The "god" of Arminianism


Augustus Toplady

I dare say, that, in such an auditory as this, a number of Arminians are present. I fear that all our public assemblies have too many of them. Perhaps, however, even these people, idolaters as they are, may be apt to blame, and, indeed, with justice, the absurdity of those who worship idols of silver and gold, the work of men's hands. But let me ask: If it be so very absurd, to worship the work of other men's hands what must it be, to worship the works of our own hands? Perhaps, you may say, "God forbid that I should do so". Nevertheless, let me tell you, that trust, confidence, reliance, and dependence, for salvation, are all acts and very solemn ones too, of divine worship: and upon whatsoever you depend, whether in whole or in part, for your acceptance with God, and for your justification in his sight, whatsoever, you rely upon, and trust in, for the attainment of grace or glory; if it be any thing short of God in Christ, you are an idolater for all intents and purposes.

Very different is the idea which Scripture gives us, of the ever-blessed God, from that of those false gods worshipped by the heathens; and from that degrading representation of the true God, which Arminianism would palm upon mankind. Our God (says this Psalm, verse the third) is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he pleased. This is not the Arminian idea of God: for our free-willers and our chance- mongers tell us, that God does not do whatsoever he pleases; that there are a great number of things, which God wishes to do, and rags and strives to do, and yet cannot bring to pass ... Is their god the Bible-God? Certainly not. Their god "submits" to difficulties which he "cannot help" himself out of, and endearours to make himself "easy" under millions and millions of inextricable embarrassments, uncomfortable disappointments, and mortifying defeats. ...This said scheme ascends, on the ladder of blasphemy, to the mountain top of atheism; and then hurls itself from that precipice, into the gulph of blind, adamantine necessity, in order to prove mankind free agents!

... One great contest, between the religion of Arminianism, and the religion of Christ, is, who shall stand entitled to the praise and glory of a sinner's salvation? Conversion decides this point at once; for I think that, without any imputation of uncharitableness, I may venture to say, that every truly awakened person, at least when he is under the shine of God's countenance upon his soul, will fall down upon his knees, with this hymn of praise ascending from his heart, 'Not unto me, O Lord, not unto me, but to thy name, give the glory': I am saved not for my righteousness, but for thy mercy and thy truth's sake.

Augustus Toplady was a Church of England Vicar and a contemporary of George Whitfield and John Wesley. He engaged in a strong debate with Wesley, defending Whitfield's "Calvinism" and attacking Wesley's "Arminianism". Wesley's response was that "he would not argue with chimney-sweeps"!
Toplady was the author of the well-known hymn "Rock of Ages cleft for me". He wrote numerous hymns which are still in our hymn books today. Another of them is called "Grace Acknowledged", beginning with the words, "Formed for thyself, and turned to thee..." It may be found here on this site on the Hymns Page.
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