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THE CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH Part II 1


The Cause of God and Truth


By John Gill, D.D.

Part II of IV Parts


With a Vindication of Part IV from the cavils, calumnies, and defamations, of Mr. Henry Heywood.

1855 Edition

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Reprinted by Bierton Particular Baptists 11 Hayling Close

Fareham, Hampshire PO14 3AE


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THE CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH Part II 3


PREFACE.

It should be known by the reader, that the following work was undertaken and begun about the year 1733 or 1734, at which time Dr. Whitby’s Discourse on the Five Points was reprinting, judged to be a masterpiece on the subject, in the English tongue, and accounted an unanswerable one ; and it was almost in the mouth of every one, as an objection to the Calvinists, Why do not ye answer Dr. Whitby ? Induced hereby, I determined to give it another reading, and found myself inclined to answer it, and thought this was a very proper and seasonable time to engage in such a work.

In the year 1735, the First Part of this work was published, in which are considered the several passages of Scripture made use of by Dr. Whitby and others in favour of the Universal Scheme, and against the Calvinistic Scheme, in which their arguments and objections are answered, and the several passages set in a just and proper light. These, and what are contained in the following Part in favour of the Particular Scheme, are extracted from Sermons delivered in a Wednesday evening’s lecture.

The Second Part was published in the year 1736, in which the several passages of Scripture in favour of special and distinguishing grace, and the arguments from them, are vindicated from the exceptions of the Arminian, and particularly from Dr. Whitby, and a reply made to answers and objections to them.

The Third Part was published in 1737, and is a confutation of the arguments from reason used by the Arminians, and particularly by Dr. Whitby, against the above doctrines ; and a vindication of such as proceed on rational accounts in favour of them, in which it appears that they are no more disagreeable to right reason than to divine revelation ; to the latter of which the greatest deference should be paid, though the Rationalists of our age too much neglect it, and have almost quitted it ; but to the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them.

In this part of the work is considered the agreement of the sentiments of Mr. Hobbes and the Stoic philosophers with those of the Calvinists, in which the difference between them is observed, and the calumny removed ; to which is added, a Defence of the’Objections to the Universal Scheme, taken from the prescience and the providence of God, and the case of the Heathens.

The Fourth Part was published in 1738, in which the sense of the ancient writers of the Christian Church, before the times of Austin, is given ; the importance and consequence of which is shown, and that the Arminians have very little reason to triumph on that account.

This work was published at a time when the nation was greatly alarmed with the growth of Popery, and several learned gentlemen were employed in preaching against some particular points of it ; but the author of this work was of opinion, that the increase of Popery was greatly owing to the Pelagianism, Arminianism, and other supposed rational schemes men run into, contrary to divine revelation, This was the sense of our fathers in the last century, and therefore joined these and Popery together in their religious grievances they were desirous of having redressed ; and indeed, instead of lopping off the branches of Popery, the axe should be laid to the root of the tree, Arminianism and Pelagianism, the very life and soul of Popery.

This is Part 1 of 4 parts, and a new edition, with some alterations and improvements, is now published by request.

Authors Biography

John Gill (23 November 1697 – 14 October 1771) was an English Baptist pastor, biblical scholar, and theologian who held to a firm Calvinistic soteriology. Born in Kettering , Northamptonshire, he attended Kettering Grammar School where he mastered the Latin classics and learned Greek by age 11. He continued self-study in everything from logic to Hebrew, his love for the latter remaining throughout his life.

Pastoral Work

His first pastoral work was as an intern assisting John Davis at Higham Ferrers in 1718 at age 21. He became pastor at the Strict Baptists church at Goat Yard Chapel, Horselydown, Southwark in 1719. His pastorate lasted

51 years. In 1757 his congregation needed larger premises and moved to a Carter Lane, St. Olave’s Street, Southwark. This Baptist church was once pastored by Benjamin Keach and would later become the New Park Street Chapel and then the Metropolitan Tabernacle pastored by Charles Spurgeon.

Works

In 1748, Gill was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by the University of Aberdeen. He was a profound scholar and a prolific author. His most important works are:

(1767)


Gill also edited and re-published the works of Rev. Tobias Crisp, D.D. (1600-1643).


Publishers Comments

This reproduction of Dr John Gills The Cause of God and Truth Part I of IV parts and has been reproduced for the benefit of students at Christchurch Bierton Particular Baptists, Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan.

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Bierton Particular Baptists Pakistan is the first in Pakistan and founded by David Clarke. Mr Clarke is the sole surviving member of Bierton Particular Baptist, founded in 1831. in England, and was a Gospel Standard Cause. This book tells of the formation of Bierton Particular Baptist Pakistan 2016 along with the formation of a Minister Bible college.


David Clarke appointed minister Anil Anwar and Anwar Shahid John of Rahim Yar Khan, as overseers work and the articles of religion and doctrinal foundation are those to the Bierton Particular Baptists 1831. View the Wikipedia Entry for Bierton and view None Conformist Place of Worship



Chapter 1

Contents

8

OF REPROBATION

8

Section 1—Proverbs 16:4.

8

Section 2—John 12:39, 40.

10

Section 3—1 Peter 2:8.

11

Section 4—Jude 1:4.

13

Section 5—Revelation 13:8.

15

Chapter 2

17

OF ELECTION

17

Section 1—1 Peter 2:9.

17

Section 2—Romans 9:10-13.

20

Section 3—Colossians 3:12.

23

Section 4—Ephesians 1:4.

24

Section 5—Romans 8:28, 29.

26

Section 6—John 6:37.

27

Section 7—Acts 8:48.

29

Section 8—Romans 8:29, 30.

33

Section 9—2 Timothy 2:19.

36

Section 10—Romans 5:19.

37

Chapter 3

39

OF REDEMPTION

39

Section 1—Matthew 20:28.

40

Section 2—John 10:15.

41

Section 3—John 17:9.

42

Section 4—Romans 8:34.

43

Section 5—Romans 8:32.

44

Section 6—Romans 5:10.

45

Section 7—John 15:13.

46

Chapter 4

47

OF EFFICACIOUS GRACE

47

Section 1—Ephesians 1:19, 20.

48

Section 2—1 Corinthians 5:17.

49

Section 3—John 3:5.

50

Section 4—Ephesians 2:1.

51

Section 5—1 Corinthians 2:14.

52

Section 6—2 Corinthians 3:5.

53

Section 7—John 15:5. 54

Section 8—John 6:44. 55

Section 9—Acts 11:18. 56

Section 10—Acts 16:14. 58

Section 11—Jeremiah 31:18. 59

Section 12—Jeremiah 31:33. 60

Section 13—Ezekiel 11:36:26. 62

Section 14—Philippians 2:13. 63

Section 15—1 Corinthians 4:7. 64

Section 16—Ephesians 2:8, 9. 65

Chapter 5 67

OF THE CORRUPTION OF HUMAN NATURE 67

Section 1—John 14:4 67

Section 2—Psalm 51:5. 68

Section 3—Genesis 6:5. 71

Section 4—John 3:6. 72

Section 5—Romans 7:18, 19. 73

Section 6—Romans 8:7, 8. 76

Chapter 6 77

OF PERSEVERANCE 77

Section 1—John 13:1. 78

Section 2—John 17:12. 78

Section 3—Romans 11:29. 79

Section 4—Matthew 24:24. 80

Section 5—John 6:39, 40. 81

Section 6—Romans 11:2. 83

Section 7—Romans 8:38, 39. 84

Section 8—Ephesians 1:13, 14. 85

Section 9—1 Peter 1:5. 86

Section 10—1 John 2:19. 86

Section 11—1 John 3:9. 88

Section 12—Isaiah 54:10. 89

Section 13—Isaiah 59:21. 90

Section 14—Hosea 2:19, 20. 91

Section 15—Jeremiah 32:40. 92

Section 16—John 14:16. 94

THE CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH Part II 7

Section 17—John 10:28. 95

Section 18—1 Corinthians 1:8, 9. 96

FURTHER PUBLICATIONS 100

A BODY OF DOCTRINAL DIVINITY 100

THE PAROUSIA 100

THE TOTAL DEPRAVITY OF MAN 101

BIERTON STRICT AND PARTICULAR BAPTISTS 2ND EDITION 102

THE BIERTON CRISIS 103

BIERTON PARTICULAR BAPTISTS PAKISTAN: OUR HISTORY 104

MARY, MARY QUITE CONTRARY SECOND EDITION: 105

CHRIST ALONE EXALTED 106

THE CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH 106

Chapter 1

OF REPROBATION

Part II

them only for their sin.

This author observes, “That the word, ajdo>kimov, which we render reprobate, hath no relation, in

The following sections contain an answer to Dr. Whitby’s first chapter concerning the decree of Reprobation, with which he has thought fit to begin his discourse upon the Five Points—a method the Remonstrants formerly were very desirous of taking, though far from being just and accurate, since what is called reprobation is no other than non-election, or what is opposed to election; wherefore, that ought to be considered in the first place, which, if it cannot be supported, the other must drop in course.

But it is easy to observe the design of these men, which is, that by exposing to contempt the doctrine of reprobation, which is sparingly spoken of in Scripture, and left to be concluded from that of election, and being most odious, to carnal minds, they hope to weaken all regards to the doctrine of election, which stands in glaring light, and with full evidence in the word of God. The Doctor pretends to give us the state of the question concerning God’s absolute decrees of election and reprobation out of Bishop Davenant’s Animadversions on Herd, a book deservedly valuable, and which he would have done well to have employed his learning and abilities in the refutation of, before he had written this discourse. But, instead of giving us the true state of the question, relating to these decrees, out of that book, which he might easily have done, he has picked out, some passages here and there, the most exceptionable, and made some rhetorical flourishes upon them. I confess I dislike the Bishop’s notions of a twofold decree, respecting reprobates, the one, eternal and absolute, the other revealed, evangelical, and conditional, and of God’s giving sufficient grace or sufficient means of grace to them, and therefore think myself not obliged to defend them. What is said concerning Adam’s sin, and the imputation of it, will be considered hereafter. The true state of the question before us, and what ought to be attended to, is this, that as God, of his sovereign good will said pleasure, has, from all eternity, chosen some men unto salvation by Jesus Christ, through sanctification of the Spirit, said belief of the truth, so he has, of his sovereign will and pleasure, from all eternity, passed by others, and determined to leave them to themselves, and deny them that grace which he gives to others, and damn

Scripture, to any decree concerning the damnation of men, or withholding from them the means by which they may escape it, but only denotes such actions which will certainly be displayed by God and man.” But then it should also be observed, that in all those places, 2 Timothy 8, Romans 1:28, Titus 1:16,

Hebrews 6:8, and 1 Corinthians 9:27, excepting the last, referred to by this author, the word relates not to the evil actions, but to the persons and internal dispositions of the most profligate and wicked among mankind; so that though there is no express mention of any decree of reprobation concerning them, yet there is a great deal of reason to conclude, from the account given of them, that they were such whom God had never chosen in Christ, but had passed them by, and had determined to leave them to their own heart’s lusts, to deny them his grace, and justly damn them for their iniquities. But I proceed to the vindication of those passages of Scripture, in which this writer says, there is nothing relating to this decree, or from which it can reasonably be inferred.

Section 1—Proverbs 16:4.

The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

  1. These words are not to be understood of God’s creating all things out of nothing, or of his production of creatures into being for his own glory, nor of his wise ordering and disposing all things in providence for himself which are both truths, but not of this text. It is certain that all things that are made, are made by Jehovah, for himself, and not another; not because he had need of them but to declare his greatness, and communicate his goodness, for his will and pleasure, his praise and glory; yet this is not intended here, for the word here used is neither adb nor tç[, which are commonly used when creation, and the works of it, are spoken of. It is also most certain, that all things in this world, as they are upheld and preserved in their being by God, so they are governed, influenced, ordered, and disposed of by him, for the good of his creatures, and the glory of his name; yet not this, but the decrees, purposes, and appointments of God, respecting his creatures, are here designed; in which sense the word l[p, here used, is sometimes to be

    taken, as in Exodus 15:17: Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which tl[p, thou hast appointed for thee to dwelt in, in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy have established. For the tabernacle, or sanctuary, was not yet made. So in Psalm 31:19: O how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which, tl[p, thou hast prepared, provided, and appointed, in thine eternal counsel and covenant, for them that trust in thee before the sons of men. In the same sense the word poie>w is used in the New Testament, particularly in Mark 3:14, And he, ejpoi<hse, made, or ordained twelve. And in Hebrews 3:2, Who was radical, tw~ poi>hsanti, to him that made, or appointed him. Now the sense of these words is this: that all things are appointed by God for his own glory; all things, particularly respecting man, concerning his temporal estate, the time of his birth, the place of his abode, his station and condition of life, the various vintages of it, prosperous and adverse, death itself, and all the means leading on to it; as well as all things respecting his spiritual and eternal state, the provision and mission of a Say tour, both as to the time of his coming into the world, and of his sufferings and death, with all the circumstances thereof, the conversion of a sinner, time, place, said means, all times of darkness, desertion, and comfort; yea, the final state and portion of all men: all these are fixed and appointed by God, and, in one way or another, make for his glory; yea, even he has appointed the wicked for the day of evil, which is mentioned partly to illustrate the general proposition in the text, and partly to obviate an objection, which might be taken from them against all things being made or appointed for his glory. But,

  2. It is commonly said, that it is our sentiment, and the sense we give of this text, and what may be inferred from the doctrine of predestination, that God made man to damn him; whereas this is neither our sentiment; nor is it the sense we give of this text, nor is it to be inferred from the doctrine of predestination; for there is a wide difference between God’s making man to damn him, trod his appointing wicked men to damnation for their wickedness, which is the meaning of this text, and of the doctrine of reprobation we assert. We say, that God made man neither to damn him nor to save him; neither salvation nor damnation

    were God’s ultimate in making man, but his own glory, which will be answered one way or another, either in his salvation or damnation. It is asked, “What is it that they would lifter from these words? Is it that God made men wicked?” To which I answer, no. We know as well as this interrogator that God made man upright, and that he has made himself wicked; and abhor, as much as he, the blasphemy of God being the author of sin, or of his making his creatures wicked. It is one thing for God to make men wicked, another to appoint a wicked man to eternal wrath on the account of his wickedness. The same author goes on to interrogate, “Is it with Dr. Twiss, that all, besides the elect, God hath ordained to bring forth into the world, in their corrupt mass, and to permit them to themselves to go on in their own ways, and so finally to persevere in sin; and lastly, to damn them for their sin, for the manifestation of his justice on them?” This passage of the Doctor’s is picked out as a very exceptionable one; though for my part, I think it fitly expresses both the sense of this text and of the doctrine of reprobation, and is to be justified in every part of it. He says, that God ordained to bring forth all, besides the elect, into the world in their corrupt mass. And where is the hurt of saying this? Is it not fact that they are brought into the world in this manner? Nor is it repugnant to the perfections of God to produce, bring into being, and multiply the individuals of human nature, though that nature is vitiated and corrupted with sin, which lie may do, and does, without being the author of their wickedness; nor is this injurious to, or any particular hardship on, the non-elect, since the same is true, and is what we, with the Scriptures, affirm of the elect of God themselves. The Doctor proceeds to observe, that God ordained to permit them to themselves to go on in their own ways, and so finally to persevere in sin. That God does give up men to their own hearts’ lust (Ps. 81:11, 12), as he did the Israelites of old, and suffers whole nations to walk in their own ways (Acts 14:16), as he did the Gentiles formerly for many hundreds of years, is certain; and for God to ordain, or determine, to permit them, can be no more contrary to his perfections than the permission itself; nor does such an appointment infringe the liberty of their wills; nor can it be any injustice in God to suffer them finally to persevere in sin, since they say, we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one

    do the imagination of his evil heart (Jer. 18:12). And, whereas the Doctor concludes that God has ordained to damn them for their sin, for the manifestation of his justice on them: this fitly expresses the sense of the text and of the doctrine of reprobation, especially that part of it which divines call pre- damnation. Reprobation may be distinguished into preterition and predamnation. Preterition is God’s act of passing by and leaving some, who are called the rest, when he chose others to salvation; and is the effect of God’s sovereign good will and pleasure, being an act over and above the fall, and without the consideration of it, or of any actual sin or transgression whatever; nor is this unbecoming the moral perfections of God, or doing any injustice to his creatures, since the objects of this act were considered in the pure mass of creatureship, were found in this pure mass, and left in it, God neither putting nor supposing any wickedness in them. Predamnation is God’s appointing men to damnation, in consideration and on account of sin; not God’s decree, but sin, which interferes between the decree and the execution of it, is the cause of damnation: God damns no man but for sin, nor does he appoint any to damnation but on account of it. Now, if it is not unjust to damn men for sin, it cannot be an unrighteous thing with God to appoint unto damnation for it. These things being considered, the doctrine of reprobation will not appear so horrible and shocking as it is represented to be by our opponents. Our author goes on and observes, “or lastly, they only mean that God, for the glory of his justice, had appointed, that wicked men perishing impenitently in sin, should he obnoxious to his wrath; and then they assert a great truth.” But we mean more than this, we mean not only that such persons who are left to persevere in sin, and remain finally impenitent, are obnoxious to the wrath of God, but that they are appointed to wrath; and which we believe to be the sense of this text, and the truth contained in it. Though,

  3. It is observed, that the words should be rendered, the Lord hath made all things to answer to themselves, or airily to refer to one another, even the wicked for the day of evil. But supposing that the word whn[ml is derived from hn[, to answer, it should not be rendered to answer to themselves but to him, since the affix to it is singular, and not plural, and the meaning will be, that the Lord has made, or appointed all things to

    answer to himself, that is, to his own will and pleasure, and to subserve the ends of his own glory. Agreeable to this sense of the phrase the Jewish writers interpret it. R. Sol Jarchi explains it by wswlyq lybçb for his praise. R. Isaac by wnwxrz zxpj ˆ[ml, for his will and pleasure. R. Jonah by hxwr wb ˆyg[l, for the thing in which he takes pleasure. R. David Kimchi thinks it may be rightly explained by wrwb[b, for himself, or for his own sake. All which confirm our sense of it. Nor is the meaning of the words, that God has made the wicked man to be the executioner of evil to others; though this is sometimes the case, and is such a sense of the words, as is no ways subversive of the doctrine of reprobation. But the plain meaning of them is, that God has appointed all things for his own glory, and which, the will secure even in the destruction of wicked men, to which for their sins they are justly reserved; and this sense of them is confirmed by the Targum, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions.

    Section 2—John 12:39, 40.

    Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias had said again, lie hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

    It is said, that “this text is cited to prove the decree of reprobation, or preterition; and that the inference made from it, contains this strange and uncomfortable doctrine, viz. That the infidelity of God’s own people is to be resolved, not into the perverseness of their wills, or the evil dispositions of their hearts, but into the divine predictions, or into a judicial blindness and obduration, wrought by God upon them; which renders it, though not naturally, yet, morally impossible for them to believe.” But,

    1. I do not find that these words are cited by any of our writers to prove the decree of reprobation, or preterition, or any eternal purpose of God to blind the eyes, and harden the hearts of men, by any positive act of his, with a view to hinder their conversion, and that this decree of condemnation might take place. The Contra- Remonstrants, indeed, make use of them to prove, that the Gospel is preached to many who do not believe, and who cannot believe; because it is not attended with an internal, powerful operation of divine grace, and that very rightly; which is exactly agreeable to the words of Isaiah, cited in the preceding

      verse, Who hath believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? And, which stand in close connection with these, Therefore, they could not believe, etc.

    2. It would be strange and uncomfortable doctrine, indeed, should any make an inference from hence, containing this in it, that the infidelity of God’s own people is owing to divine predictions, or judicial blindness, wrought by God upon them, which renders it morally Impossible for them to believe. Seeing God’s own people are not spoken of in the text, nor are there any predictions in scripture respecting their final unbelief, nor are they ever given up to judicial blindness and hardness; but, being ordained unto eternal life, are enabled, by divine grace, to believe in Christ to the saving of their souls, notwithstanding the perverseness of their wills, and the evil disposition of their hearts.

    3. It is evident that the words are to be understood of the unbelieving Jews who rejected the Messiah, though they heard his doctrine, and saw his miracles, whereby the predictions of the prophet Isaiah, were fulfilled; which, though they had no such in- influence on the wills of these men, as to lay upon them a co- active necessity, or force them to do or answer to the things foretold, yet were to have, and had, an infallible event or completion; otherwise, the foreknowledge of God, and the authority of the prophetic writings, could not be maintained: wherefore the Evangelist observes, that though he (Christ) had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him, that the saying of Esaias, the prophet, might be judged, etc. Also, Therefore, they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, etc.

    4. It is certain, that {he impossibility of their after believing, is to be resolved into the judicial blindness and hardness of their hearts, to which they were justly left, having contemned both the doctrines and miracles of Christ. It is of no great moment whether the he, who is said to blind and harden, be God or Christ, or whether the words be rendered, it hath blinded, etc. that is, malice or wickedness hath blinded, or be read impersonally, their eyes are blinded, etc. Since God, or Christ, blind and harden, not by any positive act, or putting in blindness or hardness, but by leaving and giving men up to the blindness and hardness of their hearts, and denying them grace; which was the

cause of these Jews; so as never to be converted, or turned even by external repentance and reformation, that they might be healed in a national way, or be preserved front national ruin. All which is consistent with God’s command, and Christ’s exhortations to them to believe, which were antecedent to the judicial blindness and hardness of their hearts, and were, with the miracles and doctrines of Christ, aggravations of their unbelief; and therefore, they might he justly objected to them by the evangelist as their great crime, as it certainly was; being owing to the perverseness of their wills, and the evil dispositions of their hearts.

Section 3—1 Peter 2:8.

And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them that stumble at the word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed.

These words are spoken of the reprobate Jews, to whom Christ was a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, in his birth, parentage, and education, in the mean appearance he made in his earn person and in his apostles, in his ministry, and the audience that attended it, and the company he kept, in his doctrine, miracles, crucifixion, and death; who stumbled at the word of the Gospel, despised, and rejected it, being left to the prevailing infidelity of their corrupt hearts; all, which was not casual and accidental, but pursuant to a divine purpose and appointment. This passage, in connection with the words preceding, plainly shows, that as there were some, whom God had appointed and fore-ordained to believe in Christ, on whom he determined to bestow true faith in the, to whom he is the elect, precious cornerstone; so there were others, whom He determined to leave as children of disobedience, in the infidelity and unbelief in which the fall had concluded them; through which disobedience or infidelity, they stumble at Christ, and his word, and in consequence thereof, justly perish. This also appears from the antithesis in verse 9, where God’s elect are opposed unto, and distinguished from, these persons, but ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, etc. But, 1st. It is said, “That this scripture, to be sure, cannot signify, that God absolutely ordained the unbelieving

Jews, eijv apei>qeian, to disobedience;” when,

  1. As yet they were not, and therefore were not disobedient.” I reply, this scripture certainly signifies,

    that these persons were appointed to stumble at Christ and his words through unbelief, which is all one as not to believe in him; or, to express our sense and meaning, and also the sense and meaning of his text more fully, God absolutely willed the fall of man, which brought all mankind into a state of infidelity; in which God has determined to leave some, and not give them that grace which can only cure them of their unbelief, whereby they stumble at Christ and his Gospel, being disobedient, to the divine revelation. Now such a deter-urination, or appointment, did not request their present actual existence, only certain future existence, much should be disobedient, previous to this appointment.

  2. It is added, as another reason against this sense of the text, “That then their future disobedience was purely a compliance with the divine ordinance or will, and so could not deserve the name of disobedience; because it could not be both a compliance with, and disobedience to the will of God.” To which may be replied, that God’s will is either secret or revealed, purposing or commanding; the one isthe rule of his own actions, the other of his creatures: now it oftentimes is so that what accords with the secret and purposing will of God, is a disobedience to his revealed and commanding will. As Dr. Manton observes, “Things that are most against his revealed will, fall under the ordination of his secret will; and, whilst men break commandments, they fulfill decrees: his revealed will showeth what should be done, his secret will what will be done.” So, for instance it was agreeable to God’s secret will, that man should fall; yet, eating the forbidden fruit by which he fell, was an act of disobedience to his revealed will: The crucifixion of Christ was according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God; and yet this act of the Jews was a disobedience to the sixth commandment, Thou shall not kill. The kings of the earth, giving their kingdom to the beast, was a fulfilling of the secret will of God, nay, he put it into their hearts to do it, and yet, giving the beast that support, power, homage, and worship, they did, were all open violation of the laws of God.

  3. It is urged, that, according to this sense of the words, “This disobedience could not be objected to them as their crime; unless compliance with the will of God be so; and it be a fault to be such as God,

by his immutable counsel and decree, hath ordained we should be; or it should render men criminal and obnoxious to punishment, that they have not made void God’s absolute decree, or have done what that made it necessary for them to do.” I answer, that God’s decrees, as they do not infringe the liberty of man’s will, so they do not excuse from sin. The selling of Joseph was according to the purpose and decree of God, who, as he meant, So he over-ruled it for good yet it was an evil in his brethren, and so they meant it; and, therefore, might be justly objected, to them as their crime. The Jews, when they crucified Christ, did no other than what the hand and counsel of God determined before to be done: and yet, by their own wicked hands, they crucified and slew him. God’s determinations and decrees about this affair, neither exempted them from being criminals, nor from being obnoxious to punishment.

2ndly The meaning of these words, probably to Dr. Hammond’s sense of them, is said to be this: “That the unbelieving Jews, being disobedient to the Gospel so clearly revealed, and by so many miracles all distributions of the Holy Ghost confirmed to them, were appointed, as the punishment of that disobedience, to fall and perish; for, so the Hebrew word, and the Greek prosko>mma and skanda>lon, import, namely the ruin and the fall of them who stumble at this stone.” Than let it be observed, that the phrase, to stumble at Christ, and the word; is not expressive of their punishment, but of their sin, being disobedient. As, to stumble at the law, Malachi 2:8, is to offend against, break and transgress it; so to stumble at the word, or Gospel, is to blaspheme and contradict it, reject and put it away, as the Jews of old did, being disobedient, left and given up if to the infidelity and hardness of their hearts. To stumble at the word, and to stumble at Christ, and to be offended in Him, or at him, are one and the same thing; and the latter always signifies a crime, and not punishment (Matthew 11:6; 13:57, Mark 6:3; Luke 17:23). The sin of these persons is expressed by stumbling and falling: and their punishment by being broken (Ps. 8:14,15; Matthew 21:44). So the Hebrew word lçk, signifies to stumble and fall; that is, to sin (see Prov. 24:17, Hosea 14:1, Mal. 2:8). Hence μnw[ lwçkk, the stumbling-block of their iniquity, that which is the occasion of sin (Ezek. 7:19: 14:3,4,7). So the Greek

words prosko>pyw, prosko>mma, proskoph> (Rom. 9:32, 33; 14:20,21; 2 Cor. 6:3), Skandali>zw, and

skanda>lon (Matthew 18:6-9, Rom. 14:13,21; 1 Cor. 8:1-5). And, after all, this sense of the words pleaded for proves a fore-appointment of some to punishment, as the fruit of disobedience; which is that part of reprobation, commonly called predation, we contend for.

3rdly It is said, “The words will fairly bear this sense; go them trial believe, belongs hJ timh<, the honour (of being built upon this corner-stone into a spiritual house, but to them that are disobedient belongs that of Psalm 118:22,) and (also to them he

is) a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them that stumble at the word, Eijv o{ kai< ejte>qhsan for which also these stones were laid, or put, the corner-stone for the building up of believers, the stone of stumbling for the disobedient to stumble at.” But it should be observed, that the corner-stone, and the stone of stumbling, are one and the same stone, and therefore it could not, with propriety, be said of that stone, for which also they were put or laid. Besides, “the word forever tiqenai, as Dr. Hammond observes, is ordinarily used for appointing, and ordaining, and being applied to God, doth often signify his decree, or destination; thus John 15:16, Acts 13:47, 1 Thessalonians 5:9.” And here, his decree and a appointment concerning reprobates, as appears from the antithesis in verse 9. Moreover, admitting that Christ is here said to be laid, or put, as a stumbling-stone for the disobedient to stumble at; since he is said kei~aqai eijv ptw~sin, to be set, that is, as the above- mentioned Doctor observes, decreed by God (the same that ti>qeaqai, to be yet or ordained here,) for the falling of many in Israel (Luke 2:34). I say, admitting this, the sense will be much the same, whether we suppose Christ is set or put, that is, ordained, decreed, and appointed, to be a stumbling- stone for men to stumble at; or, whether they are ordained, appointed, to stumble at him; that is, to despise, refuse, and reject him, through infidelity.

Section 4—Jude 1:4.

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who mere before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

The apostle, in this text, speaks of some persons, perhaps the followers of Simon Magus, or other immoral heretics, who had privily crept into houses, and unawares into the churches, and, perhaps, into the ministry, and had insinuated themselves into the affections of the people; and yet were ungodly men, did not worship God sincerely, and according to his appointments, misinterpreted the gospel of the grace of God, translated it to a wrong use, and abused the design of it,, yea, denied both the Father and the Son. Now these persons were of old, that is, from all eternity, as Dr. Manton on the text observes, before ordained to just condemnation for their wickedness. These words may be considered then as a proof of reprobation, or of God’s appointing some men to damnation before they had a being. In answer to this it is said,

  1. “The verse in the Greek text runs thus: So the ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, have entered into (the church) of whom it was before written, that this should be their sentence or punishment.” But, to tilts version of the text may be objected, that besides the transposing of the words, and dropping part of the character of these men, the word pa>lai, of old, is entirely neglected. Nor does the verse in the Greek text run thus: peri< o+in proge>grapti tou~to to< kri~~ma, of whom this sentence or punishment was before written; but, oij pa>gai progegramme>noi eijv tou~to to< kri~ma who were of old before written to this condemnation.

  2. “That this cannot be meant of any divine ordination or appointment of them to eternal damnation before they had a being, is evident; because it cannot be thought without horror, that he, who is the lover of souls, should appoint any, much less the greater part of them, to inevitable destruction before they had a being.” But, where does the horror of this doctrine lie? Does it lie in the appointment of men to damnation, before they had a being? If there is an divine ordination or appointment to it, it must be before men have a being, even from eternity, since no new appointment decree, purpose, or ordination is made by God in time. It election is from eternity, reprobation must be so too, since there cannot be one without the other. If some were chosen before the foundation of the world, others must be left, or passed by as early. If some were appointed unto salvation

    from the beginning, others were appointed unto wrath or were of old, ayrwç zm, from the beginning, as the Syriac version renders the word (compare this with 2 Thess. 2:13; Prov. 8:22), fore-ordained to condemnation. Or, does the horror of it lie in this, that this appointment is ascribed to the lover of souls? Why may it not be thought without horror, that he, who is the lover of souls, should appoint some men to eternal damnation for sin before they had a being, as well as hate Esau before he had done any evil, and yet loved Jacob before he had done any good? Or does it lie here, that God should appoint the greater part of men to damnation? But the question before us is not, whether God has appointed the greater or lesser part of mankind to destruction for sin, but whether he has appointed any; and, if he could appoint any, he could appoint many, yea, all mankind; as he did the whole body of apostate angels, without any impeachment of his wisdom, justice, or goodness. But perhaps the horribleness of this doctrine is thought to lie here, that God has appointed men as creatures, without any consideration of sin, unto eternal damnation. If this was our doctrine, I should not wonder that it should be thought of with so much horror and detestation; but this is a most vile misrepresentation of it. For, though the Supralapsarians do not promise the consideration of sin to the act of preterition, or God’s leaving and passing by some, when he chose others; yet both they, and the Sublapsarians premise the consideration of sin to predamnation, or God’s appointing men to destruction. We say, God damns no man but for sin, and that he appointed to damn none but sinners. And cannot this be thought of without horror? Our author himself owns it, as will quickly appear.

  3. It is said, that “the word kri~ma, relates not to sin, but punishment, the fruit of sin; so Mark 12:40, Romans 2:3. Now, God ordaineth none to punishment but sinners; and ungodly men; and such, by the text, these persons are here styled.” To which may be replied, that, though the word kri~ma, in the passages referred to, and in many others, signifies damnation, yet, elsewhere, it relates to things criminal; a sinful blindness and hardness of heart, which God sometimes leaves persons to: so when our Lord says, eijv kri~ma, for judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind (John 9:39), thus, these

    persons in the text, having gone great lengths in sin, were given up to a reprobate mind to do things not convenient; to neglect and despise the worship of God, abuse me gospel, and deny both the Father and the Son. Now, eijv tou~to to< kri~ma, to this judicial blindness and hardness, they were of old before ordained. This is a sense of the words which cannot easily be confuted, and is, indeed, acknowledged by the Remonstrants. But, however, we are willing to allow that kri~ma here relates to punishment, and not sin, as in the parallel place (2 Pet. 2:3). And we say with our author, that God ordains none to meat but sinners; only we say, that ordination was from eternity, and this is the doctrine of the text, and which we contend for.

  4. It is observed, that “these were men of whom it was before written or prophesied, that they should be condemned for their ungodliness, as be Enoch, verse 14. And, that this also is the import of the word proegra>fe, (Rom. 15:4; Gal. 3:1). The writers and interpreters on the Arminian side are pretty generally agreed that these words refer to some prophecy concerning these men, somewhere or other in Scripture, but are not agreed about the particular passage. Some think the apostle has a regard to the parallel place in 2 Peter 2:1-3; but if he had this in his view, he would never have said that they were of old, a long while ago, before written or prophesied, of; since, according to the, common calculation, that epistle of Peter’s was written in the very same year as this of Jude’s. Besides, Peter says, at the time of his writing, that the judgment of these men was of a long one, that is, had been long ago pronounced and did not linger. Others think, that reference is had to the prediction of Christ, in Matthew 24. This is, indeed, carrying the prophecy further off. But then, as no such persons are described there as here, so neither there any mention of their punishment or condemnation. Others, as our author supposed, that the apostle respects the prophecy of Enoch; this, indeed, was of old. But, tough it is true that Enoch prophesied of persons, yet, as his prophecy was never that we know of, and, therefore, these, men could not be said to be fore- written of in; so it is easy to observe, that the apostle peaks of this prophecy as something distinct from these persons being for- written to condemnation, when he says (v. 14), and

Enoch also prophesied of these. Besides, as Vorstius, a writer on the other side the question, observes, “It is all one whether we understand it, that these men were of old appointed and designed by God to this condemnation; or, whether this condemnation was of old written concerning them in the Old Testament.” Since such a prophecy concerning them must be founded upon an antecedent, divine ordination and appointment. Nor is prophecy he import of the word proegra>fe, especially in Galatians 3:1, and only regards things, and not persons, in Romans 15:4. And here intends, not their being fore-written in any of the books of Scripture, but in the book of God’s eternal purposes and decrees.

Section 5—Revelation 13:8.

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him; whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb, stair, from the foundation of the world.

With 2 Corinthians 4:3, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12,

1 Corinthians 1:18, Romans 9:18. The learned writer attended to, observes, that Dr. Twiss confesseth that the Scriptures speak fully of election, sparingly of reprobation, in most places; yet, some passages we have, saith he, which give light and evidence to both alike. The passages referred to are, for the one, Acts 2:47; Matthew 24:24; Acts 13:48; Luke 10:20;

Hebrews 12:23. For the other, 2 Corinthians 4:3; 2

Thessalonians 2:10-12; 1 Corinthians 1:18; Romans

9:18; Revelation 13:8, and Revelation 17:8. Now, to all these citations, most of which are said to be palpably impertinent, (though whether they are or no, will be seen hereafter) this is the general answer, “That they signify no more than those words of Christ (Mark 16:16; Luke 13:3-5); and of the Baptist (John 3:36). The stun of which is, that he that believes and repents, shall be saved; and he that does not believe and repent, shall be damned. Which is a considerable mistake; seeing the words of Christ and of the Baptist regard only the revealed will of God, in the external ministry of the word; and the passages cited, the secret will of God, in giving grace to some, and denying it to others. The main thing to be attended to is, how it comes to pass, that some men have faith and repentance, and so are saved; whilst others have neither, and so are damned. Some men have faith and repentance: how come they by them? God freely gives these graces to them, and implants them in them; and why does

he do so? Because of his sovereign good pleasure he has, from all eternity, willed and determined to do so; widen is a considerable branch of election. On the other band, some men have neither faith nor repentance; what is the reason of it? Because, being by nature in a state of infidelity and impenitence, God does not give them that grace which only can deliver them from it. And why does he not give them that grace? Because, of his sovereign will and pleasure, he has determined not to give it them; which is a considerable branch of reprobation. To some of these citations our author thinks fit to reply, by saying, that “those that are lost (2 Cor. 4:3), are those that believe not (v. 4). And those who perish (2 Thess. 2:10), are those who believe not the truth (v. 12). And they who perish (1 Cor. 1:18), are the unbelieving Jews and Gentiles. And they who are hardened (Rom. 9:18), are the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, by their own wickedness, completed by their infidelity, or want of faith.” But still the question returns. How come these persons to want faith, to be unbelievers, not to believe in Christ, or the truth, whilst others do? It is not because they are left to their natural infidelity, and given up to judicial blindness, and hardness of heart? And why are they thus left? Or, why does God deny them that grace which only can cure them of all this? but, because it is his will, and he has determined to deny them it? Now, this is one part of reprobation we contend for. From these this celebrated writer proceeds to those places, which may seem to require a more particular notice. And,

1st. Begins with the phrase of being written in the book of life, (Rev. 13:8; 17:8). Which,

  1. He says, is Jewish, and doth not stratify the absolute election of any person to eternal life, but only the present right of the just person to life; and therefore it is called the book of life written for the just, Targum on Ezekiel 13:9. And, the book of the just, Targ. Jori on Exodus 32:8-2. To which I answer, that the book spoken of in the Scriptures under consideration, is not called the book of the just, nor the book of life written for the just, but the book of life for the Lamb, a phrase never to be met with in Jewish writings. But, admitting an allusion to these phrases used by the Jews, let it be observed, that just or righteous persons are particular ones: all men are not righteous; only such from God from all eternity

    willed to be righteous through the righteousness of his Son. Now, as many as are written in the book of life God willed to be righteous, through the righteousness of his Son; and, as many as he willed to be righteous, through the righteousness of his Son, he wrote their names in the book of life. Hence the same individual particular persons, who are said to be written in heaven (Heb. 12:23), are called just men made perfect that is, through the righteousness of Christ imputed to them; which gives them not only a present, but a future continued right to eternal life, which can never be lost. For, whom God did predestinate, them he called; and whom he called, he justified, and whom he justified, them he glorified (Rom. 8:30).

  2. It is observed, that, in this book, The apostolical institutions (constitutions, I suppose, it should be,) say, we come to be written th> hJmetera eujnoi>a kai< spoudh~ , by our good affection and industry.” What these constitutions say will not meet with much credit; since, not only they appear to be a spurious work, and not the genuine writings of the apostles, but also, we find nothing in the sacred writings to confirm such an assertion; and, indeed, how is it possible that any should come to be written in this book, through their good affection and industry, when the book was written, from the foundation of the world (Rev. 17:8), and so before men had done either good or evil?

  3. It is said, that, “from this book, men, as they may be written in it, when they are converted from vice to virtue, so may they be blotted out, when they backslide from virtue to iniquity, according to Psalm 17:28, Revelation 22:19, and Exodus 32:33.” To which I reply, that, as men are not first written in this book when they are converted, since this book was written from the foundation of the world, before men had a being, and consequently before they were converted, so neither may they or can they be blotted out when they backslide; for God not only heals the backsliders of his people, and still loves them freely (Hosea 14:4; Rev. 3:5), but he has promised to him that overcometh, as all his elect do and shall, that he will not blot out his name out of the book of life. Nor do the passages alleged prove that they may or shall be blotted out; not Psalm 69:28, which is a petition concerning wicked men, either that they may die, theft memory perish, never be mentioned with the righteous, nor appearing among them at the last day;

    or that they might be excluded from the visible church, the congregation of saints, and appear to be what they really were, none of God’s elect; and, supposing the book of the living intends the book of election, blotting out of it is no more, as is evident from the text itself, than not writing them in it; nor Revelation 22:19, for taking away the man’s part out of the book of life is only taking away that which he seemed to have and not what he really had, agreeable to Luke 8:18. And as for Exodus 32:33, it is not there said, Whoso yet hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of the book of life, as this writer inadvertently cites the words, but out of the book which I have written, that is, either out of the book of the law, according to

    R. Sol. Jarchi; his name shall not be mentioned there; or, of it this temporal life, he shall die and not live.

  4. “This book is said to be written from the foundation of the world, God having Adam and others, who are styled the sons of

God; and not to have a name written in it, is not to be owned as God’s sons and faithful servants; when therefore St. John saith, that they whose names were not in this book of life writ from the foundation of the world, worshipped the beast; he means they, and they only did so, who never were by God esteemed, or registered in the number of good Christians. But if this book was written from the foundation of the world, it must be written before these sons of God had a being, and before they knew, or were known by others, that they were the sons of God. And if none but such whom God owns and esteems as his sons were written in it, then none but such who are really so, or such who were predestinated to the adoption of sons, are written in it. And if none but these: are written in it, then those whose names are not written in it are such who are passed by and rejected of God, which is what we contend for, and this passage of Scripture is brought to prove.

2ndly “The passage cited from the Thessalonians is said only to concern the Jews, who rejected the gospel of our Lord and their Messiah, confirmed by the strongest evidence of innumerable miracles; and so believed not the truth at all, or else revolted from it after they had embraced it.” Though it rather seems to concern the followers of Antichrist, and the worshippers of the man of sin, when he should be revealed, to whom God would send strong delusions,

that they should believe a lie, and be damned. But, let it concern who it will, it is certain it respects such persons who would be left of God to their infidelity, and given up to the power of Satan, and to judicial blindness of mind; and are distinguished from the elect of God that should be saved (vv. 13,14).

3rdly “The passages cited from Romans 9, it is said, can do nothing to the purpose; that chapter having no regard to God’s absolute decrees, concerning the final and external state of mankind in general, or of any particular persons, but his providential dealings in rejecting the Jews, and receiving the Gentiles.” But I hope to make it appear, in a subsequent section, that that chapter is designed to illustrate personal election and reprobation. Nor does the apostle’s recapitulation (v. 30), contradict this; since the Jews not attaining to the law of righteousness, was owing to their stumbling at that stumbling- stone to which they were appointed; and the Gentiles attaining to righteousness, was in consequence of their being vessels of mercy, afore prepared to glory; and both to be understood of particular per-reasons. Nor does the apostle’s prayer, chapter 1, contradict the decree of reprobation concerning the Jews, or his knowledge of; since this might be the effect of natural affection to them, as his countrymen, and not rise from the exercise of faith and spiritual knowledge.

Chapter 2

OF ELECTION

The following sections contain a reply to Dr. Whitby’sexceptions inthethirdchapter of is Discourse, concerning absolute election, of our arguments for it, taken from some of he more principal passages of Scripture used by us in favor of it, with a particular consideration of Romans 5:19, and the doctrine of he imputation of Adam’s sin, which the doctor, in the fourth chapter of the said discourse, makes to be the foundation of the decree of election. As I have nothing to object to his stating our sense of predestination, or the absolute election of some particular persons to eternal life, I shall immediately attend to what he has to object to the Scriptures, produced in proof of it.

Section 1—1 Peter 2:9.

[Together with—2 John 1:13; James 2:5; Matthew 20:16; 24:22, 25, 31; Luke 18:7; Romans 11:5].

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priest-hood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew

forth the praises of him, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

It is said, “That the election, mentioned in the holy Scriptures, is not that of particular persons, but only of churches and nations; and imports rather their being chosen to the enjoyment of the means of grace, than to a certainty of being saved by those men. For the proof of this, several passages are cited out of the Old Testament, showing what will not be tried by any, and so might have been all spared, that the whole Jewish nation, good and bad, were styled the elect of God: but then, though that whole nation was chosen to external means and privileges, yet there were some particular persons among them who were also chosen to grace itself, and to certain salvation; and, accordingly, in the writings of the Old Testament, mention is made of the election of particular persons, as Moses, Aaron, David, and others (Ps.106:23; 105:26; 89:3,19; 4:3).

And, also, of some among the Gentiles, distinct from the Jews, (Isa. 43:20; 65:15,29). And, of the latter, even before they were called by grace. It is, moreover, observed, that when the word elect is, in the New Testament, applied to Christians, it plainly doth include as many as were converted to the Christian faith; for, when it is applied to the Jewish converts, it plainly signifies all n that had been converted to the Christian faith.” It is certain, that Christians are such as are converted to the Christian faith, and Jewish converts made be such, and those, who are really converted, are the elect of God; I but then, they are not elected because they are converted, but they are converted because they are elected; and conversion being a sure and certain fruit of election, becomes the evidence of it. Now, to prove this sense of the word, when applied to Jewish converts,

1st. This passage of the apostle Peter is produced, though it rather seems to regard the Gentiles, as appears not only from the place in Isaiah (Isa. 43:20, 21), out of which it is taken, where this chosen people are distinguished from the Jews, the posterity of Jacob and Israel; but, also, from the words following the text, which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God; which had not; obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy, being a citation from Hosea 1:23, and applied to the Gentiles by the apostle Paul, in Romans 9:25. However, their election was not of them as a nation, or a church, since they

were neither, being strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. Nor was it barely to means of grace and outward privileges, but both to grace and glory, seeing they are said to be elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, though sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:1-5). And in consequence of this, were regenerated by the grace of God, and were kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation, and so must be menabsolutely designed for eternal happiness. But, to this are excepted,

  1. That the apostle “exhorts these elect, in 1 Peter 1:14, 2:10,11, and 4:2,3,15, to avoid offenses which are not incident to men elected to salvation, whilst they continue so to be.” To which I reply, that such, who are elected to salvation, always continue to be so; nor are there any sins, excepting the sin against the Holy Ghost, which God’s elect, before or after conversion, may not be guilty of. And the offenses which the apostle here exhorts them to avoid, are such as are incident to men elected to salvation, as the cases of David, Peter, and others, do abundantly declare.

  2. “That he affirms the same thing of the whole church of Babylon, chapter 5:13. Now, it was more than he could know, that all the members of that great church were absolutely elected to salvation.” What church is meant by the church of Babylon, and how great it was, is not easy to know; and it is equally as difficult to say what an ins fired apostle could or could not know. However, without a revelation, though that is no absurdity to suppose, he might affirm of that church in general, that it was elected together with these, as he did affirm, in a judgment of charity, that the churches at Colosse and Thessalonica were the elect of God, though every member of it, in particular, was not elected to salvation, without any prejudice to the doctrine of eternal absolute election, since all the members of this church were under a visible profession of religion, and, no doubt, the far greater part, at least, were true believers in Christ.

  3. “That, whereas this epistle is inscribed to the elect, the second epistle, sent to the same persons, beginneth thus: To them who have obtained like precious faith with us; and speaks of some who had forsaken, the right way; and prophesies, that false teachers should make merchandise of some of them.”

    Be it so, that the elect, and who have obtained like precious faith with the apostles, are the same persons, which must be allowed; their having the same faith with them is a strong evidence of their being men absolutely designed for eternal happiness, and not barely chosen to the means of grace, or external privileges; yet, it is not true that the apostle speaks of any of the elect he writes to, that they had forsaken the rigid way, but of some other persons who are distinguished from them; and, though he prophesies that false teachers should make merchandise of some of them, his meaning is, that they should be able to draw their money out of their pockets, not that they should destroy the grace of God in their hearts.

  4. That “these words are plainly taken from Isaiah 43:20,21. Now, though the whole Jewish nation are styled God’s chosen generation, and peculiar people, it is as sure, that they were not all elected to salvation; we then may reasonably conclude, that the same words applied by St. Peter to all these Christian churches, do not imply that all their particular members were elected to salvation, but only, that they were all members of the church of Christ.” I answer, that the apostle takes these words out of Isaiah 43:20,21, or at least, refers to that place, will be allowed; but then the words of that prophecy do not regard the whole Jewish nation, who though styled, yet not there, God’s chosen on and people, but a set of persons the Gentiles, whom God had chosen, for himself, to show forth his praise; who are distinguished from the Jews, the posterity of Jacob and Israel; opposed to them (v. 22), But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. Besides, these words are not applied to several Christian churches; for the apostle did not write to churches, as such, but to strangers scattered about the world, whether Jews or Gentiles; though, upon the consideration of their being church members, he night, in a judgment of charity, pronounce them elect. And whereas it is owned, that the words imply that they were members of the church of Christ; which, if understood of the general assembly, and church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven, is the same as to be elected to salvation. For, to be a member of this church, and to be an elect person, one absolutely designed for happiness, is the same thing and that these persons were such is evident, from their being called out of darkness into marvelous light.

2ndly Another instance of the word deer, when applied to Jewish converts, signifying .such as are converted to the Christian faith, is in 2 John 1:13, where we read of the elect lady, and her elect sister, that is, says our author, the Christian lady and sister. That these were Christian ladies is certain, but that they were Jewish converts to the Christian faith is not so certain. However, it is most certain that these are no instances of the election of nations or churches, but of particular persons, whom the apostle, in a judgment of charity, and from a thorough persuasion of their having received the grace of God, might address under this title and character; though I rather think it is here used as a term of civil honor and respect, than in a religious sense, and so has no concern in this controversy.

3rdly When St. James says, God has chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, it: is said, His meaning is, that they were called out of the world to the profession of the faith, which, if they lived according to it, world make them heirs of his heavenly kingdom. Now, though the apostle James wrote to the twelve tribes, and so chiefly designs Jewish converts, yet he neither writes to them as a nation, or as a church, seeing they were scattered abroad. Nor can these words be applied to them, or any other, under either of these considerations; since all the individuals of a nation, and all the members of churches, are not the poor of this world, but are to be understood of some particular persons, in such circumstances, on whom God, in consequence of their eternal election, bestows the precious grace of faith, which receives the blessing of free justification, by the righteousness of Christ, when they openly become the heirs of glory; for, being justified by his grace, they are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7). This, and this only, and not a profess on of the faith, no, nor a life according to it makes them heirs of the heavenly kingdom.

4thly. “When Christ saith (Matthew 20:16), many are called, but few chosen, it is said these parables plainly relate to the Jews; and the import of them is, that though many of them were called by Christ and his apostles to faith in him, yet few did or would accept of him as their Savior, or embrace the faith of Christ; so that here the elect and the believers of the Christian faith are the same persons;” But, though these words

may primarily relate to the Jews, yet they are also of the Gentiles to this day, and the plain import of them is, that many of them are externally called, by the preaching of the Gospel, but few are, or appear to be, chosen unto eternal life. Were embracing the faith of Christ, and accepting of him as a Savior, intended by the words, it should rather have been said, many are called but few choose, that is, Christ and salvation by him, as Mary is said (Luke 10:42) to choose that good part which shall not be taken away; and not as it is, many are called, but few chosen; which does not express any act of man’s, such as accepting Christ, and embracing the faith of him, but God’s act, to whom alone, and not man, election is always ascribed in scripture; and, therefore, the elect are called God’s elect, and his own elect. Besides, though election sometimes intends effectual vocation, yet never when calling and election are mentioned together in the same verse, for then they are to be distinguished one from another. Moreover, were true believers here meant, this would not militate against eternal election, since, their, being believers is an evidence of it; and, after all, the few chosen must design particular persons, and not either nations or churches, no, nor mere nominal believers of the Christian faith.

5thly. “When he (Christ) says, (Matthew 24:22) that for the elects sake those days shall be shortened, it is said, he styles the faithful, left in the midst of the unbelieving Jews, the elect. So that believers are intended: be it so; then not whole nations, or churches, or communities, are designed, but particular persons; though they seem rather to be such who were unconverted, to be the people among the Jews whom God had foreknown, who were a remnant according to the election of grace, and therefore should obtain, whilst the rest were blinded; for whose sake, the days of affliction and trouble in the Jewish nation should be shortened, or there should be some respite given, that so there might be art opportunity of preaching the Gospel, which should become the power of God unto salvation to his chosen people; just as, on the other hand, the day of Christ’s second coming is deferred until all the elect are gathered in, God being unwilling that any one of them should perish, but that they should all come to repentance.

6thly. “When he (Christ) adds, verse 24, that the false christs and false prophets should do as much

as in them lay, by signs, and wonders, to deceive the elect; it is said, There also are we to understand the persevering Christians.” I reply, that such who are converted or are true believers are, and will be persevering Christians, and such are certainly the elect of God; but then the reason why they are elected is not because they are converted, or are true believers, or are persevering Christians; but, on the contrary, the reason why they are converted, become true

believers, and so persevering Christians, is, be. cause they are elected; conversion, faith, and perseverance, being not causes and conditions, but fruits and effects of election.

7thly. “When he saith, verse 31, that God (it should be the Son of Man) shall send his angels to gather his elect front the four winds, it is said, the meaning may be, either that he would send his angels to warn the Christians in all the quarters of Judea, to gather together from the unbelieving Jews, that they might be preserved from ruin; or, that he would send his messengers with the Gospel, to gather together as many as did, or would believe, from among the nations of the earth.” But the first of these cannot be the meaning of the words; these elect cannot be the Christians in Judea; since they were to be gathered, not from all the quarters of Judea, but from the four winds, from one end of the heaven to the other; and if any from among the nations of the earth, or Gentiles, are in tended by the elect, who, after the destruction of Jerusalem, were to be gathered by Christ’s ministers, his angels to himself, with the sound of the Gospel trumpet, God having resolved to take out of them a people of his name (Acts 15:14), when the Jews were rejected and cut off; yet these are not such as did believe the Gospel, or would of themselves believe it, but unconverted persons who were destitute of faith, on whom God, of his free grace, would bestow it ,as a fruit of his electing love: or else, all the chosen vessels of mercy are meant by the elect, even the dead in Christ, who shall rise first, when the Lord descends from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God (1 Thess. 4:16), even all those who will be gathered together, and placed at his right hand; to whom he will say, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34); a character aptly descriptive of

persons absolutely chosen to eternal salvation.

8thly. “The elect, in Luke 18:7, are said, to be the whole body of true believers; and it is suggested, that die faith of many of these should fail.” Be it so, that the whole body of true believers are intended, this no ways prejudices the doctrine of eternal election; since they are styled elect, not from their faith, but from God’s choice of them to everlasting life; whence they are called his own elect. Nor does the inquiry in verse 8, show that the faith of many, or any of these elect, should fail at the coming of the Son of Man; for though, when he comes, the doctrine of faith will be greatly departed from, ,and the grace of faith Will be very rare, and at a low ebb, yet Christ prays for the faith of all his elect, as he did for Peter’s, that it fail not.

9thly. It is observed, that “the election according to grace, mentioned Romans 11:5, doth, in like manner, signify the whole, body of the Jewish converts, even all that did embrace the Christian faith. A great number of these turned afterwards apostates, and renounced the Christian faith; and St. Paul was afraid that some of these elect would afterwards draw back unto perdition. From all which, it is extremely evident, that the apostle neither did, nor could speak of this remnant according to the election of grace, as persons absolutely elected to salvation.” I answer, that though the Jewish converts, such as were true believers, were the remnant in being at that time, according to the election of grace, before the world began; yet all that bore the name of converts, or externally embraced the Christian faith, were not of that number: nor did any of the remnant turn apostates, renounce the Christian faith, and so come short of heaven; otherwise, how could it be said, the election hath obtained it? nor was the apostle Paul afraid that any of these elect: should draw back to perdition; but affirms the reverse, we are not of them that draw back to perdition (Heb. 10:39) nor do any of the passages, cited from the epistle to the Hebrews, suppose that any of these elect might, or did apostatize, or draw back unto perdition; as has been made to appear in the former part of this work.

Section 2—Romans 9:10-13.

[With Romans 8:33].

And not only this, but where Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac, (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any

good or evil, that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth) it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger; as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

The design of the apostle, in this chapter, is to show, that though the Israelites in general were a chosen people, had peculiar 200 privileges, to whom the promises were made; yet, the word of God was not made void, or took no effect; notwithstanding few of them believed in Christ, the greater part were rejected of God, and the Gentiles shared the blessings of the new covenant; seeing there were then, as there always had been, two sorts among them; the one were children of the flesh, the natural descendants of Abraham only; the other also children of the promise, who were counted for the spiritual seed. To the latter of which the promises were always made good; and these always shared, as they then did, the spiritual blessings of grace; wherefore, the word of God had its designed accomplishment. And, lest this should seem any new, or strange thing, the apostle instances in the immediate offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Ishmael; the one was born after the Spirit, the other after the flesh; the one was the son of the free, the other of the bond- woman; the one continued in the house, the other was cast out. And to prevent any objection that might be taken from Ishmael’s being born, not of the lawful wife, but of the bond-woman, as being the reason of his rejection, the apostle proceeds, to mention the case of Jacob and Esau, who not only had the same father, but the same mother, Isaac’s lawful wife; these were conceived at once, were in the womb together, were twins; and if any had the preference, Esau by birth had it, being born first; and a yet a difference was made between these two by God himself; who said to the mother of them, The elder shall serve the younger; which is interpreted of God’s loving the one, and hating the other; and this was notified to her, in consequence of an eternal purpose, before the children were born, and when they had done neither good nor evil; so that it could not be said, that Jacob was loved for his good works, nor Esau hated for his evil ones; wherefore the purpose of God, respecting the election of Jacob, fully appears to depend not of works, but of the grace of him that calleth. From all this we conclude, that the predestination of men, either to life

or death, is personal: that the objects of either branch of predestination are alike, or are considered in the same situation or condition, whether, in the pure, or corrupt mass, or in both; that God was not influenced or moved, in the election of the one, by their good works, or in the rejection of the other, by their bad ones; that God’s decree of election stands firm and immoveable, not upon the feet of works, but of the grace of God; and, that love and hatred are the real springs and source of predestination in its respective branches. But the grand exception to this instance and example of personal election and rejection, is, that these words do not “respect the persons of Jacob and Esau, but their whole nation and posterity; and this is said to be plain,”

  1. From the words of God to Rebecca, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people, and the elder shall serve the younger. To which I reply, that this oracle primarily respects the persons of Jacob and Esau as the roots of their respective offspring; and only, secondarily, their posterity, as branches that should sprout from them; it properly regards their persons, and only in an improper, figurative, and metonymical sense, their seed; for, in no other sense could two nations, or two manner of people, be in Rebecca’s womb, than as there were two persons there, who would be the authors of two nations and people; and, admitting that their respective posterities are in ever so strict and close a sense intended, this can never be understood to the exclusion of their persons; any more than they can be thought to be personally excluded from any concern in the loss or enjoyment of the birthright and blessing; for, were the posterity of Esau only deprived of the birthright and blessing? Was not he himself personally supplanted with respect to both? Did the posterity of Jacob only enjoy the birthright and the blessing? Did not Jacob himself, in his own person, purchase the birthright, and receive the blessing?

  2. This is said to be plain, “from this observation, that, as to the persons of Jacob and Esau, this was never true, that the elder did serve the younger; but only, as to their posterity, when the Edomites became tributaries to David, (2 Sam. 8:14).” But this observation supposes that this is to be understood

    of outward temporal servitude; and, indeed, in this sense, it was never true of their persons; so far from being so, that Jacob, as soon as he had got the birthright and the blessing, was obliged to flee from Esau; and when, after many years, he returned, he sends messengers to his brother, in a very submissive manner, charging them, saying, Thus shall ye say to my lord Esau, thus etc. And, when he found that his brother was coming to meet him, it threw him into a panic fear, lest he should smite him, and the mother with the children; he prepares presents for him; and when he came to him, bowed himself to the ground seven times, and so his wives and children all bowed to him; and the language in which he addressed him, while they conversed together, was that of my lord (Gen. 27:43; 32:3, 4,11,13; 33:5-8,13-15.) Now it is

    not credible, that if this oracle is to be understood of temporal servitude, that it should have no appearance, nor the least shadow of an accomplishment, in their persons, supposing it was to have a greater in their posterity; and, indeed, the completion of it in this sense, in their posterity, is not so exceeding evident. It is certain, that there was a long train of dukes and kings in Esau’s posterity before there was any king in Israel (Gen. 36:31). They were in lordly grandeur and splendor, when the children of Israel were oppressed with hard bondage in Egypt. The single instance referred to, when the Edomites became tributaries to David, was near a thousand years after the giving out of this oracle: and this servitude did not continue long; for, in Joram’s time, they revolted (2 Kings 8:22), and so continued; and it is plain, that, at the time of the Babylonish captivity, the children of Edom were prosperous and triumphant; who said (Ps. 137:7), concerning Jerusalem, Raze it, raze it, even to the foundation thereof. This servitude, therefore is to be understood in a spiritual sense of Esau’s exclusion from the favor of God, and the blessings of grace: for these two phrases, The elder shall serve the younger, and Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated, are of the same signification: the one is explanative of the other. When Jacob got the birth-right, and received the blessing, this oracle began to have a visible accomplishment, Esau then appeared not to be the son and heir of promise, who was to abide in the house; and therefore departs, and pitches his dwelling elsewhere; all which showed he had no interest in

    spiritual adoption—no right to the blessings of the covenant of grace—nor was he an heir of heaven; these belonged to Jacob. Esau was a servant of sin, under the dominion of it, and in bondage to it; whilst Jacob was the Lord’s freeman, and, as a prince, had power with God, and with men, and prevailed. Esau was serviceable to Jacob, even in spiritual things, as reprobates are to the elect; for all things are for their sake, and all things work together for their good. Jacob’s being obliged to flee from his brother, was for his good; by this providence, he got him a suitable wife, and large substance. His brother’s meeting him on his return, which gave him so much pain and uneasiness, issued in his spiritual good; this sent him to the throne of grace, to humble himself before God, acknowledge his mercies and dependence on him, to implore his help, and plead his promises. And thus the oracle was verified in the persons of Jacob and Esau.

  3. It is urged, that “what is here offered, as a proof or confirmation of this, is cited from the prophet Malachi, who prophesied long after Jacob and Esau were personally dead, and speaks expressly of the nation of the Edomites.” It is very true, that Malachi prophesied long after Jacob and Esau were dead personally; and it is as true, that what God there says by Malachi so long after they were dead, is only an explanation of what he had said to Rebecca before they were born; as appears from the apostle’s citing both passages as of like import, and the one as interpreting the other. It is plain that the Lord, in the prophecy of Malachi directs the murmuring Jews to the personal regard he had to Jacob and Esau; and which had continued in numberless instances to their respective posterities, in order to stop their mouths, and reprove their ingratitude: and though he speaks of the nation of the Edomites, and also to the posterity of Israel, yet it is evident that he has a respect to the persons of Jacob and Esau, from whence they sprung, when he says, was not Esau Jacob’s brother? Now, though an Edomite may be said to be brother to an Israelite, yet Esau is never said, nor can he, with any propriety, be said to be the brother of Jacob’s posterity.

4.That the persons, and not the posterity of Jacob and Esau, are here designed, is evident from the personal account that is given of them; for whatever may be said for their taking their rise from one common father, Isaac, or for their being chosen or rejected as nations

before they were born, or had done good or evil; yet it cannot be said with any propriety at all, that Rebecca conceived their respective posterities by one, even by our father Isaac. Moreover, the Scriptural account of these two accords with a personal rejection of the one, and an election of the other. Esau is represented as a profane person; yea, is expressly (Heb. 12:17) said to be apedokimasqh, rejected, that is, from inheriting the blessing. Jacob, on the other hand, is spoken of as a plain and upright man; one interested in the covenant of grace, and a chosen vessel of salvation. Besides, this sense of the words only agrees with the scope and design of the apostle, which is to prove, that all were not Israel which were of Israel, and that all the natural seed of Abraham were not the children of God: this he could not better exemplify, than in the persons of Jacob and Esau; for to have instanced in the posterity of Esau, would have been foreign to his purpose. Add to all this, that the apostle continues his discourse, in the following verses, upon the subject of personal election and rejection; he observes (vv. 15,18), that God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will, he hardeneth; which respects persons, and not nations; and instances in Pharaoh, which surely cannot be understood of the posterity, but of the person of Pharaoh; and in verses 22, 23, speaks of vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, and of vessels of mercy afore prepared for glory; which design, neither nations, nor churches, nor Jewish converts only, but particular persons among Jews and Gentiles; which latter appear to be the people and beloved of God, and vessels of mercy, by their being called by grace. Hence,

  1. It does not clearly follow, as is said, that the apostle cannot here discourse of any personal election to eternal life, or of any personal love or hatred with respect to eternal interests; since he manifestly speaks of the persons, and not the posterity of Jacob and Esau: and did he, it would not follow, as is suggested, that according to this opinion, the whole nation of Israel must be elected to eternal lifts, and the whole posterity of Esau he the objects of God’s hatred and reprobation; since the people of Israel in general might be said to be loved and chosen of God, the far greater part of them being so, the line of election running among them as it did for many hundreds of years; and yet some of them be instances of God’s displeasure

    and hatred: and on the other hand, the posterity of Esau in general might be said to be rejected, the far greater part being so, the line of rejection running among them as it did for many hundreds of years; and yet some of them, as Job and his friends, be chosen vessels of mercy. Nor,

  2. “Is it certain, That the apostle here only speaks of the election of one seed and nation before another, to be accounted and treated by him as the seed of Abraham, or owned for his peculiar people. For nothing is more certain than that the apostle here speaks of the election of some of the same seed, and of the same nation, before others, who were to be accounted and treated as the spiritual seed of Abraham; and owned for God’s peculiar, special people, before others who were, equally with them, the natural seed of Abraham.

  3. The last instance of the sense of the word elect, when applied to Jewish converts, is in Romans 8:33, Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? And, “here again it is said, that the elect and true believers are the same.” I see no reason why the elect here should be confined to Jewish converts; for though the apostle speaks of himself and others, he is writing to the Romans. And be it so, that the elect design true believers, it is plain they were such who were predestinated before they were called; and so were the elect of God antecedent to their being true believers, and therefore are not denominated God’s elect from their being so; and besides, they were such as were chosen not barely to external means of grace, and outward privileges, but to grace here and glory hereafter, verse 30, and so were not whole nations, or churches, or communities, but particular persons.

Section 3—Colossians 3:12.

Put on therefore (as the elect of God, holy am beloved) bowels of mercies, etc.

Our author goes on to observe, “that suitable to this notion of the word election, where it respects the Jewish nation, or the Jewish converts, is the import of it in these epistles, where whole nations, communities, or churches, are styled the elect;” that is, that it means converts to the Christian faith, or true believers. But surely, whole nations are never styled the elect in such a sense; and, indeed, this author does not attempt to propose one instance of it, and only takes notice of churches or communities. And,

  1. Observes, that “all the faithful brethren in

    Colosse, are styled (Col. 3:12) the elect of God;” and the same apostle saith to the whole church of Thessalonica, Knowing your election of God (1 Thess. 1:4); and in his second epistle, he saith, We ought to give thanks for you, that God hath elected you from the beginning to salvation” (2 Thess. 2:18). All which he might say without a special revelation, in a judgment of charity; for, though every individual member of these churches were not chosen to salvation, yet, inasmuch as they were all under a visible profession of religion, and the major part of them were truly believers, he might write to them as such: nor do the cautions, exhortation, care and fear, expressed by him, militate against this their character; since these might be all designed, and be made use of for their perseverance as such in grace unto glory.

  2. Another instance is in 2 Timothy 2:10, where the apostle says, I endure all things for the elect’s sake; And we are told that “if we compare this with a parallel place in Colossians 1:24, 25, we shall find the elect to be no other than the whole church of Christ, of which he was a minister.” But by comparing this text with that in Colossians, it appears that the church of which the apostle was a minister, is no other than the body of Christ; and intends the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven (Heb. 12:28), and not any particular society, or community of men, under a profession of Christianity; for of such a particular church the apostle was no minister. Nor would this have been agreeable to his character as an apostle, who was not fixed with any particular church, but had the care of all the churches upon him. Besides, the elect here were such who were not yet called by grace, for whose sake the apostle endured, and was willing to endure, reproach and persecution, in preaching the Gospel; that they also, as well as such as were already converted, might obtain that salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

  3. The apostle in Titus 1:1, styles himself an apostle according to the faith of God’s elect; which is interpreted of the faith of Christians in general. But this interpretation will not hold good of nominal, only of real Christians, who become so because they are God’s elect, to whom true saving faith in Christ is peculiar; for all men have not faith; to the elect only is it given, whilst others believe not in him, because they are not of his sheep.

Section 4—Ephesians 1:4.

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love.

These words are, indeed, a strong proof of the doctrine of an eternal, personal, and unconditional election of men to grace and glory; yet the whole strength of the doctrine is not placed in them, as is suggested: we have other strengthening proofs of the proof of it; though we readily own this to be a very considerable one. This passage of Scripture proves, that the choice of men to holiness and happiness, is an eternal act of God the Father, or what passed before the world began; since it is expressly said, that he hath chosen us in him, that is, in Christ, as the head of the elect, before the foundation of the world; and not as the author attended to, either through inadvertency, or with design, cites the words, from the foundation of the world. For the phrase is not apo katabolhv kosmou, as in Revelation 8:8, but pro katabolhv kosmou, and is expressive of the eternity of it, agreeable to other scriptures; as 2 Timothy 1:9, and 2 Thessalonians 2:13, compared with Proverbs 8:22, 23. It also proves, that this choice is of particular persons, he hath chosen us, and not of nations, or churches; seeing the apostle is not writing to, nor speaking of a nation: nor is it very evident that he is writing to a church; for he expresses himself with much caution and distinction, when he inscribes his epistle to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus. And it is still less evident, that he is speaking of these same persons, or of them as a church; yea, it is manifest, that he is speaking of himself and others, as partakers of the several blessings of grace mentioned in the context; who first trusted in Christ, and were not members of this particular church. These are distinctly spoken of from verse 3, to verse 12 inclusive; and then the apostle addresses himself to the Ephesians in verse 13, and says in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Besides, admitting that these words are spoken of the saints and faithful at Ephesus and of them as a church; they are not said to be chosen as a church, or chosen to be one, but that they should be holy, and without blame; who might be called by the apostle chosen in Christ, or the elect of God, as the churches of Colosse and Thessalonica are from their visible profession of

religion, and from the majority among them of such as were truly so. Wherefore these words still continue a proof of personal election. Add to this, the phrase of being chosen in Christ, is sometimes used of a single person, as in (Rom. 16:13). Once more, this text proves that this eternal election of particular persons to salvation is absolute unconditional, and irrespective of faith, holiness, good works, and perseverance, as the moving causes or conditions of it; all which are the fruits and effects of electing grace, but not causes and. conditions of it; since these are said to be chosen, not because they were holy, but that they should be so. And supposing that the apostle, is here speaking of the saints and faithful in Christ, they are not said to be chosen, as such, or because they were such: nor does it follow that they were so antecedent to their election, because they were so when the apostle wrote this epistle, any more than they were so antecedent to their redemption and effectual vocation; since these same persons are said to have redemption in Christ, and the mystery of God’s will made known unto them; which would imply this contradiction, that they were saints before they were called with an holy calling, and faithful before they were believers. And whereas it is said, that these persons “were not all infallibly predestinated to salvation, but only to the adoption of children” (v. 5). It may be replied that if they were infallibly predestinated to the adoption of children, which adoption does not so much design the blessing itself prepared in divine predestination, or the grace received in effectual vocation, as he inheritance to which the saints are adopted, even the heavenly glory (see Rom. 8:23), then they were infallibly predestinated to salvation; and what short of salvation can be meant by being holy, and without blame before him in love? But that these words are spoken of such as were chosen out of the world to be God’s church and people, and not of persons, infallibly predestinated to salvation, is thought to be exceeding evident.

  1. “From the exhortations and cautions given to these persons in this very epistle; such as in Ephesians 4:17; 5:6; and 6:13. All which are inconsistent with the character of the elect, that is, of persons infallibly predestinated to salvation.” I reply, That the exhortations not to walk as other Gentiles, and to take to themselves the whole armour of God, though the

    former seems rather a testimonial of their pious walk than an exhortation to it; these, I say, are so far from being inconsistent with their character as elect, that nothing could be more pertinent to them who were chosen to be holy, and which were designed, and doubtless were blessed, as means of their perseverance in grace and holiness. And as for the caution given them, that no man deceive them into the commission of sins there mentioned, with this very good reason, for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience; nothing could be more proper to give them a just idea of the evil nature of sin, and the resentment of it by God, in order to their avoiding it; and yet no ways prejudice their absolute and infallible election to salvation, nor their faith and hope in it; seeing the wrath of God cometh not upon them, but upon the children of disobedience.

  2. “From the apostle’s prediction” (Acts 20:29,39). But though the apostle prophesies, that after his departure either from them, or out of the world, grievous wolves should enter among them, and of themselves men should arise speaking perverse things; yet not that any of them who were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, be such or act in this manner. For these words, as has been already shown, are not spoken of the members of the church at Ephesus; and were they spoken of them, the apostle in his prediction could never design any of the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus, who then constituted the church at Ephesus, but others that should creep in, and rise up among them in some time to come.

  3. “From his advertisement to Timothy, in 2 Timothy 1:15; 2:18; 4:3, 4; 1 Timothy 1:19; 5:15; and 6:21, that some had or should turn away; all which is inconsistent with the character of the elect.” I reply that some of these passages do not seem to have any immediate relation to the members of the church at Ephesus, nor any of them to them who were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world; some of them speak not of men’s turning from the faith, but from the apostle slighting and neglecting him when he was in necessity; and others not of what was then done, but what should be hereafter; and though some then present instances of apostasy are mentioned, yet it is also affirmed, that nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his. So that these instances carry in them

nothing inconsistent with the character of the elect, that is, of persons infallibly predestinated to salvation, nor prove what they are produced for.

Section 5—Romans 8:28, 29.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called, kata proqesin, according to his purpose; for whom proegnw, he did foreknow, he also prowrise, did predestinate.

These three words prognosiv, the foreknowledge, proqesiv, the purpose, and prowrismov, the fore- appointment God, are used in the New Testament to express the doctrine of election; which show that the predestination of men to eternal life, according to the foreknowledge and purpose of God, is a special, unchangeable, and eternal act of his grace. Though,

  1. It is affirmed, “that none of them relate to particular or individual persons (save only when they are used of our blessed Lord and his sufferings for us), but only to churches and nations in the general.” But surely they do not relate to churches and nations in the general, in the text before us; for then it would unavoidably follow, that whole churches and nations in general are conformed to the image of Christ, justified and glorified, seeing these things are said of those whom God foreknows and predestinates; nor do the instances alleged prove the assertion; not Ephesians 1:5, 11, where the apostle speaks of some whom God had proorisav, predestinated to the adoption of sons, and who were proorisqentev kata proqesin, predestinated according to the purpose of God, which passages regard not nations or churches, but particular persons, as has been shown under the foregoing section; nor 1 Peter 1:2, where some are said to be elect, not kata proqesin, according to the purpose, as Dr. Whitby very wrongly cites the words, kata prognwsin, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, which intend particular persons, and not nations or churches; for not to such does the apostle write, but to strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia; nor Romans 9:11, where the h kat ekloghn tou qeou proqesiv, purpose of God according to election, concerns not the posterity of Jacob and Esau, but the single person of Jacob only, as has been made to appear in a preceding section.

  2. It is said, “that this foreknowledge, purpose,

    or appointment, is only that of calling men to the knowledge of salvation by Christ Jesus.” But, if by calling men to the knowledge of salvation by Christ Jesus is only meant, as it seems to be by what follows, a bare external call by the ministry of the gospel; it must be denied that foreknowledge, purpose, and appointment, only regard this; seeing many are called according to the purpose of God, with an holy calling, such an one as is powerful, and effectual to their real sanctification, and which is secured to them by God’s foreknowledge, purpose, and appointment, though it is something distinct from them, being an act of God’s grace in time, whereas the other respects his knowledge and will from all eternity.

  3. It is farther said, that “this calling is by God designed epi touto, that they who are thus called might obtain salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth; all Christians being chosen to this end, that they might be holy, and unblameable before God in love. But hence it cannot reasonably be argued, that this election is no larger than the holiness designed to be produced by it.” I reply, that effectual calling by the grace of God, which is the calling according to purpose the Scriptures speak of, is not only designed by God, that such who are thus called might obtain salvation, but is really and infallibly succeeded to such an end; though it would be more proper, and more agreeable to the Scriptures to say, that such obtain salvation by Jesus Christ, being chosen to it through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth; which holiness is not only designed to be produced in consequence of electing grace, but is really produced. Nor is this election larger, nor it does not extend to more persons than holiness; just as many persons are made holy in time as were chosen to be so from eternity: holiness is a certain fruit and effect of election. The instances of God’s general goodness, the mission of the Baptist, and the outward ministry of the gospel of grace, not always having a good effect, upon men, are not to be put upon a level with the purposes and counsel of God, which shall certainly stand; for he will always do his pleasure. As to the end of the Messiah’s coming, to save his people from their sins, that ought not. to have been mentioned with the former instances; since that is fully answered, and has had its sure effect and accomplishment.

  4. It is observed, that “as men were appointed

to be called from the beginning, and the gospel is that hn prowrisen, which God had fore- appointed to be preached to them for that end (1 Cor. 2:7); so by virtue of this purpose and fore-appointment men were in time called by the gospel to faith in Christ, where they are said to be called according to purpose (Rom. 8:28; 2 Tim. 1:9). And the purpose of sending Christ to die for the remission of sins, being the ground of this calling, he is said to be given up to death, according to the foreknowledge of God and his fore-appointed course, (Acts 2:23). And they who slew him are said to have done only what his counsel had fore-appointed to be done” (Acts 4:28). Which observations are very just; but are so far from militating against the doctrine of absolute election, that they establish it; since, according to them, not only the end but the means, the death of Christ, the preaching of the gospel, and calling men by it, are appointed and fixed, which infallibly succeed to bring about the end, eternal salvation.

Section 6—John 6:37.

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

These words contain three of the most glorious truths of the Gospel, namely, the doctrines of particular election, efficacious grace in conversion, and the final perseverance of the saints.

1st. The doctrine of particular election. The all, pan, design not the apostles only, who were given to Christ as such; for these did not all, in a spiritual manner, come to him, and believe in him, one of them was a devil; much less every individual of mankind. These are in some sense given to Christ, to subserve some ends of his mediatorial kingdom, and are subject to his power and control; yet do not come to him, believe in him (2 Thess. 3:8), all men have not faith; but the whole body of the elect, who, when they were chosen by God the Father, were given, and put into the hands of Christ, and therefore are said to be chosen in him (Eph. 1:4): he was chosen as head, and they as members of him. God made a covenant with him, as the head of the election of grace; in which he gave his chosen people to him as his seed, his spouse, his sheep, his portion and inheritance, and to be saved by him with an everlasting salvation. This was done before time; otherwise how could these persons be blessed with all spiritual blessings, and have grace

given to them in Christ, before the world began; if their persons had not also been given to Christ, and secured in him? And though Christ here expresses this act of his Father’s in the present tense, all that the Father didwsi, giveth me, perhaps to express the continuance and unchangeableness of it; yet he expresses it in verse 39, in the past tense, all that dedwle, he hath given me, and respects an act of God, antecedent to coming to Christ, and believing in him; which is the faith of God’s elect, the fruit and effect of electing love; for as many as were ordained unto eternal life believed (Acts 13:48). Now to this sense of the words the following things are objected.

  1. “That to be given of the Father, cannot signify to be absolutely chosen by God to eternal life; for then the Jews could not be reasonably accused for not coming to Christ, or not believing on him; much less could it be imputed to them as their great crime, that they would not come to him, or believe in him; since upon this supposition none could come but whom God had chosen.” I answer, There is a difference between coming to Christ, and believing on him as the Messiah, or giving a bare assent to him as such, and coming to him as a Saviour, or believing in him for life and salvation. The Jews might be reasonably accused for not believing on him as the Messiah, whom the Father had sent; since they had such a demonstration of his being so from his character, miracles, and doctrines; though none but those among them, whom the Father had given to Christ, could believe in him to the saving of their souls.

    And even not coming to Christ, and believing in him, in this spiritual manner, when he is revealed in the external ministry of the word, as God’s way of salvation, is criminal and blameworthy, notwithstanding men’s want of both will and power; since this does not arise from any decree of God, but from the corruption of nature through sin: and this being blameworthy, what follows upon it, or is the effect of it, must be so too.

  2. “Hence it must follow (it is said) that Christ could not reasonably have invited them to come to him, or called them to believe in him, who were not given him of the Father; since he well knew they could never come.” I reply, that Christ, as a preacher of the Gospel, and a minister of the circumcision, might exhort the Jews in general to labour for, that is

    use the means of obtaining the meat which endures unto eternal life; he might inform them, that this is the work of God, which he himself works, as well as commands, that they believe in him whom he hath sent; he might say to them, My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven, since he, who is the Bread of life, was come down from heaven, and was among them; and these things he might say unto them, that they might be saved, without any prejudice to the doctrine of particular election, and with a special view to the good of those among them his Father had given to him. And after all, it will not be easily proved, that Christ ever invited any to come in a spiritual way to him, and believe in him savingly, but such as the Father had given him. The words in Matthew 9:28, are directed, not to unconverted sinners, much less reprobates, but to such who were under a work of the Spirit of God, laboring, and being heavy laden, with a sense of sin, and breathing and seeking after spiritual rest.

  3. It is further objected, that “were this so, the Jews must have just occasion to complain of Christ and of his doctrine, as being that which revealed to them their eternal and inevitable reprobation, and made it; not only necessary, but even equitable to reject him; because the blessings which he tendered belonged not to them in general, but only to some few, who by the Father should be given to him.” It is true, indeed, that the doctrine of Christ was oftentimes very expressive of God’s special and distinguishing grace, which raised loud complaints, and even indignation (See Luke 4:25-28), in the Jews against him, but without any just occasion or reason; since the grace of God is his own, and he may do with it as he pleases, and give it to whom he will. And as for their destruction, it was wholly owing to themselves; nor had they any just occasion, by Christ’s doctrine, to complain of any but themselves, who ought to have been received by them as the Messiah; by whom it was necessary and equitable he should be received, and not rejected, even by those who were not given of the Father to him. Though Christ did not offer or tender the blessings of grace to any, much less to them in general; but as a preacher of the Gospel, published the truths of it to all; and as the Mediator of the new covenant, dispensed the blessings of it to those who were (not should be)given him by the Father.

  4. It is observed, that “Christ here gives a reason why they believed not, namely, Ye have seen, and believed not; because ye are not given to me of my Father. Now it is reasonable to conceive this reason should agree with all the other reasons assigned of their infidelity; which yet are manifestly founded, not on anything wanting on the part of God, but in themselves.” But it should be observed, that Christ is not here giving a reason why some believed not, but rather why others did, and would believe, while some remained unbelievers in him, who saw his miracles; when others, even all those the Father had given to him, should come to him, and believe in him, and so never perish. But admitting that Christ here gives a reason of the infidelity of some; it is such an one in the sense of it contended for, that is agreeable to other reasons of infidelity elsewhere assigned; such as, Ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God (John 8:47), do not belong to him, are none of his, neither chosen of him, nor born of him: and in another place, Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep (John 10:26), whom the Father has given me, and made my care and charge.

  5. It is said, that “the true import of this phrase, To be given of the Father,” is,

(1.) To be convinced by the miracles which God wrought by Christ, that he was the Messiah; which appears from the description Christ gives of the persons the Father had given him (John 17:8), and from a like expression in the book of Deuteronomy. On which I observe, that as the miracles Christ wrought were by the Spirit of God, so the conviction which came by them, was by the same hand. Hence such who denied Jesus to be the Messiah, against such conviction, sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost, which is unpardonable; whence it follows, that since conviction by miracles that Jesus was the Messiah, is not the act of the Father, but the work of the Spirit; therefore to be so convinced, is not the true import of this phrase. And admitting such conviction to be the act of God the Father; yet this is what is wrought internally in the consciences of men, and not an act towards them, or concerning them, as this of giving them to Christ is. Add to this, that some persons were convinced by miracles, that Jesus was the Messiah, who never came to him in a spiritual saving way, or believed in him to the saving of their

souls, though they might give their assent to his being the Messiah; whereas these words declare, that all that the Father giveth to Christ shall come to him, and never be cast out, or perish. Nor does this sense of the phrase appear from the description of those who were given to Christ in John 17:8, which is spoken of Christ’s disciples; for though these saw his miracles, and believed on him, and knew that he came from God, and was sent by him, yet this was not all: Christ manifested his Father’s name, person and glory, mind and will, his love and grace, to these men which he gave him out of the world; which donation of them to him was made antecedent to their seeing of his miracles, and believing in him, to the manifestation of his Father’s name unto them. The passage referred to in Deuteronomy (Deut. 29:3, 4.) is not all to the purpose; since it appears from thence that miracles may be wrought, and yet not be taken notice of, or men may not be convinced by them: which was the case of the Israelites, to whom. the Lord did not give an heart to perceive, and eyes to see. For to read the words with an interrogation, is contrary to the ancient and modern versions; and still more impertinent is this passage alleged to prove this to be the import of the phrase under consideration.

(2.) It is also urged, that such “are said to be given of the Father to Christ, who are so convinced by his miracles of the truth of the promise or eternal life, as to expect to receive it by faith in him, and obedience to his doctrine; and were so affected with it, as to esteem it above all other things; and so were willing to apply themselves to those duties by which this life might be acquired, and to reject and quit those things which might obstruct them in the prosecution of it.” This sense of the phrase not only makes eternal life to be acquired by men’s duties, contrary to its being both a promise of grace, and a gift by it, but also makes this act of the Father’s to consist in a revelation of the promise of eternal life, and in a conviction of the truth of it by the miracles of Christ; when such a revelation and conviction of the truth of it by the miracles of Christ; when such a revelation and conviction are to be ascribed not to the Father of Christ, but to the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, whose proper business it is to convince of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (Eph. 1:17; John 16:8); and so of the truth of the promise, and

of their need of enjoyment of eternal life by Christ. And, supposing all this to be done by the Father, yet this regards something internal in the minds and consciences of men; and not an act concerning

them, as is the giving of them to Christ; which is no other than interesting him in them, putting them into his hands, and him into the possession of them, making them his care and charge; which was done when they were chosen in him unto eternal life before the foundation of the world. To this I take leave to add the two following observations; though they do not properly fall under this head of discourse. That,

2ndly The doctrine of efficacious grace in conversion is strongly asserted in these words; for such who are given in eternal election, and in the everlasting covenant of grace to Christ, shall in time come unto him, that is, believe in him. Which is not to be ascribed to any power and will in them, but to the power and grace of God; for there is not in them naturally, any will, desire, or inclination, to come to Christ for life; they had rather go any where else, than to him for it; for no man can come to Christ except the Father draw him (John 6:44). It is not here said, that such who are given to Christ have a power to come to him, or may come if they will; but they shall come, efficacious grace will bring them to Christ as poor perishing sinners, to venture on him for life and salvation.

3rdly The doctrine of the saints’ final perseverance may be established on this text; for such who come to Christ in a spiritual manner, and are brought to believe in him truly and really, he not only receives them kindly, but keeps and preserves them, and will not east them out. The words are very strongly and emphatically expressed in the original, ou mh ekbalw exw, I will not, not, or never, never, we render it in nowise cast out without, or cast out of doors. Christ will never cast them out of his affections, nor out of his arms, nor out of that family that is named of him, nor out of or from his church, which is his body, and of which they are

members, nor out of a state of justification and salvation; and therefore they shall never perish, but have everlasting life.

Section 7—Acts 8:48.

And as many as were ordained unto eternal life believed.

This act of ordination to eternal life, is no other than God’s act of predestination of some persons to glory, or his eternal choice and appointment of them to life and salvation by Jesus Christ, which the scriptures frequently speak of. Now, seeing that as many as were ordained to eternal life, did in the times of the apostles, and do in all ages, believe in consequence thereof, election must be an act of God’s grace, irrespective of faith, is not on account of the foresight of it; faith being not the cause, but a fruit and effect of it; and it must also relate to particular persons only; since all men have not faith, nor will enjoy eternal life; both which are firmly and infallibly secured by this act of grace to all those who are interested in it. To which is objected,

  1. That these words speak not of preordination, much less of divine preordination. The persons spoken of are not said to be protetagmenoi foreordained, but tetagmenoi, ordained; and not said to be ordained by God, but were such who disposed themselves unto eternal life. To which I reply, that the words are rendered both by the Vulgate Latin, and by Arias Montanus, quotquot erant praeordinati, as many as were preordained. And it is certain, that they speak of an ordination to what is future, eternal life, and to that antecedent to believing, and why not then before the foundation of the world, agreeable to other scriptures? especially since there was a promise (and therefore why not a purpose?) of eternal life made by God before the world began (Titus 1:2). And though here is no mention made of God, yet who can ordain to eternal life, or dispose of it but God? Eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:23). And could these words be understood, even of an internal disposition in man unto eternal life; who can dispose unto it, any more than of it, but God? For we are not sufficient of ourselves, to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God (2 Cor. 3:5).

  2. It is said, “That these words cannot signify that there is a fixed number of persons absolutely by God ordained to eternal life, is evident from this consideration, that if the reason why these men believed were only this, that they were men ordained to eternal life, the reason why the rest believed not can be this only, that they were not by God ordained to eternal life. And if so, what necessity could there

    be, that the word of God should be first preached to them? as we read verse 46. Was it only that their damnation might be the greater? This seems to charge the Lover of souls with the greatest cruelty; what could even their most malicious and enraged enemy do more? This is to make God as instrumental to their ruin as he very devil.” To which may be replied, that though faith is a fruit of, and what follows upon, electing grace, and therefore is called the faith of God’s elect, yet election is not the immediate cause of it, but the grace and power of God: hence it is said to be the gift, and of the operation of God (Eph. 2:8; Col. 2:12; Rom. 10:17), and comes by hearing the word, as an instrumental means. So, likewise, though unbelief follows upon God’s denying his grace, which is agreeable to a previous determination, yet neither the denial of his grace, nor his determination to deny it, is the cause of unbelief, but the vitiosity and corruption of nature, and, therefore not to be charged on God’s not ordaining them to eternal life, which is no instance either of cruelty or injustice, for then it would have been both cruel and unjust with God to deny and determine to deny his grace to fallen angels. And whereas it is asked, to what purpose was the word of God preached to them; was it for their greater damnation? I answer, that the preaching of the Gospel to men is not to aggravate the damnation of any; for, though the condemnation of men becomes the greater by it, yet this is only accidental to it or owing to the wickedness of men, but is not the end and design of God in it, which is partly to gather out his elect from among them, and partly to leave the rest inexcusable, who would be apt to say, Had we heard of Christ, we should have embraced him; had the Gospel been preached to us, as unto others, we had believed, even as they.

  3. It is observed, that “the apostle gives this reason why he turned from the Jews to the Gentiles, because the Jews thrust away, the word of God from them, and judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life (v. 46). Whereas, according to this supposition, that could be no sufficient reason; for it was only they among the Jews, who were not ordained to eternal life, that refused to believe and obey the word of God; and as many among the Gentiles, who were not thus ordained, must necessarily do the same.” I reply, that the reason was a sufficient one; for these Jews, as a

    body of men, rejected the Gospel; not one gave heed unto it; wherefore the apostles rightly concluded, that God had no more work for them to do among them; that there were no more of his elect to be gathered out from them, and therefore, they turned to the Gentiles, as the Lord had commanded them; expecting and believing that God would take out of them, through their ministry, a people for his name and glory. And it is easy to observe, that this was the rule of their conduct among the Gentiles; for, according as they were directed by the Spirit of God, or were able to make a judgment, whether God had a people to be called by grace or not, they continued, or departed, or turned aside. Thus they were forbidden by the Holy Ghost, at a certain time, to preach the word of God in Asia; and when they assayed to go into Bithynia, the Spirit suffered them not; and passing by Mysia, they carne down to Troas (Acts 16:6-10), where by a vision, they were directed to Macedonia; from whence they assuredly gathered, that the Lord had called them to preach the Gospel to them, and that some persons were to be converted there, and not in the other places at that time where they were not permitted to go. The apostle Paul, when he went to Corinth, first preached among the Jews; but they opposing, themselves, and blaspheming, he turned to the Gentiles, and had this encouragement from the Lord to continue in his ministrations to them, from this consideration (Acts 18:10), that he had much people in that city.

  4. Whereas the apostle preached the doctrines of remission of sins, and justification to the Jews, and exhorted them to beware, lest what was spoken of in the prophets should come upon them. It is asked, “Could God have determined that these very persons should not believe to life eternal, and yet commission his apostles to tell them these things? Could it be revealed to St. Paul that they could not believe to life eternal, as being not by God ordained to it; and yet would he so passionately exhort them to that faith in Jesus which he well knew, by virtue of this revelation, belonged not to them, nor could they possibly exert?” But who says that God had determined they should not believe, or that it was revealed to St. Paul that they could not believe to life eternal, as being not by God ordained to it? The apostle Paul, with the rest of the apostles, had a commission to preach the gospel to all nations, beginning with the Jews, which, as it

    was designed to gather in the elect of God among them, so it was faithfully executed by them. They preached these doctrines of grace promiscuously to all, not knowing who were ordained to eternal life and who were not, or who would believe and who would not; the judgment they were able to form in anywise of these things, did not arise from any special or extraordinary revelation, but from the success of their ministry. Thus, from the Jews rejecting the gospel, and thereby judging themselves unworthy of everlasting life, they might justly fear they were left of God, and did not belong to him, and might rightly conclude that many among the Gentiles were ordained to eternal life, from their believing in Christ; and, therefore, in perfect consistence both with the design of God and the nature of their commission, could, and did preach and propose these things to them.

  5. It is urged, that “the words will very well admit of this sense, as many as were disposed for eternal life believed.” Which sense is pleaded for from the use of the word tetagmenov, in this very book of the Acts of the Apostles, and in the Son of Sirach, from some passages in Philo the Jew, from Simplicius on Epictetus, and from the opposition in the context between the indisposed Jews and the disposed Gentiles. To which I reply, that the place referred to in this book is no proof of such a sense of the word; for it is not the same word in the same simple form with this here that is there used, but as in composition with the preposition dia; it is not tetagmenov, but diatetagmenov; nor does that signify disposition of mind, but determination and fore-appointment. The words are these (Acts 20:13). We went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul, outw gar hn diatetagmenov , for so had he appointed, not as Dr. Whitby renders it, for so was he disposed: the disposition of his mind is expressed by the following phrase, minding himself to go afoot. It is plain that it was a determined case, which had been concerted and agreed upon between Paul and his associates, that they should go with the ship to Assos, and he would go afoot thither, where they should take him in; so that this place, instead of making for, makes against the sense of the word contended for. The Son of Sirach says, (Eccl. 10:1) that the government, or principality of a wise man, is tetagmenh, which the Vulgate Latin renders stabilis erit, shall be stable or

    firm. The reason is, because it is ordained by God; for, as the apostle Paul says (Rom. 13:1), the powers that be are tetagmenai, ordained by God, which is an instance of the use of the word in favor of our sense of it. The passages out of Philo are no proof of the word signifying an internal disposition of mind, being allusions to the marshalling and ordering of persons in a military form, which is the frequent use of tattw, in Xenophon and other writers. Though Simplicius interprets tetagmenov upo qeou, in Epictetus, by protrepomenov upo qeou, yet both the one and the other phrase signify the force and power of the fatal decree, ordaining things; which is made use of as an argument with the philosopher, why he should choose and retain them. For in another place, says Epictetus, Lead me, O Jupiter, and thou fate, opoi poq umin eimi diatetagmenov whither I am by you appointed, and I will cheerfully follow. So wra tetagmenh, is used by him for a stated hour, just as hmera tetagmenh is by Porphyry, for a fixed day, or appointed time. But, after all, to settle the true sense of the word in the text, it will be proper to inquire in what sense it is used by the historian Luke, in this book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we shall always find it signifies determination and appointment, and not disposition of mind. So in Acts 15:9, When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, etaxan, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain others of them, should go up to Jerusalem. Again, in Acts 22:10, The Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus, and there it shall be told thee of all things which, tetatkai, are appointed for thee to do. Once more, in Acts 28:23, And when taxamenoi autw hmeran, they had appointed him a day, there came many to him. By these instances we may judge of the sense and translation of our text. Besides, both the ancient and modern versions agree in favoring the translation and sense we contend for; nor does the opposition in the context favor the other; for the comparison is not between the blaspheming Jews and the believing Gentiles, but between one part of the Gentiles and the other; the one believing, and the other not; the one being ordained unto eternal life, and the other not ordained to it. Add to this, that the phrase of being disposed to, or for eternal life, is a very unusual, if not a very improper, and an inaccurate one. Men are said to be disposed to a habit or an action, as

    to vice or virtue; but not to reward or punishment, as to heaven or hell. Nor does it appear that these Gentiles had any good dispositions to eternal life, antecedent to their believing; for, though they are said, in verse 49, to beseech the apostles to preach the same things to them the next sabbath, yet the words may be rendered more agreeable to the order in which they lie in the original text thus: They, that is, the apostles, parekaloun ta eqnh, besought the Gentiles, that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath; that is, they entreated them that they would come and hear them again at such a time. And as for their being glad, and glorifying the word of the Lord, it is not evident that it was before their believing; and suppose it was, this has been found in persons who have had no true, real, inward dispositions to spiritual things, as in many of our Lord’s hearers; and, indeed, there are no such dispositions in men previous to faith in Christ, for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Before believing, men are dead in trespasses and sins, given up unto them, live in them, and fulfill the lusts of the flesh, and are insufficient either to think well or do well. Besides, admitting that there are in some persons good dispositions to eternal fife, previous to faith in Christ; and that desiring eternal life, and seeking after it, be accounted such; yet these may be, where faith does not follow. The young man in the Gospel had as many dispositions of this sort, perhaps, as ever any had, who were destitute of faith; and yet was so far from believing in Christ, that he went away from him sorrowful. As many, therefore, as are so disposed unto eternal life do not always believe, faith does not always follow such dispositions. And, after all, one would have thought that the Jews themselves, who were externally religious, and were looking for the Messiah, though they did not believe that Jesus was the Christ; and especially the devout and honorable women, were more disposed unto eternal life than the ignorant and idolatrous Gentiles; and yet the latter believed, and the former did not. It follows, then, that their faith did not arise from previous dispositions to eternal life, but was the fruit and effect of divine ordination.

  6. Another sense which these words are said to be capable of, is, that as many as were well disposed, believed unto eternal life. But it has been already proved, that tetagmenoi, does not signify well

disposed; and as for joining the phrase eternal life, to the word episteusan, believed; that stands at too great a distance to admit of such a construction: and should it be allowed, it would make no considerable alteration in the sense of the text; which would be read thus, as many as were ordained, believed unto eternal life; that is, as many as were chosen of God, and appointed by him to obtain salvation by Jesus Christ, believed in him to the saving of their souls. Let the words be placed in construction either way, the sense is the same.

Section 8—Romans 8:29, 30.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son; that he might be the first-born 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.

The meaning of these words is, that those whom God foreknew, or loved with an everlasting love, he predestinated to conformity to his Son; which conformity begins in grace, and will be finished in glory; and whom he has thus predestinated to grace and glory, he in time calls unto both; and whom he calls by his powerful and efficacious grace, he justifies by the righteousness of his Son, revealed to them by his Spirit, and received by faith; and whom he justifies, he will glorify, with the enjoyment of himself to all eternity. Whence it follows, that those, and none but those who are called, justified, and are loved by God with an everlasting love, and appointed unto salvation by Christ: and that all those, and none but those who are foreknown, or loved by God with a special love, and are predetermined to grace and glory, shall certainly be called with a holy calling, be completely justified by Christ’s righteousness, and at last be eternally glorified. So that these words confirm the doctrine of the eternal predestination, or election of particular persons to salvation. Now to set aside this sense of the words, and the argument upon it in favor of this doctrine, the Arminians have given us another sense of them, which is this: that those whom God foresaw would be true lovers of him, and devoted to his service, and whom he approved of as persons fit to be received into his favor, he fore-appointed to be like to his Son in sufferings; and whom he thus predestinated, he in due time called to suffer; and

whom he thus called to suffer, upon their faith and patience under their sufferings, he approved of as sincere and faithful servants; and whom he justified or approved of, he gave them a glorious reward of all their sufferings; or he made them glorious under sufferings by the Spirit of glory and of God resting on them; or by giving them his Holy Spirit, to enable them to work the greatest miracles. But,

  1. The foreknowledge here spoken of, is not of men’s works or graces, as the cause and reason of their predestination; since these are fruits and effects of it, and what follow from it; and therefore can never be the causes of it. It is true that God foreknew who would believe and love him, and be devoted to him; he having determined to bestow these graces on them, and ordained or prepared good works for them, that they should walk in them. The text does not say, that those whom God foreknew would be lovers of him, or fit for his kingdom, or devoted for his service, he predestinated; these are additions to it, and neither expressed nor implied in it; it only says, whom he foreknew; and which is owned to relate to God’s affectionate knowledge of these persons, as his chosen generation, his peculiar people:” words of knowledge being often expressive of affection (Ps. 1:6; Jer. 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:7; Matthew 7:23). And it may be justly added, that it relates to God’s affectionate knowledge of them from all eternity: since they were so early his chosen generation, and peculiar people, and as early loved by him with an everlasting love; to which, and to which alone, their predestination, or election to eternal life, is owing, and is the true meaning of the phrase here; whom God thus foreknow, or affectionately loved before the world began, them he predetermined, or fore-appointed, to everlasting happiness. Hence,

  2. The predestination of these persons to be conformed to the image of Christ, is not a fore- appointment of them to be like him in sufferings: for though the saints are appointed unto sufferings, and sufferings or afflictions are appointed them; and though there is some likeness between Christ the head and the members of his body in suffering; yet this cannot be intended here: since the image of Christ, to which they are predestinated to be conformed, always designs something great and glorious, and not mean and abject; it is the image of the heavenly, in opposition to the image of the earthly; and is no

    other than the glory of the Lord, into which the saints are changed from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:47; 2 Cor. 3:18). Besides, Christ is never said to be the first-born with respect to afflictions, but with respect to preeminence, honor, and glory (see Ps. 89:28; Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5). This conformity to the image of Christ, to which they are predestinated who are loved by God, seems rather to be a spiritual likeness to Christ, which is begun in this world upon believers, and will be finished in the other; when they shall he like him both in soul and body, as perfectly as they will be capable of; when the great ends of predestinating grace will be fully answered upon them; or rather, particularly, this conformity is to be understood of a likeness to the filiation of Christ, or a likeness to the image of Christ as the Son of God; for though the saints are not in the same class of sonship with Christ, yet their, sonship bears some resemblance to his; as he is the Son of God by nature, they are the sons of God by grace; as he is the dear Son of God, they are the dear children of God; as where he is the first-born among many brethren, they are the first-born with respect to the angels; and as he has an inheritance, being heir of all things, so have they, being heirs of God,. And joint- heirs with Christ;. which likeness of sonship will more fully appear hereafter; for though now are we the sons of God, it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2). This sense of the words is strengthened by a parallel place (Eph. 1:5), Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. Besides, it is owned, that “according to the received interpretation of the ancient Fathers, the import of these words is this; that whom God foreknew, he predetermined to render conformable to the image of his Son, that is, to be like him in glory:” or as in another place “he predestinated, or fore-appointed them to be conformed to the image of his Son, their elder brother; that is, to be sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ; and the author I am concerned with, after he had considered the text in every light: “conceives the sense of it to be this; those whom he hath so foreknown as to make them his elect, and peculiar people; for them he hath designed the choicest blessings, even the adoption of sons, and

    their being co-heirs with Christ.” Wherefore,

  3. The calling here intended, is not of persons to suffering in this life: for though such who are called by grace, are generally an afflicted people, they meet with many afflictions between their call to glory, and the enjoyment of it; yet they are not properly called to them, but to faith and patience under them: which is the meaning of the words of the apostle; If when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God; for even hereunto were ye called (1 Pet. 2:20, 21), that, is, not so much to sufferings, as to patience under them. And when in other places the saints are said to be called, it is either to grace or glory; thus they are called unto marvelous light, unto liberty, to the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ, to peace and holiness, to a kingdom and glory, even to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:9; Gal. 5:13; 1 Cor. 1:9; Rom. 1:7; Col. 3:15; 1 Thess. 2:12; 2 Thess. 2:14); and here, in the context, they are said to be (Rom. 8:28) called according to his purpose; which is the same with being called with an holy calling, according to the grace which was given us in Christ before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9). Besides, all that are called to afflictions, or sufferings, are not justified and glorified; as for instance, the young man in the Gospel, to whom Christ said, Take up the cross and follow me, who was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: and all such professors, who, when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by are offended (Mark 10:21, 22; Matthew 13:21). Add to this, that according to the received interpretation of the ancient fathers, the sense of the phrase is, that “whom God fore-appointed to be the sons of God, the method he used to bring them to this adoption was this; to call them to the faith of Christ; or as elsewhere expressed, “them also, in due time, he called to the salvation promised and offered in the gospel.” And our author himself, at last conceives this to be the sense of it: “that in order to this adoption designed for them, it is that he hath chosen them out of the world to be his church, an holy nation, and peculiar people to himself.” And therefore,

  4. When God is said to have justified the persons whom he foreknew, predestinated, and called; the meaning is not, that he approved of them as sincere and faithful, on the account of their faith and patience in suffering: for though God does approve of, and is

    well pleased with the faith and patience of his people under afflictions, yet no instance can he produced of the use of the word in this sense: not James 2:21, 25, where Abraham and Rahab are said to be justified by works; the meaning of which is, not that they were approved of by Christ, or accepted by him on account of their works, but that their faith, was evidenced to the world, their cause vindicated, and they cleared by them from all false charges and imputations: nor Matthew 11:19, where wisdom is said to be justified of her children; that is, not barely approved of by them, but vindicated, and acquitted from the charge of libertinism: nor Matthew 12:37, where it is said, by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou I shalt be condemned; since justification stands directly opposite to condemnation, and is used in a forensic sense, as it is throughout this epistle to the Romans, and in this very chapter and context. Besides, according to the above- mentioned received interpretation of the ancient fathers, the sense of the expression is, that “whom God in due time called, and they believing in Christ upon this call, he justified them from, and remitted all their past sins. And according to our author’s last conception of it, the meaning is, “he hath justified them, or given them a full remission of their sins.” Hence,

  5. The glorification of them is not a making them glorious under sufferings; much less by them the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit to enable them to work miracles. The word is never used in this sense: not in 2 Corinthians 3:8-11, where the Gospel ministration is said to be en doxh in glory; but not on the account of the extraordinary gifts and miracles of the Holy Ghost, but because it is the ministration of the spirit of righteousness, and of life, in opposition to the law, the ministration of condemnation and death; and because it remains when the law is done away; and is attended with evidence, clearness, and perspicuity, when the legal dispensation had a great deal of darkness and obscurity in it: nor John 17:29, where our Lord says, The glory which thou gavest me, I have given them; which is not to be understood of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit; since the words are spoken not of the apostles only, but of all them that should believe in Christ through their word, (v. 20), but rather of the glorious gospel of the blessed God, and the excellent truths and doctrines of it; (see v. 8): nor Acts 3:13,

where it is said, that God hath glorified his Son Jesus Christ; which was done, not by bestowing the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit on him, nor merely the miracle then wrought, by the raising him from the dead (v. 15); the thing he prayed for under this expression (John 17:1), and firmly believed (John 13:31, 32). Moreover, God is never said to glorify his people in this way. It is true, indeed, miracles were wrought, that the Son of God might be glorified (John 11:5). And in this way the Father did honor the Son (John 8:54). And Christ was glorified of all on this account (Luke 4:15). And the Spirit of God now glorifies Christ by receiving of his, and showing them to his people (John 16:15). But God is never said to glorify them by these gifts. Indeed some of the members of Christ’s body are honored with gifts and graces more than others (1 Cor. 12:26). And should it be allowed, that extraordinary gifts are intended in this last-cited passage; yet this cannot be the meaning of the word here: since the apostle is speaking not of particular persons, but of all the saints in general, who were the sons and heirs of God, verse 17; had received the first- fruits of the Spirit, and were waiting for the adoption (v. 23); all who loved God, and were his called according to his purpose (v. 28); even all God’s elect (v. 33). Now all these are not glorified in this sense; besides, were this the meaning of the phrase, then none would he predestinated, called, and justified, but such as have the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit: and on the other hand, none would have the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit but such as are predestinated, called, and justified: whereas, it is certain, that many might have, and had in the apostles’ days, such gifts, and yet were destitute of the grace of God. It is much more agreeable to the context, and to the analogy of faith, to understand this phrase of eternal glory; since it is what the apostle speaks of in verse 17, 18, 21, 23, and is what God’s elect are predestinated and called unto; and what the righteousness of Christ, by which they are justified, gives them a right and title to; and which they shall certainly enjoy. The main objection to this sense of the phrase is, “That when the apostle speaks of our final justification (glorification it should be) in this chapter, he still speaks of it as a thing future; saying, We shall be glorified with him, (vv. 17, 18, 21). Whereas here he speaks of it as a thing past; saying, Whom he hath justified, them he hath also glorified.”

To which may be replied, Not to insist upon the change of tense, the past for the future, which is no unusual thing in scripture; this is strictly true of that part of the body of God’s elect, who are already in heaven, called the family in heaven, and the things in heaven; who through faith and patience have inherited the promises (Eph. 3:15; Col. 1:20; Heb. 6:12), and is in some sense true also of the other part on earth, who are called and justified; since they are made glorious both by the robe of Christ’s righteousness put upon them, and by the grace of Christ wrought in them; which makes them all glorious within, and is the beginning of eternal glory; for a saving knowledge of God in Christ is life eternal. Nor ought this sense of the phrase to be objected to by our opponents; seeing if such may be said to be glorified, who had the gifts of working miracles, much more may they be said to be so, who have the true grace of the Spirit, which is superior to all other gifts. Besides, God’s elect may be said to be glorified, because of the certainty of their glorification. It is a kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world; which Christ has gone afresh to prepare by his presence and mediation in our nature; which he is in the possession of on the behalf of his people, and which isascertained to their faith and hope: hence they are said to be saved by hope, and by grace through faith (Rom. 8:24; Eph. 2:8.) Add to this, that they are in the same sense glorified in Christ, their representative head; in which they are said to be raised together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in him (Eph. 2:6).

Section 9—2 Timothy 2:19.

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure; having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. If the Lord knows them that are his, in distinction from others who are not his, and loves them with a special, peculiar, and everlasting love; then there is a select number, whom God has chosen to be his by a firm, immutable, and unalterable act of his grace, which stands sure and inviolable. But, the Lord knows them that are his: therefore, in answer to this

argument,

  1. It is observed, “That by the foundation of God, we are to understand the doctrine of the resurrection; which is the foundation of the church (Matthew 16:18); of our faith and hope (1 Cor. 15:19; 1 Thess. 4:13, 14), styled to qemelion, the foundation of the

    doctrine of the resurrection (Heb. 6:1, 2); the faithful saying, verse 11, by denying of which the Christian faith is overturned (v. 18), to which fundamental doctrine God hath set this seal, for confirmation of it, The Lord knoweth them that are his; that is, loveth and approveth of them, so as to reward them at the resurrection.” To which may be replied, that it will easily be granted that the doctrine of the future resurrection of the dead is spoken of in the context: nor will it be denied, that it was a fundamental article a the Jewish creed (Heb. 6:1, 2); or of the Christian faith (1 Cor. 15:13, 14, 19). though it does not seem to be the foundation of the church (Matthew 16:18), but the doctrine of Christ’s deity and sonship, owned by Peter, or rather the person of Christ himself, whom he confessed: nor does it seem to be intended here; seeing the seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his, which regards particular, persons, cannot well agree with it; since the resurrection will be both of the just and unjust. And if only the doctrine of the resurrection to eternal life is intended; and the meaning is, that God stands so kindly affected to his people, his sheep, whom he has given to Christ, that though they die, he will raise them up to eternal life; this is so far from militating against, that it rather establishes the doctrine of absolute election. Besides, the foundation of God standing sure, here spoken of, is opposed not to the error and heresy of Hymeneus and Philetus; but to the persons of them, and others, who through them apostatized from the faith: so that by the foundation of God, is to be understood the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth (1 Tim. 3:15.) which holds it forth, supports, and maintains it; even the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven (Heb. 12:23); the whole body of the elect; that church which is built upon a rock, the immoveable foundation, Jesus Christ, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail (Matthew 16:18); who every one of them are brought in time to possess, and exercise the faith which is (Heb. 11:1), the substance of things hoped for, and will never fail: to these persons this seal is annexed, the Lord knoweth them that are his , he knows whom he has chosen, he loves them with a peculiar affection, takes care of them, provides for them, protects them, so as that they shall never perish.

  2. It is also observed, “That these words are taken

from Numbers 16:5, where, as it is declared, that God knoweth them that are his, that are separated to his service, and will maintain their cause and calling, against all opposers; so here, that God will own his apostles and ministers, against all those that set up against them.” Be it so, that the apostle refers to the place cited; yet as there Moses speaks of persons, whom God had chosen to be priests, whom he would stand by and preserve, whilst the earth swallowed up their opposers, from whose tents the Israelites were bid to depart; so here the apostle speaks of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, who were made kings and priests: titles under the gospel-dispensation, not peculiar to ministers, but common to them, with all the saints; who are opposed not only to Hymeneus and Philetus, but to those whose faith was subverted by them; and who should stand, though they fell, being under the special notice and care of God; and are therefore bid to depart from apostates, their doctrines, and practices; let every one, not only ministers, but all that name the name of Christ, depart from iniquity, as an evidence of their election, and the means of their final perseverance. The simile the apostle uses in verses 20, 21, of vessels of gold and silver, and also of wood and of earth, some being to honour, and some to dishonor, is much the same with that he uses in Romans 9:22, 23, and manifestly shows that he is speaking of elect persons, in opposition to others. Nor does Theodoret’s descant upon these words, mentioned by our author, contradict the doctrine of absolute election, when he says, God foreknoweth both them that believe, and those who openly fight against the truth.

Section 10—Romans 5:19.

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.

The reason why this text comes to be considered in this discourse of election is, because it is said, that the “foundation of this decree is laid in the sin of Adam, imputed by God’s arbitrary will to his posterity.” Though this author must needs have known, that the Supralapsarians especially consider the decree of election as antecedent to and irrespective of the fall of Adam; and therefore the sin of Adam, and the imputation of it to his posterity could not be the foundation of such a decree which has no other foundation than the sovereign will and pleasure of

God. However, I shall consider the objections made to this doctrine.

1st. As to the objections made against “Adam’s sin being every man’s personal sin and consented to by every man’s personal will; because it is said, in Adam there was not only the will of one singular man but the universal will of all mankind, and of every, singular person,” I have no concern with; let such who fall in with these assertions defend them: for I must own, that if Adam’s sin is every man’s personal sin, then every man must have personally existed in Adam, and personally sinned in him; and then this sin being personal with respect to them, must also be actual; and so the distinction between original and actual sin must drop. Moreover, if this is every man’s personal sin, it must be their own; and then they are not made sinners by another, but by their own disobedience; and not by the sin of one, but by the sin of many. Besides, this seems repugnant to the doctrine of the imputation of Adam’s sin to his posterity: since, if it is their personal sin, then not theirs by imputation, in the sense we use the word, and which is the doctrine we undertake to defend. But,

2ndly It is said, that it “cannot truly be affirmed that we all sinned in Adam, and by his disobedience were made sinners; because his sin and disobedience was, by God’s arbitrary will, imputed to us. For,

  1. “The Scripture nowhere maketh mention of anything of another’s imputed to any man for reward or guilt, but only of some personal thing or action of his own.” To which I reply, that the imputation of Adam’s sin is not to be placed to the mere arbitrary will of God; but the ground and foundation of it is the law, or covenant of works, made with Adam, and broken by him, as the federal head of his posterity: the constitution and tenor of which was, that what, he did as such, either in a way of sin, or righteousness, should be imputed to his posterity. And when we use the word imputation, we use it not in a moral sense, as when a man’s own personal action, good or bad, is accounted to him: but in a forensic sense, as when the debts of one man are in a legal way transferred, and placed to the account of another. And in this sense, the Scripture makes mention of the things of one imputed to another for guilt, or for obligation to payment in punishment; as when Paul said (Philemon 1:18) to Philemon, concerning Onesimus, if he hath wronged

    thee, or oweth thee anything, put that on my account, touto emoi ellogoi, let that be imputed to me; in this sense God laid on Christ, made to meet upon him, and imputed to him, the iniquity of us all; and he, by imputation was made sin for us: and on the other hand God imputeth to us his righteousness, without any consideration of our works (Isa. 53:6; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 4:6).

  2. It, is argued, “either this imputation makes the sin of Adam truly ours, or it does not; if it does not, how can we be made sinners by it? if it does, then death came upon us for our sin; and so not for the sin of one, but for the sin of all.” I answer, the imputation of Adam’s sin makes it truly ours in the same sense as the imputation of Christ’s righteousness makes that truly ours. Now the imputation of Christ’s obedience and righteousness, though it makes it truly ours, gives us an interest in it, so as that we have the benefit of it, and it is styled the righteousness of the saints; yet it does not make Christ’s obedience our act, nor so ours, but, that it is still another’s, and distinct from our righteousness, and is in Christ as its proper subject and author, though put upon us, and imputed to us. So the imputation of Adam’s sin, though it makes it truly ours, so that we are involved in the guilt; and punishment of it through the federal relation he stood in to us; yet it does not make it our act, or so ours, but, that it is his act, and is distinct from our actual transgressions, and is only ours by imputation; and so we are mane sinners by, and death comes upon us for, not our sin, nor the sin of all, but of one.

  3. It is asked, “Whether this imputation made the posterity of Adam sinners, or whether it found them so before? If the latter, it was plainly needless, for they might have been condemned to death without it; if the former, then, since this imputation is the act of God, and not of man, it, plainly follows that God must be the author of this sin.” I reply, that though this act makes them sinners, yet not inherently, only imputatively; it puts sin upon them, and reckons it to them, but does not put any sin in them. And though this imputation is God’s act, it does not follow that therefore he is the author of this sin: the imputation of Christ’s righteousness is God’s act, yet not he but Christ is the author of that righteousness; so, though the imputation of Adam’s sin to his posterity is God’s act, yet not God but Adam is the author of the sin.

    And whereas it is insinuated, that this “imputation must be false, as charging them with sin whom he did not find sinners;” it should be observed, what has been already said, that; imputation is to be taken not in a moral but forensic sense; and does not imply any false measure taken, or wrong judgment passed, any more than when the debts of one man are by agreement reckoned to another, who previous to that imputation owed the creditor nothing And whereas it is further urged, that “if Adam’s sin becomes ours only by imputation it deserves condemnation only by the same to which action of God it is to be ascribed whence, according to this opinion, man’s destruction must be of God.” It may be replied, that as the placing of one man’s debt to another’s account by agreement which is no criminal action, is not that for which the other man is cast into prison and suffers, but the debt itself; so it is not the imputation of Adam’s sin, but the sin imputed, for which condemnation and death passed upon men.

  4. It is observed, that “we are not guilt of any other sin of Adam; therefore we are not guilty of the first sin of Adam.” But this does not follow, the reason for the one and the other not being the same: when Adam committed his first sin, he stood as a federal head to his posterity, which is the true reason of their being involved in it; but upon his commission of this sin, he ceased to stand in this relation, the covenant was broken, and it was hereafter impossible for him to perform sinless obedience, and in that way convey life to his offspring. He ceasing to be their covenant- head, they have no farther concern with him, or what he did afterwards; hence neither his after sins, nor his repentance, nor good works, are imputed to them; and this may be an answer to such queries, why “should they be charged only with his first, and not with his following transgressions? or, why should his guilt rather be imputed to them than his repentance?” But, 3rdly The covenant, or “compact made with Adam,

is represented as forged, exceeding cruel, and plainly inconsistent with the justice, wisdom, and goodness of our gracious God; and invented to excuse him from cruelty, in subjecting myriads of men and infants to the most direful lasting torments, which without this imaginary pact he could not with the least pretense of justice do.” That Adam was a covenant-head to his posterity may be proved, which he could not be

THE CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH Part II 39

if there was no covenant subsisting; besides, those words of God to Adam (Gen. 2:15, 17). Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die, are expressive of a covenant. The threatening of death in a case of disobedience implied and included a promise of life in case of obedience. This being proposed to Adam, and he consenting to it, formally constituted a covenant; in which he was considered not as a private but public person, having all his posterity in his loins. This compact therefore is no forgery; and where is the cruelty of it? since had Adam stood, his posterity had been partakers of his righteousness, and of all the benefits and advantages arising from it. Yes, but then it is said, his righteousness was a defective one, liable to be lost, either afterwards by himself, or some one of his posterity, which would have put them in the same sad case they are now. But why should it be thought that Adam’s righteousness would have been any more defective than that of the angels? Why may it not as well be concluded, that has Adam stood upon the trial of his obedience, that he and his posterity would have been secured from after-falling, or been made impeccable as the angels are? And where is the inconsistence of this compact with the justice, wisdom, and goodness of God. Did not God make a covenant with Abraham, and by it obliged his posterity in future ages to the observance of circumcision? Is it any unusual thing, or an unjust, or an unwise action, for men to make covenants, and bind their children unborn to the performance of them. Has it not been reckoned just both with God and men, that in some cases children should be punished for their parents’ sins? Does not God say, that he will visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate him? (Ex. 20:5). Does not the treason of a nobleman taint his blood, and involve his posterity, until restored? Is not such a procedure according to the law of nature and nations, and justified by the sense and practice of mankind?

4thly. It is said, that the words of the apostle, by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, must have a metonymical sense; and the meaning is, that they were obnoxious to death for his sin, or that they become sinners by a metonymy of the effect, by suffering the punishment God had threatened to Adam

for it. But this is to depart from the proper signification of the phrase; no instance can be produced of the apostle’s using it in this sense, either in the context or elsewhere: the word amartwloi always signifies persons guilty of a fault, and only obnoxious to death for that fault. This sense of the words is contrary to the apostle’s scope and design, which is, to give an account of the original of sin, and how condemnation and death came upon men through Adam’s sin, and their being made sinners by it, is contrary to the distinction he all along makes between sin and death, the one being the cause, the other the effect, and is to be disproved by the sense of the opposite part of the text, by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. The active obedience of Christ is opposed to Adam’s act of disobedience; the righteous are opposed to sinners; and a being made righteous by the one, is opposed to a being made sinners by the other. Now, by the rule of opposition, as to be made righteous by Christ’s obedience, is to be formally constituted and accounted so for the sake of his obedience and righteousness; and, in consequence of it, such become partakers of freedom from condemnation and death. So to be made sinners by Adam’s disobedience, is to be formally constituted and esteemed sinners on the account of it; and, in consequence thereof, become obnoxious to condemnation and death. Nor will the parallel of Christ bearing our sins, and being made sin for us, at all help this sense of the words; since Christ bore our sins, and was made sin for us, not barely by bearing and suffering the punishment of sins, but by the imputation of them to him; in consequence of which imputation he was made a curse, and bore and suffered the punishment due to sin. And, after all, it will not be easy to reconcile this with the justice of God, that men should be obnoxious to death for Adam’s sin, and suffer the punishment threatened him, when they are no ways chargeable with the guilt of it; what reason can be given, why they should suffer death for that sin of which they are in no sense guilty?


Chapter 3

OF REDEMPTION

The following sections contain a vindication of some arguments taken from passages of Scripture in favour of particular redemption, which Dr. Whitby calls objections to the universal scheme, and which he attempts to answer in the first, second, and fifth

chapters of his discourse, concerning the extent of Christ’s redemption; to which he premises the state of the question, by showing what limitations and restrictions of our Lord’s general redemption he cannot admit of, and in what sense they who maintain that doctrine assert it. The distinctions of Christ’s dying sufficiently for all, but intentionally only for the elect, and for all if they will believe and repent, but moreover for the elect, to procure faith and repentance for them, he rejects; and which, for my own part, I can no more admit of than himself. He adds positively, that Christ died equally for all, for Judas as for Peter, though not absolutely, but conditionally, or so as that they should be made partakers of the blessings of his salutary passion, upon condition of their faith, repentance, and sincere obedience to the laws of the new covenant; but did not purchase actual pardon or reconciliation for all men, only put all men, by his death, in a capacity of being justified and pardoned upon their conversion and faith. On the other hand, I firmly believe that Christ died for all the elect of God, and them only; that, by his death, he has cured for them actual pardon, reconciliation and salvation; and, that in consequence of the absolute and unconditional covenant of grace being ratified and confirmed by his b1ood, faith and repentance are bestowed upon and wrought nin these persons, not as conditions but blessings of that covenant; in which way they are brought to the full enjoyment of that salvation Christ has obtained for them. Which is what I undertake to vindicate.

Section 1—Matthew 20:28.

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

These words not only express the great blessing of redemption, and the Author of it, the Son of man, a character of the Messiah, and the manner of his obtaining it, by giving his life, his own life, a ransom, a redemption price for, in the room and stead of the persons redeemed by him, but also point out the persons ransomed, who are said to be many, not all, and so may be considered as a proof of particular redemption; since, as our opponents themselves allow, that though “all men certainly are many, yet many are not necessarily all.” To which the following things are objected.

1st. That “since what is, in some few places, said of many, is not only in more, but in the same places said of all, it is certain that Christ cannot be said to die for many exclusively of all.” To which I reply: that we do not say Christ died for many exclusive of all, for then he must die for none; but that he died for many exclusive of some; nor are the places fewer in which he is said to die for many, than those which say he died for all; nor is it true, that what is in some places said of many, is in the same places said of all. But let us consider the passages themselves. And,

  1. Begin with the text under consideration, on which this observation is made; “that the same Scripture which saith, Christ gave his life a ransom for many, says also, that he gave himself a ransom for all.” This is, indeed, said in the same book of Scripture, but not in the same passage of Scripture; nor is the text referred to (1 Tim. 2:6), to be understood of every individual of mankind, but either of some of all sorts, or of the Gentiles as well as Jews, as has been shown in the former part of this work; and in which sense, perhaps, the word many, in this text, is to be taken, as Grotius himself upon it observes. Moreover, all those for whom Christ gave his life a ransom, are either ransomed by it, or they are not; that all are not ransomed, or redeemed from sin, the law, Satan, and the second death, is evident, since many live under the power of their sins, and, at last, die in them; and, having sinned against the law, are under it, and the curses of it, and will be punished by it; nor are they delivered from the bondage of Satan, but are led captive by him at his will, all their days, and their everlasting portion is the second death. Now, if some persons, for whom Christ gave his life a ransom, are not ransomed, then that shocking absurdity, which follows upon the notion of men’s justification by their own obedience to the law, follows upon this, namely, that Christ is dead in vain, that so far he gave his life for a ransom in vain; wherefore it will be rightly concluded, that he did not give his life ransom for every individual man. Besides, such who are ransomed by Christ, are represented as a peculiar people (Titus 2:14; Isa. 35:10; Jer. 31:11); they are called the ransomed of the Lord, to distinguish them from others, and by the name of Jacob, which, when mystically or figuratively understood, only designs the church of nod. Add to this, that such whom Christ

    gave his life a ransom for, are described by such characters as cannot agree with every individual of mankind, such as the church, the children of God, his sheep and people (Eph. 5:2, 25; John 10:15; 11:51, 52; Matthew 1:21), unless all mankind can be thought to be the church of God, the sheep of Christ, and his special people.

  2. It is further observed, that he who said, This is my blood shed for many, for the remission of sins, said also, for that very reason, drink ye all of it, for it was shed for you, for the remission of sins.” But it should be considered, that the all Christ bid to drink of the cup were his immediate disciples and apostles; and, should it be extended to others, it can only design such who are the true disciples of Christ; who only share in the remission of sins, and therefore ought only to drink of the cup. If the blood of Christ was shed for the remission of the sins of all mankind, then all their sins would be remitted, or Christ’s blood must be shed in vain; but it is certain, that the sins of all men are not remitted; the sins of many will be brought into judgment, and for them, they will be everlastingly punished. And, therefore, there is reason to believe Christ’s blood was not shed for them, since there is such an efficacy in that blood, to cleanse from all sin; and God, on the account of it, is just and faithful to forgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7, 9).

  3. “That there is no inconsistence betwixt dying for many and for all, is said to be evident from this consideration, that even in the same chapter the apostle saith, that by one sin of Adam many died, Romans 5:15, and all died, (v. 12); many were made sinners (v. 19), and all sinned (v. 12); and that by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous, di>kaioi katastaqh<sontai, shall be justified (v. 19); and that by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men to justification of life, (v. 18).” To which I answer, that it will be readily allowed, that the many that sinned and died in Adam, and through his offense, are the same with the all that sinned and died in him on the account of it, and that these intend all mankind, to whom Adam was a representative head; also it will be granted, that the many who are made righteous by the obedience of Christ, are the same with the all on whom the free gift comes to justification of life; but then these regard not all

    mankind, but such to whom he is a representative head, and who are his spiritual seed and offspring; for if all mankind, were made righteous and justified by Christ, they would be all saved and glorified; whom he justified, them he also glorified, and none would be condemned; whereas the sentence, go, ye cursed, etc., will not only be pronounced, but executed on many.

  4. It is also urged, “that in the same epistle in which it is said, Christ bore the sins of many, it is expressly said, he tasted death for every man.” As to the latter expression, it has been made to appear, in the former part of this performance, that it is to be understood not of every individual man, but of the sons, the children, the brethren, the church, and seed of Abraham, spoken of in the context; and as to the former, the many cannot be extended to all mankind; since, if Christ bore, the sins of them all, they must be put away, finished, made an end of, and never be found more; nor shall they be borne by them in a judicial way; whereas the sins of many go beforehand to judgment, of which they will be convicted, and for which they will be righteously punished. Besides, the persons whose sins Christ bore, being laid on him, are represented as particular and peculiar persons, the seed of Christ, and whom he justifies (Isa. 53:6, 11,12; 1 Pet. 2:24).

2ndly It is observed, “That as when the kindness designed by Christ’s death to all upon the conditions of the Gospel is expressed, it is said Christ died for all; so when the effect and benefit of it is expressed, the word many is most proper; for his blood shed procures remission of sins only to penitent believers: and in this sense Christ gave his life a ransom only for many, even for as many as would believe and obey his Gospel.” But this is to separate the design and effect of Christ’s death, and to assert, that it does not reach its designed effect, which is to render it so far in vain. Besides, this makes the efficacy of his death to depend on the faith, repentance, and obedience of men; and, after all, many can only mean some, and not all, since all do not repent, believe, and obey.

Section 2—John 10:15.

And I lay down my life for the sheep.

The argument from hence, in favour of the doctrine of particular redemption, is taken from the character of the persons for whom Christ laid down his life, who are his sheep, whom he is said to know, and they are said

to know him, hear his voice, and follow him; to whom he gives eternal life, so as that they shall never perish: all which is not true of every individual of mankind. In some parallel places they are said to be his friends, for whom he laid down his life (John 15:13), and are distinguished from others; being such who keep the commandments of Christ, which all men do not; as having the secrets of Christ communicated to them, which servants have not; and as being chosen and ordained by Christ to go and bring forth fruit, which is not the case of all mankind. And in Ephesians 5:25, they are said to be the church, for whom Christ gave himself; which must be distinct from the world, and can design no other than the church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven: and, therefore, since these are the discriminating characters of the persons for whom Christ died, it follows, that he died for some only, and not for every individual of human nature. In answer to this,

  1. It is observed, that “in none of these places it is said that Christ died only for his sheep, for his friends, or for his church; and, therefore, none of them say anything in contradiction to our assertion” of general redemption. I reply, this objection is much like what the Papists make against the doctrine of justification by faith. They own the Scriptures say, that we are justified by faith, but not by faith only. Now it may with as much propriety be said, that other, besides those which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham, because the Scriptures do not say that they which be of faith only are blessed with him, or that there are more gods and more mediators than one, because the text does not say, there is only one God, and only one Mediator; yea, it might be urged with equal strength, that men may love other women besides their own wives, in the same manner they love them, because it is not said, husbands love your wives only, as it may that Christ loved others, and gave himself for others, besides his church; because it is not said, he loved his church only and gave himself for his church only. But, though this restrictive word is not expressed, it is evidently implied; for, if Christ laid down his life, and gave himself for every individual man, these peculiar and discriminating characters would be utterly unnecessary. And, after all, it is owned by our opponents, that “eventually Christ is the Savior of his body, and died only for his sheep and friends.”

  2. The argument is retorted upon thus; “He that died for his friends, and for his enemies, for the church of God, and for the unrighteous, that he might bring them to the church of God; for the sheep that heard his voice, and for the lost ones that did not hearken to his voice, died for all. But Christ died for his friends, etc., therefore he died for all.” The fallacy of this argument will easily appear, when it is observed, that they are, the same individual persons who are styled the enemies and friends of Christ, the unrighteous, and the church, the lost sheep, and such as hearken to Christ’s voice; being the former as considered in their unregenerate estate, and the latter through the power of his grace upon them.

Section 3—John 17:9.

I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. The death of Christ, which was the oblation of himself as a sacrifice, and his intercession, are the two principal parts of his priestly office; and relate to the same persons. Those for whom he died, for them he also maketh intercession; and for whom he is the propitiation, for them he is an advocate with the Father; and for whom he sanctified, or sacrificed himself, for them he prays (Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1, 2; John 17:9, 19). Now, such who have an interest in his prayers, are a special people, opposed to the world, and distinguished from them by the peculiar character of being given to Christ by the Father; and therefore those for whom he died, being the same persons, must be a special and peculiar people. It follows then that Christ died not for every individual of mankind, since

he does not intercede for every one. But,

  1. This is said “to be contrary both to reason and the Holy Scripture: to reason; for can it rationally be imagined that he, who was perfect in charity, should be wanting in this highest act of charity? that the beloved Son of God should charge this upon us as our duty, to pray for our enemies, and he himself neglect it? Moreover how often doth he say of the Jews, Ye are of the world; and yet says to them, eij e]gnwv, How do I wish that thou hadst known in this thy day the things which do belong to thy peace! And hanging on the cross, he said, Father, forgive them, they know not what they do: thus did he make intercession for the transgressors. Now, this prayer implies a possibility of their receiving forgiveness, and that, a disposition

    in God to grant it; and consequently a satisfaction provided, such as will be acceptable, if they do their parts towards the obtaining of it.” To which I reply, that it is certain Christ was perfect in charity; nor was he wanting in this highest instance of it, praying for his enemies; and yet did not pray for every individual man; and though he charges it on us to pray for our enemies, yet not for every particular person: there are some we are not to pray for (1 John 5:16). Nor do the instances produced prove, that Christ prayed for all the individuals of human nature. The passage in Luke 19:42, regards only the Jews, and is no prayer at all, much less for their eternal salvation: since it only concerns their civil and temporal, not their spiritual and eternal peace; and is only an instance of Christ’s human compassion towards a people whose condition was irretrievable by prayer or other ways. His prayer on the cross was heard and answered, being made, not for all his enemies, but for such who were afterwards converted, as three thousand of them were under one sermon; and their number after that was increased; which prayer not only implied a possibility, but a certainty of their receiving forgiveness of sins upon the foot of a satisfaction; which was acceptable and available, not for anything done by them towards the obtaining of it, it being perfect in itself; but because of the dignity of Christ’s person, and the virtue of his blood and sacrifice. find thus indeed he made intercession for transgressors. But then these were no other than his own people, for whose transgressions he was stricken, wounded, and bruised; the many whose sins he bore, and whom he justified, (Isa. 53:5, 8, 11, 12).

  2. It is urged, that “our Lord says not this absolutely, but only in respect to that very prayer he was then offering up for his apostles; in which he was asking those things which could agree to them alone.” But it is absolutely said, I pray not for the world; nor is this prayer Christ was then offering up, peculiar to the apostles. In the beginning of it he takes notice, that his Father had given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as he had given him, (v. 2). Now were the eleven apostles the many, and the only ones the Father had given to Christ, and to whom he gives eternal life? Did Christ only manifest his Father’s name, glory, and gospel, to them? Are they the only persons opposed unto and

    distinguished from the world? Yea, does not Christ say of the persons he is praying for, All mine are thine, and thine are mine, (v. 10), which manifestly includes and designs the whole election of grace? And, as if it was observed on purpose to obviate such an objection, he says (v. 20), Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. Besides, the things he asks for are such as were not peculiar to them as apostles, but common to them with other saints; such as preservation from the evil of the world (vv. 11,15); sanctification through the truth (vv. 17, 19); perfect union (vv. 21, 23), and eternal

    glory (v. 24).

  3. It is observed, that this very prayer in which he saith, I pray not for the world, was made for the sake of the world, and with respect to their saving faith (vv. 21, 23). And out of that affection to the world, and with design that the preaching of the apostle to them might be more effectual for their conversion and salvation.” But it should also be observed, that the word world is an ambiguous one, and is used in various senses in this prayer; and in the passages referred to does not intend such who were opposed unto, and distinguished from those who were given by the Father to Christ, as it does in the text under consideration; but the elect of God in an unconverted state, who should be brought under the ministry of the apostles, and other preachers of the Gospel, to believe on Christ, to own him whom the Father had sent, and to know and partake of that love and favor which God bears to his own people.

Section 4—Romans 8:34.

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that

died.

The argument from these words, in favor of peculiar, and against universal redemption, stands thus: Those for whom Christ died are God’s elect; and these in virtue of his, death are freed from condemnation, and may boldly say, Who is he that condemneth? But God’s elect, are not all men, or all men are not God’s elect; nor are all men freed from condemnation by the death of Christ; nor can they all say, Who is he that condemneth? It follows, that Christ died not for all men. That those for whom Christ died are God’s elect, is evident from the connection of the words with the preceding verse: Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect:

It is God that justifieth, that is, his elect; Who is he that condemneth? that is, the elect of God: It is Christ that died, that is, for God’s elect. Should it be said, as it is, that by God’s elect are meant true believers; it should be observed, that they are not denominated God’s elect from their being true believers, but they become true believers in consequence of their being God’s elect. Besides, should this sense of the phrase be admitted of, it will be of no service; for if, instead of God’s elect, we read true believers, the sense of the words will be this; Who shalt lay anything to the charge of true believers? It is God that justifieth true believers? Who is he that condemneth true believers? It is Christ that died for true believers. Now all men are not true believers, to whom Christ is precious; nor have all men that faith which works by love. Moreover, that all for whom Christ died are, by his death, freed from condemnation, and may say, Who is he that condemneth? will abundantly appear from these considerations; that Christ, by dying, has had the sentence of condemnation they deserved, executed on him, in their room and stead; sin, the cause of condemnation, is removed by his death, the full pardon of it procured, and a justifying righteousness brought in, with which the law and justice of God, are fully satisfied: and therefore, consistent with the justice of God, the persons for whom Christ died cannot be condemned; and should any of them be condemned, his death would not be a security from condemnation; for would it be a sufficient foundation for the apostle’s triumph of faith. Now it is certain that all men are not secured from condemnation; there is a world that will be condemned (1 Cor. 11:32). Whence it follows, that Christ died not for all men. To this is excepted,

1. “That this argument supposeth, that Christ died for none who shall hereafter be condemned” Which is very true; for should any be condemned for whom Christ died, his dying for them must be in vain and be no security against condemnation: and whereas it is asked, “Must it not hence follow, that none of the unbelieving Jews among whom Christ preached, nor none of the unbelieving world to whom the apostles preached, shall be condemned for not believing in him? Since they could never be obliged to do so for whom he never died which is contrary to John 3:18, Mark 16:16. “It may be replied, that the Jews and Gentiles to whom Christ is preached, are obliged to

believe that Christ is God, the Son of God, the true Messiah, etc., according to the tenor of the revelation made to them; and may be justly condemned for not believing in him as such, even though he died not for them; for that he died for them, is what they are not obliged to believe, that being no part of the revelation made to them; nor will they be condemned for not believing that he died for them, but for their neglect, contempt, and unbelief of him and his Gospel, which is the sense of the passage alleged.

2. It is said, that “there is no such proposition in the Scripture as this, that all for whom Christ died may say, who shall condemn them? but only that the persons there spoken of may say this, who were the sons and heirs of God, (vv. 14-17); had received the first- fruits of the Spirit (v. 23); loved God (v. 28); and were justified by him; (v. 33).” To which I answer, that though this proposition is not expressed in so many words in Scripture, yet it is strongly supported by the passage under consideration; and should it be admitted, that only the persons spoken of in the context may say this, yet it is certain, that all who are partakers of the same grace and have received the same Spirit, may also say so too; yea, all the elect, even all that Christ died for, may say so sooner or later: for though the elect themselves cannot say this till they have believed, yet as their faith and repentance do not interest them in Christ, nor in his death, nor in the benefits of it; so they do not say so, as is suggested, upon their faith and repentance, but upon the account of Christ’s death. Besides, our argument does not barely rest upon the elect, or those for whom Christ died, saying, or being able to say this, but upon the doctrine contained in it; that all those for whom Christ died, are by his death secured from condemnation; if therefore, any of the sons and daughters of men shall be condemned, as multitudes will be, we conclude that Christ died not for them.

Section 5—Romans 8:32.

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also

freely give us all things?

The us all, or all us, for whom God has delivered up his Son, are no other than the predestinated, called, justified, and glorified (v. 30), which cannot be said of every individual of mankind. Moreover, those on whose account God spared not his Son, but delivered

him up into the hands of justice and death, in their room and stead, to be a sacrifice and ransom for them, will certainly be spared by him, and be delivered from the wrath to come; it being consistent neither with the justice nor with the love of God, to cast his wrath upon them, or deliver them up to eternal punishment. Now, it is certain, that some persons are not spared by him, nor do escape eternal damnation: whence it must needs follow, that Christ being not spared: was not on their account; otherwise they would have been spared; and that though he was delivered up to justice, and to death, yet not for them; otherwise they would have escaped everlasting destruction. Besides, to all those for whom God has delivered up his Son, he freely gives all things: but there are thousands in the world to whom God does not give his Son, and all things freely with him; and therefore, it may be strongly concluded, that for these he did not deliver him up. In answer to this it is said,

  1. That this argument, as before, supposes “that Christ died only for those who shall be saved, and so liable to all the absurdities before mentioned; and to these that God could not equitably require all men to repent, nor could be equitably require of them obedience to his laws.” To which I reply, that we freely own the assertion, and abide by it, that Christ died only for those who shall be saved; the end of his dying being salvation: if any for whom he died should not be saved, the end of his death would not be answered; and so be in vain with respect to them. As to its being liable to the former absurdities, these have been removed; and as to the additional ones, it is certain that God might have required repentance and obedience of men, if Christ had never died for any, or at all; as has been observed in the former part, of this work.

  2. It is here, as before said, “That there, is no such proposition in Scripture as this, to all those for whom God delivered up his Son, he will give all things: the Scripture, cited respects only us, who are the adopted sons of God, etc.” I reply, that this Scripture does abundantly confirm the truth of the proposition: for admitting that it only respects the adopted sons of God, to whom God gives the blessings of the new covenant: not because they have performed the conditions of it, as is intimated; for then he could not be said to give them freely; yet the Apostle’s argument does not

proceed upon their being the sons of God, and still less, upon their having fulfilled the conditions of the covenant, but upon God’s delivering up his Son for them, and therefore will hold good with respect to all those for whom he has delivered him up, as it did with respect to them. For it may be as strongly concluded, that God will give all things freely to all those for whom he has delivered up his Son, as that he would bestow them on these particular persons: since there is the same reason for the one as for the other. Else there is no force in the Apostle’s reasoning, no weight in his argument, nor any real conviction or solid consolation to be received from it; since it might be replied to him, that God might deliver up his Son for persons, and yet not freely give all things with him to them.

Section 6—Romans 5:10.

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his

life.

The argument from these words, in favour of particular, and against universal redemption, stands thus: such for whom Christ died are reconciled to God by his death; and such who are reconciled to God by his death shall be saved by his life. If therefore Christ died for all men, and all men are reconciled to God by his death, then all men shall be saved by his life. But all will not be saved by his life; therefore all men are not reconciled to God by his death, nor did he die for all men. In answer to which,

1st. It is observed, that “this argument supposes that Christ died to reconcile no man to God who shall not be saved.” It is very true, and we not only suppose but affirm it, and argue thus: Those for whom Christ died to reconcile them to God, are either reconciled to him or they are not; if they are not reconciled to him, then Christ with respect to them must die in vain; if they are reconciled to him, then according to this text they shall be saved. Whence it necessarily follows, that he died to reconcile none to God, who shall not be saved. But then it is said, it must follow,

  1. That no man can be condemned at the last day for neglecting that great salvation tendered to, or purchased for him; Christ having neither purchased for or offered to them any salvation, unless he offered to them that salvation which he never died to purchase for them.” It is certain, that for those who shall not be saved, salvation was not purchased, nor should it be

    offered to them, nor indeed to any. Such for whom salvation is purchased, are the church whom Christ has purchased with his own blood; and to these, this salvation is not offered, but applied. The Gospel is not an offer, but the power of God unto salvation, to these persons. And as for others, they will be condemned at the last day, for their sins and transgressions against the law of God. And such who have had the opportunity of hearing the Gospel, and have neglected, despised, and reproached it, their condemnation will be thereby aggravated. But,

  2. It is also said, that “it must follow from hence, that all who are not saved, never had any Savior or Redeemer, and so were never in a capacity to sin against a Savior; nor can their sins be aggravated by this consideration that they are committed against redeeming love. I reply, that savior and saved are relative terms, and mutually put for each other: a Savior supposes persons saved, and the saved supposes a Savior. Now Christ can be a Savior to no more than to them who are saved; and to such who are not saved, he is no Savior; and yet such may be capable of sinning against him as a Savior, though not as their Savior; they may deny him to be the Savior, despise, reproach, and neglect him as such, as Jews, Deists, and others, have done. And though their sins are not aggravated by this consideration, that they are committed against redeeming love, as having any share in it themselves, yet may be aggravated by their contempt of it, as the blessing of others. Moreover, Christ may be sinned against by these persons as a Saviour, in a way of providence, though not in a way of grace; and their sins may be aggravated, as being committed against his providential goodness, if not against his redeeming love. Though strictly, and properly speaking, sin is not against Christ as a Saviour, but against God as the Lawgiver; and not against redeeming love, but a law of righteousness.

2ndly It is allowed, that the conclusion of this argument, all that are reconciled to Christ (God I suppose is meant) shall be saved, may be true; but not that all, for whom Christ died, are reconciled to

God.” But if all for whom Christ died are not reconciled to God, then one principal end of his death, which was to make reconciliation for sin, is not answered; and consequently his death must be so far in vain. And whereas it is observed, that “Christ died for

them when sinners, unjust, ungodly, and unbelievers, who cannot be actually reconciled to God, as none can, until they believe and are justified; and that reconciliation by the death of Christ, is only by faith in it; and that God never sent his Son to purchase actual reconciliation for any but conditionally, if, and when they believed.” I reply, that though no man is reconciled to God’s way and method of salvation by Christ, or has peace in his soul, flowing from a sense of atonement and justification by the blood of Christ, until he believes; which is meant by the phrase, much more being reconciled; and regards not any performance of Christ’s, but the work of the Spirit of God upon the soul: yet this hinders not but that men, whilst sinners, ungodly, and unbelievers, may be reconciled to God by the death of Christ; that is to say, that their sins may be expiated, and fully atoned for; for faith is not the cause or condition of this reconciliation; faith does not make peace with God, or reconciliation for sin, but receives the atonement already made. Nor is it anywhere said, either that God sent his Son to procure reconciliation, or that Christ has obtained it on condition of man’s believing. The scheme of reconciliation was drawn by God without any respect to faith, and was completely obtained by Christ without any consideration of anything done, or to be done by us. The consequence of which is reconciliation of our souls to this way of peace, by the Spirit of God; and the sure and certain effect of this, is everlasting salvation to all those who are thus reconciled.

Section 7—John 15:13.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man laid down his life for his friend.

These words contain an argument in favor of the doctrine of particular redemption, taken from the greatness of Christ’s love in laying down his life for men, and may be formed thus: Those for whom Christ died, he loves with the greatest love: but he does not love every individual man with the greatest love; therefore he died not for every individual man. In answer to this argument, it is said,

  1. That it “plainly supposes, that Christ died for none who shall not actually be saved; whence it must follow, that only the elect are, or can be guilty of sinning against the love of God in Christ Jesus.” To which may be replied, that we not only suppose

    but affirm, that Christ died for none who shall not actually be saved; and that for this reason, because Christ must have died in vain for such persons. But God forbid it should be said, that his death was in vain, in any one single instance. Nor are we afraid of the consequence of this affirmation, that only the elect are, or can be guilty of sinning against the love of God in Christ Jesus; since sin is properly against a law, sin is the transgression of the law. And though some men may be said to sin against the love of God in Christ, when they sin against God, notwithstanding their enjoyment of it, which is an aggravation of their sin, and in which sense they only car be guilty who do enjoy it; yet others may sin against providential kindness, and indeed against special love, when they despise the gospel, and ministers who publish it, and that itself, because it is discriminating.

  2. That “there is no assertion in the holy Scripture, that those for whom Christ died, he loved with the greatest love. Christ only says, that one man shows no greater love to another, than that of laying down his life for his friend. But this he neither did nor could say of the love of the Father, nor of himself: for God commended his love to us, that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us; and he died for the ungodly, the just for the unjust; and therefore this text is nothing to the purpose.” To which I reply, that though this assertion is not expressed in so many words in the holy Scripture, it may be easily proved by it; and is manifestly implied in the words of this text. For when Christ speaks of the love of one man to another, by laying down his life for his people, as the greatest instance of it, he tacitly hints at his own love in laying down his life for him; for in the preceding verses, he is speaking of his love to his disciples, which he represents as equal to his Father’s love to him, and as a pattern and example of theirs one to another; and in the verses following, applies the character of friends unto them. And though Christ is said to die for his, while sinners, and for the ungodly and unjust; yet these are the same persons whom he calls friends, they being by nature as sinful and wicked as others. Which epithets and characters are made use of, not to express any greater, but the same act of love in dying for them, which is illustrated by their sinfulness and unworthiness.

  3. “It is granted, Christ showed the greatest love

of benevolence to all for whom he died; but then it is added, that he shows his love of friendship and beneficence only to those that bear a true reciprocal affection to him.” Which love of friendship and beneficence, it is said, “depends on our repentance, conversion, faith, and obedience.” Now not to take any notice of the distinction of Christ’s love, into that of benevolence and beneficence, being a groundless one, when, like himself, it is, the same yesterday, today, and for ever; Christ’s death does not merely express a love of benevolence, or only shows that he wished them well for whom he died, or willed good things for them; but was an act of beneficence, or an actual doing good things for them; since by it he reconciled them to God, brought them near unto him, redeemed them from all iniquity, finished their transgressions, made an end of their sins, and brought in everlasting righteousness for them. Nor does what is called a love of beneficence, depend on our repentance, conversion, faith, and obedience: for though Christ loves them that love him, and grace is upon all them that do so, yet it is not their love that is the cause of his; but on the contrary, they love him, because he first loved them. Moreover, were there any foundation for this distinction of the love of Christ, yet his dying for men, which is styled his love of benevolence, is a greater expression of his love than the application of the salutary effects of his death, which is reckoned his love of beneficence; and he that has a share in the former, will certainly enjoy the latter; the apostle argues from the one to the other, as from the greater to the lesser; when he says, If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Rom. 5:10.)


Chapter 4

OF EFFICACIOUS GRACE

The celebrated writer chiefly attended to, has filled up above twenty pages in stating the question about the grace of God in conversion.

The sum of which is, that there are some inward operations of the Spirit vouchsafed in that work; but that these only consist in representing divine truths to our understandings, and bringing them to our remembrance, and thereby raising some ideas in the brain, and making some impressions on it; which

he allows to be physical, and irresistible in their production, and in which men are wholly passive; but utterly denies that any supernatural habits are infused, or that any supernatural aid is requisite to the conversion of a sinner besides the aforementioned. He observes that the word grace in scripture, always signifies the favour and goodness of God, but never any supernatural or infused habit: contrary to Romans 5:20, 21, and 6:14, 2 Corinthians 8:7, and 9:8, 14,

Colossians 3:16, 1 Timothy 1:14, and 2 Peter 3:18, with many others: yet owns, that the foresaid ideas raised in the brain, according to their nature, use, tendency, and effects, may be called either exciting, or restraining, or preventing, or assisting, or the subsequent of God; and may be either sufficient or efficacious, common or special. My business in the following Sections will be to prove, that the work of grace or conversion, is an internal one, wholly owing to the efficacious grace of God, and wrought in the soul by a supernatural, irresistible, and insuperable power, in the production of which man is purely passive; and to vindicate the passages of scripture made use of in proof of this doctrine, which are objected to.

Section 1—Ephesians 1:19, 20.

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us- ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.

Since the apostle, in these words, plainly intimates, that the work of grace upon the hearts of believers is to be ascribed not only to the power of God, but to the greatness, yea, the exceeding greatness of his power, and which is represented as equal to that which was put forth in raising Christ from the dead; we think we have good reason to conclude, that this work is a work of almighty, irresistible; and insuperable power, and in which men, in the first production of it, are purely passive. It is indeed said, that “it must be absurd hence to infer, that the power of God working faith in believers is equal to that which effected the resurrection of our Lord, and that we must be therefore purely passive in the whole work of our conversion.” But certain it is, that the power here spoken of is said to be kata< th<n ejne>rgeian, according to the working or energy of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead. And if the work of faith and conversion is intended, men must

be passive under the energetical influence of divine power effecting it, as the body of Christ was, when, by the same power, it was raised to life. But let us attend to the reasons given:

  1. It is said, that “this power is not consistent with the persuasions and exhortations used in Scripture to move men to repent, and turn themselves from their iniquity.” I reply that the exhortations to repent and turn from iniquity do not regard the first work of conversion, or the inward work of grace upon the soul, which is here designed, but an outward reformation of life. Besides, supposing the exhortations referred to respect the internal work of faith and conversion, they may be attended with that power from God, who makes use of them, so as to produce such principles of life and grace, in which men are purely passive; by virtue of which they may become active, and be enabled to answer to such exhortations; even as the command of Christ to Lazarus to come forth was attended with such a divine power as produced a principle of life in him, in which he was purely passive; though by virtue of it he became active, came forth, and answered the word of command.

  2. This is also said to be inconsistent “with a rational choice.” I answer, that no doubt, whilst men are in a state of nature, they are able, without the special and powerful grace of God, to make a rational choice in things natural and civil, but not in things spiritual and eternal. How should they, when they are under the power of sin, influenced by their corrupt and deceitful lusts, and enslaved by Satan? Such men will always choose their own ways, for their soul delighteth in their abominations; which makes the powerful and efficacious grace of God necessary to enlighten their understandings, inform their judgments, guide their affections, and influence their wills.

  3. It is urged that if this was the case, “it could not properly be said that they turned, but only that they were turned, to the Lord.” To which may be replied, that when the Scriptures speak of the internal work of conversion upon the heart, it is expressed in tike passive form, they were turned, see Jeremiah 31:18, 1 Peter 2:25. And when they speak of external reformation, or of such a turning to the Lord as is the fruit of faith, then it is expressed in the active form, they turned to him, see Acts 11:21.

  4. It is observed, that “this exposition is not

agreeable to the words; for the apostle speaks not of the power exercised on us to render us believers, but of the power which shall be exercised on us who believe already.” But nothing is more evident, than that the apostle speaks not of a power which shall be exercised on believers, but of a power which is exercised upon them, and is continued to be so; and is the same with that which was put forth when they first trusted in Christ, and must be continued to carry on and perfect the good work. Now, if the exceeding greatness of God’s power is necessary to carry on and perfect the work of faith, it must be much more so to produce, plant, and form it at first. It is asserted, that the apostle speaks “not of the power to be exercised on our souls, to raise them from a death in sin to a life of righteousness, but of the power to be exercised on our dead bodies, to give them a glorious resurrection to eternal life, as he had none already in the body of our head Christ Jesus.” But though the apostle, in order to illustrate that power which is exalted towards them that believe, takes notice of the power which was wrought in Christ when he was raised from the dead; yet he says not one syllable concerning the resurrection of the saints. Moreover, the apostle is speaking not of a power to be exercised, but of one that is now exercised upon believers; whereas the resurrection of our dead bodies is an act of God’s power, which is to be exercised; it is future, yet to come. Besides, this power is limited to believers; whereas the resurrection of the dead will be both of the just and unjust; and the resurrection of the one will be as much an instance of the exceeding greatness of God’s power, as the resurrection of the other. Add to this, that at the resurrection the people of God will no longer bear the character of believers, (for faith will be changed into vision,) but that of saints and just men, being in themselves made perfectly so; whereas the subjects of this power are such who believe. To conclude, these words stand in connection with Ephesians 2:1: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, which is the plain instance of God’s power the apostle had in his view; for all that is said between them, concerning the resurrection, exaltation, and headship of Christ, may be read in a parenthesis, and are only mentioned to illustrate and set forth the exceeding greatness of the power of God in this instance of it.

Section 2—1 Corinthians 5:17.

[with Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:10, and 4:24].

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. The work of grace upon the soul being expressed in these passages by kainh< kti>siv, a new creation, or creature, and a being created in Christ Jesus, manifestly shows, that it is to be ascribed to the efficacious grace of God, and that man is purely passive in it. But it is observed,

  1. “That this metaphor affords no certain proof that wheresoever it is used, the person it respecteth must be purely passive, and have done nothing towards the act styled creation, is evident from Isaiah 43:1, and 54:16.” To which I reply, that if the metaphor elsewhere used affords no certain proof, that the person it respecteth must be purely passive, and have done nothing towards the act styled creation, yet, if it does in the instances before us, it is sufficient to our purpose; now nothing appears to the contrary. And, indeed, the other passages referred to are far from making it evident, that the metaphor affords no certain proof of the person’s passiveness whom it respecteth; not Isaiah 43:1, where God is said to have created Jacob, and formed Israel, which is not to be understood literally of the people of the Jews, when God formed there as a nation, or body politic, or when he constituted them to be his church and people, and they entered into covenant to have him for their God; but of the elect of God, whether Jews or Gentiles, as appears from verse 5-7, 19-21, compared with 1 Peter 2:9, 10, and designs this new creation work of grace upon their souls in effectual vocation; by which God forms them for himself, that they may show forth his praise. Now, though they are active in showing forth the praise of God, yet are entirely passive in being created and formed for that purpose. So in the other instance, in Isaiah 54:16: I have created the waster to destroy. Though the waster is active in destroying, yet he is purely passive in being created, appointed, and raised up to destroy.

  2. It is urged, that man is not holy passive in the case before us is “certain, from the nature of faith and godly sorrow, which are men’s acts, and not God’s, and from God’s frequent calls upon the wicked to turn from their transgressions to the Lord.” I reply, that when we say that men are passive in the work of grace upon them, we speak not of the exercise of

    grace, in which, it is allowed, men are active, but of the implantation and production of grace in them. Though men, and not God; believe and repent, yet faith and repentance are the gifts of his grace and the produce of his power. And though they are active in turning to the Lord, yet this is in consequence of their being first turned by him. Besides, God’s frequent calls to men to turn themselves, regard not the first work of conversion, but an external reformation of life, as the fruit, effect, and evidence of it.

  3. It is further observed, that “God is, in Scripture, said to create that which he brings into a new and better state, as in Psalm 51:10, Isaiah 65:17, 19. To this sense the Scripture plainly leads us, when it saith, If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. And all the Greek fathers confirm this exposition, by saying, that this new creation only importeth, me>taijbolh<n ei<v to< krei~tton, a change for the better.” Admitting that this is the sense of the word create, in the places cited, and that the sense of the Greek fathers is just, the question before us is not whether this new creation is a change for the better, but, whether this is to be ascribed to the irresistible and efficacious grace of God, in which man is passive, or to the active power of man’s free will. But neither the sense of the Greek fathers is just and proper, which seems to imply that man, before this new creation, was in a good state, though this changes him into a better. Whereas this is not an improvement of what he was, or had before, but an infusion of that into him which he had not. Nor does it appear so manifestly to be the sense of the word create, in the places referred to; not in Psalm 51:10, Create in me a clean heart, which strongly expresses the sense David had of his fall, of his own inability to help himself, and of his need of so much of divine power to restore him, as is put forth in an act of creation. And from hence it may be rightly concluded, that if a fallen believer, who has the grace of God in him, is not able to create a clean heart in himself, much less able is an unregenerate sinner. Nor in Isaiah 65:17, where it is said, Behold, I create a new heaven, and a new earth; since it follows, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. Nor in verse 19, Behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy; which will be done, not barely by renewing, or bringing into a better state the former individuals, which before constituted Jerusalem, or

the church, but by an immediate thorough conversion of multitudes, which shall be added to her; for then the earth shall be made to bring forth in one day, and a nation shall be born at once (Isa. 66:8). Much less in the text before us, seeing it is immediately added, Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. This new creation is not an improvement, or a mending of the old principles of nature, but an infusion of new ones, and so is properly styled a creation.

Section 3—John 3:5.

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Since the work of grace upon the soul is here expressed by a being born again, or from above; and since this is ascribed to water and the Spirit, not baptismal water, which has no regenerating virtue in it, nor is it absolutely necessary to salvation; but either the grace of the Spirit or spirit of grace, compared to water (Ezek. 36:25; John 4:14; 7:37-39); we conclude, that this is wrought by the omnipotent and unfrustrable grace of God, in which man is as passive as an infant is in its natural generation and birth. In answer to which it is said,

  1. That “the falsehood of this argument is evident from this consideration, that this new birth is ascribed to the word and ministers of God (Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet. 1:23; Jam. 1:18; 1 Cor. 4:15), who work upon us by moral suasion; and since this cannot import, that they produce it by an irresistible action, in which we are purely passive, it will not follow that God, or his good Spirit, doth so convert men, because they are said to be born of God, or of the Spirit.” To which I reply, that though faith comes by hearing, and we are said to be begotten by the word of God and truth, as a mean, yet faith is a gift of grace, and of the operation of God (Eph. 2:8; Col. 2:12; 2 Thess. 1:11); which work of faith, as it will be fulfilled, so it is begun and carried on by the power of God, which can never be resisted so as to be overcome. And though ministers are represented as spiritual fathers, yet they are only instruments by whom we believe; and were no more done, than what is the effect of moral suasion through them, the work would never be done at all. Moreover, it does not follow, that because they do not and cannot produce this work by an irresistible action, in which we are passive, that therefore God does not convert

    men in such a way; since it is certain he makes use of them in such a manner, as that the excellency of the power may appear to be of God, and not of man (2 Cor. 4:7.) Besides, we are never said to be born of the word, or of ministers, but by them; whereas we are said to be born of God, and of the Spirit, which is expressive not of bare means, or mere moral suasion, but of the powerful efficiency.

  2. It is observed, that this “phrase is used by the Jews concerning their proselytes, they being then said to be recensnati, newborn babes; and from them our Lord translates the metaphor to his disciples, renewed after the image of God in true holiness, and sanctified throughout in all their whole man.” But the phrase of being born of water and of the Spirit, is never used by the Jews concerning their proselytes. It is true, indeed, they have such a saying as this, dlwnç ymd rg ryygtnç ˆwfqk, One that is made a proselyte, is like a child new born: but then they used this not in a spiritual but in a civil sense, signifying by it, that such ceased from all natural and civil relations to parents, masters, etc. Such an one might marry his mother, or mother’s sister, be no longer under obligation to a master, standing no longer in any relation to them, being as a newborn babe; and might be admitted, in civil cases, as a witness equally with a Jew, with many other things of the like nature. And admitting that our Lord had reference to the use of this phrase among the Jews, it was to show, that another kind of birth was necessary to the enjoyment of the kingdom of God, that either the Jews, as being the descendants of Abraham, or than the proselytes, by coming over to the Jewish religion, had. Besides, since in the objection it is observed, that this metaphor is translated to such who are renewed after the image of God in true holiness, and sanctified throughout in all their whole man; yea, it is added, that there is such intrinsic change in the whole spirit, soul, and body, that they may be said to be much more other men, than Saul, when the Spirit of prophecy came upon him: and seeing it is owned, that this change is wrought within us by the operation of the Holy Spirit, why should it not be ascribed to the unfrustrable and irresistible power and grace of the Spirit, in which men are entirely passive?

Section 4—Ephesians 2:1.

[with Colossians 2:13]

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in

trespasses and sins.

Men in an unregenerate state, being represented in these passages as dead in sin, shows, that whilst they are in such a state, they are as incapable of spiritual motion or action, or of quickening themselves, as a dead man is of natural motion, or action, or of raising himself from the dead. Whence it must needs follow, that the work of conversion is a work of God, and not man, and to be ascribed to the exceeding greatness of his power; in which man is passive as a dead body is in its resurrection from the dead. In answer to which, 1st. It is said, “that the metaphor of being dead

in trespasses and sins, cannot warrant our saying anything of unregenerate persons, which may properly be affirmed of the dead;” for,

  1. “A dead body is void of all sense; whereas the unregenerate man is often under strong convictions, and a deep sense of his present misery.” To which I reply, that it is one thing for a man to be under strong convictions, and a deep sense of his present misery, or of the evil and mischief which comes by sin, which sense is purely natural; and another thing to be under real convictions, and a deep sense of the true evil and wickedness that is in sin, which is purely spiritual, and arises from the quickening influences of the Spirit of God.

  2. A dead man cannot awake himself out of the sleep of death; but God saith to the spiritually dead man, Awake, thou that sleepest, arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee life, it should have been light (Eph. 5:14). I reply, that these words are not spoken to the spiritually dead, but to professors of religion, as abundantly appears from the context; who were fallen into a drowsy, sleepy frame, which was very much owing to their conversation with dead sinners: wherefore the Apostle exhorts them, to rouse themselves from this lethargy, and arise, and depart from their dead companions, and unfruitful works of darkness, when they might expect more light and liveliness in their souls from Christ.

  3. “A dead man cannot hear: but to the spiritually dead, God saith, Hear, and you souls shall live (Isa. 55:8).” To which may be replied, that there is a twofold hearing of the word; an external one, which regards the outward ministry of it, and an internal one, so as to understand it; the former, men spiritually dead may be capable of, but not of the latter; (see

    John 8:43, 47). Besides the persons spoken to in the passage of Scripture cited, were not spiritually dead, but were such as were quickened, who had a principle of spiritual life implanted in them. In consequence of which, they thirsted after spiritual things, verse 1, though greatly distressed under a sense of their spiritual poverty. Wherefore, the Lord encourages them to hearken to him, and listen to his covenant, grace and promises, that they might live comfortably.

  4. “It would be absurd to exhort a dead body to turn about and live; whereas God thinks it not incongruous to say to persons spiritually dead, Turn yourselves, and ye shall live” (Ezek. 18:32; 33:11). I reply, that the passages referred to, do not regard such who were spiritually dead; since they concern the whole house of Israel, and every one of them: of whom it cannot be said, that they were dead in trespasses and sins: nor do the exhortations relate to the first work of conversion, but to an external reformation of them as a body politic, that they might peaceably live in their own land, and comfortably enjoy the good things of it.

  5. “Good Christians are said to be dead to sin (Rom. 6:2, 11); to the law (Gal. 2:19), and to the world (Gal. 6:14).” Now if hence we cannot truly argue, that they cannot sin at all, that they can do nothing relating to the world, or to the law; neither can we argue from the metaphor of being dead in trespasses and sins, that we can do nothing in obedience to the calls of God, or compliance with the motions of his word and Spirit. To which I reply, that the meaning of the phrases in the passages mentioned is, that believers are freed from the damning power of sin, and from the curse and condemnation of the law, and are delivered from this present evil world. Now, whereas we can truly argue from hence, that believers are so dead to sin, the law, and the world, and these to them, as that they cannot condemn, damn, or destroy them; so we can truly argue from the metaphor, of being dead in trespasses and sins, that men can do nothing spiritually good, until God powerfully calls them by his grace, and they feel the quickening influences and motions of his Spirit.

2ndly In answer to the argument from these Scriptures, it is observed, that “both the places cited concern only the Gentile world; and so we cannot argue from those words, which do so certainly relate to the worst of Heathens, that this must be the natural

state of all men: or, that the same power is requisite to convert the unregenerate Christian, and the worst of Heathens.” I reply, that these persons spoken of were Heathens, is readily granted; but that they were the worst of Heathens is not so manifest, though, probably, they were as bad as any. However, I cannot but take notice of the unregenerate Christian, as a mere paradox, a contradiction in terms; since no man can be truly a Christian but he that is regenerated by the Spirit of Christ. But, passing these things, let it be observed, that the same character of being dead in a moral or spiritual sense, is given to unregenerate Jews, which is here given to the unconverted Gentiles (Matthew 8:22; John 5:25). For that they were Jews, and not Gentiles, our Lord speaks to and of in the places referred to, is evident from this consideration, that as yet the Gospel was not sent to the Gentiles; nor were there any among them as yet who heard his voice or followed him. Nothing is more a certain and true than this, that he, or she, that liveth in pleasure, whether Jew or Gentile, are dead while they live. Besides, the a apostle says the very same things, in the same words, of himself, who was a Jew, and a devout one, and of others, while unconverted, as he does of these worst of Heathens (Eph. 2:4, 5). So that we may truly argue, and safely conclude, that this must be the natural state of all men; and that the same power is requisite to convert an unregenerate Jew, yea, an unregenerate man living where Christianity is professed, and the worst of Heathens; since the same characters belong to them.

Section 5—1 Corinthians 2:14.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are

spiritually discerned.

The natural man is not barely the sensual man, who is abandoned and given up wholly to his carnal lust and pleasures; since he is not the only person who is ignorant of spiritual things; which sense of the phrase the Arminians were formerly fond of, though they have now quitted it; but rather the man of reason, who is merely yuci>kov, has nothing but a soul, or bare reason in him, destitute of the grace of God; which is the case of every man in a natural state. Now this man, whilst he is such, and by the mere light of nature, cannot know the things of the Spirit of God. The utmost

knowledge he can have of the doctrines of the Gospel, here intended, is merely notional and speculative, not spiritual and experimental. The reason is, because they are spiritually discerned, that is, tried and judged in a spiritual way. Nor can he receive them, so as to love and approve of them; because they are foolishness unto him, absurd and ridiculous. Wherefore, a divine operation of grace upon his understanding, affections, and will, is absolutely necessary, in order to his spiritual knowledge, affectionate reception of, and hearty subjection to, the Gospel of Christ; and without this he will never understand it spiritually, nor receive and embrace it cordially. But to this are excepted,

  1. That “the natural man here is not barely the unregenerate man; but the wise man, and disputer of the world, who will admit of nothing but what he can see proved by reason; and so receives not things revealed by the Spirit.” I reply, admitting this sense of the phrase, it follows, that if an unregenerate wise man, one of the greatest abilities, and most refined parts, in whom reason is sublimated, and wound up to its highest pitch it can well be, in unsanctified nature, cannot know and receive spiritual things; then an unregenerate foolish man, or one of meaner abilities, and of a lower rank and size, can never, as such, understand and embrace them. The apostle has pitched upon in instance which must necessarily conclude all men that are unregenerate, in a state of ignorance of spiritual things, and in an incapacity of knowing them, without the special illuminating grace of the Spirit.

  2. That “the apostle speaks not of the inability of a Heathen to understand the meaning of any revelation discovered unto him: for how, then, it is asked, is it discovered to him? but of the necessity of a supernatural revelation, that the hidden wisdom of God might be made know to the world.” In answer, a Heathen, whether a philosopher, or a man of a more ordinary size, may be capable of understanding the literal, grammatical meaning of a revelation made to him, even of the external revelation God has made to the world; as that the import of it is, among other things, that Jesus is the Messiah, was born of a virgin, suffered, died, and rose again, and thereby procured salvation for men; and yet, have no spiritual sense and apprehension of these things, any relish for them, gust of them, or faith in them; all which he will remain

a stranger to, unless accompanied with a special, internal revelation, and application of them to him by the Spirit of God. The necessity of which, and not of an external, supernatural revelation, the apostle here demonstrates; for the latter, the natural man, whether among Jews or Greeks, had; otherwise, it could not with any propriety be said, that he receiveth not, or rejects these things, and accounts them foolishness; which were inconsequence of anexternal, supernatural revelation made in the ministry of the apostles, who preached Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling- block, and to the reeks foolishness (1 Cor. 1:23, 2:4); it being with respect to them unattended with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power.

Section 6—2 Corinthians 3:5.

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of

God.

The argument from hence, proving the insufficiency of man’s free will, and the necessity of the grace of God to the doing of that which is spiritually good, stands thus: If men are insufficient of themselves to, or cannot by the strength of free will, think anything that is spiritually good, much less can they will, and still less perform, that which is so. But,

  1. It is said, that this argument, “if it proves anything, proves too much; namely, that we are not sufficient of ourselves, logi>sasqai> ti, to think anything at all, whether it be good or bad.” I reply, that neither the words of the apostle, nor our argument upon them, prove so much; nor the words of the apostle; since by ti, anything, he means either any good thing, or any evil thing, or any thing that is neither good nor evil; not any evil thing, for the imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart is only evil continually (Gen. 6:5), nor any thing that is neither good nor evil; for men are capable of themselves of thinking of things natural and civil, which, in a moral sense, are neither good nor evil. It remains, then, that he means any good thing which respects God, and Christ, and faith in them; as when our Lord says, Without me ye can do nothing (John 15:5); his meaning is not, that we can do no natural or civil action of life, or no evil action, without him, but no good one. Nor does our argument, on these words of the apostle, prove so much; since it is limited to things which are spiritually good. Moreover, the logi>sasqai, here used, does not

    signify barely to think, but to think with judgment and affection (see Phil. 4:8), which no man, with respect to spiritual things, is capable of without the grace of God.

  2. It is urged, that “the words relate to the apostles, and to them alone, and are a declaration of their own insufficiency to carry on the great work of conversion of the world to the Christian faith by their own strength and wisdom, without the illuminations and powerful operations of the Holy Ghost.” To which I answer, that the apostle is indeed speaking of the ministry of the Gospel by him and others, and of the success of it, and of their trust and confidence through Christ concerning it (vv. 3, 4); yet in these words he speaks in general terms; Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to think anything as of ourselves, either with respect to the work of the ministry, or the conversion of souls, or our trust in God, or anything else that is of a spiritual nature: but our sufficiency, for every spiritual work, is of God. And then he proceeds to take notice particularly of their fitness for the ministry they had of God. Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament. Whereas, if the words in the fifth verse relate particularly to the sufficiency the apostles had from God for the work of the ministry he must be guilty of a very great tautology in the sixth verse; for the sense of both must be this; We are not sufficient for the work of the ministry of ourselves, but our sufficiency for it is of God; o{v kai, who also hath made us sufficient ministers of the New Testament. Besides, if the apostles were not sufficient of themselves to think, study, or collect anything together, fit for the ministry of the Gospel, and so as to be useful to the good of souls, much less must a natural man be able to think any spiritual good thing, and still less be able to do anything towards his regeneration, or in the real work of faith and conversion, which is entirely owing to the efficacious grace of God.

Section 7—John 15:5.

For without me, ye can do nothing.

That men in an unregenerate state are capable of performing natural and civil actions, and such as have the appearance of moral good, will be allowed; but that they are able to do that which is spiritually good, or any good thing in a spiritual manner, must be denied; for even believers themselves are not

able to do anything of this kind of themselves, or without Christ, and the Spirit and grace of Christ, as is sufficiently evident from these words. But,

  1. It is objected, that “these words of Christ are spoken expressly to those who were abiding in Christ, and truly believed already.” Be it so; if such were not able of themselves to do anything that is spiritually good, much less able are they who have no abiding in Christ, or true faith in him.

  2. It is said, that these words being spoken to the twelve apostles, “signify, that without the gifts and powerful assistance of the Holy Spirit, who belonged only to them that abode in Christ, they could do nothing to convert the world.” I reply, though these words are spoken to the apostles, yet not to them only; for our Lord’s words throughout the context are so expressed, as that may be applied to any other persons under a profession of faith; much less are they spoken to them as apostles, but as in union, with Christ, believers in him, professing faith in him, as branches in him the vine, deriving all their grace, life, liveliness, and fruitfulness, from him, by which they performed every spiritual action; all which are far from being peculiar to them as apostles. Moreover, this sense of the words makes Christ to stand for the gifts and assistance of the Spirit; whereas the phrase without me; signifies separate, or apart from him, that is, from his person and grace, and not the gifts and assistance of his Spirit. Besides, it is not true that the Holy Spirit, with respect to his gifts and assistance, qualifying for and succeeding in the work of the ministry, only belonged to them that abode in Christ; since many may, and have had the Spirit in this sense, as Judas, who never had any real being or abiding in Christ.

  3. It is observed from Gataker, “that cwri<v ejmou, without me, is the same as cariqe>ntev ajp ejmou~ being separated from me, ye can do nothing; which, if we extend to all true Christians, only signifies, that “without abiding in the faith, they cannot be faithful in the faith; and without their continuing united to Christ by the Spirit, they cannot bring forth the fruits of the Spirit.” It is certain, that men without abiding in the faith, can never be faithful in it; and without continuing united to Christ, cannot bring forth the fruits of the Spirit; though all that are truly in the faith shall abide in it, and such as are really united to Christ,

shall continue so, and bring forth fruit. But then, if these cannot bring forth fruit without abiding in the faith, and continuing united to Christ, how should such bring forth fruit who never were in the faith, nor in Christ? Gataker’s observation, and which is also Piscator’s, is a very good one; and the sense of the words it confirms is this; that could the apostles, or any other believers, be supposed to be, or could possibly be separated from Christ, they would not be able to do anything that is truly and spiritually good. And if so, how should such who are cwri<v Cristou, without Christ (Eph. 2:12), as all unregenerate persons are, be capable of doing anything of that nature? It is true, they may be able to attend to the hearing of the word, by which faith comes, may ask, seek, and knock for the good Spirit, may consider of the ways of God, and turn their feet to his testimonies; but unless they are renewed by the Holy Ghost, are created in Christ Jesus, and have faith in him, they will not be able to do these, nor anything else in a spiritual manner. The Remonstrants themselves own, “that man in a sinful state, cannot of himself think, will, or do that which is truly good, and that it is necessary that he should be regenerated, and renewed of God in Christ by his Holy Spirit, in the understanding, affection, and will, and in all his powers, that he may be able rightly to understand, meditate, will, and perform that which is truly good; as it is written, Without me ye can do nothing.”

Section 8—John 6:44.

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.

  1. This passage of Scripture is no inconsiderate proof of the doctrine of the powerful and efficacious grace of God in the work of faith and conversion. To come to Christ, is to believe in him. This is not to be attributed to the free will and power of man, but is owing to the Father’s drawing; which is to be understood not of moral suasion, but of the internal and powerful influence of his grace. This act of drawing, is an act of power, even almighty power; as appears from its being something distinct from and superior to both doctrines and miracles. The Capernaites had heard the doctrine of Christ, which was taught with authority, and had seen his miracles, which were full proofs of his being the Messiah; and yet believed not,

    but continued murmuring at his person and parentage. This gave occasion to Christ to observe to them, that something more than these was necessary to their coming to him, or savingly believing in him, even the powerful and efficacious grace of the Father in drawing. Besides, if this act of drawing was only an act of moral suasion, and not of almighty power, then a lesser action is ascribed to the Father who sent Christ, than is to Christ himself; though he is here spoken of as Mediator; since he takes to himself the power of raising such up at the last day who come unto him, which must be allowed to be an act of omnipotence; when moral suasion is what belongs to every ordinary minister of the word. Add to this, if it be considered what men, in conversion, are drawn off from and to, from their beloved lusts and darling righteousness, to look unto and rely upon Christ alone for salvation; from what was before so very agreeable, to that which, previous to this work on their souls, was so very disagreeable; to what else can this be ascribed, but to unfrustrable and insuperable grace? But then, though this act of drawing is an act of power, yet not of force: God, in drawing of unwilling, makes willing in the day of his power; he enlightens the understanding, bends the will, gives a heart of flesh, sweetly allures by the power of his grace, and engages the soul to come to Christ, and give up itself unto him; he draws with the cords of a wan, with the bands of love (Hosea 11:4). Drawing, though it supposes power, yet not always co-action, or violence. Music draws the ear, love the heart, and pleasure the mind, trahit sua quemque voluptas. The Jews have a saying, that the proselytes in the days of the Messiah shall be μyrwrg μyrg μlwk, all of them proselytes drawn, that is, such as shall freely and voluntarily become proselytes.

  2. In answer to this sense of the word, it is said, “that to be drawn of God, cannot import our being moved by any inward and irresistible impressions to believe in Christ; for then no man could come to Christ without this irresistible impression; and then no other person could be blame-worthy for not believing on him, because they could not do it without that powerful attraction which God was not pleased to afford them nor could it be praiseworthy to believe in him, because they only did so when they could not choose but do it, as being moved in so doing by a force they were not able to resist.” To which I

    reply, that if by an irresistible impression, is meant such an internal influence of the grace of God upon the soul, which, though opposed, cannot be resisted so as to be overcome, and rendered in effectual, we affirm, agreeable to these word of Christ, that without this no man can come to him; yet, notwithstanding this, persons may be blame-worthy, as the Jews were, for not believing on him as the Messiah; though without this powerful attraction they could not come to him, and believe in him to the saving of their souls. Besides, though the ability of coming to Christ in a spiritual manner is owing to the powerful grace of God in drawing; yet the disability of coming to Christ does not arise from a defect, or want of that powerful attraction, but from the corruption and vitiosity of nature, which being blame-worthy, what springs from it must be so likewise. Moreover, we readily know, that it is not praise-worthy in men to come to Christ, and believe in him, but that all the praise is due to God, and to his efficacious grace, by which they are what they are in conversion; since faith is the gift of God, and of his sole operation: nor could any come to Christ, unless it were given unto him of the Father; and therefore he ought to have all the praise and glory.

  3. Whereas it is affirmed, that “to be drawn of God can only signify,

(1.) “To be persuaded and prevailed upon to come to Christ, by the consideration of the mighty works which God had done to justify that he was the true Messiah; to which Christ appeals as divine testimonies of him, and by which the unbelieving Jews became inexcusable.” I answer, it is true, that miracles were proofs of his Messiahship, and which left the Jews, who rejected him, without excuse; but then these works, properly speaking, were done by Christ himself, and the conviction of his being the Messiah from them, and the persuasion to come to him, and believe on him, on the account of them, were from the Spirit; and neither of them the acts of the Father, and so not intended by this act of drawing. Besides, multitudes of souls, both under the Old and New Testament, before, and since the coming of Christ, have been enabled to come to him for life and salvation, who never were persuaded and prevailed upon so to do, by the consideration of miracles. And many who did see the miracles of Christ, did not, in a spiritual manner, come to him, and believe in him.

Wherefore our Lord ascribes faith in him to a superior power, to the unfrustrable influences of divine grace, which are here signified by the Father’s drawing. Or, (2.) It is said, to be drawn by the Father signifies “to be moved by the great promise of eternal life confirmed by these miracles to do it; for where there is a firm belief, and lively sense of that inestimable blessing, it must strongly engage to come to Christ, from whom it is only to be expected.” To which I answer, eternal life is, indeed, only to be expected from Christ; and when there is a firm belief and lively sense of it, as in him, and to be had from him, persons will be strongly engaged to go to him for it: but then, what is it that gives that firm belief, and fixes that lively sense of this blessing, so as strongly to engage to come to Christ for it, but the powerful and efficacious grace of God? The bare external revelation of the promise, though confirmed by miracles, will not do it. Instructions by the ministry of the word are not sufficient, unless accompanied with the demonstration of the Spirit, and of power. The following words are not a proof of it, It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God; every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me (John 6:45): which do intend mere external instructions, or objective teachings, for multitudes are in that way instructed who never come to Christ; but special teachings, such as are attended with the energy of divine grace, with the laws and doctrines of Christ put into the inward part, and written on the heart. Add to all this, our Lord himself explains what he means by the Father’s drawing (v. 65), where he says, No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father; which is more than affording means and motives, it is giving faith itself. What is said to answer to the argument from Matthew 7:18, and Romans 8:7, will be considered hereafter in the

next chapter.

Section 9—Acts 11:18.

[with Ephesians 2:8]

Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

These scriptures prove that faith and repentance are the gifts of God, and owing to the powerful operation of his grace. Now

  1. To confront this, it is said, “What God commands we must do; and therefore must be active in it: but

    God commands all men every where to repent (Acts 17:30), and to believe in the name of Christ (1 John 3:23), therefore we must be active in the works of faith and repentance.” To which I reply, that though what God commands is the rule of man’s duty, yet not the measure of his strength. It is no good arguing from God’s commands, to man’s power in his present state. God requires men to keep the whole law; it does not follow from thence, that they are able to do it. So, though it is his commandment, that we should believe in his Son Jesus Christ, and repent; yet it is certain, that faith is not of ourselves, it is a gift of grace, and of the operation of God; and the same may be said of repentance. Moreover, though believers are active in the exercise of the graces of faith and repentance; for it is the convinced sinner, and not God or Christ, or the Spirit, who repents and believes; yet in both men are purely passive in the first production and implantation of them in their hearts. But we are told, that; it by this way of arguing, the Jews must have been purely passive in all their hardness of heart, Ahab’s false prophets in lying, the enemies of God’s church in all the evils they do to her, and in the blasphemies they utter against him; because God is said (Rom. 11:8; 1 Kings 22:23; Rev. 6:4, 8; 13:5, 7), to give a spirit of slumbering, a lying spirit, power to take peace from the earth, and a mouth speaking blasphemies. To which I answer, that these judicial acts of God, and as such the persons to whom they relate, were indeed passive in them, these being purely God’s acts, and not man’s; and yet the Jews were active in hardening their own hearts, Ahab’s prophets in following the suggestions of the lying spirit, and the enemies of God’s church in using their power to make war with the saints, and in opening their mouths in blasphemy against him.

  2. This is laid down “as a general and rule, that where God is said to give any thing, the exercise of that faculty is still supposed which he hath given us already; and God is only said to give it by giving those faculties by which we are enabled to obtain it, and the means and motives which are sufficient to excite those faculties to the performance of their proper actions. Thus it is always with respect to natural and spiritual gifts; for thus God giveth riches and wisdom. Thus the Jews say, that God hath given repentance to the Gentiles, when, by Peter’s preaching to them peace

through Jesus Christ, and promising remission of sins upon their repentance, they repented, and believed in Christ. So faith is said to be the gift of God; because the objects of it are only by divine revelation made known, and are only confirmed, and made credible by the testimony God hath given to them.” But though the Gentiles repented, and believed in Christ, upon Peter’s preaching peace and pardon to them through him; yet it was not through the strength of their natural faculties, or barely through means and motives, exciting their faculties to the performance of these actions, but through the power of the Holy Ghost; for while Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word (Acts 10:44); who produced in them these graces of faith and repentance, and assisted them in the exercise of them on their proper objects. Besides, if God may be said to give faith and repentance to men, when he only gives the means of them, and motives to them, he may be said equally to give faith and repentance to men, who do not believe and repent; which is a contradiction in terms, provided they have the same means and motives as those who do. And so Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, may be said to have faith and repentance given them; because they had the means of them, and motives to them; the doctrines of Christ were preached unto them, and his mighty works done among them; though our Lord upbraids them with their impenitence and unbelief. So, when faith is said to be the gift of God, if no more is meant by it, than that the objects of it are made known, confirmed, and rendered credible by a divine revelation; then all those may be said to have it given to them, to whom the objects of it are so made known and confirmed. Whereas there are multitudes, who through the external revelation of the word, know that Christ is the object of faith, and yet have no true faith in him. Therefore more is meant than this, even the donation of the grace itself; for it is given to men to believe, even actually to exercise faith. To which is required, besides the confirming evidence of revelation, the power and grace of God; for no man can come to Christ, that is, believe on him, except the Father draw him. Nor is it always true, with respect to natural gifts, that God gives riches and wisdom to men, when he gives them faculties, means, and motives of getting wealth and wisdom (see Eccl. 9:11). When he does give riches and wisdom, he gives

more than barely faculties, means, and motives to get them; he gives riches and wisdom themselves: so when he gives faith and repentance, it is not merely natural faculties capable of them, or the bare means of them, or motives inducing to them, but the things themselves.

Section 10—Acts 16:14.

Whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things that were spoken of Paul.

The heart of man is naturally shut up against God and Christ, and every thing that is spiritually good; and nothing less than divine power can open it, nor any other but he that have the key of the house of David, that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth (Rev. 3:7); which proves that conversion is God’s work, and wrought by the power of his grace. In answer to which,

  1. It is owned, that “God inclined Lydia to do this; but the only question is said to be, whether he did it by any extraordinary and irresistible influence? This it seems reasonable to deny.” But, why should it seem reasonable to deny it? Surely, that action which overcomes resistance, and takes out of the way every thing that obstructs, must needs have an irresistible influence. Now, such is this action of opening a poor sinner’s heart; it overcomes the opposition within, and removes that which shut, and kept the heart shut to every thing that is spiritually good, and, therefore, must be done by an irresistible influence. Our author proceeds, and reasons thus: “Either she alone was ajxi>a, prepared, disposed, and fitted to receive this influence, and then she had done something already towards her conversion; or if it were absolutely necessary that; she might believe, and yet she alone, though no more fitted or prepared for it than the rest, received it; the other auditors for want of this extraordinary influence, must lie under a necessity of not believing; and so it could not be blame-worthy in them, that they did not believe.” I reply, whether Lydia was the only person or no converted, at this time, is not certain, no mention is made of any other; and that she was fitted and disposed to receive this influence does not appear, no not from her being sebome>nh to<n Qeo<n, one that worshipped God; for in Antioch there were many of these sebome>nwn gunai~kwn, devout and honorable women, who were so far from being fitted and disposed to believe, that

    they raised a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts (Acts 13:50). And had she been fitted, prepared, and disposed to receive this influence, it does not follow that she had done something towards her conversion, since this might be, and yet no conversion; and, besides, this disposition might be of God, and not of herself. On the other hand it is urged, if she was no more fitted for it than others, and yet received it, the rest, for want of it, must lie under a necessity of not believing, and so could not be blamed for their unbelief. But it should be observed, that though such is the condition of man by the fall, that he cannot believe in Christ, without the powerful influence of divine grace, which God is not obliged to communicate; yet, it is not the withholding of that influence, or denying that grace, which lays him under a necessity of not believing, but it is the corruption of his nature that lays and holds him in the chains of unbelief; and, therefore, his unbelief is not to be imputed to the want of this powerful influence, which God is not obliged to give, but to the vitiosity and wickedness of his heart, on which account he is justly blame-worthy.

  2. It is alleged, that “to open the heart, and to open the ear, are Scripture phrases of like import; for the effect of both is the same, namely, the rendering the person willing and inclined to do the thing. Now this God sometimes does by his afflicting hand, and sometimes by the preaching of the word; so that they, who have their hearts affected with, and inclined by it to what is good, may be said properly enough to have their hearts opened by it.” To which I reply, that both the opening of the ear and of the heart are God’s acts, and not man’s: and, though God sometimes does these things by afflictions, and by the preaching of the word, as moral instruments, yet neither the one nor the other will ever produce them, without the mighty power of his Spirit and grace accompanying them: and, whereas it is said, that such who have their hearts affected with the word, and inclined by it to that which is good, may be said to have their hearts opened by it. But who, or what is it that gives and produces this affection and inclination? All that hear it are not affected with it, and inclined by it: to what else can this be ascribed, but to the powerful and efficacious grace of God?

  3. It is observed, that “God is here said to open the

heart of Lydia, not to believe, but only prose>cein, to attend to the things spoken of Paul; that is, to weigh and seriously consider of the greatness of the blessings promised to believers, namely, remission of sins and eternal life; and that attention produced faith in her.” I reply, that it is true, that faith comes by hearing, and attending to what is heard; but it is neither hearing nor attention that produces faith, but the grace and power of God: hence it is said to be the work of God, and of the operation of God (John 6:22; Col. 2:12). And, if such an act of God’s grace and power, as the opening of the heart, is necessary, to a proper, profitable, and useful attention to the word, and to a serious consideration of the blessings of it; how much more necessary must it be to the work of conversion, to true saving faith in Christ?

Section 11—Jeremiah 31:18.

[with Deuteronomy 30:6]

Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; .for thou art the Lord my God.

Since God promises to circumcise the heart, and Ephraim here, being under afflictive providences, which had not such an effect upon him as to turn him heartily and effectually to the Lord, prays that he would take the work into his own hands more immediately, believing that then he should be thoroughly converted; we conclude, that the circumcision and conversion of the heart are the works of God in us, in which we are passive; that they are wrought by his powerful grace, without which all means are insufficient to produce them. Now,

  1. In answer to such texts as these, in general, this is laid down as a most certain rule: “that when God doth require us to do what he himself doth promise, and hath made it our duty to perform, his promise is only to perform what is requisite, on his part, towards the work.” But this author should have informed us what that is which is requisite on God’s part, and what that is which is man’s duty to perform, towards the work of conversion. Whereas nothing is more certain, than that God does both require of us to do, and he himself promises to do, the whole work of conversion; which he does not by persuasion, or laying before us inducements to it, as is suggested, but by unfrustrable influence. And yet his command to do it does not imply that we are gods, or have equal power with him, as is intimated; nor does praying to

    him for the performance of what he requires of us, and he has promised, suppose a desire to be excused from obeying his commands. The commands of God show his authority, and man’s duty; the promises of God discover his grace and power, and are a relief to man’s weakness, which no way lessen his obligation to duty.

  2. It is observed, that “the same God, who promiseth to circumcise the hearts of his people, requires them to circumcise their own hearts (Deut. 10:16; Jer. 4:5). And it is suggested, that the promise is conditional, namely, if they would call to mind the blessings and curses he had pronounced (v. 1), and turn to the Lord (v. 2), and that it is made to all their seed, to nations, and not particular persons.” I reply, that the passages referred to have been considered in the former part of this performance; and as to the conditions mentioned, if they are conditions, they are not conditions of the circumcision of the hearts of God’s people, but of turning their captivity. And though this promise is made to their seed, as well as to themselves, yet not to all their seed, much less to nations. Besides, it particularly regards the time of the Jews’ conversion, when all the elect of God among them shall be saved.

  3. It is said, that “seeing God so frequently requires of the same persons, that they should turn themselves from their transgressions, promising life to the penitent, and threatening those that would not with death; and seeing he complains so oft of his own people, and of that very Ephraim which made this prayer, that they would not turn to him; it must be absurd to urge this prayer to excuse men from a duty required by God under such dreadful penalties.” To which may be returned: that the duty required by God, in the places referred to, does not design internal conversion, but external reformation; which latter, men may be capable of effecting, though not of the former. Though admitting internal conversion is meant, God’s requiring it does not suppose man’s ability to perform it, but his need of it; and is done with a view to bring him to a sense of his state, and that he may apply to God for it, as Ephraim did. Nor does such a prayer for conversion excuse men from obligation to turn to the Lord, or any duty respecting the outward walk and conversation; so far from it, that converting grace, when obtained, puts men into a capacity, and engages them to live soberly,

    righteously, and godly in this world. And whereas it is added, “that by comparing this prayer with the preceding chapter, in which God promises so oft to turn their captivity, it appears this is only a prayer that God would bring them out of that thralldom, like that of the Psalmist (Ps. 126:4).” Let it be observed, that this is a sense which the Jews themselves, who are ready to explain scriptures this way whenever they have the least opportunity, do not give into. The Targum paraphrases the words thus, dnjlwpl anbyta, turn us to thy worship. Kimchi observes, that it is as if it was said hbwçtb yklbq, receive me by repentance. Besides, it is plain, that what Ephraim here prayed for, he quickly had, as appears from verse 19, upon which followed true repentance; and being a dear son, and pleasant child to God (v. 20), he comforts him by assuring him that he would have mercy on him; and as an evidence of it, bids him turn again to his cities, which indeed designs the turning of his captivity: but then this is manifestly distinguished from the turning Ephraim prayed for, and which he enjoyed before he had this encouragement to turn to his cities.

  4. The Remonstrants formerly paraphrased the words thus: “As thou hast chastised Ephraim, O Lord, so chastise me; for though I am in part chastised, yet chastise me more and more:” and they farther suggest, “that they do not intend first conversion; since he being converted prays.” In which may be observed, that this sense of the text introduces another person, speaking to the Lord, besides Ephraim, contrary to the express words, and plain reading of them: nor is the word bwç, here translated turn, ever used for affliction or chastisement in all the word of God, though sometimes for deliverance from it: nor is there any command, or example of men’s praying for affliction; for though they sometimes pray, that afflictions maybe sanctified, and that they may be supported under or delivered from them, yet never, that they may be brought upon them, or increased. And as to what is intimated, that the text is not to be understood of first conversion, being the prayer of a converted man; it may be replied, that it does not appear that Ephraim (for no other person can be meant) was then converted, at least in his own apprehensions, but afterwards (see v. 19). Moreover, Ephraim is to be understood not of a single person, but of a body of men; many of whom, and it may

be the greatest part, were not converted: nor is his praying a sufficient evidence of his conversion; since a natural man is capable of praying, and of praying for conversion, under some awakenings of conscience. But be it so, that Ephraim was converted, and that he prayed not for the first work of conversion, but for the farther progress and carrying of it on, or for a renewal of it after backslidings; yet if this could not be done by himself, but required the grace and power of God; much less can the: first work of conversion be wrought by a graceless creature; and much more must that work require the powerful and efficacious grace of God.

Section 12—Jeremiah 31:33.

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and

write it in their hearts.

These phrases of putting, and writing the law of God in the inward parts of the heart, do not mean barely a making known the nature of the moral law, as to the spirituality and perfection of it, or the glory and excellency of the gospel, its truths and ordinances; but a creating in the soul a real and heart affection for these things, and a subjecting of it to them by the power of divine grace; and indeed, are expressive of an internal work of the powerful grace of God upon the soul, in which man is as passive as a vessel is, in which any thing is put; or as paper and parchment on which any thing is written. Now, to this the following things are objected.

1st. That “these promises are made expressly to the whole house of Israel, to all with whom the old covenant was made, and whom God brought out of Egypt, and would bring again out of captivity; and therefore can be no covenant made with the elect of the house of Israel and Judah; because then the whole nation of the Jews must have been elected and converted; and because it is made with those who kept not his former covenant; whereas the elect always persist, say these men, in their covenant with God; this therefore can be no new covenant with them.” To which I reply, that these promises are not made to the same individual persons, not to all, nor to any, with whom the old covenant was made, whom God brought out of Egypt, and whose carcasses fell in the wilderness, but their posterity; for it is expressly said

in verse 32, that this new covenant is not according to the covenant that God made with their fathers in the day he took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. And though they are made to the house of Israel, yet they are not said to be made to the whole house of Israel, and to all the children of Israel and Judah; and therefore might be made to the elect of the house of Israel. Whence it does not follow, that the whole nation of the Jews must have been elected and converted; nor was it made with those who kept not the former covenant; nor do we say that the elect always persist in their covenant with God; for we know that the covenants, vows, and promises they make, are often broken; but we say, that they always abide in God’s covenant with them, and are always his people, and he their God; and which notwithstanding is a new covenant to them, especially under the gospel- dispensation, to which these promises refer, being under a new mode of administration, and always new in perpetual force and vigor. Besides, the house of Israel, and the house of Judah, may be taken literally or figuratively; if literally, this prophecy concerning them was accomplished in the times of Christ and his apostles, who first preached the gospel, and made known the new covenant of grace to the Jews; many of whom were converted under it, the gospel being the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Rom. 1:16): they may be taken figuratively, and design the elect of God, whether among Jews or Gentiles; for as there was an Israel after the flesh, so there was one after the Spirit: even the whole Israel of God, the chosen vessels of salvation, to whom the new covenant and all the blessings of it peculiarly belong.

2ndly It is said, that “these words, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, import two things:

  1. “That he would clearly make known his will to them, so that they need not be at much pains to find it out, as in Deuteronomy 30:11-14, Romans 10:8, and 2:14.” To which I answer, that though these words import a clear and plain discovery of God’s will, yet that is not all; for there may be, and is a clear and plain revelation of God’s will externally made in the scriptures, and by the ministry of the word to some persons, in whose hearts nothing is internally put or written: whence it follows that putting and writing

    the law of God in the heart, is something more, and what is distinct from, a bare making known the will of God, though never so clear and plain; and must intend an internal operation and application of God’s grace. Moreover, where the knowledge of God, of his grace, mind and will, is spiritual, experimental, and saving, that follows upon, and is the fruit and effect of the putting and writing the law in the heart, as appears from the following verse; and is owned by the author of this exception. Once more, when the Gospel, which is the grand revelation of God’s will, has a place in the hearts of any, it is owing to the powerful and efficacious grace of God that accompanies it, opens the heart, and lets it in; where it; is not only clearly known, but affectionately received, experimentally felt, and truly believed.

  2. “And inculcating them on the soul by the Holy Spirit, so as that they may be still fresh upon the memory; (Deut. 6:6; 11:18, Prov. 3:1, 3). Whence it follows, that these promises cannot be so understood, as if God by them engaged to do the whole work, which he hath engaged us so expressly to perform.” To which I reply, that the persons spoken to in the cited passages were not unconverted persons, but such who had been under the first work of conversion: and the phrases of laying up and writing the laws of God in their hearts intend more than a bare remembrance of them, even a strong affection for them, and close attachment to them; so the sin of Judah is said (Jer. 17:1) to be graven upon the table of the heart, which does not intend their consciousness of it, and the keeping of it in their memory; but on the contrary, stupidity, insensibility of it, indolence about it, and a stiff tenacious adherence to it, as well as affection for it. And should these phrases intend no more here, can it be supposed, that there should ever be an affection for the law of God, or a close adherence to the Gospel of Christ, in such whose carnal minds were enmity to God, and not subject to the law of God, nor could they be, without the powerful operation of God’s mighty grace? Since then these words import, besides a dear knowledge of the law and Gospel, and an imprinting the eternal truths of both in the mind, a hearty affection for them, which issues in a professed subjection to them; this must be owing, not to the power and will of man, but to the unfrustrable and insuperable grace of God. And this objector owns, that the inculcating, them on the soul must be purely passive. The passage

in Jeremiah 32:49, will be considered under the head of the saints’ perseverance.

Section 13—Ezekiel 11:36:26.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.

These words, with those Ezekiel 11:19,20, prove that conversion is the work of God, and not of man; that man is passive in and cannot contribute to his regeneration and renovation, his heart being like a stone, hard and inflexible, on which no impressions are made until this hardness is removed; which man is incapable of, and is done by God, when he gives a heart of flesh, a soft and sensible one, or a new heart, and a new spirit, in which are new principles, affections, and resolutions; and which can be ascribed to nothing less than the omnipotent and unfrustrable grace of God. Now it is said that the arguments, taken from both these places, have two of the general faults which render all arguments of this nature null. As,

1st. “That they speak of all the whole house of Israel (Ezek. 11:15; 36:21, 22), to all that were gathered out of all countries, and brought to their own land (v. 24), and so belong not to the elect only.” But it should be observed, that all the whole house of Israel, and every individual thereof, were not gathered out of all countries, upon the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, which seems to be here designed; nor are the whole house of Israel here spoken of, neither is it here promised, nor in Ezekiel 11:19, to the whole house of Israel, that God would give to them all a new heart, and a new spirit, only to some who are distinguished from them (v. 21), whose heart walked after the hart of their detestable things, and their abominations: and therefore the Lord threatens to recompense their ways upon their own heads. It remains then, that these promises were made to and fulfilled in the spiritual Israel, the elect of God among them, the people whom he foreknew. Farther,

  1. It is said, if it “respects their return from the Babylonish captivity, it must be conditional, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, and especially the complaints of the prophet Malachi, showing that they were never fulfilled in many of them, and from Ezekiel 11:21.” To which I answer, that these promises were not made to all the people of Israel, as has been observed; therefore

    there needed no condition to he either understood or expressed either in this or in the parallel text, to suit them to these people and times; for, though the people was wicked who returned from captivity, yet there was not only an external reformation made among them, but an inward sense of things was given to a large number of them, as appeared at the reading of the law to them by Ezra. And it may be observed, that the people was never so addicted to idolatry after their return from their captivity as before; so that the promises in this and the preceding verse had a considerable accomplishment at this time.

  2. Moreover, it is also objected, that “according to this exposition it must follow, that not one good man came out of the captivity, not one of them with a new or a clean heart; but all of them with a heart of stone, which was to be taken away.” I reply as before, that these promises were not made to them all; and therefore the consequence does not follow. Besides, some good men might, as no doubt did, come out of the captivity; though the majority might be wicked, who stood in need of the things promised. Moreover, good men stand daily in need of being renewed in the spirit of their minds, and often of having clean hearts created, and right spirits renewed in them.

  3. It is also suggested, that this promise “relates to the conversion of the Jewish nation yet to come, and to them alone; and therefore all Christians may as well expect to be exempted from famine (v. 30), and to have increase of corn (v. 27), and their waste places and fenced cities built (vv. 33,35); as the other blessings promised here.” To which I answer, that though the temporal blessings here promised were peculiar to the Jews, yet the spiritual ones are such as all real Christians not only may expect, but have; and therefore, admitting that the words refer to the time of the conversion of the Jews, inasmuch as Gentile believers are made partakers of the same spiritual blessings and promises, are called in the same hope of their calling, and saved by the same grace of the Lord Jesus, as the Jews will be; there is all the reason imaginable to conclude, that they are regenerated and converted by the same grace and power; God not making use of two different methods of conversion, one among the Jews, and another among the Gentiles. 2ndly. It is observed, I that “God doth expressly command these persons, by the same prophet, to

make themselves a new heart and a new spirit, Ezekiel 18:31, which assures us that something was required, on their parts, towards the completion of this promise.” But these cannot be the same persons whom God, by the prophet, commands to make them a new heart, to whom he here promises to give one, if this promise relates, as it is said to do, to the conversion of the Jewish nation yet to come; seeing the persons God commands to make themselves a new heart were the house of Israel, then in being of Ezekiel’s time; the meaning of which exhortation, and its consistence with man’s passiveness, and the efficacious and unfrustrable grace of God in conversion, have been shown in the first part of this work.

Section 14—Philippians 2:13.

[with Hebrews 12:21]

For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

From these passages it appears, that the work of grace is the work of God only, which he produces by an irresistible and insuperable power, according to his sovereign will and pleasure; that there is no good thing in us, but what he works in us; and no good thing done by us, but what is owing to his efficacious grace; the will and power to do any thing spiritually good are both from him, for man, in his fallen state, has neither of himself. Now, “that God doth this is not denied: the question is, whether he doth it by a physical operation, unfrustrable by the will of man, or by internal suasion, or inducements to prevail upon us thus to will and do; and that he doth this only in this latter sense is said, to be evident, “1. From verse 12, where we are commanded to work out our own salvation, in which we cannot be purely passive; nor is it a reason, that God works in us both to will and to do, why we should, but rather why we should not will, or work at all; if both is and will be irresistibly performed without us. We are also bid to do this will fear an trembling; but surely, if God unfrustrably works in us both to will and to do, there can be no possibility of miscarrying, and so no ground for fear and trembling. Besides, the Philippians were exhorted to do this much more in St. Paul’s absence than in his presence. The only reason of which is, that he being present, stirred them up by his counsels and exhortations to do what was according to the mind of God, to which they in his absence were immediately

excited by the suggestions of the Holy Spirit.” To all which I reply, that the salvation the apostle I exhorts the Philippians to work out was not the spiritual and eternal salvation of their souls in general, nor the work of conversion in particular, which was already wrought in them; but the duties of religion, or things which accompany salvation, as has been shown in the former part of this work; in which they might be active, though in the good work of grace upon their souls they had been passive. Nor could any thing be a greater encouragement to them, to be active in the discharge of duty, than this; that God had laid in them principles of action, had wrought in them both to will and to do. The fear and trembling, with which they were to do these things, is not a slavish fear lest the work of grace should miscarry, but a reverence of the Divine Being, and humility of soul, which become believers n the performance of every religious action and as for their obeying, much more in St. Paul’s absence than in his presence, this is no part of the exhortation, but is prefaced to it by way of commendation, in order to animate and excite them to it with more diligence and cheerfulness. After all, if God works in us not by an unfrustrable operation, but by an operation frustrable by the will of man, how does he work in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure?

  1. It is observed that the word ejnergei~ doth not require this sense is evident; “because in Scripture it occurs very often, when it must be understood not of a physical, but only of a moral operation (as in Eph. 2:2; 2 Thess. 2:7,9,11; Heb. 4:12; 1 Thess. 2:13; Gal. 5:6; Philemon 6; Rom. 7:5).” I answer, that this word always signifies a powerful and efficacious operation, agreeable to the nature of the person or thing which is said to work; so Satan and Antichrist are said to work (Eph. 2:9; 2 Thess. 2:7,9), and that effectually, with all power and lying wonders; so the word of God is powerful, and world effectually in them that believe (Heb. 4:19; 1 Thess. 2:13), when it comes not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost; or when it is clothed with a divine power, though the former of these texts seems rather to be understood of Christ, the essential Word, than of the written word. So faith is said to work by love (Gal. 5:6), and the communication of it, and not charity, to be effectual (Philemon 6), when by the secret power of the Spirit it is influenced, and drawn forth into

    exercise, and shows itself by love and good works. So the motions of sin, in the hearts of unregenerate men, work powerfully, effectually, and without control, to bring forth fruit unto death (Rom. 7:5). And, where this word is made use of to express any action of God’s, it always signifies such an operation as is not to be frustrated, or made void )see Eph. 1:11; 3:20; Phil. 3:21; Col. 1:29), and that it has this signification in the text before us is evident, both from the general sense of the word, and the nature of the work. Add to this, in the King’s manuscript the words are read oJ ejnergw~n oJ guna>mei ejn uJmi~n , who worketh by his power in you; therefore, not by moral persuasion, but by the mighty power of his grace.

  2. It is said, “that both these places speak of men already believing, and converted; and therefore must be impertinently alleged to prove men must be purely passive in the work of conversion.” But admitting this, which will be readily done, the allegation of them is not impertinent; since, if persons already believing and converted, are not able either to will or to do any thing spiritually good of themselves, much less able must unconverted persons be. And if so much is required to work in them both to will and to do, how much more is requisite in the regeneration and conversion of a dead sinner? And if the saints are so passive under the exertions of that power which enables them to act, insomuch that they do not and cannot act until it is put forth, much more must they be passive in the first production of the work of grace upon their souls.

Section 15—1 Corinthians 4:7.

For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou, that thou didst not receive?

Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?

Nor man’s free will, care, industry, and diligence, but efficacious grace makes the difference in conversion; as abundantly appears, when two men, equally enjoying the same means, and are equally called in an external way, and the one is converted, and the other not: for who is it, then, that puts the difference? Not man, but God. Now,

  1. It is excepted, “that the apostle manifestly speaks here of those extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, the gifts of tongues and prophecy, etc., which being infused without human industry, and conferred on Christians

    without any such cooperation of their faculties as is required to the exercise of any Christian duty or moral virtue, it cannot with like reason be inquired of these duties, as it may be of those gifts, Who made thee to differ from another in them? Nor can it from them be duly inferred, that no man doth any thing to make himself differ from another in any virtue or pious disposition, to which men are stirred up by powerful motives, and praised by God for doing what others neglected to do; as in the case of the Bereans, the elder and the younger son, the publicans and harlots, compared with the scribes and Pharisees, the penitent publican and the proud Pharisee.” To which may be replied, that there is not the least syllable said by the apostle, either in the text or context, of the gift of tongues, or of any other extraordinary gift of the Spirit; nor is he speaking to ministers, or of any gift of theirs, by which they were distinguished from other men, or from one another; but to private Christians, the members of the church at Corinth, who were striving about and boasting of their ministers, and crying up one to a neglect and contempt of another: one valued himself upon his being converted under such a man’s ministry, and being baptized by him; another under another man’s ministry, and being baptized by him, and of the good judgment each of them had formed, and the choice they had made of their respective ministers; wherefore, the apostle (1 Cor. 4:6) exhorts them not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of them be puffed up for one against another, that is, for one minister against another; for, adds he, who maketh thee to differ? Some of you have been converted raider this, and some under that man’s ministry; but these men have been only instruments in your conversion; it is God, who, by his grace, has made the difference between you and others; and if you have enjoyed any blessing under their respective ministrations, you have received it from God; and, therefore, should not glory either in yourselves or in them, but in God, who has distinguished you by his favors. Now, since the apostle speaks not to ministers, but to the body of the people, it does not appear that he manifestly speaks of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit: for were they all workers of miracles? (1 Cor. 12:29,30). Had they all the gifts of healing? Or could they all speak with tongues, or all interpret? Besides, suppose the apostle does here speak of extraordinary

    gifts; since true saving grace in conversion is preferable in its nature and use to them all, and God is allowed to make a difference by the one, why not by the other? Shall we allow him to make a difference in and by the lesser instance of his favors, and not in the greater? Moreover, the apostle does not expressly instance in any one particular thing, but in general inquires, Who maketh thee to differ? in any thing, in any one instance whatever: What hast thou that thou didst not receive? nothing at all; and therefore holds good, and is equally true of the difference made in conversion, and of the blessings then bestowed, as of any thing else. As to Christian duties, or moral virtues, in the exercise of which men distinguish themselves from one another, that is not the point in question. The question is not, whether men may make themselves to differ from others in the performance of these things, but, whether one man, by the power of his free will, can make himself to differ from another in conversion; this difference, we affirm, is owing to the efficacious grace of God. Besides, the performance even of these things, in a spiritual manner, is not owing to the power of men’s free will, or barely to the exciting grace of God, or to men’s being stirred up to them by motives, but to the powerful grace of God enabling them so to act. What was it else but this grace, which so powerfully operated in the Bereans, as that they received the word readily, and searched the Scriptures with so much diligence, which remarkably distinguished them from the

    Thessalonians? Was it not the grace of God which enabled the elder son to repent and go and work in his father’s vineyard, when the second or younger son was left to his own free will, and the bare resolutions of nature? To whom can it be ascribed, but to him who has the key of David, who opens and no man shuts, and shuts and no man opens, that publicans and harlots should go into the kingdom of God before the self-willed scribes and Pharisees? And it was nothing less than the powerful grace of God which wrought in the heart of the penitent publican, and made him so; which gave him the sense he had of himself, and of his need of mercy through a mediator, which rendered him more acceptable to God than the proud Pharisee.

  2. “To the question, when two are equally called and one converted, Who is it that puts the difference? it is said, the answer, grounded on God’s own righteous

judgment, will be this: that man puts the difference, and not God only, because God judges not his own acts, but the acts of men.” I reply, that this is a very improper answer to the question; which is not when two men are before the judge, the one is condemned and the other acquitted, who puts the difference? But when two men are equally called by the external ministry of the word, the one is converted and the other not, who makes the difference? The methods God takes in conversion, and which he will take in the last judgment, are very different, as the things themselves are; in the former, he proceeds according to his justice. Men will be judged according to their works, but none are saved, or called, or converted by them, or according to them; in conversion he makes a difference, in the future judgment he will find one, and act according to it. Men will be considered, in that awful day, not barely as converted or unconverted persons, but as righteous or stoners; none will be condemned because God did not convert them or call them by his grace, but because they sinned against his law. On the other hand, the saints will be acquitted as righteous persons, through the righteousness of Christ, which gives them a title to heaven, and for which regenerating and converting grace makes them meet.

Section 16—Ephesians 2:8, 9.

[with 1 Corinthians 1:29]

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of

works, lest any man should boast.

The arguments in favor of the efficacious grace of God in conversion, from these passages of scripture, are as follow,

1st. faith, through which men are saved, and which is so considerable apart of the work of grace that the whole is denominated from it; the work of faith is not of ourselves, it does not spring from nature, nor is it produced in us by our own power, but is entirely the gift of God’s grace, which he implants in us, enables us to exercise, supports and increases, and perfects, or fulfills with power. To which is excepted, that “Faith is not here called the gift of God, but salvation by grace through faith.” I reply, admitting that the apostle does not so immediately refer to faith in particular, but to salvation in general, as the gift of God; yet, since this salvation is wholly of grace, and not of

works, is through faith, not as a work, having any casual influence, but as a mean of God’s appointing, it cannot stand excluded from being a gift of God; nor is this the only place in which it is so called (see John 6:65, Phil. 1:29).

2ndly If salvation is wholly of grace, and not of works, then conversion, which is a considerable branch of salvation, is also of grace, and not of works; and consequently there is no room for boasting; whereas, If conversion were the work of man’s power and free will, and not the work of God’s powerful and efficacious grace, he would have whereof to boast. In answer to which,

  1. It is said, that the phrase, Ye are saved by grace, “cannot mean that they are actually saved, but only that they were called to a state of salvation, enjoyed the means, and were put into the way of salvation by grace.” But, why not actually saved? Since salvation was not only in God’s purpose appointed for them, and was actually wrought out and obtained for them by Christ, but was also brought home, and really applied to their souls by the Spirit of God; so that they were now saved according to the mercy of God, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5). Besides, if all such may be said to be saved by grace, who are externally called, or enjoy the means, the gospel of the grace of God; then unbelievers, as well as believers, such who put away the word of God from them, as well as they that receive it, such to whom it is the savour of death, as well as those to whom it is the savour of life, may be said to be saved by grace.

  2. It is affirmed, that “though actual salvation depends upon good works, or sincere obedience, and though faith is the condition of justification, and good works of salvation, yet is all boasting utterly excluded; because the revelation, which contains the matters and motives of faith, and the miracles which engage to it, is the free gift of God; and because the good works we do, proceed not from ourselves, but are the fruits of faith, and performed in the strength of God. It is of his preventing and exciting grace that we will, and of his assisting grace that we are enabled to perform that will: and it is still of grace that any of these things, which deserve nothing from God, find acceptance with him.” I am very glad to observe, that all these things, last-mentioned, are earned to arise

    from the grace of God; which is far from agreeing with the scheme our author contends for throughout this performance of his, and contradicts the notion of salvation depending on good works; which notion is against the express letter of the text before us, as well as thwarts many other passages of Scripture (see Rom. 3:20,28; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5). Moreover, if actual salvation depends on good works, man has something to boast of; boasting is not excluded by the law, or doctrine of works, that is, by the doctrine of salvation by works; if Abraham, or any other man, were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory (Rom. 3:27; 4:2).

  3. It is observed, “that the Scripture plainly grants that there is kau>chma, or matter or glorying, in things done by the assistance of the grace of God (as in 1 Cor. 9:15; 2 Cor. 11:10; 1:12; Gal. 6:4).” I reply, that the words kau>chma, and kaucaomai, are used by the apostle Paul, and do not signify an ascribing anything to one’s self, as proud boasters do; but a satisfaction, pleasure, and exultation of mind, as in the places referred to. The two first of which (1 Cor. 9:15; 2 Cor. 11:10), respect his preaching of the gospel, and not barely that, but the preaching of it without charge; which upon reflection, for many reasons, gave him an inward pleasure and satisfaction, and at the same time he declared, that though he preached the gospel, he had nothing to glory of. The next passage cited from 2 Corinthians 1:12, regards the agreeable life and conversation of the apostle, and other ministers in the world; which he attributes, not to fleshly wisdom, then there would be room for glorying; but to the grace of God, which was matter of rejoicing, though not of vain boasting. The last of these scriptures, Galatians 6:4, regards also the external conversion of the saints; which, when agreeable to the gospel of Christ, yields a pleasing reflection within a man’s self; so that betas no need to look out to others, to borrow any glory from them, by comparing himself with them, as the proud Pharisee did, when he said, God I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

3rdly God has so contrived the business of our salvation, that no flesh should glory in his sight. Now if salvation, in any part of it, is to be ascribed to man, if conversion is not entirely God’s work, but man cooperates with him in the production of grace, then

THE CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH Part II 67

the whole glory of that work is not due to God. But,

  1. This is thought to be “sufficiently accounted for by observing, that the principle, by which man cooperates with him in this work, is derived from him; and all the motives which excite this principle to act, arise purely from God’s preventing and exciting grace.” I confess, this is owning a great deal, but not enough: for this principle is not barely derived from God, but implanted by him; in which man is purely passive, and does not nor can he cooperate with him in the production of it. Moreover, though the motives which excite this principle to act are from the Lord, yet they must be attended with the powerful grace of God, or they will never excite the principle to act. Betides, though man is an agent, and acts for God, and his glory, under the influence of grace, in consequence of a principle of it wrought in him, yet he is no agent in the forming of that principle; were he, though an under one, part of the glory of it would belong to him; wherefore if God is chief agent, yet, if not a sole one in this work, the whole glory of it is not due to him.

  2. It is observed, that “our Lord, and his apostles, often commend the good actions of men; and Christ will at last say to the righteous man, Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” But then it should be observed, that these praises and commendations do not regard the work of grace and conversion, but the fruits of it in the lives and conversations of the saints; which though God, of his great grace and goodness, is pleased to praise, commend, and signify his acceptance of, yet these persona are taught by the same grace to own, that when they have done all they can, they are but unprofitable servants; and that it is by the grace of God they are what they are, and do what they do (Luke 17:10; 1 Cor. 15:10). And when Christ at the last day shall speak of their good works, and say to them (Matthew 25:35,37), I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat, I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink, etc., they will reply, as having forgotten them, putting no trust in them, or ascribing the glory of them to themselves, When saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee; or thirsty, and gave thee drink? etc.


Chapter 5

OF THE CORRUPTION OF HUMAN NATURE

and the importance of the will of man to that which is spiritually good

The learned writer, whose performance I am now

considering, affirms, “that the doctrine which teacheth that man, by the fall, hath contracted such a disability to what is good, that without the special grace of God he can do nothing that is truly good, and is fallen under such a servitude to sin, as renders it necessary for him to be still doing evil, has no foundation in the holy Scriptures.” And, whereas “it is very reasonable to expect both plain and frequent testimonies of the holy Scriptures, saying, that man is, by the fall of Adam, become utterly unable to do anything that is good, or anything that God requires of him in an acceptable manner; yea, that by reason of the fall alone, his faculties are so horribly perverted, that he can do only what is evil, and cannot but do evil; the whole Scripture hath not one saying of this nature.” The falsehood of which will appear in the following sections; where I shall endeavor to make it evident, that such is the corruption of human nature, derived from Adam, and such man’s disability, contracted by it, that without the special grace of God he can do nothing spiritually good, and only that which is evil; and that from those very passages of Scripture, this author singles out, sad objects to as proofs of it.


Section 1—John 14:4

Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?

Not one.

Aben Ezra observes, that the sense of these words is the same with Psalm 2:5, and the meaning of them is, who can bring one that is pure, bahasd rbg ˆn ˆybwjk, from a man defiled with sins? as the Targum paraphrases them; none but God can do this; of which there never was but one instance, the man Christ Jesus, who not descending, from Adam by ordinary generation, was not polluted with sin. Now Job makes mention of the corruption of nature, as the source of all the sorrows and frailty of man in general (vv. 1, 2), and as matter of humiliation to himself, and as a reason why he could not bear the strict judgment of God, but must humbly plead for his grace and mercy, (v. 3). But, against this sense of the words,

  1. It is objected, that they are obscure, and interpreters disagree about the meaning of them; and therefore can be no solid proof of the point in question. But, perhaps, the obscurity is not so much in the words as in the interpreters, who give either false or improper senses of them. Some understand them of the impurity of matter, out of which the body of

    man was formed at first; whereas, neither that matter, nor the body of man formed out of it, was impure. Others, of the vileness of man, when compared with God (as in John 4:17-19; 15:14,16; 25:4,5). When

    neither here, in the places cited, is any mention of a comparative uncleanness of men with God, but of the angels, the heavens, the moon and stars; from whence a real impurity in man is argued, who therefore must be abominable in the sight of God. Others think Job refers to the impurity of men’s actions; and that his meaning is, that nothing is to be expected from a polluted man, but what savors of the corruption of his nature. This is a truth, but not the truth of the text; yet not subversive of it, it rather confirms it.

  2. It is urged, that Job here speaks not of a moral but physical uncleanness; such as diseases, filthy racers, etc., arising from the infirmity and corruptibility of nature; and that his meaning is, it was enough that he was attended with common infirmities, without being pressed with greater and extraordinary ones. But, are all men attended with diseases? Yea, are all so, who are born of distempered parents? Are all born with filthy ulcers? Was Job brought into the world with his boils upon him? If it should be said, though this is not the case of all men, yet there is the common infirmity of nature, the spring of all these disorders, in all men. It is true, indeed, that mini, in his fallen state, is subject to these things? but from whence does this infirmity of nature arise, but from the corruption and vitiosity of it?

  3. It is said, that the meaning of this Scripture is, “that from parents, obnoxious to sin, will spring forth children; that when they come to discern between good and evil, will be obnoxious to sin also.” I answer, that parents and their children are not only obnoxious to sin, but are really sinners; and be it so, that they are only obnoxious to sin, from whence does this obnoxiousness arise? It must be either from example, or from depravity; not from the former, since men are obnoxious to, and capable of committing sins they never saw committed; wherefore, this must spring from the corruption of nature.

Section 2—Psalm 51:5.

[with Psalm 58:3 and Isaiah 48:8]

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

David, having committed some very great sins, and

being made sensible of them, ingeniously confesses them, and mourns over the depravity of his nature, the fountain of them; which he mentions not as an extenuation, but as an aggravation, of his iniquities, since he had been so early and so long a sinful creature. The sin and iniquity he speaks of he does not call his sin, and his iniquity, though it was so, being in his nature, but sin and iniquity, being common to him with all mankind, and which attended his conception and formation in the womb, before he was born, and so before he had committed any actual transgression; and, therefore, cannot design any thing else but the original corruption of his nature. Now, to this sense of the words many things are objected.

  1. It is observed, from Clemens of Alexandria, Chrysostom, and Theodoret, that “David speaks this of his mother Eve, and of our first parents, whose posterity were begotten after they had sinned.” I reply, David indeed, might Well enough call Eve his too: then since she is the mother of an living; but could not, with any propriety, say that she conceived him: this could only be said of his immediate parent, not of his next grandmother, much less of Eve, at the distance of three thousand years. It is also certainly true of our first parents, that their posterity were begotten after they had sinned. But then it will follow, that if they were begotten not before, but after they had sinned, they must be begotten, not in the image of God, in which man was created, and was now lost by sin, but in the sinful and corrupt image of Adam; which was the case not only of Cain, but of Seth, and of all others who have since descended from him by ordinary generation, among whom David was one.

  2. It is objected, that David here speaks not of his own, but of his mother’s sin, anda very broad intimation is given, that this was the sin of adultery; and, indeed, if he was conceived in a sin of his mother’s, what else could it be? This shows, that these men are grievously pinched with this text, and miserably put to their shifts, to betake themselves to such an interpretation, at the expense of the character of an innocent person, of whom there is not the least suggestion of this kind in the sacred writings; but on the contrary, she is represented as a religious person. David valued himself upon his being related to her, and pleads, that he might be regarded by the Lord for her sake (Ps. 86:16; 116:16). Moreover, had this been the case,

    David must have been excluded from entrance into the congregation of the Lord; for there was a standing law (Deut. 23:2). in Israel, which forbade a bastard to enter there until the tenth generation; whereas it is certain, that David often went into the house of God with company, where he enjoyed much spiritual pleasure and delight (Ps. 43:4; 55:14; 122:1; Ps. 63:1, 2; Ps. 84:1, 10). Once more, it is beside David’s scope and design to expose the sins of others, much less his own parents, whilst he is confessing and lamenting his own; and to what purpose should he mention theirs, especially if he himself was not affected by them, and did not derive corrupt nature from them? To say no more, the particle b, in, relates not to his mother, but to himself; it is not said, my mother in sin, that is, being in sin, or through sin, conceived me; but, my mother conceived me in sin, that is, as soon as I was conceived in the womb, and the mass of human nature was shaped and quickened; or as soon as soul and body were united together, sin was in me, and I was in sin, or became a sinful creature. Some, who do not run this length, yet say, that the sin and iniquity in which David was conceived and shapen, was the sinfulness of his parents, in the acts of begetting and conceiving him, though in lawful wedlock. But this cannot be true; since tire propagation of the human species, by natural generation, is a principle of nature implanted by God him- serf, and therefore cannot be sinful; and is agreeable to the first law of nature, given to man in a state of innocence, be fruitful and multiply. Marriage was instituted by God in paradise, and in all ages has been honorable in all, when the bed is undefiled. Besides, one of the words here used ytllwt, translated shapen, is of the passive form, and designs something in which both David and his parents were entirely passive, and means no other than that amazing and surprising act of formation he so much admires in Psalm 139:13-16. Others nterpret these words of his mother’s conceiving him in profluviis, which usually produces sw~ma ouj kaqaro<n kai< eujkra>ton, a body impure, ill tempered, and subject to evil passions. The Jews and Isidore are referred to for this sense of them, though the former, as far as I have been able to observe, say nothing of 2:14. Sol. Jarchi, R. David Kimchi, R. Aben Ezra, and R. Abendana, understand the words of [rh rxy, the corruption of nature in man as soon as he is born. And as for Isidore, both elder

    and younger understand these words of original sin, in which David and all men are involved. However, nothing of this nature can be concluded from the sacred Scriptures concerning David, but rather the reverse; since he is taken notice of, as no other man is excepting Moses, for his being comely, ruddy, of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to (1 Sam. 16:12, 18); and so far from having an unclean body of an ill temperament, or subject to bad qualities.

  3. It is observed, that David here makes no mention of Adam, and goes no higher than his mother, and, therefore, what he says makes nothing for original sin. In answer to which, it will be sufficient to say, that inasmuch as natural generation is the channel in which the corruption of nature is derived, David, in speaking of it, and his particular concern in it, had no need to take notice of any other than his immediate parents, through whom it was conveyed to him; for God hath made of one blood all nations of men (Acts 17:26). This blood being tainted in the fountain of it, the first man, must be so in its streams; and so all are corrupted that partake of it.

  4. It is further urged, that David is speaking here only of himself, and not of all mankind: he does not say that all men, but that he was shapen in iniquity, and conceived in sin; and, therefore, can be no proof of the original corruption of the whole human nature. To which may be replied, that what is here said of David is true of all men; since every imagination of the thoughts of men’s hearts, both in the old and in the new world, is evil (Gen. 6:5; 8:21) from their infancy; and that not only the wicked are estranged from the womb (Ps. 58:3), but the elect of God are, by nature, children of wrath, even as others (Eph. 2:3; 3); which suppose them to be guilty and polluted as others; and, how should it be otherwise? for that which is born of the flesh is flesh (John 3:3). Besides, the argument from David to other men is very strong; for, if he who was so famous for his early religion and piety, a man after God’s own heart, raised up by him to fulfill all his will, from whose seed sprang unto Israel a Savior Jesus (Acts 13:22,23); if he was shapen in iniquity, and conceived in sin, is it not reasonable to conclude, that this is the case of others? Who can stand up, and exempt himself from such a conception and birth, and say, he was not shapen and conceived in this manner?

  5. If all this will not do to set aside the sense of

    the text we plead for, we are told that the words are an hyperbole, of the like kind with Job 31:18, Psalm 22:10,11, and Psalm 71:6, and Psalm 58:3, Isaiah 48:8, and mean no more than that he had not only sinned now, but very often from his childhood. To which may be answered, that to say that being shaped in iniquity, and conceived in sin, means no more than a frequency of sinning from the youth upwards, is to contradict the express letter of the text; nor should we depart from the literal sense of words, and put a figurative one upon them,, unless there is an absolute necessity, of which there can be none here, unless it be to serve a turn. The places referred to are no hyperboles. The words in Psalm 22:9,10, are not the words of David, but of Christ, who, through the care of Divine Providence, and powerful operation of the Holy Ghost, was preserved from the original taint of sin. Job 31:18, Psalm 71:5,6, ought not to be any more accounted hyperbolical expressions than those which say, that Jeremy was sanctified before he came out of the womb; and that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb (Jer. 1:5; Luke 1:15). But, admitting that the last- mentioned texts are aggravations of Job’s pity and compassion, and of David’s trust and confidence, it does not follow, that the words under consideration are hyperbolical exaggerations of sin, since the Psalmist is here making a sincere and hearty confession of sin, in which it is not usual with saints to hyperbolize, that is, either to make their sins lesser or greater than they are; and, indeed, the sinfulness of nature cannot well be hyperbolized; for the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer. 17:9).

  6. To confirm this hyperbolical sense of the text, the words of the Pharisees to the blind man are produced, thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? On which it is observed, that had they a regard to original sin, they could not have justly objected this to him since he might have re-criminated them with it. To which I answer, it is very true, no doubt they were both born in sin alike; but then these words are no hyperbole, but express the real sentiments of these Pharisees, who had either given in to the Pythagorean notion of the transmigration of souls, and supposed that this man’s soul had sinned greatly in another body before, and therefore was grievously punished

in this; or at least, they imagined that none were born in sin, but such who had some marks of deformity upon them, as blindness, lameness, and the like; but I hope we are not bound to believe the same things, nor should any expression or doctrine of theirs be urged to disprove any truth of the Gospel. As for Psalm 58:3, it is true of all men, that they are estranged from the womb from all righteousness, and alienated from God, and the life of God, being dead in trespasses and sins; and therefore it is no strange thing that they go astray ˆfbm, from the belly; since they are devoid of the principles of real justice and truth: and hence, as soon as they are capable of speaking, they go about speaking lies. Now, to what can such early impieties be ascribed, but to the corruption of nature? To the same purpose are the words in Isaiah 48:8, and wast called a transgressor from the womb; in which the corruption of nature is represented as the spring and fountain of all that treachery, stubbornness, hypocrisy, and idolatry, the people of Israel are charged with in the context. It is objected that this passage implies something not common to all, but peculiar to the people of Israel, but surely if the people of Israel, who were an holy people to the Lord, and chosen by him to be a special people unto himself, above all people on the face of the earth (Deut. 7:6), were called transgressors from the womb, much more may others be so called. It is further alleged, that this does not regard their natural birth, but their coming out of Egypt, when they were formed into a civil state, and in a figurative sense was their birth; from which time they discovered, a proneness to impiety and idolatry. Be it so that this is the sense of the passage, to what can this impiety and idolatry be ascribed, when they were a people indulged with so many peculiar and special favors by God, but to the abominable corruption originally seated in their natures? As to what is usually objected to this and the preceding scripture, that they cannot be understood of original sin; because these holy men, David and Isaiah, must object to, and upbraid these wicked men with that which they themselves were guilty of; I need only observe, that the words under consideration, are not the words of Isaiah, but of God himself, who in his eternal prescience foreknew the original and actual transgressions of these people; which he observes both to prove his own Deity, and point out to them the fountain of all

their iniquities. As to the preceding passage, David might, with great propriety, take notice of the original corruption of the wicked, of which he was so sensible himself, and acknowledged in as strong, or stronger terms than here used: since his design is to expose the internal wickedness of some who appeared outwardly righteous, and made great pretensions to holiness, justice and truth, when, in their hearts, they wrought wickedness, which sprang from the original depravity of their natures, as appears from the connection of the words with the two foregoing verses.

Section 3—Genesis 6:5.

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth; and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

This text represents not only the heart of man in general to be evil, but the thoughts of his heart; not only these, but the imagination r[y, the substratum of thought, the very first motion to it, and the formation of it; yea, every imagination, or formation, and that only so, nothing good in it, nay always, μwhy lk, every day; and so is a considerable proof of the general and original corruption of human nature: to which the following things are objected.

1st. That these words regard not all mankind, but only the antediluvian world: and not every one of them, since Noah is excepted as a just and perfect man; nor are they spoken of any sin common to all men, as original sin is supposed to be, but of some gross sins committed by the worst of men, who had corrupted themselves by a long course of continual impiety. To which I reply, that the former part of the text, and God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, has a special regard to the flagitious crimes of the men of that generation, which brought down the judgment of God upon them in an universal deluge; but the latter part of the text, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually, respects the fountain and spring of all their wickedness, which is the corruption of nature, common to them with all men that were before them, or have since risen up after them. The words are expressed in very general terms: it is not said, every imagination of the thoughts of the heart of these men, or the men of this generation, is only evil continually; but every imagination of the thoughts of men’s hearts is so. Noah’s being a just and perfect man, was owing

to the free favor of God; for it is said, that he found grace in the eyes of the lord, and to the righteousness of Christ, of which he was a preacher; otherwise, by nature he was as corrupt, as much a child of wrath of others; no thanks to his nature that he was just and perfect, but to the distinguishing grace of God he was made a partaker of. Moreover, what is here expressed, is elsewhere said of all men without any exception. It is to me very probable, that the Psalmist has reference to this very passage before us in Psalm 14:2,3, which the apostle Paul, in Romans 3:9-12, without any restriction or limitation, applies to all men, Jews and Gentiles. Add to this, that the very same thing, in almost the same words, is said in Genesis 8:21, of man after the flood, as is here said of him before it; yea, when there was only Noah and his family in being. But, on this last cited text, two things are observed.

  1. That the words should not be translated, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake, for, but, although, or for this, or upon this account, that the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth. And it is said, that the usual way of reading that text, carries in it this absurdity, that the same reason which moved God to destroy the world before, now moves him to spare it. But let it be observed, that the reading pleaded for, is contrary to the common sense of the particle yk, as these men themselves own, to the Targums of Onkelos, and Jonathan Ben Uzziel, who render it by μwra and yra, to the versions of the Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic, Samaritan, and Vulgate Latin, and to many modern ones, which translate the particle for, and not though: nor is there any absurdity in the common reading; for as the phrase, in the other text, accounts for the justice of God, and his proceedings against the men of the other world, this here represents the inconvenience of the continuance or frequency of such proceedings; since he must be always destroying the world, and the inhabitants of it, and consequently could have no church abiding; nor would there be any society of men subsisting, for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Besides, should the reading contended for be admitted, for it will be owned that the particle may be sometimes so rendered, nothing will be got by it; should the words be read, I will not again curse the ground for man’s sake, though the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth, or for this, or upon this account, that the imagination of his heart is

    evil from his youth; either ending both expresses and implies, that the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth, which is the only thing for which we produce it.

  2. It is objected, that “the word wyr[gm, doth not signify from their birth, but only from their youth; for he speaks of the imaginations of their hearts, and so only of the time when they are able to entertain and prosecute the thoughts of their evil hearts; nor doth this phrase, it is said, signify an original, but only a long- contracted custom, an habitual course of doing what is either good, or evil, or indifferent.” To which I reply, that the Lord here speaks not of what man did, but what was the imagination of his heart, the substratum of his thoughts, and which is antecedent to the entertainment and prosecution of them, that this was evil wyr[m; which Onkelos renders by jywy[zm, from his infancy; and agrees with the derivation of the word from r[n, which signifies to shake out; and with the sense of the ancient, and some of the modern Jews, who say that the [rh rxy, the evil figment, or corruption of nature, is in man from the time of his formation in the womb; or from his birth, as soon as r[ynçm he is shook out of his mother’s bowels. Moreover, some of the texts brought to disprove this sense of the phrase serve to confirm it.; particularly Job 31:18, Psalm 71:5,6, where from my youth, and from my mother’s womb, are mentioned as terms synonymous. Add to this, that such an interpretation well agrees with other scriptures; where men are represented as shapen in iniquity, and conceived in sin, and as transgressors from the womb (Ps. 51:5; Isa. 48:8). But to return to the consideration of what is further objected to our sense of the particular passage under consideration.

2ndly It is said, that “the wickedness the text speaks of was voluntary, and was the moving cause of God’s destroying the world by the flood; which cannot be said of original corruption, since that being always the same, would always have been a reason why he should do so; and besides, if the corruption of nature is here intended, in vain did God invite men to repentance by the ministry of Noah, and wait for it one hundred and twenty years; since, without the almighty power of God, they could no more conquer this, than they could change their sex, or raise a dead man to life.” In answer to which, let it be observed, that though the wickedness spoken of in the former

part of the text designs personal, actual, and voluntary transgressions; yet the evil imagination, in the latter part of it, intends the corruption of nature, which is the fountain of actual transgressions; nor is this doing any violence to the text, or separating what the Scripture has joined together; but distinguishing between the cause and the effect, the fountain and its streams, the tree and its fruit. Nor do I see any reason why original sin, and the corruption of nature, may not be thought, with actual transgressions, to be the cause of the flood; since all actual transgressions flow from thence; and especially, since infants, who sinned not after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, suffered in the universal deluge; which cannot be accounted for, but by supposing original sin, or the corruption of nature, in them. Nor is it any sufficient objection to its being a cause of this calamity, that it had always been, and so must always, have been, a reason, for it; seeing God might defer such a strict and severe observance of it; partly until his elect in this interval were gathered in; partly to show his patience, forbearance, and long-suffering, until iniquity was fully ripe, and it is corruption had broken out, and showed itself to such a degree, that God must be, beyond all dispute, justified in his sharpest resentments against it. Nor was the long-suffering of God, which waited in the days of Noah, in vain: since, though such was the rooted corruption of human nature, that none can conquer it without the unfrustrable grace of God; yet these men, under the advantages they had, might have attained to an external repentance and reformation; which would have secured them from temporal destruction, and therefore were left inexcusable. Besides, God might, by these means, bring some of his elect to true repentance, whom he would not have perish, and whom he might take to himself, before the general calamity; as well as he saved Noah and his family in the midst of it.

Section 4—John 3:6.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh.

These words are expressed by Christ to show that men, by their natural birth, are carnal, and stand in need of regeneration, In order to entrance into the kingdom of God; and the meaning of them is, that that which is born in a natural way, is not only corporeal, but corrupt and sinful; so the word flesh is often used (see Gen. 6:3; Rom. 8:1,5-8, Gal. 5:17,19). Hence

man in his natural estate, can do nothing but what is carnal and sinful; and is wholly incapable of doing that which is spiritually good, until he is born of the Spirit. To which are excepted,

  1. That this “exposition renders it impossible for a man to do any thing toward his own conversion; and so renders all God’s commands of it, exhortations to it, promises of pardon for it, threats of death if neglected, and complaints against those who would not do it, vain and absurd.” To which I answer, that it is, indeed, impossible, considering the. state of men, and the nature of regeneration and conversion, that he should be able to do any thing more towards it, than to make use of means; such as prayer, hearing the word, etc., in which God oftentimes is pleased to effect it, by the mighty power of his Spirit and grace. And as for commands and exhortations to regeneration, or promises of pardon to such who regenerate themselves, or threats of death to those who neglect it, or complaints against those who would not do it, I know of none in the whole word of God; what is referred to, only regards an external reformation of life and manners, and not regeneration, or the first work of conversion.

  2. It is said, “that to be born of the flesh, here only signifies, that natural generation, by which a man is born into the world, of the vail of the flesh; and that this is the plain meaning of our Lord, that besides that natural birth, by which we receive only our flesh and body front our parents, there is need of a spiritual birth, to fit us for the kingdom of God.” I reply, it will be allowed, that our Lord is speaking of natural generation by which a man is born into the world; though how that should be of the will of the flesh, if flesh stands only for body, is not very intelligible: but then he speaks of men being born into the world as corrupt and sinful, which appears from the opposite part of the text, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit, that is, that which is born of the Spirit of God is spiritual, as the new creature is; for by spirit, is not meant the soul, as is, when it is opposed to flesh, signifying the body, but that which is spiritual; and flesh being opposed to it, must signify that which is corrupt and sinful, as the nature of man is by his first birth: and therefore according to the plain meaning of our Lord, he must stand in need of a spiritual birth to fit him for the kingdom of God. And if man

is not corrupt and sinful, what need would there be of regeneration? and since this is his case, though he does not lie under any force, or co- active necessity to do only that which is evil, to which his will is entirely free; yet he is in an utter incapacity to regenerate himself.

Section 5—Romans 7:18, 19.

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good, I find not. For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil

which I would not, that I do.

From these words the following things may be fairly concluded, namely, If no good thing dwells in a regenerate man, that is, in his flesh, much less in an unregenerate one, who is wholly flesh, carnal, and corrupt; and if in a renewed man, where there is a will, there is not a power to do that which is spiritually good, much less able is an unrenewed man to do that which is so, who has neither power nor will; and if such is the strength of corrupt nature in one that is born again, as often to hinder him from doing that good he would, and to put him on doing that evil he would not, how much greater must its strength be in unsanctified persons? These conclusions will appear to be just, if it is but allowed, that the apostle is here speaking of himself, and of himself as regenerate. But to this, the following things are excepted.

1st. “The scope of the place; which is to show the necessity of the abrogation of the law, from the inefficiency of it to deliver men from sin; since it rather increased it; to prove which, an unregenerate person, in whom sin reigns, was the most proper instance the apostle could pitch upon.” But to this may be replied, that though the apostle, in the beginning of the chapter, is speaking of the abrogation of the law to believers by the body of Christ, yet, nearer the discourse in controversy, his obvious scope and design is to show the spirituality and perfection of the law; that it was holy, just, and good, and that it was owing to the weakness of man that it was not fulfilled. This he could not better illustrate and exemplify than in a regenerate person; for if such an one does not come up to the spirituality of the law, and is not able to keep it perfectly, it cannot be thought that an unregenerate man should.

2ndly The coherence of the words; It is observed,

“that the apostle speaks of an unregenerate man from verse 7 to the l4th, and therefore, why should it be thought that he discontinues his discourse concerning him?” In answer to this it should be observed, that the apostle, even within the limited period, is not speaking of a man in a pure, natural estate, but of himself, under great convictions of sin, under the powerful work of the law upon his conscience, showing him the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Besides, the apostle changes the tense; for whereas, within the mentioned compass, he speaks in the past tense; from verse 14, to the end of the chapter, he uses the present tense. And therefore supposing, that in the former part of the chapter, he considers himself as unregenerate; there is good reason to conclude, he does not continue his discourse of himself as such, or of any unregenerate man. And whereas it is urged, that he says in verse 9, I was alive without the law once, or I lived without the law once; which it is observed cannot be true of him in his own person, seeing he was born a Jew, and brought up under the law all his days: it may be replied, that though he never lived without the letter of the law, vet without the knowledge of the spirituality and perfection of it; or that he was alive, that is, in a fair way for heaven and eternal life, in his own apprehensions, before the law came with power, and entered into his conscience; but then sin, which lay before as dead, revived, and he died to all his hopes of obtaining life by his obedience to it.

3rdly The most considerable objection is taken from the description and character of the parson spoken of; as,

  1. “He is said to be carnal (v. 14), whereas regenerate ones have crucified the flesh with the lusts, and are debtors, not to the flesh to live after the flesh (Gal. 5:24; Rom. 8:12).” I answer, though regenerate persons have crucified the flesh, and are not debtors to it to live after it, yet from some considerations may be denominated carnal; as partly from their first birth, and the corruption of nature they bring into the world with them; partly from the continuance of the flesh, in which dwells no good thing and with which they serve the law of sin; and partly from the lusts of the flesh, which remain in them, and war against them; and on account of which the Corinthians, though babes in Christ, and so regenerate ones, are styled and treated as carnal. Add to this, that the apostle here says of

    himself, I am carnal, in comparison of the law, which was spiritual. And, indeed, when compared with this, the holiest man in the world must be reckoned carnal; for if the holy angels, when compared with the Divine Being, are chargeable with folly, much more must the saints, in this state of imperfection, be accounted carnal in comparison of the spiritual law of God, which is a transcript of the divine nature.

  2. “He is said to be sold under sin (v. 14), which is a character of the greatest sin-hers; as of Ahab (1 Kings 21:20, and others, Isa. 50:1), and even of revolters from the true religion (1 Mac. 1:16), and signifies, that he was a servant and slave to sin; whereas regenerate persons are free from sin, and become the servants of righteousness. “ I reply, that though the person spoken of is said to be sold under sin, yet not to sell himself to work wickedness, as Ahab and others did; between these there is a wide difference; in the one, man is passive, in the other, active; the one is against his will, the other with it. So, though the apostle was sold under sin, it was not his own act, and was against his will, as a renewed man; with his flesh he served the law of sin, but with his mind the law of God; which proves, that he speaks of himself as regenerate: for his character as unregenerate was, that he was serving, that is, readily, cheerfully, and willingly, divers lusts and pleasures. Besides, the apostle is to be understood of his other I, which was carnal, of the flesh, or old man, which was under sin; and not of the new man. which is not under the law of sin, but under grace, as a reigning, governing principle.

  3. “He is said hot to do the good he would, but the evil which he would not (v. 16), whereas it is said of regenerate persons, that they work out their salvation with fear and trembling, God working in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure; that they will, in newness of life, and after the Spirit, and not after the flesh (Phil. 2:12,13; Rom. 6:4; 8:1).” To which I reply, that though regenerate ones do that which is good, ye not always, there is not a just man on earth, that doth good and sinneth not (Eccl. 7:20); nor does God always work in them to will and to do, but when he pleases, of his own good pleasure. Besides, the good this person did not, he willed it, he desired it; whereas a carnal man wills, desires, and savors the things of the flesh, and them only, and not the things o: the Spirit; and also hated the evil he did whereas an

    unregenerate man chooses his own ways, and his soul delights in his abominations: so that this character proves the person to be a regenerate, and not an unregenerate man.

  4. “It is said of this person, that sin dwelleth in him (vv. 17, 20), but regenerate ones are dead to sin and alive to God, and the Spirit of Christ, and Christ himself dwells in them (Rom. 6:11; 8:11; Gal. 2:20).” To this may be replied, that though the saints are dead to sin being justified from it by the righteousness of Christ, and freed from the dominion of it by the power of divine grace, yet they are not delivered from the being of it; sin is in them, dwells in them, lives in them, though they do not live in sin, and sometimes very strongly works in them; all which is no contradiction to the inhabitation of Christ, and his Spirit in them. These dwell under the same roof with sin, but not in the same apartment; sin dwells in the flesh, in the old man, in the unrenewed self, in which dwells no good thing; Christ and the Spirit dwell in the new man, in the new heart, in the renewed self. Moreover, the saints in all ages have found, and have complained of sin dwelling in them, as Job, David, Solomon, the church in Isaiah’s time, and the beloved disciple John (Job 9:20; Ps. 38:3,4; Prov. 20:9; Isa. 14:6; 1 John 1:8). This character therefore agrees with a regenerate man.

  5. This person affirms of himself that no good thing dwelt in him (v. 18), whereas there are many good things dwell in regenerate ones. This is very true, there are many good things in the saints; as the good work of grace and the good word of God, the good Spirit of Christ, and Christ himself, yea, God the Father dwells in them, and makes his abode with them. But then let it be observed, how cautiously and with what limitation the apostle expresses himself: In me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing. Now had he spoken of himself as unregenerate, or in the person of an unregenerate man, he had no need to have used this restrictive clause; for who knows not, that in an unregenerate man dwells no good thing?

  6. “This man is said to will but not to perform that which is good (v. 18), whereas regenerate men are the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, and God works in them both to will and to do.” What has been said in answer to the third objection may be sufficient to remove this; for though

    the saints do that which is good, yet not always, nor does God always work in them to do, when they have a will to do that which is good. Besides, in unregenerate persons, there is no will present with them to that which is good; they desire not the knowledge of God’s ways; their carnal minds are enmity against God, and are not subject to the law of God; nor can they be subject to it, without the grace of God.

  7. “This person complains that he was a captive of the law of sin (v. 23), whereas regenerate persons are freed from the law of sin and death (Rom. 7:2).” But though they are freed, from condemnation by sin which is what is meant in the place referred to, as appears front the context, and from the dominion of sin, yet not from the being of it, nor altogether from the power of it; for it sometimes brings into captivity, though even then it has not the dominion; a man may be taken prisoner, and carried captive, and yet remain a subject of his lawful prince; so the saints may be brought into captivity to the law of sin, and yet not be under the dominion of it, but continue under the reign of grace, and in the kingdom of God’s dear Son.

  8. “This same person bitterly complains of a body of death, and desires to be delivered from it; which shows that he was detained by it, and under it.” I reply, that the desire of deliverance from the body of death shows that it was distressing, uneasy, and uncomfortable to him, but not that it had the dominion over him; he was delivered from condemnation by it, and from the government of it, and was vary desirous of being freed from the very being of it, which was so great a clog and encumbrance to him; and this none but a regenerate person truly desires, as none but such an one knows from whence a deliverance of this kind comes, which proves the person speaking to be a renewed man, since he adds, Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  9. “The apostle elsewhere speaks of himself in a different manner, as one that walked worthy of the Gospel, to be imitated by others, and who was able to do all things through the grace of God (1 Cor. 11:1; Phil. 3:17; 4:13). But then this does not contradict what he here says in this chapter, which perfectly agrees with other passages of his, in which he owns his sinfulness and weakness, and ascribes all he did to the grace of God (see 1 Tim. 1:15; 2 Cor. 12:10; 1 Cor. 15:10). It is evident, from all his epistles, that

    this great man God lived under a continual sense of the corruption of his nature, his own unworthiness and inability.

  10. “Origen, Chrysostom, Theodoret, and others, interpret these words of men under the thralldom and dominion of sin, through a long use and custom.” This interpretation of the words was indeed first given by Origen, was greedily catched at by Pelagius, revived by Socinus and his followers, and some popish writers, and at last adopted by the Arminians. But Methodius, a martyr, whose judgment Dr. Whitby seems fond of, first in the words of one Procius, and then in his own, delivers the sense of them agreeable to ours, understanding them of a regenerate man. Wherefore what Vorstius affirms is false, that all the ancients before Austin interpreted these words of unregenerate men. I shall now,

4thly. Subjoin some arguments, proving that this part of the chapter, from verse 14 to the end or it, is spoken by the apostle of himself, and of himself as regenerate.

  1. The apostle all along speaks of himself in the first person: That which I do I allow not; what I hate that I do; I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing; I delight in the law of God: I find a law in my members; yea, says he, With the mind I myself, aujto<v ejgw, serve the law of God; which can never be understood in a figurative sense as personating another; nor do the passages usually alleged prove such a way of speaking common, (as 1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23; 13:1-3; Gal. 2:18,20).

  2. When he speaks of his unregenerate state, and the first convictions of sin, he speaks of them as things past: When we were in the flesh; I had not known sin, but by the law; Sin taking occasion by the law wrought in me all manner of concupiscence, deceived me, and by it slew me; I was alive without the law once, etc. But from verse 14 to the end of the chapter, he speaks in the present tense, of what he then was, and found: I am carnal, I do what I would not, I consent to the law that it is good, I delight in the law of God, etc.

  3. The several things which are said of this person, cannot agree with the apostle, nor with any other, but as regenerate; such only hate evil, delight in the law of God, and serve it with their mind.

  4. The distinction of flesh and spirit, the inward and outward man, is not applicable to any other but

    a regenerate man; for the spirit, and inward man, is not the soul, opposed to the body, but the spiritual man, the new man, the hidden man of the heart, the truth of grace, in opposition to the flesh, the old man, or corrupt nature. Now only the latter, and not the former, is to be found in an unregenerate man.

  5. The struggle between flesh and spirit, between the law in the members and the law of the mind, proves that these words can belong to no other than a regenerate person; with which agrees Galatians 5:17. Only in the Shulamite (Song of Sol. 6:13.) true believers are to be ‘seen, as it were the company of two companies, flesh and spirit, sin and grace, warring against each other.

  6. The thanksgiving for deliverance from sin through Christ, towards the close of the chapter, can only come from a believer; none but a regenerate man knows any thing of the nature of it, from whence it is, and can only be thankful for it.

Section 6—Romans 8:7, 8.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be; so then, they that are in the flesh

cannot please God.

The carnal mind, or to< fro>nhma th~v, which may be rendered the wisdom of the flesh, signifies the wisest and best part of man, the soul, with all its powers and faculties; and this being carnal is a strong proof of the wretched corruption of human nature. Besides, this carnal mind is not only an enemy to, but enmity itself against that God who made it, upholds it in life, and loads it with benefits; and therefore is not subject to the law of God, which is holy, just, and good; nor indeed can it be, considering its state and circumstances, without the powerful and efficacious grace of God; wherefore the apostle’s conclusion is exceeding just, so lien they that are in the flesh, that is, in an unregenerate state, and are wholly carnal and corrupt, cannot please God; that is, do those things which are pleasing to him. To which is objected,

  1. That “this text with the preceding one, were abused by the ancient heretics, to prove that the flesh, or body of tomb is, by nature, evil; and they that are in the body of flesh, cannot be subject to the law, or please God.” But what is this to us, who by the flesh in both places, understand not the body, to which wisdom does not belong, and in which men may

    THE CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH Part II 77

    please God, and be subject to his law, but the corrupt nature of man, or men, in an unregenerate estate; who, whilst such, are enemies to God, unsubjected to his law, and cannot please him?

  2. It is owned, that “the apostle doth indeed say, that they who thus mind carnal things, while they continue so to do, cannot please God, or live in subjection to his laws; but does not say, that they cannot be made good; for by his frequent exhortations to these carnal men, to crucify and mortify the flesh, to put off the old man with his deeds, joined with threats and promises, plainly shows, that men may cease to live according to the flesh, and may obtain that assistance of the Spirit by which they shall mortify the deeds of the flesh, and live after the Spirit.” Upon which I observe, that all that are after: the flesh, or in an unrenewed state, mind carnal things; and since it is allowed, that while they continue so to do, as they will, so long as they remain unconverted, they cannot please God; the words prove what we produce them for, namely, the corruption of man’s nature, and his disability to do that which is spiritually good. But it is observed, that the apostle does not say such cannot be made good: nor do we say so, but we affirm, that they cannot make themselves good, and that they cannot be made good but by the grace of God; and that until they are made so, they cannot do that which is spiritually good, no more than an evil tree can bring forth good fruit. And as for the exhortations to crucify and mortify the flesh, and to put off the old man, the passages in Romans 8:13. Galatians 5:24, referred to, are not properly exhortations; and neither they, nor the other, belong to carnal men, but to believers in Christ, who were Christ’s and had the spirit of Christ already; and were debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh, but to the Spirit, to live after the Spirit; and therefore fall short of proving that carnal men may make themselves good, or of themselves cease to live after the flesh.


Chapter 6

OF PERSEVERANCE

I now proceed to consider Dr. Whitby’s discourse on the perseverance of the saints. His first chapter is taken up in premising that which is granted on both sides, for the better stating of the question between us. For his own side he grants, that they, who are preserved to salvation, are so preserved by tie power of God

through faith; that God has engaged his faithfulness, that all, who do not wickedly depart from him, shall never be forced from him by the power of any adversaries; and that God has promised perseverance in the ways of righteousness to the end, to those who constantly and conscientiously use the means prescribed by him for that end: but utterly denies, that God has promised to keep them by his power from making shipwreck of faith, and from falling into those sins he cautions them to avoid; or to interpose his power unfrustrably to engage all true believers to use the means prescribed by him. He gees on to observe, that the assertors of the doctrine of the saints’ final perseverance hold, that the foundation of it is the absolute election of persons to salvation, and to the means which shall unfrustrably conclude in it; that they grant that it is not from the strength, steadiness, and immutability of the new nature, renewed mind, will, and affections, but purely from the promise of God, that true believers cannot fall away; and that though they cannot fall totally and finally, yet may fall into horrid sins; such as may at present unfit them for heaven, require a renewal of grace, and by the guilt of which they stand condemned till they are renewed by faith and repentance. I own, that election is a foundation of the saints’ final perseverance, but it is not the only thing on which it is founded; nor does this show the inconsistency of two of our arguments for perseverance, taken from the prayers of the saints, and the intercession of Christ, as is intimated; since the saints may pray, as Christ did (John 17:1, 5), for that which God has absolutely decreed, from all eternity, shall come to pass. And though we grant that it is from the promise, yet not purely from the promise of God, that true believers cannot fall away; for though we own that the new creature is imperfect, yet affirm that such is the nature, strength, and firmness of true grace, that it can never perish. Wherefore our arguments, taken from the nature of faith, conversion, and the new birth, sufficiently prove the doctrine we plead for. Moreover, though we allow that true believers may fall into gross sins, which may require a renewed exercise of faith and repentance, yet that they shall not deprive them either of meetness or right to heaven; nor do they ever stand condemned before God for them. The doctor’s second chapter contains arguments from scripture against the doctrine of the saints’final perseverance, which have been considered

in the former part of this work. His third and fourth chapters are an answer to those texts produced on our side in favor of the doctrine: the vindication of which texts is attempted, in the following Sections.

Section 1—John 13:1.

Having loved his own which were in the world he loved them unto the end.

These words are expressive of the unchangeable and everlasting love of Christ to his people; who are his own by choice, by his Father’s gift, and his own purchase. Now such shall certainly persevere to the end, and be eternally saved; for who shall separate from the love of Christ? But to this, the following things are objected.

1. That “Christ speaks not of them, whom he had chosen to eternal life, but of them only, whom he had chosen to be his apostles.” To which I reply that though Christ speaks of his apostles, yet not of them all; I speak not of you all, says he, I know whom I have chosen: and of whom he does speak, he does not speak of them as chosen to be apostles, but as men chosen to eternal life; which was not the case of them all, nor were they all his own in this special sense; one of them was a devil, and the son of perdition. Nor does he speak only of these. Were none his own but the apostles? Had he no propriety in any but them? Certainly he had: and if he loved his apostles unto the end, why may he not be thought to love all to the end, who are equally his own, and equally loved by him as they were? 2. That Christ’s loving them to the end, only signifies “the affection he showed to them, by washing their feet when he was to leave them.” To which may be replied, that this was not so much an instance of affection to them, as of humility and meekness; and was designed as an instruction and example to them, how they should behave to each other; and at most was an instance only of his love to them, and what Judas had a share in with the rest of the apostles; and not to be compared with some other instances of his love, and which were nearer the end of his life, as particularly his shedding his blood for them on the cross. Now there is no comparison between washing the feet of his disciples with water, and washing us from our sins in his own blood.

3. That he here speaks “not of his love of them to the end of their lives, but of his own life on earth.” Christ’s love is not allowed to continue to

the end of their lives, for that would prove their final perseverance; but the end of his life, as if his love ended with his life: whereas Christ still expresses his love to his people, by appearing in the presence of God, acting as an advocate, and interceding with the Father, and preparing mansions in his Father’s house for them. It is much, that the love of Christ to his own is not confined, by the writers of this cast, to supper time, or to the end of the supper; since it immediately follows, and supper being ended, which would scarce be a more jejune sense of the words than what is given. Why may not te>lov be understood of the end of their lives, as in Matthew 24:13? or of the end of the world? (vv. 6, 14), or of the end of all things, as in 1 Peter 4:7? Besides, eijv te>lov may be rendered continually, as it is in Luke 18:5, or for ever, in which sense it is used by the Septuagint in Psalm 9:6, 18, and Psalm 44:23, where it answers to t[nl, which signifies for ever: and agreeably the words may be read, Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them for ever, as they are rendered by the Ethiopic version. And then the sense of them is, that those who are Christ’s, are loved by him with an everlasting love; and therefore shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Section 2—John 17:12.

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me, I have kept: and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition:

that the scripture might be fulfilled.

The argument formed from this text, in favor of the saints’ final perseverance, stands thus: If those who are given to Christ are so kept by him, from the evil that is in their own hearts, and in the world, as that they shall not be eternally lost; then they must and shall persevere unto the end. But those that are given to Christ, are so kept, etc., therefore, etc. To which is answered,

  1. “That this passage was spoken only of the twelve apostles, as is evident from the whole context; and so there is no reason to extend it to all true believers.” What has been said under the preceding Section, is a sufficient reply to this: for though it is evident from the context, that Christ is speaking primarily, and more immediately of the apostles, yet not of them only, nor of them as apostles, but as members of him, given unto him, and believers in him, and so preserved by

    him. And if the preservation of them was secured to them, by being so, why may not the preservation of all other true believers be equally as sure and certain?

  2. It is said, that “the very next chapter shows that this was spoken of their preservation from temporal death; Christ requesting that his disciples might be permitted to go away when he was apprehended, that this saying of his might be fulfilled (John 18:8, 9).” I reply, that though the very next chapter shows that these words of Christ were fulfilled in the temporal preservation of the disciples; yet it does not follow, that this was all, or that it was the principal thing designed by them; for Christ prays the Father that he would keep them as he had done. Now the rest of the petitions are of a spiritual kind; such as sanctification through the truth, perfect union and eternal glorification: wherefore, it is reasonable to suppose, that this was of the same nature also. Besides, if this was spoken of preservation from temporal death, the sense of the words must be this: those that thou gavest me, I have kept from a temporal death, and none of them is lost by a temporal death; but the son of perdition, he is lost by a temporal death: which last was not true; for Judas was yet alive, he had not at this time betrayed him; and it was not until after the condemnation of Christ that he went and hanged himself. Add to this, that as Christ had kept his disciples, so he prays that his Father would keep them (vv. 11,15). Now, if he prayed for their preservation from temporal death, he was not heard; for every one of them died a violent death, suffered martyrdom, though they were all in a spiritual sense preserved to the kingdom and glory of God, as all true believers will be.

3. It is observed, that this passage taken in “our sense, is rather an argument that some of them, who were given by God to Christ, may perish; because it is affirmed, that one of them, who was thus given to Christ, did so.” To which I answer, that though Judas, the son of perdition, was given to Christ, and chosen by him as an apostle, yet he was not given to him by a special act of the Father’s grace, nor chosen in him, or by him, and united to him, as a member of him, as the rest of the apostles and all the elect of God are. I speak not of you all, says he (John 13:18), I know whom I have chosen, that is, to eternal life; for, otherwise,

he had chosen Judas as an apostle equally with the rest (John 6:70): have I not chosen you twelve, and one

of you is a devil? And from all the accounts that are given of him, it does not appear that he ever received the true grace of God; and therefore his perdition, to which he was appointed, which is the reason of his being called the son of perdition, is no instance of the apostacy Of a real saint, or true believer, or of one who, in a way of special grace, was given by the Father to Christ. Moreover eji mh, which is rightly rendered by our translators but, is not exceptive, but adversative (see Gal. 1:7; Rev. 21:27), and does not imply, that Judas was one of those that were given to Christ, and that his perdition is an exception to the preservation of them all; but the sense of the text is, None of those that thou gavest me is lost; but the son of perdition is lost, he having never been given to me as an object of thy love, only as an apostle, and, therefore, is left to that perdition to which he was appointed; whereby the Scripture, that speaks of his destruction, will be fulfilled.

Section 3—Romans 11:29.

For the gifts and calling of God are without

repentance.

The gifts of God, such as justification, pardon of sin, adoption, sanctification, and eternal life, flow from his immutable decree of election, as appears from the preceding verse. The calling here spoken of, is that internal, effectual calling, with which God’s elect are called according to the purpose and grace of God. Now, since the purpose of God to bestow the gifts of his grace stands firm and sure, and these gifts, when bestowed in calling, are without repentance, and will never be taken away, the final perseverance of these called ones must be certain. And though the apostle is only speaking of the elect of God among the Jews, the argument holds equally good of all others, who have, or for whom God has designed, the same gifts and calling. But to this is excepted, that, This “passage is evidently spoken of those Jews who were then hardened, given up to a spiritual slumber, broken off from their own olive-tree, and in that state of infidelity in which they have continued almost one thousand seven hundred years; and only intimates, that God will, in his good time, receive them again into his favor.” But nothing is more evident, than that the apostle is speaking of the Jews in the latter day, and of God’s eternal purposes and promises of grace concerning them; which shall be accomplished

when the fullness of the Gentiles is come in, towards whom he had gracious designs, for whom he had gifts in reserve, and whom he would call by his grace, in such a manner, as that neither his gifts nor his calling should be repented of, and so all Israel should be saved; and not of that present generation, much less of those Jews who were then hardened, given up to a spiritual slumber, and broken off; for these were the rest that were blinded, and are distinguished from the election that then obtained, and who never were called, nor had any spiritual gifts or saving blessings of grace bestowed on them. The arguments from the three last scriptures are said to need very little answer, as being wholly alien from the purpose, and very impertinent; but, whether they are so or no, the reader must judge. Our author proceeds to consider the arguments which seem to have a greater force in them, taken either from those scriptures which seem plainly, or by just consequence, to assert this doctrine, or else to promise this perseverance of the saints; the vindication of which will be attended to.

Section 4—Matthew 24:24.

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders;

insomuch that (if it were possible) they shall deceive the very elect.

1st. The argument from hence, in favor of the perseverance of the saints, very much depends on their being the elect of God, the impossibility of their deception being placed to this their character; which designs particular persons absolutely, and from eternity, chosen to everlasting life, who therefore cannot be so deceived as to be lost for ever, since their election is an eternal act, and therefore cannot be made void by a temporal one: it passed before the persons had done either good or evil; wherefore, as no good thing done by them was the cause of it, so no evil thing can annul or frustrate it; which strongly concludes the sure and certain salvation of all who are interested in it. But it is said that by the elect we are to understand the choicest believers, or the persevering Christians. To which I reply, that it is certain that such who are truly converted, or are true believers, are persevering Christians, and such without dispute are the elect: but then the reason why they are, and are called the elect, is not because they are converted, are true believers, and persevering Christians; but,

on the contrary, the reason why they are converted, become true believers, and so persevering Christians, is because they are elected. Conversion, faith, and perseverance, are not the causes or conditions, but fruits and effects of election: hence faith is styled the faith of God’s elect; (Titus 1:1; Acts 13:48.) and it is also said, that as many as were ordained unto eternal life believed; wherefore such cannot be finally deceived. Besides, to talk of the final seduction of a persevering Christian is a contradiction in terms: such an interpretation of the phrase must be absurd and impertinent; for who knows not, that a persevering Christian cannot be finally and totally deceived.

2ndly When we say, that the elect of God cannot be deceived, we allow that they may be, and are deceived before conversion. This is one part of their character, whilst unregenerate, (Titus 3:8) foolish, disobedient, deceived, etc., yea, that they may be, and oftentimes are deceived after conversion; but then this is in part only, and not totally; in some lesser, and not in the greater matters of faith; not so as to let go their hold of Christ, the head, and quit the doctrine of salvation by him, or fall into what the apostle calls (2 Pet. 2:1) damnable heresies. They may be seduced from the simplicity of the gospel, but not finally; for they shall be recovered out of the snare of the Devil, and not be left to perish in such deceivings. To this are excepted,

  1. That Christ solemnly exhorts his disciples to use the greatest caution that they be not deceived; and, in the same chapter, to watch and pray, lest the hour of temptation should come suddenly on them; which, surely, he would not do, if he knew that they could not be deceived. To which I reply, that inasmuch as they were liable to a partial seduction, and for a time, though not to a total and final one, there was good reason why these exhortations should be given and taken. Besides, such cautions might be useful to quicken their diligence to search and read the Scriptures, and by them try the spirits, whether they were of God or no, and by their fruits, their doctrines, discover impostors, and avoid them. Hence these cautions should not be improved into arguments against the final perseverance of the saints, seeing they may be considered as means of it.

  2. That Christ here declares, that by reason of the extreme affliction of these times, many should be offended, and their love was cold. But it should be

observed, that supposing true believers are intended, love in them may wax cold when it is not lost, which was the case of the church at Ephesus; and so is no proof of the saints falling from grace. Besides, the many that shall be deceived, offended, and fall off from the doctrine of faith are not the same persons with, but distinguished from, the elect, who cannot be deceived.

3rdly When we say, that it is impossible that the elect of God should be deceived, we mean not that it is impossible they should, considered in themselves, or if left to themselves, being, generally speaking, the foolish things of this world; or if left to that old Serpent, the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; or to false teachers, who lie in wait to deceive (1 Cor. 1:27; Rev. 12:10; Eph. 4:14): but we say it is impossible, considering the purposes and promises of God, the provisions of his grace, the security they have in the hands of Christ, and their presentation by the mighty power of God: and upon this account we judge, that their final and total deception is hero represented as impossible. But to this is excepted, that the phrase eij oguna>ton, if it were possible, denotes only a great difficulty in the performance of an act possible, (see Acts 20:16; Rom.12:18; Matthew 26:39), and also that it does not import what the event would be, but the vehemency of the endeavors should it respect the event, it is only with relation to the means here mentioned, being such as should prevail to seduce even Christians, were it possible for impostors, by lying signs and wonders, to deceive them who are invested with a power of working greater signs and wonders. To which I reply, the instances to prove that this phrase only denotes great difficulty, and not an absolute impossibility, are insufficient. The words of the apostle Paul (Acts 20:16), are conjectural; he knew not whether it was possible or no, that he could be at Jerusalem before Pentecost; of which sort, surely, the words of Christ here cannot be thought to be. The same apostle’s exhortation in Romans 12:18, supposes, that which is matter of fact, that it is impossible to live peaceably, with some men; and what followed upon our Lord’s petition in Matthew 26:39, shows that it was impossible that the cup should pass from him, considering the purpose of God, his covenant with him, and the salvation of his people. Moreover,

should this phrase only import the vehemency of the endeavors of seducers, and not respect the event only with relation to the means here mentioned, great signs, and wonders, it follows, that if, notwithstanding the vehement endeavors of seducers, and the utmost they can do to deceive the saints; if, notwithstanding their showing great signs and wonders, they are not able to prevail over them, being invested with a power superior to them; it may be concluded and pronounced, that it is impossible they should be deceived either by them, or by any other, or by any other means; since these are the most effectual of any, being according to the working of Satan, with all power, and sign,, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish: but says, the apostle, in the same place (2 Thess. 2:9,10,13), we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation; which is the saints grand security from a final and total deception, either by Satan or any of his emissaries.

Section 5—John 6:39, 40.

And this is the Father’s will, which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I should

lose nothing; but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

The persons here spoken of, are such as were given by the Father to Christ in eternal election, and in the everlasting covenant of grace, and who in time are enabled to believe on him for life and salvation; concerning whom the will of God is, that Christ should lose none of them, nor anything that belongs to them, neither their souls nor their bodies, no, not the least dust, but that he should raise it up again, and that these should also have everlasting life; which is the will of the Father of Christ, as well as of their Father, and therefore will be strictly regarded. Besides, this is the will of God, and not man, which cannot be resisted, so as to be frustrated; and is eternal, and therefore cannot be made void by any temporal act; and consequently, these words furnish out a considerable argument in proof of the saints’ final perseverance. To which is excepted,

1st. That “they treat not of the loss of believers

by a defection from the faith, but of their perdition by death; wherefore Christ promises, that he would raise them from death to a salutary life.” Be it so, that these words speak not of the saints’ preservation from an apostasy from the faith, but of their resurrection at the last day; yet, since their resurrection will be the resurrection of life, or will be unto eternal life, they must persevere to the end, and die in the Lord, in order to enjoy such a resurrection. If, therefore, it is the will of God, that all those whom he has given to Christ, and who see the Son, and believe on him, should be raised unto eternal life, their perseverance in grace is out of question; and after the resurrection, they will be out of any danger of apostasy; for being raised, they will be caught up with living saints to meet the Lord, and shall be for ever with him.

2ndly It is said, that “promises and declarations of the like nature with these which engage that God will give eternal life to the believer, are only to be understood of such a faith as doth endure to the end, and belong only to such as continue in the faith: and then it is demonstratively evident, that perseverance is included in them; and therefore cannot be proved from them, without begging the question.” To which I reply, that all true faith does endure to the end; it is an incorruptible seed of grace; part of that living water, which springs up into everlasting life; is the gift of God; whose gifts and calling are without repentance; of the operation of God, which he begins and performs with power; Christ is the author and finisher of it, and his powerful and prevalent intercession secures it from ever failing: hence those who have it, shall continue in it; and therefore their perseverance is certain. And if perseverance is insured to true faith, and is included in these promises of eternal life to true believers, to them only do such promises belong; for such who fall away were never true believers: then it is demonstratively evident, that it is to be proved from them, and that without begging the question. But to this it is objected,

  1. That such who fall away, “are expressly styled true believers, as others are.” But the places where they are so expressly styled cannot be named; the instances alleged from Matthew 18:6, 15; Luke 8:13; Romans 14:14, 15, 20; 1 Corinthians 8:11; John 4:39, 42; Acts 8:10, and Acts 21:20, are insufficient proofs of it. Some of the persons instanced in, though they may

    be allowed to be true believers; yet it does not appear, from what is said of them, that they totally and finally fell away; such as the little ones that believed in Christ (Matthew 18:6), and the weak brother in Romans 14, and 1 Corinthians 8. Since what is said of their being offended and perishing, is not to be understood of eternal destruction, but of their being slighted and rejected, and their minds grieved, consciences wounded, and their spiritual peace broken in upon and interrupted; as has been shown in the former part of this work: nor does it appear that the Samaritans, who believed in Christ, all fell off from him to Simon Magus; since those who truly believed might be dead, and safe in heaven, before his infatuation began and spread in Samaria: besides, it is not very evident that they were true believers in Christ; they might give their assent to him, as the Messiah and Savior of the world, without having true saving faith in him for themselves: nor does it appear that many of those myriads of Jews that believed, afterwards fell away. The epistle to the Hebrews is no proof of it. And if any of them did, it will not be easily proved that they were true believers. And it is certain that those represented by the stony ground, in Luke 8:13, who believed for a while, and then fell away, had not the true grace of God; since it is expressly said of them, that they had no root in them.

  2. It is observed, “that this faith, that is, of such who fall away, as to its kind, is true; is evident from this consideration, that Christ and his apostles require such persons not to change it, but only to continue in it; not to believe with a faith true and real as to kind, but to be steadfast in the faith they had already. But the passages produced do not prove that Christ and his apostles spoke to such persons; not the passage in John 8:31, where our Lord says to the Jews that believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then ye are my disciples indeed; that is, you will appear to be really so, and will be made free by the truth; and consequently, it will be evident, that you are sons who shall abide in the house for ever, and never be cast out: nor the passage in Acts 14:22, where Paul and Barnabas exhort the believers, to continue in the faith; in which they do not give the least intimation, or supposition, that any of them should fall away, but, on the contrary, that through much tribulation, they should enter into the kingdom of God; and in order to

    their preservation to it, commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

  3. It is said, that “this answer thwarts those numerous texts of scripture, which suspend the benefits promised to believers on their continuance in the faith.” To which I answer, that the numerous scriptures referred to, which are Colossians 1:23; 1 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 3:6, 14; 1 John 2:25; Romans 11:22, do not represent continuance in the faith as a precarious and uncertain thing; or suppose, that true believers may fall away finally and totally; nor do they suspend the benefits promised to believers, on the continuance of their faith, as a condition of their enjoying them; but represent continuance in the faith, as the evidence of their partaking of some of them already, and as a pledge and assurance of their enjoying the rest here after.

  4. It is further objected, that if this be the case, “all exhortations to steadfastness in the faith are enervated; and all declarations that we must be faithful to death, and endure to the end, are needless.” To which I reply, that exhortations of this kind are not hereby enervated, nor are such declarations needless; since these may be, and are, made use of by the Spirit of God, for the increase of faith, and steadfastness in it; and so be the means of the saint’s final perseverance. And whereas it is said, that the only distinction between a living and dead faith is, that the one is attended with, the other is without good works; and that the only difference between a temporary and saving faith, is this, that the one continues, and the other does not: it may be replied, that though good works are an evidence of a living faith, yet the life of faith does not consist in works, but in special acts of it on its proper object, Christ; and a temporary faith is only an assent to the truth of some propositions concerning Christ; but is not as saving faith, a going out unto him, depending on him, and believing in him, for the salvation of the soul.

Section 6—Romans 11:2.

God hath not cast away his people which he

foreknew.

Though the number of God’s people, in some ages of the world, is very small, as it was among the Israelites at the time of the apostle’s writing this epistle, yet God has not, nor will he cast away, or cast off his people, whom he has foreknown; he may hide

his face from them, afflict them in a fatherly way, and not immediately arise for their help; yet he will not cast them out of his affections, nor from his sight, nor out of the hands of his Son, nor out of the covenant of his grace, nor out of his family, or so as that they shall perish eternally: so far from it, that he takes the utmost delight and pleasure in them, gives them the greatest nearness to himself, lays them in his bosom, embraces them in his arms, keeps them as the apple of his eye, holds them by his right hand, and preserves them by his power unto salvation: the reasons of which are, his everlasting love unto them, his unchangeable purposes and promises concerning them, and because they are his jewels, his portion and inheritance: wherefore their final perseverance is certain. But to the argument from hence, it is objected. “That this text cannot relate to any foreknowledge God hath of his elect from all eternity, but only to his foreknowledge and choice of the Jewish nation, before any other nations of the world; and only signifies, that God had not entirely cast off his people, Israel.” To which I reply,

  1. That it is most reasonable to conclude, that the word proe>gnw, is used in the same sense here, as it is elsewhere in this epistle; particularly in Romans 8:29, 30, where God’s foreknowledge is spoken of as antecedent to predestination, vocation, justification, and glorification: and so must relate to God’s foreknowledge of his elect from all eternity, and not of the Jewish nation; since all of them are not predestinated, called, justified, and glorified.

  2. Though the people of Israel were chosen to be a peculiar people above all people (Deut. 7:6; Amos 3:2), and were known before all the families of the earth: yet they were not all a foreknown people in the special sense; and which is the apostle’s sense of the phrase; all were not Israel that were of Israel ( Rom. 9:6). Among that chosen and known people there were a special foreknown people, a remnant, according to the election of grace (Rom.11:5,7); who were the election that obtained when the rest were blinded. And these are the people God had not cast away; for as for the bulk, and body, and majority of that people, God had, or was about to cast them away, as is sufficiently evident from this chapter. And the apostle’s single instance of himself, and could he have instanced in seven thousand more, as in the times of Elias, would have been an insufficient proof of God’s not having

    cast away the bulk and body of that people; but is a full and pertinent one, of God’s not having cast away his special and foreknown people among them.

  3. Though this text relates to the elect of God among the Jews, yet, inasmuch as the same characters belong to the elect of God among others, as that they are his special people, whom he has foreknown, being elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father (1 Pet. 1:2); it is equally true of them, as of the elect among the Jews, that God has not, nor will he, cast any of them away. The sense of the words in Romans 8:30, and the argument upon them, have been already considered and vindicated, under the head of ELECTION.

Section 7—Romans 8:38, 39.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If neither death, in any view of it, nor life under any consideration whatever, nor angels, good or bad, nor principalities, nor powers, civil magistrates, ever so potent, tyrannical, fierce and cruel, nor things present, nor things to come, whether good or evil, nor height, nor depth, anything in heaven, earth or hell, nor any other creature, any person, or thing, within the compass of created beings, shall be able to separate from the love with which God loves his people; since it is the love of God, and not man; the love of him who changes not, and is besides in Christ Jesus our Lord; then those who are interested in it cannot perish, or fail of glory; for it is impossible that any should perish, and yet continue the objects of God’s love. Now,

  1. It is owned, that these words respect not “the love with which we love God, but his affection towards us; and that the apostle only intimates, that such persons continuing in the love of God, shall be preserved by him from the temptations here mentioned; and so supported by his grace and Spirit as to be able to bear them.” And if so, since all such who have interest in the love of God, shall continue in it, what should hinder their final perseverance? And whereas it is observed, that “he does not say, the love of no Christian shall wax cold, Matthew 24:12, that none of them shall lose his first love (Rev. 2:4). And were

    there no cause to fear this, it is asked, why doth Christ exhort his disciples to abide in his love (John 15:9), and his apostles exhort others to keep themselves in the love of God (Jude 1:21), and to look diligently to it, that they fall not from the grace and favor of God (Heb. 12:15), and to continue in the grace of God (Acts 13:43)?” I answer, that the love even of true believers may wax cold and yet not cease, nor the love of God cease towards them; nor does the scripture anywhere say, that any of them has lost, or may lose, but only have left their first love; nor do the exhortations of Christ and his apostles, to abide in his love, and keep themselves in the love of God, suppose this, but are made use of as means to prevent it: and as for the two last passages referred to, they are not to be understood, either of the love of the saints to God, or of his love and favor to them, but of the doctrine of grace.

  2. It is farther observed, “that the apostle does not say, that nothing can separate true believers from the love of God, or Christ; but only declares his persuasion, that nothing would do it, or thatthey had no causeto fear these things, or to be shaken from their steadfastness, in expectation of those inestimable blessings God had promised to, and Christ had purchased for them, by any of “these tribulations.” But, if this persuasion of the apostle’s was a well-grounded one; and if there was no just cause of fearing these things; then it is certain, that nothing can separate true believers from the love of God. And besides, since “they have good ground to hope, that all the evils they shall bear shall conduce to their good, that Christ will still be ready to support them under them by his power, and to help their infirmities by his Spirit, and at last give them the glory prepared for the sons of God;” not only the apostle might well persuade himself, but they also may well persuade themselves, that nothing shall ever be able to separate them from this love of God: nor do the fears the apostle elsewhere expresses, of their being shaken and tempted, so as that his labor would be in vain, and the arguments and motives he offers to prevent this effect of temptations, contradict this persuasion: nor was this persuasion of his concerning them, that they would persevere, and continue steadfast in the love of God, to which they had so great inducements; but that nothing should separate them from the affection of God towards them; which sense

this author himself before acknowledged; though he now thinks fit to contradict himself.

Section 8—Ephesians 1:13, 14.

[See also Ephesians 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:21,22].

In whom, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise: which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

The argument from these passages of scripture, proving the saints’ final perseverance, may be thus formed: if true believers are sealed, certified and assured, by the Spirit of God, that they are the sons and heirs of God, and shall enjoy the heavenly inheritance: and if the same Spirit is the earnest and pledge of it, and that until the redemption of the purchased possession, or until the day of redemption; that is, until all those who are the possession of Christ, or his peculiar people, whom he has purchased with his blood, are redeemed from their mortality and corruption, which will be done in the resurrection morn, and not before; I say, if the Spirit of God does thus seal believers, and is, and continues to be an earnest of their future glory, until this time; then they shall certainly and finally persevere. But the Spirit of God does do, and is all this to them, unto this time; therefore, they shall certainly and finally persevere. In answer to this it is said,

1st. “That these metaphors neither do, nor can signify that they, who have once the Spirit, can ever lose him, or cause him to depart from them, is evident from these considerations;

  1. “That they who have been the temples of God, by virtue of his Spirit dwelling in them, may so corrupt this temple as to be themselves destroyed, as is demonstrable from 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17, and that they, whose bodies are the members of Christ, and who are one spirit with him, may make these bodies the members of an harlot; and so cease to be the members of Christ (1 Cor. 6:15).” I reply that these metaphors both can, and do signify that they, who have once the Spirit, can never wholly lose him, or cause him finally and totally to depart from them; for otherwise he would not be a sealer of them, nor an earnest of their inheritance to them, until the day of redemption: nor do the words of the apostle, in 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17, demonstrate that they, who have been the temples of God, may so corrupt this temple

    as to be themselves destroyed; but only that such, who attempt to corrupt or defile the temple and church of God, by bringing in among them damnable heresies, shall be destroyed by God; and not they who are the temples of God: nor do the words, in 1 Corinthians 6:15, prove that they, whose bodies are the embers of Christ, may make them the members of an harlot. The apostle only puts the question, Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? Which he answers with a God forbid. And his design is to show how unbecoming the sin of fornication is to such, whose bodies are the members of Christ, and temples of the Holy Ghost; but does not in the least insinuate that such, who were truly so, might cease to be the members of Christ, or cause the Holy Spirit entirely to depart from them.

  2. This is also said to be “farther evident from the apostle’s fears, that Satan might so far have tempted his Thessalonians, as to render all his labor vain among them; whom yet he acknowledges, had received the word with joy of the Holy Ghost, and were the elect of God.” But it should be observed, that the apostle’s fears were not, lest, through Satan’s temptations, they might so fall away as to cause the Holy Spirit wholly to depart from them; but lest Satan, through false teachers, should so stagger their faith, that they should in any respect give way to erroneous principles and practices; and thereby not all his labor, but that part of it should be in vain, which he had bestowed upon them in establishing them in the truths of the gospel.

3. This is said to be still farther evident “from the exhortations in these epistles, directed to those men, who are said to have this seal and earnest of the Holy Spirit; as to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 6:1; 11:3, and 12:20, 21), and to the Ephesians, (Ephesians 5:3, 6; 3:13; 6:13). To which may be replied, that these exhortations, which regard the saints continuing in the doctrines of the gospel, avoiding sin, and withstanding temptations, though they imply danger to the saints, as considered in themselves, as of falling from some degree of steadfastness in the faith, and into sin, and of fainting in the evil day; yet do not suppose that they may, or shall fall finally and totally, or so as that the Holy Spirit would wholly withdraw from them; though they might so fall and faint as to grieve him, to do which would be unkind and ungenerous; since

he is the sealer of their persons, and the earnest of their inheritance. Besides, these exhortations are to be considered as means, being designed, and doubtless as such were blessed, for the final perseverance of God’s sealed ones.

2ndly. In answer to the argument above, it is observed, that “the expressions are designed only to inform us that the Holy Spirit, vouchsafed to Christ’s church and members, gave them a just assurance of the truth of the Christian faith; and consequently of the farther blessings promised to his faithful persevering servants in the world to come. Hence it is evident, that they who had these first fruits of the Spirit, had thereupon an argument to satisfy them

of the future blessings promised to them. And hence they, by his Spirit, are said to have the earnest of their future inheritance, and to be sealed up to the day of redemption.” But let it be observed, that the Holy Spirit, vouchsafed to Christ’s church and members, does not only give a just assurance of the truth of the Christian faith, as a doctrine; but also assures believers of the truth of the grace of faith, and of all other graces in them, and of their right to glory, and certain enjoyment of it. Moreover, if the Spirit, thus vouchsafed, gives a just assurance of farther blessings promised by Christ; and if such, who have these first fruits of the Spirit, have thereupon an argument to satisfy them of these blessings; then they may, with faith and patience, wait for the redemption of the body: and be assured that when this earthly tabernacle is dissolved, they have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; and that the Lord will deliver them from every evil work, and preserve them unto his heavenly kingdom (Rom. 8:23; 2 Cor. 5:1; 2 Timothy 4:18). The argument from 2 Timothy 2:19, is vindicated, under the head of Election, whither the reader is referred.

Section 9—1 Peter 1:5.

Who are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.

These words, in connection with the preceding verses, show that such as are elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, and are begotten again unto a lively hope of an incorruptible inheritance, are kept frourroume>nouv, as in a garrison, by, or in the power of God, safe and secure from a final and total falling away, through the grace of faith unto

consummate salvation,, to be enjoyed for ever in heaven. In answer to which, it is said.

  1. “That this place only proves that all, who are preserved to salvation, are so kept by the power of God; but not that all believers are so kept.” I reply, we do not say, that all believers are so kept; since there are some who are nominal believers, have no true grace, believe but for a time, and fall away; but then we say, that all true believers are so kept; otherwise the words of our Lord (Mark 16:16), would not he true, nor the will of his Father (John 6:40), be fulfilled; for how should every one that believes be saved, unless they are preserved unto salvation? And if those who are preserved unto salvation, are kept by the power of God unto it, as is owned; it follows, that since every true believer will be saved, and in order to it be preserved unto salvation, then every one of them is, and will be, kept by the power of God unto it.

  2. It is farther said, that this place “proves only that they are kept through faith; that is, if they continue in the faith, and hold the beginning of their confidence steadfast unto the end.” But it should be observed, that there is no if in the text; faith is not represented as a condition, but as a means of preservation, engaged by the power of God, for that is as much secured by the power of God as salvation itself, or preservation to it. Besides, such a sense of the words is no other than this, that these persons are kept by the power of God, if, or so long as, they keep themselves; which, as it greatly depreciates the power of God, and ascribes too much to the creature, so it is in itself exceeding trifling. Add to this, that if this faith, through which believers are kept to salvation, will render them victorious over the world, enable them to resist the temptations of the devil, to prefer afflictions before the pleasures of sin, and even to suffer death, not accepting deliverance, in expectation of a better resurrection; and, lastly, engage the power of God in their preservation, and so cause them out of weakness to be strong, all which is owned by our author; this, surely, proves that they shall certainly continue in the faith, and so be preserved safe unto the kingdom and glory of God.

    Section 10—1 John 2:19.

    They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would, no doubt, have continued with us. But they went out, that they might

    be made manifest, that they were not all of us.

    The meaning of these words is, that there were some persons in the apostle John’s time, who had made a profession, of religion, were members of the church, and some of them, perhaps, preachers; and yet departed from the faith they professed, withdrew themselves from the church or churches, to which they belonged, and set up separate assemblies of their own. These, the apostle says, were not of us; that is, they were not regenerated by the grace of God, and so apparently were not of the number of God’s chosen ones; for had they been born again of the incorruptible seed, had they had that anointing which abides, and from which persons are truly denominated Christians; as they would have appeared to have been chosen, so they would have continued in the faith, and have remained with the churches of Christ, and not have fallen into such errors and heresies, into which it is impossible that God’s elect, or true believers, should ever fall. But the defection of these persons was permitted by God, that they might be made manifest, that they had never received the grace of God in truth. It follows, therefore, that as such who so fall were never true believers, so such who are true believers, shall never totally and finally fall away. To which is answered,

    1. “That these words, they were not of us, cannot signify they were not of the number of the elect; but only they were not of the church in general, and of the mind of the apostles, and the church that adhered to them.” But surely the apostle would never deny that these persons were of the church, and of the same mind with it, at least in profession, antecedent to their going out; for had they not been in communion with the church, they could not be properly said to go out of it; and if they had not been of the same mind and faith and profession, they could not be said to depart from it. The reason this author gives, as an evidence of their not being of the church, “that from them they went out, and with them they might have remained,” is a reason invincibly proving that they were of them, as a church otherwise they could not have went out from them; with whom they not only might but would have remained, had their hearts been right with God. And whereas it is farther observed, that “they could not go out from the elect only, who are not visible, nor could they have remained with them, who were never of

      them;” it may be replied, that though they were never of them as elect, yet they were of them as a church, become visible by a profession of faith; and therefore could, as they did, go out from them as such; though had they been true believers in Christ, they would have appeared to have been elect likewise, and would have continued and remained with them both as elect and as a church. It is moreover added, that “their going out from them for a season, was no certain argument that they were not of the elect; since it is confessed, that they may fall totally, though not finally.” Who they are that have made this confession, I shall not inquire; for my own part, I affirm that God’s elect, or true believers in Christ, cannot totally fall, that is, wholly and entirely lose the grace of God bestowed on them, or wrought in them. However, the going out of these persons was in such a mariner, that it was a certain argument that they were not of the elect; since they became antichrists (v. 18), the forerunners of the man of sin, avowed enemies to Christ, who denied him to be the Christ (v. 22), or that he was come in the flesh (1 John 4:3), and therefore said to be of the world, and not of God (vv. 4-6).

    2. It is said, that “the true sense of the words seems plainly to be this: these antichrists, or deceivers, went out from the apostles and churches of Judea (Acts 15:1,24), to preach destructive doctrines to the Gentiles, which both the church of Judea, and the apostles assembled for that purpose, flatly disowned and censured; by which it sufficiently appeared, that all the preachers of these doctrines were not of them.” But this sense of the words confines them to preachers only; whereas, though many of these antichrists might be preachers, yet not all; whoever denied the Father and the Son, or that Christ was come in the flesh, was an antichrist, whether he was in a public or private capacity. Besides, not the true and faithful ministers of the word, but private believers, are opposed to these persons in the following verse, But ye have an unction from the Holy One, etc. This sense of the words also makes the us to be the apostles, and churches of Judea; whereas, when the apostle John wrote this epistle, the rest of the apostles were all dead; and he speaks of these antichrists as men that were, in that last time, risen up among them, and went out from them; and, therefore, could not, with any propriety, say that they went out from the apostles.

Besides, whenever this pronoun us is used elsewhere, in this epistle, it is never restrained to the apostles; but the apostle John in it includes, with himself, all true believers. Nor is there any reason to conclude, that he had in view the church of Judea, and a case in which that was concerned near forty years ago, but rather the churches of Asia, among whom he was, and particularly the church at Ephesus, where he is generally thought to have resided. Now the apostle Paul, many years before this, had told (Acts 20:29,30) the elders of the church, that after his departure, not only grievous wolves should enter in among them, but also of their own selves should men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them: and the apostle John lived to see these predictions fulfilled. Add to all this, that this sense of the words makes their going out to be merely local and corporal.

—Now to go out from the apostles, in this sense, was not criminal; the persons that went down from Judea to Antioch (Acts 15:1, 24), are not blamed for going thither, nor for going out from the apostles thither, but for troubling the disciples with words to the subverting of their souls. Nor was a corporal departure from the apostles any evidence of not being of the same mind with them, for they often departed one from another, and yet continued of the same mind and faith. The departure here spoken of was of men from the true church of Christ, both in doctrine and in affection; and that not of preachers only, but of others who were only nominal Christians, and was so understood by the ancient fathers, particularly Tertullian and Cyprian.

Section 11—1 John 3:9.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin,

because he is born of God.

He that is born of God is one that is regenerated by the Spirit and grace of God; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit, or spiritual; it is a new man, a new creature, which neither does, nor can commit sin; though it is as yet imperfect, there is no impurity in it, no bias, tendency; or inclination to sin, but all the reverse; it is born of an incorruptible seed which remains, it is a principle of grace which is of God, and can never be lost. Hence it follows, that regenerate persons cannot cease to be so. In answer to this, it is said,”

  1. “That these words cannot be intended to signify

    that he who is born of the Spirit and the word, can never fall from that state is evident; partly, because he hath been proved already that the Holy Spirit may depart and quit his habitation; and so he who was once born of the Spirit may cease to be so; and partly, because men may not continue in the word, nor the word abide in them, nor they in Christ, and may lose their interest in God, and the things which they had wrought, as is clearly intimated by these exhortations (1 John 2:24, 27, 28; 2 John 1:8, 9).” But it has been also already proved that the Holy Spirit does not finally and totally depart from true believers. Nor is it possible that he that is once born of the Spirit can cease to be so; a man can be but once regenerated; and he that is once born again cannot be again unborn. Nor do the exhortations referred to intimate that regenerate persons may not abide in the word, or that in them, or they not in Christ, or that they may lose their interest in God; but are so many encouragements to the performance of duty, as a means of their final perseverance.

  2. It is argued that “as those words of Christ (Matthew 7:18), and those of the apostle (Rom. 8:7), do not prove that corrupt tree cannot cease to be corrupt, and become good; or that the carnal mind cannot cease to be so, and become spiritual, so neither do these words prove that he who is born of God cannot cease to be so.” But it should be observed, that as the words of Christ and the apostle referred to, prove that a corrupt and carnal man cannot become good and spiritual without the powerful and efficacious grace of God, which can only make him so; so these words prove that a regenerate man cannot cease to be one, or in such sense sin as to be lost and perish; for this reason, because there is a principle of mighty grace in him, which overcomes the world, the flesh, and the devil. Again, it is urged, that “as these words in Matthew 12:34, John 7:7, and John 12:39, and John 14:17, do not signify an impossibility that it should be otherwise, but only their present indisposition to the contrary, and the aversation of their minds from those things which it is said they cannot do: so those words do not import any impossibility that they should do so, but only that they have at present that frame of spirit, which renders them strongly averse from sin, and indisposed to yield to any temptations to commit it.” But it is easy to observe, that the apostle does not

    conclude the regenerate man’s not sinning, or not being able to sin, from any present precarious frame of spirit; but from his constitution, as being born of God, and from the seed of God, a principle of grace remaining and abiding in him.

  3. It is said, that “the interpretation which many of the ancient fathers give us of these words, are a demonstration that they believed not the doctrine of the saints’ perseverance; for they expound the words thus; He that is born of God sinneth not, neither can sin, quamdiu renatus est, whilst he is born of God; because he ceaseth to be a child of God when he sins.” Whether the ancient fathers believed the doctrine of the saints’ perseverance, or not, will be considered (God willing) in an after part of this work. Who the many of the ancient fathers are, that give this interpretation of the words, we are not told: not Ignatius, nor Clemens of Rome, nor of Alexandria, nor Irenaeus, nor Justin Martyr, nor Cyprian. Tertullian comes the nearest to it, when he says, Haec non admittet omnino qui natus a Deo fuerit, non futurus Dei filius si admiserit; He that is born of God, will not at all commit these things, speaking of some grievous sins; should he commit them he would not be a child of God. His meaning I take to be this; should any one that professes to be born of God, commit such and such things, it would be evident that he was not a child of God: but he adds afterwards, We know that every one that is born of God, sinneth not; scilicet, delictum quod ad mortem eat, namely, the sin unto death.

    Section 12—Isaiah 54:10.

    For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee.

    These words contain an irresistible argument in favor of the saints’ final perseverance; proving that they cannot fall from the grace of God, or ever be deprived of an interest in the covenant of peace, and the blessings of it. In which, the unalterableness of God’s love to his people, and the immovableness of his covenant with them, are illustrated and confirmed, by the departure and removing of mountains and hills; when neither of these shall depart, nor be removed. Wherefore if the kindness of God to them never will depart from them, notwithstanding their fall in Adam, the depravity of their natures, their many actual sins

    before conversion, their frequent backslidings after; and though he hides his face from them as to sensible communion, and chides and chastises them in the course of his providence; if this is the case, I say, as it certainly is, then it is impossible that persons, thus held and embraced in the arms of everlasting love, should ever totally and finally fall away, so as to be lost and perish eternally. Moreover, if the covenant of peace is an immovable one, as there is the highest reason to believe it is; since God has not only said, but swore to it, that he will not break it nor alter the thing that is gone out of his lips; seeing it is made with Christ, with whom it shall stand fast: then the persons interested in it cannot fail of grace here, and glory hereafter, which are blessings secured for them in it. But, in answer to these arguments,

    1. It is said, “that it is exceeding evident that this place, with some others, hereafter to be considered, speaks of nations in the general, and not of a few private persons among them.” To which I reply; that it is exceeding evident that the persons spoken to, which are no other than the church of Christ, are spoken to in the singular number, as appears from the words thou and thee used almost in every verse in the chapter; which is not very suitable to the nations in general. Besides, the relations that Jehovah stands in to these persons are such in which he does not stand to the nations in general; for, though he is the maker of them all, and the God of the whole earth; yet he is only a husband and a redeemer of particular persons (v. 5). Likewise, the expressions of God’s love and kindness (vv. 7-10), are too strong to be applied to the nations in general; as well as the promises of glory and happiness (vv. 11, 12), and particularly, that all her children should be taught of the Lord, and great should be the peace of them (v. 13). Add to this, that these persons are distinguished from the nations in general (v. 3), and from those that should gather and rise up against them (vv. 15-17). And the whole prophecy, concerning them, concludes thus; this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord: which words contain in them both characters and privileges which do not belong to the nations in general.

    2. It is further objected, that the prophet here speaks of the time of the Jews’ general conversion to the faith; as is evident from verse 11, 12, compared

      with Revelation 21. But it unhappily falls out for this objector, that the prophet is speaking of the conversion of the Gentiles, and not of the Jews; as appears from verse 1-3, compared with Galatians 4:27, in which he predicts, that the instances of conversion among the Gentiles, at the first preaching of the Gospel to them, would be far more numerous than what

      had been among the Jews. And it is evident from verse 11, 12, compared with Revelation 21:that he is there speaking of a very glorious state of the church among the Gentiles in the latter day; when their fullness shall come in, and the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of that glorious state, and the kings of the earth shall bring the glory and honor of the nations to it (Rev. 21:19,23,24). And it is also very evident, that the prophet is speaking, in verse 12, of the time when the earth, not the land of Judea, but the Gentile world, shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (Isa. 11:9). But supposing that the time of the Jews’ conversion is here referred to, and the converted Jews are the only persons intended; how does this militate against the saints’ final perseverance? Since these converted Jews will appear to have a share in that kindness which shall never depart from them, and to be interested in that covenant which shall never be removed. And it should be observed, that this exception destroys the former; for if the Jews, and their conversion are spoken of, then not the nations in general.

    3. It is farther urged, that “the promise of a covenant of peace that should not fail, was made under a condition, as the words in Isaiah 55:3, show.” To which I answer, that the phrases of inclining the ear, and hearkening to the Lord, mentioned in the place referred to, were not the conditions of God’s making, that is, making known, and confirming his covenant to them; but the promises of making good, and applying the blessings of the covenant, is used as an encouragement to incline the ear to hearken to him. Besides were this covenant of peace a conditional one, depending on any thing to be performed by man, it would not be better than the old covenant; whereas the covenant of grace and peace, is represented as a new and a better one, established upon better promises (Heb. 8:6-8), which are absolute and unconditional. Add to this, that the covenant here spoken of, is represented to be such a one (v. 9), as

was made with Noah. Now the covenant made with Noah was without any condition required on the part of man, as appears from Genesis 9:11.

Section 13—Isaiah 59:21.

As for me, this is my covenant with them saith the Lord, My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, or out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord,

from henceforth and for ever.

These words are to be understood of the church of Christ under the New Testament dispensation, and of all true believers, which are the seed of the church, and her seed’s seed in successive ages; being born in her, nursed up at her side, and are her children in a spiritual sense; among whom the Spirit and the Word, two grand blessings of the covenant of grace, shall always remain, and never depart from them; and so contain a very considerable argument, not only of the continuance of the church of Christ in all ages, and of his Spirit and gospel in it, but of the final perseverance of particular saints. For, if the Spirit of the Lord shall not finally and totally depart from such, in whom he is as a spirit of regeneration, sanctification, faith, adoption, etc., though his grace in them is not always in exercise, and he may, for a time, withdraw his sensible presence and gracious influence, then the saints shall finally persevere, and cannot perish; for it is impossible they should ever perish with him in them, who is “the well of living water springing up unto eternal life:” the abiding seed in them, who is “greater than he that is in the world;” and will “perform the good work of grace begun in them, until the day of Christ.” Moreover, if the gospel, though it may depart from a nation, as it did from the Jews, and has done for others, and from visible, particular congregated churches such as the seven churches of Asia, and out of the mouths of formal professors, who may drop, deny, and blaspheme it; shall never depart out of the mouths of such who have received it in the love of it, and in whose hearts it works effectually, then they shall finally persevere; since this “gospel is the power of God unto salvation” to them, and the “engrafted word able to save” them. But, in answer to this, it is urged,

  1. That the words are a conditional promise, being made with such who turn from transgression, (v. 20),

    and on the account of their so doing; and no longer binding,thanthatiscontinued.Towhichmaybereplied, that there is not the least appearance of a condition in the words, or in the preceding verse referred to: it is not said, If they turn away from transgression then my spirit and my words shall not depart from them. Their turning away from transgression is mentioned not as the cause, or condition of God’s covenant with them, and of these articles in it; but only as descriptive of the persons interested therein. Besides, as the words are cited by the apostle Paul in Romans 11:27, they contain an absolute promise of what the Redeemer would do for them when he came, and not what they should do themselves.

  2. It is observed, “that something external, and peculiar to the Israelites, is here promised.” To which I reply; whatever may be said for the words of the Lord being in their mouths, as something external; it is certain that the Spirit of the Lord being upon, or in them (for l[, is put for b, as Kimchi explains the words) designs nothing external, nor the gifts of the Spirit, either ordinary, or extraordinary; but the internal operations of his grace, in which sense the phrase is used in Isaiah 44:3, 4. Moreover, though the Jews, under the Old Testament dispensation had many external things peculiar to themselves, in which they had the advantage of the Gentiles; yet, under the New Testament dispensation, there is no difference made between believing Jews, and believing Gentiles (see Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11). Besides, these promises were not made to the Israelites or Jews, literally considered; but to the church of Christ, and true believers in him, figuratively signified by Zion and Jacob.

  3. It is added, “that these promises regard a particular time from which they commenced, from henceforth, and for ever; and particular persons, who are distinctly and emphatically, and by a climax, mentioned; from thy mouth, and the mouth of thy seed, and of thy seed’s seed. Whereas the promise of perseverance, according to our notions of it, must belong equally to all the elect in all ages, before, as well as after, these promises were made.” To which I answer, that the covenant here spoken of regards the new covenant, or the administration of that covenant of grace, under the gospel dispensation, which was to take place from the coming of the Redeemer (v. 20), the date intended, nor was there any need to include

more; nor could more be included in these promises than the saints under the gospel dispensation. And the reason why the church, her seed, and seed’s seed, are so distinctly mentioned, may be to remove all doubts and scruples from the minds of believers, in all the periods of that dispensation, and the more strongly to confirm them in the belief of these things.

4. It is said, “that the apostle Paul plainly refers these words to the time of the Jews’ conversion to the faith; who, when brought home to Christ, should never fall from him. Be it so, that they do more particularly belong to that time, than any other: this sense of them is far from militating against the saints’ final perseverance; since it strongly proves that the Jews, when converted, shall not fatally and totally fall away; which is not a blessing peculiar to them, but what they will have in common with Gentile believers.

5. It is urged, that if these promises belong to the elect, the seed of the elect, and their seed’s seed, must be elected also; whereas it is certain, from experience, that the seed of the elect are often very wicked; and therefore not elect, but reprobates.” It must be owned, that there would be a good deal of force in this objection, were the words to be understood of believers, and their natural seed and offspring, as such; and therefore such who understand the words in this sense, would do well to consider how they betray the doctrine of perseverance into the hands of our opponents. But when it is, observed, that these words respect not the children of the flesh, or the natural seed of believers, but the children of the promise, who are counted for the seed (Rom. 9:7) there will appear no weight in the objection.

Section 14—Hosea 2:19, 20.

And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness, and

thou shalt know the Lord.

The certain and final perseverance of the elect, appears very evident from this passage of scripture. For, if the Lord Jesus Christ does, by an act of his free grace betroth his people to himself; and that in righteousness, in the wedding garment of his own righteousness; and also in judgment, which may intend the powerful protection of them from all

insults and injuries; and likewise in loving-kindness, and in mercies, which he has shown in dying for them, in nourishing and cherishing of them, and in sympathizing with them, as well as in faithfulness, which he will never suffer to fail; and all this for ever; so that this marriage relation shall never cease; I say if Christ has thus closely and eternally joined and united his people to himself, it is not possible they should ever be separated from him; or so fall from his grace as to be eternally lost. But to this, the following things are objected.

  1. That these words are spoken “of them, who came out of the land of Egypt, who had burnt incense to Balaam, and whose feast days were new moons and sabbaths, and so cannot concern the elect only, or their final perseverance.” To which I reply, that it is very evident, that though these words are spoken of the Israelites, yet not of the same individual persons who came out of Egypt, or who had burnt incense to Balaam; but regard other persons and times, even the times when the ceremonial law was to be abolished, and the new moons, sabbaths, and solemn feasts, made to cease (v. 11), when the land of Judea with its vines and fig-trees, shall be destroyed (v. 12), and which are distinguished from the days of the youth of this people, as a body politic, when they came out of the land of Egypt (v. 15), and so concern the elect of God among that people, who being allured into the wilderness of the Gentile world (v. 14), were met with, and converted under the ministry of the apostles, and so openly betrothed unto the Lord Jesus Christ: and was a pledge of what will be more largely done at the time of their general conversion; when it shall be said, the marriage of the Lamb is come. Besides, these words regard not only the elect of God among the Jews, but among the Gentiles also, as appears from Romans 9:23-26.

  2. It is objected, that “if these spiritual promises respect the elect, then the temporal ones must do so likewise; and then they must abound with corn, and wins and oil (v. 22), which yet were never looked upon as promises made to the elect, much less as things peculiarly belonging to them.” But why these should not be looked upon as promises made to the elect, I see not: does not God take care of his own elect in temporal things? which, though not peculiar to them, yet are given to them in a peculiar manner,

    being blessings indeed to them, whilst they are curses to others. Besides, nothing is more evident than that oftentimes, in the writings of the Old Testament, temporal blessings are spoken of, as figurative of spiritual ones.

  3. It is moreover observed, “that the promise here made to Israel, is only made to her returning to her first husband, (v. 7),” and is not an absolute, but a conditional one. But whoever reads it with any care, will easily see that it is expressed in the most absolute and unconditional terms; no less than three times, to express the certainty of the thing, does the Lord say, I will betroth thee unto me, and adds, and thou shall know the Lord; that is, believe in him, own, acknowledge, love, honor, and obey him, as thy lord and husband. He does not say, if thou wilt own and acknowledge me, love, honor and obey me, or return to me, and remain inviolably chaste and faithful to me, then I will betroth thee to myself; nor is there any connection between these words and verse 7. And was there any between them; yet even they are delivered in very absolute terms thus, she shall say under strong convictions of mind, and impressions made by powerful and efficacious grace, I will go and return to husband, for then it was better with me than now.

Section 15—Jeremiah 32:40.

And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts,

that they shall not depart from me.

If the covenant God makes with his people is an everlasting one, interest in it indissoluble, the grace of it always sufficient, its blessings irreversible, its promises sure, and the mediator of it always the same, than which nothing is more certain; if God, the maker of this covenant, will not turn away his love and affections from them, but will do them all the good he has either purposed or promised, and if he puts his fear in their hearts, so as that they shall not depart totally from him; their final perseverance must be abundantly secured. Now, in answer to this it is said,

  1. That “these promises are made expressly to the whole house of Israel, and to all the children of Israel and Judah; and therefore cannot concern the elect only, or their final perseverance.” I reply, that Israel and Judah were typical of God’s elect, under

    the gospel dispensation; and supposing that they are literally intended, it is enough to secure the faithfulness of God in these promises, that they were made good to his elect among them. The apostle has taught us to answer such an objection in this manner, when he says (Rom. 9:6; 11:1, 2, 7), “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect, for they are not all Israel, which are of Israel; God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew; the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Besides, the words all and whole, are neither in the text, nor context; and were they, yet, if these promises regard the time of the Jews’ conversion as this author pleads for, when all Israel shall be saved, and so appear to be elected, these must needs concern the elect only, and their final perseverance.

  2. It is objected, that “these promises are for ‘the good of their children after them,’ who therefore must be elected also; whereas it is certain from experience, that the seed of the elect are often very wicked persons.” To which may be replied, that God does not here promise to make an everlasting covenant with their children, nor that he will not turn away from their children to do them good, nor that he will put his fear in the hearts of their children that they shall not depart from him; only that he “will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear him for ever, for the good of them and of their children after them; which is true, since the religious conduct of parents towards their children, the religious examples set them, and the religious education given them, may be in many instances for their good, even though many of them may prove wicked, and without supposing them all to be elected.

  3. It is excepted, that “if these spiritual promises respect the elect, then the promises of temporal blessings being made to the same persons, must respect them also; and so they must all abide safely in the land of Canaan and buy there fields for money.” In answer to which, it is easy to observe, that very frequently in the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, especially when God promises temporal blessings, and particularly deliverance from captivity to the people of the Jews in general, he takes the opportunity to make mention of some spiritual blessings which were peculiar to his elect among them, and who in common shared the temporal blessings with them;

    which spiritual ones are the same, his elect in all ages, and in all nations, partake of. Besides the temporal blessings promised to the Jews were, in many instances, figurative of spiritual ones, which God’s elect among the Gentiles, as well as Jews in the times of the gospel, were to enjoy; who though they are not blessed with the temporal blessings promised to Abraham, and his natural seed, yet are “blessed with faithful Abraham,” and his spiritual seed, with all spiritual blessings.

  4. The promises here made are said to be conditional; whereas there is not the least indication of a condition in any of them, but are expressed in the strongest and most absolute manner imaginable. I will make an everlasting covenant with them, I will not turn away from them, I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me: as are also the passages referred to, to be joined with these promises, though without any reason (as Jer. 24:7; 3:19; Isa. 55:3). The text in Jeremiah 12:16, the only conditional one mentioned, regards not the people of Israel, but their evil neighbors, as is evident both from the text and context.

  5. It is urged, that “the promise is not an absolute promise, that they should fear him always; but only an indication, that his kind providences should be such towards them as should lay upon them the highest obligations to continue steadfast in his fear: le and lebalti being often used, not to signify the certainty of the event, but the design and purpose of God in affording the means (so Deut. 10:13; 17:19, 20; 4:10; John 16:1; Ezek. 11:19, 20). “But, if this is not an absolute promise, I will put ray fear in their hearts, what can be called so? And surely, God’s putting his fear in their hearts, is more than by kind providences to lay upon them the highest obligations to continue steadfast in his fear, or barely affording means thereof; but must intend an internal, special, powerful operation, and implantation of his grace in their hearts. Nor does the word here used, signify only God’s design, and not the certainty of the event. The text should not be read that they may not depart, but, that they shall not depart from me. The Hebrew particle, ytlbl, lebilti, not lebalti, signifies the certainty of the event, as well as design; (see Lev. 26:15; Deut. 4:21; Ezek. 20:15), nor is it used, but in one of the passages referred to by the learned objector; and it

    is very odd that John 16:1, should stand among the instances of the sense of a Hebrew particle. Besides, admitting that it signifies here the design and purpose of God, this is not to be separated from the event, which is certain by it; since his counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure.

  6. Whereas it is further objected, that “this text only contains a promise, that when the Jewish nation shall be converted at the close of the world, they should never fall off any more from being his people, as they had done before.” This is so far from militating against the doctrine of the saints’ final perseverance, that it serves to confirm it; since, when the Jews shall be converted, they shall not fall away, but “all Israel shall be saved;” so all God’s elect, being converted, whether among Jews or Gentiles, shall certainly persevere to the end, and be saved; seeing they are converted by the same grace, and kept by the same power, as the Jews then will be. The Remonstrants own, that this promise regards the Gentiles under the New Testament.


Section 16—John 14:16.

[with John 4:14, and John 6:35]

And 1 will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.

The other Comforter Christ prays to his Father for, is no other than the Spirit of truth (v. 17), which is the Holy Ghost (v. 26), who, when he once takes up his residence in the hearts of any, never departs, but abides for ever; otherwise, this prayer of Christ would not be answered. Whence it follows that true believers, who are the temples of the Holy Spirit, shall certainly persevere to the end, and not be eternally destroyed. In answer to this,

  1. It is affirmed, “that the Holy Spirit may entirely depart from them, in whom he once inhabited.” This is said, but not proved: the graces of the Spirit may be very low as to the exercise of them, believers may be without the comforts and gracious influences of the Spirit; they may so vex and grieve him, as that he may leave them, for a while, without his sensible presence; and yet not entirely depart from them who know him, and have had an experience of his powerful operation on them; for he dwelleth with them, and shall be in

    them, and that for ever.

  2. It is urged, that this “promise is only made on condition that they continue so to love Christ as to keep his commandments. To which I reply: that this promise is entirely absolute, nor is there the least intimation of a condition in it: Christ says not, if ye love me so as to keep my commandments, I will pray the Father; or, if ye do keep my commandments, the Father will give you another, Comforter; or, if ye do whatsoever I enjoin you, then the Spirit shall abide with you forever; but he says, I will pray, he shall give, that he may abide. Besides, the giving of the Spirit to the Lord’s people, is antecedent to their keeping of the commands of Christ, and in order to cause them to walk in his statutes, and to keep his judgments, and do them (Ezek. 36:27).

  3. It is said, that this promise “seems only to concern Christ’s apostles, with whom he was then corporally present; or to concern only the Spirit’s presence with his church in general, not in the heart of every Christian; for so Christ himself abode not with them.” I answer; admitting that it concerns the apostles only, it will be allowed, it is to be hoped, that it secured their perseverance: and why may not the perseverance of others be as certain, who have been all made to drink into one Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13; 2 Cor. 4:13), have received the same spirit of faith, and have been baptized into one and the same body? Though if this promise only concerned the apostles, why should it be said, that he may abide with you for ever? It seems rather to concern a succession of men, of believers unto the end of the world (see Isa. 54:21). Moreover, should it be thought that it rather concerns the presence of the Spirit with the church of Christ in general; the Spirit dwells there, by dwelling in the hearts of particular believers; where also Christ dwells by faith, and with whom he makes his abode: it is in the hearts of particular saints, that the Spirit of the Lord is a well of water springing up into everlasting life; which must certainly secure their final perseverance: for he is a well of water, to supply all their wants, and satisfy their thirst, and as such abides for ever, and can never be expelled; otherwise, it could not be said to be springing up into everlasting life, nor be the earnest of their future inheritance, though this text now mentioned (John 4:14, together with John 6:35), He that cometh to me shall never

hunger, and he that believeth in me shall never thirst, it is said, may be understood of Christ’s doctrine; and the meaning be, “he that cometh to learn my doctrine, and believeth it when he hath learnt it, shall need no further teaching in order to his future happiness; because the observance of what he hath learned from me already will bring him to eternal life.” Now, besides the falsehood of the last sentence, which attributes eternal fife to what they have learnt, being contrary to the grace of God, and the righteousness of Christ, which only bring persons to it; let it be observed, that sensible sinners come to Christ, not barely to learn his doctrine; but they come to him as the bread of life, for food for their souls, for righteousness and eternal life, for grace here, and glory hereafter. Besides, they first learn the doctrine of eternal life and salvation, and him, in some measure, before they come to him for it: Every man that hath heard and learnt of the Father, cometh unto me; and such shall be preserved and nourished unto everlasting life.

Section 17—John 10:28.

And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall any pluck them out of

my hand.

These words are spoken of the sheep of Christ who hear his voice and follow him, true believers; whose final perseverance, and everlasting safety, are here strongly asserted: for if Christ gives them eternal life, they can never be hurt of the second death; if he says they shall never perish, who dare say they may or shall? And, if none can pluck them out of his hands, they must be safe, and shall be saved with an everlasting salvation. But,

  1. It is said, that “the frequent cautions and exhortations directed in the scripture to Christ’s sheep, not to fall from grace, but continue steadfast in the faith, are certain demonstrations that they may do so” To which I reply, that there is not one single caution, or exhortation, much less frequent ones, directed in the scripture to Christ’s sheep not to fall from grace; they are, indeed, directed to take heed lest they fall; but not lest they fall from grace: they may fall into many sins, snares and temptations, which make such cautions necessary; and yet not lest they fall from grace. Where any intimations are given of the danger any are in of falling from, or failing of the grace of God, as in Galatians 5:4, Hebrews. 12:15,

    these are to be understood, not of the grace and favor of God in his own heart towards them, nor of his grace implanted in them; but of the doctrine of grace they had made a profession of. And, though there are exhortations directed in scripture to the saints to continue steadfast in the faith; yet these, at most, only suppose, that they are in danger of falling, or that they may fall from some degree of steadfastness in it; and which they may be left to, without falling finally and totally from the grace of God. Besides, such exhortations are designed to make and keep them steadfast and immovable in it, and are made use of, and blessed by the Spirit of God, as means of their final perseverance; and therefore are not in vain, nor should they be improved into arguments against it.

  2. It is urged, as a direct answer to this text, “that Christ here only promises his sheep should never perish through any defect on His part, or by the force of any plucking them by violence out of his hands: not but by the allurements of the world, the flesh and the devil, they may choose to go from him, though they are not snatched out of his hands.” To which I reply, that the promise here made, that Christ’s sheep shall never perish, is absolute and full, not depending on any thing to be performed on the part of the sheep; the fulfillment of it wholly and entirely lying on Christ. If therefore they shall never perish through any defect on his part, they shall never perish at all; since he is both able and willing to keep them from falling, and has a power to give, as well as to promise, eternal life to them. Moreover, if Christ’s sheep cannot be plucked out of his hands by the force and violence of all their adversaries, then they shall never perish; and this the particle kai, which, as the learned writer at tended to observes, is here illative, shows they shall never perish; for none shall pluck them out of my hands. Now, if these sheep may perish and come short of eternal life then the illation, the consequence, is not just proper and pertinent, and is to be denied since it may be objected, that they may be lost by some means or other, though they cannot by force and power, be snatched out of Christ’s hands. But Christ says they shall never perish, and gives this as the reason of it. Besides, as the world, the flesh and the devil, cannot, by open force and power, pull Christ’s sheep out of his hands; so neither can they, by secret allurements, snares and temptations, draw them from thence (see 1

Cor. 10:13). Add to this, that it is not only contrary to the will of the Father who has committed these sheep to the care of Christ, but also to the love and affection which Christ has expressed towards them particularly by laying down his life for them; and even to his office as the great shepherd of them, to suffer any of them to be lost in any way whatever; for it is his work and business, as such, not only to protect his sheep from the open rapine and violence of their enemies; but also to preserve them from secret snares, and to restore them, even when they, either of themselves or through temptation, wander and go astray: and this he does as the good shepherd; he seeks that which was lost, and brings again that which was either driven, or which went away; and so not one of them shall perish, but have everlasting life.

3. It is farther observed, that “this text seems only to speak of such sheep, who have already persevered; and so is not a promise of perseverance, but of the reward of it, eternal felicity, which shall be incapable of interruption.” But this is not to be gathered, as is said, from the former verse, where Christ describes his sheep as such who hear his voice, and follow him; which represents them as then hearing his voice, and at that time following him: but not as having hearkened to his voice, and having followed him to the end: and therefore he may be reasonably supposed to promise that they should hear his voice, and follow him still unto the end; since he adds, I give unto them eternal life; the promise of it, a right unto it, that grace which makes meet for it, and is connected with it, pledges, and foretastes of it; and therefore, they shall never perish, but everlastingly enjoy it. Besides, if these words speak only of such

who have already persevered, it speaks not of living saints who now hear Christ’s voice and follow him in this militant state, but of the saints that are dead; for none can be said to have already persevered to the end, but such as are dead. And the saints, as soon as they die, are in heaven, enjoying eternal life, in no fear or danger, no not in their own apprehensions of perishing, or of being plucked out of Christ’s hands; and so stand in no need of such promises to support faith, or to comfort them under trials from the world, the flesh and the devil, which no more attend them; and as these words, in this sense of them, are needless to the saints above, so they must be useless to those

below; since, notwithstanding what is said in them, Christ’s sheep, whilst in this state, may be plucked out of his hands, even by force and violence, as well as drawn from him by deceits and allurements; and so perish eternally, and never enjoy everlasting life.

Section 18—1 Corinthians 1:8, 9.

[With 1 Corinthians 10:13; Philippians 1:6;

1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24; 2 Thessalonians 3:3.]

Who shall also confirm you to the end, that ye be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom, ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

The argument from these passages of scripture, in favor of the doctrine of the saints’ final perseverance, stands thus: If God’s fidelity be engaged to confirm them unblameable to the end, whom he hath called to the communion of his Son; if his faithfulness will not suffer them to be tempted above what they are able to bear, but will make a way to escape; if St. Paul had ground of confidence that “he, who had begun the good work h his Philippians, would perform it until the day of Jesus Christ; if it be part of God’s fidelity to sanctify them wholly, and to preserve their whole spirit, soul and body, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ whom he hath called; then must they persevere to the end, but all these are the express assertions of the holy scriptures; therefore, now,

1st. For a general answer to all these texts, it is proposed to consideration, “that God in scripture is often said to do a thing, when he does that which hath a proper tendency to the effect, and is sufficient to procure it, and hath done all that was requisite on his part in order to it; so that if the effect be not wrought in us, it is by reason of some defect in us, or some neglect of doing that which he hath given us sufficient means and motives to perform.” Of which divers instances are produced out of Ezekiel 24:13; Jeremiah 13:11; Isaiah 48:17, 18, and Isaiah 43:21-23; Jeremiah 51:9;

Romans 1:20, 21, and Romans 2:3,4; 2 Corinthians

5:19,20; Titus 2:11, 12; Acts 2:47: 1 Corinthians 1:18. To which I reply, that this rule can only hold good in moral cases, in which God only acts as a moral agent; but not in such which require a divine operation and almighty power, and solely belong to him to begin, carry on and finish, all which he promises absolutely to perform, which is the case before us. Besides, the instances produced are very impertinent. When God is

said to have purged Jerusalem, and she was not purged, it does not signify what he had done sufficient for her purgation; but what he had commanded to be done, and was not done. When he is said to have caused the whole house of Israel to cleave unto him, as the girdle cleaves to the loins of a man; it is expressive, not of what he has done, which proved ineffectual; but of the temporal good things he had bestowed on that people; which showed them to be a people near into him, and which he mentions to expose their base ingratitude, who, notwithstanding, would not hearken to him. When he is said to teach Israel to profit, and lead him in the way he should go, though he hearkened to his commandments, it is to be understood of those moral instructions, and civil laws given to them, as a nation, which, had they hearkened to, would have issued in their temporal peace and prosperity.

The people the Lord had formed for himself, are not the same with Jacob and Israel, of whom he complains that they were weary of him; but the Gentiles, whom he had determined to call, and did call by his grace, that they might show forth his praise: (see 1 Pet. 2:9, 10). As for what is said of Babylon, we would have healed Babylon, and she is not healed; they are not the words of God; but either of the Israelites or of some others concerned for her temporal welfare. The heathens had not only the means to know God imparted to them by his providence, but they did know him as the God of nature, though they did not glorify him as such; and therefore were given up to judicial blindness. The goodness of God, indeed, has a tendency to lead persons to repentance; and one would think, if any means or motives would do it, this would; and yet such is the hardness of men’s hearts, that they will still remain impenitent, unless God exerts his powerful and efficacious grace. When God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, he actually reconciled them to himself, and forgave their iniquities; nor is this contradicted by the exhortation of the apostle, Be ye reconciled to God; since that is spoken to believers, and regards their peaceable submission to the dispensations of providence, and to the order and ordinances, discipline and laws of Christ, in his house. The gospel of the grace of God is called saving grace, not because it teacheth us to do that which, if we conscientiously perform, we

shall be saved; but because it brings the good news of complete salvation by Jesus Christ. The converted Jews are, indeed, styled o{i swzo>menoi, the saved; but then it can never be proved, to the end of the world, that any one of them, whom the Lord then added to the church, and are said to be such as should be saved, ever fell away so as to be lost and perish. Nor are all the members of the church at Corinth styled the saved, much less those who repented not of their sins and iniquities, but all those, and only those, who were called by grace, whether Jews or Gentiles (v. 24). But, 2ndly Our author proceeds to a particular answer

to the texts alleged; and,

  1. To words cited from 1 Corinthians 1:8, 9, and observes, that “these cannot contain a promise of perseverance made to the elect only among the Corinthians; because,

    (1.) “The apostle plainly speaks to the whole body of the church at Corinth.” Be it so, inasmuch as the whole body of this Church, and the several members of it, were under a visible profession of Christianity, and were considered as sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints, and so looked upon as the elect of God; upon this supposition, which is no uncharitable one, the apostle might affirm, with the greatest assurance, that God would confirm them to the end blameless. Moreover, though this epistle was in general directed to church of God, which is at Corinth, yet the apostle had a particular regard to such among them, who were truly sanctified in Church, and really called to be saints; and not only them, but all that in every place, as well as at Corinth, call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours, (v. 2). Besides, those whom the apostle says, God is faithful to confirm to the end, are such whom he had called not externally, or to some outward privileges, but unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ.

    (2.) “Because he speaks not only of their not falling away finally, but of their being preserved unblameable; whereas it is certain that the elect are not always so preserved.” I observe, that it is allowed that the apostle speaks of these persons not falling away finally, which is the thing we contend for; and also of their being preserved blameless, which it is suggested cannot be said of the elect because they are not always so preserved. Which, if understood of them in themselves, and in this life, it will be readily

    granted, that they are not all of them, nor any of them always so preserved; but then they are all of them always so preserved in Christ and will appear so in the day of our lord Jesus; for they are chosen in his, that they should be holy, and without blame before him in love (Eph. 1:4).

    (3.) The sense of these words, according to the ancients is said to be this; “God is faithful, who hath promised to them that obey the Gospel, uJioqesi>an, the adoption; that is, the redemption of the body, or that they shall be partakers of that kingdom and glory to which he hath called them.” But the phrase, to them that obey the Gospel, is neither in the text, nor context: and supposing it had been in either, or should it be thought to be implied, those that truly obey the Gospel are called by grace, and such as the elect of God: if therefore God is faithful, who has promised them the adoption, to which they are predestinated, according to the good pleasure of his will (Eph. 1:5), or, that they shall be partakers of the kingdom and glory to which he has called them; then they must persevere to the end.

    (4.) These words are said to be “well expounded by Grotius, thus: He will do, good suarum est partium, all that is requisite of his part, to render you umblameable to the end; so that you shall not fail of being so through any want of divine grace requisite to that end, or any unfaithfulness on his part to his promise.” To which I reply: that Scripture is not of private interpretation; nor are we bound down to the sense given of Scripture, either by ancient or modern interpreters. That these words are not well expounded by Grotius, appears from this consideration, that God’s faithfulness is engaged to confirm to the end unblameable, not in part, but in whole; the work is wholly his, what he has promised to do, and will faithfully perform. And therefore, if the saints shall not fail of being so, through, any want of divine grace requisite to that end, whose grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:8) for it; or through any unfaithfulness to his promise, who, though we behave not, yet abides faithful (2 Tim. 2:13); it is certain that they shall be confirmed to the end, and be preserved blameless, or in other words, finally persevere. The text in Colossians 1:22, 23, is not conditional, but descriptive of the persons who shall he presented unblameable, and unreprovable in the sight of God.

  2. To the words in 1 Corinthians 10:13, it is answered,

    (1.) “That these words ought not to be restrained to the elect; for the preceding ones are spoken to the whole church at Corinth.” What has been said to a like objection to the sense of the foregoing text, may be a sufficient reply to this.

    (2.) It is said, “this text must be impertinently alleged; because it only contains a promise of ability sufficient to resist temptations, if men will use it; but doth not contain an engagement that this strength shall be effectual, or certainly informed to the end.” But these words do not contain a promise of sufficient ability to resist temptations, but of sufficient strength to bear them; which strength God put into his people, and does not leave it barely to their use, but makes his strength perfect in their weakness (1 Cor. 12:8). Besides, these words do not contain only a promise of this, but also that God will make a way to escape, that they may be able to bear them.

    (3.) This author says, “I have showed, when I discoursed of the cautions given to believers, that in the words immediately preceding and following, there is a plain indication that they, who truly think they stand, may fall, as did the Jews there mentioned, and might be guilty of idolatry; which he (the apostle) himself declares to be a sin exclusive from the kingdom of Christ (1 Cor. 6:9).” And I have also showed, in answer to it, that there is not, in those words, a plain indication that they, who truly think they stand, may fall; but that such, who seem to themselves and others to stand, may fall: and that, supposing them spoken to true believers, such exhortations may be useful to them, to preserve them from partial falls to which they are subject, and be blessed to them as means of their final perseverance.

  3. To the words cited from Philippians 1:6, it is answered,

    (1.) “That it is evident the apostle speaks not out of any opinion of the election of any, much less of all the Philippians to eternal life, or of the certainty of their perseverance to the end; for why then doth he exhort them as he does in Philippians 2:12, 16, and Philippians 4:1?” I answer, that these exhortations are so far from militating against either their election of God, or perseverance to the end, that they express the fruits and effects of those things, through which men

    are chosen unto salvation; and which, as has been before observed, are made use of, and blessed as the means of the saints’ final perseverance.

    (2.) It is affirmed, that “he (the apostle) speaks this from a judgment of charity; because, says he, it is just or fit for me to conceive thus of you, by reason of that great affection you have for me, and your patience under the like sufferings.” I reply, that the apostle does, indeed, speak from a judgment of charity in verse 7, when he says, Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all; where the word all is used, which is not in verse 6, and seems to be carefully omitted by our author in his citation of verse 7. Now the apostle, from a judgment of charity, did say this of them all; but with the strongest confidence of them in whom the good work was begun. A judgment of charity is precarious and uncertain; but the persuasion of the apostle was sure and firm, and which lie expresses with a view to encourage a like persuasion of their own salvation in the hearts of those he writes to; which surely must be more than a judgment of charity concerning themselves, and their own state and condition. Besides, a judgment of charity proceeds upon external signs; whereas the apostle’s confidence and firm persuasion was grounded, not on their affection to him, or patience under suffering, but upon the nature, of the good work of grace begun, in them, and upon the promise and power of God to perform it; and was greatly encouraged by their continuance in an inward, spiritual fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now (v. 5).

  4. It is said, that “those words (1 Thess. 5:23, 14), and for the same reason the words cited from 2 Thessalonians 3:3, do only signify that he (God)will not be wanting, on his part, towards sanctifying and preserving them blameless unto the end; for it the fidelity of God required he should do this without their care and industry, or should work in them certainly and absolutely that care, and the apostle believed this; how could he fear, lest these Thessalonians should be so overcome by Satan’s temptations, as that his labor with them might have been in rain?” To which I reply, that the care and industry of God’s people, in the use of means, are very proper and requisite, and what the grace of God wrought in their souls will put them upon: nor are they set aside, or rendered useless, by the promise and faithfulness of God in

keeping them; but rather made more necessary and useful thereby. But then it should be observed, that God’s fidelity is engaged to sanctify them wholly, and to preserve their whole spirit, soul, and body, blameless; so that the work is entirely his own; and that until the coming of Christ; after which there will be no danger nor fear of apostasy; whence it must needs follow, that the saints shall certainly persevere to the end; nor do the fears expressed by the apostle, concerning the Thessalonians, contradict it; since these fears do not concern their eternal salvation; but lest, through the afflictions that attended the gospel, their faith should be in any measure weakened though not dropped; or lest they should be any way corrupted from the simplicity of the Gospel; and so his labor, in instructing and establishing them in gospel truths, be so far in vain.


Now read Part III containing;


Chapter 1 Of Reprobation Chapter II Of Election Chapter III Of Redemption

Chapter IV Of Efficacious grace

Chapter V Of the corruption of human nature, and the importance of the human will of man to that which is spiritually good

Chapter VI Of Perseverance

FURTHER PUBLICATIONS

A Body of Doctrinal Divinity

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by Dr John Gill DD, in Seven Books. Available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and CreateSpace. com


BOOK I

Of God, His Works, Names, Nature, Perfections And Persons.

BOOK II

Of The Acts And Works Of God

BOOK III

Of The External Works Of God

BOOK IV

Of The Acts Of The Grace Of God Towards And Upon His Elect In Time.

BOOK V

Of The Grace Of Christ In His States

Of Humiliation And Exaltation, And In The Offices Exercised By Jim In Them.

BOOK VI

Of The Blessings Of Grace, And The Doctrines Of It.

BOOK VII

Of The Final State Of Man

The Parousia

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by James Stuart Russell, Preface by Mr David Clarke,

Preface by Dr Don K Preston DD

A revolution of sorts is taking place in modern evangelical Christianity. And while many who are joining in and helping promote this movement are not even aware of it, the book you hold in your hand has contributed greatly to initiating this new reformation. This “new” movement is sometimes called full preterism, (Also, and preferably by this writer, Covenant Eschatology). It is the belief that all Bible prophecy is fulfilled.

The famous evangelist Charles H. Spurgeon was deeply impressed with the scholarly, solid research in the book, although he did not accept the “final” conclusions reached by Russell. In modern times, this work has, and continues to impress those who read it. The reason is simple, the New Testament is emphatic and unambiguous in positing Christ’s coming and the end of the age for the first century generation. To say this has troubled both scholars and laymen alike is an understatement of massive proportions.

This book first appeared in 1878 (anonymously), and again in 1887 with author attribution. The book was well known in scholarly circles primarily and attracted a good bit of attention, both positive and negative. The public, however, seemed almost unaware of the stunning conclusions and the research supporting those conclusions, until or unless they read of Russell’s work in the footnotes of the commentaries. Scholars have recognized and grappled with this imminence element, that is the stated nearness of the day of the Lord, seldom finding satisfactory answers.

Scholars such as David Strauss accused Jesus of failure. Later, Bultmann said that every school boy knows that Jesus predicted his coming and the end of the world for his generation, and every school boy knows it did not happen. C.S. Lewis also could not resolve the apparent failed eschatology. Bertrand Russell rejected Christianity due to the failed eschatology - as he perceived it - of Jesus and the Bible writers. As a result of these “skeptical” authors, modern Bible scholarship has followed in their path and Bible commentaries today almost casually assert the failure of the Bible writers - and Jesus - in their eschatological predictions.

This is where Russell’s work is of such importance. While Russell was not totally consistent with his own arguments and conclusions, nonetheless, his work is of tremendous importance and laid the groundwork for the modern revolution known as the preterist movement.

Russell systematically addressed virtually every New Testament prediction of the eschaton. With incisive clarity and logical acumen, he sweeps aside the almost trite objections to the objective nature of the Biblical language of imminence. With excellent linguistic analysis, solid hermeneutic and powerful exegetical skills, Russell shows that there is no way to deny that Jesus and his followers not only believed in a first century, end of the age parousia, but, they taught it as divine truth claiming the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as their authority.

Russell not only fully established the undeniable reality of the first century imminence of “the end,” he powerfully and carefully shares with the reader that “the end” that Jesus and the N.T. writers were anticipating was not the end of the time space continuum (end of the world). It was in fact, the end of the Old Covenant Age of Israel that arrived with the cataclysmic destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70. Russell properly shows how the traditional church has so badly missed the incredible significance of the end of that Old Covenant Age.

Russell’s work is a stunning rejection – and corrective -- of what the “Orthodox” historical “Creedal” church has and continues to affirm. The reader may well find themselves wondering how the “divines” missed it so badly! Further, the reader will discover that Russell’s main arguments are an effective, valid and true assessment of Biblical

eschatology. And make no mistake, eschatology matters.

https://www.createspace.com/5906802


The Total Depravity of Man


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This republication of A.W. Pink’s work,

The Total Depravity of Man, is intended to introduce Christians, of this generation, to those truths that seem to have been lost among Evangelical Christians. It is believed that a right understanding of man’s fall in Adam will lead the believer to see the necessity salvation by the a sovereign choice, by God, of men to salvation and the reality of particular redemption. These doctrines are known as the doctrines of grace some times referred to as Calvinism. These truth are held by Particular Baptists to this day as can be read in the First London Baptist Confession of faith, of 1644. These truths have met with opposition from various quarters resulting in controversy not only from Arminian’s but also among Calvinists. It is intended that his book will help the believer come to a biblical understanding of the total depravity and inability for man to save him self and that mans salvation depended entirely upon the grace and mercy of God alone. That the gospel of Christ declares this truth very clearly and is the antidote to all false religion.


https://www.createspace.com/6267186


Bierton Strict And Particular Baptists 2nd Edition

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This book tells the story and life of David Clarke in the form of an autobiography. It is no ordinary book in that David and his brother were both notorious criminals in the 60’s, living in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, where they were MODs and were both sent to prison for and malicious wounding and carrying a fire arm without a license . They were however both converted from crime to Christ and turned their lives around. This story tells of David’s conversion to Christianity in 1970 and that of Michael’s conversion, 1999 some 30 years later. It tells of their time in HMP Canterbury Prison and David’s time in HMP Wormwood Scrubs and Dover Borstal. It also tells of David’s criminal activity and the crimes he committed before his miraculous conversion from crime to Christ, during a bad experience on LSD, in 1970. It tells how he became a Christian over night and how he learned to read in order to come to a fuller knowledge of the gospel. He learned to read through reading the bible and classical Christian literature. David tells of the events that led to him making a confession to the police about 24 crimes he had committed since leaving Dover Borstal in 1968 and of the court case where he was not sentenced. It tells how David’s educated himself and went on to Higher education, and graduated with a Certificate in Education and how he went on to teach Electronics, for over 20 years, in colleges of Higher and Further Education. It tells of his life as a member of the Bierton Strict and Particular Baptist church,

which was a Gospel Standard cause, and how he was called by the Lord and sent by the church to preach the gospel. David tells of the various difficulties that he faced once he discovered the many doctrinal errors amongst the various Christian groups he met and of the opposition that he experience when he sought to correct them. David recorded his experience and finding in his book “The Bierton Crisis” 1984, written to help others. David’s tells how his brother Michael was untouched by his conversion in 1970 and continued his flamboyant lifestyle ending up doing a 16 year prison sentence, in the Philippines, in 1996. David tells how Michael too was converted to Christianity through reading C.S. Lewis’s book, “Mere Christianity”, and him being convinced that Jesus was the Christ the Son of the living God. David then tells of his mission to the Philippines, to bring help and assistance to Michael, in 2001 and of their joint venture in helping in the rehabilitation of many former convicted criminals, not only in New Bilibid Prison but other Jails in the Philippines. David tells how he felt compelled to write this story in his book

, “Converted On LSD Trip”. once he got news of his brothers arrest, in the Philippines, via ITN Television news broadcast, in 1995. This book was published when he got news of his brothers conversion from crime to Christ in 1999, which was after serving 5 years of his 16 year sentence. This story is told in their joint book, “Trojan Warriors”, that contains the testimonies of 66 notorious criminals who too had turned there lives around, from crime to Christ, 22 of which testimonies are men on Death Row. David say he believes his story could be of great help to any one seeking to follow the Lord Jesus Christ but sadly Michael died in New Bilibid Prison of tuberculosis, in 2005 before their vision of bringing help to many was realized.

Paperback: 356 pages

2 edition (16 Feb. 2015)

ISBN-10: 1519553285

ISBN-13: 978-1519553287

Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm www.Amazon.co.uk

CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5899427


The Bierton Crisis


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The Bierton Crisis is the personal story of David Clarke a member of the Bierton Strict and Particular Baptist church. He was also the church secretary and minister sent by the church to preach the gospel in 1982.

The Bierton Church was formed in 1832 and was a Gospel Standard cause who’s rules of membership are such that only the church can terminate ones membership.

This tells of a crisis that took place in the church in 1984, which led to some members withdrawing support. David, the author, was one of the members who withdrew but the church did not terminate his membership as they wished him return.

This story tells in detail about those errors in doctrine and practices that had crept into the Bierton church and of the lengths taken to put matters right. David maintained and taught Particular Redemption and that the gospel was the rule of life for the believer and not the law of Moses as some church members maintained.

This story tells of the closure of the Bierton chapel when David was on mission work in the Philippines in December 2002 and when the remaining church members died. It tells how David was encouraged by the church overseer to return to Bierton and re-open the chapel.

On David’s return to the UK he learned a

newly unelected set of trustees had take over the responsibility for the chapel and were seeking to sell it. The story tells how he was refused permission to re open or use the chapel and they sold it as a domestic dwelling, in 2006.

These trustees held doctrinal views that opposed the Bierton church and they denied David’s continued membership of the church in order to lay claim too and sell the chapel, using the money from the sale of the chapel for their own purposes.

David hopes that his testimony will promote the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, as set out in the doctrines of grace, especially Particular Redemption and the rule of life for the believer being the gospel of Christ, the royal law of liberty, and not the law of Moses as some reformed Calvinists teach, will be realized by the reader.

His desire is that any who are called to preach the gospel should examine their own standing and ensure that they can derive from scripture the doctrines and practices they teach and advance and that they can derived the truths they teach from scripture alone and not from the traditions of men or their opinions however well they may be thought of.

List Price: $11.99

5.25” x 8” (13.335 x 20.32 cm)

Black & White on White paper 256 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1508465959

ISBN-10: 1508465959

BISAC: Religion / Christian Theology / Apologetics

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About the Author

David Clarke was born in Oldham Lancashire, in 1949. He was educated and trained as a lecturer, at Wolverhampton Polytechnic, and graduated with a Certificate in Education, awarded by Birmingham University, in 1978. He became a Christian after a bad experience on LSD and joined the Bierton Strict and Particular Baptists church, in 1976. The church became a Gospel Standard cause on 16th January 1981. He became the church secretary and was called by the Lord and sent to peach by the church in 1982. The Bierton Chapel closed in 2002.

However his earlier life had been rather different. He and his brother Michael were both convicted

criminals living in Aylesbury in then 60’s and were sent to prison for malicious wounding and carrying a fire arm without a license.

On the 16th January 1970, David had a bad trip on LSD, during which time he called out to God to help him and Jesus spoke to him. He learned to read to educate himself and went on to Higher Education and for the next 14 years read the bible, various classical Christian literature it was then he joined the Bierton Church.

Due to errors in doctrine and practice David withdrew from the Bierton church over issues of conscience however due to the strict rules of membership he remained in membership of the church. Those issues of conscience are discussed in this book “The Bierton Crisis”.

Michael, was unaffected by David’s conversion and continued his flamboyant style and was arrested 25 years later and sentenced to prison for a 16 years prison, in the Philippines. When David got news of brothers conversion from crime to Christ, in 1999, he published their story in his book, “Converted on LSD Trip”.

David then went on a mission of help to his brother and they worked together in assisting many former criminals in New Bilibid Prison, on their road of reformation, This story is told in their book, “Trojan Warriors”.

On his return from mission work in the Philippines in 2003, he was encouraged, by the Bierton church overseer, to re open the chapel. To his dismay he discovered that the unregistered trust deed of the chapel had been passed on to a set of trustees that were not elected by the church. They were not sympathetic to the doctrinal views of the Bierton church and refused permission for him to reopen the chapel. They also denied his church membership in London Central County Court, in 2006. They sold the chapel and used the money from the sale for their own use. This book relates this story.

Bierton Particular Baptists Pakistan: Our History


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Bierton Particular Baptists Pakistan is the first in Pakistan and founded by David Clarke. Mr Clarke is the sole surviving member of Bierton Particular Baptist, founded in 1831. in England, and was a Gospel Standard Cause. This book tells of the formation of Bierton Particular Baptist Pakistan 2016 along with the formation of a Minister Bible college.

David Clarke appointed minister Anil Anwar and Anwar Shahid John of Rahim Yar Khan, as overseers work and the articles of religion and doctrinal foundation are those to the Bierton Particular Baptists 1831

ISBN-13: 978-1532779336 ISBN-10: 153277933X

5.25” x 8” (13.335 x 20.32 cm)

Black & White on White paper 72 pages

BISAC: Religion / Christian Education / General http://www.Amazon.co.uk


https://www.createspace.com/6211942

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary Second Edition:

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Does The Lord Jesus Want Women To Rule As Elders In His Church ?

This second edition is a true story telling how David Clarke, the author, encountered opposition from the elders of a church, in England who were intent on appointing women as elders. David believed this was wrong and clearly going against the word of God. The New Testament forbids a woman from teaching and being appointed as an elder in a church, with good reason this is not chauvinism but the wisdom of God. It is hoped this book will be a help to many. It is written due to the various responses already received, some in positive favor and others the complete opposite. Your response would be valued.

Some believe we live in a day of rank apostasy, that was spoken about in scripture, that would occur before the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ and is now not limited to the unbelieving nominal Christian society because much of it is accepted by the professing Christian world. David Clarke hits head on one of the tenets of the apostasy, which has exploded internationally. Its is believed by some that a time like this had been prophesied by Isaiah. Isaiah 3:12 (KJV), “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths”.

The tenet which David Clarke hits head on is the one of women preachers and women elders in the churches. Isaiah states that women were ruling over

the people of God, when the men should have been in leadership roles. The Scripture states that “they which lead thee cause thee to err.”

In this book you will find a confrontation between elders and the word of God. When church leaders neglect the truths of Scripture and base everything they believe on as their “personal opinion”, then the paths have been destroyed for the Christian, as Isaiah teaches.

One of the outgrowths of the charismatic movement, is the teaching that women are just as qualified as men to be elders and pastors. This is not to say that women are lacking leadership qualities but the Bible is very clear that they are not to rule over men and are not to have rule in the churches. It is unfortunate that many feminized men in the church kowtow behind the concept that disallowing women rule in the churches is not showing them love. The reality is that being disobedient to the commands of Scripture is nothing more than rebellion against God. 1 Samuel 15:3 speaks about rebellion being as the sin of witchcraft. God has given specific instructions concerning the churches and their structure and who are we to claim that we know more than God.

The deep apostasy which many churches have accepted is made visible in this book but not only churches, Bible colleges have also acquiesced to disobeying the Bible and have endorsed women rulers in the church. It is a shame that those who bring the truth are considered the troublemakers in the churches. Tell me, what kind of love do you show someone when you actually help them to be disobedient to God? Will they still love you when they are in hell paying for their sins of rebellion?

It is time for Christian men to step up and be men. 1 Corinthians 16:13 (KJV), “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong”.

David believes that if any believer, teacher, preacher or minister is wrong over this issues he testified too then he cannot help but be wrong in his teaching regarding salvation, church order, family order and eschatology. David would really value anyone who could prove him wrong.

This book needs to be in the library of all Christians to help them oppose the incursion of women rulers in the church. It is still not too late to bring about a repentance on the part of church leaders for allowing themselves to be swayed by false teaching. A strong

church obeys God, a weak and dying one disobeys God, regardless of how many attend.


(This is the foreword by Dr. Ken Matto) Scion of Zion Internet Ministry www.scionofzion.com

ist Price: $8.99

5.25” x 8” (13.335 x 20.32 cm)

Black & White on White paper 154 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1514206812

ISBN-10: 1514206811

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Christ Alone Exalted


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In 3 volumes

Tobias Crisp was preacher of the gospel in England. He was born in 1600 and died in 1643 at which time these 13 sermons were first published. Within 3 years further sermons were published in further volumes this is the first. He lived at the time when The First London Baptist Confession of Faith 1644 was being prepared for publishing and it is clear from these sermons he taught Calvinistic truths. He preached the doctrines of grace and was charged with being an Antinomian and provoked opposition from various quarters. Dr John Gill in defence of Crisp

republished these sermons along with his own notes showing that Tobias Crisps taught clearly the truths of the lord Jesus Christ


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The Cause of God and Truth


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Authored by Dr John Gill DD, Created by Rev David Clarke Cert E ISBN-13: 978-1530739912

ISBN-10: 1530739918


THERE ARE FOUR BOOKS

Book 1 is Part 1

Deals with the scriptures sighted by Dr Whiby in support of a universal scheme of salvation.

Book 2 is Part 2

Treats the subject Reprobation, Redemption Efficacious grace, Corruption of human nature and Perseverance. .

Book 3 is Part 3

Treats the Doctrines of grace, Reprobation, election and reprobation, Redemption, efficacious grace freedom of the will perseverance of the saints the providence of God the state and case of the heathen.

Book 4 is Part 4

And treats The Doctrines of Grace and the church fathers.

The following works were undertaken and begun about the year 1733 or 1734, at which time Dr.

Whitby’s Discourse on the Five Points was reprinting, judged to be a masterpiece on the subject, in the English tongue, and accounted an unanswerable one

; and it was almost in the mouth of every one, as an

objection to the Calvinists.

Why do not ye answer Dr. Whitby ? Induced hereby, I determined to give it another reading, and found myself inclined to answer it, and thought this was a very proper and seasonable time to engage in such a work.

In the year 1735, the First Part of this work was published, in which are considered the several passages of Scripture made use of by Dr. Whitby and others in favour of the Universal Scheme, and against the Calvinistic Scheme, in which their arguments and objections are answered, and the several passages set in a just and proper light. These, and what are contained in the following part in favour of the particular scheme, are extracted from sermons delivered in a Wednesday evening’s lecture.

The second part was published in the year 1736, in which the several passages of Scripture in favour of special and distinguishing grace, and the arguments from them, are vindicated from the exceptions of the Arminian, and particularly from Dr. Whitby, and a reply made to answers and objections to them.


https://www.createspace.com/6165800


108 THE CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH Part II

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