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[From The Fourth Dialogue.]

Cuph.[1] This would bear more weight with it, Bathynous, if there <68> were no gross flaws in the externall Profession of the Protestants, and that they were right in their declared Opinions. For, in my judgement, Antinomianism and Calvinism (I mean that dark Dogma about Predestination) are such horrid Errours, that they seem the badges of the Kingdome of Darkness, rather then of the Kingdome of God.

Bath. What you mean by Antinomianism, O Cuphophron, I know not. But, so far as I know, there are but these two meanings thereof: either a conceit that we are exempted by the liberty of the Gospel from all moral Duties; a thing exploded by all the Protestant Churches, as you may understand by the Harmony of their Confessions: or else it signifies a disclaim of being justified by the doing our Duties, and an entire relying on the Satisfaction or Atonement of Christ; which rightly understood has no evil at all in it, but is an excellent Antidote against Pride. For those that profess such an Antinomia <69> nism as this, and declare they look to be saved by Faith onely without the Works of the Law, will not deny but that they are to live as strictly and holily as if they were to be saved by the integrity of their conversations; and yet when they have lived as precisely as they can, that they are wholly to relie upon the mercy of God in Christ. How lovely, how amiable is such a disposition of a Soul as this, who, taking no notice of her own innocency or righteousness, casts her self wholly on the Goodness and Merits of her Saviour, and so, like an un-self-reflecting and an un-self-valuing childe, enters securely and peaceably into the Kingdome of God, and into the choicest mansions of his heavenly Paradise!

Cuph. Nay, if that be the worst of it, Bathynous, I am easily reconciled to Protestantism for all this.

Bath. This is the worst of it, O Cuphophron, so far as I can understand. And you know the orthodox Protestants universally adde their Doc <70> trine of Sanctification or a good life to that of Justification by Faith onely: so that I dare say they dealt bonâ fide; but by a secret Providence directed so their style and phrase as was most effectual to oppose or undermine the gainful traffick of that City of Merchandises, where the good works they ordinarily cry'd up so were nothing else but the good and rich wares those cunning Merchants purchased at cheap rates from abused souls; the increase of whose sins were the advance of the Revenues of the Church, and their externall good works, as they are called, an excuse for their want of inward Sanctification and real Regeneration, the main things the Protestants stand upon, which can be no more without Good works in the best sense so called, then the Sun without Light.

Cuph. But are there then, Bathynous, no Antinomians in the ill sense amongst the Protestant?

Bath. No otherwise, Cuphophron, then there were Gnosticks and Carpo <71> cratians in the Apostolick times. There are, but disallowed by general suffrage.

Cuph.[2] Let that then suffice. But this dark Opinion of Predestination how dismall does it look, Bathynous! black as the smoak of the bottomless pit out of which the Locusts came.

Bath. What, do you allude to the Turks and Saracens, Cuphophron? The Turks indeed are held great Fatalists, whence some in reproch call this Point of Calvin Calvino-Turcism. Who would have thought Cuphophron so Apocalyptical? That you take so great offence at Predestination in that rude and crude sense that some hold it, I do not at all wonder: for it has ever seemed to me an Opinion perfectly repugnant to the nature of God, that he should Predestinate any Souls to endless and unspeakable misery for such sins as it was ever impossible for them to avoid. This is a great reproch, in my apprehension, to the Divine Majesty. But that there is an effectual <72> Election or Predestination of some to eternall life, I must confess I think it not onely an Opinion inoffensive, but true; which seems to me probably to be intimated from such passages as these.[3] And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship the Beast, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. And again in another place of the Apocalypse,[4] And they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithfull. And also in the Epistle to the Romans,[5] And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate, and whom he did predestinate them he also called, &c. These places considered together want not their force for the inferring the above-mentioned Opinion. And what hurt is it, O Cuphophron, that God is conceived effectually to predestinate some men to Grace and Glory, and so is proclaimed <73> to be more good and gracious then the Arminians themselves would have him, who put it to an adventure whether any man shall be saved or no?

Cuph. There were no great hurt in this, I confess, Bathynous: but Reprobation or Predestination to eternall death, that is the great reproch to the Reformed Religion.

Bath. Though some private men are very express in that Point, yet the publick Confessions of the Protestants are more modest and tender in that Article, and onely are for a Preterition of persons, no designment of them to sin and damnation: which I promise you, Cuphophron, he that with an impartial eye looks upon the Phænomena of Providence can hardly deny to be found verified in the effect. Besides what the Scriptures themselves intimate,[6] The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray so soon as they be born. These are great and profound Secrets, and such as very good men may easily <74> lose themselves in; and therefore Mistakes in such Points may well be competible even to the members of the true Kingdome of God. And that they took away Free-will so universally, Divine Providence might permit them to slip into that Errour, making use thereof as of another crooked Engine against the frauds and falsenesses of that crooked Serpent of Rome, I mean the Pope and his Hierarchy. For they being for Free-will and Good works, more out of a design of merchandizing and inriching the Church with large Incomes of money for Pardons and Indulgences, for Deliverances out of Purgatory, for certain Sales and Contracts for Heaven, and ensured shares and portions of the Elysian fields; the founding Salvation upon God's eternall Decree, and the declaring that we have no power of our selves to doe any thing for the obtaining eternall life, this quite spoil'd the market of these crafty Merchants, and over-turned the tables of these Money <75> changers. For the way to Salvation was now discovered not to be those manifold formal postures which the Roman Tutours put their Novices into, nor hard Penances, nor commutation of Penances (the main scope of the Discipline of that Church) into pecuniary Mulcts, for the amassing and heaping together an immense treasure of money: but every one was admonished with sad and solemn preparation to frequent the Divine Ordinance, the powerful preaching of the Gospel, to be instructed in the stupendious Arcana of God's free Election and eternall Decrees, and not to reckon upon the Certainty of Salvation from obedience to the devised Institutes of the Church, which drove mainly at the dominion of the Priest, and the sucking of the purses of the people; but to make their Calling and Election sure, that is to say, to discover the certainty thereof by the inward fruits of the Spirit, by Faith especially, (whereby they firmly believed <76> that they were of the number of God's Elect) and from thence by Love also to God and to their neighbour; all which they conceived wrought in them, not for any thing that they could doe or had done by way of Merit, but merely by the free Spirit of Grace effectually operating in their hearts. And, I pray you, Cuphophron, how much did this state of things misbecome the Kingdome of God? especially considering that whatever the Errour was, it was in a Point so intricate as has puzzled the greatest wits of all Ages; and was so seasonable, that it tended highly to the overthrow of the Kingdome of Antichrist; and was so harmless to the believers of it, that while they disclaimed all Free-will or ability of doing any thing themselves, yet were they seen carried on in all holy Duties of Devotion and Sobriety of life, while the other Party, that boasted so of their Free-will, might be observed wallowing in all Worldliness and Sensuality, and <77> with their Free-will freely and merrily descending down together into the pit of Destruction.

Cuph. I think there is a kinde of Magick or Witchcraft in conversing with melancholick men. Bathynous his speech has so fettered and confounded my spirit, that I am half asham'd of this Allegation which I thought at first so dismall and formidable. Reformed Christendome will be the Kingdome of God, I think, whether I will or no.

Philop. I hope so, Cuphophron.

Cuph. But are no other Christian Churches besides the Reformation the Kingdome of God?

Philop. Whether there be or there be not other Christian Churches that are part of God's Kingdome, it nothing infringes the truth of the Reformation's being so. But from the intimations of Philotheus, I dare pronounce, that no Christian Church that is in bondage under another Sovereignty, or does not emerge into power upon the destruction or hum <78> bling of the little Horn, that is, the Papal Hierarchy, can be that Kingdome Daniel points at, or the Inchoation of the Fifth Monarchy.

[1] XVII. The Charge of Antinomianism against the Reformation.

[2] XVIII. The Charge of Calvinism against the Reformation.

[3] Apoc. 13. 8.

[4] Apoc. 17. 14.

[5] Rom. 8. 28, 29.

[6] Psal. 58. 3.

Cite as: Henry More, The Two Last Dialogues (1668), pp. 67-78, http://www.cambridge-platonism.divinity.cam.ac.uk/view/texts/diplomatic/More1668B-excerpt002, accessed 2020-10-21.