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stead of the people : " yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sin : and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” As if he had said, “ I accept not the condition offered of preserving me alive, and increasing me greatly after the destruction of Israel: I choose rather to die an untimely death, than that Israel should be destroyed in the wilderness.” 2. Of a federal and ecclesiastical life, consisting in communion with the people of God. Which is the register not only of those internally, but of those externally in covenant, mentioned Ezek. xiii. 9. “ they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel ;" and Psal. Ixxxvii. 6. “ The Lord shall count, when he writetb up the people, that this nian was born there.” 3. Of life eternal, mentioned Isa. iv. 3. Dan. xii.
" 1. Phil. iv. 3. Luke x. 20. Rev. iii. 5. süi. 8. xx. 12. and xxi. 27. which book signifies the register of those predestinated to life eternal.
VII. Further, as the book of God denotes not one and the same thing; so the writing of persons in any of these is not always the same. The writing of some is only imaginary, consisting in a fallacious judgment concerning ourselves or others, too easily presuming either our own, or the election of others, such as was that of those who cried out, Jer. vii. 4. “ the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these;" and of the people of Sardis, who were said to live, though they were really dead, Rev. üi ü. 1. There is another inscription which is indeed true, but it is only human, in the book of the federal life, done either by the man himself, by a profession of the faith, sub scribing as with his own hand, I am the Lord's, Isa. xlv. 5. or by the guides of the church, inserting such a person in the list of professors, and acknowledging him for a member of the church, of the visible at least. There is, in fine, a writing of God himself, made by his eternal and immutable decree; of which the apostle says, 2 Tim. ü. 19. the Lord knoweth them
2 that are his. The observation of these things throws much light on many places of scripture, and will immediately prove also of use to us.
VIII. This election to glory is not some general decree of God about saving the faithful and the godly, who shall persevere in their faith and piety to the end of their life; but a particular designation of certain individual persons, whom God has enrolled as beirs of salvation. It is not consistent with the perfection of God to ascribe to him general and indeterminate decrees, which were to receive any determination or certainty from men. We read, Acts ii. 23. . of the determinat« counsel of God, but never of a general and indeterminate decree. Neither does the scripture ever describe election as the determination of any certain condition, by and without which salvation is, or is not obtained. It is no where said that faith is chosen by God, or written down in the book of life, or any thing like that ; hot that men, indeed, are chosen by God. Let us refer to Rom. viii. 29, 30. “ for whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate. Whom he did predestinate, them he also called," &c. It is not said in the text, persons so qualified, that it might be applied to the designation of any condition, but certain persons are appointed as the objects of the acts there mentioned.
IX. The very term, agoogilsuv to predestinate, which the apostle more frequently uses on this subject, does not obscurely discover this truth. For, as ógilev signifies to point out, or ordain a certain person, Acts xvii. 31. by that man whom igios he hath ordained, and pointed out by name; and Acts x. 42. 'o 'wpioneros, cohich was ordained of God to be the judge ; and Rom. i. 4. ogrodévios ios 8€8, declcred to be [determinately marked out as) the Son of God, who was, by name, and particularly declared to be so by God, by a public nomination; so mgoogilsuv, as applied to the heirs of eternal life, must signify, to enroll, or write down some certain persons as heirs in the eternal Testament.
X. This is what Christ said to his disciples, Luke x. 20. rejoice because your names are written in heaven. Where he speaks to them by name, and assures them of his election, and bids them rejoice on that account. Which is certainly of much greater import, than if he had said in general, joice because God has established, by an eternal decree, that he would make all believers happy in heaven, though he has thought nothing of you by name:" for in this manner, according to the opinion of our adversaries, these words were to be explained.
XI. What the apostle, Phil. iv. 3. expressly asserts concerning Clement and his other fellow-labourers, that their names were in the book of life, ought to be sufficient for determining this enquiry : since impudence itself dares not wrest that to a general decree of some condition. For, 1st. The name of a person is one thing, the condition of a thing another. He who determines to inlist none but valiant men for soldiers, does not write down the names of some soldiers in the roll. 2dly. The condition of salvation is but one, but
the scripture always speaks in the plural number of the names written in the book of life. Therefore the writing down of the names is one thing, the determination of some condition another. 3dly. It is certain, that the apostle, and other sacred writers, when they say, that some men, or the names of some, are written in the book of life, do always, by that very thing, distinguish them from others who are not inserted. But, according to the opinion of our adversaries, the appointment of this condition imports no actual distinction between men. Because notwithstanding that decree, about saving believers and those who obey it, it may be possible, according to their principles, that none should believe, obey, or be saved." 4thly. All these things will be more cogent, if we attend to the original of this metaphorical expression. The similitude is taken from a genealogical catalogue or register, especially among the people of God; in which the names of every particular person, belonging to any family, was written : and, according to this catalogue, at the time of the jubilee, or other solemnity, when the paternal inheritance was restored to any family, every one was either admitted, or rejected, according as his name was, or was not found there. We have an example of this, Ezra ii. 61, 62. when after the Babylonish captivity, the posterity of Habaiah, Koz, and Barzillai, not being able to prove their descent by the genealogical registers, were put from the priesthood. In the same manner, the book of life contains the names of those who belong to the family of God; in which he who is not written, whatever he may presume, or pretend, will be deprived of the inheritance.
XII. To conclude, I would ask our adversaries, when the apostle says, 2 Tim. ii. 19. “the Lord knoweth' them that are his," and the Lord Jesus, John xiii. 18. “ I know whom I have chosen,“ whether there is nothing ascribed to God or to Christ, in these words, but what the least in the school of Christ knows, that they who believe in, and obey Christ, are the peculiar property of God and of Christ? Has not that language a grander sound, and does it not intimate, that God has the exactest account of all, in whom he will be glorified, as his peculiae people? We yield to what our adversariés de clare in Compend. Socin. c. iv. § 1. “ Admitting the infalible prescience of all future contingents, Calvin's doctrine of the predestination of some by name to life, of others to death, cannot be refuted.” But that prescience of God has as many witnesses, as he has constituted prophets. It follows therefore, that election is a designation or appointment of some
XIII. This designation was made from ETERNITY; as were all the counsels or decrees of God in general; for, “known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world,” Acts xi. 18. “ who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will," Eph. i. 11. And all the foreknowledge of future contingencies is founded in the decree of God: consequently he determined with himself from eternity, every thing he executes in time. If we are to believe this with respect to all the decrees of God, much more with regard to that distinguishing decree, whereby he purposed to display his glory in the eternal state of men. And I shall add what ought in the fullest manner to establish this truth, that “ chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world,” Eph. i. 4.
XIV. And hence appears the gangrene of the Socinian heretics, who, distinguishing between predestination, which they define the general decree of God, concerning the salvation of all those who constantly obey Christ, and between election, which is of particular persons; they say, indeed, that the former is from eternity, but the latter made in time, when a person performs the condition contained in the general decree of predestination. And they make the excellence of the Lord Jesus, and a part of his divinity to consist in this, that he was foreknown by name from eternity. But as Peter writes, 1 Pet. i. 20. that Christ“ was foreordained before the foundation of the world;" so we have just heard Paul testifying by the same expression, that “ we were chosen before the foundation of the world." But neither the subject, as we have just shewn, nor the apostle's words, whicho de scribe not an election of holiness, as the condition of life, but an election of some certain persons to holiness, which in virtue of that election, they had already in part obtained, and were, afterwards in the fullest manner to obtain, will not suffer us to pervert this to some general decree of saving
XV. We are here to explain what our Saviour declares he will pronounce on the last day of judgment, Matt. xxv. 34. “ inherit the kingdom prepared for you and zalaConos xogue from the foundation of the world:” he does not say, fore the foundation of the world,” as is said, Eph. i. 4. If by this preparing we understand God's decree, we must say with many expositors, that this phrase from the foundation of the world, is equivalent to that other, before the foundation of the world: just as, from the beginning of the world, Acts xv. 18. and before the world, 1 Cor. Ü. 7. denote the very
same thing. Similar expressions of eternity may
compared, Prov. vüi. 23. “ from everlasting; from the beginning : or ever the carth was.” Or if we would rather distinguish these, and explain that expression, from the foundation of the world, to signify, not eternity, but the remotest period of time, as it is taken Luke xi. 50. “ the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world," that is, from the remotest antiquity, beginning with the blood of Abel, ver. 51. and Heb. iv. 3.) we shall say, that by preparing the kingdum, is meant the formation of heaven, which is the throne of glory; and that the Elect are invited to enter upon the inheritance of that habitation which was created at the very beginning of the world, in order to be their eternal residence. And who can doubt, but what God created in the beginning, in order to be the blessed abode of the Elect, was appointed by him from eternity for that purpose. XVI. And we must not omit that illustrious
passage, Rev, xiii. 8. " whose names are not written in the book of life of the lamb slain from the foundation of the world." The last of these words are so placed, that they stand in a threefold connection with the preceding. For, first, they may be joined with the immediately preceding, as to mean,
hat Christ was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world; that is, either from all eternity, in the decree of God, which importing a certain futurition of events, to use a scholastic term, is the reason that things future may be considered as already existing; or from the remotest antiquity of the world, not only in the members of his mystical body, but also in the promise of God, in the type of sacrifices, and of Abel, slain by luis envious brother; and in fine, in the efficacy of his death, which extended itself to the first of the human race. For unless the death of Christ, which he was once to undergo in the fulness of time, could have extended its virtue to the first men in the world, “ Christ must often have suffered since the foundation of the world," Heb. ix. 27. God did many things before Christ could die, which could not decently have been done unless with a view to Cbrist's death, which was to en, sue in its appointed time, and with respect to these, he is said to be slain from the foundation of the world. Nay, the foundation of the earth itself was pot laid without a view to the death of Christ. For since the manifestation of his glorious grace in man through Christ, was the chief end of God, in creating man, we must look upon the foundation of the earth to be an habitation for the good as a mean to that end. , Nor