« PreviousContinue »
peculiar relish of divine truth, than usual readiness to admit it, frow from any assistance, which he de whatever quarter it might come, rived from others. He appeared and even though he might find erto be an example of the truth of rour in himself detected by it.-As our Saviour's words, “If thine eye might be expected, with such canbe single, thy whole body shall be dour of mind, his manner, in ve full of light.
bal dispute, was unusually mild, Though Dr. Hopkins made no fair, and moderate. Far from bepretensions to elegance of style; ing overbearing, he ever gave eveyet his writings are distinguished ry just advantage to his opponent, for perspicuity and strength, two patiently hearing whatever he adof the most valuable qualities of vanced in favour of bis opinions, good composition. As a preacher, and giving him full opportunity to he
was plain and instructive, vindicate them by every argument, not shunning to declare all the which he thought favourable. And counsel of God: and though he as the Doctor had a happy talent of was not eminent for eloquence; yet expressing his own arguments with there was a solemnity and fervour peculiar perspicuity; he often conin his discourses from the pulpit, vinced and gained over his opposwhich never failed to fix theattention and impress the hearts of “He had a mind peculiarly formhis hearers. "Avoiding those ab ed for friendship; and appeared to struse reasonings, which tend rath-be indeed the faithful friend. No er to confound, than to instruct one entered into greater nearness the hearer, his sermons were clear, and intimacy of Christian friendperspicuous and scriptural. Few, ship, or gave, or seemed to enjoy who paid any tolerable attention, greater pleasure in the society and ever found difficulty in under friendship of Christians. And his standing him. He neither con unaffected ease and openness, tocealed nor disguised what he view gether with the instructiveness of ed as truth; however unpalatable, his conversation, were such, as through fear of being unpopular. made his company greatly sought, However ungrateful the sentiment and his friendship highly valued by which he delivered, might be to the lovers of religion and truth. 5, some, he ever meant to be under
“ He never appeared desirous stood. And so peculiarly fitted of enriching himself and laying up were his public discourses, to car treasures upon earth. As he posry conviction, that such as were sessed but a moderate portion of not altogether friendly to the doc- worldly substance, he never sought trines he often taught, were yet at opportunities to enlarge it. Hava loss, when they heard him, to ing but little, he was content with find any place for objection. He little.- Considering his worldly dwelt much on experimental relig- circumstances and the scantiness ion, and was eminently an evan of his means, he was uncommonly gelical preacher.”
liberal. He took pleasure in min“He possessed a candour of istering to the relief of the necesmind, which is rarely to be found. sitous. Many striking instances -He was remarkably open to con of this, though conducted with seviction, whenever evidence was crecy and unaffected modesty, will exhibited of the incorrectness of be remembered by those, who exany of his opinions. Truth appear- perienced his liberality.” ed to be so much the object of his The main spring of Dr. Hopkins' search, that he discovered an un diligence in study and activity in
the work of the ministry, was, his Works of Dr. Hopkins. He has ardent piety and habitual devotion. The following is a list of the
Besides the morning and evening principal works published by Dr. sacrifice on the domestick altar, Hopkins, with the dates of their
he daily entered into his closet, publication. Isal and prayed to Him, who seeth in 1759. Three Sermons from Romsecret. It was his usual practice,
ans iii. 5-8, entitled, “Sin, rate it
for many years, to spend each Sat through Divine interposition,
urday in fasting and prayer, as a an advantage to the unier s preparation for the holy Sabbath, verse; and yet this no ex
which was truly his delight, and cuse for sin, or encouragewhich no man more strictly ob
ment to it." served. In the latter part of his life, 1765. An Enquiry concerning the le from
a personal acquaintance with Promises of the Gospel, &c. him, the writer can say, that he 8vo. pp. 145.
appeared, in a happy and remark. 1768. Three Sermons, from Heb. ftes se
able degree, to be weaned from iii. 1, Rom. vii. 7,& Johni. 13. earthly objects, and to have bis af- ! 1769. An Answer to Rev. Mr. lections placed upon things above. Mills, entitled " The true His natural passions, which were state and character of the quick and ardent, were chastened unregenerate, stripped of all and subdued, and brought entirely misrepresentations and disunder the controul of the great guises. 8vo. pp. 184. principles of the Gospel, which he 1770. * Animadversions on Mr. so firmly believed, and had so ably Hart's late Dialogue, in a defended. It is said, that for sev
letter to a friend." eral years before his death, he had | 1773. “ An Enquiry into the Natnever been seen on any occasion to ure of true Holiness.” 8vo. express a hastiness of spirit, or any degree of rash and improper anger. 1776. " A Dialogue concerning He seemed to possess his soul in the Slavery of the Africans, patience, under every trial and 1783. “ An Enquiry concerning provocation, and to have truly
the future state of those who learned of Him, who was meek and die in their sins." lowly of heart. His countenance
400. generally wore a placid smile; his 1793. “ The System of Doctrines speech was with grace seasoned contained in Divine Revelawith salt; and his whole conversa
tion, &c.” 2 vols. 8vo. of 11:51
tion was mild, grave, courteous, about 500 pages each. and altogether such as becometh 1797. “ The Life and Character the Gospel. Indeed, he seemed of Miss Susanna Anthony." almost as much like one, who had
6. The Life of Mrs. Sarah come from heaven to visit his
Osborn." friends on earth, as like one, who 1803. “
1803. “Twenty-One Sermons, on was about to depart and be with a variety of interesting sub* Christ and his people, in the man jects, sentimental and prac
tical. 8v. pp. 387. Thus lived this great and good Origin of the epithet, HOPRINSIAN. man, this eminent and faithful ser Dr. Hopkins professed to be a
vant of Christ. And, as he lived, strict and consistent Calvinist. In ! he died. In his last moments, his Sermons, System and controI be exhibited a striking and instruc-versial writings, it was his aim to tive example of calm resignation to explain and vindicate those docthe will of God, and good hope trines and duties of Christianity,
which were then, and for many
sions of rest.
years before had been denominated requires, and will punish them for Calvinistick. He did not pretend not doing—that Christ made an to have invented a new theory, or atonement for the Elect only to have discovered any new doc- that, in the order of gracious exertrines; but only to illustrate, prove, cises, faith precedes love and rereconcile, and carry out into their pentance; and that, consequently, natural and necessary consequen- | love to God is not disinterested, ces, those which had long been and does not involve unconditional received by the orthodox churches, submission—that the doings of the both in Europe and America. unregenerate may recommend them,
But, while the orthodox profes- to the favour of God and that sedly embraced the system of the holiness of heart is not a necessary Genevan Reformer, in the main, qualification for access to the they had begun to explain many of Lord's table. the doctrines of that system, in a Much light was shed upon some manner, which was believed to be
of the leading Calvinistick Docdifferent from the meaning of Cal- trines, by Dr. Bellamy and Presivin, and repugnant both to reason dent Edwards; but much more by and Scripture. This might have Dr. Hopkins, who, in his various been owing, in some degree, to works, 'illustrated them all, and unguarded expressions in Calvin's showed how they are to be underwritings, to a misunderstanding of stood as taught in sacred scriphis meaning, to his injudicious ture, and how they are to be clearmode, in several instances, of an ed of objections, and reconciled swering objections; but, in a great with each other. er degree, probably, to feelings of It is now easy to trace the origin heart, unfriendly to the truth. of the appellation Hopkinsian.But, whatever may have been the When Bellamy and Edwards because, the fact cannot be question- gan to remove the rubbish, which ed, that before the time of Bellamy ages of darkness and errour, had and Edwards, the orthodox, but heaped upon Calvinism, their extoo generally, on both sides of the planations and statements very Atlantic, had begun to entertain naturally obtained the name of and propagate very incorrect no new divinity; and were, sometions of many of the leading doc- times, not unaptly called Edwardtrines of the Calvinistick system. ean, after that original genius and To mention a few particulars : It great divine, who wrote the trea. was taught, that the ultimate end tises on the will and the affections. of God in creation, was not Him- | Bnt, if Edwards laid the cornerselfbut his works—that Divine-stone, Hopkins was the architect, Providence, in numberless in- who reared the superstructure. stances, consists in a bare permis. And as Dr. Hopkins elucidated sion—that the created system and confirmed a greater number of would have been better, on the the doctrines of Revealed Religion, whole, if- moral evil had never en tban his illustrious predecessor; so tered it that the descendants of he had much more influence in reAdam are guilty of his sin, and moving prejudices against the sys. actually punished for it--that free tem of Evangelical doctrines, and moral agency consists in a self-convincing Christians of its truth. determining power of will that when President Edwards died, in human depravity is not only total, 1758, the new divinity, as some but universal, rendering men una
loved to call it, was embracble, in every sense, to do what Goded by a very few: but when Dr.
Hopkins finished the “ Sketches his sentiments, which then began be of his Life,” in 1796, there were to be denominated Hopkinsian, !! hundred Ministers, in New- and have, ever since, generally e England, besides a multitude of received that appellation, froin
private Christians, who embraced both friends and foes.
I DEXIAL OF THE DIVINE DECREES out the universe, is his decree.-LEADS TO FATALISM.
What is meant by fate is, perhaps, It is not uncommon for those, more difficult to be clearly underwho deny the doctrine of the uni- stood. There are several senses versal decrees of God, to charge in which the word fate is used; but those who believe that he foreor- that which is most common is bàrd| dained whatsoever comes to pass, ly definable. It seems, however,
as holding to fatalism; and conse to import some unknown, unintelI quently as being fatalists. This is ligent, undescribable, and eternal
used as a term of reproach, at destiny, by which all things are un which the minds of many are apt alterably fixed in an absolutė neto revolt, and therefore it is believ- cessary chain of causes and effects. ed that this opprobrious charge has –This fate, according to the anhad great influence upon many, cient stoics, was superior to all the and led them to reject the saluta- heathen gods, who were subject to ry doctrine of God's universal de its decrees. Even omnipotent Jucrees. It is the usual practice with piter, with all his potent council, disputers and controversial writers could not alter or controul the to retort, if possible, the arguments events fixed by this superior destiand charges of their opponents, and ny. This is the most intelligible thus to confound them with their view the writer can give of fate. own weapons. The writer of this Now to prove, that they who de does not recollect of ever reading ny the universal decrees of God or hearing any thing, in which a re are fatalists, we need only the use tort of this charge has been attempt of this self-evident position, viz. ed. It is conceived, however, not every event must be the effect of an to be a very dificult, nor even un-efficient cause. This is a funda
desirable task to turn back the im- mental principle of all just reason. “: putation of fatalism upon those ing. The whole universe must * who deny the doctrine of God's have an adequete efficient cause of
sovereign, holy, and universal its existence. All the things in decrees. Let it then be asserted, the universe must have an efficient that all those who deny the decrees cause, which gave them theit being
of God are fatalists; and then see and form; and all events, of every * if what follows does not support nature and kind, must have a prí
the assertion. What is meant by mary cause, by whose efficiency the universal decrees of God, is not they are produced in their time, difficult to understand. They are place, and manner. This
, it seems, his eternal purpose, according to is true, beyond all feasonable the council of his own will, where- doubt. Now let the enquiry be ly, for his own glory, he hath fore-made, What is this primary" eftiordained whatsoever comes to pass.
cient cause of all things! To what God's efficient will, or determina
are we to ascribe the existence of tion, which gives being to all crea- 1 things and events? Is it to be astures, things, and events through- 1 eribed to the deeree of God? Or
is fate their cause? It must be one must be ascribed to fate as th or the other of these; for no third proper cause. And thus we ha efficient is conceivable or possible. two supreme efficient beings at t They who believe the doctrine of head of the universe, God and fa decrees have no hesitancy in ans than which nothing can be mo wering, that the decrees of God are contradictory and absurd. At be the primary cause of all things; such an idea is a partial fatalit: and that their efficiency pervades which has no perceivable prefe the universe, giving existence, ence to that which is total. form and issue to all beings, and If the above reasoning be just to whatsoever comes to pass. But then we may easily see the grea to what cause will the deniers of advantage which the Calvinistic divine decrees ascribe the being of doctrine of universal decrees has events and things? They cannot over the Arininian denial. Cal ascribe it to God, or to his decrees, vinists have a God at the head of for the existence of these they de the universe--an intelligent, wise ny, and there being no other possi. and holy Being, who has establishble efficient in the universe, they ed a perfect plan of operation, and must ascribe all things to fate as is conducting all things by his protheir cause. Hence a denial of vidence according to design; or as God's universal decrees, natural an apostle of Jesus Christ expressly and directly leads to fatalism, es it, “ worketh all things after the and therefore all such deniers are council of his own will,” to accomabsolute fatalists. Q. E. D. plish the glorious purposes of infin
The writer of this dues not per- ite wisdom and goodness. And ceive why the above reasoning is thus they have a broad and solid not a complete and full demonstra- foundation for the unceasing exertion of the point in hand. If the cise of all the pious and holy affecposition upon which it is grounded tions required in the word of God. be not true, then there is an end to But Arminians, by denying the all safe and just reasoning from doctrine of decrees, subject the cause to effect, or from an effect to universe to the direction of a blind its cause; consequently, the things undesigning destiny or fate, which that are made are no certain evi removes all the foundations of piedence of the existence, eternalty or true religion, leads to a denipower, and Godhead of the Crea- al of the divine government, supretor; but all things are uncertain, macy and existence; totally anni. and nothing can be known. If any hilates the moral agency and acthing can exist, or even take place, countability of man, and renders without an adequate efficient cause, our immortality extremely uncerthen it must either give itself be
tain. It is painful to contemplate ing, that is, be its own creator, all the impieties, absurdities and which is absurd, or be eternal, or
horrors to which a denial of divine what amounts to nearly the same
decrees has a direct and inevitable thing, be resolved into an eternal
tendency. There appears to be no and immutable series of necessary consistent medium between the causes and effects, which excludes doctrine of universal decrees, and the being and government of God absolute fatality and atheism. from the universe, and thus leads Query, Can he who, understandto atheism and fatality. If it ingly, rejects the doctrine of God's should be said, that the decrees of sovereign and universal decrees, God give being to some things, but be possessed of any true religion : not to all, then those things which
JOSEPHƯS. are not included in the decree,
Mass. Miss. Mag