derful these should not be at all mentioned, in so expressly stating the way of salvation by the gospel.

'Were it otherwise, the hardened sinner would 'be confounded with the humble penitent; there 'would be no distinction between those, "the imagination of whose hearts is only evil continually," and those whose "delight is in the ' commandments of God."1

"There is," saith the apostle, " no difference; " for all have sinned and come short of the glory "of God: being justified freely by his grace, "through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."2 "I will put my laws into their mind, and I will "write them in their hearts."3 "A new heart

also will I give you, and I will put a new Spirit "within you; and I will take away the stony "heart out of your flesh, and I will give you

[ocr errors]

a heart of flesh; and I will put my Spirit with"in you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, "and ye shall keep my judgments and do them."4

"For who maketh thee to differ from another?"5 The two scriptures, which are referred to in the quotation, evidently relate, the first, to what man is by nature, and the second, to what believers are "by the grace of God." An important difference there is, but the whole glory of making it is due to divine grace; inclining and enabling the believer to do, what was before his bounden duty; but which he had not the disposition, and 'consequently not the ability,' to perform.

'Ref. 261.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Rom. iii. 22-25.

Ez. xxxvi. 26, 27.
Rom. vii. 22.

Gen. vi. 5. Ps. cxix. 47, 70.

"The works of creation, and the law written in 'the hearts, &c.'1

On this subject the reader is referred to Book I. Chapter i. Section 4. on the Case of the Gentiles.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

'Predestination is always used in scripture in a good sense; no persons are said to be predes'tinated to death, or to punishment, or to un'belief. Nefas est dicere Deum aliquid nisi bonum prædestinare.2 Aug. de Præd. cap. 2.-Even the authors of the Centuria Magdeburgenses, 'who were Calvinists, say, Quoties apostoli ' verbo predestinationis utuntur, (St. Paul is 'the only apostle who does use it,) nihil aliud eo indicant, quam ut inquirentem causas cur ' ad salutem æternam consequendam nulla alia 'sit via, quam ea quæ a Christo est nobis parata, 'docent sic Deo in arcano suo consilio, quo voluit ' miseriis generis humani mederi, placuisse, eumque ut eo modo fierit ordinasse, et velle ut a 'se prescriptum ad salutem compendium agnoscamus et apprehendamus.3-Cent. Magd. Cent. 1. lib. 2. cap. 4. p. 238.'4

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

'Ref. 262, 263.

"It is unlawful to say, that God

predestinates any thing but good.'

3 As often as the apostles use the word predestination, they ' indicate nothing else by it, than that they may teach one who enquires, why there is no other way to attain eternal salvation

except that which is prepared for us by Christ, that so it has ' pleased God in his secret counsel, by which he willed to heal 'the miseries of the human race; and he has ordained that it 'should be effected in this way; and willed that we should acknowledge and apprehend it as a compendium prescribed by him unto salvation.'

[blocks in formation]

The original word translated predestinate1 (for the noun predestination is not found in scripture,) occurs in the Acts of the Apostles. "To do "whatsoever thine hand and thy counsel deter"mined before to be done :" #pops, predestinated.2 St. Luke was not an apostle, but he here records the words of the apostles, before St. Paul was numbered among them. A parallel passage in the same book does not indeed contain the compound word, but it has the uncompounded verb, in a connexion amounting to precisely the same. "Him, being delivered by the determinate "counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have

[ocr errors]

taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and “ slain.” 3 Τη ωρισμένη βελῇ καὶ προγνώσει το Θε8 must mean the same as predestination: for the foreknowledge and decided purpose or decree are inseparably joined together. The same may be said of another text, "He hath determined the times before ap


[ocr errors]

pointed.” Ορίσας προτεταγμένες καιρες. The only dif ference here is, that the preposition pò is prefixed to τελαγμένος, instead of to όρισας : but would any learned man object to the translation, He predetermined (or predestinated) the appointed times?" The "Son of man goeth, as it was determined:" xalà tò waμévo.5 Пpò is not here added, either to the participle, or to any other word in the sentence: but surely the meaning is precisely the same; for the word is in the preterite sense, implying a previous determination, or predestination. "But we speak

'II poopigw prius definio, prius constituo, to determine beforehand, from pò, and ópigw, or opos, a boundary: whence horizon.

2 Acts iv. 28.
4 Acts xxvii. 26.

3 Acts ii. 23.

5 Luke xxii. 22.

"the wisdom of God in a mystery, which God "ordained before the world unto our glory :"

powprev, predestinated. "Who were before or"dained to this condemnation :" poyεy paμevo, written before hand.2

The result of this investigation seems to be: 1. That predetermination, as to the counsels and works of God, and his dealings with mankind, was an idea familiar to the minds of the apostles. 2. That St. Luke, reporting the words of the other apostles, and not of St. Paul, uses the word powρice, predestinated; and this with respect to the base conduct of the worst of men. But, 3dly, that the word rendered predestinate is never used concerning the eternal estate of men, with respect to any except those "who are chosen unto salvation." And this serves to confirm what has been before advanced; namely, that the scripture, in speaking on this subject, is far more full and explicit, concerning election, than concerning what is improperly called reprobation; and that we are warranted in adopting a similar reserve on the latter subject. The rest of the note is not very perspicuous: but, if the writers were Calvinists, they, on this occasion, seem to have lost sight of their own principles; which is no uncommon case among Theologians.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


The Doctrine of our Church on the subjects of this Chapter.

'Having shewn that the Calvinistic doctrines of 'election and reprobation have no foundation in 'the written word of God, and are inconsistent 'with the Divine perfections; I shall now proceed 'to prove that universal redemption is also the doctrine of our Church. 1

The reader must judge how far this has been shewn satisfactorily, especially as to election. I cannot but anticipate that many, whose hearts are fully opposed to this doctrine, will feel a disappointment that the refutation of it has not been more unanswerable for many persons of this description often meet with the doctrine, and are rendered uneasy by it; and would be cordially glad of any thing which could satisfactorily set their hearts at ease on this subject, so that no subsequent remarks should again unsettle them.The doctrine of general redemption is held by most of the Calvinists in the established church; and the term partial redemption, being ambiguous, is used by none but the opposers of Calvinism.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

'Predestination to life is here (Art. xvii.) de'clared to be the eternal purpose of God, to. ' deliver from curse and damnation, and to bring 'to everlasting salvation.'-But who are to be

1 Ref. 263.

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »