صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1. Di.,
{f

...
in the
Timmi 1969)
in that to the height of this great argument,
I may assert Eternal Providence,

And justify the Ways of Gopita Meni? si, lo

au: BudvusM

LTON

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

i filtri..urir

. -14 microSE;;) { 1. I AM inclined to believes that many of those who enjoy the faith which worketh by love, may remember some time when the power of the Highest wrought upon them in an eminent manner'; wben the voice of the Lord. laid the mountains low, brake all the rocks in pieces, and mightily shed abroad his love in their hearts, by the Holy Ghost given unto them. And at that time it is certain, they had no power to resist the grace of God. They were then no more able to stop the course of that torrent, which earried all before it, than to stem the waves of the sea with their hand, or to stay the sun in the midst of heaven.,

11. And the children of God may continually observe, how his love leads them on from faith to faith; with what tenderness he watches over their souls; with what care he brings them back if they go astray, and then upholds their going in bis path, that their foptsteps. may not slide. They cannot but observe how unwilling he is to let them go from serving him; and how, notwithstanding the stubbornness of their wills, and the wildness of their passions, he goes

, on in his work, conquering and to conquer, till he hath put, all his enemies under his feet. 1571.251

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

111. The farther this work is carried on in their hearts, the more earnestly do they cry out, “ NotPunto us, O Lord, but unto thy name give the praise, for thy mercy and for thy truth's sake.” The' more deeply are they convinced that, by grace we are saved; not of works, lest any man should hóast; that we are not pardoned andiaccepted with God for the sake of any thing we have done, but wholly and solely for the sake of Christ, of what he hath done and suffered for us. The more assuredly likewise do they know, that the condition of this acceptance is faith alone; before which gift of Gød no good work can be done, none which hath not in it the nature of sin.

IV. How casily then may a believer infer, from what he hath experienced in his own, soul, that the true grace of God always works irresistibly in every believer? That God will finish wherever he has begun this work, so that it is impossible for any believer to fall from grace.?. And, lastly, that the reason why God gives this, to some 'only, and not to others, is, because of his own will, without any previous regard either to their faith or works, he hath absolutely, unconditionally predestinated them to life, before the foundation of the world,

V. Agreeable hereto, in the Protestant Confession of Faith, drawn up at Paris, in the year 1559, we have these words: (Article 12.)

“ We believe, that out of the general corruption and condemnation, in wbich, all men are plunged, God draws those whom in his eternal and unalterable counsel, he has elected by bis own goodness and mercy, through our Lord Jesus Christ, without considering their works, leaving the others in the same corruption and condemnation."

VI. To the same effect speak the Dutch Divines assembled at Dort, in the year 1618. Their words are: (Art. 6. et seq;)

“ Whereas, in process of time, God bestowed faith on some, and not on others, this proceeds from his eternal Decree.--According to which, he softens the hearts of the

[ocr errors]

**

elect, and leaveth them that are not elect in their wicked ness and hardness. ;? 1. And herein is discovered the difference put between men equally lost; that is to say, the decree of election and reprobation

66. Election is the unchangeable decree of God, by which, before the foundation of the world, he hath chosen, in Christ unto salvation, a set number of men. This election is one and the same of all which are to be saved.

“ Not all men are elected, but some not elected; whom God, in his unchangeable good pleasure, hath decreed, to leave in the common misery, and not to bestow saving faith upon them; but leaving them in their own ways, at last to condemn and punish them everlastingly for their unbelief, and also for their other sins. And this is the Decree of Reprobation."

VII. Likewise in the Confession of Faith, set forth by the Assembly of English and Scotch divines, in the year 1646, are these words: (chap. 3.)

“God from all eternity did unchangeably ordain what søever comes to pass. :

By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others fore-ordained to everlasting death.

“ These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained; are particularly and unchangeably designed, and

; their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished..., | Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before- the foundation of the world, hath chosen in Christ uñito everlasting glory, without any foresight of faith or good works. '; !.::

. ' : “ The reßt of mankind God was pleased, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them, to dishonour and wrath." ?. No less express are Mr. Calvin's, words in his Christian Institutions, (chap. 21, sect. 1.)...

[ocr errors]

66 All men are not created for the same end: but some are fore-ordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation. So according as every man was created for the one or the other, we say he was elected, i. e. predestinated to life; or reprobated, i. e. predestinated to damnation.”...

VIII. Indeed there are some who assert the decree of election, and not the decree of reprobation. They assert, that God hath, by a positive unconditional decree, chosen some to life and salvation : but not that he hath, by any such decree, devoted the rest of mankind to destruction. These are they to whom I would address - myself first. And let me beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to lift up your hearts to him, and to beg of him to free you from all prepossession, from the prejudices even of your tender years, and from whatsoever might hinder the light of God from shining in upon your souls. Let us calmly and fairly weigh these things, in the balance of the sanctuary. And let all be done in love and meekness of wisdom, as becomes those who are fighting under one Captain, and who humbly hope, they are joint heirs through him of the glory which shall be revealed.

I am verily persuaded, that in the uprightness of your hearts, you defend the decree of unconditional election; even in the same uprightness wherein you reject and abhor that of unconditional reprobation. But consider, I.entreat you, whether you are consistent with yourselves : consider whether this election can be separate from reprobation; whether one of them does not imply the other, so that in holding one you must hold both. ;

IX. That this was the judgment of those who had the most deeply considered the nature of these decrees, of the Assembly of English and Scotch divines, of the reformed churches, both in France and the Low Countries, and of Mr. Calvin himself, appears from their own words, beyond all possibility of contradiction. "'Out of the general corruption (saith the French church) he draws those whom he hath elected; leaving the others in the same corruption, according to his immovable decree.”. “ By the decree of

"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

65

God, (says the Assembly of English and Scotch divines,) - some are predestinated unto everlasting life, others fore. ordained to everlasting death.” “God hath, once for all,

: . (saith Mr. Calvin,) appointed, by an eternal and unchangeable decree, to whom he would give salvation, and whom he would devote to destruction,” (Inst. cap. 3. sect. 7.) Nay, it is observable, Mr. Calvin speaks with utter contempt and disdain of all who endeavour to separate one

from the other, who assert election without reprobation. “ Many, (says he,) as it were to excuse God, own election, and deny reprobation. But this is quite silly and childish. For election cannot stand without reprobation. Whom God passes by, those he reprobates. It is one and the same thing,(Inst. I. 3, cap. 23, sect. 1.) IX. Perhaps, upon deeper consideration, you will find yourself of the same judgment. It may be, you also hold reprobation, though you know it not. Do not you believe, that God, who made one dessel unto honour, hath made another unto eternal dishonour 2 Do not you believe that the men who turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness, were before ordained of God unto this condemnation?” Do not you think, that for this same purpose. God raised Pharaoh up, that he might shew his sovereign power in his destruction? And that Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated, refers to their eternal state? Why then, you hold absolute reprobation; and you think Esau and Pharaok were instances of it; as well as all those vessels made unto dishonour, those men, before ordained unto condemnation?

XI. To set this matter in a still clearer light, you need only answer one question. Is any man saved who is not elected ? Is it possible that any man not elected should be saved? If you say, No, you put an end to tbe doubt: You espouse election and reprobation together. You confirm Mr. Calvin's words, that, “ without reprobation, election itself cannot stand." You allow, though you were not sensible of it before, that whom God elects not, them he reprobates."

Try whether it be possible, in any particular case, to

« السابقةمتابعة »