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THE CONDITIONAL ELECTION OF ARMINIANS.

capacities, means, opportunities, &c., which, in the creed of of a Calvinist, are essential to accountability. An opponent, incautiously setting himself to prove that it comprehends more, would find himself, when brought to the question, engaged in an enterprise as difficult as to find his way to the moon.

Having thus shown—that the Scriptures recognise certain individuals as the elect of God-that there is an election to spiritual and eternal blessings, in opposition to those Pelagians, of whom Bishop Tomline is a type, who represent election as appointment to the enjoyment of external privileges merely, --and having exhibited the radical defect of this latter system, I proceed to prove,

Secondly, that personal election to eternal life is not conditional; or, in other words, is not founded on the foreseen faith and obedience of the elect. The doctrine of Mr. Watson, and of those Arminians who think with him, is, that all who are elected to eternal glory were chosen, not as men merely, but as believing men; and I lay before the reader the strongest passage I can find in his works in support of this view of the case. “ To choose men to salvation, considered as believers, gives a reason for election which not only manifests the wisdom and goodness of God, but has the advantage of being entirely consistent with his own published and express decree: 'He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.' This revealed and promulgated decree, we must believe, was according to his eternal purpose ; and if from eternity he determined that believers, and only believers in Christ, among the fallen race, should be saved, the conclusion is inevitable, that those whom he chose in Christ, before the foundation of the world, were considered not as men merely, which gives no reason of choice worthy of any rational being, much less of the ever-blessed God, but as believing men; which harmonizes the doctrine of election with the other doctrines of Scripture, instead of placing it, as in the Calvinistic scheme, in opposition to them. For the choice not being of certain men as such, but of all persons believing ; and all men to whom the gospel is preached

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being called to believe, every one may place himself in the number of the persons so elected.” (Vol. iii., pp. 78, 79.)

This reasoning derives any little force it may appear to possess from the circumstance of Mr. Watson's having forgotten that, though the Divine Being can form no purpose which is at variance with the general and revealed law of his government,-"He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned,”—he may, yea, must entertain a purpose in his character as the sovereign Bestower of good, which shall secure the accomplishment of events which the general law of his government could bring to pass. It is impossible for Mr. W. to deny this ; since God's “revealed and promulgated decree," as he designates it, did not separate the Jews from the rest of the world, neither did it bring the gospel to Britain. There must be a purpose, additional to the general law of the Divine government, to carry the means of salvation to those nations who enjoy them. Why, then, may there not be an additional purpose still to visit certain individuals with that special influence of the Holy Spirit which will render the means effectual to their salvation? This point will, however, be more fully illustrated hereafter. Before I proceed to state the more specific objections which may be urged against conditional election, let me request the reader not to forget that it has received an answer already. This conditional election --an election founded on faith—can make no provision for the existence of faith. It leaves this all-important exercise of the mind on which the salvation of men depends--to be originated by the grace which is dispensed, as it is alleged, to every member of the human family. Now this grace has been shown to be nothing more than physical powers, means and opportunities of believing; which, left to themselves, never did, and never will, originate faith in any human heart. Besides, I must again remind the reader that, as this grace is common, it cannot possibly account for the fact, that one believes, while another rejects, the gospel. For, if we ascribe the difference, as Mr. Watson appears to do, to the circumstance, that the former uses the grace communicated, and the other does not, the question still returns, why or how does the

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one use the grace, and the other not? If the Arminian should say, that new or additional grace is given to use the grace previously bestowed, he abandons his system. There is, in that case, a special operation, and that involves a special purpose; or, the doctrine of personal election. If he say, on the contrary, that no new grace is given to use that measure which had been bestowed upon all, then I maintain, notwithstanding all that has been said, or can be said to the contrary, that the individual makes himself to differ from others by his own unassisted use of grace; and though Mr. W. calls this "a puzzle, used ad captandum,I cannot resist the conclusion, that this Arminian notion gives the praise of a sinner's salvation to himself.

In this manner Mr. Watson's notion of conditional election may be overturned; but there is a more specific mode in which the same thing may be accomplished. If, for instance, we can show that the New Testament teaches that the chosen to salvation are elected to believe, (i. e., in the sense formerly explained,) and to be holy, as well as to inherit eternal life, it will follow, that they cannot be elected to salvation on the ground of their foreseen faith and holiness. To the proof of this important point I now proceed to direct the reader's attention.

I refer, then, to the following passages, in proof that election to eternal life is not conditional, i.e., not founded upon

foreseen faith and obedience, but that it is an election to faith and obedience; or, more generally speaking, to holiness of character, as the means by which only its merciful purposes can be accomplished. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Christ.” (1 Pet. i. 2.) There can be little doubt that this passage is elliptical—that πιστεως should be introduced after εις υπακοην, according to the full reading which occurs in Rom. i. 5. The strangers of the dispersion are then said by the apostle to have been elected " to the obedience of faith,” i. e., to yield the obedience of faith to the gospel, and also “ to the sprinkling,” i. e., to receive the sprinkling “of the blood of Christ;" and the blessings

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ELECTION IS TO FAITH, &c.

they were thus elected to enjoy, were to be secured to them by the “sanctification of the Spirit,” or by that special influence of the Spirit, to which the existence of faith and holiness in every human mind must be attributed; for "faith is the gift of God.”

It is essential, however, to Arminianism to overturn the preceding plain explanation of the verse. Mr. Watson attempts to do it in the following manner :-"Obedience," he

says, “is not the end of election, but of the sanctification of the Spirit; and both are joined with the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, as the media through which our election is effected ;--elect through sanctification of the Spirit, &c. These cannot, therefore, be the ends of our personal election; for if we are elected through that sanctification of the Spirit which produces obedience, we are not elected, being unsanctified and disobedient, in order to be sanctified by the Spirit that we may obey: it is the work of the Spirit which produces obedient faith, and through both we are elected into the church of God.” (Vol. iii., p. 76.)

The last words of this paragraph, "elected into the church of God,” are quite irrelevant to the point in hand, and can only have been introduced by Mr. Watson through inadvertence; since, as he himself admits, the whole passage does not refer to introduction to church membership, but to heaven.

To establish his assertion that obedience, or the belief of the gospel, is not the end of election, but of the sanctification of the Spirit, he removes the comma from the word Spirit, where it is placed by, I believe, the most correct editions of the English version, and by the ordinary copies of the Greek Testament; and introduces it after obedience, where it is placed by none of them. In the former we read, “through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Christ.” In Mr. Watson's quotation we have,

through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Christ.” This mode of pointing, no doubt, answers his purpose here, and would seem to have been resorted to with that intention; for it is somewhat

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curious that, when he has not to overthrow the notion of election to faith, he adopts the ordinary method of punctuation. (Vide vol. iii. p. 64.) Now, as punctuation is not of Divine authority, I should not blame Mr. W. for altering the common and generally adopted mode, if the construction of the passage required the alteration, or if a better and more consistent meaning could be elicited by resorting to it. But is this the case ? I apprehend not; yea, that the construction of the passage will not admit of the alteration. Pavrlojov is not governed by εν; it is connected with υπακοην by και ; and both are governed by aus. If, therefore, Mr. Watson maintains that we are not elected unto obedience, but sanctified unto obedience, he is bound, also, to maintain that “we are sanctified unto the sprinkling of the blood of Christ." But that would be putting the effect before the cause ; for we are not sanctified unto sprinkling, &c., but sprinkled unto sanctification; the sprinkling of the blood of Christ being the cause of sanctification. Again, Mr. Watson says that the sprinkling of the blood of Christ is represented as a medium, together with the sanctification of the Spirit, by which our election is effected. I answer, that the construction of the passage will not bear this sense. The word pavtiquov must be in the dative to admit of it. Had the reading been, ev aylaouy II vevpatog εις υπακοην, και ραντισμω, &c., Mr. Watson would have been correct. But

εν αγιασμο Πνευματος, εις υπακοην και ραντισμον, &c., will, if I mistake not, admit of no rendering but that which makes obedience, i. e., the obedience of faith, and the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, the joint ends of our election.

And when Mr. Watson says that our ELECTION is effected through sanctification of the Spirit, and through the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, or that these are the MEANS of our election, I have no doubt that the language appeared, at least, to convey some meaning to his own mind, but to mine, I acknowledge, it conveys none. I understand what he means, when he says that God elects men to eternal life, (for he admits that this is the kind of election referred to here,) on the ground of foreseen faith and obedience ; but I cannot

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