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WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO BE ESSENTIAL
ROM. IX. 16.-IT IS NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH.
MANY find much fault with calling professing Christians, that differ one from another in some matters of opinion, by distinct names ; especially calling them by the names of particular men, who have distinguished themselves as maintainers and promoters of those opinions: as calling some professing Christians Arminians, from ARMINius; others Arians, from Arius; others Socinigns, from SocINUs, and the like. They think it unjust in itself; as it seems to suppose and suggest, that the persons marked out by these names, received those doctrines which they entertain, out of regard to, and reliance on those men aster whom they are named ; as though they made them their rule ; in the same manner, as the followers of CHRIST are called Christians; after his name, whom they regard and depend upon, as their great Head and Rule. Whereas, this is an unjust and groundless imputation on those that go under the forementioned denominations. Thus (say they) there is not the least ground to suppose, that the chief divines, who embrace the scheme of doctrine which is, by many, called Arminianism, believe it the more, because ARMINIUs believed it: and that there is no reason to think any other, than that they sincerely and impartially study the holy scriptures, and enquire after the mind of Christ, with as much judgment and sincerity, as any of those that call them by these names; that they seek after truth, and are not careful whether they think exactly as Arminius did ; yea, that, in some things, they actually differ from him. This practice is also esteemed actually injurious on this account, that it is supposed naturally to lead the multitude to imagine the difference between persons thus named, and others, to be greater than it is ; so great, as if they were another species of beings. And they object against it as arising from an uncharitable, narrow, contracted spirit; which, they say, commonly inclines persons to confine all that is good to themselves and their own party, and to make a wide distinction between themselves and others, and stigmatize those that differ from them with odious names. They say, moreover, that the keeping up such a distinction of names, has a direct tendency to uphold distance and disaffection, and keep alive mutual hatred among Christians, who ought all to be united in friendship and charity, though they cannot, in all things, think alike. I confess, these things are very plausible ; and I will not deny, that there are some unhappy consequences of this distinction of names, and that men's infirmities and evil dispositions often make an ill improvement of it. But yet, I humbly conceive, these objections are carried far beyond reason. The generality of mankind are disposed enough, and a great deal too much, to uncharitableness, and to