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sistent with his own glory, as he had power to hinder it, he has, no doubt, fixed such bounds and limitations to all his creatures, that nothing shall be produced by any of them, which may not have a proper place and use in the sum of events. He has settled, also, particular subordinate ends to individual events, and a general good end on the whole, which they sball altogether subserve. Of him,' we are told, and through him,
• and to him, are all things.' Rom. xi. 36. • The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, and the thoughts of his heart to all generations.' Psalm xxxiii. 11. Nothing can ever arise to surprise him, or cast any difficulty or perplexity in his way, he having already, from eternity, settled the proper measures of conduct in every case that shall emerge. How incomprehensible and wonderful in counsel, as well as excellent in working, is God! and what reason have we to cry out, “O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!' Rom. xi. 33." HUBLARD. Faith and Pract, Sermon 6.
§ 26. As to the decrees of election, see Psalm Ixv. 4. “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts : we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple." Isaiah xli. 9. Thou, whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.” Matth. xx. 16. “ So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen." Chap. xxii. 14. “For many are called, but few are chosen." Chap. xxiv. 24. “For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders ; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” John vi. 37-46. " All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out," &c. Chap. x. 3, 4, and verse 11, and 14–17, 26–30. " To him the porter openeth, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. I am the good Shepherd ; and know my sheep, and am known of mine. Therefore doth my Father love me; because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. But ye believe not, because ye are not my sheep, as I said unto you,” &c. Chap. xvii. 6 -20. " I have manifested thy name unto the men thou gavest me out of the world : thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word, &c. Neither pray I for these alone; but for them also which shall believe on me through their word." Acts xviii. 10. - For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee, to hurt thee: for I have mucha
people in this city.”—“ All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father ; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." John vi. 44-46. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him : and I will raise him up at the last day," &c. Chap. xvii. 9.-- 13. “I pray for them : I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine,” &c. 1 Thess. v. 9. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”_" What shall we say then ? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. So then, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy, &c. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? for who hath resisted his will ? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another to dishonour ? &c. Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews, only, but also of the Gentiles. Esaias, also, crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved : And, as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha. As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling-stone, and a rock of offence : and whosoever believeth on him, shall not be ashamed." Rom. ix.--" I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For 1, also, am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin, &c. Even so then at this present time also, there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works : otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace : otherwise, work is no more work. What then? Israel
, hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things : to whom be glory for
Amen." Rom. xi. $ 27. Concerning the Arminian notion, that when the apostles speak of election, they only mean that by which the professing Christians in those days were distinguished from others, as the nation of Israel of old was ; this is unreasonable, according to their own principles. For if they were elected, and that was the reason why they so far embraced the gospel, as to become Christians rather than others, then, on Arminian principles, no thanks were due to them for embracing the gospel. Besides, their principles render vain all endeavours to spread the gospel. For the gospel will certainly be spread to all nations that are elected, and all such shall have the offers of the gospel, whether they take any care of the matter or no. Dr. Whitby, to make out his scheme, makes the word election signify two
entirely different things ; one, election to a common faith of Christianity; another, a conditional election to salvation, But every one must be sensible of the unreasonableness of such shifting and varying, and turning into all shapes, to evade the force of scripture. It is evident the apostle in Rom. ix. has not only respect to God's sovereignty in the election and preterition of nations ; because he illustrates his meaning by the instance of a particular person, viz. Pharaoh. The exercise of the sovereignty that he speaks of, appears by the express words of the apostle abou! vessels of mercy, and vessels of wrath : vessels of honour, and vessels of dishonour. But the vessels of mercy, he speaks of as prepared to glory. They, it is plain, are those that shall be saved ; and the vessels of wrath are those that perish. He speaks of those that shall be saved,
. ver. 27.“ A remnant shall be saved." What is there that God doth decree, according to the scheme of the Arminians, so as to make it in any measure consistent with itself ? He does not decree any of the great events of the world of mankind, (which are the principal events, and those to which all others are subordinated,) because these depend on men's free will. And if God does not decree and order those events beforehand, then what becomes of the providence of God? and what room is there for prayer, if there be no providence? Prayer is shut out this way also. According to them, we cannot reasonably pray for the accomplishment of things that are already fixed, before our prayers : for then our prayers alter nothing, and what, say they, signifies it for us to pray?
§ 28. To Dr. Whitby's observation, that the apostle speaks of churches, as though they were all elect; I answer, He speaks from a judgment of charity, as Dr. Whitby himself observes, p. 460. God foreknows the elect, as God is said to know those that are his own sheep from strangers ; as Christ is said not to know the workers of iniquity, that is, he owns them not. In the same sense, God is said to know the elect from all eternity; that is, he knew them as a man knows his own things. He acknowledged them from eternity. He owns them as his children. If God ever determined, in the general, that some of mankind should certainly be saved, and did not leave it altogether undetermined whether ever so much as one soul of all mankind should believe in Christ; it must be, that he determined that some particular persons should certainly believe in him. For it is certain, that if he has left undetermined concerning this and that, and the other person, whether ever he should believe or not, and so of every particular person in the world; then there is no necessity at all, that this or that, or any particular person in the world, should ever be saved by Christ, for matter of any determination of God's. So that, though God sent his Son into the world, yet the matter was left altogether
undetermined by God, whether ever any person should be saved by him ; and there was all this ado about Christ's birth, death, resurrection, ascension, and sitting at God's right hand, when it was not as yet determined whether he should ever save one soul, or have any mediatorial kingdom at all.
§ 29. It is most absurd, to call such a conditional election as they talk of, by the name of election, seeing there is a necessary connexion between faith in Jesus Christ and eternal life. Those that believe in Christ must be saved, according to God's inviolable constitution of things. What nonsense is it
, therefore, to talk of choosing such to life from all eternity out of the rest of mankind ? A predestination of such to life, is altogether useless and needless. By faith in one that has satisfied for sin, the soul necessarily becomes free from sin. By faith in one that has bought eternal life for them, they have, of unavoidable consequence, a right to eternal life. Now, what sense is it to say, that God from all eternity, of his free grace, chose out those that he foresaw would have no guilt of sin, that they should not be punished for their guilt, as others were, when it is a contradiction to suppose that they can be punished for their guilt, when they have none? for who can lay any thing to their charge, when it is Christ that has died? And what do they mean by an election of men to that which is, in its own nature, impossible that it should not be, whether they are elected to it or no : or by God's choosing them that had a right to eternal life, that they should possess it? What sense is it to say, that a creditor chooses out those among his debtors to be free from debt, that owe him nothing? But if they say, that election is only God's determination, in the general, that all that believe shall be saved; in what sense can this be called election? They are not persons that are here chosen, but mankind is divided into two sorts, the one believing, and the other unbelieving; and God chooses the believing sort; it is not election of persons, butof qualifications. God (say they) does from all eternity, choose to bestow eternal life upon those that have a right to it, rather than upon those who have a right to damnation. Is this all the election we have an account of in God's word ?-Such a thing as election may well be allowed ; for that there is such a thing as sovereign love, is certain ; that is, love, not for any excellency, but merely God's good pleasure. For whether it is proper to say, that God from all eternity loved the elect or no, it is proper to say, that God loved men after the fall, while sinners and enemies; for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son to die. This was not for any goodness or excellency, but merely God's good pleasure. For he would not love the fallen angels.
$ 30. Christ is often spoken of in scripture as being, by way of eminency, the Elect, or chosen of God. Isa. xlii. 1.
hold my servant whom I uphold, mine Elect in whom my soul delighteth.” Luke xxiii. 35. “If he be the Christ, the chosen of God.” 1 Pet. 11. 4. “A living stone, chosen of God, and precious." Psalm lxxxix. 3. “I have made a covenant with my Chosen :" ver. 19. “I have exalted one chosen out of the people. Hence those persons in the Old Testament, that were the most remarkable types of Christ, were the subjects of a very remarkable election of God, by which they were designed to some peculiar honour of the prophetical, priestly, or kingly office. So Moses was called God's chosen in that wherein he was eminently a type of Christ, viz. as a prophet and ruler, and mediator for his people ; Psalin cvi. 23.®“ Had not Moses, his chosen, stood before him in the breach.” So Aaron was constituted high priest by a remarkable election of God, as in Numb. xvi. 5. and xvii. 5. Deut. xxi. 5. And David the king was the subject of a remarkable election ; Psalm lxxvii. 67–72. “ Moreover, he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim, but chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Sion, which he loved, &c. He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds, from following the ewes great with young ; he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance." 1 Sam. xvi. 7-10. - The Lord hath not chosen this, neither hath the Lord chosen this : the Lord hath not chosen these." Christ is the chosen of God, both as to his divine and human nature. As to his divine nature, he was chosen of God, though not to any addition to his essential glory or real happiness, which is infinite; yet to great declarative glory. As he is man, he is chosen of God to the highest degree of real glory and happiness of all creatures. As to both, he is chosen of God to the office and glory of the mediator between God and men, and the head of all the elect creation, His election, as it respects his divine nature, was for his worthiness and excellency and infinite amiableness in the sight of God, and perfect fitness for that which God chose him to ; and his worthiness was the ground of his election. But his election, as it respects his human nature, was free and sovereign, not being for any worthiness ; but his election was the foundation of his worthiness.' God had determined to oxalt one of the creatures so high, that he should be one person with God, and should have communion with God, and should have glory in all respects answerable; and so should be the head of all other elect creatures, that they might be united to God, and glorified in him. And his sovereignty appears in the election of the man Jesus, various ways. It appears in choosing the species of creatures of which he should be, viz. the race of mankind, and not the angels, the superior species. God's sovereignty also appears in choosing this creature of the secd of fallen creatures, that were become enemies and rebels,