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peculiar relish of divine truth, than from any assistance, which he derived from others. He appeared to be an example of the truth of our Saviour's words, "If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light."
usual readiness to admit it, from whatever quarter it might come, and even though he might find errour in himself detected by it.-As might be expected, with such candour of mind, his manner, in verbal dispute, was unusually mild, fair, and moderate. Far from being overbearing, he ever gave every just advantage to his opponent, patiently hearing whatever he advanced in favour of his opinions, and giving him full opportunity to vindicate them by every argument, which he thought favourable. And as the Doctor had a happy talent of expressing his own arguments with peculiar perspicuity; he often convinced and gained over his oppos
"He had a mind peculiarly formed for friendship; and appeared to be indeed the faithful friend. one entered into greater nearness and intimacy of Christian friendship, or gave, or seemed to enjoy greater pleasure in the society and friendship of Christians. And his unaffected ease and openness, to
Though Dr. Hopkins made no pretensions to elegance of style; yet his writings are distinguished for perspicuity and strength, two of the most valuable qualities of good composition. As a preacher, he was plain and instructive, not shunning to declare all the counsel of God: and though he was not eminent for eloquence; yet there was a solemnity and fervour in his discourses from the pulpit, which never failed to fix the attention and impress the hearts of his hearers. 66 Avoiding those abstruse reasonings, which tend rather to confound, than to instruct the hearer, his sermons were clear, perspicuous and scriptural. Few, who paid any tolerable attention, ever found difficulty in understanding him. He neither concealed nor disguised what he view-gether with the instructiveness of ed as truth, however unpalatable, through fear of being unpopular. However ungrateful the sentiment which he delivered, might be to 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 a loss, when they heard him, to find any place for objection. He dwelt much on experimental religion, and was eminently an evangelical preacher."
his conversation, were such, as made his company greatly sought, and his friendship highly valued by the lovers of religion and truth."
opportunities to enlarge it. Having but little, he was content with little.-Considering his worldly circumstances and the scantiness of his means, he was uncommonly 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 search, that he discovered an un
The main spring of Dr. Hopkins' diligence in study and activity in
the work of the ministry, was, his ardent piety and habitual devotion. Besides the morning and evening sacrifice on the domestick altar, he daily entered into his closet, and prayed to Him, who seeth in secret. It was his usual practice, for many years, to spend each Saturday in fasting and prayer, as a preparation for the holy Sabbath, which was truly his delight, and which no man more strictly observed. In the latter part of his life, from a personal acquaintance with him, the writer can say, that he appeared, in a happy and remarkable degree, to be weaned from earthly objects, and to have his affections placed upon things above. His natural passions, which were quick and ardent, were chastened and subdued, and brought entirely under the controul of the great principles of the Gospel, which he so firmly believed, and had so ably defended. It is said, that for several years before his death, he had never been seen on any occasion to express a hastiness of spirit, or any degree of rash and improper anger. He seemed to possess his soul in patience, under every trial and provocation, and to have truly learned of Him, who was meek and lowly of heart. His countenance generally wore a placid smile; his speech was with grace seasoned with salt; and his whole conversation was mild, grave, courteous, and altogether such as becometh the Gospel. Indeed, he seemed almost as much like one, who had come from heaven to visit his friends on earth, as like one, who was about to depart and be with Christ and his people, in the mansions of rest.
Thus lived this great and good man, this eminent and faithful servant of Christ. And, as he lived, so he died. In his last moments, he exhibited a striking and instructive example of calm resignation to the will of God, and good hope through grace.
Works of Dr. Hopkins. The following is a list of the principal works published by Dr. Hopkins, with the dates of their publication.
1759. Three Sermons from Rom
ans iii. 5-8, entitled, "Sin, through Divine interposition, an advantage to the universe; and yet this no excuse for sin, or encouragement to it."
An Enquiry concerning the Promises of the Gospel, &c. 8vo. pp. 145.
1768. Three Sermons, from Heb. iii. 1, Rom. vii. 7,& John i. 13. An Answer to Rev. Mr. Mills, entitled "The true state and character of the unregenerate, stripped of all misrepresentations and disguises. 8vo. pp. 184. 1770. Animadversions on Mr. Hart's late Dialogue, in a letter to a friend."
pp. 31. "An Enquiry into the Nature of true Holiness."
A Dialogue concerning the Slavery of the Africans." An Enquiry concerning the future state of those who die in their sins." 8v. pp.
"The System of Doctrines contained in Divine Revelation, &c." 2 vols. 8vo. of about 500 pages each.
1797. "The Life and Character of Miss Susanna Anthony." "The Life of Mrs. Sarah Osborn."
years before had been denominated | Calvinistick. He did not pretend to have invented a new theory, or to have discovered any new doctrines; but only to illustrate, prove, reconcile, and carry out into their natural and necessary consequences, those which had long been received by the orthodox churches, both in Europe and America.
But, while the orthodox professedly embraced the system of the Genevan Reformer, in the main, they had begun to explain many of the doctrines of that system, in a manner, which was believed to be different from the meaning of Calvin, and repugnant both to reason and Scripture. This might have been owing, in some degree, to unguarded expressions in Calvin's writings, to a misunderstanding of his meaning, to his injudicious mode, in several instances, of answering objections; but, in a greater degree, probably, to feelings of heart, unfriendly to the truth. But, whatever may have been the cause, the fact cannot be questioned, that before the time of Bellamy and Edwards, the orthodox, but too generally, on both sides of the Atlantic, had begun to entertain and propagate very incorrect notions of many of the leading doctrines of the Calvinistick system. To mention a few particulars: It was taught, that the ultimate end of God in creation, was not Himself, but his works-that Divine Providence, in numberless instances, consists in a bare permission-that the created system would have been better, on the whole, if moral evil had never entered it that the descendants of Adam are guilty of his sin, and actually punished for it-that free moral agency consists in a selfdetermining power of will-that human depravity is not only total, but universal, rendering men unable, in every sense, to do what God
requires, and will punish them for not doing that Christ made an atonement for the Elect only— that, in the order of gracious exercises, faith precedes love and repentance; and that, consequently, love to God is not disinterested, and does not involve unconditional submission-that the doings of the unregenerate may recommend them to the favour of God-and that holiness of heart is not a necessary qualification for access to the Lord's table.
Much light was shed upon some of the leading Calvinistick Doctrines, by Dr. Bellamy and President Edwards; but much more by Dr. Hopkins, who, in his various works, illustrated them all, and showed how they are to be understood as taught in sacred scripture, and how they are to be cleared of objections, and reconciled with each other.
It is now easy to trace the origin of the appellation Hopkinsian.When Bellamy and Edwards began to remove the rubbish, which ages of darkness and errour, had heaped upon Calvinism, their explanations and statements very naturally obtained the name of new divinity; and were, sometimes, not unaptly called Edwardean, after that original genius and great divine, who wrote the trea tises on the will and the affections. Bnt, if Edwards laid the cornerstone, Hopkins was the architect, who reared the superstructure. And as Dr. Hopkins elucidated and confirmed a greater number of the doctrines of Revealed Religion, tban his illustrious predecessor; so he had much more influence in removing prejudices against the sys tem of Evangelical doctrines, and convincing Christians of its truth. When President Edwards died, in 1758, the new divinity, as some loved to call it, was embrac ed by a very few: but when Dr.
Hopkins finished the "Sketches | his sentiments, which then began to be denominated Hopkinsian, and have, ever since, generally received that appellation, from both friends and foes.
Eof his Life," in 1796, there were a hundred Ministers, in NewEngland, besides a multitude of private Christians, who embraced
A DENIAL OF THE DIVINE DECREES
cient stoics, was superior to all the heathen gods, who were subject to its decrees. Even omnipotent Jupiter, with all his potent council, could not alter or controul the events fixed by this superior destiny.
This is the most intelligible view the writer can give of fate.
out the universe, is his decree.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 harddained whatsoever comes to pass, ly definable. It seems, however, as holding to fatalism; and conse- to import some unknown, unintelquently as being fatalists. This is ligent, undescribable, and eternal used as a term of reproach, at destiny, by which all things are unwhich the minds of many are apt alterably fixed in an absolute 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, and led them to reject the salutary doctrine of God's universal decrees. It is the usual practice with disputers and controversial writers to retort, if possible, the arguments and charges of their opponents, and thus to confound them with their 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 fundadesirable 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 their 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 příthe 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 by, for his own glory, he hath fore- made, What is this primary effiordained 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- things and events? Is it to be astures, things, and events through-cribed to the decree of God? Or
is fate their cause? It must be one or the other of these; for no third efficient is conceivable or possible. They who believe the doctrine of decrees have no hesitancy in answering, that the decrees of God are the primary cause of all things; and that their efficiency pervades the universe, giving existence, form and issue to all beings, and to whatsoever comes to pass. But to what cause will the deniers of divine decrees ascribe the being of events and things? They cannot ascribe it to God, or to his decrees, for the existence of these they deny, and there being no other possible efficient in the universe, they must ascribe all things to fate as their cause. Hence a denial of God's universal decrees, naturally and directly leads to fatalism, and therefore all such deniers are absolute fatalists. Q. E. D.
must be ascribed to fate as thei proper cause. And thus we have two supreme efficient beings at the head of the universe, God and fate than which nothing can be more contradictory and absurd. At best. such an idea is a partial fatality, which has no perceivable preference to that which is total.
If the above reasoning be just, then we may easily see the great advantage which the Calvinistick doctrine of universal decrees has over the Arminian denial. Calvinists have a God at the head of the universe-an intelligent, wise and holy Being, who has established a perfect plan of operation, and is conducting all things by his providence according to design; or as an apostle of Jesus Christ expresses it, "worketh all things after the council of his own will," to accomplish the glorious purposes of infinite wisdom and goodness. thus they have a broad and solid foundation for the unceasing exercise of all the pious and holy affections required in the word of God. But Arminians, by denying the doctrine of decrees, subject the universe to the direction of a blind undesigning destiny or fate, which removes all the foundations of piety or true religion, leads to a denial of the divine government, supremacy and existence; totally annihilates the moral agency and accountability of man, and renders our immortality extremely uncer
The writer of this does not perceive why the above reasoning is not a complete and full demonstration of the point in hand. If the position upon which it is grounded be not true, then there is an end to all safe and just reasoning from cause to effect, or from an effect to its cause; consequently, the things that are made are no certain evidence of the existence, eternal power, and Godhead of the Creator; but all things are uncertain, and nothing can be known. If any thing can exist, or even take place, without an adequate efficient cause, then it must either give itself be-tain.-It is painful to contemplate ing, that is, be its own creator, which is absurd, or be eternal, or what amounts to nearly the same thing, be resolved into an eternal and immutable series of necessary causes and effects, which excludes the being and government of God from the universe, and thus leads to atheism and fatality. If it should be said, that the decrees of God give being to some things, but not to all, then those things which are not included in the decree,
all the impieties, absurdities and horrors to which a denial of divine decrees has a direct and inevitable
tendency. There appears to be no consistent medium between the doctrine of universal decrees, and absolute fatality and atheism.Query, Can he who, understandingly, rejects the doctrine of God's sovereign and universal decrees, be possessed of any true religion?
JOSEPHUS. Mass. Miss. Mag.