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ON FAITH AND OBEDIENCE.

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have referred? I cannot avoid drawing this inference. Could the apostle have thought that the mere introduction of the Ephesians into the visible church (and their election meant nothing more in the view of Mr. Watson) would justify him in declaring that God had blessed them with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ that they enjoyed the forgiveness of sins-that they had an inheritance with the members of that large family of which God is the Father-that they trusted in Christ—had received the sealing of the Spirit, which is the earnest of our inheritance, or the pledge of future glory? I think not, I am constrained, by these and other considerations, to believe that election, in this passage, means personal election; and, if that be the case, it is not conditional election; it is an election to faith, and not an election founded on faith; for the apostle expressly declares that the Ephesians were “chosen in Christ, that they should be holy."

The only other passage to which I think it necessary to refer, with a view to establish the point, that personal election is not conditional, is Rom. viii. 29, 30 : “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate--to be conformed to the image of his Son.”...“ Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” This passage is so conclusive, that it scarcely seems to require, or even to admit of, many remarks.

The predestination cannot possibly be the choice of certain individuals into the visible church ; nor can the calling be conceived to mean the external call of the gospel merely, because both are connected, by indissoluble bonds, with glorification. “Whom he predestinated, &c., them he also glorified.' And the apostle further expressly says that they were predestinated, not because they were conformed, but that they might be conformed, to the image of his Son. In other words, God determined, in harmony with the views previously given of the nature of election, (vide p. 36,) to visit them with that special and saving influence of the Holy Spirit, which would certainly lead to their reception of the truth—to their personal

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THE RESULT OF THE ARGUMENT.

sanctification by it--and thus to their meetness for the glories of the eternal world.

The reader is now requested to remember the precise point to which our argument has conducted us. We have proved, it is humbly hoped, that God has from eternity chosen certain individuals to the enjoyment of certain blessings,—that at least some of these blessings are spiritual and eternal blessings,and that they were not chosen to the enjoyment of them on the ground of foreseen faith and obedience; but were chosen to be believing and obedient men, that they might thus finally attain to the possession of these blessings; i. e., we have proved the doctrine of eternal and personal election.

LECTURE V.

ELECTION.

OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE DOCTRINE CONSIDERED.

The course proposed in the discussion of this subject, was, first, to give a scriptural statement of the doctrine itself; secondly, to adduce proof in support of it; and, thirdly, to reply to the objections which have been urged against it.

Having finished our observations in reference to the first and second branches of the subject, we proceed,

Thirdly, to repel the objections which have been brought against the doctrine of election.

“ I reject the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination,” says Bishop Tomline, "not because it is incomprehensible, but because I think it irreconcilable with the justice and goodness of God."

OBJECTION 1st.--Predestination is incompatible with the Divine goodness.

Before proceeding directly to repel the objection, it may be well to observe, that the mode of argument resorted to by his Lordship ought not to be adopted without the utmost degree of caution. It is the very method employed by the Unitarians to bring into discredit the great doctrine of the atonement; and it is used not more legitimately by Arminians against Calvinists, than by Socinians against both. Our ignorance and prejudice render us very inadequate judges of what is, and what is not, compatible with the Divine character. It is possible that a certain mode of conduct, presenting to us the appearance of discordance with that character, might, by more ample means of judging, be made to appear in perfect harmony with all his glorious perfections. I do not venture to assert,

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ELECTION IS NOT INCONSISTENT

indeed, that we are in no case warranted to pronounce upon the truth or falsehood of a sentiment from the aspect which the Divine character is supposed to bear to it; but I confess I think the safest method, in all cases, is to bring the sentiment, whatever it may be, to the test of Scripture ;—to collect together the whole of what the Bible says in reference to it;and to make it our exclusive effort to ascertain the literal and grammatical sense of those parts of Divine revelation which treat of it. This will be found, I believe, to be the best mode of ascertaining its compatibility with the Divine character; for we may be assured that every sentiment resting on scriptural authority must be in harmony with the Divine perfections, whether we can clearly discern that harmony or not.

Recollecting the preceding caution, we may proceed to examine the objection, that “the doctrine of election is irreconcilable with the goodness of God.” It will greatly aid us here to bear steadily in mind what that doctrine really is. In fact, we have scarcely any thing more to do than to divest it of that motley and unsightly garb in which its adversaries have been wont to array it, to obtain our object. That it would be at direct variance with all just conceptions of the Divine goodness to suppose that Jehovah, when contemplating a race of innocent moral agents, appointed some of their number to everlasting happiness, and others to everlasting misery, we are perfectly willing to concede ; nor would any one maintain this position with more decision and firmness than an enlightened Calvinist. But such is not the predestination for which we contend. Election, as explained in these pages, and as it is maintained by a rapidly increasing number of the followers of the Genevese reformer, (whether maintained by the reformer himself is of no consequence; neither John Calvin nor John Wesley ought to have the dominion over the conscience, which is sometimes given to them,) is the choice and appointment of certain individuals to the enjoyment of good, and good only. It is the Divine purpose to bring some of the human race, all of whom the purpose contemplates as sinners, to faith and holiness as the means, and to the happiness and glory of heaven, as the result. It is not a decree to destroy the rest;

WITH THE DIVINE GOODNESS.

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it is not even, as we have seen, a decree not to save them. All that can be said is, that there is in the Divine mind a decree to save the elect, and not a decree to save the non-elect. Now if there had been an obligation resting upon God to save man, there would doubtless have been a decree to save all men; and the non-existence of a decree to save the nonelect would certainly be a violation of goodness. But if God were under no obligation to save men ;-if, without any

violation of goodness, he might have left the whole race to perish, which an Arminian must admit, or he makes salvation to be of debt, not of grace, then there is no principle on which it can be maintained, that a decree to save a part of the race only violates goodness, but this, viz., that the goodness which God manifests to some of his creatures, he is bound to manifest to all;-a principle which will lead to infinite embarrassment and contradiction. Mr. Watson agrees with us in his views of the Adamic dispensation. He admits that the standing or falling of the race was suspended on the conduct of the public head of the race;-that the curse included in it death temporal, spiritual, and eternal. How then can the conclusion be avoided, or evaded, that the whole race must have suffered all these consequences of transgression, but for the interposition of mercy? And, since it was mercy that interposed, there could not have been any obligation resting upon God to interpose; for obligation and mercy are totally incompatible notions. Let us suppose, then, that in these circumstances God had only so interposed as to open a door of hope, or to provide the means of salvation, for a part of the race merely, when he was not bound to provide the means of salvation for any; would his conduct, in leaving the remaining part to suffer the consequences of the breach of the Adamic dispensation, have been to them a violation of goodness? Certainly it would not have been a manifestation of goodness; but how could it have been to them more truly a violation of goodness, than the Divine conduct, in providing the means of salvation for man, and not for fallen angels, is a violation of goodness towards the latter? When there is no claim to deliverance, it cannot be said that the non-provision of deliverance, or

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