« PreviousContinue »
without which 'twas impossible they should repent, or be converted ”; and that, “ if conversion be wrought only by the unfrustrable operation of God, and man is purely passive in ir, vain are all such exhortati- . onsh". To all which I reply ;
1. That these exhortations are not made to all men, but only to the house of Israel ; and therefore do not contradict the preparation of saving grace for some few only, as the Israelites were ; nor do we say, that God has prepared saving grace only for some few Christians, but for all Christians that is, all that are Christ's ; nor are any of them left under a necessity of perishing for the want of it, since it is given to them, and they have it, as their character supposes: And whereas it is said, that to all such persons God has promised, that they shall not perish ; it is readily granted, and by the way, is an acknowledgment of the doctrine of the saints final perseverance; which is elsewhere greatly objected to. Moreover, inasmuch as they were the house of Israel, and every one of them, that are here spoken to, they are the wrong persons pitch'd upon to contradict the decrees of election and reprobation ; for who will say of every one of them, that they were doom'd to eternal
death, o zuwei Iserating were chos III eur kn ought to be fou. E nung si T purpose, tos: Gens Le vilee ir ne expressed tzaria ime iz ul men, and particiisa Terver tually be faves, as is bere uzet is fram fefling people.
II. The repentance here exhorted to, is not to be understood of an evangelical one, which is a repentance unto life, and unto lalo vation; but of a national one, for national iniquiries, and to prevent national judgments, with which they are here threaten’d ; seeing it is the whole boufe of Israel, the whole nation, and every one of them, who are exhorced unto it. Now, though there can be no true evangelical repentance, wirksout the unfrustrable grace of Carti ya viata may be a national, ezezal 07.0793'TA, ".";out it; as is the caecki270,6, fides, was es 67293 Sphin'",,'! here, 40 37551,52,554... people si G's >, could c-2,32-16 it fas: poust 28 BE ities vais, S.
use of to convince such of the necessity of repentance, and of their want of it ; and so God may in this way bring his elect to it, according to his eternal purposes and designs. Moreover, turning from tranfgref fion does not intend the firft work of internal, saving converfion, which is wrought by the powerful and efficacious grace of God, and in which men are purely passive ; but an excernal reformation, or a bringing forth fruits meet for repentance ; in which persons may be, and are active ; since it is not reasonable to suppose, that the house of ilrael, and every one of them, should be in an unconverted state. Besides, some give the fense of these words thus; not turn your felves, but turn others, every man his neighbour, or his brother; so R. Sol. Jarchi, R. David Kimchi, R. Sol. Hammelec, and fome Christian interpreters.
III. The ruin the house of Ifrael was in danger of through iniquity, and which they might escape by repentance and reformation, was not eternal, but temporal; fo iniquity shall not be your ruin, swaps, a stumbling block to you, an hindrance, an obftruction, lying in the your enjoyment of temporal blessings ; therefore cast away from
you all your tranfgressions. This fense of the words may be confirmed from the advantages proposed to such who
turned from there is 20
NUMB. XXI.' Ezek. xviii. 31, 32. Cajt away from you
your transgresons, whereby” ye bave transgressed, and make you a new heart, and a new spirit; for why will ýe die, o house of Israel ? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, faith the Lord God: Wherefore turn your felves, and live ye.
HIS passage of fcripture is frequently
used by the patrons of free-will, and opposers of God's grace, in which they imagine the power of man in conversion, is Itrongly asserted, and the doctrine of reprobation fufficiently disproved ; but whether they are or are not, we shall be better able to judge when the following things are confidered.
I. That the exhortation to cast away their transgressons from them, regards either their hins themselves, which they had committed, and shews, that they were not only unprofitable, but pernicious, and so to be dillik'd and abhorr'd as such chings are, that are proper to be cast away ; or else the punishment due to
k Remonftr. in Coll. Hag. Art. iii, iv. p. 216. Ad. Synod. p. 78, &c. Curcell. l. s. c. 6. 9. 1. p. 363. & l. 6. C. 14. 9. 8. p. 408. Limborch. I. 4. C. 5. 5. 2. p. 331, & c. 13. p. 374.