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tize, and remain in their apostacy, and finally be damned. And why not give a categorical answer to these questions, in conformity to your unscriptural doctrine ? Because he would. Does the absurdity of your doctrine appear so glaringly horrid at some times, that you wish to draw a veil over it?
10. Page 64, “ Paul mentions the greatness of his sin, as one reason why he obtained mercy." Is this correct ? He is so far from assigning the “greatness of his sin" as a reason why he obtained mercy, that he says, 1 Tim. i. 13. But I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly and in unbelief. These words seem to suppose, that if he had beliered Christ was the promised Messiah, and if he had *known him to be the person against whom he acted so violently, he should not have obtained merey. He says indeed, in v. 14, And the grace of our Lord Jesus was exceeding abundant with faith and love. And in v. 16,*+ Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy, (not because he had been a great sinner, but because of the abundance of the grace of Jesus Christ) that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them who should hereafter believe in him to life everlasting.” The cause of which he here speaks, is not that he had been a great sinner, (although he had been even a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious, v. 13.) but that Christ's long-suffering might be manifest, and that the Apostle might be a pattern to others, not of“ indwelling sin,” but of faith and purity.In the whole passage, I cannot discover that the
Apostle had the remotest allusion to sin, as a reason why he obtained mercy. O sir, what a dangerous sentiment you have advanced ! Paul obtained mercy because of the greatness of his sin : Let us sin then, may all blasphemers say, that grace may abound. Do not say that this objection was brought against the Apostle's doctrine, as well as against yours ; and therefore you teach the same thing. It is a legitimate consequence from your sentiment; but was an unjust reflection upon the Apostle. Paul obtained mercy because he was a great sinner. “ Well then," says a correct reasoner,
56 the same cause under the same circumstances, will produce the same effect; I will therefore be a great sinner, that I also may obtain mercy.” Will you undertake to prove that his reasoning is not conclusive ?
II. 1. I proceed in the second place to notice some of the texts of scripture which you have.cited, not indeed to prove unconditional reprobation, but your
doctrine of eternal and unconditional election. 66 All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me," John vi. 37. All were given to Christ; for he tasted death for every man, Heb. ii. ix. If he tasted death for all, as you yourself allow, then all were given to him ; for he is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe, 1 Tim. iv. 10. If therefore you insist upon the words in the absolute and unlimited sense, universal salvation would he the result. But such a result is directly repugnant to scripture, and therefore such interpretation is inadmissible. The verb giveth being in the present tense, it must have reference, not to those for whom Christ died merely; but to those who are given to him as his people. And here the question will arise, Who are thus given to Christ? All who believe on him; for said he to the Jews, If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins, John viii. 24. The obvious meaning is, All who believe on me, inasmuch as they do the work of God, (John vi. 29.) and thereby fulfil the condition required, shall come to me. The principal hindering cause, unbelief, being removed, I will draw them unto me; so that, however wicked they may have been, I will in no wise cast them out. Ye have not chosen mer Ye did not select me as the Saviour of the world but I have chosen youselected you, who have forsaken all to follow me, from the mass of mankind, to be my ambassadors to men, having ordained you my Apostles, that ye might bring forth the fruit of holiness, in your lives, and in the success of your ministry : and that this fruit might not wither, but remain as incontestible evidences of your faith in me, John xv. 16.
2. As many as were ordained to eternal life be. lieved, Acts xii. 48. As many as were disposed, (so is the French rendering, & tous ceux qui étoient bien disposés pour la vie éternelle crurent—and all those who were well disposed for eternal life, believed) by the preaching of the Apostle the Sabbath previous, to eternal life, now, under his preaching at this time, believed. If the Calvinistic sense of this passage be admitted, we must take the following consequences with it-That if all who were included in the eternal decree of God for eternal life at that time believed, then there could be no converts from that city afterwards, from among that generation. For the text saith, as many as were ordained, &c. It will also follow that all who did not believe, such as the blaspheming Jews mentioned in yerse 45, were ordained to eternal death; and that this appointment to eternal death was the only reason why they did not believe. This, I suppose, you think is a “ sufficient reason." However, Paul assigns a different one-he tells them, verse 46, Seeing ye put it (the word of God) far from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo we turn to the Gentiles; for so hath the Lord command
Here then for once it seems, Paul acted according to the command of God, although you think the decree and command are opposite. Letting this, however, pass, I ask, Is it not more scriptural and rational, and more congenial to the dictates of common sense, to interpret the text under conside, ration in congruity with those texts which make believing a condition of justification, than to make it speak a language which represents the Almighty as absolutely and unconditionally dooming one half of his creatures to everlasting misery, for no other reason than to benefit the elect ?
3. “ This text has been most pitifully misunderstood. Many suppose that it simply means, that those in that assembly who were foreordained, or
predestinated by God's decree to eternal life, believed, under the influence of that decree. Now, we should be careful to examine what a word means before we attempt to fix its meaning. Whatever TITRY Mevoi (tetagmenoi) may mean, which is the word we translate ordained, it is neither foretaryuevot" (i. e. fore-ordained, fore-appointed, or fore-disposed) “nor a gongoo jesyon(i. e. before-determined or fore-ordained)“ which the Apostle uses, but simply TetayMEvou, which includes no idea of pre-ordination, or predestination of any kind. And if it even did, it would be rather hazardous to say, that all those who believed at this time actually persevered unto the end, and were saved unto eternal life. But, leaving all these precarious matters, what does the word tetaypesvos mean? The verb tattw or exoow signifies to place, set, order, appoint, dispose; hence it has been considered here as implying the disposition, or readiness of mind of several persons in the congregation, such as the religious proselytes mentioned ver. 43, who possessed the reverse of the disposition of those Jews, who spoke against those things, contradicting and blaspheming, ver. 45, Though the word in this place has been variously translated, yet of all the meanings ever put on it, none agrees worse with its nature and known signification, than that which represents it as intending those who were predestinated to eternal life: this is no meaning of the term, and should never be applied to it. Let us without prejudice consider the scope of the place: the Jews contradicted and blasphemed, the