation
of it, and are of so great importance, that without them
religion cannot stand, or at least will be destitute of .n



FUNDAMENTALS IN RELIGION. V

chief and necessary part. Thus, There is a God, is
a fundamental article, nay the first of all ; for take


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Online LibraryUnknownA collection of essays and tracts in theology, from various authors,with biographical and critical notices (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 21)