by W. G. T. Shedd
THE object of this work is to define and defend the tenets of Calvinism in their original purity and self-consistence, as distinguished from proposed modifications of them for the purpose of an alleged improvement. It has grown out of the proposal introduced into the Northern Presbyterian Church, to revise the Westminster Standards. It contains the substance of a pamphlet which the author published in opposition to this proposal when it was first made, together with discussions of several important subjects that have subsequently come up for examination during the controversy in the Church. Of these, preterition, common and special grace, original sin, infant salvation, the "larger hope," and the inerrancy of Scripture, are the most prominent. The controversy has disclosed the fact, that some Presbyterians deny that God may justly pass by any of mankind in the bestowment of saving grace; and assert that common grace may become saving grace by the sinner's co-operation, that original sin is not deserving of eternal death and therefore that infants are not liable to it, that the Westminster Standards teach that all the heathen are lost, and that the autographs of the inspired writers contained more or less of error. The writer endeavors to show that the first opinion is fatal to the doctrine of Divine sovereignty in election; that the second is Arminian synergism, not Calvinistic monergism; that the third destroys the doctrine of infant salvation, by making it only a quasi-salvation and a matter of obligation on the part of God; and that the fourth and fifth are misstatements of the contents of the Confession.
The aim of the author is twofold: first, to explain some of the more difficult points in Calvinism, and thereby promote the reaffirmation of the Westminster Standards pure and simple, precisely as they were adopted by both schools in the reunion of 1870, instead of the revision of them as now proposed, which had it been urged at that time would have been fatal to the cause of reunion; and secondly, to justify and defend before the human understanding, that intellectual and powerful system of theology which had its origin in the Biblical studies and personal experience of the two most comprehensive and scientific theologians of Christendom, Aurelius Augustine and John Calvin.
Table of Contents
INEXPEDIENCY OF THE REVISION OF THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION
OBJECTIONS TO THE REVISION OF THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION
ARE THERE DOCTRINAL ERRORS IN THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION?
THE WESTMINSTER STANDARDS AND THE UNIVERSAL OFFER OF MERCY
THE MEANING AND VALUE OF THE DOCTRINE OF DECREES
PRETERITION NECESSARY TO THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN ELECTION
PRETERITION AND THE LOPSIDED VIEW OF THE DIVINE DECREE
THE DOUBLE PREDESTINATION TO HOLINESS AND SIN
COMMON AND SPECIAL GRACE
THE TRUE PROPORTION IN A CREED BETWEEN THE UNIVERSAL AND THE SPECIAL LOVE OF GOD
INFANT SALVATION AS RELATED TO ORIGINAL SIN
THE WESTMINSTER STANDARDS AND THE "LARGER HOPE"
THE WESTMINSTER AFFIRMATION OF THE ORIGINAL INERRANCY OF THE SCRIPTURES
CALVINISM AND THE BIBLE
DENOMINATIONAL HONESTY AND HONOR