Billeder på siden

have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not i'm)!” “ If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead (n):" “ It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you,

and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles (O):" " They loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil (P):” The wickedness and perverseness of the Jews blinded their understandings, and indisposed them to receive the truth, though delivered in the plainest terms, and attested by the fullest evidence. “ Those places of Scripture, says Dr. Jortin, are easily reconciled, in which the wicked are represented usually as hardening themselves, and sometimes as being hardened of God. They harden themselves, because it is by their own choice, by their own obstinacy and perverseness that they become obdurate; and they are hardened of God, not by any proper and immediate act of God, depriving them of reason and liberty, or compelling them to do evil; but quite on the contrary, by his continuing to give them both motives and opportunities to do well; which gifts being

rejected (m) Luke, c. 13. v. 34.

(n)Luke, c. 16. v. 31. (0) Acts, c. 13. v. 46. () John, c. 3. v. 19.

rejected and abused are the innocent cause, or the occasion of their greater wickedness, and in this sense they are hardened by the very goodness of God. Besides, in the style of Scripture, God is often said to do what he only permits to be done; and in all other languages also, the occasion is put for the cause, both as to persons, and as to things. 'I came not to send peace upon earth, but a sword (9),' says our Lord ; that is, my Gospel, though it ought to produce peace and love, will prove the occasion of strife and enmity (r).

As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed ($):" This text does not mean, that there was an ordinance of God appointing that certain persons of those who were present should believe


(9) Matt. c. 10. v. 34. (v) Diss. 1st.

(s) Acts, c. 13. v.48.-" The words oor noay TelayMéYou might have as well been rendered,' as many as were set in order, or made ready,' and then the context had plainly illustrated the texi.

For in the same verse we find that this was spoken of the Gentiles, who were glad and glorified God, that the words of Salvation and Everlasting Life belonged to them also. (v. 46, 47.) But who these Gentiles were, we learn more particularly from verse 43, namely, that they were some gebouée spoonita, of the devout or worshipping Proselytes, those who believed a life to come, and sought for the happiness thereof, and who therefore were in a fit posture to lay hold of that great promise of the Gospel, being both


and obtain eternal life; but it being the declared will of God, that none, to whom the Gospel was made known, should obtain eternal life, who did not believe, and God foreseeing who would believe, it might be said, that those believed who were ordained to eternal life, that is, those who God foresaw would comply with the ordained condition of Faith in Christ, upon which eternal life was offered. There is nothing in the original words which favours the Calvinistic doctrine, that God had by his own unalterable decree made it impossible for some to believe, and others not to believe ; and whoever reads the whole passage carefully and impartially, will observe, that both believers and unbelievers are represented as acting from their own free choice, and not under the control of an irresistible destiny. All might have believed. The general call of the Gentiles is mentioned in the preceding verse as the appointment of God; and therefore on that account also, as many of the Gentiles as were then present and believed, might be said to be ordained to eternal life, because the attainment of eternal life was the consequence of that divine appointment. “ We know that all things work together for


prepared to hear what the Apostles had to say concerning the way and means of obtaining it, and also to make use of such means, when once they were thoroughly instructed in them.” Stebbing.

[ocr errors]

good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose: For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 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 (t).” We know that all things, whether adverse or prosperous, co-operate in the end for the permanent good of those who sincerely love God, of those who are called to the knowledge of the Gospel according to the eternal purpose of God; for he ordained and decrced, that those, who he foreknew would believe arid obey the Gospel, should resemble his blessed Son by following his example, that he might have many brethren, who would be joint-heirs with him, and partakers of that happiness which he enjoyed. Moreover, those, to whom it was forc-ordained of God that the Gospel should be made known, he has now actually called, and those whoin he has called, he has justified from all their former sins; and those whom he has justified, he has glorified by his grace and all the other privileges of the Gospel Covenant. In the former part of this passage, the good spoken of is confined to those who love God, and act conformably to his purpose in revealing the Gospel: this their conduct

God (1) Rom. c. 8. v. 28-30.

God foreknew, and graciously determined to reward with eternal felicity. In the latter part of the passage, every thing is represented as past -the predestination, the calling, the justification, the glorification. Of the predestination and the calling, there can be no doubt; and it has been proved that the word Justification, as applied to Christians, always refers to this life, and here it means the remission of sins granted at the time of baptism : and the word glorified, being, both in the original Greek and in our Translation, in the same tense as the words predestinated, called, and justified, must also relate to something which has already taken place; it relates to that “Spirit of Glory and of God,” which St. Peter says, “resteth upon Christians (u)” in this world; to that

kingdom and glory,” to which St. Paul tells his Thessalonian converts God had called them (r); to that “change into the same image with Christ from glory to glory,” which he announces to the Corinthians (y). When St. Paul speaks of the final glorification, he speaks of it as a thing future, " the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (2),” in the life to come;

" when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye

also (u) 1 Pet. c. 4. v. 14. (*) 1 Thess. c. 2. v. 12. (y) 2 Cor. c. 3. v. 18. (x) Rom. c. 8. v. 18.

« ForrigeFortsæt »