Sunday, June 29, 2008
Augustus Montague Toplady was a preacher who lived from 1740-1778. He wrote numerous hymns including the famous "Rock of Ages" sung here by Chris Rice who I don't know much about so I don't endorse his theology per say:
A while back, I got Toplady's complete works and have been reading them since. His views on Arminianism and "free"-will may be shocking to some, but keep in mind that this is a preacher from just a little over 200 years ago. He understood the problems and self-contradictions these two doctrines demand and commented on them in sometimes a humorous and sometimes direct manner, but he always was explicit about where he stood in regards to these issues which is something that is lacking among many today. Here are several quotes from his complete works:
"I much question whether the man that dies an Arminian can go to heaven. But certainly he will not be an Arminian when he is in heaven. The employ of the blessed is to cast their crowns at the feet of God and the Lamb, and to sing, "Not unto us O Lord."
Should it be thought harsh to question the salvation of one who dies under the blindness of Arminianism; as if a man who only robs God in part might miss of glory; let it be considered that, even on earth, if a person robs me only of my watch, or of a single guinea, he has forfeited his life to the law, as much as if he had robbed me of all I am worth."
"The old Arminians mentioned in Scripture are blamed for thinking wickedly that God was such an one as themselves; but our new Arminians out-sin their predecessors, and actually represent God as a being in many respects considerably inferior to themselves. They suppose him both to form schemes with less wisdom, and to execute them with less power, spirit, and success, than a prime minister of common sense forms and executes his. They dare ascribe to God such impotence, blunders, imperfections, and disappointments, as they would blush to ascribe to a Ximenes, or a Sully."
"Arminians consider the grace that is inspired into a true believer's heart, as a text of Scripture written upon a pane of glass, liable to be demolished by the first hand that flings a stone at it."
"All the disputes between us and the Arminians may be reduced to these two questions:
1. Is God dependent on man, or is man dependent on God?
2. Is man a debtor to God, or God a debtor to man?"
"The Arminians think, that in conversion God does little or nothing for men, but gives them a pull by the elbow, to awake them from their sleep. Rather, he acts as maritime officers do by their sailors; he cuts down the hammock of carnal security in which the elect are; down they fall, and the bruises and surprise they receive awaken them from their death in sin, and bring them to themselves whether they will or no."
"According to Arminianism, grace has the name, but 'free'-will the game."
"Arminians suppose God to give us heaven, as the king grants a brief for building a church. The brief runs, "We have granted our most gracious letters patent." But these same most gracious letters are amply paid for before they are granted. No fee, no brief."
"Arminians will ask, "Where's the use of preaching the doctrines of grace, even supposing them to be true? Since we may go to heaven without a clear knowledge of them." And a man may go to heaven with broken bones; yet it is better to go thither in a whole skin. A man may get to his journey's end, though it rain and thunder all the way; yet it is more comfortable to travel in fair weather. You or I might make a better shift to live upon a scanty allowance of bread and water; yet, surely, an easy fortune, and a decent table are, in themselves, abundantly preferable to poverty and short commons. Who would wish to go upon thorns when his way may be strewed with roses?"
"I can compare some ranting Arminian preachers, who represent salvation as a matter of chance, and press men to help forward their own conversion, upon pain of damnation, to none so well as to auctioneers; who, with the hammer in their hands, are always bawling out, "Now is your time; now is your time: a-going, a-going, a-going."
Such a method is equally inconsistent with the analogy of faith, and subversive of the majesty of the gospel. Shall I order a dead soul to awake, and raise itself to life? Let me rather address the living God, and say, "Awake, and put on thy strength, O arm of the Lord! Breathe on these slain that they may live!" "
"A man's 'free'-will cannot cure him even of the tooth-ache, or of a sore finger; and yet he madly thinks it is in its power to cure his soul."
"The greatest judgment which God himself can, in the present life, inflict upon a man is to leave him in the hand of his own boasted 'free'-will."
"Look where you will, and you will generally find that 'free'-willers are very 'free'-livers."
You can purchase Toplady's complete works in the link below. The letters he wrote to John Wesley which are included here are amazing. If what he asserts in these is true, Wesley was not an honest man in all his dealings.