not have hindered the eternal salvation of one true christian, any more than that of one person who was chosen to salvation; and therefore to interpret the words of either of them must be wrong. But in the nation of Israel, even when rejected, and most dreadfully punished, for crucifying Christ, persecuting his church, and opposing his gospel,' there was an elect seed. Millions, I speak with confidence, many millions, of that scattered race, will yet become true christians, and blessings to the world at large. Upon what other interpretation of the passage, could the preservation of a remnant, of the unbelieving Jews, from death, be “ for the “ elect's sake, whom he hath chosen ?"2

P. ccxiii. 1. Note. 'It appears, &c.' This note seems very well founded; but how can it agree with the elect, bere signifying christians ? For the calamities which befel the Jews, not the persecutions to which Christians were exposed, were evidently meant: indeed this is allowed in The Refutation. The preserving of a remnant of Jews, was a distinct thing from the temporal preservation of Christians.

P. ccxiii. 2d Note. The words, &c.?* The

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


i Thes. ii. 15, 16. 2 Mark xiii. 20. z!« It appears fron, the context, that the word “saved" " does • bod here relate to eternal salvation, but to preservation in this world.' in

The words of the original, si duralov, Matt. xxiv. 24, do not imply physical impossibility, but only a great degree of diffi-.

culty : thus St. Paul " hasted, if it were possible for him, s "duralow ny ærl

?, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost," Acts 20. v. 16.— the thing itself was possible, but it required exer

tion, and St. Paul did all he could to accomplish it. In like

[ocr errors]

words, “ the elect," in this verse must mean either true christians, or those chosen to salvation: for the context relates not to those who destroyed men's lives, but to those who seduced and deceived them with false doctrines, and lying pretences and mitacles. St. Paul doubted whether all his exertion would enable him to reach Jerusalem before Pentecost. The thing itself was possible, if winds and waves, or pirates, &c. did not prevent it. He must do his best ; but a storm or a shipwreck, might defeat his purpose. It was also possible, for the elect' to be deceived ; nay, they would be deceived, if God did not prevent it. But the words of our Lord, shew, (as we think,) that God had engaged, to prevent it; and therefore it was not possible for the seducers, to deceive the very elect; as if God had engaged to give the apostle a safe, and speedy voyage and journey to Jerusalem. « With all deceivableness of " uprighteousness in them that perish, because they “ received not the love of the truth, that they might « be saved.--He believed not the truth, but had

pleasure in unrighteousness."! It was possible and easy to deceive persons of this character : but not those, who had “ received the love of the truth, “ that they might be saved ;" who believed the truth, who hated sin, and loved righteousness;

* manner it was possible for the elect to be deceived, and it was

here predicted by our Saviour, that the false prophets would do • all they could to effect it, “ to bewitch those, that they should “ dot obey the truib, before whose eyes Jesus Christ had been

tvidently set forth." : 2 Thes. ii. 9-14.

because God would preserve them from fatal de
P. ccxiv. 1. 18. ' Immediately, &c.''

". The elect"? most obviously denotes those, who were previously chosen, and, in consequence, were called by the preaching of the gospel. In what other sense, could they be " his elect,” before, they were actually gathered into the church ?" He should

gather together in one, the children of God that " were scattered abroad." 3

That is, those whom he had predestinated to the adoption “ of children “ by Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the

good pleasare of his will.” They who be en• dued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose, by his Spirit working in due season." So that 'there is firm ground for considering the elect, here spoken of, as persons * selected by an irreversible decree of God for salva

tion in the life to come:' and it has been repeatedly shewn, that such an idea is perfectly reconcilable with the cautions, which our Saviour gave his disa

ciples on this occasion ;' for he who purposes the end, appoints also the means by which it shall be attained ; and his precept, not his decree, is the rule of our duty.


[ocr errors]

3. Immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem he will send

his messengers or ministers into every quarter of the world to • preach his religion, who will gather into one holy Catholick • Church all who shall embrace and sincerely believe it. 2 Matt. xxiv. 28–31.

s John xi. 52. * Eph. i. 52 See also John X. 16, Acts xviii. 10. 2. Thes. ii. 13, 144 5 Art, xvii.

P. ccxvi. I. 12. Not the, &c.92 | No other intimation of the decree of God is here given ; unless the words, “ the elect of God, holy and beloved," imply the source of the special character and blessed ness of the christians at Colossè. £ But their salva. * tion is not spoken of, as depending on themselves, at least in this passage. In the other text, which is quoted, it is indeed inseparably connected with their « continuance in the faith :” for none except those, who “ endure to the end, shall be saved." The only question is, Whether we ought to depend on ourselves, on our own hearts and resolutions, or on the promises, faithfulness, and grace of God, in respect of this “ continuance in the faith,” this “ patient continuance in well doing,” to the end of life. Self-dependence is not inculcated in Scripture, but directly the contrary.* : « The heart is deceitful « above all things :" how can we then depend on it? “Who are kept by the power of God, through “ faith, unto salvation.”S O Lord God, who seest

that we put no trust in any thing that we do, &c.' They, “ who do not continue in the faith,” resemble the hearers represented by the seed sown on stony ground, who had no root in themselves;" not those, “ who, receiving the word in an honest and

[ocr errors]

** Not the slightest intimation is given of any decree of God I by which their salvation was made certain ; but, on the contrary, : their salvation is represented as depending upon themselves,

upon their “continuing in the faith, grounded and settled, and “not moved away from the hope of the gospel.” : Col. iii. 11, 12

3 Col. i. 23. 4 Prov. iii. 5. xxviii, ? 1 Pet. i, 5. Col. for Sexagesima Sunday,


“ good 'heart, keep it, and bring forth fruit with “ patience."?

P.ccxvii. It is readily allowed, that the election, spoken of in the passage to which this page refers ;* does not relate to a future life, but to the election of the descendants of Jacob to be God's peculiat

people, in preference to the descendants of Esau.' The character of Esau, is marked with sufficient disapprobation in Scripture; but concerning his final doom we know nothing: nor is it implied in the words, “ Esau have I hated;" as might easily be shewn, if that were our subject. But does not the apostle adduce this instance, as an illustration of another election, concerning which he was treating? Certainly the illustration, and the subject illustrated, cannot both be precisely the same. Now the subject to be illustrated was this :“. They are not all Israel,

which are of Israel.” There was then an Israel, within an Israel : one elected to outward advantages, another elected to eternal life. A race chosen collectively; and from among them, a remnant of this ráce chosen personally. The illustration is takeri, from the Lord's not choosing all the posterity of Abraham and Isaac: but, passing by the descendants of Ishmael and Esau, confining the promised bles. sing to the posterity of Jacob. In the case of Isaac, Abraham's only son by Sarah, and the child of promise, as distinguished from his descendants by a bondwoman, the illustration was not so clear: but Esau and Jacob, twin brothers of one mother; one

[blocks in formation]
« VorigeDoorgaan »