Billeder på siden

The passage

he is careful not to inform us whether he means an uncondi. tional election, or whether we are chosen on the conditions of repentance, faith and obedience. His first statement of it is in these words :-“ Some men were chosen in Christ, 'According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience."" contained in this proposition proves—1. That God foreknew who would comply with the conditions of the gospel.-2. And when they do comply with those conditions, they are chosen exactly according to that foreknowledge.-3. That the means of this election in the hand of the Spirit, are sanclification unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood oi ipo sus Christ.

The moving cause of this election, is the , reai love wherewith he loved us, when he gave his Son f. . that all might be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. The foundation being thus laid, and the way oprried for the salvation of all, whoever complies with the divir e requirements is elected, or adopted into the family : C But that this election does not unalterably secure the Cal salvation of the elect, is evident ; for they are commano-to "give dilligence to MAKE their calling and election Now if election were unconditional, and unalteraty: '18e, the elect would not be called upon to make that surt mich

That the elect are called upon to ke their election sure, is a strong evidence that it was not mu so by an unalterable decree of election.

But the point ought here to be settled whether election is conditional or unconditional. Although Mr. H. has not at. tempted to discuss this point of the subject, yet it is certain, that as a body the Calvinists do not allow that election is conditional. Now it is conditional or it is not. If it is unconditional the following absurdities will unavoidably fol. low._1. That God is a respecter of persons, and uses par

was never unsure.

tiality.-2. That he is insincere in offering life and salvation to the non-elect, with an assurance that all may come and be saved.-3. It would draw after it the horrible notion of un“ conditional reprobation of all the non-elect, which would be unjust in the highest degree.-4. It would destroy a state of trial or probation.-5. It would destroy the agency of man upon which his accountability rests; and of course do away the necessity of a day of judgment; and in fact, the whole system of christianity!

But, if election be conditional, none of these inconsistencies can justly be attributed to it. And that it is conditional, the following arguments tend to show.-1. We have already seen that the obedience of the elect is absolutely necessary in order to render their election sure; for the Apostle adds, " For if ye do these things ye shall never fall :" which shows, that if they do them not, they shall fall.--2. We are said to be elected “ according to the foreknowledge of God." Now let our opponents explain in what sense election is according to the foreknowledge of God, if it is not according as he foresaw that we should comply with the conditions of the gospel. This rense of the passage is plain and easy, while every other is dark and inexplicable.-3. The salvation of all men is conditional; “ Except ye repent ye shall all perish.“He that believeth shall be saved.”_ See also Rom. ii. 7-11. Now there can be no unconditional election while salvation is conditional.-4. All men are finally to be rewarded “according to their works ;” and their compliance or non-compliance with the terms of salvation, is alleged as the cause or reason of their respective rewards.See Matthew twenty-fifth chapter.-5. Unconditional election opens

the door to Universalism; for if God can consistently save one soul unconditionally, on the same principle he can save any number; and if so, his goodness would certain

swer the

ly prompt him to save all. But all are not saved; therefore election to salvation is conditional. This view of election, it is believed, is every way consistent; for-1. It does not draw after it the horrible notion of unconditional reproba. tion, which the Calvinistic doctrine of election does.-2. It fully clears the Almighty from the charge of insincerity, which the opposite doctrine does not.-3. It clears him from the charge of partiality, which, it is believed, the doctrine of our opponents does not. We are aware that they do not generally present but one side of their system to their hear. ers.—The doctrine of unconditional reprobation, is generally carefully kept out of sight ;- hence it will be found, that maпу

who hold to the doctrine of election very strenuously, do not hold to reprobation. Every consistent Calvinist however, holds both these notions together. It will scarcely an

purpose of our opponents, to say that the non elect are reprobated for their sins; for if election be unconditional, so is reprobation. And if the ground of God's choice or election of some, is no moral difference in them, (see the Appendix) neither is the ground or reason of his reprobating all the rest, any moral difference in them. And if some were elected from all eternity, to be the heirs of life unconditionally, all the rest were from eternity unconditionally reproba. ted to be heirs of eternal death!

As evidence that his views of election are correct, Mr, H. has spent more than two pages in proving what no man in his senses could think of denying.–1. « That God is immu. table;" and-2. “ That he converts and saves sinners.? This is his argument. Whatever God does towards the salvation of sinners, he always meant to do." p. 157.

Very true: and he has done much for the salvation of all men.He so loved all men, as to make it possible for all to come to Christ and be saved.; and without doubt what he has done

was a

in his boundless goodness towards the salvation of all men, he always meant to do." And when he converts a sinner from the error of his way, he always meant to do it ; and, for this reason, that he always saw that the sinner would through the aid of the divine Spirit, comply with the terms of the gospel. Again, he intimates that God, in the accomplishment of his decree of election, uses “ various means." I would also ask, whether according to the doctrine of our opponents, God has not determined to use various


in the accomplishment of his decree of reprobation? If so, has he nert determined that the reprobates shall sin, in order to bring about their damnation ? There is no wonder that John Calvin, when writing on this point, confessed that it

horrible decree." As the arguments of Mr. H. in this subject, are very simi. lar to the ones he used on the subject of decrees, the same arguments used in opposition to them, will generally apply here. We shall, therefore, hasten to the consideration of his scripture proofs. As inany as were ordained to eternal life, believed.' Acts. xiii, 48. That this text makes nothing for the doctrine of unconditional election, will appear on a careful examination of it with the context; and as the authority of the learned will ever weigh much with most people, I beg leave to insert an explanation of this passage, given by several of the most judicious commentators of different denominations. Speaking of this text Mr. Benson observes ; –“From this expression some infer, that God's ordination, or decree, is the sole or principal cause of men's faith, and that he hath thereby fixed the number of those that shall believe, and whom he will finally save.

But if soy consequently the want, or absence, of such ordination, or decree, in behalf of others, is the sole or principal reason of their unbelief; and by God's withholding it, he has fixed

the number of those that shall not believe, and so shall finally perish. For if the reason why these persons believed was only, or chiefly this, that they were ordained to believe, and obtain eternal life, then the reason why the rest believed not must be only, or chiefly this, that they were not so ordained by God, And, if so, what necessity could there be, that the word of God should first be preached to them ver. 46. Was it only that their damnation might be greater ? This seems to charge that lover of souls, whose tender mercies are over all his works, with the greatest cruelty; as it makes him determine, from all eternity, not only that so many souls, as capable of salvation as any others, shall perish everlastingly, but also that the dispensations of his providence shall be such towards them, as shall necessarily tend to the aggravation of their condemuation. And what could even their most malicious enemy do more? What is it that Satan himself aims at by all his temptations, but the aggravation of the future punishment of sinners? Therefore, to assert that God had determined his word should be spoken to these Jews, for this very end, (which assertion must follow from such an interpretation of the text,) is to make God more instrumental to their ruin than even the devil himself; and is certainly wholly irreconcilable with his declarations, that he is not willing that any should perish, but would have all men to be saved. Further, the Apostle gives this reason, why he turned from the Jews to the Gentiles, that the Jews had thrust the word of God from them, and judged themselves unworthy of eternal life.ver. 46; whereas, according to this doctrine, this could be no sufficient reason for his turning from them to the Gentiles ; for it was only they among the Jews whom God had not ordained to eternal life, who thus refused to believe, and obey the word of God. And as many among the Gentiles

« ForrigeFortsæt »